New releases 6/30/20

Top Hits
The Current War (drama, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 55. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “A bucket of Oscar bait that’s been sitting around for some two years, ‘The Current War’ may still find an audience. And it should: The film certainly doesn’t reek of failure. But as its energetic early scenes give way to a sluggish second half, you start to sense how much better this good-enough movie might have been.” Read more…)

The Etruscan Smile (drama, Brian Cox. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 54. From Katie Walsh’ Los Angeles Times review: “Brian Cox brings his Scottish brogue to ‘The Etruscan Smile’ as Rory MacNeil, a role that Cox was seemingly born to play: a rough and wild man from the Hebrides off of Scotland, who gets in touch with his softer side when he’s forced to rekindle a relationship with his estranged son in San Francisco. Cox of HBO’s ‘Succession’ is the glue that holds together this maudlin picture, directed by Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis, and written by Michael McGowan, Michal Lali Kagan and Sarah Bellwood, based on a novel by Jose Luis Sampedro.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Deerskin (France, comedy, Jean Dujardin. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 65. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A demented fetish comedy that escalates to startlingly nonchalant violence, ‘Deerskin’ [written and directed by Quentin Dupieux] flickers tantalizingly between awful and awesome. In the first category is Georges’s irrational quest to ensure that his beloved jacket be the only one left in the world; in the second is his sly dexterity in enlisting help to achieve this deranged goal.” Read more…)

Paracelsus (Germany, 1943, biography/drama dir. by G.W. Pabst, Werner Krauss. From Vincent Canby’s 1974 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “[G.W. Pabst’s] best films, including the silent ‘Joyless Street’ with Greta Garbo and ‘The Threepenny Opera’ [1931], are rather uproarious amalgams of stark realism, wild melodrama and pure poetry. Lots of elements in his films look dated today but also there is usually, something that looks totally new and surprising. ‘Paracelsus,’ considering when it was made [1943] and under what conditions, is a remarkably interesting film, though full of not especially well disguised propaganda.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Beecham House (period drama series, Tom Bateman. Metacritic: 44. From Lucy Mangan’s Guardian review: “Sometimes you just want to gather actors to your breast, crush them close and whisper in their ears that all of this will be over soon. So it is with ITV’s new six-part drama ‘Beecham House’ The first two parts play over consecutive nights – the second episode is on Monday night – which is the equivalent of ripping off a plaster quickly. The remaining parts are to be shown over the following Sunday nights, to let some air get to the wound and hope it heals. Basically, it’s Downton Abbey relocated to late-18th-century Delhi, covering the adventures of John Beecham; the man, the chest, the legend.” Read more…)

Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears (mystery, Essie Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 65.)

New releases 6/23/20

Top Hits
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (drama, Sidney Flanigan. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 91. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “A low-key knockout, ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ tells a seldom-told story about abortion. And it does so without cant, speeches, inflamed emotions and — most powerfully — without apology. At its most obvious, it follows a 17-year-old as she tries to terminate her pregnancy. It’s a seemingly simple objective that proves [no surprise given the battles over abortion] logistically difficult, forcing her to marshal her modest resources and navigate perilous twists and turns. Here, a woman’s right to self-determination has become the stuff of a new and radical heroic journey.” Read more…)

Burden (drama/race, Forest Whitaker. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 57. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Never underestimate the power of love — and the mind-blowing kindness of a by-the-book preacher — to lead a man to salvation. At least, that’s the message of ‘Burden,’ the third recent movie [after last year’s ‘Best of Enemies’ and ‘Skin’ a few months later] to feature a Klan member being coaxed into the light.” Read more…)

Extra Ordinary (comedy/fantasy, Maeve Higgins. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 72. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Nothing in ‘Extra Ordinary,’ a comedy from Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, suggests that ghosts have gravitated specifically toward Ireland. But they have a way of finding Rose [the comedian Maeve Higgins], a driving instructor who does her best to deny her knack for communicating with them. It’s complicated: Her father [Risteard Cooper] hosted a video series on supernatural occurrences, and she was his partner in all things paranormal. Then he died in a freak accident involving a dog and a haunted pothole, an incident for which Rose blames herself.” Read more…)

