Brave (2012, dir. Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman, with Steve Purcell)

A headstrong tomboyish princess battles with her mother when she is to be betrothed for political reasons. Perhaps the most Disneyish Pixar movie to date, Brave benefits from its focus on mother/daughter relationships and from a dark magical turn that sits awkwardly with the knockabout stuff elsewhere.

Here’s the trailer.

Die Hard 2 [AKA Die Hard 2: Die Harder] (1990, dir. Renny Harlin)

John McClane intervenes to stop mercenaries from freeing a high-value prisoner from a snowbound airport. Messy serio-comic sequel that bends over backwards to link itself to the first film. It scrapes by on residual goodwill from its predecessor, but that’s about it.

Here’s the trailer.

The Favourite (2018, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

A young woman, new at court, works to undermine her cousin and become the favoured companion of Queen Anne. Smart drama with a darkly comic sensibility, flirting between arthouse and mainstream. Excellent performances throughout, even if it bears only a passing resemblance to the actual history.

Here’s the trailer.

Transformers (2007, dir. Michael Bay)

A teenager finds he has crucial knowledge that might prevent an intergalactic war between battling robot armies. Spectacular – in the Debordian sense – SF comedy with excellent technical credits, but shot like the fever dream of a Sunny D-addled child. Excessive, and with a nasty after-taste. Four direct sequels followed.

Here’s the trailer.

The Witches (2020, Dir. Robert Zemeckis)

New likeable version of Roald Dahl’s story. A change of setting and Anne Hathaway heading up a cast having a lot of fun. Some great moments, occasional poor VFX, but otherwise fun family territory. I prefer the 1990 version but this is still worth a watch!

An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn (2018, dir. Jim Hosking)

Disparate eccentrics converge on a hotel where a special event is to take place. Deadpan crime comedy that might very well have been lots of fun to make. Some good moments from a solid cast, but this is an awkward beast that doesn’t really work.

Here’s the trailer.

Hellbenders [AKA Hellbenders 3D] (2012, dir. JT Petty)

Unorthodox priests, who sin to make themselves attractive to demons, come up against a powerful foe. Scrappy horror-comedy that isn’t as shocking as it wants to be. Game playing from a talented cast helps, but this is a grab-bag of other, better movies.

Here’s the trailer.

Sorority Row (2009, dir. Stewart Hendler)

Eight months after the prank-related killing of a fellow student, those involved are each targeted for murder. Glossy loose remake of The House on Sorority Row, with a focus as much on hotties and hunks as much as the at-times inventive deaths and whodunnit stuff. Carrie Fisher is fun in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Hubie Halloween (2020, dir. Steven Brill)

Salem’s self-appointed guardian of Halloween tries to protect the holiday despite his many bullies. A messy but fun comedy-horror from the Sandler production line. Won’t win many converts, but sly movie jokes, some heart, and a few WTF moments from a game cast all help.

Here’s the trailer.

Onward (2020, dir. Dan Scanlon)

Mismatched teen brothers in a post-magic fantasy land embark on a quest to communicate with their long-dead father. Straightforward relationship comedy/road movie with plenty of fun detail and some great animation, even if there aren’t any real surprises along the way.

Here’s the trailer.