An ambitious woman marries into a struggling fashion house. Loosely based on real events, this lacks narrative drive but is pleasant enough if one focuses on production design and on performances ranging from vivid to camp. It wants to be both The Godfather and The Wolf of Wall Street but falls between the two.
A famed general, condemned to death in a coup, seeks revenge on Roman emperor Commodus for the murder of his family. Vivid and muscular historical drama, with excellent performances, solid action, and a keen visual sense. A Hollywood history; the inspirations are less actual events than the epics of the 1950s and early 1960s.
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.
The 2003 re-edit (actually shorter than the 1979 original version) reinstates some scenes, clarifies some plot and character points and removes others (Ash is no longer a recent crew addition, and so the conspiracy element is toned down). By no means essential, but a chance to marvel again at this still-influential movie.
A deep space mission to engage with humanity’s distant ancestors finds more than it bargained. Great-looking but ultimately dumb and pretentious Alien prequel, with a fine cast largely wasted on a grab-bag script of variable ideas. Alien: Covenant followed in 2017,
A dramatisation of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Well-acted, good-looking though insubstantial retelling of a famous case; not quite a serious drama or a straightforward thriller, and the weaker for the indecision.
A commercial space vehicle answers a distress call. Perhaps showing its age in some of its choices, nevertheless Alien is a storming piece of cinema, is outstandingly designed, directed and acted, and remains both relevant and influential 40 years on. A classic.
A CIA operative in the Middle East is caught between conflicting loyalties. Good-looking and well-directed though predictable tale of post-9/11 espionage, with opaque masculine moralities contrasted with a female archetype representing possible redemption.
A deep space colony vessel investigates a strange transmission from an Earth-like world. MorePrometheus than Alien, this series entry unevenly balances monster horror and teenagery philosophical musings. Odd, but not uninteresting.
Archaeologists lead a space mission to the creators of life on Earth. Good-looking and packed with great images, this Alien prequel is nevertheless hugely flawed, not least with an abundance of intelligent beings doing really dumb things.