No Sudden Move (2021, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

Two criminals are hired for a straightforward job: matters get complicated. Excellent period drama, using the tropes of noir to critique capitalism and corporate greed. Lots to relish, not least a cast in depth, plus slick, confident direction, writing, and design. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

No Time to Die (2021, dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga)

A retired Bond combats the threat of a stolen bioweapon. Last of the Craig-era pics, this is the Avengers: Endgame of Bond flicks, rounding out a loose five-film arc. Less successful as a stand-alone movie, but it tries something different, Craig and a guesting Ana de Armas are both great, and there’s neat moments aplenty among the bombast and soapy stuff.

Here’s the trailer.

Under the Silver Lake (2018, dir. David Robert Mitchell)

An LA slacker investigates a neighbour’s disappearance: he soon spirals into a web of conspiracy. In the overlap of the Hitchcock / Pynchon / Paul Thomas Anderson Venn diagram, this 2011-set shaggy dog neo-noir is more a vibe than a movie: there’s indulgent pleasures along the way, but don’t expect a cohesive story.

Here’s the trailer.

Kate (2021, dir. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan)

A Tokyo-based assassin has 24 hours to get revenge on the yakuza chief who fatally poisoned her. The 1940s noir D.O.A., basically, as a stylised action movie. Okay as far as it goes, though the rote script and a fetishized approach to Japanese pop culture detracts from Mary Elizabeth Winstead badassery and intermittently-terrific action choreography.

Here’s the trailer.

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021, dir. Adam Wingard)

An expedition to Earth’s hollow centre searches for a power source critical to fight the Titans. Following Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this series continuation pillages everything from At The Earth’s Core to, er, The Core. Some neat moments aside, though, this is uninvolving CG monster city battle gubbins with a decent cast stranded.

Here’s the trailer.

Soapdish (1991, dir. Michael Hoffman)

Machinations behind the scenes of a daytime soap opera. One key moment aside (a plot twist that doesn’t hold nowadays), this is a sprightly camp farce with everyone in on the joke and strength in depth in the cast and playing. Something of a time capsule, but there’s plenty of fun here to be had nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Jolt (2021, dir. Tanya Wexler)

A woman who controls her extreme anger issues via a high-tech electrical device investigates a murder. Poor sub-Crank action-comedy: a decent cast helps (several in one-set cameos), but (some OK) quips, poor action, over-direction, the world’s most guessable villain, and stagey visuals don’t. Feels like a TV pilot: has that Nu Boyana aesthetic.

Here’s the trailer.

Fear Street: 1666 [AKA Fear Street Part Three: 1666] (2021, dir. Leigh Janiak)

The final part of the trilogy: events and characters between 1994 and 1666 are linked. A messy finale saddled with an offstage villain, variable accents, a weird lack of interest in its potentially-good ideas, and an hour of padding. Not great at all: precisely one interesting visual moment.

Here’s the trailer.

Fear Street: 1994 [AKA Fear Street Part One: 1994] (2021, dir. Leigh Janiak)

Teens in a rundown community are attacked by the latest incarnation of a cyclic horror. The first of a linked trilogy, this feels like a feature-length series opener, though settles after lumpen exposition into an OK riff on Scream via IT, while promising a more involved story. A fresh cast helps, though there’s nothing particularly new here.

Here’s the trailer.

The Ice Road (2021, dir. Jonathan Hensleigh)

Trucker brothers transport key equipment over treacherous ice roads to rescue trapped miners. Straightforward thriller with action elements, riffing on Hawksian reality TV and The Wages of Fear. Somewhat perfunctory in plotting and direction, though a decent cast, location shooting, and some character elements add value.

Here’s the trailer.