Rabid (1977, CDN) C-91m. ** D: David Cronenberg. Starring Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver, Howard Ryshpan. Canadian shock specialist Cronenberg’s third feature is uneven, slow horror thriller about Chambers, who is treated in a special clinic after a near-fatal motorcycle crash and develops a penis-like sting under her arm pit. Too bad her ‘bite’ is contagious… Interesting premise, typical Cronenberg theme, as well as some nice directorial touches cannot overcome poor pacing. Also, in Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE CRAZIES (direct inspirations?) the epidemic was more exciting. Written by Cronenberg, coproduced by Ivan Reitman.

Race to Witch Mountain (2009, USA) C-98m. SCOPE **½ D: Andy Fickman. Starring Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Everett Scott, Cheech Marin. Remake of Disney’s ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (1975) about two extra-terrestrial children, who need to find a device and bring it to their spaceship and enlist the help of Las Vegas taxi driver Johnson. Soon they are hunted by the secret service. Second-rate script cannot fully be camouflaged by special effects and fast pace. Good fun for kids (although the TERMINATOR-like cyborg belongs into a horror movie).  

Ráfaga de Plomo (1985, MEX) C-90m. *½ D: Pedro Galindo III. Starring Mário Almada, Jorge Reynoso, Hilda Aguirre, Arlette Pacheco. Low-grade action thriller about a man fighting a drug syndicate after he is falsely accused of a massacre they committed. Probably aimed at the video market, nothing of interest here.

Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo, La (1963, ITA) 86m. *** D: Mario Bava. Starring Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentina Cortese, Dante DiPaolo, Robert Buchanan, Jorge Rivero. Mario Bava’s first foray into crime stars Román as an innocent American tourist, who comes to visit her aunt in Rome. However, her trip soon turns into a nightmare when her relative dies and she witnesses a murder that same night. Will the murderer begin to stalk her now? Complicated script gets in the way of suspense, and pace is slow, but Bava’s fine direction and camerawork pull it off, especially in the denouement. Most remarkable as the first giallo ever made; fans will find all the classic ingredients here (and detect analogies to Dario Argento’s brilliant ‘American-abroad’ horror thriller PROFONDO ROSSO). Bava’s last black-and-white film (his second as a director after LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO). Title song by Adriano Celentano. Also known as THE EVIL EYE and THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (an allusion to Hitchcock’s THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH).

Ragazza dal Pigiama Giallo, La (1977, ITA/SPA) C-100m. *** D: Flavio Mogherini. Starring Ray Milland, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Michele Placido, Mel Ferrer, Howard Ross, Ramiro Oliveros. Retired inspector Milland starts researching the brutal murder of a girl on the beach. She wore yellow pyjamas – not the only unusual aspect of the case. A second, seemingly unrelated plot strand is about Di Lazzaro, who is caught between three men (Placido, Ross, Ferrer). Set (and filmed) in sunny Sydney, Australia, this unusual, late giallo gets going rather slowly but comes up with nice twists. Good soundtrack, with a synthesizer score by Riz Ortolani. Mogherini, an art director who worked with Bava and Fellini, pays tribute to earlier gialli; ironically, Dario Argento would copy Milland’s character into his 2001 thriller NONHOSONNO. English titles: THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE, and THE CASE OF THE GIRL IN THE YELLOW PAJAMAS.

Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata nel Parco (1972, ITA/SPA) C-92m. *** D: Alfonso Brescia. Starring Robert Hoffmann, Irina Demick, Pilar Velásquez, Teresa Gimpera, Howard Ross, Patrizia Adiutori, Adolfo Celi, Philippe Leroy. When a rich man is found murdered after taking a ride in an amusement park’s Tunnel of Horrors, an insurance company assigns its best agent (Hoffmann) to investigate, since the man signed an insurancy policy worth one million an hour before he died. The agent falls in love with the daughter, beautiful Velásquez, and is introduced to her eccentric family. Just who is threatening them on the phone with details about the murder? Barely logical but unpredictable giallo, stylishly directed by Brescia and endowed with an excellent Carlo Savina score, which is at times touching, at times eerie. An obscure cult movie gem, worth (re-)discovering. English title: NAKED GIRL KILLED IN THE PARK, and THAT CURSED HOUSE CLOSE TO THE MUSHROOM BELT.

Ragazzi del Massacro, I (1969, ITA) C-99m. **½ D: Fernando Di Leo. Starring Pier Paolo Capponi, Susan Scott (=Nieves Navarro), Marzio Margine, Renato Lupi, Enzo Liberti. During the title credits we see the rape and murder of a young school teacher by the hands of her delinquent students. Police inspector Capponi questions them one by one, but everyone pretends to be innocent or a bystander. Can he clear up their motivations? Mixture of crime and police movie, with social commentary, is uneven and talky, but not without interest. Unsettling climax best part. English titles: NAKED VIOLENCE, THE BOYS WHO SLAUGHTER, and SEX IN THE CLASSROOM.

Rage of the Master (1971, HGK) C-90m. Scope ** D: Wang Hung Chang. Starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Chiao Chiao, Lee Yi Min, Lung Fei, Shan Mao. After their father, the leader of a kung fu school, is killed, his son and daughter set out to get help from fighter Wang Yu. Unexceptional eastern has sub-par action scenes most of the way and a violent finale. Wang Yu is less charismatic here (although he really kicks ass in the final fights). Also known as THE HERO, RAGE OF THE TIGER, and THE DESTROYER.

Raggio Infernale, Il (1967, ITA/SPA) C-93m. ** D: Frank G. Carroll (=Gianfranco Baldanello). Starring Gordon Scott, Delphy Maureen, Nello Pazzafini, Alberto Dalbés, Silvia Solar. James Bond clone/spoof about spy Scott, who must rescue scientist from villains who intend to use his powerful ray gun. Some funny allusions at the beginning, but plot is trivial, unexciting. Nice 60s score makes this slightly more engaging than other imitations. English titles: DANGER!! DEATH RAY, and NEST OF SPIES.

Raging Bull (1980, USA) C-129m. ***½ D: Martin Scorsese. Starring Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Michael Badalucco, Martin Scorsese, John Turturro. Elegant bio-pic of prominent boxer Jake La Motta (played by De Niro), whose life is traced from the early 1940s (as an up-and-coming boxer) to the early 1960s, where he’s become a down-and-out loser. First-rate filmmaking, fine black-and-white cinematography (by Michael Chapman), superlative editing during the fight scenes (by Thelma Schoonmaker), and a stunning performance by De Niro make you forget about film’s minor flaws (pace, timing). Another compelling ‘loser study’ by scriptwriter Paul Schrader (TAXI DRIVER), based on the memoirs of the real Jake La Motta. Winner of two Oscars (De Niro, Schoonmaker).

Ragione per Vivere e Una per Morire, Una (1972, ITA/SPA/FRA/GER) C-82m. Scope D: Tonino Valerii. Starring Bud Spencer, James Coburn, Telly Savalas, Joe Pollini, Ralph Goodwin. Tedious spaghetti western about a band of outlaws, who attempt to infiltrate Savalas’ fort and steal buried loot. Rips off countless better westerns, most notably THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Main interest springs from the cast but Coburn and Savalas are given nothing to do. Riz Ortolani’s score is good, though. Some sources say Terence Hill appears, but he doesn’t (at least not in the German version). English titles: MASSACRE AT FORT HOLMAN and A REASON TO LIVE, A REASON TO DIE.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, USA) C-115m. SCOPE ***½ D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina, Frank Marshall. Classic action adventure set in 1936 about archaeology professor Indiana Jones (Ford), who is called to Egypt where the Nazis have begun searching for legendary ark, which may hold key to unlimited power. He teams up with former lover Allen to defeat French mastermind Freeman and his German allies. A whale of an adventure, filled with action and humor, a rollercoaster ride. Brilliant score and memorable theme by John Williams. Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. Photographed by Douglas Slocombe. Joe Johnston was art director of the visual effects, which won an Oscar, as did the general art direction, the editing (Michael Kahn) and the sound. Beware of edited prints. Followed by a TV series and three sequels, starting with INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984).

Raigyo (1997, JAP) C-77m. *½ D: Takahisa Zeze. Starring Takeshi Ito, Yukiko Izumi, Tomohiro Okada, Moe Sakura. Supposedly arty psycho drama about a woman who comes undone in modern Japan. She begins to have sex with chance acquaintances and ends up murdering her sex partners. Sounds like it cannot fail but it does. Scenes go on and on without direction, the color tint may or may not be meaningful. Also known as SACRAMENT.

Rainbow Thief, The (1990, GBR/FRA/POL) C-87m. *** D: Alejandro Jodorowsky. Starring Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Christopher Lee, Francesco Romano, Berta Domínguez D. Touching fantasy drama about depressed prince O’Toole, heir to dying Lee’s fortune, and his affiliation with small-time crook and thief Sharif, who hopes to make a fortune himself by helping the prince. They both dwell in sewers of a large city, waiting for the news of Lee’s death. Story and screenplay by Berta Domínguez D. is a little aimless but the delightful Sharif, great sets, fine score (by Jean Musy) and photography (by Ronnie Taylor, an Argento regular) more than compensate. An enchanting fantasy, set in a netherworld reminiscent of the director’s SANTA SANGRE. In fact, many characteristic Jodorowsky elements can be found here, although this is not as violent and uncompromising as his earlier efforts. Received little attention when originally released, allegedly even disowned by Jodorowsky. Filmed in Gdansk.

Rainmaker, The (1997, USA) C-135m. Scope *** D: Francis Ford Coppola. Starring Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Virginia Madsen, Claire Danes, Mary Kay Place, Dean Stockwell, Teresa Wright,  Mickey Rourke, Andrew Shue, Randy Travis, Roy Scheider, Danny Glover. Excellent cast is true attraction of this rather contrived law drama about young lawyer Damon, who battles a ruthless insurance firm, who refused to pay for a treatment of a young man dying of leukemia. Coppola handles subject matter well, though story (adapted from John Grisham’s bestseller) seems a little contrived, with needless plot add-ons.

Rain People, The (1969, USA) C-102m. *** D: Francis Ford Coppola. Starring James Caan, Shirley Knight, Robert Duvall, Marya Zimmet, Tom Aldredge, Laurie Crewes. Well-made psycho drama about troubled wife Knight, who runs away from her husband for fear of having to take responsibilites now that she’s expecting a baby. She picks up retarded former football player Caan, from whom she learns what taking responsibilities is all about. Strong performances carry minimally plotted film a long way.

Raintree County (1957, USA) C-168m. Scope *** D: Edward Dymtryk. Starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, Nigel Patrick, Lee Marvin, Rod Taylor, Agnes Moorehead, DeForest Kelley. MGM’s Civil War epic about simple-minded but righteous Clift, who leaves Saint to marry belle Taylor. His new wife, however, has problems of her own, ever since she had a traumatic encounter in her childhood. GONE WITH THE WIND it ain’t, but still compelling, well-acted. Based on Ross Lockridge Jr.’s novel. Photographed by Robert Surtees in a 2.55:1 process called MGM Camera 65 (the same one used for BEN-HUR).

Raising Arizona (1987, USA) C-94m. **** D: Joel Coen. Starring Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Frances McDormand, Randall (Tex) Cobb, M. Emmet Walsh. Brilliant, inventive comedy about a most unlikely couple (small-time criminal Cage and law-enforcement officer Hunter), whose life is shattered when they learn that they can’t have a baby. So they decide to steal one from a furniture magnate whose wife has just born quints. Soon everyone seems to be after the baby. Creatively directed and photographed (by Barry Sonnenfeld), this comedy is not only hilariously funny but also philosophical, which makes it one of the best genre films of the 1980s.

Raising Helen (2004, USA) C-119m. *** D: Garry Marshall. Starring Kate Hudson, John Corbett, Joan Cusack, Hayden Panettiere, Spencer Breslin, Abigail Breslin, Helen Mirren, Felicity Huffman, Amber Valetta, Paris Hilton, Hector Elizondo. Bittersweet comedy drama about career girl Hudson, who is suddenly confronted with her late sister’s wish that she be the guardian for her three children. Saddled with a family (and no boyfriend), she finds life has become extremely hard. Some conventional plot twists, but Hudson is so appealing, she carries the entire film.

Raisins de la Mort, Les (1977, FRA) C-81m. *½ D: Jean Rollin. Starring Marie-Georges Pascal, Serge Marquand, Patricia Cartier, Mirelle Rancelot, Félix Marten, Brigitte Lahaye. A pesticide turns local peasants into zombies. A young woman who has come to visit her lover tries to escape their attacks. Some effective scenes among general lethargy. Recommended only to horror fans and those of director Rollin. English title is, perhaps, THE GRAPES OF WREATH.  

Rambo (2008, USA/GER) C-92m. SCOPE **½ D: Sylvester Stallone. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish. Stallone returns in pumped-up shape and doesn’t look his 60+ years. His RAMBO character makes a living catching and selling poisonous snakes close to the Burmese border. Then some American missionaries hire him to enter Burmese territory to help the Civil War victims against his advice… and live to regret it. Paper-thin plot outdone by stylish photography and editing. It’s also extremely violent. Good score by Brian Tyler. Fourth in the series, which was started in 1982 with FIRST BLOOD. Also known as JOHN RAMBO.

Rancho de los Implacables, El (1964, SPA/GER/ITA) C-79m. Scope M D: Alfonso Balcazar. Starring Robert Woods, Maria Sebalt, Jack Steward, Helmut Schmid, Richard Häussler, Hans Nielsen. Cheap, phony Euro western about gunslinger who protects the owners of a ranch. Tame and self-conscious, the opposite of what a spaghetti western should be like. Made, of course, before the heyday of the genre. Karl May clichés abound.

Random Hearts (1999, USA) C-133m. ** D: Sydney Pollack. Starring Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles Dutton, Bonnie Hunt Dennis Haysbert, Sydney Pollack, Richard Jenkins, Peter Coyote, M. Emmet Walsh. Policeman Ford and politician Scott are teamed up by fate, when they learn that their spouses were having an affair – and died together in an airplane crash. Together they try to come to grips with their loss while experiencing a budding romance. Despite star appeal, this drama is an overlong soap opera, with some truly corny dialogue. Based on the novel by Warren Adler.

