Bruce Willis and Reece Thompson in the film by Brett Simon

‘Assassination of a High School President’ on Amazon Prime Video

The name’s Bobby Funke. I write for the paper.” At least that’s how this picked-on sophomore imagines himself in Assassination of a High School President (2008): the loner who walks a straight line through the crooked halls of his corrupt Catholic high school. Funke (who is inevitably called “Funky” by his schoolmates) narrates his tale […]

Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz, and Mark Ruffalo in Rian Johnson's charming fantasy of a con movie 'The Brothers Bloom.'

‘The Brothers Bloom’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The Brothers Bloom (2008), the second feature from Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson, is a con artist comedy as living theater. After the almost color-leached images of his high-school noir Brick (2005), Johnson puts more brightness in his palette and more spring his step for this fantasy about stories and storytelling. In a […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

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 Hulu

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, […]

Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker on Netflix

Oscar winner ‘The Hurt Locker’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

“Tell me something. What’s the best way to disarm one of these things?” “The way you don’t die, sir.” Set in the Iraq war after the proclamation of “Mission Accomplished” and the transformation of a battlefield army into an occupation force, The Hurt Locker (2008) follows the finals days in the rotation of a bomb disposal […]

Michelle Williams stars in the film by Kelly Reichardt

The ballad of ‘Wendy and Lucy’ on Hulu

New York-based filmmaker Kelly Reichardt found great inspiration in the state of Oregon. After making Old Joy on a DIY budget, she reunited with Oregon writer Jon Raymond for an indie feature with a somewhat larger scope but the same intimate qualities. Wendy and Lucy (2008) isn’t the romantic road movie of Alexander Supertramp in […]

Adam West, Burt Ward, William Shatner, and Julie Newmar voice the characters in this animate feature

Blu-ray Animated Originals: ‘Batman vs. Two-Face’ and ‘Justice League: The New Frontier’ Commemorative Edition

Batman vs. Two-Face (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD) The 2016 DC Animated Movie Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, featuring Adam West and Burt Ward, stars of the campy original 1960s TV series Batman, as the voices of Batman and Robin and Julie Newmar reprising her purr as Catwoman, proved popular enough to inspire a sequel. Batman […]

‘Still Walking’ on Criterion Channel

A family drama about absence, expectations, disappointments and acceptance, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking (Japan, 2008), is framed (and in effect defined) by the death of an eldest son. That death happened fifteen years before but the family still gathers to commemorate the memory of Junpei, who drowned saving a child swept off the nearby beach […]

Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant in Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece 'Let the Right One In '

‘Let the Right One In’ – A Swedish vampire on Hulu

Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece Let the Right One In (2008) is grounded in a devoted friendship that bonds two outcasts in a predatory world. Bullied schoolboy Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a loner so blond he looks albino, meets twelve-year-old Eli (Lina Leandersson), a fellow loner hanging around the snow-covered playground of […]