The Batman (2022, dir. Matt Reeves)

A reclusive vigilante meets his nemesis. Skilful if lengthy revisiting of the caped crusader, here early in his career and focused at least in part on actual detective work. Impressive and never less than proficient throughout in a Seven-ish kinda way, if not exactly necessary. A confident walk down a well-worn path.

Here’s the trailer.

Last Seen Alive [AKA Chase] (2022, dir. Brian Goodman)

A woman goes missing at a truck stop: her estranged husband searches. Perfunctory thriller that’s unsure what to do with its Breakdown-ish setup, opting for linearity over complexity: there’s never doubt that Gerry Butler – for it is he – is anything other than a good guy. Stops rather than ends: a bit of a disappointment.

Here’s the trailer.

Shark Bait [AKA Jetski] (2022, dir. James Nunn)

Students on spring break are menaced by a great white when their stolen jetskis malfunction. Solid little group jeopardy thriller with horror elements, maximising its well-worn premise through decent direction and not-bad production values. Achieves all of its intentions.

Here’s the trailer.

Scream [AKA Scream 5] (2022, dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett)

25 years after the original Woodsboro killings, a new series of murders. Cheerily meta sequel / reboot / remake, better with the self-aware jokes than with real suspense, despite a couple of inventive moments. Hard to care about the new cast or the murder-mystery element though, which robs the movie of impetus.

Here’s the trailer.

The Contractor (2022, dir. Tarek Saleh)

A discharged veteran with money problems reluctantly takes on a private contracting job. Terse thriller with action elements: the cast’s good, the action is handled in a no-nonsense manner, and there’s a pleasing downbeat tone. No surprises, but a decent programmer with subtext about post-military lives.

Here’s the trailer.

GI Joe Origins: Snake Eyes [AKA Snake Eyes] (2021, dir. Robert Schwentke)

A martial artist seeking revenge for his father’s death joins a yakuza clan. While it looks good, this is an oddly pointless reboot with muddy, incoherent action, the wasting of some decent onscreen talent, and a miscast lead. Golding can be great, but he’s more George Clooney than the Sho Kusugi that the role needs.

Here’s the trailer.

Bull (2021, dir. Paul Andrew Williams)

A gangster’s lackey returns after a decade presumed dead to get revenge. Excellent, bleak, driven thriller/horror hybrid. Strong on blending blue-collar realism and genre thrills, so much that its potential excesses are entirely justified in-world. The best movie of its kind since Dead Man’s Shoes or Killing Me Softly.

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.

Death On The Nile (2022, dir. Kenneth Branagh)

Hercule Poirot joins a wedding party in Egypt: murder follows. This second Branagh Agatha Christie adaptation suffers like its predecessor from plasticky production values, over-direction, and a too-serious approach to the material. It livens up eventually, but the Ustinov version is still way more fun.

Here’s the trailer:

Blacklight (2022, dir. Mark Williams)

A veteran FBI agent becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving the murder of a politician. Straightforward thriller with a couple of minor plot wrinkles and some decent lo-fi action and stuntwork. No game-changer, but works well enough within its self-imposed limitations.

Here’s the trailer.