Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK

OF March 22nd, 2010


This Week's Highlights

Wan b'i! - 14 new reviews this newsletter ushering in a week with towering Blu-ray releases including The African Queen [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW), Bigger Than Life [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW), Days of Heaven [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW), The Double Life of Veronique [Blu-ray], Dumbo [Blu-ray], Fantastic Mr. Fox [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW), Red Cliff International Version - Part I & Part II [Blu-ray], Sanjuro [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW) + Yojimbo [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW) and Toy Story [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW) + Toy Story 2 [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW). We have Herzog, Disney, Woo, Lubitsch and much more. 22 calendar updates - a rehash of an unsolved contest, sales and much more.... Here's hoping you had a restful 'March Break'!!

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MARCH 22nd CONTEST - REPEATED - NO CORRECT ANSWER FROM LAST WEEK! identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a sealed Criterion DVD of Bigger Than Life - CLUE - A BRITISH FILM - YOU MAY GUESS A SECOND TIME!

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• SALES: US Blu-ray up to 53% OFF        

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LATEST ADDITIONS to the Calendar: (PRE-ORDER & save!):

Serpico [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1973) R`B`FR - Universal Studio Canal Video

Gladiator [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 2000) R`B`FR - Universal Studio Canal Video

Spaghetti Western Collection [Blu-ray] - A Fistful Of Dollars/The Good, The Bad And The Ugly/For A Few Dollars More - R`B`UK - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Avatar: Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray] (James Cameron, 2009) - R`B`UK - Optimum

Caddyshack [Blu-ray] (Harold Ramis, 1980) Warner Home Video

Mary and Max [Blu-ray] (Adam Elliot, 2009) Mpi Home Video

The White Ribbon [Blu-ray] (Michael Haneke, 2009) - Sony Pictures Classics

The Road [Blu-ray] (John Hillcoat, 2009) Sony

The Sun [Blu-ray] (Alexander Sokurov, 2005) - Kino

Happy Together [Blu-ray] (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997) - Kino

Tetro [Blu-ray] (Francis Ford Coppola, 2009) Lions Gate

Daybreakers [Blu-ray] (Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, 2010) - LionsGate

The Complete Magick Lantern Cycle - Fantoma

Five from Barska Street (Aleksander Ford, 1954) - Polart

Red Rowan (Ewa Petelska + Czeslaw Petelski, 1970) - Polart

Newsmakers [Blu-ray] (Anders Banke, 2009)- R`B`UK - Showbox Media Group

Winter In Wartime [Blu-ray] (Martin Koolhoven, 2008) - R`B`UK - Showbox Media Group

Who Dares Wins [Blu-ray] (Ian Sharp, 1982) R`B`UK - Arrow Films

Dorothy Mills [Blu-ray] (Agnès Merlet, 2008) R`B`UK - Optimum

The Last Station (Michael Hoffman, 2009) R2 UK - Optimum

The Railway Children [Blu-ray] (Lionel Jeffries, 1970) R`B`UK - Optimum

The Divorce of Lady X (Tim Whelan, 1938) R2 UK - Network

Bright Star [Blu-ray] (Jane Campion, 2009) R`B`FR - Fox Pathe Europa

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ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey):  A short-ish holiday week - I enjoyed The Baader Meinhof Complex, but look forward to Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (a film I've seen, but not in 1080P glory). It's probably the feature `disc` of the week. The kids seem enthused about both Planet 51 + The Princess and the Frog. While in a family frame of mind The Blind Side establishes some bona-fide merit. I'll take Leonard's advice and stick with the international versions of John Woo`s Red Cliff. Lubitsch in Berlin easily tops the DVD category while Eric has me keen to watch Nightmare Detective - and Michael has given me encouragement to squeeze Return to the 36th Chamber into the viewing schedule (thanks guys!)...


