Black Widow (2021, dir. Cate Shortland)

Natasha Romanoff reunites with her estranged fake family to disrupt a post-Soviet Russian agent programme. Patchy Marvel SF/spy adventure (the first Phase 4 movie) awkwardly balancing dysfunctional familial bickering and action set-pieces. A strong cast helps, as does a relatively low-stakes approach and some attempts at character.

Here’s the trailer.

Sentinelle (2021. dir. Julien LeClercq)

A combat veteran struggling with PTSD seeks to avenge a near-fatal assault on her sister. Lean, austere, minimalist thriller with interesting lead character notes and brisk action. An effective star vehicle that reemphasises the qualities of both its lead and its writer/director.

Here’s the trailer.

The Courier (2019, dir. Zackary Adler)

A motorcycle courier foils an assassination attempt on a key witness. Genuinely terrible action thriller, shot around limited guest star availability and locations, padded with stock footage and nonsensical city-at-night driving shots of the Thames. Saddled with an abject script, Kurylenko does what she can.

Hold Your Breath [AKA Dans La Brume / Just A Breath Away] (2018, dir. Daniel Roby)

A toxic gas of unknown origin fills Paris; an estranged couple with a sick daughter try to survive. Clever and surprisingly emotional apocalyptic thriller, making the most of its premise and the chance to focus on relationships as much as plot-driving missions. Well worth your time.

The Death of Stalin (2017, dir. Armando Iannucci)

A power struggle ensues in the USSR when Stalin dies suddenly. Frantic black comedy which plays totalitarianism as a dark farce. Hugely impressive, with a great cast clearly having fun throughout, while making a few satirical points along the way. Recommended.

Gun Shy [AKA Salty] (2017, dir. Simon West)

A retired rock singer has to rescue his kidnapped wife. Oddball comedy-thriller with some good ideas and performances, but awkward logic and a lack of actual action. A bit of a mess, but not without its moments; Banderas seems to be enjoying himself.