Hank’s Recommendations 12/25/12

hank_paperTROUBLE WITH THE CURVE — Yes, it’s latter day formulaic Clint (codger fighting old age with witty, biting epithets) in a formulaic story (reuniting with alienated daughter on a last talent scouting trip to prove himself). But it’s also a film with many pleasantries: good script and direction (nothing crusty about Clint here), and good acting with real chemistry between Clint and Amy Adams. Plus, you learn a little you probably didn’t know about baseball. This is a romance about baseball, with a pitch that’s opposite the one thrown by MONEYBALL.  It’s about trusting your instincts and experience rather than the stats; about keeping your on the ball instead of on the computer in order to succeed at the game. Here the humanistic element is all over the field. Yes, Moneyball is a better movie but no more satisfying than Trouble With the Curve. Yes, the latter is a conventional feel-good movie. But in the right hands, it’s just what the doctor ordered, just the medicine your mood requires. Sometimes you just don’t want any trouble with the curve.

Music: Henry Sidle; Anna Ayres-Brown on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 8 PM

Young singer-singwriters Henry Sidle and Anna Ayres-Brown will play the BEST VIDEO PERFORMANCE SPACE on Thursday, Dec. 27, with music starting at 7:30 PM. The cover for this show is $5.

Henry Sidle, born in Chicago, is a teenage guitar player and singer/songwriter who plays gigs most days of the year. When Henry was 11, he began to play the guitar. Several years later, Henry has made his way to major festivals, venues, studios, cities and private parties. Henry’s music has been played Sirius XM’s Grateful Dead station. Henry has a unique acoustic rock sound, spiced up with his BOSS RC-30 loop station and large repertoire of originals and covers.

Henry’s main influences are The Beatles, Phish, Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Sublime, The Avett Brothers, Toots and the Maytals, and Keller Williams. Henry’s originals go from topics such as human awareness to life stories to relationships. Henry has played his guitar at benefit concerts for schools and has played educational songs for pre-schoolers. Back in middle school, Henry performed for large audiences with the jazz band that featured Henry on guitar and the concert band with Henry on piano and guitar. Henry has played small farmers markets, city streets, and book stores. Henry has also played large events such as the Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport.

Watch Henry play his song “The World as It Should Be” at the Gathering of the Vibes Festival in 2011:

Anna Ayres-Brown is a 15 year-old sophomore from New Haven, CT. She attends Hopkins School. She began writing songs on the guitar at a young age and has continued with her interest in songwriting. She is in an all-female a cappella group from Hopkins, “Triple Trio”. She is also an avid member of the Drama Association at her school.

Listen to Anna Ayres-Brown’s “Another Day 2”:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Jan. 2. ACOUSTIC GUITAR/FOLK: JOHN THOMAS

• Sunday, Jan. 6. FILM SCREENING & TALK: “ALL ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WINFRED REMBERT”

• Wednesday, Jan. 9. ELECTRIC ROCK: MOLD MONKIES

• Thursday, Jan. 10. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Monday, Jan. 14. FILM SERIES: WHAT WOULD YOU DO? “STATE OF THE UNION”

Music: Fuchsprellen on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 8 PM

Fuchsprellen—the name comes from “fox tossing,” a popular blood sport of the 17th and 18th centuries—play free-form, improvised music.  The trio is comprised of Steve Chillemi (who plays drums in Captain  Beefheart cover band Doctor Dark) on bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, Peter Riccio (guitarist and singer of The Sawtelles) on drums and Pete Brunelli on bass.

Fuchsprellen_72dpi

The group will explore unmarked sonic territory in the BEST VIDEO PERFORMANCE SPACE on Wednesday, Dec. 26, with the music starting at 8 PM. The cover for this show is $5. No foxes will be harmed in the making of this music.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, Dec. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: HENRY SIDLE, ANNA AYRES-BROWN

• Wednesday, Jan. 2. ACOUSTIC GUITAR/FOLK: JOHN THOMAS

• Sunday, Jan. 6. FILM SCREENING & TALK: “ALL ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WINFRED REMBERT”

