‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Who would have predicted that the second revival of the Planet of the Apes series would be so smart, so moving, so… human? Whatever your feelings on the 1969 original, at the time a startlingly unique film built on a warped-mirror fantasy premise, the sequels were exercises in diminishing ambition and the ridiculous 2001 Tim […]

Kevin McCarthy stars in Don Siegel's 1956 'Invasion of the Body Snatcher'

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ – the original pod people on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – The original version of the oft-filmed science fiction horror is still the most insidious alien invasion film ever made. This is an invasion from within. Small town family doctor Kevin McCarthy returns to his small California coastal community from an out-of-town trip to find everything just a bit […]

Ray Milland stars in Roger Corman's science fiction horror

Roger Corman’s ‘X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes’ on Amazon Prime

Roger Corman and Ray Milland followed up their first collaboration, the Edgar Allan Poe adaptation The Premature Burial, with X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963), a science fiction thriller by way of a Greek tragedy. Milland is Dr. James Xavier, who experiments with a formula that will the human eye to see beyond […]

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, and Frank in Richard Kelly's cult movie of teen confusion

‘Donnie Darko’ – Life’s a mystery on Netflix

Donnie Darko (2001) – Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an otherwise normal rebellious, angry kid who slumps and frumps his way through the confusion of his life. He just happens to have a little more confusion than the most of us, much of it caused by visitations from a demonic looking six-foot rabbit named Frank […]

Ethan Hawks stars in the adaptation of Robert Heinlein's All You Zombies from the Spierig Brothers

‘Predestination’ – Ethan Hawke in a time travel twister on Amazon Prime

Predestination (2015) is a generic title for a perversely clever time travel tale but you can understand why The Spierig Brothers, the screen credit for filmmaking team Michael and Peter Spierig, didn’t go with the title of the famous Robert Heinlein short story they adapted. “—All You Zombies—” would give audiences the wrong idea. There […]

Anne Hathaway stars in the giant monster movie twist by Nacho Vigalondo

‘Colossal’ – Giant monster hangover on Hulu

Colossal (2017) is the oddest and most inventive film to come out of the new wave of giant monster movies. It stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, an out-of-work writer turned reckless party girl and black-out drunk who is kicked out of the Manhattan apartment she shares with her exasperated boyfriend (Dan Stevens) and returns to […]

Animated feature from France based on the graphic novels of Jacques Tardi

‘April and the Extraordinary World’ – Steampunk animated adventure on Netflix

April and the Extraordinary World (France, 2015), inspired by the graphic novels of the great French comic artist Jacques Tardi, is a steampunk adventure set in an alternate reality Paris where the World Wars never occurred, electricity was never discovered, twin Eiffel Towers anchor a direct cable-car route to Berlin, and the smoke that powers […]

‘Alien: Covenant’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

You may recall Prometheus with both awe and astonishment, a film with astounding moments of beauty and horror and brilliance bumping up against stupidity and sloppiness and half-baked ideas. Alien: Covenant (2017), the second film in the Alien prequel series, takes place a decade after the events of Prometheus (2012) and continues writing the xenomorph […]

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 'World on a Wire'

‘World on a Wire’ – the first virtual reality thriller on FilmStruck

World on a Wire (Germany, 1973), made by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1973 for German television, is to the best of my knowledge the first film to explore virtual reality. And this from a director who never made a science film before or since. There are no Matrix visuals here—you might say that Fassbinder suggests his […]