New DVDs for June
New DVDs for June include the adaptation of Andrea Levy’s ‘Small Island’; the return of ‘The Boys’ in ‘Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business’; the second season of ‘Sherlock’; Western-crime series ‘Justified’ based on the work of Elmore Leonard; ‘Call The Midwife’ from the memoirs of Jennifer Worth; & the award winning ‘Tyrannosaur’…
Sione’s 2: unfinished business.
“Five years ago our heroes the Duckrockers thought they had figured it all out – they had found themselves girlfriends to take to Siones wedding and the future was looking bright…Fast-forward five years and things havent quite gone as the boys might have planned: Albert is now married to Tania and they are living in suburbia, both working in insurance and also trying (unsuccessfully) to have a baby; Sefa and Leilani are still together and now have two kids although despite Sefas proposal, theyre still not married. And while Sefas business is falling apart, Leilani seems to be living life to the full; Stanley is now a trainee Deacon in the Future Church; Michael has moved to Australia but the boys dont hear from him often; and Bolo has thrown in his job with Sefa and taken up work with Sione, Michaels younger brother. Growing up appears to be driving the Duckrockers apart but when theyre confronted with one of lifes unexpected turns and Bolo goes missing, their Minister once again brings them together and sends them on a quest. Their mission: to find Bolo.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
“Adapted from the award-winning 2004 novel, this mini-series stars Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean, White Teeth) as Hortense, a young ambitious Jamaican woman thrust into the grit of 1940s post-war London. Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken but her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer’s daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve. Small Island is a courageous story of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of shattering compassion and reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
“A powerful award-winning drama written and directed by Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes), Tyrannosaur follows the story of two people brought together by circumstance. Joseph (Peter Mullan, Neds) is an unemployed widower, drinker, and a man stifled by his own volatile temperament and furious anger. Hannah (Olivia Colman, Hot Fuzz) is a Christian worker at a charity shop, a respectable woman who appears wholesome and happy. When the pair are brought together, Hannah appears to be Joseph’s potential saviour, someone who can temper his fury and offer him warmth, kindness and acceptance. As their story develops Hannah’s own secrets are revealed–her relationship with husband James (Eddie Marsan, Sherlock Holmes) is violent and abusive–and as events spiral out of control, Joseph becomes her source of comfort…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
The Bang Bang Club.
“Screenwriter-director Steven Silver aspires to pose, if not exactly answer, some serious questions in his 2010 film The Bang Bang Club. What is the role of photographers during a time of war? Are they merely journalists and observers whose only duty is to use their cameras to let the world see what they have witnessed in the flesh? Or, when they see violence and suffering, do they have a responsibility to get involved and try to help those in need? The titular “club” refers to four photographers–Greg Marinovich (Ryan Phillippe), Kevin Carter (Taylor Kitsch), Ken Oosterbroek (Frank Rautenbach), and João Silva (Neels Van Jaarsveld)–who, in the early to mid ’90s, when the South African system of apartheid was in its death throes, worked together to chronicle the violence and upheaval leading up to the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as president (the film is based on a memoir written by Marinovich and Silva). Pulitzers are won, but not without accompanying criticism. One black character describes their work as “white photographers making money off the blood of South Africa,” while one of Marinovich’s prize-winning shots is derided as “a white man’s photo taken for white men’s purposes”; they also have to defend their decisions not to intervene in some of the more horrific scenes they recorded, while attempting to keep the police’s hands off their work as well…All in all, a worthy study of some conflicted men whose job, as one of them puts it, was mainly to “sit there and watch people die.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
Sherlock. Complete series two.
“This sophomore season exceeds the pleasures and promise of the Emmy-nominated first season with three feature-length mysteries that fully test Holmes’s mettle and cunning, and shake his very high self-regard. The first and third episodes do full justice to two figures who loom large in the Holmes canon. The first is Irene Adler (Lara Pulver), a.k.a. “the Woman,” in “A Scandal in Belgravia,” a ripping and naughty yarn involving a high-class dominatrix and some scandalous royal photos. The second, of course, is Moriarty (an Emmy-worthy Andrew Scott) in “The Reichenbach Fall,” who hatches a mad scheme to bring about Holmes’s ruination. The middle mystery is perhaps Holmes’s best-known, “The Hounds of Baskerville,” a psychological thriller that lacks the other two’s worthy central adversaries, although Holmes’s rare moment of bafflement sets the stage for the seemingly game-changing finale that has Dark Knight echoes. Sherlock’s high concept–transplanting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master consulting detective to 21st-century London–is brilliantly realized, but at the heart of this series’ success is the casting and chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, who chronicles their adventures in–what else–a blog. While some may make innuendo about the nature of their relationship, it is their friendship that unfolds by degrees that holds the most fascination. “I don’t have friends,” Holmes confesses to Watson in one of his rare quiet and less prickly moments. “I have one.”…” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
Justified. The complete first season.
