5th birthday, Action, Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Animation, Athletics, Batman, Batman: Bad Blood, Batwing, Batwoman, Benson Fong, Bruce Wayne, Charlie Chan, Crime, Detective, Dracula, Drama, Fast Girls, Genndy Tartakovsky, Hotel Transylvania 2, Jason O'Mara, Jay Oliva, Kevin James, Lenora Crichlow, Lily James, Mantan Moreland, Morena Baccarin, Murder, Mystery, Nightwing, Noel Clarke, Phil Karlson, Radium, Regan Hall, Relay team, Review, Robin, Sean Maher, Selena Gomez, Sequel, Shanghai, Sidney Toler, Sports, Steve Buscemi, Stuart Allan, The Heretic, Thriller, Yvonne Strahovski
Batman: Bad Blood (2016) / D: Jay Oliva / 72m
Cast: Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Stuart Allan, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Gaius Charles, James Garrett, Ernie Hudson, Robin Atkin Downes, Travis Willingham, Geoff Pierson
Rating: 7/10 – when Batman (O’Mara) is missing believed dead after an encounter with The Heretic (Willingham), it falls to Nightwing (Maher), Robin (Allan) and newcomer Batwoman (Strahovski) to discover if he really is dead, or if his disappearance is part of a bigger plot; continuing Warner Bros. impressive streak of animated Batman movies, Batman: Bad Blood is as moody and psychologically sombre as its live action counterparts, even if some of its characters behave like children in their attempts to get along.
The Shanghai Cobra (1945) / Phil Karlson / 64m
Cast: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Benson Fong, James Cardwell, Joan Barclay, Addison Richards, Arthur Loft
Rating: 5/10 – the Oriental detective is tasked with finding the murderer of several bank employees, but the mystery turns out to be connected to an old case Chan was involved in years before in Shanghai; another conveyor belt Monogram/Charlie Chan movie, The Shanghai Cobra is hardly distracting, or distinguishable from any of its Forties brethren, but it’s entertaining enough in its way, and Toler still seems to be enjoying himself in the role (which is no mean feat).
Fast Girls (2012) / D: Regan Hall / 91m
Cast: Lenora Crichlow, Lily James, Lorraine Burroughs, Noel Clarke, Lashana Lynch, Dominique Tipper, Rupert Graves, Philip Davis, Bradley James, Emma Fielding
Rating: 3/10 – Olympics wannabe sprinter Shania Andrews (Crichlow) makes it onto the UK team but finds her progress hampered by a rivalry with fellow athlete Lisa Temple (James), as well as personal problems of her own; for Fast Girls, writer and star Noel Clarke has fashioned a cliché-strewn drama that lacks cohesion between scenes and is laden with unconvincing dialogue, not to mention the paper-thin plotting and some extremely wayward performances.
Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) / D: Genndy Tartakovsky / 89m
Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Asher Blinkoff, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Dana Carvey, Rob Riggle, Mel Brooks
Rating: 6/10 – Count Dracula (Sandler) has a grandchild – but will the little sprog turn out to be fully human, or will he sprout fangs and make his grandfather eternally happy?; a serviceable sequel, Hotel Transylvania 2 lacks momentum in the first hour and then pulls it together to provide a fun conclusion, which makes it okay for children, but adults will probably be wishing they were watching the first movie instead.