Cabin Fever (2002, USA) C-93m. Scope D: Eli Roth. Starring Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Arie Verveen, David Kaufbird (=Eli Roth). Derivative horror movie about a bunch of kids who rent a cabin in the woods for some partying and end up dying from an unnamed virus. Takes its cue completely from horror classics such as EVIL DEAD and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and adds nothing new. Not even fun on a no-brain level. Still, enjoyed a great box-office success. Angelo Badalamenti contributed to the score.

Cacciatore 2 (1980, ITA) C-97m. Scope ** D: Anthony M. Dawson. Starring David Warbeck, Tisa Farrow, John Steiner. Warbeck takes up a secret mission in Vietnam and stumbles upon journalist Farrow in the jungle, who helps him accomplish it. Pretty trivial and exploitational (some typically Italian gore scenes), war action remains watchable nevertheless. English title: THE LAST HUNTER.

Cadaveri Eccellenti (1976, ITA/FRA) C-120m. *** D: Francesco Rosi. Starring Lino Ventura, Tino Carraro, Marcel Bozzuffi, Max von Sydow, Charles Vanel, Fernando Rey, Luigi Pistilli, Florestano Vancini. Intelligent political drama typecasts Ventura as a hardened cop, who investigates the kililng of several judges, all set against the backdrop of a burgeoning political revolution. Slow-going but richly textured drama is superbly acted, especially by von Sydow. Similar to I… COMME ICARE, only not as technically perfect. Based on the novel by Leonardo Sciascia (A CIASCUNO IL SUO). Cowritten by director Rosi. English titles: THE CONTEXT and ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES.

Caged Heat (1974, USA) C-83m. **½ D: Jonathan Demme. Starring Erica Gavin, Donald Heitzer, Mike Shack, Gary Goetzman, Juanita Brown, Barbara Steele, George Armitage. Typical (apart from the setting) women-in-chains movie about a group of inmates, who decide to bust out – once and for all. Enough action, nudity to please fans. Steele is fun as a wheelchair-bound warden. Upbeat ending makes the movie. Maverick director Demme’s first film, produced by Roger Corman. That’s director George Armitage (GROSSE POINT BLANK) and his family in the Volvo the gang steals. Second project (after BADLANDS) for renowned cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Followed by an in-name-only sequel twenty years later!

Cake (2005, USA) C-94m. ** D: Nisha Ganatra. Starring Heather Graham, David Sutcliffe, Taye Diggs, Sandra Oh, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Cheryl Hines, Nisha Ganatra. Light-weight comedy about thrill-seeking nymphomaniac Graham, whose life takes a turn when she must take over her ill father’s wedding magazine. Predictable stuff, though Graham (also exec-producer) is cute to watch.

Caligola: La Storia Mai Raccontata (1981, ITA) C-91m. ** D: David Hills (=Joe D’Amato). Starring David Brandon, Laura Gemser, Oliver Finch, Michele Soavi, Gabriele Tinti. Sex drama (if there is such a thing) about the exploits of notorious Roman emperor Caligola (or Caligula), whose debaucheries and slaughterings are depicted here in no-holds-barred fashion. Surprisingly watchable for a D’Amato movie… although there is a 109m. Italian version that is said to contain hardcore footage and even more violence. Review refers to the 91m. unrated version released in the U.S. Brandon is good in the title role, so is the score. D’Amato also photographed and scripted (wth George Eastman). Alternative titles: EMPEROR CALIGULA (with various subtitles) and CALIGULA II: THE UNTOLD STORY.

Calling, The (2000, USA/GER) C-89m. M D: Richard Caesar. Starring Laura Harris, Richard Lintern, Alice Krige, Nick Brimble, Rachel Shelley. In a hospital Harris tells a priest how she married rich Lintern, became pregnant, bore his child and slowly realized that it was actually the anti-christ she was raising. Pretentious, derivative chiller with many absurd plot twists. Well-photographed but about as intelligent as Rosamunde Pilcher adaptations. The Germans were never meant to make horror films.

Caltiki – il Mostro Immortale (1959, ITA/USA) B&W-75m. **½ D: Robert Hamton (=Riccardo Freda). Starring John Merivale, Didi Perego, Gérard Herter, Daniela Rocca, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Daniele Vargas, Arturo Dominici. Quite atmospheric horror set in Mexico, where an expedition team is repeatedly attacked by a monster identified as an old Mayan goddess. They bring home part of the monster’s tissue – a terrible mistake. Direction succeeds in imitating U.S. monster horrors of the 1950s, but generally film can’t escape its B-movie origins. For buffs. Cinematographer Mario Bava completed the film sans credit and also created the good, gooey special effects, remarkably violent for the time. English title: CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER.

Camorra (1972, ITA) C-88m. *½ D: Pasquale Squitieri. Starring Fabio Testi, Jean Seberg, Raymond Pellegrin, Charles Vanel, Germana Canacina, Paul Müller. Mafia movie chronicling the rise of criminal Testi, who uses his wits and fists to become a respected mafioso. It’s just a matter of time until he tries to overthrow his boss. Despite stars Testi and Seberg, this lumbering drama is a complete waste of time, with Squitieri’s direction downright irritating at some points. See also CORLEONE (1977).

Campagna del Infierno, La (1973, SPA/FRA) C-91m. ** D: Claudio Guerin. Starring Renaud Verley, Viveca Lindfors, Alfredo Mayo, Maribel Martín, Christina Betzner (=von Blanc). A young man is released from a psychiatric clinic on probation and returns to the country house of his aunt and her three daughters. Is he going there for revenge? If yes, why? Slowly-paced, vague but none too interesting, mystery drama suffers mostly from Verley’s non-performance. Most intriguing fact is that director Guerin fell to his death from the featured bell tower on the last day of shooting. The film was completed by Juan Antonio Bardem. Also known as THE BELLS, and A BELL FROM HELL.

Candy (1968, USA/ITA/FRA) C-124m. **½ D: Christian Marquand. Starring Ewa Aulin, John Astin, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, John Huston, Charles Aznavour, Marlon Brando, Elsa Martinelli, Sugar Ray Robinson, Anita Pallenberg, Lea Padovani, Florinda Bolkan, Marilù Tolo, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Umberto Orsini, Enrico Maria Salerno, Buck Henry, Christian Marquand. Curio from the late 60s with a gargantuan cast about naïve, sexy blonde teenager Aulin, who finds herself in all kinds of crazy situations because all the men she meets want to have sex with her. Glossy satire has some great roles for stars (especially Burton as an iconoclastic, alcoholic poet), but that alone doesn’t justify two-hour-plus running time. A must for late 60s adepts, though. Some of the editing is really good. Introductory sequence by Douglas Trumbull is reminiscent of his work for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Screenplay by Buck Henry, based on the novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. Beautiful Swedish starlet Aulin made this right after the pop-art giallo LA MORTE HA FATTO L’UOVO.

Candyman (1992, USA) C-98m. *** D: Bernard Rose. Starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, DeJuan Guy, Michael Culkin, Bernard Rose. Unusual horror film, adapted from writer Clive Barker's short story The Forbidden. University student Madsen, researching for her thesis on urban legends, comes across the legend of Candyman, a black painter whose hand was sawn off by his lover's father. They say he will appear if his name is uttered five times before a mirror. Does he really exist? Plot complications and great shock effects make this one of the best horror films of the 1990s. The ending is a beauty. A rare, intelligent, even melancholy story, well-executed by Rose (PAPERHOUSE, IMMORTAL BELOVED), who also wrote the screenplay. Followed by two sequels.

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995, USA) C-94m. ** D: Bill Condon. Starring Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, Timothy Carhart, Veronica Cartwright, William O'Leary, Fay Hauser, Bill Nunn, Matt Clark. Sequel to the above is nothing special, as 'Candyman' Todd turns up in New Orleans to take revenge on a woman whose ancestors killed him years ago. Well-enough produced and filmed, but story fails to evoke much interest. Best things about this movie are Todd as the killer and the original score from the first part.

Candyman: Day of the Dead (1999, USA) C-93m. D: Turi Meyer. Starring Donna D’Errico, Tony Todd, Leonardo Guerra, Mike Moroff, Mark Adair-Rios. Tiring rehash of the original has dumb blonde D’Errico being menaced by her great-granddaddy Candyman (Todd), who is going on yet another killing spree. Starts nicely but suffers from an acute lack of new ideas. D’Errico looks embarrassed in her first starring feature. Let’s hope this was the end of Candyman. Went directly to video.

Cani Arrabbiati (1974, ITA) C-96m. *** D: Mario Bava. Starring Riccardo Cucciolla, Lea Lander, Maurice Poli, Luigi Montefiori (=George Eastman), Aldo Caponi (=Don Backy), Erica Dario. Unexpected latter-day masterpiece from horror icon Mario Bava, long considered a “lost” film, but restored entirely in 1996 after remaining unreleased for more than 20 years. The plot: After a successful robbery three ruthless gangsters (Poli, Eastman, Backy) take three hostages (Cucciolla, Leander and a child) and race across the country in constant fear of being caught. Whose nerves will be the first to break? Violent, profane, intensely acted thriller is one of Bava’s best films, despite being his only intentionally realistic – even nihilistic – movie. His involving, claustrophobic direction keeps things at a fever pitch from start to finish. The final twist will make your jaw drop. Excellent score by Stelvio Cipriani. Due to subject matter and crass presentation, film would certainly have been labeled a “video nasty” and banned in many countries in the 70s and 80s; today its reputation is that of a cult film. Definitely a challenge to all Mario Bava fans. (Note: The Maestro has a brief cameo as a man walking past the car, complaining about the prices). English title: RABID DOGS. Also known as SEMAFORO ROSSO. In 2002 Lamberto Bava and producer Alfredo Leone teamed up to recut the film yet again (Lamberto even re-filmed some scenes according to his late father’s notes) and released it as KIDNAPPED.

Canicule (1983, FRA) C-101m. Scope *** D: Yves Boisset. Starring Lee Marvin, Miou-Miou, Jean Carmet, Victor Lanoux, David Bennent, Bernadette Lafont, Grace de Capitani, Tina Louise, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Muni, Juliette Mills. Marvin is impressive as an American criminal on the run in France, who hides out at an isolated farm, whose inhabitants are primitive farmers. One of them, abused wife Miou-Miou wants to help him thinking she’ll also have a chance to get away. Stylish depiction of violence is somewhat reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah’s action films. Script loses momentum after about an hour but delivers a satisfactory conclusion. Good performances by Carmet and Bennent, but it’s Marvin as the prototype of the American gangster, who makes this thriller ultimately worth watching. Based on a novel by Jean Vautrin (alias Jean Herman). Screenplay by Jean Herman, Dominique Roulet, Serge Korber, Michel Audiard and director Boisset. Score by Francis Lai. English title: DOG DAY.

Cannibal Ferox (1980, ITA) C-93m. ** D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring John Morghen, Lorainne DeSelle, Robert Kerman. Young anthropologist goes to the Amazon jungle trying to prove that there are no more cannibals in the world today. However, in a little village she and her friends find a tribe that feeds on human flesh. Standard cannibal exploitation is probably too gruesome for most to rate it higher than M. It is watchable though, and there is slightly more plot than usual. The music score is not bad either.

Cannibal Flesh Riot (2007, USA) B&W-33m. n/r D: Gris Grimly. Starring David Backus, Vince Buckley, Bud Campbell, Erik Campbell, Shanna Fleischeiker. Horror comedy short about two ghouls who are on their way to a graveyard where they want to exhume (and possibly devour) a recently deceased billionaire. A few too many wisecracks in the lengthy dialogues, but film is surprisingly well-made and atmospheric. Grimly shows an eye for detail and makes great use of stop-motion elements. Black-and-white cinematography suggesting worn-out film material helps immensely. Recommended to horror fans.

Cannibal Girls (1973, CDN) C-83m. ** D: Ivan Reitman. Starring Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Ronald Ulrich, Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Neilson, Mira Pawluk. Infamous Canadian horror comedy from producer-director Reitman (his second feature) about a group of women who are part of a cult and draw innocent (or not so innocent) men in, in order to kill them and feast on them. Not without merit, contains some well-filmed and edited scenes, but overall rather off-putting and bleak. Of interest mainly to fans of Reitman or Levy.

Cannibal Holocaust (1979, ITA/COL) C-95m. *½ D: Ruggero Deodato. Starring Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi. When a team of four documentary filmmakers go missing in the Amazon jungle, professor Kerman follows their trail to confirm suspicions that they were killed by cannibals. Genre “classic” has a semi-documentary-like script but reveals its true nature when it resorts to showing cruelties towards animals and ultimately gross special effects. Considered by many insiders to be the best, most harrowing of the cannibal films, especially because of its shockingly realistic effects and a (perversely) beautiful score by Riz Ortolani. As a matter of fact, this one is pseudo-critical and sensationalistic and should be rejected. Lamberto Bava was assistant director.

Cannonball (1976, USA/HGK) C-77m. **½ D: Paul Bartel. Starring David Carradine, Bill McKinney, Veronica Hamel, Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine, Belinda Balaski, Carl Gottlieb, John Herzfeld, James Keach, John Alderman, Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Jonathan Kaplan, Martin Scorsese, Paul Bartel, Sylvester Stallone, Allan Arkush, Don Simpson. Trashy but kinetic B-movie about an illegal coast-to-coast car race that involves many competitors. Violent, funny, for cult movie lovers, although film plods at times. Originally shown at 93m. Other films made in that vein: THE GUMBALL RALLYE, CANNONBALL RUN I + II. Photographed by Tak Fujimoto, Chuck (Charles) Russell (THE BLOB) did the art direction.

Cannonball Run, The (1981, USA/HGK) C-95m. **½ D: Hal Needham. Starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Elam, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Jackie Chan, Bert Convy, Jamie Farr, Peter Fonda, Michael Hui, Bianca Jagger, Hal Needham. Stellar cast is main interest in this over-the-top comedy about a race across America, with competitors trying to win by all means. Not that funny, but there’s a lot to see. Followed by a sequel, CANNONBALL RUN II, in 1984.

Can’t Hardly Wait (1998, USA) C-100m. **½ D: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan. Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ethan Embry,
Charlie Korsmo, Lauren Ambrose, Seth Green, Michelle Brookhurst, Sean Patrick Thomas, Chris Owen, Clea DuVall, Selma Blair, Jenna Elfman, Melissa Joan Hart, Breckin Meyer, voice of Liv Tyler. Prototypical teen movie, made before the success of AMERICAN PIE, deals with Embry’s plans to reveal himself before his high school flame Hewitt. Entire film is set during a party and film draws its energy from that. Not a world-beater but good fun for those in the mood. Hewitt does not look gorgeous here, however. Soundtrack is good. Written by the directors.

Cape Fear (1991, USA) C-128m. Scope *** D: Martin Scorsese. Starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Martin Balsam, Illeana Douglas. Chilling, well-made suspense thriller about lawyer Nolte, whose past comes to haunt him in the form of hard-hitting, intelligent – and ultra-mean ex-con De Niro, who intends to make him pay for sending him to prison 14 years earlier. Nolte’s attempts to nail him fail miserably, as De Niro has not only exercised (and tatooed) his body but also his mind. Remake of the 1962 film has too many improbable twists and emphasises unrelenting degradation but it is technically excellent. De Niro’s electrifying performance is among his best. Showdown at Cape Fear features one of the tensest finales of film history. A highly suspenseful and stylish thriller. Scorsese and his cinematographer Francis pay homage to Italian lens masters Bava and Argento in terms of style (and also plot, to some degree). Excellent use of the original Bernard Herrman score (rearranged by Elmer Bernstein). Mitchum and Peck starred in the 1962 original version, which was based on the novel The Executioners by John D. McDonald.

Capitaine Fracasse (1961, FRA/ITA) C-99m. Scope ** D: Pierre Gaspard-Huit. Starring Jean Marais, Geneviève Grad, Gérard Barray, Anna Maria Ferrero, Philippe Noiret, Louis de Funès, Jean Rochefort, Sacha Pitoëff. Marais plays a poor nobleman who joins a group of touring actors and falls in love with beautiful Grad. However, he is rivalled by an evil count. Weakly paced adaptation of Théophile Gautier’s novel distributes action, adventure, comedy and romance in equal doses. Remains watchable thanks to an engaging cast and good production values. Previously filmed in 1942 by Abel Gance.

Capote (2005, CDN/USA) C-114m. Scope *** D: Bennett Miller. Starring Philip Seyour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Mark Pellegrino. Hoffman’s Oscar-winning performance as Truman Capote buoys this slow-moving drama about the genesis of the famous writer’s true-crime classic In Cold Blood. Good work by first-time director Miller. There’s great power in the quiet images and the score by Mychael Danna, though nothing can match Richard Brooks’ brilliant 1967 adaptation of the book

Caprice (1967, USA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Frank Tashlin. Starring Doris Day, Richard Harris, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, Edward Mulhare, Michael J. Pollard. Latter-day Doris Day vehicle (one of her last films) in which she plays an agent for a cosmetics company, who need the latest formula from their competitor, and so Day has to go spying around. She gets involved with suave Harris, who works as a double agent. Great late-60s look and costumes, so-so James Bond-like story, only more harmless. For fans of this kind of fluff.

Capricorn One (1978, USA/GBR) C-123m. Scope *** D: Peter Hyams. Starring Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson, Hal Holbrook, Karen Black, Telly Savalas, David Huddleston, James (B.) Sikking. Good science-fiction thriller about first, bally-hooed mission to Mars. Moments before take-off, the astronauts are led out of the space ship and brought to a remote base in the desert. It turns out that the mission had to be cancelled – but the agency wants it broadcast, even if it means that the sequences of the Mars landing have to be filmed in a studio. Soon the astronauts realize that they are merely pawns in a sham that must remain a secret at all costs. Reporter Gould is the only one who starts being suspicious. Compelling stuff, written by director Hyams (2010). Fine score by Jerry Goldsmith, photography by Bill Butler. Another remarkable sci-fi film from the 1970s.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001, USA/GBR/FRA) C-131m. Scope *** D: John Madden. Starring Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, John Hurt, Christian Bale, Irene Papas, David Morrissey. Sumptuously filmed drama set on a Greek island shortly before the Greek’s involvement in World War Two. Beauty Cruz is engaged to hotspur Bale, but when he leaves for the front in Albania, she sets her sights on Italian Captain Corelli (Cage), whose charm infatuates her. Intelligently written, beautifully photographed (by John Toll), but film is very similar to Best Foreign Film Oscar winner MEDITERRANEO (1991). John Hurt is wonderful as Cruz’ wise father. Based on the book by Louis de Bernières.

Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969, GBR) C-105m. SCOPE ** D: James Hill. Starring Robert Ryan, Chuck Connors, Nanette Newman, Luciana Paluzzi, John Turner, Bill Fraser, Kenneth Connor. Disappointing adventure tries to continue or at least remake saga of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo (Ryan), who saves several people from drowning and brings them his underwater fortress. Slow, talky, lacks the spark of the original. Some fairly good editing, but this is lost in lackluster plot. Photographed by Alan Hume.

Carambola, Filotto… Tutti in Buca (1975, ITA) C-84m. Scope **½ D: Ferdinando Baldi. Starring Paul L. Smith, Michael Coby (=Antonio Cantafora), Glauco Onorato, Gabriella Andreini, Piero Lulli. Silly but engaging spaghetti western comedy with Terence Hill/Bud Spencer lookalikes Smith and Coby always on the run from the sheriff, the army and other bandits. In the center of attention: a motorbike with an installed machine gun. Not much in terms of plot, but quite funny. Title song by Bixio and Tempera is good. A sequel to CARAMBOLA (1974). English title: TRINITY AND CARAMBOLA, and CARAMBOLA’S PHILOSOPHY: IN THE RIGHT POCKET.

Carambolages (1963, FRA) 87m. **½ D: Marcel Bluwal. Starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Louis de Funès, Michel Serrault, Sophie Daumier, Anne Tonietti, Pierre Tchernia, Dominique Zardi, Alain Delon. Farcical comedy is a French imitation of Billy Wilder’s ONE, TWO, THREE (1961). Simple employee Brialy indebts himself, hoping to get promoted in the near future. When his plans are thwarted, he finds himself contemplating murder. Meanwhile, his boss de Funès is trying to find a new slogan for their company called 321(!). Excellent performances by de Funès (in a less comic turn than usual) and Serrault (as an overanxious police inspector) make this recommendable to fans of French comedies, but plot is completely incredible and dramatically uneven. Based on a novel by Fred Kassak. English title: CAROM SHOTS.

Caretaker, The (2008, USA) C-79m. *** D: Bryce Olson. Starring Kira Verrastro, James Immekus, Jennifer Freeman, Andrew St. John, Diego J. Torres, Jennifer Tilly, Judd Nelson, Jonathon Breck. Slasher horror film is perfect teen fodder. Three guys want to give their dates a good scare in an old house near a grapefruit orchard, little knowing that the local legend (title character) has returned, and he ain’t picking fruit. Not to be taken seriously, this teen horror movie is good fun, less offensive than most. Competently directed and scored, despite low-budget. Tilly provides comic relief as a teacher who wants to become a celebrity by any means.

Carne Trémula (1997, SPA/FRA) C-101m. Scope *** D: Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Javier Bardem, Francesca Neri, Liberto Rabal, Ángela Molina, José Sancho, Penélope Cruz, Pilar Bardem. Based loosely on the novel by Ruth Rendell, this typical Almodóvar concoction concerns a young convict (Bardem), who, upon release, enters the life of a cop and his lover, who brought him to prison in the first place. Bizarre complications ensue that are best not revealed here. Excellent production values complement fine dramatic work, stylish photography and moving score. One of Almodóvar’s best films. English title: LIVE FLESH.

Carnival of Souls (1962, USA) 78m. ** D: Herk Harvey. Starring Candace Hilligoss, Sidney Berger, Frances Feist, Herk Harvey, Stan Levitt, Art Ellison. After having barely survived a car accident, organist Hilligoss is haunted by a zombie-like figure. Is her imagination running wild? Poorly acted and directed horror movie isn’t very scary, but has developed a cult reputation nevertheless due to unusual, intriguing plotline and its obvious influence on George A. Romero’s THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Original running time: 91m. Remade in 1997.

Carrie (1976, USA) C-98m. *** D: Brian DePalma. Starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, P.J. Soles. Unusual, now-classic horror drama about teenage girl Spacek, who is constantly picked at by her high school mates, and above all suffers under her fanatically religious mother. Slowly, telekinetic powers break loose inside her and pave the way for revenge… Bafflingly stylish, well-directed horror was the first Stephen King adaptation and is rightfully regarded today as one of the best. Spacek is exceptional. Screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen. Followed by a sequel in 1999 (THE RAGE: CARRIE 2).

Carrington (1995, GBR/FRA) C-122m. *** D: Christopher Hampton. Starring Emma Thompson, Jonathan Pryce, Steven Waddington, Rufus Sewell, Samuel West, Penelope Wilton. Interesting portrait of two historical British figures of the early 20th century. Biographer and writer Lytton Strachey, a homosexual, meets sexually repressed, boyish painter Dora Carrington (Thompson) and falls in love with her. Sensitively handled, well-scored drama explores their difficult relationship over twenty years. Overlong and not always on target, but very well-acted. Recommended to fans of British historical dramas.

Cars (2006, USA) C-124m. Scope *** D: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft. Starring (the voices of) Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Cheech Marin, Tony Shalhoub, Guido Quaroni, Jenifer Lewis, John Ratzenberger, Michael Keaton, Jeremy Piven, Michael Schumacher, Jay Leno, Mario Andretti. Another funny, entertaining movie from Pixar, where all the characters are cars. Up-and-coming racing star Lightning McQueen (Wilson) must travel to California for a big showdown with his rivals, after a nightly incident ends up in a town that has more or less has been forgotten, where he is not famous. He is about to learn a lesson in his life. Needless to say, this is very well-animated, with funny characters (loved the Italian mechanics) and situations to make up for the predictable script. Co-directed Ranft’s final film; he died in a car crash months before it was released.

Cars That Ate Paris, The (1974, AUS) C-88m. Scope ** D: Peter Weir. Starring Terry Camilleri, John Meillon, Melissa Jaffa, Kevin Miles, Bruce Spence. Odd initial feature by vintage director Peter Weir. The survivor of a car crash near small Australian town of Paris is integrated into their community and learns that they deliberately create car crashs so they can sell the spare parts. Low-key, uninvolving, with an unappealing lead actor. Assets of this film are nice photography and unusual story idea, which was turned into a screenplay by director Weir. Social criticism, a theme that pervades all of Weir’s films, is mild at best. Also known as THE CARS THAT EAT PEOPLE. Chris Noonan (BABE) was assistant director.

