The comedy and the espionage genres have long been a near-perfect combination, with the likes of Top Secret! (1984), the Johnny English series (2003-present) and Mathew Vaughn’s Kingsman films (2014 – present).
Despite its reported troubled production, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man proved to be one of 2015’s unexpected delights, eschewing the darker elements and weightier themes of previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to deliver an exciting, action-packed superhero film.
In a weekend dominated by relentlessly optimistic musical romantic comedies, fabulous animation and big budget blockbusters, writer-producer Drew Pearce’s directorial debut is a refreshing change for those who like their films darker in spirit and meaner in tone.
It might be tempting for some to dismiss Freddie Hutton-Mills and Bart Ruspoli’s latest directorial effort as yet another straight-to-DVD and digital release to hit the bargain bin at your local DVD shop; however, to do so would be to deprive oneself of a unique and enjoyable viewing experience.
The Wall Street Journal published an article in 2013 about a group of school friends who have managed to maintain contact with one another for decades by playing a game of tag every year in the merry month of May.
Despite the reassuring presence of Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, some could be forgiven for being sceptical about whether Stefano Sollima’s sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s dark, arresting thriller Sicario would be as powerful as the original.
Despite a dissatisfying second chapter, Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans trilogy (2001 -2007) was a thrilling and inventive heist series which, following its conclusion with Oceans 13, seemed to inspire little demand for further sequels or re-boots.
For all its visual flair and dazzling set-pieces, Collin Trevorrow’s fourth segment of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World (2015) failed to match the nerve-shredding tension of Steven Spielberg’s seminal first instalment.
With Ron Howard stepping forward to replace departing directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and reports of substantial reshoots among its production difficulties, it would be fair to say that the expectation for the latest Star Wars spin-off was less than ecstatic.
With its self-aware humour and ultra-violent fight sequences, Deadpool was one of the biggest hits of 2016, grossing $783,112,979 worldwide and becoming the highest grossing R-rated comedy in box office history.
From Damien Chazelle’s drama Whiplash (2014) to Joel Edgerton’s dark revenge thriller The Gift (2015) and Jordan Peele’s chilling social thriller Get Out (2017), Blumhouse Productions has produced some of the best films of the last four years.
Perhaps best known for his comedic work in the US version of The Office (2005-2013), John Krasinski is not an artist typically associated with the horror genre; yet with his third feature as a film-maker the actor-director has delivered a thrilling, nerve-shredding horror.
From crime-comedy Bottle Rocket (1996) to comedy-drama The Grand Budapest Hotel (2013), director Wes Anderson has made some of the most visually striking and whimsical films of the past decade that often manage to be both exhilarating and wearying.
Boxing films are, as Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980) and Mark Robson’s Champion (1949) have shown, as much about the physical strength and mental fragility of their central characters as they are about the sport itself.
Whether dealing with real-life tragedy in biographical drama Fruitvale Station (2013) or reinvigorating the Rocky franchise with Creed (2015), writer-director Ryan Coogler has made a name for himself as bold and inventive film-maker.
Since announcing himself with seminal vampire horror Cronos (1993) and garnering further acclaim with Pan’s Labyrinth (2005), Guillermo del Toro has established himself as one of the finest living directors of fantasy cinema.