The Last Full Measure (drama/war, Christopher Plummer. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 51. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The movie is written and directed, with undeniable sincerity, by Todd Robinson. While its story mechanics are creaky, the valor of [Air Force medic William] Pitsenbarger is evoked cogently, in well-executed battle sequences. And not one soul in the stellar cast, which also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and, in one of his last screen roles, Peter Fonda, chooses to phone it in.” Read more…)

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (crime/thriller, Sarah Bolger. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 65. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Like the vibrator that facilitates a turning point for its owner in ‘A Good Woman Is Hard to Find,’ this remorseless revenge story is a particularly blunt implement. Yet the director, Abner Pastoll, finds a measure of delicacy and nuance in the telling: Working from a script [by Ronan Blaney] that’s a minor miracle of austerity and pacing, he layers gangland grift, domestic drama and female fury into a satisfying lasagna of mounting violence.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France, drama/romance, Noémie Merlant. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 51. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times article: “What follows is a subtle and thrilling love story, at once unsentimental in its realistic assessment of women’s circumstances and almost utopian in its celebration of the freedom that is nonetheless available to them. Céline Sciamma, the writer and director — her previous features include ‘Waterlilies’ and ‘Girlhood’ — practices a feminism without dogma or illusion. She takes as given the constraints facing Héloïse and Marianne and the burdens of inequality that affect Sophie [Luana Bajrami], a young household servant, but resists the temptations of melodrama or didacticism.” Read more…)

Detective Montalbano: Ep. 35 & 36 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)

New Documentaries
The Ghost of Peter Sellers (cinema history, biography, Peter Sellers. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 74. From Todd McCarthy’s Hollywood Reporter review: “The excruciating experience of making a film that never should have been put before the cameras is revisited in ghastly, jaw-dropping detail in The Ghost of Peter Sellers. While viewers will inwardly gasp and cringe at the unseaworthiness of the comic pirate saga that was produced only because the then-red hot Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan were involved, for Peter Medak, the director of the unreleased 1973 farce and of this unvarnished look at its production 45 years later, this can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it documentary feels like both a mea culpa and a purge of lingering ghosts.” Read more…)

New releases 6/16/20

Top Hits
Wildlife (drama, Criterion collection, Carey Mulligan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 80. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Wildlife’ is a domestic drama both sad and terrifying. The entire cast does exceptional work [(Ed) Oxenbould is an exciting find], but the movie is anchored by [actress Carey] Mulligan, who gives the best performance of any I’ve seen in film this year. The stiff simulation of determined cheer with which Jeanette often speaks has a vehemence to it, particularly in the sibilants she pronounces. Her physical bearing is also striking: In this role, Mulligan can say more by just tensing her neck than most actors can with a lengthy, impassioned soliloquy.” Read more…)

Bad Boys for Life (Action comedy, Will Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 59. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The comedic chemistry of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith has to do a lot of heavy lifting in ‘Bad Boys for Life,’ the third buddy-cop action movie to feature the pair as maverick Miami detectives. They get the job done — delivering a mildly enjoyable movie that committed fans of the franchise will rate a lot higher — but they have to hack through a lot of by-the-numbers plotting and indolent characterizations to get there.” Read more…)

South Mountain (drama, Talia Balsam. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Talia Balsam is a paragon of acting talent who doesn’t get nearly as many opportunities to fully stand out as she ought. So it’s probable that ‘South Mountain,’ a relatively rare starring vehicle for Balsam, would be worth seeing even if it were not so sharply observed and well-constructed. Fortunately, we are not obliged to split any differences here.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Bad Boys for Life

New Foreign DVDs
One Cut of the Dead (Japan, horror, Takayuki Hamatsu. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 86. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Elisabeth Vincentelli’s Times review: “The mood is oddly goofy, though, and the cut-free gambit is a lot less grim than in Sam Mendes’s ‘1917,’ which aims for the same breathless effect on a much larger scale and in a much somber way. But the trick is actually more narratively justified in this inventive low-budget Japanese comedy, which quickly turns out to be an uproarious backstage farce about the perils of live television rather than a mere zombie spoof.” Read more…)