Cartaio, Il (2004, ITA) C-103m. ** D: Dario Argento. Starring Stefania Rocca, Liam Cunningham, Claudio Santamaria, Fiore Argento. A serial killer is challenging the police to play online poker games with him. If he wins, he will kill his victims, if not, he will let them go. Policewoman Rocca is out to investigate with boozing Irishman Cunningham. Obvious, hardly convincing thriller from Argento, an unfortunately botched attempt at modernizing his giallo formula. Rocca is appealing, though. Her character was played by Asia Argento in the 1996 LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL. Good score by Claudio Simonetti. Fabrizio Bava (Mario’s grandson) was assistant director. English titles: THE CARD PLAYER, THE CARD DEALER.

Casablanca (1942, USA) 102m. **** D: Michael Curtiz. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre. Classic masterpiece of filmmaking, probably the best black-and-white film ever made. In an atmosphere of unrest and warfare, two lovers (Bogart and Bergman) meet again and must discover that their love cannot be relived. Timeless, simply beautiful melodrama with an excellent Max Steiner score. Written by Philip, Julius Epstein, Howard Koch and Casey Robinson, based on an unproduced play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. Oscar-winner for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Casablanca Express (1988, ITA) C-91m. ** D: Sergio Martino. Starring Jason Connery, Francesco Quinn, Donald Pleasence, Luisa Maneri, Jean Sorel, David Brandon, Glenn Ford, Manfred Lehmann. Low-grade actioner based on historical fact: When Winston Churchill must be brought to secret gathering in World War Two Morocco, the Germans will do anything to stop him, even if it means blowing up the Casablanca Express. Some of the action is not bad, but Ford and Pleasence appear in cardboard roles, script is poorly written. Filmed on location.

Casa Con la Scala Nel Buio, La (1983, ITA) C-96m. ** D: Lambero Bava. Starring Andrea Occhipinti, Anny Papa, Fabiola Toledo, Michele Soavi, Giovanni Frezza. Minor horror thriller by the son of Mario Bava. Film composer Occhipinti rents a villa in order to complete his latest score but soon realizes that the house is inhabited (haunted?) by a maniac. Interest comes and goes, a step down for Lamberto, whose MACABRO (1980) was not bad. His direction and handling of actors is too often dull. One violent murder scene (in the bathroom) will make this worthwhile for buffs. Michele Soavi was also assistant director. English titles: A BLADE IN THE DARK, HOUSE OF THE DARK STAIRWAY.

Casa dalle Finestre Che Ridono, La (1976, ITA) C-110m. ** D: Pupi Avati. Starring Lino Capolicchio, Francesca Marciano, Gianni Cavina, Giulio Pizzirani, Vanna Busoni. Latter-day giallo, made some years after the genre’s heyday. Capolicchio plays a restaurator, who is called to a small village to restore a fresco by a mad artist, who committed suicide. The population doesn’t offer a warm welcome, and Capolicchio soon learns that there’s a mystery behind all this. Early effort by Avati (ZEDER) is unfortunately a disappointment from start to finish. Timing and pace are poor, and film never creates the sense of mystery needed for such a movie. Capolicchio sleepwalks through his role. Bizarre denouement doesn’t make this more interesting. A cult film in Italy, where this was graced with a 25th Anniversary Deluxe DVD edition. Co-scripted by Pupi and Antonio Avati (MACABRO). English title: HOUSE WITH THE WINDOWS THAT LAUGH.

Casa d’Appuntamento, La (1972, ITA/GER) C-87m. **½ D: F.L. Morris (= Ferdinando Merighi). Starring Anita Ekberg, Rosalba Neri, Evelyn Kraft, Howard Vernon, Peter Martell, Barbara Bouchet, Roberto Sacchi, Eva Astor, Rolf Eden, Gordon Mitchell, Goffredo Unger, Dick Randall. When a prostitute is found murdered, the police soon have a culprit in seemingly deranged Martell. However, during his flight he is accidentally decapitated, and hookers are still bumped off by a black-gloved assassin. Will inspector Sacchi solve the case? Uneven, convoluted plotting does not iradicate one’s interest in this mystery thriller. Some delightfully off-beat scenes make it worthwhile for giallo lovers. Sacchi’s likeness to Humphrey Bogart is sometimes astounding. Quite gory effects by Carlo Rambaldi. Score by Bruno Nicolai, edited by Bruno Mattei. English titles: THE BOGEYMAN AND THE FRENCH MURDERS, MURDER IN PARIS, and THE PARIS SEX MURDERS.

Casa del Sortilegio, La (1989, ITA) C-90m. *½ D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring Andy J. Forest, Sonia Petrovna, Susanna Matinoková, Paul Muller, Maria Cumani Quasimodo. One of several TV horror movies produced in Italy in the late 1980s, this one is often laughably bad, with poor acting, scripting and only some atmospheric bits. Forest has dreams of a country house with a witch inside, then his girlfriend persuades him to take a break in the country. Guess where she takes him. Only the score by Claudio Simonetti (credited as Claude King) has some value. English title: THE HOUSE OF WITCHCRAFT.

Casa del Tapetto Giallo, La (1983, ITA) C-86m. ***½ D: Carlo Lizzani. Starring Erland Josephson, Béatrice Romand, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Milena Vukotic. Unique, completely baffling psycho thriller about a young couple who put an ad into a newspaper trying to sell a yellow carpet. One morning the woman is visited by a very strange man, who claims to be interested in the rug but seems to... - well, figure it out for yourself. This clever, well-acted film comes up with so many twists you’ll hunger for the ending.

Casa del Tempo, La (1989, ITA) C-84m. **½ D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Kieth Van Hoven, Karina Huff, Paolo Paoloni, Bettina Milne, Peter Hintz, Al Cliver. One of Fulci’s better latter-day movies is gory chiller about three juvenile delinquents, who decide to break into mansion of elderly couple. Little do they know that the couple have just slaughtered their maid. And watch out for the clocks going backwards! Some interesting ideas keep this afloat, but it cannot really escape its B-movie origins. Actually seems like a Poe adaptation. Nice photography by Nino Celeste. Made for theaters, but premiered on TV. English title: THE HOUSE OF CLOCKS.

Casanova (2005, USA) C-108m. Scope ** D: Lasse Hallström. Starring Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Lena Olin, Omid Djalili, Stephen Greif. Biographical dramedy about the life of Giacomo Casanova, the world-famous adulterer, who roamed the channels of Venice, Italy, in the mid-18th century. Here, he is forced to become chaste and marry, or else he must leave the city. Fine production design, but plot is predictable and there is too little action or laughs. A tame movie, which does not live up the title character’s wild bio. Good cinematography by Oliver Stapleton. From the director of CHOCOLAT (2000).

Casa Sperduta nel Parco, La (1980, ITA) C-92m. M D: Ruggero Deodato. Starring David Hess, Annie Bell, Christian Borromeo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice. Detestable thriller about two thugs, one of them retarded, who take people at a house hostage – and torture and degrade them in ultra-sadistic fashion. No comment is made by the filmmakers, this is merely one long torture show. Absolutely sick and sickening, rightfully banned in many countries. Probably inspired by Wes Craven’s LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972), which also starred Hess. By the director of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1979). English title: HOUSE BY THE EDGE OF THE PARK.

Casa 3 – Ghosthouse, La (1987, ITA/USA) C-95m. ** D: Humphrey Humbert (=Umberto Lenzi). Starring Lara Wendel, Greg Scott, Mary Sellers, Ron Houck, Martin Jay, Kate Silver, Donald O’Brien. Surprisingly watchable horror movie about a group of travelling youngsters, who pick up a weird radio signal and find it is emitted from an empty house. The story behind it is bloodcurdling, as the group are about to find out. Too many unconvincing scenes hamper proceedings, but score by Simon Boswell (reused from AQUARIUS) makes it quite eerie. Produced by an uncredited Joe D’Amato. Photographed by Franco Delli Colli. Probably planned as an inofficial sequel to HOUSE (1986) and HOUSE II (1987) (which were followed by THE HORROR SHOW in 1989), and followed by two sequels itself, WITCHERY (1988) and LA CASA 5 (1990). English title: GHOSTHOUSE.

Casino Royale (1967, GBR/USA) C-131m. Scope **½ D: John Huston, Val Guest, Ken Hughes, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Richard Talmadge. Starring Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, John Huston, Kurt Kasznar, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Terence Cooper, Barbara Bouchet, Jacqueline Bisset, Anjelica Huston, Burt Kwouk, David Lodge, Caroline Munro, Peter O’Toole, David Prowse, Vladek Sheybal. Swinging Sixties extravaganza is a James Bond spoof of epic proportions, as the united Secret Services of the world are trying to revive retired agent 007 (Niven) for an important mission to stop criminal Le Chiffre (Welles). First 30 minutes are disastrous, and entire film has very few laughs, but this incredible tomfoolery has to be seen to be believed. Sellers plays the role of Bond in climactic game of Baccara, Andress is his sexy Bondgirl. Allen is Dr. Noah(!) and there are lots of cameos. A time capsule, which is said to have been coscripted by Allen, Sellers and even Billy Wilder! Nice score by Burt Bacharach.

Casino Royale (2006, USA/GBR/GER/CZE) C-144m. Scope **½ D: Martin Campbell. Starring Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Veruschka (von Lehndorf), Urbano Barberini, Richard Branson, Martin Campbell. Attempt at renewing the James Bond franchise with a new face (Craig). Title is lifted off Ian Fleming’s first novel, with which this has fairly little in common, though. James Bond, at the outset of his career as a secret agent, goes after evil guy Mikkelsen, who is taking care of financial business for terrorists worldwide. It all climaxes in a game of poker with millions at stake, including Bond’s new girlfriend Green. 21st Bond film is almost a disappointment, but not because of Craig, who is a tense and determined agent. The movie is long and talky(!), the bad guy nowhere near the classic Bond villains and two or three big action set-pieces are just not enough (although they are a wow, kudos to editor Stuart Baird). The producers should have stuck with Brosnan for one more Bond – with Quentin Tarantino as a director. Good title song by Chris Cornell (Soundgarden).

Cassandra Crossing, The (1976, GBR/ITA/GER) C-128m. Scope **½ D: George P. Cosmatos. Starring Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen, O.J. Simpson, Lionel Stander, Ann Turkel, Ingrid Thulin, Lee Strasberg, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster, Lou Castel, John Phillip Law, Ray Lovelock, Alida Valli. Sensational cast in so-so disaster thriller about a virus-infected man aboard a train holding 1,000 passengers. Occasionally exciting, with unfinished plot threads – at least in truncated German version. Loren seems misplaced. Scripted by director Cosmatos, Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Katz. Score by Jerry Goldsmith.

Casse, Le (1971, FRA/ITA) C-122m. Scope ** D: Henri Verneuil. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Omar Sharif, Dyan Cannon, Robert Hossein, Nicole Calfan, José Luis de Villalonga. Largely disappointing action drama about burglar Belmondo, who manages to steal emeralds worth a million and clever cop Sharif, who tracks him down. Some incredible stunt work by Belmondo himself, but otherwise this is strictly standard despite cast, photography by Claude Renoir, score by Ennio Morricone. Based on a novel by David Goodis, which was filmed before with Jayne Mansfield in 1957. English title: THE BURGLARS.

Cast a Dark Shadow (1957, GBR) 76m. *** D: Lewis Gilbert. Starring Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Lockwood, Kay Walsh, Kathleen Harrison, Robert Flemyng. Snappy little psycho drama focuses on Bogarde’s character, a wife-killer who is saddled without inheritance and must marry – and kill? – again. Fine performances, notably Bogarde’s, make this very watchable, though sometimes it’s too stagey (it is based on the play ‘Murder Mistaken’ by Janet Green). Gilbert would later direct three Bond movies. Also known as ANGEL.

Cast Away (2000, USA) C-143m. **½ D: Robert Zemeckis. Starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy, Chris Noth, Lari White. Hanks, working for a big mail company, finds little time for his fiancée Hunt (they even have to celebrate Christmas at the airport), but gets more than he likes when his plane crashlands in the Pacific Ocean and he is washed ashore on a tiny unpopulated island. Adventure drama begins to be interesting when he returns to civilization, but then the movie ends and leaves you wanting. The simulated plane crash is breathtaking, and so is actor Hanks’ discipline in gaining and losing a lot of weight, but otherwise this is a film of missed opportunities. A slight disappointment.

Castle Freak (1995, USA) C-95m. ** D: Stuart Gordon. Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Jonathan Fuller, Jessica Dollarhide, Massimo Sarchielli, Elisabeth Kaza, Luca Zingaretti. Follow-up to Full Moon production’s THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, also shot in Italy. Combs inherits an Italian castle and travels there with his estranged wife and blind daughter. It turns out the recently deceased Duchess has kept her son locked in the cellar for more than forty years, and he is now out on a killing spree. Pretty dumb, quite ugly splatter horror can’t hold a candle to THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM but is an okay view for horror fans. Story by director Gordon, he also cowrote the poor screenplay.

Catacombs (1988, USA/ITA) C-88m. **½ D: David Schmoeller. Starring Timothy Van Patten, Ian Abercrombie, Jeremy West, Laura Schaefer, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Ted Rusoff. Atmospheric horror filmed in Italy by Full Moon. American teacher visiting old monastery is soon threatened by an old demon trapped beyond the catacombs. Its evil powers kill one monk after the other. Plot is too redundant, but most horror fans should like this film; it’s quite good. Score by Pino Donaggio. Also known as CURSE IV: THE ULITMATE SACRIFICE.

Cat and the Canary, The (1927, USA) B&W-82m. *** D: Paul Leni. Starring Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor. Silent horror classic about several people who gather for the reading of the will in an eerie mansion. Amid the tension the news reaches them that a maniac is on the loose. Enjoyable fare, a prototype for its genre, with stunning expressionistic images and a good score. Based on the play by John Willard, which was filmed five more times, most notably in 1939 (with Bob Hope) and 1979 (with Edward Fox).

Catch Me If You Can (2002, USA) C-141m. ** D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Nathalie Baye, Amy Adams, James Brolin, Jennifer Garner, Frank Abagnale Jr. Another comedy misfire by Spielberg tries to recreate real-life story of impostor Frank Abagnale, who forged checks to make a fortune in 1960s America. Hot on his trail is bumbling police detective Hanks, a man without humor, who soon has a personal grudge against the cunning young criminal. Production values are first-rate (production and set designers did a great job), but story or characters never acquire the depth needed to compensate for lack of humor, action or suspense. And why make this so long? Some good performances (notably Walken’s) make it watchable. The usual Spielberg collaborators were involved.

Catch-22 (1970, USA) C-122m. Scope **½ D: Mike Nichols. Starring Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Jack Gilford, Buck Henry, Bob Newhart, Anthony Perkins, Paula Prentiss, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, Orson Welles, Bob Balaban, Susanne Benton, Norman Fell, Charles Grodin, Peter Bonerz, Bruce Kirby, Jack Riley, Gina Rovere. Gargantuan cast in attempted blockbuster based on the famous novel by Joseph Heller. Basic story concerns WW2 fighter pilot Arkin, who’d do anything to get a certificate of insanity to able to return home. The problem of the film is that it doesn’t go anywhere from there. Lack of development makes the film difficult to enjoy, even sit through, although there are some amusing scenes. Good cinematography by David Watkin.

Catch Us If You Can (1965, GBR) B&W-91m. ** D: John Boorman. Starring Dave Clark, Barbara Ferris, Lenny Davidson, Rick Huxley, Mike Smith. Attempt to cash in on success of the Beatles’ A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1964) is only notable for being director Boorman’s first movie. Pop group The Dave Clark Five is forgotten by now, and story (Clark and Ferris run away to find an island) is too episodic. Lightweight, none too entertaining. Boorman followed this with the terrific POINT BLANK (1967). Released in the U.S. as HAVING A WILD WEEKEND.

Cathérine Cherie (1982, GER/SPA) C-94m. *½ D: Hubert Frank. Starring Berta Cabre, Ajita Wilson. Boring sex film about young starlet Cabre, who enjoys an affair with a journalist, while her ‘protector’ is in Rome with Wilson. The handsome setting of Gran Canaria is the only asset of this film. It’s fairly erotic and slightly better than the rest (which, of course, isn’t saying much).    

Cat Murkil and the Silks (1976, USA) C-102m. ** D: John A. Bushelman. Starring David Kyle, Steve Bond, Kelly Yaegermann, Rhodes Reason, Meegan King, Don Carter. Standard action fare about a youth gang, whose new leader works only for himself, cheating even his gang members. Quite violent. Re-issued as CRUISIN HIGH.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958, USA) C-108m. **** D: Richard Brooks. Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Jack Carson, Judith Anderson, Madeleine Sherwood, Larry Gates. Powerful drama, based on the classic Tennessee Williams play, about southern family and inner conflicts which surface on the 65th birthday of their patriarchal ‘Big Daddy’ Ives. Great cast in exquisitely looking film, with Ives and Newman especially superb. A bit stagey but compelling adaptation (by Brooks and James Poe) makes more than up for it. A classic.

Cauchemares (1977, CDN/FRA) C-82m. *½ D: Eddy Matalon. Starring Alan Scarfe, Randi Allen, Beverly Murray, Sylvie Lenoir. Cheap, unconvincing variation of the Haunted House theme. Years after having been taken out of their house by his mother (which resulted in a fatal car crash of his father and sister), Scarfe returns to his home with his own family. His daughter Allen soon starts behaving strangely – is she influenced by the ghost of her dead aunt? Two or three chilling scenes, the rest is often annoyingly bad. English title: CATHY’S CURSE.

Cav. Constante Nicosia Demoniaco, Ovvero: Dracula in Brianza, Il (1975, ITA) C-89m. ** D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Lando Buzzanca, Rossano Brazzi, Sylva Koscina, Moira Orfei, Christa Linder, John Steiner. Ciccio Ingrassia, Valentina Cortese, Ilona Staller. Very superstitious businessman Buzzanca is cursed by an old woman and just then travels to Romania to make a deal with a sinister count. If that’s not something to be scared! Fast-talking, fast-paced horror spoof is a minor entry in filmmaker Fulci’s filmography. Its low-brow humor won’t appeal to everyone, some gags are simply tasteless. Script cowritten by Mario Amendola, Pupi Avati and Bruno Corbucci. Contains a reference to Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974), hence the English title: YOUNG DRACULA. Also known as DRACULA IN THE PROVINCES.

Cazadores, Los (1974, SPA/USA) C-104m. Scope M D : Peter Collinson. Starring Peter Fonda, Cornelia Sharpe, John Phillip Law, Richard Lynch, Alberto de Mendoza, William Holden, Helga Liné. Extremely unappealing and unpleasant thriller about three Vietnam vets who kidnap a pair of lovers and hunt them across the country. Nice photography aside, this film probably does more to endorse than condemn violence. Only for 70s film buffs that watch everything. English title: OPEN SEASON.

Céline et Julie Vont en Bateau (1974, FRA) C-193m. **½ D: Jacques Rivette. Starring Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder. Art film experiment loosely follows a plot line: Two young women, a librarian and a magician, meet and join forces in finding out the mystery behind a strange place, whose inhabitants behave the same way every day. By means of a drug the girls can enter their world and perhaps change it. Sounds much more interesting than it plays, this overlong experiment has no stylistic appeal and becomes much more pretentious than it can take. A curio, some critics loved this film; judge for yourself. Obvious similarities to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland stories exist. Produced by Barbet Schroeder. English titles: CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING, and PHANTOM LADIES OVER PARIS.

Cementerio del Terror (1985, MEX) C-90m. *½ D: Rubén Galindo. Starring Hugo Stiglitz, Usi Velasco, Erika Buenfil, Edna Bolkan, René Cardona III. Straight-forward, one-dimensional horror movie about a group of oversexed teens, who spend the night in a mansion near an old cemetery. Inadvertently, they will resurrect the body of recently deceased witch doctor, who could conjure up an army of zombies. Some atmosphere, but script is very dull (it even puts a group of kids in danger towards the end). Zombie fans might want to give this stinker a look, because the undead look quite nice. English title: CEMETERY OF TERROR.

Cell, The (2000, USA) C-107m. Scope M D: Tarsem Singh. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker. Horrible cyber-trash movie about a brain research team, who are able to enter a person’s unconscious and find out about his dreams and fears. They try this new method on serial killer D’Onofrio, whose latest victim will die in 40 hours, if they don’t find out where he has hidden her. Pointless, ultimately unpleasant movie with terribly kitschy (and meaningless) cyber-scenes. Only for masochists. Latino-queen Lopez drew masses to see this film – she should have remained in lipstick commercials.

Cent Mille Dollars au Soleil (1963, FRA/ITA) 121m. Scope ** D: Henri Verneuil. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Lino Ventura, Reginald Kernan, Bernard Blier, Andréa Parisy, Gert Fröbe. French crime drama set in Africa: Truck driver Belmondo steals one of tycoon Fröbe’s lorries and goes on the lam with his girlfriend. Fröbe sends out Belmondo’s best friend Ventura to bring back the truck – whose cargo seems to be of great value. Great photography, laid-back performances in drama that has little to say and is still padded out to two hours. Georges Delerue’s score is much too dramatic (and too good) for this rather trivial piece of work. The stars are appealing. Claude Pinoteau was assistant director. Director Verneuil coscripted. Sometimes shown in a computer-colored version. English title: GREED IN THE SUN.

Cento Giorni a Palermo (1984, ITA/FRA) C-98m. **½ D: Giuseppe Ferrara. Starring Lino Ventura, Giuliana de Sio, Lino Troisi, Stefano Satta Flores. Typical Italian thriller drama dealing with the powerful grasp of the Mafia. An aged Ventura is fine as police commissioner in Palermo, Sicily, who tries to break the mobsters’ rule. Filmed in semi-documenary style, but also without any dramatic peaks. For those interested. Cowritten by Giuseppe Tornatore (NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO), who also directed the second unit. English title: 100 DAYS IN PALERMO.

C’Era una Volta il West (1968, ITA/USA) C-177m. Scope **** D: Sergio Leone. Starring Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa, Woody Strode, Jack Elam, Keenan Wynn, Frank Wolff, Lionel Stander, Frank Brana, Aldo Sambrell, Fabio Testi. Legendary western masterpiece is the follow-up to Leone’s DOLLAR-trilogy and marks the highpoint in the director’s œuvre. Elegiac and melancholic in tone, this portrait of a dying West creates a languid mood that remains unmatched – in any genre. The arrival of a mysterious stranger with a harmonica (Bronson) coincides with that of beautiful Cardinale, who must learn that the man who married her in New Orleans was just killed in a ruthless assault. It turns out he bought land soon to be crossed by the railroad, much to tycoon Ferzetti and his henchman Fonda’s displeasure. What will Cardinale do with the land, and why is the man with the harmonica looking for Fonda? Story (concocted by none other than Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci and director Leone) takes second chair to incredibly beautiful staging, brilliant color widescreen cinematography by Tonino delli Colli, and a haunting, unforgettable score by Ennio Morricone, probably his best. An awe-inspiring achievement, not to be missed. The best spaghetti western, and generally one of the best westerns of all time. Fonda is an especially brilliant villain. Shot in Spain and the U.S. (Monument Valley). Leone followed this with GIU LA TESTA (1971). Released in the U.S. at 140m. Regular print runs 165m., though several longer versions are in existence (extending scenes rather than adding new ones). English title: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

Cercle Rouge, Le (1971, FRA/ITA) C-140m. ***½ D: Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring Alain Delon, André Bourvil, Yves Montand, François Périer, Gian Maria Volonté. Brilliant crime drama with superb cast, depressing and sober but masterfully directed. Commissaire Bourvil is after escaped criminal Périer, who is teaming up with recently released convict Delon and former police inspector Montand to perform a daring heist. Score and sound disappear at times but suspense is maintained by superlative mise-en-scène. Fine photography by Henri Decaë. Director Melville also wrote the screenplay and co-edited the picture. One of the best films of its time. Bourvil’s last film. Original running time is (allegedly) 150m.

Cerebral Print: The Secret Files (2005, USA) C-83m. M D: Ford Austin. Starring Jed Rowen, Felissa Rose, Richard Grove, Ethan Phillips, J.A. Steel, John Payne. Practically unwatchable comedy about a secret government branch that was founded in 1967 and deals with alien life forms. They have become specialists in obtaining cerebral prints, which feature memories of the aliens before their deaths. Totally obnoxious, inept. For masochists only.

Cerveau, Le (1969, FRA/ITA) C-115m. SCOPE *** D: Gérard Oury. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Bourvil, David Niven, Eli Wallach, Silvia Monti, Henri Attal, Dominique Zardi. Classic crime comedy about ‘superbrain’ Niven, who disguises as a NATO general to steal 14 bags of money – with the help of mafioso Wallach. But they are not the only ones after the money. Belmondo breaks out of prison (four days before his release!) to steal the money himself, with his bumbling sidekick Bourvil. Mad-cap comedy with great performances, funny complications. The quintessential crime/heist comedy of its time. Score by Georges Delerue. Simultaneously shot in English. Co-written by director Oury (LE CORNIAUD, LA GRANDE VADROUILLE) English title: THE BRAIN.

