October 10, 2008

Coming Attractions: On Your Screen, in Your Living Room

By Barry Caine

So I'm sitting on the couch watching the cable guy connect a fat white wire to a modem the size of a refrigerator. With the other wires dangling from my media center, that side of the living room looks like a sleeping squid.

"I've seen all those movies," the cable guys says, nodding to the stacks of DVDs on a table near the squid's head. "I'm a big fan."

"Hmm," I say.

"I was in 'Dodgeball,'" he says. "I play one of the guys on the German team. I didn't get a credit but (you can see it's me)."

No kidding, I think. He's got those blond, Nordic good looks and seems in shape.

He says he's also in a crowd scene in "Rush Hour 2." And as a kid, he was an extra in "Leaving Las Vegas."

He lives in Fremont now. He's taking a break from acting to raise a family. His name is Randy Finch. He's my cable guy. I think it was the late Herb Caen who said, "There are really only 100 people in the world."

I meant to see "Bottle Shock," the Napa-wines-are-champs film, when I was vacationing in Monterey. But the timing wasn't right. Had I gone, I would have seen 1993 San Ramon Valley High grad Hal B. Klein -- although I wouldn't have recognized him since we've never met face-to-face.

Klein plays Shenky, good buddy of Bo, who is the son of the man who owns Napa Chateau Montelena, site of most of the film. It was shot primarily in Napa and Sonoma.

"My career's going in the right direction, which is nice," Klein says in a phone interview from the New York apartment where he lives with his Italian greyhound, Lucy. "I tend to play a lot of regular guys with kind of a twist; guys who are kind of quirky."

"An awkward kid from New York," Klein and his family moved to Danville when he was 14. He took up drama to meet people, he says, and eventually graduated to roles at the Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, in shows such as "Fiddler on the Roof" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," as well as several youth musicals.

Klein's next movie, "Nobel Son," is due in theaters Nov. 14. Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman and Eliza Dushku star.

Klein plays "the coffee-shop guy, the Tully's guy," he says. "There's a little poetry involved, too. He gets to recite a poem to someone."

He says the movie -- about a mean-spirited Nobel Prize-winning chemist whose son is kidnapped when the father leaves to pick up his prize -- is a blend of dark comedy and action.

Klein expects to start shooting a new film in mid-November, but it's not etched in certainty. Also on his agenda is putting together a TV cooking show targeting guys ages 21-35. In the meantime, he plans to visit the Bay Area to join his parents, Blackhawk residents Bart and Sally Klein, for the Sharks opener. You can catch him at www.halbklein.com.

Short takes

-- The 7th Oakland International Film Festival has some tasty morsels in this year's event, which runs through Thursday at the Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Ave. Today's 6 p.m. program consists of "Mrs. Brown's Beauty,""Exra" and "No Es Una Buena Idea." The 9 p.m. program includes "The Last of the Great Debaters,""Hood Games" and "A Good Day to be Black and Sexy." Admission is $10 per program. For a detailed schedule, visit www.oiff.org.

-- Downtown Redwood City is hosting "Scare on the Square," a series of free Halloween-inspired films on Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, weather permitting. "The Spiderwick Chronicles," a lively family-oriented fantasy with Freddie Highmore as twin brothers, screens at 6:45 p.m. Saturday. Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands," a dark fable with Johnny Depp as the strange title character, plays at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 18. Both are rated PG. For more info, visit www.redwoodcityevents.com.

-- The 12th Arab Film Festival runs Thursday through Oct. 28 in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. Billed as "the oldest and largest festival of its kind in the U.S.," the event includes screenings of "Captain Abu Raed," the first-ever Jordanian feature, and "Amina," the first Yemeni movie directed by a woman. There will also be premieres, panel discussions, guests and receptions. The opening-night festivities, an awards ceremony and a screening of Morocco's "Waiting for Pasolini" are at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F. Admission to most films is $12 general. Contact www.aff.org. or 415-564-1100.

-- The Campus Change Network at Los Positas College will screen "For the Bible Tells Me So" at 7 tonight. The film visits five U.S. families adjusting to having a gay child. A discussion with faculty, staff, students, community members and the Rev. Steven F. Kindle will follow. Admission is free. Parking is $2. The event is at the college, Building 2400, Room 2401, 3000 Campus Hill Drive, Livermore. Contact 925-424-1287 or www.laspositascollege.edu.

-- Ohlone College hosts "21 -- the Math Behind the Movie," a discussion about card-counting and the movie "21," by math professor Jeff O'Connell, at 1 p.m. today, Building 3, Room 3201, Ohlone College, Fremont. Contact [email protected]

Reach Barry Caine at bcaine @bayareanewsgroup.com.

Originally published by Barry Caine, Oakland Tribune.

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