THE WRITE STUFF
Just in time for back-to-school reading: Llama Llama and the Bully Goat (Viking, $17.99). This seventh installment in Anna Dewdney’s beloved series reminds us that Llama is a beloved character among children, parents and teachers. What’s better than Dewdney’s soothing tales to help calm early childhood anxiety? The tome is the perfect primer for teaching the youngest readers about dealing with a bully. Gilroy Goat is making fun of everyone in pre-K class, especially Llama Llama. With a tip from teacher, Llama Llama lets Gilroy know that his bullying is not okay.
FOR THE RECORD
Can’t get to Madhattan to catch the Tony- winning Matilda the Musical? Get your headphones ready. Broadway Records/Yellow Sound Label will release the original cast CD next month. Winner of a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards including Best Musical, Matilda the Musical based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel about an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny.
DVD QUICK PICKS
Halloween is too far away. Get some scares now with Frankenstein’s Army (MPI/Dark Sky Films). In the dying days of World War II, a battalion of Russian soldiers find themselves lost in enemy territory in eastern Germany. One soldier has been ordered to make a propaganda film as the squadron makes its way across the wintry landscape, and what follows is a thrilling mix of found-footage shocks and classic horror. Stumbling upon a village decimated by an unseen terror, the Russians are lured into the secret lab of deranged scientist Viktor, who has unearthed the journals of the legendary Dr. Victor Frankenstein and has used them to assemble an army of super soldiers stitched together from the body parts of fallen Germans---a desperate Hitler's last ghastly ploy to escape defeat. Leaderless and faced with dissension in their dwindling ranks, the Russians must find the courage to face down this fearsome new brigade of flesh-and-metal "zombots" . . . or die trying. Get this: The film was shot at abandoned World War II sites in Prague and throughout Europe.
Set in the closing days of World War II, The Damned is a gritty mix of film noir and suspense about Nazis fleeing for South America in a submarine. This rediscovered masterpiece by director René Clément has been remastered and is available for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD. The 1947 Cannes winner for Best Adventure and Crime Film, featuring stunning cinematography by Henri Alekan is part of the Cohen Film Collection's Classics of French Cinema series. It arrives in the centennial year of a director and includes commentary by scholars Judith Mayne and John E. Davidson and the 2010 documentary René Clément or The Cinema of Sketches.