Video Reviews, May 1, 2012

starred review star The Rainbow Tribe. color. 90+ min. Christopher Watson, International Production Co., dist. by Monarch Home Entertainment, 2011. DVD UPC 723952078629. $24.95. F

Morgan Roberts is looking for a miracle. He once found the hope of a miracle when he saw the northern lights at summer camp 30 years ago. Even his wife realizes Morgan’s desperation, as he is suffering from cancer. So, she sends Morgan back to Camp Tomahawk, now owned by Sunny, his boyhood camp friend. Morgan finds his hope and much more while he struggles with his group of misfit kids. What sets The Rainbow Tribe apart from other camp films is the excellent acting by a cast of veteran television actors, led by David James Elliott (Jag). Also, its tightly controlled scenes spare the viewer bathos. Morgan’s Rainbow Tribe become even stronger when they get to see the northern lights together. The kids grow up as well and discover their individual worth. VERDICT A well-honed, well-acted film for adults and children.‚ Ernest Jaeger, formerly with North Plainfield Schs., NJ

starred review star Art of the Western World. 3 vols. color. 513+ min. Geoff Dunlop & others, WNET, dist. by Athena Learning, 888-870-8047; 2011. DVD ISBN 9781598286861. $59.99. SDH subtitles. ART‚ GENERAL

Having originally aired on PBS in 1989, Art of the Western World presents viewers with a first-rate introduction to art history that skillfully weaves each of the paintings, sculptures, and various architectural forms considered into the proper historical and cultural milieu from which it sprang. The three-disc set begins with an in-depth look into classical Greece and Rome, highlights Romanesque and Gothic medieval Europe, surveys the explosive creativity of the Renaissance, and closes with the works of great modernists including Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Narrator and historian Michael Wood (The Story of India) is joined by a host of art historians who, while providing rich detail and lucid explanations, allow the works of artists including Brunelleschi, Caravaggio, Picasso, and Miró to speak for themselves. While some of the style and picture quality are a bit dated, the beautiful stills and on-site filming (150 locations in eight countries) have withstood the test of time, much like the magnificent art the program canvasses. VERDICT With insightful and engaging narration that eschews condescending tones or esoteric commentary, this informative and aesthetically pleasing Art 101 is highly recommended for art fans and all art curricula. Also essential for fans of Simon Schama’s exceptional series Power of Art.‚ Brian Odom, Jefferson State Community Coll., Birmingham, AL

starred review starThe Legacy Project: Dramatists Talk About Their Work. Vol. 1. 10 vols. color. 475 min. Jeremy Levine & Landon Majzlin, Transient Pictures, dist. by Filmakers Library: Alexander Street, 2012. DVD series ISBN 9781463111564. $895.95. Public performance. Includes: Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick/David Zippel; Lee Adams/Brian Yorkey; A.R. Gurney/Itamar Moses;
John Kander/Kirsten Childs; Arthur Laurents/David Saint; Joseph Stein/Lin-Manuel Miranda; Landford Wilson/Craig Lucas; Stephen Sondheim/Adam Guettel; Edward Albee/Will Eno; Charles Strouse/Michael John Lachiusa. THEATER

The Legacy Project is a sort-of oral history of many of America’s leading creative forces on and off Broadway. The ten-volume set pairs emerging writers of their generation with longtime proven and published talents and adds a great amount of insight to the resulting effort. These are the titans of American theater, both in drama and the musical. Some are immediately known by name‚ Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander. Others, though well known in theater communities, are better identified by their work: Jerry Bock, Joe Stein, and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof; Lee Adams, Bye Bye Birdie; Arthur Laurents, Gypsy, West Side Story, the film The Way We Were. The interviews are not static talking heads but wisely include award speeches and take place in motion, such as in moving cars, walking down streets, etc., which make them much more interesting and a match to the wit and intelligence of the content. The entire project became possible through a grant received by the Dramatists Guild Fund. Its subsequent care and integrity of production is apparent throughout. VERDICT This is a successful, serious effort to capture and document American theater history, a part of American culture recognized and respected worldwide. One hopes there will be more to come. An essential purchase.‚ Gerald A. Notaro, Univ. of South Florida Lib., St. Petersburg

starred review starWho Killed Chea Vichea? color. 58+ min. Bradley Cox, IndiePix Films & Loud Mouth Films, 212 684-2333; 2011. DVD $235; public performance $300; home version. IndiePix, 212-684-2333; $19.95.
Closed-captioned. CRIME/INT AFFAIRS

