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Spirit of the SatoProject Animal Worldwide partners with Middletown Township Library for a free Wednesday evening screening of the documentary SPIRIT OF THE SATO: The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs. 

From the city streets of San Juan to the most remote beaches, they’re among the most “invisible” of the homeless population. An estimated quarter of a million Sato (local slang for mixed-breed or “mutt”) dogs roam Puerto Rico, often abandoned by their owners and left to fend for themselves in a US territory where spaying and neutering animals is not common practice.

With the 2013 documentary Spirit Of The Sato, filmmaker Ellen La Torre took a quantum leap toward raising awareness of the plight of the Satos — drawing the participation of experts that include original “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan, and focusing on the efforts of Project Animal Worldwide, the Eatontown-based nonprofit organization presided over by La Torre. Partnering with dog-friendly Shore area businesses like Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar and entities like the Monmouth County SPCA, the people from PAW have run “Sato Reunion” missions to Puerto Rico; matching dogs with adopting homes throughout New Jersey and the region — and on Wednesday, April 29, the feature subtitled The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs receives a free screening at Middletown Township Public Library.

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Lambert-StampThe Sony Pictures Classics rockumentary LAMBERT AND STAMP is screened as part of statewide student film competition Project FX, with finalists in the High School and College categories showcased at the Count Basie this Sunday, April 19.

They hail from places like Middletown High School South, Christian Brothers Academy and Brookdale Community College — and for a few minutes at least, they’re peers on a par with such Jersey-bred filmmakers, movers and shakers as Kevin Smith, John Sayles, Danny De Vito — even Tom Edison and his Black Maria studio.

The 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.

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the-trip-to-italy-rob-brydon-steve-coogan1-600x337Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan star in THE TRIP TO ITALY, one of a smorgasbord of “food themed films” that screen for free during Mondays in April at Middletown Library. 

Whoever opined to the effect that there’s “no such thing as a free lunch” would do well to visit the Middletown Township Public Library here in April, where every Monday afternoon spotlights a different cinematic confection; centered around a foodie theme and served up absolutely free of charge. With all screenings beginning at 2:30 pm, it’s a celluloid smorgasbord that boasts some bold international flavors, some spicy scripting, and maybe just a little bit of scenery-chewing on the part of the actors.

The four-course matinee commences this Monday, April 6, with a showing the 2014 British dramedy The Trip to Italy. Steve Coogan (soon on display in the Showtime series Happyish) and Rob Brydon co-star in director Michael Winterbottom’s film as “themselves;” a pair of talkative friends who maintain an ongoing dialogue (on life, love and other weighty things) while competing for the viewer’s attention with some spectacular scenery and a spread of regional culinary delights. Edited into feature-length format from a 2014 BBC series, it’s a sequel to 2010’s The Trip, in which Rob and Steve similarly tour northern England — and it serves as an engaging appetizer, for the schedule that follows.

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disobedience_imageThe story of WWII hero Sousa Mendes gets a public airing with a free screening of DISOBEDIENCE, Monday night at Brookdale Community College.

The name of Raoul Wallenberg has been taught in history classes for generations. — and thanks to Hollywood, we know the name of Schindler and his list. But the name Aristides de Sousa Mendes do Amaral e Abranches is anther story entitrely.

On Monday, March 23, the story of the World War II era Portuguese consul — a hero who defied the orders of his government by illegally granting visas to an estimated 30,000 refugees (including approximately 10,000 Jews) in occupied France — will take center stage during a free presentation at Brookdale Community College.

Hosted at BCC’s Student Life Center — and co-sponsored by the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (Chhange), the Brookdale International Education Center, and the Sousa Mendes Foundation — the 6:30 pm program combines a public-welcome showing of the feature film Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story with an illuminating example of living history.