Rap Nawng Sayawng Khwan (2005, THA) C-85m. **½ D: Pakphum Wojinda. Starring Sumonrat Wattanaselarat, Wonghtep Khunarattanrat, Amornpan Kongtrakarn, Atchara Sawangwai, Kenta Sikjiya. Interesting slasher movie from Thailand, quite well-produced. A group of high school freshmen go on a camping trip, which goes wrong early, when their bus falls from a collapsing bridge in the middle of nowhere. Then a killer starts bumping off the survivors. Gory but not tasteless, above-average, atmospheric horror with competent editing, score, direction, cinematography, even acting. Reference range from EVIL DEAD (1982), INTRUDER (1988) to Italian horror. Buffs should give this one a look. Also known as SCARED.

Rasen (1998, JAP) C-97m. ** D: Jôji Iida. Starring Koichi Sato, Miki Nakatani, Hinako Saeki, Shingo Tsurumi, Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kôji Suzuki. First, immediate sequel to the hit RINGU (1998) is a disappointment. Pathologist Sato has to perform an autopsy on a good friend and learns that he viewed a cursed video seven days before he died. Can he find an eliminate this deadly virus that seems to be spreading to everyone that watches it? Very similar in plot, but even more sluggishly paced, this will only be embraced by die-hard fans. To add to the confusion this was also released as RING 2: THE SPIRAL, RING 4: THE SPIRAL, and simply RING: SPIRAL. Made into a TV series in 1999. Followed by RINGU 2 (1999) and RINGU 0 (2000).

Rashomon (1950, JAP) 87m. ***½ D: Akira Kurosawa. Starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura. Extraordinary drama about the egotistical nature of man and his proneness to telling lies for his own advantage. Three men discuss what happened at a court session, where the parties involved came up with three different versions of the same story. First-rate acting, score and photography, an outstanding achievement for cowriter-director Kurosawa, whose first big success this film was.

Ratas del Asfalto (1978, MEX) C-83m. *½ D: Rafael Villasenor Kuri. Starring Ana Martín, Emmanuel Oléa, Armando Silvestre, Oscar Traven, Eduardo Noriega. Trivial actioner about a group of loafers who spend their time at illegal car races when not chasing after all kinds of women. Muddled script sinks this early on, although the fast editing keeps this bore at an agreeable pace.

Ratas no Duermen de Noche, Las (1973, SPA/FRA) C-85m. *½ D: Juan Fortuny. Starring Paul Naschy, Sylvia Solar, Evelyn Scott. Low-grade horror film with trash appeal about bankrobbers on the run, one of them fatally wounded with a bullet in his head. The gangsters bring him to a doctor, who recommends a colleague that is experimenting with brain surgery – on animals! Extremely weak direction, poor acting, a laughable film, but sometimes so bad it’s funny. This one is not gruesome at all. English title: CRIMSON, THE COLOR OF BLOOD, and simply CRIMSON.

Ratatouille (2007, USA) C-111m. Scope **½ D: Brad Bird. Starring (the voices of) Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, Peter O’Toole, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, Will Arnett, John Ratzenberger, Brad Bird. Amusing Pixar comedy about a simple rat with a special cooking talent, who ends up in Paris, France, where he directs a kitchen helper to make the most delicious meals. Superbly animated and designed, but plot has some silly contrivances and twists and remains quite predictable. And: Why make children’s movies so long?

Ratchet (1996, USA) C-112m. *½ D: John Johnson. Starring Tom Gilroy, Margaret Welsh, Mitchell Lichtenstein, Nurit Koppel, Matthew Dixon. Screenwriter Gilroy moves to an island near Cape Cod to write a new script and meets some shady characters who are involved in blackmail. Solidly filmed but illogical thriller moves at a snail’s pace. Not worth your time.

Ratón Pérez, El (2006, ARG/SPA) C-94m. ** D: Juan Pablo Buscarini. Starring Delfina Varni, Fabián Mazzei, Ana María Orozco, Joe Rígoli, the voice of Alejandro Awada. Mild, partly animated family comedy about a rat (mouse?), who is part of a giant underground organisation, which acts as a tooth fairy and turns the teeth of kids into little pearls. A villain kidnaps our hero, intending to take over the production. Poorly plotted, hardly entertaining stuff. They forgot to make this funny. An okay view only for kids. English title: TH HAIRY TOOTH FAIRY.

Rat Race (2001, USA) C-112m. Scope **½ D: Jerry Zucker. Starring Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Lovitz, Kathy Najimy, Breckin Meyer, Amy Smart, Lanei Chapman, Dave Thomas, Dean Cain, Kathy Bates. Comedy in the vein of the classic IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (1963), about casino owner Cleese, who at random picks eight contestants who should compete in a race across America. Whoever gets to Silver City, New Mexico, first will win $2 million. Needless to say, most characters are rather crazy, like Atkinson’s narcoleptic Italian guyo or Lovitz’ greedy family father. Some funny bits make this worthwhile, although script is uneven and several gags misfire. For those who like the premise. Best scene is at the World War Two Veteran convention.

Ratti: Notte di Terrore (1983, ITA/FRA) C-97m. *½ D: Vincent Dawn (=Bruno Mattei). Starring Alex McBride (=Massimo Vanni), Richard Raymond (=Ottaviano Dell’Acqua), Janna Ryann, Richard Cross. In the post-apocalyptic future, a group of primitive survivors find temporary shelter in a deserted laboratory. Little do they know that mutated(?) rats want to devour them. Slowly paced, overlong (like Mattei’s VIRUS), only occasionally atmospheric. The rats are actually quite cute. Photographed by Franco delli Colli. English titles: RATS, and RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR.

Räuber Hotzenplotz, Der (2006, GER) C-94m. Scope **½ D: Gernot Roll. Starring Armin Rohde, Martin Stührk, Manuel Steitz, Rufus Beck, Katharina Thalbach, Piet Klocke, Barbara Schöneberger, Christiane Hörbiger. Quite nice children’s movie based on Otfried Preußler’s novel about a ruffian but bumbling burglar, who is constantly chased by equally incompetent policeman Klocke (the funniest in the picture) and outsmarted by the real main characters Kasperl and Seppel, two mischievous kids. Has a nice, old-fashioned charm and adequate performances. For kids. Filmed before in 1967 (for TV) and 1974 (with Gert Fröbe).

Ravenous (1999, USA) C-101m. Scope ** D: Antonia Bird. Starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, John Spencer, Stephen Spinella. Truly offbeat horror set in the 1840s about a cavalry officer Pearce who is sent to a remote outpost in California and is drawn into a grisly case of cannibalism. Film lacks both humor and punch, obviously director Bird (PRIEST, MAD LOVE) is no horror film director. Still, strange enough to please fans of the macabre. Coproduced by Damon Albarn, the lead singer of Blur.

Raw Deal (1986, USA) C-97m. Scope D: John Irvin. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar, Robert Davi. Rather dumb action movie about FBI-agent-turned-cop Schwarzenegger, who goes undercover to bust crime syndicate. Among Arnie’s worst films: his wooden, TERMINATOR-style acting really hams this up. Good for a few chuckles.

Rawhead Rex (1986, GBR/EIR) C-89m. ** D: George Pavlou. Starring David Dukes, Kelly Piper, Cora Lunny, Ronan Wilmot, Hugh O’Conor. Barely watchable, unconvincing monster horror written by none other than Clive Barker. An ancient monster is resurrected and wreaks havoc on the population of a little Irish town. The police refuse to believe historian Dukes, who has seen it. Has some violent bits, but plot seems lifted off one of Barker’s short stories, padded out to feature length by adding scenes about the police investigation (a completely needless touch of realism). After UNDERWORLD, this was Barker’s second collaboration with director Pavlou. He went on to direct the smash-hit HELLRAISER (1987).

Razzia sur la Chnouf (1955, FRA) B&W-105m. ** D: Henri Decoin. Starring Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura, Albert Rémy, Marcel Dalio, Lila Kedrova, Marcel Bozzuffi. Gangster drama, less masterful others. Gabin arrives in Paris and starts working as a drug peddler. His customer, especially ruthless Rémy, soon start wondering why there are more and more arrests. Moralizing, semi-documentarian attitude weighs film down, the stars cannot be blamed. Chnouf is the code word for heroin. Based on a novel by Auguste Le Breton (RIFIFI). Also known as CHNOUF.

Reader, The (2008, USA/GER) C-124m. *** D: Stephen Daldry. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet, David Kross, Jeanette Hain. Winslet won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as mysterious worker, who helps a 15-year-old boy in 1950s Germany and starts a passionate affair with him. It becomes a habit for him to read out classic stories for her, until they lose sight of each other. Years later, the boy, now being a law student, sees her again in a most uncomfortable position in court. Well-acted, well-directed by the maker of THE HOURS (2002), film is fascinating to some degree, good but not great. Based on the book by Bernhard Schlink. Photography started by Roger Deakins and finished by Chris Menges. Dedicated to producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, who both died before film was released.

Real Blonde, The (1997, USA) C-105m. **½ D: Tom DiCillo. Starring Matthew Modine, Catherine Keener, Daryl Hannah, Maxwell Caulfield, Elizabeth Berkley, Buck Henry, Christopher Lloyd, Kathleen Turner, Dennis Leary, Steve Buscemi. Light-weight comedy drama about the relationships of various New Yorkers, focusing on luckless actor Modine and his frustrated lover Keener. Writer-director DiCillo makes some telling comments on modern-day life and love, but overall film lacks a solid core. Good cast helps.

Reality Bites (1994, USA) C-99m. **½ D: Ben Stiller. Starring Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo. Telling portrait of the Generation X is really an old-fashioned love story about two twens who have a deep affection for each other but are afraid of admitting it. If you go along with that schmaltz you might like this often funny examination of the problems the ‘new’ generation has to face. It’s also fun to watch cool Hawke and no-nonsense Ryder together.   

Re-Animator (1985, USA) C-86m. *** D: Stuart Gordon. Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, Robert Sampson, David Gale. Director Gordon’s first film is a delightful horror film, tongue-in-cheek but still gruesome enough to have you cover your eyes in terror. Medical student Herbert West has discovered a serum that re-animates dead people, however with terrible results. Keeps a fine balance between humor and horror, which excuses some pacing flaws. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story Herbert West, Re-Animator, though the author’s original work is a more subtle tale of terror. Followed by BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR in 1990; director Gordon adapted another H.P. Lovecraft story for his next film, FROM BEYOND. Beware longer version, which is without most of the gore scenes.

Rear Window (1954, USA) C-112m. **** D: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn, Ross Bagdasarian, Georgine Darcy. Brilliant Hitchcock thriller about reporter Stewart who is temporarily confined to a wheelchair and “must” watch his neighbors’ apartments through his rear window. This harmless diversion turns into an intriguing chore as Stewart believes that one of them has murdered his wife. His fiancée Kelly and housekeeper Ritter must help to solve the mystery. Relatively long story set-up is completely compensated for by plot development and riveting finale. Highly suspenseful, ingenious direction by Hitchcock, who actually confines the viewer in a wheelchair. Stunning perspectives, point-of-view, one of the director’s best. Remade for television in 1998.

Rebelión de las Muertas, La (1972, SPA) C-89m. D: Leon Klimovsky. Starring Paul Naschy, Victor Alcázar, Emma Cohen, Claudia Romy. Hilariously bad zombie pic with Spanish horror movie star Paul Naschy (né Jacinto Molina) in at least two roles. That of a Hindu guru named Krishna and his evil (twin?) brother, who is hiding in a mansion somewhere in London(!), commanding a few grinning zombies. Ultra-cheesy horror film for trash fans. Photography, make-up and effects are not bad, though. Also known as REBELLION OF THE DEAD WOMEN, REVOLT OF THE DEAD ONES, WALK OF THE DEAD, and most commonly VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES.

[Rec] (2007, SPA) C-78m. *** D: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza. Starring Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge Serrano, Pablo Rosso, David Vert, Vicente Gil, Carlos Vicente. Spanish horror thriller about a TV host and cameraman, who visit a fire station for a midnight TV report, when an emergency brings them to an apartment house, where an old lady has run amuck. It turns out a virus is transforming people into zombies. Filmed with a hand-held camera, from the perspective of the cameraman, film has effective moments, but somehow remains rather pretentious – until the final fifteen minutes, which provide a stunning twist finale. For fans, who will enjoy this Spanish BLAIR WITCH PROJECT variation. Remade as QUARANTINE (2008). Followed by a sequel in 2009.

Re-cycle (2006, HGK/THA) C-109m. Scope **** D: The Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide Pang). Starring Lee Sinje (=Angelica Lee), Lawrence Chou, Lau Siu-Ming, Rain Li. Astounding fantasy horror drama from the makers of THE EYE (2002). Novelist Lee, whose latest novel has been made into a movie, is working on a new book, a ghost story as she says. Soon, there are ghostly manifestations all around her. Is her book coming alive? Then she stumbles into a fantasy world of abandoned, forgotten things, ideas – and people. How can she escape from this hell? Begins like a (by-now) conventional Asian horror film and expands into a beautiful fantasy drama recalling the worlds of great imaginative directors Burton, Gilliam, Jeunet et Caro, or Miyazaki (in fact, this would have made a perfect script for Miyazaki). Visually dazzling, superbly scored, with a script that has not one but two brilliant twists at the end – a  masterpiece! Not to be missed. Original title: GWAI WIK.

Red Baron, The (1971, USA) C-97m. ** D: Roger Corman. Starring John Phillip Law, Don Stroud, Barry Primus, Corin Redgrave, Stephen McHattie, George Armitage. Misfired action drama (by Roger Corman, of all people) about famous WW1 fighter pilot Manred von Richthofen, his rise and fall among the German airforce. Some exciting aerial stunts to make up for lulls in the script. Reportedly, it’s also not historically concise. Aka VON RICHTHOFEN AND BROWN.

Red Corner (1997, USA) C-119m. ** D: Jon Avnet. Starring Richard Gere, Bai Ling, Bradley Whitford, Byron Mann, Peter Donat, James Hong. Predictable court thriller, one of those films that can be truly annoying, especially as they are technically well-made. Gere plays a businessman, who trying to fix a deal in China is framed for the murder of a politician’s daughter. His inhumane treatment and sabotaged defense is at the core of the film. Despite some attempted cultural criticism, not at all credible. For fans of Richard Gere.

