DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 15th, 2008

Vitaj! - 19 new reviews this week - Cinerama smiling at us, Ozu saying farewell, Eclipse, Cocteau, Borzage, De Sica, Criterion, McCarey, 'The Dude', and a great big green protagonist - plus healthy doses of Blu-ray. If you want more - I respectfully suggest that we have reached the frayed end of our limitations... yet proudly state 'We are DVDBeaver' once more.

Blu-ray 3 for 2 Sale: For every two Blu-ray titles purchased, get a third one free when you add them all to your Shopping Cart!   

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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 and save!):

The Shawshank Redemption [Blu-ray] (Frank Darabont, 1994) Warner

Mondays in the Sun (Fernando León de Aranoa, 2002) Lions Gate

Henry Poole Is Here [Blu-ray] (Mark Pellington, 2008) Starz / Anchor Bay

Mother Earth [Blu-ray] (5 IMAX films - Africa: The Serengeti, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild, Antarctica, Australia and Ocean Oasis) Razor

Creature from the Haunted Sea - colorized + B/W (Roger Corman, 1961) Legend Films

Traitor [Blu-ray] (Jeffrey Nachmanoff, 2008) Starz / Anchor Bay

Casino Royale (Collector's Edition, 2 discs) [Blu-ray] (Martin Campbell, 2006) Sony

Mirrormask [Blu-ray] (Dave McKean, 2005) Sony

Gangster Gift Set [Blu-ray] (American Gangster, Casino, Eastern Promises) Universal

Couscous (Abdel Kechiche, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Special Edition) (Robert Wise, 1951) Fox Home Entertainment

Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008) Magnolia

Family Guy - The Complete Collection (Amazon.com Exclusive) Twentieth Century Fox

Get Smart - The Complete Series Gift Set – HBO

David Lynch The Lime Green Set (Eraserhead remastered, The Short Films of David Lynch, Blue Velvet (remixed 5.1), Wild at Heart, The Elephant Man, Dumbland, Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted, Mystery Disc) - Synapse Films

M Squad - The Complete Series 16-disc (Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson) – Timeless

Gregory Peck Film Collection (To Kill A Mockingbird, Cape Fear, Arabesque, Mirage, Captain Newman, M.D., The World In His Arms) Universal

The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Series – Universal

Sounder (Martin Ritt, 1972) Koch

The Grocer's Son (Eric Guirado, 2007) Film Movement

Pink Panther Ultimate Collection (18pc) MGM

Jarhead [Blu-ray] (Sam Mendes, 2005) Universal

The Kingdom [Blu-ray] (Peter Berg, 2007) Universal

8 Mile [Blu-ray] (Curtis Hanson, 2002) Universal

Milarepa (Neten Chokling, 2006) Cinequest

Black God White Devil (Glauber Rocha, 1964) R2 UK Mr. Bongo Films

Memories Of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968) R2 UK Mr. Bongo Films

One Who Set Forth - Wim Wenders' Early Years - R2 UK Axiom



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Good grief - I don't know if I've ever been so enthusiastic about a week's worth of reviews! As far as I'm concerned the following are absolutely essential: Yes, Borzage's The River is indeed the most erotic silent film ever made... and more - Make Way For Tomorrow is about as perfect as it gets - Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon is another of the director's poignant and familiar comments on modernity - an overpowering experience is How the West Was Won in BR - and Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy is the director's unique existential comedic angst as only he can create it. The BFI edition of La Belle et la Bete may be weaker but it emphasizes the importance of the re-issued Criterion. The new Anniversary Edition of The Big Lebowski of is the best - on all fronts. Phew...

Second tier (but bordering on first any other week of the year) is Speed Racer BR which I absolutely adored (watched three times so far!) - what fun - what color - what audio! Charlie Chan Volume 5 may have the best value of ALL the Chan sets - fabulous inscrutable charm! How can one forget The Fall BR as inspired cinema - ya gotta see. Equivalent to its predecessor, Day Watch BR, is more of the same wild ride.

If you are in the mood - there is nothing really wrong with Rudy BR, Risky Business BR or even Ang Lee's Hulk BR.

"Not me Barney - not me": we suggest passing on Baby Mama - BR, 88 Minutes BR, Woman Times Seven, and The Invincible Iron Man BR.  