C’è Sartana… Vendi la Pistola e Comprati la Bara! (1970, ITA) C-89m. Scope **½ D: Anthony Ascot (=Giuliano Carnimeo). Starring George Hilton, Charles Southwood, Piero Lulli, Erika Blanc. Gunslinger Hilton is so clever and fast, no one can stop him as he intends to solve mystery of recurring robberies of a gold transport. Stylishly directed, amusing and inventive, this is an above-average example of the spaghetti western genre, only weighed down by uneven plot. Good photography by Stelvio Massi, fine score by Francesco De Masi. English titles: FISTFUL OF LEAD, I AM SARTANA, TRADE YOUR GUNS FOR A COFFIN, SARTANA’S COMING, GET YOUR COFFINS READY.

C’est Arrivé Près de Chez Vous (1992, BEL) 99m. *** D: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde. Starring Benoît Poelvoorde, Jenny Drye. A camera team (played by co-directors Belvaux and Bonzel) follows around brutal serial killer Poelvoorde. He spends his time slaughtering people just for the fun of it. Controversial portrait of a sick mind doesn’t bother with a plot, the realism of its black-and-white images and the hand-held camera convince the viewers right away of its intention. Film blatantly shows that violence happens right before our eyes - only we tend to look away. Darkly funny and shockingly violent, film is not for the faint at heart, though by „looking away“ from the screen one does exactly what the makers of the film want to show up: that it is difficult but necessary to break taboos. Watch out for cut versions. English title: MAN BITES DOG.

C’Est Pas Parce Qu’On A Rien A Dire Qu’Il Faut Fermer Sa Gueule (1975, FRA) C-93m. **½ D: Jacques Besnard. Starring Bernard Blier, Michel Serrault, Jean Lefebvre, Tsilla Chelton, Maurice Travail. Thierry Lhermitte, Christian Clavier, Gérard Jugnot. Bumbling thieves Serrault and Lefebvre are hired by Blier, who has discovered an easy way to dig through to the Bank of France – the safes are located next to the subway toilets! By means of disguising themselves in many different ways they want to fool the toilet attendant (Chelton). Mad-cap comedy has some hilarious moments, especially for fans of the stars. It would have needed a firmer directorial hand (Besnard did direct Louis de Funès in LE GRAND RESTAURANT). Based on an idea by Christian Clavier, Thierry Lhermitte and Gérard Jugnot. Title translates as WE HAVE TO SHUT UP, BUT NOT BECAUSE WE HAVE NOTHING TO SAY.

Chacun Cherche Son Chat (1996, FRA) C-91m. *** D: Cédric Klapisch. Starring Garance Clavel, Zinedine Soualem, Renée Le Calm, Olivier Py, and Arapimou as Gris-Gris the cat. Charming slice-of-life about young make-up artist Clavel, who learns that her cat has disappeared while she was away on holiday. During her search she meets all kinds of disparate characters, who all try to support her. She slowly discovers that the cat is not the only thing missing in her life. Perceptive, funny character study, a quite different approach to the problems of the Generation X. The characters are living, breathing persons and at the end you’ll feel sorry that they are not your friends, too. A young, spirited film for a young audience.   

Chained Heat (1983, USA/GER) C-99m. *½ D: Paul Nicholas. Starring Linda Blair, John Vernon, Sybil Danning, Tamara Dobson, Stella Stevens, Henry Silva, Sharon Hughes. Sleazy ‘chicks in chains’ movie with an interesting cast about new inmate Blair and her problems with lesbianism, brutal gangs and sadistic personnel. Takes itself much too seriously. Stupid and violent – just what genre fans are looking for. Followed by a sequel or two (who cares?). If you must, check out RED HEAT (1985), which is also starring Blair.

Chain Gang (1984, USA) C-93m. D: Worth Keeter. Starring Earl Owensby, Barry Bell, Robert Bloodworth, Terry Loughlin. After helping a hooker escape from crooks, she still gets killed and Owensby is framed for her murder. He is sent to prison for fifteen years, but somehow he gets involved with the killers again. Bleak, uninteresting something that is rotting in video stores by now. Some fast-paced, tense chase sequences save it from total disaster.

Chain of Fools (2000, USA) C-96m. **½ D: Traktor. Starring Steve Zahn, Salma Hayek, Jeff Goldblum, Elijah Wood, David Cross, Tom Wilkinson, Orlando Jones, Kevin Corrigan, David Hyde Pierce, Lara Flynn Boyle, John Cassini, Michael Rapaport. An exercise in PULP FICTION-like screenwriting, made by a team of five directors. Luckless hairdresser Zahn accidentally gets involved in robbery of three precious Chinese coins and spends the entire film trying to keep them, get them back, sell them. Policewoman Hayek is on the case. Some hilarious moments, but all too deliberately contructed.

Chain Reaction (1980, AUS) C-87m. *** D: Ian Barry. Starring Steve Bisley, Arna-Maria Winchester, Ross Thompson, Ralph Cotterill, Patrick Ward. Stylish thriller about an accident in a nuclear power plant and organisation’s attempts at covering it up by chasing a contaminated employee and a couple he meets during his flight across the wilderness. Script is very uneven but still thought-provoking, film is worth seeing for striking direction, camerawork and score. Director Barry creates some terrific car chase sequences, inspired obviously by George - MAD MAX - Miller, who coproduced the film. Mel Gibson appears briefly as a car mechanic. Alternative title: NUCLEAR RUN.

Chair de la Orchidée, La (1975, FRA/ITA/GER) C-112m. *** D : Patrice Chéreau. Starring Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Edwige Feuillère, Simone Signoret, Alida Valli, Hans Christian Blech, Günter Meisner. Unusual, unconventional psycho drama about Rampling, an obviously disturbed woman who is picked up by two men after having witnessed a fatal accident. She refuses to explain herself, and only slowly does the viewer learn her story. Often confusing plot, deliberate pacing, film nevertheless manages to draw you in. A minor cult following takes to this. Based on the novel by James Hadley Chase. Director Chéreau’s first film. English titles: THE FLESH AND THE ORCHID, THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID.

Chakushin Ari (2003, JAP) C-112m. *** D: Takashi Miike. Starring Kou Shibasaki, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi, Kazue Fukiishi, Anna Nagata, Atsushi Ida, Mariko Tsutsui. Interesting horror chiller from the maker of ODISHON / AUDITION (1999). A clique of teenagers is terrified when members are found dead after receiving messages from themselves at the moment of their future deaths. Often tacky, typically Japanese, and uneven, but when it resorts to the chills, it’s scary as hell. Cleverly uses elements from RINGU and JU-ON, even Lars von Trier’s RIGET (1994). Recommended to buffs. English titles: ONE MISSED CALL, and YOU’VE GOT A CALL.

Challenge for Robin Hood, A (1967, GBR) C-96m. *½ D: C.M. Pennington-Richards. Starring Barrie Ingham, Peter Blythe, John Arnatt, Gay Hamilton, John Gugolka, James Hayter, Alfie Bass. Low-rent version of the popular, oft-filmed of the valiant rebel from Sherwood Forest. Ingham is an unlikely hero, most of the fight scenes are laughably staged, and film’s production value is low. Produced by Hammer Films.

Champagne Murders, The (1967, FRA) C-98m. Scope *** D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Anthony Perkins, Maurice Ronet, Stéphane Audran. Two playboys who enjoy a decadent lifestyle in Europe find themselves in trouble when murders happen which one of them might have committed. Unusual thriller/psycho drama-mix is fascinating to watch; the surprise twist at the end doesn’t work, however. Alternate French language version, titled LE SCANDALE, runs 111m.

Changeling (2008, USA) C-141m. SCOPE **½ D: Clint Eastwood. Starring Angelina Jolie, Gattlin Griffith, Michelle Gunn, Jan Devereaux, Erica Grant, John Malkovich. Period drama set in the late 1920s and early 30s about single mother Jolie, who is devastated when her 9-year-old son disappears from home. After five months the controversial LAPD present her with a boy, who is clearly not her son, but they keep insisting he is. Her resistance comes at a terrible price. Carefully made drama with great set design and pristine photography, though one wonders why this is padded out to over two hours and why Eastwood is subjecting us to such an ordeal. The imperfections of a true story ultimately make for an uneven movie. The performances are peerless. 

Changing Lanes (2002, USA) C-99m. Scope ** D: Roger Michell. Starring Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Kim Staunton, Toni Collette, Sydney Pollack, Amanda Peet, William Hurt, Dylan Baker. Typically contrived Hollywood drama about Wall Street lawyer Affleck and struggling alcoholic Jackson, whose lives intersect when they crash into each other’s cars. Affleck treats Jackson with disrespect, but leaves an important file behind. A painful psycho-battle ensues where both men could lose everything. Some fine performances aside, this is mean-spirited and manipulative and makes both men fear for the worst, before attaching a Hollywood ending.

Charley Varrick (1973, USA) C-111m. *** D: Don Siegel. Starring Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Andrew Robinson, John Vernon, Felicia Farr. After robbing $750,000 from a New Mexico bank, Matthau realizes it’s the Mafia’s money and they will want it back. Soon, hitman Baker is hot on his trails. Clever script, cool star performances and a fine score by Lalo Schifrin are the assets of this thriller that is not always exciting but never boring. And an extra plus for that ending. 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005, USA) C-115m. *** D: Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, narrated by Geoffrey Holder. Typically outré Burton outing, this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s satirical fantasy story is good, not great. Poor Charlie Bucket would love nothing more than to find a Golden Ticket, which would take him to eccentric hermite Willy Wonka and his amazing chocolate factory that five children are allowed to visit. Visually impressive, with indelible designs and ideas, though some of the set-pieces (and especially the songs) push the story too much into the background sometimes. Photographed by Philippe Rousselot, score and songs by Danny Elfman. Filmed before in 1971 as WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

Charlie’s Angels (2000, USA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: McG (Joseph McGinty Nichols). Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, John Forsythe, Matt LeBlanc, LL Cool J, Tom Green, Chad Wilson. Hyperkinetic update of the popular 70s television series has almost nothing to do with the original (apart from the characters), becoming a furious action comedy instead. Plot is completely unimportant, action scenes (including some stunning martial arts sequences) take first chair. Music-video clip style becomes tiring after a while, especially because of the dumb plot. Still, not bad, an eye-popping, fast-paced fun-film, with a most enjoyable trio of stars (not to forget the hilarious Bill Murray).

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003, USA) C-107m. Scope ** D: McG. Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick, Demi Moore, Matt LeBlanc, Luke Wilson, John Cleese, Robert Forster, Eric Bogosian, Pink, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Willis, voice of John Forsythe. Sequel to CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2000) bears little resemblance to the hit TV series. The Angels are after two rings which contain information from the witness protection programme, sought after by all syndicates imaginable. This stylized, music video clip-like action movie could be called a fantasy action film with all its unbelievable stunts. Some fun is to be had, if you don’t get a headache. Almost on a par with the first movie. Hard to believe this was cowritten by John August (BIG FISH).

Charlotte’s Web (1973, USA) C-96m. *** D: Charles A. Nichols, Iwao Takamoto. Starring the voices of Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde, Henry Gibson, Agnes Moorehead, narrated by Rex Allen. Sweet-natured animated feature from the Hanna-Barbera studios, about the life of piglet Wilbur, who is saved from certain death by a little girl, but is later sold to another farm. He befriends spider Charlotte (voiced by Debbie Reynolds), who teaches him a lot about life and death. Good for kids and adults, as movie is simply animated but also tackles philosophical issues. Based on the book by E.B. White.

Charlotte’s Web (2006, USA) C-97m. *** D: Gary Winick. Starring Dakota Fanning, Kevin Anderson, Essie Davis, Louis Corbett, Beau Bridges, (and the voices of) Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford, Thomas Haden Church, narrated by Sam Shepard. Heart-warming, good-looking remake of the 1973 Hanna-Barbera cartoon about a spring pig and its unusual friendship with a spider, who teaches him a few lessons on life. Good score by Danny Elfman contributes to a fine family-viewing experience.

Chasing Amy (1997, USA) C-113m. ***½ D: Kevin Smith. Starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck. Unpretentious, touching slice-of-life about a comicbook-artist (Affleck) who falls in love with a beautiful but gay young woman (Adams). All the complications that ensue are completely convincing because of the filmmaker’s natural approach. Well-acted, immensely appealing film, written and coedited by the director of CLERKS.

Chasseurs des Dragons (2008, FRA/GER/LUX) C-80m. SCOPE **½ D: Guillaume Ivernel, Arthur Qwak. Starring (the voices of) Vincent Lindon, Patrick Timsit, Philippe Nahon, Amanda Lear, Jeremy Prevost. Big-screen adaptation of the animated TV series about a warrior, his companion and their pet dragon, who live in a kind of sky world, where entire buildings on huge rocks float in the air. They are joined by a little girl, whose uncle is hiring warriors to defeat a mythical monster, the so-called world-eater. A bit unconventional, eccentric, with some storytelling flaws, this adventure is well-animated and exciting in its action sequences, but the characters never really come to life. The English version, titled DRAGON HUNTERS, stars Forest Whitaker.

Chat, Le (1971, FRA/ITA) C-86m. *** D: Pierre Granier-Deferre. Starring Jean Gabin, Simone Signoret, Annie Cordy, Jacques Rispal, Nicole Desailly. Somber drama, based on the Georges Simenon novel, about frustrated Signoret and embittered Gabin, who have only hatred for each other, after being married for 20 years. Gabin’s beloved cat paves the way for the ultimate tragedy. Well-acted chronicle of things coming to an end is especially notable for its use of symbolism. An often minimalist, ponderous but ultimately rewarding drama. Score by Philippe Sarde. English title: THE CAT.

Che? (1972, ITA/FRA/GER) C-114m. Scope *** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Sydne Rome, Hugh Griffith, Guido Alberti, Romolo Valli, Roman Polanski, Dieter Hallervorden. One of master director Polanski’s least known films is a satire on the morals and perversions of the upper-class (and their hangers-on). Ravishing 22-year-old American hitchhiker Rome narrowly escapes some Italian thugs and stumbles into a strange mansion. It is populated by the weirdest characters imaginable, one of them being the masochistic, self-professed pimp Mastroianni. Well-directed, amusing and quirky, but also goes on too long at times. Not at all in the league of THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, but still a must for Polanski scholars. The great setting is producer Carlo Ponti’s own villa. Also shown at 94m. (as DIARY OF FORBIDDEN DREAMS). English title: WHAT?

Cheap Detective, The (1978, USA) C-92m. Scope *D: Robert Moore. Starring Peter Falk, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Sid Caesar, Stockard Channing, James Coco, Dom DeLuise, Louise Fletcher, John Houseman, Madeline Kahn, Fernando Lamas. Disappointing follow-up to the delightful MURDER BY DEATH is a parody of Humphrey Bogart movies, with Falk playing a detective who gets caught in a confusing case. Quite funny but idle spoof fails to engross the viewer. Written by Neil Simon.

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003, USA) C-98m. ** D: Shawn Levy. Starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hilary Duff, Kevin Schmidt, Richard Jenkins, Shawn Levy, Ashton Kutcher. Harmless, hardly funny family comedy, not at all a remake of the 1950 classic. Martin and Hunt have twelve children, and when new job opportunities force them to leave their hometown, all kinds of problems come up. Film tries to find humor in making messes and wrecking houses, but the laughs are limited. Followed by a sequel in 2005.

Checkmate (1973, USA) C-83m. **½ D: Lem Amero. Starring Diana Wilson, An Tsan Hu, Don Draper, J.J. Coyle, Caren Kaye. Hilariously inept James Bond spoof featuring buxom Wilson as secret agent Pepper Burns, who goes against Asian villainess Hu, who threatens the world with a nuclear bomb. Cheap, trashy but corny, randy film with lots of nudity and some genuine laughs. Might be on Tarantino’s cult movie list if he had seen it. Long live the 70s. Video title: PEPPER SECRET AGENT 00X.

Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers (1984, USA) C-88m. *½ D: Tommy Chong. Starring Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin, Roy Dotrice, Shelby Chong, Rikki Marin, Rae Dawn Chong, Jean-Claude Dreyfus. Rather obnoxious, weak C&C comedy (a drugless one!) where the buddies play French twins (!) who get separated when Cheech takes the wrong way home and meet again after 10 years. Chong only has revolution on his mind, whereas Cheech only wants some food. Quite well-produced but mostly devoid of laughs. The main joke is that Cheech only feels Chong’s pains and vice versa. Only for die-hard fans, this was Cheech and Chong’s sixth and last major film project together. Filmed in France, with many French crewmembers. Same story filmed several times before.

Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980, USA) C-99m. ** D: Tommy Chong. Starring Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Evelyn Guerrero, Betty Kennedy, Sy Kramer, Bob Goldthwait, Leslie Nielsen, Michael Winslow. Cheech & Chong’s follow-up to the hit comedy UP IN SMOKE features more of the same low-brow jokes, but is somehow less funny and engaging, as the duo go through some really outrageous adventures. Plotless comedy has some hilarious bits, but should only be viewed in company after a few beers (or joints). For fans. Followed by CHEECH & CHONG’S NICE DREAMS.

Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981, USA) C-88m. ** D: Thomas Chong. Starring Cheech Marin, Thomas Chong, Evelyn Guerrero, Stacy Keach, Paul Rubens, Linnea Quigley, Sandra Bernhard, Dr Timothy Leary. Tired continuation of C&C’s exploits. The boys have struck it rich in the marihuana business, using an ice cream truck for trading in weeds. Sergeant Stedanko (Keach) returns, but he is more intent on getting good dope than nailing the boys. Some funny bits, but offers more than its share of silliness. C&C’s next movie, THING ARE TOUGH ALL OVER (1982), was better.

Chello Hongmijoo Ilga Salinsagan (2005, KOR) C-94m. ** D: Lee Woo-cheol. Starring Seong Hyeon-a, Park Da-an, Jeong Ho-bin, Woo Jin, Kim Na-woon. Korean horror drama about a Cello player, who gave up her career and lives now with her family. Then eerie things start happening around her. It turns out that an event in her past (a car accident) is coming back to haunt her. Tentative, slow-moving film isn’t bad, but loses out with final twist that negates the entire film. Written by the director. International title: CELLO.

Chelovek-Amfibiya (1961, RUS) C-96m. **½ D: Vladimir Chebotaryov, Gennadi Kazansky. Starring Vladimir Korenev, Anastasiya Vertinskaya, Mikhail Kozakov. The Russian answer to Jack Arnold’s CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) is lightweight tale of an amphibian man, who goes ashore (as a handsome man) to woo the woman he has fallen in love with. However, she has promised to marry a brute. Good camerawork is main attraction in this romantic movie, but pace and plotting are just second-rate. Still worth a look, based on a novel by Aleksandr Belyayev. English title: THE AMPHIBIAN MAN.

Cherry Falls (2000, USA) C-91m. D: Geoffrey Wright. Starring Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Gabriel Mann, Jesse Bradford, Jay Mohr. Odd mix of horror and comedy about a slasher stalking virgins(!) in a small town. Soon, everyone thinks that losing one’s virginity means being safe from the serial killer. Starts okay but becomes more and more improbable – and finally idiotic. Some suspenseful parts save this from the bomb-rating. It’s neither a horror film, nor a comedy, nor a horror comedy, but (almost) a total wash-out. From the director of the acclaimed ROMPER STOMPER!

Cherry, Harry & Raquel! (1969, USA) C-75m. D: Russ Meyer. Starring Larissa Ely, Linda Ashton, Charles Napier, Bert Santos, Franklin H. Bolger. ‘A wild soul inhabits this place.... inspiring all manner of bizarre and abandoned excess....’ Typically bizarre Russ Meyer film, but this time with a plot that is almost incomprehensible. It seems to be about the effects Marihuana can have on people. Napier plays a sheriff who gets the order to kill a drug-runner. Lots of nudity and sex will satisfy Meyer’s fans, others will be bored or even offended. Script by Meyer and novelist Tom Wolfe(!), based on an original story by Meyer. The director also produced, photographed and co-edited the picture.

Chicken and Duck Talk (1988, HGK) C-99m. *** D: Clifton Ko. Starring Michael Hui, Ricky Hui, Sylvia Chang, Lowell Lo. Occasionally hilarious comedy about greedy restaurant owner Hui, who is faced with tough competition when a fast-food restaurant opens across the street. A little slight plotwise, but funny and likeable. Scripted by the director and Hui, who is very popular in his native country. Original Cantonese title: JI TONG YA JIANG.

Chicken Little (2005, USA) C-81m. **½ D: Mark Dindal. Starring Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, Amy Sedaris, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Adam West, Mark Dindal. Big-budgeted, well-advertised Disney release about the title character, a constant underdog, who once caused chaos, when he believed the sky to be falling (when it was only an acorn). Will people believe him when he tells them of real aliens who are attacking the planet? Fast and enteratining enough to make it a nice view, but plot has some drawbacks. The title character – as small as he may be – seems to be a teenager with teenage problems and as such difficult to identify with for the target audience. And the problems are also rather depressing and sad. Don Knotts’ last movie.

Chicken Run (2000, GBR/USA) C-84m. **½ D: Peter Lord, Nick Park. Starring the voices of Mel Gibson, Julie Swahalja, Miranda Richardson. Animated feature from the makers of Wallace & Gromit, about the chicken herd on a farm, which shudders at the prospect of being turned into chicken pie. Enter a hot-shot rooster (voiced by Mel Gibson), who promises to bring them to freedom. Well-made, with some interesting references to old P.O.W. movies like THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963), but characters and story are too conventional. After the exciting climax you’ll wonder why the rest of the film wasn’t as good.

Chien Andalou, Un (1929, FRA) B&W-16m. n/r D: Luis Buñuel. Starring Simone Mareuil, Pierre Batcheff, Luis Bunuel, Salvador Dalí, Robert Hommet. Groundbreaking surrealist masterpiece by cinematic grandmaster Buñuel (his first film), which he made in collaboration with Salvador Dalí. A fantasy, impossible to describe, most notable for its very fluid style and arresting images. No film school can do without discussing this one. English title: AN ANDALUSIAN DOG.

Chiesa, La (1989, ITA) C-102m. *** D: Michele Soavi. Starring Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Fedor Chaliapin, Barbara Cupisti, Antonella Vitale, Asia Argento. Soavi's follow-up to AQUARIUS is a well-mounted supernatural horror film that draws some of its inspiration from Gothic fiction. In a Roman church, which was built on a giant graveyard dating back to the medieval crusades, evil is lurking underground, waiting to be unleashed. American restaurator Quarshie slowly becomes aware of the church's gruesome history and is consummated by its evil powers. Well-scripted, stylish and suspenseful, with surreal touches, produced and cowritten by none other that Dario Argento. Slightly uneven but consistently interesting, a must for horror fans. Trivia note: Film makes use of Philip Glass's brilliant theme from KOYAANISQATSI. English title: THE CHURCH.

Child, The (1977, USA) C-82m. ** D: Robert Voskonian. Starring Laurel Barnett, Rosalie Cole, Frank Janson, Rochard Hanners. Pretty stupid, derivative horror film about maid Barnett, who goes to work for spoilt brat Cole, a girl with the powers to summon the dead. Quite atmospheric horror shocker has a bizarre (and at times annoying) score. The final twenty minutes are quite good, with zombie attacks à la George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Also known as KILL AND GO HIDE and ZOMBIE CHILD.

Children, The (1980, USA) C-91m. *½ D: Max Kalmanowicz. Starring Martin Shakar, Gil Rogers, Gale Garnett, Shannon Bolin, Tracy Griswold. A leak in the local nuke plant, a yellow, radioactive mist, an eerily deserted school bus… it all adds up to zombie kids giving their parents the hug of death. All of this is done in dead serious manner, unfortunately. Technically adequate, but scenes involving the contaminated children just don’t work, which kills the movie eventually. Probably inspired by George Romero’s classics NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) and DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978). Also known as THE CHILDREN OF RAVENSBACK.

Children of Men (2006, GBR/USA) C-109m. Scope *** D: Alfonso Cuarón. Starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Pam Ferris, Danny Huston, Peter Mullan. Interesting interpretation of the science-fiction / social-fiction novel by P.D. James about our society in the near future (2027), which has not seen a childbirth for more than 18 years. In a crumbling Britain, with riots everywhere, a situation increasingly reminiscent of Fascist Germany, the main character (Owen), a former activist, is asked by his ex-wife (Moore) to help the cause of her underground organization, to bring a black refugee to safety. Together they embark on a odyssey, not knowing who they can trust. Cuarón’s strong direction makes this sci-fi drama worth watching. It plunges the audience in the middle of the action, grips you and doesn’t let you go. Not without flaws, but recommended to genre fans. Oscar-nominated cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki.

