While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll put together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week's theme celebrates the launch of HBO Max, which, admittedly, offers an impressively large selection of critically acclaimed classic films. Not an ad, just an observation!
In this neo-noir crime romance, detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland) enlists wily sex worker Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) to help solve a missing person case, which quickly escalates when they start tracking down a serial killer. Featuring an unforgettable, layered, all-time best performance by Fonda, who won her well-deserved Oscar for Best Actress. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart and Cary Grant round out the all-star cast of this essential romcom, which centers on a socialite (Hepburn) whose marriage plans are upended by the arrival of her dashing ex-husband (Grant) and a tabloid reporter (Stewart). High jinks, soul-searching and a complicated love rectangle ensue. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
True Stories (1986)
Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's directorial debut is a whimsical musical comedy consisting of a series of vignettes chronicling the inhabitants of Virgil, Texas, as they prepare for their annual celebration of specialness. Byrne himself stars as our Stetson-wearing idiosyncratic narrator, and John Goodman co-stars in one of his first film roles. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
When a frayed housewife (Gena Rowlands) suffers a mental breakdown, her husband (Peter Falk) is left to care for their children. Auteur dreamboat John Cassavetes' beautifully raw writing, direction and collaboration with real-life wife Rowlands makes for one of the most heartbreakingly authentic dramas of all time. Amazon Prime, HBO Go, HBO Max, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu.
An American in Paris (1951)
A major inspiration for La La Land (also streaming on HBO Go and Max), this musical romance centers on an American painter (Gene Kelly, also serving as choreographer) and his Parisian love affair with a perfume girl (Leslie Caron in her film debut). Highlights include Kelly's delightful performance of "I Got Rhythm" and the luscious 17-minute climactic dance number. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.