DVDBeaver Newsletter - January 12th, 2007


Hello! - Ever seen anything on the industrious beaver? - truly a remarkable mammal.  9 new reviews (2 of which are comparisons and 2 of which are new Criterion releases) in this weeks newsletter. Plus our recommendations and many new additions to the Release Calendar. The year is starting slowly but building steadily...




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.


DVD of the Year - 2006 still remains a popular place to peruse.


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!):


Fixed Bayonets! (Samuel Fuller, 1951) Fox Home Entertainment

Sleeping Dogs Lie (Bob Goldthwait, 2006) First Look Pictures

Backstage (Emmanuelle Bercot, 2005) Strand Releasing

Fast Food Nation (Richard Linklater, 2006) Fox Home Entertainment

Shortbus (Unrated) (John Cameron Mitchell) Velocity / Thinkfilm

Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, 2006) Sony Pictures

Welcome to Dongmakgol (Kwang-Hyun Park, 2005) R2 UK Showbox

The Early Hitchcock Collection 9-disc (The Ring, Champagne, The Farmer’s Wife, The Manxman, Blackmail, Murder!, The Skin Game, Rich and Strange and Number Seventeen) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

John Sayles Collection - Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), Lianna (1983), Brother From Another Planet (1984) - R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

The Other Side of Midnight (Charles Jarrott, 1977) 20th Century Fox

Cinderella Liberty (Mark Rydell, 1973) 20th Century Fox

John & Mary (Peter Yates. 1969) 20th Century Fox

Twin Peaks - The Second Season (1990) - Paramount Home Video

Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola, 2006) Sony Pictures

Gandhi (25th Anniversary Collector's Edition) (Richard Attenborough, 1982) Sony Pictures

The Streets of San Francisco - Season 1, Vol. 1 (1972) - Paramount Home Video

The Heart of the Game (Ward Serrill, 2005) Miramax

W.C. Fields Comedy Collection, Vol. 2 (The Man on the Flying Trapeze / Never Give A Sucker An Even Break / You're Telling Me! / The Old Fashioned Way / Poppy) - Universal Studios

Candy (Neil Armfield, 2006) Velocity / Thinkfilm


RECOMMEND: Seems like I have something to say about every release this week.

If Mouchette had come out a month earlier it would have easily been TOP 10 in our DVD of the Year - 2006 poll. A vitally important film, great transfer, fabulous commentary and extras - how can one resist? It is our top recommendation for this week.

Noir fans may indulge with confidence - Affair in Trinidad is a decent entry into the dark cinema style.

In our 'bad can be so good' category - Monsters and Madmen is wonderfully rendered to digital with scads of extras by none other than Criterion. Those with the 50's drive-In itch will be plenty sated.

Watch for Cédric Kahn - I continue to enjoy his films - Roberto Succo (from 2001) being the latest I viewed. Disturbing but thoughtful cinema.

TV SO GOOD IT HURTS: Probably another example of personalized humor, but if Get Smart gave you any pleasure, then the Complete Series boxset is a stupendous present to... yourself. Though prudence and patience in purchasing is recommended (see review). 

WORTHY FILMS: Unrecognized but still a strong film is Van Gogh. See the comparison for your options. The Illusionist offers some viable entertainment. Certainly strong enough for a 'popcorn night with family' purchase. We say 'go for it'.

BEWARE: No effort at all was put into The Dr. Mabuse Collection. Ditto for the quality of Moscow Elegy, although the content of both will, no doubt, appeal to a niche. Just see the reviews and be fully apprised of what you are getting for your money.


