Action, Adventure, Alistair Sim, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, Bette Davis, Brie Larson, Charlie Day, Collide, Comedy, Crime, Documentary, Dougray Scott, Drama, Eran Creevy, Eugenio Ercolani, Felicity Jones, Fist Fight, Gordon Harker, Guiliano Emanuele, Horror, I.T., Ice Cube, Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It, Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday, James Cagney, James Frecheville, Jimmy the Gent, John Moore, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island, Michael Curtiz, Mystery, Nicholas Hoult, Omega Rising: Remembering Joe D'Amato, Pierce Brosnan, Review, Richie Keen, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Barker, The Rezort, Tom Hiddleston, Walter Forde, Zombies
Fist Fight (2017) / D: Richie Keen / 91m
Cast: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, Dennis Haysbert, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Alexa Nisenson
Rating: 3/10 – meh; lame on levels you wouldn’t have thought possible (Bell’s character wants to have sex with a pupil – and doesn’t think it’s wrong), Fist Fight is a virtually laugh-free exercise that wastes the time of everyone concerned, and its unsuspecting audience.
I.T. (2016) / D: John Moore / 95m
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Michael Nyqvist
Rating: 3/10 – meh; lame on levels you wouldn’t have thought possible (Brosnan’s character is a tech mogul who doesn’t know the first thing about the tech he’s promoting), I.T. is a virtually tension-free exercise that wastes the time of everyone concerned, and its unsuspecting audience.
Collide (2016) / D: Eran Creevy / 99m
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, Marwan Kenzari, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Christian Rubeck, Erdal Yildiz, Clemens Schick, Johnny Palmiero
Rating: 6/10 – Hoult’s backpacker finds himself mixed up with rival gangsters Hopkins and Kingsley, and using his driving skills to stay one step ahead of both of them; the focus is squarely on the action, which is a good thing, as Collide‘s plot is as all over the place as the various cars Hoult throws about on German autobahns, but when it’s bad it’s Hopkins intoning “I’m the destroyer of worlds” bad.
Jimmy the Gent (1934) / D: Michael Curtiz / 67m
Cast: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins, Alan Dinehart, Alice White, Arthur Hohl, Mayo Methot
Rating: 7/10 – in an effort to woo back his former secretary (Davis), Cagney’s brash racketeer attempts to put a classier spin on his finding “lost” heirs business, and finds himself mellowing when a case challenges his compromised ethics; worth watching just for the pairing of Cagney and Davis, Jimmy the Gent is a typically fast-paced, razor sharp romantic comedy that may seem predictable nowadays but is nevertheless a minor gem that is effortlessly entertaining.
Kong: Skull Island (2017) / D: Jordan Vogt-Roberts / 118m
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Thomas Mann, Corey Hawkins, Toby Kebbell, Tian Jing, John Ortiz, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Richard Jenkins, Terry Notary
Rating: 5/10 – an expedition to a mysterious island in the Pacific yields dangers galore for its participants – Jackson’s crazed Army Colonel, Hiddleston’s ex-SAS captain, Larson’s anti-war photographer, Goodman’s duplicitous government official et al – not the least of which is an angry hundred-foot gorilla called Kong; while Kong: Skull Island may be visually arresting, and its action sequences pleasingly vivid, the lack of a decent plot and characters with any kind of inner life makes the movie yet another franchise-building letdown.
The Rezort (2015) / D: Steve Barker / 93m
Cast: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Elen Rhys, Claire Goose, Jassa Ahluwalia, Lawrence Walker
Rating: 4/10 – after a viral outbreak that turned its victims into flesh-hungry zombies is contained, an island resort opens that offers survivors the chance to hunt down and exterminate zombies with little or no risk of harm – but the resort is targeted from the inside and a group of holiday makers find themselves becoming the hunted; a strong idea that runs out of steam by the halfway mark, The Rezort leaves its cast stranded with a standard “run from this place to the next and look desperate” approach that drains the movie of any tension and makes it all look as generic as the next zombie movie.
Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday (1939) / D: Walter Forde / 90m
Cast: Gordon Harker, Alistair Sim, Linden Travers, Wally Patch, Edward Chapman, Philip Leaver, Kynaston Reeves
Rating: 7/10 – a seaside holiday for Inspector Hornleigh (Harker) and his trusty sidekick, Sergeant Bingham (Sim), leads inevitably to a murder case involving an inheritance and a criminal outfit who target their victims with the unwitting aid of döppelgangers; the second of three movies featuring Harker’s irascible policeman and Sim’s less-than-sharp second-in-command, Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday is a simple, easy-going, undemanding bit of fun that manages to combine drama and comedy to good effect, and which still holds up nearly eighty years later.
Inspector Hornleigh Gets on It (1941) / D: Walter Forde / 87m
aka Mail Train
Cast: Gordon Harker, Alistair Sim, Phyllis Calvert, Edward Chapman, Charles Oliver, Raymond Huntley, Percy Walsh, David Horne
Rating: 7/10 – despite being sidelined from regular detective work through a stint investigating thefts at an army barracks, Hornleigh and Bingham find themselves on the trail of Fifth Columnists; the last in the short-lived series, Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It is as sprightly and entertaining as the previous two instalments, and allows Huntley to make this priceless observation: “One of them’s tall, bald, looks intelligent but isn’t. The other’s short, sour-faced, doesn’t look intelligent but is.”
Omega Rising: Remembering Joe D’Amato (2017) / D: Eugenio Ercolani, Guiliano Emanuele / 69m
With: Joe D’Amato (archive footage), Luigi Montefiori, Michele Soavi, Claudio Fragasso, Rossella Drudi, Antonio Tentori, Carlo Maria Cordio, Mark Thompson-Ashworth
Rating: 3/10 – Aristide Massaccesi (aka Joe D’Amato)’s career in movies is assessed by some of the people who worked with him closely when he first started out; at sixty-nine minutes, Omega Rising: Remembering Joe D’Amato is a documentary that feels like it lasts twice as long, thanks to Ercolani and Emanuele’s decision to let their interviewees ramble on at length (and usually about themselves instead of D’Amato), and a random assortment of clips that don’t always illustrate what’s being talked about.