The Terminal (2004, dir. Steven Spielberg)

After a bureaucratic foul-up leaves him stateless, a man is forced to live in an airport terminal. Well-directed comedy-drama which starts brilliantly and then gets bogged down in sub-plots and a shift from existential malaise to schmaltz.

The Assassin (2015, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien)

In 9th century Japan, a young female assassin is ordered to kill her cousin; the man she was once betrothed to. Visually-stunning wuxia arthouse (martial arthouse?) flick, more interested in painterly scenes than in traditional action thrills; still, a wonderful thing to behold. Recommended.

Live By Night (2016, dir. Ben Affleck)

The rise of a hoodlum during Prohibition. Handsome, lovingly made, but slow, baggy, and uninvolving gangster pic. Clearly a labour of love, but too indebted to its source novel’s structure to make an engaging movie, despite good moments along the way.

A Monster Calls (2016, dir. J. A. Bayona)

A creature is summoned to challenge a boy whose mother is dying. Splendid dark fantasy, equal parts The BFG/ET and something more akin to Pan’s Labyrinth, which pulls out all the emotional and VFX stops in its ultimately uplifting tale about the power of stories and truths.

In a Valley of Violence (2016, dir. Ti West)

A US Civil War veteran swears revenge on the men who killed his dog. Lean spaghetti western homage, equal parts John Wick and Pale Rider, with lots to enjoy if you’re a genre aficionado. Nothing too original, but diverting nevertheless. The cast plainly has fun.

Drone (2017, dir. Jason Bourque)

A bereaved father vows to get revenge on the drone operator who killed his family. Flawed (too soapy in places) but nevertheless interesting drama about the moralities of surveillance, drone usage, and private military contracting. Strong performances throughout.