“Religion & Society” movie series starts Mon., Nov. 3, at 7 PM

All_6_movies_WebA rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into Best Video Performance Space…

Wait, it’s no joke! The next film series in collaboration with Temple Beth Sholom begins Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 PM. “A Rabbi, A Priest and A Minister Walk Into Best Video Performance Space” will feature powerful films with the theme of religion and society. As has been our practice, each screening will begin with a short, context-setting introduction and by followed by an optional discussion.

Each screening begins at 7 PM. The cost for each movie is $5 and reservations are encouraged.

This is the schedule:

Mon., Nov. 3: “The Jewish Cardinal”

The Jewish Cardinal tells the true and provocative story of Jean Marie Lustiger who, while retaining his Jewish identity, converts to Catholicism at age 14 and becomes a priest. Quickly rising through the ranks of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal to become personal advisor to Pope John Paul II, he withstands pressure from Jews and Catholics alike as well as his own family while viewing himself as a symbol of religious reconciliation. This human and even-handed portrait of a man both fused and torn raises questions about faith, heritage and identity that is guaranteed to provoke some lively discussions.

Mon., Nov. 10: “A Price Above Rubies”

This passionate, acclaimed film, starring Renee Zellweger and Julianna Margulies, portrays the intense drama of a young wife and mother in a Brooklyn Hasidic community who—struggling against a patriarchal world she finds isolating, lonely and oppressive—seeks to establish for herself a life of independence and artistic fulfillment beyond her community’s religious and personal strictures while attempting to overcome a terrible secret that could shatter both her and it.

Mon., Nov. 17: “I Confess”

In this unique drama stunningly filmed in Quebec, a murderer confesses his heinous crime to Father Michael Logan, a local priest who, because of the sanctity of the confessional, cannot reveal the confession, not even when he himself becomes the leading suspect! This model piece of film-making directed by Alfred Hitchcock features haunting location shots, mounting suspense and, as Father Logan, a charismatic Montgomery Clift whose face you will not be able to take your eyes from. In a film that will have you hooked all the way, you will discover that, while confession may be good for the soul, it also may be deadly to your life.

Mon., Nov. 24: “Babette’s Feast”

In this simple yet sumptuous Oscar winning film, adapted from an Isak Dinesen short story, two beautiful daughters of a devout, self-denying clergyman carry on his austere teachings by sacrificing their youth and passion to faith and duty. Like their entire hamlet, their lives are lived in self-denial. That is, until the arrival of Babette, a mysterious refugee from France’s civil war. As a servant to the daughters for fourteen years, Babette suddenly reveals her own passion and artistry that moves toward a tumultuous transformation of the town’s inhabitants. This film will raise issues of art and duty, self-indulgence and self-denial, asking the question: can or should there be a balance?

Mon., Dec. 1: “Doubt”

Sister Aloysius Beauvier, played by Meryl Streep, is the rigid and fearsome principal of a Bronx Catholic high school who has an extreme dislike for the progressive and popular parish priest, Father Flynn, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Looking for wrongdoing in every corner, she believes she has uncovered the ultimate sin when she hears Father Flynn has taken a special interest in a troubled boy. But there is no clear proof; the only thing certain is doubt. Based on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and nominated for 5 Academy Awards, there is little doubt this is one of the most honored films of recent times. Also starring Amy Adams and Viola Davis, the superbly acted, spellbindingly suspenseful film raises questions about whether doubt should interfere with action when safety is at issue, even when that issue might be personal.

Mon., Dec. 8: “The End of the Affair”

During the London blitz, a married Londoner, played by Julianne Moore, suddenly breaks off a passionate five-year affair with writer, Maurice Bendrix, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, who suspects another love. When, years later, Fiennes accidentally meets with her dull, civil servant husband, played by Stephen Rea, and then hires a detective to follow Moore, what he discovers becomes a blitz of the soul. This intense adult drama, adapted from a Graham Greene novel and directed by Oscar winner Neal Jordan, poses questions about love, faith and betrayal that will have you searching your own soul long after the movie is done.

