DVDBeaver Newsletter - March 23rd, 2008

Bon dia! - 17 new reviews this past week. We continue to cherish older cinema brought to hi-def with six Blu-rays of films made prior to 1961!  Eric Rohmer, Mike Leigh, Truffaut, Minnelli, Lynch, Karel Reisz, Criterions, many exciting new Calendar Releases!, some continued SALES, and another new CONTEST (with great prize!). There is a lot to recommend here.

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

MARCH 23rd CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed DVD package of An American in Paris Blu-ray  - Best of luck all!

NEW BUTTONS ADDED! (you spoke - we listened) - 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!)

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

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!)

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!):

Last Year At Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1962) Criterion

Last Year At Marienbad [Blu-ray] (Alain Resnais, 1962) Criterion\

My Dinner With Andre (Louis Malle, 1981) Criterion

Bergman Island (Marie Nyreröd, 2006) Criterion

The Seventh Seal 2-disc (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Criterion

The Seventh Seal [Blu-ray] (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Criterion

Backlash (John Sturges, 1956) R2 UK Optimum

The King and Four Queens (Raoul Walsh, 1956) R2 UK Optimum

Bullet for a Badman (R.G. Springsteen, 1964) R2 UK Optimum

The Gunfight at Dodge City (Joseph M. Newman, 1959) R2 UK Optimum

The Glory Guys (Arnold Laven, 1965) R2 UK Optimum

Bad Jim (Clyde Ware, 1990) R2 UK Optimum

Barquero (Gordon Douglas, 1970) R2 UK Optimum

Sometimes a Great Notion (Paul Newman, 1971) R2 UK Optimum

The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada [Blu-ray] (Tommy Lee Jones, 2005) R? UK Optimum

The Diary of Anne Frank [Blu-ray] (George Stevens, 1959) 20th Century Fox

The International (Tom Tykwer, 2009) Sony Pictures

Batman 20th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] (Tim Burton, 1989) Warner

The Seventh Veil (Compton Bennett, 1945) R2 UK Odeon Entertainment

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008) Paramount

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [Blu-ray] (David Fincher, 2008) Paramount

Defiance (Edward Zwick, 2008) Paramount

Defiance [Blu-ray] (Edward Zwick, 2008) Paramount

Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes, 2008) Paramount

Revolutionary Road [Blu-ray] (Sam Mendes, 2008) Paramount

The Siege [Blu-ray] (Edward Zwick, 1998) 20th Century Fox

The Great Buck Howard [Blu-ray] (Sean McGinly, 2008) Magnolia

Perry Mason: Season 4, Vol. 1 – Paramount

Ultimate Sci-Fi Collection 20-disc (Escape From NY, Mad Max SE, Rollerball, Abyss, Alien, Alien 2, Day The Earth Stood Still, Fantastic Voyage, The Fly, Independence Day, Journey To Center of the Earth, The Neptune Factor, The Planet Of The Apes , The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea etc.) 20th Century Fox

The Family Guy, Vol. 7 - 20th Century Fox

Arabian Nights (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1974) R'B' Bfi Video

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

The Canterbury Tales (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1972) R'B' Bfi Video

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

The Decameron (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1971) R 'B' Bfi Video

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


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): One of the better weeks of this year with much to extol. Blu-ray appears to have exploded with classical revelry for power-packed musicals, a Biblical epic, 2 Criterion Truffaut gems, and a UK Kitchen Sink masterpiece - all in 1080P. Wow. Going chronologically - An American in Paris BR seems absolutely essential with a magnificently culminating final number that I've demo'ed for friends more than a few times. The Robe BR is notable as the first movie to be filmed in CinemaScope - and it remains emotionally impacting even over 50-years later. South Pacific BR is an unbelievable package from Fox overflowing with visual beauty, toe-tapping music and bounteous bonus features. Released in the same year,  Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's Gigi BR  has the same appeal. Another enticing part of these discs is the price - incredible value here folks. But wait - we're not through yet with the following year producing one of the mainstays of the French New Wave - Truffaut's iconic The 400 Blows BR - even more absorbing now with Criterion magic and the power of high-resolution visuals. Triumphant. Let's move to the  British New Wave and the gritty realism of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning BR with Albert Finney as the amoral anti-hero. This film is grainy, tough and thoroughly anti-establishment. Let's jump to 1980 where Monsieur Truffaut surfaces again in home theater high-definition with his humanist drama The Last Metro BR. From what I watched this week, Things We Lost in the Fire BR is a sober modern exploration - appearing to look almost too good in the new format. Finally, something we can dismiss - Lynch's Wild at Heart BR is certainly worthy fodder for the library, but French authoring tricks on the Blu-ray - leave us no choice but to politely say - aucun merci. Leonard seems pleased with Cape No. 7 BR and to a lesser degree Swing Girls BR and Ip Man BR. No, we haven't forgot SD - big thanks to Per-Olof for his coverage of Rohmer's The Romance of Astrea and Celadon and, like most who see it, I was smitten with Sally Hawkins in Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky. This is very fun and worth seeing. Ohhh, almost forgot - we'll get to the bottom of the DVD of Slumdog Millionaire, but I've phoned two local retailers who have the same issues I did. Hmmm...


