DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 22nd, 2006
Tungjatjeta! - 19 new reviews this week (4 of which are comparisons, 9 foreign language films and 3 multi-film boxsets) HEAVY representation of Rivette, Noir, Universal Horror films and some modern alternative cinema, plus many new Calendar listings ...
The Ginger Rogers Screen Goddess Collection (Bachelor Mother, The Gay Divorcee, It Had To Be You, The Major And The Minor, Tight Spot and Top Hat.) is 60% off HERE !
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NEW Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)
Three Times(Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2005) IFC
My Geisha(Jack Cardiff , 1962) Paramount Home Video
Randolph Scott Triple Bill- The Man Behind the Gun / Thunder Over the Plains / Riding - Warner Home Video
Marlene Dietrich (6-disc - Screen Goddess Collection) - The Lady Is Willing (Dir. Mitchell Leisen, 1942), Shanghai Express (Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1932), Foreign Affair (Dir. Billy Wilder, 1948), Destry Rides Again (Dir. George Marshall, 1939), Blonde Venus (Dir. Josef von Sternberg), Devil Is A Woman (Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1935) - R2 UK Universal
Marlene Dietrich: Movie Collection- 18-disc - (Angel, Blonde Venus, Desire, Destry Rides Again, The Devil Is A Woman, Dishonored, The Flames Of New Orleans, Follow The Boys, A Foreign Affair, Golden Earrings, Morocco, Pittsburgh, The Scarlet Empress, Seven Sinners, Shanghai Express, The Song Of Songs, The Spoilers, Touch Of Evil) - R2 UK Universal Pictures Video
Randolph Scott - Triple Bill- Colt .45 / Tall Man Riding / Fort Worth - Warner Home Video
Changing Times(André Téchiné , 2004) Koch Lorber Films
Twilight Zone: The Complete Collection(28-disc) Image Entertainment
Tickets(Abbas Kiarostami, 2005) Facets
Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 2(4-disc- Charlie Chan at the Opera, Charlie Chan at the Olympics, Charlie Chan at the Race Track and Charlie Chan at the Circus) - 20th Century Fox
Colonel Redl(István Szabó , 1985) R2 UK Ind DVD Ltd
James Bond Ultimate Collection 3(Goldeneye, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) MGM
James Bond Ultimate Collection 4(Dr. No, You Only Live Twice, Octopussy, Tomorrow Never Dies and Moonraker) MGM
The Green Mile(Two-Disc Special Edition) (Frank Darabont , 1999) Warner Home Video
Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection(Calling Dr. Death, Dead Man's Eyes, Weird Woman, Pillow of Death, Strange Confession, The Frozen Ghost ) Universal Studios
South Pacific (Collector's Edition)(Joshua Logan, 1958) 20th Century Fox
Best Foot Forward(Amazon Exclusive) (Edward Buzzell, 1943) Warner Home Video
The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe(Four-Disc Extended Edition) (Andrew Adamson, 2005) - Walt Disney Video
Superman - The 1948 & 1950 Theatrical Serials Collection- Warner Home Video
Mission Impossible - The Complete First Season(1966) - Paramount Home Video
Family Guy, Vol. 4(Season 5) - 20th Century Fox
James Bond Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1- Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Living Daylights, The World Is Not Enough - MGM
James Bond Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2- The Spy Who Loved Me, A View to a Kill, License to Kill, Die Another Day - MGM
Affair In Trinidad(Vincent Sherman, 1952) R2 UK Sony Pictures
RECOMMENDATIONS: Wow - I felt like I watched a lot of film this week (even more than usual). Some good, some bad - here it goes - BFI did a good job with an easily ranked 'cinema essential' - Rivette's - Celine and Julie Go Boating - and I was also enthralled with the masters first film - Paris Nous Appartient. If you get nothing else this week - those should be top considerations. Another, even more clandestine, film seeing the digital light is Munk's Passenger. Second Run's DVD translates its impacting nature very adeptly. I would like to publicly salute VCI -a usually weak production company. Their recent batch of Film Noir (the Hammer set) - Hammer Film Noir Vol. 1, Hammer Film Noir - Vol. 2 and Hammer Film Noir Vol. 3. They aren't perfect (all 6 films are interlaced transfers), but fans should be grateful these are now available in better-than-usual-PD-style. Just remember the packaging of the 3-disc box is poor - we recommend buying individually ( a bit more $). I enjoyed the heavily laden humor in Lonesome Jim. Certainly worth a purchase. You may have a few versions of Dracula (1931), but the new 2-dic Legacy is surely the definitive. Project X knows how to make DVDs and their latest - Mai Zetterling's The Girls - is another prime example - great film - great digital rendering.
THREE MORE PERSONAL, KINDA GUILTY, FAVS: Glenn Gordon Caron's Clean and Sober has always moved me - top-shelf performances - intensely important topic. And there is something quite remarkable about Cronenberg's The Dead Zone. Perhaps its the concept of normal people with abnormal abilities - I'm not sure. Finally - I just reveled in Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection. Cheap, cheesy, innocent - but I was 100% sold - a great deal - I wish I had a 100 more like it to see.
The Dead Zone - "The Dead Zone" does
what only a good supernatural thriller can do:
It makes us forget it is supernatural. Like
"Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist," it tells
its story so strongly through the lives of
sympathetic, believable people that we not only
forgive the gimmicks, we accept them. There is
pathos in what happens to the Christopher Walken
character in this movie and that pathos would
never be felt if we didn't buy the movie's
Passenger - One of the most audacious fictions ever made about the Holocaust. A former guard (Aleksandra Slaska) in the women's section of Auschwitz encounters a passenger on a cruise ship (Anna Ciepielewska) who was one of her prisoners. This sets off a series of flashbacks concerning those terrible days, and the struggle of wills that took place between prisoner and guard.
Paris Nous Appartient - Though more amateurish in appearance than any of the other celebrated first features of the French New Wave (rivaled only by Eric Rohmer's Le signe du lion in low-rent production values), Jacques Rivette's troubled and troubling account of Parisians in the late 50s remains in some ways the most intellectually and philosophically mature of them as well as one of the most beautiful (1960).
Celine and Julie Go Boating - Rivette's rarely seen yet biggest commercial hit, is an exhilarating combination of the themes of theatricality, paranoia and la vie Parisienne, all wrapped up in an extended and entrancing examination of the nature of filmmaking, and film-watching.
Hammer Film Noir - Vol. 2 - Lizbeth Scott is glowing in this intriguing Noir that appears to be the bridge between Anthony Mann's Strange Impersonation and Hitchcock's Vertigo. Paul Henreid plays Dr. Philip Ritter, a plastic surgeon, who, on his brief vacation, flirts and romantically succumbs to the enchanting Alice Brent (Lizbeth Scott), a concert pianist. The enjoyable affair isn't enough to drag her away from her intended lover and Ritter is heartbroken, bordering on obsession... Also included in the Hammer package is Blackout (1954) - An American in London, down on his luck, runs into a beautiful blonde in a bar who offers him a lot of money to marry her. Broke and unemployed, he takes her up on it. When he wakes up the next day, he finds himself in a strange room that turns out to be an artist's studio, there is blood on his coat, and he discovers that his new "wife's" father had been murdered the night before.
Dracula (1931) - It is the most famous and best remembered of all Bram Stoker adaptations, and yet the 1931 “Dracula” is also the film that ventures furthest from its source material. The film has been criticized over the years for straying so far from Stoker’s classic novel (it instead depends mostly on the popular stage play of the 1920s), and yet these critics ignore the simple fact that on its own, the movie works.
Grease (Rockin' Rydell Edition) - Originally a hit Broadway musical, Grease became a hit film musical in 1978 starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, and Stockard Channing. The movie cemented Travolta’s rising star, and Newton-John’s fame as a singer lent the project welcome authenticity. For some reason, the musical genre inspires mad affection from people who really dig them (I should know, for my sister’s always belting one Broadway standard or another), and Grease must be one of the most-watched and most-adored film musicals of all time.
Election - With Election, I dare say, that Johnnie To finally has matured. While he still is a director, who, from a western narrative point of view, leaps rather quickly from scene to scene, his earlier films often seeming to be missing scenes, Election shows a To, who allows authenticity and calm to enter his sphere, and while violence still is present, its not show boat slow-mo violence, but a sudden and more realistic display.
Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection - Lon Chaney, Jr. starred in these six horror yarns made for Universal and based on the popular "Inner Sanctum" suspense radio program - Calling Dr. Death (1943), Weird Woman (1944), Dead Man's Eyes (1944), The Frozen Ghost (1945), Strange Confession (1945) and Pillow of Death (1945). Each film is introduced by a talking head inside a crystal ball (how great can you get?). Director Reginald Le Borg (Bad Blonde), had a real knack for these limited and usually very short productions. He was no Tourneur, but he was very good at what he did for Universal and he directed all the films on the first disc. When LeBorg left for other studio work, he was replaced for the final three Inner Sanctum movies by Harold Young. Another adept, if less stylistic director.
Clean and Sober - All-in-all this is Keaton's film - appearing in pretty much every frame - and advancing his character through a minefield of emotions from moral bankruptcy to baby-steps toward redemption. Strangely, director Glenn Gordon Caron, his first feature effort, never returned to dramatic cinema - making a string of light comedy films and then moving onto to TV.
Hammer Film Noir Vol. 1 - Bad Blonde - Soon Johnny and Lorna begin a secret affair. Lorna tells Johnny she's pregnant with his child, but he's not sure if the father is him or her husband. Despite his doubts, Lorna tells him she loves him and talks him into killing her husband -- as he makes it look like a drowning accident. The Hammer set also contains. Man Bait (1952) - Look Out…Diana Dors in the title role makes the title redundant! While working in a bookstore, our double-barreled femme fatale catches a man stealing a rare book. Report him to the police? Not on your life! She goes with him on a date…one that leads to blackmail!
