DVDBeaver Newsletter - February 16th, 2008

Jou san! - 19 new reviews this week - Peckinpah, Richard Attenborough, Gilliam, Minghella, Gus van Sant, Kurosawa, Milos Forman - all on Blu-ray, a pile of new Calendar Releases! some continued SALES, and another new CONTEST. Certainly some stuff we can recommend here...

NOTE: If there are DVD titles you'd like us to cover - please feel free to recommend!

MAY Criterions announced:

Wise Blood (John Huston, 1979) Criterion
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Peter Yates, 1974) Criterion
Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura - Pigs and Battleships (Shohei Imamura, 1962), The Insect Woman (Shohei Imamura, 1963), Intentions of Murder (Shohei Imamura, 1964) - Criterion
RAN Blu-ray (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)  - Criterion
Eclipse Series 16: Alexander Korda's Private Lives - The Private Life of Henry VIII (Alexander Korda, 1933), The Rise of Catherine the Great (Paul Czinner, 1934), The Private Life of Don Juan (Alexander Korda, 1934) and Rembrandt (Alexander Korda, 1936)

Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) available February 24th HERE (get your place in the queue)!

THE 'DVDBeaver Toolbar'! Give it a test drive! I've created a very simple toolbar for Film-Fans/DVD-o-philes/cinephiles. It embeds effortlessly within Internet Explorer 5.0+ (Windows Vista/XP/2000) and Firefox 1.0.1+ (Windows, Mac, Linux). It offers quick links to Searching both the Net (via Google) and DVDBeaver directly, Amazons, Forums (Criterion, Home Theater, AVS, Rotten Tomatoes, Film Noir), IMdb, DVDBasen, Beaver links, Cinephile Blogs/Journals (Rosenbaum, Kehr, Acquarello etc.). What do you think?
FOR MORE INFORMATION / DOWNLOAD SEE HERE *** (We can adjust this to suit popular opinion - on-the-fly - no re-install required!)


US Blu-ray BUY 3 for the PRICE of 2        UK Blu-ray 2 for 3 SALE


Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)

FEBRUARY 16th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed DVD copies of The Inveterate Bachelor and The Maniacs - Best of luck all!

BIG THANKS!: DVDBeaver would not exist without the support of many patrons - those who generously donate, and especially those who use our Amazon, CD Japan and YesAsia links. That's it. When you go to Amazon - PLEASE use one of our links to get there (they are on every page - top and bottom - and we have 5000 webpages). It costs you absolutely nothing and we get a small commission on items you purchase. This helps pay our bills - in fact it's the only thing that pays our bills.

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!


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

LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER and save!):

Pulp Fiction (Import) [Blu-ray] (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) 101 Distribution

Dead Man [Blu-ray] (Jim Jarmusch, 1996) 101 Distribution

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Ji-woon Kim, 2008) - R3 CJ Entertainment

Man From London (Béla Tarr, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Tokyo Sonata [Blu-ray] (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2008) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

The Bela Tarr Collection (The Man From London, Werckmeister Harmonies and Damnation) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Palm d'Or Collection (Four Months Three Weeks And Two Days, Underground and L'enfant) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

Gardens In Autumn (Otar Iosseliani, 2006) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Incendiary [Blu-ray] (Sharon Maguire, 2008) Thinkflims

Ferris Bueller's Day Off [Blu-ray] (John Hughes, 1986) Paramount Home Video

Dexter: Season 2 [Blu-ray] – Paramount

From a Place of Darkness [Blu-ray] (Douglas A. Raine, 2008) Celebrity Video Distribution

Saturday Night Fever [Blu-ray] (John Badham, 1977) Paramount Home Video

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves [Blu-ray] (Kevin Reynolds, 1991) Warner

True Romance [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott , 1993) Warner

Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan - 2008) Twentieth Century Fox

Slumdog Millionaire [Blu-ray] (Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan - 2008) Twentieth Century Fox

Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008) Universal Studios

Milk [Blu-ray] (Gus Van Sant, 2008) Universal Studios

Amazon [Blu-ray] (Kieth Merrill, 1997) Image Entertainment

Never Say Never Again [Blu-ray] (Irvin Kershner, 1983) MGM

Seven Pounds (Gabriele Muccino, 2008) Sony Pictures

Seven Pounds [Blu-ray] (Gabriele Muccino, 2008) Sony Pictures

Bleak House - TV mini-series [Blu-ray] (2005) BBC Warner

Two Lovers [Blu-ray] (James Gray, 2008) Magnolia Home Entertainment

La Grande bouffe (Marco Ferreri, 1973) Koch Lorber Films

Tales of Ordinary Madness (Marco Ferreri, 1981) Koch Lorber Films

The Caller (Richard Ledes , 2008) Arts Alliance America

The Boys from Brazil (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1978) Lions Gate

Barbara Frietchie (Lambert Hillyer, 1924) Televista

Under The Bombs (Philippe Aractingi, 2007) Film Movement

Tehilim (Raphaël Nadjari, 2007) Kino Video



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Quick thoughts:

WORTHY: Gandhi BR, The Getaway BR, Cold Mountain BR (if only because it's a wonderful film and the visual superiority over the DVD), Good Will Hunting BR  (a huge leap over the old DVD in the image department), NOTE: Buy the last 2 from Amazon.ca and save yourself $20.  I Served the King of England - amusing and worthwhile viewing, In Cold Blood BR - chilling in thick black and white glory, Columbo Mystery Movie Collection - 1990 is super TV, and it is hard to deny the impact of The Passion of The Christ BR.

UNWORTHY:  - RAN BR especially with Criterion announcing their version.

ON THE FENCE: While I thought Passchendaele BR was a good film - it may not appeal to all. perhaps I was expecting more from Body of Lies BR. While I've never been a huge fan - I had my best viewing with the hi-def Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas BR


New Reviews:

Gandhi BR - Sir Richard Attenborough's 1982 multiple-Oscar winner (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley) is an engrossing, reverential look at the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who introduced the doctrine of nonviolent resistance to the colonized people of India and who ultimately gained the nation its independence. Kingsley is magnificent as Gandhi as he changes over the course of the three-hour film from an insignificant lawyer to an international leader and symbol. Strong on history (the historic division between India and Pakistan, still a huge problem today, can be seen in its formative stages here) as well as character and ideas, this is a fine film. Blu-ray Release date: February 17th, 2009

Amadeus BR - A great deal has been written, sane and hysterical, about Peter Shaffer's play and, by extension, the movie, so I shall be brief: Amadeus is not about the life of Mozart. It is not about the death of Mozart. It exalts Mozart's music, but does not mean to instruct as to how its composition actually came about, nor when, nor where – at least not with any consistency. The play isn't really about Mozart. It is about Salieri. Not the actual composer, but the idea of one such he could have been – a conservative, but very popular hack who might have realized the facile genius that was Mozart. Blu-ray Release date: February 10th, 2009

High School Musical 3 BR - Clearly contrary to the intent of the first two movies, the musical numbers in HSM3 are mostly extra-curricular. They are bigger, gaudier, more outrageous, more imaginative and in no conceivable way to be understood as high school musical numbers. I think this may have been my basic problem with the first two movies. I felt Kenny Ortega was trying to convince me that the numbers were simply the creation of talented kids. That would have been fine with me, I thought, if these were "my" kids, and I could look on with boastful pride. But neither the kids nor the numbers were good enough to keep me glued to my chair, nor were they amateurish enough to convince me I was watching the kids at East High doing their thing. Blu-ray Release date: February 17, 2009

The Getaway BR - Master thief Doc McCoy knows his wife has been in bed with the local political boss in order to spring him from jail. What he can't know is the sinister succession of double-crosses that will sour the deal once he's on the outside - and executing the ultimate robbery. Fasten your seat belts and join Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw in a supreme action thriller based on Jim Thompson's novel. Sam Peckinpah directed, filming on locations across Texas and in sequence - from the opening inside Hunstville State Prison to the explosive El Paso border climax. Once The Getaway starts, there's no escaping its breathless intensity. Blu-ray Release date: February 27th, 2007

