Black Widow (2021, dir. Cate Shortland)

Natasha Romanoff reunites with her estranged fake family to disrupt a post-Soviet Russian agent programme. Patchy Marvel SF/spy adventure (the first Phase 4 movie) awkwardly balancing dysfunctional familial bickering and action set-pieces. A strong cast helps, as does a relatively low-stakes approach and some attempts at character.

Here’s the trailer.

Infinite (2021, dir. Antoine Fuqua)

A man with mental health issues finds that he is the current incarnation of an immortal, and that a war wages for Earth’s survival. Clumsy and often incoherent Highlander / The Matrix / The Old Guard wannabe for lovers of the later Fast and the Furious movies. No-one comes out of this with much dignity. Not great at all.

Here’s the trailer.

Free Guy (2021, dir. Shawn Levy)

A man living an idealistic life finds out that he’s a non-playing character in a video game. Generally sprightly action comedy that mashes up The Truman Show and They Live to pleasing if disposable effect. No huge surprises, though there’s a few neat gags and further evidence supplied that Taika Waititi is many things but not an actor.

Here’s the trailer.

No Time to Die (2021, dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga)

A retired Bond combats the threat of a stolen bioweapon. Last of the Craig-era pics, this is the Avengers: Endgame of Bond flicks, rounding out a loose five-film arc. Less successful as a stand-alone movie, but it tries something different, Craig and a guesting Ana de Armas are both great, and there’s neat moments aplenty among the bombast and soapy stuff.

Here’s the trailer.

Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021, dir. Sion Sono)

A captured bank robber is forced to retrieve a kidnapped woman for a gang boss. A post-apocalyptic samurai/western hybrid, using a Mad Max/Escape from New York structure for all kinds of digressions. It doesn’t all work (the script is the culprit here), but it looks great in a neon Terry Gilliam kinda way, and everyone seems to be having fun.

Here’s the trailer.

Settlers (2021, dir. Wyatt Rockefeller)

An off-world family living on a desert homestead comes under attack from strangers. Episodic SF western drama. Strong technical credits and decent performances help, though story is the issue here: Moon is a clear inspiration. Nevertheless, effective as a calling card.

Here’s the trailer.

Chaos Walking (2021, dir. Doug Liman [and Fede Alvarez])

On a world where male thoughts are visualised, a young man helps a stranded female astronaut. Ham-fisted loose adaptation of Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go. OK performances help, but a cut-and-shut script and dangling subplots evidence the movie’s troubled production.

Here’s the trailer.

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021, dir. Adam Wingard)

An expedition to Earth’s hollow centre searches for a power source critical to fight the Titans. Following Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this series continuation pillages everything from At The Earth’s Core to, er, The Core. Some neat moments aside, though, this is uninvolving CG monster city battle gubbins with a decent cast stranded.

Here’s the trailer.

The Midnight Sky (2020, dir. George Clooney)

A dying physicist attempts to get a message to a returning spacecraft. Lop-sided though well-meant SF drama, an adaptation of Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. The story’s wafer-thin, so has to resort to tickbox genre jeopardy done better elsewhere. A shame, as there’s a fine, quiet drama here somewhere.

Here’s the trailer.