Table aux Crevés, Le (1952, FRA) 92m. **½ D: Henri Verneuil. Starring Fernandel, Nicolas Amato, Edmond Ardisson, Marcel Charvey, Marthe Marty, Mado Stelli. Odd drama about farmer Fernandel, who one day finds his wife hanging from the ceiling. His lover’s brother goes to jail for having smuggled cigarettes and thinks Fernandel tipped off the police. Despite dramatic plot elements, film also provides comic relief. Interesting, if not entirely successful rural drama, an early one from director Verneuil. The setting is impressively authentic. Based on the novel by Marcel Aymé.

Tag: The Assassination Game (1982, USA) C-90m. ** D: Nick Castle. Starring Robert Carradine, Linda Hamilton, Kristine DeBell, Perry Lang, Michael Winslow, Bruce Abbott. Xander Berkeley, Forest Whitaker. Minor cult item for Gotcha! freaks. A grop of college students take part in assassination game, where the contestants battle each other with plastic toy guns. Only, the dethroned champion has decided to play with real bullets. Meager plot is anything but lively, but Hamilton is a tough, convincing heroine and film has an interesting cast. Also known as EVERYBODY GETS IT IN THE END, and KISS ME, KILL ME.

Tai-Chi (1993, HGK) C-94m. Scope ** D: Yuen Wo-Ping. Starring Jet Li, Michelle Khan, Chin Siu-Hau. Average Hong Kong action that almost qualifies as a slapstick comedy. Two good friends take opposite sides after they have been thrown out of school. The plot is very weak, film is saved by good martial arts sequences. May also be of interest for its two action stars Li (BLACK MASK) and Khan (TOMORROW NEVER DIES). Original title: TAIGIK CHEUNG SAM-FUNG.

Tailor of Panama, The (2001, USA/EIR) C-110m. Scope ** D: John Boorman. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Leonor Varela, Brendan Gleeson, Harold Pinter, Catherine McCormack, Daniel Radcliffe, Mark Margolis, Jon Polito. Brosnan, who works for the British Secret Service, is relocated to Panama and picks prominent tailor Rush to be his ‘source’. Rush, however, provides only information which can’t get him into hell’s kitchen. How soon will Brosnan realize the tailor’s true nature? Stunningly directed character study goes on and on and on. Like Boorman’s THE GENERAL (1998) this will not appeal to a wide audience, unless you are looking for a strong cast. A very eccentric insider-adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel (he coscripted with Andrew Davies and the director). 

Taiyo no Oki: Horusu no Daiboken (1968, JAP) C-82m. Scope ***½ D: Isao Takahata. Starring (the voices of) Hisako Ôkata, Etsuko Ichihara, Mikijiro Hira, Yukari Asai, Masao Mishima. Remarkable fantasy epic, director Takahata’s first animated feature. In Northern Europe of the Iron Age, a young boy loses his father and is told to go find the rest of his people. On his quest, he faces an evil warlord that people call the devil and his sad sister Hilda. Can the boy re-forge the Sword of the Sun and defeat the villain? Strikingly directed and animated mini-epic that properly exploits the mysticism of the age and comes up with an irresistible tale of bravery and valor. An excellent mystical fantasy adventure. Stands as the first collaboration of the Ghibli founders Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, who is credited as animator and scene designer. This film is also considered to be the first modern anime. English titles: THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE, and PRINCE OF THE SUN: THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF HORUS.

Taken (2008, USA/FRA) C-93m. SCOPE *** D: Pierre Morel. Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Rasha Bukvic, Katie Cassidy, Xander Berkeley, Jon Gries. DEATH-WISH-type film about ex-secret agent Neeson, who’s almost lost contact to his 17-year-old daughter, who lives with his ex-wife and her rich stepfather in California. When she goes on a trip to Paris and is abducted there, Neeson goes on a rampage to get her back, using his old spy skills. Indefensible plot with bad stereotypes, but in-your-face action and compact running time (not to mention Neeson’s earnest performance) keep this exciting. Co-written and produced by Luc Besson. PG-13 version runs 91m.

Taking Lives (2004, USA/CDN) C-109m. Scope **½ D: D.J. Caruso. Starring Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Gena Rowlands, Olivier Martinez, Tchéky Karyo, Jean-Hugues Anglade. Quite good thriller about FBI profiler Jolie, who travels to Montreal, Canada, to track down a serial killer, who has been active for almost two decades and takes on the identity of every new victim. Hawke is a key witness, Sutherland may be the psycho killer. Interesting cast, quite well-made, but script (based on a novel by Michael Pye) takes a few bizarre turns that take away all credibility. Jolie looks sexy but her performance is cold. Nice score by Philip Glass.

Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The (1974, USA) C-104m. Scope ***½ D: Joseph Sargent. Starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, James Broderick, Jerry Stiller, Tony Roberts. Terrific thriller about the hijacking of a New York subway train by Shaw and his accomplices, who demand 1 million dollar ransom to be delivered in one hour, or else they will shoot one of their hostages every extra minute! Negotiator Matthau has a tough nut to crack, especially as the hijackers make no concessions. Exceptional thriller hits bull’s-eye after about 40 minutes and maintains a fever pitch until the end. One of the best thrillers of the decade, the 1970s equivalent of SPEED (1994). Screenplay by Peter Stone, based on the novel by John Godey. Good score by David Shire. The villains’ names were adapted by Quentin Tarantino for his RESERVOIR DOGS (1992). Remade for TV in 1998.

Taking the Heat (1993, USA) C-90m. M D: Tom Mankiewicz. Starring Tony Goldwyn, Lynn Whitfield, George Segal, Peter Boyle, Will Patton, Alan Arkin. Unbelievably stupid and contrived action thriller, made for TV, about tough female cop Whitfield, who has to take an eye witness, an arrogant yuppie (Goldwyn), to court. However, some gangsters will do anything to keep them from reaching it alive. What’s more, L.A. is struck by a heatwave. Film suffers from artificial situations and silly dialogues. Goldwyn’s character is offensively idiotic, and it seems incredible how Whitfield’s initial aversion turns into love (then again, in such films the leads always fall in love).

Talented Mr. Ripley, The (1999, USA) C-139m. *** D: Anthony Minghella. Starring Mark Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn, Sergio Rubini, Philip Baker Hall, Celia Weston. Fine, elaborate adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, previously filmed as PLEIN SOLEIL in 1959. Damon plays a young college grad who is hired by Law’s father to find his son in Italy and persuade him to return to the States. However, the young man is enticed by Law and his lover Paltrow’s lifestyle and may want to copy it. Is there a chance of becoming a different person? Well-written (by Minghella), generally well-produced thriller drama keeps interest throughout. Beautifully shot on location in Italy.

Tale of Desperaux, The (2008, USA/GBR) C-93m. **½ D: Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen. Starring (the voices of) Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Ciarán Hinds, Robby Coltrane, Frank Langella, Christopher Lloyd, narrated by Sigourney Weaver. Just okay animated feature with a star-studded voice cast. A little mouse with giant ears plays an important role in story about a fictional kingdom, which has become dark and depressed ever since their queen died on Soup Day because of a rat. Oddly structured plot also features an unlikely princess and an ousted rat. Fairly entertaining, for children.

Tales From the Darkside: The Movie (1990, USA) C-93m. *½ D: John Harrison. Starring Deborah Harry, Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, William Hickey, Mark Margolis, James Remar, Rae Dawn Chong. Horror anthology CREEPSHOW-style: In the frame narrative a paperboy wants to delay evil Harry’s plan to cook him by telling three horror stories (a la Arabian Nights): In the first, starring Buscemi, Slater and Moore, a mummy comes alive on a college campus, the second deals with a professional hitman whose latest target is a black cat, and the third story is about a gargoyle-monster, who turns a luckless artist into a happy person – at a high price. Stories are rather dumb and film lacks thrills. The first story is originally by Arthur Conan Doyle, for the second episode none other than George Romero adapted a short story by Stephen King. This was the follow-up to a TV series of the mid-1980s. Moore’s second film (following an inauspicious movie debut in SLAUGHTERHOUSE 2).

Tales from the Hood (1995, USA) C-97m. **½ D: Rusty Cundieff. Starring Corbin Bernsen, Rosalind Cash, Rusty Cundieff, David Allen Grier, Anthony Griffith, Wings Hauser, Paula Jai Parker, Clarence Williams III. Four-part horror film in which three hoodlums go to a mortician who promised them drugs. Instead he tells them four eerie stories: The first, about the vengeful ghost of a black politician killed by corrupt cops, is way overdone (it does have an intense performance by Hauser). In the second one a troubled schoolboy is complaining to his teacher about a monster in his room. This one is undermined by a finale that is – again – overdone. The third story features Bernsen as a right-wing politician whose house harbors the souls of murdered slaves in the form of puppets. And the last segment (the best) is about a hoodlum who must undergo a therapy in a secret government lab. Interesting to watch, suspenseful and contains more verve than other anthologies, but all in all just quite good. Cowritten by the director, executive produced by Spike Lee.

Tales That Witness Madness (1973, GBR) C-90m. *½ D: Freddie Francis. Starring Donald Pleasance, Jack Hawkins, Georgia Brown, Suzy Kendall, Joan Collins, Kim Novak. Weak horror tales framed by scientist Pleasance, who attempts to prove that his stories about asylum inmates are true. Neither of the segments chills or thrills, the final episode (featuring a good Kim Novak) is the best but still unintentionally funny. Skip it.

Tango & Cash (1989, USA) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Teri Hatcher, Jack Palance, Brion James, James Hong, Robert Z’Dar, Lewis Arquette, Edward Bunker, Geoffrey Lewis. Okay action movie about unlikely duo of Stallone and Russell, the best crime fighters of the city, who are double-crossed and framed, then have to fight their way out of prison and get their revenge on villain Palance. Artificial plot keeps this movie from soaring. The action is quite good, so is the mood of the stars. Magnoli replaced director Konchalovsky.

Tank Girl (1995, USA) C-104m. Scope ** D: Rachel Talalay. Starring Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Don Harvey, Jeff Kober, Malcolm McDowell, Iggy Pop, James Hong. Nonsensical but fairly entertaining adaptation of the comic strip by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett. Petty plays a punk on post-apocalyptic (waterless) Earth, who gets involved with big Water and Power company leader McDowell. Outrageous, flashy, hip sci-fi comedy becomes ultimately dull after an hour or so. Some good songs by Portishead, Scott Weiland, Björk, Bush. 

Tape (2001, USA) C-87m. **½ D: Richard Linklater. Starring Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman. In an anonymous motel room, Hawke meets former friend Leonard. In their ensuing conversation they learn what both of them have become. Leonard is an up-and-coming filmmaker, Hawke a drifter and drug abuser with a fiendish plan up his sleeve. Chamber drama based on the stage play by Stephen Belber is fascinating to some degree, with good performances, but most of the dialogue (consisting of why/because/if phrases) seems stilted and the point of the whole thing is dubious. A matter of taste, some found this good. Shot on digital video.

Tarantola dal Ventre Nero, La (1971, ITA/FRA) C-98m. ** D: Paolo Cavara. Starring Giancarlo Giannini, Claudine Auger, Barbara Bouchet, Rossella Falk, Silvano Tranquilli, Stefania Sandrelli, Barbara Bach. A killer is on the loose, injecting his victims with a poison that paralyzes them before butchering them. Weary cop Giannini is on the case. Typical giallo has a great title and killing method, but it’s poorly paced and none too interesting. At least there’s a dreamy, unsettling Ennio Morricone score. English title BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA.

Tarantula (1955, USA) 80m. *** D: Jack Arnold. Starring John Agar, Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Clint Eastwood. Exciting B-movie classic about a scientist’s experiments with a growth formula, which leads to the escape of a giant spider (the title creature). It seems the huge monster cannot be stopped. Dramatic, and serious, highly recommended. Cowritten by Arnold. Score by Henry Mancini. Eastwood’s film debut (he plays a jet pilot).

Tara Road (2005, EIR) C-98m. ** D: Gillies MacKinnon. Starring Andie MacDowell, Olivia Williams, Stephen Rea, Brenda Fricker, Jean-Marc Barr, Sarah Bolger, Heike Makatsch. Soap opera from British novelist Maeve Binchy about the fate of two different women: American McDowell has just lost her 15-year-old son in a motorcycle accident, pregnant Irish Williams has just been left by her philandering husband. They decide to swap houses for a while so that they can get away from it all. An okay view, if you like these Rosamunde Pilcher-like stories and can accept all the stereotypes.

Target of an Assassin (1976, SAF) C-105m. **½ D: Peter Collinson. Starring Anthony Quinn, John Phillip Law, Simon Sabela, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo. Interesting if contrived thriller filmed in South Africa. Quinn is fine as a male nurse, who sees no way out of his problems but to kidnap a patient at his hospital, the president of an African country. Little do they know that there’s an assassin (Law) waiting for an opportunity to kill the politician. Dialogue is at times corny, melodramatic but earnest performances help. Based on the Jon Burmeister novel Running Scared. Also known as AFRICAN RAGE, FATAL ASSASSIN, PORTRAIT OF AN ASSASSIN, THE LONG SHOT, and TIGERS DON’T CRY.

Tarzan (1999, USA) C-88m. *** D: Kevin Lima, Chris Buck. Starring (the voices of) Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Rosie O’Donnell, Brian Blessed, Nighel Hawthorne, Lance Henriksen, Wayne Knight. Disney’s interpretation of the famed jungle story by Edgar Rice Burroughs offers few novelties apart from some excellent action animation. The plot includes Tarzan’s upbringing by a family of apes and his discovery by an expedition of British hunters. His love interest Jane and the threat posed by ruthless human predators round off a rather ordinary storyline. Just okay by Disney standards, no match for its dramatically charged predecessor MULAN.

Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963, USA) C-99m. Scope ** D: Robert Day. Starring Jock Mahoney, Woody Strode, Ricky Der, Tsuruko Kobayashi, Earl Cameron. Jungle adventure, set in Thailand this time, where Tarzan has to protect a young heir to the throne from usurpers. Pretty senseless and rather cheap, film’s best scene is the climactic sword fight. Mahoney is inauspicious in the lead role.

Taste of Fear (1961, GBR) B&W-81m. *** D: Seth Holt. Starring Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret. Taut chiller from ‘Mr. Hammer’ Jimmy Sangster about disabled young woman, who returns to her father’s home in a wheelchair after nine years. Her father has mysteriously gone away and with only the stepmom and a driver there, she soon believes that they are trying to cheat her out of her inheritance, especially after her father’s corpse turns up everywhere! Is she imagining everything?Two terrific twists make this a fun puzzler, even if it owes a bit to LES DIABOLIQUES (1954). Photographed by Douglas Slocombe. Also known as SCREAM OF FEAR.

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970, GBR) C-91m. D: Peter Sasdy. Starring Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Linda Hayden, Peter Sallis, Ralph Bates, Roy Kinnear. Low-point in Hammer’s DRACULA series: Lee has an extended cameo as the Count and story is unimaginative and deadly boring. Three lecherous businessmen resurrect the Prince of Darkness and pay for it later. No better than a typical FRIDAY THE 13TH clone. The fifth in the series, followed immediately by SCARS OF DRACULA.

Tatoué, Le (1968, FRA/ITA) C-89m. Scope *** D: Denys de la Patellière. Starring Louis de Funès, Jean Gabin. Engagingly performed comedy has arts expert de Funès going to great lengths to get the valuable tattoo on the back of eccentric legionnaire Gabin - who just wants to be left alone. The two stars pull the vehicle off with ease.

Tatsu no ko Tarô (1979, JAP) C-75m. Scope **½ D: Kiriro Uruyama, Peter Fernandez. Starring (the voices of) Junya Kato, Katsuo Kitamura, Sayuri Yoshinaga. Animated feature based on a novel by Miyoko Matsutani. The title character, Taro the Dragon Boy, goes in search of his mother, who has been changed into a dragon. On his way he defeats two demons and helps farmers. Simple animated tale, with roots in Japanese mythology, a bit too hard to access. Worth a look for anime buffs. English title: TARO THE DRAGON BOY.

Taxi Driver (1976, USA) C-113m. ***½ D: Martin Scorsese. Starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd, Martin Scorsese, Joe Spinell, Ralph Singleton. Director Scorsese (MEAN STREETS) celebrates the rhinestone of New York City in this dark, pessimistic, exhilarating psycho drama. De Niro plays the title character, a mentally disturbed Vietnam vet, whose traumatic encounters in the netherworld of prostitution, drugs and violence turn him into a psychopath. Beautiful Shepherd, who is his only link to a sane reality, refuses him, which paves the way for the ultimate tragedy. A matter of taste, but has become a cult film, down-beat, depressing but utterly fascinating. The brutality of the showdown is one of the most shocking bursts of violence in film history. De Niro’s intense performance and Bernard Herrmann’s moody, haunting score (his last) are unforgettable. Major point of criticism is film’s overlength, caused in part by multiple endings (endowing the movie with a questionable moral), which may, however, be a good starting point for discussion. Written by Paul Schrader. Photographed by Michael Chapman. Legend has it that Steven Spielberg was among the editors.

Taxi Mauve, Un (1977, FRA/EIR/ITA) C-120m. **½ D: Yves Boisset. Starring Charlotte Rampling, Philippe Noiret, Peter Ustinov, Agostina Belli, Edward Albert, Fred Astaire, Jack Watson. Very interesting cast saddled with second-rate adaptation of Michel Déon’s novel about group of disparate characters in Irish coastal town. Noiret has come there to hunt and forget, Albert is his American companion, whose sister Rampling’s arrival spices things up. Ustinov as a stubborn Russian and Astaire as physician and driver of the title vehicle also populate this lumbering drama. Beautiful cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli and score by Philippe Sarde provide a dreamy quality. Otherwise this curio is much too vague and talky. Boisset also scripted. English title: THE PURPLE TAXI.

Taxi, Roulotte et Corrida (1958, FRA) 86m. *** D: André Hunebelle. Starring Louis de Funès, Raymond Bussières, Annette Poivre, Guy Bertil, Véra Valmont, Paulette Dubost. Amusing, light-hearted comedy about a French family who go on holiday to Spain (using papa’s taxi and a trailer), and fall prey to some smugglers. Really harmless, almost idyllic, a carefree comedy, with Louis de Funès giving an excellent performance as the bumbling patriarch.

Teacher, The (1974, USA) C-69m. *½ D: Hikmet (=Howard) Avedis. Starring Angel Tompkins, Jay North, Anthony James, Marlene Schmidt. Sloppy C-movie about 18-year-old North, whose friend has a fatal accident while peeping on gorgeous neighbor Tompkins. Later, Tompkins seduced North, for no apparent reason. Pretty lame movie is purported to run 98 minutes in its original version. Beware! Also known as THE SEDUCTRESS.

Tears of the Sun (2003, USA) C-121m. Scope **½ D: Antoine Fuqua. Starring Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner, Tom Skerritt. War drama set in Nigeria, Africa, where hardened colonel Willis is assigned to rescue doctor Bellucci, who does her work amidst civil war dangers. When she refuses to leave alone and leave her helpers and friends behind, Willis is faced with a dilemma. Meaningful, slickly made drama whose major mistake is that it neglects the characters and thus does not involve the viewer fully. Sweeping score by Hans Zimmer.

Tea with Mussolini (1999, GBR/ITA) C-117m. ***½ D: Franco Zeffirelli. Starring Cher, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Lily Tomlin, Baird Wallace, Charlie Lucas. Priceless period piece set during WW2 in idyllic Tuscany, where a group of elderly ladies have set up a British enclave. One of them, Plowright, has taken up the task of turning a little Italian boy into a British gentleman. Then a free-spirited American woman, Cher, arrives and takes him under her wings. Wonderful cast and settings, touching storyline and a fine score make this an engrossing experience. Script by John Mortimer, based on Franco Zeffirelli’s autobiography.

