DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 21st, 2008

Oly ota? - 18 new reviews this week - and we cover a lot of bases from Antonioni to Tinto Brass, Eclipse to Blu-ray, UK sexpolitation to Classic 50's sci-fi, Universal vintage comedies to a gargantuan Bronston epic. Really. Criterion announcement. The strong AE and MoC sale at Amazon.UK isn't going to last forever. Eyebrow-raising additions to this week's Calendar, Another contest (and extension on a second) and more. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.


July Criterions Announced:
Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971), Trafic (Jacques Tati, 1971), Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932) and High and Low (Kurosawa, 1963)


- NEW CONTESTS (WEEK of April 21st) LISTED ON OUR webpage HERE (along with last week's answer and winner). THIS WEEK's PRIZES: A Brand New HD-DVD of The Fountain and Brand New 4 pack WWII Heroes Film Collection (Great Escape, Battle of Britain, Run Silent, Run Deep and A Bridge Too Far). Good luck!



NEW Screen Captures added to the The Curse of the Golden Flower (BR) review 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 and Low (Kurosawa, 1963) Criterion

Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971) Criterion

Trafic (Jacques Tati, 1971) Criterion

Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932) Criterion

Pearl Diver (Sidney King, 2004) Monterey

The Land Of Promise (vintage documentary collection) - R2 UK BFI,

Bohachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight (Teruo Ishii, 1973) - Discotek Media

La Roue (Abel Gance, 1923) Flicker Alley

Teeth (Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007) Weinstein

Come Drink with Me (King Hu, 1966) Weinstein

Heroes of the East (Chia-Liang Liu, 1979) Weinstein

Only the Valiant (Gordon Douglas, 1951) Lions Gate

The Man With A Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) - R2 UK BFI Video

Bill Douglas Trilogy (My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973), and My Way Home (1978) - R2 UK BFI Video

Honeydripper (John Sayles, 2007) - Universal Studios

The Godfather Trilogy: Remastered Collection - R2 UK Paramount Home Entertainment

The World War Collection (Angels One Five/The Captive Heart/King and Country/The Sound Barrier) – LionsGate

Caramel (Nadine Labaki, 2007) LionsGate

Men in Black [Blu-ray] (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997) Sony Pictures

The Perfect Storm [Blu-ray] (Wolfgang Petersen, 2000) Warner

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

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



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): So much recommendable stuff this week - I, perhaps foolishly, cherish owning This Island Earth in original widescreen. I can't seem to get The Delirious Fictions of William Klein out of my head. Despite some over-digitization, The Fall of the Roman Empire is a must. Perfect narrative cinema? - Bamako. Paddle to the Sea has some immense nostalgia and innocence value. And I was very high on three of the four vintage comedies ; Easy Living, Wilder's The Major and the Minor and Midnight. FAB!

Modern fare that makes for a worthy spin - The Savages

Eric turns my head with more of the weird and wonderful - Sole Survivor and A Venus in Furs.

I think Leonard sold me on Enter the Dragon BR. Seminal Lee.

If you are in the mood - you can't beat the price for British Horror Quadruple Feature.

Disappointing passé vous - Zabriskie Point.


New Reviews:

Enter the Dragon BR- In Enter the Dragon, the idea is that martial arts philosopher Lee is recruited by the good guys to infiltrate an island fortress believed involved in the narcotics and prostitution trade. The owner of said island, one Mr. Han (Shih Kien), hosts a martial arts tournament visited by competitors from all over the world. Among the present group are two Americans in need of escape and money (John Saxon and Jim Kelly) and a couple of ferocious bad guys, Bolo (Bolo Yeung) and Oharra (Robert Wall). Lee is at first reluctant to join the operation until he learns that Han's men (vide the face-scarred Oharra) were involved in the death of Lee's sister some years earlier.


