A new San Francisco skyscraper catches fire on opening: a firefighter and the building’s architect work together. About the best of the 70s cycle of disaster movies: Inferno is star-packed, properly spectacular and hubris-tastic – if slightly po-faced – showcasing fun practical effects and stunt work.
Dramatization of a 1960 escape attempt from The Rock. A lean, laconic prison drama with some wry touches, Escape isn’t a standard action/thriller offering, but something more meditative, and all the better for its deliberate pace and careful style. Recommended.
A blowhard trucker finds himself in the middle of a magical conflict in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Still-fun mock-heroic action fantasy, with some respect for its influences and its tongue in its cheek throughout. If you go with it, this is still a great 100 minutes, though inevitably it’s not for all.
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.
Time-travelling freedom fighters attempt to prevent a digital apocalypse in near-future (2017) San Francisco. Muddled series reboot saddled with awkward plotting, key unanswered questions, and too many borrowings. Only JK Simmons brings some fun in support.
Journalist Eddie Brock is infected by an alien parasite; an uneasy alliance is formed. Mostly fun horror-comedy with a whiff of the first Quatermass story. A clunky third act and obvious subplots slow matters down, but the scuzzy ambience and Hardy’s performance help.
In 2035, a robot-hating detective investigates the suicide of a tech genius. CG-heavy SF action thriller based very loosely on Isaac Asimov stories. Some interesting production design, but linear and clunky plotting make this hollow, despite star Will Smith’s obvious charisma.
Dirty Harry Callahan – now with a female partner – takes on a terrorist cell holding San Francisco to ransom. Third in the series, and the decline has set in; a straightforward and at times brutal actioner with some moments of cynical humour to redeem it.
A child of divorced parents becomes possessed by a demonic doll. Clumsy horror unable to deliver on scares, gore, dread, or much interior logic despite a mounting body count and a decent supporting turn from Tobin Bell. Meh.
A perfect job opportunity at a Facebook-ish company goes awry. Muted adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel that gets some things right (the casting, the production design) but fails in delivering either a propulsive narrative or in nailing the book’s ending.