New releases 6/1/21

Top Hits

The Courier (drama/history, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 64. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘The Courier,’ a true life-based spy thriller set in the early 1960s — and staged to appeal to audiences old enough to have lived through them — stubbornly resists involving or affecting us until it’s almost over. By that time, though, you might have fallen asleep. Ideally, that shouldn’t happen while watching two stand-up guys — one British, one Russian — perhaps narrowly prevent a nuclear apocalypse. But the director, Dominic Cooke [whose 2018 feature debut, ‘On Chesil Beach,’ touchingly conveyed the tragedy of broken intimacy], is either unable to generate tension or simply chooses not to.” Read more…)

Boogie (sports drama/coming of age, Taylor Takahashi. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. Metacritic: 54. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “‘Boogie’ makes for a confident feature debut from the writer and director Eddie Huang, who is best known for creating the sitcom ‘Fresh Off The Boat.’ But ‘Boogie’ bears little resemblance to that earlier broad comedy. Boogie takes himself and his basketball ambitions seriously. And, taking cues from its protagonist, the movie doesn’t play around with cinematic craft or technique either.“ Read more…)

A Dark Song (horror/supernatural, Catherine Walker. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%,. Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘A Dark Song,’ the moodily intense first feature from the Irish director Liam Gavin, is a striking marriage of acting and atmosphere. Virtually a chamber piece with just two primary characters, the movie dives into the black arts with methodical restraint and escalating unease.” Read more…)

The World to Come (romance/gay & lesbian, Katherine Waterston. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “Though shot in Romania, ‘The World to Come,’ directed by Mona Fastvold, conjures an almost artisanal feeling of life in rural upstate New York in 1856. Generically, it plays like a western — a romance in untamed territory where snowy landscapes foster isolation, not explorative possibilities.” Read more…)

Greener Grass (comedy, Jocelyn DeBoer. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 69. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch that doesn’t know when to dial back the weird, ‘Greener Grass’ can be painful to watch. A deadpan take on suburban hell — I hesitate to call it a comedy, black or otherwise — the movie takes competitiveness to such excruciatingly surreal lengths that every would-be joke feels agonizingly strained.” Read more…)

Kinky Boots: The Musical (musical, Matt Henry)

New Blu-Ray

The Courier
Greener Grass

New Foreign

The Sweet Requiem (Tibet, drama. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The location shooting, with its nighttime shots of jam-packed multilane roads and eerily empty alleys, deftly conveys both the bustle and the quiet moments of Delhi working-class life. The plot intrigues are arguably appropriate to genre pictures, but ‘Requiem’ manages to play out as an urgent but understated drama. The film puts its points across with a delicacy and sobriety rare in moviemaking.” Read more…)

New British DVDs

The Mallorca Files: Series 1 (BBC procedural, Ele Rhys)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)

Nightmare Alley (1947, film noir, Criterion Collection, Tyrone Power. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Elvis Mitchell’s 2000 New York Times review of a “Nightmare Alley” theatrical re-release [requires log-in]: “I can’t understand how anyone could get so low,” the wily carny Stan [Tyrone Power] says of the gibbering geek, the chicken-head-biting freak who’s the lowest attraction at the sideshow. It’s an ominous piece of foreshadowing that begins ‘Nightmare Alley,’ the 1947 adaptation of the grim novel by William Lindsay Gresham. [Jules Furthman wrote the screenplay, adding a few shafts of optimism to the bleakness of the original material, in which no one gets off easily.]” Read more…)

New Documentaries

A Glitch In the Matrix (epistemology, technology, “reality”. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 62. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In the 1950s, Vladimir Nabokov asserted, not entirely playfully, that ‘reality’ is a word that should only ever have quotation marks around it. Contemporary technology has enabled thinkers to become more elaborate about the nature of the quotation marks. “‘A Glitch in the Matrix,’ directed by Rodney Ascher — who also made ‘Room 237,’ a 2013 film that gave certain Stanley Kubrick enthusiasts a platform to theorize about ‘The Shining’; many seemed to have too much time on their hands — explores the notion that we’re all living inside a computer simulation.” Read more…)

Best Video is the Hamden Stop & Shop’s Giving Bag recipient for June

We are so excited to share that Best Video Film & Cultural Center has been selected to be a part of the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment through use of reusable shopping bags.

