DVDBeaver Newsletter - January 5th, 2007
I trust you all had a warm and occasionally relaxing holiday season break! - 8 new reviews in this weeks newsletter as we get back into the swing of things. 2 new articles, DVD of the Month (January), many new additions to the Release Calendar and...
The BIG NEWS - Our DVD of the Year - 2006 poll has been tabulated and formatted HERE (big thanks to the diligent and resourceful Adam!). To quote our friends at Greencine - " Lists. DVD Beaver. While distributors' maps of the world continue to frustrate companies like ours, it's been years since cinephiles have allowed regional barricades to hamper their love of movies. They - okay, we - keep an eye on columns like Jonathan Rosenbaum's at Cinema Scope and sites like Masters of Cinema for alerts on treasures to be had beyond either shore of Region 1. And they we know, too, that the source of sources, the forager of foragers, is Gary Tooze's DVD Beaver. There's been no list and no poll yet quite like the "2006 DVD of the Year." You may find yourself browsing through to the next holiday."
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DVD of the Month (January) - This Naruse Volume One box set contains Repast / Meshi (1951), Sound of the Mountain / Yama No Oto (1954) and Flowing / Nagareru (1956) and represents the first DVD release of any Mikio Naruse films in the English-speaking world and prefigures more Naruse releases by the British Film Institute (UK) and the Criterion Collection (USA) throughout 2007. The director's non-judgmental cinema bridges an unsentimental balance between compassion and sensitivity. It is steeped in subtly deep melodrama but frequently with an overall bleak and pessimistic outlook. REVIEWED HERE PURCHASE HERE
NOTE: There's a clearance sale still going on at Yesasia.com with as much as 85% off on some titles. Check out our listing for titles to buy.
TWO NEW ARTICLES:
"A Dozen Undervalued Movie Satires" by Jonathan Rosenbaum
'The Wizard of Oz : Mixed Reaction to Both Warner Transfers' by Robert E. Seletsky
Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
STRATEGIES: The best way to take full advantage of Amazon is to use PRE-ORDERs - lock in at the discount price by ORDERING - if perchance you decide against the purchase you have until the release date to cancel - at no charge.
AND if you will purchase more than 35 DVDs (or anything) in a 365 day period (and live in the Continental US) it makes excellent financial sense to subscribe to Amazon Prime! You will get Free 2-day shipping on your purchases!
LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!):
Early Bergman (Torment / Crisis / Port of Call / Thirst / To Joy) Criterion Collection (Eclipse)
The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa , 1956) Criterion
The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948) Criterion
Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1959) Criterion
The Commissar (Aleksandr Askoldov, 1967) R2 UK Artificial Eye
The Page Turner (Denis Dercourt, 2006) R2 UK Artificial Eye
The Leos Carax Collection (Boy Meets Girl, The Night is Young and Pola X) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1975) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Carve Her Name with Pride (Lewis Gilbert , 1958) R2 UK - Network
The Quare Fellow (Arthur Dreifuss, 1962) R2 UK - Odeon Entertainment
Keane (Lodge Kerrigan, 2004) R2 UK - Soda Films
Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema
F For Fake (Orson Welles, 1974) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema
Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006) R2 UK - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Belle de jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967) R2 UK - Optimum
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video
The Films of Luc Moullet: The Smugglers and a Girl Is a Gun - Facets
The Films of Luc Moullet: Brigitte and Brigitte/Up and Down - Facets
Jackknife (David Hugh Jones, 1989) Lions Gate
The Killers (Robert Siodmak , 1946) R2 UK -Universal Pictures Video
Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video
This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle, 1942) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video
The Panic in Needle Park (Jerry Schatzberg, 1971) 20th Century Fox
The Rockford Files - Season Three (Stephen J. Cannell, 1974) Universal Studios
The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006) Touchstone / Disney
A Man for All Seasons - Special Edition (Fred Zinnemann, 1966) Sony Pictures
Arabian Nights (John Rawlins, 1942) Universal Studios
Infamous (Douglas McGrath, 2006) Warner Home Video
Ginger and Fred (Federico Fellini, 1986) Warner Home Video
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Alexander Hall, 1941) Sony Pictures
