Patrick McGoohan and Leo McKern in the cult TV classic

‘The Prisoner: Complete Series’ on Amazon Prime Video

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am my own man.” There are those who proclaim The Prisoner: Complete Series (1968), Patrick McGoohan’s cerebral spy show and portrait of personal freedom as an existential prison, the greatest TV show of all time. I won’t argue the point. His insidiously […]

Nicolas Cage in Andrew Niccol's 'Lord of War'

Nicolas Cage is the ‘Lord of War’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

“There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?” The opening line of Andrew Niccol’s Lord of War (2005) captures the film in a phrase: it’s serious, it’s sardonic, and it has both a […]

Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg and friends in their BBC sitcom directed by Edgar Wright

‘Spaced’ – the cult British comedy on Amazon Prime Video

Before Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, director Edgar Wright and actor/writer Simon Pegg collaborated with actress/writer Jessica Hynes on the cult BBC sitcom Spaced (1999-2000, TV-14). Pegg and Hynes play Tim and Daisy, slackers who meet at a pub and decide to pose as a couple to get a great flat. They’re not […]

Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin in a promotional photo for Monty Python's Flying Circus

‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth’ – Comedy history on Netflix

If Monty Python is the comedy world’s equivalent to The Beatles, then the six-part documentary mini-series Monty Python: Almost the Truth (2009) is their Beatles Anthology, an epic of a documentary featuring new interviews with the five surviving Pythons and as many colleagues and friends as the producers could track down. Each episode focuses on […]

‘Zombies of Mass Destruction’ – Undead hysteria on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

A horror goof movie with gay heroes, a Iranian-American leading lady (Janette Armand), and a farcical look at the of the post-9/11 world of culture wars mixed in with the splattery special effects, Zombies of Mass Destruction (2010) is a movie made for anyone tired of the religious hysteria, anti-Islamic paranoia and patriotic rhetoric used […]

Bruce Willis and Reece Thompson in the film by Brett Simon

‘Assassination of a High School President’ on Amazon Prime Video

The name’s Bobby Funke. I write for the paper.” At least that’s how this picked-on sophomore imagines himself in Assassination of a High School President (2008): the loner who walks a straight line through the crooked halls of his corrupt Catholic high school. Funke (who is inevitably called “Funky” by his schoolmates) narrates his tale […]

Alberto Sordi stars in Alberto Lattuada's brilliant satire from Italy

The paternal hand of the ‘Mafioso’ on FilmStruck

Mafioso (Italy, 1962), Alberto Lattuada’s brilliant satire of Sicily’s “paternal” mafia, became the cinematic rediscovery of 2006 when it was revived and shown at the New York Film Festival. Alberto Sordi plays the Sicilian son made good, a business professional in Milan who, bubbling over with sentimental zeal, brings his Milanese wife and two adorable […]

Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac. Lionel Stander, and Jack MacGowran star in the 1966 film by Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski’s ‘Cul-De-Sac’ on VOD and Criterion Blu-ray/DVD

Roman Polanski once cited Cul-De-Sac (1966), a sly little character piece set in an isolated medieval castle on the barren British coast, as his personal favorite of his films, and the closest he came to creating “pure cinema.” It’s Polanski’s third feature and his second English language film, and he wrote the original script with […]

Matt Damon is Mark Whitacre in the movie by Steven Soderbergh

Matt Damon is ‘The Informant!’ on Netflix

Biochemical engineer and corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre might have been a national hero for his help in exposing international price fixing. Too bad he was also a compulsive liar and an embezzler caught up in delusions of grandeur and secret-agent fantasies. Though based on a true story, The Informant! (2009) is not The Insider but […]

Donald Pleasance and Gary Bond in the 1971 Australian drama by Ted Kotcheff

Australian cult film ‘Wake in Fright’ on Amazon Prime Video

Wake in Fright (1971), one of the seminal works of the New Australian cinema of the seventies, is a brutal, blackly funny thriller of an urban schoolteacher (Gary Bond) posted to the Australian Outback, which is a sun-blasted nightmare as far as he’s concerned. He can’t leave fast enough when his Christmas vacation arrives, but […]