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.

The Day of the Jackal (1973, dir. Fred Zinnemann)

1963. An international hitman is hired to assassinate Charles de Gaulle; a manhunt ensues. A meticulous and clinical film, almost documentary in its approach, which expertly captures – and in some areas improves on – the bestseller its based upon. Highly recommended.

The Circle (2017, dir. James Ponsoldt)

A perfect job opportunity at a Facebook-ish company goes awry. Muted adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel that gets some things right (the casting, the production design) but fails in delivering either a propulsive narrative or in nailing the book’s ending.

Ben-Hur (2016, dir. Timur Bekmambetov)

Two half-brothers fall out, ending up on different sides of a war. An intermittently spectacular version of an oft-told tale of early Christian times. Ben-Hur 2016 is old-fashioned, but none the worse for it, and there are two great set pieces.