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Ace in the Hole SAM's salute to Billy Wilder continues in Montlake. This essential Wilder flick (a.k.a. The Big Carnival) is rarely screened and still unavailable on video. Famously a flop when it came out in 1951, the story of an unscrupulous journalist (Kirk Douglas) who exploits a mining disaster was perhaps too bitter a tale for that pre-tabloid TV era, when people still had a little respect for Murrow, Cronkite, and company. The usual rap is that there aren't any sympathetic characters in Hole, including that played by Jan Sterling, as the slutty wife of the trapped spelunker (Richard Benedict) who becomes a media sensation. (The script is loosely based on an actual 1925 disaster that made a doomed celebrity of Floyd Collins, also the basis of the acclaimed 1994 musical Floyd Collins.) Usually with Wilder there's a bitter coating around a sweetly redeeming pill of humanity (or at least hope); here, no light escapes from the Hole. (NR) BRIAN MILLER Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E, 654-3121, www.seattleartmuseum.org. $58-65 (series), Call for individual price. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 1.
Ball of Wax DVD Release Local musician Levi Fuller's Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly takes the form of a DVD this time, featuring music and non-music videos from over 10 Seattle bands. Get a copy with admission to the screening at Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. $8. 9 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 1.
Cinema K: Children's Film Fest 70 films from 23 countries are represented in the festival's second year, including Legends, Fables, and Dreams: Award-winning animated films, World of Wonder (live-action shorts from around the globe), Point of Departure (provocative films for older children), Empresses, Angels, and Imps (stories of young women, for ages 9 and up), and more. A closing awards ceremony and presentation of student films happens at (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $6. 5 p.m. Sun. Feb. 4. Festival continues Wed. Jan. 31-Sun. Feb. 4.
The Life of Oharu A showcase of seven classic titles from Kenji Mizoguchi continues with this 1952 drama about a middle-aged prostitute's assessment of her life in 17th-century Kyoto. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. $35-50 (series), $5-8 (individual). 7:30 p.m. Mon. Feb. 5-Tues. Feb. 6.
Mama Earth "Sustainable Solutions" is the focus of this Green Film Series, which begins with this 2006 documentary. Economists, scientists, and business people offer opinions on the sustainability movement in Leslie Bloon VanEe's film; VanEe will be present at the screening. 911 Media Arts Center, 402 9th Ave. N., 682-6552. www.911media.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. Fri. Feb. 2.
Pecker Pecker (Edward Furlong) runs up and down the streets and back alleys of Baltimore with his camera, snapping pictures of neighbors, family, and copulating rats. His muse and primary model is his girlfriend Shelly (Christina Ricci), who runs a run-down coin laundry with an iron fist. Inevitably, a New York gallery owner (Lili Taylor) discovers Pecker's off-the-cuff photos, and fame descends on him and his subjects. At first it's a wondrous gift, but celebrity soon sours. In the past, director John Waters went for over-the-top stunts, like the supremely gross moment in Pink Flamingos when Divine eats a fresh dog turd. Pecker, too, has its moments of outrageousness, but mostly Waters just makes sure his cast doesn't look any prettier than your average person on the street—their wrinkles aren't covered up, their clothes are tacky, their bodies aren't model-perfect. And when you see this blown up on a gigantic movie screen, the effect is both jarringly wrong and gleefully liberating. (R) BRET FETZER Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 328-3230. $5. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Wed. Jan. 31-Sun. Feb. 4.
Reservoir Dogs Midnight showings of Quentin Tarantino's memorably violent, funny 1992 debut feature, with an all-star cast including Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, and Steve Buscemi as the ever-complaining Mr. Pink. (R) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 206-781-5755. $6-$9.25. Midnight. Fri. Feb. 2-Sat. Feb. 3.
Sci-Fi Shorts Festival SEE WIRE SATURDAY, P. 26.
Secret Agent W. Somerset Maugham, the English playwright responsible for The Painted Veil (both the 1934 original with Greta Garbo and last year's re-make starring Naomi Watts), also wrote the novel Hitchcock's Secret Agent is based on. The 1936 film is typical Hitchcock fare—espionage, faked death, and murder being central themes. Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 328-3230. $5. 7 p.m. Mon. Feb. 5.
W.E.B. Dubois: A Biography in Four Voices In honor of Black History Month, this 1995 look at the life of the scholar and activist Dr. Dubois—who witnessed and wrote about Jim Crow, the birth of the Civil Rights Movement, and other monumental events until his death in 1963—is screened with a talk from former Black Panther Garry Owens. Keystone Church, 5019 Keystone Place N., www.meaningfulmovies.org. Free. 7 p.m. Fri. Feb. 2.