Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK

OF January 13th, 2014

  This Week's Highlights

Tungjatjeta! - More Eric Rohmer this week and Andrei Tarkovsky, Norman Jewison, Bob Rafelson, Masters of Cinema, Silent Era classic horror and more - an Eclipse package, and more. The Release Calendar has updates including films-to-Blu-ray by Bernardo Bertolucci, Werner Herzog, Sydney Pollack, Zhangke Jia, William Friedkin, Stanley Donen, Takeshi Kitano, Alan J. Pakula, Ron Howard, Richard Donner, Cameron Crowe etc. January's FEATURE Blu-ray and DVD of the MONTH is posted and there is a new CONTEST posted with a new Blu-ray prize - best of luck!

OUR Blu-ray and DVD of the year 2013 Poll is posted HERE (Thanks to all the participants!)

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FEATURE Blu-ray and DVD of the MONTH selected for JANUARY !



(Week of) January 13th CONTEST  identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win Criterion Blu-ray of Rififi  

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The Sheltering Sky [Blu-ray] (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990) RB FR BAC Films

Nosferatu the Vampyre [Blu-ray] (Werner Herzog, 1979) Shout! Factory

The Swimmer [Blu-ray] (Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack, 1968) Grindhouse Releasing

A Touch of Sin [Blu-ray] (Zhangke Jia, 2013) Kino Lorber

The Book Thief [Blu-ray] (Brian Percival, 2013) 20th Century Fox

Sorcerer [Blu-ray] (William Friedkin, 1977) Universal Pictures

The Missing Picture [Blu-ray] (Rithy Panh, 2013) RB UK New Wave Films

Funny Face [Blu-ray] (Stanley Donen, 1957) Paramount

Get Carter [Blu-ray] (Mike Hodges, 1971) Warner Home Video

Wadjda [Blu-ray] (Haifaa Al-Mansour, 2013) Sony

Mysterious Skin [Blu-ray] (Gregg Araki, 2004) Strand Releasing

You Will Be My Son [Blu-ray] (Gilles Legrand, 2011) Cohen Media

Beyond Outrage [Blu-ray] (Takeshi Kitano, 2012) Magnolia

The Artist and the Model [Blu-ray] (Fernando Trueba, 2012) Cohen Media

Sophie's Choice [Blu-ray] (Alan J. Pakula, 1982) Shout! Factory

Somewhere in Time [Blu-ray] (Jeannot Szwarc, 1980) Universal Studios

Far and Away [Blu-ray] (Ron Howard, 1992) Universal Studios

Boiler Room [Blu-ray] (Ben Younger, 2000) New Line Video

Boardwalk [Blu-ray] (Stephen Verona, 1979) MVD Visual

Conspiracy Theory [Blu-ray] (Richard Donner, 1997) Warner Home Video

Vanilla Sky [Blu-ray] (Cameron Crowe, 2001) Paramount

A Field in England [Blu-ray] (Ben Wheatley, 2013) New Video Group

Thor: The Dark World [Blu-ray] (Alan Taylor, 2013) Walt Disney

Reasonable Doubt [Blu-ray] (Peter P. Croudins, 2014) Lions Gate

The War Around Us [Blu-ray] (Abdallah Omeish, 2014) MPI

Persona [Blu-ray] (Ingmar Bergman, 1966) Criterion Collection

The Great Beauty [Blu-ray] (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013) Criterion Collection

The Freshman [Blu-ray] (Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, 1925) Criterion Collection

A Brief History of Time [Blu-ray] (Errol Morris, 1991) Criterion Collection

George Washington [Blu-ray] (David Gordon Green, 2000) Criterion Collection

The Hidden Fortress [Blu-ray] (Akira Kurosawa, 1958) Criterion Collection

Twin Peaks: Collection (ALL 30 episodes) [Blu-ray] David Lynch - Universal UK

Sleep, My Love [Blu-ray] (Douglas Sirk, 1948) Olive Films

Men in War [Blu-ray] (Anthony Mann, 1957) Olive Films

Sabrina [Blu-ray] (Billy Wilder, 1954) Paramount

The Pawnbroker [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1964) - Olive Films

