Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh in the film by Orson Welles

‘Touch of Evil’ – Orson Welles on the border on Netflix

Orson Welles’ baroque border town murder mystery Touch of Evil (1958/1998) is a wild masterpiece, a sleazy, grimy, jittery, and ultimately dazzling work of cinematic magic. It’s considered the last great film noir and the bookend to the true noir era. It was also Welles’s last attempt at a career in Hollywood before he packed […]

Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, and Ernest Borgnine star in Sam Peckinpah's western masterpiece 'The Wild Bunch.'

‘The Wild Bunch’ – Sam Peckinpah’s frontier apocalypse on FilmStruck

The film that branded Sam Peckinpah with the nickname “Bloody Sam,” The Wild Bunch (1969) blazed onto theater screens in the era of Bonnie and Clyde, when genre conventions were being blasted away and directors pushed the boundaries of what was once considered “acceptable.” Peckinpah, ever the irascible maverick, rode roughshod over every unspoken rule […]

The original ‘Cloverfield’ on Netflix

A 21st century Godzilla movie for the (pre-video phone) camcorder generation, Cloverfield (2008) is a high-concept reworking of an old-fashioned creature feature with a DIY aesthetic. The conceit of the film is essentially the home video record of an alien invasion as shot by a wise-cracking default cameraman recording every movement of a group of […]

Aaron Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage star in the superhero movie by Matthew Vaughn

‘Kick-Ass’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Kick-Ass (2010) is a comic book movie with a killer premise: what if regular people in the real world became costume vigilantes like the superheroes in comic books? Based on the uber-violent comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., this film tosses a high school teenager (Aaron Johnson) into a crime-fighting culture he isn’t the […]

Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, and Yayan Ruhian star in the film by Gareth Huw Evans

‘The Raid: Redemption’ – Extreme action on Netflix

Set almost entirely in an apartment building in the slums of Jakarta, the extreme action film The Raid: Redemption (Indonesia, 2011) has a reputation as one of the fiercest, most brutal crime thrillers around. It’s a well-earned reputation. Directed by Gareth Huw Evans, a Brit (actually Welsh) in Asia, and starring martial arts professionals in […]

Nigel Terry is King Arthur and Cherie Lunghi his Guinevere in John Boorman's 'Excalibur.'

‘Excalibur’ on Amazon Prime Video

The myth and legend of King Arthur has long been a favorite fascination of popular culture, the source of countless novels and movies and the inspiration for an iconic Broadway musical that became the nickname for John F. Kennedy’s too-short inspirational time as American President: “Camelot.” Forget the real-life history, the very mention of King […]

Masaki Kobayashi directs the quartet of Japanese ghost stories

‘Kwaidan’ – Japanese ghost stories on FilmStruck

Kwaidan (Japan, 1964), Masaki Kobayashi’s quartet of ancient ghost stories, may not be strictly speaking a horror film. It’s not scary or particularly unsettling apart for a few exquisitely created images. It is, however, breathtakingly lovely, visually composed like a painting, scored and sound designed by Toru Takemitsu with a spareness that leans on silence, […]

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the 1959 Hammer horror classic directed by Terence Fisher

Christopher Lee is ‘The Mummy’ on Filmstruck

Hammer Films’ greatest nemeses, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, once again square off in The Mummy (1959), the studio’s reworking of Universal’s The Mummy (with elements of The Mummy’s Tomb and The Mummy’s Ghost thrown in for good measure). Cushing stars as archaeologist John Banning, whose dig for a lost tomb results in untold treasures […]

Christopher Lee is Dracula in the Hammer horror film from Terence Fisher with Peter Cushing

Hammer Films’ ‘The Horror of Dracula’ on FilmStruck

After Hammer’s tremendous success with The Curse of Frankenstein, they struck a deal to adapt Universal studio’s catalogue of classics. The Horror of Dracula (1958) was their first follow-up. Christopher Lee removes the monstrous make-up from the earlier film and makes his entrance as an elegant, confident, altogether seductive Dracula, a frightening figure of flashing […]

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star in the Hammer horror film from Terence Fisher

‘The Curse of Frankenstein’ – Hammer horror on FilmStruck

Britain’s Hammer Studios had been making films for decades before they suddenly redefined themselves with this lurid remake of the Universal Studios horror classic. Prohibited by Universal from copying their blocky make-up (and their script for that matter), Hammer returned to Mary Shelley’s novel for inspiration for The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)… and then went […]