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List of "E" Movies

The Earth Dies Screaming (1964) NR sci-fi

This post-apocalyptic B-movie isn't noisy as suggested by the title, but it turns out to be rather elegant. It has a simple premise: Nearly everyone in a small British village mysteriously and simultaneously drop dead. Bodies fallen over on the street, in their cars, draped outside of windows. There are only a handful of survivors, one of which is Jeff Nolan (Willard Parker), an American pilot. He finds a television and a shortwave radio but only gets static. This appears to be a worldwide phenomenon. A handful of other survivors trickle in. They determine quickly what they have in common: At the time of "the event" they were not breathing the Earth's atmosphere -- the pilot was using the airplane's oxygen, a couple was squatting in a military base, another person inside an oxygen room at a hospital. This is a nice, tidy, little 62-minute sci-fi film done without the use of fancy sets or effects. The story is perhaps light on the details, and I don't get too many chills from it, but as a fan of retro sci-fi, I am certainly glad I caught it. Starring: Willard Parker, Virginia Field, Dennis Price, Thorley Walters, Vanda Godsell, David Spenser, Anna Palk. Directed by: Terence Fisher. B

East of Eden (1955) NR drama

James Dean gives a heart wrenching performance for the ages. Every face-twisting, hellishly anguished expression he makes is something to hang onto. Lest we forget, Dean was lucky to have gotten a lot to work with in this adaptation of (part of) John Steinbeck's novel. He plays Caleb Trask, a young man who struggled all his life to do the right thing. Maybe he has certain impulses he can't control, maybe he was raised to think he's bad by his Bible-thumping father (Raymond Massey). What bugs Caleb at the surface level is his notion that his brother Aron (Richard Davalos) receives all the love from his father while he gets none. His brother was always a pure soul, his personality closely aligning to his father's. Caleb is different. He could never connect. Even simple conversations with his father are riddled with hopeless misunderstanding. Perhaps Caleb is more like his mother, but she died long ago. Or that's what he grew up believing. It turns out, she never died. He tracks her down to find she's a cynical, tough-as-nails businesswoman, mean and cruel. He isn't going to find motherly love out of her, but they do find a reluctant connection. She even loans him money so that he can gamble on green bean futures. I love this movie. Not just because of the top-rate performances, but because these characters are deep and complex. I even appreciate that it puts a real human elements into a popular Sunday School story (Caleb = Caine; Aron = Abel). Starring: Julie Harris, James Dean, Raymond Massey, Richard Davalos, Burl Ives, Jo Van Fleet, Albert Dekker, Harold Gordon, Nick Dennis, Lois Smith. Directed by: Elia Kazan. A+

Easy Money (1983) R comedy

This fitfully funny comedy stars Rodney Dangerfield as a slob who loves to eat, drink, do drugs, philander with women, and all sorts of other stuff. His wife doesn't seem to care, but his wealthy mother-in-law (Geraldine Fitzgerald) is constantly abhored. When she dies, her will states that his family will inherit her riches if he can spend a year being straight. Unfortunately, this film takes too long before the plot takes off, and the plot was never that good to begin with. Some of Dangerfield's schtick is funny, but he does it much better in other films. Starring: Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Candice Azzara, Taylor Negron, Val Avery, Tom Noonan, Jeffrey Jones, Tom Ewell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeff Altman. Directed by: James Signorelli. C+

Eddie (1996) PG-13 comedy

Only Whoopi Goldberg fans will find anything to like about this dopey sports comedy. She stars as a particularly vocal New York Knicks fan who is given the opportunity to coach the team. The plot is predictable, and the humor is usually idiotic. Goldberg’s charisma is the only saving grace, and even that gets old. Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Langella, Dennis Farina, Richard Jenkins, Lisa Ann Walter, Jonathan Benjamin Hickey. Directed by: Steve Rash. D+

Edward Scissorhands (1990) PG-13 fantasy

The script still needed a little bit of work, but Tim Burton once again succeeds in creating a wholly new an imaginative world that normal people only visit to in their dreams. A cheery Avon Lady played by Diane Wiest journeys to an abandoned mansion to make a sale only to find that a strange man with scissors for hands resides there. Being a nice lady, she brings this stranger to her house attempting to convert him to society. It's worth seeing; the set is absolutely sense-tickling. Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Diane Wiest, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Conchata Ferrell, Caroline Aaron, Dick Anthony Williams. Directed by: Tim Burton. B+

8 ½ (1963) NR drama

This artistic masterpiece, from the mind of Italian director Frederico Fellini, is certainly a personal film and perhaps even self-indulgent, but it can be applied to your own life if you are so inclined. The direction is brilliant, the cinematography is beautiful, and the surreal scenes are stunning! Don't think this is a difficult film to follow, because it's not. Rather, open up your imagination and enjoy the trip. Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk, Barbara Steele, Madeleine LeBeau, Caterina Boratto, Eddra Gale, Guido Alberti, Mario Conocchia, Bruno Agostini, Cesarino Miceli Picardi. Directed by: Frederico Fellini. A+

