DVDBeaver Newsletter - October 13th, 2008

Ndraben tam, komo asen! - 20 new disc packages covered this week - Comparisons/Reviews involving Hitchcock, Mizoguchi, Blu-ray, Scorsese, Antonioni, Criterion, Ichikawa, Costa-Gavras - it's a cavalcade of our pending digital universe for the next 7 days. Three separate Blu-ray with the ultra-sultry Kathleen Turner and 2 SD-DVDs with the visual perfection of Ingrid Bergman. Less formal - we have The Matrix, we have O.J., classic modern horror in 1080P, an incredulous modern festival 'B'... It's a tremendous week - I kid you not! 


OCTOBER 13th CONTEST - identify this CLIP to win a sealed Blu-ray of Beetlejuice Best of luck all!

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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!):

The Dardenne Brothers Collection R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Dark Knight (single-disc) (Christopher Nolan, 2008) Warner

The Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Christopher Nolan, 2008) Warner

The Dark Knight [Blu-ray] (Christopher Nolan, 2008) Warner

Cannery Row (David S. Ward, 1982) Warner

Far from the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger, 1967) Warner

Domino [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 2005) New Line

Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection (Palm Springs Weekend / Parrish / Rome Adventure / Susan Slade) – Warner

It Happened One Night (Remastered) (Frank Capra, 1934) Sony

Wanted [Blu-ray] (Timur Bekmambetov, 2008) Universal

Coach Carter [Blu-ray] (Thomas Carter, 2005) Paramount

Breakfast At Tiffany's - Paramount Centennial Collection (Blake Edwards, 1961) Paramount

Funny Face - Paramount Centennial Collection (Stanley Donen, 1957) Paramount

La Femme Nikita [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1990) Sony Pictures

Ghost [Blu-ray] (Jerry Zucker, 1990) Paramount

The Heartbreak Kid [Blu-ray] (Farrelly brothers, 2007) Dreamworks Video

Inheritance (James Moll, 2006) Docurama

Days and Clouds (Silvio Soldini, 2007) Film Movement

Event Horizon [Blu-ray] (Paul W.S. Anderson, 1997) Paramount

Days of Thunder [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 1990) Paramount

The Truman Show [Blu-ray] (Peter Weir, 1998) Paramount

Hot Rod [Blu-ray] (Akiva Schaffer, 2007) Paramount

Assault on Precinct 13 [Blu-ray] (John Carpenter, 2005) Image Entertainment

Live at Monterey [Blu-ray] Experience Hendrix

The Mark of Cain (Marc Munden, 2007) Revolver Entertainment

The Best Man (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1964) R2 UK Optimum

The Voyage (Vittorio De Sica, 1974) R2 UK Optimum



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): I've upped by daily viewing to 4 flicks per day in an attempt to cover much of this healthy span of worthwhile cinema recently rendered to digital. We have no outright dismissals this week. EVERYTHING we covered has some merit and I'll let the reviews tell the story without my bogus one-liners...       

New Reviews:

Notorious - Notorious is also famous, of course, for having the longest on-screen kiss, with Bergman and Grant's clinch clocking in at a little over three minutes. Their relationship had a real spark. Grant's character is unsure whether he can trust Bergman, wary that she might hold a grudge against the US and its agents, while Bergman thinks that Grant is just using her. DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008

Stuck BR - The paths of Brandi and Thomas cross fatefully one Friday night when Brandi smashes into poor semi-conscious Thomas as he crosses the street. Her car hits him in just such a way so that he goes through her windshield, where he remains lodged – half in, half out - as she drives around town trying not to figure out what to do. Despite blood everywhere, Thomas is not dead – yet. . . . which, quite naturally, drives Brandi crazy. Some more Ecstasy and sex, and a couple days later, things haven't changed much with Thomas, whose constant pleas for help only serve to drive Brandi further up the wall. Can the ultimate solution be far away? Blu-ray Release date: October 14th, 2008

