DVDBeaver Newsletter - February 4th, 2008

Paricuru! - Back up to speed - 16 new reviews (4 with comparisons, 5 Blu-rays) - Fritz Lang, Paradjanov, Murnau, Wilder, Johnnie To - all over the place. LOTS of new releases available from this week's Calendar, 2 contests running, Feature DVD of the Month, and more. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.

TIDBITS: Haven't had a chance to review the DVD but watched Across the Universe last night - WOW! - FAB! FAB 4!

If you missed out owning Robert Bresson first full-length feature Les Anges Du Peche - it's now available from Amazon France HERE (Thanks David!)


FEATURE DVD OF THE MONTH (February): Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjöberg's visually innovative, Cannes Grand Prix-winning adaptation of August Strindberg's renowned 1888 play brings to scalding life the excoriating words of the stage's preeminent surveyor of all things rotten in the state of male-female relations. Miss Julie vividly depicts the battle of the sexes and classes that ensues when a wealthy businessman's daughter (Anita Björk, in a fiercely emotional performance) falls for her father's bitter servant. Celebrated for its unique cinematic style (and censored upon its first release in the United States for its adult content), Sjöberg's film was an important turning point in Scandinavian cinema. REVIEWED HERE    PURCHASE HERE




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THIS WEEK's PRIZE: a sealed copy of Key Largo and The Train (opened)! To enter the draw you must be subscribed to our Free Weekly Newsletter and email the correct answer to contest@DVDBeaver.com (the winner will be drawn from all correct answers sent)

LAST WEEK's Winner (identifying clip of Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Magnolia'') was F. Schroeder . (Wins Criterion's DVD of BFI's Quay Brothers - The Short Films 1979-2003!)! Congrats Fred!)

ANOTHER: One more week to have a chance at a FREE copy of Leonard's highly rated Korean drama, Sandglass. Deadline February 8. Don't miss out. Review HERE Contest HERE


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Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.


LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!). Eclipse 10 - Silent Ozu is the most desirable on the list but there is lots of other intriguing stiff - let's hope Irma Vep is the same transfer as the superb French edition. I'm a little suspicious of Jef Films but want to see The Wife of General Ling. We should try to stay up to date with pellicolas moderna; The Golden Compass, In the Valley of Elah and American Gangster. Blind purchases include Mann's - The Fall of the Roman Empire. Lots for the Giallo lover - Who Saw Her Die? , The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Short Night of Glass Dolls and The Bloodstained Shadow (all from Blue Underground). I admit I am interested in Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection - 15 Winners, 26 Nominees. Preminger's Margin for Error with Lubitsch's A Royal Scandal. What about Suzuki's Hero (haven't heard a tick). And of course all the Criterion's - Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955), Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961) Criterion, The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse, 1956), Paddle to the Sea (Bill Mason, 1966) and The White Mane (Albert Lamorisse, 1953).


Hitchcock - The British Years - The Pleasure Garden (1925), The Lodger, Downhill, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Secret Agent, Sabotage, Young And Innocent, The Lady Vanishes (1938), and Jamaica Inn. - R2 UK Network

Hero (Masayuki Suzuki, 2007) (DTS) (Japanese version - English Subtitled)

Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996) R2 UK - Second Sight

Getting Any? (Uncut Edition) (Takeshi Kitano, 1995) DreamQuest

American Gangster (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Ridley Scott, 2007) - Universal Studios

American Gangster [HD DVD]  (Ridley Scott, 2007) - Universal Studios

Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (Yuen Chor, 1972) Image Entertainment

"I Spy" Season 1 (Culp/Cosby, 1965)

"I Spy" Season 2 (Culp/Cosby, 1966)

The Wife of General Ling (Ladislao Vajda, 1937) Jef Films

The Golden Compass (Widescreen Single-Disc Edition) (Chris Weitz, 2007) - New Line Home Video

The Golden Compass (Two-Disc Widescreen Special Edition) (Chris Weitz, 2007) - New Line Home Video

The Golden Compass [Blu-ray] (Chris Weitz, 2007) - New Line Home Video

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection - 15 Winners, 26 Nominees - Warner Home Video

Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955) Criterion

Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961) Criterion

The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) Criterion

Eclipse 10 - Silent Ozu (I Was Born But..., Passing Fancy, Tokyo Chorus) Eclipse/Criterion

Paddle to the Sea (Bill Mason, 1966) Criterion

The White Mane (Albert Lamorisse, 1953) Criterion

The Fall of the Roman Empire (Anthony Mann, 1964) Genius (Weinstein)

