The Martian (2015, dir. Ridley Scott)

An astronaut is marooned alone on Mars; he develops a plan to survive. Smart, funny and upbeat space peril movie with winning ensemble performances, clean visuals, and a diligent script from the Andy Weir bestseller. A thoroughly professional and entertaining job all round.

Contagion (2011, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

A new disease spreads; an epidemic ensues. Excellent and sober intelligent action flick with the understated tone of a documentary. A genre movie handled with precision and the director’s trademark craft.

We Bought A Zoo (2011, dir. Cameron Crowe)

A widowed father buys a run-down zoo, and battles to have it open in time for the summer. Sunny-enough feelgood comedy/drama/romance with absolutely no surprises but some neat moments and an impeccable – if over-used – soundtrack.

Downsizing (2017, dir. Alexander Payne)

A man is forced to re-evaluate his life after volunteering to be miniaturised. Quirky fantasy which can’t work out if it’s social satire, science fiction, or romance, but has a go at all three. Defiantly odd, though, which is no bad thing.

Green Zone (2010, dir. Paul Greengrass)

An idealistic soldier discovers the truth about WMDs in 2003 Iraq. Sleek action-led thriller which dramatises a key event in recent world history. Simplistic in its approach but undeniably thrilling, with several great sequences.

The Rainmaker [AKA John Grisham’s The Rainmaker] (1997, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)

A young lawyer takes down a callous insurance company. Slick, mainstream, and linear legal thriller with no surprises but plenty of feel-good under-dog moments. Damon in Mary Sue mode. A professional, anonymous job from its former genius writer/director.

Jason Bourne (2016, dir. Paul Greengrass)

Jason Bourne resurfaces to deal with his past. Fifth in the franchise after the side-step of Legacy finds Bourne on top form; a story-light and linear but propulsive visually-driven action thriller, designed more as a sensory experience than narrative.