DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 5th, 2008

Malembe mpolo! - Hey it's Cinco de Mayo! 16  reviews this week - New Antonioni, Bresson, Kurosawa and Malle plus two strong films from 2007 - Criterions  beside Warner and Lionsgate boxsets. Some timely Blu-ray reviews round out the strong week. There is another contest and some new and exciting Calendar additions. Facebook-er?: join DVDBeaver-ite's Facebook group HERE. We can communicate video clips, film news etc.


FEATURE DVD OF THE MONTH chosen for May...


Amazon's amazing Kindle is back in stock - Read about the future of 'reading' HERE


NEW MAY 5th CONTEST  -  identify this clip on our CONTEST PAGE to win a sealed MGM's Solomon and Sheba

Korean Drama (Truth) completed - winners and answers HERE.


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

Picnic At Hanging Rock 3-disc Deluxe Edition (Peter Weir, 1975) R2 UK Second Sight

The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992) R2 UK BFI

The Terence Davies Trilogy - Children (1976), Madonna and Child (1980) and Death and Transfiguration (1983) - R2 UK BFI

Cassandra's Dream (Woody Allen, 2007) Weinstein Company

Jet Li's Fearless - Director's Cut (Ronny Yu, 2006) – Universal

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Bharat Nalluri, 2008) – Universal

The Other Boleyn Girl (Justin Chadwick, 2008) - Sony Pictures

The Other Boleyn Girl [Blu-ray] (Justin Chadwick, 2008) - Sony Pictures

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [Blu-ray] (Peter Weir, 2003) – Fox

Bella (Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, 2006) Lions Gate

How the West Was Won : Special Edition (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall, 1962) Warner Home Video

How the West Was Won: Special Edition [Blu-ray] (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall, 1962) Warner Home Video

Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon) – Warner

Dark City [Blu-ray] (Alex Proyas, 1998) – Warner

Vantage Point (Pete Travis, 2008) - Sony Pictures

Vantage Point [Blu-ray] (Pete Travis, 2008) - Sony Pictures

In the Line of Fire [Blu-ray] (Wolfgang Petersen, 1993) – Sony

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



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): I Vinti may be the big and most positive surprise of the week, and expectantly the AE A Man Escaped shows its superiority over the NY'er with a great extra supplement documentary. Criterion's Malle features we covered, The Fire Within and The Lovers both have enticing positives. From last year's theatrical I'm Not There and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly are very much worth viewing IMHO. Much better than I thought was the entire Angelique Collection and I can see why Miss Mercier deserved all that attention back in the 60's (hubba, hubba). We thank Gregory for covering Kurosawa's The Quiet Duel. For fans of Trainspotting, this new BR is the definitive way to go. If you are prone to enjoying 'bad cinema' now-and-again then you'll like The Car.

I wasn't too keen on Warner's rehash of the sterling musicals in The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection. They (Warner) could have done much better. Not striking any cords with me was Macon County Line (blechhh) and Leonard gives a big thumbs down to P.S. I Love You BR.      


New Reviews:

Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World BR - It has been said that war is interminable boredom interrupted by moments of absolute, ferocious terror. To the extent Peter Weir wishes to honor that truism, he fills the spaces between the actual fighting with conversation – some of it philosophical and probing - and music – some of it played on the cello and violin by the ship's captain and it chief surgeon. If you know or know of the novels by Patrick O'Brian, you know these two men – friends for many years - to be opposite, yet complementary, Jungian types: the man of action vs. the man of reflection, the soldier vs. the humanist. Blu-ray DVD Release date: May 13, 2008


Hillary The Movie - uses Hillary Rodham Clinton's own words and deeds to expose her record of cynicism, controversy, and scandal. This new documentary illustrates that the politics of personal destruction is Hillary's favored approach to dealing with anyone who stands in her way. The film includes over 30 in-depth interviews with expert...

Trainspotting BR - Former alcoholics and drug abusers often report that they don't miss the substances nearly as much as the conditions under which they were used--the camaraderie of the true drinkers' bar, for example, where the standing joke is that the straight world just doesn't get it, doesn't understand that the disease is life and the treatment is another drink. The reason there is a fierce joy in ''Trainspotting'', despite the appalling things that happen in it, is that it's basically about friends in need. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: April 23rd, 2008

The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection - rehash boxset of Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949) and Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) - "Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra teamed up for three musical comedies in this frothy confection of sailors on leave in Hollywood, with gawky, shy young Sinatra tagging along with his worldly buddy Kelly, who promises to show him the ropes... more than a little sentimental, but full of first-rate entertainment." DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2008

