DVDBeaver Newsletter - December 3rd, 2007


Salut! - a slow-ish week with 17 new reviews and only 7 Calendar Updates - but some important stuff nevertheless.  This newsletter we have films-on-DVD from directors Yamada, Bergman, Naruse, Boetticher, Herzog ... Criterion package coverage, 6 new Blu-ray reviews, more Harry Potter - A new contest, calendar updates, recommendations... I only have 100% of X-mas shopping still to do!

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PRIZE:  Kino's 2-disc Ultimate Edition of Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922)

Clip for the week of December 10th 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 Dec 3rd (The Fountainhead) was J. Vendiola of Chicago (wins Second Sight's 6-disc DVD package of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz) Congrats Jim!



Interested in Kindle? I'm curious about Amazon's new wireless reading device. SEE HERE


IN CASE YOU MISSED: There appears to be an error on the part of Criterion - from their blog here 'It's been one of those weeks. First we learned we'd made a mastering error on our Mala Noche edition. Then the first run of the new collectors' set Ingmar Bergman: Four Masterworks shipped with the wrong disc—the Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films edition of The Seventh Seal—in the Criterion special edition package.'


Making sense of the upcoming Blade Runner's coming out December 18th, 2007:

Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner is the barest SD edition

Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector's Edition) (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner is the next SD version up with two more discs of extras

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)* (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner *

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)* [HD DVD] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner *

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)* [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner *

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete) [HD DVD] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner is in hi-def but without the accoutrements listed below

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete) [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner is in hi-def but without the accoutrements listed below

* The Ultimate Collector's Edition(s) are packaged in a limited edition, numbered "Deckard" briefcase and features rare and collectable memorabilia such as a Spinner car replica, Unicorn figurine, Illustration and Photo cards, and a lenticular Motion Film Clip in lucite.


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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!)

L'Amore In Citta (Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini etc., 1953) R2 UK - Optimum Home Ent.

Naked Youth (Nagisa Oshima, 1960) R2 UK - Yume Pictures

Interview (Steve Buscemi, 2007) Sony Pictures

December Boys (Rod Hardy, 2007) Warner Home Video

Black Widow (Nunnally Johnson, 1954) Fox Home Entertainment

Daisy Kenyon (Otto Preminger, 1947) Fox Home Entertainment

Dangerous Crossing (Joseph Newman, 1953) Fox Home Entertainment


New Reviews:.

RECOMMENDED: My highest recommendation this week are Mikio Naruse Collection, Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection and Marketa Lazarová.

ON THE BLU-RAY front: Cast Away, Donnie Brasco and the misunderstood Hollow Man.

BOETTICHER, but not his best: Seminole.

STUFF I'D LIKE TO SEE: Love and Honor, Sway, and Rescue Dawn BR and Our Hitler.


Our Hitler -  Syberberg's unprecedented ambition in Hitler, a Film from Germany is on another scale from anything one has seen on film. It is work that demands a special kind of attention and partisanship; and invites being reflected upon, reseen. The more one recognizes of its stylistic references and lore, the more the film vibrates. (Great art in the mode of pastiche invariably rewards study, as Joyce affirmed by daring to observe that the ideal reader of his work would be someone who could devote his life to it.) Syberberg's film belongs in the category of noble masterpieces which ask for fealty and can compel it. After seeing Hitler, a Film from Germany, there is Syberberg's film - and then there are the other films one admires. (Not too many these days, alas.) As we said ruefully of Wagner, he spoils our tolerance for the others. FACETS DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007


High School Musical 2  BR - Watching High School Musical 2 was something of an education for me. Until now I was totally unaware that there were movies out there made since 1960 – and damned popular ones – that deserve a rating lower than "G". Of course I would much rather my tweenage children watch movies like HSM2 than say Friday the 13th, Parts 1-25. If only there were the slightest compelling dramatic tension present. Even comedies have tension. I think there are good intentions here: after all, to be seduced by wealth and an easy path to a successful career ought to present some worry if it means the loss of one's girlfriend. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 11th, 2007


Rescue Dawn BR - The plot is disarmingly simple: Navy pilot Lt. Dieter Dengler is on his first combat mission over Laos when his plane is shot down. The mission was classified top secret, seeing as how our government didn't want the world to know that we were bombing the hell out of Vietnam and Laos in 1966. He is soon captured and brought deep into the interior to a bamboo prison for American forces. The prison, though a torture in any number of ways, is skimpily guarded since, as a fellow prisoner puts it, the jungle itself is the prison. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: November 20th, 2007

