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  • The Train

    The Train

    ★★★★

    For years I was interested in John Frankenheimer's The Train for two reasons. One was Harlan Ellison's enraptured review that was reprinted in "Harlan Ellison's Watching," a collection of his essays on film. The review is so laudatory that it almost gives you a contact high even as you suspect you won't the film as much. The other reason I wanted to see it was because I couldn't find a copy. It was never on television and wasn't released on…

  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    ★★★½

    I don't have the sentimental attachment to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood that some my generation or those younger do. As a child I found it a little slow, preferring the manic energy of Sesame Street and The Electric Company. It just didn't hold my interest.

    My frustrations with Won't You Be My Neighbor are my usual ones with documentaries edited for association and entertainment rather than information or clarity. (Such films are more like magazine profiles than documentary films.) The jumping…

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  • Shampoo

    Shampoo

    ★★★★

    Over the course of two days, everything changes for a shallow hairdresser in Beverly Hills, both on a large scale (Nixon has just won the election) and small (three of his lovers leave him).

    Shampoo's structured like a farce, ultimately bringing George and his lovers, both known and secret, not only to the same party but to the same table. It's a Rules of the Game for the sexual revolution, shot in a naturalistic style. But the mood is more…

  • Hell or High Water

    Hell or High Water

    ★★★★

    Two brothers, one as shrewd and controlled as the other is impulsive, try to rob the branches of a local bank without resorting to violence in a scheme to prevent foreclosure on the family ranch. They attract the attention of a Texas Ranger who seems almost intuitively able to figure out their next move.

    Hell or High Water's crime story / character study moves through a Texas (read: America) that's less mythic than rundown, out of opportunities and luck. The…