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Lambert-StampThe rockumentary LAMBERT & STAMP — in which the birth of The Who is examined — is the centerpiece of April’s PROJECT FX Festival at the Count Basie Theatre, in which student filmmakers from area colleges and high schools compete before a panel of esteemed judges.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre 

The Count Basie Theatre has revealed the films that will compete in its inaugural PROJECT FX statewide student film festival and competition, taking place at the Red Bank theatre on Sunday, April 19.

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, Batman film franchise producer Michael Uslan, Taking Back Sunday lead singer John Nolan, and others.

The festival will feature panels from industry experts and professors from several New Jersey colleges, a big-screen showing of each contending film, and an exclusive evening screening of Lambert & Stamp, the upcoming Sony Pictures Classics release about underground filmmakers who stumble upon an unknown band to portray in a documentary (that band would go on to be known as The Who). The winning high school and college films will also serve as “opening acts” prior to Lambert & Stamp. Entry into the festival is free, though advance tickets must be obtained by visiting www.countbasietheatre.org.

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Tom-Cruise-Edge-of-TomorrowBegin Again: The Tom Cruise sci-fi suspenser EDGE OF TOMORROW screens for free at Middletown Library, kicking off a month of Movie Monday matinees. 

With the “what-were-we-thinking” hiccup of the Academy Award season now a fast-fading memory, Middletown Township Public Library continues its ongoing series of free movie screenings with another month-long slate of recent feature film releases; another chance to catch up with both the multiplex blockbusters and the arthouse curios that slipped between the sprockets.

It’s been called “the best video game you’ll never be able to play;” a smash-up sci-fi epic that unspools like a “Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers” story pitch. Riding a recent wave of futurama action roles, Tom Cruise stars as an awkward and reluctant warrior whose bum luck in the heat of battle — he’s repeatedly killed in action, only to be time-looped back into the fray — finds him forever poised at the Edge of Tomorrow. Kick-ass mentor Emily Blunt molds Cruise into a fighting machine capable of taking on the alien nasties, and Doug Liman directs the 2014 thriller that screens in MTPL’s Community Room today, March 2 at 2:30 pm — with much more to come.

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SiobhanFallonHoganMovie-TV actress (and Rumson mom) Siobhan Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Two River Theater this Saturday with her sold-out solo show, ‘Acting Out.’

Hers is a face you’ve likely encountered in and around her home on the Greater Red Bank Green, where she’s apt to be sighted at one of the schools her kids attend — as well as many of the staple sites of local community life.

A quick safari through the channel guide can match that face with a whole streaming smorgasbord of well-known movies and TV shows, from Seinfeld (she was Elaine’s roommate Tina), Men in Black (she was the alien farmer’s wife) and Forrest Gump (she played Dorothy the school bus driver), to Danish director Lars Von Trier’s arthouse oddity Dogville, and under-appreciated items like New in Town with Renee Zellweger. Not to forget a stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

Expect to see a bit more of her. Beginning this May, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, a Rumson resident of 10 years, will be a regular presence on Wayward Pines, the Fox TV “event thriller” limited series (starring Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard and an ensemble supporting cast) from producer M. Night Shyamalan. Before that, though, Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater — where several years back she debuted an original one-woman show entitled The Salty Sea PTA — with an all new showcase for her multi-tasking character skills.

Written by its star and entitled Acting Out!, the all-new comic solo quickly sold out its two scheduled performances on Saturday, with an encore presentation now added for Thursday, March 12. The Drama Desk at redbankgreen managed to catch up with the beyond-busy actor, mom and playwright, prior to a brief but well-deserved beach vaykay — and between a weathery year of shooting in Canada, and a run of rehearsals here on the icy banks of the Navesink.

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Catherine_W_pointmadefilmsFilmmaker Catherine Wigginton Greene will present a free screening of her documentary I’M NOT RACIST…AM I? at Brookdale Community College on February 24, as part of the Spring Lecture Series.

