Music: Bluegrass with Five in the Chamber on Thurs., Dec. 12, at 8 PM

5_in_the_Chamber_BV_022014_WebFive in the Chamber play the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Dec. 12. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Five in the Chamber is a New Haven, CT-based rollicking bluegrass and old-time string band with a rocking edge. Brought together through a series of music festivals during the Summer of 2011, the band quickly galvanized and established itself as a staple in the area’s emerging Bluegrass scene. With tight arrangements, unique harmony vocals, and a shared passion for writing original music as well as studying and reinterpreting the bluegrass song book, Five in the Chamber brings a fresh and exciting twist to the bluegrass repertoire. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews.

Band members are Ken McEwen (Guitar, Vocals), Andrea Asprelli (Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals), Dave Casali (Bass, Vocals), Pete Kaufman (Banjo) and Sean Mack (Mandolin).

Among their influences are Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, J.D. Crowe and The New South, Del McCoury, John Hartford, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Bob Dylan, The Band, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Steve Earle and Gillian Welch.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

Music: Just announced! The Furors to play Wed., Dec. 3, at 8 PM

The Furors

The Furors

New Haven rock ‘n’ roll legends The Furors will perform on Thursday, Dec. 3. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5.

Comprised of guitarist Derek Holcomb and drummer Tom Dans—Holcomb sings lead and Dans harmonizes—The Furors have been playing together for over three decades. They have self-released numerous vinyl 45s, a vinyl LP and several compact discs. Their catalog is so beloved among local musicians that a tribute album, “Let’s Get Furious,” was released in 2003 featuring 38 Furors songs covered by 38 local musicians and groups.

The Furors’ music is joyful, quirky three-minute pop, like a cross between They Might Be Giants and early British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll.

UPCOMING EVENTS:• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Wednesday, Dec. 3. NEW HAVEN ROCK LEGENDS: THE FURORS

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Wed., Dec. 17. HOLIDAY/NEO-SOUL: THE HUMAN RACE

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

New Releases 11/25/14

Top Hits
The Expendables 3 (action, Sly Stallone. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 35. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Walking past Madame Tussauds after a preview screening of ‘The Expendables 3’ on 42nd Street in Manhattan brought on a mysterious feeling of déjà vu, until I realized that both franchises share an operating principle: Cram a bunch of famous faces together and bank on the immediate joys of recognition.” Read more…)

War Story (drama, Catherine Keener. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 50. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Buried beneath a shlubby wardrobe and a sulky demeanor, Catherine Keener drags herself through ‘War Story’ like one of those exhausted mothers in a missing-child movie. What her character has lost, though, isn’t her offspring — it’s her marbles.” Read more…)

What If (romantic comedy, Daniel Radcliffe. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 59. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A balloon of cuteness that makes you yearn for a pin, ‘What If’ is Saturday night comfort food for those who need to believe that even the most curdled among us can find a mate.” Read more…)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (comedy/holiday, Tyler Perry. Rotten Tomatoes: 19%. Metacritic: 28. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “What makes it a Madea Christmas? In the latest visit from Tyler Perry’s multimillion-dollar-grossing action-hero auntie, this modern-day Malaprop helps save a school, an interracial relationship, a bullied boy and a divided family, all while making fast friends with the white-trash royalty Larry the Cable Guy. She’d save a man from a burning wreck, but somebody else takes care of that.” Read more…)

The Giver (drama/sci-fi, Brenton Thwaites. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 47. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.” Read more…)

Mercy (supernatural thriller, Frances O’Connor. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 35.)
Stretch (action comedy, Patrick Wilson. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.)

