DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 15th, 2006
Konichiwa! - 17 new reviews this week (5 of which are multi-film boxsets) from Ozu to Ozon. Some clandestine Film Noir - a few new Calendar listings and more...
Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
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NEW Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)
Nazarin[Luis Bunuel, 1958] R2 UK Yume Pictures
Knights Of The Teutonic Order(Aleksander Ford, 1960) R2 UK Second Run
Passenger(Andrzej Munk, 1963) R2 UK Second Run
Ernst Lubisch Silent Collection- Anna Boleyn (1920), Die Austernprinzessin aka My Lady Margarine (1919), aka The Wildcat, Ich möchte kein Mann sein (1920), Sumurun aka One Arabian Night (1920) - 6 DVD - R2 Germany - Transit Classics
Hangmen Also Die(Collector's Edition, 2 DVDs) Fritz Lang - R2 Germany - EMS
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RECOMMENDATIONS: Frankly a bit of a weak week but there is still some items I still recommend. Blast of Silence is primo Noir - one that just clicked. There is a lot of vintage charm and fun with the The Boris Karloff Collection, Hammer Film Noir Vol. 3 and Teen Terror Collection - indulge yourself - it feels good. After a quarter century I still really enjoyed Michael Caine in The Black Windmill. For some Hitch-style suspense try - Midnight Lace. Ozu completist or not - you may wish to see the master formulating with A Mother Should Be Loved. I liked Down In The Valley but many did not - it has all the right pieces even if it doesn't form a perfect picture. I tout Shymalan - and Signs is a winner in my book.
FOR FANS: The Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 2 brings back good memories - not the duo's best work but fun indeed.
Down In The Valley
- In writer-director Jacobsen's delineation of a
warped range rider, we're mesmerized by how far
his crafty anti-hero's pretenses can take us and
remain plausible. Harlan's insistence on his
good intentions to Wade, who is brought to
ordering him off his property and away from his
daughter... at gunpoint... is a gem of
logic-denial and character audacity. He's a man
who has fabricated a belief in his ability to
convince an adversary of his fine qualities.
DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2006
A Mother Should Be Loved - Ozu silent family melodrama setting the stage for later masterpieces... The only surviving print lacks first and last reels - set eight years before and three years after the main story. So it now focuses on the troubled relationship between two boys who discover that they are only step-brothers. After the husband dies of a heart attack, widowed Chieko selflessly devotes herself to the raising of the son and stepson Sadao. Her unconscious refusal to deal with Sadao finally uncovers the secret of his parentage, he tries to quit the family and live on his own. The prologue in which the father dies at the office, showed their former happy domestic life and the epilogue the reconciliation with mother after the traumatic central section. DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2006
Godzilla (original Japanese) - NEW Sony Wonder - 2-disc - Region 1 - NTSC compared - Considering its reputation and the variable character of the franchise it spawned, the original Godzilla is a pretty sobering film. Many will be familiar with Godzilla from the later stuntmen in rubber suits fisticuffs, or the ridiculous Hanna-Barbara cartoon series from 1978. Even if they have seen the first film, originally released in 1954, it's likely to have been the American version, which consisted of the Japanese film trimmed substantially and altered by the inclusion of new scenes featuring Raymond Burr as an American reporter. The Sony Wonder came out September 5th, 2006
The Boris Karloff Collection - Along with fellow actors Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema, and the actor most closely identified with the general public's perception of the "monster" from the classic Mary Shelley book "Frankenstein". Renowned as a kind and warm-hearted gentleman, with a sincere affection for children and their welfare, Karloff passed away on February 2, 1969, from emphysema. Universal hace compiled 5 of his films into one package - Night Key (1937), Tower of London (1939), The Climax (1944), The Strange Door (1951) and The Black Castle (1952) - and Karloff fans will rejoice - especially at the addition of Tower of London (also note Vincent Price appearing in one of his earliest film roles). DVD Release Date: September 19th, 2006
