Outland (1981, dir. Peter Hyams)

A new mining post security chief on a Jupiter moon investigates a series of deaths. A weak script and iffy science undermine this great-looking SF thriller (emulating Alien and clearly influential on early James Cameron). Doesn’t really deliver on its High Noon in Space promise.

Here’s the trailer.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974, dir. Sidney Lumet)

Hercule Poirot must investigate a killing on a luxury sleeper service. Handsome if slightly stagey and camp version of the Agatha Christie stalwart. An awkward backstory and too many starry suspects make for tricky telescoping of the novel, but fans won’t mind a bit.

Here’s the trailer. And a previous review.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974, dir. Sidney Lumet)

Hercule Poirot finds himself in the middle of an elaborate onboard murder. Classy all-star version of the Agatha Christie warhorse. The business of the plot makes in-depth characterisation problematic, but everyone gets their moment to shine, with no resorting to the opening out of the recent Branagh version.

Highlander (1986, dir. Russell Mucalhy)

Immortal warriors battle across time; matters come to a head in contemporary New York. Daft but entertaining SF/fantasy hybrid, with decent performances, flashy direction and now-quaint visual effects. As 80s as it gets.

Dr. No (1962, dir. Terence Young)

007 investigates a diplomat’s murder; the trail leads to a nuclear conspiracy. The first Bond adaptation gets a lot of things right, not least the lead performance. Of its time, certainly, but influential in all kinds of ways, and gorgeous to look at.

You Only Live Twice (1967, dir. Lewis Gilbert)

Bond investigates stolen spacecraft so he can avert a nuclear war. Fifth in the franchise and the cracks are starting to show. Connery is jaded, and the Roald Dahl script is awkwardly dated at best. Impressive production design and a couple of neat directorial moments lift some of the tiredness.

Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989, dir. Steven Spielberg)

Jones goes in search of his lost father, and the Holy Grail. The third Jones adventure is a sparkling comedy with heaps of good set-pieces and a tongue-in-cheek sensibility. Some iffy early CG and plotting aside, this is rip-roaring stuff, though the lightest in the series.