A Boy Called Christmas (2021, dir. Gil Kenan)

A woodcutter’s son journeys to find hope to save his father and his kingdom. Very straightforward festive origin fantasy shamelessly lifted structure-wise from The Princess Bride. A decent cast helps no end: the flick relies on professional support for its scant charm.

Here’s the trailer.

Godzilla (2014, dir. Gareth Edwards)

Earth is threatened by MUTOs (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms), awoken by human nuclear activity. Superior monster mayhem anchored by a fabulous visual sensibility, and by a genuine feeling of otherness between the creatures and us. Story-light, and a touch serious, but properly spectacular, nevertheless. Sequels ensued.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019, dir. Michael Dougherty)

The Russells and others fight the emerging Titans; and work to support Godzilla. Decent if slightly over-serious continuation of the 2014 rebooted cycle with a canny cast of character actors and a genuine sense of the spectacular. Light on story, but heavy on Kyle Chandler reaction shots, plus monster-fu aplenty.

The Shape of Water (2017, dir. Guillermo del Toro)

A mute cleaner falls in love with a humanoid aquatic creature being held in a government research laboratory. Dazzlingly confident romantic fantasy with SF/horror touches. Amelie meets The Creature From The Black Lagoon with a bit of Little Voice. Highly recommended.

Paddington 2 (2017, dir. Paul King)

Paddington ends up in prison after being wrongly convicted of a treasure map theft. Machine-tooled sequel balancing community spirit, slapstick, musical numbers and a climactic train chase. Expertly done, with a fine cast, especially a gleeful Hugh Grant.