Samson and Delilah [Blu-ray] (Cecil B. DeMille, 1949) Paramount

Stranger on the Prowl [Blu-ray] (Joseph Losey, 1952) Olive Films

Breaking the Waves [Blu-ray] (Lars von Trier, 1996) RB UK Artificial Eye

The Fly - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray] (Kurt Neumann, 1958) RB UK 20th Century Fox

Wadjda [Blu-ray] (Haifaa Al-Mansour, 2013) RB UK Soda Pictures

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness [Blu-ray] (Mark Robson, 1958) 20th Century Fox

Dracula 3D [Blu-ray] (Dario Argento, 2012) MPI

Captain Phillips [Blu-ray] (Paul Greengrass, 2013) Sony Pictures

Come Back, Africa - The Films of Lionel Rogosin, Volume 2 [Blu-ray] (1959) - Milestone



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Masters of Cinema's package of Computer Chess gets the nod this week as such a fresh entertaining work - not to be missed. I was also very pleased with seeing Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia, and its impressive visual content, escalate to Blu-ray status. Let's hope for more. I've always enjoyed Rafelson's 1981 steamy version of The Postman Always Rings Twice and it was well overdue for a proper digital edition - we now have this in Warner Blu-ray with a new commentary. Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night remains a fabulous film and it also seemed overdue in the Blu-ray format. We covered more Rohmer on Blu-ray this week and Pauline at the Beach was a pleasure to revisit in HD, ditto for, the more cerebral, My Night at Maud's and, less so, for the whimsical Rendez-vous in Paris. The 1988 2-part TV version of Jack the Ripper is underrated, IMO and very much worth seeing - but, in a rare move, we recommend the Warner MoD DVD over the European Blu-ray unless you are extra keen to get the audio commentary. Die, Monster, Die is typical low budget API stuff - but if you are in the mood - you may wish to partake of the horror atmosphere. Silent Era aficionados should definitely indulge in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) via Kino Blu-ray. On DVD Gregory covered the Philo Vance Murder Case Collection which sounds 'choice' for those keen on the vintage mystery realm. Ken Annakin's Across the Bridge sounds like a worthy, yet forgotten, film - I appreciate the DVD comparison. 2014 should be a marvelous year!


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) BD - Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story: Doctor Henry Jekyll's enthusiasm for science and his selfless acts of service have made him a much-admired man. But as he visits Sir George Carew one evening, his host criticizes him for his reluctance to experience the more sensual side of life. Sir George goads Jekyll into visiting a music hall, where he watches the alluring dancer Gina. Jekyll becomes fascinated with the two contrasting sides of human nature, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of separating them. After extensive work in his laboratory, he devises a formula that does indeed allow him to alternate between two completely different personalities, his own and that of a brutish, lascivious person whom he names Hyde. It is not long before the personality of Hyde begins to dominate Jekyll's affairs. Blu-ray Release date: January 28th, 2014

Nostalghia BD - A Russian academic (Jankovsky) visits Italy as part of his research on the life and work of a composer who has committed suicide. He engages in an estranged relationship with his translator (Giordano), and eventually shares his existential agonies with a solitary person (Josephson) labeled as mad by the community. Tarkovsky follows here the Bergmanesque line of psychodrama as his main character, profoundly influenced by these two encounters, is led towards the ultimate struggle for individual catharsis. Blu-ray Release Date: January 21st, 2014

In the Heat of the Night BD - In the Heat Of The Night fit in well with the canons of screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, director Jewison and cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Silliphant went on to pen the poignant Charly (1968) and another racially-tinged drama, The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970). Wexler brought a harsh, realistic look to films like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and documentaries like No Nukes (1980), later working on such socially-conscious fare as Matewan (1987) and Coming Home (1978). With In The Heat of the Night's performances and screenplay drawing so much of the viewer's attention, Wexler's camera work almost takes a backseat, but his shot compositions and angles complement the movie's mood perfectly. Blu-ray Release Date: January 14th, 2014