New Reviews:

Slumdog Millionaire - When I saw "Slumdog Millionaire" at Toronto, I was witnessing a phenomenon: dramatic proof that a movie is about how it tells itself. I walked out of the theater and flatly predicted it would win the Audience Award. Seven days later, it did. And that it could land a best picture Oscar nomination. We will see. It is one of those miraculous entertainments that achieves its immediate goals and keeps climbing toward a higher summit. DVD Release Date: March 31st, 2009

Ip Man BR - Given the cast and director, my expectations ran high for this movie. Four artists from SPL reunited for this biopic of one China's most famous martial artists: Director Wilson Yip, actors Donnie Yen (in the title role) and Simon Yam (in a supporting role), and the always impressive Sammo Hung – here working behind the camera as fight choreographer. Ip Man is, in a number of ways, a throwback to martial arts movies from the time of Bruce Lee – not coincidentally, since Ip Man was Bruce Lee's Wing Chun teacher. There is the town with competing martial arts schools, each headed by its own master; the bully (Fan Sui Wong) who comes to town to set up his own school, but not before he humiliates all the masters by giving each a brutal thrashing; and there is the quiet master whom everyone in town knows is the best but who heads no school of his own. Blu-ray Release date: February 13th, 2009

The Robe BR - One of the best Biblical epics of all time, based on a best-selling novel by Lloyd C. Douglas. It tells the story of a Roman, played by Burton, who was in charge of the Crucifixion of Christ and who later is converted to Christianity. The first movie to be filmed in CinemaScope. Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Picture, Best Actor--Richard Burton. Academy Awards: Best (Color) Costume Design, Best (Color) Art Direction-Set Decoration. Blu-ray Release date: March 17th, 2009

An American in Paris BR - A GI (Gene Kelly) stays in Paris after the war to become an artist, and has to choose between the patronage of a rich American woman (Nina Foch) and a French gamine (Leslie Caron) engaged to an older man. The plot is mostly an excuse for director Vincente Minnelli to pool his own extraordinary talent with those of choreographer-dancer-actor Kelly and the artists behind the screenplay, art direction, cinematography, and score, creating a rapturous musical not quite like anything else in cinema. The final section of the film comprises a 17-minute dance sequence that took a month to film and is breathtaking. Songs include "'S Wonderful," "I Got Rhythm," and "Love Is Here to Stay."... Blu-ray Release date: March 31st, 2009

Gigi BR - Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1958 direct-to-screen follow-up to their My Fair Lady was--miraculously--every bit as memorable as that stage smash. Set in fin-de-siècle Paris and based on a Colette story, Gigi also is about a girl (Leslie Caron) on a lower rung of society who blossoms into Cinderellahood before our eyes and ears. Thank heaven for Hermione Gingold and Maurice Chevalier as her mentors, and Louis Jourdan as her prince. The screenplay writer and lyricist Lerner always said that Gigi's title song was his favorite of all he'd written, and it's easy to see why--"Gigi" is a transcendent anthem to being transformed by love from an unexpected source. Blu-ray Release date: March 31st, 2009

South Pacific BR - For its Blu-ray release, South Pacific underwent a complete photochemical restoration of its original 65mm negative, and underwent an 8k high definition scan of the brand new interpositive. For the first time in high definition, you can enjoy Leon Shamroy's widescreen photography of the Hawaiian locations and be dazzled by director Joshua Logan’s famous filtered sequences. The original soundtrack will, for the first time ever, be presented in uncompressed, Lossless DTS audio. Blu-ray Release date: March 31st, 2009

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning BR - Based on Alan Sillitoe's largely autobiographical novel, and with powerful central performances, crackling dialogue and a superb jazz score by Johnny Dankworth, the film stands as a vibrant modern classic. This Seminal film of the British New Wave was a great box-office success - audiences were thrilled by its anti-establishment energy, gritty realism, and above all its fresh, outspoken working-class hero. Blu-ray Release Date: March 23rd, 2009

Cape No. 7 BR - The story works at a number of levels. One of them: Unable to disclose his affection for a Taiwanese woman prior to returning to Japan, a Japanese teacher reveals his love in seven passionate letters. Although these letters aren’t mailed until some 70 years later, they become a catalyst for another intercultural love affair in the present with echoes from the old. Blu-ray Release date: January 2nd, 2009

The Last Metro BR - 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. Blu-ray Release Date: March 24th, 2009

Wild at Heart BR - "Wild at Heart," though, is lacking in the dreamlike irrevocability of his most brilliant work. From the outset, just after the wondrously poetic opening credits, he seems to misstep. In "Wild at Heart" -- which Lynch adapted from a novel by Barry Gifford -- the director is working with pulp conventions; it's a road movie about a pair of seemingly doomed young lovers named Lula and Sailor (Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage) on the run from the girl's hysterical mother (Dern's real mother, Diane Ladd). But Lynch wants to explode the rules of the game without really understanding them. Blu-ray Release Date: November 5th, 2008

The 400 Blows BR - Calling The 400 Blows a "coming-of-age story" seems somehow inadequate. The label, while accurate, does not indicate either the uniqueness or the cinematic importance of this motion picture. These days, the average coming-of-age story tends to be a lightweight affair, often tinged with nostalgia and rarely perceptive. Such is not the case with The 400 Blows, which takes an uncompromising, non-judgmental look at several key events in the life of a teenage boy. With all of the melodrama leeched out, we are able to view and understand the factors that shape his present and the direction of his future. CriterionBlu-ray Release date March 24th, 2009

Happy-Go-Lucky - This is Mike Leigh's funniest film since "Life Is Sweet" (1991). Of course he hasn't ever made a completely funny film, and "Happy-Go-Lucky" has scenes that are not funny, not at all. There are always undercurrents and oddness. His films feel as if they're spontaneously unfolding; he has a vision of his characters that is only gradually revealed. He almost always finds remarkable performances, partly because he casts actors, not stars, and partly because he and the actors rehearse for weeks, tilting the dialogue this way and that, contriving back stories, finding out where the characters came from before the movie began, predicting where they will go after it's over. DVD Release Date: March 10th, 2009

Things We Lost in the Fire BR - Things We Lost in the Fire represents Danish-born Susanne Bier's first foray into studio-funded American cinema. The transition is seamless - Bier's signature style of simple shots and frequent close-ups remains intact and her choice of material focuses on the interaction between damaged and grieving people. Those who saw Bier's previous feature, After the Wedding, will recognize similar rhythms in this one. (Literal as well as figurative - Bier has "imported" composer Johan Söderqvist with her.) Although the subject matter is serious and the tone is predominantly somber, Bier includes enough moments of subdued levity to keep this movie from falling into the "feel bad" category. Nonetheless, this is not a good choice if you're looking for a lighthearted night at the movies. Blu-ray Release date: March 24th, 2009

Waterboys BR - Make way for the synchronized swimmers in the crowd-pleasing zero-to-hero youth film Water Boys! Directed by Yaguchi Shinobu (Swing Girls), this hilarious and heartwarming 2001 sports comedy about a bunch of high school boys who take up synchronized swimming received eight nominations at the Japan Academy Awards and won a Best Newcomer trophy for heartthrob Tsumabuki Satoshi (Nada Sou Sou). Water Boys not only launched Tsumabuki Satoshi to fame, it also provided a start for many other newcomer actors, most notably Hiroshi Tamaki (Nodame Cantabile, Midnight Eagle). Blu-ray Release date: October 24, 2008

A Mighty Heart BR - "A Mighty Heart" begins with shots of the teeming streets of Karachi, Pakistan, a city with a population that seems jammed in, shoulder to shoulder. Terrorists will emerge from this sea of humanity, kidnap the American journalist Daniel Pearl and disappear. The film is about the desperate search for Pearl (Dan Futterman) before the release of the appalling video showing him being beheaded. It is told largely through the eyes of and based on a memoir by his widow, Mariane. Blu-ray Release date: March 24th, 2009

Swing Girls BR - A magical feat in its own right, Swing Girls, for all its fluff and nonsense and absence of sex, is infectious, charming, engaging and, occasionally demonstrative of actual movie making technique – as when an LP falls out of its sleeve and rolls down the hallway, connecting the girls to their destiny. There's very little character development as such, and it all ends abruptly, yet somehow we are taken in. Blu-ray Release date: October 24th, 2008

The Romance of Astrea and Celadon - French legend Eric Rohmer directs this adaptation that played at the film festivals in Toronto, New York, and Venice. Based on a 17th century novel that was set in the bucolic countryside in the 5th century, THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON concerns the love of the titular couple. A misunderstanding between the pair leads to Astrea (Stéphanie Crayencour) banishing her beloved Celadon (Andy Gillet) from her sight. Since he cannot live without his love, he throws himself into the river to end his life. Ironically, that's where the fun begins: Celadon survives, and in order to be close to Astrea, he dons drag and begins a close friendship with her. DVD Release Date: Jan 16th, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

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

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


Week of March 30th, 2009

A Time to Love and a Time to Die (Douglas Sirk, 1958) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

An American in Paris [Blu-ray] (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) Warner

Cat in the Brain (Limited Edition 2-disc) (Lucio Fulci, 1990) Grindhouse Releasing/ Ryko

Come Play with Me (Salvatore Samperi, 1968) Video Music, Inc.

Danton (Andrzej Wajda, 1983) Criterion

Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse - VCI

Fallen Angels (Special Edition) (Wong Kar-Wai, 1995) Kino

Film Noir Double Feature Vol 3: Amazing Mr. X aka: The Spiritualist & Reign of Terror aka: Black Book - VCI

Flesh and Fury (Joseph Pevney, 1952) R2 UK Eureka

Fugitive: Season Two V.2 (4-disc) Paramount

lI Generale della Rovere (Roberto Rossellini, 1959) Criterion

Gigi [Blu-ray] (Vincente Minnelli, 1958) Warner

Happy Together (Special Edition) (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997) Kino

Hercules Collection (4-disc - 8 films) Image Entertainment

Ichi the Killer [Blu-ray] (Takashi Miike, 2001) Tokyo Shock

Muriel, Ou Le Temps D'un Retour (Alain Resnais, 1963) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Nighthawks/Strip Jack Naked - Nighthawks 2 [Blu-ray] (1978) - Region FREE BFI

No Regret (Leesong Hee-il, 2006) Liberation

Of Time and the City (Terence Davies, 2008) BFI
Of Time and the City [
Blu-ray] (Terence Davies, 2008) BFI

The One [Blu-ray] (James Wong, 2001) Sony Pictures

Saint Francis (Ezra Gould, 2007) Redemption Films

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

Seven Pounds (Gabriele Muccino, 2008) Sony Pictures
Seven Pounds [
Blu-ray] (Gabriele Muccino, 2008) Sony Pictures

Shakespeare's an Age of Kings (1960) Warner

Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan - 2008) Twentieth Century Fox
Slumdog Millionaire [
Blu-ray] (Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan - 2008) Twentieth Century Fox

South Pacific [Blu-ray] (Joshua Logan, 1958) 20th Century Fox

Tehilim (Raphaël Nadjari, 2007) Kino Video

Tell No One [Blu-ray] (Guillaume Canet, 2006) MPI

Timecrimes (Nacho Vigalondo, 2007) Magnolia

Two Evil Eyes [Blu-ray] (Dario Argento / George A. Romero, 1990) Blue Underground

Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Waltz with Bashir [
(Ari Folman, 2008) RB UK Artificial Eye

"They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom," - Confucius
In a week DVDBeaver should have a MAJOR announcement!