Object of My Affection, The (1998, USA) C-112m. ***½ D: Nicholas Hytner. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Nigel Hawthorne, John Pankow, Tim Daly, Allison Janney, Steve Zahn. Touching, warm and real romantic comedy about young woman, who takes a gay roommate who has just been left by his lover. Her boyfriend is not happy, and things begin to get more complicated when she discovers that she is pregnant ..... but in love with her roommate! Quick pace makes some decisions made by the main characters seem a little rash, but film is wonderfully acted by the entire cast. A compelling look at 1990s mores, based on the novel by Stephen McCauley.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, USA) C-107m. Scope *** D: Joel Coen. Starring George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Charles Durning, John Goodman, Michael Badalucco, Holly Hunter, Daniel von Bargen. Clooney, Turturro and Nelson escape from a prison colony in 1930s Mississippi and find themselves on an odyssey through the state to find Clooney’s loot of over a million dollars before the flooding of the valley where the money is hidden. On the way they meet countless oddball characters, the most vicious of those seeming to be one-eyed bible salesman Goodman. A hooray to the Coens! Epic comedy, loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey, delights with hilarious episodes, marvelous cinematography and wonderful performances. Somewhat uneven but clever, corny and filled with terrific bluegrass songs. A must for those looking for originality in motion pictures. The brothers Coen’s personal homage to the cinema of the 1930s and in particular to Preston Sturges. Ethan Coen produced and cowrote the script with brother Joel. This was their eighth film, the first one shot in widescreen.

Obsession (1976, USA) C-98m. Scope *** D: Brian De Palma. Starring Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold, John Lithgow, Sylvia Kuumba Williams, Wanda Blackman. Effective mystery drama about businessman Robertson, who loses his wife and daughter in a kidnapping scheme and goes on to mourn their demise for the next 16 years. One day, however, he meets a woman that looks exactly like his late wife – is this his second chance at finding happiness? Interesting, engrossing variation of Hitchcock’s classic VERTIGO (1958), with a dramatic, elaborate score by Bernard Herrmann. Screenplay by Paul Schrader, from a story by Schrader and De Palma. Well-photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond.

Occhi di Cristallo (2004, ITA/SPA/GBR) C-112m. *** D: Eros Puglielli. Starring Luigi Lo Cascio, Lucía Jiménez, José Angel Egido, Eusebio Poncela, Simón Andreu. Pretty good Italian thriller about a serial killer, who takes body parts of his victims and replaces them with the limbs of an antique doll. Young cop Lo Cascio is on his trail, falls in love with potential victim Jiménez. Sounds familiar, but film has a complex structure, some good performances (especially Lo Cascio’s), a good score, and is generally well-made. A mild surprise, this modern-day giallo, though closer in spirit to SE7EN (1995) or SAW (2004). Based on a novel by Luca Di Fulvio. English title: EYES OF CRISTAL.

Occhi Freddi della Paura, Gli (1971, ITA/SPA) C-91m. **½ D: Enzo G. Castellari. Starring Giovanna Ralli, Frank Wolff, Fernando Rey, Julián Mateos, Karin Schubert, Gianni Garko. Psycho drama, a ‘chamber’ giallo perhaps, about solicitor Garko, who wants to spend the night with Italian prostitute Ralli but must contend with ruthless criminal who breaks into his father’s house. Interesting plot twists, bizarre jazzy score by Ennio Morricone, but ultimately unsatisfying despite extravagant, stylish direction. Giallo fans should give this a try, others needn’t bother. Set in London. English titles: COLD EYES OF FEAR and DESPERATE MOMENTS.

Occhio nel Labirinto, L’ (1972, ITA/GER) C-91m. ** D: Mario Caiano. Starring Rosemary Dexter, Adolfo Celi, Alida Valli, Horst Frank, Sybil Danning, Franco Ressel. A young woman goes in search of her psychiatrist, who – according to the opening scene – may have been murdered. She learns that he may be on an island nearby and travels there, meeting ex-gangster Celi and mansion owner Valli, who houses a bizarre troupe of artists. Sounds interesting, but this giallo is draggy, nonsensical and sloppily made (not counting some stylish camera perspectives). Worth only for some period flavor. English titles: THE EYE IN THE LABYRINTH, BLOOD.

Ocean’s Eleven (1960, USA) C-127m. Scope **½ D: Lewis Milestone. Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, Richard Conte, Cesar Romero, Patrice Wymore, Joey Bishop, Akim Tamiroff, Henry Silva, Richard Benedict, Red Skelton, George Raft, Shirley MacLaine. Sinatra summons his WW2 pals to plan robbing five(!) Las Vegas casinos in one night (silvester). The burden of time is on this caper, which shows especially in first hour. Second half of picture is an improvement, but generally this is overlong and not too clever. For those who want to see Hollywood’s Rat Pack. Script allegedly cowritten by Billy Wilder. Remade by Steven Soderbergh in 2001.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001, USA) C-116m. Scope *** D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Edward Jamison. Loosely based on the 1960 original, entertaining heist comedy concerns plan concocted by Clooney to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. For this, he gathers ten experts, who should make the impossible possible. First 30 minutes are a drag and make you fear for the worst, but picture improves, with some cool star performances and a nice sense of humor. The actual heist is the best part of the film. The casino metropolis Las Vegas is vividly brought to the screen. Cameos include Henry Silva, Angie Dickinson (of the 1960 cast), Jerry Weintraub and Don Cheadle.

Ocean’s Twelve (2004, USA) C-120m. Scope ** D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Robbie Coltrane, Vincent Cassel, Eddie Izzard, Jerry Weintraub, Albert Finney, Bruce Willis. Inevitable sequel throws in even more stars but also puts in even more plot contrivances: Clooney gathers his helpers from the casino heist, because Garcia is forcing them to pay back(!) the sum robbed. So they’re off to Amsterdam and Rome, but crime expert Zeta-Jones is on their tracks and rival thief Cassel is taunting them. Shaggy-dog script, where everything is possible and nothing is logical, is worse than that of INDEPENDENCE DAY. Writer George Nolfi must have written it drunk in the course of one long evening. The stars and some funny dialogue keep this from being a complete wash-out.

Ocean’s Thirteen (2007, USA) C-122m. Scope ** D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Michael Mantell, Elliott Gould, Al Pacino, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Eddie Izzard, Ellen Barkin, Jerry Weintraub, Julian Sands, Vincent Cassel, Andy Garcia. Another send-up to the funny, smart original is just as sloppy as the first sequel, perhaps a tad less absurd. Clooney and company want to help out Gould, who has been cheated out of a fortune by casino boss Pacino, and so they go after his new casino to get their revenge. There couldn’t have been a reason other than to make this for the money. Soderbergh should be ashamed of himself. Gives you a few chuckles at best.

October Sky (1999, USA) C-108m. Scope *** D: Joe Johnston. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Laura Dern, Chris Owen, William Lee Scott, Chad Lindberg. Good drama set in 1957, where a 17-year-old teen (Gyllenhaal) is inspired by the launch of Sputnik to become a rocket scientist. He makes experiments with his friends against the will of his father, who would rather see his son as a coalminer like him. Good performances, fine score (by Mark Isham), this is a very American movie, with a typical emotional crescendo at the end. Based on the book by Homer H. Hickam Jr.

Octopussy (1983, USA) C-130m. Scope ***½ D: John Glen. Starring Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Steven Berkoff, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell. James Bond’s last great adventure pits 007 against Russian army general who is threatening to blow up a stolen atom bomb. Incredible over-the-top action outdoes plot easily. Possibly Moore’s best performance as 007, and the decade’s best Bond film.

Odd One Dies, The (1997, HGK) C-90m. **½ D: Patrick Yau. Starring Kaneshiro Takeshi, Carman Lee, Byun Woo Nin, Kenneth Choi. Due to gambling debts a young small-time crook agrees to assassinate a businessman from Thailand. When he wins a lot of money he passes on the mission to a young woman who has recently been released from prison. Soon they discover their affection for each other. Post-modern, grungy little action movie with flawed storytelling is made more fascinating by interesting direction and camerawork than this story would allow. The lead actors Takeshi and Lee are very appealing. Score is unconventional but nice. Has cult film possibilities.

Odeur des Fauves, L’ (1971, FRA/ITA) C-95m. **½ D: Richard Balducci. Starring Maurice Ronet, Josephine Chaplin, Vittorio De Sica, Tanya Lopert, Raymond Pellegrin, Francis Blanche, Dominique Zardi. Ambitious thriller drama about frustrated tabloid reporter Ronet, who’s latest photograph causes an uproar since it depicts a black man kissing the daughter of a racist businessman. Film details the journalist’s flight from hired killers as well as his disenchantment with his job. Not bad and certainly worth watching (not just for reporters), but direction isn’t up to the challenge of the script.

Ôdishon (1999, JAP) C-115m. *** D: Takashi Miike. Starring Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Ren Osugi. Cult hit from Japanese shock artist Miike about single father Ishibashi, who years after the death of his wife starts thinking about remarrying. His colleague at work (a film production company) suggests faking a movie casting for a female starring role. Ishibashi is instantly infatuated with one of the candidates, but knows little or nothing about her past. A mistake? First-half is a romance is the classic sense, the second half becomes a surreal, grossly violent nightmare. Watch this one! Based on a novel by Ryû Murakami. English title: AUDITION.

Œil du Malin, L’ (1961, FRA/ITA) 79m. **½ D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Jacques Charrier, Stéphane Audran, Walther Reyer, Daniel Boulanger. A young journalist, researching for an article on the renewed friendship between the German and the French in Bavaria, meets a happy couple and decides to become their friend. It becomes clear that he is jealous of their happiness and has plans to destroy everything. Early Chabrol drama remains cold and undramatic throughout. Jean Rabier’s black-and-white cinematography is excellent, though. Released in the U.S. as THE THIRD LOVER in 1963.

Of Cooks and Kung Fu (1979, HGK) C-96m. Scope ** D: Starring Jackie Chen Shao Lung, Ga Hoi, Cheung Lee Koon, Suen Yuet, Wu Ma. Standard eastern with comic touches about a violent assassin who seeks out a cook (called Master Glutton) for reasons specified later. The cook lives with his grandson, who learns Kung Fu from him. First hour drags on, although in the final twenty minutes the acrobatics get better. Also known as FISTS OF VENGEANCE.

Offspring, The (1986, USA) C-99m. *½ D: Jeff Burr. Starring Vincent Price, Clu Gulager, Susan Tyrrell, Lawrence Tierney. Pointless, pretentious horror film about old man (Price) who tells stories to a woman, which shall demonstrate that the town he lives in is evil. They forgot to make this intelligent. Also known as FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM. 

Of Unknown Origin (1983, CDN/USA) C-89m. **½ D: George Pan Cosmatos. Starring Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane, Kenneth Welsh, Shannon Tweed. Weller plays a manager-type yuppie, who wants to spend a few days without his family in their N.Y.C. apartment. However, a giant rat has found its way up, and Weller’s attempts to get rid of it will turn the flat into a battlefield. Some cleverly directed sequences highlight picture, although credibility is abandoned early on. OK of its type. Based on the novel by Chauncey G. Parker III. Produced by Pierre David.

Oggi a Me ... Domani a Te (1968, ITA) C-95m. Scope *** D: Tonino Cervi. Starring Brent Halsey, Bud Spencer, Montgomery Ford, William Berger. Following his release from prison a convict hires four gunslingers to help him do in the man who killed his wife. Exciting, no-nonsense spaghetti western was scripted by Cervi and Dario Argento, who includes several motives of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, which he worked on earlier that year. English title: TODAY IT’S ME... TOMORROW YOU?

Ogon Batto (1966, JAP) B&W-73m. **½ D: Hajime Sato. Starring Sonny Chiba, Andrew Hughes, Hirohisa Nakata, Kosaku Okanu. Comic-book-like science-fiction/fantasy movie about a team of scientists, who realize that planet Icarus is on a collision course with the Earth and an extra-terrestrial villain bent on world destruction is behind it all. On their search for a crystal that would make a powerful weapon work, they find the lost continent of Atlantis and on it the tomb of Golden Bat, a superhero that was asleep for 10,000 years and is resurrected by a little girl. Even though his face looks menacingly like a skull, he wants to save mankind. If this isn’t enough to turn you on, you get the most maniacal laughs ever in a movie and a villain in a funny giant pig or rabbit costume. Perfect cult movie fodder, though some trashy, cheesy moments spoil the fun (or do they?). Why didn’t they shoot this in color? From the director of KYUKETSUKI GOKEMIDORO (GOKE, BODYSNATCHER FROM HELL). English titles: GOLD BAT, and THE GOLDEN BAT.

Oily Maniac, The (1976, HGK) C-84m. Scope ** D: Hua Ho Meng. Starring, Li Hsiu-Hsien (=Danny Lee), Lily Li, Chen Ping, Ku Feng, Wang Hsia (=Wang Hsieh), Yuen Woo-Ping, Corey Yuen. Shaw Brothers curio, one of their few horror exploitation films. Polio-victim Lee learns of an ancient Malayan secret, tattooed on the back of a man on death row, then follows its instructions to become the title character, a kind-of oil-covered monster/hero. He uses his superpowers to knock off a few bad guys, one of them his backstabbing lawyer-boss. This melodramatic, Chinese type TOXIC AVENGER (1985) really has to be seen to be believed. Film and plot-wise this is nothing extraordinary, though. Original title: YOU GUI ZI.

Ojo del Huracán, El (1971, SPA/ITA) C-94m. ** D: José María Forqué. Starring Jean Sorel, Analía Gadé, Tony Kendall, Rosanna Yanni. Obscure Spanish giallo variation about Gadé, who is separating from her estranged husband as she has fallen in love with Sorel. The romance between the two seems to good to be true, and indeed there is a twist half-way through that turns things upside down. Tame and a bit sappy, with an almost 80s-like use of songs on the soundtrack, but interesting for buffs. Photographed by Alejandro Ulloa. English title: IN THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE, LUSTY LOVERS, and SUSPICION.

Ojos Azules de la Muneca Rota, Los (1973, SPA) C-89m. ** D: Carlos Aured. Starring Paul Naschy, Diana Lorys, Eduardo Calvo, Eva Léon, Inés Morales, Antonio Pica, Maria Perschy. Spanish giallo about drifter Naschy, who arrives in a small town and starts working for Lorys and her two weird sisters, sex-hungry Léon and wheelchair-bound Perschy. Soon bodies are found dead with their eyeballs missing. Technically a notch below your typical Italian genre piece, film drags along but surprises you with a twist ending that you don’t seen coming for once. Naschy (who delivers one of his non-acting performances) also cowrote the screenplay with director Aured. English title: BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL, HOUSE OF DOOM and HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN.

O.K. Yevtushenko (1968, SPA) C-80m. D: José Luis Madrid. Starring Tom Adams, Tim Barrett, Diana Lorys, Maria Silva, Bernabe Barta Barri, Angel Menéndez, Ingrid Thulin. Secret agent Charles Vine is assigned to investigate kidnapping of Russian spy, realizes that it’s the Chinese and Albanians (!) who are behind it. Totally unspectacular, unappealing, this has not aged well. Third part in a trilogy of spy movies, following (the British) LICENSED TO KILL (1965) and WHERE THE BULLETS FLY (1966). Original version might run longer. English title: SOMEBODY’S STOLEN OUR RUSSIAN SPY.

Oldboy (2003, KOR) C-120m. Scope **½ D: Chan-wook Park. Starring Min-sik Choi, Ji-Tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh. One night a drunk man is kidnapped and he disappears for 15 years, locked into an apartment without a clue about the reason for his abduction. Now he is released and learns he has only a few days to find out who kidnapped him and why. Uncompromising, visceral, well-acted psycho drama, whose main character is such a tormented soul that identifying with him will leave you depressed. Movie becomes almost impossible to watch in the final thirty minutes, which nevertheless are its best part. Its attitude made this a multi-award winner (among them the Grand Prize at Cannes). Second part of director Chan-wook Park’s Revenge trilogy, following SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, and followed by SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE. Also known as OLD BOY.

Old School (2003, USA) C-92m. Scope **½ D: Todd Phillips. Starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven, Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Rimini, Perrey Reeves, Craig Kilborn, Elisha Cuthbert, Seann William Scott, Harve Presnell, Andy Dick, Terry O’Quinn. Here’s something for a novelty: A teen comedy starring three guys who are around 30, who go back to their wild roots, when Wilson breaks up with his girlfriend and rents a house near a college campus. From then on it’s binge drinking, jelly wrestling, and the like. Uneven, but often very funny, best enjoyed in company with a few beers. From the director of ROAD TRIP (2000).

Old Shatterhand (1964, GER/ITA/FRA/YUG) C-122m. Scope ** D: Hugo Fregonese. Starring Lex Barker, Pierre Brice, Guy Madison, Dahlia Lavi, Rik Battaglia, Gustavo Rojo, Ralf Wolter, Kitty Mattern, Bill Ramsey, Gojko Mitic. German producer Artur Brauner’s first stab at successful Karl May franchise is ambitious but fatally overlong and poorly paced ‘adventure’ about Old Shatterhand (Barker) and his attempt to find the murderers of a little child’s parents. Less exciting than producer Horst Wendlandt’s WINNETOU films, worthwhile only for (pre-Leone) Euro-western fans and those of Dahlia Lavi, who has a daring nude scene. Aka APACHES LAST BATTLE and SHATTERHAND.

Oliver & Company (1988, USA) C-73m. *** D: George Scribner. Voices of Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Dom DeLuise, Taurean Blacque, Robert Loggia, Bette Midler, Natalie Gregory. Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is transported to New York City of the 1980s, where a small kitten lives through many adventures with its canine friends and their landlord/owner, who is in debt to a dangerous underworld character. Cute animated feature from Disney provides good entertainment for kids, although it bogs down during some of the unmemorable songs. Marin’s lines are far and away the funniest of the picture.

Oliver Twist (2005, GBR/FRA/ITA/CZE) C-130m. Scope **½ D: Roman Polanski. Starring Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foreman, Barney Clark, Harry Eden, Leanne Rowe, Edward Hardwicke, Mark Strong. Somewhat disappointing adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic takes us into Victorian England, where orphan Clark (the title character) runs away to London, where he is taken up by nefarious Kingsley, who has trained some children as pickpockets. Script by Ronald Harwood never once manages to compell or engross you, what you’re left with is fine production design and cinematography; too little to make this a satisfying view.

Omega Man, The (1971, USA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Boris Sagal. Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville, Lincoln Kilpatrick. Intriguing, but oddly uninvolving science-fiction about Heston, who is the only survivor of biological warfare that has wiped out all mankind except some zombie-like beings who conspire to break into Heston’s fortress. Their disadvantage: They can only go out by night. Some impressive shots of deserted places, mummified corpses, but Heston’s adversaries are far too human-like to be threatening, and film suffers. Strikingly similar to BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970), which Heston (as key character from PLANET OF THE APES) only made a brief appearance in. Based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, filmed previously as L’ULTIMO UOMO DELLA TERRA (1964) with Vincent Price. Photographed by Russell Metty.

Omen, The (1976, USA) C-111m. Scope **½ D: Richard Donner. Starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Stephens, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson. Popular horror classic of the 1970s about U.S. ambassador Peck and wife Remick, whose baby dies upon birth. Peck then decides to “adopt” different baby without the knowledge of his wife – only it turns out to be the antichrist! Rather manipulative chiller has a few unsettling sequences but plot is too talky, too simple. Still, has a way of getting to you. Jerry Goldsmith’s elaborate score won an Oscar. Edited by Stuart Baird. Three sequels followed, starting with DAMIEN: OMEN II.

Omicidio per Appuntamento (1967, ITA/GER) C-91m. Scope **½ D: Mino Guerrini. Starring George Ardisson, Günther Stoll, Ella Karin, Hans von Borsody, Mario Brega, Mino Guerrini. European spy thriller about playboy Ardisson and his search for missing friend, which leads him to the illegal trading with chemical formulas. Plot is almost incomprehensible, but buffs should tune in for Franco delli Colli’s first-rate camerawork and Franco Fraticelli’s top editing. Cowriters Guerrini and Fernando Di Leo make this more gloomy than most of the genre’s examples. Based on the novel Tempo di Massacre by Franco Enna. In Germany this was advertised as a sequel to Ardisson’s AGENTE 3S3 movies.

Omicidio Perfetto a Termini di Legge, Un (1971, ITA/SPA) C-89m. ** D: Tonino Ricci. Starring Philippe Leroy, Elga Andersen, Ivan Rassimov, Rosanna Yanni, Franco Ressel, Franco Balducci. Slightly below-average Italian mystery about speed boat champion Leroy, who has an accident and must undergo complicated brain surgery. Weeks after that he returns to his mansion – considerably confúsed – but soon receives mysterious phone calls and some people around him are murdered. Some interesting plot elements in this typical giallo that never hits bull’s-eye. Nice score by Giorgio Gaslini. Art direction by Flavio Mogherini. English titles: CROSS CURRENT, and A PERFECT MURDER AT THE BORDER OF LAW.

Omohide Poro Poro (1991, JAP) C-118m. ***½ D: Isao Takahata. Starring (the voices of) Miki Imai, Toshirô Yanagiba, Youko Honna, Yuuki Masuda, Mayumi Iizuka, Masahiro Ito. Beautifully animated Ghibli feature made right after their success with TONARI NO TOTORO (1988) and MAJO NO TAKKYUBIN (1989). A young woman, pushing 30 and still single, is preparing for a holiday in the countryside when childhood memories seem to overwhelm her. Flashbacks to her 10-year-old self show us what her life was like in the 1960s. She remembers her often painful schooldays, her countryside holidays, her family troubles, and relates all that to her present-day life. Meticulously made film is an eloquent examination of childhood sensibility and its influence on our adult selves. Not always on target, a bit long, but completely wins you over during brilliant closing credits, through which you must stay tuned! A bit too mature for small children, who will not understand the references to puberty and adult problems. Written by the director. Hayao Miyazaki was executive producer. English titles: ONLY YESTERDAY, MEMORIES OF TEARDROPS, MEMORIES OF YESTERDAY.

Once a Thief (1991, HGK) C-90m. ** D: John Woo. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Leslie Cheung, Cherie Chung, Ken Tsung. Action thriller set in France about three thieves who are hired to steal precious painting from inpenetrable castle. Some good action scenes, but overall director Woo remains below his possibilities. The idiotic wrap-up causes the rating to sink by half a star. Woo returned to the subgenre of the heist thriller in 1996 with VIOLENT TRADITION.

