The Kitchen (2019, dir. Andrea Berloff)

Three New York women take over their imprisoned husbands’ protection racket. Lovingly-designed but superficial 70s-set crime drama based on a graphic novel, with strong performances and a great cast in depth. The tick-box script is the issue; a poorly-handled FBI subplot doesn’t help either.

Donnybrook [AKA: Below The Belt: Brawl at Donnybrook] (2018, dir. Tim Sutton)

A bare-knuckle boxer, a meth dealer, and a cop’s lives intersect over drugs, money, and a fight tournament. Lean, autumnal adaptation of the Frank Bill novel. Very different to its source material in tone, but nevertheless a rewarding movie, with something to say about working-class America as well as delivering in genre terms. Recommended.

Into The Ashes (2019, dir. Aaron Harvey)

A former criminal’s past life catches up with him, when old associates track him down and kill his wife. Effective low-key and slow-burn thriller with a solid cast of character actors making the most of the material. A good sense of blue-collar life, and of the inevitable consequences of revenge.

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, dir. Henry Dunham)

Seven members of a Texas militia meet at their headquarters in the aftermath of a mass shooting. Excellent and absorbing single-location thriller, which wears its touches of Pinter lightly. A hugely impressive debut feature; highly recommended.

Parkland (2013, dir. Peter Landesman)

A dramatisation of the immediate aftermath of the 1963 Kennedy murder. A well-made re-enactment, packed with detail and character actors, though necessarily plotless, and somewhat redundant as a consequence. Effectively shows the chaos of unforeseen situations though.

Hold The Dark (2018, dir. Jeremy Saulnier)

A hunt for a child snatched by wolves is more complex than it first seems. Hugely impressive wintry contemporary Western, with perhaps a touch of the supernatural. Doesn’t give up its answers easy. Highly recommended.

World War Z (2013, dir. Marc Forster)

A UN investigator tracks a zombie virus to its source. The z-movie as big-budget spectacular; not quite action-adventure, not quite horror. A series of linked set-pieces, and not bad, though not for fans demanding a faithful adaptation of its source novel.