New DVDs: Feature Length Films and TV Series – July 2009

Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance

This PBS documentary examines the outpouring of creativity in the visual arts by African Americans during the 1920s and 1930s, the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. Presents items from the 1990 exhibition Against the odds, curated by the Newark Museum. (1993) Not Rated

Amongst White Clouds

American director Edward A. Burger documents his journey into the lives of China’s forgotten Zen Buddhist hermit tradition. The Zhongnan Mountains have been home to recluses for some five thousand years; Burger’s experiences demonstrate that the tradition continues to thrive. One of only a few foreigners to have lived and studied with these hidden sages, Burger reveals to us their tradition, their wisdom, and the hardship and joy of their everyday lives. Not Rated

Battlestar Gallactica: Season One

After losing the war against the Cylon robots, the Battlestar Galactica crew quickly head toward the fabled 13th Colony, Earth. Galactica Commander Adama and President Laura Roslin are facing the problems of waning supplies and crushed morale. Along the way they have to deal with the credible threat that Cylons may be aboard the ship. Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park. Originally broadcast on the Sci-fi Channel during the 2004-2005 television season. Not Rated

Battlestar Gallactica: Season Two

This season finds the twelve colonies of man caught in a brewing civil war between the followers of President Roslin and those of Commander Adama. They must face the Cylons from outside, and within, the fleet.  Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Michael Rymer.(2005-2006) Not Rated

Battlestar Galalctica: Season 2.5

A continuation of the epic Sci-Fi series, follows the ongoing battle of President Laura Roslin and Commander William Adama in their heart-pounding crusade to save humanity from the deadly robot Cylons.Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Michael Rymer. (2005-2006) Not Rated

Battlestar Gallactica: Season 3

The Colonies’ survivors have found their hopes of eluding their Cylon pursuers dashed by an invasion and occupation of their new home. As the fate of all human life hangs in the balance, friends become enemies, enemies become unexpected allies, and decisions are made that will haunt some people for the rest of their lives.  Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, James Callis, Grace Park, Katee Sackhoff, Tahmoh Penikett. Originally broadcast on television during the 2006-2007 season. Not Rated

Battlestar Gallactica: Season 4

The civil war amongst the Cylons escalates and Galactica’s quest for Earth continues. Cast: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Michelle Forbes, Stephanie Jacobsen. (2008) Not Rated

The Crucible

A group of teenage girls meets in the woods at midnight for a secret love-conjuring ceremony. When the ceremony is witnessed by the town minister, the girls are accused of witchcraft. Soon the entire village is consumed by hysteria, and innocent victims are put on trial, leading to a devastating climax. Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen. Based on the play by Arthur Miller. (1996) Rated PG-13

Edward II

Offbeat, intriguing, graphic retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s Elizabethan tragedy about gay king’s expulsion from British throne. Cast: Steven Waddington, Andrew Tiernan, Tilda Swinton. Rated R

Far from the Maddening Crowd

A headstrong young woman’s life becomes entwined with three disparate men–a dashing soldier, a wealthy landowner, and a sheep farmer. Cast: Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch, Alan Bates. Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy. (1967) Not Rated


The Ganges runs through the heart of India. For millions of Hindus it is India’s sacred river, but they share its banks with a rich variety of wildlife. Reveals how the Ganges has shaped the wildlife, culture and beliefs in India. Originally broadcast on BBC Two. Includes narration in English, Hindi and Bengali. (2008) Not Rated

Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers

The impoverished Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro come to Venice in search of the heir to the throne of Barataria, inconveniently mislaid at birth and betrothed to their daughter.  It takes the help of the nursemaid to unravel the knots in this particularly twisty tale. Cast: Davod Hobson, Roger Lemke, Suzanne Johnston, Christine Douglas. This Opera Australia production was originally performed in 1990.  Not Rated

Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and Trial By Jury

Two Gilbert & Sullivan operettas recorded live over three performances at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, in May 2005.  Performers: Anthony Warlow, David Hobson, John Bolton Wood, Tiffany Speight, Richard Alexander, Colette Mann.  Not Rated

Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado

The parody of British Victorian life, spiced with the usual topical allusions to English customs and institutions, set in a Japanese Never-Never Land, is performed by The Australian Opera. Recorded live at the Sydney Opera House, Feburary 25, 1987. Not Rated

Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience

Set in the early 20th century, the aesthetic poet Bunthorne sings his love for Patience, the village milkmaid. Meanwhile he has captured the heart of every other lady in the village. Upon the arrival of the idyllic poet Grosvenor, all hell breaks loose when he proposes to Patience. Cast: Christine Douglas, Heather Begg, Anthony Warlow, Dennis Olson.  Recorded live at the Sydney Opera House, Feb, 25, 1995. Not Rated

Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance

The Opera Australia’s production of G&S’ classic, comic operetta.  Cast: Anthony Warlow, David Hobson, John Bolton Wood, Taryn Fiebig and Suzanne Johnston. (2007)  Not Rated.

