DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 14th, 2008

Kâils! - 15 new reviews this week - Eclipse, Criterion, David Lean in Blu-ray, silent Duvivier and Ozu, cheeky Tinto Brass, Donnie Yen kicks, Maggie Cheung in latex!!... WOW. But next week is going to be another barn-burner (William Klein, quartet of vintage Universal comedies, Orphanage, The Savages, etc.) - I've never watched so many DVDs - my eyes are square! Strong AE and MoC sale at Amazon.UK (indulge while you can). Only a few additions to this week's Calendar, Another contest and more. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.


- CONTEST ACTIVITY (last week's winner can be seen on our Contest Page HERE):

April 14th's CONTEST - The CLIP to identify is HERE! (Too easy... if you know!)

THIS WEEK's PRIZE: a brand HD-DVD of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

WINNER of Leonard's Inside the White Tower contest - announced HERE


ARTIFICIAL EYE WORLD CINEMA Yearly Promotion (up to 75% off!) at Amazon.UK including:

The Jean Vigo Collection (2 disc Collector's Edition) - (73% OFF!), Stalker [1979] (67% OFF!), Solaris [1972] (67% OFF!), L'Ennui (1998) (75% OFF!), Andrei Rublev [1973] (67% OFF!), Black Cat, White Cat [1998] (73% OFF!), Hidden (cache) [2005] (70% OFF!), The Consequences Of Love [2004] (70% OFF!), Land And Freedom [1995] (70% OFF!), La Belle Noiseuse [1991] (62% OFF!), The Eric Rohmer Collection (Le Signe du Lion, Le Baoulangere de Monceau, La Carriere de Suzanne) [1966](45% OFF!), Weekend [1967] (65% OFF!), Innocence [2005] (70% OFF!), Three Colours Blue [1993] (65% OFF!), Code Unknown [2001] (65% OFF!), Life Of Oharu [1952] (60% OFF!), Beau Travail [1998] (65% OFF!), A Short Film About Killing [1988] (65% OFF!), A Short Film About Love [1988] (60% OFF!), Under The Sand [2001] (20% OFF!), The Barbarian Invasions [2004] (65% OFF!), Histoires De Marie Et Julien [2003] (60% OFF!), The Lady Of Musashino [1951] (60% OFF!), The Piano Teacher [2001] (68% OFF!) and MORE HERE!

Also many MASTERS OF CINEMA titles are 50% OFF! - Michael (50% OFF!), Twenty-four Eyes (50% OFF!),The Naked Island (50% OFF!),Funeral Parade of Roses (50% OFF!), Humanity & Paper Balloons (50% OFF!), Assassination (50% OFF!), Kwaidan (50% OFF!), Toni (50% OFF!) and MORE HERE...


Blu-ray - BUY TWO GET ONE FREE - deal is briefly back at Amazon.com see HERE


NEW FORMAT UPDATES: NEW Screen Captures added to the The Curse of the Golden Flower (BR) review HERE.

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

High Noon 2-disc Collector's Edition (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) – Lionsgate

Gangs of New York [Blu-ray] (Martin Scorsese, 2002) – Miramax

Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, 2008) – Paramount

Batman Begins [Blu-ray] Christopher Nolan, 2005) Warner Home Video

Batman Begins [Blu-ray] (Limited Edition Gift Set) (Christopher Nolan, 2005) Warner Home Video


BIG THANKS!: DVDBeaver would not exist without the support of many patrons - those who generously donate, and especially those who use our Amazon 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.



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): I was blown away by Death of a Cyclist. I stand and applaud Criterion for their imperfect Eclipse Series 10 - Silent Ozu release. A Passage To India BR looks magnificent and the film is prime Lean. It's reputedly coming to a more extensive 'SE' package later this year but The Red Balloon and White Mane are easy decisions at their current agreeable prices. Reviewer Michael is costing me with his excellent review of Au Bonheur Des Dames. Cha-ching! (another sale) and Leonard also sold me on Black Hawk Down BR. Eric continues to unearth clandestine gems like Ganja & Hess (how does he find all these?)

Think you are cool? - see the penultimate in Irma Vep (a favorite film... for many reasons)

Martial Arts aficionados may wish to indulge in the SD of Flash Point - better than the flawed Blu-ray covered by Luiz HERE!

Likewise, silent film students should nab The Story of The Kelly Gang... and, of course, the aforementioned Silent Ozu.

Those wishing to titillate with some Italiano softcore - who can upstage Brass? - The Voyeur, and Love and Passion.

I didn't quite understand all the hub-bub behind Lars and the Real Girl, but it has some appeal.... although I was even less enthused by The Backwoods.


