True Romance (1993, dir. Tony Scott)

A pop-culture geek finds true love and a suitcase of cocaine. A modern fairy story, an ode to the movies, and a movie nerd’s fantasy script come together; riffing on Malick’s Badlands and wearing its references on its sleeve, True Romance stands up well to this day, and has a cast of up-and-comers and veterans to die dor.

Domino (2019, dir. Brian De Palma)

A Copenhagen detective tracks down the terrorist responsible for his partner’s death. By-the-numbers thriller with a few flourishes typical of its director (a Vertigo reference here, a fascination with screens and technology) but also a flat script and a lack of enthusiasm for its rote story and characters throughout.

Dragged Across Concrete (2018, dir. S. Craig Zahler)

Two suspended detectives needing money plan to hijack the proceeds of a crime. Slow-burn minimalist neo-noir procedural thriller that takes time with its characters, allowing you to understand – if not agree with – their actions. Long, but enthralling, and brutal at times. Recommended.

Booksmart (2019, dir. Olivia Wilde)

Awkward best friends decide to let go of their insecurities the night before their high school graduation. Splendid and funny reworking of well-trampled material; a coming-of-age / rite-of-passage / night-from-hell story done right, and both played and directed with a keen sense of the subgenres. Recommended.

Scrooge (1935, dir. Henry Edwards)

A miser is haunted by a series of ghosts, so he may rethink his approach to Christmas and life. A charming adaptation of the oft-filmed Dickens novella A Christmas Carol, capturing a famous stage portrayal. Some lovely model effects and a keen visual sensibility; a touch of expressionism and a feel for the period on display here.

Paradise Now (2005, dir. Hany Abu-Assad)

Two Palestinian friends are recruited for a next-day suicide mission into Tel Aviv. Intelligent drama with a few darkly comic touches; everyone has their reasons. The film works hard not to moralise, focusing on depiction and explanation, without asserting wider truth-value to its characters’ actions and beliefs.

Night Hunter [AKA Nomis] (2018, dir. David Raymond)

An obsessed detective and a former judge work together to track an abductor of young women. Messy blend of a hundred different thrillers, bolstered by a great cast doing good work in wintry conditions. Watchable, but curious; the script on paper must have been greater than the end result.