Music: The Red Hots play swingin’ blues and ragtime Fri., Nov. 6, at 8 PM

Red_Hots_BV_031915_WebThe Red Hots play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 6. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

The Danbury-based (quartet), The Red Hots are two beautiful and talented ladies who bring life back to many classic jazz standards, old blues tunes and feisty originals with their blend of unique vocals, ukelele/guitar and harmonica, mixed with driving organic percussion. Members are Cynthia Preston (guitar, vocals) Petra Herceg (ukelele, vocals) Russ Preston (guitar, vocals, harmonica) Dave Bonan (percussion).

The Red Hots band began in October of 2012 in Danbury, CT — the brainchild and collaborative effort of Petra Herceg and Cynthia Preston, two beautiful and talented ladies who grew up playing music and had both performed professionally in the past. The band began re-imagining and re-doing classic, timeless pieces of music that were beginning to be lost to the ages, particularly old blues, jazz, ragtime and rockabilly.

Mixing the retro-stylized covers in with their own eclectic sound, The Red Hots began gigging at local places around town, experimenting with their sound and musical elements. After dabbling with various instruments and line-ups, the band has solidified their image as a tight-knit trio, expanding their live performances all the way to NYC festivals and private parties at the Jersey shore, as well as becoming a well-known act in their hometown. Their adaptability has become their coup de grace, able to play anything from low key acoustic shows in wine bars and lounges, to swingin’ and jivin’ upbeat sets in bars and rock venues.

The line-up includes Petra Herceg on ukulele and vocals, Cynthia Preston on guitar and vocals and Russ Preston on blues harp and guitar. The group plays with several distinguished area musicians as guest performers on upright bass, saxophone, piano and percussion.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Monday, Nov. 2. FILM SCREENING: “ABOVE AND BEYOND”

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Wednesday, Nov. 11. ROCK: ROPE; TRIP-HOP SOLO GUITAR: THE FOREST ROOM

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Friday, Nov. 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

• Friday, Dec. 4. CLASSICAL: RAVENNA MICHALSEN & BETHANY WILDER

• Thursday, Dec. 10. BLUES/FOLK/COUNTRY: CODA BLUE

 

Rob Harmon’s Picks 10/27/15

Rob_photo_031715_WebHalloween Testimonial for Best Video

“It’s a perfect night for mystery and horror. The air itself is filled with monsters.”

– Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Elsa Lanchester), Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Ah yes, Halloween is here and all that we associate with it: crisp, cold evenings; leaves changing and falling to the ground, crunching beneath our feet; and, of course, candy – sticky and cloyingly sweet on the tongue. Sunset comes a little earlier each day: like a theater’s lights dimming, we slip into another frame of mind, subconsciously giving ourselves over to a greater sense of fantasy and the desire for sensation… much like the experience, in fact, of watching movies!

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a movie or even a beloved TV special from Best Video? Of course, scary movies are the order of the day, but one need not feel hemmed in by shivers and shocks: there are plenty of delightful classics (I MARRIED A WITCH, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, BELL BOOK AND CANDLE), “camp” classics (PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, TROLL 2, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW), as well as family-friendly fare (GREMLINS, HOCUS POCUS, THE MONSTER SQUAD, FRANKENWEENIE, etc., etc.) which are perfectly appropriate for the season.

And yet, though I’ve seen a lot of scary movies in my life, I’ll tell you what would be really frightening: a world without Best Video.

I would be remiss if I did not mention here the upcoming handover of this beloved neighborhood institution from Hank Paper — who opened the business 30 years ago — to the Best Video Film and Cultural Center, a new non-profit board charged with running the video store, café, and performance space and guiding us towards the future. This is the culmination of well over a year’s worth of tireless work on the part of Mr. Paper, the board, and our staff. In essence, this is a critical moment in the life-story of this brick-and-mortar establishment and we need support and involvement from the community.

