DVDBeaver Newsletter - January 29th, 2007


Hello! - Please excuse the delay - I think Monday will be the 'new day' for the newsletter. 10 reviews this weeks. Plus our recommendations and many new additions to the Release Calendar.  




THE PLUNGE: I've purchased a HD DVD player and have been experimenting with doing reviews and comparisons. I've viewed both HD versions of Casablanca and Spartacus - and made extensive notes - reviews (and a review of the player) should be ready fairly soon. Stay tuned!


STAY AWAY: - Unfortunately, there appears to be a dispute over the rights for The Savage Innocents and MoC have withdrawn their wonderful DVD edition from all stores - it being replaced by a shoddy ITV edition (see comparison capture in review HERE). The ITV (cover pictured LEFT) is 4:3 pan and scan (of a 2.35:1 film!), and it's cut. Terrible print, and they've spelt Anthony Quinn's name wrong on the front sleeve "Antohny".


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!):


Columbo: Mystery Movie Collection 1989 - Universal Studios

Documentaries of Louis Malle (6-disc) - Criterion's Eclipse label

Flesh and Fantasy aka Obsession (Julien Duvivier, 1943) FR PAL - Universal

Lonely Are the Brave (David Miller, 1962) FR PAL - Gaumont/Columbia

Man Without a Star (King Vidor, 1955) FR PAL - Gaumont/Columbia

The Hill (Sidney Lumet, 1965) FR PAL - Warner Home Vidéo

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Yimou Zhang, 2005) Sony Pictures

The Wooden Horse (Jack Lee, 1950) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

I Was Monty's Double (John Guillermin, 1958) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Quiet Flows the Don (Sergei Bondarchuk, 2004) Kino Video

Casino Royale (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (Martin Campbell, 2006) Sony Pictures

The Odd Couple - The First Season (Alan Rafkin, 1970) Paramount Home Video

Tempest (Paul Mazursky, 1982) Sony Pictures

Man in the Middle (Guy Hamilton, 1964) 20th Century Fox

Sailor of the King (Roy Boulting, 1953) 20th Century Fox

Doris Day Collection 2 (Romance on the High Seas/My Dream Is Yours/On Moonlight Bay/ I'll See You in My Dreams/By the Light of the Silvery Moon/Lucky Me) - Warner Home Video

S*P*Y*S (Irvin Kershner, 1974) 20th Century Fox

Royal Flash (Richard Lester, 1975) 20th Century Fox

Bedazzled (Stanley Donen, 1967) 20th Century Fox

Un chant d'amour - 2-disc - (Jean Genet, 1950) Cult Epics


RECOMMENDATIONS: Even already owning a few of the titles - I was quite smitten with Viva Pedro - Pedro Almodovar Classics Collection. It's hard not to adore his work - a true original.

Citizen Dog is a uniquely humorous film. Really very special.

Jarman's The Angelic Conversation is quite reaching if you open up to it. Fascinating work for those keen on the avant-garde.

As far as 'popcorn flicks' go - Looker fits right in.

Zhang Yimou fans will want to pick-up Red Sorghum. The DVD is lower tier but its a chance to see the film with English subs.

After Kurtis' review I think I'll pick up Flags of Our Fathers.


New Reviews:


Red Sorghum - The stuff of legend, Zhang Yimou's film satisfies both as straight folk tale and as a subversive tribute to the vitality and endurance of Chinese peasant culture. Set in a remote Northern province in the '20s and '30s, the story is narrated by a man who remembers the lives and times of his grandparents.

Citizen Dog - A rare Thai cult film, Citizen Dog criticizes various aspects of the modern society with surrealistically colored visuals and a daring plot that can only originate from the most imaginative brain. Director Wisit Sasanatieng, after his creative Tears of the Black Tiger, adapts a story written by his wife into an acclaimed movie, officially selected for the Toronto Film Festival and the Pusan Film Festival. Citizen Dog was awarded the Bronze Prize for the Best Asian Film at the Fantasia Film, Montreal. DVD Release Date: January 11th, 2007

The Bridge on the River Kwai - is a towering triumph of a motion picture. It has the definite stamp of class about it and stands out as one of the greatest war pictures ever made. The first of David Lean's epics, it is primarily set in a Japanese World War II POW camp. It is at the same time a definitive character study of an obsessive British Army Officer and a savage indictment of the futility of war acutely symbolised by the fate of the eponymous bridge.

Viva Pedro - Pedro Almodovar Classics Collection - The 8 films in this box set (Talk to Her, Bad Education, All About My Mother, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Live Flesh, Flower of My Secret, Matador and Law of Desire) are all by Spain's high priest of hip, Pedro Almodóvar. That country's most celebrated filmmaker since Luis Bunuel. Included are Matador (1985), a fable about sex, death and bull-fighting which Almodóvar proclaimed the ‘weirdest’ film of his career, The Flower of My Secret (1995), which signaled a new maturity and emotional depth which would continue to distinguish in films such as All About My Mother. Also included here are Law of Desire (1987) - a classic tale of romantic obsession starring a young Antonio Banderas. Visually assured, the films from Law of Desire onwards established the director’s working relationship with brother Augustin, with whom he formed production company El Deseo. Talk to Her, Bad Education, All About My Mother, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Live Flesh rank as quintessential Almodóvar, and validate his status as one of the most consistently exciting filmmakers in the world. DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2007

