Shadow In The Cloud (NC16)
83 minutes/Now showing/4 stars
Maude Garrett (Chloe Grace Moretz) boards a bomber in Auckland, New Zealand, as a passenger on a hush-hush mission. The men on board, miffed at playing bus driver for a mere woman, are immediately hostile and put her in the Sperry, the transparent machine-gun dome in the belly. From her vantage point, she sees a creature intent on destroying the aircraft. Her attempt to warn the crew is dismissed.
New Zealand director and co-writer Roseanne Liang not only delivers thrilling action minus the B-movie cheese, she also slips in themes of misogyny and the erasure of the contributions of women from popular accounts of World War II.
There are clear nods to monster-hunter hit Aliens (1986), but Liang's firm handling of the paranoia and claustrophobia make this movie all her own.
For much of its brisk 83-minute running time, she puts the audience in Garrett's cramped ball turret, trapped and bracing herself for the next attack.
76 Days (PG)
93 minute/Now showing/5 stars
The directing team of Wu Hao, a New York-based Chinese citizen and two others based in Wuhan (Chen Weixi and another who has asked to stay nameless) have, in journalistic terms, landed on one of the biggest scoops imaginable.
They have captured the events of Ground Zero as it was happening from January to April 2020, just as the disaster that struck Hubei Province reverberated around the world.
Given free rein in four Wuhan hospitals - most times, it is unclear which hospital is being filmed - the camera crew silently capture vignettes with an emphasis on emotion rather than information.
The film-makers have risked official censure, not to mention infection, to capture what it feels to be on the medical front lines of a besieged city. This is a war diary.
As a record of the times, it is hard to imagine anything more complete or profoundly moving.
Baby Driver (NC16)
113 minutes/Available on Netflix/4 stars
Most heist movies aim for tight plotting and macho grit. This 2017 work, just added to Netflix, goes for music-driven visual pleasure.
Fans of British film-maker Edgar Wright's work (Shaun Of The Dead, 2004; Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, 2010) will see plenty of Wright-isms here - smash cuts, action cut to rock beats, nods to pop culture.
His soundtrack-centric style is more apparent than ever. Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a wheelman for crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), who teams him with different crews for hold-ups.
What he hears through his earphones - from Motown classics to garage rock to pop - provides the cues for the action.