DVDBeaver Newsletter - July 28th, 2006

 

Howdy Partner  - 16 reviews this week, of which a number are comparisons. I've ran out of descriptives - so lets just say there is a lot we have covered in this editions newsletter. Too busy for the dog days of summer.

 

FASTER? - No patience for the Beaver homepage? - try the streamlined http://www.dvdbeaver-lite.com/ (a text version with all the same intrepid info!)

 

We called VCI Entertainment again. All Hammer Film Noir sets (the 3 individual ones and a 3-DVD set) will be released on August 15th instead of the previously announced July 25th. (Thanks Irina!)

 

NEW ARTICLE: Akiko Tetsuya’s “The Last Star of the East: Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia and Her Films" by Yunda Eddie Feng

 

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

 

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

 

Week of July 31st, 2006

 

Dreams That Money Can Buy (Hans Richter, 1947) R2 UK BFI Video

Louis Malle Collection - Vol. 2 (Black Moon, Milou En Mai, Lacombe Lucien, Le Souffle Au Coeur, Au Revoir Les Enfants) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Mr. Moto Collection, Vol. 1 (Various starring Peter Lorre) Mr. Moto Takes a Chance, Mysterious Mr. Moto, Thank You Mr. Moto and Think Fast Mr. Moto 20th Century Fox

Olivier's Shakespeare (Henry V / Hamlet / Richard III) - Criterion Collection

The River (Jean Renoir , 1951) R2 UK BFI Video

V for Vendetta (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (James McTeigue, 2006) Warner Home Video

Woman Of The Dunes [Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964] R2 UK Bfi Video Publishing

 

Week of August 7th, 2006

 

The Black Swan (Henry King,1942) Cinema Club R2 UK

Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005) Universal Studios

Cavite (Neill Dela Llana, 2005) Magnolia

D.W. Griffith Collection (Three Discs - The Avenging Conscience; Thou Shalt Not Kill (1914), Birth of a Nation (1915), Broken Blossoms (1919), Intolerance (1916), Way Down East (1920) Network - R2 UK

Hidden Blade (Yôji Yamada , 2004) Tartan Video

Jayne Mansfield Collection (The Girl Can't Help It, Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?) 20th Century Fox

Lemming (Dominik Moll, 2005) Strand Home Video

Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) IFC Films

The Sun Also Rises (Henry King , 1957) Cinema Club R2 UK

The Tall Men (Raoul Walsh, 1955) Cinema Club R2 UK

 

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!

 

RECOMMENDATIONS: There is a lot this week that I did not review (our other review team contributed) - so I'll keep my suggestions to only what I saw. For those who loved the Charlie Chan Collection - I found the Mr. Moto Collection, Volume 1 just as enjoyable. BFI are certainly proving themselves the 'Criterion-of-the-UK' with stellar releases of Renoir's The River and Teshigahara's sublime Woman in the Dunes (simply writing about the latter entices yet another viewing). My favorite Bond - From Russia With Love - has been done-up with full tuxedo and tails in the new UK 'Ultimate Edition'. A martini (shaken, not stirred) almost caused me to order the entire Attaché case. My guilty pleasure this week was Mystery Men. I admit to loving this silly film. That is all from me but read the others reviewers - lots of digital in this weeks newsletter.

 

New Reviews:

 

The Almodovar Collection (Vol.2) - The films in this box set by Pedro Almodovar, Spain’s most celebrated filmmaker since Luis Bunuel, include Matador (1985), a fable about sex, death and bull-fighting which Almodóvar proclaimed the ‘weirdest’ film of his career, and The Flower Of My Secret (1995), which signaled a new maturity and emotional depth which would continue to distinguish films such as All About My Mother. Also included here are Law Of Desire (1987) and Kika (1993), the former a classic tale of romantic obsession starring a young Antonio Banderas, the latter an outrageous media satire featuring Victoria Abril in costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Visually assured, the films from Law of Desire onwards established the director’s working relationship with brother Augustin, with whom he formed production company El Deseo. All four are quintessential Almodóvar, and validate his status as one of the most consistently exciting film-makers in the world. DVD Release Date: June 5, 2006

 

The River - Jean Renoir's intoxicating first color feature - shot entirely on location in India - is an adaptation of Rumer Godden's autobiographical coming-of-age tale of an adolescent girl living with her English family on the banks of the Ganges during the waning years of British colonial life. The new BFI DVD will be released on July 31st, 2006

Woman in the Dunes
- ... we must remember the time period that this film was made and an experimental early 60's brought about a isolationist attitude of 'dropping out' of society. This underlying metaphor for the film is as perfectly maintained avoiding any real obvious message ploys. This offering is unique and an extremely gratifying cinematic experience. The new 'Directors-Cut-length' BFI DVD will be released on July 31st, 2006