New Reviews:

The Big Lebowski - Preying heavily on 'The Dudes' mind is the continuous mention of his castration by the nihilist thugs. Once again we have a character who is forced into an unpleasant idea or situation as 'The Dude' is with his potential loss of manhood. Another prime example of this is the arrogant bowler Jesus (John Turturro) who must inform all his Hollywood neighbors of his child abuse charge and prison sentence. Perhaps this again harkens back to the strong theme of "what it means to be a man". DVD Release Date: September 9th, 2008

The Invincible Iron Man BR - Past and present collide in this epic adventure that reveals the origin of Iron Man. While raising the ruins of a long buried Chinese kingdom, billionaire inventor Tony Stark digs up far more than he bargained for. He unleashes an age-old prophecy that foretells the resurrection of the Mandarin, the emperor of Chinas darkest and most violent dynasty. In order to confront the destructive force, Tony creates an armored suit infused with high-tech weaponry. Blu-ray Released: September 2nd, 2008

Woman Times Seven - Seven episodes putting seven aspects of a woman's personality on display. If watching Shirley MacLaine in all seven roles getting it on (or not) with seven different men sounds like your cup of tea, look no further. However Woman Times Seven is uneven and even the direction by De Sica, who occasionally was too prolific for his own good, doesn't add sufficient wit and charm to make this of more than academic interest to those not doting on MacLaine. DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008

Charlie Chan Volume 5 - 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 Five“ starring the 'successor' Sidney Toler. DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008

1408 BR - 1408 reconsiders the popular euphemism to now read: Scary things happen. An unkind review might read: Cynical writer of haunted houses debunked, John Cusack, checks into a hotel room where scary things are said to have happened. He dares them. Scary things happen. Less unkind: John Cusack's daughter died at a young age. Now estranged from his wife, he goes about the country investigating notorious hotels and other night spots expecting to debunk them. He writes about them. One day he suffers a bad blow to the head by surfboard. He comes to on the beach. Is he really dead, we ask ourselves? Blu-ray Release date: September 16, 2008

Make Way For Tomorrow - With the possible exception of Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story, this 1937 drama by Leo McCarey is the greatest movie ever made about the plight of the elderly. (It flopped at the box office, but when McCarey accepted an Oscar for The Awful Truth, released the same year, he rightly pointed out that he was getting it for the wrong picture.) Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi play a devoted old couple who find they can't stay together because of financial difficulties; their interactions with their grown children are only part of what makes this movie so subtle and well observed. Adapted by Vina Delmar from Josephine Lawrence's novel Years Are So Long, it's a profoundly moving love story and a devastating portrait of how society works, and you're likely to be deeply marked by it. Hollywood movies don't get much better than this. DVD Release Date: June 17th, 2008

Risky Business BR - The very best thing about the movie is its dialogue. Paul Brickman, who wrote and directed, has an ear so good that he knows what to leave out. This is one of those movies where a few words or a single line says everything that needs to be said, implies everything that needs to be implied, and gets a laugh. When the hooker tells the kid, "Oh, Joel, go to school. Learn something," the precise inflection of those words defines their relationship for the next three scenes... Blu-ray Release date: September 16th, 2008

How the West Was Won BR - The history of the extraordinary and short-lived (10 years) innovation known as Cinerama is a fascinating chapter in motion pictures. It is laid out lovingly and critically in David Strohmaier's 2002 Documentary: Cinerama Adventure, included as a bonus feature on disc one of this equally extraordinary 2-disc set from Warner. In my opinion, the set in worth the price for the documentary alone, but Warner is offering both this and the feature film in two complete visual presentations for less than many other current Blu-ray titles. For all its flaws – narrative and technical – this new set is highly recommended. Blu-ray Release date: September 9th, 2008

Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy - The poignant, deadpan films of Aki Kaurismäki are pitched somewhere in the wintry nether lands between comedy and tragedy. And rarely in his body of work has the line separating those genres seemed thinner than in what is often identified as his "Proletariat Trilogy," Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. In these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismäki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement. Featuring commanding, off-key visual compositions and delightfully dour performances, the films in this triptych exemplify the talents of a unique and highly influential film artist. DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2008

88 Minutes BR - Al Pacino stars in this riveting thriller about a forensic psychologist who receives a phone call threatening that he only has 88 minutes to live. As the clock ticks away, tension mounts, suspicions rise and blood flows. With a serial killer he helped to convict awaiting execution and a copycat killer on the loose, Jack Graham has 88 minutes to solve the biggest murder of his career: his own. Blu-ray Release date: September 16th, 2008

