Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney in the film from director Robert Rodriguez

‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ – B-movie vampire orgy on Netflix

Quentin Tarantino’s work-for-hire rewrite of a B-movie script became an instant cult item when Robert Rodriguez took the reins of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996, R), a gory south-of-the-border horror tale with a spaghetti western flourish. George Clooney headlines the picture as a charming and deadly bank robber who, along with his a psycho brother […]

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 […]

Jackie Chan in the Hong Kong action film from Leo Zhang

‘Bleeding Steel’ – Jackie Chan is still in action on Amazon Prime Video

Now well over 60 years old, Jackie Chan remains a charismatic actor with some impressive moves that he puts on display in Bleeding Steel (China, 2017), a colorful but awfully silly science fiction action thriller from writer/director Leo Zhang. Jackie plays a Special Forces officer whose duty takes him from his dying young daughter to […]

John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the Euro-action film from producer Luc Besson and director Pierre Morel

‘From Paris With Love’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

From Paris With Love (2009), starring John Travolta as a cowboy of an American agent and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as an ambitious but untrained low-level agent assigned to assist, is another of Luc Besson’s English language Euro-action films, the contemporary equivalent to the drive-in action movie of decades past. Besson has perfected the formula in […]

Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan star in 'Anthropoid,' directed by Sean Ellis.

‘Anthropoid’ – Killing Heydrich on Showtime Anytime

Anthropoid (2016) isn’t the first film to dramatize the real-life operation to assassinate SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Final Solution and Hitler’s third in command in the Nazi hierarchy. That honor belongs to Fritz Lang, who made the highly fictionalized and highly charged Hangmen Also Die in 1943, barely a year after the […]

Al Pacino is Cuban thug turned Miami drug lord Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's 'Scarface'

‘Scarface’ – Say hello to my little friend on Netflix

Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983), ostensibly a remake of the Howard Hawks gangster classic, moves the iconic rise and fall crime opera from the tommy-gun gangster street battles of the prohibition era to the cocaine wars of Florida in the eighties. In the process, De Palma, screenwriter Oliver Stone, and star Al Pacino carved out […]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the high school neo-noir by Rian Johnson

‘Brick’- High school noir on Netflix

Brick (2005), the debut feature from Star Trek: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson, puts the collected works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett in a blender with a jigger of teenage melodrama and pours it into a high school mold. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays things so close to his chest that he’s almost unreadable as […]