New Reviews:


Roberto Succo - Impressive, disturbing French ‘true crime’ film with a stunning central performance - refreshingly different from the usual crop of serial killer flicks. Kahn never opts for easy explanations but presents the facts coolly to subtly build up a portrait of the world where disorder rules, where notions of 'good' and 'evil' are finally so inadequate as to be meaningless. Tough, and very impressive indeed. DVD Release Date: October 28th, 2002

Affair in Trinidad - Noir thriller starring Glenn Ford as pilot Steve Emery, who arrives in Trinidad with a letter from his brother offering him a job. Upon arrival, he gets the news that his brother has killed himself. Not believing the suicide story, Steve confronts his brother's widow, Chris. Chris (Rita Hayworth) is helping the local police out by trying to get close to Max Fabian. Fabian is the prime suspect in her husband's death. DVD Release Date: November 6th, 2006

The Dr. Mabuse Collection - 3 cheesy German language Mabuse flicks - The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (1962) and The Death Ray Mirror of Dr. Mabuse (1964) with English DUBs, weak transfers... but at least the price is right. DVD Release Date: January 9th, 2007

Mouchette - Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feeling with Mouchette, one of the most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film. Faced with a dying mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the teenage Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her economic and pubescent turmoil. An essential work of French filmmaking, Bresson’s hugely empathetic drama elevates its trapped protagonist into one of the cinema’s great tragic figures. DVD Release Date: January 16th, 2007

Get Smart - The Complete Series - Consistently incompetent, often lucky and always endearing is the character of secret agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) in the classic and hilarious sitcom/spy spoof "Get Smart" that debuted in 1965 and ran, eventually bouncing around to all three major networks in its short 5 year history. The show's often brilliant humor, certainly unique for 60's television, escalated its devout following to have many judge it as one of the best shows ever put on the tube. It could be some of the best work and writing of co-creators Brooks and Henry. Adams defined the role of 'Max' and made it his own with generous support from Platt, Feldon and the likes of Kopell, Ketchum and Gautier. It really was a special and nostalgic time introducing a cynical biting edge of humor while still maintaining much of the positive-ness of the 60's. DVD Release Date: January, 2007

Monsters and Madmen - Launching us from a grave past to a space-age future, these two thrilling double features, from producers Richard and Alex Gordon, spin classic tales of hair-raising homicidal mania and intrepid, death-defying exploration. Featuring Boris Karloff in two of his most horrifying roles (The Haunted Strangler and Corridors of Blood), and two classic sci-fi treats from the atomic age. Criterion gives usa stacked package with The Haunted Strangler (1958), Corridors of Blood (1958), The Atomic Submarine (1959) and First Man into Space (1959). DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2007

Moscow Elegy - One of Sokurov's series of 'elegies', this is a tribute to his former mentor Andrei Tarkovsky who died in 1986. A long way removed from a conventional documentary, it is more a meditation on Tarkovsky, an attempt to capture his essence, than a chronological account of his life and work. Sokurov visits Tarkovsky's one-time Moscow apartment and speculates on why he went into exile and what his legacy is to Russian cinema. The style is deliberately subjective and impressionistic. It's fascinating to see the footage from an old Soviet propaganda feature in which Tarkovsky acted as a very young man, and to watch him at work on the set of his final film, The Sacrifice. DVD Release Date: December 27th, 2006

Van Gogh - Unlike other, more famous, Van Gogh movies, Pialat spends remarkably little time watching the artist at work. Instead, he charts his antagonistic relationships with those around him, including his art dealer brother Theo (Bernard Lecoq), kindly patron Dr Gachet (Gérard Séty) and Gachet's daughter, Marguerite (Alexandra London), who falls for the painter's unbalanced charms. On the few occasions that Pialat contrives to let us watch the artist at his easel, Jacques Dutronc's phenomenal intensity comes to the fore. He wrestles with each stroke of the brush, beating the paint into submission with bestial ferocity, before dismissively abandoning each canvas as "smudges that will never be worth a cent". Sony's DVD Release Date: January 9th, 2007

The Illusionist - Based on Steven Millhauser’s short story, “Eisenheim the Illusionist,” Neil Burger's 2006 film, The Illusionist, is appropriately set in the turn-of-the-century Austro-Hungarian Empire with Van Dyke-bearded Edward Norton's penetrating stare and a haunting Philip Glass score as keen parts of its mysterious and illuring aura. The plot revolves around some potential political volatility with a young and masterful magician figuring in as an integral cog in the country's future. DVD Release Date: January 9th, 2007


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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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