Techo di Cristal, El (1971, SPA) C-92m. *** D: Eloy de la Iglesia. Starring Carmen Sevilla, Dean Selmier, Patty Shepard, Emma Cohen, Hugo Blanco, Javier Campos. Remarkable, partly surreal mystery about two women who are upstairs-downstairs neighbors in an apartment house. During the summer, their husbands travel abroad. Soon Sevilla has reason to believe that the upstairs neighbor’s husband never left… was he murdered? Psycho thriller drama weaves an intruguing puzzle around enigmatic characters and will rivet your attention… despite a relatively slow pace. From the director of LA SEMANA DEL ASESINO (CANNIBAL MAN), who also scripted with Antonio Fos. English title: THE GLASS CEILING.

Teen Wolf (1985, USA) C-91m. *** D: Rod Daniel. Starring Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine, Matt Adler, Lorie Griffin, Mark Arnold. Good-natured fantasy comedy about troubled teen Fox, who is slowly turning into a werewolf(!) and must come to terms with his new talents. He becomes a star on his basketball team and gets the girl he always dreamed of. Inoffensive, entertaining film with an appealing Fox, who also did BACK TO THE FUTURE the same year. Followed by a TV series and a sequel, TEEN WOLF TOO (1987).

Telmisseomding (1999, KOR) C-118m. ** D: Chang Yoon-Hyun. Starring Han Suk-kyu, Shim Eun-ha, Jang Hang-Seon, Yum Jung-ah, Yu Jun-Sang. Korean thriller about a weary cop, who takes over the investigation when several corpses turn up, all with missing body parts. It seems the serial killer is creating a human of his own. A young doctor seems to be the first suspect, since she knew all those killed. Fairly atmospheric, with good use of music and songs (Enya, Nick Cave), but film is disastrously paced, with scenes extended for no particular reason. Too bad. English title: TELL ME SOMETHING.

Tempo di Massacro (1966, ITA) C-96m. Scope ** D: Lucio Fulci. Starring Franco Nero, George Hilton, Lyn Shayne, John MacDouglas (=Giuseppe Addobbati), Nino Castelnuovo, Tom Felleghy, John Bartha, Sal Borgese, Romano Puppo. Gunslinger Django (Nero) returns home but finds it considerably changed. A sadistic rancher rules the town. Django’s brother (Hilton) might be of help in breaking his rule. Interesting Lucio Fulci western, with some well-directed scenes, loses its drive early on and becomes a slightly pretentious western drama. Some consider this an official DJANGO (1966) sequel. Produced by Fulci, scripted by Fernando Di Leo. Full Italian title: LE COLT CANTARONO LA MORTE E FU… TEMPO DI MASSACRO. English titles: THE BRUTE AND THE BEAST, COLT CONCERT, MASSACRE TIME.

Temps des Loups, Le (1969, FRA/ITA) C-105m. *** D: Sergio Gobbi. Starring Robert Hossein, Charles Aznavour, Virna Lisi, Marcel Bozzuffi, Albert Minsky, Fred Ulysse. Police detective Aznavour is after elusive criminal Hossein, who calls himself Dillinger (after Al Capone’s notorious companion). The two of them know each other from school. Tough, violent thriller shows more character depth than usual, but overall, film is dramatically flawed, with the flashback sequences not as they should be. What makes the film worth watching in the end is Hossein’s excellent portrayal of the cold-blooded criminal, who sees his life as a cul-de-sac. English titles: TIME OF THE WOLVES and THE HEIST, the latter version running 85/92m.

Temps du Loup, Le (2003, FRA/AUT/GER) C-114m. Scope ** D : Michael Haneke. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Béatrice Dalle, Patrice Chéreau, Rona Hartner, Maurice Bénichou, Olivier Gourmet. Apocalyptic drama set somewhere in rural France, where an unidentified global(?) disaster has led to social collapse. Huppert’s family must try to survive. Unfortunately, Haneke again proves himself to be a passive filmmaker that, like in the disastrous FUNNY GAMES (1995), just “shows” without making a comment. Gloomy widescreen cinematography helps. English title: THE TIME OF THE WOLF.

Temptation of a Monk (1993, HGK) C-118m. Scope **½ D: Clara Law. Starring Joan Chen, Michael Lee, Lisa Lu, Zhang Fengyi. Drama with epic dimensions about one of the emperor’s bodyguards, who is double-crossed and blamed for his master’s death in a hinterhalt. Film follows his flight to a monastery, where he is forced to live by a monk’s code of ethics. Drama is more slowly paced that fascinating and remains too unfocused, with unsuccessful comic relief. Still, this is interesting and elevated by fine cinematography (which is meaningless on a TV screen). Original title YOU SENG.

Tenant, The (1976, USA/FRA) C-125m. **** D: Roman Polanski. Starring Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet, Shelley Winters, Bernard Fresson, Lila Kedrova, Claude Dauphin, Claude Piéplu, Rufus, Gérard Jugnot, Alain Sarde. Brilliant psycho drama / horror film is the final part in director Polanski’s (inofficial) apartment house trilogy. Urban lost soul Trelkovsky (Polanski himself) rents a Parisian apartment, whose previous tenant has jumped out of the window. Slowly paranoia creeps up on the shy man, as the landlord (Douglas), the concierge (Winters), and virtually all the neighbors are obviously trying to drive him insane. Subtly frightening masterpiece is no less fascinating than Polanski’s REPULSION (1965) or ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968), which also dealt with apartment house horrors. Low-key but chilling, simply a must. Superbly mounted script written by Polanski and Gérard Brach, based on the novella by Roland Topor. Striking cinematography by Sven Nykvist, eerie score by Philippe Sarde. French title: LE LOCATAIRE.

Ten Commandments, The (1956, USA) C-220m. ***½ D: Cecil B. DeMille. Starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, John Carradine, Fraser C. Heston, Woody Strode, Richard Farnsworth, Gordon Mitchell, Robert Vaughn, narrated by Cecil B. DeMille. Sumptuous biblical epic chronicles the life of Moses (Heston), from his abandonment at birth and discovery by Egyptian princess to his upbringing as Egyptian Prince and subsequent downfall. Of course, he would return to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Occasionally corny, but Heston and Brynner are good, story is well-told throughout. Contains some of the most famous (Oscar-winning) special effects ever filmed. Director DeMille’s last film (he had filmed the story before in 1923). Score by Elmer Bernstein. Filmed in 1.85:1 VistaVision, the 1989 re-release was expanded to a 2.20:1 widescreen format.

Tenebrae (1982, ITA) C-96m. Scope *** D: Dario Argento. Starring Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Giuliano Gemma, Mirella D’Angelo, John Steiner. After SUSPIRIA and INFERNO, Argento’s return to the thriller-genre features immaculate camerawork by Luciano Tovoli and memorable murder set-pieces, if not a memorable plot. Writer Franciosa, advertising his latest mystery novel in Rome, receives death threats by a traumatized, black-gloved killer who is hacking up women. Police inspector Gemma is at a loss, and the writer is forced to investigate on his own behalf to clear himself of suspicion. Has little continuity, like most Argento films, but manages to arrest and thrill the audience with elaborate camerawork and murder scenes that had then become the trademark of any Argento chiller. Note: This is not the conclusion of the ‘Three Mothers’-trilogy, as the title had some believe. Uncut print runs 100m. Written by the director. English title: UNSANE, also known as TENEBRE.

Tenkû no Shiro Rapyuta (1986, JAP) C-125m. ***½ D: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring (the voices of) Mayumi Tanaka, Keiko Yokozawa, Kotoe Hatsui, Minori Terada. Awe-inspiring animated extravaganza from Japanese master Miyazaki. A young girl who possesses a magical crystal is pursued by sky pirates and the army. She enters the life of an orphaned boy, who helps her find a magical island in the sky, whose existence his father was trying to prove. Film creates a wondrous universe of places and characters and fills you with awe and wonder, taking you on a roller-coaster ride like no other movie of this kind. Its astounding action sequences put most real action movies to shame! Some consider this to be Miyazaki’s masterpiece. Great score by Joe Hisaishi. English dub voiced by Anna Paquin, Mark Hamill among others. English titles: LAPUTA – CASTLE IN THE SKY, and LAPUTA: THE FLYING ISLAND.

Ten Little Indians (1965, GBR) B&W-90m. **½ D: George Pollock. Starring Hugh O’Brian, Shirley Eaton, Fabian, Leo Genn, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Daliah Lavi, Dennis Price, Marianne Hoppe, Mario Adorf. Another film version of Agatha Christie’s formidable whodunit And Then There Were None. 10 people are trapped in a remote mansion in the Alps, fall prey one by one to killer who is among them. Direction not on top of the material (Pollock had had some Agatha Christie experience though), but still able to capture. Par for the course. That’s Christopher Lee’s voice coming from the speaker. Filmed before as AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (1945), TEN LITTLE INDIANS (1959, for TV). Later remade in 1974 and 1989. There is also a Russian and an Indian version of the story.

Tentacoli (1977, ITA/USA) C-102m. Scope M D: Oliver Hellman (=Ovidio G. Assonitis). Starring John Huston, Shelley Winters, Bo Hopkins, Henry Fonda, Delia Boccardo, Cesare Danova, Alan Boyd, Claude Akins. Horrible horror a la JAWS about a giant octopus that is terrorizing a sea-side resort. Very poorly constructed, an embarrassment for Huston, Winters and Fonda (their roles are small, though). English title: TENTACLES.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999, USA) C-97m. ** D: Gil Junger. Starring Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, David Krumholtz. Beautiful teenager Stiles can only go out on a date if her sister does so, but nobody seems to want to ask the unfriendly girl out. Until one boy agrees to seduce her – for $500. Predictable teen fare is quite funny but a notch below SHE’S ALL THAT, its rival at the box-office that year. Very loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Terminal Man, The (1974, USA) C-104m. *** D: Mike Hodges. Starring George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard A. Dysart, Donald Moffat, Michael C. Gwynne, William Hansen, Jill Clayburgh, Norman Burton, James (B.) Sikking, Steve Kanaly, Victor Argo. Unusual science-fiction tale originally written by Michael Crichton. Segal plays a computer scientist, whose violent seizures are thought to be the result of a brain damage. A research team around doctor Hackett intend to implant electrodes in his brain, in order to control his seizures better. Intriguing, thoughtful science-fiction is almost ruined by Hodges uninvolving direction and leaden pace. He compensates somewhat with some stylish shots, but story and actor Segal are the real stars here. A possible cult favorite in years to come. Hodges (PULP) also scripted. Good use of music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, USA) C-137m. Scope *** D: James Cameron. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Joe Morton, Earl Boen, Xander Berkeley. Sequel to the 1984 hit THE TERMINATOR cannot match the film’s originality, but tops it in terms of effects. Hamilton’s nemesis from the first film returns after some ten years – not to destroy her, but to protect her from ultra-sophisticated android designed to kill her son and pave the way for the domination of the machines thirty years in the future. Big-scale tomfoolery, with some gigantic action set-pieces and startling (Oscar-winning) special effects, which make the film worth watching, though its shortcomings are hard to overlook (awkward comic relief, a much too cocky Furlong, and a sudden voice-over narration by Hamilton, which starts rather late). Cameron coscripted and coproduced this massive box-office success. Score by Brad Fiedel. The awesome liquid metal effects are by Stan Winston. Later released on video and DVD as T2: ULTIMATE EDITION and T2: EXTREME EDITION, which feature almost 20 minutes of deleted scenes.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, USA/GER) C-108m. Scope **½ D: Jonathan Mostow. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews. Continuation of THE TERMINATOR saga has a dull, often gleefully absurd plot. This time Schwarzenegger must protect the savior of mankind (Stahl, who’s really a slacker) from ultra-vicious terminatrix Loken. There’s not much more to say about the story. Action set-pieces are explosive (the crane scene is a wow) and film is endowed with an interesting twist ending. Otherwise, this is big budget and no brain.

Terms of Endearment (1983, USA) C-132m. ***½ D: James L. Brooks. Starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, John Lithgow, Jeff Daniels, Lisa Hart Carroll, Danny DeVito. Exceptional family saga about widowed mother MacLaine and her relationship to her grown-up daughter Winger, who both are faced with everyday problems over the years. Refreshing look at the American bourgeois culture, simultaneously humorous and sad. Eloquent, completely believable script by director Brooks (AS GOOD AS IT GETS), who based his first motion picture on Larry McMurtry’s novel. Won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actress (MacLaine) and Supporting Actor (Nicholson). Followed by a sequel in 1996, called THE EVENING STAR.

Terra-Cotta Warrior, A (1990, HGK) C-111m. Scope ***½ D: Ching Siu-Tung. Starring Zhang Yimou, Gong Li. Awe-inspiring fantasy epic starring Zhang (director of RAISE THE RED LANTERN, TO LIVE) as warrior who falls in love with the emperor’s concubine. When their affair is discovered she is executed and he is turned into a terra-cotta warrior who has to guard the emperor’s mausoleum in all eternity. 3000 years later, however, in the 1930s, he is accidentally woken up - by the reincarnation of his lover. Superbly made film is staggeringly beautiful in the first half, loses momentum in the mid-section, only to deliver an incredible finale. A rare gem; not to be missed. Original running time: 145m.

Terror (1978, GBR) C-84m. ** D: Norman J. Warren. Starring John Nolan, Carolyn Courage, James Aubrey, Sarah Keller, Trishia Walsh, Glynis Barber. At a film producer’s party an attempted hypnosis has weird effects. It turns out that a witch’s curse will catch up with everybody from that party in the following days. Okay horror pic provides enough gory effects if not much continuity. In second half tries to wreak havoc a la SUSPIRIA (1977), but remains rather unconvincing. Barber’s film debut. STAR WARS’ Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) can be seen in the role of the mechanic (sans make-up).

Terror Caníbal (1981, SPA/FRA) C-89m. M D: Julio Pérez Tabernero. Starring Burt Altman, Annabelle, Mariam Camacho, Antoine Fontaine. Cheap, incredibly amateurish trash involving some kidnappers, who take refuge in the jungle, only to fall prey to a cannibal tribe. Filmmakers show no expertise whatsoever, this is like watching someone’s home-movies. Even cannibal lovers will be disappointed. English title: CANNIBAL TERROR.

Terrore dei Barbari, Il (1959, ITA/USA) C-82m. Scope ** D: Carlo Campogalliano. Starring Steeve Reeves, Chelo Alonso, Bruce Cabot, Giulia Rubini, Arturo Dominici, Andrea Checchi, Paul Muller. After the two successful HERCULES movies, Reeves simply plays a muscleman here, who tries to help his folks against the brutal rule of the Huns. More carefully plotted than others, but still boring, with only some nice camerawork to recommend it. Co-funded by AIP, when production ran out of money. Edited by Franco Fraticelli. Uncut version runs some 100m. English title: GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS.

Terrore nello Spazio (1965, ITA/SPA) C-88m. **½ D: Mario Bava. Starring Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengell, Angel Aranda, Evi Marandi, Ivan Rassimov. When space commander Sullivan receives a call for help from a nearby planet, his ship lands and he and the crew investigate. It turns out that souls of the dead want to possess their bodies. Tacky special effects and slow pace mar this well-directed science-fiction film that also boasts some effective scenes of horror. Photography is incredibly atmospheric. For Bava fans. Based on Renato Pestriniero’s story “One Night of 21 Hours”. Best-known U.S. titles: PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES and DEMON PLANET.

Terrorgang (1980, SPA) C-84m. ** D: Tomàs Aznar. Starring Raquel Ramirez. Action film turns into horror film when a ‘terrorgang’ of five falls prey to the curse of a dying victim. Unconventional plot maintains interest but sadistic scenes are likely to turn conservative viewers off. Still, picture manages to create some suspense, and there are also some eerie sequences in the ruins of an old castle. 

Terror in the Aisles (1984, USA) C-85m. **½ D: Andrew J. Kuehn. Starring Donald Pleasance, Nancy Allen. A compilation of horror film clips (from such classisc as PSYCHO, HALLOWEEN and THE EXORCIST), loosely arranged, held together only by Pleasance and Allen’s narration. Well-edited, even effective in parts, but not very meaningful, critical or intelligent. Still, a must for horror buffs, if only to try and identify the movies featured (only a few titles are mentioned). Interesting trivia note: SUSPIRIA (featured very briefly towards the end) is the only European horror movie in the compilation.

Terror in the Wax Museum (1973, USA) C-93m. *½ D: George Fenady. Starring Ray Milland, Broderick Crawford, Elsa Lanchester, Maurice Evans, Shani Wallis, John Carradine. A murderer is loose in Carradine’s wax museum and the makers of this film tease the audience until the very last second about his identity. Strictly by-the-numbers murder mystery, not a horror film. Unexciting and all in all a big bore.  

Terror of Mechagodzilla (1974, JAP) C-83m. Scope M D: Inoshiro Honda. Starring Katsuhiko Sasaki, Akihiko Hirata, Tomoko Ai, Tadao Nakamura. Poor, cheap monster trash from the Japanese Toho studios about revival of Mechagodzilla by aliens who look like humans. The creature battles Godzilla and a Titanosaurus. The special-effects are unconvincing. Sci-fi/fantasy expert Honda’s last film.

Terror of the Tongs (1961, GBR) C-75m. **½ D: Anthony Bushell. Starring Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Toone, Brian Worth, Richard Leech, Burt Kwouk. Interesting B-film from the Hammer studios about secret society in Hong Kong, which is infiltrated by sea captain Toone, whose 16 year-old daughter was killed by them. Pretty fierce little film, with a credible performance by Lee as the evil leader of the sect.

Terza Madre, La (2007, ITA) C-98m. Scope *** D: Dario Argento. Starring Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valeria Cavalli, Philippe Leroy, Daria Nicolodi, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Udo Kier, Jun Ichikawa. Long-awaited conclusion of cult director Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy following SUSPIRIA (1977) and INFERNO (1980) is a welcome return to supernatural elements for the filmmaker’s fans. A young woman (Argento) is drawn into a witches’ revival when her boyfriend, an archaeologist, is sent an urn with occult objects. A magic tunica inside will resurrect the most powerful witch of them all, Mater Lacrimarum, the Mother of Tears. Rome is plunged into chaos, and the young woman must find ways of escaping the witch’s grasps and putting an end to the terror. Less uncompromisingly stylish than its predecessors, Argento still delivers, with potent gore effects, atmospheric settings and appropriate nods to his own horror classics. Some unnecessary plot elements (the involvement of the police, in fact any element of realism, could have been completely left out) don’t really mar the fun. Great score by Claudio Simonetti (former Goblin member) recalls the brilliant SUSPIRIA soundtrack. Cowritten and coproduced by Dario Argento, whose daughter delivers a convincing lead performance. English title: MOTHER OF TEARS: THE THIRD MOTHER.

Teseo Contro il Minotauro (1961, ITA/FRA) C-96m. Scope D: Silvio Amadio. Starring Bob Mathias, Rosanna Schiaffino, Alberto Lupo, Rik Battaglia, Carlo Tamberlani, Nico Pepe, Susanne Loret. Quite tense, atmospheric and rather violent muscleman epic with a supernatural gimmick: a minotaur. Theseus (or Teseo) fights evil queen, who keeps feeding virgins to a beast living in the sewers of her city. Plot is confusing and unnecessarily complex. This one sounds much more interesting than it plays, and the minotaur appears only at the very end – for three minutes. Alberto de Martino (HORROR) was assistant director, Giorgio Capitani (OGNUNO PER SE) directed the 2nd unit. Osvaldo Civirani made the stills and Carlo Rustichelli did the music. English titles: THE MINOTAUR and WARLORD OF CRETE.

