New Releases – 09-20-22

Top Hits

The Forgiven (Mystery; Dir: John Michael McDonagh; Starring: Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes)
“Although it often mirrors Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky, a much better film based on a novel by the great Paul Bowles, also set in Morocco, The Forgiven is a more contemporary, yet equally vivid and atmospheric look at louche interlopers in a toxic environment who stay too long at the fair.” Read more…

Vengeance (Mystery; Dir: BJ Novak; Starring: Boyd Holbrook, BJ Novak)
“Vengeance,” while earnest, thoughtful and quite funny in spots, demonstrates just how difficult it can be to turn political polarization and culture-war hostility into a credible narrative. Its efforts shouldn’t be dismissed, even though it’s ultimately too clever for its own good, and maybe not quite as smart as it thinks it is.” Read more…

This is Not a War Story (Drama; Dir: Talia Lugacy; Starring: Danny Ramirez, Frances Fisher; 2021 Winner Festival Prize for Best Drama Feature Film at Atlanta Underground Film Festival)
““This Is Not a War Story,” which Lugacy also directed, is a naturalistic, chat-heavy narrative that captures the difficulties wrought by the unimaginable trauma individuals face as they attempt to forge connections and find peace after war.” Read more…

New Foreign

Black Box (France, thriller; Dir: Yann Gozlan; Starring: Pierre Niney, Lou de Laâge, André Dussollier)
“Black Box truly is a slow-burning thriller, much of its content dished out in bread trail increments. It keeps viewers invested throughout its entirety, never threatening to lose you along the way.” Read more…

Murina (Croatia, drama; Dir: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic; Starring: Gracija Filipovic; Distr: Kino Lorber; 2021 Winner Golden Camera Award at Cannes) – Blu-ray
“At times overpowering in its sun-drenched sense of place, “Murina” reveals each corner of this private world to us with a cool, dispassionate gaze. The water’s surface glints and undulates with sinister beauty in the movie’s wide-screen images (shot by the great French cinematographer Hélène Louvart, who filmed a Greek island holiday from a similarly anti-touristic perspective in “The Lost Daughter”).” Read more…

Documentary

Dynasties (2018, British, documentary; Narr: David Attenborough; Distr: BBC)
“Narrated once again by Sir David Attenborough with his note-perfect delivery and patently British sense of understatement, Dynasties (or as Attenborough says, “DIN-asties”) had teams of producers and wildlife experts spend anywhere between two and four years on different continents tracking groups of animals to tell a deeper, more structured story than the previous natural history documentaries, despite their impressive scope, had time to dwell on.” Read more…

Futura (Italy, documentary; Dir: Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher; Distr: Grasshopper Films; NYT’s Critic’s Pick)
“Anyone with a heart will be stirred by the generous, critical, humanist spirit shared by the kids in front of the camera and the grown-ups on the other side.” Read more…

Hold Your Fire (documentary, Dir: Stefan Forbes ; Winner Metropolis Grand Jury Prize at DOC NYC)
“Forbes relates the suspenseful tale with a well-edited mixture of archival news footage and contemporary interviews with many of the principals involved, including the daughter of one of the hostages, a Black woman who refused to leave the store when given the chance because she didn’t trust the police. The myriad racial, social and justice issues inherent in the story are explored at length, but never in overly didactic fashion.”  Read more…

New on 4K and Blu-Ray

American Psycho (2000, Suspense; Dir: Mary Harron; Starring: Christian Bale) – Blu-ray
“American Psycho at 20: a vicious satire that remains as sharp as ever…” Read more…

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, Action/Adventure; Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery) – 4K
From Roger Ebert’s 1989 review: “As I watched it, I felt a real delight, because recent Hollywood escapist movies have become too jaded and cynical, and they have lost the feeling that you can stumble over astounding adventures just by going on a hike with your Scout troop.” Read more…

