DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 7th, 2007
Moin Moin! - Another healthy newsletter with 16 new reviews this week (6 of which are comparisons and 2 of which are upcoming Criterion DVDs). Mizoguchi, Carol Reed, Kurosawa, Hitchcock - you get the idea - plus some whopping calendar updates.
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LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!):
ASIAN GOLD: MGM didn't do a bad job with the image on Zhang Yimou's To Live so we can hope for something improved for their DVD edition of Raise the Red Lantern. Also scheduled for Region 1 (North America) are Hong Sang Soo's Turning Gate, Seijun Suzuki's Princess Raccoon and Shunji Iwai's Hana & Alice. Highly lauded Stolen Life too!
SERIAL JOY: Fans of serials reaching DVD like Jungle Girl or Flash Gordon will be thrilled at the upcoming Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Complete Collection which contains all 3 'seasons'.
BAAAAAAD!: Need I say more; The Giant Gila Monster/The Killer Shrews, Frankenstein Conquers the World and Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster. Come on!
INTERESTING UPCOMING REGION 2 UK - Trio, Quartet, A Prize of Arms, The Family Way, Encore, Fiorile, and Artemisia.
VINTAGE: A cool way to start your 'movie night' would be one from Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1.
Artemisia (Agnès Merlet, 1997) R2 UK - Bluebell Films
Fiorile (Taviani bros., 1993) R2-UK Arrow Films
Cousin, cousine (Jean Charles Tacchella, 1975) R2-UK Arrow Films
Turning Gate (Hong Sang Soo, 2002) YA Entertainment
Princess Raccoon (Seijun Suzuki, 2005) Geneon
Hana & Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2004) Homevision
Stolen Life (Li Shaohong, 2005) First Run Features
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Complete Collection - Infinity Resources, Inc
The Giant Gila Monster/The Killer Shrews - colorized - (1959) Legend Films/Genius
Harrison's Flowers (Elie Chouraqui, 2000) Lionsgate
10:30 P.M. Summer (Jules Dassin, 1966) MGM
Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991) MGM
Henry V (Kenneth Branagh, 1989) MGM
Iphigenia (Mihalis Kakogiannis, 1977) MGM
Kon Ichikawa's 47 Ronin (1994) - Koch International
Hedda Gabler (Alex Segal, 1963) BBC Warner
After the Wedding (Susanne Bier, 2006) Tartan Video
The Page Turner (Denis Dercourt, 2006) Tartan Video
Sweet Land (Ali Selim, 2005) 20th Century Fox
Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (Ishiro Honda, 1964) Classic Media
Frankenstein Conquers the World (Ishirô Honda, 1965) Tokyo Shock
Encore (Harold French, 1951) - R2 UK - Network
L'Amore Molesto (Mario Martone,1995) - R2 - Arrow Films
Four Films From Fellini - La Dolce Vita ; I Vitelloni ; 8 1/2 ; Giuliette Degli Spiriti - R2 UK - Nouveaux Pictures
Jan Svankmajer - The Short Films 1964-1992 - R2 UK - Bfi Video
Trio (Ken Annakin, 1950) R2 UK Network
Quartet (Ken Annakin, 1948) R2 UK Network
A Prize of Arms (Cliff Owen, 1962) R2 UK - Odeon Entertainment
The Family Way (Roy Boulting, 1966) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment
Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 - Warner Home Video
Woody Woodpecker & Friends Classic Collection - Universal Studios
The Practice - volume one - 20th Century Fox
RECOMMENDATIONS: If you haven't bought anything else this year then time to open your purse strings for Sansho the Bailiff. As perfect and complete a DVD as you are ever to likely purchase. A masterpiece of a film, in as pure a form as technically available, with viable and relevant extra features.
LIGHT HITCH: Many have a strong enjoyment for To Catch a Thief and the new DVD is the definitive.
NOIR ADDICTION: Like quite a few of us - we can't get enough so Film Noir Double Feature Vol. 1 and Film Noir Double Feature, Vol. 2 are in a reasonable enough price range. And if it suits your personal approval Reed's The Third Man has been 'upgraded' in the new Criterion release. The Polan commentary is excellent.
