Four old friends play a mysterious drinking game: matters soon get out of hand. Fun little riff on Zathura / Jumanji with a little escape room stuff thrown in. At its strongest when focused on the game itself (its weakest in engineering soapy issues to be addressed), but there’s talent and some confidence on display here.
A middle-aged former gang member is forced to confront his past. Slow-burn, stylised LA gangland movie that riffs on John Wick, Tarantino, westerns, folk stories and a lot more. Patchy but with impressive elements, and a fine central performance plus great Ken Foree support.
John Connor, now a troubled young adult, is again pursued (and protected) by machines from the future. A slightly tongue-in-cheek threequel – apart from the pleasantly downbeat ending – which is heavy on chase-based action, though light on violence and plot. It’s entertaining enough, if a step down from its predecessors.
A veteran cop is determined to bring a multiple-murder suspect to justice. Lumpen sub-Dirty Harry horror-thriller, blending police procedural with slasher pic. Despite an interesting approach to its villain, this is straightforward exploitation fare, its director’s and star’s former glories notwithstanding.
A veteran and a rookie struggle to work together while patrolling LA’s gang neighbourhoods. Still-influential drama that tries for nuance while establishing the look and tone of two generations of movies. Worth revisiting, not least for its direction, cinematography, and its Herbie Hancock score.
In 1969 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: later novelised by Tarantino.
A former high-flying chef finds himself again as a food-truck operator after being humbled. At once obvious and sentimental yet fun, sweet and charming, bolstered by great character actor performances, Chef is a treat if you go with it.
A documentary about AIDS/HIV and the ways in which the Los Angeles porn industry was affected by the issue over time, focusing on an outbreak among performers in 1998. A fascinating doc that’s simultaneously a thriller, an industry expose, a narrative history, a time capsule, and an apologia.
A puppet PI and his former partner team up to solve a series of murders. It nearly works, but the emphasis on gross-out humour instead of playing the Roger Rabbit-ish concept means that some good moments, decent playing and undoubted technical expertise all get lost.
Two LA patrol cops cross the paths of a street gang keen to make their mark. Excellent contemporary crime drama focusing on cop camaraderie. A semi-improvised approach and use of found footage give the movie texture, as does the rapport between the lead actors. Recommended.