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu - Take another glance at the title of this Romanian film and you have its story, climax and all: Mr Lazarescu will die. We know this from the start, which means that we can concentrate fully on director Cristi Puiu’s real purpose, which is to show, almost in actual time over one night in Bucharest, the indignity, sadness and sheer mundanity with which an unexceptional, lonely 62-year-old man can leave this earth within hours of reporting a suspicious headache to the emergency services. The terrible, meditative power of Puiu’s film is that while we, the viewer, are all-knowing from the off, Mr Lazarescu himself knows nothing of his impending fate. DVD Release Date: September 12th, 2006
Teen Terror Collection - This 3-disc package appears to be 'available' now at Amazon. Essentially these are three more 'limited production' drive-in 50's flicks (which in DVDBeaver's mind makes them good campy fun!). The theme is *Teenagers* - for a while a very popular draw. It is pretty similar to Image's Watch The Skies set and Femme Fatale set, where they take 3 previously released of the same genre (or they find a link) and combine them for a handsome discount into one Boxset. Teenage Doll is a decent film, with some substance - sneaking onto our Noir listing although the categorization is debatable, Teenage Monster is quite weak (really it is just plain 'bad') - but a total hoot! and Teenagers from Outer Space similar but superior and a lot of fun. DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
Hammer Film Noir Vol. 3 - The Gambler and the Lady starred Dane Clark as Jim Forster, a gullible American gambler who comes unstuck when his desire for social climbing leads him to dumps his dancer mistress Pat (Kathleen Byron), in favour of high society Lady Willens (Naomi Chance). Racketeers infesting London's gambling belt wreck Jim’s casinos, and his partner Dave is killed by the Colonna Brothers, who want in. During a gun battle Jim deals with the Colonna’s, as he struggles away wounded, a jealous Pat runs him down in her car. Heat Wave - Slick and effective thriller that employs the writing and directing talents of Ken Hughes. An American pulp novelist, Kendrick (Alex Nicol), meets his rich neighbours across the lake and is soon seduced by Carl (Hillary Brooke), the wife of Forrest (Sidney James), whom Kendrick likes. Forrest is badly injured when his launch has an accident in the fog, and Carol throws him overboard. When Kendrick discovers Carol has gone back to her ex-lover Vince (Paul Carpenter), he goes to the police. DVD Release Date: August 28, 2006
I Am A Sex Addict - Director Caveh Zahedi's I Am A Sex Addict may be Zahedi's most autobiographical and, consequently, narcissistic film to date. Previously, when Tripping With Caveh featured Zahedi and musician Will Oldham wandering through meadows high on LSD, some viewers wondered what the point was. Now, "Caveh" relays his history of sex addiction, in nauseating detail, before taking wedding vows with his third wife to-be. Beginning the tale in Paris, 1984, Zahedi narrates the story of Anna, his first true love, Caroline, his second love played by actress Rebecca Lord, and the destruction of both relationships due to his insatiable desire for prostitutes. DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
Signs - Taking cues from classic films of the past including Hitchcock's 'The Birds', George Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' and Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, M. Night Shyamalan has written produced and directed and old fashioned intriguing sci-fi suspense story. I fully enjoyed his previous film, 'Unbreakable', and his slight diversion from standard Hollywood formula has proven a big success with most, although his detractors are growing. 'Signs' is slick, smart, and keeps you on the edge of your seat with fine performances, subtle humor and slight references to faith and conviction. I won't go overboard and say 'masterpiece' but Shyamalan's style is certainly more captivating than a similar over-hyped Speilbergian generic sci-fi thriller (say War of the Worlds as one example). Night seems driven more by instinct and belief in his ideas of the film's creation and even if his goal is still sale-ability at least his methodology is not fraught with the complexities of over-production. His efforts to avoiding the obvious vein of CGI and special effects are likewise admirable. I love the direction this guy is headed!