Rendez-vous in Paris BD - Two street musicians alert us that a rendezvous can be surprising. In the first of the triptych, Esther learns her boyfriend may be cheating on her, so she arranges to meet a flirtatious stranger at a cafe. When she goes, surprises abound. In "The Benches of Paris," a couple meets in parks to stroll, kiss and talk. She already has a boyfriend, so while he's away, they plan to spend two days in a hotel, pretending to be tourists. Surprises alter their plans. In part three, a painter arranges to meet a Swedish tourist at a cafe. Then he sees a passing stranger, pursues her, and forgets the Swede. Alas, she's married, but advises him about his love life. Her advice gets mixed results. Blu-ray Release Date: November 19th, 2013

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) BD - Smells are very important in the world of Cain, especially in ''Postman,'' in which the narrator, a drifter named Frank Chambers, finds himself being led by the nose, first into an adulterous affair with Cora, and then into a plot to murder the foul-smelling old Nick, whose Saturday night baths are never enough. Vulgarity is the essence of Cain's fiction, and vulgarity is what is so lacking in the new screen adaptation directed by Bob Rafelson (''Five Easy Pieces''), written by David Mamet, one of our most talented and idiosyncratic young playwrights, and starring Jack Nicholson as Frank Chambers and Jessica Lange as the portable heater called Cora. Blu-ray Release date: January 21st, 2014

Computer Chess BD - A boldly intelligent ensemble comedy with a feel and atmosphere that surpass easy comparison, Computer Chess takes place in the early-1980s over the course of a weekend conference where a group of obsessive software programmers have convened to pit their latest refinements in machine-chess and the still-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI) against an assembly of human chess masters. Computer Chess is a portrait not only of the crazy and surreal relationships that come to pass between the abundance of characters who participate in the weekend event (and among whose ranks include Wiley Wiggins, the revered indie-game developer and star of Richard Linklater s classic Dazed and Confused), but of the very era of early computing itself - and of the first, rudimentary video games - and (if that weren't enough) of the hopes and insecurities that persisted through the film s "retro" digital age into the present-day - that semi-virtual, hyper-social, maybe-kind-of-dehumanised landscape that, let s face it, is our very own era. If that still weren't enough: it s also one of the wittiest, most shift-and-cringe-in-your-seat, and entirely LOL-hilarious movies of recent times. Blu-ray Release Date: January 20th, 2014

Jack the Ripper BD - In 1888, a reign of murderous terror struck East London. To this day, the case is unsolved. And the killer is known only by his infamous nickname. But the truth may at last have been found. Based on breakthrough research at the time it was made, this gripping “what if” suggests who wielded the surgically sharp blade of death – and why his identity has been concealed. Michael Caine plays Scotland Yard’s Frederick Abberline and heads a large, flawless cast (including Armand Assante and Jane Seymour) in a movie cloaked in mystery and wrapped in period detail. Was the killer a noted doctor? A famed actor? A police commissioner, clairvoyant or even the Crown Prince? Each raises Abberline’s suspicions. Each merits investigation in this gripping whodunit. Blu-ray Release Date: October 28th, 2011

My Night at Maud's BD - Jean-Louis, a devout, unmarried engineer, has a very specific profile in mind for his ideal wife: attractive, blonde, intelligent, and above all, a practicing Catholic. He believes that he has found his soul mate when he spots a young student named Francoise in a crowded church during Sunday mass, and resolves to make her his wife. He attempts to catch up to Francoise, but loses sight of her behind a slow moving vehicle. One evening, he encounters a childhood friend at a restaurant, a philosophy professor named Vidal, and the two begin to discuss the nature of religion and politics as a logical consequence of Pascal's "wager": If a man bets on God's existence, and God DOES NOT exist, then a man loses nothing; but if a man bets on God's existence, and God DOES exist, then his reward is infinite. Blu-ray Release Date: November 19th, 2013

