Nada (1974, FRA/ITA) C-96m. *** D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Fabio Testi, Maurice Garrel, Lou Castel, Mariangela Melato, Michel Duchaussoy. Aggressive Chabrol drama about extremist left-wing political group ‘Nada’, who kidnap the American ambassador in Paris, hoping to initiate a revolution. Film cleverly juxtaposes the kidnappers’ increasing disillusion and the police’s straight-forward, brutal methods to track them down. A strong political statement (too strong for some) about the incompatibility of ideologies, which climaxes in a violent shoot-out that is the logical consequence of the lack of understanding between the parties involved. Director Chabrol adapted the novel Nada with the author Jean-Patrick Manchette himself. Film has earned the reputation of a cult film (among left-wing sympathizers, understandably). Usually shown in a cut version. Original running time: 132m.

Nadie Oyó Gritar (1973, SPA) C-88m. *** D: Eloy de la Iglesia. Starring Carmen Sevilla, Vicente Parra, María Asquerino, Antonio Casas, Tony Isbert. Irresistible little sleeper about beautiful Sevilla, who skips a weekend with a lover in London only to witness new neighbor Parra getting rid of his murdered wife in their apartment house’s elevator shaft. He then forces her to help him get rid of the corpse properly, or he will kill her. Loaded with intriguing twists, film slows down in second half, only to deliver a startling conclusion. Well-directed by the maker of EL TECHO DI CRISTAL (1971), which can be seen as a perfect companion piece to this one. English title: NO ONE HEARD THE SCREAM.

Nadja (1994, USA/FRA) B&W-92m. *** D: Michael Almereyda. Starring Elina Löwensohn, Martin Donovan, Galaxy Craze, Peter Fonda, Suzy Amis, Jared Harris, David Lynch. Bizarre, stylish transportation of the Dracula myth to modern-day New York, where Van Helsing (Fonda) is an eccentric, long-haired vampire hunter, who has just impaled Löwensohn’s father Dracula. The vampire lady is stalking the streets of N.Y.C. and has found a new victim in Craze. Low-budget, ponderous, but hypnotic (kudos to Simon Fisher-Turner’s chilling score) and with an effective use of black-and-white. The grainy sequences were shot with a plastic toy camera! Written by director Almereyda (TRANCE). Executive producer David Lynch appears as a morgue attendant.

Nagagutsu o Haita Neko (1969, JAP) C-80m. Scope **½ D: Kimio Yabuki. Starring (the voices of) Susumu Ishikawa, Toshiko Fujita, Rumi Sakakibara, Asao Koike. Japanese version of the popular Charles Perrault fairy tale PUSS’N BOOTS (also English title) about a clever cat who turns a poor farmer’s son into a nobleman to win the heart of the princess. Along the way he has to beat one of her suitors, none other than the Devil himself. Fairy tale is surprisingly Disney-like (including some songs!), animation has some good, funny ideas, though plot lacks spark. Hayao Miyazaki was one of the animators, and it shows in the scenery and architecture. Has acquired a cult following, especially in German-speaking countries, where the original East German dub is apparently lost. Followed by two sequels in 1972 and 1976. Also known as THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PUSS ‘N BOOTS.

Naked Lunch (1991, CDN/GBR) C-115m. *** D: David Cronenberg. Starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Robert A. Silverman. Stylish adaptation of William Burroughs’ controversial novel uses facts from the author’s life and meshes them with the book’s surreal, insane ‘plot’. Peter Weller plays William Lee, an exterminator, whose life gets a twist when he kills his wife (by accident?). He travels to Interzone, a surreal place where typewriters turn into bugs, and a powder made from centipedes is the ultimate drug. Film is well-acted (especially by Weller) and superbly lighted, which lends it a unique atmosphere. Deliberately paced and filled with graphic imagery, which may make it inaccessible for conservative audiences.

Naked Weapon (2002, HGK) C-90m. *** D: Tony Ching Siu-Tung. Starring Marit Thoresen, Almen Wong, Daniel Wu, Maggy Q, Anya, Jewel Lee, Cheng Pei-Pei, Andrew Lin. On a remote island forty 12-year-old girls are trained to be assassins – over  a period of six years. Little do they know that only one of them will survive the training and become a professional hitman. Special agent Wu is trying to solve the mystery of the girls’ disappearances and will make the acquaintance of a killer lady six years later. Fast-paced B-movie with stylish direction is not very credible but sexy, violent, well-scored and entertaining. A winner from the expert director of the SWORDSMAN films. Watch this one.

Name of the Rose, The (1986, ITA/FRA/GER) C-127m. *** D: Jean-Jacques Annaud. Starring Sean Connery, F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, Elya Baskin, Feodor Chaliapin, Jr., William Hickey, Michel Lonsdale, Ron Perlman, Helmut Qualtinger. Dark filmization of Umberto Eco's novel about a travelling monk (Connery) who gets tangled in mysterious going-ons in a monastery in the 14th century. Gruesome murders happen, each seemingly linked to an enigmatic book that is hidden somewhere in the monastery's vast library. Great period flavor, a stylish and suspenseful film. Cinematography by Tonino delli Colli (C'ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST).

Nam’s Angels (1970, USA) C-95m. ** D: Jack Starrett. Starring William Smith, Bernie Hamilton, Adam Roarke, Houston Savage, Eugene Cornelius, John Garwood, Jack Starrett. A group of hippie bikers in Vietnam(!) are assigned to free a P.O.W. at a Vietcong camp. Lots of mayhem ensues. Utterly trivial but not bad, even occasionally exciting, with shades of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Violent action scenes are quite good. At the same time film manages to work some love stories into the plot! A real curio, a cult movie for some. Also known as THE LOSERS.

Nang Nak (1999, THA) C-97m. **½ D: Nonzee Nimibutr. Starring Intira Jaroenpura, Winai Kraibutr. Atmospheric ghost story, one of Thailand’s most successful films ever, this charts an ancient legend, in which a soldier returns from war and refuses to believe that his wife has died and he is only seeing her ghost. Suffers from its one-note plot, but worth watching for Asian horror fans. Previously filmed as the short MAE NAK (1997) and remade as THE GHOST OF MAE NAK (2005). Director Nimibutr coproduced the Pang brothers hit BANGKOK DANGEROUS (1999).

Nanny McPhee (2005, GBR/USA/FRA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Kirk Jones. Starring Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Raphael Coleman, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi. Update of MARY POPPINS (1964) finds single father Firth in trouble with his seven naughty children. All the available nannies have resigned, so it’s up to mysterious, ugly-looking nanny Thompson to teach them some manners. Colorfully designed fantasy comedy is well-acted, though some of the subplots are rather mild. Emma Tompson based her script on the books by Christianne Brand. Good score by Patrick Doyle. Director Jones’ first film since his debut WAKING NED (1998).

Napoli Spara! (1977, ITA) C-88m. Scope **½ D: Mario Caiano. Starring Leonard Mann, Ida Galli, Henry Silva, Jeff Blynn, Massimo Deda, Adolfo Lastretti. Above-average Italian crime movie about commissario Mann, who desperately wants to catch criminal Silva. Not much more plot, but Mann’s dedicated performance and some good action scenes make it worthwhile for buffs. English title: WEAPONS OF DEATH.

Napoli Violenta (1976, ITA/FRA) C-95m. Scope ** D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring Maurizio Merli, John Saxon, Barry Sullivan, Elio Zamuto, Maria Grazia Spina, Silvano Tranquilli, Tom Felleghy. Cop Merli is transferred to Naples, where he instantly becomes involved in the fight against crime. Average Italian actioner with fairly good score by Franco Micalizzi was one of three movies with Merli doing his Commissario Betti character. His acting is substandard as usual. English titles: VIOLENT NAPLES, VIOLENT PROTECTION, and DEATH DEALERS.

National Treasure (2004, USA) C-131m. Scope **½ D: Jon Turteltaub. Starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer, Mark Pellegrino. Typically contrived Jerry Bruckheimer production about treasure hunter Cage, who has spent his entire life searching for a legendary treasure. When he learns that the map to it may be on the back of the original Declaration of Independence, he must find a way to get hold of it – before his rival Bean steals it. Fast-paced adventure is never boring, although proceedings are extremely far-fetched and things fall into place much too conveniently for the plot.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007, USA) C-124m. SCOPE *** D: Jon Turteltaub. Starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Ed Harris, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Greenwood. Cage is back as treasure hunter Ben Gates, who wants to prove that one of his ancestors did not have a hand in killing Abraham Lincoln, and he must find a legendary city of gold for that. His rival this time: a determined Ed Harris. A globe-trotting, whale of an adventure that makes very little sense, but fast pace and humor excuse these flaws. The sets are astounding and so are the effects. It’s well-acted, too.

Nattevagten (1994, DAN) C-107m. ***½ D: Ole Bornedal. Starring Nikolaus Coster-Waldau, Sofie Grabol, Kim Bodnia, Lotte Andersen, Ulf Pilgaard. Superb thriller about law student Coster-Waldau, who takes up job as a night watchman in a mortuary (gulp!) and must contend with eerie atmosphere and morbid jokes of his buddy Bodnia. However, there’s a real serial killer on the loose in Oslo, which inspector Pilgaard is trying to catch. First-rate exercise in suspense, all the more impressive as this was Bornedal’s debut feature. He sort-of undermined this great film with the mediocre Hollywood remake in 1998 (which slowed down his career). Score is excellent. The director also scripted. English title: NIGHTWATCH.

Natural Born Killers (1994, USA) C-122m. **** D: Oliver Stone. Starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones, Rodney Dangerfield, Jared Harris, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Russell Means, Balthazar Getty, Emmanuel Xuereb, Lorraine Faris, Mark Harmon, Arliss Howard, Denis Leary. Oliver Stone’s controversial masterpiece is the horror film for the 1990s: Mickey and Mallory Knox (Harrelson and Lewis) are two lovers who take it on the lam after breaking out of their low-class white-trash background by killing her abusive parents. On their ‘honeymoon’ they kill 52 people, before being captured by the police (in a psychotic role equally evil cop Sizemore). The media, foremost TV show host Downey Jr., eagerly embraces them and uses them for voyeuristic purposes. Delirious, sweat-inducing, graphically violent drama with a superb soundtrack (co-produced by Trent Reznor) is a mind-blowing assault on the senses, at times reminiscent of KOYAANISQATSI (1982). Much-discussed and blamed for violent outbreaks in the U.S., but artistically brilliant, an experience you will not easily be able to forget. From a story by Quentin Tarantino, who disowned the picture. Also shown in a cut version, which runs 118m. Cinematography by Robert Richardson.