In The Electric Mist BR - The movie, which will first see the light of U.S. distribution a week or so before its release on DVD, is based on the novel "In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead" by James Lee Burke - a much better title by the way – makes you wonder why it wasn't used. Bertrand Tavernier's film is beautifully photographed by Bruno de Keyzer and urgently and flavorfully scored (Marco Beltrami). Louisiana locales convey a sense of time standing still. Tommy Lee Jones, echoing a too-familiar role, plays veteran detective Dave Robicheaux, a recovering alcoholic with a penchant for dialogue with a long dead Confederate general (Levon Holm). When the 40-year old remains of a black man, evidently shot while still in chains, are unearthed by Katrina, Robideaux asks if the cultural climate of Reconstruction is still alive in the South. Blu-ray Release date: March 3rd, 2009

Cold Mountain BR - As he did with “The English Patient,” director Minghella performs a miraculous juggling act, balancing his epic, sweeping story with the subtleties of character and detail that make “Cold Mountain” breathe. We feel the unsettled tension seething inside of Inman, as he ponders whether Ada will even recognize his weathered skin, let alone accept him as her soul mate. Comedy relief is embodied by Philip Seymour Hoffman as a disgraced, lusty clergyman, and a similar lightness shines forth courtesy Brendan Gleeson as Ruby’s cheerful, fiddle-toting father. Even minor supporting roles such as Charlie Hunnam as a villainous, acrobatic albino flavor this cinematic potion with added vitality and depth. Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

Good Will Hunting BR - The ferocity of both Damon and Williams’ performance can be seen in a couple of amazingly well acted scenes. The first being when Hunting first meets Maguire. Hunting antagonizes and provokes Maguire into unleashing the rage within him. Hunting picks apart Maguire’s life like he knows him. But, he goes one step too far when he tries to make an analogy between Maguire’s life and a painting, which leads to Hunting disrespecting Maguire’s deceased wife. Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

I Served the King of England - Jan Díte is a “small man from a small world.” Despite this he has big ambitions – and here he tells his story. We meet him (played by Oldrich Kaiser) in his declining years after he has just been released after a 15-year jail term, but it’s clear the spark of wit is still with him as he flirts with a young girl he meets in the forest and begins to do up the wreck of a pub he has been sent to live in. DVD Release Date: February 17th, 2009

RAN BR - With Ran, legendary director Akira Kurosawa reimagines Shakespeare’s King Lear as a singular historical epic set in sixteenth-century Japan. Majestic in scope, the film is Kurosawa’s late-life masterpiece, a profound examination of the folly of war and the crumbling of one family under the weight of betrayal, greed, and the insatiable thirst for power. Blu-ray Release Date: February 6th, 2009

Madadayo BR - It seems only fitting that Akira Kurosawa’s last film (which he wrote and directed) be an homage to teaching. After all, he inspired many of today’s respected directors and is taught in film schools internationally. Madadayo is a sweetly overlong portrayal of an interconnected community whose center is a beloved professor. Blu-ray Release Date: February 6th, 2009

High School Musical ReMix BR - The first High School Musical to see the light of was its sequel, High School Musical 2 – the one that takes place at a country club over summer break. That was over a year ago. This new Blu-ray then marks the first appearance of the original 2006 movie. While the Blu-ray of HSM2 was an "Extended" version with nearly a quarter hour added into to the movie, this "Remix" version of HSM actually applies only to the Bonus Features and not to the movie at all. So, for better or worse, this video contains the movie as it was shown on the tele. Blu-ray Release date: February 17th, 2009

Body of Lies BR - The CIAs hunt is on for the mastermind of a wave of terrorist attacks. Roger Ferris is the agencys man on the ground, moving from place to place, scrambling to stay ahead of ever-shifting events. An eye in the sky a satellite link watches Ferris. At the other end of that real-time link is the CIAs Ed Hoffman, strategizing events from thousands of miles away. And as Ferris nears the target, he discovers trust can be just as dangerous as it is necessary for survival. Leonardo DiCaprio (as Ferris) and Russell Crowe (as Hoffman) star in Body of Lies, adapted by William Monahan (The Departed) from the David Ignatius novel. Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Black Hawk Down) directs this impactful tale, orchestrating exciting action sequences and plunging viewers into a bold spy thriller for our time... Blu-ray Release Date: February 17th, 2009

