The Green Table: The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. color. 37 min. Thomas Grimm, Reiner Moritz Assocs. & WTTW, dist. by Kultur, 732-229-2343; www.kultur.com. 2013. DVD ISBN 9780769750903. $19.99. DANCE
The Green Table, subtitled “A dance of death in eight scenes,” is one of the most significant ballets of the 20th century, with acclaimed choreography and libretto by Kurt Jooss and music by Fritz Cohen. The dance premiered in Paris in 1932 and in this 2000 production is presented by the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and staged by Jooss’s daughter Anna Markard, who reconstructed her father’s work as faithfully as possible. The work was created for the “Concours internationale de choréographie” and won Jooss first prize as well as significantly boosting his career. A commentary on the futility of war and the horrors caused by it, The Green Table was completed at a time when memories of World War I were still fresh and premonitions of what would become World War II were imminent. The performances are outstanding, and the lighting and editing are very well chosen to enhance the production for video. VERDICT An essential purchase for any dance collection, this program will be a strong addition to any popular entertainment holdings as well; very highly recommended.
Grey Gardens. color. 94+ min. Albert & David Maysles, dist. by Criterion Collection, www.criterion.com. 2013. Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658019. $39.95. BIOG
The iconic 1976 documentary portrait of the Beales of Grey Gardens is now more complete with this feature-rich Blu-ray release. Edith Beale and her daughter, Edie, relatives of the well-connected Bouvier family (yes, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy for one), are societal leftovers living in a disturbingly rundown version of their once great mansion in East Hampton, NY. The mind of mother “Big Edie” (1895–1977) is often locked in a rosily remembered past, filled with songs and costumes of the 1920s, while she ignores the squalor of her home. “Little Edie” (1917–2002) grew up privileged but was denied the opportunity to escape her gilded cage and is now left with no one but her mother in her life. The film is sad, funny, bizarre, horrifying, and touching. You are not likely to forget the two Edies. This Blu-ray version is a perfect digital transfer and also includes the follow-up The Beales of Grey Gardens, audio excerpts from an interview with Little Edie, trailers, and more. VERDICT Very highly recommended for all collections.
Too Sane for This World: A Film About Adult Autism. color, 63+ min. William Davenport, Talk Story Films, dist. by Cinema Libre Studio, www.cinemalibrestudio.com. 2014. DVD UPC 881394119123. $19.95; streaming and on-demand available. PSYCH
Director Davenport here interviews 12 adults living on the autism spectrum. These individuals, varying in gender, age, and ethnicity, discuss how they discovered their condition and how they deal with its challenges. “I don’t have Asperger’s when I’m alone, it’s when I’m with others,” says one. Many of the interviewees are in the 30- to 60-year-old range and recognized that there was “something wrong” long before autism became a diagnosis. They discuss being different and the problems they faced—loneliness, bullying, depression, and discrimination, among others—but state that there was also relief in the diagnosis and emphasize the assistance of the autism community in letting them know they were not alone. On the flip side, their gifts—for example, incredible creativity and intellectual ability—shine throughout the film. Bonus features include a music video of “Space Cadet,” an original song by one of the featured subjects. VERDICT The “first wave” of children diagnosed as autistic are now adults, yet there is very little in place to assist them. This film increases awareness of the condition as a life-spanning neurological disorder. Highly recommended.
William & Mary: The Complete Collection. 6 discs. color. 14½+ hrs. Jean Stewart & others, ITV Studios, dist. by Acorn Media, www.acornonline.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621721468. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F
William Shawcross (Martin Clunes) is a widowed undertaker and father of two daughters. A teddy bear of a man whose profession has been somewhat off-putting on the dating scene, he meets Mary Gilcrest (Julie Graham) through a dating service. A midwife with two teenage boys and a demanding life, Mary is cautious. For William, it’s love at first sight. Although their romance moves steadily forward during the 18 episodes of this thoroughly enjoyable series, the course of love definitely is not smooth. The well-developed supporting characters all have their own issues as well. The pace is hectic, with lives often managed via cell phone to an astonishing degree, but all ends well. VERDICT A delightful series that is, in the long run, about not only romantic love but also the importance of loving relationships. For all devotees of British dramas.
