Video Reviews | March 1, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Downton Abbey: Season 3. 3 discs. color. 8¾+ hrs. Brian Percival & others, Carnival/Masterpiece Prod., dist. by PBS, 2013. DVD ISBN 9781608838134. $49.99; Blu-ray ISBN 9781608838141. $54.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV

This phenomenally popular British import opens Season 3 with the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his family dealing with the prospect of losing their beloved Downton estate. Then there’s the new son-in-law (and their former chauffeur, played by Allen Leech) to be integrated into the family structure, while daughter Edith (Laura Carmichael) continues to be unlucky in love. Downstairs, Bates (the earl’s valet, played by Brendan Coyle) is still in jail, and there’s the usual scheming by O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) and Thomas (Rob James-Collier). Several new cast members this time around add some spice. And just when everything seems to be settled, at the end of the last episode the unthinkable happens. This edition of the popular PBS series [Season 1 and Season 2 were, respectively, on LJ’s list of Best DVDs of 2011 and Best DVDs of 2012] is all about adapting to change, not easy for this tradition-bound family. Over two hours of bonus features provide insight into the characters and the demands of filming. VERDICT Three cheers for creator Julian Fellowes, a first-rate cast, and a terrific production. Season 4 can’t arrive soon enough! For all libraries and viewers. [See Trailers, LJ 1/13;]—Joan Greenberg, Warminster, PA

Library Journal Reviews starred review Manufactured Landscapes. color. 90+ min. Jennifer Baichwal, Mercury Films/Foundry Films, dist. by Zeitgeist Films, 2012. Blu-ray UPC 795975114837. $34.99. ARTS-GENERAL

Filmmaker Baichwal (Act of God; Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles) here follows Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky through China as he creates striking large-scale photographs from grim settings—mines, quarries, garbage heaps, shipyards, oil refineries, and factories. Burtynsky (b. 1955) manages to find color and harmony in these human-trampled landscapes. In real time, we see Burtynsky organizing and creating his shots, which then dissolve into fascinating compositions. A sea of factory workers in yellow uniforms congregate outside the yellow-painted buildings where they work; an immense mountain of tires boggles the mind; and smiling young men pose standing knee-deep in oil fields. The cinematography is equally stunning, with an impressive eight-minute opening tracking shot that traverses an endless factory floor and visits to the site of the building of the Three Gorges Dam, now the largest in the world, and the razing of entire Shanghai neighborhoods to make way for highrise towers. As the film progresses, the question of China’s urbanization brings up questions about the effects of globalization and pollution on our environment. Bonus features include additional scenes and an interview with cinematographer Peter Mettler. ­VERDICT This thought-provoking and beautifully filmed documentary should appeal to a general audience. [See New on Blu, LJ 2/1/13.]—­Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence

Library Journal Reviews starred review Searching for Sugar Man. color. 87+ min. Malik Bendjelloul, Red Box Films & Passion Pictures in assoc. with Canfield Pictures, dist. by Sony Pictures Classics, 2013. DVD UPC 043396413665. $30.99; Blu-ray UPC 043396413634. $35.99. Rated: PG-13. MUSIC

Detroit singer Sixto Rodriguez (b. 1942) released a couple of records in 1970 and 1971 that sank without a trace in the United States. Not so in South Africa, where, unbeknownst to Rodriguez, he became a superstar, his rebellious streak inspiring a generation of young musicians who provided the soundtrack to the overthrow of apartheid. He was also nearly a complete mystery in South Africa, information about him limited to lurid but false legends of his onstage suicide. In 1996, investigative journalist Craig Bartholomew-Strydom tracked Rodriguez down, still living in Detroit, working at manual labor, and raising three daughters. When Rodriguez was invited to tour South Africa a few years later, everyone, even his backing band, remained skeptical that he was really the same guy. Six triumphant sold-out concerts and four subsequent tours proved he was. Bonus items include an alternate commentary track, interviews, and a making-of featurette. ­VERDICT This astonishing, moving, and wonderfully told story is essential for all libraries. Buy the Sony Legacy sound track, too. [This film was one of the five nominees for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; see—Ed.]—John ­Hiett, formerly with Iowa City P.L.

The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate. 2 discs. color. 216+ min. Michael Cimino, dist. by Criterion Collection, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781604656565. $39.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604656558. $49.95. SDH subtitles. Rated: R. F

Quadrophenia. 2 discs. color. 2+ hrs. Franc Roddam, The Who Films, dist. by Criterion Collection, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781604656107. $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray ISBN 9781604656091. $39.95. SDH subtitles. F/MUSIC

Young Goethe in Love. color. 102+ min. In German w/English subtitles. Philipp Stölzl, dist. by Music Box Films, 2012. DVD UPC 736211215253. $29.95. F


The Adventures of Mark Twain: Collector’s Edition. color. 86+ min. Will Vinton, dist. by Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 876964005111. $14.98; Blu-ray UPC 876964005241. $19.98. Rated: G. LIT/ANIMATION

The Light in Her Eyes. color. 87 min. Julia Meltzer & Laura Nix, dist. by Cinema Guild, 212-685-6242; 2012. DVD ISBN 9780781514156. $99.95; acad. libs. $295 (Rental; 495). Public performance; 58-min. version DVD ISBN 9780781514217. REL

Going for the Gold: The ’48 Games. color. 90+ min. David Blair, BBC Worldwide, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781622241927. $19.97. SDH subtitles. SPORTS/BIOPIC

Walk with Me: The Personal Creative Act Is Political. color. 77 min. Tanisha Christie & Ellie Walton, aya arts & media, llc, 347-525-2272; 2012. DVD ISBN 9780615758152. $40. THEATER


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. color & b/w. 91+ min. In Mandarin & English w/ English subtitles. Alison Klayman, Never Sorry Prod., dist. by IFC Films c/o MPI Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD ISBN 9780788616051. $24.98; Blu-ray ISBN 9780788616341. $29.98. Rated: R. BIOG/INT AFFAIRS

Just Around the Corner: The Bob Benjamin Story. color & b/w. 96+ min. Jim Justice & SteveCaniff, Flat Broke Prods., Justice Bros. Film, dist. by Virgil Films, 2012. DVD UPC 829567084922. $19.99. BIOG/MUSIC

Murdoch’s Scandal. color. 60 min. Frontline, WGBH, dist. by PBS, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781608837021. $24.99. SDH subtitles. ECON

The Island President. color. 101+ min. Jon Shenk, After Image Public Media in assoc. with Impact Partners, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; 2012. DVD UPC 720229915298. $27.95. INT AFFAIRS

Secret Access: The Presidency. 3 discs. color. 3½ hrs. History Channel, dist. by New Video, 800-314-8822; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422921784. $29.95. POL SCI

Koch Brothers Exposed. color. 52+ min. Robert Greenwald, Brave New Fdn., dist by Disinformation Co., 2012. DVD ISBN 9781934708866. $19.98.

Occupy Unmasked. color. 75 min. Stephen K. Bannon, Citizens United Prods., dist. by Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 876964005104. $26.98. SOC SCI


Gordon Ramsay Cookalong Live. 2 vols. 4 discs. color. 402+ min. plus menu cards. One Potato Two Potato, dist. by BFS Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 066805311055. $39.98. COOKING/tv

How To Live Forever* *Results May Vary. color. 94+ min. Mark Wexler, Variance Films & Wexler’s World, dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422918517. $29.95. HEALTH/AGING

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"