Capote / In Cold Blood BR - Capote - In November, 1959, the shocking murder of a smalltown Kansas family captures the imagination of Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), famed author of Breakfast at Tiffany's. With his childhood friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), writer of the soon-to-be published To Kill a Mockingbird, Capote sets out to investigate, winning over the locals despite his flamboyant appearance and style. When he forms a bond with the killers and their execution date nears, the writing of "In Cold Blood," a book that will change the course of American literature, takes a drastic toll on Capote, changing him in ways he never imagined. Stellar performances from Hoffman and Keener, as well as Academy Award® winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation) are why critics are calling Capote a "must-see movie."
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote's extraordinary nonfiction book about the course of two killers in this world--their lives, their senseless slaughter of an entire family, their executions--was faithfully adapted for the screen in this 1967 film by Richard Brooks (Deadline USA, The Blackboard Jungle). Robert Blake and Scott Wilson are remarkable as the murderers, but what has kept this film special over the decades is Brooks's blunt, clearheaded, and nonsensational approach to the story. (The term "semidocumentary" has been applied to Brooks's style on this film, and it's an entirely fair description.) The experience of watching In Cold Blood is naturally unsettling, but the director--as with Capote--leaves final judgments about justice to the beholder... Blu-ray Release Date: February 17th, 2009

Passchendaele BR - Set during the height of the First World War, Passchendaele tells the story of Sergeant Michael Dunne (Paul Gross), a soldier who is brutally wounded in France and returns to Calgary emotionally and physically scarred. While in the military hospital in Calgary, he meets Sarah (Caroline Dhavernas), a mysterious and attractive nurse with whom he develops a passionate love. When Sarah's younger asthmatic brother David (Joe Dinicol) signs up to fight in Europe, Michael feels compelled to return to Europe to protect him. Michael and David, like thousands of Canadians, are sent to fight in the third battle of Ypres, a battle against impossible odds, commonly known as "Passchendaele". It is a story of passion, courage and dedication, showing the heroism of those that fought in battle, and of the ones that loved them. Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

Igor BR - In the kingdom of Malaria, once a fit and sunny place to bring up your children, storm clouds have had a stultifying effect on everyone's attitude. The king has decreed that the only way the country could stay afloat economically is if they export evil toys. Just the threat of what these things could do extorts a good living from the rest of the planet. One thing begets another, including a race of creatures, all named "Igor," bred only to "pull the switch." One such Igor (voiced by John Cusack) gets it into his head that he could make a better mad scientist than his employer, a hypothesis he is soon able to test out when Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese) meets with an – er – accident (not Igor's doing, honest). Blu-ray Release date: January 20, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas BR - “We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to take hold.” It is 1971, and journalist Raoul Duke barrels towards Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, accompanied by a trunkful of contraband and his slightly unhinged Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo. But what is ostensibly a cut-and-dried journalistic endeavor quickly descends into a feverish psychedelic odyssey and an excoriating dissection of the American way of life. Director Terry Gilliam and an all-star cast (headlined by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro) show no mercy in bringing Dr. Hunter S, Thompson’s legendary Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the screen, creating a film both hilarious and savage. Blu-ray Release Date: October 23rd, 2008

Columbo Mystery Movie Collection - 1990 - The 1990's Mystery Movies of Columbo proves again the strength of the writing and the wonderful character acting of Peter Falk. He dons his famous trenchcoat again as he returns in his 4-time Emmy award-winning role as everyone’s favorite Police Lieutenant. He pesters with all the right questions in some of the most deceptive and deadly cases. The continuing final two seasons also features such acclaimed guest stars as Robert Culp, Patrick McGoohan, Helen Shaver, and more. The landmark crime series returns, and no murderer can hide for long with Columbo on the beat! DVD Release Date: February 3rd, 2009

The Passion of The Christ BR - After all the controversy and rigorous debate has subsided, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ will remain a force to be reckoned with. In the final analysis, "Gibson's Folly" is an act of personal bravery and commitment on the part of its director, who self-financed this $25-30 million production to preserve his artistic goal of creating the Passion of Christ ("Passion" in this context meaning "suffering") as a quite literal, in-your-face interpretation of the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, scripted almost directly from the gospels (and spoken in Aramaic and Latin with a relative minimum of subtitles) and presented as a relentless, 126-minute ordeal of torture and crucifixion. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this film does not "entertain," and it's not a film that one can "like" or "dislike" in any conventional sense. (It is also emphatically not a film for children or the weak of heart.) Rather, The Passion is a cinematic experience that serves an almost singular purpose: to show the scourging and death of Jesus Christ in such horrifically graphic detail (with Gibson's own hand pounding the nails in the cross) that even non-believers may feel a twinge of sorrow and culpability in witnessing the final moments of the Son of God, played by Jim Caviezel in a performance that's not so much acting as a willful act of submission, so intense that some will weep not only for Christ, but for Caviezel's unparalleled test of endurance... Blu-ray Release Date: February 10th, 2009

Yentl - Reactions to this movie when it came out were polarized. Many responded warmly to the sentiment (girl makes the impossible happen in a man's world) and the music and lyrics were like from heaven (ditto my comment about sentiment). We all wanted to see how Barbra would manage every aspect of production short of actually shooting the picture and building the sets – or so it was posed. She does indeed have major screen credits: her name can be seen as writer, director, producer and star. She may not have written the music, but she sings every song like an angel, and there are enough of them to fill an album, which it did. DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


February 16th, 2009

Body of Lies (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) (Ridley Scott, 2008) Warner Home Video

Body of Lies [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 2008) Warner Home Video

Capote / In Cold Blood [Blu-ray] (Richard Brooks, 1967) Sony

Changeling (Clint Eastwood, 2008) Universal
Changeling [
Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 2008) Universal

Choke (Clark Gregg, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Cold Mountain [Blu-ray] (Anthony Minghella, 2003) 101 Distribution

Flash of Genius (Marc Abraham, 2008) Universal Studios

Gandhi [Blu-ray] (Richard Attenborough, 1982) Sony

Good Will Hunting [Blu-ray] (Gus Van Sant, 1998) 101 Distribution

Hard Country (David Greene, 1981) Lions Gate

The Helen Morgan Story (Michael Curtiz, 1957) Warner

Hobson's Choice (David Lean, 1954) Criterion

I Served the King of England (Jirí Menzel, 2006) Sony

Kramer vs. Kramer [Blu-ray] (Robert Benton, 1979) Sony Pictures

The Outrage (Martin Ritt, 1964) Warner

Pulp Fiction (Import) [Blu-ray] (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) 101 Distribution

Quarantine (John Erick Dowdle, 2008) Sony
Quarantine [
Blu-ray] (John Erick Dowdle, 2008) Sony

Rachel, Rachel (Paul Newman, 1968) Warner

Religulous (Larry Charles, 2008) Lions Gate

The Sheltering Sky [Blu-ray] (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990) R 'B' FR BAC

The Thief Of Paris (Louis Malle, 1967) R2 UK Optimum


February 23rd, 2009

Akira [Blu-ray] (Katsuhiro Ôtomo, 1988) Infinity Resources Inc

Alice Et Martin (André Téchiné, 1998) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Alone Across the Pacific (Kon Ichikawa, 1963) Masters of Cinema

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage [Blu-ray] (Dario Argento, 1970) Blue Underground

City of Ember [Blu-ray] (Gil Kenan, 2008) R'B' UK Entertainment in Video

Argento Dario-Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Dario Argento, 1971) Wea-Des Moines Video

The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

The FTA (Francine Parker, 1972) Docudrama

The French Connection [Blu-ray] (William Friedkin, 1971) 20th Century Fox
French Connection II [
Blu-ray] (John Frankenheimer, 1975) 20th Century Fox

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (Peter Avanzino, 2009) 20th Century Fox
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder [
Blu-ray] (Peter Avanzino, 2009) 20th Century Fox

Futurama - Into The Wild Green Yonder [Blu-ray] - RB UK 20th Century Fox

Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008) R2 UK Pathe Video

Kokoro (Kon Ichikawa, 1955) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Martial Club (Lau Kar-leung, 1981) Tokyo Shock

Nuns of St. Archangel (Domenico Paolella, 1973) Media Blasters

Poil de carotte (Julien Duvivier, 1925) Arte

Protégé (Derek Yee, 2007) Dragon Dynasty

Requiem for a Vampire (Jean Rollin, 1971) Wea

Ronin [Blu-ray] (John Frankenheimer, 1998) MGM

Takeshis (Takeshi Kitano, 2005) Navarre

Vanishing Point [Blu-ray] (Richard C. Sarafian, 1971) 20th Century Fox

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."
Mahatma Gandhi