Children Of Men

Alfonso Cuarón

2006

As bleak as grieving rats this dystopian thriller stars Clive Owen as a reluctant hero trying to protect the only pregnant woman on Earth. Beautifully shot and weeping with empathy, it feels like it wants to escape its premise. This is Dawn Of The Dead with zombies replaced by despair.

They Shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson

2018

A remarkable documentary that takes, what until now, has been a distracting trick – the colourisation of black and white film – and makes the Great War heartbreakingly real. It starts conventionally enough, “It’ll all be over by Christmas” but then with colour and sound it’s hell. This is footage from hell.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Gus Van Sant

2018

The true story of John Callahan who found purpose through cartooning after alcoholism led to a crippling accident. Joaquin Phoenix is an actor who just has to turn up to guarantee quality but even he can’t stop the lumbering, sentimental monsters knocking over his wheelchair just as it’s getting interesting.

Force Majeure

Ruben Östlund

2014

A film that asks, “What would you do?” A family on a skiing holiday starts to fall apart after a sudden, instinctual moment of cowardice. Like his highly regarded The Square, Östlund has a talent for using cold humour to show the evils of hypocrisy, like a Swedish Alan Ayckbourn.

The Other Side Of The Wind

Orson Welles

2018

Where on Earth did he get the idea to make a mockumentary about a director trying to make something new when everyone is obsessed with his past? On its own, this might bore you rigid but watch as a fan of Welles and you will consider it a lost masterpiece.

Possum

Matt Holness

2018

A disgraced puppeteer returns to his hometown and what the hell is in that bag? You may expect some humour as it’s from the same mind that made Garth Marenghi. Don’t. There is none. Brilliant, but more horribly creeping evidence that comedy and horror are close cousins, bordering on inbred.

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Tom Stoppard

1990

Two minor characters from Hamlet find themselves stuck in an absurdist farce while the classic play carries on around them. Stoppard directs his own play and it shows; the words find their light where the actors don’t. However, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth shine as they channel Laurel and Hardy.