Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK

OF November 9th, 2009


This Week's Highlights

No ngoola dong! - 14 new reviews and/or comparisons this week. Another diverse week of digital entertainment from David O. Selznick to Pixar magic, Film Noir to a revised Star Trek, Soviet 60's to Disney TV, Sparse Iranian cinema to subversive David Fincher, Criterion skiing to Kathryn Bigelow vampires.... There are some valuable Calendar Updates, continued sales, another contest (with a 2 brand new Criterion DVDs as prizes) and more...

NEW HOMEPAGE - you may have noticed a leaner, less-cluttered look to the DVDBeaver Hompage. Current reviews are listed in the left table and Calendar information on the right. It loads MUCH faster and is easier to update. Other may prefer the 'What's New' page.

FEATURE DVD and Blu-ray chosen for November 2009 HERE

TOOLBAR THE 'DVDBeaver Toolbar'! Give it a test drive! I've created a very simple toolbar for Film-Fans/DVD-o-philes/cinephiles. It embeds effortlessly within Internet Explorer 5.0+ (Windows Vista/XP/2000) and Firefox 1.0.1+ (Windows, Mac, Linux). It offers quick links to Searching both the Net (via Google) and DVDBeaver directly, Amazons, Asian etailors, Forums (Criterion, Home Theater, AVS, Rotten Tomatoes, Film Noir), IMDb, DVDBasen, Beaver links, Blu-ray information, Cinephile Blogs/Journals (Rosenbaum, Kehr, Acquarello etc.). What do you think? FOR MORE INFORMATION / AVAILABLE HERE *** (We can adjust this to suit popular opinion - on-the-fly - no re-install required!)

November 9th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a brand NEW Criterion DVDs of Wings of Desire and Downhill Racer-  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(s), CD Japan, HKFlix 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.
STRATEGIES: The best way to take full advantage of Amazon is to use...
PRE-ORDERs - lock in at the discount price by ORDERING - if perchance you decide against the purchase you have until the release date to cancel - at no charge AND if you will purchase more than 35 DVDs (or anything) in a 365 day period (and live in the Continental US) it makes excellent financial sense to subscribe to Amazon

If there are DVD titles you'd like us to cover - please feel free to recommend!

Gary at 2ze dot com


Amazon Blu-ray Blowout HERE

The Movies & TV Boxed Set Sale (up to 60% OFF!)

Blu-rays half price at Amazon UK HERE


• SALES: US Blu-ray up to 53% OFF        

•  Amazon France Blu-ray SALE (BUY 1 get 1 FREE!)

LATEST ADDITIONS to the Calendar: (PRE-ORDER & save!):

Goodfellas (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Martin Scorcese, 1990) Warner Home Video

The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season [Blu-ray] 20th Century Fox

A Perfect Getaway [Blu-ray] (David Twohy, 2009) Universal Home Video

36 [Blu-ray] (Olivier Marchal, 2004) Tartan Video

9 [Blu-ray] (Shane Acker, 2009) Universal Studios

The Red Balloon [Blu-ray] (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) R'B' UK Network

The Terence Davies Collection - DISTANT VOICES STILL LIVES (1988), THE LONG DAY CLOSES (1992), and OF TIME AND CITY - R2 UK BFI

Copying Beethoven [Blu-ray] (Agnieszka Holland, 2006) R'B' UK Verve Pictures

Wings Of Desire [Blu-ray] (Wim Wenders, 1987) R'B' UK Axiom Films

Dead Man Running [Blu-ray] (Alex De Rakoff, 2009) R'B' UK Revolver Entertainment

The Ladykillers [Blu-ray] (Alexander MacKendrick, 1955) R'B' - Optimum

The Go-Between [Blu-ray] (Joseph Losey, 1970) R'B' - Optimum

Breathless [Blu-ray] (Jean-Luc Godard, 1959) R'B' UK Optimum

Pierrot Le Fou [Blu-ray] (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) R'B' UK Optimum

Emmanuelle [Blu-ray] (Just Jaeckin, 1974) R'B' UK Optimum

The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2009) Universal Studios

Billy Jack [Blu-ray] (Tom Laughlin, 1971) Image Entertainment

Region FREE Blu-ray Players
  The incredible Oppo Digital BDP-83 Blu-ray marvel is now available for online ordering... HERE (REGION FREE FIRMWARE AVAILABLE NOW)


