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.)

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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: SHARKS, DOGS, MOCKINGBIRDS

JAWS, 1975

We’re gonna need a bigger screen: forty years after JAWS redefined the summer movie, it’s safe to go back in the Count Basie (formerly Carlton) Theatre to catch an anniversary screening, first in a series of seasonal blockbuster film events.

Under its earlier incarnation as the Carlton, the Count Basie Theatre entertained generations of Red Bank area locals with first-run (later second-run) product from the Hollywood glitterdome, projected on a screen that laid claim to being the biggest in Monmouth County.

While these days the films are just one component of the Count’s cultural menu, the big screen remains — and beginning this Wednesday, June 24, the Basie hosts the first in a free series of “Summer Blockbusters” classics.

It’s a fairly eclectic collection that ranges from family-friendly vintage musicals to blood-drenched Tarantinos — to the thriller that started the whole modern summer-blockbuster industry as we know it. What else but Jaws, the 1975 phenomenon that put director Steven Spielberg on the map; spawned a whole 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. The game-changer that celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer screens free of charge at 7 pm, in the first of a slate sponsored by the Count Basie Theatre Cinema Society.

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RED BANK: ‘DRIVING JERSEY’ REELS ‘EM IN

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.

RED BANK: BACK TO THE FEATURES

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: MOVIE IN THE ROUND

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.

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SEA BRIGHT: CATCHING THE BIG ONE AT YUMI

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

By SUSAN ERICSON

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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RED BANK FREE SUMMER MOVIES ANNOUNCED

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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DRIVING JERSEY SERIES RUNS LOW ON FUEL

Filmed in June before a Count Basie Theatre screening of the blockbuster summer hit “Jaws,” the above video is an example of Driving Jersey’s storytelling style. Steve Rogers at work, below.

By DANIELLE TEPPER

In the hands of mainstream media, New Jersey has been not been treated kindly. With shows like Real Housewives and Jersey Shore purporting to offer sneak peeks into the Garden State of mind, residents are rarely seen as they really are, and are instead depicted as “pornographic cartoon characters,” in the words of Red Bank videographer Steve Rogers.

That was the injustice Rogers set out to rectify when he embarked on his Driving Jersey video series in 2007.

After losing a media industry job in New York, Rogers stepped into the roles of writer, producer, and director to start telling true-to-life Jersey stories through raw interviews with real residents. Driving Jersey, he says on the program’s website, “represents and reflects the most misunderstood and misrepresented place and people in all of America.”

Since the show started, Rogers and his partner, Ryan Bott of Manahawkin, have dipped into their own pockets for funding. But now, after four years of creative success, they’re asking for help. Via Kickstarter, they’re hoping to raise $10,000 by November 1.

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