Music: Milksop: Unsung on Thurs., Jan. 30, at 8:30 PM

Milksop: Unsung play the Best Video Performance Space on Thurs., Jan. 30. The cover is $5 and the music starts a half-hour later than usual, at 8:30 PM.

What is “psycho-folk?” The best way to find out is to come to see and hear New Haven band Milksop: Unsung.  Members of the group are Dan Carrano (mandolin, acoustic guitar), T.J. Jackson (acoustic guitar, banjo), Gary Velush (upright bass) and Mike Paolucci (percussion). With that instrumentation, it should be no surprise that the band’s roots are in bluegrass and Americana. But they put their own 21st-century twisted twist on those forms.

Milksop: Unsung’s video for their song “Ervil LeBaron”:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, Jan. 23. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Jan. 29. INDIE ROCK: SOZIO

• Thursday, Jan. 30. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Wednesday, Feb. 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Thursday, Feb. 6. CHORAL QUIRK POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Wednesday, Feb. 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PAT STONE

• Thursday, Feb. 13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: BIG FAT COMBO

• Thursday, Feb. 20. BLUEGRASS: 5 IN THE CHAMBER

• Wednesday, Feb. 26. DECONSTRUCTING POP: THE LUCK PUSHERS

• Thursday, Feb. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITER POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, Apr. 2. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Apr. 17. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

Music: Indie rock by Sozio on Wed., Jan. 29, at 8 PM

Indie rock band Sozio makes its live debut in the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The cover is $5 and the music starts at 8 PM.

Sozio_photo_Web

Sozio is the live performance vehicle for songwriter Christopher Mir. A renowned visual artist, Mir also has a prolific musical imagination, regularly recording (unreleased) albums at home in rock, folk and avant-garde styles. Sozio is a project more in the pop mode, with sharp hooks and clever lyrics. Mir sings and plays guitar, backed by the rhythm section of Scott McDonald (drums) and Anthony Florio (bass).

Or, as Mir puts it:

Planck scale geometries and psi phenomenon merge to form the sonic bliss that is Sozio.  Sozio is—according to the most recent evidence—Scott McDonald (hitting on drums and flagons of wine), Christopher Mir (singing and guitarring in quantum super position), and Tony Flowers (playing anti-bass for the masses). Do the world a big favor—love Sozio right now. Yolo punks!

Well, I told you he is an artist.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, Jan. 23. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Jan. 29. INDIE ROCK: SOZIO

• Thursday, Jan. 30. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Wednesday, Feb. 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Thursday, Feb. 6. CHORAL QUIRK POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Wednesday, Feb. 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PAT STONE

• Thursday, Feb. 13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: BIG FAT COMBO

• Thursday, Feb. 20. BLUEGRASS: 5 IN THE CHAMBER

• Wednesday, Feb. 26. DECONSTRUCTING POP: THE LUCK PUSHERS

• Thursday, Feb. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITER POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, Apr. 2. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Apr. 17. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

New Releases 01/21/14

Top Hits
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen-directed drama, Cate Blanchett. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “When Cate Blanchett first cruises into Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, playing a Park Avenue matron fallen on hard times, she looks like a million bucks. She’s wearing pearls and a white Chanel jacket, with an Hermès bag as big as a Shetland pony hanging off one arm. It’s the sort of important accessory worn by women accustomed to being chauffeured around town. Soon after, though, as she stands with her monogrammed luggage on a nondescript San Francisco sidewalk, she looks frightened, alone — like someone who could benefit from some kindness. Instead, she waves off a stranger and, posing a question that’s as existential as it is practical, demands, ‘Where am I, exactly?’ She’s in the Mission, for starters, but Jasmine French — this lost, lonely woman brilliantly brought to quivering life by Ms. Blanchett — is more properly in a Woody Allen movie, his most sustained, satisfying and resonant film since Match Point.” Read more…)

