The Birds (1963, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

A coastal Californian is attacked without warning by swarms of birds. One of the last truly great Hitchcock movies, full of suspenseful set-pieces, an absence of explanation, and an apocalyptic climax. Recommended.

Clueless (1995, dir. Amy Heckerling)

A rich high school student determines to become a matchmaker. So specifically of its time it’s practically a documentary on the mid-90s, this loose reworking of Jane Austen’s Emma nevertheless delivers; a strong cast helps throughout.

Escape From LA [AKA John Carpenter’s Escape From LA] (1996, dir. John Carpenter)

Snake Plissken is compelled to rescue a gadget from what is now the island prison of Los Angeles. Campy though large-scale reprise of the 1981 predecessor. Some moments work, but this is lesser Carpenter, and a film blighted by woeful CG.

Winchester ’73 (1950, dir. Anthony Mann)

A cowboy relentlessly pursues an outlaw, and the prized rifle stolen from him. The first Mann/Stewart western is a splendid thing, creating a new rugged persona for Stewart and delivering in all manner of genre pleasures. Highly recommended.

Sicario (2015, dir. Denis Villeneuve)

A female FBI agent gets in over her head when she volunteers to liaise with an inter-agency anti-drugs team. Smart, bleak and suspenseful thriller with great performances and some standout sequences. Recommended.

The Death of Stalin (2017, dir. Armando Iannucci)

A power struggle ensues in the USSR when Stalin dies suddenly. Frantic black comedy which plays totalitarianism as a dark farce. Hugely impressive, with a great cast clearly having fun throughout, while making a few satirical points along the way. Recommended.