DVDBeaver Newsletter - June 9th, 2008

Changwana! - 16 new DVD reviews this week - 5 Blu-rays, 2 Criterions, a couple of multi-film boxsets etc. Some new calendar updates, Part B of our contest with a BIG prize, sales and more.


JUNE 9th CONTEST - See our Contest page HERE for details to win brand new Dirty Harry Ultimate Collection in Blu-Ray!.- Best of luck all!
NOTE: To qualify you must send both answers in one email (June 2nd and 9th's contests)
Also New Korean Drama Contest listed on the Contest page HERE


BLU-RAY BLOWOUT STILL ON HERE - up to 50% OFF! Ex. Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete Collector's Edition) [Blu-Ray] is $19, Eyes Wide Shut [Blu-ray] (1999) is $14.45 and many more... and also big savings on BLU-RAY bundles HERE


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

Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4 (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse / The Little Giant / Larceny, Inc. / Invisible Stripes / Kid Galahad / The Golden Age of the Gangster Film) – Warner

Get Smart - Season 1 (1965) – HBO

Recount (Jay Roach, 2008) HBO Home Video

My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar-Wai, 2007) – LionsGate

Sunflower (Yang Zhang, 2005) New Yorker

Transformers [Blu-ray] (Michael Bay, 2007) Paramount

Shrek the Third [Blu-ray] (Chris Miller, 2007) Paramount

The Nightmare Before Christmas [Blu-ray] (Henry Selick, 1993) Touchstone / Disney

The Free Will (Matthias Glasner, 2006) Benten Films

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



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): I has an enjoyable week of film viewing with The Furies being the apex. More westerns surfaced for us with, finally, a respectable edition of High Noon and what about The Professionals BR? - pretty darn sweet pardner'. I have to admit The Orphanage BR looks gorgeous and Leonard says the audio is even better! The Blu-ray of There Will Be Blood is the definitive edition for that award winning film. Criterion comes through again with Before the Rain. The Free Will may find it's selective following. Godardians should have enough reason to nab the Optimum Alphaville.

PASS: My Diva was a DUD and I can't recommend Sophia Loren 4-Film Collection. Please wait on The Wayward Cloud as we're going to cover the lauded Axiom edition next.


New Reviews:

The Orphanage BR - Borrowing elements from Poltergeist, The Innocents, Don't Look Now, The Shining and Somewhere in Time (have you ever thought of Somewhere in Time as a ghost story?), Bayona and screenwriter, Sergio Sanchez, have fashioned an intelligent and capable piece of work that stands on its own as narrative, and is helped by a director who cut his teeth on the music video genre where a knowledge of editing and art direction comes in handy for this elemental drama. Blu-ray Release date: April 22nd, 2008


Icons of Adventure - HAMMER WASN'T JUST HORROR...The legendary British studio is justly revered for its classic horror movies but they actually made all kinds of pictures and this first Sony collection of their best films presents four pulse-pounding adventures - all new to DVD - three of them starring Hammer icon Christopher Lee. He's at his snarling best as blood-thirsty buccaneers in the rousing swashbuckers The Pirates of Blood River and The Devil-Ship Pirates. Then he warms up for his famed Fu Manchu series by playing an evil Chinese crime lord in The Terror of the Tongs. Rounding out the set is the rarely-seen The Stranglers of Bombay based on the chilling true story of how the British attempted to vanquish the Thuggees the notorious death cult that terrorized India for centuries. So strap yourself in for the most rip-roaring group of movies since Errol Flynn laid down his sword! DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

Before the Rain - The first film made in the newly independent Republic of Macedonia, Milcho Manchevski's Before the Rain crosscuts the stories of an orthodox Christian monk (Gregoire Colin), a British photo agent (Katrin Cartlidge), and a native Macedonian war photographer (Rade Serbedzija to paint a portrait of simmering ethnic and religious hatred about to reach its boiling point. Made during the strife of the war-torn Balkan states in the nineties, this gripping triptych of love and violence is also a timeless evocation of the loss of pastoral innocence, and remains one of recent cinema's most powerful laments on the futility of war. DVD Release Date: June 24th, 2008

The Free Will - Winner of a prestigious Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival Matthias Glasner's brave and complex drama contemplates the terror of loneliness and whether love can be a salvation to damaged psyches. Earning Best Actor awards at both Tribeca and Chicago Jurgen Vogel stars as Theo a convicted sexual predator who has just been released from psychiatric detention. His fear of women stirs a profound unfulfilled longing within him making his reintegration into society an unbearable ordeal. Can hope exist in his budding relationship with Nettie (Sabine Timoteo) as they embark on a journey to the limits of free will? DVD Release Date: June 24th, 2008

Ruler of Your Own World - Professional pickpocket, Bok-Su (the remarkable Yang Dong Geon) and his partner in crime, "Rookie", can barely remain one gallop in front of the law. Shortly after a brief prologue, the drama gets under way not long after Bok-Su has been released from jail. He now lives, begrudgingly, with his father, who has been separated from Bok-Su's mother for some years. Bok-Su has an even more highly charged relationship with his mother, who cares for a young boy that we take to be Bok-Su's half-brother and who himself relates to Bok-Su more as a father than a brother. Clearly, Bok-Su has "issues" with both parents about their separation and the grief it has caused them all.

