DVDBeaver Newsletter - August 4th, 2008

Salut! - An even-paced 17 new DVD reviews this week - more on the Blu-rays front - plus more of the usual... Calendar updates (hold on - is that Antonioni to Blu-ray?), contest etc.

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

- AUGUST 4th CONTEST - identify this CLIP to win a brand new sealed Blu-ray of Patriot Games - Best of luck all!

- STILL A SUBSTANTIAL SAVING The Ingmar Bergman Archives - Hardcover + DVD 16.2 x 11.8 in., 592 pages. Contains previously unseen images from Bergman's films, and selected unpublished images from the personal archives of many photographers, plus written a narrative that, for the first time, will combine all of Bergman's working life in film and theater. It's $74 cheaper than the Taschen website at Pre-Order at Amazon HERE or at Amazon.UK HERE includes a DVD full of rare and previously unseen material, and a film strip from Fanny and Alexander.

FEATURE DVD(s) OF THE MONTH chosen for August... a tie!


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

Flight of the Red Balloon (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2007) IFC

The Incredible Hulk (Louis Leterrier, 2008) Universal

Arch Of Triumph (Lewis Milestone, 1948) LionsGate

Bashing (Masahiro Kobayashi, 2005) Facets

Beaufort (Joseph Cedar, 2007) Kino

Beat the Devil [Blu-ray] (John Huston, 1953) ABC

Ultraman Complete Collection Box Set - Navarre Corporation

The Flintstones: The Complete Series - Turner Home Ent

Little Rascals: The Complete Collection – Weinstein

The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) R2 UK BFI

The Red Desert [Blu-ray] (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) RB UK BFI

Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1977) R2 UK BFI

The Homefront Collection (Irving Berlin's This Is the Army (1943), Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), Hollywood Canteen (1944) ) - Warner Home Video

Young Frankenstein [Blu-ray] (Mel Brooks, 1974) 20th Century Fox

The Stendhal Syndrome [Blu-ray] (Dario Argento, 1996) Blue Underground

Star Trek: The Original Series Season Three Remastered - Paramount

Becket [Blu-ray] (Peter Glenville, 1964) Mpi Home Video

Three Stooges Collection 4: 1943-1945 - Sony

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad - Anniversary Edition (Nathan Juran, 1958) Sony

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad [Blu-ray] (Nathan Juran, 1958) Sony

Fist of Legend (Gordon Chan, 1994) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein)

Quo Vadis (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Mervyn LeRoy, Anthony Mann, 1951) Warner Home Video

Affair in Trinidad (Vincent Sherman, 1952) Sony Pictures

The New Centurions (Richard Fleischer, 1972) Sony Pictures

The Garment Jungle (Vincent Sherman, 1957) Sony Pictures

Babes in Toyland (Gus Meins + Charley Rogers, 1934) Fox/MGM

The Notebook (Nick Cassavetes, 2004) New Line Home Video

The Rebel (Truc 'Charlie' Nguyen, 2006) Weinstein

The Visitor [Blu-ray] (Tom McCarthy, 2007) Anchor Bay

$ (Richard Brooks, 1971) Sony Pictures

Miami Vice [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 2006) Universal Studios

Puffball (Nicolas Roeg, 2007) R2 UK Yume

"Thunderbirds" [Blu-ray] (1965) RB ITV DVD

Carry On - The Ultimate Collection [all 30 films] R2 UK ITV DVD

This Happy Breed (David Lean, 1944) R2 UK ITV DVD

Madeleine (David Lean, 1950) R2 UK ITV DVD

The Passionate Friends (David Lean, 1949) R2 UK ITV DVD

The Michael Caine Collection (The Fourth Protocol, Educating Rita, The Ipcress File, The Eagle Has Landed and Without A Clue) R2 UK ITV DVD



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Briefly:

OHHH YEAH: Eclipse 11 - Larisa Shepitko, Chronicle of an Escape , Twenty-Four Eyes, Tropical Malady and Brand Upon the Brain!

