Our film expert Jason Best reviews the latest cinema releases

The Commuter (Cinema new releases – Out 19 January)

Need a rugged older action hero to get you out of a jam? Liam Neeson is your go-to-guy. He keeps this far-fetched action thriller on track as an ordinary Joe plunged into peril on his New York commuter train by Vera Farmiga’s enigmatic femme fatale. Brace yourself for exhilarating suspense, hairpin twists and some very bruising fights before our hero gets to the end of the line. Rating: ***

Downsizing (Out 24 January)

Matt Damon’s well-meaning chump Paul wants to spice up his dull life while doing his bit to save the planet. So he and his wife (Kristen Wiig) sign up for a futuristic medical procedure that will shrink them to five inches in height: great for their carbon footprint. What’s more, their equity will go a long way in this new Lilliputian world where a diamond bracelet only costs $83. Inevitably, the reality doesn’t quite meet Paul’s expectations. And it isn’t long before he discovers that the downsized world also has its haves and have-nots, personified by two new acquaintances – Christoph Waltz’s gleefully shifty Eurotrash entrepreneur and Hong Chau’s resourceful Vietnamese refugee. Director Alexander Payne’s satirical sci-fi comedy has some big ideas but the plot is too baggy to make them count. Rating: ***

The Post (Out 19 January)

Steadfast newspaper publisher Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) and crusading Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) team up to expose the lies of President Nixon’s US government over Vietnam, paving the way for Watergate, in Steven Spielberg’s highly topical fact-based drama set in 1971. Spielberg, Streep and Hanks? Yes, this one has Oscar bait written all over it. It’s gripping viewing, too, even if we do know the outcome, and a rousing salute to the news media. The age of hot metal typesetting may be long gone but the notion of embattled journalists going up against a paranoid and duplicitous president certainly has a topical ring. Rating: ****

Pic credit: The commuter – Jay Maidment