Earth (2007, USA/GBR/GER) C-96m. *** D: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield. Narrated by James Earl Jones (US version), Patrick Stewart (UK version). Beautiful globe-spanning documentary that travels from the North Pole to the South Pole, visiting several climate zones and examining the wonders of our planet. Astounding, never-before-seen footage of animals and landscapes, set to a majestic, sweeping score. A must, will remind you of how beautiful this world is. Also known as PLANET EARTH, based on the television series of the same name.

Earthquake (1974, USA) C-123m. Scope **½ D: Mark Robson. Starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Geneviève Bujold, Richard Roundtree, Marjoe Gortner, Barry Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, Victoria Principal, Walter Matuschanskayasky (=Walter Matthau), Monica Lewis, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Donald Moffat. Typical disaster thriller, made when the genre was at its zenith. Soap opera-like introduction features Heston as an architect, Gardner as his desperate wife, and Bujold as Heston’s new love interest (with kid), as well as Roundtree as a stunt driver and Kennedy as a hardened cop. When an earthquake hits the city (Los Angeles), it spreads chaos and destruction. Some suspenseful cliffhanger situations, great special effects and an impressive quake-sequence in the middle of the film make this recommendable – unless the 45-odd minutes of dull introduction put you off. Written by George Fox and Mario Puzo(!). Score by John Williams, photography by Philip H. Lathrop. Originally released in “Sensurround”, which featured a special low-frequency bass speaker setup. Won an Oscar for Best Sound and a Special Achievement Award for Best Visual Effects. Lengthened by several minutes for film’s cable TV premiere. Sort-of remade/ripped-off in Japan as JISHIN RETTO (1980).

Eastern Promises (2007, GBR/CDN/USA) C-100m. *** D: David Cronenberg. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinéad Cusack, Jerzy Skolimowski. Crime drama, a companion piece to Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005), which also starred Mortensen. Here he plays a driver for the Russian mafia in London, who gets involved in midwife Watts’ investigation into the death of a 14-year-old girl, who gave birth to a baby in her hospital. Heavy-going at times, almost solemn, the lack of action is made up for by scenes of harsh blood-letting. Film wraps up nicely, which makes up for the fact that it’s a bit too talky and stagey. Written by Steven Knight, score by Howard Shore.

East Side Story (1997, GER/FRA) C-77m. *** D: Dana Ranga. Interesting documentary about film musicals made behind the Iron Curtain from the 1930s to the 1960s. Only about 40 were made, and most of them had to keep close to the Soviet ideology, meaning they showed happy workers dancing in the fields, steel mills etc.! Features many enlightening interviews, as well as footage from the films in question. More of interest to cinéastes than to ordinary moviegoers. Some clips are in black-and-white, some in widescreen.

Ebola Syndrome (1996, HGK) C-98m. **½ D: Herman Yau. Starring Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Ming Wan Yeung, Shing Fui-On, Lo Meng. Extremely violent horror thriller set mostly in South Africa, where a sadistic low-life has fled after killing his boss and his wife. Working for a Chinese restaurant, he goes looking for meat in the African bush and contracts Ebola when he rapes a tribeswoman. Not only does he proceed to kill his new boss, he also turns him and his girlfriend into minced meat for the hamburger special on the next day! Then the traumatized daughter of the first couple he killed recognizes him and he is forced to flee back to Hong Kong – with the Ebola virus inside him. Pretty disgusting but fun for gorehounds, especially because of Wong’s scenery-chewing performance, his story seems reminiscent of HENRY – PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986), although in an over-the-top Hong Kong-style. Watch out for edited prints.

Echappement Libre (1964, FRA/SPA/ITA/GER) 103m. Scope ** D: Jean Becker. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Gert Fröbe, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Fernando Rey, Wolfgang Preiss. Crime comedy starts nice, then bogs down: Fröbe hires Belmondo to smuggle gold hidden in a sports car to Beirut and assigns Seberg as his partner. Soon, the smart Frenchman decides to keep the gold for himself. Nice locations, attractive stars and a story that becomes weaker and weaker. Some found it good, though. An adaptation of a novel by Clet Coroner. English title: BACKFIRE.

Écoute Voir (1978, FRA) C-115m. **½ D: Hugo Santiago. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Sami Frey. Deneuve stars as a private investigator who is assigned by the owner of a large estate to find out who wants to get access to his premises. It turns out a dangerous sect intends to use the man's invention - a machine which manipulates the human will - for their own sakes. Low-key, not terribly involving, but well-worth a look at, especially for fans of Deneuve. Jazzy, experimental soundtrack adds to the film's mood.

Ed and His Dead Mother (1993, USA) C-90m. **½ D: Jonathan Wacks. Starring Ned Beatty, Steve Buscemi, John Glover, Gary Farmer. Neat black comedy about Buscemi, who’s shattered when his mother dies – and baffled when enigmatic businessman Glover knocks on his door and offers to bring her back from the dead. And she does come back – with a vengeance! Quite funny, but too self-conscious and a tad too slow. Good performances. Also known as MOTHERHOOD.

Edge, The (1997, USA) C-117m. Scope **½ D: Lee Tamahori. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Elle Macpherson, Harold Perrineau, L.Q. Jones, Bart the Bear. Wilderness adventure set in Alaska about billionaire Hopkins, a well-educated and interested man, whose plane crashes in the middle of nowhere, with only a photographer (Baldwin) and his assistant surviving. In their quest for survival, the men do not only have to fight a wild bear but also their own rivalry, with Hopkin's wife Macpherson being the object of desire. Nice location filming and some good scenes between the stars make film worth watching, though the premise is contrived and the situations not always credible.

Ed TV (1999, USA) C-122m. **½ D: Ron Howard. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Sally Kirkland, Martin Landau, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley. Amusing, intermittently clever satire, TRUMAN SHOW-style about brainless Everyman McConaughey, whose life is presented 24 hours a day in a TV show by a declining cable network. Not consistently credible, slighty overlong, but entertaining. A remake of the Canadian film LOUIS XIX: ROI DES ONDES.

Edward Scissorhands (1990, USA) C-105m. ***½ D: Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Robert Oliveri, O-Lan Jones, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin, Nick Carter. Touching, irresistible Burton movie, a typically dark fantasy about the title character, an artificial human (Depp), whose maker (Price) sewed all but his hands onto his body, instead he is wearing huge scissors. One day he is discovered by cosmetics saleswoman Wiest, who takes him to her suburban home and integrates him into their society. However, the young man remains ‘different’ despite his unique talents. Intelligent story by Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson links the classic plots of Pinocchio and Frankenstein. Excellent score by Danny Elfman, remarkable art direction, too. A real treat (even if it hits its stride rather late), one of Tim Burton’s best films.

Ed Wood (1994, USA) 124m. *** D: Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, G. D. Spradlin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lisa Marie, Bill Murray, Mike Starr, George ‘The Animal’ Steele. Screen-bio of legendary/notorious trash film director Edward D. Wood, Jr., whose PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE has been labelled ‘worst film of all time’. Typically stylish Burton homage, shot in eye-popping black-and-white, is probably less compelling to non-movie buffs, but fine performances, including Martin Landau’s brilliant, heart-breaking portrayal of the dying Bela Lugosi, make the film worth watching. Oscars went to Landau and his make-up designer Rick Baker. Howard Shore composed the score.

Eglima Sto Kavouri (1974, GRE) C-79m. ** D: Kostas Karagiannis. Starring Lakis Komninos, Dorothy Moore, Vagelis Seilinos, Dimitris Bislanis, Fragoulis Fragoulis, Jane Paterson. A sex killer is roaming the city and Komninos intends to use him to get rid of his rich, neurotic wife. Rather poorly handled, barely watchable thriller was one of a handful of Greek exploitation films, distantly related to the giallo. English titles: THE RAPE KILLER, DEATH KISS, and HE MURDERED HIS WIFE.

18 Bronzegirls of the Shaolin (197?, HGK) C-84m. ** D: Chien Lai Yeh. Starring Yueh-Hua, King Kong. Confusing kung fu actioner with silly comic touches is only partly redeemed by an exciting (and increasingly violent) last 20 minutes.

18 Fatal Strikes (1979, HGK) C-83m. Scope *** D: Ching Chen. Starring Tung Wai, Shih Tien, Mang Kuang, Min Chiang. Simply plotted but phenomenally choreographed eastern about two young peasants who save the life of a shaolin monk. Subsequently he teaches them the art of Kung Fu, and together they take on a white-haired manchu, who is after the monk. Comic bits mingle better with the action than usual. The German TV version is cut and misses the final two minutes.

Eighteenth Angel, The (1997, USA/ITA) C-88m. Scope **½ D: William Bindley. Starring Christopher MacDonald, Rachel Leigh Cook, Stanley Tucci, Wendy Crewson, Maximilian Schell, Cosimo Fusco, Venantino Venantini, Ted Rusoff. After her mother has committed suicide, Cook's father allows the teenager to go to Italy for a photo shooting, but it turns out priest Schell is waiting for an "eighteenth angel" that would ensure the rebirth of the Anti-Christ. Horror thriller isn't very clever (criticism of genetics is slight), but credibly acted by MacDonald and atmospheric thanks to Italian setting. Schell had a similar role in JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES a year later. Written by David Seltzer (THE OMEN).

8 Mile (2002, USA) C-110m. Scope **½ D: Curtis Hanson. Starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Pfifer, Brittany Murphy, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller. Typical street drama about an underdog achieving fame features star rapper Eminem in a tailor-made role as a self-conscious white rapper, whose way to fame is difficult, also because of his social background. Basinger plays his trailer-trash mother. Might carry additional impact for Eminem fans, but otherwise, this lacks spark. Oscar winner for Best Song.