New Reviews:

White Mane - A lesser-known short by the French master filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, whose Red Balloon is an all-time classic, White Mane is a beautiful but somewhat disturbing allegory that looks at first glance like a boy's adventure story, but actually contains real good vs. evil battles that can only be interpreted as a reflection of Lamorisse's own post-war angst. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008


Black Hawk Down BR - As we are informed in pseudo-documentary fashion before the movie proper gets under way, American special forces units were dispatched to Mogadishu in the summer of 1993 to remove Aidid and restore order. On October 3, during what was expected to be a 30 minute operation, 140 soldiers approaching from the ground and by air, run into a perfect storm of resistance that went on for hours and resulted in 19 Americans and countless Somalis dead. The movie follows the downing of the two helicopters and the attempts to rescue the crews that resulted in its spiraling casualties.

The Story of The Kelly Gang - The Story of the Kelly Gang is considered the first narrative feature film ever made. Filmed outside Melbourne when the Kelly legend was still fresh, it was believed lost for many years. The Australian National Film and Sound Archive and the BFI have restored parts of the original 1906 film to create an amazing package, which includes two commentaries on the national and worldwide significance of the film, alongside soundtracks and a variety of viewing modes.

Death of a Cyclist - Ironically, Juan Antonio Bardem (1922-2002) might be better known today as the uncle of actor Javier Bardem than as the master of sound and image that he is. Antifascist filmmakers who stuck around during Franco's reign are often forgotten outside Spain--unlike Luis Buñuel, who came back just long enough to make a few films and then left again. A communist, Bardem stayed, struggled, and was jailed more than once; he was in prison when he won an award at Cannes for this creepy, claustrophobic 1955 melodrama. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

Ganja & Hess - By no means is this a straightforward vampire film - the term is never uttered - it is a challenging, nonlinear, at times elliptical film that should have been recognized as a major accomplishment (it got rave reviews at Cannes).

Eclipse Series 10 - Silent Ozu - In the late twenties and early thirties, Yasujiro Ozu was working steadily for Shochiku studios, honing his craft on dozens of silent films in various genres, from romantic melodramas to college comedies to gangster pictures—and, of course, movies about families. In these three droll domestic films—Tokyo Chorus, I Was Born, But . . . , and Passing Fancy, presented here with all-new scores by renowned silent-film composer Donald Sosin—Ozu movingly and humorously depicts middle-class struggles and the resentments between children and parents, establishing the emotional and aesthetic delicacy with which he would transform the landscape of cinema. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

The Red Balloon - This is a wonderfully observed short film, almost entirely without dialogue, by French director Lamorisse about a boy who finds a red balloon. The balloon seems to become his best friend and follows him around the streets of Paris, helping him to cope with adults and bullies alike. The reader can read many different meanings into the boy's balloon, and it is much to the director's credit that we treat its (thankfully temporary) loss as a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

Flash Point - Having teamed with Wilson Yip in earlier action productions like SPL and Dragon Tiger Gate, Donnie Yen returns as action choreographer for Flash Point, and the cast adopts the fighting style called MMA - Mixed Martial Arts, which is something of a blend of various martial arts techniques, that audiences probably haven't seen before stylistically in close combat scenes. Flash Point boasts some incredible action sequences with explosive hard hitting fight combinations, and the sole complaint I have is I cant get enough of it! DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

The Backwoods - Word of advice: When and if you find yourself wandering around blindly in the middle of nowhere, do try your best to keep your nosy suburban fingers out of the locals' business. Big city do-gooders Paddy Considine and Gary Oldman have to learn this painful lesson the hard way in Koldo Serra's tense 2006 psychological shocker Bosque de sombras (aka The Backwoods). Fortunately for us, their inability to stay out of the other people's private affairs results in a thoroughly gripping tale of marital discourse, the ultimate price of sin, and really big shotguns. DVD Release Date: April 15th, 2008

Au Bonheur Des Dames - Visually and technically, this may be the most virtuosic of all Duvivier's films. From the opening shots of Dita Parlo's arrival in Paris we are plunged into seething crowd scenes, some filmed with hidden cameras in the street, others inside the palatial Galeries Lafayette. The camera swoops and thrusts, evoking through movement and editing the headlong pursuit of pleasure that the department store offers to satisfy. DVD Release Date: March 5th, 2008

Irma Vep - Maggie Cheung is playing herself as a successful Hong Kong action film star who has been picked by Rene Vidal (Jean-Pierre Leaud), an elderly French director at the tail end of his failing career. He has requested her to play the part of Irma Vep in his remake of Louis Feuillade's 1915 silent 7.5 hour masterpiece, Les Vampires. Dressed erotically in tight latex (not unlike Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns) she cat burgles while skulking around Paris rooftops. This alone is worth watching. Not unlike Feuillade, director Assayas has captured the mystique of Paris and bottled it onscreen. The Second Sight DVD Release Date: March 31st, 2008

