2009 Gift Guide
Monitor picks for TV, movies, music, and games.
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Agatha Christie: Poirot and Marple ($134.95) Buy on Amazon.comSkip to next paragraph
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For those who like their tea warm and their murder cold, there really is nothing quite like Agatha Christie for peering deep inside the dark corners of human nature, with her legendary sleuths Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. It is quite a feat to watch how the indomitable pair continue to hold their sunny, sly natures intact while watching others behave so badly – and so deviously – which, of course, is what somehow makes cold-blooded murder, well, fun. The 17 discs and 21 mysteries star Joan Hickson (Dame Agatha Christie's personal choice) and David Suchet.
My Fair Lady ($19.99) Buy on Amazon.com
An old friend is back in town and she's looking lovely as ever – or should we say "loverly"? The 1964 movie version of the classic Lerner & Loewe musical "My Fair Lady" is now available in wide-screen format (perfect for that new flat-screen TV). To watch the film is to be reminded of exactly why it won eight Academy Awards. Even 40-plus years later the performances sparkle, the lyrics sound sharp and witty, and the costumes and staging inspire awe. Some of the special features tacked on (footage from the film's star-studded Hollywood opening, Oscar acceptance speeches) seem sweetly nostalgic, while others (Audrey Hepburn's original vocals, information about the elaborate costume production) have a nifty inside-Hollywood feel. All in all, George Bernard Shaw would be proud.
Kennedy Films Collection ($29.95) Buy on Amazon.com
To those who are only familiar with the Michael Moore approach to documentary filmmaking or Dog the Bounty Hunter-like reality TV series, this three-film collection looking at the 35th president of the United States will probably be a shock to the system. Hyperbole? There is none. Ultra-scripted, in-your-face content? Nope. Riveting and compelling drama. Absolutely. They don't do it this way anymore. Although "Primary" and "Faces of November" offer powerful and dramatic glimpses of JFK before and after he became president, the real gem is "Crisis." Never before – or since – has a sitting president given so much access to a filmmaker during a pivotal moment in history. You'll find yourself captivated from the beginning.