For the month of June, each time a $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Stop & Shop located at 2335 Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, $1 will be donated to Best Video Film & Cultural Center, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag. This is a great way to raise awareness, support the environment and fundraise for our cause.

If you’re a member and/or supporter of Best Video, this month would be a good one to stock up on reusable “Give Back” shopping bags (as in the picture) from Stop & Shop.

UPDATE—Postponed to Sun., June 6, at 3 PM: Mercy Choir, Kierstin Sieser on the Best Video deck

UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather today, the Mercy Choir/Kierstin Sieser show is being rescheduled to an afternoon show at 3 PM on Sunday, June 6, rather than today, Sat., May 29.

Mercy Choir and Kierstin Sieser play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Saturday, May 29, starting at 5:30 PM.

Paul Belbusti is a musician, writer, visual artist currently based near the New Haven, Connecticut area of the United States of America. His main creative musical project is called Mercy Choir. He’s also one half of the experimental duo Rivener. He is the author of two chapbooks: Imperial Pools (Analog Submission Press) and Lucy (Good Cop/Bad Cop Press).

Kierstin Sieser is the songwriter and lead vocalist for Tiny Ocean. Her new solo ep, Little Shots of Pepper, was released on 3/19/2021.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Anne Marie Menta performs Sat., June 5, at 5:30 PM

Anne Marie Menta, Richard Neal and Bob Csugie play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Saturday, June 5, starting at 5:30 PM.

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.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Children’s music by Val McKee at Best Video Sat. morning, June 5, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids in the Best Video Film & Cultural Center parking lot on Saturday morning, June 5, at 10:30 AM.

Suggested donation is $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

Val McKee is a writer, musician, and teacher of both. While Val fronts the band “Junebug Saddle” and has been lucky enough to share a stage or two with some of the area’s finest musicians, she is far more popular with the toddler and preschool audience.

To see just how many little friends Val has made in her ten years of teaching Music Together, join her for a trip to Stop & Shop and wait for the inevitable toddler squeal down an aisle “It’s MISS VAL!” According to Val, being a children’s musician in New Haven is the greatest version of rock star status–like an adorable, fun-sized Beatlemania.

A Tennessee native and mom of three boys, Val’s performances are full of folk and children’s music classics, with plenty of play, education, and humor–heavy on the silly.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

New releases 5/25/21

Top Hits
Long Weekend (rom-com, Zoe Chao. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 55. From Katie Walsh’s Los Angeles Times review: “There’s something about Vienna. Something off, that is. The love interest of writer-director Stephen Basilone’s ‘Long Weekend,’ Vienna, as played by Zoe Chao (who has perfected the art of quirky ’n’ cute) is just too good to be true. She looks adorable in vintage tees. She goes to Peter Sellers movies alone in the middle of the day.” Read more…)

Happily (rom-com, Joel McHale. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 58. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “[Writer/director Ben] Grabinski has both wit and energy, and these qualities, along with a game cast, help keep ‘Happily’ afloat for far longer than most made-in-L.A. dark domestic comedies. But the movie wants to do too many things, and grows diffuse.” Read more…)

The Sound of Silence (drama, Peter Sarsgaard. Rotten Tomatoes: 65%. Metacritic: 66. From Aisha Harris’ New York Times review: “There’s something about a movie that goes out of its way to embrace the quiet — to make the audience really listen and be fully aware of every snippet of sound or sliver of silence — that feels refreshingly rare. In a medium that can be so reliant on character banter and song-stuffed sound cues, it can be powerful to be forced to concentrate on hearing noiselessness, so that the little sound that does occur is that much more meaningful. ‘The Sound of Silence,”’ the feature debut of the director Michael Tyburski [who also wrote the screenplay with Ben Nabors], attempts to wield this power but does more telling than showing.” Read more…)

The Invitation (horror, Logan Marshall-Green. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 74. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “‘The Invitation’ flirts with ideas that it doesn’t develop, including the nature of trauma and the allure of salvation, particularly when it comes to the kind of spiritual hokum that can send reasonable people around the bend and not just in Southern California. If the movie works as well as it does, it’s because [director Karyn] Kusama can coax scares from shadows, silences and ricocheting looks.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Invitation

New Foreign
Rififi (France, 1955, crime/drama dir. by Jules Dassin, Criterion Collection, Jean Servais. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 97. From Bosley Crowther’s 1956 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Do you want to see a tough gangster picture? Do you want to see a crime film that makes the characters of Mickey Spillane seem like sissies and, at the same time, gives you the thrill of being an inside participant in a terrific Parisian robbery? Then go to see ‘Rififi,’ which opened at the Fine Arts last night. This is perhaps the keenest crime film that ever came from France, including ‘Pepe le Moko’ and some of the best of Louis Jouvet and Jean Gabin.” Read more…)

Flowers of Shanghai (China, 1998, drama, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%.) From Lawrence Van Gelder’s 1998 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Set in 1884 in the brothels of the English concession in Shanghai, the director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s tale of peevish prostitutes and their gentleman callers is a sumptuous-looking film that may please the eyes of connoisseurs of chinoiserie but is unlikely to satisfy audiences in search of nuanced characters, emotional engagement, dramatic momentum or reverberant history.” Read more…)

Shadow Lines (aka Nyrkki): Season 1 (Finland, period spy thriller, Katja Küttner)

New British DVDs
The Salisbury Poisonings (true crime/espionage drama, Anne-Marie Duff. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 70. From New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz’s article on the series’ relationship to the actual events of an alleged Russian poisoning attack in the UYK city of Salisbury: “This series is less a spy story than a cautionary tale about the collateral damage that can occur when international intrigue runs amok, said Declan Lawn, a former investigative journalist with the BBC who researched and wrote the series with the journalist and documentary filmmaker Adam Patterson… ‘You know when you watch a James Bond movie and he drives through the city center wrecking everything around him and turning over market stalls and so on?’ Mr. Lawn said in an interview. ‘This is a story of the people who have to pick up the pieces.’” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Apartment for Peggy (drama, Jeanne Crain. From Bosley Crowther’s 1948 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “George Bernard Shaw’s lamentation about youth being wasted on the young is made to seem pitifully feeble by the current evidence on the Roxy’s screen. For ‘Apartment for Peggy,’ the new-color picture which opened in that theatre yesterday, is a delightful and thoroughly heartening estimation of the capacities of modern youth. And it is also a cheering indication of the progressing talent of a young man. George Seaton, who wrote and directed it, wrote and directed ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ too.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Offence (1973, drama dir. by Sidney Lumet, Sean Connery. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. From Vincent Canby’s 1973 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “As it progresses, ‘The Offence,’ for all its elaborate setting of scene and for all its introduction of subsidiary characters [beautifully played by Trevor Howard and Vivien Merchant, among others, sort of gets smaller and smaller, instead of bigger. The entire film, it turns out, exists for a single sequence, a brutal station-house confrontation between the detective and his prime suspect [Ian Bannen], between a lower-class psychotic and a middle-class neurotic, between a closet sadist and an admitted masochist. In a sense, they are lovers, made for each other.It’s highly theatrical — perhaps just a little too highly theatrical for the more or less realistic context — but it’s been staged by Lumet for maximum effect.” Read more…)

Spit-take, Tim Rowe play Thurs., May 27, at 5 PM

Local indie rockers Spit-take play a cassette release show on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., May 27. The show starts at 5 PM with a solo set by Tim Rowe.

Spit-Take—who will play a rare quiet(er) set— are an indie-punk trio comprised of members of the bands Heats of Formation and Secret Parts. Joe Katz (guitar/vocal) Maggie Kinsella-Shaw (bass), and Dan Katz (drums) relocated as a band from Willimantic, CT to the Elm City in 2014. Their energetic, hook-packed songs reveal a strong affinity for early period Replacements and other garage punk power pop greats from well before these band members were born. The band has put out several releases on vinyl LP, cassette, and digitally.

