James Franco and Seth Rogen ride the ‘Pineapple Express’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

The Judd Apatow factory refreshed the coming-of-age comedy (for all ages of adolescent men) in comedies like Knocked Up, Superbad, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall before stretching itself thin (that’s my best explanation for Drillbit Taylor and Step Brothers). One of the smartest things he did was to seek out directors not normally associated with his […]

‘Vampire’s Kiss’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Nicolas Cage is perfectly cast in the devious black comedy Vampire’s Kiss (1989) as a New York literary agent whose latest one night stand lands him in bed with vampire Jennifer Beals, who takes a big, bloody bite out of his identity. The emotionally unstable executive develops an aversion to sunlight, a fear of crosses, […]

What to stream: ‘Decoding Bill Gates’ and European ‘Criminal’s on Netflix, ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ on HBO, BET+ 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 …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. The new Netflix original crime drama “Criminal” (with subtitles) is a police procedural that spans multiple stories across […]

Citizenfour, a documentary by Laura Poitras with Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald

‘Citizenfour’ – Edward Snowden on Amazon Prime

Citizenfour (2014), winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, is the story of Edward Snowden and his release of classified NSA documents that revealed the systematic surveillance of phone calls, E-mails, and internet activities of American citizens by the government. It was the biggest act of government whistleblowing since Daniel Ellsberg and […]

Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in Susan Seidelman's 'Desperately Seeking Susan'

‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Desperately Seeking Susan (1982) is remembered for giving Madonna her first starring role; she’s the Susan of the title, a free spirit in thrift store chic fashions who connects up with her musician boyfriend through personal ads in the local weekly papers. This modern bohemian take on the classic screwball comedy (complete with amnesia, mistaken […]

Antiviral, the debut feature from Brandon Cronenberg, is on Hulu.

‘Antiviral’ – The next generation of Cronenberg horror Hulu

Antiviral (2012), Brandon Cronenberg’s debut feature, brings inevitable comparisons to his father. Set in the near future, it’s a story of “biological communion” with cultural superstars via celebrity viruses, black market viral thieves (who use their own bodies to smuggle the cultures), and genetically-modified meat that borders on cannibalism. The rigorously austere, antiseptic look recalls David […]

Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina

Free stream: ‘Ex Machina’ on Kanopy and Hoopla

Ex Machina (2014) plays the man-vs.-machine story as a chamber drama. Domhnall Gleeson is the socially naïve computer programmer Caleb who wins a company contest to spend a weekend in the private retreat of visionary company CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a software genius who can’t wait to show Caleb his new project: a sophisticated artificial intelligence […]