James vs. His Future Self (2019, dir. Jeremy LaLonde)

A socially-awkward physicist is visited by a future version of himself. Smart little romantic comedy with SF elements. Crucially, it doesn’t overplay the time travel elements, but uses them to tell a straightforward but charming story. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer:

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020, dir. McG [Joseph McGinty])

Two years after the traumatic events of the first film, Judah finds himself still struggling to be believed. Zippy sequel that expands on, rather than rehashes, its predecessor (which it’d be useful to see immediately prior). More gore slapstick than horror flick, this is a fun and pleasantly inconsequential ride.

Here’s the trailer.

Corporate Animals (2019, dir. Patrick Brice)

A team-building weekend goes awry when colleagues are trapped in a cave. Poor entry in the office politics horror-comedy sub-genre, with a decent cast struggling with under-powered scripting, direction, and lighting choices. There’s nice Gary Sinise and Britney Spears running gags, but that’s about it.

Here’s the trailer.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015, dir. John Madden)

Sonny and Sunaina are to be married, but complications arise when an expansion plan is threatened. With the hotel residents’ stories pretty much told in the first movie, this sequel struggles to justify itself, lifting instead the plot of a Fawlty Towers episode. Still, fans won’t complain, plus Richard Gere twinkles in support.

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.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019, dir. Richard Phelan & Will Becher)

A stranded alien causes havoc at Mossy Bottom Farm. Aardman does ET, basically. And pretty well, too. This second Shaun movie is gorgeous-looking, as English as tuppence, has a high gag-to-minute ratio, and enough genre shout-outs to please the most demanding of SF faithful. The best flick of its type since, oh, Paddington 2.

The Banana Splits Movie (2019, dir. Danishka Esterhazy)

Animatronic children’s TV characters from a long-running series come to murderous life during a show recording. A couple of plot niggles aside, this is generally a fun revisiting of the 60s show, updated a la Fantasy Island via Westworld. Could be darker in places, but matters are set up well for sequels.

Aquaslash (2019, dir. Renaud Gauthier)

High school graduates partying at a run-down waterpark are targeted for murder. This 80s throwback horror gets a lot of its incidentals right, but takes an age to deliver on its single promise, and ultimately makes little sense. Still, there’s some good work here, even if this is a solitary idea for a short stretched to feature-length.

Two Heads Creek (2019, dir. Jesse O’Brien)

Adopted twins flee Brexit Britain searching for their birth mother, apparently living in a remote Australian township. Scattershot horror-comedy in need of a second script-editing opinion. Competently made, and with glimmers of focus and satire, making the film all the more frustrating to sit through.