Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK OF September 21st, 2009


This Week's Highlights

Wabanda! - 16 new reviews or comparisons. Once again we seem to be unable to grasp consecutively genre films and are all over the place from a Soderbergh masterpiece to medieval CinemaScope - Disney's initial family classic feature to a low-budget Serial Killer biopic - Anthony Mann's majestic swansong to Jim Henson's Muppetry - a daring, humanistic, verité expression from Austria to a trashy quasi-noir from the deep South - a best picture Oscar to a truncated martial arts amusement - Logan to Picard.... There are some important Calendar Updates, new sales and a trickier contest (with a Blu-ray prize) and more...
TOOLBAR THE 'DVDBeaver Toolbar'! Give it a test drive! I've created a very simple toolbar for Film-Fans/DVD-o-philes/cinephiles. It embeds effortlessly within Internet Explorer 5.0+ (Windows Vista/XP/2000) and Firefox 1.0.1+ (Windows, Mac, Linux). It offers quick links to Searching both the Net (via Google) and DVDBeaver directly, Amazons, Asian etailors, Forums (Criterion, Home Theater, AVS, Rotten Tomatoes, Film Noir), IMdb, DVDBasen, Beaver links, Blu-ray information, Cinephile Blogs/Journals (Rosenbaum, Kehr, Acquarello etc.). What do you think? FOR MORE INFORMATION / AVAILABLE HERE *** (We can adjust this to suit popular opinion - on-the-fly - no re-install required!)

September 21st CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a Blu-ray of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) -  Best of luck all!

BIG THANKS!: DVDBeaver would not exist without the support of many patrons - those who generously donate, and especially those who use our Amazon(s), CD Japan, HKFlix and YesAsia links. That's it. When you go to Amazon - PLEASE use one of our links to get there (they are on every page - top and bottom - and we have 5000 webpages). It costs you absolutely nothing and we get a small commission on items you purchase. This helps pay our bills - in fact it's the only thing that pays our bills.
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If there are DVD titles you'd like us to cover - please feel free to recommend!

Gary at 2ze dot com


Up to 70% OFF UK Blu-rays HERE

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!):

Summer Storm (Douglas Sirk, 1944) VCI Entertainment

The Men (Fred Zinnemann, 1950) Republic Pictures

The Dead (John Huston, 1987) Lions Gate

From The East (Chantal Akerman, 1993) Icarus Films

Coffret marcel l'herbier : eldorado ; l'homme du large - R2 FR Paramount

Wicked Wife (Bob McNaught, 1953) Music Video Dist

Moon in the Gutter (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1983) Cinema Libre

Public Enemies [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 2009) R'B' - Universal Pictures UK

How to Be (Oliver Irving, 2008) MPI

Galaxy Quest [Blu-ray] (Dean Parisot, 1999) - Dreamworks Video

Love Actually [Blu-ray] (Richard Curtis, 2003) – Universal

Justice League: The Complete Series – Warner

Near Dark [Blu-ray] (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987) Lions Gate

Into the Storm (Thaddeus O'Sullivan, 2009) HBO Home Video

The Shield: Complete Series - Sony Pictures

Black Devil Doll (Jonathan Lewis, 2007) Grindhouse Releasing

The Maiden Heist (Peter Hewitt, 2009) Sony Pictures

Buck Rogers (Ford I. Beebe, 1939) VCI Entertainment

Betty Blue (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1986) Cinema Libre

Hell Is Sold Out (Michael Anderson, 1951) Music Video Dist

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):  I guess it would be very easy to choose Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the pick of the week as it's Disney perfection once again - but I'm going to go out on a limb and point to Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience as my personal selection for endorsement. I've never warmed to the director till now and find this his best work - an impacting social drama. The epic Fall of the Roman Empire achieves it's best home theater appearance on the new Blu-ray - it has such grandeur. I really enjoyed Monsters vs. Aliens - it's fascinating to children and amusing for adults. Perfect for family viewing. It'll get close to the play that the The Incredibles did - in my house (it's not that good but that's still saying a heap). Import Export is still an unforgettable film experience and although the Blu-ray transfer underwhelms - it has opened the disc up for North Americans to nab. Star Trek: First Contact is the best of the 'new' Star Trek flics - a fast paced sci-fi adventure worthy of repeat viewings. There are plenty of fans of James Naughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - a haunting mass murderer character study. A totally different following just love the Jim Hensonized fantasy features - The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Regarding imperfect cinema - aside from Gregory peaking my interest with Louisiana Hussy and Eric with Nightmares we also have The Black Shield of Falworth - a harmless vintage cinemascope ride with Knights, knaves and big stars. After that we have some easy passes. Iron Monkey is unfortunately flawed - enough to simply ignore. Observe and Report did give me a couple of Rogen-ish laughs but it's probably not worth the price of admission. Lastly X-Men Origins: Wolverine should have been much better - but aside from the Marvel-ness - it's quite forgettable....