Navajo Joe (1966, ITA/SPA) C-93m. Scope ** D: Sergio Corbucci. Starring Burt Reynolds, Aldo Sambrell, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Simón Arriaga, Fernando Rey. Cruel revenge western about Indian Reynolds, who seeks vengeance on killers who wiped out his clan. Tries to make up lack of plot cleverness by staging lots of violent shoot-outs. Most interesting for its involvement of Reynolds, Corbucci (DJANGO), Ennio Morricone (score), Fernando di Leo (screenwriter) and Ruggero Deodato (assistant director). Italian title: UN DOLLARO A TESTA.

Necromancy (1972, USA) C-79m. ** D: Bert I. Gordon. Starring Orsno Welles, Pamela Franklin, Lee Purcell, Michael Ontkean, Harvey Jayson. Obvious witchcraft thriller about Franklin, who naively moves into Welles’ remote community to be prepared to become a witch in his coven. Quite ambitious direction (like in Gordon’s later FOOD OF THE GODS), rousing score, but film is a low-grade ROSEMARY’S BABY clone, nothing more. Some prints run 83m. Alternative titles: A LIFE FOR A LIFE, ROSEMARY’S DISCIPLES, THE TOY FACTORY. Re-released in 1983 as THE WITCHING.

Negotiator, The (1998, USA) C-138m. Scope **½ D: F. Gary Gray. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kevion Spacey, David Morse, Ron Rifkin, John Spencer, J.T. Walsh. Hostage negotiator Jackson is framed for a murder he didn’t commit and takes several hostages himself, one of whom may have something to do with the case. By doing this, he hopes to clear himself but must contend with another top negotiator, Spacey. Interesting premise, excellent performances by Jackson and Spacey, some exciting set pieces, but otherwise this is a highly improbable and overlong thriller. J.T. Walsh’s last film.

Neighbors (1981, USA) C-94m. *½ D: John G. Avildsen. Starring John Belushi, Kathryn Walker, Cathy Moriarty, Dan Aykroyd, Igors Gavon. Big come-down for the BLUES BROTHERS boys: Belushi mostly plays it straight in this dud about the arrival of new neighbors Aykroyd and Moriarty and how they disrupt his family’s life entirely within hours. Consists almost completely of pain and destruction gags, extremely mean-spirited. Based on the novel by Thomas Berger. Belushi’s last film; he died of a drug overdose 11 weeks after film’s premiere.

Neither the Sea Nor the Sand (1972, GBR) C-95m. M D: Fred Burnley. Starring Susanne Hampshire, Frank Finlay, Michael Petrovitch, Michael Craze. Horrible romantic drama about woman (Hampshire) who cheats on her husband – even with her dead(!) lover (Finlay). Goes on and on and on, without making a point. Don’t expect a horror film or a chiller. Gordon Honeycombe scripted, from his novel. Aka THE EXORCISM OF HUGH.

Neko no Ongaeshi (2002, JAP) C-75m. **½ D: Hiroyuki Morita. Starring (the voices of) Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Aki Maeda, Takayuki Yamada, Hitomi Sato, Tetsu Watanabe. Spin-off of the wonderful MIMI WO SUMASEBA (1995) gives the cat baron his own movie: Teenage Ikewaki saves a cat from certain death, then finds herself addressed by a cat, who tells her she just saved the prince of the kingdom of the cats. Which means that she has won the right to marry him! Can the baron help her? Plot suffers from loud and hectic proceedings, dialogue and score seem to compete, not complement each other. Also, the main character is a bit too old to make her identifiable for the film’s target audience. Animation is nice as always. Executive produced by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli. English title: THE CAT RETURNS.

Nella Città l’Inferno (1958, ITA) 95m. Scope *** D: Renato Castellani. Starring Anna Magnani, Giulietta Masina, Myriam Bru, Cristina Gaioni, Milly Monti, Renato Salvatori, Alberto Sordi. Fine prison drama focusing on the lives of several female inmates, some of whom have come to terms with their situation, others who have just arrived are shattered and see no way out. Made compelling by superb performances, notably Magnani’s, who is sensational as cynical, disillusioned prostitute who makes friends with innocent Masina, whose life is irrevocably changed by her stay in Mantellate, the Roman prison for women. Based on Roma, Via delle Mantellate by Isa Mari. Aka AND THE WILD, WILD WOMEN.

Nella Pieghe della Carne (1970, ITA/SPA) C-88m. **½ D: Sergio Bergonzelli. Starring Eleanora Rossi Drago, (Anna Maria) Pier Angeli, Fernando Sancho, Alfredo Mayo, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, María Rosa Sclauzero, Victor Alcazar (=Barrera), Giancarlo Sisti. Giallo-variation with Freudian touches about a family who live in a sea-side villa with two vultures. One by one their visitors die, as the daughter (Pier Angeli) suffers from a psychosis that originated when she was raped by her father and subsequently killed him. Partly illogical plot comes up with insane twists, but giallo fans might find this a welcome addition to the oeuvre. From an idea by Mario Caiano. Spanish title: LAS ENDEMONIADAS. English title: IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH.

Nella Stretta Morsa del Ragno (1971, ITA/FRA/GER) C-97m. Scope D: Anthony M. Dawson (=Antonio Margheriti). Starring Anthony Franciosa, Michele Mercier, Peter Carsten, Karen Field, Klaus Kinski. Edgar Allen Poe (Kinski) spins wild tales of a haunted castle and journalist Franciosa accepts a wager to spend a night there. He encounters spirits who are doomed to live in all eternity. Boring, ‘unspirited’ gothic horror film whose pretentious approach cannot be offset by stylish direction. Even horror fans will be bored. U.S. title: WEB OF THE SPIDER.

Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud (1995, FRA/ITA/GER) C-106m. *** D: Claude Sautet. Starring Emmanuel Béart, Michel Serrault, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Claire Nadeau, Michel Lonsdale. Fine, subtle drama about recently separated, 25-year old Nelly (Béart) who takes up a job typing the memoirs of Monsieur Arnaud (Serrault), who is some 40 years her senior. Well-acted film traces their relationship in unusual detail, the characters are very well-drawn. Sautet also co-wrote the screenplay.

Ne Nous Fâchons Pas (1966, FRA) C-101m. Scope **½ D: Georges Lautner. Starring Lino Ventura, Mireille Darc, Jean Lefebvre, Michel Constantin, Sylvia Sorrente. Crime comedy about  Ventura, a retired crook, who is asked back into action after 15 years, when some British thugs try to get control of the area. Eventually, dynamite proves to be the solution to all their problems. Amusing spoof of British lifestyles (including a little bit of James Bond), gorgeously shot in widescreen. Unfortunately, plot goes nowhere. Good score by Bernard Gérard. Ventura would re-team with Darc for the America spoof FANTASIA CHEZ LES PLOUCS (1971). English title: LET’S NOT GET ANGRY.

Neptune Factor, The (1973, CDN) C-98m. SCOPE **½ D: Daniel Petrie. Starring Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon, Ernest Borgnine, Yvette Mimieux, Donnelly Rhodes, Chris Wiggins, Michael J. Reynolds. Canadian addition to the disaster film canon of the 1970s, this is little-known because its budget and cast weren’t quite as big as that of the other pictures. An ocean lab falls into an abyss after an earthquake, and Gazzara’s submarine is the only chance to rescue them. Some unconvincing effects spoil the movie that was not exciting to begin with. If it wasn’t for that Lalo Schifrin score, they’d find themselves in even deeper water. Okay for kids. Also known as AN UNDERWATER ODYSSEY, THE NEPTUNE DISASTER.

Nero Veneziano (1978, ITA) C-92m. ** D: Ugo Liberatore. Starring Renato Cestiè, Rena Niehaus, Yorgo Voyagis, Fabio Gamma, José Quaglio, Ely Galleani, Olga Karlatos, Tom Felleghy. Flawed mix between ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) and DON’T LOOK NOW (1973). A 14-year-old blind boy, who lives with his sister in Venice, starts having odd visions(!), which get worse when he moves into his uncle’s house. Soon he learns of the coming of a Black Man in early June. Is it the devil? Confusing, oddly engrossing, but interest wanes dangerously in final third. Poorly timed horror also veers toward drama in some parts. Worth a look for horror buffs, though. Starts out with a beautiful Pino Donaggio score, which is used too infrequently in the rest of the film. English title: DAMNED IN VENICE.

Nesting, The (1981, USA) C-104m. ** D: Armand Weston. Starring Robin Groves, Christopher Loomis, Michael David Lally, John Carradine, Gloria Grahame, Bill Rowley. Longish chiller about agoraphobic mystery writer Groves who moves into an old house in the country and discovers that it is haunted. Not bad despite familiar plotline.

4 (Net) Inyong Shiktak (2003, KOR) C-127m. Scope D: Lee Su-yeon. Starring Park Shin-yang, Jun Ji-hyun (=Gianna Jun), Yu Seon, Jeong Ok. Korean drama about an interior architect, who is about to be married, when he starts having visions of two dead girls that he saw in a subway train. It turns out a troubled woman also sees them, and she may help him to find out the mystery behind his own childhood. Sounds interesting, and starts quite well, but turns into a lumbering, esoteric mess, moving at a deadly pace. English title: UNINVITED.

Never Been Kissed (1999, USA) C-107m. Scope **½ D: Raja Gosnell. Starring Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Molly Shannon, Leelee Sobieski, Jeremy Jordan, John C. Reilly, Jessica Alba, James Franco. Good-natured but terribly uneven comedy drama about newspaper reporter Barrymore, who’s [see title] and gets her chance at picking up on some teenage action, when she’s assigned to go undercover at her old high school. Quite unbelievable time-filler is a fashion disaster (or at least ‘shrill’), but sweet Barrymore remains likable. This is mainly for her fans.

