Gladiator (2000, dir. Ridley Scott)

A famed general, condemned to death in a coup, seeks revenge on Roman emperor Commodus for the murder of his family. Vivid and muscular historical drama, with excellent performances, solid action, and a keen visual sense. A Hollywood history; the inspirations are less actual events than the epics of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Ice Station Zebra (1968, dir. John Sturges)

A US submarine is tasked with a rescue mission to the Arctic, in part as cover for a covert operation. Oddly talky Cold War drama, through with solid technical credits and some fun performances, not least from McGoohan. The relative lack of action is compensated for in part by some great model work and an anti-militaristic angle.

Monos (2019, dir. Alejandro Landes)

A group of Central American teenagers guard a kidnapped doctor. Part every jungle action flick ever, part Absurdist fable. Lord of the Flies meets The Emerald Forest with a seasoning of Predator, and more than a hint of Beckett. Hugely recommended, but not for everyone.

Crimson Tide (1995, dir. Tony Scott)

A submarine captain and his new second-in-command clash during a military crisis. Excellent testosterone-fuelled drama, making full claustrophobic use of naval service underwater tropes. Superior technical credits and a rousing score supplement the crew of capable character actors.

Arctic (2018, dir. Joe Penna)

A crashed pilot tries to survive in the frozen Arctic. Terrific version of a survival story archetype that’s perhaps familiar to viewers. Nevertheless, this near-silent movie delivers in conviction, thrills, emotion and in a driven leading performance from Mikkelsen. Recommended.

The Mule (2018, dir. Clint Eastwood)

An elderly man becomes a drugs runner for a cartel. Crime drama based on a true story. Baggy and indulgent in places, but with some charming moments, and a decent lead performance from Eastwood. The script’s the issue; we never quite get to the heart of the character, despite efforts to tell a rounded story.

Ad Astra (2019, dir. James Gray)

An astronaut finds that his long-lost father may be alive on a deep-space vessel now threatening Earth. Defiantly odd Freudian space opera, part First Man, part 2001 wannabe, part Moonraker. And all the better for it, even though the story doesn’t stack up. Glorious-looking throughout, and with mesmerising sound design and soundtrack.