DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 29th, 2008

Hutch-e-lul-lul-o ! - 19 new reviews this week - We have a lot of horror/sci-fi and comedies on Blu-ray this week. Fear not next week will start off incredibly (see below). It's not all vacuous though and some good stuff is wedged in between.


STAY TUNED: Starting tomorrow we will be posting some new comparisons and reviews in perhaps our biggest week ever at DVDBeaver:

Rear Window: Masterpiece Boxset Edition vs. Original SD-DVD (US) vs. SD-DVD (UK) vs. 2-disc Special Edition
Touch of Evil: Original SD-DVD (US) vs. SD-DVD (UK) vs. 2-disc Special Edition
Vertigo: Original SD-DVD vs. Masterpiece Collection (16X9) vs. 2-disc Special Edition
Psycho: Original SD-DVD vs. 2-disc (16X9) Special Edition
The Happening: Blu-ray vs. the 2-disc SD-DVD
Sleeping Beauty: Blu-ray vs. the 2-disc SD-DVD
Young Frankenstein: Blu-ray vs. Special Edition SD-DVD
War Inc. Blu-ray   

SEPTEMBER 29th CONTEST - identify this CLIP to win The Busby Berkeley Collection, Vol. 2. Email answers to Contest@DVDBeaver.com 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 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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Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.

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

Flight Of The Red Balloon (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2007) R2 UK Network

Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Planet Terror [Blu-ray] (Robert Rodriguez, 2007) Weinstein

Life Gamble [Blu-ray] (Chang Cheh, 1979) Navarre

Opium and the Kung Fu Master [Blu-ray] (Tang Chia, 1984) Navarre

Born to Be Bad (Nicholas Ray, 1950) RKO R2 FR

Richard Fleischer Boxset (Armored Car Robbery, Child Divorce and Narrow Margin) Editions Montparnasse R2 FR

Griffith Masterworks 2 ( Abraham Lincoln (1931) / The Struggle (1931), Way Down East, Sally Of The Sawdust, The Avenging Conscience and D.W. Griffith: Father Of Film) Kino

Split Second (Dick Powell, 1953) RKO R2 FR

Awake [Blu-ray] (Joby Harold, 2007) Weinstein Company

Lucky Number Slevin [Blu-ray] (Paul McGuigan, 2006) Weinstein Company

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen, 2008) Weinstein Company

Poor Cow (Ken Loach, 1967) R2 UK Optimum

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (Nicolas Gessner, 1976) R2 UK Optimum

A Taste of Honey (Tony Richardson, 1961) R2 UK Optimum

Music Box (Costa-Gavras, 1989) R2 UK Optimum

Death Proof [Blu-ray] (Quentin Tarantino, 2007) Weinstein Company

Fighters / Real Money (2 disc set) 1991 - R2 UK Second Run

Paris (Cédric Klapisch, 2008) R2 UK Optimum

Lady with the Dog (Iosif Kheifits, 1960) Facets

Journey to the Center of Earth [Blu-ray] (Limited-Edition 2-D and 3-D with Glasses) (Eric Brevig, 2008) New Line Home Video

Planet of the Apes (40th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968) 20th Century Fox

Life Gamble [Blu-ray] (Cheh Chang, 1979) Navarre

Opium and the Kung Fu [Blu-ray] (Chia Tang, 1984) Navarre

The Complete Monty Pythons Flying Circus - Collectors Edition Megaset - A&E Home Video

Planet B-Boy (Benson Lee, 2007) Arts Alliance America

Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster, 2006) Sony Pictures

Stranger Than Fiction Blu-ray] (Marc Forster, 2006) Sony Pictures

Ray Harryhausen Box Set [Blu-ray] (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, 7th Voyage of Sinbad) - Sony Pictures

The Omen [Blu-ray] (Richard Donner, 1976) 20th Century Fox

The Omen Collection [Blu-ray] - The Omen (1976), Omen 2: Damien (1978), Omen 3: The Final Conflict (1981) and The Omen (2006) - 20th Century Fox