Jacob’s Ladder (1990, Action-Thriller; Dir: Adrian Lyne; Starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña) – Blu-ray
From Roger Ebert’s 1990 review: “This movie was not a pleasant experience, but it was exhilarating in the sense that I was able to observe filmmakers working at the edge of their abilities and inspirations. Not every movie has to be fun.” Read more…

King Kong (1933, horror; Dir: Ernest B. Schoedsack, Merian C. Cooper; Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong; Distr: Warner Archives) Blu-ray
“As an object of film history, its innovations in special FX and stop-motion animation remain groundbreaking achievements, while its iconography and mythology have continued to inspire remakes and re-imaginings to this day.” Read more…

Suspiria (1977, Horror; Dir: Dario Argento; Starring: Jessica Harper, Udo Kier; Distr: Synapse Films) – Blu-ray
“Regardless of the sequels, remakes, homages and ripoffs, “Suspiria” remains a truly one-of-a-kind cinematic experience. For horror fans, it is one of those touchstone titles whose significance has been passed down from generation to generation. Unlike many other horror films of its era, it has not aged a day and its formal beauties still put most current movies to shame.” Read more…

Young Frankenstein (1974, Comedy: Dir: Mel Brooks: Starring: Gene Wilder, Teri Garr) – Blu-ray
“Often proving hilarious with some superb performances and a witty script, this comedy still holds up close to 50 years removed from its release, and remains a fantastic showcase for Brooks’ unique brand of humour.” Read more…

American Back Catalog (Pre-1960)

The Heiress (1949, Drama; Dir: William Wyler; Starring: Olivia DeHavilland, Montgomery Clift; Distr: Criterion Collection; 1950 Academy Award, Golden Globe Winner Best Actress)
From Bosley Crowther’s 1949 NYT’s review: “For Mr. Wyler has taken this drama, which is essentially of the drawing-room and particularly of an era of stilted manners and rigid attitudes, and has made it into a motion picture that crackles with allusive life and fire in its tender and agonized telling of an extraordinarily characterful tale.” Read more…

My Darling Clementine (1946, Western; Dir: John Ford; Starring: Henry Fonda; Distr: Criterion Collection)
From Roger Ebert’s 1997 review: “Most Westerns put the emphasis on the showdown. “My Darling Clementine” builds up to the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral, but it is more about everyday things–haircuts, romance, friendship, poker and illness.” Read more…

New TV Series

Outlander: Season Six (TV, Action/Adventure; Starring: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan)
“Outlander’ Season 6 Review: The Time-Traveling Drama’s Return Is Dark, Steamy & Packed With Plot”. Read more…

The Pursuit of Love (British, BBC mini-series, Dramedy; Starring: Lily James, Emily Beecham)
“Emily Mortimer’s immaculate adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s bestseller about the madcap Radlett family is an instant classic. What a magnificent treat to tuck into.” Read more…

New Cult

The Amusement Park (1973, Horror; Dir: George A. Romero; Starring: Lincoln Maazel)
The horror movie master was commissioned by Lutherans to highlight the problems of aging – and his rediscovered 1973 feature is certainly disturbing. Read more…

Thu., Sept. 22, 5 – 9 pm – Lounge Night w/Ambient DJ

Enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or cafe drink during a relaxed evening at Best Video Film & Cultural Center with a curated mix of lounge music by DJ’s Tyler and Cameron.  Special small taste plates make for a perfect evening atmosphere to welcome Fall.

Fri., Sep. 16 @ 5:30 PM – Joe Carter & Darren Litzie

Guitarist Joe Carter and pianist Darren Litzie play “Sambas, Choros, Bossa Novas & More!” in an outdoor concert at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Fri., Sept. 16. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Joe Carter has recorded and performed with Jazz artists such Art Farmer, Lee Konitz, Cecil Payne, Rufus Reid and others and with Brazilian artists such as Luiz Eca, Mauricio Einhorn, Robertinho Silva, Paulo Russo and others. In addition, he has recorded several CDs through the years, his most recent is Both Sides of the Equator, with bassist David Finck and percussionist Ze Mauricio.  Joe Carter is currently the Director of the Academic Music Program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where he teaches The History of Jazz, The Music of Latin America and directs the Jazz Ensemble.

Pianist/composer Darren Litzie studied jazz piano with Dr. Rex Cadwallader, jazz theory, improvisation, and composition with Jim McNeely, Mike Holober, Jimmy Greene and Jamie Begian. Darren completed a three-year stint with the prestigious BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, where he had several of his works premiered in concert by the BMI Jazz Orchestra. Litzie—who has played Best Video several times as a member of the Jeff Fuller & friends jazz trio—recently released his first album as a bandleader, “My Horizon.”

There will be donation vases for the musicians and the venue. Please consider being generous in supporting musicians—opportunities to perform have been fewer the past couple of years. Suggested donation of $10.

The parking lot is closed off for seating. There is on-street parking on Thornton Street, as well as parking behind our building and across the street at Spring Glen Church.

Sat., Sep. 17 @ 5:30 PM – Anne Marie Menta w/ Richard Neal & Cadence Carroll

Anne Marie Menta plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center outside on Sat., Sept. 17, starting at 5:30 PM.
She will be joined by Richard Neal on guitar and mandolin, and Cadence Carroll on harmony vocals and percussion. The cover is $10.

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.

There will be donation vases for the musicians and the venue. Please consider being generous in supporting musicians—opportunities to perform have been fewer the past couple of years. Suggested donation of $10.

The parking lot is closed off for seating. There is on-street parking on Thornton Street, as well as parking behind our building and across the street at Spring Glen Church.

New Releases – 09-13-22

Top Hits

Elvis (Drama/biopic; Dir: Baz Luhrmann; Starring: Austin Butler,Tom Hanks) – avail. 9/13/22
“In the end, this isn’t a biopic or a horror movie or a cautionary parable: It’s a musical, and the music is great. Remixed, yes, and full of sounds that purists might find anachronistic. But there was never anything pure about Elvis Presley, except maybe his voice, and hearing it in all its aching, swaggering glory, you understand how it set off an earthquake.” Read more…

Lightyear (Pixar animation; Starring: Chris Evans, Uzo Aduba, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Keke Palmer; Distr: Disney) – avail. 9/13/22
“Lightyear,” directed by Angus MacLane from a script by Jason Headley, aims to please by pandering, to be good-enough entertainment. As such, it succeeds in a manner more in line with second-tier Disney animation than with top-shelf Pixar.” Read more…


Where the Crawdads Sing
(Mystery/Suspense; Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, David Strathairn; Dir: Olivia Newman) – avail. 9/13/22
“Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as an orphaned girl in the marshes of North Carolina in this tame adaptation of Delia Owens’s popular novel.” Read more…

New Foreign

Ali & Ava (British; Drama; Starring: Adeel Akhtar & Claire Rushbrook; Dir: Clio Barnard; Winner of Best Actor, Actress & Director at 2021 British Independent Film Awards)
“Barnard maintains her tough, realistic approach even as she guides this love story to its hopeful conclusion. Movies so rarely show us something as wonderfully, believably ordinary as Ali and Ava’s love — which is precisely why it feels so extraordinary.” Read more…

Happening (France, drama; Dir: Audrey Diwan, Cesar Award; Starring: Anamaria Vartolomei, Cesar Award for Best Promising Actress; NYT’s Critic’s Pick)
“In this powerful French movie set in the early 1960s, a young woman struggles to obtain an abortion when the procedure was criminalized.” Read more…

Miracle (Romania, Mystery/Suspense; Dir: Bogdan George Apetri; Starring: Ioana Bugarin & Emanuel Pârvu; Winner of Best Film at 2021 Warsaw International Film Festival) – avail. 9/13/22
“Miracle” is staged with an inexorable skill that tugs you along like a Patricia Highsmith novel. It’s a tale of mystery, of scalded innocence, and of the staggering evil that ordinary men can do.” Read more…

