Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus, and Robert Shaw star in Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster

‘Jaws’ – the original summer blockbuster on Netflix

Jaws (1995), Steven Spielberg’s meticulously-directed, tension-filled, career-redefining thrill machine, has been pegged as the original modern summer blockbuster. And while that is true, this pop-culture masterpiece is more than simply a well-tooled thriller. Spielberg brings a sense of community, family, and humanity to the supermarket thriller from Peter Benchley, a book more designed than written. […]

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

‘The Matrix’ trilogy on Amazon Prime Video

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 […]

Richard Linklater's 'Dazed and Confused

‘Dazed and Confused’ on Hulu

Dazed and Confused (1993) – Cinema has the unique ability to create a sensory experience vivid enough to make the past suddenly present and alive. Richard Linklater’s cinematic flashback Dazed and Confused captures a rich pageant of high-school life, circa 1976, in a mere 100 minutes, leaning on nostalgia without wallowing in it. Jason London […]

Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Terminator on Netflix

“I’ll be back” – The original ‘The Terminator’ on Netflix and Amazon Prime

After three underwhelming sequels to James Cameron’s hard-wired hardware time travel thriller The Terminator (1984) in the past dozen years, it’s time to remind ourselves just how tight and clever and entertaining the original film was. Made for a mere $6 million and released in the fall of 1984 by a small independent sudio to instant […]

Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray star, Harold Ramis directs

‘Caddyshack’ – Slobs vs. snobs on Hulu

Caddyshack (1980), the definitive slobs versus snobs comedy, is ostensibly the story of a working-class golf caddy (Michael O’Keefe) at an exclusive country club trying to land a scholarship and plan his future, but his coming-of-age story becomes just another thread in the comic chaos. Chevy Chase, fresh off Saturday Night Live, takes top billing […]

Clint Eastwood stars in Sergio Leone's 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'

‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ on Amazon Prime Video

There are two kinds of people, my friend. Those who love Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) and those who resist the machismo and gallows humor of what is arguably the definitive spaghetti western. Leone’s first real attempt at mythologizing his vision of the American west (shot, of course, in the […]

‘Get Low’ with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray on Netflix

A lovely film about regret, self-punishment and redemption on a scale both human and mythic (or at least American folkloric), Get Low (2009) is a feature film with the personality of a short story, filled with quietly offbeat characters and directed with a deft balance of comedy and tragedy. Which is why it had a […]

Peter Sarsgaard is Stanley Milgram in Michael Almereyda's 'Experimenter'

‘Experimenter’ with Peter Sarsgaard on Hulu

Experimenter (2015) opens with the infamous experiment that made Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram’s reputation. Subjects are told to ask questions of a person in a booth (heard but unseen) and give them increasingly bigger electrical shocks every time they answer incorrectly. It’s an experiment in teaching methods, they are told, but in fact they […]

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in Stephen Sommers' 1999 'The Mummy' and the sequel 'The Mummy Returns'

‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’ on Netflix

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) – Leave it to Stephen Sommers to create an action-movie out of the sleepiest of monster movie icons. Under his direction, it’s an adventure film through a yesteryear Egypt right out of the movies but with a modern sensibility. Brendan Fraser is a bit callow in the […]