A Passage To India BR - As New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote in 1985, “A Passage to India is the kind of movie that people think they are talking about when they insist that ‘they’—meaning Hollywood in the generic sense—don’t make movies the way they used to.” Indeed, it is an epic echo to the way movies used to be made, as demonstrated by director David Lean’s own previous epics, such as Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Based on the novel by E. M. Forster, the film is set in colonial India in 1924. Adela Quested (Judy Davis), a sheltered, well-bred British woman, travels to the subcontinent to visit her fiancé, a British magistrate posted in a small town; her traveling companion is his mother Mrs. Moore (Peggy Ashcroft). Blu-ray DVD Release date: April 15th, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl - Gosling continues his winning streak of strong roles in smart films (The Believer, Half Nelson, Fracture), showing his talents here as both a terrific character actor and appealing leading man. In this quirky, beguiling comedy scripted by Six Feet Under’s Nancy Oliver, he plays a reclusive, churchgoing office worker living next door to his brother Gus (Schneider) and pregnant sister-in-law Karin (Mortimer). Lars’s undemanding routine is upset when a lonely new colleague (Garner) comes on to him, prompting him to surf the Internet for someone less threatening. DVD Release Date: April 15th, 2008

The Voyeur - Produced with glossy cinematography and the alternately sensual and bubbly music of Riz Ortolani (who recycles some of his previous Brass score for PAPRIKA), Brass manages to infuse the film with his brand of naughty and explicit yet irreverent and light-hearted brand of erotica (the nude beach scene seems like something Fellini might have come up with had he been commissioned to direct a Penthouse video) into a respectful adaptation of Alberto Moravia's acclaimed novel.

Love and Passion - Tinto Brass somewhat reigns in the more comic and explicit aspects of his brand of erotica for this well-made tale of a couple in post-war Italy trying to recapture the magic of their wartime romances with other lovers. Fred (blues musician Andy J. Forest, who did a handful of Italian movies in the late eighties), an American soldier now working for UNESCO assessing the state of Roman art after the war, reconnects with a prostitute Rosa (Francesca Dellera) while former British nurse Jennifer (Nicola Warren) waits apparently in vain to meet up with Ciro (Luigi Laezza), a waiter/pimp who pursued her years before.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of April 14th, 2008

A Passage to India (2-disc Collector's Edition) (David Lean, 1984) Sony

A Passage to India [Blu-ray] (David Lean, 1984) Sony

The Backwoods (Koldo Serra, 2006) Lionsgate

Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2006) New Yorker Films

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (Sidney Lumet, 2007) Image Entertainment

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 2007) Image Entertainment

Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961) Criterion

Bonnie and Clyde [HD DVD] (Arthur Penn, 1967) Warner

Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

Juno (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Jason Reitman, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

Juno [Blu-ray] (Jason Reitman, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie, 2007) MGM

Lawrence of Arabia (Collector's Edition, 2 discs) (David Lean, 1962) - Columbia Tri/Star

The Notebook (Nick Cassavetes, 2004) New Line Home Video

Predator [Blu-ray] (John McTiernan, 1987) Fox Home Entertainment

Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, 2007) R2 UK - Tartan Video

Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970) - R2 DE Complete Media Services


Week of April 21st, 2008

L'Argent (Marcel L'Herbier, 1928) R2 France Studio Canal

British Horror Collection Triple Feature (Frightmare, House of Whipcord, The Flesh and Blood Show, Die Screaming Marianne) Mediablasters

Charlie Wilson's War (Mike Nichols, 2007) Universal

Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, 2008) - Paramount

Dam Street (Li Yu, 2005) First Run

Easy Living (Mitchell Leisen, 1937) Universal

Fine Dead Girls (Dalibor Matanic, 2002) First Run

Fireworks Wednesday (Asghar Farhadi, 2006) Facets

Flash Point (Wilson Yip, 2007) Genius Products (Weinstein)

Gaumont Early Silents - le cinema premier VOL. 1 (7 DVD) - Le Récit du colonel (1907), Une dame vraiment bien (1908), Bébé tire à la cible (1911), Bout de Zan vole un éléphant (1913), Erreur tragique (1912), Le Cœur et l'argent (1912), La Nativité (1910), L'Orgie romaine (1911), L'Agonie de Byzance (1913), Le Printemps (1909) et La Fée des grèves (1909) - see complete list HERE. - R2 FR Gaumont

Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (Yuen Chor, 1972) Image Entertainment

The Major and the Minor (Billy Wilder, 1942) Universal

Midnight (Mitchell Leisen, 1939) Universal

Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona, 2007) New Line Home Video
Orphanage [
Blu-ray] (Juan Antonio Bayona, 2007) New Line Home Video

The Savages (Tamara Jenkins, 2007) Twentieth Century Fox

She Done Him Wrong (Lowell Sherman, 1933) Universal

Eclipse 10 - Silent Ozu (I Was Born But..., Passing Fancy, Tokyo Chorus) Criterion

Starting Out in the Evening (Andrew Wagner, 2007) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Stowaway (William A. Seiter, 1936) 20th Century Fox

Ugetsu Monogatari / Oyu-Sama (2 films by Keni Mizoguchi) - R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

Wee Willie Winkie (John Ford, 1937) 20th Century Fox



"All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem." - Martin Luther King Jr.

I predict a very illuminating week!,