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.

Skyscraper (2018, dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber)

An ex-FBI agent turned security consultant must rescue his family from a high-tech skyscraper overrun by fire and criminals. Derivative though passable tosh, mashing up Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. Johnson as charismatic as ever, though he’s ill-served by a rote script.

Second and third opinions required?

Apostle (2018, dir. Gareth Evans)

A vengeful brother tries to rescue his kidnapped sister from an island cult. Splendid British Western/The¬†Wicker Man hybrid, parts folk horror and grand guignol. Not for everyone, that’s for sure, but great if you go with it.

Want a second opinion? Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s point of view.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018, dir. David Yates)

After Grindelwald escapes, Newt Scamander is asked to track him and the still-alive Clarence down. Patchy Part II of the Harry Potter prequel series has too much set-up and not enough story, and some awkwardness with character and plot inconsistencies. For indulgent fans only.