DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 16th, 2008

Sat siri akal! - 12 new reviews this relatively sparse week - we are all over the place again with 2 Criterions, Blu-rays, Pre-Hayes Code to Vin Diesel, Rossellini to Daniel Craig 'Bond', Andrzej Wajda to a cartoon dog-super-hero, a slight few new Calendar Releases!, some continued SALES, and another new CONTEST. As usual there are at least a few very worthy films/DVDs/Blu-rays to recommend.

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

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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!)

MARCH 16th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed DVD package of Forbidden Hollywood Volume 3  - Best of luck all!

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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 and save!):

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

Valkyrie (Single-Disc Edition) (Bryan Singer, 2008) United Artists

Valkyrie (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) (Bryan Singer, 2008) United Artists

Timecrimes (Nacho Vigalondo, 2007) Magnolia

Tokyo! [Blu-ray] (Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax, Michel Gondry, 2008) Liberation

Sling Blade [Blu-ray] (Billy Bob Thornton, 1996) Miramax

Lost: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] – Disney

Lost: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] – Disney

"John Adams" [Blu-ray] (2008) HBO TV mini-series

What's Up Tiger Lily (Woody Allen, 1966) Image Entertainment

Powder Blue [Blu-ray] (Timothy Linh Bui, 2009) Image Entertainment

Yonkers Joe (Robert Celestino, 2008) Magnolia

Electric Blanket (Assi Dayan, 1995) SISU Home Entertainment

Circle of Iron [Blu-ray] (Richard Moore, 1978) Blue Underground

The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008) Weinstein

Miracle [Blu-ray] (Gavin O'Connor, 2004) Walt Disney

The Greatest Game Ever Played [Blu-ray] (Bill Paxton, 2005) Walt Disney



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): This week I saw a few that I thoroughly enjoyed. Each 7-day period I seem to come across at least one heavily impacting film that I probably would not have viewed otherwise if not for being a digital reviewer. I watched Seven Pounds BR three times - fully appreciating every aspect including solid direction, brilliant screenwriting and adept performances. It may have accrued my highest recommendation of this week. But how so? - as this issue includes the immersive and reasonably priced Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 3 with wonderful documentaries included, the brilliant Danton by Wajda and Rossellini's remarkable Il Generale Della Rovere with Vittorio De Sica. The latter 2 given the 'Criterion treatment' also including viable supplements. Elegy has something to offer (beyond Penelope Cruz naked) with its captivating performances and is wholly recommended. I liked Quantum of Solace BR better than the previous Casino Royale but it still can't reach the heights of Connery's formative Goldfinger on BR.  From my own viewing, Quo Vadis BR, with yet another take on the foibles of ancient Rome, may be considered essential for some - looking better than ever before for your home theater. I can only watch so much but Leonard has me mildly curious about  Pitch Black BR, Watchmen and Bolt BR - perhaps another time.


New Reviews:

Bolt BR - The pitchman says: "OK – remember those fairy tale characters from Enchanted who found themselves in real-life New York City? Well, how about a dog that is raised to be a superhero for a TV show and one day he finds himself in the real world where his powers don't work. On the show – we can call it Bolt, same as the dog, and we can paint a lightning bolt on his side, kinda like Captain Marvel – well, on the show he can fly a bit and he's got superpowers like a stare that melts steel and a bark that can disintegrate tanks. Blu-ray Release date: March 22nd, 2009

Elegy - While Elegy contains its share of universal themes, this is first and foremost the story of a man and how he copes with encountering late in life something that is new and terrifying for him. His voiceover informs us from the beginning that things aren't going to end happily but, even forewarned, it is compelling to watch how the narrative unfolds. Coixet has given us a rich character study with as much depth as breadth. This is an offering for mature viewers thrown out amidst a sea of summer flotsam. The title, Elegy, is perfect for the material. There is much tragedy and truth in what the makers of this movie have brought to the screen. DVD Release Date: March 17th, 2009

Seven Pounds BR -I haven't even hinted about the hidden motives in this film. Miraculously for once, even the trailers don't give anything away. I'll tell you one thing: I may have made Ben sound like an angel, but he is very much flesh and blood, and none of his actions are supernatural. He has his reasons. The director is Gabriele Muccino, who also directed Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness." He is effective at timing the film's revelations so that they don't come suddenly like a U-turn; they're revealed at the last necessary points in the story. Some people will find it emotionally manipulative. Some people like to be emotionally manipulated. I do, when it's done well. Blu-ray Release date: March 31st, 2009

