John Carpenter directs the cult movie satire starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David

John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’ on Peacock

A year after Oliver Stone elevated the phrase “Greed is good” to a satirical double-edged mantra in Wall Street, John Carpenter put it more bluntly in They Live (1988), a scruffy little genre movie with a subversive subtext. “Why do we worship greed?” asks an pirate broadcaster in the opening scenes, as images of homeless […]

Tom Hardy in George Miller's 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ on HBO Max

Mad Max: Fury Road wasn’t the biggest hit film of the summer of 2015 (that honor belongs to Jurassic World) but it is easily the most visceral and the most intelligent action film of that year. Decades in the making, there’s nothing else like this out there. Directed by George Miller (who made the first […]

Jane Fonda stars in the campy psychedelic romp from director Roger Vadim

‘Barbarella’ – Sexy space camp on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Barbarella (1968), a campy psychedelic romp produced by Italian Dino de Laurentiis, directed by French eroticist Roger Vadim, adapted from a risqué French comic strip by American satirist Terry Southern, and featuring an international cast, was Buck Rogers reworked as a sex kitten in space for the 1960s culture of free love and pop art. […]

‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ on Criterion Channel

The title may sound like pure pulp but The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Jack Arnold’s screen adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel The Shrinking Man, is compassionate, intelligent, and the most metaphysical American science fiction film until Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Scott Carey (Grant Williams), just a guy on a daylong boating excursion, drifts […]

‘No Blade of Grass’ – Surviving the end of the world on HBO Max

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 […]

‘Splice’ – Genetic horror on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Splice (2009) – Professional partners and happily unmarried couple Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) don’t need children. They procreate with genetic experiments—splicing DNA from a dozen animals into a lab-created life-form they hope to harvest for pharmaceutical properties—and their masterpiece is a pirate side-project involving human DNA spliced into their zoological genetic […]

'Back to the Future' and its sequels with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd

‘Back to the Future’ trilogy on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

“The future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” Michael J. Fox goes backwards, forwards, and sideways through time as Marty McFly in a souped-up DeLorean for the first time in Back to the Future (1985), where he jaunts back to 1955, meets his parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson), and […]

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

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

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 […]

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

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

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 […]