Red Dragon (2002, USA) C-124m. Scope *** D: Brett Ratner. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anthony Heald, Ken Leung, Lalo Schifrin, voice of Ellen Burstyn. Remake of Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER (1986) is actually a prequel to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) and HANNIBAL (2001), both also starring Hopkins as ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’. Here, the brilliant but murderous psychiatrist is put behind bars by detective Norton, who asks for his help when a serial killer (called the ‘tooth-fairy’) starts slaughtering entire families. Less of a psycho-battle than SILENCE, but much better plotted than HANNIBAL, this is at times a riveting psycho thriller that (almost) avoids common trappings of such films. Intelligent, engrossing script by Ted Tally (from Thomas Harris’ novel) and some excellent performances. Tacked-on climax is completely unnecessary, however. Elaborate score by Danny Elfman, photography by Dante Spinotti.

Red Eye (2005, USA) C-85m. Scope *** D: Wes Craven. Starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays, Laura Johnson, Jack Scalia. Well-paced thriller gives you the genre’s assets in a nutshell: McAdams meets nice guy Murphy on an overnight flight to Miami, but soon he shows his real self when he blackmails her into helping him to assassinate a politician. Takes place almost entirely at the airport and on board the plane, movie delivers the goods kudos to veteran director Craven. It’s also well-acted.

Red Heat (1985, GER/USA) C-94m. M D: Robert Collector. Starring Linda Blair, Sylvia Kristel. Prison drama set in bleak East Germany with Blair mistaken for an American CIA agent. Very little action, no tongue-in-cheek, and Blair looks old and ugly; film lacks everything that made w.i.p. films interesting in the first place.  

Red Heat (1988, USA) C-106m. **½ D: Walter Hill. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Belushi, Peter Boyle, Ed O’Ross, Laurence Fishburne, Gina Gershon, Brent Jennings, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Brion James, Sven-Ole Thorsen. Arnie blockbuster where he plays a Russian policeman, who must cooperate with Americans in order to bring back a Russian drug dealer. His assigned partner Belushi is not very happy about the Russian’s sledgehammer methods. Artificial story is offset by some explosive set-pieces and Belushi’s funny lines, which make it entertaining to some degree. Director Hill coproduced and cowrote the screenplay. Score by James Horner.

Redneck Zombies (1987, USA) C-90m. M D: Pericles Lewnes. Starring P. Floyd Piranha, Zoofeet, Alex Lewnes. Terrible assault of your senses, absolutely amateurish and all the more grisly for that. A bunch of rednecks get hold of radioactive waste, distill it, drink it and turn into - yes, you guessed it – flesh-munching zombies. Sickening, fascist garbage. Distributed by Troma Films, who have obviously found a niche for films dealing with radioactive material. Handle with care. Shot on video (it looks terrible).

Red Planet (2000, USA) C-106m. Scope **½ D: Antony Hoffman. Starring Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Benjamin Bratt, Tom Sizemore, Simon Baker, Terence Stamp. A mission to Mars goes fatally wrong, as Kilmer and his crew crashland on the planet, while commander Moss is monitoring everything on their ship. Will they survive on the planet (where humans are conducting experiments with genetically manipulated algae) or will Moss be able to help them get back to their vessel? Well-designed, extremely good-looking science-fiction adventure covers hum-drum turf. Too bad. Still, quite exciting, if not engrossing.

Reflecting Skin, The (1990, GBR/CDN) C-95m. **½ D: Philip Ridley. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Cooper, Sheila Moore, Duncan Fraser. Unrelentingly bizarre and unpleasant psycho drama about a boy growing up in a rural village and his problems with neighbor Duncan, who might just be a vampire. Difficult to watch and understand, but cult film fans should give it a try. Similar to Bernard Rose’s PAPERHOUSE. Score (by Nick Bicât) and photography (by Dick Pope) are good.

Reflections of Evil (2002, USA) C-137m. *½ D: Damon Packard. Starring Damon Packard. Disjointed, offensive mix of film clips, all of them dealing with obese character of Robert (Packard), who lives on the street and is seen irritating people, gobbling down junk food, trying to sell broken watches and generally behaving like a madman. In a flashback, we see him visiting the set of Steven Spielberg’s SOMETHING EVIL (1971) with his mother. Most dialogues are re-dubbed, shrill sound effects added. Although Packard does have some wild ideas, his concept wears thin after 20 minutes, as he gives away the chance of commenting on his surroundings and the film becomes the simple depiction of a series of grotesque scenes. Let this stand as an example of the trash age (where vomiting can be art).

Regine, Le (1970, ITA/FRA) C-86m. **½ D: Tonino Cervi. Starring Ray Lovelock, Evelyn Stuart (=Ida Galli), Silvia Monti, Guido Alberti. Drifter Lovelock chances to meet a mysterious man on the road in the middle of the night, who shortly thereafter dies in a car crash. Lovelock then spends the night in a hut and makes the acquaintance of a trio of beautiful women, who seem to live in a nearby country house – all by themselves. Where’s the catch? Intriguing but rather slow fantasy/horror film with inimitable period flavor. Recommended to buffs. Also known as IL DELITTO DEL DIAVOLO, and QUEENS OF EVIL.

Reindeer Games (2000, USA) C-104m. Scope ** D: John Frankenheimer. Starring Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron, Dennis Farina, James Frain, Donal Logue, Danny Trejo, Isaac Hayes, Ashton Kutcher. Interesting cast saddled with ludicrous script: Affleck, just released fom prison, takes on his cell mate’s identity to make out with his gorgeous penfriend Theron. However, the lady’s freaked-out brother Sinise intends to use him in a robbery of a casino. Twists galore and some violent shoot-outs, but movie doesn’t work. Affleck (showing us his array of dumb faces) and Sinise (chewing up the scenery) are not appealing. Score by Alan Silvestri. Also released in a 124m. director’s cut.

Relic, The (1997, USA/GBR/GER) C-110m. Scope **½ D: Peter Hyams. Starring Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt, James Whitmore, Clayton Rohner. A Brazilian monster roams the dark halls of a Chicago museum in this thrilling, exciting, explosive horror spectacle. Plot is so lame, however, that anyone who likes to have his films intelligent and well-scripted will be annoyed. Frenzied editing will rather irritate your eyes than push you to the edge of your seat. This horror film is another example of a Hollywood production which is technically brilliant but incredibly hollow plotwise. Photographed by the director. Probably played better in movie theatres.

Remember My Name (1978, USA) C-94m. *** D: Alan Rudolph. Starring Anthony Perkins, Geraldine Chaplin, Moses Gunn, Berry Berenson, Jeff Goldblum, Timothy Thomerson, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Franz. Psychopathic woman (Chaplin), just released from prison, starts terrorizing Perkins and his wife for reasons specified later in the film. Subtle psycho drama with thriller elements has an intriguing narrative and good cast. Written by the director. Produced by Robert Altman.

Renard et l’Enfant, Le (2007, FRA) C-92m. SCOPE *** D: Luc Jacquet. Starring Bertile Noel-Bruneau, Isabelle Carré, Thomas Laliberté. Beautiful-to-look-at drama about a ten-year-old girl who grows up in the countryside and befriends a fox, who lets her come closer and closer until touching seems possible. The film charts their relationship over a period of several months. Plot may seem simple and contracted, but what counts here is the beauty of nature and the sense of adventure that can be had from it. From the director of the Oscar-winning penguin documentary LA MARCHE DE L’IMPERIEUR (2005). English title: THE FOX AND THE CHILD.

Rendez-Vous (1985, FRA) C-84m. ** D: André Téchiné. Starring Juliette Binoche, Lambert Wilson, Wadek Stanczak, Jean-Louis Trintignant. Well-acted but unappealing and pointless drama about young actress Binoche who comes to the city and gets involved with all kinds of demented characters. Trintignant plays the only normal person and saves the film with his effortless charisma. The surreal scenes don’t work.

Rendez-Vous, Le (1961, FRA/ITA) 128m. *** D: Jean Delannoy. Starring Annie Girardot, Odile Versois, Jean-Claude Pascal, Andréa Parisy, Jean-François Poron, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, George Sanders. Fine, engrossing crime drama about millionaire Pascal, who meets ex-wife Girardot one day, who left him and his son six years ago. Pascal is married to the daughter of a respected musician (Sanders), and Girardot is enjoying a fling with hot-shot photographer Poron, who in turn has the hots for Pascal’s sister-in-law Parisy. Eventually a murder happens and police inspector Noiret has the task of finding out who and has done it and why. Complicated, very well-acted drama is short of emotions (the black-and-white photo-graphy doesn’t help) but suspenseful and exciting. Adapted from Patrick Quentin’s novel The Man With the Two Wives. Italian title: L’APPUNTAMENTO. Beware of shorter versions. 

Replacement Killers, The (1998, USA) C-88m. Scope ** D: Antoine Fuqua. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker, Jürgen Prochnow, Kenneth Tsang, Til Schweiger. Hollywood debut of Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-Fat is a one-dimensional action film about a professional hit man who is targeted by his own boss after refusing to complete his last assignment. Sorvino plays a passport forger who unwillingly teams up with the charismatic killer. Flashy but overindulgent direction is sometimes visually confusing. It’s also odd to see Rooker (HENRY - PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER) play a loving family father. John Woo was among the executive producers. Chow fared much better under his direction (see A BETTER TOMORROW, THE KILLER, HARD BOILED).

Reptile, The (1966, GBR) C-91m. **½ D: John Gilling. Starring Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniels, Ray Barrett, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper. Upon the death of his brother, Willman intends to move into his cottage in Cornwall. However, there seems to be a curse over the village since several men have already died mysteriously. Solid direction, earnest acting keep this slow, vague horror chiller from going under.

Repulsion (1965, GBR) 104m. **** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Cathérine Deneuve, Ian Hendy, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark, Yvonne Furneaux, James Villiers. Artistically brilliant film, the second big success for writer-director Roman Polanski. A shy, introvert young woman (Deneuve) who feels repulsed by men has to stay alone in her flat when her sister leaves for a few days. Polanski lets us share her tragic mental deterioration in this harrowing, psycho drama about sexual repression. Completely unconventional, both form- and content-wise years ahead of its time. Polanski cowrote the screenplay with his regular collaborator Gérard Brach. This was his first English-language film.

Requiescant (1966, ITA) C-93m. ** D: Carlo Lizzani. Starring Lou Castel, Mark Damon, Pier Paolo Pasolini. A young Mexican boy, the only survivor of a massacre that wiped out his entire family, is brought up by a priest (Pasolini). When he has grown to adulthood he sets out to find the priest’s daughter - and stumbles upon the man who was responsible for the death of his parents. Not bad but slow and rather predictable spaghetti western with an unconvincing hero who reads bible verses to those he has just killed.

Resa dei Conti, La (1966, ITA/SPA) C-110m. Scope ** D: Sergio Sollima. Starring Lee Van Cleef, Tomas Milian, Luisa Rivelli, Fernando Sancho, Nieves Navarro, Tom Felleghy, Romano Puppo, Calisto Calisti. Serious spaghetti western about determined bounty hunter Van Cleef, who is assigned to track down Mexican Milian, who is said to have killed a twelve-year-old girl. Van Cleef is good, but film is much too sluggish. Could have used a dose of Sergio Leone. Quite good score by Ennio Morricone. Followed by CORRI, UOMO, CORRI (1968) and remade by the same director as REVOLVER (1973). English titles: ACCOUNT RENDERED, THE BIG GUNDOWN.

Resan till Melonia (1989, SWE/NOR) C-99m. *** D: Per Ahlin. Starring (the voices of) Hans Alfredson, Jan Blomberg, Robyn Carlsson, Allan Edwall, Olle Sarri. Fine animated feature, a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but aimed at children: Prospero the magician, lives with his daughter Miranda on paradise-like island Melonia, the only natural place left on Earth. However, evil industrialists are making plans to take it over. Together with a stowaway, little Miranda schemes to free the children forced to labor on their island, which is one big factory. Excellent storytelling in adequately animated fantasy tale will keep kids spellbound for most of the time. For adults, it’s no less captivating; its ecological message is a further plus. Recommended viewing. May even have partly inspired Jeunet et Caro’s LA CITE DES ENFANTS PERDUS (1995). English title: THE JOURNEY TO MELONIA: FANTASIES OF SHAKESPEARE’S ‘THE TEMPEST’.

Rescuers, The (1977, USA) C-78m. *** D: Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lounsbery, Art Stevens. Starring (the voices of) Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page, Joe Flynn, Jeanette Nolan, James McDonald. Fine animated feature from Disney about a rescue aid society run by mice, who embark on a rescue mission when they find a message in a bottle from a little orphan who is in trouble. Colorful adventure, stylishly filmed with atmospheric sets in the Florida swamps. Based on the novels by Margery Sharps. Followed by THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER in 1990, the first Disney sequel ever.

Rescuers Down Under, The (1990, USA) C-77m. **½ D: Hendel Butoy, Mike Gabriel. Starring (the voices of) Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy, Tristan Rogers, Adam Ryen, George C. Scott, Bernard Fox, Peter Firth. Sequel to THE RESCUERS (1977) whisks the mice Bernhard and Bianca away to Australia, where a boy has been kidnapped by a ruthless poacher. More of the same mouse adventure fun by Disney, although it’s louder, more hectic… for no reason at all. The first Disney movie with CG effects.

Reservoir Dogs (1992, USA) C-99m. Scope ***½ D: Quentin Tarantino. Starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Randy Brooks, Kirk Baltz, Edward Bunker, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender. Fresh, original take on gangster movies, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. A group of gentleman gangsters team up to perform a diamond robbery. When the heist goes fatally wrong, the remaining members meet at an abandoned warehouse and must come to terms with the situation. Was an undercover cop involved? Violent, funny, well-acted, a key film of the early 1990s. Abundant film references to classic films such as THE KILLING (1956), POINT BLANK (1967) and THE WILD BUNCH (1969) make it all the more fun for movie buffs. Many of the characters (or at least their names) show up again in Tarantino’s next film (and quasi-sequel) PULP FICTION (1994).

