DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 22nd, 2008

Nano toka! - 20 new reviews this week - We've given ample coverage to the Coppola Restoration on Blu-ray in the past 7 days but also found time for Criterion, BFI, Wong Kar-wai,+ Pasolini on Blu-ray, some Noir, a forgotten Nicolas Roeg on DVD, Shyamalan and two Marvel superheroes on Blu, comedy, Asian sadness, schlocky horror and some TV too... plus new listing including Criterion December output (yes only 2 that month)... well, well, well.    

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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!):

White Dog (Samuel Fuller, 1982) Criterion and

Europa (Lars von Trier, 1991 ) Criterion

What? (Roman Polanski, 1972) R2 UK Severin

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Mamoru Hosoda, 2006) Bandai

Abraham Lincoln (1931) / The Struggle (1931) (D.W. Griffith) Kino

Way Down East (D.W. Griffith, 1920) Kino

Sally Of The Sawdust (D.W. Griffith, 1925) Kino

The Avenging Conscience (D.W. Griffith, 1914) Kino

Madame Bovary (Claude Chabrol, 1991) Koch

Change My Life (Change Moi Ma Vie) (Liria Begeja, 2001) Synkronized

Postmen in the Mountains (Jianqi Huo, 1999) Razor

Opium: Diary of a Madwoman (Janos Szasz, 2007) Koch

Lone Ranger: 75th Anniversary - Seasons 1 and 2 (1949) Classic Media

Diebuster [Blu-ray] (Kazuya Tsurumaki, 2004) Bandai

Secret (aka 'Bu neng shuo de. mi mi') [Blu-ray] (Jay Chou, 2007) MSI Universal

Seven Swords [Blu-ray] (Hark Tsui, 2005) MSI – Universal

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [Blu-ray] (Tony Richardson, 1962) RB UK BFI

The Fan (Otto Preminger, 1949) R2 UK BFI

Great Directors: Volume 1 (Dersu Uzala / The Mirror / Les Bonnes Femmes / Il Grido / Circle of Deceit) Kino

The Day the Earth Stood Still [Blu-ray] - Special Edition (Robert Wise, 1951) Fox Home Entertainment

Irma Vep (Essential Edition) (Olivier Assayas, 1996) Zeitgeist

Mongol (Sergei Bodrov, 2007) New Line

Mongol [Blu-ray] (Sergei Bodrov, 2007) New Line

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter [Blu-ray] (Lee Demarbre, 2001) MVD Visual

Planet of the Apes 40th Anniversary Collection [Blu-ray] ('Planet Of The Apes', 'Beneath The Planet Of The Apes', 'Escape From The Planet Of The Apes', 'Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes', and 'Battle For The Planet Of The Apes' - US unrated version of 'Conquest of the Planet of the Apes') 20th Century Fox

The X-Files - Fight the Future [Blu-ray] (Rob Bowman, 1998) 20th Century Fox

The X-Files Movie 2-Pack (I Want to Believe / Fight the Future) [Blu-ray] 20th Century Fox



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Despite certain factions having discontentment with the image quality - The Godfather (The Coppola Restoration) BR  is one of the most important releases of the year. For those admiring the film, Salo or 120 Days of Sodom BR is another fascinating transfer. The rest of the week's reviews may seem insignificant but for noir junkies Criterion's Le Doulos, and Sony's The Garment Jungle, and Affair in Trinidad have appeal even at premium prices. I wasn't ecstatic about Iron Man BR, but can see the interest. Manufactured Landscapes is an interesting and worthwhile documentary. Totally imperfect digital rendering but I still enjoyed my viewing of Wong Kar-wai's Days of Being Wild BR. Ditto for the more polished transfer of Secret BR. After Rob's review of Eureka - I'm going to rewatch and rethink Roeg's film. It was very entertaining revisiting Shyamalan's well crafted The Sixth Sense BR in high-definition.


New Reviews:

The Sixth Sense BR - Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is a successful child psychologist in Philadelphia. The night before he is to receive an award for his medical achievements, a former patient breaks into his house and kills himself. Drenched in guilt, the doctor comes to the aid of a tormented lad (Haley Joel Osment) who can see ghosts. While making his analysis of the troubled boy, he discovers something that is not only fascinating, but could also be very dangerous... Blu-ray Release date: September 30th, 2008

Deception BR - The double-cross is the staple of the crime novel, and reached its cinematic apogee in the noir films of the late 1940s. The gold standard modern noir film of this type - where the plot is tighter, the sex and violence more graphic, the warnings louder and the ironies more exquisite, is Body Heat. As slimy is Ned Racine, it is he we are to identify with – and when Ned is left holding the bag, like him, we go over and over in our minds how we got taken. We watch the movie over and over, as he does he in his cell, searching for the tell. Blu-ray Release date: September 23rd, 2008