The Girlfriend Experience BR - In the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, Chelsea is an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients: companionship and conversation -- "the girlfriend experience." Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control -- she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend who accepts her lifestyle. But when you're in the business of meeting people, you never know who you're going to meet. Blu-ray Release date: September 29th, 2009

Louisiana Hussy - A woman who appears to be ill shows up in a small town and is taken in by the residents. She winds up pitting a pair of brothers against each other, having an affair with one on the day of his marriage and trying to seduce the other one as well. DVD Release Date: April 28th, 2009

The Black Shield of Falworth
BR - Available for the first time anywhere in the world in glorious 1080p HD and in its original aspect ratio, The Black Shield of Falworth, starring TONY CURTIS & JANET LEIGH was Universal-International's first feature in CinemaScope. In one of his earliest and most dashing performances, a young Tony Curtis pursues his real-life bride Janet Leigh, while defending the British throne in this swashbuckling saga filled with jousts, jests and medieval super heroics. The setting is England in the reign of King Henry IV, Miles (Curtis) is a headstrong, handsome peasant determined to learn the name of his slain father and discover his true heritage. His fiery ambition and swift sword lead him to the majestic MacWorth castle. There he must compete for both knighthood as well as the hand of the fair Lady Anne (Leigh), but her love is claimed by the evil, conniving Sir Walter Blount. Blu-ray Release date: September 21st, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
BR - Snow White's escape from the evil Queen's plan leads her deep into the forest and to a small cottage where she meets, in one of the most famous scenes in motion picture history, the Seven Dwarfs. Once "off to work" they go, the wicked Queen persuades Snow White to take a bite of a poisonous apple that places a powerful sleeping curse on the young beauty. Heartbroken, the dwarfs make a glass coffin for their friend, because she is too beautiful to bury. Only when a handsome Prince -- who had previously fallen in love with Snow White -- finds her and kisses her, does she awaken, "to live happily ever after." Blu-ray Release Date: October 6th, 2009

The Dark Crystal
BR - What’s exhilarating about “Crystal” is that Henson and his collaborators (including co-director Frank Oz) were manufacturing a fairy tale from their own creative well. While influenced by the great fantasy works of the world, Henson paved his own road here; he made certain every corner of the frame was bestowed with a mysterious creature or laborious design effort that created a consuming three-dimensional depth. Honestly, I’ve never seen such extraordinary effort placed into a feature-film before, and the way Henson and Oz take their time to let the details marry the film’s glacial, dreamy pace is endlessly impressive. It’s a directorial job of pure faith, and a design accomplishment (courtesy of wizard Brian Froud) that’s heart-stopping every inch of the way. Blu-ray Release Date: September 29th, 2009

Kramer vs. Kramer
BR - The plot is pretty straightforward and not unfamiliar to some of us: Ted (Hoffman) has just been given an ad man’s dream account and comes home to his wife, Joanna (Streep), to share the good news. He’s so excited he can barely decipher her words “I’m leaving you.” No ultimatum. Just the last in a series of last straws. He has ignored her as a person for the last time. But it’s not just Ted she leaves, it is also their son Billy (Henry) who’s on the verge of entering the first grade. Joanna feels she is in no emotional shape to attend to the needs of a young child. For that matter, neither is Ted, but he buckles down to the task with attendant exasperation, comedy, and little resistance. Blu-ray Release date: February 17th, 2009

