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‘Fishbowl’ Filled With Delights

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UC Irvine launches its “Global Fishbowl” series Friday, Jan. 13, with “Wings of Desire,” Wim Wenders’ urban fantasy with celestial overtones. It’s just one of the strong offerings in the 10-film program, which includes movies by British director Carol Reed and the notorious Coen brothers.

“Wings of Desire,” released in 1988 and considered by many to be Wenders’ finest, is lyrical and buoyant as a pair of angels ponder life while mixing with unheavenly humans on the streets of West Berlin. Peter Falk, Bruno Ganz and Solveig Dommartin star in the picture, cowritten by Wenders and Peter Handke.

From the dreamy, we head to the desperate, with Reed’s “Odd Man Out” on Jan. 20. Reed, who directed “The Third Man” in 1949, creates suspense by sending a wounded IRA gunman on the run amid cops and assorted other characters who both help and hinder. James Mason stars with Cyril Cusack and Dan O’Herlihy in the 1947 picture.

The animated “Heavy Metal,” offered Jan. 27, is a cult favorite, especially among adolescents who like their cartoons in sexy packages. The 1981 release, which mixes various science fiction-oriented stories and graphic styles, was directed by Canadian Gerald Potterton and features the voices of John Candy and Harold Ramis, among others.

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“Blood Simple,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s best movie, is set for Feb. 3. Made on a spare-change budget and before the Coens got manic in “Raising Arizona” and “The Hudsucker Proxy,” this dark and slimy film noir shows how nasty a life of crime, even a very short one, can be.

On Feb. 10, Stephen Frears’ “Sammy and Rosie Get Laid” will screen. The 1987 British film centers on a couple whose life is tipped over when the young man’s father, a conservative Indian politician, shows up and begins questioning their open sexuality and what’s happened to his beloved England.

Up next, on Feb. 17, is “Delicatessen,” the 1991 French satire directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Been eating too much? Check out how the program’s flier describes this one: “Above-ground cannibals are pitted against sewer-dwelling vegetarians in post-apocalyptic France . . . follow the exploits of a butcher/landlord who hires ‘disposable’ maintenance men whenever his supply of fresh meat declines.”

More tasteful fare surfaces Feb. 24, with Louis Malle’s “Atlantic City.” The 1981 film stars Burt Lancaster in one of his greatest roles as a has-been crook ready to feel big again after he hooks up with an aspiring blackjack dealer played by Susan Sarandon.

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“Naked,” directed by Mike Leigh, is scheduled for March 3. The 1993 dark comedy puts David Thewlis in the spotlight as Johnny, a British loser who beats on himself and anybody else who happens to wander into his rabid world. Many critics thought Thewlis’ performance was one of that year’s most effective.

Director Zhang Yimou, whose “To Live” is now in limited release, will be featured with “The Story of Qiu Ju” on March 10. The 1992 movie stars Yimou’s favorite leading lady, Gong Li, as a farm woman who challenges the status quo when she demands an apology from the town’s leader after he beats her husband.

The series ends March 17 with Pedro Almodovar’s “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” This 1985 urban comedy focuses on Carmen Maura cast as a typical Almodovar heroine, meaning equal parts earth mother, fringe adventuress and feminist surrogate. Maura plays a housewife pushing her way through dysfunctional domesticity, drugs and sex in lower-class Madrid.

* What: Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire.”’

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* When: Friday, Jan. 13, at 7 and 9 p.m.

* Where: The UC Irvine Student Center Crystal Cove Auditorium.

* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Jamboree Road and head south to Campus Drive and take a left. Turn right on Bridge Road and take it onto the campus.

* Wherewithal: $2 to $4.

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* Where to call: (714) 824-5588.

MORE SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Rose Marie

(NR) Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy sing and star in this film about a woman who falls in love with the Mountie who is trying to capture her fugitive brother. The film, directed in 1936 by W. S. Van Dyke II, screens Wednesday and Jan. 20 at 12:45 at the Cypress Senior Center, 9031 Grindlay St., Cypress. FREE. (714) 229-6776.

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China Jade and The National Palace Museum--5,000 Years of Chinese Art

(NR) Two films that explore the heritage of traditional Chinese art screen Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 Main St., Santa Ana. Included with the price of admission, $1.50 to $4.50. (714) 567-3600.

Sunrise

(NR) George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor star in this Oscar-winning silent film about a farmer temporarily ruled by his passions who plans to murder his wife at the behest of an evil city woman. The film, directed in 1927 by F. W. Murnau, screens at 6:30 p.m. at the Newport Harbor Art Museum, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach. Film historian Arthur Taussig leads a discussion about the film afterward. $3 and $5. (714) 759-1122.

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