‘Greenland’ – Surviving the end of the world on HBO Max

As Greenland (2020) opens, families around the world gather in front to their TVs to see the spectacle of pieces from a comet entering the Earth’s atmosphere and landing harmlessly in the ocean. Then structural engineer John Garrity (Gerard Butler) receives a startling government alert telling him to report to a nearby Air Force Base […]

‘I Am Legend’ – Will Smith is the last man on earth on Hulu

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 […]

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

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Peacock

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 […]

Last chance: ‘X-Men: First Class’ on HBO Max

X-Men: First Class (2011) is both a reboot and a prequel to the big screen comic book series about a team of mutant superheroes with new, younger models of the series elders Charles “Professor X” Xavier (James McAvoy as a flirtatious, precocious incarnation of Patrick Stewart’s more professorial figure) and Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, […]

‘The World’s End’ – pub crawling to the end of the world on Peacock

The World’s End (2013), the third film in the “Cornetto” trilogy created by friends and collaborators Edgar Wright (director and co-writer) and Simon Pegg (star and co-writer), is cheeky fun. Like the first two films, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it is an offbeat collision of genres, but this one leans heavier on […]

Chris Pine, Margot Robie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 'Z for Zachariah.'

‘Z for Zachariah’ on Amazon Prime

Z for Zachariah (2015), based on the cult novel by Robert C. O’Brien, belongs to smaller, more thoughtful, more intimate end of the science fiction movie spectrum. Limited to three characters and played out with nary a spectacular special effect, it’s in the tradition of low-budget post-nuclear films like Five and The World, the Flesh […]

Brad Bird directs the animated feature based on the Ted Hughes book

‘The Iron Giant’ – A boy and his robot buddy on Hulu

“I’m the luckiest kid in the world,” cheers adolescent Hogarth, halfway to sci-fi heaven in the hand of a friendly ten story robot— a clanking metal man who acts like a combination little brother, big brother, and playful puppy dog all rolled into one magnificent structure who looks like he stepped off a vintage cover […]

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

‘Back to the Future’ trilogy on Netflix

“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 […]

Amy Adams in 'Arrival,' directed by Denis Villeneuve

‘Arrival’ – First contact on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Arrival (2016) is the most cerebral of first contact films, a science fiction drama about communicating across cultures and across species and even across time without a common language, while failing to communicate within our own world. It is a film that looks out beyond our galaxy and inward to our own souls, to challenge […]

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ on Amazon Prime and Paramount +

Steven Spielberg’s future shock crime thriller Minority Report (2002), based on a story by sci-fi visionary Philip K. Dick, offers law enforcement as a preventative force managed by drugged-into-submission psychics: they predict a murder and the cops arrest the perpetrator before he perpetrates anything. The names of the potential killers and victims roll out of […]