Hancock (Unrated) [Blu-ray] (Peter Berg, 2008) Sony Pictures

Night Of The Living Dead [Blu-ray] (George A. Romero, 1968) RB UK Optimum



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Not an overwhelming week of recommendations but there are some releases I thoroughly enjoyed. The simple storytelling of The Visitor makes it one of the better film-on-DVD released this year. Although a weak digital transfer, the film Arctic Son is quite compelling and very interesting. For the price The Picture of Dorian Gray is surely the deal of the week. Certainly not enough hoopla around The World's Fastest Indian BR- this is a wonderful viewing experience. If you're as addicted, as I am, to Melville then no selling of Criterion's Le Deuxième Souffle is required. Taking a nostalgic look back at Film Noir, L.A. Confidential in BR never looked better. Anyone with a passion for music can certainly appreciate Roy Orbison - Black & White Night BR. Period. Fans of the horror/sci-fi genre may get right into The Thing BR, Interview With the Vampire BR, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre BR, Dawn of the Dead BR, and Land of the Dead BR. Rob has me keen to see Roeg's Track 29.

PASSÉ VOUS: You may wish to rent Mike Myer's The Love Guru BR - but you certainly don't need it in Blu-ray. Madagascar BR is fairly forgettable.   


New Reviews:

The 40 Year Old Virgin BR - Points for a catchy title that delivers on its promise. The title character is one Andy Stitzer, who works in the service department at the local hi-fi/home theatre store. Clearly it's not just women he's uncomfortable with, making the smallest talk possible with his coworkers – all self-described studs, whether or not they really are, is awkward for him, and for them. Andy lives alone (no, not with his mother) surrounded by collectable action figures, about which he knows everything. He is handy with tools and paint, applying his talent in the detail work needed for the finishing touches. He even plays the tuba. Bu-ray  Release date: September 30th, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall BR - Jason Segel, who has a small role in Knocked Up, wrote and stars in this romantic comedy about a schlub named Peter – a decent enough but lazy as hell chap, who lives off his fantasy of being the boyfriend of TV star, Sarah Marshall. The only problem is that he really is the boyfriend of TV star, Sarah Marshall, and has been for the past five years. Peter is your basic couch potato – or, maybe in his case, couch doughboy, for when we see him pressing his fully naked person against the likes of Miss Slim Kristen Bell we can only scratch our heads at the galactic comedy unfolding before us. Bu-ray  Release date: September 30th, 2008

Knocked Up BR - The title character, if you will, is Alison Scott, played by the luscious Katherine Heigl. Alison Lives with her thirty-something sister, married with children – the whole schemer. Alison counts herself lucky she's on the other side of the fence from all that goes with married life, especially the wrangling about who will do what with the kids. Alison works on the crew side of the E! cable network and one day gets the promotion of her career – a chance to do interviews on the other side of the camera. To celebrate, she and sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann), go out clubbing. Leslie leaves early to take care of family matters but Alison sticks around to get properly shitfaced, waking up the next day next to schlub of the year, Ben Stone. Bu-ray  Release date: September 30th, 2008


Land of the Dead BR - Cut now to 2005, the year after Zack Snyder came out with his surprisingly competent remake of Dawn of the Dead, to Land of the Dead. In the unrated director's cut, the threat of bloody carnage is made good, as the walking dead begin develop smarts, dining on humans either too stupid or too petrified to ever look behind them. No longer are the zombies forever distracted by fireworks overhead so that paramilitary groups can mow them down at will. No longer do they walk aimlessly, but follow a leader (Eugene Clark) who, like the ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey, discovers the tools of death. Bu-ray Release date: September 30th, 2008

Dawn of the Dead BR - Snyder's movie owes much to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later - not in its storyline, but in its tone and in giving its zombies some mobility that makes their threat that much more inescapable. It is of no small importance, historically speaking, that this new Dawn of the Dead is Snyder's first feature film. Comparing it to Romero's first movie in those terms is mind-boggling. One wonders where all the money comes from to chance an investment on a relative unknown. Bu-ray Release date: September 30th, 2008


