Category Archives: TV

Three new hot “Frontline” DVDs, from war to violence to drugs to that prick, Harvey Weinstein

A trio of three more PBS Distribution DVD Frontline DVDs . . .

Frontline: Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia
From the devastating war in Syria, to the crisis in Yemen, to continuing turmoil in Iraq, much of today’s widespread violence across the Middle East has been portrayed as part of an ancient battle between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. In this show, Frontline tells the epic, inside story of how this dangerous feud has plunged the Middle East into unprecedented levels of violence, with exclusive, on-the-ground reporting from inside both countries as well as Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Lebanon.

This program illuminates the essential history – and profound ripple effect – of Iran and Saudi Arabia’s power struggle. It draws on scores of interviews with political, religious and military leaders, militia commanders, diplomats, and policy experts, painting American television’s most comprehensive picture of a feud that has reshaped the Middle East.

Frontline: The Gang Crackdown
In a spate of brutal violence that has become a focal point of President Frump’s stance on immigration and a priority of his Justice Department, some 25 dead bodies have been found on Long Island since 2016—all linked to the violent gang MS-13.

Many of the gang’s victims, like its members, have been immigrants. Drawing on interviews with murder victims’ families, accused gang members, top Justice Department officials including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, local law enforcement and ICE leadership, and civil rights and immigration lawyers, this program explores the reasons behind the spike in violence on Long Island—and examines whether law enforcement and the government have overreached in trying to combat it.

Frontline: Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein was once one of the most successful producers in Hollywood. But beneath the glitz and glamour, there was a pattern of sexual misconduct going back to the very start of his career. This program investigates the disgraced mogul’s spectacular downfall, the efforts to silence his accusers, and what Hollywood itself knew. Drawing on exclusive insider accounts, this program examines how Weinstein used lawyers and private detectives to help him suppress sexual harassment allegations.

The film shines new light on what those around Weinstein knew about his behavior, and when. Filled with fresh insights from those who worked with Weinstein, those who tried to confront him, and the journalists who ultimately broke the story, this documentary is an in-depth look at the long history of allegations against the powerful producer.

“Endeavour Season 5” thrills, chills and makes us want more seasons!

 As 1968 dawns, a year of change promises to disrupt the private and professional lives of Endeavour Morse (played by Shaun Evans) and his colleagues. Endeavour’s recent promotion leads him to reluctantly mentor new recruit Fancy (Lewis Peek), while Thursday (Roger Allam) is beginning to think about life after the police. But in Oxford, crime never sleeps, and the team continues to be challenged by mysterious and intriguing cases of murder, greed, and deception. Meanwhile, the rise of organized crime in the city promises to change Oxford forever. When 1968 comes to a close, will things at Cowley Police Station ever be the same again?

A description of each of the episodes from Endeavour Season 5 is listed below:

“Muse”
Past and present collide in Oxford, as the auction of a priceless Fabergé Egg gets underway at Lonsdale College. It soon attracts the attention of an infamous international thief – and the police – when a failed burglary attempt is reported. However, they soon have a bigger case to solve, as a series of gruesome deaths have Morse and Thursday searching for a serial killer. Meanwhile, newly-promoted Endeavour struggles with his role as he’s forced to mentor young detective constable George Fancy.

Cartouche
Hollywood glamour comes to Oxford as the stars of a horror movie begin filming in the city. Meanwhile, the unexplained poisoning of a former detective sergeant leads Endeavour and Thursday to a local cinema, which is playing host to the film’s stars in a special event. While Thursday fears a link to growing unrest in Oxford’s underworld, the case takes a turn when the cinema’s organist is also dramatically poisoned. The film’s star is convinced a mysterious Egyptian curse is to blame, and Endeavour and Thursday find themselves uncovering long-kept secrets and a revenge plot determined to expose the truth behind a hero’s past.

