Amy Adams in 'Arrival,' directed by Denis Villeneuve

‘Arrival’ – First contact on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Arrival (2016) is the most cerebral of first contact films, a science fiction drama about communicating across cultures and across species and even across time without a common language, while failing to communicate within our own world. It is a film that looks out beyond our galaxy and inward to our own souls, to challenge […]

‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale on Amazon Prime

Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain, 2006), Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale, is an elemental Alice in Wonderland amidst the horrors of Francisco Franco’s reign of terror in 1944 Spain. Our Alice is an imaginative young girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who escapes into an elemental wonderland after she moves into the country estate with her ailing […]

Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in Quentin Taratino's 'The Hateful Eight'

Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’ on Netflix and Showtime

The Hateful Eight, the eighth feature by Quentin Tarantino, is something strange and audacious even for a filmmaker whose films are rarely short of either. It’s a vivid widescreen western epic that runs nearly three hours yet plays like a chamber piece, largely contained within the intimate quarters of a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard […]

John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, and George Clooney in the Coen Bros.' screwball odyssey 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'

‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ – That old-timey Coen comedy Hulu

In the opening credits of Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), their depression-era prison break movie-turned-screwball odyssey through the deep south, is the attribution: “Based upon The Odyssey by Homer.” It’s a cheeky proclamation and it doesn’t take a classical scholar to note that, if it’s indeed true, they’ve taken liberties […]

Thomas Jane stars in the Stephen King adaptation

What to stream: Stephen King’s ‘1922’ on Netflix, ‘Red Oaks’ ends on Amazon, Hulu adds ‘Futurama,’ and more

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … 1922 (2017, not rated), starring Thomas Jane as a Nebraska farmer consumed with guilt after committing murder, is the second Netflix original film this month based on the work of Stephen […]

Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. in the David Fincher thriller

David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’ on Netflix

Zodiac (2007), David Fincher’s drama about the notorious unsolved Zodiac killings that had San Francisco gripped in fear during the early seventies, was the filmmaker’s most disciplined, focused, and mesmerizing film to date when it was released in 2007. Based on the non-fiction book by Robert Graysmith, a newspaper cartoonist who became obsessed with the […]

Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller in the film by Noah Baumbach

What to stream: ‘Meyerowitz’ and ‘MINDHUNTER’ on Netflix, ‘Lore’ on Amazon, Sarah Silverman’s ‘America’ on Hulu

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017, not rated), starring Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller as the estranged sons of sculptor and retired art professor Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvell […]

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 […]