New DVDs: TV Series, Nonfiction and Feature Length Films – August and September 2010

The Agatha Christie Hour: Set 1

Tales of romance and danger in the glittering 1920s and ’30s.  In these stories, lesser-known Christie heroes and heroines solve crimes of the heart as well as puzzling cases of larceny and murder. With just the right mix of danger and deception, romance and revenge, innocence and intrigue, these classic adaptations are Christie at her best, now on DVD for the first time. Not Rated

All About Eve

Writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s story about New York City theater life, with Bette Davis playing an aging Broadway diva who employs a starstruck fan (Anne Baxter) as her assistant, only to learn the woman is a conniving upstart. The classic film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Mankiewicz), Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders). (1950) Not Rated

Le Amiche

A female fashion designer (Eleonora Rossi Drago) who’s looking for a change of pace trades her apartment in Rome for a hotel in northern Italy, where she starts a new life as an employee in a Turin boutique. But will her fresh start be tainted by tragedy? Michelangelo Antonioni directs this classic melodrama based on an article by Cesare Pavese about the changing roles of Italian women. Italian dialogue, English subtitles. (1955) Not Rated

Botswana: In the Footsteps of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency with Alexander McCall Smith

Join the author as he travels to the heart of Botswana, inspiration and location for his mystery series.

Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season

Diagnosed with cancer and given only two years left to live, high school chemistry teacher Walter (Bryan Cranston) attempts to secure his family’s financial future by teaming up with his former student, Jesse (Aaron Paul), to produce and distribute the illegal drug meth. As Walter slowly builds his empire, his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), grows suspicious of his erratic behavior, and the DEA starts searching for the area’s new drug kingpin. Not Rated

Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season

Chemistry teacher-turned-meth dealer Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his partner, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), climb higher in the drug game, which draws dangerous attention from competing cartels and imperils Walter’s DEA brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris). The sophomore season of this addictive drama also welcomes Bob Odenkirk to the cast as the unexpectedly sharp consigliere Saul Goodman. Not Rated

Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Third Season

Tireless matriarch Nora Walker (Sally Field) leads her affluent progeny through more triumphs, tragedies and surprises in this classy ABC soap opera. A whole new round of professional and personal dramas unfold for Justin (Dave Annable), Kitty (Calista Flockhart), Tommy (Balthazar Getty), Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), Julia (Sarah Jane Morris), Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) and Saul (Ron Rifkin). Not Rated

The Closer: The Complete Fourth Season

The Closer: The Complete Fifth Season

Georgia detective Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) transfers to the Los Angeles Police Department to head up the Major Crimes Division, where her Southern charm and well-honed interrogation skills help her elicit confessions from even the toughest criminals.

The Crucifer of Blood

Adapted from the Arthur Conan Doyle story The Sign of the Four. It depicts the character Irene St. Claire (Susannah Harker) hiring the detective Sherlock Holmes (Charleton Heston) to investigate the travails that her father and his three compatriots suffered over a pact made over a cursed treasure chest in colonial India during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. (1991) Not Rated

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Seventh Season

The popular HBO sitcom returns for another round of neurotic fun in Season 7. Co-starring Jeff Garlin as Larry’s long-suffering friend and manager Jeff, the series follows the fictionalized adventures of the Seinfeld co-creator, who manages to screw up absolutely every situation he encounters. Rated TV-MA

Dexter: The Fourth Season

Miami forensics specialist Dexter Morgan (Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall) has been so successful at keeping his secret life as a serial killer under wraps that no one — not even his newly minted wife, Rita (Julie Benz) — knows about his extracurricular activities. Dexter continues to count on the fact that nobody suspects him of murder. And then he commits it with reckless abandon. John Lithgow joins the fourth season in a Golden Globe-winning role. Not Rated

Doc Martin: Series Four

Harried and uncouth as ever, Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) continues to practice his personal brand of medicine on the eccentric residents of Portwenn, England, in Season 4 of the popular BBC comedy-drama series. After breaking his engagement to the village headmistress (Caroline Catz), the doctor hopes to trade the countryside for London, but multiple obstacles stand in his way — including some dire news from his ex-fiancée. Not Rated