8MM (1999, USA) C-123m. ** D: Joel Schumacher. Starring Nicholas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, Christopher Bauer, Catherine Keener, Myra Carter. Private detective Cage is asked by a rich widow to investigate the origins of an 8mm snuff film she found in her late husband's safe. All she wants is to know whether the girl tortured in the movie was really killed. Family father Cage delves into the netherworld of the pornography/bondage industry and soon finds himself engulfed in a maelstrom of sex and violence, where he just can't shake off his personal feelings for the girl. Cage's poorly defined character mars this potentially nerve-wrecking thriller, and as a result the film's transgression from a simple detective thriller to a kind of 'Death Wish' revenge pic is hardly credible. Well-made, to be sure, but its unpleasantness is - unfortunately - not offset by a good plot.

Election (1999, USA) C-103m. Scope *** D: Alexander Payne. Starring Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Loren Nelson, Chris Klein, Phil Reeves, Colleen Camp. Unusual satirical comedy about high school teacher Broderick and his nemesis, ultra-ambitious student Witherspoon. When she runs for president of the student council, Broderick talks dumb ex-football player Klein into competing against her. And that’s just the main thread of a meandering plot that includes lesbianism, adultery and jealousy. Generally on-target, but obviously tries to include too many details of the novel it’s based on (written by Tom Perretta). Still, highly original and well-acted.

Electra Glide in Blue (1973, USA) C-106m. Scope *** D: James William Guercio. Starring Robert Blake, Billy Green Bush, Mitchell Ryan, Jeannine Riley, Elisha Cook, Jr. Ambitious, well-acted drama focusing on the life of highway patrolman Blake, who is striving to be a homicide cop and thinks his chance has come when a local hermite is found dead in his hut. Stylish, well-directed, with poetic location photography by Conrad Hall (IN COLD BLOOD, BUTCH CASSIDY AND SUNDANCE KID); his use of a zoom lens (in almost every scene) is also remarkable. Plot loses focus after about an hour, but film still a must for followers of the American independent cinema. It has developed a cult reputation. Coproduced by director Guercio, who also composed the score. Also shown at 113m.

Element of Crime, The (1984, DAN) C-103m. *** D: Lars von Trier. Starring Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Me Me Lei, Gerald Wells, Ahmed El-Shenawi, Astrid Henning Jensen, Lars von Trier. ‘The Element of Crime’ is a book written by a criminologist which should improve the understanding of a criminal mind. With its help a detective (Elphick) wants to track down serial killer Harry Grey who has been murdering young girls selling lottery tickets. Frame story sees him in Cairo undergoing hypnosis in order to return to Europe (Germany, to be exact) to solve the case. Fascinating thriller boasts cowriter-director von Trier’s overwhelming visual style (as seen before in BEFRIELSES BILLEDER), the film’s intellectual pensiveness is transferred slowly to the viewer. Surreal narrative will undoubtedly only appeal to intelligent audiences. This is a cult film that will surely be rediscovered and hailed as a masterpiece in years to come. Feature film debut of the ingenious Lars von Trier (EUROPA, RIGET, BREAKING THE WAVES). First part of a trilogy, followed by EPIDEMIC and EUROPA. Esmond Knight, who plays the author of ‘The Element of Crime’, appeared in Laurence Olivier’s HAMLET in 1948 (which is set in Denmark). Original Danish language title: Forbrydelsens Element. Shot in English.

Elephant (2003, USA) C-81m. **½ D: Gus Van Sant. Starring Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor, Carry Finklea, Timothy Bottoms. Examination of a school shooting as seen through the eyes of various characters. Non-linear narrative is much like that of PULP FICTION (1994), but offers little in terms of motives and explanations. Interesting throughout, despite minute-long, seemingly pointless sequences, with which director Van Sant tries to plunge the viewer into a typical school day at an average high school. Ultimately, his criticism comes a year too late, after Michael Moore’s scathing BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE (2002). Still took a Palm D’Or at Cannes.

Elephant Man, The (1980, GBR/USA) 123m. Scope ***½ D: David Lynch. Starring Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones, Michael Elphick. Extraordinary drama, based on the real-life story of John Merrick, a grotesquely disfigured young man (Hurt), who is discovered by a renowned doctor (Hopkins) in Victorian London and saved from his freak show host/owner (Jones). The kind treatment by the doctors soon make the ‘Elephant Man’ reveal his true nature – that of a sensitive, intelligent being. Unsensationalistic, well-acted, Lynch’s follow-up to his debut feature ERASERHEAD (1978) is almost completely atypical of his oeuvre but nevertheless hits the mark. Beautifully photographed in black-and-white by Freddie Francis, moving score by John Morris. Nominated for eight Oscars but didn’t win any.

Elisa (1995, FRA) C-115m. Scope *** D: Jean Becker. Starring Vanessa Paradis, Clotilde Coureau, Sekkou Sall, Florence Thomassin, Michel Bouquet, Philippe Léotard, Gérard Depardieu. Well-wrought drama about a homeless 17 year-old girl called Marie (Paradis), who uses her good looks to get by and occasionally commits small crimes with her friends. She is deeply troubled by the fact that her mother, who was forced to work as a prostitute, committed suicide when she was only three years old. One day Marie decides to look for her lost father, in order to get her revenge on the man who she thinks is responsible for her miserable life. Well-acted, credible film cowritten by director Becker (UN ETE MEURTRIER) scores high emotionally and dramatically, despite being slightly overlong. Dedicated to Serge Gainsbourg.

Elizabeth (1998, GBR) C-123m. *** D: Shekhar Kapur. Starring Cate Blanchett, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough, Geoffrey Rush, Kathy Burke, Christopher Ecclestone, Fanny Ardant, Eric Cantona, Sir John Gielgud, Jean-Pierre Léaud. Well-directed historical drama about the formative years of Queen Elizabeth I. (Blanchett), who came to power during the Restoration period and paved the way for England's world domination in the following years. Well-acted, well-produced, a must for history experts and laymen alike, although plot itself is not very compelling.

Elizabethtown (2005, USA) C-123m. ***½ D: Cameron Crowe. Starring Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel, Paul Schneider. When shoe designer Bloom causes his company to lose a billion dollars he’s ready to commit suicide. Then he receives news of his father’s death and must travel to Kentucky to arrange his funeral. On his way he meets flight attendant Dunst, who may give his life a new meaning. Philosophical, satirical, touching drama laced with wonderful music and pitch-perfect performances. Dunst’s character is too good to be true, though. Written by director Crowe. Photographed by John Toll.

Ella Enchanted (2004, USA/EIR/GBR) C-96m. **½ D: Tommy O’Haver. Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Aidan McArdle, Joanna Lumley, Minne Driver, Eric Idle, Jimi Mistry, Vivica A. Fox, Patrick Bergin, voice of Steve Coogan. Family fantasy movie is a mix between Cinderella and SHREK. Hathaway got an unwelcome gift at birth – she has to obey every command. This cuases a lot of problems, especially when an evil stepmother and her two ugly daughters come into her life. Will she get her Prince Charming anyway? Some laughs, nice sets, but plot (an adapation of Gail Carson Levine’s novel) is lacking pizzazz. Hathaway is radiant.

Emanuelle e Francoise le Sorelline (1975, ITA) C-96m. *½ D: Joe D’Amato. Starring George Eastman, Rosemarie Lindt, Anne Carol Edel, Patrizia Gori, Massimo Vanni. Another non-official EMMANUELLE movie, whose name was a synonym for sex in the 1970s and beyond. Here, the vixen avenges the death of her sister, who was driven to suicide by selfish, destructive actor Eastman. She kidnaps him and subjects him to teasings and torture. Rather boring. Photographed by director D’Amato, who also produced and coscripted with Bruno Mattei. English titles: BLOOD VENGEANCE, DEMON RAGE, and EMANUELLE’S REVENGE.

Emanuelle e gli Ultimi Cannibali (1977, ITA) C-88m. *½ D: Joe d’Amato. Starring Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Nieves Navarro, Donald O’Brien, Mónica Zanchi, Percy Hogan. Joe d’Amato’s contribution to the infamous cannibal movie canon has black Emanuelle Gemser travel in to the jungle to find and study a cannibal tribe. Sex and gore galore, with traces of a ‘normal’ plot. Stay away if you are easily offended (though other cannibal movies seemed even more disgusting). Aka EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS, EMANUELLE’S AMAZON ADVENTURE and TRAP THEM AND KILL THEM.

Embryo (1976, USA) C-104m. D: Ralph Nelson. Starring Rock Hudson, Barbara Carrera, Diane Ladd, Roddy McDowall, Anne Schedeen. Poorly paced attempt at updating the FRANKENSTEIN theme casts Hudson as doctor, who experiments with a special growth potion on fetuses. When his experiment with a dog succeeds, it’s only a matter of time till he tries it on a human embryo. Voice-overs give it a documentary feel not needed, production values are low. Look in vain for traces of style. Alternative title: CREATED TO KILL.

Emerald Forest, The (1985, GBR) C-110m. Scope *** D: John Boorman. Starring Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Yara Vaneau, William Rodriguez, Estee Chandler, Charley Boorman. On the edge of the rainforest, an uncharted region of the world, dam constructor Boothe loses his son, when he is kidnapped by a native tribe. After 10 years of searching, he may just find him among tribe of so-called invisible people, a tribe which has no contact to the outside world. Impressive adventure drama is similar in theme to director Boorman’s masterpiece DELIVERANCE (1972) but its plot contrivances often undermine its message. Still, well worth watching, not just for fans of the director.

