Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK OF September 14th, 2009


This Week's Highlights

Buri talosk! - 18 new reviews or comparisons. We are all over the place this newsletter - Murnau to Jackie Chan, Simon Pegg to Manoel de Oliveira, Jean Gabin to Jimi Hendrix and documentaries or docu-dramas on Jimi, Idid Amin, Brian Clough, 60's London and Ritwik Ghatak. Weirdness abounds. There are some important Calendar Updates, new sales and another contest (with a Blu-ray prize) and more.....
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September 14th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a Blu-ray of 20 Million Miles to Earth -  Best of luck all!

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Amazon Blu-ray Blowout HERE

The Movies & TV Boxed Set Sale (up to 60% OFF!)

Blu-rays half price at Amazon UK HERE


• SALES: US Blu-ray up to 53% OFF        

•  Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)

LATEST ADDITIONS to the Calendar: (PRE-ORDER & save!):

Hamlet [Blu-ray] (Laurence Olivier, 1948) R'B' UK ITV DVD

Henry V [Blu-ray] (Laurence Olivier, 1944) R'B' UK ITV DVD

Avant-Garde 3: Experimental Cinema 1922-1954 – Kino

Brigitte Bardot Classic Collection (The Night Heaven Fell, Plucking the Daisy, Don Juan) Image Entertainment

Adoration [Blu-ray] (Atom Egoyan, 2008) Sony Pictures

Whatever Works [Blu-ray] (Woody Allen, 2009) Sony Pictures

It's a Wonderful Life b/w & color [Blu-ray] (Frank Capra, 1946) Paramount

Angels & Demons [Blu-ray] (Ron Howard, 2009) Sony Pictures

The Fugitive: Season Three Vol 2 – Paramount

Léon The Professional [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1994) Sony Pictures

The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] (Victor Fleming, 1939) - Warner Home Video

The Adventures of George the Projectionist (Tim Higham, 2006) Cheney Films Releasing

Easy Rider [Blu-ray] (Dennis Hopper, 1969) Sony

Night of the Creeps [Blu-ray] (Fred Dekker, 1986) Sony Pictures

Cheri (Stephen Frears, 2009) Miramax

The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008) Strand Releasing

Lion's Den (Leonera) (Pablo Trapero, 2008) Strand Releasing

Somers Town (Shane Meadows, 2008) Film Movement

The Way of the Gun [Blu-ray] (Christopher McQuarrie, 2000) Lions Gate

The Rebirth (Masahiro Kobayashi, 2007) Facets

The Sopranos: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] – HBO

The Exiles (Kent MacKenzie, 1961) – Milestone

Trumbo (Peter Askin, 2007) Magnolia

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.


Clones are surfacing - we have no idea of their quality!

  The incredible Oppo Digital BDP-83 Blu-ray marvel is now available for online ordering... HERE (REGION FREE FIRMWARE AVAILABLE NOW)


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey):  It's impossible not to be thoroughly impressed with Masters of Cinema's package of Murnau's Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans - an easy choice for DVD of the Week - and the forthcoming Blu-ray has us drooling. We don't have an abundance of discs to heavily endorse after that. Being a soccer, and Cloughie, fan I really enjoyed The Damned United as I did the new Star Trek - The Original Series Season Two on Blu-ray. Actually both Essential Art House releases that we covered - Le Jour Se Leve and Mayerling are fabulous films - just be prepared for a limited package from Criterion. Bio-documentaries are rife this week with General Idi Amin Dada Autoportrait, a 'hip' 60's in London in the Raw, Jimi and Otis sounding unreal with uncompressed audio in Jimi Plays Monterey / Shake! and the poetic The Name of a River about the great Indian film-maker, Ritwik Ghatak. It's a shame more couldn't be done with Bruce Robinson's Withnail and I. The popcorn machine was working overtime with Shaun of the Dead, monster-hunter vigilante Van Helsing, Henstridge's alien-bareness in Species and Stephen King's nail-biting Misery with a memorable performance from Kathy Bates. Thanks to Eric, Leonard and new reviewer Brian (congrats on fatherhood!) who gave us some important coverage including the divisive The Convent to the amusing Hot Fuzz. Looks like we can easily pass on Facet's The Spectator and the ineffectual Blu-ray of Legend of the Drunken Master. And so another week goes by...