The Black Windmill - Although received with critical disappointment, mainly because Siegel had forsaken his exploration of American mythology and violence for what seemed to be a rather old-fashioned British thriller, there is in fact a lot to enjoy in The Black Windmill. It's a very playful piece at the expense of the British stiff-upper lip, made with a discerning American's eye for London. The plot is a shaggy dog story (with just the right degree of nightmarishness) revolving around intelligence agent Caine's single-handed attempts to retrieve his kidnapped son. DVD Release Date: August 7th, 2006
Time To Leave - The latest from François Ozon is a typically lean and poised study of impending, untimely death that is as ghostly and unpredictably sketched as the coming of the Grim Reaper himself. Romain (Melvil Poupard) is a 31-year-old gay fashion photographer and not the most likeable man in all Paris; he snaps at his assistants, mistreats his family, snorts copious amounts of coke and is generally quite far up himself. Too bad, then, the more cold-hearted viewer might snort, when he collapses at a fashion shoot and is diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer that’s barely worth treating and given just a few months to live… DVD Release Date: September 19th, 2006
The Harem - The Harem is a sumptuously sensual, darkly satiric drama starring screen siren and Academy Award nominee Carroll Baker as a seductive woman who deceitfully lures the three men she desires to her villa, pushing them to their limits by toying with their sexual needs and male egos...
Insignificance - 1954. As Monroe, Einstein, DiMaggio and McCarthy, Roeg assembles an excellent cast of non-stars, confines them in anonymous hotel rooms, and lets them rip on all his favourite topics: life, love, fame, hate, jealousy, atomic firestorm and the whole damn thing. As usual with Roeg, the firmament is streaming with large ideas and awkward emotions, which grow larger and larger in significance, and most of which come together in a delightful scene when Marilyn (Russell) explains relativity to Einstein (Emil) with the aid of clockwork trains and balloons. Curtis is Senator McCarthy, still witch-hunting phantoms of his mind; Busey is the washed-up ballplayer, aching for Marilyn's return. It may be a chamber piece, but its circumference is vast.
Midnight Lace - Although its theatrical origins (Janet Green's Matilda Shouted Fire) aren't exactly disguised, this is a smoothly efficient variation on the 'frightened lady' thriller. Just married to English businessman Harrison, Day's the American in London progressively unraveling after threatening anonymous phone calls and voices in the fog. Perhaps surprisingly for an actress who always seemed to keep plenty in reserve, her hysteria's pretty full-on, and the taut screenplay keeps up the pressure with a string of worthy suspects (wheedling McDowall, scheming Marshall, disturbed war vet Gavin).
The Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 2 - contains 3 classic comedies A-Haunting We Will Go, The Dancing Masters, and The Bullfighters. Fans will be quite thrilled about this set. I used to be a big Stan and Ollie fan and this collection brought back much of the fun camaraderie feeling that they evoke. MacGillivray's commentaries are the real value marker here - they are perfect for instilling appreciation about the duo and the three features. Reasonable price too. Great job Fox! DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
Blast of Silence - This missing noir masterpiece enters the canon in first place... Wandering through a bleak Manhattan in the midst of its Christmas Eve rush like some hoodlum Holden Caulfield, Frankie Bono (Allen Baron) is positively saturated with hatred for everyone and everything around him. He was supposed to be concentrating on Troiano (Peter Clume), the mid-level mob boss with more ambition than brains who he’s been brought in from Cleveland to send to an early grave. But being back in New York, especially around Christmastime, ruins him with memory and he begins slowly losing the intense focus and passive hostility that brings him these high-paying assignments as a professional hitter.
Bergman Complete - This is a three-part documentary series made by Swedish Televisions journalist Marie Nyreröd. Bergman-fans might know her from the Bergman film-introductions that's included on the bonus-disc of Criterions Fanny & Alexander (they were made for a Bergman retrospect on Swedish Television back in 2003 and is also on the Swedish DVDs). I had the pleasure to meet her this year in february when she had a thing called Bakom Bergman ("Behind Bergman" in English) at the Gothenburg International Film Festival. It was a screening of Bergman's own behind the scenes footage to a bunch of movies shoot on 8 or 16mm, narrated by Nyreröd. Some of this footage is also included in this documentaries.
