DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 3rd, 2008

Aquai! - Where I live the usual snowfall for February is 20cm (about 8 inches) - this year? - 72. So less time watching - more time... shoveling. Still we cover some healthy ground with 16 new DVD reviews including films by Kenji Mizoguchi, Alfred Hitchcock, Antonioni, Fellini, Sirk, Nicholas Ray, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Ang Lee, Luchino Visconti, Sean Penn and more. There are some interesting additions to this week's Calendar, New contests with a great prizes!, and more. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.


Congratulations to our friend Jonathan Rosenbaum on his retirement and 65th birthday (Feb 27th)! HERE is a short interview Video (thanks Kalvin and Darnell)




NOTE: To see quicker Clips join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE (under 'Videos)

The CLIP to identify is HERE!

THIS WEEK's PRIZE: a brand new Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2.  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 (14 correct answers!) - identifying the two clips of Nicholas Ray's A Woman's Secret - (Maureen O'Hara, Melvyn Douglas and Gloria Grahame )! - was B. Blackwell winning a a brand new The Burt Lancaster Signature Collection.

KOREAN DRAMA CONTEST in Leonard's review of Jumong 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!)

James Stewart Western Collection (6-disc Destry Rides Again, Winchester 73', Bend Of The River, The Far Country, The Night Passage and The Rare Breed) Universal

Atonement (Joe Wright, 2007) - Universal Studios

Popeye The Sailor: 1938-1940 Volume Two - Warner Home Video

Come Drink with Me (King Hu, 1966) - Weinstein Company

Pulp Fiction [Blu-ray] (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) Region B UK Walt Disney Studios

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 [Blu-ray] (Quentin Tarantino, 2003) Region B UK Buena Vista

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 [Blu-ray] (Quentin Tarantino, 2004)Region B UK Buena Vista

Mike Leigh Collection (Vera Drake, All Or Nothing, Topsy-Turvy, Career Girls, Secrets And Lies, Naked, Life Is Sweet, High Hopes, Meantime and Bleak Moments) R2 UK Spirit Entertainment,

The Fugitive: Season Two Vol 1 - Paramount Home Video

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton, 2007) - Dreamworks Video

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) (Tim Burton, 2007) - Dreamworks Video

Day of the Outlaw (André De Toth, 1959) - United Artists

The Gunfight at Dodge City (Joseph M. Newman, 1959) - United Artists

Fistful of Dynamite (Sergio Leone, 1971) - United Artists

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (Stanley Kramer, 1969) - United Artists

The One That Got Away (Roy Ward Baker, 1957) - United Artists

The Savages (Tamara Jenkins, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

Juno (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Jason Reitman, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

Juno [Blu-ray] (Jason Reitman, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) Miramax

Das Fräulein (Andrea Staka, 2006) Film Movement

Southland Tales (Richard Kelly, 2006) - Sony Pictures

New Reviews:

GOOD WEEK! - Quick opinions:

STRONG VALUE: A Time to Love and a Time to Die, Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2, Into the Wild HD, Chikamatsu Monogatari/ Uwasa no Onna, The Dragon Painter, Rocco and His Brothers, The Ice Storm and Antonio Gaudi

DECENT CINEMA - SUB-PAR DVDs...: A Woman's Secret and Barabbas

HAVEN'T SEEN (BUT AM CURIOUS): Appleseed Ex Machina BR


Appleseed Ex Machina BR - The Appleseed anime saga began life in 1985 with Masamune Shirow's popular manga, and has gone through rendering development from simple black & white drawings, movies, TV shows, video games, to the present departure: CG animation. Gone are the jaws that move up and down to no particular synchronicity. Gone is the staggered movement. Gone, too, is the artful simplicity and metaphor that characterized the art form. What we have here is a new species, as different from traditional anime as man is from the ape. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008

A Time to Love and a Time to Die - Under the opening credits of Sirk's penultimate masterpiece, set during World War II and filmed on location in Germany, the camera rests on the branches of a tree, its blossom forced early by the heat of a nearby bomb blast. It is the perfect symbol for the love between John Gavin's German soldier on leave and a barely remembered childhood friend, Lilo Pulver: a love forced by the everyday facts of war. This superb adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel rests on a painful symmetry between the scenes at the Russian front and the central section in the half-ruined home town, and on a typically tough-minded acknowledgment of the irony that the doomed romance exists not in spite of the war, but because of it.


Hitchcock - The British Years - Strong new Boxset from the UK with The Pleasure Garden (1925), The Lodger (1929), The Lodger - BFI restoration (1929) , Downhill (1927), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Secret Agent (1936), Sabotage (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Jamaica Inn (1939). DVD Release Date: February 25th, 2008


A Woman's Secret - Something of an RKO chore for Ray, to be sure. But a nicely structured script by Herman J Mankiewicz (from a novel by Vicki Baum) - repeating the investigative flashback structure of Citizen Kane as it examines the events leading up to the death of ex-singer O'Hara's devious and ungrateful protégée (beautifully incarnated by Grahame) - is well served by the civilised direction, which not only turns the Vicki Baum melodrama into a noir-ish mystery, but also stresses, as so often in Ray, the importance of interior space and the way it reflects/influences action. Entertaining, and less routine than it sounds.


Barabbas (with CD) - Now the man Barabbas, as played by Anthony Quinn, is but a great brute of a fellow who falls into and endures a succession of melodramatic adventures that are the raptures of a spectaclemaker's dreams. When he is captured in a fight with Roman soldiers (this is after he has seen Christ crucified, the evidence of the Resurrection and a girl stoned to death for worshiping Him), he is put in the mine, where the labor is long and torturing. Barabbas endures this ordeal with spectacular agony. DVD Release Date: March 4th, 2008

Radiant City - The documentary features a “twist” that, to me, is so utterly unsurprising I didn’t even realize that it was being kept a secret up to that point. However, I won’t spoil it for you here, which limits how much I can say about the film. Aside from the final twenty minutes, which I found superfluous and fairly pointless, I was quite engaged by this film. Burns is best known for his off-kilter comedies, and he applies his comic tough at the right moments to bring the Moss’s story to life and even to make some of his potentially dry and preachy talking heads a whole lot more interesting. DVD Release Date: Mar 4th, 2008

Antonio Gaudi - Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí (1852–1926) designed some of the world's most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films ever made. Here their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudí takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí's truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject's organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí on film. DVD Release Date: March 18th, 2008

The Ice Storm - Suburban Connecticut, 1973. While the Watergate hearings blast from the TV, the wayward Hood and Carver families try to navigate a Thanksgiving break simmering with unspoken resentments, sexual experimentation, and cultural confusion. With crystalline clarity, characteristic subtlety, and even a dose of wicked humor, Academy Award–winning director Ang Lee adapts Rick Moody's acclaimed novel of American malaise into a trenchant, tragic portrait of lost souls. Featuring a tremendous cast of established actors (Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver) and up-and-coming stars (Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes), The Ice Storm is one of the finest films of the nineties. DVD Release Date: March 18th, 2008

Jumong (Korean Drama) - At well over 80 hours, Jumong is certainly the most ambitious project to date in terms of distributing and subtitling a Korean television drama to North America. One of the most popular of the Korean historical dramas, Jumong is brought to DVD with better than passable English subtitles by YA-Entertainment, in anamorphic 16:9 format – all 81 one-hour-plus episodes, complete in four volume sets. The edition follows close on the heels the Region 3 edition from Premier Entertainment that was put out even as the series was still on the air by. And here's the surprise: the YAE image beats the Premier, hands down.

The Dragon Painter - Remembered mostly for his magnificent performance as the Japanese officer in The Bridge over the River Kwai, few filmgoers realize that Sessue Hayakawa was one of the great stars of the silent cinema. In many films he played a dashing, romantic lead — a rarity for Asian actors in Hollywood, even today. Hayakawa became so popular and powerful that he was able to start Haworth Pictures to control his own destiny. The Dragon Painter was the finest of the Haworth productions. Beautifully acted, gorgeously shot (with Yosemite Valley filling in for the Japanese landscape), and lovingly directed, the film is an absolute marvel. DVD Release Date: March 18th, 2008

Chikamatsu Monogatari/ Uwasa no Onna - A sublime, perfectly modulated story of doomed love between a merchant's wife and a servant, set in 17th-century Japan and drawn from the repertory of Japan's puppet theater, the Bunraku. Kenji Mizoguchi's 1954 film has the most imaginative sound track of any of his films, and while the story lacks the awesome power of his Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff (both made during the same period), it still remains essential viewing.
Uwasa no Onna [The Woman in the Rumour] offers a contrasting portrait of attitudes and mores concerning love and relationships. Set in a modern Kyoto geisha house, the eponymous woman in the rumour is Hatsuko (Kinuyo Tanaka, star of countless Mizoguchi films, in her last role for the director with whom she was often romantically linked), madame of her own geisha house. DVD Release Date: February 25th, 2008

Rocco and His Brothers - The last gasp of the neo-realist spirit in Visconti's work, Rocco chronicles at length the misfortunes that befall an Italian peasant family when they move to The Big City. There's a grey conviction about much of the scene-setting and the location shooting, but the film gathers interest as it escalates into melodrama; the tragic climax is pure opera. Delon is unconvincing as the saintly Rocco, but Renato Salvatori makes the thuggish elder brother who falls in with a gay boxing promoter his best part ever. DVD Release Date: February 25th, 2008

Into the Wild HD - 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. HD-DVD released: March 4th, 2008

Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2 - It seems our collective voices may have been heard about the wonderful world of pre-codes with this Vol.2 of Forbidden Hollywood package now being released to DVD improving upon Vol.1. Warner have added more films - a 3rd disc - and some excellent supplements including two commentaries and a long documentary (and unlike in Vol. 1 - they appear to have labeled the discs correctly!). Overall this is an excellent package. Thank you Warner! It contains The Divorcee (1930), A Free Soul (1931), Night Nurse (1931), Three on a Match (1932) and Female (1933). DVD Release Date: March 4th, 2008

Beowulf - Ms. Jolie plays the bad girl in “Beowulf,” a wicked demon, the mother of all monsters — here, Grendel, played by Crispin Glover — who can switch from hag to fab in the wink of a serpentine eye. If you don’t remember this evil babe from the poem, it’s because she’s almost entirely the invention of the screenwriters Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman and the director Robert Zemeckis, who together have plumped her up in words, deeds and curves. These creative interventions aren’t especially surprising given the source material and the nature of big-studio adaptations. There’s plenty of action in “Beowulf,” but even its more vigorous bloodletting pales next to its rich language, exotic setting and mythic grandeur. DVD Release Date: February 26th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

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


Week of March 10th, 2008

August Rush (Kirsten Sheridan, 2007) Warner Home Video

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

Black Widow (Nunnally Johnson, 1954) Fox Home Entertainment

Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas, 2007) R2 UK - Revolver Entertainment

Bobby Deerfield (Sydney Pollack, 1977) Sony

Brick Lane (Sarah Gavron, 2007) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Dan in Real Life [Blu-ray] (Peter Hedges, 2007) Touchstone / Disney
Dangerous Crossing (Joseph Newman, 1953) Fox Home Entertainment

Daisy Kenyon (Otto Preminger, 1947) Fox Home Entertainment

Dazed and Confused [HD DVD] (Richard Linklater, 1993) Universal

"Five Days" (Otto Bathurst / Simon Curtis, 2007) (mini series) HBO Home Video

Gattaca [Blu-ray] (Andrew Niccol, 1997) Sony Pictures

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

I, Robot [Blu-ray] (Alex Proyas, 2004) Fox Home Entertainment

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

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

The Last Supper (Tomas Gutierrez Alea, 1976) New Yorker Films

Magic Blade: Shaw Brothers (Yuen Chor, 1976) Image Entertainment

Michael Clayton [HD DVD + SD Combo] (Tony Gilroy, 2007) Warner

No Country for Old Men (Ethan Coen, 2007) Miramax

No Country for Old Men [Blu-ray] (Ethan Coen, 2007) Miramax

Sleuth (Kenneth Branagh, 2007) Sony Pictures

Sleuth [Blu-ray] (Kenneth Branagh, 2007) Sony Pictures

Summer Palace (Lou Ye, 2006) Palm Pictures / Umvd


“The important thing is not to stop questioning.”



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...