NeverEnding Story, The (1984, USA/GER) C-98m. Scope ***½ D: Wolfgang Petersen. Starring Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach, Patricia Hayes, Sydney Bromley, Tilo Prückner, Moses Gunn, voice of Alan Oppenheimer. Remarkable fantasy adventure, the decade’s best alongside Ridley Scott’s LEGEND (1982) and Neil Jordan’s THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984). Adaptation of Michael Ende’s book is lovingly detailed story of a sad boy (Oliver), who starts reading a book that will involve him more than he can imagine: In the land of Fantasia, the Big Nothing is threatening to devour everything, unless a young warrior (Hathaway) can find a cure for the ailing child-empress. Dazzling special effects, compelling plot with a clever message at its core, this is pure movie magic. Fine score by Giorgio Moroder and Klaus Doldinger includes title hit by Limahl. Followed by two sequels and an animated TV series. German title: DIE UNENDLICHE GESCHICHTE.

Never Ever (1996, USA/GBR) C-95m. **½ D: Charles Finch. Starring Charles Finch, Sandrine Bonnaire, James Fox, Jane March, Jean Rochefort, Julian Sands, Patrick Le Barz. Good cast is main attraction in this leisurely paced romantic drama set in and around Paris. British businessman Finch quarrels with his wife, leaves, gets to know Frenchwoman Bonnaire and falls in love. Not exactly innovative but pleasant enough. Watch it on a rainy afternoon. Aka CIRCLE OF PASSION.

Never Say Never Again (1983, USA) C-126m. Scope **½ D: Irvin Kershner. Starring Sean Connery, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow, Barbara Carrera, Kim Basinger, Bernie Casey, Alex McCowen, Edward Fox, Rowan Atkinson. Connery returns as special agent 007 in this unofficial entry in the series. The story turns out to be the same one as in THUNDERBALL: Bond must destroy the plans of villain Largo (Brandauer) who has stolen two nuclear warheads. The head of SPECTRE (von Sydow) is running the operation. Connery is fine and he makes the film entertaining, but good action scenes are rare and the climax is a disappointment. Brandauer is good as Bond’s opponent. Photographed by Douglas Slocombe, score by Michel Legrand. Original running time: 137m.

New Fist of Fury (1976, HGK) C-80m. Scope ** D: Lo Wei. Starring Jackie Chan, Nora Miao, Chang Sing, Han Yin-Chieh, Cheng Siu Siu, Lo Wei. So-called sequel to the Bruce Lee classic FIST OF FURY is intended kung-fu epic and presents Jackie Chan as the successor of the master. Chan plays a thief who decides to study martial arts in order to help Chinese expatriates in Taiwan against the Japanese. Miao plays the same character as in FIST OF FURY, and stills of Bruce Lee are shown in flashbacks, but Chan lacks his edge and charisma. German PG-13 version is cut by 40 minutes(!), which makes it difficult to discuss the value of the film. What’s left is a poorly paced plot that fails to generate much interest (and very few fight scenes). Cowritten and executive produced by director Lo Wei.

News – Bericht über eine Reise in eine Strahlende Zukunft (1986, GER/GBR/AUS) C-131m. **½ D: Rainer Erler. Starring Birgit Doll, Albert Fortell, James Armstrong, Bob Cunningham. Typically ambitious Erler thriller about mother Doll, whose reporter husband goes missing after doing some research on the dumping of radioactive waste. She is aided by photographer Fortell in her search and soon finds herself threatened and attacked. Is there a major cover-up? Works intermittently, but overlength and Fortell’s obnoxious character hamper things. English titles: NUCLEAR CONSPIRACY, SINGAPORE CONNECTION.

Newton Boys, The (1998, USA) C-122m. Scope ** D: Richard Linklater. Starring Matthew McConaughy, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dwight Yoakam, Bo Hopkins, Luke Askew, Johnny Carson. Disappointing neo-western by Generation X director Linklater about the (real) life and times of the Newton Boys, a band of criminals (and brothers), who got rich by robbing banks and trains from 1919-1924. No narrative momentum or dramatic impact, a forgettable action drama. The stars are okay. Cowritten by Linklater, based on the book by Claude Stanush.

New World, The (2005, USA) C-135m. Scope **** D: Terrence Malick. Starring Colin Farrell, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Ben Mendelsohn, John Savage, Jamie Harris, Alex Rice, Noah Taylor, Ben Chaplin, Jonathan Pryce. Exceptional drama set in the early 17th century, when ships from England arrive at the new world, confounding the native inhabitants, among them beautiful princess Kilcher. When the settlers fail to initiate trade with the natives, their leader Plummer returns to England, leaving captain Farrell in command. Farrell falls in love with the princess, who as a consequence is expelled from her tribe. However, their love is not to last… Strikingly directed, emotionally powerful epic, much along the lines of Malick’s earlier features (this was only his fourth in more than 30 years!). Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography is pure bliss! Film is perfectly accompanied by quiet classical score by James Horner (using themes from Mozart and Wagner). Irresistible fare, if tuned in to it. Similar in mood and artistry to Kubick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968). Malick wrote the screenplay for this in the late 1970s! It based on an old legend that also inspired the Disney feature POCAHONTAS (1995). Fatally ignored at the Oscars.

New York Chiama Superdrago (1966, ITA/FRA/GER) C-98m. *½ D: Giorgio Ferroni. Starring Ray Danton, Marisa Mell, Margaret Lee, Jess Hahn, Solvi Stubing, Jacques Herlin, Pinkas Braun. Cast provides sole interest in this James-Bond-type crime movie about gentleman spy Danton, who goes against secret organization, which wants to rule the world. No action or imagination, just talk, talk, talk. Too bad, the title suggests something else. English titles: NEW YORK CALLING SUPERDRAGON, SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON, and SUPER DRAGON.

Next Man, The (1976, USA) C-108m. **½ D: Richard C. Sarafian. Starring Sean Connery, Cornelia Sharpe, Albert Paulsen, Adolfo Celi, Marco St. John, Maurice Copeland, Lance Henriksen, Richard C. Sarafian. International political thriller drama about a crisis in the Near East, which follows the announcement of a creation of a huge conglomerate of oil-producing countries. Three important Arab leaders are assassinated, and it’s up to Saudi Arabian(!) Connery to take over. Naturally, he becomes a target himself. Relentlessly talky, only the locations and Connery spark some interest. Score by Michael Kamen, photography by Michael Chapman. Alternative titles: DOUBLE HIT, THE ARAB CONSPIRACY.

Nicholas Nickleby (1947, GBR) 108m. *** D: (Alberto) Cavalcanti. Starring Derek Bond, Cedric Hardwicke, Mary Merrall, Sally Ann Howes, Bernard Miles. Fine Charles Dickens adaptation about the title character, who must help and protect his mother and sister from his scheming uncle after his father has died. Wonderfully atmospheric, highly cinematic (kudos to director Cavalcanti). A well-acted, little-known British gem. Filmed before in 1912, remade twice for television.

Night Angel (1990, USA) C-87m. ** D: Dominique Othenin-Girard. Starring Isa Andersen, Linden Ashby, Debra Feuer, Karen Black. Okay horror film about the coming of 'Lilith', a mystical creature that seduces and kills men. One by one she knocks off the makers of a fashion magazine. Who will stop her? Not terribly clever, but nicely lighted and edited, film follows its storyline consequently to the very end.

Night at the Museum (2006, USA) C-108m. *** D: Shawn Levy. Starring Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Patrick Gallagher, Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson. Stiller plays a divorced dad who wants to impress his 10-year-old son and takes up a job in a museum as a night watchman. His three aged predecessors (Van Dyke, Rooney, Cherry, all great fun) should have let him know that all the exhibits (animals and people, even statues) come alive during the night! Lots of impressive effects, some laughs in this typical blockbuster. Enjoyable, if you can excuse the rather conventional plotting and lapses in logic. This was Van Dyke’s first theatrical role since DICK TRACY (1990)! Good score by Alan Silvestri. Photographed by Guillermo Navarro.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009, USA/CDN) C-105m. SCOPE **½ D: Shawn Levy. Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabat, Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Shawn Levy, the Jonas Brothers, voice of Eugene Levy. Inevitable sequel brings now-successful Stiller to the Smithsonian in Washington, where most of the exhibits have been transferred to because the old museum will close. Then the original pharao’s brother is resurrected and wants to summon an army to become the ruler of the world. Lots of action and effects, but it seems the movie is only buoyed some nice performances (not the Pharao’s) and Alan Silvestri’s majestic score, the plot is wearing dangerously thin. 

Nightbreed (1990, USA) C-102m. *** D: Clive Barker. Starring Crag Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Oliver Parker, John Agar. Imaginative, gruesome horror spectacle by mastermind Clive Barker. Sheffer is the prime suspect in a ghastly murder case, an opinion shared by his psychiatrist Cronenberg. Sheffer’s nightmares center around mystical place of Midian, which turns out to be an old cemetery inhabited by monsters, the “Nightbreed”. Serpentine story, stunning visual and make-up effects, and a delicious performance by cult filmmaker Cronenberg make this a delight for horror fans. Only some unnecessary comic relief distracts from highly creative achievement. Written by Barker, who adapted his own novel. Score by Danny Elfman.

Night Caller (1985, HGK) C-98m. ** D: Philip Chan. Starring Melvin Wong, Philip Chan, Pat Ha, Terry Hu, Pauline Wong. Ordinary crime thriller about two policemen trying to catch murderer of a fashion model, the only witness being her six-year-old daughter. Steals its murder scenes from Dario Argento’s PROFONDO ROSSO (1975) and SUSPIRIA (1977), but is far less stylish. Little action, fair suspense, an okay view. Written by the director.