New Blu-Rays
The Expendables 3

New Foreign
Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Iran, political drama. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Depicting his combustible material with a cool head and a steady hand, the Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof — defying a 20-year government ban on his work — makes ‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’ a slow-motion explosion of anti-authoritarian rage. Perhaps too slow, as the film’s methodical pacing and often elliptical dialogue [these are characters who have learned to choose their words very carefully] demand a commitment to the early scenes that takes a while to pay off. By the midway point, however, we feel the clammy grip of a measured political thriller as the story hops between the comfortable Tehran home of a chronically disabled writer and the unsavory road trip of two government-hired killers.” Read more…)

New British
The Johnny Worricker Trilogy Part 2: Turks and Caicos (espionage series, Bill Nighy)
The Johnny Worricker Trilogy Part 3: Salting the Battlefield (espionage series, Bill Nighy)
Inspector Lewis: Series 7 (mystery series, Kevin Whately)
The Crimson Petal and the White (miniseries drama based on Michel Faber novel, Chris O’Dowd)

Children’s DVDs
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (animated feature, Dan Ackroyd)

Hank’s Recommendations 11/25/14

hank_paperGOD’S POCKET

A dark, bleak, original film with a great cast (including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, John Turturro and John Slattery), GOD’S POCKET authentically recreates a Philadelphia neighborhood down at its heels but not its resilience. Hoffman plays a resident with heart and loyalty, a lot of debt, an inability to please his wife and a body he can’t bury. With some of the intensity and atmosphere of “Mystic River” (though not its operatic melodrama), and featuring a suitably valedictory performance by Hoffman (far deeper and wider than his performance in “A Most Wanted Man”), this black comedy is vivid, moving and real.

COLD IN JULY

A decent homeowner shoots dead a home invader and soon finds himself in over his head and his life transformed. A suspenseful, twisty mystery thriller, COLD IN JULY stars Dexter’s Michael C. Hall displaying his considerable acting chops, Sam Shepard (who seems to be in every other movie these days) and a weathered and amusing Don Johnson, who delightfully offers up his own evergreen, sardonic acting chops. With a plot as unusual as the title suggests, this is an entertaining film with, no doubt, the welcome promise of further Don Johnson roles.

THIRD PERSON

That rare thing today—an adult drama. Written and directed by Paul Haggis, who brought us the Best Picture Oscar-winning CRASH, about racial tension in L.A., THIRD PERSON also offers a great ensemble cast (including Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Maria Bello and Kim Bassinger) throwing a wide net over the issues of relationship: caring, risking, protecting. Watching” becomes a key word in this Haggis script as we follow three couples in three cities, with some triangulation of interconnection. Critics were mixed on this ambitious concept, and I suspect many will love or hate it. Watch it, take a risk and see if you care. I did.

21 HOURS IN MUNICH

Two penetrating films about the vengeful aftermath of the so-called “Munich massacre” of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in 1972 (the Israeli film SWORD OF GIDEON and Steven Spielberg’s MUNICH) were preceded by 21 HOURS IN MUNICH, a 1976 star-studded TV movie that describes the massacre and hostage-taking itself. Written by Howard Fast and starring William Holden as a police chief standing off against Franco Nero as the chief Arab terrorist and hostage-holder, this two-Emmy nominated film is briskly paced and suspenseful throughout, justifying its 200 minute length. The behind-the-scenes negotiations between Germany and Israel in determining responsibility for a response, while trying to strategize a tricky, hoped-for resolution, is a fascinating story in itself, grippingly played out by an expert cast.

Film Screening: “Babette’s Feast” tonight at 7 PM

Babettes_Feast_WebIt’s no joke! The current film series in collaboration with Temple Beth Sholom continues this Monday with “Babette’s Feast.” “A Rabbi, A Priest and A Minister Walk Into Best Video Performance Space” features powerful films with the theme of religion and society. As has been our practice, each screening begins with a short, context-setting introduction and is followed by an optional discussion.

Each screening begins at 7 PM. The cost for each movie is $5 and reservations are highly encouraged. The first two screening attracted capacity audiences.