Move Over Darling (Michael Gordon, 1963) 20th Century Fox
The Sundowners (Fred Zinnemann, 1960) Warner Home Video
Brokeback Mountain (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) ( Ang Lee, 2005) - Universal Studios
The Hemingway Classics Collection (The Sun Also Rises / A Farewell to Arms / The Snows of Kilimanjaro / Under My Skin / Adventures of a Young Man) - 20th Century Fox
The Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 2 (The Charge of the Light Brigade / Gentleman Jim / The Adventures of Don Juan / The Dawn Patrol / Dive Bomber) - Warner Home Video
The True Story of Jesse James (Nicholas Ray, 1957) 20th Century Fox
The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang , 1940) 20th Century Fox
Jesse James (Henry King ,1939) 20th Century Fox
WHAT I AM CHUFFED ABOUT - This week I enjoyed There Was A Crooked Man... and Operation Crossbow and am anxious to see Mary and The Sheltering Sky. The upcoming calendar holds more delights with Early Bergman (Torment / Crisis / Port of Call / Thirst / To Joy) Criterion Collection's new label - Eclipse and their regulars including The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa , 1956), The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948) and Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1959) PLUS The True Story of Jesse James (Nicholas Ray, 1957) 20th Century Fox, The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang , 1940) 20th Century Fox and Jesse James (Henry King ,1939) 20th Century Fox. I also plan on seeing Keane (Lodge Kerrigan, 2004) R2 UK - Soda Films, Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006) R2 UK - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video. Ditto for The Blue Dahlia (George Marshall, 1946) R2 UK and The Glass Key (Stuart Heisler, 1942) R2 UK Universal Pictures Video. Really, it just keeps getting better and better...
Irreversible - pitches you straight into
the abyss, revealing Cassel pounded to a pulp and his assailant's head staved in
with a fire extinguisher; then it swivels into the past, negotiating the
real-time agony of Bellucci being raped in an underpass, regressing ever
backwards into the chaste light of earlier that day. Rest assured it all ends
happily ever before. The title doesn't merely toy with the idea of undoing time,
corruption, ruin and such shackles; it also brandishes the suggestion that the
film itself poses a cinematic breach, a taboo-torching dereliction of no return.
The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles' novel presents the problem of interiorisation, and a presiding morbidity that would clear most movie-houses. Bertolucci has wisely elected to open things out and to humanise his characters, relenting a little in favour of romance. The American travellers in North Africa, Kit and Port Moresby, still go down the drain, but in this version you care.
Operation Crossbow - A crack squad of commandos plot to put a Nazi missile base out of action, in an overcomplex manner which would have warmed the hearts of Peter Graves and Bain - whose impossible missions may have been gently plagiarized from this movie. Peppard and Loren are the glamorous conspirators, and the script is by Pressburger, writing under a pseudonym.
There Was A Crooked Man... - Terrific, knowing and very funny western, written by Newman and Benton, who already had Bonnie and Clyde to their credit. Douglas is a crafty inmate of a territorial prison, with a 10-year stretch to serve before he can get his hands on his stashed loot. Progressive warden Fonda recognizes him as a leader of men and sets about trying to enlist his help in turning the institution into a model prison. This is going to be tricky, considering the disparate band of desperadoes and madmen stuck behind bars, but Douglas accepts the challenge, recognizing the opportunities such favouritism may provide.
Little Miss Sunshine - premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, where it became an outright audience favorite. Directed by music video veterans Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the film is equipped with a pleasant blend of wry comedy and touching drama set to the dynamics of a dysfunctional family who embark on a road trip to California. On the surface, their journey bears typical genre archetypes complete with self-discovery and bonding, but the nuances that the talented actors bring to their respective characters provide the film with warmth and meaning.
Stray Dogs - is the beautifully crafted and moving story of Gol Ghoti, Zahed and Twiggy - a girl, a boy and a dog in Afghanistan, just after the war has ended in 2001. The film is written and directed by Marziyeh Meshkini, the Iranian director of 'The Day I Became a Woman', and premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2004, where it won the PREMIO OPEN.
