Gake no ue no Ponyo (2008, JAP) C-105m. ***½ D: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring (the voices of) Yuria Nara, Hiroki Doi, Jôji Tokoro, Tomoko Yamaguchi, Yuki Amami. A 5-year-old boy rescues a goldfish which got stuck in a glass jar, not knowing that it is a princess from an underwater kingdom, whose sorcerer father is planning on initiating an ocean age. The goldfish has magical powers and ultimately turns into a little girl, plunging (literally!) the boy and his mother, a nurse at an old-people’s home, into a fantastic adventure. Simple but beautiful, colorfully animated, touching story by anime genius Miyazaki, wonderfully scored by Joe Hisaishi. Not Miyazaki’s greatest, but as irresistible as any of his later films. Also has a slight TOTORO touch. Written, executive produced and co-edited by the 67-year-old Miyazaki. English title: PONYO ON A CLIFF BY THE SEA, PONYO ON THE CLIFF, and simply PONYO.

Galaxy of Terror (1981, USA) C-82m. ** D: Bruce D. Clark. Starring Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Bernard Behrens, Zalman King, Robert Englund, Taaffe O’Connell, Sid Haig, Grace Zabriskie, Jack Blessing, Mary Ellen O’Neill. What a cast, what a movie. Wild science-fiction horror film, modeled after Ridley Scott’s ALIEN, about a rescue team who wants to wipe out the monster that was responsible for the death of several astronauts. Violent, gory, even sexy, wastes no time at the beginning, but then gets stuck in routine plot. Sci-fi effects are dated but gore effects are first-rate. Buffs are advised to have a look at this (if you can get hold of an uncut print). It’s incredible how fast aliens can disrobe you ;-). Roger Corman coproduced, James Cameron was second unit director (rehearsing for ALIENS, no doubt) and did the nice production design. Actor Bill Paxton did the set decoration (he later costarred in Cameron’s TITANIC). Alternative title: MINDWARP: AN INFINITY OF TERROR.

Galaxy Quest (1999, USA) C-102m. Scope **½ D: Dean Parisot. Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni. The actors of a science-fiction television series from the 1980s – now spending their time at fan conventions – are suddenly asked for help by extra-terrestrials, who believe their space adventures to be real. The tired crew turns out to be more resourceful than expected. Nice idea, good performances but lacks a few extra-laughs to make up for the occasional lulls. Allen’s TV series Home Improvement was funnier.

Game, The (1997, USA) C-128m. Scope **½ D: David Fincher. Starring Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Anna Katarina, Armin Müller-Stahl. Successful but stressed banker (Douglas) is given a unique birthday present by his brother (Penn). It is the invitation to a ‘game’, organised by a special company, which puts him in the most complicated, puzzling situations. Soon, however, the game seems to turn serious, and Douglas sees himself running for his life. Premise is intriguing (buying an adventure) and exciting first half doesn’t give you time to think the plot over, but when the action slows down later, you’ll realize how completely incredible and illogical this film is. Good score by Howard Shore . Director Fincher’s 3rd film, following ALIEN³ and SE7EN.

Game of Death (1978, USA) C-97m. Scope **½ D: Robert Clouse. Starring Bruce Lee, Gig Young, Hugh O’Brian,  Dean Jagger, Colleen Camp, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chuck Norris, Bob Wall, Tony Leung. Lee plays an actor who denies cooperation with a syndicate and soon finds himself under attack. Martial arts legend Lee died in 1973 before film was completed, doubles were used five years later to finish the production. Most of the times Lee is off-screen. The showdown, however, features him in all his power and ferocity. Samo Hung (alias Hung Kim Po) plays Wall’s opponent in the ring. He is also credited as martial arts director. Produced by Raymond Chow. U.S. version runs 102m., scenes may have been deleted from 93m. German TV version. Followed by GAME OF DEATH II.

Game of Death II (1980, HGK) C-96m. Scope **½ D: Ng See-Yuen. Starring Bruce Lee, Tong Lung, Huang Cheng-Li, Roy Horan, Roy Chiao. Lee ‘plays’ the same character as in GAME OF DEATH, but in fact his scenes are just left-overs from ENTER THE DRAGON. In this violent eastern he is ‘killed’ after about 35m., but all there is are some close-ups of him, which are integrated in the scenes. After he is killed, his brother seeks vengeance. The action, choreographed by Yuen Wo-Ping (TAI-CHI, BLACK MASK), is very good in this minimally plotted eastern. Produced by Raymond Chow.

Games (1967, USA) C-100m. Scope *** D: Curtis Harrington. Starring Simone Signoret, James Caan, Katharine Ross, Don Stroud, Kent Smith, Estelle Winwood. Highly interesting puzzler about well-to-do but bored young couple Ross and Caan, who take in seemingly helpless, physically weak saleswoman Signoret. The enigmatic elderly lady seems to develop a special influence on naïve Ross… is she playing a game with them? Psycho thriller is well-made and keeps you guessing. A sleeper. Director Harrington also receives story credit.

Gangs of New York (2002, USA) C-166m. Scope *** D: Martin Scorsese. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, David Hemmings, Barbara Bouchet, Martin Scorsese. Revenge drama set in New York City of the mid-19th century. DiCaprio’s father is killed in warfare between rivalling gangs, and the boy grows up with the wish to take revenge on the murderer Day-Lewis. The man is feared and has great political power – using it to make propaganda against Irish immigrants and Africans. Longish but worthwhile, especially because of Day-Lewis’ brilliant performance (as Bill the Butcher) and Scorsese’s feel for the time period, which excuse the rather simple, familiar plotline. Cowritten by Steven Zaillian. Photographed by Michael Ballhaus, edited by Thelma Schoonmaker.

Garde à Vue (1981, FRA) C-88m. *** D: Claude Miller. Starring Lino Ventura, Michel Serrault, Romy Schneider, Guy Marchand. Subtle drama about notary Serrault who is summoned to the police headquarters on New Year’s Eve because he is the prime suspect in a murder. As the evening progresses (and midnight approaches) he more and more loses himself in lies and threatens to break entirely when his wife turns up surprisingly. Fine performances by Ventura (as the chief inspector) and Serrault, who gives another brilliant performance. Miller went on to make the fascinating MORTELLE RANDONNEE next.

Garden State (2004, USA) C-102m. Scope *** D: Zach Braff. Starring Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm, Alex Burns, Ron Leibman. Debut feature of television’s Scrubs guy Braff, who also penned the screenplay. His story about a twenty-something loser, who comes back to his hometown for the funeral of his mother, is fresh, witty and incredibly funny. He soon realizes that most of his problems were created by his psychiatrist dad, and he meets lots of odd-ball characters, such as equally disoriented Portman, who he falls in love with. A winner, aptly showcases the talent of its star. Executive produced by Danny DeVito.

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006, USA/GER) C-86m. ** D: Tim Hill. Starring Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Billy Connolly, Ian Abercrombie, Roger Rees, voices of Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Bob Hoskins, Sharon Osbourne, Richard E. Grant, Vinnie Jones, Rhys Ifans, narrated by Roscoe Lee Browne. Not-bad children’s movie about cartoonist Jim Davis’ lasagne-loving cat, who we see in his second big-screen adventure following a 2004 adaptation. Here, Garfield’s owner Meyer follows his girlfriend Hewitt to London, where the cat gets mixed up with an aristocratic feline, who looks just like him. And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s an evil guy (Connolly), who wants to trick “his highness” out of a huge inheritance (ARISTOCATS, anybody?). Derivative, innocuous, but not unfunny, small fry will go for it.

Gariba no Uchu Ryoko (1965, JAP) C-78m. ** D: Masao Kuroda, Sanae Yamamoto. Starring (the voices of) Herb Duncan, Robert Harter, Darla Hood (English version). A lonely street urchin meets an aged Dr Gulliver, whose latest, greatest project involved flying to the stars! When they embark on the journey together, they soon find themselves in the middle of an intergalactic war. Time has not been kind to this animated children’s movie. Not bad as such, but mainly interesting today as being one of the great Hayao Miyazaki’s first credits (as in-between animator). English title: GULLIVER’S TRAVELS BEYOND THE MOON.

Garras de Lorelei, Las (1973, SPA) C-85m. ** D: Amando de Ossorio. Starring Tony Kendall, Helga Liné, Silvia Tortosa, Josefina Jartin, Loreta (Loli) Tovar. A village on the banks of the Rhine River is terrorized by a monstrous creature that may have something to do with the legend of the Loreley, as some believe. Hunter Kendall is hired to protect school of girls from the grasps of the deadly killer. Some nasty effects may make this interesting for gore fans, but plot (using elements from Die Nibelungen) and pace remain standard. English titles: LORELEI’S GRASP, GRASP OF THE LORELEI, and WHEN THE SCREAMING STOPS.

Gaslight (1944, USA) 114m. ***½ D: George Cukor. Starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Berman, Joseph Cotten, Dame May Whitty, Angela Lansbury. Bergman suffers a trauma when her aunt is strangled but decides to move back into her old London house, when she falls in love with Boyer. Soon her mind is playing tricks on her… is she going insane? Rock-solid storytelling, good period flavor, excellent performances, a classic chiller, which owes more than a bit to the British “damsel-in-distress” gothic horror melodramas of 18th and 19th century. Bergman won an Oscar. Based on the play ‘Angel Street’ by Patrick Hamilton. Filmed before in 1940 and later in 1947.

Gas! –Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. (1971, USA) C-78m. ** D: Roger Corman. Starring Robert Corff, Elaine Giftos, Tally Coppola (=Talia Shire), Ben Vereen, Cindy Williams, George Armitage, Bud Cort, Country Joe McDonald. Pretty demented cult film satire about a virus or gas that kills everyone in the world over 25. A group of young people first celebrate, then become increasingly disillusioned. Interesting concept, but this is a hippie culture movie, with lots of inept comedy and a plot that goes nowhere. The premise is the only science-fiction here. Written and coproduced by George Armitage. Also known as GAS-S-S-S.

Gaspards, Les (1973, FRA/BEL) C-94m. **½ D: Pierre Tchernia. Starring Michel Serrault, Michel Galabru, Charles Denner, Philippe Noiret, Gérard Depardieu, Jean Carmet. Bookshop owner Serrault discovers a secret society living in the catacombs of Paris when he goes looking for his missing daughter. Mild satire on urbanization is quite funny, with some hilarious scenes; top French cast has fun in this comedy coscripted by René Goscinny of Astérix fame. Photographed by Jean Tournier. English title: THE HOLES.

Gattaca (1997, USA) C-106m. Scope *** D: Andrew Niccol. Starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal, Loren Dean, Alan Arkin, Xander Berkeley, Blair Underwood, Ernest Borgnine, Elias Koteas. Intelligent science-fiction drama set in the near future where genetically perfect babies so-called ‘Valids’ are born. An imperfect ‘In-Valid’ (Hawke) has taken over the identity of a ‘Valid’ (Law) and works now in Gattaca in order to fulfill his dream - a flight to the stars. However, in a society with total control, it is difficult to keep up the charade. Stylish production design (Jan Roelfs), smooth music score (Michael Nyman), good performances. Remains interesting, if never terribly rousing.

Gatti Rossi in un Labirinto di Vetro (1975, ITA/SPA) C-92m. Scope ** D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring John Richardson, Martine Brochard, Ines Pellegrini, Andrés Mejuto, Mirta Miller, Daniele Vargas, Georges Rigaud, Raf Baldassarre. Typical Italian thriller about a tourist group in Barcelona, who one-by-one fall victim to an eyeball-gouger. Who is the mad killer? Poorly constructed, poorly acted whodunit is enlivened by some colorful camerawork but generally a disappointment. Even giallo fans will find this hardly worthwhile. Score by Bruno Nicolai. Also known as THE SECRET KILLER, EYEBALL, THE DEVIL’S EYE, THE EYE, and WIDE-EYED IN THE DARK.

Gatto a Nove Code, Il (1971, ITA/SPA/GER) C-112m. Scope ** D: Dario Argento. Starring Karl Malden, James Franciscus, Catherine Spaak, Pier Paolo Capponi, Horst Frank, Rada Rassimov, Aldo Reggiani, Werner Pochath. THE CAT O’NINE TAILS (English title) was Dario Argento’s second feature film and stands today as one of his weakest. A typical murder mystery in the giallo-tradition about blind man Malden, who teams up with reporter Franciscus to solve a murder committed at a genetics research clinic. Less stylish, less outré than Argento’s later work. Ennio Morricone’s haunting score is best thing about it. Written by the director.