Legend of the Drunken Master BR - "A Jackie Chan Film" the credits say over the title . . . . This often comic, sometimes touching, occasionally brutal movie is, at its heart, both a family drama and a gangster flic involving stolen Chinese cultural treasures. The bad guys, who are enmeshed with the British Consul, have made a deal to plunder and sell China's great treasures. Chan plays Wong Fei Hung, whose greatest prowess is a style of martial arts called drunken fighting and, like Popeye with his spinach, Fei Hung is only at his best when he drinks - a lot. Blu-ray Release date: September 15th, 2009

Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans - Made in the twilight of the silent era, it became both a swan song for a vanishing medium and one of the few films to instantly achieve legendary status. Winner of three Oscars for Best Actress (Gaynor), Cinematography, and a never-repeated award for “Unique and Artistic Picture”, its influence and stature has only grown with each passing year. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present a new 2xDVD and Blu-ray special edition of the film, including an all-new alternate version recently discovered in a Czech archive of a higher visual quality than any other known source. DVD Release Date: September 21st, 2009

The Spectator - Solitary translator Valeria (Barbora Bobulova) becomes infatuated from afar with similarly solitary Massimo (Andrea Renzi) and spies on him from her apartment across the street. When Massimo leaves for Rome, Valeria impulsively follows him only to discover that he has a girlfriend, law professor Flavia (Brigitte Catillon, MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT) and insinuates herself into the older woman's life in order to get close to Massimo. DVD Release Date: December 27th, 2006

General Idi Amin Dada Autoportrait - If this mind-boggling documentary about one of the twentieth century’s most reviled dictators were fiction it would be acclaimed as a comic masterpiece… but it is all true. With an ambition the size of Napoleon, Idi Amin considered himself a major leader and revolutionary on the world stage. In reality, his regime was amateurish, disorganised, and his maniacal command both hilarious and bizarre. DVD Release Date: May 14th, 2007

Withnail and I
BR - Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical account of his early years as an actor has become a cult hit of massive proportions, inspiring countless numbers of young men and women to quote stars Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant and their booze-soaked dialogue. The story follows these two unemployed actors in 1969 London, as they take a holiday in the country. Trapped inside a dank, empty cabin with each other, an endless downpour of heavy rain battering their roof, the two men form a complicated bond fuelled by booze, disaster, and nihilism. Though not much happens in terms of plot, WITHNAIL AND I is one of the most subtly hilarious films to come out of 1980s. Blu-ray Release Date: August 31st, 2009

Le Jour Se Leve - The most celebrated example of the doom-laden, darkly shadowed "poetic realism" that flourished in France in the years leading up to World War II. Jean Gabin is the honest, timid workingman who, hiding from the police in an attic room, spends the night remembering the events that led him to murder. The screenplay is by Jacques Prevert, the most accomplished dialogist of the period, and the famous sets, with their overtones of German expressionism, are by Alexander Trauner. Only the direction, by Marcel Carne, seems less than it could be; there's a lack of imagination and suppleness in the images that pulls the film down. DVD Release Date: September 15th, 2009

Mayerling - The gorgeous duo of Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux first appeared on-screen together almost twenty years before The Earrings of Madame de . . . , in this sumptuous, tragic romance from Anatole Litvak (The Snake Pit, Anastasia). Mayerling is the profoundly emotional true story of the doomed adulterous affair between Archduke Rudolph, heir to the Austrian throne, and the young and innocent baron’s daughter Marie Vetsera. DVD Release Date: September 15th, 2009

