End of Watch (2012, dir. David Ayer)

Two LA patrol cops cross the paths of a street gang keen to make their mark. Excellent contemporary crime drama focusing on cop camaraderie. A semi-improvised approach and use of found footage give the movie texture, as does the rapport between the lead actors. Recommended.

Life (2017, dir. Daniel Espinosa)

An ISS research team discover a life-form in a sample of Mars soil. Effective and well-sustained creature feature, making the most of its actors and the limitations of the space station environment to create plausible tension. Recommended for genre fans.

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Nocturnal Animals (2016, dir. Tom Ford)

A woman reads her former husband’s novel. Good-looking though bleak slow-burn thriller intercutting between a novel and its reading; the fiction within the film is more interesting than the frame narrative, though. Michael Shannon superb in support.

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Okja (2017, dir. Joon-ho Bong)

A South Korean girl fights to keep her pet super-pig from the hands of a multinational corporation. Utterly enthralling ET/Pete’s Dragon variant for adults, drawing on Gilliam, Jeunet et Caro, early Besson, Buster Keaton and Studio Ghibli, yet is an original too.

Everest (2015, dir. Baltasar Kormakur)

Drama based on the ill-fated 1996 Hall/Fischer Everest expedition. Generally solid, respectful and well-acted mountaineering epic, slightly undone by over-use of CG and by some awkward directorial choices which rob the movie of tension.

Demolition (2015, dir. Jean-Marc Vallee)

A recently-widowed banker reassembles his life. Slight finding-yourself-again flick that does the usual things (wonky almost-romance, child mentor companion), except in a somewhat half-hearted way. A movie built around an idea for a single central scene.