Hallowed Grounds: America’s Overseas Military Cemeteries

This PBS special visits America’s overseas military cemeteries, and weaves elements of a historical documentary with beautiful, contemporary scenes of the cemeteries, and powerful stories about the men and women who are buried in them. Includes on-location interviews with formal and informal historians, witnesses of the wars, and the creation of the cemeteries. Not Rated

Heart and Soul

Four souls learn why they are earthbound and tied to a hard driving executive–through him, they each have one chance to resolve the unfinished business in their lives. Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick, Elisabeth Shue, Tom Sizemore, David Paymer, Alfre Woodard. (1993)  Rated PG-13

Into the Woods

A fusion of fairytales in musical form, covering themes from Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and others.  Cast: Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Tom Aldredge, Robert Westenberg, singers ; additional singers ; orchestra. Originally telecast on American Playhouse in 1987. Not Rated

Kiss Me Kate

The backstage and on-stage antics of two feuding romances during a tryout for the musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s  The Taming of the Shrew.  Music by Cole Porter.  This 2000 Broadway production was featured on PBS’ Great Performances. Cast: Brent Barrett, Rachel York, Nancy Anderson, Michael Berresse.  Not RatedCast: Brent Barrett, Rachel York, Nancy Anderson, Michael Berresse.  Not Rated

Mary White

In this heart-warming true story of a loving father-daughter relationship, William Allen White reflects on the last year he spent with his daughter Mary. Cast: Ed Flanders, Tim Matheson, Fionnula Flanagan. Based on the writings of William Allen White. (1977) Not Rated

Meet Me in St. Louis

The Smith family eagerly anticipates the opening of the 1903 World’s Fair in their hometown of St. Louis. Love is in the air with the handsome boy next door, but all hopes and dreams may be dashed when father announces they’re moving to New York City! Cast: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main. (1944) Not Rated

Moonlight: The Complete Series

Mick St. John is a private investigator ‘living’ in Los Angeles. Mick’s bride turned him into a vampire on the couple’s wedding night fifty-five years earlier. In the present day, he struggles with his love for a mortal woman, his dealings with other vampires and other criminal elements. Cast: Alex O’Loughlin, Sophia Myles, Shannyn Sossamon, Jason Dohring. Originally broadcast on CBS television during the 2007-2008 season.  Not Rated

The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries

Assisted by her confidant George Moody, Mrs. Bradley solves the most complicated crimes with a sly combination of charm, intelligence and wit. In this set of five mysteries, she gets the lowdown on the upper crust – much to the bemusement of Police Inspector Christmas. Cast: Diana Rigg, Neil Dudgeon, Peter Davison. Based on the novels by Gladys Mitchell. (1998) Not Rated

Murdoch Mysteries

In the 1890’s, Detective William Murdoch adopts modern techniques like ‘finger marks’ and forensics to track Toronto’s most sinister killers. Though derided by his skeptical boss, Murdoch finds friends and allies in a lovely pathologist and an eager-to-learn constable. Along the way they cross paths with some of the era’s most famous figures, including Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Prince Alfred. Cast: Yannick Bisson, Hélène Joy, Thomas Craig, Jonny Harris.  Characters adapted from the novels by Maureen Jennings. (2008) Not Rated

Prison Break 4: The Final Season

Revenge, deceit and edge of your seat action lead to the most breathtaking, suspenseful series finale. Cast: Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Michael Rapaport, Amaury Nolasco, Wade Williams, Robert Knepper, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Sarah Wayne Callies, William Frichter. (2008-2009) Not Rated

She Fell Among Thieves

The BBC Drama that launched the PBS Mystery Series.  While on a Pyrenees vacation in 1922, English gentleman Richard Chandos encounters the villainous Vanity Fair, mistress of the turreted Chateau Jezreel and leader of a motley band of criminals. Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Eileen Atkins, Michael Jayston and Karen Dotrice. Based on the novel by Dornford Yates. Originally broadcast on PBS television in 1978. Not Rated


Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s musical extravaganza which celebrates the loves and heartbreaks of a Mississippi riverboat troupe, starting with a young girl whose heart is stolen by a dashing gambler.Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, Joe E. Brown, Marge and Gower Champion, Robert Sterling, Agnes Moorehead, William Warfield. (1951) Not Rated

The Story of India

Historian Michael Wood chronicles the history of the Indian subcontinent, the richness and diversity of its peoples, and its continuing relevance in today’s world. Broadcast on PBS in 2008-2009. Not rated.

