DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 20th, 2009

dia duit! - 14 new reviews this past week. Criterions, THE TV sci-fi series, THE spaghetti western and some other very recommendable titles! There is a healthy sale of Criterions and some new Calendar Updates, a contest and more....

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

SALE ON SOME CRITERIONs at AMAZON (Blu, Pre-order and others): - El Norte [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), The 400 Blows [Blu-ray] (45% OFF!), The Last Emperor [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), The Man Who Fell to Earth [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), Ace in the Hole (37% OFF!), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (35% OFF!), Last Year at Marienbad [Blu-ray] (32% OFF!), Wages of Fear [Blu-ray] (32% OFF!), The Seventh Seal [Blu-ray] (32% OFF!), Drunken Angel (32% OFF!), Alexander Korda's Private Lives (25% OFF!), The Third Man [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), Chungking Express [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), The Last Metro [Blu-ray] (32% OFF!), Bottle Rocket [Blu-ray] (35% OFF!), Empire of Passion (27% OFF!)

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.


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!)

APRIL 20th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed 4-disc Batman Motion Picture Anthology 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, Asian e-tailors, 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!)

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Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.

July Criterions - LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER and save!):

For All Mankind (Al Reinert, 1989) - Criterion Collection

For All Mankind [Blu-ray] (Al Reinert, 1989) - Criterion Collection

The Human Condition - 4-disc (Masaki Kobayashi, 1959) - Criterion Collection

Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965) - Criterion Collection

Repulsion [Blu-ray] (Roman Polanski, 1965) - Criterion Collection

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle) (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967) - Criterion Collection


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): I don't know that I have only one 'best of the week' recommendation as I saw so much... but I'd definitely lean to the Criterion DVD of Oshima's Empire of Passion in the top three along with Pasta pardners' The Good, the Bad and the Ugly BR and nostalgic/iconic Star Trek: The Original Series Season One BR rounding out the Trifecta. Of course, this leaves out Science is Fiction - which probably has a more narrow range of appeal and while not for everyone I was very glad I invested the time to see it. Good films? - Heck - The Reader BR, Frost / Nixon BR, Elegy BR, and Sin City BR are all entertaining cinema in their own spheres. I'm also keen on The Hairdresser's Husband after Eric's review. Maybe Derby too.

New Reviews:

Point of No Return BR - The government employs two teachers: the one who breathes new purpose for living (namely, killing, and all the supportive technologies that attend thereto) and the other who teaches her to do it with style. In both movies, the first teacher – both named "Bob" - (Tcheky Karyo and Gabriel Byrne) fall reluctantly in love with their creations. The second teacher remains more in the background, more elusive. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

The Hairdresser's Husband - Jean Rochefort plays Antoine, an older man with a fetish for getting his hair cut due to a pubescent crush he had on a hairdresser as a child. As an adult, he becomes infatuated with gorgeous hairdresser Mathilde (Anna Galiena). Although Antoine’s father has drilled into him that “women are like crosswords; the harder to get, the sweeter they are,” Mathilde does not require much pursuing to get her to wed Antoine. Severin DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009

Derby - Robert Kaylor intended to shoot a simple documentary on roller derby but then found his focus in 23 year old Dayton Tire and Rubber employee Mike Snell who aspires to become the next roller derby sensation. Kaylor follows Snell - who wants to quit his job and train for the roller derby on the west coast even though his income supports his wife, child, brother, and parents - and his mentor Charley O'Connell whose material success inspires Snell. Snell's wife is supportive (it almost seems like she would rather he busy himself with the roller derby than allegedly fool around with a local go-go dancer). Although the outfits look corny and the fans outright bizarre, Kaylor's DERBY makes the sport look downright brutal (especially when the camera takes to the track itself) with some painful collisions, clotheslines, some pro hockey-level scuffles, as well as talk of drinks spiked with acid or glass frozen into ice cubs. DVD Release Date: February 17th, 2009

