William Shatner in the film director Robert Meyer Burnett and co-writer Mark A. Altman

‘Free Enterprise’ – It’s a geek world on Amazon Prime

Free Enterprise (1999) is in some ways yet another Gen-X Peter Pan story of young adults living their lives through pop culture references while avoiding real world responsibility, but director Robert Meyer Burnett and co-writer Mark A. Altman definitely know their world of movie and media saturated SF geeks with dreams of making it in […]

Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer star in Rob Reiner's 'This is Spinal Tap'

‘This Is Spinal Tap’ on Netflix

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” – Nigel Tufnel Rob Reiner walks that fine line in his hilarious mockrockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), ostensibly the portrait of a has-been metal band resurrected from a well-deserved obscurity for a disastrous comeback tour. Improv comedy veterans Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer don’t […]

Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi write, direct, and star in the vampire mockumentary 'What We Do in the Shadows'

‘What We Do in the Shadows’ on Amazon Prime

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) takes the mockumentary approach to the vampire film, though that hardly describes the deadpan absurdity of this comedy of ancient European vampires in New Zealand, who after centuries of unlife haven’t gotten any smarter. It’s written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, who previously collaborated on […]

Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, and John Hurt star in the film adapted from the Alan Moore graphic novel

‘V For Vendetta’ – Fighting tyranny on Netflix

V For Vendetta (2005) – “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. The government should be afraid of the people.” His name is nowhere to be seen in the credits but this futuristic thriller about an authoritarian government out of 1984 and a lone revolutionary who takes them on comes from Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic […]

Meiko Kaji stars in the Japanese women-in-prison series

‘Female Prisoner Scorpion’ Saga on Amazon Prime

The women in prison genre has never been so much fun as the Female Prisoner Scorpion series from Japan. Gonzo doesn’t begin to describe this mad mix of outrageous exploitation, flamboyant art movie, and energetic comic-book craziness. Meiko Kaji gives a near silent performance as Nami Matsushima, aka Scorpion, a woman framed for a crime […]

P.J. Soles and The Ramones

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ on Criterion Channel

“Do your parents know you’re Ramones?” If Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979) isn’t the greatest rock and rebellion film of all time, it is certainly in the running, a pure, cheerfully juvenile blast of blitzkrieg guitar rock, Looney Tunes sight gags, teenage hormones, and rebellion against authority because it’s there. They aren’t exactly rebels […]

Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray star, Harold Ramis directs

Quick Pick: ‘Caddyshack’ – Slobs vs. snobs on Netflix

Caddyshack (1980), the definitive slobs versus snobs comedy, is ostensibly the story of a working-class golf caddy (Michael O’Keefe) at an exclusive country club trying to land a scholarship and plan his future, but his coming-of-age story becomes just another thread in the comic chaos. Chevy Chase, fresh off Saturday Night Live, takes top billing […]

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

Quick pick: ‘An American Werewolf in London’ – Full moon freakout on Netflix and Amazon Prime

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]

Marci Miller and Manu Bennett in 'Death Race 2050,' directed by G.J. Echternkamp and produced by Roger Corman

Roger Corman’s ‘Death Race 2050’ on Netflix and Blu-ray/DVD

Death Race 2050 (2016) – After Paul W.S. Anderson’s humorless Death Race, his 2008 remake/reworking of the Roger Corman-produced cult movie Death Race 2000 (1975), there’s something oddly satisfying in getting a genuine remake produced by Corman himself in the impudent spirit of the original. Death Race 2050 is a modern B movie, produced directly […]