‘Tears of the Black Tiger’ – Wild Thailand western on Amazon Prime

Tears of the Black Tiger (Thailand, 2000), Wisit Sasanatieng’s madcap new wave western, both a spoof and a celebration of the crazy conventions of movie melodramas and genre cinema from decades back. Imagine the Cisco Kid dropped into a Bollywood version of a Sergio Leone western, as re-imagined by Douglas Sirk with costumes out of […]

Walter Hill’s ‘Streets of Fire’ on Netflix

A self-described “A Rock and Roll Fable” from “another time, another place,” I think of Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire (1984) as a rock and roll western dropped into the urban badlands of a brick and neon noir. It opens on what appears to be the 1950s frozen in time, a working class neighborhood forgotten […]

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

‘An American Werewolf in London’ on Amazon Prime and Shudder

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Larry Fishburne in 'The Matrix'

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Peacock

The Matrix (1999) has become such a touchstone of American pop culture—referenced, copied, parodied, and parroted—that it’s hard to remember just how new and different and distinctive it was when it debuted in 1999. Which is not to say that it is completely original. Image Tron as a Greek Myth, or Sim City as an […]

LOVERS ON THE BRIDGE, (aka LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF), Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, 1991

‘The Lovers on the Bridge’ – L’amour fou on Paramount+

The Lovers on the Bridge (France, 1991), Leos Carax’s tale of l’amour fou, was the most expensive film ever made in France at the time and remains one of the most ravishing made anywhere ever. It was also a commercial disaster, alternately celebrated as a triumph of personal expression and vilified as the French equivalent […]

George Clooney stars in 'Burn After Reading' from Joel and Ethan Coen

‘Burn After Reading’ – unclassified CIA laughs on Amazon Prime

Burn After Reading (2008) – After the darkness of No Country for Old Men, the Coen Bros. eased up with a deadpan espionage farce played out by small fish convinced that they are in deep waters, a film much lighter and significantly slighter but put together with such perfection that you can’t help but be […]

Charles Bronson in Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in the West'

‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ on Hulu

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) puts the opera into “horse opera.” Leave it to the Italians to put genuine operatic dimension into the great American saga of western expansion. Sergio Leone’s loving tribute to the myth of the American West leaves the cool, cruel mercenary world of the Clint Eastwood Dollar films […]

Jeff Bridges is the Dude in 'The Big Lebowski' from Joel and Ethan Coen.

‘The Big Lebowski’ abides on Netflix

Rolling Stone once called The Big Lebowski (1998) “the most worshipped comedy of its generation.” I like to think of it as the Book of Duderonomy, the lost gospel of the post-modern Testament. Jeff Bridges is brilliant as the Dude, one of the most strangely centered individuals in the movies. This bowler/stoner/free spirit is mistaken […]

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

‘Train to Busan’ – Korean zombie classic on Hulu and more

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 […]

Rutger Hauer stars in the grindhouse tribute from Jason Eisener

‘Hobo with a Shotgun’ blasts its way to Amazon Prime

Originally concocted as a faux trailer for the Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse Trailer Competition and later expanded in an utterly unhinged feature in its own right, Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) is a blood-spattered love letter to the grindhouse vengeance movie by first-time filmmakers who, as Spinal Tap might put it, crank everything […]