Video Reviews | June 15, 2013

Foyle’s War: The Home Front Files; Sets 1-6. 22 discs. color & b/w. 37 hrs. Jeremy Silberston & others, Greenlit Rights Limited, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; 2013. DVD ISBN 9781598286007. $149.99. F

This mystery series is set in the southern English coastal town of Hastings during World War II. Michael Kitchen plays the title role of Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. He is assisted by his plucky female driver Samantha “Sam” Stewart (played by Honeysuckle Weeks) and his war-injured but capable sergeant (played by Anthony Howell). The highly observant Foyle thoroughly supports the war effort but not at the expense of justice being served. Sam’s chatty, ever optimistic “can do” personality contrasts well with Foyle’s formal and often taciturn demeanor. Each 100-minute episode revolves around a murder or other serious crime and aspects of the war such as profiteering, German bombardments, or the assimilation of American GIs. The early episodes exude an undercurrent of trepidation about an imminent German invasion. Long time jumps between some episodes are reportedly owing to scripts dropped when the series, which premiered in 2002, was canceled in 2008. Production has resumed, and the seventh season will be broadcast on PBS this fall. Though the price is dear, the collection is a bargain over buying individual sets at $50–$60 each. VERDICT Well acted with nicely paced plots and fine attention to historical accuracy, Foyle’s War is highly recommended to fans of traditional British mysteries or World War II dramas.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

The Blob. color. 82 min. Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., dist. by Criterion Collection, 2013. Blu-ray ISBN 9781604656992. $39.95. HORROR

After a meteor crash-lands in a small Pennsylvania town, an elderly curmudgeon (Olin Howland) investigates, only to be consumed by the dollop of red jelly contained therein. Before the unfortunate fellow can be completely digested, he is rescued by two teens (“Steven” McQueen in a career-launching role and Aneta Corsaut, the future Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show) who transport him to a doctor (Stephen Chase). The viscous villain proceeds to ingest not only the elderly man but the doctor and his nurse (Lee Payton), then goes on a rampage in the town, devouring everything in its path. Extras on this Blu-ray edition of the glorious and gooey 1958 cult classic include a terrific essay by critic Kim Newman and “Blobabilia!,” an extensive compilation of Blob-related stills, posters, and behind-the-scenes photographs gathered by Blobophile Wes Swank. VERDICT From the insanely cheerful theme song (composed by Burt Bacharach and sung over a cartoon of joyfully expanding baby blobs) to its amorphous, question mark “End,” this film is a delightful trip down B movie memory lane. A must-see for all horror fans.—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewMy Trip to Al-Qaeda: Behind the Scenes of the War on Terror. color. 86 min. Alex Gibney, Jigsaw Prods. in assoc. with HBO Documentary Films, dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422921746. $29.95. COMM/MEMOIR

Journalist Lawrence Wright drew on his extensive experience in the Arab world to write The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, and following the book’s publication in 2006, Wright staged a one-man performance based on it. This film now brings that performance to viewers. We see Wright on stage, behind the scenes in the makeup chair, and walking the streets of Cairo and other Middle Eastern cities, while we hear him explore the emotional aspects and moral dilemmas of his work. Wright traces the roots of Islamic terrorism back to the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and to the conditions under which men accused of assisting in the plot were held. “To understand Egyptian prisons,” Wright says, “is to understand the roots of Islamic terror.” The story that Wright tells is, on the one hand, deeply personal. His grief and anger following the 9/11 attacks are obvious. Simultaneously, his story is grounded in solid research and his experience as a reporter. VERDICT Gibney and Wright have done an excellent job of exploring the complex and confusing issues behind Islamic terrorism and the toll terrorism and the war against it have taken on the United States and the world. This is a compelling and haunting film. Viewers will find themselves thinking about it long after the credits have rolled across the screen.—Rosemary Arneson, Univ. of Mary Washington Lib., Fredericksburg, VA

The following titles are reviewed in the June 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Hipsters. color. 125 min. In Russian w/English subtitles. Valery Todorovsky, dist. by Kino Lorber, 2013. DVD UPC 738329110529. $29.95. F/MUSICAL


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewA Drummer’s Dream. color. 85 min. John Walker/National Film Bd. of Canada, 2012. DVD $24.97. MUSIC

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewSousa on the Rez: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum. color. 27 min. Cathleen O’Connell, Desert Penguin Pictures, dist. by Vision Maker Media, 2013. DVD $150 + $5.99 s/h. Public performance; closed-captioned; home version $24.95 + $5.99 s/h. MUSIC/HIST

Art Is…the Permanent Revolution: Outrage in Great Art. color. 82 min. Manfred Kirchheimer, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; 2012. DVD UPC 720229915205. $27.95. ART-GENERAL

Beauty Is Embarrassing: The Wayne White Story. color. 88+ min. Neil Berkeley, Future You Pictures in assoc. with Tremelo Prods., dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; 2013. DVD ISBN 9781422922903. $29.95. ART-GENERAL

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. 4 discs. color. 312 min. Dirk Campbell, dist. by BFS Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 066805311307. $39.98. ART/BIOPIC

Hemingway & Gellhorn. color. 155+ min. Philip Kaufman, Attaboy Films & Walrus & Assocs, dist. by HBO Films, 2013. DVD UPC 883929266241. $19.97; Blu-ray/DVD combo UPC 883929266234. $24.99. Closed-captioned. Rated: TV-MA. LIT/BIOPIC

Swish 3: The Swish Free Throw. color. 88 min. Tom Nordland, SWISH Intl., dist. by Youth Sports Club, 800-511-2101; email 2012. DVD UPC 886403000034. $34.95. SPORTS INSTRUCTION

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy. 2 discs. color & b/w. 84+ min. Michael Kantor, B’WAY Films LLC & Ghost Light Films for PBS, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; 2013. DVD ISBN 9781598289848. $39.99. SDH subtitles. THEATER


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewThe Central Park Five. color. 2+ hrs. Ken Burns & others, Florentine Films, dist. by PBS, 2013. DVD ISBN 9781608838547. $24.99, Blu-ray ISBN 9781608838554. $29.99. CRIMINOLOGY/LAW

Shut Up and Sign. 6 discs in 2 sets. color. range: 32-53 min. Marty Alcan, Shut Up and Sign LLC, 2012. Includes: Don’t Worry, Be Happy . DVD UPC 608819452319. $24.95; We Are Family. DVD UPC 608819452326. $24.95; Cloud Lucky Seven . DVD UPC 608819452333. $24.95; set $74.85; Reading Fingerspelling: Beginner Level 1. DVD UPC 608819452340. $19.95; Intermediate Level 2. DVD UPC 608819452357. $19.95; Advanced Level 3. DVD UPC 608819452364. $19.95; set $59.85 + s/h. ED

Michael Wood’s Story of England. 2 discs. color. 333 min. Rebecca Dobbs, Maya Vision Intl., BBC Worldwide, dist. by PBS, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781419896019. $34.98. SDH subtitles. HIST

Mic Check: Documentary Shorts from the Occupy Movement. color. 100 min. Nick Shimkin, Media Education Fdn., 2012. DVD ISBN 9781932869613. $34.95; acad. libs. $195. Public performance; SDH subtitles. SOC SCI


Qigong for Women: Ancient Healing Wisdom for Modern Women. color. 217 min. David Silver, dist. by YMAA Prod., 2012. DVD ISBN 9781594392566. $29.95. HEALTH

Susie Hathaway’s Safe Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention. color. 50+ min. Devi Strength Ctr., dist. by Amazon, 2012. DVD UPC 798304229783. $25.95. HEALTH