DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 2nd, 2008
Esselamun aleykum! - 15 new reviews this week - Pennell, Criterion Kurosawa, Wong Kar Wai, Ang Lee, Fincher, Van Sant, 2 by Demme.... Wonder Woman!, a few new Calendar Releases! including Ophüls, Noir, resnais, Ford, Huston, some continued SALES, and another new CONTEST. There is some 'good' in this week's newsletter.
NOTE: If there are DVD titles you'd like us to cover - please feel free to recommend!
The Silence of the Lambs[Blu-ray] (Jonathan Demme, 1991) Fox Video is now listed at Amazon.com
So is Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997 [Blu-ray] - Warner
FEATURE DVD and Blu-ray OF THE MONTH chosen for MARCH!
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US Blu-ray $16.99 or lowerUK Blu-ray 2 for 3 SALE
Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)
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Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
LATEST Additions to the
(PRE-ORDER and save!):
He Ran All the Way (John Berry, 1951) R2 UK Optimum
The Whole Shootin' Match (Eagle Pennell, 1979) Watchmaker Films
(Max Ophüls, 1955) R2 UK Second Sight
Alain Resnais: A Decade in Film
(4-disc) - Kino Video
(David Cronenberg, 2009) Warner Home Video
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
2-disc SE (John Ford, 1962) – Paramount
2-disc SE (Howard Hawks, 1966) – Paramount
(Brad Anderson, 2004) Paramount
Three Days of the Condor
(Sydney Pollack, 1975) Paramount
(Roger Michell, 2002) Paramount
Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on
the High Seas
(The Yankee Clipper / Around the Horn / The Square Rigger / Ship Ahoy / Down to
the Sea in Ships) - Flicker Alley
Cat in the Brain
(Limited Edition 2-disc) (Lucio Fulci, 1990) Grindhouse Releasing/ Ryko
(John Huston, 1979) R2 UK Second Sight
(Sam Wanamaker, 1971) Warner
ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): There is a lot I liked and some I will warn to avoid. Watchmaker Film's package of The Whole Shootin' Match is a wonderful statement on Mr. Eagle Pennell - strongly recommended! Sticking with SD - Criterion have produced another Kurosawa-on-DVD winner with Dodes’ka-den while Sony's Ashes of Time ReDux is not a disappointment at all. On Blu - something about Let The Right One In BR really works - and you don't have to be enamored with the vampire-film genre... but it would help. Rachel Getting Married BR has simple, easily recognizable value. Ditto for Van Sant's Milk BR. Despite being MPEG-2 fans will appreciate The Silence of the Lambs BR. I'm know I'm not alone in enjoying the fourth entry in the DC Universe animated original movie series; Wonder Woman BR is damn good. While the video of Brokeback Mountain BR has less of an improvement - the audio was excellent. I'm a big fan of the film but I think you'd have to go beyond that to find appreciation for the bare-bones 21 Grams BR. Speaking of Alliance Canada - we suggest passing on their interlaced bare-bones Traffic BR and Se7en BR - the latter is both interlaced and not even in the correct aspect ratio. Rounders BR is at least progressive if similarly bare.
The Whole Shootin' Match - Eagle Pennell
died a "hopeless drunk," according to a memorial article in the Austin Chronicle
by his friend Louis Black. His other friends would have sadly agreed with that.
