Music: The Anne Marie Menta Band on Friday, Jan. 8, at 8 PM

Anne_Marie_Menta_BV_040815_01_WebThe Anne Marie Menta Band plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Jan. 8. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Anne Marie Menta hails from New Haven, CT., where she has been a long time favorite singer/songwriter. She comes from a family of three brothers, where playing and listening to music was their great passion. Her musical credits include fronting various rock & roll, folk, and country bands as a singer/guitarist, including The Wanderers, Sugar Moon, Sky Riders, and Rodeo Radio. In the mid 90s, she decided to concentrate on her own original music, and those tunes of hers that she “snuck” into her cover band repertoire now became her main focus. But, the country, folk, and pop music that she loved continued to be an influence in her writing.

Anne Marie’s first two CDs of original music, “Untried & True” and “When the Love Ran Deep” were released in 1999 and 2004 to enthusiastic reviews and gained airplay throughout New England acoustic music programs. Her third CD, “Seven Secrets,” was released in late November 2009 and continues her lyrical and melodic style of songwriting, as well as collaborations with her producer and fellow songwriter and instrumentalist, Dick Neal. She has been a featured performer at the Eli Whitney Folk Festival in New Haven, CT. and opened for artists such as Richard Shindell, The Kennedys, and Eddie from Ohio. She was a finalist in the 2004 South Florida Folk Festival Singer/Songwriter competition, and a showcase artist at NERFA (New England Regional Folk Alliance.)

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Jan. 7. JAZZ: MICHAEL COPPOLA

• Friday, Jan. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Saturday, Jan. 9. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Monday, Jan. 11. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “THE WALK”

• Thursday, Jan. 14. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Jan. 15. SPACE ROCK: LANDING, COLORGUARD & LITUYA BAY

• Monday, Jan. 18. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “PAWN SACRIFICE”

• Thursday, Jan. 21. WORLD MUSIC/FOLK: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Monday, Jan. 25. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON”

• Thursday, Jan. 28. BLUEGRASS: THE DUDLEY FARM STRING BAND

• Monday, Feb. 1. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “THE MARTIAN”

• Wednesday, Feb. 3. YIDDISH SWING/JAZZ VOCALS: THE SELTZER SISTERS of the NU HAVEN KAPELYE

• Thursday, Feb. 4. AMERICAN PRIMITIVE GUITAR: SWAMP YANKEE, ALEXANDER

• Friday, Feb. 5. INDIE SINGER-SONGWRITER: MERCY CHOIR, PAGEANT DOVE

• Monday, Feb. 8. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SICARIO”

• Friday, Feb. 12. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING

• Monday, Feb. 15. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SUFFRAGETTE”

• Friday, Feb. 19. GUITARISTS/SINGER-SONGWRITERS: RANDY COLLINS, IAN ETHAN CASE

• Monday, Feb. 22. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “99 HOMES”

• Friday, Feb. 26. INDIE ROCK: PROCEDURE CLUB

• Thursday, Mar. 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOY IKE

• Friday, Mar. 4. JAZZ: JOVAN ALEXANDRE

• Friday, Mar. 11. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: SHAWN PERSINGER

• Thursday, Mar. 24. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI

 

Music: Jazz 9-string guitar by Michael Coppola on Thurs., Jan. 7, at 8 PM

Michael_Coppola_WebJazz guitarist Michael Coppola, who plays a special 9-string guitar, will perform at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Jan. 7. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

After playing for 20 years, Michael Coppola, on a mission to solve the age old problem of executing jazz piano voicings on guitar, created a tuning for an 8 stringed instrument. This new type of guitar, with inner high end strings was the predecessor to the 9 string “hydra”, which became Coppola’s instrument for life. Michael Coppola has become one of a small handful of guitarists who have pushed the boundaries of the instrument, and the only to come up with this unique tuning.

Reviews of his CDs have been filled with descriptions such as unique, amazing, mindboggling, magical, inventive and so much more. He has played at major guitar shows and concerts throughout the world including the  Montreal Jazz Festival, The Chet Atkins Festival, Namm,and many others, as well as some of the country’s top jazz clubs such as the Blue Note, The Iridium, Knickerbocker and many others.Mainly a solo artist, Coppola has alsoperformed or recorded with many of today’s top musicians, especially guitarists such as Gene Bertoncini, Jack Wilkins, Tony Purrone, Howard Alden, Stephen Bennett, Tommy Emmanuel, and Joscho Stephan.

