Habitat (1997, CDN/NED) C-103m. *½ D: René Daalder. Starring Tchéky Karyo, Alice Krige, Balthazar Getty, Laura Harris, Kenneth Welsh. Almost completely worthless science-fiction fantasy set in the near future (with the ozone layer being destroyed) about scientist Karyo and his experiments in his basement. He is eventually turned into a swarm of particles and his son Getty doesn’t care one bit. He rather amuses himself with his sports teacher’s daughter Harris. Pointless, poorly written by the director. Made for video.

Hacha para la Luna de Miel, Una (1969, SPA/ITA) C-88m. *** D: Mario Bava. Starring Stephen Forsyth, Dagmar Lassander, Laura Betti, Gérard Tichy, Femi Benussi, Alan Collins. ‘A woman should only live until her wedding night; love once, and then die.’ Bizarre, enigmatic horror thriller about psychopathic fashion designer Forsyth who kills brides-to-be, the reason for which is linked to the tragic death of his parents when he was a boy. Creatively directed and photographed by Bava, who presents his personal version of PSYCHO (he also co-wrote the screenplay); this is one of his most poetic films. Highlighted by some beautiful and creepy sequences, although insane, illogical narrative lessens the effect of this stylish horror drama. Not completely successful (and not for all tastes) but a must for followers of the director. Melancholy score by Sante Maria Romitelli. Set in Paris. Note: That’s Bava’s own I TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURA (BLACK SABBATH) Forsyth is watching on TV. Italian title: IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA. English title: HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON. Also shown at 93m.

Haebyeoneuro Gada (2000, KOR) C-89m. ** D: Kim In Soo. Starring Kim Hyun-Jung, Yang Dong-Kun, Lee Seung-Chae, Lee Jeong-Jin, Lee Hyung-Kyoon. Not-bad but derivative and poorly acted slasher movie about a group of young people, who know each other from an internet chatroom and decide to spend a weekend at the sea together. Little do they know that there’s a psycho killer among them. Not badly made, but having seen this dozens of times before you fail to get excited. International title: BLOODY BEACH.

Haine (1980, FRA) C-88m. ** D: Dominique Goult. Starring Klaus Kinski, Maria Schneider, Patrice Melennec, Evelyne Bouix, Katia Tchenko. Crime drama, or psycho drama, about motorbiker Kinski, who passes through a town where a child has recently been killed in a hit-and-run accident. He gets mixed up with young mother Schneider, whose boyfriend starts using him as a scapegoat for bottled-up aggressions. Interesting, with its contained setting and small-town premise, but plot isn’t very believable or satisfying. Kinski, in a rare role as a victim, is given very little to do. Written by the director. Also known as LE CREDO DE LA VIOLENCE and KILLER-TRUCK.

Hairspray (1988, USA) C-92m. **½ D: John Waters. Starring Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Divine, Debbie Harry, Ricki Lake, Jerry Stiller, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Mink Stole, Pia Zadora, John Waters. Cult satire by John Waters (tame for his standards) set in the time of the Rock’n’Roll craze of the early 1960s. Lake is chubby teen who makes it to stardom on Baltimore TV show, Divine plays her sleazy suburban housewife-mother. Perhaps more watchable for people who lived through this time, but only funny moments are really Divine’s and John Waters’ scenes (he plays a wacky psychiatrist). Written by the director, whose first movie this was since the 1981 POLYESTER.

Half a Loaf of Kung Fu! (1979, HGK) C-98m. D: Chen Chi-Hwa. Starring Jackie Chan, Lung Juen-Er, James Tien, Li Hai-Lung, Kum Kong, Kim Chung-Lan, Miao Tien, Ma Yu-Lung, Li Ching-Luen, Shih Tien. Kung Fu comedy about young fighter (Chan) who seeks for a job as a bodyguard and is hired to protect a valuable jewel, the ‘Evergreen Jade’. Already episodic plot is made even more uninteresting by pointless comic scenes. Chan, who also choreographed, is appealing though, and you’ll certainly admire his artistry in the final fight (if you last that long). Executive produced by Lo Wei.     

Halloween (1978, USA) C-91m. Scope *** D: John Carpenter. Starring Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis. Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards. Carpenter’s follow-up to ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976) features more of the same brooding, menacing atmosphere as a serial killer escapes from an insane asylum and goes on a rampage, hacking up innocent teenagers on Halloween. An exercise in suspense, rather simplistic plotwise, but scary and unrelenting. Carpenter’s excellent score is among the best in this genre. One of the first slasher films. Followed by several sequels.

Halloween II (1981, USA) C-92m. Scope **½ D: Rick Rosenthal. Starring Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, Jeffrey Kramer, Lance Guest, Ana Alicia, Dana Carvey. First sequel features more of the same, taking off right where the original HALLOWEEN ended. It’s still October 31st, and Mike Myers is still hacking up the locals. Not as consequent as the first film, this sequel hits its stride rather late but delivers some good shocks. Also offers an explanation for Mike Myers’ obsession with murdering Curtis. Cowritten by Carpenter. Carvey’s film debut.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, USA) C-97m. Scope ** D: Tommy Lee Wallace. Starring Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy, Ralph Strait, Michael Currie. Ambitious but still rather silly horror film, no relation at all to the first two HALLOWEEN films. Doctor Atkins investigates the killing of one of his patients and discovers that a big company has invented a device to kill millions of people on Halloween. Good production values make this watchable. In Part 4 the killer from the original returns, so Michael Myers obviously turned out to be a better franchise. Usually shown in cut versions.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, USA) C-88m. M D: Dwight H. Little. Starring Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, George P. Wilbur. Just as terrible as the other six sequels to John Carpenter’s classic HALLOWEEN. Maniacal killer Michael Myers returns and wants to kill his niece on Halloween. Technically OK but plot is illogical and the ending is simply atrocious.

Halloween 5 (1989, USA) C-96m. ** D: Dominique Othenin-Girard. Starring Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Wendy Kaplan. Superfluous sequel is pure slash-and-stalk fare as the killer Myers is after his niece again. Better shot and directed than most of the other sequels, but it’s also rather cruel – and dull plotwise. Some prints are subtitled THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS.

Halloween H2O (1998, USA) C-85m. Scope M D: Steve Miner. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, Janet Leigh, LL Cool J. Idiotic, illogical continuation of the horror series initiated by John Carpenter’s 1978 horror hit HALLOWEEN ignores the other sequels and describes what happens twenty years after the first murders. Curtis is using a new identity to forget about the terrible events in her past. However, this Halloween someone is coming to get her (why?). Subplot about some high school kids who are slaughtered by Mike Myers shows that it was really the success of the SCREAM films that drove the producers to film another sequel to HALLOWEEN (A scene from SCREAM 2 is shown briefly on a TV set in the movie). This one is so bad it doesn’t even make good use of Carpenter’s original theme. Low-point in the careers of Leigh and Curtis (mother and daughter in real life).

Halloween: Resurrection (2002, USA) C-89m. Scope M D: Rick Rosenthal. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Brad Loree, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich. Sean Patrick Thomas, Tyra Banks, Rick Rosenthal. The director of the first sequel to HALLOWEEN (1978) tries his hand at this 8th film of the series but fails miserably. Pointless fare from start to finish wastes a bland-looking Curtis in prologue, then dispatches some teenage victims, who spend the night in Michael Myers’ childhood home. Tries to be modern and hip, but plot is completely worthless.

Hamlet (1948, GBR) 153m. **** D: Laurence Olivier. Starring Laurence Olivier, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sidney, Felix Aylmer, Jean Simmons, Stanley Holloway, Peter Cushing, Esmond Knight. The ultimate Shakespeare adaptation, with Olivier playing the melancholy Danish Prince, who learns that the sudden death of his father was actually murder committed by his immediate successor, Hamlet’s own uncle. Brilliant character study, focussing on the young man’s inner conflict whether to act or leave the murderers to their fate. Superbly directed and photographed (by Desmond Dickinson); Olivier delivers an unfor-gettable performance. Oscar-winner for Best Film (as the first British film), Best Actor, Art Direction-Set Decoration and Costumes. A young Christopher Lee is also in the cast. Filmed again in 1969 (by Tony Richardson), 1990 (by Franco Zefirelli) and 1996 (by Kenneth Branagh).

Hamlet (1990, USA/ITA) C-135m. *** D: Franco Zefirelli. Starring Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham-Carter, Stephen Dillane, Nathaniel Parker, John McEnery, Pete Postlethwaite. Edited but nevertheless good adaptation of the famous play, with Gibson surprisingly compelling as the melancholy Prince of Denmark. Well-acted by the entire cast. Zefirelli’s third Shakespeare adaptation after ROMEO AND JULIET and OTELLO. Score by Ennio Morricone.

Hamlet (1996, USA/GBR) C-242m. Scope *** D: Kenneth Branagh. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Julie Christie, Derek Jacobi, Kate Winslet, Rufus Sewell, Richard Briers, Brian Blessed, Gérard Depardieu, Charlton Heston, Rosemary Harris, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Richard Attenborough, Nicholas Farrell, John Gielgud, John Mills, Judi Dench. Fourth film version of Shakespeare’s most famous play, not counting several theme-related movies, who are just based on the text. Branagh, who has done well with HENRY V., MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, brings Hamlet gloriously to the screen. Not always compelling due to the film’s overlength, but a must-see nevertheless for its production values. Does not come close to Laurence Olivier’s version, which was shot in black-and-white and captured the Danish Prince’s melancholy mood much better. Branagh is sometimes too aggressive as the main character. Well-acted by the whole cast. Shot in 70mm Panavision Super 70.

Hana-Bi (1997, JAP) C-107m. **½ D: Takeshi Kitano. Starring ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi. Tetsu Watanabe. Cop drama by one of Japan’s most important filmmakers, about Kitano, who must come to terms with his dying wife and a friend’s murder. He bottles up his emotions until he decides to rob a bank. Ultra-violent, stylized drama is poorly timed and clearly a vanity product for its director and star. It’s not cool, as so many said, it’s merely cold. Some loved this film nonetheless. English title: FIREWORKS.

Hancock (2008, USA) C-92m. SCOPE **½ D: Peter Berg. Starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan, David Mattey, Michael Mann. Will Smith plays the title character, a superhero with qualities much like Superman, who is suffering from a burn-out syndrome. He’d rather spend his days drinking than doing something useful. Then he meets PR manager Bateman, who tries to improve his image in the public. Fast-paced, funny movie that’s unfortunately a film without a soul. The emotional crescendo in the end seems fake. Still, Smith fans and action fans will get their kicks out of the star’s performance and the over-the-top effects. Michael Mann and James Lassiter coproduced with star Smith.

Hand, The (1981, USA) C-104m. *½ D: Oliver Stone. Starring Michael Caine, Andrea Marcovicci, Annie McEnroe, Bruce McGill, Oliver Stone. Comic book artist Caine’s right hand gets severed in a car accident and returns to haunt its owner strangling some people along the way. The film that almost killed director Stone’s career (he didn’t make a film for the next five years). Probably the worst film ever featuring three Oscar-winners: Stone, composer James Horner and Michael Caine, whose hairdo is another reason not to watch this movie. Written by Stone, based on a novel by Mark Brandel.

Handmaid's Tale, The (1989, USA/GER) C-108m. **½ D: Volker Schlöndorff. Starring Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth McGovern, Victoria Tennant, Blanche Baker, Traci Lind. Overly sober adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel about a future society where most women are infertile and those who can bear babies are singled out and brainwashed. Fertile Richardson becomes the handmaid of Duvall, a powerful army official, whose infertile and frustrated wife Dunaway is highly suspicious of the strong-willed woman. Schlöndorff's direction is fine, but Harold Pinter's adaptation moves at a slow pace and never hits bull's-eye.

Hand of Death (1976, HGK) C-96m. Scope ** D: John Woo. Starring Dorian Tan, James Tien, Jackie Chan, Samo Hung, Chu Ching, Chen Juan-Lung. One of John Woo and Jackie Chan’s first films is an unexceptional eastern about young Shaolin fighter (Tan) appointed by his master to kill a monk who has switched sides. In the course of the plot, the fighter is aided by two friends (Tien and Jackie Chan). Martial-arts sequences are well-filmed but not outstanding. Badly paced plot is major liability film can’t shake off. Woo also wrote the screenplay and plays a minor part. Samo Hung choreographed the action.

Hands of the Ripper (1971, GBR) C-85m. **½ D: Peter Sasdy. Starring Eric Porter, Angharad Rees, Jane Marrow, Keith Bell, Derek Godfrey, Charles Lamb. Quite passable horror thriller, inspired by the killings of Jack the Ripper in 19th century London. Freudian doctor Porter intends to help and perhaps cure young girl, who has witnessed the murder of her mother by Jack the Ripper. It turns out that the girl is suffering from a deadly kind of schizophrenia. Interesting, quite well-made but unfortunately never exciting or thrilling. Includes some very violent scenes. Produced by Hammer Films.

Hanging Up (2000, USA) C-94m. ** D: Diane Keaton. Starring Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, Adam Arkin, Cloris Leachman. Ryan, Keaton and Kudrow play three sisters(!), whose senile father Matthau may not be around for very much longer, and Ryan is the only daughter willing to take a commitment. Rather annoying, incredible comedy drama is worthwhile thanks to Matthau’s wonderful performance, his last. Written by Nora and Delia Ephron, based on the latter’s novel.