Press release from Brookdale Community College

Beginning on the evening of Tuesday, February 24, Brookdale Community College will inaugurate a new series of free movie screenings and expert lectures on such topics as race, civil rights and privacy in the digital age.

The series kicks off at 7 pm with a screening of Catherine Wigginton Greene’s acclaimed documentary I’m Not Racist…Am I?. The film documents the interactions of a diverse group of teenagers over the course of a year, as they confront issues such as culture, identity and institutional racism. The director will host an interactive discussion with the audience following the screening.

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12yearsMichael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor appear in the Oscar-winning 12 YEARS A SLAVE, one of several recent films screening for free this month at Middletown Library.

While February is of course Black History Month, that shortest and some-say-cruelest of calendar pages also serves as a lead-in to the annual Academy Awards; a chance to catch up with some things you’ve missed, on the way to handicapping this year’s current field of (disappointingly white, to many observers) horses. When the ongoing series of free movie screenings continues apace at Middletown Township Public Library this week, it’ll inaugurate a worth-another-look slate of recently released features — a couple of them illuminative of the African American experience, with the rest of the stories drawn from precincts that range from South Asia and the Great White North, to just this side of the afterlife.

It all begins at 2:30 pm on Monday, February 2, when MTPL hosts a free showing of the historical drama that took home the Oscar for Best Picture in 2014 — 12 Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen’s adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and pressed into servitude in antebellum Louisiana. Chiwetel Ejiofor offers a star turn as Northup in the harrowing and unflinching feature, with strong support from Lupita Nyong’o (AA for Best Supporting Actress), vividly villainous Michael Fassbender, and an array of actors that includes Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch and American Horror Story‘s Sarah Paulson.

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WhiplashGolden Globe winner J.K. Simmons offers patient mentorship to Miles Teller as the indie hit film WHIPLASH gets a recession-buster screening at the Count Basie Theatre  Tuesday night. 

If the Golden Globes be truly the gateway to Oscar’s soul, then the indie hit film Whiplash has the drumbeat of momentum behind it, having just netted five Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).

It happened a few days after workhorse character player J.K. Simmons took home the Globe trophy for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture — a hard-earned accolade for which he competed with a field that boasted a Hawke, a couple of Hulks, and a Robert Duvall.

Audiences primed to handicap this year’s main event can catch up with the buzzed-about dramatic feature from writer-director Damien Chazelle, when it comes to the big screen of the Count Basie Theatre on Tuesday  for a one-time showing at a price that cannot be refused.

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The trailer for “The Green Prince,” screening at Congregation B’nai Israel later this month with a kosher lunch.

It’s preceded by “a delicious, kosher Israeli lunch,” according to a press release — and it’s followed by a discussion of the substantial issues raised within its 101-minute running time. It’s the feature-length documentary The Green Prince, and it’s coming to the greater Green for a single screening hosted at Congregation B’nai Israel in Rumson.

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Cowspiracy-1The cow-troversial documentary feature COWSPIRACY: THE SUSTAINABILITY SECRET screens for free at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Lincroft, as a Sunday presentation of NJ Farm Animal Save.

It’s been called “the most destructive industry facing the planet today” — and unlike many things that might come to mind, it sits snugly on a sesame seed bun. Large-scale factory farming — particularly the production and process that brings BEEF to the take-out bag or table — is the bogeyman and bugaboo in COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret, the feature-length documentary by Frisco-based filmmaker Kip Andersen that’s been credited with everything from “saving the planet,” to “regurgitating common myths” (this last from Beef Magazine).

Making the case that livestock production is accelerating environmental and public health crises through water and grain consumption, deforestation, soil depletion, methane emissions and obesity rates, the “shocking yet humorous” doc positions Andersen and co-producer Keegan Kuhn as figures caught up in a web of cover-ups and threatened reprisals — not just from Big Cattle, but from trusted “leaders in the environmental movement” as well. The 2014 film, which has been made available to community groups for free screenings nationwide, comes to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street this Sunday, January 11, as part of the ongoing Social Action Film Series.