DECENT VALUE FOR GENRE FANS: Enjoyed Classic Western Round-Up, Vol. 2. Nuff' said.
Black Book - It’s been six years since the horrible “Hollow Man”, and now Verhoeven has returned to Holland and made the most expensive Dutch film ever, “Zwartboek”, based on real events, which were uncovered while he researched “Soldaat van Oranje”, reuniting him with Gerard Soeteman, the writer for the majority of his previous Dutch films. The story deals with the Jew Rachel Stein (Carice von Houten), who becomes the blond Aryan Ellis de Vries to go undercover for the resistance, after she escaped a massacre. Not only does she work for the Nazis, she falls in love with SS officer Ludwig Müntze (Sebastian Koch). DVD Release Date: April 30, 2007
Blissfully Yours - While the plot paparazzi might miss this scoop, it's
not for lack of story. A detour form conventional narrative fixation is
requisite, going off-road and leaving behind the gridlock. The narrative of
Blissfully Yours barges medias res into a web of calculated maneuverings, some
to which, on a larger scale, the off-screen personalities are either oblivious
or apathetic. The stakes aren't limited to abstract moral victories, but rather,
concrete, readily identifiable human needs. Though the dealers may go incognito,
what's clear is that the multi-nationally incorporated house keeps winning.
The new Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - DVD Release Date is May 8th, 2007
The Third Man - Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime--and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder. Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karas's evocative zither score; Graham Greene’s razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Krasker’s dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, only grows in stature as the years pass. The Criterion RE-ISSUE DVD release date is May 22nd, 2007
Sansho the Bailiff - A humane provincial governor in 11th century Japan is forced into exile by his political opponents, and the members of his family (wife, son and daughter) fall victim to all the cruelties of the period while on their way to join him. Mizoguchi views this deliberately simple story (in Japan it is known as a folk-tale) from two perspectives at once: from the inside, as an overwhelmingly moving account of a man (the son) facing up to his own capacity for barbarism; and from the outside, as an infinitely tender meditation on history and individual fate. The twin perspectives yield a film that is both impassioned and elegiac, dynamic in its sense of the social struggle and the moral options, and yet also achingly remote in its fragile beauty. The result is even more remarkable than it sounds. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007
Flags of Our Father (2-disc) - What do we want from war films? Entertainment, mostly, a few hours’ escape to other lands and times, as well as something excitingly different, something reassuringly familiar. If Flags of Our Fathers feels so unlike most war movies and sounds so contrary to the usual political rhetoric, it is not because it affirms that war is hell, which it does with unblinking, graphic brutality. It’s because Mr. Eastwood insists, with a moral certitude that is all too rare in our movies, that we extract an unspeakable cost when we ask men to kill other men. There is never any doubt in the film that the country needed to fight this war, that it was necessary; it is the horror at such necessity that defines Flags of Our Fathers, not exultation. DVD Release Date: 22 May 2007
To Have and To Hold - The theme of “colonial insanity” was common for 19th century literature, contrasting how “darkness” (the dark side of human nature) would substitute civilized behavior, once the protagonist was away from civilization. Hillcoat very intelligently applies this theme to the story, letting Jack sink into a pattern of behavior, which at first looks relatively innocent, but later is revealed as obsessed and insane. It is not, that it is the heat or the absence of civilization that drives Jack insane, as it is, that he is insane to begin with, and away from society is free to act. DVD Release Date: April 23, 2007