Hangman’s Curse (2003, USA) C-106m. D: Rafal Zielinski. Starring David Keith, Mel Harris, Leighton Meester, Douglas Smith, Jake Richardson, William R. Moses, Frank Peretti. Shoddy mystery based on a series of novels by Frank Peretti. Keith and his family investigate mysterious phenomena for the FBI, are called to action in a school, where the ghost of a former student who hanged himself is causing other students to die. Overlong, poorly acted; seems like a failed pilot for a TV series. A disapppointment from the director of FUN (1994). Also known as THE VERITAS PROJECT: HANGMAN’S CURSE.

Hangover, The (2009, USA/GER) C-108m. SCOPE **½ D: Todd Phillips. Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galafaniakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps, Todd Phillips. Quite funny one-joke comedy about four friends who go to Las Vegas to party two days before Bartha’s wedding. A collective blackout leads to a considerable hangover on the next morning – and they have no idea why there is a baby in the hotel suite and a tiger in the bathroom! Together they set out to find the missing bridegroom. Some laughs, best enjoyed in (male) company. Slide show over end credits is best part. Also shown at 99m.

Hannibal (2001, USA) C-131m. **½ D: Ridley Scott. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Giancarlo Giannini, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, Frankie Faison, Ennio Coltorti, Francesca Neri, Zeljko Ivanek, Mark Margolis. Flawed sequel to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, also based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Special agent Starling (Moore) is still working for the FBI, although the search for Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter (Hopkins) has petered out. Disfigured victim Oldman, however, is intent as ever on tracing the intelligent criminal, and inspector Giannini may have just discovered him in Florence, Italy. Murders, gory killings are to follow. Attempt at creating a film as subtly frightening as the 1991 original is doomed to fail, because scriptwriters David Mamet and Steven Zaillian omit any psychological battles between the stars, which were the drawing card of the prequel. Basically a story well-told – but grows increasingly implausible, especially in the second half. Hopkins is brilliant, however, and should be the only reason to watch this film. Disgusting scenes towards the end are sure to turn the stomachs of the squeamish inside out.

… hanno cambiato faccia (1971, ITA) C-96m. ** D: Corrado Farina. Starring Adolfo Celi, Geraldine Hooper, Giuliano Disperati, Francesca Modigliani. Terminally odd horror drama about simple employee Disperati, who one day is called to the villa of his boss (Celi). There he learns that the man’s name is really Giovanni Nosferatu(!) and that he is controlling most industries and businesses worldwide. Ambitious but unfortunately also pretentious drama, a misfired parable on the dangers of technology, this cannot really be put into the horror category. One-of-a-kind film is worth seeking out only for real cult movie fetishists. From the director of the pop-art mystery BABA YAGA (1973). English titles: THEY HAVE CHANGED THEIR FACE, THEY’VE CHANGED FACES.

Hansel e Gretel (1990, ITA) C-90m. M D: Giovanni Simonelli. Starring Elisabete Pimenta Boaretto, Lucia Prato, Maurice Poli, Paul Muller. No trace of the Grimm Brothers in this cheap, unconvincing horror film. Children are kidnapped by a crime syndicate who sell their organs. Two dead children return from the grave to take revenge. Tasteless, pretentious, avoid at all costs, even if veteran Lucio Fulci is said to have directed parts of it. Some truly repulsive gore in this one.

Happening, The (2008, USA/IND) C-91m. **½ D: M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, Betty Buckley, Spencer Breslin, voice of M. Night Shyamalan. Apocalyptic thriller about science teacher Wahlberg, who is dazzled when people start killing themselves without apparant motive in Central Park, then the virus-like epidemic spreads to other north-eastern states as well. Wahlberg goes on the run with his girlfriend Deschanel, friend Leguizamo and his daughter Sanchez. Irresistible concept unfortunately goes completely awry in second half, when film makes fun of itself and becomes improbable and unexciting. Another miss by Shyamalan, who also scripted and produced the movie.

Happiness (1998, USA) C-139m. **½ D: Todd Solondz. Starring Jane Adams, Elizabeth Ahsley, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle, Ben Gazzara, Jared Harris, Philip Seymour Hofman, Louise Lasser, Jon Lovitz. The ordinary lives of several people are portrayed in this satirical drama by the maker of WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE. They have problems everyone has but doesn't want to speak about. For example, the son of a psychiatrist (and child molester) is desperate that he hasn't "come" yet and Daddy wants to lend a hand(!), a young woman (the shrink's sister-in-law) is terrified to hear that her ex-lover has committed suicide, and a successful writer inspires her fat neighbor to terrorize other women on the phone with his sexual fantasies (for that reason he is being treated by the psychiatrist) etc.. It's all about sex and unhappiness, and the first half of this (obviously overlong) picture is scented with an air of brilliance, but in the second half the episodes about the different characters peter out without a satisfactory conclusion (although it's doubtful whether there is any possible, since all this is true-to-life). Fatally overlong and very much a matter of taste, but worth a look for those who loved director Solondz' debut film (which ran 87m.).

Happy Feet (2006, USA) C-108m. Scope ** D: George Miller. Starring (the voices of) Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Miriam Margolyes, Anthony LaPaglia, Steve Irwin. On the icy contintent of Antarctica, an adolescent penguin is grieved to find that he cannot sing. His incredible tap-dancing skills, however, are quite useless, until… After the pig-movie BABE (1995), director Miller (yes, the man who made MAD MAX) gives us a movie about a tap-dancing penguin, who makes his moves to (terrible) medleys of classic pop songs. Weak story-wise, film tries to come alive in contrived action set-pieces, to little avail. Hard to believe this took the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Happy, Texas (1999, USA) C-99m. *** D: Mark Illsley. Starring Jeremy Northam, Steve Zahn, William H. Macy, Ally Walker, Illeana Douglas, M.C. Gainey, Ron Perlman, Mark Illsley. Three convicts manage to escape from prison, and two of them (Zahn, Northam) steal a trailer and wind up in rural community of Happy, Texas, where the owners of the trailer are expected. The criminals are thus mistaken for two homosexual kiddie talent trainers, which forces them to play the roles at least for several days – or so they think. Funny crime comedy has a great cast and a good score, it’s well worth watching despite some minor contrivances.

Hard Boiled (1992, HGK) C-127m. *** D: John Woo. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan, Cheung Jue-Luh, Anthony Wong, Bowie Lam. Perhaps the most furious action thriller ever made: Two cops, one working undercover, fight a violent battle against a triad syndicate. Stylish direction (slow-motion à la Peckinpah) ignites fireworks for the senses. Story (by Woo) drowns in perfect, never-before-seen action sequences. Woo, who has a cameo as a bartender, also coedited the picture.

Hard Candy (2005, USA) C-103m. Scope **½ D: David Slade. Starring Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Holmes (=Odessa Rae). Incredibly intense (albeit manipulative) psycho thriller about professional photographer Wilson, who meets 14-year-old internet acquaintance Page, takes her home with dubious motives. However, she intends him to be her victim. So intense at times, it’s painful to watch (especially for men). Not without merit, but goes on longer than it should, and mostly for the sake of making you wince. Excellent performances. Written by Brian Nelson. The title is internet slang for under-age girls.

Hard Day’s Night, A (1964, GBR) 91m. **** D: Richard Lester. Starring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfred Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkins, Victor Spinetti, Anna Quayle. The Beatles’ first film is a light-hearted, enjoyable comedy about the busy life of a pop group. Not much plotwise but ingeniously done, featuring many priceless hit songs. The filmmaker’s concept may seem simple at first but is phenomenally successful, showing (as Lester himself put it) ‘the explosion of youth as a power’. A sensation, now as then. Ringo and Paul’s grandfather (Brambell) have the best scenes. Cut for U.S. release. Followed by HELP!

Hard Eight (1997, USA) C-101m. Scope *** D: Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman. An elderly man (Hall) picks up a broke loser (Reilly) at a café and teaches him how to ‘make a living’ in casinos without having much money at one’s disposal. The two men become friends, though it’s unclear for a long time why Hall has given Reilly a chance to lead a better life. Calm, elegant drama, with Paltrow and Jackson lending fine support. Score and soundtrack add to the atmosphere. Set in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hard Rain (1998, USA/JAP/GER/GBR/NOR) C-96m. Scope **½ D: Mikael Salomon. Starring Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, Ed Asner, Michael Goorjian, Mark Rolston, Richard Dysart, Betty White. A town is evacuated after a sudden flood and armoured car guard Slater has to protect $3 million from the greedy fingers of criminal Freeman and his gang. While the streets and houses are filling with water, the two are playing a tough cat-and-mouse game. Highly improbable premise is overcome by an effective last third. Thriller rates ** at the beginning and *** at the end. The direction appropriately keeps things at a quick pace. Action fans won’t be disappointed. Slater coproduced.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987, USA) C-96m. *½ D: Andy Sidaris. Starring Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, Rodrigo Obregón. Sequel to MALIBU EXPRESS (1985) is in exactly the same vein, putting two busty blondes in danger, as they must contend with a drug syndicate and a killer snake. Some violent bits, but atrociously acted. Another relic from the golden age of video stores. Followed by PICASSO TRIGGER (1988).

Hardware (1990, GBR) C-94m. ** D: Richard Stanley. Starring Dylan McDermott, Stacy Travis, John Lynch, William Hootkins, Iggy Pop, Lemmy. In the post-apocalyptic future, presented a la MAD MAX, only through a red-tinted lens, a scavenger finds metal parts of a robot. When McDermott and his girlfriend Travis put it together, they find out that it is quite deadly. Poor storytelling hampers this film greatly, it becomes better in second half, when there’s more action. Visually interesting debut feature from Stanley (DUST DEVIL). Based on the story ‘Shok’, but there are also elements of Tarkovsky’s STALKER (1979) and many other sci-fi films. Score by Simon Boswell.

Hard Way, The (1991, USA) C-111m. Scope **½ D: John Badham. Starring Michael J. Fox, James Woods, Stephen Lang, Annabella Sciorra, John Capodice, Luis Guzmán, LL Cool J, Delroy Lindo, Penny Marshall, Christina Ricci. Fairly entertaining action comedy about movie star Fox, who joins cynical, violent cop Woods for a few days, hoping that he can get some experience for his next film role. Woods is after a serial killer, which makes it tough going for the actor. Contrived, overlong, but not bad, with Woods’ foul-mouthed performance a real treat. Coproduced by Rob Cohen.

Harlequin (1980, AUS) C-95m. Scope *** D: Simon Wincer. Starring Robert Powell, David Hemmings, Carmen Duncan, Broderick Crawford, David Hough. Intriguing supernatural thriller about politician Hemmings, whose son is dying of leukemia. Enter faith healer Powell, who not only cures the boy but also turns his wife’s head. Is he a charlatan or a real magician? Despite some illogical parts this remains a well-scripted chiller, with a fine Brian May score. Everett De Roche’s screenplay makes reference to famous Russian Czar advisor Rasputin. Also known as DARK FORCES, THE MINISTER’S MAGICIAN.

Harper (1966, USA) C-121m. Scope *** D: Jack Smight. Starring Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, Robert Wagner, Janet Leigh, Arthur Hill, Pamela Tiffin, Robert Webber, Strother Martin, Harold Gould. Stellar cast in an adaptation of Chandler contemporary Ross Macdonald’s The Moving Target. Newman plays a private eye who is hired by rich lady Bacall to trace her husband. He encounters strange characters on his search and becomes involved in a kidnapping scheme. Pulp fiction thriller is an indelible time capsule of the sixties but fails to evoke much interest with its plot. Good photography by Conrad Hall. Followed by a sequel, THE DROWNING POOL, ten years later.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001, GBR/USA) C-152m. Scope *** D: Chris Columbus. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Ian Hart, Vern Troyer, John Hurt, Julie Walters, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, John Cleese, Alan Rickman. First of J.K. Rowling’s incredibly successful Harry Potter stories is brought to the big screen in grand style. Plot follows Harry from his foster parents to the Hogwarts school of magic, where he makes new friends and has to pass his first big test when he suspects evil-doings in one of the teachers (Rickman). Adaptation leaves some things desired (especially to those who have read the book) and overlength may make it difficult for impatient kids, although this is not for very small ones anyway. Still, an enjoyable, effective film. Also known as HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE. Followed by HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002).

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002, GBR/USA/GER) C-157m. Scope **½ D: Chris Columbus. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Jason Isaacs, Julie Walters, Miriam Margolyes, John Cleese. Second installment in the HARRY POTTER series shows Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, where he investigates mysterious events surrounding the Chamber of Secrets. Several new characters are introduced, but plot remains too episodic, almost like a video game. Good effects. Score by John Williams. Followed by HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004).

Hart’s War (2002, USA) C-125m. Scope *** D: Gregory Hoblit. Starring Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Cole Hauser, Marcel Iures, Linus Roache. Months before the end of World War Two, an American lieutenant is captured by the Germans and brought to a prison camp led by Nazi Iures. There he meets Colonel Willis, the U.S. officer with the highest rank. When two black pilots are captured and brought to the camp, racism among the prisoners leads to murder. Engrossing war film is a court-room drama at its core. First half of the film is a little aimless but final third is compelling stuff. A well-acted film, especially by Iures, who’s frighteningly good. Based upon the novel by John Katzenbach.

Hatari! (1962, USA) C-157m. *** D: Howard Hawks. Starring John Wayne, Hardy Krüger, Elsa Martinelli, Red Buttons, Gérard Blain, Bruce Cabot, Michèle Girardon. Loose, relaxed African adventure from director/producer Hawks. Wayne plays leader of Safari hunters, who must accept female photographer Martinelli in their round, which leads to jealousy and romantic entanglements. Pretty much contrived and too long really without much of a plot, but cast handles material well and film is never boring. Title yell means ‘Danger!’. Elaborate score by Henry Mancini.