P.S. I Love You BR - The ghost of Ghost lurks within these frames – minus the mystery, the romance, Swayze and Whoopi, a good script, the slightest hint of subtlety, and the music of Maurice Jarre. On the other hand, what this movie does have is Gerard Butler. If your only experience of this versatile actor is in leading an army of 300 brave souls to certain death, you owe it to yourself to see what he can do in civies. Blu-ray DVD Release date: May 6th, 2008

Angelique Collection - Based on the best-selling French novels by Anne and Serge Golon that captured hearts worldwide, the Angelique films chronicle the life of an adventurous heroine in the Louis XIV era. Five classic film adaptations star the beautiful Michele Mercier and the dashing Robert Hossein as her husband and true love. A swashbuckling blend of action, intrigue and passion, the Angelique films seamlessly capture the amazing life of a French country girl whose quest for love and happiness leads her from the gutters of Paris to the Palaces Versailles. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

The Quiet Duel - Jumbled and jagged, Akira Kurosawa's adolescent efforts grapple obsessively with regeneration in a society struggling to piece itself back together, and it's no accident the idea of healing pops up regularly -- razed-out postwar Japan is the perfect playground for the director's grudging humanism, though the same medical interest also makes a mid-career appearance later in the 19th-century scroll of Red Beard. Here, however, Toshiro Mifune is the idealist half of the duo, a callow doctor first seen at the operation table in 1944, a surgery all but thwarted by exhaustion, leaky roofs, power shortages and assorted rudimentary resources.

Macon County Line - Alan Vint and his brother Jesse form an agreeable duo, playing roistering brothers on a spree in Macon County, Georgia, in the '50s. They pick up a girl, fool around some, and run up against a redneck cop (Baer), who warns them on their way, then mistakenly goes on the rampage after them when he finds his wife raped and murdered. As the film moves from rompish comedy into something altogether darker, its moral tone becomes more overbearing, and the blood-spattered ending (the script is based on fact, but fails to prepare its ground adequately) seems to come from a different movie altogether. DVD Release Date: May 6th, 2008

I Vinti - Commonly and to some extent unjustly written off as a failure, in part because of alterations imposed by censorship pressures that marred the first two episodes, Michelangelo Antonioni's daring second feature (1952), originally released in England as Youth and Perversion, consists of three separate sketches chronicling senseless murders committed by young men in France, Italy, and England--a contemporary existentialist document that could almost have been co-scripted by Albert Camus. What's most striking in all three parts of the film is the integration of incident with landscape without psychologizing--something of an Antonioni staple--and the last and best segment strikingly anticipates Blowup by offering not only a corpse found in a park but a tennis match glimpsed in the final shot. Jean-Pierre Mocky, later a New Wave director, plays one of the French youths in the first section, and Fay Compton plays the murder victim in the last.

The Car - It's like a cheapo, grindhousy version of Steven Spielberg's Duel. None of that film's character, inventiveness or subtleties but plenty of down-home creepiness. The direction is surprisingly adept as is the cinematography. You really have to love 'bad' cinema to accept this. It is really the type of film to develop a big cult niche - Brolin is perfect. Personally, I really get in the mood for these type of flicks - all 70's cheese... and I love it. To each his own. If you are keen then this is the best looking edition to own. Really, let your hair down - it's a lot of fun. DVD Release Date: May 6th, 2008

A Man Escaped - Bresson totally involves the viewer in this compelling and thrilling tale of courage and faith, which is all the more authentic for its use of non-professional actors and the director's sparse style. The film's stunning denouement, to the accompaniment of Mozart's sublime Mass in C Minor, is spiritually moving and succeeds in taking the story onto a different plane. AE DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2008

The Lovers - In Malle's second feature, he continued his association with new star Moreau in an (at the time) controversial study of bourgeois emptiness and sexual yearnings. She plays a chic, high society wife with money, a daughter, smart friends and a casual lover. Then one night, she makes passionate love with a young student of a few hours acquaintance, and leaves it all for a new life. If it now looks too much like an angry young sensualist's movie, the combination of highly pleasurable body language, Brahms on the soundtrack, and the ravishing, velvety monochrome photography of Henri Decaë proves hard to resist. Criterion DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2008

The Fire Within - Arguably the finest of Malle's early films, this is a calmly objective but profoundly compassionate account of the last 24 hours in the life of a suicide. Ronet gives a remarkable, quietly assured performance as the alcoholic who, upon leaving a clinic, visits old friends in the hope that they will provide him with a reason to live. They don't, and Malle's achievement lies not only in his subtle but clear delineation of his protagonist's emotions but in his grasp of life's compromises; his portrait of Parisian society is astringent, never facile. Criterion DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2008

