What’s Screening: September 6 – 12

The Latino Film Festival starts Thursday.

B+ Afternoon Delight, Kabuki, Albany Twin, opens Friday. The plot sounds like broad, comic farce: A young Jewish mother and housewife invites a stripper and imagesometimes prostitute to move into her home and become her young son’s nanny. When Afternoon Delight tries to be funny, it generally succeeds. But writer/director Jill Soloway mostly plays it straight, taking this absurd premise and seeing what might realistically come out of it. The result is mostly thoughtful, entertaining, grounded in reality, and sexy. Read my full review.

Hoop Dreams, New Parkway, Tuesday, 7:00. I haven’t seen this classic documentaryimage since it was new, so I’ll reframe from giving it a grade, even though I’m pretty sure the grade would be very high. I do remember feeling as emotionally invested in the central characters–two African-American teenagers hoping to get to college on basketball scholarships–as I would be with a first-class narrative drama. A superb work of filmmaking if I recall correctly.

The Psychotronic Film Festival, New Parkway, Sunday, 6:00. Thrillville Theater presents this collection of 16mm clips geared towards sci-fi fans. The collection promises to include "rare film shorts, scopitones (60s music videos), horror/sci-fi movie trailers, mid-century industrial films, drive-in snack ads, vintage TV commercials, classic cartoons, and much, much more, hosted by Melanie Mentzel!" I’m not listing this as a "festival" because it’s a single event.

A+ Some Like it Hot, multiple CineMark Theater, Sunday matinee, Wednesday; Kabuki, Wednesday. The urge to sleep with Marilyn Monroe comes head to head with the urge to keep breathing in Billy Wilder’s comic masterpiece. After witnessing a prohibition-era gangland massacre, two struggling musicians (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) hide from the mob by dressing in drag and joining an all-girl orchestra. But can they stay away from Ms. Monroe and her ukulele? There are comedies with a higher laugh-to-minute ratio, and others that have more to say about the human condition. But you won’t find a better example of perfect comic construction, brilliantly funny dialog, and spot-on timing. Read my Blu-ray review.

A Sing-Along Mary Poppins, Castro, Friday through Sunday. I have not seen the Sing-Along Mary Poppins; the following comments are about the shut-up-and-watchmarypoppins version. The best live-action movie Walt Disney ever made, and one of the great all-time children’s pictures. Julie Andrews may have won the Oscar through a sympathy vote, but she really lights up the screen in her first movie appearance, managing to upstage Dick Van Dyke and some wonderful special effects. So what if it takes liberties with the books?

B+ Sorry, Wrong Number, Pacific Film Archive, Friday, 9:00. An invalid (Barbara imageStanwyck), heavily dependent on her phone, accidentally hears some men on a party line plotting a murder, and there’s very little she can do to stop it. Things are going to turn very ugly in this tight and effective expansion of a 22-minute radio play into a feature-length thriller. Co-starring a shockingly young Burt Lancaster as her not-particularly trustworthy husband. But I’m still hoping that someday, someone will put this on a double bill with Dial M for Murder, if only because the titles go so well together. Part of the series The Man Who Wasn’t There: Wendell Corey, Actor.

C- Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, New Parkway, Friday, 4:00; Saturday, 1:00. Although entertaining, the first Harry Potter novel showed little of the power, imagecomplexity, character, wit, and entertainment value of the sequels. The first Harry Potter movie, trying desperately to be as faithful to the book as possible, showed even less. Skip the movie, read the book, and then read the rest of the books. Then you can enjoy the later movies, as well.

D+ Flushed Away, Balboa, Saturday, 10:00am. Aardman Animations of Chicken Run imageand Wallace & Gromit fame abandon clay for computer graphics. That might have worked if they hadn’t also exchanged most of that quirky Aardman humor for a predictable plot, conventional characters, and obvious moral lessons. As entertainment, this tale of the London sewers falls closer to Disney’s Chicken Little than Aardman’s Chicken Run. This week’s Popcorn Palace morning kid’s show.

B+ TThérèse, Rafael, opens Friday. In the late 1920s, Thérèse (Audrey Tautou of Amélie) marries the rich and conservative Bernard. It’s a good match economically, but she almost immediately regrets the loveless and stifling relationship. When Bernard blocks his younger sister (Anaïs imageDemoustier of Living on Love Alone) from marrying a Jew, Thérèse fails to be the heroine that she might have been. Both the character and the film are emotionally remote, yet that’s not really a flaw. Claude Miller’s final film examines a woman who has been robbed of her character and her ethics, and forced to become an accessory to her husband’s world view. This is a dark, sober film with patches of dry humor and some surprising turns.