Passenger
Endeavour investigates the disappearance of a local woman – with initial fears linking it to the unsolved murder of a teenager, killed several years earlier. Meanwhile, Thursday is absorbed in the investigation of a lorry hijack – which he suspects is linked to local gangster Eddie Nero. The murder investigation takes a surprising turn when a woman’s body is discovered, but Endeavour notices anomalies at the murder scene which point away from the cold case theory. An invitation to Joan’s new flat reminds Endeavour of the past, but could it also offer a chance for the future?

Colours
A photoshoot on an army base turns sinister when one of the models is found dead. But the investigation is complicated when Sam Thursday is revealed to be involved. With Thursday side-lined by protocol, Endeavour and Strange take the lead on the investigation – the first time without their mentor. Tensions rise, and the pair clash as their differing opinions push their friendship to breaking point. When another body is discovered on the base, Endeavour uncovers family secrets, political affiliations and thwarted love affairs to find the truth.

Quartet
An assassination attempt at an international sporting event opens a new case for Endeavour and Thursday, but their investigation is quickly brought to an unexpected end. While Thursday wants to step away, Endeavour is determined to find out more. He soon finds himself embroiled in the dark dealings of espionage, big business and a long-held secret that goes to the very heart of the Oxford community. While Endeavour chases down the real story behind the assassination, Thursday works closer to home, attempting to protect a battered wife from her violent husband. When tragedy strikes, Thursday has to make a tough moral decision about how to administer justice.

Requiem
After the mysterious disappearance of a teacher, Endeavour finds himself undercover, investigating the dark world of a public school. When a body is unexpectedly discovered, Endeavour has to question who he can trust – and uncover the truth about the crimes before more people are hurt. Thursday is determined to solve the ongoing unsolved murders linked to Eddie Nero, and charges Fancy with tracking down the elusive Cromwell Ames. Meanwhile, Thursday’s life is turned upside down by the return of his brother, and Endeavour looks towards the future with the possibility of a new relationship.

PBS Distribution serves up “The Great British Cooking Show: Season 5”

Something tasty is always cooking  on DVDs from PBS Distribution.

On September 11, they serve up The Great British Cooking Show: Season 5. The delectable baking competition that has grown into a beloved international phenomenon returns for a fifth season. The program features the original cast of Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, in a season never before seen in the U.S.

Once again, viewers will meet twelve of Britain’s best amateur bakers who will don their aprons, enter the iconic tent and tackle culinary trials that increase in difficulty as the competition unfolds. Vying to be crowned star baker, challengers prepare three creations in each episode: a signature bake, which tests their creative flair and baking ability; the devilishly difficult technical challenge, in which contestants have to bake creations using only ingredient lists and minimal instruction; and finally, the showstopper, designed to fully showcase each baker’s skill and creativity.

Contestants face the demanding but endearing judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, two icons of British baking who are now household names in America. Comedy duo Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc are the series hosts, providing the bakers with much-needed emotional support and comic relief. Offering viewers the perfect sweet summer escape, this program features unforgettable contestants attempting some of the series most difficult challenges, from bagels to strudel, treacle tarts to choux gateaus.

Seconds?

Two new books, published in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies, remind us of 100 great flicks

Running Press has two interesting books, published in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies.

Spanning nine decades and showcasing the most memorable songs, dazzling dancing, and brightest stars ever to grace the silver screen, TCM’s Must-See Musicals: 50 Show-Stopping Movies We Can’t Forget by Richard Barrios ($24.99) is a guide to the greatest musicals of all time.

Turner Classic Movies: Must-See Musicals: 50 Show-Stopping Movies We Can't Forget

Movie musicals have been a part of pop culture since films began to talk, nine decades ago. From the premiere of The Jazz Singer in 1927 to La La Land in 2016, musicals have sung and danced over a vast amount of territory, thrilling audiences the world over.

In their uniquely entertaining way, they transport us to marvelous places: a Technicolor land over the rainbow in The Wizard of Oz, a ballroom in Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing cheek to cheek, a day in the life with The Fab Four in A Hard Day’s Night; and Berlin’s seedy Kit Kat Club on the eve of the Nazi takeover in Cabaret.


Spanning nine decades and branded by the most trusted authority on film, Turner Classic Movies: Must-See Sci-Fi : by Sloan De Forest () showcases 50 of the most shocking, weird, wonderful, and mind-bending movies ever made.

