DVDBeaver Newsletter - August 25th, 2008

Hutch-e-lul-lul-o! - 14 new reviews this week and a plea as we're in a spot of summer financial bother. Finally those Criterion Blu-rays are listed for Pre-Order!... Calendar updates, contest etc - maybe its time for a rest.


Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.

- AUGUST 25th CONTEST - identify this CLIP to win a BRAND NEW - SEALED (REISSUE) of Criterion's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom Best of luck all!


LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER and save!):

The Last Emperor [Blu-ray] (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987) Criterion

The Man Who Fell to Earth [Blu-ray] (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) Criterion

Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994) Criterion

Chungking Express [Blu-ray](Wong Kar-wai, 1994) Criterion

Fanfan la Tulipe (Christian-Jaque, 1952) Criterion

Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996) Criterion

Bottle Rocket [Blu-ray] (Wes Anderson, 1996) Criterion

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Martin Ritt, 1965) Criterion

Wall-E (2pc) [Blu-ray] (Andrew Stanton, 2008) Disney

Wall-E (3pc) [Blu-ray] (Andrew Stanton, 2008) Disney

Lust, Caution (Import) [Blu-ray] (Ang Lee, 2007) BMG/Arista

Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur, 1955) VCI

One Touch of Venus (William A. Seiter, 1948) LionsGate

Moses und Aron (Danièle Huillet + Jean-Marie Straub, 1975) New Yorker

Yesterday Girl (Alexander Kluge, 1966) – Facets

Jerry Maguire [Blu-ray] (Cameron Crowe, 1996) - Sony Pictures

Monster's Ball [Blu-ray] (Marc Forster, 2001) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Casablanca [Blu-ray] 2-disc - Ultimate Collector's Edition (Michael Curtiz, 1942) Warner

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007) IFC

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 4: 1943-1945 - Sony Pictures

The Last Man on Earth - colorized and B/W (Ubaldo Ragona, 1964) Legend Films

Bride of the Monster - colorized and B/W (Edward D. Wood Jr., 1955) Legend Films

Firefly - The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Joss Whedon, 2002) 20th Century Fox

Camp de Thiaroye (Ousmane Sembene + Thierno Faty Sow, 1987) New Yorker

The Wedding Director (Marco Bellocchio, 2006) New Yorker



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): If I was to have a 'pick of the week' it would probably be Redbelt BR although Valerie and Her Week of Wonders received some heavy consideration. Leonard thinks highly of Nightmare Before Christmas BR. The Adventures of Robin Hood BR is truly beautiful to behold. These Sony Stooge sets are always recommended - and Three Stooges Collection 3: 1940-1942 is no different. The Wolves is going to get another spin from me - something curiously compellling about it indeed. Leonard was surprisingly high on Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert BR. Submarine drama enthusiasts should indulge in U-571 BR. Flynn or western genre fans can forgive the mediocrity of the Errol Flynn Westerns Collection. A better bet might be Warner's Home Video Western Classics. Horror lovers may wish to indulge in The Black House and Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre.

Nawwwww: After another viewing, for my lovely spouse, I'm having further thoughts on Miami Vice BR and they ain't that positive. I'm alone, it seems, but nothing about the film Pale Rider impressed me.


New Reviews:

Nightmare Before Christmas BR - The gist of the story tells of the ennui of Jack Skeffington, the Pumpkin King in a world of monsters, ghouls and lightweight scary creatures. Tired and bored of the same old, same old Halloween frights, for which he has become the undisputed master, he accidentally and fatefully tumbles into the world of fun and good cheer, aptly named Christmas Town – a world hitherto unknown to Jack and his fellow citizens he left behind moments ago. Swept off his skinny legs by all this charm, Jack begins to give some thought to a holiday of his own, in which he himself could stand in for Santa Claus. Blu-ray Released: August 26th, 2008


The Wolves - Hideo Gosha is virtually unknown in the West, and The Wolves doesn't show up in any film guide I'm aware of, but it's a yakuza movie in a class of its own, a stunningly realised thriller about a gangster (Nakadai, the singularly intense actor from Kagemusha and Ran) whose early release from jail precipitates further bloodshed even as he endeavours to prove his absolute loyalty by fending off a gang war. DVD Release Date: September 2nd, 2008

Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre - Jean-Paul Salomé remakes Claude Barma's 1965 miniseries (itself adapted from Arthur Bernède's pulp novel) with the aid of CGI and the marquee value of Sophie Marceau. The production looks marvelous with location work at the Louvre but the attempt to keep things light results in some unevenness (language, nudity and bloody deaths juxtaposed with the "cute" budding romance between Marceau and Diefenthal and the one between Serrault and Christie) and might have been more successful had it adopted a more consistently dark tone. LionsGate DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2008

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders - This fantastical and somewhat inscrutable allegory took me by surprise. I'd heard mostly good things about it over the years, but was unprepared for its lovely ethereal nature and its ravishing imagery. The story, such as it is, is of secondary importance to the dream-like visuals that comprise each scene. Valerie's first period is the catalyst for a dream/nightmare adventure that involves vampirism, incest, treachery, soul-robbing, and gentle eroticism. What in the end has been said, I'm not sure, but it's a wonderful experience. Second Run DVD Release Date: August 25th, 2008

