DVDBeaver Newsletter - November 26th, 2007


Twll Din Pob Saes! - 22 new reviews this newsletter covering films-on-DVD from directors Watkins, Murnau, Lee Chang Dong, Buñuel, Mizoguchi, Loach ... MoC, hi-def stuff, super-classic TV, Japanese anime, upcoming Criterion listings, a new contest, sales, 12 calendar updates, recommendations... holidays will be upon us before we know it.

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Interesting releases in the next two weeks:

Ford at Fox - Collection  (Specs HERE)- 20th Century Fox, Mikio Naruse Collection (When A Woman Ascends the Stairs, Floating Clouds, Late Chrysanthemums) R2 UK - BFI Video, The Seventh Seal [Blu-ray] (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) - UK Tartan Video, Drunken Angel (Akira Kurosawa, 1948) Criterion, Free Cinema (3-disc) - Facets, Futurama the Movie - Bender's Big Score (Dwayne Carey-Hill, 2007) 20th Century Fox, Our Hitler (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1978) Facets, Czech Dream (Vít Klusák + Filip Remunda, 2004) Arts Alliance, Lubitsch in Berlin (The Doll/Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin/The Oyster Princess/I Don't Want to be a Man/Sumurun/Anna Boleyn/The Wildcat) Kino, The Seventh Seal [Special Edition] (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) R2 UK Tartan


SORRY THE HD player promotion (for $199 with 10 FREE HD-DVDs) has ended.




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PRIZE: A Sealed copy of Eureka MoC's Shoeshine (De Sica)

Clip for the week of November 26th is HERE (WMV FORMAT)

and you must be subscribed to our Free Weekly Newsletter and email the answer to contest@DVDBeaver.com

LAST WEEK's Winner identifying the clip from the week from Nov 19th (Colorized version of It's A Wonderful Life) was J. Capp of NJ (wins Unplayed DVDs of Up the Down Staircase and I'll Cry Tomorrow (from the Leading Ladies Vol. 2 Collection) Congrats Jeff!



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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!) SThe Criterion stuff seem like no-brainer buys Eclipse Series #8: Lubitsch Musicals, Pierrot le fou, Walker, The Last Emperor - 4-disc, and although I'm no fan of Facets Our Hitler sounds extremely interestsing, de Palma fans may be keen on Redacted . . The full list of this week's updates:

Eclipse Series #8: Lubitsch Musicals - (The Love Parade (1929), Monte Carlo (1930), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) and One Hour With You (1932) - Criterion

Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) Criterion

Walker (Alex Cox, 1987) Criterion

The Last Emperor - 4-disc (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987) Criterion, The Fugitive - Season One, Volume Two (David Janssen) Paramount

Resurrecting the Champ (Rod Lurie, 2006) 20th Century Fox

Day Zero (Bryan Gunnar Cole, 2007) First Look Pictures

Our Hitler (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1978) Facets

Jean-Luc Godard Boxset (Passion, First Name: Carmen, The Detective and Oh Woe Is Me) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Redacted (Brian De Palma, 2007) Magnolia

Poor Boy's Game (Clément Virgo, 2007) Thinkfilm

Excellent Cadavers (Ricky Tognazzi, 1999) First Run Features

9 Star Hotel (Ido Haar, 2007) Koch Lorber Films


New Reviews:.

IMPACTING: La Vie En Rose, Loach's Looks and Smiles, and Gion Bayashi from the MoC Sansho the Bailiff box.

ESSENTIAL: Nosferatu, Tabu - A Story of the South Seas, and The Man With a Movie Camera.

I had lots of fun with Star Trek - Original Season One on HD and Futurama - Bender's Big Score but that's me. Also The Day of the Triffids but the DVD is admittedly poor.

DIDN'T REVIEW BUT KEEN ON: Secret Sunshine, La Commune, and Only Yesterday.

AVOID - Susana as we will be comparing a far superior German version (although it won't have English subs) and Vitus (just didn't like it).


