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RED BANK: CAUSE AND FX, AT BASIE FILMFEST

dan_ratherBroadcast news legend Dan Rather joined Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton and other esteemed adjudicators for PROJECT FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s annual competition for New Jersey student filmmakers. The winning entries receive a free public screening this Sunday afternoon, April 17.

Project FX logoThe revolution that placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere — and the social media mechanism that allows neighborhood auteurs to have their work be viewed by mass audiences — is at the heart of Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide film competition for students of New Jersey high schools and colleges.

Sponsored by Bank of America and presented in partnership with Sony Pictures Classics, the contest collected hundreds of short-form narrative and documentary entries between October 2015 and March 2016 — and on Sunday, April 17, the winning films will be showcased on the big Basie screen during a second annual Project FX Festival that also features workshops with film industry professionals.

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RED BANK: FILM FEST FINALISTS NAMED

Brian O'HalloranPress release from Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre has revealed the films that will compete in its second-ever Project FX statewide student film festival and competition, taking place at the Red Bank theatre on Sunday, April 17.

The competing films – ten entries from Garden State high schoolers, and an additional ten entries from students attending New Jersey colleges – are viewable now at projectFXbasie.com and facebook.com/projectFXbasie. The public can have their say by “liking” or “sharing” the films on Facebook, which will figure into each film’s final score.

Films will also be viewed and voted on by a panel of esteemed adjudicators, including Sony Pictures Classics co-founder and Middletown resident Tom Bernard; Oscar winner Timothy Hutton; Oscar nominated screenwriter James Schamus, legendary broadcast journalist Dan Rather, Clerks and Mallrats star Brian O’Halloran (pictured), United Talent Agency Independent Film Group head Rena Ronson, Breaking Bad cinematographer Peter Reniers and others.

The Project FX Festival will also feature a panel discussion featuring industry experts and a discussion / audience Q&A on breaking into Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Entry into the festival is free, though advance tickets must be obtained by visiting www.countbasietheatre.org.

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RED BANK: COMING ATTRACTIONS, FOR MCAC

I Saw the LightBritish actor Tom Hiddleston plays country music immortal Hank Williams in I SAW THE LIGHT, screening in a Thursday sneak-preview fundraiser at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas.

Beginning Thursday night, and continuing in monthly installments through Spring 2016, downtown Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas is once again the scene for a set of feature film premieres.

Not the red-carpet, “who-are-you-wearing” variety, mind you, but still, a series of sneak-preview screenings that positions the Greater Red Bank Green as a go-to destination for talked-about indies from such major festivals as Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes.

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RED BANK: MEGASTARS TO LIGHT UP BASIE

SOPHIA-LOREN_470x350Screen siren Sophia Loren (above) graces the Count Basie stage Thursday, and Broadway dynamo Patti LuPone (below) follows one night later.  

Patti LuPoneWait, $425 for a single ticket to the Count Basie Theatre? This had better be something special — like, a “once-in-a-lifetime, VIP, limited meet-and-greet” opportunity with one of the world’s most recognized and iconic leading women of film.

Turns out it really is that, as the Red Bank landmark adds to its list of beyond-legendary visitors (Cary Grant, George Carlin, Ringo Starr) with a Thursday-night appearance by Sophia Loren, the Italian-born international movie star and style pacesetter.

And it’s just the first of two events in a row to feature female performers who’ve won worldwide acclaim.

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RED BANK: A MOVIE THAT’LL EAT YOU ALIVE

The trailer for ‘Consumed,’ which gets a one-time showing in Red Bank Wednesday night. (Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_03It hasn’t exactly scorched the box office, and you didn’t see it sweep Sunday night’s Academy Awards. But in the parlance of the Hollywood pitch, Consumed has it all: a mystery you can sink your teeth into, a take-charge female protagonist, a sick kid, a race against time, shadowy conspiracies, and the kind of global armageddon scenario that’s a cornerstone of the modern movie blockbuster.

The threat in this case comes from the insidious presence in food of Genetically Modified Organisms, and when the dramatic feature by director Daryl Wein comes to Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas for a one-time screening on Wednesday, it will make no bones about its anti-GMO stance, and pull no punches about its point of view.

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RED BANK: GARY COOPER AT GARMANY? YUP.

Gary Cooper carLate Hollywood legend Gary Cooper possessed a certain ‘Enduring Style,’ the title of a new book co-authored by his daughter, who visits Red Bank on Saturday.

Enduring StyleComedians of the era suggested that his entire vocabulary consisted of the words “yup” and “nope.” There was always something of the Montana-born cowboy in his characters, whether he was playing a professor (Ball of Fire), Lewis Carroll’s White Knight (Alice in Wonderland), or Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees. 

But Gary Cooper could also rock a premiere-party tux, a day-at-the-races houndstooth blazer, or an anyone-for-tennis ensemble of casual cool. The golden-age Hollywood legend’s sense of Enduring Style is the subject of a book co-authored by his daughter, Maria Cooper Janis, and the centerpiece of an event dubbed”Oscar Saturday” at Garmany of Red Bank.

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RED BANK: INDIE FILM FEST SET FOR SUMMER

basie screen 070114The big screen at the Count Basie Theatre, seen here during a live broadcast of the 2014 World Cup, will serve as the home screen for a film festival scheduled to run in July. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ClapboardKept on a restricted diet for the past eight years, Red Bank-area fans of independent movies will finally get to binge again this summer.

An outfit called Indie Street — in conjunction with Red Bank RiverCenter, three major entertainment venues and even the borough middle school — is planning screenings of as many as 30 films over five days in July.