Romancing the Stone BR - It may have an awkward title, but ROMANCING THE STONE is a silly, high-spirited chase picture that takes us, as they say, from the canyons of Manhattan to the steaming jungles of South America. The movie's about a New York woman who writes romantic thrillers in which the hungry lips of lovers devour each other as the sun sinks over the dead bodies of their enemies. Then she gets involved in a real-life thriller, which is filled with cliff-hanging predicaments just like the ones she writes about. The writer, played by Kathleen Turner, uses her novels as a form of escape. Throbbing loins may melt together on her pages, but not in her life. Then she gets a desperate message from her sister in South America: Unless she flies to Cartagena with a treasure map showing the location of a priceless green jewel, her sister will be killed. Blu-ray Release date: October 14th, 2008

Jewel of the Nile BR - "The Jewel of the Nile" is more silliness in the tradition of "Romancing the Stone," which in its turn was a funny action comedy inspired by the Indiana Jones epics. We walk into the theater expecting absolutely nothing of substance, and that's exactly what we get, served up with high style. The movie reassembles three key "Romancing" cast members - Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito - and goes on to a fourth inspired casting decision with the addition of Avner Eisenberg as a holy man of gentle goofiness. Blu-ray Release date: October 14th, 2008

Capricorn One - ....as a breathless public stands by for the first American flight to Mars, the astronauts are bundled away to a desert location where NASA intends to secretly simulate the whole thing for the TV networks of the world. For a while the film makes the most of the surrealism of this eerie conceit with some effective juxtapositions of illusion and reality as the spacemen play kiddy-cars in their clandestine studio. But pretty soon the project gets bogged down in innumerable difficulties... SD-DVD Release date: October 14th, 2008

The Omen Collection BR - We have to hand it to Catholicism for owning and perpetrating the copyright on Satanism and all that it spawns. In my time the first mainstream film to take the subject seriously was Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby from 1968, based on Ira Levin's bestseller from the previous year. It wasn't about the baby so much as the mother played by a very young (23) and translucent Mia Farrow. The movie ended with the birth and our imagination about its likely future. The Exorcist, William Friedkin's very popular horror film about the demonic possession of a child arrived in all its gory in 1973. The first Omen movie came into being five years later. Blu-ray Release date: October 7th, 2008

Revenge of a Kabuki Actor - 'An Actor's Revenge,' Kon Ichikawa's 1963 film is an obvious divergence from anything he had done previously. A deeply artistic film steeped in rich cultural tradition and imagery. It was one of those films that I felt was better than it actually appeared, if that makes any sense. The immense amount of work and detail put into it are obvious. The shots fully exercising the full scope of the lens and many memorable and beautiful moments caught with splashed color on dense backgrounds. 'An Actor's Revenge' did capture me for a spell and I am certain that as I watch it again that will only deepen. It was unlike most other films I have seen with subtle moments reminding me of the Korean film 'Chunhyang' with its theatrical roots and narrative. Animeigo DVD Release date: October 14th, 2008

The Matrix BR - A huge box-office hit, a major influence on contemporary culture and a new standard for action-science-fiction cinema, The Matrix is all that. Combining powerful references to Kung-Fu movies, Japanese animation, videogames, but also to philosophy and religion, it's a striking piece of entertainment and a very strong film about the perception of reality, the religious and personal faith that this perception implies, and the social rebellion that cyberpunk culture represents for young people nowadays. A film violently in favor of freedom, dream and self-confidence. The Ultimate Blu-ray Package Release Date: October 14th, 2008

Arch of Triumph - Paris 1938, city of last resort for the stateless, including a surgeon (Boyer) whose obsession with a Nazi sadist (Laughton) leaves him vulnerable to deportation and ill-prepared for romance with Ingrid Bergman. The original Remarque novel is too hefty to fit into two hours screentime, and if Milestone chooses to focus on the tale of the doctor's revenge and his doomed romance, he also breathes life into an assembly of supporting roles: concierge, café proprietor, a general reduced to night-club doorman, none of whom is played for comic relief. Bergman seems out of place as an Italian/Romanian good-time girl, but Russell Metty gives harsh light and inky shadow to seedy hotel rooms we'll see again in Touch of Evil ten years on. DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008