Someday (Korean Drama) - Fictional and historical lovers from Anthony & Cleopatra, Tristan & Isolde, Romeo & Juliet, Lord Nelson & Lady Hamilton, and Manhattan's Isaac & Tracy have had their moment on this most seductive and compelling of stages. So why shouldn't South Korea have their say. And they do, on a regular basis in one angst-filled drama after another on network and cable television. The latest, and perhaps most inventive of these was one of the most popular TV series of 2006: Someday, made by Yellow Film, the same production company that gave us Alone in Love. Adult in tone (by which I mean: mature, than laced with graphic sex and violence), Someday explores four perspectives on romantic love and how the characters that represent those perspectives affect one another as they play out their various destinies.

Bad Santa BR - Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) & Marcus (Tony Cox) are department store Santa & Elf. They are also thieves who raid a different store in a different state every Christmas Eve. But no Robin Hoods, these. Willie is a foul-mouthed boozer that would make W.C. Fields blush with shame – and he probably don't like dogs much neither. Marcus is the brains behind their annual scam. He complains about Willie's outrageous behavior, but knows this dwarf wouldn't be able to find just anybody to go along with his outrageous scheme. At this, their latest, and possibly last store, Willie is being trailed by the store manager, (John Ritter, in his last film), who gets a peculiarly voyeuristic delight in reporting Willie's suspicious transgressions to his seemingly unconcerned security chief (Bernie Mac).

Tabu - A Story of the South Seas - In 1929, F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, Faust, Sunrise), one of the greatest of all film directors, invited leading documentarist Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North, Man of Aran) to collaborate on a film to be be shot on location in Tahiti, a Polynesian idyll in which Murnau imagined a cast of island actors would provide a new form of authentic drama and offer rare insight into their “primitive” culture. The result of their collaboration was Tabu, a film that depicts the details of indigenous island life to tell a mythical tale that is rich in the universal themes of desire and loss. DVD Release Date: November 19th, 2007

La Commune - Like Culloden, La Commune is in good measure an action film that builds inexorably to a powerful climax. This syncretic work of left-wing modernism—suggesting not only Brecht and Vertov but Soviet mass spectacle and didactic Godard—is at once immediate and self-reflexive. Watkins restages history in its own ruins, uses the media as a frame, and even so, manages to imbue his narrative with amazing presence. No less than the event it chronicles, La Commune is a triumph of spontaneous action.

Secret Sunshine - Renowned Korean filmmaker Lee Chang Dong, the director of Green Fish, Peppermint Candy, and Oasis, returns to the director's chair in 2007 with the critically acclaimed Secret Sunshine. This is his fourth film, and his first directorial work since his stint as Minister of Culture and Tourism from 2003 to 2004. In addition to Lee's long-awaited return, Secret Sunshine attracted much attention with its pairing of two of the biggest names in Korean cinema - Song Kang Ho and Jeon Do Yeon, who was named Best Actress at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for her amazing performance. DVD Release Date: September 21st, 2007

Futurama - Bender's Big Score - In Bender's Big Score, some smartass nude aliens engage in a successful cyber-attack on Planet Express and while doing so they discover they can travel through time using a tattoo of Bender on Fry's butt. Segway stories arise involving Leela and a love interest and Hermes losing his body (and wife). All the best characters are back; Bubblegum Tate, Nixon's head, Zapp and Kiff, Bad Santa Robot, the Hypnotoad - it's truly like a dream come true! I laughed and enjoyed the antics as much as ever - maybe more as I missed it so much. DVD Release Date: November 27th, 2007

Star Trek - Original Season One HD - The most notable one is probably “Space Seed”, which features Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) and was the inspiration for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. When discussing TOS, everyone talks about “City on the Edge of Forever”, which is also a Season-1 outing. As a fan of the Romulans, I really enjoyed “Balance of Terror”, an episode that introduced viewers to the genetic relationship between Romulans and Vulcans as well as the Romulans’ cloaking device. Of course, Star Trek is known for its optimistic vision of the future, and that’s on display here with the Enterprise being piloted by an Asian and with Spock representing the harmony that should exist between all intelligent beings. HD-DVD Released: November 20th, 2007