Tim Rowe, who will perform solo, was formerly in the band Worn Leather.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

New releases 5/18/21

Top Hits
The Father (drama, Anthony Hopkins. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 88. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “At once stupendously effective and profoundly upsetting, ‘The Father’ might be the first movie about dementia to give me actual chills. On its face a simple, uncomfortably familiar story about the heartbreaking mental decline of a beloved parent, this first feature from the French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller plays with perspective so cleverly that maintaining any kind of emotional distance is impossible.” Read more…)

The Nest (drama/mystery, Jude Law. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 79. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘The Nest’ is the first feature Sean Durkin has written and directed since his formidable debut, the cult-detox drama ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ [2011]. The long wait burdens the new movie with high expectations. In contrast to the dreamlike subjectivity of ‘Martha Marcy,’ ‘The Nest’ is a coldly observational study of a Reagan-Thatcher-era family divided in ambitions, nationality and — with respect to the children — parentage.” Read more…)

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (drama/gay & lesbian, Steven Silver. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 53. From Beandra July’s Hollywood Reporter review: “An agonizing tale about the weight society hoists upon too many black gay men’s weary shoulders, it’s the kind of film that lingers in your mind days after you’ve seen it, as much due to the relevant subject matter as to Tunde’s penetrating gaze. The cinematography plays with foreground and background, often deploying a visual vocabulary of two-shots where one character is in focus and the other is blurry, both usually in profile.” Read more…)

Minari (drama, Steven Yeun. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 89. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “A warm sense of familiarity is one of the film’s charms. The chronicle of an immigrant family, often told through the eyes of a child, is a staple of American literature and popular culture. But every family — every family member, for that matter — has a distinct set of experiences and memories, and the fidelity to those is what makes ‘Minari,’ in its circumspect, gentle way, moving and downright revelatory.” Read more…)

Shithouse (comedy, Cooper Raiff. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 74. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Raiff’s talkathon is both more and less than it appears: more in that it takes structural chances [a lengthy, awkward day-after follows Alex and Maggie’s time-stopping evening of outpourings], and it locates a few kernels of truth about the difficulties of adapting to an unfamiliar place. But its insights rest in generic characters, who are simply too perfect as foils despite their ostensible flaws.” Read more…)

The Twentieth Century (Canada, comedy/drams, Dan Beirne. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 77. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Matthew Rankin’s loony debut feature, ‘The Twentieth Century,’ presents a feverish reimagining of turn-of-the-20th-century Canada. An exuberant feat of visual design, it’s meticulously weird and full of rambunctious humor.” Read more…)

Test Pattern (drama, Brittany S. Hall. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 81. From Devika Girish’s New York Times review: “Test Pattern” achieves a lot with very little: The film’s nonlinear editing and cannily scored silences invite our interpretations, locating in them the entanglements of race and gender. [Director Shatara Michelle] Ford pushes us, if not to definitive answers, then to the right questions.” Read more…)

Raya and the Last Dragon (animated feature, Awkwafina [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 75. From Beatrice Loayza’s New York Times review: “Faith in the goodness of other people — even those from distant lands and of different persuasions — is the governing theme of ‘Raya and the Last Dragon,’ which the directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, and the screenwriters Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, set in a fantasyland version of Southeast Asia complete with floating markets, water taxis and lots of shrimp congee.” Read more…)

