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Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK OF August 3rd, 2009


This Week's Highlights

Szervusztok! - 17 DVDs or Blu-rays covered this newsletter. This week we have Polanksi, Tati, Kurosawa, Pialat, Anthony Mann... 2 Criterion Blu-rays, and 2 Masters of Cinema DVDs. We have enough Screwball Comedies for a clinic and a giant squid and great big ape!  There are a few Calendar Updates, FEATURE DVD/Blu-ray of the Month Chosen for August! sales and another simple new contest with good prize, 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!)
August 3rd CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a brand new DVD of Grey Gardens (2009) -  Best of luck all!
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


HUGE Blu-ray Blowout sale at Amazon HERE

• UP TO 50% OFF SALE ON CRITERIONs AT AMAZON: El Norte [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), The 400 Blows [Blu-ray] (50% OFF!), The Last Emperor [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), The Man Who Fell to Earth [Blu-ray] (50% OFF!), Ace in the Hole (41% OFF!), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (40% OFF!), Last Year at Marienbad [Blu-ray] (35% OFF!), Wages of Fear [Blu-ray] (40% OFF!), The Seventh Seal [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!), The Third Man [Blu-ray] (50% OFF!), Chungking Express [Blu-ray] (50% OFF!), The Last Metro [Blu-ray] (50% OFF!), Bottle Rocket [Blu-ray] (37% OFF!)

$14.99 Blu-ray SALE - 96 titles to choose HERE


Use Amazon code SONYPIC5 for $5 off Dr. Strangelove on Blu-ray

• Use Amazon code GHOSTBLU for $5 off Ghostbusters on Blu-ray

Blu-rays from only 8.98 at Amazon UK HERE



• 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!):

The Fugitive: Season Three Vol 1 – Paramount

Antichrist [Blu-ray] (Lars von Trier, 2009) R'B' UK Artificial Eye

Donkey X [Blu-ray] (Jose Pozo, 2007) - Phase 4 Films

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein Trilogy [Blu-ray] - Sony Pictures

How To Be A Woman (Classic Educational Shorts Volume 2) (1948-1982) – Kino

American Violet [Blu-ray] (Tim Disney, 2008) Image Entertainment

Braveheart [Blu-ray] (Mel Gibson, 1995) Paramount

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue - Music Experience in 3-Dimensional Sound Reality [Blu-ray] - Surround Records

Marlene (Maximillian Schell, 1984) – Kino

Dances with Wolves [Blu-ray] (Kevin Costner, 1990) Warner Home Video

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown [Blu-ray] (Frank H. Woodward, 2008) - Cinevolve Studios

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.
  The incredible Oppo Digital BDP-83 Blu-ray marvel is now available for online ordering... HERE


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey):  I don't think I'm able to single out just one release this newsletter as we have some many strong recommendations. The upcoming packages, covered this week, by Criterion and Masters of Cinema are essential in my mind. Both Maurice Pialat's Passe ton Bac d'abord and Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble and Criterion's strongly improved Blu-ray editions of Tati's Playtime and Kurosawa's Kagemusha should be proud additions to any home theater software library. If you are keen on film of the 30's and 40's the Icons of Screwball Comedy collections - Volume 1 and Volume 2 have solid value at less than $6/feature. For the adventurous, Bad Boy Bubby is a dark, eccentric and raw look at our corrupt world. The 1976 version of King Kong is more representative of golden-age monster flics than any direct homage to the original - but that's okay too. North Face is as good a film as it is a Blu-ray. While not the best Anthony Mann effort, nor my favorite Jimmy Stewart film - I could still re-watch anything that pairing did - including Thunder Bay. Polanski's The Ninth Gate is a better film than many give it credit for. On the 'lesser DVD - but strong film' front both The Window and London to Brighton are superb cinema for those less concerned with digital transfer weaknesses. And I'll toss-in the 1954 Ulysses - into that category but from a campy nostalgic stance. I'll be demo'ing this for friends simply based on the hilarious out-of-sync DUBs. Leonard seems to like Joss Whedon's Dollhouse - Season One and I'd tend to agree so far - although I'm only on the second disc. Don't be afraid of passing on both The Beast and Donkey X - although the latter has a truly stunning digital animation image.