Night Digger, The (1971, GBR) C-98m. *** D: Alastair Reid. Starring Patricia Neal, Pamela Brown, Nicholas Clay, Jean Anderson, Graham Crowden. Odd, macabre psycho drama, not a horror film, as some believe. Neal is taking care of her blind mother, but the two women are mostly at odds with each other. Handyman Clay is chosen by Brown to take care of their house. Little do they know that by night he prowls the streets on his motorbike… Highly unusual, not entirely successful fare, written (quite recognizably) by Roald Dahl, from the novel Nest in a Falling Tree by Joy Cowley. Uncut print is said to run 110m. and may improve the plotting a little. Fine score by Bernard Herrmann. Alternatively known as THE ROAD BUILDER.

Night Flier, The (1997, USA) C-93m. **½ D: Mark Pavia. Starring Miguel Ferrer, Julie Entwisle, Dan Monahan, Merton H. Moss. Adaptation of a short story by Stephen King about a blood-sucking demon, who flies a black Cessna and seemingly kills people at random. Tabloid reporter Ferrer wants to track him down, which is not as easy as expected. Film cleverly witholds any explanation as to the reason for the demon's existence, let alone his identity, but still manages hardly to be better than B-movie horror. Still, manages to create interest and may become a springboard for first-time director Pavia's career. Alternative title: STEPHEN KING'S THE NIGHT FLIER.

Night Gallery (1969, USA) C-98m. *** D: Boris Sagal, Steven Spielberg, Barry Shear. Starring Joan Crawford, Ossie Davis, Richard Kiley, Roddy McDowall, Barry Sullivan, Tom Bosley, Sam Jaffe, Rod Serling (presenter). Interesting three-part horror film that launched the popular television series of the same name. All three tales of the macabre deal with the eerie influence of pictures on the main characters (hence the title). Well-directed and quite creepy. The second story was directed by a young Steven Spielberg; this was his directorial debut. However, all three directors display talent. Made for television. Coproduced by John Badham.

Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, A (1979, GBR/USA) C-106m. ** D: Ralph Thomas. Starring Richard Jordan, Oliver Tobias, David Niven, Elke Sommer, Gloria Grahame, Richard Johnson, Hugh Griffith, John Rhys-Davies, Bruce Boa, Alfred Molina. Tame, boring caper about ex-con Jordan, who gets a job as an electrician working after hours at a bank (!) and Niven, who plans a robbery with his help. Remains watchable despite slow pace. Sommer’s nude scene among the most gratuitous of her career. Alfred Molina debuts in a bit part. Director Thomas’ last film as a director. Alternative titles: THE BIG SCAM, THE BIGGEST BANK ROBBERY, and THE MAYFAIR BANK CAPER.

Night Listener, The (2006, USA) C-88m. *** D: Patrick Stettner. Starring Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Rory Culkin, Bobby Canavale, Sandra Oh. Intriguing little thriller about gay radio talk show host Williams, who is contacted by two fans, a 14-year-old boy and his foster mother, who has written a book about the sexual abuse the boy had to take at his parents’ home. Williams wants to help promote the book, but then it becomes almost impossible to meet the boy. Moody, well-acted psycho drama is not entirely satisfying but engrossing, especially because of the fine score (by Peter Nashel). Based on the novel by Amistead Maupin, who also cowrote the script and coproduced the picture.

Nightmare (1981, USA) C-99m. *½ D: Romano Scavolini. Starring Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith, C.J. Cooke, Mik Cribben. Gory slasher movie about a mentally disturbed psycho, who goes on to molest a family of five over a period of five days. Extremely weak (albeit ambitious) script complemented by extremely violent effects. A minor cult film for trying to be clever (it fails miserably). Direction is not bad, though. Effects by Tom Savini. Also known as SCHIZO, BLOOD SPLASH and NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN.

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, USA) C-76m. ***½ D: Henry Selick. Voices of Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara. Brilliantly conceived stop-motion animated feature about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, who becomes dissatisfied with the Halloween routine and discovers Christmas after a long walk through the forest. He is baffled by the merriment of everybody and decides to steal it - by abducting Santa Claus! Watching this film once is not enough; there’s too much that would escape you. Produced (and designed) by creative mastermind Tim Burton.     

Nightmare Honeymoon (1973, USA) C-89m. D: Elliot Silverstein. Starring Dack Rambo, Rebecca Dianna Smith, John Beck, Pat Hingle, Walter Koenig. Awkward thriller melodrama about two honeymooners, who accidentally witness a murder. The woman is then raped brutally by Beck, but she manages to escape with her husband. Their relationship is put to an extreme test until the man decides to take revenge. Some unbelievable dialogue in this pretentious film. Climax is not bad, though. Based on the book by Lawrence Block. Score by Elmer Bernstein, photography by Harry Stradling Jr. Also known as DEADLY HONEYMOON.

Nightmare in Wax (1969, USA) C-96m. *½ D: Bud Townsend. Starring Cameron Mitchell, Anne Helm, Scott Brady, Berry Kroeger, Victoria Carrol. Corny and - since it was not intended as a spoof - also very pretentious horror thriller about former make-up artist Mitchell’s revenge on several actors, starlets and movie producers. Unpleasant, boring remake of MYSTERY OF THE WAY MUSEUM and HOUSE OF WAX. Only novelty: Mitchell’s victims are only temporarily paralyzed. For die-hard horror aficionados only. Bud Cardos is credited as production manager. Also known as CRIMES IN THE WAX MUSEUM.

Nightmare on Elm Street, A (1984, USA) C-91m. **½ D: Wes Craven. Starring John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Charles Fleischer, Robert Englund. Horror shocker, good of its type, about demon Freddy Kruger (Englund), who enters innocent teenagers’ dreams and kills them (for real). Director Craven does his best, but his script is only so-so. Start and end are most effective parts, mid-section is too one-dimensional. Still, this cult movie was very successful at the box-office and spawned six sequels (plus a related television series).

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, A (1987, USA) C-96m. **½ D: Chuck (Charles) Russell. Starring Heather Langenkamp, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette, Robert Englund, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, Jennifer Rubin, Laurence Fishburne, John Saxon, Zsa Zsa Gabor. Second sequel features a welcome return of stars Langenkamp and Saxon. Wasson researches horrible dreams of troubled teenagers in clinic, discovers that Freddy Kruger is behind it. Langenkamp offers her experience with the monster to finally destroy him for good. Uneven horror film has some great moments (Kevin Yagher’s fine effects are imaginatively staged by director Russell), is childish at its worst. Too bad. Jennifer Rubin’s first film, Patricia Arquette’s second (at 18 or 19). Score by Angelo Badalamenti, story cowritten by Wes Craven, Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell. Wes Craven also co-produced.

Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, A (1988, USA) C-92m. *½ D: Renny Harlin. Starring Robert Englund, Tuesday Knight, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, Lisa Wilcox. Third sequel to Wes Craven’s box-office hit. Freddy is resurrected yet again (by a urinating dog!) and kills some teenies before he is sent to hell again. Cardboard characters, few surprises, has only some good effects and Harlin’s stylish direction to recommend it.

Nightmares (1980, AUS) C-81m. **½ D: John D. Lamond. Starring Jenny Neumann, Gary Sweet, Nina Landis, Max Phipps, John Michael Howson. Rather graphic Australian slasher movie about a young, inexperienced actress, whose childhood trauma now takes effect twenty years after she caused her mother to die while being sexually harassed. During the rehearsals for a play, the crew fall prey to her schizophrenic fits. Welcome deviation from usual slasher paths, though still rather dumb. Full-blown score by Brian May (MAD MAX) adds to film’s effect. Video title: STAGE FRIGHT.

Nightmare Sisters (1987, USA) C-83m. ** D: David DeCoteau. Starring Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Timothy Kauffman, Matthew Phelps. Horror comedy about three nerds who are invited to a party by equally nerdish trio of college girls. After a séance, the women turn into sex-hungry, deadly monsters. Trash movie is so bad it’s funny – really! Direction is atrocious. Also known as SORORITY SUCCUBUS SISTERS.

Nightmare Weekend (1985, USA/GBR/FRA) C-85m. M D: Henry Sala. Starring Debbie Laster, Debra Hunter, Lori Lewis. Ultra-bad horror flick about inventor who turns teenagers into monsters with his computer(!). Gratuitious sex scenes abound. Allegedly runs 88m., but German video version was uncut.

Night Moves (1975, USA) C-99m. *** D: Arthur Penn. Starring Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, James Woods, Melanie Griffith. Private investigator Hackman is in a complicated situation. First he must settle things with his wife, who’s having an affair and then there’s 16-year-old Griffith, who’s run away from home, and  Hackman takes up the job of finding her and bringing her back. Little action but fine suspense in unusual thriller drama that’s never boring. It’s well-acted, too. 

Night My Number Came Up, The (1955, GBR) B&W-94m. *** D: Leslie Norman. Starring Michael Redgrave, Sheila Sim, Alexander Knox, Denholm Elliott, Ursula Jeans, Ralph Truman, Alfie Bass. Air marshal Redgrave tells someone about a terrifying dream about a plane crash he had last night, and then it seems that every little detail of that dream is coming true on a flight from Hong Kong to Japan. Are the passengers going to die? Chilling premise, typically witty execution for Ealing Studios, the ultimate movie about a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some consider this brilliant.

Night of Bloody Horror (1969, USA) C-77m. ** D: Joy N. Houck Jr. Starring Gerald McRaney, Gaye Yellen, Evelyn Hendricks. Not uninteresting horror thriller about youth McRaney, who wonders why all the women he has an affair with end up dead. Some potent horror and gore scenes provide a certain cult appeal, but film is slowly paced, even at this running time. Worth a look for cult film fans (who might wonder what kind of a giallo this would have become in Italy), others beware.

Night of the Big Heat (1967, GBR) C-94m. ** D: Terence Fisher. Starring Christopher Lee, Patrick Allen, Peter Cushing, Jane Merrow, Sarah Lawson, William Lucas. On a British island a heatwave in the middle of winter is causing confusion. Scientist Lee seems to be studying the phenomenon. When the first people die mysteriously, he discloses that they may be under alien attack. Unexciting sci-fi horror mix is self-consciously made, with Cushing wasted in a supporting role. Still, his and Lee’s presence keep this from sinking completely. Based on a novel by John Lymington, which was filmed before for British TV in 1960. Also known as ISLAND OF THE BURNING DOOMED/DAMNED.

