‘The Avengers’ – the birth of the Marvel supergroup on Disney+

The Avengers (2012) is a superhero epic years in the making. Unlike The X-Men, which arrived full formed in 2000, The Avengers is the comic book version of the supergroup, with stars in their own right coming together (not without some friction and ego-thumping) for a battle royale. So Marvel put together a long term […]

Mowgli and friends in Disney's live-action 'The Jungle Book.'

‘The Jungle Book’ – 2016 remake on Disney+

The Jungle Book (2016), Jon Favreau’s live action (or at least photo-realistic) version of the Rudyard Kipling stories, offers far more than the bare necessities as it combines Kipling’s stories and Walt Disney’s 1967 animated musical adaptation for a marvelous new version of the classic story of a boy quite literally raised by wolves. 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 […]

Joaquin Phoenix in the 2014 romantic drama from Spike Jonze

‘Her’ – Love in the digital world on Netflix

Her (2013), the first film from Spike Jonze since his underrated take on Where the Wild Things Are, returns to the territory of his debut film Being John Malkovich but without the satirical edge. Like his fellow filmmakers and former collaborators Michael Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, Jonze is narratively playful and challenging, but his […]

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans picks sides in "Captain America: Civil War."

‘Captain America: Civil War’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Captain America: Civil War (2016) is an Avengers movie in everything but name. It’s got Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) as team captains picking sides in the hero-vs.-hero fight over government oversight of the self-appointed world policemen. Thor and Hulk are MIA but everyone else, from Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) […]

Scarlett Johansson is 'Lucy' in Luc Besson's marvelously ridiculous action fantasy

Scarlett Johansson is ‘Lucy’ on VOD

Luc Besson and his France-based, internationally-savvy EuropaCorp studio are the salvation of the unpretentious, mid-budget, hyper-charged action movie in America. Usually Besson is content to co-write and produce the films, which have launched careers of such protégés as Louis Letterier (The Transporter), Pierre Morel (Taken), and Olivier Megaton (Colombiana), but he takes charge of Lucy […]