Ulysses - This lush adaptation of Homer's grand epic "The Odyssey" stars KIRK DOUGLAS as the hero Ulysses. After victory in the Trojan War, Ulysses embarks on a ten-year journey back to his kingdom. But before he can reunite with his beloved wife (SILVANA MANGANO), he must defeat the brutal Cyclops, escape the spell of Circe who turns his crew into swine, and outwit the Sirens who lure sailors to their death. Peril is everywhere – even at home, where the arrogant Antinous (ANTHONY QUINN) plots to steal Ulysses' wife before he can complete his final quest in this powerful tale of heroism. DVD Release Date: August 4th, 2009

London to Brighton - Kelly, a desperate prostitute, is bullied by her pimp into finding an underage girl for a sadistic mobster. She discovers Joanne, an 11-year-old runaway, who naively complies. But when the pedophile turns violent, Kelly intervenes and everything goes horribly wrong. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams. DVD Release Date: August 10th, 2009

Dollhouse - Season One
BR - It’s been some five years since Joss Whedon has had a series on network television. First there was the popular and critical success, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I and others with far more impressive cred’s continue to consider as one of the best drama series on television – ever. Joss’s spin-off, Angel, ran successfully for some five seasons, but got into trouble once someone got the not very bright idea to make Cordelia a god of sorts. Then there was the short-lived space western, Firefly, which Fox placed ignominiously in the attic in mid-sentence. Joss replied with his feature film, Serenity. Fast forward to February 2009, after hesitations and memos on the part of the network and other interested parties, Dollhouse aired its second attempt at an approved pilot. Immersed in controversy about its alleged misogynist theme, the series did not find its mission or its proper voice until Episode 6 (Man in the Street). It strikes me as – how shall I say it? – bad faith to imagine that, of all people, Joss Whedon would suddenly have an anti-feminist meltdown. Blu-ray Release date: July 28th, 2009

The Beast
BR - The Beast is, like most television miniseries, engineered to be watchable without being compelling. It's like a McDonald's milkshake (are they still called milkshakes or are they back to shakes?)--you're in the mood for a milkshake, so you figure it can't be too bad and order one... only to finish it and discover you should have waited for a real one. The Beast is never real--it's incredible how many opportunities the movie misses, mostly out of laziness, but also out of disinterest. It's a TV miniseries about a giant squid, which is--according to wikipedia--a real thing. So I guess it's a little real, anyway. Blu-ray Release date: August 4th, 2009

BR - In his late color masterpiece Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior), director Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his celebrated career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a soaring historical epic that is also a somber meditation on the nature of power. Blu-ray Release Date: August 18th, 2009

BR - Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the endearingly clumsy, resolutely old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingly modernist Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion. Blu-ray Release Date: August 18th, 2009

Thunder Bay - This picture may be a minor credit for both Stewart and director Anthony Mann, but even a minor film from these artists is well worth watching. Stewart and Mann had just made three outstanding westerns together - two of them produced by Aaron Rosenberg, who also produced this one. Thunder Bay was described by many at the time (including Stewart) as a modern western with boats and oil standing in for horses and guns. DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2009

Passe ton Bac d'abord - Maurice Pialat examines the seemingly dead-end future of a number of young French teenagers living in a northern mining town, in his social-realist drama PASSE TON BAC D'ABORD. A group of friends, coming to the end of their school years, fill their days with sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Some lapse into debauchery, others enter into loveless marriages. A few even stay the course and get their diplomas, only to find their prospects are not much improved. Pialat's vision may appear grim, but his portrait of suburban youth is haunting in its authenticity. Following on from his 1970s cycle of turbulant dramas--notably L'enfance nue (1967)--the film is a very worthy addition to any Pialat-fan's collection. DVD Release Date: August 24th, 2009

Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble - Maurice Pialat's powerful romantic drama examines the final period of a long and ultimately unhappy affair. Jean (Jean Yanne) is an unpleasant, domineering man. Though he still lives with his wife, their marriage has been over for a long time. For six years, Jean has had an affair with the much-younger Catherine (Marlene Jobert). The dynamic of their relationship is moving it toward disintegration also, but Catherine resists it. Scenes of alternating recriminations and reconciliations unveil the anatomy of their breakup. DVD Release Date: August 24th, 2009

Donkey X
BR - Follow Don Quijote, his "squire", Sancho Panza (Don Quijote's best friend and the wealthiest man in town), Sancho's donkey, Rucio (who wants to be a horse) and a real horse, Don Quijote's faithful steed, Rocinante (who hates leaving his stable) on their adventure to duel the "Knight of the Moon" where, if Don Quijote wins the duel the true identity of Dulcinea will be revealed. Blu-ray Release date: August 11th, 2009

Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 - Crazy situations, fast and sophisticated dialogue, and conflict arising from the roles of men and women in modern society? these are the essential elements of the Screwball Comedy. The Legendary Irene Dunne plays a small-town author whose racy bestsellers, written under a pseudonym, bring her notoriety when a New Yorker (Melvyn Douglas) discovers her secret, in Theodora Goes Wild. In Together Again, Dunne plays the mayor's widow who falls for a sculptor (Charles Boyer) as he works on a statue of her late husband. Beautiful Loretta Young plays a feminist writer forced to pretend she's married to Ray Milland (whom she loathes) in The Doctor Takes a Wife. In A Night to Remember, Loretta Young and her mystery writer husband (Brian Aherne) take an apartment in Greenwich Village and almost immediately find themselves in the middle of a genuine murder case. DVD Release Date: August 4th, 2009

Icons of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 1 - The Screwball Comedy was virtually invented at Columbia Studios, during the height of the depression. Following the huge success of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Columbia would make more of these madcap romantic comedies than any other studio. Typical "Screwballs" features marital mix-ups and plenty of opportunities to poke fun at the wealthy, while allowing audiences to dwell in the luxury of the upper-class. Jean Arthur stars as a down-on-her-luck cook who charms a millionaire (Herbert Marshall) into playing along as her husband so they can get work in If You Could Only Cook, then as a girl who finds herself legally-wedded to two men (Fred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas) in Too Many Husbands. Another screen legend, Rosalind Russell, shines as the "other" sister who's pretty, young sister (Janet Blair) brings a host of eccentrics through their Greenwich Village apartment in the original film version of My Sister Eileen. Russell then battles her patient's (Lee Bowman) impulses while suppressing her own as a button-down psychiatrist in She Wouldn't Say Yes. DVD Release Date: August 4th, 2009

The Window - As elegant in its storytelling as in its story, Carlos Sorin's The Window is a tale of age and mortality that firmly resists the cute tag reflexively assigned to movies with old people, and mines a rich, deep vein of melancholy and humor. Sorin has constructed a reflective poem, one that's never solemn, always insightful and sometimes hilarious. DVD Release Date: August 4th, 2009

The Ninth Gate
BR - With a devilish core akin to Rosemary's Baby, Roman Polanski returns with "The Ninth Gate" where an unscrupulous rare-book dealer named Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) travels to Europe in search of two copies of "The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows" - hinted as Lucifer's very own penned verses. His client, Frank Langella, wants him to find the only true copy - comparing it to the one in his possession. Sexual distractions arise in the form of Lena Olin's garter-belted, and snake-tattooed, butt and mystic Emmanuelle Seigner's (yes, Roman's real wife) eyes. The ambiguous conclusion is less than satisfying but the suspenseful build with creepy Euro-haunts keeps us intrigued. Polanski hints at greatness but although he doesn't achieve - the ride is, somehow, worth it. The Ninth Gate has moments of the director's uncanny stealth and as a whole it's better than most critics will admit. Blu-ray Release date: August 11th, 2009

Bad Boy Bubby
BR - An incredibly unique and eccentric film, BAD BOY BUBBY inspired some controversy upon its release, with some judging its themes so dark as to be unethical. But this verdict belies the compassion and empathy latent in the treatment, which expands the piece to encompass both disillusionment with society, as well as hope for humanity. The film noir style presents a gritty, raw view of a corrupt world, presented through honest, innocent eyes. Blu-ray Release date: August 3rd, 2009

North Face
BR - Journey to a heart-stopping landscape of danger and relive 48 white-knuckle hours that would go down in history. This is the incredible story behind the first ever attempted scaling of the North Face of the infamous Eiger mountain. Summer 1936. Bearing the expectations of a nation and their Fuhrer, two climbers set out to be the first to conquer the last great problem . But soon their ascent becomes a race for survival threatened by injury and extreme storms. Suddenly, it becomes a pulse-pounding race against both time and the awesome forces of nature. Blu-ray Release date: April 27th, 2009

