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Film Picks

[whitespace] By Richard von Busack

Carrie (1976)
April 2-8 at the Roxie Theater
Tight but tender horror film--his best--by the fiendishly clever Brian De Palma. Based on a Stephen King novel, it's the story of Carrie (Sissy Spacek), a painfully shy girl oppressed at her high school and at home by a religious fanatic mother (Piper Laurie). But Carrie has an unwanted gift: the power to move objects with her mind. The passionate, deeply touching acting of Laurie and Spacek adds rich undertones of Southern gothic lit to King's mousetrap-like plotting. The film isn't a mood piece: it delivers a shocking finale. Yet in its moods of terror and sorrow, Carrie shames the gross-out, winking silliness of the current crop of splatter-teen pastiches. The sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2, is available at local theaters for purposes of comparison.

God Said 'Ha!'
Plays at selected theaters.
Better than it sounds. Julie Sweeney, a cute, wisecracking, pie-faced comedienne on the lines of Ginger Rogers, reminisces about her brother Mike's horrible battle with Stage 4 lymphoma ("There is no Stage 5. Stage 5 is death.") In the midst of the rounds of chemotherapy and remissions, Sweeney herself was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer. Mike and Julie's bad luck is compounded by their square parents moving in to help nurse their children. This superior performance film is hampered by inferior direction; the camera scarcely moves. Yet Sweeney's timing is as commendable as her lack of self-pity; what her story lacks in visual excitement is made up in a nigh-unbelievable, hilarious true-life tale.

Spike and Mike's Classic Festival of Animation
Plays April 9-21 at the Castro Theater.
This all-ages fest of 16 shorts is not to be confused with S&M's more scatological Sick and Twisted Fest. The selection includes an Oscar nominee, "Bunny," with music by Tom Waits; "Busby," which animates a Judy Garland tune; and "Balance" (1989), a past Oscar winner about a desperate, silent battle by a pair of identical figures who both look suspiciously like Max Schreck's Nosferatu. Another revival, not quite so somber: Marv Newland's short but memorable sick prank "Bambi Meets Godzilla" (1969)--and a modern sequel, "Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla," by Eric Fernandes.

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From the March 29, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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