Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz)

A US expat nightclub owner has his neutrality threatened in wartime Morocco when confronted by his ex-lover. Splendid wartime romance/film noir/political allegory balancing cynicism, comedy and menace in equal measure. Loads of fun.

Street Kings (2008, dir. David Ayer)

An alcoholic LA detective with a reputation for violence comes under scrutiny from internal affairs. Generally solid double-cross-tastic bad cop-worse cop rough-and tumble that teeters on the brink of melodrama, but just about holds it together.

The Island (2005, dir. Michael Bay)

After discovering the truth about their existence, two clones escape their high-tech facility. Okay near-future (set in 2019) chase thriller that takes a while to get going, but then delivers in the kinetic style typical of its director.

Death on the Nile (1978, dir. John Guillermin)

Hercule Poirot holidays in Egypt; murder is soon afoot. Quasi-sequel to Murder on the Orient Express. Breezy escapist fun with a rich cast of character actors and bright young things hamming/preening respectively, though its clumsy treatment of non-whites plays as racist rather than as innocent comic relief.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974, dir. Sidney Lumet)

Hercule Poirot finds himself in the middle of an elaborate onboard murder. Classy all-star version of the Agatha Christie warhorse. The business of the plot makes in-depth characterisation problematic, but everyone gets their moment to shine, with no resorting to the opening out of the recent Branagh version.

Spy Game (2001, dir. Tony Scott)

A veteran spy on his last day at the CIA works to protect a compromised asset. Slick and confident thriller balancing office politics, espionage and action moments. An entertainment in the sense of the kind of film Graham Greene might have directed in the 2000s.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018, dir. Fede Alvarez)

Lisbeth Salander tracks down a stolen computer program. Well-directed but soulless Nordic thriller with a checklist of plot elements familiar to many; family secrets, code-carrying savant child, computer shenanigans. Oddly action-oriented, which misses the point of the source material.