Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK OF June 29th, 2009


This Week's Highlights

Avirón! - a full week with Godard, Anthony Mann, Murnau, K. Kurosawa, Noirs, Criterions, Masters of Cinema and Second Run plus some intriguing Blu-rays. There are fresh Calendar Updates, Feature DVD and Blu-ray for July, an easy new contest, sales 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!)
June 29th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win brand new sealed Blu-ray of Valkyrie -  Best of luck all!
  Feature DVD and Blu-ray of the Month chosen for July, 2009!
BIG THANKS!: DVDBeaver would not exist without the support of many patrons - those who generously donate, and especially those who use our Amazon(s), CD Japan, HKFlix 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

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!):

Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble (Maurice Pialat, 1972) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

Passe ton bac d'abord (Maurice Pialat, 1979) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

Full Battle Rattle (Tony Gerber + Jesse Moss, 2008) First Run Features

Homicide (David Mamet, 1991) – Criterion

That Hamilton Woman (Alexander Korda, 1941) – Criterion

Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner, 2008) Magnolia

Pierrot Le Fou [Blu-ray] (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) – Criterion

Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis At Monterey [Blu-ray] (D.A. Pennebaker, 1986) – Criterion

Monterey Pop Collection [Blu-ray] – Criterion

Complete Monterey Pop Festival [Blu-ray] – Criterion

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory [Blu-ray] (Mel Stuart, 1971) Warner

Tyson [Blu-ray] (James Toback, 2008) Sony Pictures Classics

Duplicity [Blu-ray] (Tony Gilroy, 2009) Universal Home Video

Adventureland [Blu-ray] (Greg Mottola, 2009) MiraMax

Gladiator [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 2000) Paramount

Camille [Blu-ray] (Gregory Mackenzie, 2007) National Entertainment Media

48 Hrs. [Blu-ray] (Walter Hill, 1982) Paramount

The Girlfriend Experience [Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2009) Magnolia

Watchmen (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (Amazon Exclusive Nite Owl Ship) - ( Zack Snyder, 2009) Warner Home Video

X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Blu-ray] (Gavin Hood, 2009) R'B' UK - 20th Century Fox


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.


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey):  As usual, Criterion and MoC rule the digital roost. The former with definitive Godard DVDs; Made in U.S.A. + Two or Three Things I Know About Her and the latter's memorable Tokyo Sonata make up our top recommendations this week but there is more to peruse. Leonard is championing the Blu-ray of Asian Corridor in Heaven (Chamagodo) citing it as a must-own and we thank Gregory for his coverage of two Kino Murnau films - The Finances of the Grand Duke + The Haunted Castle as well as confirming the suspicions of two noirs; The Amazing Mr. X + The Black Book. Although I don't have Roger Ebert's enthusiasm for Knowing - I definitely admit to being entertained. This is also true for the skewed love story - Two Lovers and the intriguing heist film; Flawless. I expect many will enjoy Second Run's package of Three Films By Marc Isaacs, the steamy À l'aventure and the bizarre Eldorado. Tokyo! may have received a positive recommendation if the Blu-ray had some care put into it. 


Looking For a Star BR - Andy Lau plays billionaire developer Sam, who comes to Macau for a stay at the MGM Grand where he and his two closest assistants (Denise Ho and Lam Ka Wah) make a pact to not walk away from love. It's a hard contract to keep since each of them, and their would-be counterparts have the usual rationalizations handy to keep them single and, in a couple of cases, miserable. Sam meets Milan (Shu Qi), a nightclub dancer and croupier, and pursues her, keeping his identity secret. Blu-ray Release date: April 8th, 2009

Made in U.S.A. - With its giddily complex noir plot and color-drenched widescreen images, Made in U.S.A. was a final burst of exuberance from Jean-Luc Godard’s early sixties barrage of delirious movie-movies. Yet this chaotic crime thriller and acidly funny critique of consumerism—starring Anna Karina as the most brightly dressed private investigator in film history, searching for a former lover who might have been assassinated—also points toward the more political cinema that would come to define Godard. Featuring characters with names such as Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, David Goodis, and Doris Mizoguchi, and appearances by a slapstick Jean-Pierre Léaud and a sweetly singing Marianne Faithfull, this piece of pop art is like a Looney Tunes rendition of The Big Sleep gone New Wave. DVD Release Date: July 20th, 2009