Children of the Living Dead (2001, USA) C-90m. *½ D: Tor Ramsey. Starring Tom Savini, Marty Schiff, Damien Luvara, Jamie McCoy, Sam Nicotero, Heidi Hinzman. What starts out as an action-filled homage (or redo) of George Romero’s zombie epic, looses its footing when it tries to introduce plot about a zombie leader, who even turns the dead into undead. After nice intro with Savini as the cool zombie killer, film disintegrates, suffering most from inept acting. The zombie effects are first-rate, though. Interestingly, executive producer John A. Russo cowrote the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), and cinematographer Bill Hinzman also photographed that classic.

Child’s Play (1988, USA) C-87m. Scope **½ D: Tom Holland. Starring Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Dinah Manoff. Quite well-made horror film from the director of FRIGHT NIGHT (1985). A boy’s new birthday present (barely afforded by his single mother) turns out to be inhabited by the spirit of a murderer. The doll goes on a rampage – will cop Sarandon believe the boy’s stories of the talking and walking doll? Pretty mean-spirited movie puts a child in almost constant danger. The effects are good and so is the editing – though one could have shortened the finale a bit. Its success led to several sequels.

Chi L’Ha Vista Morire? (1972, ITA) C-94m. **½ D: Aldo Lado. Starring George Lazenby, Anita Strindberg, Peter Chatel, Adolfo Celi, Dominique Boschero, Nicoletta Elmi. Above-average giallo about a child murderer who may be targeting young Elmi, whose father Lazenby is a famous sculptor. Standard plot is enriched by stylish touches and a good Ennio Morricone score, but otherwise this is not scary or thrilling enough. Has more psychological depth that other films in this genre. Lazenby’s quick descent to B-pictures after the Bond movie ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is surprising (he even looks Italian here). Incidentally, Celi played the Bond villain in THUNDERBALL. English titles: WHO SAW HER DIE? and THE CHILD.

China Syndrome, The (1979, USA) C-122m. ***½ D: James Bridges. Starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Scott Brady, James Hampton, Peter Donat, Lewis Arquette. Terrific factual drama topicalizes the threat posed by nuclear power plants. On a guided tour through such a plant, TV reporter Fonda and cameraman Douglas witness (and secretly film) an incident that looks like an emergency situation. While they are trying to find out what exactly did happen, plant exec Lemmon is trying to find out why… and soon finds himself in hot water. Not really a disaster thriller as some might think, drama draws its suspense from fine script and utterly believable, really excellent performance by Lemmon (he was nominated for an Academy Award, as was Fonda). Film hits bull’s-eye in breathtaking finale. Only flaw is uneven treatment of the main characters; otherwise, this is tops. Douglas also produced.

Chinese Boxer, The (1970, HGK) C-90m. SCOPE *** D: Wang Yu. Starring Wang Yu, Lo Lieh, Wang Ping, Chiao Hsiung, Fang Mien, Yuen Woo-Ping. Wang Yu’s directorial debut is an ambitious Shaw Brothers eastern about an ex-student of a kung fu school, who returns to kill his master. Young student Wang Yu is almost killed and swears revenge when he learns that his master has died and the school has been turned into a casino. While the plot and the action don’t really stand out, film is well-directed, with a charismatic performance by an ambitious Wang Yu. Also known as HAMMER OF THE GODS, and THE HAMMER OF GOD.

Chinese Dragon (1973, HGK) C-92m. Scope *** D: Wu Yu Wei. Starring Wei Tze Wan, Sun Yet, Lui Ming. Young Kung Fu expert takes up job as bodyguard of a casino owner and has to contend with inner conflicts whenever he’s told to give someone a beating. However, this is not the end of the story. Further plot elements include kidnapping, revenge and love. This is what a martial arts film should be like: outrageously stylish direction, exciting fight scenes and just enough drama in the plot to keep you involved.

Chinese Ghost Story, A (1987, HGK) C-93m. **½ D: Ching Siu-Tung. Starring Leslie Cheung, Joey Wang, Lau Siu-Ming, Ling Bo, Wong Tsu Hsien, Wu Ma. In the mid-Eighties a new type of eastern emerged, combining the classical martial-arts tradition with other genres such as horror and fantasy. Aided by modern filmmaking techniques (mostly special effects) these movies produced fireworks for the senses and received much critical acclaim. A CHINESE GHOST STORY was among the first films of this new era, and despite its shortcomings remains one of the most effective films of its kind. The story: A naive hayseed, working as an assistant to a creditor, comes to a city where he is supposed to collect money from several people. After a disappointing day he decides to spend the night in a temple which is said to be haunted. The young man meets and falls in love with a beautiful ghost (Cheung). He learns that she is to be wed to a demon, and when he tries to help her, he gets involved in a fight between good and evil. Eye-popping, furiously directed action fantasy with horror elements suffers from unwelcome comic relief and a somewhat muddled story-line which lacks continuity. Still, it became a model for many supernatural easterns to follow and its success prompted two sequels. Produced by Tsui Hark.    

Chinese Ghost Story II, A (1990, HGK) C-104m. *** D: Ching Siu-Tung. Starring Leslie Cheung, Joey Wong, Michelle Reis, Jacky Cheung, Wu Ma. Riveting sequel to the above features the same wild plotting and exciting action scenes. This time, the tax collector is mistaken for a wise man who is able to help to free the father of Cheung, who just happens to be his re-born love of the first film! Amusing vignettes, cheesy monsters, an atmospheric and well-directed horror fantasy. Especially for fans of the series. Produced by Tsui Hark.

Chinese Ghost Story III, A (1991, HGK) C-104m. **½ D: Ching Siu-Tung, Tsui Hark. Starring Jacky Cheung, Lau Shun, Lau Siu-Ming, Tony Leung, Joey Wong. Final part in Ching’s GHOST trilogy gives the viewer just what he expects, this is more or less a remake of the first two films. A young monk and his master get involved in a good-vs.-evil fight involving the mighty Tree Sprit and his fiancée, a beautiful ghost who the young monk falls in love with. Episodic horror fantasy starts mild but improves in the second half. Leung’s performance is appealing. Cowritten by codirector Tsui Hark.

Chinjeolhan Geumjassi (2005, KOR) C-115m. Scope *** D: Park Chan-Wook. Starring Lee Yeong-ae, Choi Min-sik, Tony Barry, Anne Cordiner. Go Su-hee. Conclusion of director Park’s Vengeance trilogy (following BOKSUNEUN NAUI GEOT and OLDBOY) is the strongest, most consistently plotted part. A woman, imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit, is released after 13 years and plans her revenge against the man who was responsible for the death of several children. She also seeks out her daughter who she had to give up for adoption. Strikingly directed, superbly scored revenge drama, a must-see for fans of the New Korean Cinema. Actress Lee gives a brilliant performance. Winner of a Little Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. English titles: LADY VENGEANCE, SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE.

Chinos y Minifaldas (1967, SPA/ITA/GER) C-83m. **½ D: Ramón Comas. Starring Adrian Hoven, Barth Warren, Gérard Landry, Teresa del Río, Lilia Neyung, Karin Feddersen, Wolfgang Preiss. Another attempt at cashing in on the James Bond mania that swept across the world in the mid-60s. Hoven plays a womanizing special agent, who tries to protect the world from a Chinese Fu Manchu-type villain and thwart his plans to use a special drug on a foreign minister. Quite amusing how Hoven kisses girls at the craziest of moments (he calls himself ‘globetrotting Samaritan for lonely women’). Otherwise pretty shoddy and nowhere near the real James Bond. For devotees of this stuff. Score by Piero Umiliani. English title: DEATH ON A RAINY DAY.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968, GBR) C-144m. Scope *** D: Ken Hughes. Starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Gert Fröbe, Anny Quayle, Benny Hill, James Robertson Justice, Desmond Llewelyn. Marvelous children’s fantasy musical about crackpot inventor Van Dyke and his two kids who live through many adventures with their wondrous car. Good songs, colorful sets, a fine example of a film children will love. Wonderful production design by Ken Adam. Scripted by the director and Roald Dahl, based on the novel by Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame).

Chocolat (2000, GBR/USA) C-121m. **½ D: Lasse Hallström. Starring Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss, Aurelien Parent-Koenig, Johnny Depp, Peter Stormare, Lena Olin, Leslie Caron, Hugh O’Conor, Judi Dench. A single mother moves with her daughter into a sleepy French village in 1959, unaware that her profession (chocolatier) will cause an uproar, especially with ultra-conservative mayor Molina. Fairy-tale like drama is well-made and good-looking, but story is simplistic and forgettable. Especially slight and disappointing when compared to Hallström’s earlier THE CIDER HOUSE RULES (1999). Based on the novel by Joanne Harris.

Chopper (2000, AUS) C-94m. **½ D: Andrew Dominik. Starring Eric Bana, Simon Lydon, David Field, Dan Wyllie, Bill Young. Bana is convincing as notorious criminal nicknamed Chopper, who became a celebrity in his native Australia. Portrait is sometimes effective (violently so), the plot is not very coherent and may have your attention wandering sometimes. Still, an interesting cross between HENRY – PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986) and NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994).

Christine (1983, USA) C-110m. Scope **½ D: John Carpenter. Starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky, Harry Dean Stanton, Kelly Preston. Stephen King adaptation about nerdish teen Gordon, who buys oldtimer ‘Christine’, which boosts his self-esteem. The car, however, seems strangely alive with an evil spirit… Flashy, well-made horror thriller never rises above its really stupid premise, though Carpenter deserves credit for his fine direction and score. Good effects.

Christmas Story, A (1983, CDN/USA) C-94m. *** D: Bob Clark. Starring Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, narrated by Jean Shepherd. Amiable children’s film about 9-year-old Billingsley and the traumatic Christmas, when he wanted nothing more than a Red Ryder Air Gun. Absolutely hilarious in parts, but violence, profanity and glorification of guns leave a bad aftertaste. A genuine American Christmas classic, based on autobiographical writings by Jean Shepherd.

Christmas with the Kranks (2004, USA) C-99m. SCOPE **½ D: Joe Roth. Starring Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, M. Emmet Walsh, Elizabeth Franz, Erik Per Sullivan, Cheech Marin, Jake Busey, Austin Pendleton, Felicity Huffman. Christmas comedy misfire that still has some laughs. Allen and Curtis, with their daughter gone for Christmas this year, decide to ignore the holidays completely and plan to go on a cruise, much to the chagrin of their neighbors, who can’t understand them at all – and will do what it takes to put them into the Christmas mood. Based on a novel by John Grisham(!), this should have been better with the talents involved.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The (2005, USA) C-143m Scope ***½ D: Andrew Adamson. Starring Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Kiran Shah, James Cosmo, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keyes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, voices of Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone, Rupert Everett, Michael Madsen. Superlative filmization of the C.S. Lewis book about four children, who, fleeing air raids in WW2 London, go to live in a country estate and find a secret passage to Narnia, a magical country that is under the spell of the White Witch (Swinton). Before they know it, they are plunged into the adventure of their lives. Extremely well-made, exciting, superbly paced adventure is perfect for kids, no less thrilling for adults. Creates a wondrous fantasy world very much in the vein of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies, only less dark and brooding (it was also shot in New Zealand). From the director of the SHREK movies. Fine score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Filmed before as a TV series in 1967, and in animated form in 1979 and 1988 (all as THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE). Followed by its first sequel in 2008.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008, GBR/USA) C-150m. SCOPE **½ D: Andrew Adamson. Starring Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Vincent Grass, Simón Andreu, Tilda Swinton, voices of Liam Neeson, Eddie Izzard. First NARNIA sequel has the four children return to the fantastical land, because the title character, an ousted prince, has blown the magical horn. It turns out Narnia has lost much of its magic, but the Prince may be able to reunite the Narnians with his people, the power-hungry Telmarines. Filmed with the same gusto as the first film, but script is talky and much less compelling. It seems the film would have needed a bit more fantasy a la the White Witch (Swinton, who has a cameo). There are also too many parallels to LORD OF THE RINGS. Followed by THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER (2010).

Chung King Express (1994, HGK) C-103m. **½ D: Wong Kar-Wai. Starring Brigitte Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Leung, Faye Wang, Valerie Chow, ‘Piggy’ Chan. In the huge shopping center of the Chung King building in Hong Kong two stories unfold, each about lovesickness and obsession. Filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai nicely captures the cold and sterile neon-atmosphere of the city, but his narrative is uneven; there seems to be no system behind the voice-overs or the structuring of the plot. Shot in a fluid video-clip style; might have been more compelling as a short film. Still, a cult favorite, also with Quentin Tarantino, who had the film released in the U.S. after ‘discovering’ it for himself.

Cider House Rules, The (1999, USA) C-125m. Scope ***½ D: Lasse Hallström. Starring Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine, Delroy Lindo, Paul Rudd, Kathy Baker, Jane Alexander, Kieran Culkin, Kate Nelligan. Beautiful, gentle coming-of-age drama about orphan Maguire, who grows up in a private hospital and children’s home run by doctor Caine. At the age of twenty he decides to leave his home and friends to find happiness at former patient Theron’s farm. Tops in all compartments, except perhaps in the characterization of the main figure, who seems superficial. Won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Caine) and Best Screenplay (John Irving, who adapted his own novel). Not quite in the realm of THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, but warm-hearted and endearing nevertheless.

Ciel sur la Tête, Le (1965, FRA/ITA) C-107m. Scope *** D: Yves Ciampi. Starring Marcel Bozzuffi, Bernard Fresson, Guy Tréjan, Jacques Monod, Henry Piégay. Aboard a French aircraft carrier, the crew have to adjust to sudden emergency situation. It turns out that a mysterious (extra-terrestrial?) satellite is orbiting the Earth, and Russians and Americans are accusing each other of controlling it. Intelligent handling of Cold War thematics, deliberately paced but highly interesting. Factual, almost documentary-like approach adds to film’s unique atmosphere. Good aerial photography. Watch this one! English titles: HEAVEN ON ONE’S HEAD, SKIES ABOVE, SKY ABOVE HEAVEN.

Cifrato Speciale (1966, ITA/SPA/FRA) C-93m. ** D: Herbert J. Sherman (=Pino Mercanti). Starring Lang Jeffries, José Greci, Helga Liné, George Rigaud, Umberto Raho. Standard Italian Bond imitation follows the exploits of sort-of agent Jeffries, who knows the whereabouts of a secret code or formula used by the Nazis. Many different organizations try to buy him, which leads to some action and an underwater showdown. Trivial, disjointed fare tries hard to be dramatic, comes off as pretentious. Good Riz Ortolani score. Aka SPECIAL CODE: ASSIGNMENT LOST FORMULA.

Cinderella (1950, USA) C-72m. ***½ D: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske. Starring (the voices of) Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton. Lovely Disney classic about poor, abused girl, whose stepmother refuses to take her to the grand ball, and how her fairy godmother makes it all happen. Charming, exquisitely animated, a must for any child’s (or parent’s) movie collection.

Cinderfella (1960, USA) C-89m. **½ D: Frank Tashlin. Starring Jerry Lewis, Ed Wynn, Judith Anderson, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Henry Silva, Count Basie, Robert Hutton. Farcical take on CINDERELLA with Lewis playing a poor idiot, who must serve his stepmother and her two sons until male fairy Wynn decides to put an end to his misery. Likeable Lewis vehicle, quite glamorous and colorful. Children should like this.

Cinema of Vengeance (1993, HGK) C-95m. **½ D: Toby Russel. Interesting documentary about the Hong Kong action cinema, covering the past fifty years. Filmmakers and actors talk about their experien-ces in the movie business. Among the interviewees are Bruce Lee, Samo Hung and John Woo. Highlighted are clips from films starring Jackie Chan, Samo Hung, Chow Yun-Fat, Cynthia Rothrock et al. Lee’s short statements are the best part of this documentary, which only scratches the surface of an incredibly rich repertoire of films. King Hu or Tsui Hark are, for example, not even mentioned. Still, martial arts fans should give this one a look. Several clips are in widescreen.

Cinque Bambole per la Luna d’Agosto (1970, ITA) C-81m. ***½ D: Mario Bava. Starring William Berger, Edwige Fenech, Ira Fürstenberg, Howard Ross, Helena Ronée, Teodoro Corrà, Justine Gall (=Ely Galleani), Edith Meloni, Mauro Bosco, Maurice Poli. One of maestro Bava’s least known films may actually be his best: A scientist invites several of his friends and business associates to his villa somewhere on a remote island. Once there they try to buy an important formula from him; when they are killed off one by one, everyone suspects everyone else of being the killer. Superbly stylish sets, photography and direction in Bava’s quint-essential interpretation of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians; he turns it into a corny slasher movie. Bava also edited the picture. Wonderful 70s soundtrack by Piero Umiliani. Cinematography by Antonio Rinaldi, who did more films with Bava. English titles: FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON, ISLAND OF TERROR. Bava followed this with the more violent, similarly plotted ANTEFATTO.

Cinque del Condor, I (1985, ITA) C-80m. ** D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring Antonio Sabato, Ivan Rassimov, Andrea Aureli, Sal Borgese, Geoffrery Copleston, Werner Pochath. Typically cheap but okay action film, shot in the Dominican Republic, about a group of mercenaries who try to free kidnapped 10-year-old son of a rebel leader. Trivial, for rabid action fans. Score by Stelvio Cipriani. English title: WILD TEAM.

5 Donne per l’Assassino (1974, ITA/FRA) C-93m. ** D: Stelvio Massi. Starring Giorgio Albertazzi, Francis Matthews, Howard Ross, Pascal Rivault. Medium giallo, made after the prime of the genre. Reporter Matthews is shocked to find his wife dead after giving birth to his son. When he learns that he could not possibly have fathered the child, he is devastated. Could he be the killer that’s bumping off pregnant women? Inspector Ross investigates. Direction is quite creative, with extensive use of zooms, but thrills are almost non-existent, and Ross simply does not register at all. Some gore in this thriller, which makes obvious reference to a giallo classic, Mario Bava’s SEI (6) DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO (1964). Score by Giorgio Gaslini. English title: FIVE WOMEN FOR THE KILLER.

Cinque Giornate, Le (1973, ITA) C-120m. Scope **½ D: Dario Argento. Starring Adriano Celentano, Enzo Cerusico, Marilù Tolo, Luisa de Santis, Glauco Onorato. Italian cult director Dario Argento’s only deviation from the horror/thriller genre (and rarest film) is an occasionally funny but unfortunately overlong comedy drama about an escaped convict (Celentano) who gets mixed up in a revolution in 1848 Milan. Episodic adventure is more serious than it is funny, and some scenes really have depth, but otherwise this is a rather careless venture, which made Argento turn back to horror and deliver his masterpiece, PROFONDO ROSSO. Good use of classical music, arranged by Giorgio Gaslini. Photographed by Luigi Kuveiller. Story by Argento, Luigi Cozzi, Nanni Balestrini and Enzo Ungari. Edited by Franco Fraticelli. Very hard to find and most prints are severely damaged. Also known as FIVE DAYS OF MILAN and DIE HALUNKEN (in Germany).

5 per l’Inferno (1969, ITA) C-92m. Scope ** D: Frank Kramer (=Gianfranco Parolini). Starring John Garko, Klaus Kinski, Aldo Canti, Margaret Lee, Sal Borgese, Luciano Rossi, Samson Burke. Bill Vanders. Above average war actioner about five American soldiers takingup assignment to infiltrate mansion occupied by Germans to steal secret attack plan. Sexy Lee may be on both sides. Well-directed by Parolini, who showcases the comic-book likenesses of his stars, plot is more thoughtful than usual, though still uneven and draggy. Engaging score by Vasco-Mancuso. Aka FIVE FOR HELL, FIVE INTO HELL.

Circus (2000, GBR/USA) C-95m. Scope ** D: Rob Walker. Starring John Hannah, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Eddie Izzard, Fred Ward, Brian Conley, Tiny Lister, Amanda Donohue, Rob Walker. Lumbering, anemic crime drama (no thriller) about a pair of con artists (Hannah and Janssen) who dream of a care-free existence in Mexico but have to deal with all kinds of underworld characters. Interesting characterizations make this watchable. Score by Simon Boswell. Shot in England.

Circus of Fear (1966, GBR/GER) C-87m. **½ D: John (Llewellyn) Moxey. Starring Christopher Lee, Leo Genn, Anthony Newlands, Heinz Drache, Eddi Arent, Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, Suzy Kendall, Cecil Parker, Victor Maddern. After a robbery, the money ends up in a circus. The police soon know where to investigate, but a murderer is complicating things. Solidly made thriller, mostly without highlights. Lee wears a mask for most of the movie. This was part of the German Edgar Wallace series, German release was black-and-white. Written and produced by Harry Alan Towers. Version titled PSYCHO-CIRCUS runs 68m.

Circus of Horrors (1960, GBR) C-88m. **½ D: Sidney Hayers. Starring Anton Diffring, Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Donald Pleasence, Jane Hylton, Kenneth J. Warren. Horror drama that uses themes from earlier, better films. Diffring plays a surgeon, who flees from a disfigured customer to mainland Europe. In France, he gains dominance over a small circus and keeps practicing his facial surgery. Several deaths attract the attention of the police. Not very believable, though earnestly performed. Good color photography by the great Douglas Slocombe is main reason to watch this film. Also known as PHANTOM OF THE CIRCUS.

Cité des Enfants Perdus, La (1995, FRA/SPA/GER) C-112m. *** D: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro. Starring Ron Perlman, Joseph Lucien, Daniel Emilfork, Mireille Mosse, Judith Vittet, Dominique Pinon, Rufus, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, voice of Jean-Louis Trintignant. In a utopian, presumably post-apocalyptic society, which lives in a city built like an oil rig in the middle of the sea, a mad professor sends his cloned sons out to kidnap children. They are supposed to give him the ability to dream, but it turns out they only have nightmares. Circus performer Perlman, whose little brother has been abducted, stumbles with a small girl (Vittet) into a strange adventure. Spellbinding fantasy film with superb production design and some truly amazing effects is marred by a plot that lacks momentum and a little straightforwardness. Still, another brilliantly creative film by directors Jeunet and Caro, whose follow-up to the acclaimed DELICATESSEN is just as oddly touching and original. This is perhaps a film that needs multiple viewing. Not for small children, though. The directors also cowrote the screenplay. Score by Angelo Badalamenti, costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier. English title: THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN.

Città Sconvolta: Caccia Spietata ai Rapitori, La (1975, ITA) C-97m. ** D: Fernando Di Leo. Starring Luc Merenda, James Mason, Irina Maleeva, Marino Masé, Daniele Dublino, Valentina Cortese, Salvatore Billa, Tom Felleghy. Industrialist Mason’s son is kidnapped along with Merenda’s. The poor car mechanic trusts Mason to work things out. When his soni s killed, Merenda takes justice into his own hands. Typical Italian crime meller suffers from second-rate, under-developed script. Some intense performances and Luis Bacalov’s score (ranging from classical to synthesizer rock) make this slightly recommendable to fans. Watch out for edited versions. English title: THE KIDNAP SYNDICATE.

Città Violenta (1970, ITA/FRA) C-108m. Scope **½ D: Sergio Sollima. Starring Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Michel Constantin, Telly Savalas, Umberto Orsini, George Savalas, Ray Saunders. Bronson plays a hitman – one of his lone wolf roles – whose girlfriend is kidnapped. He gets involved with mafia syndicate headed by Savalas. Standard B-actioner, perhaps a little moodier than others. Begins well, loses momentum before second half. For Bronson fans. Pulsating score by Ennio Morricone. Lina Wertmüller was among the writers. George Savalas is Telly’s brother. English titles: THE FAMILY, VIOLENT CITY.

City Beneath the Sea (1971, USA) C-95m. ** D: Irwin Allen. Starring Stuart Whitman, Robert Wagner, Rosemary Forsyth, Robert Colbert, Susana Miranda, Richard Basehart, Joseph Cotten, Sugar Ray Robinson. In the year 2053, mankind has built Pacifica, a large underwater city, seeking refuge from climatic changes on the planet’s surface. Commander Whitman is sent to Pacifica to supervise the transfer of gold from Fort Knox. Incidentally, there’s also a huge planetoid that’s racing towards the Earth, threatening to destroy it within hours. Cowriter-producer-director Allen’s last movie before his disaster movie run is juvenile science-fiction that might thrill 10-year-old kids. Earnest dramatics make this watchable for adults, but it takes itself far too seriously. Made for television.

City Hall (1996, USA) C-111m. **½ D: Harold Becker. Starring Al Pacino, John Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Danny Aiello, Martin Landau, David Paymer, Anthony Franciosa. Well-acted but only moderately interesting political drama about deputy mayor of N.Y.C. (Cusack), who serves his boss, a brilliant politician (Pacino), very well. After a shootout involving a drug dealer, a police man and an innocent child, the deputy mayor has to discover that the city hall may be a pool of corruption. Pacino is charismatic as always, but overall film is pretty bland.