He was 49 at his death, in 2002. Twenty-three years earlier, in 1979, he wrote
and directed a film named "The Whole Shootin' Match" that you may never have
heard of, but which had a decisive influence on American independent film. When
Robert Redford saw it at the Park City Film Festival, it awoke him to the
possibilities of low-budget indie filmmaking. He started the Sundance Institute,
and soon after the Park City festival became the Sundance Film Festival. When
Richard Linklater, then living in Eagle's hometown of Austin, saw it, he decided
to become a filmmaker himself, and his "Dazed and Confused" owes a lot to
Pennell. DVD Release Date: February 24th, 2009
Rachel Getting Married BR - Demme's achievement is shared with the original screenplay by Jenny Lumet. This is her first writing credit, but the story might have felt like second nature to her. She is descended from artists; her grandparents on her mother's side were the singer Lena Horne and the jazz legend Louis Jordan Jones; her grandparents on her father's side were Baruch and Eugenia Lumet, an actor-director and an actress. Her father is director Sidney Lumet, and her mother, writer Gail Lumet Buckley. The apple did not fall far from those trees. I don't have to be told that her life has included countless gatherings of the nature of Rachel's wedding. Although I do not know Sidney Lumet well, I know enough to say he is kind and warm; I suspect he was an inspiration for the character Paul, who can hear Carol even when she isn't talking. Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009
Let The Right One In BR - Oscar, a 12-year-old fragile and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl he befriends, who moves into his building. When Oscar discovers that Eli is a vampire it does not deter his increasing feelings and confused emotions of a young adolescent. When Eli loses the man who protects and provides for her, and as suspicions are mounting from her neighbors and police she must move on to stay alive. However when Oscar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can. Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009
Traffic BR - Intertwining vignettes frame this tale of America's escalating War on Drugs. Ohio Supreme Court judge Robert Wakefield has been appointed the nation's Drug Czar, his new position made more daunting by the discovery that his teenage daughter Caroline is a heroin addict. Meanwhile, DEA agents Montel Gordon and Ray Castro are pursuing Helena Ayala, wife of jailed kingpin Carlos Ayala, as she seeks to the control the business that her husband had kept hidden from her. South of the Border, duplicitous local constable Javier Rodriguez is fighting the battle with his own jaded, questionable ethical code. Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd, 2009
Milk BR - From the acclaimed director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting and Elephant) comes the powerful and inspiring story of California's first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. With a powerhouse performance in the leading role, Sean Penn (Mystic River) and supporting cast Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) and James Franco (Spider-Man 1, 2 and 3) bring this unforgettable story to the big screen. Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009
Brokeback Mountain BR - Ennis tells Jack about something he saw as a boy. "There were two old guys shacked up together. They were the joke of the town, even though they were pretty tough old birds." One day they were found beaten to death. Ennis says: "My dad, he made sure me and my brother saw it. For all I know, he did it." Ang Lee is a director whose films are set in many nations and many times. What they have in common is an instinctive sympathy for the characters. Born in Taiwan, he makes movies about Americans, British, Chinese, straights, gays; his sci-fi movie "Hulk" was about a misunderstood outsider. Here Lee respects the entire arc of his story, right down to the lonely conclusion. Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th, 2009
Rounders BR - Damon plays his 'everyman', Norton another cocky, intelligent and dangerous young man, Landau as a trusting mentor, Malkovich got to ham it up a little with the Russian accent and Turturro slides into a typical NY hustler/survivor role without much effort. It's a fantasy dream story - with the talented young man forsaking all in his quest for fame. The film is done quite adeptly with great performances and appropriately seedy atmospheres. There are lots of appropriate poker quotes through the film and it again adds to the subtle underground aura. Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd, 2009
Se7en BR - "Seven," a dark, grisly, horrifying and intelligent thriller, may be too disturbing for many people, I imagine, although if you can bear to watch, it you will see filmmaking of a high order. It tells the story of two detectives - one ready to retire, the other at the start of his career - and their attempts to capture a perverted serial killer who is using the Seven Deadly Sins as his scenario. Blu-ray Release date: March 3rd, 2009
The Silence of the Lambs BR - 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. Winner of five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay Adaptation for Ted Tally. Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd, 2009
Primal Fear BR - The best crime movies and novels are not about who did it, or why. They are about how the characters feel about what happened. The screenplay for "Primal Fear,'' by Steve Shagan and Ann Biderman, knows that and uses the labyrinthine plot details as backdrop to issues of the identity. Because this movie has a commercial destiny, of course the crime is sensational and the revelations are startling. But the character of Martin Vail is so well done that it could have supported a smaller, more plausible movie. Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009
I Really, Really Like You - You can well imagine that someone with "post-encephalitic dementia" doesn't have much of an optimistic prognosis. The wife of Jang Jun Won was suddenly struck with the disease a few years ago and now has little or no memory nor much of an ability to care for herself. She is likely to hurt herself or others out of pure carelessness, and she is given to bouts of fearful anxiety when she might run away into the dangers of the outside world. She requires constant care. DVD Release Date: Volume 1: September 23, 2008; Volume 2: December 16, 2008
Wonder Woman BR - On the mystical island of Themyscira, a proud and fierce warrior race of Amazons have raised a daughter of untold beauty, grace and strength Princess Diana. When an Army fighter pilot, Steve Trevor, crash-lands on the island, the rebellious and headstrong Diana defies Amazonian law by accompanying Trevor back to civilization. Meanwhile, Ares (the god of War) has escaped his imprisonment at the hands of the Amazonians and has decided to exact his revenge - intending to start a world war that will not only last for centuries but will wipe out every living being on the planet, starting with the Amazons! It is up to Princess Diana to save her people and the world by using her gifts and becoming the ultimate Wonder Woman! Blu-ray Release date: March 3rd, 2009
Ashes of Time ReDux - From Director Wong Kar Wai comes the definitive version of Ashes of Time, an epic martial arts masterpiece of larger-than-life characters, breathtaking landscapes and exquisite fight scenes. The story centers on Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung), a heartbroken and cynical man who spends his days alone in the desert, connecting expert swordsmen with those seeking revenge and willing to pay for it. As Ouyang narrates his tale, interweaving the stories of his unusual clients, old friends and future foes, he begins to realize the mistakes of his own past, and how his fear of rejection may have led him to a life of exile. DVD Release Date: March 3rd, 2009
21 Grams BR - The film is by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the almost unreasonably talented Mexican filmmaker whose "Amores Perros" (2000) was an enormous success. That film intercut three simultaneous stories, all centering on a traffic accident. "21 Grams" has three stories and a traffic accident, but the stories move back and forth in time, so that sometimes we know more than the characters, sometimes they know more than we do. Blu-ray Release Date: February 3rd, 2009
Dodes’ka-den - "By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s film follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet as desperate as their circumstances are, each of them—the homeless father and son envisioning their dream house; the young woman abused by her uncle; the boy who imagines himself a trolley conductor—finds reasons to carry on. The unforgettable Dodes’ka-den was made at a tumultuous moment in Kurosawa’s life. And all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film.” DVD Release Date: March 17th, 2009
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of March 2nd, 2009
Ashes Of Time Redux(Wong Kar-wai, 2008) - Sony Pictures
Australia[Blu-ray] (Baz Luhrmann, 2008) 20th Century Fox
The Federico Fellini CollectionNights of Cabiria (1957) La Strada (1954) The White Sheik (1952) - R2 UK Optimum
In the Electric Mist[Blu-ray] (Bertrand Tavernier, 2008) Image Entertainment
I've Loved You So Long[Blu-ray] (Philippe Claudel, 2008) Sony
The Jean-Pierre Melville Collection- Army Of Shadows, De Doulos, Leon Morin Pretre, Le Cercle Rouge, Bob Le Flambeur and Un Flic - R2 UK Optimum
Lake City(Hunter Hill + Perry Moore, 2008) Universal Studios
Requiem for a Dream[Blu-ray] (Darren Aronofsky, 2000) - Alliance (Universal)
Se7en[Blu-ray] (David Fincher, 1995) - Alliance (Universal)
Seven Servants(Daryush Shokof, 1996) Pathfinder
The Silence of the Lambs[Blu-ray] (Jonathan Demme, 1991) Fox Video
Treasures From American Film Archives V.4: Avant Garde- Image Entertainment
Wise Blood(John Huston, 1979) R2 UK Second Sight
Wonder Woman 2009 (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Lauren Montgomery, 2009) Warner Home Video
Wonderful Town(Aditya Assarat, 2007) Kino
Week of March 9th, 2009
The Baron: The Complete Series(1966) - Koch Vision
Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997[Blu-ray] - Warner
Battle in Seattle[Blu-ray] (Stuart Townsend, 2007) Universal Studios
Brokeback Mountain[Blu-ray] (Ang Lee, 2005) Universal Studios
Cabaret[Blu-ray] (Bob Fosse, 1972) R'B' Fremantle Home Entertainment
The Good, The Bad, The Weird(Ji-woon Kim, 2008) - R3 CJ Entertainment
Happy-Go-Lucky(Mike Leigh, 2008) MiraMax
L'Innocente(Luchino Visconti, 1976) Koch Lorber
Let The Right One In[Blu-ray] (Tomas Alfredson, 2008) Magnolia
The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes(Karl Hartl, 1937) Televista
Milk(Gus Van Sant, 2008) Universal Studios
Pinocchio[Blu-ray] (Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske - 1940) Walt Disney Video
Primal Fear[Blu-ray] (Gregory Hoblit, 1996) Paramount
Rachel Getting Married(Jonathan Demme, 2008) Sony Pictures Classics
Role Models[Blu-ray] (Rated) (Unrated) (David Wain, 2008) Universal Studios
Shigurui: Death Frenzy[Blu-ray] (Hiroshi Hamazaki, 2007) Funimation
Straw Dogs[Blu-ray] (Sam Peckinpah, 1971) R'B' UK Fremantle Home Entertainment
Synecdoche, New York[Blu-ray] (Charlie Kaufman, 2008) Sony Pictures
"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is
what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
The 'beginning' is nigh...