Entourage: The Complete Fourth Season

Having fired his hard-charging agent (Jeremy Piven), it’s anyone’s guess what career choices up-and-coming actor Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) will make on the advice of his three buddies in the fourth season of this popular HBO comedy. Surrounded by his posse — Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and half-brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon) — Vince continues to navigate the shark-infested waters of Tinseltown. (2007)

Entourage: The Complete Fifth Season

HBO’s hit comedy is back for a fifth season, with movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) steering his considerable posse through Tinseltown — a group that includes his brother, his friends from back home, his representatives and a cadre of beautiful women. (2008)

Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season

After a disastrous year capped off by the Smoke Jumpers debacle, Vince (Adrian Grenier) is poised to make a comeback — beginning with a starring role in Martin Scorsese’s next picture. Meanwhile, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) might finally be getting lucky in love. Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven co-star in the sixth season of this Golden Globe-winning comedy series about the unpredictability of the entertainment industry.

Everwood: The Complete Third Season

This season, love is in the clear mountain air of Everwood. Back from a troubled summer at Juilliard, Ephram commits himself to his music and to Amy. Andy wanted Everwood to be his family’s home. Now it may be just another place they used to live.(2004)

Gentleman’s Agreement

Enterprising reporter Phil Green (Gregory Peck), eager to blow the lid off anti-Semitism, accepts an assignment to pen a series of frank exposés for a progressive magazine. Looking for a new angle, Green poses as a Jew and soon endures the full spectrum of bigotry — from being denied a job and use of public facilities to his son suffering a beating. Little by little, the journalist comes to understand the cruel effects of prejudice. (1947)

George Gently: Series One

George Gently: Series Two

After the hit-and-run murder of his wife, London police officer George (Martin Shaw) moves to England’s North Country to find the killer. Feared by criminals and corrupt cops, George works closely with his partner, John (Lee Ingleby), to stop lawbreakers of all types. Set in 1960s Britain, this drama is based on Alan Hunter’s novels and features guest stars such as Richard Armitage, Phillip Davis and John Kavanagh.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Joan Allen stars as 20th-century painter Georgia O’Keeffe in this Golden Globe-nominated biopic that follows the artist’s tempestuous relationship with her lover and eventual husband, Alfred Steiglitz (Jeremy Irons), a New York photographer and art promoter. Though their marriage weathers long absences and extramarital affairs, O’Keeffe prefers solitude in New Mexico, where she creates her greatest work. Bob Balaban directs. Not Rated

Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise

Emmy Award winner Tom Selleck returns to the role of Jesse Stone, the troubled police chief of Paradise, Mass., in this third chapter of the crime-mystery series based on Robert B. Parker’s best-selling novels. As Stone obsesses on solving the murder of a teenage girl found floating in a local lake, he also works a deadly domestic violence case and faces a run-in with Boston mobsters that may lead to grave consequences. (2006) Not Rated

Jesse Stone: Night Passage

After being cut loose from the LAPD for heavy drinking, Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) is hired as police chief of Paradise, Mass., an idyllic seaside town. But it doesn’t take long for Stone to uncover the dark side of Paradise. After launching an investigation into a routine domestic abuse complaint, Stone unearths the town’s disturbing and violent secrets. This made-for-television movie is based on the writings of Robert B. Parker. (2006) Not Rated

Jesse Stone: No Remorse

Tom Selleck takes a sixth turn as small-town Massachusetts police chief Jesse Stone, who combats crime as well as personal issues in the movie series based on the best-selling novels by Robert B. Parker. After he’s suspended from his job, Stone travels to Boston at the request of his friend Capt. Healey (Stephen McHattie) — the state homicide commander — to help solve a string of murders plaguing the city. Not Rated

