DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 19th, 2007


Hi there! - I've been a bit out-of-sorts recently and apologize as there are only 6 new reviews this week - tallying the TOP 100 DESERT ISLAND DVDs took much longer than I thought it would (700 voters!) - thanks to all who participated - I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has all 100 (I don't). There are a whopping 35 new additions to the release calendar - and some comments about it as well. Some Criterion news and our recommendations.


DONE!: OUR TOP 100 DESERT ISLAND DVDs list HERE is complete!:

CONTEST WINNER: is Peter Barlow winning a new Criterion Bicycle Thieves DVD package courtesy of DVDBeaver for being closest in choosing the last 7 selections.



The Two of Us - A young Jewish boy living in Nazi-occupied Paris is sent by his parents to the countryside to live with an elderly Catholic couple until France's liberation.
WR: Mysteries of the Organism - What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Dušan Makavejev has the answers...
Sweet Movie - Pushing his themes of sexual liberation to their boiling point, Yugoslavian art-house provocateur Dušan Makavejev followed his international sensation WR: Mysteries of the Organism with this...
If.... - Lindsay Anderson’s If... is a daringly anarchic vision of British society set in a boarding school in late sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange...
La jetée / Sans soleil - One of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made and a mind-bending freeform travelogue, La jetée (The Jetty) and Sans soleil (Sunless) couldn’t seem more different—yet they’re the twin pillars of one of the most daring and uncompromising careers in cinema’s history.


Criterion's latest newsletter alludes to an upcoming release of Billy Wilder's Film Noir (debatable) classic 'Ace in the Hole' with Kirk Douglas as ex-New York reporter Charles 'Chuck' Tatum.


AHHH HAAA: Peter tells us - You may want to alert readers that Optimum's DVD of Godard's "La Chinoise," already reviewed on your website, is missing an intertitle at the very end. After the final shot, there should be an intertitle which reads in capital letters FIN D'UN COMMENCEMENT. Translated that is "End of a beginning." For more see OUR REVIEW - (Thanks Peter!)




Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.


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!


LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!):

WORD IN YOUR EAR: Great to finally see some Borzage on the calendar - for those keen on Blue Underground's Spaghetti Westerns (Bullet for the General, Texas, Adios and Keoma) they tend to go out-of-print pretty quickly. The Forgotten Noir films look like a very weak bunch. Stuff from the below list that I'll probably order (and review) - Thieves Like Us, The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Crossroads & Daybreak, Big Road & Queen of Sports, Saraband for Dead Lovers and Cairo Road.


Play Dirty (André De Toth, 1968) MGM

China Doll (Frank Borzage,1958) MGM

Bullet for the General (Damiano Damiani, 1966) Blue Underground

Forgotten Noir 4: Man From Cairo & Mask of Dragon - Vci Video

Forgotten Noir 5 - FBI Girl & Tough Assignment - Vci Video

Forgotten Noir 6: I'll Get You & Fingerprints Dont Lie - Vci Video

Texas, Adios (Ferdinando Baldi, 1966) Blue Underground

Keoma (Enzo G. Castellari, 1976) Blue Underground

36th Chamber of Shaolin (Chia-Liang Liu, 1978) Weinstein Company

The Lost Room (2-disc - Mini-series 2006) Lions Gate

The Good Shepherd (Widescreen Edition) (Robert De Niro, 2006) Universal Studios

School for Scoundrels (Robert Hamer, 1960) Lions Gate

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (Werner Herzog, 1998) Anchor Bay

Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story (Brian W. Cook, 2005) Magnolia

Children of Men (Widescreen Edition) (Alfonso Cuarón, 2007) Universal Studios

The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection (Detective / Reporter / Troubleshooter / Hidden Staircase) Warner Home Video

The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935) MGM

Broken Arrow (Delmer Daves, 1950) 20th Century Fox

Thieves Like Us (Robert Altman, 1974) MGM

The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando Y) Anchor Bay

Crossroads & Daybreak (Chinese Clasics Series) - Cinema Epoch

Big Road & Queen of Sports (Chinese Classics Series) - Cinema Epoch

Children Of Men (2-disc Special Edition) (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) R2 UK Universal Pictures

Wet Asphalt (Frank Wisbar, 1958) R2 DE Kinowelt

I'm an Elephant, Madame (Peter Zadek, 1969) R2 DE Kinowelt

Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) R2 DE Kinowelt

Lured (Douglas Sirk, 1947) R2 DE Kinowelt

Man in the Vault (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956) R2 UK Paramount Home Entertainment

