Film screening: “Birth of a Nation” continues pre-Oscars series Mon., Feb. 13

Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s next film series—showcasing Oscar-contending films—continues on Monay, Feb. 13, with a screening of “Birth of a Nation.” An historical drama, “Birth of a Nation”  is a dramatization of the 1831 slave uprising in Virginia led by Nat Turner..

The five remaining films will be shown on the next five successive Monday nights. All screenings start at 7:15 PM. Admission to individual movies is $7—free for members of Temple Beth Sholom—or the advance price for the entire series is $30. Purchasers of the full series pass ($30) are also entitled to $10 off the $25 cost of attending BVFCC’s Feb. 26 Oscar Day Brunch and Fundraiser.

“The Oscar Race—The Main Contenders” is co-sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom Adult Education. The films will be introduced by either Best Video founder Hank Paper or Temple Beth Sholom Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic. As always, feel free to stick around for the optional post-film conversations.

Directed by and starring Nate Parker, “Birth of a Nation” was mentioned as a possible Oscar contender early on. However, the film and its crew did not, in the end, garner any nominations due in part to Parker’s alleged involvement as a perpetrator of a sexual assault when he was in college.

As New York Times critic A.O. Scott noted in his review of the movie, “‘The Birth of a Nation,’ Nate Parker’s debut feature as a director, presents an unusually vexing and complicated case. In the months between its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January and its release this Friday, the movie — which dramatizes the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 — has found itself on both sides of the argument, simultaneously the must-see and the won’t-see movie of the year.”

But Scott adds:

The movie, uneven as it is, has terrific momentum and passages of concentrated visual beauty. The acting is strong even when the script wanders into thickets of rhetoric and mystification. And despite its efforts to simplify and italicize the story, it’s admirably difficult, raising thorny questions about ends and means, justice and mercy, and the legacy of racism that lies at the root of our national identity. There is still a lot of reckoning to be done. Birth is a messy business. And so is what comes after.

We are very excited about this series, which features a lineup of films sure to spark some invigorating discussions.

The remaining schedule:

Mon., Feb. 13: “Birth of a Nation”
Mon., Feb. 20: “Arrival”
Mon., Feb. 27: “Elle” “Hacksaw Ridge”
Mon., Mar. 6: “Manchester By the Sea”
Mon., Mar. 13: “Moonlight”

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Feb. 9. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Feb. 10. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING, MERCY CHOIR (solo)

• Monday, Feb. 13. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “BIRTH OF A NATION”

• Wednesday, Feb. 15. ROCK: LEFT ON SCARLET STREET

• Thursday, Feb. 16. ALT-COUNTRY/ROCK: NO LINE NORTH, BOP TWEEDIE

• Friday, Feb. 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ALEX BLAIR

• Monday, Feb. 20. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “ARRIVAL”

• Wednesday, Feb. 22. JAZZ: THE PAUL SHANLEY QUARTET

• Thursday, Feb. 23. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Friday, Feb. 24. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Saturday, Feb. 25. PROTEST MUSIC CABARET: “SHALL WE TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT?”

• Sunday, Feb. 26. “AND THE AWARD GOES TO…”: BVFCC OSCAR AWARDS BRUNCH/FUNDRAISER 4-6 PM

• Monday, Feb. 27. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “HACKSAW RIDGE”

• Wednesday, Mar. 1. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS (rescheduled from Feb. 9)

• Thursday, Mar. 2. SURF ROCK: THE CLAMS

• Monday, Mar. 6. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA”

• Wednesday, Mar. 8. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Saturday, Mar. 11. JAZZ: THE FAKE MUSIC ENSEMBLE PLAYS “BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE; YELLOW, TRANS AND QUEER: MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THIS (A PROTEST SUITE COMPOSED BY ALLEN LOWE)

• Monday, Mar. 13. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “MOONLIGHT”

• Wednesday,  Mar. 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHULA WEINSTEIN & BEN ROSS

• Thursday, Mar. 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SETH ADAM, KATHY MUIR