Die, Monster, Die BD - A young man visits his fiancés estate to discover that her wheelchair-bound scientist father has discovered a meteorite that emits mutating radiation rays that have turned the plants in his greenhouse to giants. When his own wife falls victim to this mysterious power the old man takes it upon himself to destroy the glowing object with disastrous results. Based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, Karloff stars as the wheelchaired master of a strange old house in Arkham, England who acquires mysterious powers when he is zapped by a radioactive meteorite.... Blu-ray Release Date: January 21st, 2014

Pauline at the Beach BD - Rohmer, in the third of his 'Comedies and Proverbs', may still be tiptoeing delightfully through the same verbose ground that he's covered for years, but no other director so clearly reveals the distances between words and meaning, thought and action. Here his 15-year-old heroine (Langlet) goes on holiday, and instead of fun finds a perverse, sometimes painful lesson in the emotional games of the adult world: as her older cousin (Dombasle) rejects a boring old flame and lurches into an affair with a sly advocate of freedom in relationships, she witnesses the trio's discussions, double standards, and deceit. Dispensing with heavy plotting as he coolly observes and dissects well-meaning but frequently cruel human interaction, Rohmer yet again proves his ability to merge poignancy and humour by means of delicately nuanced performances and naturalistic but pointed dialogue. Blu-ray Release Date: November 19th, 2013

Philo Vance Murder Case Collection - The dilettante detective stylishly sleuths his way through some of his most famous cases in this 2-Disc, 6-Film Collection. And a veritable rogue’s gallery of golden age “gentlemen actors” all take a crack at Philo, including William Powell, Warren William and Basil Rathbone. Classic cinephiles should keep their eyes on the credits for contributions by luminaries the likes of Michael Curtiz, Mary Astor, Rosalind Russell and more! Includes: The Bishop Murder Case (1930), The Kennel Murder Case (1933), The Dragon Murder Case (1934), The Casino Murder Case (1935), The Garden Murder Case (1936), Calling Philo Vance (1940). DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2013

Across the Bridge - Ken Annakin ("Trio"/"Value For Money"/"Holiday Camp") directs this low-budget gem, an overlooked black-and-white thriller that's based on a Graham Greene novel. The psychological drama was superbly written by Guy Elmes and Denis Freeman, and it was filmed in England and Spain. Rod Steiger gives one of his greatest performances, as he portrays a scheming arrogant man who suffers a downfall and finds himself as an outcast in a foreign town and his only friend is a cocker spaniel who he becomes attached to when he's reduced to living like a homeless person and that his one act of kindness (or showing his human side) will lead to his demise. The film plays out as a gripping character study of a once influential tycoon suffering from mental and physical decay but trying to survive anyway he can as things unravel and he's caught in a trap that he put himself in by outsmarting himself. VCI DVD Release Date: August 6th, 2013

 Next 4 weeks on the Calendar

January 13th, 2014


The Bench [Blu-ray] (Shawn Martin, 2014) Joseph James Pictures

Buffalo '66 [Blu-ray] (Vincent Gallo, 1998) LionsGate (BEAVER REVIEW)

Café de Flore (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2011) Kino Lorber

Chances Are [Blu-ray] (Emile Ardolino, 1989) Image Entertainment

A Chorus Line [Blu-ray] (Richard Attenborough, 1985) MGM

The Great Beauty [Blu-ray] (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013) RB UK Artificial Eye

In the Heat of the Night [Blu-ray] (Norman Jewison, 1967) MGM (BEAVER REVIEW)

Promised Land [Blu-ray] (Gus Van Sant, 2012) Region FREE UK Universal Pictures

Riddick [Blu-ray] (David Twohy, 2013) RB UK Entertainment One

Rififi [Blu-ray] (Jules Dassin, 1955) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Spectacular Now [Blu-ray] (James Ponsoldt, 2013) LionsGate

