Pick of the Day 8/14: Black Klansman
Aug14

Pick of the Day 8/14: Black Klansman

He’s back…and better than ever.  Spike Lee is putting an historical mirror up to our present day faces.  A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same. Black Klansman, winner of the  2018 Cannes Film Festiva lGrand Prix, is at Amherst Cinema tonight; here’s the synopsis: “It’s the early 1970s, a time of great social upheaval as the struggle for civil rights rages on. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington)...

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Pick of the Day 8/13: Eighth Grade
Aug13

Pick of the Day 8/13: Eighth Grade

If you’ve been through eighth grade, then you know how AWKWARD life can be.  It’s no different for  Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher), the subject of You Tube star Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, also called Eighth Grade.  Kayla is the average kid who makes You Tube videos about being confident–which she’s not. “In the final week of a thus-far-disastrous school year—and with high school looming on the...

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Pick of the Day 8/8: Concert for George
Aug08

Pick of the Day 8/8: Concert for George

It’s hard to believe that George Harrison of the Beatles shuffled off his mortal coil almost twenty years ago. But, alas, it’s been that long.  If you’re feeling like you want to reminisce, check out Concert for George, the 2002 performance tribute in his honor.  Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall and featuring Harrison’s songs and the music he loved, the concert includes rock luminaries Eric Clapton, Joe...

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Pick of the Day 7/30: Sorry to Bother You
Jul30

Pick of the Day 7/30: Sorry to Bother You

Okay, I have a funny feeling and a sneaking suspicion that there are going be some serious laugh out loud moments in Sorry to Bother You, a new movie about race, money, politics, and morals.  This is what the Amherst Cinema site says: “In an alternate reality Oakland, California, telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers a magical key that leads to material glory.  As...

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Local Calendar: Thursday 7/26 to Sunday 7/29
Jul26

Local Calendar: Thursday 7/26 to Sunday 7/29

THURSDAY 7/26 MUSIC A Little Night Music: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Trinity United Methodist Church will present “A Little Night Music” every Thursday during the month of July at 6:00pm. Free, donations accepted for all food items. Trinity United Methodist Church, 361 Sumner Ave., Springfield. 413-737-5311. Alex Johnson: 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Alex Johnson of Colorway, formerly of the Drunk Stuntmen. Luxe Burger Bar, 1200 West Columbus...

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Pick of the Day 7/23: Leave No Trace
Jul23

Pick of the Day 7/23: Leave No Trace

Amherst Cinema is just a gold mine. No, really, their film curation is the bee’s knees. And my pick, once again, can only be found in the dark.  Leave No Trace is the story of a father and his daughter who have lived off the grid for some time. They make their home in the forests of Portland, Oregon.  When an event disrupts their private and idyllic world, they are both shuttled through the social service maze. Unable to live in...

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Cinemadope: Christopher Robin explores what stays with us from childhood
Jul23

Cinemadope: Christopher Robin explores what stays with us from childhood

Close your eyes, and think back to the stories of your youth. It’s remarkable, how strongly they stay with us. The recent release of Morgan Neville’s Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? put a spell on me, casting me back to my own childhood — Fred Rogers and his neighborhood friends were a big part of those years — and reminding me of just how much I took from the man and his manner. Even today, I love a good zip-up...

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Pick of the Day 7/16: Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy
Jul16

Pick of the Day 7/16: Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy

Just in case you missed the memo: It’s going to be hot and humid. Surprise.  The best way to beat the heat (besides a water park) is the movies.  So let’s go indoors for our pick and immerse ourselves in some culture. Andy Goldsworthy is a British sculptor who creates transient, ephemeral site-specific works that have earned him accolades and honors including the O.B.E. (the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). ...

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Local Calendar: Monday 7/16 – Wednesday 7/18
Jul16

Local Calendar: Monday 7/16 – Wednesday 7/18

MONDAY 7/16 MUSIC AMHERST JAZZ ORCHESTRA: July 16, 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. With vocalist Ethel Lee. Great food. Union Station Grand Ballroom, 125A Pleasant St., Northampton. 413-253- 1607. info@amherstjazzorchestra.com. Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2018: July 16, MASS MoCa, 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams. STAGE/FILM/DANCE Artney Jackson: July 16, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown. TUESDAY 7/17 MUSIC Bang on a Can Summer...

