DVDBeaver Newsletter - February 25th, 2008

Malo e lelei! - A comfortable dozen new reviews and I am quite proud as I believe we've scooped our colleagues... on all 12! - which include works by Jean Renoir, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Sean Penn, John Frankenheimer, Wes Anderson and more! LOTS of new releases available (new Bressons, PTA, Satyajit Ray Anthony Mann, William Wyler - the time IS now - the place IS here) from this week's Calendar, Difficult contest with a great prize!, and more. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.


May Criterions announced: The Lovers (Louis Malle, 1958), The Fire Within (Louis Malle, 1963) and The Thief of Bagdad 2-disc set - (Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, & Tim Whelan,1940)


I understand there was some sort of awards ceremony last night - uh huh.


New Format News: Universal will now switch to Blu-ray

DVDBeaver opens 2 new A-Stores: Blu-ray Players and Best in Blu-ray DVDs!




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THIS WEEK's PRIZES: ONE PRIZE - TWO CLIPS (a trick) - Prize: a brand new The Burt Lancaster Signature Collection.  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 Winners (many correct answers!) - identifying the clips of of Jack Arnold's The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Joseph Newman's This Island Earth (1955) and Felix Feist's Donovan's Brain (1953) - what a triple bill! - were D. Hollingsworth of Fayetteville winning a brand new copy of Criterion's Pierrot le Fou and W. Beard of Edmonton winning a brand new Joan Crawford Collection Volume 2.


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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!).

The Devil, Probably (Robert Bresson, 1977) R2 UK - Artificial Eye

A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1956) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Lancelot du Lac (Robert Bresson, 1974) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Reservation Road (Terry George, 2007) Universal

Regarde La Mer And Other Short Films (François Ozon) R2 UK BFI

Four Months, Three Weeks And Two Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.1 (Mahanagar, Charulata and Nayak) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Navajo Joe (Sergio Corbucci, 1966) MGM

The Way West (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1967) MGM

Man of the West (Anthony Mann, 1958) MGM

The Westerner (William Wyler, 1940) MGM

The Films of Morris Engel (Little Fugitive: Special Edition / Lovers and Lollipops / Weddings and Babies) – Kino

The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh, 1930) 20th Century Fox

Fox Classic Western Collection (Rawhide / Gunfighter / Garden of Evil) - 20th Century Fox

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [Blu-ray] (George Roy Hill,1969) 20th Century Fox

A Matter of Taste (Bernard Rapp, 2000) Synkronized

Boat People (Ann Hui, 1982) Edko - R3 – NTSC

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) – Paramount

There Will Be Blood (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) – Paramount

An Orphan on the Streets/Watch - Cinema Epoch

Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913) - Flicker Alley

Mr. Wong, Detective - The Complete Collection (Mr. Wong, Detective / The Mystery of Mr. Wong / Mr. Wong in Chinatown / The Fatal Hour / Doomed to Die / Phantom of Chinatown) - VCI Entertainment

The Kite Runner (Marc Forster, 2007) Dreamworks Video

August Rush (Kirsten Sheridan, 2007) Warner Home Video

August Rush [Blu-ray] (Kirsten Sheridan, 2007) Warner Home Video

I Am Legend (Widescreen Edition) (Francis Lawrence, 2007) Warner Home Video

I Am Legend (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Francis Lawrence, 2007) Warner Home Video

I Am Legend [Blu-ray] (Francis Lawrence, 2007) Warner Home Video

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Theatrical, Single Disc Version) (Jake Kasdan, 2007)

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Unrated) (2 discs) (Jake Kasdan, 2007)

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Unrated) (2 discs) [Blu-ray] (Jake Kasdan, 2007)

National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Jon Turteltaub, 2007) Walt Disney Video

National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets [Blu-ray] (Jon Turteltaub, 2007) Walt Disney Video

The Jack Ryan Collection [HD DVD] (The Hunt For Red October/Patriot Games/Clear and Present Danger/The Sum of All Fears) - Paramount Home Entertainment

Angelique Collection (Angelique, Angelique: Road To Versailles, Angelique And The King, Untamable Angelique and Angelique And The Sultan) Lionsgate


New Reviews:

WOW - ANOTHER STRONG WEEK! - Quick opinions:

STRONG VALUE: No Country For Old Men BR, 12 Angry Men, The Darjeeling Limited and my favorite film from 2007 - Into the Wild

GOOD CINEMA - SUB-PAR DVDs...: unique noir Yield to the Night, Era Notte a Roma, Renoir's This Land Is Mine and L'Amore in Citta

BEST TV THERE IS: The Fugitive



No Country For Old Men BR - Another twisting, twisted film from the relentlessly creative Joel & Ethan Coen! In one of the extra features, members of the cast suggest various genres that No Country for Old Men might fit. One offers, "a road movie"; another, "a chase movie," still others suggest: "horror, western, crime story, noir and comedy" until Kelly Macdonald settles for "It's a Coen Brothers film. They're their own genre." Blu-ray  DVD Release Date: March 11th, 2008


Ronin BR - The trademark style of writer David Mamet is indelibly imprinted upon this script. Although the dialogue doesn't bear the staccato rhythm that Mamet brings to the movies he directs, the lines are sharp and occasionally bitingly funny. According to Frankenheimer, Mamet is responsible for almost the entire screenplay. However, since the Writer's Guild decided that he had to share credit with J.D. Zeik, who originated the story, Mamet elected to go by the pseudonym of Richard Weisz. But, even though there is no "Mamet" to be found anywhere in the credits, his fingerprints are all over Ronin. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 21st, 2007

Yield to the Night - Loosely based on the Ruth Ellis case, Thompson's film is a worthy, anti-capital punishment statement. It's the story of Mary Hilton (Dors), a woman awaiting execution. The story of events leading to murder is told in flashback. Retitled Blonde Sinner for the US, the film was sold on Dors's sex appeal, but for the most part, she has never looked so dowdy, often unrecognizably so. Stripped of all but a little make-up and in a downbeat role, she gives an incredible performance, showing a talent and range that make this stand out from anything else she ever did. Thompson's direction is assured and suitably noirish, emphasizing long dark shadows and prison bars. While a little unrelenting, and in many ways stating the obvious cliché that an eye for an eye leaves us all blind, Yield to the Night is nevertheless a brave and compelling achievement. DVD Release Date: January 28th, 2008

Ils (Them) - For all the things that go bump in the night, ILS is actually a siege film with some unusually creepy intruders (I'm sure an American remake would be set in the deep South). It as tense as HIGH TENSION without the disappointing, downright insulting ending (though, unfortunately, like HIGH TENSION's writer/director pair, Moreau and Palud have made their inauspicious Hollywood debut with a terrible horror film remake). The film is also an illustrated textbook of stalker horror techniques (and clichés) for the new generation (meaning the addition of a muted, nearly monochrome color palette, rumbling surrounds and LFE, darting foreground and background shapes, shaky hand-held scope photography, etc.).

12 Angry Men - Essentially a discussion with jurors in the slanted trial condemning an 18 year boy who is accused of murdering his father. A "guilty" verdict will give him the mandatory sentence of death. 12 Angry Men involves so much more than an examination of the internal workings of the justice system... it is about human conditions including misplaced vengeance, personal prejudice, vacillation, moral and civic responsibility, community, understanding and compassion. Distinctive performances all round with Henry Fonda at the height of his screen charisma as he leads the way as the one dissenting juror unafraid to stay his personal convictions. With Lumet's floating camera we see some deep interfacing close-ups that pinpoint the character's emotion and thought processes. Now a film almost 50 years old, it truly will always stand the test of time with almost universal acclaim as a masterpiece. 50th Anniversary Edition DVD Release Date: March 4th, 2008

Era Notte a Roma - Stylistically an intriguing (and not wholly successful) mixture of Rossellini's early 'realism', Bergman-period melodrama, and the contemplative didacticism of his later films, this return to the milieu of Nazi-occupied Rome may not have the raw power of Rome, Open City, but is immensely affecting all the same. Three escaped Allied PoWs - a Brit, an American and a Russian - take refuge in the home of Roman black marketeer Ralli, whose Communist lover (Salvatori) is executed when they are betrayed by a corrupt, Nazi-collaborator priest. On one level, it's a fairly straightforward suspense movie, detailing the countless threats to the safety of the fugitives and the woman who provides sanctuary; on another, it's an unsentimental, Paisà-like celebration of the shared humanity that allows the various characters to communicate with one another despite linguistic differences and the wariness born of perilous circumstance. An uneven, flawed, but very intelligent work of enormous humanity. DVD Release Date: February 18th, 2008