FEELING BLU?: We feel the SD is adequate for The Counterfeiters BR but The Proposition BR is miles ahead of the old DVD we compared it to. For reasons noted in the reviews we give collective thumbs down to Nim's Island BR, Perhaps Love BR, Terminator 2: Judgment Day BR and Mad Detective BR - with the latter we simply suggest waiting for the MoC in October (we'll compare!).

NOSTALGIA:  Widmark? Jane Greer? Trevor Howard as a hiding Nazi? - what more can you want? - Run For The Sun

CLASSIC TV: Get Smart Season One - 'Watching Get Smart at my leisure .... and... loving it!'

DISAPPOINTMENT: Joy House  - shockingly inadequate.


New Reviews:

Mad Men Season One BR - Nominated for a staggering 16 Emmys, and priced the same as the SD DVD, this 3-disc Blu-ray edition should become a real winner for Lionsgate. It took me a while to put my finger on what Mad Men reminded me of, but when I nailed it, I was frankly surprised: it wasn't The Sopranos, which involved Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner, and key people from his crew, it was Twin Peaks... The Blu-ray release date: July 1st, 2008


Joy House - A small-time con man on the run from the gangster husband of his girlfriend hides out in a strange brooding mansion run by two mysterious women. There he finds himself trapped in deception between the two women. A lush decadent thriller featuring beautiful French Riviera settings. DVD Release Date: August 8th, 2000

Chronicle of an Escape - The filmed version of a real life horror tale, "Buenos Aires, 1977" turns the chilling story of Argentina's military regime and its large scale political murders into a tense, exciting escape thriller. Though functional on its own terms, this fourth feature by Israel Adrian Caetano feels hollow at the core, leaving a feeling of lingering disappointment over a missed opportunity to probe recent history. DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2008

Perhaps Love BR - Peter Chan Ho-sun finally returns with Perhaps Love, the closing film for the Venice Film Festival 2005 and a nominee for Oscar Best Foreign Language Film. The film features a star-studded cast, including top Mainland actress Zhou Xun, Hong Kong super singer Jacky Cheung, Takeshi Kaneshiro who has been on the rise in Japan, and also Korean actor Ji Jin Hee who is best-known for his role in Dae Jang Geum. The Blu-ray release date: July 29th, 2008

One Fine Day - Korean soap opera is seriously devoted to the notion of "First Love." [My personal opinion is that this and other themes current in K-dramas are given a shot in the arm by the effects of the separation of the two Koreas, but that's another story.] First Love is heavily romanticized in TV fictions and can be seen in the expectations of behavior for what remains, in many ways, a reserved society.

Twenty-Four Eyes - Keisuke Kinoshita’s Twenty-Four Eyes (Nijushi no hitomi) is an elegant, emotional chronicle of a teacher’s unwavering commitment to her students, her profession, and her sense of morality. Set in a remote, rural island community and spanning decades of Japanese history, from 1928 through World War II and beyond, Kinoshita’s film takes a simultaneously sober and sentimental look at the epic themes of aging, war, and death, all from the lovingly intimate perspective of Hisako Oshi (Hideko Takamine), as she watches her pupils grow and deal with life’s harsh realities. Though little known in the United States, Twenty-Four Eyes is one of Japan’s most popular and enduring classics. DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2008

The Counterfeiters BR - Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Counterfeiters tells the true story of Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), a swindler who made a name for himself as Berlin's "King of the Counterfeiters." However, his life of women and easy money is cut short when he's arrested and placed in a Nazi concentration camp. With the German army on the verge of bankruptcy, Sorowitsch makes a sobering deal with his captors: in exchange for a comfortable bed, good food and fair treatment, Sorowitsch, along with the other hand-picked specialists, must counterfeit bank notes to fund the Nazi War effort. Both Blu-ray and SD DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2008