Tesis (1996, SPA) C-123m. ***½ D: Alejandro Amenàbar. Starring Ana Torrent, Fele Martinez, Eduardo Noriega, Miguel Picazo, Javier Elorriaga. Film student Torrent, researching for her thesis on violence in the media, stumbles upon a so-called snuff film, which shows young women being tortured and killed. She begins investigating the case with a fellow student, and they soon find themselves pursued by the killer. Complex, extremely suspenseful thriller packs a wallop thanks to a tight pacing and a heart-pounding score (by first-time director Amenàbar). Eventually let down by some inconsistencies in the plot but the tension it creates makes more than up for it. An intelligent, telling comment on the voyeuristic (and increasingly capitalistic) depiction of violence in the media, and alongside NIGHTWATCH one of the most dazzling films to come out of  Europe in the mid-90s. Lead actress Ana Torrent made her film debut back in 1973 with the highly acclaimed EL ESPIRITU DE LA COLMENA (THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE).

Tess (1979, FRA/GBR) C-172m. Scope ***½ D: Roman Polanski. Starring Nastassia Kinski, Peter Firth, John Bett, Tom Chadbon, Rosemary Martin, Leigh Lawson, Sylvia Coleridge. Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) is splendidly brought to the screen by producer Claude Berri and director Roman Polanski. The story of naive, melancholy Tess (Kinski) and the men in her life is wonderfully filmed and beautifully photographed. Overlong and slowly paced but the pure beauty of the film overcomes these flaws easily. Oscar-winning cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth and Ghislain Cloquet. Oscars also awarded for Costume Design (Anthony Powell) and Art Direction. No film caught life in the country better than TESS.

Testa T’Ammazzo, Croce… Sei Morto… Mi Chiamano Alleluja (1971, ITA/SPA) C-96m. Scope D: Anthony Ascott (=Giuliano Carnimeo). Starring George Hilton, Charles Southwood, Agata Flori, Roberto Camardiel, Andrea Bosic, Goffredo Unger. Leaden (in both senses of the word) spaghetti western about gunslinger Hilton and his attempts to get his hands on valuable jewelry also craved by assorted bandits. Plot is extremely weak, you may only find some value in director Carnimeo’s visual experiments. Alternative titles: A FISTFUL OF LEAD, DEEP WEST, GUNS FOR DOLLARS, HEADS I KILL YOU, TAILS YOU’RE DEAD, THEY CALL ME HALLELUJAH.

Testament du Docteur Cordelier, Le (1959, FRA) B&W-95m. *** D: Jean Renoir. Starring Jean-Louis Barrault, Teddy Bilis, Sylviane Margollé, Michel Vitold, Bernard Fresson. To some it may come as a surprise that master director Jean Renoir also tried his hands at horror, but he did: Barrault plays the title character, who delivers a strange testament to his notary-friend Bilis. After his death, the doctor will pass on his wealth to a stranger. The notary is baffled when just this mysterious man is seen attacking people. What is the mystery behind Cordelier? Renoir keeps things a little too scientific and talky, but his film works. An interesting early outing for the post-WW2 European horror film. Renoir himself appears in brief prologue. English titles: THE TESTAMENT OF DOCTOR CORDELIER, EXPERIMENT IN EVIL, THE DOCTOR’S HORRIBLE EXPERIMENT, and strangely also THE HORRIBLE DOCTOR HITCHCOCK, which is also the English title of the Riccardo Freda chiller L’ORRIBILE SEGRETO DEL DR. HITCHCOCK (1962).

Tetsuo (1989, JAP) B&W-67m. *** D : Shinya Tsukamoto. Starring Tomorowo Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, Shinya Tsukamoto. Bold, expressionistic art film that marked Shinya Tsukamoto’s breathrough. A Japanese businessman is haunted by terrifying visions of an iron maniac, and what’s more he seems to be slowly turning into metal. Tsukamoto’s own editing keeps this at a frenzied pace, with extreme violence, erotica and bizarre characters. An astounding visual poem that elaborates the relationship and conflict between man and machine. Tsukamoto also produced, photographed, wrote the script and did the art direction. Followed by TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER (1992) and TETSUO: THE BULLET MAN (2009). English titles: TETSUO: THE IRON MAN, and THE IRONMAN.

Teufel Kam Aus Akasawa, Der (1971, GER/SPA) C-84m. ** D: Jess Franco. Starring Fred Williams, Susann Korda (=Soledad Miranda), Horst Tappert, Ewa Strömberg, Walter Rilla, Paul Müller, Howard Vernon, Jess Franco. Trivial adventure about a mineralogist who goes missing after he has discovered a sort-of radioactive mineral that can turn metal into gold. Several agents are out to investigate. Thriller is trashy but not bad, a nice showcase for stunning Miranda, whose last film this was (she died in a road accident at the age of 27). Allegedly based on a novel by Edgar Wallace. Director Franco, who has a bigger role than usual, also coscripted. English title: THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAWA.

Teufelscamp der Verlorenen Frauen (1977, AUT/GER/SPA) C-95m. *½ D: Hubert Frank. Starring Patricia Adriani, Barbara Rey, Brigitte Stein, José Antonio Ceinos, Miguel Angel Godo, Eric Wedekind, Manù. Unbelievable trash production starring sexy Adriani, who survives being pushed off a plane(!) and meets a group of sexually liberated kidnappers(!) hiding on a small island. Don’t ask for more plot details! Despite all of these shortcomings, film is quite handsome and underscored by some nice music. German title means ‘Devil Camp of the Lost Women’, but don’t expect to find any of these! The international title DIRTY JOBS doesn’t make sense either. After seeing this movie you’ll know what ‘trash appeal’ means. Written and edited by director Frank (CATHERINE CHERIE).

Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The (1974, USA) C-84m. **** D: Tobe Hooper. Starring Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal, Allen Danzinger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, narrated by John Larroquette. A horror masterpiece, an early tour-de-force for cowriter-producer-director Tobe Hooper. Five young people (one of them wheelchairbound) take a trip to the country to visit a grandfather’s estate. When they take a seemingly deranged hitchhiker along they are plunged into a nihilistic nightmare. Brilliant score by Hooper, the excellent, claustrophobic direction transfers the anxieties of the protagonists seamlessly to the viewer (especially during the chase sequences). The second half of this film is an unrelenting, shocking descent into terror and horror, capable of immobilizing and hypnotizing the viewer. A must-see for horror film buffs. Try comparing this to SUSPIRIA (as regards score) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (as regards plot, technique, realism)! Followed by three inferior sequels. Remade in 2003.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The (2003, USA) C-98m. **½ D: Marcus Nispel. Starring Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour, Andrew Bryniarski, Harry Jay Knowles, narrated by John Larroquette. Remake of the 1974 horror classic treads the same paths and does so quite well. Biel and her friends drive through rural Texas to attend a concert, but when they pick up a disturbed woman on the road who kills herself in their car, a nightmare for them all begins. Quite intense, unsettling and terror-filled like the original movie, it only makes a few detours too many (especially toward the end) and it’s 10 or 15 minutes too long. Everything else is stylishly done (expectedly so, as Nispel is a music video director). For horror fans. Tobe Hooper co-produced. DP Daniel Pearl also photographed the original TCM. Followed by a sequel itself.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, The (1986, USA) C-100m. **½ D: Tobe Hooper. Starring Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley, Bill Johnson, Ken Evert, Tobe Hooper. Director Hooper returned to his star-making concept twelve years later, but this movie is a mere caricature of the first film. The family of cannibals is out to kill again, only this time they are recorded by small-time radio journalist Williams. She teams up with vengeful lunatic Hooper, whose son died in the original bloodfest. Succeeds as a terror-movie, but is far less original and suspenseful than its predecessor. Rather illogical, with an absurd sense of humor. That subterranean lab/cave is impressive, though. Tom Savini’s effects are showcased appropriately. Hooper also did the music and coproduced (with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus). Danny Elfman provided a song. Also available in an 111m. version, which adds some deleted scenes. Followed by LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III (1990).

Tex Willer e il Signore degli Abissi (1985, ITA) C-94m. *½ D: Duccio Tessari. Starring Giuliano Gemma, William Berger, Carlo Mucari, Isabel Russinova, Aldo Sambrell, Flavio Bucci, Frank Brana. INDIANA JONES-type western adventure about Gemma and Berger, who find out about old Inca curse that mummifies people. Score, photography are quite good, but plotting is terrible. Characters are based on an Italian comic strip. English title: TEX AND THE LORD OF THE DEEP.

Thank You for Smoking (2005, USA) C-92m. Scope *** D: Jason Reitman. Starring Aaron Eckhart, William H. Macy, J.K. Simmons, Robert Duvall, Maria Bello, David Koechner, Katie Holmes, Kim Dickens, Daniel Travis, Cameron Bright, Adam Brody, Rob Lowe, Sam Elliott, Christopher Buckley. Well-made satire on the way big corporations use spin doctors to make the truth seem favorable for their purposes. Film focuses on Eckhart, who is the spokesperson for Big Tabacco. As a lobbyist he must defend the cigarette-industry, while trying to be a good dad for pre-teen Bright, who is just waking up to the world around him. Comedy has some great ideas and performances (Eckhart is perfect in the lead). Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley, adapted by the director.

Tharus, Figlio di Attila (1962, ITA) C-89m. Scope D: Roberto Bianchi Montero. Starring Jerome Courtland, Lisa Gastoni, Mimmo Palmara, Rik van Nutter, Ricardo Montalban. Talky, uninvolving sword-and-sandal film that is like dozens of others. A ruler must defend himself against a horde of huns, who have sent their leader’s son incognito. Very little action. English title: COLUSSUS AND THE HUNS.

Theatre of Blood (1973, GBR) C-104m. *** D: Douglas Hickox. Starring Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry, Robert Morley. Great latter-day role for Price: As a Shakespearean actor he exacts bloody revenge on his critics, killing them off by recreating famous scenes from the Bard’s plays. Well-directed horror thriller is one of the best genre films of the 1970s but unfortunately becomes more improbable as it goes along.

There's Something About Mary (1998, USA) C-119m. **½ D: Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Starring Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David. Stiller plays a single who decides that it's time to look for his old high school love (Diaz), because he wants to marry. He hires a private eye (Dillon), but the man falls in love with the girl! Just what is there about Mary? Longish comedy is entertaining enough, with a few laugh-out-loud gags. Diaz is smashingly beautiful in the lead role. A step up for the Farrelly Brothers (DUMB AND DUMBER) but still no classic.

There Was a Crooked Man… (1970, USA) C-126m. Scope *** D: Joseph L. Mankiewicz..Starring Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Hume Cronyn, Warren Oates, Burgess Meredith, John Randolph, Lee Grant, Victor French. Ribald western comedy about criminal par excellence Douglas, who finds himself in prison but gets by well, thanks to his wits, but all this changes when Fonda becomes the new warden. Stars are in fine form in this solid piece of entertainment. Written by David Newman and Robert Benton. Photographed by Harry Stradling Jr.

There Was a Little Girl (1981, USA) C-92m. Scope ** D: Ovidio G. Assonitis. Starring Trish Everly, Michael MacRae, Dennis Robertson, Morgan Hart. Violent horror thriller about speech therapist Everly, whose twin sister, hideous in appearance and quite demented, has escaped from the hospital to terrorize her. Pretty illogical, but at least it creates some slight suspense. Makes reference to vintage horror movies like Brian De Palma’s SISTERS (1973), Tobe Hooper’s TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) and Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (1977). Assonitis (CHI SEI?) coscripted and produced. Score by Riz Ortolani. Also known as MADHOUSE, FLESH AND THE BEAST, and AND WHEN SHE WAS MAD.

They (2002, USA) C-89m. Scope **½ D: Robert Harmon, Rick Bota. Starring Laura Regan, Marc Blucas, Ethan Embry, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jon Abrahams. Fairly good mystery horror about psychology student Regan, who is contacted by a childhood friend who tells her that their ‘night terrors’ have come back to kill them. And indeed, a creature, only afraid of the light, is starting to haunt them. Two alternate endings exist. “Presented” by Wes Craven.

They Live (1988, USA) C-93m. Scope ** D: John Carpenter. Starring Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Peter Jason, Larry J. Franco. Low-brow sci-fi actioner with an intriguing premise. Drifter Piper (of WWF fame) finds sunshades and realizes that they show people’s real nature. Most of the population are actually aliens from Deep Space! Solidly filmed but after premise has been established (after 40 minutes!), film really goes nowhere. For fans. Carpenter wrote the screenplay (using a pseudonym), based on Ray Nelson’s short story ‘Eight O’Clock in the Morning’.

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969, USA) C-121m. Scope ***½ D: Sidney Pollack. Starring Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Gig Young, Red Buttons, Bonnie Bedelia, Bruce Dern, Al Lewis. Pessimistic drama portraying the dark side of the American dream, set during the Depression era. Disillusioned Fonda teams up with loser Sarrazin to compete in a grueling dance marathon, whose organizer (Young, in a brilliant, Oscar-winning performance) is only out for money, disregarding that the contestants are human beings. Superb cast makes the most of Horace McCoy’s novel.

Thief Lord, The (2006, GBR/GER/LUX) C-98m. Scope **½ D: Richard Claus. Starring Aaron Johnson, Jasper Harris, Rollo Weeks, Alice Connor, George MacKay, Caroline Goodall, Vanessa Redgrave. Okay kids adventure based on the Cornelia Funke novel Der Herr der Diebe. Two orphans run away to Venice, Italy, and join a group of pickpockets who live in an old cinema and are led by the title character. Soon they join their thieving escapades. Fairly fast-paced but most of the characters are clichéd and there is no heart to the story. Kids might enjoy it.

Thing Called Love, The (1993, USA) C-116m. ** D: Peter Bogdanovich. Starring River Phoenix, Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney, Sandra Bullock, K.T. Oslin, Anthony Clark. Drama focussing on the lives of several young musicians who try to make it in Nashville. Cast is okay (including River Phoenix, a year before his demise), plot is overlong and clichéd. Nothing outstanding, basically a film to fall asleep.

Things Are Tough All Over (1982, USA) C-90m. Scope **½ D: Thomas K. Avildsen. Starring Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Evelyn Guerrero, Ben Powers, John Steadman, George Wallace, Dave Coulier. Arguably the funniest of all the sequels to UP IN SMOKE, the pot-smoking duo Cheech & Chong’s first film. This time the focus is not on drugs (unless you take it for granted that they are permanently stoned anyway). The boys are featured in double roles, as two unemployed idiots and two Arab businessmen-brothers who have a conflict over a car that has to be transported to Las Vegas (money, not hash, is hidden inside). Mostly funny, with some boring stretches towards the end. This was actually Cheech and Chong’s last picture in the UP IN SMOKE series, but more projects followed, where their exploits could be followed in different settings.

Thinner (1996, USA) C-92m. **½ D: Tom Holland. Starring Robert John Burke, Joe Mantegna, Lucinda Jenney, Joy Lenz, Michael Constantine, Sam Freed. Solidly paced adaptation of the novel by  Richard Bachman (alias Stephen King) about obese lawyer (Burke) who is cursed by an old gypsy leader (Constantine) and starts losing weight dramatically. The only way to avert a terrible fate seems to ask the old man to reverse the curse. Second-rate plot keeps film from scoring a better rating. Not very violent, but horror fans should get their dose nevertheless. Stephen King has a cameo.

Thin Red Line, The (1998, USA) C-165m. Scope ***½ D: Terrence Malick. Starring Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Jim Caviezel, Ben Chaplin, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Elias Koteas, Nick Nolte, John C. Reilly, John Travolta. Powerful, moving war drama, writer-director Malick’s first feature film in twenty years. The setting is World War Two, where U.S. soldiers, most of them young and inexperienced, are sent to Gualdalcanal, a small island in the South Pacific, which is held by the Japanese and considered to be the strategic key to the whole area. Deliberately paced film ventures deep into the psyche of various characters as they prepare for combat. Pensive voice-overs philosophize over the harrowing going-ons. John Toll’s exceptional camerawork juxtaposes the untouchable beauty of nature to the unspeakable horrors of war. The two are separated only by a very thin line. Film is at its best when depicting the insanity of killing. After the climax, it continues for several more minutes and unfortunately loses some of its effectiveness. Well-acted by almost the entire cast, with Nolte giving a breathtaking performance as a sergeant determined to attack even if it costs the lives of his men. Be warned: Some of the stars billed have very small roles. Fine score by Hans Zimmer. Malick scripted from James Jones’ novel. This was his third feature film, following BADLANDS (1973), and DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978). THE THIN RED LINE was filmed before in 1964 by Andrew Marton.

Thirst (1979, AUS) C-95m. Scope *** D: Rod Hardy. Starring Chantal Contouri, David Hemmings, Henry Silva. Unusual, strange horror film about a woman who is abducted into a mysterious community, where she is told that she is the last descendant of the legendary Baroness Elizabeth Bathory - and thus a vampire! She puts up resistance as she is conditioned to be a bloodsucker. Well-directed, subtle tale of the unexpected with a good score may be too vague for some viewers, but story remains interesting throughout.

Thirsty Dead, The (1974, USA/FIL) C-88m. ** D: Terry Becker. Starring Jennifer Billingsley, Judith McConnell, John Considine, Tani Guthrie. Several young women are abducted by hooded men and brought to a secret society in the jungle, who created a kind of paradise for themselves. However, they need blood to rejuvenate themselves and throw those sucked dry into subterranean dungeons. Corny horror trash is not bad in the first half (also thanks to an eerie score by Richard LaSalle), but bogs down in the second. Alternative titles: THE BLOOD CULT OF SHANGRI-LA, BLOOD HUNT.

Thirteen (2003, USA/GBR) C-100m. ***½ D: Catherine Hardwicke. Starring Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed, Jeremy Sisto, Brady Corbet, Deborah Kara Unger. Remarkably good teenage drama about thirteen-year-old Wood, who gets to know precocious, trailer-trash girl Reed and is introduced in the ‘wanna-be-adult’ world of her friends. Sex, drugs, shopping (and shoplifting) seem to be the only things that count. Wood’s single mother Hunter, trying hard to cope with life herself, realizes the changes in her ‘baby’ too late. Amazingly real, well-acted portrait of a misled teenager, incredibly cowritten by costar Reed. Hardwicke’s direction gives movie an authentic feel. Recommended.

Thirteen Chairs, The (1969, ITA/FRA) C-95m. **½ D: Nicholas Gessner. Starring Vittorio Gassman, Sharon Tate, Orson Welles, Vittorio de Sica, Terry-Thomas, Mylene Demongeot, John Steiner. Barber Gassman inherits thirteen chairs in Britain and immediately sells them in order to buy a return ticket to the States. When he finds out that there’s a fortune hidden in one of them he goes to extremes to get them back. Tate tags along. More turbulent than funny comedy with an interesting cast. Beautiful Sharon Tate, in her last film appearance, steals the film (brief nudity!). She was murdered shortly after the film finished shooting. Italian title: UNA SU 13. Same story filmed many times before (and after).  

Thirteen Days (2000, USA) C-145m. *** D: Roger Donaldson. Starring Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Dylan Baker, Michael Fairman. Compelling cinematic recreation of the major crisis in 1962 (which lasted 13 days), when U.S. radar discovered Russian missiles on Cuba. Film captures the tension of the situation very well and paints a believable picture of a world on the brink of war. Greenwood (as President Kennedy) and Costner (as his advisor) lead a fine cast. Long but engrossing.

Thir13en Ghosts (2001, USA) C-91m. D: Steve Beck. Starring Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga, Embeth Davidtz, F. Murray Abraham. Modern ghost story, based on the 1960 film by William Castle. Shalboub and his family inherit a most unusually constructed mansion and are soon confronted with an army of ghosts, which the previous owner had locked up there. Serious special-effects orgy is seriously awful in the non-thnk tradition of the Castle-remake HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1999). Just one effect after the other doesn’t make a movie scary! Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis were among the producers. Actor Shalboub went through a quite different hell in BARTON FINK ten years earlier.