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jerseyboysmovieimageFrankie Valli meets Dirty Harry — when director Clint Eastwood’s cinema treatment of the Four Seasons musical bio JERSEY BOYS screens as part of a month of free 2014 releases at Middletown Library.

Remember 2014? Even if you’re the resolute type who actually meets your personal goals, and who wraps up The Year That Was with a neat little bow, there no doubt remain a number of tiny but torturously nagging regrets — chief among them “that movie you were meaning to go see.” Fortunately, for the latest monthly slate in their ongoing series of free movie screenings, Middletown Township Public Library presents a month of Mondays (and one Friday) designed to offer a chance to catch some last-year releases that may have slipped between the sprockets.

It begins this coming Monday, January 5, with a 2:30 pm showing of a biopic that boasts a special resonance for regionals: Jersey Boys, an adaptation of the Broadway jukebox-musical smash detailing the early career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Director Clint Eastwood (who, it must be recalled, acquitted himself well with the Charlie Parker jazzman bio Bird) works with a cast featuring Tony winner John Lloyd Young (originator of the Frankie role on Broadway) and Christopher Walken — as well as a slew of vintage Bob Gaudio/ Bob Crewe songs that include of course “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Rag Doll.” The January screening schedule continues from there, with some cinematic studies in art, commerce, cooking, passion, and romance with a decidedly mature shading.

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Scrooge John WatersScrooge scowls again, as Nebraska Theater Caravan rolls into Red Bank for its annual staging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL — but not before filmmaker and Bad Tastemaker John Waters X-plains why he LOVES Christmas. (Waters photo by Greg Gorman)

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here, to all who fear that the Count Basie Theatre has momentarily joined the perceived War on all that jingles and jollifies: John Waters absolutely LOVES Christmas — the “compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts;” his “religious fanaticism for Santa Claus, and an unhealthy love of true crime holiday horror stories.”

With a track record of forty-plus years as an author, lecturer, sometime actor, Bad Tastemaker authority and director of game-changing underground/ indie films (from Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble to the happy crossover of the original Hairspray) — and fresh off a modern-day odyssey that spawned the book Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America — the man in the pencil mustache makes his Basie debut on the night of Tuesday, December 16.

Succinctly entitled A John Waters Christmas, the 8 pm show finds the Baltimore-born raconteur riding into Red Bank “on his sleigh full of smut” with a one-man show that “puts the X in Xmas” — and for which tickets ($29 – $129) can be reserved right here. It so happens that Waters’ Bad-Santa sleigh will be sliding in fast on the ice-tracks of Junie B in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells — a playfully titled but family-friendly touring stage show (adapted by Allison Gregory from the children’s book series by Barbara Park) in which “sassy first-grader Junie B. Jones and her classmates embark on a hilarious adventure that packs a message about the joy of giving.” Take it here for tickets ($20 – $25) to that 4 pm performance — and around the corner for more holiday humbug.

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Reginald-Owen-right-with-Leo-G-Carroll-as-Marley’s-Ghost-in-A-Christmas-Carol-1938Marley’s ghost rattles old Scrooge in the 1938 MGM treatment of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, one of several holiday-themed films screening for free this month of Mondays at Middletown Library.

The ongoing series of free movie screenings continues apace at Middletown Township Public Library here in December — with the holiday season setting the theme for the next several Monday afternoon offerings, as well as the debut of a New Film Fridays series in the week to come.

Showing at 2:30 pm this Monday, December 8 is the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol, one of the screen’s first full-length treatments of the Charles Dickens chestnut. Produced by top Hollywood studio MGM — albeit with a second-string cast that featured character actor Reginald Owen in a rare starring turn as Ebenezer Scrooge — the film’s not without its charms, even if it creaks and groans in comparison with Alastair Sim’s nuanced 1951 turn in Scrooge. Then on Friday, December 12, the new series kicks off with the final(?) film of the late Robin Williams — A Merry Friggin Christmas, in which a father and grown-up son (Joel McHale of Community and The Soup) are forced to go on a desperate road-trip in an effort to salvage the holiday for their family of misfits. Released just last month, the black comedy screens at 2 pm — with more movie merriment around the corner.

