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Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

'The Waltons' movies in a new three-disc set, OK Go's lastest album, eco-conscious 'No Impact Man'
out on DVD, and more.

January 25, 2010

Warner Home Video

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A family in hard times

The iconic American family that inhabited Walton Mountain for nine seasons on CBS also managed to reunite for six TV movie specials that aired between 1982 and 1997, celebrating everything from weddings to Thanksgivings and marking a somber moment in US history, the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Now, those reunion films are available as a three-disc set, "The Waltons: The Movie Collection," out on Jan. 26. Fans of this popular TV series, which was sincere, lovingly acted, and perfectly cast, will appreciate both the history and life lessons embodied by such small-screen stars as Ralph Waite and Richard Thomas.

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Peanuts lovers

Charles Schulz's beloved, "Peanuts" characters have inspired many animated TV specials over the years, but perhaps none so basic as "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" (Deluxe Edition), available Jan. 26, one that itself is based on the Tony Award-winning off-Broadway musical of the same title. The whole gang is there to sing the title song as well as others from the show. This is the first appearance for this special on DVD, and it has been remastered with enhanced audio and visuals as well as a featurette on the challenges of animating "Peanuts."

Princely touches

Chicago pop band OK Go gets off the exercise treadmill that made it a YouTube favorite and into a more serious regimen in its latest CD, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky" (Capitol): marking its transition from an arena rock band with psychedelic undertones and a hard funk backdrop. Prince is the major touchstone on this third album; On a song like "White Knuckles," you'd swear lead singer Damian Kulash Jr. was channeling the Purple One himself.

Saving earth one latte at a time

Ever wonder what size carbon footprint you could fit into? In "No Impact Man," an entertaining documentary out on DVD Jan. 19, a Greenwich Village couple decides to find out. Colin Beavan, with his at first reluctant wife, Michelle Conlin, and daughter Isabella in tow, fastidiously, inexorably remove from their lives all traces of lattes and electricity. No taxis, only vegetables purchased in season and a compost heap of crawly worms in the apartment. "Daddy does nature," Conlin instructs her daughter. "Mommy does retail."

A cappella accolades

Two Grammys may be all you need to know about the Soweto Gospel Choir – 26 singers drawn from the churches of South Africa's largest township. Their joy-filled and gentle a cappella harmonies in the traditional African gospel style have become a sensation in the past eight years, and their fourth album, "Grace," out Jan. 26, delivers more warmth and energy. Whatever you believe, there's uplift here.

Sundance spotlight

The annual indie film festival in Utah's Park City began its 10-day run Jan. 21. Watch the Sundance Channel for a month-long tribute to the festival in which it showcases recent gems of independent film each night at 8 p.m.

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