"Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell's Songs"
David Geffen, the legendary music exec who inspired “Free Man in Paris,” calls her “the greatest songwriter/poet from the second half of the 20th century.” Even the most casual reading of this spectacular new book supports that appraisal. More than 50 contributors—including Ravi Shankar, Wally Lamb and Geffen himself—reflect on such songs as “Court and Spark,” “Ladies of the Canyon,” “Both Sides Now” and “The Magdalene Laundries,” while the printed lyrics invite Mom to find her own meanings.
Guilted into taking along his widowed mother on a cross-country sales tour, inventor Andy Brewster initially resists, then profits from her interference. Though the script is slight, costars Seth Rogan and Barbra Streisand have such great chemistry that it’s a trip you and Mom will want to watch together. The film comes as a single disc DVD and as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, which includes a digital copy to download or stream.
This ‘80s British sitcom about a socially awkward, contentious pair of middle-aged lovers is still so entertaining it could air on TV today. Dame Judi Dench stars as sharp-tongued translator Laura, who finds her unlikely match in bumbling landscaper Mike (played by her late husband, Michael Williams). The superb actors are supported by consistently witty scripts. When, for example, Mike reads a cultural listing for “an exhibition of ethnic masks—Admission Free,” Laura responds, “It would have to be.” The DVD includes the series’ 26 episodes.
This brand new, 10-episode PBS series is a surprising treat—especially for moms who have worked in retail sales. Jeremy Piven (Entourage’s Ari Gold) stars as Harry Gordon Selfridge, the brash American merchandising genius who founded the London department store that bears his name. (His blueprint is followed even today.) But what makes this series so much fun is the fabulous supporting cast, playing a variety of Selfridge saleswomen, waiters, window designers and other employees.
This rousing screen adaptation of the stage hit boasts extraordinary performances by Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) and Anne Hathaway (who won an Oscar for her Fantine) and a bounty of singing celebrities, including Russell Crowe as relentless inspector Javert and Helena Bonham Carter as a comically evil innkeeper. Both Blu-ray and DVD releases include star commentary and a mini-documentary about Victor Hugo’s classic novel.
Vanessa Redgrave played the independent, idiosyncratic Scottish schoolteacher on stage and Maggie Smith’s screen portrayal earned her a 1970 Oscar. But the book’s author, Muriel Spark, considered Geraldine McEwan to be the quintessential Jean, and this new DVD release of the 1978 seven-episode Scottish Television series shows why. Though Miss Brodie’s views are often misguided, who can resist toasting her spirited defense of culture and her delight in her post-40 “prime”?
Mom fed you, so why not pay tribute to her nurturing with a donation to the country’s largest hunger relief charity? Feeding America, supported by such stars as Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Aniston, distributes food to six million people a week through a network of 200 food banks. Every dollar donated buys eight meals; a gift of $45 provides a month of meals for a family of four. To donate, visit Feeding America’s website, and indicate the gift amount and the person to be honored. The organization will then send an e-note acknowledgement to your mom, who should be happy that she raised such a caring child.