Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in Stephen Sommers' 1999 'The Mummy' and the sequel 'The Mummy Returns'

‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’ on Netflix

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) – Leave it to Stephen Sommers to create an action-movie out of the sleepiest of monster movie icons. Under his direction, it’s an adventure film through a yesteryear Egypt right out of the movies but with a modern sensibility. Brendan Fraser is a bit callow in the […]

Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel star in Christophe Gans's lavish French version of the fairy tale.

A lavish French ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Amazon Prime Video

Beauty and the Beast (France, 2014) – No, not the new Disney live-action musical but a lush French version of the classic fairy tale starring Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color) as Belle and Vincent Cassel as the hirsute Beast. Belle is the youngest and sunniest child of a prosperous merchant (André Dussollier) . […]

Peter Jackson directs the first film in J.R.R. Tolkein's trilogy

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

With The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), New Zealand genre film maverick Peter Jackson does the impossible: he makes a faithful, magical, thrilling, and—most importantly—compelling film version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s great cult fantasy epic. Streamlining the complex story and wealth of detail from the novel, Jackson manages to introduce a […]

‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale on Netflix

Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain, 2006), Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale, is an elemental Alice in Wonderland amidst the horrors of Francisco Franco’s reign of terror in 1944 Spain. Our Alice is an imaginative young girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who escapes into an elemental wonderland after she moves into the country estate with her ailing […]

Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Julia Ormond, Rachel Boston, and Mädchen Amick in the sexy TV show

‘The Witches of East End: Complete Series’ on Hulu

Lifetime Channel original series The Witches of East End (2013-2014) is not a remake of The Witches of Eastwick, mind you (creator Maggie Friedman already tried that) but a femme-centered supernatural series centered on a family of witches beset by a curse. Joanna Beauchamp (Julia Ormond) is immortal and doomed to watch her two daughters […]

Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 acid flashback horror fantasy 'House'

‘House’/’Hausu’ – Japanese madness on VOD and Criterion Blu-ray/DVD

I can’t begin to find the words to describe House (1977), aka Hausu, an unclassifiable Japanese haunted house/high school romp/demon killer/surreal fantasy film from Nobuhiko Obayashi. Made in 1977 and recently revived and released to the rest of the world, it’s the archival cult find of the decade: a candy-colored style bomb of horror movie […]

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, and Frank in Richard Kelly's cult movie of teen confusion

‘Donnie Darko’ – Life’s a mystery on Amazon Prime Video

Donnie Darko (2001) – Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an otherwise normal rebellious, angry kid who slumps and frumps his way through the confusion of his life. He just happens to have a little more confusion than the most of us, much of it caused by visitations from a demonic looking six-foot rabbit named Frank […]