Don’t Tell A Soul (2020, dir. Alex McAulay)

Troubled brothers fleeing a robbery accidentally trap a security guard. Lean, effective thriller with a keen sense of autumn and of blue-collar lives. Works effectively in focusing on the implications of its set-up, and on impacts on its well-sketched characters. A fun, impressive little movie.

Here’s the trailer.

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.

The Vault [AKA Way Down] (2021, dir. Jaume Balaguero)

A young engineer is recruited to help steal a priceless artefact from an impregnable bank. Slick, good-looking and well-directed but very straightforward heist flick. A decent cast of character actors help, but there’s the sense of an opportunity missed here.

Here’s the trailer.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021, dir. Navot Papushado)

A hitwoman becomes embroiled in an escalating series of double-crosses when a job goes awry. Stylised John Wick-ish action comedy squandering an excellent cast on a cliched script, and on a baffling series of distancing techniques rendering the flick good-looking (and sounding) but empty, flat and uninvolving.

Here’s the trailer.

Cruella (2021, dir. Craig Gillespie)

An orphan seeks revenge on the fashion maven who killed her mother. Confident, stylish, though thin and overlong prequel to 101 Dalmatians. Basically a supervillain origin story (Cruella is Tim Burton-era Batman, plus Joker and Catwoman here) though borrowing from all-sorts, including The Terminator. MVP is Paul Walter Hauser, though everyone is in on the joke.

Here’s the trailer.

Texas Killing Fields (2011, dir. Amy Canaan Mann)

Detectives struggle with a series of murders. Based very loosely on real-world unsolved crimes, this noir-ish thriller can’t decide whether to go for procedural or for obsessive cop angst. It tries both, and so doesn’t gel. Decent performances from an up-and-coming cast and an OK look make this a not-uninteresting curio though.

Here’s the trailer.

The Little Things (2021, dir. John Lee Hancock)

A veteran cop and an ambitious detective collaborate to catch a serial killer. Well-made and acted if slightly over-familiar neo-noir with procedural aspects. Its deliberate pace and quiet style may not be for everyone, but Denzel Washington is as good as ever and LA is made to feel unfamiliar: no easy feat.

Here’s the trailer.

Rust Creek (2018, dir. Jen McGowan)

A young woman takes a wrong turn and ends up on the run from a pair of backwoods Kentucky meth dealers. An interesting take on a well-worn premise, spending as much time on character and relationships as on in-peril thriller/horror melodramatics. Lots of promise here from all involved.

Here’s the trailer.

Big Sky (2015, dir. Jorge Michel Grau)

A young woman with an agoraphobic condition is forced to get help in the desert when her vehicle is attacked. Muddled little thriller with some trippy elements. It can’t focus on the core story: the result is scattershot where it should be direct.

Here’s the trailer.

Silk Road (2021, dir. Tiller Russell)

A tech wiz develops an online trading portal for drugs: a burnout agent begins to investigate. Loosely based on a true story, this thriller/drama plays off opposites – digital/analogue, young/old – to generally OK if at-times soapy effect. No real surprises, but some effective playing from a decent cast. Paul Walter Hauser shines in a key supporting role.

Here’s the trailer.