Mary - The controversy surrounding the film-within-a-film owes more to similar protests surrounding the release of Jean Luc Godard's "Hail Mary" rather than publicity stunts surrounding "The Da Vinci Code" or "Passion of the Christ." Abel Ferrara directs two parallel stories: Juliette Binoche plays an actress who, after having played Mary Magdalene in director/star Tony Childress' (Matthew Modine) film "This is My Blood" feels emotionally and spiritually drained and leaves behind her career to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, in New York, Ted Younger (Forest Whitaker) is a TV journalist doing a TV series on the life of Jesus tries to find God when the lives of his wife (Heather Graham) and prematurely born child hang in the balance. Meanwhile, violent protests surround the upcoming premiere of Childress' film.
En Face - PLOT: Young, bankrupt couple are surprised to learn they've inherited the palatial townhouse of their landlord complete with mysterious housekeeper who have to keep on. Photographs reveal that the dead man spied on the wife (their apartment window faces his townhouse) in various states of undress. The mysterious housekeeper starts leaving clues around the house that reveal to the husband that his wife may know more about the dead man than she is letting on and may have had something to do with his death.
Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of January 9th, 2007
The Dr. Mabuse Collection(The Return of Dr. Mabuse, The Invisible Dr. Mabuse, The Secret of Dr. Mabuse) Image Entertainment
The Illusionist(Neil Burger, 2006) 20th Century Fox
Van Gogh(Maurice Pialat, 1992) Sony Pictures
Week of January 16th, 2007
Border Radio(Allison Anders, Dean Lent, Kurt Voss 1987) - Criterion Collection
Children of Men(Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video
Douglas Sirk Collection(All That Heaven Allows, Imitation Of Life, Magnificent Obsession, Written On The Wind, All I Desire, Has Anybody Seen My Gal, All That Heaven Allows and The Tarnished Angels) - R2 UK Universal
Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1970) - Criterion Collection
The Riddle of the Sands(Tony Maylam, 1979) R2 UK - ITV DVD
Week of January 22nd, 2007
Belle de jour(Luis Buñuel, 1967) R2 UK - Optimum
Brokeback Mountain(Two-Disc Collector's Edition) ( Ang Lee, 2005) - Universal Studios
Carve Her Name with Pride(Lewis Gilbert , 1958) R2 UK - Network
Eros(Antonioni, Soderbergh, Wong 2004) R2 UK - Artificial Eye
F For Fake(Orson Welles, 1974) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema
Fighting Elergy(Seijun Suzuki, 1966) R2 UK - Yume Picture
The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1- Fireworks (1947), Puce Moment (1949), Rabbit's Moon (1950, the rarely seen original 16 minute version), Eaux d'Artifice (1953) and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) - Fantoma
Jackknife(David Hugh Jones, 1989) Lions Gate
Keane(Lodge Kerrigan, 2004) R2 UK - Soda Films
The Luis Bunuel Collection(That Obscure Object Of Desire, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, Diary Of A Chamber Maid, The Phantom Of Liberty, Milky Way, Tristana, La Joven (aka La Jeune Fille) and Belle De Jour. ) - R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment
Monsters And Madmen(4 DVD Box Set) - (The Haunted Strangler, Corridors of Blood, The Atomic Submarine and First Man into Space) - Criterion Collection
Ozu - Vol 4(Late Autumn, An Autumn Afternoon) - R2 UK Tartan
The Quare Fellow(Arthur Dreifuss, 1962) R2 UK - Odeon Entertainment
Robert Mitchum: The Signature Collection- (Angel Face, Macao, Home From The Hill, The Sundowners and The Yakuza) - Warner Home Video
Sanjuro(Akira Kurosawa , 1963) - Criterion Collection
The Sundowners(Fred Zinnemann, 1960) Warner Home Video
Tokyo Drifter(Seijun Suzuki, 1966) R2 UK - Yume Pictures
Yojimbo & Sanjuro: Two Films By Akira Kurosawa- Criterion Collection
Yojimbo(REISSUE) (Akira Kurosawa , 1961) - Criterion Collection
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