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of September 18th, 2006
Post coïtum animal triste aka After Sex (Brigitte Roüan, 1997) New Yorker
The Boris Karloff Collection - Night Key (1937), Tower of London (1939), The Climax (1944), The Strange Door (1951) and The Black Castle (1952) - Universal Studios
Edward G Robinson Double Feature #1 (B&W) (The Red House, 1947, Scarlet Street, 1945) Critic's Choice
Henry Fonda - The Signature Collection (Advise and Consent / Battle of the Bulge / Mister Roberts / The Wrong Man) - Warner Home Video
Jigoku (Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960) Criterion Collection
Letter From An Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) R2 UK Metrodome
Madame De... (Max Ophüls, 1953) R2 UK Metrodome
Marius et Jeannette (Robert Guédiguian, 1997) New Yorker Video
Le Plaisir (Max Ophüls, 1952) R2 UK Metrodome
The Quiet Duel (Akira Kurosawa, 1949)
Brentwood Home Video
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949) R2 UK Metrodome
So Ends Our Night (John Cromwell , 1941) Vci Video
Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973) Criterion Collection
Le Temps Qui Reste aka Time to Leave (François Ozon, 2005) Warner
Tight Spot (Phil Karlson, 1955) R2 UK Sony Pictures Home Ent.
Yellow Asphalt (Dan Verete , 2000) New Yorker
Week of September 25th, 2006
The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959) R2 - UK Cinema Club
Anne And Muriel (aka "Two English Girls") (François Truffaut, 1971) R2 - UK Cinema Club
Celine And Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974) R2 UK BFI
The Dead Zone (Special Collector's Edition) (David Cronenberg, 1983) Paramount Home Video
Down in the Valley (David Jacobson, 2005) Velocity / Thinkfilm
Dracula - Legacy Series (Tod Browning, 1931) (2-disc) Universal Studios
Finally Sunday! aka 'Confidentially Yours' (François Truffaut, 1983) R2 - UK Cinema Club
Forgotten Noir Collector's Set V 1-3 (vol. 1 - Portland Expose, They Were So Young, vol. 2 - Loan Shark, Arson Inc., vol. 3 - Shadow Man, Shoot To Kill) VCI
Forgotten Noir Df Vol 2 (Loan Shark, Arson Inc) VCI
Forgotten Noir Df Vol 3 (Shadow Man, Shoot To Kill) VCI
Frankenstein (75th Anniversary Edition) (James Whale, 1931) Universal Studios
Frankenstein: The True Story (Jack Smight, 1973) Universal Studios
Jules And Jim (François Truffaut, 1963) R2 - UK Cinema Club
Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead (Tobe
Hooper) - Anchor Bay
Masters of Horror: Imprint (Takeshi Miike) - Anchor Bay
Nazarin [Luis Bunuel, 1958] R2 UK Yume Pictures
Neo-Realist Box Set - (Rome, Open City, The Bicycle Thieves, Miracle In Milan, Umberto D, I Vitteloni) R2 UK - Arrow Film Distributors Ltd.
Passenger (Andrzej Munk, 1963) R2 UK Second Run
Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette, 1960) R2 UK BFI
Pride and Prejudice (3-disc 10th Anniversary Limited Edition Collector's Set) (Simon Langton, 1994) A&E Home Video
Princess Raccoon (Seijun Suzuki, 2005) R2 UK Yume Pictures
Red Desert - Edition Collector / NO Eng. subs (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) R2 France Carlotta Films
Satantango (3pc) (Béla Tarr, 1994) Facets Home Video
Shoeshine (Vittorio de Sica, 1946) R2 UK Masters of Cinema
Shoot The Pianist (François Truffaut, 1960) R2 - UK Cinema Club
Time To Leave (François Ozon, 2005) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Western Film Noir Df Vol 1 (Little Big Horn, Rimfire) VCI
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