DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 9th, 2008

Nditho ta kwenya! - 15 new reviews this week - Criterions, Blu-rays of 2 films that are almost 70-years old!, Shimizu, Hitchcock, Truffaut, and UK Kitchen Sink - all masterpieces!, a few new Calendar Releases! including Leone and Pasolini on Blu-ray, some continued SALES, and another new CONTEST. I'm quite proud of our output this week - we cover many different genres and formats.

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

FEATURE DVD and Blu-ray OF THE MONTH chosen for MARCH!

Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) available NOW HERE.

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!)

SALES: US Blu-ray up to 48% OFF        UK Blu-ray 2 for 3 SALE          Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)

FEATURE DVD and Blu-ray OF THE MONTH chosen for MARCH 2009

MARCH 9th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed Blu-ray of Requiem For a Dream  - 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!):

Valkyrie [Blu-ray] (Bryan Singer, 2008) United Artists

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly [Blu-ray] (Sergio Leone, 1966) MGM

Fargo [Blu-ray] (Coen Bros. ,1996) MGM

The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008) Fox Searchlight

The Wrestler [Blu-ray] (Darren Aronofsky, 2008) Fox Searchlight,

Arabian Nights [Blu-ray] (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1974) R'B' Bfi Video

The Canterbury Tales [Blu-ray] (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1972) R'B' Bfi Video

The Decameron [Blu-ray] (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1971) R 'B' Bfi Video

Shallow Grave [Blu-ray] (Danny Boyle, 1994) R'B' 4dvd  

The Silence Of Lorna (Jean-Pierre Dardenne + Luc Dardenne, 2008) R2 UK Drakes Avenue Pictures

Partner (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1968) R2 UK BFI

The Michael Haneke Trilogy (The Seventh Continent, Benny’s Video and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

Life Is A Long Quiet River (Étienne Chatiliez, 1988) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

À l'aventure (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2009) R2 UK Axiom

The State of Things (Wim Wenders, 1982) R2 UK Axiom

Che: Part One (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum

Che: Part One [Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum

Che: Part Two (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum

Che: Part Two [Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum

Spring and Port Wine (Peter Hammond, 1970) R2 UK Optimum

In Love We Trust (Wang Xiaoshuai, 2007) Film Movement

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Wayne Wang, 2007) Magnolia

All the Days Before Tomorrow (François Dompierre, 2007) Vanguard Cinema

No Regret (Leesong Hee-il, 2006) Liberation

Beyond Rangoon (John Boorman, 1995) Warner

Princess of Nebraska (Wayne Wang, 2007) Magnolia

Licence to Kill [Blu-ray] (John Glen, 1989) MGM

The Man with the Golden Gun [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1974) MGM

Spy Game [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 2001) Universal Home Video

Rockers [Blu-ray] (Ted Bafaloukos, 1978) MVD Visual

Last Chance Harvey [Blu-ray] (Joel Hopkins, 2008) Anchor Bay

Paycheck [Blu-ray] (John Woo, 2003) Paramount

Force 10 from Navarone [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1978) MGM

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Season One [Blu-ray] – Paramount

Lions for Lambs [Blu-ray] (Robert Redford, 2007) United Artists

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Skynet Edition) [Blu-ray] (James Cameron, 1991) Lions Gate Home Ent,

Terminator 2: Judgment Day Complete Collector's Set (for the Endoskull) [Blu-ray] (James Cameron, 1991) Lions Gate Home Ent


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): I watched Synecdoche, NY BR three times this week. I think it improves with repetition although this is, really, not a film for everyone. Eclipse/Criterion's Four Films by Hiroshi Shimizu shows its value in comparison to the Japanese set. To Catch a Thief appears to have greatly improved its digital appearance (best it will look on SD!) and it has new supplements including another commentary... <drum roll> ...and it's 48% OFF pre-order Pinocchio BR is timeless and perfect in the new digital format. Criterion's The Last Metro is stacked to the rafters and we'll compare to the Blu-ray asap. The genre that has been sneaking up on me for years - continues with Argentos's clandestine Four Flies on Grey Velvet  - and Eric has me keen on The Frightened Woman. The Kite Runner BR is absolutely wonderful - you must see - and the hi-def is a healthy upgrade. Requiem For a Dream BR remains as impacting as when I first saw it - powerful cinema. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner BR never looked so good. Leonard has me curious on Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic BR and SPL BR. It sputters out so dramatically that it's impossible to endorse Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology BR - but some may love the kitsch.


New Reviews:

The Frightened Woman - Journalist Maria (Dagmar Lassander, BLACK EMANUELLE 2) is writing an article advocating male sterilization and wealthy philanthropist Dr. Sayer (Philippe Leroy, MOTHER OF TEARS) offers her access to some relevant files kept at his penthouse apartment. There he drugs her and spirits her off to his country house/pop-art S&M lair where he subjects her to his kinky desires; holding off on having sex with her as he plans to eventually kill her at the moment of orgasm (he even shows her a room full of his previous conquests). Maria, however, responds differently and Sayer finds himself falling in love with her; but is Maria as innocent and open as she comes across?

