William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal debate the 1968 elections on ABC in 'Best of Enemies'

‘Best of Enemies’ – Buckley vs. Vidal on Amazon Prime

Best of Enemies (2015) carries the subtitle “Buckley vs. Vidal” and it is indeed a portrait of a rivalry, one that was presented on prime time network television at a time when there were three networks and TV news strived to be fair and balanced to a fault. In 1968, William F. Buckley was the […]

George Clooney in 'Hail, Caesar!,' the loving Hollywood studio satire from Joel and Cthan Coen.

‘Hail, Caesar!’ from the Coen Bros. on Netflix

Hail, Caesar! (2015), the Coen Bros.’s sly lampoon of 1950s Hollywood, is an affectionate and satirical tribute to studio filmmaking and a wittily skewed comedy of cultural politics in early 1950s America, the beginning of the end of the studio era. Set at the fictional Capitol Pictures, an MGM-like studio, and centered on Eddie Mannix […]

Jennifer Lawrence stars in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,' the fourth and final film in the young adult action franchise.

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ on Peacock

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015) brings an end to the first and most successful big screen adaptation of a young adult dystopian thriller of an oppressive, brutal future. Divergent and The Maze Runner followed with less success, both commercially and dramatically, and for that matter the Hunger Games movies wind down as […]

Susanne Wuest in the German horror drama 'Goodnight Mommy,' directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz

Last chance: ‘Goodnight Mommy’ on Hulu

Goodnight Mommy (Germany, 2015) is an unsettling horror film built on scars (physical and psychological) that upset the connection between a mother (Susanne Wuest) and her sons, adolescent twins named Lukas and Elias played by real-life twin brothers Lukas Schwarz and Elias Schwarz. That fraternal connection is apparent in every scene, not just affection but […]

Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in 'Jupiter Ascending' from the Wachowskis

Last chance: ‘Jupiter Ascending’ – Space opera silliness on Netflix

Jupiter Ascending (2015) was a player at the Razzie Awards, the snarky organization that puts the spotlight in the worst and most over-hyped films of the year. Not exactly the kind of attention you seek out as a filmmaker, and maybe not completely deserved, though that’s admittedly a minority opinion. This is old fashioned space […]

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in 'American Ultra.' Photo credit: Lionsgate

‘American Ultra’ – stoners and spies on Netflix

American Ultra (2015) reworks The Bourne Identity as a slacker comedy with a killer punchline. Jesse Eisenberg is Mike Howell, a sweet, underachieving stoner prone to panic attacks. He gets by as convenience store clerk in a dead-end West Virginia town with a supportive girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), who is almost impossibly understanding when it […]