DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 26th, 2008

Moino! - an exciting 23 new reviews this week - a whopping 8 Blu-rays, Argento, Bava and other Horrors, Malick gold, The 3 Stooges, classic TV , Shaw Wuxia gems, masterful silent thriller and stingy 'B' noirs. Some highly anticipated calendar updates, a new contest and more. It's great to be alive because it just keeps getting better.


Check out Beaver's NEW: Masters of Cinema page HERE - to help keep track of current sale pricing, new listing, reviews and more... (MANY titles 40-50% OFF!)

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

MAY 26th CONTEST -  identify this, very easy, CLIP to win brand new 2-disc Special Edition DVD of Twister .- Best of luck all!

NOTE: Winners announced in Leonard's Damo - Lady Detective contest HERE.


Amazon.co.uk May clearance sale is on until the 8th June, with 1000's of products reduced HERE


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

The Pied Piper (Jacques Demy, 1972) Legend Films

Identification Of A Woman (Michelangelo Antonioni,1982) R2 UK Mr Bongo Films

La vie de Jesus (Bruno Dumont, 1997) R2 UK Eureka MoC

Great Expectations [Blu-ray] (David Lean, 1946) RB UK ITV

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975) Criterion

Eclipse Series 11: Larisa Shepitko - The Ascent (Larisa Shepitko, 1976), Wings (Larisa Shepitko, 1966) Criterion

Brand Upon the Brain! (Guy Maddin, 2006) Criterion

The Small Back Room (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1949) Criterion

Twenty-four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) Criterion

The Patrice Leconte Collection - Monsieur Hire (1989), Tango (1993), Felix and Lola (2001) and My Best Friend (2006) - R2 UK Second Sight Films

The Fog [Blu-ray] (John Carpenter, 1980) RB UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

The Doors [Blu-ray] (Oliver Stone, 1991) - Lions Gate

Nixon [Blu-ray] (Oliver Stone, 1995) - Walt Disney Video, Monsieur Vincent (Maurice Cloche, 1947) – Lionsgate

Dirty Money (aka Un Flic) (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972) – Lionsgate

Andre Techine Boxset (Wild Reeds, I Don't Kiss, Hotel America and My Favorite Season) – Lionsgate

Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (Jean-Paul Salomé, 2001) - Lions Gate

Cool Hand Luke [Blu-ray] (Stuart Rosenberg, 1967) - Warner Home Video

Face/Off [Blu-ray] (John Woo, 1997) Paramount

Perry Mason: Season 3 V.1Paramount

The Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.2 (Kapurush, Mahapurush and Joi Baba Felunath) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Terror's Advocate (Barbet Schroeder, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Under the Bombs (Philippe Aractingi, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

You the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) R2 UK Pathe Dist.

The Walter Hill Collection (The Driver, Southern Comfort, Extreme Prejudice, Johnny Handsome, Red Heat And The Warriors) R2 UK Optimum

The David Lynch Collection (Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive And Inland Empire) R2 UK Optimum

BIG THANKS!: DVDBeaver would not exist without the support of many patrons - those who generously donate, and especially those who use our Amazon and YesAsia links. That's it. When you go to Amazon - PLEASE use one of our links to get there (they are on every page - top and bottom - and we have 5000 webpages). It costs you absolutely nothing and we get a small commission on items you purchase. This helps pay our bills - in fact it's the only thing that pays our bills.

STRATEGIES: The best way to take full advantage of Amazon is to use PRE-ORDERs - lock in at the discount price by ORDERING - if perchance you decide against the purchase you have until the release date to cancel - at no charge.

AND  if you will purchase more than 35 DVDs (or anything) in a 365 day period (and live in the Continental US) it makes excellent financial sense to subscribe to Amazon Prime! You will get Free 2-day shipping on your purchases!




ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Another immensely tiresome week at my end! - Firstly, no reason to be blue over Blu-ray - Leonard has used comparisons with existing SD-DVDs to identify those worth indulging out of Fox's upcoming 'War' grouping. The answer? - Patton BR and The Longest Day BR. Continuing with Blu-ray - I'm a big supporter of Shyamalan and endorse Signs BR. If you enjoyed Face / Off then the Blu-ray is tops. Leonard has a unique recommendation with 5 Centimeters Per Second BR. Come Drink With Me  is THE classic martial arts film - and Weinstein's DVD has very strong value. Speaking of value for vintage goods - both The Invaders (Season One) and The Three Stooges Collection - Vol. 2 deserve the attention of those enjoying classics. Like most choices are dependant on personal appeal - Eric and Gregory has given you all the info you should need for the Bava and Argento films listed below.


New Reviews:

Patton BR - An under thirty Francis Ford Coppola meant to satisfy both hawks and doves in his Oscar winning screenplay. I didn't know that until I heard him say so in the Introduction to the movie, but I shall thought he did a fine job of just that when I first saw the film in 1970. When I learned sometime later that it was Nixon's favorite movie, I thought: Q.E.D.! The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 2008

The Sand Pebbles BR
- Splendid camerawork by Joseph MacDonald, otherwise a three-hour plod through a bestseller by Richard McKenna. Set in China in 1926, it deals with the trials and tribulations of an American gunboat crew who learn to love the natives while trying to save them from their own follies and the depredations of everybody else. Behind its timid criticism of imperialist attitudes, lies a much louder and heartfelt American cry - with China 1926 standing in for Vietnam 1966 - of 'Why doesn't everybody love us when we do our best for you?' The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 2008


The Changeling - After his wife and daughter are killed in a snowplow accident, composer John Russell (George C. Scott) returns to Seattle to teach music at his alma mater. The local historical society rents him a long abandoned mansion where he will have plenty of room to work. However, he is not alone in the house. A subtle and genuinely scary ghost story, The Changeling hits most of the right notes for both subtle chills and jump out of your skin shocks. Johnny Coquillon's (Straw Dogs) alternates effectively between Steadicam and handheld cinematography just as Rick Wilkins' score alternates between low strings and jump scare bombast.

The Longest Day BR - I suppose this is a Darryl F. Zanuck movie in much the same way as Gone With the Wind was David O. Selznick's. The director doesn't much matter. In this case, that goes triple, since there are in fact three directors: one for the "British Exterior Episodes" (Annakin), one for the "American Exterior Episodes" (Marton), and one for the "German Episodes" (Wicki). One wonders who directed the Allied "Interior Episodes"? In any case, Zannuck, who participated in the first world war in France and Belgium, wanted to recreate the Normandy Invasion in a quasi-documentary – but always faithful to the Hollywood idea of things. The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 2008

A Bridge Too Far BR - A Bridge Too Far is a film about the failure of leadership in time of war. It takes a hard, cold look at the sort of arrogance that feels the need to undertake a difficult expedition: more because it had never been done before than for military expediency. A shudder will almost certainly run through you as General Browning rationalizes intelligence about the enemy's hidden weapons so as not to have to reconsider his plan. A Bridge Too Far is also about bravery, loyalty and determination in the face of almost certain death. The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 2008

Battle of Britain BR - The story of the Battle of Britain is a familiar tale of courage in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the story of the Spitfire, a more maneuverable fighter plane than the Messerschmitt Bf 109 or whatever else the Germans had at their disposal especially during the latter part of 1940. The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 2008

Phenomena - Though not Argento's best film, it is certainly his most enjoyable as the director crams so many odd touches into the 110 minute running time (a lot of which was trimmed for the 84 minute US version). There are razor-wielding chimps, kilos of coffee-grounds standing in for flies (a clever antiquated optical trick), pits full of maggots, skulls, and body parts, a monster child, Iron Maiden's recurrent "Flash of the Blade", Daria Nicolodi's frazzled teacher, striking Dalila Di Lazzaro's stern headmistress who believes in the diabolical "Lord of the Flies", and an ethereal Jennifer Connelly (14 at the time) running around the Swiss mountains chasing insects and being chased by a spear-wielding assassin. The Argento Box DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

