Ernie Mazza & Friends play jazz at Best Video Dec. 10

Ernie Mazza & Friends play Best Video Film & Cultural Center Fri., Dec. 10. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is $10.

This is an indoor show so attendance is 30 max. Proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

Veteran pianist Ernie Mazza hosts an evening of cookin’ jazz at the performance space. He’ll be joined by wife, Mary, on vocals (They met on a gig, ya know!); son, Dave, on guitar; Mark Kaplan on sax, and the tasty rhythm section of Art Principe and John Rispoli on bass and drums, respectively. They’ll be playing some of their favorites from the jazz repertoire including standards, be-bop, Latin, and a couple of surprises along the way.

A New Haven native, and a regular on the local music scene for decades, Ernie has assembled a fine ensemble of versatile and seasoned pros to join him for what is sure to be a fun evening of jazz music with friends and family.

The David Chevan Klezmer Quartet debuts at Best Video Thurs., Dec. 9

The David Chevan Klezmer Quartet plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Thurs., Dec. 9. The show starts at 7 PM. The cover is $10.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: attendance of 30 max, masks and proof of vaccination required.

Bassist David Chevan arrives at Best Video with a Klezmer quartet featuring Dana Astmann on accordion, Will Bartlett on clarinet (and occasionally sax) and David Sasso on mandolin. The repertoire pulls very heavily from Klezmer and early swing.

This is the first time this group will be playing in public, though David has been getting together on and off since early this summer with Dana, Will and David and they’re beginning to put their own stamp on this material. Sometimes things are coming out straight Klezmer and sometimes it swings like crazy, and it never sounds the same twice—in a good way. Come raise a ruckus and shake your tuchus!!! Who knows? There may even be some special guests who pop in to join the group for a tune or two.

BVFCC will be closed for Thanksgiving—have a wonderful holiday

To allow our staff to enjoy the holiday, Best Video Film & Cultural Center will be closed on Thanksgiving. We will reopen with regular hours on Friday—8 AM-5 PM for the cafe and 11 AM-7 PM for the video archive.
Make sure to rent your movies for Thanksgiving Day on Wednesday. And come by on Friday from 11 AM-7 PM and order some movies, purchase gift certificates, Best Video t-shirts, or annual memberships as gifts!
We wish all our members and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.
And thanks to all for the tremendous support BVFCC has received throughout this year. We are truly grateful and humbled by your generosity and your continuing patronage.

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights at Best Video Sat., Dec. 4

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sat., Dec. 4, starting at 6:30 PM. The cover is $15.

This is an indoor show so attendance is 30 max. Proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country’s most versatile and original of jug bands incorporating pure Americana instruments like tub bass, washboard, jug, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle.

Adding drums and powerful vocal harmonies, this band rocks sold-out concerts, dance halls and family shows. Playing their own compositions as well as original arrangements of traditional gospel, blues, country and early rock n’ roll, their music is by turns playful, haunted and uplifting.

The band for this show is Peter Menta (aka Washboard Slim), Howie Horn, John Pendergast, Brooks Barnett, and Mat Kastner.

New releases 11/23/21

Top Hits
Prisoners of the Ghostland (action/adventure, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 53. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “With hindsight, we should have known that a collaboration between Nicolas Cage and the dashingly eccentric Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono was only a matter of time. Yet now that ‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ is here, it seems equally apparent that doubling the weirdness can, for the audience, produce ten times the head-scratching.” Read more…)

Four Good Days (drama, Glenn Close. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 52. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The film is based on a 2016 Washington Post article by Eli Saslow, who wrote the screenplay with the director, Rodrigo García. The movie adheres to the crucial points, even if it relocates the characters from greater Detroit to Southern California. It also preserves the story’s power.” Read more…)

Caveat (thriller/horror, Ben Caplan. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 60. From Sheila O’Malley’s review: “‘Caveat’ is a masterpiece of understatement for a title, and a witty opener to Damian Mc Carthy’s directorial debut, an impressive and often terrifying film, taking place almost solely in one location, with two people trapped in a moldy dimly-lit house. Crumbling paintings whisper in the night, and a toy rabbit with human-sized glass eyes acts as a canary in a coalmine, beating on a drum furiously, as a warning, a harbinger of approaching doom.” Read more…)