Stalker (1979, Russian; Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky; Winner of Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at 1980 Cannes Film Festival; Distr: Criterion Collection)
From 2012 NYT’s Book Review of Geoff Dyer’s Book “Zona” describes it as “A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room.”: “With its emphasis on landscape, texture and atmosphere, this brooding, dystopian science fiction — freely adapted from the novel “Roadside Picnic,” by the Strugatsky brothers, Arkady and Boris — is as much environment as movie.” Read more…

New Documentary

Bulletproof (Documentary; Dir: Todd Chandler, Winner Emerging International Filmmaker Award at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival; Distr: Grasshopper Film)
“In many ways, “Bulletproof” offers a visceral counterpoint to all of that rhetoric; without voiceover or commentary, Todd Chandler’s documentary chronicles the efforts of schools and businesses across the country as they combat horrific active shooter scenarios, sometimes existentially but more frequently with militaristic force”. Read more…

From Where They Stood (French/German, Holocaust documentary; Winner Best Documentary at Jerusalem Film Festival) – avail.9/13/22
“Photography, in this context, becomes a fierce and courageous act of resistance. Cognet doesn’t just show us these photographs, but goes to the places from which they were taken, and with the assistance of camp historians, explores the details—some known, others only guessed at—revealed by their raw transmission of an unfathomable experience. Read more…

Freddie Mercury The Final Act (BBC Documentary)
“Thirty years on, in James Rogan’s poignant and tender film about the last five years of Mercury’s life, that final chapter is being told – and unlike the lurid headlines, it’s one of love, friendship and a battle against prejudice.” Read more…

Ken Burns Presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness (Ken Burns documentary; Distr: PBS) – avail.9/13/22
“The film presents an unvarnished window into daily life with mental health challenges, from seemingly insurmountable obstacles to stories of hope and resilience. Through the experiences of these young people, the film confronts the issues of stigma, discrimination, awareness, and silence, and, in doing so, help advance a shift in the public perception of mental health issues today.” Read more…

New TV Series

Harley Quinn: The Complete First Season (DC) (Animation; Starring: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, & Jason Alexander)
“This is about Harley’s growth as a woman; a strong, capable woman charting her own destiny. She has outgrown the Joker’s psychological hooks and has clear goals for herself.” Read more…

The White Lotus: The Complete First Season (TV Drama; Starring: Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Steve Zahn; Distr: HBO) – avail.9/13/22
“But this is a sharp, soulful series that knows its characters in full and gets richer as it goes on. It’s vicious and a little sudsy and then, out of nowhere, sneakily uplifting. Along with its class-conscious bite, it has a sincere sense of beauty and awe. We all work and play and live and die under the same sun, “The White Lotus” says.” Read more…

New Animation

Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001, animation)
“When you have Sigmund Freud as a background gag followed by a montage of Shaggy and Scooby-Doo dealing damage to an entity of electricity, it is hard not to have fun with Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase.” Read more…

New Cult

R100 (2013, Japan, Comedy; Dir: Hitoshi Matsumoto; Winner Best Non-U.S. Release at 2013 Online Film Critics Society Awards)
“Still it’s hard to remember a film about S&M as funny as this one, or one as beautifully and weirdly imagined. It was a much-followed Midnight Madness title at its Toronto bow and should whip up forgiving special interest audiences who enjoyed the director’s earlier work.” Read more…

Tues., Sep. 6, 7 PM – A WOMAN’S WORK Film Series – “Desert Hearts”

All films begin at 7pm followed immediately by a talkback session. There is a suggested donation of $7. Coffee, wine, beer, and soft drinks will be available for purchase at the Best Video Cafe.