Jesse Stone: Sea Change

Tom Selleck returns in an Emmy-nominated performance as Jesse Stone, a recovering alcoholic and chief of police in sleepy Paradise, Mass. In this installment, Stone’s investigation into a years-old rape case is stonewalled as the town tries to keep the incident quiet to minimize the effect on tourism. Mika Boorem, Kathy Baker, William Devane and William Sadler co-star in this adaptation of the novel by Robert B. Parker. (2007 Not Rated

Jesse Stone: Stone Cold

Adapted from a novel by Robert B. Parker, this made-for-TV drama stars Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, a jaded Los Angeles detective who takes a job as the police chief of a quiet coastal town in Massachusetts. The hard-drinking Stone maintains a low profile, but when a corpse washes ashore and multiple assailants rape a high school student, the former big-city cop goes into action. Among the supporting cast are Mimi Rogers, Viola Davis and Stephen McHattie. (2005) Rated R

Jesse Stone: Thin Ice

Tom Selleck returns as Jesse Stone, police chief of sleepy Paradise, Mass., who lands in hot water with the town council when he gets tangled up in a shootout in Boston, during which a state police commander takes a bullet. Stone continues to push the council’s buttons — and risks his job — by firing a favored Paradise city employee and taking on a controversial missing-persons case. Kathy Baker and Camryn Manheim co-star. (2009) Not Rated

The Jewel in the Crown

The passionate, turbulent and controversial love affair between a British-raised Indian man and an Englishwoman during the waning years of the British Raj is portrayed in this Masterpiece Theatre miniseries based on Paul Scott’s novel The Raj Quartet. Spanning 14 episodes shot in exotic locales in India and England, this exquisite human epic received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries. (1984)

The Last Enemy

When his brother Michael dies, researcher Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch) returns to England after years abroad. Searching for answers about Michael’s death, Ezard realizes that his homeland has transformed into a surveillance state. To complicate matters, Stephen falls for Michael’s enigmatic widow, Yasmin (Anamaria Marinca). Robert Carlyle co-stars in this gripping British miniseries set in the near future. Not rated (2008)

Lost: The Complete Sixth Season

The final season of this drama brings the series to a smashing climax that reveals the fate of the survivors of Oceanic’s flight 815, including Jack (Matthew Fox, in his first Emmy-nominated role) and the others who escaped the island once, only to return. But as Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Sawyer (Josh Holloway), Locke (Terry O’Quinn), Ben (Michael Emerson) and the rest play out their destinies, the island may yet refuse to yield all of its secrets. Rated TV-14

Maggie Smith at the BBC

This three-disc set celebrates four of Dame Maggie Smith’s leading roles for the BBC. The collection begins with two 1972 Plays of the Month, The Merchant of Venice and The Millionairess. . In Alan Bennett’s quietly devastating Bed Among the Lentils,  Smith portrays Susan, a deeply disillusioned vicar’s wife, and in Sir Richard Eyre’s intimate 1993 adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly, Last Summer, she takes on Mrs. Venable, a grief-stricken mother. Rob Lowe, Richard E. Grant, and especially Natasha Richardson, as Venable’s niece Catherine, contribute strong work to this Great Performances production.

Marple: Series 5

Julia McKenzie returns for another season as Miss Marple, author Agatha Christie’s beloved amateur detective whose advanced age belies the cunning powers of observation and deduction that help her identify even the wiliest killers. This season, Miss Marple investigates the poisoning of a woman at a Hollywood party; the shooting of an Austrian nobleman at a posh English estate; and the curious case of a woman frightened to death by her wallpaper. Not Rated

McLeod’s Daughters: The Complete Eighth Season

The eighth and final season of this popular Australian television drama finds the daughters McLeod struggling to keep the family homestead afloat at Drovers Run amid an ever-changing climate of tragedy and uncertainty. As the action unfolds, Riley (Dustin Clare) is still missing in the aftermath of the Christmas accident, although Grace (Abi Tucker), Patrick (Luke Jacobz) and Tayler (Gillian Alexy) have miraculously survived.


Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) rescues her idol, romance novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan), after he crashes his car during a fierce blizzard. But when she finds out he plans to kill off the heroine in his next volume, Annie morphs from nurturing caregiver to sadistic jailer. In this tightly wound, suspenseful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Bates earns her Best Actress Oscar as a woman come undone in a claustrophobia-inducing house of horrors. Rated R (1990)

The Moonlight Mile

Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman co-star as the grieving mother and father of a recently deceased girl who take in their daughter’s fiancé (Jake Gyllenhaal) because he’s the only living connection they have to their only child. Problems arise when the young man falls in love with a woman (Ellen Pompeo) whose boyfriend has gone missing, prompting his former in-laws-to-be to come to grips with the new relationship. (2002) Rated PG-13

The Murdoch Mysteries: Season 2

Progressive inspector William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) investigates unusual crimes in Victorian-era Toronto in the second season of this suspenseful series. Accompanied by his stalwart partner (Jonny Harris), Murdoch uses new scientific tools to solve mysteries. Also aided by talented pathologist Dr. Ogden (Helene Joy), Murdoch works cases involving Buffalo Bill Cody, a possible Jack the Ripper suspect, Harry Houdini, werewolves and a dinosaur.

Project Runway: The Complete Seventh Season

The design competition is fierce — and uncommonly fashionable — as the seventh season of this hit reality series unfolds, bringing the action back to New York City after a season away in sunny Los Angeles. The first challenge asks the designers to craft a look that truly represents them as a designer. Later on, they design their own printed fabric and create haute couture for the hottest, young models: children.

Raffles: The Complete Collection

A dashing aristocrat turns criminal in this classic British drama. Meet A.J. Raffles (Anthony Valentine), a gentleman of leisure and a first-class cricketer. But when he’s not dining at his club or taking wickets for England, he’s often engaged in his other favorite activity–relieving the wealthy of their riches. A master of accents and disguise, Raffles is assisted by his old school chum “Bunny” Manders (Christopher Strauli). Always eager but often bewildered, Bunny follows his friend into the most complex of predicaments and deadliest of situations, likely as not pursued by the dogged Inspector Mackenzie (Victor Carin) of Scotland Yard.  In each episode, the roguish Raffles and his intrepid companion set out to plunder the wealth of the aristocracy, stay out of the reach of the law, and revel in the thrill of the game.(1977) Not Rated

Rough Crossings

Tells the story of the struggle for freedom by thousands of African-American ex-slaves who fled Southern plantations to fight behind British lines in the American War of Independence. Follows their dream of a journey to freedom in bone-chilling Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone. Features the stories of Englishman John Clarkson, a passionate advocate of the abolition of slavery, and two African men, Thomas Peters and David George, who escaped slavery in a quest for freedom. Cast: Joseph Marcell, Stephen Campbell Moore, Leo Wringer. Not Rated (2007)

St. John in Exile

Dean Jones is mesmerizing in his portrayal of the apostle John at a pivotal point in history. It’s 96 A.D., and scores of Christians have been massacred all over the Roman Empire. John is the last living disciple of Jesus, but he’s an 86-year-old man who’s been forced to spend his remaining days imprisoned in a cave on Patmos. Despite this fact, he refuses to give up and subsequently changes the future path of humankind. (1988) Not Rated

Shall We Dance?

During his daily commute, likable but dejected Tokyo office worker Shohei (Koji Yakusho) sees a stunning woman in a dance studio. Taken with her, he enrolls in ballroom dance lessons at the studio, even though he risks losing face by taking part in what his society considers an improper activity for a man. Shohei quickly realizes, however, that he has a gift for dance and loves participating in it, much to the alarm of his wife and daughter.  Japanese dialogue, English Subtitles.  Rated PG (1995)


Set against the backdrop of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, Shout stars John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever) in this coming-of-age musical. Jesse Tucker’s (James Walters) rebellious ways eventually land him in the Benedict Home for Boys in a sleepy Texas town in the ’50s. But when Jack Cabe (Travolta) breezes in as the new music teacher, he introduces Jesse and the boys to the fresh and dangerous new sounds of rock ‘n’ roll. Cabe encourages Jesse to redirect his emotions into music, and to trust his love for Sara (Heather Graham), the beautiful young daughter of the repressive headmaster (Richard Jordan).