Susana - Buñuel's perfectly routine melodrama (a remake of Alexander Korda's 1929 The Squall) begins evocatively enough inside the Reformatorio del Estado with the titular heroine (Rosita Quintana) staring at the silhouette of a cross reflected on the floor from a nearby windowsill. She prays to God for forgiveness ("Dear God! You made me the way I am!"), begs for a miracle, and receives it in the form of Herculean strength (or possibly blind luck) when the bars of her cell's windowsill miraculously come loose. DVD Release Date: November 27th, 2007

Patlabor BR - Patlabor, or Mobile Police Patlabor, is a classic name to anime fans. The police mecha franchise is the brainchild of Headgear, which consists of screenwriter Ito Kazunori, composer Kawai Kenji, scenarist Yuki Masami, character designer Takada Akemi, and, most notably, director Oshii Mamoru. The popular franchise has over the years spawned a manga, three anime series, and three feature-length films, the first of which was released in 1989. Directed by Oshii, the first Patlabor film, like other entries in the franchise, revolves around the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicle Division 2 unit, which investigates crimes and accidents involving labors or labor robots.

Talk to Me HD - Talk to Me starts out broad and schematic only to surprise you with its subtlety as it unfolds. Conveying the passage of time through the usual shorthand of clothes, hairstyles and vintage pop music, the movie nonetheless steers clear of the usual biopic conventions. Petey may be the charismatic, self-destructive center of attention--and Mr. Cheadle is as engaging and resourceful as ever--but the drama resides in his sometimes volatile, always closely observed partnership with Dewey. HD-DVD Released: October 30th, 2007

Sansho the Bailiff - Based on an ancient legend, as recounted by celebrated author Mori Ogai (in his short story of the same name, written in 1915), and adapted by Japanese director Mizoguchi Kenji, Sansho Dayu is both distinctively Japanese and as deeply affecting as a Greek tragedy. Described in its opening title as “one of the oldest and most tragic in Japan’s history”, Mizoguchi depicts an unforgettably sad story of social injustice, family love, personal sacrifice, and fateful tragedy. MoC DVD Release Date: November 19th, 2007

Nosferatu - An iconic film of the German expressionist cinema, and one of the most famous of all silent movies, F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror continues to haunt — and, indeed, terrify — modern audiences with the unshakable power of its images. By teasing a host of occult atmospherics out of dilapidated set-pieces and innocuous real-world locations alike, Murnau captured on celluloid the deeply-rooted elements of a waking nightmare, and launched the signature “Murnau-style” that would change cinema history forever. DVD Release Date: November 19th, 2007

Vitus - The secret life of children is fertile territory. The unsullied logic of those for whom preconceived notions and ossified received wisdom are phenomenon yet to come make for a piquant commentary on both. The innocence, the unrestrained emotion, and the intellect unfettered by the conventions of society are a potent combination in VITUS, a delightful Swiss import. It explores that territory from the point of view of its title character (doe-eyed Teo Gheorghiu), an 11-year-old mathematics and musical prodigy negotiating all too adult situations, from high-finance to first-love, with the single-minded, whole-hearted obsession that only the very young can muster without going mad. DVD Release Date: November 27th, 2007