Science fiction films have been around since the dawn of cinema, but never before have they been more respected or widespread than now, in the 21st century, with blockbusters released on a regular basis. Unlike other genres, sci-fi has never gone out of style and has been well-represented across all eras of filmmaking. With that in mind, Must-See Sci-Fi:  50 Movies That Are Out of This World ($24.99), profiles 50 unforgettable films, including beloved favorites like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Fantastic Voyage (1966), groundbreaking shockers like Planet of the Apes (1968) and Alien (1979), and lesser-known landmarks like Things to Come (1936) and Solaris (1972).

Turner Classic Movies: Must-See Sci-fi: 50 Movies That Are Out of This World

Illustrated by astounding color and black-and-white images, the book presents the best of the genre, detailing through insightful commentary and behind-the-scenes stories why each film remains essential viewing.

Five hot new “Frontline” DVDs, all must-see and must-have

No wonder we love Frontline. Such great shows, now on DVD from PBS Distribution.

Frontline: Trump’s Takeover
President Frump’s first year in office has been marked by ongoing turmoil—including in his own Republican party, where presidential tweet storms, inflammatory rhetoric and high-profile dissent have fueled open conflict.
Gripping and revealing, this program tells the story of Frump’s takeover of the Republican Party—from the perspective of Republican lawmakers and insiders themselves.
Trump’s Takeover examines the president’s unorthodox governing style, showing how after taking office, he displayed a lack of interest in the ins and outs of legislation and policy, and instead took to Twitter, attacking opponents. The film goes behind closed doors in the negotiations to repeal and replace Obamacare—Trump’s first major legislative test—revealing through accounts of people who were there how little Trump seemed to understand or care about the details of the bill.

Frontline: McCain
The program follows the story of the Republican Party’s evolution and an exploration of Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.)’s complicated relationship with President Trump and the Republican Party, as well as his life and politics.

Drawing on both new interviews and Frontline’s deep rchive of reporting, McCain traces the conservative standard-bearer’s motivations and his political history, from his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, to speaking out against torture during the Bush administration, to his dramatic vote against the GOP’s health care bill last year.

Frontline: Blackout in Puerto Rico
More than seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, more than 100,000 Americans are still without power, as part of the worst blackout in U.S. history.
This program investigates how the federal response in Puerto Rico left millions of Americans in the dark for months—and the storm before the storm: how Wall Street, Puerto Rico’s government, and Washington fueled a debt crisis that left the island’s economy in ruins and its infrastructure crippled even before Maria hit. The investigative team uncovered a trove of insider documents that show a government relief effort in chaos, struggling with key contracts, basic supplies, and its own workforce.

Produced with the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the program uncovers a series of shortcomings after Maria, including how half of FEMA’s staff on the island were trainees or unqualified, how contractors FEMA turned to failed to deliver hundreds of thousands of tarps, and how the Army Corps’ temporary roof repair program was glaringly slow compared to other storms—putting up just 439 roofs in the first 30 days after the storm compared to more than 4,500 in the first month after Irma in Florida.
Gripping and riveting, this program is a must-watch look inside the ongoing recovery effort in Puerto Rico—and the economic crisis that devastated the island long before Maria.

Frontline: Trafficked in America
This program investigates how teenagers from Central America were smuggled into the U.S. by traffickers who promised them jobs and a better life—only to force them to live and work in virtual slavery to pay off their debt.

This documentary shines new light on a labor trafficking case in which Guatemalan teens were forced by a third-party contractor to work against their will at Trillium Farms in Ohio, a major egg producer. The investigative team exposes a criminal network that exploited undocumented minors, the companies who profited from their forced labor, and how U.S. government policies and practices helped to deliver some teens directly to their traffickers.
Gripping and revealing, this program presents viewers a rare look inside the hidden reality of labor trafficking in the United States.

