GI Joe Origins: Snake Eyes [AKA Snake Eyes] (2021, dir. Robert Schwentke)

A martial artist seeking revenge for his father’s death joins a yakuza clan. While it looks good, this is an oddly pointless reboot with muddy, incoherent action, the wasting of some decent onscreen talent, and a miscast lead. Golding can be great, but he’s more George Clooney than the Sho Kusugi that the role needs.

Here’s the trailer.

Dune: Chapter One (2021, dir. Denis Villeneuve)

A desert planet with a fabled resource is given new custodians: a messiah figure may be among them. Impressive if slightly po-faced partial adaptation (Part Two is to come) of the Frank Herbert allegorical SF classic. Takes its time: the pacing is televisual rather than cinematic. However, it looks great, and a good cast plays to their strengths.

Here’s the trailer. And here’s another view.

Old Henry (2021, dir. Potsy Ponciroli)

1906. A farmer finds a wounded man and takes him in, hiding him from the team that’s hunting him. Excellent early 20th century Western, which manages to do a lot with modest resources and clear intent. Plenty to appreciate, not least Tim Blake Nelson in the lead.

Here’s the trailer.

Resident Evil [AKA Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City] (2021, dir. Johannes Roberts)

A young woman returns to her hometown: a zombie-like outbreak occurs. This 90s-set series reboot draws from the franchise’s early video games. And that’s about it. A murky and confused action/horror flick with little clear idea about what to do with the property, or why bother.

Here’s the trailer.

Bull (2021, dir. Paul Andrew Williams)

A gangster’s lackey returns after a decade presumed dead to get revenge. Excellent, bleak, driven thriller/horror hybrid. Strong on blending blue-collar realism and genre thrills, so much that its potential excesses are entirely justified in-world. The best movie of its kind since Dead Man’s Shoes or Killing Me Softly.

Here’s the trailer

The Sugarland Express (1974, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A wife helps her husband escape jail: a chase and media circus develops as they cross Texas to be reunited with their child. Excellent road movie/crime drama hybrid with comic and bittersweet touches, and full of directorial promise. Loads to recommend here.

Here’s the trailer:

Reminiscence (2021, dir. Lisa Joy)

A memory technician becomes obsessed with a nightclub singer. Somewhat laboured SF noir, indebted to Blade Runner, Chinatown, and – er – Who Framed Roger Rabbit, saddled with po-faced script and narration. Some visual stuff works (there’s one genuine moment of wonder) but the central mystery and its importance is bungled.

Here’s the trailer.

Death On The Nile (2022, dir. Kenneth Branagh)

Hercule Poirot joins a wedding party in Egypt: murder follows. This second Branagh Agatha Christie adaptation suffers like its predecessor from plasticky production values, over-direction, and a too-serious approach to the material. It livens up eventually, but the Ustinov version is still way more fun.

Here’s the trailer:

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (2022, dir. Richard Linklater)

The imaginative son of a NASA administrator reminiscences about his late-1960s Florida suburban childhood. Gentle, charming, if slight rotoscoped semi-autobiographical movie. The space mission stuff is pretty much simply a hook to hang the nostalgia on. Not that this is a bad thing in this case. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.