Hatsujô Kateikyôshi: Sensei no Aijiru (2003, JAP) C-90m. D: Mitsuru Meike. Starring Emi Kuroda, Yukijiro Hotaru, Takshi Ito. Japanese sex movie with comic touches, a so-called Pink Eiga, about a young woman, who is shot in the head but survives with an insatiable lust for sex. The bullet is stuck in her brain, and what’s more, she is also carrying a replica of George W. Bush’s index finger with her, courtesy of the guy who shot her! Appeals to some primal instincts, but has nothing to do with a serious movie. May owe a bit to the classic DEEP THROAT (1972). English title: THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAI.

Haunted, The (1979, USA) C-81m. *½ D: Michael A. DeGaetano. Starring Aldo Ray, Virginia Mayo, Ann Michelle, Paul Vincenzo. Pretty laughable horror oddity set in a ghost town where the past is coming back to haunt the small community. A century ago, an Indian woman was accused of witchcraft and now she may have come back for revenge. Poorly directed movie stretches out scenes to achieve this feeble running time. If seeing naked Indians on horses is your cup of tea, tune in. Also known as THE GLASS CAGE.

Haunted (1995, GBR) C-108m. ** D: Lewis Gilbert. Starring Aidan Quinn, Kate Beckinsale, John Gielgud, Anna Massey, Alexander Andrews, Alex Lowe. In the 1920s psychologist Quinn takes an interest in the (alleged) haunting of a South England manson, and travels there, hoping to be able to give the owners mental support, because he does not believe in nonsense such as ghosts. He falls in love with a young woman (Beckinsale) who lives at the old estate with her two brothers and her aunt. Supernatural chiller builds (and builds and builds) suspense but, apart from a few chills, keeps the viewer groping in the dark for too long. The conclusion is extremely unsatisfying and undermines the film’s logical plot, which is too bad because the production values are good and the cinematography (by Tony Pierce Roberts) atmospheric. Based on James Herbert’s novel. Massey appeared in the similar THE GROTESQUE (1995).

Haunting, The (1999, USA) C-113m. Scope **½ D: Jan de Bont. Starring Lily Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Bruce Dern, Virginia Madsen Todd Field, Michael Cavanaugh. Scientist Neeson gathers three research subjects at a castle, pretending to study their sleeping problems. In fact, he wants to study their behavior in situations that create fear. Little does he expect the house to be haunted, and Taylor soon starts to have strange visions. Well-made chiller is good for over an hour, then falls apart as Taylor battles the evil spirit and suspense is forgotten. An okay view, with an impressive setting. Loosely based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which was filmed before in 1963. Score by Jerry Goldsmith. Samuel Z. Arkoff and Steven Spielberg were among the executive producers.

Haunts (1977, USA) C-97m. *** D: Herb Freed. Starring May Britt, Cameron Mitchell, Aldo Ray, William Gray Espy, Ben Hammer, E.J. André, Kendall Jackson, Susan Nohr. A rural village is terrified when a killer stalks innocent victims and stabs them using a pair of scissors. Sexually repressed Britt, a local farmwoman, may be the next victim, but will her uncle Mitchell be there to help? Ambitious, chilling psycho drama in the guise of a slasher movie plays its cards in the last third, when some intriguing twists leads the story to a surprising conclusion. Uneven, but stay with it! Has cult film possibilities. Cowritten by director Freed (BEYOND EVIL).

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (2004, JAP) C-119m. ***½ D: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring (the voices of) Jane Alan, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Jean Simmons, Emily Mortimer (English version). Miyazaki’s follow-up to SPIRITED AWAY (2001) is another astounding, awe-inspiring fantasy epic. A little girl, working for a hatmaker, is saved from lecherous soldiers by a mysterious magician, and when she is cursed by an evil witch, turning her into an old woman, she seeks refuge at his moving castle. Soon she learns that the magician is a troubled soul himself and that the world is on the brink of a terrible war. Wonderfully animated, superbly scored extravaganza that even manages to work in a criticism of technology and war. Filled with interesting characters and marvelous twists, a must. Based on a novel by Diana Wynne Jones. English title: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE.

Haute Tension (2003, FRA) C-91m. Scope D: Alexandre Aja. Starring Cécile De France, Maiwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun. Nihilistic horror thriller about a young girl, who intends to spend the weekend studying at a friend's place (a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere). However, soon after her arrival, the family is brutally slaughtered by a maniac and the girl has to use her wits to survive. Exercise in suspense and horror plays like an homage to the slasher pics of the early 80s (even the score is similar), but it too often misleads you and ultimately lacks any point whatsoever. After tying your stomach in knots for an hour, film makes an illogical twist and becomes totally absurd. For fans of over-the-top gore only. Director Aja went on to make the HILLS HAVE EYES remake in 2006. English titles: HIGH TENSION, and SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE.

Hayanbang (2002, KOR) C-94m. **½ D: Lim Chang-jae. Starring Jeong Jun-ho, Lee Eun-ju, Kim Ji-yu, Kye Seong-Yong. Don’t let the illogical international title UNBORN BUT FORGOTTEN steer you away from this quite creepy film about a reporter who investigates a mysterious website of an abortion clinic, which kills its visitors within two weeks. Another paraphrase of RINGU (1998), well-scored and chilling, but plot loses its focus too often. Also known as WHITE ROOM.

H-Bomb (1971, HGK) C-96m. Scope ** D: Philip Chalong. Starring Christopher Mitchum, Olivia Hussey. Big James Bond-like production about a stolen bomb and CIA agent Mitchum’s attempts to stop the villains. Hussey plays the love interest (her father is one of the key figures in the affair). Lots of action and explosions, some martial arts sequences, some nudity, all with unmistakable 70s flair. Barely released but not bad. Produced by Raymond Chow. Also known as GREAT FRIDAY and OPERATION ALPHA.

Head Above Water (1996, USA) C-92m. Scope D: Jim Wilson. Starring Harvey Keitel, Cameron Diaz, Craig Sheffer, Billy Zane, Shay Duffin. Remake of a Norwegian film (HODET OVER VANNET), with Cameron Diaz in one of her first starring roles. She plays a young woman married to a judge (Keitel) who is visited by her ex-lover (Zane) on their island one day. When she finds him dead the next morning, they plan to dispose of him in the sea, since no one would believe their story. Comedy thriller grows more improbable with each new story twist. Watchable at times, but otherwise pretty idiotic.

Heartbreakers (2001, USA) C-123m. Scope ** D: David Mirkin. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, Anne Bancroft, Jeffrey Jones, Gene Hackman, Nora Dunn, Carrie Fisher, David Mirkin. Completely contrived, artificial Hollywood comedy about mother-daughter team Weaver/Hewitt, who make a fortune ripping off sex-hungry men. Their latest victim is chain-smoking billionaire Hackman. And there is also mafia-type Liotta waiting to settle a score. Weaver is enjoyable, but plot twists are stultifying and film’s length preposterous.

Heartbreak Kid, The (2007, USA) C-116m. Scope *** D: Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Starring Ben Stiller, Malin Akerman, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry, Carlos Mencia, Scott Wilson, Eva Longoria. Contrived but undeniably funny comedy about San Francisco sports store owner Stiller, who at 40 still hasn’t married or had a date for a few years. Then he meets and falls in love with blonde Akerman – and marries her without really knowing her. Then during their honeymoon in Mexico he realizes his big mistake, as there is cute Monaghan, who seems to be so much more like him. Stiller is fun to watch, and there are some really laugh-out-loud situtations. From the directors of THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (1998). Based on a short story by Bruce Jay Friedman, which was also the basis for a 1972 movie with the same title, scripted by Neil Simon.

Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, The (2004, USA/GBR/FRA/JAP) C-98m. M D: Asia Argento. Starring Asia Argento, Jimmy Bennett, Kip Pardue, Ornella Muti, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Peter Fonda, Marilyn Manson, Jeremy Sisto, Michael Pitt, Winona Ryder. This movie is unwatchable above all things. Director-actress Argento casts herself as a trailer-trash mother in this, her second feature. She wins a custody battle to take her son home from his foster parents, then subjects him to all kinds of (unspeakable) abuse. The boy suffers through the entire movie and so will you. One wonders why so many decent actors signed on for this script. Based on short stories by J.T. LeRoy. Score includes work by Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Billy Corgan.

Hearts in Atlantis (2001, USA) C-101m. Scope **½ D: Scott Hicks. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis, Mika Boreem, David Morse. After the death of his childhood friends, Morse recalls his past and the magical summer in which he turned eleven years and made the acquaintance of a mysterious but friendly elderly man (Hopkins). Another one of writer Stephen King’s childhood reminiscences (set in 1960), film has stylish directorial touches and beautiful photography but sentimental, tear-jerking conclusion is not at all justified by plot, which seems overly familiar and simple. You keep waiting for a twist that never comes. And the frame narrative is rather pointless here. King’s novel was adapted by William Goldman. Cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski died during production, his work was finished by Emmanuel Lubezki and Allen Daviau. 

Heat (1972, USA) C-100m. **½ D: Paul Morrissey. Starring Joe Dallesandro, Sylvia Miles, Andrea Feldman, Pat Ast, Ray Vestal. A film from Andy Warhol’s Factory, following FLESH (1968) and TRASH (1970), this is a take on SUNSET BLVD. (1950) as former child star Dallesandro is washed up in sleazy motel, starts an affair with aging blonde actress Miles. Lots of low-life characters populate this raw, unpretentious drama. Some sloppy acting lessens film’s effect. Like everything associated with Warhol, this has a cult following.

Heavenly Creatures (1994, NZL/GBR) C-108m. Scope *** D: Peter Jackson. Starring Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diane Kent, Clive Merrison, Simon O’Connor, Jed Brophy, Elizabeth Moody, Peter Jackson. Director Jackson’s follow-up to the splatter film BRAINDEAD is a fascinating psycho drama based on a real case in the 1950s about the friendship of two New Zealand girls, who flee into a fantasy world of their own, being misunderstood by their parents and teachers. Their uncompromising love for each other ends in a catastrophe, which is clear from the very beginning. Superbly acted, well-filmed, unusual drama loses momentum in the second half (slowing down almost completely), but delivers a harrowing conclusion. Another show of talent from director Jackson (especially his interpretation of emotions in faces!). He has a brief cameo as a bum. The character played by Winslet (her film debut) later wrote bestselling novels as Anne Perry. Also shown at 99m.

Heavy (1996, USA) C-105m. **½ D: James Mangold. Starring Pruitt Taylor Vince, Liv Tyler, Shelley Winters, Deborah Harry, Jeo Grifasi, Evan Dando. Low-key, downbeat, but occasionally effective character study about fat, unattractive cook Vince and his infatuation with Tyler, a beautiful young teen, who comes to work at his mother's restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Interesting to watch, but not outstanding and slowly paced. A surprisingly mature role for young Tyler.

Heavy Traffic (1973, USA) C-76m. *** D: Ralph Bakshi. Intelligent, brilliantly creative animated feature from the maker of FRITZ THE CAT circles around the life of an animation artist, who feels he’s as undecided as a pinball and imagines himself to live an exciting life as a mack. While this film is a must for animation buffs, others may find it too graphic and ordinary.

Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko (1994, JAP) C-119m. *** D: Isao Takahata. Starring (the voices of) Kokondei Shinchou, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida, Norihei Miki, Nijiko Kiyokawa. Humorous yet sentimental look back at Japan of the 1960s, and its urban development that destroyed many forests. Story centers around a tribe of raccoons, who use their transforming skills to stop the destruction of their habitat. Slightly episodic fantasy drama contains some stunningly creative animation, especially in the transformation scenes. With its countless references to local folklore, this may speak most eloquently to Japanese audiences. Produced by Studio Ghibli. From the director of the acclaimed HOTARU NO HAKA (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES). English titles: POM POKO, and THE RACCOON WAR.

Helen of Troy (1955, USA) C-118m. Scope **½ D: Robert Wise. Starring Rossana Podesta, Stanley Baker, Brigitte Bardot, Jacques Sernas, Cedric Hardwicke, Harry Andrews. Lavishly filmed spectacle about title character, who flees from Sparta with Paris, causing war between the cities of Sparta and Troy. Good, violent battle scenes, dramatic monumental score by Max Steiner, but script wears film down. One should have tried to add something new to the familiar story, or at least regard it from different aspects. Podesta is beautiful as Helen, however, and Bardot’s supporting role will interest her fans.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988, GBR) C-99m. **½ D: Tony Randel. Starring Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman, Sean Chapman, William Hope, Doug Bradley. Sequel to Clive Barker’s horror hit HELLRAISER (1987) continues story of Laurence, whose stepmother manages to get herself resurrected by a maniacal doctor, with the cenobite horde in tow. Some time later, the movie takes us right into hell. Even more unpleasant than its predecessor, with an uneven plot, but convincing make-up effects will titillate the dedicated. Pretty much the epitome of splatter punk, set to a booming Christopher Young soundtrack. Barker executive produced. R-rated version runs 97m.