Daredevil BR - The desire to realize Marvel's Daredevil onto film was something of a cause and a dream for writer/director Mark Steven Johnson, but after various studios signed on and subsequently signed off, Johnson was to get his wish. Daredevil is one of Marvel's darker heroes. Like Batman, Daredevil is an avenging vigilante; and like other vigilantes, his moral position is anything but clear. Perhaps that's why he works at night. By day, Daredevil is Matt Murdock, lawyer for the unlucky. By night he rights the wrongs of the ironically not-so-blind justice system. In this, he is considerably dirtier than Harry Callahan. Oh yes, the other reason he works at night: Matt was blinded by an industrial accident as a boy – an event which also left him with heightened senses as well as a unique radar that allows him to navigate through the citiscape far more easily than your average bear – or villain for that matter. Blu-ray Release date: September 30th, 2008

Run Fatboy, Run BR - Matt Zoller Seitz of the NY Times is quoted on the video cover: "Rocky by way of There's Something About Mary". I see the connection, but Run Fatboy Run isn't nearly as raunchy or edgy as TSAB. Quite the contrary, Run Fatboy Run strikes me as a family film, which Mary isn't - more along the lines of About a Boy, though not nearly as polished or astute. The Rocky allusion is apt - even if Scwimmer & Black think it as a kind of Rocky arc, with its big challenge, its scrappy training for the big event, the eggs in the blender bit, and a heroic effort in its last reel. Blu-ray Release date: September 23rd, 2008

Le Doulos - The backstabbing criminals in the shadowy underworld of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le doulos have only one guiding principle: “Lie or die.” A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel (Serge Reggiani), just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. By the end of this brutal, twisting, and multilayered policier, who will be left to trust? Shot and edited with Melville’s trademark cool and featuring masterfully stylized dialogue and performances, Le doulos (slang for "informant") is one of the filmmaker’s most gripping crime dramas. DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2008

Salo or 120 Days of Sodom BR - Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious final film, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . it’s also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker’s transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s 18th-century opus of torture and degradation to 1944 Fascist Italy remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in. Blu-ray Release Date: September 29, 2008 NOTE: This release will definitely be Region 'B'.

Manufactured Landscapes - Jennifer Baichwal follows Burtynsky as he travels through China photographing the evidence and effects of its massive industrial revolution. Baichwal captures the artist at work amid some of the most surreal landscapes of the 21st century: the mountains of 'ewaste' in China where 50% of the world's computers end up to be recycled; the Yangtze Valley where whole towns are being demolished to make way for the Three Gorges Dam and the crowded skyline of Shanghai which has recently attracted millions of new inhabitants. BFI DVD Release Date: September 22nd, 2008

The Godfather (The Coppola Restoration) BR - How does one begin to talk about one (or two) of the most admired and influential films of all time? Between the first two Oscar winning Godfather movies – the first, in 1972 and Part II in 1974 – we have a picture of America for the first half of the twentieth century that is so compelling, many people imagine there was little else of importance that actually happened in this country that didn't happen in The Godfather. Blu-ray Release Date: September 30th, 2008

Leatherheads BR - Leatherheads crosses the fast talking, screwball comedy of His Girl Friday with fast talking, screwball comedy like Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Hail the Conquering Hero – mostly the latter, and not very much to its credit. Leatherheads begins promisingly enough with a contrasted look at college vs. pro-football in 1925 – the former: orderly, well attended, full of heroes and gods, and very well funded. The latter was only professional in the sense that their players were paid, but very little. (I was reminded of how much the winners took home in The Shoot Horses, Don't They?) Even before the Great Depression, we are told, there was little support for or interest in the game outside of college ball. Pro players were little more mangy brawlers, and rules, such as they were, were made for doing an end run around. Blu-ray Release Date: September 23rd, 2008

Days of Being Wild BR - Days of Being Wild unfolds like a dream with color filters, unusual shadows, and the sights and sounds of Hong Kong's rainy nights and sweltering summers. Based on the director's memories from his childhood and admiration for the style of Argentinean novelist Manuel Puig (Heartbreak Tango), the film is a series of episodes involving six people who touch each other's lives. After his short-lived relationship with Su, Yuddy meets a cabaret dancer who calls herself Mimi (Carina Lau) but their relationship fares no better and she is left to suffer the consequences of their breakup. Meanwhile, Su meets Tide (Andy Lau), a gentle policeman whom she is able to confide until he suddenly leaves Hong Kong to become a sailor. Each character seeks a sense of identity and fulfillment. After Rebecca tells him of her plans to move to America with her boyfriend, she finally lets him know that who and where his real mother is. After Yuddy goes to the Philippines to try to find his mother, the lives of the main protagonists come together in a powerful conclusion. Blu-ray Release Date: September 2nd, 2008

