The Many Saints of Newark (2021, dir. Alan Taylor)

A late 60s/early 70s New Jersey teenager is raised in a mob-affiliated household and neighbourhood. This The Sopranos prequel works as a both an insight into the earlier lives of that series’ main characters, and as a stand-alone movie. Tony Soprano very much a supporting character here: the focus is on his uncle Dickie, played by a never-better Alessandro Nivola.

Here’s the trailer.

Dark Places (2015, dir. Gilles Paquet-Brenner)

Now an adult, the survivor of a family massacre investigates their past. Low-key drama with thriller elements that can’t work out if it’s a reflective or a genre piece; the result is a mixed bag. Good-looking and well-cast and acted, but patchy. Intercutting between then and now dilutes rather than heightens tension.

First Man (2018, dir. Damien Chazelle)

Biopic of Neil Armstrong, from test pilot to Apollo 11 days. An impressionistic, oblique approach doesn’t really penetrate the subject, leaving Gosling free to offer another blank, introverted performance. Impressive rather than good, though with a sterling cast of character actors in support.