Star Trek - The Original Series Season Two
BR - Star Trek is a science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that aired from September 8, 1966 through September 2, 1969. Though the title of the original program was simply Star Trek, it has acquired the retronym Star Trek: The Original Series (sometimes shortened to ST:TOS or TOS), in order to distinguish the series from the sequels which followed (all of which comprise the Star Trek universe or franchise). Set in the 23rd century, Star Trek follows the adventures of the starship Enterprise and its crew, led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), his First Officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and his Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). William Shatner's voice-over introduction during each episode's opening credits stated the starship's purpose: "Space... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." Blu-ray Release Date: September 22nd, 2009

The Damned United
BR Michael Sheen (THE QUEEN, FROST/NIXON), in another of his seamless performances, plays legendary football manager Brian Clough during his disastrous and brief tenure as manager of Leeds UTD in the 1970s. Talented but abrasive, Clough alienates some of those around him, including his rival, Don Revie, his predecessor on Leeds UTD’s bench. When Clough has the chance to coach Leeds, he takes on the difficult role of the manager of the country’s best soccer team. But outspoken Clough strongly disagrees with the aggressive soccer style the team has become famous for, while he has to struggle, quite unsuccessfully, to gain the trust and cooperation of his players. Also starring Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent, and Colm Meaney, the film is based on the critically acclaimed book by David Peace and adapted for the screen by Peter Morgan. Blu-ray Release date: August 31st, 2009

Van Helsing
BR - Before there was James Bond, there was Van Helsing. If you haven't seen this movie, you might not have been aware of that. And instead of working as a licensed killer for Her Majesty's Secret Service, Van Helsing was in the employ of His Holyness' Secret Service. You probably didn't know that either. What the Hell – I don't really mind that Van Helsing isn't the Victorian-principled scientist that we know by way of Bram Stoker or countless Dracula movies. I don't even mind that, as writer/director Stephen Sommers envisions him, Van Helsing is a virile, if ageless man, adept with all manner of weapons and modes of transport. After all, if he's going to be working for the Vatican, he needs his own version of Q-Branch. And contrary to all but one 007 movie, if memory serves, the present Q – a timid soul here named "Carl" (David Wenham) comes along to help explain what Van Helsing may not understand. Blu-ray Release date: September 15th, 2009

London in the Raw
BR - Less focused even than its companion piece Primitive London from 1965, what Miller's film does offer is an intriguing little window onto the tensions between that mythical city Swinging London, and the prosaic reality for the dancers, drinkers, workers, and punters all hankering after a little late night action....Like Primitive London, David Gell's narration warns that there's nothing quite as expensive as a cheap thrill. That attitude may be a little rich, given that the film trades shamelessly on the thing it purports to expose, but 40 years on and even the hypocrisy looks rather quaint. London In The Raw's roots lie in the 'mondo'-style documentary - a cheerfully cynical hybrid of eye-popping revelation and awkward theatricality. Ironically, it's the implausibly staged sequences which now provide some of the kitsch appeal, but even without them Miller's film is a fascinating historical document. Blu-ray Release date: May 25th, 2009

Jimi Plays Monterey / Shake!
BR - Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding arrived in California virtually unknown. Returning stateside from London, where he had moved to launch his musical career, Hendrix exploded at Monterey, flooring an unsuspecting audience with his maniacal six-string pyrotechnics. Redding, venerable star of Memphis’ Stax record label, seduced the “love crowd” in one of his best—and last—performances. Jimi Plays Monterey and Shake! Otis at Monterey feature the entire Monterey sets of these legendary musicians, performances that have entered rock and roll mythology. Blu-ray Release Date: September 22nd, 2009

BR - Based on the chilling bestseller by Stephen King, Misery was brought to the screen by director Rob Reiner as one of the most effective thrillers of the 1990s. From a brilliant adaptation by screenwriter William Goldman, Reiner turned King's cautionary tale of fame and idolatry into a mainstream masterpiece of escalating suspense, translating King's own experience with obsessive fans into a frightening tale of entrapment and psychotic behavior. Kathy Bates deservedly won an Academy Award for her performance as Annie Wilkes, an unbalanced devotee of romance novels written by Paul Sheldon (James Caan), whose books provide Annie with a much-needed escape from her pathetic life and her secret, violent past. Blu-ray Release date: September 15th, 2009