Machete Kills (action comedy, Danny Trejo. Rotten Tomatoes: 29%. Metacritic: 41. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Until your eyes glaze over after about a half-hour, Machete Kills might put a twisted smirk of guilty amusement on your face. The high point of those opening minutes is a fantastically gaudy fake trailer for a sequel, Machete Kills Again … In Space, which embodies the director Robert Rodriguez’s nostalgia for trashy B-movie exploitation flicks.” Read more…)

The Act of Killing (documentary, history, Indonesian genocide. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 89. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “There are, nonetheless, a few movies that try to take us inside the minds and motives of [those] guilty [of genocide], and to show us the familiar — the banal — face of evil. Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah [recently reissued on DVD by the Criterion Collection] is a notable and still notably rare attempt to explore genocide not only as a historical cataclysm but also as a result of innumerable instances of actual, ordinary behavior. Though his methods differ from Mr. Lanzmann’s, and his aims are less comprehensive, the 38-year-old filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer undertakes a similar inquiry in The Act of Killing, his dogged, inventive, profoundly upsetting and dismayingly funny documentary about the Indonesian massacres that began in 1965 and claimed, by some estimates, as many as 2.5 million lives over the next year.” Read more…)

Captain Phillips (action thriller, Tom Hanks. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Captain Phillips, a movie that insistently closes the distance between us and them, has a vital moral immediacy. It was directed by Paul Greengrass, the British filmmaker who quickened the pulse of contemporary action cinema with the second and third installments in the Bourne franchise, features that proved yet again that big-screen thrills and thought need not be mutually exclusive. Kinetic action and intelligence are similarly the driving forces in Captain Phillips, which, like Mr. Greengrass’s Bourne movies, shakes you up first with its style and then with its ideas.” Read more…)

Instructions Not Included (Mexico/U.S., comedy, Eugenio Derbez. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 55.)

New Blu-Ray
Blue Jasmine
Captain Phillips
In the Heat of the Night

New Foreign
Instructions Not Included (Mexico/U.S., comedy, Eugenio Derbez, also in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 55.)

New Documentaries
The Act of Killing (history, Indonesian genocide, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 89. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “There are, nonetheless, a few movies that try to take us inside the minds and motives of [those] guilty [of genocide], and to show us the familiar — the banal — face of evil. Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah [recently reissued on DVD by the Criterion Collection] is a notable and still notably rare attempt to explore genocide not only as a historical cataclysm but also as a result of innumerable instances of actual, ordinary behavior. Though his methods differ from Mr. Lanzmann’s, and his aims are less comprehensive, the 38-year-old filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer undertakes a similar inquiry in The Act of Killing, his dogged, inventive, profoundly upsetting and dismayingly funny documentary about the Indonesian massacres that began in 1965 and claimed, by some estimates, as many as 2.5 million lives over the next year.” Read more…)

New Releases 01/14/14

Top Hits
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (historical drama, Forest Whitaker. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Nobody who has seen Shadowboxer, Precious, or, heaven knows, The Paperboy would mistake Lee Daniels for a realist. Nonetheless, his new film — released, as a result of a ridiculous film industry food fight, with the ungainly official title Lee Daniels’ The Butler — is a brilliantly truthful movie on a subject that is usually shrouded in wishful thinking, mythmongering and outright denial. Taking inspiration from an article by Wil Haygood in The Washington Post about the life of Eugene Allen, who worked as a butler in the White House during eight presidential administrations, Mr. Daniels has told the story of the civil rights movement in the bold colors of costume pageantry and the muted tones of domestic drama.” Read more…)

Riddick (sci-fi/action, Vin Diesel. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 49. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: :”Movies like Riddick, a satisfyingly primitive spectacle, help explain the unlikely ascendancy of Vin Diesel as a man of cinema. With his hypertrophied body and Barry White purr, Mr. Diesel — much like his more sweetly appealing brother in brawn, Dwayne Johnson — embodies a particularly salient caricature of masculinity, one that appears to transcend obvious racial identity to make him an ideal modern Everybrute. If Arnold and Sly became the cartoon emblems of Reagan-era might, Mr. Diesel has come into his own as a contemporary hero, one who suggests a postrace ideal, even as he affirms old-fashioned power with displays of annihilating violence.” Read more…)

Carrie (horror, Julianne Moore. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Metacritic: 53. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The last time we saw Carrie White, she was looking a little, well, red around the gills. She had just taken a splashy blood bath in Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror freakout Carrie, and then settled in for what looked like the big sleep. Stephen King’s tormented teenager proved a restless soul, though, and returned in a 2002 television movie and a short-lived 1988 Broadway musical that was revived off Broadway again in 2012. Now she’s back, as they like to say in movie ads, in a fine, largely faithful screen remake, directed by Kimberly Pierce that stars Chloë Grace Moretz as its goddess of gore. It’s hard to keep a franchise crazy down, especially one that can be retrofitted for today’s fears.” Read more…)

Runner Runner (thriller, Justin Timberlake. Rotten Tomatoes: 9%. Metacritic: 36. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In Runner Runner, directed by Brad Furman from a script by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake face off, cleft chin to cleft chin, in a battle for … well, what, exactly? The attention of the audience? Of Gemma Arterton, who plays virtually the only female character in the movie not employed as a hooker or a stripper? Huge sums of money? All of the above, or whatever.” Read more…)

Fruitvale Station (drama, Michael B. Jordan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “In the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, unarmed and lying face down on a subway platform in Oakland, Calif., was shot in the back by a white Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer. The incident, captured on video by onlookers, incited protest, unrest and arguments similar to those that would swirl around the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida a few years later. The deaths of these and other African-American young men [Mr. Grant was 22] touch some of the rawest nerves in the body politic and raise thorny and apparently intractable issues of law and order, violence and race. Those matters are hardly absent from Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler’s powerful and sensitive debut feature, which imaginatively reconstructs the last 24 or so hours of Oscar Grant’s life, flashing back from a horrifying snippet of actual cellphone video of the hectic moments before the shooting. But Mr. Coogler, a 27-year-old Bay Area native who went to film school at the University of Southern California, examines his subject with a steady, objective eye and tells his story in the key of wise heartbreak rather than blind rage.” Read more…)

Short Term 12 (drama, Brie Larson. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 82. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A delicate intensity of feeling shapes Short Term 12, a drama about young, lost people hoping to be found. These aren’t like the strays who anxiously drift through other contemporary American movies — whose lack of purpose is reflected both in the groping camerawork and the uncertainty of a budding filmmaker behind the camera. The young director of Short Term 12, Destin Daniel Cretton, may have adapted some of the techniques of low-budget independent features, including a suggestion of tentativeness in the hand-held cinematography. But he’s clearly thought through his choices and found a subject that has earned its heartache.” Read more…)

You’re Next (horror, Sharni Vinson. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Injecting the home-invasion thriller with fresh DNA, Adam Wingard’s You’re Next strays just enough from formula to tweak our jaded appetites. That it does so without spraying the gore to geyserlike excess says a great deal about Mr. Wingard’s sensibility. Never one to linger ghoulishly over violence — or to rely on bloodletting to plug a weak script — he prefers to strike and move on.” Read more…)

The Spectacular Now (romance, Miles Teller. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 82. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “James Ponsoldt’s new film, The Spectacular Now, overcomes echoes of familiarity as [teenager] Sutter [Keely] finds his way through the end of high school and the responsibilities looming after graduation (that perennial movie horizon) in his small town. Much of this patiently achieved success flows from Miles Teller’s winning, seemingly effortless performance as Sutter, in all his laziness and charm, open-mindedness and fatalism, always with a glimpse of the unease beneath. ” Read more…)

Enough Said (romantic comedy/drama, James Gandolfini. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Now is the time to state that Enough Said is very funny indeed. Line for line, scene for scene, it is one of the best-written American film comedies in recent memory and an implicit rebuke to the raunchy, sloppy spectacles of immaturity that have dominated the genre in recent years.” Read more…)

A Single Shot (thriller, Sam Rockwell. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic: 53. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “During its initial quiet stretch, when about the only things on the screen are a man, his gun and the kind of lonely feeling meant to gnaw at the soul, A Single Shot drifts along on its woodsy scenery and vaporous promise. The man, John Moon (a fine Sam Rockwell), lives his spartan existence in a beat-up trailer in the middle of Nowhere, U.S.A. It’s the kind of atmospherically desolate place where, at least in fiction, men and their destinies are rarely alone for long. And so it is for Moon, who soon has to deal with a dead woman and a stash of cash.” Read more…)

20 Feet From Stardom (background singers, Darlene Love. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 83. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The song that plays over the opening titles of 20 Feet From Stardom, Morgan Neville’s new documentary, is Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ a provocative choice and also an appropriate one. The notorious lyrics of the chorus — ‘and the colored girls sing/doo, da-doo, da-doo, doo doo doo doo … ‘ — establish the movie’s subject and also its reason for being. This generous, fascinating documentary about the careers of backup singers, most of them African-American women, seeks to rewrite the history of pop music by focusing attention on voices at once marginal and vital.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Fruitvale Station
Enough Said
Riddick
Carrie

New Documentaries
20 Feet From Stardom (background singers, Merry Clayton, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 83. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The song that plays over the opening titles of 20 Feet From Stardom, Morgan Neville’s new documentary, is Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ a provocative choice and also an appropriate one. The notorious lyrics of the chorus — ‘and the colored girls sing/doo, da-doo, da-doo, doo doo doo doo … ‘ — establish the movie’s subject and also its reason for being. This generous, fascinating documentary about the careers of backup singers, most of them African-American women, seeks to rewrite the history of pop music by focusing attention on voices at once marginal and vital.” Read more…)

New Music
20 Feet From Stardom (background singers, Darlene Love, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 83. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The song that plays over the opening titles of 20 Feet From Stardom, Morgan Neville’s new documentary, is Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ a provocative choice and also an appropriate one. The notorious lyrics of the chorus — ‘and the colored girls sing/doo, da-doo, da-doo, doo doo doo doo … ‘ — establish the movie’s subject and also its reason for being. This generous, fascinating documentary about the careers of backup singers, most of them African-American women, seeks to rewrite the history of pop music by focusing attention on voices at once marginal and vital.” Read more…)

(The other) Hank’s Recommendations 01/14/14

Hank_Hoffman_Picks_Image_sketch_WebAfter a bit of a dry spell, the DVD taps are opening again and a rush of long awaited releases is upon us. Coming out this week are two highly anticipated movies dealing with race in America: LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER and FRUITVALE STATION.

The Butler—the director’s name was appended to the title because of a lawsuit over the rights to the unadorned “The Butler”—was the star-studded, big budget release. Based on a true story, it tells contemporary African-American history through the perception of Cecil Gaines (played by Forest Whitaker), a butler who served seven Presidents at the White House. Gaines, who witnesses his father being gunned down in a cotton field by the son of the white plantation owner, flees the Jim Crow South for Washington, D.C., taking with him the deferential attitudes towards white supremacy that was often necessary for survival under segregation. But, as Bob Dylan sang, the times are a-changing. Gaines lands a position in the Eisenhower White House at a time when the civil rights movement is challenging the old racial order.

Gaines keeps his head down but his son Louis gets caught up in the social ferment, landing in jail for participating in nonviolent civil disobedience and precipitating a rift with his father. The Butler is a serious movie but not necessarily a deep one. In trying to present some fifty years of tumult in a little over two hours, it touches on a historical events—civil rights marches, Vietnam, Watergate—like a stone skipping over the surface of a lake. Still, Daniels’ effort is enlivened by the fine performances of Forest Whitaker in the title role, Oprah Winfrey as his wife Gloria and David Oyelwo as his son Louis.

Fruitvale Station is an exceptional film, small-scale but ambitious. Where Lee Daniels’ The Butler tries to encompass the sweep of a half-century of social history, Fruitvale Station focuses on a single day—the last day of Oscar Grant’s life. Directed by first-time director Ryan Coogler, it is also based on a true story, the New Year’s Day 2009 killing of unarmed 22-year-old Oscar Grant by a Bay Area Rapid Transit patrolman. This focus enables Coogler to dig deeper, to really uncover the tragedy and humanity behind the headline. Michael B. Jordan—a young character actor who played Wallace in HBO series THE WIRE—plays Grant with immense feeling and sensitivity.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler dramatizes how much things have changed. But Fruitvale Station demonstrates how, in important ways, things have changed too little. How did Oscar Grant end up shot in the back in the titular train station? By following his mother’s advice to be safe by not taking the car for his New Year’s Eve revels with his girlfriend Sophina (played by Melonie Diaz) and his friends. But there is still no safe place for a young black man in America.

Music: Sambeleza brings Brazilian music with a twist of jazz Wed., Jan. 22, at 8 PM

Sambeleza_at_BV_112112_72dpiSambeleza plays the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Sambeleza—featuring Isabella Mendes, Jeff Fuller, Joe Carter and Asher Delerme—performs a wide variety of Brazilian songs, both old and new, with a jazz twist. Featured composers include Tom Jobim and Ary Barroso, as well as younger composers like Djavan, Debora Gurgel and Arlindo Cruz. A few originals by group members are added to the mix.

Brasil (spelled with an “s” in Portuguese) is well known for its rich heritage—a blend of indigenous, African and European cultures—from which the music has risen with fascinating rhythms, soaring melodies and colorful harmonies. The musicians of Sambeleza are outstanding U. S. and Brazilian interpreters of the great songs of the bossa nova and samba traditions, as well as outstanding jazz artists in their own right. Sambeleza derives its name from two words: samba, the national dance of Brasil, and beleza, Portuguese for “beauty.”

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Jan. 15. FILM SCREENING: “THE THIRD MAN”

• Thursday, Jan. 16. SINGER/SONGWRITER: KEVIN MF KING, PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR)

• Wednesday, Jan. 22. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Jan. 23. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Jan. 29. INDIE ROCK: SOZIO

• Thursday, Jan. 30. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Wednesday, Feb. 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Thursday, Feb. 6. CHORAL QUIRK POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Wednesday, Feb. 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PAT STONE

• Thursday, Feb. 13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: BIG FAT COMBO

• Thursday, Feb. 20. BLUEGRASS: 5 IN THE CHAMBER

• Wednesday, Feb. 26. DECONSTRUCTING POP: THE LUCK PUSHERS

• Thursday, Feb. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITER POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, Apr. 2. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Apr. 17. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

 

New Releases 1/7/14

Top Hits
Closed Circuit (thriller, Eric Bana. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Closed Circuit, a slick, tasty slice of late-summer nonsense from Britain, comes soaked in gunmetal blue and paranoia. The anxiety is well founded: they’re watching us. A lot — especially through the ubiquitous closed-circuit television cameras that dot London like neighborhood constables or plague sores, depending on your view of life in the surveillance state. Millions of these cameras watch over Britain, at least half of which seem as if they’d been tapped for this movie to lord down from lampposts and buildings over the little people below, including a concerned-looking yet manly Eric Bana and an equally fretful, fetching Rebecca Hall.” Read more…)

And While We Were Here (romance/drama, Kate Bosworth. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 46. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “While watching Kat Coiro’s dour marital drama, And While We Were Here, I realized with a mixture of sadness and relief that adultery and erotic discontent, at least in the movies, are not what they used to be. They’ve lost any frisson of the exotic and forbidden. The film, in which Kate Bosworth and Iddo Goldberg play a young married couple who travel to Italy and face the reality of their loveless marriage, is an undisguised homage to Roberto Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy and, to a lesser extent, Michelangelo Antonioni’s film L’Avventura.” Read more…)

