Action, Adventure, Arrest Bulldog Drummond, Bank robbery, Blue White and Perfect, Comedy, Crime, Franco Nero, Frank Grillo, Heather Angel, Herbert I. Leeds, James P. Hogan, Jeremy Rush, Joan Collins, John Howard, Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Michael Shayne, Murder, Pauline Collins, Reviews, Roger Goldby, Tales of Halloween, The Time of Their Lives (2017), Thriller, Wheelman (2017)
Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938) / D: James P. Hogan / 57m
Cast: John Howard, Heather Angel, H.B. Warner, Reginald Denny, E.E. Clive, Jean Fenwick, Zeffie Tilbury, George Zucco, Leonard Mudie, Evan Thomas
Rating: 6/10 – on the eve of his wedding, Drummond (Howard) gets involved in the murder of an inventor of an electrical device that can cause explosions from a distance; another robust entry in the series, Arrest Bulldog Drummond has all the usual elements in place and keeps things moving in sprightly fashion thanks to a spirited sense of adventure, and a well-versed cast who all know exactly what they’re doing.
Blue, White and Perfect (1942) / D: Herbert I. Leeds / 75m
Cast: Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Helene Reynolds, George Reeves, Steven Geray, Henry Victor, Curt Bois
Rating: 7/10 – ace detective Michael Shayne (Nolan) finds himself on the trail of industrial diamond smugglers, just as his long-suffering girlfriend, Merle (Hughes), thinks she’s finally got him to marry her; the Michael Shayne series hits its midway point and proves just as entertaining, if not more so, than its predecessors, with Nolan fully invested in the role, a number of narrative twists to keep the viewer guessing, Leeds’ easy-going direction, and an appealing sense of humour throughout that makes Blue, White and Perfect an engaging and fun-packed franchise entry.
Tales of Halloween (2015) / D: David Parker, Darren Lynn Bousman, Adam Gierasch, Paul Solet, Axelle Carolyn, Lucky McKee, John Skipp, Andrew Kasch, Mike Mendez, Ryan Schifrin, Neil Marshall / 97m
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Daniel DiMaggio, Barry Bostwick, John F. Beach, Tiffany Shepis, Lin Shaye, Barbara Crampton, Lisa Marie, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, Marc Senter, Pollyanna McIntosh, Ben Woolf, Keir Gilchrist, Gracie Gillam, Dana Gould, James Duval, Amanda Moyer, Nick Principe, John Landis, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sam Witwer, Kristina Klebe, Pat Healy, John Savage, Joe Dante
Rating: 4/10 – ten tales set around Halloween in a small, suburban town, and encompassing everything from the Devil, aliens, axe murderers, trick ‘n’ treat, warring neighbours, and psycho imps; ten tales are arguably six too many, with several of the entries in Tales of Halloween proving lukewarm at best (and dull at worst), with Mendez’s Friday the 31st segment standing out from the rest of the pack thanks to its gonzo mix of gore and humour.
The Time of Their Lives (2017) / D: Roger Goldby / 104m
Cast: Joan Collins, Pauline Collins, Franco Nero, Ronald Pickup, Sian Reeves, Joely Richardson, Michael Brandon
Rating: 4/10 – a faded Hollywood star (Joan Collins) hijacks the goodwill of a put-upon housewife (Pauline Collins) in her efforts to attend the funeral of a former leading man and ex-lover; a tepid comedy-drama that meanders from one dispiriting scene to another in its efforts to be entertaining, The Time of Their Lives wastes the talents of both its leading ladies while it insists on cranking out endless platitudes about what it is to be old and unappreciated, something that, at some point, this movie will succeed in being.
Wheelman (2017) / D: Jeremy Rush / 82m
Cast: Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael, Garret Dillahunt, Shea Whigham, Wendy Moniz, John Cenatiempo, Slaine
Rating: 6/10 – a getaway driver (Grillo) finds himself trying to stay one step ahead of the various “interested parties” who want the money he has from a bank robbery gone wrong – and who’ll stop at nothing to get it; an action movie variation on Locke (2013) with much of the action filmed from within the confines of the getaway car, Wheelman strives for a stripped-back, gritty aesthetic, but suffers from having Grillo’s unnamed character repeating the same lines over and over, the action taking place in a strange night-time netherworld where the police are perpetually absent, the unlikely involvement of the driver’s teenage daughter (Carmichael) towards the end, and the car’s speedometer never getting above zero.