• Wednesday, Jan. 9. ELECTRIC ROCK: MOLD MONKIES

• Thursday, Jan. 10. CLASSICAL GUITAR: ORPHÉE RUSSELL

• Monday, Jan. 14. FILM SERIES: WHAT WOULD YOU DO? “STATE OF THE UNION”

New Releases 12/18/12

Top Hits

Trouble With the Curve (drama, Clint Eastwood. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The pat and occasionally preposterous story is really just a pretext, a serviceable scaffolding for a handful of expert, satisfying performances. A gaggle of first-rate character actors trails Mr. Eastwood from Turner Field in Atlanta to the rural bars and ballparks, and the star knows how to step aside and let them work. He also has the good sense to realize that, much as we may adore him, we’d sometimes rather spend time with [actress Amy] Adams, who somehow grows tougher, funnier, scarier and more charming with every role.” Read more…)

Pitch Perfect (comedy, Anna Kendrick. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 65. From Neil Gewnzlinger’s New York Times review: “This movie is about collegiate a cappella, but it’s loaded with the plotting conventions of the Disney Channel’s tweener shows. That makes it only occasionally funny and not at all illuminating about the rich world of a cappella singing.” Read more…)

Liberal Arts (comedy/drama, Josh Radnor. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 55. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The slick, feel-good Liberal Arts has enough dark notes to make the smug, obsequious performance of its star, Josh Radnor, who also wrote and directed, tolerable and at times even likable. As an actor and filmmaker, Mr. Radnor, of “How I Met Your Mother,” is steeped in sitcom conventions.” Read more…)

10 Years (comedy, Channing Tatum. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 61. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “It takes a while to sort out who’s who in the gabby high school reunion comedy 10 Years. But once you do, the movie that comes together is an unpretentious, well-acted ensemble piece that doesn’t aspire to be a portentous generational time capsule like The Big Chill, American Graffiti or Diner. But it has enough markers — a grown-up, married white rapper who break dances; a karaoke bar — to suggest an approximate date.” Read more…)

Total Recall (action remake, Colin Farrell. Rotten Tomatoes: 30%. Metacritic: 43. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The movie has a lot of chasing, shouting and fighting, carried out in crowded, overscale frames without much regard for either action-film effectiveness or narrative coherence. So much information is thrown at you in such a haphazard fashion that your ability to care dwindles along with your willingness to enjoy any of it.” Read more…)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (family comedy, Zachary Gordon. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 54. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Studios generally don’t like to see the word ‘excruciating’ in a movie review. But the makers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days won’t mind seeing it here, because that’s just what this good-natured if not very ambitious family film is going for. It wants you to feel the pain of the title child, Greg [Zachary Gordon], as he goes through one embarrassment after another during an eventful summer, and you do.” Read more…)

Killer Joe (crime, Matthew McConaughey [this movie comes out on Friday, Dec. 21]. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 62. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It says something about William Friedkin’s big-screen adaptation of the Tracy Letts play Killer Joe that the title psycho, played by Matthew McConaughey, is, by a long Texas mile, its least objectionable character. Dressed in nearly all black from cowboy hat to boot, with a miserly smile and a dead man’s empty eyes, Joe Cooper, a k a Killer Joe, looks sharp, talks smart. As given demented life by Mr. McConaughey, he is a welcome presence among a collection of nitwits so irremediably disposable that they’re as evanescent as drops of water on a hot wood stove.” Read more…)

Arbitrage (financial drama, Richard Gere. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 73. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Arbitrage, a sleek entertainment about how very good greed can be, is a fairy tale masquerading as a tragedy. It pivots on Robert Miller [Richard Gere], a shifty hedge-fund manager and 21st-century robber baron who’s foxed his way to the top of New York’s moneyed classes. Charmed and charming, with a quicksilver stride and the self-possession of a man accustomed to hearing the word yes, Robert lives in a rarefied world of private jets, live-in help and seven-figure checks made out to favorite charities.” Read more…)

