DVDBeaver Newsletter - August 18th, 2008

Feele bahic! - In the dog days of Summer we have hit a lull with some of the dramatically strong releases starting to dry up and a lot of uninteresting mediocrity flowing in abundance. Still there is some positives in our 20 new reviews (Pasolini, Czech New Wave, westerns! etc.) and we've already reviewed almost everything that is coming out this week (see our links aside the calendar update at the bottom). Mostly discouraging Blu-ray but some Criterion 1080Ps are officially announced!... Calendar updates, contest etc - same old for a fairly busy Summer.

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

- AUGUST 18th CONTEST - identify this CLIP to win a brand new Blu-ray of Batman: Gotham Knight!

 Best of luck all!

- November Criterion's announced: Fanfan la Tulipe (Christian-Jaque, 1952), The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Martin Ritt, 1965), Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996) and Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994) and Blu-rays Bottle Rocket [Blu-ray] (Wes Anderson, 1996), Chungking Express [Blu-ray] (Wong Kar-wai, 1994), The Third Man [Blu-ray] (Carol Reed, 1949), The Man Who Fell to Earth [Blu-ray] (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) and The Last Emperor [Blu-ray] (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987)
The last two have also been announced for eventual Criterion Blu-ray.


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

James BOND Blu-rays have a date! - October 21st!: Die Another Day [Blu-ray] (Lee Tamahori, 2002) Fox/MGM, Dr. No [Blu-ray] (Terence Young, 1962) Fox/MGM, For Your Eyes Only [Blu-ray] (John Glen, 1981) Fox/MGM, From Russia with Love [Blu-ray] (Terence Young, 1963) Fox/MGM, James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol. 1 [Blu-ray] (Dr. No / Die Another Day / Live and Let Die) [Blu-ray] (2008) MGM, James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol.2 [Blu-ray] (For Your Eyes Only / From Russia with Love / Thunderball) [Blu-ray] (2008) MGM, Live and Let Die [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1973) Fox/MGM, Thunderball [Blu-ray] (Terence Young, 1965) Fox/MGM

Vexille [Blu-ray] (Fumihiko Sori, 2007) Funimation

Lynch (One) (2007) Absurda

The General (The Ultimate 2-Disc Edition) (Clyde Bruckman, 1926) Kino

Pride & Prejudice [Blu-ray] (1995 Mini-Series) A&E Home Video

War Requiem (Derek Jarman, 1989) Kino

Derek (Isaac Julien, 2008) Kino

It Happened on 5th Avenue (Roy Del Ruth, 1947) - Warner Home Video

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2008) Paramount

Interview with the Vampire [Blu-ray] (Neil Jordan, 1994) Warner

Poltergeist [Blu-ray] (Tobe Hooper, 1982) Warner

Priceless [Blu-ray] (Pierre Salvadori, 2006) First Look Pictures

Body Heat [Blu-ray] (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981) Warner

Holiday Inn 3-Disc Collector's Set (Mark Sandrich, 1942) Universal

The Chronological Donald Vol 4 (1951-1961) - Buena Vista Home Video

Far North (Asif Kapadia , 2007) Image Entertainment

Iron Man (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (Jon Favreau, 2008) Paramount

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Steven Spielberg, 2008) Paramount

Perry Mason - The Third Season - Vol. 2Paramount

Dr Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh - 1964 (2-disc) - Walt Disney Video

The Munsters: The Complete Series – Universal

The Thunderbolt Fist (Yi Hu Chang, 1972) Image Entertainment

All Mine to Give (Allen Reisner, 1957) Turner

Up the Yangtze (Yung Chang, 2007) Zeitgeist

Jellyfish (Meduzot) (Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret , 2007) Zeitgeist Films

Brotherhood of the Wolf - Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Christophe Gans, 2002) Universal



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Quite the deadful week... other than the incredible improvement of Criterion's new Salo, I'm stuck between stuff I wasn't gung-ho about (film-wise) that had amazing transfers; Transformers BR, Street Kings BR and Justice League - Season One BR against film/DVDs I really enjoyed - with weaker transfers; All My Good Countrymen, Perry Mason - Season Three, Vol. 1 (interlaced), Escape From Fort Bravo, Never Love a Stranger and The Law and Jake Wade.

Nice compromise is The Stalking Moon and Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day is very cute and far better than you might anticipate.

NOTE: For all its hollowness Transformers BR is one exhilarating ride. It should be checked out for those indulging in this new format.

Our master reviewer of the modern 'B' horror genre, Eric Cotenas, tells us about new releases from Code Red; The Dead Pit, The Unseen and Doom Asylum (The Wizard of Gore should titillate some as well for that matter)... while Leonard is VERY high on the Korean drama Goodbye Solo.


New Reviews:

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom - Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious final film, Salň, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . it’s also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker’s transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s 18th-century opus of torture and degradation to 1944 Fascist Italy remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008


The Dead Pit - No sooner is amnesiac patient "Jane Doe" (Cheryl Lawson) brought in off the street to a crumbling mental institution (though the abandoned out-buildings look brilliantly white-washed despite their grimy interiors) than an earthquake frees the demonic spirit of mad Dr. Ramzi (Danny Gochnauer) from his secret lab (complete with "dead pit" for his failed experiments). DVD Release Date: June 17th, 2008

The Unseen - Reporter Jennifer (Barbara Bach) and her crew (Karen Lamm, Lois Young) arrive in the Danish-influenced town of Solvang, California, to conduct interviews at the annual festival and find that their reservations have been lost. They meet eccentric museum owner Ernest Keller (Sydney Lassick) who invites them to stay at his creepy gothic home outside the town. Little do they know (and they are the only ones who don't) that they are being watched by the unseen of the title through the floor gratings and dark corners of the house. DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2008

Transformers BR - On the face of it Transformers is a story as old as the Greeks versus the Trojans, the difference being that these warriors are visitors from another planet, the 1980s-sounding Cybertron, and there isn’t a jot of poetry, tragedy, beauty, meaning or interest in this fight. The Autobots are trying to locate some all-important cube that looks like a Borg starship from Star Trek: The Next Generation before it’s found by the Autobots’ villainous alien brethren, the Decepticons. During their mission the Autobots blend into the earthly backdrop by turning into zippy cars and mondo trucks, a strategy that works particularly well in Southern California. Curiously, though the toys originated in Japan, no robot changes into a Toyota. Blu-ray Release date: September 2nd, 2008

Smart People BR - A movie with a title like Smart People has the potential of leading to some pretty nasty barbs from critics who either didn't like it or didn't understand it. After all, not a great deal happens for most of its 95 minutes. While there's plenty of room for improvement for the five main characters, they don't undergo transformations of galactic proportions. Blu-ray Release date: August 12, 2008

Dude, Where's My Car? BR - "Dude, Where's My Car?" - the oft repeated line from one of the silliest movies ever made has entered the lexicon as a kind of catch phrase for duhness itself – a movie that somehow manages to endear itself despite a script where an unsuspecting phrase is repeated to the point of meaninglessness. But how many of us have actually watched this movie, which is a kind of Jesse & Chester's Excellent Adventure by way of Plan 10 from Outer Space? Could you ask for a more authoritative pedigree! I'm confident Ed Woods himself would have been envious. Blu-ray Release date: August 26th, 2008

Doom Asylum - Four annoying teenagers (including pre-SEX AND THE CITY Kristin Davis) decide to trespass at an abandoned insane asylum but the lesbian-communist punk band already trespassing in the area is the least of their problems as they and the band are stalked and killed by a gruesomely disfigured ex-lawyer nicknamed "The Coroner" just because his weapons of choice happen to be the readily available autopsy instruments left over in the hospital. DVD Release Date: July 15th, 2008

Escape From Fort Bravo - Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) is a classic western, shot in Death Valley and New Mexico, and set during the Civil War. William Holden plays a Union captain guarding a group of Confederate prisoners. The prisoners escape, Holden goes after them, and all of them face a climactic Indian attack. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

The Stalking Moon - Theodore V. Olsen's novel, scripted by Alvin Sargent, has Gregory Peck retiring as a vet Indian scout with the US Army. In an Indian round-up, Eva Marie Saint appears, with son Noland Clay. Years before, she was kidnapped and impressed into squaw service by Nathaniel Narcisco. Peck takes her and the boy to his retirement ranch, but the Indian brave stalks them. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Street Kings BR - Though it requires a certain amount of alcohol and vomitous preparations before going to work, Ludlow takes his job very seriously – and personally. Once he has it in his head that his old friend, Washington, is fingering him to Internal Affairs, he can't simply let his boss take care of things as he always has in the past. Against Wander's strongly worded order, Ludlow seeks out Washington at a 7-11 just as a couple of gangbangers show up, ready to shoot up everything and everybody in sight. Blu-ray Release date: August 19th, 2008

Justice League - Season One BR - They're the rockstars of the DC universe and they're a heck of a lot of fun to be around. Giant robot rampaging through the city and Superman alone can't stop it? Insidious villain plotting to invade the world with an army of zombies and the task is too much for Wonder Woman? Puzzling crime-spree that Batman can't - er, wait. Strike that last one. Given enough time, Batman can do just about anything. Even so, when the world is in dire need of saving, it's a job for the Justice League. (And, it seems, when the Justice League is in need of saving, it's a job for Batman!). Blu-ray Released: August 19th, 2008

Goodbye Solo - As I watched the series, one (of several) things that impressed me was the diverse ways separateness can be depicted photographically and dramatically. It occurred to me that this is the key creative challenge for the filmmakers. It is not enough that two people are shown on opposite ends of couch, or not speaking to each other after a fight, or that when they do speak, their demeanor cools. While seeking a fresh language to express separation, in distinction from loneliness, the actors should also express subtle degrees of fear, anger, resentment, anxiety or loss.

The Law and Jake Wade - A solid no-nonsense director, virtually the post-World War II master of the adventure movie (The Great Escape, 1963) and the big budget Western (Gunfight at the OK Corral, 1957), John Sturges excelled in staging exquisitely timed action sequences framed in visually exciting compositions. Actor Robert Ryan made a perceptive observation in 1955 when co-starring in Sturges' splendid Bad Day at Black Rock that the picture demonstrated "...the first good use of CinemaScope," a particularly perceptive comment considering that the process was still in its infancy. Release date: August 26th, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day - Amy Adams must enjoy fairy tales - this is the second one in which she has appeared during the last six months. Although Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day differs substantially in many key areas from Enchanted, both movies are anchored by Adams, whose beauty, charisma, and infectious energy make them compulsively watchable. Miss Pettigrew is a female buddy movie frosted with elements of whimsy and a little romance. Its setting of London during the latter years of the Great Depression allows its fanciful edge to meld with a bittersweet element of nostalgia. Release date: August 19th, 2008

All My Good Countrymen - One of the wonders of the Czech New Wave, All My Good Countrymen is also one of the least-known films from this miraculous era of Czech filmmaking. The reason is obvious: completed barely before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, it was immediately banned and never shown. Despite this, the film won the Special Jury Prize of the Cannes Film Festival, and stylistically is a work of great lyricism, humor and originality. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Perry Mason - Season Three, Vol. 1 - Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deep, startling facts can be revealed. Often relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into unwittingly admitting their guilt. The series writing is still strong in season three but the star power had diminished with no 'major' future names aside from the likes of television regulars Steve Brodie, Benson Fong, and George Takei (Mr. Sulu!). Release date: August 19th, 2008

Street Kings - James Ellroy, the self-described “demon dog” of American crime fiction, writes in a baroque, pulp prose style that hurtles along the page like a speed freak in a rocket, an image that I probably lifted from one of his books. In his fiction and nonfiction he rushes forward fast, fast, fast, pausing regularly to do a little scat singing (“a hypodermic full of hyper-hazy, health-hazarding” stuff, from a 1998 short story called “Hush-Hush”), or to blow a hole through the page. He’s a demon dog, all right, with a bite as sharp as his bark. Release date: August 19th, 2008

The Wizard of Gore - Best served by the bizarre proceedings is Crispin Glover as the titular wizard, a ghoulish magician named Montag who appears to gruesomely kill an audience member (almost always a buxom woman whom he first humiliates) at every show, only to resurrect them again. Clad head-to-toe in white, with a hilariously exaggerated codpiece rounding out the look, Glover is in oddity overdrive. Every line is delivered with a kind of mesmerizing eccentricity, and Kasten amplifies the performance’s idiosyncrasies with lurching camera angles and extreme close-ups. Release date: August 19th, 2008

Never Love a Stranger - John Drew Barrymore plays a young man raised in a Catholic orphanage who discovers when he is almost grown that his parents were Jewish. Under the law, he must be removed to the jurisdiction of an orphanage of his own faith. Young Barrymore is already involved with hoodlum elements and, feeling rejection by the orphanage that has been his home and parents, takes the final plunge into the gangster world. Release date: August 19th, 2008


