One-Night Stands 

Repertory film listings for August 21-27, 2008.

Reviews by Michael Covino (M.C.), Kelly Vance (K.V.), Naomi Wise (N.W.), and George Csicsery (G.C.).

Thu., August 21

The Professional Man x Two Two takes on The Professional Man, both based on the book by David Goodis. First is Nicholas Kazan's 1989 adaptation, which appeared on the HBO series The Edge; then Steven Soderbergh's from 1995, which ran on the Showtime series Fallen Angels. Kazan in person (total running time 57 min.). (PFA, 6:30)

And Hope to Die Based on the David Goodis novel Black Friday, this 1972 film from French director René Clément is a study in pent-up rivalries among a den of thieves (99 min.). (PFA, 8:30)

The Petrified Forest This is the movie that launched Humphrey Bogart's career, and indeed it's clear from the second the gangsters' car breaks down in the desert and the hoodlum Duke Mantee steps out with a grimace, that he's stepping into film history as well. Bette Davis is the waitress in the roadside cafe where most of the movie — a fairly well-paced adaptation from Robert Sherwood's play — transpires. With Leslie Howard. Directed by Archie Mayo (83 min., 1936). — M.C. (EC, 9:15)

The Princess Bride Entertaining sword 'n' sorcery adventure shows the advantage of having good writing (by William Goldman from his novel) and imaginative direction (by Rob Reiner), as well as a cast primed for parody. Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, and Wallace Shawn steal the film from romantic pair Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, but the big winner is Reiner, who handles juvenile storybook elements as attractively as he's done for romances (The Sure Thing), satires (This Is Spinal Tap), and character nostalgia (Stand by Me). With a hundred opportunities to do a Mel Brooks, he's gone the extra distance to make a Rob Reiner. Also with Peter Falk, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant, and Billy Crystal (98 min., 1987). — K.V. (PW, 9:15)

Sidewalk Druki Dror's documentary on Israeli schoolchildren captures their daily journeys to and from school from a child's point of view. (Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, Berkeley, 7:30)

Fri., August 22

Invasion of the Body Snatchers The original, directed in 1956 by Don Siegel, is a paranoid political fable of the first order, indicting the conformism of the era (Eisenhower here, Stalin there) and the just-ended witch hunts of McCarthy, Nixon, et al. Trapped within the tight confines of the small, square screen, and colored with the absolutism of high-contrast black-and-white, the suspicious hero (Kevin McCarthy) is under suspicion himself until we're gradually led to believe the unbelievable, namely, that the ordinary folk of a small town could be replaced by walking vegetables and no one would notice the difference. This one is much more frightening, touching, and insidiously coherent than the remake, because the basic premise mirrors the director's own passions (80 min.). — N.W. (PFA, 7:00)

2001: A Space Odyssey Time has not been kind to Stanley Kubrick's then-marvelous philosophical sci-fi flick. What were state-of-the-art special effects in 1968 now look dated, and we're left with his despairing theory of evolution, in which humankind reaches farther than it can grasp and a computer named HAL is the warmest character (143 min.). — K.V. (PFA, 8:40)

Sat., August 23

Moon in the Gutter Jean-Jacques Beineix's extravagant follow-up to Diva combines the worst of Helmut Newton's photography with the worst of MTV. Although art director Hilton McConnico's lavish sets and dramatic notions of light are often intriguing, they are wasted on this film, which has nothing but atmosphere. Nastassia Kinski and Gerard Depardieu both look lost and dumb, but that may be because there's nothing for either of them to say or do. Why Beineix chose to remake Coppola's One from the Heart remains a mystery (137 min, 1983). — G.C. (PFA, 6:30)

In Cold Blood Truman Capote's cool novelization of a true crime, wherein two criminals slaughtered a model Midwestern family, is carried off in a spirit true to its source — both writer and filmmaker grew somewhat enamored of one of the killers (Perry, played by Robert Blake). In wide-screen black-and-white (like Hud), the film captures the feel of the prairies, but some significant insight remains absent in the resolute maintenance of an outsider's stance. The film is striking but not really memorable, the souls of its protagonists just out of reach (134 min., 1967). — N.W. (PFA, 9:00)

Forbidden Planet This seminal sci-fi film, made in '56, is the source of the classic phrase "monsters from the id." The ingenious space-opera version of The Tempest has Walter Pidgeon as a future Prospero, presiding over an abandoned planet with his naive daughter (Anne Francis). Robbie the Robot (ancestor of C-3PO) plays Ariel, and the unseen monster from Pidgeon's id takes the Caliban role, as a nice mix of a space crew arrives to investigate the scene. Total, unabashed artificiality reigns in the sets, and the plot is a bit of a hash, with a weird combination of cynicism and faux-naiveté, but in all it's really delightful. Directed by Fred McLeod Wilcox (98 min.). — N.W. (EC, 6:00)

Sun., August 24

Doomed Love Antonio Sequeira Lopes and Cristina Hauser star in this four-hour epic based on the classic 1861 novel by Camilo Castelo Branco and directed by Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira (262 min., 1978). (PFA, 3:00)

Forbidden Planet See Saturday. (EC, 5:00)

Mon, August 25

No Reservations A New York star restaurant chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones) learns valuable life lessons and falls in love in this tame but comfy romantic comedy (a remake of the German film Mostly Martha), in which both her newly orphaned eleven-year-old live-in niece (Abigail Breslin, mopier than in Little Miss Sunshine) and her free-spirited new sous-chef (Aaron Eckhart) conspire to take some of the starch out of the executive apron. As light-hearted food-fetish movies go, put it somewhere between Tortilla Soup and Tampopo (2007). — K.V. (Wente Vineyards, Livermore, twilight)

Tue., August 26

The 400 Blows The first feature by François Truffaut blasted everybody's mind upon release, with the combination of Renoir-style lyricism and Nouvelle Vague "modernism." A very young and unselfconscious Jean-Pierre Léaud is the preteen hero, reading Balzac by flashlight and running in all directions at once to escape the heartless bourgeois sophistication of modern Paris, embodied by his mother (101 min., 1959). — N.W. (PFA, 7:30)

Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street Documentary on how the diverse residents of a blighted Boston neighborhood took the revitalization of their community into their own hands (57 min., 1996). (NoneSuch Space, Oakland, 7:30)

Wed., August 27

Short Films by Manoel de Oliveira This collection of films created between 1931 and 1964 represents the early period of Oliveira, the world's only currently working filmmaker who began in the silent-film era (total running time 78 min.) (PFA, 7:30)

The Reflecting Pool In this documentary, a Russian-American journalist and the father of a 9/11 victim investigate the truths and not-so-truths contained within the 9/11 Commission Report. (Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, Walnut Creek, 7:00)


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