Abduction (2019, dir. Ernie Barbarash)

Two men work to find missing family members; an interdimensional conspiracy is revealed. Modest Vietnam-set martial arts action with an SF/fantasy twist. No dafter than, say, Doctor Strange, but interesting to see attempted at this budget level. Very competent fight choreography is the selling point here. Ignore the poster; nothing to do with the movie!

Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018, dir. Rich Moore & Phil Johnston)

Ralph and Vanellope quest online to find a spare part for a games console. Overlong sequel that uses its premise to support an extended (though fun) riff on existing Disney properties. Some sly jokes get through, but this is a product placement-tastic, overstuffed continuation that exposes the limits of its setup and its nominal lead character.

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Wreck-It Ralph (2012, dir. Rich Moore)

A videogame character abandons his console to prove that he has worth. Toy Story/Tron mashup that generally works despite the conceptual awkwardness of its conceit. Plenty of game in-jokes and references, some nice gags, lovely design elements, and a splendid villainous performance from Alan Tudyk, riffing on Ed Wynn. A sequel followed.

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island [AKA Fantasy Island] (2020, dir. Jeff Wadlow)

Five people arrive at an island resort where they are each promised their fantasy can come true. Horror-tinged revisiting of the 70s TV show, that plays initially like an Amicus/EC anthology. It doesn’t all work, but there’s plenty going on, and the cast of game character actors is a smart approach.

The Old Guard (2020, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Near-immortal warriors induct a new recruit, while being hunted for their DNA. Patchy superhero-ish flick from a graphic novel. The film can’t decide whose story this is, telling the veteran’s and the newbie’s, rather than focusing. The result is overlong and slow, but with strong moments, a badass declaration of love, and some solid action.

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.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987, dir. George Miller)

Three friends accidentally conjure a priapic demon. Fun loose adaptation of the John Updike novel, offering four meaty roles for enthusiastic players. Nicholson is controlled, all are having fine time, and Miller’s direction is elegant throughout. A good job done all around.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir. John Carpenter)

A blowhard trucker finds himself in the middle of a magical conflict in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Still-fun mock-heroic action fantasy, with some respect for its influences and its tongue in its cheek throughout. If you go with it, this is still a great 100 minutes, though inevitably it’s not for all.

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The Hole in the Ground (2019, dir. Lee Cronin)

A young woman comes to believe her son is not who he claims to be. Smart, well-acted, and great-looking paranoid horror/fantasy with a strong central performance and the skills throughout to do a simple thing well. Lots to enjoy and to admire here. Both director Cronin and star Kerslake are ones to watch. Recommended.

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019, dir. Jake Kasdan)

Spencer and friends – and others – return to Jumanji. Okay threequel (part 4 if you count Zathura) that focuses on action-comedy and on bodyswap gags rather than plot. Oldsters De Vito and Glover add some kvetchy class, and series newcomer Awkwafina is a standout. CG is variable, but interesting design elements and some affection for the characters helps things along.

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