I have lost track of how many people have come up to me over time and told me that they grew up going to Best Video and now bring their own kids. Some of those grown-up “kids” are now even studying film and working in the film industry. This is no coincidence: Best Video U. is an education unparalleled… and cheaper, too, if you compare late fees to tuition!

Speaking of the future, in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II, Marty McFly travels from the year 1985 to the once-unfathomable year of 2015. Isn’t it ironic that Best Video has traversed that same time period?! Why, one could say that the store itself is a sort of DeLorean time machine… except, of course, without those cool flip-up doors and a flux capacitor! Best Video is a time machine, allowing one to travel freely backwards and forwards in time. We may not have kooky stuff like hoverboards and flying cars in our garages just yet, but, thank goodness, we still have Best Video down the street! Here’s to 30 years… and more!

Okay, enough talk. Here’s a review:

It_FollowsIt Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell, 2015)

People watch scary movies for all sorts of different reasons. There are simply innumerable options along the continuum: roller coaster thrill rides, calibrated to deliver maximum jolts to teenagers; atmospheric slow-burners; very mildly creepy kid-friendly stuff.

I’m not completely certain what IT FOLLOWS is. Like any horror film, though, there is a set-up: girl, Jay (THE GUEST’s Maika Monroe), meets boy, Hugh (Jake Weary). They have sex. Afterwards, Hugh drugs Jay and, once she awakens, informs her that he has passed “something” on to her (and it’s not what you think): “This thing, it’s gonna follow you. Somebody gave it to me and I passed it to you…. It can look like someone you know or it can be a stranger in the crowd, whatever helps it get close to you. It can look like anyone.” Jay, it turns out, is now irrevocably in the cross-hairs of some indefinable “it” and will be mercilessly stalked by this ponderously-moving-but-never-sleeping, shape-shifting, malevolent wraith until she, in turn, has sex with someone else, passing on the ghostly manifestation like an unwanted chain letter. Yikes.

Some may roll their eyes at this as merely so much millennial drama or nonsense. The plot, certainly, has obvious metaphoric possibilities, and the reader is free to fill in any that they choose (anything from sexually-transmitted diseases to cyberstalking, etc.), yet it would be a disservice to the film to simply end there.

Director David Robert Mitchell (responsible for the ethereal coming-of-age story THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER) injects the film with grit and moments of implacable beauty. Mitchell, aside from his obvious knowledge of horror films and their genre conventions, further infuses his film with a class-consciousness that is both savvy and surprising (at one point the protagonists trace the malignant threat to the slums… and, yet, is it really from there or a better part of town?), proving that genre films are oftentimes better suited (or at least more seamless) at exploring serious issues than so-called “message movies.”

Mike Gioulakis’s camera jitteringly probes the horizon — the modern urban ruins of Detroit and its faceless suburbs — seemingly searching out imminent threats, the protagonists magnetically drawn to open spaces as they attempt to combat and/or escape their nightmarish horror vacui. Yet, while Jay and her friends flee from various dangers, we are also treated to the dreamy interludes which form the meat of their existence. At these moments the camera seems to linger – quite unexpectedly – dwelling on innocuous details such as the shimmering surface of a backyard pool, dirty laundry littering the floor of a teenager’s room, or sunset as one flies down the interstate with a few friends in the backseat.

In this queasy environment adults barely register, often with their backs turned to the camera, their voices barely audible. This is undoubtedly the world of the young, their hopes and regrets, and Mitchell ably creates a frighteningly claustrophobic space for it: drab Americana, drained of its meaning… an empty landscape waiting to be filled with incipient horrors, making for a chilling parable about youth today.

Special mention should be made of the music by composer Rich Vreeland, known as Disasterpeace (he has principally worked in video games up to this point). The synth-y strains of his score perfectly suiting the velvety tones of the film’s images and rhythms. In this respect, IT FOLLOWS links with a classic horror film tradition, its progressive score matching that of the music of such milestones as PSYCHO, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, SUSPIRIA, and THE SHINING in their sheer ability to shock and disrupt the viewer. (A hint: turn up the volume on this one!)