This is the upcoming schedule:

Mon., Nov. 24: “Babette’s Feast”

In this simple yet sumptuous Oscar winning film, adapted from an Isak Dinesen short story, two beautiful daughters of a devout, self-denying clergyman carry on his austere teachings by sacrificing their youth and passion to faith and duty. Like their entire hamlet, their lives are lived in self-denial. That is, until the arrival of Babette, a mysterious refugee from France’s civil war. As a servant to the daughters for fourteen years, Babette suddenly reveals her own passion and artistry that moves toward a tumultuous transformation of the town’s inhabitants. This film will raise issues of art and duty, self-indulgence and self-denial, asking the question: can or should there be a balance?

Mon., Dec. 1: “Doubt”

Sister Aloysius Beauvier, played by Meryl Streep, is the rigid and fearsome principal of a Bronx Catholic high school who has an extreme dislike for the progressive and popular parish priest, Father Flynn, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Looking for wrongdoing in every corner, she believes she has uncovered the ultimate sin when she hears Father Flynn has taken a special interest in a troubled boy. But there is no clear proof; the only thing certain is doubt. Based on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and nominated for 5 Academy Awards, there is little doubt this is one of the most honored films of recent times. Also starring Amy Adams and Viola Davis, the superbly acted, spellbindingly suspenseful film raises questions about whether doubt should interfere with action when safety is at issue, even when that issue might be personal.

Mon., Dec. 8: “The End of the Affair”

During the London blitz, a married Londoner, played by Julianne Moore, suddenly breaks off a passionate five-year affair with writer, Maurice Bendrix, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, who suspects another love. When, years later, Fiennes accidentally meets with her dull, civil servant husband, played by Stephen Rea, and then hires a detective to follow Moore, what he discovers becomes a blitz of the soul. This intense adult drama, adapted from a Graham Greene novel and directed by Oscar winner Neal Jordan, poses questions about love, faith and betrayal that will have you searching your own soul long after the movie is done.

• Monday, Nov. 24. FILM SCREENING: “BABETTE’S FEAST”

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Wednesday, Dec. 3. NEW HAVEN ROCK LEGENDS: THE FURORS

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

Music: James Velvet & the Lonesome Sparrows; Dick Neal return Fri., Dec. 5, at 8 PM

Lonesome_Sparrows_full_band_BV_041714_WebJames Velvet returns to the Best Video Performance Space with his acoustic group the Lonesome Sparrows on Friday, Dec. 5. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Original acoustic rootsy rock ‘n’ roll. Songwriter extraordinaire James Velvet fronts the Lonesome Sparrows. The band includes Johnny Memphis on guitar, fiddle and harmony vocals. Memphis and Velvet have been playing together since 1985. Memphis is also a long-standing member of Washboard Slim and The Blue Lights. Velvet and Memphis are joined on dobro, mandolin and banjo by DickNeal, well-known in Southern CT for his bluegrass band, Hoe. Johnny Java plays electric bass and percussion.

Johnny Java and James Velvet played original roots R&R in The MockingBirds for a dozen years (buttressed for many of those years by DickNeal’s guitar playing). The Sparrows are happiest at Coffee House/Gallery concerts (Never Ending Bookstore, John Slade Ely House, The Buttonwood Tree, Best Video Performance Space) or, in the warm weather, at  CT’s  many tasty Farm Markets. In April, 2010, the group released their 13-track CD Black Velvet Royalty.

Dick Neal will play an opening solo set of his own music. Dick Neal is a student of music, songwriting, record production, and live performance. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, dobro, slide), he has been privileged to make a living as a musician and to work in a wide variety of musical settings and styles. As a solo artist and songwriter, he has released 2 CD’s of original music, HOE and Beacon. Several of his compositions have been recorded by other singers.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Monday, Nov. 24. FILM SCREENING: “BABETTE’S FEAST”

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. BLUEGRASS: PHANTOMS OF THE OPRY

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

Music: Jazz with Rebecca Abbott on Thurs., Dec. 4, at 8 PM

Rebecca_Abbott_Gary_Grippo_BV_071912Rebecca Abbott brings her jazz group to Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Dec. 4. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Rebecca Abbott has been playing tenor saxophone in the New Haven area since the 1990s.  She is also a faculty member in Quinnipiac University’s Film, Video & Interactive Media program, and an independent filmmaker whose works include “Unsung Heroes: The Music of Jazz in New Haven.”

