Cat People (1942, dir. Jacques Tourneur)

A Serbian woman in New York fears she cannot love because of an ancient curse. Tremendous noir/horror hybrid, taking inspiration from werewolf archetypes. Huge amounts of fun, breathtaking in its economy, and with some great suspense set-pieces. Highly recommended. A sequel – The Curse of the Cat People – followed in 1944.

Scrooged (1988, dir. Richard Donner)

A mean TV executive is visited by a series of ghosts intent on teaching him the true meaning of Christmas. A raucous, overlong, and often unfunny retelling of A Christmas Carol, overly keen to cash in on its star’s links to Ghostbusters. Inevitably, some bits work nevertheless, and the film’s become something of a Yuletide perennial despite its weaknesses.

Ghostbusters (1984, dir. Ivan Reitman)

A trio of disgraced academics working on the paranormal turn to the private sector. Still-effective horror-comedy balancing New York snark, slapstick, and Lovecraftian interdimensional terror. Great city cinematography, and some lovely delicate moments to counterbalance the widescreen mayhem. Both sequel and reboot followed.

Shaft (2019, dir. Tim Story)

A preppy junior FBI agent teams up with his estranged and unreconstructed PI father. Shaft 2019 is a scattershot culture-clash comedy, with action beats, a predictable plot, and a late nod to the 70s original trilogy. Tries to do everything, and ends up not meaning anything.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman)

Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains superpowers, but he’s not the only Spider-Man. Visually impressive and engaging (though overlong) comic book story that emulates the reading experience as well as offering both fan service and deconstruction. Huge fun for the most part, though.

Men in Black II [AKA MIIB] (2002, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)

Agent J has to tea up again with Agent K to fight a new alien menace. Passable SF/comedy sequel. As with its predecessor, there’s more interest in its showy make-up effects and throwaway gags than either worldbuilding or story, tho Lara Flynn Boyle has fun as a vampish villain.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019, dir. Chad Stahelski)

Wick, now excommunicado, seeks a way back. Part 3 expands on the series mythology and develops both the character’s backstory and the action choreography. Not all of the plot makes sense, but for the main part, this is exhilarating physical entertainment with some dark humour.