Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir. John Carpenter)

A blowhard trucker finds himself in the middle of a magical conflict in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Still-fun mock-heroic action fantasy, with some respect for its influences and its tongue in its cheek throughout. If you go with it, this is still a great 100 minutes, though inevitably it’s not for all.

Another view wanted? Here you go.

Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood (2019, dir. Quentin Tarantino)

In 1968 LA, a fading action star struggles with his future prospects. A stunning evocation of late 60s Hollywood, packed with ideas, in-jokes, good ideas, and pop-culture geekery. A shaggy dog story that meanders, but which goes into some startling – and just-about justified – places. Recommended.

The Christmas Chronicles (2018, dir. Clay Kaytis)

After setting a trap to catch Santa, two squabbling siblings have to help him save Christmas. Patchy Yuletide offering with few surprises. Russell does what he can with an indifferent script, but this is no classic.

Escape From New York (1981, dir. John Carpenter)

An infamous criminal is sent into the island prison of Manhattan to rescue the US President. Defiantly odd post-apocalyptic piece, much happier with its production design and oddball characters than delivering on action/horror. Not quite the film you remember.

Deepwater Horizon (2016, dir. Peter Berg)

Drama based on the true story of a drilling rig disaster. Another effective Berg/Wahlberg collaboration after Lone Survivor (and the subsequent Patriots’ Day) that tells a true-life tale with an emphasis on ordinary people, camaraderie, and a little patriotism.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017, dir. James Gunn)

Peter Quill meets his father. Somewhat underpowered sequel, relying on soap operatics and the banter between crewmates plus audience goodwill to mask a weak narrative. Some fun while it’s on, but this is no great shakes; a disappointment, really.