Small Island

When Hortense (Naomie Harris) leaves her native island of Jamaica and lands in 1948 London, she dreams of making a better life for herself and expanding her social opportunities. Instead, she’s confronted with racism and life’s harsh realities. One of the harshest is her marriage of convenience to a man (David Oyelowo) she doesn’t love. John Alexander directs this Masterpeice Theatre televised adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel. Not Rated (2009)

Spring 1941

After Germany invades Poland and the Nazis order the confinement of all local Jews in the ghetto, medical doctor Artur Planck (Joseph Fiennes) manages to flee with his family, seeking refuge at the farm of Emilia (Kelly Harrison), their former grocer. With the Planck family hiding in her attic, Emilia finds her feelings for the physician growing stronger than she wants, or can control — despite the dangers of the situation. Rated R


A tender story of betrayal and redemption when a farmer intends to drown his wife, so he can be with a seductive city woman. Cast: George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston. (1927) Not Rated

Surviving Picasso

Academy Awardwinner Anthony Hopkins gives a full-throttle performance as the acclaimed artist in this masterful movie told from the viewpoint of Picasso’s longtime mistress (Natascha McElhone) and mother of his children Claude and Paloma.  Rated R

That Darn Cat!

After a bank teller is kidnapped during a robbery, she manages to slip her wristwatch around a stray cat’s neck, hoping that the enterprising feline will lead rescuers to her location in this Disney family classic. Fortunately, the cat wanders into the home of Patti Randall (Hayley Mills), who recognizes the watch’s significance and pushes the FBI — headed by an allergic agent (Dean Jones) — into action. Rated G (1965)

Ugly Betty: The Complete Third Season

America Ferrera stars as Betty Suarez, a humble, plain but very determined 20-something whose quick wit and fearless attitude have helped her rise through the ranks of influential high-fashion rag Mode. In the fourth and final season of this Emmy-winning sitcom, Betty dives back into the treacherous waters of interoffice politics and fashion-world backstabbing, guided by her conviction that virtue can prevail over vanity. Not rated

Victor Borge: 100 Years of Music and Laughter

This unparalleled collection of Victor Borge’s funniest and most memorable skits contains such classic comedy bits as the timeless “Phonetic Punctuation,” “Inflationary Language,” “Autumn Leaves” with Robert Merrill, “The Opera Singer” with Marylyn Mulvey and more. Rare archival footage from the Borge family vault enhances this memorable retrospective. Rita Rudner narrates.

When You’re Strange: A Film about the Doors

Composed entirely of original footage from 1966-71, Tom DiCillo’s documentary about the Doors filters truth from myth, reveals new insight into Jim Morrison and his bandmates, and captures the essence of the iconic rock group and the era. DiCillo’s film pays tribute to the Doors and their music and to a generation’s struggle for individuality and authenticity during an unstable and transformative epoch in America. (2009) Rated R

Wind at My Back: The Complete First Season

Kevin Sullivan and Trudy Grant — creators of the acclaimed television miniseries “Anne of Green Gables” — deliver another family-centered period drama, this time set in the 1930s. In the show’s 13-episode first season, Honey Bailey (Cynthia Belliveau) struggles to keep her family together during the Great Depression, and her two sons (Dylan Provencher and Tyrone Savage) use their creativity to get her a birthday gift. (1996)

Wycliffe: Series Three

Along England’s picturesque Cornish coast, perceptive Det. Supt. Charles Wycliffe (Jack Shepherd) continues to collaborate with his trusted colleagues Kersey (Jimmy Yuill) and Lane (Helen Masters) in order to solve the surrounding region’s mysterious murder cases. Series 3 of this British police program finds Wycliffe’s team investigating treasure hunters, insurance swindlers and other clever criminals. Not Rated