Streaming Wars: Corrupt Cops Come to Amish Country in Peter Weir’s “Witness”

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HOLLYWOOD PICK 1:

Peter Weir may have called his directing career “extinct,” but his movies remain irrevocably alive. One of his best is Witness (1985), about a detective defending an Amish boy (Lukas Haas) from a league of corrupt cops. The violence is haunting, but so is the sexual tension between Ford and Kelly McGillis (playing the boy’s mother), which gives rise to a subtle but scorching star-crossed romance. Paramount+, Showtime.

INDIE PICK 1:

To a lot of people, Vin Diesel will always be the dude who patronizingly called the Rock his “little brother Dwayne.” But Diesel proved his tangible talents when he starred in and directed Multi-Facial (1995), his funny, rueful short about a mixed-race actor making his way through a series of dehumanizing auditions. Asked to embody both Black and Italian cultural stereotypes, he decides to use the most dangerous weapon in his artistic arsenal: honesty. Free on YouTube.

HOLLYWOOD PICK 2:

After Hours (1995) is a Martin Scorsese movie for Scorsese agnostics. It doesn’t go for the mythic grandeur of Goodfellas; it simply entertains with wit and verve. Griffin Dunne stars as an office drone vexed that either God or the universe is determined to prevent him from going home after work. His countless misadventures include being pursued by a vigilante mob, a delightfully silly climax that sets up the perfect punchline to the entire cosmic joke. Paramount+, Showtime.

INDIE PICK 2:

The trailer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon (2013) made it look like a moralizing rom-com about forsaking pornography to please your partner. Yet the actual film is something more complex: a meditation on porn addiction that is also remarkably sex positive. Gordon-Levitt stars as an iron-pumping Lothario who dates an affluent young woman (Scarlett Johansson), only to fall into a deeper, messier and more adult relationship with his classmate (Julianne Moore) at a community college. Hulu, free on Amazon Prime.