Michael was a regular guest on Monday nights at the Iridium, invited by Les Paul himself. Lately, he has been performing with his 17 year old prodigy daughter Michaela, who is the CT high school Allstate jazz guitarist as well as the national honor ensemble jazz guitarist (#1 in the country).

Michael Coppola’s album Return Of The Hydra was chosen as a top ten pick for the year 2002, in Coda Magazine. His original composition “Movin”, released on the New Impressions album, was a winner in the 2002 John Lennon Song Competition. Reviews and articles about his work have appeared in numerous magazines including: Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar, Jazztimes, 20th Century Guitar, and Fingerstyle Guitar.

Michael was listed as a main entry in acclaimed critic Scott Yanow’s
2013 book “The Great Jazz Guitarists, the ultimate guide”. Yanow names Coppola “The master of the 9 string guitar”.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Jan. 7. JAZZ: MICHAEL COPPOLA

• Friday, Jan. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Saturday, Jan. 9. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Monday, Jan. 11. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “THE WALK”

• Thursday, Jan. 14. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Jan. 15. SPACE ROCK: LANDING, COLORGUARD

• Monday, Jan. 18. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “PAWN SACRIFICE”

• Monday, Jan. 25. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON”

• Thursday, Jan. 28. BLUEGRASS: THE DUDLEY FARM STRING BAND

• Monday, Feb. 1. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “THE MARTIAN”

• Friday, Feb. 5. INDIE SINGER-SONGWRITER: MERCY CHOIR, PAGEANT DOVE

• Monday, Feb. 8. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SICARIO”

• Friday, Feb. 12. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING

• Monday, Feb. 15. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SUFFRAGETTE”

• Friday, Feb. 19. GUITARISTS/SINGER-SONGWRITERS: RANDY COLLINS, IAN ETHAN CASE

• Monday, Feb. 22. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “99 HOMES”

• Friday, Feb. 26. INDIE ROCK: PROCEDURE CLUB

• Friday, Mar. 4. JAZZ: JOVAN ALEXANDRE

• Friday, Mar. 11. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: SHAWN PERSINGER

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI

New Releases 12/29/15

Top Hits
Bone Tomahawk (western/action, Kurt Russell. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “In ‘Bone Tomahawk,’ an old-timer, an invalid and a gunslinger set out across the blistering desert to rescue three innocents from a band of savage cannibals. Their mission seems beyond futile, but don’t count them out too soon: Their leader is Kurt Russell. Yet Mr. Russell is far from the only reason to see this unexpected low-budget treat, a witty fusion of western, horror and comedy that gallops to its own beat. That rhythm is dictated entirely by the writer and director, S. Craig Zahler, a novelist and musician who flips genre conventions upside-down and cares more about character than body count.” Read more…)

The Perfect Guy (thriller/romance, Morris Chestnut. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 36. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Michael Ealy has a very ominous stare and Sanaa Lathan sells her inconsistent character pretty well, but ‘The Perfect Guy’ is still just a boilerplate stalker story that proceeds more or less as you suspect it will.” Read more…)

A Walk in the Woods (drama, Robert Redford. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “There’s a scene in ‘A Walk in the Woods,’ a low-impact amble through hill, dale and cinematic nostalgia, when our two crusty trekkers face down a pair of bears. The men — Robert Redford and Nick Nolte — are slumbering in their tents when the bears descend and begin tearing into the hikers’ food, which they have failed to properly stash. The bears roar and the men thunder back, flapping uvulas and arms to chase off the animals. It’s a mildly funny scene, partly because of its light physical comedy and sight gaggery, although also because Mr. Nolte, his signature growl now often at sepulchral depths, has been doing a fair impression of a wild beast for years.” Read more…)

