‘District 9’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

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 […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

I Am Legend (2007), the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel (and the first to carry the novel’s name) about the last human in Earth after a plague turns the survivors into undead creatures, strips the story down to essentials. This version, directed by Francis Lawrence, focuses on the visceral experience of roaming an […]

Bradley Cooper finds his potential ‘Limitless’ on Netflix

The premise behind Limitless (2011) is irresistible. How many times have we heard that we only consciously access 10% or so of our brains? Without complicated scientific blather, the film offers up a drug that gives the user access to the other 90%, making them more focused, more efficient, more perceptive, more creative, and, well, […]

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

‘Snowpiercer’ – careening 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 […]

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Larry Fishburne in 'The Matrix'

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Netflix

The Matrix (1999) has become such a touchstone of American pop culture—referenced, copied, parodied, and parroted)—that it’s hard to remember just how new and different and distinctive it was when it debuted in 1999. Which is not to say that it is completely original. Image Tron as a Greek Myth, or Sim City as an […]

‘Watchmen’ – Superhero redux on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Zach Snyder delivers perhaps the most faithful adaptation of Watchmen (2009, R), the landmark graphic novel by writer Alan Moore (uncredited on screen, as is his tradition) and artist Dave Gibbons, that anyone could hope for. Moore’s story reimagines the history of comic book superheroes in the real world of global politics and complicated (and […]

Robert Carlyle and the cast of the SyFy series 'Stargate Universe'

The complete ‘Stargate Universe’ on Amazon Prime

Stargate Universe: Seasons 1-2 (2009-2011) – For a time, the Stargate franchise was the Star Trek universe of the SyFy channel. I confess I was never a fan of the original Stargate SG-1 series (which began on Showtime and then moved to SyFy) and never got past the first episodes of Stargate: Atlantis but Stargate […]

What to stream: ‘A Quiet Place’ on Amazon and Hulu, ‘Kojo’ on Netflix, the new ‘Twilight Zone’ on CBS All Access

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … A Quiet Place (2018, PG-13), starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (who also directs) as parents in the apocalypse, is a horror film with a high-concept premise (alien invaders hunt humans by sound) but behind […]

The original ‘Cloverfield’ on Amazon Prime Video

A 21st century Godzilla movie for the (pre-video phone) camcorder generation, Cloverfield (2008) is a high-concept reworking of an old-fashioned creature feature with a DIY aesthetic. The conceit of the film is essentially the home video record of an alien invasion as shot by a wise-cracking default cameraman recording every movement of a group of […]

‘Farscape: Complete Series’ on Amazon Prime Video

Farscape (1999-2003), created by Rockne S. O’Bannon (who wrote the cult science fiction film Alien Nation) for the Sci-Fi channel (long before they rebranded themselves SyFy), is like no other SF show on TV. If you missed the trip through the wormhole, here’s the gist of it: Ben Browder is John Crichton, an American astronaut […]