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Picks by Richard von Busack (RvB) and Michelle Goldberg (MG)|
A small, skidding cable channel decides to follow a North Beach video clerk named Ed (Matthew McConaughey), broadcasting his every move 24 hours a day. Director Ron Howard shoots fast and cheap--with extensive product placement as a satire on product placement. EDtv scores some gags on the gogglebox, and Woody Harrelson is often inspired as Ed's muscle-headed brother. But the sharp points about the cult of personality are blunted by the casting. McConaughey's self-regard is tangible and unpleasant; I don't think McConaughey is in touch with the slight sense of fraudulence that makes a real movie star function. Jenna Elfman plays Sherry, the girl next door if next door is in San Francisco. Her early scenes are full of charm; later, her character is damp and draggy. I concurred with the 71 percent of USA Today readers, polled by EDtv fans in the movie, who were glad to see Sherry go. (RvB)
Detroit 9000 (1973)
April 23-29 at the Roxie Theater
Scatman Crothers and Alex Rocco star in a lost piece of blaxploitation about interracial cops battling a ring of jewel thieves in the Motor City. It features a soundtrack by Motown hitmakers Holland, Dozier and Holland, and was filmed in a place that doesn't really exist anymore: old-school Detroit, the ultraviolent, voyeur's thrill city of boarded-up factories, empty boulevards, bad men and big shoes. Arthur Marks directs; he also did Bucktown and the filmed-in-Griffith-Park Thalmus Rassulala/Pam Grier movie Friday Foster. New 35mm print. (RvB)
April 16-17 at the Werepad, 2430 Third St, 415/824-7334
A bizarre, sometimes transcendent, sometimes inscrutable, riff on exploitation movies with a go-go existential New Wave flavor, Planet Manson is the Werepad's Jacques Boyreau's latest feature. On one level, it's a story about a battle between two would-be filmmakers, a hipster dreaming of a B-epic called Planet Manson and an android ho called Cupcake willing to get down on the casting couch of a demonic producer. The dialogue has a bebop rhythm that veers between absurdity and deadpan profundity. The plot isn't really the point; viewers expecting the kind of lurid entertainment usually offered in the films shown at the Werepad may be baffled. Despite the film's trash trappings, Planet Manson owes more to Godard and the '70s avant-garde than it does to Russ Meyer. (MG)
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From the April 12, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.
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