Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine , and James Franco star in Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers'

‘Spring Breakers’ on Netflix and free on Kanopy and Hoopla

Spring Breakers (2012) is not your traditional fun in the sun spring break movie. But then you wouldn’t expect that from Harmony Korine, the self-appointed agent provocateur of American indie cinema confrontation, even with a cast that includes Disney Channel sweethearts Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. They play two of the four college girls (Ashley […]

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ – the trilogy concludes on HBO Max

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) doesn’t want for ambition. The culmination of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of high-minded comic book superhero action spectacles by way of pop-art social commentary, it pits The Batman (a terse Christian Bale) against Bane (Tom Hardy as a musclebound mountain in a creepy mask), a self-appointed horseman of the apocalypse. Bane […]

Matthew McConaughey is ‘Mud’ on Netflix

Mud (2012), the third film from director Jeff Nichols, is a story of childhood adventure steeped in the rural culture of life on the Mississippi and the mythology of Huckleberry Finn, but this boy’s adventure is also tangled in the world of adults and family bonds. Matthew McConaughey is the man called Mud, a scruffy […]

Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ – It’s alive on Disney+

When you see a film like Frankenweenie (2012), Tim Burton’s animated reworking of his early live-action short, how can you think of Burton as anything but a big kid working with, as Orson Welles put it, the biggest toy train set a kid ever had? In Burton’s case, simply substitute a Frankenstein’s laboratory of a […]

‘The Cabin in the Woods’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

There’s more knowing horror comedy and meta-horror commentary than actual tension and thrills in The Cabin in the Woods (2012), the self-aware, awfully clever love letter to the horror movie fandom from Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. That’s fair, because scares or not, I had more fun watching Cabin than most recent horror films. Producer […]

‘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 […]

Jason Statham is ‘Safe’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

In Safe (2012), mid-budget action movie stalwart Jason Statham plays a former cop turned cage-match fighting burnout who, having run afoul of the Russian mob and his former colleagues in a thoroughly corrupt NYPD, rouses himself back to life as a one-man army top save Chinese math prodigy (Catherine Chan) from what appears to be […]

‘The Avengers’ – the birth of the Marvel supergroup on Disney+

The Avengers (2012) is a superhero epic years in the making. Unlike The X-Men, which arrived full formed in 2000, The Avengers is the comic book version of the supergroup, with stars in their own right coming together (not without some friction and ego-thumping) for a battle royale. So Marvel put together a long term […]

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom,' starring Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and more

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ – Wes Anderson’s endless summer on Peacock

Wes Anderson has made a career exploring the childhood neuroses that keep adult characters in an arrested state of adolescence and stasis. It’s been a lively career with creatively energetic high points like Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums but an approach with diminishing returns. Until Fantastic Mr. Fox, a film that refracted his portraits of dysfunctional families […]