The truth is, IT FOLLOWS is many things: cynical, artsy, dreamy, beautiful… as well as the most ambitious horror film to emerge from the U.S. in a long time. It’s also pretty frickin’ scary.

New Releases 10/27/15

Top Hits
Southpaw (boxing drama, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 57. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “If Antoine Fuqua’s new film, ‘Southpaw,’ were a boxer, if would be a lot like its hero, a light heavyweight named Billy Hope. Played with downcast eyes and rock-hard abs by Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy is a bleeder and a brawler, an earnest, inarticulate guy with a ferocious punch and not much in the way of grace.” Read more…)

Pixels (comedy, Adam Sandler. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 27. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The special effects are pretty cool, but the film is working nostalgia already thoroughly mined in movies [including the video-game-themed ‘Wreck-It Ralph’] and television [‘The Goldbergs’ and such]. So it’s not as original as it wants to be, despite having the able Chris Columbus in the director’s chair.” Read more…)

GiftThe Gift (thriller, Jason Bateman. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’sTimes review: “Even if ‘The Gift,’ the Australian director Joel Edgerton’s creepy stalker thriller, didn’t make’a dramatic U-turn at around the halfway point, it would still rank as a superior specimen. This movie doesn’t foam at the mouth like “Fatal Attraction.’ No bunnies are boiled. But fish are poisoned, a family dog goes missing and the soundtrack is tricked out with the sudden jolts dear to the genre. Any revenge is more pitiable than cathartic.” Read more…)

Max (family drama, Joseph Julian Soria. Rotten Tomatoes: 35%. Metacritic: 47. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “As the intrepid kids and the fearless hound unravel a nefarious weapons-dealing scheme, ‘Max’ finds its sweet spot, leaving behind its overwrought patriotic swagger and settling into the kind of story that would fill a decent hour of television.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Southpaw

New Foreign
Felix_MeiraFelix & Meira (Franch Canadian, romance, Hadas Yaron. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Unfolding on snowy sidewalks and beneath overcast skies, ‘Felix & Meira’ watches ever so closely as a young Hasidic wife and mother is tempted by the quirky charms of a wayward older man. Yet this tenderly observed love story [by the director, Maxime Giroux] isn’t about religion — or its lack — but about the attraction of difference and the undeniable need to feel alive. That’s something that Meira [Hadas Yaron] clearly longs for; chafing against the restrictions imposed by her Orthodox community, and weary of being scolded by her bewildered husband, Shulem [Luzer Twersky], Meira hides her birth-control pills and the phonograph records she plays when alone. She’s a time bomb in an unflattering wig and frumpy dresses, and when she meets Felix [Martin Dubreuil], a flirtatious prodigal son who has just lost his father, explosion seems inevitable.” Read more…)

New British
Copenhagen/Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond (historical suspense, Daniel Craig)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Shanghai Express (1932, adventure/romance, Marlene Dietrich. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It is an exciting ride they take in ‘Shanghai Express,’ Marlene Dietrich’s new picture which came to the Rialto last night. It has a killing by stabbing, men popped off by machinegun fire, the revelation as to the real identity of a few of the passengers and a romance between a woman of many casual affairs and a British Army surgeon.” Read more…)