Hot Fuzz
BR - In Hot Fuzz, the story and characterization charms and repels us by turns. The film displays that subtle sense of English sense of humour we know so well, but it also contains a few frightfully grisly moments. It's a little like Lindsay Anderson's "if…." on crystal meth. Much is made in the press about this being a parody of the buddy cop genre, but the film is so dense with distractions that you could be excused for ignoring that particular line of thought. The casual moviegoer might find the proceedings exceedingly off-putting; but the seasoned veteran, especially those who appreciate off-the-wall black humour, will likely find much to amuse and titillate. Blu-ray Release date: September 22nd, 2009

The Name of a River - Anup Singh's debut feature, The Name of a River, is an ambitious, evocative docu-fictional essay exploring the life and work of the great Indian film-maker, Ritwik Ghatak (1925-1976). Ghatak's reputation as India's most important film-maker has been steadily growing since the first major retrospective of his films was organised internationally in the 1980s. Satyajit Ray has described him as 'one of the few truly original talents in the cinema this country has produced'. Although largely ignored in his lifetime and usually overshadowed by the illustrious Ray, Ghatak was a legend to a whole generation of Indian arthouse directors and was seen by many as the father of the Indian New Wave.

BR - In 1993, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Project receives a transmission detailing an alien DNA structure, along with instructions on how to splice it with human DNA. The result is Sil, a sensual but deadly creature who can change from a beautiful woman to an armor-plated killing machine in the blink of an eye. Government agent Xavier Fitch assembles a team of scientists and mercenaries to locate and destroy Sil before she manages to find a mate and breed. Blu-ray Release Date: October 2nd, 2007

Shaun of the Dead
BR - I was reminded of two very different movies, but quite similar relationships: Fred Asatire and Victor Moore in Swing Time and Jeff Bridges and John Goodman in The Big Lebowski. Exasperation-under-siege doesn't quite describe the breadth of it. But it was not until Nick and Simon, especially Nick, put their unique handle on their characters that I was able to respond sympathetically as well as with understanding. A remarkable achievement for any film, let alone a zombie movie. Blu-ray Release date: September 22, 2009

The Convent - Scripted by director Manoel de Oliveira from a novel by Agustina Bessa-Luís (who has collaborated with him on seven other films), O CONVENTO met with mixed reviews upon its release stateside and is better approached as a moody meditation on good and evil or even a suggestive horror film than as even a mainstream art film. Although Baltar certainly is demonic - when Padovic remarks that he talks "like the devil" Baltar replies that he is "merely a humble servant" - the potential for a certain amount of deviltry is revealed in more than one character and there is a potential Faustian pact in each conversation in which one character persuades another to voice her/his thoughts or desires. DVD Release Date: April 3rd, 2007

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar



Week of September 14th, 2009


An American Werewolf in London Full Moon [Blu-ray] (John Landis, 1981) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

Angel-A [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 2005) R'B' - Optimum

Angels & Demons [Blu-ray] (Ron Howard, 2009) R'B' Uk Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Army of Darkness Screwhead Edition [Blu-ray] (Sam Raimi, 1992) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

Atlantis [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1991) R'B' - Optimum

The Big Blue [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1988) R'B' - Optimum

Camille [Blu-ray] (Gregory Mackenzie, 2007) National Entertainment Media

Deep Impact [Blu-ray] (Mimi Leder, 1998) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

Easy Virtue [Blu-ray] (Stephan Elliott, 2008) Sony Pictures

Le Dernier Combat [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1983) R'B' - Optimum

Full Battle Rattle (Tony Gerber + Jesse Moss, 2008) First Run Features

Gervaise (René Clément, 1956) Criterion - Essential Arthouse

The Hannibal Lecter Anthology [Blu-ray] (Hannibal, The Silence of the Lambs) - MGM