Friday, Mar. 17. INDIE ROCK: DISCO TEEN 66

• Wednesday, Mar. 22. CLASSICAL: 4-3-2-1: A EUPHONIUM AND FRIENDS PRODUCTION

• Friday, Mar. 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH; SINGER-SONGWRITER: BELLE OF THE FALL

• Saturday, Mar. 25. JAZZ: : THE FAKE MUSIC ENSEMBLE PLAYS “BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE; YELLOW, TRANS AND QUEER: MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THIS (A PROTEST SUITE COMPOSED BY ALLEN LOWE)

• Wednesday, Mar. 29. SINGER-SONGWRITER: LAMONT

• Thursday, Mar. 30. ALTERNATIVE/AMERICANA: THE WYRD BROTHERS

• Saturday, Apr. 1. CULT FILM SCREENING: TBA

• Thursday, Apr. 6. AVANT-GARDE: ELM FICTION

• Friday, Apr. 7. JAZZ: JOVAN ALEXANDRE

• Saturday, Apr. 8. CLASSICAL GUITAR: MAX LYMAN; AMERICAN PRIMITIVE GUITAR: ALEXANDER

• Sunday, Apr. 9. REDSCROLL RECORDS SCREENING AND MUSIC

• Friday, Apr. 21. POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Friday, Apr. 28. BLUEGRASS: THE SLOCAN RAMBLERS (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Friday, May 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR & WANDERING ROOTS (CD Release)

• Friday, May 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS IN  THE ROUND: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET, FRANK CRITELLI

• Saturday, May 6. CULT FILM SCREENING: TBA

• Friday, Sept. 15. BLUEGRASS: ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY (GUITARTOWNCT PRODUCTIONS)

 

New Oscar contenders film series starts Tues., Feb. 7, with interracial romance/historical drama “Loving”

Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s next film series—showcasing Oscar-contending films—begins on Tuesday, Feb. 7, with a screening of “Loving.” An historical drama, “Loving” tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial Virginia couple who went to the Supreme Court to affirm their right to be married and to overturn Virginia’s racist anti-miscegenation law.

While “Loving” screens on a Tuesday, the five remaining films will be shown on the next five successive Monday nights. All screenings start at 7:15 PM. Admission to individual movies is $7—free for members of Temple Beth Sholom—or the advance price for the entire series is $30. Purchasers of the full series pass are also entitled to $10 off the cost of attending BVFCC’s Feb. 26 Oscar Day Brunch and Fundraiser.

All attendees for the three films preceding the Academy Awards broadcast will be given an Oscar ballot to fill out and a prize will be given to the individual who picks the most correct winners.

“The Oscar Race—The Main Contenders” is co-sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom Adult Education. The films will be introduced by either Best Video founder Hank Paper or Temple Beth Sholom Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic. As always, feel free to stick around for the optional post-film conversations.

We are very excited about this series, which features a lineup of films sure to spark some invigorating discussions.

View the trailer for the first movie in the series. “Loving”:

The schedule:

Tues., Feb. 7: “Loving”: They loved; a segregated Virginia did not love them back. Loving revisits a Supreme Court civil-rights landmark case on interracial marriage. “It was the absolute ordinariness of their love that defined them and that made their fight for it into an indelible story of this country.” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times) “A cinematic take on a familiar story that’s deeply relevant today.”(Clay Cone) “The precision of Nichols’ film makes every shot meaningful….For once, a cinematic history lesson doesn’t feel artificial and processed in every pore.” (Tasha Robinson)

Mon., Feb. 13: “Birth of a Nation”: This tour-de-force retelling of the 1831 slave rebellion led by slave-turned-preacher Nat Turner – written, produced, directed, and starring Nate Parker – could not be more timely. “An unapologetic, impassioned biopic, this film begins quietly but ends in a howl of rage. It might not be perfect, but it’s powerful enough to stay with you….soul-shakingly powerful.” (Phil De Semlyen, Empire)

Mon., Feb. 20: “Arrival”: When gigantic spaceships touch down around the world, linguistic professor (Amy Adams) races against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrials, taking a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind. “Epic and intimate.” (Christopher Orr, The Atlantic). “This deeply thoughtful, profoundly compassionate sci-fi movie beautifully mixes realism with a sense of wonder.” (Common Sense Media). “The best film of the year to date, ambitious in conception and extraordinary in execution, has arrived.” (Rotten Tomatoes)

