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.

Thunder Force (2021, dir. Ben Falcone)

Mismatched former best friends become superheroes after a laboratory mishap. Perhaps the most perfunctorily-plotted movie in recent history. McCarthy reprises her brash/embarrassed working class schtick, and there’s a few decent song-based jokes. A strong cast helps: Jason Bateman’s enjoying himself.

Here’s the trailer.

Possessor (2020, dir. Brandon Cronenberg)

An assassin able to take over others’ bodies to complete her mission struggles with reality and control. Cold but impressive arthouse thriller with SF/horror elements, updating themes familiar from Cronenberg senior’s work. Great performances, though not a movie for a relaxing Friday night.

Here’s the trailer.

Carry On Screaming! (1966, dir. Gerald Thomas)

A missing person case leads a detective to a mysterious house and its alluring resident. Generally effective and accurate parody of Hammer’s gothic adaptations (touching on Frankenstein, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Jekyll/Hyde and Mummy pics, with wax museum antics thrown in. Guesting stars Harry H Corbett and Fenella Fielding add some variety too.

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 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.