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Pick of the Day 7/15: Three Identical Strangers at Amherst Cinema
Jul13

Pick of the Day 7/15: Three Identical Strangers at Amherst Cinema

Oh boy, I’ve been waiting for this one! This doc is so scathing and mind boggling, you’ll be thinking about it for some time.  And Tim Wardle’s documentary Three Identical Strangers  is described “as the most amazing, incredible, remarkable true story ever told.” Here goes: Identical triplets are separated at birth and adopted by three different families. Somehow two of them find each other on a college campus....

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Pick of the Day 7/10: Whisper and Shout at Amherst Cinema
Jul10

Pick of the Day 7/10: Whisper and Shout at Amherst Cinema

Okay, I know this the second movie in a row for picks, but this is special! Amherst Cinema is showing a free screening of Whisper and Shout, a 1988 documentary that explores the East German rock music scene in the late 1980s — on 35 mm! Well-established bands, like Silly, and underground punk rock bands, like Feeling B (some of whose members later joined Rammstein) are a part of this doc. Amherst Cinema’s site says, “it...

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Pick of the Day 7/9: Mountain at Amherst Cinema
Jul09

Pick of the Day 7/9: Mountain at Amherst Cinema

If you love symphonic music and breathtaking visuals, you’ll love Mountain.  Director Jennifer Peedom has combined the two; from Tibet to Australia, Peedom provides an astonishing look at mountaineers, ice climbers, free soloists, heliskiers, snowboarders, wingsuiters and parachuting mountain bikers through the use of drones, Go-Pros, and helicopters. Willem Dafoe narrates samples from British mountaineer Robert Macfarlane’s...

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Local Calendar: Monday 7/9 – Thursday 7/12
Jul09

Local Calendar: Monday 7/9 – Thursday 7/12

MONDAY 7/9 MUSIC Monday Night Music – Robert Speth and Jay Letourneau: 7 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Tilton Library, 75 N Main St., South Deerfield. STAGE/FILM/DANCE The Closet: Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown. ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance.  1000 Main St., Williamstown. TUESDAY 7/10 MUSIC Northampton Jazz Workshop: 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. $5. NYC and Boston based guitarist Sheryl Bailey will be the guest soloist...

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Pick of the Day 7/3: The Naked Man on the Sports Field
Jul03

Pick of the Day 7/3: The Naked Man on the Sports Field

Cool off with a little “Culture in the Cold War.” Amherst Cinema (yes, the movies are a great way to escape this hellish heat) is showing a FREE screening of The Naked Man on the Sports Field.  It’s too hot to get bogged down in words, so I’ll just share the plot as told by AC’s website: “Kemmel is almost 40. Although little throws the good-natured sculptor off, he is torn… between wanting to...

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Pick of the Day 6/26: Won’t you be my neighbor?
Jun26

Pick of the Day 6/26: Won’t you be my neighbor?

When I was at the University of Pittsburgh, I worked part-time at WQED Pittsburgh Public Television.  During fund drives, they would move Mr. Rogers props into the first floor hallway so telephone operations could be set up. Even up close there was no demystifying the magic of King Friday’s castle. Built on a movable base, the blue construction was a sight to behold. But it was nothing compared to making Fred Rogers’...

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Local Calendar: Thursday 6/21- Sunday 6/24
Jun21

Local Calendar: Thursday 6/21- Sunday 6/24

THURSDAY 6/21 MUSIC British Dance Invasion: 7 p.m. Academy of Music Theatre, 274 Main St., Northampton. Colorway Album Release with Easy Weasel, Featuring Chris Collingwood: 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. $10 advance, $12 at the door. Colorway has been keeping the spirit of rock music alive in the valley for five years. New album release party with Easy Weasel opening. New City Brewery, 180 Pleasant St., Easthampton. Drop-in Traditional...

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Pick of the Day 6/18: The Seagull
Jun18

Pick of the Day 6/18: The Seagull

Who doesn’t love a little Russian tragicomedy? Chekhov did. No, not Chekhov from Star Trek, I’m talking about Anton. The movie The Seagull is an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s play by the same name.  Here’s the scoop: Friends and family gather at a Russian estate and spend the weekend “passionately loving someone who loves somebody else.”  Sounds fun and lighthearted and in some instances it is. But...