Hellboy (2004, USA) C-132m. *** D: Guillermo del Toro. Starring Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Guillermo del Toro, Mike Mignola. Explosive, entertaining comic book adaptation about the title character (Perlman), who is summoned from hell by Rasputin-like Roden to do evil deeds during WW2. He is saved by Hurt, who then begins leading a secret CIA branch dealing with the supernatural – with super-strong Hellboy a powerful weapon. If only the guy weren’t so down-to-earth at times… Well-produced horror/fantasy actioner works because of its appealing (even funny) main character. The action is astounding. Del Toro (CRONOS, MIMIC) scripted, based on Mike Mignola’s comic book series, but it also owes a bit to H.P. Lovecraft. Original theatrical version ran 125m. and was rated PG-13. Sequel to follow in 2008.

Hell in the Pacific (1968, USA) C-103m. Scope *** D: John Boorman. Starring Lee Marvin, Toshiro Mifune. After POINT BLANK director Boorman continues to be innovative: In 1944, American soldier Marvin finds himself stranded on a remote island in the Pacific, which is inhabited by equally lost Japanese officer Mifune. Soon each is trying to get the upper hand, and it seems they are acting out their personal world war. Little dialogue, rampant symbolism and grand photography (by Conrad Hall) in a film that speaks through its pictures. Remarkable, if not terribly exciting or suspenseful. Score by Lalo Schifrin.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987, CDN) C-96m. **½ D: Bruce Pittman. Starring Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis, Lisa Schrage, Richard Monette, Terri Hawkes. Thirty years after the accidental burning of the prom queen, the lady returns from the grave to possess beautiful teenager Lyon. Some nasty killings ensue. This sequel really only has the principal theme in common with the first film. It’s well-directed, well-filmed to make up for some plot deficiencies. Movie references range from THE EXORCIST (1973) and CARRIE (1976) to the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movies. Recommended to buffs. Also known as THE HAUNTING OF HAMILTON HIGH. Followed by two more sequels.

Hellraiser (1987, GBR) C-94m. *** D: Clive Barker. Starring Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Robert Hines, Doug Bradley. Horror novelist Clive Barker’s directorial debut is a splatter movie milestone. Robinson moves into his missing brother’s house with his family, unknowing that the sibling is waiting upstairs in a skeletal state, waiting for fresh blood ever since he opened the gate to hell with a magical cube. Gruesome, serious horror will probably put you off your dinner, but no horror fan should complain. Barker also scripted, from his novel The Hellbound Heart. Followed by quite a lot of sequels, starting with HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II (1988).

Hell Squad (1985, USA) C-87m. ** D: Kenneth Hartford. Starring Bainbridge Scott, Glen Hartford, Tina Lederman, Marvin Miller, William Bryant. Poorly directed action adventure about several Las Vegas showgirls, who go into military training to carry out mission to free an American ambassador’s son from Arab terrorists. Mostly gratuitous, but nudity, general outrageousness may keep you watching. Also known as COMMANDO GIRLS, COMMANDO SQUAD.

Hell Up in Harlem (1973, USA) C-94m. ** D: Larry Cohen. Starring Fred Williamson, Julius Harris, Gloria Hendry, Margaret Avery, D’Urville Martin, Tony King, James Dixon, Mindi Miller. Sequel to BLACK CAESAR (1973) is faster, possibly more violent but also more sloppily plotted. Williamson, as a kind of black GODFATHER goes after a rival black gangster who is pacting with the police. Lots of shoot-outs to satisfy genre fans. Director Cohen’s fluid style makes this watchable, although at the end you might wonder what this was all about.

Help! (1965, GBR) C-95m. *** D: Richard Lester. Starring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Leo McKern, Eleanor Bron, Victor Spinetti, Roy Kinnear, Patrick Cargill, Alfie Bass. Follow-up to A HARD DAY’S NIGHT features the same mad-cap humor, paired with the Beatles’ hit songs. In the film Ringo is pursued by a strange sect who want to retrieve a sacrificial ring, - which the drummer simply can’t get off his finger! Unfortunately, this semi-spoof of James Bond films is rather incoherent and interrupted by too few performances by the band. Still, in many ways this comedy is a predecessor to music video clips and thus artistically important.

Henry & June (1990, GBR/FRA) C-136m. *** D: Philip Kaufman. Starring Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros, Richard E. Grant, Kevin Spacey, Juan Luis Bunuel, Brigitte Lahaie, Maurice Escargot (=Gary Oldman). Moody, absorbing drama set in 1931 Paris, detailing the literary and sexual encounters between Henry Miller (Ward) and Anais Nin (de Medeiros). Nin and especially Henry’s lascivious wife June (Thurman) inspire him to write Tropic of Cancer. Good period flavor, smooth direction and photography. Ward is miscast, though, and Grant (as Nin’s husband) struggles with an American accent. Thurman, who was barely twenty at the time, is excellent. Director Kaufman adapted Anais Nin’s book with his wife Rose. The first film to be rated NC-17 by the MPAA.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986, USA) C-82m. ***½ D: John McNaughton. Starring Michael Rooker, Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold. Near-brilliant movie follows the life of serial killer Henry, his daily routine, his violent outbursts, and the relationship to his roommates Towles and Arnold. A grittily realistic, at times incredibly tense film; this psycho drama / character study is unlike all other films about serial killers. A must-see, with a disturbing, brilliant score. Due to controversial subject matter and presentation, this film remained unreleased for several years. Based on the life of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. First film by director McNaughton (MAD DOG AND GLORY, WILD THINGS) Followed by a sequel in 1998.

Hercules (1983, ITA/USA) C-98m. ** D: Lewis Coates (=Luigi Cozzi). Starring Lou Ferrigno, Brad Harris, Sybil Danning, Rossana Podestà, Ingrid Anderson, Mirella D’Angelo, William Berger, John (Gianni) Garko, Claudio Cassinelli, Raf Baldassare. Overblown, admittedly ambitious but rather cheap fantasy epic detailing the exploits of Hercules, son of Zeus, as countless sword-and-sandal epics did in the early 1960s. Ferrigno is a dumb muscleman (in the tradition of Reg Park) trying to free an abducted princess. Juvenile but watchable, with really a lot of special effects. Kids might like it. Produced by Menahem Golan. Followed by a sequel.

Hercules (1997, USA) C-92m. **½ D: Ron Clements, John Musker. Starring (the voices of) Tate Donovan, Josh Keaton, Roger Bart, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Bobcat Goldthwait, Matt Frewer, Rip Torn, Samantha Eggar, Hal Holbrook, Amanda Plummer, Jim Cummings, narrated by Charlton Heston. Painfully anachronistic Disney version of the Greek myth about demi-god Hercules’ plight on Earth. Everything about the characters (the lingo, the gesticulating) is modern-day, and you may find this as off-putting as in ROMEO + JULIET (1996) or A KNIGHT’S TALE (2001). It’s typically well-animated (and well-cast), though.

Hercules in New York (1970, USA) C-97m. *½ D: Arthur Allan Seidelman. Starring Arnold Stang, Arnold Strong (=Arnold Schwarzenegger), Taina Elg, James Karen, Deborah Loomis. Hercules (Schwarzenegger) is sent to New York City by his father Zeus and gets mixed up with all kinds of criminals and idiots. Action comedy isn’t really funny and doesn’t sustain feature length, but it does have some trash appeal and features a friendly, charismatic, 22-year-old Amold Schwarzenegger in his movie debut (though his real breakthrough as CONAN THE BARBARIAN was still 12 years off). Shown at various running times, from 75m. to 97m., most common version seems to run 91m. Also known as HERCULES GOES BANANAS and HERCULES – THE MOVIE.

Héritier, L’ (1973, FRA/ITA) C-107m. ** D: Philippe Labro. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Carla Gravina, Jean Rochefort, Charles Denner, Jean Desailly, Jean Martin, Maurice Garrel, Pierre Grasset, Maureen Kerwin, Philippe Labro. Ambitious but slow, ponderous drama (a would-be political thriller) about womanizer, playboy Belmondo, who comes to France to claim his inheritance. His father has left him an industrial empire. He tries to adapt to a new lifestyle and must face a possible assassination. A relatively little-known Bébél movie, and rightfully so. Never hits its stride, though basic premise is interesting and cast is good. English title: THE INHERITOR.

Hero (2002, HGK/CHI) C-99m. Scope *** D: Zhang Yimou. Starring Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Daoming, Donnie Yen. In ancient China a nameless warrior comes with great news: he has defeated the three most feared assassins and thus safeguarded the life of the ruler. He is invited by the despot to tell his story – but is it true? Visually astounding, highly aesthetic  martial arts epic that often resembles a ballet. Unfortunately, the story is not as compelling as one would like it to be, despite some references to Akira Kurosawa’s classic RASHOMON (1950). Watch this one for the intoxicating direction and photography (by Christopher Doyle). The fine score features violin solos and fiddling by Ithzak Perlman. Choreography by Ching Siu-Tung.

Heroic Trio, The (1992, HGK) C-88m. **½ D: Johnny To, Ching Siu-Tung. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung, Damian Lau, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang. Hong Kong fantasy actioner spreads mayhem in a big city, where infant boys are being abducted by an evil being hoping to control future emperor. Plot is almost impossible to follow at times, some excellent action set-pieces (directed by Ching Siu-Tung) make it worthwhile for genre fans. Original version may run 104m. Followed by a sequel.

Heroic Trio 2 (1993, HGK) C-100m. **½ D: Ching Siu-Tung, Johnny To. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung, Damian Lau, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Takeshi Kaneshiro. In a post-nuclear metropolis the Heroic Trio unites, as evil Wong is controlling the (short) water supply in order to take over the city. Kinetic fantasy action, well-made but unfortunately unevenly plotted. Hong Kong action film fans might boost the rating by half a star.

Hexen bis aufs Blut Gequält (1970, GER) C-97m. **½ D: Michael Armstrong, Adrian Hoven. Starring Herbert Lom, Olivera Vuco, Herbert Fux, Michael Maien, Ingeborg Schöner, Reggie Nalder, Adrian Hoven. Notable example of Euro sleaze, this cult classic focuses on the sadistic side of medieval witchhunts. Kier is an apprentice to witchfinder general Lom, who is about to end cruel witch hunter Nalder’s exploits in a little German village. Gruesome, potent horror film won’t shy away from showing a person’s tongue ripped out (missing from most prints). Sloppy editing, acting distract, but direction is competent and score not bad. Lom and especially Nalder are good in their sadistic roles. Co-director, producer and co-writer Hoven followed this with HEXEN GESCHÄNDET UND ZU TODE GEQUÄLT (1972). Also known as MARK OF THE DEVIL. 

Hibernatus (1969, FRA/ITA) C-82m. Scope ** D: Edouard Molinaro. Starring Louis de Funès, Claude Gensac, Bernard Alane, Olivier de Funès, Eliette Demay, Martine Kelly, Jacques Legras, Pascale Lazotti, Claude Piéplu, Paul Preboist, Yves Vincent, Michel Lonsdale. A frozen male body is found at the north pole. Upon thawing, the man awakes thinking it is 1905. It turns out businessman de Funès’ wife is the man’s granddaughter, so they refurnish the house in turn-of-the-century fashion and transfer him to France. Weak script, coauthored by de Funès himself, makes this one of his less enjoyable outings. Jean-Bernard Luc’s play, on which this is based, may have been critical of society, but as a comedy this material just isn’t funny enough. Preboist steals the film as idiotic butler. Editing is above average. Score by Georges Delerue. Olivier is Louis’ son.

Hidalgo (2004, USA) C-136m. Scope *** D: Joe Johnston. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Zuleikha Robinson, Omar Sharif, Louise Lambert, Adam Alexi-Malle, C. Thomas Howell, Malcolm McDowell. Well-produced adventure about weary cowboy Mortensen, who in 1890 leaves a declining West for Arabia to take part in the longest, most grueling horse-race on the globe. Will he stand a chance with his mustang Hidalgo? Performances, including a nice turn by Sharif, and excellent cinematography are assets of this predictable but generally well-made film.

Hidden, The (1987, USA) C-97m. *** D: Jack Sholder. Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian, Clarence Felder, Clu Gulager. Intelligent sci-fi thriller combines ideas from ALIEN (1979) and THE TERMINATOR (1984): A slug-like alien is moving from human to human (orally!), making the body invulnerable. Cop Nouri is baffled when he gets a new serial killer every day. His new partner, FBI agent MacLachlan knows more about the deadly organism. Well-paced, well-made horror has become a cult favorite. Written by Jim Kouf (as Bob Hunt). Followed by a sequel in 1994.

Hideous Kinky (1998, GBR/FRA) C-97m. Scope *** D: Gillies MacKinnon. Starring Kate Winslet, Said Taghmaoui, Bella Riza, Carrie Mullan. The true story of Esther Freud (granddaughter of Sigmund’s), who has abandoned her husband and traveled to Morocco with her two young daughters in order to search for spiritual enlightenment. Good acting, fine location work, interesting drama. Also known as MARRAKESH.

High Fidelity (2000, USA) C-114m. *** D: Stephen Frears. Starring John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Sara Gilbert, Bruce Springsteen. Likable comedy drama about the pains of relationships, told in a flash-back style by record shop owner Cusack, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend Hjejle, which triggers his memories about loves lost and basically where to go from here. Amusing and at times also warm and real, an interesting cross between SMOKE (1995) and ALMOST FAMOUS (2000). Cowritten and coproduced by the star Cusack, whose direct addresses to the audience actually work better than in most other films of this kind. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby. Beverly D’Angelo and Harold Ramis are featured in deleted scenes on the DVD version.