Benny Loves You (horror/comedy, Karl Holt. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. From Erik Piepenburg’s capsule New York Times review: “The joys of ‘Benny Loves You’ are from watching Benny giggle and slash his way through rampages that turn Jack’s home and office into farcical scenes of blood-soaked carnage. Holt, who also wrote the film, has a cutting, irreverent sense of humor that doesn’t always land. But when it does, it shines, especially when it’s paired with grisly violence, like death by baguette.” Read more…)

Butter on the Latch/Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (2 films dir. by Josephine Decker, Butter—drama/horror, Thou Wast—thriller/romance. Rotten Tomatoes: 78% (Butter); 71% (Thou Wast). Metacritic: 60 (Butter); 66 (Thou Wast). From Nicolas Rapold’s 2014 New York Times review of both films (which enjoyed a joint release): “While both films have rough patches and look-at-me asides, ‘Butter on the Latch’ thrives on its casually true snapshots of confusion and connection.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Double Indemnity Blu-Ray (1944, film noir, Barbara Stanwyck & Fred MacMurray. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 95. From Bosley Crowther’s 1944 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The cooling-system in the Paramount Theatre was supplemented yesterday by a screen attraction designed plainly to freeze the marrow in an audience’s bones. ‘Double Indemnity’ is its title, and the extent of its refrigerating effect depends upon one’s personal repercussion to a long dose of calculated suspense. For the sole question in this picture is whether Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray can kill a man with such cool and artistic deception that no one will place the blame on them and then maintain their composure under Edward G. Robinson’s studiously searching eye.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Wife of a Spy (Japan, wartime espionage drama, Yû Aoi. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Combined with its period setting — the movie begins in 1940, at a silk inspection center in Kobe where a British fellow is picked up for questioning — viewers might therefore expect a fairly conventional dramatic thriller. But the director and co-writer here is Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose approaches to story and genre are always unusual. Soon into its machinations, ‘Wife of a Spy’ begins to thrum with unusual intensity.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Baptiste: Season 2 (mystery series, Tchéky Karyo. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. From Stuart Jeffries’ Guardian review: “It is the second series of Baptiste, the thriller that started as a spin-off of The Missing, with James Nesbitt. As in the previous instalment, in which Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) was tasked with busting a human trafficking cabal called the Brigada Sibernia, we are on the trail of villains who roam the eurozone, disappearing the innocent for initially inscrutable purposes.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Frenchman’s Creek (1944, romance/swashbuckling, Joan Fontaine. From Bosley Crowther’s 1944 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “That wondrous realm of purest fancy in which ladies have spirit and grace and gentlemen are gay and adventurous (not to mention good-looking, too) is the realm to which Paramount transports us, with a wave of its cinematic wand, in its film made from Daphne du Maurier’s novel, ‘Frenchman’s Creek,’ which came to the Rivoli yesterday. It is the realm of romantic extravagance and elaborate deeds of derring-do, where the sword has no keener edge for cutting than the flash of a costumed lady’s eye. And it is a realm made for Technicolor, which is what is employed here.” Read more…)

Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948, supernatural film noir, Edward G. Robinson. From Raymond Benson’s review: “Anything that originated from the mind of celebrated mystery novelist, Cornell Woolrich, is worth one’s perusal, and the 1948 film adaptation of the author’s 1945 work, ‘Night Has a Thousand Eyes’ mostly measures up. Directed with confidence and style by John Farrow, Night is a film noir that ticks a lot of boxes that define that Hollywood cinematic movement of the late 1940s and early 50s. There’s a cynical and disturbed protagonist who is haunted by the past, cinematography [by John F. Seitz] that highly contrasts light and shadows, voiceover narration, flashbacks, and, of course, crimes. It’s short [81 minutes] and it’s intriguing.” Read more…)