27 Dresses BR- 27 Dresses is harmless enough and moves along predictably and pleasantly until the third act when writer Aline Brosh McKenna finds it necessary to provide a psychosocial explanation for Jane's caring for others while placing herself at the back of a very long bus: Losing what little edge the film had until then (and, quite frankly, I didn't believe any of Tess's instant conversion to humanity), predictability quickly devolves into formulaic pabulum, as everyone's true character is revealed and a fairy tale lives happily ever after. Blu-ray DVD Release date: April 29th, 2008


A Venus in Furs - One of two 1969 films under that title (the other being Jess Franco's superior jazzy fever-dream film which has nothing to do with Sacher-Masoch's novel), Massimo Dallamano's (The Cursed Medallion) adaptation is truer to the novel which itself is but still feels light lightweight sixties fluff despite the novelty of nudity; never as transgressive as the original novel apparently was (certainly not enough to be trimmed by the BBFC).

British Horror Quadruple Feature - four, Pete Walker directed, above-average, UK sexploitation/horror flics - together for the first time in one reasonable boxset which includes; Die Screaming, Marianne (1971), The Flesh and Blood Show (1972), House of Whipcord (1974) and Frightmare (1974). DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

Zabriskie Point - With time having passed and perspective having come into focus, we can now look upon the defining films of the counter cultural late 60s and early 70s and see which movies really captured the zeitgeist and spirit of this turbulent era. One look at Michelangelo Antonioni's (almost) film maudit "Zabriskie Point" should answer all the questions to an open-minded viewer. DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2008

The Savages - The Savages has been rapturously received, not entirely without reason — Linney and Hoffman are both typically excellent, mining coarse nuggets of emotional truth from the sediment created by years of buried discontent. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

Sole Survivor - Shot in Santa Ana for only $350,000, this is a remarkably accomplished low-key horror film eschewing (as the commentary moderators point out countless times) the slasher aesthetic of its contemporaries in favor of subtle chills. As pointed out in the commentary, the film not only draws from Carnival of Souls but also seems an obvious influence on the more garish and gory Final Destination series (I seem to recall an eighties or nineties TV movie that more directly rips off Sole Survivor).

Trasgredire (Cheeky) - In some ways a loose remake of Brass' CosiI' Fan Tutte/All Ladies Do It (1988, wittily scripted by Fellini collaborator Bernardino Zapponi) and featuring another buoyant and infectious Pino Donaggio score, TRA(sgre)IRE is unapologetically brainless but enjoyable, explicit without being vulgar, guilt-free, light-hearted erotica. The British and Venetian exteriors (and the shot in Venice interiors) are full of vibrant color in the decor and the lighting of cinematographer Massimo De Venanzo (Frivolous Lola).

This Island Earth - Let us start with a plot that rarely gets more appealing for a young adventure-seeking lad of any era: Dr. Cal Meacham (played by tall, dark and absurdly deep-voiced actor Rex Reason) is a handsome scientist, able to dabble in nuclear energy and expertly pilot jet planes. Cal and his Jimmy Olson-like sidekick Joe, played by Robert Nichols, have received a strange metal-paged instruction manual on how to build an "interocitor". This reviewer looks skyward rubbing his jaw as an eerie sequence of single organ notes plays in the background "hmmmm... interocitor you say". DVD Release Date: February 4th, 2008

The Fall of the Roman Empire - Deserting the usual conflict of Christians and Romans, the story moves to a later era and charts the intrigues surrounding the Imperial throne, held by Marcus Aurelius and coveted by the corrupt Commodus, that led to the Romans' downfall at the hands of the Barbarians. Largely accurate in historical terms, thanks to a wordy but intelligent script by Philip Yordan (a master of the epic style), it is surprisingly restrained, both in terms of action and acting. But the atmosphere is consistently convincing: darkness holds sway on the fringes of the Empire, where the armies are struggling to repel the invading hordes, while Rome is presented as a magnificent but decadent monument to the unimaginative pragmatism of the Roman mind. Terrific sets, a stirring score by Dimitri Tiomkin and the overall quality of the production values manage to counteract the film's excessive length. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