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RED BANK: A VERY SPECIAL ‘FX’ FOR BASIE

Tim HuttonAcademy Award winner Timothy Hutton (above) joins CLERKS star Brian O’Halloran (below) on the panel of esteemed adjudicators who will select finalists in the Count Basie Theatre’s annual Project FX competition for New Jersey student filmmakers. The deadline for entries has been extended until March 1, 2016.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

Brian O'HalloranThe Count Basie Theatre has extended its entry deadline and announced its panel of esteemed judges for Project FX, its statewide student film festival presented by Bank Of America and Sony Pictures Classics.

Students aged 16-25 and presently enrolled in a Garden State-based high school or college now have until midnight on March 1, 2016 to enter their films at www.projectfxbasie.comThe top vote-getter in each category will win a paid internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics in New York, as well as a screening during the first-ever Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank in July. Second place winners in each category will receive Sony video cameras, while third-place finishers will receive a $500 cash prize.

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RED BANK: BOUTIQUE HAS (MOVIE) MOB TIES

wish 28 021216The interior of Wish 28, owned by twin sisters — and itself the twin of a boutique called Wish in Morris County. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this Retail Churn: The latest addition to the Red Bank shopping scene is a women’s clothing and accessories store owned by two women with mob ties.

The fictional mob, that is.

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RED BANK: HE’S LIVE, JIM!

Shatners_World-770-525x306Pop-cultural icon comes to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Friday night. 

Unlike the planet-dominating Skynet of the Terminator movies, it’s unclear as to exactly when William Shatner became self-aware. But from the moment it happened, this world has not been the same. And for about 90 minutes Friday night, the Red Bank area audience will be offered an opportunity to plug into the old-soul consciousness and galaxy-spanning ego that lords over Shatner’s World.

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RED BANK: BEAM US UP, BASIE

Shatner Khan“KHAAANNNN!” The coming of the mighty Shatner is heralded at the Count Basie Theatre with a three night Kirk-out of films in the classic STAR TREK franchise. Below,Middletown’s own Billy Van Zandt as the “Alien Boy.” 

Billy Van Zandt Alien Boy Star TrekThe famous boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre have hosted a veritable Who’s Who of larger-than-life luminaries, from the crowned heads of Hollywood (Cary Grant, Mickey Rooney, Myrna Loy, Al Pacino) to the brightest lights of the performing arts stage (Idina Menzel, Martha Graham, Marcel Marceau); from comedy kingpins (George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Stephen Colbert) to reality-TV sensations; from music monuments (James Brown, B.B. King, Tony Bennett, Ringo Starr) to homegrown heroes Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.

That said, not even borough-born Count Basie himself commanded the kind of build-up being granted the showbiz legend who arrives at station stop Red Bank on February 5: actor, author, director, spokesman and ultimate song stylist William Shatner.

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RED BANK: ELVIS IS EVERYWHERE, MAN

elvisDouble Trouble: Mike Albert and Scot Bruce (above) represent two different eras of Elvis Presley’s legacy, as the King’s eleventh annual Birthday Bash returns to the Basie on Friday night…while Elvis Costello (below) is in concert and on screen for a Thursday night showing of his “live” film DETOUR.

costello detourAs Scot Bruce tells it, Red Bank is “a great place to play;” the kind of town in which “The King is alive and well.” The veteran entertainer ought to know, since he makes it a point every year at this time to pull the tour bus up to the Count Basie Theatre for one of the greater Green’s most cherished winter rituals — the Elvis Birthday Bash, the eleventh annual edition of which takes to the Basie boards this Friday, January 15.

Before Taking Care of THAT Business, however, the Count’s crib makes room for an Elvis of another time and place: Elvis Costello, the Brit-born singer and songsmith who’s matured into a musicologist of remarkable depth and staying power, since exploding onto the scene as a bespectacled and attitude-infused punk-era troubador in 1977. The artist formerly known as Declan McManus (who’s made multiple in-person visits to the Monmouth Street landmark, as has his jazz-chanteuse spouse Diana Krall) will appear this time on the screen, during an exclusive area exhibit of the new concert film Detour: Live At the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall this Thursday, January 14. Recorded during a hometown stop on his recent  international tour, the 100 minute feature shows Costello in an intimate “living room” setting; accompanied by guitar, piano and occasional ukelele (plus framed by projected images of vintage family photos).

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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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RED BANK: A CHRISTMASSY TRIO AT BASIE

Nebraska XmasThe forecast calls for indoor snow, timely spirits and much music, as A CHRISTMAS CAROL heralds a week of holiday entertainments on the Count Basie stage.

frozen-sing-alongThe dizzyingly jam-packed days of December continue apace at the Count Basie Theatre, where the stage of the area’s most Christmassy performing arts center receives visitations by holiday-themed entertainments hailing from points near and far.

Here are three, one each for the next trio of nights.

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LINCROFT: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEE-ING

As part of the Social Action Film Series, the documentary feature ‘Wings of Life’ screens for free this Sunday evening at the Unitarian Meetinghouse in Lincroft.

We’ve long looked to “the birds and the bees” as fleet-flying messengers of the Facts of Life — but just as crucial to the maintenance of life on earth are the butterflies, the bats, and the blossoms.

On Sunday, a worship space in Lincroft plans to host a free screening of Wings of Life, a DisneyNature documentary feature narrated by Meryl Streep that explores the often unheralded ways in which some of the world’s most endangered species hold the key to the continued existence of all living things on the planet.

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