Gatto dagli Occhi di Giada, Il (1976, ITA) C-96m. *** D: Antonio Bido. Starring Corrado Pani, Paolo Tedesco, Franco Citti, Fernando Cerulli, Giuseppe Addobbati, Gianfranco Bullo. Good imitation of Dario Argento’s PROFONDO ROSSO (right down to the Goblin-like score) about a young actress (Tedesco) who interrupts a murderer at work and is soon stalked by him. When other people die, she decides to investigate the case with a friend (Pani). Mid-section drags a little, but stylish direction and well-staged murders compensate. Director Bido (SOLAMENTE NERO) also cowrote the screenplay. English title: THE CAT’S VICTIM. Released in the U.S. as WATCH ME WHEN I KILL.

Gatto nel Cervello, Un (1990, ITA) C-87m. M D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Lucio Fulci, David L. Thompson, Jeoffrey Kennedy, Brett Halsey, Sacha Darwin. In one of his last films, Fulci turns the camera on himself and (fictionally) examines his life. He plays a film director who is plagued by nightmares – all due to the splatter orgies in his movies. Clips from Fulci’s later films are interspersed, to no avail. An absolutely terrible mess, only for Fulci’s most fervent admirers. English titles: NIGHTMARE CONCERT and A CAT IN THE BRAIN.

Gatto Nero, Il (1980, ITA) C-92m. Scope **½ D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Patrick Magee, Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck, Al Cliver, Dagmar Lassander. Interesting variation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat: Photographer Farmer comes to small British town to photograph ruins, finds more interest in recent murders which were all obviously committed by a black cat! The creature’s owner (Magee), an old weirdo, conducts experiments in the cemetery trying to record the voices of the dead. Then Scotland Yard cop Warbeck arrives. Underrated Fulci horror, with some stylish flourishes, but never really involving. Good music by Pino Donnagio. English title: THE BLACK CAT.

Gatto Nero, Il (1990, ITA) C-89m. M D: Lewis Coates (=Luigi Cozzi). Starring Florence Guerin, Urbano Barberini, Caroline Munro, Brett Halsey, Luisa Maneri. Amateurish attempt at completing Dario Argento’s ‘Three Mothers’-trilogy: A filmteam plans to make a movie about the ‘Mother of Tears’, but it turns out she is not in favor of it. Nightmares and hallucinations plague the woman who is supposed to play her. Pretentious and simply terrible. 15 minutes of this nonsense is already enough. English title: THE BLACK CAT, although this has nothing to do with Edgar Allan Poe.

Gauntlet, The (1977, USA) C-109m. Scope ** D: Clint Eastwood. Starring Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, Mara Corday. Action nonsense with Eastwood (who else?) as unshaved cop who has to escort prostitute Locke from Las Vegas to Phoenix, where she is supposed to testify in court. Strangely enough, the police seem to be sabotaging Eastwood’s assignment. Solidly filmed, typical 70s action film with an episodic plot and too much talk. Only fans will like it.

Gebissen Wird Nur Nachts (1971, GER) C-101m. *½ D: Freddie Francis. Starring Betty Williams (=Pia Degermark), Thomas Hunter, Yvor Murillo, Ingrid van Bergen, Joachim Kemmer, Ferdy Mayne. Low-brow vampire spoof, mostly inspired by Polanski’s 1967 FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, made by British cinematographer-turned-director Francis with a largely German cast and crew. Hollywood star Williams inherits a castle in Transylvania and is confronted with her vampiric grandmother, a nymphomaniac. The emphasis is on visual gags and puns (“May I drive my stake into you?”). Tries hard to be frivolous, but comes off as obnoxious. Only has some value as a curio. Filmed in English. English title: THE VAMPIRE HAPPENING.

Gedo Senki (2006, JAP) C-115m. ***½ D: Goro Miyazaki. Starring (the voices of) Junichi Okada, Aoi Teshima, Bunta Sugawara, Yûko Tanaka, Teruyuki Kagawa, Jun Fubuki. This Studio Ghibli production was famous Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro’s first feature film. He takes us into an awe-inspiring fantasy world, where a troubled prince finds a companion in an archmage. Together they confront an evil wizard, who intends to achieve immortality. Part of the plot are some dragons and a girl, who’s lost her parents. Beautifully animated, with incredible detail and breathtaking scenery, film’s slow-moving, enigmatic plot is one of its drawbacks, as some things are never fully explained. Still, creates a mind-expanding, atmospheric fantasy world in the tradition of the best anime. Fine score by Tamiya Terajima. Based on the third Earthsea novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. The first two novels were filmed for television as EARTHSEA (2004). English title: TALES FROM EARTHSEA.

Gendarme de St. Tropez, Le (1964, FRA) C-93m. Scope *** D : Jean Girault. Starring Louis de Funès, Geneviève Grad, Michel Galabru, Jen Lefebvre, Christian Marin, Guy Grosso, Claude Piéplu, Gabriele Tinti. Dated but amusing beach comedy about inspecteur de Funès who is promoted and appointed new chief of police in coastal metropole St. Tropez. His strict, uncompromising way turns the local policemen into effective gendarmes. Meanwhile, his daughter (Grad) is turning into a young lady, causing her father much chagrin. The first film in the GENDARME-series has more plot than its sequels; it’s a great time capsule, a piece of 60s nostalgia. Opening sequence is in black-and-white. Followed by five sequels, starting with LE GENDARME A NEW YORK.

Gendarme a New York, Le (1965, FRA/ITA) C-99m. Scope **½ D: Jean Girault. Starring Louis de Funès, Geneviève Grad, Michel Galabru, Christian Marin, Jean Lefebvre, Guy Grosso, Michel Modo, Billy Kearns, Dominique Zardi. Sequel to original box-office success takes the gendarmes to New York, where they attend an international police congress. Cruchot (de Funès) has troubles hiding his daughter (Grad), who was a stowaway on the plane to the States. Another one-man-show by de Funès, the culture-shock plot is old-fashioned and too episodic. Followed by LE GENDARME SE MARIE in 1968.

Gendarme Se Marie, Le (1968, FRA) C-87m. Scope ** D: Jean Girault. Starring Louis de Funès, Claude Gensac, Michel Galabru, Jean Lefebvre. Weakest entry (the third) in the GENDARME series, with grimacing inspector de Funès and his escapades as he is trying to protect St. Tropéz from a tourist invasion and gets married along the way. Followed by LE GENDARME EN BALADE.

Gendarme en Balade, Le (1970, FRA) C-103m. Scope **½ D: Jean Girault. Starring Louis de Funès, Michel Galabru, Claude Gensac, Guy Grosso, Jean Lefebvre, Yves Vincent. The gendarmes are suddenly retired but cannot get accustomed to their quiet new life, so they return to St. Tropez, get mixed up with hippies and run from the new police force. Comedy starts great, then gets lost in episodes, where the protagonists meet many characters of their earlier films. Followed by LE GENDARME ET LES EXTRA-TERRESTRES in 1978.

Gendarme et les Extra-Terrestres, Le (1978, FRA) C-89m. **½ D: Jean Girault. Starring Louis de Funès, Michel Galabru, Maurice Risch, Jean-Pierre Rambal, Guy Grosso, Michel Modo, France Rumilly, Maria Mauban. The Gendarme returns in this spoof of Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, set in St. Tropez, where the local police force is gradually being substituted by alien look-alikes. One of the funniest in the series, but not without slow spots. For fans of the French comedians. De Funès also cowrote the screenplay. Followed by LE GENDARME ET LES GENDARMETTES.

Gendarme et les Gendarmettes, Le (1982, FRA) C-99m. *** D : Jean Girault, Tony Aboyantz. Starring Louis de Funès, Michel Galabru, Maurice Risch, Guy Grosso, Michel Modo, Claude Gensac. The sixth and final installment in the popular comedy series has the gendarmes move into new headquarters. The arrival of four young policewomen (gendarmettes) distracts the men enormously, leading to chaos all over St. Tropez. Amusing comedy has more plot than the other sequels. Director Girault died during the production, leading to his replacement by Aboyantz. Sad to say, this was also Louis de Funès’ final film appearance, he died of a heart attack shortly after this was released. English title was, tellingly, NEVER PLAY CLEVER AGAIN.

General, The (1998, EIR) C-129m. Scope **½ D: John Boorman. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Jon Voight, Adrian Dunbar, Sean McGinley, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Angeline Ball, Jim Sheridan. Boorman also produced and wrote this character study about Dublin original Gleeson, who considers being a criminal an honorable job. His loves, his robberies, and his quarrels with police inspector Voight are described in this film. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes only adding to the running time. Too episodic despite being well-made. This is certainly no ONE UPON A TIME IN IRELAND. Also shown at 124m.

General’s Daughter, The (1999, USA) C-116m. Scope **½ D: Simon West. Starring John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Cromwell, Timonthy Hutton, Leslie Stefanson, Daniel von Bargen, Clarence Williams III, James Woods, John Frankenheimer. Well-made thriller drama set at a military base, where secret investigator Travolta researches the killing of the general’s daughter and finds involvement where he did not expect it. Good photography, score lift thriller above average, but story (based on Nelson DeMille’s best-selling novel) could have been more compact and compelling. Good cast.

Genio, Due Compari, Un Pollo, Il (1975, ITA/FRA/GER) C-110m. Scope **½ D: Damiano Damiani. Starring Terence Hill, Miou-Miou, Robert Charlebois, Patrick McGoohan, Klaus Kinski, Raimund Harmstorf, Rik Battaglia, Mario Brega. Amusing, playful comedy western, a sort-of sequel to MIO NOME E NESSUNO (1973). Hill returns as the mischievous title character and fools all kinds of ‘serious’ characters, including Kinski and Harmstorf. Quite entertaining, if overlong. Good score by Ennio Morricone. Rumor has it that Sergio Leone codirected this film. English titles: THE GENIUS and NOBODY IS THE GREATEST (a translation of the German NOBODY IST DER GRÖSSTE).

Gentleman d’Epsom, Le (1962, FRA/ITA) 88m. Scope **½ D: Gilles Grangier. Starring Jean Gabin, Madeleine Robinson, Paul Frankeur, Frank Villeur, Jean Lefebvre, Louis de Funès. Jean Gabin gives a commanding performance as the title character, a self-professed horse race expert, who always loses at the tracks but manages to keep his head above the water by talking others into betting on the wrong horse (and keeping the entrusted money for himself). This comedy drama is a little aimless, but connoisseurs will savor Michel Legrand’s fine score and Louis de Funès terrific performance. The comic genius excels in his small role as a choleric restaurant owner. Director Grangier also coscripted.

Getaway, The (1972, USA) C-122m. Scope *** D: Sam Peckinpah. Starring Steve McQueen, Ali McGraw, Ben Johnson, Sally Struthers, Al Lettieri, Slim Pickens, Richard Bright, Bo Hopkins. Pessimistic action drama about criminal McQueen, who plans another robbery immediately after being released. When he is double-crossed, he must run for his life with lover and wife McGraw. Dark, tragic, even cruel drama that pays its depth with a slow pace. A remarkable film, based on the novel by Jim Thompson (script written by Thompson and Walter Hill). Score by Quincy Jones, cinematography by Lucien Ballard. James Garner has a an unrecognizable cameo driving past in a car. Remade in 1994.

Get Over It (2001, USA) C-87m. SCOPE ** D: Tommy O’Haver. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Melissa Sagemiller, Sisqó, Shane West, Colin Hanks, Swoosie Kurtz, Ed Begley Jr., Martin Short, Carmen Electra, Coolio. Foster is dumped by his high-school girlfriend, which leaves him devastated. He plans to audition for a role in Short’s Shakespeare adaptation in order to be close to her and fails to realize that Dunst has the hots for him (but why?). Starts okay, then becomes more and more annoying. Dunst is given nothing to do, her role is undemanding.

G-Force (2009, USA) C-88m. *** D: Hoyt Yeatman. Starring Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Kelli Garner, and the voices of Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Penélope Cruz, Steve Buscemi. The exact opposite of Pixar’s UP (2009), a razzle-dazzle action adventure about a crew of guinea pig secret agents, who inflitrate Nighy’s mansion to prove he’s plotting to rule the world with an army of household appliances. Too bad they get ousted and must use their skills in real life. Funny, exciting nonsense, but the 3D effects are astounding – beating UP (2009) easily. Without 3D the film would probably only rate **½.

Ghibli et le Mystère Miyazaki (2005, FRA) C-52m. n/r D: Yves Montmayeur. Featuring Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Joe Hisaishi, Toshio Suzuki, Goro Miyazaki, Jean Giraud (=Moebius), Yumi Tamai. Documentary about the legendary studio Ghibli, featuring interviews with all the key figures in the animation studio's genesis. We even get a look inside the Ghibli Museum and are led to places that were the inspriations for the movies. At the end, the master himself, Miyazaki, speaks with one of his influences, Jean ‚Moebius' Giraud. Highly insightful documentary for those familiar with Ghibli films.