Residencia, La (1969, SPA) C-98m. SCOPE *** D: Ibanez  Narciso Serrador. Starring Lilli Palmer, Cristina Galbó, John Moulder-Brown, Mary Maude, Frank Brana. Low-key but chilling mystery set at a school for wayward girls somewhere in France. Palmer is excellent as the cold-hearted principal, who turns a blind eye to the mysterious disappearances of some of her students. Is her isolated 17-year-old son involved? The title edifice makes for a wonderful set in this atmospheric puzzler. Too bad this was director Serrador’s first of only two theatrical films (the other one being the equally fascinating QUIEN PUEDE MATAR A UN NINO?). Fine score by Waldo de los Ríos. May have influenced Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (1977). English titles: THE BOARDING SCHOOL, THE FINISHING SCHOOL, and THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED.

Resurrection Man (1997, GBR) C-102m. **½ D: Marc Evans. Starring Stuart Townsend, Geraldine O’Rawe, James Nesbitt, John Hannah, Brenda Fricker, James Ellis, Sean McGinley, Derek Thompson, Zara Turner. Initially intriguing thriller drama about young rebel Townsend, who leads a group of thugs in war-torn Belfast in 1975. Their daily routine consists of cutting up Catholics. Townsend is impressive, but his character is almost mysticised; you will expect him to unleash some supernatural powers any minute. What’s sorely missing is some background information about his motives, or simply his feelings. The main figure remains so ultra-cool (and nobody questions his authority!), it is hard to identify with him. Good direction, stark photography will hold your attention, however. Based on the novel by Eoin McNamee, who also wrote the screenplay. Michael Winterbottom (BUTTERFLY KISS) executive produced.

Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971, USA) C-100m. *** D: Bob Wynn. Starring Leslie Nielsen, Bradford Dillman, James Daly, Angie Dickinson, Don Haggerty. Thought-provoking science-fiction drama about reporter Nielsen, who investigates inofficial kidnapping of U.S. senator Dillman after a near-fatal car crash. He finally tracks him down in a clinic specializing on organ transplantations. Dramatically flawed but interesting throughout, with some startling horror elements towards the end.

Retez (1981, CZE) C-90m. ** D: Jirí Svoboda. Starring Zora Kerova, Pavel Nový, Jirí Klepl, Miroslav Zounar. After a bank robbery, the leading gangster dies and the money disappears. The rest of the gang goes after Kerova to find out what happened to it. Not-bad thriller is worth a look for the curious, but it looks and feels just as bleak as you remember the Eastern Bloc. English title: THE CHAIN.

Return from Witch Mountain (1978, USA) C-95m. **½ D: John Hough. Starring Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann, Jack Soo, Anthony James, William Bassett. Sequel to ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (1978) is less original but otherwise on a par with the first film. The kids return to Earth for a vacation, but get mixed up with evil Davis and scientist Lee, who have built a mind-control machine and kidnap thet boy. It’s up to the girl to save him with a group of street urchins. Fairly exciting, for kids. Typically good score by Lalo Schifrin. The real killer, however, is Bette Davis’ green teeth.

Returning, The (1983, USA) C-81m. D: Joel Bender. Starring Gabriel Walsh, Susan Strasberg, Victor Arnold, Ruth Warrick. Almost incomprehensible story of two men who are possessed by evil Indian spirits, which force them continue their grudge in the modern day. Pretty stupid, poorly filmed horror entry, not even for fans. Aka WITCH DOCTOR.

Return of Count Yorga, The (1971, USA) C-97m. ** D: Bob Kelljan. Starring Robert Quarry, Mariette Hartley, Roger Perry, Yvonne Wilder, Tom Toner, George Macready, Craig T. Nelson. Sequel to COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1970) follows the Count’s exploits at a rural village. Tries to be imaginative and stylish, but doesn’t come off better than an ordinary horror flick. The vampire attack scenes don’t all work. Watch it for Quarry’s charismatic performance.

Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn (1983, USA) C-81m. ** D: Douglas McKeown. Starring Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco, Richard Lee Porter, Jean Tafler, Karen Tighe. Sci-fi horror splatter movie about a meteorite which crashes down near a village and brings some extra-terrestrial monsters with it. The villagers try to fight it, but its millions of teeth are hard to escape. Pretty ghastly, with gory effects, film is low-budget but ambitious, evident in direction and score. It’s even reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s early movies. The effects are good. Unofficial sequel: METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR (1990). Also known as DEADLY SPAWN, and (RETURN OF) THE ALIEN’S DEADLY SPAWN.

Return of the Chinese Boxer (1975, HGK) C-95m. Scope ** D: Jimmy Wang Yu. Starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Lung Fei, Cheung Yin Chen, Chin Kang, Ching Chih Min. Martial arts movie produced and directed by star Wang Yu, who plays a superfighter, who singlehandedly manages to fight off Japanese intruders in China. Interesting set-pieces, but plot is incoherent and built around (mediocre) fight scenes. Wang Yu looks tired, though he knows how to appear ‘cool’. Probably released after 1979, because film makes brief use of John Barry’s score for THE BLACK HOLE (1979)! This is probably a sequel to Wang Yu’s THE CHINESE BOXER (1970), for which he used one of Barry’s James Bond themes! Alternative titles: SWIFT SHAOLIN BOXER, INVINCIBLE.

Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (1978, HGK) C-107m. Scope **½ D: Chang Cheh. Starring Chen Kuan Tai, Philip Kwok, Lo Meng, Sun Chien, Chiang Sheng, Lu Feng. Interesting martial arts movie about a tyrant, who cripples three men, turns another one into an idiot. The four form a team and go into training for 3 years. Then they try to battle the tyrant and his son, who has hands of iron. Quite-well choreographed and directed eastern whose plot never really catches fire. Showdown includes mind-boggling acrobatics.
The title is obviously wrong and the film is not a sequel to director Chang’s classic FIVE DEADLY VENOMS, which he made the same year. Also known as CRIPPLED AVENGERS, CRIPPLED HEROS, and MORTAL COMBAT.

Return of the Living Dead Part II, The (1988, USA) C-89m. **½ D: Ken Wiederhorn. Starring Michael Kenworthy, Thor Van Lingen, Jason Hogan, James Karen, Thom Mathews. Sequel to RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) sets up plot nicely, with some kids unwittingly opening a rusty drum containing a gas that raises the dead from their graves. Some amusing bits, good splatter effects, though film plays for humor too often and most of its characters are downright stupid. For zombie-movie fans. Written by the director. Followed by two more sequels.

Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993, USA) C-97m. ** D: Brian Yuzna. Starring J. Trevor Edmond, Mindy Clarke, Kent McCord, James T. Callahan, Sarah Douglas, Anthony Hickox. Zombie spectacle with a twist: Teenager Edmond, whose father is a government official, breaks into a secret lab to revive his dead girlfriend with a zombie gas used by the army. Gruesome splatter movie manages to work love and friendship into its plot, but it’s more sluggish and less entertaining than its predecessor. Director Yuzna also coproduced.

Return of the Street Fighter (1976, JAP) C-76m. Scope **½ D: Shigehiro Ozawa. Starring Sonny Chiba. Chiba returns in this sequel, battling the mafia and his arch-enemy, who he thought he had killed last time around. Plot doesn’t mean much, which may be due to extensive cuts in the U.S. R-rated version. This video version contains hardly any violence and also (surprisingly) little action. It’s recorded in EP mode and fullscreen, which destroys most of the picture. Thus, it’s only possible to hint at film’s assets. Followed by THE STREET FIGHTER’S LAST REVENGE and SISTER STREETFIGHTER.

Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1997, USA) C-87m. D: Kim Henkel. Starring Renee Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Jacks, Tonie Perenski, Joe Stevens, Lisa Newmyer. As horror sequels go, this is more a remake of the first film. Wild, bizarre - and totally absurd - horror film about weird backwoods family who slaughter unsuspecting prom night teenies. Not much violence per se but many unsettling chase sequences (with Leatherface close behind his victims). Nowhere as frightening or brilliantly filmed as the 1974 horror classic, which director Henkel cowrote. Probably sat on the shelf for some years. Alternative title: T.C.M. - A NEW GENERATION. Also shown at 84m. and 94m.

Return to Me (2000, USA) C-115m. *** D: Bonnie Hunt. Starring David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Carroll O’Connor, Robert Loggia, Bonnie Hunt, David Alan Grier, Joely Richardson, Eddie Jones, James Belushi. Formulaic, rather contrived but immensely likable romantic comedy about Duchovny, who loses his wife in an accident and learns later that it was Driver, who received her heart in a transplantation. Warm and atmospheric drama, with a priceless supporting cast and beautiful scenes at that cosy Irish-Italian (!) restaurant. Lush photography by Laszlo Kovacs. Stay away only if you are a (Hollywood) diabetic.

Return to Paradise (1998, USA) C-100m. Scope **½ D: Joseph Ruben. Starring Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, David Conrad, Vera Farmiga, Nick Sandow, Jada Pinkett, Ming Lee. After two years separation three friends hear from each other in most unusual circumstances. In Malaysia, one of them (Phoenix) is threatened with the death penalty, if his friends (Vaughn and Conrad) don't return and confess to be co-owners of the 104 grams Marihuana the police found in his hut. The two, now living in New York, have to decide whether the life of their friend is worth the three (if both go) or six years (if one of them goes) that they would have to spend in prison with him. His lawyer Heche has seven days to persuade them to "return to paradise". Interesting but uneven, with a shattering conclusion which will leave you wondering what the film's point is. Based on the French film FORCE MAJEURE.

Return to Salem’s Lot, A (1987, USA) C-97m. *½ D: Larry Cohen. Starring Michael Moriarty, Ricky Addison Reed, Samuel Fuller, Andrew Duggan, Evelyn Keyes. Anthropologist Moriarty returns to Salem’s Lot, a small rural village where he spent his childhood, and finds out that the town has been taken over by vampires… who want him to write their history! Low-key horror, not at all interesting. Not a sequel to Tobe Hooper’s SALEM’S LOT despite similar setting and vampire theme. When movie cuts loose in the finale, most viewers are likely to have switched off already.

Revenge of Frankenstein (1958, GBR) C-90m. *** D: Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews, Eunice Gayson, Michael Gwynn, Lionel Jeffries, John Welsh. Dramatic horror film about the evil doctor Frankenstein’s continuous attempts to create human life. This time he ordinates in Germany under a false name. Intelligent script by Jimmy Sangster, good performance by Cushing elevates this sequel to THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957). This was the second (and also the best) of seven FRANKENSTEIN films produced by Hammer Films.

Revenge of the Living Zombies (1988, USA) C-93m. M D: Bill Hinzman. Starring Bill Hinzman, amateur cast. Romero’s zombies go on yet another rampage, this time it’s college kids who are stupid enough to drive out into the woods on Halloween. Film mixes the college-kids-get-dispatched formula with plot elements of the Romero classic, but that’s about the only novelty of this amateurishly filmed and acted gorefest. The splatter FX might attract less discriminating horror fans. Referred to as FLESHEATERS in the main credits, film’s British video release title is, tellingly, ZOMBIE NOSH. Hinzman was Romero’s cinematographer for THE CRAZIES.

Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978, GBR/USA) C-99m. Scope *** D: Blake Edwards. Starring Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk, Dyan Cannon, Robert Webber, Tony Beckley, Robert Loggia, Paul Stewart, André Maranne, Alfie Bass, Ferdy Mayne, Adrienne Corri. Sequel to THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES BACK (1976) provides more of the same humor, as chief inspector Clouseau is thought dead but goes after the killers and a crime syndicate in various funny disguises. Meanwhile, inspector Lom is trying to figure out whether his nemesis has really died. Script is muddled but good slapstick scenes, funny set-pieces make this memorable. Seller’s last film as Clouseau, he was posthumously edited into the follow-up films TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER (1982) and CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER (1983).

Reversal of Fortune (1990, USA/JAP) C-111m. *** D: Barbet Schroeder. Starring Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra, Uta Hagen, Fisher Stevens, Julie Hagerty. Based-on-fact drama about stoic aristocrat Irons’ attempts to reverse verdict that declared him guilty of the attempted murder of his wife Close, who is now in a coma. Irons hires law professor Silver for the appeal. Very interesting narrative (with Close narrating!), film loses its momentum and suspense early on, but remains interesting throughout. Performances are all strong, Irons won an Oscar. Based on the book by Alan Dershowitz, written by Nicholas Kazan. Oliver Stone coproduced the film. Photographed by Luciano Tovoli.

Revolt (1985, USA/IRN) C-73m. M D: Jim Sheybany. Starring Rand Martin, Ross McTosh, Fattaneh, Tom Weigand. Obscure film produced in the U.S. obviously by Iranian people. Starts by moralizing against drugs, then goes on to tell incomprehensible story of a drug syndicate. Inept, cheap, released on German video in 1985, though film looks as if it was made in the 1970s. German video title: DIE RÄCHER HETZEN DIE MEUTE.

Richter und Sein Henker, Der (1976, GER/ITA) C-91m. *** D: Maximilian Schell. Starring Jon Voight, Jacqueline Bisset, Martin Ritt, Robert Shaw, Helmut Qualtinger, Gabriele Ferzetti, Rita Calderoni, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Lil Dagover, Donald Sutherland. In Switzerland police commissioner Ritt’s 30-year grudge against all-powerful industrialist Shaw may just come to an end. One of his inspectors (Sutherland, who plays a corpse here) has been murdered and Shaw may have had his hands in it. Can new colleague Voight clear up the case? Gripping thriller drama based on the novel by Friedrich Dürrenmatt is well-acted by a most interesting cast. Bisset, as Sutherland’s troubled fiancée, may be the most fascinating character. Fine Ennio Morricone score outdoes Schell’s direction, which is not always on top of the material. English titles: END OF THE GAME, DECEPTION, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER, and MURDER ON THE BRIDGE.