Young Ahmed (Belgium, Dardennes Brothers-directed drama, Idir Ben Atti. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 65. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Young Ahmed’ is suspenseful and economical, with a clear sense of what’s at stake, but something crucial — perhaps a deeper insight into the character or the contradictions that ensnare him — is missing. This film feels thinner and more schematic than Dardenne masterpieces like ‘Rosetta,’ ‘L’Enfant’ or ‘Two Days, One Night,’ as if the story had been molded from a set of arguments and assumptions rather than chiseled from the hard stone of reality.” Read more…)

15 Years (Israel, gay & lesbian drama, Oded Leopold. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. From Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s New York Times review: “Yoav becomes such an oppressive presence that it is difficult to empathize with him. ’15 Years’ is overstuffed with symbolism about his existential woes, but the narrative would have been better served by mirroring the film’s sleek, minimalistic shots, with more understated depictions of anxiety.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)

Show Boat (1936, musical, Criterion Collection, Paul Robeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Frank S. Nugent’s 1936 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It is, of course, the music that makes ‘Show Boat,’ but James Whale, who directed the picture, has had the perception to hold to its melodic qualities without losing sight of the cinema’s insistent need for action. Here is one of the few musical shows which is not merely a screened concert. The picture has a rhythmic pace and a balanced continuity of movement which is as exceptional as it is welcome.” Read more…)

The Cameraman (1928, Buster Keaton silent comedy, Criterion Collection, Buster Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Secret Ceremony (1968, Joseph Losey-directed drama/thriller, Elizabeth Taylor. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. From Renata Adler’s 1968 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Secret Ceremony,’ which opened yesterday at the Sutton and New Embassy Theaters, is Joseph Losey’s best film in years—incomparably better than ‘Accident.’ The opulent, lacquered decadence works well this time, with Mia Farrow as a rich, mad orphan, whose mother Elizabeth Taylor pretends to be and, in effect, becomes. Robert Mitchum is good as Miss Farrow’s stepfather, in a relationship as violent and complicated as relationships in movies like ‘Accident’ and ‘Reflections in a Golden Eye’ tend to be.” Read more…)

An Unmarried Woman (1978, drama, Criterion Collection, Jill Clayburgh. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From Vincent Canby’s 1978 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “As [actress Jill] Clayburgh plays this scene [wherein her husband tells her that he is leaving her], one has a vision of all the immutable things that can be destroyed in less than a minute, from landscapes and ships and reputations to perfect marriages. The scene is beautifully written by Mr. Mazursky. It is high comedy of a sharp, bitter kind, and Michael Murphy is fine as the weasel husband named Martin, but Miss Clayburgh is nothing less than extraordinary in what is the performance of the year to date.” Read more…)

Connecting Rooms (1970, drama, Bette Davis)

New Documentaries
Rewind (autobiography, child abuse. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 87. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Early in ‘Rewind,’ a documentary directed by Sasha Joseph Neulinger, the filmmaker’s father, Henry, says that people historically shot home movies to remember happy occasions, not to capture bad ones. That appears to have been the case in the Neulinger clan. But in ‘Rewind,’ the filmmaker draws on an impressive cache of home videotapes to call attention to what lay beyond the frame: a pattern of sexual abuse by multiple members of his extended family.” Read more…)

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (biography, movie criticism, culture, Pauline Kael. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 68. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unlike its subject, the documentary ‘What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael’ merely feints toward criticism. A numbing torrent of largely unidentified film clips and poorly labeled commentary, Rob Garver’s overstuffed tribute to the life and work of America’s best-known — and most written about — film critic is at times barely coherent.” Read more…)

When Lambs Become Lions (wildlife conservation, poaching, ivory trade. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 75. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Ivory poaching is a practice no one could possibly approve of: To further endanger the elephant species by killing individual animals is immoral. Some will tell you this isn’t just conventional wisdom; it’s a bedrock truth. Maddeningly, the ivory trade exists nevertheless. So the documentarian Jon Kasbe gave himself a particularly daunting challenge when he set out to make ‘When Lambs Become Lions,’ a picture about ivory poaching told largely from the perspective of those who do it.” Read more…)

Nova: Cuba’s Cancer Hope (health, politics)

Cafe reopening set for Mon., June 15; Sunday video hours change from 4-8 PM to 3-7 PM

BVFCC cafe manager Matt Elliott and barista Graham Honaker getting the cafe ready for the Monday reopening.