This program is made possible through a generous grant from the CT Humanities organization, an independent, non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. CTH connects people to the humanities through grants, partnerships, and collaborative programs.   

For more information, please call (203) 287-9286. Best Video Film and Cultural Center is located at 1842 Whitney Ave, Hamden, CT 06517. There is limited parking in the Best Video lot, additional parking is available on the street or across the road at Spring Glen Church.

Thu., Sep. 8, 5 PM – Ramblin’ Dan Stevens

 

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center outdoors Thurs., Sept. 8. The show starts at 5 PM.

“Ramblin” Dan Stevens performs an eclectic mix of traditional fingerstyle blues, popular songs and originals and has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands. Of special interest is his unique style of “bottleneck” slide playing popularized by early Mississippi delta bluesmen including his use of a homemade, three stringed “Cigar Box Guitar” and one stringed “Diddly Bow”, both primitive blues instruments.

There will be donation vases for the musicians and the venue. Please consider being generous in supporting musicians—opportunities to perform have been fewer the past couple of years. Suggested donation of $10.

The parking lot is closed off for seating. There is on-street parking on Thornton Street, as well as parking behind our building and across the street at Spring Glen Church.

 

Fri., Sep. 9, 7 PM – Chuck Koreiwo and Tracy Santa

 

Tracy Santa and Chuck Koriewo bring their band to Best Video Film & Cultural Center Fri., Sept. 9. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is $10.

This date re-unities four CT-bred musicians who began playing together over four decades ago: Chuck Koreiwo, Dana Place, Tracy Santa, and Joey Sullivan. Santa’s releases include an LP on France’s Lolita label with his San Francisco-based band 84 Rooms, solo offerings on Germany’s Exile imprint, and more recently, a double EP on 10” vinyl with the Wild Hares, described in Colorado Springs’ Independent as displaying “great examples of Santa’s gift for insistent melody, adorned with frayed, rootsy edges.” Koreiwo’s subtle, blues-shaded guitar has graced a number of CT bands—Blue Lucy, the Powernozzles, the Shedmen, the Gas House Gorillas, and the Bandeleros, many of which have featured Place and Sullivan’s rock steady rhythm section. More recently, Koreiwo’s heartfelt singing and songwriting have come to the fore care of the Oxford Baking Company’s monthly showcases. Also featured tonight: brief readings from Santa’s The Tompo of the Ringing: A Music Memoir (Rhyolite Press 2022), a narrative grounded in the CT music scene of Santa’s youth. Razorcake describes Tompo as “an engrossing, relatable tale, unconventional in its storytelling.”

As this is an indoor show, covid protocols are in place and masks are required.

Sat., Sep. 10, 7 PM – The Problem with Kids Today and Keep Off the Grass

The Problem With Kids Today and Keep Off the Grass play high energy rock ‘n’ roll at Best Video Film & Cultural Center Sat., Sept. 10. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10—pay what you can in that range (be generous to support the bands!).

The Problem with Kids Today is a hot trio of rock ‘n’ roll delinquents with Tate Brooks leading the charge on guitar/vox/mic head-butting, Stone-Cold-Silas Lourenco-Lang on low end bass/vox, and Reena Yu pounding on drums. TPWKT’s fun, wild shows and feverish, fashionable following evoke the Mercer Center Arts era of the New York Dolls. Fast, combustible, lewd and spontaneous – they have all the gems of a fantastic live act. With a debut album recorded at Sans Serif Studio in New Haven on the way this winter, teaser tracks like “You’re in Love With Junk” and “Fly Boy” can be found on the band’s Bandcamp site as well as major streaming platforms.

Keep Off the Grass are a new band who play a potent mix of rock ‘n’ roll and punk.

As this is an indoor show, masks are required.