Highlander (1986, GBR) C-116m. **½ D: Russell Mulcahy. Starring Christopher Lambert, Rosanne Hart, Clancy Brown, Sean Connery, Beatie Edny, Alan North. Flashy fantasy action about 16th century Scottish warrior, whose immortality transports him into 20th century New York, where he prepares for a showdown with the last of his kind, ultra-violent giant Brown. Fast-paced and effective, told in flashbacks on impressive locations, but also rather trivial and ridiculous, especially in the second half. Slightly overlong, but still has a minor cult following; it spawned three sequels and two television series. Songs by cult band Queen. Cowritten by Gregory Widen (THE PROPHECY), whose first screen credit this was.

High Noon (1952, USA) 84m. **** D: Fred Zinnemann. Starring Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney, Henry Morgan, Lee van Cleef. Classic western with Cooper a marshal in a small town who - on his wedding and retirement day - receives news that an old nemesis is coming to seek revenge. He tries to get support from the local townspeople but has to realize that no one is willing to take a stand. He is even abandoned by his own wife Kelly. Superb screenplay, dramaturgy (in real-time!). Written by Carl Foreman, based on the story The Tin Star by John W. Cunningham. Cooper won an Oscar, and so did the title song, score and editing. Typically American direction does without zoom lens (in contrast to all the spaghetti westerns).

High Plains Drifter (1973, USA) C-105m. Scope *** D: Clint Eastwood. Starring Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitch Ryan, Jack Ging, Billy Curtis, Geoffrey Lewis. Eastwood’s second directorial effort mostly retreads the “Man With No Name” formula, as he rides into town of Lago, where he is soon asked to help defending the town against soon-to-be-released gunslingers who have sworn revenge. Will he help? Laid-back performance by Eastwood in a western that is interesting throughout. Script by Ernest Tidyman.

High Wind in Jamaica, A (1965, GBR) C-103m. Scope ***½ D: Alexander Mackendrick. Starring Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Dennis Price, Lila Kendrova, Nigel Davenport, Isabel Dean, Kenneth J. Warren, Ben Carruthers, Gert Fröbe, Brian Phelan, Deborah Baxter. Extraordinary adventure, based on the acclaimed novel by Richard Hughes. On their way to England from Jamaica, six British children are captured by pirates and forced to accompany them on their vessel. With no one to look after them, benevolent Captain Quinn and his sinister sidekick Coburn are at a loss. The kids soon adapt to the barbaric life at sea. However, tragedy strikes unexpected. Rarely seen gem by the director of LADYKILLERS (1955) and DON’T MAKE WAVES (1967). Cinematography and lighting are brilliant (by Douglas Slocombe, in CinemaScope), Mackendrick’s direction is magnificent, the score by Larry Adler is sweeping. Highly recommended for family viewing, though subject matter also subtly touches adult themes. Unavailable for many years, film deserves to be rediscovered. Similar in theme to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which was filmed in 1963 (in black-and-white).

Hills Have Eyes, The (1977, USA) C-90m. *** D: Wes Craven. Starring Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, Dee Wallace, Russ Grieve, Michael Berryman. Wes Craven’s breakthrough shocker and first critical success is notorious horror movie about a family who lose their way and end up stranded in the middle of a desert, which was once a site for nuclear testing. Who or what is hiding in the hills, ready to attack? Despite not being very clever, Craven’s script is hardly redundant, and everything seems shockingly real. Violent, dramatic, thrilling, one of Craven’s early best. Probably inspired by Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, and it’s a worthy clone. Craven also edited the picture. Trivia question: What was the other movie of 1977 that featured a similarly violent dog attack? Followed by a sequel in 1985. Remade in 2006.

Hills Have Eyes, The (2006, USA) C-108m. Scope ** D: Alexandre Aja. Starring Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Ted Levine, Dan Byrd, Emilie de Ravin, Tom Bower, Michael Bailey Smith, Vinessa Shaw, Robert Joy, Billy Drago. So-so remake of the Wes Craven classic about a family of campers, whose car breaks down in the middle of the desert, where human mutants are waiting for nightfall… Starts with a bang but draws out proceedings unnecessarily until the first attack. With few novelties in the plot, film remains unremarkable until the last twenty minutes, which are actually exciting – and extremely gruesome and gory. Like with Aja’s previous movie, HAUTE TENSION (2003), the director never releases the tension here. Good location filming (in Morocco), in appropriate widescreen. Horror freaks should give it a look. Wes Craven coproduced. Followed by a sequel itself.

Hills Have Eyes, Part II, The (1985, USA/GBR) C-86m. ** D: Wes Craven. Starring Tamara Stafford, Kevin Spirtas, John Bloom, Colleen Riley, Michael Berryman, Robert Houston. Stupid, unnecessary sequel to the 1977 hit has some moto-cross racers traveling through the desert. Their bus breaks down and soon they must defend themselves against the band of mutants of the first film. This horror movie seems more like a rehash than a sequel, with some flashback scenes from the original film. Despite being an obvious rip-off, it manages to establish an atmosphere of menace (kudos to director Craven) and refreshes your memory of Part One. For Craven fans and those who liked the first movie.

Hi-Lo Country, The (1998, USA/GBR/GER) C-114m. Scope **½ D: Stephen Frears. Starring Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, Cole Hauser, Enrique Castillo, Darren E. Burrows, Sam Elliott, Patricia Arquette, Penelope Cruz, John Diehl. Neo-western drama set in the post-WW2 years, based on the novel by Max Evans. Crudup and Harrelson are two cowboys, who both fall in love with Arquette, the wife of local big shot Elliott. Marvelous photography (by Oliver Stapleton), rousing score by Carter Burwell, but plot is trite and overlong. Harrelson and Crudup seem like minor characters in LEGENDS OF THE FALL. Good performances topped by Elliott’s bad guy.

Hindenburg, The (1975, USA) C-125m. Scope *** D: Robert Wise. Starring George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft, William Atherton, Roy Thinnes, Gig Young, Burgess Meredith, Charles Durning, Rene Auberjonois, Peter Donat, Alan Oppenheimer, Stephen Elliott, William Sylvester, Joe Turkel. First-rate disaster thriller is different from the decade’s other blockbusters (AIRPORT, THE TOWERING INFERNO) but scores in all compartments. Film chronicles the last voyage of the famous zeppelin The Hindenburg, with a possible plot to sabotage its arrival. George C. Scott is convincing as the sleuth on-board the ship, he is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast. Veteran director Wise’s surehanded direction gives film a boost. The finale (using authentic newsreel footage, and thus in black-and-white) is especially exciting. Beware of inferior prints in fullscreen and edited form. Based on M.M. Mooney’s novel. Photographed by Robert Surtees. Director Wise also produced. Won a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects, it was nominated in three other categories.

History of Violence, A (2005, USA) C-96m. *** D: David Cronenberg. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Peter MacNeill, Stephen McHattie. Family father Mortensen lives a peaceful life in a rural town until one night he is forced to defend himself and his coworkers at the diner when two murderers threaten their lives. The headlines he gets attract the attention of the Philadelphia mob and force him to come to terms with his past. Deliberately paced little movie draws you in quietly, provides some jolts of violence, but lets you (and itself) down a little bit in the second half. Still, a very-well acted, interesting thriller from cult director Cronenberg, based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke. Score by Howard Shore still seems to echo his work for THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Hit, The (1984, GBR) C-98m. **½ D: Stephen Frears. Starring John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Tim Roth, Laura del Sol, Bill Hunter, Fernando Rey, Jim Broadbent. Cool, aloof British take on the gangster movie genre follows Stamp to Spain, where he intends to hide out from fellow criminals he testified against in court. Ten years later he is discovered by two hitmen (Hurt, Roth), who must take him to Paris, France. Film has an interesting storyline but remains too self-conscious, too unfocused to excite. The actors can’t be faulted. Excellent guitar solos by Paco de Lucía, title theme by Eric Clapton. Roth’s first theatrical film.

Hitch (2005, USA) C-118m. Scope *** D: Andy Tennant. Starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta, Julie Ann Emery, Robinne Lee, Nathan Lee Graham, Adam Arkin, Michael Rapaport. Smith’s job is to help men conquer their dream dates. His latest client, overweight, self-conscious James, is hopelessly in love with seemingly out-of-reach bombshell Valletta. Then Hitch falls in love himself – with beautiful, independent journalist Mendes. Romantic comedy works thanks to surehanded direction by Tennant and a powerhouse performance by Smith. However, it’s James who gets the most laughs. Undermined somewhat by superfluous final 15 minutes.

Hitcher, The (1986, USA) C-97m. SCOPE *** D: Robert Harmon. Starring C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M. Jackson. Tense action thriller about naïve driver Howell, who picks up psychopath Hauer from the street one night, finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game, as he cannot shake the maniac off. Hauer’s performance – reminiscent of his role in BLADE RUNNER (1982) – is impressive, and the atmosphere oppressive. A thriller with cult appeal and fine photography by John Seale. Written by Eric Red (NEAR DARK). Followed by a video sequel in 2003.

Hitchhike to Hell (1968, USA) C-88m. ** D: Irvin Berwick. Starring Robert Gribbin, Dorothy Bennett, John Harmon, Russell Johnson. Gribbin picks up runaway kids and kills them because of a mother complex. Quite gruesome B-thriller is strangely watchable, despite wooden performances and unimaginative direction. Aka KIDNAPPED CO-ED.

Hjaelp, Jeg Er En Fisk (2000, DAN/GER/EIR) C-80m. **½ D: Stefan Fjeldmark, Michael Hegner, Gerg Manwaring. Starring (the voices of) Alan Rickman, Terry Jones (English version), Ulf Piilgard, Paprika Steen, Ghita Norby. Average animated feature about some kids, who stumble into ship of an old experimenting professor. When a little girl is accidentally transformed into a fish and thrown into the ocean, her brother and a friend also undergo this transformation to find and bring her back. However, the antidote has been poured over some other sea creatures, who now aspire to overthrow humans. Sounds a little weird and it is. Overbearing score and worthless songs among film’s drawbacks. The animation is quite good. English titles: HELP I’M A FISH, A FISH TALE.

Hoboken Hollow (2005, USA) C-98m. M D: Glen Stephens. Starring Jason Connery, C. Thomas Howell, Randy Spelling, Mark Holton, Rogelio T. Ramos, Jonathan Fraser, Lin Shaye, Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, Robert Carradine, Dedee Pfeiffer. Another attempt to cash in on the TCM revival, this one is heavy-handed trash. A drifter (vietnam vet, no less) gets confronted with backwoods family who hire workers they later use for stocking up on meat. Grisly stuff, ruined by ridiculous voice-over narration. Some good actors wasted in this. Written by the director, coproduced by Anthony Michael Hall.

Hodet Over Vannet (1993, NOR) C-97m. **½ D: Nils Gaup. Starring Lene Elise Bergum, Svein Roger Karlsen, Morten Abel, Reidar Sorensen, Jon Skolmen. Thriller about Bergum, who gets a surprise visit from an ex-lover on a remote island. In the morning he is dead – was it an accident? Will she be able to conceal the body from her friends? Quite enjoyable, with lots of twists. Its success led Hollywood to remake this as HEAD ABOVE WATER (1996).

Hôhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun (1999, JAP) C-104m. **½ D: Isao Takahata. Starring (the voices of) Yukiji Asaoka, Toru Masuoka, Masako Araki, Naomi Uno, Akiko Yano. Departure from traditional animation techniques for Studio Ghibli, this stylistically interesting movie was their first 100% digital movie (though it doesn’t really show). Basically a satire on Japanese suburban life, focusing on the Yamadas, whose life is portrayed through short vignettes, with mostly comic outcome. Funny, with some stylistic flourishes, to be sure, but episodic structure lessens effect. In the English version the father is spoken by James Belushi. English title: MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS.

Hole, The (2001, GBR) C-102m. Scope *** D: Nick Hamm. Starring Thora Birch, Desmond Harrington, Daniel Brocklebank, Laurence Fox, Keira Knightley, Embeth Davidtz. Four teenagers from an elite boarding school decide to deliberately miss a school trip by hiding in an underground bunker. After three days, a friend is supposed to pick them up again, but he doesn’t turn up and the hatch is locked. Psycho thriller is not your usual teenage horror fare, it has an interesting narrative and is loaded with twists until the (lukewarm) finale. Refreshing script is based on the novel After the Hole by Guy Burt.

Holes (2003, USA) C-117m. **½ D: Andrew Davis. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, Shia LaBeouf, Eartha Kitt, Patricia Arquette. Adaptation of the acclaimed novel for young adults by Louis Sachar, written by the author. A juvenile delinquent gets sent to a brat camp, where the children are digging holes in the desert – to build their character. Later the boy finds out that they may be looking for something valuable. More drama than adventure, film has a strange TV movie air about it, some good casting helps, but it never rises above the mire.

Holiday, The (2006, USA) C-138m. **½ D: Nancy Meyers. Starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell, James Franco, Dustin Hoffman, Lindsay Lohan. Fairly entertaining romantic comedy about two young women (Diaz and Winslet), who are frustrated for different reasons and decide to exchange houses for a few days over Christmas. Diaz has just separated from her philandering husband, and Winslet is unhappily in love. Can this change of place do any good? Long, but never really boring, thanks to engaging star performances (whose roles are pretty contrived, though). Score by Hans Zimmer.

