It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 11) (2016)

Another strong season for the long-running sitcom, thanks to its ongoing commitment to excellent writing and comedic performing. All five leads here continue to demonstrate why this is one of the funniest shows around, plunging ahead with courage and a lack of vanity that result in some of the least flattering yet funniest moments imaginable…

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

A moody, atmospheric and surprisingly comedic chiller, this horror classic is an old-movie lover’s dream come true: Terrific sets, great use of music, an intelligent and layered screenplay, a charismatic leading man in Vincent Price, and some intricate and downright unpredictable twists along the way. What begins as an effective but simple haunted-house yarn gradually…

Return of the Living Dead 2 (1988)

Surprisingly solid sequel-slash-remake of the 1985 original, this continuation of Dan O’Bannon’s unexpected horror classic wisely goes for laughs over gasps this time, which manages to make the movie much more entertaining – and effective – than one might expect. The characters are likable and the makeup effects are solid, not to mention that there’s…

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Originally intended as a sequel to George A. Romero’s 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead,” director Dan O’Bannon’s gruesome entry in the zombie genre sparked its own franchise and became a bona-fide genre classic in its own right. It’s easy to see why, as the movie nails a midnight-movie atmosphere and aesthetic that distinguishes…

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Crafting a follow-up to a surprise hit as beloved as “Pitch Perfect” represents a significant creative challenge, one that returning-star-turned-director Elizabeth Banks manages to tackle with aplomb. By shifting the focus away from the acapella challenges and onto the various dynamics among the film’s characters, Bank successfully manages to keep the narrative moving forward and…

Dracula (1931)

Watching this early Universal horror classic, it’s easy forget that this movie is almost a century old: From the sets to the atmosphere to the props to the score, every element of Tod Browning’s masterpiece comes together and gradually unspurls, weaving a creepy adaptation of the classic novel that trims the fat without sacrificing imagination…

Unacknowledged: An Expose of the World’s Greatest Secret (2017)

This is the type of UFO documentary that directly appeals to its core demographic without succumbing to egregious manipulation. With an emphasis on government policy and bureaucratic interviews, there’s an effective balance between talking-head interviews with gravitas and a virtual cornucopia of alleged filmed evidence that makes its overlong running time feel less padded. As…

Pitch Perfect (2012)

A modern-day crowd-pleasing classic that surprisingly spawned a lucrative franchise, “Pitch Perfect” combines the best parts of coming-of-age college movies (like crisp writing, effective characters and a charming cast with onscreen chemistry) with the conventions of competitive-sports teen classics like “Bring It On.” Anna Kendrick is perfectly cast in the lead, while the movie has…

The Funhouse (1981)

Seriously scary and oppressively atmospheric, Tobe Hooper’s slasher is an underrated gem worth investigating. Lead Elizabeth Berridge makes a compelling, unusual scream queen, able to channel the same charisma and star quality as Jamie Lee Curtis with some of Stockard Channing’s magnetic severity. The movie itself is creepy and often downright frightening from the first…

1969 (1988)

Not without its dopey moments, there’s nevertheless a touching underlying sincerity to Ernest Thompson’s coming-of-age drama, which follows the growth from adolescence to adulthood for Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Downey Jr amidst the political and social turmoil of the late 1960s. With strong supporting performances and a memorable score, the movie manages to overcome some…

It (2017)

Adapting a thousand-page novel is never an easy task, and while Stephen King’s remarkably cerebral brand of horror has often fallen flat on the big screen, somehow this adaptation of the first half of King’s classic 1986 novel manages to get most things right. In particular, director Andy Mushietti and screenwriters Chase Palmer and Cary…

Madonna – Revolutionary Heart (2015)

Made up of 15 demos and unreleased songs from Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” sessions, “Revolutionary Heart” is an unofficial bootleg album that shows the famously guarded superstar’s softer side. Many of the tracks here, like “Queen” and “Heaven,” feature some of Madonna’s clearest, most effective lyrics as well as some of her most effectively subdued vocals,…