The Garment Jungle - Mathews, a Korean war veteran, finds that his father, a garment company owner played by Cobb, has become involved with a union-busting syndicate. The son tries to get the father to change his mind about unions, but Cobb won't listen to him. Mathews goes to union leader Loggia and hears what he has to say about unionization. When Cobb tells syndicate boss Boone what the union leader has told his son, Loggia is brutally killed. Horrified by this, Cobb tries to break from Boone and is killed himself. Mathews, with the help of French, digs up records of pay-offs to Boone. French goes to the district attorney; meanwhile Mathews, in revenge, beats up the mob boss before the police cart Boone away. Director Aldrich was replaced by Vincent Sherman five days before the end of schedule, and shooting then continued for 16 days. Aldrich said he had never seen the film, and doesn't know how much of his footage was re-shot. DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2008


Iron Man BR - Suit up for action with Robert Downey Jr. in the ultimate adventure movie you’ve been waiting for, Iron Man! When jet-setting genius-industrialist Tony Stark is captured in enemy territory, he builds a high-tech suit of armor to escape. Now, he’s on a mission to save the world as a hero who’s built, not born, to be unlike any other. Co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges, it’s a fantastic, high-flying journey that is "hugely entertaining" (Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal)... Blu-ray Released: September 30th, 2008

Secret BR - Lun (Jay Chou) lives with his father, Chiu (Anthony Wong), the music teacher of Tamkang Secondary School. Both of them are very good at music and piano. This is the first day Lun admitted to Tamkang Secondary School. When he walks through the campus with his classmates, a mysterious piano solo draws his attention. He follows the song and finds that an ethereal girl is playing piano in the old music room. The piano girl is Yu (Guey Lun-Mei), one of Lun's classmates. She is always late for school and hence sits next to Lun at the back row. The two become intimate friends and spend a lot of time together. "What's the melody you played the first day we met?" asked Lun, "That's my secret." Yu whispered in his ear... Blu-ray Release Date: September 30th, 2008

Beyond the Door - Jessica (Juliet Mills), wife of a record producer (Gabriele Lavia) and mother of two foul-mouthed children, is pregnant but senses something strange about the baby brought on by the reappearance in her life of an old lover Dmitri (Richard Johnson) - whose life the devil has promised to extend if he makes sure Jessica delivers her devil spawn. As her behavior goes from bizarre moodswings and foul language to speaking in a male voice along with the requisite head-spinning and telekinetic phenomena, her husband tries to figure out what is happening and Dmitri pretends to share his concern in order to get close to Jessica and the baby. DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008

Eureka - It seems all too commonplace to overlook the later works of Nicolas Roeg: the accepted practice seems to be to laud praise on his first five films as director, but to consider his works after 'Bad Timing' 1980, to be less than the great works that cineastes had come to expect from Roeg. Part of the problem may simply be that Roeg's first five films were all absolute masterpieces from a great visionary. Indeed, Roeg's vision was so strong that many consider John Schlesinger's 'Far From the Madding Crowd', 1967, to be a Nicolas Roeg film (it was one of Roeg's last films as cinematographer, made three years before 'Performance', 1970), this is due in no small part to the fact that Roeg's vision as cinematographer almost completely eclipsed Schlesinger's vision as director. Nevertheless, there seems to be a growing interest in Roeg's later work, and 'Eureka' is fast becoming accepted as being one of Roeg's great overlooked works. DVD Release Date: September 1st, 2008

Grey's Anatomy - Season 4 BR - Grey's Anatomy begins its fifth season on ABC just as season four has the honor of being the first installment of the series to appear on Blu-ray, coinciding with its DVD incarnation. The previous three seasons have already been available on DVD beginning back in February 2006. For those of us that can wait six months to a year, watching TV shows via high definition video disc is definitely the way to go. No commercials. You can stop and return to the show wherever you want without concern to overfilling your hard drive. Then there are all those bonus features, commentaries and the occasional expanded episode – as we have here. Blu-ray Release date: September 9, 2008

Affair in Trinidad - After making The Loves Of Carmen in 1948 Rita Hayworth retired from film making. She married Prince Ali Kahn and traveled the world as royalty. There was even a documentary film about her worldly travels. After the marriage crumbled Rita returned to Hollywood. Her first film after the four year absence was Affair In Trinidad. It reteams her with her costar from Gilda, Glenn Ford. Like Gilda, it takes place in a south of the border locale, and Rita does a couple of hot dance numbers. Unfortunately the plot is even more confusing than Gilda. DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2008