John_Ford_ColumbiaJohn Ford: The Columbia Films Collection (From Dave Kehr’s 2013 DVD review in the New York Times: “Turner Classic Movies, Columbia Pictures and the Film Foundation have pooled their resources to create ‘John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection,’ a most welcome boxed set that brings together five films directed by that dean of American filmmakers. Three have not previously appeared on DVD in the United States: ‘The Whole Town’s Talking,’ a Depression-era comedy with Jean Arthur and Edward G. Robinson; ‘Gideon’s Day,’ a police procedural filmed in England in 1958, with Jack Hawkins as the Scotland Yard inspector created by the novelist John Creasey; and ‘Two Rode Together,’ a major Ford western from 1961, with James Stewart, Richard Widmark and Shirley Jones. The other two films in the collection have long been out of print: ‘The Long Gray Line,’ the 1955 story of a long-serving West Point instructor [Tyrone Power] and Ford’s first film in CinemaScope, and ‘The Last Hurrah,’ his 1958 adaptation of a best-selling novel by Edwin O’Connor, with Spencer Tracy as an aging politician facing his last campaign.” Read more…):
The Whole Town’s Talking (1935, comedy, Edward G. Robinson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Andre Sennwald’s 1935 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Jo Sterling and Robert Riskin, two of Hollywood’s most agile scenarists, have written a riotous script for ‘The Whole Town’s Talking,’ which created grave havoc among the clientele at the Radio City Music Hall yesterday. Pungently written, wittily produced and topped off with a splendid dual performance by Edward G. Robinson, it may be handsomely recommended as the best of the new year’s screen comedies.” Read more…)
The Long Gray Line (1955, drama, Tyrone Power. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1955 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If the green of the shamrock seems to color Columbia’s ‘The Long Gray Line,’ which trooped with pennants snapping into the Capitol yesterday, it is not in the least surprising. This film tells the story of Marty Maher, a much-beloved athletic trainer and instructor at West Point for fifty years. The role of the Irish hero is played by Tyrone Power. And the picture is lustily directed by that most positive Hibernian, John Ford.” Read more…)
Gideon’s Day (1958, comedic drama, Jack Hawkins. From Bosley Crowther’s 1959 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “John Ford has wandered a long way off his accustomed Western beat in popping over to London to make ‘Gideon of Scotland Yard,’ a thick British comedy-melodrama that popped into the Odeon yesterday. There is not a single horse in it, no John Wayne and, as far as we could see, no invariable members of the famous ‘Ford stock company.’ And yet it is brisk and generally humorous in its representation of a day in the life of a Scotland Yard detective, with Mr. Ford giving the British a bit of a razz.” Read more…)
The Last Hurrah (1958, political drama, Spencer Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1958 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Now that all key districts have been heard from, including Hollywood, it is safe to expect that Edwin O’Connor’s highly touted political character, Skeffington, will repeat in an overwhelming landslide as the People’s Choice this year.For John Ford and Spencer Tracy, who have engineered his campaign on the Coast with their motion-picture version of Mr. O’Connor’s tub-thumping ‘The Last Hurrah,’ have delivered a smashing majority for the Irish-American political boss. And if this doesn’t sweep him into office, there’s no justice in a stuffed ballot box.” Read more…)
Two Rode Together (1961, western, James Stewart. From Eugene Archer’s 1961 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Only rarely in his long career has James Stewart matched the performance now adorning neighborhood screens in ‘Two Rode Together.’ Working for the first time in a John Ford western, the actor is cast as a hard-drinking frontier sheriff charged with ransoming captives from the Indians. The task is conventionally heroic in the pioneer tradition, but the character created by Mr. Stewart is far removed from the western heroes served nightly on television channels.” Read more…)

Film Screening: “Above and Beyond,” about birth of the Israeli Air Force, on Mon., Nov. 2—RESERVATIONS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (Co-sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom & JCC of Greater New Haven)

Above_Beyond_flyer_WebBest Video Film & Cultural Center will screen the Nancy Spielberg documentary “Above and Beyond” on Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 PM. According to a New York Times review, “Produced by Nancy Spielberg (sister of Steven Spielberg), the documentary ‘Above and Beyond’ recounts the story of Jewish American pilots who, beginning in 1948, secretly fought for Israel in its war of independence, when the Israeli military was nascent.” The screening is co-sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom—Temple members may attend for free; admission is $7 for others—and the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven.

Reservations are highly recommended—it is possible that this screening will sell out.