Return to the 36th Chamber - When some Manchurians are hire at a local dye mill which also leads to the workers losing 20% of their current wages. Cho Shih Sheng hires his younger brother Chou Jen Chich (Gordon Liu Chia-hui) to impersonate the famous Shaolin monk San Te. At first their plan works and the workers get the previous wage back. Then Mill factory boss song discovers that he has been fooled by the workers. His men quickly expose Chou Jen Chich for the fraud that he is which leads to him seeking entrance into the Shaolin temple where he plans to really learn Kung Fu. DVD Release Date: March 2nd, 2010

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans BD - The details of the crime need not concern us. Just admire the feel of the film. Peter Zeitlinger's cinematography creates a New Orleans unleavened by the picturesque. Herzog as always pokes around for the odd detail. Everyone is talking about the shots of the iguanas and the alligator, staring with cold reptilian eyes. Who else but Herzog would hold on their gaze? Who else would foreground them, placing the action in the background? Who but Cage could regard an iguana sideways in a look of suspicion and disquiet? You need to keep an eye on an iguana. The bastards are always up to something. Blu-ray Release date: April 6th, 2010

Red Cliff BD - The story of Red Cliff (named for the fortress held by Yu Zhou) takes place in the early part of the third century and centers around a legendary battle that would bring about the end of the Han Dynasty (and eventually spawn Luo Guanzhong's classic 14th century novel "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.") Blu-ray Release date: March 23rd, 2010

The Blind Side BD - One of the many turning points in “The Blind Side” — a movie made up almost entirely of turning points and yet curiously devoid of drama or suspense — comes during a Memphis high school football game. Michael Oher, the offensive tackle whose remarkable life is the subject of the film (and of the nonfiction best seller on which it is based), is having trouble protecting his quarterback. Blu-ray Release date: March 23rd, 2010

Planet 51 BD - The little green inhabitants of Planet 51 are peculiar in two respects: they have a fixation with 1950s American pop culture and, while the females all wear dresses and skirts, the males wear nothing below their waists. Their apparent lack of gender does not go without notice. It's important to understand, accept and not question how any of this could be any more than they all speak English. The inhabitants of Glipforg also have a fascination with horror movies in which their planet is under attack by aliens who take control of their minds and turn them into zombies. They even have a secret military base whose sole function is to prepare for just such an invasion, which is all the stranger considering that the little town of Glipforg looks like a page out of Leave it to Beaver as imagined by Walt Disney's original drawings for Tomorrowland. Blu-ray Release date: March 9th, 2010

The Baader Meinhof Complex BD - Like the name of the West German radical terrorist organization whose tale it tells, "The Baader Meinhof Complex" is a fascinating hybrid of a film. Even though its purpose couldn't be more serious, its style could hardly be more pulp. Which is probably fitting for a group that started out with high-minded goals and ended up robbing banks and blowing people away. Though few people in the U.S. remember its exploits in detail, the actions of the Red Army Faction, usually called the Baader Meinhof Gang after its two most prominent members, largely defined the history of Germany in the 1970s, and the group remains a subject of enormous interest in that country. Blu-ray Release date: March 30th, 2010

Agent 69 Jensen Double Feature - Agent Jensen (Ole Soltoft) is undercover with Swedish associate Penny (Anna Bergman) at a Danish health food store. They are to turn over microfilm for a secret formula to an American agent (the Americans are the only ones who can develop the microfilm) who gives them the code phrase "Do you need a healthy young man who knows health food, yoga, ropy milk, and thick yogurt?" Little do they know that former secret agent Irma La Douce's (Judy Gringer) son Arnold (Søren Strømberg) does not want to follow in his parents' footsteps and has decided instead to get a job at a health food store. DVD Release Date: March 3, 2009

The Princess and the Frog BD - The Princess and the Frog is written and directed by the team of Ron Clements and John Musker, who gave us Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, among others (not, I am happy to say, Home on the Range.) It was Musker and Clements that Lasseter brought back to life out of mothballs, as it were, feeling strongly, as I and many others do, that this is an art form that needs encouragement, not a requiem. (A bit of trivia I picked up about John Musker is that he went to the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia - just north of L.A. - with John Lasseter, Brad Bird and Tim Burton.) Blu-ray Release date: March 16th, 2010