Il Generale Della Rovere - In a magnetic performance, Vittorio De Sica is Emanuele Bardone, an opportunistic rascal in wartime Genoa, conning his fellow Italians and exploiting their tragedies by promising to help find their missing loved ones in exchange for money. But when the Nazis force him to impersonate a dead partisan general in prison to extract information from fellow inmates, Bardone finds himself wrestling with his conscience for the first time. Roberto Rossellini’s gripping drama, a rare box-office breakthrough for the legendary neorealist, is further evidence of the compassionate artistry of one of cinema’s most important voices. DVD Release Date: March 31st, 2009

The Chronicles of Riddick BR - The sequel to Pitch Black clearly identifies Riddick as the antihero of his time. It is now five years later and he remains a hunted man, though for the most part his whereabouts have remained secret until lately. He separated himself from the survivors of the first movie, most disturbingly from Jackie, whom we later learn is imprisoned in the same facility as Riddick was being taken to in the first movie. The Chronicles of Riddick eventually gets around to Riddick's coming to terms about Jackie and his attempt to break her out of that prison. Blu-ray Release date: March 31, 2009

Pitch Black BR - A space freighter/transport with passengers aboard in cryo makes an unscheduled emergency crash landing on a desert planet. On board is Riddick (Vin Diesel) who was being taken to a prison colony by the mercenary Johns (Cole Hauser). Among the survivors are the pilot Fry (Radha Mitchell) - the captain having been killed in the landing - a family of Muslims headed by Imam (Keith David), an antique wine collector (Paris Ogilvie), a handy woman (Claudia Black), and a teenager of questionable gender named Jack (Rhiana Griffith.) Blu-ray Release date: March 31, 2009

Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 3 - First, in "Other Men's Women" (1931), a love triangle develops between two railroad workers and the woman they both desire. Grant Withers, Mary Astor, Regis Toomey star. In "The Purchase Price" (1932), a torch singer flees her criminal boyfriend to become a farmer's mail-order bride. Barbara Stanwyck, Lyle Talbot, George Brent star. "Frisco Jenny" (1932) has a prostitute taking a dramatic stand to protect the district attorney son that she gave up for adoption. With Ruth Chatterton, Louis Calhern. Then, in "Midnight Mary" (1933), a woman on trial for murder recalls her sordid past. Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez star. Next, "Heroes for Sale" (1933) chronicles the experiences of a veteran who has fallen upon hard times. Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon star. Lastly, "Wild Boys of the Road" (1933) follows two Depression-era tees as they hop the freights looking for work. Frankie Darro, Edwin Phillips star. 7 hrs. total; bonus documentaries "Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick" (1996), "The Men Who Made the Movies: William A. Wellman" (2007); bonus shorts; theatrical trailers. Four-disc set. DVD Release Date: March 24th, 2008

Danton - Gérard Depardieu and Wojciech Pszoniak star in Andrzej Wajda’s powerful, intimate depiction of the ideological clash between the earthy, man-of-the-people Georges Danton and icy Jacobin extremist Maximilien Robespierre, both key figures of the French Revolution. By drawing parallels to Polish “solidarity,” a movement that was being quashed by the government as the film went into production, Wajda drags history into the present. Meticulous and fiery, Danton has been hailed as one of the greatest films ever made about the Terror. DVD Release Date: March 31st, 2009

Quantum of Solace BR - Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in this thrilling, action-packed adventure which starts shortly after Casino Royale ends. Betrayed by the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. On a nonstop quest for justice that crisscrosses the globe, Bond meets the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who leads him to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless businessman and major force within the mysterious “Quantum” organization. When Bond uncovers a conspiracy to take control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, he must navigate a minefield of treachery, deception and murder to neutralize “Quantum” before it’s too late! Blu-ray Release date: March 24th, 2009

Watchmen - Tales of the Black Freighter / Under the Hood BR - Warner Home Video has followed up its "Complete Motion Comic" of Watchmen with what would have served well as a bonus disc to that release: There are two short direct-to-video films of about a half hour each – one animated in widescreen, the other live action in academy ratio of 1.33:1. The first, Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, is taken from the comic book within the comic book, the one read by the boy huddled by the newsstand and referred to often throughout Chapter 5 of the full length series. It is also the one left out of Zack Snyder's live action movie altogether, and this release intends to redress that omission. Some its producers are familiar (Snyder, Gordon, Levin & Collier), but the direction and art work, though inspired by the comic, is new and different – as I think it should be. Tales of the Black Freighter is an Edgar Allen Poe-like story written by Alex Tse & Zack Snyder, directed by Daniel Delpurgatorio & Mike Smith, with production design by Chris Watts. Blu-ray Release date: March 24, 2009