Hero [Blu-ray] (Yimou Zhang, 2002) - Buena Vista Home Video (BEAVER REVIEW)

Iron Monkey [Blu-ray] (Woo-ping Yuen, 1993) Buena Vista Home Video

Le jour se lève (Marcel Carné, 1939) Criterion - Essential Arthouse (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Legend Of Drunken Master [Blu-ray] (Chia-Liang Liu, 1994) Buena Vista Home Video (BEAVER REVIEW)

Leon [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1994) R'B' - Optimum

Mayerling (Anatole Litvak, 1936) Criterion - Essential Arthouse (BEAVER REVIEW)

Misery [Blu-ray] (Rob Reiner, 1990) MGM (BEAVER REVIEW)

Nikita (Luc Besson, 1990) [Blu-ray] R'B' - Optimum

Subway [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1985) R'B' - Optimum

Trumbo (Peter Askin, 2007) Magnolia

The Ultimate Force of Four [Blu-ray] (Hero, Legend of the Drunken master, Iron Moneky, Zatoichi) - Miramax

Van Helsing [Blu-ray] (Stephen Sommers, 2004) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

Wagon Master (John Ford, 1950) - Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Wolfman (Universal Legacy Series) (George Waggner, 1941) - Universal Studios

X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Blu-ray] (Gavin Hood, 2009) - 20th Century Fox

X-Men Trilogy + X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Blu-ray]- 20th Century Fox

Zatôichi [Blu-ray] (Takeshi Kitano, 2003) Buena Vista Home Video (BEAVER REVIEW)



Week of September 21st, 2009


Adam Resurrected [Blu-ray] (Paul Schrader, 2008) Image Entertainment

The Black Shield of Falworth [Blu-ray] (Rudolph Maté, 1954) R'B' UK Eureka

The Blood (Pedro Costa, 1989) - R2 UK - Second Run

The Dam Busters [Blu-ray] (Michael Anderson, 1955) R'B' UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Dead Man's Shoes [Blu-ray]  (Dead Man's Shoes (2004) R'B' UK - Optimum

Easy Rider [Blu-ray] (Dennis Hopper, 1969) R'B' UK Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Gojira (Godzilla) [Blu-ray] (Ishiro Honda, 1954) Genius Products (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto [Blu-ray] (Rob Zombie, 2009) Anchor Bay

Hot Fuzz [Blu-ray] (Edgar Wright, 2007) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis At Monterey [Blu-ray] (D.A. Pennebaker, 1986) - Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

Like You Know It All (Sang-soo Hong, 2009) R3 HK PRE.GM

Lymelife [Blu-ray] (Derick Martini, 2008) Screen Media

Monterey Pop Collection [Blu-ray] - Criterion

Complete Monterey Pop Festival [Blu-ray] - Criterion

O'Horten (Bent Hamer, 2007) Sony Pictures

Paul Newman: The Tribute Collection - The Long, Hot Summer (1958) Rally 'round the Flag, Boys! (1958) , From the Terrace (1960) , Exodus (1960) , The Hustler (1961) , Adventures of a Young Man (1962), What a Way to Go! (1964), Hombre (1967), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) , Towering Inferno (1974), Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976) , Quintet (1979) The Verdict (1982) - 20th Century Fox

Pierrot Le Fou [Blu-ray] (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) - Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Prisoner - Complete Series [Blu-ray] (1967)- R'B' UK - Network

Rider On The Rain (René Clément, 1970) R2 UK - Optimum

Shaun of the Dead [Blu-ray] (Edgar Wright, 2004) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

Star Trek: First Contact [Blu-ray] (Jonathan Frakes, 1996) Paramount

Star Trek: The Original Series Remastered Season 2 [Blu-ray] - Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection [Blu-ray] - Paramount

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans [Blu-ray] (F.W. Murnau, 1927) - Masters of Cinema R'B' UK

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] - Warner

La tête contre les murs (Georges Franju, 1959) R2 UK - Masters of Cinema

Tulpan (Sergey Dvortsevoy, 2008) Zeitgeist Films


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