Emmanuelle (1974, FRA) C-94m. **½ D: Just Jaeckin. Starring Sylvia Kristel, Alain Cuny, Marika Green, Daniel Sarky, Jeanne Colletin. A classic of erotic cinema, this soft-core sex film inspired countless imitations. Virginal Kristel moves to her diplomat-husband in Thailand and is introduced to the pleasures of the bodily kind. Not exactly compelling, but quite well-made, with a moody score by Pierre Bachelet and Francis Lai and a convincing, star-making performance by beauty Kristel. Based on the novel by Emmanuelle Arsan. Followed by six sequels.

Empire of Ash II (1988, USA) C-86m. M D: Lloyd A. Simandl, Michael Mazo. Starring Melanie Kilgour, Thom Schioler, Frank Wilson, James Stevens. Ultra-cheap sci-fi wanna-be about a group of outlaws who try to rule some kind of forestland. Possibly the worst MAD MAX imitation ever. There’s not even a Part One! Believe it or not, followed by a sequel.

Enchanted (2007, USA) C-107m. SCOPE **½ D: Kevin Lima. Starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall, Idina Menzel, Rachel Covey, Susan Sarandon, narrated by Julie Andrews. Disney fantasy starts out like a wonderful reminiscence of their classics cartoons, bogs down when the main character, a princess, is thrown down a well and enters the real world, 21st century New York City (for which the film expands into widescreen format). She is saved by single dad Dempsey, who can’t explain why she behaves so strangely. A generally good concept, but they had to apply the blockbuster formula, with an overblown finale. Too bad.

End, The (1978, USA) C-100m. Scope **½ D: Burt Reynolds, James Best (uncredited).. Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Sally Field, Strother Martin, David Steinberg, Joanne Woodward, Norman Fell, Myrna Loy, Kristy McNichol, Pat O’Brien, Carl Reiner, James Best. Black comedy about Reynolds, who learns that he is terminally ill and thus decides to kill himself. This give rise to many complications, some funny, some sad. A mild satire, though DeLuise is hilarious as a mental patient whom Reynolds befriends.

Endemoniada, La (1975, SPA) C-88m. *½ D: Amando De Ossorio. Starring Julián Mateos, Marián Salgado, Fernando Sancho, Lone Fleming, Angel del Pozo. Poorly structured, poorly written Spanish EXORCIST rip-off about a witch, who kills herself (facing kidnapping charges) and possesses the body of a ten-year-old child to complete her devilish plan. Lame horror film, only the score is convincing. English titles: THE POSSESSED, and DEMON WITCH CHILD.

Endgame – Bronx Lotta Finale (1983, ITA) C-97m. *½ D: Joe D’Amato. Starring Al Cliver, Laura Gemser, George Eastman, Jack Davis, Al Yamanouchi, Gabriele Tinti, Mario Pedone, Gordon Mitchell, Michele Soavi. Italian post-apocalyptic sci-fi is merely a collection of ideas from better films. In 2025, the champion (Cliver) of a RUNNING MAN-like TV show agrees to help a telepathic woman (Gemser) to lead her people to freedom. Lots of mutants cross their path. Maintains a feeble interest in the first half, deteriorates in the second. A waste of time, unless you want to see that cast. D’Amato also scripted (with Eastman), produced and photographed the picture. Soavi, who has a cameo at the end, functioned as assistant director.

Endless Night (1971, GBR) C-95m. *** D: Sidney Gilliat. Starring Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Britt Ekland, George Sanders, Per Oscarsson, Lois Maxwell, Peter Bowles. Very interesting Agatha Christie adaptation, much too little-known. Bennett plays a driver, who blames his working-class background for preventing him to become the arts/antiques expert he secretly desires to be. If only he had the money to buy beautiful estate Gypsy’s Acre and set up his existence there. Little does he know that fate has paved the way for this already. Intricately plotted, suspenseful mystery with an excellent Bernard Herrmann score. Midsection suffers most from leisurely pacing, but overall film is a must. There are more nuances to Bennett’s character than in all the other characters of Agatha Christie adaptations together. Photographed by Harry Waxman. Gilliat’s last film as a director.

End of Days (1999, USA) C-122m. Scope **½ D: Peter Hyams. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, CCH Pounder, Derrick O’Connor, Udo Kier, Mark Margolis, Rod Steiger. Arnold is back, playing a doubting-Thomas bodyguard, who finds himself trying to prevent the reunion of Satan (Byrne) with a chosen victim (Tunney) on New Year’s Eve 1999. Like in director Hyams’ THE RELIC, tons of explosions, hyper-kinetic action delivered through an illogical but okay plot. Action fans will get their share, others might discard this film realizing that it only wants to cash in on the millennium hysteria. Schwarzenegger is fun as usual.

Enemy of the State (1998, USA) C-131m. Scope *** D: Tony Scott. Starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Stuart Wilson, Loren Dean, Jake Busey, Scott Caan, Gabriel Byrne, James LeGros, Jamie Kennedy, Seth Green, Philip Baker Hall, Jason Robards, Tom Sizemore. Stellar cast in rip-roaring action film about NSA official Voight’s plans for seamless observation a la George Orwell’s 1984. Smith plays a lawyer who accidentally gets involved in the scheme and becomes a target because he has proof of Voight’s terrible practices. Flashy direction, superb pace … there is simply no time for the hole in the story to shine through. Really only a typical Hollywood contrivance but technically excellent. Hackman’s character is one big reference to Francis Ford Coppola’s classic THE CONVERSATION (1974).

Enfants Terribles, Les (1950, FRA) 104m. *** D : Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring Nicole Stéphane, Edouard Dermithe, Renée Cosima, Jacques Bernard, Melvyn Martin, narrated by Jean Cocteau. Melville’s second feature is a profound character study about the relationship between brother and sister, Stéphane and Dermithe, who are quasi-orphans. She feels responsible for her sickly brother and tries to take his fate into her own hands – with tragic results. Non-sensationalistic, poetic treatment (not quite in the realm of a Cocteau film), although Melville was still practising for his later, greater movies. Stéphane’s excellent performance is chillingly believable. Cosima plays two characters. Based on the novel by Jean Cocteau, who also narrates. Fine use of classical music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Photography by Henri Decaë. Produced and cowritten by Melville. English title: THE STRANGE ONES.

Enfer, L’ (1994, FRA) C-100m. *** D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Emmanuelle Béart, Francois Cluzet, Nathalie Cardone, André Wilms, Jean-Pierre Cassel. Chabrol’s adaptation of a screenplay by Henri-Georges Clouzot (written in 1964) about seemingly perfect couple Béart and Cluzet, whose idyllic world crumbles when he grows increasingly jealous and follows every step she takes. Well-directed and acted, an unrelenting descent into the dark side of human nature. A matter of taste regarding how far you will let yourself be manipulated, but masterfully handled by Chabrol.

English Patient, The (1996, USA) C-161m. ***½ D: Anthony Minghella. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas, Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth, Julian Wadham, Jürgen Prochnow, Kevi Whatley. Meticulous, well-produced epic tale of a badly burned Englishman (Fiennes), who is tended to by a Canadian nurse (Binoche) during World War Two. Slowly he remembers the events leading up to the plane crash. Perfectly mounted drama starts slow and becomes more and more fascinating as it goes along. Well-acted, especially by Scott Thomas, Minghella’s adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel is occasionally confusing and hard to follow (which is a flaw of many literary adaptations) but patient viewers will be doubly rewarded. Winner of nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Binoche).

Enigma (2001, GBR/USA/GER/NED) C-117m. **½ D: Michael Apted. Starring Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows, Jeremy Northam, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Corin Redgrave, Mick Jagger. Period drama set during World War Two, about continuous attempts to crack German message code and expert Scott, whose involvement with femme fatale Burrows may be the key to solving the mystery of the code and unveiling a possible conspiracy against the British. Good production values, performances (especially lovely Winslet’s) in diffuse film that you never completely figure out (not an intention by the filmmakers). Script by Tom Stoppard is an adaptation of Robert Harris’ novel. Score by John Barry. Mick Jagger coproduced and appears in a cameo as a soldier.

Enigma Rosso (1978, ITA/SPA/GER) C-85m. **½ D: Alberto Negrin. Starring Fabio Testi, Christine Kaufmann, Ivan Desny, Brigitte Wagner, Fausta Avelli, Tony Isbert, John (Jack) Taylor, Helga Liné. Quite good murder mystery, giallo-style, about inspector Testi, who investigates killing of sixteen-year-old girl. At her boarding school she was part of a clique of girls, who have a naughty hobby… and the killer is targeting more teens. Plot sort-of imitates the classic giallo PROFONDO ROSSO (1975), but film lacks Dario Argento’s audacity or style. Testi is quite good, though it’s a mystery why Kaufmann appears at all. Screenplay is credited to six writers, among them Massimo Dallamano and director Negrin. Expert score by Riz Ortolani. Alternative titles: TRAUMA, RED RINGS OF FEAR, VIRGIN KILLER, VIRGIN TERROR.

Eno Nakano Bokuno Mura (1996, JAP) C-112m. **½ D: Yoichi Higashi. Starring Mieko Harada, Keigo Matsuyama, Shogo Matsuyama, Kyozo Nagatsuka. Japanese childhood reminiscence about two little twin boys who grow up in rural post-WW2
Japan. Based on the lives of two children’s books authors, film is occasionally beautiful but remains dramatically pat.
Nevertheless took the Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival. English title: VILLAGE OF DREAMS.

