Out Of Print (2014, dir. Julia Marchese)

A documentary about revival cinema (and the need for there to be 35mm prints of movies), focusing on the New Beverly cinema in Los Angeles. A straightforward but charming little film about cinema, the communal experience of watching together, and about movie-going. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Marooned [AKA Space Travelers] (1969, dir. John Sturges)

A US space vehicle suffers a failure prior to re-entry: NASA works on solving the problem. Stolid SF drama trying to present a realistic version of an Apollo-ish space race-era disaster possibility. Slow and serious, and not especially dramatic as a consequence.

Here’s the trailer.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013, dir. JJ Abrams)

Attacks on Starfleet propel Kirk and crew into a manhunt in Klingon territory. Second of the alt-timeline reboot film series works fine as a pacy SF adventure with plenty of comedy to counterpoint the action, though struggles – as before – with its villainy and a need to over-reference its predecessors. A third movie followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Man of Tai Chi (2013, dir. Keanu Reeves)

A Tai Chi student is lured into an underground fighting circuit. And a very solid martial arts actioner this is too. As old-school as you like, with plenty of well-choreographed fighting and wirework, and a sense of respect for both the subgenre and the traditions it relates to.

Here’s the trailer.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian [AKA Night at the Museum 2] (2009, dir. Shawn Levy)

Larry and friends fight a reanimated pharaoh intent on conquering the world. Second and best of the family adventure flicks, not being saddled with set-up, and having confidence to play with its premise in fun and inventive ways. Highlights include Amy Adams and Hank Azaria, both revelling in their roles.

Here’s the trailer.

The Towering Inferno (1974, dir. John Guillermin)

A new San Francisco skyscraper catches fire on opening: a firefighter and the building’s architect work together. About the best of the 70s cycle of disaster movies: Inferno is star-packed, properly spectacular and hubris-tastic – if slightly po-faced – showcasing fun practical effects and stunt work.

Here’s the trailer.

Countdown (1968, dir. Robert Altman)

With the Soviets poised to reach the moon first, the US scrambles to respond by sending a Gemini astronaut into space. Talky and somewhat passive Cold War-era basic training/mission flick enlivened by NASA access, and by getting earlier to material explored by later, better films. No classic, despite interesting credits.

Here’s the trailer.

Army of the Dead (2021, dir. Zack Snyder)

A crew is assembled to pull a vault heist against the clock in a zombie-infested Las Vegas. High-concept, messy, bloated and undisciplined action-horror. There’s a tight 95 minute flick in the material: while this is undemanding genre fun while it’s on, it’s second-hand stuff all the way.

Here’s the trailer.

Super Dark Times (2017, dir. Kevin Phillips)

A teenager is involved in the death of a peer: his life begins to unravel. Lo-fi 90-set indie psychological horror. Stronger on teenage loneliness and on lower-middle class lives than on storytelling: its inexorable pace works, but artier elements come across as pretentious rather than intriguing. Worth your attention, nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer

Late Phases [AKA Night of the Wolf] (2014, dir. Adrián García Bogliano)

A blind Vietnam veteran believes his new retirement community is a werewolf hunting ground. Quirky, ambitious werewolf pic with a fondness for 80s-style practical effects. Better in moments than in its overall storytelling, but there’s some fine stuff here, and a great cast of character actors led by Nick Damici.

Here’s the trailer.