Australia BR - After the such quirky love stories as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann settles down into a familiar, though not often visited genre: the Romantic Western Adventure. Australia is a sweeping, if not exactly epic, love story set against the country's burgeoning cattle industry, it's unique racial and class structure and the Japanese encroachment at the beginning of WWII. That's a lot for a script to chew on, but it's a long movie, and it does its chewing by way of Mark Rydell's The Cowboys, Lawrence of Arabia and, most of all, Giant. Blu-ray Release date: March 3, 2009

The Last Metro - Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve star as members of a French theater company living under the German occupation during World War II in François Truffaut’s gripping, humanist character study. Against all odds—a Jewish theater manager in hiding; a leading man who’s in the Resistance; increasingly restrictive Nazi oversight—the troupe believes the show must go on. Equal parts romance, historical tragedy, and even comedy, The Last Metro (Le dernier métro) is Truffaut’s ultimate tribute to art overcoming adversity. DVD Release Date: March 24th, 2009

Four Flies on Grey Velvet - The little-seen Four Flies on Grey Velvet is perhaps most remarkable for it's unusual spiritual underpinnings and Dario Argento's deft attention for sexual signifiers. The title of this third and final film in Argento's "animal trilogy" is as egregious as the weird science that literalizes the eye as a photographic camera. Rock star Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon) leaves his rehearsal studio and follows a mysterious figure into an empty theater where he struggles with the switchblade-wielding man. Roberto accidentally stabs the man, who falls evocatively into the theater's orchestra pit. From a balcony, a masked figure captures the moment on camera. DVD Release Date: February 24th, 2009

Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic BR - Watchmen is often talked about in comic book dens as one of the great literary works of our time, reflecting as it does contemporary existential angst in the context of a paranoid thriller about the systematic elimination of costumed avenger/vigilantes, with asides about the space/time continuum. Now, that's a mouthful. The original collaborative work was published as a 12-part limited series, created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins between 1986-87. Blu-ray Release date: March 3, 2009

Four Films by Hiroshi Shimizu - Of all the directors who made names for themselves during the Japanese studio golden age of the 1930s, Hiroshi Shimizu was one of the most respected—and, today, one of the least well-known. A curious, compassionate storyteller who was fascinated by characters on the outskirts of society, Shimizu used his trademark graceful traveling shot to peek around the corners of contemporary Japan. In these four lyrical, beautifully filmed tales, concerning geisha, bus drivers, and masseurs, Shimizu journeys far and wide to find the makings of a modern nation. DVD Release Date: March 17th, 2009

Broceliande - In one of the behind the scenes documentaries, there is a very telling comment about the intentions of this project when actor Simonet says that what he liked about the film was that "it was filled with elements usually found in American genre movies -- fight scenes, visual effects, but without prejudice to the plot" (well, at least the first half of the comment is telling). DVD Release Date: February 26th, 2008

Gulliver's Travels BR - Max and Dave Fleischer's animated classic. At the time of the release of "Gulliver's Travels" in late 1939, the full-length animated motion picture had reached its zenith. This great American art form turned to the retelling of Jonathan Swift's magical tales as the Fleisher's marvelous animation perfectly complimented the story. The gags were clever and the characters endearing, the music perfect, but it is the animation which remains as a lovely visual memorial to two of the men who pioneered this great art! Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009

To Catch a Thief - One of the most lightweight (and not even particularly deceptively so) of Hitchcock's comedy-thrillers; a retreat from the implications of Rear Window into the realm of private jokes and sunny innuendo, with a Côte d'Azur romance that hinges on Kelly's testing of retired high-line thief Grant, to find whether 'The Cat' has indeed been neutered or is still able to prowl the Riviera rooftops. Even determined analysts Rohmer and Chabrol had to take comfort in celebrating Hitch's 'flowers of rhetoric': the famous image of the cigarette stubbed out in an egg, and the cheeky cliché of cross-cutting foreplay and fireworks. DVD Release Date: March 24th, 2009

Pinocchio BR - Coming off the raging success of the first feature length animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, known in the industry as "Disney's Folly," Walt Disney tabled his work on Bambi for the time being and put his now burgeoning financial, artistic and technical resources behind a project that would enjoy everything he would have liked to be able to do on Snow White, but couldn't. (We would hear that theme echoed much later by the likes of Lucas and Cameron.) Indeed, compared to Pinocchio, Snow White, as lovely and sweet and threatening as it is, is mere child's play. Everything from the backgrounds to the scoring, to the life inhabiting every character, to the varied episodic adventures of our hero, to the details in every toy and street scene, and in every way that music, effects, story come together – it's hard to believe that the same studio is responsible for both projects, and back-to-back at that. Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009

Synecdoche, NY BR - I think you have to see Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" twice. I watched it the first time and knew it was a great film and that I had not mastered it. The second time because I needed to. The third time because I will want to. It will open to confused audiences and live indefinitely. A lot of people these days don't even go to a movie once. There are alternatives. It doesn't have to be the movies, but we must somehow dream. If we don't "go to the movies" in any form, our minds wither and sicken. Blu-ray Release date: March 10th, 2009

SPL BR - SPL is just a tour-de-force on every level. Yip is a stylish, assured director who gives his film a gritty noir edge. Moral lines are blurred as Chan pursues ever more extreme courses of action and Po tries to juggle his criminal activities against his love for his young family. Family is a major thread throughout the film, actually, as Yip gives all of his characters significant depth and back story and looks fairly seriously at the damage a policeman's life can do to his family. The interactions between the members of Chan's squad ring absolutely true and the entire cast is solid from top to bottom. Blu-ray Release date: July 31st, 2008

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner BR - Colin (Tom Courtenay) has no intention of living the stultifying, backbreaking, blue-collar existence that's expected of him, an existence that sapped the life of his miner father. His rebelliousness lands him in Borstal reform school, where his abilities as a long distance runner endear him to the school's headmaster (Michael Redgrave), who pins his hopes of winning a race against a prestigious public school on Colin. This leads to conflict with Colin's friends, who come to doubt his contempt of the establishment. He himself is torn about this predicament. Should he continue what may be a futile fight, or trade his self-respect for some small measure of acceptance? This outstanding drama has been unfairly maligned over the years as being too derivative of the French New Wave, yet if the same film had been made by Truffaut or another Frenchman, it would be hailed today as a masterpiece. The camerawork and performances are top-notch. Blu-ray Release Date: March 23rd, 2009

The Kite Runner BR - Notwithstanding the inevitable tendency of individual stories set against momentous national upheavals to conflate and simplify historical events, Marc ‘Finding Neverland’ Forster’s film achieves minor miracles within the bounds of his broadly conventional narrative. His sober approach allows a surprising level of complexity in his film’s wider interest in themes of guilt, displacement, honour and conflicting traditions, while his sensitivity to the emotional responses of his characters – both adult and child – is never overwhelmed nor upstaged by his incorporation of challenging dramatic scenes (such as a startlingly brutal stoning of an adulterous couple in a Kabul stadium). Blu-ray Release Date: March 24th, 2008

Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology BR - Warner had the right idea taking one of DC Comics potentially most mysteriously intriguing characters and bringing a star-studded re-telling to the big screen. While the circus-like villains (often in pairs) always had the upper hand in grandiose, flamboyant gestures, costumes and speeches - The Batman had some silent-type gadgets of his own to subtly 'Wow' and win over the crowd to his own brand of justice. With Burton at the helm and a free-range Nicholson, as The Joker, - fans were treated, in the first effort, to the best Batman ever... for it's time. Although the 'Return' was dismissed by some as too colorful- hence diverging from the old-style 'broodingly dark' narrative - it became my personal favorite. The bizarre and sinister Penguin (extensively make-up'ed, and played brilliantly by Danny DeVito) and the mysterious and dangerous sexpot known as the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th, 2009

Requiem For a Dream BR - Employing shock techniques and sound design in a relentless sensory assault, Requiem for a Dream is about nothing less than the systematic destruction of hope. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., and adapted by Selby and director Darren Aronofsky, this is undoubtedly one of the most effective films ever made about the experience of drug addiction (both euphoric and nightmarish), and few would deny that Aronofsky, in following his breakthrough film Pi, has pushed the medium to a disturbing extreme, thrusting conventional narrative into a panic zone of traumatized psyches and bodies pushed to the furthest boundaries of chemical tolerance. It's too easy to call this a cautionary tale; it's a guided tour through hell, with Aronofsky as our bold and ruthless host. Blu-ray Release date: March 3rd, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

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
Milk [
Blu-ray] (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
Rachel Getting Married [
Blu-ray] (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


Week of March 16th, 2009

L'Air De Paris (Marcel Carné, 1954) - R2 UK Optimum

Black Snake (Russ Meyer, 1973) R2 UK Arrow Films

Dodesukaden (Akira Kurosawa, 1970) Criterion

Elegy (Isabel Coixet, 2008) Sony

Faust (Restored 2-Disc Deluxe Edition) (F.W. Murnau, 1926) Kino

Murnau (Nosferatu / Faust / The Last Laugh / Tartuffe / The Haunted Castle / The Finances of the Grand Duke) (1921-1926) Kino

Quo Vadis [Blu-ray] (Mervyn LeRoy, 1951) Warner

The Robe [Blu-ray] (Henry Koster, 1953) 20th Century Fox

Thérèse Raquin (Marcel Carné, 1953) R2UK Optimum Home Entertainment

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 5: 1946-1948 - Sony

The Film Noir Collection - Woman On The Run (Norman Foster, 1950) R2 UK Glass Key DVD

Yangtse Incident (Michael Anderson, 1957) R2UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Yella (Christian Petzold, 2007) New Yorker

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."
—Albert Schweitzer

The best week of our lives - starring you,