FOR those who grew up on the early Steven Spielberg classics, a truly nostalgic treat awaits with SUPER 8 (12: Sony), which lands on DVD on Monday.
And when the film’s digital trickery eventually takes over, it delivers the high-tech mayhem that modern audiences expect.
This adventure, named after the old film format used by home-movie hobbyists, is set in the 1970s and follows a bunch of Ohio schoolkids who accidentally capture footage of a spectacular train crash while shooting their own low-budget zombie flick.
When they realise that it was no accident, they set out to find the truth.
Best not to say more than that, even if most readers of this column will have some idea of what’s lurking in the wreckage.
The real surprise is that the blossoming relationship between shy pubescent Joe (Joel Courtney) and the classmate he fancies (Elle Fanning) should prove more dramatically compelling than the tale’s effects-driven sci-fi aspects.
It’s a real pleasure in an age of relentlessly spectacular, often emotionally vacant, blockbusters to see a big movie that has genuine feeling for characters touchingly poised on the cusp of adulthood.
Writer/director JJ Abrams has obviously soaked up the work of fellow producer Spielberg and provided the visual style of Close Encounters and ET as well as their humanity.
> The Harry Potter fantasy franchise packs an emotional wallop as it comes to a teary-eyed conclusion.
Voldemort and Harry clash for the last time with a sensational revelation about the hero schoolboy’s destiny, which Dumbledore had kept secret.
Available for as little as £3, depending on which of the supermarket giants you frequent, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (12: Warner) continues where Part 1 left off.
Harry, Hermione and Ron search for the magical horcruxes, the key to the evil lord’s immortality.
Every beloved character gets their moment in the spotlight as white dragons fly over London, ghouls hover eerily around Hogwarts and its plucky pupils prepare for battle.
The technical wizardry on the screen is perfectly crafted and fires the imagination like never before.
This lavish epic also has a feeling of menace lacking from previous episodes and moments like Snape’s story being uncovered and Harry’s ghostly parental encounter are expertly handled by director David Yates.
> For a movie about time, SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (PG: Entertainment In Video) certainly is a waste of it.
Director Robert Rodriguez’s sense of fun deserts him in this frenetic and charmless fourth dip into the mini-spy pool.
The annoying plot relies too much on failed slapstick and worthy messages about family.
Retired secret agent Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba) is married to a famous spy-hunting TV reporter and has a baby and brainy twin stepkids.
But she returns to action to take on a former nemesis, the maniacal Time Keeper (Jeremy Piven), who’s speeding up time to travel back to the past.
Her children, along with grown-up ex-spy kids Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara, join in an adventure loaded with daft gadgets, clockwork traps and a robot guard dog (flatly voiced by Ricky Gervais).
Young viewers may find nappy bombs and potty jokes amusing, but no one else will.
> Also look out for THE INTERRUPTERS (E: Dogwoof), which follows three members of Chicago’s CeaseFire organisation who work intimately in their communities to intervene in potential incidents before they erupt into full-blown violence.