The Matrix Resurrections (2021, dir. Lana Wachowski)

A computer games designer discovers he’s in a simulation. Meta belated sequel with some fun ideas about reboots, too much clumsy cod philosophy, and plenty of decent performances. However, poor action staging, awkward recasting of key roles, and weak storytelling undo good intentions.

Here’s the trailer.

Moonfall (2022, dir. Roland Emmerich)

A conspiracist discovers the moon is on a collision course with Earth. Cheerfully shambolic SF disaster flick, cribbing from across the genre from Contact to The Core as well as from the director’s back catalogue. A sturdy cast of B-listers helps, with John Bradley being especially good value.

Here’s the trailer.

Dune: Chapter One (2021, dir. Denis Villeneuve)

A desert planet with a fabled resource is given new custodians: a messiah figure may be among them. Impressive if slightly po-faced partial adaptation (Part Two is to come) of the Frank Herbert allegorical SF classic. Takes its time: the pacing is televisual rather than cinematic. However, it looks great, and a good cast plays to their strengths.

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

Resident Evil [AKA Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City] (2021, dir. Johannes Roberts)

A young woman returns to her hometown: a zombie-like outbreak occurs. This 90s-set series reboot draws from the franchise’s early video games. And that’s about it. A murky and confused action/horror flick with little clear idea about what to do with the property, or why bother.

Here’s the trailer.

Reminiscence (2021, dir. Lisa Joy)

A memory technician becomes obsessed with a nightclub singer. Somewhat laboured SF noir, indebted to Blade Runner, Chinatown, and – er – Who Framed Roger Rabbit, saddled with po-faced script and narration. Some visual stuff works (there’s one genuine moment of wonder) but the central mystery and its importance is bungled.

Here’s the trailer.

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (2022, dir. Richard Linklater)

The imaginative son of a NASA administrator reminiscences about his late-1960s Florida suburban childhood. Gentle, charming, if slight rotoscoped semi-autobiographical movie. The space mission stuff is pretty much simply a hook to hang the nostalgia on. Not that this is a bad thing in this case. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

The Adam Project (2022, dir. Shawn Levy)

A bullied 12-year-old is visited by his older self, now a time fugitive. Cheerful if overstuffed SF comedy, brazen in its lifts from everything 80s from ET to Firefox via Return of the Jedi. A decent cast play to their strengths and the movie gets by on its own through having its heart more or less on its sleeve throughout.

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.

Black Friday (2021, dir. Casey Tebo)

Workers at a big box toy store come under siege from alien-infested zombie-ish shoppers. Sprightly modest 80s horror-comedy homage to The Thing and The Blob via Romero. Doesn’t quite hang together, but there’s some decent jokes plus game playing from DTV legends Bruce Campbell and Michael Jai White.

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.