The Little Things (2021, dir. John Lee Hancock)

A veteran cop and an ambitious detective collaborate to catch a serial killer. Well-made and acted if slightly over-familiar neo-noir with procedural aspects. Its deliberate pace and quiet style may not be for everyone, but Denzel Washington is as good as ever and LA is made to feel unfamiliar: no easy feat.

Here’s the trailer.

Rust Creek (2018, dir. Jen McGowan)

A young woman takes a wrong turn and ends up on the run from a pair of backwoods Kentucky meth dealers. An interesting take on a well-worn premise, spending as much time on character and relationships as on in-peril thriller/horror melodramatics. Lots of promise here from all involved.

Here’s the trailer.

Big Sky (2015, dir. Jorge Michel Grau)

A young woman with an agoraphobic condition is forced to get help in the desert when her vehicle is attacked. Muddled little thriller with some trippy elements. It can’t focus on the core story: the result is scattershot where it should be direct.

Here’s the trailer.

Silk Road (2021, dir. Tiller Russell)

A tech wiz develops an online trading portal for drugs: a burnout agent begins to investigate. Loosely based on a true story, this thriller/drama plays off opposites – digital/analogue, young/old – to generally OK if at-times soapy effect. No real surprises, but some effective playing from a decent cast. Paul Walter Hauser shines in a key supporting role.

Here’s the trailer.

Body Brokers (2021, dir. John Swab)

A young addict becomes involved in insurance fraud masquerading as drug treatment. Drama/thriller with documentary elements – not entirely unlike The Big Short – that’s a touch too didactic, but nevertheless interesting, well-played, sheds light on a fresh (to me, anyway) scam, and is packed with quality character actors. Director Swab’s one to watch.

Here’s the trailer.

Army of the Dead (2021, dir. Zack Snyder)

A crew is assembled to pull a vault heist against the clock in a zombie-infested Las Vegas. High-concept, messy, bloated and undisciplined action-horror. There’s a tight 95 minute flick in the material: while this is undemanding genre fun while it’s on, it’s second-hand stuff all the way.

Here’s the trailer.

Thunder Force (2021, dir. Ben Falcone)

Mismatched former best friends become superheroes after a laboratory mishap. Perhaps the most perfunctorily-plotted movie in recent history. McCarthy reprises her brash/embarrassed working class schtick, and there’s a few decent song-based jokes. A strong cast helps: Jason Bateman’s enjoying himself.

Here’s the trailer.

Die Hard 4.0 [AKA Live Free or Die Hard] (2007, dir. Len Wiseman)

John McClane and a young hacker track down a cyberterrorist. Fourth time out, the franchise has been retooled for pan-generational appeal, with muted levels of violence/language to suit. That said, it’s an entertaining analogue v digital thriller, with all digi-tropes present and some panache in the action design.

Here’s the trailer.

Galveston (2018, dir. Mélanie Laurent)

A dying criminal finds himself on the run with a young woman. Smart, low key hardscrabble crime drama from the Nic Pizzalatto novel. Can’t quite decide to go for arthouse or for jailhouse, but worth your time nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Echo Boomers (2020, dir. Seth Savoy)

A young man is recruited by this Chicago-based cousin for a series of art heists. Okay though too-slick-for-its-own-good thievery thriller, enlivened by a Michael Shannon supporting role and by some confidence in its execution, despite a lack of actual story.

Here’s the trailer.