Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013, dir. Thor Freudenthal)

Percy and friends have to find the Golden Fleece so they can save their home. Cut-price sequel (no returning guest stars) with join-the-dots plotting as before, this time taking elements from the first two Indiana Jones movies as well as the Rick Riordan source books and wider Greek myth. Not very good; Part 3 (The Titan’s Curse) was never made.

Abduction (2019, dir. Ernie Barbarash)

Two men work to find missing family members; an interdimensional conspiracy is revealed. Modest Vietnam-set martial arts action with an SF/fantasy twist. No dafter than, say, Doctor Strange, but interesting to see attempted at this budget level. Very competent fight choreography is the selling point here. Ignore the poster; nothing to do with the movie!

The Old Guard (2020, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Near-immortal warriors induct a new recruit, while being hunted for their DNA. Patchy superhero-ish flick from a graphic novel. The film can’t decide whose story this is, telling the veteran’s and the newbie’s, rather than focusing. The result is overlong and slow, but with strong moments, a badass declaration of love, and some solid action.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir. John Carpenter)

A blowhard trucker finds himself in the middle of a magical conflict in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Still-fun mock-heroic action fantasy, with some respect for its influences and its tongue in its cheek throughout. If you go with it, this is still a great 100 minutes, though inevitably it’s not for all.

Another view wanted? Here you go.

The Hole in the Ground (2019, dir. Lee Cronin)

A young woman comes to believe her son is not who he claims to be. Smart, well-acted, and great-looking paranoid horror/fantasy with a strong central performance and the skills throughout to do a simple thing well. Lots to enjoy and to admire here. Both director Cronin and star Kerslake are ones to watch. Recommended.

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019, dir. Jake Kasdan)

Spencer and friends – and others – return to Jumanji. Okay threequel (part 4 if you count Zathura) that focuses on action-comedy and on bodyswap gags rather than plot. Oldsters De Vito and Glover add some kvetchy class, and series newcomer Awkwafina is a standout. CG is variable, but interesting design elements and some affection for the characters helps things along.

Want another perspective? We’ve got your back.

Vivarium (2019, dir. Lorcan Finnegan)

A young couple are trapped in a show home on a maze-like estate. Absurdist SF horror piece that’s well-designed and well-acted but doesn’t have anywhere to go; this may well be the point, but the film makes this (riffing on Blue Velvet) in its opening titles. 90-odd minutes might be too much of a thing for some.

Tron (1982, dir. Steven Lisberger)

A hacker is scanned into his former employer’s computer network; a parallel world awaits. Odd SF/fantasy mashing up evil tech corps and voguish videogames. Simplistic and weird, with some still-stunning design and a cool mix of early CG, traditional animation, and David Warner doing his best. A sequel followed in 2010.

Other views wanted? Here y’go.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [AKA Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker] (2019, dir. JJ Abrams)

Forces align for a last battle between the resistance fighters and the Empire to prevent a Palpatine victory. Patchy finale to the nine-film arc which, despite stirring stuff, plus effective comic moments and detail, fails to convince in its lack of climactic story and its course-correction rewriting of the previous movie. A shame, as the new crew have earned some affection.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984, dir. Steven Spielberg)

An archaeologist and a nightclub singer find themselves facing an ancient occult evil. Though this prequel starts and finishes well, it’s hampered by an absence of narrative causality, two annoying sidekicks, and unfortunate treatment of gender and ethnicity throughout. Some great stuff remains, but this is too awkward too often.