Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 25th, 2009


This Week's Highlights

Dumella rah! - We got caught up on some belated DVD comparisons this week - 17 new reviews/comparisons in total. Antonioni, Tarr, Visconti, Suzuki, Bond, Noir and Guy Maddin to name a few of the delicacies in this newsletter.... some Criterion Calendar Updates, a new contest (great prize) and more.....
TOOLBAR - 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 etailors, Forums (Criterion, Home Theater, AVS, Rotten Tomatoes, Film Noir), IMdb, DVDBasen, Beaver links, Blu-ray information, Cinephile Blogs/Journals (Rosenbaum, Kehr, Acquarello etc.). What do you think? FOR MORE INFORMATION / AVAILABLE HERE *** (We can adjust this to suit popular opinion - on-the-fly - no re-install required!)

NEWS!: Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes to come to Blu-ray in June! "This restored version made its debut at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, followed soon after by a blu-ray release!"

May 25th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed Taken on Blu-ray (US) - Best of luck all!
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If there are DVD titles you'd like us to cover - please feel free to recommend!

Gary at 2ze dot com


- Blu-rays from only £8.98 at Amazon UK HERE


• SALE STILL ON FOR 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!)


• SALES: US Blu-ray up to 53% OFF        UK Blu-ray 2 for 3 SALE       Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)

LATEST ADDITIONS to the Calendar: (PRE-ORDER & save!):


The Red Shoes [Blu-ray] (Powell/Pressburger, 1948), UK R'B' ITV DVD

Kagemusha [Blu-ray] (Akira Kurosawa, 1980) Criterion

Playtime [Blu-ray] (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion

ECLIPSE SERIES 17: NIKKATSU NOIR - I Am Waiting (1957), Rusty Knife (1958), Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), Cruel Gun Story (1964) and A Colt Is My Passport (1967) – Criterion

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975) Criterion

The Last Days of Disco (Whit Stillman, 1998) Criterion

Icons Of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 1 (2-disc) - If You Could Only Cook (1935), Too Many Husbands (1940), My Sister Eileen (1942), She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945), and Ain't Love Cuckoo (1946) - Sony

Icons Of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 (2-disc) - First, Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940), A Night to Remember (1943) Together Again (1944) - Sony

Monster [Blu-ray] (Patty Jenkins, 2003) First Look Pictures

The Film Noir Collection: Volume 1 (Titles and date to be announced) – Sony

The Film Noir Collection: Volume 2 - Pushover (1954), Nightfall (1957), The Brothers Rico (1957), City of Fear (1959) and In a Lonely Place (1950) - date to be announced – Sony


Momitsu BDP-899 -Region FREE Blu-ray Player advertised as the World's first truly region freeBlu-ray and DVD player. See the Beaver scoop on this incredible new product.


(not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Masters of Cinema's
Il Grido - a masterpiece from Antonioni, Bela Tarr's The Man From London and The Graduate on Blu-ray are the standout filmson digital this week although the latter underwhelms with an MPEG-2 encode. Immersing oneself in the stylistic Suzuki with The Flowers and the Angry Waves is a consistently amusing ride. I've always been a fan of Kinsella and it was a pleasure revisiting Field of Dreams in 1080P. For those already experienced in the realm of Guy Maddin's universe - it's easy to endorse My Winnipeg. Despite our feeling about the Blu-ray, Junebug is a film you should see! Eric has kindly seen fit to identify the superior versions of Torso, Tinto Brass' The Key and Visconti's last film; L'Innocente. Definitely on my Noir Desert Island list is This Gun For Hire. Leonard seems impressed enough with Grease BR - and why not? There's Something About Mary remains fun but that's about all folks.