Enter the Dragon (1973, USA/HGK) C-99m. Scope *** D: Robert Clouse. Starring Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri, Bob Wall, Shih Tien, Angela Mao, Yang Tse. Lee (as ‘Mr Lee’ more or less playing himself) is assigned to infiltrate island fortress of evil crime boss Tien, who holds a martial arts tournament there every three years. Plot is unimportant, and film suffers from that for over an hour, but the last twenty minutes are so tense and fascinating they will tighten every slack muscle in your body. The final fight shows Lee at his very best. He is credited as choreographer, but rumor has it that he also codirected the film with Clouse. Fine score by Lalo Schifrin. Coproduced by Raymond Chow. Samo Hung has a cameo at the beginning of the film. Alternative U.S. title: THE DEADLY THREE.

Enter the Fat Dragon (1978, HGK) C-81m. Scope **½ D: Samo Hung. Starring Samo Hung, Peter K. Yang, Roy Chiao-Hung, Lim Kin-Ming, Leung Kar Yan. Hung is a hayseed that comes to the big city to find a job. He gets involved in all kinds of street-brawling action, which earns him respect - but no money. Then he takes up a job at his uncle’s restaurant. Kung fu comedy is likable due to the star’s dedicated performance, but that’s about it. Hung’s last opponent (Leung Kar Yan) plays his master in THE VICTIM. German video version is cut.

Entity, The (1981, USA) C-125m. Scope ** D: Sidney J. Furie. Starring Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa, George Coe, Margaret Blye, Alex Rocco. Hershey plays a mother of three, who one day starts suffering vicious attacks by an invisible sexual force. Is it a demon? Or is she going insane? Psychologist Silver tries to help her with Freud – to no avail. Rather outlandish, silly premise somehow remains watchable thanks to straight-faced performances, a professional score by Charles Bernstein. Written by Frank De Feliita, based on his novel (allegedly based on fact!). Released abroad before getting an early 1983 U.S. release.

En Toute Innocence (1987, FRA) C-95m. **½ D: Alain Jessua. Starring Michel Serrault, Nathalie Baye, Suzanne Flon, Francois Dunoyer. Sylvie Fennec. Chabrol-like drama about elderly man Serrault, who unwittingly sees his son’s wife committing adultery and has a terrible car accident as a consequence. With broken legs and self-imposed muteness, he tries to evade a confrontation. Interesting, well-acted (Flon and Serrault make a great pair), but always a leg behind a thoroughly good thriller. Photographed by Jean Rabier.

Entrapment (1999, USA/GBR) C-113m. Scope **½ D: Jon Amiel. Starring Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ving Rhames, Will Patton, Terry O’Neill. Mild diversion about master-thief Connery, who is so fascinated by lady Zeta-Jones that he agrees to turn her into a master-thief, too. Romance (quite unreal) meets high-tech action, complemented by some exciting chases. Not that stimulating; further hampered by an incredibly stupid ending. When does Connery finally make good films again?

Epidemic (1987, DAN) 106m. **½ D: Lars von Trier. Starring Lars von Trier, Niels Vorsel, Susanne Ottesen, Udo Kier. More confusing than enigmatic story of two filmmakers who write a screenplay about an epidemic which is ravaging around a big city. A young doctor tries to cross the hermetically closed city boundaries to help the victims of the plague. Von Trier alternately shows the filmmakers’ research journeys through Europe, shot in 16mm, and the events taking place in their ‘film’, filmed in 35mm by Henning Bendtsen, who used to be Carl Theodor Dreyer’s regular cinematographer. Although the idea for EPIDEMIC is intriguing, the narrative is confusing and doesn’t make much sense. Too little time is invested in fleshing out the story of the film within the film, which is gorgeously shot, however. Still, this one should not be easily discarded; it may require multiple viewing to completely understand it. Lars von Trier’s second feature, following THE ELEMENT OF CRIME. He also coedited and cowrote the film (with his co-star Vorsel). One segment is in color.

Equilibrium (2002, USA) C-107m. Scope ** D: Kurt Wimmer. Starring Christian Bale, Dominic Purcell, Sean Bean, Christian Kahrmann, John Keogh, Sean Pertwee, Emily Watson, David Hemmings. In the near future anyone who shows emotions is outlawed and persecuted. Policeman Bale is especially cold and untouched by all this, until his colleague Bean steals a book which is supposed to be burned. Obviously, there is a rebel movement out there. Writer-director Wimmer should be accused of plagiarism. His film is like Fahrenheit 451 meets 1984 with absolutely no ideas of its own. Some flashy action sequences may make it interesting for action fans. Also known as CUBIC.

Equipier, L’ (2004, FRA) C-104m. **½ D: Philippe Lioret. Starring Sandrine Bonnaire, Philippe Torreton, Grégori Derangère, Emilie Dequenne, Anne Consigny. French drama told in flashback. In 1963 a stranger arrives in small Breton community to work as a lighthouse worker. He is at first rejected by everyone, but he has special skills – and good looks... Nicely quiet drama, nothing special, some nice views of the landscape and subtle dramatics. English title: THE LIGHT.

Era of Vampire, The (2002, HGK/JAP/NED) C-90m. *½ D: Wellson Chin. Starring Kwan Chan Kwok, Ken Chang, Suet Lam, Michael Chow Man-Kin. Also known as TSUI HARK’S VAMPIRE HUNTERS, this horror / action hybrid deals with a group of warriors who try to fend off army of vampires in medieval China. Incredibly muddled, disjointed script by producer Tsui Hark makes very little sense. Some flashy action scenes aside, this B-movie is not scary or supenseful at all. The vampires suck their victim’s blood in an odd way, too. Avoid.

Eraser (1996, USA) C-115m. Scope ** D: Charles (Chuck) Russell. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa L. Williams, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli, James Cromwell, Danny Nucci. In-your-face action entertainment about pro Schwarzenegger, who,  working for the witness protection program, provides people with new identities. His latest client (Williams) is such an important witness that Arnie cannot even trust his own bosses. Lots of action but mean-spirited, contrived and much too serious, with Caan’s character ridiculously overdone. Leaves a very bitter aftertaste.

Eraserhead (1977, USA) 89m. *** D: David Lynch. Starring John (Jack) Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Judith Anna Roberts, Laurel Near, V. Phipps-Wilson, Jack Fisk, Jennifer (Chambers) Lynch. David Lynch’s first feature is a nightmare movie if there ever was one, full of symbolism and frightening images. Nance’s affair with a girl results in the birth of an ALIEN-like freak baby. Too surreal to clearly describe it, this movie is very slowly paced but also fascinating, even hypnotic. A cult favorite, impressively shot. Lynch also wrote, produced and worked on the complete picture. Clearly a matter of taste.

Ercole al Centro della Terra (1961, ITA) C-84m. Scope *** D: Mario Bava. Starring Reg Park, Christopher Lee, Leonora Ruffo. Bava’s second feature is just as atmospheric: When Hercules finds out that his bride-to-be has fallen sick, he enters Hades, the world of the dead, to get the cure. Lee is fine as the villain, and the final attack of the vampires is a gem. Naive but colorful fun, coscripted and photographed by the director. English title: HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD.

Ercole alla Conquista di Atlantide (1961, ITA/FRA) C-94m. Scope D: Vittorio Cottafavi. Starring Reg Park, Fay Spain, Ettore Manni, Gian Maria Volonté. Relentlessly talky, aimless peplum movie about Hercules attempts to bring down despotic queen of Atlantis. Park is absolutely terrible. Special effects are limited to the beginning of the film. Cowritten by Ducio Tessari, score by Armando Trovajoli. Also known as HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN.

Ercole Contro i Figli del Sole (1964, ITA/SPA) C-80m. Scope D: Osvaldo Civirani. Starring Mark Forest, Anna-Maria Pace, Giuliano Gemma, Franco Fantasia, Rosalba Neri. Hercules ends up on the shores of Peru and helps local prince Gemma to regain his throne and punish usurpers. Unconvincing, poorly acted, mostly laughable entry in the series, whose popularity was already about to expire. Also known as HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN.

Ercole Contro Molock (1963, ITA/FRA) C-102m. Scope D: Giorgio Ferroni. Starring Gordon Scott, Rosalba Neri, Alessandra Panaro, Michel Lemoine, Geneviève Grad, Jany Clair. Boring costumer set in the city of Mycene, where goddess Demeter’s son Moloch receives sacrifices in the form of beautiful young virgins. Glaucos/Hercules enters the city in order to destroy the despotic ruler. Not at all interesting. Score by Carlo Rustichelli. English titles: HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH and CONQUEST OF MYCENE.

Ercole Contro Roma (1964, ITA/FRA) C-92m. Scope ** D: Piero Pierotti. Starring Alan Steel, Wandisa Guida, Mimmo Palmara, Daniele Vargas. Solidly filmed sword-and-sandal movie about superhero Hercules (Steel), who is called to help old friend Arminia against some usurpers. Late entry into the series has no supernatural aspects (apart from Herc’s strength) and remains a second-rate adventure. Score is good, though. English titles: HERCULES AGAINST ROME, HERCULES IN ROME.

Ercole e la Regina di Lidia (1959, ITA/FRA) C-93m. Scope ** D: Pietro Francisci. Starring Steeve Reeves, Sylvia Lopez, Gabriele Antonini, Sylva Koscina. Colorful but episodic, almost incoherent muscleman epic features Reeves as Hercules, who is brainwashed and abducted by an evil queen, while his wife is held captive by a despotic ruler. Better-produced than most peplum films, this features fine visuals by Mario Bava, who also have directed some parts. Several strikingly atmospheric sequences are proof of this. Watch it for the maestro’s involvement, not for the plot or the action. Alternative titles: HERCULES UNCHAINED, HERCULES AND THE QUEEN OF SHEBA.

