Jo Shishido stars in the Japanese gangster film from Yasuharu Hasebe

‘Massacre Gun’ – Japanese Gangster action on Amazon Prime

Massacre Gun (Japan, 1967) – Yasuharu Hasebe, a disciple of Nikkatsu’s maverick filmmaker Suzuki Seijun, made his directorial debut with Black Tight Killers (1966), a crazy, campy spy adventure fun shot in bright, pop-art color. His follow-up feature remains in the action genre but takes a turn into the dark alleys of gangster noir with […]

Al Pacino stars in 'Serpico',' directed by Sidney Lumet

Al Pacino is ‘Serpico’ on Hulu

“It’s incredible but I feel like a criminal because I don’t take money.” So says Al Pacino in Serpico (1973), Sidney Lumet’s take on the true story of frustrated New York policeman Frank Serpico. As portrayed by Al Pacino, Serpico is the resident nonconformist in the working class New York Police Department, a college-educated street […]

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, […]

Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer star in Rob Reiner's 'This is Spinal Tap'

‘This Is Spinal Tap’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” – Nigel Tufnel Rob Reiner walks that fine line in his hilarious mockrockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), ostensibly the portrait of a has-been metal band resurrected from a well-deserved obscurity for a disastrous comeback tour. Improv comedy veterans Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer don’t […]

Gong Yoo stars in the South Korean zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho

‘Train to Busan’ – Korean zombies on Netflix

You could call Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) “Zombies on a Train”—it certainly makes a catchy logline and it frames the premise accurately and succinctly—but it reduces this fleet, fierce, unexpectedly human thriller to a mere gimmick. Apart from the slyly eerie prologue, the film opens without any hint of the viral rampage to […]

The stop-motion animation dark fairy tale 'Coraline' directed by Henry Selick

‘Coraline’ on Netflix

Coraline (2009) opens on a rag doll efficiently taken apart by hands of skeletal steel (like Edward Scissorhands but with menacing needles for fingers) and then turned inside out and recreated in the image of the blue-haired heroine Coraline. It’s produced in the old-school stop motion animation style of articulated dolls and hand-crafted props increasingly […]