The Old Guard (2020, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Near-immortal warriors induct a new recruit, while being hunted for their DNA. Patchy superhero-ish flick from a graphic novel. The film can’t decide whose story this is, telling the veteran’s and the newbie’s, rather than focusing. The result is overlong and slow, but with strong moments, a badass declaration of love, and some solid action.

The Vast of Night (2020, dir. Andrew Patterson)

A 1950s small town’s radio DJ and switchboard operator track a mysterious transmission. Clever SF drama told with both intimacy and verve, as well as featuring some remarkable camerawork. An impressive debut, signalling those involved as ones to watch. Recommended.

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Underwater (2020, dir. William Ewbank)

A deep underwater drilling platform is compromised; survivors try to escape. Derivative but effective SF/horror piece, taking Alien and sequels as its jumping-off point. Well-designed, with some solid jumpscares and a sturdy lead performance. Pleasingly efficient throughout, if by no means a game-changer.

Schlock [AKA Banana Monster] (1973, dir. John Landis)

A revived prehistoric apeman terrorises California. Episodic and absurdist, while directly spoofing 2001, King Kong, Frankenstein and a host of other movies, Schlock has some ramshackle charm and a few strong sequences, plus a well-realised creature at its heart, and a clear love of monster flicks powering it.

Sunshine (2007, dir. Danny Boyle)

A last-ditch effort to restart the Sun through deploying a nuclear device goes awry. Handsome though derivative SF that can’t decide if it’s an arthouse piece or a mainstream thriller. In trying to be both, and in quoting from Alien, 2001, 2010, Silent Running, Event Horizon, Dark Star and others along the way, it struggles for clarity and distinctiveness.

Mayhem (2017, dir. Joe Lynch)

A rage virus infects a corporate HQ; a lowly just-sacked worker and a mortgage client fight their way to the boardroom. Gleeful horror-comedy with some straightforward points to make about capitalism and workplace culture. Splattery lo-fi fun, with good leads and solid direction helping out no end.

Vivarium (2019, dir. Lorcan Finnegan)

A young couple are trapped in a show home on a maze-like estate. Absurdist SF horror piece that’s well-designed and well-acted but doesn’t have anywhere to go; this may well be the point, but the film makes this (riffing on Blue Velvet) in its opening titles. 90-odd minutes might be too much of a thing for some.

Tron (1982, dir. Steven Lisberger)

A hacker is scanned into his former employer’s computer network; a parallel world awaits. Odd SF/fantasy mashing up evil tech corps and voguish videogames. Simplistic and weird, with some still-stunning design and a cool mix of early CG, traditional animation, and David Warner doing his best. A sequel followed in 2010.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [AKA Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker] (2019, dir. JJ Abrams)

Forces align for a last battle between the resistance fighters and the Empire to prevent a Palpatine victory. Patchy finale to the nine-film arc which, despite stirring stuff, plus effective comic moments and detail, fails to convince in its lack of climactic story and its course-correction rewriting of the previous movie. A shame, as the new crew have earned some affection.

Color Out of Space (2019, dir. Richard Stanley)

A meteorite causes hallucinations and mutations to spread across a New England farm. Well-made adaptation of the HP Lovecraft short story. A slow burn that earns its weirdness well, accumulating details carefully, and playing properly with madness. Played commendably straight, though with many subtle genre nods for horror fans.