The Accused (1949, film noir, Loretta Young. From T.M.P.’s 1949 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Murder is a common and salable screen commodity. But ‘The Accused,’ which opened yesterday at the Paramount, is no ordinary exercise in violence. This is a super-duper psychological job, well spiced with terminology which sounds impressive, if not always crystal clear in meaning, and the performers go about their business with an earnestness which commands attention. Under William Dieterle’s assured direction, the story flows smoothly and methodically builds up suspense to a punchy climax which leaves it to the audience to determine whether the defendant should be punished or go free.” Read more…)

Girl Gang (1954, Z-grade cult exploitation film, Joanne Arnold)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Killing Hour aka The Clairvoyant (1982, mystery/horror, Elizabeth Kemp)

New Documentaries
The Village Detective: A Song Cycle (cinema history, acting, Soviet history, Mikhail Zharov. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The main title of this movie could be referring to two different people. The first would be Fyodor Ivanovich Aniskin, the avuncular hero of a banal 1969 Soviet film, played by the frequently avuncular actor Mikhail Zharov. Consulting on a case in which a musician, new to his hamlet, complains of a purloined accordion, Aniskin notes that the man does not yet understand the values of their small town. The other ‘village detective’ might be Bill Morrison himself. For Morrison, who is the producer, director and editor of this strangely intoxicating film, is a cinematic investigator of the first stripe.” Read more…)

The Lost Tribe perform Afro-Funk Fusion music Fri., Dec. 3

The Lost Tribe plays Best Video Performance Space Fri., Dec. 3. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is $12.

This is an indoor show so attendance is 30 max. Proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

The Lost Tribe is a drum-centered Afro-funk fusion ensemble, led by percussionist Jocelyn Pleasant. Their sound winds through many genres that are rooted in West African rhythms and sensibilities. As a traditional percussionist and drum kit player, Pleasant wanted to create a group that showcased the drum as a lead instrument and melodic voice. She started the group in 2016, with the goal of infusing the djembe ensemble into African Diasporic music like jazz, rock, funk, and reggae and hip-hop. Her goal was also to provide a platform for musicians of different but overlapping communities to come together.

In addition to its core members, Lost Tribe performances often include various special guests that reflect the large talent pool of their community. Regardless of the line-up, the staples of a Tribe performance are energy, stage presence and GROOVE. They have opened for international acts Mokoomba (of Zimbabwe), and Trio da Kali (of Mali), were a featured artist at the 2018 Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, and won first place at the 2019 Valley Music Showcase (of Western Massachusetts).

Their eclectic collection of music is available on Bandcamp and streaming platforms, including the EPs Diaspora and WLCT Radio, as well as two singles released in 2020, Say Their Names and Diaspora Sings.

The members of The Lost Tribe are Jocelyn Pleasant (drums, percussion), Joel Hewitt (bass), Mike Carabello (keys), Doug Wilson (guitar), and Asaad Jackson aka DJ Stealth (turntables, aux percussion).

New releases 11/16/21

Top Hits
Candyman (horror series reboot, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “It takes nothing away from [director Nia] DaCosta to note that ‘Candyman’ is of an intellectual and political piece with Peele’s earlier work, including ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us.’ Like those movies, ‘Candyman’ uses the horror genre to explore race (Peele gets under the skin), including ideas about who gets to play the hero — and villain — and why.” Read more…)

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (bio-pic, Jessica Chastain. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The narrative beats — Tammy Faye’s temptation [in the presence of a hunky record producer played by Mark Wystrach], Jim’s betrayal, Falwell’s treachery — seem almost generic. The performances, while hardly subtle, feel smaller than life. Garfield mugs and emotes with sketch-comedy abandon, and while Chastain tries for more depth and nuance, she is trapped by a literal-minded script and overwhelmed by hair, makeup and garish period costumes.” Read more…)

Swan Song (drama/LGBTQ, Udo Kier. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 66. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “These days, more often than not, [actor Udo Kier]’s cast in character roles, rarely asked to carry a movie. For ‘Swan Song’ though, he’s in almost every frame. One could say he’s a revelation, but longtime Udo partisans always knew he had this kind of performance in him.” Read more…)