Signs BR - Taking cues from classic films of the past including Hitchcock's 'The Birds', George Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' and Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, M. Night Shyamalan has written produced and directed and old fashioned intriguing sci-fi suspense story. I fully enjoyed his previous film, 'Unbreakable', and his slight diversion from standard Hollywood formula has proven a big success with most, although his detractors are growing. 'Signs' is slick, smart, and keeps you on the edge of your seat with fine performances, subtle humor and slight references to faith and conviction. The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 200

The Thin Red Line - There has truly never been a film about modern war quite like this one: a kind of lyric epic poem about the way men are transformed for good by the experience of war, carefully balancing romanticism and dispassion, action and introspection. Like Malick's Badlands and Days of Heaven, it is spare, fleet, elliptical, and establishes a careful middle-distance from the circumstances of its characters, disarming the processes of audience identification and implication for all but the briefest of moments. More significantly, and unlike Saving Private Ryan, it also seems determined to evade the mythopoeic impulse - that which makes a film larger than life and proffers it to stand in for history.

Tenebre - A hybrid horror, both thriller and slasher, not to mention chopper and shocker, this confirms what Suspiria and Inferno led one to suspect. When it comes to plotting, Argento is one hell of a basket weaver: with holes in his story big enough to sink credibility, he cheats and double-crosses like mad to conceal the killer's identity. Successful crime writer (Franciosa) arrives in Rome to promote his new book 'Tenebrae', an event which triggers off a trail of bloody murders in the manner described in his book. By the end, the entire cast save one has undergone savage cutting, something which would have benefited the film itself, which is unpleasant even by contemporary horror standards. It does confirm Argento's dedication to the technicalities of constructing images - Grand Guignol for L'Uomo Vogue, perhaps - but you'll still end up feeling you've left some vital digestive organs back in the seat. The Argento Box DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

The Machine Girl - Now Noboru Iguchi’s latest work is not for everyone. His earlier film “Sukeban Boy” already showed that he’s not afraid to stretch a concept beyond it’s ripping point if it means he can get an extra laugh or a gasp (or both!) out of his audience, and in “The Machine Girl” he goes nuts. This film falls happily into the “mega-gore” category. Everyone who gets wounded in this film starts spraying gallons of fake blood around, interspersed with some smoke from the pneumatic systems used to propel all these fluids. Knives, chainsaws, katanas, shuriken, a flying guillotine, a drillbra, the aforementioned super machine gun… all feeble excuses to show as many outrageously bloody effects as possible. DVD Release Date: June 3rd, 2008

The Three Stooges Collection - Vol. 2 - Up until Volume 1 (reviewed HERE) the Three Stooges on DVD had been a real mix'n match hodge-podge of un-restored titles and illogical entries. Sony are giving us the first concert effort to categorize, on digital, their huge body of work chronologically with many shorts seeing the digital light for the first time.\. DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

Bay of Blood - The prototype of the body count movie, Mario Bava's commentary on materialism REAZIONE A CATENA (CHAIN REACTION also known in Italy as THE ECOLOGY OF CRIME, in the UK as BLOODBATH, and the US as BAY OF BLOOD, TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, PART II) has the murder of a wheelchair bound countess in an effort to obtain her highly desirable bay-front property, setting forth a "chain reaction" of graphic slayings of greedy characters as well as anyone who happens to wander onto the property (cue the four free-loving youths for some drugs, dancing, skinny-dipping, and sex).

Baron Blood - The plot, typical of this always narrative-challenged director, is just an excuse for a series of gorgeously fetishized set-pieces. It seems that Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora), the young descendant of Baron Otto von Kleist (a Vlad the Impaler style madman from 300 years ago), has finished his M.A. and come to Austria to look into his heritage. There he meets architecture student Eva Arnold (Elke Sommer), and the two of them decide to conjure up his ancestor. Happily, Peter brings along an ancient scroll telling him exactly how to resurrect this monster. Unhappily, the Baron indeed returns, wreaking havoc on the locals and trying to murder Peter and Eva, who unwittingly hold the secret to sending him back into the dustbin of history.