Into the Wild - Into the Wild is based on the best-selling, true story, book by Jon Krakauer. Its highest achieving ideal in the film is how faithfully it expresses the meaning of the protagonist's adventure - reaffirming a spirit of dropping out, lack of caution, and escaping from the dissatisfaction of society's goals and selfish aims. Hippie-esq indeed. Christopher McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) is played with quiet zeal by Emile Hirsch - who was recently touted as being 'one of the futures of American acting'. This is a visually appealing road-picture with frequent flashbacks and unique montages explaining McCandless' motivations. It is delivered on screen with detailed precision by Penn. DVD Release Date: March 4th, 2008

This Land Is Mine - Renoir's second American film, made in the same brutal year as Stalingrad and El Alamein, is one of his quietest and least startling, featuring Laughton as a timid village schoolteacher 'somewhere in occupied Europe' who muddles his way to martyrdom. Both Laughton - happier in this role than many - and O'Hara are fine, but the film's main attractions remain the elegant Renoir set-ups (some recalling La Bête Humaine) and the script's unusual ethical stance: not that Nazism was wrong because it denied free enterprise, but that it was wrong because it stood against the possibility of Socialism, human dignity, and political emancipatione.

The Darjeeling Limited - It wouldn't matter so much were the movie consistently funny, but the mood is leaden and the whimsy forced, save for a charming fling between Schwartzman's Jack and an Indian tea hostess (Amara Karan). Consequently, when the film turns "serious" about two-thirds of the way through, the effect is not so much jarring (as I assume was intended) as it is dully gratifying: finally, somebody died. (This is also the first time I've found Wilson actively annoying, though that reaction was tempered somewhat by the knowledge of what he's going through at the moment.) What keeps The Darjeeling Limited on the rails, for a while at least, is the Darjeeling Limited: it's amusing to watch a director known for his exacting widescreen tableaux attempt to navigate a locomotive's narrow corridors and cramped compartments, all while keeping everything perfectly centered. Once the brothers were booted off, I quickly lost interest in their petty squabbling, all of which only made me long to revisit the sublime moment in Life Aquatic when Jeff Goldblum, playing poker with the pirates who've abducted him, sees that he's being rescued and decisively says "Fold," only to be instantly shot. Now that's truth. DVD Release Date: February 26th, 2008

The Fugitive - Season One, Vol. 2 - In case you are unfamiliar with the story - Dr. Richard Kimble is accused, tried and convicted of the murderer of his wife. The night before his execution, he escapes, because, as deep-voiced narrator William Conrad states '...fate moves its huge hand...' and there is a train derailment. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the one-armed man he saw fleeing the crime that horrible night. Kimble, relentlessly pursued by Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse), risks exposure several times when he is forced to reveal his medical knowledge to help others out of trouble. The Fugitive works for entertainment on many levels beyond simple suspense and drama and remains my favorite vintage TV series of all time (if I said it about Perry Mason I must have been lying). DVD Release Date: February 26th, 2008

Casanova 70' - One of Carlo Ponti's numerous internationalist assaults on the American box-office, exploiting Mastroianni's currency as the Latin lover with a light comedy that has him fetishising dangerous romance to the extent that he can only perform under pressure. Six writers provide what seems like a joke apiece, and Marco Blow-Out Ferreri lends his considerable presence as actor when he might have been more profitably employed as director. DVD Release Date: February 18th, 2008

