The Virtuoso (2021, dir. Nick Stagliano)

A loner hitman is given an unusual assignment in a small town. A strong cast is given little to do in this ponderous thriller, saddled with a glum voiceover and a very guessable mystery element. Ah well.

Here’s the trailer.

Choose Or Die [AKA Curs>r] (2022, dir. Toby Meakins)

A young programmer finds an old computer cassette: it proves murderous. Awkward cursed game horror flick, with too many ideas iffily handled. Uncovincingly shot in the UK but set in the US. Some good performances and neat moments – plus a Candyman-ish social conscience – underline missed opportunities.

Here’s the trailer.

The Contractor (2022, dir. Tarek Saleh)

A discharged veteran with money problems reluctantly takes on a private contracting job. Terse thriller with action elements: the cast’s good, the action is handled in a no-nonsense manner, and there’s a pleasing downbeat tone. No surprises, but a decent programmer with subtext about post-military lives.

Here’s the trailer.

Wrath of Man (2021, dir. Guy Ritchie)

A crime lord seeks revenge on the armed robbers who kill his son during an armoured car heist. Somewhat po-faced payback thriller, somehow cramming 85 minutes of high-octane action into 2 hours. What should be a lean killing machine gets drawn out by indulgence, Rashomonisms and Tarantinoisms. A shame, as there’s some good stuff lost in the mix.

Here’s the trailer.

The Gentlemen [AKA Toff Guys] (2019, dir. Guy Ritchie)

A London-based drug dealer’s empire is threatened by rival forces and a blackmailer. Fourth and about the best of Ritchie’s gangland comic fantasies. Familiar ingredients and approach, but handled with verve throughout. Everyone’s in on the joke, not least standouts Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant.

Hobbs & Shaw [AKA Fast and Furious (Presents): Hobbs & Shaw] (2019, dir. David Leitch)

Mismatched agents team up to prevent a bio-engineered villain from stealing a deadly toxin. Dumb-but-fun-but-dumb again action-comedy sidequel to the later Fast/Furious flicks. Jolly bickering and star cameos help, but the film too-quickly becomes wearying in its CG excesses when it should be at least physics-aware.

Another viewpoint? Here!

 

 

Vice (2018, dir. Adam McKay)

A satirical biopic of GW Bush’s vice-president Dick Cheney. Soberer than The Big Short, this thematic sequel offers an accessible overview of Cheney’s rise to silent power and his ultimate betrayal of himself. The film doesn’t get inside its protagonist, but is revelatory nevertheless.

White Boy Rick (2018, dir. Yann Demange)

The true story of Rick Wershe, drug dealer and teen FBI informant. Intriguing spin on the rise-and-fall story, focusing on the latter; good performances, and director Demange again shows he can handle drama, action, genre, character actors and period detail.

Entebbe [AKA 7 Days in Entebbe] (2018, dir. Jose Padilha)

Dramatization of an infamous 1976 plane hijacking, and the subsequent rescue mission. Even-handed but glum retelling which doesn’t know how to approach its subject, meaning the end result is neither political allegory, action drama or straight history. Disappointing.

Deadpool 2 (2018, dir. David Leitch)

After the death of his girlfriend, Deadpool finds redemption in protecting a young mutant. Confident sequel with the same approach as before, mixing cartoony violence, baroque language and metatextual gags.