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 […]

George Clooney stars in the political thriller by Tony Gilroy

George Clooney is ‘Michael Clayton’

“I’m not a miracle worker. I’m a janitor.” George Clooney simmers as Michael Clayton (2007), a legal “fixer” who works behind the scenes of a powerful New York law firm, in Tony Gilroy’s smart, sharp legal drama. When he’s sent to clean up the moral meltdown of the firm’s leading litigator (Tom Wilkinson), he unwittingly […]

Tilda Swinton in Bong Joon-ho 's 'Snowpiercer'

‘Snowpiercer’ – careening apocalyptic allegory on Netflix

Snowpiercer (2013), an international production from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and a French graphic novel, is a high-speed allegory speeding down the science fiction tracks of genre cinema. That’s the way I like this brand of filmmaking: with the symbols big, muscular, detailed, and punchy. You either give yourself over to the metaphor, in this […]

George Clooney stars in 'Burn After Reading' from Joel and Ethan Coen

‘Burn After Reading’ – unclassified CIA laughs on Amazon Prime

Burn After Reading (2008) – After the darkness of No Country for Old Men, the Coen Bros. eased up with a deadpan espionage farce played out by small fish convinced that they are in deep waters, a film much lighter and significantly slighter but put together with such perfection that you can’t help but be […]

An Seo Hyun and friend in Bong Joon Ho's "Okja."

Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Okja’ on Netflix

Okja, a social satire/political allegory/action fantasy from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, skips theaters entirely to debut on Netflix. You may recall that it was a point of controversy at the Cannes Film Festival, not for its subject matter but because of the Netflix model of releasing its films straight to streaming. The Netflix logo elicited […]

Benedict Cumberbatch is the Master of the Mystic Arts in the Marvel Studios movie

‘Doctor Strange’ – Sorcerer Supreme on Netflix

Doctor Strange (2016), the Sorcerer Supreme of Marvel Comics, is the latest comic book hero to join Marvel’s cinematic universe and Benedict Cumberbatch (in his best impression of American arrogance) plays the broken neurosurgeon who dons the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto to bring magic to the MCU. He’s Stephen Strange, a […]