Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, dir. Sam Raimi)

Strange and America Chavez travel the multiverse, trying to stop Scarlet Witch attaining a grimoire. Raimi brings superheroic and horror-comedy skillsets to bear on a confident slice of Marvel shenanigans: the format and aesthetics are as restricting as ever, but there’s gleeful moments nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer

Last Night in Soho (2021, dir. Edgar Wright)

A struggling new-in-London fashion student hallucinates that she’s in the 1960s. While there’s bags of confidence and style in this psychogeographic timeslip giallo-ish flick, and some fine performances, the storytelling’s awry: a rushed third act flails to get matters both properly set up and then clarified.

Here’s the trailer.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022, dir. David Yates)

With Grindelwald rising, Newt Scamander and friends try to stop a war between magicals and muggles. Plot-tastic third instalment of the inconsistent Harry Potterverse prequel series. More fan service this time around, plus a focus on getting the series wrapped up in case the projected Parts 4 and 5 disapparate. Zippy, but for diehards only really.

Here’s the trailer.

Turning Red (2022, dir. Domee Shi)

An adolescent girl finds she carries an ancient curse. Parts are great, but the central idea – a form of lycanthropy as metaphor for puberty – is bungled, and there’s a sense we should focus on the mother, not on protagonist Mei. That said, there’s some fun Backstreet Boys parodies and an ending riffing on Ghostbusters II.

Here’s the trailer.

Goblin (2020, dir. Chris Lee)

A dysfunctional family is menaced in their new suburb by a carnivorous folkloric creature. Perfunctory semi-professional monster flick, stretching what The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents might have done in 25 minutes to bare-bones feature length. For subgenre completists only.

Here’s the trailer.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021, dir. Andy Serkis)

Eddie Brock unwittingly infects a condemned killer with a symbiote. Shouty sequel which is at least brief, splashy, and has a committed central performance. Plus, it feels like a comic. Unfortunately, it’s also unfunny, nigh plotless, and wastes some considerable onscreen (mostly Brit) talent.

Here’s the trailer.

Where Time Began [AKA Journey to the Centre of the Earth] (1978, dir. Juan Piquer Simon)

A professor and friends seek to trek to the Earth’s core via a volcano. Tatty Spanish-made version of the Jules Verne classic, with a slumming Kenneth More and a few threadbare puppet/man-in-suit monsters. Livens up later when the creatures show up, but this is talky, penny-pinching stuff throughout.

Here’s the trailer.

Encanto (2021, dir. Jared Bush & Byron Howard, with Charise Castro Smith)

A Columbian family fractures when their magical powers weaken. Great-looking but derivative animation with too much tickbox Disney stuff, saddled with dull songs. Moments amuse, and the small scale gives focus, but there’s nothing here that Moana or Coco didn’t do ten times better.

Here’s the trailer.

The Suicide Squad (2021, dir. James Gunn)

Convicted DC supervillains are recruited to undertake a covert mission. Splashy flip splattery slapstick action comedy sequel, developing into a Ghostbusters variant. Some poetic moments help, though the crowded cast needs more time to breathe than can be given here.

Here’s the trailer.

The Amazing Mr Blunden (2021, dir. Mark Gatiss)

A family is invited to become caretakers of a haunted country house. Solid and entertaining second version of the story, balancing the 1972 original and Antonia Barber’s source novel The Ghosts. No surprises, perhaps, but Gatiss’s control of the material and his affection for it is well in evidence throughout.

Here’s the trailer