Ercole l’Invincibile (1963, ITA) C-85m. Scope **½ D: Al World (=Alvaro Mancori). Starring Dan Vadis, Spela Rozin, Carla Calò, Ken Clark, Hugo Arden (=Ugo Sasso). Strongman Hercules (Vadis) goes on a mission to defeat a dragon and take his smallest, magical tooth. However, when the Royal Family is abducted, he must enter a subterranean kingdom and rescue them along with the princess he is in love with. Uneven but nicely naïve spectacle is more of an adventure than other entries in the sword-and-sandal genre and sometimes even creates a sense of awe and wonder. While far from being a good movie, this one may be enjoyed by kids (who’ll certainly chuckle at the antics of Herc’s bumbling sidekick). Vadis is earnest in title role. Also known as HERCULES AGAINST THE ELEPHANTS’ EMPIRE, HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE, and SON OF HERCULES IN THE LAND OF DARKNESS.

Ercole Sfida Sansone (1963, ITA) C-86m. Scope ** D: Pietro Francisci. Starring Kirk Morris, Richard Lloyd, Enzo Cerusico, Liana Orfei, Aldo Giuffré. Typically boring muscleman adventure, about Hercules, who accidentally ends up in a foreign country with some friends. There he assists Samson in defeating a tyrant. Solidly filmed, with a rousing score (by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino and Carlo Savina), but simply not original or involving enough. English title: HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES.

Erin Brockovich (2000, USA) C-131m. *** D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring Julia Robert, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart, Marg Helgenberger, Cherry Jones, Peter Coyote, Erin Brockovich. Fine comedy drama about Roberts, a divorced mother of three children, who tries hard to find a job, and otherwise uses her good looks to get by. Finally she is employed at Finney’s law firm and finds herself challenged with a case that may help to prove herself. Well-acted, funny dialogues, a sure pick for an entertaining evening. Based on a real case (Erin Brockovich appears briefly as a waitress).

Eroi all’Inferno (1974, ITA) C-86m. ** D: Michael Wotruba (=Joe D’Amato). Starring Ettore Manni, Lars Bloch, Rosemarie Lindt, Klaus Kinski, Roberto Dell’acqua, Paul Muller. Okay Italian war actioner about a group of WW2 P.O.W.s, who escape a German prison camp in France and help some partisans capture German general Kinski. Less offensive than most other films by D’Amato, who also scripted and photographed the picture. Kinski’s role is no more than a cameo. English titles: HEROES IN HELL.

Errand Boy, The (1961, USA) 92m. **½ D: Jerry Lewis. Starring Jerry Lewis, Brian Donlevy, Howard McNear, Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts. Sporadically funny Lewis comedy about an idiot (guess who?) going to work for a big movie company to find out what’s going wrong on their grounds. From then on, everything goes wrong. Episodic, not always funny, basically a vanity production for its star. The ‘Bonanza’ cast appears unbilled.

Escaflowne (2000, JAP) C-102m. **½ D: Kazuki Akane, Yoshiyuki Takei. Starring (the voices of) Maaya Sakamoto, Tomokazu Seki, Jôji Nakata, Majumi Iizuka. Bombastic anime is a remake of a  1996 television series that had 26 episodes. A suicidal school girl is transported into a fantasy world, where she is told to be the Wing Goddess, who alone can defeat Lord Vulcan. Story drowns in typical Anime style and is difficult to access, some of the animation is impressive. Fans of the original series may find this most intriguing. Also known as ESCAFLOWNE: THE MOVIE.

Escalofrío (1977, SPA) C-82m. *** D: Carlos Puerto. Starring Ángel Aranda, Sandra Alberti, Marian Karr, José Maria Guillén. Contrived, illogical but eerie and atmospheric tale of a young couple who is invited to a secluded house where the owners are members of a satanic cult. Fine camera work lifts this horror thriller above average. Just don’t expect to find a rational explanation for the going-ons. Watch out for that doll! Produced by Juan Piquer Simon. English titles: DON'T PANIC and SATAN'S BLOOD. 

Escape From Alcatraz (1979, USA) C-112m. *** D: Don Siegel. Starring Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, Paul Benjamin, Larry Hankin, Danny Glover. Modest but typically solid suspense drama about Alcatraz inmate Eastwood, his prison life and plans for escape from the island. A suspenseful and intelligent thriller, adapted from the novel by Campbell Bruce (based on a real case!). A major influence on THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

Escape From Hellhole (1983, FIL/INES) C-83m. M D: Maman Firmansyah. Starring Guphy Sintara, Dicky Zulkarnaen. Asian prison movie about country maid Sintara, who is tricked into believing she’ll live with her friend’s rich uncle, but in fact she ends up in a brothel… and finally in prison. Poorly written, sloppily filmed, a complete washout. Film is even short on nudity. Avoid at all costs. Uncut version runs some 100m.

Escape From New York (1981, USA) C-99m. Scope ** D: John Carpenter. Starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasance, Isaac Hayes, Season Hubley, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, John Diehl, George ‘Buck’ Flower, John Carpenter (voice), Debra Hill (voice). Juvenile sci-fi action set in 1997(!), where Manhattan is a high-security prison. Russell plays a daredevil who is hired by Van Cleef to find and bring back none other than the President (Pleasance), whose plane crashed into Manhattan. Rather silly action film was successful nevertheless and led to a sequel 15 years later: ESCAPE FROM L.A. James Cameron was co-creator of the special effects!

Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971, USA) C-98m. Scope *** D: Don Taylor. Starring Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundy, Eric Braeden, William Windom, Sal Mineo, Ricardo Montalban, M. Emmet Walsh, James (B.) Sikking. The two likable chimps Zira and Cornelius from the first two APES movies have surprisingly survived nuclear holocaust by boarding Heston’s spaceship and flying to 20th century L.A. There they meet with awe and disbelief, especially when they foretell the future of mankind, which is hard to swallow for government officials. Less bizarre and more satirical than the first two parts, a good continuation of the saga. Followed by CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

Escape to Witch Mountain (1975, USA) C-97m. **½ D: John Hough. Starring Eddie Albert, Ray Milland, Donald Pleasence, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann, Walter Barnes, Harry Holcombe. Just okay fantasy adventure about two orphans with special extra-sensory powers, who end up running from super-rich Milland, who wants to use their powers for himself. Nice drifter Albert helps them get to their destination. Disney movie has a flaccid pace and is not always convincing. It comes across as okay family fare. Based on the book by Alexander Key. Remade in 1995 (as a TV movie) and 2009 (as a blockbuster). Followed by a sequel, RETURN FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN, in 1978.

Esecutori, Gli (1976, ITA) C-89m. ** D: Maurizio Lucidi. Starring Roger Moore, Stacy Keach, Ivo Garrani, Fausto Tozzi, Ennio Balbo, Romano Puppo, Ettore Manni. Strictly standard action thriller about Moore and Keach, who team up in finding out who used an ancient cross from Sicily to smuggle cocaine. Mafia movie has some nice car chases but that’s about it. Moore seems to enjoy it. Score by Luis Enríquez Bacalov includes a haunting theme for the finale and the closing credits. Original running time: 100m. English titles: STREET PEOPLE, THE EXECUTIONERS, THE EXECUTORS, THE SICILIAN CROSS.

Esercito di 5 Uomini, Un (1969, ITA) C-105m. ** D: Don Taylor. Starring Peter Graves, James Daly, Bud Spencer, Tetsuro Tamba, Nino Castelnuovo, Daniela Giordano, Annabella Andreoli, Carlo Alighiero, Claudio Gora, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart. Five men get together to rob half a million dollars in gold from a moving train. They intend to help Mexican revolutionaries. Story setup is weak and whole film suffers from it. Quite violent western adventure was scripted by Marc Richards and Dario Argento. Score by Ennio Morricone is quite good, but he has done much better. A minor mix of THE WILD BUNCH and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. English title: FIVE MAN ARMY. Beware of edited prints.

Esercito Più Pazzo del Mondo, L’ (1981, ITA) C-81m. *½ D : Marino Girolami. Starring Pino Caruso, Adriana Russo, Andy Luotto, Massimo Boldi, Sabrina Siani. Another one of those low-brow Italian comedies that should never have reached screens in other countries. Several bumbling idiots turn an army camp upside down. One unfunny gag after the other, grows tiring after a while. Might work for you if intoxicated and in a group, otherwise stay away from this yawn.

Espanto Surge de la Tumba, El (1973, SPA) C-86m. *½ D: Carlos Aured. Starring Paul Naschy, Emma Cohen, Jacinto Molina, Victor Alcázar. Typical Spanish horror flick about a group of friends who make contact with the ghost of a warlock, who turns them into zombies one-by-one in a remote castle. Quite violent, atmospheric but awfully cheesy. Poorly acted and scripted, only for trash fans. Usually shown in cut version. English title: HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB.

Espinazo del Diablo, El (2001, SPA/MEX) C-107m. *** D: Guillermo del Toro. Starring Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi, Inigo Garces, Fernando Tielve. Original drama set in 1930s Spain, where the civil war casts a giant shadow over remote school run by Noriega. Newcomer Tielve, an orphan like many of his comrades, is soon to make contact with the ghost of a little boy that is haunting the fortress-like school. What’s the mystery behind the apparition? Intelligent ghost story, well-directed by del Toro. Creepy and absorbing, although film gives away its option for greatness by putting all the blame on one character and ending like a crime story (the final twist is chilling, though). Produced by Pedro Almodóvar. English title: THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE.