The Boondock Saints II All Saints Day BD - The original Boondog Saints movie, hails from 1999, also written and directed by Troy Duffy. It bombed at the box office and, famously, made millions on DVD – thus the sequel. Duffy was able to bring back Flanery & Reedus, the fighting fraternal twins, and Connelly as their "da", as well as Ferry, Mahoney and Marley as Detectives Dolly, Duffy and Greenly. Willem Dafoe's character, FBI Agent Paul Smecker, was laid to rest in the first movie. This time around, the FBI has sent Special Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), who seems to have a sixth sense about how crimes go down, which she recreates in her imagination with the help of her 4-inch Stilettos. Blu-ray Release date: March 30th, 2010

IMAX - Under the Sea BD - Under the Sea bears comparison with "The Shallow Seas" segment from Planet Earth in that the IMAX film is a series of lovely images with insufficient time and breath to develop context. Missing, abbreviated or softened is the Cycle of Life itself. Its mere forty minutes does not allow for sufficient time to develop the drama of most of the species it captures on film. Compare the two treatments of the sea snake. In the newer film, the snakes just slither around, but in "Shallow Seas" we see how the snake works with other creatures to play its part in the march of life. Under the Sea ends with an insipid suggestion that after decades of carelessness and greed, we humans are on the verge of a change of heart. If it weren't for the narration and an extended appearance by Australian giant cuttlefish, Under the Sea could pass for wallpaper. Blu-ray Release date: March 30th, 2010

Nightmare Detective - Rookie detective Keiko's (Hitomi) first case is a mysterious suicide of a young woman (a neighbor claims to have heard her screaming for help). When a man commits suicide in front of his wife seemingly while having a nightmare, Keiko ties the two deaths together when she discovers that the two victims phoned someone named "O" shortly before their deaths. Believing that O may have played mind games with the victims and abetted their deaths, the police attempt to capture him in a two-fold manner. DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008

Boys Over Flowers - Perhaps the first thing about this series that anyone who has actually been to high school anywhere on this planet will observe is the absence of teachers. Students go to class, but no teacher walks in or is seen anywhere. No books are cracked. No studying is observed. For what is described as “Korea’s most prestigious high school” Shinhwa represents a sorry state of learning indeed, the very embodiment of a “party school”. Since Shinhwa is where the country’s wealthiest kids go to school (fictitious though it may be), we can only fear the worst for their country’s future. I assume this is meant to be satirical. In any case, it certainly places the adventures of the kids in a surrealistic spotlight. DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

COI - Design For Today - This second volume in the COI Collection surveys the subjects of architecture, design and fashion. Highlights include: Designing Women (1948), Joyce Grenfell takes us through the dos and don ts of home furnishing; Brief City (1952), modernist architecture and design on show at the Festival of Britain; Design for Today (1965), Hugh Hudson s day-in-the-life of British design; Insight: Terence Conran (1981) and Insight: Zandra Rhodes (1981), Peter Greenaway and Michael Nyman team up in an early collaboration; The Pacemakers BIBA (1970), a look at the work of Barbara Hulanicki. DVD Release Date: March 22nd, 2010

Lubitsch in Berlin - A DVD collection of the early German silents that established the incredible Ernst Lubitsch’s reputation not only as master/creator of the hyper-risqué hundred-karat rom-com (the “Lubitsch Touch” film), but as an innovator of set design, an able director of extras, and a capable pacer of melodramatic arcs. DVD Release Date: January 25th, 2010

 Next 3 weeks on the Calendar

March 22nd, 2010


The African Queen (John Huston, 1951) Paramount

The African Queen [Blu-ray] (John Huston, 1951) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

The African Queen (Commemorative Box Set) [Blu-ray] (John Huston, 1951) - Paramount Home Video

Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956) Criterion Collection
Bigger Than Life [Blu-ray] (Nicholas Ray, 1956) Criterion Collection (BEAVER REVIEW)

Bodysong (Simon Pummell, 2003) R2 UK BFI Video

Breathless (2-disc Special Edition) (Yang Ik-Joon, 2009) R2 UK Terracotta Media

Brothers [Blu-ray] (Jim Sheridan, 2009) Lionsgate

Clash of the Titans [Blu-ray] (Desmond Davis, 1981) R'B' UK - Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Clouded Yellow (Ralph Thomas, 1950) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment (BEAVER REVIEW)

Days of Heaven [Blu-ray] (Terrence Malick, 1978) Criterion Collection (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Double Life of Veronique [Blu-ray] (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) - R'B' UK - Artificial Eye

Dumbo [Blu-ray] (Ben Sharpsteen, 1941) R2 UK Disney

The Exiles (Kent MacKenzie, 1961) - R2 UK - BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

Fantastic Mr. Fox [Blu-ray] (Wes Anderson, 2009) 20th Century Fox (BEAVER REVIEW)

Fish Tank [Blu-ray] (Andrea Arnold, 2009) R'B' UK - Artificial Eye

Five from Barska Street (Aleksander Ford, 1954) - Polart

Harry Brown [Blu-ray] (Daniel Barber, 2009) RB UK - Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Johnny Got His Gun (Dalton Trumbo, 1971) R2 UK Arrow Films

Katyn [Blu-ray] (Andrzej Wajda, 2007) RB UK Artificial Eye

Mad Men: Season 3 [Blu-ray] - Lionsgate

The Men Who Stare At Goats [Blu-ray] (Grant Heslov, 2009) - Overture Films/Anchor Bay (BEAVER REVIEW)

A Nos Amours [To Our Romance] (Maurice Pialat, 1983) R2 UK - Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Prisoner (Miniseries) - Warner Home Video

Red Cliff (Theatrical Version) [Blu-ray] (John Woo, 2009) Magnolia (BEAVER REVIEW)

Red Cliff International Version - Part I & Part II [Blu-ray] (John Woo, 2009) Magnolia

Sanjuro [Blu-ray] (Akira Kurosawa, 1962) - Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

Le silence de la Mer [Blu-ray] (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949) RB FR Paramount Home Entertainment

Son of Man (Mark Dornford-May, 2005) Kino

Sous Le Soleil De Satan (Maurice Pialat, 1987) R2 UK - Masters of Cinema

Talhotblond: (Barbara Schroeder, 2009) Paramount

Toy Story Special Edition [Blu-ray] (John Lasseter, 1995) Disney*Pixar (BEAVER REVIEW)
Toy Story 2: Special Edition [Blu-ray] (John Lasseter, 1999) Disney*Pixar

Valley of the Bees (Frantisek Vlácil, 1968) R2 UK Second Run DVD

Yojimbo [Blu-ray] (Akira Kurosawa, 1961) - Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

Yojimbo/Sanjuro Box Set [Blu-ray] Criterion Collection



March 29th, 2009


Afghan Star (Havana Marking, 2009) - Zeitgeist Films

An Education [Blu-ray] (Lone Scherfig, 2009) Sony Pictures Classics

The Baader Meinhof Complex [Blu-ray] (Uli Edel, 2008) MPI (BEAVER REVIEW)

Bunny and the Bull [Blu-ray] (Paul King, 2009) RB UK Optimum

Collateral [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 2004) Paramount Home Video

Cracks [Blu-ray] (Jordan Scott, 2009) RB UK Optimum

Day of the Dead [Blu-ray] (George A. Romero, 1985) Region FREE UK Arrow Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

Girly (aka Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly) (Freddie Francis, 1970) - Scorpion Entertainment

High Kick Girl (Fuyuhiko Nishi , 2009) - First Look Pictures

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus [Blu-ray] (Terry Gilliam, 2009) R'B' UK - Lionsgate

