Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, and Brendan Fehr in the UPN series 'Roswell'

Last Chance: ‘Roswell’ leaving Netflix April 1 (but still on Hulu)

Roswell: Seasons 1-3 (1999-2002) – You could call it X-Files meets Dawson’s Creek, but this mix of teen melodrama, UFOlogy, and deadly government conspiracies (based on the Roswell High series of young adult novels) has more in common with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like that show, Roswell tackles the usual problems of growing up—changing hormones, […]

Felix E. Feist's 1933 'Deluge,' the first end-of-the-world disaster movie

Blu-ray: ‘Deluge’ – The original end-of-the-world disaster movie restored

Deluge (1933) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Blu-ray, DVD), the original end-of-the-world thriller, is a curious and often fascinating artifact. Produced in 1933, before the production code came down on Hollywood, on a relatively modest budget, it imagines not just the destruction of civilization in (unexplained) earthquakes and cataclysmic storms but life after the flood, so […]

Amy Adams in 'Arrival,' directed by Denis Villeneuve

‘Arrival’ – First contact on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

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 […]

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 […]

‘BrainDead’ – Aliens invade Congress on Amazon Prime

BrainDead (2016), created by Michelle King and Robert King (of The Good Wife) as a limited summer series, is a mix of mix of alien invasion thriller and political satire centered in Washington D.C., where an infestation of ant-like insects from outer space colonize the brains of politicians and government officials. Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars […]

Matt Damon is 'The Martian' in the science fiction drama directed by Ridley Scott

‘The Martian’ on Blu-ray and DVD

The Martian (2015), winner of two Golden Globe Awards and nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Actor for Matt Damon), is the rare science fiction drama that is actually built on applied physics and engineering and organic chemistry and where survival depends on creative problem solving and teamwork across millions of miles. […]

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 […]

Nicole Heesters and Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Wolfgang Kremm's "Kamikaze '89"

‘Kamikaze ’89’ – Fassbinder goes cyberpunk on Amazon Prime and Sundance Now

Kamikaze ’89 (Germany, 1982) – Rainer Werner Fassbinder takes a rare onscreen lead in what would be his last screen appearance in Wolfgang Kremm’s 1982 new wave science fiction cop drama. Based on a satirical science fiction novel by Swedish crime writer Per Wahlöö, it’s a cyberpunk murder mystery in a totalitarian near future, where […]

Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, and Gort, directed by Robert Wise.

The original ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ on Netflix

The original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) remains the most thoughtful of the first contact films. Michael Rennie makes a striking American film debut as Klaatu, the well-spoken stranger from outer space who lands his saucer in Washington D.C. to speak to the world’s leaders. They shoot first, of course, and Klaatu escapes […]