The Sheltering Sky [Blu-ray] (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990) RB FR BAC Films

Sunrise [Blu-ray] (F.W. Murnau, 1927) 20th Century Fox

Terraferma [Blu-ray] (Emanuele Crialese, 2011) Cohen Media Group

Thief [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 1981) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Year of the Cannibals [Blu-ray] (Liliana Cavani, 1970) Raro Video


January 20th, 2014


Blue Jasmine [Blu-ray] (Woody Allen, 2013) Sony Pictures

Captain Phillips [Blu-ray] (Paul Greengrass, 2013) Sony Pictures

Cat People [Blu-ray] (Paul Schrader, 1982) Shout! Factory

Charlie Countryman [Blu-ray] (Fredrik Bond, 2013) Millennium

Computer Chess [Blu-ray] (Andrew Bujalski, 2013) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

Die, Monster, Die! [Blu-ray] (Daniel Haller, 1965) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World [Blu-ray] (Stanley Kramer, 1963) Criterion

Machete Kills [Blu-ray] (Robert Rodriguez, 2013) Universal Studios

Nostalghia [Blu-ray] (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1983) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Piano [Blu-ray] (Jane Campion, 1993) - RB UK Studiocanal

The Postman Always Rings Twice [Blu-ray] (Bob Rafelson, 1981) Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Prey [Blu-ray] (Eric Valette, 2011) Cohen Media

Raise the Titanic [Blu-ray] (Jerry Jameson, 1980) Shout! Factory

The Returned [Blu-ray] (Frédéric Mermoud, 2012) Music Box Films

RoboCop 4K Remastered [Blu-ray] (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) MGM

La vie de bohème [Blu-ray] (Aki Kaurismäki, 1992) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

Wadjda [Blu-ray] (Haifaa Al-Mansour, 2013) RB UK Soda Pictures


January 27th, 2014


Beast Of Hollow Mountain (1956) / Neanderthan Man (1953) [Blu-ray] - Shout! Factory
The Cat [
Blu-ray] (Seung-wook Byeon, 2011) Well Go USA

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 [Blu-ray] (Kris Pearn, 2013) Sony

Demonic Toys [Blu-ray] (Peter Manoogian, 1992) MPI (BEAVER REVIEW)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [Blu-ray] (John S. Robertson, 1920) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

Dracula 3D [Blu-ray] (Dario Argento, 2012) MPI

Epic of Everest [Blu-ray] (J.B.L. Noel, 1924) RB UK BFI

Hell Comes to Frogtown [Blu-ray] (Donald G. Jackson, R.J. Kizer, 1988) RB UK Arrow

Hellgate [Blu-ray] (William A. Levey, 1990) RB UK Arrow

The Long Day Closes [Blu-ray] (Terence Davies, 1992) Criterion

The Selfish Giant [Blu-ray] (Clio Barnard, 2013) RB UK Artificial Eye

Wings [Blu-ray] (William A. Wellman, 1927) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)


February 3rd, 2014


City of Angels [Blu-ray] (Brad Silberling, 1998) Warner

Come Back, Africa - The Films of Lionel Rogosin, Volume 2 [Blu-ray] (1959) - Milestone

Death Wish [Blu-ray] (Michael Winner, 1974) Paramount

Filth [Blu-ray] (Jon S. Baird, 2013) RB UK Lions Gate Home Entertainment

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness [Blu-ray] (Mark Robson, 1958) 20th Century Fox

The Jacques Tati Collection [Blu-ray] - RB UK Studiocanal

Jules and Jim [Blu-ray] (François Truffaut, 1962) Criterion Collection

Mother of George [Blu-ray] (Andrew Dosunmu, 2013) Oscilloscope Laboratories

Night Of The Demons [Blu-ray] (Kevin Tenney, 1988) Shout! Factory

Stop-Loss [Blu-ray] (Kimberly Peirce, 2008) Paramount

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