Heist (thriller, Robert De Niro. Rotten Tomatoes: 24%. Metacritic: 37. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Yimes review: “Whatever its flaws, ‘Heist’ is to be commended for repeatedly finding ways to distract us from them. Battling a preposterous plot and second-tier performances that are, at best, serviceable, this roll-along thriller from Scott Mann works its keister off to turn beef jerky into chateaubriand.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
License to Drive (1988, comedy, Corey Haim. Rotten Tomatoes: 18%. From Caryn James’ 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Anyone old enough to have a license is probably much too old to be amused by ‘License to Drive,’ the comic adventure of a 16-year-old who fails his driving test and sneaks off on Saturday night in his grandfather’s 1972 Cadillac. By morning he has driven around town with his drunken girlfriend passed out in the trunk and two friends howling in the passenger seats. It is proof of the candy heart beneath the film’s reckless storyline that all this action seems at worst slightly naughty.” Read more…)

New TV
Shameless: Season 4 (comedy/drama, William H. Macy. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%.)

Oscar-oriented film series starts Mon., Jan. 11, with “The Walk” (UPDATED 12/30/15)

Oscar_Series_2016_TBS_flyer_WebBest Video Film & Cultural Center launches a new seven-movie, Oscar-oriented film series on Monday, Jan. 11. Each screening starts at 7 PM and admission is $7. (Note: The schedule has been updated from the original post.)

Yes, there’s the Political Election but first, there’s the Oscar Race: Seven Oscar contenders—for one award or another—straight outta the theater to Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Performance Space. The series runs consecutive Mondays from Jan. 11 through Feb. 22. (The televised Oscar ceremony is on Sunday, Feb. 28.)

Official Oscar nominations are unveiled on Jan. 18.

See the films, receive your ballot, and become a winner yourself — with a BVFCC prize for the most correct choices!

MON., JAN. 11 • THE WALK – A visual tour de force on our 100” screen in Blu ray, this is director Robert Zemickis’ (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away) best shot for his first Best PIcture Oscar. High suspense and tense drama accompany high wire artist Philippe Petit’s attempt to walk the immense void between the World Trade Center towers.

MON., JAN. 18 • STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON PAWN SACRIFICE – Chess prodigy Bobbie Fischer (Tobey Maguire) challenges the Soviet Empire during the Cold War while battling his own notorious demons (not to mention the CIA). With Liev Shreiber and Peter Saarsgaard.

MON., JAN. 25 • STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – This highly entertaining and illuminating film dominated the box office with strong reviews. Offering depth in culture rather than simple glorification, this true-life story of the emergence of rap against L.A. police brutality in the ‘80s, is as relevant today as it was then.

MON., FEB. 1 • EVEREST THE MARTIAN – On a manned mission to Mars, an astronaut (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and abandoned by his crew. Alone on a hostile planet, he must use his ingenuity, wit, and spirit to survive and find a way to signal earth that he is alive. Directed any Ridley Scott – smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny.

MON., FEB. 8 • SICARIO – In this highly acclaimed thriller, an idealistic FBI agent (Emily Blunt) negotiates the lawless border between the USA and Mexico, and the porous loyalties of the elite agency (Benito del Torio, Josh Brolin) that hired her.

MON., FEB. 15 • SUFFRAGETTE – Carrie Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter portray early-century radicalized foot soldiers willing to sacrifice their jobs, homes, children, and lives for the right of all women to control their lives. Still a relevant issue for 2016.

MON., FEB. 22 • 99 HOMES – Taking place in Orlando, a young father (Andrew Garfield) struggles to get his home back (and keep his integrity) by working for the ambitious real estate broker (Michael Shannon) who foreclosed him. My favorite film of 2015.

Available now for a limited time: Gift bundles of a year of rentals, BVFCC t-shirt and Kennedy’s Kettle Corn

Gift_Bundle_WebFor a limited time, get a great gift bundle for the movie lover in your family—a year of free rentals (plus two extra months!), a black or blue t-shirt featuring the new Best Video Film & Cultural Center logo on the back and a bag of delicious locally-made Kennedy’s Kettle Corn!

Since we began offering them at the beginning of November, the new Membership Rental Plans have become very popular. BVFCC members on the new plans say they are renting more films. And even though it isn’t free, it feels free every time they come into BVFCC and get another movie without having to pull out their wallet.

