Upgrade (2018, dir. Leigh Whannell)

An augmented car mechanic tracks down the men who killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair. Fast, fun and brutal SF/horror hybrid with an excellent physical lead performance and lots to recommend it. The kinda genre movie they don’t often make any more.


 

Rampage (2018, dir. Brad Peyton)

A zoologist and a renegade scientist team up to stop genetically-enhanced animals rampaging. Perfunctory and slightly po-faced monster mayhem, with only Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s man in black entering properly into the tongue-in-cheek fray.

Ready Player One (2018, dir. Steven Spielberg)

A teenager battles an evil corporation in a quest to control a virtual reality game-world. Sporadically spectacular but narratively dull SF adventure which improves on the source novel but still lapses into pop-culture reference tickbox territory at its lamest.

The Shape of Water (2017, dir. Guillermo del Toro)

A mute cleaner falls in love with a humanoid aquatic creature being held in a government research laboratory. Dazzlingly confident romantic fantasy with SF/horror touches. Amelie meets The Creature From The Black Lagoon with a bit of Little Voice. Highly recommended.

Paycheck (2003, dir. John Woo)

An industrial spy leaves himself clues to solve the crimes of which he’s now accused. An SF twist on a Hitchcock plot (based on a Philip K Dick story), this lumpen chase thriller gets bogged down early and doesn’t relax into what Woo – when unrestrained – does best.

Downsizing (2017, dir. Alexander Payne)

A man is forced to re-evaluate his life after volunteering to be miniaturised. Quirky fantasy which can’t work out if it’s social satire, science fiction, or romance, but has a go at all three. Defiantly odd, though, which is no bad thing.

Contact (1997, dir. Robert Zemeckis)

A young astrophysicist decodes a signal from an alien intelligence. Good-hearted SF thriller from the Carl Sagan novel held together by fine performances and a positive outlook on space.