David and Lisa - The debut film for the husband-and-wife team of Frank and Eleanor Perry, David and Lisa (1962) was a surprise commercial success when it was first released. Made on a remarkably low budget of $200,000, the film worked on several levels - as a technically accomplished first feature, as a love story, and most importantly, as a more realistic look at the treatment of mental illness minus the usual psychobabble and sensationalism associated with Hollywood produced films in the same genre. What particularly impressed critics were the naturalistic performances and the seamless mixture of documentary-like realism with nightmarish dream sequences, all strikingly photographed in black and white by Leonard Hirschfield in and around Philadelphia. DVD Release Date: May 8th, 2007
Classic Western Round-Up, Vol. 2 - See how the West was really won in the action-packed Classic Western Round-Up: Volume 2! Experience all of the shootouts, fights and escapades with The Texans, California, Cimarron Kid and The Man From the Alamo. Starring Hollywood favorites Glenn Ford, Randolph Scott, Audie Murphy, Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Milland, this adventure-filled collection features some of the most thrilling films ever to come out of the Wild West! The Texans (1938) A former Confederate soldier (Randolph Scott) takes on new battles after the Civil War when he agrees to lead a herd of cattle to a recently completed railroad. California (1946) An Army deserter (Ray Milland) and a woman with a past (Barbara Stanwyck) head to the sunshine state - before it even was a state - during the 1848 mass migration. The Cimarron Kid (1952) When corrupt railroad officials wrongly accuse him of participating in a train robbery, Bill Doolin (Audie Murphy) joins the Dalton gang and soon becomes the legendary outlaw know as the "Cimarron Kid." The Man From the Alamo (1953) During the Texas war for independence, a survivor (Glenn Ford) of the brutal battle at The Alamo is branded a coward and sets out to clear his name. DVD Release Date: May 8th, 2007
Dreamgirls - With Chicago winning several Oscars, the people behind Dreamgirls began flogging the movie as the Next Big Oscar Thing immediately after the 2006 Oscar ceremony. The project attracted some very big names for its cast--Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover. Extended clips were shown at Cannes and other movie festivals. When Dreamgirls was finally ready for its theatrical bow, Paramount and DreamWorks booked it in a handful of venues with $25-plus tickets in an effort to make the movie a prestige event. DVD Release Date: May 1st, 2007
The Caine Mutiny - Having aligned himself with producer Stanley Kramer after naming names during the HUAC witch-hunt trials, Dmytryk opted for ever more turgidly serious subject matter. This, the last and perhaps the best of his films for Kramer, was an adaptation of Herman Wouk's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the court martial carried out against peacetime naval destroyer officers Francis and Johnson after they have mutinied against Bogart's Captain Queeg, who panics during a storm. Bogie's considerable charisma is visibly weakened by his tired appearance, and the strong cast is never really allowed full rein by Dmytryk, whose abiding concern that fair play be seen to be done, with regard to all the characters' various motivations, makes for a stodgily liberal courtroom drama. DVD Release Date: May 8th, 2007
To Catch a Thief - One of the most lightweight (and not even particularly deceptively so) of Hitchcock's comedy-thrillers; a retreat from the implications of Rear Window into the realm of private jokes and sunny innuendo, with a Côte d'Azur romance that hinges on Kelly's testing of retired high-line thief Grant, to find whether 'The Cat' has indeed been neutered or is still able to prowl the Riviera rooftops. Even determined analysts Rohmer and Chabrol had to take comfort in celebrating Hitch's 'flowers of rhetoric': the famous image of the cigarette stubbed out in an egg, and the cheeky cliché of cross-cutting foreplay and fireworks. DVD Release Date: May 8th, 2007
The Idiot - Akira Kurosawa's The Idiot, his only adaptation of a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel, was a cherished project on which it is claimed he expended more effort than on any other film. A darkly ambitious exploration of the depths of human emotion, it combines the talents of two of the greatest Japanese actors of their generation — Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, Yojimbo) and Setsuko Hara (Tokyo Story, Late Spring). The Idiot is perhaps the most contemplative of all Kurosawa's works, a tone which is heightened by the unusual, trance-like performances.