In the Valley of Elah [Blu-ray] (Paul Haggis, 2007) Warner Home Video

Margin for Error (Otto Preminger, 1943) /A Royal Scandal (1945, Ernst Lubitsch) R2 UK – BFI

Five (2003, Abbas Kirostami) R2 UK – BFI

Independence Day [Blu-ray] (Roland Emmerich, 1996) 20th Century Fox

"Don Matteo" (Terence Hill, 2000) Ignatius Press

Casanova '70 (Mario Monicelli, 1965) R2 UK – Optimum

Matewan (John Sayles, 1987) R2 UK – Optimum

Gang Of Four (Jacques Rivette,1988) R2 UK - Bluebell Films

Who Saw Her Die? (Aldo Lado, 1972) Blue Underground

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (2-Disc Special Edition) (Jorge Grau, 1974)  Blue Underground

Short Night of Glass Dolls (Aldo Lado, 1971) Blue Underground

The Bloodstained Shadow (Antonio Bido, 1978) Blue Underground


Quick opinions:

STRONG VALUE: Frau im Mond, The Apartment, The Last Laugh, Walker, and I liked Trade

IMPERFECT DVD BUT...: The Films of Sergei Paradjanov

PRICE IS RIGHT: Portrait in Black (1960) Madame X (1966)


HAVEN'T SEEN (BUT AM ENCOURAGED): Shin SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai BR, 12:08 East of Buchrest, Triangle

BOO! - BAD TRANSFER: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford BR


New Reviews:

Triangle - The premise. Three big directors – Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To – each direct one segment of a movie, each roughly half an hour long. The catch: the first director shoots his part, hands everything to the next director and has no say in what will happen. That director looks at the first part, shoots his part and hands everything to the third director. Thus, something original and fascinating will hopefully be born, reflecting the style and sensibilities of the individual directors. DVD Release Date: December 15, 2007

Mauvaise Graine - Billy Wilder says: "Mauvaise Graine is a picture which was made in France, a picture I made for $100,000, with lots of a automobile chases, because it is about young automobile thieves in Paris. And I had to make all the chases out of a truck, there was no transparency to use. No transparancy for a chase - that's death. Because for a chase you would like a car to go 130 miles an hour, but I had to do it from the back of a truck, driving around Paris. It was done for no money at all. I was not shooting that picture in a studio, I was shooting that picture in a garage."

12:08 East of Buchrest - Romania's former communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, fled Bucharest by helicopter on 22 December 1989. In 12:08 East of Bucharest, director Corneliu Poromboiu paints a portrait of small town Romania 16 years after that revolution. Old man Piscosi (Mircea Andreescu) and school teacher Manescu (Ion Sapdaru) appear on a local television station to debate how the revolution played out in Vaslui; soon the town is divided over the truth. This is a funny, gentle film that understands the wearying nature of political upheaval.

Crimson Tide BR - Movies set on submarines constrain the action to small spaces that, in the hands of good director, can ratchet up the tension by intensifying the sense of claustrophobia. But the effect is not a given. The worry is that after a while all the spaces start to look the same. The audience needs to know exactly where we are and whose playing on which team. The good news about a nuclear sub is that it has more than one deck. While that's nice for variety it can disorient us just as easily. Scott's particular gift is to make all the action clear and, because the script is so good, tension is never lost for a moment, regardless of the fiction. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford BR - You gotta find a place in your heart for a movie with a title like this. Its melancholic story is not so much about the moment of execution, or even what led up to it directly, as it is about what made it possible for a such an obvious, young celebrity-seeking hound like Bob Ford, with little else going for him, apparently, to get close to the usually guarded Jesse James. (And in this respect, Brad Pitt gets it about right.) Affleck's Ford is so unctuous in his attentions to Jesse, I wanted to skin him alive half the time. Frank James (Sam Shepard) didn't fall for his line for a second, for all the good it did him, or Jesse. There's a narration that tries to place things in historical context, voiced by Hugh Ross, about whose delivery I can say only that it beats all to hell Costner's mangling of spoken language in Dances With Wolves. All the same, I thought the movie would have played better without it. Perhaps the director felt that passive actors wouldn't be able to tell us much. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008


The Brave One BR - What motivates the protagonist seems to me be at the heart of what is confused about this film. It is unquestionably courageous for her to go on with any kind of life after the assault, but Erica is so damaged that she refuses offers of support from friends or family. She doesn't consider therapy. She doesn't relocate, nor travel nor take any form of vacation. Instead, she returns to the apartment she shared with her fiancé – and, in her way, dies there. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008