Resident Evil: Retribution (sci-fi/horror, Milla Jovovich. Rotten Tomatoes: 29%. Metacritic: 39. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “The fifth entry in a series as indestructible as Alice [Milla Jovovich], its caffeinated heroine, Resident Evil: Retribution finds her still on the mysterious ship where Resident Evil: Afterlife left her. Almost a decade has passed since the endlessly mutating T-Virus began transforming most of humanity (and zoology) into drooling, pimply cannibals, but Alice — part human, part viral, all airbrushed — is still fighting to save the world. She must be as tired as we are.” Read more…)

The Good Doctor (drama, Orlando Bloom. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 52. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Heaven forbid that anyone should have the misfortune to be treated by a physician like Martin Blake [Orlando Bloom], the poker-faced new resident in internal medicine at a Southern California hospital in The Good Doctor. With his ferretlike eyes; thin, unsmiling lips; and tense body language, Martin is such a cold fish he can barely manage a smile. An early indication that something might be seriously wrong with him is a glimpse of his sterile, sparsely furnished, all-white beach-side apartment, which looks more like a laboratory than a home.” Read more…)

Fred & Vinnie (comedy, Fred Stoller)

New Blu-Ray

Trouble With the Curve
Total Recall
Sometimes a Great Notion
Killer Joe
Arbitrage

New Foreign

Free Men (France, drama, Tahar Rahim. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Ismail Ferroukhi’s new film, Free Men, takes place in Nazi-occupied Paris, by now a familiar setting for morally serious period dramas. The story this movie has to tell is a bit unusual, though: it concerns the efforts by Muslim North African residents of the city to protect Jews and aid the Resistance. Like Rachid Bouchareb’s Days of Glory — about North African soldiers who suffered abuse and discrimination while fighting to liberate France from German domination — Free Men is both proudly conventional and determinedly revisionist. Its protagonist, Younes [Tahar Rahim], would not be out of place in a wartime thriller starring Humphrey Bogart.” Read more…)

New Television

Girls: Season 1 (HBO series, Lena Dunham)
Shameless: Season 2
The Sarah Silverman Program: Season 3

New Documentaries

The Island President (world politics, environment, climate change. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 72. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In other parts of the world, though, the [climate change] issue has a lethal, terrifying urgency. The Island President, a new documentary by Jon Shenk [The Lost Boys of Sudan], visits one such place, the Maldives. That archipelago of roughly 1,200 low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean, of which about 200 are inhabited, is described as “paradise crossed with paradise,” and its soft sand beaches and blue waters have made it a haven for wealthy tourists. Though the film includes spectacular aerial and underwater footage of the Maldives’ beauty, it concentrates its attention on uglier realities.” Read more…)

New Children’s DVDs

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (family comedy, Zachary Gordon, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 54. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Studios generally don’t like to see the word ‘excruciating’ in a movie review. But the makers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days won’t mind seeing it here, because that’s just what this good-natured if not very ambitious family film is going for. It wants you to feel the pain of the title child, Greg [Zachary Gordon], as he goes through one embarrassment after another during an eventful summer, and you do.” Read more…)

Hank’s Recommendations 12/18/12

hank_paperARBITRAGE — Richard Gere playing hedge fund magnate, Robert Miller, looks great per usual but he’s in trouble. He’s made a bad bet on a copper mine that’s keeping him from the much needed sale of his hitherto successful company. What starts out as a temporary business deception to redeem the sale turns all-encompassing when a horrendous incident turns a desire to protect his investors into something that threatens to ruin everything and everyone close to him.

The film has a canny pacing. Starting out evenly at a family birthday party, measured revelations are followed by one swift event after another as the various strands of duplicity knit together to draw the noose tighter and tighter: a noose that will rope you in as well. A superb roster of supporting characters enhances the film’s pedigree and drama: Tim Roth perfectly cast as a slouchy and dogged New York City homicide detective; Britt Marling (writer and star of ANOTHER EARTH and THE SOUND OF MY VOICE) as Miller’s unknowing daughter and financial officer, Nate Parker as a young black man who is Miller’s sole lifeline and for whom integrity is all, New Haven’s own Bruce Altman as a sleazy, suited go-between and Susan Sarandon as Miller’s loving wife who, in a brilliant coda to the film, saves her own revelations for the last.