Dr. Gary Grippo is a podiatrist by day (Center Podiatry) and a jazz musician at heart – and the rest of the time.  In addition to being a regular on the New Haven jazz scene for close to twenty years, Dr. G also hosts a jazz brunch at Kelly’s Restaurant, a jazz jam session at Café 9, and is the Tuesday morning DJ on WNHU Radio’s Jazz program, 6 – 8 am.

Dave Daddario is an acclaimed acoustic and electric bass player, drummer, multi-instrumentalist, music educator and public school band director. Dave has experience playing a wide variety of musical styles and has performed engagements with many local artists, famous musicians and entertainers.

For over 30 years, Barry Ries has been playing jazz trumpet and percussion with the very best names in jazz, including Lionel Hampton, Joe Lovano, John Pizzarelli, Gerry Mulligan, and many others. We’re very excited to have him join us on December 4th at Best Video.

The Rebecca Abbott Quartet plays classic modern jazz.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Nov. 21. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: BECKY KESSLER (Violent Mae), SAM PERDUTA (Elison Jackson)

• Monday, Nov. 24. FILM SCREENING: “BABETTE’S FEAST”

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

 

Music: Milksop: Unsung purvey “psycho-folk” on Fri., Nov. 28, at 8 PM

Milksop: Unsung playing Best Video Performance Space on January 30, 2014.

Milksop: Unsung playing Best Video Performance Space on January 30, 2014.

Milksop: Unsung play the Best Video Performance Space on Fri., Nov. 28. The cover is $5 and the music starts at 8 PM.

What is “psycho-folk?” The best way to find out is to come to see and hear New Haven band Milksop: Unsung.  Members of the group are Dan Carrano (mandolin, acoustic guitar), T.J. Jackson (acoustic guitar, banjo), Greg Perault (upright bass) and Mike Paolucci (percussion). With that instrumentation, it should be no surprise that the band’s roots are in bluegrass and Americana. But they put their own 21st-century twisted twist on those forms.

Or, you can use this description of Milksop: Unsung’s music from their Bandcamp page: “a greasy-diner omelet of Folk, Swing, Rock, and Blues, performing original and eccentric arrangements augmented by witty humor, blistering energy, and found percussion.”

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Nov. 14. INDIE FOLK: OLIVE TIGER

• Monday, Nov. 17. FILM SCREENING: “I CONFESS”

• Wednesday, Nov. 19. SONGWRITERS’ CIRCLE: MARK MIRANDO, DICK NEAL, LAURA JOY

• Thursday, Nov. 20. FILM SCREENING: “SEVEN DAYS IN MAY”

• Friday, Nov. 21. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: BECKY KESSLER (Violent Mae), SAM PERDUTA (Elison Jackson)

• Monday, Nov. 24. FILM SCREENING: “BABETTE’S FEAST”

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

 

New Releases 11/18/14

Top Hits
22 Jump Street (action comedy, Jonah Hill. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “More is more and is, at times, just right in ’22 Jump Street,’ an exploding piñata of gags, pratfalls, winking asides, throwaway one-liners and self-reflexive waggery. This is, of course, the sequel to ’21 Jump Street,’ the 2012 hit that borrowed its title and undercover brother shtick from the old television show best known for its hair-gel hottie, Johnny Depp. For a second time, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play lovable undercover cops who — in between dodging danger and jokes that fly almost as fast as they do on ‘The Simpsons’ — insinuate themselves into a juvenile population, whose resistance to these charmers has been rendered completely futile, much like that of the movie’s audience.” Read more…)

And So It Goes (comedy, Diane Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 18%. Metacritic: 48. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “A grump remembers how to care and gets together with his unsettled singing neighbor in Rob Reiner’s jokey and schmaltzy geriatric romance, ‘And So It Goes.’ It’s about as galvanizing as that shrugging title.” Read more…)