Killing Machine / Shogun's Ninja BR - Like Sister Street Fighter I + II BCI/Eclipse have put two martial arts films on one side of a single-layered Blu-ray DVD entitling this one a "Sonny Chiba Double Feature". Sonny Chiba stars as Doshin So, a martial arts master who returns from the second world war after serving as an undercover spy. He wanders the streets helping the homeless and righting all the wrongs that took place while he was away - including riding the town of black marketers. He opens a Shaolin marts arts school which angers the existing men in power. In typical Chiba fashion it's time to make someone pay! For Chiba fans this is one of the mainstays. loaded with the genre charm. Action, vengeance and a hero. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: January 8th, 2008

Walker - A hallucinatory biopic that breaks all cinematic conventions, Walker, from British director Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy), tells the story of nineteenth-century American adventurer William Walker (Ed Harris), who abandoned a series of careers in law, politics, journalism, and medicine to become a soldier of fortune, and for several years dictator of Nicaragua. Made with mad abandon and political acuity—and the support of the Sandinista army and government during the Contra war—the film uses this true tale as a satirical attack on American ultrapatriotism and a freewheeling condemnation of "manifest destiny." Featuring a powerful score by Joe Strummer and a performance of intense, repressed rage by Harris, Walker remains one of Cox's most daring works.

Shin SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai BR - Based on the original manga by Otomo Katsuhiro (Akira), Shin SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai (a.k.a. SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers) is a delightful animated feature about a group of boys' urban subterranean adventures. A fun and fanciful vision of contemporary Tokyo in 3-D animation, the film actually expands on the manga's storyline, providing an even more extensive vision of the anime master's youthful world. One summer day, fifth-grader Ozaki Ryohei discovers a notebook from his father's youth, titled "Dai Tokyo Chika Tankenki" ("Metropolitan Tokyo Underground Adventure"). Captivated by its contents, Ryohei, along with his little brother and two friends, sets out on a treasure hunt through the underbelly of Tokyo. Quirky characters, strange secrets, and a plentitude of grand adventures lie in wait under every manhole. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: November 22nd, 2007

Trade - ... aside perhaps from straight pedophilia, there is no more disturbing a topic as the 'trade' of human beings as slaves - generally for sexual gratification. Even though this film NEVER delves overly deeply into the more crude aspects - partly because it doesn't want to titillate individuals who are bent enough to find it appealing - it still gives you repulsive shivers of whom we are sharing this planet with. I think Kreuzpaintner does an excellent job of transmitting that awareness without succumbing to cinema's easy route of exploitation. This film is relatively gentle but hits home with undeniable force. Is it a perfect film? - far from it . I've always loved Kevin Kline and he is a good strong-silent type but here his character is quite unemotional and 'stayed' - perhaps a little more than necessary. Is this an easy film to make? - not properly and it gives as good as it gets right down the line. It may strike some a quite 'Hollywood' ( a sell-out from 'The Motorcycle Diaries') but although I found it differently impacting than Lilja 4ever, it, regardless, touched me a great deal. I think it is very much worth seeing. I won't be forgetting it very soon. DVD Release Date: January 29th, 2008

Fragiles - Mercy Falls, a secluded children's hospital on the coast of the Isle of Wight is being closed down and the children transferred to the new hospital in the middle of the island. Temp nurse Sarah (Calista Flockhart) has arrived to assist in the move which has been delayed by a massive train accident that has filled up the new hospital with patients. Working as the night nurse, Sarah discovers that the children live in fear of a "mechanical girl" called Charlotte. After her predecessor dies, Sarah starts to believe this unseen presence might be responsible for the mysterious fractures a child patient developed and various child deaths over the years.

Portrait in Black (1960) Madame X (1966) - Lana Turner fans collectively shout 'It's about time!' for two of her better remembered, aptly titled, melodramatically fun thrillers. The "Sweater Girl" with the outrageous tabloid existence (7 marriages - multiple affairs) including battles with alcoholism and the infamous incident where her 'gangster' lover, Johnny Stompanato, was killed by Cheryl Crane, her daughter - that always seem to supersede her professional career. Universal offer this very reasonable 2-seperate disc DVD set with noirish, star-studded, Portrait in Black (with Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart , Sandra Dee, John Saxon and Anna May Wong!) and Madame X wear she shines above her co-stars John Forsythe, Ricardo Montalban and Burgess Meredith. Finally! DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008

