The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, dir. Wes Anderson)

An aged hotelier recounts his life story. If Keaton and Kubrick ever teamed up to make a deadpan farce prequel to The Shining, then this’d be it. Beautiful to look it, gorgeously designed and presented, with a cast in depth happy to help out. Lots of fun, basically, with Ralph Fiennes on fine form.

Here’s the trailer.

The Rhythm Section (2020, dir. Reed Morano)

A lost young woman is trained as an assassin to avenge her parents’ terrorism-related deaths. Solid thriller mashing up La Femme Nikita with a comicbook origin story. Lively is a great lead and good technical credits help (there’s a fine one-shot car chase), though the script is rote, and there’s clumsy use of pop song scoring.

Captain Marvel (2019, dir. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck)

An alien warrior works to prevent a rival species from gaining a foothold on 1995 Earth. Slow-starting but generally entertaining superhero origin flick, wisely not overdoing its nostalgic comedy; the film’s hampered somewhat by the low-stakes storyline.

Contagion (2011, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

A new disease spreads; an epidemic ensues. Excellent and sober intelligent action flick with the understated tone of a documentary. A genre movie handled with precision and the director’s trademark craft.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018, dir. David Yates)

After Grindelwald escapes, Newt Scamander is asked to track him and the still-alive Clarence down. Patchy Part II of the Harry Potter prequel series has too much set-up and not enough story, and some awkwardness with character and plot inconsistencies. For indulgent fans only.

Hugo (2011, dir. Martin Scorsese)

A boy lives in a railway station clock. Splendid family adventure, as well as a love letter to early cinema. Scorsese enjoying playing in a new genre and with some fresh cinematic toys, not least the remarkable use of 3D. Hugely recommended.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017, dir. Guy Ritchie)

A fantasy-oriented retelling. The second act is fine swashbuckling nonsense, but this version is stuck with lumpen first and third acts which set up unnecessarily complex (and irrelevant) backstory. Still, some fun to be had, and there’s one very neat idea about Excalibur.

Side Effects (2013, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

A patient involved in a drug trial murders her husband. Woozy neo-noir that comes at you like a mix of 50s paranoid Hitchcock¬†and 60s New Wave. Lots of fine stuff along the way, even if the plotting isn’t as crystal as in Soderbergh’s best work.