Palm Springs (2020, dir. Max Barbakow)

A man is resigned to being stuck in a temporal loop at a wedding. Solid SF/fantasy comedy with sharp edges. Smart playing, a find soundtrack, and enough diversion from the Groundhog Day template all helps, as does a pleasingly amoral streak. JK Simmons and Dale Dickey are along for the ride.

Here’s the trailer.

Rocketman (2019, dir. Dexter Fletcher)

Biopic of Elton John, charting his rise to fame and his struggles with success, leading to addiction and recovery. And a chirpy fantasia it is too, daft and jolly and waspish and excessive enough to hint at the real Reg/Elton, while its involved producer/subject settles some scores along the way.

Here’s the trailer.

Roald Dahl’s The Witches [AKA The Witches] (2020, dir. Robert Zemeckis)

An orphan is raised by his grandmother, who warns him about witches who are all-too-real. This second version is less spiky than the 1990 Nic Roeg-directed attempt, but still balances child-centric adventure and a dark sensibility: the Americanisation works well, even if the story’s still a touch contrived.

Here’s the trailer. And here’s another review.

Stargate (1994, dir. Roland Emmerich)

An ancient Egyptian artefact proves to access a wormhole to a distant planet: a team investigates. Cheerfully unpretentious blockbuster, nicking bits of business from everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Aliens via Erich von Daniken. A great David Arnold score and a solid cast help no end.

Here’s the trailer.

The Monster Squad (1987, dir. Fred Dekker)

A group of monster-obsessed pre-teens have to face off against a gallery of Universal Studios villains. Straightforward and very contrived sub-Spielbergian kid adventure post-ET/The Goonies. Some of it works well, and the creature effects evidence love, but too much is perfunctory tick-box stuff that’s being rushed through.

Here’s the trailer.

The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud [AKA Max Cloud] (2020, dir. Martin Owen)

1990: a Brooklyn teenager is transported inside the 2D platform scrolling game she’s playing. Fun little space-based riff on the Jumanji movies, made with care and with an eye to maximising limited resources. A decent script and performances help, not least DTV action star Adkins enjoying spoofing himself.

Here’s the trailer.

Next (2007, dir. Lee Tamahori)

A Las Vegas stage magician with the ability to see into the near future is hunted by both the FBI and terrorists. High concept SF fantasy loosely based on a Philip K Dick story. The plot doesn’t really hang together, but as a series of chases, bluffs, and timey-wimey tricks, this is more than passable escapism.

Here’s the trailer.

Bill & Ted Face The Music (2020, dir. Dean Parisot)

The now middle-aged Wyld Stallyns have to travel the multiverse to save reality, their daughters, and their marriages. Unnecessary but still welcome threequel, with enough of a spin on the same plot as twice before to pass muster. Everyone’s having fun, and Winter is especially good.

Here’s the trailer.

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991, dir. Pete Hewitt)

Bill and Ted are threatened from the future: they journey to heaven and hell to save themselves, their princesses, and humanity. Solid sequel with just enough differentiation from before to keep matters fresh. William Sandler is great as a not so-grim Reaper. A belated third movie followed.

Here’s the trailer.

The New Mutants (2020, dir. Josh Boone)

A young woman finds herself in a secure institution with four other teens, each with mutant powers. Horror-infused X-Men spinoff with a young adult spin: OK as far as it goes, though it’s talky, unfocused, and doesn’t really have a plot. Feels more like a TV series pilot than a self-contained movie (two sequels were planned).

Here’s the trailer.