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey):  I had a ball this week with J. J. Abrams Star Trek and I easily choose it as my own favorite release covered this week on Beaver. The Blu-ray is wonderful and will get lots of replay in my house. Monsters, Inc.. is another movie that we can easily recommend and the Blu-ray transfer is flawless. I have trouble denying Gone with the Wind's value despite my opinion of it as a film. The 1080P rendition has overwhelming moments. It's hard to refute the appeal of Fincher's controversial Fight Club for it's uniquely told story, excellent performances and subversive intent. While I respect Bigelow's Near Dark - I am disappointed in the Blu-ray. Both Leonard and I had strangely positive reactions to Orphan - for those who enjoy the horror genre - it may prove worthy. On the DVD side I really liked the Criterion release of Downhill Racer. Gregory has taken a look back at the noir, dialogue-less, The Thief. Brian re-exposes Askoldov's "The Commissar" and The Quay's The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes in new comparisons and covers Marzieh Makhmalbaf's "The Day I Became a Woman" From Artificial Eye. Leonard endorses the vintage television show Zorro - from the Walt Disney Treasures label while Eric digs up the dirt on "P".


Monsters, Inc. BR - Sulley, the main monster of "Monsters, Inc.," looks a little like a bear, except he's purple and aquamarine. His horns and generous build are reminiscent of Shrek. Then again, the little girl who befriends him thinks he's a cat. But the creature Sulley most resembles is a human, thanks to John Goodman's soothing baritone and an emotive puss designed by the whizzes at Emeryville's Pixar. A big guy who slouches a bit as he schlepps off to his factory job, Sulley could be somebody's dad or grandpa, albeit one with more back hair than most. Sulley is the warm heart of "Monsters, Inc.," the latest computer animation achievement for Pixar and Disney ("Toy Story," "A Bug's Life"). Though a bit indulgent of its star power at times, "Monsters" is funny and sweet enough to delight kids and inventive enough to satisfy adults. Blu-ray Release Date: November 10th, 2009

The Commissar - One of the most striking Soviet films thawed out by glasnost, this 1967 feature by Aleksandr Askoldov was apparently controversial because it expresses overt sympathy for the Jews who were persecuted during the Russian civil war and because the lead character is a pregnant woman who challenged traditional stereotypes. As a first feature, the film is in many respects remarkable, if not an unqualified success. The black-and-white 'Scope images are often clearly influenced by the silent Soviet masters, and the use of subjective camera is especially striking, but the film is only intermittently effective as a narrative. Still, anyone with an interest in the subject or in Soviet cinema shouldn't miss it. DVD Release Date: March 26th, 2007

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes - A sinister cloud of enchantment hangs over Droz's castle, where everything from dust motes to kitchen utensils is alive and possessed of dubious intent. As in dreams, extraordinary things happen regularly and are treated as business as usual by the people experiencing them. The character of Droz incorporates aspects of Dracula and Frankenstein, and like many great villains, he drags a pair of innocent lovers into his web. As was the case with the Quays' first live-action film, Institute Benjamenta (1995), the protagonist is played by Gottfried John, a German actor best known for his work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder. John has one of those unforgettable Fassbinder faces, etched with all the sorrows of centuries of humankind, and he has a perverse flair for comedy that's delicious to watch. DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2006

BR - A gifted cast heads this roller coaster of a horrorshow in slow motion. First there's Vera Farmiga, I thought misplaced in Scorsese's The Departed, is painfully believable as Kate, the mother of two, tormented with a houseful of guilt because of a recent miscarriage and her fragile recovery from alcohol abuse. Her husband, John, is played by Peter Sarsgaard (always the competent supporting actor) is so transparently condescending to his wife that we suspect he is setting things up to leave her. And then there are the children: 13 year old veteran actor Jimmy Bennett (scarcely recognizable as the same kid who played the brash young James T. Kirk in the new Star Trek movie) is Dennis, at first nasty to his new adopted sister, but soon to pay for his mistake; and Aryana Engineer, the youngest actor in this melodrama, hearing impaired since birth, plays Max, who sees all, feels everything and understands even more. Blu-ray Release date: October 27, 2009

Zorro - Walt Disney Treasures - Walt Disney's Zorro, which ran for two seasons and four one-hour made for TV movies between 1957-61, was the most popular show in its time slot – bringing in an astounding 38-40 % audience share. It was not renewed only because of interminable legal wranglings between Disney & ABC. It lived on in syndication for quite a few years, making it seem like it ran longer than it did. DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009

The Thief - A phone shrills, two bursts of three rings; the man on the bed (Milland) leaves his room; out in the night a waiting man (Gabel) lights a cigarette, throws down the empty packet, and vanishes. Milland picks up the packet, reads the message in his room, resignedly gets out a micro-camera; a shot of an award for his services to nuclear physics; and Rouse's movie is embarked on its challenge to tell the story of a spy without dialogue. There's an element of gimmickry here (even passers-by never say a word), but it's far outweighed by the tangible sense of a man isolated by his sense of fear (you never learn his motives), by the anonymity of his associates (all contact is by prearranged signal and at second remove), by the caution which edges into paranoia as things suddenly go wrong. DVD Release Date: February 19th, 2002