“Prolific and much-respected author Elmore Leonard’s novels have fared poorly when they’ve been adapted to the small screen…but the Western-cum-police-drama Justified breaks the losing streak thanks to the tightly wound performance of star Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) and solid scripting and direction. Olyphant’s Marshal Raylan Givens, whom readers met in the novels Pronto and Riding the Rap (as well as the short “Fire in the Hole,” which serves as the basis for the pilot episode), is a man of few words and deadly aim who is sent back to his hometown of Harlan County, Kentucky, after shooting first and asking questions later with an oily gangster. Once ensconced in the coal belt, Givens runs afoul of childhood friend Boyd Crowder (the terrific Walton Goggins from The Shield), who’s gone from mining to white supremacy and murder. Also competing for Givens’s attention are local girl Ava (Joelle Carter), whose crush on the marshal doesn’t quite obscure the fact that she’s just murdered her husband, and his father, Arlo (the always-solid character actor Raymond J. Barry), whose criminal career is a millstone around Givens’s neck…” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
“Diablo Cody (Juno) has written another nuanced, psyche-skewering masterpiece with Young Adult. And Charlize Theron turns in an amazing performance that takes the audience along for a darkly comic and deeply rewarding ride. Young Adult centers on a woman, Mavis (Theron), who was all that back in high school. After a crushing divorce, she returns to her small town, Mercury, to regroup, and, she hopes, reclaim her high school flame, Buddy (the blandly handsome Patrick Wilson, also excellent). But unlike Mavis, Mercury and its residents have changed, and grown up…Mavis’s focused cluelessness and sense of entitlement cause the viewer to cringe, but are also black-comedy funny. Comic Patton Oswalt is also a revelation, playing Matt, a sort of Greek chorus of Mercury who relates to Mavis (sort of) and isn’t afraid of telling her the truth…Young Adult is a truly interesting and nuanced comedy, and Charlize Theron will have the viewer thinking long after the film is over…” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
The first grader .
“The First Grader is the triumphant true story of one man’s battle to overcome his past in order to be educated. When the Kenyan government promises free education for all, 84 year-old Maruge (Oliver Litondo in his debut role) makes his way to a remote primary school in the Kenyan bush to get himself the education he has always been denied. A former Mau Mau warrior, fifty years earlier he fought for the liberation of his country and now he must fight for his right to learn to read and write in a class of six-year-olds. Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on an old man. Full of humour and vitality, THE FIRST GRADER uncovers the shocking untold history of British colonial rule in Kenya and tells the remarkable, inspirational story of one man’s determination to learn in the face of adversity…” – (adapted from
Call the midwife.
“Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth; the story follows twenty-two year old Jenny, who in 1957 leaves her comfortable home to become a midwife in London’s East End slums. Jenny is welcomed by the nuns and befriended by the other midwives – good-time girl Trixie, sensible Cynthia and fellow newcomer, the posh, fish-out-of water, Chummy. We are introduced to the local community through the eyes of the young nurse as she cycles out to tend to her patients. Although the life that greets Jenny is a world away from what she’s used to, she immerses herself in the births, deaths, intrigues and romances of a community she rapidly learns to love…” – (adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)
A film unfinished.
“A Film Unfinished, a harrowing look at the devious art of a propaganda film made by the Third Reich, is a rich and well-researched investigation into the filmic history of the Warsaw Ghetto. Made by Yael Hersonski, this documentary begins by explaining how a film found in a Berlin vault, called “The Ghetto,” depicting Polish Jews living in luxury among the squalor of the three square miles that made up the real ghetto, has served as cinematic historical documentation of Warsaw only because it contains actual footage of the destitution there. However, by offering the viewer multiple takes of each scene, Hersonski argues that viewers need to remember that this propaganda film was completely staged to manipulate the viewer into believing in a contrast between what fortunate Jews allegedly could have had under the reign of the Third Reich…By presenting the entire 60 minutes of “The Ghetto” spliced with new footage, Hersonski proves the falsity of the propaganda film and also analyzes the history of how it was made and the psychology behind that historical impetus…” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)
Warehouse 13. Season one.
“After saving the life of the president, two top Secret Service agents find themselves abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13, a massive, top-secret storage facility in the badlands of South Dakota that houses U.S. government. Now the pair, off-the-cuff Agent Pete Lattimer and by-the-book Agent Myka Bering, must chase down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects for their eccentric new boss, Artie Nielsen, to safeguard at the Warehouse…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)