Mamoru Oshii directs this landmark cyberpunk anime from 1995

The original ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and its anime universe on Hulu

Ghost in the Shell (Japan, 1995) (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray Steelbook) – Mamoru Oshii’s cyberpunk thriller was the first Japanese anime created for the international market and it became the biggest animated import in the US in years. Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow and recalling Blade Runner and the earlier anime hit Akira, Oshii’s […]

Felicity Jones leads the mission Gareth Edwards' Star Wars stand-alone

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) is exactly as the title promises. Set in the margins of the original Star Wars, it stars starring Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, an orphaned survivor living on the fringes of Empire-controlled territory. Part scavenger opportunist and part scheming survivor, she’s been raised in hiding by a revolutionary […]

Kurt Russell stars in the cult film from John Carpenter

The original ‘Escape from New York’ on Netflix

Escape from New York (1981) – “Plissken? I heard you were dead.” “Call me Snake.” Maybe it’s not John Carpenter’s best film, but it’s one of his most fun and the premise is irresistible: in the future, Manhattan has been turned into a high security island prison and Liberty Island is the guard station. When […]

Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood, and Ethan Hawke in 'Good Kill,' directed by Andrew Niccol

‘Good Kill’ – War at a distance on Netflix and Showtime Anytime

Good Kill (2015) tackles writer / director Andrew Niccol’s favorite theme: the intersection of technology and humanity. His problem is that his art is rarely as interesting as his ideas. The Truman Show works because Peter Weir is very good with the human equation, and Gattaca, to date, is Niccol’s most successful film, in part […]

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

‘Roswell’ – Teen aliens in love 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. […]