Due to some unexpected complications, we were unable to reopen the cafe this week as expected (and announced). Our apologies to all who were disappointed. But we have gotten the kinks out and our cafe will reopen for curbside pickup this coming Monday, June 15.

Also, the Sunday hours for curbside DVD pickup is changing. Previously, Sunday hours were 4-8 PM. Starting this weekend, members can pick up their videos on Sunday from 3-7 PM. Members can also pick up DVDs 3-7 Pm on Monday-Wednesday and from 4-8 PM Thursday through Saturday.
Starting June 15, the cafe will be open daily from 8 AM-noon. PLEASE: debit or credit cards only for transactions for safety reasons. While cash will be acceptable for tips, the cafe—like the video side—will not be accepting cash or checks for transactions to lower the risk to staff and patrons.

We also ask that all patrons—for your safety and the safety of our staff—observe these precautions:

WEAR MASKS • Our staff will be wearing masks when they serve you. We ask that you respect them by also wearing masks when receiving your purchase. We understand that the masks will need to be lowered if you take a seat to drink your cappuccino or devour your croissant. That’s where social distancing becomes extra important!

OBSERVE SOCIAL DISTANCING IN LINE & WHEN SEATED AT OUTSIDE TABLES • Please maintain a social distance of 6-8 feet between you and others who aren’t members of your household. We know everybody wants to socialize again but let’s do it in a safe manner.

New releases 6/9/20

Top Hits
Emma (Jane Austen adaptation, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Your first instinct while watching ‘Emma’ may be to lick the screen [or perhaps blanch]. This latest adaptation of Jane Austen has been candied up with the sort of palette you see in certain old-fashioned confectionaries and in fussy Georgian-era restorations. With a rosy blush in her cheeks, her satiny ribbons and bows, Emma [Anya Taylor-Joy] herself looks as lovingly adorned and tempting as a Christmas delectable, though whether she bears any relation to Austen’s Emma is another matter.” Read more…)

Call of the Wild (wilderness adventure, Harrison Ford. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 47. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “’The Call of the Wild,’ Jack London’s gripping 1903 novel, tells the story of a California house dog who discovers his inner wolf. The latest movie adaptation, directed by Chris Sanders, is, strictly speaking, the saga of a human performer who channels his inner pooch. Buck, the heroic St. Bernard-Scotch shepherd mix of the book, is now a computer-generated creation.” Read more…)

Vivarium (thriller, Jesse Eisenberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 64. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, from a script by Garret Shanley, “Vivarium” depicts Gemma and Tom becoming increasingly unglued, tormented by a tidy little boy who can speak in each of their voices. He has other irritating traits, too. The movie expands upon its echoes of the classic TV series “The Prisoner” with admirable purposefulness.” Read more…)

1BR (thriller, Nicole Brydon Bloom. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 57. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Drawing on a fascination with cults and utopian communities, the director and writer, David Marmor, has created a mildly entertaining survival story whose depiction of psychological indoctrination far outstrips its generic dips into torture.” Read more…)

Premature (drama/romance, Zora Howard. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Premature’ isn’t original, but it feels that way. A tender, naturalistic romance set in Harlem, this sophomore feature from Rashaad Ernesto Green takes a slight story and packs it with attitude and feeling. Every moment rings true, the vividly textured locations and knockabout relationships more visited than created.” Read more…)

Standing Up, Falling Down (comedy/drama, Billy Crystal. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 70. From Michael Rechstaffen’s Los Angeles Times review: “A throwback buddy movie that would have been no stranger to 1980s cinemas, Matt Ratner’s ‘Standing Up, Falling Down’ shows how a well-worn premise need not impact enjoyment when there’s a terrific cast and crisp writing at your disposal.” Read more…)

