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RED BANK: STUDENT FILMFEST RETURNS

Sock Monster,’ by Middletown South sophomore Victoria Pater, is among the finalists in the High School category of this year’s Project FX festival at the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday.

High school and college student filmmakers from all over New Jersey — including two from here on the Greater Red Bank Green — are among the finalists who will see their short works displayed on the big screen of the historic Count Basie Theatre when the Project FX statewide film competition invites the public to its third annual festival this Saturday.

Sponsored by Bank of America and presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, the contest assembles hundreds of short-form narrative and documentary entries each year, showcasing young talent in acknowledgment of the DIY revolution that’s placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere.

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RED BANK: BASIE PIMPS STAGE TO PRESS

Signage touting the Asbury Park Press brand will be installed in front of the stage and projected elsewhere in the venue before and after shows. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After some 90 years as a lights-down sanctuary from the outside world, visitors to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre will be greeted by heavy pre- and post-show branding by the Asbury Park Press starting Tuesday.

According to an “exclusive” report about itself Monday, the Neptune-based Press will have its name in lights throughout the entertainment space: in front of the stage, on a drop-down screen, and on the walls before and after performances and during intermissions.

“You will be seeing an act that is performing on the Asbury Park Press Stage,” Basie CEO Adam Philipson is quoted as saying.

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RED BANK: A COUNT-DOWN TO THE OSCARS

Casey Affleck stars in tonight’s showing of MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, one of the heavily favored Oscar contenders being presented on the Count Basie screen at a pleasingly retro ticket price.  (Amazon Studios)

It happens every year at this time: the kind of awards-season buzz that turns the most casual-viewing couch potato into the most discerning of armchair film critics and festival adjudicators. As the February 26 airdate of the 89th Academy Awards draws closer, film fans scramble to catch up with as many of the nominated features as there are hours in the week — and the Count Basie Theatre is there to meet them, with a special slate of screenings that spotlights some of 2016’s most acclaimed releases, at a price of admission that’s a throwback to some twenty years ago.

The schedule that kicked off on January 31 with the noir western Hell or High Water (four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture) continues tonight, February 15, with a 7 p.m. screening of a “little” movie that’s made a big splash with audiences from here to Sundance: the drama Manchester By The Sea.

Set in the Massachusetts coastal town of that name, the tale of old wounds, second chances and heavy burdens stars Casey Affleck in his Golden Globe winning turn as Lee, an emotionally scarred handyman who’s forced to return to his old hometown when he’s named the guardian of his recently deceased brother’s teenaged son. Coming out of left field to score six major Oscar nominations — for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor (young Lucas Hedges), Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams as Lee’s ex-wife), plus Kenneth Lonergan’s original screenplay and direction — the film is all the more impressive for having catapulted its distributor Amazon Studios into the big leagues of Oscar-lauded contenders.

A presentation of the Count Basie Theatre Cinema Society, tonight’s showing of Manchester by the Sea plays at Monmouth County’s longest continuously operating movie venue for just $5 per ticket (or free of charge, for Cinema Society members). Buy two admissions for $15, and receive a $10 concessions vouchers — and take it here to reserve.

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RED BANK: SNEAK PEEK AT ‘THE COMEDIAN’

Robert De Niro in ‘The Comedian,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

It’s the latest entry in a series that’s offered a first look at features by Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola. And this Thursday, audiences here on the Greater Red Bank Green have an opportunity to catch Robert De Niro in The Comedian one day prior to its going wide on screens from coast to coast.

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RED BANK: CLEESE BRINGS ‘GRAIL’ TO BASIE

Monty Python Holy GrailMonty Python co-founder John Cleese (at lower left in above photo, and below in 2016) makes his Count Basie Theatre debut introducing a Sunday evening screening of the 1975 comedy classic ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’

John CleeseYou know you’ve drifted into uncharted cultural waters when the co-founder of the most cheerfully anarchic comedy institution of all time likens your nation’s new presidential administration to a “pirate ship” — with the man who famously brought you the “Dead Parrot” sketch going on to brand the skipper of that ship as “delusional.”

Having returned in recent years to his British birthplace (where he advocated for Brexit-ing the European Union) after some two decades as a resident of the United States, John Cleese comes to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for the first time this Sunday, when the self-described “writer, actor and tall person” hosts a special screening of one of his troupe’s finest celluloid moments, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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LINCROFT: A SPIKE IN ATTENDANCE AT UUCMC

Spike WilnerThe “Earth Room” of Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse is the setting this Sunday, for a free winter’s afternoon jazz concert featuring pianist Mike “Spike” Wilner.

Its “Earth Room” sanctuary has served for years as the greater Red Bank green’s go-to venue for guest lectures on progressive causes, in addition to regularly scheduled Social Action Film screenings of hot-topic documentaries — and, beginning in 2016, a slate of concert events that’s placed some internationally acclaimed modern folk music artists in front of Monmouth County audiences for the very first time.

