Commentary by Gregg Rickman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Times compiled from information available Tuesday; it's always advisable to call for confirmation. Price given is standard adult admission; discounts often apply for students, seniors, and members.
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ACT I & II
2128 Center (at Shattuck), Berkeley, (510) 464-5980, www.landmarktheatres.com. $9.25 save as noted. One of this venue's two screens is a "calendar house" for Landmark Theatres. For additional screenings, see our Showtimes page.
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: 39 Pounds of Love (Dani Menkin, 2005) 7:15, 9:15 p.m.
345 Bush (at Polk), 775-7755, www.afsf.com. French-language films shown on projected video. $6 donation.
WEDNESDAY (Dec. 14): Two screenwriters whip a script into shape in the self-referential comedy A l'attaque (Robert Guédiguian, France, 2000) 6 p.m.
ARTISTS' TELEVISION ACCESS
992 Valencia (at 21st Street), 824-3890, www.atasite.org. $5 save as noted. This venue offers all manner of strange and unusual video and film.
WEDNESDAY (Dec. 14): "Interactive Animations," a program of new work from City College of San Francisco students. $3 8 p.m.
THURSDAY (Dec. 15): Short films from CCSF's Directing for Motion Pictures class. $3 8 p.m.
FRIDAY (Dec. 16): ATA's "fundraiser blowout party," "The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction," includes live music and a telethon. $10-50 7-11 p.m.
SATURDAY (Dec. 17): Other Cinema concludes its fall season with a program of "New Experimental Works" including Martha Colburn's Cosmetic Emergency, Damon Packard's Wedding Video, Kerry Laitala's Torchlight Tango, and Noel Lawrence's Sex Crimes of the 20th Century 8:30 p.m.
3630 Balboa (at 38th Avenue), 221-8484, www.balboamovies.com. $8.50 save as noted. This great neighborhood house shows films of all sorts. See our Showtimes page for additional listings.
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: A dance company history's recalled in Ballets Russes (Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine, 2005) 2:35, 6:30 p.m. An Orthodox couple prays for a child in the Israeli hit Ushpizin (Giddi Dar, 2004) 12:50, 4:45, 8:40 p.m.
WEDNESDAY: "Samurai!," a festival of famous and little-seen Japanese martial arts classics, continues with Bandits vs. Samurai Squadron (Hideo Gosha, 1978; 3:25, 8:15 p.m.), nearly three hours of all-star intrigue, and the peppy, 86-minute Zatoichi the Fugitive (Tokuzo Tanaka, 1963; 1:40, 6:30 p.m.), fourth in the series about the good-hearted and unlucky blind swordsman.
THURSDAY & FRIDAY: "Samurai!" -- Masaki Kobayashi's excellent Samurai Rebellion (1967; 12:10, 4:40, 9:10 p.m.), starring Toshiro Mifune as a put-upon retainer, screens with Mifune rampant as the outcast-turned-hero Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961; 2:30, 7 p.m.).
SATURDAY & SUNDAY: "Samurai!" -- Kurosawa's genre landmark The Seven Samurai (1954) 12:10, 4:05, 8 p.m.
MONDAY & TUESDAY: "Samurai!" -- Tatsuya Nakadai is a mad-dog killer wielding the Sword of Doom (Kihachi Okamoto, 1968; 12:30, 4:45, 9 p.m.), screening with Toshiro Mifune in a gentler take on his masterless ronin from Yojimbo, Sanjuro (Kurosawa, 1962; 2:50, 7:05 p.m.).
2367 Telegraph (at Durant), Berkeley, (510) 848-0886 for venue; (510) 464-4680 and www.verticalpool.com for this program.
TUESDAY (Dec. 20): A time-traveling librarian from 2023 visits Seattle before its collapse in Antero Alli's "cyber-fi" feature The Drivetime (1999). Free 7 p.m.
429 Castro (near Market), 621-6120, www.thecastrotheatre.com. $8 save as noted. Short-run rep in a spectacular 1922 Greco-Roman-themed palace designed by Timothy L. Pflueger. Evening intermissions feature David Hegarty on the Mighty Wurlitzer.
WEDNESDAY: Rosalind Russell is the life-loving Auntie Mame (Morton DaCosta, 1958). Call for times.
THURSDAY: The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performs "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Call for times.
FRIDAY: Wish Mr. Potter a Merry Christmas at the Castro's screening of Frank Capra's holiday perennial It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Call for times.
2534 Mission (between 21st and 22nd streets), 648-7600, www.foreigncinema.com. Free with meal. This restaurant screens foreign films, usually in 35mm, on the back wall of its outdoor patio, with drive-in speakers available for the tables of those who want to watch while they dine.
DAILY (Closed Mondays): Forget Conan, follow Pelle the Conqueror (Bille August, Denmark/Sweden, 1988), screening through Dec. 23. Max von Sydow stars as a struggling farmer. "First showing" of this 150-minute movie at 6:30 p.m.
549 Magnolia (at Post), Larkspur, 924-5111, www.larktheater.net. This single-screen art deco theater mixes new and repertory programming. $9 save as noted.
FRIDAY THROUGH TUESDAY: "Three suburban dads become filmmakers in search of the meaning of life" in Ward Powers' documentary One (2005) Fri & Tues 7, 9 p.m.; Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 2:45, 7 p.m.; Mon 5 p.m.
TUESDAY: Miracle on 34th Street (1994). $8 4:30 p.m.
601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), 352-0810, www.landmarktheatres.com. This multiplex is only partly a "calendar house" rep theater. For the rest of the Opera Plaza's schedule, see our Showtimes page. $8.75.
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