Action - Bruno Martel (Luc Merenda) is an unstable French actor whose agent gets him an audition for a pornographic film by a pretentious director. Bruno "saves" his co-star Doris (Susanna Javicoli) who is obsessed with playing the role of Hamlet's Ophelia. After an attack by a female punk gang and a stay in an asylum where the staff is crazier than the inmates, they take to the road with a man who believes he is Garibaldi and encounters more bizarre characters before the pair end up working at an out of the way gas station for a wheelchair bound old man and his horny young wife (a nod to The Postman Always Rings Twice - or more appropriately, Luchino Visconti's Ossessione).

The Furies - Barbara Stanwyck and Walter Huston are at their fierce finest in master Hollywood craftsman Anthony Mann’s crackling western melodrama The Furies. In 1870s New Mexico Territory, megalomaniacal widowed ranch owner T. C. Jeffords (Huston, in his final role) butts heads with his daughter, Vance (Stanwyck), a firebrand with serious daddy issues, over her dowry, choice of husband, and, finally, ownership of the land itself. Both sophisticated in its view of frontier settlement and ablaze with searing domestic drama, The Furies is a hidden treasure of American filmmaking, boasting Oscar™–nominated cinematography and vivid supporting turns from Judith Anderson, Wendell Corey, and Gilbert Roland. DVD Release Date: June 24th, 2008

Alphaville - One of Godard's most sheerly enjoyable movies, a dazzling amalgam of film noir and science fiction in which tough gumshoe Lemmy Caution turns inter-galactic agent to re-enact the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice by conquering Alpha 60, the strange automated city from which such concepts as love and tenderness have been banished. As in Antonioni's The Red Desert (made the previous year), Godard's theme is alienation in a technological society, but his shotgun marriage between the poetry of legend and the irreverence of strip cartoons takes the film into entirely idiosyncratic areas. Not the least astonishing thing is the way Raoul Coutard's camera turns contemporary Paris into an icily dehumanised city of the future.

The Wayward Cloud - As in his earlier film "The Hole," Tsai intercuts extravagant musical numbers amidst the bleak narrative, almost a means for the characters to express their innermost feelings. These sequences counterpoint the frank sexuality of the film, which is raw to say the least. The sharp level of absurdity to the graphic nature of these images goes a long way towards keeping the film from bogging down under the weight of the serious issues regarding sex, bodies, and the human condition that Tsai is so deeply exploring here. Like no other filmmaker working today, his static camera speaks wonders to the isolation and existential crisis that these characters feel. There is an ongoing motif of intersecting corridors and hallways--like the skywalk that once was--these are modern rivers destined to bring people together, but which always fail to unite us. Tsai’s characters are like clouds drifting aimlessly through life, and the film’s ending which can be read as what happens when two clouds happen to unite, is about as achingly beautiful and as wholly disturbing, as anything I have ever seen. DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

High Noon - A Western of stark, classical lineaments: Cooper, still mysteriously beautiful in ravaged middle-age, plays a small town marshal who lays life and wife on the line to confront a killer set free by liberal abolitionists from the North. Waiting for the murderer's arrival on the midday train, he enters a long and desolate night of the soul as the heat gathers, his fellow-citizens scatter, and it grows dark, dark, dark amid the blaze of noon. Writer Carl Foreman, who fetched up on the HUAC blacklist, leaves it open whether the marshal is making a gesture of sublime, arrogant futility - as his bride (Kelly), a Quaker opposed to violence, believes - or simply doing what a man must. High Noon won a fistful of Oscars, but in these days of pasteboard screen machismo, it's worth seeing simply as the anatomy of what it took to make a man before the myth turned sour. DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

The Professionals BR - Writer-director Richard Brooks' career had highs and lows but he was never more on the mark than when he put together The Professionals, a tightly written and directed adventure that fulfills the spirit of its title in all departments. A wonderful cast of he-man action heroes handles both the constant physical exertion and Brooks' slick script with style and grace. And the cinematography of Conrad Hall gives the film a gloriously colorful desert setting for 1001 wild gags with gunplay, horses, trains and arrows laced with sticks of dynamite. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

There Will Be Blood BR - The movie alludes to Days of Heaven, Giant, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Citizen Kane, but it’s every inch a P.T. Anderson film. Blood is not a departure from his style (as some have suggested) but a refinement, seizing on the notions of family and commerce that ran through Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999) and reworking them on a different plane. Anderson pares down Upton Sinclair’s 1926 muckraking novel Oil! to an archetypal, even operatic tale of greed and competition, culminating in an ending that’s as much a shock to the system as the frogs in Magnolia. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: June 3rd, 2008