Mon., Feb. 27: “Elle”: Isabelle Huppert delivers a stand-out performance as a ruthless, seemingly indestructible video game CEO, attacked in her home, who then turns the tables on her attacker. “A masterpiece of suave perversity, the movie leads its audience through a meticulously constructed maze of ambiguity, scrambling our assumptions and expectations at every turn.” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times)

Mon., Mar. 6: “Manchester By the Sea”: Following his brother’s death, a reclusive, depressive loner —working as a handyman in Boston — is summoned back to his coastal hometown where he reluctantly becomes guardian to his 16-year-old nephew and reunited with his divorced wife (Michelle Williams). “This beautifully textured, richly enveloping drama…succeeds because of its love for its characters, rather than for their misfortunes.” (David Sims, The Atlantic) “You can’t really prepare yourself for the emotional powerhouse that is ‘Manchester by the Sea.’ … No film this year has moved me more with its humor, heart and humanity.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Mon., Mar. 13: “Moonlight”: A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life as he comes of age in Miami during the “War on Drugs” era, struggling to find himself as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality. “’Moonlight’ is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces.” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times) “‘Moonlight’ [is] a flat-out masterpiece.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Jan. 26. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: THE BOSSA NOVA PROJECT

• Friday, Jan. 27. ROOTS ROCK: BRONSON ROCK

• Saturday, Jan. 28. FILM SCREENING FOR KIDS: “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO” (Sponsored by Pediatrics Plus of North Haven)

• Monday, Jan. 30. FILM SCREENING: SEAN KERNAN’S “CROW STORIES”

• Wednesday, Feb. 1. JAZZ OF OUR GENERATION: JEFF FULLER & TONY LOMBARDOZZI & BARRY REIS

• Friday, Feb. 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, Feb. 5. FREE FIRST SUNDAY AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM HOSTED BY GUITARTOWNCT

• Tuesday, Feb. 7. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “LOVING”

• Wednesday, Feb. 8. BLUEGRASS: BAIT AND SWITCH

• Thursday, Feb. 9. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Feb. 10. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING, MERCY CHOIR (solo)

• Monday, Feb. 13. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “BIRTH OF A NATION”

• Thursday, Feb. 16. ALT-COUNTRY/ROCK: NO LINE NORTH

• Friday, Feb. 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ALEX BLAIR

• Monday, Feb. 20. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “ARRIVAL”

• Wednesday, Feb. 22. JAZZ: THE PAUL SHANLEY QUARTET

• Thursday, Feb. 23. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Friday, Feb. 24. INDIE POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Saturday, Feb. 25. PROTEST MUSIC CABARET: “SHALL WE TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT?”

• Sunday, Feb. 26. “AND THE AWARD GOES TO…”: BVFCC OSCAR AWARDS BRUNCH/FUNDRAISER 4-6 PM

• Monday, Feb. 27. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “ELLE”

• Saturday, Mar. 4. CULT FILM SCREENING: TBA

• Monday, Mar. 6. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA”

• Saturday, Mar. 11. JAZZ: THE FAKE MUSIC ENSEMBLE PLAYS “BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE; YELLOW, TRANS AND QUEER: MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THIS (A PROTEST SUITE COMPOSED BY ALLEN LOWE)

• Monday, Mar. 13. FILM SERIES SCREENING: “MOONLIGHT”

• Thursday, Mar. 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SETH ADAM, KATHY MUIR

Friday, Mar. 17. INDIE ROCK: DISCO TEEN 66

• Wednesday, Mar. 22. CLASSICAL: 4-3-2-1: A EUPHONIUM AND FRIENDS PRODUCTION

• Friday, Mar. 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH; SINGER-SONGWRITER: BELLE OF THE FALL

• Saturday, Mar. 25. JAZZ: : THE FAKE MUSIC ENSEMBLE PLAYS “BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE; YELLOW, TRANS AND QUEER: MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THIS (A PROTEST SUITE COMPOSED BY ALLEN LOWE)