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
BR - Michael Rooker is unforgettable as Henry, a soft-spoken loner with a cool exterior masking an inner rage that boils at blast furnace intensity. When fellow ex-con Otis invites Henry to move into his Chicago apartment, he becomes a willing participant in Henry's senseless, random killing sprees. Meanwhile, Otis' unsuspecting sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold) is smitten with Henry, whose broken childhood mirrors her own. Masterfully directed by John McNaughton, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a chilling character study of a mass murderer that continues to shock and disturb twenty years after its debut. Blu-ray Release date: September 29th, 2009

Observe and Report
BR - At the Forest Ridge Mall, head of security Ronnie Barnhardt patrols his jurisdiction with an iron fist, combating skateboarders, shoplifters and the occasional unruly customer while dreaming of the day when he can swap his flashlight for a badge and a gun. His delusions of grandeur are put to the test when the mall is struck by a flasher. Driven to protect and serve the mall and its patrons, Ronnie seizes the opportunity to showcase his underappreciated law enforcement talents on a grand scale, hoping his solution of this crime will earn a coveted spot at the police academy and the heart of his elusive dream girl Brandi, the hot make-up counter clerk who won't give him the time of day. Blu-ray Release date: September 22nd, 2009

BR - American actress in Australia Helen (Jenny Neumann, HELL NIGHT) auditions for a Victorian stage comedy by a vitriolic director (Max Phipps, THIRST). Her relationship with one of her co-stars (Gary Sweet) is hampered by her traumatic memories of seeing her mother killed when she was a child. When someone starts slashing through the cast with shards of broken glass, is it Helen or one of her melodramatic castmates. Scripted and edited by the late Colin Eggleston (LONG WEEKEND, FANTASM RIDES AGAIN), there is really no suspense to be had in the rather obvious script but we do get some vintage Australian sexploitation levels of nudity and some fairly brutal slashings. Attempts at red herrings fail and even two years after HALLOWEEN the steadicam roamings of the killer's POV seem obligatory (s/he takes forever to creep up on victimes). DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2009

BR - Luckily for the audience, a huge portion of both duties are handled by David Bowie, who is perhaps better-suited than most rock stars to blending in with puppets and goblins. Bowie plays Jarreth, the Goblin King, who kidnaps Toby, the baby brother of petulant teenager Sarah (Jennifer Connelly). Though he does so in an appropriately villainous manner, Jarreth is actually fulfilling Sarah's direct (if heedless) wish to be released from her responsibilities via goblin-related intervention. Immediately repentant, she must retrieve her brother by traveling through a shifting maze, theoretically leading to the Escher-inspired goblin castle at the center (babynappings aside, life must be good under Jarreth's rule; I always thought goblins lived in caves or under bridges). Blu-ray Release date: September 22nd, 2009

Fall of the Roman Empire
BR - In an era when "Spartacus", "Cleopatra" or "Ben-Hur" were blossoming on the big screen, Anthony Mann's swan song epic "The Fall of the Roman Empire" seems sadly forgotten. With dynamic Ultra Panavision 70 cinematography and production on a grand scale (At 1312 by 754 ft., the Roman Forum still holds the record as the largest outdoor set ever built for a film!) it remains a quiet giant. Modern day audiences should immediately notice the similarities to Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" with the same historical references, time-frame and characters (Lucilla, Marcus Aurelius, Timonides and Commodus) - the forest battle with the barbarians is particularly reminiscent and it's easily noticed that the dubious 2000 Oscar winner exists only after standing on the shoulders of this better acted but less effects-stacked drama. For its anonymity "The Fall of the Roman Empire" remains a wonderful surprise filling the screen with visions of pure Hollywood over-production where its slight lack of narrative bonding is highlighted by its grandiose style and noble charisma. Blu-ray Release Date: August 21st, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
BR - Their very differentness from everyone else sets them apart, and it is not a difference that makes them feel any better about themselves. Even their remarkable ability to regenerate tissue, making them more or less immortal, offers them no solace, no respite fro their pain. On the contrary, while they slice and dice their way through every war the U.S has engaged in from our own Civil War to Iraq, they have problems with authority disproportionate to their ability to withstand punishment, even in front of a firing squad. Victor (Lief Schreiber) feels it most. His rage is boundless, his eagerness to kill is little more than an excuse to murder, even in war. Blu-ray Release date: September 15th, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens
BR - When Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is unexpectedly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall and is instantly labeled a “Monster” named Ginormica. The military jumps into action, and she is captured by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) and held in a secret government compound filled with other “monsters” like herself. This ragtag group consists of the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach P.H.D. (Hugh Laurie); the macho half-ape-half-fish The Missing Link (Will Arnett); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement time is cut short however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and the motley crew of Monsters is called into action to save the world from imminent destruction. Blu-ray Release date: September 29th, 2009