Eight Below (2006) PG drama

A team of dogs are stranded in Antarctica during a particularly nasty snowstorm, and their owner (Paul Walker) does all he can, which is very little, to rescue them. It takes weeks, and the dogs are left to survive the elements on their own. Some make it, others don't. This is a better-than-average live action Disney feature that has a cornball feel, but it's a rollicking adventure at times. Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Jason Biggs, Gerard Plunkett. Directed by: Frank Marshall. B-

Eight Crazy Nights (2002) PG-13 comedy

Adam Sander goes animated, and it's horrid! He plays a grumpy 20-something who had one too many run-ins with the law. Instead of going to jail, his former mentor agrees to let him coach a basketball team for community service. However, his mean spirit and bad attitude continues to hurt everyone who comes in his path. Will this man ever get his act together? The sophomoric humor is capable of producing nary a laugh and the melodramatic scenes are paper-thin and embarrassing. What a waste. To make things worse, the blatant product placement is vomit inducing. Voices of: Adam Sandler, Jackie Titone, Austin Stout, Kevin Nealon, Norm Crosby, Rob Schneider, Jon Lovitz, Tyra Banks, Blake Clark, Carl Weathers. Directed by: Seth Kearsley. D-

18 Again (1988) PG comedy

George Burns stars as a wild old guy (and the ‘old’ is the only thing that represses the ‘wild’) who, through some magical force that only bigwig Hollywood execs can understand, switches places with his bashful, 18-year-old grandson. Now he can be wild again! Woohoo! But, rats! Hollywood, who forces Burns to undergo a radical change in character, foils his plans. I’d skip this one unless you’re some sort of George Burns aficionado, but be warned that only his voice is utilized throughout most of the picture (with the body of Charlie Schatter). Starring: George Burns, Charlie Schlatter, Tony Roberts, Anita Morris, Miriam Flynn, Jennifer Runyon, Red Buttons, George DiCenzo, Bernard Fox, Kenneth Tiger. Directed by: Paul Flaherty. C-

84 Charing Cross Road (1986) PG drama

Anne Bancroft stars in this unusual and literate film who plays an American book collector who develops a long distance relationship with the staff of a London rare bookseller (headed by Anthony Hopkins). Despite the potentially boring plot, this film is strikingly engaging and memorable. Much of this thanks goes to Bancroft who carries the film firmly on her shoulders. Starring: Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench, Jean de Baer, Maurice Denham, Mercedes Ruehl, Eleanor David, Daniel Gerroll, Wendy Morgan, Ian McNeice, J. Smith-Cameron, Connie Booth. Directed by: David Jones. B+

Election (1998) R comedy

An overall well-done black comedy starring Reese Witherspoon as an overachieving high school student who is running for student council president. When one of her teachers (Matthew Broderick) recognizes that Witherspoon is pure evil, he fixes the election results. This, as well as a few other things, leads Broderick down a never-ending spiral of CRAP. This film is well done and rather funny, but an over-emphasis on the inessential sub-plots undermines the effort. Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik, Phil Reeves, Molly Hagan, Delaney Driscoll, Colleen Camp, Frankie Igrassia. Directed by: Alexander Payne. B-

Elizabethtown (2005) PG-13 comedy/drama

This is a sweet and charming film from director Cameron Crowe even though it pales strongly to some of his previous films. A young shoe executive (Orlando Bloom) who was once on top of his trade makes an error that costs the company nearly $1 billion. Right before he was to commit suicide, his phone rings in which he finds out that his father died. Bloom never really knew his father and he goes to a small town (Elizabethtown) for the funeral. On the airplane ride there, a flight attendant (Kirsten Dunst) starts hitting on him. This is a pleasant and leisurely paced film, but the end tries too hard to be moving, and it falls face down. This is still a recommendable picture, but you can wait to see it for free on TV. Starring: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel, Alec Baldwin, Paul Schneider, Paula Deen. Directed by: Cameron Crowe. B

Elf (2003) PG comedy

Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a human being who was raised by Santa's elves. Despite being twice as large as his peers and lacking elven fingers deft for mass-producing plastic gadgets, it shocks him to learn that he was adopted. He goes on a quest to find his real father in New York City, a cranky children's book executive (James Caan) who is -- gasp! -- on the naughty list. The appeal of this film is watching a full-grown, unwaveringly innocent 30s-ish man running around New York in an elf costume either driving people crazy or charming them to death. He likes to run in circles screaming in revolving doors, he has a strange addiction to maple syrup, he can ab lib a singing telegram. Quite a chuckle-inducing, fish-out-of-water comedy. No question, this film wouldn't have worked if it wasn't for Ferrell's intense dedication to the role. True, the cheery Christmas ending seems a bit forced, but this is nonetheless a film I end up watching at the end of every year. Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Ed Asner, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel, Daniel Tay, Faizon Love, Peter Dinklage, Amy Sedaris, Michael Learner, Andy Richter, Jon Favreau. Directed by: Jon Favreau. A-