Estambul 65 (1965, SPA/ITA/FRA) C-117m. Scope D: Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi. Starring Horst Buchholz, Sylva Koscina, Mario Adorf, Perette Pradier, Klaus Kinski, Georges Rigaud, Gérard Tichy. Poor Euro actioner, a lame James Bond imitation. Boyish Buchholz is miscast as playboy who is asked by lady Koscina to free nuclear scientist, held for ransom by an unknown villain in Istanbul. 60s flavour, stars in the cast cannot compensate for ultra-thick layer of dust on this film. It’s overlong, to boot. Also known as THAT MAN IN ISTANBUL and L’HOMME D’ISTANBUL.

Esther and the King (1960, USA/ITA) C-103m. Scope ** D: Raoul Walsh. Starring Joan Collins, Richard Egan, Denis O’Dea, Sergio Fantoni. Mario Bava’s color cinematography elevates unexciting costumer about an intrigue at the King’s Court in Persia. Alternative running time: 109m.

Estratto dagli Archivi Segreti della Polizia di una Capitale Europea (1972, ITA/SPA) C-87m. **½ D: Robert Hampton (=Riccardo Freda). Starring Camille Keaton, Tony Isbert, Máximo Valverde, Luigi Pistilli, Luciana Paluzzi, Paul Müller. Wildly plotted horror chiller about a group of friends who run out of gas in the middle of nowhere during a thunderstorm and find refuge in a villa. Little do they know that the owner is about to have a black mass in the basement. Keaton’s pearl necklace is said to have devilish powers, too! Strange film is confusing, even illogical, but stays with you because it is not too literate. Recommended to fans of director Freda, who – like in his previous giallo L’IGUANA DALLA LINGUA DI FUOCO (1971) – includes some jarring special effects. Score by Stelvio Cipriani is way too melodramatic and overblown. Obscure movie was probably never released officially anywhere outside Italy and Spain (title there was TRAGICA CEREMONIA EN VILLA ALEXANDRA).

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, USA) C-108m. *** D: Michel Gondry. Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, David Cross, Jane Adams. Another unique movie from the mind of Charlie Kaufman  (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH). Disoriented Carrey hesitantly falls in love with neurotic Winslet, but their romance is not to last. One day he learns she had him erased from his memory. He then decides to undergo the same procedure, but he finds letting go of the memories extremely hard. Creative romantic comedy features an array of interesting ideas and weird characters, and thus sometimes feels more experimental than heart-felt. Still, sort of a must-see. Good score by Jon Brion. Oscar-winner for Best Screenplay.

Etoile (1988, ITA) C-101m. *** D: Peter Del Monte. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Gary McCleery, Laurent Terzieff, Olimpia Carlisi, Charles Durning. Dreamy, interesting paraphrase of the quintessential ballet Swan Lake about an American student in Budapest who wants to audition for a show and finds herself drawn to an old theater and ultimately its owner. McCleery, who accompanies his uncle Durning to some auctions, falls in love with her and investigates her strange behavior. Perhaps not completely convincing, but well-acted, well-scored, and subject matter is intriguing, to reiterate. Connelly is radiant in a role not that dissimilar to that in her film debut, Dario Argento’s PHENOMENA (1985). Also known as BALLET.

Etoile du Nord, L’ (1982, FRA) C-124m. **½ D: Pierre Granier-Deferre. Starring Simone Signoret, Philippe Noiret, Fanny Cottencon, Julie Jézéquel, Jean Rougerie, Dominique Zardi. Oddly captivating crime drama set in the 1930s, based on the novel Le Locataire by Georges Simenon. Noiret, a luckless traveler on the way from Egypt to Europe, meets a beautiful dancer traveling with a shady businessman. She puts Noiret up with her mother Signoret, who rents rooms in their house. There, Noiret begins spinning tales about his time in Africa, until they learn that the businessman has been murdered and his money stolen. Sensitively handled drama benefits from casting of the flawless Noiret and Signoret (in one of her last roles), but ultimately this is too deliberately paced and not as rewarding as Granier-Deferre’s LE CHAT (1971). Score by Philippe Sarde. English title: THE NORTH STAR.

Etrange Desir de Monsieur Bard, L’ (1953, FRA) 112m. *** D: Geza von Radvanyi. Starring Michel Simon, Yves Deniaud, Geneviève Page, Henri Crémeux, Louis de Funès. Aging bus driver Simon learns that he may not live for very much longer and decides to buy the love of a young dancer with the money he has recently won in a casino. Good-natured, endearing comedy drama with Michel Simon in top form. Occasionally, co-writer/director von Radvanyi uses grotesque images, which lends the film an odd aura. Louis de Funès, in one of his earliest roles, lends hilarious support as a seedy businessman who wants to rid Simon of his money.  

Etrangers, Les (1969, FRA/ITA/GER) C-88m. *½ D: Jean-Pierre Desagnat. Starring Senta Berger, Michel Constantin, Julián Mateos, Hans Meyer. Below-standard Euro thriller plays like a spaghetti western: A bank robber finds refuge at Berger’s hut and realizes that he may have to share his loot, or else he may be murdered. Violent, poorly written, based on a novel by André Lay. Aka THE STRANGERS and FRÜHSTÜCK MIT DEM KILLER.

Etrusco Uccide Ancora, L’ (1972, ITA/GER/YUG) C-105m. Scope **½ D: Armando Crispino. Starring Alex Cord, Samantha Eggar, John Marley, Nadja Tiller, Enzo Tarascio, Horst Frank. Boozing archaeologist Cord, researching around an old Etruscan burial ground is baffled by murders happening in and around his crew and, suffering from memory lapses, soon becomes the prime suspect himself. Quite ambitious plot is more Freudian in the vein of Dario Argento’s ‘animal’ giallos but also rather poorly paced. Riz Ortolani’s expert score makes this quite suspenseful and boosts the rating by half a star. English titles: THE ETRUSCAN KILLS AGAIN, THE DEAD ARE ALIVE, and OVERTIME.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982, USA) C-120m. ***½ D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, K.C. Martel, Sean Frye, C. Thomas Howell, Erika Eleniak. Spielberg’s most endearing film is perfect kids fare and irresistible entertainment. Not-so-happy 10-year-old Thomas makes the acquaintance of impish extra-terrestrial, whose kind have abandoned him on Earth. A friendship develops, and the question arises how long he can keep it a secret from his family and ultimately the government. Script can’t bear closer scrutiny, but movie creates a sense of wonder and builds perfectly to dramatic, tear-jerking finale. Richly orchestrated score by John Williams won an Oscar, so did the visual effects and the  sound. Expanded from 115m. for 2002 re-release.

Ettore lo Fusto (1972, ITA/FRA/SPA) C-92m. **½ D: Enzo Girolami (=Enzo G. Castellari). Starring Vittorio De Sica, Rosanna Schiaffino, Giancarlo Giannini, Philippe Leroy, Aldo Giuffrè, Luciano Salce. Broad, typically Italian comedy spoofs Homer’s Iliad, with De Sica playing Jove, who witnesses immoral events around Helen of Troy (Schiaffino). The setting is transported to the  contemporary Roman netherworld of pimps and prostitutes. Fast-paced, mad-cap comedy for those who like this kind of stuff. Cowritten by Lucio Fulci! English title: HECTOR THE MIGHTY.

Europa (1991, DAN/SWE/FRA/GER) C/B&W-112m. Scope ***½ D: Lars von Trier. Starring Barbara Suko-wa, Jean-Marc Barr, Ernst-Hugo Järegard, Udo Kier, Eddie Constantine, Lars von Trier. American Barr comes to Germany in October 1945 to take up a job as sleeping car attendant and gets involved with the railroad owner’s daughter Sukowa, who may be involved with Nazi-like underground organization called the ‘Werewolves’. Hypnotic fantasy drama utilizes all stylistic means imaginable, coming up with a completely stunning and awe-inspiring film. Another eye-opening, creative film by writer-director von Trier, who calls to mind the works of Buñuel, Welles and David Lynch. Also known as ZENTROPA. 

Euro Trip (2004, USA) C-93m. **½ D: Jeff Schaffer. Starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Kristin Kreuk, Jessica Boehrs, Cathy Meils, Nial Iskhakov, Matt Damon, Vinnie Jones, Lucy Lawless, Dominic Raacke, Rade Serbedzija, Joanna Lumley. Mindy Sterling, Jeffrey Tambor. Teen comedy spin-off from ROAD TRIP (2000)  that is fairly funny despite a stupid plot. Mechlowicz travels to Europe to tell his German keypal Boehrs that he loves her, but he gets stuck in virtually every European capital before finally meeting her. Some truly unfunny scenes mar the fun, but not bad as such. Ivan Reitman executive produced.

Evan Almighty (2007, USA) C-95m. Scope **½ D: Tom Shadyac. Starring Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, Johnny Simmons, Graham Phillips, Jimmy Bennett, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, Harve Presnell. Innocuous family entertainment about TV host-turned-congress man Carell, who moves to a new neighbourhood with his family. Then one night, before starting out in congress he prays to God to be able to change things, and all of a sudden he becomes a 21st century Noah, with the task to build an ark. Funny to some degree, with over-the-top special effects towards the end. Written by Steve Oedekerk. A sequel to BRUCE ALMIGHTY (2003).

Event Horizon (1997, USA/GBR) C-95m. Scope *** D: Paul Anderson. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones. The Event Horizon, a spaceship which vanished during a secret mission to Neptune in 2040, reappears mysteriously seven years later. A rescue team, headed by Fishburne, travels to the planet to find out what happened to the crew. When a scientist aboard (Neill) reveals that the vessel traveled into a black hole - and may have returned ‘alive’ - frightening things start to happen. Scary science-fiction horror has such an oppressive atmosphere it makes you forget about the second-rate (yet fascinating) plot. Possibly the best sci-fi horror film since Ridley Scott’s ALIEN.

