Chef (2014, dir. Jon Favreau)

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.

Porndemic (2018, dir. Brendan Spookie Daly)

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.

The Happytime Murders (2018, dir. Brian Henson)

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.

End of Watch (2012, dir. David Ayer)

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.

Bean [AKA Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie] (1997, dir. Mel Smith)

A lowly museum attendant is mistakenly sent to Los Angeles as an art expert. Awkward expansion of the TV series, relying on embarrassment and slapstick in equal measure. Inevitably, some moments work (the supporting cast is great), but too much of this is simply unfunny sentimental gurning.

Peppermint (2018, dir. Pierre Morel)

Five years after her family’s murder, a mother returns to the US for revenge. Straightforward action fantasy with a committed lead performance and an outsider’s view of LA. Not great, but there’s a couple of interesting plot wrinkles along the way.

Lowlife (2017, dir. Ryan Prows)

A masked failure tries to live up to the fabled reputation of his father. LA-set black comedy crime drama, involving human organ theft, kidnapping, Luchadors and gun-toting motel owners. Not for everyone, but a confident and at times affecting violent entertainment.