DVDBeaver Newsletter - February 19th, 2007


Hello! - 10 new reviews (4 of which are comparisons) this week. What a mix - Almodóvar, top-shelf Film Noir, vintage musicals, Buñuel, Jackie Chan, some important news and some exciting new releases for the calendar...  WOW!


NEWS: May 2007 will be an amazing month for Criterion: #386: Mizoguchi's Sansho the Bailiff, #384: Imamura's Vengeance is Mine, #64: Reed's The Third Man (re-release) and #385: Melville's Army of Shadows !! P.S. I heard a rumor Criterion was going to release Cry of the City this year - it's another fav!


BACK OFF: The new Universal R2 UK The Big Steal is the Turner colorized version and not the black & white original. For shame. See two of the other Noirs below! (BTW, The French edition of The Big Steal is reviewed HERE)


WE NEED YOUR OPINION!: DESERT ISLAND DVDs! : You choose - send us a note of one (or more) of the DVDs that YOU find most valuable - the ones YOU would watch for the rest of your lives. NOTE: Single DVDs only (not boxset) but can be one DVD from a collection (EX. Ordet from Criterion's Carl Theodor Dreyer Special Edition Box Set). Tell US HERE - results posted on a webpage. "The way you have a good idea - is you have a lot of ideas".




GET THEM WHILE YOU CAN SALE: Max Ophuls' DVDs of Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Le Plaisir (1952) and Madame De...   are still 70% OFF!  HERE




Plus MORE SALES From the UK - * 10 Rillington Place 58% OFF, * Fantômas (1913) 67% OFF!, *A Matter Of Life And Death [1946] 75% OFF!, Brokeback Mountain [2005] 75% OFF!, Amelie [DTS] [2001] 75% OFF!, *Hidden (cache) [2005] 65% OFF!, City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [2003] 67% OFF!, Midsomer Murders (10 DVD Box Set) 71% OFF!, Laputa - Castle In The Sky 55% OFF!, Delicatessen [1991] 80% OFF!, *Kes [1969] 69% OFF!, Goodbye Lenin! [2002] 70% OFF!, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not [2002] 70% OFF!, The Cook Thief, His Wife And Her Lover [1989] 63% OFF!, The Cat Returns 55% OFF!, Eloge De L'Amour [2001] 70% OFF!, Slow Motion [1980] 60% OFF!, Le Mepris [1963] 70% OFF!, *Stalker (1979) - 58% off!, The Almodovar Collection (Vol.1) - 50% off!, The Girl on the Bridge (1999) - 70% off!, Battle In Heaven (2005) - 60% off!, La Haine (1995) - 60% off!, The Almodovar Collection (Vol.2) - 50% off!. *Land And Freedom (1995) - 60% off!, *Mirror (1974) - 60% off!, *Innocence (2005) - 60% off!, *Last Year At Marienbad (1961) - 60% off!, Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection - 56% off  and many more HERE.


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!):


Robert Siodmak Collection (Cobra Woman, The Killers, and Phantom Lady) - R2 FR - Carlotta Films

Cobra Woman (Robert Siodmak, 1944) - R2 FR - Carlotta Films

The Killers 2-disc SE (Robert Siodmak, 1946) - R2 FR - Carlotta Films

Phantom Lady (Robert Siodmak, 1944) - R2 FR - Carlotta Films

Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set - The Black Rose (1950), Blood and Sand (1941), Captain from Castile (1947), Prince of Foxes (1949), Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942) - 20th Century Fox

Guillermo Del Toro Collection (Pan's Labyrinth/Cronos/The Devil's Backbone) - R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Wim Wenders Collection - The Scarlet Letter (1973), Notebook on Cities and Clothes (1975), The American Friend (1977), The Wrong Move (1979), Lightning Over Water (1980), Tokyo-Ga (1985), Room 666 (1985), Trick of the Light (1995), Wings of Desire (1987) - R2 UK - Anchor Bay Entertainment

The Well (Leo C. Popkin, 1951) Image Entertainment

War & Peace 3-disc (Sergei Bondarchuk, 1968) Hurricane Int'l

Woman Is the Future of Man (Sang-soo Hong, 2006) New Yorker Video

The Good Shepherd (Robert De Niro, 2006) Universal Studios

The Ed Wood Collection - A Salute to Incompetence - Glen Or Glenda? (1953), Jail Bait (1954), Bride Of The Monster (1955), The Violent Years (1956), Night Of The Ghouls (1959), Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), Bonus Feature: The Ed Wood Story - Passport, The Sun Also Rises (Henry King, 1957) 20th Century Fox

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (Henry King, 1952) 20th Century Fox

Komissar (Aleksandr Askoldov, 1967) Kino Video

Strange Circus (Sion Sono, 2005) TLA Releasing

The Host (Joon-ho Bong, 2006) R2- UK - Optimum Home Entertainment


RECOMMENDATIONS: I have a BIG recommendation this week - I was left stupefied after watching 10 Rillington Place. The great news is that the DVD is super - with commentary and extras - AND its 58% OFF!. Next Almodóvar's Volver has his deft signature all over it - a great film! The Alice Faye Collection is one of Fox's better boxsets in a long while - filled with extras to educate you about this early Diva... and the films are fun entertainment as well.

REPLACING: In dire need of substitution in my collection where the VHS-to-DVD bootlegs of both The Blue Dahlia and The Glass Key. Far from perfect DVDs these new editions are a step up. The roller coaster ride goes - elation ( at news of releases), disappointment after hearing about Turner colorized The Big Steal and finally meager satisfaction at seeing two of the new noir DVDs.

BE WEARY - BE VERY WEARY!: A great film but a horrifically over-priced DVD is The Well. Thanks for nothing Image Entertainment.


