Paradise Now (2005, dir. Hany Abu-Assad)

Two Palestinian friends are recruited for a next-day suicide mission into Tel Aviv. Intelligent drama with a few darkly comic touches; everyone has their reasons. The film works hard not to moralise, focusing on depiction and explanation, without asserting wider truth-value to its characters’ actions and beliefs.

Hobbs & Shaw [AKA Fast and Furious (Presents): Hobbs & Shaw] (2019, dir. David Leitch)

Mismatched agents team up to prevent a bio-engineered villain from stealing a deadly toxin. Dumb-but-fun-but-dumb again action-comedy sidequel to the later Fast/Furious flicks. Jolly bickering and star cameos help, but the film too-quickly becomes wearying in its CG excesses when it should be at least physics-aware.

Another viewpoint? Here!

 

 

Night Hunter [AKA Nomis] (2018, dir. David Raymond)

An obsessed detective and a former judge work together to track an abductor of young women. Messy blend of a hundred different thrillers, bolstered by a great cast doing good work in wintry conditions. Watchable, but curious; the script on paper must have been greater than the end result.

Hold Your Breath [AKA Dans La Brume / Just A Breath Away] (2018, dir. Daniel Roby)

A toxic gas of unknown origin fills Paris; an estranged couple with a sick daughter try to survive. Clever and surprisingly emotional apocalyptic thriller, making the most of its premise and the chance to focus on relationships as much as plot-driving missions. Well worth your time.

Dumbo (2019, dir. Tim Burton)

A failing circus buys a pregnant elephant; her baby has huge ears, allowing it to fly. Ambitious but mostly soulless attempt to make a non-musical live-action/CG remake of the 1941 original. Some heart, but this is mostly anodyne and clean, lacking the dark inventive touch of early Burton.

Dark Phoenix [AKA X-Men: Dark Phoenix] (2019, dir. Simon Kinberg)

1992: the orphaned young Jean Grey is exposed to an interstellar flare; her energies grow exponentially. Okay-but-formulaic last X-film, suffering in part because of the plot already being used by the film series before. Better than its predecessor Apocalypse, but this is for series completists only, despite solid work from those still under contract.

Brightburn (2019, dir. David Yarovesky)

An adopted boy finds out that he is an alien when his superpowers are triggered by puberty. Its neat inversion of the Superman origin story notwithstanding, Brightburn doesn’t quite know what to do with its premise, or with the horror route it takes. Nevertheless, an interesting minor film, with an eye for small-town detail.

Fancy another point of view? Here you go. Oh, and here.