DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 9th, 2007


Chisáhmín! - I hope you all had a Happy Easter holiday (for those that recognize the event). 10 new reviews this week - and as eclectic as it gets - Sci-Fi TV to 60's Sexpolitation  - Propaganda camp to unique historical recreations - Classic Faustian to classic sports... etc.


Film Noir Femme Fatales UPDATED: Cathy O'Donnell added to the Femme Fatales of Film Noir page HERE.


NOTE: Godard's Histoire (s) du cinéma came out this past Thursday April 5th, 2007 HERE  and it has ENGLISH SUBS CONFIRMED on the GAUMONT WEBSITE !- Coffret 4 DVD (Godard) - R2 FR - Gaumont





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!):

NOTEWORTHY: The Region 2 PAL Optimum Collections coming out are generally just a rehash of older releases - many 2nd tier to Criterion DVDs, BUT the price is right for anyone who is just getting into the respective director or star. Entry level preferred.

Daryl Chin says: Philippe Garrel's Regular Lovers (released by Zeitgeist): this is a magnificent film, which details a young man's response to the events of May 1968 in Paris.
Alan Mayerson's
Steelyard Blues. This movie was an outgrowth of the FTA (Fuck The Army) theatrics which Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland were involved with in the early 1970s (Fonda plays a hooker, almost a parody of her part in Klute).
On April 17, Kino is releasing Grigori Chukrai's
The Forty-First, acclaimed in its time (1956) as one of the most beautiful color movies (other rivals were Visconti's Senso and Teshigahara's Gate of Hell), and a very strong film set during the Russian Revolution.
The Forty-First (if it's halfway decent, with Kino you always expect interlaced) and Regular Lovers are really extraordinary films, so I'm looking forward to the DVDs. (Thanks Daryl!)

I'll add that Gance's Napoléon Bonaparte as should be one of the more exciting releases of the year to date. I *think* it's public domain but let's hope Optimum puts some effort in. It could be a real treat of a DVD experience!


The Forty-First (Grigori Chukhrai, 1956) Kino Video

Steelyard Blues (Alan Myerson, 1973) Warner Home Video

Regular Lovers (Philippe Garrel, 2005) Zeitgeist Films

I Deal in Danger (Walter Grauman, 1966) 20th Century Fox

The Queen [Blu-ray](Stephen Frears, 2006) Miramax

The Queen (Stephen Frears, 2006) Miramax

Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 (Hawks And Sparrows, Oedipus Rex and Pigsty) Tartan Video

Jean Cocteau Collection (Le Sang D'un Poete (Blood Of A Poet), Testament D'orphee (The Testament Of Orpheus) And Cocteau Cineaste Documentary) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Napoléon Bonaparte (Abel Gance, 1934) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Fritz Lang Box Set - (Metropolis, Dr Mabuse - The Gambler, Spione, M and The Testament Of Dr Mabuse) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment

Henri-Georges Clouzot Collection - (Quai Des Orfevres, Le Corbeau and The Wages Of Fear) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Le Jour se lève (Marcel Carné, 1939) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

The Big Lebowski [HD DVD] (Joel Coen, 1998) Universal Studios

Letters from Iwo Jima (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Clint Eastwood, 2007) Warner

Letters from Iwo Jima (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD] (Clint Eastwood, 2007) Warner

Sombre (Philippe Grandrieux, 1998) Koch Lorber Films


RECOMMENDATIONS:  He's not afraid to be a little subversive and L'Ennui is my favorite Cedric Kahn film to date. The Artificial Eye release is far and away the edition to purchase. 

TV FANTASY... It's hard to give a strong recommendation unless you are into this - but if X-Files, Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits are up your alley then The Lost Room may be too...

CULTURE KITSCH!: I That this stuff was going on in my lifetime shocks and scares me - Yang Ban Xi is VERY interesting to say the least.

CLASSIC IN EVERY SENSE: If you are a sports fan (or not) The Pride of the Yankees needs to be in your collection.


New Reviews:


The Lost Room - I think branding this as a kind of extended episode of "The Twilight Zone" or "The Outer Limits" is fairly accurate. If you can overcome the first hurdle and suspend your beliefs through some of the earlier fantastical narrative (that many of the characters seem to accept as 'matter of fact') it can be quite engaging and adventurous. DVD Release Date: April 3rd, 2007

Moonlighting Wives - 1960s suburbia becomes a hotbed of rampant adultery and illicit sexual encounters in legendary sexploitation director Joseph Sarno s early erotic classic, Moonlighting Wives. Joan Rand is a shrewd, sexy, disgruntled housewife and mother who yearns for the better things in life. Unbeknownst to her husband, and with the help of a friend, Joan turns her office stenography service into a thriving yet well-concealed prostitution ring that has local law enforcement baffled. DVD Release Date: November 14th, 2006

My Father, The Genius - When estranged father, dreamer, and visionary architect Glen Howard Small bequeaths his daughter the task of writing his biography, she answers instead with a provocative film about his precarious career and thorny private life. At 31, Glen Small, founder and faculty member of the internationally acclaimed Southern California Institute of Architecture, was a rising star. At 61, he can barely pay his bills. DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2007

The Pride of the Yankees - Eloquently written (by Herman Mankiewicz and Jo Swerling from a story by Paul Gallico), stunningly photographed, and directed with great sensitivity, The Pride of the Yankees is the sweet, sentimental, and utterly American story of Lou Gehrig, the "Iron Man" first baseman of the indefatigable New York Yankees of the 1920s and 30s. Gary Cooper is exceptional as Gehrig and Teresa Wright marvelous as his sweetheart (and later wife), Eleanor. Anniversary DVD Release Date: April 7th, 2007