• The One Movie Plan Gift Bundle — For $130, give a gift certificate for The One Movie Plan (normally $120), a new Best Video Film & Cultural Center t-shirt in either black or blue (a $15 value) and a bag of delicious locally-made Kennedy’s Kettle Corn.

• The Two Movie Plan Gift Bundle — For $250, give a gift certificate for The Two Movie Plan (normally $240), a new Best Video Film & Cultural Center t-shirt in either black or blue (a $15 value) and a bag of delicious locally-made Kennedy’s Kettle Corn.

• The Four Movie Plan Gift Bundle — For $360, give a gift certificate for The Four Movie Plan (normally $360) and get a new Best Video Film & Cultural Center t-shirt in either black or blue (a $15 value) and a bag of delicious locally-made Kennedy’s Kettle Corn added in for free.

Come into Best Video Film & Cultural Center and give the movie lover on your list the gift of endless movie-watching pleasure in 2016.

Details on the plans are available here.

New Releases 12/22/15

Top Hits
Queen_of_EarthQueen of Earth (drama, Elisabeth Moss. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “By the time Catherine exits ‘Queen of Earth,’ her frown has turned upside down and a grimace of abject misery has transformed into a vision of manic happiness as if she had traded in her tragedy mask for a comedy one. That it’s unclear which face is scarier, more unnerving, is in keeping with the director Alex Ross Perry’s gift for destabilization, for setting a mood only to violently upend it with cutting looks, dissonant musical chords and off-kilter camera angles. That Catherine seems to be swapping theater masks even as Ms. Moss brings tremendous depth of feeling to the role is in line with the arch self-consciousness of ‘Queen of Earth,’ an art film in quotation marks.” Read more…)

Nasty Baby (drama, Kristen Wiig. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 64. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s’ Times review: “But what had looked like a meandering, anecdotal story turns out to be a carefully constructed narrative machine, one that dispenses a brilliantly nasty series of surprises. Mr. Silva’s accomplishment is not just in pulling off a jarring plot twist, but in handling a change of tone that turns the movie — and the audience’s assumptions about it — upside down.” Read more…)

PanPan (family action/fantasy, Hugh Jackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 26%. Metacritic: 36. From A.O. Scott’s New York Ties review: “Peter Pan, who flew through the air in a costume, was in many ways a prototype of the modern superhero. He has certainly been a lucrative entertainment franchise for a very long time, with durable merchandising potential, from feathered hats to peanut butter. All of which may help to explain the otherwise baffling existence of ‘Pan,’ a hectic and labored attempt to supply the boy who never grew up with an origin story.” Read more…)

Manglehorn (drama, Al Pacino. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 56. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Ties review: “[Director David Gordon] Green’s latest small-town portrait has its romantic-eccentric touches: hazy scene transitions, Harmony Korine gabbing away as a wheeler-dealer who idolizes Manglehorn [his former Little League coach], and a trippy traffic-jam tribute to Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Weekend.’ But as Manglehorn reads aloud letters to a long-lost love (in voice-over), the movie clicks into place as the tried-and-true story of a tough old guy who’s locked his heart up tight.” Read more…)

Soldier’s Girl (drama, Troy Garity. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%.)
War Room (drama, Priscilla Shirer. Rotten Tomatoes: 35%. Metacritic: 26.)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Pan

New Foreign
The Kindergarten Teacher (Israel, drama, Sarit Larry. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Can a 5-year-old boy be a literary genius? And if so, how might his precocious gift be nurtured and protected? These are, on the surface, among the main questions posed by ‘The Kindergarten Teacher,’ a self-assured, remarkably powerful film from the Israeli writer-director Nadav Lapid.” Read more…)