Frontline: Myanmar’s Killing Fields
With secret footage filmed by a network of citizen activists, and firsthand accounts from victims and their families, this program is U.S. television’s most comprehensive investigation of the Myanmar military’s violent crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority—an effort that has been described by the UN as having the “hallmarks of genocide.”
The Myanmar military insists that its campaign was simply a counter-insurgency “clearance operation” targeted against a militant Islamist Rohingya group, ARSA, that had attacked and killed security forces at police and army bases. But with shocking footage filmed by citizen activists, the documentary depicts an orchestrated campaign to target civilians, state-sanctioned violence, and mass murder—and uncovers new accounts of atrocities against the Rohingya people, from mass rape of women and children, to babies and children thrown into fires.

The program also investigates the role of Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar in the crisis. The Nobel Laureate was once seen as Myanmar’s hope and a beacon for democracy—including by President Barack Obama, who lifted all sanctions on the country in 2016. But Suu Kyi, who has continued to defend her country from international criticism, has now been accused of standing by as her country’s military led an operation that killed thousands of civilians.

Oh! We love Guy Branum. Chubby, gay and fucking funny as hell!

Oh, we do love Guy Branum. The openly gay man has written for The Mindy Project and Billy on the Street, as well The New York Times and Slate. We’ve seen him on Chelsea, Lately and is currently the host and star of Talk Show the Game Show on TruTV.

Welcome his debut book, My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular Culture (Atria Books, $26). Branum always felt as if he were on the outside looking in, especially being gay and overweight. While other boys played outside, he stayed indoors reading Greek mythology. In this collection of personal essays, Branum writes about finding his way out of the darkness of his insular upbringing and finding himself as a stand-up comedian and TV show writer.

The book is about “the life I was supposed to lead as a sad, fat,
closeted bumpkin and my decision to be something thoroughly more fabulous,” Branum writes. “My life has not been practical, it has not been meaningful . . . but it has at least stayed interesting. Because a goddess’s job isn’t to be good, it’s to have compelling stories lyre players can tell about her at the courts of kings and princes.”

My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture

These essays read like a dance re-mix of Hillbilly Elegy and David Sedaris’ Nakedthey’re really, really good. We pissed in our pants reading his trademark comic takes on pop culture phenomenon and sacred cows—from Bewitched to The Devil Wears Prada, Entourage to This is Us.

Others rave about the work:

  • Tiffany Haddish: “Guy Branum is one the funniest men I know.  He is Smart, Fast, Clever, and Funny!  (As Fuck!!) Go ahead and buy his book Cuz….He Ready!”
  • Billy Eicher: “Guy Branum not only makes you laugh out loud, his perspective is singular, genuinely ballsy, and essential.”
  • Ali Wong: “Empowering, funny and so incredibly different than anything you’ve ever read.
  • Lindy West: “Guy Branum knows everything. A lot of people are funny, though few are as funny as Guy, but his intellectual curiosity and moral sure-footedness make him not just a comic but a lifeline. Long live our Patron Saint of Too Much.
  • Jon Lovett “Generous and withering, hilarious and precisely observed, putting his incredible talent toward trying to understand what it means to feel apart from the world. I wish I could give this book to the fourteen year-old version of myself, who probably wouldn’t have appreciated how much he needed it. You’ll devour every story and be struck by how lucky we all are to have Guy’s gay voice. Just buy this fucking book you idiots.”

Set amidst mid-Brexit hysteria, “The Tunnel: Vengeance Season 3” hits DVD

It’s back! PBS Distribution has released the third season of the multi-award winning British crime drama, The Tunnel: Vengeance Season 3 on DVD and Digital HD.  The emotional final season of the critically acclaimed bilingual crime thriller reunites Stephen Dillane  in his International Emmy Award-winning role as Karl Roebuck with Clémence Poésy as Elise Wassermann for their last outing as the beloved and unlikely Anglo-French duo.

In this series, the investigative pair takes on a toxic and terrifying folie à deux whose mutual defining quality is an existential death wish. When the question posed by the couple–what is a life worth?–is directed straight back at Karl, he is forced to confront an utterly impossible choice that will haunt the audience long after the closing credits.