 

Mr. Moto Collection, Volume 1 - John P. Marquand's Asian detective tackles some of his toughest cases in this four-movie collection starring Peter Lorre in the title role. The mannerly sleuth tries to beat some unscrupulous treasure hunters to the acquisition of seven scrolls that form a map leading to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in "Thank You, Mr. Moto " (1937). With Thomas Beck, Pauline Frederick. And, a freighter traveling from San Francisco to Shanghai is the setting for a mystery involving a murder, an important letter, and a shadowy woman, in "Think Fast, Mr. Moto " (1937). Virginia Field also stars. "Mr. Moto Takes a Chance" (1938) takes place in the jungles of Indochina where he joins a beautiful American pilot (Rochelle Hudson) in an effort to foil a rebellion staged by an evil high priest. Then, on an assignment for Scotland Yard, the "Mysterious Mr. Moto" (1938) goes undercover in Devil's Island prison to infiltrate a band of international assassins. Mary Maguire, Henry Wilcoxon co-star. DVD Release Date: August 1st, 2006
 

Embedded 45: Shooting War in Germany - The term “embedded journalist” entered the popular lexicon beginning with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but reporters have been traveling with active troops for quite some time. When American troops rumbled into Germany in the early months of 1945, several photographers followed along to document the conquering heroes. Recently, over 1,000 reels of this battlefield footage were discovered in the U.S. National Archives; Embedded ’45 is two-part documentary composed from this footage, and originally shot for Spiegel TV in association with History Television, Canada. DVD Release Date: August 8th, 2006


Dreams That Money Can Buy
- Berlin-born Hans Richter - Dadaist, painter, film theorist and filmmaker - was for four decades one of the most influential members of the cinematic avant-garde. Richter assembled some of the century's liveliest artists as co-creators of Dreams That Money Can Buy, his most ambitious attempt to bring the work of the European avant-garde to a wider cinema audience. Among its admirers is film director David Lynch.
The new BFI DVD will be released on July 31st, 2006

 

Mystery Men  - Anyone familiar with the brilliant 'Flaming Carrot' comic books may be aware of 'Mystery Men'. Panned by film critics its celluloid transformation obviously fell upon deaf ears. Don't heed them. They are wrong. Very, very wrong.


Address Unknown
 - Overlooked by many, as the attention for many years has been towards the films of Kim released widely in the west, and also because it is a low-budget film, Address Unknown is the first of three films about male identity, followed by Bad Guy and The Coast Guard, and is as brutal and savage as the rest of Kim’s films, despite that it may lack the polished look of other films. DVD Release Date: June 26, 2006


A Fistful of Dynamite
- Having already, in Once Upon a Time in the West, taken energetic liberties with the typical (John) Fordian Western, it's not surprising that Leone should have taken a sideswipe at another of the director's stereotypes, the revolutionary Irishman, in the second part of his trilogy of political fables. But the specific IRA background of Coburn's Sean is as ultimately unimportant as the specific Mexican setting: with characteristic flamboyance, Leone is more concerned to build a composite of the all-purpose, all-causes revolutionary 'John Doe' from Sean's informed commitment and the naïve brute force of Steiger's Juan.


Battle Royale II
- In the west, "Battle Royale" hit the cult circuit like a tidal wave, gaining instant fame for its violence and context, and even critics had a hard time turning it down, as it was a great film with a very disturbing socio-political subtext. Such a success had to be followed up by a sequel, and it became "Battle Royale 2 – Requiem". Sadly, the sequel not only was inferior, but also became the last film by Kinji Fukasaku, who passed away during production.


The Coast Guard
- The last in Kim’s trilogy of male identity, The Coast Guard is a flawed, yet powerful examination of duty versus conscience. As the insanity of the soldier escalates, the story equally becomes more absurd towards each action becoming an abstraction for Kim’s motifs, ending with Jeong-hak Kim standing guard within Seoul. DVD Release Date: July 24, 2006


Where Eagles Dare
 - A conscientiously large World War II adventure, drawn from the novel by Alastair MacLean, about a 7-man team parachuted into the Bavarian Alps to rescue a high-ranking Allied officer held prisoner by the Germans in an impregnable mountain Schloss. It may be devoid of significance of any sort, but it is nevertheless passably entertaining, and certainly better viewing than most MacLean adaptations. Its ability to sustain interest depends on fine cinematography (Arthur Ibbetson), and a handful of genuinely exciting action sequences, notably two extended scenes involving death-defying feats on a cable car slung between two snow-covered peaks.