Flag Day (drama, Sean & Dylan Penn. Rotten Tomatoes: 41%. Metacritic: 54. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “As a director, Sean Penn seems drawn to stories featuring lost children of one sort or another, a proclivity that has resulted in some of his strongest work. His latest film, ‘Flag Day,’ tills similar soil: the awakening of a daughter whose adored father is not the demigod she believes him to be.” Read more…)

The Kid Detective (comedy/mystery, Adam Brody. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 74. From Michael Ordoña’s Los Angeles Times review: “There are definitely pieces there of a slacker, gonzo comedy or a weighty gaze into the abyss. Instead, Evan Morgan, making his feature writing-directing debut, finds a wire-walking balance that makes Abe’s struggle real, funny and dangerous. It’s a kind of gentle, daytime, Canadian noir that occasionally reminds you of the seriousness of the stakes. It is not for kids.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
It’s A Wonderful Life Blu-Ray (1946, holiday, James Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 89. From Bosley Crowther’s 1946 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “For it is really Mr. Stewart, who does most of the heavy suffering in this film, and it is he who, in the end, is most deserving of the white meat and the stuffing.That is because Mr. Capra, back from the war, has resumed with a will his previously manifest penchant for portraying folks of simple, homely worth. And in this picture about a young fellow who wants to break away from his small-town life and responsibilities but is never able to do so because slowly they close in upon him, Mr. Capra has gone all out to show that it is really a family, friends and honest toil that make the ‘wonderful life.’” Read more…)


New Foreign DVDs
Le Navire Night (France, 1979, drama/romance dir. by Marguerite Duras, Dominique Sanda)

New Documentaries
Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (folk music, biography, Karen Dalton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Musicians working in pop modes often navigate their careers using a combination of talent and calculation. Karen Dalton, a singer and instrumentalist who made a substantial impression on New York’s 1960s folk scene, and whose small body of recorded work moves and inspires listeners to this day, was someone for whom calculation was inconceivable. That’s one impression left by ‘Karen Dalton: In My Own Time,’ an excellent documentary directed by Richard Peete and Robert Yapkowitz.” Read more…)

The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (music, biography Bee Gees. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 78. From Natalia Winkelman’s New York Times review: “‘The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’ pays tribute to the Gibb brothers with a tour of their pop music reign. Grooving through the decades, this entertaining documentary aspires to prove that the Bee Gees were more than a hitmaker for disco nightclubs. Rather, Barry, Maurice and Robin were master songwriters and chameleons, continually reinventing themselves to harmonize with the times.” Read more…)

The Lost Leonardo (documentary, real-life thriller, art. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “‘The Lost Leonardo,’ a documentary directed by the Danish filmmaker Andreas Koefoed, is a disquieting confirmation of this idea. It’s the story of how a painting purchased for a little over $1,000 was soon identified — if not wholly authenticated — as a Leonardo, and eventually wound up in the hands of a Saudi oligarch who spent more than $400 million on it. Among other things, this picture freshly demonstrates that a conventionally structured documentary can pack the fascination and wallop of an expertly executed fictional thriller.” Read more…)

Richard Neal, Mark Mirando, Frank Critelli trade off songs Sat., Nov. 20

Singer-songwriters Richard Neal, Mark Mirando, and Frank Critelli take turns sharing their songs at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sat., Nov. 20, at 7 PM. The cover is $10.

This show is a late substitution for a show by Anne Marie Menta (with Neal and Carroll) that had to be postponed due to illness.

This being an inside show, these are our covid protocols: attendance of 30 max, masks and proof of vaccination required.

Richard Neal is a student of music, songwriting, record production, and live performance. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, dobro, slide), he has been privileged to make a living as a musician and to work in a wide variety of musical settings and styles.

Neal appears regularly in concert as a sideman for any number of acts, and also as a regular member of the bluegrass band HOE. As a solo artist and songwriter, he has released 2 CD’s of original music, HOE and Beacon. Several of his compositions have been recorded by other singers.

Mark Mirando started his music career in New Haven Connecticut playing in the legendary “Dogs”, a group that was well know for their originals as well as carefully chosen, well crafted covers

Mark concentrates on original music now, although he’ll pull out a Beatles gem on occasion – and he’s recorded with no less than Beatle Ringo Starr. Mark played guitar and sang backup vocals on Ringo’s releases, “Ringo-Rama”, “Choose Love”, and two of Ringo’s greatest hits CD’s, “Photograph” and “Ringo 5.1”.