Elmer Gantry (1960) NR drama

Fascinating film about the nature of personal beliefs and how they evolve according to a person's circumstances. Flimflam man Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster) weasels his way into the operations of a traveling evangelical roadshow, which he figures is the ultimate con. He is a natural for delivering fire and brimstone sermons, which are used to lead up to Sister Sharon Falconer's (Jean Simmons) messages of forgiveness and salvation. The roadshow proves to be effective, but their sensationalist nature attracts unwanted attention from local church leaders. Not to mention ghosts from Gantry's past--in particular he endures a blackmail attempt from a prostitute (Shirley Jones). Lancaster's charismatic performance is utterly captivating and landed him a much deserved Oscar. Starring: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy, Dean Jagger, Shirley Jones, Patti Page, Edward Andrews, John McIntire. Directed by: Richard Brooks. A-

Elvis (2022) PG-13 drama

Elvis Presley wasn't a happy person, and this isn't a happy film. But it sure is big, bright, and colorful. And of course the music is great. Much of this plays out like a fever dream. Some of it is dark and dreary, some of it exciting and flashy. Depends on the stage of Elvis' career. Other than the starkly unique, hyper-charged cinematography, set-designs and soundtrack, this is a straightforward biopic. As an Elvis fan (but not mega-fan), most of the details strike me as correct with only a few exceptions. The set replications of Elvis' television appearances, his concerts, even that sad but passionate final performance when he was close to death are all spot-on. An interesting narrative choice was to have this film told from the point of view of Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), while he was on his deathbed in 1997. However, the focus of the film is fixed on Elvis himself, here played by Austin Butler -- from his impoverished youth growing up with black kids in a shanty town, to his initial successes, his military service, his Hollywood career, his 1968 comeback, and finally his slow descent to death. Butler does the nearly impossible and makes a brilliant Elvis that serves the icon well. Hanks also does a fine job capturing that slimy and calculating personality of Tom Parker. Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Kelvin Harrison Jr., David Wenham, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Luke Bracey. Directed by: Baz Luhrmann. A-

Emerald Forest (1985) R action/adventure

Director John Boorman directs this engaging flick about an American engineer (Powers Boothe) working in the rain forest whose young son is kidnapped by a local tribe. He spends 10 years looking for him and eventually finds him to discover that he's been totally assimilated into the Indian tribe. Based on a true story, this is an effective film that puts up a solid case for the preservation of cultures and saving the rain forest. Starring: Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Charley Boorman, Dira Pass, Rui Polonah, Claudio Moreno, Tetchie Agbayani, Paulo Vinicius, Eduardo Conde, Estee Chandler, William Rodriguez. Directed by: John Boorman. B+

Emma (1996) PG comedy

Gwyneth Paltrow plays the title role in this delightful adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel about a young lady who tries to act as matchmaker whilst neglecting her own love life. This film not only features, naturally, a great story line and dialogue, but lovely casting and cinematography. It’s sometimes too bogged down by talk, but it’s engaging from start to finish. Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, Greta Scacchi, Alan Cumming, Juliet Stevenson, Angela Down, Ruth Jones, Wean McGregor, Brett Miley. Directed by: Dougal McGrath. B+

Emma. (2020) PG comedy

Jane Austen film adaptations are becoming as numerous as the grains of sand. That makes it more necessary than ever for new entries to do something extraordinary to set them apart from the rest. This one has a period at the end of its title. That's a start. The filmmakers also seemed to have some half-realized intensions of lending this a type of quirkiness reminiscent of Wes Anderson films--the symmetric cinematography, set-designs riddled with Easter-like pastels, a proclivity for sight gags, there always seeming to be something off about most of the side characters. Other than that, this is a pretty faithful adaptation. It's dialogue heavy with a dense command of the English language. And to be honest with you, I do usually find these films difficult to follow. The great adaptations are those that are able to keep me steadily involved and transfixed onto the rhythm of the language. That doesn't happen here. Despite its best intentions, the film still comes across far too stuffy for me. Nevertheless, at least the film benefits from the casting of Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role. Like everything she's in, she's utterly magnetic. Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Bill Nighy, Josh O'Connor. Directed by: Autumn de Wilde. C+

The Emoji Movie (2017) PG comedy

Not that a movie based on those silly smartphone hieroglyphics couldn't be funny. It's just that this one isn't. The plot is lifted from Wreck-It Ralph so obviously that I'm surprised nobody sued. Here's the story: The 'Meh' emoji is unsatisfied with his lot in life. That is, he has greater range of emotions than just 'meh.' When he expresses other emotions, however, other emojis are horrified. It even makes baby emojis cry. When 'Meh' messes up in an emoji text, the divine ruler of the emojis (the smiley face) sends bots out to delete him. Thus begins an adventure through the smartphone's various apps (cue the product placement) to try to fix his programming. I find this movie completely tedious. Voices of: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara, Sean Hayes. Directed by: Tony Leondis. D