Running Hot - Eric Stoltz plays Danny, a young man convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his father (actually committed by his sister). A stripper Charlene aka Lucky 13 (Monica Carrico) falls in love with him from afar and writes to him in prison. When Danny makes a daring escape and shows up on her door, the two tragic lovers take to the road on the run from a relentless cop Trent (Stuart Margolin) who of course will stop at nothing to recapture Danny. DVD Release Date: February 24th, 2009

Star Trek: The Original Series Season One BR - When Star Trek debuted on NBC in 1966, it was not an immediate hit; ratings were low and advertising revenue was lackluster. Even prior to the end of the first season of Star Trek, there were already calls in the network for the cancellation of the series due to its low Nielsen ratings. Bay area Creature Feature host John Stanley in his memoir I Was a TV Horror Host relates how Desilu head Lucille Ball at that time "single-handedly kept Star Trek from being dumped from the NBC-TV lineup." Blu-ray Release date: April 28th, 2009

Reindeer Games BR - There's a scene not far into the movie where Rudy (Affleck) and Ashley (Theron) are getting acquainted at a roadside café. Rudy has just finished a five-year stretch for auto theft. Ashley has been a pen pal to Rudy's cellmate, Nick (James Frain) for long enough for Rudy to fall in love with her. When Nick falls victim in a knife fight, Rudy decides to take his place once outside and connect with the girl of both their dreams. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

Frost / Nixon BR - Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon" is a somewhat fictionalized version of the famous 1977 interviews, all the more effective in taking the point of view of the outsider, the "lightweight" celebrity interviewer, then in his own exile in Australia. Precisely because David Frost (Michael Sheen) was at a low ebb professionally and had gambled all his money on the interviews, his POV enhances and deepens the shadows around Nixon (Frank Langella). This story could not have been told from Nixon's POV because we would not have cared about Frost. Blu-ray Release date: April 21st, 2009

Final Destination BR - Young Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) is all geared up to join some forty other classmates for his high school sponsored holiday in Paris. Wow! Problem is that Alex has visions, waking dreams, premonitions of disaster that become all the more intense just after boarding the plane. Next thing you know he's Charles Grodin in Midnight Run, hysterically screaming that the plane is headed for a fall. A fight breaks out with his chronic nemesis, Carter Horton (Kerr Smith) and both kids are escorted off the plane along with a few of their buddies and a teacher or two. Blu-ray Release date: April 7th, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly BR - Arguable one of the best Westerns ever made, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” is Leone’s first masterpiece. Having invented the spaghetti-western a few years prior by virtually copying Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” frame by frame as “A Fistful of Dollars” to such a degree that Toho sued him, Leone used the spaghetti-western as a form to attack the, in Leone’s opinion, dominating morality of American Puritanism. Blu-ray Release Date: April 15th, 2009

Elegy BR - While Elegy contains its share of universal themes, this is first and foremost the story of a man and how he copes with encountering late in life something that is new and terrifying for him. His voiceover informs us from the beginning that things aren't going to end happily but, even forewarned, it is compelling to watch how the narrative unfolds. Coixet has given us a rich character study with as much depth as breadth. This is an offering for mature viewers thrown out amidst a sea of summer flotsam. The title, Elegy, is perfect for the material. There is much tragedy and truth in what the makers of this movie have brought to the screen. Blu-ray Release Date: March 16th, 2009

The Reader BR - The Reader tells the journey of Michael Berg (David Kross) who leaves home in his way, as teenage boys will do, engaged in a secret love affair – in his case, with a much older woman. The woman, Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), is working class, unlike Michael, and lives alone in a very circumscribed life. Hanna appears to be psychologically damaged. Needy and strong by turns, she takes pains to keep Michael at a distance. She also takes a curious and extraordinary pleasure in Michael's reading to her from the books he studies in school. Their affair lasts little more than a summer when she suddenly leaves town and Michael without a word. Blu-ray Release Date: April 28th 2009

Empire of Passion - With an arresting mix of eroticism and horror, Oshima plunges the viewer into a nightmarish tale of guilt and retribution in Empire of Passion (Ai no borei). Set in a Japanese village at the end of the nineteenth century, the film details the emotional and physical downfall of a married woman and her younger lover following their decision to murder her husband and dump his body in a well. Empire of Passion was Oshima’s only true kaidan (Japanese ghost story), and the film, a savage, unrelenting experience, earned him the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival. DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2009