BR - As I consider how to put my thoughts and feelings about this video, I am suddenly taken with the idea of documentary as a kind of high-tech zoo. Both permit a part of the population, usually city- dwellers like ourselves who have access to the means to watch these things, to peer into a world that they are unlikely to have any contact with otherwise. In the present case, the subject is ourselves, not so much as we, who are watching this, are, but we who we once were: people who actually live their traditions and beliefs, not simply honor them a few of times a year on designated holidays. Blu-ray Release date: November 7, 2008

The Black Book - Anthony Mann’s The Black Book (1949). One of the great unacknowledged forms of noir is costume drama. I can’t think of a better example than this campy, hugely enjoyable thriller about the French Revolution—-also known as Reign of Terror, with Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, and Arlene Dahl--brilliantly shot by John Alton, the greatest noir cinematographer. I even prefer it to Mann’s more conventional noirs in contemporary settings, many of them also shot by Alton. VCI's Noir Double Feature came out March 31st, 2009

The Amazing Mr. X - THE AMAZING MR. X is a very misleading title for one of the most haunting and original film noirs ever released. It gives the impression of a diabolical criminal genius on the rampage or perhaps a comedy about a milquetoast with fantastic powers. The movie is neither of these. It's a stunningly beautiful and unpredictable look at the phoney spiritualism racket as well as ghosts both real and imagined. An immediate favorable comparison can be made to the works of Val Lewton. THE AMAZING MR. X straddles the line between Lewton's gothic but plausible horrors and great film noir works like MURDER MY SWEET and OUT OF THE PAST. Is it a ghost story? A romance? A crime tale? The answer is, it is all of these things and more. VCI's Noir Double Feature came out March 31st, 2009

Two or Three Things I Know About Her - In 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle), Jean-Luc Godard beckons us ever closer, whispering in our ears as narrator. About what? Money, sex, fashion, the city, love, language, war: in a word, everything. Among the legendary French filmmaker’s finest achievements, the film takes as its ostensible subject the daily life of Juliette Janson (Marina Vlady), a housewife from the Paris suburbs who prostitutes herself for extra money. Yet this is only a template for Godard to spin off into provocative philosophical tangents and gorgeous images. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is perhaps Godard’s most revelatory look at consumer culture, shot in ravishing widescreen color by Raoul Coutard. Criterion DVD Release Date: July 21st, 2009

BR - "Knowing" is among the best science-fiction films I've seen -- frightening, suspenseful, intelligent and, when it needs to be, rather awesome. In its very different way, it is comparable to the great "Dark City," by the same director, Alex Proyas. That film was about the hidden nature of the world men think they inhabit, and so is this one. Blu-ray Release date: July 7th, 2009

The Finances of the Grand Duke - The 1994 restoration confirms that this is indeed a farce by FW Murnau, featuring such uncharacteristic ingredients as a madcap Russian princess, a happy go lucky duke, stolen letters, disguises and the like; and featuring Max Schreck, Nosferatu himself, as a comic revolutionary. Murnau takes it all at a fast clip, combining extensive location shooting with a couple of elaborate studio sets, and bringing off two or three shots which, independent of context, are as haunting as any in the canon. Agreeable yet quite forgettable, except for collectors of directorial anomalies, and Murnau-ites on the hunt for correspondences, gay subtexts, etc. DVD Release Date: March 17th, 2009

The Haunted Castle - Though this counts as Murnau's ninth film, the first person camera eye and sweeping movements innovated in Der Letzte Mann (1924) still lay in the future. With none of the flashing lights, and extravagant tracking shots of the later films, Schloss Vogelöd offers a different clarity, its subtly unsettling images resonating especially with its immediate successor, Nosferatu (1922), cinema's definitive vampire film. DVD Release Date: March 17, 2009

