Making the Boys: The Story Behind The Boys in the Band. color. 93+ min. Crayton Robey, Crayton Robey Film, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2011. DVD UPC 720229914826. $27.95. THEATER
The Boys in the Band was the first mainstream Broadway play to address the issue of homosexuality head-on. Debuting in 1968 and made into a feature film in 1970, Boys was controversial in the gay community and, with the advent of gay liberation, quickly came to be seen as retrograde. But, in fact, it was groundbreaking and opened the doors for a generation of gay playwrights and filmmakers to follow. Making the Boys makes remarkable use of documentary footage to tell the story of the play and its author, Mart Crowley, a charismatic figure who was enmeshed in the lives of the likes of Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, and others at the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Extended interviews with Crowley, Wagner, surviving cast members, playwright Edward Albee, writer Dominick Dunne, director William Friedkin, among others, round out this fascinating glimpse into a vanished world. VERDICT Highly recommended for all general film collections and required viewing for gay men and lesbians under 30.—David Gibbs, George Mason Univ. Lib., Fairfax, VA
We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco. color. 90+ min. Weissman, Red Flag Releasing & Film Collaborative, dist. by Docurama Films c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422918524. $29.95. Closed-captioned; acad libs. New Yorker Films. DVD $295 + $15 s/h. Public performance. GENDER STUDIES/HIST
This moving documentary focuses on the AIDS epidemic, which hit San Francisco in the early 1980s. The film features interviews with five individuals whose lives were forever changed by the crisis, ranging from a nurse who witnessed the devastating disease from the very beginning and eventually worked with clinical drug trials to a florist who provided flowers for emotionally and financially devastated friends. The moving interviews are blended with photographs and archival footage that illustrate the history of the scourge. The film presents insightful documentation of the effects on a community of the tragedy and acts also as a tribute to the more than 15,000 lives lost and to the survivors who came together in comfort and to battle both the disease and social prejudice. Bonus features include an interview with producer and director Weissman and editor and codirector Bill Weber, plus a series of public service announcements that were aired in the 1990s. VERDICT This fervent and well-crafted film should be in all library collections.—Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence
Grow! color. 50 min. Christine Anthony & Owen Masterson, Anthony-Masterson Film, dist. by Video Project, 800-4-PLANET; www.videoproject.com. 2012. DVD $89; acad. libs. $195. Public performance; closed-captioned. AGRICULTURE
From Jenny-Jack Sun Farm in Pine Mountain to Manyfold Farm in Chattahoochee, young farmers throughout Georgia discuss their reasons for becoming involved in small, sustainable farming. Many were studying to become lawyers, doctors, or accountants when they changed gears to honor their passion for the land and participate in the cycles of nature, or as one farmer put it, “doing things on the cue of the seasons.” They are also candid about the frustrations they face on an almost daily basis: the long hours, backbreaking labor, and weather challenges. Many Georgia farmers in the small-farm movement are young women who view farming as a form of activism grounded in a philosophy of creating sustainable alternatives to America’s industrial food system and building communities where local food growers connect directly with consumers. VERDICT Beautifully photographed and skillfully edited, this film celebrates Georgia’s small-farm movement, but it is dedicated to and has relevance for small farmers everywhere. Recommended for those who enjoyed the documentary Fresh (above) and anyone with a general interest in the sustainable agriculture movement.—Cynthia Knight, Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJ
For all the latest reviews in this subject area and more, check out our new Book Verdict site! Book Verdict is fully accessible to all users, though certain content and functionality are only available to subscribers.To log in to your account, click here. To view the new subscription options, Get Started With Book Verdict Pro Today.
Don’t know if you have an account with us? It’s easy to check and verify your email, or create a new account.
The following titles are reviewed in the October 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Garrow’s Law: Series 3. 2 discs. color. 236+ min. Bryn Higgins, BBC, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598287998. $39.99. F
High Noon. 85+ min. Fred Zinnemann. DVD UPC 887090037006; Blu-ray UPC 887090037204.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 80 min. Don Siegel. DVD UPC 887090034302; Blu-ray UPC 887090039000. ea. vol: b/w. Olive Films, www.olivefilms.com. 2012. DVD $19.95; Blu-ray $29.95. F/CLASSIC
ARTS & HUMANITIES
My House Is Full of Mirrors. 2 discs. color & b/w. 225+ min. In Italian w/ English subtitles. Vittorio Sindoni, dist. by Vanguard Cinema, 800-218-7888; www.vanguardcinema.com. 2012. DVD UPC 658769122633. $29.95. FILM/BIOPIC
John Mellencamp: It’s About You. color & b/w. 80+ min. Kurt & Ian Markus, Little B Pictures, dist. by MPI Media, www.mpihomevideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780788614545. $24.98; Blu-ray ISBN 9780788615481. $29.98. MUSIC/BIOG
Music Is the Language of the Heart and Soul: A Portrait of Mariss Jansons. 2 discs. color. 52+ min. Robert Neumüller, C Major Entertainment, dist. by Naxos, 615-771-9393; www.naxosusa.com. 2012. DVD UPC 814337010973. $29.99. MUSIC