Once Upon a Time in China (1991, HGK) C-120m. Scope **½ D: Tsui Hark. Starring Jet Li, Yuen Biao, Jacky Cheung, Rosamund Kwan, Ken Cheng, Wang Yu, Wu Ma, Simon Yam. Lavishly filmed action comedy about legendary Chinaman Wong Fei-Hung (Li), a doctor and Shaolin master. Together with his pupils he puts up resistance against western invaders and corrupt officials. Historical eastern suffers from a hopelessly muddled plot, which is set in one place only and remains episodic and not necessarily coherent. Director Hark also produced the film. The action scenes are average (and sometimes confusing). The comic bits work only intermittently. Original title: WONG FEI-HUNG. Followed by five sequels. Originally 133m.

Once Upon a Time in China 4 (1994, HGK) C-100m. Scope *** D: Yuen Bun. Starring Zhang Wen Zhang, Chin Kar Lok, Chiu Man Cheuk, Mok Siu Chung, Xiong Xin Xin. Continuation of the saga, based on the (legendary) adventures of Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung, who battles eight allied armies this time, in order to defend the honor of the Chinese people. Strikingly filmed and choreographed, film neglects softer tones in the plot, but manages to excite, especially during the climax. Not quite in the league of the SWORDSMAN films but action fans will get their dose of adrenalin anyway. Preferably viewed in a theater. Tsui Hark co-scripted and co-produced, along with Raymond Chow of Golden Harvest Films.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003, USA/MEX) C-102m. *½ D: Robert Rodriguez. Starring Anotnio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Enrique Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Rubén Blades, Willem Dafoe, Gerardo Vigil, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Tito Larriva. Pointless sequel to EL MARIACHI (1992) and DESPERADO (1995) features guitar player / assassin Banderas, who is hired by CIA agent Depp to kill old nemesis Vigil, after that man has killed the President. Over-indulgent, self-absorbed actioner is almost completely worthless, if it wasn’t for some dynamite editing by Rodriguez himself. Completed in 2001 but shelved for obvious reasons.

Once Were Warriors (1994, NZL) C-103m. ***½ D: Lee Tamahori. Starring Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Julian Arahanga, Taungaroa Emile, Rachael Morris, Jr., Joseph Kairau. Gritty, realistic drama about a family of Maori descendants who live in modern-day New Zealand. Film depicts Owen’s love-hate relationship with her ultra-violent husband Morrison, which eventually leads to the destruction of their family. Strong statement on the struggle of the lower classes, naturally acted, simply powerful, if lacking the kind of storytelling savvy that would make this a true knock-out. First-time director Tamahori went on to direct THE EDGE in Hollywood.

One-Armed Boxer (1971, HGK) C-92m. Scope **½ D: Wang Yu. Starring Wang Yu. Standard martial arts action about student Wang Yu, whose academy is threatened by a rival master, who has brought several kung fu experts with him in order to destroy the school. Wang Yu seems the only one able to face them, but then unfortunately loses one arm in the fight. Rather poorly plotted eastern contains enough fight scenes to please fans. The finale is quite vicious. Highly regarded by some. Followed by THE ONE-ARMED BOXER VS. THE FLYING GUILLOTINE in 1974.

One-Armed Boxer vs. the Flying Guillotine, The (1975, HGK) C-81m. Scope *** D: Wang Yu. Starring Wang Yu. Sequel to the above is vicious martial arts extravaganza about a blind monk, who wants to avenge the death of his two nephews (Wang Yu’s last opponents in ONE-ARMED BOXER) and kills every one-armed fighter with his awe-inspiring special weapon. Wang Yu, who runs an illegal school, must face countless enemies before going head to head with the seemingly invincible villain. Charismatic star performance, violent, unusual fight scenes highlight this eastern, which is not that much better than its predecessor but has understandably acquired a cult status among martial arts fans. Written by Wang Yu. Also known as MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE and ONE-ARMED BOXER II.

One Day in September (1999, GBR/SUI/GER) C-94m. ***½ D: Kevin Mcdonald. Narrated by Michael Douglas. Fine documentary (an Academy Award winner) about the shocking ac of terror committed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. In return for the release of 11 Israeli hostages the terrorists demanded that 200 of their men be released from prison. Chronological recounting of events makes this a suspenseful true-crime movie, without losing the balance between public and personal tragedy. Interviews of the victim’s relatives and original footage ingeniously linked. Most shocking revelation: The inefficiency of German executive forces. Director Macdonald is the grandson of British film icon Emeric Pressburger.

One Fine Day (1996, USA) C-108m. **½ D: Michael Hoffman. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney, Mae Whitman, Alex D. Linz, Charles Durning, Jon Robin Baitz, Ellen Greene, Joe Grifasi. During a hectic working day, career-obsessed Pfeiffer and Clooney have to take care of their children. Both are divorced, and since they have so much to do, they have to rely on each other by having the other look after the kids. Stressed people shouldn't watch this family film, there's too much bustling activity, and the children are in constant danger. Nice, if predictable, romantic comedy produced by Michelle Pfeiffer.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, USA) C-133m. ***½ D: Milos Forman. Starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Michael Berryman, Scatman Crothers, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Will Sampson, Vincent Schiavelli, Brad Dourif, Saul Zaentz. Outstanding drama about misfit Nicholson, who has himself put into a mental institution and turns the hierarchy there upside down, much to the dismay of head nurse Fletcher. The other patients soon accept him as their leader. Nicholson is ingenious in the lead. Simultaneously funny and sad, and ultimately shattering, this original American classic went on to win all five important Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Actress (Fletcher). Based on the novel by Ken Kesey. Cinematography by Haskell Wexler. Dourif and Lloyd’s film debuts.

One Hour Photo (2002, USA) C-96m. *** D: Mark Romanek. Starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Dylan Smith, Erin Daniels, Gary Cole, Eriq La Salle. A seemingly perfect family unknowingly shares their happiest moments with shop assistant Williams, who has developed all their photos for the past years. The terminally lonely man dreams of being part of their lives and sees himself forced to act, when he discovers (on film) that the husband has cheated on his wife. Rather simple psycho thriller drama is not sensationalistic but quietly engrosses the viewer and has interesting ideas. Williams is good in a difficult part. Auspicious second film by writer-director Romanek, whose only other feature film was made back in 1985 (STATIC).

100 Girls (2000, USA) C-95m. *** D: Michael Davis. Starring Jonathan Tucker, Emmanuelle Chriqui, James DeBello, Katherine Heigl, Jamie Pressly, Marissa Ribisi. Enjoyable teen comedy about handyman Tucker, who had sex with a stranger during a blackout and sets out to find the girl – in a sorority with dozens of chicks. A little inept sometimes, and lacks star appeal, but never takes itself too seriously. Tucker’s final speech is great. Written by the director.

101 Dalmatians (1996, USA) C-103m. *** D: Stephen Herek. Starring Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, Hugh Laurie, Mark Williams, John Shrapnell. Remake of the 1961 Disney classic is funny and very appealing in the first half, bogs down a little in the second. Daniels and Richardson play a couple whose Dalmatians would make a perfect fur for fashion empress Cruella DeVil (flamboyantly played by Glenn Close). She abducts them and plans to have them skinned, but she hasn't reckoned with the Dalmatians' animal friends. Much more slapstick than in the original, thanks to John Hughes' script, but wonderful production design offsets these liabilities. Kids should be more than pleased with this adventure.

One Million Years B.C. (1966, GBR) C-100m. **½ D: Don Chaffey. Starring Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert, Robert Brown, Martine Beswick. Prehistoric adventure about two humans (Welch and Richardson) running for their life in the wild. They have to contend with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Not terribly scriptwise, there is no intelligible dialogue. Has become a cult film for Welch’s performance (or physique?), which made her an instant star. Good effects by Ray Harryhausen. A remake of the 1939 film ONE MILLION B.C.

