DVDBeaver Newsletter - June 4th, 2007
Minjhani! - We have 12 new reviews (2 upcoming Criterion DVDs, 3 comparisons) Altman, classic Newman, funky sci-fi, our Feature DVD of the Month - plus our continued calendar updates.
DONATION DRIVE: We are in the midst of our Summer Donation Drive - thanks to all who have contributed (and those that use our Amazon and YesAsia links). We are still shy of our goal to cover annual Server costs and our Homepage will return to normal as soon as we have matched our expenses. Every little bit helps.
FEATURE DVD OF THE MONTH (JUNE): Master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu directed fifty-three feature films over the course of his long career. Yet it was in the final decade of his life, his “old master” phase, that he entered his artistic prime. Centered more than ever on the modern sensibilities of the younger generation, these delicate family dramas are marked by an exquisite formal elegance and emotional sensitivity about birth and death, love and marriage, and all the accompanying joys and loneliness. Along with such better-known films as Floating Weeds and An Autumn Afternoon, these five works - Early Spring (1956), Tokyo Twilight (1957), Equinox Flower (1958), Late Autumn (1960) and The End of Summer (1961) - illustrate the worldly wisdom of one of cinema’s great artists at the height of his powers.
Purchase HERE Reviewed and compared to existing editions HERE
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Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!):
NOTEWORTHY... or how to make a cineophile broke (more broke?):
BLIND BUY: Luis Bunuel Boxset (Gran Casino and The Young One) Lions Gate Home Entertainment
GOTTA SEE: Five Dedicated to Ozu (Abbas Kiarostami, 2003) Kino Video
FINGERS CROSSED: Wait till we tell you if this is a decent Madadayo - Akira Kurosawa (2pc) (Ran, Madadayo) Wellspring Media
TOES CROSSED: Can we hope for a decent version from Epoch? - Spring River Flows East (Chusheng Cai, Junli Zheng - 1947) Cinema Epoch
FINALLY MARIO LANZA: That Midnight Kiss / The Toast of New Orleans (Norman Taurog, 1950) Warner Home Video
The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1967) R2 UK Cinema Club
Ken Russell Collection - Gothic/The Rainbow/Women In Love - R2 UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Francois Truffaut Collection - The Man Who Loved Women/The Wild Child/Mississippi Mermaid/The Story Of Adele H/The Bride Wore Black - R2 UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Robert Altman Collection - Fool For Love/The Long Goodbye/M.A.S.H./O.C. And Stiggs/Thieves Like Us - R2 UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Akira Kurosawa (2pc) (Ran, Madadayo) Wellspring Media
Roads to Koktebel (Boris Khlebnikov, Aleksei Popogrebsky - 2003) Film Movement
That Midnight Kiss / The Toast of New Orleans (Norman Taurog, 1950) Warner Home Video
20 Million Miles To Earth (2-disc 50th Anniversary Edition) (Nathan Juran, 1957) Sony Pictures
Five Dedicated to Ozu (Abbas Kiarostami, 2003) Kino Video
Spring River Flows East (Chusheng Cai, Junli Zheng - 1947) Cinema Epoch
Luis Bunuel Boxset (Gran Casino and The Young One) Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Toho Triple Feature: Mysterians, Varan and Matango - Tokyo Shock
Cautiva (Gaston Biraben, 2003) Koch International
The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Auraeus Solito, 2005) TLA
Streets of Fire [HD DVD] (Walter Hill, 1984) Universal Studios
Born on the Fourth of July [HD DVD] (Oliver Stone, 1989) Universal Studios
Reel Talent: First Films by Legendary Directors (Lucas, Zemeckis, Foley etc.) 20th Century Fox
RECOMMENDATIONS: Short take...
WHAT I LIKED: Night of the Demon (Curse of the Demon), The Two of Us, The Verdict, Altman's A Wedding and If.... .
AND DIDN'T: As a film The Hustler is an essential but Fox has interlaced a classic - for shame.
Although the price is right - I never go into the whole Robocop thing - hence I consider 'Lenticular' just another version.