Night of the Werewolf - Jacinto Molina opted to direct this one himself, as well as the two other Daninsky movies made in the eighties. This means he has more control over the project than ever before, and contrary to what some say, I think he's actually a very good director. Probably the best ever to direct a Daninsky movie, anyway, and obviously he can capture his own artistic vision like nobody else could. This is probably why it feels more conventional and competent than most movies in the series. The sets are great, the special effects are good for it's time and the whole movie has a fantastic atmosphere to it. There is more gratuitous nudity and gore than in most Daninsky movies, and I'm surprised it hasn't been a bigger hit with fans of the genre. There are certainly enough werewolves, witches, vampires, zombies and horrible sacrifices to keep them entertained! Maybe I'm going overboard with the praise, but if you've seen the earlier Daninsky movies, you'll know that in most ways this is pretty damn good comparatively. DVD Release Date: May 8, 2007
An Officer and a Gentleman - The movie has become rather iconic in that footage of Gere carrying Debra Winger out of a factory is played repeatedly in montages of “memorable moments” for events such as the Oscars. However, the movie is much more than a sappy, feel-good romance. Louis Gossett, Jr. (who won an Oscar for his performance in this movie) pushes Gere to the limits, challenging Gere to show genuine pain and fear. (Alas, Gere is usually one-dimensional in other roles.) The story also doesn’t shy away from exploring the rough aspects of life, from growing up in seedy areas of the Philippines to drowning in working-class poverty in Washington state just a few miles away from gleaming Seattle. Gere’s growth trajectory is honest and real, as is Debra Winger’s belief in and love for him. DVD Release Date: May 1st, 2007
Film Noir Double Feature, Vol. 2 - The Chase Description: Convoluted little film noir, based on Cornell Woolrich's The Black Path of Fear, features Robert Cummings as Chuck, a shell-shocked ex-GI tormented by bizarre dreams, who hires on as chauffeur for a ruthless gangster named Roman (Steve Cochran). Chuck is soon pulled into a tangled web of deceit by the gangster's lovely but unfaithful wife Lorna (Michelle Morgan) And so begins the titular 'chase,' with Chuck eluding not only the law but also the knife-wielding gangster's henchmen. Just when you think Chuck is about to clear himself and make the world right again, an unexpected twist plunges him back into the nightmare world he tried to escape.
Bury me Dead Description: Little hidden gem reminiscent of another film noir classic, D.O.A. (1950). The story begins with a bang when a woman (June Lockhart) shows up as a mourner at her own funeral! With the help of her family lawyer (Hugh Beaumont) the woman begins an investigation to uncover who's really buried in her place and who wanted her dead in the first place. It doesn't take long before the prime suspects emerge… her husband (Mark Daniels) and her sister (Cathy O'Donnell), who appear to be embroiled in a torrid and illicit love affair. Stunning visuals are courtesy of cinematographer John Alton.
Film Noir Double Feature Vol. 1 - First up we have "The Scar" (1948) Originally released under the title "Hollow Triumph," (and also known as The Man Who Murdered Himself), this dandy little film noir thriller from Eagle Lion features Paul Henreid with a chance to lose his leading man image for not one, but two sinister performances. When crooked gambler (Henreid) seeks to hide from a rival mobster, he hatches a plot to take the place of a psychiatrist that he's a dead-ringer for. But it's not long before the good doctor's secretary (Joan Bennett) is on to his scheme.
Second on the double bill is "The Limping Man" (1953) (76 min. B/W)....Our story opens with Lloyd Bridges returning to Britain to visit a long lost love Moira Lister from the war...a murder takes place right in front of him at the airport...Scotland Yard enters the picture and Bridges becomes involved and is a suspect...who is "The Limping Man", what part in this mysterious murder and intrigue does he play...watch the story unfold as this film has more twist and turns than a roller coaster and you're loving every minute of it....
