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.

Calibre (2018, dir. Matt Palmer)

Two friends on a hunting holiday in the Scottish Highlands fall foul of the locals after a tragic accident is covered up. Incredibly well-made and tense thriller, with loads to recommend it, not least in its handling of suspense and of quiet (and not so quiet) menace. A must-see!

 

Annihilation (2018, dir. Alex Garland)

An alien invasion provokes an investigation led by a biologist. Sombre SF/horror with whiffs of Arrival and Solaris in its makeup. Genre thrills are underplayed in favour of introspection and aftermath; interesting rather than good, with a perhaps divisive ending.

Bright (2017, dir. David Ayer)

A veteran LA cop partners with the first orc officer; they find themselves in the middle of an ancient magic war. While the procedural and mismatched partners stuff is great, Bright is saddled with too much backstory and a daft third act. Feels like a big-budget TV series pilot.

Okja (2017, dir. Joon-ho Bong)

A South Korean girl fights to keep her pet super-pig from the hands of a multinational corporation. Utterly enthralling ET/Pete’s Dragon variant for adults, drawing on Gilliam, Jeunet et Caro, early Besson, Buster Keaton and Studio Ghibli, yet is an original too.