Baby Mama - BR - It is said that tragedy is easy, comedy is difficult. Perhaps. But one thing's for sure: we are more judgmental about comedy than drama. We even choose our friends, and certainly our dates, according to what we think of their sense of humor. Even the exceptions we make, require moment. It's the rare fellow who enjoys the attack comedy of Roseanne Barr or Don Rickles on the one hand and the drawing room humor of
The Importance of Being Earnest or the quiet wit of Barney Miller on the other. We often separate ourselves into Buster Keaton OR Charlie Chaplin camps; the Marx Brothers OR the Three Stooges. I wonder if there's room in one's tent for A Fish Called Wanda and Baby Mama. For me, it's largely a question of who we're expected to laugh at and why.. Blu-ray Release date: September 9, 2008

An Autumn Afternoon - Yasujiro Ozu's final film was also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to both life's ever-shifting currents and society's gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu's frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master's films, An Autumn Afternoon (Sanma no aji) is one of cinema's fondest farewells. DVD Release Date: September 30th, 2008

Speed Racer BR - Born to race cars, Speed Racer is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized - the legendary Rex Racer, whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill. Speed is loyal to the family racing business, led by his father, Pops Racer, the designer of Speed's thundering Mach 5. When Speed turns down a lucrative and tempting offer from Royalton Industries, he not only infuriates the company's maniacal owner but uncovers a terrible secret - some of the biggest races are being fixed by a handful of ruthless moguls who manipulate the top drivers to boost profits. If Speed won't drive for Royalton, Royalton will see to it that the Mach 5 never crosses another finish line. The only way for Speed to save his family's business and the sport he loves is to beat Royalton at his own game. Blu-ray Release date: September 16th, 2008

Rudy BR - Underdog movies are a durable genre and never go out of style. They're fairly predictable, in the sense that few movie underdogs ever lose in the big last scene. The notion is enormously appealing, however, because everyone can identify in one way or another. In "Rudy," Astin's performance is so self-effacing, so focused and low-key, that we lose sight of the underdog formula and begin to focus on this dogged kid who won't quit. And the last big scene is an emotional powerhouse, just the way it's supposed to be. Blu-ray Release date: September 9th, 2008

Hulk BR - Hulk begins with a short prologue in 1966 where a young Bruce Banner watches his unhinged father, a discredited military scientist, commit an unspeakable deed. Skip ahead about 35 years. Bruce (Eric Bana) is a scientist working at the Berkeley Nuclear Biotechnical Institute alongside his ex-girlfriend, Betty (Jennifer Connelly). Their current project has hit a few stumbling blocks, but that hasn't stopped sleazy corporate executive Talbot (Josh Lucas) from taking an interest. Also watching things with a careful eye is Betty's father, General Ross (Sam Elliot), who is wondering if the project has military applications. Then, one day, a lab accident exposes Bruce to a massive dose of radiation. Not only does he survive, but he isn't even injured. Blu-ray Release Date: September 16th, 2008

La Belle et la Bete - Once upon a time, in a world of magic and wonder, the true love of a beautiful girl may finally dispel the torment of a feral but gentle-hearted beast. Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) is a landmark feat of cinematic fantasy in which master filmmaker Jean Cocteau conjures spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death that have never been equaled. BFI DVD Release Date: August 25th, 2008

The River - The River, of which the central theme is desire, is the most erotic film of the silent cinema. Wreathed with the laurels of worldwide success and with an Oscar for 7th Heaven, American filmmaker of Italo-Swiss origin, Frank Borzage (1894-1962) conceived this work with complete artistic freedom. The immense natural sets were built in the open-air on a lot at Fox Film in Westwood, Los Angeles. DVD Release Date: January, 2008

The Fall BR - Filmed over a period of 4 years in 18 different countries, Tarsem’s The Fall is an unforgettable movie experience. In 1920s Los Angeles, Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), a 5-year-old girl hospitalized from a fall, strikes up an unlikely friendship with Roy (Lee Pace, TV’s “Pushing Daisies”), a Hollywood stuntman shattered by a near-fatal movie set accident and his lover’s betrayal. To pass the time, he tells Alexandria the epic story of Governor Odious and the 5 remarkable heroes determined to defeat him – a dazzling world of magic and myth. Only when the line between reality and fantasy begins to dissolve does Alexandria realize how much is truly at stake. Presented by David Fincher (Fight Club) and Spike Jonze (Adaptation), The Fall is an awe-inspiring, cinematic tour de force..... Blu-ray Release date: September 9th, 2008