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CoraGreenhillAcclaimed British poet Cora Greenhill visits the Middletown Library on Monday, December 1, in an event hosted by the Red Bank Writers Group.

As her official bio states, “She lives in the Peak District in middle England, and in the Greek Island of Crete. Her poetry is strongly influenced by these places as well as other parts of the world, such as Africa, where she has traveled.”

So what brings Cora Greenhill to the greater Green this week — specifically Middletown Township Public Library, where the British wordsmith makes an exceedingly rare Stateside appearance on Monday, December 1? As it turns out, she’s visiting family right here in Red Bank — and when The Red Bank Writers Group got wind of those plans, it became necessary to engineer this opportunity for the poet (whose most-visited themes include feminism, spirituality, the natural world and global cultures) to meet some of her American fans, make new friends, and sign some copies of her books.

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Ghost BrosT Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are the creative crew — and Gina Gershon co-stars — as GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY takes its cross-country tour to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on Tuesday, November 18.

It’s the most curious collaboration since the Wilburys rode the range — a three-for-all that pools the talents of a working class rocker turned Americana exponent (John “Cougar” Mellencamp), an Oscar winning music director/ record producer (T Bone Burnett), and the Springsteen of supernatural fiction (Stephen King). While they’ve had their misfires at the multiplex (Falling from Grace, Maximum Overdrive), there remained but one arena for these Kings of Most Media to conquer: the legitimate “theatah.”

Tomorrow night, November 18, the Count Basie Theatre is the (allegedly haunted) host venue, as the national touring production of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County commandeers the stage for an 8 pm one-nighter. Featuring a book by King, songs by Mellencamp, and “eerie blues ‘n’ roots” music direction by Burnett, the “Southern Gothic supernatural musical” is but the most visible manifestation of a cross-platform phenomenon that also includes a hardcover book, e-book, album download and “deluxe” edition of the aforementioned. And, even if none of the Ghost partners are promised to be in attendance at the Basie (Mellencamp will be there for an April 2015 concert that sold out in a flash), the production boasts some star wattage of its own.

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The Artist and the Model.Aida Foch and Jean Rochefort star in THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL, one of a series of recent foreign films screening for free, Mondays in November at Middletown Library.

The Movie Mondays series of free afternoon film screenings continues at Middletown Township Public Library, where the word for November isn’t spoken out loud, so much as it is subtitled — for it’s a set of recent foreign films that take the spotlight, beginning this Monday, November 3.

Set in Nazi-era occupied France — and sumptuously photographed in black and white — The Artist and the Model details the bond between a renowned (but aging and disillusioned) sculptor and the young muse who enters into his life: a Spanish war refugee, sought-after escapee and possible fighter for the Resistance. Jean Rochefort stars with Aida Foch (and Claudia Cardinale!) in the 2012 drama from director Fernando Trueba. Ages 18 and up only for this one, screening at 2:30 pm.

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the-shiningCome play with us: the Count Basie Theatre Cinema Society presents a Creature Double Feature on Wednesday, with showings of GHOSTBUSTERS and THE SHINING.

Wanna hear something really scary? For the latest in the new series of Cinema Society screening events, the Count Basie Theatre gives a nod to the impending Eve of All Hallows, with a Creature Double Feature drawn from that most mortifying of decades — the 1980s.

It all begins in a lighter vein at 6 pm this Wednesday, October 29, with Ghostbusters, the 1984 horrorcom hit with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis as ectoplasmic exterminators up against some big-league demonic forces. A multi-generational favorite and a true relic of the MTV era, the flagship of the franchise (soon to reportedly spawn a threequel) still holds its own with a bevy of eye-popping practical FX that include Slimer and Mr. Stay-Puft.