City of Angels (1998, USA) C-117m. Scope **½ D: Brad Silberling. Starring Nicholas Cage, Meg Ryan, Dennis Franz. Hollywood remake of Wim Wenders’ DER HIMMEL ÜBER BERLIN about guardian angel Cage, who falls in love with surgeon Ryan and decides to become human. Not nearly as poetic or philosophical as the German film, but romantic by-play (kudos to Ryan) will satisfy the stars’ fans. Surprisingly well-directed and photographed (by John Seale), the script is much too simple, however. What’s more, Cage seems to be reprising his dumb role from IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.

City of the Dead (1960, GBR) 77m. *** D: John Llewellyn Moxey. Starring Dennis Lotis, Christopher Lee, Betta St. John, Patricia Jessel, Venetia Stevenson. Horror mini-classic about witches’ coven in small rural village, which preys on young women, sacrificing them to the devil. Brilliant photography (by Desmond Dickinson) makes the film reminiscent of Mario Bava’s LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO, which was made the same year. Strangely enough, plot structure resembles Hitchcock’s PSYCHO as well as Argento’s SUSPIRIA, which makes it an interesting curio for horror fans. Relatively undramatic though, until the final five minutes.

City on Fire (1979, CDN) C-104m. ** D: Alvin Rakoff. Starring Barry Newman, Susan Clark, Shelley Winters, Leslie Nielsen, James Franciscus, Ava Gardner, Henry Fonda. Not-bad disaster thriller, modelled after the many genre films of the 1970s, about sabotage which leads to a fire that threatens to wipe out a city. Doctor Newman, nurse Winters try to evacuate a hospital, and Fonda, chief of the fire brigade, tries to work out a way to extinguish the flames. Trivial but gripping in the second half. Still, a cut below the average Hollywood disaster epic (although lots of stars turn up here, too).

City on Fire (1987, HGK) C-105m. *** D: Ringo Lam. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, Sun Yueh, Carrie Ng, Roy Cheung. After John Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW, another milestone in Hong Kong cinema. Chow Yun-Fat plays a weary cop, who goes undercover to bust a crime syndicate and is torn between the loyalty to his boss and his love for Carrie Ng. A well-acted (especially by Chow) and richly textured action drama that was a major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s debut hit RESERVOIR DOGS.

Clan des Siciliens, Le (1969, FRA) C-120m. **½ D: Henri Verneuil. Starring Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, Irina Demick, Amedeo Nazzari, Philippe Baronnet, Karen Blanguernon. Solidly made but uninspired crime thriller about escaped convict Delon and his plans to steal expensive jewelry with mafia boss Gabin. Ventura is perfect as world-weary cop, who must catch the criminals. Nice score by Ennio Morricone, photography by Henri Decae. Based on the novel by Auguste Le Breton. English title: THE SICILIAN CLAN.

Clash of the Titans (1981, USA) C-118m. *** D : Desmond Davis. Starring Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Jack Gwillim, Susan Fleetwood, Burgess Meredith, Tim Pigott-Smith. Well-produced mythology mix about half-god Perseus (Hamlin), who must contend with goddess Thetis’ anger against his father Zeus. On his quest he must defeat several monsters like Medusa or Cerberus to be reunited with Princess Andromeda. Not to be taken too seriously, but entertaining – when it’s not talky. Some nice effects and the Medusa showdown make it worthwhile. Produced by special effects genius Ray Harryhausen, who retired after this. Remade in 2010.

Clash of the Titans (2010, USA) C-102m. **½ D: Louis Leterrier. Starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes,

Big, loud remake of the 1981 fantasy film thrives on special effects. Perseus finds himself at odds with his father Zeus and intends to help the people of Argos to stop unleashing of giant monster that will destroy their city. Lots of talk in the first half hour, film gets going in well-directed action scenes, but plot is generally second-rate, with characters that mean nothing.

Classe de Niege, La (1998, FRA) C-97m. **½ D: Claude Miller. Starring Clément van den Bergh, Lokman Nalcakan, Francois Roy, Yves Verhoeven. Emmanuelle Bercot. A deeply troubled 12-year-old (van den Bergh) goes on a skiing trip with his school class. Once away from home, his mental imbalance is expressed increasingly in daydreams and nightmares. Technically not as savvy, not as subtly written as perhaps its literary source (by Emmanuel Carrère), film nevertheless manages to flesh out the incompetence of the adults in dealing with psychological problems of children. Winner of the jury prize in Cannes. From the director of DITES-LUI QUE JE L’AIME (1977) and MORTELLE RANDONNEE (1983). Also known as CLASS TRIP.

Class of 1984 (1982, CDN) C-93m. ** D: Mark L. Lester. Starring Perry King, Merrie Lynn Ross, Timothy Van Patten, Roddy McDowall, Stefan Arngrim, Michael (J.) Fox. Weak but watchable thriller set at a high school, where the new music teacher King is faced with a violent gang led by Van Patten. Predictable exploiter aims high (references range from BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955) and UNMAN, WITTERING AND ZIGO (1971) to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)), but it’s nothing to get excited about. Michael J. Fox is cute in one of his first movies, Lalo Schifrin composed the score, Tom Holland cowrote the script. Followed by two sequels, CLASS OF 1999 and CLASS OF 1999 II: THE SUBSTITUTE.

Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986, USA) C-82m. **½ D: Richard W. Haines, Samuel Weil (=Lloyd Kaufman). Starring Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard, Pat Ryan, James Nugent Vernon, Brad Dunker. Deliriously demented splatter movie comedy set in Tromaville, where the local high school is bustling with the weirdest characters. Just around the corner is a nuclear power plant, which is leaking and transforming the students into freaks. Incoherent but funny and tremendously paced cult movie with an attitude. The finale is a stunner. One of Troma Film’s best movies. Followed by at least three sequels.

Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991, USA) C-100m. *½ D: Eric Louzil. Starring Brick Bronsky, Lisa Gaye, Leesa Rowland, Michael Kurtz. Sequel to the above is less offensive but also less entertaining. Blond hunk Bronsky finds out that a scientist is breeding subhumanoids (zombies with a mouth on their bellies) in the basement of Tromaville High. Toxie and Tromie (the giant mutant squirrel) have cameos, but film is clearly inferior to the 1986 original. Troma fans might like it anyway. And yes, film features another typically corny love story. Cowritten and produced by Lloyd Kaufman. Followed by CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH 3: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE SUBHUMANOID (1994) and CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH IV (2000).

Claude Chabrol – Mon Premier Film (2003, FRA) C-53m. n/r D: Francis Girod. Featuring interviews with Claude Chabrol, Jean-Claude Brialy, Philippe de Broca, Bernadette Lafont. Documentary about filmmaker Claude Chabrol’s first film, the acclaimed LE BEAU SERGE (1958), which stands as the first film of the influential Nouvelle Vague. Brialy revisits the town where the film was shot and links to Chabrol’s own family are examined. Interesting, if not terribly enlightening. Still, recommended viewing for lovers of French cinema.

Clay Pigeons (1998, USA) C-104m. *½ D: David Dobkin. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn, Janeane Garofalo. Set in a small rural town, this would-be thriller pits a luckless hot-shot (Phoenix) against a chauvinistic serial killer (Vaughn), until FBI-agent Garofalo pops up after half of the movie. Film moves at a deadly pace and Vaughn, or at least his character, is terrible. Don’t waste your time, tune in to TRUE ROMANCE instead (Garofalo is watching this movie at a point). Coproduced by Tony and Ridley Scott.

Clear and Present Danger (1994, USA) C-141m. Scope **½ D: Phillip Noyce. Starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Joaquim de Almeida, James Earl Jones, Henry Czerny, Harris Yulin, Donald Moffat, Thora Birch, Hope Lange. Sequel to PATRIOT GAMES has secret agent Jack Ryan (Ford) go against a Colombian drug lord, uncovering some secret government operations involving guerrilla fighter Dafoe along the way. Uninvolving plot line keeps this film from scoring a higher rating, it is most recommended to fans of the extremely likable Ford, however. In the last third, the pace picks up a little.

Clearwater (2003, USA) B&W-58m. ** D: Andy Koontz. Starring Randy Bonden, Julie Wand, Chris Koontz, Andy Koontz. Not-bad horror movie debut shot on digital video about a serial killer, who kidnaps a young woman and tortures her nearly to death. At the same time he is terrorizing a stranger by sending shocking pictures of her. Will the man come to her rescue? Tries hard to atmospheric, but comes off as odd, and film’s blunt storytelling neglects characterization completely. Little dialogue, okay score by the filmmaker (Koontz also scripted, produced and shot the picture). Alternative spelling: CLEAR WATER.

Cleopatra Jones (1973, USA) C-89m. ScopeD: Jack Starrett. Starring Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes, Antonio Fargas, Dan Frazer, John Alderman, Shelley Winters. Mindless blaxploitation actioner about wildcat Cleopatra Jones, who battles crime syndicate run by Winters. Some lively action scenes, but plot is a bore and Winters’ BLOODY MAMA-type role simply ridiculous. Time has not been kind to this one. Followed by a sequel in 1975.

Clerks (1994, USA) 91m. *** D: Kevin Smith. Starring Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith. A day in the life of two clerks, one minding a convenience store, the other looking after a video store (whenever he feels like it). Funny, foul-mouthed, abrasive comedy produced for $27,000 shines like a small gem thanks to sharp script, stylish black-and-white visuals. Writer-director Smith’s first film; he states Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, Hal Hartley and Jim Jarmusch as his sources of inspiration. Soundtrack includes songs by Bad Religion and Soul Asylum.

Clerks II (2006, USA) C-97m. **½ D: Kevin Smith. Starring Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jennifer Schwalbach, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Wanda Sykes. Director Smith pays homage to his own breakthrough film in this sequel that puts the two losers from the first film into a fast food place when their quickstop mart burns down. Their problems are pretty much the same, and Jay and Silent Bob are there, too! Indefensible for anyone not familiar with Smith’s universe, but quite a lot of fun for his fans. Edited by the director.

Click (2006, USA) C-107m. *** D: Frank Coraci. Starring Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, Sean Astin, Rob Schneider, voice of James Earl Jones. Sandler plays a workaholic who gets a strange remore control by mysterious electrician/inventor(?) Walken. He finds he can use it everywhere with anyone in his own life, and he finds great comfort in pausing, fast forwarding or even skipping events in his life. Until he starts regretting his choices. Modern-day version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, interesting, well-acted throughout.

Cliffhanger (1993, USA/FRA) C-106m. Scope *** D: Renny Harlin. Starring Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, Leon, Craig Fairbrass. Dynamite action yarn starring Stallone as a mountaineer who’s pitted against criminal Lithgow, who’s searching for 100 million dollars lost somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Well-paced, well-directed action film. Stallone cowrote the (admittedly simple) screenplay. And that’s the Dolomites, not the Rockies. Originally runs 118m., but German TV version seemed pretty uncut.

Clockers (1995, USA) C-128m. *** D: Spike Lee. Starring Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer, Isaiah Washington, Keith David, Pee Wee Love, Regina Taylor, Tom Byrd, Sticky Fingaz. Acclaimed writer-director Spike Lee serves a bitter pill with this harrowing, realistic drama about drug-dealing young Phifer, who may be guilty of a murder. His brother confesses to the crime, but police inspectors Keitel and Turturro don’t readily believe his story. Not enjoyable or entertaining, this adaptation of Richard Price’s novel shows what life on the streets is like for young Afro-Americans. Quite long and not easy-to-take, drama will make you ask yourself if life is really that bad. Spike Lee has a brief bit.

Clockwork Orange, A (1971, GBR) C-137m. ***½ D: Stanley Kubrick. Starring Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, Aubrey Morris, James Marcus, Steven Berkoff, David Prowse. The world of Anthony Burgess’ masterful novel is meticulously recreated in this brilliantly directed satire about violence and its effect on our culture. Malcolm McDowell is perfect as Alex, who brutally beats people to death just for the fun of it. How will society get its revenge? Shocking when it was released, the film remains potent today in the age of NATURAL BORN KILLERS.      

Closer (2004, USA) C-104m. *** D: Mike Nichols. Starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Nick Hobbs, Colin Stinton. Character drama set in London examines the lives of four people. Journalist Law chats up American tourist Portman but then falls in love with photographer Roberts. Doctor Owen meets Law in a sex chat and is set up to meet Roberts. Complications ensue, with unexpected fast forwards in the story. Interesting drama, with refreshingly experimental writing, adapted by Patrick Marber (from his own play). A telling comment on modern relationships, male fantasies and female frustrations, well-acted, too.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009, USA) C-90m. SCOPE *** D: Phil Lord, Chris Miller. Starring (the voices of) Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Lauren Graham. On an isolated island in the Atlantic young inventor Flint builds a machine that can turn water into food through microwaves. On the grand opening day of the island’s amusement park the machine explodes and is shot into the stratosphere. Hours later it starts raining food, and Flint gets to make the menu from now on. Well-animated, funny movie with a message is also a triumph of creativity. Love the Dad character.

Cloverfield (2008, USA) C-85m. *** D: Matt Reeves. Starring Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel. Big-budget monster movie about an unidentifiable creature the size of Godzilla attacking New York City, causing havoc and destruction. The movie is shown as filmed with a handheld camera used at a good-bye party among friends, and subsequently on their frantic flight through the streets of a burning New York. Exciting, with astounding effects, film doesn’t hold up storywise, but disaster movie formula from the 1970s still packs a punch. Produced by J.J. Abrams.

Clueless (1995, USA) C-97m. *** D: Amy Heckerling. Starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Jeremy Sisto, Justin Walker, Dan Hedaya. Silverstone is Cher, a hip fifteen-year old who goes to a high school in Beverly Hills and spends most of her free time going shopping. Swift pace does not give you time to think about the admittedly meagre plot. This lifestyle satire is extremely likeable and has become a cult film for the teen generation. Allegedly based on the novel Emma by Jane Austen.

Cobra  (1981, USA/HGK) C-91m. Scope ** D: Joseph Velasco. Starring Bruce Le, Peter Chen Lau, Leong Wong Ko. Pretty violent actioner about Bruce Le (some sources state Bruce Lei), whose teacher is killed by a villain calling himself the Cobra. Le then teams up with his teacher’s daughter to start a new life, if it wasn’t for the bad guys. Plot is almost worthless, sometimes pure exploitation, and still, this has become a minor cult item in some countries,  mostly due to some over-the-top violence in the final thirty minutes.

Cocktail (1988, USA) C-104m. **½ D: Roger Donaldson. Starring Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon. Typical Cruise starring vehicle where he plays an ambitious young man who wants to strike it rich in N.Y.C., but fails to get a satisfying job. Then he tries his hands at barkeeping and strikes gold. Average drama now works best as a late 80s time capsule.

Coda dello Scorpione, La (1971, ITA/SPA) C-95m. Scope ** D: Sergio Martino. Starring George Hilton, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli. After the plane with her husband aboard crashes into the sea, a woman cashes in $1 million insurance money. Detective Hilton tries to find out if there is something foul and soon finds the woman dead, with the money missing. Boring thriller turns into an interesting mystery in the second half when the identity of the killer is gradually uncovered. Too bad they messed up the first half of this typical giallo. English title: SCORPION’S TAIL.

Code 46 (2003, GBR) C-93m. Scope **½ D: Michael Winterbottom. Starring Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Om Puri, David Fahm, Nina Sosanya. Only partly successful science-fiction drama about investigator Robbins, who – with an implanted empathy chip that lets him read minds – sets out to find the person who has been smuggling travel permits which allow people to travel freely in an otherwise controlled environment. He falls in love with the culprit, boyish Morton, and risks a Code 46 violation (i.e. conceiving a child despite having matching genes). At times hypnotic, but generally unconvincing drama, the future feeling just doesn’t come across, and the love affair isn’t very believable (although the acting is fine). Worth a look for fans of serious science-fiction.

Coeur en Hiver, Un (1992, FRA) C-104m. *** D: Claude Sautet. Starring Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart, André Dussollier. Well-observed, typical Sautet film about violin maker Auteuil who becomes infatuated with beautiful violinist Béart but is afraid of showing it. His friendship with Dussollier, Béart’s lover, is also put to the test. There’s more beneath the surface of this fascinating drama on love and music. Well-acted and sensitively directed film is not for all tastes but those who can connect with it will undoubtedly love it.

Coffy (1973, USA) C-91m. ** D: Jack Hill. Starring Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig. Minor blaxploitation classic starring Grier as a hard-hitting nurse who single-handedly battles drug lords, pimps and corrupt politicians. Not as much action as wished for perhaps, rather heavy-handed direction, but acceptable on the whole. Followed by FOXY BROWN in 1974. Remade as LOVELY BUT DEADLY in 1981 (sans Grier).

Coldblooded (1995, USA) C-93m. ** D: M. Wallace Wolodarsky. Starring Jason Priestley, Peter Riegert, Kimberly Williams, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Loggia, Josh Charles, Michael J. Fox. Low-key, barely interesting comedy thriller about phlegmatic, indifferent bookie Priestley who gets promoted to 'hit man', and manages to do his job quite well. Love soon complicates matters. DEAD PAN would have been a better title. Priestley doesn't change his expression, and humor is pseudo-hip and poorly timed. Watchable but terribly undramatic. Produced by Michael J. Fox, who has a small role as one of Priestley's victims.

Cold Light of Day, The (1995, GBR/NED) C-98m. *** D: Rudolf van den Berg. Starring Richard E. Grant, Lynsey Baxter, Perdita Weeks, Simon Cadell. Children are found murdered in a small wood and the police soon come up with a suspect, who commits suicide after confessing to the crime. Police inspector Grant, however, believes the true murderer is still at large and quits his job, trying to find the killer on his own. He befriends a woman who lives alone with her small child, whom he uses as a lure. Good adaptation of the Friedrich Dürrenmatt novel was filmed before in 1958 (with Gert Fröbe as the killer) and is not as tense or frightening as that version, but Rudolf van den Berg’s clever direction and the actors (particularly Grant) compensate for any dramatic shortcomings. Another good film from director van den Berg (XANGADIX/DE JOHNSONS). Also known as IN THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY.

Cold Mountain (2003, USA) C-152m. Scope *** D: Anthony Minghella. Starring Juda Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Eileen Atkins, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland, Ray Winstone, Kathy Baker, James Gammon, James Rebhorn, Cillian Murphy. Well-produced drama set at the time of the Civil War. A romance is budding between minister’s daughter Kidman and simple workman Law, when the man is whisked away to the battlefront and may or may not return to his home turf at Cold Mountain. Kidman, after her father’s death, is also faced with the problem of how to handle their farm. Sort-of episodic, predictable, but well-made, always worthwhile. Zellweger won Oscar as Kidman’s helping hand. Law seems miscast, though. Fine cinematography by John Seale, production design by Dante Ferretti. Based on a book by Charles Frazier.

Cold Turkey (1971, USA) C-99m. **½ D: Norman Lear. Starring Dick Van Dyke, Pippa Scott, Tom Poston, Edward Everett Horton, Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding, Vincent Gardenia. M. Emmet Walsh. Dated satire on smoking and the American way of life. Big tobacco company will award $25,000,000 to any city whose inhabitants can do without smoking for 30 days, but they haven’t reckoned with Reverend Van Dyke and his community, who could do with a little financial help. Passable entertainment, with some funny scenes. Music by Randy Newman. Filmed in 1969.

Colin (2008, GBR) C-97m. M D: Marc Price. Starring Alastair Kirton, Daisy Aitkens, Kate Alderman, Leanne Pammen, Tat Whalley. Ultra-low-budget, amateurish zombie movie from the perspective of the title character, who has just been infected by a zombie virus and will spend the movie wandering through the zombie-infested streets of some British town. It may be an original idea, but it’s poorly executed (forgive the pun), poorly acted and goes on forever.

Collateral (2004, USA) C-120m. Scope **½ D: Michael Mann. Starring Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Javier Bardem, Jason Statham. Urban thriller about professional hit man Cruise (with grey hair), whose latest job brings him to L.A. to kill five people. He hires thoughtful taxi driver Foxx to drive him through the night, and naturally the hapless man gets involved in the action. Starts out slowly and never fully involves, though finale is thrilling. Foxx outshines Cruise in every scene. Most of the footage shot on digital video.

Collateral Damage (2002, USA) C-108m. D: Andrew Davis. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Francesca Neri, Elias Koteas, Cliff Curtis, John Leguizamo, John Turturro. Arnie plays a fire fighter who swears for revenge when his wife and son die in a terrorist attack  He follows the attacker to the jungles of Colombia – not an easy place to get around. This action thriller’s release was postponed after some real terrorist attacks in September 2001. It’s a complete misfire due to stupid, clichéd plotting and Arnie’s labored casting as a super hero – this a (similarly violent) step back to his COMMANDO and RAW DEAL days.

Collector, The (1965, GBR/USA) C-119m. ***½ D: William Wyler. Starring Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar, Mona Washbourne, Maurice Dallimore, Kenneth More. Quietly disturbing psycho drama about self-conscious butterfly collector Stamp, who falls in love with art student Eggar, and being too afraid to approach her, he kidnaps her hoping she will fall in love with him, too. Fine adaptation of John Fowles’ brilliant novel obviously simplifies proceedings, but director Wyler creates a unique mood, telling his story through images and score (by Maurice Jarre) rather than dialogue. Highly recommended. Predates the serial killer / psychopath movies by years. Story officially remade once as PRISONER OF THE DARK (1986), clearly influenced THE DEFILERS (1965), BILBAO (1978) and even MISERY (1990). Also released as THE BUTTERFLY COLLECTOR.

Collina degli Stivali, La (1969, ITA) C-87m. Scope D: Giuseppe Colizzi. Starring Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, Lionel Stander, Woody Strode, George Eastman, Victor Buono, Glauco Onorato. Nearly incomprehensible spaghetti western follows the exploits of a group of gunslingers and circus artists. Gold claims figure in there somewhere. Unusual film for Hill and Spencer, lacks continuity, only for die-hard fans. Film buffs may savor star appearances and Carlo Rustichelli’s score. Otherwise, this is a mess. Supposedly a sequel to DIO PERDONA… IO NO! (1967). English titles: BOOT HILL, TRINITY RIDES AGAIN.

Colonnello Buttiglione Diventa Generale, Il (1974, ITA/FRA) C-97m. ** D: Mino Guerrini. Starring Jacques Dufilho, Aldo Maccione, Franco Diogene, Vincenzo Crocitti, Giacomo Rizzo. Slapstick comedy set in the army centering around escapades of more or less idiotic trainees and superiors. Episodic, fairly entertaining, second in a series of BUTTIGLIONE films. Photographed by Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato), second unit directed by Tonino Ricci.

Colosso di Rodi, Il (1961, ITA/FRA/SPA) C-128m. Scope ** D: Sergio Leone. Starring Rory Calhoun, Lea Massari, Georges Marchal, Conrado San Martin, Angel Aranda, Georges Rigaud, Alfio Caltabiano. Big spectacle is actually just a big bore as Calhoun tries to protect Rhodes and its giant colossus from usurpers. Production values are good and Leone shows a feeling for epic scenes, but script (by no less than 8 people) is terribly overlong. Second of three spectacles Leone directed  before turning to the western. Italian original version is said to be even longer. English title: THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES.

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970, USA) C-100m. Scope *** D: Joseph Sargent. Starring Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Leonid Rostoff, James Hong. Mature science-fiction, based on the novel by D.F. Jones. Braeden is a brilliant scientist, who has just finished working on a supercomputer, which will control all of the country’s defense facilities. Immediately after introducing it to the public, the computer notices ‘another system’ (the Russians) and begins to get out of control. Chilling cold war relic, with fine widescreen photography and good score by Michel Colombier. Written by James Bridges, who wrote and directed THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979). Also known as THE FORBIN PROJECT, and THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED HANDS.

Colpo da Mille Miliardi, Un (1966, ITA/SPA/FRA) C-95m. Scope **½ D: Paolo Heusch. Starring Rik Van Nutter, Marilù Tolo, Eduardo Fajardo, Philippe Hersent, Alberto Dalbés, Tom Felleghy. Quite serious spy film starring Van Nutter, who played James Bond’s colleague Felix Leiter in THUNDERBALL (1965). Secret agent CD7 is assigned to investigate strange occurrences in radioactive research lab, follows leads to Istanbul, Turkey, where villain Fajardo is using drugs on the people in his organization. One of the better spin-offs. Good Bond imitation score by Piero Umilliani makes it fun for buffs. English title: THE SUEZ INTRIGUE.

Colpo Maestro al Servizio di Sua Maestà Britannica (1967, ITA/SPA) C-98m. Scope ** D: Michele Lupo. Starring Richard Harrison, Adolfo Celi, Margaret Lee, Gérard Tichy, Andrea Bosic, George Eastman, Roberto Dell’acqua. Typical heist film of that era: Spaghetti western actor Harrison is persuaded by Celi to take part in a diamond robbery. The actor is supposed to stand in for a look-a-like employee of the Diamond company. But this is just the beginning of a serpentine story. Ambitious project lacks fire to make this work, characters are meaningless. Film’s watchable, though, thanks to some interesting twists. English title: MASTER STROKE.

