The Reckoning (2020, dir. Neil Marshall)

A young widow is accused of witchcraft in 17th century England. A real disappointment: Marshall is a talented director (and there’s flashes of editing brilliance here), but his own duff and cliche-ridden script (co-written by star Kirk) and terrible lead actor compromise matters. At least old mate Sean Pertwee turns up for some ripe witch-hunting.

Here’s the trailer.

Russian Raid [AKA Russkiy Reyd] (2020, dir. Denis Kryuchkov)

A former soldier hires mercenaries to help him with his revenge plan. Interesting if not wholly successful attempt to remake/localise Gareth Evans’s The Raid. It starts slow with some lazy sub-Tarantinoisms, but gains confidence and panache over time, plus Ivan Kotik is an unusual action star in the making.

Here’s the trailer.

Honest Thief (2020, dir. Mark Williams)

A retired safecracker tries to confess so he can live a guilt-free new life, but matters go awry. Contrived thriller with a little less action and a touch more character work than typical Neeson genre efforts. No gamechanger, but fine while it’s on. That sounds like faint praise: it kinda is.

Here’s the trailer.

Things Heard & Seen (2021, dir. Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini)

A dysfunctional couple and their daughter move into an old house in 1980s upstate New York: matters go awry. Patchy, overlong and over-stuffed horror/drama that struggles to fillet its source novel (All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage) to suit a movie. A couple of good moments, though, and F Murray Abraham and Karen Allen are always welcome.

Here’s the trailer.

Cannonball! [AKA Carquake] (1976, dir. Paul Bartel)

Various racers compete – and cheat – in a trans-American car race. Enjoyably ramshackle road comedy typical of the subgenre packed with lo-fi vehicle stunts, sly humour, and cameo appearances from Roger Corman’s phone book: everyone from Martin Scorsese to Sylvester Stallone shows up.

Here’s the trailer.

Without Remorse [AKA Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse] (2021, dir. Stefano Sollima)

A special forces soldier seeks revenge on the agents who kill his wife. Sub-par military actioner intended to be a franchise-starter. A terrible script, lacklustre action, and variable playing (only Jodie Turner-Smith stands out) plus that European backlot aesthetic. A couple of visually-interesting moments, but that’s it.

Here’s the trailer.

Relic (2020, dir. Natalie Erika James)

An old woman goes missing, but returns: her daughter and granddaughter try to care for her, but something is awry. Excellent sombre chamber piece that works both as a horror story and as an allegory of aging, the impacts of dementia, and of family responsibility. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

The Abyss (1989, dir. James Cameron)

A team of deep sea drilling experts attempt a rescue on a sunk nuclear submarine. Overambitious but in parts dazzling SF/action hybrid. There’s too much going on, but the film looks great, feels as authentic as it might, and is still impressive in technical respects.

Here’s the trailer.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014, dir. Shawn Levy)

Larry, his son, and their museum friends go to London to return a magical talisman. Third time out and there are signs of franchise fatigue setting in: the new additions work best (Dan Stevens and a cameoing Hugh Jackman). Series fans won’t be disappointed, though it’s the same film as twice before in essence.

Here’s the trailer.

Stowaway (2021, dir. Joe Penna)

An injured technician is found aboard a Mars mission: a dilemma ensues. Contrived hard SF drama that struggles to maximize the possibilities of either its premise or the ensuing threat. Not really a stowaway either. Good-looking and well acted, though. Nevertheless, Marooned did this better back in 1969.

Here’s the trailer.