DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 28th, 2008

Bariza djioni! - 14 new reviews this week - at the high end - Mizoguchi and Bresson and at the polar extreme Euro exploita with Brass and Nero. In-between some very early Blu-ray reviews. Check out the coupon with our new affiliation - CD Japan. The strong AE and MoC sale at Amazon.UK is slowly dissolving. We'll have to subsist with last week's new Calendar additions. Another contest with a great prize and more. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.


ENDS in 2 days! - CD Japan Coupon - get it HERE! - Take 500yen off when you order items worth 3000yen or more! (expires April 30th! - Japan time) Remember Japan has the same Blu-ray region code as North America (see Japan Blu-ray's HERE). They also have a great selection of Japanese films with English subtitles.


NEW CONTESTS April 28th CONTEST -  identify this clip on our CONTEST PAGE to win Artificial Eye's 3-disc package of Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires. Last week only had 13 entrants and 8 correct answers!

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

Broken Trail [Blu-ray] (Walter Hill, 2006) - Sony Pictures

Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete Second Season - Paramount

From last week...

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

The ARTIFICIAL EYE WORLD CINEMA is dissipating - grab while you can:

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!

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



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Ugetsu (with Oyu-sama) and The Devil, Probably are easy-sneezy. Lance for Bresson fans. Aside from those more obvious recommendations - I was enthralled with The BFI's British docu-fest; Land of Promise. Personally I quite liked National Treasure BR but was less enthused by National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets BR. On the outer edge Hitch Hike has something strange going for it and is worth indulging. I'm encouraged by Pat's coverage of Argento's The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and Eric's cup runneth over with Brass. Per-Olaf's enthusiasm over You, the Living has me drooling, but I'll wait for R1 (or easy ordering R2). Finally, I'm not usually this negative but a big pass to Twister BR


New Reviews:

The Orphanage - One of the string of ghost stories along the lines of THE OTHERS that makes full use of CGI enhancement, loud sound effects, home movie footage in place of flashbacks, surround rumbling, and digital manipulation of the color palette in the service of "subtlety." Great performances from Rueda and Cayo anchor the human drama but the supernatural element is tired and the tragic inciting event barely registers. DVD Release Date: April 22nd, 2008


National Treasure BR - Since childhood, Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) has been on a quest to find the treasure of the Knights Templar. But it's not a mere jewel encrusted falcon he's after, but a roomful of the stuff. He comes to believe that the most recent protectors of the treasure were the Masons, including the likes of Benjamin Franklin. They hid clues to the treasure's whereabouts in various letters and documents – for starters, the Declaration of Independence. Blu-ray DVD Release date: May 20th, 2008


National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets BR - Book of Secrets begins a couple years after the first movie left off. Ben (Nicholas Cage) and Abigail (Diane Kruger) have broken up (she gets the house; he gets the end tables.) Riley (Justin Bartha) has just published his book about finding the treasure from their first adventure, but somehow isn’t getting the credit he desires. Ben and his father (Jon Voigt) are on a speaking tour. Just when the Gates family name is no longer associated with crackpots along comes Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) who has his own issues with who did what to whom. Wilkinson presents evidence that Ben's grandfather's grandfather, contrary to the Gates family story, was actually a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Lincoln – an idea that is as ludicrous to us as it is to Gates. Blu-ray DVD Release date: May 20th, 2008


Land of Promise - A landmark BFI collection, and the first major retrospective of the documentary film movement during its period of greatest influence. These films - many of which are being made available here for the first time since their original release - capture the spirit and strength, concerns and resolve of Britain and its people before, during and after the Second World War. DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2008

Frivolous Lola - Like Brass' "Miranda" Frivolous Lola is another explicit comic romp set in the Po' Valley (his other films set in his home city of Venice are populated with more philosophizing and intellectual - but no less lusty - characters). As in the post-WWII set Miranda, Brass once again uses the song "Mambo Italiano" in another dance sequence. This time Brass makes a cameo in the opening and closing sequences as a band leader.