L'Amore in Citta - An early example of the Italian omnibus film, a subgenre of irresistible conceptual appeal and inevitable built-in unevenness (RoGoPaG, Le Streghe, Boccaccio '70). The brainchild of neorealism doyen Cesare Zavattini, it huddles a batch of shorts from various directors hinging on amore thematics, whether built around strands of melancholy flirting (Dino Risi's surveilling of a provincial jitterbugging hall) or forlorn lechery (Alberto Lattuada's flipbook of males double-taking over strolling lookers). Not surprisingly, Zavattini's own contribution, following a poor unwed mother through the daily grind of Roman boarding houses and crowded welfare offices, is the one most obviously cuffed to neorealist ideas (the heroism of the wretched) and tropes (an unbroken diaper-changing shot apes the real-time integrity of the maid's morning routine in Umberto D.). By contrast, the more interesting segments by Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini push the aesthetics toward bladelike abstraction (alienated women reenacting botched suicide attempts for Antonioni's cooling lenses) and fantasy-tinged satire (Fellini's account of a pure, struggling country girl rung through a matrimonial agency). DVD Release Date: February 18th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of February 25th, 2008


30 Days of Night (David Slade, 2007) Sony Pictures

30 Days of Night [Blu-ray]  (David Slade, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) (Andrew Dominik, 2007) Warner

Boat People (Ann Hui, 1982) Edko - R3 - NTSC

Beowulf (Robert Zemeckis, 2007) Paramount

Beowulf (Director's Cut) (Robert Zemeckis, 2007) Paramount

Beowulf [HD DVD] (Robert Zemeckis, 2007) Paramount

The Bloodstained Shadow (Antonio Bido, 1978) Blue Underground

The Case of the Bloody Iris (Giuliano Carmineo, 1972) Blue Underground

The Brave One (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) (Neil Jordan, 2007) Warner

Chikamatsu Monogatari/ Uwasa no Onna (Kenji Mizoguchi , 1954) - R2 - UK - Masters of Cinema

The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, 2007) 20th Century Fox

Day Zero (Bryan Gunnar Cole, 2007) First Look Pictures

Death at a Funeral (Frank Oz, 2007) MGM

The Fugitive - Season One, Volume Two (David Janssen) Paramount

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

Goya's Ghosts (Milos Forman, 2006) Sony Pictures

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

Jesse Stone: Sea Change (Robert Harmon, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Last Emperor - 4-disc (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987) Criterion

The Legend of the Black Scorpion (2-disc) (Zhang Ziyi, 2006) Weinstein Company

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

Love On the Ground (Jacques Rivette, 1984) R2 UK Bluebell Films

Naked Youth (Nagisa Oshima, 1960) R2 UK - Yume Pictures
Newhart: The Complete First Season - 20th Century Fox

Rain In The Mountains (Joel Metlen, 2006) Vanguard International Cinema

Rocco and his Brothers (Luchino Visconti , 1960) - R2 - UK - Masters of Cinema

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

Slipstream (Anthony Hopkins, 2007) Sony Pictures

State of Play (David Yates, 2003) BBC Warner

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

Wuthering Heights (Jacques Rivette, 1985) R2 UK - Bluebell Films


Week of March 3rd, 2008

12 Angry Men - 50th Anniversary (Sidney Lumet, 1957) MGM

An Orphan on the Streets/Watch - Cinema Epoch

Arranged (Diane Crespo, 2007) Film Movement

Barabba (Richard Fleischer, 1961) Sony Pictures

Billy Wilder Gift Set (The Apartment / The Fortune Cookie / Some Like it Hot / Kiss Me Stupid) Universal

Cry, the Beloved Country (Zoltan Korda, 1951) R2 UK Optimum

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

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

In the Valley of Elah [HD DVD] (Paul Haggis, 2007) Warner Home Video

Into the Wild (Sean Penn, 2007) - Paramount

Into the Wild (Special Collector's Edition) (Sean Penn, 2007) - Paramount

Into the Wild [HD DVD] (Sean Penn, 2007) - Paramount

Khadak (Peter Brosens, 2006) Koch

My Kid Could Paint That (Amir Bar-Lev, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Rookie [Blu-ray] (John Lee Hancock, 2002) Touchstone / Disney

Shemp Cocktail: A Toast To The Original Stooge - Koch

TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2 (The Divorcee / A Free Soul / Night Nurse / Three on a Match / Female) - Warner Home Video

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

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


“The love you take is equal to the love you make.”



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 Centenary Celebration Collection (All About Eve / Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte / The Virgin Queen / Phone Call from a Stranger / The Nanny), 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...