Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff
HBO’s World War II blockbuster ‘The Pacific,’ Norah Jones’s new tour, ‘Up in the Air’ on DVD, and more.
Images of young soldiers slogging through the heat and witnessing combat horror in foreign lands is always a good reality check for a generation ready to complain about the temperature of a Starbucks latte. For the latest revisiting of World War II and what the “greatest generation” went through to preserve the freedoms many of us enjoy today, tune into “The Pacific,” from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, HBO’s blockbuster 10-part series debuting March 14 at 9 p.m.
Stories of old
Just in time for Easter, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will begin rereleasing on DVD its well-received “The Bible Stories” TV series. The first two films, “The Bible Stories: Jesus,” starring Jeremy Sisto, Debra Messing, Jacqueline Bisset, and Gary Oldman; and “The Bible Stories: Esther,” starring Louise Lombard, Thomas Kretschmann, and F. Murray Abraham, arrive March 2. Shot in Morocco and Malta in conjunction with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Scripture scholars, these movies were created by the largest television coproduction in history.
For the love of wolves
In this Smithsonian Channel documentary, “Running With Wolves,” biologist and mother Gudrun Pflueger returns to the mountain terrain of western Canada to research some of the world’s most elusive wolves. A sequel to last year’s “A Woman Among Wolves,” the show details her struggle against a life-threatening illness and how her effort to raise awareness of these misunderstood animals has sped her return to health. Airs March 7 at 8 p.m. following an encore presentation of “A Woman Among Wolves.”
Sultry songstress Norah Jones launches her US tour this week, showcasing her chart-topping album, “The Fall,” released by EMI’s Blue Note Records last November. The 36-city tour opens in the Midwest and proceeds to both coasts through May. For more information go to: www.norahjones.com/tour/.
In “Up in the Air” (out on DVD March 9), George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham is a “career transition consultant,” i.e., a guy who does the dirty work of corporate bosses too cowardly to fire their own employees. The movie’s title is an apt description of Ryan’s existential condition, and his literal one, too, since he spends on average 322 days a year on the job, often on planes. Ryan is an antihero for these parlous times, and the movie for the most part scrupulously avoids sentimentality.
An earlier Alice
“Alice in Wonderland,” the 1999 NBC miniseries lands on DVD March 2. This Emmy Award-winning, star-studded joint effort from Jim Henson and Hallmark also draws on “Through the Looking Glass,” as well as “The Wizard of Oz.” While it received mixed reviews, the notable cast, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Miranda Richardson, and Robbie Coltrane, make it a fascinating reminder of how rich the Lewis Carroll world remains.