The Apartment - Diamond-sharp satire with a brilliant performance from Lemmon as the insurance clerk who forges ahead in the rat race by lending his apartment out to philandering senior executives, only to outsmart himself when the girl of his dreams is brought there by his boss. Full of sly bits of business (MacLaine admitting to three affairs but betrayed by fingers unconsciously announcing four), and with its jaundiced vision leavened by a tender sympathy for the frailty of human motives. Even the cop-out ending (boy forgives girl and all's well) is rather moving, given the delicate skill with which Lemmon and MacLaine commute between comedy and pathos. DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008

The Last Laugh - A landmark work in the history of the cinema, Der letzte Mann represents a breakthrough on a number of fronts. Firstly, it introduced a method of purely visual storytelling in which all intertitles and dialogue were jettisoned, setting the stage for a seamless interaction between film-world and viewer. Secondly, it put to use a panoply of technical innovations that continue to point distinct ways forward for cinematic expression nearly a century later. It guides the silent cinema’s melodramatic brio to its lowest abject abyss — before disposing of the tragic arc altogether. The lesson in all this? That a film can be anything it wants to be… but only Der letzte Mann (and a few unforgettable others) were lucky enough to issue forth into the world under the brilliant command of master director F. W. Murnau. DVD Release Date: January 21st, 2008

Frau im Mond is first feature-length film to portray space-exploration in a serious manner, paying close attention to the science involved in launching a vessel from the surface of the earth to the valleys of the moon. (b) A tri-polar potboiler of a picture that manages to combine espionage tale, serial melodrama, and comic-book sci-fi into a storyline that is by turns delirious, hushed, and deranged. (c) A movie so rife with narrative contradiction and visual ingenuity that it could only be the work of one filmmaker: Fritz Lang. DVD Release Date: January 21st, 2008

The Films of Sergei Paradjanov - Sergei Paradjanov was born in Tblisi, Georgia (former Soviet Union) in 1924. In 1964 he was able to direct 'Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors'; a boldly conceived and astonishingly photographed blend of enchanting mythology, hypnotic religious iconography, and pagan magic introducing the world to a new idiosyncratic cinema talent. Kino offer a new DVD package of his films including Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), The Color of Pomegranates (1968), The Legend of the Suram Fortress (1984) and Ashik Kerib (1988). DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of February 4th, 2008

2 Days in Paris (Julie Delpy, 2007) 20th Century Fox

9 Star Hotel (Ido Haar, 2007) Koch Lorber Films

Across the Universe (Julie Taymor, 2007) Sony Pictures

Across the Universe [Blu-ray] (Julie Taymor, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Apartment (Collector's Edition) (Billy Wilder, 1960) MGM

Ashik Kerib (Special Edition) (1988) (Sergei Paradjanov, 1988) - Kino

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007) Warner Home Video

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford [Blu-ray] (Andrew Dominik, 2007) Warner

The Brave One (Widescreen Edition) (Neil Jordan, 2007) Warner
The Brave One [
Blu-ray]  (Neil Jordan, 2007) Warner

'Breaker' Morant [Blu-ray] (Bruce Beresford, 1980) Image Entertainment

Crimson Tide [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 1995) - Walt Disney Video

Elizabeth - The Golden Age (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) (Shekhar Kapur, 2007) Universal Studios

Feast of Love (Robert Benton, 2007) MGM

Fierce People (Griffin Dunne, 2005) Lionsgate

The Films of Sergei Paradjanov (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors/The Color of Pomegranates/The Legend of Suram Fortress/Ashik Kerib) - Kino

Her Name Is Sabine (Sandrine Bonnaire, 2007) Film Movement

Jean-Luc Godard Boxset (Passion, First Name: Carmen, The Detective and Oh Woe Is Me) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

The Legend of Suram Fortress (Special Edition) (Sergei Parajanov, 1984) - Kino

Portrait in Black (Michael Gordon, 1960) & Madame X (David Lowell Rich, 1960) - Universal

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Special Edition) (Sergei Parajanov, 1964) Kino

Tammy Trilogy (Tammy and the Bachelor/Tammy and the Doctor/Tammy Tell Me True) - Universal Studios

Wall Street [Blu-ray] (Oliver Stone, 1987) Fox Home Entertainment

When Night Is Falling (Patricia Rozema, 1995) Wolfe Video


Week of February 11th, 2008

A Zed & Two Noughts (Peter Greenaway, 1985) Zeitgeist Films

Becoming Jane (Julian Jarrold, 2007) Miramax

Becoming Jane [Blu-ray] (Julian Jarrold, 2007) Miramax

The Bubble (Eytan Fox, 2006) Strand Releasing

Charlie Chan Volume 4 (starring Sidney Toler - Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938), Charlie Chan in Reno (1939), Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939) and Charlie Chan in City in Darkness (1939) - 20th Century Fox