The Day I Became a Woman - One of the strengths of this film is that it never pauses to explain, and the characters never have speeches to defend or justify themselves (the wife in the middle story just pedals harder). The little girl will miss her playmate, but trusts her mother and grandmother that she must, as they have, modestly shield herself from men who are not family members. Only the old grandmother, triumphantly heading her procession, seems free of the system--although she, too, has a habit of pulling her shawl forward over her head, long after any man could be seduced by her beauty; the gesture is like a reminder to herself that she is a woman and must play by the rules. DVD Release Date: June 24th, 2002

The Girl From Paris - Literature is full of stories of ambitious young people who flee the countryside to seek their fortunes in the city. "The Girl From Paris," which opens today in Manhattan, tells such a story in reverse. Its heroine, Sandrine Dumez (Mathilde Seigner), a disaffected urbanite drifting toward 30, abruptly decides to embrace the rural life and become a farmer.... "The Girl From Paris," which was directed by Christian Carion, is a quiet, slow-moving tale, very much in tune with the gradual rhythms of traditional agricultural life. It could easily have been dull and anecdotal, but Mr. Carion relates his simple story with relaxed precision. He regards the staggering beauty of the landscape, with its golden hay and craggy escarpments, with the matter-of-fact appreciation of a native. DVD Release Date: January 27th, 2003

Fight Club
BR - With its kinetic style, visceral approach, compelling storyline, and powerful social message, Fight Club makes a commanding case to be considered the '90s version of A Clockwork Orange. In a time when so few motion pictures leave an impact, Fight Club refuses to be ignored or dismissed. The experience lingers, demanding to be pondered and considered, and, unlike 95% of modern-day thrillers, there is a great deal here to think about and argue over. Fight Club presents an overload of thought-provoking material that works on so many levels as to offer grist for the mills of thousands of reviews, feature articles, and post-screening conversations. Blu-ray Release Date: November 17th, 2009

Star Trek
BR - Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the story has plenty of chatter, but Mr. Abrams keeps the talk moving, slowing down only intermittently, as when Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) or the wryly smiling Leonard Nimoy (!) unload some paternalistic advice on Kirk. A television veteran (“Lost”), Mr. Abrams handles the action scenes better than he did in his only other big-screen outing (“Mission: Impossible III”), largely by not lavishing too much time on them. By far his finest moments take place on the brightly lighted deck of the Enterprise, where against the backdrop of limitless space, Kirk, Spock and the rest of the young crew fumble with roles that — much like the young actors playing them, including Anton Yelchin as Chekov and John Cho as Sulu — they ultimately and rather wonderfully make their own. Blu-ray Release date: November 17th, 2009

Downhill Racer - Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Michael Ritchie’s visceral debut feature, Downhill Racer. In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory. With a subtle screenplay by acclaimed novelist James Salter, Downhill Racer is a vivid character portrait buoyed by breathtakingly fast and furious imagery that brings the viewer directly into the mind of the competitor. DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2009

Near Dark
BR - A full-blooded vampire movie which gives the well-worn mythology a much-needed transfusion by stripping away the Gothic trappings and concentrating instead on a pack of nocturnal nomads who roam the sun-parched farmlands of the modern Midwest. Kissed by a pale, mysterious girl from out of town, it soon dawns on farmboy Caleb that Mae's love-bite has infected him with a burning desire - for blood. Subsequently snatched by Mae's vagabond pals, Caleb is gradually seduced by their exciting night-life. So, despite his reluctance to make a 'kill', Caleb is soon caught between his blood sister and his blood relatives - father and younger sister - who are in hot pursuit. Western iconography, noir-ish lighting, and visceral horror are fused with an affecting love story in this stylish 'Vampire Western', which (unlike Bigelow's rather static debut feature The Loveless) is driven forward at a scorching pace, a subtle study in the seductiveness of evil and a terrifying ride to the edge of darkness. Blu-ray Release date: November 10th, 2009

P - British director Spurrier succeeds with the dramatic part of the film (even if the stripper rivalry scenes seem like they came from a Joe Eszterhas script) but the horror part does not really compare. Although the horror scenes do not descend into the cultish extremes of, say, MYSTICS IN BALI, they are a nice B-movie-esque change from the post-RINGU (THE RING) Asian horror aeshetics. Suangporn Jaturaphut and Opal are good in their lead performances and their relationship is the focal point of the film. DVD Release Date: October 20th, 2009

Gone with the Wind
BR - David O. Selznick wanted Gone with the Wind to be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there's no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Blu-ray Release Date: November 17th, 2009

 Next 2 weeks on the Calendar

Week of November 9th, 2009


Amelie [Blu-ray] (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) Icon

Ballast (Lance Hammer, 2008) Kino

Ballast [Blu-ray] (Lance Hammer, 2008) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