One word - 'ENOUGH' suits Hannibal Rising (Unrated).
CURIOUS: I've seen Pleasantville, and Peter's review has encouraged me to revisit. I need some 'lighter fare' and I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay sounds like it will fit the bill. I haven't seen it, so Flags of Our Fathers - HD may join my dozen or so of the new format.
If.... - British cinema – and
particularly that of the 1940s, 50s and 60s – tugs violently at itself from
within. On the one hand, there is the social realist impulse, as exemplified by
such films as ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ (1960) and ‘The Loneliness of
the Long Distance Runner’ (1962). And on the other, there are the flighty
excursions into the fantastic and the dreamlike, such as the work of both Powell
& Pressburger and the Hammer studio. Lindsay Anderson’s masterful ‘If….’ (1968)
at once drags these polar traditions together; expands on their possibilities;
and, from their tense juxtaposition, derives a rare poetry and force. DVD
Release Date: June 19th, 2007
The Two of Us - A young Jewish boy living in Nazi-occupied Paris is sent by his parents to the countryside to live with an elderly Catholic couple until France's liberation. Forced to hide his identity, the eight-year-old, Claude (played delicately by first-time actor Alain Cohen), bonds with the irascible, staunchly anti-Semitic Grampa (Michel Simon), who improbably becomes his friend and confidant. Poignant and lighthearted, The Two of Us was acclaimed director Claude Berri's debut feature, based on own childhood experiences, and gave the legendary Simon one of his most memorable roles in the twilight of his career. DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007
A Wedding - When it was first released A Wedding received a cooler reception than director Robert Altman was used to with previous films Nashville and 3 Women. It is frenetic and confusing with Altman himself confessing, "It probably had too many characters and it gets a little unwieldy." With no fewer than 48 significant speaking parts, that was something of an understatement. However, even with its flaws, this is one of Altman's funniest and most ebullient films. DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael - Roxy Carmichael has some clever writing, such as when Dinky tells a pig not to be a cliché after the pig tries to eat another animal’s food after he hated his own. There is also a really good scene involving Jeff Daniels’s wife leaving him. Although aimed at mainstream audiences, the script is a series of character moments rather than a “plot” story. DVD Release Date: June 5th, 2007
The Hustler (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Paul Newman heads a superb cast featuring Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott and Piper Laurie in the riveting film that received an Academy Award nomination as Best Picture of 1961 and brought all four of its Oscar nominations. Newman (Best Actor nominee) is electrifying as Fast Eddie Felson, an arrogant, amoral hustler who haunts backstreet pool rooms fleecing anyone who'll pick up a cue. Determined to be acclaimed as the best, Eddie seeks out the legendary Minnesota Fats (Gleason, Supporting Actor nominee), who's backed by Bert Gordon (Scott, Supporting Actor nominee), a predatory gambler. DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007
Robocop (Lenticular Edition) - Called by Ken Russell “the greatest science-fiction film since Metropolis,” controversial director Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop is a special effects-laden cult phenomenon. The film features a resurrected and roboticized hero (Peter Weller) in a new, supercharged cyborg body, struggling to reclaim his memory and avenge his own death. Writtern by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, this film is a grown-up superhero fantasy come to vivid, bloody life. DVD Release Date: June 5th, 2007
The Verdict (2-disc Collector's Edition) - Newman as a washed-up lawyer, given one last chance to prove himself with a rather squalid medical malpractice suit. David Mamet has delivered a fast-paced, eloquent, and suspenseful screenplay which, like all the best genre movies, plunges its hero so far into the abyss that it seems impossible for him to climb out. And for once Lumet makes story rather than performance his first priority, with the paradoxical result - so familiar in American movies - that the acting sometimes reaches a near-invisible perfection. Admittedly this is a legal Rocky, convincing rather than realistic, witty rather than analytical, but it amounts to a far more effective indictment of the US legal system than ...and justice for all, and is the first courtroom drama in years to recapture the brilliance of the form. DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007
Pleasantville - The signs are all around us: modernity brings apathy, dysfunction and nihilism in its wake! And when we add global warming, the AIDs epidemic, or any other recent calamity to this unhappy mix, the picture becomes even bleaker. How tempting, then, a return to apparently simpler times; a return to, say, the halcyon days of the 1950s.