Dedication (Justin Theroux, 2007) Weinstein Company

"Don Matteo" (Terence Hill, 2000) Ignatius Press

The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Homevision

The Draughtsman's Contract (Peter Greenaway, 1982) Zeitgeist Films

ESL (English as a Second Language) (A.Y. Dexter Delara, 2005) Allumination

Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007) Miramax
Gone Baby Gone [
Blu-ray] (Ben Affleck, 2007) Miramax

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (40th Anniversary Edition) (Stanley Kramer, 1967) - Sony Pictures

I Don't Want To Sleep Alone (Ming-Liang Tsai, 2006) R2 - UK Axiom Films

In the Shadow of the Moon (David Sington, 2007) Thinkfilm

Joan Crawford Collection Volume 2  (A Woman's Face / Flamingo Road / Sadie McKee / Strange Cargo / Torch Song) Warner

Eclipse Series #8: Lubitsch Musicals - (The Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) and One Hour With You (1932) - Criterion

The Long Arm (Charles Frend, 1956) R2 UK Optimum

Matewan (John Sayles, 1987) R2 UK - Optimum

Payroll (Sidney Hayers, 1961) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjöström, 1921) - R2 - UK - Tartan

Royal Tramp 1 and 2 (1992) - Weinstein

Four Swords: Shaw Brothers Boxset - (Vengeance is a Golden Blade, Have Sword Will Travel, The Water Margin, The Wandering Swordsman) - Image Entertainment

Shaolin Intruders (Tang Chia, 1983)- Image Entertainment

Still Waters Burn (Halfdan Hussey, 1996) Cinequest Films

Stanley Kramer Film Collection (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner / Ship of Fools / The Member of the Wedding / The Wild One / The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T) Sony Pictures

Things We Lost in the Fire (Susanne Bier, 2007) Dreamworks Video

Things We Lost in the Fire [HD DVD] (Susanne Bier, 2007) Dreamworks Video

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Presents: Academy Awards Animation Collection, 15 Winners - Warner Home Video

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection - 15 Winners, 26 Nominees - Warner Home Video

The Wayward Cloud (Ming-Liang Tsai, 2004) R2 - UK Axiom Films

We Own the Night (James Gray, 2007) Sony

We Own the Night [Blu-ray] (James Gray, 2007) Sony

The Witness (André Téchiné, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye


I am me as you are he as you are me and we are all together....



STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING CLASSIC RELEASES: Forbidden Hollywood: Volume 2 (six films plus pre-Code documentary), Gangsters Collection, Vol. 2 (Bullets or Ballots / City for Conquest / Each Dawn I Die / G Men / San Quentin / A Slight Case of Murder) Warner, Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3 (Picture Snatcher, Lady Killer, Smart Money, Black Legion, Mayor of Hell and Brother Orchid.) Warner,, Joan Crawford Collection Volume 2 (Flamingo Road/Strange Cargo/Torch Song/others), The Lana Turner Collection, Lon Chaney Collection Volume 2 (The Unholy Three/The Unholy Three/Tell It to the Marines/He Who Gets Slapped/Tod Browning doc.), Night Nurse (Barbara Stanwyck), The Day the Earth Stood Still Special Edition (dir. Robert Wise, USA 1951), An Affair to Remember 50th Anniversary Edition (dir. Leo McCary, USA 1957), The Robe Special Edition (dir. Henry Koster, USA 1952), Daisy Kenyon (dir. Otto Preminger, USA 1947), Dangerous Crossing, (dir. Joseph Newman, USA 1953), Black Widow (dir. Nunnally Johnson, USA 1954), Boomerang! (dir. Elia Kazan, USA 1947), Charlie Chan Vol 4 (starring Sidney Toler), The Naked Prey (1966) Criterion. Bette Davis 100th Anniversary Set (titles TBD), Bette Davis Collections: Volume 3 (includes All This, And Heaven, Too/ Dangerous/In This Our Life/The Corn Is Green/Watch On The Rhine/more), David Lean Collection (Blithe Spirit/Brief Encounter/Great Expectations/In Which We Serve/Madeleine/Oliver Twist/Passionate Friends/This Happy Breed) and more...