Windom's Way (Ronald Neame, 1957) R2 UK Network

Saraband for Dead Lovers (Basil Dearden, 1948) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Cairo Road (David MacDonald, 1950) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Beat Girl (Edmond T. Gréville, 1960) R2 UK Blackhorse Entertainment

The Green Man (BBC mini-series) R2 UK Cinema Club

The Fountain (Widescreen Edition) (Darren Aronofsky, 2006) Warner


RECOMMENDATIONS: I enjoyed The Michael Shayne, Private Detective Collection Vol. 1 - the drawback for me was the comedic elements but in the end I started to accept and even enjoy them. 

HIDDEN GEM: The Party and the Guest - thanks to Second Run for bringing it to the DVD-world's attention!

PINCH OF SALT: It is quite possible that we are getting used to the weaknesses but I actually watched it twice. Stallone, for all his cinematic flaws, can turn a decent boxing drama every 20 years or so -Rocky Balboa was okay. Best since the original.

CRUDE, RUDE and DOWNRIGHT FUNNY: We don't get to a lot of comedy stuff but I can tell you that I have shed some tears of laughter over the years at Eddie Murphy's 1983 standup Delirious. Just don't watch in front of the kids (or your Mom!).


New Reviews:


Le Grand Voyage - Ultimately, it’s still pretty standard festival bait, but the third act achieves a special luminous quality that makes “Le Grande Voyage” well worth seeing, and makes it easier to forgive the film its didactic excesses in neatly-packaged life lessons. It is also beautifully shot by cinematographer Katell Djian (whose first film credit was on Jean-Luc Godard’s “For Ever Mozart” – how in the hell does one get to start a career by shooting a film for Godard?) although the film’s many nature shots take on a generic picture postcard quality by the end. DVD Release Date: March 1st, 2007

Delirious - Murphy delivered, debatably, one of the most memorable standup routines in comedy history. It is extremely foul-mouthed, very explicit and offensive to many (he uses the word "f-word" 230 times) but his impressions - Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Mr. T or James Brown to name a few - and his commend of the audience with his confidence and charisma are unforgettable to those who have had the opportunity to have seen it. DVD Release Date: March 26th, 2007

The Michael Shayne, Private Detective Collection Vol. 1 - Hollywood was in the throes of churning out some fast-paced B-pictures of the popular pulp detective genre in the 1940's and the Michael Shayne stories of Brett Halliday were a perfect fit. The series started with Michael Shayne, Private Detective (based on Dividend on Death) and Fox produced these in the same mode as the Chan or Moto films. Lloyd Nolan is well cast as the flippant Irish-American private eye Michael Shayne. Uniquely different from the typical Bogie-style protagonist - a-little-less-hard-boiled - Shayne movies blend some minor screwball comedy in enjoyable detective yarns. Fox has brought us 4 in their DVD set Michael Shayne, Private Detective (1940), Sleepers West (1941)
Blue, White, and Perfect (1942) and The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942). DVD Release Date: March 20th, 2007

Rocky Balboa - Sixteen years after ‘Rocky V’ comes a sequel few can seriously have been anticipating, as writer-director-star Stallone comes off the ropes for one last arthritic combination. Given that he hit 60 last year, the whole thing’s hardly plausible, but Stallone does manage to engineer a confrontation with a tiny grain of credibility. Of course, the real story here is whether by sheer act of will, Sly can muscle back in on the box-office action he once took for granted, and although it’s hard to resist the feeling that you’re being gypped to salve his mid-life crisis, the big lug’s still an inexplicably likeable screen presence. DVD Release Date: March 20th, 2007

Blood Diamond - Who knows what they’d make of it on the veld, but Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘Rhodesian’ (as his character insists) accent isn’t as awful as the trailers might suggest in this well-meaning, well-made action-flick masquerading as a campaigning movie. DiCaprio is Danny Archer, a Zimbabwe-born hard man who flies into war-torn Sierra Leone on the trail of a pink diamond. He enters into a selfish bargain with local Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), who knows where the gem is hidden and wants help in finding his family. On hand is open-shirted investigative journalist Maddy (Jennifer Connelly), there among the chases and explosions to provide some handy facts and a few gratuitous chest-shots. DVD Release Date: March 20th, 2007

