One-Night Stands for the week of April 18-24, 2007

In this week's rep picks: Rock Hudson and Doris Day, '60s America's favorite couple.

Reviews by Michael Covino, George Csicsery, Kelly Vance, Robert Wilonsky, and Naomi Wise

Thu., April 19

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More with Feeling — The “sing-along” episode of the TV show, projected on DVD (running time unknown). (PW, 9:15)

What’s Love Got to Do with It? — A program of shorts by Cal film and video makers, who appear in person (80 min. total running time). (PFA, 7:30)

Fri., April 20

California Independent Film Festival — This wide-ranging film festival is held in a variety of locations in Livermore and vicinity, through April 22. For more info, visit (Livermore, various locations, 10:00 a.m., 5:30, 7:00, 9:00)

The Fireman’s Ball — This is possibly the best comedy ever to come out of Eastern Europe. Directed by Milos Forman in 1967, this delightful film about firefighters preparing for their annual shindig is a thinly veiled social satire on the system. In Czech with English subtitles (75 min.). — G.C. (PFA, 8:30)

Life and Debt — Where do your bananas come from? Your favorite chair? How about that T-shirt? This documentary by Stephanie Black takes us there while explaining the gross unfairness of “free trade” and the “new world order” (80 min., 2001). (Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland, 7:30)

The Match Factory Girl — A young woman who works at a boring job in a match factory, and spends her nights with her screwy family, meets Mr. Right at a dance … and things go from bad to worse. This spare, deadpan narrative is by Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki. With Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, and Esko Nikkari (70 min., 1989). (PFA, 7:00)

Re-Animator — Two medical students decide to get a head start on malpractice by greasing a couple of their deans and then injecting them with a reanimation serum, whereupon all prosthesis breaks loose in Stuart Gordon’s happily grisly horror piece (1985). — K.V. (S, midnight)

Run Lola Run — German writer-director Tom Tykwer doesn’t waste time in his story of the hectic afternoon of a young Berliner (Franka Potente) who must raise DM 100,000 in twenty minutes to save her boyfriend’s life. Lola runs (literally) through three alternative scenarios in eighty minutes, chased by animations, manic jump cuts, flash forwards, film-to-video transfers — whatever techniques Tykwer found lying around. The sheer imaginative energy of the piece makes it work (1998). — K.V. (Movies That Matter, Neumayer residence, 565 Bellevue St., Oakland, 6:30)

Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press — Bay Area filmmaker Rick Goldsmith’s documentary on illustrious but unsung (until now) muckraker Seldes functions as a thumbnail history of high-level corruption and news management in the United States, and one man’s often-lonely crusade against it. In between talking-head quotes from the 98-year-old Seldes and his peers (he influenced an army of truth-seeking exposers, including I.F. Stone and Ralph Nader), we’re shown how the self-published columnist tangled with the likes of Benito Mussolini — all because Seldes refused to accept anything but full disclosure. Recommended (90 min., 1996). — K.V. (Berkeley Fellowship Unitarian Universalist Hall, 1924 Cedar St., 7:00)

Sat., April 21

Beyond the Clouds — Watching the unhappy, alienated lovers go through their paces in these four connected/disconnected stores I found myself wondering, “Why are these people torturing each other?” And then I wondered, “Why is Michelangelo Antonioni torturing me?” Coitus interruptus features prominently in this film, and that’s a pretty good description of most of his films — teases, the denial of (narrative) pleasure, of anything that goes anywhere. With John Malkovich, Sophie Marceau, and Jean Reno (114 min., 1995). — M.C. (PFA, 8:50)

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On — Kenzo Okuzaki is an angry man. Since returning to Japan from a WWII post in New Guinea, the ex-soldier has been obsessed with bringing charges of brutality, murder, and cannibalism against his former comrades. This eerie and funny documentary accompanies Okuzaki as he travels back and forth across Japan confronting the guilty men in their homes. Directed with a bleak sense of humor by Kazuo Hara (122 min., 1987). — K.V. (PFA, 6:30)