The General (2-disc) [Blu-ray] (Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, 1926) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

Godzilla [Blu-ray] (Roland Emmerich, 1998) Sony Pictures

Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks, 1974) Nucleus Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

Hard Candy [Blu-ray] (David Slade, 2005) Icon

Heat [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 1995) - Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

Heat [Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 1995) - Region FREE UK - Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

Ink [Blu-ray] (Jamin Winans, 2009) Indieblitz Releasing

Justice League: The Complete Series - Warner

Lake Tahoe (Fernando Eimbcke, 2008) Film Movement

The Line [Blu-ray] (James Cotten, 2009) Maya Entertainment

Logan's Run [Blu-ray] (Michael Anderson, 1976) Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Merry Gentleman (Michael Keaton, 2008) Genius Entertainment

Monsters, Inc, [Blu-ray] (Pete Docter, 2001) Walt Disney Video (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Motorcycle Diaries [Blu-ray] (Walter Salles, 2004) Icon

Near Dark [Blu-ray] (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987) Lions Gate (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Negotiator [Blu-ray] (F. Gary Gray, 1998) Warner Home Video

Once Were Warriors [Blu-ray] (Lee Tamahori, 1994) Icon

The Piano [Blu-ray] (Jane Campion, 1993) Icon

Playing Away (Horace Ove, 1986) R2 UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 7: 1952-1954 - Sony Pictures

Up (Bob Peterson, Pete Docter -2009) - Walt Disney Pictures

Up (4 Disc) [Blu-ray] (Bob Peterson, Pete Docter -2009) - Walt Disney Pictures (BEAVER REVIEW)

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut [Blu-ray] (Zack Snyder, 2009) Warner Home Video

Wrecked (Harry Schumanski;Bernard Schumanski , 2009) TLA

Young Soul Rebels (Isaac Julien, 1991) R0 PAL UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)


Week of November 16th, 2009


Allan Dwan Boxset - Silver Lode (1954), Passion (1954), Cattle Queen of Montana (1954) , Escape to Burma (1955), Pearl of the South Pacific (1955), Tennessee's Partner (1955), Slightly Scarlet (1956) - R2 FR - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Avant-Garde 3: Experimental Cinema 1922-1954 - Kino

Betty Blue (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1986) Cinema Libre

Downhill Racer (Michael Ritchie, 1969) Criterion Collection (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Exiles (Kent MacKenzie, 1961) - Milestone

Fight Club  [Blu-ray] (David Fincher, 1999) Twentieth Century Fox (BEAVER REVIEW)

Film Noir Collection (Titles TBA) R2 UK BFI

For All Mankind Al Reinert, 1989) - R'B' UK - Eureka MoC

For All Mankind [Blu-ray] (Al Reinert, 1989) - R'B' UK - Eureka MoC

Franklyn [Blu-ray] (Gerald McMorrow, 2008) Image Entertainment

Galaxy Quest [Blu-ray] (Dean Parisot, 1999) - Dreamworks Video

Gone with the Wind [Blu-ray] (Victor Fleming, 1939) Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

Gone with the Wind [Blu-ray] (Victor Fleming, 1939) (probably Region FREE) UK - Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Green Mile [Blu-ray] (Frank Darabont, 1999) (probably Region FREE) UK - Warner

How to Be (Oliver Irving, 2008) MPI

Is Anybody There? [Blu-ray] (John Crowley, 2008) Magnolia

Kevin Smith Box Set [Blu-ray] (Clerks, Chasing Amy and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) - Miramax

Léon The Professional [Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1994) Sony Pictures

The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2009) Universal Studios

Luxury Car (Wang Chao, 2006) First Run Features

North by Northwest [Blu-ray] (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) (probably region FREE) UK Warner Home Video (BEAVER REVIEW)

Sex, Lies, and Videotape [Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 1989) Sony

Soul Power (Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, 2008) - R2 UK Eureka [Masters of Cinema]
Soul Power [
Blu-ray] (Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, 2008) - R'B' UK Eureka [Masters of Cinema]

Star Trek XI (J.J. Abrams, 2009) - Paramount

Star Trek XI (3-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] (J.J. Abrams, 2009) - Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

Star Trek: The Original Series Remastered Season 2 [Blu-ray] - (most probably Region FREE) UK - Paramount

Star Trek XI (3-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] (Exclusive to (J.J. Abrams, 2009) - (most probably Region FREE) UK - Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

The Terence Davies Collection - DISTANT VOICES STILL LIVES (1988), THE LONG DAY CLOSES (1992), and OF TIME AND CITY - R2 UK BFI

Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009) Universal Studios

Wagon Train - The Complete First Season - Timeless Media Group

Contact Us   Weekly Newsletter Archive
To unsubscribe send a message to