La Vie En Rose - With the notable exception of 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould — a movie every bit as singular and uncompromising as its subject — every musical biopic ever made looks more or less the same. Humble origins, early opportunity, creation of signature sound, rise to fame, relationship hassles, loneliness of the road, substance abuse, death and/or decline with optional comeback. La Vie en Rose, Olivier Dahan's long, extravagant portrait of Edith Piaf, only demonstrates that French music-hall warblers lived through the exact same clichés as their hard-rocking counterparts in Britain and America. Dahan does his best to shake things up by opening with the "elderly" Piaf — she died at forty-seven, looking a good twenty years older — and then skipping back and forth in time, juxtaposing the struggling nobody with the ailing legend. DVD Release Date: November 13th, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Though the film is filled with the expected special-effects wizardry, its most stunning and surreal moments are also the most peaceful: an army of crabs transporting the Black Pearl over dunes and into the ocean, and a flaming sunrise viewed through tattered seaweed sails. A disappointing cameo by Keith Richards, still alive and flaunting the look of hard-won dissipation that reportedly inspired Jack’s personal style, is in a special-effects category of its own. Perhaps he should have rented a copy of Performance and taken notes from Mick Jagger. DVD Release Date: December 4th, 2007

Only Yesterday - This is my favorite anime 'till date, mostly because of the very pleasant detailed animation and strongly poignant story. Like Isao Takahata's previous work "Grave of the Fireflies", this is not about fantasy and is deeply concerned about capturing the emotional struggles and hardships of the young, even though now everything happens in a normal peaceful environment.

Paris Je T'aime - Paris, je t'aime is about the plurality of cinema in one mythic location: Paris, the City of Love. Twenty filmmakers will bring their own personal touch, underlining the wide variety of styles, genres, encounters and the various atmospheres and lifestyles that prevail in the neighborhoods of Paris. Each director has been given five minutes of freedom, and we, as producers, carry the responsibility of weaving a single narrative unit out of those twenty moments. The 20 films will not appear in the order of the arrondissements, from one to twenty, but rather, in a pertinent narrative order, initially unknown to the audience. They will be fused together by transitional interstitial sequences, and also via the introduction and epilogue sequences of the feature film. DVD Release Date: November 13th, 2007

The Day of the Triffids - As in Wyndham’s book, the Day of the Triffids mini-series is all about the attitudes with which people confront catastrophe. The story contrasts different perspectives and social viewpoints – Stephen Yardley’s ordinary man pleading with John Duttine to stay and help them and ignore the rest of the world; the emergence of the utilitarian group that proposes that only the seeing be taken in and the others abandoned and that all sighted men must take three wives; Coker’s quasi-Communistic society with their ardent belief in the arrival of help from elsewhere and where the seeing are forced to help the blind by being handcuffed to them in chain gangs; Tynsham, which represents naive Christian do-gooder ethic in the face of all reasonable practicalities; the junta that establishes rule by militia and begins allocating the resources. DVD Release Date: November 6th, 2007

The Man With a Movie Camera (We've added the newer BFI edition) - This kaleidoscopic city symphony-- conjoining Moscow, Kiev, Odessa into one metametropolis-- may be the most densely edited movie ever made. Vertov matches the rhythms of a single day to the cycle of life, and the mechanisms of moviemaking to the logic of industrial production.... The Man With the Movie Camera is at once a Whitmanesque documentary-portrait of the Soviet people, a reflexive essay on cinematic representation, and an ecstatic ode to human labor as a process of transformation.

The Eroticist - The Senator Likes Women (aka 'The Eroticist') is a strange sort of hodge podge of genres in the form of an erotic political satire -- three words that don't normally appear together. The movie begins with Senator Gianni Puppis winning his party's nomination to run for president. A pawn of special interests and lobbyists the senator has dedicated himself -- body and soul -- to politics leaving no room in his life for distractions like women. Unfortunately, this extreme all-or-nothing tactic has addled his mind and the senator's subsconscious begins venting his sexual frustrations without his realizing it. Finally, his luck runs out as he is caught on film grabbing the ass of a foreign dignitary. DVD Release Date: October 30th, 2007