Eventreur de Notre-Dame, L’ (1979, FRA/BEL/SPA) C-96m. M D: Jess Franco. Starring Rosa Almirall (=Lina Romay), Cathernie Lafferière, Jess Franco, Lynn Monteil (=Nadine Pascal). Slow-moving horror trash shot for about 2¢ by cult director Franco: He himself plays (amateurishly so) an ex-priest who is obsessed with amorality and goes on a killing spree. Moves at a snail’s pace. Franco used various pseudonyms in this production; he also cowrote the script (if there was one). He also filmed a version which features hard-core footage. Also known as CHAINS AND BLACK LEATHER, DEMONIAC, EXORCISM AND BLACK MASSES, EXORCISM, and THE RIPPER OF NOTRE DAME.

Ever After (1998, USA) C-122m. **½ D: Andy Tennant. Starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Patrick Godfrey, Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey, Timothy West, Judy Parfitt, Jeroen Krabbé, Jeanne Moreau. An old lady invites the Brothers Grimm to her castle to tell them the true story of Cinderella, which they changed into a fairy tale. What follows is basically a rendering of the classic tale with some deliberate changes (there's no fairy, and her sisters aren't ugly). Amiable, entertaining, but dramatically uneven, especially in the last half hour, which was added only to bring film to present length - and makes it almost crash. Nice costumes, George Fenton's score pulls all the stops (perhaps too many), and Barrymore is fun as some kind of an emancipated Cinderella. Cowritten by Tennant (FOOLS RUSH IN).

Evil Dead, The (1982, USA) C-85m. *** D: Sam Raimi. Starring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Sarah York, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Sam Raimi. Atmospheric, stylish – and potent – splatter classic, from 22-year-old director Raimi. A group of friends decide to spend their holiday in some cabin in the wood and accidentally resurrect demons that kill them one by one. Incredibly gruesome but also stylish, which makes the effects bearable. At times film shows the faults of a beginner and borrows extensively from such films as SUSPIRIA or NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD but can easily stand on its own. Don’t watch it alone! Written and coproduced by Raimi, coedited by his pal Joel Coen. An extension of Raimi’s short film WITHIN THE WOODS (1978), followed by EVIL DEAD II in 1987 and ARMY OF DARKNESS in 1993.

Evil Dead II (1987, USA) C-85m. *** D: Sam Raimi. Starring Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie DePaiva, Ted Raimi, Josh Becker, Scott Spiegel, Sam Raimi. ‘Let’s carve ourselves a witch!’ Delightful sequel to THE EVIL DEAD has our hero Ash (Campbell) return to the remote cabin in the woods, only to unleash the demons again. Tongue-in-cheek horror comedy is less serious and scary than Part One (and somehow less original), but also much more enjoyable. Great comic book style splatter effects (aided no end by Campbell’s outrageous facial expressions). The battle against Ash’s own hand is a classic. Cowritten by Raimi. ARMY OF DARKNESS (1993) sets off right where this one ends.

Evil Dead Trap (1988, JAP) C-104m. M D: Toshiharu Ikeda. Cast: N.N. Japanese horror about a television crew who goes to a deserted factory in search of an ‘ultimate scoop’, only to be gruesomely murdered by a residing maniac. Although this film sounds and partly looks like an Argento horror film, this is far from it. Has no ideas of its own and is eventually killed by stupid plot twists and a sluggish pace. Incredibly followed by a sequel!

Evil Ed (1995, SWE) C-90m. M D: Anders Jacobsson. Starring Johan Rudebeck, Per Löfberg, Olof Rhodin. Absolutely dreadful film about a cutter who censors horror films and subsequently goes nuts. You’ll also go nuts when trying to watch this movie. Neither a parody, nor a full-blooded horror film and moves at a deadly pace. Some stylish bits cannot save this mess. Ironically, German video version was cut.

Evil in the Deep (1976, USA) C-79m. Scope ** D: Virginia L. Stone. Starring Stephen Boyd, David Ladd, Chuck Woolery, Rosey Grier, Darby Hinton, Cheryl Stoppelmoor (=Ladd). Trivial adventure movie follows Boyd to the Caribbean, where he tries to find out why people coming in touch with an old treasure map end up dead. It all comes down to an underwater treasure search. Apart from glossy photography, has little going for it. Seems choppy on video (with cheesy voice-over narration), ran 96m. originally. Based on a novel by John Walker. Also known as THE TREASURE OF JAMAICA REEF, and TREASURE OF THE JAMAICA DEEP.

Evilspeak (1981, USA) C-104m. *½ D: Eric Weston. Starring Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Joseph Cortese, Claude Earl Jones, Haywood Nelson, Don Stark, Charles Tyner. Supernatural horror film that unsuccessfully (a euphemism for ‘idiotically’) combines 16th century satanism with modern-day computers. Nerd Howard discovers ancient burial site, then sets out to resurrect devil worshippers with the help of his home computer! May attract gorehounds, but dated technology destroys the film completely. Many shorter versions in existence.

Evil Under the Sun (1982, GBR) C-117m. **½ D: Guy Hamilton. Starring Peter Ustinov, Jane Birkin, Colin Blakely, Nicholas Clay, James Mason, Roddy McDowall, Sylvia Miles, Dennis Quilley, Diana Rigg, Maggie Smith, Emily Hone, John Alderson. At a Greek holiday resort, everyone has a reason to hate Broadway diva Rigg. Soon, detective Hercule Poirot (Ustinov), who is among the guests, has to start an investigation. Whodunit by Agatha Christie (scripted by Anthony Shaffer) is too leisurely paced in the first half (until the inevitable murder), becomes more interesting in the second. Still, can’t hold a candle to its predecessor DEATH ON THE NILE (1978), which had more suspense and better production design (although the locations are beautiful). Ustinov reprised the role for 3 TV movies in the mid-80s and the theatrical APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH (1988). Remade for TV in 2001.

Excalibur (1981, GBR) C-140m. ***½ D: John Boorman. Starring Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Corin Redgrave, Patrick Stewart, Charley Boorman. Powerful, tense, atmospheric rendition of the Arthur legend, dealing with the life of the legendary king, from his conception and his adulthood (pulling Excalibur out of the stone) to his manhood and his fellowship with the Knights of the Round Table. Earthy, perhaps too much for a fantasy film but Boorman’s direction is so stylishly forceful, you are swept away by the proceedings and the narrative hardly reflects upon itself (which may be another liability). Film finds its focus in the final third (the quest for the Holy Grail) and becomes a thoroughly great motion picture. Startlingly graphic and adult in some scenes, this is not a children’s movie. Performances range from Williamson’s slightly over-the-top Merlin to Terry’s utterly believable King Arthur. Good use of music by Wagner (from his operas) and Carl Orff. Produced and cowritten (with Rospo Pallenberg) by maverick filmmaker Boorman.

Execution (1968, ITA) C-90m. Scope D: Domenico Paolella. Starring John Richardson, Mimmo Palmara, Rita Klein, Franco Giornelli, Piero Vida. Spaghetti western about a gunslinger who is mistaken for somebody who knows the whereabouts of a gold cache. It turns out that they look exactly alike (only the other one is some twenty years older). Slightly less routine than other spaghettis, but direction is poor and pace is a disaster. Some violent scenes.

Executive Decision (1996, USA) C-134m. Scope ***½ D: Stuart Baird. Starring Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, Halle Berry, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Joe Morton, David Suchet, B.D. Wong, J.T. Walsh, Nicholas Pryor. DIE HARD meets AIRPORT in this crackerjack action thriller. A terrorist group hijack a Boeing 747, intending to force the U.S. government to free one of their leaders. A SWAT team led by Seagal sneaks into the flying(!) plane, which carries a nerve-gas bomb in the cargo hold, big enough to wipe out Washington D.C. Nerve-wrecking, extremely suspenseful, a bull’s-eye like SPEED (1994), its only fault is that it goes on too long. Score by Jerry Goldsmith. Written by Jim and John Thomas (PREDATOR). Top editor Baird’s first film as a director; previously he had worked on films like IF…. (1968), THE OMEN (1976), SUPERMAN (1978), and, surprise, surprise, DIE HARD 2 (1990).

eXistenZ (1999, CDN) C-97m. ** D: David Cronenberg. Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe, Don McKellar, Sarah Polley. In the near future most humans have a ‘bioport’ implanted in the spines. This enables them to play virtual reality computer games, which seem very real. Game designer Leigh escapes assassination during the presentation of her newest achievement and goes on the run with unlikely bodyguard Law. They both enter the game “eXistenZ” to find out if something is wrong with it. Typically bizarre sci-fi from writer-director Cronenberg misfires due to pretentious plot that condescends to its audience and final twist which renders most of the previous going-ons illogical. Still, Cronenberg devotees may find some value in this, others beware.

Exorcism of Emily Rose, The (2005, USA) C-119m. Scope *** D: Scott Derrickson. Starring Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Joshua Close, Mary Beth Hurt, Henry Czerny. Top-notch lawyer Linney takes up case of priest Wilkinson, who must stand trial for causing the death of 19-year-old Emily Rose during an exorcism ritual. The agnostic lawyer and the public doubt the stories of demonic possession, but Wilkinson maintains his viewpoint. In flashbacks we are told the story of Emily’s exorcism. Unsettling, exciting mystery horror is well-written and brilliantly scored by Christopher Young. Based on a real case that happened in Germany in 1970! Needs not shy comparison with the classic 1973 EXORCIST. Unrated version runs 122m.

