Wrinkles the Clown (2019, dir. Michael Beach Nichols)

The story of an online sensation: a clown you can pay to scare your children. Solid documentary (which flirts with the extent to which it might be fictional, an art project, or something else) that explores memes, contemporary media folk devils, coulrophobia, parenting, “behavioural services”, and more.

True History of the Kelly Gang (2019, dir. Justin Kurzel)

The life of an Australian outlaw, as narrated to his child. An excellent adaptation of the Peter Carey novel, with strong performances and a distinctive visual approach. The best movie version of the Ned Kelly story to date, and a strong arty outback Western in its own right. Recommended.

New Town Utopia (2018, dir. Christopher Ian Smith)

A documentary about the new town of Basildon in Essex, focusing on its modernist post-war architecture, the utopian ideas underpinning new towns, and social issues generated via unintended consequences. Hopeful in the ways it seeks positives, finding value in art, expression, and subcultures; there’s lots to appreciate here.

Filmworker (2017, dir. Tony Zierra)

A documentary about Leon Vitali, who turned from acting in Barry Lyndon – abandoning an established career – to become director Stanley Kubrick’s amanuensis from the mid-70s on. Fascinating case study of fan-worship and obsessions, of the tolls that they can take, and of the centrality of lived experience to cinematic legacy. Recommended.

Il Divo (2008, dir. Paolo Sorrentino)

Three years in the life of Italian politician Giulio Andreotti as his career collapses. A dazzling, swaggering, operatic approach to its unpromising-sounding subject matter pays dividends, as Sorrentino finds ways to unlock a private man. A touch impenetrable without knowledge of the actual events, but remarkable nevertheless.

The Big Short (2015, dir. Adam McKay)

Drama-documentary explaining the 07/08 financial crash. A chirpy well-cast flick taking a fourth-wall-tastic approach to explain itself as it goes. Ever-so-slightly pleased with itself, this is nevertheless fun, entertaining, and actually shows how and why what went wrong, and the lessons that weren’t learned.

Ford v Ferrari [AKA Le Mans ’66] (2019, dir. James Mangold)

Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles collaborate on a car to take on Ferrari for Ford at Le Mans. Old-fashioned, well-made and undeniably stirring, this is nevertheless a conventional sports drama that can’t quite convince in its attempt to tell an underdog story. Still, it’s fun, has a great if showy Christian Bale performance, and is blokey as hell.

An Accidental Studio (2019, dir. Bill Jones, Kim Leggatt & Ben Timlett)

The rise and fall of Handmade Films. Linear documentary – reliant on talking heads, clips, and archive interviews – charting George Harrison and Denis O’Brien’s company; in doing so, offering a potted history of 80s British cinema, and of the making of some key movies (Time Bandits, Withnail & I, Mona Lisa¬†etc) of that period.

The Wildest Dream (2010, dir. Anthony Geffen)

Two mountaineers attempt a re-creation of the 1924 Mallory/Irvine Everest expedition. Generally-effective documentary (with perhaps-recreated scenes as well as some dramatisation) that tells the story of the original attempt while also covering the 1999 emulation; the experiment indicates Mallory and Irvine could have completed the ascent.

How Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018, dir. Marielle Heller)

A desperate writer turns to forging literary letters. Excellent melancholic comedy-drama, anchored by two great central performances and by sensitive writing and direction. Lots to appreciate, though the tone might be too downbeat for some.