Mr. Bean's Holiday - Calling his new film Mr. Bean’s Holiday sets the bar awfully high for the latest adventures of Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling comic creation. It inevitably invites comparison with Jacques Tati’s priceless 1953 farce Mr. Hulot’s Holiday. Unlike the French classic, however, the new picture has plenty of chuckles but few outright laughs as Bean wins a raffle ticket for a vacation in the south of France but loses his way and causes minor havoc roaming the countryside. DVD Release Date: November 27th, 2007

Looks and Smiles - Sheffield, 1980: the evening paper warns of yet more redundancies in the steel industry, and the choice before school leavers Alan and Mick is either the forces or the dole. Alan (Pitts) enlists and is posted to Belfast, where he develops a taste for duffing up Catholics. Mick (Green) stays at home, tinkers with his bike, scours the sits vac, and takes up with shop-girl Karen (Nicholson) amid rising despair. Familiar Loach territory, and presented in characteristically spartan documentary style. Excellent performances from the three principals (all amateurs), resolutely unfussy black-and-white photography by Chris Menges, and a complete absence of self-consciousness on either side of the camera add up to a quietly devastating portrayal of human waste. DVD Release Date: November 20th, 2007

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of November 26th, 2007


Drunken Angel (Akira Kurosawa, 1948) Criterion

Elvis: Blue Suede Collection (Jailhouse Rock/Viva Las Vegas/It Happened at the World's Fair / Kissin' Cousins/Girl Happy/Live a Little, Love a Little/Elvis: That's the Way It Is/This Is Elvis) - Warner Home Video

Free Cinema (3-disc) - Facets

Futurama the Movie - Bender's Big Score (Dwayne Carey-Hill, 2007) 20th Century Fox

Heimat, Vol. 3: A Chronicle of Endings and Beginnings (2004) - Facets

In the Winter Dark (James Bogle, 1998) Bfs Video

Mikio Naruse Collection (When A Woman Ascends the Stairs, Floating Clouds, Late Chrysanthemums) R2 UK - BFI Video

The Namesake (Mira Nair, 2006) Fox Home Entertainment

The Omega Man [HD DVD] (Boris Sagal, 1971) Warner Home Video

The Omega Man [Blu-ray] (Boris Sagal, 1971) Warner Home Video

Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006) Sony Pictures

Paprika [Blu-ray] (Satoshi Kon, 2006) Sony Pictures

Susana (Luis Buñuel, 1951) Facets

Vitus (Fredi M. Murer, 2006) Sony Pictures

Waitress (Adrienne Shelly, 2007) Fox Home Entertainment


Week of December 3rd, 2007


20 Million Miles to Earth 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] (Nathan Juran, 1957) Columbia/Tri-Star

12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2006) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Battlestar Galactica - Season One - 2004 [HD DVD] - Universal Studios

Bob Hope MGM Movie Legends Collection (Alias Jesse James/Boy, Did I Get the Wrong Number/The Facts of Life/I'll Take Sweden/The Princess and the Pirate/The Road to Hong Kong/They've Got Me Covered) - MGM

Cast Away [Blu-ray] (Robert Zemeckis, 2000) 20th Century Fox

Criterion Collection Director Series Akira Kurosawa (Throne Of Blood / Yojimbo / Seven Samurai / Sanjuro) - Amazon.com Exclusive

Criterion Collection Director Series Federico Fellini (8 ½ / La Strada / Nights Of Cabiria / Amarcord) - Amazon.com Exclusive

Criterion Collection Director Series Robert Altman (Secret Honor / Short Cuts / 3 Women / Tanner 88) - Amazon.com Exclusive

Criterion Collection Director Series Jim Jarmusch (Down By Law / Night On Earth / Stranger Than Paradise) - Amazon.com Exclusive

Czech Dream (Vít Klusák + Filip Remunda, 2004) Arts Alliance

Day Break (Hamid Rahmanian, 2005) - Film Movement

Drums Along the Mohawk (The Ford at Fox Collection) (John Ford, 1939) - 20th Century Fox

