Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff
'Enchanted April' on DVD at last, an intimate look at Iran's revolution on HBO, a documentary that will have you dancing, and more.
Almost two decades after its debut on the big screen, Enchanted April (1992) is finally out on DVD. The charming tale follows four English women in 1920s London who rent a small castle in Italy for the month of April. As the unlikely foursome – who are variously unhappy, religious, freewheeling, or widowed – relax in the idyllic setting their change in mind and mood borders on the magical. Time to plan your vacation!
Old satire, new relevance
Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has lost none of its zany relevance on its 45th anniversary. Out on Blu-ray June 16, this satirical riff on the dangers of bombs as political tools is as pointedly resonant today as it was in the cold war era that birthed it. The extras are a bonus, but really, pick this up for Peter Sellers's classic turn as the film's multiple leads.
A revolution's back story
As a 17-year-old revolutionary in 1979 Iran, Nahid Persson Sarvestani was part of a generation that brought Islamic rule to her native land and sent the royal family into exile. Three decades later, this Emmy-nominated filmmaker, who became disillusioned with Iran's harsh revolutionary rule and went into exile herself, comes full circle as she seeks out Queen Farah, who now lives in Paris. Together they share their journeys in a 90-minute documentary, The Queen and I. This compelling look at two personal stories and the light they shed on the larger political story airs June 17 at 8 p.m. on HBO.
You'll laugh, cry, and yearn to dance down the aisles as you watch Every Little Step, the splendidly touching documentary about the making of Broadway megahit "A Chorus Line." The movie, now showing in independent theaters nationwide, looks back to the show's origins in the early '70s even as it follows a new crop of eager young performers vying for roles in the 2005 revival. The result is a narrative packed with song, dance, and the fragile beauty of youthful dreams.
For bird-watchers, amateur or expert, PBS's online videos and audio, and the fascinating background that accompanies David Attenborough's Life of Birds series is not to be missed, even if you miss the show. You can find it at www.pbs.org/lifeofbirds/index.html.
Clint on both sides of the camera
Clint Eastwood's dark Gran Torino was overlooked by the Oscars, but this tale of a tough Korean War vet who must face both his own prejudices and the final years of his life without his beloved wife was a critical favorite. Troubled times in Detroit give this story set in the heart of car culture added emotional heft. Out on Blu-ray and DVD June 9.