An off-world family living on a desert homestead comes under attack from strangers. Episodic SF western drama. Strong technical credits and decent performances help, though story is the issue here: Moon is a clear inspiration. Nevertheless, effective as a calling card.
In 1980s London, a film examiner struggles when a horror movie reawakens a past trauma. Stylish and confident first feature, with an interesting premise and careful use of limited resources. Vaguely Peter Strickland-ish in its approach: a descent into madness rather than story as such: there’s plenty to admire here, nevertheless.
A young woman, finding herself both pregnant and earmarked for sacrifice, tries to escape her backwoods community. Strong and unusual horror movie, anchored by a decent cast, some vivid ideas, and a sense of inevitability. Recommended.
A female astronaut struggles with having to leave her young daughter on Earth. Sombre, understated ISS mission training movie – with interesting access to Star City and Baikonur – focusing on a single relationship. Eva Green is great though, and Matt Dillon does what he can with an underwritten supporting part. A lovely Ryuichi Sakamoto score helps.
An aged hotelier recounts his life story. If Keaton and Kubrick ever teamed up to make a deadpan farce prequel to The Shining, then this’d be it. Beautiful to look it, gorgeously designed and presented, with a cast in depth happy to help out. Lots of fun, basically, with Ralph Fiennes on fine form.
A dying physicist attempts to get a message to a returning spacecraft. Lop-sided though well-meant SF drama, an adaptation of Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. The story’s wafer-thin, so has to resort to tickbox genre jeopardy done better elsewhere. A shame, as there’s a fine, quiet drama here somewhere.
Three stories each set during and in the aftermath of the same extra-terrestrial invasion event. A very mixed bag, this: moments of interest compete with awkward linking, a reliance on stock footage to give scale, and a terrible second story. Still, it’s only 80 minutes long in human time.
A baseball team manager tries an unorthodox approach to player selection. Based on the Michael Lewis non-fiction account, this is a riveting sports drama from perhaps unpromisingly uncinematic – though excellent – source material. A smart script, understated playing, and keen observational direction make this a modern classic. Recommended.
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.
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.