DVDBeaver Newsletter - July 2nd, 2007


Namaste! - Ahhh - the dog days of July are upon us. We have another 18 new reviews this week (6 of which are comparisons), plus one from Masters of Cinema and one from Criterion. Suzuki, Zhang, Pabst, Kurosawa, Lang, Marker, Melville... some delightful camp, the holy grail of DVD (the Feature DVD of the Month) and much more. Plus further calendar updates, sad news, new sales and our, not so modest, recommendations.


SAD NEWS: Edward Yang, who won best director in 2000 at the Cannes Film Festival (for YiYi) and was known for his realistic portrayals of modern Taiwan, has died of complications from colon cancer, a film industry consultant said Sunday. He was 59.


HD + Blu-ray NOTES: Studios have sent me a pile of Blu-ray discs giving me the excuse I needed to indulge in a BR player. Possibly next week I can give my honest evaluation of both new format machines... and DVDs. I dislike Sony, Microsoft and most large corporations equally so I have no axes to grind.


Masters of Cinema DVD releases are between 40-54% OFF at Amazon.UK!

 HERE including...

Le Silence de la mer (40% OFF!), Scandal (45% OFF!), Assassination (45% OFF!), Pitfall (45% OFF!), Humanity & Paper Balloons (45% OFF!), Kuroneko (45% OFF!), Kwaidan (40% OFF!), Faust (54% OFF!), Asphalt (45% OFF!), The Idiot (45% OFF!), The Face of Another (45% OFF!), Shoeshine (45% OFF!), Twenty-four Eyes (45% OFF!), The Naked Island (45% OFF!), Prisoner of Shark Island (45% OFF!), Vengeance is Mine (45% OFF!), Metropolis (45% OFF!), Francesco Giullare di Dio (45% OFF!), The Holy Mountain (54% OFF!), Sunrise (45% OFF!), Funeral Parade of Roses (45% OFF!)

and 4500 UK DVDs UNDER £5 HERE - Up to 70% OFF!


Our FEATURE DVD of the MONTH has been selected for July 2007. I'm addicted to it.


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!






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?):

We've reviewed a few of these already - but here are some other releases I will be buying (and most likely reviewing or comparing) - Ministry of Fear (Fritz Lang, 1944), I'll compare Witchfinder General to the existing UK edition that Paul Haynes reviewed for us HERE. Flower and Snake sounds subversive enough for me. Pasta for moi -Trinity Twin Pack and I love Family Guy, Volume 5 as an occasionally crude distraction. Ohhh and a present for my generous wife - Top Gun [HD DVD].

ALREADY COVERED BY BEAVER - The Taste of Tea (2-disc Limited Edition) , The Astronaut Farmer , Arch of Triumph, and Blood Diamond [HD DVD].


Raid on Entebbe (Irvin Kershner, 1977) Televista

The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (Brian De Palma, 1987) Paramount

The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition) [HD DVD] (Brian De Palma, 1987) Paramount

The Warriors (The Ultimate Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (Walter Hill, 1979) Paramount

The Warriors (The Ultimate Director's Cut) [HD DVD] (Walter Hill, 1979) Paramount

The Taste of Tea (2-disc Limited Edition) (Katsuhito Ishii, 2003) VIZ Pictures

Arch of Triumph (Lewis Milestone, 1948) R2 DE Kinowelt

Blood Diamond [HD DVD] (Edward Zwick, 2006) Warner

The Astronaut Farmer (Michael Polish, 2007) Warner

Top Gun [HD DVD] (Tony Scott, 1986) Paramount

Pinjar (Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, 2003) Eros Entertainment

Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968) MGM

Scent of a Woman [HD DVD] (Martin Brest, 1992) Universal Studios

Antibodies (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Christian Alvart, 2005) Dark Sky Films

Flower and Snake (Masaru Konuma , 1974) Tokyo Shock

Dr. No (1962) (Remastered) (Terence Young, 1962) MGM

The Fly Collection (The Fly [1958] / Return Of The Fly [1959] / The Curse Of The Fly [1965]) -Fox Home Entertainment

Wall Street (20th Anniversary Edition) (Oliver Stone, 1987) 20th Century Fox

Trinity Twin Pack (They Call Me Trinity / Trinity is Still My Name) - Hens Tooth

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Collector's Edition) (Philip Kaufman, 1978) MGM

Family Guy, Volume 5 - 20th Century Fox

Ministry of Fear (Fritz Lang, 1944) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Oshima Boxset - The Realm of the Senses & Empire of Passion R2 UK - Nouveaux Pictures

This Land Is Mine (Jean Renoir, 1943) R2 UK - Blackhorse


RECOMMENDATIONS: Let's divide this up:

FILMS I LIKED: Princess Raccoon, The Taste of Tea, Diary of a Lost Girl, Arch of Triumph, High and Low, House by the River, La Jetée / Sans Soleil, The Page Turner, The Giant Behemoth, Blood Diamond and La Silence de la Mer.

DVDs I LIKED: Princess Raccoon, La Jetée / Sans Soleil, Blood Diamond HD-DVD, Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (HD), and La Silence de la Mer.

REVIEWED ON BEAVER BUT NOT SEEN (by me): Curse of the Golden Flower (BR) Shooter, Bullitt (BR), and The Fugitive (BR).


New Reviews:


Princess Raccoon - We have compared the Asian DVD release to a spanking nee Geneon [Pioneer] - Region 1 - NTSC DVD - and it looks impressive enough. Seijun Suzuki's "Princess Raccoon" is mad, nuts, lysergic, wonderful, kitsch, genius, smutty, sexy, funny, funny, funny, Zhang Ziyi, Joe Odagiri, Kabuki, "Snow White," "The Wizard of Oz," "Romeo and Juliet," Noh, hip-hop, rock, Broadway, Disney, fuzzy-wuzzys, yakuza, swordsman, by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea, the cherry blossoms are in bloom again. In other words: I had a blast. Geneon DVD Release Date: July 10th, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower (BR) - Curse of the Golden Flower invites comparisons, not only to Zhang's two previous films, largely because of his use of color and their spectacular set pieces, but to Shakespeare, most obviously King Lear. The motivations of the three sons, however, are rather different, as is the king's, and are complicated by maternal loyalty, or incest, or both. And Emperor Ping, of course, is anything but feeble. Have no doubts, however, about the level of carnage by the movie's end. Were Richard III, Macbeth or Lear any less? DVD Release Date: May 29th, 2007

The Taste of Tea (LE) - The Taste of Tea is a whimsical, lovely movie about the members of a strange family and their concerns, fantasies and relationships. I can’t say it truly breaks new ground, but the surrealistic flights of fancy are a welcome touch to the genre, and the incidents of the family’s life are treated with such tenderness, wit and charm, that it is hard not to fall a little bit in love with the Todorokis. DVD Release Date: July 3rd, 2007

Diary of a Lost Girl - We've compared the Masters of Cinema release to the older Kino - Region 0 - NTSC edition. A masterwork of the German silent cinema whose reputation has only increased over time, Diary of a Lost Girl [Tagebuch einer Verlorenen] traces the journey of a young woman from the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening. Directed with virtuoso flair by the great G. W. Pabst, Diary of a Lost Girl represents the final pairing of the filmmaker with screen icon Louise Brooks, mere months after their first collaboration in the now-legendary Pandora’s Box.

