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

‘The Dark Knight’ on Hulu

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 […]

Stephen Chow in Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Comedy: ‘Shaolin Soccer’ and ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ on Netflix

In the early 2000s, Hong Kong comedy star Stephen Chow stole Jackie Chan’s crown as Hong Kong’s clown prince of kung fu comedy. He was dubbed the Jim Carrey of Hong Kong by American critics, but that completely misses his appeal. Sure, Chow is a brilliant physical comedian with an unpredictable streak, but he also […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime Video

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

Christian Bale is Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'

‘Batman Begins’ – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight on Hulu

One of the defining films in the elevation of comic book movies to adult fare, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back to the shadows, both figuratively and literally. It’s quite a leap from the previous Batman revival launched by Tim Burton’s 1989 […]

Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Terminator on Netflix

“I’ll be back” – The original ‘The Terminator’ on Netflix and Amazon Prime

After three underwhelming sequels to James Cameron’s hard-wired hardware time travel thriller The Terminator (1984) in the past dozen years, it’s time to remind ourselves just how tight and clever and entertaining the original film was. Made for a mere $6 million and released in the fall of 1984 by a small independent sudio to instant […]

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in Stephen Sommers' 1999 'The Mummy' and the sequel 'The Mummy Returns'

‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’ on Netflix

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) – Leave it to Stephen Sommers to create an action-movie out of the sleepiest of monster movie icons. Under his direction, it’s an adventure film through a yesteryear Egypt right out of the movies but with a modern sensibility. Brendan Fraser is a bit callow in the […]

Albert Finney plays ‘Gumshoe’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I want to write The Maltese Falcon, record ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and play Las Vegas.” So proclaims Eddie Ginley (Albert Finney), a small-time bingo caller and wannabe stand-up comic, to his therapist in the opening scene of Gumshoe (1971). But he’ll settle for running an ad in the local paper offering his services as a […]

‘Enter the Dragon’ – Bruce Lee is supreme on Netflix

Enter the Dragon (1973) – After years of supporting roles in Hollywood, American citizen Bruce Lee became a star in Hong Kong with a handful of hard-edged martial arts thrillers. He returned to conquer his adopted homeland with this American/Hong Kong co-production, a glorified B-movie mix of kung-fu fighting (choreographed by Lee himself) and James […]