On Golden Pond (1981, USA) C-109m. ***½ D: Mark Rydell. Starring Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Doug McKeon, Dabney Coleman, William Lanteau, Christopher Rydell. Charming, memorable comedy drama about old couple Hepburn and Fonda, who spend one of their last summers together at their holiday house by a large lake. Their peace is interrupted by the arrival of their estranged daughter Fonda, her lover Coleman and her lover’s son McKeon. Little do they all know that this summer is going to change their lives forever. Beautifully acted drama was Fonda’s last film, and what a performance he gives! Subtle, quiet (and Oscar-winning) adaptation of Ernest Thompson’s witty play, well-scored by Dave Grusin and shot at perfect locations. One of those films that hardly age, like the memory of their stars. Both Hepburn and Fonda won Academy Awards.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, GBR) C-142m. Scope ***½ D: Peter R. Hunt. Starring George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Gabriele Ferzetti, Telly Savalas, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Catharina von Schell, Bessie Love, Joanna Lumley. Stylish, sophisticated James Bond film with Lazenby replacing Sean Connery as secret agent 007, who picks up the trace of arch-enemy Blofeld (Savalas) by promising to marry Spanish comtessa Rigg. The villain intends to sterilize the world if his demands are not met. Lazenby, in his only appearance as the super spy, is acceptable, but film itself is superbly paced, yet not fast-paced. At times it even achieves a kind of poetic, melancholy quality, which is unique for a Bond movie. Superb, colorful sets by Peter Lamont; it’s too bad only one film of this series was made in the late 1960s. Fine score by John Barry, Louis Armstrong’s We Have All the Time in the World is especially lovely. While all action scenes are good, the final sequence is particularly stunning. Film is remarkably well edited by John Glen, who directed five Bond films himself in the 1980s. Director Hunt edited all five previous Bond movies, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, his first film as a director, is very probably the best of the whole series. That ending will chill you to the bone. Beware of shorter (European) prints.

Only You (1994, USA) C-108m. *** D: Norman Jewison. Starring Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Bonny Hunt, Billy Zane. Not very credible but enjoyable romantic comedy with Tomei a superstitious bride-to-be who (regardless of her wedding the following week) travels to Italy when she is phoned by someone called Damon Bradley, which is the name of the „soul mate“ predicted to her when she was a child. Rather shallow and sloppy in terms of characterization, but unpredictable plot twists make it fun to watch. Tomei is gorgeous in the lead. Photographed by the great Sven Nykvist. 

On Ne Meurt Que Deux Fois (1985, FRA) C-106m. **½ D: Jacques Deray. Starring Michel Serrault, Charlotte Rampling, Xavier Delux, Elisabeth Depardieu, Maurice Barrier. When the body of a musician is found, inspector Serrault investigates and finds a suspect in femme fatale Rampling. Will he convict her or fall for her? Film noir-like psycho drama is quite engrossing but also low-key and slowly paced. Serrault is in fine form again. A slightly too literate adaptation of Robin Cook’s novel. Aka HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN.

On the Run (1988, HGK) C-88m. *** D: Alfred Cheung. Starring Yuen Biao, Patricia Ha, Yuen Wah. After his wife is killed by a professional hitman, young policeman sets out to find the murderer and soon learns that his own boss has something to do with it. The killer turns out to be a woman, who joins forces with the man whose wife she killed, when the chief of police tries to doublecross her. Well-made action drama with appealing characters, especially the beautiful heroine Pat Ha. Violent, but effects are realistic. Surprisingly sensitive for an action movie, which is actually what makes the film worth watching. Produced by Raymond Chow. Patricia Ha is said to have acted in NIGHT CALLER, a 1985 thriller. Aka HONGKONG CONNECTION - ON THE RUN.

On the Yard (1978, USA) C-101m. ** D: Raphael D. Silver. Starring John Heard, Thomas G. Waites, Mike Kellin, Richard Bright. Okay drama focusing on prison life, based on the novel by Malcolm Braly. Some good performances, but otherwise flat.

On Your Mark (1995, JAP) C-7m. n/r D: Hayao Miyazaki. Music video written and directed by none other than animation master Miyazaki. Set to a pop-rock song by Chage & Aska, the story plays out like a trailer for a science-fiction/fantasy film: A young woman with wings is trapped by evil scientists. She is then rescued by two men, who want to set her free. Makes you long to see a full movie version, which unfortunately doesn’t exist. The only directorial effort of Miyazaki between KURENAI NO BUTA (1992) and MONONOKE-HIME (1997).

Open Season (2006, USA) C-99m. ** D: Roger Allers, Jill Culton, Anthony Stacchi. Starring (the voices of) Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Favreau, Gary Sinise, Jane Krakowski, Debra Messing, Billy Connolly. Watchable animated feature about a grizzly bear, raised by a female park ranger as a pet, who is released into the wild and has to fend for himself there only with the help of a bumbling mule deer. And open season is only days away. Not bad, but generates relatively few laughs, and the two main characters are stolen from SHREK (2001).

Opera (1987, ITA) C-100m. **½ D: Dario Argento. Starring Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Daria Nicolodi, Urbano Barberini, Michele Soavi. Muddled plot and impressive stylistics keep a balance in this horror opus about young opera singer who gets a break being allowed to sing in ‘Macbeth’, only to find herself pursued by an insane, black-gloved killer. Some very interesting set pieces make this film worth watching, especially for devotees of the director. Argento would make another opera-themed film in 1998 with IL FANTASMA DELL’OPERA. English title: TERROR AT THE OPERA. Original running time: 107m.

Operation Can(n)on (197?, ???) C-80m. ** D: N.N. Starring Donald C. Silver, William W. Byrum, James W. Tutko, David R. Heath, James A. Tucker. Solidly filmed but undistinguished war film about an American officer held prisoner in a P.O.W. camp during the Korean War. He holds some valuable information, and the Koreans try to identify him among the other prisoners, using special torture methods. Not bad; for war fanatics. An unidentifyable movie; the screen credits (apart from the actors) are in some Asiatic language.

Operation Ganymed (1977, GER) C-124m. *** D: Rainer Erler. Starring Horst Frank, Uwe Friedrichsen, Claus Theo Gärtner, Diter Laser, Jürgen Prochnow. Thoughtful adult science-fiction from the maker of DIE DELEGATION (1970). Years after the failure of their mission to the Jupiter moon Ganymed, a decimated crew are returning to the Earth. They are baffled when obviously nobody registers their approach. What is wrong on planet Earth? And what went wrong on Ganymed? Fascinating drama about mankind in extreme situations, almost in the league of Tarkovsky. Fine performances by all, only the score is sometimes inappropriate. Originally premiered on TV, later released theatrically. Also known as HELDEN – VERLOREN IM STAUB DER STERNE.

Operation Hit Squad (1987, SAF) C-92m. M D: Tonie van der Merwe. Starring Nick Collis, Dale Cutts, Ralph Draper, Janet du Plessis. Terrible, amateurish action movie about two women who survive a plane crash in the wilderness and are picked up and held hostage by renegade soldiers. One woman’s father, a millionaire, then hires a mercenary to free them. Atrocious direction, acting in this bomb from South Africa.

Opération Lady Marlène (1975, FRA/GER) C-80m. ** D : Robert Lamoureux. Starring Robert Lamoureux, Michel Serrault, Bernard Menez, Pierre Tornade, Sybil Danning, Eddie Arent, Eva Astor, Guy Grosso, Jacques Marin, Michel Modo. Second-rate comedy set during WW2, where Serrault breaks into people’s apartments during bomb alerts. Together with a friend he becomes involved in the resistance movement’s attempt to thwart German invasion plans. Rather cheap, with only a few laughs.