The Bucket List - Early in The Bucket List, a new buddy picture directed by Rob Reiner, each of the film’s protagonists discovers that he has only a few months left to live—a year at most. Carter Chambers, a trivia-obsessed auto mechanic played by Morgan Freeman, is the first to receive the dire news, over the phone; the shock causes him to drop his cigarette, which is precisely the sort of hackneyed, melodramatic visual signpost you might expect from a treacly Hollywood crowd-pleaser. DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

Monamour - Another high-living and uninhibited but dissatisfied bodacious beauty (Anna Jimskaya) meets another one of Tinto Brass' ass-loving aesthetes (Riccardo Marino) and keeps record of all of their adventures in her diary for her husband (Max Parodi, Brass' Frivolous Lola) to discover. As usual, being cuckolded proves arousing and true love wins out in the end. Though visually pleasing (featuring attractive cinematography and lighting as well as stunning set design) and explicit, this feels more like a place-holder film in between hopefully better projects (sort of like Brass' earlier lukewarm anthology P.O. BOX TINTO BRASS).

The Invaders (Season One) - The Invaders -- a Quinn Martin Production -- lasted but two seasons on television, producing 43 hour-long episodes from 1967-68. But in those 43 episodes are packed some of the finest science fiction fare ever to grace the small screen, with Roy Thinnes starring as David Vincent, a man on a mission who tries to convince a disbelieving world that the alien invaders are now among us! DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

A Cottage on Dartmoor - One of the very last silent films to be made in Britain before the talkies revolutionised cinema, A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929) is a virtuoso piece of filmmaking, a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Restored from film materials preserved in the BFI National Archive, this little-known gem is released on DVD for the first time in the UK and presented here with a specially commissioned score by Stephen Horne. DVD Release Date: May 26th, 2008

Face / Off BR - Pay attention, none of this makes much sense. Five years after the murder of his son, FBI agent Sean Archer (Travolta) finally has the drop on terrorist Castor Troy (Cage) - but with Castor comatose and a bomb ticking somewhere in LA, Archer's persuaded to undergo facial surgery, swapping Castor's features for his own. In this way, Archer-as-Troy (Cage) hopes to trick the location out of Castor's brother Pollux (Nivola). Unfortunately, Castor wakes up, and makes off with Archer's face, killing everyone who's in on the secret, and moving into his enemy's office. The Blu-ray DVD Release date: June 3rd, 2008

5 Centimeters Per Second BR - For quite some time now those in the know have been declaring Makoto Shinkai the next Hayao Miyazaki. Starting with short films animated purely by himself on his home computer Shinkai has steadily built a fiercely loyal following around the globe, his fans drawn by his clean lines, attention to detail and willingness to let his character’s breathe. Shinkai, like Miyazaki, is one of those very rare film makers - even more rare in the animation world - who understands that less can often be more, that the quiet moments often tell us more than any amount of action or dialog ever could, and he has an uncanny knack for capturing the pregnant pauses that open the souls of his characters. Blu-ray DVD Release date: April 18th, 2008

Heroes of the East - Heroes of the East embodies the very best of the kung fu movie genre, yet remains unique among its peers. It is a superb example of Lau Kar-leung’s ability to draw the viewer into his meticulous fight choreography with compelling storytelling seamlessly woven into the action. It also stands as perhaps the greatest match up of Japanese and Chinese fighters. It’s all the more impressive that he’s able to pull this all off so well without resorting to any real bloodshed, death or dismemberment. There is a place for that as I’m sure Chang Cheh and Sonny Chiba would argue, but Lau rises above this and just gives us great martial arts action packaged in a very accessible story for even non-fu fans. DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

Come Drink With Me - Available at last on a digitally restored DVD, this was Hu's first foray into wuxia (martial chivalry) territory and already featured many of his future trademarks: a heroine in drag, fights in the confined space of an inn, music and percussion cues from Peking Opera and a plot which suddenly expands to a larger frame of reference. Posing as the knight errant Golden Swallow, Xiyan (Cheng) sets out to rescue her brother, an official held hostage by the Five Tiger Gang; she is aided, at first obliquely, by the beggar Drunken Cat (Yueh), who leads a raggle-taggle troupe of kids (great haircuts!) who sing for small change. DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2008

