A triple feature

Critic's choice: Film

May 30, 1999|By Ann Hornaday

For the past two months, my favorite night out has consisted of three stops within the same block of North Charles Street. I start at the newly reopened Zodiac restaurant, where vegetarian meals (and healthy food for carnivores) are served with spicy flavor, stylish ambience and a cheerful staff.

After one of the Zodiac's generous portions (the delicious veggie lasagna is big enough for two, or a great leftover lunch), I jog across the street and catch a flick at the Charles Theatre, which in its renovated form is quite possibly the most attractive and eclectically programmed art house on the East Coast.

This week, you can choose from classics like "The Killers" and "The Big Clock" on Monday or Kryzstof Kieslowski's "Dekalog," parts VII and VIII on Tuesday and Wednesday. My choice: "The Third Man," Carol Reed's incomparable thriller set in post-World War II Vienna starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, running at least through Thursday in a new and improved print.

After taking in Reed's gorgeous black-and-white photography and Anton Karas' wild zither score, I make my third stop of the perfect evening: the Club Charles -- next door to the Zodiac -- for a nightcap and post-movie discussion. And after "The Third Man," that nightcap will be a nice glass of schnapps, of course.

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