13 Going on 30 (2004, USA) C-98m. **½ D: Gary Winick. Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Kathy Baker, Phil Reeves. Quite entertaining body-switch comedy finds an unhappy 13-year-old suddenly in her 30-year-old self (Garner), when she wishes she were older and sexier. She is a successful magazine editor, but has become estranged from her former best friend (Ruffalo). Good story idea (somewhat lifted from BIG), but plot is inconsequential and ending goes too far. Garner is ambitious in her first starring vehicle.

Thirteenth Floor, The (1999, USA/GER) C-100m. Scope *** D: Josef Rusnak. Starring Craig Bierko, Armin Müller-Stahl, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert. Scientists have created a simulated version of 1937 L.A., where the computer-generated but lifelike inhabitants lead their own lives and have no idea that they are only part of a simulation. When a murder happens, software developer Bierko searches for clues in the artificial world by entering a character’s personality. This is just the beginning of a fascinating story. Science-fiction film noir has a most intriguing theme, and production values, as well as direction and photography, are more than adequate. Sci-fi fans take note! This crossbreed of BLADE RUNNER (1982) and THE MATRIX (1999) is not completely satisfying but basic idea is chilling. Based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel F. Galouye, which was previously filmed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1974.

13th Warrior, The (1999, USA) C-102m. Scope **½ D: John McTiernan. Starring Antonio Banderas, Vladimir Kulich, Dennis Storhoi, Neil Maffin, John DeSantis, Clive Russell, Omar Sharif. Fast paced action set in 922 A.D. about Arab nobleman Banderas, who is chosen by a band of Norsemen to be their ‘13th warrior’ in defending their home against an evil entity. Superficial characterization mars potentially exciting and fascinating film. Action fans won’t mind. Based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, who also produced and cowrote the picture.

30 Days of Night (2007, USA) C-113m. Scope **½ D: David Slade. Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Mark Boone Junior, Mark Rendall, Amber Sainsbury. In a remote town in North Alaska the remaining population is just getting ready for 30 days of polar night, when a group of blood-thirsty vampires/zombies hit the town for a blood feast. Sherrif Hartnett is leading those trying to survive the onslaught. Barely original horror movie is an umpteenth paraphrase of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, only here it’s 30 NIGHTS. The acting is substandard, including Hartnett’s. What keeps this movie alive is some flashy directing, excellent, grisly special effects and Huston’s frightening turn as the monsters’ leader. Non-horror fans won’t be so forgiving. Based on a comic by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. From the director of HARD CANDY (2005). Coproduced by Sam Raimi.

36 Crazy Fists, The (1977, HGK) C-89m. ScopeD: Chen Chi-Hwa. Starring Hsiung Kuang (=Tony Leung Siu Hung), Fung Ke-An (=Fung Hark-On). Bad martial arts comedy with a plot like a thousand others. Young fighter takes lessons to avenge his father’s death. Jackie Chan did the martial arts direction for this one, which is why you might stumble across it. He doesn’t act, but it wouldn’t have made this movie better anyway. Also known as BLOOD PACT, MASTER AND THE BOXER.

36th Chamber of Shaolin, The (1978, HGK) C-87m. Scope **½ D: Liu Chia-Liang. Starring Liu Chia-Hui, Huang Yu, Lo Lieh. A young student flees from the Manchus into a Shaolin monastery, where he is taught the art of Kung Fu in order to avenge the death of his family. Interesting eastern tells you something about the traditions of the 15th century but doesn’t succeed as entertainment. Released in the U.S. in 1984 as MASTER KILLER. Original title: SHAOLIN SAN-SHIH-LIU FANG.

This Island Earth (1954, USA) C-86m. *** D: Joseph Newman. Starring Jeff Morrow, Faith Domergue, Rex Reason, Lance Fuller, Russell Johnson. Douglas Spencer. One of the best science-fiction films of the 1950s, intelligently handled: Several top scientists are abducted by humanoid extra-terrestrials and forced to save their planet, which is under constant attack by space debris. Good script complications, suspenseful direction (including action and horror elements), a fine example of what can be done on a meager budget. Uncredited codirection by genre acolyte Jack Arnold, music coauthored by Henry Mancini. Film was spoofed 39 years later in MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.

This Story of Love (1987, JAP) C-92m. ** D: Toshio Masuda. Starring Yuko Kazu, Masashiko Kondo, Masatoshi Nakamura, Jinpachi Nezu. Action drama (with the emphasis on drama) about a professional stuntman who must take care of his new-born daughter after his wife commits suicide. The girl grows up among stuntmen, whose dangerous lives are followed here. Some action set-pieces are thrown in here and there, but film is dramatically flat. Not at all interesting. First screen credit of Takashi Miike (ODISHON - AUDITION), as assistant director. Original version, titled KONO AINO MONOGATARI, runs 117m.

This World, Then the Fireworks (1997, USA) C-100m. **½ D: Michael Oblowitz. Starring Billy Zane, Gina Gershon, Sheryl Lee, Rue McClanahan, Seymour Cassel, Will Patton, Richard Edson. Stylish thriller drama set in the 50s about pair of twins Zane and Gershon, who reunite to pull off a scheme involving beautiful cop Lee and her real estate. Well-made, intriguing, but interest wanes in second half when the plotting loses all focus. The style doesn’t quite triumph over the content in this film noir imitation. Zane (TITANIC) also co-executive produced the film. Based on a story by Jim Thompson.

Thomas Crown Affair, The (1999, USA) C-113m. Scope **½ D: John McTiernan. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Frankie Faison, Faye Dunaway, Fritz Weaver, Ben Gazzara, Charles Keating, Michael Lombard. Remake of the 1968 Steve McQueen thriller is not bad, as Brosnan takes over his role as super-rich businessman, who gets his kicks out of stealing expensive paintings. However, in insurance expert Russo he meets a woman who may outsmart him. Agreeable, mildly entertaining, if not terribly exciting or suspense-filled. Stick with the stylish original.

Thou Shalt Not Kill ... Except (1986, USA) C-86m. *½ D: Josh Becker. Starring Brian Schulz, John Manfredi, Cheryl Hanson, Perry Mallette, Robert Rickman, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel. Violent low-budget outing, filmed entirely in and around Detroit, Michigan, about four vietnam vets who wipe out a sect of deranged lunatics living in the woods. This atrocious story was made up by Josh Becker, Scott Spiegel (the director of INTRUDER) and Bruce Campbell. One or two quite funny scenes, but nothing more. Not worth your time, unless you want to see cult director Sam Raimi’s delicious, freaked-out performance as the leader of the group of loonies. Ted Raimi appears as Chain Man, Scott Spiegel, who also did the art direction(!), as Pin Cushion. Director Becker also photographed and edited the picture.

Three Days of the Condor (1975, USA) C-117m. Scope *** D: Sidney Pollack. Starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow, John Houseman, Carlin Glynn. After all his colleagues at a secret C.I.A. office are killed, Redford become a hunted man, and he can trust nobody - not even the C.I.A. itself. He finds refuge in Dunaway’s apartment and slowly begins to unravel the story behind the killings. Suspense thriller is not great but maintains interest throughout.

300 (2006, USA) C-117m. Scope ***½ D: Zack Snyder. Starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Stephen McHattie. Stylish, visually magnificent war movie with fantasy and horror elements. Based on a comic book by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, this action extravaganza deals with 300 Spartans circa 480 BC, who are led by their king Leonidas into a battle against thousands of Persians led by Xerxes. A passionate, moving tale about valor and bravery, spiced up with terrific battle sequences. From the director the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake. Same historic battle filmed before as THE 300 SPARTANS (1962).

Three Investigators and the Secret of Skeleton Island, The (2007, SAF/GER) C-90m. *** D: Florian Baxmeyer. Starring Chancellor Miller, Nick Price, Cameron Monaghan, Naima Sebe, Nigel Whitmey, James Faulkner. Engaging kids adventure based on the popular books by Robert Arthur about three kids who have formed a detective club and solve interesting cases all over the world. This one brings them to South Africa, where they must find out if the title island is really haunted and recover a legendary treasure. Great for kids, adults will occasionally fret about uneven acting and logical loopholes. Followed by a sequel in 2009.

Three Investigators and the Secret of Terror Castle, The (2009, SAF/GER) C-90m. SCOPE *** D: Florian Baxmeyer. Starring Chacellor Miller, Nick Price, Cameron Monaghan, Annette Kemp, James Faulkner, Jonathan Pienaar. The three detectives from Rocky Beach face their toughest challenge yet, as Miller’s parents have left a final clue to a secret device before their death by accident. A video message leads them to California, where a ghost is said to haunt the spooky old mansion of an inventor. Gimmicky fun, with good performances and a nice sense of humor. German title: DIE DREI     ??? UND DAS VERFLUCHTE SCHLOSS.

Three Kings (1999, USA) C-115m. Scope D: David O. Russel. Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy. Action thriller set right after the end of the Gulf War (1991), about a team of American soldiers who decide to take a chance and go after Kuwaiti gold, hidden somewhere in the desert by Saddam Hussein’s forces. Completely artificial hokum tries to make you care for the incredibly poor and repressed Iraqi people, while being a violent and mean-spirited action movie. Carries the morally questionable message that war and violence can be justified. Probably made American audiences very satisfied and proud of themselves. Technically good, but anyone with a critical opinion about the United States’ role as the world police should reject this. Score by Carter Burwell, written by the director.

Three on a Couch (1966, USA) C-109m. *½ D: Jerry Lewis. Starring Lerry Lewis, Janet Leigh, James Best, Leslie Parrish, Mary Ann Mobley, Gila Golan, Kathleen Freeman, Buddy Lester, Scatman Crothers. Stupid comedy about artist Lewis, who has the opportunity to go to Paris for an important job, but his finacée Leigh, a psychiatrist, would rather stay at home and treat her three problem patients. Lewis then assumes several roles to make these women happy. Almost completely unfunny, with a semi-serious turn by Lewis.

Threesome (1994, USA) C-95m. *** D: Andrew Fleming. Starring Lara Flynn Boyle, Stephen Baldwin, Josh Charles, Alexis Arquette. Hilarious comedy drama about three room-mates whose relationship is more than unusual: Boyle has the hots for Charles, who’s gay and finds Baldwin sexy, who’s only interested in Boyle. A witty, though improbable examination of the problems that arise and the friendship that holds the three together. One of the best films of its kind.

Three to Tango (1999, USA) C-98m. **½ D: Damon Santostefano. Starring Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott, Oliver Platt. Amusing comedy about architect Perry, who is somehow drawn into spying on his client McDermott’s girlfriend Campbell, both thinking that he is gay. Perry provides most of the laughs and  Campbell looks seductive in a film that grows more and more improbable as it goes along.

Thriller – en Grym Film (1974, SWE) C-107m. *½ D: Alex Fridolinski (=Bo Arne Vibenius). Starring Christina Lindberg, Heinz Hopf, Despina Tomazani, Per-Axel Arosenius, Solveig Andersson, Bo Arne Vibenius. Swedish exploitation movie can be grouped among the female revenge films a la DAY OF THE WOMAN (1978). Lindberg is deaf-mute since she was abused as a child, then as a young adult goes out with the wrong man, pimp Hopf. He drugs her and injects her with heroin, thus addicting her. When she refuses to become his prostitute, he cuts out her eye. Then she plots revenge and learns how to drive, shoot and defend herself. Made with no ambition or regard for story-telling, only for the fast buck, as the porno inserts show. Even if Tarantino references it in KILL BILL, this is not worth digging up at all. Vibenius followed this with BREAKING POINT (1975). Also known as HOOKER’S REVENGE, THEY CALL HER ONE-EYE, and THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE.

Thrillerzone (1983, USA) C-91m. ** D: Glen Takakjian, John Woodward, Jack Garrett, Damian Harris. Starring Joe Spinell, Carol(ine?) Munro, Eric Stoltz. A quartet of horror stories, made by young film-makers: ‘The Last Hand’ is a quite creepy, surreal story about a poker player’s strange visions during a game with his pals. ‘Disciples of the Crow’ was adapted from a short story by Stephen King, which was filmed as CHILDREN OF THE CORN a year later. The pointless story centers around murderous children running amok in a small town. The third and (mild) best episode, ‘The Night Waiter’, is about a young man working in a hotel who thinks there are ghosts haunting room 321. You would do well to turn off your TV then, unless you want to catch a young Eric Stoltz, who has a small role in the last and completely incomprehensible episode. Aka STEPHEN KING - THE NIGHT OF THE CROW (in Germany).

Thrill Killers, The (1964, USA) C/B&W-69m. *½ D: Ray Dennis Steckler. Starring Cash Flagg (=Ray Dennis Steckler), Liz Renay, Brick (Joseph) Bardo, Carolyn Brandt, Gary Kent, Titus Moede. Low-budget trash movie about three criminals who escape from prison and go on a rampage. Quite violent and sick for its time but not very interestingly or imaginatively done. It’s all slash’n’stalk (when not talk) without substance, so the effect is deadening. Some stylish visuals save this from the BOMB rating. Steckler made this right after his debut hit THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!? Also known as MAD DOG CLICK, THE MANIACS ARE LOOSE, THE MONSTERS ARE LOOSE.

Thumbsucker (2005, USA) C-96m. Scope **½ D: Mike Mills. Starring Lou Taylor Pucci, Tilda Swinton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Keanu Reeves, Benjamin Bratt, Kelli Garner, Vince Vaughn. Slice-of-life from the American lower middle-class. Pucci is a 17-year-old suffering from teen angst, who still sucks his thumb. He is looking for a place in society, while his parents are going through a difficult time as well. Occasionally telling drama has some offbeat casting, but fails to ignite sparks. Based on a novel by Walter Kirn.

Thunderball (1965, GBR) C-129m. Scope **½ D: Terence Young. Starring Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Martine Beswick, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn. Big James Bond production (the fourth) suffers from comparison to its (better) predecessors. Bond investigates the theft of two atom bombs. The responsible crime syndicate, headed by Largo (Celi), demands 100 million British Pounds from the world or else a major city will be destroyed. Less action, less suspense and a less potent villain (although Celi is fine). Still, one of the classic 60s Bond movies that always manage to delight (if only intermittently in this case). Fine, dramatic variations of the Bond theme are a major asset. First and last three minutes and best parts, kudos to editor Peter Hunt.

Tideland (2005, GBR/CDN) C-120m. SCOPE **½ D: Terry Gilliam. Starring Jodelle Ferland, Janet McTeer, Brendan Fletcher, Jennifer Tilly, Jeff Bridges, Dylan Taylor. Partly surreal psycho drama about a 10-year-old girl (amazing Ferland), who prepares syringes for her drug addict parents and thinks it’s the most normal thing in the world. When her mother dies of an overdose, she moves with her dad Bridges into her dead grandmother‘s farmhouse in the rural magnificence of Lousiana. She builds up her own fantasy world and ‚befriends‘ her new neighbors, a evil-spirited one-eyed woman and her retarded son. Pretty outrageous adaptation of a novel by Mitch Cullin, this is considered a misfire, but Gilliam fans will find many references to his earlier movies – even if the story here is hard to take at times. Made on a 6-month break from filming THE BROTHERS GRIMM (2005). Good photography by Nicola Pecorini.

Tiffany Memorandum (1967, ITA/FRA) C-83m. ScopeD: Terence Hathaway (=Sergio Grieco). Starring Ken Clark, Irina Demick, Jacques Berthier, Michel Bardinet, Solvi Stubing. One of the last spy thrillers featuring Clark as a super agent involved in international intrigue. This time he has to find out who murdered a diplomat on the open street and what a precious watch has to do with all this. Muddled, and much too talky, with Clark making a rather dumb impression. Photographed by Stelvio Massi, quite nice score by Riz Ortolani. Also known as IL MISTERO DELL’OMBRA.

Tightrope (1984, USA) C-115m. Scope *** D: Richard Tuggle. Starring Clint Eastwood, Geneviève Bujold, Dan Hedaya, Alison Eastwood, Jenny Beck, Marco St. John, Jamie Rose. Rather unusual thriller set in New Orleans, about police detective Eastwood, a single parent, who is stunned to realize that the serial killer roaming the clubs and brothels at night is murdering the same prostitutes that he frequently visits. Uncomfortable, tense and quite atmospheric, this is a good thriller which might have been great if writer-director Tuggle’s storytelling ability had been better. An interesting deviation from Eastwood’s usual cop roles, with an appropriately violent finale.

Time Bandits (1981, GBR) C-116m. **½ D: Terry Gilliam. Starring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, Jack Purvis, Jim Broadbent. More Monty Python lunacy with Gilliam’s directorial stamp: A boy joins a group of midgets as they travel through time, fleeing from a God-like being. They meet Napoleon (Holm), Robin Hood (Cleese) and Agamemnon (Connery) along the way. Fantasy adventure has a fail-safe premise but plot turns out to be overindulgent and too whimsical. Film recovers from hurried, episodic introduction in the second half. Nice comic turns by Cleese and Richardson, and the costumes are great. If you enjoyed this, you might also like Gilliam’s THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1989). The director followed this with BRAZIL in 1985. Plans for a sequel (made around 2000) were thwarted.

Time of the Apes (1987, JAP/USA) C-97m. *½ D: Kiyo Sumi Fukazawa, Atsuo Okunaka. Starring Reiko Tokunaga, Kiroko Saito, Masaaki Kaji. Ultra-cheesy ripoff of PLANET OF THE APES (1968) about a woman and her two children, who make a time leap into the future, which is ruled by apes, much like in the films of the 70s. Can they escape? Do you want them to? Not completely without interest, but horrible dubbing, poor make-up effects and not to mention silly plot do this one in. Edited from a 1974 Japanese television series titled SARU NO GUNDAN (ARMY OF THE APES).

Time Travelers, The (1964, USA) C-82m. *** D: Ib Melchior. Starring Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, John Hoyt, Dennis Patrick, Forrest J. Ackerman. Very interesting science-fiction adventure stands somewhere in between THE TIME MACHINE (1960) and PLANET OF THE APES (1968): A team of scientists open a time gate to the future and step through (literally). It’s the year 2071, and a group of subterranean humans are trying to build a space vessel to bring them to safety, while defending themselves against band of mutants scavenging the Earth. Not so harmless, satiric adventure is recommended to buffs. Some of the effects are stunning. Direction is poor, though. Photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond (assisted by Laszlo Kovacs!). Remade in 1967 as JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF TIME. Alternative titles: DEPTHS OF THE UNKNOWN, THE RETURN OF THE TIME TRAVELERS, THIS TIME TOMORROW, TIME TRAP.

Time Without Pity (1956, GBR) 88m. **½ D: Joseph Losey. Starring Michael Redgrave, Alec McCowen, Ann Todd, Peter Cushing, Leo McKern, Renee Houston, Lois Maxwell, Joan Plowright. Redgrave is credible as an alcoholic who rushes from Canada to England when he hears that his son is accused of having murdered his girlfriend. He desperately tries to prove the young man’s innocence. This adaptation of Emlyn Williams’ play unfortunately gives away the identity of the real killer at the beginning but remains watchable thanks to some good performances.

Tingler, The (1959, USA) 82m. *** D: William Castle. Starring Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Philip Coolidge, Patricia Cutts. Funny, self-referential, typical 50s horror with Price a scientist who discovers the ‘Tingler’, a creature which grows on the human spine when a person experiences extreme fear. Screaming paralyzes it. Well-plotted film also succeeds with the chills. Must have been a scream in theaters (electrical buzzers were installed under the seats!). Watch Price take the LSD-trip!

