DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 6th, 2009

Dia Duit! - 13 new reviews this past week. 12 discs and one special Blu-ray player - which sheds an important glow on our otherwise unremarkable output.

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 April HERE

YES - ON APRIL FOOL'S! we had a short joke/fantasy HERE for the first day of April! (no harm, no foul friends!)


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!)

WEEK OF MARCH 30th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed DVD package of Gigi 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!)


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!):

Tokyo! (Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax and Michel Gondry, 2008) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Winged Migration [Blu-ray] (Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, 2001) Sony Pictures

Fatal Attraction [Blu-ray] (Adrian Lyne, 1987) Paramount

Last Holiday (Henry Cass, 1950) Criterion

Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood, 2008) Warner Home Video

Gran Torino [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 2008) Warner Home Video

Flawless [Blu-ray] (Michael Radford, 2007) Magnolia

Indecent Proposal [Blu-ray] (Adrian Lyne, 1993) Paramount

Hansel & Gretel (Pil-Sung Yim, 2007) R2 UK Fusion

Golden Age Noir (1952-1955) - 7X1/2 hour playhouse episodes starring Joanne Woodward, Dick Powell, Lee Marvin, Ida Lupino etc. directed by Blake Edwards, Robert Mulligan, Robert Aldrich etc. - RYKO Distribution

The Andrzej Munk Trilogy: Eroica/Bad Luck/Man on the Tracks (Andrzej Munk, 1957) POLART

Tender Mercies (Bruce Beresford, 1983) LionsGate

Jack Lemmon Film Collection - Phffft! (1954) Operation Mad Ball (1957) Notorious Landlady, The (1962) Under The Yum Yum Tree (1963) Good Neighbor Sam (1964) - Sony Pictures


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Despite the week's limited output - there are a few things I enjoyed on my Momitsu. You may enter another world with Universal's Pre-Code Hollywood Collection. This gave me a very high level of entertainment and I consider it a must-own. Alliance in Canada can produce some decent value - and their Trainspotting BR is worth the price. American History X BR in hi-def is even more impacting than I recall ever seeing before. The Princess Bride BR is always amusing. The Spirit BR may be a lot of style over substance - but what style! Johnny Mnemonic BR had potential but ultimately fails - miserably. Leonard doesn't seem over-the-moon about the Animal Kingdom Blu-rays or those non-Connery Bonds - but does endorse the Collectors Edition of No Country For Old Men.


New Reviews:

Momitsu BDP-899 - Region FREE Blu-ray Player - advertised as the World's first truly region free Blu-ray and DVD player. See the Beaver scoop on this new product.

No Country For Old Men CE BR - It was only 13 months ago that Miramax/Disney released this movie on Blu-ray, so what's different about this new edition? While there are nominal differences in respect to the audio mix: 5.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit) - which, for some reason, my PS3 reads as DTS HD-MA - vs. the earlier 5.1 Uncompressed (48 kHz/24-bit), the new edition offers a 5.1 dub in Spanish – a nice touch considering where the events take place. The AVC codec remains the same with slightly higher bit rates. It appears to have been subtly remastered for "better" contrast control, even though I see little difference in my comparative caps. Much the same can be said for the audio, which I cannot confirm is perceptibly better. In any case, it's the uniquely disposed extra features that make this release a true "Collector's Edition." Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

The Spirit BR - Above shadowy, crime-infested streets a masked avenger watches. Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) was one of Central City’s finest cops until a gangster’s bullet ended his life. Now Fate has brought him back from the beyond as The Spirit, a street-hardened hero who faces off against seductive foes like the voluptuous Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) and the alluring Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson). Then, of course, there’s his evil archenemy, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), with a mission to wipe out Spirit’s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality in this graphic action-thriller. Blu-ray Release date: April 14th, 2009

The World is Not Enough BR - The first batch of James Bond films on Blu-ray from MGM included the final Pierce Brosnan film as 007: Die Another Day. This second group includes Brosnan's previous movie: The World is Not Enough. The plot, this time around, blends one of the staples of the genre, the theft of nuclear material, with an important contemporary concern: energy. In this case, control of that most durable of geopolitical resources: oil. Blu-ray Release date: March 24, 2009

