Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011, dir. Sean Durkin)

A young woman struggles with memories of her recent cult commune experience. Excellent austere thriller with horror elements, with a storming cental performance and lots of interesting detail. It’s left to the viewer how much is real, which makes for tense and sometimes unsettling viewing. Recommended.

The Kitchen (2019, dir. Andrea Berloff)

Three New York women take over their imprisoned husbands’ protection racket. Lovingly-designed but superficial 70s-set crime drama based on a graphic novel, with strong performances and a great cast in depth. The tick-box script is the issue; a poorly-handled FBI subplot doesn’t help either.

21 Bridges (2019, dir. Brian Kirk)

A detective shuts down Manhattan to find two cop-killers who’ve stumbled across a cocaine stash. Superior action thriller that – while having no real surprises – manages to work both in dramatic and in gunplay terms. A neat sense of scale, a fine cast, plus good direction all support a solid lead performance.

Uncut Gems (2019, dir. Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie [AKA The Safdie Brothers])

A New York jeweller juggles debtors and a long-cherished opportunity with a smuggled opal. Tremendous thriller balancing multiple pressure points, gambles, crises and conflicts. Absurdly tense from its first frame, with a revelatory star performance. Plus, no-one stares a man down like Eric Bogosian here. Recommended.

How Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018, dir. Marielle Heller)

A desperate writer turns to forging literary letters. Excellent melancholic comedy-drama, anchored by two great central performances and by sensitive writing and direction. Lots to appreciate, though the tone might be too downbeat for some.

Inside Man: Most Wanted (2019, dir. MJ Bassett)

Hostage negotiators work to resolve a heist-turned-hostage situation at New York’s Federal Exchange building. Slick DTV sequel with an all-new cast of comparatively unfamiliar faces, and a few shout-outs to the original. Not bad within its limitations, though the likes of Denzel Washington are inevitably missed.

Enchanted (2007, dir. Kevin Lima)

A fairytale princess is magically transported to present-day New York. Excellent musical rom-com which satirises and celebrates Disney animated fairy stories at the same time. Lots to enjoy: great songs, fine performances, a keen sense of self-awareness, and no little affection for its subjects.

Inside Man (2006, dir. Spike Lee)

An embattled detective tries to work out how an unorthodox bank robbery became a hostage situation. Smart heist/siege movie that works as an intelligent genre piece and a sly political commentary on post-9/11 America. Lots to enjoy, with clever performances all around and plenty to think about. Recommended.

Men In Black 3 (2012, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)

Agent J has to travel back to 1969 and team up with the younger Agent K to defeat a time-travelling villain. Superior third instalment, building on fan affection for our alien-fighting duo, and working in terms of comedy, pathos and action. The best of the series.

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.