The Turandot Project
 - “The Turandot Project” gives viewers an excellent glimpse of the difficulties in mounting an ambitious musical project. I’m not quite sure if this “Turandot” is as successful as it is important, though. The production looks a bit overblown, and the participants’ claims of authenticity are thoroughly dubious. This may be a case where learning about how something was done is more fruitful than absorbing the final product.


From Russia With Love
- From Russia with Love, along with its successor, Goldfinger, represents Bond at his best. Although the series has run for more than thirty years with seventeen "official" entries, it has yet to better, or even equal, what it achieved in 1963-1964 with the release of these two films. By combining solid storylines, tightly-paced action sequences, memorable villains, and Sean Connery in top form, Russia and Goldfinger mark the cinematic apex for Ian Fleming's 007. The UK 'Ultimate Edition' DVD was released July 17th, 2006

 

Dolls - is one of the most beautiful films ever to come out of Japan and one of the single most original pieces of art within cinema. Sadly, it was a huge flop at the box office in Japan and was ignored by the west. Not surprisingly really, as Dolls is conceptual in almost any aspect, which makes it very hard to approach unless you are familiar with the ideas behind Dolls and Kitano’s motifs.

Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon
- In the Star Trek Universe, the Klingons are a dark-skinned warrior race; they are also identified by their pronounced forehead and nose ridges. They wear armor-like clothing as well as prefer to use knives and swords whenever possible during fights. The Klingons have been used to represent the Soviets (see “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), but the emphasis on the warrior code as well as the premium placed on honor makes me feel that the Klingons are an update on ancient Chinese and Japanese cultural models. DVD Release Date: August 1st 2006

 

Recent Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)

Satantango (3pc) (Béla Tarr, 1994) Facets Home Video

Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, 1962) R2 UK Fremantle

Viridiana (Luis Buñuel, 1961) R2 UK Fremantle

Hunger (Henning Carlsen, 1968) New Yorker Video

Rien ne va plus - aka The Swindle (Claude Chabrol, 1997) New Yorker Video

Film Noir - The Dark Side of Hollywood (Sudden Fear / The Long Night / Hangmen Also Die / Railroaded / Behind Locked Doors) Kino Video

The War Game/Culloden (Peter Watkins, 1968) New Yorker Video

Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead (Tobe Hooper) - Anchor Bay
Masters of Horror: Imprint (Takeshi Miike) - Anchor Bay

Hollywood's Legends of Horror Collection - The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) , Mark of the Vampire (1935), Mad Love (1935), The Devil Doll (1936), Doctor X (1932), The Return of Doctor X (1939) - Warner Home Video

Motion Picture Masterpieces (5 disc) - Marie Antoinette (1939), David Copperfield (1935), Pride and Prejudice (1940), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Treasure Island (1934) Warner Home Video

 

DON'T FORGET: Craving the stuff you can't seem to get anywhere else? Beavers TOP YesAsia picks are listed HERE

 

SALES: A few Criterions on sale at Amazon - Dazed and Confused (42% off), Viridiana (33% off), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (27% off), The Sword of Doom (27% off), Le Samourai (30% off), Harakiri (30% off), Hopscotch (27% off), Fat Girl (33% off)

 

and PRE-ORDERS (30% off or more)

Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach ,1995), Seduced & Abandoned, Six Moral Tales By Eric Rohmer (The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Suzanne's Career, My Night at Maud's, La collectionneuse, Claire's Knee, and Love in the Afternoon), A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger, 1944) 2-disc, Seven Samurai - 3-disc, Amarcord 2-disc, Brazil 3-disc, Brazil 1-disc, and Playtime

 

Enjoy the heat, but don't forget the sunscreen!

Gary

 

P.S. - Although the percentages keep juggling around you can still pick up some great deals at Amazon.UK!:

Laurel-Hardy 21-disc collection (42% off),  The Gospel According To St. Matthew (40% off), Jamon Jamon (60% off), Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (65% off), Girl on the Bridge (70% off), Baise-Moi (56% off), The Seventh Seal (65% off), Central Station (68% off), Kes (62% off), The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (2-disc) (70% off), Amelie (Two Disc Special Edition) [DTS] (72% 0ff), Pedro Almodovar Collection: Bad Education / Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down / Live Flesh / All About My Mother / Talk To Her (58% off), Visconti's Conversation Piece (61% off), The Fallen Idol (43% off), Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (54% off), Katherine Hepburn - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Rita Hayworth - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Barbara Stanwyck - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Sophia Loren - 6-disc Screen Goddess Collection (52% off), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)