Jaws (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A coastal resort is threatened by a predatory great white shark. Peerless proto-blockbuster and inventor of the summer event movie, Jaws retains its ability to thrill and impress. Character, action, location shooting, direction and a semi-improvised approach to dialogue are counterpointed by a terrific score. Sequels of diminishing quality followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem [AKA AVPR: Aliens vs Predator 2 – Requiem] (2007, dir. The Brothers Strause)

A Predator attempts to clear an alien infestation of a Colorado town. Banal direct sequel to Alien vs. Predator, oddly combining high-school slasher tropes with full-on monster mayhem. Dumb, visually murky and nigh plotless, though a couple of transgressive ideas lurk. A franchise low.

Here’s the trailer.

Alien vs. Predator [AKA AvP: Alien vs. Predator] (2004, dir. Paul WS Anderson)

A mysterious Antarctic pyramid structure is linked to ancient alien hunting rites. Comic book-style franchise mashup with the focus on action and startling images rather than on SF horror. Not for purists, but well-resourced entertainment nevertheless with a stirring lead and great casting in depth.

Here’s the trailer.

Don’t Let Go (2019, dir. Jacob Aaron Estes)

A detective races to save the life again of his niece, who is contacting him through time from before her recent murder. Odd timeslip procedural (a cousin to Deja Vu) that succeeds if you go with its premise. Excellent performances and committed direction help no end.

Here’s the trailer.

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980, Dir. Jimmy T. Murakami, Roger Corman)

Poundland Star Wars meets Magnificent 7. Big Space ships, space lasers, space lizards – even space cowboys and Sybil Danning in a Valkyrie outfit made from bottle caps. What’s not to like! Fun, somewhat tongue in cheek riff – offers nothing new, but everyone is having a good time along the way!

Trailer:

Project Power (2020, dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman)

Multiple parties search for the source of a New Orleans street drug, which grants a superpower for five minutes. Flashy and confident if superficial mashup of Limitless and the 70s TV show Gemini Man. Plenty of incidental fun tho, especially in the first two acts.

The Debt Collector 2 [AKA Debt Collectors] (2020, dir. Jesse V Johnson)

French and Sue go to Las Vegas on the promise of a payday. DTV martial arts comedy-thriller sequel that’s a cut above. The mix of bickering and bar fights as before, though there’s some panache in the direction, the action choreography, and the chemistry between the leads. Recommended for genre fans.

Enhanced (2019, dir. James Mark)

A young woman with special abilities is hunted, both by a government agency and by one of her kind. Decent little SF actioner riffing in the spaces between Terminator movies, the X-Men and host of other genre properties. Effective location work and a wintry feel help matters along, as does working within budget limitations.

The Abominable Snowman (1957, dir. Val Guest)

A scientific expedition to the Himalayas becomes a hunt for the fabled Yeti. Marvellous fantasy-horror hybrid, expanded (and simplified somewhat) from Nigel Kneale’s BBC drama The Creature. Lots of ideas played with, great production values, and lovely widescreen – Regalscope AKA Hammerscope – cinematography and staging.

Sky Sharks (2020, dir. Mark Fehse)

Zombie Nazis riding jet-powered sharks terrorize the skies. Alternating between good-looking and tatty, this mashup of the likes of Dead Snow, Iron Sky and the Sharknado franchise is clearly a labour of love. However, there’s neither a story or any characters to care about, and swathes are clumsy, puerile, and tedious.