‘Starcrash’ – the most marvelously ridiculous ‘Star Wars’ knock-off on Amazon Prime

The shamelessly and fabulously derivative Italian space opera Starcrash (1979) is both the most ridiculous and the most irresistible of all the Star Wars knock-offs of the late seventies and eighties. Caroline Munro spends much of the film in a black latex bikini as the great outlaw starship pilot Stella Star, who is arrested by […]

‘Videodrome’ – Long live the new flesh on Criterion Channel

It’s been 40 years since David Cronenberg’s first masterpiece drilled its mutant images into the minds of unsuspecting audiences. Today, the visionary Videodrome (1983) is as contemporary and relevant as ever. James Woods stars as Max Renn, a hustling cable TV entrepreneur in the pioneering days of cable TV who becomes fascinated by a pirate […]

‘Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Though it wasn’t Hammer Studio’s final film, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974) can be considered its swan song, an intelligent, inventive, stylized reworking of the themes that had sustained the series for almost two decades. Dr. Frankenstein has buried his old identity and reigns over an insane asylum as Dr. Victor (Peter Cushing […]

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

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on HBO Max

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 […]

The original ‘Frankenstein’ on Peacock

“It’s alive! Alive! In the name of God now I know what it’s like to be God!” James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) is the granddaddy of modern monster movies. Universal was looking to a follow up to the tremendous success of Dracula when it assigned sophomore director Whale to helm an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famous novel […]

'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 […]

Henry Thomas and friend in Steven Spielberg's beloved science fiction fantasy

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on Peacock

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Steven Spielberg’s suburban fairy tale for kids who think they are too hip to believe in fairies, is as glorious as ever decades after its debut. Henry Thomas is Elliot, an emotionally bruised kid suffering under his parents’ separation who finds another lonely, lost soul, a benevolent alien left behind when […]

What to stream: ‘Raised by Wolves’ on HBO Max, ‘Away’ and ‘Borgen’ on Netflix, ‘The Boys’ return to Amazon

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   Two androids are tasked with raising human children on a barren, far off planet after a devastating religious war on Earth in “Raised by Wolves: Season 1” (2020, TV-MA), an ambitious, high-concept science […]

‘Prometheus’- the ‘Alien’ prequel on HBO Max and HBO platforms

Ridley Scott has taken pains to explain that Prometheus (2012) is not a prequel to Alien but a film that comes from the same DNA. That’s a bit disingenuous, considering how meticulously (and often very cleverly) it sets up the building blocks of Alien, but his pointed use of the term DNA is telling. It […]