Flags of Our Fathers - HD - 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: May 22nd, 2007
Hannibal Rising (Unrated) - Like most ill-conceiver prequels, Hannibal Rising explains everything without adding anything to an audience’s appreciation of its fictional universe. This outing turns Lecter into a Euro-trash punk whose cannibalism is apparently justifiable because...the Nazis gave him bad nightmares. Undoubtedly, World War II and the Holocaust did irreparable damage to originally decent people, but now we are asked to think of Lecter as a hero rather than as a villain. This reversal is an unnecessary slap in the face. DVD Release Date: May 29th, 2007
I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay - Watching everything, insinuating itself everywhere is Park Chan-wook’s incredible visual style. With a camera following, bobbing and weaving through patients and walls, it’s both creepy and stylish. There are no secrets here, and the camera makes sure it stays that way. The music, in contrast, is light and jazzy. A strong counterpoint to the serious matter, it lightens the tone, making everything seem normal and natural. DVD Release Date: May 8th, 2007
Night of the Demon (Curse of the Demon) - One of the finest thrillers made in England during the '50s, despite the fact that the final cut was tampered with against the director's wishes. Tourneur had used MR James's short story Casting the Runes as the basis for a marvellous cinematic dialogue between belief and scepticism, fantasy and reality. His intrepid rational hero (Andrews) is a modern scientist who is gradually persuaded that his life is threatened by a black magician. The director employed a number of e normously skilful devices to ensure that the audience experiences the hero's transition from confident scepticism to panic, and the process is observed with such subtlety that, in the original version at least, the interpretation of the plot was left open (i.e. the hero may simply be the victim of a conspiracy and/or his own imagination).
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of June 4th, 2007
36 Hours (George Seaton, 1965) Warner Home Video
Les Bonnes Femmes (Claude Chabrol, 1960) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Brothers in Law (Roy Boulting, 1957) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
The Cowboys (Mark Rydell, 1972) [HD DVD] Warner
The Cowboys (Mark Rydell, 1972) [Blu-ray] Warner
Dr. Crippen (Robert Lynn, 1962) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Duck, You Sucker (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (Sergio Leone, 1972) MGM
The Eiger Sanction (Clint Eastwood, 1975) R2 UK Universal Pictures UK
Happy Is the Bride (Roy Boulting, 1958) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Fantastic Voyage - Special Edition (Richard Fleischer, 1966) 20th Century Fox
The Family Way (Roy Boulting, 1966) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment
Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (Ishiro Honda, 1964) Classic Media
The Hill (Sidney Lumet, 1965) Warner Home Video
Jean-Luc Godard Collection Volume 1 (A Bout De Souffle, Passion, Alphaville and Made in the USA) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment
Jean Renoir Collection (La Grande Illusion, Le Caporal Epingle, La Merseillaise, La Bete Humaine, Le Testamant Du Docteur Cordelier, Dejeuner Sur Herbe, Elena Et Les Hommes And Boudu Saved From Drowning) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
The L-Shaped Room (Bryan Forbes, 1962) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
The Magic Box (John Boulting, 1951) R2 UK Optimum
Martin & Lewis Collection - Vol. 2 (You're Never Too Young / Artists and Models / Living It up / Pardners / Hollywood or Bust) - Paramount Home Video
Mission Impossible - The Second TV Season (1966) Paramount Home Video
The Raging Moon (Bryan Forbes, 1971) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959) [HD DVD] Warner
Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959) [Blu-ray] Warner
Robocop - Lenticular Edition (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) MGM
