From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Jeeves & wooster. complete series [videorecording DVD].
Jeeves and Wooster is a fun, zany British series based on stories by P.G. Wodehouse. The 23 episodes are set in the 1930s and revolve around Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie), a likeable but feckless member of the idle rich, and his extremely competent valet Jeeves (Stephen Frye).
Bertie always seems to be involved in some wacky scheme, usually at the request of one his eccentric friends or relations. The unflappable and brilliant Jeeves is always working behind the scenes to fix the bumbling messes that Bertie puts himself in, all while maintaining his professional image and duties.
There aren’t many series that my husband and I both love, but this is one fits the bill. It is worth watching for the theme song alone – a toe-tapping original piece written in the jazz/swing style. If you are looking for light-hearted entertainment this series is a must-watch.
From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: BBC Scotland
Monarch of the glen [videorecording DVD]
Monarch of the Glen is a highly addictive, delightful series from BBC Scotland. There are seven series, which can be borrowed separately or all together depending on the library.
The series begins with Archie MacDonald, a young restaurateur, being tricked by his family into returning home to Glenbogle, the family estate in the Scottish Highlands, which is in financial ruin. He stays to try to make Glenbogle viable again. The show is enhanced by breathtaking scenery, and includes a wacky but ever-changing cast of characters. Though many of the stories are serious, the series manages to remain humorous and lighthearted. Sometimes you will find yourself laughing out loud. Episodes include romance, business, heartache, family problems, community issues, class differences, and lots of scheming. When you turn on an episode and hear the familiar theme song, you will feel like you are home again with your new family and friends in the highlands. Eventually you will begin to think that maybe real men do wear kilts.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: David Gelb
Jiro dreams of sushi [videorecording DVD]
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a DVD which chronicles the story of a Japanese master sushi chef. He owns a small, 10 seat sushi restaurant in a Tokyo subway station. He is teaching his sons and apprentices the craft of sushi. He explains the relationship between fish and rice vendors and the excellence of his finished product. Due to overfishing and bottom trawling, he and his sons are worried about the future of both sushi and fishing. They have noticed a decline and/or extinction of certain fish. He is 85 and so enamored of his work that he has no plans to retire even though he has been working for 78 years. His pursuit of perfection and his dreams of new forms of sushi has earned him a loyal following and three stars in the Michelin guide.
From Eileen Effrat
Author: Werner Herzog
Cave of forgotten dreams [videorecording DVD]
This exceptional documentary takes viewers into a 30,000 year old Paleolithic cave. Discovered in 1994, Chauvet Cave in southern France is closed to the public. Only a limited number of scientists are permitted inside. This was a real “coup d’etat” for Herzog and his film crew to gain entrance. In extraordinary 3D imaging, amazing drawings of bison, aurochs, rhinos, musk ox, cave bears, ibex, horses, and mammoths, come to life on the cave walls. Beautiful stalagmites rise from the cave floor and fossilized animal prints abound. In one chamber human handprints in red ochre are found on the cave walls. If you are as memorized as me by the beauty and archaeological significance of Chauvet, the library owns Chauvet Cave: The Art of Earliest Times, beautifully illustrated book published in 2003.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Wheeler Tom
Puss in boots [videorecording DVD]
Puss in Boots (DVD) was a brand new take on an old tale. Antonio Banderas voiced Puss and Salma Hayek lent her sultry tone to his love interest, Kitty Softpaws. Kitty Softpaws was a double-edged moniker – Softpaws because she is a deft thief and Softpaws because her owners declawed her for either playing too rough one day or clawing their furniture. This movie was mainly a blend of old nursery rhymes and it was woven together quite seamlessly. Humpty Dumpty was Puss’s friend in the orphanage but their paths diverged. Humpty Dumpty was eternally in pursuit of the magic beans which he thought would bring him wealth. In the end, Humpty Dumpty redeemed himself. Even though this movie is rated PG-13, I would definitely not let the under 13 set watch it by themselves since many of the themes were for mature audiences.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Lyn Venable
“Time Enough at Last” from The twilight zone. Season 1 [videorecording DVD]
Time Enough at Last” is a television episode of The Twilight Zone, which is now on DVD. The television episode was based on a short story written by Lyn (Marilyn) Venable. It is a Twilight Zone episode with which all librarians can sympathize to a degree. Henry Bemis, played by Burgess Meredith, is a glasses-wearing bank teller with the soul of a reader. Everyone is exhorting him to focus on real life when he would rather be lost in the pages of a book, any book. One day at work, the unthinkable happens. He glances at the paper, while in the vault enjoying lunch and the headline screams “H-Bomb.” The earth beneath him begins to ripple and when it stills again, he emerges and finds the promised destruction. He is alone and free to pursue his passion. He finds a destroyed library and begins to build piles of books for this week, next week, and the week thereafter and then the unthinkable happens … .
