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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rb batman 081414 6rb batman 081414 2Spoiler alert for fans of the cable show ‘Comic Book Men,’ shot in and around Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street in Red Bank: a future episode will feature a race between the Batmobile and the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty, shot Thursday afternoon on Bridge Avenue in Gotham Red Bank.

And who was riding shotgun for a faux Batman? None other than onetime Batman portrayer Adam West himself, now 85 years old. Andres Verde of Red Bank, above, got a selfie with West, following one take of the low-speed race. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Ghosts-1The animal-rights advocacy feature GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE shows in a benefit screening, Thursday evening at Bow Tie Cinemas on White Street.

Although The Ghosts In Our Machine makes a passionate case for ending the suffering of animals worldwide — and the idea that animals are sentient beings, worthy of rights — the documentary has a human protagonist: the photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, whose tireless work for the nonprofit We Animals organization (and the book of the same name) has made her one of the animal kingdom’s most eloquent spokescreatures. The feature-length doc screens at Red Bank’s Bow Tie Cinemas on Thursday night, in a special event that also features a panel talk immediately following the film.

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jaws-1975-001-bathers-running-sea-00m-eodIt’s “everybody out of the water” and up onto the lawn, as ‘Jaws’ returns to Riverside Gardens for a Tuesday night showing. The original ‘Back to the Future’ materializes on Wednesday at the Count Basie.

back-to-the-future-Calling all discount Don Juans: the season for cheap-date movie nights continues this week in Red Bank, with the re-appearances of two favorites from the Steven Spielberg filmography.

First up, tonight, is the thriller that started the whole modern summer-blockbuster industry as we know it, in addition to kicking off something of a local tradition in recent years. We’re talking about Jaws, the 1975 smash that put director Spielberg on the map, spawned a fishy franchise (Middletown’s own Billy Van Zandt would have a featured role in the 1977 sequel), and drew inspiration from a real-life 1916 shark attack near Matawan.

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CLIPPINGS_220Liz Stahl, Mary Ellen Dowd, Chris Lombino and Tom Smith – friends who met in a theater group –  were all set for the July 8, 2014 movie screening in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park. But the event was rained out. They’ll get another chance with the Tuesday night screening of ‘Jaws,’ and a favorable weather forecast. (Video by Gerda Liebmann. Click to pause.)

Check out all the Clippings from the Green here.

Gerda Liebmann bio


MonumentsJohn Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray ARE The Expen…check that, THE MONUMENTS MEN, as Middletown Township Public Library hosts a month-of-Mondays worth of recent Hollywood releases.

They don’t have the five-dollar bottled waters or nine-dollar popcorns of the mega-mall multiplex. You won’t have the option of paying almost twenty bucks for the privilege of wearing someone else’s greasy, used 3D glasses. Chances are you won’t even be seated near someone doing the play-by-play on their phone. But for everything you’ll miss about the blockbuster movie house experience, you’ll congratulate yourself for waiting to catch those movies you always meant to see — when they come to the climate-controlled screening space at the Middletown Township Public Library.

The weekly series of free matinee Monday Movies continues in August, with a selection of very recent films that’s keynoted by The Monuments Men, the fact-inspired World War Two tale from producer-director-screenwriter-costar George Clooney. Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman are featured in the ensemble piece about an elite Army unit charged with recovering and preserving stolen or endangered art treasures during the Nazi occupation, with the film unspooling at 2:30 pm on August 4.

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The trailer for ‘In Transition 2.0,’ a documentary screening at Red Bank Public Library Thursday evening.

If you’re the sort of person who’s been looking for a hyper-local way to address some of the truly game-changing issues of the day, the volunteers at Transition Monmouth (aka the Greater Red Bank Transition Mullers) have an illuminating and informative way to spend your Thursday evening.

An independently organized part of a global initiative known as the Transition Network, the Red Bank-based nonprofit is dedicated to the creation of “local, self sufficient, and sustainable communities” — a collection of “re-localized” neighborhoods that respond to the global challenges of climate change, economic hardships and dwindling supplies with attention to renewable energy, locally sourced food supplies, and availability of resources.

Headed by Little Silver resident Sarah Klepner — a community activist who helps program the monthly Social Action Film Series at Lincroft’s Unitarian Meeting House — Transition Monmouth is actively seeking interested neighbors who’d like to learn more about this grass-roots effort, and how it all fits in with the planetary big picture. On July 31, Klepner and company invite all residents of the greater Green to the Red Bank Public Library, for a free screening of the documentary featurette In Transition 2.0.

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hardThe Fab Four run free-range in A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, with a free screening Wednesday night at the Count Basie as a special 50th anniversary event.

After blowing out the last of winter’s drab watercolors, you’d think the last thing we’d be willing to do is sacrifice summer’s brilliant Roy-G-Biv for another trip to grayscale gardens. But some of the most vividly colorful films in existence are in black and white, and this Tuesday and Wednesday, local audiences will be treated to a couple of favorites that are as free of charge as they are free of hue, tint and saturation.

On July 15, Shore Flicks returns to Riverside Gardens for the latest in a slate of Summer 2014 movies under the setting sun and stars, with Gene Wilder inheriting a retro castle and mad laboratory in Mel Brooks’ laughingly loving horror homage Young Frankenstein. Photographed with the misty glow and sparking electricity of a 1930’s Hollywood soundstage talkie — and packed with shticky gags that were already antiques in the Herbert Hoover administration — the 1974 comedy screens just after sundown, with attendees encouraged to bring nonperishable food items (for Lunch Break and other local charities) along with the folding chairs and beach towels.

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070614 yumi sb rollThe fresh and aptly named Sea Bright roll at Yumi (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


morsels smallA horde of moviegoers filled the public beach in Sea Bright with assorted lawn chairs and blankets Sunday night. The occasion: the annual Shore Flicks showing of “Jaws,” which was rained out last year.

Keeping in the theme of the evening, dinner before the movie had to be seafood at Yumi on Ocean Avenue.

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Persuasion 1995 screencaptureCiaran Hinds and Amanda Root star in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of PERSUASION, one of four Jane Austen-themed films screening Mondays in July at Middletown Library.

Nothing says “summertime” like the stifling manor homes and constricting social mores of Regency era, country-life England. But the classic romantic novels of Jane Austen — dating as they do from an interlude when ladies temporary lost those whalebone corsets — have perennially been a breath of fresh air on summer reading lists, so it’s only proper that Middletown Township Public Library dedicates the Movie Monday month of July to a slate of films adapted from (or otherwise inspired by) the increasingly popular author whose 240th birthday will be marked next year.

It’s a schedule that begins on the afternoon of July 7, when MTPL hosts a screening of Persuasion, the 1995 BBC production of Austen’s posthumously published final completed work. Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds star in the made-for-BBC production, a feature that was noticed for its somewhat grittier, more realistic take on the “prettier” Austen adaptations in circulation around that same time. The film unspools at 2:30 pm inside the climate controlled Community Room, where the rest of the Monday series follows in short order.

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indepDown in front: Shore Flicks rolls into Riverside Gardens for the first in the free summer film series, as INDEPENDENCE DAY brings the sci-fi fireworks to the banks of the Navesink.

It’s got Will Smith one-punching an alien Squidward! Bill Pullman as a Mission-Accomplished president! Randy Quaid as an airborne Cousin Eddie, plus Harvey Fierstein, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, and the glory that is Brent Spiner as Dr. Okun. The space invaders realistically never stood a chance against that cast of scenery-devouring terrestrials — but the 1996 sci-fi epic Independence Day also ate up tons of discretionary dollars at the box office, and tonight you’ll be able to relive every exploding landmark (and every fallen punchline) for free, as Shore Flicks returns to Riverside Gardens for the first in a slate of Summer 2014 movies under the setting sun and stars.

The longest-running of the many outdoor screening series presented by T.J. Brustowicz all over Monmouth and Ocean counties, the Red Bank showings take place just after sundown over the Navesink — and attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items (for Lunch Break and other local charities) along with the folding chairs and beach towels.

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ChazzJoanMarcusChazz Palminteri brings his solo stage play A BRONX TALE back to the Count Basie Theatre, for a two-night stand. (photo by Joan Marcus)

In the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, Robert De Niro directed a hitherto little-known actor, screenwriter and former Hollywood bouncer named Chazz Palminteri, in the Bronx native’s own semi-autobiographical script about a teenager named Calogero and the two father figures in his life — his morally upright bus driver dad, and a neighborhood mob boss named Sonny, who takes the young man under his wing in the racially charged powderkeg of 1960s NYC.

The actor born Calogero Palminteri would go on to a busy career in the moving pictures, highlighted by cult favorite The Usual Suspects and an Academy Award nomination for Bullets Over Broadway — but not all of his newfound fans realized that Bronx began life as a one-man stage play; custom crafted by the struggling thespian, who performed it numerous times in his adopted city of L.A. before industry word-of-mouth carried it all the way to Broadway. In between screen projects (and side projects like Chazz: A Bronx Original, the Baltimore restaurant he opened in 2011), Palminteri has continued to bring the original solo stage version of A Bronx Tale to live audiences — and this Thursday and Friday, June 26 and 27, he returns to the Count Basie Theatre for two-nighter followup to his well received Red Bank engagement of last year.

