“Found Horizons” film series closes with “A Late Quartet,” Mon., Mar. 30, at 7 PM

late_quartet_xlg_WebThe latest film series in collaboration with Temple Beth Sholom wraps up Monday, Mar. 30, at 7 PM with the 2012 movie “A Late Quartet,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener. “Found Horizons: Changes and Choices in Mid-Life” features powerful films in which the protagonists face stark mid-life choices. As has been our practice, each screening begins with a short, context-setting introduction and is followed by an optional discussion.

Each screening begins at 7 PM. The cost for each movie is $5 and reservations are encouraged. The series is co-sponsored by Temple Beth Sholom Adult Education.

“A Late Quartet” one of Best Video owner Hank Paper’s favorite films of the last couple of years. Featuring rapturous music and bravura acting (including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Christopher Walken in a completely involving “straight” role), this dramatic film portrays a classical string quartet, approaching its 25th anniversary recital, that suddenly finds itself struggling to stay together in the face of long suppressed emotions, competing egos and uncontrollable lust. It’s what movies are all about!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Mar. 26. ROCK: LA TUNDA

• Friday, Mar. 27. INDIE ROCK: PROCEDURE CLUB

• Monday. Mar. 30. FILM SCREENING: “A LATE QUARTET”

• Thursday, April 2. ROCK/POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Friday, Apr. 3. AVANT-GARDE: FUCHSPRELLEN

• Wednesday, Apr. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Thursday, Apr. 9. 150th ANNIVERSARY OF APPOMATTOX/FOLK MUSIC: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Friday, Apr. 10. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, April 17. WPKN BENEFIT

• Wednesday, Apr. 22. AMERICANA/ROOTS: THE HELLWIGS

• Thursday, Apr. 23. ECLECTIC ACOUSTIC MUSIC: PRESTER JOHN featuring SHAWN PERSINGER & DAVID MILLER

• Friday, Apr. 24. BLUEGRASS: THE KOREY BRODSKY BAND

• Thursday, Apr. 30. INDIE ROCK: loom

• Friday, May 1. FILM FEST: “A DARK ROOM”

• Friday, May 15. ALT-COUNTRY: HEATHER FAY

• Wednesday, Aug. 26. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

Hank’s Recommendations 05/21/13

hank_paperSTAND UP GUYS — Val (Al Pacino), having taken the fall for his other partners, is released after 28 years in prison and is met by his good friend and former crime compadre, Doc (Christopher Walken). Val has kept his partners’ complicity from the law, but Doc has a secret, with which he’s been struggling for 28 years, in store for Val.

In one—and possibly final—night, the two renew old memories and bonds, including with their mutual good friend and former partner Hirsch (Alan Arkin), whom they rescue from a nursing home. Together they face the night’s serendipitous opportunities and dangerous events while reminiscing and reacquainting themselves with old skills.

This is not a straight-ahead action thriller. If that’s what you’re looking for, skip this film and see IRON MAN 3, or much better yet, IRON MAN 1 or 2. There are spare but thrilling moments here of action and even a proficient and amusing car chase. But what counts in this otherwise very leisurely movie is the reminiscing and patter as Val and Doc see where the night is going to take them and where it’s going to take their friendship. The dialogue is the hook, along with the pleasures of seeing these three actors still at the top of their game. Yes, it’s a slow movie, like the three characters who have to take it slow—until circumstances plus their own whimsy demand they ratchet it up a notch or two. The “iron” here is friendship and fealty, exerting its own memorable impact in a film that takes its time about time running out.

P.S. As a longtime fan of Christopher Walken, whose performances have mostly been edgy and deviant ones, it’s good to seem him taking on straight, emotionally moving dramatic roles (as in the film above). If you haven’t seen his prior DVD release (also in Top Hits) I strongly recommend LATE QUARTET, a very New York-ish movie that also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. It’s my favorite film this year.

Hank’s Recommendations 02/12/13

hank_paperA LATE QUARTET — This is my favorite film of the new year.

The first scene opens in a New York City symphonic hall, the stage bare except for the instruments, the seats filled with a hushed, anticipant audience.

We’re about to be treated not only to some fine string quartet music, but to the drama of the musicians who play it.

The Fugue String Quartet is about to celebrate its twenty-fifth year together, at the same time they are on the cusp of losing the creative, professional and personal harmony that they’ve worked so hard to maintain. Not to mention a prodigal daughter following in the footsteps of two of the musicians who are married.

This is an adult drama underscored by beautiful symphonic and quartet music and an on-location New York sensibility. It also offers a quartet of finely tuned performances that will keep your eyes as well as ears riveted: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir and Christopher Walken, the latter whom modulates his well-known twitchy cultic persona into a performance that’s perfectly moving.

This film is about passion versus discipline, nature versus training and, above all, harmony versus going solo. There’s not a moment in the movie that’s not natural or, in every sense of the word, beautifully played. It’s a disciplined film about the rise of discord and the affirmation of harmony that in the end packs an emotional wallop.

Bravo!

Hank’s Recommendations 01/29/13

hank_paperSEVEN PSYCHOPATHS — In this film by the Oscar-nominated writer and director of IN BRUGES, Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell plays a struggling screenwriter who can’t get beyond his title, “Seven Psychopaths.” Until, that is, his ecccentric friends chip in to help him with the storyline and suggest some psychopathic characters—who may or may not be themselves. One of these friends, played by Christopher Walken, is a dognapper who steals pets and then returns them to the owner for the reward. One of his victims, unfortunately (though perhaps not for the screenplay), is a psychopathic crime lord played by Woody Harrelson (whose masterful role anchored the recent GAME CHANGE), who will kill anything in the way of getting his shih tzu back.

The film, in other words, is about how it got written, and it turns out it to be a very good script! From the surprising and funny opening scene, the running dialogue is clever and self-referential (Quentin Tarantino, anyone?). As far as who is a psychopath and thus deserves to be in the movie, prepared to be surprised! Harrelson, for sure, eats up the scenery and Walken, though somewhat long in the tooth, has still got that toothy grin and that springy grace in his step. Other cast members include Sam Rockwell and—treat among treats—Tom Waits. But, then, everything in this film is entertaining and often goes where you don’t expect it. Though expectedly violent, it has a broad pacifist streak; in the end it’s actually an anti-shoot-‘em up film. So don’t be disarmed by the title. Highly recommended.

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ELVIS — Oy, is this a movie! And I thought Elvis was king.

This pithy oft-requested Oscar nominated documentary raises more questions than it answers. But we learn a lot that’s intriguing: not only about how former B movie star, Dolores Hart—so pampered and prepped by the studio following her early co-starring roles in Elvis films—gave up acting to become a nun, but also about the dynamics of monastic life itself in Bethlehem, CT. (Spoiler alerts: one nun sports a nose ring; the nuns’ underwear, to judge by the clothes line, is quite colorful; the monastery, Hart opines, offers an opportunity for sexuality to go beyond the genital.) Hart not only gave up a promising career, she gave up her five-year engagement to a courtly and supportive man whom she apparently loved (he makes a surprising appearance near the end of this film). In order to find the security she most desired, she married God. One thing you can say about Hart: You’ve come a long way, baby!