Forgoing a standard Hollywood ending, this film hews to its own integrity by getting to the heart of the crash of 2008 in one individual, a person not unlike Bernie Madoff although, as incarnated by Richard Gere, certainly better looking. The only unfortunate note in the film is the black dress Sarandon wears in the end sequence—something only Bjork (who does the song at the end credit roll) might wear and actually get away with.

A suggestion: you might watch this film on a double bill with THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (reviewed here last week). You can’t ask for a better-balanced program (inadvertent documentary satire and contemporary suspense drama) about how the one per cent lives.

KILLER JOE — A charming Dallas hit man (Matthew McConaughey) brought in by a trashy family to kill the mother for the insurance money causes family dysfunction to run amok. This stylish B-film potboiler actually derived from the long running Broadway play that parodies B-film potboilers is funny and disturbing in equal measures. Among a superb cast, Gina Gershon lets it all hang out as the scheming, two-timing wife while director William Friedkin (THE EXORCIST) proves he hasn’t lost a thing in making a trashy story look classy. The film is sometimes off-putting, but you may also find can‘t take your eyes off it.

Music: Big Fat Combo on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8 PM

The Big Fat Combo hail from Cheshire and offer their own, wry, well-crafted take on rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet is a classic rockabilly group: upright bass and drums, rhythm and lead guitar. Led by singer Tom Hearn, the Big Fat Combo not only play their original tunes (“Tag Sale,” “Banned by Sam the Clam’s” and “Chicks Dig it,” among others) but also riff on classic rock ‘n’ roll, garage rock, punk, country and even some easy listening chestnuts (“Que Sera Sera,” “It was a Very Good Year”) that they make fully their own.

The Big Fat Combo released their first compact disc, “Chicks Dig it,” in 2010.

The music starts at 8 PM; there is a $5 cover.

From Youtube, here is the Big Fat Combo’s Christmas medley:

Music: Mimosa on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 8 PM

Mimosa and Palm Trees_WebDebby Teason and Sarah Heath, who perform as Mimosa Steel Pan Duo, will bring their music to Best Video on Wednesday, Dec.19 PM.  Come enjoy an island vacation in the heart of Spring Glen! The music starts at 8 PM; there is a $5 cover.

Playing hand made tenor and double second steel drums from Trinidad and Tobago, their intriguing arrangements draw from a range of popular music genres, including traditional island, reggae, Brazilian, rock and latin favorites. If you have never heard these amazing contemporary pitched instruments, created from recycled 55 gallon steel drums, you will be amazed! And Michael Bergman, local doctor and drummer, will be there to add some live percussion with his  udu, a Nigerian hand drum.  Sit back and listen to the unique, joyous, relaxing notes of these instruments, and hear some of what they can do.

Mimosa has performed at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, the Green Street Arts Center, Café 9, and at schools and libraries in the area. They are also play every month at Zafra Cuban Restaurant and Rum Bar in downtown New Haven.  Visit their Web site to learn more.

New Releases 12/11/12

Top Hits

The Bourne Legacy (action, Jeremy Renner. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 61. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Mr. Gilroy’s script for The Bourne Legacy, written with his brother Dan, has given him much more to wrangle — locations, characters, hardware, franchise expectations — than he’s had to deal with in the past. If that worried him, it doesn’t show in the movie’s hyperventilated opening stretch, which zips from Cross battling wolves, doubts and military drones in Alaska; to Scott Glenn and Stacy Keach as a couple of military men who go alpha male to alpha male about a covert operation and its consequences in a darkened room in the D.C. power corridor; to Edward Norton, as Colonel Byer, barking someplace else at flunkies who, not being your average hired help, can pull up high-definition surveillance images from across the globe with a few phone calls and strokes on a keyboard.” Read more…)

Why Stop Now (comedy, Jesse Eisenberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 25%. Metacritic: 36. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “As Why Stop Now? gathers momentum, the increasingly uneasy sensation it produces is not unlike that of being in the back seat of a speeding car whose drunken driver refuses to give up the wheel. At a certain point you grit your teeth, close your eyes and pray that the vehicle doesn’t run off a cliff. It doesn’t quite.” Read more…)