The Emperor's Club (2002) PG-13 drama

The always-excellent Kevin Kline stars in this somewhat dull but overall entertaining drama about a class of history students at a prestigious private school and the wild class-clown (Emile Hirsch). It's rather uneventful and the moral is sure not to change your life, but I like it (and that's all that matters, after all). It's entirely a well-made, likable drama that is worth a peek. Starring: Kevin Kline, Emile Hirsch, Embeth Davidtz, Rob Morrow, Edward Herrmann, Harris Yulin, Paul Franklin Dano, Rishi Mehta, Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Millman, Chris Morales, Luca Bigini, Michael Coppola, Sean Fredricks. Directed by: Michael Hoffman. B

The Emperor's New Groove (2000) G animated

This Disney film tries hard to be funny and manical so that they could repeat the success they had eight years earlier with Aladdin. It didn't work. Disney only made two good decisions about this movie. Firstly, they voice cast David Spade in the lead role and let him play himself. Secondly, there is only one stupid song in here. Everything else about this movie, from the cliche plot to the phenomenally uninteresting characters, was a bad idea. Disney should be ashamed of this one. Voices of: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Whatburton, Wendie Malick, Kellyann Kelso, Eli Russell Linnetz. Directed by: Mark Dindal. D+

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) PG sci-fi

A terrific sequel to Star Wars that is filled with as much action and excitement that made the precursor such a smash. The dark Empire is after the Rebels who defeated them so badly inStar Wars. The evil Darth Vader figures that Luke Skywalker will have the last laugh if he isn't stopped now; this will certainly keep Luke and his buddies busy for a while. This is certainly worthy of all the hype it gets. Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, James Earl Jones, Frank Oz, Alec Guinness. Directed by: Irvin Kershner. A+

Employee of the Month (2006) PG-13 comedy

A gorgeous woman (Jessica Simpson) is the store's newest cashier, and rumors are going around that she has a thing for employees of the month. The ultra-obnoxious Vince Downey (Dax Shepard) has held that title for 18 straight months, but the once laid-back Zach Bradley (Dane Cook) dares to challenge him. It was a funny idea, but bland filmmaking and stupid jokes makes this mostly a bore to sit through. Starring: Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, Dax Shepard, Tim Bagley, Brian George, Efren Ramirez, Marcello Thedford, Danny Woodburn, Harland Williams. Directed by: Gregory Coolidge. C-

Encino Man (1992) PG comedy

For a movie about a couple of teenagers (Sean Astin, Pauly Shore) who discover a caveman (Brendan Frasier) in their backyard while digging a swimming pool, it takes itself pretty seriously. I get the impression that the screenwriters were aiming for something bittersweet along the lines of Sixteen Candles instead of what such a silly premise really should have called for. Which would have been unbridled anarchy. Never mind the amazingness of a caveman not only being discovered in California but just below the surface within a solid block of ice and then going onto surviving the time-warp. So much of the screen time is wasted with Astin's character truly believing that (somehow) this major anthropomorphic discovery would adorn him with the girl of his dreams (Megan Ward). And how quickly does the caveman adapt to high school life -- not only mastering the English language, but also becoming popular and even taking driving lessons. At least he causes a bit of mayhem during drivers' ed. While I had a fitfully fun time with this harmless comedy, it seems like I should have laughed more. Nonetheless, Astin is likable and Shore is fun as he plays his typical quirky, not-quite-burnout character. (He seems to know too many correct answers to academic questions from his teachers to be full-on burnout.) Of course Frasier is likable just on the movie poster alone. Starring: Sean Astin, Bredan Fraser, Pauly Shore, Megan Ward, Robin Tunney, Michael DeLuise, Patrick Van Horn, Dalton James, Rick Ducommun, Jonathan Quan, Mariette Hartley. Directed by: Les Mayfield. C

The Endless Summer (1966) NR documentary

An exceptional surfing documentary that's done with humor and style. It's about two surfers as they travel around the world in search for undiscovered surfing locales to find what all true surfers dream about: the perfect wave. The Endless Summer is fun to watch and essential viewing if you're aiming to soak in a 60s vibe, but it wears down toward the end. Starring: Mike Hynson, Robert August, Bruce Brown. Directed by: Bruce Brown. B+

Enemy of the State (1998) R action

A film that seems lost in its own spectacle, this is a visually pleasing but forgettable picture. Will Smith stars as a man who is unknowingly given a videotape of a senator's murder and must outrun the bad guys. It's perfect for those who demand only visual effects from their movies -- it lacks true suspense and intrigue. Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Regina King, Stuart Wilson, Tom Sizemore, Jason Robards Jr., Loren Dean. Directed by: Tony Scott. C+

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995) PG comedy

This is a vastly enjoyable film about a tiny Welsh village whose townsfolk’s pride is a mountain that lies in its outskirts. When a couple of cartographers come to town to measure it, the townsfolk are abhorred to learn that their mountain is technically a hill. So, they make a dirt pile on top of it and trick the cartographers into staying to measure it again. This film is so charming that it’s difficult to keep from smiling. Starring: Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald, Colm Meaney, Ian McNeice, Ian Hart, Kenneth Griffith, Robert Elson, Jack Walters. Directed by: Christopher Monger. A-

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2004) R documentary

Enron was an energy company -- once the seventh most valuable in the United States. It failed suddenly and spectacularly in 2004. This brilliantly well-done documentary not only explains with crystal clarity what led to this meltdown but how it had real impacts on the lives of working people (while those responsible for the failure, of course, lavished themselves with millions). The culprit being runaway deregulation begot by Reagan and continued through George W. Bush. The film even provides what turned out to be prescient forewarning for the 2007-2008 Recession. The filmmakers also made brilliant use of archival footage and even managed to find some higher-ups within Enron itself willing to give some frank interviews. From an editing perspective, this film's flow is also flawless and even makes some humorous use of pop songs. Highly recommended both for educational and entertainment purposes. Directed by: Alex Gibney. A

Enter the Dragon (1973) R martial arts

This better-than-average kung fu flick launched Bruce Lee to international stardom. Lee stars as the martial arts equivalent to James Bond who is hired by the British to stop a group of opium dealers in a rather prestigious but mysterious martial arts club. The plot isn't executed too well; most viewers miss it all together. Fortunately, plot is only secondary to the martial arts action, which justifies Lee's legendary status. Watch closely for Jackie Chan. Starring: Bruce Lee, John Saxton, Jim Kelley, Ahna Capri, Yang Tse, Angela Mao, Jackie Chan. Directed by: Robert Clouse. B+

Eraserhead (1978) NR horror

This filmed nightmare and first feature from David Lynch stars Jack Nance as the father of a creepy looking mutant. The plot line is just as ambiguous as genuine nightmares and just as difficult to interpret. It's among the weirdest films ever made, and speaking as a lover of weird movies, this managed to out-weird even me. You'll laugh at times, but this thing will get under your skin no matter how tough of a stomach you have. Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Jeanne Bates, Allen Joseph, Judith Anna Roberts. Directed by: David Lynch. A

Ernest Goes to Camp (1987) PG comedy

Jim Varney, who previously was in commercials, stars in his first of many flicks as Ernest P. Worrell. Here, he wants to be a camp counselor, so he finds a job at Camp Kikakee supervising juvenile delinquents. The dimwitted Ernest somehow perseveres the hooligans' tricks, and passes the message on the basic principle that everyone should love one another. In the mean time, miners are in desperate need of Camp Kikakee, and tries to buy it from its owner, who is deeply attached to it. When these miners eventually get their hands on it, Ernest and the delinquents do everything they can to get it back (even if there is the potential to a nice juicy lawsuit in the making). A stupid premise, but the Varney character is amiable. Only for kids. Starring: Jim Varney, Victoria Racimo, John Vernon, Iron Eyes Cody, Lyle Alzado, Gailard Sartain, Daniel Butler, Hakeem Abdul-Samad. Directed by: John R. Cherry III. D+

Ernest in the Army (1998) PG comedy

Needless to say, this is an idiotic film suitable only for children or grown-up morons. Jim Varney reprises his role as the lovable title character for the last time. He decides to join the army so that he can drive their trucks. Only, he never thought that he’d actually see combat. The filmmakers weren’t bothering with such things as plot development or a script that involves anything other than Varney improvising his tired goofiness. Starring: Jim Varney, Hayley Tyson, David Muller, Christo Davids, Jeffrey Pillars, Duke Ernsberger. Directed by: John R. Cherry III. D-

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) PG comedy

Our favorite man-child is back -- this time as a taxi driver in Florida who is tasked with escorting a man claiming to be Santa Claus (Douglas Seale) to a television studio. There he plans to have an (unscheduled) meeting with a children's television host. Santa is a fan, and he'd like to request this man become his successor. You see, in this particular Christmas-verse, Santa lives quite long, but he isn't immortal, and he's starting to lose his faculties. A successor needs to be secured and secured fast. (Him losing his marbles might explain why he thinks he can wander around civilization without using an alias or even bringing cash with him. The man who's so good at planning as to deliver presents to every child in one evening -- yet his understanding of commerce is such that he tries to pay for things with Monopoly money.) Meanwhile, Ernest strikes a friendship with a teenage runaway (Noelle Parker) who needs a little Ernest-style reality check. Plot-holes notwithstanding, this Christmas film has its heart in the right place. And no doubt, the bulk of its charm relies on the multitude of outlandish disguises that Jim Varney comes up with. I'm all grown up now, but I find them all very funny. There's nothing else quite like that to bring back the eight-year-old child in me. Unfortunately, this film suffers from a few too many extended draughts of dullnes. And it probably needn't be said that if obnoxious comedy isn't your cup of tea, any film featuring Ernest P. Worrell -- even this Christmas special -- is your kryptonite. Starring: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark, Noelle Parker, Gailard Sartain, Bill Byrge, Billie Bird. Directed by: John R. Cherry III. C+

Escape From Alcatraz (1979) PG drama

Based on a true story, this film is about the only successful escape from Alcatraz. Clint Eastwood stars as the man who does it, and he is excellent in his role. The film is highly intriguing, specifically witnessing the escapees' interesting method of escape! It's not a great film and some might find it a little bit dull, but if the plot seems interesting at all to you, then you ought to see it! Try to spot Danny Glover in his debut and barely noticeable screen appearance. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, Paul Benjamin, Danny Glover. Directed by: Don Seigel. B

Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971) G sci-fi

This is the third and much improved third entry of Planet of the Apes series that surprisingly begins as a light-hearted comedy. Cornelius and Zira manage to escape from Ape-Earth before it blows up, and they arrive in 1970s. There, they become famous, but the National Defense is afraid they might cause the destruction of the human race. This is a fun movie. Starring: Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundy, Eric Braeden, William Windom, Sal Mineo, Albert Salmi, Jason Evers, John Randolph, Harry Lauter. Directed by: Don Taylor. B

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) R comedy

Hailed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (who previously wrote the scripts for Adaptation and Being John Malkovich) finally pieces together a true masterstroke. One of the most delightfully surreal movies ever made, easily, and it also manages to be among the most romantic films ever made! An incredible picture, and Jim Carrey in the lead is nothing short of awesome. A really really really good movie. Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirstin Dunst, Elijah Wood, Jane Adams, David Cross. Directed by: Michel Gondry. A+

Eurotrip (2004) R comedy

Teen sex comedies aren't rare. What is rare is one like this where nearly every joke lands. Even when I think to myself there's no way one of the setups could possibly get a funny payoff, the film manages it. For instance there's a moment when our protagonist decides to mock a mime. The setup starts weak but then it builds and it builds, and by the end of it I am laughing with giddiness. The mime bit is hardly the best this film's got. The story is rather simple. It's about a high school graduate, Scott, who takes his three friends to Europe to look for his German pen-pal Meike. He thought Meike was a man (pronounced Mike), but really she's a bodacious babe. He unintentionally insults her, causing her to block his email address. So he seeks her out in person to make amends and maybe get lucky. The quartet ends up taking an extremely indirect route to Germany, trotting across Europe, mainly trying to get laid. They meet some colorful characters along the way--my favorite are football hooligans with filthy mouths who refuse to drive on the right side of the road in France. They also have hilarious misadventure, such as going to a nude beach expecting to see lots of naked women but only finding other naked male tourists who had the same idea. (There's an abundance of nudity in this movie, by the way, all played for laughs.) At one point, one of them is unintentionally elected Pope. You'll just have to watch the movie to see how that could happen. Starring: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Kristin Kreuk, Cathy Meils, Nial Iskhakov, Michelle Trachtenburg, Travis Wester, Matt Damon, J. Adams, Christopher Baird, Nicolas J.M. Cloutman. Directed by: Jeff Schaffer. B+

Event Horizon (1997) R sci-fi

It starts out well but it ends up a mess! A group of astronauts travel into space to see what happened to a previous journey. They find out that the ship has been effected by something that makes the crew have strange hallucinations and think irrationally. Maybe the movie wouldn't have been so terrible if it didn't suddenly switch from an intriguing sci-fi flick to a terrible slasher/gore flick. It also has a serious problem with character development and, with the actors used, this shouldn't have been much of a problem. Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Peter Marinker, Holly Chant, Barclay Wright. Directed by: Paul Anderson. D+

Ever After (1998) PG-13 romance

This is an adequate retelling of the Cinderella story. Drew Barrymore plays Cinderella, an orphaned girl who is subject to her evil stepmother (Anjelica Huston). By chance, she meets the Prince of France (Dougray Scott) who happens to be looking for a bride. Cinderella dresses up as a noble and becomes good friends with the prince, but how long until he find out that she's poor? Barrymore makes an adequate Cinderella, but Angelica Huston makes the perfect evil stepmother. This film certainly doesn’t improve on the fairy tale, but offers a unique perspective. The script needed improvement, but the overall film still manages to be entertaining. Starring: Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Jeanne Moreau, Jeroen Krabbe, Patrick Godfrey, Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey, Timothy West, Judy Parfitt, Lee Ingley, Kate Lansbury, Matelok Gibbs, Walter Sparrow. Directed by: Andy Tennant. C+

Every Day's a Holiday (1937) NR comedy

Surely among the finer Mae West films. She plays an 1890s conwoman who gets caught trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead of fleeing town, she dons a black wig and disguises herself as a French singer named Fifi. As usual, the plot takes a backseat to the breezy pace and the one-liners, and this film has its fair share of guffaws. Of course, it is always best to see West play a charmingly reprehensible character, which she does here. The big highlight for me, though, is an appearance from a young Louis Armstrong, singing and tooting a trumpet at a New Orleans style jazz parade! Starring: Mae West, Edmund Lowe, Charles Butterworth, Charles Winninger, Walter Catlett, Lloyd Nolan, Louis Armstrong, George Rector. Directed by: A. Edward Sutherland. B-

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) R comedy

A wonderfully imaginative science-fiction spectacle about a nebbish but headstrong Chinese-American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who finds herself unwittingly interacting with inner-dimensional beings that have the ability to possess her family members. Her comically wimpy husband (Ke Huy Quan) suddenly becomes a top-tier secret agent, their shy and misunderstood daughter (Stephanie Hsu) becomes a genius supervillain, and their ailing father (James Hong) becomes a criminal mastermind. Even though the narrative is constantly teetering in and out of nonsense, it all holds together remarkably well -- which is surprising considering much of the storyline seems to be played for laughs. As far as laughs go, I found myself chuckling hard through this -- including at the bizarre things people need to do to "harness" the abilities they have in parallel universes. My favorite bit, at one point, is when they inadvertently call upon a universe where everybody has limp hotdogs for fingers. (This comes complete with a brief send-up of 2001: Space Odyssey -- a monkey with hotdog fingers killing a monkey with regular fingers.) This is one of the most wildly unique and funny (not to mention brilliantly edited) films that's come out of Hollywood in ages. I hadn't even mentioned that there's also a martial arts here. (Everything Everywhere All At Once even applies to genre-bending, evidently.) An unexpected highlight is Jamie Lee Curtis who delivers what's surely among her career-best performances as a supremely trollish IRS agent. Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., Tallie Medel. Directed by: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. A-

Everything I Have is Yours (1952) NR musical/dance

A very dull and lacking musical starring Marge and Gower Champion, both good dancers but less so actors. Their characters begin dual roles in a Broadway play only to discover that Marge is pregnant. Gower stayed on the show, but Marge was replaced by her understudy who becomes famous with this role. Marge becomes immensely jealous. The film's choreography is plain okay; certainly not the best I've ever seen and the songs are all too forgettable. See only if you love musicals and tap dancing. Starring: Marge Champion, Gower Champion, Dennis O’Keefe, Eduard Franz. Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard. C

Everything Is Illuminated (2005) PG-13 drama

Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) is a young, mild-mannered American Jew. He always wears a black and white suit and black-rimmed eyeglasses that magnify his eyes. He is in Ukraine looking for Trachimbrod, a shtetl where his grandfather once lived before fleeing Nazi rule. To aid in his search, he hires the services of a sketchy tour company that consists of a young man and his grandfather. The young man, Alex (Eugene Hutz), speaks with humorously idiosyncratic English, and the non-English-speaking grandfather (Boris Leskin) is extremely cantankerous. While the beginning of the film comes off sometimes disjointed and over-the-top, it quickly finds its groove and even provides plenty of moments that caused me to laugh out loud. Even better, as Jonathan gets further into his journey, it becomes more heartfelt -- even in unexpected ways. The three core characters in this film have wildly contrasting personalities, and I enjoy watching them interact. While this is hardly a light film, it does know how to treat its subject reverently while also proving good laughs along the way. Starring: Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz, Boris Leskin, Laryssa Lauret. Directed by: Liev Schreiber. B+

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1971) R comedy

Woody Allen’s series of skits that strives to answer some of the title’s questions is oftentimes quite funny and goofy, but some clumsiness in the scripts and a few flat jokes and ideas keeps this from becoming one of Allen’s more noteworthy films. Nevertheless, this remains essential viewing for anyone claiming to be an Allen fan. The film has a good cast that doesn’t always feature Allen. Watch for Regis Philbin. Starring: Woody Allen, John Carradine, Anthony Quayle, Lynn Redgrave, Lou Jacobi, Gene Wilder, Tony Randall, Louise Lasser, Burt Reynolds, Titos Vandis, Ref Sanchez. Directed by: Woody Allen. B-

Evil Alien Conquerors (2002) PG-13 comedy

It’s difficult to envision that the same person responsible for this remarkably unfunny comedy was also responsible for that 1989 howl-fest, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Diedrich Bader and Chris Parnell star as two inept aliens who were sent to Earth to behead every human. Indeed, the concept might have made a funny movie, but it’s … it’s not. Oh, oh, oh, what an embarrassment and a waste. Starring: Michael Weston, Diedrich Bader, Chris Parnell, Tyler Labine, Elden Henson, Beth Grant, Missy Yager, Phil LaMarr, Joel McCrary, Michael McShane. Directed by: Chris Matheson. D-

Evita (1996) PG musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway musical is brought to the big screen with all its extravagance intact. It's about the short life of Eva Peron, first lady of Argentina during the 1940s-1950s. This rock opera has fantastic music with a little tweaking here and there done from its original 70's soundtrack to appeal to a 90's audience and a new song added. Madonna was a fine choice (though not perfect) to play the title character and Antonio Banderas, though not the best singer in the world, surprises everyone and does a magnificent job as Che Guevera. This was unfortunately one of the very few mainstream musicals to be produced in the 90s. What a crappy decade. Starring: Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, Jimmy Nail, Vicoria Sus, Julian Littman, Olga Merediz, Laura Pallas, Julia Pallas, Julia Worsley, Maria Lujan Hidalgo, Servando Villamil, Andrea Corr. Directed by: Alan Parker. B+

Evolution (2001) PG-13 comedy

Director Ivan Reitman made Ghostbusters, and here is an attempt at a similar type of film. The premise at least had promise. A type of single celled alien life form is able reproduce and evolve in the span of hours that on earth took hundreds of millions of years. Within days, these life forms threaten to supplant humanity. More implausible than the premise is the plot-line, which involves a couple of community college professors (David Duchovny, Orlando Jones) trying to prevent the US military from usurping "their discovery" of these lifeforms. Granted, 9/11 happened months after this film was released, and at least I find it quaint Hollywood was so innocent they thought community college professors could legally challenge the US military in a national security threat. The script is also pretty awful--lots of attempts at humor, much of it racially charged banter between Duchovny and Jones, but virtually nothing lands. Starring: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott, Ted Levine, Ethan Suplee, Michael Ray Bower, Pat Kilbane, Ty Burrell, Dan Aykroyd, Katherine Towne, Gregory Itzin. Directed by: Ivan Reitman. C-

Excalibur (1981) R fantasy

Phenomenal retelling of the Arthurian legend. Told mainly in fragments but taken together as one epic, this transfixing film begins with Arthur's (Nigel Terry) tumultuous birth and ends with his elderly years. Events familiar and unfamiliar happen in between with characters Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot and others. Chiefly British actors deliver stately and passionate performances. The visuals are beautiful and the soundtrack is reminiscent of a lush Tchaikovsky symphony. Quite the experience. But I wouldn't claim it is perfect. Some scenes drag. I wouldn't say the themes are any more profound than I remember from the stories when I was in high school. But surely, this is one of the definitive (serious) treatments we will ever get to see about King Arthur. Starring: Nigel Terry, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Helen Mirren, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Robert Addie, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Corin Redgrave, Keith Buckley. Directed by: John Boorman. A-

Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) R horror

I appreciate the idea behind the film. An ancient Christian church is unearthed in an African archeological site dated millennia before Christianity was thought to have spread there. Lankester Merrin, the craggy priest from the 1971 film, here played by Stellan Skarsgard, was recruited to investigate. It isn't long before strange things of an evil nature start happening. The film fails in its most important mission: It isn't scary. It's too polished and big budgeted to do any real harm. Except that it gives me an upset stomach at times, thanks to several scenes of maggot infested flesh. Some of its general eeriness lingers with me, but overall give this one a miss. Starring: Stellan Skarsgard, Izabella Scorupco, James D'Arcy, Ralph Brown, Julian Wadham, Andrew French, Ben Cross. Directed by: Renny Harlin. C-

Explorers (1985) PG sci-fi

Everything is fantastic about this fun science fiction picture except for the crappy ending. At any rate, you’ll probably enjoy the ride watching three kids (River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, and Bobby Fite) develop a microchip one of them had been seeing in a dream. When they put this chip to use, they discover that it can move matter. So they do the most logical thing they can possibly conjure up with such technology and build a rocket ship. It was great fun until the disappointing conclusion. Starring: Ethan Hawke, River Pheonix, Bobby Fite, Bradley Gregg, Georg Olden, Chance Schwass, Amanda Peterson, Danny Nucci, Jason Presson, Dana Ivey, James Cromwell. Directed by: Joe Dante. B-

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) R drama

Zach Efron is perfectly cast as the charming, wicked Ted Bundy--the serial killer whose public and private professions of innocence confused and beguiled many. A fascinating figure who was intelligent enough to represent himself in trial but dumb enough to escape prison. I enjoyed watching the film but wished they would have tried exploring the gap between Bundy's intelligence and his grisly killing habit. Starring: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, John Malkovich, Kaya Scodelario, Jeffrey Donovan, Angela Sarafyan, Jim Parsons, Dylan Baker, James Hetfield, Haley Joel Osment. Directed by: Joe Berlinger. B

The Eye (2002) R horror

This frightening Thai import concerns a young blind woman (Lee Sin-Je) who receives a cornea transplant. She is thrilled that she has vision restored to her, but she soon discovers that some of what she’s seeing isn’t actually there. Some truly chilling moments makes this recommendable to horror buffs. The film’s conclusion, however, was contrived and rather predictable. Starring: Lee Sin-Je, Lawrence Chou, Chutcha Rujinanon, Candy Lo, Kierre Png. Directed by: Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang. B

Eye of the Needle (1981) R drama

Donald Sutherland is effective as a German spy in this wartime drama who is shipwrecked on an English island after he learns about the invasion of Normandy. On this island lives a family: a parapalegic (Christopher Cazenove) who's bitter with the turn his life took and his lonely housewife (Kate Nelligan). This is an edge-of-the-seat thriller that's a good grown-up flick for a Friday night. Starring: Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan, Ian Bannen, Christopher Cazenove, Faith Brook, Barbara Ewing, David Hayman, Alex McCrindle, Philip Martin Brown. Directed by: Richard Marquand. A-

Eyes Without a Face (1960) NR horror

The daughter of a mad plastic surgeon was in an automobile accident. He kidnaps local women to steal the skin on their faces to restore his daugher's face only for it to fail every time. The best feature of this French horror movie is that it's creepy without actually being scary. This is the type of horror movie that will get under your skin. Such is the ideal type of horror film in my humble opinion. The soundtrack is irritating, though. Starring: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Francois Guerin, Juliette Mayniel, Beatrice Altriba, Alexandre Rignault. Directed by: Georges Franju. A-

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