Bury Them Deep (1968) / D: Paolo Moffa (as John Byrd) / 109m
Original title: All’ultimo sangue
Cast: Craig Hill, Ettore Manni, Giovanni Cianfriglia (as Ken Wood), José Greci, Francesco Santovetti, Luciano Doria, Pino Patti (as Giuseppe Sorrentino), Ruggero Salvadori
Rating: 5/10 – when an Army payroll is stolen by notorious outlaw Billy Gun (Cianfriglia), expert tracker Clive Norton (Hill) is hired to get it back, but in the process he finds himself up against a variety of obstacles, not the least of which is Billy’s brother, El Chaleco (Manni); an average Spaghetti Western given a much needed dose of energy thanks to Manni’s muscular, spirited performance as the conniving El Chaleco, Bury Them Deep rarely rises above its perfunctory level, and despite cramming in several lengthy action sequences.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) / D: Mike Flanagan / 99m
Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack
Rating: 6/10 – it’s 1965, and the Zander family – single mother Alice (Reaser) and her two daughters, Lina (Basso) and Doris (Wilson) – become imperilled by an evil spirit thanks to the misguided use of a ouija board; a prequel to the events seen in Ouija (2014), this does nothing new in terms of scares and special effects, but thanks to the involvement of Flanagan, at least gives you characters you can actually relate to and care about, and which is a rare and valuable thing indeed.
Finding Dory (2016) / D: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane / 97m
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Sloane Murray, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bob Peterson, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader, Sigourney Weaver
Rating: 7/10 – Dory the blue tang fish (DeGeneres) starts having flashbacks to when she was younger and lived with her parents, and these in turn prompt her to try and find them, much to the continuing consternation of clown fish Marlin (Brooks) and his more positive son Nemo (Rolence); a sequel to one of Pixar’s most cherished movies, and one of this year’s most anticipated releases, Finding Dory lacks the original movie’s winning charm, and settles instead for being a guilty pleasure retread of Finding Nemo, while being saved from a lower score thanks to DeGeneres wonderful, and still inspired, vocal performance.
Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016) / D: Sharon Maguire / 123m
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Solemani, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Neil Pearson, Joanna Scanlan, Kate O’Flynn, Celia Imrie, Ed Sheeran
Rating: 7/10 – at the dreadfully old age of forty-three, Bridget (Zellweger) feels like love is passing her by, until two one night stands – with old flame Mark Darcy (Firth) and new beau Jack Qwant (Dempsey) – lead to her being pregnant but unsure as to which one of them is the father; a welcome return for Bridget, and with much of the pizzazz and feelgood humour of the first movie, but the whole “who’s the father?” storyline is a poor conceit to hang a whole movie on, and it shows, leaving standout moments such as Bridget miming to House of Pain’s Jump Around, as a much better reason for splurging on this latest installment.
Shut In (2015) / D: Adam Schindler / 90m
aka Deadly Home; Intruders
Cast: Beth Riesgraf, Rory Culkin, Martin Starr, Jack Kesy, Joshua Mikel, Leticia Jiminez, Timothy T. McKinney
Rating: 5/10 – when Anna (Riesgraf), who’s agoraphobic, doesn’t attend her recently deceased brother’s funeral, the three men who arrive at her home to rob her soon find that Anna has a dark secret that will endanger them all; a brave attempt to do something different in the home invasion genre, Shut In nevertheless remains an intriguing idea that never coalesces into a completely successful whole, but does feature a terrific performance from Riesgraf.
Inferno (2016) / D: Ron Howard / 121m
Cast: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish
Rating: 6/10 – despite suffering from short term memory loss, symbologist Robert Langdon must endure a race against time in order to stop the release of a deadly toxin that will wipe out billions of people; another year, another Dan Brown adaptation, but this time it’s an adaptation that’s at least bearable, thanks to Tom Elkins’ and Daniel P. Hanley’s editing skills, an enjoyable, knowing performance from Khan, and a script that doesn’t hang around getting bogged down by endless exposition, which, considering Brown’s reliance on it in his novels, is a massive step forward should The Lost Symbol or any further novels be adapted for the screen.
Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2016) / D: Dominik Hartl / 77m
Cast: Laurie Calvert, Gabriela Marcinková, Oscar Dyekjær Giese, Margarete Tiesel, Karl Fischer, Patricia Aulitzky, Kari Rakkola
Rating: 5/10 – a formula for producing snow proves extremely harmful if ingested, and soon the guests at a remote mountain top ski resort are knee deep in zombies, both human and animal; similar in tone to the Dead Snow movies, Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies combines daft humour with gross-out gore and flying body parts a-plenty, but as usual with this type of movie, it pays lip service to cohesive plotting, or credible characters, and focuses instead on providing a series of inventive zombie kills – which is pretty much the only aspect it gets right.
Fort Osage (1952) / D: Lesley Selander / 72m
Cast: Rod Cameron, Jane Nigh, Morris Ankrum, Douglas Kennedy, John Ridgely
Rating: 6/10 – homesteaders looking to head west through Indian country are exploited by a crooked businessman (Ankrum) and have their lives put at risk by his decision to cheat said Indians out of the rewards of a peace treaty, leaving would-be wagonmaster Tom Clay (Cameron) to get the bottom of all the corruption; an enjoyable way to spend seventy-two minutes thanks to Selander’s typically intuitive direction, Cameron’s no-nonsense approach to dialogue, and the joy of watching so many standard Western tropes being trotted out and given such a good airing.