Nesting (romantic comedy, Todd Grinnell. Rotten Tomatoes: 0%. Metacritic: 34. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The romantic comedy Nesting takes an old idea and tosses in a few today-sounding phrases in hopes of coming up with a fresh-feeling movie. But that isn’t enough.” Read more…)

Ted (comedy, Mark Wahlberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 62. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Tolerant amusement is pretty much the best this harmless little picture, directed by Seth MacFarlane from a script he wrote with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, is able to manage, even though it strives for obnoxious hilarity. The cleverly animated ursine title character, voiced in an exaggerated Boston bray by Mr. MacFarlane himself, is a fire hose of vulgarity, ethnic insult, homophobia and misogyny. In the modern, meta manner he [that is, Mr. MacFarlane] wants both to indulge and to deny the offensiveness of this material, to wallow in ugliness and make fun of it too.” Read more…)

Backwards (sports/romance, Sarah Megan Thomas. Rotten Tomatoes: 29%. Metacritic: 43. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unless the Venn diagram containing the sets ‘fans of competitive rowing’ and ‘admirers of James Van Der Beek’ shows significant overlap, Ben Hickernell’s Backwards is pretty much doomed. Pairing a dull romance with an even duller sport (at least as represented here), this cliché-ridden vanity project is more suited to the ABC Family channel than to the inside of a movie theater.” Read more…)

Ice Age: Continental Drift (animated feature, Ray Romano [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The principle guiding the Ice Age franchise seems to be that you can’t have too many celebrity voice-overs. This is not entirely unpleasant. During the Continental Drift end credits[(if you can endure a dreadful song about how we’re all one big happy family], you can match various animals with their human impersonators.” Read more…)

A Christmas Story 2 (holiday comedy, Daniel Stern)

New Blu-Ray

The Bourne Legacy

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Ted

New Foreign

Beloved (France, romantic drama, Catherine Deneuve. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Beloved is at once whimsical and heartfelt, alive to the absurdity and perversity of amorous behavior and also to the gravity and intensity of human emotions. A nonmusical version [which is what Mr. Honoré has said he originally conceived] would resemble other recent French films that take a psychologically realistic view of love that is neither cynical nor sentimental. But the songs, even when — or maybe just because — they sound conventional and superficial, gesture toward another realm of feeling, a magical pop universe in which the agonies of the heart are magically transformed into pleasures of the ear and eye.” Read more…)

New Documentaries

Mansome (documentary/comedy, Morgan Spurlock. Rotten Tomatoes: 25%. Metacritic: 35. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “The documentarian Morgan Spurlock [Super Size Me, Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope] has perhaps borrowed more from reality shows [where he toiled, too, on FX’s 30 Days series] than from his frequently cited predecessor Michael Moore. His latest film, the resolutely superficial Mansome, tackles the fearsome topic of masculinity as expressed through grooming, and it feels like a bunch of television segments slapped together, with sparing use of Mr. Spurlock himself.” Read more…)

Gerrymandering (politics, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 49. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Gerrymandering is an illustrated civics lesson that strains to make its complicated, shadowy subject — electoral redistricting — a political hot topic. Written and directed by Jeff Reichert and outfitted with a pounding soundtrack and flashy graphics, it examines the legal chicanery by which electoral districts are modified for political purposes. The word [with a hard g] was coined in 1812 after the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry [pronounced Gary], signed a bill redistricting the state to his own advantage. One district was described as having the shape of a salamander; hence the term.” Read more…)

Mankind: The Story of All of Us (History Channel history of civilization. Metacritic: 66.)

New Music

Archers of Loaf: What Did You Expect? Live at Cat’s Cradle (concert & interviews. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 61.)