The Painting (France, animated drama, Jean Barney [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 70. From Anita Gates New York Times review: “Ramo loves Claire, but he is an Alldunn, and she is a Halfie, and their romance is forbidden in the world of Le Tableau, a French animated film now released in English as The Painting. The children’s-story premise is that these people live in a painting, which the artist left unfinished. [In Claire’s case, her face has not been colored in; from the neck up, she looks like a black-and-white Modigliani.]” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Closed Circuit
The Painting
Cabaret (1972, drama/musical, Liza Minnelli. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%.)
Doctor Zhivago (1965, epic, Omar Sharif. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%.)
How the West Was Won (1962, western, James Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
Ben-Hur (1959, historical epic, Charlton Heston. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.)
A Star Is Born (1954,, drama, Judy Garland. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%.)
A Letter to Three Wives (1949,drama/romance, Jeanne Crain. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%.)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956, thriller, James Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.)
The Big Parade (1925, war drama/silent, John Gilbert. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
Cavalcade (1933, Noel Coward-scripted epic, Clive Brook. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%.)
Parade’s End (HBO mini-series, romance, drama, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%.)
Girls: Season 1
Girls: Season 2
Veep: Season 1
Magic City: Season 1

New Foreign
The Painting (France, animated drama, Jean Barney [voice], in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 70. From Anita Gates New York Times review: “Ramo loves Claire, but he is an Alldunn, and she is a Halfie, and their romance is forbidden in the world of Le Tableau, a French animated film now released in English as The Painting. The children’s-story premise is that these people live in a painting, which the artist left unfinished. [In Claire’s case, her face has not been colored in; from the neck up, she looks like a black-and-white Modigliani.]” Read more…)

New Classics (pre-1960)
Cavalcade (1933, Noel Coward-scripted epic, Clive Brook. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1933 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It is a most affecting and impressive picture that the Fox studios have produced from Noel Coward’s stage panorama, Cavalcade. It reached the Gaiety last night and, without having seen the original, one senses the genuine quality of the film and also the advantages that have been taken of the camera’s far-seeing eye. Never for an instant is the story, which takes one through three decades of life in England, lost sight of, notwithstanding the inclusion of remarkable scenes of throngs in war and peace, and it is a relief to observe that the obvious is left to the spectator’s imagination.” Read more…)

New British
Copper: Season 2

New TV
The Following: Season 1

New Documentaries
Inequality for All (economics, poverty, wealth distribution, Robert Reich. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 68. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “The concentration of our country’s wealth among the very rich has gone from being an unsettling factoid to a rallying cry, and Jacob Kornbluth’s Inequality for All hands the bullhorn to Robert Reich, the labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. Rather than through a harangue or a lament, Mr. Reich ties together his talking points with a reasonable-sounding analysis and an unassuming warmth sometimes absent from documentaries charting America’s economic woes.” Read more…)

Film screening: “The Third Man” on Wed., Jan. 15, at 7 PM

Best Video Performance Space will screen the legendary postwar thriller The Third Man on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The movie starts at 8 PM and admission is $5. We will screen the film from a high definition Blu-Ray disc on our 120-inch projection screen.

The_Third_Man_bw_Web

The Third Man, which stars Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, was directed by Carol Reed from a script by Graham Greene. The movie has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Reviewing the film in 1950 for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther wrote:

The haunting music of a zither, the ring of Vienna’s cobbled streets and a ghostly Graham Greene story, about a man-hunt in that seamy capital flow smoothly and beautifully together into one piece of top screen artifice in Carol Reed’s most recent (and most touted) mystery-thriller-romance, The Third Man. Trailing Continental glories and faint echoes of that zither’s weird refrains, this extraordinarily fascinating picture began a run at the Victoria yesterday.

But we feel we are bound to inform you that our key word is “artifice” in that thoroughly enthusiastic introductory paragraph. For the simple fact is that The Third Man, for all the awesome hoopla it has received, is essentially a first-rate contrivance in the way of melodrama—and that’s all. It isn’t a penetrating study of any European problem of the day (except that it skirts around black-markets and the sinister anomalies of ‘zones’). It doesn’t present any ‘message.’ It hasn’t a point of view. It is just a bang-up melodrama, designed to excite and entertain. In the light of the buzz about it, this is something we feel you should know. Once it is understood clearly, there is no need for further asides.

