Sunshine (2007, dir. Danny Boyle)

A last-ditch effort to restart the Sun through deploying a nuclear device goes awry. Handsome though derivative SF that can’t decide if it’s an arthouse piece or a mainstream thriller. In trying to be both, and in quoting from Alien, 2001, 2010, Silent Running, Event Horizon, Dark Star and others along the way, it struggles for clarity and distinctiveness.

The Wolf’s Call (2019, dir. Antonin Baudry)

A French sonar expert is pivotal in an international submarine warfare scenario. Solid French technothriller of the Tom Clancy sort, with something to say about camaraderie and the limits of the rules of engagement. Delivers as a genre piece, too, with a couple of gleeful daft moments and plenty of shouting in confined spaces.

The Burning (1981, dir. Tony Maylam)

Five years after being burned alive, a caretaker returns to the woods near his old summer camp job. Derivative but somehow superior slasher, benefitting from excellent practical effects and some arty directorial moments. Nods to Psycho, Deliverance and Don’t Look Now, plus some subtlety between the horny teens and the kills.

Bad Boys for Life (2020, dir. Adil & Bilall)

A veteran detective is targeted for assassination by a face from the past. Slick threequel which, despite having few new ideas of its own (borrowing from Silence of the Lambs, Temple of Doom and John Woo‘s love of trails-bike gangs), delivers in terms of shouty, shooty buddy-cop fun. Don’t be surprised if a Part 4 rolls around soon.

Paddleton (2019, dir. Alex Lehmann)

A terminal cancer patient decides to kill himself; he enlists the help of his neighbour and best friend. Gentle black comedy and study of male friendship, with a great brace of understated star performances and some subtlety in its approach. Recommended.

The Jesus Rolls (2019, dir. John Turturro)

Two petty criminals and a hairdresser go on a road trip/crime spree. An odd project – a US remake of Bertrand Blier’s Les Valseuses/Going Places retooled for Turturro’s Quintana character from the Coens’ The Big Lebowski – that inevitably feels like fan fiction. Some minor pleasures along the way; the actors seem to be having fun.

Richard Jewell (2019, dir. Clint Eastwood)

An inadequate security guard becomes the focus of an FBI terrorism enquiry. A stately based-on-a-true-story drama which – despite some clunky telescoping of its story – delivers in character study terms, as well as acknowledging an unconventional hero. Not perfect, but recommended, and with a startling central performance from Paul Walter Hauser.