Don’t Look Up (2021, dir. Adam McKay)

Astronomers struggle to get the government and the media to engage with an extinction-level event. Patchy and overlong Trump-era satire: when it hits, it hits hard, but there’s about 45 minutes too much baggy stuff here. More focus needed: that said, there are some game performances and a great song.

Here’s the trailer.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013, dir. Peter Jackson)

Bilbo and Thorin’s company reach Mount Erebor via Laketown. The middle instalment of the prequel trilogy is all the better for not having to worry about set-up, though it lacks a story of its own. Still, if well-heeled fantasy spectacle is your thing, then there’s plenty to enjoy here.

Here’s the trailer.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, dir. Peter Jackson)

A home-loving halfling is recruited for a perilous quest. Beefed-up partial adaptation of the Tolkien children’s novel so that it acts as the first part of a Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy. The quieter parts work best, though this is an acceptable if somewhat bloated action fantasy in its own right.

Here’s the trailer.

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.

Ocean’s Eight [AKA Ocean’s 8] (2018, dir. Gary Ross)

A just-released thief puts together a jewel heist. Slick comedy-thriller with a few nods to the Clooney/Pitt/Soderbergh movies. Fun while it’s on, and everyone seems to be having a fine old time.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019, Dir. Dean DeBlois)

Hiccup discovers a second Night Fury dragon and is forced to make some tough choices in this final part of the trilogy. Though not as funny or as dramatic as the previous films, this remains a solid sequel with great animation and real family fun. Definitely one to watch!

Thor: Ragnarok (2017, dir Taika Waititi)

Thor and Loki must battle their forgotten sister to regain Asgard. Hugely entertaining and impressively throwaway piece of popcorn tosh. Everyone is having a whale of a time, even if there’s minimal actual story or incident. Lots of fun all round though, especially in the details.

Another perspective? Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s take.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, dir. David Fincher)

A man’s life runs backwards, from old age to being newborn. Button is overlong, meandering, episodic, and sometimes overly in service to its impressive VFX, but it’s nevertheless an effective though melancholy audience-pleasing tearjerker