Opération Lune (2002, FRA) C-52m. n/r D: William Karel. Featuring interviews with Buzz Aldrin, Alexander Haig, Jan Harlan, Christiane Kubrick, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld. French documentary which presents an interesting conspiracy theory about the space race in the 1960s and the landing on the moon. Fearing that no live pictures could be transmitted from the first moon landing, President Nixon allegedly asked filmmaker Stanley Kubrick – whose 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) had provided much inspiration – to film the scenes in a studio! In return, Kubrick would get a special NASA lens for BARRY LYNDON (1975). Interesting, even intriguing weaving of fact and fiction, worth watching for film buffs. Also known as DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.

Operazione Paura (1966, ITA) C-83m. *** D: Mario Bava. Starring Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali, Piero Lulli, Max Lawrence (=Luciano Catenacci), Gianna Vivaldi. Haunting, nightmarish horror tale set in a small Transylvanian village, where the ghost of a little girl is terrorizing the population. Coroner Rossi-Stuart is baffled when he finds gold coins embedded in the hearts of the victims. Atmospheric photography (by Antonio Rinaldi and Bava himself) and creative direction make this one of the director’s finest, most chilling films, perhaps the pinnacle of gothic horror chillers. Contains sequences which are among the most frightening ever put on film! Only flaw: sluggish pacing. Coscripted by Bava, eerie score by Carlo Rustichelli. Referenced by none other than Federico Fellini in his ‘Toby Dammit’ sequence for TRE PASSI NEL DELIRIO/SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968). Also known as KILL, BABY, ... KILL! and CURSE OF THE LIVING DEAD. Original running time (allegedly) 85m.

Operazione Poker (1965, ITA/SPA) C-92m. Scope **½ D: Osvaldo Civirani. Starring Roger Browne, José Greci, Sancho Gracia, Helga Liné. Brown is quite convincing as a secret agent, who investigates disappearance of Vietnamese politician. It all has something to do with a new invention that allows you to see through walls! Plot is merely an excuse for James Bond-like situations and characters. Cool 60s score by Piero Umiliani. English title: OPERATION POKER.

Operazione San Gennaro (1966, ITA/FRA/GER) C-93m. Scope **½ D: Dino Risi. Starring Nino Manfredi, Senta Berger, Harry Guardino, Claudine Auger, Totò, Mario Adorf, Frank Wolff, Ralf Wolter. Satirical crime comedy about group of ciminals’ attempt to steal jewelry from a church in Naples. Amusing vignettes highlight this inconsistently plotted heist film. For fans of the genre. Score by Armando Trovajoli. Uncut version runs 102m. English titles: OPERATION SAN GENNARO, THE TREASURE OF SAN GENNARO.

Opposite of Sex, The (1998, USA) C-105m. **½ D: Don Roos. Starring Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Galecki, William Lee Scott, Ivan Sergei. Black comedy about 16-year-old self-professed ‘bitch’ Ricci, who’s from a dysfunctional family and decides to disrupt the life of her homosexual (and rich) half-brother Donovan. She steals his lover(!), becomes pregnant and appals Kudrow, the sister of Donovan’s ex-lover, who has died of AIDS. Wild (and uneven) plot is deftly original and has witty dialogue to spare, but narrator Ricci sometimes drops out of the story altogether, so her omniscient wisecracks are not entirely credible. Still, very funny if you are in the mood. Written by the director.

Orange County (2002, USA) C-82m. **½ D: Jake Kasdan. Starring Colin Hanks, Kyle Howard, R.J. Knoll, Bret Harrison, Schuyler Fisk, Mike White, Jack Black, Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase, John Lithgow, Garry Marshall, Kevin Kline, Ben Stiller, Harold Ramis. Quirky, amusing comedy about teenager Hanks (Tom’s son), who feels stuck in his native Orange County, especially when he is rejected by the University of Stanford – by a mistake. However, he pursues his plans to become a writer consequently. Pretty shapeless in the first half, improves towards the end. Good to see a cool and hip teen movie that is not about getting laid. Cute Fisk, as Hanks girlfriend, is Sissy Spacek’s daughter.

Orchideen des Wahnsinns (1986, GER) C-79m. ** D: Nikolai Müllerschön. Starring Diana Körner, Peter von Strombeck. Along with her lover (von Strombeck), a woman (Körner) visits the mansion of her father, whom she is supposed to meet there. It turns out he has died the night before her arrival, and the woman is soon haunted by his ghost - or is someone trying to drive her crazy? Low-budget chiller is stylish to some extent, but there are other scenes which don’t work at all. Quite pretentious, but not bad all in all.

Ore di Terrore (1971, ITA/GER) C-82m. M D: Robert Bradley. Starring Herbert Fux, Ann Smyrner, Karin Schubert, Rainer Basedow, Mario Novelli, John Barclay. Ridiculous thriller about several business-men and mistresses, who take three shipwrecked men on board of their sailing ship. It turns out they are deranged criminals. One of them, however, is also a superintelligent professor, who knows how to manipulate the decadent passengers. Filmmaking at the lowest level. At least the women are beautiful, and for those who care, there’s enough period flavor (music, clothes). Fux, in a rare starring role, is acceptable. Film suggests unintentionally that much more is possible with such a story. For trash fans only.    

Orfanato, El (2007, SPA/MEX) C-105m. SCOPE ***½ D: J.A. Bayona. Starring Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Edgar Vivar. Exceptional ghost story executive produced by Guillermo del Toro (EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO). Rueda and her family move into an old mansion that used to be an orphanage, and they are planning to reopen it as a children’s home. Their own adopted son (Príncep) soon starts having imaginary friends; is it the old orphans trying to communicate something? Atmospheric, believable haunted-house story, well-acted and with chilling set-pieces and twists. Wonderful surprise cameo must not be revealed here. Film also references J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in a beautiful way. Fine score by Fernando Velásquez. English title: THE ORPHANAGE.

Orgía de los Muertos, La (1973, SPA/ITA) C-89m. *** D: José Luis Merino. Starring Stan Cooper (=Stelvio Rosi), Maria Pia Conte,  Dianik Zurakowska, Gérard Tichy, Paul Naschy (=Jacinto Molina). After the death of a count and his daughter, Cooper becomes the only living heir to his uncle’s estate. Little does he know that his uncle was conducting secret experiments in his cellar to bring the dead back to life again. Above-average example of 70s Euro horror interestingly features zombies in a gothic setting. Script (albeit a bit talky) creates some suspense. Fine score by Francesco de Masi. Uncut print runs 94m. English titles: BEYOND THE LIVING DEAD, DRACULA THE TERROR OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE HANGING WOMAN, THE ORGY OF THE DEAD, RETURN OF THE ZOMBIES.

Orgía Nocturna de los Vampiros, La (1973, SPA) C-79m. Scope **½ D: León Klimovsky. Starring Jack Taylor, Dyanik Zurakowska, Helga Liné, Manuel de Blas, Fernando Bilbao. Average Euro-horror with some redeeming features. A group of people travelling in an old bus are stranded in a remote village, where everybody seems to have disappeared. Wait for nightfall! Interesting vampire-zombie combination, obviously influenced by Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), has some chilling moments. Some poorly paced sequences mar the fun (for fans), the score is overbearing and sometimes inappropriate but mostly quite creepy. English titles: THE VAMPIRES’ NIGHT ORGY, ORGY OF THE VAMPIRES, and GRAVE DESIRES.