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Local Calendar: Monday 6/11 – Thursday 6/14
Jun11

Local Calendar: Monday 6/11 – Thursday 6/14

MONDAY 6/11 MUSIC Music Mondays Cafe ~ An Evening with Peter Eldridge: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. $15 adults / $10 students cash at the door. .June Music Mondays Cafe features Peter Eldridge and an evening of piano and vocal pop, jazz, standards and original works. Doors at 6:30 ~ Music at 7. Gaylord Memorial Library, 47 College St., South Hadley. 413-250-3540. anzfam4@gmail.com. Open-Mic Night: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Free. The Rendezvous,...

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Pick of the Day 6/11: First Reformed
Jun11

Pick of the Day 6/11: First Reformed

Ethan Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller a middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in New York. It has a illustrious past, once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Now the congregation is shrinking and the new church, Abundant Life, is bright and shiny and boasts 5,000 congregants. When a pregnant parishioner asks Reverend Toller to counsel her radical environmentalist husband, Toller is hurled into a crisis,...

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Pick of the Day 6/3: Beast
Jun01

Pick of the Day 6/3: Beast

Want a little creepy end to your weekend?  Check out Beast, a new film at Amherst Cinema.  Here’s the gist: Moll is 27 and still living at home and is finding it hard to break away from her stifling family.  She meets Pascal, “a free-spirited stranger,” who turns her world upside down. Moll moves in with Pascal, finally freeing herself, but when Pascal is arrested as a “key suspect in a series of of brutal...

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Pick of the Day 6/1: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
May31

Pick of the Day 6/1: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

When I was a kid, I thought Close Encounters of the Third Kind was one of the dumbest movies I’d ever seen;  but now the nostalgic feels are off the chart. It’s definitely one of those movies you should see. It was 1977 and interstellar adventure was all the rage. Stephen Spielberg was peaking, and Star Wars had changed the world.  But this story wasn’t set in a galaxy far far away — this story was set near Muncie,...

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Pick of the Day 5/27: Let the Sunshine In
May25

Pick of the Day 5/27: Let the Sunshine In

Zut Alors! If you’re in the mood for a little french with English subtitles, Let the Sunshine In is the film for you! Juliette Binoche plays a divorced Parisian painter searching for love, but she refuses to just settle for any ol’ body.  Amherst Cinema sums up the film: “There’s a caddish banker (Xavier Beauvois) who, like many of her lovers, happens to be married; a handsome actor (Nicolas Duvauchelle) who’s...

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Pick of the Day 5/25: The Crazies
May25

Pick of the Day 5/25: The Crazies

George Romero is the gift that keeps on giving. If you loved Night of the Living Dead, the zombie-rific sci-fi horror classic, then you’ll go bonkers for The Crazies. The Crazies is another social commentary about the hazards of the industrial military complex. A military plane crashes in a small Pennsylvania town and a chemical, code named Trixie, gets into the water supply causing victims to either die or become homicidally insane....

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Pick of the Day 5/24: Pope Francis: a Man of His Word
May24

Pick of the Day 5/24: Pope Francis: a Man of His Word

Granted, religion is one of those polarizing hot buttons, but it behooves us to take a look at one another’s points of view.  Check out this doc written and directed by three-time Academy Award® nominee Wim Wenders. Described on Amherst Cinema’s site as “a rare co-production with the Vatican, the pope’s ideas and his message are central to this documentary, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers...

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Cinemadope: The deadly ‘crime’ of being black
May22

Cinemadope: The deadly ‘crime’ of being black

Last month, the story of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson lit up social media feeds everywhere. Two young black men, they were waiting quietly for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks when one of them asked to use the restroom. After an employee refused — they hadn’t ordered anything yet, and the bathroom was for paying customers, the men were told — they returned to their table. Soon after, three police officers arrived and promptly...

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Pick of the Day 5/20: The Rider
May18

Pick of the Day 5/20: The Rider

“No more riding, no more rodeos, if you don’t stop, your seizures are gonna get worse.” That’s kind of crux of Brady Jandreau’s delimma.  Jandreau was injured in a riding accident curtailing his rising star on the rodeo circuit. He’s told his competition days are over. But how do you redefine your whole life?  “Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no...

