Francis McDormand in ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’ on Amazon Prime

The bouncy little screwball romance Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) is a fizzy cocktail of a movie set in depression-era London, where the beautiful people dance away in fabulous fashions and decadent distraction. Frances McDormand is the dowdy Guinevere Pettigrew, a buttoned-down yet free-thinking governess whose unorthodox ways have landed her on the […]

Amy Adams in 'Arrival,' directed by Denis Villeneuve

‘Arrival’ – First contact on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Arrival (2016) is the most cerebral of first contact films, a science fiction drama about communicating across cultures and across species and even across time without a common language, while failing to communicate within our own world. It is a film that looks out beyond our galaxy and inward to our own souls, to challenge […]

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’ on Peacock

FBI agent Tom Hanks chases check forger Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can (2002), Steven Spielberg’s take on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. The real-life Abagnale successfully passed himself off as a pilot, a lawyer, and a doctor, and passed over $4 million in forged checks, all before his 21st birthday. […]

‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ – Tom Hanks vs. the USSR on Amazon Prime

If you think it was Rambo who led the American support of Afghan rebels against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the early eighties, here’s a hilarious reality check. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) is the story of an otherwise minor Texas congressman who worked behind the scenes to create a coalition of Arab states, secretly […]

‘The Muppets’ return on Netflix

The Muppets (2011) brings the felt comedy stars back to the big screen for a new comedy that asks the eternal questions: What becomes a Muppet in the days of CGI and motion capture animation? Can their brand of innocent whimsy and madcap nonsense hold the attentions of a new generation of fans? And does […]

Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman cast ‘Doubt’ on Netflix

Take the title at face value: Doubt (2008), directed and adapted for the screen by playwright John Patrick Shanley, does not offer answers. Rather, it challenges us to understand our own instincts to believe in the absence of proof. Sunny, optimistic idealist Sister James (Amy Adams), a young nun teaching history to junior high boys […]

Mark Wahlberg is ‘The Fighter’ on Netflix

Mark Wahlberg is Mickey Ward, The Fighter (2010) of the title in this true-life late-career comeback story. The younger half-brother of could-have-been contender Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), the man who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard and is now wasting away as twitchy crack addict lost in fantasies of his own comeback, Mickey is the […]

Amy Adams is Margaret Keane in 'Big Eyes.' directed by Tim Burton

‘Big Eyes’ – The Keanes and the kitsch on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Big Eyes (2014) is Tim Burton’s second foray into strange but true stories of American termite art culture. Where Ed Wood was a valentine to artistic oddballs and eccentrics on the fringes told with an optimism that was certainly not mirrored in Wood’s real life, this is a story about the pain behind the façade of […]