Night of the Creeps (1986, USA) C-88m. **½ D: Fred Dekker. Starring Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins, Wally Taylor, Bruce Solomon. An extra-terrestrial organism makes its way to our planet and infects several people, among them a maniac. The people turn into zombies, and only cop Atkins is tough enough to battle them. Second-rate, muddled script outdone by some effectively gory special effects. Understandably, quite a cult movie among horror fans. Most of the characters bear names of famous horror movie directors. Surprisingly, this was NOT followed by any sequels. Effects by Robert Kurtzman. Steve Miner directed the second unit.

Night of the Demon (1958, GBR) 95m. *** D: Jacques Tourneur. Starring Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler. Fine, atmospheric horror film about an American scientist (Andrews) who comes to England to investigate a devil cult, but refuses to believe in the occult, not even when he himself is cursed and everything seems to indicate that he will die in three days time. Well-done by the director of the classics I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and CAT PEOPLE (1942). Only the monster is not very convincing. Adapted from the story ‘Casting the Runes’ by Montague R. James. Also known as CURSE OF THE DEMON (in the U.S.).

Night of the Demon (1983, USA) C-96m. M D: James C. Wasson. Starring Michael Cutt, Jay Allen. Stupefying ‘video nasty’ about group of high school idiots who go on an expedition to find out the truth about a monster which is said to be roaming the woods somewhere. It turns out to be a laughable, furry Big Foot that knocks them off one by one. Ludicrous script, amateurish acting, gruesome and boring at the same time. One of the worst horror films I have ever seen.

Night of the Living Dead (1968, USA) 96m. ***½ D: George A. Romero. Starring Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, William (Bill) Hinzman, George A. Romero, John A. Russo. It’s getting dark and the Zombies are coming out of their graves… Watch out! Romero’s story of six people barricading in a farmhouse from flesh-eating corpses is a milestone in modern horror-filmmaking, scaring people out of their wits when originally released – and still packs a wallop today. Romero’s social criticism warns of a new barbarity that might eventually destroy civilization and is thus far less obvious and disgusting than later imitations. A modern horror classic. The first part of a trilogy, followed by DAWN OF THE DEAD in 1978 and DAY OF THE DEAD in 1985. Remade by Tom Savini in 1990. Also shown in a computer-colored version.

Night of the Living Dead (1990, USA) C-88m. **½ D: Tom Savini. Starring Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson, William Butler, Kate Finneran, Bill Moseley. Surprisingly watchable remake of George Romero’s classic horror film unfortunately makes too few changes to the original script. Tony Todd (in a pre-CANDYMAN performance) leads a group of survivors in their fight against an army of zombies. Some good scenes, generally an estimable attempt at resurrecting the zombie genre. Make-up artist Savini’s direction is not bad. George Romero wrote the screenplay; he also coproduced with Menahem Golan.

Night of the Zombies (1981, USA) C-78m. ** D: Joel M. Reed. Starring Jamie Gillis, Samantha Grey, Ryan Hilliard, Ron Armstrong, Joel M. Reed. Odd little curio about two researchers who are trying to locate missing WW2 battalion of G.I.s in Germany. When they disappear, Gillis joins a scientist in search of a biochemical gas that was reportedly used in 1944. Did it turn the soldiers into zombies? Weird, occasionally confusing horror film is leagues better than Reed’s Troma-produced splatter trash BLOODSUCKING FREAKS (1976), but still rather cheap and not really convincing. Gillis performance achieves a kind of Elliott Gould-like coolness or detachment. Has some cult movie possibilities. Alternative titles: BATTALION OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE CHILLING, GAMMA 693, NIGHT OF THE WEHRMACHT ZOMBIES, and SISTER OF DEATH.

Night Shadows (1984, USA) C-99m. ** D: John ‘Bud’ Cardos. Starring Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, Jennifer Warren. Something is turning people into zombie-like creatures in a small town Hauser is just visiting. He investigates and pretty Warren tags along. Well-paced, well-scored (by Richard Band) and fairly exciting but plot is a yawn. Sloppily acted horror is better than the rest of its kind but what exactly is the point of having birds twitter ceaselessly in the background? Cardos has done better.

Night Shift (1982, USA) C-105m. *** D: Ron Howard. Starring Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, Gina Hecht, Pat Corley, Bobby Di Cicco, Clint Howard, Joe Spinell, Tom Mahoney, Vincent Schiavelli, Kevin Costner, Shannen Doherty, Ron Howard. Far-fetched but mostly funny comedy about morgue attendant Winkler, who’s down on his luck, when a new colleague (Keaton) enters his life. Together they hatch a plan and eventually wind up running a prostitution business in the morgue. Keaton’s spirited performance made him a star. A popular early 80s comedy, that’s also a little bit of a time capsule. First films of Costner and Doherty.

Night Stalker, The (1972, USA) C-74m. **½ D: John Llewellyn Moxey. Starring Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins, Charles McGraw, Elisha Cook Jr., Barry Atwater. Made-for-TV chiller about manhunt for a killer in modern-day Las Vegas, who drains his victims of their blood. McGavin plays a reporter who believes the night stalker to be a vampire. Highly regarded thriller isn’t very imaginative and McGavin hardly likable (a major drawback in my opinion) but suspenseful and Atwater’s villain quite menacing. Director Moxey is a veteran TV director, whose first feature, THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960) has a similar theme. Written by Richard Matheson.

Night Terrors (1993, USA/CDN/EGY) C-86m. ** D: Tobe Hooper. Starring Robert Englund, Zoe Trilling, Alona Kimhi, Juliano Mer, Chandra West, William Finley, Zachi Noy. Not-bad horror thriller about young Trilling, who has come to visit her busy father, an archaeologist, in Egypt. Soon she is drawn into a mystical circle that is led by Englund, a direct descendant of the Marquis de Sade. Quite atmospheric, enigmatic, but also nonsensical; its B-origins show too soon. Also available in a 98m. version. Alternative titles: TOBE HOOPER’S NIGHT TERRORS, NIGHTMARE.

Night Visions (1990, USA) C-94m. ** D: Wes Craven. Starring James Remar, Loryn Locklin, Penny Johnson, Francis X. McCarthy. Hardly exciting thriller made for television about a frustrated cop, who must team up with (and here is where the novelty comes in)  sort-of schizophrenic psychologist(!) Locklin, in order to solve the case of a serial killer. Ordinary plot, okay for TV. This was a pilot for a series that never materialised. Craven also cowrote the script, this is a disappointment considering he made THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS after this. Also known as CHAMELEON BLUE.

Night Walker, The (1964, USA) B&W-86m. *** D: William Castle. Starring Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, Judith Meredith, Hayden Rorke, Lloyd Bochner. Nicely suspenseful mystery thriller about Stanwyck, whose blind, jealous husband Rorke suspects her of adultery. Then one night he dies in an accidental explosion. Stanywck then starts having nightmares about him and the mysterious title character. Script by Robert Bloch will keep you guessing. Well-worth watching. Stanwyck’s last theatrical film. Castle also produced. Also known as THE DREAM KILLER.

Nikki, Wild Dog of the North (1961, USA) C-74m. **½ D: Jack Couffer, Don Haldane. Starring Jean Coutu, Emile Genest, Don Haldane, narrated by Jacques Fauteux. Disney adventure about a wolf-dog, who gets separated from his owner and must try to fend for himself in Canadian wilderness. Rather similar to the Jack London adaptations, if based on a novel by James Oliver Curwood. An okay family movie that becomes quite dramatic towards the end. Beautiful scenery compensates for somewhat familiar storyline (it is based on a novel by James Oliver Curwood, not Jack London).

Nil By Mouth (1997, GBR) C-134m. *** D: Gary Oldman. Starring Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, Charlie Creed-Miles, Laila Morse, Edna Dore, Chrissie Coterill, Jon Morrison. Oldman’s directing debut is an unrelenting drama about a working-class family in South London and their affiliation to alcohol, drugs and violence, realistically presented and sometimes really hard to watch. At the center of the plot is the alienated couple Winstone and Burke. Uncomfortable, bleak and ultimately powerful thanks to Oldman’s knowing direction, which keeps the viewer as emotionally close to the characters as possible. A difficult but important film of raw power, stunningly acted (if a little overlong). Winner of two Bafta awards and the Best Actress prize at the Cannes film festival for actress Burke.

Nim’s Island (2008, USA) C-96m. SCOPE *** D: Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett. Starring Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler, Michael Carman. Good family adventure about marine biologist Butler, who has set up an existence for himself and his 11-year-old daughter Breslin on a remote island in the South Pacific. When he goes missing after a storm, the girl contacts her favorite adventurer Alex Rover, not knowing that the person behind the character is actually neurotic, agoraphobic writer Foster. The woman makes it her plight to try and save the girl, who doesn’t even think she’s in trouble. Well-made, well-paced adventure with a satisfying storyline. Exellent score by Patrick Doyle. Based on the novel by Wendy Orr.

9 (2009, USA/LUX) C-79m. ***½ D: Shane Acker. Starring (the voices of) Elijah Wood, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Alan Oppenheimer. Brilliantly designed, enthralling fantasy horror film about a pint-sized doll, which awakens in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It seems its maker, a dead scientist, has created it for a reason, which it’s about to find out. There are more of its kind and they are afraid of giant robotic war machines that roam the devastated city, having overthrown and wiped out humanity. Well-directed, superbly scored (Deborah Lurie, with themes by Danny Elfman), an exciting adventure, which was expanded from director Acker’s 2005 Oscar-nominated short of the same name. Suffers from a lack of character development much like Focus Features’ earlier CORALINE (2009), but explains it away in an intriguing twist near the end. Produced by Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton, who leaves a distinct stamp on this movie, which references and echoes a lot of his own films.

976-EVIL (1988, USA) C-105m. *½ D: Robert Englund. Starring Stephen Geoffreys, Patrick O’Bryan, Sandy Dennis, Jim Metzler, María Rubell. Poor horror movie, directed by the man who achieved fame as Freddy Kruger in the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET films. Nerd Geoffreys dials satanic helpline and finds himself transformed into a demon. Predictable killings ensue. Poorly acted, badly written, a typical 80s horror movie (if perhaps not as gruesome). Followed by a sequel in 1991.