Sin City BR - A few strands of melodrama have been pulled from Frank Miller's graphic novels and plaited together-just about-into a coherent comic-strip film. Miller himself co-directs, in collaboration with Robert Rodriguez (plus a little help from Quentin Tarantino), and there is certainly no letup, or pulled punches, in the heightening of style. The movie is in monochrome, splashed with occasional color, and the sheer force of overkill-the ear-crunching sound level, the disturbingly joyful violence-turns a sequence of horrific events into a stream of unfeeling comedy. Blu-ray Release date: April 21st, 2009

Science is Fiction - Jean Painlevé was a film director, critic, theorist, and animator, yet his interests and studies also extended to mathematics, medicine, and zoology. Amazingly, all these disparate strands came together in a groundbreaking, decades-spanning artistic career. Operating under the credo: Science is fiction, Painlevé forged his own unique cinematic path, creating countless short films for both the viewing public and the scientific community. Moreover, he was also one of the first filmmakers to take his camera underwater. Surreal, otherworldly documents of marine life, these films transformed sea horses, octopi, and mollusks into delicate dancers in their own floating ballets. This anthology features twenty-three of Painlevé's shorts in their original form, as well as Yo La Tengo's ninety-minute original score The Sounds of Science, written in 2001 to accompany eight of the director's films. DVD Release Date: April 21st, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of April 20th, 2009

Dog Days of Summer (Mark Freiburger, 2007) Starz / Anchor Bay

Une femme mariée: Suite de fragments d'un film tourné en 1964 (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard, 2008) Universal Studios
Frost/Nixon [
Blu-ray] (Ron Howard, 2008) Universal Studios

La Gueule ouverte (Maurice Pialat, 1974) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé - Criterion

Sin City [Blu-ray] (Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, 2005) Dimension

The Wages of Fear [Blu-ray] (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953) Criterion

The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008) Fox Searchlight
The Wrestler [
Blu-ray] (Darren Aronofsky, 2008) Fox Searchlight

X-Men [Blu-ray] (Bryan Singer, 2000) 20th Century Fox
X2: X-Men United [
Blu-ray] (Bryan Singer, 2003) 20th Century Fox
X-Men 3: The Last Stand [
Blu-ray] (Brett Ratner, 2006) 20th Century Fox

X-Men: Trilogy [Blu-ray] 20th Century Fox


Week of April 27th, 2009

Alain Resnais: A Decade in Film (4-disc) - Kino Video

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

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

Bad Jim (Clyde Ware, 1990) R2 UK Optimum

Barbara Frietchie (Lambert Hillyer, 1924) Televista

Barquero (Gordon Douglas, 1970) R2 UK Optimum

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 Da Vinci Code [Blu-ray] (Ron Howard , 2006) Sony Pictures

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

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

Empire of Passion (Nagisa Oshima, 1978) - Criterion

Fast Company [Blu-ray] (David Cronenberg, 1979) Blue Underground

Gardens In Autumn (Otar Iosseliani, 2006) R2 UK Artificial Eye

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

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

The Hit (Stephen Frears, 1984) Criterion

In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976) Criterion
In the Realm of the Senses [
Blu-ray] (Nagisa Oshima, 1976) Criterion

JCVD [Blu-ray] (Mabrouk El Mechri, 2008) Peace Arch Home Entertainment

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

The Palm d'Or Collection (Four Months Three Weeks And Two Days, Underground and L'enfant) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Reader [Blu-ray] (Stephen Daldry, 2008) Weinstein

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

Spring and Port Wine (Peter Hammond, 1970) R2 UK Optimum

Star Trek: The Original Series: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] - Paramount

What Doesn't Kill You (Brian Goodman, 2008) Sony Pictures

What Doesn't Kill You [Blu-ray] (Brian Goodman, 2008) Sony Pictures

"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine, the sun shine innnn...