Orlando (1992, GBR/FRA/RUS) C-93m. *** D: Sally Potter. Starring Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Lothaire Bluteau, John Wood, Charlotte Valandrey, Heathcote Williams, Quentin Crisp, Jimmy Somer-ville.  Exquisite adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando, a fictional biography about a nobleman who travels through the centuries, turning into a woman along the way. Excellent photography, absolutely impressive performance by Swinton, makes this a must for friends of literature and sophisticated cinema alike. Film, however, editing the plot quite a bit, does not manage to fully capture the tone and mood of Woolf's outstanding novel. Director Potter wrote the screenplay and also co-authored the fine music.

Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994, JAP) C-103m. **½ D: Takao Okawara. Starring Masahiro Takashima. Visually impressive, fast-paced but superficial fantasy about the adventures of an emperor’s son who battles the title creature and other monsters. Kids are likely to be thrilled by the action, adults won’t rate it higher than passable entertainment.  

Oro di Londra, L’ (1967, ITA) C-95m. Scope D: Billy Moore (=Guglielmo Morandi). Starring John Bartha, Carlo De Mejo, Mario Di Pietro, John Karlsen, Bill Vanders. Lame heist film about a group of gangsters who intend to steal dozens of gold bars from London bank. No action, very little suspense. Watch only if you must. English title: THE GOLD OF LONDON.

Orribile Segreto del Dottor Hitchcock, L’ (1962, ITA) C-88m. Scope **½ D: Riccardo Freda. Starring Robert Flemyng, Barbara Steele, Harriet Medin, Montgomery Glenn, Maria Teresa Vianello. Necrophiliac doctor Flemyng marries beautiful Steele after the death of his first wife. Soon the bride is confronted with her husband’s horrible secret and dark obsession. Atmospheric, intriguing, well-acted Gothic chiller that is unfortunately much too slowly paced. Similar to Corman’s Poe adaptations. Enjoyable for fans. English titles: THE TERROR OF DR. HITCHCOCK, and THE HORRIBLE DR. HITCHCOCK, the latter being shown at 76m. Followed by LO SPETTRO (THE GHOST).

Orrori del Castello di Norimberga, Gli (1972, ITA) C-98m. **½ D: Mario Bava. Starring Elke Sommer, Joseph Cotten, Massimo Girotti, Rada Rassimov, Antonio Cantafora, Alan Collins, Nicoletta Elmi. Atmospheric horror tale about two students who accidentally resurrect a 16th century baron, who was cursed because he used to kill people in his torture chamber. Weakly plotted horror is not as scary as it pretends to be. Bava’s stylish direction is an asset. Filmed in Austria. Also known as BARON BLOOD and THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF BARON BLOOD. Cut by 8m. for U.S. release.

Oscar (1967, FRA) C-83m. Scope *** D: Edouard Molinaro. Starring Louis de Funès, Claude Gensac. In one of his most ambitious projects co-writer de Funès plays (as later in L’AVARE) a greedy father, whose daughter is causing him some headaches. Fast-paced, fast-talking comedy really belongs to the stage, for which it was originally conceived; the businessman’s house is the only setting (recalling the 1971 JO). Try to watch it in its original French language version. Remade with Sylvester Stallone in 1991.

Osoi Hito (2004, JAP) B&W-83m. **½ D: Gô Shibata. Starring Masakiyo Sumida, Mari Torii, Naozo Horita, Toshihisa Fukunaga, Sumiko Shirai. Experimental drama with an unusual protagonist, mentally and physically handicapped Sumida, who spends his life going to rock concerts and drinking beer with his pal. Then a pretty young nurse starts working for him and he obviously falls in love. His inability to express his feelings results in bursts of violence and soon he becomes a killer. Disturbing, downbeat, perhaps unique character study serves a few directorial experiments too many, but lovers of the unusual may find it worthwhile. Some arresting camerawork. Written by the director. English title: LATE BLOOMER.

Ossessione (1942, ITA) 140m. ***½ D: Luchino Visconti. Starring Massimo Girotti, Clara Calamai, Juan deLanda, Elio Marcuzzo. Brilliant filmization of James Cain’s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice of love triangle which yields tragic results. Calamai plays an unhappily married woman who falls in love with tramp Girotti. Together they plan to get rid of her husband, which leads to a crisis of conscience and makes them unhappier than before. Atmosphere is enhanced by superb score. Only flawed by slow pacing, but film remains fascinating throughout. Very well-directed by first-time director Visconti. Calamai had a supporting role in Dario Argento’s PROFONDO ROSSO 33 years later.

Osterman Weekend, The (1983, USA) C-103m. **½ D: Sam Peckinpah. Starring Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon, Meg Foster, Cassie Yates, Burt Lancaster. Peckinpah’s last film is middling spy thriller based on the book by Robert Ludlum. The Osterman weekend is a traditional get-together of several friends. This year, Hauer is forced by CIA agent Hurt to expose his friends as Soviet spies. From the beginning, there is tension to spare. Interesting subject matter, expectedly assured handling by Peckinpah (especially during the complicated bursts of violence), but film runs out of steam too often and remains dramatically pat. A slight disappointment. Score by Lalo Schifrin.

Othello (1952, ITA) 93m. *** D: Orson Welles. Starring Orson Welles, Micheal MacLiammoir, Suzanne Cloutier, Robert Coote, Michael Lawrence, Fay Compton, Doris Dowling, Joan Fontaine, Joseph Cotten. After filming MACBETH in 1948, Orson Welles decided to put another Shakespeare tragedy, Othello, on celluloid. The title character, a moor from Venice falls prey to an intrigue of his ensign Iago who makes him believe that his young wife Desdemona has an affair with lieutenant Cassio. Welles’ examination of jealousy as a destructive force is unusually directed, with many close-ups and fast cuts. The setting, like in MACBETH, is especially impressive; the heat of Cyprus seems to reflect Othello’s state of mind (Morocco stands in for original Cyprus setting). Film was reconstructed in 1992. Filmed again in 1965 (by Laurence Olivier), 1986 (filmization of the Verdi opera by Franco Zefirelli) and 1995 (by Oliver Parker).

Othello (1995, USA/GBR) C-123m. *** D: Oliver Parker. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Irene Jacob, Kenneth Branagh, Nathaniel Parker, Michael Maloney, Anna Patrick, Nicholas Farrell, Indra Ove, Michael Sheen, Gabriele Ferzetti. Well-produced, well-filmed adaptation of the famous Shakespeare play about the Moor of Venice and his malevolent ensign Iago. Good-looking, modern version is well-acted, especially by Branagh and Fishburne, who is the first Afro-American to star in a film version of the play.

Othello, el Comando Negro (1982, SPA/FRA) C-89m. D: Max H. Bulois. Starring Tony Curtis, Joanna Pettet, Max H. Bulois, Ramiro Oliveros, Nadiuska, Fernando Sancho, Aldo Sambrell. Shakespeare’s Othello is transferred to a mercenary camp in Africa, where super hero Bulois (also director and writer) falls in love with white Pettet (the Desdemona of the story). Why Curtis agreed to play Iago (a colonel here) is anyone’s guess. Heavy-handed, pretentious, almost laughable; Shakespeare never had it so bad, even though his story is paired with music from Beethoven here. Also known as OTHELLO, OTHELLO, THE BLACK COMMANDO and simply THE BLACK COMMANDO.

Other, The (1972, USA) C-100m. *** D : Robert Mulligan. Starring Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky, Norma Connolly, Victor French, John Ritter. Largely unheralded psycho drama, unjustly labeled a horror film, about twins growing up on a farm in 1930s Connecticut. One of them seems to represent good, the other evil, and their Russian grandmother Hagen keeps playing a strange game with them. What’s the mystery behind it all? Unusual puzzler, well-filmed by Mulligan (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD), well-acted, too. May not always hold your attention, but highly interesting for buffs. Written by Thomas Tryon, based on his novel. Good score by Jerry Goldsmith.

