Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers [AKA Halloween 6] (1995, dir. Joe Chapelle)

Michael’s niece has a child: the baby is at the centre of a cult’s attempts to harness the energies compelling Michael Myers. Some distance from the linear plotting of the first films, this conclusion to the arc begun in Part 4 is soapy, scrappy, scattershot: only for indulgent series and Paul Rudd completists.

Here’s the trailer.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A suburban dad is drawn to a Wyoming mountain after a close encounter with an unidentified flying object. Still hugely-effective blend of heart and smarts: perhaps Spielberg’s most complete film, mixing technical excellence with quest narratives, hard SF and senses of innocence and wonder.

Here’s the trailer.

Enola Holmes (2020, dir. Harry Bradbeer)

Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola investigates their mother’s disappearance. Handsomely-produced but wildly inconsistent Victorian teen detective romp. A strong cast and good production values help, but a weak and smug script scuppers the enterprise as a whole, despite fun moments.

Here’s the trailer.

Dark Waters (2019, dir. Todd Haynes)

A lawyer investigates an environmental conspiracy linked to chemical company Dupont. Based on a true story, this sober drama is deliberate and effective. Oddly, the weak link is producer/star Ruffalo, who’s simply 20 years too old to be playing the lead, despite his sterling efforts. A sturdy cast of character actors helps things along.

Abduction (2019, dir. Ernie Barbarash)

Two men work to find missing family members; an interdimensional conspiracy is revealed. Modest Vietnam-set martial arts action with an SF/fantasy twist. No dafter than, say, Doctor Strange, but interesting to see attempted at this budget level. Very competent fight choreography is the selling point here. Ignore the poster; nothing to do with the movie!

The Arrival (1996, dir. David Twohy)

A disgraced radio astronomer is convinced that alien communications are being received. Quirky SF/horror hybrid with plenty of daft ideas and enough visual interest to keep you watching. No classic, but fun.

Domino (2019, dir. Brian De Palma)

A Copenhagen detective tracks down the terrorist responsible for his partner’s death. By-the-numbers thriller with a few flourishes typical of its director (a Vertigo reference here, a fascination with screens and technology) but also a flat script and a lack of enthusiasm for its rote story and characters throughout.

Gemini Man (2019, dir. Ang Lee)

An elite assassin on the verge of retirement is targeted for execution. A good-looking action flick that takes ages to tell us what the poster does. One great action sequence aside, it’s underpowered, though a game support cast of Brit character actors do their best with none-more-90s material.

Fractured (2019, dir. Brad Anderson)

A woman and daughter go missing in an ER. Crisp, clean paranoid conspiracy thriller engaging with the director’s recurring themes of guilt and paranoia. The kind of professional, lean, efficient movie they don’t make too many of any more. Recommended.

Species II (1998, dir. Peter Medak)

The first Mars mission returns an alien infection to Earth. Trashy and at times bad taste sequel which – a couple of knowing/funny moments aside – focuses on female nudity, cut-price creature effect-based gore, rape fascination, and shouty characters doing dumb things. For Martian completists only.