Rebecca - Well, it's not a Hitchcock picture," Alfred Hitchcock once told François Truffaut when asked about Rebecca, his first American film and the first in a series made for producer David O. Selznick (Gone With The Wind, A Star Is Born). Though Hitchcock explained that Rebecca's source material (Daphne Du Maurier's best-selling book) kept it outside the sphere of a typical Hitchcock movie, he could also have been referring to any number of factors. Most of them would have been tied to Selznick, whose insistence on being closely involved with the book and producing a faithful adaptation forced Hitchcock to deliver a film that broke the mold of his British thrillers. DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008

The Incredible Hulk - For five years, Marvel has been trying to figure out what to do with one of the biggest potential franchises of its universe. Ang Lee's Hulk proved to be a dud with fans and producing a direct sequel was as unlikely an alternative as altogether forgoing additional Hulk movies. So the decision was made to "re-imagine" the character, which is a nice way of saying that the 2003 feature would be ignored. The Incredible Hulk is a more traditional superhero movie than its predecessor and should please those who want their not-so-jolly green giant served with helpings of action. This film provides less talk and more smashing. DVD Release Date: October 21st, 2008

Red Desert BR - Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 Red Desert has invited an array of critical reactions, such as its classification as an exhibition in the boring and the bleak, as well as its estimation as a thoughtful mood piece, and also its recognition on the level of masterpiece. As a rich, multi-layered work, the film readily accommodates a wide categorical continuum. Upon objective examination of Red Desert on an operational level—the story and the film technique that conveys it—the formal cues for addressing the functional level become apparent. In fact, meta-narrative cues will be found to emerge from inside the narrative as well, as Giuliana discusses the effects of color and sound. BFI Blu-ray Release Date: October 20th, 2008

Poltergeist BR - Credited to Hooper, but every inch a Spielberg film, this is a barnstorming ghost story, set in one of the small suburban houses Spielberg knows and loves, where the family canary is called Tweety, and the kids read Captain America comics and eat at the Pizza Hut. Gradually this impossibly safe world is (in a truly ingenious plot development) invaded by something inside the family television. Soon the plot takes off into a delirious fight with demonic forces suggestive of nothing so much as a Walt Disney horror movie; and although the sub-religious gobbledegook (including a tiresome midget medium) is hard to take, it is consistently redeemed by its creator's dazzling sense of craft. Blu-ray Release Date: October 14th, 2008

Missing - Missing is political filmmaker extraordinaire Costa-Gavras's compelling, controversial dramatization of the search for American filmmaker and journalist Charles Horman, who mysteriously disappeared during the 1973 coup in Chile. Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek give magnetic, emotionally commanding performances as Charles's father and wife, who are led by U.S. embassy and consulate officials through a series of bureaucratic dead-ends before eventually uncovering the terrifying facts about Charles’s fate and disillusioning truths about their government. Written and directed with clarity and conscience, the Academy Award–winning Missing is a testament to Costa-Gavras's daring. DVD Release Date: October 21st, 2008

A Chinese Odyssey BR - A Chinese Odyssey, director Jeff Lau's epic two-part retelling of the legend of the Monkey King, greatly enhanced Stephen Chow's international profile. The role as Monkey King earned Stephen Chow his first acting award, from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, and further demonstrated the existence of the actor beneath the comedian. The two Chinese Odyssey films, Pandora's Box and Cinderella, blend costume pageantry with gorgeous scenery and some fabulous action sequences from action choreographer Ching Siu Tung (Hero). Stephen Chow turns in a hilarious and emotionally moving performance to offer a costume comedy adventure unlike any you've ever seen! Blu-ray Release date: September 11, 2008

Mother of Tears - Incredibly distasteful and just plain bad upon first viewing, the film is not as off-putting upon further viewings (though one death scene late in the film will always be unforgivably misogynistic). The American screenwriters have put their generic twist upon what might have been a more interesting idea. There's the requisite discovery of an artifact, goth witches, cult conspiracies, and fully explanatory text (in place of the more cryptic clues offered by the same esoteric text in INFERNO). The killings seem to be conceived to outdo American "unrated" horrors and lack the aesthetic distance of the more operatic violence of Argento's earlier films. DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2008

