Susan Granger's DVD update
Updated 3:01 pm, Friday, December 30, 2011
Intriguing and inspirational, "Jane's Journey" traces primatologist Jane Goodall's life from her childhood home in Bournemouth, England, to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania and chronicles her current devotion to humanitarian causes.
Also uplifting, "The First Grader" relates how an illiterate-but-determined 84 year-old Kenyan Mau-Mau veteran is determined to learn to read. Based on real events, there are flashbacks of fierce tribal conflicts and the brutality of British colonial rule.
Narrated by Jeremy Irons, "The Last Lions" follows a proud lioness struggling to survive and protect her cubs in Botswana's Okavango Delta.
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"Final Destination 5" continues the horror francise, based on the premise that someone has a powerful premonition of catastrophe and helps others escape. But Death doesn't like to be cheated and is relentlessly determined to claim its victims, one-by-one.
Like "The Blair Witch Project," "Paranormal Activity" and "Cloverfield," "Apollo 18" is supposedly culled from 84 hours of NASA footage found at an Internet site called www.lunartruth.com, purportedly documenting a final manned flight to the moon in 1974, two years after Apollo 17, and super-secretly funded by the Dept. of Defense.
In French with English subtitles from filmmaker Claude Miller and his son Nathan, "I'm Glad My Mother Is Alive" is an emotional rollercoaster about an adopted young man obsessed with finding his birth mother.
Starring Aiden Quinn, Kris Kristofferson and Brooke Shields, "The Greening of Whitney Brown" tells what happens to the most popular girl in her uptown Philadelphia middle school when her family loses their financial security and is forced to relocate to her grandparents' abandoned farm.
Also for youngsters, Sesame Street characters morph into never-before-seen heroes in "Sesame Street: Iron Monsters and Sesame Heroes," teaching counting, patterns, addition and subtraction. And "The Wubb Club...Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" brings fun to preschoolers, learning life lessons along the way.
PICK OF THE WEEK: One of the most terrifying thrillers of 2011, Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" tracks a deadly virus that's mutating around the world, touching the lives of characters played by Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet.