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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

personalized baby blanket: If a superhero lands in the forest, does anyone hear it?

Movie Guy column by Barry Caine

(James Gayles)

EXPLAIN this: Superman's uniform is impregnable to bullets, fire, bombs, radiation (except kryptonite), knives, forks, you name it.
Yet Martha Kent, Superman's mom, stitched it together from pieces of his personalized baby blanket with an ordinary needle.

And since we're mulling, how did she cut the blanket?

Also, given the amount of material that went into the outfit, including the cape, that must have been a pretty big baby blanket.

If those questions are answered in "Superman Returns," which opens at 10 p.m. Tuesday, I'll consider upping the rating a half-star for shushing my mind.

Another thing. Superman has super breath. If he OD'd on garlic chicken, would he have super bad breath?

Just wondering.

Superman's pending resurrection is inspiring super conjecture. For instance, Newsweek's "With" column has dubbed the Man of Steel a Methodist.

The oh-please rationale: Clark Kent was raised in the Midwest.

More sensible: Clark's pop describes him as a Christ figure. Author Stephen Skelton's "The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero" — some people have too much time on their hands — also subscribes to that theory.

Let's not fight about it. But while we're on the subject, the article uses data gleaned from to imbue other superheroes with their likely religious orientations.

For instance, The Thing from "The Fantastic Four" is Jewish, a fact addressed in the saga.

Spider-Man, "who sometimes addresses God in spontaneous prayer," is Protestant.

Because of the crosses on his parents' gravestones, Batman is either a lapsed Roman Catholic or a disaffected Episcopalian.

They decided Elektra is Greek Orthodox. And Daredevil is Catholic, although god knows why.

Out and about ... The best part of summer is nighttime. Everything cools off — except the inside of my house; if you need fruit ripened rapidly, leave it in my kitchen.

Given the temperature change, there's no need to futz with first-run bad movies just to take advantage of the air-conditioning.

Summer is awash with outdoor screenings. The Oakland Outdoor Cinema's are free. The East Bay series starts its third season July 15 with 1976's "Network," a multi-Oscar winner on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest American Movies list.

The rest of the lineup consists of "The Joy Luck Club" on Aug. 19, "The Bourne Identity" on Sept. 16 and "Shrek" on Oct. 21.

All shows begin at dusk on Ninth Street between Broadway and Washington. Seating is limited so you're encouraged to bring your own chairs and blankets; it's Oakland, it gets cold.

Popcorn and other treats will be sold. Call (510) 238-4734 or visit

Fikre Tolossa's "Multicolored Flowers," about the influence of African-American fashion, music and culture on white, Latino and Asian-American youths, screens at 4:30 p.m. today at the Merrit hotel, 2332 Harrison St., Oakland.

Admission is $10.

Paris Paul, Aynsley Fleishner and Waldemar Maszewski star in the picture, which also traces the roots of rap music, hairdos and dances to Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. E-mail

"A Miracle in Cracow" centers around a relationship between a Polish art historian who is restoring a tombstone in a Jewish cemetery and a young Hungarian bookseller hunting for an ancient book rumored to have magical powers.

In Hebrew, Hungarian and Polish with English subtitles, and in English, the film will be screened Wednesday in the Screening Room at Yerba BuenaCenter for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. Tickets are $7 general, $6 students and seniors. Call (415) 978-2787 or visit

Out Tuesday on DVD ... "Aging Out," "Annapolis," "Art of the Devil 2," "Blood Bath," "Blue Collar Comedy Tour — One for the Road," "The Boy and the Pirate"/"Crystalstone," "Broken Rainbow," "Cache," "Candy Stripers," "Chuck Berry — Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" and "The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection Starring Basil Rathbone."

And: "Curse of the Crying Woman," "Damon Wayans: Still Standing," "Death Trance," "The Devil's Sword," "Doing Time: Life in the Big House," "Evil," "Failure to Launch," "Find Me Guilty," "The Fire Next Time," "The Flesh and Blood Show," "Full Frame Documentary Shorts, Vol. 4," "Ghost Game" and "The Graveyard."

Also: "Gwendoline: Unrated Director's Cut," "Imagine Me & You," "JFK: Reckless Youth," "John Landis' Deer Woman," "Legacy," "Leroy & Stitch," "Lucky McKee's Sick Girl," "Madea's Family Reunion," "Madea Goes to Jail," "Masters of Horror: 'Landis/McKee' 2-Pack" and "Olympia — The Leni Riefenstahl Archival Collection."

Plus: "Omar & Pete," "Piaf: Her Story... Her Songs," "The Police Tapes," "Red Riding Hood" (with Joey Fatone), "Sister Rose's Passion," "Stalingrad," "Ultraviolet," "We Jam Econo — The Story of the

Minutemen," "Why Did I Get Married?," "Why We Fight," "Witch's Mirror," "The Wobblies," "Yakuza Graveyard" and "Yellowbeard."

E-mail The Movie Guy at or call (925) 416-4806. For more movie news, visit Check out Caine's blog "Sex and the Single Movie Critic" at