Bradley Cooper stars in the Clive Barker horror film directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

‘The Midnight Meat Train’ – Clive Barker horror on Hulu

Curiosity is a killer in The Midnight Meat Train (2008), adapted from the short story by Clive Barker (one of the first he wrote) and directed by Japanese style-bomber Ryuhei Kitamura in his American feature debut. Leon (Bradley Cooper), a street photographer who chases police calls for a living but prefers to document the underbelly […]

Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant in Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece 'Let the Right One In '

‘Let the Right One In’ – A Swedish vampire tale, free on Kanopy

Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece Let the Right One In (2008) is grounded in a devoted friendship that bonds two outcasts in a predatory world. Bullied schoolboy Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a loner so blond he looks albino, meets twelve-year-old Eli (Lina Leandersson), a fellow loner hanging around the snow-covered playground of […]

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 […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Netflix

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

The original ‘Cloverfield’ on Amazon Prime Video

A 21st century Godzilla movie for the (pre-video phone) camcorder generation, Cloverfield (2008) is a high-concept reworking of an old-fashioned creature feature with a DIY aesthetic. The conceit of the film is essentially the home video record of an alien invasion as shot by a wise-cracking default cameraman recording every movement of a group of […]

Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman cast ‘Doubt’ on Netflix

Take the title at face value: Doubt (2008), directed and adapted for the screen by playwright John Patrick Shanley, does not offer answers. Rather, it challenges us to understand our own instincts to believe in the absence of proof. Sunny, optimistic idealist Sister James (Amy Adams), a young nun teaching history to junior high boys […]

Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker on Netflix

Oscar winner ‘The Hurt Locker’ on Netflix

“Tell me something. What’s the best way to disarm one of these things?” “The way you don’t die, sir.” Set in the Iraq war after the proclamation of “Mission Accomplished” and the transformation of a battlefield army into an occupation force, The Hurt Locker (2008) follows the finals days in the rotation of a bomb disposal […]

Michelle Williams stars in the film by Kelly Reichardt

The ballad of ‘Wendy and Lucy’ on The Criterion Channel

New York-based filmmaker Kelly Reichardt found great inspiration in the state of Oregon. After making Old Joy on a DIY budget, she reunited with Oregon writer Jon Raymond for an indie feature with a somewhat larger scope but the same intimate qualities. Wendy and Lucy (2008) isn’t the romantic road movie of Alexander Supertramp in […]

Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin in a promotional photo for Monty Python's Flying Circus

‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth’ – Comedy history on Netflix

If Monty Python is the comedy world’s equivalent to The Beatles, then the six-part documentary mini-series Monty Python: Almost the Truth (2009) is their Beatles Anthology, an epic of a documentary featuring new interviews with the five surviving Pythons and as many colleagues and friends as the producers could track down. Each episode focuses on […]

Bruce Willis and Reece Thompson in the film by Brett Simon

‘Assassination of a High School President’ on Amazon Prime Video

The name’s Bobby Funke. I write for the paper.” At least that’s how this picked-on sophomore imagines himself in Assassination of a High School President (2008): the loner who walks a straight line through the crooked halls of his corrupt Catholic high school. Funke (who is inevitably called “Funky” by his schoolmates) narrates his tale […]