Best Video owner Hank Paper says, “Among the many good films I saw at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, this was the best and most powerful—as incredible a story as the Israeli victory it enabled.”

In 1948, in secret and at great personal risk, a ragtag group of veteran American fighter pilots smuggled planes into Israel and piloted them in its war of Independence—turning the tide of war, embarking on personal journeys of discovery—and founding the Israeli Air Force. This is as much an American story as an Israeli one.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Monday, Nov. 2. FILM SCREENING: “ABOVE AND BEYOND”

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

• Friday, Dec. 4. CLASSICAL: RAVENNA MICHALSEN & BETHANY WILDER

• Thursday, Dec. 10. BLUES/FOLK/COUNTRY: CODA BLUE

Music: Lamont to play his music Thurs., Nov. 5, at 8 PM

Lamont aka Lamont Hiebert plays Best Video Performance space on Thursday, Nov. 5. The tunes start at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Lamont_Happy_Beard_Web

Lamont is a seasoned singer/songwriter and human rights veteran. As the lead singer of his former band, Ten Shekel Shirt, he had a #1 radio song (Ocean 2001) and toured nationally. The music video for his song Fragile has over 1.5M views online.

In the middle of his career he co-founded Love146 and helped direct the anti-trafficking organization for 10 years. As an activist/musician he has opened up for Dave Matthews Band, John Legend, Natasha Bedingfield and more at social action events. He is currently working on two new albums – one as a part of a duet, the other as a solo artist.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Monday, Nov. 2. FILM SCREENING: “ABOVE AND BEYOND”

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

Music: The ZuZazz String Orkestra plays old-time tunes Wed., Nov. 4, at 8 PM

ZuZazz_String_Orkestra_BV_042915_WebThe ZuZazz String Orkestra plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

A swinging sextet sporting combinations of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, string-bass, piano, ukulele, and steel-guitar, ZuZazz plays American music from the first three decades of popular recordings.

Their repertoire includes abandoned and regional styles including: Old-timey, Vaudeville, Hawaiian, Blues, Jump, Bluegrass, Cowboy, Swing, Traditional Jazz and tasteless Novelty. Songs from Charlie Poole, Mae West,  Helen Hume, Jimmie Rodgers,  Irving Berlin and W.C Handy are the band’s mainstays.

Come hear a bunch of good-time tunes with dancing beats, ironic lyrics, bad rhymes, tight harmonies and forgotten history, rendered with long instrumental breaks, unanticipated laughter and moving feet.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Monday, Nov. 2. FILM SCREENING: “ABOVE AND BEYOND”

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

New Releases 10/20/15

Top Hits
Jurassic World (sci-fi action, Chris Pratt. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Mr. Spielberg may not have directed “Jurassic World,” but his fingerprints — and anxiety over his influence — are all over it. He’s one of its executive producers and gave his blessing to the director Colin Trevorrow, who has just one other feature on his résumé, the indie ‘Safety Not Guaranteed.’ As is the case with every filmmaker hired to lead an industrial brand to box-office domination, Mr. Trevorrow was principally tasked with delivering ‘Jurassic World’ in salable shape, which he has done.” Read more…)

Paper Towns (drama/romance, Cara Delevigne. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 56. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Teenage angst has been a lucrative movie racket for years, but what happens when the kids are pretty much all right? Not a whole lot, at least in ‘Paper Towns,’ a serenely bland adaptation of the John Green young-adult novel about a regular boy in love with the mystery girl next door. Once upon a Hollywood time, when American adolescents were in the grip of social mores and studio censorship, nice guys wooed nice gals with boyish smiles, well-behaved hands and tamped-down desires. What’s old is new again in ‘Paper Towns,’ a melodrama in which smiles still tremble, hands largely behave and freedom’s just another word for everything an ordinary boy doesn’t want to lose.” Read more…)