Ghost (1990, USA) C-122m. *** D: Jerry Zucker. Starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, Rick Aviles, Vincent Schiavelli. Pleasant fantasy drama about the killing of banker Swayze and his return as a ghost to his wife, whom he tries to warn of the man who murdered him. Self-professed medium Goldberg (great comic relief part) is the only one who can hear him. Longish but romantic and generally well-done. Goldberg won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Ghost and the Darkness, The (1996, USA) C-109m. Scope **½ D: Stephen Hopkins. Starring  Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer, Tom Wilkinson, John Kani, Bernard Hill, Brian McCardie, Henry Cele, Om Puri. Adventure spectacle set in 1896 Africa, where Irish architect Kilmer attempts to build a bridge in five months. However, he has not reckoned with the superstition of the crew, who are terrified when two giant lions repeatedly attack the camp. Are they mystical creatures? Game-hunter Douglas wants to bring and end to the rumors. Grand score, sweeping photography but a screenplay that resorts to a one-dimensional lion hunt and only suggests a deeper meaning. Written by William Goldman.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999, USA/FRA/JAP/GER) C-116m. *** D: Jim Jarmusch. Starring Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman, Dennis Liu, Frank Minucci, Richard Portnow, Tricia Vessey, Henry Silva. Victor Argo. Meditative, engrossing character study about simple-minded hitman Whitaker, who lives exclusively by the code of the Samurai, and converses with small-time crook Tormey, his ‘master’, by a carrier pigeon. Off-beat, original, even funny Jarmusch concoction, with a charismatic lead performance by Whitaker (and a scary turn by Henry Silva). A little slight plotwise, like most of Jarmusch’s movies, but achieves a kind of hypnotic quality that will make you forget time. Written by the director, who includes references to Jean-Pierre Melville’s LE SAMOURAI and Akira Kurosawa’s RASHOMON (and not to forget, ‘The Simpsons’). Photographed by Robby Müller.

Ghost Fever (1987, USA) C-86m. D: Alan Smithee (=Lee Madden). Starring Sherman Hemsley, Luis Avalos, Jennifer Rhodes, Deborah Benson, Diana Brookes, Joe Frazier, Pepper Martin. Cheap, inept horror comedy about two policemen who investigate strange occurrences in a mansion that they know from their childhood. It turns out that it is inhabited by ghosts. No wonder director Madden had his name removed from this turkey. Hemsley and Avalos do generate some laughs though.

Ghostkeeper (1981, CDN) C-87m. *** D: Jim Makichuk. Starring Riva Spier, Murray Ord, Sheri McFadden, Georgie Collins, Les Kimber, Billy Grove, John MacMillan. Weird little horror chiller, set in wintry Canada, about a trio of vacationers, who get lost with their snowmobiles, save themselves into hotel-like mansion in the middle of nowhere. The only person living there is a strange old woman. What is her purpose there? And is there someone (something?) else in the house? Atmospheric exercise in suspense, not without faults, but generally well-done. Creepy score by Paul Zaza. Collins, as the old lady, gives a chilling performance. Film has interesting parallels to Stanley Kubrick’s SHINING (1980).

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009, USA) C-100m. SCOPE *** D: Mark Waters. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Emma Stone, Breckin Meyer, Lacey Chabert, Robert Forster, Anne Archer. Womanizer McConaughey, a successful photographer (and lover) of fashion models, travels to his brother’s wedding only to meet Garner, his former love interest. He has become a cynical ladykiller and his remarks threaten to ruin the wedding. Then his dead uncle Douglas appears and takes him A CHRISTMAS CAROL – style into the past, the present and the future. Too contrived at the beginning, but manages to draw you in emotionally. Has nice settings and a great performance by Douglas. From the director of JUST LIKE HEAVEN (2005) and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (2008).

Ghosts of Mars (2001, USA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: John Carpenter. Starring Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Doug McGrath, Robert Carradine. Commander Henstridge returns from a prison colony on Mars and recounts the events that happened there. When arriving there to pick up an ultra-violent criminal (Ice Cube), they meet nothing but desolation. It turns out the inhabitants are possessed by a strange force, which has turned them into Zombie-like savages. A typical Carpenter movie: solidly filmed, even exciting, but rather dumb. Horror fans (and those of the director) should get what they expect. Ice Cube sleepwalks through his role.

Ghosts of Mississippi (1996, USA) C-130m. *** D: Rob Reiner. Starring Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods, Craig T. Nelson, Susana Thompson, Lucas Black, William H. Macy, Terry O’Quinn, Virginia Madsen, Bonnie Bartlett, Wayne Rogers, Diane Ladd. Good drama about lawyer Baldwin, who reopens a case which lies 25 years in the past in an attempt to prove that racist Woods killed Goldberg’s husband, a civil rights activist. In two 1963 trials Woods was found not guilty, despite all evidence pointed against him. Long, and sometimes too predictable and conventional, but compelling and credible never-theless, especially thanks to fine performances. Released in the U.K. as GHOSTS FROM THE PAST.

Ghost Son (2006, ITA/SAF/GBR/SPA) C-97m. **½ D: Lamberto Bava. Starring Laura Harring, John Hannah, Pete Postlethwaite, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Mosa Kaiser. Second of Lamberto Bava’s theatrical comeback movies (after 14 years of TV work) is a chilling ghost story set in South Africa about Harring, who moves in with her lover Hannah on his farm. The natives tell her everything around her, even objects are alive. When Hannah dies in a car accident, she at first can’t let go of his memory, then his presence seems to return somehow, especially when she realizes she is pregnant with his son. Takes a few bizarre, tasteless twists, but this quiet chiller is solidly filmed, with a competent score. Harring, who spends the entire film without a bra is a sight for sore eyes. Story by Bava, who also cowrote the screenplay.

Ghost Story (1981, USA) C-111m. **½ D: John Irvin. Starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman, Craig Wasson, Patricia Neal, Alice Krige, Ken Olin. Chiller based on the Peter Straub novel about four old gentlemen, who share a 50-year-old secret. One of their sons is murdered, and Wasson investigates. It seems a ghost from their past is haunting them. Not that suspenseful, bu it’s nice to see a cast of oldtimers giving their best. Astaire’s, Douglas’ and Fairbanks’ last theatrical appearance. Photographed by Jack Cardiff. Fine score by Philippe Sarde.

Ghost Town (2008, USA) C-102m. **½ D: David Koepp. Starring Greg Kinnear, Ricky Gervais, Téa Leoni, Dana Ivey, Alan Ruck. Agreeable romantic fantasy comedy: When anti-social dentist Gervais dies during a routine operation and is revived he can suddenly see ghosts in Manhattan, and they all have unfinished business, especially suave Kinnear, whose widow lives in Gervais’ apartment building. Some funny moments kudos to Brit Gervais, but script is paper thin and doesn’t fully exploit its potential. Kinnear is fine.

Ghost World (2001, USA/GBR/GER) C-111m. **½ D: Terry Zwigoff. Starring Thelma Blair, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Bob Balaban, Stacey Travis, Bruce Glover, Teri Garr. Zwigoff's follow-up to the acclaimed biography CRUMB (1994) is an off-beat teen drama about two outsiders, Birch and Johansson, who have just finished high school and are looking for a job. They make the acquaintance of record collector Buscemi, a thirty-something geek, and Birch makes it her cause to help him find a girlfriend. Script is a bit unfocused and aimless like its main characters, but there are some funny bits and good performances. Based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Coproduced by John Malkovich.

Ghoul, The (1975, GBR) C-88m. *** D: Freddie Francis. Starring Peter Cushing, John Hurt, Alexandra Bastedo, Gwen Watford, Veronica Carlson, Steward Bevan. During a car race to Land’s End, a young woman and her driver get stuck in foggy marshland. She stumbles into a strange house, whose landlord (Cushing) may be waiting for fresh human flesh! Typically bizarre, nonsensical but chilling horror with a trivial but fast-paced plot. Cushing is excellent. Script should have been better, which non-horror fans will consider a liability.

Ghoulies (1985, USA) C-81m. ** D: Luca Bercovici. Starring Peter Lapis, Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres, Jack Nance, Peter Risch. Horror comedy about Lapis and Pelikan, a couple who inherit a house and with it the title creatures. Seems like a parody of GREMLINS, only its attempts at humor are laughable. Watchable for some good special effects. Charles Band executive produced. Followed by three sequels.

Giallo (2009, ITA/USA) C-92m. *½ D: Dario Argento. Starring Adrien Brody, Emmanuelle Seigner, Elsa Pataky, Robert Miano, Silvia Spross, Byron Deidra. Troubled police detective Brody is approached by Seigner, whose sister has been kidnapped by a serial killer in Turin. Together they try to find him, before he kills the young fashion model. Utterly conventional, twist-free thriller from a masterful director. Some expected gore, but plot offers no suspense or excitement, even little action. The screenplay (by Jim Agnew, Sean Keller and Argento himself) has pacing issues that are partly offset by a good score, but the ending completely ruins it. There are faint echoes of SAW and Argento’s earlier films, but not enough to maintain interest. Not an homage to the 1970s horror subgenre of the giallo, but a throwback to the IL CARTAIO (2004) days. This is now clearly Argento’s worst film. Trvia note: Byron Deidra is an anagram. English title: YELLOW.

Giallo a Venezia (1979, ITA) C-91m. ** D: Mario Landi. Starring Leonora Fani, Gianni Dei, Jeff Blynn, Mariangela Giordano, Vassili Karis. Notorious thriller uses the mystery formula to deliver a sex-and-crime story about inspector Blynn, who investigates brutal murder of two lovers. In flashbacks we learn that their relationship was characterized by sexual perversion and degradation. Gratuitious sex scenes abound, exceedingly violent, but hardly suspenseful and poorly structured. Worth a look for fans but not the cult shocker they may expect. English titles: GORE IN VENICE, MYSTERY IN VENICE, THRILLER IN VENICE.

Giant (1956, USA) C-201m. ***½ D: George Stevens. Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Carol Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Rod Taylor, Judith Evelyn. Grand Hollywood epic from the 1950s about free-minded Maryland beauty Taylor, who marries cattle-baron Hudson and moves to his ranch in rural Texas. It’s tough for her to adjust to new situation, especially since his sister considers her competition for the rule and Hudson himself is a stubborn, old-fashioned man. Family saga spanning 25 years is really unmissable. Stevens’ direction is masterful in the way he makes subtle statements about the characters. Dean (in his final screen role, for which he was Oscar-nominated) plays an impressively negative character (note the shadows that frequently conceal parts of his face). Minor flaws: unconvincing aging makeup, an abundance of anti-climactic scenes. Based on Edna Ferber’s novel. Film received ten Academy Award nominations and won only for Best Director.

Giardino dei Finzi-Contini, Il (1971, ITA/GER) C-95m. ***½ D: Vittorio de Sica. Starring Lino Capolicchio, Dominique Sanda, Fabio Testi, Helmut Berger, Romolo Valli. Quiet, melancholy drama about rich Jewish family, who ignores the events taking place during World War Two until they themselves are affected. Top photography paints their garden like Paradise, from which they are finally expelled. Well-acted drama is not a typical Anti-Fascist statement but looks at the effects of Fascism on a very personal level. Based on a novel by Giorgio Bassani. Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Film. English title: THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS.

Gift, The (2000, USA) C-111m. *** D: Sam Raimi. Starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, Michael Jeter, Kim Dickens, Gary Cole, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Danny Elfman. Atmospheric drama set in misty, dark Georgia, where widowed mother Blanchett makes a living with tarot readings for her neighbors. When a girl disappears, the father asks the clairvoyant for help and indeed she soon has visions of a very frightening kind. Eerie, creepy chiller is buoyed by Blanchett’s excellent performance but may be too weird and bizarre for most tastes. Plot is slightly overlong, but authentic atmosphere makes this work all the way. One of horror director Raimi’s best films. Good score by Christopher Young (although sometimes too reminiscent of Carter Burwell’s work for the Coen brothers). Written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson.

G.I. Jane (1997, USA) C-124m. Scope ** D: Ridley Scott. Starring Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Anne Bancroft, Scott Wilson, Jason Beghe, Daniel Von Bargen. Moore stars as a head-strong feamle soldier, determined to pass the tough Navy S.E.A.Ls training – as the first woman ever. Typically well-filmed for director Scott, but glorification of the army may make this inacceptable for pacifists. Moore’s second career-killer after STRIPTEASE.

Gimlet (1995, SPA) C-90m. **½ D: José Luis Acosta. Starring Angela Molina, Viggo Mortensen, Abel Folk, Pep Cruz. Competently made psycho-thriller about young bar owner Molina’s crazy admirer, who sends human hearts as a proof of his deep affection. Interesting, to say the least, but second-rate script fails to exploit the potential of the premise. The absurd ending further downs it. Gimlet was (according to Molina) Philip Marlowe’s favorite long drink.

Gingerbread Man, The (1998, USA) C-114m. **½ D: Robert Altman. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey, Jr., Daryl Hannah, Tom Berenger, Famke Janssen, Mae Whitman, Jesse James, Robert Duvall. A divorced lawyer (Branagh) has an affair with a waitress (Davidtz) and offers to help her against her crazy father (Duvall). In court they manage to put him away into a clinic, but he escapes and makes life hell for the stressed, overanxious lawyer. Well-acted, well-scored film lives up to its classification as a thriller thanks to Altman's breathless direction, but it's still hard to overlook the utter implausibility of the story. Written by best-selling novelist John Grisham.

Ginger Snaps (2000, CDN/USA) C-110m. *** D: John Fawcett. Starring Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, voice of Lucy Lawless. Original take on werewolf movies about weird sisters Perkins and Isabelle, whose morbid doings have turned them into outsiders. One full moon night, Isabelle is attacked by a ferocious beast, a werewolf obviously, since Ginger is slowly changing into a wolf. Stylish, exciting horror film is too hysterical at times and overlong (it has some redundant scenes), but nicely different from other genre films. An interesting companion piece to THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984). Followed by a sequel and a prequel in 2004.

Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (2004, CDN) C-94m. *** D: Brett Sullivan. Starring Emily Perkins, Brendan Fletcher, Katharine Isabelle, Tatiana Maslany, Susan Adam, Janet Kidder, David McNally. Good sequel to GINGER SNAPS (2000) follows Perkins’ exploits after the original movie, as she checks into a rehab clinic for young women. She tries to control her body’s urge to transform into a werewolf. She befriends an odd comic-book addict (stunningly played by Maslany) and finally realizes that she is being hunted by another werewolf, who wants to mate with her. Perkins is fine again, and setting, partly an abandoned asylum, is atmospheric. The werewolf make-up is second-rate, though, like in the first movie. Maslany was an incredible 19 when this was filmed, her character must be one of the most interesting in werewolf (horror?) history. Followed by GINGER SNAPS BACK: THE BEGINNING. Also known as GINGER SNAPS 2.

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004, CDN) C-94m. **½ D:  Grant Harvey. Starring Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Nathaniel Arcand, JR Bourne, Hugh Dillon, Adrien Dorval, Brendan Fletcher. David La Haye. GINGER SNAPS 3 (alternative title) is a prequel of sorts, set in 19th century Canada, where the two sisters wander through the wintry wilderness and stumble into a fort, which is being fortified against an unknown evil – probably werewolves. Almost like a remake, and this is film’s problem. It’s almost as good as the original(s), but the sense of deja vu takes away most of the suspense. Still, stylish and imaginative, a must for series fans.

Giornata Nera per L’Ariete (1971, ITA) C-92m. **½ D: Luigi Bazzoni. Starring Franco Nero, Silvia Monti, Wolfgang Preiss, Ira Fürstenberg, Edmund Purdom, Renato Romano. Fairly interesting crime thriller (‘giallo’), based on the novel by D. M. Devine, about journalist Nero, who suffers from alcohol abuse and gets drawn into a murder mystery, where he himself is one of the prime suspects. He sets out to investigate. Quite well-directed, kudos to star-cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, whose exceptional spacial style makes the thriller worth watching. Score by Ennio Morricone. Still, nothing to get excited about. For giallo lovers. English titles: THE FIFTH CORD and EVIL FINGERS.

Giorni dell’Ira, I (1967, ITA/GER) C-114m. Scope **½ D: Tonino Valerii. Starring Giuliano Gemma, Lee van Cleef, Christa Linder, Lukas Ammann, Walter Rilla, Ennio Balbo, Andrea Bosic, Pepe Calva, Yvonne Sanson, Franco Balducci. Above-average spaghetti western about young man (Gemma) who keeps being picked upon by citizens of peaceful, bourgeois town of Clinton, Arizona, until a stranger (van Cleef) shows up who changes the naive man’s life by making him a gunfighter. Good direction, fine timing of Riz Ortolani’s score (kudos to editor Franco Fraticelli, who worked on most of Dario Argento’s horror films), but director Valerii concentrates too much on the - badly paced - plot than on gunplay or machismo. An adaptation of a novel by Ron Barker, which explains the aimless mid-section of the film. Beginning and end are best parts. English titles: DAY OF ANGER, and DAYS OF WRATH.

Giorno del Cobra, Il (1980, ITA) C-91m. *½ D: Enzo G. Castellari. Starring Franco Nero, Sybil Danning, William Berger, Mickey Knox, Ennio Girolami, Massimo Vanni, Romano Puppo, Enzo G. Castellari, Michele Soavi. Mostly boring actioner about private detective Nero (nicknamed ‘Cobra’), who is kind of a cheap Italian Mike Hammer imitation. He travels from the States to Italy to nail a crime boss. In the meantime, he is also trying to come to terms with his little son. Unexceptional, slowly paced, tame, only for die-hard Nero fans. Story cowritten by Aldo Lado. English title: DAY OF THE COBRA.

Giorno Prima, Il (1987, ITA/FRA/CDN/USA) C-101m. **½ D: Giuliano Montaldo. Starring Ben Gazzara, Kate Nelligan, Kate Reid, Burt Lancaster, Ingrid Thulin, Erland Josephson, Cyrielle Claire, William Berger, Andréa Ferréol, Flavio Bucci. Interesting psycho drama about fifteen strangers, who agree to take part in an experiment which is supposed to test underground shelter designed to protect mankind from nuclear holocaust. Will the group withstand the psychological pressure? Script presents stereotypical characters and dialogues but still manages to make interesting points. Worth a look, even so many years after the end of the Cold War. Score by Ennio Morricone. International title: CONTROL.

Girl, Interrupted (1999, USA) C-127m. **½ D: James Mangold. Starring Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave, Whoopi Goldberg. Ryder plays a disoriented 18-year-old, whose latest suicide attempt brings her into a mental institution, where, among fellow problem children, she begins to discover herself. Well-made, well-acted (and overlong) drama has unfortunately a very unrealistic feel about it; maybe they should have made it without any stars. It simply seems phony. Based on the autobiographical book by Susanna Kaysen, cowritten by director Mangold (COPLAND, HEAVY). Jolie won an Oscar for her demented performance.

Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003, GBR/USA/LUX) C-100m. Scope *** D: Peter Webber. Starring Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Judy Parfitt, Cillian Murphy, Essie Davis, Joanna Scanlan. Interesting depiction of every day life in the 17th century, focusing on shy chambermaid Johansson’s employment in the house of (later-to-be) famous painter Vermeer and their mutual but hesitant infatuation. Low-key, almost detached drama has many beautiful images and moments. Good photography by Eduardo Serra. Based on the novel by Tracy Chevalier.

Giubbe Rosse (1974, ITA) C-88m. Scope **½ D: Joe D’Amato. Starring Fabio Testi, Guido Mannari, Lionel Stander, Roberto Undari, Lars Bloch, Lynne Frederick. Western drama set in turn-of-the-century Canada. After struggling to set up the premise, film follows Mountie Testi’s attempts to catch criminal Mannari, who has kidnapped his son Bloch. Beautiful location work, good score (by Carlo Rustichelli), an unusual film for director/photographer/cowriter D’Amato. Plot is hardly involving, however. Wintry setting is reminiscent of Sergio Corbucci’s famous spaghetti western IL GRANDE SILENZIO (1968). In terms of plot this one is more similar to Lucio Fulci’s ZANNA BIANCA adventures based on Jack London’s White Fang. Also known as CORMACK OF THE MOUNTIES, RED COAT and ROYAL MOUNTED POLICE.

Giulietta degli Spiriti (1965, ITA/FRA/GER) C-137m. ***½ D: Federico Fellini. Starring Giulietta Masina, Sandra Milo, Mario Pisu, Valentina Cortese, Valeska Gert, Sylva Koscina, George Ardisson, Marilù Tolo. Marvelous surreal drama (some call it fantasy) about aging Masina’s growing suspicion that her husband Pisu is cheating on her. She dreams herself / finds herself drawn into a fantasy world, where the weirdest of people influence her. Brilliantly directed, visually astounding delight by one of cinema’s most extravagant auteurs. Fellini’s images are at times bizarre, eerie, beautiful and even haunting. Stunning art direction / set decoration, outré costumes add to film’s uniqueness. This was Fellini’s first color movie and it shows in his playful experimenting with what becomes possible. Score by Nino Rota (directed by Carlo Savina). The director went on to make HISTOIRES EXTRAORDINAIRES (1968); the project he focused on in between (circa 1965-1967, screenplay titled Il Viaggio di G. Mastorna) was unfortunately never realized; it could have marked another highpoint in Fellini’s dealing with the supernatural. English title: JULIET OF THE SPIRITS.

Giustiziere della Terra Perduta, Il (1983, ITA/USA) C-87m. ** D: David Worth, Fred Williamson. Starring Robert Ginty, Persis Khambatta, Donald Pleasence, Fred Williamson, Harrison Muller Sr. Quite cheesy but not bad MAD MAX 2 rip-off set in the wastelands of the future where motorcyclist Ginty becomes the only hope for rebels fighting against futuristic society led by Pleasence. Direction is quite good and first half has some interesting sets and ideas, but film bogs down almost completely in the second one. English titles: WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD, MAD RIDER.

Gladiator (2000, USA) C-155m. Scope *** D: Ridley Scott. Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, David Schofield, John Shrapnel, Tomas Arana, Ralph Möller, Spencer Treat Clarke, David Hemmings. Powerful action epic set 180 A.D. about a victorious warrior for the Roman forces (Crowe), who is cheated out of becoming emperor by Phoenix, the son of the dying Caesar. When his family is killed he seeks vengeance on the villain, becoming a feared gladiator. Simple story formula is overcome by rip-roaring action sequences and a compelling performance by Crowe. Slightly overlong but still very entertaining (and quite bloody). A box-office smash, Oscar winner for Best Picture and Best Actor (Crowe). Reed’s last film.

Gli Fumavano le Colt… Lo Chiamavano Camposanto (1971, ITA) C-94m. Scope **½ D: Anthony Ascott (=Giuliano Carnimeo). Starring Gianni Garko, William Berger, Chris Chittell, John Fordyce. Occasionally funny comedy western about two ‘gentlemen cowboys’, who come to defend their father’s honour. Gunslinger Garko wants to get his personal revenge on local tyrant, when another shootist (Berger) shows up. Loosely structured plot, but script (by E.B. Clucher né Enzo Barboni) has some nice ideas. Fine, memorable score by Bruno Nicolai. English titles: THEY CALL HIM CEMETERY, BULLET FOR A STRANGER.

Glory Stompers, The (1968, USA) C-85m. Scope ** D: Anthony M. Lanza. Starring Dennis Hopper, Jody McCrea, Jock Mahoney, Casey Kasem, Lindsay Crosby, Randee Lynne Jensen. Biker picture with all the intensity and violence: Hopper and his troupe club a biker almost to death and abduct his girlfriend. Not very stimulating, but a cult movie among bikers, understandably. If this is your cup of tea, tune in. At least director Lanza does a good editing job.

Go-Between, The (1970, GBR) C-118m. ***½ D: Joseph Losey. Starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Margaret Leighton, Michael Redgrave, Dominic Guard, Michael Gough, Edward Fox. Sublime cast in atmospheric period piece about a rich family spending their summer in Norfolk, where a 13-year-old becomes a witness of (and messenger for) the love affair between aristocratic Christie and farmer Bates. Top script by Harold Pinter, adapting a novel by L.P. Hartley. Fine score by Michel Legrand, memorable, evocative settings. Winner of the Golden Palm at Cannes.

God (2002, NOR) C/B&W-80m. **½ D: Johnny Markussen. Starring David Allen, Thomas Eirheim, Ronny Fagereng, Stig Rune Haugen, Edgar Wilde. Experimental drama about Allen, who is the new inmate in an insane asylum. He tries to oppose authority by proclaiming himself God, but is there any way out of the madness? Plot is second-rate and seems like a retread of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975) – with less-than-stellar acting – but experimental animated sequences are quite good and make this no-budget film interesting. Written by first-time director Markussen.

Goddess of 1967, The (2002, AUS) C-118m. *** D: Clara Law. Starring Rosa Byrne, Rikiya Kurokawa, Nicholas Hope, Elise McCredie, Tim Richards. A Japanese twen travels to Australia to buy the love of his life, a 1967 Citroen DS (=déesse, meaning goddess). Upon his arrival he learns that the owner has killed himself and his wife. Their daughter is looked after by a troubled 17-year-old blind girl, who persuades him to drive her across the continent. In flashbacks we learn her story and find out that she is actually a broken soul. Artful direction and superb cinematography make this road movie drama a treat, though it tends to overlength and pretentious dialogue. Winner of several festival prizes. Cowritten by director Law.

Godfather, The (1972, USA) C-175m. ***½ D: Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, John Cazale, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Abe Vigoda, Al Martino, Alex Rocco. Sweeping saga about an Italian family in the U.S., led by patriarch Brando, who have built up their existence on organised crime. Mario Puzo's story extremely well-told by a master filmmaker. Long and not always compelling but hypnotic and revved up by stylish depictions of violence. Score by Nino Rota is brilliant. Oscars were awarded for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Screenplay.

Godfather Part II, The (1974, USA) C-200m. **** D: Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, G.D. Spradlin, Bruno Kirby, Jr., John Aprea, Morgana King, Mariana Hill, Troy Donahue, Joe Spinell, Abe Vigoda, Fay Spain, Harry Dean Stanton, Danny Aiello, Roger Corman, James Caan. Sequel to the above is perhaps Coppola's masterpiece. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has taken over from his deceased father and is the new Don. Flashback sequences contrast his life with the one of his father (De Niro) in his early days before World War One. Languid drama, masterful in all compartments. Oscar-winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor (De Niro), Score, and Art Direction/Set Decoration.

God of Gamblers Returns (1994, HGK) C-100m. ** D: Wong Jing. Staring Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung, Cheung Man, Charles Heung. Sequel to GOD OF GAMBLERS (1989) with title character Chow having set up a peaceful, anonymous existence. A gambling rival has found his hideout, however, and when he kills Chow's pregnant wife, it's time for revenge. Uneven, at times confusing thriller comedy with potent, well-directed action sequences that unfortunately lose out to silly comic relief. Original 126m. version also available. Also known as THE RETURN OF THE GOD OF GAMBLERS, GOD OF GAMBLERS 2.

God of Killers (1981, HGK) C-87m. ** D: Ann Hui. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Dave Brodett, Cherie Chung, Lo Lieh, Cora Miao. A Vietnamese refugee comes to Hong Kong and soon learns that life is hard in the new country. As he sees his dreams shattered, he turns to a life of crime. Talky, not interesting crime drama that some (distributors, presumably) labeled an action movie The ending is the best part of this slack film. An early appearance by Chow, made several years before his breakthrough in John Woo’s classics. Also known as THE STORY OF WOO VIET, or WOO YUET’S STORY.

Godsend, The (1980, GBR) C-86m. M D: Gabrielle Beaumont. Starring Cyd Hayman, Malcolm Stoddard, Patrick Barr, Joanne Boorman, Angela Pleasence. Dull thriller about a couple with six children, who is visited by a mysterious woman one day. The stranger gives birth to a girl and disappears. The couple adopts the baby, not knowing that it is evil. They live to regret it. Mean-spirited movie is completely unappealing. Not even for horror fans. Based on the novel by Bernard Taylor.

God Told Me To (1977, USA) C-89m. **½ D: Larry Cohen. Starring Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis, Sylvia Sidney, Sam Levene, Richard Lynch. Unusual, highly interesting horror thriller about cop Lo Bianco’s investigations concerning mass murders committed by ordinary people who claim that “God told them to”. Intriguing but unfortunately also uneven script by the director. Worth comparing to Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (released that same year) and Roman Polanski’s ROSEMARY’S BABY. Also known as DEMON.

Godzilla (1998, USA) C-140m. Scope **½ D: Roland Emmerich. Starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Michael Lerner, Harry Shearer, Bodhi Elfman. Big, loud blockbuster (did you expect anything else from Emmerich?) takes the Japanese cult movie monster Godzilla (aka Gojira) and sends it to New York City, where it destroys everything in the way. Scientist Broderick might be clever enough to stop it. Bombastic movie takes pleasure in destruction and is about as subtle as a dumbbell. A definite improvement over the hilariously dumb INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996), especially in the second half, which manages to create some suspense. Owes more than a bit to JURASSIC PARK (1993), however.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991, JPN) C-103m. **½ D: Kazuki Omori. Starring Kosuke Toyohara, Anna Nakagawa, Megumi Odaka, Katsuhiko Sasaki, Chuck Wilson. Another entry (the 23rd, or so) in the long running sci-fi action film series concerns time travellers from the future, who predict that Godzilla will destroy Japan. They decide to eliminate the mutant right after its birth in 1944. Another monster, three-headed Ghidorah (or Ghidra), joins the proceedings, wreaking havoc in the present. Action galore after a relatively complicated story set-up, good effects, some effective editing will satisfy fans. Obviously inspired by TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY. Contains one funny reference to Steven Spielberg.

Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster (1974, JAP) C-84m. Scope **½ D: Jun Fukuda. Starring Masaaki Daimon, Kazuya Aoyama, Reiko Tajima, Barbara Lynn, Akihiko Hirata. One of the better Japanese monster movies, this one has Godzilla (Gojira in Japanese) go against a nearly invincible metal duplication of himself. Lots of loud action almost overcomes naive plot, but special effects are still quite lame. Aka GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA, and GODZILLA VS. THE BIONIC MONSTER.

Goin’ South (1978, USA) C-109m. **½ D: Jack Nicholson. Starring Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen, Christopher Lloyd, John Belushi. Profane western comedy about an outlaw (Nicholson) who marries a spinster (Steenburgen) in order to escape being hanged for horse-theft. Funny complications ensue. It’s a matter of taste whether you like Nicholson’s sardonic performance but John Belushi’s small role (his film debut) is a real scream.

Gokudô Sengokushi: Fudô (1996, JAP) C-98m. M D: Takashi Miike. Starring Shosuke Tanahara, Kenji Takano, Marie Jinno, Tamaki Kenmochi. Totally absurd gangster thriller about Tanihara’s quest to destroy his father’s Yakuza organization. He was traumatized in his childhood when he witnessed his own brother’s execution by his father! He enlists the help of school friends (some 6 years old!) to kill his father’s killers. Excessively violent (for no reason), explicitly sexual (perversely so) and totally plodding in the breaks between the film’s action scenes. An unnerving experience that you might not want to sit through. If this is cult, then more like Jess Franco’s films are (Miike makes films at Franco’s old rate). Based on a novel by Hitoshi Tanimura. Followed by a video sequel. English title: FUDOH: A NEW GENERATION.

Gold (1974, GBR) C-123m. Scope ** D: Peter R. Hunt. Starring Roger Moore, Susannah York, Ray Milland, Bradford Dillman, John Gielgud, John Hussey. Moore, right after his debut as James Bond in LIVE AND LET DIE (1973), stars in this slowly paced drama about goldmining and a conspiracy to raise the gold price – even if it costs the lives of some miners. Made by the one-time Bond filmmaker Peter R. Hunt (ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE), this lacks action, style and verve but remains watchable. The final action montage is terrific (kudos to former editor Hunt). A soap opera has more plot, though. Based on Wilbur Smith’s novel Goldmine. Score by Elmer Bernstein. Released in the States as THE GREAT GOLD CONSPIRACY.

Gold Connection (1968, HGK) C-93m. Scope ** D: Siu Kwai. Starring Philip Ko, Han Kwok Choi, Wie Liet, Luk Chien. When four friends find gold bars on the bottom of the sea and one of them decides to keep them, smugglers are soon after the men. Lots of violent action, very little plot. Direction is not bad though. German credits state that Bruce Lee is in the cast, which is simply not true.

Golden Compass, The (2007, USA/GBR) C-112m. Scope ** D: Chris Weitz. Starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Tom Courtenay, Sam Elliott, Christopher Lee, Eva Green, Derek Jacobi, the voices of Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Kristin Scott Thomas, Kathy Bates. Flawed adaptation of the first of the Dark Material novels by Philip Pullman, this one introduces us to heroine Richards, whose uncle Craig has found a way to communicate with, maybe even travel to, parallel universe linked to theirs by dust. She lives in a world, where everyone’s soul is following their owners in the form of animals, called ‚demons‘. Entrusted with the title device that enables her to see the truth, the girl travels to the North Pole – a place where children have been mysteriously disappearing to. Plot by director Weitz is hardly involving, big names, big budget keeps you watching. A kind of cross between HARRY POTTER and NARNIA. May be more meaningful to those who have read the novels. Craig is barely in it. Followed by THE SUBTLE KNIFE (2009).

GoldenEye (1995, GBR/USA) C-130m. Scope **½ D: Michael Campbell. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Tchéky Karyo, Gottfried John, Alan Cumming, Desmond Llewelyn, Samantha Bond, Minnie Driver, Martin Campbell. Disappointing return of the Bond franchise after a six-year hiatus. Brosnan is quite good in his first performance as 007, but plot – circling around a Russian general’s attempt to use super-weapon in space – is derivative and hardly memorable. Some explosive action stunts and humor involving Q make it worthwhile, but the Bond feeling is almost completely gone. Monty Norman’s legendary theme appears once during the film, for little more than a minute. Followed by TOMORROW NEVER DIES.

Golden Needles (1974, USA) C-85m. Scope ** D: Robert Clouse. Starring Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Ashley, Jim Kelly, Burgess Meredith, Ann Sothern. B-action movie set in Hong Kong about golden statuette which has seven needles implanted, which, if applied to a human, will restore his youth. Baker is tough and film is well-paced, with a straight-forward plot, but does not go beyond its premise. Aka THE CHASE FOR THE GOLDEN NEEDLES.

Golden Triangle, The (1980, HGK/THA) C-73m. Scope ** D: Rome Bunnag, Wu Ma. Starring Lo Lieh, Metanee Sombat, Nee Tien, Fong Tien. Rather fast-paced actioner about two cops (one a former alcoholic) who go undercover to bust drug syndicate operating in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Southeast Asia. Lots of fights, shoot-outs, quite well-directed but plot is trivial. Film may be slightly better in uncut 92m. version. Probably filmed around 1975. Also known as BURMA CONNECTION.

Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The (1974, GBR) C-105m. *** D: Gordon Hessler. Starring John Phillip Law, Caroline Munro, Tom Baker, Douglas Wilmer, Robert Shaw. Exciting fantasy adventure about sea-farer Sinbad and his crew, who go on a quest to solve the mystery behind a golden tablet. Lots of monsters, good effects, well-paced script, enjoyable for kids and adults alike. Not quite in the realm of 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, still one of the best of its kind. Coproduced and cowritten by Ray Harryhausen. Followed by SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER in 1977.

Goldfinger (1964, GBR) C-111m. Scope *** D: Guy Hamilton. Starring Sean Connery, Gert Fröbe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Burt Kwouk, Harold Sakata, Desmond Llewelyn. Third James Bond adventure pits the secret agent against Auric Goldfinger, a wealthy businessman with a faible for gold - especially that inside high-security Fort Knox. Classic formula still fresh at that time, Fröbe is a menacing villain. Lacks the dynamite action and exotic locations that made other films of the series to hits but compensates this drawback with suspense. Usually considered to be one of the best James Bond films. Good variations of the title tune and the James Bond theme.

Golem, Wie Er in die Welt Kam, Der (1920, GER) C-89m. *** D: Paul Wegener, Carl Boese. Starring Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Lyda Salmonova, Ernst Deutsch. Hans Stürm. Expressionistic silent film classic, based on an ancient Jewish legend. The Jewish community in a city is denounced by the emperor, and in reaction to this, an old rabbi builds the Golem, a mud creature, which turns alive by magic. Impressive photography by Karl Freund. Influenced many later monster films, most notably FRANKENSTEIN (1931). A 16-year-old Edgar G. Ulmer worked on the set. Filmed before as DER GOLEM by Wegener in 1915. A restored version was aired on German TV in early 2002.

Golgo 13: Kûron no Kobi (1977, JAP) C-93m. SCOPE **½ D: Yukio Noda. Starring Sonny Chiba, Chia Lun, Etsuko Shihomi, Emi Shindo, Elaine Sung, Dana. Crime thriller about charismatic assassin Duke Togo aka Golgo 13, who goes after a drug syndicate in Japan, Hong Kong and Macao. Some stylish directorial touches, but terribly uneven plot, though Chiba makes all the difference as quiet but tense, super-cool killer. He would have made a formidable Bond villain at the time. Based on a comic by Takao Saitô, this is a sequel to GOLGO 13 (1973) and was followed by the animated THE PROFESSIONAL: GOLGO 13 (1983). Also known as THE KOWLOON ASSIGNMENT.

Goliath e la Schiava Ribelle (1963, ITA/FRA) C-86m. Scope D: Mario Caiano. Starring Gordon Scott, Ombretta Colli, Massimo Serato, Mimmo Palmara, Gabriele Antonini, Lea Krugher (=Lander). Tedious sword-and-sandal movie about strongman Goliath (Scott), who plays an important role in political decisions involving Persians and Greeks. Talky film does not hold your interest. Alfonso Brescia was assistant director. English titles: ARROW OF THE AVENGER, GOLIATH AND THE REBEL SLAVE, THE TYRANT OF LYDIA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES.

