No Sudden Move (2021, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

Two criminals are hired for a straightforward job: matters get complicated. Excellent period drama, using the tropes of noir to critique capitalism and corporate greed. Lots to relish, not least a cast in depth, plus slick, confident direction, writing, and design. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Luca (2021, dir. Enrico Casarosa)

An Italian mer-boy swims away from his boring undersea life to the 1950s surface, where he meets an exciting new friend. Sunny but slight animated adventure revisiting ideas done much better by Pixar elsewhere. Still, it looks great, there’s a lovely Sacha Baron Cohen voice cameo, and there’s openness to a gay reading of the central relationship, which is an interesting element.

Here’s the trailer.

The Death of Stalin (2017, dir. Armando Iannucci)

A power struggle ensues in the USSR when Stalin dies suddenly. Frantic black comedy which plays totalitarianism as a dark farce. Hugely impressive, with a great cast clearly having fun throughout, while making a few satirical points along the way. Recommended.

Hail, Caesar! (2016, dir, Joel & Ethan Coen)

A Hollywood fixer’s day from hell. Delirious Coen Brothers’ farce, affectionately spoofing 1950s movies, while spinning another of their noirish kidnapping-goes-wrong yarns. Tons of fun, with everyone concerned clearly having a great time. Recommended.

The Founder (2016, dir. John Lee Hancock)

A middle-aged salesman has a burger-bar epiphany. Sly biopic of McDonald’s eminence grise Ray Kroc, which tricks you into thinking it’s all apple pie and big smiles, when the movie’s really somewhere between Raging Bull and Elmer Gantry. Recommended.