Above Suspicion: Set 3. 2 discs. color. 140+ min. Catherine Morshead, La Plante Prods., dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621721321. $29.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV
In the final installment of this British TV miniseries that originally aired in early 2012 and is based on a best-selling novel by Lynda La Plante, a troubled young actress is found murdered in her bed. With no sign of forced entry or resistance, the London Metropolitan Police quickly deduce that her killer was someone she knew. But who among the many possible suspects had the strongest motive? Was it a larcenous agent, a jilted lover, or an angry wife? Could it be a drug dealer, a jealous former roommate, or someone who feared exposure in a tell-all autobiography? Meanwhile, DCS James Langton (Ciarán Hinds) is brought in to lead the investigation, and he has suspicions of his own about his homicide team, including DI Anna Travis (Kelly Reilly), and about why he was passed over for promotion. VERDICT Viewers will be guessing until the final scenes as to the identity of both the murderer and the police unit gossip. This fast-paced and suspenseful crime drama is recommended for audiences who enjoy police procedurals in the vein of La Plante’s immensely popular series Prime Suspect.
Broadchurch: The Complete First Season. 3 discs. color. 390+ min. James Strong & Euros Lyn, Shine Intl., Entertainment One, c/o Amazon.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781417241132. $39.98. F/TV
Found on the beach of a seaside Dorset town, the body of a preteen boy brings together a pair of at-odds detectives: an experienced out-of-towner (David Tennant) needing vindication for botching a prior case and a local policewoman (Olivia Colman), who knew the victim and expected to head the investigation. More than a dozen main characters figure in this multilayered eight-part BBC series, with suspicion about the identity of the killer continually shifting as village secrets are gradually revealed. VERDICT In a long and estimable line of British crime dramas, Broadchurch nearly reaches the benchmark established by Prime Suspect, going beyond genre bounds in developing characters, exploring issues such as media responsibility, and not flinching from the consequences of losing a child, while still delivering an eminently satisfying whodunit.
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The Wall. color. 108+ min. English & German w/ English narration & subtitles. Julian Roman Pölsler, dist. by Music Box Films, www.musicboxfilms.com. 2013. DVD UPC 741360538337. $29.95. F
ARTS & HUMANITIES
Chicago Drawbridges. color. 56+ min. Stephen Hatch , HatchWerks,
www.chicagodrawbridges.com. 2013. DVD ISBN 9780989069502. $95; acad. libs. $325. Public performance; home version $24; shoppbs.org $24.99. ARCH
The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear. color. 101+ min. Tinatin Gurchiani , dist. by Icarus Films, www.icarusfilms.com. 2014. DVD UPC 854565001602. $348. Public performance; home version $29.98. FILM
The Coexist Comedy Tour. color. 88 min. Larry Brand, 8180 Films/Horizon Movies,
dist. by Kino Lorber, 800-562-3330; www. kinolorber.com. 2014. UPC 738329118327. $19.95.
When Jews Were Funny. color. 89+ min. Alan Zweig, Sudden Storm Entertainment, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2014. DVD UPC 720229915892. $24.95. HUMOR/REL
Vinylmania: When Life Runs at 33 Revolutions per Minute. color. 75 min. Paolo Campana, Stefilm, dist. by Janson Media, www.janson.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781568394794. $295. Public performance; DSL $495; DSL w/PPR $595; home version $24.95. MUSIC
Unstoppable. color & b/w. 65 min. Kirk Cameron, Provident Films, www.unstoppablethemovie.com. 2014. DVD $14.99. REL
Scotland’s Caddies. color. 65 min. Ron Colby, Artists Confederacy, www.artistsconfederacy.com. 2013. DVD $19.95; download $9.99. SPORTS
Calling Tokyo: Japanese American Radio Broadcasts During World War II. color & b/w. 26 min. Gary T. Ono, dist. by Leonard Zane Prods., c/o Amazon.com. 2014. DVD UPC 633131584110. $10.95. COMM
Grading the Teachers: An Exploration into Teacher Evaluation. color. 30+ min. w/guidebook. David Silverberg, Teach the World, dist. by Choices, www.choices.net. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781933724447. $69.95. Public performance. ED
50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus. color & b/w. 63 min. Steven Pressman, dist. by Seventh Art Releasing, www.7thart.com. 2014. DVD $79; acad. libs. $295. Public performance; home version $21.99. HIST
The Song Within Sedona. color & b/w. 75 min. Kathy Douglas, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2014. DVD UPC 700261354675. $24.95. WOMEN’S STUDIES
science & TECHNOLOGY
Treat Yourself Therapy: Tennis Elbow. 84 min.
DVD ISBN 9781450794404. $39 + $3.99 s/h.
Treat Yourself Therapy: Thumb CMC Arthritis. 32 min. DVD ISBN 9781450794381. $50.
ea. vol: color. Treat Yourself Therapy, LLC, www.treatyourselftherapy.com. 2013. HEALTH