Gone With the Wind (1939, USA) C-234m. **** D: Victor Fleming. Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia De Havilland, Hattie McDaniel, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O’Neil, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Rutherford, George Reeves, Jackie Moran, Yakima Canutt. Magnificent Civil War epic, perhaps the greatest color film ever made. Leigh plays a cunning, headstrong Southern Belle, who finds her happiness constantly foiled. Her big love Howard marries his cousin and gentleman Gable is too alike. Film follows Leigh’s passion for life and her land for almost four hours and brilliantly manages to entice the audience with top-notch storytelling. Fine direction (in part by uncredited George Cukor and Sam Wood), brilliant cinematography by Ernest Haller, rousing Max Steiner score, meticulously produced by David O. Selznick, one of the biggest films of all time. The look of it, as well as the story, seem completely timeless. Excellent cast, with Leigh, De Havilland and McDaniel particular stand-outs. Winner of 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Actress. Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell.

Gonin (1997, JAP) C-111m. ** D: Takeshi Kitano. Starring ‘Beat’ Takeshi. Violent gangster movie about five men who conspire to steal Yakuza money. This leads to countless shoot-outs - but no point. Cult star Takeshi is certainly not a story-teller. This film is saved by a stylish approach and good direction.

Good Against Evil (1977, USA) C-84m. ** D: Paul Wendkos. Starring Dack Rambo, Elyssa Davalos, Richard Lynch, Dan O’Herlihy, John Harkins, Kim Catrall. Old Hammer pro Jimmy Sangster wrote this not-bad horror movie that was produced as a pilot for a TV series that was never made. Back in the 1950s a group of devil worshippers led by Lynch impregnated a woman and then stole her baby. Now in the 1970s the baby has grown up to be pretty Davalos, who knows nothing of her destiny. Starts like the sequel to ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) and ends like THE EXORCIST (1973). It’s fairly well-paced but loses most of its appeal in the second half. Solid score by Lalo Schifrin.

Good German, The (2006, USA/GER) B&W-107m. **½ D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Beau Bridges, Leland Orser, Tony Curran, Christian Oliver. Crime drama set in 1945 Berlin. The war has just ended and reporter Clooney is called to the Allied conference in Potsdam, where Berlin and Europe’s fate will be decided. Then he gets mixed up in the disappearance of a mathematician and the appearance of his wife Blanchett, who once had an affair with Clooney and now wants to flee the country. Drama with atmospheric CASABLANCA-like stylistics (in black-and-white, no less) undermines itself with its vague plot, which includes some odd comic bits and exaggerated violence. Aspect ratio of 1.37 : 1 retains the old pre-1950s cinema format.

Good Girl, The (2002, USA/GER/NED) C-93m. *** D: Miguel Arteta. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, Tim Blake Nelson, Mike White, Zooey Deschanel, Roxanne Hart. Telling slice-of-life about a frustrated 30-year-old woman (Aniston), whose life seems at a dead-end, with pot-smoking husband Reilly and her supermarket job. Then she meets a considerably younger man (Gyllenhaal), equally troubled, and falls in love. This, however, makes her problems even worse. Believable character-driven drama, written by co-star White.

Good Shepherd, The (2006, USA) C-167m. Scope *** D: Robert De Niro. Starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin Tammy Blanchard, Billy Crudup, Robert De Niro, Keir Dullea, Michael Gambon, Martina Gedeck, William Hurt, Timothy Hutton, Joe Pesci, John Turturro. Glossy biography of the founder of the CIA (Damon) follows him from his special involvement in WW2 to the Cuba Crisis of the early 1960s. His private life (with wife Jolie) is also examined. Overlong, but beautifully photographed, with immaculate art direction and production design, which makes up for what it’s lacking in storytelling. Francis Ford Coppola was among the executive producers.

Good Morning... and Goodbye! (1967, USA) C-80m. ** D: Russ Meyer. Starring Toby Adler, Alaina Capri, Karen Ciral, Haji, Tom Howland, Stuart Lancaster. Sub-par Russ Meyer movie, this one is much too talky and has surprisingly little nudity. Eleven characters’ lives are examined, most with sexual problems/desires, all of this in typical rural/farm setting. Adler is unhappy with impotent husband Lancaster, who changes when he meets sorceress Haji in the forest. For Meyer completists, who might rate this slightly higher. His photography, direction and editing show competence. Also known as CONFESSIONS OF A SEXY SUPERVIXEN, and THE LUST SEEKERS.

Good Son, The (1993, USA) C-87m. M D: Joseph Ruben. Starring Macauly Culkin, Elijah Wood, Wendy Crewson, David Morse, Daniel Hugh Kelly. Wood has just lost his mother and moves in with cousin Culkin, when his father goes on a business trip, but soon realizes that his relative is an evil boy, who may even have killed his little brother. Child-star Culkin’s only thriller is stupid and improbable. Film suggests that children can be very evil, but doesn’t care to think about why. The finale is unbearable. Avoid at all costs. Ruben (director of THE STEPFATHER) has really strange ideas about American families.

Good Will Hunting (1997, USA) C-126m. *** D: Gus Van Sant. Starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver, Casey Affleck. Aimless young delinquent Will Hunting (Damon) is discovered to be a genius, but rather prefers to be left alone. He rejects all therapists until he meets a psychologist (Williams) who manages to get access to his thoughts and feelings. Williams is fine as usual (he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) but Damon doesn’t seem to be up to the difficult role. His character remains superficial, though this may be part of Hunting’s personality. Still, drama is well-directed and compelling all the way, even if it is dramatically flawed. Score by Danny Elfman.

Good Year, A (2006, USA) C-118m. Scope **½ D: Ridley Scott. Starring Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Freddie Highmore, Archie Panjabi, Ali Rhodes, Tom Hollander, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Jacques Herlin. In a reteaming with director Scott (GLADIATOR), Crowe plays a ruthless businessman, who is whisked away from the stockmarket to rural France, where he must claim his inheritance, a winery replete with vineyards, which was left to him by uncle Finney. At first he just wants to sell it, later he changes his mind. Expectedly offers you beautiful pictures of the French countryside, but story is predictable and surprises are limited. A slight disappointment. Based on the novel by Peter Mayle.

Goonies, The (1985, USA) C-114m. Scope *** D: Richard Donner. Starring Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Ke Huy Quan (Jonathan Ke Quan), John Matuszak, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, Anne Ramsey, Curtis Hanson, Richard Donner. Now-classic kids’ adventure produced by Steven Spielberg. A group of kids who call themselves the ‘Goonies’ find a treasure map and follow the clues to a giant subterranean maze that may harbor huge pirate treasure. However, some escaped convicts (Ramsey’s bumbling family) get in the way. Lightning paced, funny, exciting, although it’s also occasionally mean-spirited and thrives too much on violence. Written by Chris Columbus, though script and direction have the Spielberg stamp all over them. Sean Astin’s first theatrical film, for which he won the Young Artist Award; he would later appear as Sam in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

Gorgon, The (1964, GBR) C-83m. *** D: Terence Fisher. Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Richard Pasco, Barbara Shelley, Michael Goodliffe, Sally Nesbitt. Stylish Hammer horror film from one of the studio’s best directors, set in old Germany, where a witch (the only one remaining of originally three!) is said to roam the forest and turn those to stone who lay eyes on her, Medusa-style. Can Lee shed a light on this mystery? Colorful gothic chiller, with beautiful matte paintings and some fine, hammy performances. The (wrongly referenced) Gorgon from mythology has had appearances in several other feature films.

Gosford Park (2001, USA/GBR) C-137m. Scope *** D: Robert Altman. Starring Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Camilla Rutherford, Charles Dance, Jeremy Northam, Bob Balaban, James Wilby, Ryan Phillippe, Stephen Fry, Kelly Macdonald, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, Emily Watson, Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, Richard E. Grant. Elegant drama set in the early 1930s about a gathering at a noble villa, where characters show their faults and weaknesses and murder is just around the corner. Adds up to very little in terms of plot, but production design is meticulous and the acting flawless. Overlong but well-directed by old master Altman. Oscar winner for Best Screenplay.

Gota de Sangre Para Morir Amando, Una (1973, SPA/FRA) C-103m. *½ D: Eloy de la Iglesia. Starring Sue Lyon, Chris Mitchum, Jean Sorel, Ramón Pons, Charly Bravo, Alfredo Alba, David Carpenter, Fabián Conde. Unabashed rip-off of Kubrick’s classic A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971). Lyon plays a murderous nurse, who is interested in doctor Sorel’s anti-violence experiments. Aimless youth Mitchum (terrible) also figures in this story. Very little originality and a total lack of plot kill this one. Only cult movie buffs will savor parallels (sets, entire sequences) to the infinitely better Kubrick film. What’s more, it’s only a very distant cousin to the giallo. Also known as CLOCKWORK TERROR, MURDER IN A BLUE WORLD, and TO LOVE, PERHAPS TO DIE.

Graduate, The (1967, USA) C-106m. Scope ***½ D: Mike Nichols. Starring Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, Murray Hamilton, William Daniels, Elizabeth Wilson, Brian Avery, Norman Fell, Mike Farrell, Richard Dreyfuss. Exceptional comedy drama starring Hoffman (in his second film appearance) as a timid, naïve college graduate who begins an affair with Bancroft, who could be his mother. However, he is really in love with her daughter Ross. Funny, touching, superbly acted – a modern classic. Excellent score by Simon & Garfunkel. Based on the novel by Charles Webb.

Gran Amor del Conde Drácula, El (1973, SPA) C-76m. ** D: Javier Aguirre. Starring Paul Naschy, Haydée Politoff, Rosanna Yanni, Ingrid Garbo, Mirta Miller, Víctor Alcázar. Rather tired Euro-horror flick about several travelers, whose coach breaks down near the infamous Volgo Pass in Transsylvania. They seek refuge in a nearby castle – and guess who comes to great them?! Naschy, who sleepwalks through his role as Dracula, is no match for Christopher Lee. Some good special effects and a nice score (by Carmelo A. Bernaola) make this bearable. Uncut print runs longer. English titles: DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE, COUNT DRACULA’S GREAT(EST) LOVE, CEMETERY GIRLS, CEMETERY TRAMPS, DRACULA’S VIRGIN LOVERS, and VAMPIRE PLAYGIRLS.

Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit, A (1989, GBR) C-23m. n/r D: Nick Park. Starring (the voice of) Peter Sallis. First Wallace and Gromit cartoon about the bumbling inventor and his dog, who run out of cheese and decide to go to the moon, which is made of cheese (isn’t it?). Filled with funny ideas and good clay animation, this was director Park’s graduation project. Followed by WALLACE AND GROMIT IN THE WRONG TROUSERS (1993) and WALLAE AND GROMIT IN A CLOSE SHAVE (1995).

Grande Attacco, Il (1977, ITA) C-101m. Scope ** D: Humphrey Longan (=Umberto Lenzi). Starring Helmut Berger, Samantha Eggar, Giuliano Gemma, John Huston, Stacy Keach, Ray Lovelock, Aldo Massasso, Venantino Venantini, Edwige Fenech, Henry Fonda, Rik Battaglia, Guy Doleman, Andrea Bosic, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Michele Soavi. Incredible cast in quite ambitious war movie recounts the major events in World War Two from the perspective of several characters: A Jewish actress (Eggar), a British correspondent (Huston), a German general (Keach), a British soldier/father (Gemma) and an American general (Fonda), who ultimately learns that having one son is better than having none. Stars are wasted, of course, in somewhat hurried plot development (which leaves you wanting), but generally not-bad (if a little unmotivated) war drama. U.S. version is narrated by Orson Welles. Reportedly uses footage from Lenzi’s LA LEGIONE DEI DANNATI (1969). Alternative titles: BATTLE FORCE, THE BATTLE OF THE MARETH LINE, THE BIGGEST BATTLE, THE GREAT BATTLE, THE GREATEST BATTLE.

Grande Bouffe, La (1973, FRA/ITA) C-128m. ***½ D: Marco Ferreri. Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Ugo Tognazzi, Andréa Ferréol. Four middle-aged men, all of them successful in life, gather at a villa and want to eat themselves to death. Teacher Ferréol is so fascinated by this, she joins them and becomes their lover. A scandal when originally released; a profane, overtly sexual, no-holds-barred examination of four characters who feel they have nowhere left to go. This is the ultimate film about excess. Excellent direction by Ferreri (also cowriter), brilliantly acted by the leads (who carry their own first names in the movie). Memorable theme by Philippe Sarde. Originally rated X by the MPAA, later modified to NC-17. Alternative titles: BLOW-OUT, LA GRANDE ABBUFFATA.