Hollow Man (2000, USA) C-112m. ** D: Paul Verhoeven. Starring Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick, William Devane. Brilliant scientist Bacon has found a serum that will render him invisible, and is willing to try it out. His colleagues are sceptical: Will he use his invisibility on them? Rather simply plotted, one-note science-fiction thriller, mostly set in one big laboratory. Pace quickens for razzle-dazzle finale, but otherwise this is utterly ordinary. A disappointment from Verhoeven. Score by Jerry Goldsmith.

Hollywoodland (2006, USA) C-126m. Scope *** D: Allen Coulter. Starring Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Ted Atherton, Robin Tunney, Molly Parker, Bob Hoskins. Long but engrossing tale set in 1950s Hollywood, where Superman actor George Reeves (Affleck) is found dead in his suburban house. Low-grade private eye Brody is hired by the star’s mother, who won’t believe that it was suicide. Good performances, impressive production design, film takes a while to reach its conclusion but it’s well worth the wait. Good performances, fine score by Marcelo Zarvos.  

Hollywood or Bust (1956, USA) C-90m. ** D: Frank Tashlin. Starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Pat Crowley, Anita Ekberg. Martin and Lewis have to share the first prize of a huge prize draw, a shiny red cabriolet, and decide to go to Hollywood, where Lewis intends to meet his idol, sex bomb Anita Ekberg. Movie seems endless, doesn’t offer enough laughs and Martin is obviously annoyed in his 16th and last film with Lewis. For die-hard fans, although the movie is generally hard to dislike. Filmed in semi-widescreen VistaVision.

Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher, The (1979, USA) C-71m. M D: Wolfgang Schmidt (=Ray Dennis Steckler). Starring Pierre Agostino, Chuck Alford, Carolyn Brandt, Forrest Duke. Bottom-of-the-barrel movie tries to capitalize on success of Martin Scorsese’s classic TAXI DRIVER (1978). Photographer of nude models Agostino feels compulsed to strangle the posing women. At the same time, a woman starts slicing up bums. Dumb voice-overs, cheap effects, amateurish direction, this one kills itself off early on. Followed by a sequel in 1986! Also known as THE MODEL KILLER.

Holocaust 2000 (1977, ITA/GBR) C-106m. Scope **½ D: Alberto de Martino. Starring Kirk Douglas, Simon Ward, Agostina Belli, Anthony Quayle, Virginia McKenna, Spiros Focás, Ivo Garrani, Alexander Knox, Adolfo Celi. B-horror is not as stupid as it sounds. Industrial tycoon Douglas is about to inaugurate huge underwater nuke station, when he notices more and more signs that point towards doomsday. Is the apocalypse near? Douglas is compelling, plot is too often second-rate. Still, quite gripping (like the director’s L’ANTICRISTO), for genre fans (mind: the helicopter effect came before the one in DAWN OF THE DEAD!). Score by Ennio Morricone. Alternative titles: RAIN OF FIRE, THE CHOSEN.

Hombre del Gran Río, El (1982, SPA/COL) C-74m. *½ D: Alfred S. Brell (=Aldo Sambrell), Miguel Angel Rincón. Starring Kapax, María Bauza, Albert Reed, Aldo Sambrell. Dreary romance set in the Amazon wilderness, where a woman is picked up by a native after surviving a plane crash. He brings her to his tribe and they fall in love. Hardly any violence (unless there is some in a longer version), extremely sloppy camerawork, this is pure boredom. Also titled MUNDO VERDE and KAPAX DEL AMAZONAS.

Home Alone 3 (1997, USA) C-102m. ** D: Raja Gosnell. Starring Alex D. Linz, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny Von Dohlen, Scarlett Johansson. Fairly entertaining but pointless sequel is almost like a remake of the first film. This one offers more painful gags, as a cocky nine-year-old defends his absent family’s house against criminals who want to steal a formula, which is in the boy’s possession. Written and coproduced by John Hughes.

Home Fries (1998, USA) C-93m. ** D: Dean Parisot. Starring Drew Barrymore, Catherine O'Hara, Luke Wilson, Jake Busey, Shelley Duvall, Lanny Flaherty, Daryl Mitchell. Blackish romantic comedy about pregnant girl (Barrymore) working in a fast food restaurant, who is devastated when she hears of the death of her (married) lover and father of the unborn child. It turns out he was scared to death (literally!) by his stepsons, one of whom (Wilson) she falls in love with! Certainly unusual, but not funny enough and even annyoing, especially in the portrayal of Wilson's family. The ending is a mess. Barrymore is lovely and gives the film a boost. Written by the author of some "X-Files" episodes, coproduced by Lawrence Kasdan.

Home Movie (2001, USA) C-65m. ** D: Chris Smith. Largely disappointing documentary features different American families and their eccentric homes: A houseboat on a crocodile bayou, a cat’s home, an underground bunker and former rocketbase, an isolated Hawaiian treehouse and an all-electric, remote-controlled house. After the five-minute introduction, you’ll ask yourself what’s left to say. Some interest, some giggles, much too conventional stuff from Michael Moore’s former assistant.

Homme et une Femme, Un (1966, FRA) C-102m. ***½ D: Claude Lelouch. Starring Anouk Aimée, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Pierre Barouh, Valérie Lagrange. As the title suggests, this is a simple but utterly charming romance about Aimée and Trintignant, who fall in love with each other despite having only recently lost their partners. The stars are well-matched, Lelouch’s direction and cinematography is first-rate. Memorable score by Francis Lai. Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay. Lelouch (who also cowrote the script) reworked this in ANOTHER MAN, ANOTHER CHANCE. English title: A MAN AND A WOMAN. Followed by a sequel in 1986.

Homme Orchestre, L’ (1969, FRA) C-77m. Scope **½ D: Serge Korber. Starring Louis de Funès, Noëlle Adam, Olivier de Funès, Puck Adams, Paul Preboist. After HIBERNATUS Louis de Funès made a second film with his son Olivier. This time they are cast as uncle and nephew, who run a dance academy and are about to go on a world tour with their new show. The pretty dancers, however, have also other things on their minds, like men, but strict choreographer de Funès keeps an eye on them day and night. Thin plot had to be stretched out with elaborate dance scenes, even at this running time. What makes this recommendable is some wonderful sets and costumes, which make it an essential 1969 time capsule. Stylish photography by Jean Rabier (Claude Chabrol’s regular cinematographer). Louis’ fans will like this comedy anyway, the French comedian even gets to sing and dance! Based on an original story by Geza von Radvanyi (L’ETRANGE DESIR DE MONSIEUR BARD).

Honeymoon Killers, The (1969, USA) 108m. *** D: Leonard Kastle. Starring Shirley Stoler, Tony Lo Bianco, Mary Jane Higby, Eleanor Adams. Stark true crime drama, based on the “Lonely Hearts” case of the early 1960s. Corpulent nurse Stoler falls in love with Latin lover Lo Bianco, who makes a living cheating widows out of their fortune. Her cold-bloodedness and his dumbness lead into a tragedy of the highest order. Simple but engrossing tale of a destructive love, with scenes that will go right under your skin. A cult film and deservedly so. Originally begun by Martin Scorsese. Some portions of the film were directed by Donald Volkman. Also shown at 115m. Remade as PROFUNDO CARMESI (DEEP CRIMSON) in 1996.

Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara (2002, JAP) C-101m. **½ D: Hideo Nakata. Starring Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata. Horror chiller from the creator of the RINGU series, and like these movies based on a novel by Kôji Suzuki. Kuroki is going through a divorce, which troubles her, throws her off-balance. With her daughter she moves into a new apartment, into a new life, but soon is plunged into terror when there are moisture spots forming on the ceiling and the ghost of a missing girl starts haunting them. Interesting chiller recalls the horror of apartment buildings and empty corridors created in other films and adds shocks of its own, but generally remains too low-key and awfully slowly paced, which has the effect that it makes the build-up seem calculated. Not quite as successful as Nakata’s RINGU (1998) but still worthwhile for fans. Hollywood remake followed in 2005. English title: DARK WATER.

Hoodwinked! (2006, USA) C-80m. *** D: Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, Tony Leech. Starring (the voices of) Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, James Belushi, Patrick Warburton, Anthony Anderson, David Ogden Stiers, Xzibit, Chazz Palmintieri, Andy Dick, Cory Edwards. Computer-animated spin on classic Grimm’s fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. You think you figured what happened with the little girl, her granny, the wolf and the woodsman? Think again. Here, the (grizzly) police and (frog) detective Nicky Flippers investigate and the four ‘suspects’ come up with four quite different stories. It all comes down to finding out who is the recipe thief (aka goodie bandit) of late. RASHOMON (1950) it ain’t, but a funny, eventful, action-filled comedy, with quite a lot of gags aimed at adults.The first independently produced computer animated movie.

Hook (1991, USA) C-144m. Scope *** D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Phil Collins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Glenn Close, Carrie Fisher, George Lucas. Spielberg’s first real children’s movie after E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) is partly charming, mostly gargatuan new spin on the famous Peter Pan story by J.M. Barrie. Williams slowly learns that he is actually the Boy Who Never Grows Up – grown-up to be a stressed business manager and neglectful family father. When his nemesis Captain Hook abducts his children, he has to remember his past existence and go back to Neverland to rescue them. Intelligent twisting of plot elements of the original story (including nods to the 1953 Disney version), though Spielberg more than once undermines this exquisitely designed film by his typical overindulgence, and also unnecessarily draws out the ending. Good cast enjoying themselves.

Hope Floats (1998, USA) C-114m. **½ D: Forest Whitaker. Starring Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick, Jr., Gena Rowlands, May Whitman, Michael Paré, Cameron Finley, Kathy Najimy. Bullock is devastated when her husband confesses in a TV show to have an affair with her best friend. She decides to move to her Mum (Rowlands) to the country, which turns out to be a bad choice because she has a hard time finding acceptance there, and her inability to cope with the situation leads to the estrangement of her little daughter (Whitman). However, there's also new love to be found. Likably performed, especially by the lovely Rowlands, but without a serious point. You'll keep waiting for something to happen, until the film is over.

Horloger de Saint-Paul, L’ (1974, FRA) C-105m. ***½ D: Betrand Tavernier. Starring Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort, Jacques Denis, Yves Alfonso, Julien Bertheau. Impressive feature directing debut by Tavernier about clockmaker (horloger) Noiret, who is devastated to learn that his son is wanted for murder. Thoughtful, intelligent examination of the effects of a crime on a personal level. Tavenier also coscripted, based on the novel by Georges Simenon. Score by Philippe Sarde. English titles: THE CLOCKMAKER, THE WATCHMAKER OF ST. PAUL..

Horrible High Heels (1996, HGK) C-100m. ** D: Chow Cheng. Starring Billy Chow, Fui-On Shing, Dick Wei. Ultra-violent trash opus about a young woman, who is disquieted when her uncle disappears - and shocked when she finds out that his skin may have been used for making shoes! Action scenes are well-directed, the rest of the mise-en-scene is not always accurate. Exploitative use of sex and gore, though film remains watchable (if you exclude two rather disgusting rape scenes). Plot is uneven, but at least it’s there.

Horror (1963, ITA/SPA) 88m. **½ D: Alberto De Martino. Starring Joan Hills, Helga Liné, Richard Davis, Francisco Morán, Gérard Tichy. Typical Italian gothic horror melodrama, in plot and tone very close to Roger Corman’s Poe adaptations (the writer’s “House of Usher”, “Berenice” and “Premature Burial” in particular). Shortly before her 21st birthday, Hills returns to her father’s castle only to learn that he is dead. What terrible secret is her brother hiding from her? Chiller starts well, then bogs down in the second half. Still, a must for aficionados of the genre. Good, dramatic score by Carlo Franci. Written by Bruno Corbucci, Giovanni Grimaldi and Natividad Zaro. From the director of ROMA COME CHICAGO. Aka THE BLANCHEVILLE MONSTER.

Horror Express (1973, SPA/GBR) C-88m. *** D: Eugenio Martín. Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa, Julio Pena, Angel del Pozo, Helga Liné, Georges Rigaud, Telly Savalas. Thrilling Euro-horror, one of the best of its time. British anthropologist Lee discovers a prehistoric (extra-terrestrial?) creature in the Siberian ice, and boards a Russian express train with it. Little does he know that the creature is alive – and starts finding its victims among the passengers and the crew. Not for the squeamish! Intricate plot owes a bit to the classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) but features interesting characters (Lee and Cushing as heroes in the best British tradition, Savalas as a sadistic Cossack soldier), colorful cinematography by Alejanndro Ulloa and a good score by John Cacavas. Also known as PANICO EN EL TRANSIBERIANO (in Spain) and PANIC IN THE TRANSSIBERIAN EXPRESS.

Horror Hospital (1973, GBR) C-91m. **½ D: Anthony Balch. Starring Michael Gough, Robin Askwith, Vanessa Shaw, Ellen Pollock, Dennis Price, Kurt Christian, Barbara Wendy. Teens Askwith and Shaw meet on the train and find out they are both going to a holiday resort run by doctor Gough, but title leaves no doubt about the true nature of his clinic. Very Seventies, very British horror thriller with outrageous effects, hilarious fare for B-movie cultists. Final film for cowriter/director Balch, who collaborated with William S. Burroughs in the 1960s. Alternative titles: DOCTOR BLOODBATH, COMPUTER KILLERS.

Horror Safari (1982, ITA) C-94m. M D: Alan Birkinshaw. Starring Stuart Whitman, Edmund Purdom, Woody Strode, Laura Gemser, Glynis Barber, Harold Sakata. Whitman leads safari into the (Philippine) jungle to find a gold treasure hidden by Japanese soldiers during the second world war. Poorly directed trash with an over-elaborate score is a big bore. Only for those who want to see Strode play the guitar in the jungle. Also known as SAFARI SENZA RITORNO and INVADERS OF THE LOST GOLD.