Arch of Triumph - Paris 1938, city of last resort for the stateless, including a surgeon (Boyer) whose obsession with a Nazi sadist (Laughton) leaves him vulnerable to deportation and ill-prepared for romance with Ingrid Bergman. The original Remarque novel is too hefty to fit into two hours screentime, and if Milestone chooses to focus on the tale of the doctor's revenge and his doomed romance, he also breathes life into an assembly of supporting roles: concierge, café proprietor, a general reduced to night-club doorman, none of whom is played for comic relief. Bergman seems out of place as an Italian/Romanian good-time girl, but Russell Metty gives harsh light and inky shadow to seedy hotel rooms we'll see again in Touch of Evil ten years on. DVD Release Date: July 6th, 2007

High and Low - We have added the Madman (Region 4) to our existing comparison. Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a ruthless kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s exemplary film noir. Based on Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, High and Low is both a riveting thriller and a brilliant commentary on contemporary Japanese society. Madman DVD Release Date: June 21st, 2006

House by the River - We've compared the new 2-disc WildSide to the existing, sloppy, Kino. This film has been neglected, partly because prints are hard to come by, and those existing accentuate the gloominess of the period events and the atmospheric photography. More significantly the second-rung cast respond to the spirit but not the tone of the story about a writer (Hayward) who murders his servant and then implicates his brother (Bowman) in the crime. Adapted by Dinelli - a master of small-scale terror - from a novel, it stays in the house and on the weed-clogged river where the body is disposed of. It tumbles into melodrama after its opening nightmare, but that's not unusual in Lang's films. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

La Jetée / Sans Soleil - We've compared the new Criterion to the existing UK edition. One of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made and a mind-bending free-form travelogue, La Jetee and Sans Soleil couldn't seem more different--yet they're the twin pillars of one of the most daring and uncompromising careers in cinema history. Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet. These two films--a tale of time travel told in still images and a journey to Africa and Japan--remain his best-loved and most widely seen. DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2007

Blood Diamond HD-DVD is comnpared the the stand alone widescreen release - Set against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in 1990's Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) - an ex Mercenary from Zimbabwe - and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) - a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories as different as any can be, until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can transform their lives. While in prison for smuggling, Archer learns that Solomon - who was taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields - has found and hidden the extraordinary rough stone. With the help of Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an American journalist whose idealism is tempered by a deepening connection with Archer, the two men embark on a trek through rebel territory, a journey that could save Solomon's family and give Archer the second chance he thought he would never have. HD-DVD Release: July 3rd, 2007

The Astronaut Farmer - With The Astronaut Farmer, the Polish Brothers (Michael directing, Mark acting, and both writing the script) use a folksy veneer to their mythmaking that belies a sly sophistication, weaving together Joseph Campbell at his most profound with the spirit of The Little Engine That Could. The result is a film that explores not just the reaches of low-earth orbit, but also the disquieting effect that dreams engender among those without the vision thing. It is as profound as it is joyous. DVD Release Date: July 10th, 2007

The Page Turner - Denis Dercourt’s stylish, subtle and highly assured film is a pleasingly suspenseful psychological drama in the style of Hitchcock or early Chabrol. Déborah François plays Mélanie, the smalltown butcher’s daughter whose ambitions as a pianist were dashed during a childhood audition for the Conservatory when one of the jurors, famous concert pianist Ariane Fouchécourt (Catherine Frot), distracted her by signing an autograph. A decade after this unwitting but fateful slight, shy, quiet Mélanie happens to find herself working as an intern for the law firm owned by Fouchécourt’s husband Jean (Pascal Greggory). Her diligence and dependability lead him to hire her as a governess to his son, and soon enough she’s firmly ensconced in their home and helping out as Ariane’s page-turner as the pianist prepares for a big comeback concert. Is Mélanie plotting revenge? Nursing a crush – and if so, on whom? Or is she merely hoping to bask in some reflected glory? DVD Release Date: July 10th, 2007

Shooter - 2007’s Shooter is a return to respectable pure action--there’s no time-traveling, no espionage, no boosting, no joke-telling. Everyone plays it for “real” without winking at the audience. Mark Wahlberg has come a long way as an actor, and even though his role in this movie doesn’t challenge him much, he is a believable presence. DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2007

Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (HD) - With an unprecedented production budget of $25 million, and from the makers of Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the epic story of life on Earth. Five years in production, over 2,000 days in the field, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, shot entirely in high definition, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that captures rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the daily struggle for survival in Earth's most extreme habitats. Planet Earth takes you to places you have never seen before, to experience sights and sounds you may never experience anywhere else.