Quo Vadis BR - At the time, Quo Vadis? was the highest grosser for MGM after Gone With the Wind. Between the acres of heaving muscle in the arena, half of Italy starring as the Roman troops, and sets that dwarf even Ustinov, you may detect a story about a Roman commander under Nero who falls in love with a Christian girl and gets them both thrown to the lions. It does last virtually three hours, and along the way does have stretches of tedium, but LeRoy invests most of it with pace, true spectacle, and not a little imagination (like the camera craning acrobatically over thousands of festive Romans before coming to rest on Robert Taylor's face; or an 'orgy' viewed by Nero through a piece of red glass). They won't make them like this any more. Blu-ray Release Date: March 17th, 2009

Goldfinger BR - This film scintillates with wit, and crackles with energy and pace. Sean Connery excels in the role of Bond as the deadly charmer, whose smoothness covers something rather sinister. Gert Frobe is wonderful as the looney mittel-European Goldfinger; completely assured that what he is doing is going to work. This film has in it a refreshing air of escapism and fun, and a sense of charm and chic sadly lacking from modem action movies. Blu-ray Release Date: March 24th, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

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


Week of March 23rd, 2009

The 400 Blows [Blu-ray] (François Truffaut,1959) Criterion

A Mighty Heart [Blu-ray] (Michael Winterbottom, 2007) Paramount

A Woman Called Golda (Alan Gibson, 1982) Paramount

Aviva My Love (Shemi Zarhin, 2006) IFC

Body of Lies [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 2008) UK - Warner Home Video

Careful (Remastered and Repressed) (Guy Maddin, 1993) Zeitgeist Films

Claire Dolan (Lodge Kerrigan, 1998) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Forbidden Hollywood Collection Volume Three: William Wellman at Warner Bros - (Other Men’s Women, The Purchase Price, Frisco Jenny, Midnight Mary, Heroes for Sale and Wild Boys of the Road) - Warner

Goldfinger [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1964) MGM

Goldfinger (steelbook) [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1964) MGM

I Am Dina (Ole Bornedal, 2002) Vanguard Cinema

James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack [Blu-ray], Vol. 3 (Moonraker/ The World is Not Enough / Goldfinger) MGM

The Kite Runner [Blu-ray] (Marc Forster, 2007) Dreamworks Video

The Last Metro (François Truffaut, 1980) Criterion
The Last Metro [
Blu-ray] (François Truffaut, 1980) Criterion

Let's Talk About The Rain (Agnès Jaoui, 2008) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Lola Montès (Max Ophüls, 1955) R2 UK Second Sight

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [Blu-ray] (Tony Richardson, 1962) RB UK BFI

Moonraker [Blu-ray] (Lewis Gilbert, 1979) MGM

Never Say Never Again [Blu-ray] (Irvin Kershner, 1983) MGM

Quantum of Solace [Blu-ray] (Marc Forster, 2008) MGM

Ruslan [Blu-ray] (Jeff King, 2008) Platinum

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning [Blu-ray] (Karel Reisz, 1960) R'B' UK BFI

Things We Lost in the Fire [Blu-ray] (Susanne Bier, 2007) Dreamworks Video

To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955) (2-disc Centennial Collection) Paramount

Eclipse Series 15 - Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu - Japanese Girls at the Harbor (1933), Mr. Thank You (1936), The Masseurs and a Woman (1938) and Ornamental Hairpin (1941) - Criterion

Twilight (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Catherine Hardwicke, 2008) Summit Entertainment

Wallace And Gromit - A Matter Of Loaf And Death - R2 UK - 2 Entertain Video
Wallace And Gromit - A Matter Of Loaf And Death [
Blu-ray] R'B' UK - 2 Entertain Video

The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami, 1999) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The World Is Not Enough [Blu-ray] (Michael Apted, 1999) MGM

"The biggest surprise in a man's life is old age," - Tolstoy"
All the best for a healthy March Break!,