This Sunday afternoon, January 29, Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County becomes a jazz club, albeit one that trades the candlelit-cool night owl vibe for the streaming light of the stained glass windows and the afternoon delights of pianist Spike Wilner.

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MIDDLETOWN: IT’S ALL FREE AT THE LIBRARY

Ghostbusters-2016The 2016 remake of ‘Ghostbusters’ screens for free at Middletown Library as part of a program that also features a Sunday afternoon “one-man musical” performance by veteran recording artist Danny Rongo, below. 

Danny Rongo smallFrom junior chess to “dress for mess;” from writers’ workshops to Pokemon swaps, the folks at the Middletown Township Public Library have built a schedule of wintertime events, clubs and activities that form a welcome mat for all ages and all corners of the Greater Red Bank Green.

It’s an ongoing slate of programming that continues through the coming weekend with a tale of true-life adventure, a “one man musical,” and a movie matinee — all free of charge.

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RED BANK: BASIE FILMFEST EXTENDS DEADLINE

project-fx-2017Press release from Count Basie Theatre

PROJECT FX 2017, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide student film competition presented by Bank of America, is live at www.projectFXbasie.com. Starting now, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics, a high-end Sony camera and $1,000 cash at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Count Basie Theatre will proudly host the daylong PROJECT FX Festival, which will include workshops with film industry professionals, plus a showcase of the top vote getters in both the high school and college categories.

PROJECT FX is open to students enrolled in any New Jersey high school or college as of September 1, 2016. Students now have until Sunday, February 5 (extended from the originally announced date of January 15) to enter their films, which will then be judged upon by a panel of regional and industry-wide experts. Last year’s PROJECT FX competition and festival attracted more than 80 high school and college applicants from throughout the state. Go here to view last year’s finalists.

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RED BANK: NJSO IN THE TEMPLE OF TUNES

raiders-of-the-lost-ark-chamberTwo globe-trotting adventurers — the legendary Indiana Jones (above), and genuine living legend Pinchas Zukerman (below) — team up with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for a pair of upcoming events at the Count Basie. 

pinchas-zukermanCarrying a decades-long beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre into a new calendar year, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank twice in the wintry nights ahead — once as the grand accompanists to a seemingly ageless cinematic spectacle of treasure hunting, and again in the company of an “international treasure” guest artist and conductor.

Even if you’ve seen it anywhere from one to a thousand-and-one times (and the jury’s still out as to which dedicated uber-fan has logged more lifetime hours in its thrall), you’ve probably never experienced Raiders of the Lost Ark like you will on Friday, January 6, when conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos and the NJSO perform a live, full-orchestra accompaniment to the 1981 franchise film as it plays on the big Basie screen.

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RUMSON: ACTOR HELPS MAKE A BOOK ‘SCENE’

SiobhanFallonHoganSiobhan Fallon Hogan makes a Saturday morning appearance at Oceanic Library, keyed to a new children’s book collaboration with fellow Rumson resident Lori Oakes.

suzy-the-sceneLast we caught up with her in the pixelated pages of redbankgreen, the busy screen actor and Rumson resident Siobhan Fallon Hogan brought us up to date on a pair of exciting new projects — the M. Night Shyamalan-produced sci-fi TV series Wayward Pines (the third season of which begins filming in spring 2017), and her second self-penned solo stage show, a multi-character tour de farce entitled Acting Out.

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RED BANK: 3RD ANNUAL COMPETITION IN ‘FX’

project-fx-2017Press release from Count Basie Theatre

The third annual edition of PROJECT FX, the statewide student film competition presented by the Count Basie Theatre and Bank of America, is now live at www.projectFXbasie.com. Starting now, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics, a high-end Sony camera, and $1,000 cash at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Count Basie Theatre will proudly host the daylong PROJECT FX Festival, which will include workshops with film industry professionals, plus a showcase of the top vote getters in both the high school and college categories.

PROJECT FX is open to students enrolled in any New Jersey high school or college as of September 1, 2016. Students have until January 15, 2017 to enter their films, which will then be judged upon by a panel of regional and industry-wide experts. Last year’s PROJECT FX competition and festival attracted more than 80 high school and college applicants from throughout the state (go here to view last year’s finalists).

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RED BANK: HOLLARS FOR DOLLARS, AT BOW TIE

Still from "The Hollars", 2014, Director: John KrasinskiActor-director John Krasinski  pushes a pregnant Anna Kendrick in ‘The Hollars,’ screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

In addition to helping make downtown Red Bank a Milk Dud mecca for first-run independent/”arthouse” feature films, White Street’s Bow Tie Cinemas (and its predecessor, Clearview Cinemas) has done duty as official host venue for an attraction all our own: a series of sneak-preview screening events, spotlighting festival-favorite indies before they go into general release.