The Party and the Guests - One of the most controversial Czech films of its era, Jan Němec's second feature was completed in 1966, belatedly released during the short-lived liberalisation of early 1968 but formally "banned forever" in 1973, a decree that remained in force until the Velvet Revolution of 1989 (at least in Czechoslovakia). The widespread assumption, very much shared by Antonín Novotný, the Czechoslovak President at the time of production, was that the film was a direct attack on the Communist government and therefore too dangerous to show. DVD Release Date: March 5th, 2007


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of March 19th, 2007


Blood Diamond (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Edward Zwick, 2006) Warner

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Collector's Edition) (David Lean, 1957) Sony Pictures

The Caine Mutiny - Special Edition (Edward Dmytryk, 1954) Sony Pictures

Children Of Men (2-disc Special Edition) (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) R2 UK Universal Pictures

The Guns of Navarone (Collector's Edition) (J. Lee Thompson , 1961) Sony Pictures

Hell Drivers 2-disc (Cy Endfield, 1957) R2 UK Network

Histoire (s) du cinéma ENGLISH SUBS CONFIRMED - Coffret 4 DVD (Godard) - R2 FR - Gaumont

Lawrence of Arabia (Collector's Edition) (David Lean, 1962) Sony Pictures

Lonely Are the Brave (David Miller, 1962) FR PAL - Gaumont/Columbia

Man Without a Star (King Vidor, 1955) FR PAL - Gaumont/Columbia

Michael Shayne - Private Detective Collection 1 - 20th Century Fox

My Country My Country (Laura Poitras, 2005) Zeitgeist Films

The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948) Criterion

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, 2006) Sony Pictures

W.C. Fields Comedy Collection, Vol. 2 (The Man on the Flying Trapeze / Never Give A Sucker An Even Break / You¿re Telling Me! / The Old Fashioned Way / Poppy) - Universal Studios


Week of March 26th, 2007


Bigas Luna Collection - The Ages of Lulu (1990), Jamón Jamón (1992), Golden Balls (1993) and The Tit and The Moon (1994) - R2 UK Tartan

Bullet for the General (Damiano Damiani, 1966) Blue Underground

Candy (Neil Armfield, 2006) Velocity / Thinkfilm

The Charge of the Light Brigade (Michael Curtiz, 1936) Warner Home Video

Children of Men (Widescreen Edition) (Alfonso Cuarón, 2007) Universal Studios

Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story (Brian W. Cook, 2005) Magnolia

The Commissar (Aleksandr Askoldov, 1967) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Curse of the Golden Flower (Yimou Zhang, 2006) Sony Pictures

Early Bergman (Torment / Crisis / Port of Call / Thirst / To Joy) Criterion Collection (Eclipse)

The Errol Flynn Signature Collection, Vol. 2 (The Charge of the Light Brigade / Gentleman Jim / The Adventures of Don Juan / The Dawn Patrol / Dive Bomber) - Warner Home Video

Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942) Warner Home Video

The Good Shepherd (Robert De Niro, 2006) Universal Studios

The Gospel According to St. Matthew - COLORIZED (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964) Legend

The Hill (Sidney Lumet, 1965) FR PAL - Warner Home Vidéo

Hot Blood (Nicholas Ray, 1956) R2 UK - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Jean-Luc Godard - The 60s Collection (Vivre Sa Vie, Masculin Feminin and Two Or Three Things I Know About Her) R2 UK - Nouveaux Pictures

Keoma (Enzo G. Castellari, 1976) Blue Underground

The Leos Carax Collection (Boy Meets Girl, The Night is Young and Pola X) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (Werner Herzog, 1998) Anchor Bay

The Page Turner (Denis Dercourt, 2006) R2 UK Artificial Eye

School for Scoundrels (Robert Hamer, 1960) Lions Gate

Tempest (Paul Mazursky, 1982) Sony Pictures

Texas, Adios (Ferdinando Baldi, 1966) Blue Underground

Wim Wenders Collection - The Scarlet Letter (1973), Notebook on Cities and Clothes (1975), The American Friend (1977), The Wrong Move (1979), Lightning Over Water (1980), Tokyo-Ga (1985), Room 666 (1985), Trick of the Light (1995), Wings of Desire (1987) - R2 UK - Anchor Bay Entertainment

Woman Is the Future of Man (Sang-soo Hong, 2006) New Yorker Video




50 CLASSIC TV SHOWS ON DVD - best of vintage TV!






- Best of the Best!



Have a super week,




P.S. DVD of the Year - 2006 still remains a popular place to peruse.