I'm Not There - If there’s a director at work today to trust with your musical legacy—as Dylan has—it’s Haynes, who dives into his pop stars like the journalist from Velvet Goldmine and consistently arrives at the tender truth of self-reinvention. (Were Richard Carpenter to really watch Haynes’s Barbie-doll Superstar, he’d see it as empathetic toward Karen and him both.) Much has already been made of Haynes’s casting of six different actors to play Dylan, each providing a different shade of ego. But the takeaway here is less slippery chameleon than tribute to an artist’s fecundity: If you’re seeking blues credibility, why not see yourself as a wandering black troubadour child (the amazing Marcus Carl Franklin) instead of a Minnesotan Jew? DVD Release Date: May 6th, 2008

Pearl Diver - is a well-told, well-photographed, well-acted film. There is sparse dialogue that goes with the sparse life in this community. Houses are spotlessly clean and people readily share to help their friends in need. It is, indeed, a community. The landscape, with fields and sunsets, becomes part of the story, as director King uses it almost like having a curtain drop in a play to announce the end of one act and the beginning of another. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Julian Schnabel’s adaptation is, like ‘Before Night Falls’, a tender and sensuously sad film, at once empathic and expressionist in its immersion in Bauby’s bathysphere. The movie first places us in the POV of Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) – we even watch from within as his useless right eye is sewn shut – and then unlocks the man’s memories and fantasies, his ecstasies and regrets. (And his dad: the scenes with the incomparable Max Von Sydow’s as Bauby’s father are almost unbearably moving.) DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of May 5th, 2008

Bella (Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, 2006) Lions Gate

The Car (Elliot Silverstein, 1977) Universal

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

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


Week of May 12th

A Matter of Taste (Bernard Rapp, 2000) Synkronized

Batad (Benji Garcia, 2006) Cinequest

The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh, 1930) 20th Century Fox

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [Blu-ray] (George Roy Hill,1969) 20th Century Fox

Carve Her Name with Pride (Lewis Gilbert, 1958) United Artists

La Chinoise (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967) KOCH Lorber Films

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [Blu-ray] (Andrew Adamson, 2005)

The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Vol 1 & 2 - The Mole People (1956), Tarantula (1955), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Monolith Monsters (1957), Monsters on Campus (1958), Cult of the Cobra (1955), Dr. Cyclops (1940), The Land Unknown (1957), The Deadly Mantis (1957), The Leech Woman (1960) - Universal

Day of the Outlaw (André De Toth, 1959) - United Artists

Fistful of Dynamite (Sergio Leone, 1971) - United Artists

Fox Classic Western Collection (Rawhide / The Gunfighter / Garden of Evil) - 20th Century Fox

The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection (On the Town / Anchors Aweigh / Take Me out to the Ball Game) Warner Home Video

Frank Sinatra - The Golden Years Collection (Some Came Running / The Man with the Golden Arm / The Tender Trap / None but the Brave / Marriage on the Rocks) Warner Home Video

Frank Sinatra - The Early Years Collection (It Happened in Brooklyn / Step Lively / The Kissing Bandit / Double Dynamite / Higher and Higher) Warner Home Video

Gai savoir (Jean-Luc Godard, 1969) KOCH Lorber Films

The Gunfight at Dodge City (Joseph M. Newman, 1959) - United Artists

Honey & Clover (Masahiro Takada, 2006) Viz

Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection (Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark: Special Edition, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom: Special Edition, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade: Special Edition) Paramount

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Special Collector's Edition)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - Special Edition (Steven Spielberg, 1984) Paramount

John Wayne: The Fox Westerns Collection (The Big Trail, North to Alaska, The Comancheros, The Undefeated) - 20th Century Fox

Lost in Beijing (Yu Li, 2007) New Yorker

Man of the West (Anthony Mann, 1958) MGM

Man with the Gun (Richard Wilson, 1955) United Artists

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [Blu-ray] (Peter Weir, 2003) - Fox

Mission: Impossible The Fourth TV Season - Paramount Home Video

Morning Departure (Roy Ward Baker, 1950) United Artists

Navajo Joe (Sergio Corbucci, 1966) MGM

The One That Got Away (Roy Ward Baker, 1957) - United Artists

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Special Edition (Steven Spielberg, 1981) Paramount

Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ocean's 11, Robin And The 7 Hoods, 4 For Texas and Sergeants 3) Warner

The Rat Patrol: The Complete Series (1966-68) - MGM

The Secret Invasion (Roger Corman, 1964) United Artists

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (Stanley Kramer, 1969) - United Artists

Shinobi: Heart Under Blade - Special Edition [Blu-ray] (Ten Shimoyama, 2005) Funimation

The Way West (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1967) MGM

The Westerner (William Wyler, 1940) MGM


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