Part of a long-running partnership between the borough-based Monmouth County Arts Council and Sony Pictures Classics (the major distributor whose president, Tom Bernard, makes his home in Middletown), the sneak-peek series has offered Red Bank-area audiences a first look at works from veteran auteurs (Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola) and first-timers alike.

This Thursday, it’s “roll ’em” once more, with a 7:30 p.m. showing of “The Hollars,” a comedy-drama directed by (and starring) a familiar face from the workplace.

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RED BANK: FREE SUMMER FILMS AT THE BASIE

Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.The 2015 Disney/Pixar hit “Inside Out” screens Saturday morning at the Count Basie Theatre, part of a free Summer Film Series that resumes on August 10 with the Mel Brooks monster-mash “Young Frankenstein.”

Young_Frankenstein_movie_posterThe doldrums of summer are prime time for free outdoor movie series like the long-running Tuesday attractions at Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park and Sea Bright’s Movies on the Beach. Still, there’s no time like the sweltering present to enjoy the cooling comforts of climate control, and no better place to enjoy a classic moviegoing experience than at Monmouth County’s longest-running picture show, the historic Count Basie Theatre.

Ninety years after its 1926 debut as a venue for the latest in silent films, the former Carlton Theater keeps the big screen a-flicker in the weeks ahead with a special four-part Summer Film Series that’s free of charge.

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RED BANK: KEVIN SMITH FILM TO DEBUT HERE

yoga-hosers-johnny-deppHarley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp and Lily-Rose Depp co-star in “Yoga Hosers,” the new feature film by Kevin Smith. Below, the cake that Cake Boss Buddy Valastro made for Smith’s birthday appearance at the the Count Basie Theatre in 2010.

ksmithcakebossThe last time filmmaker/ actor/ Smodcaster/ writer/ King of Most Media Kevin Smith commandeered the Count Basie Theatre for a public birthday celebration, it was with an August 2010 Q&A session that saw his milestone 40th and magnificent head immortalized in buttercream by a fellow Jersey celeb soon to establish Red Bank cred: “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro.

The multi-platform cult figure (and self-described “fat guy who got thrown off the plane”) may have left Leonardo for Los Angeles years ago — but as he approaches his 46th birthday, he returns to the borough of his birth; the town he gae its big-screen close-up in features like “Chasing Amy” and “Dogma;” a burb that sits at the nexus of the comix multiverse courtesy of the Smith-owned Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash and the AMC TV series Comic Book Men.

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RED BANK: THE PARK AWAKENS

rb movies park 071916 6rb snack bar 071916A combination of cool weather, a family-friendly film, virtual Pokémon characters popping up on cellphones all over the place, a newly opened ice cream stand and of course that gorgeous sunset drew hundreds to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park for a movies-in-the-park screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Tuesday night. 

Parks and Rec Director Charlie Hoffmann said the crowd may have been the largest ever for the weekly summer series presented by Shore Flicks.

Up next in the series: “Zootopia,” followed on August 2 by “Jaws,” in connection with this summer’s 100th anniversary of the Monmouth County shark attacks that inspired the film. The rest of the schedule is here, and Hoffmann reminds attendees that canned food goods are accepted for donation to to Lunch Break and other local charities. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

rb pokemon 071916 3

ON THE GREEN: SUMMER PARK ACTIVITIES

rb rgp yoga 091615 3Yoga, Pilates and zumba share a Wednesday night rotation schedule in Riverside Gardens Park. Below, vocalist Layonne Holmes joins the New Standard for a free concert there Thursday night. 
Layonne Holmes New Standard

Whether you’re on stay-cation — or simply navigating your way through daily life here in on the Greater Red Bank Green — there’s no denying that July offers a fairly awesome menu of open-air entertainments and recreational options. We’ve got a rundown of outdoor events — mostly free of charge — designed to entice you out of the house in the coming midsummer nights and days.

It all starts tonight, July 12, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of the gleefully anarchic animation “Minions.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, and enjoy some ice cream from the newly opened Gracie and the Dudes stand in the park. Take it to our redbankgreen roundup for details on the entire summer screening schedule and weather-related updates. Then take it around the bend for more fun and adventure beneath the summer sun and stars.

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RED BANK: MOVIE SATURDAY ON INDIE STREET

The trailer for “65 Percent,” a documentary by Mike and Jon Altino of Middletown, screens at the Red Bank Middle School at 1 p.m.

indie street logo 2Saturday-morning cartoons, a locally made documentary and shorts-in-a-bunch enliven Saturday’s schedule of the Indie Street Film Festival, which got underway in Red Bank Wednesday night and continues through Sunday afternoon.

