Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus, and Robert Shaw star in Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster

Last chance: ‘Jaws’ – the original summer blockbuster on Netflix

Jaws (1995), Steven Spielberg’s meticulously-directed, tension-filled, career-redefining thrill machine, has been pegged as the original modern summer blockbuster. And while that is true, this pop-culture masterpiece is more than simply a well-tooled thriller. Spielberg brings a sense of community, family, and humanity to the supermarket thriller from Peter Benchley, a book more designed than written. […]

Last Chance: ‘Watchmen’ – Superhero redux on Netflix

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 […]

What to stream: ‘Destoyer’ on Hulu, ‘Special’ on Netflix, and The Criterion Channel (re)launches

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services … Nicole Kidman delivers a ferocious performance as a damaged police detective in Karyn Kusama’s hard-edged Destroyer (2018, R), a neo-noir crime thriller with a sun-blasted look and a sleek narrative that jumps back in […]

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’ on Netflix

Strangers on a Train (1951) is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s undisputed masterpieces, a thriller of demented wish fulfillment turned into a waking nightmare that turns on a chance meeting. Demented playboy Bruno (Robert Walker, whose insidious insincerity is unsettling from his first scene) meets champion tennis player Guy (Farley Granger). Bruno knows that Guy has […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime Video

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker on Netflix

Oscar winner ‘The Hurt Locker’ on Netflix

“Tell me something. What’s the best way to disarm one of these things?” “The way you don’t die, sir.” Set in the Iraq war after the proclamation of “Mission Accomplished” and the transformation of a battlefield army into an occupation force, The Hurt Locker (2008) follows the finals days in the rotation of a bomb disposal […]

‘Let the Corpses Tan’ on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy

The Belgian filmmaking team of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani are carving a distinctive and specialized career melding stylized art movies with flamboyant genre pictures drawn from expressive techniques of Italian exploitation movies. With Let the Corpses Tan (Belgium/France, 2018), their third feature, they turn an adaptation of a cult pulp novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette […]

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

‘Children of Men’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

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 […]

Warren Oates is ‘Dillinger’ on Amazon Prime Video

John Dillinger was the most notorious of the Depression-era gangsters and his exploits (and attendant newspaper coverage) made him a romantic anti-hero to many of the folks who felt betrayed by the bankers and businessmen of the country. Dillinger (1973), the directorial debut of John Milius, plays on that image of the gentleman gangster who […]

‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale on Netflix

Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain, 2006), Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale, is an elemental Alice in Wonderland amidst the horrors of Francisco Franco’s reign of terror in 1944 Spain. Our Alice is an imaginative young girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who escapes into an elemental wonderland after she moves into the country estate with her ailing […]