‘Legend’-ary Martial Arts Comedy with Jet Li and Jackie Chan on Netflix

Jet Li became a superstar in Asia after taking the lead in the hit Once Upon a Time in China films, epic martial arts adventures set at the turn of the century and featuring Li as the real-life healer and martial arts master Wong Fei-hung, transformed into a modest, soft-spoken scholar who unleashes his unworldly […]

The delirious cinematic dreamscape world of Guy Maddin's 'The Forbidden Room'

‘The Forbidden Room’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Fandor

Canadian iconoclast Guy Maddin has been making strange, surreal films that evoke the images and storytelling traditions of silent movies for decades. The Forbidden Room (2015), which he co-directed with his former student Evan Johnson, is like a compendium of his obsessions and cinematic fetishes. It opens on a mock-instructional film on “How to Take […]

Franco Nero stars in Sergio Corbucci’s 'Django'

‘Django,’ ‘Keoma,’ and other great spaghetti westerns on VOD

The rich, brutal, cynical culture of Italian westerns (aka spaghetti westerns) is dominated by Sergio Leone’s great movies and especially The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), arguably the definitive spaghetti western. But there is a whole legacy of cynical, hard-edged, and even politically daring Italian westerns of the sixties and seventies. You can […]

Billy Zane and Gina Gershon star in musky, low-ley adaptation of the Jim Thompson pulp crime novel.

‘This World, Then the Fireworks’ on Amazon Prime

The disturbed world of pulp crime novelist Jim Thompson’s deformed psyches and demented morality comes to life in This World, Then the Fireworks (1997), one of the more unpredictable works in a career defined by the author’s disturbingly treacherous tales. What makes this dreamy adaptation by director Michael Oblowitz and screenwriter Larry Gross work is […]

Mario Bava's classic 'Black Sunday' with Barbara Steele

Halloween Picks: The best of Mario Bava on Amazon Prime and Fandor

Mario Bava essentially created the genre of baroque horror known as “giallo,” a distinctly Italian twist on stalk and kill horror film. Under his direction, Grand Guignol gore is transformed into lush, visually elegant cinematic spectacle, a waking nightmare with the poetic grace of a musical and a demented edge of sexual perversity. After rising […]