Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Terminator on Netflix

“I’ll be back” – The original ‘The Terminator’ on 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 […]

‘Black Dynamite’ on HBO Max

A tongue-in-cheek tribute to the black exploitation action cinema of the seventies, Black Dynamite (2009) is a dead-on parody of the sloppy filmmaking, aggressive overacting and slapdash writing of the cheapest films of the genre. Michael Jai White, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film, dons a neatly sculpted afro and a tough guy mustache […]

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 horror film from Japan is one of his greatest

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s haunting horror film ‘Pulse’ on Amazon Prime

“Do you want to meet a ghost?” The meditative and metaphysical horror cinema of Kiyoshi Kurosawa made him one of the masters of Japanese horror during its amazing cycle of surreal and nightmarish horror films of the 1990s and 2000s, but his films never really crossed over to the general audience in the U.S. His […]

Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray star, Harold Ramis directs

‘Caddyshack’ – Slobs vs. snobs on HBO Max

Caddyshack (1980), the definitive slobs versus snobs comedy, is ostensibly the story of a working-class golf caddy (Michael O’Keefe) at an exclusive country club trying to land a scholarship and plan his future, but his coming-of-age story becomes just another thread in the comic chaos. Chevy Chase, fresh off Saturday Night Live, takes top billing […]

‘Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter’ – swashbuckling horror on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Forget Van Helsing. Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) is the great swashbuckling dispatcher of the bloodsucking undead. Hard-faced Horst Janson is the brooding Kronos, a rangy, sword-wielding soldier who hunts the vampire scourge with his jovial hunchbacked partner, Grost (John Cater) and takes time out from his athletic battles and meditative interludes for a few […]

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Conan the Barbarian on Netflix

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the original ‘Conan the Barbarian’ on Peacock

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the defining action hero of Hollywood from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, yet before he made his breakthrough, he seem the most unlikely American screen icon to lumber his way up the Hollywood ladder. The former Austrian bodybuilder turned Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia (he retired his crown undefeated) seemed destined to […]

‘Easy Rider’ – On the road to find America on HBO Max

Peter Fonda was already a counterculture icon when he suited up in black leather and a star-spangled helmet, mounted a Harley-Davidson chopper, tossed his watch to the desert floor, and drove off with a shaggy Dennis Hopper in search of America. The film was Easy Rider (1969), an independent film produced by Fonda, directed by Hopper, […]

Nicolas Cage and John Travolta ‘Face/Off’ on Hulu

When John Woo, the action maestro of Hong Kong cinema, is working at the top of his game, he transforms violent action cinema into a ballet of blood and bullets that matches the emotional intensity of his character drama. Face/Off (1997) is his second American film but the first to reach the pitched level of […]

‘Halloween H20: 20 Years Later’ on Paramount+

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) – The legacy of the horror movie sequel was nicely summed up in Scream by Jaime Kennedy’s film geek character: more bodies, more elaborate deaths, more gore. Director Steve Miner (a veteran of two Friday the 13th sequels), star Jamie Lee Curtis, and company took the high road in […]

‘Attack the Block’ – Aliens vs. South London

Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens made him an international star, John Boyega made a name for himself in Attack the Block (2011), an alien invasion movie set in the gang-run projects of South London. While fireworks fill the sky, meteors pelt the streets, unleashing inky-black predators on an unsuspecting gang of teen thugs and […]