Erik the Viking (Terry Jones, 1989) MGM

Essential John Ford Collection (6-disc - (The Frontier Marshall / My Darling Clementine / Drums Along the Mohawk / How Green Was My Valley / The Grapes of Wrath / Becoming John Ford) - 20th Century Fox

The Fever (Gabriel Nero, 2004) Hbo Home Video

Ford at Fox - Collection  (Specs HERE)- 20th Century Fox

Ford at Fox: The Silent Epics (5-disc - (Just Pals / Four Sons / The Iron Horse / Hangman's House / Bad Men) - 20th Century Fox

The Girl Next Door (Gregory Wilson, 2007) Starz / Anchor Bay

Gladiators Seven (Michele Lupo, 1965) Cheezy Flicks

The Hottest State (Ethan Hawke, 2006) Velocity / Thinkfilm

Independence Day [Blu-ray] (Roland Emmerich, 1996) 20th Century Fox

The Iron Horse (The Ford at Fox Collection) (John Ford, 1924) - Fox

John Ford's American Comedies (4-disc -  (Steamboat Around the Bend / Judge Priest / Doctor Bull / When Willie Comes Marching Home / Up the River / What Price Glory)) - 20th Century Fox

Lady Chatterley (Pascale Ferran, 2006) Kino

The Last Man on Earth (Ubaldo Ragona, 1964) - MGM

Live-in Maid (Jorge Gaggero, 2004) Koch International

Lubitsch in Berlin (The Doll/Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin/The Oyster Princess/I Don't Want to be a Man/Sumurun/Anna Boleyn/The Wildcat) Kino

New York, New York (30th Anniversary Edition) (Martin Scorsese, 1977) MGM

Pilgrimage / Born Reckless (The Ford at Fox Collection Double Feature) - John Ford - 20th Century Fox

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End (Two-Disc Limited Edition) (Gore Verbinski, 2007) Walt Disney Pictures

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End [Blu-ray] (Gore Verbinski, 2007) Walt Disney Pictures

Prisoner of Shark Island (The Ford at Fox Collection) (John Ford , 1936) - Fox

The Seventh Seal [Special Edition] (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) R2 UK Tartan

The Seventh Seal [Blu-ray] REGION FREE (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) - UK Tartan Video

That Certain Thing (Frank Capra, 1928) Jef Films

The West Wittering Affair (David Scheinmann, 2005) Lifesize

Have a great week - okay?,



STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING CLASSIC RELEASES: Forbidden Hollywood: Volume 2 (six films plus pre-Code documentary), Gangsters Collection: Volume 2 (Picture Snatcher/Lady Killer/Smart Money/The Mayor of Hell/others), Joan Crawford Collection Volume 2 (Flamingo Road/Strange Cargo/Torch Song/others), The Lana Turner Collection, Lon Chaney Collection Volume 2 (The Unholy Three/The Unholy Three/Tell It to the Marines/He Who Gets Slapped/Tod Browning doc.), Night Nurse (Barbara Stanwyck), The Day the Earth Stood Still Special Edition (dir. Robert Wise, USA 1951), An Affair to Remember 50th Anniversary Edition (dir. Leo McCary, USA 1957), The Robe Special Edition (dir. Henry Koster, USA 1952), Daisy Kenyon (dir. Otto Preminger, USA 1947), Dangerous Crossing, (dir. Joseph Newman, USA 1953), Black Widow (dir. Nunnally Johnson, USA 1954), Boomerang! (dir. Elia Kazan, USA 1947), Charlie Chan Vol 4 (starring Sidney Toler), The Naked Prey (1966) Criterion. Bette Davis 100th Anniversary Set (titles TBD), Bette Davis Collections: Volume 3 (includes All This, And Heaven, Too/ Dangerous/In This Our Life/The Corn Is Green/Watch On The Rhine/more), David Lean Collection (Blithe Spirit/Brief Encounter/Great Expectations/In Which We Serve/Madeleine/Oliver Twist/Passionate Friends/This Happy Breed) and more...