Rod Steiger is ‘The Pawnbroker’ on Criterion Channel

The Pawnbroker (1964), the Sidney Lumet-directed 1964 film based on the novel by Edward Lewis, is a real time capsule. It’s the first American film to really take on the legacy of the Holocaust on a personal level, and it’s set in a Harlem pawnshop where a stream of slum stereotypes wander in and out […]

Gary Cooper, Julie London, and Lee J. Cobb star in the 1958 western directed by Anthony Mann

Gary Cooper is a ‘Man of the West’ on Criterion Channel

The great western director Anthony Mann and aging western icon Gary Cooper teamed up for the first and only time in Man of the West (1958), a stark frontier drama of a trio of train passengers stranded in the desert after a railway holdup. Taking responsibility for his helpless compatriots (Julia London as a sad-eyed […]

Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino's western

‘Django Unchained’ on Netflix

In Django Unchained (2012), Quentin Tarantino takes on one of his favorite genres: the spaghetti western, with all its extreme violence, operatic drama, eccentric characters, and brutal portrait of frontier existence. But Tarantino being Tarantino, he doesn’t just make a big, violent, sprawling western filled gunfights and clever talk and driven by revenge and Old […]

Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper in the 1954 western by Robert Aldrich

‘Vera Cruz’ – The proto-spaghetti western on Criterion Channel

“You’re the first friend I ever had,” grins flamboyant mercenary Burt Lancaster to lean, laconic Gary Cooper in with a smile that suggests that he may be the last. They’re a pair of Americans abroad looking to cash in the Mexican revolution by selling their services to the highest bidder in Vera Cruz (1954), Robert […]

What to stream: ‘The Willoughbys’ and ‘Midnight Gospel’ on Netflix, ‘Abominable’ on Hulu, ‘The Farewell’ free on Kanopy

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   A couple of new animated features debut on streaming platforms. The brightly-colored comedy “The Willoughbys” (2020, PG), based on the children’s book by Lois Lowry, takes a whimsical approach to the macabre as […]

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ on Netflix

Steven Spielberg’s future shock crime thriller Minority Report (2002), based on a story by sci-fi visionary Philip K. Dick, offers law enforcement as a preventative force managed by drugged-into-submission psychics: they predict a murder and the cops arrest the perpetrator before he perpetrates anything. The names of the potential killers and victims roll out of […]

‘WALL•E’ – robots in love on Disney+

An animated robot love story with an environmental theme and a slapstick delivery, WALL•E (2008) is a charmer of a film and a delightful piece of storytelling. Directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) with the animation wizards at Pixar, it takes on the challenge of delivering an animated feature that is predominantly wordless (and even […]

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in the Oscar-nominated drama "Loving." from filmmaker Jeff Nichols

‘Loving’ – The couple behind the history on HBO

Loving (2016), Jeff Nichols’s portrait of Richard and Mildred Loving, does more than put a face to a landmark Supreme Court decision. Their 1958 marriage was a crime in the state of Virginia because Richard (played by Joel Edgerton with a terse determination) was a white man and Mildred (Ruth Negga, vulnerable yet hopeful) was […]

What to stream: ‘Mrs. America’ on Hulu, ‘Outer Banks’ on Netflix, Peacock launches early on Comcast

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Peacock launches this week, but not for everybody. Poised to be a major force in the streaming wars, this service from NBC/Universal is available for free to Comcast cable subscribers and Xfinity customers […]