Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina

‘Ex Machina’ on Kanopy

Ex Machina (2014) plays the man-vs.-machine story as a chamber drama. Domhnall Gleeson is the socially naïve computer programmer Caleb who wins a company contest to spend a weekend in the private retreat of visionary company CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a software genius who can’t wait to show Caleb his new project: a sophisticated artificial intelligence […]

Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ on Netflix

Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, offers his most poignant and touching work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). You wouldn’t even know it was his work from the opening of the film, an awkwardly sweet romantic flirtation between shy sad sack Joel (Jim Carrey in his least mannered […]

Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in the science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer

‘Soylent Green’ – The future is bleak on Amazon Prime Video

Set in 2022 New York City, population 40,000,000, the eco-conscious science fiction artifact Soylent Green (1973) looks more prescient than ever. In this overpopulated world, the gap between the rich and everyone else is enormous, poverty is rampant, unemployment high and “the greenhouse effect” (those very words are used in the film) has brought on […]

The original ‘Cloverfield’ on Netflix

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 […]

Clive Owen and Clare-Hope Ashitey star in the science fiction drama directed by Alfonso Cuaron

‘Children of Men’ on Netflix

Children of Men (2007), Alfonso Cuaron’s adaptation of by P.D. James’ dystopian thriller, is set in a bleak, impoverished near future where two decades of infertility have created a mood of hopelessness as devastating and destructive as a nuclear holocaust. Britain has thrown up walls around the borders and is actively deporting immigrants, becoming a […]

Jackie Chan in the Hong Kong action film from Leo Zhang

‘Bleeding Steel’ – Jackie Chan is still in action on Amazon Prime Video

Now well over 60 years old, Jackie Chan remains a charismatic actor with some impressive moves that he puts on display in Bleeding Steel (China, 2017), a colorful but awfully silly science fiction action thriller from writer/director Leo Zhang. Jackie plays a Special Forces officer whose duty takes him from his dying young daughter to […]

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 […]

Arch Oboler's 1951 nuclear holocaust classic

‘Five’ – the last people on Earth on Amazon Prime Video

Arch Oboler’s Five (1951) is not the first end-of-the-world film, but it is the first to end it by nuclear holocaust: it opens on the familiar mushroom cloud and Oboler proceeds to scrubs the wonders of the world and the landmarks of civilization free of human habitation with a few simple visual effects and the […]

Sean Penn stars in the Hulu series created by Beau Willimon

What to stream: Hulu claims ‘The First,’ Amazon Prime is ‘Forever,’ Netflix offers ‘The Land of Steady Habits’

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, FilmStruck, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Sean Penn stars in the new Hulu Original drama The First as a grounded astronaut battling family crisis while guiding the first manned mission to Mars through the politics and funding and technological […]