He performs the east coast singer songwriter circuit working both solo and also with his band and also travels to Nashville to write, record and perform with Nashville’s top songwriters including Georgia Middleman and Connecticut’s own Gary Burr. Mirando—with Mark Hudson and Gary Burr—is also a member of the Laurel Canyon Band, an acoustic tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.

Frank Critelli writes and performs songs, talks on the radio, pours the beer, and does the dishes. But really, he’s just a gardener.

UPDATE: POSTPONED Anne Marie Menta with Richard Neal, Cadence Carroll play Sat., Nov. 20, at 7 PM

UPDATE NOV. 16: Due to illness this show by Anne Marie Menta has been postponed. We will announce a new date soon.

Anne Marie Menta plays Best Video Performance Space deck on Saturday, Nov. 20, starting at 7 PM. She will be joined by Richard Neal on guitar and mandolin and Cadence Carroll on harmony vocals and percussion. The cover is $10.

This is an indoor show so attendance is 30 max. Proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

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.

Her most recent CD, “Sky Tonight,” came out in the fall of 2019.

New releases 11/9/21

Top Hits
Pig (drama/thriller, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 83, Must-See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Pig,’ Michael Sarnoski’s stunningly controlled first feature, is a mournful fable of loss and withdrawal, art and ambition. Told in three chapters and a string of beautifully delineated scenes, the movie flirts with several genres — revenge drama, culinary satire — while committing to none.” Read more…)

The Banishing (horror, Jessica Brown Findlay. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 48. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Silliness trumps scares in Christopher Smith’s ‘The Banishing,’ a bewildering haunted-house tale larded with Nazis, mad monks, fallen women and a tango-dancing occultist. Why no one thought to include a zombie or two is anyone’s guess.” Read more…

Respect (music bio-pic about Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 61. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The new drama ‘Respect’ is a march-of-time fictionalization of Franklin’s life. Attractively cast and handsomely mounted — Jennifer Hudson plays the queen — it is a solid, sanitized, unfailingly polite portrait. It conforms to the familiar biopic arc: the artist begins humbly; reaches towering heights [artistic, commercial, maybe both]; suffers a setback [bad lovers, addiction]; only to rise higher still.” Read more…)

Reminiscence (sci-fi, Hugh Jackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 46. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Highfalutin, lightly enjoyable mush, ‘Reminiscence’ is one of those speculative fictions that are at once undernourished and overcooked. It makes no sense (despite all the explaining), but it draws you in with genre beats, pretty people and the professional polish of its machined parts. It’s shiny and pricey and looks good on the big screen; it is also the newest addition to what now plays like the Nolan Family Extended Universe.” Read more…)

Old Henry (western/action, Tim Blake Nelson. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 69 From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘Old Henry’ makes a solid, honorable go of proving once again that the foursquare western isn’t dead, though in paying homage to its forebears, it inevitably stands in their very long shadows. While the basic standoff scenario is tautly limited in time and place, it’s hard to imagine Budd Boetticher, who made seven fantastically economical westerns with Randolph Scott, burning nearly 40 minutes bringing the opposing sides together.” Read more…)

My Salinger Year (drama, Sigourney Weaver. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 50. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “As ‘My Salinger Year’ proves, making a successful movie about introspection is more than a little challenging. Muted almost to the point of effacement, this limp adaptation of Joanna Rakoff’s 2014 memoir, written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, only affirms that what might work on the page doesn’t always pop on the screen.” Read more…)

Coming Home in the Dark (thriller/horror, Daniel Gillies. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 64. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Not infrequently, films set and shot in the Antipodes make a convincing case that one ought to never leave one’s house. Think of the scenarios of ‘Wake In Fright’ [kangaroos and lunatics running amok], ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ [girls-school adventurers disappear’, ‘A Cry in the Dark’ [dingo, baby]. Directed by James Ashcroft from a script he wrote with Eli Kent [based on a short story by Owen Marshall], ‘Coming Home in the Dark’ doesn’t take long in demonstrating that sometimes a day trip to high New Zealand spaces is not worth the views.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray

New Foreign DVDs
Hope (Norway, drama, Stellan Skarsgard. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 90, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “For audiences seeking escapism, this may not be the best time to tout a movie about terminal illness. Yet it might help to know that ‘Hope,’ a largely autobiographical drama from the Norwegian writer and director Maria Sodahl, is neither miserabilist nor sappily sentimental. Instead, it’s an almost brutally honest observation of a calcified relationship forced to adjust to a terrifying new reality.” Read more…)

The Fever (Brazil, drama, Regis Myrupu. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Devika Girish’s Times review: “‘The Fever’ colors in the experiences of Brazil’s Indigenous community through the casual racism Justino and Vanessa face at work, including taunts about the shapes of their eyes and ignorance about the diversity of Native languages. The characters are stoic in public, but at home, Justino responds with his own judgments. ‘They don’t even know how to look into dreams,’ he says of white doctors.” Read more…)

Who You Think I Am (France, drama, Juliette Binoche. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 70. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It’s understandable that the director Safy Nebbou, who shares script credit with Julie Peyr, keeps his focus and camera so relentlessly on Claire. [The movie is adapted from a novel by Camille Laurens.] Yet because much of the rest of the story is so underdeveloped — notably Claire’s intimate life with her frustratingly generic children — the character overwhelms everything, including the fragile realism.” Read more…)

New TV
Emily In Paris: Season 1 (Netflix rom-com series from creator of “Sex and the City,” Lily Collins. Rotten Tomatoes: 63. Metacritic: 58. From Rebecca Nicolson’s Guardian review: “At times, I wondered what the French had done to deserve ‘Emily in Paris’ [Netflix]. This comedy-drama – although it is light on both – is a vehicle for Lily Collins to waltz around Paris in fabulous clothes, refusing to speak French, largely expecting to be seen as adorable for it. If it is a metaphor for American imperialism, then it is an effective one, but if it is an attempt to fluff up the romcom for the streaming age, then it falls over on its six-inch heels.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Born To Be Bad (1950, Nicholas Ray-directed film noir, Joan Fontaine. From T.M.P.’s 1950 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Comfortably barricaded between the covers of a book or imprisoned on celluloid, the predatory female can be a fascinating creature. At least she has lived a long life in fiction and, in the case of the screen, has become established as a stable sales commodity. In “Born to Be Bad,” which opened yesterday at the Capitol, Joan Fontaine is demonstrating how a honey-voiced demon can have her cake and eat it too up to the point where the Production Code cries out for retribution.” Read more…)

The Secret Garden (1949, drama/family, Margaret O’Brien)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Permanent Record (1988, drama, Keanu Reeves. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. From Walter Goodman’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Why should popular, talented, good-looking, success-bound David jump into the Pacific Ocean? If the writers of ”Permanent Record” know, they are not telling. Anyhow, the event creates great distress among David’s high school classmates, especially his best pal and musical collaborator, the sexpot whose favors he has been enjoying, and a shy, serious-minded girl who admires him. All are played by young folks dressed in jeans and acting-school mannerisms.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Muhammad Ali (Ken Burns bio, sports history, race, Muhammad Ali. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 88. From Finn Cohen’s fall preview in the New York Times: “Nearly three decades later, Burns; his oldest daughter, Sarah; and her husband, David McMahon, have stitched together a sweeping portrait of Ali’s impact from more than 40 years of footage and photographs. ‘Muhammad Ali,’ a four-part documentary series that premieres Sept. 19 on PBS, follows the arc of a man whose life intersected with many of modern America’s most profound changes — and who was also not as widely revered in his prime as he is now.” Read more…)

Tina (music, bio, Tina turner. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 81, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “You may believe you know Turner’s tale. And you may be right. It is retold well here, but the most moving portions — and they could bring tears to your eyes — come as Turner, almost 80 at the time of this interview [and as beautiful as she has ever been], wearing a tailored black suit, sits and discusses where she’s at now.” Read more…)