Nine Months (1995, USA) C-103m. Scope **½ D: Chris Columbus. Starring Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Arnold, Joan Cusack, Robin Williams. Moore realizes she is pregnant, but her nervous boyfriend Grant isn’t at all happy with that. He seeks advice from friend Goldblum. Formulaic comedy, predictable but also quite funny. Williams, appearing near the end, steals the film. Grant is miscast. A remake of the French comedy hit NEUF MOIS.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984, GBR) C-110m. ***½ D: Michael Radford. Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack, Gregor Fisher, James Walker. Outstanding adaptation of George Orwell’s classic utopia about post-apocalyptic society which constantly observes its members and keeps their spirits high by reporting about and propagating a war that really doesn’t exist. Superbly photographed by Roger Deakins, sensitively handled by writer-director Radford. A must see, fascinating all the way. Next to BRAZIL the best science-fiction film of the decade. Burton’s last film. Alternative spelling: 1984.

Ninja’s Deadly Trap (1985, TIW) C-88m. Scope **½ D: Philip Kwok. Starring Yasuaki Kurata, Chiang Sheng, Philip Kwok, Lu Feng. When a group of ninja warriors try to assassinate a Chinese general, he sends his son to an old ninja master for help. The son then teams up with three of the master’s students to fend off the assassins. Plot takes second chair to phenomenally choreographed fight scenes (by the director himself). Violent eastern will appeal to martial arts fans. Also known as HERO DEFEATING JAPS(!!!).

Ninja Thunderbolt (1985, HGK) C-86m. Scope D: Godfrey Ho. Starring Richard Harrison, Don Wong, Tao Wang, Yasuaki Kurata, Barbara Yuen. Worthless actioner about Harrison, who’s a ninja, and a stolen jade statuette. Lots of martial arts mayhem, no coherency at all. Fans might want to check out the next-to-last fight, which is quite vicious. Credits list Jackie Chan, but he doesn’t appear here. Also shown at 92m. Alternative title: TO CATCH A NINJA.

Ninth Configuration, The (1980, USA) C-115m. ***½ D: William Peter Blatty. Starring Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Neville Brand, Moses Gunn, George Di Cenzo, Robert Loggia, Tom Atkins, Joe Spinell. Outstanding, fascinating film, based on writer-director Blatty’s novel Twinkle, Twinkle Killer Kane. Keach plays a psychiatrist assigned to treat inmates of an insane asylum populated by mad vietnam vets. Are they faking? And how “normal” is the new psychiatrist? Brilliantly acted (especially by Wilson), touching psycho drama manages to make valid statements on war, religion, life and death (not to mention insanity). Hilarious and dead-serious at the same time, a real gem, not to be missed. Disturbing bar room fight sequence is usually cut from most prints. Originally 118m., but alternate versions (running as long as 140m.!) may still be in circulation.

Ninth Gate, The (1999, FRA/SPA) C-143m. *** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner, Barbara Jefford, José López Rodero, James Russo, Tony Amoni, Willy Holt, Maria Ducceshi, Jacques Collard. Supernatural thriller, based on Arturo Pérez Reverte’s novel El Club Dumas, cowritten by producer/director Polanski. Depp is convincing as an expert on antique books, who is asked by collector Langella to trace the only existing copies of a 17th century epic, which the author, a monk, is said to have written in collaboration with none other than Lucifer himself. Only one of the three copies is said to be genuine, and Depp soon finds himself in jeopardy in Europe, since not only Langella is after the books. Superbly crafted, atmospheric chiller does not resort to popular clichés, is well-cast and tops in storytelling. Only flaws: Overlength and a poor finale, that will leave most viewers dissatisfied, because it is very vague. Still, highly interesting and well-made, most warmly recommended to fans of the director (and genre). Also shown in cut versions. French original title: LA NEUVIÈME PORTE. Spanish title: LA NOVENA PUERTA.

Ni Pour, Ni Contre (Bien au Contraire) (2003, FRA) C-111m. Scope ** D: Cédric Klapisch. Starring Marie Gillain, Vincent Elbaz, Simon Abkarian, Dimitri Storoge, Zinedine Soualem, Diane Kruger, Cédric Klapisch. Unsuccessful crime drama or character study about a camerawoman, who gets involved with crooks from the Parisian netherworld. First she is asked to film one of their robberies, then she finds she can’t leave them anymore. Draggy film must not be seen as a thriller. Has resonances of the director’s superior CHACUN CHERCHE SON CHAT (1996), but otherwise this lives up to its title: It’s neither good, nor bad. English title: NOT FOR OR AGAINST.

Nihon Chinbotsu (2005, JAP) C-135m. Scope *** D: Shinji Higuchi. Starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Kou Shibasaki, Etsushi Toyokawa, Mao Daichi, Mitsuhiro Oikawa. Big-scale remake of the Japanese disaster epic NIPPON JINBOTSU (1973) is well-made and thrilling. Scientists find out that part of the Earth’s crust near Japan is about to sink below another, which will result in a complete sinking of the Japanese islands withing three years. Can this be stopped at all? Competently filmed and scored, with welcome drama in the plot, and the effects are astounding, of course. English title: THE SINKING OF JAPAN.

Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001, GER) C-141m. Scope **½ D: Caroline Link. Starring Juliane Köhler, Regine Zimmermann, Merab Ninidze, Matthias Habich, Kaorline Eckertz, Lea Kurka. During the early days of World War Two, Jewish judge Ninidze manages to get his wife and daughter from Germany to Kenia. The woman soon feels stuck in this nowhereland, especially since they have lost their wealth and status. Adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novel (by the director herself) is beautiful to look at and quite well-directed but moves at a slow pace and becomes unnecessarily overlong without being compelling or making a point. English title: NOWHERE IN AFRICA.

Ni Vu, Ni Connu (1958, FRA) B&W-88m. **½ D: Yves Robert. Starring Louis de Funès, Noelle Adam, Moustache, Pierre Mondy, Pierre Stéphen, Robert Vattier, Yves Robert. Montpaillard, the ‘calmest village in France’, has one big problem, mischief-maker de Funès. The hermite is a poacher, cheater and black market seller. That’s why the mayor would rather see him in prison. Then he is really locked up for a crime he didn’t commit – and the community realizes what he means to their lives. Uneven comedy has little appeal at the beginning, then improves. Of main interest for an early starring role of the energetic-as-ever de Funès. Based on a play by Alphonse Allais, filmed before in 1923 and 1931. Also known as VIVE MONSIEUR BLAIREAU, and NEITHER SEEN NOR RECOGNIZED.

Noces Rouges, Les (1973, FRA/ITA) C-95m. **½ D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Michel Piccoli, Stéphane Audran, Cloilde Joano, Eliana De Santis, Claude Piéplu.. Piccoli and Audran are both cheating on their spouses, in a flashback we are shown the beginnings of their affair. Are they contemplating murder? Nowhere near Chabrol’s major achievements, his directorial style is barely visible. Still, easy-to-take, perhaps a thematic introduction to Chabrol’s works to newcomers. Costumes by Karl Lagerfeld. English title: WEDDING IN BLOOD.

Noche de las Gaviotas, La (1975, SPA) C-89m. D: Amando de Ossorio. Starring Victor Petit, Maria Kosti, Sandra Mazarosky, Julie James, José Antonio Calvo. Fourth and final installment in the horror series about the Templar Knights (the follow-up to EL BUQUE MALDITO) is set in a coastal village, whose inhabitants are sacrificing virgins to the undead. Poorly paced, rather lucidrous, all in all the weakest entry in the BLIND DEAD-series. English title: NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS.

Noche de los Asesinos, La (1976, SPA) C-82m. Scope ** D: Jess. Franco. Starring Alberto Dalbés, Evelyne Scott, William Berger, Maribel Hidalgo, Lina Romay, Jess Franco. Infamous director Jess (Jesus) Franco rips off the Italian giallo and gothic horror film with this Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, which is – admittedly – not bad. After the murder of a count, friends and family are invited to the reading of the will. It turns out that the count’s illegitimate daughter is the sole heir, but then a second will turns up and the count’s murderer starts stalking the guests. Some surprisingly atmospheric scenes (from a talent-free director), acceptable fare. Score by Carlo Savina. Also known as SUSPIRI and SOSPIRI.

Noche del Terror Ciego, La (1971, SPA/POR) C-100m. *½ D: Amando de Ossorio. Starring Lone Fleming, Cesar Burner, Helen Harp, Joseph Thelman, Maria Silva, Juan Cortès, Antonio Orenge. In modern-day Spain, 13th century Templar Knights rise from their graves to kill innocent victims in their castle. Some beautiful photography, an eerie score, ... and a truly deadly pace. Film moves as slow as its zombie-like monsters. Notable only in so far as it is regarded as a cult film in some circles and spawned three sequels (starting with EL ATAQUE DE LOS MUERTOS SIN OJOS). Also shown in cut versions, although the film is not very violent. English title: TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD.

Noche de Walpurgis, La (1971, SPA/GER) C-95m. *½ D: León Klimovsky. Starring Paul Naschy (=Jacinto Molina), Gaby Fuchs, Barbara Capell, Patty Shepard, Julio Pena. Almost totally inept horror movie, cowritten by Naschy, his fourth appearance as Waldemar Daninsky, a count who turns into a werewolf by night. Two beautiful ladies, stopping by at his castle, accidentally (foolishly) resurrect a vampire lady (a la LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO) which he has to battle. Uneasy combination of vampire and werewolf myths, atrociously acted. Only the score is of note here. Followed by several sequels. Also known as BLOOD MOON, SHADOW OF THE WEREWOLF, THE WEREWOLF VERSUS VAMPIRE WOMEN, THE WEREWOLF’S SHADOW.

Nochnoy Dozor (2004, RUS) C-114m. **½ D: Timur Bekmambetov. Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Valeri Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina, Yuri Kutsenko, Aleksei Chadov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Mariya Mironova. Centuries ago the forces of good and evil formed a truce. An ancient prophecy says that this delicate balance will be shifted to one side by a special being, who may decide for the evil ones and thrust the world into darkness. Seer Khabensky is one of the night watch men, who can walk in the twilight and protect the world from bloodthirsty vampires. Russian horror blockbuster provides a wild mix of mythologies and horror ideas (not all of them make sense). Flashy and stylish, yet still somewhat sloppy and grungy. For fans of the unusual. Based on the novel by Sergei Lukyanenko. Followed by two sequels. English title: NIGHT WATCH.

