Ron Perlman is "Hellboy" in Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of the Mike Mignola graphic novel

‘Hellboy’ – A demon of a superhero on Amazon Prime

Hellboy (2004) – Before Marvel recreated the superhero movie in the context of a connected universe of characters and storylines, like the comic books that inspired them, the best comic book movies created their own, self-contained worlds. One of the best of these was Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of Mike Mignola’s cult comic Hellboy and […]

What to stream: ‘Barb and Star’ on Hulu, ‘Shiva Baby’ and a new ‘Gossip Girl’ on HBO Max, ‘Black Widow’ on Disney Premium

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff aka “Black Widow” (2021, PG-13) in the first solo film for the Marvel hero. Set between the “Civil War” and “Infinity War” films, it’s […]

Tilda Swinton in Bong Joon-ho 's 'Snowpiercer'

‘Snowpiercer’ – careening apocalyptic allegory on Netflix

Snowpiercer (2013), an international production from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and a French graphic novel, is a high-speed allegory speeding down the science fiction tracks of genre cinema. That’s the way I like this brand of filmmaking: with the symbols big, muscular, detailed, and punchy. You either give yourself over to the metaphor, in this […]

‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ on Disney+

In X-Men 2, the feral, ferocious Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) went in search of his forgotten past and found it in an abandoned laboratory filled with menacing looking instruments. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) fills in the rest. It’s a prequel that opens like a gothic horror film in 1884, with a mutant boy whose power come […]

Steven Spielberg directs the big screen adventure adapted from the Herge graphic novels

‘The Adventures of Tintin’ on Hulu and Paramount+

The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Steven Spielberg’s first foray into motion capture filmmaking, turns the legendary boy journalist and globe-trotting adventurer from the early graphic novels of Herge into a big screen hero, complete with trademark cowlick and best friend canine Snowy watching his back. Spielberg and his collaborators (notably co-producer Peter Jackson) chose to […]

‘Uzumaki’ – Spiraling into madness on Amazon Prime

Equal parts David Cronenberg biological mutation and supernatural curse, outré horror film Uzumaki (Japan, 2000) about a town gripped in an obsession with spirals—shells, snails, pottery, even the workings of a washing machine–is the most gonzo horror to twist onto celluloid in years. Bubbly Japanese schoolgirl Kirie (Eriko Hatsune) is our tour guide through a […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Hulu

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Christian Bale is Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'

‘Batman Begins’ – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight on Hulu

One of the defining films in the elevation of comic book movies to adult fare, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back to the shadows, both figuratively and literally. It’s quite a leap from the previous Batman revival launched by Tim Burton’s 1989 […]

Last chance: ‘X-Men: First Class’ on HBO Max

X-Men: First Class (2011) is both a reboot and a prequel to the big screen comic book series about a team of mutant superheroes with new, younger models of the series elders Charles “Professor X” Xavier (James McAvoy as a flirtatious, precocious incarnation of Patrick Stewart’s more professorial figure) and Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, […]

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ – the trilogy concludes on HBO Max

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) doesn’t want for ambition. The culmination of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of high-minded comic book superhero action spectacles by way of pop-art social commentary, it pits The Batman (a terse Christian Bale) against Bane (Tom Hardy as a musclebound mountain in a creepy mask), a self-appointed horseman of the apocalypse. Bane […]