Good movies are too scarce to be ignored or tossed aside; that’s why I’m making a pitch for some recent favorites like The Meddler with Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne and J.K. Simmons, which is now available for home viewing. Lorene Scafaria’s winning comedy-drama is based on her own experiences, which is why this movie has the unmistakable ring of truth. You can check out my full review HERE and you can hear my podcast conversation with Sarandon HERE.

Then there’ s Genius, starring Colin Firth as the legendary literary editor Maxwell Perkins. This labor-of-love project, written by the prolific John Logan, also stars Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, and in one of the best performances of the year, Jude Law, as Thomas Wolfe. Not everyone praised this film, but I am an unbashed booster. Perhaps it’s because I so like the source material, A. Scott Berg’s award-winning biography, so much, or the way director Michael Grandage captures the look and feel of the 1920s and 30s. You can read my full review HERE.

Sing Street Blu-rayAnd I’ve been touting my favorite film of the year, Sing Street, for months. Almost no one saw it in its brief theatrical run—but everyone I spoke to who did really liked it. Now it’s available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD so there is no excuse to miss out on this gem from John Carney, the Irish filmmaker who gave us Once and Begin Again. To read more about it, click HERE for my original review.

Good movies are too scarce to be ignored or tossed aside; that’s why I’m making another pitch for these recent favorites. But even I miss out on some films because I can’t get to their press screenings on a timely basis. So here’s another recommendation: check your local theater listings and go out to see Hell or High Water, a bank-heist movie with a sharp edge of social commentary. Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster star in this high-energy story set in Texas, directed by British filmmaker David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan, who scored with Sicario last year.

Once Were WarriorsOne final tip: Film Movement has just released one of my favorite films of the 1990s on Blu-ray for the first time (as well as DVD). Once Were Warriors blew me away when I saw it in 1994 and I have never forgotten it or its leading performers, Rena Owen and Temuera Morrison (I believe it’s the first time I saw the talented Cliff Curtis, as well.) It’s a searing story about a Maori family in modern-day New Zealand and how one woman reaches the breaking point in dealing with her abusive husband. Riwia Brown adapted Alan Duff’s novel, which was a best-seller, and it marked an auspicious feature debut for director Lee Tamahori. You can rent or stream it, and I urge you to do so. This is one for the ages.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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May 2024