One-Night Stands for the week of July 12-19, 2007 

Beam me up, Scotty. We're out of Coreen-thee-an leth-er.

Reviews by Vicki Cameron, Michael Covino, Don Druker, Kelly Vance, and Naomi Wise

Thu., July 12

All I Desire — A failed actress and mother of three (Barbara Stanwyck) returns to the husband (Richard Carlson) and family she deserted years before in Douglas Sirk's superior, and very personal, reworking of a standard soap-opera plot. True to form, Sirk transforms the material through a careful and ironic reworking of the conventions — so that what emerges is a biting assessment of the value of survival in the face of small-town meanness and prejudice, a neat use of a very bourgeois format to satirize its audience. Recommended (77 min., 1953). — D.D. (PFA, 8:50)

A Shorts Guide to Israel — Three shorts on life in Israel (total running time unknown). (JCCEB, 7:00)

There's Always Tomorrow — Douglas Sirk's 1956 domestic melodrama centers on husband Fred MacMurray's adulterous love affair with Barbara Stanwyck, conducted against the background of adoring wife Joan Bennett and their three children (84 min.). (PFA, 7:00)

Thunderball — Spectacular underwater footage highlights Sean Connery's fourth outing as James Bond, which also sports the usual bevy of buxom babes, great gadgets created by Q (Desmond Llewelyn) — the unsung hero of the 007 flicks — and a suave villain named Largo (Adolfo Celi) who keeps his pet sharks well-fed. The plot involves saving the world from mass destruction planned by a group of nasties called SPECTRE, who kindly stash their stolen atomic bombs amid the splendid backdrop of the Bahamas (120 min., 1965). — V.C. (PW, 9:00)

Fri., July 13

A Home on the Range: The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma — Kosher cluckers? Documentary on chicken ranchers in Marin County, many of whom fled pogroms in Eastern Europe. Directed by Bonnie Burt and Judith Montell (running time unknown, 2002). (Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 7:00)

The Hungry Miles — A documentary on Australian dock workers (running time unknown). Shown with Film Work — John Hughes' documentary on Australian labor unions (running time unknown). (Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland, 7:30)

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone — This drama by Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang takes place in Malaysia, where strange things happen (115 min., 2006). (PFA, 9:05)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — Aside from a few camera movements along starship corridors and the standard-brand 1982 special effects, it's still the same flat, set-constructed, cliché-studded show that soothed a generation of TV snackers. With the dependably wooden Ricardo Montalban as the vengeful Khan, and the usual Enterprise crew. Major revelations: Kirk discovers a long-lost son, and Spock, radiated to a crisp, dies — for now (116 min.). — K.V. (Chabot Cinema, midnight)

Syndromes and a Century — Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Tropical Malady) directed this narrative drama based on the lives of his doctor parents (105 min., 2006). (PFA, 7:00)

Sat., July 14

12:08 East of Bucharest — Romanian comedy takes place on a TV quiz show. Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu (89 min., 2006). (PFA, 8:20)

The Experience — A coming-of-age story by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (60 min., 1973). Preceded by two Kiarostami shorts: Bread And Alley (10 min., 1970) and Recess/Breaktime (14 min., 1972). (PFA, 4:30)

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)

The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad — The mythical monsters of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad are brought to life through the process of Dynamation — placing small plastic models in the same frame as the actors with stop-motion photography — which was created by cartoonist Ray Harryhausen. Sinbad meets a Cyclops, a dragon, and a two-headed bird on the island of Colossa in his attempt to save a princess. Kathryn Grant Crosby and Kerwin Matthews star (88 min., 1958). (Cerrito, 6:00)

The Traveler — Abbas Kiarostami's rarely shown first feature, the story of a rebellious youth and his passion for soccer. Starring Hasan Darabi (74 min., 1974). (PFA, 6:30)

Sun., July 15

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone — See Fri. (PFA, 7:05)

The Lady Vanishes — Pure Alfred Hitchcock British-period legerdemain, with a sweet old lady (Dame May Whitty) utterly disappearing from the Trans-Europe Express. Was she real, or a hallucination? Two young people (Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave) search for the lady and find — Nazi spies Fast, witty, and tense, with a bang-up ending, this is the essential and inimitable definition of the British thriller (97 min., 1938). — N.W. (Gaia Arts Center, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, 3:00)

The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad — See Sat. (Cerrito, 5:00)

Syndromes and a Century —See Fri. (PFA, 5:00)

Mon., July 16

The Mummy — Hyperactive remake of the old Universal horror pic wastes its energy on the shabby romance between adventurer Brendan Fraser and archaeologist Rachel Weisz, and the usual excessive special effects. The mummy himself (Arnold Vosloo) crumbles better than he acts (124 min., 1999). — K.V. (Fremont Main Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., 6:15)

Tue., July 17

Baby Face — The insolent sensuality of Barbara Stanwyck as a professional heartbreaker makes this pre-Code (1933) sex drama memorable. She escapes her pimping father in a steel mill town and takes over a New York bank one officer at a time, culminating with playboy financier George Brent. Douglas Dumbrille and a young John Wayne are among her prey. This film's frank treatment of predatory sex reportedly caused the Hollywood Production Code to be instituted. Nowadays it seems an artifact of social realism (76 min.). — K.V. (PFA, 7:00)

Gangsta's Paradise — The guys from Rude Boy are back, with a story of gangsters in Jamaica and the Bay Area starring Beenie Man and Jon "Ras Kidus" Cornelius (running time unknown). (PW, 9:15)

Last Days — Most viewers will enter the theater fully aware that Gus Van Sant's new film is "inspired by" the 1994 suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. More observation than character study, Last Days doesn't try to get into the head of its existentially angst-ridden protagonist. Rather, it's an elliptical rendering of the final hours in the troubled life of grunge musician Blake (Michael Pitt, who has dropped the annoying posturing that has marred so many of his earlier performances). He walks in the woods, cooks macaroni and cheese, writes music, avoids friends, and ignores the ringing telephone. Although it doesn't set out to answer any questions or dispel any mysteries, the film is less emotionally cold than just kind of neutral. Given the absence of such customary cinematic conventions as story line and character development, it shouldn't be half as engrossing as it turns out to be (2005). — J.O. (Gaia Arts Center, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, 7:00)

Remember the Night — Directed by Mitchell Leisen from a Preston Sturges script, this mature, morally ambiguous romantic comedy is slower, sweeter, and more compassionate than the films Sturges himself later directed. Barbara Stanwyck is a thief; prosecutor Fred MacMurray (playing in an unexpectedly brash style presaging Burt Reynolds) bails her out and takes her home for Christmas out of a pity that swiftly changes to a potentially corrupting love. For such a lightly entertaining comedy, its ethical gnawings and subtly obsessive undertones are surprising; it's like a cross between Easy Living and Double Indemnity (94 min., 1940). — N.W. (PFA, 7:30)

Wed., July 18

Frogs — Horror film parody has Florida Everglades rich folks being eaten by swamp critters on the 4th of July. George McGowan directs (90 min., 1972). (PFA, 7:30)

The Wizard of Oz — Unforgettable children's classic with young Judy Garland skipping out on dull old Kansas for the fantasy world of Oz, which lies just "Over the Rainbow." With the rest of Yellow Brick Road crew: Frank Morgan, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Ray Bolger, Margaret Hamilton, Clara Blandick, Charley Grapewin, and the Singer Midgets. Wonderful score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. From L. Frank Baum's story. Victor Fleming directs beautifully. In color (101 min., 1939). — M.C. (Paramount, 8:00)


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