Ti Piace Hitchcock? (2005, ITA) C-97m. *** D: Dario Argento. Starring Elio Germano, Chiara Conti, Elisabetta Rocchetti, Cristina Brondo, Iván Morales, Edoardo Stoppa. Germani plays a film student in Torino writing his thesis about German expressionist cinema, when he catches himself spying on beautiful neighbor Rocchetti (a la REAR WINDOW). Several days later her mother is found murdered, just after she got to know mysterious Hitchcock adept Conti. Could it be they were inspired by STRANGERS ON THE TRAIN (1951)? Surprisingly well-plotted thriller made for Italian TV, where Argento references his idols Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang, and even himself. Not very violent, but maintains suspense and comes up with twists like in the good old giallo days. Fun for buffs. Rich score by Pino Donaggio. Coscripted by Argento and Franco Ferrini, executive produced by Dario’s brother Claudio Argento. English title: DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?

Tirez Sur le Pianiste (1960, FRA) 85m. Scope *** D: Francois Truffaut. Starring Charles Aznavour, Marie Dubois, Nicole Berger, Michèle Mercier, Daniel Boulanger. Truffaut’s treatment of the American gangster movie (this film is based on David Goodis’ novel Down There) has become a classic of the Nouvelle Vague. Aznavour plays a once-great piano player, who somehow gets involved in murder. A typically cold French film, masterful for some. Score by Georges Delerue. English title: SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER.

Tir Groupé (1982, FRA) C-78m. ** D: Jean-Claude Missiaen. Starring Gérard Lanvin, Véronique Jannot, Michel Constantin, Mario David, Roland Blanche, Dominique Pinon, Louis Navarre. Ordinary revenge drama chronicles Lanvin’s attempts to revenge the murder of his fiancée Jannot. In flashbacks we are told how they met and fell in love, but film is pointless and much too predictable despite being solidly filmed (even nominated for some Césars). Dedicated to the memory of Jean Gabin – for whatever reason.

Titan A.E. (2000, USA) C-94m. Scope **½ D: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Art Vitello. Starring the voices of Drew Barrymore, Matt Damon, Nathan Lane, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, Ron Perlman, Janeane Garofalo. Animated science-fiction film set around the year 3000, when the human race has been scattered into space by evil aliens, who have destroyed our Earth. However, the remaining ones of our race are gathering, and all hope lies in a scientist’s son, who may have the key to a better future. Well-made, fast-paced (almost hectic), but plot is derivative and adds nothing new to the formula. Features relatively few digital effects.

Titanic (1943, GER) 89m. *** D: Herbert Selpin, Werner Klingler. Starring Sybille Schmitz, Kirsten Heiberg, Hans Nielsen, Ernst Fritz Fürbringer, Karl Schönböck, Monika Burg (=Paulette von Suchan), Otto Wernicke, Franz Schafheitlin. First feature film version of the 1912 spectacle, made during World War Two and intended as anti-British Nazi propaganda. Highly interesting (not just since James Cameron’s mega-success with his own film version) and very-well acted, film focuses on greedy company president Fürbringer and his ambition to break the world record on his way to New York. Schönböck is also fine as hardened businessman who loves money more than his wife. The love story between a servant girl and a musician is short and the only unconvincing vignette in the film. Film was banned after its premiere in Nazi-occupied Paris. Re-released in Western Germany in 1953.

Titanic (1953, USA) 98m. *** D: Jean Negulesco. Starring Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner, Richard Basehart, Audrey Dalton, Thelma Ritter, Brian Aherne. First Hollywood version of legendary disaster involving ‘unsinkable’ cruise ship succeeds thanks to fine cast and intelligent scripting which puts the human drama, not the action, in the foreground. A powerful, sublime drama. Oscar-winner for Best Screenplay. British version (A NIGHT TO REMEMBER) of the same story filmed in 1958.

Titanic (1997, USA) C-194m. Scope **** D: James Cameron. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Frances Fisher, Kathy Bates, David Warner, Danny Nucci, Victor Garber, Gloria Stuart, Bernard Hill, Bernard Fox, Jonathan Hyde, Bill Paxton, Suzy Amis. An expedition to the allegedly unsinkable luxus cruise ship Titanic that sank to the ocean floor in 1912 after hitting an iceberg, discovers a drawing hidden in a safe somewhere in the ship’s vast body. It depicts a beautiful young girl, wearing a legendary diamond around her neck. When an old lady claims that she was the woman in the picture, she is flown to the scientists’ vessel, where the 100 year-old woman begins relating the tragic history of the Titanic from her personal point of view. As the story unfolds we are told one of the most touching love stories ever put on film, which is dramatically counterbalanced by the tragic events that took place the night of April 14th, 1912. Superb drama (written by Cameron) is exhilarating both as a love story and epic spectacle. A must-see. Only flawed by DiCaprio’s indifferent performance (he seems to be playing himself) and some overly melodramatic scenes, which are so typical of Hollywood films. Winslet, as the 16-year-old Rose who falls in love with a tramp and discovers that life has so much more to offer than cocktail parties and cocky dinner conversations, makes the romance ring true; she is supported by an excellent cast. Fourth film version of the 1912 disaster following TITANIC (1943, GER, an anti-British Nazi propaganda film), TITANIC (1953, USA) and A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958, GBR). Winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director. Only BEN-HUR had copped as many Academy Awards.

To All a Good Night (1980, USA) C-83m. ** D: David A. Hess. Starring Jennifer Runyon, Forrest Swanson, Linda Gentile, William Lauer, Judith Bridges. Typical slasher movie about a group of teenagers, who spend the weekend at school, hoping to party and get laid. Unfortunately, there’s a killer in a Santa suit dispatching them one by one. No surprises in this watchable FRIDAY THE 13TH variation, adequately acted by all. Directed by the star of such infamous cult films such as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and CASA SPERDUTA NEL PARCO (1980).

To Die For (1995, USA) C-106m. **½ D: Gus Van Sant. Starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, Illeana Douglas, Casey Affleck, Alison Folland, Dan Hedaya, Wayne Knight, Kurtwood Smith, Holland Taylor, Susan Traylor, Maria Tucci, David Cronenberg, George Segal. A real-life case, transformed into a black comedy, about pretty girl Kidman, who'll stop at nothing when it comes to her career in television - including murder. Unconventional, uneven narrative has several family members (of both her husband Dillon and herself) tell the story in retrospect, so you'll soon guess how it all turned out. Well-acted by the entire cast, especially Kidman. Horror director Cronenberg has a poignant cameo at the end of the film. Based on the book by Joyce Maynard.

Todo Sobre Mi Madre (1999, SPA/FRA) C-101m. Scope *** D: Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Pena, Antonia San Juan, Penélope Cruz. Oscar-winning feature from renowned Spanish director Almodóvar about a mother, whose son dies in a car accident, which makes her set out to look for his father, a transvestite. Several supporting characters spice up the proceedings. A heartfelt melodrama, like all of Almodóvar’s films, and also not for all tastes. The title (ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER in its English translation) is an allusion to the Hollywood classic ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), which is featured briefly at the beginning.

To Kill a Stranger (1985, USA/MEX) C-87m. ** D: Juan López Moctezuma. Starring Angélica María, Dean Stockwell, Donald Pleasence, Aldo Ray, Sergio Aragonés, Juan López Moctezuma. Reporter Stockwell, while filming a documentary on the military regime in a Latin American country, is waiting for his wife María join him. However, the woman has a car accident by night and is taken in by war veteran Pleasence, whose intentions ar far from pure. Wildly plotted thriller is energetic enough to make this watchable. Typical B-movie fare with an interesting cast. Mexican titles: MATAR A UN EXTRANO, SECUESTRADA.

To Kill with Intrigue (1978, HGK) C-111m. Scope *** D: Lo Wei. Starring Jackie Chan, Hsu Feng, Shen Ie Lung, Yu Ling Lung, Wang Kuo, Lily Li. Chan finds his nemesis in governor (Feng) who has killed his father and taken his girlfriend. In his quest for revenge he is supported by a mysterious woman who has fallen in love with him. So-so plot backed by exciting action footage and the presence of A TOUCH OF ZEN-star Hsu Feng. Director Wei also photographed and produced the film.

Toki wo Kakeru Shôjo (2006, JAP) C-98m. *** D: Mamoru Hosoda. Starring (the voices of) Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura, Ayami Kakiuchi. Interesting, original (despite being reminiscent of GROUNDHOG DAY) time-travel movie about a teenage girl, who suddenly realizes that she can travel back in time, depending on how far she leaps. She uses this to improve little situations in her life, but when it’s love she wants to avoid in one way – and create love in another – she gets herself in a lot of trouble. Clever teen sci-fi becomes heart-rending in second half, all set to a beautiful score. Has cult movie possibilities. Based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, a sequel or a remake of the 1983 live-action feature TOKI O KAKERU SHOJO (THE GIRL WHO CONQUERED TIME). English title: THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME.

Tokugawa Onna Keibatsu-Shi (1968, JAP) C-96m. Scope ** D: Teruo Ishii. Starring Yuki Kagawa, Asao Koike, Reiko Mikasa, Miki Obana. This first of eight or nine Japanese torture movies dealing with the sadistic tyranny of the Tokugawa dynasty in 17th century. Film is divided into three short stories: The first one is about a woman who becomes a whore in order to help her sick brother, the second deals with sinful nuns and monks, and the third story is about a tattoo artist who gets his inspiration in a torture chamber. Exceedingly violent but stories carry little impact. Followed by TOKUGAWA ONNA KEIZU. English titles: PUNISHMENT OF THE TOKUGAWA WOMEN, and THE JOY OF TORTURE.

Tokyo-Ken (1995, JAP) C-87m. ***½ D: Shinya Tsukamoto. Starring Kahori Fujii, Shinya Tsukamoto, Kohji Tsukamoto, Naomasa Musaka. Absolutely stunning achievement, a horrifying urban drama about an insurance salesman, who tries to get rid of his bottled-up aggressions in the gym, taking boxing lessons and cracks mentally (as well as physically) when a former high school friend (and boxer) takes away his girlfriend and pride. An outstanding, shocking masterpiece that manages to take in issues of aggression, frustration, sex, stress and revenge, to name but a few. All this is presented brilliantly by creative direction, incisive editing and breathtaking photography. Director Tsukamoto (of the TETSUO films) wrote, shot, edited, produced and acted in the movie! An exhausting experience, not easy to take but still a must for film fans of any conversion. Next to RAGING BULL, one of the best films about boxers (not boxing). Also known as TOKYO FIST.

Tôkyô Nagaremono (1966, JAP) C-82m. Scope **½ D: Seijun Suzuki. Starring Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Hideako Nitani, Ryuji Kita, Tsuyoshi Yoshida. Moody, atmospheric Japanese gangster movie classic about Watari, who finds himself caught between rivaling gangs and becomes a drifter to help his former boss. Action drama is notable for its stylish sets and pop-art design, but story is talky and heavy-going, when not confusing. Some consider this a masterpiece nevertheless. Can be understood as an homage to or parody of American gangster movies (a la film noir). English titles: TOKYO DRIFTER, THE MAN FROM TOKYO.

Tomb, The (1986, USA) C-84m. ** D: Fred Olen Ray. Starring Cameron Mitchell, John Carradine, Sybil Danning, Susan Stokey, Richard Alan Hench, Kitten Natividad. One of trash filmmaker Ray’s watchable films, this horror movie deals with two grave robbers, who bring precious artefacts home from Egypt, as well as a seductive but deadly female Pharao. Quite amusing in parts, interesting cast, although most of the budget went into casting Mitchell, Carradine and Danning, and the okay effects.

Tomie: Saishuu-Shô – Kindan no Kajitsu (2002, JAP) C-91m. Scope D: Shun Nakahara. Starring Nozomi Andô, Aoi Miyazaki, Jun Kunimura, Yuka Fujimoto, Tetsu Watanabe. Fourth or fifth TOMIE movie is an odd horror drama about nerdish girl Tomie, who is a complete outsider and often taunted by her school mates. One day she befriends a mysterious girl, who turns out to be the ghost of Tomie’s father’s first love. She uses her influence to instruct the father to kill his daughter. Terminally odd, slowly paced drama that takes a bizarre twist towards MACABRO (1980) and BASKET CASE (1982), though never retains those movies’ atmosphere and goofiness, respectively. Never a good sign if a movie justifies its existence solely by making a bow to RINGU (1998). Based on the comic book by Junji Ito. English title: TOMIE: THE FINAL CHAPTER – FORBIDDEN FRUIT. Still, it was followed by two more movies.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, USA) C-119m. Scope *** D: Roger Spottiswoode. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Joe Don Baker, Götz Otto, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewellyn. James Bond’s 18th adventure pits him against media czar Pryce, who wants to achieve world domination by installing a satellite system that will reach the farthest corners of the globe. Secret agent 007, teaming up with Asian martial arts expert Yeoh, gives him a hard time. Nice premise, OK plot and some exciting chase scenes is what this action film has to offer. An improvement over GOLDENEYE, but still nowhere near the classic originals. And who let Sheryl Crow sing the title tune?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down a Dream (2007, USA) C-240m. *** D: Peter Bogdanovich. Starring Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Ron Blair, Steve Ferrone, Stan Lynch, Jeff Lynne, Eddie Vedder, Steve Nicks. Documentary about a rock’n’roll superhero, the humble but charismatic Tom Petty, whose musical history is traced here, from his roots in late 60s Florida, to his hey-day in the late 70s/early 80s, as well as commercial triumphs in the 90s. Director Bogdanovich wisely lets the band thell their own story and interviews some colleagues along the way, this is not only an excellent look at an influential rock band and solo musician, this is also an invaluable document of several rock eras. Recommended to anyone with a passing interest in rock history. Received limited theatrical release in October 2007 and was simultaneously released on DVD.

Tonari no Totoro (1988, JAP) C-86m. ***½ D: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring (the voices of) Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Tanie Kitabayashi, Hitoshi Katagi. Miyazaki’s follow-up to the classic LAPUTA is a marvelous children’s story about two kids, who move to the country with their father to be close to the family’s mother, who is in hospital. The children are enchanted by the idyllic nature surrounding them and make the acquaintance of a wondrous tree spirit, Totoro. Beautiful tale with many blissful moments, well-scored by Joe Hisaishi. Bogs down towards the end, but still a remarkable animated feature. Children will be spellbound from start to finish. Miyazaki followed this with the even more enchanting MAJO NO TAKKYUBIN (KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE). The kitten bus made a return in a 13m. short Miyazai filmed in 2002. English title: MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO.

Toolbox Murders, The (1978, USA) C-94m. M D: Dennis Donnelly. Starring Cameron Mitchell, Pamelyn Ferdin, Wesley Eure, Nicolas Beauvy, Evelyn Guerrero. Abysmal slasher movie about a masked maniac who kills women with several tools from his toolbox. Poorly acted, amateurishly directed, not that violent, stay away! Film’s reputation is obviously built on its title only.

Tooth Fairy (2010, USA/CDN) C-101m. ** D: Michael Lembeck. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Stephen Merchant, Ryan Sheckler, Seth McFarlane, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal. A movie that sounds like an idiotic idea: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stars as a hard-hitting but unsuccessful ice hockey player, who destroys a little girl’s belief in the Tooth Fairy and is then transformed into one himself. Some laughs, and some surprising star cameos, but otherwise this falls flat and remains far too formulaic.

Topaz (1969, USA) C-127m. ** D: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin, Claude Jade, Michel Subor, Karin Dor, John Vernon, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Roscoe Lee Browne, John Forsythe, Alfred Hitchcock. Plodding, talky spy drama from Hitchcock (based on a Leon Uris novel), which he considered a misfire himself. Stafford plays a suave French agent, who is hired by the Secret Service to find out details of Russian KGB officer who managed to escape to the West. It turns out that he knows about the Russian activities on Cuba (the film is set in 1962). Never fully involving, with only a handful of Hitch’s typical directorial touches. Allegedly, Hitchcock shot two different versions (at least two alternative endings are in existence), the longer one running 143m.

Top Gun (1986, USA) C-110m. Scope **½ D: Tony Scott. Starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Barry Tubb, Rick Rossovich, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, Frank Pesce. Popular but manipulative, contrived action drama about hot-shot pilot Cruise, who makes his way to elite school with his buddy Edwards and falls in love with McGillis, while finding a rival in Kilmer. A crowd-pleaser, film works quite well on the emotional level, but story development is strictly by-the-numbers and predictable. Good photography by Jeffrey Kimball. Produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Topkapi (1964, USA) C-119m. *** D: Jules Dassin. Starring Melina Mercouri, Peter Ustinov, Maximilian Schell, Robert Morley, Jess Hahn, Gilles Ségal, Akim Tamiroff. Classic heist film has lost much of its charm over the years. Schell and Mercouri mastermind a plan to steal precious dagger from famous Topkapi museum in Istanbul. Well-cast, performed with gusto (Ustinov won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar), but meanders a little too much until exciting finale. Harmless entertainment. Based on Eric Ambler’s novel The Light of Day. The inspiration for the “Mission Impossible” TV series.

Topo, El (1971, MEX) C-125m. *** D: Alejandro Jodorowsky. Starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Jose Legaretta, Alfonso Arau, Jose Luis Fernandez, Alf Junco. “If you’re great, EL TOPO is a great picture. If you’re limited, EL TOPO is limited.” This quotation by the director himself goes to show that this movie (his second feature) is clearly not for all tastes and requires a refined intellect (to say nothing of broad tolerance) to accept and cherish it. EL TOPO is difficult to describe: The title character, a gunslinger clad in black leather, rides through the desert with his little son. When he comes across a bloody massacre, he feels obliged to take revenge on the misfits responsible… in ultra-violent and sadistic fashion. El Topo is a gunslinger who aspires to be God, spurned on by a beautiful and mysterious woman. Jodorowsky presents a caleidoscope of religions, all wrapped in deeply stirring, challenging, even hypnotizing images. This is not a western (if fact, the director labeled it an eastern!) but a surreal odyssey through a desert world of lechery, violence and debauchery, perhaps Jodorowsky’s personal bible. Deeply fascinating, until the final thirty minutes, which bog the film down in the fashion of Jodorowsky’s MONTAGNA SACRA. An offbeat, deliberately unconventional ‘performance’ film, impossible to compare with any other film (at least in my opinion). Is it merely a male machismo fantasy, or a brilliant art film? You be the judge! Filmed in the late 1960s with a low budget; it was originally banned in many countries. The director also scripted and wrote the score. English title: THE MOLE. Followed by a never-released sequel (SONS OF EL TOPO) in 1999.

Torturer, The (2005, USA) C-94m. ** D: Lamberto Bava. Starring Simone Corrente, Elena Bouryka, Carla Cassola, Emilio De Marchi. Director Bava’s return to the cinema after a hiatus of fourteen years wasn’t really worth the wait. A young actress (Bouryka) auditions for a role at director Corrente’s studio, but he may be a torturer, abusing and killing women in most sadistic fashions. The success of SAW (2004) probably inspired this, but it is not clever at all and poorly plotted. Nudity and violence galore, so at least horror fans should get their money’s worth. Story by Dardano Sacchetti and Michele Massimo Tarantini, coscripted by the director, whose immediate follow-up GHOST SON (2006) was better.

Total Recall (1990, USA) C-113m. *** D: Paul Verhoeven. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell. Imaginative science-fiction thriller set in 2084, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (BLADE RUNNER). Schwarzenegger plays a construction worker, whose life on Earth leaves him wanting. He harbors a secret desire to travel to Mars and one day decides to have a memory of a Mars holiday implanted in his brain. However, this triggers another memory, one that will make him question his identity altogether. Has he already been on Mars? What was his business there? Well-written, exciting sci-fi is one of Arnie’s best vehicles, despite a rough, pretentious start. Dan O’Bannon (ALIEN) was among the writers. Score by Jerry Goldsmith. David Cronenberg was involved with this project before Verhoeven (ROBOCOP) took over.