Pale Rider BR - As the film's director, Eastwood has done some interesting things with his vision of the West. Instead of making the miners' shacks into early American antique exhibits, he shows them as small and sparse. The sources of light are almost all from the outside. Interiors are dark and gloomy, and the sun is blinding in its intensity. The Eastwood character himself is almost always backlit, so we have to strain to see him and this strategy makes him more mysterious and fascinating than any dialogue could have. Blu-ray Released: August 26th, 2008

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert BR - I'm not sure when the exact moment occurred, or with whom, that the idea of a touring teen star to adoring teenage audiences first took hold – Donny & Marie? David Cassidy? Joan of Arc? Back in my day it was Paul Anka, Fabian and Frankie Avalon (though for a while I used to think they were the same person.) Now there's Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus (who actually are the same person). Blu-ray Release Date: August 19, 2008

The Adventures of Robin Hood BR - "The Adventures of Robin Hood" is the definitive Errol Flynn film, the definitive Robin Hood film, one of the best swashbuckler films and one of the most beautiful three stripe Technicolor films ever to leave Warner Bros. This was the film out parents and grandparents would save up their allowance for to watch in the Sunday matinees, and then spend the rest of the week pretending to be Robin Hood. Thanks to Warner's Ultra Resolution restoration, "The Adventures of Robin Hood" now is looking better than ever. I wonder if the films the kids of today will get the same treatment and be loved the same way in 70 years. Blu-ray Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Three Stooges Collection 3: 1940-1942 - Up until these competent Sony DVD packages (Vol. 1 reviewed HERE, Vol. 2 HERE) the Three Stooges on DVD had been a real mix'n match hodge-podge of un-restored titles and illogical entries. Sony are giving us the first concert effort to categorize, chronologically on digital, their huge body of work with many shorts seeing the digital light for the first time. The 2-disc bare-bones DVD package represents 13 shorts on dual layered disc 1 and 10 on dual-layered disc 2. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Errol Flynn Westerns Collection - Montana: Big Sky Country is cattle country! But sheep rancher Flynn has other ideas in this gun-blazing range-war saga. Alexis Smith co-stars. In Technicolor. Rocky Mountain: The Civil War comes to California, and rebel leader Flynn finds that marauding Shoshones may be fiercer foes than the Union Army. With future Mrs. Flynn, Patrice Wymore. San Antonio: A man is only as good as his aim when Flynn rides into ol' San Antone to hunt cattle rustlers. A landmark of Western excitement with an amazing saloon shoot-'em-up... and the lovely Alexis Smith. In Technicolor. Virginia City: Union officer Flynn goes undercover to stop a gold-laden Nevada wagon train rolling to Dixie. With Randolph Scott and, yes, Humphrey Bogart as a pencil-mustached desperado. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Redbelt BR - In “Redbelt,” David Mamet has taken a sturdy B-movie conceit — a good man versus the bad world, plus blood — tricked it out with his rhythms, his corrosive words and misanthropy, and come up with a satisfying, unexpectedly involving B-movie that owes as much to old Hollywood as to Greek tragedy. That may sound like a perilous combination, but the film’s visual moderation, contained scale and ambition keep it well tethered. It’s a fight film, purely if not simply, which of course also means it’s about the struggle to live. Blu-ray Released: August 26th, 2008

U-571 BR - Because U-571 makes no attempt to overturn expectations, anyone who's ever seen a submarine movie will be able to second-guess the plot. But the incredibly assured Mostow - whose only other feature was the nail-biting Breakdown - has at least two aces up his sleeve: the pulse-quickening sequence where the US crew must take control of the U-boat but find that all the instructions are in German, and a depth-charge attack which cranks up the tension through the sheer use of sound alone. Talk about being right there with them. Comparisons to Das Boot will be made - indeed, German production designer Gotz Weidner worked on both films - but U-571 is more about derring-do than claustrophobia. Blu-ray Released: August 26th, 2008

Miami Vice BR - First, this is a Michael Mann film, which means it’s populated with good-looking men, women, cars, and clothes that all radiate an existential malaise that you will not find in your typical Michael Bay helmed summer action blockbuster. Miami Vice pulsates with an energy that only Mann’s digital photography can capture, so much so that even when Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) do nothing but strike poses, there is something breathtaking about it. The camera is always there; close enough that you might be able to make out the designer label on their suits, or possibly catch a whiff of Crocket’s after-shave lotion. Sure, this might all sound superficial, and in a sense, it is, but in a Michael Mann film, vocation, demeanor and style typically define his characters. Blu-ray Released: August 26th, 2008