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001, USA) C-132m. ** D: Penny Marshall. Starring Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Adam Garcia, Brittany Murphy, James Woods, Lorraine Bracco, Rosie Perez, Sara Gilbert, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Biography of a woman (Barrymore) who grew up in the 1960s, whose writing talent was hindered by an early pregnancy (at 15) and subsequent marriage to the wrong guy (Zahn). Story is told in retrospect by her son. Earnest drama with equally earnest performances offers lots of period flavor, but its pace flags in mid-section and film becomes too serious for it own good. It’s overlong, too.

Rien Ne Va Plus (1997, FRA/SUI) C-110m. ** D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Michel Serrault, Isabelle Huppert, François Cluzet, Jean-François Balmer. Partners-in-crime Serrault and Huppert cheat rich people out of their money until they target Cluzet, who himself intends to keep the 5,000,000 Swiss Francs entrusted to him by a company. Unexceptional crime comedy that is neither funny nor thrilling. The stars, who are both very good, are the only reason to watch this film. Written by the director, whose 50th film this was (and definitely not his best).

Riget (The Kingdom) (1994/97, DAN/SWE/GER) C-487m. **** D: Lars von Trier. Starring Ernst-Hugo Järegard, Kirsten Rolffes, Ghita Norby, Soren Pilmark, Holger Juul Hansen, Annevig Schelde Ebbe, Jens Okking, Otto Brandenburg, Baard Owe, Solbjorg Hojfeldt, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgard. Absolutely stunning made-for-TV mini-series, set in a Kopenhagen hospital called „The Kingdom“, where the spiritual and the scientific world collide with each other, unearthing strange secrets and unspeakable mysteries. The first five episodes, made in 1994, introduce the hospital staff, uniquely bizarre, yet appealing characters. Story centers around hypochondriac woman (Rolffes), who one day hears a girl crying in the elevator well. It turns out the girl is a ghost, whose soul yearns to be released from the hospital. A stylish, strange, eerie, hilarious horror satire. Highly intelligent and philosophical. Not to be missed. Followed by five more episodes in 1997, which took the story further, emphasizing the theme of the battle between Good and Evil: Rolffes is run over by an ambulance upon leaving the hospital, and discovers during her stay that there are more ghosts waiting to be released. It seems Evil is omnipresent. Episodes 6-11 are equally fascinating, if not as original. Ends with a set-up for new episodes.

Ring, The (2002, USA/JAP) C-115m. *** D: Gore Verbinski. Starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn, Adam Brody, Daveigh Chase, Chris Cooper. Remake of the Japanese horror hit RINGU (1998) is surprisingly good. Watts plays a journalist, who investigates the mysterious death of her niece. It turns out she died exactly seven days after viewing a video. When Watts finds the tape and pops it into the VCR herself, she must solve the mystery before she falls prey to the video’s curse. Not without flaws (some improbable coincidences, overlength, weak tacked-on ending), but the story is expertly told, well-directed and well-shot. Horror movie buffs will savor the references to genre classics like PSYCHO (1960), JACOB’S LADDER (1990) and even PROFONDO ROSSO (1975). Good score by Hans Zimmer. Followed by THE RING TWO (2005).

Ring Two, The (2005, USA) C-109m. ** D: Hideo Nakata. Starring Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek. Sequel to the American horror remake THE RING (2002) features the original RINGU (1998) director, but is unimaginative and unrelenting. Watts and her son have moved to a new community, but they cannot escape the curse of the little girl. Watts’ son is especially haunted by the spirit, develops hypothermia and threatens to die. Can his mother finally put an end to the curse? Plot provides no better excuse for a return of its villain than it would for Freddy Kruger or Jason Vorhees. What’s more, it puts a child in constant torment. Unrated version runs longer.

Ringo del Nebraska (1966, ITA/SPA) C-82m. Scope ** D: Mario Bava. Starring Ken Clark, Yvonne Bastien, Frank Brana, Charles Lawrence, Piero Lulli, Alfonso Rojas. Stranger Clark helps a rancher and his beautiful wife (Bastien) against a ruthless bunch of cowboys. Cardboard western with little action and suspense and a leisurely paced plot. Still not that bad. Legendary Mario Bava’s direction is utterly conventional (he replaced film’s original director Antonio Román), he obviously made this without much ambition. Score by Nino Oliviero dominates this tame spaghetti western. Román was credited with the direction for more than twenty years until Bava’s involvement was made known. Alternative titles: NEBRASKA JIM, NEBRASKA IL PISTOLERO, SAVAGE GRINGO.

Ringo, il Volto della Vendetta (1967, ITA/SPA) C-100m. Scope D: Mario Caiano. Starring Anthony Steffen, Frank Wolff, Eduardo Fajardo, Armando Calvo, Alejandra Nilo, Antonio Orengo. Standard European western about five characters who embark on a treasure hunt, with the novelty of the map being tatooed on the back of two of the men. Technically OK but generates no interest whatsoever.

Ringu (1998, JAP) C-95m. *** D: Hideo Nakata. Starring Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Hiroyuki Sanada, Yuko Takeuchi, Hitomi Sato. Journalist Matsushima mourns the death of her niece, who died mysteriously, allegedly after viewing a cursed video. She starts to investigate and views the video herself. According to the rumors she has now exactly one week before she will die. What is the mystery behind the video? Deliberately paced, almost tentative horror chiller creates an uneasy atmosphere and builds suspense well. The vanguard of the new Japanese horror wave; it was based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki. At the very least it stands as a monument of the (then-dying) video tape. Previously filmed as a TV movie in 1995. Followed by two sequels (RASEN, RINGU 2), a prequel (RINGU 0), a Korean remake (RING), and a Hollywood remake (THE RING). Also known as simply RING.

Ringu 2 (1999, JAP) C-95m. ** D: Hideo Nakata. Starring Miki Nakatani, Hitomi Sato, Kyôko Fukada, Fumiyo Kohinata, Kenjiro Ishimaru. Second sequel (despite its title) to the influential RINGU (1998), but the first by that film’s original director. Set right after the events of the first film, a young student investigates and becomes entranced by the search for the mysterious video tape. The creepy sound effects are still there, but everything else just doesn’t work any more. Film was made after audiences were dissatisfied with the first sequel, RASEN, but this is not much better. Followed by RINGU 0: BASUDEI (2000). English title: RING 2.

Ringu 0: Bâsudei (2000, JAP) C-99m. **½ D: Norio Tsuruta. Starring Yukie Nakama, Seiichi Tanabe, Kumiko Aso, Yoshiko Tanaka, Takeshi Wakamatsu. After two sequels, the Japanese horror hit gets a prequel, which tells the story of young Sadako, who is the restless spirit in the original RINGU (1998). In 1968, the deeply troubled girl joins an acting troupe, who are rehearsing a play. Soon, people start to die and everything is blamed on her. Rumors of the traumatized girl’s spiritualist mother start to surface. Relatively low-key, but moody, not uneffective chiller, for fans of the series. English title: RING 0: BIRTHDAY.

Ring Virus, The (1999, KOR) C-106m. **½ D: Kim Dong-bin. Starring Shin Eun-Kyung, Lee Seung-hyeon, Jeong Jin-yeong, Kim Chang-wan. Korean remake of the Japanese horror hit is almost on a par with the original. A journalist investigates the strange deaths of teenagers and finds this all to be linked to a videotape. When she watches it herself, she becomes convinced that she has only seven days to solve the mystery or she will die. Slow, redundant at times, but fairly effective.

Riot (1969, USA) C-100m. *½ D: Buzz Kulik. Starring Jim Brown, Gene Hackman, Ben Carruthers, Mike Kellin, Gerald O’Loughlin. Uninteresting prison drama about inmates of an Arizona jailhouse, who rebel and talk about their demands and plans to escape. Very little action until the finale. Unimaginative script, routine direction; not at all like the prison and blaxploitation films of the early 1970s. James Poe (cowriter of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF!!!) adapted The Riot by Frank Elli. Produced by the legendary William Castle. Alan Rudolph (REMEMBER MY NAME) receives his first credit as assistant director.

Ripley’s Game (2002, GBR/USA/ITA) C-110m. ** D: Liliana Cavani. Starring John Malkovich, Ray Winstone, Dougray Scott, Lena Headley, Chiara Caselli, Hanns Zischler. Patricia Highsmith adaptation makes use of her main gimmick from STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951). Terminally ill Scott is persuaded by crook Winstone to become a killer, with Ripley (Malkovich) pulling the strings. Of course, things go awry, and Scott soon wishes he had never accepted the deal. Well-acted crime drama fails because its main character is so cold and off-putting, and the story becomes less interesting as it goes along. Previously filmed by Wim Wenders as DER AMERIKANISCHE FREUND (1977). Score by Ennio Morricone.

Ripper, The (1997, GBR/AUS) C-100m. *** D: Janet Meyers. Starring Patrick Bergin, Gabrielle Anwar, Samuel West, Michael York, Adam Couper, Essie Davis, Olivia Hamnett, Karen Davitt. Handsomely filmed and decorated version of the horror classic with Bergin on the trail of serial killer Jack the Ripper, who terrorizes the London streets killing and mutilating prostitutes. Production values, credible acting overcome predictable plotting. Filmed in Australia. Made for television.

Risate di Gioia (1960, ITA) 105m. ***½ D: Mario Monicelli. Starring Ben Gazzara, Anna Magnani, Totò, Fred Clark. Three disparate characters unwillingly spend a turbulent silvester night in Rome together. Totò, an unemployed actor, has to contend with pickpocket Gazzara and would-be actress Magnani. Funny comedy with three wonderful stars. English title: THE PASSIONATE THIEF.  

Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, The (1960, USA) 101m. **½ D: Budd Boetticher. Starring Ray Danton, Karen Steele, Elaine Stewart, Jesse White, Simon Oakland, Robert Lowery, Warren Oates, Dianne (Dyan) Cannon. A very American gangster movie, set during Depression, about small-time crook Jack ‘Legs’ Diamond, who rises to become a much-feared crime boss. Film is fast-paced and generally well-made, but emotionally aloof and uninvolving. This predictable film is helped by some good performances, especially by Danton, Oates and a young Cannon (in her film debut). Photographed by Lucien Ballard.

Ritana (2002, JAP) C-116m. **½ D: Takeshi Yamazaki. Starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Anne Suzuki, Kirin Kiki, Goro Kishitani, Yukiko Okamoto. Quite good science-fiction actioner about a time-traveller on a mission to avert future war. She is aided by an assassin. Explosive set-pieces, but storyline fails to compel. English title: RETURNER.

Rite, Magie Nere e Segrete Orge nel Trecento (1973, ITA) C-98m. *½ D: Ralph Brown (=Renato Polselli). Starring Mickey Hargitay, Rita Calderoni, Raoul Traucher, Christa Barrymore, Consolata Moschera, Max Dorian, Tano Cimarosa. Director Polselli’s follow-up to his interesting giallo DELIRIO CALDO (1972) is barely comprehensible indulgence about witchcraft and a religious cult. A group of American visitors to a castle are faced with inexplicable going-ons that may be caused by the burning of a witch 500 years ago. Plot is barely there, odd intercutting a meager replacement for photographic style. For only the most fervent followers of the eccentric Polselli, who also wrote and edited the picture. Also known as THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL, BLACK MAGIC RITES: REINCARNATIONS, THE GHASTLY / HORRIBLE ORGIES OF COUNT DRACULA.

Ritorno dalla Morte (1991, ITA) C-96m. M D: David Hills (=Joe D’Amato). Starring Donald O’Brien, Cinzia Monreale, Richard Harsh. Awful horror movie about a woman with telekinetic powers, who falls into a coma after being raped by thugs. She proceeds to “use” her dead friend to take revenge. Poorly directed, sloppily acted, a waste of time. Costume design by Laura M. Gemser. International title: FRANKENSTEIN 2000.

Ritorno di Zanna Bianca, Il (1974, ITA/FRA/GER) C-98m. Scope ** D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Franco Nero, Virna Lisi, John Steiner, Raimund Harmstorf, Renato Cestiè, Harry Carey Jr., Werner Pochath, Rik Battaglia, Hannelore Elsner, Fernando Rey. Second of six ZANNA BIANCA (WHITE FANG) movies produced in the 1970s. Film recounts episodes in the Canadian (?) wilderness, with recurring characters and, of course, the title creature (as known from the Jack London novel). Typical (wintry) wilderness adventure might thrill smaller kids, adults might want to watch it for the cast and director. Fulci also directed the first film of the series, ZANNA BIANCA (1972), the same year he made NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO! Score by Carlo Rustichelli. Also known as CHALLENGE OF WHITE FANG.

Rivelazioni di un Maniaco Sessuale al Capo della Squadra Mobile (1972, ITA) C-89m. **½ D: Roberto (Bianchi) Montero. Starring Farley Granger, Sylva Koscina, Cristea Avram, Femi Benussi, Silvano Tranquilli, Jessica Dublin. Moderately successful whodunit: Inspector Granger must find the maniac who kills the unfaithful wives of prominent members of society. The killer leaves photographs of the adulterers at the crime scene. Giallo doesn’t integrate its characters well, but remains interesting. Lots of nudity, some violence. Good, weird score by Giorgio Gaslini is at times moody, at times jazzy. English titles: BAD GIRLS, CONFESSIONS OF A SEX MANIAC, THE SLASHER IS THE SEX MANIAC, SLASHER, SO NAKED, SO DEAD, and SO SWEET, SO DEAD. Film was re-edited for the American market (some hard-core scenes were inserted) and re-titled PENETRATION.

Rivières Pourpres, Les (2000, FRA) C-106m. Scope ** D : Mathieu Kassovitz. Starring Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Nadia Farès, Dominique Sanda, Karim Belkhadra, Jean-Pierre Cassel. Typically atmospheric thriller about the hunt for a serial killer, who likes cutting off his victim’s hands. Police inspector Reno suspects the murderer to be at a university in the French Alps. Despite being suspenseful, this film shows the typical faults of a novel adaptation by the writer himself (Jean-Christophe Grangé). Plot holes, illogical twists may be explained in the novel, but not in the film. Watchable but awfully contrived. English title: THE CRIMSON RIVERS.

