New releases 4/23/19

Top Hits
Escape Room (horror, Taylor Russell. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 48. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “I tend to esteem motion pictures more for their aesthetic value than for their use value but sometimes there are exceptions. Through scrupulous and heightened simulations of terrifying reality, last year’s ‘First Man’ reminded me why I never even entertained the notion of becoming an astronaut. Taking the opposite tack with an irrational but not altogether implausible conceit, ‘Escape Room’ reminds me why I’ll never engage in the newfangled form of entertainment in which you allow yourself to be ‘trapped’ in a room and puzzle-solve your way out of it.” Read more…)

The Mercy (true adventure, Colin Firth. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 60. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “What drives a man to abandon a doting wife [Rachel Weisz] and three of the best-behaved children in Christendom to circumnavigate the globe in an ill-prepared trimaran? The makers of ‘The Mercy’ have a few ideas; but perhaps the most reliable message of this based-on-real-life tale is that middle age is a bitch. Whatever the reason, such was the appeal of this adventure that Donald Crowhurst [Colin Firth], a mild-mannered engineer and indifferent sailor, was willing to risk everything to take to sea.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
A Face In the Crowd (1957, Criterion Collection, Elia Kazan-directed drama/satire, Andy Griffith. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. From a New York Times recommendation written by Noel Murray: “The director Elia Kazan and the screenwriter Budd Schulberg have a strong point to make in ‘A Face In The Crowd,’ showing how the public’s affection for a ‘man of the people’ who ‘tells it like is’ makes it easy for a grinning demagogue to seize power. Kazan takes a lot of risks with this movie’s look and tone, turning on a dime from a docu-realistic style to something more exaggerated and cartoonish. But the reason why cultural critics and political pundits still cite this film as prescient and pertinent is that it’s so openly disgusted: at the media for valuing ratings over responsibility, and at the citizenry for letting itself be led by charismatic ignoramuses.” Read more…)

Man of Iron (1935, drama, Barton MacLane)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Ode To Billy Joe (1976, drama/family film based on song, Glynnis O’Connor. From Richard Eder’s 1976 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Ode to Billy Joe’ is a movie to lament. Its authors have ruined it. To say so is praise as well as regret. You can only ruin something that has some quality to begin with, and for more than half of the length, this Southern country romance has a quite individual kind of life and shrewdness.” Read more…)

The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior (1993, drama, drama, Sam Neill)

New British (Commonwealth) DVDs
A Place To Call Home: Season 6 (Australian drama, Marta Dusseldorp)

New TV DVDs
The Good Place: Season 2 (comedy, Ted Danson)

New Documentaries
Charm City (Baltimore, urban problems, community-police relations. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “There’s plenty to make you catch your breath during Marilyn Ness’s documentary ‘Charm City,’ a sweeping look at violent crime and possible solutions in Baltimore. But the most staggering statistic comes in a notice at the end: The film is dedicated to the memory of the more than 1,000 people said to be killed in Baltimore during the film’s making.” Read more…)

Tickled (competitive endurance tickling. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Everyone from Aristotle to Darwin and Freud had something to say about the teasing art of the tickle, as did the Marquis de Sade. There’s even more about its ecstasies and agonies in ‘Tickled,’ a terrifically entertaining documentary about a strange, murky corner of the adult tickling world. A New Zealand journalist named David Farrier discovered this touchy, feely realm when he came across an online video.” Read more…)

Film Screening: “A Face in the Crowd,” starring Andy Griffith, Mon., Apr. 25, at 7 AM

Face_in_the_Crowd_WebProgrammed in consultation with the League of Women Voters (Hamden-North Haven) and Temple Beth Sholom, the current film series—dubbed “Candidates, Campaigns, and Controversies: Great Political Films”—features clasic films dealing with politics and political issues. The next movie in the series in Elia Kazan’s 1957 film “A Face in the Crowd,” starring Andy Griffith. All the remaining screenings will be on Mondays at 7 PM. Admission to each screening is $7 (TBS members get in free).

Andy Griffith plays Lonesome Rhodes, an Arkansas drifter who gets plunked from a drunk tank and put on the radio, where he parlays his natural folksy charisma into national fame and a proximity to power. Written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Elia Kazan, “A Face in the Crowd” is an astute early satire of the nexus between media and politics in the television age.

New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, writing in 1957, observed, “In a way, it is not surprising that this flamboyant Lonesome Rhodes dominates the other characters in the story and consequently the show. For Mr. Schulberg has penned a powerful person of the raw, vulgar, roughneck, cornball breed, and Mr. Griffith plays him with thunderous vigor, under the guidance of Mr. Kazan. You know you are in the vicinity of someone who has white-lightning for blood when Mr. Griffith first hits old ‘Mama Git-tar’ and howls his ‘Free Man in the Morning’ song. And you know you are up against a trickster when he starts spouting amiable lies. Mr. Schulberg and Mr. Kazan spawn a monster not unlike the one of Dr. Frankenstein.”