Basketball Fundamentals: Essential Basketball Fundamentals for Players of All Ages! color. 38 min. Marty Schupak, Youth Sports Club, 800-511-2101; www.youthsportsclub.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780983924227. $24.95. SPORTS INSTRUCTION
Mighty Jerome. b/w. 52 min. tchr’s. guide available. Charles Officer, Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, 800-542-2164; www.nfb.ca. 2012. DVD UPC 698193250525. $195. Public performance. SPORTS/BIOG
Valentino’s Ghost: Images of Arabs/Muslims in the American Mainstream Media.color & b/w. 93 min. Michael Singh, dist. by Bullfrog Films, 800-543-3764; www.bullfrongfilms.com. 2011. DVD ISBN 9781594588983. $295 (Rental: $95). Public performance; SDH subtitles. COMM
Crime After Crime. color. 93+ min. Yoav Potash, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Virgil Films & Entertainment, www.virgilfilmsent.com. 2012. DVD UPC 829567078822. $19.99. CRIMINOLOGY
Something Ventured: Risk, Reward and the Original Venture Capitalists. color. 85+ min. Dan Geller & Dayna Goldfine, Geller/Goldfine Prods., dist. by Zeitgeist Films, www.zeitgeistfilms.com. 2012. DVD UPC 795975114134. $29.99. SDH subtitles. ECON
300 Miles to Freedom. color. 33 min. Richard Breyer & Anand Kamalakar, W&B Prods. & Trilok Fusion Media, dist. by Transit Media, 800-343-5540; www.transitmedia.net. 2012. DVD $129; acad. libs. $229. Public performance. HIST
Ptown Diaries. color & b/w. 89 min. Joseph Mantegna, Zooma Zooma Prods., dist. by Cinema Libre Studio, www.cinemalibrestudio.com. 2012. DVD UPC 881394115729. $19.95. SOC SCI
An Idiot Abroad: Karl Pilkington. 2 discs. color. 347+ min. 2 entertain[OK] Video Ltd., dist. by BBC Home Entertainment/Warner Home Video, 800-898-4921, www.wbshop.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780780682115. $34.98. TRAV/HUMOR
The Trans-Siberian Muse. color & b/w. 52 min. Antoine Jesel, BRUT Prods., dist. by Kultur, 732-229-2343; www.kultur.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780769791425. $19.99. TRAV
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Fresh: New Thinking About What We’re Eating. color. 72+ min. Ana Sofia Joanes, Ripple Effect, dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422995754. $29.95. SDH subtitles. AGRICULTURE
The Judge, the Hunter, the Thief and the Black Orchid. color. 70 min. Rich Walton, dist. by Emphasis Entertainment, 630-355-5762; www.emphasisentertainment.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781893867687. $13. BOTANY
Simply Ming: Cooking with Friends and Family. color. 160+ min. WGBH & Ming East-West LLC, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781608836659. $24.99. SDH subtitles. COOKING
How Does It Feel (Ma leçon de chant). color. 34 min. w/tchr’s. guide. In French w/English subtitles. Lawrence Jackman, dist. by Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, 800-542-2164; www.nfb.ca. 2012. DVD UPC 698193259932. $150. Public performance. HEALTH/MUSIC
HORROR REBOOT for halloween
Since 2003’s updated Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the horror genre has provided fodder for nonstop remakes, reboots, sequels, and prequels. Fans either love the trend or hate it, or are too young to have any inkling that their favorite movie monsters have been lurching around since before they were born. When it comes to reboots, it’s best to dive in with an open mind, zero expectations, and tongue held firmly in cheek.
Mother’s Day. 108+ min. Darren Lynn Bousman. DVD UPC 013132512990; Blu-ray/DVD combo UPC 013132513393.
The Wicker Tree.96+ min. Robin Hardy. DVD UPC 013132425993; Blu-ray/DVD combo UPC 013132426495.
ea. vol: color. dist. by Anchor Bay Entertainment, www.anchorbayentertainment.com. 2012. DVD $29.98; Blu-ray/DVD como $29.99. Rated: R. HORROR
After a bank robbery gone wrong, three brothers flee to their mother’s home only to find it has been lost in foreclosure. The new owners and their yuppie guests become the victims of the brothers’ brutal home invasion. When Mother (Rebecca De Mornay) arrives, she is not pleased. “Every time I turn my back, you boys make a mess,” she chides, her tone suggesting they have committed an infraction along the lines of spilled milk. The liquids flowing, however, are of a much more gruesome variety. The original Mother’s Day (1980),which featured a trio of female campers captured by a family of crazed hillbillies, gained a cult following owing to the perverse humor that seasoned its misogynistic torture scenes. VERDICT This reboot from splat-pack member Bousman (Saws II through IV) veers from the rape-and-revenge motif that MD helped pioneer, choosing instead to focus on the darkness that lives inside us all. Hardly an original notion, but De Mornay shines, raising what could have been just another blood-soaked retread into a savage, tense psychological thriller.
A former trampy pop princess (Brittania Nicol), now a born-again gospel star, journeys to Scotland to bring Jesus to the ignorant pagans residing there. She and her Stetson-wearing boyfriend (Henry Garrett) are welcomed by their charming host (Graham McTavish) and honored to be crowned Queen and Laddie for the annual town festival. But all is not as it seems, as anyone who’s seen the original Wicker Man already knows. Writer/director Hardy set a new standard in mythic horror with his 1973 masterpiece(already dreadfully remade in 2006), but this companion piece based on his book Cowboys for Christ goes in an entirely different direction. The Wicker Tree is deliberately over the top, a farce that doesn’t quite work yet makes a valiant effort, even featuring a cameo by Christopher Lee, the original Lord Summerisle. VERDICT Since there is very little mystery in the film, the true enigma lies in why Hardy chose to revisit his mystical world of sacrifice and seduction. By trivializing the spirit of The Wicker Man, he seems to be mocking his magnum opus.—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY