Upgrade (2018, dir. Leigh Whannell)

An augmented car mechanic tracks down the men who killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair. Fast, fun and brutal SF/horror hybrid with an excellent physical lead performance and lots to recommend it. The kinda genre movie they don’t often make any more.


 

Deadpool 2 (2018, dir. David Leitch)

After the death of his girlfriend, Deadpool finds redemption in protecting a young mutant. Confident sequel with the same approach as before, mixing cartoony violence, baroque language and metatextual gags.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [AKA National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday] (1989, dir. Jeremiah Chechik)

The Griswolds invite their extended family for Christmas, triggering an escalating comedy of errors. The best of the Vacation movies, this balances slapstick and subversion, with enough dark moments to give the movie substance.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946, dir. Frank Capra)

A suicidal man is shown there’s hope by an angel-in-training. Peerless Christmas fantasy riffing on A Christmas Carol. Just about note-perfect throughout.

We Bought A Zoo (2011, dir. Cameron Crowe)

A widowed father buys a run-down zoo, and battles to have it open in time for the summer. Sunny-enough feelgood comedy/drama/romance with absolutely no surprises but some neat moments and an impeccable – if over-used – soundtrack.

Toy Story 3 (2010, dir. Lee Unkrich)

Woody, Buzz and the others are donated to a nursery when Andy leaves home for college. The franchise goes for a fascinating prison break twist in its story focus, while both pulling on heartstrings and getting good laughs. Recommended.

The Christmas Chronicles (2018, dir. Clay Kaytis)

After setting a trap to catch Santa, two squabbling siblings have to help him save Christmas. Patchy Yuletide offering with few surprises. Russell does what he can with an indifferent script, but this is no classic.