New releases 9/9/14

Top Hits

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (comic book action, Chris Evans. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 70. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Given how little creative wiggle room there is in properties like The Winter Soldier, it’s a minor triumph that the Russos imprint any personality on the movie, which is less a stand-alone work than a part of an ever-expanding multimedia enterprise. The directors make their presence felt largely in the first half when they’re emphasizing Steve’s humanity, whether he’s in costume or not. That’s partly the point of his introductory race around the reflecting pool: He runs like the wind, but he also makes you laugh. This emphasis on the human also spills over into some exciting, smartly staged and shot action sequences, including choreographed fights in which the entire bodies of the performers remain visible in the frame and aren’t dissected by the camera and editing.” Read more…)

Willow Creek (horror, Bryce Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 62. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “As a comedian, Bobcat Goldthwait Bobcat Goldthwait can seem like a colicky baby, spitting punch lines punctuated by random screams. As a filmmaker, however, he’s more focused and less predictable, channeling his choleric style into pointed satires on American society that sometimes hit their marks with uncomfortable directness.Which is to say that restraint has not been one of his watchwords — until now. With Willow Creek, a found-footage yarn set in Humboldt County, Calif., Mr. Goldthwait exercises so much caution that you want to get behind his characters and push.” Read more…)

Louder Than Words (family/drama, David Duchovny. Rotten Tomatoes: 14%. Metacritic: 29. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Louder Than Words dramatizes the events that led to the founding of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. The hospital was designed to brighten pediatric care, with facilities that eased access for parents and promoted well-being through art. |A girl from Greenwich, Conn., for whom the hospital is named, died at 13 in 1995 from a rare case of rabies.” Read more…)

Palo Alto (drama, Emma Roberts. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “If you care about April and Teddy, it’s because Ms. Coppola does, too. This is her feature directing debut — her grandfather is Francis Ford Coppola, and Sofia Coppola is her aunt — and she does a lot right here, including coaxing out sympathetic characters who, in other hands, could have been ciphers. Her quiet, attentive filmmaking goes a long way toward distinguishing the sometimes generic material, which she adapted from a collection of Mr. Franco’s short stories, titled Palo Alto and partly inspired by his growing up there. Although it is set in the present, Ms. Coppola gives the story an out-of-time quality that dovetails with its out-of-place vibe.” Read more…)

Homeland: Season 3 (espionage/terrorism thriller drama. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 77.)

New Blu-Ray
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

New Foreign
Borgman (Netherlands, suspense, Jan Bijvoet. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “There is no one who resembles a sleeping princess, a fairy godmother or a dashing romantic savior in the Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam’s malevolent adult fairy tale, Borgman. The story’s magic is black, its perfidy driven by evil spirits. The title character [Jan Bijvoet] is a scrawny, beady-eyed vagabond who lives underground but is forced out of his lair when a manhunt led by a priest drives him and several fellow groundlings from their burrows. Who are these unsmiling, hypervigilant beings who inhabit the woods of an affluent suburban neighborhood, communicate by cellphone and exchange conspiratorial glances?” read more…)

The Jewish Cardinal (France, biography/drama, Laurent Lucas. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. From Rachel Saltz’s New York Times review: “The title of Ilan Duran Cohen’s film The Jewish Cardinal may sound like a punch line. But it accurately describes a real man, Jean-Marie Lustiger, the Paris-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, who at 13, bar mitzvah age, converted to Catholicism in the fraught year of 1940.” Read more…)

New Television
Homeland: Season 3 (espionage/terrorism thriller drama, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 77.)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1 (TV comic book action. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 74.

New Documentaries
Fed Up (nutrition, health, Katie Couric. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Recent research, by contrast, indicates that calories in fruit are not the same as those in soda, a conclusion that is part of the big picture in “Fed Up,” a very good advocacy documentary directed by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric. [Ms. Couric is also an executive producer.] A whirlwind of talking heads, found footage, scary statistics and cartoonish graphics, the movie is a fast, coolly incensed investigation into why people are getting fatter.” Read more…)

The Hornet’s Nest (war, military action. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 61. From Daniel M. Gold’s New York Times review: “The Hornet’s Nest gives a grunt’s-eye view of Operation Strong Eagle III in 2011, fought to disrupt or expel Taliban forces in Marawara District in Kunar. David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud are credited as directors, but this documentary is really by Mike Boettcher, a broadcast journalist embedded with Task Force No Slack of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division.” Read more…)