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Apr. 21. INDIE FOLK: THE MID SEASON, XAVIER SERRANO

• Friday, Apr. 22. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT, GARY GRIPPO & FRIENDS

• Monday, Apr. 25. FILM SCREENING: “A FACE IN THE CROWD”

• Thursday, Apr. 28. TIN PAN ALLEY: ZAHTIE’S BATHTUB GIN

• Friday, Apr. 29. EXPERIMENTAL: FUCHSPRELLEN

• Saturday, Apr. 30. FILM SCREENING/WINE & CHEESE TASTING: VINO/NOIR

• Monday, May 2. FILM SCREENING: “THE CANDIDATE”

• Thursday, May 5. BLUEGRASS: THE WALKINGWOOD MANDOLIN QUARTET

• Friday, May 6. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Saturday, May 7. SOFT ACOUSTIC/ROCK: THE HERNANDEZ BROTHERS

• Monday, May 9. FILM SCREENING: “FRUITVALE STATION”

• Wednesday, May 11. ROCK: THE NEW CHASTITY

• Friday, May 13. THREE SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: ANNE MARIE MENTA, DICK NEAL, GLEN ROETHEL

• Monday, May 16. FILM SCREENING: “SARAH’S KEY” (in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of New Haven)

• Thursday, May 19. EXPERIMENTAL: RIVENER, BLACK FLUFF

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

New film series, “Candidates, Campaigns & Controversies: Great Political Films,” kicks off Mon., Apr. 4

Candidate_Film_list_final_WebThe next Best Video Film & Cultural Center film and discussion series begins on Monday, Apr. 4, with a screening of the 1964 brokered convention drama “The Best Man,” starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson. With the exception of “Bulworth” on Tuesday, Apr. 19, all the screenings will be on Mondays at 7 PM.

Programmed in consultation with the League of Women Voters (Hamden-North Haven) and Temple Beth Sholom, the series—dubbed “Candidates, Campaigns, and Controversies: Great Political Films”—features classic films dealing with politics and political issues. Admission to each screening is $7 (TBS members get in free).

The schedule:

APR. 4: THE BEST MAN • Looking back — and looking ahead — with the brilliant Gore Vidal’s masterfully dramatic screenplay about a brokered national convention. Stars Henry Fonda as the candidate we’d like, Cliff Robertson as the one we fear.

APR. 11: THE CONTENDER • Joan Allen as a nominee for Vice President! With an Oscar contending turn by Gary Oldman as the inquisitor senator and Jeff Bridges as the wily, loosey-goosey President.

TUESDAY, APR. 19: BULWORTH  • Even these days, who says fun and politics can’t mix? Our vote is for Bulworth: brilliant, hysterical and terrifying tour-de-force with Warren Beatty and Halle Berry.

APR. 25: A FACE IN THE CROWD • Andy Griffith — yes, a great actor — as a folksy demagogue! It can’t happen here — or can it? A cautionary, prescient tale of politics and the media.

MAY 2: THE CANDIDATE • Idealism: What have you got to lose when you know you can’t win? Or can you? Robert Redford as an earnest young nominee.

MAY 9: FRUITVALE STATION  • One of the most powerfully affecting independent films, starring Michael B. Jordan (Creed) as Oscar Grant, a young Black man shot by the police. Based on true events, up to the minute and unforgettable.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Mar. 23. EXPERIMENTAL: THE FOREST ROOM, NICK Di MARIA: ZERO DOLLAR SOLO

• Thursday, Mar. 24. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Mar. 25. SINGER-SONGWRITER: DICK NEAL

• Monday, Mar. 28. FOLK: TREVOR HEALY/JASON LABBE DUO, CHUCK JOHNSON

• Wednesday, Mar. 30. INDIE ROCK/SINGER-SONGWRITER: WESTERN ESTATES, ZACH ANDERSEN

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI, JOE FLOOD

• Friday, Apr. 1. BLUES ROCK: JUST US featuring NOAH KESSELMAN

• Sunday, Apr. 3. FREE 2 PM AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Sunday, Apr. 3. BEST VIDEO FILM & CULTURAL CENTER & THE INSTITUTE LIBRARY present “BOOKS TO FILM: THE WAY,” with special guest JACK HITT at The Institute Library in New Haven

• Monday, Apr. 4. FILM SCREENING: “THE BEST MAN”

• Wednesday, Apr. 6. INDIE ROCK presented by Redscroll Records: HEX INVERTER, DIRT DEVIL, NOTHING ISRAEL

• Thursday, Apr. 7. BLUES: THE MOODY’S BLUES

• Friday. Apr. 8. FOLK: HUGH BIRDSALL & DANA TAKAKI

• Monday, Apr. 11. FILM SCREENING: “THE CONTENDER”

• Thursday, Apr. 14. INDIE ROCK: SPIT-TAKE, BOX FAN

• Tues., Apr. 19. FILM SCREENING: “BULWORTH”

• Wednesday, Apr. 20. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Thursday, Apr. 21. INDIE FOLK: THE MID SEASON, XAVIER SERRANO

• Friday, Apr. 22. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT, GARY GRIPPO & FRIENDS

• Monday, Apr. 25. FILM SCREENING: “A FACE IN THE CROWD”

• Thursday, Apr. 28. SEPHARDIC MUSIC: THE HERETICS OF CORDOBA

• Monday, May 2. FILM SCREENING: “THE CANDIDATE”

• Friday, May 6. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Saturday, May 7. SOFT ACOUSTIC/ROCK: THE HERNANDEZ BROTHERS

• Monday, May 9. FILM SCREENING: “FRUITVALE STATION”

• Wednesday, May 11. ROCK: THE NEW CHASTITY

• Friday, May 13. THREE SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: ANNE MARIE MENTA, DICK NEAL, GLEN ROETHEL

• Monday, May 16. FILM SCREENING: “SARAH’S KEY” (in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of New Haven)

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL