DVDBeaver Newsletter - August 6th, 2007


Hyvää päivää! - 20 new reviews this week - 4 comparisons, boxsets, Eclipse, many new format discs, 40 of the most exciting new calendar updates ever, news, contest still running and more...


MORE SADNESS: After the impacting news of Bergman's death we find that Michelangelo Antonioni, one of Italy's most famous and influential filmmakers, has also died (same day)... at the age of 94. His films were known for capturing erratic personal moments of uncertainty and moral disorientation within his characters sterile and malleable identities. They were often being tempted by the modern trappings of self-absorption, mercenary pleasure and indifference. His unique cinematographic style utilized long tracking shots of human isolation contrasted against an austere or bleak background terrain. The natural (or industrial) landscape would absorb the characters - plying them into a more vulnerable ethical state while emotionally separating them from their traditional bearings. His legacy will live on through his cinema.


NEW CONTEST STILL RUNNING - Identify the nine short clips, on our homepage, from noir films and win (draw of correct answers) a sealed copy of Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4! CLUE: Clip # 1 seems to give people trouble. The plot involves industrial mover-and-shaker W.W. (that help?).



• Warner Home Video Director's Series: Stanley Kubrick Collection on 23rd October 2007. 2001: A Space Odyssey (2pc Special Edition), A Clockwork Orange (2pc - Special Edition), Clockwork Orange [HD DVD], Eyes Wide Shut (2-Disc Special Edition) 2001 - A Space Odyssey [HD DVD], The Shining [HD DVD], The Shining [Blu-ray]
Full Metal Jacket: Deluxe Edition will also be released in Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD

• December, 2007, the collection, called "Ford at Fox," will consists of 25 features that Ford made for Fox, including five silents, 18 of which will be new to DVD. Priced at $299.98 it will also contain a new documentary on Ford by Nick Redman. (Source Dave Kehr)
• Blade Runner: The Final Cut will be included in three stunning DVD editions: a Two-Disc Special Edition (at $20.97 SRP), a Four-disc Collector’s Edition ($34.99 SRP) and the Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition ($78.92 SRP) in Collectible “Deckard Briefcase” package, Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) [HD DVD], Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
Burt Lancaster The Signature Collection on 23rd October 2007. The Flame and Arrow, His Majesty O’Keefe, South Sea Woman and Jim Thorpe - All American.
• Barbara Stanwyck The Signature Collection (5 discs) -- Annie Oakley, East Side, West Side, Executive Suite, My Reputation and a Double Feature disc, To Please A Lady and Jeopardy.


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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?):

Too much: There is just so many new listing that I will be indulging in I don't know where to start - I'll be picking up more than half of the first 20 listed here:


Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) R2 UK Second Sight Films Ltd.

My Way Home (Jancso, 1965) R2 UK Second Run

The Trial (Orson Welles, 1963) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

The Aki Kaurismaki Collection - (Shadows in Paradise, 1986; Ariel, 1988; The Match Factory Girl, 1990) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Warner Home Video Director's Series: Stanley Kubrick Collection (Special Editions of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket Deluxe Edition, along with the full-length documentary, A Life in Pictures) Warner Home Video

Full Metal Jacket: Deluxe Edition [Blu-ray] (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) Warner Home Video

Clockwork Orange [HD DVD] (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) Warner Home Video

Burt Lancaster The Signature Collection (The Flame and Arrow, His Majesty O’Keefe, South Sea Woman and Jim Thorpe - All American) - Warner Home Video

Barbara Stanwyck Collection (Annie Oakley, East Side, West Side, Executive Suite, My Reputation and a Double Feature disc, To Please A Lady and Jeopardy) - Warner Home Video

Full Metal Jacket: Deluxe Edition (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) Warner Home Video

O Lucky Man! (Lindsay Anderson, 1973) Warner Home Video

A Clockwork Orange (2pc - Special Edition) (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) Warner Home Video

2001: A Space Odyssey (2pc Special Edition) (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Warner Home Video

The Shining [Blu-ray] (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) Warner Home Video

Eyes Wide Shut (2pc) (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) Warner Home Video

2001 - A Space Odyssey [HD DVD] (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Warner Home Video

The Shining [HD DVD] (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) Warner Home Video

Docurama Film Festival IV Platinum Package (2007) - New Video Group

Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector's Edition) (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) [HD DVD] (Ridley Scott, 1982)

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 1982)

I Was Nineteen (Konrad Wolf, 1958) First Run Feature

Trace of Stone (Frank Beyer, 1966) First Run Feature

Twilight Zone - The Movie [HD DVD] (Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, Steven Spielberg, 1984) Warner Home Video

Hollow Man (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (Paul Verhoeven, 2000) Sony Pictures Home Ent

Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Complete Collection - Infinity Resources, Inc

The Princess Bride (2-disc - 20th Anniversary Edition) (Rob Reiner, 1987) MGM

Oldboy [Blu-ray] (Chan-wook Park, 2003) UK Tartan Video

Believe in Me (Robert Collector, 2006) Gaiam

Bram Stoker's Dracula (2-disc Special Edition) (Francis Ford Coppola,1992) Sony Pictures

Suspiria (2-Disc Special Edition) (Dario Argento, 1977) Blue Underground

The Cat O'Nine Tails (Dario Argento, 1971) Blue Underground

Crossed Swords (Richard Fleischer, 1977) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

No End in Sight (Charles Ferguson, 2007) Magnolia

The Sopranos - Season 6, Part 2 (James Gandolfini, 2007) HBO Home Video

The Sopranos - Season 6, Part 2 [HD DVD] (James Gandolfini, 2007) HBO Home Video

The Sopranos - Season 6, Part 2 [Blu-ray] (James Gandolfini, 2007) HBO Home Video

Dreaming Lhasa (Ritu Sarin, 2005) First Run Features

Up Series (With 49 Up) - Michael Apted - First Run Features


RECOMMENDATIONS: Just my opinion(s):

I SAY: Two highly recommended releases are The First Films of Samuel Fuller - Eclipse Series 5 and Distant Voices, Still Lives . With the extras - BFI's Bigger Than Life is also top shelf as is the  anamorphic MGM double feature Jean De Florette/Manon des Sources for the $. I personally thought Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 3 was extremely enjoyable - even more so than the first 2. I'm not immune to Leonard's enticing captures of both The Untouchables and The Fifth Element or Gregg's wonderful review of Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1. Kiarostami fans may know what to expect with Five Dedicated to Ozu - but Ozu fans may wish to steer clear. :)


New Reviews:


300 BR - 300 is nothing if not breathtakingly gorgeous to look at, providing you don’t look too closely. It's a master class in the melding of a certain school of graphic art and cinema, as much indebted to Frank Frazetta as Frank Miller. The trailers that I saw prior to the movie's release gave the impression that it was pretty much all battles, with lots of Matrix-like slow- and stop-motion.


The Fifth Element BR (comparison)- The idea of interspecies sex needs to be handled with a certain degree of finesse, wouldn't you say? Consider The Day the Earth Stood Still - where Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie hold up in an elevator for 30 minutes and only talk about the fate of humanity, or Starman – where Jeff Bridges has sex with Karen Allen when she is in a virtual coma so that he can create a new species. The Star Trek TV series took the matter very seriously: In the intriguing episode, Metamorphosis, Zefram Cochrane had been intimate with another species for decades without realizing it. DVD Release Date: July 17, 2007


The Untouchables - Special Edition BR: De Palma brings together some serious talent for this film, including Ennio Morricone for the musical score, David Mamet to write the screenplay, and Sean Connery and Robert Di Niro in important supporting roles. The art and set direction by Patrizia von Brandenstein and William Elliott is evocative (except for the almost default idiocy in nearly every period film out there of presenting only the cleanest antique cars on the road.) There are several tour de force set pieces - The Battleship Potemkim reenactment at the train station is legend, though my favorite is a more intimate moment where 57 year old Sean Connery gets into an alley fight with 50 year old Police Chief Richard Bradford (who looks even older). DVD Release Date: July 3rd, 2007


Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 3 - Fans of detective Charlie Chan's suspenseful mysteries and fortune cookie wisdom will find joy as they dodge bullets with some of the Chinese policeman's most thrilling and dangerous cases. A staple of 30s and 40s Hollywood, Charlie Chan's profound wit and lighthearted counsel in the face of the criminal element has made him a cinematic icon, transcending generations and stereotypes to become one of film's most beloved crime-solvers. Four of Charlie Chan's most-ingenious cases make their DVD debut in The Charlie Chan Collection “Volume Three“; The Black Camel (1931), Charlie Chan's Secret (1936), Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937), Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo (1937) and Behind That Curtain (1929). DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2007

If... (comparison) - We might identify ‘If….’’s social realism not only in its authentic portrayal of public school life, but also in the way it exploits its setting as a microcosm for all British society. As soon as the realization come that the school’s distinct groupings – from the Juniors to the Seniors, and from the Crusaders to the Staff – represent the panoply of that nation’s social classes, then many subsequent parallels become deliciously subversive. DVD Release Date: July 23rd, 2007

Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 - Popeye was a true hero of his time. By the mid-1930s, he surpassed even Disney's Mickey Mouse in popularity. With his charming "I Yam What I Yam" philosophy, the one-eyed sailor proudly expressed his genuineness, integrity, and take-charge personality, which made him stand out during the Depression era. DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

The First Films of Samuel Fuller - Eclipse Series 5 - His films have been called raw, outrageous, sensational, and daring. In four decades of directing, Samuel Fuller created a legendarily idiosyncratic oeuvre, examining U.S. history and mythmaking in westerns, film noirs, and war epics. And characteristically, it all began with a bang: after printing the legend with the elegant B-pictures I Shot Jesse James and The Baron of Arizona, he got himself into hot water with the FBI on The Steel Helmet, the first American movie to portray the Korean War. These three independent films showed off Fuller’s genre diversity, gutter wit, and subversive force, and pointed the way to a controversial career in studio moviemaking. I Shot Jesse James (1949), The Baron of Arizona (1950) and The Steel Helmet (1951). DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2007

Distant Voices, Still Lives - Superlatives are in short supply to describe the emotional power of Terence Davies’ fractured chronicle of the life of a working-class family in 1940s and ’50s Liverpool. Drawing on his own childhood, Davies turns his film on the pivot of a brutal patriarch’s death and his daughter’s subsequent marriage, so splitting his film into two episodes (which he filmed a year apart). The first, ‘Distant Voices’, is a set of difficult memories of childhood fear and wartime suffering that drift in and out of the wedding day, while its companion, ‘Still Lives’, portrays the life of a happier widow, her two daughters, a son and their friends who gather in pubs, sing and are beginning to suffer their own marriages. DVD Release Date: July 30th, 2007

300 HD - Judging 300 purely on sights and sounds without any regard whatsoever for “story”, curiously, I arrive at the same conclusion as the “this movie has no story” reviewers--300 is not very good. The visuals were degraded and manipulated in order to resemble a graphic novel, but the resultant quality is so bad that the movie looks like mud for about two-thirds of its running time. The excessive use of slo-mo is irritating. The actors shout so much that my ears tuned them out as white noise after half an hour. DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

Unleashed HD - Unleashed is basically Frankenstein Meets Jet Li. Jet Li plays a feral monster created by Bob Hoskins. Jet Li escapes his master’s clutches and is befriended by an old blind man. The blind man and his step-daughter’s kindness heal Jet Li, who eventually decides to step out of the darkness and into the light. Despite its generally brutal tone, the movie has surprisingly tender moments shared by Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, and Kerry Condon. Believe it or not, the scenes showing Jet Li’s re-habilitation, not the action sequences, make Unleashed worth a viewing. DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2007

Shaun of the Dead HD - There is something intrinsically ridiculous about zombie movies. No matter how scary they want to be, the spectacle of famished corpses lurching and groaning with their insatiable hunger for flesh and blood is worth at least a titter. The British horror comedy Shaun of the Dead skillfully plays off that ridiculousness by implying that Britain may already be populated with the living dead, metaphorically speaking. DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

Hot Fuzz HD - The wits behind the controlled chaos that is Hot Fuzz, a parody of Hollywood-style action flicks, wield a somewhat heavier comic cudgel than they did in their last big-screen outing, the zombie caper Shaun of the Dead. This time, as they say in the blow-up business, it’s personal, or at least somewhat personalized, since the more obvious targets here include high-octane producer-auteurs like Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Silver, who, with their fat budgets and armies of heavily armed bad boys, have helped define the modern action spectacular, reshaping the old kiss-kiss, bang-bang movie experience into the cinema of lock-and-load. DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

Darkman HD - Prior to joining the A-list of directors with Spider-Man, Sam Raimi directed another superhero movie called Darkman. A stylish noir-like piece with a welcome retro ambience, the movie features strong performances by Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand (both are always worth watching). Darkman suffers from a low budget and having too many cooks in the script kitchen, but Raimi enthusiasts will be interested in seeing how this effort was a test run for Spider-Man. As Liam Neeson observed, didn’t he make the same movie with Raimi--only without the red-and-blue spandex? DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

In Good Company HD - Written and directed by Paul Weitz, In Good Company is a gently revisionist fairy tale about good versus evil set on the battlefield of contemporary corporate culture, a site of our leading blood sport. Mostly, though, the movie is about men. Men without fathers, men without sons, men with wives who work and make them feel like less than a man and men with wives who, like Dan’s wife, Ann (Marg Helgenberger), give them the gift of both an exquisitely preserved figure and a fertile womb. For Dan, who rises at 4:30 a.m. to go to work so he can sustain his beautiful family in their beautiful home, who conducts business with a firm handshake and a squared jaw, being a man isn’t a roll of the genetic dice, an accident of birth; it’s a calling. DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007

Scent of a Woman HD - Scent of a Woman, a glorified father-son buddy film with a needlessly sensitive title, offers Al Pacino the kind of opportunity actors dream about. As Lieut. Col. Frank Slade, a corrosively bitter military man who has been blinded (quite literally) by his own stupidity, Mr. Pacino roars through this story with show-stopping intensity. Bo Goldman’s screenplay provides him with a string of indelible wisecracks, and Martin Brest’s direction allows room for the character to be developed at great length. Mr. Pacino’s contribution, in the sort of role for which Oscar nominations were made, is to remind viewers that a great American actor is too seldom on the screen. DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007

Sea of Love HD - Before Basic Instinct, there was Sea of Love. The basics are all there--a strung-out cop, an icy blonde, steamy eroticism, and a serial killer. I’m surprised that the people who made Sea of Love didn’t sue the makers of Basic Instinct. Made at the end of the 1980s, Sea of Love is not as graphic as Basic Instinct, but what the movie lacks in outright flesh-baring it compensates with excellent performances from Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, and John Goodman. DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

Jean De Florette (comparison) - In the mid-'20s, hunchback tax collector Jean Cadoret (Depardieu) inherits a Provence farm, moving there with wife and daughter to fulfil his naive city-dweller's dreams of an idyllic pastoral life. The map shows a valuable spring on his land, but the cunning Soubeyrans - Montand and son Auteuil - have stopped it up, and plan to wait for him to go broke so that they can buy up his property for a song. Depardieu, though, has some scientific knowledge up his suit sleeve, and at first his crops thrive...Berri and scriptwriter Gérard Brach brilliantly capture the rhythm of the countryside, where the pace of life is dictated by inexorable seasonal changes and the often cruel vagaries of the weather. An object lesson in literary adaptation, the film eschews mere illustration to favour an elliptical narrative which embodies, through the subtlest nuances of dialogue and the most delicate shadings of light and colour, the atmosphere and meaning of Marcel Pagnol's source novel, L'Eau des collines. DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007

Bigger Than Life (comparison) - One of the cinema's most persuasive portraits of psychological turmoil, the film also succeeds magnificently as searing melodrama and subversive social critique, with Ray, his scriptwriters and cinematographer achieving a perfect balance between emotional realism and expressionist allegory. DVD Release Date: July 30th, 2007

Five Dedicated to Ozu - Five sequences : 1) A piece of driftwood on the seashore, carried about by the waves 2) People walking on the seashore. The oldest ones stop by, look at the sea, then go away 3) Blurry shapes on a winter beach. A herd of dogs. A love story 4) A group of loud ducks cross the image, in one direction then the other 5) A pond, at night. Frogs improvising a concert. A storm, then the sunrise. DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007

Blue Planet [IMAX] HD - From the unique vantage point of 200 miles above Earth's surface, we see how natural forces - volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes - affect our world, and how a powerful new force - humankind - has begun to alter the face of the planet. From Amazon rain forests to Serengeti grasslands, Blue Planet inspires a new appreciation of life on Earth, our only home. DVD Release Date: July 31st, 2007

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of August 6th, 2007


Brigitte Bardot 5-Film Collection (Naughty Girl (1956), Come Dance with Me (1959), Love on a Pillow (1962), Two Weeks in September (1967), The Vixen (1969) - Lions Gate Home Entertainment

The Final Test (Anthony Asquith, 1953) R2 UK Odeon Entertainment

Flash Gordon (Saviour Of The Universe Edition) (Mike Hodges, 1980) Universal Studios

Jasmine Women (Yong Hou, 2006) Kam

Luis Bunuel Boxset (Gran Casino and The Young One) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Major Barbara (Gabriel Pascal, 1941) R2 UK Second Sight Films Ltd.

Myrna Loy & William Powell Collection (Manhattan Melodrama / Evelyn Prentice / Double Wedding / Love Crazy / I Love You Again) - Warner Home Video

Private Fears in Public Places (Alain Resnais, 2006) IFC

Quo Vadis Mini-series (Franco Rossin, 1985) - 2-disc - R2 UK Liberation Entertainment

Roads to Koktebel (Boris Khlebnikov, Aleksei Popogrebsky - 2003) Film Movement

The Simpsons - The Complete Tenth Season - 20th Century Fox

Song of the Thin Man (Edward Buzzell, 1947) Warner Home Video

Summertime (David Lean, 1955) R2 UK Second Sight Films Ltd.

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Steven Okazaki, 2007) HBO


Week of August 13th, 2007


A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Dieterle, 1935) Warner Home Video

51 Birch Street (Doug Block, 2005) Image Entertainment

Cautiva (Gaston Biraben, 2003) Koch International

Charlie Chan Collection Vol. 3 (Behind that Curtain (1929), Charlie Chan's Secret (1936), Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937) and Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo (1937) 20th Century Fox

Cría cuervos (Carlos Saura, 1976) Criterion Collection

The Executioner's Song (Lawrence Schiller, 1982) (TV) Paramount Home Video

The First Films of Samuel Fuller (I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona and The Steel Helmet) Criterion/Eclipse

The Fugitive - Season One, Vol. 1 (David Janssen, 1963) Paramount Home Video

Halloween - (Restored) (John Carpenter, 1978) Starz / Anchor Bay

Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh, 1996) Warner

Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda / Rhino

The Lookout (Scott Frank, 2007) Miramax

Othello (Stuart Burge, 1965) Warner Home Video

Romeo and Juliet (George Cukor, 1936) Warner Home Video

Shakespeare Collection (Hamlet 1996 / A Midsummer Night's Dream 1935 / Othello 1965 /

Taxi Driver (Limited Collector's Edition) (Martin Scorsese, 1976) Sony Pictures

The Trial (Orson Welles, 1963) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Vacancy (Nimród Antal, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Wrong Box (Bryan Forbes,1966) R2 UK Dd Home Entertainment


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Enjoy your life (no one is going to do it for you!),