Rivolta dei Sette, La (1964, ITA/SPA) C-89m. Scope ** D: Alberto De Martino. Starring Tony Russel, Massimo Serato, Nando Gazzolo, Howard Ross, Helga Liné, Piero Lulli. Obviously modeled after THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1962), this sword-and-sandal costumer features Russel as a rebel who leads several friends into battle against the Spartans. Adequately scored and directed, but plot creates no interest, let alone excitement. Not to be confused with GLI INVINCIBILI SETTE (1964) by the same director. English titles: THE REVOLT OF THE SEVEN, THE SPARTAN GLADIATOR(S).

Road to Perdition (2002, USA) C-117m. Scope *** D: Sam Mendes. Starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Daniel Craig, Tyler Hoechlin, Stanley Tucci, Sam Mendes. In the 1930s Hanks falls out of grace with his foster father Newman, a patriarch/mobster who rules an entire town, and ultimately has to take it on the lam with his little son. Engrossing drama, impressively directed by Mendes (AMERICAN BEAUTY), but broken down, story carries little weight and there are also problems of perspective (first person vs. omniscient narrator). A good film, though, whose stylistic flourishes and storytelling savvy make it worthwhile. Superb score by Thomas Newman, fine cinematography by Conrad Hall (his last).

Road Trip (2000, USA) C-94m. *** D: Todd Phillips. Starring Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, Dj Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Anthony Rapp, Tom Green, Todd Phillips. Slight but funny teen comedy, along the lines of AMERICAN PIE, about Meyer, who mistakenly sends a video tape to his girlfriend in Texas, which depicts him having sex with Blanchard. He spontaneously decides to travel 1800 miles to stop the package and save their relationship. Not all of the gags work but enough to give you entertaining 90 minutes.

Robin Hood (1973, USA) C-83m. **½ D: Wolfgang Reitherman. Voices of Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Monica Evans, Peter Ustinov, Terry-Thomas, Andy Devine, Roger Miller. Disney version of the legend of the rebellious Robin Hood in medieval England is unexceptional and not very entertaining, but should be a sure pick for kids, who want to kill time on a rainy afternoon.

RoboCop (1987, USA) C-103m. *** D: Paul Verhoeven. Starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Michael Gregory, Paul Verhoeven. Effective action film, near the genre’s pinnacle of the 1980s. Weller plays a cop who is almost killed then returns as RoboCop, half man, half robot, programmed to rid the near-future city of Detroit (soon to be renamed Delta City) of crime. Some tackiness (especially in some of the minor villains, the really bad guys are convincing) is forgotten in extremely violent, well-filmed bullett-riddling shoot-outs. Verhoeven cuts loose often enough. Fine score by Basil Poledouris provides emotional, dramatic angle. Monty Hellman reportedly directed parts of the second unit. R-rated version runs 102m. Followed by two sequels, a TV series and a mini series.

Robot Jox (1989, USA) C-84m. M D: Stuart Gordon. Starring Gary Graham, Anne-Marie Johnson, Paul Koslo, Robert Sampson, Jeffrey Combs. Title refers to so-called jockeys who operate giant war robots in one-on-one duels which are actually territorial battles. Utterly predictable, clichéd storyline makes this sci-fi war action movie a chore to watch, unless you are a ten year-old boy who is easily impressed. Produced by Charles and Albert Band. Director Gordon receives story credit.

Robots (2005, USA) C-91m. *** D: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha. Starring (the voice of) Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Coolidge, Dan Hedaya, James Earl Jones, Natasha Lyonne, Lowell Ganz, Paula Abdul, Jay Leno, Stephen Tobolowsky. Superbly designed computer animated movie that transports the viewer to a world of robots and metal parts and creates the world as it would look like if everything was made of metal. In the plot, a young robot (voiced by McGregor) travels to the big city to achieve fame as an inventor, but finds that the good-natured industrialist Bigweld (voiced by Mel Brooks) has been overthrown by a greedy, capitalist executive. While the plot is only standard, the production design is impressive and the voice cast flawless. Good fun. From the creators of ICE AGE (2002).

Rock, The (1996, USA) C-135m. Scope **½ D: Michael Bay. Starring Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, Ed Harris, John Spencer, David Morse, Wililam Forsythe, Michael Biehn, Vanessa Marcil, Tony Todd. Danny Nucci, Yander Berkeley, Philip Baker Hall. Slam-bang action thriller about a group of elite mercenaries led by Harris, who capture Alcatraz and threaten to fire some missiles armed with a deadly gas, if they are not given a large sum of money. Former inmate Connery and chemical weapons expert Cage try to avert disaster. Lots of action, few thrills plotwise. Mindless entertainment from the team that brought you ARMAGEDDON (1998).

Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958, USA) C-103m. *** D: Frank Tashlin. Starring Jerry Lewis, Marilyn Maxwell, Connie Stevens, Salvatore Baccaloni. One of Jerry Lewis’ most endearing films is about a movie star (Maxwell) whose career is threatened by a sudden pregnancy. Then she remembers her old boyfriend Lewis, who’s back in their home town, and asks him to take care of the baby after birth. What a surprise when he learns it’striplets he has to look after! Charming, funny, an ideal showcase for Lewis’ talents. Also love that picture-perfect late 1950s setting. A remake of Preston Sturges’ THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK (1944).

Rocket to the Moon (1967, GBR) C-104m. Scope *** D: Don Sharp. Starring Burl Ives, Troy Donahue, Gert Fröbe, Terry-Thomas, Hermione Gingold, Daliah Lavi, Lionel Jeffries, Dennis Price. Old-fashioned comedy with many delightful characters, about P.T. Barnum (Ives), who travels to Britain to sell his latest business idea – a flight to the moon. Story wanders a little, but kids should find this lovely. Nice turn by Fröbe. Based on the novel by Jules Verne. Also known as BLAST-OFF, JOURNEY THAT SHOOK THE WORLD, and THOSE FANTASTIC FLYING FOOLS.

Rock Star (2001, USA) C-105m. Scope *** D: Stephen Herek. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Flemyng, Dominic West, Jason Bonham, Timothy Spall, Timothy Olyphant, Rachel Hunter, Colleen Fitzpatrick. Engaging drama set in the mid-1980s of youngster Wahlberg, who idolizes the lead singer of his favorite heavy metal group and plays in a tribute band. When the band approach him to replace his idol, he becomes a rock star overnight. Interesting recreation of a rock-era has a few silly sequences too many, but Wahlberg is so appealing in the lead that this compensates any flaws. The songs are actually sung by Mike Matijevic, though Wahlberg was in a band himself in the early 1990s. George Clooney co-executive produced.

Rocky (1976, USA) C-119m. ***½ D: John G. Avildsen. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Brugess Meredith, Thayer David, Joe Spinell, Frank Stallone, Lloyd Kaufman. Irresistible rhinestone drama about 30-year-old boxer Rocky (Stallone), whose life is at a crossroads. He is contemplating the end of his pathetic career, when the heavy-weight champion (Weathers), looking for an easy-to-beat contender, chooses him, the ‘Italian Stallion’, for the championship bout. Screenplay, written by Stallone himself, strikes all the right tones, especially towards the end, excusing some pacing flaws in the first half of the film. Understandably an extremely popular film, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing (the final bout was filmed backwards and re-edited). Memorable score by Bill Conti. Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder of Troma Films, appears briefly as a drunk and also supervised the pre-production. Followed by four sequels.

Rocky Horror Picture Show, The (1975, GBR) C-100m. *** D: Jim Sharman. Starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Meatloaf. Outrageous rock musical about a conser-vative couple who find refuge in a castle after their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There they meet Transsylvanian transvestites, whose leader Frank ‘N’ Furter (Curry) is about to create a human being! Kinky horror satire has acquired a cult following, although (or because) it bombed when originally released. Legendary soundtrack features many familiar songs.

Rokugatsu no Hebi (2002, JAP) B&W-77m. *** D: Shinya Tsukamoto. Starring Asuka Kurosawa, Yuji Kohtari, Shinya Tsukamoto. Stark, stylized psycho drama about a couple, Kurosawa and her considerably older spouse Kohtari, whose marriage seems happy on the outside. One day, the woman, who works as a telephone counsellor, is contacted by a man who seems to know a lot about her life. He blackmails her with compromising photos and unmasks her secret desires, but that’s not the end of the story as her husband – and even the stalker – have something to hide. Cult director Tsukamoto as the voyeur projects himself into the movie here, with stunning results that are often reminiscent of a Bergman or perhaps Lynch. His blue-and-white color scheme and striking direction make this an artistic triumph, even if the movie is not easily accessible. Filmed in an aspect ratio of 1,37:1 (on 16mm film). Deservedly won awards on several filmfestivals, including Venice. Tsukamoto also wrote, produced, photographed, edited and designed the film. English title: A SNAKE OF JUNE.

Rollerball (1975, USA) C-122m. *** D: Norman Jewison. Starring James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn, Pamela Hensley, Burt Kwouk, Ralph Richardson. ‘Social’ science-fiction in the vein of ZARDOZ (1974) and LOGAN’S RUN (1976). In the 21st century, a controlled society enjoys their leisure time at so-called Rollerball games. Caan is the star of the violent sport, but someone is trying to make him retire. Uneven, vague sci-fi drama with some effective action scenes juxtaposed to quiet, pensive drama. A matter of taste, but has become a cult film. Well-photographed by Douglas Slocombe, well-produced, written by William Harrison, based on his story ‘The Roller Ball Murders’. Excellent use of classical music by Bach, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Some prints run 129m. Remade in 2002.

Rollercoaster (1977, USA) C-119m. Scope **½ D: James Goldstone. Starring George Segal, Richard Widmark, Timothy Bottoms, Henry Fonda, Harry Guardino, Susan Strasberg, Helen Hunt, Craig Wasson, Robert Quarry, Steve Guttenberg. Standard disaster film, about madman Bottoms and his plans to blow up a bomb in an amusement park if his demands are not met. Segal is good as the weary inspector chasing him, but he is surrounded by cardboard characters. Redeeming feature: Lalo Schifrin’s fine suspense score and somewhat tight editing. Originally released in Sensurround, which rocked the cinema audiences in their seats. Helen Hunt’s first theatrical film. Director Goldstone went on make the last gasp of the disaster movie decade with WHEN TIME RAN OUT… (1980).

Röllin Sydän (2007, FIN/GBR/RUS/GER) C-78m. **½ D: Pekka Lehtosaari. Starring (the voices of) Allan Tuppurainen, Saija Lentonen, Aarre Karén. Harmless but colorful kids adventure about a tribe of dirty, heartless rollies (a hobbit-like race), who join an elf in finding magical heart that will stop the petrification of the forest. LORD OF THE RINGS for pre-schoolers, none too cleverly scripted, but, to reiterate, harmless entertainment for small children. English title: QUEST FOR A HEART.

Rolling Thunder (1977, USA) C-90m. ** D: John Flynn. Starring William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes, James Best, Dabney Coleman, Lisa Blake Richards, Luke Askew. Shell-shocked Devane returns home from the Vietnam War after seven years, but is unable to connect emotionally to his family. When his wife and son are brutally shot dead by thugs, who leave his hand disfigured, he swears for revenge and performs it with icy precision. Icy cold, like its main character, drama is an interesting predecessor to Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER (1978) but has nothing of that classic’s texture. Cowritten by Paul Schrader, who also scripted TAXI DRIVER. Incredibly, this is in Quentin Tarantino’s top ten best films of all time. Originally 99m.

Roma a Mano Armato (1976, ITA) C-94m. Scope **½ D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring Maurizio Merli, Tomas Milian, Arthur Kennedy, Giampiero Albertini, Ivan Rassimov, Luciano Pigozzi, Tom Felleghy. Gritty cop thriller, much like Lenzi’s earlier MILANO ODIA (1974). Merli plays a frustrated policeman who employs his own (violent) methods, when the criminals keep getting away. It all comes down to a duel with hunchback Milian. Merli is a poor man’s DIRTY HARRY, his facial expression doesn’t change the entire movie, but Lenzi keeps things moving fast and some of the action is good. Fine, rhythmical score by Franco Micalizzi. Milian also played the hunchback in Lenzi’s LA BANDA DEL GOBBO (1977). English titles: ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON, BRUTAL JUSTICE, ROME ARMED TO THE TEETH, and THE TOUGH ONES.

Roma Come Chicago (1968, ITA) C-104m. Scope *** D: Alberto de Martino. Starring John Cassavetes, Anita Sanders. Criminal Mario Corda (Cassavetes), who is also a loving family father, wants to do one more ‘job’ before retiring, but his ruthless partner fouls things up and Corda gets caught. In prison he swears for revenge. Stylish, cool, yet almost cold and depressing action thriller slows down in the mid-section but Ennio Morricone’s superb score keeps it afloat.

Romeo and Juliet (1968, GBR/ITA) C-138m. Scope ***½ D: Franco Zefirelli. Starring Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey, John McEnery, Milo O’Shea, Pat Heywood, Robert Stephens, Michael York, Bruce Robinson, narrated by Laurence Olivier. Beautiful, impressive adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play about two young lovers whose families are bitter enemies. Excellent production values, expressive acting, fine score by Nino Rota. Among the best Romeo and Juliet versions (of at least 30!). Oscar winner for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design.

Romeo + Juliet (1996, USA) C-120m. ScopeD: Baz Luhrmann. Starring Claire Danes, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Vondie Curtis-Hall, M. Emmet Walsh. Pointless modernization of the classic Shakespeare tragedy about the love of two young people whose parents are bitter enemies. Thoroughly off-putting, overly cool adaptation is aggressively directed and well-filmed but subject matter does not at all translate into the 90s, especially not the original dialogue, which is used here. It makes the love scenes seem phony, though the stars are appealing. Trashes the brilliance of the plot with MTV-aesthetics. Watch Franco Zeffirelli’s version instead.

Romeo Is Bleeding (1993, USA) C-109m. ***½ D: Peter Medak. Starring Gary Oldman, Lena Olin, Juliette Lewis, Annabella Sciorra, Roy Scheider, Michael Wincott, James Cromwell, Will Patton, Dennis Farina, Ron Perlman. Fascinating, bizarre psycho thriller drama about corrupt cop Oldman, who is married to Sciorra but entertains a whore (Lewis) and finally breaks apart when his latest job brings him together with crime goddess Olin, who dominates and humiliates him. Difficult, not easy to swallow character study, very well-acted, with flashes of style – and a very pessimistic, dark, defeatist mood. An unheralded gem, in the realm of films like ANGEL HEART, JACOB’S LADDER, perhaps even BLADE RUNNER. Written by Hilary Henkin.