Marie-Jo and Her Two Loves - On the old smugglers' trail, during a picnic, Marie-Jo presses the blade of a knife to her wrist. She is very much in love with Daniel, her husband, and loves Marco, her lover, just as intensely. When Marie-Jo leaves to live with Marco for a while, Daniel waits calmly for her to return, experiencing intense pain that prevents him from breathing. The three of them know that there's no way out...
Lonesome Jim - Buscemi’s third film as a director is a coming-of-age story with a welcome difference, seeing as every other American indie movie these days seems to deal with the plight of the troubled teenager. Jim (Affleck) is a writer already in his late twenties who returns home to his family in the Midwest after failing to make it as a scribe in New York. It’s only now – faced again with his difficult family (over-protective mum, distant dad, suicidal brother) – that Jim slowly (very slowly) begins to crawl out of his melancholic shell.
Gloomy Sunday - As András’ melody wafts across the air-waves, the suicides become an international phenomenon. Unable to cope, András shoots himself. He dies largely unconscious that his creation has captured a popular mood associated, if only semi-unconsciously, with the rise of fascism as it goose-steps forward.
Marius and Jeannette - Set in l'Estaque, an impoverished, industrialised area of Marseilles, this funny, tender, enchanting film starts as if it's going to be a familiar misfits-meeting-cute romance. Soon after her feisty temper costs her her supermarket job, single mother Jeannette (Ascaride, the writer/director's wife) embarks on a relationship with the equally wacky Marius (Meylan), a taciturn security guard at a disused cement works. He's accepted by her kids and friends, but when he disappears for a few days, Jeannette suspects his no-show is simply another example of male unreliability, and it's left to her neighbours to investigate.
A Slight Case of Murder (1999) - Amusing cable produced fodder with film references bounding consistently through the script. A film critic (William H. Macy), specializing in film noir, accidentally kills his lover during a spat in which she falls and hits her head. In panic, he immediately covers up his involvement and leaves the apartment. A private investigator (James Cromwell) had been tailing the woman for her ex-husband. Realizing what happened, the investigator launches a blackmail scheme.
The Girls - Three actresses prepare to go on the road in a theater production of Lysistrata, Aristophanes' classic comic play about women and war. As they re-asses and deal with the problems of their respective lives, they recognize parallels with the play and begin to realize that it is serious - even tragic - after all.
Ghosts of the Baltic Sea - “Ghosts of the Baltic Sea” (2005), a documentary from director Jon Goodman, concerns the disastrous Soviet assaults on German evacuation ships at the end of WWII with a focus on both of the themes Cameron explored in “Titanic.” But, rather than discovering a lost necklace and an old woman’s stylized retelling of history, Goodman reawakens a much more rewarding treasure--the forlorn memories of those who survived the little known catastrophe.
Water - Mehta’s film concerns an issue that has long been present in India--the mistreatment of Hindu widows. Set in 1938 against British colonialism and Gandhi’s increasing influence over India, the film follows a series of widows at an ashram located amidst poverty and changing streams of thought. Unfortunately for the widows, the rethinking of traditional customs has yet to affect their way of life.
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
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
Tickets (Abbas Kiarostami, 2005) Facets
Time To Leave (François Ozon, 2005) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Three Times (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2005) IFC
Western Film Noir Df Vol 1 (Little Big Horn, Rimfire) VCI
Week of October 2nd, 2006
Bachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939) R2 France Editions Montparnasse
Changing Times (André Téchiné , 2004) Koch Lorber Films
The Definitive Ealing Studios Collection - 16-disc set (Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Ladykillers, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit, The Magnet, Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt, Whisky Galore, Champagne Charlie, Dead of Night, The Maggie, Scott of the Antarctic, Nicholas Nickleby, Went the Day Well, Hue and Cry and It Always Rains on a Sunday) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment
Hail Mary (Jean-Luc Godard, 1985) New Yorker Video
Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection, Vol. 1 (Casablanca Two-Disc Special Edition / The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Two-Disc Special Edition / They Drive by Night / High Sierra) Warner Home Video
The Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection Volume 2 (3-disc SE of The Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific, Action in the North Atlantic, All Through the Night and Passage to Marseille) Warner Home Video
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) R2 Germany Kinowelt
Rachel and the Stranger (Norman Foster, 1948) R2 France Editions Montparnasse
Twilight Zone: The Complete Collection (28-disc) Image Entertainment
The Window (Ted Tetzlaff, 1949) R2 France Editions Montparnasse
X-Men 3 - The Last Stand (The Stan Lee Collector's Edition) (Brett Ratner, 2006) 20th Century Fox
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