The Drama Desk at redbankgreen spoke to the actor, writer, producer and restaurateur about projects old, new and perhaps never to be — with a Q&A around the corner.

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ThirdFilm and television actress Annette O’Toole stars in Wendy Wasserstein’s THIRD, continuing through June 22 at Two River Theater. (photo by Michal Daniel)

Wednesday marks the final homestretch of performances for Third, the Wendy Wasserstein play that closes out the 20th anniversary season at Two River Theater. For anyone who hasn’t caught the production under the direction of Broadway star and Middletown resident Michael Cumpsty, there are six more chances to catch the acclaimed and dynamic turn by Annette O’Toole now through Sunday, June 22. The Emmy nominated actress (for The Kennedys of Massachusetts, which also featured Cumpsty in a supporting role) and Oscar nominated composer (with her husband Michael McKean, currently on Broadway with Bryan Cranston in All the Way) stars as a middle-aged maverick professor at a Liberal Arts college, whose own bold ideas about Shakespeare’s King Lear are challenged by a young male student (Christopher Sears) who comes to represent everything the academic despises. Emily Walton, JR Horne and Amy Hohn co-star as the friends and family members in the professor’s eventful orbit.

The Drama Desk at redbankgreen spoke to Annette O’Toole about her role (and her time in Red Bank), with a Q&A around the corner.

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061714 alfas6A trio of classic Alfa Romeos parked outside the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank accompanied a screening of ‘The Graduate‘ Tuesday night – and inspired one woman to pose for a photo as a trunk ornament. Up next in the series: the Beatles’ flick ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ on July 16 (tickets are free, but must be obtained at the box office). Perhaps we’ll see a couple of Vauxhalls for the occasion?  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


philyyTom Hanks’ Oscar winning star turn in PHILADELPHIA screens for free on Tuesday night, capping an evening of Two River Pride at the Count Basie. 

Cynics insisted that filmmaker Jonathan Demme only took on the sensitive project known as Philadelphia to atone for Silence of the Lambs and its cross-dressing, mean-tucking serial killer. But all was forgiven by no less an authority than Oscar, when the 1993 drama — one of the first Hollywood productions to address HIV/AIDS and homophobia — earned a Best Actor award for Tom Hanks, as well as a Best Original Song trophy for Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets Of Philadelphia.”

The film comes to the big screen of the Count Basie Theatre on Tuesday, June 10, as the latest in a long-running series of free features — a screening that also caps the 2014 edition of the annual gathering known as Two River Pride.

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Disney_s_Frozen_40633A FROZEN treat for summer: the blockbuster Disney animation is one of several new movies in the mix, as ShoreFlicks gets pumped up for a new summer season of free films on the inflatable screen, at Riverside Gardens.

There’s the local outdoor debut of two recent animated hits (including the film that could only be called the Last Word in Blockbusters). Comedy and adventure favorites dating from the Seventies to the Noughties — and another in a string of “Shark Week” sightings.

While the all-American drive-in movie has largely gone the way of cars with lights that can be turned off, the outdoor, beach-chairs-and-blankets movie is alive and well — and nowhere more so than Riverside Gardens, where Shore Flicks returns on July 1st with a just-announced slate of free Tuesday evening showings on the big inflatable screen. Arguably the most people-pleasing of area outdoor screening spaces, the downtown setting is described as “just picture perfect…a beautiful backdrop” by T.J. Brustowicz, owner of the company that’s been running the Red Bank series since the summer of 2008 — and whose schedule has since expanded to communities all over Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

“Even if you’ve seen a movie for years on TV, it’s always a treat to watch it on a large screen, with an audience,” says Brustowicz — and when all the stars align, there’s nothing quite like the bigger-than-ever screen and beefed-up sound system; the super sight lines from the sloping lawn and the snack-stand patio, even the nearby hustle and bustle of the Front Street main drag. Throw in those Navesink River sunsets, and you’ve got a family outing that’s simply priceless in every way — and redbankgreen has the exclusive coming attractions on this summer’s sked, right around the bend.

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MennaZuckermanRed Bank Mayor Pat Menna delivers a special proclamation, and Josh Zuckerman provides the live music, as the annual Two River Pride event comes to the Count Basie on June 10.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

On the evening of Tuesday, June 10, the Count Basie Theatre will be the setting for Two River Pride, an annual Pride Month gathering that was created for LGBTQ youth and their allies — and that centers on LGBTQ history and celebration, by giving specific voice to area youth.

The event represents a partnership between local civic, cultural, and community leaders and groups, including Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich, Make It Better for Youth and others. Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna will attend, to deliver a proclamation in recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. This year’s event will also feature live music, a sampling of wares from some of Red Bank’s food purveyors, and screenings of three acclaimed shorts from young filmmakers.

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Sandra Bullock and George Clooney assess the GRAVITY of the situation, as Middletown Township Public Library hosts a month-of-Mondays worth of recent box office hits, Oscar nominees and critical faves.

While it doesn’t have the red-carpet, press-party glamour and cachet of the Academy Awards, the June series of free film screenings at Middletown Township Public Library does boast a lot of the same spotlight films from the last Oscar ceremony — with the possible added bonuses of NO celebrity selfies, NO celebrity-on-celebrity mispronunciation mayhem, and NO live mic handed to Matthew McConaughey.

The 2:30 pm events inside the library’s air-conditioned Community Room begin on Monday, June 2 with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in writer-director Alfonso Cuaron’s end-of-your-tether space suspenser Gravity, a seven-time winner at the 86th Oscars and a bonanza for box offices and Bullock alike.

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470221734_640Sunday’s screening of director Jeffrey X. Bonna’s documentary feature ORO MACHT FREI is officially sold out at Two River Theater, but the CHHANGE organization at Brookdale Community College will be announcing an additional date and venue.   

The title translates to “Gold Will Set You Free” — the motto that the Nazis employed during the Roman occupation in the Second World War, when SS commander Kappler insisted that the Jewish families of Rome turn over 50 kilos of gold to the occupiers, or risk the deportation of all heads of household to Germany. A documentary feature by American director (and veteran Ken Burns assistant) Jeffrey X. Bonna, Oro Macht Frei tells the story of the Roman Jews— from the Racial Laws of the Mussolini regime, through the arrival of the Nazis and eventual liberation by Allied forces. Weaving together historical research with the testimony of those who were there, the film also brings up the Vatican’s controversial policy of silence during that pivotal time. It’s being presented this Sunday evening in a special screening with reception at Two River Theater — and while that 6:30 pm event (presented by the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education at Brookdale Community College) is officially sold out, an announcement of a possible second screening is in the works.

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Hungry-for-Change copyNo empty calories here: Middletown Township Public Library is the setting for a free Wednesday night screening of HUNGRY FOR CHANGE, the doc feature that aims to blow the pop-top off the mega-billion dollar diet industry.

It’s the documentary that THEY didn’t want you to see; the one the industry just HATES — and for just this once, those claims might not be so much sour persimmons. Released in 2012, Hungry For Change takes a produce-squeezing hard look at the food, diet products and weight-loss industries — a veritable Axis of Eatville consuming billions of dollars in the service of a body-image ideal that’s downright unnatural for the majority of humans. Packed with “interviews with best selling health authors and leading medical experts, plus real life transformational stories with those who know what it’s like to be sick and overweight,” the advocacy documentary film by James Colquhon and Laurentine ten Bosch screens Wednesday evening at Middletown Township Public Library, in a 7 pm event that’s free of charge, to the public at large.

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joe romanowski 111513 2A plan by Joe Romanowski to remove the vestibule of his new Goldtinker store on Broad Street won approval. So did Tommy’s Coal-Fired Pizza’s request to permanently enclose seasonal seating area at the Galleria, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


tommy's 042114The  Red Bank planning board approved a restaurant expansion, a downtown facade change and the renovation of what Mayor Pasquale Menna called a “cancerous eyesore” Monday night.

Along the way were some unusual flashes of passion among board members.

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rb street fair 041413A first responder benefitting spring edition of Street Fair returns to Red Bank Sunday while, below, the one and only GROUCHO goes wild, in the person of Frank Ferrante, Friday night at the Basie. 

grouchoRED BANK: “We all want to be Groucho,” Frank Ferrante told us a few seasons back, “to be that wild, irreverent pulverizer of those in power.”

In the acclaimed stage show An Evening with Groucho, the actor-director gets to be all that and more, as his spot-on channeling of the classic comic force of nature Groucho Marx comes to the Count Basie Theatre for the first time. Performed with piano accompaniment, minimal set and trademark makeup, the 90-minute, all-ages friendly tour de farce mixes canonical Marxist quotes, anecdotes from a life in show business, signature silly songs (“Hooray for Captain Spalding,” “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady”), and — in a bracingly contemporary touch — an interactive element that finds Ferrante/Groucho duckwalking the theater aisles. “Fully one-third of it is improvised,” says Ferrante. “That’s what Groucho’s magic was, really – the ability to create comedy on the spot.” Get your tickets ($19 – $49) right here — and when you take it ’round the corner for more Weekender wonderment, tell ’em Groucho sent you.

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