Coltelli del Vendicatore, I (1965, ITA/FRA) C-88m. Scope ** D: Mario Bava. Starring Cameron Mitchell, Elissa Pichelli, Luciano Pollentin, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Fausto Tozzi. Bava’s second Viking picture isn’t much better than GLI INVASORI. Mitchell comes to protect the wife of dead king from evil usurper Tozzi, unaware that she has reason to exact vengeance on him. Complicated, almost Shakespearean storyline told in undistinguished fashion. Slow pace does much to obliterate nice photography (by Antonio Rinaldi and Bava) and good, if familiar score. Lesser effort by Bava, who was called in late and saved the production (as he did many times before and after). Could be called a western, if it wasn’t for the setting. Alternative titles: KNIVES OF THE AVENGER and VIKING MASSACRE.

Combat Shock (1986, USA) C-100m. D: Buddy Giovinazzo. Starring Rick Giovinazzo, Veronica Stork, Mitch Maglio, Asaph Livni. Cheap and amateurishly filmed horror movie about shell-shocked vietnam vet Giovinazzo, who lives in a run-down suburban home with his nagging wife and deformed baby boy. Film follows his attempts to get a job and his slow descent into madness. Not without substance, but film is extremely sluggish and depressing. Actors and crew try hard but this is not much better than the stinker STREET TRASH (1987). Executive produced by – you guessed it – Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. Also known as AMERICAN NIGHTMARE.

Comedy of Terrors, The (1964, USA) C-84m. Scope **½ D: Jacques Tourneur. Starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Joyce Jameson, Joe E. Brown, Basil Rathbone. Fine cast in so-so horror comedy with Shakespearean overtones. Price is in great form as fraudulent undertaker, who runs a funeral business with his bumbling assistant Lorre. They have been using the same coffin for 13 years! Not much in terms of plot, but Tourneur (in his next-to-last film) shows his widescreen and color mastery. Fun for buffs.  Written by Richard Matheson. Price, Lorre and Karloff had previously teamed up in the Matheson-scripted Poe adaptation THE RAVEN (1963). Aka THE GRAVESIDE STORY.

Come Rubare la Corona d’Inghilterra (1967, ITA) C-83m. Scope **½ D: Terence Hathaway (=Serge Grieco). Starring Roger Browne, Dominique Boschero, Nadia Marlowa, Andrea Bosic. Super-hero Argoman, who’s a kind of Bruce Wayne in real life, is called to stop beautiful criminal Boschero, who is replacing politicians with robots (like DR. GOLDFOOT) to achieve world domination. A stylish mix between Superman and James Bond, this is a hilariously absurd action adventure. Argoman’s costume is a scream! The real stars are the sets (Italian sci-fi style of the 60s!) and Piero Umiliani’s main theme. A real curio, interesting for buffs. Also known as HOW TO STEAL THE CROWN OF ENGLAND and INCREDIBLE PARIS INCIDENT.

Coming to America (1988, USA) C-116m. *** D: John Landis. Starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Eriq La Salle, Calvin Lockhart, Samuel L. Jackson, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jim Abrahams. Typical Landis lunacy about African prince Murphy, who, about to be married, wants to see the world and ends up in Queens, New York. He finally gets a job in a fast-food restaurant and falls in love. Amusing comedy with some hilarious bits. Longish but worthwhile. Gooding Jr.’s first film. Also known as PRINCE IN NEW YORK.

Commando (1985, USA) C-88m. ** D: Mark L. Lester. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, David Patrick Kelly, Alyssa Milano, James Olson, Bill Duke, Bill Paxton. One of Schwarzenegger’s first action vehicles following the success of THE TERMINATOR is hardly worth talking about. OK direction and editing save stupid, violent actioner about Schwarzenegger’s vengeance after a gang of criminals have abducted his daughter (Milano). Some funny lines but subject matter is truly offensive. Score by James Horner.

Commitments, The (1991, GBR/EIR) C-117m. *** D: Alan Parker. Starring Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Dave Finnegan, Bronagh Gallagher, Félim Gormley, Glen Hansard, Dick Massey, Johnny Murphy, Colm Meaney. The music is the real star in this well-made drama about several Dubliner musicians, all from a working-class background, who form a soul-band and become quite successful. Pretty harmless on a dramatic level, but well-paced and entertaining thanks to a wonderful soundtrack. The cast (real-life musicians) pull it off with ease. Roddy Doyle coscripted from his own novel, which is the first part of the Barrytown-trilogy. Followed by THE SNAPPER, and THE VAN.

Common-Law Cabin (1967, USA) C-72m. ** D: Russ Meyer. Starring Jack Moran, Babette Bardot, Adele Rein, Franklin Bolger, Alaina Capri, John Furlong. Adult melodrama about several characters who meet at a fisherman’s cabin. Among them are a ladykiller, a sex-starved woman and her husband, as well as the owner of the cabin and his family. Complications that ensue are at pulp-level at best, and film becomes tedious after a while. Nothing outstanding here (unless you count the women’s physiques). Edited and produced by the director. Also known as HOW MUCH LOVING DOES A NORMAL COUPLE NEED?

Communion (1976, USA) C-107m. *** D: Alfred Sole. Starring Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula E. Sheppard, Niles McMaster, Brooke Shields. Tom Signorelli. Delightfully sordid murder mystery, set in a pious community, where cute but mischievous twelve-year-old Alice might just be responsible for the death of her sister (Brooke Shields, in her first film) during the ceremony of first communion. Slightly uneven chiller gets more and more intriguing as it gets along, with stylish direction and a creepy score (a Bernard Herrmann/Lalo Schifrin imitation by Stephen Lawrence). Especially interesting to film buffs, who will find elements of Hitchcock, De Palma and even Argento. Quite possibly the American thriller that comes closest to the Italian giallo. Written by Rosemary Ritvo and director Sole. Re-released as ALICE, SWEET ALICE in 1978, and HOLY TERROR (at 98m.) in 1981.

Compañeros, Los (1970, SPA/ITA/GER) C-119m. Scope **½ D: Sergio Corbucci. Starring Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, Fernando Rey, Jack Palance, Iris Berben. The exploits of two „compañeros“ in war-torn Mexico is basis for typical spaghetti western. Good cast and likeable characters almost make it work but film is overlong and too obviously inspired by Sergio Leone’s superior THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY.

Company of Wolves, The (1984, GBR) C-95m. ***½ D: Neil Jordan. Starring Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Stephen Rea, Tusse Silberg, Graham Crowden, Brian Glover. Fascinating, allegorical adult fantasy about young girl on the verge of puberty, who dreams herself into a fantasy world, where her grandmother (Lansbury) tells her strange stories of dangerous wolves. The innocent girl keeps wandering through the misty forest like Little Red Riding Hood... Stunningly filmed, with many striking images and rampant symbolism (colors, objects, animals), this psychological study of sexual awakening requires multiple viewing. Based on a story by Angela Carter, who also wrote the screenplay with director Jordan. George Fenton (THE FISHER KING) composed the score.

Compartiment Tueurs (1965, FRA) 92m. Scope *** D: (Constantin) Costa-Gavras. Starring Cathérine Allégret, Jacques Perrin, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Charles Denner, Marcel Bozzuffi, Georges Géret, Jean Lefebvre, Claude Mann. Director Costa-Gavras’ first film is fast-paced, well-directed murder mystery about inspector Montand trying to catch the strangler who killed a woman in a sleeping car of a train to Paris. Anyone in the compartment could have been the murderer. Top French cast shines in entertaining, exciting sleeper. Photographed by Jean Tournier. Film is based on a novel by Sébastien Japrisot, who cowrote the screenplay with director Costa-Gavras. Question: Is that a young Daria Nicolodi being interrogated at the police station? English title: SLEEPING CAR MURDERS.

Comptes à Rebours (1970, FRA/ITA) C-98m. **½ D: Roger Pigaut. Starring Serge Reggiani, Charles Vanel, Michel Bouquet, Jeanne Moreau, Simone Signoret, Marcel Bozzuffi, Jean Desailly. After his release from prison a crime boss (Reggiani) exacts revenge on those who betrayed him ten years ago. Aloof, strangely unmoving gangster thriller, a disappointment considering the talents involved. Reggiani is miscast, which may actually be the reason why the film is not as good as expected. Vanel comes off best, though he doesn’t say a word. Score by Georges Delerue, cinematography by Jean Tournier.

Comunidad, La (2000, SPA) C-110m. Scope **½ D: Alex de la Iglesia. Starring Carmen Maura, Eduardo Antuna, María Asquerino, Jesús Bonilla, Marta Fernández Muro. Strange, grotesque thriller will just not stand the admittedly obvious comparison to THE TENANT (1976) and DELICATESSEN (1991): Real estate agent Maura decides to spend the night in an extravagant apartment she is supposed to sell. That night she finds out that the upstairs neighbor has died and discovers the money he has been hiding from the neighbors. It seems the ‘comunidad’ will do anything to get the money, and Maura may not leave the house alive. Plot is so wild and grotesque, almost every single cliffhanger scene seems artificial. Still, Maura gives her all, and film boasts sharp editing and a full-blown, almost Bernard-Hermann-like suspense score. Worth a look. English title: COMMON WEALTH.

Conan the Barbarian (1982, USA) C-129m. Scope *** D: John Milius. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow, Sandahl Bergman, John Milius. Camp classic of epic proportions about orphan Schwarzenegger (in the role that made him a star), who grows up in a barren, savage land, with only one goal in mind: To avenge the murder of his parents by high priest Jones. Excellent production values, great score outweigh lumbering plot and unintentional humor. Easily the best of many sword-and-sandal pictures that were made at that time. Cowritten by Oliver Stone and John Milius, based on the stories by Robert E. Howard. Shown in many different versions, the longest running 129m. Followed by CONAN THE DESTROYER in 1984.

Concerto per Pistola Solista (1970, ITA) C-98m. Scope ** D: Michele Lupo. Starring Anna Moffo, Eveline Stewart (=Ida Galli), Gastone Moschin, Peter Baldwin, Lance Percival, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart. Italian-produced movie set in England about several relatives, who gather at a castle for the reading of a will, but soon they are murdered one by one. Sounds much more interesting than it plays, this rather silly giallo mystery is tongue-in-cheek and supposed to be a satire of British whodunits. The close-ups and weird camera angles get tiresome after a while. A curio at best. Score by Francesco De Masi is quite good. English titles: THE WEEKEND MURDERS, STORY OF A CRIME.

Concorde Affaire ’79 (1979, ITA) C-96m. Scope **½ D: Ruggero Deodato. Starring James Franciscus, Mimsy Farmer, Van Johnson, Joseph Cotton, Edmund Purdom, Meg Fleming, Venantino Venantini, Robert Kerman. Agreeable thriller about an airplane sabotage masterminded by business mogule Cotten. The famed Concorde crashes into the ocean, and journalist Franciscus gets a tip-off from his ex-wife, who happens to know about mysterious going-ons near the wreck. OK adventure throws in everything but the kitchen sink, though production values are not very high. It ends like some AIRPORT disaster thriller. Especially for B-movie fans. Director Deodato made CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST that same year. Score by Stelvio Cipriani.

Concorde – Airport ’79, The (1979, USA) C-123m. *½ D: David Lowell Rich. Starring Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner, Sylvia Kristel, George Kennedy, Eddie Albert, Bibi Andersson, Charo, John Davidson, David Warner, Mercedes McCambridge, Sybil Danning, Ed Begley Jr., Robert Kerman. Ludicrous last movie of the AIRPORT disaster films puts cardboard characters in danger aboard a transatlantic flight with the Concorde. Wagner is the saboteur, who’d rather see the plane crash. All the thrills, the cliffhanger stunts and the larger-than-life drama are gone. This was one of the last gasps of the disaster film. Score by Lalo Schifrin, photography by Philip H. Lathrop. Also known as AIRPORT ’80 – THE CONCORDE and S.O.S. CONCORDE.

Conde Drácula, El (1970, SPA/ITA/GER) C-82m. **½ D: Jess Franco. Starring Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Klaus Kinski, Frederick Williams, Maria Röhm, Paul Müller, Jack Taylor, Soledad Miranda. Cheap, ineptly directed but faithful version of Bram Stoker's Dracula with a most interesting cast: Lee is okay as the Count, Lom vigorous as Prof. Van Helsing and Kinski himself as the demented Renfield. Bruno Nicolai's score is good and there's some atmosphere to spare, but slow pace ruins most of the film's effect. Still, this is sleaze director Franco's best film. He has his usual cameo as Van Helsing's assistant. Uncut version runs 98m. English title: COUNT DRACULA.

Condenados a Vivir (1972, SPA) C-91m. *½ D: Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent. Starring Robert Hundar (=Claudio Undari), Emma Cohen, Alberto Dalbés, Antonio Iranzo, Manuel Tejada. Violent, vile western about a chain gang lost somewhere in the wilderness, with only sergeant Hundar and his daughter to guard them. Needless to say, the men start looking for ways to provoke the sergeant to finally escape. Manipulative, primitive, off-putting fare is pure exploitation. Stay away unless this is your cup of tea. English titles: BRONSON’S REVENGE, and CUT-THROATS NINE.

Conformista, Il (1970, ITA/FRA/GER) C-113m. ***½ D: Bernardo Bertolucci. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clémenti. Remarkably mature, demanding psycho drama about title character Trintignant, who in 1930s Italy strives for a career in the Fascist secret service. Then he is assigned to spy on his former professor and mentor Tarascio. Top-notch character study and historical drama,  with an astounding combination of direction and camerawork (by Vittorio Storaro), excellent score by Georges Delerue. Trintignant gives one of the coldest – and best – performances of his career. Bertolucci also wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of the novel by Alberto Moravia. Aldo Lado was assistant director. Bertolucci followed this with the even more fascinating STRATEGIA DEL RAGNO. English title: THE CONFORMIST.

Con la Rabbia agli Occhi (1976, ITA) C-76m. ** D: Anthony M. Dawson (=Antonio Margheriti). Starring Yul Brynner, Barbara Bouchet, Martin Balsam, Massimo Ranieri, Giancarlo Sbragia, Sal Borgese. Brynner (in his last theatrical film) is as charismatic as ever in this Italian potboiler about an assassin, who comes to avenge the killing of his brother by the Mafia. Plot sparks hardly any interest, but direction, editing makes this fast enough. Umberto Lenzi produced. Also shown at 90m. and 98m. English titles: ANGER IN HIS EYES, DEATH RAGE.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972, USA) C-88m. Scope **½ D: J. Lee Thompson. Starring Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Natalie Trundy, Hari Rhodes, Severn Darden, Lou Wagner, Ricardo Montalban. Generally sloppy sequel to ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES chronicles rise of intelligent ape Caesar, son of Zira and Cormelius, in a totalitarian state circa 1991. Not as fascinating or bizarre as the predecessors but still interesting in that it represents an important part in the cycle. Followed by the conclusion BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES.

Conspiracy Theory (1998, USA) C-135m. Scope *** D: Richard Donner. Starring Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Stephen Kahan, Terry Alexander. Exciting thriller about a paranoid cab driver (Gibson in great form) who has developed countless conspiracy theories, much to the chagrin of Judicial Department worker Roberts, whom he plagues with his wild ideas ... and has fallen in love with. When one day one of his seemingly absurd theories hits bull's-eye, he (and soon Roberts, too) becomes the subject of a heart-pounding manhunt. Explosively filmed by the director of the LETHAL WEAPON series, set at a breathless pace, although film loses credibility in the last half hour.

Constant Gardener, The (2005, GBR/GER) C-129m. ** D: Fernando Meirelles. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé, Danny Huston, Daniele Harford, Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite. Plodding adaptation of a John le Carré novel with Fiennes a self-conscious diplomat, whose wife gets killed in Africa. In flashbac’s we get to know about their lives, their humanitary work and her criticism of the pharmaceutical industry. Did she fall prey to a conspiracy? Long, mostly filmed with an irritating hand-held camera, and just as undecided as the main character. The actors cannot be blamed (Weisz won Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe). From the director of the acclaimed CIUDADE DE DEUS (CITY OF GOD).

Constellation Jodorowsky, La (1994, FRA) C-90m. *** D: Louis Muchet. Featuring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Marcel Marceau, Fernando Arrabal, Peter Gabriel, Jean Giraud. Interesting documentary about filmmaker/artist/guru Jodorowsky, who is interviewed by Louis Mouchet and filmed while giving one of his lectures in Paris. Jodorowsky discusses his work for the cinema, his collaboration with pantomime artist Marcel Marceau, comic strip artist Moebius and writer Arrabal, and talks about his heritage and his philosophy. Mouchet’s approach is naïve and simple, but Jodorowsky and his statements are fascinating and even enlightening, especially for his followers. Also features brief clips from Jodorowsky’s FANDO Y LIS, EL TOPO and MONTAGNA SACRA, as well as scenes from a 1965 stage performance.

Contact (1997, USA) C-150m. Scope ***½ D: Robert Zemeckis. Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerrit, Angela Bassett, Rob Lowe. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY gets the Hollywood treatment in this absorbing, fascinating science-fiction drama. Foster plays an astronomer obsessed with making contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence, who one day picks up a radio signal from the distant star system Vega. The signal is soon discovered to be a message which the whole world is eager to hear. First-rate movie-making; Foster is perfect in the lead, the digital effects are stunning, some scenes will push you to the edge of your seat. Only liability: Film enforces typical American clichés. Based on the novel by Carl Sagan, who also coproduced the picture. A must-see for anyone interested in the topic. Lots of celebrities appear as themselves (including Bill Clinton!).

Contamination – Alien Arriva Sulla Terra (1980, ITA/GER) C-88m. M D: Lewis Coates (=Luigi Cozzi). Starring Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Marino Masé, Siegfried Rauch, Al Cliver. Laughable attempt at imitating Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979): A deadly organism from Mars is brought to Earth, lays eggs and breeds in humans, causing their stomachs to explode. It turns out that madman Rauch is hatching thousands of eggs on his plantation! Gory bottom-of-the-barrel stinker from a Dario Argento disciple. Stay away unless you get your kicks out of lines such as “Help! There’s an egg in my room!” Score is by the famous Goblin. Also known as ALIEN CONTAMINATORS, CONTAMINAZIONE, ASTARON, TOXIC SPAWN.

Contender, The (2000, USA/FRA) C-126m. **½ D: Rod Lurie. Starring Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William L. Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall, Mariel Hemingway. The U.S. President (Bridges) must appoint a new vice-president, and when he chooses a woman (Allen), his opponents are quickly searching for weak spots – and discover that she was leading a sexually liberal life at college. Oldman, as chief investigator, pulls all stops in trying to make her appear unsuitable for the job. Powerhouse cast, swift pace make film watchable, but it is not as compelling as it would like to be, and tacked-on Hollywood ending leaves a bitter aftertaste. Written by the director.

Contes Immoraux, Les (1974, FRA) C-103m. D: Walerian Borowczyk. Starring Charlotte Alexan-dra, Florence Bellamy, Lorenzo Berinizi, Jacopo Berinzini, G. Lorenzo Bernini, Paloma Picasso. Four-part film, based on writing by several French authors. In the first a twenty year-old forces his sixteen year-old cousin to perform fellatio while he relates to her the principles of the tides. In the second, a girl is locked up and discovers lust through the use of cucumbers. The last two stories are about Elizabeth Bathory (Picasso), the famous Hungarian who used to bathe in the blood of virgins, and Lucrezia Borgia, who had affairs with members of the clergy. Not stimulating, just immoral. The inflation of nudity does not make this one erotic. Written by director Borowczyk (LA BETE). Aka IMMORAL TALES.

Conversation, The (1974, USA) C-113m. *** D: Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams, Michael Higgins, Elizabeth MacRae, Teri Garr, Harrison Ford, Mark Wheeler, Robert Duvall. Interesting, unusual drama, which Coppola made between his first two GODFATHER films. Hackman plays a self-conscious surveillance specialist, who records a dialogue which may include a reference to a murder. Soon he finds himself faced with the question whether to take actions or keep up his passive role. Regarded a classic by some, film takes too long to elaborate where it’s going and is stylistically unexceptional, but becomes fascinating towards the end. Valid statement on privacy and personal commitment must have been especially telling in the light of the Watergate scandal. Coppola also scripted and produced.

Convoy (1978, USA) C-110m. Scope ** D: Sam Peckinpah. Starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young, Seymour Cassel. Unsuccessful action drama could be retitled GETAWAY OF A WILD BUNCH: After a brawl with policeman Borgnine, trucker Kristofferson flees from the law and soon finds himself leading a convoy of unhappy truckers. Their flight (and plight) becomes a media spectacle with politician Cassel helping them in order to get some votes. Film is based on a country song of the same title, and it shows. Peckinpah offers little in terms of characterization or motivation of his main characters, even his famous action scenes are rare. This is possibly his weakest film.

Cool and the Crazy, The (1958, USA) 73m. **½ D: William Witney. Starring Scott Marlowe, Gigi Perreau, Dick Bakalyan, Dick Jones. Rebellious student (and drug addict) Marlowe introduces a group of classmates to marihuana, which is the downfall for some. Film was intended as an educational feature, but is unacceptable in its message, suggesting that marihuana causes physical addiction, which is simply not true. Storytelling - apart from some loose threads, especially regarding the development of several characters - and acting is good, however. Uncut print runs 78m. The German version is minus some violence, though none of it is graphic. If no film is outdated after 40 years, this one is.

Cool Runnings (1993, USA) C-98m. *** D: Jon Turteltaub. Starring John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba. Likable sports comedy about a Jamaican sprinter, who fails in the qualification race for the Olympics and keeps his dream alive by forming a bob team. Candy plays the former champion and trainer, who should make their dream come true. Based on a true story! Not always on-target, but sweet-natured, a real family movie (it was produced by Disney Pictures). One of Candy’s last performances. Score by Hans Zimmer.

Copkiller (1983, ITA) C-92m. *** D: Roberto Faenza. Starring Harvey Keitel, John Lydon, Nicole Garcia. Remarkable psycho drama about the most unusual relationship between corrupt cop Keitel and equally psychotic, alleged cop killer Lydon. Psycho thriller is fascinating to watch and extremely tense because it never shows its true face. Ennio Morricone’s superb score provides it with the right atmosphere. John Lydon is the Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten. He and Keitel give stand-out performances. Film exists in several versions that run as long as 113m. Alternate titles: ORDER OF DEATH and CORRUPT.

Cop Land (1997, USA) C-100m. D: James Mangold. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent. Pointless cop drama wastes good performances as sheriff Stallone tries to make a stand against the corrupt local police (Keitel, Liotta et al). In the end he shoots everybody. A trip to „Hol Land“ is way more inspiring.

Coplan, Agent Secret FX 18 (1964, FRA/ITA/SPA) C-97m. Scope ** D: Maurice Cloche. Starring Ken Clark, Jany Clair, Jacques Dacqmine, Claude Cerval. First in a series of spy movies about secret agent Coplan (also called Jack Clifton in some versions), who must find out who is transmitting important information to the Russians from the Mediterranean. Pretty empty, trivial actioner with some brawls and shoot-outs is hard to dislike, though, as the locations are beautiful and so is the period flavor. Based on the novel Coplan Tente Sa Chance by Paul Kenny. Followed by four sequels. English titles: FX 18, SECRET AGENT, and THE EXTERMINATORS.

Coplan FX 18 Casse Tout (1965, FRA/ITA) C-89m. M D: Riccardo Freda. Starring Richard Wyler, Robert Manuel, Robert Favart, Jany Clair. European James Bond imitation is like dozens of others, possibly worse. Agent Wyler joins forces with the Israeli secret service to stop society of neo-Nazis, who want to blow up an atom bomb. Plot is almost incomprehensible, film is like a sleeping pill. Based on the novel Stoppez Coplan by Paul Kenny. Third in a series of five COPLAN movies, all made in the mid-sixties. Only notable for the involvement of director Freda (I VAMPIRI). English title: FX-18 SUPERSPY.

Coraline (2009, USA) C-100m. *** D: Henry Selick. Starring (the voices of) Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, Ian McShane, Henry Selick. Adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel by Tim Burton associate Henry Selick is no disappointment. Coraline (not Caroline) Jones moves into a sinister old house with her busy parents and discovers a secret door that leads to a parallel world, where she is welcomed by her ‘other’ mother and father – only the have button eyes and show her much more affection. At first she doesn’t realize the danger that lies in wait for her. Meticulously animated fantasy that might scare small kids, like the director’s similar NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993). In the wondrous, incredibly detailed world of Coraline they forgot one thing, however: character development. The first stop-motion feature to be shot entirely in 3-D.