Grande Duello, Il (1972, ITA/FRA/GER) C-96m. Scope **½ D: Giancarlo Santi. Starring Lee Van Cleef, Horst Frank, Alberto Dentice, Marc Mazza, Jess Hahn, Klaus Grünberg. Interesting Van Cleef western about escaped convict Dentice, who’s wanted for killing the patriarch of the Saxon family. Marshal Van Cleef tries to  track him down, but the young man is causing quite a commotion in his hometown. The Saxon family members (Frank, Grünberg) show an interest, too, as Dentice may be the only one knowing the whereabouts of a silver mine. Beautifully shot western with an interesting script by Ernesto Gastaldi will satisfy genre fans, although this is not really compelling enough. Good score by Luis Enríquez Bacalov, which was reused by Quentin Tarantino for KILL BILL VOL.1 (2003). Director Santi was assistant director for Leone in IL BUONO… and C’ERA UNA VOLTA… and in the stylish western DA UOMO A UOMO (1968). English titles: THE GRAND DUEL, THE BIG SHOWDOWN, STORM RIDER, and HELL’S FIGHTERS.

Grandes Familles, Les (1958, FRA) 94m. *** D: Denys de la Patellière. Starring Jean Gabin, Jean Desailly, Pierre Brasseur, Bernard Blier, Jean Murat, Emmanuelle Riva. Sublime French drama about partriarch Gabin and his attempt to exercise control over his family, which ends in a tragedy. Fine cast, elegant b&w photography by Louis Page. Heavy-going at times and emotionally uninvolving (like most French dramas of that time) but worth the effort to hang on. More likely to appeal to cineastes than to ordinary movie-goers. Based on a Maurice Rouat novel. Released in the U.S. as THE POSSESSORS.

Grande Silenzio, Il (1968, ITA/FRA) C-105m. *** D: Sergio Corbucci. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Klaus Kinski, Frank Wolff, Luigi Pistilli, Mario Brega, Carlo D’Angelo, Marisa Merlini, Maria Mizar, Marisa Sally, Raf Baldassarre, Spartaco Conversi, Remo de Angelis, Mirella Pamphili, Vonetta McGee. Unusual, pessimistic spaghetti western, considered to be one of the best of the genre: Mute gunslinger Silenzio (Trintignant), powered by a need for revenge, fights a one-man battle against ruthless bounty hunters (among them Klaus Kinski) who kill so-called outlaws, farmers who have stolen food because the winter has been hard. Director Corbucci, who receives story credit and also cowrote the screenplay, paints a bleak picture of the West. The heroes have human weaknesses, the villains are cold-blooded and cunning. This violent western is not as elaborately plotted or directed as, for example, Sergio Leone’s classics but ultimately worth watching for its disregard of established western clichés. The wintry setting contributes to the film’s unique atmosphere. Fine score by Ennio Morricone. French original title: LE GRAND SILENCE. English title: THE GREAT SILENCE. 

Grandes Vacances, Les (1967, FRA/ITA) C-84m. Scope **½ D: Jean Girault. Starring Louis de Funès, Claude Gensac, Oliver de Funès. Erratic comedy about school principal de Funès, whose son has problems in English. Promptly he sends him to Scotland during the summer holidays. The boy, however, lets someone else go in his place just to be able to enjoy his holidays with his friends. Lots of funny situations cannot camouflage a one-note plot. Nevertheless, this was the most successful French film of 1967. Much of the same cast later reappeared in JO.

Grande Vadrouille, La (1966, FRA/GBR) C-101m. Scope *** D: Gérard Oury. Starring Bourvil, Louis de Funès, Terry-Thomas, Claudio Brook, Andréa Parisy, Colette Brosset, Mike Marshall, Benno Sterzenbach, Marie Dubois, Guy Grosso, Michel Modo, Paul Préboist, Sieghardt Rupp. Funny war-time comedy about three British soldiers (led by Terry-Thomas), whose plane is shot down right over Nazi-occupied Paris. Bourvil and de Funès help them to get back to the British lines. Turbulent, fast-paced entertainment, with some laugh-out-loud gags. French original version runs 122m. with some extensive subtitling in English/German dialogues. English title: DON’T LOOK NOW… WE’RE BEING SHOT AT / WE’VE BEEN SHOT AT).

Grand Hotel (1932, USA) 113m. **** D: Edmund Goulding. Starring Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery. Superb, perfectly plotted drama about five people who reside at the same grand hotel and the effect their meeting has on their lives. Gorgeous Garbo and Crawford are surrounded by a fine cast. Unforgettable film is as contemporary as it was all these years ago.

Grand Restaurant, Le (1966, FRA) C-90m. Scope **½ D: Jaques Besnard. Starring Louis de Funès, Bernard Blier, Maria-Rosa Rodriguez, Venantino Venantini, Roger Caccia, Juan Ramírez, Folco Lulli, Guy Grosso, Michel Modo, Paul Préboist, Olivier de Funès. Mildly entertaining comedy about tyrannical restaurant owner de Funès, who gets involved in the kidnapping of a South American president. Likable French actors try their best with episodic script (which de Funès cowrote). Blier would later be questioning de Funès as a commissaire again in the classic JO (1971). Also known as THE BIG RESTAURANT, WHAT’S COOKING IN PARIS?

Grand Theft Parsons (2003, USA/GBR) C-88m. ** D: David Caffrey. Starring Johnny Knoxville, Christina Applegate, Marley Shelton, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster, Gabriel Macht. When (real-life) country rock pioneer Gram Parsons dies of an overdose, Knoxville, his road manager, must fulfil his promise to burn him among the Joshua Trees in Nevada. For that matter he steals his coffin with hippie Shannon’s funeral car. Not the mad-cap comedy that this sounds like, much too self-conscious and inappropriately scored. Black humor does results in a few chuckles. The real Phil Kaufman appears at the end coming out of the police station.

Grave, The (1996, USA) C-90m. **½ D: Jonas Pate. Starring Craig Sheffer, Gabrielle Anwar, Josh Charles, Donal Logue, Keith David, John Diel, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Max Perlich, Eric Roberts. Nice little thriller that went pretty unnoticed when originally released, despite interesting cast. Sheffer plays a prison inmate who hears about a treasure hidden in a grave and decides to break out with colleague Charles to dig it up. Low-budgeter with enough ideas to sustain feature length.

Gray Lady Down (1978, USA) C-111m. Scope **½ D: David Greene. Starring Charlton Heston, David Carradine, Stacy Keach, Ned Beatty, Stephen McHattie, Ronny Cox, Dorian Harewood, Christopher Reeve, Charles Cyphers, William Bryant. Disaster thriller, produced by Walter Mirisch. Heston is captain of huge nuclear submarine, which has a crash with a ship and sinks to a depth of 1,400 ft., ending up on a kind of slope that can make it sink even further. If it does, the pressure will make the ship burst. Keach and Carradine are key figures in the rescue operation. Fairly good stuff for fans of such stories. Based on the novel Event 1000 by David Lavallee. Quite good score by Jerry Fielding. Reeve’s film debut, released 8 months before SUPERMAN (1978).

Great American Chase, The (1979, USA) C-98m. **½ D: Chuck Jones, Phil Monroe. Somewhat disappointing compilation of shorts featuring the beloved Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and others. Takes a long time for the frst laugh. Just OK. The second BUGS BUNNY movie, following BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR (1975). Followed by THE LOONEY, LOONEY, LOONEY BUGS BUNNY MOVIE (1981). Video title: THE BUGS BUNNY/ROAD RUNNER MOVIE.

Greatest Story Ever Told, The (1965, USA) C-197m. Scope ***½ D: George Stevens. Starring Max von Sydow, Carroll Baker, Pat Boone, Victor Buono, José Ferrer, Van Heflin, Charlton Heston, Martin Landau, Angela Lansbury, David McCallum, Roddy McDowall, Dorothy McGuire, Sal Mineo, Donald Pleasence, Sidney Poitier, Claude Rains, Telly Savalas, John Wayne, Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn, Robert Blake, Robert Loggia. Quite possibly the ultimate biblical or Roman epic ever produced: The life and times of Jesus Christ (played by Max von Sydow), the central story to the Christian faith. This film contains one of the most lavish, most magnificent color photography ever! Stevens’ direction is awe-inspiring, showing as much respect as possible. Von Sydow’s performance is perfect. Flaws include too many cameo appearances by stars (in minor, unimportant roles) and film’s sheer length. One of the last truly epic epics produced. Trivia notes: Director Stevens (GIANT) was assisted (or replaced, in part) by David Lean and Jean Negulesco. Cinematographer William C. Mellor died during the production, he was replaced by Loyal Griggs (THE TEN COMMANDMENTS). Originally released at 260m., film was later cut down as short as 141m. This was filmed in Ultra Panavision 70, with an aspect ratio of 2.75:1.

Great Expectations (1998, USA) C-111m. Scope *** D: Alfonso Cuaron. Starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft, Chris Cooper, Hank Azaria, Robert De Niro, Josh Mostel, Kim Dickens, Nell Campbell, Stephen Spinella. Beautiful, titillating adaptation of the literature classic by Charles Dickens about a young orphan, whose childhood turns out to be the basis for his later fame - and unhappiness. Fine cinematography and production design, story frame remains intact despite the updating of the plot to the 1990s. Hawke, as the main character, is excellent and receives fine support from the whole cast. The opening twenty minutes are especially magical (with that eye-opening fountain scene!). From the director of the excellent A LITTLE PRINCESS.

Great Mouse Detective, The (1986, USA) C-73m. **½ D: Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener, John Musker. Starring (the voices of) Vincent Price, Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin, Susanne Pollatschek, Candy Candido, Basil Rathbone. Just okay Disney cartoon is essentially a Sherlock Holmes spoof. Young (mouse) girl whose father has been kidnapped asks title character for help. Some funny bits, but story fails to convince. The bad guy (voiced by Price) is too obnoxious. Ten writers are credited for adapting the novel Basil of Baker Street. Rathbone’s voice was added posthumously (the well-known actor had died in 1967). Score by Henry Mancini. Re-issued as THE ADVENTURES OF THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE.

Great Race, The (1965, USA) C-150m. Scope **½ D: Blake Edwards. Starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn, Arthur O’Connell, Vivian Vance. After the first two PINK PANTHER films, director Edwards turned to this big, generally enjoyable comedy about a 20,000 mile car race from New York to Paris. Evil professor Lemmon and his bumbling assistant Falk intend to outdo playboy Curtis and try to sabotage him at every turn. Feminist Wood, a reporter who competes in the race herself, plays the love interest. Starts well but bogs down, especially towards the end as the episodes begin to lose steam. Lemmon and Falk are a great team, though, in this attempt at epic comedy. It’s just not consistently funny. Good score by Henry Mancini. Won an Oscar for Best Effects. Dedicated to Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy!

Green Card (1990, AUS/FRA) C-110m. **½ D: Peter Weir. Starring Gérard Depardieu, Andie Mac-Dowell, Bebe Neuwirth, Gregg Edelman, Robert Prosky, Jessy Keosian, Ann Wedgeworth, Ethan Phillips, Mary Louise Wilson, Lois Smith, Simon Jones. Charming, funny romantic comedy about Frenchman Depardieu, who marries MacDowell in order to get the Green Card. When immigration authorities realize that they may not have married out of love, they must spend some time together. Needless to say, they slowly fall in love with each other. Film is occasionally hilarious (thanks to Depardieu’s performance), but overlong and not really credible. Best watched in a melancholy mood. Weir also scripted and produced.

Green Mile, The (1999, USA) C-189m. **½ D: Frank Darabont. Starring Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Harry Dean Stanton, William Sadler. Languid adaptation of Stephen King’s multi-part novel about prison guard Hanks, who does his duty in the death tract, which houses criminals destined for the electric chair. One day a new inmate arrives, a black giant (Duncan), charged with double murder. It turns out the simple-minded, gentle man has a special gift, one that might change Hanks’ life forever. Apart from Duncan’s excellent performance, film is rather unspectacular and more than once steals compassion from the viewer. Various subplots (including the frame narration) are rather meaningless. One wonders if the story couldn’t have been told in two hours instead of more than three. Director Darabont fared much better with the similar THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

Greetings (1968, USA) C-88m. *** D: Brian De Palma. Starring Jonathan Warden, Robert De Niro, Gerrit Graham, Richard Hamilton, Megan McCormick, Allen Garfield. One of Brain De Palma and Robert De Niro’s first feature films is acclaimed study of alternative 60s youth in New York City. Episodic, funny, witty, endowed with a unique kind of spirit. Themes include the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, sex, dating, and so forth. A time capsule, perhaps old-fashioned, but worth watching nevertheless. The first film to be rated X by the MPAA. Followed by HI, MOM! (1970).

