Action, Aloha Scooby-Doo!, Animation, Arnaud Larrieu, Contract to Kill, Dapper Jack, Drama, Frank Welker, His Lordship Goes to Press, Jean-Marie Larrieu, June Clyde, Keoni Waxman, Love Is the Perfect Crime, Mathieu Amalric, Melvin Van Peebles, Mystery, Nicolas Cage, Review, Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown, Steven Seagal, The Mystery Gang, Thriller, Tim Maltby, True story, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, Warner Bros., Wiki Tiki
USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016) / D: Mario Van Peebles / 130m
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, Matt Lanter, James Remar, Thomas Jane, Brian Presley, Yutaka Takeuchi, Johnny Wactor, Adam Scott Miller, Cody Walker, Weronika Rosati, Currie Graham
Rating: 4/10 – five days after it delivers the atomic weaponry that would be used against Japan, the USS Indianapolis is torpedoed and sunk, leaving around three hundred crewmen hundreds of miles from land and at the mercy of starvation, dehydration and worst of all, marauding sharks; the true story that gave rise to that monologue in Jaws (1975), USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage betrays its low budget and scaled back production values at almost every turn, and lacks the necessary intensity to make it work properly, though it does allow Cage the chance to give a slightly better performance than we’ve recently been used to.
His Lordship Goes to Press (1938) / D: Maclean Rogers / 80m
Cast: June Clyde, Hugh Williams, Leslie Perrins, Louise Hampton, Romney Brent, Aubrey Mallalieu
Rating: 4/10 – an American journalist (Clyde) travels to England to write a story about farming, and while she’s en route, insults an Earl (Williams) who decides to teach her a lesson, one that involves his posing as a farmer on his own estate; what could and should have been a light-hearted romantic comedy gets bogged by the mechanics of its plot, and two lead performances that aren’t as interesting to watch as those of the supporting cast, all of which, unfortunately, makes His Lordship Goes to Press easily forgettable.
Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown (2017) / D: Matt Peters / 79m
Cast: Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci, Melissa Villasenor, Carlos Alazraqui, Gary Cole, Kari Wahlgren, Stephen Tobolowsky, Max Charles
Rating: 7/10 – the latest outing for the Mystery Gang sees them head out west to a small town haunted by the terrifying ghost of Dapper Jack – who just happens to be one of Shaggy’s ancestors; one of the better entries in Warner Bros. ongoing series, Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown is sharp, funny, has an intriguing storyline, and throws in more suspects than usual, making it slightly more difficult than usual to spot the villain (though you might argue it’s the person who gave the go ahead for two songs to be included).
Love Is the Perfect Crime (2013) / D: Jean-Marie Larrieu, Arnaud Larrieu / 110m
Original title: L’amour est un crime parfait
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Karin Viard, Maïwenn, Sara Forestier, Denis Podalydès
Rating: 7/10 – Marc (Amalric) is a literature professor at the University of Lausanne who first becomes embroiled in the disappearance of a student, and then finds himself falling in love with her stepmother (Maïwenn); Amalric’s arrogant but often childish professor is matched by Viard’s casual malevolence as his sister, and while Love Is the Perfect Crime plays out like a mystery (that’s actually quite easy to solve), it’s really a drama about one man’s initially unwitting, then complicit attempt at self-destruction, a storyline that offers much in the way of subdued Gallic charm.
Contract to Kill (2016) / D: Keoni Waxman / 90m
Cast: Steven Seagal, Russell Wong, Jemma Dallender, Mircea Drambareanu, Sergiu Costache, Ghassan Bouz, Andrei Stanciu
Rating: 3/10 – a Mexican drug cartel helps Arab terrorists smuggle weapons and personnel into America, but they don’t reckon on CIA/DEA agent John Harmon (Seagal) and his team interfering with their plans; Contract to Kill is a Steven Seagal movie, with all that that entails, including Seagal himself reciting dialogue as if he was reading it off the back of a cereal box, the same tired, poorly edited actions sequences we’ve seen a dozen times or more in the past, and a plot that makes no coherent sense no matter how closely you examine it.
Aloha Scooby-Doo! (2005) / D: Tim Maltby / 74m
Cast: Frank Welker, Casey Kasem, Mindy Cohn, Grey DeLisle, Ray Bumatai, Tia Carrere, Teri Garr, Mario Lopez, Adam West
Rating: 5/10 – when Daphne (DeLisle) gets the chance to be a clothes designer for a company based in Hawaii, inevitably the rest of the gang go with her – and find themselves investigating the mystery of the ghostly Wiki Tiki; not the best movie in the series (the villain is so obvious it’s almost insulting), Aloha Scooby-Doo! strives to have Daphne in a bikini as often as possible, struggles to make its central mystery interesting, features little Tiki monsters that are funny rather than scary, and direction by Maltby that makes you wonder how involved he was throughout.