• Wednesday, Mar. 29. SINGER-SONGWRITER: LAMONT

• Saturday, Apr. 1. CULT FILM SCREENING: TBA

• Saturday, Apr. 8. CLASSICAL GUITAR: MAX LYMAN; AMERICAN PRIMITIVE GUITAR: ALEXANDER

• Friday, Apr. 21. POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Friday, Apr. 28. BLUEGRASS: THE SLOCAN RAMBLERS (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Friday, May 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR & WANDERING ROOTS (CD Release)

• Saturday, May 6. CULT FILM SCREENING: TBA

 

New releases 1/10/17

Top Hits
Deepwater_HorizonDeepwater Horizon (action/disaster, Mark Wahlberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 68. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Deepwater Horizon’ is a swift and suspenseful action movie, full of noise, peril, muck and fire. It’s also a true-crime story, the highly detailed procedural chronicle of how, on April 20, 2010, 11 people were killed and a vast marine ecosystem was despoiled because of negligence and greed. Like ‘The Big Short,’ this film, directed by Peter Berg, dramatizes a broadly familiar story and stands as a work of popular narrative for an age of corporate impunity. The anger and grief you feel leaving the theater constitute a kind of catharsis, a modest symbolic compensation for the failure of justice in the real world.” Read more…)

The Accountant (action/bookkeeping, Ben Affleck. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic: 51. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Who knows why [Ben] Affleck, looking appropriately dead-eyed and miserable, committed himself to this laborious ultraviolent brain tease of a crime thriller. The movie, directed by Gavin O’Connor [‘Tumbleweeds’], makes little sense. The screenplay, by Bill Dubuque, is so determined to hide its cards that when the big reveal finally arrives, it feels as underwhelming as it is preposterous. And Mr. Affleck, despite a meticulous performance, never uncovers a glimpse of his abused character’s humanity beyond Christian’s carefully delineated symptoms. ” Read more…)

Birth_of_NationThe Birth of a Nation (Nat Turner slave rebellion, Nate Parker. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 69. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Which is not to deny that he has attempted something grand and accomplished something real. The movie, uneven as it is, has terrific momentum and passages of concentrated visual beauty. The acting is strong even when the script wanders into thickets of rhetoric and mystification. And despite its efforts to simplify and italicize the story, it’s admirably difficult, raising thorny questions about ends and means, justice and mercy, and the legacy of racism that lies at the root of our national identity. There is still a lot of reckoning to be done. Birth is a messy business. And so is what comes after.” Read more…)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (musical sequel, Laverne Cox. Rotten Tomatoes: 28%. Metacritic: 55. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times television review: “Some things can’t be replicated or recaptured, and thanks to Fox we now know that one of them is the subversive magic of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ On Thursday night, the network serves up its new version of the cult film [for some reason titled ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again’], and although it’s moderately entertaining at times, it never makes clear why it needed to be attempted. That’s the burden of any remake, of course, and from that perspective the project may have been doomed from the start. Certain performances simply can’t be topped.” Read more…)

Homeland: Season 5 (thriller series, Claire Danes. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 76.)

New Blu-Ray
Deepwater Horizon
The Accountant

New Foreign
My_KingMy King (France, drama/romance, Vincent Cassel. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Your first thought on seeing Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot), the mentally shredded heroine of ‘My King’ [‘Mon Roi’], recuperating from a skiing calamity might well be “If I have to break a limb, please let me do it in France.” Cocooned in a gleaming rehab center by the ocean, Tony is recovering from more than a torn knee. And while France may or may not offer lust-worthy physical therapy, it has occasionally produced notable cinematic depictions of injurious passion, of which this unblinking portrait of emotional abuse is an especially juicy example.” Read more…)

Ma Ma (Spain, drama, Penelope Cruz. Rotten Tomatoes: 22%. Metacritic: 31. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Penélope Cruz is an Oscar-winning actress we don’t see often enough in prominent leading roles. So how disappointing to find her having to carry Julio Medem’s florid ‘Ma Ma,’ a melodrama only glancing at profundity.” Read more…)