Click the “read more” for the full schedule and a sampling of delightful and outrageous movie trailers. Read More »

RED BANK: FRIDAY’S INDIE STREET LINEUP

isff 070616 1Sand artist Joe Mangrum creating a temporary painting at the festival opening-night cocktail party on the Count Basie patio Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

indie street logo 2

Screenings at four Red Bank venues fill Friday’s schedule of the Indie Street Film Festival, which got underway Wednesday night and continues through Sunday afternoon.

Click the “read more” for the full schedule and a sampling of delightful and outrageous movie trailers.

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RED BANK: A MOVIE FEAST ON INDIE STREET

A documentary about people who eat white dirt adds some grit to the first full day of the Indie Street Film Festival. 

indie street logo 2Scandalously long, beautiful legs. A guy with a compulsion for commandeering buses and trains. Geophagy, or dirt-eating.

These and other delightfully strange and wondrous topics fill the schedule of Red Bank’s Indie Street Film Festival as it enters its first full day of screenings and other events Thursday.

Click the “read more” for the full sked and a whole dirtload of delightful and outrageous movie trailers.

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RED BANK: TURN HERE FOR INDIE STREET

The festival flickers to life with “Morris from America” on the big screen at the Count Basie Theatre. Here’s the trailer.

indie street logo 2Day One of the first-ever Indie Street Film Festival gets underway in Red Bank Wednesday, kicking off five days of heaven for movie lovers.

The opening day schedule is light, with one just one film lighting up the giant silver screen of the Count Basie Theatre and two parties. But the festival shifts into high gear Thursday with daylong screenings and other events at five venues, and keeps up the pace through Saturday before winding down Sunday.

Check in with redbankgreen throughout the week for festival coverage and next-day schedules with tons of trailers to help you decide which darkened room to bring your popcorn to. Meantime, here’s the first-day lineup:

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RED BANK: INDIES INVADE THIS WEEK

rb indie film mural 070416A mural on Monmouth Street near Maple Avenue touts the five-day Indie Street Film Festival, which flickers to life Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

indie street logo 2For the first time since 2007, Red Bank will swarm with screening maniacs this week as independent films, filmmakers and cinephiles invade the downtown — and one or two nearby outposts.

Encompassing nearly 100 feature-length and short films, four screening venues and a handful of bars and restaurants, the five-day Indie Street Film Festival kicks off Wednesday, promising to liven up a post-Independence Day interval when the borough traditionally slips into an early doldrums.

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RED BANK: GETTING ‘JURASSIC’ IN THE PARK

jurassic_world_still_6Stake out a place on the grass; bring a food drive donation and enjoy the ride, as free summer movies return to Riverside Gardens Park on July 5 with a screening of the blockbuster JURASSIC WORLD.

“Just picture perfect…a beautiful backdrop” is how T.J. Brustowicz of Shore Flicks described Riverside Gardens Park, the open-air setting for a summertime series of free feature film screenings (presented by Red Bank Parks and Recreation) that enters its ninth season this coming Tuesday, July 5.

Even with Brustowicz and his Shore Flicks crew bringing their pumped-up inflatable screens and beefed-up sound systems to beaches, parks and community centers all over Monmouth County, there’s no arguing that the sculpted terraces and waterfront walkways of Red Bank’s Gardens represent the Shore’s premier place to catch your favorite cinematic stars beneath the stars. From the super sight lines of the sloping lawn to those complimentary Navesink River sunsets — and even the busy energy from the nearby Front Street main drag — it’s an experience you’ll be hard pressed to match anywhere else. And, with the anticipated opening of the new Gracie and the Dudes Organic Ice Cream at the park’s (historically under-utilized) snack bar, the stage is set for a family friendly diversion that continues Tuesday evenings through August 23.

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RED BANK: HERE’S THE BALDWIN- KLINE THING

Alec-Baldwin-Kevin-Kline-333x250The first time Alec Baldwin took to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater, it was for a 2009 fundraiser, during which the leading man of silver screen (“The Hunt for Red October”) and Broadway stage (“A Streetcar Named Desire”) participated in a Q&A for the benefit of the local Junior League.

By the time Baldwin returned to the Bridge Avenue space two years later, he had netted two Emmys, a couple of Golden Globes and a SAG Award for his work on the sitcom “30 Rock.” That appearance found the actor taking part in an entertaining panel discussion with the Tony-nominated frequent Two River artist Michael Cumpsty — a chat moderated by TRTC artistic director John Dias, who made no secret of his desire to secure Baldwin’s services for a future mainstage production in Red Bank.

When Baldwin makes his scheduled appearance at Two River this coming Monday, he’ll have added to his list of conquered media (movies, TV, live drama, commercials, voice mails) a new one: podcasting. And, he’ll be bringing along a fellow multi-platform performer with a formidable set of skills.

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