Jackie Chan in 'The Forbidden Kingdom,' which co-stars Jet Li.

‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ – Family-friendly martial arts fantasy on Amazon Prime

Jackie Chan and Jet Li team up for the first and only time in a feature film in The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), an American take on the classic Chinese folktale “The Monkey King.” Yes, Jackie Chan (who was 53 at the time) was no longer the youthful stunt daredevil and acrobatic dynamo and the 45-year-old […]

Oscar-winning Hollywood love letter ‘The Artist’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max

The Artist (2011) is a valentine to silent movies. You’ve likely heard that before and it’s true, but it’s more than that. A modern movie in a classical mode, shot in glorious black and white without spoken dialogue (but filled with music and sound) and directed with a lively spirit of romance and adventure and […]

‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ – Matt Damon’s final run on Peacock

Matt Damon returns in the “Bourne” franchise in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), playing the great anti-Bond of Hollywood action cinema for his third and final time. Jason Bourne is a former covert assassin essentially programmed by the CIA to be an emotionless killing machine, and he’s determined to reclaim his identity and his humanity. His […]

Matt Damon in 'The Bourne Identity' directed by Doug Liman

‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ on Peacock

Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne is the anti-Bond of Hollywood action cinema. He’s almost emotionless when he clicks into gear and lets his training take over, like a killing machine suddenly switched on. Doug Liman directs The Bourne Identity (2002), an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s novel (previously made as a TV movie with Richard Chamberlain) about […]

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ – the trilogy concludes on HBO Max

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) doesn’t want for ambition. The culmination of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of high-minded comic book superhero action spectacles by way of pop-art social commentary, it pits The Batman (a terse Christian Bale) against Bane (Tom Hardy as a musclebound mountain in a creepy mask), a self-appointed horseman of the apocalypse. Bane […]

Paul Dano is Brian Wilson in 'Love & Mercy'

‘Love & Mercy’ – Brian Wilson’s journey on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Capturing the life of Brian Wilson, the troubled genius who pushed the surf pop sound of The Beach Boys into psychedelic symphonies as he spiraled into depression, in just a few key years is a tricky proposition. Love & Mercy (2014), a biopic that parallels the boyish enthusiasm and free-flowing creative drive of young visionary […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on Hulu

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Netflix

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Jessie Eisenberg is Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’ on Hulu

The Social Network (2010) presents Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as a self-involved nerd genius in Harvard who wants social acceptance but hasn’t a clue as to how to social interaction really works, either on a date or with his friends. The irony inherent in the film is that this young, arrogant genius with no people […]