Ride Like a Girl (bio/drama/sport, Teresa Palmer. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 44. From John DeFore’s Hollywood Reporter review: “A sense of inevitability hovers over ‘Ride Like a Girl,’ despite the film hinging on an underdog theme: It’s about one of the family’s daughters, after all, and girls don’t win the Melbourne Cup. Making her debut as director with a true story from her native Australia, actor Rachel Griffiths gives the pic a workmanlike, generic feel that would play well on family-centric cable channels. Horse lovers will be the moviegoers most vulnerable to its modest charms.” Read more…)

Buffaloed (comedy, Zoe Deutsch. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 61. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Simultaneously rowdy and slick, ‘Buffaloed’ is exuberantly paced and entirely dependent on [actress Zoey] Deutch’s moxie and pell-mell performance. Brian Sacca’s script is zippily entertaining as Peg starts her own shop and hires a misfit crew of money-grabbers whose success ignites an interagency war.” Read more…)

Driveways (drama, Brian Dennehy. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Slow and sweet and unassuming, ‘Driveways,’ the second feature from the Korean-American director Andrew Ahn, tackles major themes in a minor key. And with little to mark its quiet accumulation of life-changing events, this small-town character study is perpetually in danger of drifting past without pulling you in. Which would be a shame, as its performances are among the most affecting I’ve seen in quite a while.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Lodge (horror, Richard Armitage. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 64. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “You’ll want nothing so much as a woolly sweater when you see ‘The Lodge,’ a film so wintry in tone and setting that no movie-theater thermostat will banish its chill. Even so, the directors, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala [the Austrian pair who made ‘Goodnight Mommy’ in 2015], have coaxed only a disappointingly timorous horrorscape from that marvelously glacial mood. There’s no denying their competence — they have style to burn — and their cinematographer, Thimios Bakatakis, is a wonder at painting dark and dread-filled interiors and ominously snow-blanketed surroundings.” Read more…)

Call of the Wild

New Foreign DVDs
My 20th Century (Hungary, 1989, comedy/drama, Dorota Segda. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From J. Hoberman’s New York Times review upon the film’s re-release last year: “‘My 20th Century’ — a first feature by Ildiko Enyedi, made in the waning days of Hungarian Communism — looked back to the last fin-de-siècle even as it heralded a new beginning. The movie, revived at the Museum of the Moving Image in a shimmering new digital restoration, was among the most acclaimed debuts of its day, winner of the Camera d’Or for best first film at the same 1989 Cannes Film Festival where another debut, Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape,’ won the Palme d’Or. Vincent Canby, who reviewed ‘My 20th Century’ in The New York Times [and later named it as one of the 10 best movies of 1990], called it ‘wondrous’ and ‘even more impressive when one realizes that it is the first feature by Miss Enyedi.’” Read more…)

The Young Karl Marx (German, bio-pic, August Diehl. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 62. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “The history of the world may be the history of class struggle, but the history of class struggle — at least the decisive chapter chronicled in ‘The Young Karl Marx’ — turns out to be a buddy movie. Marx [August Diehl], a scruffy journalist, and his sidekick Friedrich Engels [Stefan Konarske], a renegade rich kid, meet in Cologne, Germany, in 1844 and overcome some initial wariness by bonding over their shared contempt for the Young Hegelians… By the time the revolutions of 1848 are ready to happen, Marx and Engels are the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the European left, rock stars for an age of revolution. Scrupulously faithful to the biographical record, ‘The Young Karl Marx,’ directed by Raoul Peck [from a script he wrote with Pascal Bonitzer], is both intellectually serious and engagingly free-spirited.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Pool of London (1951, Basil Dearden-directed British film noir, Earl Cameron. From Bosley Crowther’s 1951 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Produced by Michael Balcon and directed by Basil Dearden with a sharpness in action and photography that suggests actuality, ‘Pool of London’ has the flavor of the dockside, or saloons and cheap music halls, and it possesses the movement and vigor of a well-constructed melodrama that thrives on ‘chase.’ As it turns, it is stronger in action, thanks to direction, to the script and to an excellent performance by Mr. Colleano, who is at his best when he is frightened and on the run.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Advocate (human rights, Israel/Palestine, Lea Tsemel. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 77. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The lawyer Lea Tsemel is a contentious figure in Israel. She is known for representing Palestinian defendants, especially in cases in which Israeli sentiment appears starkly stacked against her, such as those that involve violent attacks. Depending on your perspective, Tsemel is either a principled believer in the concept of presumed innocence or an apologist for bloodshed. To judge from ‘Advocate,’ an engrossing, largely pro-Tsemel profile from Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche, the truth may be a little of each.” Read more…)

Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records (reggae, music, Jamaican & British culture. From Stephen Dalton’s Hollywood Reporter review: “Commissioned by Trojan’s current parent company BMG to commemorate the label’s 50th anniversary, ‘Rudeboy’ is a visually slick, celebratory affair directed by Nicolas Jack Davies, previously best known for making longform videos with the folk-pop band Mumford and Sons. Aimed squarely at a general audience, the film contains little that fans of the label, or reggae music in general, will not already know. All the same, this love letter to one of Britain’s first multicultural pop movements is an effortlessly enjoyable viewing experience with a rich, sunny, consistently uplifting soundtrack.” Read more…)

Cafe not reopening Mon., June 8; reopening (for curbside service) date to be announced soon

Due to a combination of circumstances, the Best Video Film & Cultural Center cafe will not return for curbside service this Monday, June 8. We will announce a reopening date soon.
 
Our apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this might cause.

Updated days/hours for curbside pickup of movies—adding Monday through Wednesday hours

With additional staff now available Best Video Film & Cultural Center is now adding curbside pickup hours on Monday-Wednesday for taking out DVDs. Curbside pickup Thursday though Sunday began on May 21. With this change, members can now access the riches of the BVFCC archive any day of the week.

Updated days and hours for picking up movies:

Monday-Wednesday: 3-7 PM
Thursday-Sunday: 4-8 PM

In our initial phase, we are geared towards making our film archive available again for our members who have the monthly and annual plans. To reduce risk to our members and to our staff, we will not be processing any in-person cash or card transactions. (Our cafe is still closed. We hope to open for curbside cafe service in the very near future and will post updates when that occurs.)

This is how it will work initially and what the hours will be for picking up DVDs:

CURBSIDE PICKUP ONLY • For now, patrons will not be allowed in the premises to browse. We recognize that browsing is one of the signature joys of the Best Video experience and we look forward to when that will be possible again. But at this point, we believe safety dictates that we deliver our movies curbside rather than having our friends inside.

EMAIL YOUR REQUESTS • Email your requests to us at orders@bestvideo.com. This will be an email address dedicated specifically to requests/orders. You may call in requests (203-287-9286) but—because we don’t have voicemail—you will only reach us when we are open.

DAYS & HOURS WE WILL BE OPEN • Because of staff limitations and just out of caution our initial hours will be limited. We will be open for pick-up Thursday-Sunday from 4-8 PM, and Monday-Wednesday 3-7 PM.

YOUR MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES DOUBLED! • For at least the next two months, members with monthly or annual plans will be able to take out double the number of titles to which your plan would normally entitle you. So 1-Movie Plan members may have two out at a time, 2-Movie Plan members may take four, and 4-Movie Plan members may take eight. In order to be fair to all members and ensure circulation of new releases, those titles from the “New Releases” section will be limited to the number of movies your plan would normally allow (1, 2, or 4). Please return those in a timely fashion.

GETTING YOU YOUR MOVIES SAFELY • Our staff will be wearing gloves and masks. We had the interior space cleaned professionally on Tuesday. When we gather your order, we will clean the cases and discs off with disinfectant cleaner and put them in paper bags with your name on them. When you arrive, you can call us to let us know you are here (and what car you are in) or come to the door and give your name. PLEASE: If you come to the door, make sure to wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance of 6-8 feet from anyone else. We will set a small table—which will be cleaned regularly—outside on which to place bags to be picked up if it doesn’t work for them to be put directly in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle.

HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE YOUR MOVIES? • You can search our film archive database by title on our Web site. Unfortunately, the online list has not been updated since 2014. We are currently working to get it up to date with all the titles we have on DVD and Blu-Ray and hopefully that will occur within the next few days. You can, of course, request movies made since 2014 and we will likely have them as part of our archive. Click here to go to the searchable (and downloadable) online list. You can check out what has come in over the past few months by scrolling through our New Releases page, also.

RETURNS • Returns can be put in the red drop box outside our front door (or at the Willow Street or Lyric Hall drop boxes; the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Yale may be currently inaccessible). We will have dedicated bins inside by day of return to which returned titles will be put first. After three days, they will be cleaned and returned to the shelf.

DON’T HAVE A MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP? • Now is a great time to become one of the hundreds of households in the greater New Haven area who support Best Video Film & Cultural Center—and get inexpensive access to our incredible archive—by becoming a monthly or annual member. The 1-Movie, 2-Movie, and 4-Movie plans (remember, you can access double that for the next two months) are respectively, $10, $20, or $30 per month in recurring charges. If you pay for a full year at once, you take 10% off ($108, $216, $324). You can join by clicking here.

New releases 3/24-5/26/20

Top Hits
The Gentlemen (action comedy, Matthew McConaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 51.)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott adaptation, Saiorse Ronan. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 91.)
Birds of Prey (comic book action, Margot Robbie. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 60.)
The Invisible Man (psychological thriller, Elisabeth Moss. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 72.)
Onward (Pixar animated feature, Chris Pratt [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 61.)
Sonic the Hedgehog (family action adventure, Jim Carrey. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 47.)
Ordinary Love (drama/romance, Liam Neeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 73.)
Greed (comedy/drama, Steve Coogan. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 52.)
The Photograph (drama/romance, LaKeith Stansfield. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 62.)
Like A Boss (comedy, Tiffany Haddish. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 33.)
The Assistant (drama, Julia Garner. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 79.)

Gretel & Hansel (fantasy/horror, Sophia Lillis. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 64.)
Every Secret Thing (mystery/drama, Diane Lane. Rotten Tomatoes: 32%. Metacritic: 46.)
Underwater (sci-fi thriller, Kristen Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 48.)
Guns Akimbo (action comedy, Daniel Radcliffe. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 43.)
The Way Back (drama, Ben Affleck. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 68.)
Cats (acclaimed musical, James Corden. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 32.)
Just Mercy (true-life drama, Michael B. Jordan. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 68.)

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (action/sci-fi, John Boyega. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 53.)
Sadie (drama, Sophia Mitri Schloss. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 62.)

New Blu-Ray
Emma (Jane Austen adaptation, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 71.)
Wildlife (drama, Carey Mulligan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 80.)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Vivarium
The Gentlemen
Birds of Prey
Onward
Sonic the Hedgehog
The Invisible Man

New Foreign DVDs
The Traitor (Italy, Mafia drama, Pierfrancesco Favino. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 64.)

End of the Century (Spain, gay romance, Juan Barberini. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 80.)
Duet for Cannibals (Sweden, directed by Susan Sontag, psychological serio-comedy, Adriana Asti. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940, Criterion Collection, feminist backstage melodrama, Lucille Ball. Rotten Tomatoes: 80.)
The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933, horror classic, Fay Wray)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Great Escape (1963, war drama, Criterion Collection, Steve McQueen. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 86.)

Jenny (1969, drama/romance, Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda)
Scorsese Shorts (1963-74, short films by Martin Scorsese)

New Documentaries
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson & The Band (music,bio, The Band. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 62.)
Rembrandt’s J’Accuse (dir. by Peter Greenaway, history, art history. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 76.)
I Wish I Knew (China, history, urbanism. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83.)
Amazon Empire: The Rise & Reign of Jeff Bezos (commerce, bio, monoply, economics, bio)
The Venerable W (dir. by Barbet Schroder, human rights, Myanmar, genocide. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79.)

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (sports, bio, Muhammad Ali. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 85.)
Citizen K (Russian politics, corruption, Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 76.)

Best Video takes first reopening step

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is taking the first step towards reopening!

In our initial phase, we are geared towards making our film archive available again for our members who have the monthly and annual plans. To reduce risk to our members and to our staff, we will not be processing any in-person cash or card transactions. (Our cafe is still closed. We hope to open for curbside service in the near future and will post updates when that occurs.)

This is how it will work initially and what the hours will be for picking up DVDs:

CURBSIDE PICKUP ONLY • For now, patrons will not be allowed in the premises to browse. We recognize that browsing is one of the signature joys of the Best Video experience and we look forward to when that will be possible again. But at this point, we believe safety dictates that we deliver our movies curbside rather than having our friends inside.