Cult Camp Classics 1 - Sci-Fi Thrillers

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman - After an encounter with aliens, a wealthy women grows to, surprise surprise, 50 feet tall. With her new found size she decides to get revenge on her husband and others that annoyed her.
Queen of Outer Space - Three American astronauts are on the first manned mission to Venus, and when they arrive, they find the planet to be inhabited solely by women with high heels and short dresses. Unfortunately, they are immediately imprisoned, for the queen who rules Venus hates men... Suspecting the astronauts to be spies, she now plans to destroy the Earth. So now it's up to the three men (and some friendly Venusians) to overthrow the wicked queen and save the Earth.
The Giant Behemoth - The dumping of radioactive waste in the ocean disturbs a prehistoric monster than can project electric shocks and radioactive beams. After terrorizing the English coast, it is discovered that if the creature is destroyed with conventional weaponry it would spread a dangerous amount radioactive contamination over the entire count.
DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2007

La Silence de la Mer - Melville's extraordinary first feature, an adaptation of Vercors' classic novella about the French Resistance, is in effect a triangular drama in which two people don't speak. A German officer (Vernon), convalescing from a wound, is billeted on an elderly Frenchman (Robain) and his niece (Stéphane). Respecting their obstinate refusal to address the hated invader, he meets their silence with a series of monologues, apparently ignored, in which he recalls his life before the war and all the things he values; but what he reveals about himself causes the girl to fall in love, without being able to declare her feelings. Filmed in the most daring way imaginable, using a new cinematic language of transient expressions and glances, the film was a root influence on Bresson and the whole French New Wave. DVD Release Date: June 25th, 2007

Hustle & Flow (HD) - Getting sympathy for a pimp is a tricky task for a movie, but not an impossible one; that the lead character of ‘Hustle & Flow’ is violent, misogynistic, exploitative and self-absorbed is less of a problem than the film’s exaltation of those attributes as the basis of an admirable personal transformation. Hats off, then, to Terrence Howard’s central performance: as Memphis hustler DJay, fending off a midlife crisis by taking a shot at a hip hop career, he creates a sense of palpable frustration, then desperation for something better than writer-director Craig Brewer’s script can offer. HD-DVD Released: June 26th, 2007

Bullitt (BR) - Bullitt is a police drama complex enough to make it fresh on repeated viewings. Unlike Harry Callahan, Detective Frank Bullitt is a respected, no nonsense police officer with a great public image. He is handpicked by Walter Chalmers - a political hack, currently leading an investigation into organized crime - to protect his star witness. In due course, the witness gets whacked. Bullitt wants to know why. Chalmers just wants to shift the blame.

The Fugitive (BR) - I'm off the hook about comparing the movie to the TV show, having only seen the odd episode (it was a time of competing priorities.) But taking it on its own, the movie is a well paced thriller, with extended action sequences and suspenseful trips to the hospital for the hero to "re-enter his life" and find the whereabouts of the missing prosthetic arm. The chemistry between Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones as Dr, Richard Kimble and U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (who sort of start off as contemporary versions of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert) is a joy. Even though they do not share the screen for most of the time, we feel the rapport grow as Gerard gradually takes hold of the truth.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of July 2nd, 2007


Arch of Triumph (Lewis Milestone, 1948) R2 DE Kinowelt

Beat Girl (Edmond T. Gréville, 1960) R2 UK Blackhorse Entertainment

Blood Diamond [HD DVD] (Edward Zwick, 2006) Warner

The Bells Of Death: Shaw Bros Special Edition (Yueh Fung, 1968) Image Entertainment

In the Gloaming (Christopher Reeve, 1997) (TV) Hbo Home Video

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (Prakash Mehra, 1978) Eros Entertainment

Oshima Boxset - The Realm of the Senses & Empire of Passion R2 UK - Nouveaux Pictures