If I Stay (romance/drama, Chloe Grace Moretz. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 46. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “This summer has been bookended by two movies, both based on young adult best sellers and starring gifted and ambitious actresses, about smart, independent-minded teenage girls finding love in the shadow of death. It is hard to avoid comparing ‘If I Stay,’ which opens on Friday, with ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ but there is also no reason to choose between them. Each one is a cleanly directed, credibly acted machine for the production of tears.” Read more…)

The Wind Rises (Miyazaki animated feature, Joseph Gordon-Levitt [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 83. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “[Japanese animator Hayao] Miyazaki remains enchanted with the idea of being airborne, which animation freely lends itself to, having sent little girls, castles and even swine into flight. ‘The Wind Rises,’ his newest film, tells the fictionalized story of Jiro Horikoshi, a gifted aeronautic engineer who is historically notable — or infamous — for designing deadly warplanes used by Japan in World War II. Mr. Miyazaki’s lyrical chronicle of the inventor’s creative process and his poignant romance reminds us that staying aloft is a fraught endeavor. Yet even in this film about an absorbed artist of the floating world, premonitions of the calamitous events to come cannot be entirely absent.” Read more…)

Into the Storm (tornado/weather disaster action, Richard Armitage. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 44. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “A series of tornadoes and laughably poor evacuation decisions batter a town in Steven Quale’s ‘Into the Storm,’ which regales us with voluptuous images of devastation. Per disaster movie tradition, people trade banter, jargon and heart-to-hearts: a crew of storm chasers, a vice principal and his two sons, and other walking targets. But the tornadoes are the stars, and the giveaway is the filmmakers’ pedigree: Mr. Quale and company have logged time in the ‘Final Destination’ franchise, amassing macabre expertise in orchestrating destruction.” Read more…)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (comic book action, Bruce Willis. Rotten Tomatoes: 44%. Metacritic: 46. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “It has been almost a decade since ‘Sin City’ heaved itself on to our movie screens, a dark parade of ugly mugs and uglier behavior. Back in 2005, the film’s worshipful, impeccable realization of Frank Miller’s graphic novels was divertingly original, even if none of its characters looked quite human or breached two dimensions. Little has changed, except perhaps that the novelty has worn off.” Read more…)

Line of Duty (crime/action, Jeremy Ray Valdez)

New Blu-Rays
The Wind Rises
22 Jump Street
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982, drama, Cher. From Vincent Canby’s 1982 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “are some interesting things about Robert Altman’s ‘Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,’ but they have less to do with anything on the screen than with the manner in which the film was produced and with Mr. Altman’s unflagging if misguided faith in the project. Ed Graczyk’s screenplay, based on his flop play as directed by Mr. Altman on Broadway this year, is small, but less likely to be salvaged in the near future than even the Titanic. It’s a sincerely preposterous, bathetic, redneck comedy-drama that sounds as if its author had learned all about life by watching ”Studio One” at his mother’s knee.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
America: Imagine the World Without Her (history, politics, Dinesh D’Souza. Rotten Tomatoes: 8%. Metacritic: 15.)

New Children’s DVDs
The Wind Rises (Miyazaki animated feature, Joseph Gordon-Levitt [voice], in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 83. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “[Japanese animator Hayao] Miyazaki remains enchanted with the idea of being airborne, which animation freely lends itself to, having sent little girls, castles and even swine into flight. ‘The Wind Rises,’ his newest film, tells the fictionalized story of Jiro Horikoshi, a gifted aeronautic engineer who is historically notable — or infamous — for designing deadly warplanes used by Japan in World War II. Mr. Miyazaki’s lyrical chronicle of the inventor’s creative process and his poignant romance reminds us that staying aloft is a fraught endeavor. Yet even in this film about an absorbed artist of the floating world, premonitions of the calamitous events to come cannot be entirely absent.” Read more…)