Camp Rock BR - "Harmless" is a word that leaps to mind here. The moral of this made-for-the-Disney Channel movie is stated loud and clear – and it's a good lesson for kids of all ages: Be yourself. Live your life, not someone else's. Be true to yourself and your dreams even if it risks being popular. It's this last directive that our heroine, Mitchie Torres (newcomer Demi Lovato), learns in this predictable, and occasionally fun Disney movie (whose target audience, let's be clear, is several decades younger than me.)  Blu-ray Release date: August 19th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of August 18th, 2008

Chronicle of an Escape (Adrián Caetano, 2005) IFC - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Constantine's Sword (Oren Jacoby, 2008) First Run Features

Don Quixote (Orson Welles, Jesús Franco, 1992) Image - DVDBeaver REVIEW

The Life Before Her Eyes (Vadim Perelman, 2007) Magnolia

The Life Before Her Eyes [Blu-ray] (Vadim Perelman, 2007) Magnolia - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Bharat Nalluri, 2008) - Universal - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Never Love a Stranger (Robert Stevens, 1958) LionsGate - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Nixon [Blu-ray] (Oliver Stone, 1995) - Walt Disney Video - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Perry Mason: Season 3 V.1 - Paramount - DVDBeaver REVIEW

The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005) First Look Pictures

The Proposition [Blu-ray] (John Hillcoat, 2005) First Look - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Recount (Jay Roach, 2008) HBO Home Video

The Small Back Room (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1949) Criterion - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Still Life (Zhang Ke Jia, 2006) R2 UK Bfi Video

Street Kings (David Ayer, 2008) 20th Century Fox - DVDBeaver REVIEW
Street Kings [Blu-ray] (David Ayer, 2008) 20th Century Fox - DVDBeaver REVIEW

Twenty-four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) Criterion - DVDBeaver REVIEW

The Wizard of Gore (Jeremy Kasten, 2007) Genius - DVDBeaver REVIEW


Week of August 25th, 2008

The Adventures of Robin Hood [Blu-ray] (Micheal Curtiz, 1938) Warner Home Video

Alice Faye Collection Vol. 2 (The Great American Broadcast, Four Jills In A Jeep, Rose Of Washington Square, Hollywood Cavalcade and Hello, Frisco, Hello) - 20th Century Fox

August (Austin Chick, 2008) First Look

The Black House (Yoshimitsu Morita, 2000) Tokyo Shock

Boats Out of Watermelon Rinds (Ahmet Ulucay, 2004) Facets

Brotherhood of the Wolf - Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Christophe Gans, 2002) Universal

The David Lynch Collection (Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive And Inland Empire) R2 UK Optimum

Errol Flynn Westerns Collection (Montana / Rocky Mountain / San Antonio / Virginia City) - Warner Home Video

How the West Was Won : Special Edition (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall, 1962) Warner Home Video

How the West Was Won: Special Edition [Blu-ray] (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall, 1962) Warner Home Video

Judex -1963/Nuits Rouges -1974 - R2 UK Masters of Cinema

The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Lynch (One) (2007) Absurda

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

The Nightmare Before Christmas [Blu-ray] (Henry Selick, 1993) Touchstone / Disney

Pale Rider [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1985) Warner

Pingpong (Matthias Luthardt, 2006) Laguna Films

The Pleasures of the Flesh (Nagisa Oshima, 1965) R2 UK Yume

Redbelt (David Mamet, 2008) Sony Pictures
Redbelt [
Blu-ray] (David Mamet, 2008) Sony Pictures

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975) Criterion

Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.1 (Mahanagar, Charulata and Nayak) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.2 (Kapurush, Mahapurush and Joi Baba Felunath) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Takashi Miike Omnibus (8-Disc) (1997) Arts Magic

Terror's Advocate (Barbet Schroeder, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Three Stooges Collection 3: 1940-1942 - Sony

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jaromil Jires, 1970) - R2 UK Second Run

Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer , 1932) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

The Walter Hill Collection (The Driver, Southern Comfort, Extreme Prejudice, Johnny Handsome, Red Heat And The Warriors) R2 UK Optimum

Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon) - Warner


"We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves." - Lynn Hall
I predict no rain - worldwide this week!


P.S. - 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.