Silence of the Lambs - The new MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) is compared - From Thomas Harris’ novel, director Jonathan Demme explodes and reconstructs a classic genre, laying a foundation of emotional and political commitment beneath a perfectly constructed psychological thriller. Fourteen years after her controversial role in Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster finally makes the transformation from helpless victim to rescuing hero in this dark, gender-bending fairy tale of an American obsession: serial murder. As Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter, Anthony Hopkins is the archetypal antihero—cultured, quick-witted, uncontainable—a portrait of all the sharpest human faculties gone diabolically wrong. DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2007

Looker - A plastic surgeon (Albert Finney) gets suspicious when models he has operated on begin to die in mysterious ways. With the help of Cindy (Susan Dey), the next in line to be killed, he traces the deaths to a mysterious corporation which develops new technologies. DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2007

The Angelic Conversation - Jarman's painterly eye and technical ingenuity are utilized to good effect here in this characteristically elliptical film that uses 12 Shakespeare sonnets (narrated by Judi Dench) as its starting point. With stop-motion effects, strange tableaux of eerie landscapes and a similar slew of Jarmanesque imagery, the black-and-white pictures processed on video lend the film a translucent and romantic air that is perfectly complemented by Dench's rich velvety intonations. DVD Release Date: January 29th, 2007

Flags of Our Fathers - It seems hard to believe there is anything left to say about World War II that has not already been stated and restated, chewed, digested and spat out for your consideration and that of the Oscar voters. And yet here, at age 76, is Clint Eastwood saying something new and vital about the war in his new film, and here, too, is this great, gray battleship of a man and a movie icon saying something new and urgent about the uses of war and of the men who fight. Flags of Our Fathers concerns one of the most lethal encounters on that distant battlefield, but make no mistake: this is also a work of its own politically fraught moment. DVD Release Date: February 6th, 2007

The Host - It's hard to write about Bong Joon-ho's The Host (the original Korean title is "Creature") without making puns on the word "monster." The temptation arises not only because of the subject matter, but because everything about the film -- its scale, its budget, its record-breaking performance at the box office, its overseas potential -- is huge within the context of the local film industry. It is a monster movie -- about a truck-sized mutant that crawls out of the Han River and unleashes terror upon the citizens of Seoul -- and yet, it is not one. Part of The Host's appeal is that its core concerns are somewhat slippery, and hard to pinpoint. DVD Release Date: January 16th, 2007

Sheitan - Not as transgressive or brutal as it makes itself out to be, especially when compared to the almost concurrently released CALVAIRE, Capiron's film is still entertaining even if the director seems to run out of ideas at the end. Cassel and the other lesser-known actors all give good performances (Barthelemy makes the sulky and loutish Bart rather endearing actually) and its nice to see an ethnically diverse cast without calling attention to the element (except for some of Cassel's racist remarks). Monica Bellucci also makes a brief cameo. DVD Release Date: 26 December 2006


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of January 29th, 2007


The Angelic Conversation (Derek Jarman, 1985) R2 UK BFI

Angels in the Outfield (Amazon Exclusive) (Clarence Brown, 1951) Warner Home Video

Arrangement (Elia Kazan, 1969) Warner Home Video

Band of Angels (Raoul Walsh, 1957) Warner Home Video

Caprice (Frank Tashlin, 1967) 20th Century Fox

Caravaggio (Derek Jarman, 1986) R2 UK BFI

Container (Lukas Moodysson, 2006) R2 UK - Metrodome Distribution Ltd

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

I Was Monty's Double (John Guillermin, 1958) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Lie with Me (Clément Virgo, 2005) R2 UK - Metrodome Distribution Ltd
(Michael Crichton, 1981) Warner Home Video
Madame Curie
(Mervyn LeRoy, 1944) Warner Home Video

Move Over Darling (Michael Gordon, 1963) 20th Century Fox

The Silence of the Lambs (Collector's Edition) (Jonathan Demme, 1991) MGM

Viva Pedro: The Almodovar Collection (Matador, Law of Desire, Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, All About My Mother, Bad Education, Live Flesh, The Flower of My Secret and Talk to Her) Sony Pictures

Wittgenstein (Derek Jarman, 1993) R2 UK BFI

The Wooden Horse (Jack Lee, 1950) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment


Week of February 5th, 2007


A Summer Place (Delmer Daves, 1959) Warner Home Video

Arabian Nights (John Rawlins, 1942) Universal Studios

Blume in Love (Paul Mazursky, 1973) Warner Home Video

The Clock (Vincente Minnelli, 1945) Warner Home Video

Crossing Delancey (Joan Micklin Silver, 1988) Warner Home Video

The Heiress (Universal Cinema Classics) (William Wyler, 1949) Universal Studios

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Alexander Hall, 1941) Sony Pictures

Miracle in the Rain (Rudolph Maté, 1956) Warner Home Video

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Yimou Zhang, 2005) Sony Pictures




50 CLASSIC TV SHOWS ON DVD - best of vintage TV!






- Best of the Best!






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