New Classic (pre-1960)
Forbidden_HollywoodForbidden Hollywood Vol. 5:
Hard to Handle (1933, comedy/romance, James Cagney. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1933 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “James Cagney’s shadow burst into Warner’s Strand last night as the dynamic publicity man in ‘Hard to Handle,’ an adaptation of a story by Houston Branch. It is a violent, down-to-the-pavement, slangy affair which has many a mirthful moment. In the course of the hectic happenings, which run from promoting a marathon dance to boosting grapefruit as a reducer for stout persons, Mr. Cagney as Lefty Merrill leaps from the frying pan into the fire, from the fire into the frying pan and lastly from the pa nto the kitchen floor.” Read more…)
Ladies They Talk About (1933, crime/romance, Barbara Stanwyck. From A.D.S.’s 1933 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “When a reformer and a dashing female bank bandit fall in love, their home life may be somewhat as illustrated in the lingering finale of ‘Ladies They Talk About,’ which was unreeled at the Capitol yesterday. After a torrid argument in which Nan, the gun-girl, accuses her beloved of frustrating a jail-break in which two of her pals were killed, she loses her temper, draws a gun from her handbag and shoots him. ‘I didn’t mean to do that,’ Nan remarks a moment later as David Slade falls to the floor with a bullet in his shoulder. ‘Why, that’s all right, Nan,’ responds her husband-to-be. ‘It’s nothing.'” Read more…)
The Mind Reader (1933, drama, Warren William. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1933 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In a rather lame but frequently ingenious production bearing the title of ‘The Mind Reader,’ Warren William appears as a cheap trickster who, after devoting his time to pulling teeth and selling fake medicines with no great success, decides to become a clairvoyant. He elects to be known as Chandra the Great and to impress his clients he wears Oriental head-gear and talks in sepulchral tones.” Read more…)
Miss Pinkerton (comedy/mystery, Joan Blondell. From A.D.S.’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Even so staple a dramatic commodity as homicide should keep up with the times; terror may be expected to change its mask occasionally, and mystery to wear a new camouflage. In ‘Miss Pinkerton,’ which was revealed at the Strand yesterday, the aging handmaidens of the murder melodrama perform their grisly dance in the gloomy mansion of old Juliet Mitchell, but the sound and the fury have gone out of them. There were heretics in the audience who laughed.” Read more…)

Music: Closing the year with The Sawtelles, Solin on Wed., Dec. 30, at 8 PM

Our Performance Space year opened with a show by The Sawtelles on Jan. 2 and closes with a show by the same group on Wednesday, Dec. 30. The show starts at 8 PM with an opening set by Solin Luciano and the cover is $5.

The music of husband and wife duo the Sawtelles is a balance of four elements: alternate-tuned guitar, stand-up drum kit (ala Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker) and two voices. Sparse but intricately arranged pop that is as lush as it is threadbare makes what is played as important as what isn’t. Peter plays guitar and Julie plays drums; they both sing. Their sparse but intricately arranged pop is as lush as it is captivatingly unique.

The Sawtelles

The Sawtelles

Their self-produced DYI philosophy aligns them more with the hand painted Sun Ra LP’s of 1950’s and 60’s then it does with those striving for mainstream commercial success. They have released 6 CDs.

Solin aka Pat Luciano has been on the local and extended music scene for 40+ years. Known for his versatility, he always knows how to captivate his audience. Long-time friend of producer Jon Brion (Aimee Mann, Elliott Smith), he has played with big acts such as Aimee Mann , Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, and has also both headlined and opened at Toads Place many times.

Solin_Best_Video_010914_Web

Solin is also noted for his years of performance as John Lennon in the legendary off Broadway Beatlemania. Solin still has regular appearances at Cafe Nine but has been working on a new LP soon to come. Rejoining the live music scene full time now as he begins to wrap up his newest album.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Dec. 18. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Sunday, Dec. 20. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY STANLEY KUBRICK (“BARRY LYNDON”)

• Wednesday, Dec. 30. INDIE ROCK: THE SAWTELLES, SOLIN

• Thursday, Jan. 7. JAZZ: MICHAEL COPPOLA

• Friday, Jan. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Monday, Jan. 11. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “THE WALK”

• Thursday, Jan. 14. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Jan. 15. SPACE ROCK: LANDING, COLORGUARD

• Monday, Jan. 18. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON”

• Monday, Jan. 25. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “PAWN SACRIFICE”

• Thursday, Jan. 28. BLUEGRASS: THE DUDLEY FARM STRING BAND

• Monday, Feb. 1. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “EVEREST”

• Friday, Feb. 5. INDIE SINGER-SONGWRITER: MERCY CHOIR, PAGEANT DOVE

• Monday, Feb. 8. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SICARIO”

• Friday, Feb. 12. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING

• Monday, Feb. 15. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SUFFRAGETTE”