Enrique Morente: Alhambra Daydreams — A documentary on the Spanish flamenco singer (running time unknown, 2006). (LP, 8:00)

Pillow Talk — Rock Hudson chases Doris Day until she catches him. The then-popular, now extremely dated 1959 sex comedy costars Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter, and was directed by Michael Gordon (102 min.). (Cerrito, 6:00)

Re-Animator — See Fri. (S, midnight)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — The original 1975 British rock music horror spoof, starring Tim Curry as the androgynous Dr. Frank N. Furter (95 min.). (PW, midnight)

Sun., April 22

Pillow Talk — See Sat. (Cerrito, 5:00)

Short Films by Antonioni, Program 2 — Six short films, circa 1977-2004, by the Italian director (77 min. total running time). Followed by Making a Film for Me Is Life — A film bio of Michelangelo Antonioni by his wife, Enrica Antonioni (60 min., 1995). (PFA, 2:00)

Mon., April 23

Dead Poets Society — Corny as the film is, Robin Williams’ role as a lit prof who enchants a group of prep school boys into using their imaginations is one of his most complete characterizations. Tom Schulman’s screenplay is the purest imaginary malarkey, a Stand and Deliver for WASPs nostalgic for the Eisenhower era. Director Peter Weir handles the thing as if it were a sacred legend instead of a formula: “inspirational” teacher scapegoated by parents for causing students to rebel by reading Emerson in a cave at midnight. Ah, the good old days (128 min., 1989). — K.V. (Fremont Main Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., 6:30)

Tue., April 24

Academy Film Archive: Recent Preservations — Eight experimental shorts preserved by the Academy Film Archive in Hollywood. Preservationist Mark Toscano appears in person (87 min. total running time). (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., April 25

An Injury to One — Documentary investigation of the Butte, Montana lynching of Frank Little, a labor organizer from the Industrial Workers of the World (aka Wobblies), directed by Travis Wilkerson (53 min., 2002). With a lecture by Marilyn Fabe. (PFA, 3:00)

Noisy People — Documentary on the Bay Area’s experimental music scene, directed by Tim Perkis (76 min., 2007). Director appears in person, with guest performers. (PFA, 8:00)

Notes on a Scandal — Brilliantly adapted by Patrick Marber from the darkly comic Zoé Heller novel, this is a grim piece of work — Fatal Attraction for the art-house crowd. It’s set in a dreary London, where a gray funk of fog and cigarette smoke hangs over everyone’s heads like a gathering storm. Cate Blanchett is a vision in thrift-store duds as Sheba, a well-heeled beauty and art teacher tethered to a frustratingly middle-class life. To fill the void, Sheba heads down a self-destructive path, beginning an affair with a 15-year-old student who reminds her of the youth she feels she’s squandered. A friendless teacher at the school, Barbara Covett (Judi Dench), also covets Sheba and uses her knowledge of the affair to lure Sheba into her comforting arms (2006). — R.W. (JCCEB, 7:00)

Movie theater abbreviations

AC = Act 1 & 2, AL= Albany, BA = Bal, BH = Blackhawk, BC = Brenden Concord 14, BP = Brenden Pittsburg 16, BS = AMC Bay Street, CA = California, CAPH = CinéArts Pleasant Hill, CB = Century Bayfair, CE = Central Cinema Alameda, CCC = CoCo Cinemas, CEPH = Century Pleasant Hill 16, CH = Century Hilltop, CN = Cinedome Newark, CRC = Crow Canyon, CS = Century Solano Drive-In, CSC = Chabot Space and Science Center, CUC = Century Union City 25, CWC = Century Walnut Creek, CF = Cinedome Fremont, E = Elmwood, EC = El Cerrito Speakeasy, GL = Grand Lake, JL = Jack London, N8 = Naz 8, OA = Oaks, OR = Orinda, P = Park, PM = Piedmont, PW = Parkway, RA = Regal Antioch, RH = Regal Hacienda, S = Shattuck,UAB = UA Berkeley, UAEB = UA Emery Bay, VL = Vine Livermore.


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