The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, more Grey Gardens, Autistic Adults, plus “Prime” TV | Video Reviews

redstarThe Green Table: The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. color. 37 min. Thomas Grimm, Reiner Moritz Assocs. & WTTW, dist. by Kultur, 732-229-2343; 2013. DVD ISBN 9780769750903. $19.99. DANCE

The Green TableThe 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.—Tom Budlong, Atlanta

redstarGrey Gardens. color. 94+ min. Albert & David Maysles, dist. by Criterion Collection, 2013. Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658019. $39.95. BIOG

Grey GardensThe 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.—Ellen Druda, Half Hollow Hills Community Lib., Dix Hills, NY

redstarToo Sane for This World: A Film About Adult Autism. color, 63+ min. William Davenport, Talk Story Films, dist. by Cinema Libre Studio, 2014. DVD UPC 881394119123. $19.95; streaming and on-demand available. PSYCH

Too Sane for this WorldDirector 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.—Virginia Johnson, Tufts Lib., Weymouth, MA

redstarWilliam & Mary: The Complete Collection. 6 discs. color. 14½+ hrs. Jean Stewart & others, ITV Studios, dist. by Acorn Media, 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621721468. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F

William and MaryWilliam 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.—Joan Greenberg, Warminster, PA

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 this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


The Wall. color. 108+ min. English & German w/ English narration & subtitles. Julian Roman Pölsler, dist. by Music Box Films, 2013. DVD UPC 741360538337. $29.95. F


Chicago Drawbridges. color. 56+ min. Stephen Hatch , HatchWerks,

www.­ 2013. DVD ISBN 9780989069502. $95; acad. libs. $325. Public performance; home version $24; ­ $24.99. ARCH

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear. color. 101+ min. Tinatin Gurchiani , dist. by Icarus Films, 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. 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; 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, 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, 2014. DVD $14.99. REL

Scotland’s Caddies. color. 65 min. Ron Colby, Artists Confederacy, 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 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, 2014. DVD ISBN 9781933724447. $69.95. Public performance. ED

redstar50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus. color & b/w. 63 min. Steven Pressman, dist. by Seventh Art Releasing, 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; 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, 2013. HEALTH

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.