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Rod Serling
Obsolete Man [fromThe twilight zone. Season 2] [videorecording]
Obsolete Man, an episode of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, is about a librarian who is summoned to court to defend his profession. The librarian is designated as “obsolete” because there are no more libraries and therefore, there is no knowledge to organize. The “obsolete” librarian (or person) may choose his or her method of execution. He is,in addition, permitted to meet with his executioner and discuss with him, in private, his desired method of termination. Shortly before his execution is to commence, the librarian summons the Grand Chancellor to his room and locks the door. The librarian displays admirable cool as the clock ticks down while the Grand Chancellor shows a total lack of it. The Grand Chancellor is permitted out of the room before the termination is committed but beware of your judgment upon others because your judgment may be reflected back at you. The Grand Chancellor is the next to be determined “obsolete” but the viewer is led to the conclusion that this sentence was determined by the cowardice demonstrated and caught on tape while he with the condemned.
From Jackie Cantwell
Historic hotels of America. Mohonk Mountain House [videorecording]
This video features an interview with Nina Smiley, the director of marketing for Mohonk. She’s the wife of Albert K. Smiley, the hotel’s president and great-grandnephew of the founders. The hotel was started in 1869, by brothers Alfred and Albert Smiley. This beautiful inn is a 266-room Victorian castle in New Paltz, NY that sits next to Lake Mohonk and is in the Hudson River Valley. We get a tour of the grounds, with emphasis on the gardens, the lake, nature trails, and even the Barn Museum. Inside the hotel, we see the parlor, the grand dining room, the wraparound porch, and a guest room in one of the towers. Apparently, guests can be as active as they want to be or can idle away the hours in a rocking chair on the porch. There are miles of hiking trails, dotted with beautiful gazebos which serve as rest stops and photo-taking vistas. Ms. Smiley mentions another advantage for guests is the sense of renewal and rejuvenation they receive. Other activities available are ice skating, horseback riding, carriage rides, swimming, canoeing, golf, campfires and much more. The hotel rates include 3 meals per day, as well as tea and cookies in the afternoon. The owners and staff are very proud of the inn’s history and also its sustainability initiatives. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The inn’s guests also have a sense of ownership of this special place, and many return year after year.
I would like to have seen the ice skating rink, the golf course, a view of the horses on the trails, and a typical guest room. Overall, this program is a wonderful introduction to the Mohonk Mountain House.
From Ellen Druda
This one is very much of interest to libraries, since it’s about the author Norma Khouri and her 2003 best seller “Forbidden Love.” The book was presented as a true story about a young Muslim girl caught in an unapproved love affair who was then murdered by her brother. A year after publication, an Australian journalist examined the details in the story and proved it all to be a figment of the author’s imagination. The film tells the story of Khouri’s rise to fame and her response to the accusations about the book. What makes it so delicious to watch is the onion-peel method the film uses to tell us the story: we see Khouri dig herself deeper and deeper with lies and deceptions; explanations that seem logical at first reveal themselves to be truths about other falsehoods even more bizarre. The DVD comes loaded with extras, including deleted scenes, featurettes, and terrific commentary with director Anna Broinowski and Khouri herself.
From Jackie Cantwell
The King’s speech [videorecording]
Based on the true story of Albert, Duke of York (played by Colin Firth), the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. His wife, Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is the woman we knew as The Queen Mother.
Albert became King George VI. The film opens with Albert stuttering his way through a speech at Wembley Stadium. When doctors fail to cure him of his stutter, Elizabeth finds an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush), in London. When Lionel meets Albert, he has the audacity to treat the man who would be king as an equal, calling him “Bertie”. Albert doesn’t want to continue treatment, but he is desperate. They continue their unconventional sessions, including rolling on the floor, loosening the jaw muscles and limbs, and reciting tongue twisters. Lionel notices that Bertie doesn’t stutter when he’s angry, so he’s encouraged to curse and to rage. Lionel knows that stuttering has an emotional basis, so he questions Albert about his childhood, which Albert finds impertinent. The scenes between Elizabeth and Albert are very touching, as she is very loving and supportive. The scenes between Lionel and Albert are sometimes funny, but often filled with tension. More dramatic tension is supplied as Albert has to make a speech when he is crowned king, after his brother Edward (Guy Pearce) abdicates to marry Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). The titular speech is the one that Albert must give over the radio on Sept. 3, 1939, that leads England to declare war on Germany. The performances are fantastic all around; Colin Firth won the Oscar for Best Actor. The film also won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Directing, and Best Original Screenplay.