Exorcist, The (1973, USA) C-131m. *** D: William Friedkin. Starring Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, Linda Blair, William Peter Blatty, voice of Mercedes McCambridge. 70s horror classic about the possession and subsequent exorcism of an innocent 12-year-old girl (Blair) by worried priest Miller and exorcism expert von Sydow. Film expertly builds an atmosphere of menace and hits its stride in the second half, when the satanic threat becomes real for the audience. William Peter Blatty won an Oscar for the adaptation of his own novel, although he sometimes prefers suspense to logic. Ought to be watched in a theater for maximum effect. Originally released at 121m., 10 minutes were added for re-release in 2000. Followed by two sequels and countless imitations.

Exorcist II: The Herectic (1977, USA) C-103m. ** D: John Boorman. Starring Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty, Joey Lauren Adams. Sequel to THE EXORCIST, designed to be bigger and thus better, but plot makes no sense at all and the film becomes laughable. Burton plays an affiliate of the late Father (von Sydow) who exorcised young Blair in the original film. He tries to solve the mystery of the demon who possessed her. The biggest mystery is probably why director Boorman signed on for this one. He dissatisfaction with the result led to his recutting the film on the day of its premiere(!). This review refers to the European edition, but it is doubtful whether the 117m. or the 110m. versions are any better. Solid filmmaking (the sequences set in Africa are especially well-photographed), rendered almost worthless by atrocious scripting. At the very least, this features the most ridiculous hypnosis device in screen history. Score by Ennio Morricone. Followed by THE EXORCIST III (1990).

Exorcist III, The (1990, USA) C-105m. *½ D: William Peter Blatty. Starring George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif, Jason Miller, Nicol Williamson, Scott Wilson, Nancy Fish, Harry Carey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson. Second sequel to the 1973 horror hit, filmed by the original writer William Peter Blatty. Plot concerns police detective Scott, who investigates a series of grisly killings, which are somehow linked to the exorcism of the first film. Stupid, even ridiculous story, sparked somewhat by a few stylish and effective scenes. Dourif gives a searing performance as Patient X. Blatty’s only directorial effort after the excellent THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980).

Exquisite Corpses (1989, USA) C-93m. *½ D: Temístocles López. Starring Gary Knox, Zoe Tamerlis-Lund, Robert Lund, Daneil Chapman, John Bethune. Pseudo-artsy drama about a down-and-out newcomer to New York City, who manages to become a star by adapting to the “laws” of the wealthy people. The twist half-way through makes this incredibly pretentious, almost impossible to view. Star Knox also composed and arranged the music.

Extasis (1996, SPA) C-91m. *** D: Mariano Barroso. Starring Javier Bardem, Federico Luppi, Silvia Munt, Daniel Guzman. Three friends, Bardem, Luppi and Munt, steal unashamedly from their parents. When Luppi is caught, Bardem takes up his identity in order to befriend Luppi’s estranged father, a wealthy theater director. They intend to steal some valuable antiques from his flat - a plan which is doomed to fail. Well-written psycho drama about young people who have no perspectives in their lives and blame their elders for it. Good character development, a remarkable debut feature.

Exterminator, The (1980, USA) C-102m. M D: James Glickenhaus. Starring Christopher George, Samantha Eggar, Robert Ginty, Steve James, Tony di Benedetto. Vietnam vet goes on a killing spree because he is tired of seeing the human scum in the streets of N.Y.C. Incoherent, violent action film which applies the DEATH WISH formula. Technically OK, but plot is totally worthless. Eggar is given nothing to do, and Ginty doesn’t register at all in the title role. Followed by a sequel in 1984.

Extreme Measures (1996, USA) C-118m. Scope **½ D: Michael Apted. Starring Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Morse, Bill Nunn, John Toles-Bey, David Cronenberg. Grant stars as a hospital surgeon who senses a conspiracy going on when one of his patients disappears and, when he investigates, finds someone wants to destroy his life. It turns out Hackman is conducting immoral experiments with humans. Conspiracy thriller tries hard to be thought-provoking but doesn't come off more than reasonably fast-paced and mildly suspenseful. Novel adaptation has Grant in a role, where he once isn't in love. Produced by Elizabeth Hurley. Cronenberg has a brief bit as a head of a medical review board.

Eye, The (2002, HGK/SGP/GBR) C-98m. **½ D: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun. Starring Sin-Je Lee (=Angelica Lee), Lawrence Chou, Chutcha Rujinanon. After receiving a cornea transplant which enables her to see for the first time since she was 2, young Lee starts having frightnening visions – of dead people? Her psychologist Chou tries to help her figure out who the donor was. Uneven horror chiller, very much in the “new” Asian tradition has good direction and visuals to recommend it to horror fans. Cowritten by the Pang brothers. Followed by several sequels. Original title: GIN GWAI.

Eye 2, The (2004, HGK/THA) C-90m. *** D: Pang Brothers (=Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun). Starring Shu Qi, Eugenia Yuan, Jesdaporn Pholdee, Philip Kwok. Almost completely unrelated sequel to the 2002 hit focuses on a suicidal young woman, who is haunted by the ghosts(?) of different people. Then she learns that she is pregnant, but her lover doesn’t want anything to do with it. And her visions are getting worse and worse… Interesting, less “traditional” than its predecessor, this horror drama has some potent, creepy moments, and an excellent score. Followed by THE EYE 10 in 2005.

Eye 10, The (2005, HGK/THA) C-88m. ** D: Pang Brothers (=Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun). Starring Chen Po Lin, Isabella Leong, Ray McDonald, Chris Gu. Third film in the EYE series intends to multiply the horrors: Several youngsters try to scare each other with ghost stories, then they find a book that explains ten ways to have spooky encounters. When they try them out, one of the group disappears. It seems the ghosts don’t like messing with their world. Tries to be funny and scare us at the same time, which doesn’t really work, despite creepy images. Also known as THE EYE 3, and THE EYE INFINITY.

Eye of the Beholder (1999, GBR/CDN/USA) C-110m. **½ D: Stephan Elliott. Starring Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd, Patrick Bergin, Geneviève Bujold, k.d. lang, Jason Priestley. Flawed remake of the brilliant 1983 French film MORTELLE RANDONNEE, also based on the novel by Marc Behm. McGregor plays a troubled private eye, who falls in love with one of the persons he must observe (Judd) and subsequently follows her around the U.S., becoming a guardian angel of sorts. Off-beat thriller with an interesting stylistic approach and several astounding surreal elements may garner a cult film reputation, but script is unnecessarily diffuse and complicated. McGregor tries hard to copy Michel Serrault’s haunting performance but still seems misplaced. Film will leave most viewers probably dissatisfied. A mixed bag, but definitely worth a look. Some prints run 101m. and should be avoided.

Eye of the Devil (1967, GBR) 89m. **½ D: J. Lee Thompson. Starring David Niven, Deborah Kerr, David Hemmings, Sharon Tate, Donald Pleasence, Edward Mulhare, Emlyn Williams, John Le Mesurier. Kerr discovers that her husband Niven is a member of a strange religious cult in this slowly-paced but intriguing horror thriller. Good score, effective editing, but plot remains too vague for too long. Entire cast is fine. Hemmings and Tate (in her film debut) shine in stylish roles. Based on Philip Lorraine’s novel Day of the Arrow. Recommended to followers of the macabre. U.S. version is said to run 92m.

Eyes of a Stranger (1981, USA) C-85m. *½ D: Ken Wiederhorn. Starring Lauren Tewes, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John DiSanti, Peter DuPre, Gwen Lewis, Luke Halpin. Tedious, dull thriller about rapist and killer DiSanti, whose stalking is about to be discovered by TV newslady Tewes. Jennifer Jason Leigh gives her theatrical U.S. debut (baring her clothes!) and Tom Savini provides the special make-up effects, but otherwise this is slasher movie garbage. That’s director Wiederhorn’s own SHOCK WAVES (1977) that’s shown on TV. Cut to 84m. for U.S. release.

Eyes of Laura Mars (1978, USA) C-103m. *** D: Irvin Kershner. Starring Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, René Auberjonois, Raul Julia, Frank Adonis, Darlanne Fluegel, Rose Gregorio, Michael Tucker. Well-made, stylish thriller about brilliant pop-art photographer Dunaway, who has scary premonitions of murder. The cop on the case (Jones) realizes that the murder scenes are really copies of her violent photographs. Suspenseful, well-scored, but also not very credible, especially the ending. Cowritten by John Carpenter, from his story. Quite similar to Dario Argento's thrillers, if not as consistently stylish.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999, GBR) C-156m. *** D: Stanley Kubrick. Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Madison Eginton, Jackie Sawris, Marie Richardson, Sydney Pollack, Rade Serbdzija, Leslie Lowe, Vinessa Shaw, Peter Benson, Todd Field, Alan Cumming, Michael Doven, Sky Dumont. Eccentric mastermind Stanley Kubrick's legacy takes New York doctor Cruise on an odyssey through his subconscious, as his wife gives him reason to believe she has been unfaithful and turns his feelings for her and other women upside down. Deliberately paced, strongly fascinating last film of one of the great directors of the 20th century. Highly symbolic, richly textured and not too literate, like most great films, this one provides room for discussion and certainly requires multiple viewing. Production resembled an odyssey itself, starting in 1997 and ending in 1999, shortly before Kubrick's death. The director fired Harvey Keitel and Jennifer Jason Leigh during the shooting (their roles were taken by Sydney Pollack and Marie Richardson). Cruise and Kidman come off very well, despite initial concerns. Kubrick's swan song was adapted by himself and Frederic Raphael from Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle. This is not his best film, but still a must-see.