Horrors of the Black Museum (1959, GBR) C-81m. Scope **½ D: Arthur Crabtree. Starring Michael Gough, June Cunningham, Graham Curnow, Shirley Anne Field. Gough brings conviction to his role as crazed writer, who owns a torture museum (the ‘black museum’) and sends his hypnotised assistant out to kill his adversaries. Some effective scenes, but sluggish plot takes away most of film’s steam. Fine color cinematography by Desmond Dickinson (in CinemaScope). Interesting for buffs, because it’s rather fierce for its time. Originally shown at 95m. Also known as CRIME IN THE MUSEUM OF HORRORS.

Horsemen (2009, USA) C-90m. **½ D: Jonas Akerlund. Starring Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins Jr., Patrick Fugit, Eric Balfour, Peter Stormare. Quaid is appealing as a stressed-out cop, who is still chewing hard on the death of his wife, which left him and his sons in shock. He is assigned to investigate murders, which seem to have been committed by four killers, and with biblical references abound, it seems that they are impersonating the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Is the world’s end really nearing? Good mystery plot with unusual, wintry setting and expectedly flashy, stylish direction by video-clip director Akerlund (SPUN). Unfortunately, movie turns sour in second half, when some unlikely, silly twists and ideas steer it right down a cliff, giving evidence of post-production tampering. For horror fans. Went straight to video in many countries. Coproduced by Michael Bay. Also known as HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE.

Horse Whisperer, The (1998, USA) C-169m. Scope *** D: Robert Redford. Starring Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas. Smoothly handled adaptation of Nicholas Evans' bestseller about title figure (Redford) who is asked by Scott Thomas to therapize her daughter and her horse, who both have been traumatized in a riding accident. Extraordinarily beautiful photography and smooth direction make this one a winner, though it could have been a bit shorter.

Horton Hears a Who! (2008, USA) C-88m. *** D: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino. Starring (the voices of) Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Dan Fogler, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill. Charming animted film version of the Dr Seuss book about a curious elephant, who hears a cry for help that comes from a grain of dust. In fact, there is an entire race of creatures living on it. Horton, the elephant, makes it his quest to find a safe place for them, but finds hostility in a conservative kangaroo. Cute animation that teaches us to look at things in perspective. Jim Carrey is the voice for the elephant, not the mayor, even if that character’s grimacing and gesticulating would suggest it. Executive produced by Chris Wedge (ICE AGE, ROBOTS).

Hospital Massacre (1981, USA) C-89m. **½ D: Boaz Davidson. Starring Barbie Benton, Charles Lucia, Jon Van Ness, John Warner Williams, Den Suries. Terror-filled slasher movie set at a hospital, where a maniac disguised as a doctor kills patients and crew. All this seems to be linked to the killing of a child 18 years before. Not-bad horror thriller along the lines of HALLOWEEN (1978), stretches its suspense scenes a little and is hardly logical, but has an unsettling SUSPIRIA-like score and is technically okay. Oddly deserted hospital is a drawback in terms of logic but not atmosphere. Produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Alternative titles: X-RAY, WARD 13, and BE MY VALENTINE, OR ELSE…

Hostage (2005, USA/GER) C-113m. Scope **½ D: Florent Emilio Siri. Starring Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jimmy Bennett, Michelle Horn, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman, Serena Scott Thomas, Kim Coates. When Willis fouls up things as the LAPD’s hostage negotiator, he relocates and becomes a small-town sheriff. Soon, however, a hostile household takeover demands that he takes action. And then things get out of control. Exciting, stylish action thriller, unfortunately marred by several plot contrivances and a mean-spirited attitude. It’s also extremely violent, for no reason at all. Based on a novel by Richard Crais.

Hostel (2005, USA) C-94m. Scope ** D: Eli Roth. Starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova, Jan Vlasák, Takashi Miike, Eli Roth. Another brainless horror movie from the maker of CABIN FEVER (2002). Hernandez and friends are on a trip through Europe, enjoying sex and drugs in Amsterdam, when they are lured to a small Slovakian village hoping to get more of the same. The hostel seems too good to be true: Sexy girls everywhere! However, they soon must realize it’s just a set-up for a different kind of carnal activity. Some tense moments in this thriller, but apart from the usual t&a and gross-out gore, there is hardly any suspense or logic behind it all. Executive produced by Quentin Tarantino, Boaz Yakin and Scott Spiegel. Filmed in the Czech Republic.

Hotaru no Haka (1988, JAP) C-92m. ***½ D: Isao Takahata. Starring (the voices of) Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi. Profoundly touching drama set in a Japanese village close to the end of WW2. During an air raid an adolescent boy and his little sister flee to a shelter. Their mother gets injured severely, and the two children must fend for themselves. Their father being at war, they face the hardest of times, with help from relatives quickly withdrawn. Focuses almost entirely on the fate of its main characters and exposes us to a shattering private tragedy. Beautiful, poetic film that will be difficult to forget. Superb score by Michio Mamiya. Based on the novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, adapted by the director. A Studio Ghibli movie. Remade in 2005 as a live-action feature for Japanese television. English titles: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, TOMBSTONE OF THE FIREFLIES.

Hot Enough for June (1964, GBR) C-96m. **½ D: Ralph Thomas. Starring Dirk Bogarde, Sylva Koscina, Robert Morley, Leo McKern, Roger Delgado. Time has not been very kind to this attempted James Bond parody. Bogarde plays an unemployed writer who is unwittingly hired by the secret service and sent to Czechoslovakia, where he is supposed to get a secret message from another spy. Almost no action at all, a mild spoof. Only notable for being shot (almost entirely) in pre-revolution Prague. Based on Lionel Davidson’s novel Night of Wenceslas. Beware 77m. version. Also known as AGENT 008 ¾, and AGENT 8 ¾.

Hot Fuzz (2007, GBR/FRA) C-121m. Scope **½ D: Edgar Wright. Starring Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Billie Whitelaw, Nick Frost, Edward Woodward, Steve Coogan. Pretty demented action comedy from the team that brought you SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004). Pegg plays an over-ambitious policeman who is transferred to a rural community, where his antics are not at all welcome. Film then turns from comedy to murder mystery and then delivers a crazy 30-minute action finale that will knock you out of your socks. Uneven, to state the obvious, with dynamic, flashy editing that becomes irritating after a while. Excellent special make-up effects. Peter Jackson appears unbilled as the Santa that stabs through Pegg’s hand and Cate Blanchett is also unrecognizable as Pegg’s masked C.S.I. ex-girlfriend. Pegg coscripted with the director.

Hot Millions (1968, GBR/USA) C-106m. **½ D: Eric Till. Starring Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Karl Malden, Bob Newhart, Robert Morley, Cesar Romero. Con-artist Ustinov is released from prison after years and finds that computers have become an important business factor. He uses computer expert Morley’s résumé to get hired by Malden’s wealthy international company and proceeds to trick them out of a lot of money. Mildly plotted farcical comedy is old-fashioned in the negative sense of the word. Ustinov barely keeps it on track. Not really a heist comedy, as some might believe. Written by Ustinov and Ira Wallach, who also scripted the cult hit DON’T MAKE WAVES (1967).

Hot Spot, The (1990, USA) C-130m. ** D: Dennis Hopper. Starring Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly, Charles Martin Smith, William Sadler, Jerry Hardin, Barry Corbin, Jack Nance. Neo-noir thriller about drifter Johnson, who comes to a small town and begins a relationship with both his employer's wife and his "secretary". His dark plans are slowly disclosed, – too slowly for this film to be exciting or suspenseful. Poorly handled by Hopper, only saving grace of this supposedly steamy movie are some sex scenes and a fine Blues score. 'Static' is the best way to describe this thriller, based on Charles Williams' novel Hell Hath No Fury, written in 1952.

Hot, the Cool and the Vicious, The (1978, HGK) C-86m. Scope *** D: Lee Tso-Nam. Starring Wang Don, Tan Tao Liang, Tommy Lee. Well-plotted eastern about a fighter appointed to chief-of-police by a wealthy (and corrupt) artist and his son. When a stranger arrives, things get more complicated because he is said to be a killer. Well-directed eastern makes use of classic eastern ingredients but its real asset are the interesting characters.

Hot Touch, The (1982, CDN/USA) C-93m. *½ D: Roger Vadim. Starring Wayne Rogers, Marie-France Pisier, Lloyd Bochner, Samantha Eggar, Patrick Macnee, Melvyn Douglas. Pretty dreary crime drama set in the world of art auctions and dealings. Rogers is a world-class artist in forgery, making millions by copying old master paintings. However, his dealings with Macnee are about to be detected. Almost completely without interest if it wasn’t for that cast (including Douglas in his last film).

Hound of the Baskervilles, The (1959, GBR) C-87m. *** D: Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, André Morell, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, David Oxley, Francis De Wolff. Formidable Arthur Conan Doyle adaptation about master sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Cushing), who is called to investigate possible family curse in and around a mansion on the moors. Fast-paced, intelligent script, good lighting and use of color; one of the best Hammer productions. One of approximately 20 adaptations of this story!

Hours, The (2002, USA) C-115m. ***½ D: Stephen Daldry. Starring Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson, John C. Reilly, Toni Collette, Ed Harris, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Eileen Atkins. Exceptional film, based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham. Writer Virginia Woolf (Kidman) is on the brink of suicide as she is writing her famous Mrs. Dalloway (1923). In the early 1950s a troubled housewife (Moore), whose thoughts seem impenetrable, is reading that book. The third plot strand unfolds much like Mrs. Dalloway, with lonely Streep preparing a party for her artist-friend Harris, who is dying of AIDS. Intelligent, thoughtful, thorough drama with first-rate cast carries a tremendous emotional impact. Daldry’s excellent direction seemlessly combines the three narrative levels. Perfect score by Philip Glass. Adapted by David Hare. Kidman won a Best Actress Oscar, although her role is quite small.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003, USA) C-89m. D: Rob Zombie. Starring Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black, Chris Hardwick, Erin Daniels, Jennifer Jostyn, Rainn Wilson, Michael J. Pollard. Rock musician Rob Zombie (né Cummings) turns writer-director for this TCM-imitation where four travelling youngsters enter Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen and end up on the dessert platter of none other than local legend Dr Satan. Starts okay, with creative video-style cutting, but soon it becomes clear that this movie offers only a freak show which is off-putting instead of frightening. Disintegrates completely in final third. Filmed in 2000. Followed by THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005).

House of 1,000 Dolls (1967, GBR/SPA/GER) C-90m. Scope M D: Jeremy Summers. Starring George Nader, Vincent Price, Martha Hyer, Anne Smyrner, Herbert Fux, Wolfgang Kieling, Sancho Garcia. Atrocious plot singlehandedly fells artistically acceptable crime melodrama about sinister artist Price, who abducts young women and puts them into a brothel. Released in the U.S. at 83m.

House of Seven Corpses, The (1974, USA) C-90m. M D: Paul Harrison. Starring John Ireland, Faith Domergue, John Carradine, Carole Wells. Abysmal horror film that looks like a TV movie and is atrociously directed. A film shoot at a cursed mansion turns into a nightmare for everyone involved, including the audience.

House of Usher, The (1960, USA) C-85m. Scope *** D: Roger Corman. Starring Vincent Price, Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey, Harry Ellerbe. Atmospheric, dramatic horror film, the first of Corman's eight Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. When Damon arrives at Price's castle in the middle of a wasteland to take his bride away, he is taken aback by mysterious going-ons. It seems the whole family is doomed and his lover is destined to die soon. Holds up quite well, despite being a little draggy sometimes. Also known as THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. Followed by PIT AND THE PENDULUM.

House of Whipcord (1974, GBR) C-102m. *½ D: Pete Walker. Starring Barbara Markham, Patrick Barr, Ray Brooks, Ann Michelle, Sheila Keith, Dorothy Gordon, Pete Walker. A young fashion model is abducted to a private, secret institution, a prison for misbehaving young girls. Warden Markham and her husband, blind ex-judge Barr run the place and will kill anyone not abiding by their rules. Unappealing horror thriller that like most of director Walker’s films has not a single touch of style. Bleak stuff. Director Walker (FRIGHTMARE) also produced. Reissued as PHOTOGRAPHER’S MODELS.

House of Yes, The (1997, USA) C-85m. ** D: Mark S. Waters. Starring Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling, Freddie Prinze Jr., Geneviève Bujold, Rachael Leigh Cook. Oddity about Hamilton, who brings his fiancee Spelling to his family’s estate and meets the fury of his twin sister Posey, who is obsessed with being like Jackie Kennedy. She even likes reenacting JFK’s execution! However, she’s not the only crackpot in her family. Black comedy heads nowhere really, some good performances (especially Posey’s) are film’s only assets. Based on a stage play by Wendy MacLeod.

House on Haunted Hill (1958, USA) 75m. *** D: William Castle. Starring Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Alan Marshal, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook Jr., Julie Mitchum. Producer-director William Castle’s most famous project turns out to be a perfect vehicle for Vincent Price. He plays a millionaire, who invites five strangers to his mansion, promising them $10,000 each if they survive the night in the haunted house. Amusing, at times scary, good fun. Perhaps a bit too naïve and simple but horror buffs should delight.