The Sand Pebbles (Robert Wise, 1966) 20th Century Fox
Sergio Leone Anthology (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly / A Fistful of Dollars / For a Few Dollars More / Duck, You Sucker) MGM
Seven Days to Noon (John Boulting/Roy Boulting, 1948) R2 UK Optimum
Twelve O'Clock High - Special Edition (Henry King, 1949) 20th Century Fox
Twisted Nerve (Roy Boulting, 1968) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Von Ryan's Express - Special Edition (Mark Robson, 1965) 20th Century Fox
Warrior of Light (Monika Treut, 2001) New Yorker
WWII Collection 2: Heroes Fight for Freedom (6-disc) - Air Force (1943), Command Decision (1948), Hell to Eternity (1960), The Hill (1965), 36 Hours (1964), Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) Warner Home Video
Week of June 4th, 2007
52 Pick-Up (John Frankenheimer, 1986) MGM
Ballad of Narayama (Imamura, 1983) R2 UK Tartan Video
Born on the Fourth of July [HD DVD] (Oliver Stone, 1989) Universal Studios
The Bow (Kim Ki-duk, 2005) Tartan Video
The Cecil B. Demille Classics Collection - 5-disc - (The Squaw Man/The Virginian/Carmen/The Cheat/Joan the Woman/The Romance of the Redwoods/The Little American/Old Wives for New/The Whispering Chorus/ Don’t Change Your Husband/Male and Female/Why Change Your Wife?/The Affairs of Anatol/Manslaughter/The Road to Yesterday/The Volga Boatman/Miss Lulu Bett) Koch Lorber
The Devil's Eye (Ingmar Bergman, 1960) R2 UK - Tartan
Frankenstein Conquers the World (Ishirô Honda, 1965) Tokyo Shock
The Hustler (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Robert Rossen, 1961) 20th Century Fox
If.... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) R2 UK Paramount Home Entertainment (UK)
James Stewart: Screen Legend Collection (Shenandoah / The Glenn Miller Story / Thunder Bay / You Gotta Stay Happy / Next Time, We Love) Universal Studios
John Wayne: Screen Legend Collection (Reap the Wild Wind / Rooster Cogburn / The Hellfighters / The War Wagon / The Spoilers) Universal Studios
Late Ozu (5pc) - Early Spring, Tokyo Twilight, Equinox Flower, Late Autumn and The End of Summer - Criterion/Eclipse
Masters of Horror: The Screwfly Solution (Joe Dante, 2006) Anchor Bay
The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection (Detective / Reporter / Troubleshooter / Hidden Staircase) Warner Home Video
The Practice - volume one - 20th Century Fox
Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman, 1953) R2 UK - Tartan
The Stewart Granger Collection - Adam and Evelyne, Blanche Fury, Caesar And Cleopatra, Captain Boycott, Fanny By Gaslight, Lamp Still Burns, Love Story, Madonna of The Seven Moons, Magic Bow, Waterloo Road, Woman Hater and Caravan - R2 UK ITV DVD
Two of Us (Claude Berri, 1967) Criterion
Waiting for Happiness (Abderrahman Sissako, 2002) New Yorker
The Verdict (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Sidney Lumet, 1982) 20th Century Fox
Best to all this week...
P.S. DVD of the Year - 2006 still remains a popular place to peruse.
SALE STILL ON: The following 30 Criterion DVDs are all 35% OFF !: Seven Samurai - 3-Disc Remastered Edition (1954), Grey Gardens (1976), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), The 400 Blows (1959), Amarcord (1974), Viridiana (1962), Playtime (1967), The Tin Drum (1980), Solo Con Tu Pareja (1991), Tanner '88 (1988), Late Spring (1949), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1950), Equinox (1970), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Naked (1994), Do The Right Thing (1989), Shoot the Piano Player (1962), 3 Women (1977), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), The King of Kings (1927), Hoop Dreams (1994), Fanny and Alexander (The Theatrical Version) (1983), The Children Are Watching Us (1947), Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976), Slacker (1991), Smiles Of A Summer Night (1957), The Complete Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report) (1962), Unfaithfully Yours (1948), Kicking & Screaming (1995), Monsters And Madmen (The Haunted Strangler / Corridors of Blood / The Atomic Submarine / First Man into Space) (1959)