New Releases – 09-06-22

Top Hits

Minions: The Rise of Gru (Animated comedy; Starring: Taraji P. Henson; Distr: Universal Studios) – avail. 09/06/22
“Packing their shtick into a speedy 87 minutes, returning director Kyle Balda delivers a perfectly painless romp that should enthrall kids, entertain adults and keep Minion cosplayers employed for many a birthday party to come.” Read more…

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Dramedy; Starring: Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert; Distr: Universal Studios) – avail.09/06/22
“There’s been a sense of fun missing, something that usually defines the films released during this period but not something that a maverick, a T rex, a Thor or an Elvis could truly deliver. It’s therefore rather delicious that it would arrive courtesy of Lesley Manville, floating into cinemas with Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, a charming flight of fancy that rewards the long-time character actor with a much-deserved chance to finally play the lead, a Cinderella story both on and off screen.” Read more…

TV Series

Signora Volpe: Series 1 (British tv; Starring: Emilia Fox; Distr: Acorn)
“Though it’s hard to find a perfect show to compare it to, Signora Volpe has a lot of similarities to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s not a period drama and it’s not set in Australia, but it features a strong middle-aged woman with serious skills, a devastatingly handsome male detective for flirting and fighting, and interesting mysteries that are never too gruesome.” Read more…

New on 4K

Scarface -4K (1983; Action/Adventure; Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer; Dir: Brian DePalma)
From Vincent Canby’s 1983 NYT’s review: “”SCARFACE,” Brian De Palma’s update of the 1932 classic directed by Howard Hawks and written by Ben Hecht, is the most stylish and provocative – and maybe the most vicious – serious film about the American underworld since Francis Ford Coppola’s ”Godfather.” Read more…

American Back Catalog (Pre-1960)

Damsel in Distress (1937; Starring: Fred Astaire, George Burns & Gracie Allen; Dir: George Stevens)
“A Damsel in Distress is far from being Fred Astaire’s greatest film – if only Ginger Rogers were in it it would be perfect – but it has considerable charm and, bolstered by a combination of Wodehouse’s comic verve and the Gershwins’ musical genius, it has stood the test of time better than most musical comedies of this era.” Read more…

American Back Catalog (Post-1960)

Girlfriends (1978; Starring Melanie Mayron; Dir: Claudia Weill; Distr. Criterion Collection)
From Richard Brody’s 2011 New Yorker video review “One of the wonders of Weill’s movie is in its intimate crystallization of the inchoate; it propels Susan Weinblatt and a city of young women into the future, and it’s terribly sad that Weill’s—and, for that matter, Mayron’s—own careers didn’t leap ahead in the same way.” Read more…

Documentary

Faya Dayi (Ethiopia; Documentary; Dir: Jessica Beshir; Distr: Criterion Collection; NYT’s Critic’s Pick)
“Ritual objects and dramatic fragments — two kids bathing, a scuffle over emigrating, a madeleine-like musing on coffee — hold center stage more than bright narrative threads. The smoky texture of the images led me to think of her technique as a kind of sfumato: shading in and out of moods of presence, absence and longing.” Read more…

New Foreign

Anne at 13,000 Ft. (Canada; Starring: Deragh Campbell; Dir: Kazik Radwanski; Distr: Cinema Guild) – avail.09/06/22
“The film’s ambiguity is carefully crafted, the result of a collaboration between its director and star. Campbell, who improvised much of the dialogue over its two-year workshopping and production period, receives a writing credit alongside Radwanski, who created the role specifically for her. Together, the two generate a highly kinetic character study that refuses to settle on a certain mood or emotional atmosphere.” Read more…

The Cop (1970; France, Mystery/Suspense; Starring: Michel Bouquet; Distr: Kino Lorber Studio Classics) – avail.09/06/22
From Roger Greenspun’s 1971 NYT’s review: ” Bouquet (“The Bride Wore Black,” “La Femme Infidele”) is surely one of the ornaments of the current French cinema, and although the movie doesn’t really allow for a great performance, so long as he is on screen, “The Cop” seems almost good.” Read more…