No Country for Old Men (2007, USA) C-122m. **½ D: Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce. The movie that won the Coens a Best Picture and Best Director(s) Oscar is also a summary of their career. Poacher Brolin is the first to discover the corpses after a botched drug deal in the desert, takes off with $2 million in cash. Hot on his trail are brutal Mexican killer Bardem, and weary sheriff Jones. Dead-pan, languid adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, never inches away from its defeatist tone. It’s peopled with bizarre characters (as is customary with the Coens), and the grotesque dialogues between them is what makes this movie tick. The plot is less original, resorting to chase and stalk too often. The Coens revisit settings and themes of their previous hits: opportunist criminals, trailer parks, shabby hotels/motels, killers straight from hell, tired cops. This will please the filmmakers’ fans, but remains a slight pick for a Best Picture Academy Award – maybe a nod to their previous achievements. Almost unnoticeable score by Carter Burwell, good cinematography by Roger Deakins.

Non Es Nada, Mamá, … Solo un Juego (1974, SPA/VEN) C-86m. ** D: José Maria Forqué. Starring David Hemmings, Alida Valli, Francisco Rabal, Andrea Rau, Nuria Gimeno. Interesting curio that doesn’t live up to its intriguing premise: Neurotic, sadistic Hemmings lives with his domineering mother Valli on a South American plantation. She provides him with lovers from the populace, who are abused and killed after some time. This bizarre behavior stems from a traumatic childhood experience. Unfortunately, plot isn’t very involving. Worth a look for buffs. Photographed by Alejandro Ulloa. Also known as BEYOND EROTICA, LOLA, and IT’S NOTHING, ONLY A GAME.

Nonhosonno (2001, ITA) C-117m. **½ D: Dario Argento. Starring Max von Sydow, Stefano Diosini, Chiara Caselli, Rossella Falk, Paolo Maria Scalondro, Roberto Zibetti, Gabriele Lavia. An aging, retired detective (von Sydow) is faced with murders awfully similar to those that happened 17 years ago, when a dwarf killer sliced up women, following the pattern of a nursery rhyme. The dwarf is said to be dead – has he returned from his grave? Von Sydow finds his fading memory a hard challenge. Horror thriller starts furiously, then bogs down, as Argento (cowriter) includes too many “realistic” scenes to make this atmospheric enough. Excellent soundtrack by Goblin, with terrific subliminal sound effects, ultra-gory special effects by Sergio Stivaletti. Not entirely successful but interesting, especially for Argentophiles, who will have fun spotting the director’s trademarks. Argento actually copied von Sydow’s role from the giallo LA RAGAZZA DAL PIGIAMA GIALLO (1977). Trivia: Asia Argento, the filmmaker’s daughter composed the nursery rhyme; a picture of her as a child appears briefly next to a newspaper article about the original murders. English titles: I CAN’T SLEEP and SLEEPLESS.

Non Si Deve Profanare il Sonno dei Morti (1974, ITA/SPA) C-93m. ** D: Jorge Grau. Starring Cristina Galbó, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy, Aldo Massasso, Giorgio Trestini. Italo-Spanish zombie-horror movie (a minor cult classic) set in England about Galbó and Lovelock, two twens who meet by chance and must deal with an army of zombies in a rural village, raised by a radiation machine from the Department of Agriculture. Director Grau adapts George A. Romero’s eco-disaster formula and pessimistic world-view from the classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) but adds hardly any excitement or thrills. Plot is relatively ambitious for a zombie movie of the 1970s, and score and eerie sound effects (by Giuliano Sorgini) make it an okay view for fans. Also known as LET THE SLEEPING CORPSES LIE, THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE and DON’T OPEN THE WINDOW (to state a few).

Non Si Servizio un Paperino (1972, ITA) C-102m. Scope **½ D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian, Irene Papas, Marc Porel, Georges Wilson. A child murderer terrorizes a small village in Sicily. As the police are incapable of finding the culprit, the villagers apply their own laws. However, there are at least three suspects. Fulci’s last giallo is highly regarded by most of his admirers but dramatically uneven and poorly paced. The forceful direction almost camouflages these flaws and the acting (especially Bouchet’s) is not bad either. Well-worth a look, despite ultimately unpleasant subject matter. Score by Riz Ortolani. English title: DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING.

No Reservations (2007, USA/AUS) C-104m. Scope **½ D: Scott Hicks. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Bob Balaban. Pleasant-enough romantic comedy about career-oriented chef Zeta-Jones, whose life spins out of control when her sister dies in a car accident, leaving behind her 9-year-old niece Breslin. At work, she finds competition in unconventional rival – or potential love interest? – Eckhart. Predictable stuff, but the stars are good. Score by Philip Glass.

Normal Life (1996, USA) C-102m. **½ D: John McNaughton. Starring Ashley Judd, Luke Perry, Bruce A. Young, Jim True, Edmund Wyson. Crime drama from the maker of HENRY – PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1990) and not that dissimilar from the cult classic. Perry plays a conservative policeman who falls in love with psychotic Judd and tries to make their relationship (and later matrimony) work – at all costs. Judd gives a brave performance as a self-destructive, ultimately sad woman, but film is unpleasant and downbeat. Based on a true story.

Nosferatu (1922, GER) 97m. *** D: F. W. Murnau. Starring Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroeder. One of the first film versions of Bram Stoker's Dracula is a classic itself, with creepy lighting and eerie sets. Schreck's Nosferatu is probably the scariest monster in film history. A must for film historians, horror fans and Dracula cultists. 97m. version restored in 1988, unfortunately with an electronic music score, which doesn't fit at all. Released in the U.S. at 84m.

Nosferatu a Venezia (1987, ITA) C-93m. *½ D: Augusto Caminito. Starring Klaus Kinski, Barbara de Rossi, Christopher Plummer, Yorgo Voyagis, Donald Pleasence. Very weak reworking of the Nosferatu legend with Kinski reprising his role from Werner Herzog’s classic NOSFERATU: PHANTOM DER NACHT. This time the vampire is roaming Venice - for reasons known to the filmmakers only. Good cast is wasted, Kinski most unconvincing in one of his last films. Trash value cannot be denied, however. Fast-Forward-Factor is high in this slowly paced, pretentious horror film. Bombastic opera score is based on a Vangelis album. Director Caminito cowrote the screenplay for the good spaghetti western OGNUNO PER SE in 1967; he should have refrained from directing this dud. English title: VAMPIRES IN VENICE.

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979, GER/FRA) C-107m. ***½ D: Werner Herzog. Starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor, Walter Ladengast. Beautiful rendition of the classic Bram Stoker novel with Kinski a formidable Count Dracula and Adjani an enchanting Lucy. Low-key, slowly paced but magically shot and directed, if not the best, certainly the most melancholy and moody Dracula version. Highly recommended. Kinski returned as Dracula in the 1987 horror movie NOSFERATU A VENEZIA. English version, titled NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, runs 96m.

Not Another Teen Movie (2001, USA) C-89m. **½ D: Joel Gallen. Starring Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Christian Olsen, Mia Kirshner, Paul Gleason, Mr T, Molly Ringwald, Randy Quaid, Melissa Joan Hart, Sean Patrick Thomas. Amusing spoof of teenager comedies a la SHE’S ALL THAT and AMERICAN PIE or even earlier ones like BREAKFAST CLUB. Plot is a combination of themes from these films, and the gags that are added are sometimes silly, sometimes funny. An okay view, but nothing the world really needed. Many cameos by stars from 80s teen movies make it fun for buffs.

Notebook, The (2004, USA) C-123m. SCOPE *** D: Nick Cassavetes. Starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden. Romantic drama based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks about Garner, who reads a story to Rowlands in a nursing home. The tale is about a love affair in the 1940s between Gosling and McAdams, who are from different social backgrounds. Can they find true love and happiness? The romance may be sappy at times, but it’s extremely well acted and touching. Recommended.

Notes on a Scandal (2006, GBR) C-92m. *** D: Richard Eyre. Starring Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Juno Temple. Fine drama about elderly school teacher Dench, who befriends new colleague Blanchett and takes her under her wing. The wife and mother of two then makes the mistake of commencing an affair with a 15-year-old student. When Dench finds out, her true intentions surface. Intelligent character-driven drama based on a novel by Zoe Heller has some powerful moments and offers two exceptional roles for two exceptional actresses. Excellent score by Phillip Glass is omnipresent and improves film’s pace and dramatic impact. Photographed by Chris Menges.

Nothing to Lose (1997, USA) C-98m. ** D: Steve Oedekerk. Starring Tim Robbins, Martin Lawrence, John C. McGinley, Giancarlo Esposito, Kelly Preston, Steve Oedekerk. Formulaic, contrived buddy movie about business exec Robbins, who one day finds his wife in bed with his boss and then sets out to drive anywhere. Just then small-time crook Lawrence tries to rob him. Together they take it on the lam. Some funny one-liners, okay performances, a typical Hollywood serving. Written by the director.

Notte al Cimitero, Una (1987, ITA) C-92m. **½ D: Lamberto Bava. Starring Beatrice Ring, Lino Salemme, Lea Martino, Gianmarco Tognazzi, Karl Zinny, Lamberto Bava. Fair horror film about a group of teenagers, who get lost in the woods and stumble into a strange tavern, whose landlord has a creepy wager for them. Quite atmospheric chiller with good make-up and effects is less gruesome than Bava’s DEMONI films (if as stupid in terms of plot). Watchable for genre fans, but don’t expect this to be a splatter movie. Simon Boswell’s score provides the touch of fantasy needed for this to work. Made for television. International title: GRAVEYARD DISTURBANCE.