• Friday, Feb. 19. GUITARISTS/SINGER-SONGWRITERS: RANDY COLLINS, IAN ETHAN CASE

• Monday, Feb. 22. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “99 HOMES”

• Friday, Feb. 26. INDIE ROCK: PROCEDURE CLUB

• Friday, Mar. 4. JAZZ: JOVAN ALEXANDRE

• Friday, Mar. 11. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: SHAWN PERSINGER

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI

 

New Releases 12/15/15

Top Hits
Mission_Impossible_RogueMission Impossible: Rogue Nation (action adventure, Tom Cruise. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 75. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Sleek and bloated, specific and generic, ‘Rogue Nation’ is pretty much like most of the “Impossible” movies in that it’s an immense machine that Mr. McQuarrie, after tinkering and oiling, has cranked up again and set humming with twists and turns, global trotting and gadgets, a crack supporting cast and a hard-working star. Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg [with his valuable comic timing] are all back, joined by the series newcomer Rebecca Ferguson. She plays a super-vixen, the amusingly named Ilsa Faust, who enters with the camera peeking up her skirt and rises like a half-shell Venus, à la the original Bond Girl, Ursula Andress.” Read more…)

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (action, Dylan O’Brien. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Metacritic: 43. From John Williams’ New York Times review: “‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,’ the second in a series about a racially diverse but otherwise interchangeable set led by a hardy hunk named Thomas [Dylan O’Brien], throws us right into the action. Stiff, vague bits of exposition establish that the youths had, indeed, been in some kind of maze. Now they are in a large industrial compound, saved from a nefarious organization called WCKD by another mysterious crew led by Janson [Aidan Gillen], a transparently shady guy himself. The teenagers are among the only people left immune to a virus that turns humans into zombielike mutants that shriek like velociraptors.” Read more…)

Ted 2 (comedy, Mark Wahlberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 48. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: ‘Ted 2’ comes off as more inept and thoughtless than intentionally hateful. The charitable take is that Mr. MacFarlane wanted to take on race [slavery — lighten up, people!] but doesn’t have the skills to do so. Less charitably, he doesn’t have the mind-set, the compassion or actual interest.” Read more…)

He Named Me Malala (human rights, education, Malala Youzafzai. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 61. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 but has continued to speak out on behalf of education for girls, is a familiar face in the West by now thanks to a best-selling book, television appearances, speaking engagements and, of course, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize [which she shared with Kailash Satyarthi]. But you may wonder about the real person behind the media phenomenon.” Read more…)

Stanford_Prison_ExperimentThe Stanford Prison Experiment (true-life drama, Billy Crudup. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 67. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “Fine ensemble acting brings a notorious psychological study to life in ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment.’ The research, now 44 years old, may today seem as if it merely confirmed the obvious, but the film, by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, certainly makes you feel the claustrophobic intensity of what went on. The film is about a 1971 study done by a Stanford University professor, Philip Zimbardo, in which students were recruited to play either guards or inmates in a make-believe prison. Guess what? People put in positions of authority, like prison guards, sometimes abuse that authority, and in startlingly cruel ways.” Read more…)

Time Out of Mind (drama, Richard Gere. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Nicolas Rapold’s Times review: “‘Time Out of Mind’ isn’t a study of social injustice or individual pathology; it’s neither an exploration of the problem of homelessness nor a cautionary tale about the dangers of heavy drinking. [Writer and director Oren] Moverman’s previous efforts as a director [‘The Messenger’ and ‘Rampart’] were intense, interesting and overburdened with plot. Some of his screenwriting projects — notably his scripts for Todd Haynes’s ‘I’m Not There’ and Bill Pohlad’s ‘Love and Mercy’ — have felt freer and looser, willing to chase threads of reality even at the expense of structure. This movie’s best and truest quality may be its wandering, episodic rhythm, which is intriguing in its own right and reflects the experience of the main character.” Read more…)

Fantastic 4 (superhero action, Miles Teller. Rotten Tomatoes: 10%. Metacritic: 27. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The opening scenes of ‘Fantastic Four’ — 20th Century Fox’s reboot of its Marvel superhero franchise — take place in 2007, which happens to be the year that the second movie in the prerebooted franchise [‘Rise of the Silver Surfer’] was released. Ben Grimm and Reed Richards [played as children by Evan Hannemann and Owen Judge, later by Jamie Bell and Miles Teller] don’t mention that fact, because if they did the cinematic universe would collapse on itself and all light would be extinguished from the cosmos. Also, the thoughtful people at Fox probably don’t want to remind anyone of those earlier movies.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Ted 2
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

New Foreign
Blind (Norway, erotic drama, Ellen Dorrit Pettersen. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Blindness and sight: Distinctions between the two blur, then converge in the Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt’s haunting debut feature, ‘Blind,’ whose narrator and main character, Ingrid [Ellen Dorrit Petersen], has recently lost her sight. ‘I can still see in my dreams,’ she muses. ‘It’s not important what’s real, so long as I can visualize it clearly.’ And in this cool, verging-on-chilly exploration of perception and fantasy, which won a best screenplay award at the Sundance Film Festival, life, as Ingrid experiences it, is considerably more fraught than mundane reality would indicate. What ‘the mind’s eye’ envisions is tumultuous and sexy.” Read more…)

New Classic (pre-1960)
Sons and Lovers (1960 D.H. Lawrence adaptation, Trevor Howard. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1060 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “D. H. Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Lovers’ is sensitively felt and photographed in Jerry Wald’s British-made film version of it, which opened yesterday at the Victoria and Beekman Theatres. The theme of the classic English novel is faithfully preserved: joy and sorrow and strange frustration grow out of the strong attachment of mother and son. An excellent cast of British actors [and one American] play it well. And Jack Cardiff, camera man turned director, has filled it with picture poetry.” Read more…)

New British (Commonwealth)
A Place to Call Home: Season 2 (Australian drama series)

New TV
Third Rock from the Sun: Seasons 5 & 6

New Documentaries
Finders_KeepersFinders Keepers (true life weirdness, who owns an amputated leg?, John Wood. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “An amputated leg leads everyone in a merry dance in ‘Finders Keepers,’ the kind of documentary that makes you suspect that Christopher Guest is hiding behind the curtain. But this shockingly funny, weirdly touching custody battle between John Wood, the aggrieved amputee, and Shannon Whisnant, the fast-talking entrepreneur who unwittingly bought the appendage in a storage-unit auction, is as authentic as the North Carolina vernacular in which it unfolds.” Read more…)

Burroughs (Criterion edition, literature, Beat Generation, William S. Burroughs. From Janet Maslin’s 1983 New York Times documentary [requires log-in]: “Rarely is a documentary as well attuned to its subject as Howard Brookner’s ‘Burroughs,’ which captures as much about the life, work and sensibility of its subject as its 86 minute format allows. Part of the film’s comprehensiveness is attributable to William S. Burroughs’ cooperation, since the author was willing to visit old haunts, read from his works and even playfully act out a passage from ‘Naked Lunch’ for the benefit of the camera. But the quality of discovery about ‘Burroughs’ is very much the director’s doing, and Mr. Brookner demonstrates an unusual degree of liveliness and curiousity in exploring his subject.” Read more…)

He_Named_Me_MalalaHe Named Me Malala (human rights, education, Malala Youzafzai. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 61. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 but has continued to speak out on behalf of education for girls, is a familiar face in the West by now thanks to a best-selling book, television appearances, speaking engagements and, of course, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize [which she shared with Kailash Satyarthi]. But you may wonder about the real person behind the media phenomenon.” Read more…)

The Outrageous Sophie Tucker (entertainment history, biography, Sophie Tucker. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Nowadays, Tucker may be best remembered by fans of Bette Midler, who channeled the early, bawdy days of jazz greats like Tucker with a character called Soph. Viewers of the HBO show ‘Boardwalk Empire’ may also recall the brassy singer [played by Kathy Brier] who uses some of the same comically smutty patter. It would be nice if William Gazecki’s documentary ‘The Outrageous Sophie Tucker’ helped nudge its subject even further into the limelight, where she belongs. The movie isn’t especially well made, yet because Tucker is such a gloriously rich figure — immigrant turned runaway mother turned vaudevillian turned superstar — she renders its formal and aesthetic shortcomings [mostly] irrelevant.” Read more…)

Give the gift of a full year of rentals at Best Video Film & Cultural Center!