Raid on Entebbe (Irvin Kershner, 1977) Televista

The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1967) R2 UK Cinema Club

Tales from Earthsea (Goro Miyazaki, 2006) R2 JP (has English subs) Buena Vista Home Entertainment (JP)

The Taste of Tea (Katsuhito Ishii, 2003) VIZ Pictures

The Taste of Tea (2-disc Limited Edition) (Katsuhito Ishii, 2003) VIZ Pictures

This Land Is Mine (Jean Renoir, 1943) R2 UK - Blackhorse

The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (Brian De Palma, 1987) Paramount

The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition) [HD DVD] (Brian De Palma, 1987) Paramount

The Warriors (The Ultimate Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (Walter Hill, 1979) Paramount

The Warriors (The Ultimate Director's Cut) [HD DVD] (Walter Hill, 1979) Paramount

What the Peeper Saw (James Kelly, 1971) Televista


Week of July 9th, 2007


A Bullet for Joey (Lewis Allen, 1955) MGM

After the Wedding (Susanne Bier, 2006) Tartan Video

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

The Astronaut Farmer (Michael Polish, 2007) Warner Home Video

L'Eclisse (Antonioni, 1962) R2 UK Optimum 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

Frankie & Annette Collection (Beach Blanket Bingo / How to Stuff a Wild Bikini / Beach Party / Bikini Beach / Fireball 500 / Thunder Alley / Muscle Beach Party / Ski Party) MGM

Hana & Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2004) Homevision

Harold Lloyd Collection [10-disc] R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Iraq in Fragments (James Longley, 2006) Typecast Releasing

The Joan Collins Superstar Collection (The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing / Rally Around the Flag, Boys! / The Sea Wife / Seven Thieves / Stopover Tokyo) 20th Century Fox

Kansas City Confidential (Phil Karlson, 1952) MGM

Ken Russell Collection - Gothic/The Rainbow/Women In Love - R2 UK 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Page Turner (Denis Dercourt, 2006) Tartan Video

Police Beat (Robinson Devor, 2005) Homevision

Princess Raccoon (Seijun Suzuki, 2005) Geneon

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

Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

The Stranger (Orson Welles, 1946) MGM

Sweet Land (Ali Selim, 2005) 20th Century Fox

Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara (Pitfall, Woman in the Dunes, The Face of Another) Criterion Collection

The Woman in the Window (Fritz Lang,1944) MGM


Hope you are enjoying a great Summer... (or winter depending on your hemisphere),




P.S. Some great deals (new prices!) at Amazon UK sales (all from our TOP 100 LIST!):

Last Year At Marienbad [1961] 70% OFF!, The Naked Island (Kaneto Shindô, 1960) 45% OFF!, Chungking Express [Wong, 1995] 38% OFF!, Metropolis [Lang, 1927] 40% OFF!, Stalker [Tarkovsky, 1979] 29% OFF!, STILL: Max Ophuls' DVDs of Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Le Plaisir (1952) and Madame De...   are now 65% OFF HERE

Brighton Rock [1947] 41% OFF!, Belle de Jour - 40th Anniversary [1967] 70% OFF!, Europa Europa [1992] 70% OFF!, Vera Drake [2004] 65% OFF!, L'Enfer (2005) 85% OFF!, Détective (1985) 70% OFF!, The Tree of Wooden Clogs [1978] 55% OFF!, Pepi, Luci, Bom [1981] 67% OFF!, The Man Without A Past [2003] 70% OFF!, Goodbye Lenin! [2002] 75% OFF!, A Matter Of Life And Death [1946] 55% OFF!, Wuthering Heights [1939] 63% OFF!, The Deadly Affair [1966] 63% OFF!, The Way Ahead [1944] 35% OFF!, The Red Shoes - Plus Documentary [1948] 19% OFF!, Tiger Bay [1959] 42% OFF!, City Lights [1931] 57% OFF!, The Blue Lamp [1950] 54% OFF!