True History of the Kelly Gang (2019, dir. Justin Kurzel)

The life of an Australian outlaw, as narrated to his child. An excellent adaptation of the Peter Carey novel, with strong performances and a distinctive visual approach. The best movie version of the Ned Kelly story to date, and a strong arty outback Western in its own right. Recommended.

Game Night (2018, dir. John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein)

A competitive couple’s regular game night goes awry. Well-sustained comedy of murder-mystery-meets-real-life errors with a smart cast and generally solid script, plus some pizazz in the execution. Undemanding fun if you go with it.

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Trick (2019, dir. Patrick Lussier)

A Fed and a cop become obsessed over a mass murderer who reappears each Halloween. The movie starts well, though gets bogged down by Act 3 because it can’t finesse its tricky reveal while still staging multiple splattery deaths and referencing all the horror films it can think of. Over-edited, flawed, but not uninteresting.

Body Cam (2020, dir. Malik Vitthal)

A bereaved patrol officer investigates the cover-up of a child’s death, and the police killings that ensue. Flawed but fascinating horror/procedural that explores cop-on-black murder and the need for justice through genre-heavy allegory, drawing on J-horror and found-footage elements as well as from Candyman. Worth your 90 minutes.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) [AKA Birds of Prey / Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey] (2020, dir. Cathy Yan)

Harley Quinn, now no longer enjoying The Joker’s protection, is both the target of vengeful Gotham criminals and embroiled in a quest for a diamond. Dayglo spinoff of Suicide Squad with some verve in its playing, direction, action choreography and design. It wants to be a female-led Deadpool, but is let down somewhat by an under-par script.

Blue Story (2019, dir. Rapman)

London teens become inexorably drawn into turf warfare, and the violence that comes with it. Straightforward though vivid and confident debut, keenly balancing school and street, the ordinary world and the futility of revenge. Lots to admire, not least the use of music and fourth wall breaking throughout; writer-director Rapman is one to watch. Recommended.

Searching (2018, dir. Aneesh Chaganty)

A father searches his missing daughter’s online life for clues about her disappearance. Smart, precise, and well-sustained evolution of the found-footage movie, with its storytelling conceit backed up by a solid mystery and a good lead performance. Recommended.

Gomorrah (2008, dir. Matteo Garrone)

Five sets of lives criss-cross, linked by Camorra gang-related activity in the same Naples housing project. Based on a non-fiction expose, this is an astonishing piece of work: heartfelt, brutal, unsympathetic. The ages of man, scattered between the stories. The best of its type this side of City of God.

Slayground (1983, dir. Terry Bedford)

After a heist goes wrong, a hunted thief flees the States to England, where a favour is owed. Though it starts and ends strongly, looks good, and has a grimy post-industrial feel throughout, a saggy middle act and clunky plotting flaw this adaptation of the Richard Stark novel. Plenty of TV faces in support though, plus a climax shot at Southport and Blackpool pleasure beaches.

Villain (2020, dir. Philip Barantini)

A career criminal tries to go straight, but his wayward brother’s debts force him back into crime. Modest but effective East End gangsterism, with a melancholy touch and a strong central performance. No surprises, but there’s talent in the writing and direction, and Fairbrass shows that he can be subtle.