Scrooge (1935, dir. Henry Edwards)

A miser is haunted by a series of ghosts, so he may rethink his approach to Christmas and life. A charming adaptation of the oft-filmed Dickens novella A Christmas Carol, capturing a famous stage portrayal. Some lovely model effects and a keen visual sensibility; a touch of expressionism and a feel for the period on display here.

Hobbs & Shaw [AKA Fast and Furious (Presents): Hobbs & Shaw] (2019, dir. David Leitch)

Mismatched agents team up to prevent a bio-engineered villain from stealing a deadly toxin. Dumb-but-fun-but-dumb again action-comedy sidequel to the later Fast/Furious flicks. Jolly bickering and star cameos help, but the film too-quickly becomes wearying in its CG excesses when it should be at least physics-aware.

Another viewpoint? Here!

 

 

Hold Your Breath [AKA Dans La Brume / Just A Breath Away] (2018, dir. Daniel Roby)

A toxic gas of unknown origin fills Paris; an estranged couple with a sick daughter try to survive. Clever and surprisingly emotional apocalyptic thriller, making the most of its premise and the chance to focus on relationships as much as plot-driving missions. Well worth your time.

Dark Phoenix [AKA X-Men: Dark Phoenix] (2019, dir. Simon Kinberg)

1992: the orphaned young Jean Grey is exposed to an interstellar flare; her energies grow exponentially. Okay-but-formulaic last X-film, suffering in part because of the plot already being used by the film series before. Better than its predecessor Apocalypse, but this is for series completists only, despite solid work from those still under contract.

Brightburn (2019, dir. David Yarovesky)

An adopted boy finds out that he is an alien when his superpowers are triggered by puberty. Its neat inversion of the Superman origin story notwithstanding, Brightburn doesn’t quite know what to do with its premise, or with the horror route it takes. Nevertheless, an interesting minor film, with an eye for small-town detail.

Fancy another point of view? Here you go. Oh, and here.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, dir. Jonathan Mostow)

John Connor, now a troubled young adult, is again pursued (and protected) by machines from the future. A slightly tongue-in-cheek threequel – apart from the pleasantly downbeat ending – which is heavy on chase-based action, though light on violence and plot. It’s entertaining enough, if a step down from its predecessors.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019, dir. Jon Watts)

Peter Parker, on a European school trip with his classmates, comes into contact with both elemental monsters and a new superhero, Mysterio. Upbeat if overlong blend of teen road trip comedy and standard heroic action thrills, acting as a coda to Avengers: Endgame. Well-played and likeable, if episodic on several levels.