This film documents the 2004 assassination of outspoken Cambodian labor leader Chea Vichea. Filmmaker Cox records his own intense five-year investigation of the murder from the moment he arrives on the scene and films Vichea’s bleeding body in the street. From there on, Cox has the story in his teeth and tracks it where it takes him‚ from Phnom Penh into Cambodian villages, across Europe, to Canada and the United States. He interviews family members and supporters of Vichea and of the two men who were railroaded for the crime. He speaks to people who provide alibis for the accused men and follows a fearful eyewitness to Thailand to take her statement. With strong reportorial instincts, a dogged investigation, and an innate ability to collect, film, and connect the disparate pieces of the story, Cox exposes the government involvement in Vichea’s killing and abuses of power at the country’s highest levels. Bonus features include interviews with Vichea, explanatory features on the Cambodian garment industry and justice system, English and Khmer audio options, and English, French, and Spanish subtitles. VERDICT Who Killed Chea Vichea? is the double cinematic whammy: an intense and disturbing true drama and a testament to the power of documentary film.‚ Joan Pedzich, formerly with Harris Beach PLLC, Pittsford, NY

starred review star Vietnam in HD. 2 discs. color. 4¾ hrs. Sammy Jackson, Lou Reda Prods., History Channel, dist. by New Video, 800-314-8822; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422979334. $24.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781422979341. $34.95. HIST

Thirteen Americans who experienced the Vietnam War reveal the effects of their encounters on their attitudes toward the war and its continuing influence in their lives. Among the group are war correspondent Joe Galloway, memoirist Arthur Wiknik Jr. (Nam Sense), and best-selling author Karl Marlantes (Matterhorn; What It Is Like To Go to War). The video is not about posttraumatic stress disorder, atrocity, napalm, or Agent Orange, but it is rather an extraordinarily moving history of the war and its effect on these individuals at key times, in key battles: the enduring impact Vietnam had on society and the American psyche. If only our military leaders and politicians could be forced to see this film and learn from it. A teacher’s guide is available online. VERDICT Nicely filmed, seamlessly edited with vintage clips and home movies, accompanied by period music and narrated by Hollywood stars, this extraordinary video is very highly recommended for adult audiences.‚ Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH

The following titles are reviewed in the May 1 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


A Farewell to Arms. b/w. 89+ min. Frank Borzage. DVD UPC 738329081423; Blu-ray UPC 738329084721.

Scarlet Street. b/w. 101+ min. Fritz Lang. DVD UPC 738329042028; Blu-ray UPC 738329088729.

A Star Is Born. color. 111+ min. William Wellman. DVD UPC 738329081522; Blu-ray UPC 738329088521.
ea. vol: (Kino Classics). Kino Lorber, 2012. DVD $24.95; Blu-ray $29.95. F/CLASSICS

Vasermil. color. 90 min. In Amharic, Hebrew, & Russian w/English subtitles. Mushon Salmona, Transfac Films, dist. by Film Movement, 2012. DVD UPC 616892166566. $24.95. F/SPORTS


Dirty Country: Unrated Director’s Cut. color. 70+ min. Joe Pickett & Nick Prueher, Milkhouse Prods./Lunacy Prods., dist. by Kino Lorber, 2012. DVD UPC 753182276168. $19.95. PERFORMING ARTS

Elevate. color. 83+ min. Anne Buford, Sharp 7 Film in assoc. with Isotope Films, dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422995273. $29.95. Rated: PG. SPORTS/ED


Blinky and Me. color. 75 min. Tomasz Magierski, 2012. DVD $260. Public performance. BIOG/ART


Cowboy Song. color. 58 min. Marie Regan, Marie Regan Film,; 2011. DVD UPC 013964588941. $95; acad. libs. $195. Public performance; closed-captioned.HEALTH

Love Limits. color. 41 min. Thymaya Payne, Fanlight Prods., DVD $248. Public performance; closed-captioned. HEALTH

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? 82+ min. Taggart Siegel, Collective Eye Films, dist. by Music Box Films, 2012. DVD UPC 736211214553. $25.95. NAT HIST/ENVIRONMENT

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox ( is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"