King Kong (76')
BR - Common wisdom contends that Dino De Laurentiis' big-budget remake of Merian C. Cooper's classic 1933 film, King Kong, is a bad movie. And, viewed from a certain perspective, perhaps it is, but it's also a lot of fun. Certainly, this version of Kong doesn't have more than an echo of the original's magic associated with it. The same level of painstaking craftsmanship isn't apparent here -- instead of using stop-motion technology, we have Rick Baker in a monkey suit. But the 1976 rendition has a fresh, breezy feel to it. The screenplay, by Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Three Days of the Condor), is relentlessly tongue-in- cheek, and there's an air of self-aware campiness pervading the project. Blu-ray Release date: June 17th, 2009


Next 3 weeks on the Calendar


Week of August 3rd, 2009


The Beast - Special Extended Version [Blu-ray] -(Jeff Bleckner, 1996) Timeless Media Group

Big Trouble in Little China [Blu-ray] (John Carpenter, 1986) 20th Century Fox

Frozen Land (Aku Louhimies, 2005) Olive Films

The Housemaid (Ki-young Kim, 1960) Korean Federation of Film Archives

Icons Of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 1 (2-disc) - If You Could Only Cook (1935), Too Many Husbands (1940), My Sister Eileen (1942), She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945), and Ain't Love Cuckoo (1946)- Sony
Icons Of Screwball Comedy, Vol. 2 (2-disc) - First, Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940), A Night to Remember (1943) Together Again (1944) - Sony

My Cousin Vinny [Blu-ray] (Jonathan Lynn, 1992) 20th Century Fox

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh [Blu-ray] (Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2008) Peace Arch Home Entertainment

Penny Points To Paradise/Let's Go Crazy (Anthony Young, 1951) - R'B' BFI

Sling Blade [Blu-ray] (Billy Bob Thornton, 1996) Miramax

The Soloist [Blu-ray] (Joe Wright, 2008) Dreamworks Video

Ulysses (Camerini/Bava, 1954) - Lionsgate

The Window (Carlos Sorin, 2008) Film Movement

Winstanley [Blu-ray] (Kevin Brownlow, 1975) R'B' - BFI



Week of August 10th, 2009


About Last Night... [Blu-ray] (Edward Zwick, 1986) Sony Pictures

Blue Thunder [Blu-ray] (John Badham, 1983) Sony Pictures

Chaos [Blu-ray] (Tony Giglio, 2005) Lionsgate

The Class [Blu-ray] (Laurent Cantet, 2008) Sony Pictures\

Devil in the Flesh (Marco Bellocchio, 1986) MYA Communications

Donkey X [Blu-ray] (Jose Pozo, 2007) - Phase 4 Films

Eagles Over London [Blu-ray] (Enzo G. Castellari, 1970) Severin Films

Ichi the Killer [Blu-ray] (Takashi Miike, 2001) Tokyo Shock

Katyn (Andrzej Wajda, 2007) Koch Lorber Films

King Eagle (Cheh Chang, 1971) Image Entertainment

London to Brighton (Paul Andrew Williams, 2006) E1 Entertainment

The Ninth Gate [Blu-ray] (Roman Polanski, 1999) Lionsgate

One Day You'll Understand (Amos Gitai, 2007) Kino

Paris 36 (Christophe Barratier, 2008) Sony Pictures

St. Elmo's Fire [Blu-ray] (Joel Schumacher, 1985) Sony Pictures

Starman [Blu-ray] (John Carpenter, 1984) Sony Pictures


Week of August 17th, 2009


The 5 Deadly Venoms (Chang Cheh, 1978) Weinstein Company

Dexter: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] - Paramount

Go [Blu-ray] (Doug Liman, 1999) Sony Pictures

Goodbye Baby [Blu-ray] (Daniel Schechter, 2007) Cinevolve Studios

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue - Music Experience in 3-Dimensional Sound Reality [Blu-ray] - Surround Records

La Haine [Blu-ray] (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) R'B' - Optimum

Husbands (Extended Cut) (John Cassavetes, 1970) - Sony Pictures

Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959), and Mothra (1961) - Sony Pictures

Julia (Erick Zonca, 2008) Magnolia Home Entertainment

Kagemusha [Blu-ray] (Akira Kurosawa, 1980) Criterion

The Last Starfighter [Blu-ray] (Nick Castle, 1984) Universal Studios

Mirush (Marius Holst, 2007) Olive Films

Playtime [Blu-ray] (Jacques Tati, 1967) Criterion

The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season - Twentieth Century Fox

Surveillance [Blu-ray] (Jennifer Chambers Lynch, 2008) Magnolia

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

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