Eclipse Series 9 - The Delirious Fictions of William Klein - William Klein's explosive New York street photography made him one of the most heralded artists of the sixties. An American expatriate in Paris, Klein has also been making challenging cinema for more than forty years, yet with the exception of his acclaimed documentary Muhammad Ali, the Greatest, his film work is barely known in the United States. In his three fiction features—Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, Mr. Freedom, and The Model Couple—he skewers the fashion industry, American imperialism, and governmental mind control with hilarious, cutting aplomb. Today Klein's politically galvanizing social critiques seem even more acute than the works of the more famous New Wavers. These are colorful, surreal antidotes to all forms of social oppression. DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2008

Bamako - What's on trial in this backyard court is globalization, particularly the high-interest loans of such organizations as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the pressure they put on governments to cut costs by privatizing or ending social services and firing workers. Unlike the seemingly random everyday details that surround the mock trial -- small talk, the performances of a pop singer in a club, the illness of the singer's daughter, a wedding, clothes being dyed or hung out to dry -- this public reckoning is obviously staged. A year before he began filming, Sissako hired the judge, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, real lawyers who wrote their own dialogue, mainly in French (we're often reminded that Mali is a former colony of France). Sissako hired the witnesses, who also wrote their own speeches, during or shortly before shooting, whenever he happened to find them. "Victims in Africa don't need inventing," he said in a recent interview in Sight & Sound. "Just go out on the street and they're there." DVD Release Date: April 15th, 2008

Paddle to the Sea - Based on Holling C. Holling s beloved Caldecott-awarded children s book, William Mason s stunning film follows the adventures of a tiny, wood-carved canoe as it forges its own path from Lake Superior through the Great Lakes and down to the Atlantic Ocean. Buoyed by beautiful photography and a sense of true wonder about the sun, Earth, and water, the Academy Award nominated Paddle to the Sea is an unforgettable tribute to the forces of the natural world, as well as a thrilling journey across the waves and rapids of North America. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

Easy Living - Unmistakably scripted by Preston Sturges (stout tycoon falls down stairs; 'I see you're down early today, sir' remarks the imperturbable butler), this irresistible screwball comedy with a dash of Wall Street satire has the penniless Arthur and the pompous Arnold meet cute when his wife's fur coat (thrown out of the window in a marital spat) falls on her head. Subsequently assumed to be the tycoon's mistress and encouraged to live on credit in an extravagance beyond anyone's wildest dreams, she is brought down from her cloud by falling for the poor boy met in an automat diner (Milland), who ironically turns out in best fairytale tradition to be the tycoon's son. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

The Major and the Minor - Wilder's first film as director begins brilliantly with Rogers as a New York career woman disillusioned to find her house calls offering scalp massage constantly subject to male misinterpretation - in particular from a lecherous Benchley pursuing 'a little drinkypoo, biteypoo, rhumbapoo' - who masquerades as a pigtailed l2-year-old innocent in order to avoid paying full adult fare on the train home to Iowa. Very funny stuff as she meets Milland's protective major, and finds ambiguous refuge in his sleeping compartment, although it later proves to be a one-joke situation as she is forced to accompany him to the military academy where he instructs, and becomes mascot to a horde of hopefully lecherous cadets. Pretty irresistible, nevertheless, with Rogers doing a beautiful job of dovetailing sexual provocation and demure innocence. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

Midnight - An enchanting comedy which starts with Colbert, as an American chorine on the make, stranded in Paris in a gold lamé evening gown (what else?). She is befriended on the one hand by a poor taxi-driver who is really a Russian count (Ameche), and on the other by a wealthy socialite (Barrymore) who 'introduces' her to society so that she can oblige by luring a gigolo away from his wife. Uncanny coincidental parallels with La Règle du Jeu abound, and although the film echoes Renoir's bark more than his bite, it has a superbly malicious script by Brackett and Wilder, gorgeous sets and camerawork, and a matchless cast. All in all, probably Leisen's best film. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

