Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, and Kang-ho Song in the Korean action blast from Kim Jee-Woon

‘The Good, the Bad, the Weird’- Kim Jee-won’s “Oriental Western” on Netflix

Kim Jee-won’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (South Korea, 2008) is a self-proclaimed “Oriental Western.” That about pegs this treasure hunt right out of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by way of Peking Opera Blues and Dragon Gate Inn, set in thirties Manchuria and filled with Korean expatriates, Chinese bandits, Japanese occupiers, […]

John Carpenter directs the cult movie satire starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David

Last Chance: ‘They Live’ on HBO Now

A year after Oliver Stone elevated the phrase “Greed is good” to a satirical double-edged mantra in Wall Street, John Carpenter put it more bluntly in They Live (1988), a scruffy little genre movie with a subversive subtext. “Why do we worship greed?” asks an pirate broadcaster in the opening scenes, as images of homeless […]

Tobey Maguire is back in Sam Raimi's sequel, with Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 2’ on Hulu

Sam Raimi’s adaptation of the legendary super-hero comic book continues in the high young-adult melodrama mode in Spider-Man 2 (2004). Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) life is a shambles: his studies suffer in the (im)balance of school, work, and crime-fighting, his romance with redheaded sweetheart M.J. (Kirsten Dunst) is sacrificed to the demands of his alter-ego, […]

Cheng Pei-Pei and Yueh Hua star in King Hu's classic wuxia pian

The Romantic Chivalry of ‘Come Drink with Me’ on Amazon Prime

Come Drink with Me (Hong Kong, 1966) is a landmark of Hong Kong cinema and a classic of the wuxia pian (“martial chivalry” genre), a genre that director King Hu redefined with this delightfully spry mix of action, humor, and costume spectacle. Cheng Pei-Pei stars as the pixie-ish Golden Swallow, a determined young female warrior […]

Anne Hathaway stars in the film from Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme’s ‘Rachel Getting Married’ on Hulu

High-strung, self-involved rehab veteran Kym (Anne Hathaway) takes a vacation from her home away from home for a shaky trip back to the bosom of her family to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding in Rachel Getting Married (2008). Still not recovered from being the center of attention, Kym constantly and blatantly grabs for […]

‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009. Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life […]

Ian McDiarmid and Iain Glen are Henry and John Fielding in the British crime drama

‘City of Vice’ – London’s first police force on Amazon Prime

More evidence to support the proposition that truth is stranger (and more interesting) than fiction: after a successful career as one of the most influential novelists of his day, author Henry Fielding was appointed London’s Chief Magistrate and, with his younger half-brother John, created London’s first police force, the Bow Street Runners, in 1749. Why […]

Seret Scott and Bill Gunn in the landmark feature film debut by Kathleen Collins

‘Losing Ground’ – The landmark American indie on FilmStruck

If you’ve never heard of American playwright and filmmaker Kathleen Collins, don’t feel bad. At least not for yourself. Collins succumbed to cancer in 1988 at the age of 46 after completing just one feature. The independently-made Losing Ground (1982) was produced before the American Indie film culture established itself with the successes of Spike […]

Tobey Maguire stars on Sam Raimi's big screen superhero movie

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ – The original big screen webslinger on Hulu

Superhero movies have been a big screen staple ever since Superman first flew through his first animated adventure in 1940. But for all the glory of Richard Donner’s majestic 1978 Superman and the kooky dark weirdness of Tim Burton’s Batman films, it took comic book fan-turned-fan-boy director Sam Raimi to capture the graphic thrills and […]