Samantha Robinson is The Love Witch in Anna Biller's retro-styled feminist / horror / fantasy / melodrama

‘The Love Witch’ – Sex, magic, and sixties style on Amazon Prime

The Love Witch (2016), Anna Biller’s collision of feminism, romantic fantasy, power, sex, and horror opens with its cool heroine Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a slim, raven-haired beauty with a smear of turquoise eye shadow and eyelashes like wings, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway in a candy apple red convertible and matching outfit. She could […]

Emile Hirsch stars in Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild,' adapted from Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book

Head ‘Into the Wild’ on Amazon Prime

08Into the Wild (2007), Sean Penn’s adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book, is a bracing cinematic plunge into the odyssey of Christopher McCandless. The real-life young man fled a middle-class life of what he perceived to be the compromises and corruptions of the material world to embark on an “Alaskan Adventure,” a quest of self-reliance […]

What to stream: Bill Nye and ‘Bosch’ are back, James McAvoy is ‘Split’

Bill Nye Saves the World brings the Science Guy back to TV via streaming with a Netflix original series. The new show, for adults and kids alike, mixes comedy, education, cool experiments, celebrity guests, and panel discussions on hot-button issues. 13 episodes. “The new series is pitched primarily toward adults, casting the bow-tie-wearing Nye as […]

James Caviezel is Jesus in Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ'

‘The Passion of the Christ’ on Amazon Prime

The Passion of the Christ (2004), Mel Gibson’s passionate, personal, and visceral take on the final 12 hours of Christ’s life on Earth is, in its own way, as controversial as Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ. Taking the Gospels as his source, Gibson creates his own cinematic version of […]

The Netflix reboot of MST3K from creator Joel Hodgson stars Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt

What to stream: The next generation of MST3K on Netflix, Oscar-nominees on VOD

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return revives the cult comedy show built around robot puppets heckling bad movies with Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as the new mad scientists (“the mads,” as the fans say) and Jonah Ray as their human test subject. “The deceptively ingenious structure of the show offers a double experience, of […]

Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee, and Ha Jung-woo star in the film by Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’ on Amazon Prime

Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (Sony, DVD) leaves behind the austerity and cool tone of his superb but unheralded American debut Stoker to return to the intense imagery, twisting narratives, perverse subcultures, and elevated emotions of his Sympathy trilogy. The story of con artists in 1930s Korea, adapted from the British novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters […]

Franco Nero stars in Sergio Corbucci’s 'Django'

The original ‘Django’ on Amazon Prime

Along with Sergio Leone’s Clint Eastwood trilogy, Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966), starring Italian hunk Franco Nero as the gritty mercenary who drags a coffin behind him, was one of the films that set the tone and attitude and style spaghetti westerns. Wandering a desolate desert of ghost towns and miserable frontier dropouts under the bootheels […]

'American Playboy' - Chicago Playboy club opening night.

What to stream: ‘American Playboy’ on Amazon, ‘The BFG’ on Netflix, ‘Rogue One’ and ‘Paterson’ on VOD

Amazon Prime presents the original documentary series American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, which profiles the man, the brand, and the lifestyle he advocated through his magazine and his clubs with a mix of documentary and dramatic recreation. “If not quite a hagiography, it is very much an official document — “my story, or at […]