Arctic Son - In the tiny village of Old Crow, 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle, a father and his son are reunited after almost 25 years apart. They share a name and a bloodline, but the worlds they know and the lifestyles they lead are as different as their respective hometown climates. Stanley Njootli Sr. is a hunter, a man of the land steeped in Native traditions. Stanley Jr., who has been raised by his mother in Washington State, immerses himself in hip-hop music and video games, and is drifting deeper into drugs and alcohol. After a lifetime apart, the two meet again in the raw, quiet beauty of the Canadian Yukon. DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2008

My Lovely Sam-Soon - Let's begin with the title, which was changed for worldwide distribution by some misguided corporate bureaucrat at MBC who thought he or she knew how this would play in English speaking countries. Not only is "My Lovely Sam-Soon" a lame title, it is irrelevant. The series' original title, however, "My Name is Sam-Soon" is less innocuous for starters, and has the advantage of being keenly relevant at every page of the script: for it is her name that Sam-Soon hates and that she wants to change. To contemporary Koreans, Sam-Soon is the American equivalent of (with apologies) Millicent or Gertrude (quaint and doudy). Sam-Soon thinks about her name and what to do about it all the time. The name she settles on turns out to be the name of her future rival.

The Visitor - A deeply moving drama built around longtime character actor Richard Jenkins, The Visitor is a simmering drama about a college professor and recent widower, Walter Vale (Jenkins), who discovers a pair of homeless, illegal aliens living in his New York apartment. After the mix-up is resolved, Vale invites the couple--a young, Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira--to stay with him. An unlikely friendship develops between the retiring, quiet Vale and the vital Tarek, and the former begins to loosen up and respond to Tarek’s drumming lessons as if something in him waiting to be liberated has finally arrived. All goes well until Tarek is hauled in by immigration authorities and threatened with deportation. His mother, Mouna (Hiam Abbass), turns up and stays with Vale, sparking a renewed if subdued interest in courtship. DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2008

Roy Orbison - Black & White Night BR - Few early rockers were more gifted or less honored in their prime than the late Roy Orbison, whose vaulting tenor and vulnerable love songs conjured heartbreak and desire with operatic intensity. This 1987 concert special, originally broadcast on Showtime, came two decades after Orbison had retreated from pop's front lines, yet neither Orbison nor his music coasts on mere nostalgia: in every respect, A Black and White Night survives as a triumphant performance and a superb video production, as well as a first-rate retrospective of Orbison's hits. Bu-ray Release date: September 30th, 2008

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Generally underrated version of Oscar Wilde's Faustian tale about a young Victorian gentleman who sells his soul to retain his youth, directed with loving care by the equally underrated Lewin (best known, perhaps, for Pandora and the Flying Dutchman). Hatfield - cool, beautiful, and effortlessly suggesting the corruptibility of Dorian's dark soul - is excellent, though even he is overshadowed by the cynical, epigrammatic brilliance of Sanders as Lord Henry. With elegant fin de siècle sets superbly shot by Harry Stradling, and the ironic Wildean wit understated rather than overplayed, it's that rare thing: a Hollywoodian literary adaptation that both stays faithful and does justice to its source. DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2008

Interview With the Vampire BR - The movie is true to the detailed vision that has informed all of Anne Rice's novels, and which owes much to the greater taste for realism which has crept into modern horror fiction. It is a film about what it might really be like to be a vampire. The title sets the tone, and in the opening scenes, set in San Francisco, the 200-year-old vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) submits to an interview by a modern journalist (Christian Slater), just as any serial killer or terrorist bomber might sit down to talk to "60 Minutes." His story begins in the late 1700s, in New Orleans, that peculiar city where even today all things seem possible, and where, after losing his wife and daughter, he threw himself into a life of grief and debauchery. His path crossed that of the vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise), who transformed him into a vampire, and ever since he has wandered the world's great cities, feeding on the blood of his victims. Bu-ray Release date: October 7th, 2008

