The Matrix Resurrections (2021, Dir. Lana Wachowski)

Mr. Anderson once again suffers reality confusion in this complex sequel. Less bible and message laden than some of the others, this refocuses things with a new deeply meta twist. Though a tad bloated and with little new to say, this still manages to be visually compelling.

Matrix Resurrections (2021, Dir. Lana Wachowski)

Man of Tai Chi (2013, dir. Keanu Reeves)

A Tai Chi student is lured into an underground fighting circuit. And a very solid martial arts actioner this is too. As old-school as you like, with plenty of well-choreographed fighting and wirework, and a sense of respect for both the subgenre and the traditions it relates to.

Here’s the trailer.

Bill & Ted Face The Music (2020, dir. Dean Parisot)

The now middle-aged Wyld Stallyns have to travel the multiverse to save reality, their daughters, and their marriages. Unnecessary but still welcome threequel, with enough of a spin on the same plot as twice before to pass muster. Everyone’s having fun, and Winter is especially good.

Here’s the trailer.

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991, dir. Pete Hewitt)

Bill and Ted are threatened from the future: they journey to heaven and hell to save themselves, their princesses, and humanity. Solid sequel with just enough differentiation from before to keep matters fresh. William Sandler is great as a not so-grim Reaper. A belated third movie followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989, dir. Stephen Herek)

A slacker high-school garage band duo are lent a time machine so the future can be saved by their rock music. Affable time travel comedy with likeable leads, some wit and finesse in the writing, and lightness and clarity of purpose throughout. Two sequels followed.

Here’s the trailer.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008, dir. Scott Derrickson)

An extraterrestrial ambassador arrives on Earth to determine humanity’s fate. Awkward remake of the 1950s SF classic which struggles to update Cold War paranoia with contemporary environmental threats. An over-reliance on CG spectacle and contrived family drama doesn’t help. Star Reeves is good, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Matrix Revolutions [AKA The Matrix: Revolutions] (2003, dir. The Wachowskis)

Neo’s battle against Smith and The Machines comes to a head. Third and final part of the Matrix trilogy (a part four is on its way). For series completists only by this stage, though the finale delivers in terms of slightly-humourless comic-book spectacle and epic battles aplenty.

Toy Story 4 (2019, dir. Josh Cooley)

Woody has to protect Bonnie’s new favourite toy, a figure made from a spork and art supplies. Contrived but watchable fourth instalment. Looks great, has some interestingly dark moments, a fine chase, and is funny throughout, but is an unnecessary coda to the series rather than a required conclusion.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019, dir. Chad Stahelski)

Wick, now excommunicado, seeks a way back. Part 3 expands on the series mythology and develops both the character’s backstory and the action choreography. Not all of the plot makes sense, but for the main part, this is exhilarating physical entertainment with some dark humour.

Street Kings (2008, dir. David Ayer)

An alcoholic LA detective with a reputation for violence comes under scrutiny from internal affairs. Generally solid double-cross-tastic bad cop-worse cop rough-and tumble that teeters on the brink of melodrama, but just about holds it together.