The Marksman (2021, dir. Robert Lorenz)

A struggling rancher takes a Mexican boy to Chicago, pursued by vengeful cartel members. Straightforward but effective thriller with action elements, with the feel of a Clint Eastwood vehicle that got recast. No surprises, but not bad in its way, and with a couple of lovely supporting performances.

Here’s the trailer.

The Ice Road (2021, dir. Jonathan Hensleigh)

Trucker brothers transport key equipment over treacherous ice roads to rescue trapped miners. Straightforward thriller with action elements, riffing on Hawksian reality TV and The Wages of Fear. Somewhat perfunctory in plotting and direction, though a decent cast, location shooting, and some character elements add value.

Here’s the trailer.

Honest Thief (2020, dir. Mark Williams)

A retired safecracker tries to confess so he can live a guilt-free new life, but matters go awry. Contrived thriller with a little less action and a touch more character work than typical Neeson genre efforts. No gamechanger, but fine while it’s on. That sounds like faint praise: it kinda is.

Here’s the trailer.

Excalibur (1981, Dir. John Boorman)

Superior telling of the Arthurian legend with a fine cast, beautiful cinematography and strong direction from Boorman. Perhaps a tad over romanticised, but fabulous performances from the likes of Williamson and Byrne hold this together creating something very special.

Excalibur (1981, Dir. John Boorman

Krull (1983, dir. Peter Yates)

A prince has to rescue a princess to save their world. Oddball SF/fantasy hybrid, riffing on a hundred different fairy tales and genre tropes. Its quest narrative/road movie structure means that it’s inevitably patchy; some dark ideas intrude, though the imagination and budget available are ill-matched, and it’s tonally all over the place.

Men In Black: International (2019, dir. F Gary Gray

A probationary agent finds herself partnered with an MIB legend when an intergalactic crisis looms. Stuttering series reboot, transplanting a star pairing from another franchise with indifferent results. Okay action, poor comedy. Misunderstanding what made the first movies successful results in a film that was more fun to make than it is to watch.

Widows (2018, dir. Steve McQueen)

Owing money after her husband is killed in a botched robbery, a woman assembles the wives of dead men into a new crew. Stately thriller from the ITV mini-series, balancing an examination of race, city corruption and street politics with genre thrills. Recommended.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018, dir. Joel & Ethan Coen)

Six tales of the Old West, each taller than the last. Splendid Western anthology, packed full of quirky moments and character actors, with a few stars plainly having fun. Not exactly commercial, though; Netflix is a good home for this Coen brothers confection.

The Commuter (2018, dir. Jaume Collet-Serra)

A just-sacked salesman is coerced into finding a witness on his train home. Contrived but fun single-location thriller from Neeson/Collet-Serra (their 4th collaboration). Well-stocked with sneaky character actors, and there’s a third-act moment of wonder. Enjoyable tosh.

Another perspective required? Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s POV.

A Monster Calls (2016, dir. J. A. Bayona)

A creature is summoned to challenge¬†a boy whose mother is dying. Splendid dark fantasy, equal parts The BFG/ET and something more akin to Pan’s Labyrinth, which pulls out all the emotional and VFX stops in its ultimately¬†uplifting tale about the power of stories and truths.