The Love Guru BR - Let's be brief here. Despite the extensive work and amusing satires that fill the film - The Love Guru just isn't very funny. Which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world excepting it seems so hard to be trying to be funny. Gags come one after another - some imaginative - some lowbrow (the vertically challenged, boogers, mating elephants, big penises etc.) but for whatever reason it doesn't all gel very well. Humor can support a film's plot but it doesn't seem to work very well the other way around - especially here. The Leaf hockey and Bollywood gags are very good (Myers in top form!) but must surely isolate some who won't get the satirical intent. I suppose, at its best, Mike Myer's fans may wish to indulge in a rental but the 'touch' he had in so many previous films seems to have departed him on this project. Bu-ray Release date: September 16th, 2008

The World's Fastest Indian BR - Supposedly Oscar-worthy films can often be far too worthy in the pejorative sense, New Zealand-based writer-director Roger Donaldson’s film is an appealing labour of love. Donaldson, an Australian who moved to Kiwi-land when he was 20 years old, just two years before Munro set his land-speed record and became a national hero, has imbued his film with a winning streak of optimism. That optimism partly arises from the type of man Munro was, a never-say-die, good-natured kind of fella. Beyond that, however, Donaldson has plotted an unflaggingly positive turn of events — something largely out of fashion in cinema in our cynical modern age — which time and again he uses to cleverly wrong-foot the viewer. A wonderfully uplifting and charming biopic that’s sure to win over all but the most mean-spirited. And the motorbike races really rocket, too..

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre BR - The original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is a film of awful beauty and terrible power. It is made of screams, bones, spraying blood, chicken feathers, tall grass, two hot days, and threatening old houses. Its sound design is an ingenuous, repetitive cacophony of roaring power tools, terrified screeching, crunching flesh, and endlessly humming engines. The score replaces melody with ominous rumbles and percussive noises. I covered my ears—I couldn’t hear myself think—the chainsaw just keeps going and going, recreating in the minds of the audience precisely the thought-drowning and confused torment of the characters. Bu-ray Release date: September 30th, 2008

The Thing BR - But despite its flaws, “The Thing” has survived and is today, alongside “Halloween”, Carpenters most celebrated film. It almost seems as the archetypical horror / sci-fi film of the eighties, where the masters of latex did their best and most impressive work, before CGI replaced them, and the work here is the most breathtaking and original ever made. And just like “Jaws”, which will evoke by its first two tunes, so “The Thing” with its two tunes. A masterpiece, no, a classic, yes. Bu-ray Release Date: September 30th, 2008

Le Deuxième Souffle - With his customary restraint and ruthless attention to detail, director Jean-Pierre Melville follows the parallel tracks of French underworld criminal Gu (the inimitable Lino Ventura), escaped from prison and roped into one last robbery, and the suave inspector, Blot (Paul Meurisse), relentlessly seeking him. The implosive Le deuxième souffle captures the pathos, loneliness, and excitement of a life in the shadows with methodical suspense and harrowing authenticity, and contains one of the most thrilling heist sequences Melville ever shot. DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2008

L.A. Confidential BR - In a time when it seems that every other movie makes some claim to being a film noir, L.A. Confidential is the real thing--a gritty, sordid tale of sex, scandal, betrayal, and corruption of all sorts (police, political, press--and, of course, very personal) in 1940s Hollywood. The Oscar-winning screenplay is actually based on several titles in James Ellroy's series of chronological thriller novels (including the title volume, The Big Nowhere, and White Jazz)--a compelling blend of L.A. history and pulp fiction that has earned it comparisons to the greatest of all Technicolor noir films, Chinatown. Bu-ray Release date: September 23rd, 2008