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of May 7th, 2007
Big Road & Queen of Sports (Chinese Classics Series) - Cinema Epoch
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002) Strand Releasing
Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, 2007) Weinstein Company
Classic Western Round-Up, Vol. 1 (The Texas Rangers / Canyon Passage (Tourneur) / Kansas Raiders / The Lawless Breed) - Universal Studios
Classic Western Round-Up, Vol. 2 (The Texans / California / The Cimarron Kid - Budd Boetticher / The Man from the Alamo - Budd Boetticher)- Universal Studios
Comedy of Power (Claude Chabrol, 2006) Koch Lorber Film
Crossroads & Daybreak (Chinese Clasics Series) - Cinema Epoch
Dark Command (Raoul Walsh, 1940) /Lady Takes a Chance (William A. Seiter, 1943) Lions Gate
David and Lisa (Frank Perry, 1962) Homevision
Mandy (Alexander Mackendrick, 1952) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
The Painted Veil - 2006 /The Painted Veil - 1934 (Naomi Watts/Greta Garbo) Warner
Pirates of the Golden Age Movie Collection (Against All Flags / Buccaneer's Girl / Yankee Buccaneer / Double Crossbones) - Universal Studios
Sands of Iwo Jima (Allan Dwan, 1949) / Flying Tigers (David Miller, 1942) Lions Gate
Saraband for Dead Lovers (Basil Dearden, 1948) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Shinsengumi: Assassins of Honor (Tadashi Sawashima, 1969) Animeigo
Song at Midnight (Weibang Ma-Xu, 1937) Cinema Epoch
Springtime in a Small Town (Weibang Ma-Xu, 1937) Cinema Epoch
Street Angel/Twin Sisters (Yuan, Mu-jih, 1937) Cinema Epoch
The Third Part Of The Night (Andrzej Zulawski, 1971) R2 UK Second Run
To Catch a Thief - Special Collector's Edition (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955) Paramount Home Video
Violette (Claude Chabrol, 1978) Koch Lorber Films
Week of May 14th, 2007
Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion
The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky 6-disc -(El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando Y) R2 - UK Tartan
Fiorile (Taviani bros., 1993) R2-UK Arrow Films
The Fountain (Widescreen Edition) (Darren Aronofsky, 2006) Warner
Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (Barbet Schroeder, 1974) R2 UK MoC Eureka Entertainment Ltd
Little Children (Todd Field, 2006) R2 UK Entertainment in Video
Man in the Vault (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956) R2 UK Paramount Home Entertainment
Pan's Labyrinth (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) New Line Home Video
Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 (Hawks And Sparrows, Oedipus Rex and Pigsty) Tartan Video
Tex Avery's Droopy - The Complete Theatrical Collection - Warner Home Video
Vengeance Is Mine (Shohei Imamura, 1979) Criterion
OUR CURRENT 'A" STORES:
50 CLASSIC TV SHOWS ON DVD- best of vintage TV!
SOME REGION FREE DVD PLAYERS TO CONSIDER
SOME OF THE BEST JAPANESE CINEMA ON REGION 1 DVD
54 DVDs TO CONSIDER WHILE SHOPPING AT AMAZON FRANCE (PAL)
SOME OF THE BEST OF 'FRENCH LANGUAGE' CINEMA ON DVD (NTSC)
'BEST OF WORLD CINEMA' on UK (PAL) DVD
BEST OF ITALIAN CINEMA
(on NTSC DVD)
SEE OUR ESSENTIAL CRITERION STORE - Best of the Best!
SEE OUR ESSENTIAL FILM-NOIR STORE!
Have a thriller of a week!,
P.S. DVD of the Year - 2006 still remains a popular place to peruse.
P.P.S. - Amazon UK sales (all from our TOP 100 LIST!): The Naked Island (Kaneto Shindô, 1960) 45% OFF!, Naruse Box Set Volume One 30% OFF!, Three Colours Blue [Kieslowski, 1993] 38% OFF!, Chungking Express [Wong, 1995] 35% OFF!, Metropolis [Lang, 1927] 45% OFF!, Stalker [Tarkovsky, 1979] 67% OFF!, Last Year At Marienbad  53% OFF!
STILL: Max Ophuls' DVDs of Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Le Plaisir (1952) and Madame De... are now 65% OFF! HERE
Brighton Rock  56% OFF!, The Heart Of The Matter  63% OFF!, Belle de Jour - 40th Anniversary  70% OFF!, Europa Europa  70% OFF!, Vera Drake  70% OFF!, L'Enfer (2005) 70% OFF!, Détective (1985) 70% OFF!, L'Appartement  67% OFF!, The Tree of Wooden Clogs  60% OFF!, Pepi, Luci, Bom  67% OFF!, The Man Without A Past  70% OFF!, Goodbye Lenin!  73% OFF!, A Matter Of Life And Death  75% OFF!, Wuthering Heights  66% OFF!, The Deadly Affair  58% OFF!, The Battle Of The River Plate (Digitally Remastered Edition)  62% OFF!, The Way Ahead  60% OFF!, Blithe Spirit  60% OFF!, The Red Shoes - Plus Documentary  69% OFF!, Tiger Bay  66% OFF!, City Lights  57% OFF!, The Black Windmill  69% OFF!, The Blue Lamp  46% OFF!