The Man From London - The film is about desire, man’s indestructible longing for a life of freedom and happiness, about illusions never to be realised – about things that give all of us energy to continue living, to go to sleep and get up day after day... Maloin’s story is ours – all of those who doubt and are able to question our humdrum existence. DVD Release Date: April 6th, 2009

Enemy at the Gates
BR - Perhaps you will remember Director Jean-Jacques Annaud from two of his earlier and more successful movies: Quest for Fire and The Name of the Rose. Annaud is fond of darkness and monstrosity, and the actor that has most represented the director to this end for Annaud has been Ron Perlman. Perlman has no fewer than 165 separate acting listings in the IMDB – the second of which was as Amoukar (I didn't remember this guy had a name) in the relatively mute Quest for Fire of 1981. In 1986 he was the memorable and hideous Salvatore in The Name of the Rose. The following year he would be the obvious choice for Vincent in the TV series Beauty and the Beast which, by the way, brought Linda Hamilton to everyone's attention. Blu-ray Release date: May 19th, 2009


There's Something About Mary BR - We first meet the title character (Cameron Diaz) in a flashback told by the man who has been pining for her since the night of his high school prom when he got his testicles caught in his zipper. It’s the sort of event that would stick in anyone’s mind forever, but for Ted (Ben Stiller) it was just one highlight in an otherwise pretty dim career – in respect to women anyhow. It's now a dozen years later and Ted is convinced by his best friend, Dom (Chris Elliott), to hire a private detective, the deliciously slimy Healy (Matt Dillon), to check out Mary's current status in faraway Miami. We are not surprised when Healy decides to set things up for himself as the suitor and try to put Ted off the track. Blu-ray Release date: May 19th, 2009

The Flowers and the Angry Waves - Early 20th century Tokyo is brought to life with Suzuki's trademark editing and extraordinary camerawork in this swashbuckling historical action yarn. Kikuju, a Yakuza, elopes with his master's betrothed, with an assassin from his old gang in hot pursuit. Stirring B-movie fare from this veteran Japanese director. DVD Release Date: March 26th, 2007

BR - The movie was faithful to the time the play celebrated: the fifties, which may be why Travolta was such an obvious choice, having made his mark on TV in the mid 1970s as 50s throwback, Vinnie Barbarino on Welcome Back Kotter - a "Fonzie" clone, to be sure, but Travolta made the role his own. The movie afforded some iconic resurrections of its own: Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun, Eve Arden as Principal McGee, Joan Blondell as the Waitress, Edd Byrnes as Vince Fontaine, and Frankie Avalon as the Teen Angel himself. Blu-ray Release date: May 5th, 2009

Field of Dreams
BR - The director, Phil Alden Robinson, and the writer, W.P. Kinsella, are dealing with stuff that's close to the heart (it can't be a coincidence that the author and the hero have the same last name). They love baseball, and they think it stands for an earlier, simpler time when professional sports were still games and not industries. There is a speech in this movie about baseball that is so simple and true that it is heartbreaking. And the whole attitude toward the players reflects that attitude. Why do they come back from the great beyond and play in this cornfield? Not to make any kind of vast, earth-shattering statement, but simply to hit a few and field a few, and remind us of a good and innocent time. Blu-ray Release Date: May 26th, 2009

The Graduate
BR - This comedy is wonderfully crafted by director Nichols who presents a half-dozen hilarious scenes, including Hoffman escaping badgering advice by submerging himself in the family pool in scuba gear and Bancroft's sudden shift from respectable matron to predatory tease, hiking her skirts lasciviously and purring promises of smoldering sex which almost put Hoffman into a comatose state. Nichols was to declare: "I think Benjamin and Elaine will end up exactly like their parents; that's what I was trying to say in the last scene." Yet the well-to-do younger audiences of the day interpreted this sequence of blatant heroics as a wonderful act of defiance by two young people whose destinies were being manipulated by their parents. Blu-ray Release Date: June 2nd, 2009

The Man With the Golden Gun
BR - The Man With the Golden Gun was Guy Hamilton's fourth and final 007 movie. He directed two with Sean Connery: Goldfinger in 1964 and Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, and two with Roger Moore, the first, Live and Let Die, came out in 1973 the year before The Man With the Golden Gun. By this time, the formula was pretty clear - beautiful girls, exotic locations, neat stunts, some fisticuffs and a little science fantasy – the plots are secondary, sometimes they even seem to get in the way. The Man With the Golden Gun is a subset of the latter variety where even the girls are underused (though I admit I'm rather fond of how Maud Adams' character finally works out.) Blu-ray Release date: May 12th, 2009

L'Innocente - Visconti's last film (he died during the editing phase), L'INNOCENTE is as opulent as THE LEOPARD (a film it draws comparison to due to the period setting) with ravishing production values (all of the Visconti regulars are behind the camera from Pasqualino de Santis as cinematographer, production designer Marco Garbuglia, costume designer Piero Tosi, editor Ruggero Mastroianni, and composer Franco Mannino along with his long time screenwriting collaborators Suso Cecchi D'Amico and Enrico Medioli) and its attention not only to period detail but to the hypocritical social conventions of the day. The result is not a complete success (there are times when the languid pacing drags and this study of Italian masculinity and moral hypocrisy really feels more like a lavish soap opera than cinematic melodrama) but it is difficult to dismiss the last work of a director like Visconti. DVD Release Date: March 10, 2009

The Key - After the high budget SALON KITTY and the Penthouse fiasco CALIGULA, Brass took creative control over the imaginative 16mm-shot ACTION before while mounting a couple aborted larger projects before setting the standard for all of his future output with THE KEY; although THE KEY more so than the subsequent productions (with perhaps the exception of SENSO '45/BLACK ANGEL) successfully skirts the line between arthouse and softcore erotica thanks to the lead performances, a score by Ennio Morricone, and a sense of humor that is organic with the melodramatic aspects of the story. Produced by Giovanni Bertolucci (on a budget lower than those he raised for his Visconti pictures), THE KEY has convincing period production values and Brass conveys his Venice with an intimate knowledge without skirting on lovely picturesque imagery of the city. DVD Release Date: August 31, 2004

The Most Dangerous Game - “One of the best and most literate movies from the great days of horror,” The Most Dangerous Game stars Leslie Banks as a big game hunter with a taste for the world’s most exotic prey—his houseguests, played by Fay Wray and Joel McCrea. Before making history with 1933’s King Kong, filmmakers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack wowed audiences with their chilling adaptation of this Richard Connell short story. Legend DVD Release Date: July 1st, 2008

Il Grido - A cinematic “cry” from one of the most revered of all auteurs, Italian maestro Michelangelo Antonioni (L’avventura, La notte, Il deserto rosso) depicts a world of heartbreaking alienation, with characters riven by trauma, cast against the stunning backdrop of northern Italy’s Po Valley – where the director spent his childhood. DVD Release Date: May 25th, 2009

My Winnipeg - If you love movies in the very sinews of your imagination, you should experience the work of Guy Maddin. If you have never heard of him, I am not surprised. Now you have. A new Maddin movie doesn't play in every multiplex, city or state. If you hear of one opening, seize the day. Or search where obscure films can be found. You will be plunged into the mind of a man who thinks in the images of old silent films, disreputable documentaries, movies that never were, from eras beyond comprehension. His imagination frees the lurid possibilities of the banal. He rewrites history; when that fails, he creates it. DVD Release Date: October 28th, 2008

This Gun For Hire - This is the film that made Alan Ladd a star. Although director Tuttle had originally intended to cast Preston in the lead role, he later decided to hunt for an unknown. When Tuttle was introduced to Ladd, the director was convinced that the 28-year-old blond could make the cold-blooded killer Phillip Raven a sympathetic character. Contracted at $300 per week, Ladd underwent screen tests, and even had his hair dyed black in keeping with his character's name. DVD Release Date: February 12th, 2007

BR - Director Phil Morrison has an impeccable eye for detail. His characters are crafted and speak with a kind of rich attention to detail that very few filmmakers are able to pull off, and everything from the paintings that adorn the walls to the way that characters move around the house, has a genuine poetic truthfulness to it. A particular standout in a cast of stellar performances is Amy Adams as the young mom-to-be, who is equally embarrassed of and embraces her small-town naiveté. Her performance is subtle piece of mannerist acting that achieves moments of greatness that seem perfectly in-tune with Angus MacLachlan’s witty script. With an original soundtrack by Yo La Tengo and an appearance by Will Oldham, this is a movie of irresistible appeal, and marks Phil Morrison as a director to watch out for. Blu-ray Release Date: June 22nd, 2009

Torso - After a leisurely first act peppered with both atmospheric stalk-and-slash setpieces and some quintessential seventies moments (like the memorably-scored pot orgy, some skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing), the film takes a sudden suspenseful turn with a particularly nail-biting final act. Although the identity of the killer was rumored to have been withheld from the cast, its pretty obvious who are the red herrings and who's the killer (as such, the police procedural element is obligatory and dropped relatively early). Fortunately, plot is not a necessity in this late giallo which - along with the following year's BLACK CHRISTMAS - prefigures the slasher trends of the late seventies and early eighties.

Licence to Kill
BR - Licence To Kill was Timothy Dalton's second, and last movie as 007. Until Pierce Brosnan signed on for Goldeneye, it resulted in the largest gap (5 years) between Bond films until Casino Royale. I realize there is a tendency for some of these movies to blur into one another (there's an understatement!), but Licence To Kill has to be one of the strangest and most uneven of all the Bond films in the Eon canon. Blu-ray Release date: May 12, 2009


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar

Week of May 25th, 2009


À l'aventure (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2009) R2 UK Axiom

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Wayne Wang, 2007) Magnolia

All the Days Before Tomorrow (François Dompierre, 2007) Vanguard Cinema

Children of Men [Blu-ray] (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) Universal Studios

Cinderella Man [Blu-ray] (Ron Howard, 2005) Universal Studios

Falling Down [Blu-ray] (Joel Schumacher, 1993) Warner

Field of Dreams [Blu-ray] (Phil Alden Robinson, 1989) Universal Studios

Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1957) R2 UK Master of Cinema

Inside Man [Blu-ray] (Spike Lee, 2006) Universal Studios

Killshot (John Madden, 2008) Weinstein

Lola Montès (Max Ophüls, 1955) R2 UK Second Sight

M Butterfly (David Cronenberg, 2009) Warner Home Video

The Magick Lantern Cycle (Kenneth Anger, 1947) R2 UK BFI Video
The Magick Lantern Cycle [
Blu-ray] (Kenneth Anger, 1947) R'B' UK BFI Video

The Michael Haneke Trilogy (The Seventh Continent, Benny’s Video and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

Philippe Garrel x 2 (Two-Disc Set) - (I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar, Emergency Kisses) - Zeitgeist

Powder Blue [Blu-ray] (Timothy Linh Bui, 2009) Image Entertainment

Princess of Nebraska (Wayne Wang, 2007) Magnolia

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves [Blu-ray] (Kevin Reynolds, 1991) Warner

The State of Things (Wim Wenders, 1982) R2 UK Axiom

Sky Crawlers [Blu-ray] (Mamoru Oshii, 2008) Sony Pictures

Tokyo! (Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax and Michel Gondry, 2008) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

True Romance [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott , 1993) Warner

Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970) Warner Home Video



Week of June 1st, 2009


Dark Blue [Blu-ray] (Ron Shelton, 2002) MGM

Defiance (Edward Zwick, 2008) Paramount
Defiance [
Blu-ray] (Edward Zwick, 2008) Paramount

Une Femme Mariee (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) Koch Lorber Films

Glory [Blu-ray] (Edward Zwick, 1989) Sony Pictures

The Graduate [Blu-ray] (Mike Nichols, 1967) MGM

Out of Time [Blu-ray] (Carl Franklin, 2003) MGM

Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes, 2008) Paramount
Revolutionary Road [
Blu-ray] (Sam Mendes, 2008) Paramount

Road House [Blu-ray] (Rowdy Herrington, 1989) MGM

Shallow Grave [Blu-ray] (Danny Boyle, 1994) R'B' 4dvd

Tender Mercies (Bruce Beresford, 1983) LionsGate

To Live and Die in L.A. [Blu-ray] (William Friedkin, 1985) MGM

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