Madagascar BR - The movie starts off in the Central Park Zoo where its star attractions, Alex the lion and Marty the zebra, are having a heady discussion about what's out there. Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller) is perfectly content being the king of his small, protected island where he is fed neatly trimmed steaks. Marty (Chris Rock) has other ideas and soon finds his way into the streets and byways of Manhattan, where Alex, together with his friends, Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) are in hot pursuit before Marty finds himself in big trouble. Bu-ray Release date: September 23, 2008

Track 29 - A film directed by Nicolas Roeg from a screenplay by Dennis Potter was always going to be an interesting cinematic event, and although Track 29 is one of Roeg's lesser known works, it is replete with all the stylistic flourishes and thematic concerns from the great auteur. I am not sure how well Potter is known outside the UK, as he is chiefly known for his plays made for UK television from 1965 until his death in 1994, but his works such as The Singing Detective, 1986, and Pennies from Heaven, 1978, were seminally important works of great depth and complexity, easily amongst the finest works ever commissioned by the BBC. It is claimed that Potter has been an influence on such writers and directors as Charlie Kaufman and Alain Resnais, and, interestingly, it was Potter's play The Singing Detective that brought Michael Gambon to fame - the actor who would later play the lead in Roeg's film Two Deaths, 1995.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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

Night Of The Living Dead [Blu-ray] (George A. Romero, 1968) RB UK Optimum

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


Week of October 6th, 2008

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad - Anniversary Edition (Nathan Juran, 1958) Sony

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad [Blu-ray] (Nathan Juran, 1958) Sony

The Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection (Rebecca, The Lodger, The Paradine Case, Spellbound, Notorious, Young and Innocent, Sabotage, and Lifeboat) - restored and remastered - MGM

Alice Faye Collection Vol. 2 (The Great American Broadcast, Four Jills In A Jeep, Rose Of Washington Square, Hollywood Cavalcade and Hello, Frisco, Hello) - 20th Century Fox

Body Heat [Blu-ray] (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981) Warner

Carrie [Blu-ray] (Brian De Palma, 1976) Fox/MGM

Le Deuxieme Souffle (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1966) Criterion

Le Doulos (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1962) Criterion

The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan, 2008) 20th Century Fox
The Happening [
Blu-ray] (M. Night Shyamalan, 2008) 20th Century Fox

House Of Flying Daggers [Blu-ray] (Zhang Yimou, 2004) RB UK Pathe Distribution

Mission Impossible: Fifth TV Season - Paramount

The Munsters: The Complete Series - Universal

Music Box (Costa-Gavras, 1989) R2 UK Optimum

The Omen  [Blu-ray] (Richard Donner, 1976) 20th Century Fox

The Omen Collection [Blu-ray] - The Omen (1976), Omen 2: Damien (1978), Omen 3: The Final Conflict (1981) and The Omen (2006) - 20th Century Fox

Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2007) Weinstein

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Albert Lewin, 1945) Warner

Psycho - Special Ed. 2-disc - new transfers/extras (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) Universal Studios

Ray Harryhausen Box Set [Blu-ray] (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, 7th Voyage of Sinbad) - Sony Pictures
Rear Window - Special Ed. 2-disc - new transfers/extras (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954 ) Universal Studios

Richard Fleischer Boxset (Armored Car Robbery, Child Divorce and Narrow Margin) Editions Montparnasse R2 FR

The Simpsons - The Complete Eleventh Season - Fox

Sleeping Beauty (Two-Disc Platinum Edition) (Les Clark, 1959) Walt Disney Video

Sleeping Beauty [Blu-ray] (Les Clark, 1959) Walt Disney Video

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

Touch of Evil - 50th Anniversary 2-disc (1958, Orson Welles) Universal Studios

Vertigo - Special Ed. 2-disc - new transfers/extras (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) Universal Studios

The Visitor [Blu-ray] (Tom McCarthy , 2007) Anchor Bay

Young Frankenstein [Blu-ray] (Mel Brooks, 1974) 20th Century Fox


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill 
Stay strong!


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.