Forgotten Noir Vol. 8 - VCI give us three more 'B' noirish films - Mr. District Attorney (1947), Ringside (1949) and Hi-Jacked (1950). Lawyers, a middleweight boxer and a parolee are together in this three-film pack on one dual-layered DVD. DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of May 26th, 2008

The Air I Breathe (Jieho Lee, 2007) Velocity / Thinkfilm

The Air I Breathe [Blu-ray] (Jieho Lee, 2007) Velocity / Thinkfilm

Akasen Chitai/Yokihi (2 films by Keni Mizoguchi) - R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

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

Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946) R2 UK - BFI

Come Drink with Me (King Hu, 1966) Weinstein

A Cottage on Dartmoor (Anthony Asquith, 1929) - R2 UK - BFI

The Dario Argento Box Set (Tenebre: Special Edition, Phenomena: Special Edition, Trauma, The Card Player, Do You Like Hitchcock?) - Starz / Anchor Bay

Four Months, Three Weeks And Two Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Grace Is Gone (James C. Strouse, 2007) Weinstein

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

"Holocaust" (Marvin J. Chomsky, 1978) (3-disc mini-series) Paramount

"The Invaders" Season One (1967) Paramount

The Lather Effect (Sarah Kelly, 2006) Anchor Bay

Nathalie Granger (Marguerite Duras, 1972) Blaq Out

Nathalie Granger 2-disc (Marguerite Duras, 1972) Blaq Out

Noriko's Dinner Table (Sion Sono, 2005) Facets

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 2: 1937-1939 - Sony

The Thief of Bagdad (Michael Powell, 1940) Criterion

Twister [HD DVD] (Jan de Bont, 1996) Warner

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


Week of June 2nd, 2008

A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray] (Richard Attenborough, 1977) MGM/Fox

Angels One Five (George More O'Ferrall, 1952) R2 UK - Optimum

Battle of Britain [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1969) MGM/Fox

Control (Anton Corbijn, 2007) Weinstein

David Niven - Screen Icons Collection (Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Love Lottery, Happy Ever After, Eternally Yours And Happy Go Lovely) R2 UK - Optimum

Death of a Salesman (Volker Schlöndorff, 1985) R2 UK Metrodome 

Dirty Harry (Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Dirty Harry Special Edition, Magnum Force Deluxe Edition, The Enforcer Deluxe Edition, Sudden Impact Deluxe Edition, The Dead Pool Deluxe Edition) Warner Home Video

Dirty Harry (Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (Dirty Harry Special Edition, Magnum Force Deluxe Edition, The Enforcer Deluxe Edition, Sudden Impact Deluxe Edition, The Dead Pool Deluxe Edition) Warner Home Video

Diva - Meridian Collection -ReMastered (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981) - Lionsgate

Face/Off [Blu-ray] (John Woo, 1997) Paramount

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

Hitler: The Last Ten Days (Ennio De Concini, 1973) Paramount

Houdini (George Marshall, 1953) Paramount

John Mills Centenary Collection V2 (8-disc - Car Of Dreams, Forever England, The Way To The Stars, The Long Memory, Above Us The Waves, The Vicious Circle and Tiger Bay) R2 UK ITV DVD

The Longest Day [Blu-ray] (Ken Annakin, 1962) Fox Home Entertainment

The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By (Harold French, 1952) R2 UK Metrodome

Mandingo (Richard Fleischer, 1975) Paramount Studios

The Optimists (Anthony Simmons, 1973) Paramount

Patton [Blu-ray] (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970) Fox Home Entertainment

The Possession of Joel Delaney (Waris Hussein, 1972) Paramount

The Recruit [Blu-ray] (Roger Donaldson , 2003) - Buena Vista

The Sand Pebbles [Blu-ray] (Robert Wise, 1966) Fox Home Entertainment

Signs [Blu-ray] (M. Night Shyamalan, 2002) - Buena Vista

There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray] (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) - Paramount


"Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings."
Arthur Rubinstein (1886 - 1982)

May your week be filled with laughter!