New Children’s DVDs

Ice Age: Continental Drift (animated feature, Ray Romano [voice], in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The principle guiding the Ice Age franchise seems to be that you can’t have too many celebrity voice-overs. This is not entirely unpleasant. During the Continental Drift end credits[(if you can endure a dreadful song about how we’re all one big happy family], you can match various animals with their human impersonators.” Read more…)

A Christmas Story 2 (holiday comedy, Daniel Stern, in Top Hits)

Hank’s Recommendations 12/11/12

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD — This deceptively simple film, seen through a young girl’s eyes, about the taming of the “beasts of the southern wild”—storms and flood, environmental pollution, the daily struggle of a marginal existence—takes place in a Louisiana bayou. Its uncanny acting (by non-actor locals) and imaginatively vivid camerawork conveys the strengths of parental teaching in the midst of adversity and the yearning for community in a failing world: dramatic illustrations it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of in our own current time. Mrs. Video dubbed it the “film of the year.” It also reminds me of another great film, in part seen through a child’s eyes, about how the world works in harmony toward it’s own good end until interfered with by evil (in this case the widow-slaying preacher played by Robert Mitchum) in the Charles Laughton/James Agee film, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, which, now that I think of it, is a great film to share with the family on these holidays. Both poetically lyrical films offer suspense and enlightenment in equal measures.

QUEEN OF VERSAILLES — This outrageous and inadvertently funny documentary filmed before and after the crash of 2008 offers another fable for our current times: the attainment and loss of the American Dream. Tiffany, a meat-and-potatoes middleclass former Ms. Florida, becomes ersatz royalty when she marries a time-share resort magnate who’s thirty-one years her senior. Waxing rhapsodically about their eight children and the largest house in America they’re having built, Tiffany continues to shop even after the market drops. Blithely and mostly unblinkingly she faces the monetary and family dysfunction around her as the dark underside of their privileged lives becomes as exposed as the rafters in their unfinished mansion. Fittingly taking place in Las Vegas, this is the kind of film that makes you laugh and shake your head in wonderment about how, indeed, the other half lives.

THE BOURNE LEGACY — In order to avoid scandalous exposure, a clandestine intelligence program needs to be erased, along with all its agents, one of whom, Aaron Cross, must use his genetically engineered skills to survive. In fact, this “Bourne”-again film actually has nothing to do with Jason Bourne (although we do get a fleeting glimpse of Matt Damon’s photograph), though it does offer similar state-of-the-art flight/pursuit action. Rachel Weisz (DREAM HOUSE, PAGE EIGHT, THE WHISTLEBLOWER, THE LOVELY BONES, AGORA) as an unknowing scientist on the project who becomes Aaron’s ally plays her familiarly imperiled role, the intelligent actor Edward Norton seems oddly miscast as the head of Intelligence while the rest of an otherwise amazing cast (Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Donna Murphy, Joan Allen, Albert Finney) seems figuratively if not literally wasted. But otherwise the movie offers an intriguing and suspenseful first half with some beautiful Alaskan footage, a fantastic motorcycle chase at the end and a good performance by THE HURT LOCKER’s Jeremy Renner. It’s true they don’t know how to end this film, but then this is a franchise that will probably have no end. It’s a movie that will fill the bill if you’re in the mood.

Music: Happy Ending on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 8 PM

Happy Ending, featuring Best Video’s own Hank Hoffman and Richard Brown, play the Best Video Performance Space this Thursday, Dec. 13. The music will start promptly  at 8 p.m. The cover for this show is $5.

Happy Ending plays electric rock ‘n’ roll, mixing original compositions influenced by garage rock, folk rock and psychedelia—oftentimes with a political slant—with cover songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s (expect “Walk Away Renee” by the Left Banke and a raucous, anarchic version of “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles, among others). Happy Ending played the Performance Space last April to a packed house; for those who were here for that show expect about half the set this time to be different songs (both originals and covers).

Here is the band’s performance of their original song “Planned Community” from that show (thanks to ernst of Oasis d’Neon for the video):

And here is ther cover version of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” in which the band takes some liberties including a recitation of Allen Ginsberg’s “Footnote to Howl”:

Happy Ending has released two albums—the vinyl LP and 45 “Have A Nice Day” in 1984 and the compact disc “Smile for the Camera” in 1996. John Foster, editor of Op Magazine, described “Have A Nice Day” as a “future cult item for the collectors.” Hank Hoffman sings and plays guitar; Richard Brown plays guitar and alto saxophone. Tom Smith is on drums and Randy Stone plays bass. Check out some songs on Happy Ending’s MySpace page.

From their CD “Smile for the Camera,” here is the song “Surfing on Mars”: