Spenser Confidential (2020, dir. Peter Berg)

A Boston ex-cop, fresh from jail, partners with his new roommate to unravel the conspiracy that led to his imprisonment. A loose adaptation of a post-Robert B Parker Spenser novel, and not a good one. A by-the-numbers comedy thriller that doesn’t do its characters justice, despite a decent cast.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010, dir. David Yates)

Harry and friends, now on the run, must destroy the magical items sustaining Voldemort. The first half of the final novel – more or less – is a decent chase adventure, with a darker tone than before; the splitting of the source material allows for pacing to be improved, through the structure necessitates a forced cliffhanger bridge to Part 2.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, dir. David Yates)

Voldemort’s rise develops; a fightback begins. Middling fifth instalment treading water between the establishment of the nemesis as a real threat, and its crystallisation; meanwhile, Hogwarts is put into special measures. Okay for fans, and well-enough done, but no classic.

The House With a Clock in its Walls (2018, dir. Eli Roth)

An orphaned boy comes to live with his warlock uncle. Generally sprightly horror flick for children with good central performances and neat jumpscares from genre stalwart Roth. A bit busy, storywise; could have used some time to breathe. Fun tho.

Red Dragon (2002, dir. Brett Ratner)

An FBI agent comes out of early retirement to catch a serial killer. Competent adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel (already filmed as Manhunter), here styled as a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs. Over-familiar material means diminishing returns though, despite good work from cast and crew.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991, dir. Jonathan Demme)

An FBI trainee enlists the help of a serial killer inmate to catch a murderer. Still-excellent adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel, faithful to the book but its own thing also. Autumnal and austere, with just a touch of gothic, and loaded with subtext.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992, dir. Brian Henson)

A faithful adaptation of the Dickens novella, with the muppets cast plus Michael Caine as Scrooge. Good songs (by Paul Williams), Dickens – The Great Gonzo – acts as narrator, and an excellent Caine performance; he plays it admirably straight throughout, and delivers perhaps the finest single line-reading in cinema history.