Testament of Youth (historical drama, Alicia Vikander. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘Testament of Youth,’ James Kent’s stately screen adaptation of the British author Vera Brittain’s 1933 World War I memoir, evokes the march of history with a balance and restraint exhibited by few movies with such grand ambitions. Most similar films strain at the seams with bombast and sentimentality. This one, with a screenplay by Juliette Towhidi [‘Calendar Girls’], is consciously old-fashioned — or should I say traditional? — while maintaining a sober perspective.” Read more…)

Z for Zachariah (post-apocalyptic, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Z for Zachariah’ may not be the most eventful post-apocalyptic drama, but its grip is strong and sure. Set in a verdant valley [with New Zealand standing in for the American South] that has somehow survived the fallout from an unspecified nuclear catastrophe, this minimalist but deeply affecting morality play slowly tugs you in.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Jurassic World
Jurassic World 3D
Tomorrowland

New Foreign
24 Days (France, real-life thriller, Zabou Breitman. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 59. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A dramatized account of the 2006 abduction and torture of a young Jewish cellphone vendor in Paris, ’24 Days’ arrives freighted with so much sociopolitical baggage that you can almost feel the weight. Contributing to a growing disquiet among French Jews, the horrifying ordeal of Ilan Halimi, 23 — who was held for roughly three weeks in a suburban housing project by a multiethnic gang known as the Barbarians — fueled a national debate about anti-Semitism that the movie’s French release invigorated.” Read more…)

New British
Peaky Blinders: Season 1 (early 1900s gangster epic, Cillian Murphy)

New Documentaries
WolfpackThe Wolfpack (cinema, social issues, urban issues. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Movies can change your life, but can they save it? For most people that probably sounds foolish, but the six brothers featured in the astonishing documentary ‘The Wolfpack’ aren’t most people. For much of their lives, these six ingenious young men used the movies to imaginatively if not physically break out of their Lower Manhattan apartment in a building run by the New York City Housing Authority. Even as their father all but imprisoned them [one year they never left the apartment], they made great metaphoric escapes by immersing themselves in the fictional realms created by directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino.” Read more…)

Call Me Lucky (comedy, activism, bio, Barry Crimmins. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 64. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “‘Call Me Lucky,’ Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary portrait of his professional mentor, the political comedian Barry Crimmins, is an earnest homage that also honors Mr. Crimmins’s crusade to drive child pornography off the Internet. Although stand-up comedy is often fueled by anger, the rage expressed in Mr. Crimmins’s diatribes knows no bounds. His particular targets are the United States government and the Roman Catholic Church.” Read more…)

Halloween special Music & Film Screening: Light Upon Blight plays a live score to silent classic “Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages”

Light_Upon_Blight_cafe_nine_WebAs a special pre-Halloween event, the improvisational group Light Upon Blight will improvise a film score to the silent movie classic “Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages” on Friday, Oct. 30. The performance begins at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover. Narration will feature the pre-recorded voice of legendary Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs.

The band urges the public to “come on out to this one time event and help us summon up some ghouls, ghosts, and goblins on the eve before Halloween.” Costumes are absolutely encouraged.

Much like volcanic eruptions, Light Upon Blight performances are uncompromising acts of spontaneous destruction and creation. Purging and destroying the old while simultaneously laying new, fertile ground. No two Light Upon Blight performances are ever the same, just as nature intended. Sounds like: Free Jazz with a noise aesthetic or an exorcism.

For this show, Light Upon Blight will feature Jeff Cedrone (guitar, synth, electronics), Pete Brunelli (bass, electronics), John C. Miller (modular synth), Tom Hogan (drums) and Tony Pellino (synth, guitar).