She Done Him Wrong - West's first starring vehicle, and one of her best (i.e. least diluted) movies. Adapted from her stage success Diamond Lil, it features her as Diamond Lou (a change occasioned by the original's notoriety), mistress of a Naughty Nineties saloon, setting her sights on the righteous young man (Grant) investigating the place for signs of corruption. West, making her way through ditties like 'I Like a Man What Takes His Time' and 'Frankie and Johnny', keeps most of her double-meanings single. Marvelous stuff. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008

Truth (Korean Drama) - The series begins with a bang. Shin Hee, Hyun Woo and Ja Young are enjoying some sort of reunion with drinks at a restaurant/bar. Shin Hee offers her friends a ride and, even though drunk – drunker than either of her friends – she drives off into the night. Erratic driving and impaired judgment notwithstanding, along with pleas by her Ja Young to pay attention and even to stop the car, Shin Hee eventually plows right into some unfortunate fellow crossing the street. Hyun Woo, apparently without his seat belt fastened, goes sailing through the windshield. When Shin Hee comes to, miraculously with only minor injuries, she reviews the results of her handy-work: everyone dead or unconscious, she knows not which. Frightened, but undaunted, Shin Hee manages to position Ja Young behind the driver's seat, while she takes the passenger's. There she lies, feigning insensibility, until rescue vehicles arrive.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

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


Week of April 28th, 2008

A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1956) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones Vol 3 - Paramount

All My Good Countrymen (Vojtech Jasny, 1968) - Facets

Angelique Collection (Angelique, Angelique: Road To Versailles, Angelique And The King, Untamable Angelique and Angelique And The Sultan) Lionsgate

Bernard and Doris (Bob Balaban, 2007) Warner

Bohachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight (Teruo Ishii, 1973) - Discotek Media

Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955) Criterion

The Devil, Probably (Robert Bresson, 1977) R2 UK - Artificial Eye

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) Miramax

Eisenstein Collection Vol.2 (Bezhin Meadow / Alexander Nevsky / Ivan, The Terrible / Ivan, The Terrible Part 2: The Boyars Plot) - R2 UK - Tartan

The Fall of the Roman Empire (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) (Anthony Mann, 1964) Genius (Weinstein)

The Fall of the Roman Empire (Two-Disc Limited Collector's Edition) (Anthony Mann, 1964) Genius (Weinstein)

FORGOTTEN NOIR : Collectors Set Vol 3: (David Harding, Counterspy; Danger Zone, The Big Chase; Mr. District Attorney 1947; Ringside; Hi-Jacked; Scotland Yard Inspector; Pier 23; The Case of the Baby) - VCI Entertainment

FORGOTTEN NOIR: Vol 7: (David Harding, Counterspy; Danger Zone; The Big Chase) - VCI Entertainment

FORGOTTEN NOIR: Vol 8: (Mr. District Attorney (1947); Ringside; Hi-Jacked) - VCI Entertainment

FORGOTTEN NOIR: Vol 9: (Scotland Yard Inspector, Pier 23, The Case of the Baby-Sitter) - VCI Entertainment

The Golden Compass (Widescreen Single-Disc Edition) (Chris Weitz, 2007) - New Line Home Video

The Golden Compass (Two-Disc Widescreen Special Edition) (Chris Weitz, 2007) - New Line Home Video

The Golden Compass [Blu-ray] (Chris Weitz, 2007) - New Line Home Video

The Horse Thief (Zhuangzhuang Tian, 1986) Xi'an Film Studio

"I Spy" Season 1 (Culp/Cosby, 1965)
"I Spy" Season 2 (Culp/Cosby, 1966)

Lancelot du Lac (Robert Bresson, 1974) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Land Of Promise (vintage documentary collection) - R2 UK BFI

Paddle to the Sea (Bill Mason, 1966) Criterion

Pearl Diver (Sidney King, 2004) Monterey

The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) Criterion

White Mane (Albert Lamorisse, 1953) Criterion


"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife". - Douglas Adams

Enjoy the outdoors when you can!,