Notte Che Evelyn Uscì dalla Tomba, La (1971, ITA) C-82m. **½ D: Emilio P. Miraglia. Starring Anthony Steffen, Erika Blanc, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart. Marina Malfatti, Rod Murdock. Wealthy Londoner (Steffen) is haunted by visions of his dead wife and intends to get over the loss by luring beautiful women to his castle and killing them in a rage. While his deceased bride’s brother is blackmailing him for this, Steffen’s brother, a psychiatrist, is treating him for possible insanity. Interesting mix of giallo and gothic elements (in contemporary setting) should make this worthwhile for genre buffs, but direction is too conventional, too static. Good score by Bruno Nicolai. Other versions reportedly run 88m., 95m., 96m. or even 103m.! Also known as THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE.

Notti dei Diavoli, La (1972, ITA/SPA) C-91m. SCOPE *** D: Giorgio Ferroni. Starring Gianni Garko, Agostina Belli, Mark Roberts (=Roberto Maldera), Cinzia De Carolis, Teresa Gimpera, Bill Vanders, Umberto Raho, John Bartha, Tom Felleghy. Atmospheric horror chiller based on the same A. Tolstoi story as the Vurdalak segment in Mario Bava’s I TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURA (1963). In fact, direction rivals Bava’s gothic style in this tale of tourist Garko, who stumbles upon small village in rural Yugoslavia whose residents are afraid of something, especially at night. Not everything gels in the movie, but it’s fairly creepy, also because of low budget, and Garko gives one of his best performances. Grisly effects by Carlo Rambaldi. Good score by Giorgio Gaslini. English title: NIGHT OF THE DEVILS.

Notti del Terrore, Le (1980, ITA) C-84m. M D: Andrea Bianchi. Starring Maria Angela Giordan, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Karin Well. No plot, just a premise: Several people go to a house in the country and soon find themselves under attack by the living dead. Disgusting, stomach-churning splatter film is almost depressing in its nihilism. Alternative titles: ZOMBI 3, which identifies it as a Romero rip-off and BURIAL GROUND, which is the film’s American release title of 1985.

Notti Erotiche dei Morti Viventi, Le (1980, ITA) C-112m. M D: Joe D’Amato. Starring George Eastman, Laura Gemser, Dirce Funari, Mark Shannon, Lucia Ramirez. One of the ‚crimes‘ that director D’Amato committed together with star (and writer) Eastman: A mixture between hard-core sex and zombie movie, absolutely mindless and scriptless, at a preposterous running time with amateur actors (and that includes Eastman and Gemser). If you liked this, check out PORNO HOLOCAUST. English titles: EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD, NITE OF THE ZOMBIES, QUEEN OF THE ZOMBIES, SEXY NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Notting Hill (1999, USA/GBR) C-123m. Scope ** D: Roger Michell. Starring Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Rhys Ifans, Richard McCabe, Hugh Bonneville, James Dreyfus, Emma Chambers, William Baldwin, Matthew Modine. Lightweight, predictable romantic comedy about a smashing Hollywood star (Roberts), who falls in love with a shy British bookseller (Grant) and begins a romance despite knowing that such a fling does not have a future. It goes without saying that he is head over heels in love. Tacked-on happy ending deprives this pleasant-enough film of any point. The supporting characters, Grant's ordinary relatives, are much more interesting than Roberts' character and film's overlength is preposterous. Rhys Ifans, as Grant's chaotic roommate has the funniest bits, but otherwise this is (slightly below) standard.

Nous Ne Vieillirons Pas Ensemble (1972, FRA/ITA) C-106m. M D: Maurice Pialat. Starring Marlène Jobert, Jean Yanne, Christine Fabréga, Patricia Perangeli, Jacques Galland, Maurice Risch. Dreary drama about cameraman Yanne and his lover Jobert, who quarrel, break up and make up throughout this movie. Every-day situations between lovers are frustratingly drawn out and nothing, absolutely nothing is made interesting here. Reminiscent of some boring Liz Taylor dramas of the 1970s, only without the glamour. Written by the director, based on his novel. Photography by the great Luciano Tovoli is as bland as the rest of the film. Still, this won Yanne the Best Actor prize in Cannes! English titles: BREAK-UP, WE WON’T GROW OLD TOGETHER.

No Way to Treat a Lady (1968, USA) C-108m. ***½ D: Jack Smight. Starring Rod Steiger, George Segal, Lee Remick, Eileen Heckart, Murray Hamilton. Superb thriller, based on a novel by William Goldman (MARATHON MAN, DREAMCATCHER). Steiger excels in role of psychotic strangler, who terrifies the Manhattan neighborhood. Cop Segal is assigned to this case and a cat and mouse game begins. Remick is Segal’s love interest and possible next victim. Well-directed, superbly paced, a first-rate novel adaptation (by John Gay) that effortlessly includes humoristic, romantic, suspenseful elements in the plot. Quite possibly also an influence on the Italian giallo.

Noz w Wodzie (1962, POL) 94m. ***½ D: Roman Polanski. Starring Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanovics. Brilliant feature film debut of Roman Polanski, who had appeared previously in minor productions as an actor only. A couple who is plagued by marital woes, takes a young hitchhiker with them on a sailing trip, which leads to conflicts aboard the ship. Subtle scipt (co-written by Polanski) is perhaps too subtle, but storytelling will give you more than enough time to ponder about the going-ons. Unusual drama rightly established Polanski as a first-rate director. English title: KNIFE IN THE WATER.  

Nude per l’Assassino (1975, ITA) C-93m. Scope ** D: Andrea Bianchi. Starring Edwige Fenech, Nino Castelnuovo, Femi Benussi, Solvi Stubing. Giallo set in the world of photographing and fashion models. A leather-clad killer is knocking off related people; it seems they are all on the same photo. Photographer Castelnuovo and model Fenech try to crack the case. Poorly conceived, hardly suspenseful thriller contains the usual giallo ingredients but fails to excite, despite ravishing Audrey Hepburn-ish Fenech and good score by Berto Pisano. Below par for this cult genre. Photographed by Franco Delli Colli. English title: STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER.

Nude… Si Muore (1967, ITA/USA) C-97m. Scope **½ D: Anthony M. Dawson (=Antonio Margheriti). Starring Mark Damon, Eleonora Brown, Michael Rennie, Sally Smith, Alan Collins (=Luciano Pigozzi). Quite enjoyable whodunit, a typical early giallo. At an exclusive school for girls, the arrival of a new teacher coincides with the beginning of a murder series. Inspector Rennie to the rescue! Colorful sets, nicely plotted, almost good. For fans of the genre (although this is more of the old-fashioned type). Mario Bava cowrote the story. Quite elaborate score by Carlo Savina. In Germany this was released in black-and-white. English titles: THE SCHOOL GIRL KILLER, THE YOUNG, THE EVIL & THE SAVAGE. Also known as SETTE VERGINI PER IL DIAVOLO (SIEBEN JUNGFRAUEN FÜR DEN TEUFEL).

Nuit d’Or (1976, FRA/GER) C-81m. *** D: Serge Moati. Starring Klaus Kinski, Bernard Blier, Marie Dubois, Jean-Luc Bideau, Charles Vanel, Anny Duperey, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Raymond Bussieres, Valerie Pascale, Maurice Ronet. Disturbing psycho-drama about madman Kinski, who was thought dead by his family and now wants to get his revenge on them. Uneasy, surreal atmosphere created by fine direction and photography (by André Neau). A little vague plotwise, but well-acted and fascinating all the way. Originally 95m., edited for television showings. Cowritten by the director.

Numb (2003, USA) C-77m. *½ D: Michael Ferris Gibson. Starring Jennifer West Savitch, Dominik Overstreet, Anne Goldmann, Peter Abraham, John Randolph. Low-budget sci-fi independent feature about a young woman, who sets out to find her father in a drug-controlled world. Alternating grainy color sequences and black-and-white scenes adds up to very little. You can feel it wants to be meaningful, but ends up being pretentious instead.

Number 23, The (2007, USA/GER) C-101m. Scope *** D: Joel Schumacher. Starring Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Rhona Mitra, Michelle Arthur, Mark Pellegrino. Intriguing mystery thriller about family father Carrey, a dog catcher, whose wife Madsen gives him a book for his birthday. The book’s main character turns out to be like his alter ego, and soon he is obsessed with the number 23 that seems to be everywhere. A bit convoluted tale but fascinating and stylishly done by director Schumacher, well-acted, too. Written by Fernley Phillips.

Nurse Betty (2000, USA) C-110m. Scope **½ D: Neil LaBute. Starring Morgan Freeman, Renée Zellweger, Chris Rock, Greg Kinnear, Aaron Eckhart, Tia Texada, Crispin Glover. Offensively strange comedy/thriller drama about naïve waitress, who is traumatized when her husband is killed by Freeman and Rock, and dreams herself into her favorite soap opera. She goes on to track down the TV show’s star (Kinnear), always being pursued by the killers. Wildly plotted, off-beat drama is unpleasant, even pointless (if you think about it) and not terribly entertaining. A matter of taste. Some found this brilliant.

Nutcracker Fantasy (1979, JAP/USA) C-82m. SCOPE **½ D: Takeo Nakamura. Starring (the voices of) Christopher Lee, Jack Angel, Eva Gabor, Melissa Gilbert, Roddy McDowall, Dick Van Patten. Adaptation of the E.T.A. Hoffmann fairy tale about a little girl who lives with her uncle and aunt, both of whom believe in the Ragman, who turns children into mice if they are not in bed by nightfall. And indeed, she meets the queen of mice and enters a magical land through her uncle’s clock. Interesting fantasy with music by Tchaikovsky, plot is slightly unfocused, though. Stop-motion animation with puppets is okay. Mainly for Christopher Lee fans, as the man sings here!

Nutty Professor, The (1963, USA) C-107m. *** D: Jerry Lewis. Starring Jerry Lewis, Stella Stevens, Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman, Milton Frome, Buddy Lester, Henry Gibson, Richard Kiel. Another Lewis one-man-show: Jerry plays a nerdish chemistry professor, who one day decides to change his appearance and behavior and does so by inventing a potion. This results in a temporary change a la Jekyll & Hyde. Unusually subtle humor makes this one of Lewis’ most mature films. Remade in 1996. A title at one time was DR. JERKYLL AND MR. HYDE.