BVFCC_Gift_Certificate_WebWhat if you could give the gift of free rentals at Best Video Film & Cultural Center for a whole year?

Well, you can! This holiday season, give the One Movie Plan, Two Movie Plan or Four Movie Plan to those on your “nice” list.

Since we began offering them at the beginning of November, the new Membership Rental Plans have become very popular. BVFCC members on the new plans say they are renting more films. And even though it isn’t free, it feels free every time they come into BVFCC and get another movie without having to pull out their wallet.

Pay $120 for a full year (and get two extra months free) and  the recipient of your gift can have one movie from the expansive BVFCC collection out a time, exchanging them over and over again. For $240 for a full year (and get two extra months free!), the gift that keeps on giving would entitle the recipient to have out two movies at a time. For the fanatic cinephile, give them the Four Movie Plan for $360 for a year (and get two extra months free when you pay for the full year up front).

Come into Best Video Film & Cultural Center and buy a gift certificate for the movie rental gift that will keep on giving all year long!

These are the new options:

• The One Movie Plan*

$120/year (or $10 per month) Take out 1 movie at a time for four days—exchange as often as you want. Attend 1 show per month free. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

• The Two Movie Plan*

$240/year (or $20 per month) Take out 2 movies at a time for up to a week. Attend 2 shows per month free. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

• The Four Movie Plan*

$360/year (or $30 per month) Take out 4 movies at a time for up to a week. Attend 4 shows per month free at Best Video Performance Space. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

If you wish to take out additional movies beyond what your plan covers, it would be $2 per additional rental per night.

You can already sign up at the store for the annual or monthly plans and now you have a way to sign up for the monthly plans online.

* All plans are subject to change. Films not returned within a reasonable time are subject to a replacement fee at the retail cost. If you choose not to sign up for one of the three plans, you can continue with your current plan or rent on a pay-as-you-go basis. Prices in the legacy plans and per movie are subject to change. We ask that marked new releases be returned in 1 or 2 days.

New membership rental plans proving popular—Join Now Online!

brochure_front_WebAt the beginning of November, Best Video Film & Cultural Center announced new membership/rental platforms that will allow members to watch more great movies for less money. And without the threat of late fees hanging over your head.

Yes, you read that correctly. And they have immediately become quite popular with longtime customers and new customers.

And now you can sign up online! Click here to sign up and pay online for one of the new plans.

JOIN NOW!

The plans can be paid for on a monthly, recurring basis or on an annual basis. And for a limited time, if you purchase a plan on the annual basis, you get an additional two months free the first year if you sign up at Best Video Film & Cultural Center or 10% off the annual cost of you sign up online.

Why should you consider signing up for one of these plans if you have been a longtime Best Video customer? Here are some reasons:

1 • Support one of New Haven’s cultural jewels. Help maintain an exceptional archive of movies, a performance and screening room, and help build an organization committed to educational and community outreach.

2 • Rent movies for less. Have access to a much deeper library than is available through streaming. (And you can watch the special features, too!)

3 • Leave late fees behind.

4 • Get more time on your rentals.

5 • Sign up and pay for a year in advance and get two additional months free!

6 • Get free admission to Best Video Performance Space events.

These are the new options:

• The One Movie Plan*

$120/year (or $10 per month) Take out 1 movie at a time for four days—exchange as often as you want. Attend 1 show per month free. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

• The Two Movie Plan*

$240/year (or $20 per month) Take out 2 movies at a time for up to a week. Attend 2 shows per month free. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

• The Four Movie Plan*

$360/year (or $30 per month) Take out 4 movies at a time for up to a week. Attend 4 shows per month free at Best Video Performance Space. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

If you wish to take out additional movies beyond what your plan covers, it would be $2 per additional rental per night.

You can already sign up at the store for the annual or monthly plans and now you have a way to sign up for the monthly plans online.

* All plans are subject to change. Films not returned within a reasonable time are subject to a replacement fee at the retail cost. If you choose not to sign up for one of the three plans, you can continue with your current plan or rent on a pay-as-you-go basis. Prices in the legacy plans and per movie are subject to change. We ask that marked new releases be returned in 1 or 2 days.