Corbeau, Le (1943, FRA) 91m. *** D: Henri-Georges Clouzot. Starring Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Helena Manson, Noel Roquevert, Sylvie, Louis Seigner. Fine suspense-drama about anonymous letters that terrorize an entire village with their revelations about the respected citizens. Who is the writer and what is his motivation? Doctor Fresnay, who is vehemently attacked in the letters, tries to clear up the matter. Intelligent, if a little dated crime drama, cowritten by director Clouzot (LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR). English title: THE RAVEN. Remade in 1951 as THE THIRTEENTH LETTER by Otto Preminger.

Corde, un Colt, Une (1968, FRA/ITA) C-84m. **½ D: Robert Hossein. Starring Michèle Mercier, Robert Hossein, Lee Borton, Daniel Vargas, Serge Marquand, Pierre Hatet. Above-average Euro western, one of only two(!) made by a French crew. Widow Mercier hires gunslinger Hossein to revenge the murder of her husband. Story is weak but plot is straight-forward and quite dramatic. In fact, operatic music score and plot development make this film resemble an ancient tragedy! Interesting, stylish western was cowritten by Robert Hossein, Claude Desailly and Dario Argento. Hossein and Argento collaborated again almost thirty years later in THE WAX MASK. Italian title: CIMITERO SENZA CROCI.

Core, The (2003, USA/GBR) C-135m. Scope **½ D: Jon Amiel. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Tchéky Karyo, Bruce Greenwood, Alfre Woodard, Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo. Big, booming sci-fi disaster thriller (too much) along the lines of ARMAGEDDON (1998). Gifted scientists discover certain phenomena on the Earth to be caused by a change in the planet’s electromagnetic field. When they realize that this happens because the Earth’s core has stopped spinning, a mission is out together to drill there and blow up some nuclear warheads. Surprisingly watchable and fast paced but based on an utterly unbelievable contrivance. Concept wears thin halfway through.

Corleone (1977, ITA) C-112m. ** D: Pasquale Squitieri. Starring Giuliano Gemma, Claudia Cardinale, Francisco Rabal, Stefano Satta Flores, Michele Placido, Tony Kendall, Orazio Orlando. Undistinguished mafia movie chronicles the rise and fall of crime kingpin Don Vito Gargano (Gemma). This Italian carbon copy of THE GODFATHER (1972) comes too late and can’t hold a candle to the classic, although Gemma is excellent. Score by Ennio Morricone is used too infrequently. English title: FATHER OF THE GODFATHERS.

Corniaud, Le (1964, FRA/ITA) C-111m. Scope **½ D : Gérard Oury. Starring Bourvil, Louis de Funès, Venantino Venantini, Henri Génès, Saro Urzì, Beba Loncar, Michel Modo, Guy Grosso. Criminal mastermind de Funès talks naive tourist Bourvil into bringing a Cadillac from Italy to France, hoping that he won’t find out that there’s cocaine, gold and diamonds hidden in the car. A rival criminal, stuttering Venantini, is also after the loot. Episodic adventure comedy is way overlong, which de Funès and Bourvil’s talents can’t compensate. Some classic bits include a hilarious pantomime by de Funès in a garage and a chase at the waterfall place. Nice score by Georges Delerue, photographed by Henri Decae. English title: THE SUCKER.

Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale, I (1973, ITA) C-92m. *** D: Sergio Martino. Starring Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, John Richardson, Roberto Bisacco, Ernesto Colli. Cool mystery horror thriller works beyond logic or cleverness: A group of female students is panic-stricken when they realize (do they ever?) that a maniac is killing them one by one. Is it lovesick student Bisacco? Art professor Colli? Or, indeed, one of their clique? Psycho thriller contains enough nudity, gore, period flavor and style to delight genre fans. Poor plot and character set-up is all part of it! Screenplay by director Martino and Ernesto Gastaldi, produced by Carlo Ponti. Michele Massimo Tarantini was assistant director. Also known as TORSO, and CARNAL VIOLENCE. Title translates as BODIES BEAR TRACES OF CARNAL VIOLENCE.

Corps à Corps (2003, FRA) C-101m. Scope ** D: Francois Hanss. Starring Emmanuelle Seigner, Philippe Torreton, Clément Brilland, Vittoria Scognamiglio, Yolande Moreau. Seigner (Mrs Polanski) plays an ex-stripper and prostitute, who is saved from her world by rich architect Torreton. After a terrible accident, which leaves her scarred and nearly deaf, Seigner starts having a happy family life with Torreton and their young son. After six years, however, she begins to investigate and learns that her husband is not the man he claims to be. Psycho thriller is competently made and very watchable in the first hour, then becomes more and more improbable and mean-spirited. Finally, it becomes outright absurd and unbearable to watch, as it puts a little child through hell. Judge for yourself. English title: BODY TO BODY.

Corps de Mon Ennemi, Le (1976, FRA) C-120m. ***½ D: Henri Verneuil. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marie-France Pisier, Bernard Blier, Daniel Ivernel, René Lefèvre, Francois Perrot. After serving a seven-year sentence in prison, former playboy Belmondo returns to his native town and ponders about his past, the people who brought him to prison and the time he has lost. He remembers his rise in society, his involvement with the workers’ ‘enemy’ and his eventual downfall. Typically sober for a French film, but also brilliantly scripted and directed, this is one of the great examples of a non-linear narrative. Excellent use of flashbacks makes this thoroughly fascinating. A highly philosophical, even poetic masterpiece. This film, like its director, deserves to be known better. Verneuil followed this with the even more absorbing I… COMME ICARE. Written by Henri Verneuil, Michel Audiard and Félicien Marceau, based on Marceau’s novel. Good score by Francis Lai. English title: THE BODY OF MY ENEMY.

Corpse Bride (2005, USA/GBR) C-76m. **** D: Mike Johnson, Tim Burton. Starring (the voices of) Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney, Richard E. Grant, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Deep Roy, Danny Elfman. Delightful stop-motion animation, a dazzling follow-up to Burton’s NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993). Depp lends his voice to Victor Van Dort, who is about to be married to Victoria Everglot (Watson), who he has never met. On the day before the wedding, however, Victor accidentally enters the world of the dead, where corpse bride Carter thinks he has just chosen her as his wife. Ingeniously designed dark fantasy by mastermind Burton (with co-director Johnson), whose work is more focused and mature than ever before. Irresistible, especially to buffs. Written by John August, Caroline Thompson and Pamela Pettler. Incredible how this failed to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, should even have qualified for Best Film, Best Direction and Best Score. On-scren title is TIM BURTON’S CORPSE BRIDE.

Corri, Uomo, Corri (1968, ITA/FRA) C-101m. Scope ** D: Sergio Sollima. Starring Tomas Milian, John Ireland, Donald O’Brien, Linda Veras, Marco Guglielmi, José Torres, Nello Pazzafini, Edward Ross. Fairly entertaining western about cunning Mexican Cuchillo (Milian), who hears by chance of a treasure worth $3 million. However, he is not the only man after the gold. An American gunfighter (Ireland), two French bounty hunters and a group of Mexican revolutionaries are among his opponents. Like so many European western at that time, this one also tries to copy Sergio Leone’s ‘Dollar-trilogy’. Milian is fine, but film is hardly exciting. A sequel to Sollima’s LA RESA DEI CONTI (1966), with Milian reprising his role as Cuchillo. Score by Bruno Nicolai and Ennio Morricone. Uncut print runs 120m. English title: BIG GUNDOWN 2, and RUN, MAN, RUN.

Corrupción de Chris Miller, La (1973, SPA) C-113m. Scope *** D: Juan Antonio Bardem. Starring Jean Seberg, Marisol, Barry Stokes, Perla Cristal, Gérard Tichy, Juan Antonio Bardem. Interesting, well-plotted psycho horror thriller about two women (Seberg and Marisol, both ravishing) who live in a secluded villa in rural Spain. Marisol is Seberg’s traumatized, homicidal step daughter, who is waiting for her father to return. Just then they are visited by drifter Stokes, a possible killer, as the prologue shows. Interesting story, good photography (using film stock that looks like glossiest 60s) and an excellent suspense score (Waldo de los Ríos) make this a must for genre aficionados. English titles: BEHIND THE SHUTTERS, SISTERS OF CORRUPTION, and THE CORRUPTION OF CHRIS MILLER.

Corruptor, The (1999, USA) C-110m. Scope **½ D: James Foley. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Mark Wahlberg, Ric Young, Paul Ben-Victor, Jon Kit Lee, Andrew Pang, Brian Cox. Ambitious thriller about Chinatown cop Chow Yun-Fat and his new partner Wahlberg, who is in danger of becoming corrupt. Good performances, serious dramatics, but unrealistic action scenes and shoot-outs destroy any credibility. Not quite as stylish as Chow’s films with John Woo, but better than THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS.

Corsa dell’Innocente, La (1992, ITA/FRA) C-105m. *** D: Carlo Carlei. Starring Manuel Colao, Federico Pacifici, Sal Borgese, Lucio Zagaria, Giusi Cataldo, Francesca Neri, Jacques Perrin. Moody thriller about a little boy (Colao) who witnesses the brutal murder of his entire family by a rival clan and then goes on the run from the assassins. Soft-spoken, even pensive film is less heart-pounding than advertised but manages to convince through good score, assured direction and camerawork. Dreamlike, stylized debut feature of Carlei (FLUKE). Beginning and end best parts. English title: FLIGHT OF THE INNOCENT.

Cortigiana di Babilonia, La (1955, ITA/FRA) C-105m. ** D: Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia. Starring Rhonda Fleming, Ricardo Montalban, Roldano Lupi, Carlo Ninchi, Anna Maria Mori. Incredibly corny dialogue and scenes “highlight” this costumer about rebel Montalban, who barely escapes an evil ruler’s wrath and finds refuge (and love) at goatherd Fleming’s hut. Colorful but tacky, slowly paced. English titles: THE QUEEN OF BABYLON, THE SLAVE WOMAN.

Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange? (1972, ITA/GER) C-96m. Scope ** D: Massimo Dallamano. Starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Baal, Fabio Testi, Günther Stoll, Camille Keaton. The final Edgar Wallace adaptation produced by German hands has almost completely morphed into a giallo. Inspector Fuchsberger goes after a sex killer who is stalking victims at a girls’ school. Teacher Testi, having an affair with one of the students, is among the suspects. Plot is not bad but thriller lacks momentum and atmosphere. Score by Ennio Morricone, photographed by Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato). Also known as WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SOLANGE? and DAS GEHEIMNIS DER GRÜNEN STECKNADEL.

Cosí Dolce… Cosí Perversa (1969, ITA/FRA/GER) C-95m. Scope **½ D: Umberot Lenzi. Starring Carroll Baker, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Erika Blanc, Horst Frank, Helga Liné, Ermelinda De Felice, Dario Michaelis. Typical late 1960s Euro mystery (originally released on Halloween ‘69) by one of the giallo’s most frequent writers, Ernesto Gastaldi. Bored businessman Trintignant finds himself intrigued by new upstairs neighbor Baker and they start an affair. Baker’s brutish former lover Frank and cuckolded wife Blanc might have something against this. If you think you’ve figured it out, think again! A bit too low-key to really work, but worthwhile for fans. Good period score by Riz Ortolani. Sergio Martino was executive producer. English title: SO SWEET… SO PERVERSE.

Così Sia (1972, ITA) C-93m. Scope **½ D: Alfio Caltabiano. Starring Luc Merenda, Sydne Rome, Alfio Caltabiano, Tano Cimarosa, Míla Beran, Renato Cestiè. Confusing but quite enjoyable spaghetti western about a group of friends who reunite to rob a bank… or something like that. Nice score by Daniele Patucci, attractive (and funny) cast (notably gorgeous Rome, who has a semi-nude scene) and some TRINITY-style action almost outweigh incomprehensible script. The climactic saloon fight is fun to watch. Some sources credit horror director Dario Argento with the screenplay. English title: THEY CALLED HIM AMEN.

Cottage, The (2008, GBR) C-92m. Scope ** D: Paul Andrew Williams. Starring Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Steven O’Donnell, Jennifer Ellison, Dave Legeno. Self-professed horror comedy about two first-time criminals who have kidnapped a young woman and hope for a big ransom. However, their plan goes awry, especially when they meet the Leatherface-farmer next door. Starts out extremely weak, and never really recovers, although horror fans might find some value in final thirty minutes. O’Donnell really must be going through the worst day of his life! Uneven script by the director makes rather pointless reference to the TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE series.

Countdown (1968, USA) C-101m. Scope *** D: Robert Altman. Starring James Caan, Joanna (Cook) Moore, Robert Duvall, Barbara Baxley, Charles Aidman, Mike Farrell, voice of William Conrad. Precise study of male rivalry, based on Hank Searls’ novel. Duvall plays an air force officer determined to be the first man travelling to the moon. However, when the Russians are reported to send a civilian – within four weeks – the board decides to send young Caan (a civilian himself), and Duvall must function as his instructor. Interesting time-capsule must have been especially intriguing when it originally came out (one year before the famous Apollo mission to the moon). Well-worth watching. Fine score by Leonard Rosenman. Producer William Conrad (whose voice is that of the TV announcer) is also said to have directed parts of this movie.

Countess Dracula (1971, GBR) C-94m. ** D: Peter Sasdy. Starring Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green, Sandor Elès, Patience Collier, Maurice Denham, Lesley-Anne Down. Minor Hammer production, a retelling of the Elizabeth Bathory legend: In 17th century Hungary, Countess Pitt realizes that the blood of a virgin can make her young again - temporarily. She romanticizes a young Hungarian, posing as her own daughter, whom she thinks she has killed. Feeble chiller. Don’t wait for Dracula to appear. Same story better told in LE ROUGE AUX LEVRES (DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS).

Count of Monte Cristo, The (2002, USA/GBR) C-131m. **½ D: Kevin Reynolds. Starring James Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain, Dagmara Dominczyk, Michael Wincott, Luis Guzmán. Umpteenth retelling of the famous Alexandre Dumas novel about innocent seafarer Edmond Dantes (Caviezel), who swears revenge after one of his adversaries (Pearce) makes him go to prison – for years. Attractive scenery, good cinematography undermined by rushed plot development that is based on a few too many circumstances.

Count Yorga, Vampire (1970, USA) C-91m. ** D: Bob Kelljan. Starring Robert Quarry, Roger Perry, Michael Murphy, Michael Macready, Donna Anders, narrated by George Macready. Tame horror film about Quarry, who’s a vampire in contemporary America. With his superior intelligence, he manages to keep adversaries at bay… for some time. Quarry is good, but film lacks style or thrills. Loses out clearly to any European vampire movies. Followed by a sequel: THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (1971). Also known as THE LOVES OF COUNT IORGA, VAMPIRE.

Couples Retreat (2009, USA) C-113m. *½ D: Peter Billingsley. Starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis, Jean Reno. Silly comedy about three diverse but befriended couples, hwo make a trip to Bora Bora for a partnership therapy. Once there, they are subjected to all kinds of idiotic therapies. Some laughs, but script (co-authored by Vaughn and Favreau) is overlong and dull.

Course du Lièvre a Travers les Champs, La (1972, FRA) C-130m. **½ D: René Clément. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Robert Ryan, Tisa Farrow, Lea Massari, Aldo Ray. Trintignant is on the run in America because he once caused the death of several children when his plane crashed into a group of people. He joins a group of crooks led by Ryan, who want to commit a carefully planned robbery. So slowly paced, the plot at times disappears completely. Cut by half an hour for the film's U.S. release (titled: AND HOPE TO DIE), a version which may actually be an improvement. Not to be dismissed easily, but, to reiterate, awfully slow.

Couteau dans la Plaie, Le (1963, FRA/ITA) C-110m. **½ D : Anatole Litvak. Starring Sophia Loren, Anthony Perkins, Gig Young, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Jacques Marin. Potentially intriguing psycho thriller/drama about married couple Loren and Perkins, who are about to split when Perkins is suddenly presumed dead after an airplane crash. Needless to say, Perkins returns and wants Loren to cash in his life insurance. Will she do it? Or will she try to get rid of him? Despite being well-acted, this sounds more interesting than it plays. Overlength does its share to lessen effect of this film, which could have been great. Director Litvak seems to rely completely on Mikis Theodorakis’ full-blown dramatic score to create suspense. Also known as FIVE MILES TO MIDNIGHT and LA TROISIEME DIMENSION.

Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira (2001, JAP/USA) C-116m. **½ D: Shinichirô Watanabe. Starring (the voices of) Kôichi Yamadera, Unshô Ishizuka, Megumi Hayashibara, Aoi Tada, Ai Kobayashi. Big-screen adaptation of the popular 1998 TV series about the title character, a bounty hunter, who must track down a villain who intends to unleash a dangerous virus on the world come Halloween. Poorly paced, with little character depth, but stylish fight scenes and action sequences. For fans. This doesn’t beat the LUPIN franchise, however. English title: COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE.

Coyote Ugly (2000, USA) C-100m. Scope **½ D: David McNally. Starring Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, John Goodman, Maria Bello, Izabella Miko, Tyra Banks, LeAnn Rimes, Bud Cort, Victor Argo, Johnny Knoxville, Michael Bay. Song-writing country lass Perabo goes to New York City to make it to stardom despite suffering from terminal stage fright. She first starts working in the insider bar Coyote Ugly, where she learns how tough it is to get by. Little does she know, however, that this will prove to be her stepping stone to love and success. Perabo is stunningly beautiful and film really manages to be nice – but somehow something is missing from it… a point? Undiscriminating entertainment.

Crackers (1998, AUS) C-95m. **½ D: David Swann. Starring Warren Mitchell, Peter Rowsthorn, Susan Lyons, Daniel Kellie, Terry Gill, Maggie King, Valerie Bader, Christopher Chapman, Ross Williams. Mad-cap comedy about young Kellie, who is forced to spend Christmas with his grandparents and great-grandpa Mitchell in their idyllic suburban home. His father has died unexpectedly and his mother’s new lover provides a lot of chagrin for the 11 year-old. Lots of chaos ensues, most of it predictable, not all terribly funny, but there are some hilarious scenes to make this slapstick comedy a winner in some parts. Written by the director. Old-timer Mitchell has most of the funniest lines.

Cracks, Les (1968, FRA/ITA) C-92m. Scope ** D: Alex Joffé. Starring Bourvil, Robert Hirsch, Monique Tarbès, Michel de Ré, Anne Jolivet, Bernard Verley. Bourvil plays an inventor in turn-of-the-century Paris, who takes part in the bicycle race to San Remo with his latest invention, an ultra-modern bicycle. He is chased by bailiff Hirsch. Nostalgic comedy has all the good looks of a 60s slapstick movie, but plot is not funny enough and disappointingly one-note. Nice score by Georges Delerue. Original version runs longer. English title: THE HOTSHOTS.

Craft, The (1996, USA) C-100m. Scope *** D: Andrew Fleming. Starring Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Cliff De Young. Surprisingly well-written teenie horror about newcomer Tunney and her developing friendship with self-professed witches Balk, Campbell and N.N., who eventually form a witches’ circle and are more successful in bewitching their foes that they have ever dreamed. However, as things get out of hand, their friendship is put to a hard endurance test. Refreshing, exciting, well-made, another winner by Fleming, director of THREESOME. Campbell became a major starwhen SCREAM was released later that year. 

Crash (1978, USA) C-97m. *½ D: Barry Shear. Starring William Shatner, Adrienne Barbeau, Brooke Bundy, Christopher Connelly, Lorraine Gray, George Maharis, Eddie Albert, Brett Halsey. Typical TV disaster drama about the real-life crash of an aeroplane into the Everglades in Florida. Tries to be matter-of-fact but scenes about the passengers are completely uninteresting. The disaster and consequences are not worth wathing either. Based on a book by Rob and Sarah Elder. Also known as CRASH OF FLIGHT 401. Story further trivialized in THE GHOST OF FLIGHT 401.

Crash (1996, CDN) C-100m. *** D: David Cronenberg. Starring James Spader, Holly Hunter, Rosanna Arquette, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger. Provocative drama, based on J. G. Ballard’s novel, about a film producer (Spader), whose entire life changes after he crashes into the car of a couple, of whom only the woman (Hunter) survives. They start an affair and live out their freshly-discovered fascination with cars. Cronenberg delves deep into the human psyche as he ventures to explore the sexual magnetism of automobiles. Erotic, well-acted drama is as fascinating as the director’s DEAD RINGERS, with a fine score by Howard Shore. Cronenberg also wrote the screenplay.

Cravate, La (1957, FRA) C-21m. n/r D: Alexandre (=Alejandro) Jodorowsky. Starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Denise Brossot, Rolande Polya, Saul Gilbert. First venture into cinema by cult figure Jodorowsky. He plays a slightly foolish suitor, who, due to unrequited love, goes to a street urchin who can exchange heads. Interesting experiment made without dialogue, in bright color. Even if it may only be a footnote in the artist’s career, it is a must for his followers. Regarded as lost for decades, rediscovered in 2006 and remastered for DVD release. Based on a novel by Thoman Mann. English titles: THE TRANSPOSED HEADS, THE SEVERED HEADS.

Crawlspace (1986, USA) C-80m. D: David Schmoeller. Starring Klaus Kinski, Talia Balsam, Barbara Whinnery, Carole Francis, Tane (McClure), David Schmoeller. Dull, unconvincing thriller about self-absorbed ex-doctor Kinski, who rents out apartments to young women, watches them from the crawlspace, then proceeds to kill them. Seems endless despite short running time. Only for Kinski enthusiasts (he really goes off-the-wall in the finale). Score by Pino Donaggio is not bad. Produced by Charles Band.

Crazies, The (1973, USA) C-103m. **½ D: George A. Romero. Starring Lane Carroll, W.G. McMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar, Lynn Lowry. When an army plane crashes somewhere near a small Pennsylvanian town and bacterial gas is released, the inhabitants all go crazy and the army has enough to do to cordon off the place. One-note in its plot and criticism of a powerless military force but fast-paced and well-edited (by the director himself). Similar in plot and structure to Romero’s debut feature NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD but not as successful. The director also wrote the screenplay. Retitled CODE NAME: TRIXIE in the U.S.

crazy (2000, GER) C-97m. **½ D: Hans-Christian Schmid. Starring Robert Stadlober, Tom Schilling, Oona-Devi Liebich, Julia Hummer, Can Taylanlar. Coming-of-age comedy drama about the pains of puberty, focusing on 16-year-old student Stadlober, who comes to a new school and must face problems with girls and teachers. He is self-conscious and calls himself a cripple due to a paralyzed arm and leg. Sensitively handled by director Schmid but overly simplistic, because it follows only one plot thread consequently. Young actors aren’t faultless, and the situations aren’t thoroughly credible, but it’s far from being silly; quite nice actually for a German comedy drama. Based on an autobiographical novel by Benjamin Lebert, who was 17 when the book was released! From the director of 23 (DREIUNDZWANZIG).

Crazy/Beautiful (2001, USA) C-99m. **½ D: John Stockwell. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez, Bruce Davison, Herman Osorio. Kind-of beautiful, hardly crazy romantic drama about two high school teenagers (Dunst and Hernandez) who fall in love but have to cope with different social backgrounds. Dunst is charming and sexy, and Stockwell’s free direction is stunning sometimes, but film resorts to kitsch and cliché in the final third without being able to tackle an issue seriously (and realistically).

Crazy Couples (1979, HGK) C-77m. Scope ** D: Ricky Lau. Starring Sek Tin Lau, Lau Kar-Yung, Wang Ha, Peter Bruce. Not-bad eastern comedy about a young fighter, who wants to become the apprentice of a doctor and ends up defending him against ruthless villains. Direction tries to be inventive, which makes up for some story deficiencies.

Creature (1985, USA) C-97m. ** D: William Malone. Starring Stan Ivar, Wendy Schaal, Lyman Ward, Robert Jaffe, Klaus Kinski. On the Saturn moon Titan, an alien life form that looks a little like the monster in ALIEN (1979) is killing the crew of a science expedition one by one. Kinski, as a German rival scientist, provides the only novelty in this derivative, gory but not bad sci-fi horror film. The rest is ‘B’ through and through, so fans may like it. Also known as TITAN FIND.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, USA) 79m. *** D: Jack Arnold. Starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, Nestor Paiva. Classic B-movie by Jack Arnold about expedition to the Amazon, which reveals traces of a prehistoric monster. The creature turns out to be alive and quite aggressive, but not without feelings itself. Hampered by some redundant plotting, but underwater sequences are surprisingly good. One of Arnold’s most popular films. Rousing score (Henry Mancini contributed sans credit). Followed by two sequels: RETURN OF THE CREATURE (1955) and THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956).

Creatures the World Forgot (1971, GBR) C-92m. *½ D: Don Chaffey. Starring Julie Ege, Brian O’Shaughnessy, Tony Bonner, Robin John, Marcia Fox. Prehistoric Hammer misfire, absolutely dialogue-free. Two warring cavemen tribes go at it in barren landscape. Pure exploitation, with needless and tasteless violence. Definitely not enjoyable. Written and produced by Michael Carreras.