Day Watch BR - This sequel to the Russian film NIGHT WATCH centers on an epic battle between forces of good and evil. An uneasy truce has kept the armies at bay for centuries, but that peace is about to end, and it will pit vampires, psychics, and witches against one another. Both factions, the Day Watch and the Night Watch, have beings of extraordinary power called "Great Others," and if these two people meet, a supernatural war will begin. Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) finds himself torn between his son, the dark side's Great Other, and the woman he loves, the champion for the Light Others. Blu-ray Release date: September 9th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of September 15th. 2008

88 Minutes (Jon Avnet, 2007) Sony

88 Minutes [Blu-ray] (Jon Avnet, 2007) Sony

1408 [Blu-ray] (Mikael Håfström, 2007) Weinstein

J'accuse! (Abel Gance, 1919) Flicker Alley

An American in Paris (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) Warner Home Video

British Cinema: Classic B Film Collection Volume 1 (Tread Softly Stranger / The Siege of Sidney Street / The Frightened Man / Crimes at the Dark House / The Hooded Terror / Girl in the News) - VCI Entertainment

Busby Berkeley Collection 2 - Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) , Hollywood Hotel (1937) and Varsity S

 (1937) - Warner

Charlie Chan Collection 5 (Charlie Chan At The Wax Museum, Murder Over New York, Dead Men Tell, Charlie Chan In Rio, Charlie Chan In Panama, Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise, Castle In The Desert, Charlie Chan: The Fox Years) - 20th Century Fox

The Earrings of Madame de . . . (Max Ophuls, 1953) Criterion Collection

Gigi (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Vincente Minnelli, 1958) Warner Home Video

Hulk [Blu-ray] (Ang Lee, 2003) Universal

The Man On The Eiffel Tower (Burgess Meredith, 1949) Kino

The Mist [Blu-ray] (Frank Darabont, 2007) Weinstein

Le Plaisir (Max Ophuls, 1952) Criterion Collection

Risky Business [Blu-ray] (Paul Brickman, 1983) Warner

Roger Corman Collection (Five Guns West, Gunslinger, Haunted Palace, Premature Burial, The Masque Of The Red Death and Wild Angels) R2 UK - Optimum

La Ronde (Max Ophuls, 1950) Criterion Collection

Shrek the Third [Blu-ray] (Chris Miller, 2007) Paramount

Speed Racer (Widescreen Edition) (Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, 2008) Warner Home Video
Speed Racer [
Blu-ray] (Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, 2008) Warner Home Video

Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur, 1955) VCI

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

Woman Times Seven (Vittorio De Sica, 1967) Lions Gate


Week of September 22nd, 2008

$ (Richard Brooks, 1971) Sony Pictures

A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral (Saman Salur, 2006) Facets

Affair in Trinidad (Vincent Sherman, 1952) Sony Pictures

The Anderson Tapes (Sidney Lumet, 1971) Sony Pictures

Bashing (Masahiro Kobayashi, 2005) Facets

The Bill Douglas Trilogy (1972) - Facets

Deception [Blu-ray] (Marcel Langenegger, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Eclipse Series 12: Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy (Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl) Criterion Collection

L'Enfance-nue (Maurice Pialat, 1968) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Far North (Asif Kapadia , 2007) Image Entertainment

The Garment Jungle (Vincent Sherman, 1957) Sony Pictures

The Godfather Collection - Four-Disc Coppola Restoration (The Godfather / The Godfather Part II / The Godfather Part III) - Paramount

The Godfather Collection - Four-Disc Coppola Restoration [Blu-ray] (The Godfather / The Godfather Part II / The Godfather Part III) - Paramount

The Incredible Hulk (Louis Leterrier, 2008) Universal

Jean-Luc Godard - Histoire(s) du Cinema - R2 UK Artificial Eye

Ken Russell at the BBC (3-disc - The Debussy Film, Dante’s Inferno, Always on Sunday, Isadora: The Biggest Dancer in the World, A Song of Summer, Dance of the Seven Veils) - BBC Warner

L.A. Confidential [Blu-ray] (Curtis Hanson, 1997) Warner

The Luck Of Ginger Coffey (Irvin Kershner, 1964) R2 UK Metrodome

The New Centurions (Richard Fleischer, 1972) Sony Pictures

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

"Oppenheimer" (Barry Davis, 1980)- BBC Warner

Police (Maurice Pialat, 1985) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Puffball (Nicolas Roeg, 2007) R2 UK Yume

Shadow (Jerzy Kawalerowicz , 1956) Polart

Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4 (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse / The Little Giant / Larceny, Inc. / Invisible Stripes / Kid Galahad / The Golden Age of the Gangster Film) - Warner


"Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained."
James A. Garfield (1831 - 1881)
Have a safe, happy 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.