Charlton Heston is ‘The Omega Man’ on Criterion Channel

The story of the last human in a world decimated by plague, The Omega Man (1971) is the second film based on Richard Matheson’s haunting novel I Am Legend. Charlton Heston stars as Robert Neville, the last man on Earth, or so he thinks. By day, he hunts and exterminates all the sun-shunning mutants he […]

‘Inception’ – Christopher Nolan’s mind-heist on Netflix

Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), a caper film that heists dreams instead of treasure, is surely the most cerebral action thriller to become a blockbuster. It’s a genre film that reshuffles the rules and lays them out in a mind-bending pattern. Playing out on multiple planes of dream reality, it’s also another Nolan film to completely […]

‘No Blade of Grass’ – Surviving the end of the world on Criterion Channel

Cornel Wilde’s grim No Blade of Grass (1970) is a forgotten dystopian classic due for rediscovery. Gritty and brutal, built on fears of ecological devastation through pollution and overcrowding (with hints of genetic manipulation gone bad), this 1970 end-of-the-world thriller seems to have gotten lost in the overcrowded apocalypse now science fiction cinema of the […]

Sam Rockwell in the debut feature from Duncan Jones

‘Moon’ – Sam Rockwell’s great star turn on Netflix

In Moon (2009), Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is on the verge of unraveling. He’s the lone operator of a moonbase operation mining the new moon rock wonder fuel that has solved Earth’s energy, with only a computerized robot named Gertie (voiced by Kevin Spacey in a dispassionate HAL-9000 tone with just a hint of human […]

Don Johnson stars in the film directed by L.Q. Jones from the Harlan Ellison novella

‘A Boy and His Dog’ on Amazon Prime Video and Criterion Channel

A Boy and His Dog (1976), the directorial debut of longtime character actor and Sam Peckinpah regular L.Q. Jones, is not the first post-apocalyptic vision of America but it does offer a different approach to the empty streets and ghostly cities that previously stood in for life after the end. Jones, adapting the novella by […]

The Complete ‘Babylon 5’ on Amazon Prime Video

Babylon 5: Complete Series (1994-1998) While it’s not so rare in the contemporary age of prestige cable TV and original streaming shows, Babylon 5 was unique in the annals of 20th century TV space opera: a genuine piece of epic science fiction storytelling. Creator J. Michael Straczynski’s ambitious story took five seasons to tell, more […]

‘District 9’ on Netflix

The aliens arrived almost thirty years ago, their crippled spacecraft hovering to a halt over Johannesburg, where it remains floating over the city. That defining image hovers over the entirety of District 9 (2009), a savagely whipsmart satire of first contact with an alien species that has been reduced to repressed immigrant population stranded in […]

Kevin McCarthy stars in Don Siegel's 1956 'Invasion of the Body Snatcher'

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ – the original pod people on Criterion Channel and Kanopy

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – The original version of the oft-filmed science fiction horror is still the most insidious alien invasion film ever made. This is an invasion from within. Small town family doctor Kevin McCarthy returns to his small California coastal community from an out-of-town trip to find everything just a bit […]

What to stream: ‘Spider-Man’ on VOD, ‘Amazing Grace’ on Hulu, ‘High Life’ on Amazon, ‘Raising Dion’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019, PG) sends the web-slinging teenage superhero (played by Tom Holland) to Europe, where […]

Antiviral, the debut feature from Brandon Cronenberg, is on Hulu.

‘Antiviral’ – The next generation of Cronenberg horror Hulu

Antiviral (2012), Brandon Cronenberg’s debut feature, brings inevitable comparisons to his father. Set in the near future, it’s a story of “biological communion” with cultural superstars via celebrity viruses, black market viral thieves (who use their own bodies to smuggle the cultures), and genetically-modified meat that borders on cannibalism. The rigorously austere, antiseptic look recalls David […]