Creepozoids (1987, USA) C-72m. ** D: David DeCoteau. Starring Linnea Quigley, Ken Abraham, Michael Aranda, Richard L. Hawkins. A group of people stumble into a laboratory in the post-apocalyptic world and find themselves under attack by alien organism. Pretty dumb ALIEN-ripoff copies entire scenes from the classic. Tries hard to escape its C-movie origins but only manages to do so in grim finale, which has some good effects.

Creepshow (1982, USA) C-120m. **½ D: George A. Romero. Starring Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Carrie Nye, E.G. Marshall, Ed Harris, Ted Danson, Stephen King, John Amplas, Christine Forrest, Tom Savini, Tom Atkins. Quite enjoyable horror anthology, modeled after the American E.C. Comics that were popular in the 1950s. Five stories, each scripted by Stephen King, about zombies who return to haunt their murderers, a farmer that is infected by a virus from outer space, an old crate that may harbor a monster and a man who has an insect phobia. All of the stories are quite well-made, with a nice comic-book look and good make-up effects (by Tom Savini), but also rather pointless. Fourth episode, ‘The Crate’, is the longest and best. Second episode benefits from casting of Stephen King, whose performance is fun to watch. For horror fans. Some prints omit one of the stories. Followed by a sequel in 1987.

Creepshow 2 (1987, USA) C-89m. ** D: Michael Gornick. Starring Lois Chiles, George Kennedy, Tom Savini, Dorothy Lamour, David Holbrook, Stephen King. Barely okay sequel to the 1982 movie features more of the same, three horror tales, framed by story of a young boy who has bought a Creepshow comic book. In the first tale, elderly shop owner Kennedy gets help from a wooden Indian come-to-life, in the second, four young vacationers are under attack by a strange water creature/amoeba, and in the last, a hit-and-run accident turns a hitchhiker into a zombie. First and last stories are labored but okay, the second one is outright stupid. The special effects are the only reason to watch this film – so it’s strictly for genre fans. Scripted by George A. Romero (director Gornick was his cinematographer for DAWN OF THE DEAD) and Stephen King.

Cri du Hibou, Le (1987, FRA/ITA) C-108m. ***½ D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Christophe Malavoy, Mathilda May, Jacques Penot, Virgine Thevenet, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Jean-Claude Lecas, Patrick Kerbrat, Jacques Brunet, Gilles Dreu. Director Chabrol once more examines the dark side of the French bourgeoisie in this fascinating psycho drama. A harmless attraction turns into a lethal obsession when a naive, beautiful woman (May) is attracted to her secret admirer, a mentally unstable man (Malavoy). Her husband-to-be sees his life destroyed, as the woman refuses to marry him. Typically fine direction in one of the director’s most subtle works. Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel. Note: THE CRY OF THE OWL, which is  the English title of the film, is said to signify the death of a person.

Crime d'Ovide Plouffe, Le (1984, CDN/FRA) C-107m. *** D: Denys Arcand. Starring Gabriel Arcand, Anne Létourneau, Jean Carmet, Véronique Jannot, Donald Pilon, Rémy Girard, Yves Jacques, Pierre Curzi. Good drama about jeweller Arcand, who learns that his wife has been unfaithful to him and begins a romantic affair with a waitress. His business-partner Carmet, however, has the hots for Arcand's wife, too, and plans to get rid of them. Interesting, well-made throughout, if slightly overlong and never quite on-target. Corwritten by director Arcand, who based his film on a novel of Roger Lemelin. English titles: THE CRIME OF OVIDE PLOUFFE and MURDER IN THE FAMILY

Crimes of Passion (1984, USA) C-112m. **½ D: Ken Russell. Starring Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, John Laughlin, Christina Lange, Bruce Davison. Stylish psycho thriller about business woman Turner, who leads a double life, becoming hooker and sex slave China Blue by night. Laughlin, a suburban husband becomes intrigued by and ultimately involved with her. However, there are other low-lifes who have set their sights on her. Strong visuals leave an impression, though story is pushed into the background a bit too much. Perkins (reportedly on drugs) delivers an outstanding performance as a bible-wielding psychopath. For cult movie fans. Beware of edited prints. 

Crime Story (1993, HGK) C-107m. Scope *** D: Kirk Wong, Jackie Chan. Starring Jackie Chan, Cheng Kent, Chung Fat, Hang Kang Law. Hard-hitting Hong Kong actioner about cop Chan, who gets involved in a kidnapping case and must learn that one of the criminals is also on the police force. Lots of action throughout. Welcome change of pace for Chan (he is utterly believable in one of his few serious roles) further benefits from explosive editing, breathless direction (Wong later went to Hollywood for THE BIG HIT). Produced by Leonard Ho. Alternative titles: NEW POLICE STORY, POLICE STORY IV, POLICE DRAGON, SERIOUS CRIMES SQUAD.

Crime Time (1996, USA/GBR/GER) C-118m. ** D: George Sluizer. Starring Stephen Baldwin, Sadie Frost, Pete Postlethwaite, Geraldine Chaplin, Marianne Faithfull, George Sluizer. Method actor Baldwin impersonates serial killer and eyeball-gouger Postlethwaite in a TV series on recently committed crimes and identifies too closely with the psychopath, whose wife Chaplin is slowly losing her sight. Interesting, well-made thriller that’s not thrilling. It’s overlong and becomes more and more improbable, especially in the second half.

Crimewave (1985, USA) C-86m. **½ D: Sam Raimi. Starring Louise Lasser, Paul L. Smith, Brion James, Sheree J. Wilson, Edward R. Pressman, Bruce Campbell, Frances McDormand, Ted Raimi, Joel Coen. Sam Raimi’s second feature (following the horror film EVIL DEAD) offers same style and comic book humor. Plot concerns security guard Smith’s infatuation with cool lady Wilson and their involvement in crazy murder scheme concocted by Pressman and carried out by seedy exterminator James. This slapstick comedy is full of cartoon-like characters, over-the-top action and gags. Script, cowritten by Raimi’s pals Joel & Ethan Coen, could have been a little moderated. Not all gags work, and some viewers might even find them idiotic. Most interesting as an early array of typical Coen ideas, which you will find in their later films such as RAISING ARIZONA (chases), BARTON FINK (hotel-setting) or FARGO (crime-gone-awry), to name but a few. Originally released at 83m.

Criminal (2004, USA) C-87m. **½ D: Gregory Jacobs. Starring John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Mullan, Zitto Kazann, Jonathan Tucker, Ellen Geer, Brandon Keener. Remake of the acclaimed NINE QUEENS / NUEVE REINAS (2000) about professional con artist Reilly, who takes a young Mexican under his wing, offering to take part in a lucrative deal. Is there a double-cross involved? Gyllenhaal is wasted as Reilly’s sister. Interesting to watch, but apart from the fine performances, there is little to defend this film. Its conclusion seems half-baked. Photographed by Chris Menges. Produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh.

Criminal, The (1960, GBR) B&W-97m. *** D: Joseph Losey. Starring Stanley Baker, Sam Wanamaker, Grégoire Aslan, Margit Saad, Jill Bennett, Rupert Davies, Laurence Naismith, Kenneth J. Warren, Patrick Magee, Patrick Wymark, Brian Phelan, Nigel Green, Charles Lamb. Interesting cast in early Joseph Losey drama about cunning prison inmate Baker, who upon release immediately plans the next robbery. Interesting characterizations, nice directorial touches, although plotting is a bit idle. Jimmy Sangster allegedly cowrote the script. Released in the U.S. as THE CONCRETE JUNGLE (in edited form).

Crisis (1950, USA) 96m. **½ D: Richard Brooks. Starring Cary Grant, Jose Ferrer, Paula Raymond, Signe Hasso, Ramon Novarro, Antonio Moreno, Leon Ames, Gilbert Roland. Quite good drama about American doctor Grant, who, on vacation in Mexico with his wife, is forced to treat ill dictator Ferrer. Revolutionaries are rioting in the country, and Grant finds himself in hot water. Never exciting or particularly dramatic, but interesting throughout. Well-acted, though the absence of a continuous music score hampers effect a bit. Brooks' directorial debut, based on a story by George Tabori.

Crocodile (2000, USA) C-94m. M D: Tobe Hooper. Starring Rhett Jordan, Sommer Knight, Caitlin Martin, Mark McLaughlin, Julie Mintz, D.W. Reiser. Terrible monster movie about a group of teenagers whose boating trip turns into a nightmare when they meet (and are eaten by) a giant crocodile. Ridiculous, pointless, not at all entertaining. Some shock effects work, but the stretches between the attack scenes are unbearable. Another bomb from Hooper (THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE). Followed by a sequel!

Cronos (1993, MEX) C-92m. *** D: Guillermo del Toro. Starring Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel, Tamara Shanath, Daniel Cacho. Unconventional horror drama about elderly antique dealer Luppi, who one day finds the Cronos hidden in one of his statues. This golden, bug-shaped device enables its user to gain immortality but also turns the person into a vampire. Dying billionnaire Brook and his nephew are despreately trying to find the object that is considered lost since the 16th century. Stylish, well-photographed chiller that scores most points in depicting the relationship between Luppi and his little deaf-and-dumb grandchild Shanath. Plotting not dramatic enough, but a still a must-see, if only to compare it to director del Toro’s next film MIMIC.

Crooks and Coronets (1969, GBR) C-106m. ** D: Jim O’Connolly. Starring Telly Savalas, Edith Evans, Warren Oates, Cesar Romero, Harry H. Corbett. Standard, rather cheap crime comedy about Savalas and Oates’ plan to rob Evans’ estate. However, they soon start to like her and the plans are jeopardized. Evans is fun in the best LADYKILLERS-tradition but rest of film is not very funny. Wacky climax comes off best. Also known as SOPHIE’S PLACE.

Crossclub – The Legend of the Living Dead (1999, GER) C-124m. M D: Oliver Krekel. Starring Zachi Noy, Sibylle Rauch, Oliver Krekel, Sylvie Rauch, Kai Borchardt. Tasteless, style-less non-movie by German film freak and video distributor Krekel about a secret brotherhood, who want to resurrect their master. Amateurish horror crap that does not even qualify as trash. Stay away as far as you can.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, CHI/HGK/TIW/USA) C-120m. Scope *** D: Ang Lee. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Lung Sihung, Cheng Pei-Pei. Beautiful, sweeping drama, based on the book by Wang Du Lu. Chow Yun-Fat plays a martial arts master, who surrenders his most prized possession, a legendary sword, to a governor, but helps to retrieve it when it is stolen. Yeoh, a close friend, meanwhile befriends lovely Zhang, a young girl who is about to be married. Arch-enemy Jade-Fox (Pei-Pei) eventually turns out to be responsible for the theft. Stunning martial-arts extravaganza and love drama has eye-popping action sequences (directed by old master Yuen Woo-Ping), marvelous photography and striking direction. Unfortunately, the plot makes some unnecessary detours (Zhang’s encounter with a rebel warrior who becomes her lover is told in twenty minutes and seems like a needless plot addition). Still, an extraordinary achievement by Lee. Exceptionally beautiful Zhang is a real find. Oscar winner for Best Cinematography, Best Music Score (it is brilliant), Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Foreign Language Film.

Crow, The (1994, USA) C-104m. *** D: Alex Proyas. Starring Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, David Patrick Kelly, Angel David, Rochelle Davis, Bai Ling, Tony Todd, Jon Polito. From James O'Barr's comic book trilogy comes this dark, violent, stylish nightmare about resurrected musician Lee and his plan to avenge the death of his wife. Set in a derelict city, where it is always night and raining, music video director Proyas' second feature film is a feast for the senses. Plot is nothing exceptional, but style overcomes it easily. Lee (Bruce's son) died shortly before the production was finished in a tragic accident. The film is dedicated to his memory. Followed by a sequel in 1996 and a TV series in 1999.

Crucible, The (1996, USA) C-123m. ***½ D: Nicholas Hytner. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Joan Allen, Paul Scofield, Bruce Davison, Rob Campbell, Jeffrey Jones, George Gaynes. Based on Arthur Miller’s famous 1953 play, this drama stars Ryder as a mischievous teenager in 17th century America. After performing a devilish rite, she and her friends accuse several people in the town of witchcraft and the web of lies soon reaches farmer Day-Lewis, who has rejected Ryder’s love. A judge (Scofield) is supposed to clear up matters. Dramatic, superbly acted, with a near-perfect direction. An emotional powerhouse from the director of THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE and THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION. Screenplay by Miller himself. Filmed before in France in 1956.

Cruel Intentions (1999, USA) C-100m. D: Roger Kumble. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eric Mabius, Tara Reid. Fourth film version of Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, this time updated to the late 1990s, where ladykiller Phillippe takes on his half-sister's challenge to seduce young Witherspoon, who has sworn to chastity until she meets Mr. Right. Completely pointless, slowly paced teenager drama that somehow got to be advertised as a thriller à la WILD THINGS. Phillippe has some charisma, but film becomes more and more improbable as it approaches its (stupid) finale. Watch Stephen Frears' DANGEROUS LIAISONS instead.

Cry-Baby (1990, USA) C-85m. *** D: John Waters. Starring Johnny Depp, Amy Locane, Susan Tyrrell, Polly Bergen, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords, Kim McGuire, Troy Donahue, Mink Stole, Joe Dallesandro, Joey Heatherton, Patricia Hearst, Willem Dafoe. Cult director Waters’ follow-up to HAIRSPRAY (1988) is equally demented, perhaps even more engaging satire of the 1950s with ‘Cry-Baby’ Depp, an up-and-coming rock star, who is in love with bourgeois Locane but becomes a juvenile delinquent and has to fight for his love. A pretty unique collection of gags with the usual oddball characters. Written by the director. Also shown in 91m. Director’s Cut.

Crying Freeman (1995, CDN/FRA/JAP/USA) C-101m. Scope ***½ D: Christophe Gans. Starring Mark Dacascos, Julie Condra, Rae Dawn Chong, Byron Mann, Masaya Kato, Yôko Shimada, Mako, Tchéky Karyo. Super-stylish action fantasy based on the Crying Freeman comic book series by Kazuo Koike and Ryoichi Ikegami. Dacascos plays a professional killer for the secret ‘Dragon’ society. Condra becomes a chance witness to one of his crimes and falls in love with the mysterious stranger. However, their love is impossible according to the rules of his clan. Breathtaking, aesthetic choreography and direction in a film that rivals the best movies of Sam Peckinpah and John Woo. Plot is often redundant and similar to Alex Proyas’ THE CROW (Dacascos assumed that title role in the 1998 TV Series), but fight scenes are so stunning that most viewers won’t mind. Director Gans (LE PACTE DES LOUPS) wrote the screenplay together with Thierry Casals and Roger Avary. Brian Yuzna was among the producers. Atmospheric score by Patrick O’Hearn. Interestingly, this was never released in the U.S.

Cry in the Dark, A (1988, AUS/USA) C-121m. Scope ***½ D: Fred Schepisi. Starring Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Dale Reeves, David Hoflin, Jason Reason, Michael Wetter, Kane Barton, Trent Roberts. Dramatization of a real-life case that happened in Australia in 1980. The daughter of highly religious adventists Streep and Neill is carried away by a dingo (wild dog) while vacationing near Ayers Rock. The media fuels doubts that their baby daughter was really sacrificed in a religious rite. Soon they have to stand trial. Schepisi works quietly but effectively in the background, and scores most effectively with the intercutting of the public opinion about the case. An excellent, ultimately shattering drama, based on John Bryson’s novel Evil Angels. Beware plot synopses which give away the ending.

Cry of the Banshee (1969, GBR) C-87m. **½ D: Gordon Hessler. Starring Vincent Price, Elisabeth Bergner, Essy Persson, Hugh Griffith, Hilary Dwyer, Sally Geeson, Patrick Mower. Quite gruesome horror about witch hunter Price and curse inflicted on his family by witch Oona (Bergner). Competent direction keeps this afloat most of the way. First (minor) screen credit for Terry Gilliam.

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973, USA/SPA) C-86m. **½ D: Julio Salvador, Ray Danton. Starring Andrew Prine, Mark Damon, Patty Shepard, Frank Brana, Ihsan Gedik, John Alderman. Not-bad horror concoction based on a vampire story written around 1900. Prine comes to Spanish seaside community to investigate his father’s death, finds that he was crushed to death underneath the tomb of an alleged vampiress. The townspeople are afraid that she might be resurrected. Earnest acting, good score (by Phillip Lambro) enliven this gothic yarn. For fans. Reportedly, this was edited from the Spanish original version titled LA TUMBA DE LA ISLA MALDITA, with director Danton adding several scenes. Alternative titles: HANNAH: QUEEN OF THE VAMPIRES, VAMPIRE WOMAN, VAMPIRE WOMEN, and YOUNG HANNAH: QUEEN OF THE VAMPIRES.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Grave Danger (Part 1+2) (2005, USA) C/B&W-60+60m. n/r D: Quentin Tarantino. Starring William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Lois Chiles, Tony Curtis, Frank Gorshin, Andrew Prine, John Saxon. Finale of season 5 of the popular TV series features none other than Quentin Tarantino as a director, and he also receives story credit. CSI expert Eads is abducted and placed inside a glass coffin with oxygen for about 24 hours. His colleagues are desperately trying to find out why he was abducted and where he is. The kidnapper is demanding $1,000,000. Appropriately spectacular and exciting for a series final, with some typical Tarantino touches to satisfy curious cult movie buffs, but episodes remain too integrated in the whole series and - even if combined - could not stand alone as a feature film. Still, pretty good stuff for TV standards.

Cube (1997, CDN) C-90m. **½ D: Vincenzo Natali. Starring Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson, Maurice Dean Wint. Several people find themselves inexplicably locked into a maze-like cube, which consists of thousands of rooms, most of which are booby-trapped. Why are they in there, and is there a way out? Science-fiction thriller forgets about story setup, starting in medias res, and doesn’t become any more logical. However, there is some suspense to go with the thrills, just don’t think about it. A slight premise, quite well-executed by first-time director Natali.

Cujo (1983, USA) C-91m. *** D: Lewis Teague. Starring Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh-Kelly, Christopher Stone, Ed Lauter, Mills Watson. A cute Saint Bernard's dog is bitten by a dog and goes rabid. What sounds like a formula movie turns out to be a real chiller, as the no-longer-cute dog terrorizes mother and son, whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The dogs looks uglier and uglier as the movie goes along and the atmosphere is as intense as it gets. Starting out slowly, the movie builds to a riveting climax that pushes the viewers to the edge of their seats. One of the best Stephen King adaptations. Good suspense score, nice cinematography by Jan de Bont (director of SPEED and TWISTER).

Cul-de-Sac (1966, GBR) 104m. *** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack Mac-Gowran, Jacqueline Bisset. Odd, unique drama with ironic elements about the effect two wounded gangsters have on a most unlikely couple (Pleasance and Dorléac), when they arrive at their home, a castle on a remote island. Similar theme explored in director’s debut NOZ W WODZIE (KNIFE IN THE WATER). Not for all tastes, but Polanski’s direction shows ingenuity. Original running time: 111m.

Curdled (1996, USA) C-89m. **½ D: Reb Braddock. Starring William Baldwin, Angela Jones, Bruce Ramsay, Lois Chiles, Barry Corbin, Mel Gorham, Daisy Fuentes, Kelly Preston, Carmen Lopez. Jones takes up a job at the Post Forensic Cleaning Service, cleaning up bloody crime scenes. Her interest in serial killers is spurred on by the ‘Blueblood Killer’ (Baldwin), who stabs his victims and cuts off their heads. Amusing thriller (executive produced by Quentin Tarantino) has good lighting and a fine soundtrack (olé!), but when the two main characters of the plot finally meet (which is inevitable really), credibility is abandoned. Sure to please those who liked FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, which is referred to in the movie.  

Cure (1997, JAP) C-111m. ***½ D: Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Starring Koji Yakusho, Masato Hagiwara, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa. Outstanding mystery horror thriller about shockingly gruesome, ritualistic murders in Tokyo that all seem to be unrelated. Police inspector Yakusho ultimately winds up with suspect Hagiwara: an amnesiac wandering the streets of Tokyo with the gift of hypnosis. Minimalistic in direction, dialogue but uses this to great effect. Brilliant script always leaves a few questions open to the viewer, thus forcing him to watch on. Terrific. Written by director Kurosawa (no relation to Akira), based on his own novel! Original Japanese title: KYUA.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The (2008, USA) C-166m. SCOPE *** D: David Fincher. Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Elias Koteas, Jason Flemyng, Jared Harris, Tom Everett, Tilda Swinton. In a New Orleans hospital room, shortly before Hurricane Katrina will hit the city, a woman dying of cancer asks her daughter to read a story from a journal. It is the tale of a man who was born just after WW1 in New Orleans. His mother died giving birth and his father, thinking him to be disfigured, places him on the doorstep of an old people’s home. It turns out Benjamin is living his life backwards, starting out as an old man and dying as an infant. Can his romantic involvement with dancer Blanchett last? Evocative story based on a F. Scott Fitzgerald story is well-told, although there are some unlikely coincidences. Fine score by Alexandre Desplat carries the film to a satisfactory conclusion. A winner, like Fincher’s ZODIAC (2007). Winner of three minor Oscars, nominated for 13.

Curious George (2006, USA) C-87m. **½ D: Matthew O’Callaghan. Starring (the voices of) Will Ferell, Frank Welker, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Dick Van Dyke. Based on the books by Margret and H.A. Rey, this sweet-natured cartoon is good for small kids. Museum guide Ferell, hoping to avert the closure of his place of work, agrees to go on an expedition to Africa to bring back a great attraction for the museum. He comes back with a miniature and a monkey, who causes all kinds of chaos. Totally inoffensive, and also not very inspired, but colorfully animated.

Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey (2009, USA) C-80m. ** D: Norton Virgien. Starring (the voices of) Jeff Bennett, Jamie Kennedy, Tim Curry, Jeff McNeal, Fred Tatasciore, Jerry Lewis, Clint Howard. Sequel to the sweet CURIOUS GEORGE (2006) suffers from silly, unmotivated plot. The mischievous monkey causes an elephant to escape from a magician’s show and takes him across the country, hoping to reunite him with his family. For small children, like the first film, but a notch below that.

Curse, The (1987, USA) C-92m. Scope D: David Keith. Starring Wil Wheaton, Claude Akins, Malcolm Danare, Cooper Huckabee, John Schneider, Amy Wheaton, Steve Carlisle. A meteorite crashes into ultra-religious farmer Akins yard and soon changes start to appear. First the fruits, then the animals, and ultimately everything that has come in touch with the contaminated water. Tired horror film looks more expensive than others, but story is a yawn and fails to create interest. Ovidio G. Assonitis produced, with Lucio Fulci (also effects designer) in tow. Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story. Followed by two sequels. Also known as THE FARM, THE WELL.

Curse of Frankenstein, The (1957, GBR) C-83m. *** D: Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, Hazel Court, Robert Urquhart, Christopher Lee. One of Hammer Films’ first chillers, this also initiated the long-running FRANKENSTEIN series. Cushing plays Victor Frankenstein with great conviction, who starts experimenting with human body parts. Urquhart is his friend and conscience, Court his love interest. A bit slow and simplified from Mary Shelley’s classic novel, but teaming of Cushing and Lee is one of their most impressive (especially Lee’s zombie-like monster). Written by Jimmy Sangster. Followed by six sequels, starting with THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958).

Curse of the Crimson Altar, The (1968, GBR) C-87m. *½ D: Vernon Sewell. Starring Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Mark Eden, Barbara Steele, Michael Gough, Virginia Wetherell, Rosemary Reede, Rupert Davis. Horror humbug about man looking for his lost brother and finding Karloff and Lee, who worship a 300 year-old witch (Steele). Very colorful, but also boring and pointless, despite the presence of several legendary horror stars. Aka THE CRIMSON ALTAR, and THE CRIMSON CULT in the U.S..

Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The (1964, GBR) C-80m. Scope ** D: Michael Carreras. Starring Jeanne Roland, Ronald Howard, Jack Gwillim, George Pastell, Fred Clark, Terence Morgan. A mummified pharao wreaks havoc in London of 1900. OK Hammer horror with a plot that is more complex than others of the genre but also quite unexciting. Mummy attacks only after 50 minutes into the film.

Cyclone (1978, USA/MEX/ITA) C-118m. ** D: René Cardona Jr. Starring Arthur Kennedy, Carroll Baker, Lionel Stander, Andrés García, Hugo Stiglitz, Mário Almada, René Cardona III, René Cardona. Forgettable ripoff of disaster movies and JAWS (1975), about a group of people who survive a cyclone aboard a small boat and must share their drinking water etc. Poorly acted with thankless roles for its international stars. Score by Riz Ortolani is a bit reminiscent of his work for CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980). Also shown at 100m. Alternative titles: TERROR STORM, and TORNADO.