Greta – Haus Ohne Männer (1977, SUI/GER/USA) C-94m.  D: Jess Franco. Starring Dyanne Thorne, Tania Busselier, Eric Falk, Lina Romay, Jess Franco. Thorne’s third appearance as ILSA, made outside the franchise, in Europe by none other than exploitation icon Jess Franco. This time our buxom heroine(?) runs a jungle camp for women. Young Busselier wants to infiltrate the camp with the help of a doctor (Franco himself) to find out what happened to her sister. Gratuitious nudity and violence pervade this kinky, tedious mess, but what did you expect from sleaze-master Franco? Alternative titles: GRETA THE TORTURER, GRETA, THE MAD BUTCHER, GRETA, THE SADIST, ILSA: ABSOLUTE POWER, and ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN.

Grey Gardens (1975, USA) C-94m. **½ D: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer. Featuring Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith B. Beale Jr. Controversial documentary by David and Albert Maysles, who filmed the Bouvier-Beales, mother and daughter – and interestingly, also the aunt and cousin of Jackie Onassis – in their run-down, derelict villa. The two women are shown reminiscing, discussing every-day matters, simply surviving in a world they are out of touch with. Intriguing to some degree, especially for psychologists, but filmmakers approach is blunt, even sensationalistic. A cult film for some, this one is certainly a time document, predating the reality TV era by more than twenty years. May also have been an influence on Lars von Trier’s Dogma manifesto, since this was mostly filmed with a hand camera.

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984, GBR) C-143m. Scope *** D: Hugh Hudson. Starring Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm, James Fox, Christopher Lambert, Andie MacDowell (her voice dubbed by Glenn Close), Cheryl Campbell, Ian Charleson, Nigel Davenport. After countless Tarzan action movies producers decided to tackle Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel seriously, placing the emphasis on drama not action. Film follows the birth of Tarzan (né John Clayton) in the jungle, his growing-up among a group of apes and his eventual discovery by Belgian zoologist Holm, who brings him back to his English family. Filmed on a grand scale, impressive jungle scenes are later undermined by Tarzan’s clash with civilization, which could have used more social satire. Nice job, this turned French actor Lambert into an international star. At the same time, this was, sad to say, Richardson’s last film appearance. Adaptation by Robert Towne (using a pseudonym) and Michael Austin was nominated for an Academy Award. Photographed by John Alcott.

Gritos en la Noche (1962, SPA/FRA) B&W-83m. **½ D: Jess Franco. Starring Howard Vernon, Conrado San Martín, Diana Lorys, Perla Cristal. Something is amiss in rural Spanish village. A sinister doctor is abducting nightclub dancers to operate on them, hoping to restore his disfigured daughter’s face. One of Franco’s best-known, most popular films is at times atmospheric, even startlingly expressionistic chiller with a jazzy, bizarre score. Quite good, although certainly influenced by French ‘classic’ LES YEUX SANS VISAGE (1959) and Mario Bava’s LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO (1961). Followed by several ORLOFF movies. Also known as CRIES IN THE NIGHT, AWFUL DR. ORLOF(F).

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997, USA) C-107m. **½ D: George Armitage. Starring John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack, Hank Azaria, Jenna Elfman. Professional hitman Cusack must visit Detroit for his new assignment and for a high school reunion, which brings him together with his old love Driver, whom he left ten years ago. Amusing, if a little uneasy combination of thriller, black comedy and romance, buoyed by some likable performances. Quite violent towards the end. Cowritten and coproduced by leading actor Cusack.

Grotesque, The (1995, GBR) C-100m. **½ D: John-Paul Davidson. Starring Alan Bates, Theresa Russell, Sting, Lena Headley, Jim Carter, Anna Massey, Trudie Styler, Maria Aitken, James Fleet, Steven Mackintosh, John Mills. Well-filmed oddity about a strange aristocratic family, whose new butler (Sting) is less harmless than it may seem. Atmospheric, well-acted but ultimately vague. A matter of taste. Patrick McGrath scripted, from his own novel.    

Ground Zero (1973, USA) C-72m. D: James T. Flocker. Starring Ron Casteel, Melvin Belli, David Button. Totally forgettable actioner about some terrorists who place a nuclear bomb on top of the Golden Gate bridge, intending to free some fellow criminals and asking a large sum of money. Extremely cheap, unappealing thriller. Only novelty: Showdown is filmed on top of the bridge, James Bond only made it there in the 1980s (A VIEW TO A KILL).

Grown Ups (2010, USA) C-102m. **½ D: Dennis Dugan. Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Steve Buscemi, Tim Meadows. Five high-school buddies reunite when their old basketball coach passes away. They spend some time together in an old summer house, which leads to some truly funny, some rather silly situations. Comedy sounds like it cannot fail, but some jokes are duds. Best ones come from James.

Grudge, The (2004, USA/JAP/GER) C-92m. **½ D: Takashi Shimizu. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, William Mapother, Clea DuVall, KaDee Strickland, Grace Zabriskie, Bill Pullman, Rosa Blasi, Ted Raimi, Ryo Ishibashi. Remake of the director’s own JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (2003) maintains the setting of Tokyo and places American Gellar in danger as she is called to a household upon which there rests a curse. Can she figure out the mystery? Not as convincing as the original, but still quite creepy and unsettling. Coproduced by Sam Raimi. Followed by a sequel in 2006.

Grüne Bogenschütze, Der (1961, GER) 95m. ** D: Jürgen Roland. Starring Klaus-Jürgen Wussow, Karin Dor, Gert Fröbe, Heinz Weiss, Wolfgang Völz, Eddi Arent. Fair Edgar Wallace thriller about a green archer who’s killing off the cast in a mysterious castle owned by American(!) Fröbe, whose over-the-top, vicious performance makes the film worth watching. What a title for a black-and-white movie! English title: THE GREEN ARCHER.

Guappi, I (1974, ITA) C-122m. **½ D: Pasquale Squitieri. Starring Claudia Cardinale, Franco Nero, Fabio Testi, Lina Polito, Raymond Pellegrin, Rita Forzano. Ambitious historical drama about lawyer Nero, who returns to his hometown of Naples only to find his old district dominated by the Guappi family, one of the mafia’s long arms. Former friend Testi is the patriarch, and soon his mistress Cardinale finds herself drawn to the man who could bring about her lover’s downfall. Long, talky, uneven, but flavorful, earnestly acted and with an excellent score by Franco and Gigi Campanino. Uncut version might run as long as 130m. English title: BLOOD BROTHERS.

Guardian, The (1990, USA) C-93m. ** D: William Friedkin. Starring Jenny Seagrove, Dwier Brown, Carey Lowell, Brad Hall, Miguel Ferrer, Xander Berkeley. Friedkin’s return to the horror genre 17 years after THE EXORCIST is a disappointing supernatural thriller about an evil nanny (Seagrove) who feeds babies to a strange tree in the forest. Will married couple Brown and Lowell find out before she sacrifices their kid too? Film gets dumber and dumber until the blood-drenched climax. Friedkin’s good direction makes the movie endurable. Based on Dan Greenburg’s novel The Nanny. Cowritten by the director.

Guardie e Ladri (1951, ITA) 99m. ** D: Mario Monicelli, Steno. Starring Totò, Aldo Fabrizi, Rossana Podestà, William Tubbs. Totò and Fabrizi battle it out as thief and policeman in this mild, nostalgic comedy. Not much plot, film depends entirely on the popularity and likability of its stars. Mario Bava was responsible for the cinematography. Produced by Dino de Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti. English title: COPS AND ROBBERS.

Guarding Tess (1994, USA) C-98m. *** D: Hugh Wilson. Starring Shirley MacLaine, Nicholas Cage, Austin Pendleton, Edward Albert, James Rebhorn, Richard Griffiths. Likable, well-acted comedy drama about former first-lady MacLaine and her antics that drive her bodyguard Cage almost to insanity. The two stars carry this film with fine performances, and a twist in the second half even provides some suspense.

Guerra del Fuoco – Ironmaster, La (1982, ITA/FRA) C-99m. *½ D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring Sam Pasco, Elvire Audray, George Eastman, Pamela Prati, Jacques Herlin, William Berger, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua. A caveman (Eastman) is cast out of his tribe after committing a crime, but returns with a sword after a volcanic eruption has shown him how to make metal. He becomes the leader of the tribe and a true tyrant, but young Pasco tries to overthrow him. Preposterous, cheap actioner, probably influenced by Annaud’s GUERRE DU FEU (1981). Score by the de Angelis brothers is not bad, neither are some of the ape costumes. British video version was cut by 11 minutes. English title is simply IRONMASTER.

Guerre du Feu, La (1981, FRA/CDN/USA) C-100m. Scope *** D: Jean-Jacques Annaud. Starring Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nameer El-Kadi, Rae Dawn Chong, Gary Schwartz. Exceptional film set on prehistoric Earth, where mankind is struggling to get and keep fire, which is paramount for survival in the wilderness. A movie without intelligible dialogue (special language was created by Anthony Burgess) that uses an excellent score (by Philippe Sarde) and magnificent location photography (by Claude Agostini) to delight the audience. A little uneven perhaps, but it may play even better (and be more fascinating) on the big screen. Based on the novel by J.H. Rosny Sr, screenplay written by Gérard Brach. Filmed in Scotland, Canada and Kenya. English title: QUEST FOR FIRE.

Guerrieri dell’Anno 2072, I (1983, ITA) C-89m. M D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Jared Martin, Howard Ross, Fred Williamson, Claudio Cassinelli, Al Cliver, Donald O’Brien. Yes, Old Splatterhand Fulci also made one science-fiction film in his career, and an ultra-cheesy one at that. Martin plays a famous star, who is forced to appear in deadly TV show, where he must fight against modern gladiators on motorbikes. The writers obviously saw ROLLERBALL (1975) and PRIX DU DANGER (1982), and read the Stephen King novel that was made into RUNNING MAN four years later. This one has low production values and is sometimes hilariously bad. Avoid it, unless you are a Fulci freak. Score by Riz Ortolani. Also known as FIGHTING CENTURIONS, THE NEW GLADIATORS, ROME 2072 A.D. and WARRIORS OF THE YEAR 2072.

Guisi (2006, TIW) C-108m. *** D: Su Chao-Bin. Starring Chang Chen, Chang Chun-Ning, Chen Bo-lin, Yosuke Eguchi, Barbie Hsu, Kevin S. Smith. Intriguing mix of horror and sci-fi themes about a team of scientists who have captured the ghost of a little boy. Together with a tough police sergeant they want to find out why the little boy’s spirit cannot rest. Smoothly made horror film offers an interesting explanation for ghosts and invents anti-gravity with the help of a Menger Sponge (mathematicians will know what this is). Another stunningly professional film fro Asia, stylishly made and superbly scored. English title: SILK.

Gunan il Guerriero (1982, ITA) C-88m. Scope ** D: Frank Shannon (=Franco Prosperi). Starring Peter McCoy (=Pietro Torrisi), Sabrina Siani, Malisa Longo, Emilio Messina. Blatant CONAN THE BARBARIAN rip-off about twin brothers, whose family is slaughtered when they were babies. Now, some twenty years later, they must decide who is the chosen one to defend their tribe. Pretty laughable actioner has entire sequences in slow-motion, which makes it quite funny. Watchable on a curio-basis. English titles: GUNAN, KING OF THE BARBARIANS, and THE INVINCIBLE BARBARIAN.

Gun Shy (2000, USA) C-101m. M D: Eric Blakeney. Starring Liam Neeson, Oliver Platt, José Zuniga, Michael DeLorenzo, Andrew Lauer, Richard Schiff, Sandra Bullock. Off-putting, irritating mess of a movie that wants to be off-beat at any price. Neeson plays a neurotic agent assigned to bust crime syndicate run by Platt. Lots of pseudo-hip characters cross his path. PULP FICTION it ain’t. Bullock, who has a small role as a nurse, also produced the film.

Gurotesuku (2009, JAP) C-73m. SCOPE *½ D: Kôji Shiraishi. Starring Hiroaki Kawatsure, Tsugumi Nagasawa, Shigeo Ôsako. THE COLLECTOR (1965) for the torture porn generation, a mindless flesh and bone show about a psychopath who abducts a young couple and tortures, humiliates and mutilates them in his torture chamber. Tasteless, even sickening, without a psychological aspect or a point. English title: GROTESQUE.

Gwoemul (2006, KOR) C-120m. *** D: Bong Joon-ho. Starring Song Kang-ho, Byeon Hie-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Du-na, Ko Ah-sung, Scott Wilson. Korean box-office smash about a sea monster spawned by spilled chemicals, which terrorizes the population of a major city. A little girl is kidnapped by the creature, and her father, a dreamer, makes it his personal plight to find her. He is assisted by his (unusual) family. Script is not completely logical, but film is exciting, entertaining and keeps you posted until the very end. English title: THE HOST.