Others, The (2001, USA/SPA) C-104m. *** D: Alejandro Amenábar. Starring Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Alakina Mann, James Bentley, Christopher Eccleston, Eric Sykes, Elaine Cassidy, Eduardo Noriega, Alejandro Amenábar. Chilling drama set in 1945 about single mother Kidman, who lives in Victorian mansion with her two kids, who are allergic to daylight. Matters get worse for the overly strict mother, when her daughter claims to have contact with a little boy, who may be a ghost. Thoughtful script, good cinematography in unusual ghost story that features a fine performance by Kidman. Slow pace and lapses in logic are flaws that are excused by spine-tingling finale. The director has a cameo on one of the photographs of dead people. Co-produced by Tom Cruise.

Otoshimono (2006, JAP) C-92m. **½ D: Takeshi Furusawa. Starring Erika Sawajiri, Chinatsu Wakatsuki, Shun Oguri, Aya Sugimoto. A little boy disappears in the subway system and teenager Sawajiri’s little brother. With their mother in hospital with heart problems, the girl starts investigating and finds a subway train driver who thinks he has seen a ghost. Horror chiller with familiar plot is quite okay, becomes more interesting in the finale, where there’s a reference to H.P. Lovecraft. English titles: GHOST TRAIN, GHOST TUNNEL.

Otto - Der Film (1987, GER) C-90m. *** D: Xaver Schwarzenberger, Otto Waalkes. Starring Otto Waalkes, Jessika Cardinahl, Johannes Heesters. West German comedian Otto’s film debut is funny comedy with the typical gags that made him a star in German-speaking countries. After having been ripped off by a loan shark, he is forced to get the money back from a rich family. He falls in love with beautiful Cardinahl, whose life he has saved. There are so many puns in the film that dubbing it in English, for example, would surely make it less funny. Otto’s later comedies were not as successful.

Ötztalmann und Seine Welt, Der (1999, AUT/GER) C-91m. **½ D: Kurt Mündl. Starring Arthur Bürger. Semidocumentary about the life of a man who lived 5300 years ago in the Austrian/Italian Alps and whose mummified corpse was discovered in 1991. Film tries to reconstruct the last year of his life and chronicles (fictionally, of course) the events that led up to his death. Documentary filmmaker Mündl shows what life was like more than 5000 years ago and comes up with stunning animal photography, but the fictional parts of this film (which led some to believe that it was an adventure) are poorly told. Authentic, even fascinating (the documentary part), but unfortunately filmed on video, which explains the poor quality of the material. Mündl also edited, photographed and wrote this Discovery Channel coproduction.

Our Mother’s House (1967, GBR) C-105m. *** D: Jack Clayton. Starring Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Brooks, Louis Sheldon-Williams, John Gugolka, Pamela Franklin, Mark Lester, Sarah Nicholls. Inter-esting study of what happens when sick mother of seven dies in her bed, leaving the children alone in their house. They try to carry on normal life, which is only disrupted by the sudden appearance of their father (Bogarde). The children are uncertain whether to trust the shady character. Fine, well-acted drama, based on a novel by Julian Gloag. Score by Georges Delerue. Director Clayton also produced.

Outfit, The (1974, USA) C-105m. ** D: John Flynn. Starring Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Robert Ryan, Timothy Carey, Richard Jaeckel, Sheree North, Jane Greer, Elisha Cook Jr. Ordinary action thriller about ex-con Duvall and his buddy Baker, who plan to wipe out crime syndicate headed by Ryan, who double-crossed them. Slow pace abandoned for occasional, violent action scenes. Nothing special. Director Flynn lacks the style of a Sam Peckinpah or the story-telling ability of a Francis Ford Coppola. Based on Donald E. Westlake’s novel, not that dissimilar to his The Hunter (filmed as POINT BLANK and PAYBACK).

Outland (1981, GBR) C-109m. Scope **½ D: Peter Hyams. Starring Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James B. Sikking, Kika Markham, Clarke Peters, John Ratzenberger. Quite good sci-fi thriller set on Jupiter moon Io. Connery plays a U.S. marshal who is faced with inexplicable suicides (murders?) of workers on a space station. Less compelling than it might have been, but technically well-made. Rumbling score by Jerry Goldsmith, effective editing by Stuart Baird (director of EXECUTIVE DECISION, U.S. MARSHALS). Written by Hyams, who fared better with 2010 (which is also set on Io).

Out of Sight (1998, USA) C-123m. *½ D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Dennis Farina, Steve Zahn, Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, Manny Suárez, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Nancy Allen. Muddled, incoherent adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel about an escaped convict (Clooney) who becomes involved with a detective (Lopez) and can't seem to forget about her, even while planning a new hold-up. Film leads nowhere, with many seemingly pointless sequences. Some funny bits and quite stylish, but it's all very hard to decipher the characters' motivations. Good score by David Holmes. Produced by Danny DeVito and Barry Sonnenfeld.

Out of Time (2003, USA) C-105m. Scope *** D: Carl Franklin. Starring Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, John Billingsley, Robert Baker, Terry Loughlin, Nora Dunn. Film noir-like tale set in Florida, where chief-of-police Washington has an affair with sexy Lathan, the wife of ex-football pro Cain. He is going through a divorce with Mendes, which complicates everything when she starts investigating on a murder case, where he is the prime suspect. Improbable but enjoyable complications, played to the hilt by a fine cast.

Out-of-Towners, The (1999, USA) C-90m. **½ D: Sam Weisman. Starring Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, John Cleese, Mark McKinney, Oliver Hudson, Josh Mostel. Remake of a 1970 film scripted by Neil Simon and starring Jack Lemmon has Martin and Hawn spending a chaotic day (and night) in New York City, where he is supposed to apply for a job. Comedy has some funny moments, most notably those involving hotel manager Cleese (remember his Fawlty Towers?), but also some truly silly ones, which keep this from being a success.

Outpost, The (1995, USA) C-94m. *½ D: Joe Gayton. Starring Lance Henriksen, Claire Stansfield, John Diehl, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Giovanni Ribisi. In the middle of the desert, scientist Henriksen visits his former workplace, an underground lab, and must contend with secretly bred virus that has infected (and is transforming) a man found half-dead in the desert. Predictable mayhem ensues. Apart from okay direction and photography, this sci-fi horror flick recalls ALIEN (1979), PREDATOR (1987) and other films, and fails to work in any novelties. A bore, executive produced by Wes Craven (his son Jonathan coscripted). Also known as MIND RIPPER, or MINDRIPPER.

Over the Hedge (2006, USA) C-83m. *** D: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick. Starring (the voices of) Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner, Nick Nolte, Thomas Haden Church, Allison Janney, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Avril Lavigne. Good DreamWorks feature about the misadventures of a group of animals who must discover after hibernation that their woodland has been taken over by suburbia. Along with a cunning raccoon (voiced by Willis) they try to take advantage of the situation. However, the raccoon is trying to doublecross them. Fine (computer) animation, not too funny, but well-scripted, with a lesson on friendship and trust. Based on a comic strip written by Michael Fry and T. Lewis.

Oxygen (1999, USA) C-92m. **½ D: Richard Shepard. Starring Maura Tierney, Adrien Brody, James Naughton, Laila Robins, Terry Kinney, Paul Calderon. Troubled cop Tierney is asked for help in kidnapping case, where a rich man’s wife was buried alive in a coffin, with oxygen for 24 hours. The kidnapper himself (Brody) is caught early on, but will he reveal the victim’s whereabouts? Thriller has its moments, but is too derivative (of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, for example). Tierny and Brody cannot be faulted. Director Shepard also scripted.