The Man Who Saved Christmas (holiday feature, Jason Alexander. From Anita Gates’ 2002 New York Times television review [may require log-in]: “America has been in need of a hero from the business world. ‘The Man Who Saved Christmas,’ a good-natured film that has its premiere Sunday night on CBS, offers one: A. C. Gilbert, the toy maker who invented the Erector set. Of course, he made his money shortly before World War I and has been dead for 40 years.” Read more…)

Music: Becky Kessler (of Violent Mae), Sam Perduta (of Elison Jackson) on Fri., Nov. 21, at 8 PM

The singer-songwriters Becky Kessler and Sam Perduta play the Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 21. Kessler has scored plaudits for her work fronting the duo Violent Mae (with Floyd Kellogg) while Perduta has won acclaim as the songwriter and frontman for the band Elison Jackson. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Kessler, a songwriter, singer and guitar player, calls the Outer Banks of North Carolina home, where she finally settled as a teenager after moving every year or so, mostly around the Southeast U.S., to 11 different places. A friend invited her to live and work on an organic farm in Connecticut, where she soon met Floyd Kellogg, a multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer. The two began recording at Casa de Warrenton Studio in Hartford, expanding Becky’s songs with Floyd’s arrangements and parts. They ultimately formed VIOLENT MAE after making a record, playing all the instruments on it and opening for Nels Cline and Julian Lage at one of their first live performances. VIOLENT MAE won Best New Band at the 2013 Connecticut Music Awards and was recently honored by The Deli Magazine as one of New England’s Top Emerging Artists.

Becky Kessler, performing with Violent Mae.

Becky Kessler, performing with Violent Mae.

On his Listen, Dammit blog, Eric Danton writes of the Violent Mae record, “Becky Kessler and Floyd Kellogg make dreamy, low-key pop that is largely defined by their use of space.  They have created a striking sound that is the sonic equivalent of a slow, deep embrace.” Violent Mae is currently recording their second record, to be released in the spring of 2015.

Sam Perduta leads and writes the songs for local rock band Elison Jackson. Over the past two years, the group has played about five shows a month, and more when they have done mini-tours. Their EP “I Do Believe She Flew Out The Drainpipe,” which came out in 2012, received a rave review on CT.com from Chip McCabe as “hands down one of the best things you’ll hear out of the CT music scene this year.” The group released their new LP, “Do Not Fear To Kill A Dead Man,” in 2013 on the Telegraph Recording Company label and it garnered similar acclaim.

Sam Perduta

Sam Perduta

“The music I like could have been written at any point and could work in any form,” Perduta says. It’s a quality he strives for in his own songs, that “they could be played acoustic and sound as powerful as played with a band. Or they could be played on a banjo or a piano.”

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Nov. 13. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, JASON PRINCE

• Friday, Nov. 14. INDIE FOLK: OLIVE TIGER

• Monday, Nov. 17. FILM SCREENING: “I CONFESS”

• Wednesday, Nov. 19. SONGWRITERS’ CIRCLE: MARK MIRANDO, DICK NEAL, LAURA JOY

• Thursday, Nov. 20. FILM SCREENING: “SEVEN DAYS IN MAY”

• Friday, Nov. 21. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: BECKY KESSLER (Violent Mae), SAM PERDUTA (Elison Jackson)

• Monday, Nov. 24. FILM SCREENING: “BABETTE’S FEAST”

• Friday, Nov. 28. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Monday, Dec. 1. FILM SCREENING: “DOUBT”

• Thursday, Dec. 4. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT

• Friday, Dec. 5. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

• Monday, Dec. 8. FILM SCREENING: “THE END OF THE AFFAIR”

• Thursday, Dec. 11. BLUEGRASS: FIVE IN THE CHAMBER

• Monday, Dec. 15. FILM SCREENING: “VISION”

• Thursday, Dec. 18. POST-PUNK: ZOO FRONT, KEVIN MF KING

• Friday, Dec. 19. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Friday, Jan. 9. MUSIC FROM “TWIN PEAKS”: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Jan. 14. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS