Justin Simien's satire Dear White People on Amazon Prime

‘Dear White People’ – a sharp social satire on Hulu

Dear White People (2014), the feature debut of director / writer Justin Simien, is a sharp, smart, ambitious satire of race, racism, privilege, prejudice, and power at an Ivy League college that has drawn comparisons to Spike Lee. It’s a fitting comparison. Simien uses humor and provocation to explore issues of race and race relationships […]

What to stream: ‘The White Lotus’ on HBO Max, ‘Dr. Death’ on Peacock, ‘A Quiet Place 2’ on Paramount+

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 …   “The White Lotus” (TV-MA), a new limited series comedy set at a luxury resort in Hawaii, uses discomforting humor in the collision of privileged characters and working class employees to navigate issues […]

Peter Sellers stars in Stanley Kubrick's political satire of mutually assured destruction

‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the screwball satire of mutually assured destruction on HBO Max

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick’s screwball satire of cold war posturing and mutually assured destruction, is the funniest film ever made about nuclear holocaust. But it didn’t begin as a comedy. The source novel, Peter George’s Red Alert, was a grave contemplation of the […]

What to stream: ‘Kevin Can F**k Himself’ on AMC+, ‘Physical’ on Apple, ‘Mysterious Benedict’ on Disney+

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 …   The dark comedy “Kevin Can F**k Himself: Season 1” (TV-MA) flips TV stereotypes in the story of a sitcom wife (Annie Murphy of “Schitt’s Creek”) who is tired of enduring the antics […]

‘The Executioner’ – a satire of Spain under Franco on Criterion Channel

The Executioner (Spain, 1963), Luis García Berlanga’s black comedy about an apprentice undertaker who marries the daughter of a veteran prison executioner and reluctantly takes his father-in-law’s job so they do not lose their government apartment, is a social satire with a sly sense of humor. Nino Manfredi plays the undertaker, a frustrated young man […]

‘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 […]

‘The World’s End’ – pub crawling to the end of the world on Peacock

The World’s End (2013), the third film in the “Cornetto” trilogy created by friends and collaborators Edgar Wright (director and co-writer) and Simon Pegg (star and co-writer), is cheeky fun. Like the first two films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it is an offbeat collision of genres, but this one leans heavier on […]

Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in Mabrouk El Mechri self-aware thriller

‘JCVD’ – Jean-Claude at 47 on Amazon Prime

In the opening scene of JCVD (Belgium, 2008), Jean-Claude Van Damme takes out one heavily-armed, vaguely military bad guy after another with his bare hands (and whatever blunt instruments and discarded weapons he grabs along the way) in an elaborately choreographed long take. He comes out the other end huffing and winded as the set […]

‘Being John Malkovich’ on Peacock

Being John Malkovich (1999), a devastatingly funny portrait of unhappiness, desperation, desire, and the vicious things we do for love, catapulted Spike Jonze from music video wunderkind to visionary director and Charlie Kaufman from sitcom scribe to brilliant screenwriter. In 1999, when our obsession with celebrity was mainly fed by gossip magazines and entertainment programs, […]