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Monday, June 9, 2008

Night + Day: Calendar Picks for 6/9

Posted By on Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 3:53 AM

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Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, $10.50

Tonight’s screenings start at 5 and include Alone, Wicked Lake, and The Vanguard at the Roxie New College Film Center, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F.

Love it. Fear it. Scream in ecstasy. Scream in terror. At Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, science fiction, fantasy, and — mostly — horror flicks tap into the perverse joy of splashing fake blood all over the place. Gross-out/freakout photoplays of many subgenres slash at the screen this year: Japan's Noboru Iguchi brings a revenge fantasy called The Machine Girl, former Alameda boy Kevin Tenney contributes a zombie romp, and Bai Ling hacks her way through the Big Brother dystopia of The Gene Generation. In the Evil Dead II tribute camp, and we do mean camp, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer boasts a therapy-going hunk of a hero and rubbery-looking malignances, not to mention our favorite new tagline, "I used to be a plumber ..." Another festival highlight is the production of a companion piece of theater, the satirical Kentucky Jones and the Carpet of Doom, by the Primitive Screwheads June 18-21 at the Brava Theater. --Hiya Swanhuyser

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Stuck

Lumiere Theatre - 1572 California

In October 2001, a Fort Worth, Texas, nurse’s aide name Chante Mallard struck 37-year-old Gregory Glenn Biggs with her 1997 Chevy Cavalier, lodging him in her windshield; she allowed him to remain there, and he died two hours later despite his desperate pleas for help. It’s become the stuff of urban legend—this story of the woman who tried to ditch the body and burn the car to destroy the remnants of her horrific crime before she was sentenced to prison for 50 years. Hell of a true-life tale, which gets the extended remix from Re-Animator’s Stuart Gordon. Stuck is both darkly comic and disgusting; the name alone reduces the crime to a sick joke. Mena Suvari plays the Mallard stand-in as mean and empty—she’d rather fuck her boyfriend than help the dying man in her garage. Stephen Rea is Biggs, more or less; he’s older than the real guy, but still a broken-down, jobless mess wandering the streets when he gets tagged, almost begging to be put out of his misery. Gordon, of course, has taken substantial liberties with the story: The filmmaker wants revenge on the perpetrator, something more than just jail time. Still, he’s got plenty of nasty laughs for those unwilling to see deeper into the bleak, tragic darkness; every dog finds a bone, turns out—you’ll see.

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The Counterfeiters, 2pm, 7:15pm, 9:25pm

Red Vic Movie House - 1727 Haight

When an Austrian filmmaker who makes no secret of the fact that his grandparents were Nazi sympathizers makes a fact-based movie (nominated by the Academy for best foreign film) about a Jewish forger who survived the concentration camps by printing money for the German war effort, is he a brave boy or a rotten apple falling unpleasantly close to his nation's tarnished tree? Viennese actor Karl Markovics gives a masterful portrayal of Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch, a shifty-eyed, hatchet-faced criminal Jew, but The Counterfeiters plays like a realist drama made to spring Sorowitsch from stereotype and expose him as a flawed man torn between his Darwinian credo (adapt) and a fatherly desire to protect the weak. Writer-director Stefan Ruzowitzky keeps the physical brutality peripheral, in part to underscore the predicament of the counterfeiters, who live in a velvet prison next door to the hell that other inmates suffer. Based on a memoir by Adolf Burger (August Diehl), a Communist inmate who opposed Sorowitsch's collusion and advocated sabotage, the film succumbs to a heroic climax of sorts. But at its best — and queasiest — The Counterfeiters asks what counts as moral behavior under fascism and whether one's first duty is to survive.

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Janine Kahn

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