The People Vs. Fritz Bauer (Germany, historical drama, Burghart Klausner. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 61. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “Fritz Bauer is a mass, and a mess, of contradictions: crafty yet principled, loyal yet friendless, brooding yet driven. Sometimes he charges ahead, other times he bumbles along, usually engulfed in a cloud of tobacco smoke. Burghart Klaussner, playing him in “’he People vs. Fritz Bauer,’ delivers a masterly performance as this complicated man. Appraising the film isn’t nearly as complicated. From start to finish, it’s absorbing. A historical drama that radiates suspense, it often recalls ‘Munich’ and ‘Bridge of Spies’ [in which Mr. Klaussner played a role]. Not to get carried away — ‘Fritz Bauer’ doesn’t have the immediacy or the range of those movies. Yet it has their mood, and that’s more than enough reason to watch.” Read more…)

As I Open My Eyes (Tunisia, political drama, Baya Medhaffer. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘I see those deprived of work, of food, of life outside the neighborhood,’ sings Farah [Baya Medhaffar], a fiery 18-year-old Tunisian singer who lights up Leyla Bouzid’s film ‘As I Open My Eyes.’ The film is set in 2010, shortly before Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution ushered in the upheavals of the Arab Spring. The song, with lyrics by Ghassen Amami and music by the eminent Iraqi oud player Khyam Allami, protests the repressive government of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s president for 23 years until he fled the country in 2011. It sets the tone of the film in which word of Farah’s dissenting voice reaches the authorities and her safety is endangered. The movie is a sympathetic portrait of the brash, foolhardy Farah, who lives with her fiercely protective mother, Hayet [Ghalia Benali], though she shares her daughter’s rebellious streak.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
His_Girl_FridayHis Girl Friday/The Front Page (Criterion Collection):
His Girl Friday (1940, newspaper screwball comedy, Rosalind Russell. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. From Frank S. Nugent’s 1940 new York Times review [requires log-in]: “Hysteria is one of the communicable diseases and “His Girl Friday” is a more pernicious carrier than Typhoid Mary. It takes you by the scruff of the neck in the first reel and it shakes you madly, bellowing hoarsely the. while, for the remaining six or seven. Before it’s over you don’t know whether you have been laughing or having your ears boxed. The veriest bit on the strenuous side, if you follow us.” Read more…)

The Front Page (1931, newspaper comedy, Adolphe Menjou.  Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1931 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “A witty and virile talking picture has been wrought from ‘The Front Page,’ the play of Chicago newspaper life by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. This film, which is now at the Rivoli, differs but little in construction from the parent work. It is a fast-paced entertainment and, while its humor is frequently harsh, it assuredly won favor with the audience yesterday afternoon.” Read more…)

Carbine Williams (1952, biopic, James Stewart. From Bosley Crowther’s 1952 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “A somewhat bewildering combination of personal attributes, some of them exemplary and some of them sinister and gross, is arranged for almost solid admiration by the people of MGM in a picture called ‘Carbine Williams,’ which came to the Capitol yesterday. Since this is presented as the story of D. Marsh Williams, the fabulous man who invented the Army’s modern carbine, and since James Stewart plays the title role in his customery gaunt and earnest fashion, a certain degree of sentiment is aroused that may not be entirely supported when the elements are carefully analyzed.” Read more…)

 New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Outside Man (1972, thriller directed by French director Jacques Deray, Jean-Louis Trintignant)

New British
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Season 1 (Douglas Adams comedy series, Elijah Wood. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 62.)

New TV
Mr. Robot: Season 2 (cyber-security drama, Rami Malek. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81.)

New Documentaries
The Story of Cats (nature, cheetahs, Fluffy. From Neil Genzlnger’s New York Times television review: “It may have been a mistake to watch ‘The Story of Cats’ with my cat. I’m concerned about some of the ideas the program might have put into her head. ‘The Story of Cats,’ a two-part installment of the PBS series ‘Nature’ that begins on Wednesday, is about all sorts of cats, whether fierce jungle ones or the kind that curl up on the couch. Its overall point is that across the millenniums cats have been supremely skilled at evolving to suit new environments and circumstances.” Read more…)

Black America Since MLK: Still I Rise (civil rights, race, history, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)