Beckett (2021, dir. Ferdinando Cito Filomarino)

An American tourist in Greece goes on the run after he becomes embroiled in a conspiracy. Somewhat baggy old-school (think Frantic) Euro-thriller mixing up kidnapping, corrupt cops, and political protests. The location work is great, but there’s a lack of urgency and – Boyd Holbrook aside – no sense that this is a genre movie.

Here’s the trailer.

Texas Killing Fields (2011, dir. Amy Canaan Mann)

Detectives struggle with a series of murders. Based very loosely on real-world unsolved crimes, this noir-ish thriller can’t decide whether to go for procedural or for obsessive cop angst. It tries both, and so doesn’t gel. Decent performances from an up-and-coming cast and an OK look make this a not-uninteresting curio though.

Here’s the trailer.

V/H/S (2012, dir. Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Radio Silence)

A horror anthology, linked by the contents of a video tape. Overlong (there’s a short movie too much) and at times repetitive, this is nevertheless a generally solid found-footage horror compilation, even if the dudebro-ness on display doesn’t always translate into critique. Two standout stories and the interesting credits (acting and direction) make it worth your while. Sequels followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman (2021, dir. Jon Spira)

A documentary about now-veteran stuntmen from the UK. Straightforward but fascinating tribune to the likes of Ray Austin, Vic Armstrong, Jim Dowdall, Rocky Taylor, Nosher Powell and Paul Weston: familiar names – if not faces – from TV and movies. A niche and worthwhile, backed with plenty of clips and a a geezerish Ray Winstone narration.

Here’s the trailer.

Revenge (2017, dir. Coralie Fargeat)

A young woman, left for dead in the desert by three misogynist hunters, seeks revenge. Tremendous lean horror/thriller with arthouse elements. Confident, thrilling and both subversive of and working within subgenre tropes throughout. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer. And another review.

Nomadland (2021, dir. Chloé Zhao)

A middle-aged widow, now living in a van, takes to the road. Excellent observant drama – with documentary elements – of loss, love, the human impacts of economic failure, and of the melancholy of the highway. Hugely impressive: the best movie of its like since Leave No Trace. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb (2020, dir. James Tovell)

A documentary covering a season’s dig at Saqqara outside Cairo, focusing on the tomb of Wahtye. Excellent, compassionate, and detailed overview of an archaeological dig, keen to emphasis the humanity of the participants and links between Egypt’s ancient past and its present. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Curvature (2017, dir. Diego Hallivis)

A bereaved woman investigates the circumstances surrounding her partner’s suicide, which may be linked to his temporal physics work. Initially-intriguing SF thriller which refocuses midway into something much less compelling. Kudos for not always doing the obvious, but a frustrating watch nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Jiu Jitsu (2020, dir. Dimitri Logothetis)

An amnesic warrior monk is Earth’s chosen defender against an alien fighter. Ambitious though slightly tatty would-be martial comic-book arts epic. Plenty of fights (though little actual jiu jitsu) and some guest stars (Cage, Grillo, Jaa) in supporting roles: it’s basically a low-budget riff on Predator, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Friedkin Uncut (2020, dir. Francesco Zippel)

A documentary on film director William Friedkin, centred on interviews with its subject. Very pleasant overview of Friedkin’s work and perspective on filmmaking, supported by focuses on his 1970s output in particular. No huge surprises, and little criticism, but a decent watch nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.