The Godfather - Part III BR - "The Godfather, Part III" continues the Corleone family history in 1979, as the sins of the parents are visited upon the children. Despite every attempt to go legit, to become respectable, the past cannot be silenced. The family has amassed unimaginable wealth, and as the film opens Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is being invested with a great honor by the church. Later that day, at a reception, his daughter announces a Corleone family gift to the church and the charities of Sicily, "a check in the amount of $100 million." But the Corleones are about to find, as others have throughout history, that you cannot buy forgiveness. Sure, you can do business with evil men inside the church, for all men are fallible and capable of sin. But God does not take payoffs. The new Blu-ray is compared to the original SD-DVD editions.

The Godfather - Part II BR - The Godfather (1972) had been such a box-office and critical sensation, that Paramount Studios wanted to make a follow-up quickly. Francis Ford Coppola, who had directed the first film, was not interested because the studio had nearly fired him from the first production several times. He suggested Martin Scorsese but Paramount refused. Coppola finally gave in when the studio agreed to his demands. Those demands were: "[T]hat the sequel be interconnected with the first film with the intention of later showing them together; that he be allowed to direct his own script of The Conversation (1974); that he be allowed to direct a production for the San Francisco Opera; and that he be allowed to write the screenplay for The Great Gatsby (1974) - all prior to production of the sequel for a Christmas 1974 release." Coppola later remembered, "I looked at the calendar and realized that I had three months to write a two-hundred-page screenplay for Godfather II (1974), and then go right into pre-production." The new Blu-ray is compared to the original SD-DVD editions.

The Godfather BR - It's no exaggeration to say that Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972) has moved beyond the realm of mere cinema to become a slice of American mythology. There are so many indelible moments in this movie, it's hard to believe that executives at Paramount Pictures originally envisioned it as a quickie gangster flick, an even pulpier interpretation of Mario Puzo's wildly popular pulp novel. The grandeur that informs every frame of The Godfather arose, in large part, from a rich screenplay that resonates on a wide variety of levels, but Coppola's unwavering passion for filmmaking was the glue that held it together. Throw in three or four of the finest screen performances of the 1970s, and this is one time that Hollywood wasn't able to screw up a good thing. But it wasn't for lack of trying. The new Blu-ray is compared to the original SD-DVD editions.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

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

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


Week of September 29th, 2008

An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962) Criterion Collection

Andrzej Zulawski's La Femme Publique (The Public Woman, 1984) Special UNCUT Edition - Mondo Vision

Andrzej Zulawski's La Femme Publique (The Public Woman, 1984) Premium UNCUT Edition - Mondo Vision

Beaufort (Joseph Cedar, 2007) Kino

Daredevil [Blu-ray] (Mark Steven Johnson, 2003) 20th Century Fox

Daughters of Darkness (Harry Kümel, 1971) Blue Underground

Dawn of the Dead [Blu-ray] (Zack Snyder, 2004) Universal

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (3 Disc Unrated Collector's Edition) (Nick Stoller, 2008) Universal Studios

Forgetting Sarah Marshall [Blu-ray] (Nick Stoller, 2008) Universal Studios

Iron Man (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (Jon Favreau, 2008) Paramount

Iron Man [Blu-ray] (Ultimate 2-Disc Edition)(Jon Favreau, 2008) Paramount

Jellyfish (Meduzot) (Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret , 2007) Zeitgeist Films

The Joseph Losey Collection (The Go Between, The Servant, Accident, The Criminal, Eva, and Mr. Klein) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

The Last Laugh (Restored Deluxe Edition) (F.W. Murnau, 1924) Kino

Popeye the Sailor-1941-43 Volume 3 - Warner

The Rebel (Truc 'Charlie' Nguyen, 2006) Weinstein

Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom [Blu-ray] [Pasolini, 1975] UK BFI

Secret (aka 'Bu neng shuo de. mi mi') [Blu-ray] (Jay Chou, 2007) MSI Universal

Seven Swords [Blu-ray] (Hark Tsui, 2005) MSI - Universal

The Sixth Sense [Blu-ray] (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999) - Disney

The Collected Films Of Takahiko Iimaru, No. 1 - Onan(1963, 7min.), White Calligraphy (1967, 11min), AIUEONN Six Features(1993, 7min.), Face(1968-69, 17min.), Filmmakers (1969, 28min.) - Microcinema DVD

Taxi To the Dark Side (Alex Gibney, 2007) - Velocity / Thinkfilm

The Thing [Blu-ray] (John Carpenter, 1982) Universal Studios


"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it."
Mahatma Gandhi 
Have a healthy 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.