EMAIL YOUR REQUESTS • Email your requests to us at orders@bestvideo.com. This will be an email address dedicated specifically to requests/orders. You may call in requests (203-287-9286) but—because we don’t have voicemail—you will only reach us when we are open.

DAYS & HOURS WE WILL BE OPEN • Because of staff limitations and just out of caution our initial hours and days will be limited. We will be open for pick-up Thursday-Sunday from 4-8 PM.

YOUR MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES DOUBLED! • For at least the next two months, members with monthly or annual plans will be able to take out double the number of titles to which your plan would normally entitle you. So 1-Movie Plan members may have two out at a time, 2-Movie Plan members may take four, and 4-Movie Plan members may take eight. In order to be fair to all members and ensure circulation of new releases, those titles from the “New Releases” section will be limited to the number of movies your plan would normally allow (1, 2, or 4). Please return those in a timely fashion.

GETTING YOU YOUR MOVIES SAFELY • Our staff will be wearing gloves and masks. We had the interior space cleaned professionally on Tuesday. When we gather your order, we will clean the cases and discs off with disinfectant cleaner and put them in paper bags with your name on them. When you arrive, you can call us to let us know you are here (and what car you are in) or come to the door and give your name. PLEASE: If you come to the door, make sure to wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance of 6-8 feet from anyone else. We will set a small table—which will be cleaned regularly—outside on which to place bags to be picked up if it doesn’t work for them to be put directly in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle.

HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE YOUR MOVIES? • You can search our film archive database by title on our Web site. Unfortunately, the online list has not been updated since 2014. We are currently working to get it up to date with all the titles we have on DVD and Blu-Ray and hopefully that will occur within the next few days. You can, of course, request movies made since 2014 and we will likely have them as part of our archive. Click here to go to the searchable (and downloadable) online list.

RETURNS • Returns can be put in the red drop box outside our front door (or at the Willow Street or Lyric Hall drop boxes; the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Yale may be currently inaccessible). We will have dedicated bins inside by day of return to which returned titles will be put first. After three days, they will be cleaned and returned to the shelf.

DON’T HAVE A MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP? • Now is a great time to become one of the hundreds of households in the greater New Haven area who support Best Video Film & Cultural Center—and get inexpensive access to our incredible archive—by becoming a monthly or annual member. The 1-Movie, 2-Movie, and 4-Movie plans (remember, you can access double that for the next two months) are respectively, $10, $20, or $30 per month in recurring charges. If you pay for a full year at once, you take 10% off ($108, $216, $324). You can join by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing our friends again soon—albeit behind masks and at a safe distance! We hope you are all well and staying safe and let’s keep it that way!

Thanks to our supporters for an overwhelmingly successful 2020 Great Give!

We at Best Video Film & Cultural Center wish to express our deepest appreciation to the community for the tremendous outpouring of support we received in this past week’s Great Give. The generosity of the greater New Haven community—not just towards us but to hundreds of other organizations as well—is remarkable, particularly considering the struggles so many people are having.

Between the direct donations we received through The Great Give, the $3,000 we won in prizes for having the third highest number of peer-to-peer fundraisers who raised $200 or more, the approximately $3,000 in matching funds we got from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Bank of America, and the donations made directly to BVFCC through checks or our Web site, we raised more than $50,000.

That is almost double what we have raised in any previous Great Give. And we had considered those Great Gives to be successful.

Out of 398 organizations, we finished 12th in amount raised and a stunning 2nd place in number of unique individual donors. Clearly, our mission of “Bringing film, music, and people together” touches a powerful chord in a time of self-isolation and social distance.

At a time when our income stream has been drastically cut back due to the temporary closure, those funds will provide an invaluable lifeline and bridge to our return to fully serving the community that we embrace and that has embraced us in return.

Thanks to all who gave, who spread the word, who participated as fundraisers, who wished us well, and thanks also to The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven for its superb job organizing The Great Give. We look forward to hopefully seeing you soon as the state takes the initial steps to reopening. In the meantime, please stay safe.