Supernatural: The Complete Third Season

Two brothers search for their missing father, the man who trained them to be warriors against supernatural evil. Cast: Jared Padalecki, Kate Cassidy, Lauren Cohan, Jensen Ackless. Originally broadcast by the CW 2007-2008. Not Rated

Trial  & Retribution: Set 2

This British TV Series explores the bitter internal rivalries among police investigators, the political pressures of high-profile cases, and the legal maneuverings of defense attorneys and prosecutors. Police probe an abandoned house concealing multiple murders, a dysfunctional family with a deeply troubled musical prodigy, the mysterious disappearance of a well-connected woman, and a shadowy sex club for London’s elite. Cast: David Hayman, Kate Buffery, Dorian Lough, Dermot Crowley, Simon Callow. (2001-2004) Not Rated

The Turn of the Screw

Henry James’ chilling ghost tale about a governess hired by a charming bachelor to look after two young children in a grand mansion in rural England where sinister events place their lives in jeopardy. Cast: Jodhi May, Pam Ferris, Colin Firth, Joe Sowerbutts, Grace Robinson. (1999) Not Rated

Two and a Half Men: The Complete First Season

Charlie Harper is a bachelor in paradise, complete with Malibu beach house, overpaid job and a very active dating life. Then his uptight brother Alan, in the throes of a divorce, moves in, bringing his 10-year-old son Jake with him. Together they start a new family of two adults, one kid, and no grown-ups. Cast : Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Marin Hinkle, Melanie Lynskey, Holland Taylor. (2003-2004) Not Rated

Two and a Half Men: The Complete Second Season

Welcome back to the Harpers’ Malibu beach house. Bachelor Charlie is trying (but not very hard) to remember the name of the girl currently taking a shower upstairs. Alan, Charlie’s tightly-wound, divorced brother is trying to figure out how he can get his ex-wife to remarry so he can stop paying alimony. And Jake, Alan’s 11-year-old son, is just trying to figure out what’s for lunch and where’s the TV remote. After a year of living together, the guys have figured out how two and a half men equal one family. Sort of. Cast: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Marin Hinkle, Conchata Ferrell, Melanie Lynskey, Holland Taylor. (2004-2005) Not Rated

Two and a Half Men: The Complete Third Season

The boys (two-and-a-half-men’s worth) are back! A drop-dead gorgeous parade of Kandis, Sandys, Mandis and more marches in and out of the Harpers’ Malibu beach house, but the warm heart of the series remains the makeshift family that calls the beach house home– carefree bachelor Charlie, his fussy chiropractor brother Alan and Alan’s precocious young son Jake. This season Charlie romances a beautiful ballet dancer, Alan dates a 22-year-old cutie and his domineering ex-wife– and finally, wedding bells ring. But who’s the happy couple? Cast: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Marin Hinkle, Conchata Ferrell, Melanie Lynskey, Holland Taylor. (2005-2006) Not Rated

Two and a Half Men: The Complete Fourth Season

Charlie has a close encounter with his long-deceased dad. Alan, after a few resumé embellishments, tries his hand at online dating. Jake swaps his Harry Potter posters for the joys of hottie wall art. Cast: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Marin Hinkle, Conchata Ferrell, April Bowlby, Holland Taylor. (2006-2007) Not Rated

Two and a Half Men: The Complete Fifth Season

In this hilarious fifth season, Charlie tops the charts as kiddie-song sensation Charlie Waffles, Alan at last meets the perfect woman, Jake starts junior high, armed with ‘helpful’ advice from Alan and Charlie, and Evelyn ties the knot for the fifth time. Cast: Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Marin Hinkle, Conchata Ferrell, April Bowlby, Holland Taylor. (2007-2008) Not Rated

A Village Affair

Recently returned to England from New York City, vivacious heiress Clodagh Unwin befriends a couple new to her village. The husband is entranced by the young aristocrat, but Clodagh has eyes for someone else: his wife Alice. Cast: Claire Bloom, Kerry Fox, Jeremy Northam, Nathaniel Parker, Keira Knightley. Based on the novel by Joanna Trollope. (1994) Not Rated

The Vincent Price Collection

Contents: House on Haunted Hill (1959)– The Last Man on Earth (1964)– The Bat (1959) — Not Rated

Weeds: Season Four

Last time we saw her, Nancy’s business and house were going up in smoke. So the Botwin bunch has relocated near the border for a fresh start with some new buds. Cast: Mary Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon.  Originally broadcast on Showtime.  Not Rated

Will Shakespeare

This BBC-TV production begins with Shakespeare’s youthful obscurity in Avon. As he struggles to survive as a playwright, he faces multiple hardships, but defeats all obstacles to achieve unprecedented success in London. Cast: Tim Curry, Ian McShane, André Morell, John McEnery, Simon Rouse. (1978) Not Rated

Wycliffe: Season One

Detective Wycliffe takes a traditional approach to solving crimes on his Cornwall beat, a land of myths and magnificent scenery. Cast: Jack Shepherd, Bill Nighy, Jimmy Yuill, Helen Masters, Tim Wylton, Aaron Harris, Adam Barker. Based on the novels by W. J. Burley. (1994) Not Rated