‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut’ – the definitive version of a visionary film on Netflix and HBO Max

Ridley Scott’s visionary reworking of Philip K. Dick’s novel may have flopped when it was released but it has become a science fiction touchstone and has colonized the imaginations of writers, directors, and die-hard fans of science fiction.

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

‘An American Werewolf in London’ on Amazon Prime and Shudder

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]

John Travolta in Brian De Palma's 'Blow Out'

Brian De Palma’s ‘Blow Out’ on Amazon Prime

Is it too sweeping to call Jack Terry, the movie soundman of Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1981), John Travolta’s best performance ever? So be it. Who knew that De Palma—a director still more often than not dismissed as a technician with a Hitchcock obsession, a facility for bravura camerawork, and a penchant for split […]

The original ‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney+

The Muppet Show: Complete Series (1977-1981) is the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational variety show to ever hit prime time. More than forty years later, it’s still funny, fast-paced, utterly madcap, and tremendous fun. Jim Henson was already a household name for bringing his Muppets to Sesame Street but his ambitions took him in all […]

Kurt Russell stars in the cult film from John Carpenter

The original ‘Escape from New York’ on HBO Max

“Plissken? I heard you were dead.” “Call me Snake.” Maybe it’s not John Carpenter’s best film, but Escape from New York (1981) is one of his most fun and the premise is irresistible: in the future, Manhattan has been turned into a high security island prison and Liberty Island is the guard station. When Air […]

‘Southern Comfort’ – Swamp survival on Amazon Prime Video

Walter Hill’s savage survival drama Southern Comfort (1981) sends a platoon of weekend warrior National Guardsman into the Louisiana swamps for a training exercise: not just strangers in a strange land but urban good ‘ol boys with no understanding of the world they’ve blundered into. To the Cajun swamp folk, the trappers and hunters living […]

‘Gates of Heaven’ and ‘Vernon, Florida’ – the early documentaries of Errol Morris on Netflix

Errol Morris is one of the most celebrated—and most distinctive—documentary filmmakers of our time and his interest in unconventional portraits and offbeat subjects began with his first films. Gates of Heaven (1978, not rated) profiles two pet cemeteries—one that went out of business and another, more financially stable business where the graves were relocated—and the […]