Casino BR - Scorsese's movie opens with an hour-long prologue, alternately and relentlessly narrated by De Niro and Pesci, in character, that details the details of the relationship between the casinos, the politicians, the police and the mob bosses as it existed from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. In the second hour, the narrative subtly slips from straight exposition to the main thrust of the story about how brilliant gambler turned casino manager, Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro), and his old buddy, Nicky Santoro (Pesci), now a Mafia Made-Man/Maniac, completely "f*ck up paradise on earth." It didn't help that Ace marries Ginger (Sharon Stone), Las Vegas' number one hustler, who gives her all, and some of Ace's, to her former pimp (James Woods) – again and again – until she eventually devolves into nonstop drugs and booze. Blu-ray Release Date: October 14th, 2008

Eclipse Thirteen - Mizoguchi's Fallen Women - Over the course of a three-decade, more than eighty film career, master cineaste Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff) would return again and again to one abiding theme: the plight of women in Japanese society. In these four lacerating works of social consciousness—two prewar (Osaka Elegy, Sisters of the Gion), two postwar (Women of the Night, Street of Shame)—Mizoguchi introduces an array of compelling female protagonists, crushed or resilient, who are forced by their conditions and culture into compromising positions. With Mizoguchi’s visual daring and eloquence, these films are as cinematically thrilling as they are politically rousing. DVD Release Date: October 21st, 2008

The Omen BR - In The Omen director Richard Donner gets a little heavy at times with close-ups and the bombastic score but it is perfectly fitting and timed to the mood of the particular scene - that's what makes it a horror. On the performances - there aren't many Peck films where I don't extol his efforts and I've been enamored with Lee Remick since The Long, Hot Summer (1958). Add to that some amazing support from Leo McKern, David Warner et all. So although all those pieces fit with adept cohesiveness - it's the David Seltzer, extensively researched, script that I would champion to the hilt. Blu-ray Release Date: October 7th, 2008

Body Heat BR - Hot and sticky, though never less than sumptuously deodorized, this is a neon-shaded contemporary noir romance: all lust, greed, murder, duplicity and betrayal. As credulously myopic lawyer Ned and slinky femme fatale Matty progress from dirty talk to dirty deeds (a disposable husband, a contestable will), there's the pleasure of unravelling a confidently dense yarn for its own sake, alongside the incongruous experience of finding yellowing pulp fiction classily rebound, or hearing a '40s standard of romantic unease re-recorded with digital precision. Whether the movie-movie cleverness becomes as stifling as the atmosphere Kasdan casts over his sunstruck night people is all down to personal taste, but there's no denying the narrative confidence that brings the film to its unfashionably certain double-whammy conclusion. Blu-ray Release Date: October 7th, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of October 13th, 2008

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

A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974) Criterion

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

American Gangster [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 2007) Universal Studios

Arch Of Triumph (Lewis Milestone, 1948) LionsGate

Babes in Toyland (Gus Meins + Charley Rogers, 1934) Fox/MGM

Black God White Devil (Glauber Rocha, 1964) R2 UK Mr. Bongo Films

Capricorn One - Special Edition (Peter Hyams, 1978) Lions Gate

Casino [Blu-ray] (Martin Scorsese, 1995) Universal

The Deputy (1959-1961)*TV Series with Henry Fonda* - Edi Video

Eastern Promises [Blu-ray] (David Cronenberg, 2007) Universal Studios

Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin, 2007) Strand Releasing

Gangster Gift Set [Blu-ray] (American Gangster, Casino, Eastern Promises) Universal

Holiday Inn 3-Disc Collector's Set (Mark Sandrich, 1942) Universal

Icons of Horror: Hammer Films (2 X Double Feature) - (The Two Faces Of Dr. Jekyll, The Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb, The Gorgon and Scream of Fear) - Sony

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Steven Spielberg, 2008) Paramount

