The Old Guard (2020, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Near-immortal warriors induct a new recruit, while being hunted for their DNA. Patchy superhero-ish flick from a graphic novel. The film can’t decide whose story this is, telling the veteran’s and the newbie’s, rather than focusing. The result is overlong and slow, but with strong moments, a badass declaration of love, and some solid action.

The Hunt (2020, dir. Craig Zobel)

A group of strangers find themselves being hunted. Okay The Most Dangerous Game variant with a few plot wrinkles, not all of which work. Stronger on splatter gore moments than as the intended satire, but there’s some fun to be had, and Betty Gilpin is great in badass mode.

Game Night (2018, dir. John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein)

A competitive couple’s regular game night goes awry. Well-sustained comedy of murder-mystery-meets-real-life errors with a smart cast and generally solid script, plus some pizazz in the execution. Undemanding fun if you go with it.

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) [AKA Birds of Prey / Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey] (2020, dir. Cathy Yan)

Harley Quinn, now no longer enjoying The Joker’s protection, is both the target of vengeful Gotham criminals and embroiled in a quest for a diamond. Dayglo spinoff of Suicide Squad with some verve in its playing, direction, action choreography and design. It wants to be a female-led Deadpool, but is let down somewhat by an under-par script.

The Kill Team (2019, dir. Dan Krauss)

A US soldier in Afghanistan is pressurised by a new sergeant into complicity in the murder of Afghan civilians. Developed from writer/director Krauss’s own documentary of the same name, this is a low-key but effective study of morals v camaraderie. No real surprises, but solid nevertheless.

Blue Story (2019, dir. Rapman)

London teens become inexorably drawn into turf warfare, and the violence that comes with it. Straightforward though vivid and confident debut, keenly balancing school and street, the ordinary world and the futility of revenge. Lots to admire, not least the use of music and fourth wall breaking throughout; writer-director Rapman is one to watch. Recommended.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir. John Carpenter)

A blowhard trucker finds himself in the middle of a magical conflict in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Still-fun mock-heroic action fantasy, with some respect for its influences and its tongue in its cheek throughout. If you go with it, this is still a great 100 minutes, though inevitably it’s not for all.

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Phantom (2013, dir. Todd Robinson)

A veteran Soviet submarine commander is sent on a final classified mission to test new technology. Okay Cold War flick that does nothing new, but which revels in the subgenre (!) to pleasing one-ping-only effect. Makes maximum use of an old Russian vessel for its principal location.

Underwater (2020, dir. William Ewbank)

A deep underwater drilling platform is compromised; survivors try to escape. Derivative but effective SF/horror piece, taking Alien and sequels as its jumping-off point. Well-designed, with some solid jumpscares and a sturdy lead performance. Pleasingly efficient throughout, if by no means a game-changer.

The Rhythm Section (2020, dir. Reed Morano)

A lost young woman is trained as an assassin to avenge her parents’ terrorism-related deaths. Solid thriller mashing up La Femme Nikita with a comicbook origin story. Lively is a great lead and good technical credits help (there’s a fine one-shot car chase), though the script is rote, and there’s clumsy use of pop song scoring.