The Third Man is being presented through the support of Best Video member John McNamara, a strong supporter of the Performance Space programming. If forced to choose, McNamara says he would probably name The Third Man as his favorite movie of all time. High praise! Come down on Wednesday night to watch and see if the film becomes one of your favorites, too.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Jan. 8. JAZZ: BRETT BOTTOMLEY

• Thursday, Jan. 9. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SOLIN

• Wednesday, Jan. 15. FILM SCREENING: “THE THIRD MAN”

• Thursday, Jan. 16. SINGER/SONGWRITER: KEVIN MF KING, PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR)

• Wednesday, Jan. 22. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Jan. 23. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Jan. 29. INDIE ROCK: SOZIO

• Thursday, Jan. 30. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Wednesday, Feb. 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Thursday, Feb. 6. CHORAL QUIRK POP: THE DRESS-UPS

• Wednesday, Feb. 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PAT STONE

• Thursday, Feb. 13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: BIG FAT COMBO

• Thursday, Feb. 20. BLUEGRASS: 5 IN THE CHAMBER

• Wednesday, Feb. 26. DECONSTRUCTING POP: THE LUCK PUSHERS

• Thursday, Feb. 27. SINGER-SONGWRITER POP: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE

• Wednesday, Apr. 2. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Apr. 17. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS

 

Kevin MF King/Paul Belbusti show, scheduled for tomorrow, postponed to Jan. 16 due to weather

The show scheduled for Thursday evening, Jan. 2, featuring Kevin MF King and Paul Belbusti (Mercy Choir), is being postponed to Thursday, Jan. 16, due to the pending snowstorm.

Kevin MF King and Paul Belbusti (Mercy Choir) will perform separate sets at the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Jan. 16. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Kevin MF King’s songs run amok with topics such as work drudgery, self-reflection, escapism, the debauchery displayed in modern politics and the process of human interaction, at times using fictional folk tales to tell a story, others just beautiful instrumentals. KMFK has more than 100 self-recorded songs regularly distributed on self-released hand-stamped cds.

Mercy Choir is the songwriting/recording/performing project of Paul Belbusti – a man from the New Haven area of Connecticut. The music has been described using any and all of the following terms: acoustic, folk, noise, psychedelic, rock, electroacoustic, outsider, indie, freak folk, bad, good, weird, beautiful, ugly, impressive, depressing, disappointing, metal, quiet, loud, authentic, fake, electronic, digital, analog, pretentious, hifi, lofi, etc.

Music: Brett Bottomley playing Chapman Stick Wed., Jan. 8, at 8 PM

Brett_Bottomley_at_BESTJazz musician Brett Bottomley returns to the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Jan. 8. The cover is $5 and the music starts at 8 PM.

Brett Bottomley is a local jazz and rock Chapman Stickist From North Haven. He has released his first solo stick CD “Journeys” this past year, and gigs extensively throughout the Northeast as a soloist and with his band Toy Masheen.

Brett plays jazz “guitar and bass” parts simultaneously  on his instrument, creating a unique listening experience.

The Stick comes from the guitar and bass, but its playing method shares roots with keyboards and drums as well, placing all of these musical voices in the hands of one musician.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Jan. 8. JAZZ: BRETT BOTTOMLEY

• Thursday, Jan. 9. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SOLIN

• Wednesday, Jan. 15. FILM SCREENING: “THE THIRD MAN”

• Thursday, Jan. 16. SINGER/SONGWRITER: KEVIN MF KING, PAUL BELBUSTI (MERCY CHOIR)

• Wednesday, Jan. 22. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Thursday, Jan. 23. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ILANA ZSIGMOND

• Wednesday, Jan. 29. INDIE ROCK: SOZIO

• Thursday, Jan. 30. PSYCHO-FOLK: MILKSOP: UNSUNG

• Wednesday, Feb. 5. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: JENNIFER DAUPHINAIS, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Thursday, Feb. 6. ROCK: THE DRESS-UPS

• Wednesday, Feb. 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PAT STONE

• Thursday, Feb. 13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: BIG FAT COMBO

• Thursday, Feb. 20. BLUEGRASS: 5 IN THE CHAMBER

• Wednesday, Apr. 2. CLASSICAL: HAVEN STRING QUARTET

• Thursday, Apr. 17. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE LONESOME SPARROWS