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[whitespace] Film Picks

All picks by Michael S. Gant (MSG) and Richard von Busack (RvB)

Shampoo (1975)
Plays March 17-23 at the Castro Theater

Warren Beatty stars as Beverly Hills swinger-hairdresser George, who gets a lesson on certain political realities on the eve of Nixon's election in 1968. George is soliciting Lester (Jack Warden), a portly Republican businessman, for venture capital to open a salon. Unfortunately, the hairdresser complicates matters by tangling with Lester's wife (Lee Grant), his lover (Julie Christie) and his daughter (Carrie Fisher, pre-Star Wars). Shampoo is one of the few American films to come close to the best European farces: Rules of the Game, La Ronde and Smiles of a Summer Night. It's also that rare American movie in which the director (Hal Ashby, due for a revival) doesn't moralize about what a terrible thing promiscuity is (after giving the audience an eyeful, of course). Beatty--renowned for his own promiscuity offscreen--plays the part of a courtier butterfly with grace and irresistible prettiness. (RvB)

Night Train to Munich/Till We Meet Again (1940/1936)
Plays March 29 at the Roxie Theater

Carol (The Third Man) Reed's Night Train begins with the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Rounded up in Prague, the daughter of an English engineer is sent to a concentration camp; she seeks rescue with the help of a music-hall performer (Rex Harrison) who is also a British secret agent. It is billed with Till We Meet Again, a rare spy film about a couple who find themselves as opposing spies on the outbreak of a world war. Stars Herbert Marshall. (RvB)

Beyond the Mat
Plays at the AMC Van Ness

One might imagine that professional wrestling doesn't need documenting--what you see is what you get. Barry W. Blaustein's documentary, however, discovers some telling moments during an extended trip through the upper reaches of the WWF and the lower rungs of fly-by-night tours. In addition to an extended visit with big-name masochist Mankind (who turns out to be a loving father), the film focuses on fading star Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Not that long ago, Roberts was a lean (relatively), muscular villain with a nasty edge. These days, a dissipated, flabby Roberts plays for small-town fans in high school gyms. With a whiskey voice, Roberts confesses to promiscuity, crack-smoking and failed relationships with his alienated children. Tragic isn't exactly the word for Roberts, but he lays bare his tortured soul with distressing and riveting intimacy. (MSG)

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From the March 20, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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