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The promo video for the film competition.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

On Monday, Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide student film competition, went live at www.projectFXbasie.com.

Under the program, sponsored by Bank of America, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship with Sony Pictures Classics at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

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the_station_agentPeter Dinklage co-stars with Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale in THE STATION AGENT, one of a series of “filmed in New Jersey” movies screening for free, Mondays in October at Middletown Library.

The Movie Mondays series of free afternoon film screenings continues apace at Middletown Township Public Library, where the keyword for October is “locally-sourced” — as in filmed (in whole or in part) around the highways, hamlets, ivy-covered institutions or barnacle-encrusted pilings of the Garden State.

It’s a slate of four features that kicks off at 2:30 pm this Monday, October 6, with a quiet, quirky, 2003 comedy-drama from writer-director Tom McCarthy: The Station Agent. A pre-Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage stars as Fin, an introverted train buff who’s inherited an isolated old railroad station in the nowheresville netherland of Newfoundland, NJ. Making great use of its Jersey countryside scenery, the intimate indie   explores the growing bond between reclusive Fin and his fellow misfits Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under) and Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie).

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driving jersey 2‘Driving Jersey,’ a television series that mines the Garden State for its culture, kicks off a new season Wednesday night with footage shot in Red Bank, where producer (and borough resident) Steve Rogers cornered locals for thoughts on their favorite movies.

The season premiere episode, which takes “a sweet look at New Jersey’s place in the history of the silver screen,” airs on NJTV at 8:30 p.m.


The collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and elsewhere is the subject of the documentary “Shored Up,” screening for free this Saturday at Holy Cross School.

As filmmaker Ben Kalina tells it, “I made Shored Up to explore what it means to live beside the beauty of the ocean — where, as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, we are always just one storm away from catastrophe.”

Filmed in late 2012 and 2013 on locations along the Jersey Shore and the North Carolina coast, the documentary feature hits close to home — and with a Category 5 wallop — for local residents who experienced firsthand the unprecedented and still-lingering effects of the superstorm that marks its second anniversary next month.

This Saturday evening, September 20, Holy Cross School in Rumson hosts a free screening of the film, a public-welcome event that includes a discussion with the director and panel of local coastal and environmental scientists.

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Shored UpThe documentary film SHORED UP, which examines the collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and North Carolina, will be shown September 20 at a special screening in Rumson.

Press release from New Jersey Future

On the evening of Saturday, September 20, New Jersey Future — a nonprofit organization which is working with Sea Bright and Highlands on long-term recovery planning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — will sponsor a free public screening of the documentary feature Shored Up in Rumson.

Doors open at 6:30 pm for the screening, scheduled for 7 pm at Holy Cross School, 40 Rumson Road. At the conclusion of the film there will be a panel discussion and question-and-answer session, featuring the film’s director Ben Kalina, as well as several local coastal and environmental scientists.

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007 BondChristopher Lee and Roger Moore pace it off in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, as Middletown Township Public Library hosts a month-of-Mondays worth of classic James Bond thrillers.

Even if some of them haven’t quite weathered the years too well, the classic films in the long-running James Bond franchise are never in any danger of going out of style — and with Middletown Township Public Library having decreed that All Things 007 is the theme for September’s series of free film screening events, fans will have their pick of four distinct Bonds.

The series gets underway on Monday, September 8 with a 2:30 pm showing of The Man with the Golden Gun — the second of Roger Moore’s seven turns in the tuxedo, and an entry that casts horror master Christopher Lee as the suave assassin Scaramanga (with a pre-Fantasy Island Herve Villechaize as his sidekick). An improvement on Moore’s Bond debut — even with a tad too much comic relief — the 1974 romp found TV’s former Saint getting comfortable in the role that he’d play over the course of the next decade.

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