Mad Detective BR - Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai direct and produce, with a script by Wai and Au Kin-yee. They barrel straight ahead, not wasting a moment of time and keeping the audience on their toes. The mystery story makes sense, and the pacing is such that we never really worry whether Bun has incredible powers of observation, some sort of supernatural ability, or anything else; we just go with him. The action scenes are well done, fast-paced but still clear. Blu-ray Released: July 24th, 2008

Tropical Malady - Keng (Banlop Lomnoi) is a soldier who has been assigned duty as a forest ranger in the woodlands of the country. While on duty, he meets a young man named Tong (Sakda Kaewbuadee) ; Keng becomes deeply infatuated with Tong, but while Tong is friendly with Keng, he is obviously unwilling to respond to his romantic overtures. As Keng deals with his disappointment, he learns that a number of animals and villagers have fallen victim to a vicious predator who may be a tiger or a shape-shifting shaman. Keng gathers his courage and begins tracking the beast, which alternately resembles a jungle cat and his friend Tong. Second Run DVD Release Date: August 11th, 2008

Brand Upon the Brain! - In the weird and wonderful supercinematic world of Canadian cult filmmaker Guy Maddin, personal memory collides with movie lore for a radical sensory overload. This eerie excursion into the Gothic recesses of Maddin’s mad, imaginary childhood is a silent, black-and-white comic science-fiction nightmare set in a lighthouse on grim Black Notch Island, where fictional protagonist Guy Maddin was raised by an ironfisted, puritanical mother. Originally mounted as a theatrical event (accompanied by live orchestra, Foley artists, and assorted narrators), Brand upon the Brain! is an irreverent, delirious trip into the mind of one of current cinema’s true eccentrics. DVD Release Date: August 12th, 2008

Nim's Island BR - Anything can happen on Nim's Island, a magical place ruled by a young girl's imagination. It is an existence that mirrors that of her favorite literary character, Alex Rover - the world's greatest adventurer. But Alexandra, the author of the Rover books, leads a reclusive life in the big city. When Nim's father goes missing from their island, a twist of fate brings her together with Alexandra. Now they must draw courage from their fictional hero, Alex Rover, and find strength in one another to conquer Nim's Island... Blu-ray Released: August 5th, 2008

Tai Chi Master - Portraying legendary tai chi chuan founder Zhang San-feng in this wire-enhanced kung fu extravaganza from screen fighting master Yuen Woo-ping is Jet Li who joins Michelle Yeoh in a vicious fight against a eunuch overlord (Sun Jian-kui) and his ruthless lieutenant as played by MR. VAMPIRE star Chin Siu-ho. Through a sometimes uneasy mixture of the Yuen Clan’s nonsense humor and endlessly creative and intense high-wire action emerges an entertaining yet lightweight martial arts actioner that serves as a warm up to the matured Yuen-Li collaboration in Ronnie Yu’s superior FEARLESS. DVD Release Date: July 29th, 2008

Run For The Sun - Run for the Sun is a 1956 film released by United Artists, the third film to officially be based on Richard Connell's classic suspense story, "The Most Dangerous Game", after RKO's The Most Dangerous Game (1932), which starred Joel McCrea and Fay Wray, and their (1945) remake, A Game of Death, which was directed by Robert Wise. This version stars Trevor Howard as the hunter and Richard Widmark as the prey, and was directed by Ray Boulting from a script written by Boulting and Dudley Nichols. DVD Release Date: July 14th, 2008

Eclipse 11 - Larisa Shepitko - The career of Larisa Shepitko, an icon of sixties and seventies Soviet cinema, was tragically cut short when she was killed in a car crash at age forty, just as she was emerging on the international scene. The body of work she left behind, though small, is masterful, and her genius for visually evoking characters' interior worlds is never more striking than in her two greatest works: Wings, an intimate yet exhilarating portrait of a female fighter pilot turned provincial headmistress, and The Ascent, a gripping, tragic wartime parable of betrayal and martyrdom. A true artist who had deftly used the Soviet film industry to make statements both personal and universal, Shepitko remains one of the greatest unsung filmmakers of all time. DVD Release Date: August 12th, 2008

Get Smart Season One - Consistently incompetent, often lucky and always endearing is the character of secret agent Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) in the classic and hilarious sitcom/spy spoof "Get Smart" that debuted in 1965 and ran, eventually bouncing around to all three major networks in its short 5 year history. The show's often brilliant humor, certainly unique for 60's television, escalated its devout following to have many judge it as one of the best shows ever put on the tube. It runs popularly in syndication to this day. Season One is coming to DVD August 5th, 2008

The Proposition BR - While The Proposition is Australian in any way possible, it is one of the most valuable contributions to the western genre since Eastwood’s Unforgiven. It is in one way unique, given both the Australian context, yet universal in the way it addresses the conflict of letters of the law versus justice and in doing the right thing. As such, it portraits the human psyche facing justice and revenge, showing us both sides of the coin and the consequences. Blu-ray Release Date: August 19th, 2008

Terminator 2: Judgment Day BR - The Terminator is back, and he's almost human. His mission is protect the now adolescent John Connor from an even more indestructible Terminator - played by Robert Patrick with relentless intensity, though little of Arnold's menace. If it weren't for the bodies he indiscriminately leaves in his wake, Patrick's T-1000 would have more in common with Malkovich's Mitch Leary from In the Line of Fire than with Schwarzenegger's Terminator. But that's just one of the many ways Cameron made sure the audience would not come to feel that the sequel was merely a warmed over version of the original.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of August 4th, 2008

Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (Jean-Paul Salomé, 2001) - Lions Gate

The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Counterfeiters [Blu-ray] (Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2007) Sony Pictures

Get Smart - Season 1 (1965) - HBO

Joy House (Les Felins) (René Clément, 1964) Koch/Lorber

Lonesome Dove [Blu-ray] (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (Simon Wincer, 1989) - Genius Products

Marco Ferreri: The Collection - El Cochecito (1960)The Seed of Man (1969), La Grande Bouffe (1973), Don't Touch the White Woman (1974), Bye Bye Monkey (1978), Seeking Aylum (1979), Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981), The House of Smiles (1988) - Koch/Lorber

Nim's Island (Mark Levin, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Nim's Island [Blu-ray] (Mark Levin, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete Second Season - Paramount

Tokyo Decadence (Ryu Murakami, 1991) Cinema Epoch


Week of August 11th, 2008

Brand Upon the Brain! (Guy Maddin, 2006) Criterion

Cj7 (Stephen Chow, 2008) - Sony
Cj7 [
Blu-ray] (Stephen Chow, 2008) - Sony

Dirty Dancing (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (Emile Ardolino, 1987) Lions Gate

The Doors [Blu-ray] (Oliver Stone, 1991) - Lions Gate

The Fog [Blu-ray] (John Carpenter, 1980) RB UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Irina Palm (Sam Garbarski, 2007) Strand Releasing

Kiss of the Spider Woman (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Hector Babenco, 1985) - City Lights Pictures
Kiss of the Spider Woman [Blu-ray] (Collector's Edition) (Hector Babenco, 1985) - City Lights Pictures

Madeleine (David Lean, 1950) R2 UK ITV DVD

The Michael Caine Collection (The Fourth Protocol, Educating Rita, The Ipcress File, The Eagle Has Landed and Without A Clue) R2 UK ITV DVD

The Passionate Friends (David Lean, 1949) R2 UK ITV DVD

Eclipse Series 11: Larisa Shepitko - The Ascent (Larisa Shepitko, 1976), Wings (Larisa Shepitko, 1966) Criterion

The Search for John Gissing (Mike Binder, 2001) Starz / Anchor Bay

This Happy Breed (David Lean, 1944) R2 UK ITV DVD

Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004) - R2 UK Second Run


"Education is the best provision for the journey to old age." - Aristotle
Get outdoors when you can!