Twister BR - Effects apart, this is dire: predictable, clichéd, sloppily written, pitifully performed and surprisingly short of real shocks and suspense. The story can be described in two ways: as a rip-off of Only Angels Have Wings, in which Paxton's implausibly intuitive tornado expert is torn between two women, his ex (Hunt) and his fiancée (Gertz), and two lives, a safe weatherman job, or a risky return to the group of crazily devoted storm-chasers trying to get a gizmo up inside a twister's 'suck-zone'; or as a repetitive spectacle where all that happens is that the objects hurled around in the air simply get bigger. Forget the many redundant references to The Wizard of Oz, this hasn't a fraction of that movie's logic, imagination or ambitions. Blu-ray DVD Release date: May 6th, 2008

Paprika - Paprika is one of Brass' most enjoyable and lavish films (producer Augusto Caminito also greenlighted the slick Flashdance/Fame-inspired giallo Murderrock and eventually took over directing the troubled and uneven yet visually arresting Nosferatu in Venice which he also wrote). Star Caprioglio was briefly married to Klaus Kinski at the time of filming and literally struts into every shot with uninhibited abandon and Brass mainstay Jost Jakob provides some striking costumes. A recurrent theme in Brass' work that makes an appearance here is the equating of the closing down of bordellos with the death of the art of eroticism.

Hitch Hike - Italian director Campanile was responsible for dozens of cheap but innovative exploitica treats, but this psycho-thriller is among his best. Built around a brutal performance by David Hess (Last House On The Left), it's a lurid mix of sex 'n violence, but Campanile also pays close attention to atmosphere, and keeps the tension at boiling point throughout. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage - This is Dario Argento's directorial debut and with it, he pretty much put giallo movies on the map. That's how potent and influential this movie turned out to be. The premise is nothing special: an American writer in Rome sees a murder attempt but is helpless to try and stop it, and so gets entangled in the investigation to stop the murderer. The premise is not so important as how everything plays out.

Black Angel - Although likely produced on a modest budget, the film looks lavish. Like Brass' Capriccio, Senso '45 (aka Black Angel) is still explicit but Brass has largely reigned himself in for this more mainstream picture. The film does not recall Visconti's Senso so much as his own spin on World War II decadence The Damned (1969) with a dyed-blond Garko resembling Helmut Berger (though he doesn't do a drag Marlene Dietrich here). Galiena, Garko, and Branciaroli are excellent as members of a jaded, decadent middle class who play both sides of the war (Helmut buys erotic art pieces from a Jewish dealer, Ugo has multiple ID cards to get him and Livia through various roadblocks, Livia is literally sleeping with the enemy).

You, the Living - Andersson takes his title from lines by Goethe: "Be pleased then, you, the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe's ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot." "Lethe" is the destination of a tram glimpsed in a typically enigmatic scene. Those lines have the gloomy compassion and northern European black humour that permeates Andersson's films. Are these people actually the "living"? Or the demi-zombie dead? Tragically, they cling to the scraps of life allowed to them in this wretched world. DVD Release Date: April 9th, 2008

Lancelot du Lac - Elliptical narrative is also a typical Bressonian approach, but it does seems particularly pronounced in Lancelot, perhaps because Bresson assumed the legend of King Arthur was widely known. Bresson also elides much of the heroism, action, violence, and grandiose milieu of the traditional tale, fashioning an epic story as a restricted, modest film, with weary characters fighting to maintain their chivalric ideals despite the pressing desires of their hearts at the end of an age. DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2008

The Devil, Probably - Regarded by many as a masterpiece, Bresson is film tells the story of a young man living in Paris who desires more from life than the glib, superficial truths and material things that are on offer to him. He reaches out to his friends and psychiatrist to provide him with the great answers in life. But his spiritual deliverance remains beyond his grasp until he reaches a bizarre arrangement with a fellow drifter. DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2008

Ugetsu Monogatari - The great Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi draws on sources from both East and West for this, his crowning achievement. Focusing on an ambitious potter haunted by a beautiful ghost and a farmer who dreams of becoming a samurai, Ugetsu offers a commentary on the delusions of lust and power and the folly of war. Renowned cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa helps Mizoguchi seamlessly interweave the supernatural with reality, creating one of the most beautiful films of all time. MoC DVD Release Date: April 21st, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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


Week of May 6th, 2008

The Car (Elliot Silverstein, 1977) Universal

The Films of Morris Engel (Little Fugitive: Special Edition / Lovers and Lollipops / Weddings and Babies) - Kino

"The Invaders" Season One (1967) Paramount

I'm Not There (Todd Haynes, 2007) - Weinstein Company

Macon County Line (Richard Compton, 1974) Warner Home Video

La Roue (Abel Gance, 1923) Flicker Alley

Teeth (Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007) Weinstein

Twister (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Jan de Bont, 1996) Warner

Twister [Blu-ray] (Jan de Bont, 1996) Warner


"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)