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Pick of the Day 5/13: The Invisibles
May11

Pick of the Day 5/13: The Invisibles

Welcome to Sunday. In June 1943, Germany infamously declared Berlin “free of Jews.” There were, however, still 7,000 Jews living in the Nazi capital. These terrorized people were hiding in attics, basements, and warehouses, “protected by courageous Berliners.” Only 1,700, however, lived to be liberated. As part of Amherst Cinema’s New Films from Germany series, The Invisibles is a collection of the true stories of four of these...

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Pick of the Day 5/12: Mudbound at Mass MoCA
May11

Pick of the Day 5/12: Mudbound at Mass MoCA

Netflix jumped into the Academy Awards this year with Mudbound, a magnificent film set in the Mississippi Delta during the years surrounding World War II. It’s all about southern race relations and that’s the only thing that ain’t pretty in this masterpiece. Lush and gorgeous cinematography and impeccable performances make this film a solid winner. R&B queen Mary J. Blige makes a remarkable turn in this film and was nominated for...

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Pick of the Day 5/8: You Were Never Really Here
May08

Pick of the Day 5/8: You Were Never Really Here

It’s hard not to admire Jaoquin Phoenix’s work; he doesn’t just pop up any and everywhere and he actually acts. More importantly, he hasn’t morphed into a Marvel Comics hero … yet.  So let’s celebrate him while he’s still free of Stan Lee.  You Were Never Really Here is Phoenix’s 2017 thriller which won him a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor.  He plays, Joe, a former FBI agent...

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Pick of the Day 5/2: Neither Wolf Nor Dog at Tower Theaters
May02

Pick of the Day 5/2: Neither Wolf Nor Dog at Tower Theaters

It’s so beautiful today and you’ve probably completely lost your mind; it’s hard to think about being indoors when there’s no guarantee that winter has really gone into hiberation. But we’ve got a suggestion for you after you settle down and you’re looking for an indoor breather.  Neither Wolf Nor Dog is showing at Tower Theaters in South Hadley today. The film is based on Kent Nerburn’s 1996 novel...

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Pick of the Day 4/30: Patagonia Treasure Trail at the Forbes
Apr30

Pick of the Day 4/30: Patagonia Treasure Trail at the Forbes

Patagonia Treasure Trail is about a mother/daughter’s road trip on horseback into “the environmentally delicate and politically volatile territory of southern Arizona. A large commercial mining company has claimed the Patagonia Mountains, and the environmentalist mother wants to enjoy the area before the digging begins.” Devastated by a job loss, the daughter finds herself at odds with her mother’s political...

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Pick of the Day 4/26: Silenced at the Greenfield Gardens
Apr26

Pick of the Day 4/26: Silenced at the Greenfield Gardens

As an artist, I know how important it is for folks to support local creatives. So tonight, you’ve got a great chance to do just that! Silenced, a film written and directed by local boy Julian Lowenthal, will have a world debut at the Greenfield Gardens. Colleen Lyons, a Belchertown resident, is the producer and owns Vermage Productions. The two have a 7 year history in film making. This is the synopsis of Silenced, according to...

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Local female film producer Colleen Lyon talks about new horror film ‘Silenced’
Apr26

Local female film producer Colleen Lyon talks about new horror film ‘Silenced’

Colleen Lyon is a busy woman in a club of one. The owner of Vermage Productions, a Western Mass movie production company, Lyon laments that she is the only female movie producer in the area. When asked if she gets lonely, she sighs and says, “It’s lonely. Very, very lonely. I know other female producers, but none of them make movies like I do.” Lyons has produced and directed films that have been aired on television, local theaters,...

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Pick of the Day 4/25: Faces Places/Visages Villages
Apr25

Pick of the Day 4/25: Faces Places/Visages Villages

It’s the closing night of the Multicultural Film Festival at UMass. Tonight’s film is a special treat. 89-year old French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda and acclaimed 33-year-old French photographer JR co-direct Faces Places/Visages Villages. This documentary follows the pair as they travel through French villages meeting and talking to local folks in JR’s photo truck. Together they create giant-sized portraits of some...

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Pick of the Day 2/24: Call of the Forest at Amherst Cinema
Apr24

Pick of the Day 2/24: Call of the Forest at Amherst Cinema

For the love trees! Call of the Forest is a 2017 documentary that sounds the alarm bells about deforestation around the globe. The brilliant scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger explores how our health and the health of the Earth depends on the state of our forests.  She travels across the globe to explore the science and the challenges of restoring the eco-system.  The movie’s site describes Beresford-Kroeger’s mission:...

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