Escape From Alcatraz (1979, dir. Don Siegel)

Dramatization of a 1960 escape attempt from The Rock. A lean, laconic prison drama with some wry touches, Escape isn’t a standard action/thriller offering, but something more meditative, and all the better for its deliberate pace and careful style. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

The Craft: Legacy [AKA Blumhouse’s The Craft: Legacy] (2020, dir. Zoe Lister-Jones)

A teenager moves with her mother to a new town and a new step-family, and finds she has latent magical powers. Belated sequel to The Craft that has some fun with the high school witch stuff, but which struggles to settle down and tell a story, though there’s a couple of nice moments along the way.

Here’s the trailer.

Peninsula [AKA Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula] (2020, dir. Yeon Sang-ho)

A criminal mission to recover cash from a zombie-overrun quarantine zone goes awry. Sprawling, messy, comic-book stand-alone sequel to Train to Busan. No classic this time out, though the mashup of 80s dystopian flicks like Escape from New York and later CG-ish Fast and Furious sequels is at least distinctive.

Here’s the trailer.

Unhinged (2020, dir. Derrick Borte)

A woman is targeted at random by a murderous driver after a road rage incident. Confident, unpretentious thriller with horror and action aspects. Knows exactly what it is, and is happy to work to fulfil those expectations: a professional job well done.

Here’s the trailer.

Beyond The Gates (2016, dir. Jackson Stewart)

Chalk-and-cheese brothers encounter a mysterious VHS board game that may be linked to their father’s disappearance. Jumanji meets From Beyond, kinda, in this modest 80s-throwback fantasy-horror. Starts slow, and doesn’t have the resources to realise its premise, but fun for genre fans nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Mosul (2020, dir. Matthew Michael Carnahan)

A young police officer is co-opted into an elite SWAT team on a behind enemy lines mission in Mosul against Daesh. Compelling rookie’s eye view of a single day of combat, rendered in semi-documentary style. Plenty to appreciate, not least the refusal to overly Westernise the movie. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Brave (2012, dir. Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman, with Steve Purcell)

A headstrong tomboyish princess battles with her mother when she is to be betrothed for political reasons. Perhaps the most Disneyish Pixar movie to date, Brave benefits from its focus on mother/daughter relationships and from a dark magical turn that sits awkwardly with the knockabout stuff elsewhere.

Here’s the trailer.

The Void (2016, dir. Steven Kostanski & Jeremy Gillespie)

A closing-down hospital comes under siege from cultists outside, and from monsters within. 80s-tastic lo-fi splattery horror, riffing on multiple John Carpenter movies and others, not least Phantasm. Plenty of fun in its own right, even if it tends to go for striking images over consistency in character and story terms.

Here’s the trailer.

And here’s Lemonsquirtle’s review.

The Senator [AKA Chappaquiddick] (2017, dir. John Curran)

Edward Kennedy’s presidential ambitions are destroyed because of his involvement in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Sober political drama focusing on ambition, hubris, legacy, and arrogance. Decent performances and production values help, though there’s awkwardness in the focus on the politician over the deceased.

Here’s the trailer.

Die Hard 2 [AKA Die Hard 2: Die Harder] (1990, dir. Renny Harlin)

John McClane intervenes to stop mercenaries from freeing a high-value prisoner from a snowbound airport. Messy serio-comic sequel that bends over backwards to link itself to the first film. It scrapes by on residual goodwill from its predecessor, but that’s about it.

Here’s the trailer.