The African Queen (1951) — PICK

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) — PICK


One of the all-time great Hollywood adventures and one of this year’s biggest blockbusters are among the latest crop of home-video releases.

The great one is The African Queen, new on Netflix streaming in November.

Starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and directed by John Huston, it’s a canny blend of adventure, humor, romance, spectacle and great performances from its two stars in an opposites-attract romance between a missionary spinster and a seedy river rat in WWI-era Africa.

There’s a nice bit toward the end, with the couple at the end of their rope, when Providence lends a hand (or two) — a perfect ending to an entertaining film.

The blockbuster is Spider-Man: Homecoming, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s webslinger (Tom Holland) ready for his close-up — at least, as ready as a 15-year-old high-school sophomore can be.

Robert Downey Jr. almost literally phones in his cameo, but Michael Keaton is memorably menacing as the Vulture — easily the only MCU villain who could hold a candle to Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. It’s another good-enough Marvel movie, a crowd-pleaser with many fine scenes but no great ones.

 

Caveat Spectator: The African Queen: Brief wartime violence; a scene of drunkenness. Older kids and up. Spider-Man: Homecoming: Stylized action violence and menace; frequent crude language and brief, unnecessarily crude sexually themed humor. Teens and up.