New Reviews:


Highlander - Narrative coherence is not a quality which director Mulcahy brings to this mondial of machismo, about a bizarre (and shrinking) band of immortals engaged in mortal combat down the ages. Highlander hops to and fro, from the Scottish highlands in the middle ages to contemporary America, allowing Lambert to don a variety of kits to match the perpetually pained expression in his eyes, and Connery, as his mentor, to make tosh dialogue sound like it was written by Noël Coward. Kinowelt DVD Release Date: January 19th, 2007

10 Rillington Place - What is remarkable about the film though, is the way it manages to chill and create enormous discomfort with such ease. By taking for granted the fact that the audience knows what is going to happen, it presents quite horrific scenes in a very matter-of-fact way, which means the audience are engrossed in what is going on, but know they are powerless to do anything about it. This is a very difficult balance to get right, but this film succeeds superbly, and creates an atmosphere where the viewer feels like they're physically watching the crimes behind a piece of unbreakable glass.

The Blue Dahlia - Sterling film noir from the pen of Raymond Chandler. Alan Ladd stars as a war veteran framed for the murder of his own wife. Veronica Lake plays the requisite femme fatale. With Chandler's smooth street-wise dialogue, Ladd's silent-type good looks and Lake's wispy chemistry (the girl was built for Noir) this remains one of the defining films of the stylistic reputation of The Black Cinema. A must-own, in some form, for fans of the style. DVD Release Date: February 12th, 2007

The Glass Key - One of two good versions of Dashiell Hammett's pacy crime novel: the earlier (1935) film noir starred Edward Arnold and George Raft in the roles taken here by Donlevy and Ladd. More noteworthy, however, are the performances given by Lake, as the girl of dubious loyalties, and particularly Bendix as the villain's sadistic henchman who loves inflicting pain on his victims. The impressive camerawork by Sparkhuhl includes a memorable aerial shot of a man crashing through a glass roof. DVD Release Date: February 12th, 2007

Volver - You'll need a scorecard to keep track of all the folks making their way homeward in Volver, Pedro Almodóvar's latest and most affecting tribute to the beauty, resilience and compassion of all womankind. His title, taken from a ballad performed midway through the film, is the Spanish infinitive "to return," and the narrative involves two sisters, Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas), whose lives are thrown into (further) disarray by the spectral appearance of their late mother, looking bedraggled and apologetic. DVD Release Date: February 12th, 2007

The Alice Faye Collection - Barely remembered today, this apple-cheeked, full-figured contralto was one of the top-grossing movie stars of the late 1930s and early '40s, and several of the songs she introduced in her big-budget musicals were nominated for Academy Awards. After a long feud with Fox head Daryl Zanuck, Faye retired from the screen in 1945, leaving the younger, brassier Betty Grable to become Fox's preeminent musical star. Still, in her prime Faye was as vivid a performer as the movie musical ever saw, and this four-disc set should deservedly win her new fans. DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

The Well - Made several years before To Kill A Mockingbird, this early examination of race relations in the US has tended to be overlooked in favour of its more famous successor, which is a shame, because it's a well-made, well argued piece of work. Morgan's performance is particularly impressive in a film already crowded with a lot of high points. DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

A Man For All Seasons - It tells the true story of Sir Thomas More whose steadfast refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of King Henry VIII's Church of England over the Roman Catholic Pope eventually cost him his life. It is a story that, were it not historically documented, would seem unbelievable. Paul Scofield gives a brilliant performance in the lead role. The SE DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

Belle de Jour - Buñuel stays detached from the proceedings, nonjudgmental, coolly unemotional. On the surface he gives us glorious color, handsome settings of lush interiors, and chic (even today!) costuming by Yves Saint-Laurent. All this provides stark contrast to the darker sexual fantasies, the edgy threat of violence, the sleazy underworld of sex-for-hire. There are moments of comic relief, but the humor here is dark, too. Optimum DVD Release Date: 22 Jan 2007

Police Story 2 - Jackie Chan has appeared in numerous noteworthy movies, but he seems to be in top form when playing policemen. In a career filled with high points, the Police Story and Project A series feature most of Chan’s greatest stunts and best acting. This is true even of the recent New Police Story (not connected to the other Police Story movies), which was a return to form for Chan even though he is no longer able to push his body to extreme limits. Chan is limited to playing a goof in the Rush Hour series and Shanghai Noon/Shanghai Knights, but he emotes mightily and credibly as a dedicated member of the Royal Hong Kong Police. Genius Products/The Weinstein Company DVD Release Date: 13 Feb 2007


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of February 19th, 2007


49th Parallel (Michael Powell , Emeric Pressburger - 1941) Criterion Collection

A Man for All Seasons - Special Edition (Fred Zinnemann, 1966) Sony Pictures

The Alice Faye Collection (That Night in Rio / Lillian Russell / On the Avenue / The Gang's All Here) - 20th Century Fox

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

A Gorgeous Bird Like Me (François Truffaut, 1972) Cinema Club

The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006) Touchstone / Disney

Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

The Well (Leo C. Popkin, 1951) Image Entertainment

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion Collection



Week of February 26th, 2007


3 hommes et un couffin (Coline Serreau, 1985) - R2 UK Tartan

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

Secret Agent (aka Danger Man - 1965) - The Complete Collection Megaset - A&E Home Video

Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1975) R2 UK Artificial Eye

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

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

The Julio Medem Collection 1: Vacas/Red Squirrel/Tierra - R2 UK - Tartan

Pasolini Volume 1 - Accatone! (1961) RoGoPaG (1962) and Love Meetings (1964) - R2 UK Tartan

The Rockford Files - Season Three (Stephen J. Cannell, 1974) Universal Studios

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

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



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






- Best of the Best!






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