Worth (2020, dir. Sara Colangelo)

A lawyer works to devise a system to compensate the families of 9/11 victims. Strong, sober moral quandary drama based on a true story, anchored by excellent performances and sensitive direction. No surprises, perhaps, but nevertheless a decent, robust drama of the old school. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Moneyball (2011, dir. Bennett Miller)

A baseball team manager tries an unorthodox approach to player selection. Based on the Michael Lewis non-fiction account, this is a riveting sports drama from perhaps unpromisingly uncinematic – though excellent – source material. A smart script, understated playing, and keen observational direction make this a modern classic. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Silk Road (2021, dir. Tiller Russell)

A tech wiz develops an online trading portal for drugs: a burnout agent begins to investigate. Loosely based on a true story, this thriller/drama plays off opposites – digital/analogue, young/old – to generally OK if at-times soapy effect. No real surprises, but some effective playing from a decent cast. Paul Walter Hauser shines in a key supporting role.

Here’s the trailer.

The Outpost (2020, dir. Rod Lurie)

A remote US facility in 2006 Northern Afghanistan is attacked by Taliban forces. Based on true events, this is a generally even-handed attempt to tell a base-under-siege story (from the Jake Tapper book): strong on camaraderie and on the chaos of conflict, using pseudo-documentary elements to add clarity.

Here’s the trailer:

Out Of Print (2014, dir. Julia Marchese)

A documentary about revival cinema (and the need for there to be 35mm prints of movies), focusing on the New Beverly cinema in Los Angeles. A straightforward but charming little film about cinema, the communal experience of watching together, and about movie-going. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Echo Boomers (2020, dir. Seth Savoy)

A young man is recruited by this Chicago-based cousin for a series of art heists. Okay though too-slick-for-its-own-good thievery thriller, enlivened by a Michael Shannon supporting role and by some confidence in its execution, despite a lack of actual story.

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.

The Dig (2021, dir. Simon Stone)

1939. With England on the cusp of war, an excavator is hired for a private archaeological dig. Good-looking and well-acted though slight reimagining of the Sutton Hoo site discovery, hampered by a busy script that doesn’t care to fillet the source novel to make a film-shaped story.

Here’s the trailer.

Class Action Park (2020, dir. Seth Porges & Chris Charles Scott III)

A documentary on Action Park, a notoriously dangerous New Jersey amusement park, and on its charismatic criminal owner. A straightforward and largely enjoyable overview, though one that struggles to balance the human impact of negligence with fond and at times gung-ho 80s nostalgia.

Here’s the trailer.

Death Zone: Cleaning Everest [AKA Everest Death Zone) (2018, dir. Marina Martins)

A team of Nepalese clear Everest of detritus left by climbers, while also retrieving bodies. Slightly clumsy, but well-meaning and with a strong central message, this Patrick Stewart-narrated documentary makes clear environmental points as well as commenting on wasteful adventure tourism.

Here’s the trailer.