Set amidst mid-Brexit hysteria, The Tunnel: Vengeance tackles an escalating refugee crisis and examines the increasing threat of terror occasioned by disenfranchised, exiled souls on whom society has turned its back.

Last summer, season 2, The Tunnel: Sabotage had 1.1 million streams across PBS digital platforms, making it one of the most-streamed drama limited series on PBS. The season reached more than 2.8 million unique viewers on broadcast television.

Now you know why you must watch!

“Frontline: UN Sex Abuse Scandal” shocks as it tells troubling truth

Over the past 15 years, the United Nations has recorded more than 1,700 allegations of sexual abuse by its peacekeepers in conflict zones around the world, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Kosovo, and from East Timor to Haiti.
Frontline: UN Sex Abuse Scandal investigates how and why the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers has persisted despite the UN’s efforts to stamp it out . . . and why the UN has a record of only 53 uniformed peacekeepers and one international civilian peacekeeper being sent to prison for sexual offenses.

Correspondent Ramita Navai and the film team track down survivors across the globe who were as young as 10 years old when they say they were raped or exploited by UN peacekeepers who were supposed to protect them. The team also finds and interviews Didier Bourguet, the only civilian peacekeeper to have been jailed for sexual abuse while working abroad for the UN. He was imprisoned for two rapes,  but tells Frontline on-camera that he had sex with 20 or 25 children while in the Congo.
Gripping and eye-opening, the program explores the failures and constraints of the UN, which has the authority to fire people, but not prosecute them, and the role of member states in dealing with the problem.

“American Masters: Basquiat: Rage to Riches” details the life ans creativity of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Another artistic adventure from PBS: American Masters: Basquiat: Rage to Riches.
Directed and produced by David Shulman, this program tells the story of Jean-Michel Basquiat like never before. One of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, Basquiat was a rock star of the early ’80s New York art scene. He lived fast, died young and created thousands of drawings and paintings. It took less than a decade for Basquiat, an accountant’s son from Brooklyn, to go from anonymous graffiti writer known as SAMO to an epoch-defining art star.

American Masters: Basquiat - Rage To RichesToday, Basquiat is in the top tier of the international art market along with Picasso, de Kooning, and Francis Bacon. 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of Basquiat’s untimely death from a heroin overdose. In death, he has emerged as one of the most important artists of his generation and now exhibits in museums all over the world.

The program features exclusive interviews with Basquiat’s two sisters, Lisane and Jeanine, who have never before spoken about their brother and his art for a television documentary. With striking candor, art world colleagues, including dealers Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian and Mary Boone, and Basquiat’s most intimate friends, lovers and fellow artists draw a portrait of a handsome, charismatic and fragile personality – one enmeshed in a world of cash, drugs and the pernicious racism that he encountered. The main weapon Basquiat used to fight prejudice was his art. A game changer, his painting embodied and reflected breakthroughs in music, poetry and a new type of expressionism in modern art.

“American Masters: Wyeth” chronicles the soul and talent of Andrew Wyeth

September is a few weeks ago, so what way to “fall” back than with a hot new PBS DVD?
Directed by Glenn Holsten, American Masters: Wyeth tells the story of one of America’s most popular, but least understood, artists–Andrew Wyeth. Son of the famous illustrator N.C. Wyeth, Andrew had his first exhibition at age 20, and his painting Christina’s World was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 1948. While Wyeth’s exhibitions routinely broke attendance records, art world critics continually assaulted his work.
Detailing the stunning drawings and powerful portraits he created in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and on the coast of Cushing, Maine, Wyeth explores his inspirations, including neighbor Christina Olsen and his hidden muse, the German model Helga Testorf, who he painted secretly for 15 years.

Through unprecedented access to Wyeth’s family members, including sons Jamie and Nicholas Wyeth, and never-before-seen archival materials from the family’s personal collection and hundreds of Wyeth’s studies, drawings and paintings, this documentary presents the most complete portrait of the artist yet bearing witness to a legacy just at the moment it is evolving.
The documentary will be released on Digital HD on September 8 and on DVD on September 11, 2018.
n modern art.