New Town Utopia (2018, dir. Christopher Ian Smith)

A documentary about the new town of Basildon in Essex, focusing on its modernist post-war architecture, the utopian ideas underpinning new towns, and social issues generated via unintended consequences. Hopeful in the ways it seeks positives, finding value in art, expression, and subcultures; there’s lots to appreciate here.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009, dir. David Yates)

Battle lines are drawn between Voldemort’s followers and others; Harry’s studies are supported by a mysterious textbook. Decent series entry, concerned with putting pieces in place for the final conflict. Not really a stand-alone movie, but series fans won’t mind that at all.

Arthur Christmas (2011, dir. Sarah Smith)

Santa’s awkward younger son has to deliver an overlooked gift so that Christmas can be saved. Excellent, quirky and gently-subversive animation with heart and brains, delivering slapstick, pathos and some flashes of dark humour. Lots to enjoy, including shout-outs to other Aardman characters.

Black ’47 (2018, dir. Lance Daly)

A posse chases a vengeful ex-soldier across famine-torn Ireland. Vivid and evocative revenge drama, using Western genre tropes to support a specific Irish story with contemporary wider relevance. Some unnecessary and iffy CG mattes aside, this is great stuff.

Paddington 2 (2017, dir. Paul King)

Paddington ends up in prison after being wrongly convicted of a treasure map theft. Machine-tooled sequel balancing community spirit, slapstick, musical numbers and a climactic train chase. Expertly done, with a fine cast, especially a gleeful Hugh Grant.

Get Santa (2013, dir. Christopher Smith)

An ex-con has to restore his relationship with his son by rescuing Santa and Christmas. Modest but quirky Brit festive flick which goes for the usual emotional gubbins but scores with some appealing casting, and decent poo and fart jokes.

Hot Fuzz (2007, dir. Edgar Wright)

An over-performing cop is sent to a rural backwater; and then the killings start. Affectionate spoof of US buddy action movies with a touch of Midsomer Murders. Slightly overstays its welcome with a never-ending third act, but very solid and entertaining nevertheless.