Romeo Must Die (2000, USA) C-115m. Scope D: Andrzej Bartkowiak. Starring Jet Li, Aaliyah, Isaiah Washington, Russell Wong, DMX, Delroy Lindo, Francoise Yip. Misfired action thriller comedy about warring gangs (black and Chinese) and Li’s determination to avenge the murder of his brother. Aaliyah, as the daughter of the rival gang’s boss, just wants to be left alone but the script forces her to become Li’s love interest. Trivial, profane, unfunny, redeemed only by some okay action scenes.

Romper Stomper (1992, AUS) C-93m. *** D: Geoffrey Wright. Starring Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock, Jacqueline McKenzie, Alex Scott, Leigh Russell, Daniel Wyllie, James McKenna. Gritty, realistic depiction of the lives of a group of Australian skinheads, whose credo is violence and destruction. Crowe (who was awarded the Best Actor-Prize at the Australian film festival) plays their leader, a senseless brute with swastikas tatooed on his back, who encounters a runaway girl (McKenzie) and draws her into his circle. Not terribly scriptwise, but dynamically filmed and exciting. The characters are rather shallow, though not as much as usual. Only for people with a strong stomach. Wright’s directorial debut.

Ronin (1998, USA) C-121m. Scope **½ D: John Frankenheimer. Starring Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean, Skipp Sudduth, Michel Lonsdale, Jan Triska, Jonathan Pryce, Katharina Witt. De Niro plays an American in France who teams up with a group of "specialists" to steal a suitcase which everyone seems to be interested in. Frankenheimer's expert direction and the fine cast make film worthwhile, but the few good car stunts and suspenseful situations can't overcome the simplicity of the plot. At the end you are not only left to wonder just what was in the suitcase, but also what the fuss was all about. Set and filmed entirely in France.

Room with a View, A (1985, GBR) C-116m. *** D: James Ivory. Starring Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham-Carter, Denholm Elliott, Julian Sands, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Callow, Judi Dench, Rupert Graves, Nigel Hawthorne. Bonham-Carter plays a young woman from England who travels to Florence, Italy, with her chaperon Smith. The naive girl falls in love with melancholy but audacious Sands. She swears to forget her romance and decides to marry stiff, conservative Day-Lewis instead. Naturally, her past will come back to haunt her. Top British cast in popular period piece, based on E.M. Forster's novel. Entertaining and pleasant but no classic, as some dubbed it upon release. Oscar winner for Best Screenplay and Art Direction, and Costume Design.

Roseaux Sauvages, Les (1994, FRA) C-114m. *** D: André Téchiné. Starring  Elodie Bouchez, Gael Morel, Stéphane Rideau, Frédéric Gorny, Michèle Moretti. Perceptive, well-written coming-of-age drama set in the 1960s about four adolescents who, on the verge of adulthood, are affected by matters such as love, sex and politics in a similar way. Well-directed, well-acted, with handsome location photography. Téchiné also wrote the screenplay. English title: WILD REEDS.

Rosebud (1975, USA) C-126m. Scope D: Otto Preminger. Starring Peter O’Toole, Richard Attenborough, Cliff Gorman, Claude Dauphin, John V. Lindsay, Peter Lawford, Raf Vallone, Adrienne Corri, Isabelle Huppert, Kim Catrall, Klaus Löwitsch. Five young American girls vacationing in Europe are taken hostage by Arab terrorists and it’s O’Toole’s job to find and free them. Any message is drowned out in talk, a political bore, one of the big mistakes of big directors. O’Toole ridicules his role, others look properly embarrassed. Of note only for interesting cast and synthesizer score (by Laurent Petitgirard). Based on a novel by Paul Bonnecarrere and Joan Hemingway.

Rose de Fer, La (1973, FRA) C-80m. *** D: Jean Rollin. Starring Mireille Dargent, Francoise Pascal, Nathalie Perrey, Hugues Quester. Subtle chiller about a pair of lovers, who spend the night at a seemingly abandoned, derelict graveyard and are strangely affected by its brooding atmosphere. Deliberately paced (like all of Rollin’s movies) but fascinating and irresistible once you are accustomed to the film’s mood. Seems like a brilliant stage play put on celluloid. A must for devotees of Graveyard Poetry and followers of director Rollin (he once again returns to his sea-side setting, although no vampires appear here). Closer to being an ‘art’ film than most projects of the director. English title: ROSE OF IRON.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968, USA) C-136m. **** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Angela Dorian (=Victoria Vetri), Patsy Kelly, Elisha Cook Jr., Charles Grodin, D’Urville Martin, William Castle, Patricia O’Neal, Sharon Tate, voice of Tony Curtis. Subtle, chilling masterpiece of horror about happily married couple Farrow and Cassavetes, who move into a New York apartment house that has a gruesome history. Their new neighbors Gordon and Blackmer force themselves into their lives, especially when Rosemary (Farrow) gets pregnant. Where do those eerie chants come from, and does Rosemary’s husband’s estrangement have something to do with their neighbors? More and more, Rosemary feels the horrors close in on her… Polanski’s brilliant direction involves you right from the beginning and never eases its icy clutch. The perfect example of a horror film that does without any graphic scenes. Mia Farrow delivers her second knock-out performance in one year (the other one being in SECRET CEREMONY); she also sang the title theme. William Castle produced, Polanski scripted, from Ira Levin’s novel. Gordon won Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, but Farrow and Blackmer should have been considered as well. One of the best horror films of all time and a definite influence on Dario Argento’s classic SUSPIRIA (1977). This was the second part of Polanski’s (inofficial) trilogy about the horrors of apartment buildings, following REPULSION (1965). This trilogy was ended by THE TENANT / LE LOCATAIRE (1976). An inferior TV-sequel, titled LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARY’S BABY, premiered in 1976.

Rossetto, Il (1959, ITA/FRA) 90m. *** D: Damiano Damiani. Starring Pierre Brice, Giorgia Mull, Laura Vivaldi, Bella Darvi, Pietro Germi. Good crime drama about a 14-year-old girl, who develops a crush on neighbor Brice, who might be a murderer. How will he manage this odd situation? Well-acted, rather sober but still a compelling, thought-provoking view. English titles: LIPSTICK and RED LIPS.

Rouge aux Lèvres, Le (1971, BEL/FRA/ITA/GER) C-87m. *** D: Harry Kümel. Starring Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Danielle Ouimet, Andrea Rau, Paul Esser, Georges Jamin, Joris Collet, Fons Rademakers. A young and free couple, honeymooning in a deserted holiday resort in Belgium, meet the seductive baroness Bathory, who likes to bathe in the blood of virgins, as legend has it. Moody cult horror film, slowly paced but fascinating all the way. Good direction and score, beautiful Seyrig ennobles the picture with a brilliantly charismatic performance. Original uncut version runs 100m. English title: DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.

Route de Corinthe, La (1968, FRA/ITA) C-100m. ** D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Jean Seberg, Claude Chabrol. Plodding, slowly paced espionage yarn with Seberg an attractive woman who takes over the investigation started by her late husband, a secret agent. Works at first on a tongue-in-cheek level but bogs down later when film runs out of ideas. In fact, it seems as if it was made during a vacation trip with an improvised screenplay. At least the cast has fun, including the director himself in a small, hilarious role as a traitor. Also known as CRIMINAL STORY and, in the U.S., as WHO’S GOT THE BLACK BOX?

Royal Flash (1975, GBR/USA) C-102m. *** D: Richard Lester. Starring Malcolm McDowell, Alan Bates, Florinda Bolkan, Oliver Reed, Tom Bell, Joss Ackland, Christopher Cazenove, Alastair Sim, Lionel Jeffries, Britt Ekland, Bob Hoskins, Roy Kinnear. Typically irreverent Richard Lester fare, which the director made right after his MUSKETEERS movies. McDowell plays a coward, who somehow wins a medal for bravery during a 19th century war and goes on to become a hero. Otto von Bismarck (Reed) also uses him as a pawn to impersonate a prince. Not exactly memorable or a classic, but engagingly done, with a good score (by Ken Thorne) and nice photography (by Geoffrey Unsworth). Based on a novel by George MacDonald Fraser, who wrote the screenplay himself.

Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969, GBR) C-110m. Scope *** D: Irving Lerner. Starring Robert Shaw, Christopher Plummer, Nigel Davenport, Michael Craig, Leonard Whiting, James Donald. In 1530 Spanish adventurer Pizarro (Shaw) travels to South America in search of legendary ‘land of gold’. He discovers an Inca tribe led by proud king (Plummer). Pizarro holds him prisoner in order to get his gold. Compelling drama about the clash of civilizations, powered by superb performances. Plummer is especially impressive. Film shows its stage origins, though; Peter Shaffer’s play was adapted by Philip Yordan. Originally 118m.

Roy Colt & Winchester Jack (1970, ITA) C-85m. ** D: Mario Bava. Starring Brett Halsey, Charles Southwood, Marilu Tolo, Teodoro Corrà, Lee Burton, Bruno Corazzari, Mauro Bosco, Federico Boido, Piero Morgia, Franco Pesce, Isa Miranda. Typical Italian western, made at the time when producers wanted to cash in on the success of Sergio Leone’s IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL CATTIVO. Plot about three gunslingers (Halsey, Southwood and Corrà) is clearly a rip-off and nowhere as funny or clever as the Eastwood western; too often it resorts to low-brow comedy. Some typical directorial touches, nice photography (by Antonio Rinaldi) makes film worth watching for Bava completists. Score by Piero Umiliani.

Rugrats Movie, The (1998, USA) C-79m. **½ D: Igor Kovalyov, Norton Virgien. Starring (the voices of) David Spade, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Tim Curry. Big-screen debut for Nickelodeon’s hit series puts Tommy, Chucky, Angelica et al in danger as they end up in a forest right after the arrival of Baby Dylan. Larger than life episodes take away some of the cuteness of the TV version, but fans shouldn’t be disappointed. Many musicians like Lenny Kravitz, Iggy Pop, Lisa Loeb or Patti Smith have small cameos. Followed by two sequels.

Rules of Engagement (2000, USA/GBR/CDN/GER) C-128m. Scope *** D: William Friedkin. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Greenwood, Ann Archer, Blair Underwood, Philip Baker Hall. Gripping, well-made thriller drama about U.S. marine Jackson, who is accused of having killed innocent civilians during a hairy situation in the American embassy in Yemen. Vietnam vet and former colleague Jones wants to help his friend and prevent his becoming a scapegoat for a shady government official. Superbly filmed opening scenes, engrossing court-room scenes, a winner. Only the ending disappoints a little.

Rumble in the Bronx (1996, HGK/CDN) C-89m. Scope **½ D: Stanley Tong. Starring Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Francoise Yip, Bill Tung, Marc Akerstream. Chan comes to New York City to visit his uncle and soon gets mixed up with criminals. Story is as simple as that but Jackie compensates for any clichés with some astounding stunt work (directed by himself and director Tong). Hong Kong version runs some 105m. Also known as RED BRONX.

Rumor Has It… (2005, USA) C-96m. *** D: Rob Reiner. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Ruffalo, Richard Jenkins, Christopher McDonald, Steve Sandvoss, Mena Suvari. Aniston is a thirty-ish woman, whose life is at a crossroads. She is about to attend her sister’s wedding with her fiancé Ruffalo, when she realizes that her own family might just be the inspiration for THE GRADUATE! She begins to investigate and seeks out her dead mother’s lover Costner (played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie). Starts rather mediocre, but develops a fine sense of humor, with funny complications and MacLaine a stand-out as Aniston’s grandmother. Written by Ted Griffin (BEST LAID PLANS, MATCHSTICK MEN). George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh were among the producers.

Runaway (1984, USA) C-99m. Scope ** D: Michael Crichton. Starring Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley, Stan Shaw. So-so science-fiction thriller penned and directed by successful writer Crichton (WESTWORLD, JURASSIC PARK). Selleck plays a cop in the near future, whose job is to terminate robots that have gone crazy (every household has one). Soon it becomes clear that an evil scientist (Simmons, of the rock group Kiss) has implanted chips that turn them into murderous machines. Story has potential, but it never really gets going and is much too serious and pretentious. Score by Jerry Goldsmith.

Runaway Train (1985, USA) C-111m. *** D: Andrei Konchalovsky. Starring Jon Voight, Eric Robert, Rebecca De Mornay, Kyle Heffner, John P. Ryan, T.K. Carter, Kenneth McMillan, Stacey Pickren. Action film about two inmates (Voight and Roberts) who escape from a maximum security prison in Alaska and hop on a train, whose engineer soon aftrer dies of a heart attack. It seems the runaway train cannot be stopped. OK story serves as a springboard for good action scenes and nerve-wrecking suspense. Film hits bull-eye in the last third. Fine score, Voight is excellent. Based on a screenplay by Akira Kurosawa.

Rundown, The (2003, USA) C-104m. Scope D: Peter Berg. Starring The Rock, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken, Ewen Bremner, Jon Gries, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Embarassingly bad action comedy with wrestler The Rock (né Dwayne Johnson) is like a thousand other buddy movies. Here, The Rock must find and bring back rich brat Scott, who’s after a treasure in the Amazon jungle. Lots of unmotivated action scenes with annoying staccato editing. The dialogue is plain ridiculous. Also known as WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE.

Run for the Sun (1956, USA) C-99m. Scope *** D: Roy Boulting. Starring Richard Widmark, Jane Greer, Trevor Howard, Peter Van Eyck, Carlos Henning. Exciting, well-made suspense thriller about reporter Greer, who tracks down writer Widmark in a Mexican provincial town. Ultimately, they find themselves on the run from criminals. Film takes unusually long to establish its premise, but performances are credible. The second remake of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, and one of the best. Officially based on the story by N.N. but film doesn’t closely resemble the plotline of the cult classic.

Running Man, The (1987, USA) C-100m. **½ D: Paul Michael Glaser. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, Mick Fleetwood, Richard Dawson. Futuristic actioner about an extremely popular television series, which features real fights to the death. Schwarzenegger plays an ex-cop, wrongly accused of having killed hundreds, who is forced to compete and run for his life – kill or be killed. A step up from Arnies action pics after TERMINATOR, but still not the real thing. Quite entertaining 80s time capsule, based on a novella by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman).

Running Scared (2006, USA/GER) C-122m. Scope ** D: Wayne Kramer. Starring Paul Walker, Cameron Bright, Vera Farmiga, Karel Roden, Johnny Messner, Ivana Milicevic, Chazz Palmnitieri, Bruce Altman. Criminal Walker returns home to his family after a shoot-out with some corrupt cops and becomes a witness to the shooting of his Russian neighbor by his son, who is friends with his own son. The boy has used his weapon and Walker must try to retrieve it before the police do. Super-charged action thriller, with super-stylish (though rather meaningless) visuals. The story is totally implausible and unpleasant; it provides violence for the sake of violence. Quentin Tarantino is among the film’s defenders. Nice theme by Mark Isham.

Rupan Sansei: Nenrikichan Sakusen (1974, JAP) C-82m. Scope ** D: Takashi Tsuboshima. Starring Yuki Meguro, Kunie Tanaka, Shirô Itô, Arihiro Fujimura. First full-length feature following the 1971 animated TV series about Monkey Punch’s Lupin character is unfortunately live-action and has little in common with mangas, retains the silliness but not the stylized action or the sense of adventure. Interesting for buffs nevertheless, as story centers around the beginning of Lupin’s exploits, where he meets Jigen and Fujiko for the first time. A bit reminiscent of the Inspector Clouseau movies of the time, but not funny enough. Silly slapstick prevails. English title: LUPIN III: STRANGE PSYCHOKINETIC STRATEGY.

Rupan Sansei: Mamo Karano Chousen (1978, JAP) C-102m. *** D: Yasuo Otsuka, Soji Yoshikawa. Starring (the voices of) Yasuo Yamada, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Makio Inoue, Gorô Naya. First animated feature film (following the early 1970s TV series and a live-action movie of 1974) about gentleman thief Lupin the Third, who along with his sidekick Jigen and samurai Goemon find out the mystery behind a madman, who has cloned himself and others, intending to rule the world. Plot is vague and uneven at first, later it becomes an entertaining, exciting action adventure with science-fiction touches. Highly recommended to fans. Followed by the famous CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO (1979). English title: LUPIN III: THE MYSTERY OF MAMO or THE SECRET OF MAMO.

Rupan Sansei: Kariosutoro no Shiro (1979, JAP) C-102m. ***½ D: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring (the voices of) Yasuo Yamada, Eiko Masuyama, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Makio Inoue, Gorô Naya, Sumi Shimamoto, Tarô Ishida. Debut feature by Japanese animation god Miyazaki continues the stories around Lupin III, begun in a 1971-1972 animated TV series (for which Miyazaki directed some episodes), a live-action feature in 1974 and an animated feature in 1978, all based on a comic strip by Monkey Punch (though the main character has its foundation in Maurice LeBlanc’s early 20th century Arsène Lupin stories). The protagonist is thief and trickster Lupin the Third, who in this story follows some counterfeit money to the state of Cagliostro, where he tries to prevent an evil count from marrying a princess, which would enable him to have access to the family treasure. Fabulous, tongue-in-cheek action adventure with animation that’s not up to Miyazaki’s later efforts and owes a lot to TV animation, but characters are a hoot and story and set-pieces are spectacular. Closer in spirit to some old Belmondo movies than James Bond, which some people have compared this to. Lupin’s sidekick is so cool you never (except once) see his eyes behind the deeply drawn hat! A disappointment at the box-office in Japan, so it took Miyazaki 5 more years to release his next (and breakthrough) film KAZE NO TANI NO NAUSHIKA (NAUSICAÄ). Followed by several more RUPAN SANSEI movies (in total there are dozens of short films and features bearing that title). English titles: THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO, and LUPIN THE THIRD: THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO.

Rupan Sansei: Babiron no Ogon Densetsu (1985, JAP) C-100m. **½ D: Kiyoshi Suzuki (=Seijun Suzuki), Shigetsugu Yoshida. Starring (the voices of) Yasuo Yamada, Eiko Masuyama, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Makio Inoue, Gorô Naya. The first LUPIN feature since Hayao Miyazaki’s CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO (1979) puts the title character and his sidekicks in search of the legendary gold of Babylon. A mafia boss has found some ancient inscribed plates, which, when combined, reveal the whereabouts of the treasure. Too bad that Lupin has some in his possession, too. Resorts to slapstick and whimsy too often, but finale is explosive, including fantasy and science-fiction. For fans of the series. English titles: LUPIN III: THE LEGEND OF THE GOLD OF BABYLON.

Rupan Sansei: Fûma Ichizoku no Inbô (1987, JAP) C-73m. *** D: Masayuki Ozeku. Starring (the voices of) Toshio Furukawa, Banjô Ginga, Mami Koyama, Kaneto Shiozawa, Seizô Katô. Typically fast-paced, action-laden Lupin III series entry pits our hero against some villains who have kidnapped samurai Goemon’s bride. They want to find a family treasure hidden somewhere in the mountains. Wild car chases, fierce sword fights and wisecracks, along with some intricate gimmicks and traps. Great fun. English title: LUPIN III: THE FUMA CONSPIRACY / PLOT OF THE FUMA CLAN.

Rupan Sansei: Bai Bai Ribatii - Kiki Ippatsu! (1989, JAP) C-96m. **½ D: Osamu Dezaki. Starring (the voices of) Yasuo Yamada, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya, Makio Inoue. Lesser LUPIN III movie, this was the first of the TV movies, of which there was a new one every year from then on. Lupin seems to have retired in Paris, when he is called to New York to help Jigen find a super (diamond) egg hidden somewhere in the Statue of Liberty. To be able to find it better, they carry off the statue into the Grand Canyon! A 123-year-old villain is also after the treasure, he wants an implanted computer virus in order to rule the world. Interesting relic from the pre-PC world, but plot is less rousing that in other entries. Also known as LUPIN III: GOODBYE LADY LIBERTY, and BYE BYE LIBERTY CRISIS.

Rupan Sansei: Hemingway Paper no Nazo (1990, JAP) C-92m. *** D: Osamu Dezaki. Starring (the voices of) Yasuo Yamada, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya, Makio Inoue, Osamu Kobayashi, Fumihiko Tachiki. Fast-paced LUPIN III adventure, in which Goemon and Jigen find themselves on opposing sides in a civil war on a Mediterranean island, which also harbors a treasure described in a lost Hemingway manuscript. Less funny but well-directed, a stylish film despite its TV origin. English title: LUPIN III: THE HEMINGWAY PAPERS.

Rupan Sansei: Moeyo Zantetsuken (1994, JAP) C-90m. **½ D: Masahara Okuwaki. Starring (the voices of) Yasuo Yamada, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya, Makio Inoue. Lupin is challenged by a villain to dive down to the wreck of the Titanic to retrieve an ancient dragon statue that is made of a metal stronger than Goemon’s sword! With this alloy the madman wants to control the world. Some good action set-pieces and a flair for adventure, but plot is not as compelling as one would have it. Yamada’s last vocal performance as Lupin. English title: LUPIN III: DRAGON OF DOOM.

Rupan Sansei: Kutabare! Nastradamus (1995, JAP) C-98m. ***½ D: Shunya Ito. Starring (the voices of) Kanichi Kurita, Kiyoshi Kabayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya, Makio Inoue. Entry in the Japanese cult series (begun in the early 70s) about Arsène Lupin’s grandson, who is a master-thief and globetrotter. Here, he becomes involved in the kidnapping of a prominent politician’s daughter by the evil Nostradamus sect. In an intricately hidden treasure chamber on top of the politician’s hyper-skyscraper they suspect the whereabouts of Book Seven of Nostradamus. Astounding, tongue-in-cheek action adventure with sci-fi touches, lightning-paced and with incredible action set-pieces, this one cuts loose like good anime should. This is the way the old Bond movies were made! The sixth theatrical Lupin III movie (excluding the TV movies). From the director of the infamous SASORI movies. English title: LUPIN III: DIE, NOSTRADAMUS, or GO TO HELL NASTRADAMUS.

Rupan Sansei: Towairaito Jemini no Himitsu (1996, JAP) C-92m. *** D: Gisaburo Sugii. Starring (the voices of) Kanichi Kurita, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Makio Inoue, Gorô Naya. One of the LUPIN movies made for television, this one tracks the hero and daredevil to Morocco in search of the second half of a diamond which may unlock the secret to a legendary treasure. Tongue-in-cheek adventure suffers a little from static TV-style animation, but movie is a lot of fun. There’s even some nudity in this one! English title: LUPIN III: THE LEGEND OF TWILIGHT GEMINI.

Rupan Sansei: Ikiteita Majutsushi (2002, JAP) C-53m. n/r D: Mamoru Hamatsu. Starring (the voices of) Kanichi Kurita, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Eiko Masuyama, Makio Inoue, Gorô Naya. Made-for-video entry in the long-running LUPIN series is a sequel to a 1972 TV episode featuring the magician Pycal, who is looking for some crystals in Eastern Greece. Lupin and his companions are fighting him. Confusing, rushed plot setup hampers things considerably, it still contains a few stylish bits, but slightly less action than usual. Maybe works better if you have seen the original TV episode. Be sure to stay tuned until after the closing credits. English title: LUPIN III: RETURN OF PYCAL

Rupan Sansei: Otakara Henkyaku Dai-Sakusen!! (2003, JAP) C-92m. *** D: Jun Kawagoe. Starring (the voices of) Kanichi Kurita, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Makio Inoue, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya. Master thief Lupin is baffled when a friend asks him posthumously to return all the (art) treasures that he stole during his lifetime. After doing so Lupin will get the Trick Diamond, which is said to unveil a great treasure in Barcelona, Spain. Slightly uneven series entry, made for TV, tries to copy James Bond and has some cool action and nice European settings. Not up to some of the earlier entries, but still fun. The fifteenth LUPIN III TV movie. English title: LUPIN III: RETURN THE TREASURES.

Rupan Sansei: Tenshi no Sakuryaku Takutikusu Yume no Kakera Wa Koroshi no Kaori (2005, JAP) C-92m. ***½ D: Shigeyuki Miya. Starring (the voices of) Kanichi Kurita, Kiyoshi Kobayashi,  Makio Inoue, Eiko Masuyama, Gorô Naya. Spectacular, stylish LUPIN III adventure about a group of Amazon-like terrorists, who want a sphere of extra-terrestrial origin that Lupin has just stolen from the Area 51 site. Apart from their voluptuous looks, each of the four has a deadly speciality – can they match the wits of Lupin, Jigen, Goemon and Zenigata? Made for television, but extremely well-directed, gets better and better as it goes along. Quite violent, too. English title: LUPIN III: ANGEL TACTICS.

Rupture, La (1970, FRA/ITA/BEL) C-116m. ***½ D: Claude Chabrol. Starring Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Michel Bouquet, Annie Cordy, Jean-Claude Drouot, Jean Carmet, Harry Kümel, Dominique Zardi, Michel Duchaussoy. After a violent attack by her psychotic husband, which puts their son into a hospital, Audran intends to get a divorce. She meets fierce resistance by her father-in-law, rich, influential Bouquet, who won’t stop at making her appear a bad mother. However, the intrigue spun by him will bring tragic results. First-rate, fascinating drama about the amorality of the bourgeois society is in the league of Ingmar Bergman’s films about failed (or failing) marriages. Writer-director Chabrol based his psychogram of a woman who comes undone on a novel by Charlotte Armstrong; thirty years later he filmed another one of her novels as MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT (2000). Bizarre, excellent score by Pierre Jansen, photographed by Jean Rabier. English title: THE BREAK UP.

Rush Hour (1998, USA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Brett Ratner. Starring Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Elizabeth Pena, Tom Wilkinson, Philip Baker Hall, Chris Penn. One of Jackie’s typical latter-day action comedies: Here, he teams up with black cop Tucker to investigate the kidnapping of a little Chinese girl in Los Angeles. Some really funny scenes courtesy Tucker, but the film is not very logical and rather hollow. Passable entertainment, followed by two sequels.

Rushmore (1998, USA) C-93m. *** D: Wes Anderson. Starring Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel, Brian Cox, Mason Gamble, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson. Off-beat, unusual comedy, really a satire on the American way of life in general and teen comedies in particular. Schwartzman plays a 15-year-old nerd, a notorious liar who likes to make decisions for other people, but is also one of the worst students at Rushmore High School. His life changes considerably when he makes the acquaintance of millionaire Murray and falls in love with teacher Williams. Lots of absurdist bits and pieces, meticulously played out. Deliberately short on realism, which lets the film down at points. Fine soundtrack rounds off this sleeper. Recommended to lovers of off-beat cinema.

Rutles, The (1978, GBR/USA) C-74m. ***½ D: Gary Weis, Eric Idle. Starring Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, Neil Innes, Michael Palin, George Harrison, Bianca Jagger, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Mick Jagger, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Gwen Taylor, Ron Wood, Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon, Gary Weis. Unique mockumentary pokes fun at the Beatles phenomenon by creating fictional band The Rutles and telling of their making and world-wide success. In the vein of most Monty Python comedies, this was conceived and written by regular Python Idle, who also appears as the host and the Paul McCartney lookalike Rutle. A must, also for fans of Saturday Night Live comedians, who all appear in minor roles. The songs – imitations of real Beatles songs – are superb and compensate for less funny parts of the film. Made for television. Also known as ALL YOU NEED IS CASH. Followed by RUTLES 2: CAN’T BUY ME LUNCH (2002).

RV (2006, USA/GBR/GER) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Barry Sonnenfeld. Starring Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth, Hunter Parrish, Chloe Sonnenfeld, Barry Sonnenfeld. Quite funny road movie comedy in the vein of Chevy Chase’s NATIONAL LAMPOON movies. Williams is good as usual in a role he can play in his sleep, as a family father who takes his (problem) family on a trip to Colorado in the title vehicle. He wants to do some business along the way, which causes all kinds of problems. Simple script generates some laughs, and Daniels is fun as an RV veteran. Score by James Newton Howard.