Possessor (2020, dir. Brandon Cronenberg)

An assassin able to take over others’ bodies to complete her mission struggles with reality and control. Cold but impressive arthouse thriller with SF/horror elements, updating themes familiar from Cronenberg senior’s work. Great performances, though not a movie for a relaxing Friday night.

Here’s the trailer.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [AKA Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief] (2010, dir. Chris Columbus)

A New York teen finds he is Poseidon’s son, and is wanted by the Gods. Straightforward tick-box fantasy quest from the bestselling Rick Riordan books. Slumming starry character actors help, but aping of the same director’s Harry Potter formula reinforces the schematic way the monomyth is handled here. A sequel followed.

The Martian (2015, dir. Ridley Scott)

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 Island (2005, dir. Michael Bay)

After discovering the truth about their existence, two clones escape their high-tech facility. Okay near-future (set in 2019) chase thriller that takes a while to get going, but then delivers in the kinetic style typical of its director.

National Treasure (2004, dir. Jon Turteltaub)

A treasure seeker is in a race against time to find a fabled hoard. Daft but hugely enjoyable chase and puzzle-based comedy-thriller, riffing off Dan Brown, Indiana Jones, and Mission: Impossible equally. Lots of fun if you’re in the mood.

Drone (2017, dir. Jason Bourque)

A bereaved father vows to get revenge on the drone operator who killed his family. Flawed (too soapy in places) but nevertheless interesting drama about the moralities of surveillance, drone usage, and private military contracting. Strong performances throughout.

Patriot Games (1992, dir. Phillip Noyce)

Or, Jack Ryan v. bits of the IRA. Awkwardly-conceived thriller which tries to have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists (this was pre-9/11; the IRA tended to be romanticised in US┬ápopculture). Some decent set-pieces, and a picture-postcard view of the UK.