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2008) Paramount

Interview with the Vampire [Blu-ray] (Neil Jordan, 1994) Warner

The Jewel of the Nile [Blu-ray] (Lewis Teague, 1985) 20th Century Fox 

Ju Dou (Zhang Yimou, 1990) R2 UK Escapi Media

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976) Criterion

Lady Chatterley (Extended European Edition) (Pascale Ferran, 2006) Kino

Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1972) Koch Lorber

The Ultimate Matrix Collection [Blu-ray] (Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski) Warner Brothers

Memories Of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968) R2 UK Mr. Bongo Films

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

The New World - The Extended Cut (Terrence Malick, 2005) New Line

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

Poltergeist [Blu-ray] (Tobe Hooper, 1982) Warner

Poor Cow (Ken Loach, 1967) R2 UK Optimum

Revenge of a Kabuki Actor (Kon Ichikawa, 1963) Animeigo

Romancing the Stone [Blu-ray] (Robert Zemeckis, 1984) 20th Century Fox

Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris, 2008) Sony Pictures
Standard Operating Procedure [
Blu-ray] (Errol Morris, 2008) Sony Pictures

Still Life (Jia Zhang Ke, 2006) New Yorker

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

Ultraman Complete Collection Box Set - Navarre Corporation

War, Inc. (Joshua Seftel, 2007) First Look Pictures
War, Inc. [
Blu-ray] (Joshua Seftel, 2007) First Look Pictures

Witness to the Mob (Thaddeus O'Sullivan, 1998) Koch Lorber


Week of October 20th, 2008

The Best Man (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1964) R2 UK Optimum

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

Casino Royale (Collector's Edition, 2 discs) [Blu-ray] (Martin Campbell, 2006) Sony

The Clouded Yellow (Ralph Thomas, 1951) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment

Creature from the Haunted Sea - colorized + B/W (Roger Corman, 1961) Legend Films

Die Another Day [Blu-ray] (Lee Tamahori, 2002) Fox/MGM

Dr. No [Blu-ray] (Terence Young, 1962) Fox/MGM

Eclipse Series 13 Kenji Mizoguchi's Fallen Women 4DVD set (Naniwa erejî, 1936 - Gion no shimai, 1936 - Akasen chitai, 1956 - Yoru no onnatachi, 1948) Criterion

Family Guy, Vol. 6 - 20th Century Fox

Family Guy - The Complete Collection (Amazon.com Exclusive) Twentieth Century Fox

Flight of the Red Balloon (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2007) IFC

For Your Eyes Only [Blu-ray] (John Glen, 1981) Fox/MGM

From Russia with Love [Blu-ray] (Terence Young, 1963) Fox/MGM

Incredible Hulk 3 Disc Special Edition (Louis Leterrier, 2008) Universal Studios

Incredible Hulk [Blu-ray] (Louis Leterrier, 2008) Universal Studios

The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Series - Universal

James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol. 1 [Blu-ray] (Dr. No / Die Another Day / Live and Let Die) [Blu-ray] (2008) MGM
James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol.2 [Blu-ray] (For Your Eyes Only / From Russia with Love / Thunderball) [Blu-ray] (2008) MGM

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

Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1977) R2 UK BFI

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

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

Live and Let Die [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1973) Fox/MGM

Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Vol. 6 - Warner Home Video

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series (Eddie Saeta, James Goldstone, 1964) Warner Home Video

Mondays in the Sun (Fernando León de Aranoa, 2002) Lions Gate

Missing (Costa-Gavras, 1982) Criterion

The Offence (Sidney Lumet, 1972) R2 UK Optimum

The Paul Naschy Collection (Exorcism, Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll, Human Beasts, Horror Rises from the Tomb, Vengeance of the Zombies) Navarre Corporation

The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) R2 UK BFI
The Red Desert [
Blu-ray] (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) RB UK BFI

Sweeney Todd [Blu-ray] (Tim Burton, 2007) - Dreamworks Video

Thunderball [Blu-ray] (Terence Young, 1965) Fox/MGM

The Voyage (Vittorio De Sica, 1974) R2 UK Optimum

Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4 (The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse / The Little Giant / Larceny, Inc. / Invisible Stripes / Kid Galahad / The Golden Age of the Gangster Film) - Warner

What? (Roman Polanski, 1972) R2 UK Severin

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." - William James (1842 - 1910)