Cannonball! [AKA Carquake] (1976, dir. Paul Bartel)

Various racers compete – and cheat – in a trans-American car race. Enjoyably ramshackle road comedy typical of the subgenre packed with lo-fi vehicle stunts, sly humour, and cameo appearances from Roger Corman’s phone book: everyone from Martin Scorsese to Sylvester Stallone shows up.

Here’s the trailer.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014, dir. Shawn Levy)

Larry, his son, and their museum friends go to London to return a magical talisman. Third time out and there are signs of franchise fatigue setting in: the new additions work best (Dan Stevens and a cameoing Hugh Jackman). Series fans won’t be disappointed, though it’s the same film as twice before in essence.

Here’s the trailer.

Promising Young Woman (2020, dir. Emerald Fennell)

A med school dropout seeks revenge on those who failed her best friend. Uneven black comedy with plenty to address about consent, bystanders, and those who pretend that they’re good guys. It doesn’t all work, but it’s worth your time, plus Mulligan is great.

Here’s the trailer.

Love and Monsters (2020, dir. Michael Matthews)

A young man journeys across giant creature-infested territory to reunite with his former girlfriend. Derivative but fun post-apocalyptic survival flick with a little heart. It borrows from everything from A Boy and his Dog to Mad Max 2 via Tremors, but still works. Michael Rooker offers serio-comic grizzle in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Palm Springs (2020, dir. Max Barbakow)

A man is resigned to being stuck in a temporal loop at a wedding. Solid SF/fantasy comedy with sharp edges. Smart playing, a fine soundtrack, and enough diversion from the Groundhog Day template all helps, as does a pleasingly amoral streak. JK Simmons and Dale Dickey are along for the ride.

Here’s the trailer.

Thunder Force (2021, dir. Ben Falcone)

Mismatched former best friends become superheroes after a laboratory mishap. Perhaps the most perfunctorily-plotted movie in recent history. McCarthy reprises her brash/embarrassed working class schtick, and there’s a few decent song-based jokes. A strong cast helps: Jason Bateman’s enjoying himself.

Here’s the trailer.

Carry On Up The Khyber (1968, dir. Gerald Thomas)

British rule in 1895 India is threatened when an embarrassing military secret leaks. Despite awkwardness (blackface used for repertory cast villains) this is the high-point of the Carry Ons, a sharp satire drawing on Kipling and siege actioners like Zulu. Still works as a comedy and as an acute portrait of the arrogance of the English, the class system, and of Empire. Of, er, ‘its time’, but recommended nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Carry On Screaming! (1966, dir. Gerald Thomas)

A missing person case leads a detective to a mysterious house and its alluring resident. Generally effective and accurate parody of Hammer’s gothic adaptations (touching on Frankenstein, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Jekyll/Hyde and Mummy pics, with wax museum antics thrown in. Guesting stars Harry H Corbett and Fenella Fielding add some variety too.

Carry On At Your Convenience [AKA Carry On Round The Bend] (1971, dir. Gerald Thomas)

A toilet factory is troubled by poor sales and industrial action. No lavatorial joke opportunity goes unpunished in this sitcom-ish patchy series entry (the 22nd), the series’ first underperformer at the box office (it makes the mistake of punching down). Of its time, to put it mildly. A couple of genius moments shine through, though the film has principal value as a social document and for exploring ideas (and locations) reused in Carry On Girls a couple of years later.

Here’s the trailer.

Roald Dahl’s The Witches [AKA The Witches] (2020, dir. Robert Zemeckis)

An orphan is raised by his grandmother, who warns him about witches who are all-too-real. This second version is less spiky than the 1990 Nic Roeg-directed attempt, but still balances child-centric adventure and a dark sensibility: the Americanisation works well, even if the story’s still a touch contrived.

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