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

Bang the Drum Slowly

Bruce Pearson (Robert De Niro) is a dedicated baseball player who’s hiding a secret: He has Hodgkin’s disease. His only confidante is the team’s star pitcher, Henry Wiggin (Michael Moriarty), who covers for him as he faces not only a waning season but a slowly fading life. Vincent Gardenia received an Academy Award nomination for his role as the team’s coach in this tearjerker based on Mark Harris’s 1950s novel. Rated PG (1973)

Blackbeard: Terror at Sea

A National Geographic special featuring dramatic reenactments of the exploits of the pirate Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, who during his career led in the pillage of some forty ships en route to or from the Caribbean. (2006)

Concertos, Sonatas, Trios: Mozart

Anne-Sophie Mutter playing all of Mozart’s major compositions for the violin as “Mozart project.”

Cranford: Return to Cranford

The two-part saga Return to Cranford opens to a struggling Cranford, a traditional English village that in autumn 1844 is airing the conflicts that accompany progress. Miss Matty Jenkyns (Judi Dench), after having closed her business in the last series, is happily babysitting the child of her maid, Martha (Claudie Blakley). This gives the ladies in town something to gossip about, as does every other small event in this chatty group. The same women populate this new Cranford–the snooty Miss Jamieson (Barbara Flynn), nosy Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), Miss Forrester (Julia McKenzie), Peggy (Jodie Whittaker), and Erminia (Michelle Dockery)–while a few new men added into the mix creates options for love interests throughout.

Damages: The Complete Second Season

Golden Globe winner Glenn Close returns as ruthless attorney Patty Hewes in FX’s critically acclaimed legal thriller that explores the cutthroat world of high-stakes litigation in New York City. Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later) co-stars as Ellen Parsons, once a wide-eyed associate who’s now a clever, hardened attorney in her own right. Ellen’s out for justice, and she may give her former mentor a run for her money.

A Death in Tehran

From the PBS series Frontline, at the height of the protests following Iran’s presidential election, a young woman named Neda Soltani was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran. Her death was filmed on a cameraphone, then uploaded to the web, quickly becoming an international outrage. Frontline investigates the life and death of the woman who remains a symbol for those wanting to keep the movement alive. (2009)


Convinced that she’s a superb matchmaker, Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) — despite warnings from her friend Mr. Knightley (Jonny Lee Miller) — persuades her chum Harriet Smith (Louise Dylan) to reject suitor Robert Martin (Jefferson Hall) and find a better husband. After Emma suffers the consequences of her meddling, she learns that love often hides in plain sight. Michael Gambon also stars in this BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel.

Lost: The Complete First Season

Lost: The Complete Second Season

Lost: The Complete Third Season

Lost: The Complete Fourth Season

Lost: The Complete Fifth Season

Stranded on a tropical island after their plane crashes 1,000 miles off course, a group of castaways must learn to survive in their new home, avoid the gigantic something crashing through the trees and determine whether they’re really alone. Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O’Quinn, Dominic Monaghan and Naveen Andrews head the diverse ensemble cast in this landmark series, which won an Emmy for Best Drama.

The Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland Collection

Contents: Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943)

Midsomer Murders: Set 14

The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mysteries. Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, the series stars John Nettles as the unflappable Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, with Jason Hughes as his earnest, efficient protégé, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones. Guest stars include Stephanie Cole, Gareth Thomas, Christopher Fairbank, Richard Hope, Peter Eyre, Chris Barrie, Matthew Marsh, and Clare Higgins.

The Perfect Gift

A spoiled schoolgirl, her overworked executive mother, and a disillusioned young minister each receive an uplifting message about friendship, commitment, and the truest meaning of Christmas from a friendly, but mysterious “drifter” named Jess. Not Rated

Poldark: Series One

This sweeping miniseries follows Capt. Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis) as he returns to England after fighting in America’s War for Independence. In Cornwall, Poldark discovers that his beloved Elizabeth (Jill Townsend) is engaged to his cousin and his fortune has been lost. Ross struggles to revive his estate, reconcile himself to a future with a new bride, Demelza (Angharad Rees), and overcome a bitter feud with rival George (Ralph Bates). (1975) Not Rated

Private Practice: The Complete First Season

Private Practice: The Complete Second Season

In this “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff, neonatal surgeon Addison Forbes Montgomery (Kate Walsh) leaves the drama of Seattle Grace Hospital for a new life in Santa Monica, Calif., at the Oceanside Wellness Group. Though her new co-workers have no shortage of emotional baggage, they’re standout physicians — and Addison goes along for the ride. The series also stars Tim Daly, Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman, Paul Adelstein and Audra McDonald.

Rudy Maxa’s World: India

Plunge right into northern India’s intoxicating mix of riotous pandemonium and sublime beauty, from Old Delhi’s teeming streets, pungent spices, and glorious jumble of shops to the magnificent man-made wonder, the Taj Mahal. Rajasthan beckons with its irresistible lure of brilliant colors, scorching days, ghostly twilights, and the fiery spirit of its people.

Rudy Maxa’s World: Thailand

Explore all of Bangkok’s nooks and crannies. Get picture-taking tips from a photojournalist, and visit the fruit and vegetable markets where Thai cooking begins. In the heart of Thailand’s Golden Triangle, take an idyllic long-tailed boat ride along the Kok River, luxuriate in out-of-this-world guest houses and a tented resort, and go bargain hunting at the Night Market.

Shipwreck! Captain Kidd

This National Geographic documentary follows a group of underwater archaeologists as they explore the wreckage of the Quedagh Merchant– a 17th-century ship loaded with valuables from the East Indies that the notorious Captain Kidd captured and scuttled off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic.

The Treaure of the Sierra Madre

Wrapped in a classic tale of adventure, this Academy Award winner helmed by John Huston follows a trio of gold prospectors who set out to strike it rich and agree to split the take … until paranoia and greed consumes one of them. Delivering superb performances as the three miners are Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt and Walter Huston, who copped a Best Supporting Actor Oscar while son John scored statuettes for his direction and screenplay. Not Rated (1948)

The Tudors: Season 3

The sexually insatiable King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) romances third wife Jane Seymour (Annabelle Wallis) and ruthlessly quashes an uprising of rebels protesting England’s break with Rome in the third season of Showtime’s Golden Globe-nominated historical drama. But dissension within his own ranks leads Henry to question the loyalty of his closest allies. Grammy winner Joss Stone joins the cast as Anne of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife.  Not Rated

Weeds Season 5

Showtime’s hit dramedy lights up another season of good times after a tumultuous fourth-year finale that found suburban mom-turned-drug lord Nancy Botwin (Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker) sharing some shocking news with Tijuana, Mexico, Mayor Esteban Reyes (Demián Bichir). While Andy (Justin Kirk) continues to wrestle with his feelings for Nancy, Shane (Alexander Gould) shows interest in taking up the family business. Not Rated