Totmacher, Der (1995, GER) C-114m. *** D: Romuald Karmakar. Starring Götz George. Powerful psycho drama about serial killer Fritz Haarmann, who has killed 27 people and is now sitting in for a psychological examination. Film is set in one room only but forceful performances by George (as Haarmann) and his interviewer carry it all the way. Both fascinating and disturbing, film’s only flaw may be that Haarmann’s motives are not thoroughly fleshed out. Based on a true case that was filmed before in 1973 as DIE ZÄRTLICHKEIT DER WÖLFE.

Touch, The (2002, HGK/CHI/TIW) C-103m. Scope ** D: Peter Pau. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Ben Chaplin, Richard Roxburgh, Brandon Chang, Margaret Wang, Kenneth Tsang. Action adventure about a jade heart that is the key to a legendary treasure. Circus artist Yeoh reluctantly teams up with a former friend to beat villain Roxburgh in the search for the gold. Despite the talents involved (director Pau is better known as a cinematographer), film is poorly paced and never gets going. Even the special effects seem pointless. Forget the comparisons to Indiana Jones.

Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1953, FRA/ITA) 94m. ** D: Jacques Becker. Starring Jean Gabin, René Dary, Dora Doll, Vitorio Sanipoli, Lino Ventura, Jeanne Moreau. Anemic French gangster movie with Gabin playing the head of the Parisian underworld, who may have something to do with recent gold robbery. Gabin adds weight to his role, but this film is certainly no classic. Very sluggish. English titles: GRISBI and HANDS OFF THE LOOT.

Touch of Evil (1958, USA) 111m. **** D: Orson Welles. Starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Joanna Cook Moore, Ray Collins, Dennis Weaver, Marlene Dietrich, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joseph Cotten, Mercedes McCambridge, Keenan Wynn. A fatal accident on the Mexican-American border brings together two local celebrities: Welles, a weary, overweight but ever-so forceful cop, who’s corrupt to the bone, and his antagonist, narcotics inspector Heston, who’s out to rid Mexico of drugs. Unsuspecting wife Leigh may be Heston’s only weak spot and plays a crucial part in the drama that unfolds. Atmospheric, dense, almost Shakespearean crime drama is a stylistic masterpiece. Cinematography (by Russell Metty) and direction are perfect, making the audience almost feel the heat of the moment, yet all of this was shot in black-and-white! Welles’ tracking shots, especially the one in the opening scene, are nothing short of stunning. Welles’ acting part is every bit as impressive, one of the most seedy villain parts in history. Heston is cast against type but his performance is as strong. Excellent jazzy score by Henry Mancini. One of the best films of the decade and also one of the most impressive black-and-white pictures ever made. Philip H. Lathrop is credited as camera operator. Based on Whit Masterson’s novel Badge of Evil. Also shown at 95m., 108m. and 111m., the latter version having been restored in 1998 according to Welles’ notes.

Touch of Zen, A (1969, ROC) C-180m. Scope *** D: King Hu. Starring Hsu Feng, Shih Chun, Pai Ying, Chang Ping-Yu. A young man’s ordinary life is turned upside down when several strangers arrive at his village, with one of whom he falls in love. Extraordinary, meticulously crafted action epic almost single-handedly established the martial arts genre and set the standards for many following films. The breathtaking scenery is only undermined by a plot that may mean more to those familiar with Zen Buddhism. Impressive film should be viewed in a theatre, which is where it really belongs. Original title: HSIA NU.

Tout le Monde Il Est Beau, Tout le Monde Il Est Gentil (1972, FRA/ITA) C-84m. ** D: Jean Yanne. Starring Jean Yanne, Bernard Blier, Michel Serrault, Marina Vlady, Jacques Francois, Paul Préboist, Maurice Risch. After doing some research in a developing country, radio reporter Yanne returns home to France and finds his station considerably changed. It has turned into a Christian channel and Yanne seems superfluous. How can he strike back? Satirical comedy seems like a vanity product for Yanne, who also directed. No narrative thrust, very few laughs. Of curio value at best. First of seven films Yanne directed in his career. Followed by a TV series in the late 1980s. English title: EVERYBODY HE IS NICE, EVERYBODY HE IS BEAUTIFUL. 

Towering Inferno, The (1974, USA) C-165m. Scope ** D: John Guillermin, Irwin Allen. Starring Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O. J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Gregory Sierra, Dabney Coleman. Probably the biggest disaster epic of the decade, this thriller about a burning skyscraper is a complete dud in terms of plot, simply relying on its stars and special effects. McQueen is fine as world-weary fire fighter, who must find a way of rescueing 300 party guests trapped 50 storeys above the fire. Completely meaningless and pointless, but finally gets going in the final fourty minutes (if you make it that far). Stirling Silliphant adapted the novels The Tower (by Richard Martin Stern) and The Glass Inferno (by Frank M. Robinson and Thomas N. Scortia).

Town That Dreaded Sundown, The (1976, USA) C-90m. Scope ** D: Charles B. Pierce. Starring Ben Johnson, Andrew Prine, Dawn Wells, Jimmy Clem, Jim Citty, Charles B. Pierce. Based-on-fact thriller chronicling the chase for the serial killer that terrorized Texarkana, Arkansas, in 1946. Some effective stalk scenes don’t mix well with documentary-like narration. The trombone murder, however, ranks high in the Most Gruesomely Imaginative Murder Set Pieces in Horror Movie History. Produced by director Pierce and Samuel Z. Arkoff.

Toxic Avenger, The (1985, USA) C-82m. *** D: Michael Herz, Samuel Weil (=Lloyd Kaufman). Starring Andree Miranda, Mitchell Cohen, Jennifer Babtist, Cindy Manion, Marisa Tomei. Funny horror comedy about a nerd who gets transformed into a superhero after falling into toxic waste. Fans of the genre will appreciate the outrageous gore scenes, other may be repelled. A cult classic, followed by three sequels. Also shown at 78m., 87m., and 110m.! This review refers to the 82m. unrated video version.

Toxic Avenger, Part II, The (1989, USA) C-102m. ** D: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman. Starring Ron Fazio, John Altamura, Phoebe Legere, Rick Collins. Sequel to Troma’s surprise hit is a typically silly splatter comedy. Our superhero is almost killed when Tromaville’s Home for the Blind is attacked, but he returns with a vengeance. Later he is lured to Japan, where his lost father is supposed to be. Too often plain stupid, but saved by a few funny scenes (the old couple in the car is hilarious). Filmed back to back with Part III. Alternate versions run 95m., 96m. or even longer than 102m.

Toy Story (1995, USA) C-81m. *** D: John Lasseter. Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Laurie Metcalfe. Animation milestone, this razzle-dazzle cartoon was the first one made entirely on computers. A young boys’ favorite toy (cowboy Woody) gets unexpected competition from the latest birthday present, an action figure named Buzz Lightyear. However, they must help each other when they get lost and the family are about to move. Occasionally mean-spirited, sometimes too loud and aggressive, this film is not for small kids, but has some nice action sequences and a really adventurous storyline. Contains a lot of movie references. Followed by a 1999 sequel.

Toy Story 2 (1999, USA) C-92m. *** D: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich. Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Laurie Metcalf. Sequel to the Disney/Pixar hit is arguably better. Cowboy doll Woody is stolen by a toy collector and it’s Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! More of an adventure than part one and even comes up with a marvelous toy philosophy but goes overboard in contrived action finale. Some sensational animation!

Traffic (2000, USA) C-147m. *** D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Luis Guzmán, Tomas Milian, Don Cheadle, Miguel Ferrer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Albert Finney, James Brolin, Amy Irving, Dennis Quaid, Benjamin Bratt, Salma Hayek. Well-made drama, focusing on the lives of several people who are all involved – more or less – in drug trafficking, consumption and prevention. Complex script rings true from start to finish. Soderbergh, who also photographed the picture (pseudonymously), uses an unusual but highly effective color scheme. Good performances all around. Oscar winner for Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor (Del Toro) and Best Editing. Based on a 1989 British TV miniseries.

Train, Le (1973, FRA/ITA) C-101m. **½ D: Pierre Granier-Deferre. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Romy Schneider, Maurice Biraud, Paul Amiot, Serge Marquand, Henri Attal. In 1940, Frenchman Trintignant has to flee with his family from the Nazis. On a refugee train he meets and falls in love with German Schneider, but their brief affair is not to last… Adaptation of Georges Simenon’s novel is a subtly, sensitively handled drama but also frustratingly low-key sometimes. Worth a look, especially because of the excellent score by Philippe Sarde and the lead actors. English titles: THE TRAIN, THE LAST TRAIN.

Train Spécial pour SS (1977, FRA) C-103m. *½ D: James Gartner (=Alain Payet). Starring Monica Swinn, Christine Aurel, Sandra Mozarowsky, Yolanda Rios, Erik Muller, Frank Brana. Straight-forward sex film set in WW2 about a cabaret star-turned-prostitute, who resides in a Nazi train with her colleagues, ready to do anybody, anytime. Poorly made, but gets half a star for trying to keep up plot framework. Incredibly long for an exploitation / trash movie. Other titles: HELLTRAIN, LOVE TRAIN FOR SS, SPECIAL TRAIN FOR HITLER.

Trainspotting (1996, SCO) C-94m. *** D : Danny Boyle. Starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Irvine Welsh, John Hodge. Radical, funny teenage drama about a group of aimless, drug-abusing Scottish youths, one of whom (McGregor) tries to kick the habit, but sees it as a kind of diversion only, until he realizes that he is hooked and his life is going down the drain. Nice surreal touches by director Boyle, whose breakthrough picture this was. Fresh script by John Hodge, based on the novel by Irvine Welsh. A sleeper hit. Macdonald’s theatrical debut.

Traitement de Choc (1972, FRA/ITA) C-87m. *** D: Alain Jessua. Starring Annie Girardot, Alain Delon, Michel Duchaussoy, Robert Hirsch, Jean-François Calvé. Girardot plays a stressed businesswoman who spends a few days in a clinic in the country to undergo a rejuvenating cure. After her first injection she feels great, but soon she becomes suspicious about doctor Delon and the methods of the clinic. Thriller maintains interest not by suspenseful situations but by intelligent, ambitious plot which criticizes social hierarchy and the survival of the fittest. Screenplay written by the director, who also contributed to the percussion score. Delon is surprisingly subdued, Girardot earnest in a difficult role. Contains a lot of nudity. English title: SHOCK TREATMENT.

Trance (1998, USA) C-95m. ** D: Michael Almereyda. Starring Rachel O'Rourke, Lois Smith, Alison Elliott, Jared Harris, Sinead Dolan, Raina Feig, Christopher Walken. Mystical thriller about New York family who travel to Ireland to visit relatives in their castle and are confronted with the impending resurrection of a mummified witch lying in uncle Walken's cellar. Deliberately paced, underwritten chiller plays like an homage to Jess Franco and Jean Rollin (even Sam Raimi!). Beautiful, even poetic cinematography makes film watchable, if not in the least credible. A little more surrealism would have done it good. Horror fans should give this one a look, others beware. Written by the director. Released directly to video.

Trancers (1985, USA) C-76m. **½ D: Charles Band. Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Art La Fleur, Biff Manard, Anne Seymour. BLADE RUNNER meets THE TERMINATOR in this low-budget science-fiction film. Thomerson plays a futuristic policeman who goes 300 years back in time to the 1980s in order to keep a villain from securing world domination by turning people into Trancers, Zombie-like creatures. Overall a pretentious film but quite appealing and above average of its type. Director Band also produced the film, which was followed by four sequels. Aka FUTURE COP.

Tranquillo Posto di Campagna, Un (1968, ITA/FRA) C-105m. **½ D: Elio Petri. Starring Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Georges Geret, Gabriella Grimaldi, Madeleine Damien. Strange, bizarre psycho drama about troubled artist Nero, who moves into a secluded country house which may be haunted by the ghost of a dead girl. Fine photography by Luigi Kuveiller (PROFONDO ROSSO) and frenzied direction make this oddity worth watching, but it’s too vague and too unexciting to score as either drama or thriller. Appropriately deranged score by Ennio Morricone. Winner for Best Cinematography at the Venice Film Festival. English title: A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY.

Transsiberian (2008, GBR/GER/SPA/LIT) C-111m. SCOPE *** D: Brad Anderson. Starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega, Thomas Kretschmann. Captivating, richly textured thriller drama about photographers Mortimer and Harrelson who take the Transsib back from a stay in China. On the train they meet young couple Noriega and Mara, who are strangely nervous about police controls. Enter Russian police captain Kingsley, who is looking for the murderer of a drug smuggler. Unpredictable storyline, good characterizations, great settings and an excellent performance by Mortimer, a worthy follow-up to the director’s THE MACHINIST (2004), although it does falter at the end a bit. Written by Anderson and Will Conroy.

Tras el Cristal (1986, SPA) C-112m. ***½ D: Agustín Villaronga. Starring Günter Meisner, David Sust, Marisa Paredes, Gisèle Echevarría, Imma Colomer. Harrowing, controversial film about Nazi doctor Meisner, who abused and killed dozens of young boys during war. After a suicide attempt he is now paralyzed and confined to an iron lung. One day, former victim Sust comes to work for him as a nurse. However, the revenge he has planned for the cripple is dominated by traumatic perversion. Remarkable psycho drama exudes a cold fascination, is sometimes too understated, but well-directed and impressively acted. A thoughtful, well-made film whose subject matter unfortunately prevented wider circulation. See it! Similar to IL PORTIERE DI NOTTE (1974) and Roman Polanski’s DEATH AND THE MAIDEN (1994). Written by first-time director Villaronga. Good score by Javier Navarrete. English title: IN A GLASS CAGE.

Trash (1970, USA) C-110m. M D: Paul Morrissey. Starring Joe Dallessandro, Holly Woodlawn, Geri Miller, Andrea Feldman, John Putman, Sissy Spacek. ANDY WARHOL’S TRASH is just that, with endless close-ups of bored, wasted people. Dallessandro plays an impotent lover who makes money selling his body to gays. Spacek’s scenes were cut from final print; this would have been her film debut. Second part of a trilogy following FLESH (1968), and followed by HEAT (1972).

Trauma (1993, USA/ITA) C-108m. Scope *** D: Dario Argento. Starring Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Laura Johnson, James Russo, Brad Dourif, Frederic Forrest, Piper Laurie. Interesting Argento concoction (the film which was supposed to establish him as a Hollywood director) about a serial killer who cuts off and keeps the heads of his victims. Bulimic Asia Argento (the filmmaker’s daughter), whose parents are among those murdered, joins forces with journalist Rydell to solve the riddle of the killer’s identity. A little slow and uneven but a well-directed and stylish psycho thriller, not just for Dario Argento’s fans. Written and coproduced by the Italian horror maestro.

Traversée de Paris, La (1956, FRA) 84m. **½ D: Claude Autant-Lara. Starring Jean Gabin, Bourvil, Jeanette Batti, Louis de Funès. In 1942 Paris, as the blackmarket was going strong, an unemployed taxi-driver (Bourvil) is hired by a butcher (de Funès) to transport meat from one end of the city to the other. He is helped by a painter (Gabin). Together they live through a night full of comic misadventures. Film is more a drama than a comedy and as such not consequential enough. Bourvil won an award at the Venice film festival, but Gabin outdoes him as his headstrong partner-in-crime. English title: FOUR BAGS FULL.

Treasure Planet (2002, USA) C-95m. **½ D: Ron Clements, John Musker. Starring (the voices of) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, Michael Wincott, Martin Short, Patrick McGoohan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Laurie Metcalfe, Phil Proctor. Disney adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s classic is set in space(!), where Jim Hawkins sails to distant planets trying to retrieve a pirate’s treasure. Fairly exciting adventure for kids with good special effects. One big question remains, however: Why is this set in space? To be able to include crazy, mutated characters? Was the Caribbean setting too boring? The CGI effects also don’t blend well with the traditional animation. Score by James Newton Howard.

Tre Che Sconvolgero il West, I (1968, ITA/SPA) C-92m. Scope D: Enzo G. Castellari. Starring Antonio Sabàto, John Saxon, Frank Wolff, Agata Flory, Leo Anchoriz, Antonio Vico, Rossella Bergamonti, Tito Garcia. Unfunny spaghetti western comedy with a plot that’s familiar by now: Three men, an outlaw (Sabàto), a gambler (Saxon), and a fake priest (Wolff) are after money that has been stolen from a bank. The title (‘The three who turned the west upside down’) suggests a parody of IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL CATTIVO, which this certainly isn’t. Saved by above-average direction and nice camera perspectives. Get your laughs elsewhere.

Trees Lounge (1996, USA) C-94m. *** D: Steve Buscemi. Starring Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, Mark Boone Junior, Michael Buscemi, Anthony LaPaglia, Elizabeth Bracco, Danny Baldwin, Carol Kane, Samuel L. Jackson, Seymour Cassel, Mimi Rogers. Original comedy-drama about ne’er-do-well Buscemi, who spends most of his time in a bar called Trees Lounge, where fellow losers drink their problems away. When his uncle Al (Cassel) dies, he takes over his ice cream truck and gets involved with cousin Sevigny. Funny, poignant and well-acted. A small gem, written and directed by supporting actor Buscemi, who had appeared in cult films such as FARGO, RESERVOIR DOGS, MYSTERY TRAIN and BARTON FINK.

Tre Volti della Paura, I (1963, ITA/FRA) C-88m. **½ D: Mario Bava. Starring Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, Michèle Mercier, Suzy Andersen, Jacqueline Pierreux, Glauco Onorato, Rika Dialina, Massimo Righi, Milly Monti, Lydia Alfonso. Three-part horror anthology, despite having Mario Bava as a director, only moderately successful. The first story, called ‘The Telephone’ is mild, as Mercier is threatened by mysterious phone calls (ever wonder where Wes Craven got the idea to the opening scene in SCREAM). In the second story, The ‘Wurdelak’, which stars Boris Karloff and is as long as the other two combined, an entire family is terrorized by an evil vampire. Final story, ‘The Drop of Water’, is the best of the lot. A woman is called to dress the corpse of a dead woman and steals her ring, which leads to chilling results. Apart from this final treat, the other stories are rather weak and carry too little weight. The atmosphere created by director Bava can only compensate as much as making the film watchable. Strangely enough, this was Bava’s personal favorite! Based on stories by F.G. Snyder, V.I. Tolstoy and Ivan Chekhov (respectively). The U.S. version, titled BLACK SABBATH, had Karloff present the stories in a different order, and Les Baxter replaced Roberto Nicolosi’s original score. Also known as THREE FACES OF FEAR.

Tre Volti del Terrore, I (2004, ITA) C-89m. M D: Sergio Stivaletti. Starring John Philip Law, Riccardo Serventi Longhi, Elisabetta Rocchetti, Emiliano Reggente, Claudio Simonetti, Lamberto Bava. Sorry attempt at making a horror film: Three passengers on a train meet a mysterious character (Law), who gives them glimpses of former lives. They dream up three stories, in which they star: Plots involve a werewolf, a mad surgeon and a sea monster. Law plays several roles. Ridiculous at best; even Bava playing himself cannot save this mess. It’s poorly directed and acted, cheap looking and badly plotted. Not at all like special effects maestro Stivaletti’s other feature, MASCHERA DI CERA (1997). English titles: THE THREE FACES OF TERROR.

Trial Run (1984, NZL) C-89m. *** D: Melanie Read. Starring Annie Whittle, Judith Gibson, Christopher Broun. Well-made psycho-thriller about long-distance runner Whittle who takes up the job of photographing penguins and moves into a secluded hut with the nearest telephone booth 1500 meters away. And then strange, inexplicable things start to happen. Well-made debut thriller with an eerie score will pack a wallop if you fail to predict the ending.

Triangolo delle Bermude, Il (1977, ITA/MEX) C-106m. M D: René Cardona, Jr. Starring John Huston, Claudine Auger, Marina Vlady, Hugo Stiglitz, Andres Garcia. Dreadful adventure about a group of people who want to go deep-sea diving in the Bermuda triangle, completely disregarding the fact that several planes and ships have only recently disappeared there without a trace. Ludicrous plot, very little action. Stelvio Cipriani’s score is not bad, though. English title is, probably, THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE.

Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine, Les (1965, FRA/ITA) C-110m. ***½ D: Philippe de Broca. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Ursula Andress, Jean Rochefort, Darry Cowl, Maria Pacôme, Valérie Lagrange, Jess Hahn. Turbulent, fast-paced comedy adventure (one of the best of its time) about unhappy billionaire Belmondo, whose suicide attempts keep failing. When he hires some killers to do him in, he falls in love with beautiful Andress and wants to reverse the deal. Belmondo is ideally suited to this role, exotic locations and lots of stunts make this a joy to watch. A worthy companion piece to the Bond movies of that time. Based on a Jules Verne novel. Score by Georges Delerue. English title: UP TO HIS EARS.   

Trigger Effect, The (1996, USA) C-94m. ** D: David Koepp. Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney, Richard T. Jones, Michael Rooker. Top screenwriter Koepp’s directorial debut is an inauspicious thriller drama with sci-fi touches, about husband and wife (MacLachlan and Shue) who are surprised by a major black-out that seems to have affected the whole country. Soon, panic takes over. Premise is not bad, but MacLachlan’s self-conscious character makes this more annoying that exciting. Koepp fared much better with his second feature film, STIR OF ECHOES (1999).

Trinita e Sartana Figli di … (1972, ITA) C-95m. Scope ** D: Mario Siciliano. Starring Robert Widmark (=Alberto Dell’Acqua), Harry Baird, Beatrice Pella, Stelio Candelli, Daniela Giordano, Lars Bloch. Pretty laughable comedy western, focusing on two characters, who want nothing more than to rob gold transport, but they are not the only ones. Okay fare with colorful characters, if you have a faible for this kind of stuff. Goes on much too long, though. Score by Carlo Savina. English titles: TRINITY AND SARTANA ARE COMING / SONS OF BITCHES / THOSE DIRTY S.O.B.S.

Trio Infernal, Le (1974, FRA/ITA/GER) C-89m. ** D: Francis Girod. Starring Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, Mascha Gonska, Philippe Brizard, Jean Rigaux, Hubert Deschamps, Andréa Ferréol. Controversial psycho drama about fraudulent, impulsive trio consisting of cunning lawyer Piccoli and his two obedient lovers Schneider and Gonska. They cash in the life insurance of their husbands and lead a carefree life. How long will this last? Heavy-going – and slow – most of the time, film relies too much on the actors to make this interesting. Still, some found this fascinating. Original 109m. version may be an improvement. Based on a novel by Solange Fasquelle. Score by Ennio Morricone.

Trip, The (1967, USA) C-78m. **½ D: Roger Corman. Starring Peter Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper, Salli Sachse, Tom Signorelli, Peter Bogdanovich. Colorful time capsule from the 1960s and the beginning of the psychedelic era, about conservative TV director Fonda, who takes an LSD trip and finds his world unhinged. Not much in terms of plot, but watch it for some psychedelic nostalgia and visual experiments. Dated, but still fun as a relic of a bygone time. Written by Jack Nicholson! Hopper also directed some scenes. Originally runs 85m.

Triple Cross (1966, GBR/FRA) C-138m. **½ D: Terence Young. Starring Christopher Plummer, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard, Gert Fröbe, Claudine Auger, Yul Brynner, Harry Meyen, Georges Lycan, Jess Hahn, Howard Vernon. Plummer is fine as British safecracker who becomes a spy for the Germans during WW2 but does espionage for both sides. Not the kind of adventure of which James Bond had plenty at that time: entertainment value is low, there’s little suspense, and action sequences are rare. Good cast is film’s sole virtue. Brynner is especially impressive as a German commander. Gordon Jackson appears unbilled. Shown at 126m. in the U.S.

Triplettes de Belleville, Les (2003, FRA) C-80m. *** D: Sylvain Chomet. Starring (the voices of) Béatrice Bonifassi, Lina Boudreau, Michèle Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda. Oscar-nominated animated feature seems traditionally drawn but has some CGI elements. Almost dialogue-free film is a crime mystery set in the 1950s about a young cyclist, driven by his mother, who participates in the Tour de France and is kidnapped by some gangsters from Belleville (standing for New York City) for some evil plans. It’s his mother and their pet dog to the rescue! Well-designed, with lots of odd and stylish touches, though the story is almost entirely without dialogue and quite bizarre. Written by the director. English title: THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE.

Tristan + Isolde (2006, USA) C-125m. **½ D: Kevin Reynolds. Starring James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell, David O’Hara, Mark Strong, Henry Cavill. Historical epic based on the love story between the title characters (originally conceived by Richard Wagner for opera), who fall for each other during a difficult time for the English and Irish. As they are from opposing sides, Tristan first abandons Isolde, then realizes that their love is immortal. Pleasant enough, beautifully staged, but lacks spark, especially in convincing us Tristan (Franco) is a passionate character.

Trog (1970, GBR) C-91m. ** D: Freddie Francis. Starring Joan Crawford, Michael Gough, Bernard Kay, Kim Braden, David Griffin, John Hamill, David Warbeck. Prehistoric monster, half-ape, half-man is discovered dwelling in a cave, and scientist Crawford tries to domesticise it, if it weren’t for mischievous Gough. Horror drama is watchable but too trivial (and boring) to compare it with the classic FRANKENSTEIN, to which it owes a lot. Crawford’s last film appearance. Photographed by Desmond Dickinson. Based on a story by John Gilling and Peter Bryan.

Troma’s War (1988, USA) C-87m. M D: Michael Herz, Samuel Weil (=Lloyd Kaufman). Starring Carolyn Beauchamp, Sean Bowen, Michael Ryder (=Rick Washburn), Patrick Weathers, Jessica Dublin. Pretty terrible, tasteless Troma action about several plane crash survivors who end up on a Caribbean island only to get involved with soldiers from an “infiltration trainee camp”. No laughs here despite usual Troma lunacy. Director’s cut runs 104m. Also known as A 1,000 WAYS TO DIE.

Tromeo & Juliet (1996, USA) C-119m. ** D: Lloyd Kaufman. Starring Jane Jensen, Will Keenan, Valentine Miele, Stephen Blackehart, Maximillian Shaun, Steve Gibbons, Sean Gunn, Lemmy (narrator). Typically tasteless Troma release that perverts the classic Shakespearean tragedy Romeo & Juliet. Body piercing artist Tromeo is in love with Juliet, but their families are bitter enemies. Gore, sex, slapstick Troma-style. Some will consider this mildly funny, others stay away. James Gunn co-directed sans credit.

TRON (1982, USA/TIW) C-96m. SCOPE *** D: Steven Lisberger. Starring Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes, Dan Shor, Peter Jurasik, Michael Dudikoff. Cult sci-fi movie from Disney about the emerging computer age, with stunning effects that still hold up after all these years. Bridges plays a hacker, who is asked by programmer Boxleitner to hack into his old boss’s super-computer, which then proceeds to ‘beam’ him into a video game. Interesting concept, well-made and acted, perfectly captures the spirit of the time, the advent of video-gaming.

Tropic Thunder (2008, USA/GER) C-122m. SCOPE **½ D: Ben Stiller. Starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, Steve Coogan, Danny McBride, Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey, Brandon Soo Hoo, Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mickey Rooney, Tobey Maguire, Kevin Pollak. A film crew is stuck filming a war drama in the Vietnamese jungles, and big-shot producer Cruise forces director Coogan to apply different methods, so he brings the movie’s stars (Stiller, Black, Downey Jr et al) into the real jungle to make it seem more realistic. Soon they have to fend for themselves in hostile environment, with real Viet Cong soldiers everywhere they at first believe to be extras. Loaded with great ideas, but most of them are fired within minutes (for example in the trailers of the beginning), and longer stretches are without laughs entirely. Uneven, most enjoyable for movie buffs. Downey Jr. steals the film as the black(!) method actor. Photographed by John Toll.

Trottoirs de Bangkok, Les (1984, FRA) C-85m. M D: Jean Rollin. Starring Yoko, Francoise Blanchard, Gérard Landry, Olivier Rollin. Horrendous non-movie from a once-stylish director aspires to be a sort-of Fu Manchu type of film but it’s just an incomprehensible mess. “Plot” (biological weapon sought after by spies) is interrupted again and again by pointless nude and sex scenes. Ridiculous, amateurish at every turn. English title: SIDEWALKS OF BANGKOK.

Trou, Le (1960, FRA/ITA) 121m. *** D: Jacques Becker. Starring Michel Constantin, Philippe Leroy, Jean Keraudy, Raymond Meunier, Mark Michel. Captivating, suspenseful thriller details the lengths five inmates go to in order to break out of prison. Remains very much on the surface psychologically, but still qualifies as riveting entertainment. Becker also wrote the screenplay. This was his last film.

Troy (2004, USA) C-163m. Scope *** D: Wolfgang Petersen. Starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, Diane Kruger, Julian Glover, Sean Bean, Peter O’Toole, Julie Christie, Saffron Burrows. Big, booming epic based on Homer’s famous Iliad. Story centers around character of Achilles (Pitt), who becomes a decisive figure in the war that follows the robbery of Helen of Troy, the besiegement of the city and the fates decided in the battle. Expertly made film boasts impressive action sequences and fine performances by all involved (minus Kruger, perhaps). Pitt looks extremely good. Score by James Horner, photography by Roger Pratt. Filmed in Malta.

True Crime (1999, USA) C-127m. *** D: Clint Eastwood. Starring Clint Eastwood, Isaiah Washington, Denis Leary, James Woods. Harrowing drama about a reporter (Eastwood), who has lost his perspective in life and gets a chance at redemption when he gets to finish some research that was begun by a female colleague, who died in a car accident. He investigates the story of a criminal (Washington) who is to be executed in the prison of San Quentin for having murdered a pregnant teenager. Eastwood's research leads him to believe that the Afro American is innocent - but he has only 12 hours to prove that. Paper-thin, manipulative premise and incidental, unbelievable plot is offset by a superb dramatic pace, which keeps things boiling until the edge-of-your-seat finale. Eastwood's character is not very likable, but his is not the only principal role in the picture. A good, exciting film, but it lacks any deeper message whatsoever. Eastwood also produced.

True Lies (1994, USA) C-144m. Scope *** D: James Cameron. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere, Art Malik, Eliza Dushku, Charlton Heston. Action yarn made on a grand scale, about family father Schwarzenegger, who’s also a secret agent ready to bust international terrorists. His family doesn’t suspect anything, especially not his wife Curtis, but soon they are in over their heads. Entertaining, exciting action comedy willingly throws credibility overboard to deliver high-octane action entertainment. Plot takes second chair here. Based on the French film LA TOTALE! (1991), directed by Claude Zidi.

True Romance (1993, USA) C-120m. Scope ***½ D: Tony Scott. Starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Bronson Pinchot, Michael Rapaport, Saul Rubinek, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L. Jackson. A great cast is brought together in what may be the best New-Generation picture of the 1990s. Slater falls in love with callgirl Arquette, shoots her pimp and together they take it on the lam with a suitcase full of high-grade cocaine. The mafia and the police are hot on their trails. The story may be pulp fiction but the thrill ride never lets up thanks to dynamic shoot-outs and highly stylized bloodletting. Best scene: Alabama’s fight with a bad guy in the motel. Stand-outs in a brilliant cast: Oldman as Arquette’s ultra-cool, ultra-violent pimp, Walken as a menacing Mafia kingpin, and Pitt as a constantly stoned hippie. Written by, as you might have guessed, Quentin Tarantino, who presents an updated version of Terrence Malick’s 1973 cult film BADLANDS (this is especially noticable in Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score). Watch out for edited prints.

Truman Show, The (1998, USA) C-102m. *** D: Peter Weir. Starring Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Brian Delate, Paul Giamatti, Harry Shearer. Truman Burbank (Carrey) seems to have dropped out of a painting by Norman Rockwell. He lives in a picture-perfect town, has a secure job, a beautiful wife ... a seemingly flawless existence. However, he is about to find out that his life is just a huge TV show, which started 30 years ago - when he was born. Sharply directed satire, strongly philosophical in its message, with a brilliant performance by Ed Harris as the initiator/producer of the show. Production design and score lift film well-above the average, though some viewers have criticized a one-dimensionality in the plot and a lack of exploiting the premise to its full potential. The ending certainly is a let-down. Written by the director.

Trust the Man (2005, USA) C-103m. Scope *** D: Bart Freundlich. Starring David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Billy Crudup, Eva Mendes, Ellen Barkin, James LeGros, Bob Balaban, Bart Freundlich. Amusing slice-of-life comedy-drama about two couples with typical problems. Duchovny is at home caring for two little children, while his wife Moore is a successful actress with no interest in sex. Her brother Crudup is in a (childless) relationship with Gyllenhaal, which has now reached a crossroads. Telling observation of modern relationships, well-acted. Written by the director.

Truth About Cats & Dogs, The (1996, USA) C-97m. ** D: Michael Lehmann. Starring Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin, Jamie Foxx, James McCaffrey. Lightweight romantic comedy about radio talk show and veterinarian Garofalo, who asks gorgeous  but dumb blonde Thurman to claim she is her when a caller falls in love with her. Story is paper-thin and plot is based on coincidences, but manages to be cute and charming nonetheless. Thurman looks far from her prettiest.

Tube (2003, KOR) C-112m. Scope *** D: Baek Woon-Hak. Starring Seok-Hun Kim, Sang-min Park, Du-na Bae, Oh-jung Kwon. Korean action thriller about a terrorist, who intends to kill an important politician in the subway system and a grudging cop’s plan to stop him. Part of the complex story: A street girl who’s in love with the cop and a subway worker, who’s in love, too. Story set-up is filmed with style and elegance but halfway through film suffers from a lack of ideas and becomes overly melodramatic. No match for THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 (1974) or SPEED (1994), but still a fairly good film. Korean title: TYUBEU.

Tue Mani sul Mio Corpo, Le (1970, ITA) C-91m. SCOPE **½ D: Brunello Rondi. Starring Lino Capolicchio, Colette Descombes, Erna Schürer, Daniel Sola, José Quaglio. Bored, aimless, reckless but traumatized Capolicchio is at odds with his rich father and would rather be seduced by his stepmother, sexy Schürer. Then her friend Descombes arrives with her boyfriend and Capolicchio is immediately obsessed with her. His ideas get more and more bizarre, until the inevitable tragedy happens. Typically outré character drama, well-acted by Capolicchio and quite well-directed and edited (by Michele Massimo Tarantini). Real star of the film is Giorgio Gaslini’s fine score, which carries it over slow spots. Recommended to people who like this kind of fare, others might be bored. Sergio Martino (whose brother Luciano coscripted and coproduced with Fellini-collaborator Rondi) is credited as production manager (literally organizzatore generale). English title: YOUR HANDS ON MY BODY.

Tugt & Utugt (2001, DEN) C-73m. ** D: Ghita Beckendorff, Torben Skjodt Jensen. Just okay documentary about pornography in Scandinavia: Denmark and Sweden were the first countries to legalize it in the 1960s. Archive footage of politicians discussing the phenomenon is shown, old interviews of people in the streets. Little to no time is invested in movies, which is a pity. Also known as MORE SEX PLEASE – WE’RE SCANDINAVIANS.

Tuo Piacere è il Mio, Il (1973, ITA) C-84m. M D: Claudio Racca. Starring Ewa Aulin, Barbara Bouchet, Femi Benussi, Sylva Koscina, Erna Schürer, Lionel Stander, Leopoldo Trieste, Umberto Raho. Dreary, completely unfunny sex comedy about wife of impotent Stander, who seeks pleasure elsewhere. Talky scenes go on endlessly… you’ll regret it after ten minutes if you popped it into your VCR because of that cast. English title: MY PLEASURE IS YOUR PLEASURE.

Tuo Vizio è una Stanza Chiusa e Solo Io Ne Ho la Chiave, Il (1972, ITA) C-97m. **½ D: Sergio Martino. Starring Luigi Pistilli, Anita Strindberg, Edwige Fenech, Ivan Rassimov, Franco Nebbia, Riccardo Salvina, Daniela Giordano, Carla Mancini, Bruno Boschetti. Martino’s fourth giallo is mediocre mystery thriller about troubled writer Pistilli, who lives in a crumbling mansion with his neurotic wife Strindberg, who seems to be haunted by her husband’s black cat. Then their black maid is murdered. Did Pistilli do it? Relatively thick plot, based on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat leaves hardly any room for suspense. The performances are quite good, as is the score by Bruno Nicolai. English titles: YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY, GENTLY BEFORE SHE DIES, EYE OF THE BLACK CAT, and EXCITE ME.

Turkey Shoot (1982, AUS) C-93m. SCOPE ** D: Brian Trenchard-Smith. Starring Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Carmen Duncan, Noel Ferrier, Linda Stoner, Roger Ward. Science-fiction action exploitation (how about that for a genre) set in the near future, where rich guys have founded a Nazi-like concentration camp where the inmates are brutally tortured and a select few may take part in hunting game where they are the prey. Variation of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, has a nice futuristic look apart from generally intriguing premise, but film lacks punch and the characters are a mess. Has a MAD MAX touch about it, but totally lacks its quality. Executive produced by John Daly and David Hemmings, who is also said to have done some second unit directing. Score by Brian May. Also known as BLOOD CAMP THATCHER, and ESCAPE 2000.

Turks Fruit (1973, NED) C-104m. ***½ D: Paul Verhoeven. Starring Rutger Hauer, Monique van de Ven, Wim van den Brink, Tommy Huurdeman, Dolf de Vries. Rebellious artist Hauer falls in love with beautiful van de Ven and marries her soon after, despite her mother’s attempts to keep him away from her. Both funny and sad, film is riveting from start to finish and leads to a shattering conclusion. Verhoeven’s superb, unpretentious direction shows life as it really is. Film is filled with graphic sex scenes but far from being a sex film, which is how many people wanted to label it upon release. This first-rate adult drama was Paul Verhoeven’s second feature. Not to be missed. Hauer’s and van de Ven’s film debuts. Photographed by Jan de Bont. English title: TURKISH DELIGHT. Original version allegedly runs 107m.

Turn of the Screw, The (1992, GBR/FRA) C-95m. *½ D: Rusty Lemorande. Starring Patsy Kensit, Stéphane Audran, Julian Sands, Marianne Faithfull. Poor direction kills this potentially intriguing tale by Henry James about a naïve governess (Kensit) who slowly learns that her two new protegés are not as adorable as they seem. Pointless updating of the turn-of-the-century story to the 1960s, irritating montage, low chill-factor. Read the book or watch the excellent adaptation THE INNOCENTS. Score by Simon Boswell.

Tusk (1978, FRA/IND) C-119m. ** D: Alejandro Jodorowsky. Starring Cyrielle Claire, Anton Diffring, Serge Merlin, Christopher Mitchum, Michel Peyrelon. Misfired fable by shock artist Jodorowsky, about the psychic link between a French girl and an elephant (named Tusk) in India, who were born at the same time. Comments on colonialization are pat, storyline less than engrossing. Some nice images, underscored by interesting music, generally solidly filmed. Jodorowsky completists may have a hard time finding this title; it’s not really worth it (especially not the washed-out French-language video bootleg). Based on a novel by Reginald Campbell.