The Black House - Hara's latest fright fest is "Kuroi Ie (The Black House)," a film whose story of a deadly insurance scam echoes recent headlines, but was actually conceived three years ago, from a best-selling novel of the same title by Yusuke Kishi. The director, Yoshimitsu Morita, also helmed "Shitsurakuen," the drama of adulterous middle-aged love that was the biggest live-action domestic film of 1997, and "Keiho," a dark psycho-thriller that was screened in competition at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival. The cast, headed by Shinobu Otake, Masaaki Uchino and Masahiko Nishimura, includes some of the most highly regarded and hardest-working actors in Japan. In short, this movie is no drive-in quickie. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Cimarron - Certainly, the Westerns Mann made before Cimarron rank with the greatest in the genre. Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), The Man from Laramie (1955), and The Tin Star (1957) are brilliantly constructed films that generate emotional impact with a bare minimum of melodramatic posturing. Although he moved his camera as gracefully as any director of the period, emotional angst rendered through extreme close-ups were Mann's forte, and he wasn't able to completely reconcile that visual orientation with Cimarron's vast landscapes. DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of August 25th, 2008

The Adventures of Robin Hood [Blu-ray] (Micheal Curtiz, 1938) Warner Home Video

August (Austin Chick, 2008) First Look

The Black House (Yoshimitsu Morita, 2000) Tokyo Shock

Boats Out of Watermelon Rinds (Ahmet Ulucay, 2004) Facets

Brotherhood of the Wolf - Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Christophe Gans, 2002) Universal

The David Lynch Collection (Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive And Inland Empire) R2 UK Optimum

Errol Flynn Westerns Collection (Montana / Rocky Mountain / San Antonio / Virginia City) - Warner Home Video

How the West Was Won : Special Edition (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall, 1962) Warner Home Video

How the West Was Won: Special Edition [Blu-ray] (John Ford, Henry Hathaway and George Marshall, 1962) Warner Home Video

Judex -1963/Nuits Rouges -1974 - R2 UK Masters of Cinema

The Last Mistress (Catherine Breillat, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Lynch (One) (2007) Absurda

Miami Vice [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 2006) Universal Studios

The Nightmare Before Christmas [Blu-ray] (Henry Selick, 1993) Touchstone / Disney

Pale Rider [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1985) Warner

Pingpong (Matthias Luthardt, 2006) Laguna Films

The Pleasures of the Flesh (Nagisa Oshima, 1965) R2 UK Yume

Redbelt (David Mamet, 2008) Sony Pictures
Redbelt [
Blu-ray] (David Mamet, 2008) Sony Pictures

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975) Criterion

Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.1 (Mahanagar, Charulata and Nayak) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.2 (Kapurush, Mahapurush and Joi Baba Felunath) R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Takashi Miike Omnibus (8-Disc) (1997) Arts Magic

Terror's Advocate (Barbet Schroeder, 2007) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Three Stooges Collection 3: 1940-1942 - Sony

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jaromil Jires, 1970) - R2 UK Second Run

Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer , 1932) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

The Walter Hill Collection (The Driver, Southern Comfort, Extreme Prejudice, Johnny Handsome, Red Heat And The Warriors) R2 UK Optimum

Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon) - Warner


Week of September 1st

Art of Travel (Thomas Whelan, 2007) First Look

Before I Forget (Jacques Nolot, 2007)- Strand Releasing

BFI 75 10 DVD Box Set - European Cinema (Limited to 500 copies - Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) - La Kermesse Heroique , Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne, Partie De Campagne, The Threepenny Opera, Regarde La Mer And Other Short Films, Le Cercle Rouge, Celine And Julie Go Boating, Tristana, Distant Voices Still Lives, The Innocents - Jack Clayton - R2 UK BFI

Boomerang! (Elia Kazan, 1947) 20th Century Fox (so far listed only in Canada)

Carry On - The Ultimate Collection [all 30 films] R2 UK ITV DVD

The Case of the Grinning Cat (Chris Marker, 2004) Icarus Films

Derek (Isaac Julien, 2008) Kino

Every Which Way But Loose [Blu-ray] (James Fargo, 1978) Warner Home Video

Fist of Legend (Gordon Chan, 1994) Dragon Dynasty (Weinstein)

Das Fräulein (Andrea Staka, 2006) Film Movement

The Gauntlet [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1977) Warner Home Video

La Ilusion Viaja en Tranvia/Nazarin (Luis Buñuel) Lionsgate

The Last Bolshevik / Happiness (Chris Marker;Alexander Medvedkin) Icarus Films

Moontide (Archie Mayo, Fritz Lang, 1942) Fox Film Noir

Outbreak [Blu-ray] (Wolfgang Petersen, 1995) Warner Home Video

Remembrance of Things to Come (Chris Marker, Yannick Bellon) - Icarus Films

Road House (Jean Negulesco, 1948) Fox Film Noir

The Sixth Side of the Pentagon / The Embassy (Chris Marker) - Icarus Films

Transformers [Blu-ray] (Michael Bay, 2007) Paramount

War Requiem (Derek Jarman, 1989) Kino

Water Lilies (Celine Sciamma , 2007) Koch Lorber Films

The Wolves (Hideo Gosha, 1972) Animeigo


"Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society." - Ben Franklin
Family and health are more important than movies!


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.