One Night Stands for the week of May 23-29, 2007 

In this week's rep picks: Killer Klowns meet the Insect Woman.

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.

Reviews by Michael Covino, Dave Kehr, Rob Nelson, Kelly Vance, and Naomi Wise

Thu., May 24

Killer Klowns from Outer Space — Sinister alien clowns set up an extraterrestrial circus tent in the countryside and battle teenagers — including rock group the Dickies — in this 1987 spooferoo. The Chiodo brothers — Stephen, Charles, and Edward — handled all the production chores (88 min.). (PW, 9:15)

POV Animation Festival — Experimental shorts by Bay Area artists (total running time unknown). (Cerrito, 9:15)

Fri., May 25

The Ballad of Narayama — Director Shohei Imamura once again focuses on the lower-class doings of a cohesive group, this time a poor mountain family whose headstrong matriarch must soon go up the mountain to die. The strong character study of mother and son bound up in harsh traditions is played against a hurly-burly village panorama of crude comedy and crueler violence (130 min., 1983). — K.V. (PFA, 9:05)

The Draughtsman's Contract — A draughtsman gets more than he bargained for with the rural English aristocracy, circa 1690. And so does the moviegoer in this tedious, airless, somewhat experimental mystery costume drama by writer-director Peter Greenaway. With Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman, Neil Cunningham, and Anne Louise Lambert. Music by Michael Nyman (108 min., 1982). — M.C. (PFA, 7:00)

Homeland — A documentary on Native American efforts to resist energy companies' depredations on their tribal lands (running time unknown). (Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland, 7:30)

Sat., May 26

The Insect Woman — Shohei Imamura's sublime meditation on post-WWII Japanese mercantilism uses one of his favorite devices: a strong woman character, an innocent young woman from a rural prefecture who moves to the city and becomes first a prostitute, then a wicked madam, but always with a vengeance. Sachiko Hidari's performance is mesmerizing (123 min., 1963). — K.V. (PFA, 6:30)

Noisy People — Documentary on the Bay Area's experimental music scene, directed by Tim Perkis (76 min., 2007). (Berkeley Arts Festival, 2323 Shattuck Ave., 8:00)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — The original 1975 British rock music horror spoof (95 min.). (PW, midnight)

A Shot in the Dark — Blake Edwards originally planned to farm out the direction on this film, the sequel to his Pink Panther, to Anatole Litvak. Little did he realize that by taking the job himself he was automatically doomed to do little else for the next ten years. This is not quite up to the original, but it has its moments as Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) sets out to solve a murder in an English country house. With George Sanders and Elke Sommer (102 min., 1964). — D.K. (Cerrito, 6:00)

A Zed and Two Noughts — Peter Greenaway blesses us with his observations on the origin of life and our relationship with animals (115 min., 1985). (PFA, 8:55)

Sun., May 27

Faithless Marijka — A woodsman, his loose wife, and their fellow Carpathian villagers all get into trouble in director Vladislav Vancura's Czech melodrama (76 min., 1934). (PFA, 5:00)

The Kreutzer Sonata — Czech director Gustav Machat?'s silent melodrama about an aristocrat's debauched life is based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy. It stars Eva Byronovà and Jan W. Speerger (95 min., 1926). Bruce Loeb on piano. (PFA, 3:00)

A Shot in the Dark — See Sat. (Cerrito, 6:00)

Tue., May 29

Vengeance Is Mine — Psychological perceptiveness, bits of grim humor, and erotic scenes of great power inform Shohei Imamura's deeply serious biography of a mad-dog killer on the lam, which opens like one of Sam Fuller's hard-hitting action flicks, but settles into a slow-moving, highly detailed study of personal and societal pathology (140 min., 1979). — N.W. PFA, 7:30)

Wed., May 30

Army of Shadows — Led by a short, rotund man who carries a briefcase and speaks as if conserving his last reserves of emotion, the heroes of this long-unreleased French resistance drama from 1969 engage in little of what counts for action these days. And yet, as directed by WWII veteran and gangster-movie master Jean-Pierre Melville, Army of Shadows is deeply engrossing — and deep in numerous other ways that one scarcely encounters at the movies anymore. The chief of the resistance group (Lino Ventura) is repeatedly apprehended by the Nazis and forced to reckon with the knowledge that any breath could be his last — that even if he escapes again, his group's survival will require him to execute some of those closest to him, those who have earlier saved his own life (2006). — R.N. (JCCEB, 7:00)

Hard Times — Walter Hill makes a very impressive transition from screenwriter to director with this Depression story of a streetfighter (Charles Bronson) and his promoter (James Coburn) trying to eke out a life in New Orleans. Hill's thoughtful handling of the moral issue — survival versus friendship — and his subtle, evocative camera work make this about one hundred times better than it could (or even should) be (93 min., 1975). — D.K. (PFA, 7:30)

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