Tutti Fratelli nel West… Per Parte di Padre (1972, ITA) C-82m. Scope ** D: Sergio Grieco. Starring Antonio Sabáto, Marisa Mell, Peter Carsten, Lionel Stander, Fernando Sancho, Franco Ressel, Tom Felleghy. Mild western parody about gunman Sabáto, who teams up with brothel owner Mell in finding missing pieces of gold which, when assembled, show a map leading to a gold mine. Leisurely paced, but somehow hard to dislike. Score by Riz Ortolani is quite nice. English titles: ALL THE BROTHERS OF THE WEST SUPPORT THEIR FATHER, MISS DYNAMITE, and WHERE THE BULLETS FLY.

Tutti i Colori del Buio (1972, ITA/SPA) C-95m. Scope **½ D: Sergio Martino. Starring George Hilton, Edwige Fenech, Ivan Rassimov, Julián Ugarte, George Rigaud, Maria Cumani Quasimodo, Susan Scott (=Nieves Navarro), Marina Malfatti, Alan Collins (=Luciano Pigozzi), Tom Felleghy. Okay giallo mystery set in London about beautiful Fenech, who’s been having nightmares since she lost her unborn child in an accident. Her boyfriend Hilton doesn’t believe in Fenech’s psychoanalysis sessions, but then she meets her new neighbor Scott, who invites her to black magic sessions. Then the stalker from her nightmare turns up in real life. What exactly the mystery behind it all is, remains unclear for a long time. Fenech suffers the entire film convincingly, but the suffering gets to be too much at times. Has a bit of a ROSEMARY’S BABY touch, but director Martino (TORSO) has done better; there’s just not enough suspense. Fairly good score by Bruno Nicolai. English titles: ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, DAY OF THE MANIAC, DEMONS OF THE DEAD, and THEY’RE COMING TO GET YOU.

Tutto per Tutto (1968, ITA/SPA) C-89m. Scope ** D: Umberto Lenzi. Starring Mark Damon, John Ireland, Raf Baldassarre, Fernando Sancho, Mónica Randall, Frank Brana. Typical spaghetti western about two gunslingers (Damon, Ireland), who hear of gold loot and try to get it for themselves. Some rivalry a la IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL CATTIVO and slightly better plotted than others in this genre, but slow pace keeps this from being above-average. Score by Luis Enriquez Bacalov is a good Morricone imitation. Well-photographed by Alejandro Ulloa. English titles: COPPERFACE, ALL OUT, GO FOR BROKE; ONE FOR ALL.

Twelfth Night (1996, GBR) C-134m. ** D: Trevor Nunn. Starring Imogen Stubbs, Helena Bonham Carter, Toby Stephens, Nigel Hawthorne, Ben Kingsley, Richard E. Grant, Mel Smith. Generally lifeless adaptation of Shakespeare’s fine comedy about the mistaken identity of twins and the complications (of love) which ensue. Well-produced but badly paced and overlong, film doesn’t do justice to Shakespeare’s fast-paced farce. Grant comes off best as the idiotic Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

Twelve Monkeys (1995, USA) C-130m. ***½ D: Terry Gilliam. Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, Frank Gorshin, David Morse, Jon Seda, Vernon Campbell, Roger Pratt. Dazzling sci-fi thriller drama, set in bleak future world of around 2030, where human beings are forced to dwell underground ever since a deadly virus has wiped out all life on the earth’s surface. Willis plays a prison inmate, who is sent back in time to the 1990s to find out who is responsible for the plague. In the past he is committed to an insane asylum and meets lunatic Pitt, whose father is a recognized virologist. Complex plot, superb acting (especially by Willis and Pitt), appropriate direction by Gilliam, one of the most outstanding science-fiction films of the 1990s. References and allusions to Hitchcock’s VERTIGO make this even more interesting to discuss. Based on LA JETEE, a 1962 French short film by Chris Marker.

28 Days (2000, USA) C-104m. **½ D: Betty Thomas. Starring Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West, Elizabeth Perkins, Azura Skye, Steve Buscemi, Diane Ladd. Bullock plays an alcoholic whose latest escapade forces her to undergo a 28-day withdrawal treatment at a clinic. Predctable comedy drama is buoyed by Bullock’s likable performance, which makes this contrivance actually credible. Still, this may make you long for a more serious treatment of alcoholism (like DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES or THE LOST WEEKEND).

28 Days Later… (2002, GBR/USA/NED) C-113m. *** D: Danny Boyle. Starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Noah Huntley. After a car accident, hospital patient Murphy awakens from a coma into an eerily deserted London. Stumbling through the city he finally meets someone and learns that a plague or a virus has wiped out civilization, with some infected people, behaving much like zombies, roaming the streets looking for blood. Harrowing, intriguing horror film is quite graphic, but does not forget to explore the characters’ emotional development. The result is an intelligent, atmospheric thriller whose only fault is that it is sometimes too reminiscent of the zombie classics DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and DAY OF THE DEAD (1985), copying ideas or even entire scenes. Recommended to horror fans.

28 Weeks Later (2007, GBR/SPA) C-100m. Scope **½ D: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Starring Catherine McCormack, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Imogen Poots. Pretty good sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 DAYS LATER… (2002) takes place when all of Britain has been evacuated and the Rage Virus has been stopped. Now, in an operation controlled by U.S. armed forces, London is about to be repopulated. Carlyle, who barely survived the onslaught with a bad conscience as he left his wife behind, is expecting his son and daughter to join him as some of the first new inhabitants. As it turns out, somebody infected with the Rage Virus has survived… Fairly exciting, effectively edited zombie horror movie shows no mercy towards the children. The plot is only so-so, but horror fans should give it a look. Good score by John Murphy. Executive produced by Alex Garland and Danny Boyle (who is said to have done some 2nd unit directing).

20000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954, USA) C-127m. Scope ***½ D: Richard Fleischer. Starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre, Robert J. Wilke, Charles Grodin. Classic adventure based on the story by Jules Verne. Professor Lukas and his assistant Lorre travel the seas in search of mysterious sea monster that sinks entire ships. Then it turns out that it’s actually a submarine navigated by eccentric Captain Nemo (Mason), who is at odds with civilization. When they board his submarine along with sailor Douglas, they are in for the ride of their lives. Rollicking entertainment, produced on a grand scale by Walt Disney. This was the studio’s first feature in CinemaScope. Screenplay by Earl Felton. Oscar winner for Best Art Direction and Best Effects. Grodin’s first film. Filmed before twice and several times since.

Twice Upon a Time (1983, USA) C-75m. **½ D: John Korty, Charles Swenson. Starring (the voices of) Lorenzo Music, Marshall Efron, James Cranna, Julie Payne, Hamilton Camp, Paul Frees. Cult cartoon done SOUTH PARK-style (but, of course, years before) about a few dim-witted ‘heroes’ want to stop the world being flooded by nightmares. Not exactly elaborate, and much of this seems indeed improvised, with ‘couldn’t-care-less’ voice performances. Still, its irreverent approach and limited availability have made it a cult film. Not really for children, considering the language used. Produced by none other than George Lucas. A 21-year-old David Fincher is credited with the special effects.

Twilight (1998, USA) C-94m. *** D Robert Benton. Starring Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman, Reese Witherspoon, Stockard Channing, James Garner, Giancarlo Esposito, Live Schreiber, M. Emmet Walsh, Lewis Arquette. Delightfully old-fashioned private eye yarn with Newman sort-of reprising his role from director Benton’s NOBODY’S FOOL. He plays a tired private eye who gets involved in a blackmail/murder case. Nicely subdued, but also lacking any dramatic edge, film peters out without a climax. For fans of its stars, as well as detective film nostalgics. Fine score by Elmer Bernstein. Witherspoon appears nude.

Twilight (2008, USA) C-122m. SCOPE **½ D: Catherine Hardwicke. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli. Adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling vampire novel about newcomer Stewart, who falls for mysterious classmate Pattinson, even though it turns out he is a vampire. Stylish, well-filmed, but not a horror film, maybe best described as a teen romance with the novelty that one of the lovers has fangs (although he doesn’t, he’s more of a non-traditional vampire). Holds your attention until finale, during which the film peters out without a satisfactory conclusion. Score by Carter Burwell. Followed by three sequels.

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983, USA) C-102m. **½ D: John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, George Miller. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, John Larroquette, Scatmna Crothers, Kathleen Quinlan, Kevin McCarthy, John Lithgow, narrated by Burgess Meredith. Big-budgeted nonsense, consisting of four episodes, an homage to the 1960s television series “The Twilight Zone”. The first segment, where racist Morrow is taught a lesson, is okay. The second, a gentle fantasy about staying young, is typically Spielbergian (=overblown). The third by Dante is outright annoying and completely nonsensical, as teacher Quinlan (never worse) befriends an unusual boy. The last episode by Miller, about   paranoid boeing passenger Lithgow is well-directed and exciting. All in all, an exhausting experience and the proof that money alone can’t make a good motion picture, Mr. Spielberg. At least it’s quickly paced.

Twin Dragons (1992, HGK) C-105m. Scope *** D: Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam. Starring Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Teddy Robin. Jackie plays two twin brothers who were separated at birth and now meet as grown-ups in modern-day Hong Kong. While one is a street-smart crook, the other has made an international career as a conductor(!). Vintage directors Hark and Lam (who appear in small roles as car mechanics) make us forget that there is no plot derived from this premise, thank God! Powerful, dynamic action scenes make this film a feast for Jackie Chan fans. There is silly slapstick, but the action prevails most of the time. Hark also cowrote the screenplay. Score by Lowell Lo. John Woo has a cameo.

Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars (1985, HGK) C-89m. Scope ** D: Samo Hung. Starring Jackie Chan, Sibelle Hu, Samo Hung, Phillip Ko, Rosamund Kwan, Andy Lau, Richard Ng, Richard Norton, James Tien, Eric Tsang, Wu Ma, Michelle Yeoh, Yuen Biao. Sequel to MY LUCKY STARS (1985) is the last of Hung’s buddy movies of the mid-80s and considerably more violent than WHEELS ON MEALS (1984). The plot is inexistent, the comedy works sporadically. The action sequences are very well-staged, but as they make up only 10% of the movie, it’s hard to find redeeming words. For fans (although Jackie has a small role). Also known as THE TARGET and MY LUCKY STARS 2: TWINKLE, TWINKLE LUCKY STARS. Originally 105m.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, USA/FRA) C-135m. ***½ D: David Lynch. Starring Sheryl Lee, Kyle MacLachlan, Chris Isaak, Ray Wise, David Bowie, Kiefer Sutherland. Prequel to the popular TV series shows that this kind of stuff really belongs to the big screen. Lee is perfect as Laura Palmer, who lives through an agonizing seven days before her death. The rest of the cast contributes but is ultimately outdone by Lynch’s combined use of surrealism and mystery, which makes the film hypnotic and spellbinding, backed by Angelo Badalamenti’s brilliant score. Contrary to Lynch’s LOST HIGHWAY, Palmer’s insanity never swallows up the picture completely and provides the viewer with a satisfactory denouement. Lynch has a small role as an FBI agent who’s hard of hearing.

Twins (1988, USA) C-105m. **½ D: Ivan Reitman. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Kelly Preston, Chloe Webb, Bonnie Bartlett, Trey Wilson, David Caruso, Heather Graham. Popular but contrived comedy about adonis Schwarzenegger, who, after spending his entire life on a tropical island, learns that he has a twin brother and goes looking for him in the big city. Funny performance by DeVito, but film is too predictable and does not have enough laughs. Score by Georges Delerue and Randy Edelman. Director Reitman also produced.

Twins of Evil (1971, USA) C-87m. *** D: John Hough. Starring Peter Cushing, Dennis Price, Mary Collinson, Madeleine Collinson,  Damien Thomas, Isobel Black. Rather overlooked Hammer horror made in the vein of the production company’s VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) and LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (1971). Cushing gives a forceful performance as a self-professed witchhunter, whose orphaned nieces have come to live his house. One of them is prone to falling prey to local satanist count Thomas. Some stylish, atmospheric bits, erotic undertones and a violent finale make this recommendable. The script by Tudor Gates is better than usual (borrowing some characters from Sheridan LeFanu). The Collinsons were the first twins ever to become playmates for Playboy (before this movie); they are not bad. Also known as THE GEMINI TWINS and THE TWINS OF DRACULA.

Twisted Brain (1974, USA) C-73m. ** D: Larry N. Stouffer. Starring Pat Cardi, Austin Stoker, Rosie Holotik, John Niland, Jeff Alexander. High school nerd Cardi makes some experiments in biology, which turn him into a kind of monster (a nerdy avenger?), enabling him to exact revenge on those who humiliated him. Poorly acted, low-budget, but direction is not bad. A minor cult item for some. Original version may run 85m. Also known as HORROR HIGH.

Twister (1996, USA) C-113m. Scope *** D: Jan de Bont. Starring Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lois Smith, Alan Ruck, Todd Field, Jake Busey. Exciting, action-packed thriller about a group of tornado experts, who go ‘twister hunting’, in order to find a better way of predicting them. Meteorologist Paxton, originally intending to get his wife Hunt’s signature for the divorce papers, is drawn into the chase and must realize that they still belong together, much to the chagrin of his lover Gertz. Actioner doesn’t give you time to say ‘Ba’! Plot is indefensible but it doesn’t matter in this thrill ride. Written by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. Rated PG-13 for ‘intense depiction of very bad weather’(!).

Two Brothers (2004, GBR/FRA) C-109m. Scope *** D: Jean-Jacques Annaud. Starring Guy Pearce, Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Freddie Highmore, Oanh Nguyen, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu. Beautiful tale of two tiger babies, who are trapped early in life and grow up in captivity in what looks like 1950s South East Asia. Hunter Pearce and boy Highmore keep an affection for them up to their adulthood. Good score, impressive photography, from the director of THE BEAR / L’OURS (1988). French title: DEUX FRERES.

2 Days in the Valley (1996, USA) C-104m. Scope *** D: John Herzfeld. Starring Danny Aiello, James Spader, Eric Stoltz, Greg Cruttwell, Jeff Daniels, Teri Hatcher, Glenne Headley, Peter Horton, Marsha Mason, Paul Mazursky, Charlize Theron, Keith Carradine, Louise Fletcher, Austin Pendleton, Lawrence Tierney. Amusing, stylish thriller about several characters (cops, killers, crooks, snobs, suicidal film directors and other people like you and me) whose lives intertwine during the course of the film. Credibility factor is low but well-acted by the whole cast and well-shot in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley by Oliver Wood. An entertaining PULP FICTION variation.

Two Evil Eyes (1990, USA/ITA) C-120m. **½ D: George A. Romero, Dario Argento. Starring Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O’Malley, Harve Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Martin Balsam. Two of the most important horror film directors collaborated in this two-part chiller, whose stories were based on Edgar Allan Poe stories. Romero’s episode (‘The Fact in the Case of Mr. Valdemar’) is about a woman who intends to keep her dying husband alive until his money is hers. To her horror, he stays ‘alive’ even after his death. Argento remakes the classic ‘The Black Cat’, casting Keitel as a crime photographer, who becomes obsessed with the title creature and is finally driven to murder. Both adaptation are unfortunately overlong and lack punch, only Argento manages to thrill – intermittently. For the directors’ followers. Italian title: DUE OCCHI DIABOLICI.

Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, The (1960, GBR) C-88m. Scope **½ D: Terence Fisher. Starring Paul Massie, Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee, David Kossoff, Francis De Wolff, Oliver Reed. Hammer Film production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novella about mad scientist Dr. Jekyll (Massie), who conjures up demon in himself in the form of diabolical Mr. Hyde. Good production values, but lacks an edge. The actors can’t be faulted, nor the beautiful design. Only novelty is that Hyde is attractive and Jekyll really ugly.

Two Minute Warning (1976, USA) C-115m. Scope **½ D: Larry Peerce. Starring Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Marilyn Hassett, David Janssen, Jack Klugman, Gena Rowlands, Walter Pidgeon, Brock Peters. Little-known addition to the disaster movie canon features an ultra-cool Heston as security chief of a football stadium, who’s got his hands full during a major-league game. There is a sniper on the stadium’s scoreboard and Heston must avert a panic among the 90,000+ visitors. Good production values, technically fine, with some dynamic scenes, but all that cannot camouflage emptiness of the plot. This one is only perpetuated by its admittedly intriguing premise. Lengthened for TV, with an added subplot about the sniper’s motives. Based on a novel by George La Fountaine Sr.

2046 (Two-Oh-Four-Six) (2004, HGK/CHI/FRA/GER) C-129m. Scope ***½ D: Wong Kar Wai. Starring Tony Leung, Gong Li, Faye Wong, Takuya Kimura, Zhang Ziyi, Carina Lau, Chang Chen, Maggie Cheung. Director Wong’s conclusion of his trilogy begun with DAYS OF BEING WILD (1991) and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000) may well be his masterpiece. A visual poem about thoughtful writer Leung, who lives in late 1960s Hong Kong and finds himself attracted to several women around his hotel room. He is concocting a science-fiction novel titled 2046 (also a room number), which stands for a place of longing, desires and love. No one, he claims, has returned from it once traveled there. Plot is minimal, but direction and cinematography create such a rich atmosphere that you will be hypnotized. Great score by Shigeru Umabayashi includes some excellent classical themes. Photographed by Christopher Doyle. Praise also goes to William Chang, who edited the film, designed the production and the costumes.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, GBR) C-139m. Scope **** D: Stanley Kubrick. Starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, voice of HAL: Douglas Rain. Unprecedented - and unmatched - masterpiece of filmmaking, a perfect symbiosis of form and content, brilliantly conceived by directorial genius Stanley Kubrick. Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s story The Sentinel, this science-fiction film deals with the evolution of mankind four million years ago, juxtaposing it with the highly advanced civilization of the 21st century. The link between the past and the future: A black monolith, perfectly smooth in structure, which, as a symbol of a divine, or extra-terrestrial, power influences the development of mankind. The same object, which appeared as a crucial element to the ‘Dawn of Man’, signifying enlightenment, is rediscovered under the moon’s surface. When an expedition to the Jupiter is initiated in order to find out about the origins of the monolith, an astronaut (Dullea) is presented with a revelation he cannot begin to understand. Brilliant cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth and John Alcott, outstanding special effects (designed and directed by Kubrick himself) and a haunting classical score (by Johann Strauss) make this an unforgettable experience. Cut from original 156/160m. version by Kubrick after film’s premiere. This is one of those films which ought to be watched in a movie theater. Followed by a sequel called 2010. Filmed in Cinerama and Super Panavision.

2010 (1984, USA) C-116m. *** D: Peter Hyams. Starring Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban, Keir Dullea, Dana Elcar, voices of Douglas Rain, Candice Bergen. Suspenseful follow-up to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968), a film that would have needed no sequel. Scientist Scheider joins a Russian space crew in a mission to the abandoned Discovery spaceship near Jupiter to find out what went wrong in the original mission with Dullea. Can HAL 9000 be reactivated? Complicating things is a Cold War crisis between Russia and the U.S., which might jeopardize the mission. A satisfying concoction, with superb effects and believable performances, a winner. Written and photographed by director Hyams. Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, which was followed by another (unfilmed) sequel, 2061. Clarke has a cameo on a park bench.

Two-Way Stretch (1960, GBR) 78m. **½ D: Robert Day. Starring Peter Sellers, David Lodge, Bernard Cribbins, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Maurice Denham, Lionel Jeffries, Robert Day. Quite amusing comedy about Sellers and his two buddies, prisoners in a correctional facility, who – shortly before release – plan to “leave” jail unnoticed to commit a crime. Not completely successful but finale is a treat. For fans of British comedies.