Forget Boogie Nights or Magnolia or There Will Be Bloo d; for our money, the best movie Paul Thomas Anderson ever made is still his first, Hard Eight (1996), a trim, rock-hard character study starring Philip Baker Hall as an old-time gambler who teaches the ins and outs of casino life to a floundering young man (John C. Reilly) who can't pay for his mother's funeral. The movie has astonishing bench strength - the cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson and, in a smaller role, Philip Seymour Hoffman - and Anderson wrings fascination and suspense from their uniformly superb performances. You can see it at AFI Silver in Silver Spring at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, 9:15 p.m. Wednesday and 6:40 p.m. Dec. 4. Go to afi.com/silver.
Watch other people sweat off the calories from turkey and pumpkin pie. The acclaimed San Francisco Ballet celebrates its 75th anniversary by performing
Giselle , artistic director Helgi Tomasson's version of the perennial crowd-pleaser. The show runs through Sunday at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F. St. N.W., in Washington. Showtimes vary. Tickets are $29-$99. Call 202-467-4600 or go to kennedy-center.org.
Even as he nears 85, Menahem Pressler shows no sign of slowing down. The revered pianist, best known for his decades with the recently disbanded Beaux Arts Trio and formidable pedagogue, will give a solo recital for Candlelight Concerts that includes sonatas by Beethoven and Schubert, as well as a work by Debussy. The concert is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia. Tickets are $12-$29. Call 410-997-2324 or go to candlelightconcerts.org.
Period instrument ensemble
Period instrument ensembles tend to come with strings attached, so the group known as Circa 1800 Chamber Winds - flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn - stands out. The players, all active in the mid-Atlantic region, explore the world of late 18th- and early 19th-century music, using instruments of that period. The ensemble will give a concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. Tickets are $8 and $15. Call 410-385-2638 or go to andiemusiklive.com.
The Petersburg, Va., native released Gotta Make It, his well-received debut album, in 2005. Since then, the R. Kelly-influenced R&B; singer has collaborated with Ne-Yo and Young Jeezy. His latest album, Trey Day, came out last year. The show is at 9 p.m. Saturday at Sonar Lounge, 407 E. Saratoga St. Tickets are $40-$85 and are available through Ticketmaster by calling 410-547-7328 or going to ticketmaster.com.
The undisputed godfather of go-go has been around more than 40 years, moving bodies with his signature mix of uptown jazz, funk, African and Brazilian rhythms. Perhaps best known for 1978's No. 1 R&B; jam "Bustin' Loose," Brown, ever-suave in his 70s, still gets the party jumpin'. The shows are 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Rams Head Tavern, 33 West St. in Annapolis. Tickets are $35. Call 410-268-4545 or go to ramsheadtavern.com.
'Playhouse Disney Live!'
Playhouse Disney Live! is the first live touring stage production of Disney Channel shows. Characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, Handy Manny and My Friends Tigger & Pooh will come to life at the Lyric Opera House, 110 W. Mount Royal Ave., for two days. Showtimes are 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $19.50-$50.50. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 410-397-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com. For more information, go to playhousedisneylive.com.
'Above and Beyond'
Theatre Project presents Baltimore's own Air Dance Bernasconi, where performers show off various aerial techniques. Above and Beyond is at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the theater, 45 W. Preston St. Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors and artists and $10 students. For tickets, go to missiontix.com or call the box office at 410-752-8558. For more information, call 410-539-3091 or go to theatreproject.org.
Compiled by Meredith Cohn, Edward Gunts, Mary Carole McCauley, Rashod D. Ollison, Tim Smith and Michael Sragow.