BR - This triptych of short films about Asia's most misunderstood metropolis features three directors known for cinematically capturing the uncanny, and showing the individual oddity and anxiety that lurks beneath the surface of our smooth social interaction. While the two Western filmmakers, Michel Gondry and Leos Carax, simply relocate their favorite themes to Tokyo, the Korean director Bong Joon-ho more successfully allows the city to dictate the style and content of his segment. Blu-ray Release date: June 30th, 2009

À l'aventure - "A sexually unfulfilled young woman embarks on a series of graphic erotic encounters and becomes involved with a student of psychoanalysis who offers to put her under hypnosis. Yes, the notorious Jean-Claude Brisseau, director of 'The Exterminating Angels' and 'Secret Things,' is back with his latest provocation. Another idiosyncratic philosophical meditation on the enigmas of female sexuality, it features the director's latest discovery, Carole Brana. Pretentious smut for high-brows, a dirty old man's fantasies writ large, or a profound and daring exploration of society's sexual taboos? You decide." DVD Release Date: June 22nd, 2009

Two Lovers
BR - Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) is focused on his inner demons. His fiancee left him -- dumped him --and he has moved back to his childhood room, still with the "2001" poster on the wall. He makes customer deliveries for his dad's dry cleaning business. Sandra (Vinessa Shaw) is the daughter of another of another dry cleaner, in the same Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn. Her father plans to buy his father's business, and both families think it would be ideal if Sandra and Leonard married. Blu-ray Release date: June 30th, 2009

Tokyo Sonata
BR - The story concerns a Japanese businessman, husband, and father of two, who unexpectedly loses his job. Unable to break the news to his devoted wife, he dresses up every morning and pretends to go to work, instead wasting the days away with a former classmate who is also unemployed. Although they aren't aware of his contradictory behaviour, his family begins to disobey him nonetheless. His teenage son enlists in the Army in order to fight for the United States, while his adolescent son goes behind his back to take piano lessons. The longer his charade goes on, the less control he has as patriarch, creating an even deeper divide between him and his family. Blu-ray Release Date: June 22nd, 2009

Three Films By Marc Isaacs - A collection of shorts by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Marc Isaacs. LIFT is a quietly fascinating meditation on the mundanities of London life. Installing himself inside the lift of a high-rise block of council flats, Isaacs and his camera patiently observe the residents as they go about their daily business. As each of his subjects enters the lift, it's interesting to note their reactions to him being there; some are suspicious, others curious, and then there are those who seem more comfortable in his presence. Also included are the films TRAVELLERS and CALAIS - THE LAST BORDER, each revealing a poignant and truly original perspective on modern British life. DVD Release Date: June 29th, 2009

BR - At the heart of Flawless lies a mystery - one that takes both the viewer and the characters by surprise and requires some ingenuity to unravel. While some members of the audience may guess at what has happened (it is foreshadowed, albeit in a subtle manner), most will not until director Michael Radford is almost ready for the "reveal." As is often the case with heist movies, this one is riddled with minor inconsistencies and larger holes, but many of these are not apparent during the initial viewing and don't become clear until after the end credits have rolled. The rigorous tying of loose ends is not the goal of Flawless' screenplay. Blu-ray Release date: June 30th, 2009

Eldorado - In “Eldorado,” a road movie that poignantly juggles absurdism and melancholy, the summertime landscape of the Wallonia region of Belgium is filmed to resemble a miniaturized American West. The soundtrack for this story of two mutually suspicious strangers who establish a tentative bond on a highway to nowhere echoes the twang of Ennio Morricone with a hint of parody. DVD Release Date: July 14th, 2009

BR - The aerial photography of the opening chapter or so is generally pretty spectacular stuff, but I failed to understand the connection between what amounts to a series of stunning graphic designs and the narration. At times, even when the image content is clear enough, the point of the commentary and the images don’t line up. Blu-ray Release date: June 9th, 2009