Tom & Jerry: The Movie (blended animated-live action feature, Chloe Grace Moretz. Rotten Tomatoes: 32%. Metacritic: 32%. From Jason Bailey’s New York Times review: “Affectionate nostalgia can attach itself to the most inexplicable and undeserving of recipients, which is about the only explanation for the existence of ‘Tom & Jerry,’ a new feature-length expansion of the cartoon shorts of the 1940s and 1950s [and endless television rebroadcasts thereafter]. Those were simple, slapstick cat-and-mouse chase comedies; here, the characters are uneasily blended, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’-style, into a live-action New York City.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Supernova (gay & lesbian drama, Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “It’s rare to see a cinematic drama executed with such consistent care as ‘Supernova,’ written and directed by Harry Macqueen and starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. And here, that care pays off to devastating effect.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Baxter (France, 1989, horror/comedy, Lisa Delamare. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Vincent Canby’s 1990 Times review [requires log-in]: “Its satire is deadly sharp, often funny, sometimes mean and, at the end, a tiny bit sentimental. Though it frequently looks at the world through the eyes of Baxter, whose thoughts are heard on the soundtrack, the film doesn’t allow itself to be hobbled by consistency.” Read more…)

Madame Rosa (France, 1977, drama, Simone Signoret. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. From Vincent Canby’s 1978 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Though it’s not an Israeli movie, ‘Madame Rosa’ makes profoundly moving the kind of emotions that have earlier been involved rather than effectively demonstrated by Mr. Mizrahi in even ‘The House on Chelouche Street.’ ‘Madame Rosa,’ which opens today at the Plaza Theater, is sweet and tough in conventional ways, but it also acknowledges something you don’t often see except in the films of directors like Renoir and Truffaut, that the greatest courage may often be the will to go on, to continue, in the conviction that there is nothing but darkness beyond.” Read more…)

Twilight’s Kiss (China, gay &lesbian/drama/romance, Tai Bo. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 71. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Pak, a 70-year-old Hong Kong taxi driver, fits cruising into his daily routine, away from the eyes of his suspicious wife. Then at a park he meets Hoi, a twinkly-eyed retiree with a dapper mustache, and the two nurture a deeper, tender connection that’s at the heart of ‘Twilight’s Kiss,’ a look at love that comes late and is burdened by a lifetime of hidebound norms.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
A Suitable Boy (UK/India period drama directed by Mira Nair, Tanya Maniktala. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 73. From Bilal Qureshi’s New York Times article about the adaptation of the novel “A Suitable Boy” to television: “When ‘A Suitable Boy’ was published in 1993, the 1,349-page tome about post-Independence India, written by Vikram Seth, became one of the longest English-language novels in print. Superlative reviews around the world ensured its place in the door-stopping canon of modern literary classics… Now, after several stalled attempts, the beloved novel has been adapted into a lavish new six-part series, directed by the Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair [‘Salaam Bombay!,’ ‘Monsoon Wedding’]. When it debuted on BBC One in July, it was lauded in Britain as the network’s first prime-time drama filmed on location in India with an almost entirely Indian cast. In India, the reaction was more complicated: Members of the ruling Hindu nationalist party have called for a boycott over its depictions of interfaith romance.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Merrily We Go to Hell (1932, pre-Code drama dir. by Dorothy Arzner, Criterion Collection, Fredric March. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “There have been many strange changes in story titles, but few of them as strange as that of the picture at this theatre. Imagine Cleo Lucas’s novel, ‘I. Jerry, Take Thee, Joan,’ being known in shadow form as ‘Merrily We Go to Hell’! This production is another with excellent acting, especially by Sylvia Sidney and Fredric March, but the many scenes showing constant intoxication of a newspaper man who writes a successful play are not particularly interesting or edifying.” Read more…)

Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 4:
      Jewel Robbery (1932, comedy/crime/romance, William Powell. From A.D.S.’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “What they have tried to accomplish in transplanting Laszlo Fodor’s Viennese comedy, ‘Jewel Robbery,’ to the cinema pastures is probably more praiseworthy than the way they have accomplished it. The new resident at the Strand has most of the staples of excellent warm-weather comedy. The situation is as capricious, the dialogue as sprightly and the settings as sinfully luxurious as they ought to be.” Read more…)
      Lawyer Man (1932, drama/romance, William Powell. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The latest picture to turn the light on the activities of a keen-witted member of the bar is ‘Lawyer Man,’ which is now at the Hollywood. Sometimes this feature recalls turns in ‘The Mouthpiece,’ but the current offering is none the less quite entertaining.” Read more…)
      They Call It Sin (1932, drama, Loretta Young. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Loretta Young, who was seen recently as the unfortunate mother in ‘Life Begins,’ has a more congenial rôle in this current feature. It is that of a girl from a Kansas town who invades New York City with every intention of becoming the bride of a young man of means whom she had met on her native heath, but, in the end, she is quite satisfied to settle down as the bride of his best friend. This is the principal difference between the story of ‘They Call It Sin’ and that of other films concerned with provincial maidens who risk the pitfalls of a big city.” Read more…)
      Man Wanted (1932, comedy/drama/romance, Kay Francis)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982, comedy, Criterion Collection, Sean Penn. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 61. From Janet Maslin’s 1982 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Can there be anything about life in high school, particularly life in a suburban California high school, that the movie-going public hasn’t already seen? Well, maybe there can. A little bit of it turns up in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High,’ a jumbled but appealing teen-age comedy with something of a fresh perspective on the subject.” Read more…)

Being There (1979, comedy/drama, Criterion Collection, Peter Sellers. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 83. From Roger Ebert’s 1997 writeup as a “Great Movie”: “Satire is a threatened species in American film, and when it does occur, it’s usually broad and slapstick, as in the Mel Brooks films. ‘Being There,’ directed by Hal Ashby, is a rare and subtle bird that finds its tone and stays with it. It has the appeal of an ingenious intellectual game, in which the hero survives a series of challenges he doesn’t understand, using words that are both universal and meaningless.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Wojnarowicz (art, gay & lesbian, AIDS activism, censorship, David Wojnarowicz. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 90. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Directed by Chris McKim, this exemplary documentary on the artist (which is also a mini-chronicle of the East Village art scene of 1970s and ’80s New York) takes advantage of Wojnarowicz’s penchant for self-documentation, drawing on the cassette journals he began keeping even before he was a fully formed creator. The documents Wojnarowicz maintained in this period, during which his art became inextricable from his activism, guide the viewer into the second American hellscape Wojnarowicz experienced: the AIDS epidemic.” Read more…)

Searching for Secret Heroes (blues musicians, musicology, Sam Charters)

RESCHEDULED (AGAIN)! The Sawtelles play the Best Video deck Sun., May 23, rather than Apr. 16 due to rain/cold forecast

UPDATE: The Sawtelles will play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sunday, May 23, at 5 PM. This show was rescheduled due to predicted rain and cold for the original date of Friday, Apr. 16, and the rescheduled date of Apr. 25.

The Sawtelles play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Apr. 16, starting at 5 PM.

Husband and wife duo Pete and Julie Riccio are the foundation of the Sawtelles. They have added a new texture to their palette in recent years with the addition of guitarist and saxophonist Richard Brown but will play this show as a duo. Their music is a balance of four elements: alternate-tuned guitar, stand-up drum kit (ala Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker) and two voices. Peter plays guitar and Julie plays drums; they both sing. Their sparse but intricately arranged pop is as lush as it is captivatingly unique; what is played as important as what isn’t.

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

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events.

The Fiddleheads play acoustic roots music Sat., May 22

The Fiddleheads plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sat., May 22, starting at 5 PM.

The Fiddleheads have been playing for contra dances, weddings and parties in New Haven and elsewhere in New England since 1978. The current musician lineup has been together for the past two decades and includes Willow Sirch on fiddle and viola; Jim Sirch on clawhammer banjo, bodhran, Irish flutes and whistles; Gary Wikfors on the mandolin, octave mandolin, nickelharpa and fiolharpa; and Norman Plankey on guitar.

Jim and Willow also play local Irish sessions, Gary plays Bluegrass and Scandinavian, and Norman is a stalwart of classic and Gypsy Swing (think Django Reinhardt). Together they offer a great, varied listening experience that draws from a range of traditions, and includes vocals as well as a lively instrumental mix. Whether you’re interests lie in Appalachian string band music, New England Contradance tunes, Celtic songs and tunes, Swing, or Scandinavian — you’re sure to find something to love.

The Best Video cafe will be open from 4-8 PM, serving coffee drinks, beer, and wine.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Parking is available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.