Pre-Code Hollywood Collection - For the first time ever, Universal opens its vaults to bring you 6 classic films from the most decadent era in motion picture history: Pre-Code Hollywood. In 1934, Hollywood was turned upside down by the enforcement of a strict “Production Code” that would change the way movies were made for the next 34 years. During the “pre-code” period (1929 to mid-1934), censorship barely existed in Hollywood and filmmakers had free reign to make the movies they wanted and the public demanded. No subject was taboo including adultery, murder, immorality and sex. Starring screen legends Cary Grant, Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Tallulah Bankhead, Randolph Scott and Sylvia Sidney, the Pre-Code Hollywood Collection forever captures one of the most influential periods in cinema history. DVD Release Date: April 7th, 2009

Johnny Mnemonic BR - Johnny Mnemonic is a 1995 cyberpunk film, loosely based on the short story of the same name by William Gibson, in which Keanu Reeves plays the title character, a man with a cybernetic brain implant designed to store information. It portrays Gibson's standard dystopian view of the future with the world dominated by large corporations and with strong East Asian influences. Blu-ray Release date: December 19th, 2008

Moonraker BR - Moonraker enters at exactly the halfway point in the seven-film span of movies with Roger Moore as 007. Coming between what are arguably Moore's best Bond outings (The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only) Moonraker has more than its share of detractors. Even for a Bond movie, the science fantasy technology it depicts in and around Drax's space station is ludicrous. On the other hand, Moonraker is clearly Moore/Bond's most ingratiating comedy. Roger Moore generally traded Connery's realistic two-fisted agent for a humor that straddled smirk and whimsy. And once Jaws makes his surprise appearance (having been ironically dispatched in The Spy Who Loved Me), and especially as he emerges like Wile E. Coyote from certain death, time and again unscathed, the tone is set, and the entire finale seems less preposterous. Blu-ray Release date: March 24, 2009

Trainspotting BR - Former alcoholics and drug abusers often report that they don't miss the substances nearly as much as the conditions under which they were used--the camaraderie of the true drinkers' bar, for example, where the standing joke is that the straight world just doesn't get it, doesn't understand that the disease is life and the treatment is another drink. The reason there is a fierce joy in ``Trainspotting'', despite the appalling things that happen in it, is that it's basically about friends in need. Blu-ray Release Date: April 7th, 2009

The Princess Bride BR - Is it conceivable that there is anyone out there who does not enjoy The Princess Bride? Even if you find the contemporary part of the movie where Peter Falk seduces his eight year old grandson (Fred Savage) into the world of fairy tales a case of interruptus (Fred, does); even if you find Billy Crystal's rendition of Miracle Max a little too much shtick or Carol Kane as his wife a little too shrill; and even if Andre the Giant was yet to meet his match in Hulk Hogan, is this not one of the sweetest, most entertaining 98 minutes on video? I ask you! (Pacé, Ms. Kael.) Blu-ray Release date: March 17th, 2009

The Beauty of Snakes BR - Like other Discovery and Animal Planet Blu-ray entries so far, this one is presented in 1080i, as would have been the broadcast, regardless of the original source. This one appears to be high def video, presented in widescreen anamorphic 1.78:1 with bit rates in the mid 20s and with no evidence of artifacts or enhancements. Perhaps because of the photography of these incredibly colorful and awesome creatures, which is more noticeable on freeze frame than in motion. As you can see from the screen caps, this movie - over before you know it - is filled with gorgeous pictures. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

Africa's Elephant Kingdom BR - Avery Brooks narrates this story of an African elephant herd from the birth of new calves to playful times under the "White Mountain" to their trek across the Kenyan desert in search of water. The herd itself is matriarchal, the bulls being loners except for mating season. Remarkable are scenes of great warmth and sensitivity, particularly around loss and death. The concept of family is hard not to be impressed by. Brooks speaks for one of the bulls, but have no fear – there are no animatronic lip movements here. In fact, the script takes him from the subjective to the objective without missing a beat. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

The World's Biggest and Baddest Bugs BR - Bugman Ruud Kleinpaste hosts this entomological odyssey into some of our planet's best habitats for bugs, insects and spiders. Ruud "Throw another bug on the Barbie" Kleinpaste is entertaining for young children, definitely his target audience. (I found his excitement a bit too frantic for my sensibilities.) The 87-minute program is divided into11 episodes (not that the menu gives any indication) for easier digestion of the material. I can't say that I found the promise of the title to be borne out in the telling or showing. But what do I know! Maybe these mantises, killer bees, and dragonflies are the biggest and the baddest little buggers that ever there was – but they all looked pretty tame to me. Maybe I've just seen too many sci-fi movies. I mean, Starship Troopers it's not. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

American History X BR - American History X is littered with pitfalls. It is unavoidably didactic in its messaging. It is distractingly overwritten in certain scenes. Its tone is weirdly, uncomfortably operatic, replete with muscular orchestral music so extravagant one might think it was a '40s period piece. So many potential problems -- and yet despite its flaws (and perhaps because of them), the film finds a sublime power that is not easily achieved in American cinema. Contradictory though it may seem, American History X is utterly flawed -- and one of the most important films in recent memory. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of April 6th, 2009

2010: The Year We Make Contact [Blu-ray] (Peter Hyams, 1984) Warner

A Song Is Born (Howard Hawks, 1948) MGM

Alexandra (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2009) New Yorker

American History X [Blu-ray] (David McKenna, 1998) Warner Home Video

The Bela Tarr Collection (The Man From London, Werckmeister Harmonies and Damnation) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

Boiler Room [Blu-ray] (Ben Younger, 2000) - Alliance (Universal)

The Boys from Brazil (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1978) Lions Gate

Bricktown [Blu-ray] (Michael D. Kelber, 2008) Celebrity Video Distribution

The Caller (Richard Ledes , 2008) Arts Alliance America

The Case of the Frightened Lady (George King, 1940) Wham! USA

Cleopatra 75th Anniversary Edition (Cecil B. DeMille, 1934) Universal Home Video

The Day the Earth Stood Still [Blu-ray] (Scott Derrickson, 2008) - 20th Century Fox

Disney Animation Collection 1: Mickey & Beanstalk - Disney Video
Disney Animation Collection 2: Three Little Pigs - Disney Video

Donkey Punch [Rated] (Oliver Blackburn, 2008) Magnolia
Donkey Punch [UN-Rated]
(Oliver Blackburn, 2008) Magnolia

Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008) Miramax

Doubt [Blu-ray] (John Patrick Shanley, 2008) Miramax

Final Destination [Blu-ray] (Jeffrey Reddick, 2000) Warner

Fly Away Home [Blu-ray] (Carroll Ballard, 1996) Sony Pictures

La Grande bouffe (Marco Ferreri, 1973) Koch Lorber Films

Hansel & Gretel (Pil-Sung Yim, 2007) R2 UK Fusion

It's a Pleasure (William A. Seiter, 1945) MGM

John Q [Blu-ray] (Nick Cassavetes, 2002) Warner Home Video

The Loyal 47 Ronin (Kunio Watanabe, 1958) Animeigo

Man From London (Béla Tarr, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Max Fleischer's Superman (2pc) - Warner

Monty Python And The Holy Grail [Blu-ray] (Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones - 1974) R'B' Sony Pictures

Point of No Return [Blu-ray] (John Badham, 1993) Warner Home Video

Pre-Code Hollywood Collection - The Cheat (1931, 74 min.), Merrily We Go to Hell (1932, 78 min.), Hot Saturday (1932, 73 min.), Torch Singer (1933, 71 min.), Murder at the Vanities (1934, 89 min.) Search for Beauty (1934, 78 min.) - Universal Home Video

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

Taking Lives [Blu-ray] (D.J. Caruso, 2004) Warner Home Video

Tales of Ordinary Madness (Marco Ferreri, 1981) Koch Lorber Films

TCM Spotlight: Doris Day Collection - April in Paris (1952), It's a Great Feeling (1949), Starlift (1951), Tea for Two (1950), The Tunnel of Love (1958) - Warner

Tell Me in the Sunlight (Steve Cochran, 1967) Televista

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

Trainspotting [Blu-ray] (Danny Boyle, 1996) - Alliance (Universal)

Vinyan (Fabrice Du Welz, 2008) Sony Pictures

Winged Migration [Blu-ray] (Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, 2001) Sony Pictures

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


Week of April 13th, 2009

8 Mile [Blu-ray] (Curtis Hanson, 2002) Universal Studios

Cranford [Blu-ray] (Sue Birtwistle, Susie Conklin - 2007) Warner

Dark Matter (Shi-Zheng Chen, 2007) Universal Studios

The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008) Weinstein

Rounders [Blu-ray] (John Dahl, 1998) MiraMax

Thirteenth Floor [Blu-ray] (Josef Rusnak, 1999) Sony Pictures

Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on the High Seas (The Yankee Clipper / Around the Horn / The Square Rigger / Ship Ahoy / Down to the Sea in Ships) - Flicker Alley

"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act." - Anatole France (1844 - 1924)
The weather warms - drink deep!