Next 3 weeks on the Calendar


Week of June 29th, 2009


Beyond Rangoon (John Boorman, 1995) Warner

British Cinema: Renown Pictures Crime & Noir (Blackout, Bond of Fear, Home To Danger, Meet Mr. Callaghan, No Trace, Recoil) - VCI Entertainment

Che: Part One (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum
Che: Part One [
Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum
Che: Part Two (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum
Che: Part Two [
Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2008) R2 UK Optimum

Do the Right Thing [Blu-ray] (Spike Lee, 1989) Universal Studios

Flawless [Blu-ray] (Michael Radford, 2007) Magnolia

Golden Age Noir (1952-1955) - 7X1/2 hour playhouse episodes starring Joanne Woodward, Dick Powell, Lee Marvin, Ida Lupino etc. directed by Blake Edwards, Robert Mulligan, Robert Aldrich etc. - RYKO Distribution

Japanese Miscellany (9 Souls, Bullet Ballet, Wild Life, Full Metal Yakuza, Younf Thugs: Nostalgia, Onibi: The Fire Within, Mobsters' Confessions & an Obsession) Arts Magic

Marc Isaacs Collection: Lift / Travellers / Calais: The Last Border -R2 UK Second Run

Ruby Blue (Jan Dunn, 2008) Cinequest

Tokyo! [Blu-ray] (Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax, Michel Gondry, 2008) Liberation

Two Lovers [Blu-ray] (James Gray, 2008) Magnolia Home Entertainment


Week of July 6th, 2009


Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Arthur Lubin, 1944) Universal Studios

Beau Geste (William A. Wellman,1939) Universal Studios

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon [Blu-ray] (Ang Lee, 2000) R'B' UK - Sony Pictures

The Deep [Blu-ray] (Peter Yates, 1977) Sony Pictures

Five Fingers (Laurence Malkin, 2006) Lions Gate

John Barrymore Collection (Sherlock Holmes / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / The Beloved Rogue / Tempest) - Kino

Knowing [Blu-ray] (Alex Proyas, 2009) Summit Entertainment

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

Lonely Are the Brave (David Miller, 1962) Universal Studios

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2-disc - English Subtitles) (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008) - R2 JP Pony Canyon

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Henry Hathaway, 1936) Universal Studios


Week of July 13th, 2009


12 (Nikita Mikhalkov, 2007) Sony Pictures

Anti-Clock (Jane Arden + Jack Bond, 1980) R2 UK BFI Video
Anti-Clock [
Blu-ray] (Jane Arden + Jack Bond, 1980) R'B' UK BFI Video

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon / Curse of the Golden Flower / House of Flying Daggers Trilogy [Blu-ray] - Sony Pictures

Edge of Love [Blu-ray] (John Maybury, 2008) Image Entertainment

Eldorado (Bouli Lanners, 2008) Film Movement

Explicit Ills - [Blu-ray] (Mark Webber, 2008) Peace Arch Home Entertainment

Film Noir Classics: The Collector's Choice (PRESUMABLY: The Sniper, The Big Heat, Five Against the House, The Lineup, and Murder by Contract) Sony

For All Mankind (Al Reinert, 1989) - Criterion Collection

For All Mankind [Blu-ray] (Al Reinert, 1989) - Criterion Collection

Grey Gardens (Michael Sucsy, 2009) HBO

The Human Condition - 4-disc (Masaki Kobayashi, 1959) - Criterion Collection

Mad Men: Season Two [Blu-ray] - Lions Gate

The Other Side of the Underneath (Jane Arden, 1972) R2 UK BFI Video
The Other Side of the Underneath [
Blu-ray] (Jane Arden, 1972) R'B' UK BFI Video

Separation (Jack Bond, 1968) R2 UK BFI Video
Separation [
Blu-ray] (Jack Bond, 1968) R'B' UK BFI Video

This Is Spinal Tap [Blu-ray] (Rob Reiner, 1984) MGM

The Towering Inferno [Blu-ray] (John Guillermin + Irwin Allen, 1974) 20th Century Fox

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