House on Haunted Hill (1999, USA) C-96m. *½ D: William Malone. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Chris Kattan, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Max Perlich, Jeffrey Combs, Lisa Loeb. Remake of the 1958 William Castle classic is standard 90s horror schlock. Billionaire Rush invites several people to his awe-inspiring mansion and tells them that whoever survives the night in the haunted house will get a million dollars. Lots of (digital) effects, little logic, lackluster plot, this one is saved by a spirited performance by Geoffrey Rush, who does a marvellous parody of the great Vincent Price, star of the 1958 version.

Howards End (1992, GBR) C-140m. Scope ***½ D: James Ivory. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson, James Wilby, Prunella Scales, Simon Callow. E.M. Forster's classic novel of the clash of different social classes is assuredly brought to the screen by experienced filmmaker Ivory. A young woman (Thompson) unknowingly inherits a country house from Mrs. Wilcox (Redgrave), whose husband (Hopkins) later takes her as his wife. Excellent cast, formidable realisation. Oscar winner for Best Actress (Thompson), Best Screenplay and Art Direction-Set Decoration.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003, USA/GER) C-116m. ** D: Donald Petrie. Starring Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Parisse, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Michael Michele, Bebe Neuwirth. Romantic comedy about two journalists Hudson and McConaughey, who hook up for different reasons: He wants to prove that he can make any girl fall in love with him in 10 days, she is out to dump one within that period. Likability of the stars is stretched too much at times in this contrivance.

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008, GBR) C-110m. ** D: Robert B. Weide. Starring Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges, Megan Fox, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson, Thandie Newton, Miriam Margolyes. British reporter Pegg gets the chance to work for Bridges’ celebrity magazine in New York, but finds he is making enemies everywhere with his rude attitude. The only one who might like him is troubled Dunst. Romantic dramedy has some funny bits but misfires due to miscasting of Pegg. He has no chemistry with Dunst, who’s wonderful as always. This ain’t no ELIZABETHTOWN (2005), although the rest of the cast is good. Based on the bestseller by Toby Young.

How to Murder Your Wife (1965, USA) C-118m. *** D: Richard Quine. Starring Jack Lemmon, Virna Lisi, Terry-Thomas, Eddie Mayehoff, Claire Trevor. Funny comedy about comic strip artist and bachelor Lemmon, who finds himself married to Italian sex bomb Lisi after having spent a night drinking. This is where the film’s title comes in. A little overlong, but cast makes up for occasional lulls.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010, USA) C-98m. *** D: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders. Starring (the voices of) Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill. Entertaining, well-animated fantasy film from Dreamworks about a young boy, who befriends a mysterious dragon, despite the fact that most of the vikings he lives with despise them. Plot is only okay, but the action is breathtaking and fairly amusing.

H6: Diario de un Asesino (2005, SPA) C-92m. M D: Martín Garido Barón. Starring Fernando Acaso, María José Bausá, Antonio Mayans. Acaso has just been released from prison for the spontaneous murder of his girlfriend 15 years ago and moves into the derelict little hotel he inherited from his aunt. He then painstakingly prepares a torture room, where he lures prostitutes to torture, rape and ultimately dismember. Completely pointless, misogynistic movie, with narration coming from different characters out of the blue, a dead-pan, inappropriately normal performance by Acaso, and the classical music audible throughout is probably supposed to lend the film the air of a classic. Makes reference to the famous French serial killer Landru, but stay away anyway. English title: H6: DIARY OF A SERIAL KILLER.

Hudson Hawk (1991, USA) C-100m. **½ D: Michael Lehmann. Starring Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, Richard E. Grant, Sandra Bernard, David Caruso, Frank Stallone, narrated by William Conrad. Master cat-burglar Hudson Hawk (Willis) is released from prison and immediately gets ready to steal some valuable art exposés by Leonardo Da Vinci. It turns out that a mad couple (Grannt, Bernard) are hoping to activate an ancient machine that turns lead into gold. Fairly well-made, well-produced action comedy features Willis in good form, but film is overdone, even annoying at times. For fans of Willis, who also receives co-story credit here. Photographed by Dante Spinotti.

Hudsucker Proxy, The (1994, USA) C-111m. **** D: Joel Coen. Starring Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True, Bill Cobbs, Bruce Campbell, Peter Gallagher, Thom Noble, Steve Buscemi, Anna Nicole Smith, Sam Raimi, Jon Polito, Karl Mundt (=John Goodman). The Coens’ follow-up to BARTON FINK (1991) is an ingenious satire, a retro-fantasy that rivals Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL (1985). In 1958 a naïve hayseed (Robbins) comes to New York City to find a job and unwittingly becomes president of a huge company, Hudsucker Industries, for reasons only known to the chairmen and the right hand (Newman) of the former boss (who committed suicide by jumping out of the window on the 45th floor, that is 45th if you count the mezzanine). Brilliant art direction/set decoration, breathtaking production design on the whole, inimitably stylish direction and photography, this is one of the Coens’ most extravagant pictures. The timing in the last ten minutes is absolutely extraordinary! Performances are flawless, except perhaps for Leigh’s, whose character should have been more fleshed out (her parody of a Katherine Hepburn-ish reporter is great, though). Carter Burwell provides one of his most haunting scores, including elements of Mozart, Bizet, and using Aram Khachaturyan’s memorable tune from his ballet as a recurring theme (you may recognise the melody from Stanley Kubrick’s SPARTACUS (1960) and the television series ‘The Onedin Line’). This was the Coen brothers’ first film without cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, but his replacement Roger Deakins is no less masterful. For their next film, FARGO (1996), the writer-director-producer duo would adjust their course a bit and go back to their BLOOD SIMPLE (1984) roots. THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (1994), cowritten by the Coens and their pal Sam Raimi, contains a lot of references to other cult films (among them, an especially satisfying one to Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER (1982)). A must for their followers, its reputation should soar in the future.

8 Femmes (2002, FRA/ITA) C-111m. ** D: Francois Ozon. Starring Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Ludivine Sagnier, Firmine Richard, Dominique Lamure. Eight women gather at a country house and are baffled to find the only man in the house (Lamure) murdered in his bed. As they are cut off from the outside world by the abundant snow, they decide to solve the crime themselves. What sounds like an interesting whodunit (with the some of the greatest French actresses involved) is undermined by completely unmotivated, unnecessary musical numbers (sung by the actresses). Deliberately colorful production is also much too stagey (it is based on a play by Robert Thomas). A matter of taste, I immensely disliked its artificial art-house flair. One of the songs is by Gene Kelly. English title: 8 WOMEN.

Human Duplicators, The (1965, USA/ITA) C-80m. **½ D: Hugo Grimaldi. Starring George Nader, Dolores Faith, Richard Kiel, George Macready. Interesting blend of spy and science-fiction movies about special agent Nader, who is assigned to investigate mysterious disappearances among noted scientists. The viewer knows from the beginning that extra-terrestrials are replacing them one by one. Not bad, only a little stuffy. Nader would later play a secret agent in several Jerry Cotton adaptations. Also known as SPACE AGENT K1 and JAWS OF THE ALIEN.

“Human” Factor, The (1975, GBR) C-95m. *½ D: Edward Dmytryk. Starring George Kennedy, John Mills, Raf Vallone, Arthur Franz, Rita Tushingham, Barry Sullivan. Kennedy plays an American scientist in Naples, Italy, who is busy working for a secret NATO project concerning a war simulation. When his family is brutally killed by terrorists, he sets out to find the killers and avenge the death of his beloved wife and kids. Lumbering DEATH WISH-like thriller concentrates too much on Kennedy’s grief and the chases are not too exciting either. Film’s glorification of computers is laughable today. Score by Ennio Morricone is quite good (though repeated too often).

Hunger, The (1983, GBR) C-97m. Scope ***½ D: Tony Scott. Starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff De Young, Beth Ehlers, Dan Hedaya, Willem Dafoe. Visually stunning, hypnotic horror film about a pair of vampires (Deneuve and Bowie), who have set their eyes (and fangs) on doctor Sarandon. The scientist is probing into the phenomenon of accelerated aging, and Bowie, who’s agiing unnaturally fast, is in desperate need for a cure. Aesthetic, well-scored, well-cast cult horror movie shows unusual compassion for its monsters (like Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE (1994), which is equally enticing). Auspicious movie debut by Tony Scott, brother of Ridley Scott, whose BLADE RUNNER (1982) may also have been an influence on this. Based on the novel by Whitley Strieber (WOLFEN).

Hungry Wives (1972, USA) C-90m. ** D: George A. Romero. Starring Jan White, Ray Laine, Ann Muffly, Joedda McClain, Bill Thunhurst, Bill Hinzman. One of Romero’s rarest films is a drama, not a horror film or sex film as the titles might have you believe. Housewife White is bored with her life and starts getting increasingly frightening dreams. Then someone introduces her to witchcraft. Is she going insane? There’s also a potential lover around. Suburban drama, rather dated, but Romero fans will savor his trademark social commentary and directorial style. Also shown at 104m. and 130m.(!), which cannot really be an improvement. Retitled SEASON OF THE WITCH for video, also known as JACK’S WIFE.

Hunting List (1996, HGK) C-88m. ** D: Yin-Ping Chu. Cast unknown. Two long-time friends, one of whom an undercover cop, work as hitmen for a triad organisation which deals with drugs. Action thriller is not very distingushed plotwise and quite uneven, but does not take itself as an excuse for showing excessive violence. The effects are overdone, though. Remains watchable because the score is quite good and the leads are charismatic. The final shoot-out recreates the showdown from TRUE ROMANCE.

Hurricane (1979, USA) C-120m. Scope D: Jan Troell. Starring Mia Farrow, Jason Robards, Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard, Dayton Ka’ne, James Keach, Timothy Bottoms. Completely misfired attempt at remaking the 1937 classic HURRICANE. In the 1920s Farrow travels to Samoa, where her father Robards is in charge. She falls in love with a local tribesman, with tragic results. A picture postcard from Samoa (photographed by Sven Nykvist), but does not at all sustain feature length. Don’t mistake this for a disaster movie (even the climactic storm is rather ridiculous). Score by Nino Rota, produced by Dino de Laurentiis. Retitled FORBIDDEN PARADISE.

Hurt Locker, The (2008, USA) C-131m. *** D: Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly. Oscar-winning war drama set in Iraq, where a special bomb disarming squad goes about their day-to-day business. Renner plays a daredevil, who’s new to the team and displays unconventional methods. He is soon drawn into the country’s strife emotionally. Powerful, engrossing, tense film uses an almost documentarian approach and delivers. Later undermines itself a little with artificial plot twist about the Iraqi boy, but generally a mature film with a strong statement, winner of 6 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director (the first for a woman), beating out Bigelow’s ex-husband’s AVATAR (2009).

Hush (1998, USA) C-95m. *½ D: Jonathan Darby. Starring Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnathon Schaech, Nina Foch, Debi Mazar, David Thornton, Hal Holbrook.Paltrow and Schaech, two New Yorkers in love decide to marry when she is pregnant, and Paltrow insists they move to his mother's estate in the country, which turns out to be a mistake. His widowed mother is a neurotic monster, who plots to destroy their luck. Audience manipulation on the level of THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, with offensively incredible plot development. Good production values go completely overboard in absolutely stupid finale. Lange tries hard to be neurotic, but with this script she only comes across as annoying.

Hyn Huet Ching Nin (2002, HGK) C-89m. ** D: Pou-Soi Cheang. Starring Bernard Chow, Niki Chow, Chi Kui Chow, Winnie Leung. Hong Kong horror about a police man who donates blood to two people, a psychotic young woman and a cancer patient. Then the latter starts haunting them, and almost drives the young woman completely crazy. Less effective than your average Japanese chiller, this tries to be fast-paced, but the plot is hare-brained. International title: NEW BLOOD.

Hyôryû-gai (2000, JAP) C-103m. D: Takashi Miike. Starring Teah, Michelle Reis, Patricia Manterola, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Koji Kikkawa, Ren Osugi. One of Japanese cult director Miike’s action (over-)indulgences, this has been dubbed a remake of TRUE ROMANCE (1993), but expect nothing of the like. A Brazilian gangster and his Chinese broad are chased by police and mafia organizations. They need money to escape to China. Some stylish violence cannot overcome poor pace and total lack of character development. If computer-animated cockfights are your cup of tea, then tune in. English titles: CITY OF LOST SOULS, CITY OF LAST SOULS, CITY OF STRANGERS, THE HAZARD CITY.

Hysteria (1964, GBR) 85m. **½ D: Freddie Francis. Starring Robert Webber, Lelia Goldoni, Maurice Denham, Jennifer Jayne. OK suspenser about amnesiac Webber who is invited to a penthouse by an un-known benefactor, where he starts hearing strange voices. Is he going mad? Indifferently done, there is nothing extraordinary about this thriller from the Hammer studios. Some good scenes make it worthwhile.

Hysteria (1997, CDN/GBR) C-102m. **½ D: René Daalder. Starring Patrick McGoohan, Amanda Plummer, Michael Maloney, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Lorne Brass, Sam Stone. Strange, hardly released psycho drama by writer/director Daalder (MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH). Maloney plays a psychiatrist who falls in love with one of his patients (Vaugier) and travels to mad scientist McGoohan’s clinic, where he wants to heal her. It turns out McGoohan is conducting weird experiments with his clients, turning the mansion into a madhouse. Wild plot doesn’t make much sense, but Daalder’s direction is fine, making this almost fascinating. Seems like it was cowritten by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Not for all tastes. The director also contributed to the score.