Diva - Marvellous amalgam of sadistic thriller and fairytale romance, drawing on a wild diversity of genres from film noir to Feuillade serial. The deliriously offhand plot, cheekily parodying Watergates and French Connections, has switched tapes setting a pair of psychopathic hoods on the trail of a young postal messenger, turning his obsessive dream - of romance with a beautiful black opera singer whose performance on stage he has secretly recorded - into a nightmare from which he is rescued by a timely deus-ex-machina (clearly a descendant of the great Judex). The most exciting debut in years, it is unified by the extraordinary decor - colour supplement chic meets pop art surrealism - which creates a world of totally fantastic reality situated four-square in contemporary Paris. DVD Release Date: June 3rd, 2008

Infernal Affairs II BR - The blockbuster thriller, Infernal Affairs, almost single-handedly revived the Hong Kong gangster film back in 2002. It was so successful that it spawned two back-to-back sequels before Martin Scorsese's The Departed, could get the drop on a largely unsuspecting English-speaking public. The action of Infernal Affairs II provides considerable backstory to the first movie, fleshing out the early days of the two young moles. At its release, many regretted the loss of Tony Leung and Andy Lau and - unfairly, I thought - damned the sequel for their absence. The relative youth and inexperience of Shawn Yu and Edison Chen, who play the Leung and Lau characters: Yan (think: DiCaprio) and Ming (Matt Damon) and was seen as unfortunate. Blu-ray Release date: April 25th, 2008

Infernal Affairs III BR - IA-III reverts to the fast-paced suspense of the original – though since we would already have seen the first movie (and that is, I believe, the order these should be seen in) we know how everything comes out, making it less of an edge-of-one's sense thriller. On the other hand, most film buffs see movies they like multiple times, so there you have it! Scorsese apparently ignored the first sequel altogether, as The Departed makes use of some of the threads of IA-III, notably the relationship between Yan, Ming and the psychiatrist, one of the more jarring and least convincing aspects of his translation. Blu-ray Release date: April 25th, 2008

Sophia Loren 4-Film Collection - Lions Gate brings together 4 disappointing also-rans from Sophia Loren's illustrious career with Carosello Napoletano (1954), Attila (1954), Madame Sans-Gêne (1962) and I, Girasoli (1970)... aka Sunflower. DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of June 9th, 2008

Ballad of Narayama (Shohei Imamura, 1983)

Broken Trail [Blu-ray] (Walter Hill, 2006) - Sony Pictures

The Bucket List (Rob Reiner, 2007) Warner Home Video
The Bucket List [
Blu-ray] (Rob Reiner, 2007) Warner Home Video

Catherine Deneuve Collection (Manon 70, Le Sauvage, Hotel Des Ameriques, Le Choc and Fort Saganne) LionsGate

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

Edge Of Heaven (Fatih Akin, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Fugitive: Season Two Vol 1 - Paramount Home Video

High Noon 2-disc Collector's Edition (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) - Lionsgate

Icons of Adventure Collection (The Pirates of Blood River / The Devil-Ship Pirates / The Stranglers of Bombay / The Terror of the Tongs) - Sony Pictures

Invisible Target (Benny Chan, 2007) Dragon Dynasty

The List (Gary Wheeler, 2007) Fox Home Entertainment

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

The Professionals [Blu-ray] (Richard Brooks, 1966) Sony Pictures

The Signal (David Bruckner, 2007) - Magnolia

The Signal [Blu-ray] (David Bruckner, 2007) - Magnolia

Sophia Loren 4-Film Collection (Carosello Napoletano, Attila, Madame Sans-Gene and I Girasoli - aka Sunflower) Lions Gate

Summer '04 (Stefan Krohmer, 2006)

Wayward Cloud (Ming-liang Tsai, 2005) Strand Home Video


Week of June 16th, 2008

Black Narcissus [Blu-ray] (Powell/Pressburger, 1947) RB UK ITV DVD

The Boys from Brazil [Blu-ray] (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1978) RB UK ITV DVD

Caramel (Nadine Labaki, 2007) LionsGate

The Carmen Miranda Collection (The Gang's All Here / If I'm Lucky / Something for the Boys / Greenwich Village / Doll Face) - 20th Century Fox

Classe Tous Risques (Claude Sautet, 1960) Criterion

Fanny (Joshua Logan, 1961) Image Entertainment

Farewell Bender (Matt Oates, 2006) Weinstein

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

Men in Black [Blu-ray] (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997) Sony Pictures

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schrader, 1985) Criterion

My Blueberry Nights (Kar Wai Wong, 2007) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment
My Blueberry Nights [
Blu-ray] (Kar Wai Wong, 2007) RB UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Patriotism (Yukio Mishima + Domoto Masaki, 1966) Criterion

The Sword in the Stone (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1963) Disney

Popeye The Sailor: 1938-1940 Volume Two - Warner Home Video

"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason." John Cage (1912 - 1992)
Have a healthy week!