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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Night To Remember
by Betty Jo Tucker

Talk about a stroll down memory lane. No, I take that back. Watching Brave New Jersey was more like a time travel trip to a special 1938 October night when my cousins and I were enjoying our weekly ride in the backseat of Uncle Frankís car. After about fifteen minutes, we got a bit rowdy so Aunt Elizabeth said, ďTurn on the radio, Frank. Maybe that will calm these kids down.Ē But instead of calming us down, the program we heard just happened to be the infamous Orson Wellesí dramatization of Martian attacks.

Unfortunately we got in after the announcement at the beginning of the show. And, of course, like many other listeners who tuned in late  -- we thought this was a news broadcast. Well, you can imagine how frightened we were!

Uncle Frank decided that we would head to the hills and hide from the monsters. By the time we arrived in the small mountain community near our town, we heard the announcer explain about this dramatization Ė and we couldnít stop laughing all the way home.     

Brave New Jersey is so much fun.

Youíll chuckle lots before itís done.

Itís based on facts about a prank

that we have Orson Welles to thank.


His hoax fooled folks in days gone by.

It made them fear and scream and cry.

This comedy shows a small town

in panic searching space men down.


Though not one creature can be found,

these folks still try to hold their ground.

Some lives are changed by this big night.

For the better? Yes, that is right.


The film excels production-wise.

Period look should win a prize.

The actors fit their roles with ease.

Their funny actions aim to please!


Director/writer Jody Lambert uses the impact of the Welles radio broadcast as the backdrop for his amusing movie. He deserves kudos for putting together a wonderful, diverse cast and crew to create a film that looks as real as possible. The sets, costumes, autos, and hair/makeup made me feel like I was back in 1938. (Full disclosure: Iím one of the few folks still living who remember what things were like during that time period.)       

I particularly enjoyed the focus on so many different characters. Itís hard to pick out my favorites, but the great Raymond J. Barry stands out as the retired military man who tries to organize the town into an army of sorts. And Tony Hale delivers a terrific performance -- one not at all like his over-the-top character on TVís VEEP -- as a gentle man in love with a not-so-happily-married woman (the remarkable Heather Burns).

Brave New Jersey proves that nostalgia can be exciting as well as fun.       

(Released by Gravitas Ventures and not rated by MPAA.)

For more information about Brave New Jersey,  go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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