The delirious cinematic dreamscape world of Guy Maddin's 'The Forbidden Room'

‘The Forbidden Room’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Fandor

Canadian iconoclast Guy Maddin has been making strange, surreal films that evoke the images and storytelling traditions of silent movies for decades. The Forbidden Room (2015), which he co-directed with his former student Evan Johnson, is like a compendium of his obsessions and cinematic fetishes. It opens on a mock-instructional film on “How to Take […]

Teyonah Parris stars in Spike Lee's 'Chi-Raq.'

Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’ on Amazon Prime

Spike Lee weaves a familiar call through Chi-Raq (2015), his polarizing portrait of violence on Chicago’s South Side. Wake up. It’s been a cry and a plea since his first studio feature, School Daze (1998), and it’s particularly resonant in a film about black-on-black gang violence in Chicago, where more Americans have been murdered in […]

Franco Nero stars in Sergio Corbucci’s 'Django'

‘Django,’ ‘Keoma,’ and other great spaghetti westerns on VOD

The rich, brutal, cynical culture of Italian westerns (aka spaghetti westerns) is dominated by Sergio Leone’s great movies and especially The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), arguably the definitive spaghetti western. But there is a whole legacy of cynical, hard-edged, and even politically daring Italian westerns of the sixties and seventies. You can […]

Billy Zane and Gina Gershon star in musky, low-ley adaptation of the Jim Thompson pulp crime novel.

‘This World, Then the Fireworks’ on Amazon Prime

The disturbed world of pulp crime novelist Jim Thompson’s deformed psyches and demented morality comes to life in This World, Then the Fireworks (1997), one of the more unpredictable works in a career defined by the author’s disturbingly treacherous tales. What makes this dreamy adaptation by director Michael Oblowitz and screenwriter Larry Gross work is […]

'Mad Monster Party?' from Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass is an animated monster movie spoof. With songs!

‘Mad Monster Party?’ on SVOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Everyone is familiar with the landmark horror classics. This is one in a series of suggestions for Halloween viewing that may not be so familiar, including titles that teens and tweens (and in some cases adolescents) can watch without breaking the R-rating. In the midst of making their classic Christmas specials (like Rudolph the Red […]