A 1921 review in Variety said:

Swedish and Danish pictures easily hold the palm for morbid realism and in many cases for brilliant acting and production. Witchcraft made by [Danish director] Benjamin Christensen [funded by a Swedish production company], leaves all the others beaten. It is in reality a pictorial history of black magic, of witches, of the Inquisition, and the thousand and one inhumanities of the superstition-ridden Middle Ages. Many of its scenes are unadulterated horror.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 21. ROOTS ROCK: BRONSON ROCK

• Thursday, Oct. 22. GARAGE SOUL: ELISON JACKSON

• Friday, Oct. 23. ALT-COUNTRY: TANNERSVILLE Cancelled

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

 

Music: Mission Zero’s wonderful synth-pop on Thurs., Oct. 29, at 8 PM

Mission Zero plays the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Oct. 29. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Mission_Zero_press_photo_2015_Web

Growing up playing a range of musical instruments together, siblings Chenot and David crafted and honed their ability to communicate telepathically as performers. After touring the world separately and together in various bands, they decided to join forces as Mission Zero.

Intentionally forgoing traditional pop instrumentation, the duo focuses on their strong suits—powerful, sultry vocals and blistering, dynamic percussion—supported live by a unique body of synthesized sounds (lovingly referred to by the band as The Robots). The result is smart, sexy synth-pop with bite. Their third album, “People in Glass Yachts,” was released in May, 2015.

The siblings have played separately and together all over the world in a variety of bands (including David’s current gig with rock icon Ritchie Blackmore in Blackmore’s Night). As Mission Zero, they’ve headlined at the world famous Whisky A Go Go, and opened for national acts such as Jimmy Destri (of Blondie), White Hinterland, and Hank & Cupcakes.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 21. ROOTS ROCK: BRONSON ROCK

• Thursday, Oct. 22. GARAGE SOUL: ELISON JACKSON

• Friday, Oct. 23. ALT-COUNTRY: TANNERSVILLE Cancelled

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS

 

Haven String Quartet returns Wed., Oct. 28, at 8 PM

HavenStringQuartet_5147_official_2015_WebHaven String Quartet, the in-house quartet of the educational group Music Haven, returns to Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Oct. 28. They will be joined on select numbers by Music Haven students. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

As the permanent quartet-in-residence of Music Haven, the Haven String Quartet’s mission is to integrate music and creative endeavor into community life. The quartet provides access to free music education and world-class chamber music performances to residents in New Haven’s most under-served neighborhoods. In conjunction with these activities, the Haven String Quartet actively performs in other communities, providing engaging performances in traditional concert halls and reaching new audiences in non-classical venues.

Each quartet member is an exemplary performer who also enjoys the work of a teaching artist. Having graduated from institutions such as Yale University, Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Rice University, and Eastman School of Music, each member has concertized internationally and now enjoy successful careers as performers and teachers.

Yaira Matyakubova and Gregory Tompkins are the Quartet’s resident violinists. Annalisa Boerner and Philip Boulanger, respectively, are resident violist and resident cellist for the Haven String Quartet.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Oct. 21. ROOTS ROCK: BRONSON ROCK

• Thursday, Oct. 22. GARAGE SOUL: ELISON JACKSON

• Friday, Oct. 23. ALT-COUNTRY: TANNERSVILLE Cancelled

• Wednesday, Oct. 28. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Oct. 29. SYNTH POP/ROCK: MISSION ZERO

• Friday, Oct. 30. HALLOWEEN SILENT FILM SCREENING WITH LIVE SCORE: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Wednesday, Nov. 4. OLD TIMEY/SWING: THE ZuZAZZ STRING ORKESTRA

• Thursday, Nov. 5. INDIE POP: LAMONT/PLAYFIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 6. RAGTIME/BLUES: THE RED HOTS

• Friday, Nov. 13. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Nov. 18. FILM SCREENING: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)

• Thursday, Nov. 19. DARK FOLK: ELISA FLYNN; SOUL PUNK: AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Nov. 20. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SABRINA TRUEHEART

• Sunday, Nov. 22. FILM SCREENING/BLACK LIVES MATTER BENEFIT: “ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT”

• Thursday, Dec. 3. ELECTRONIC: AVMUS