Bobby - A re-telling of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. The film follows 22 individuals who are all at the hotel for different purposes but share the common thread of anticipating Kennedy's arrival at the primary election night party, which would change their lives forever. This historic night is set against the backdrop of the cultural issues gripping the country at the time, including racism, sexual inequality and class differences. DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2007

Overlord - Seamlessly interweaving archival war footage and a fictional narrative, Stuart Cooper’s immersive account of one twenty-year-old’s journey from basic training to the front lines of D-day brings all the terrors and isolation of war to life with jolting authenticity. Overlord, impressionistically shot by Stanley Kubrick’s longtime cinematographer John Alcott, is both a document of World War II and a dreamlike meditation on man’s smallness in a large, incomprehensible machine. DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2007

Yang Ban Xi - Long before Nixon and Peter Sellars, and long before 'Made in China' branded the world, the Chinese government produced state propaganda of the campiest kind. In the documentary "Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works," the director Yan-Ting Yuen revisits the country's recent past to explore the history and legacy of one of the strangest byproducts of totalitarian madness: the revolutionary spectacular. With the onset of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, the government allowed only about a dozen revolutionary operas, or Yang Ban Xi, to be performed on stage and on screen; the most popular became known as the eight model works. Although filled with dancers lustily singing Mao's praise, these productions look eerily familiar, maybe because, as one performer remembers, it was "as if I were working in a fairy tale like a Hollywood musical." DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2007

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Generally underrated version of Oscar Wilde's Faustian tale about a young Victorian gentleman who sells his soul to retain his youth, directed with loving care by the equally underrated Lewin (best known, perhaps, for Pandora and the Flying Dutchman). Hatfield - cool, beautiful, and effortlessly suggesting the corruptibility of Dorian's dark soul - is excellent, though even he is overshadowed by the cynical, epigrammatic brilliance of Sanders as Lord Henry. With elegant fin de siècle sets superbly shot by Harry Stradling, and the ironic Wildean wit understated rather than overplayed, it's that rare thing: a Hollywoodian literary adaptation that both stays faithful and does justice to its source. DVD Release Date: March 8th, 2006

Payback (Director's Cut): In and of themselves, the two Paybacks are no more than solidly-constructed potboilers, but I’d imagine that teachers could use the DVDs for a variety of lessons, from story writing/construction to editing, from demographics testing to Hollywood power plays. As far as double-dips go, Payback: Straight Up (The Director’s Cut) offers a revelatory look at when artistic and commercial sensibilities collide. DVD Release Date: April 10th 2007

L'Ennui - Kahn's adaptation of Alberto Moravia's Boredom bears a close resemblance to Godard's treatment of the same author's Le Mépris - thematically more than cinematically - with its fateful study of an incompatible, inscrutable relationship. Moravia's clinical, obsessive analysis of the pitfalls of sexual attraction and rejection offers potentially gloomy going, and the narrative here certainly spins round and round nowhere. But Kahn enlivens the drama by comically spiking Martin's mono-maniacal self-absorbtion, and counterposes Berling's restless neurotic and Guillemin's unflappable, unyielding enigma to dynamic and fascinating effect.


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of April 9th, 2007


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

Blood & Sand (Rouben Mamoulian, 1941) - 20th Century Fox

Bobby (Widescreen Edtion) (Emilio Estevez , 2006) Weinstein Company

Doris Day Collection 2 (Romance on the High Seas/My Dream Is Yours/On Moonlight Bay/ I'll See You in My Dreams/By the Light of the Silvery Moon/Lucky Me) - Warner Home Video

El Aura (Fabián Bielinsky, 2005) IFC

My Dream Is Yours (Michael Curtiz, Friz Freleng, 1949) Warner Home Video

My Father, the Genius (Lucia Small, 2002) New Yorker

Sleeping Dogs Lie (Bob Goldthwait, 2006) First Look Pictures

Little Murders (Alan Arkin, 1971) 20th Century Fox

Petit Lieutenant (Xavier Beauvois) Koch Lorber Films

Sombre (Philippe Grandrieux, 1998) Koch Lorber Films

Twin Peaks - The Second Season (1990) - Paramount Home Video

Yang Ban Xi (Yan Ting Yuen, 2005) Home Vision


Week of April 16th, 2007


All Night Long (Basil Dearden, 1962) R2 UK Network

Brute Force (Criterion Collection) (Jules Dassin, 1947) Criterion

Coffret Chantal Akerman - possibly no Eng. subs (les années 70 : Hôtel Monterey / Je, tu, il, elle / Jeanne Dielman, / News from home / Les Rendez-vous d'Anna) - Carlotta Films

The Forty-First (Grigori Chukhrai, 1956) Kino Video

La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) Criterion

Harold Lloyd - The Short Films 2-disc (Two Gun Gussie, The Non-Stop Kid, Captain Kidd's Kids, Get Out And Get Under, Now Or Never, The City Slicker, Ring Up The Curtain, From Hand To Mouth, High And Dizzy And Among Those Present) R2 UK Cinema Club

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles - possibly no Eng. subs (Chantal Akerman, 1976) Carlotta Films

The Last King of Scotland (Widescreen Edition) (Kevin Macdonald, 2006) 20th Century Fox

Notes on a Scandal (Richard Eyre, 2006) 20th Century Fox

Overlord (Criterion Collection) (Stuart Cooper, 1975) Criterion

Pulp (Mike Hodges, 1972) MGM

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe (Giles Foster, 1985) BBC Warner

Thieves Like Us (Robert Altman, 1974) MGM




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






- Best of the Best!



Things are heating up in the world of DVD...




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