The Killer [Blu-ray] (John Woo, 1989) Weinstein Company

The Complete Magick Lantern Cycle - Fantoma

Letters from Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa - Ossos, 1997 - In Vanda's Room, 2000 - Colossal Youth, 2006 - Criterion Collection

Sea Devils (Raoul Walsh, 1953) Vci Video

Sherlock Holmes [Blu-ray] (Guy Ritchie, 2009) Warner

Spaghetti Westerns (Bullet for Sandoval / Any Gun Can Play / Strangers Gun Down / Today We Kill... Tomorrow We Die) VCI

Spaghetti Western Double Feature Vol 2: Bullet for Sandoval / Any Gun - VCI

Vampyres [Blu-ray] (José Ramón Larraz, 1974) Blue Underground


April 5th, 2010


Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans [Blu-ray] (Werner Herzog, 2009) First Look Pictures (BEAVER REVIEW)

Battlestar Galactica Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Universal Studios

Brothers Five [Blu-ray] (Wei Lo, 1970) Well Go USA

Cocoon [Blu-ray] (Ron Howard, 1985) - 20th Century Fox

The Collector [Blu-ray] (Marcus Dunstan, 2009) - Vivendi Entertainment

Delightful Forest [Blu-ray] (Cheh Chang, 1972) Well Go USA

The Divorce of Lady X (Tim Whelan, 1938) R2 UK - Network

Dreamscape [Blu-ray] (Joseph Ruben, 1984) Image Entertainment

Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (Roy Ward Baker, 1971) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Five Minutes of Heaven [Blu-ray] (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2009) - Mpi Home Video

Funny Games U.S. [Blu-ray] (Michael Haneke, 2007) R'B' UK Spirit Ent. Ltd

La France (Serge Bozon, 2007) Kino

Heroic Ones [Blu-ray] (Cheh Chang, 1970) Well Go USA

Icons of Suspense: Hammer Films - These Are The Damned (1963), Cash on Demand (1961), The Snorkel (1958), Stop Me Before I Kill! (1960), Maniac (1963) and Never Take Candy from a Stranger (1960) - Sony

The Italian Straw Hat (René Clair, 1928) Flicker Alley

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Theatrical Editions) [Blu-ray] - New Line

The Natural (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (Barry Levinson, 1984) Sony Pictures

Piranha (Joe Dante, 1978) (Roger Corman Cult Classics) Shout! Factory

The Relic [Blu-ray] (Peter Hyams, 1997) Lions Gate

Storm (Hans-Christian Schmid, 2009) Film Movement

The Thomas Crown Affair [Blu-ray] (John McTiernan, 1999) MGM

"The Unusuals" (Noah Hawley, 2009) ( Exclusive) - Sony

Who Dares Wins [Blu-ray] (Ian Sharp, 1982) R`B`UK - Arrow Films

Criterion have apparently lost the rights to their titles licensed from Studio Canal which Lions Gate will now be handling. The following Criterion titles will be out-of-print and therefore completely unavailable through normal channels by the end of March, 2010.

Carlos Saura’s Flamenco Trilogy (Eclipse Series 6) PURCHASE LINK (BEAVER REVIEW)
Coup de torchon PURCHASE LINK
Diary of a Country Priest PURCHASE LINK
Forbidden Games PURCHASE LINK
Gervaise (Essential Art House edition) PURCHASE LINK (BEAVER REVIEW)
Le jour se lève (Essential Art House edition) PURCHASE LINK
Last Holiday (Essential Art House edition) PURCHASE LINK
Mayerling (Essential Art House edition) PURCHASE LINK (BEAVER REVIEW)
Pierrot le fou (DVD and Blu-ray editions) PURCHASE LINK (BEAVER REVIEW)
Port of Shadows PURCHASE LINK
Quai des Orfèvres PURCHASE LINK
The Small Back Room PURCHASE LINK
The Tales of Hoffmann PURCHASE LINK
Variety Lights PURCHASE LINK


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