Import Export
BR - It’s cold and gray. Wintertime. People are freezing. That’s how it is here in Austria. That’s how it is there in the Ukraine. Two different worlds that are increasingly coming to resemble each other. The East looks like the West, the West like the East. In this atmosphere two stories take place that at first glance appear unrelated. One is an import story. It begins in the Ukraine and leads to Austria. The other is an export story; it begins in Austria and ends in the Ukraine. Blu-ray Release Date: October 5th, 2009

Star Trek: First Contact
BR - "Star Trek: First Contact'' is one of the best of the eight "Star Trek'' films: Certainly the best in its technical credits, and among the best in the ingenuity of its plot. I would rank it beside ``Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home'' (1986), the one where the fate of Earth depended on the song of the humpback whale. This time, in a screenplay that could have been confusing but moves confidently between different levels of the story, the crew of the Enterprise follows the evil Borgs back in time to the day before mankind made its first flight at warp speed. Blu-ray Release date: September 22nd, 2009

Iron Monkey
BR - Iron Monkey suffers also in that it is presented here only in the cut Miramax provided for its North American distribution. The balance between comedy and violence is made to be more agreeable to Western audiences – the ones who can't or won't read subtitles, we must presume. (On the other hand, I'm no fan of undercranking, which the original version suffers from during some of the fight scenes.) And a new music score was also composed. OK, this isn't a case like the seriously truncated Seven Samurai with which many Americans first became acquainted, but to not have both versions is a missed opportunity as well as, I want to believe, a miscalculation. It would be nice if this collection of Blu-rays, especially the Chinese movies, is not purchased in huge numbers but, instead, rented; and that the distributor will learn the right message from this. Blu-ray Release date: September 15th, 2009

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar



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 (BEAVER REVIEW)

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)

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 (BEAVER REVIEW)

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 (BEAVER REVIEW)

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



Week of September 28th, 2009


Away We Go [Blu-ray] (Sam Mendes, 2009) Focus Features

Belle de jour [Blu-ray] (Luis Buñuel, 1967) R'B' - Optimum

Billy Jack [Blu-ray] (Tom Laughlin, 1971) Image Entertainment

The Dark Crystal [Blu-ray] (Jim Henson + Frank Oz, 1982) Sony Pictures (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Deer Hunter [Blu-ray] (Michael Cimino, 1978) R'B' - Optimum

Daughter of Darkness (Lance Comfort, 1948) Redemption USA

The Elephant Man [Blu-ray] (David Lynch, 1980) R'B' - Optimum

The Exiles (Kent MacKenzie, 1961) - R2 UK - BFI

Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber - Library of America

The Girlfriend Experience [Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2009) Magnolia(BEAVER REVIEW)

The Go-Between [Blu-ray] (Joseph Losey, 1970) R'B' - Optimum

The Hanging Woman (Jose Luis Merino, 1972) Troma

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer [Blu-ray] (John McNaughton, 1986) Mpi Home Video (BEAVER REVIEW)

Labyrinth [Blu-ray] (Jim Henson, 1986) Sony Pictures (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Ladykillers [Blu-ray] (Alexander MacKendrick, 1955) R'B' - Optimum

Last Year At Marienbad [Blu-ray] (Alain Resnais, 1962) R'B' - Optimum

Lies & Illusions [Blu-ray] (Tibor Takács, 2009) Starz / Anchor Bay

The Lost Honour Of Katharina Blum [Blu-ray] (Volker Schlondorff, 1975) R'B' - Optimum

Le mépris [Blu-ray] (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) R'B' - Optimum

Monsters vs Aliens [Blu-ray] (Rob Letterman + Conrad Vernon, 2009) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

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

RAN [Blu-ray] (Akira Kurosawa, 1985) R'B' - Optimum

The Red Balloon [Blu-ray] (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) R'B' Uk Network

Traffik (1989) Acorn Media

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


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