Seminole - Setting the action in 1835 Florida lends this frontier saga a distinctive look, with uniforms evidently from an earlier age than the usual cavalry fare. Boetticher makes the most of the visual contrast between the stiff collars and the swampy environs when aggressive commander Carlson squares up to the Seminoles purportedly blocking the progress of white civilization. Fellow officer Hudson is the voice of decent compromise, Quinn searingly sincere as the half-breed Indian leader once the latter's boyhood friend. Contrived the scenario might be, but the director whips up a fair momentum with it, and the army attack on a Seminole encampment which turns out to be deserted is a wonderfully vivid piece of sequence-building, thanks in no small part to Metty's atmospheric camerawork.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith BR - The critics were seriously divided on this movie. Mike LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle absolutely hated it ("an awful movie with two very good-looking stars in it" and gave it a Rotten Tomato score of 25), as did Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum (with an RT score of 30, he wrote: A deeply stupid and offensive action comedy-romance.) But Ken Tucker of New York Magazine liked it (80 on the RT meter: A cool summer thriller whose laughs don't slow down the suspense), as did Scott Tobias of The Onion (Plays like an old-fashioned romantic comedy with updated hardware.) Even David Edelstein from Slate Magazine found it enjoyable (giving it an 70.) Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 4th, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix BR - In The Order of the Phoenix Harry continues to torment himself with guilt over the various calamities, personal and at large, that visit Hogwarts and his friends. Under the circumstances, considering his involuntary association with You-Know-Who, this is neither surprising nor entirely inappropriate. He also continues to feel he must deal with You-Know-Who and his minions entirely on his own – a conclusion which is becoming tiresome, as if he isn't aware of the outcome of each of his adventures: viz., that he always requires the help of others and little bit of luck to pull through. This results in a certain predictable amount of dramatic repetition that makes each new movie suffer from a certain lack of spontaneity. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007

Donnie Brasco BR - The portrayal of the mob in Donnie Brasco is distinctly unglamorous, and that is what makes it so interesting. Movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas tell grandiose stories of the rise and fall of key figures at the highest levels of the mob, but Donnie Brasco tells the story of the mob equivalent of Willy Loman, a man who, in the words of English director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), "works for a dream all his life but at the end finds all he has is a cheap, gold plated watch."

Braveheart - I’ve seen Braveheart so many times that I know what the next music cue will sound like as I’m watching the movie. This is true even while I was watching this new two-disc special edition, which was the first time I’ve viewed the movie in about two or three years. My familiarity with Braveheart has made me noticed how peculiar it is--it’s one of the sloppiest major motion pictures ever (especially for one that won an Oscar for Best Picture and was nominated for Best Editing), yet its strengths completely negate its huge faults. DVD Release Date: December 18th, 2007

Love and Honor - Yoji Yamada’s final episode in his Samurai trilogy is understated but nevertheless an immensely gripping success. Following his two previous Samurai flicks “Twilight Samurai” and “The Hidden Blade,” Yoji Yamada takes some of the similar elements from his prior two films and injects some new twists in his final and perhaps best Samurai installment.

Sway - With half the film backdrop set in a courtroom with intense drama, Director Miwa Nishikawa’s, “Sway”, takes the viewer into the life of lead character Takeru (played by Jo Odagiri). Takeru is a trendy Tokyo photographer with a penchant for red leather pants and a pervading coolness. Traveling which is the first theme at the beginning of the film, Takeru receives a disturbing message that his mother has passed away. Readying his items, he takes to the road in his equally stylish retro car for the funeral services.

The Seventh Seal - The late twentieth century’s defining anxiety – nuclear catastrophe –inspired film masterworks in a variety of genres, from noir (‘Kiss Me Deadly’) to essay (‘Hiroshima, Mon Amour’), faux documentary (‘The War Game’) to horror (‘Godzilla’). But it found possibly its greatest cinematic expression in Ingmar Bergman’s doom-laden medieval allegory, a film that re-imagines a previous period of existential angst and primal fear: the plague-ridden thirteenth century. ‘The Seventh Seal’ has the courage to give fear a face. You could say of its most famous image – returned crusader Max von Sydow’s desperate chess game with Death (Bengt Ekerot), shot in superb high-Gothic relief by cinematographer Gunnar Fischer in homage to an image Bergman remembered from a childhood church visit – that it has lost none of its power to impress. DVD Release Date: Re-issue: December 10th, 2007

Marketa Lazarová - In a survey of Czech film critics held in 1998, Marketa Lazarová was voted the best Czech film ever made. In the same year its director, František Vláčil, received a lifetime achievement award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. It therefore comes as something of a surprise that neither the film nor its director feature prominently in general histories of the cinema. DVD Release Date: December 3rd, 2007

Cast Away BR - From the previews, we understood that Cast Away was about a man marooned on a remote island - thus the title . . . like the Castaways of Gilligan’s Island. But in case we hadn’t noticed the spelling, the film’s title sequence makes it clear that there are two words, not one; and that the verb, as much as the noun, is what is at issue here: who, or what, is cast away, and what is held onto, and how we come to invest meaning in those things and persons that give us courage to persist in a savage world - a world we humans have learned to civilize and to create an ostensible order out of chaos - the first lesson of Genesis. Blu-ray DVD Released: December 4th, 2007

Hollow Man BR - Moreover, if you expect this movie to have anything to do with T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men,” the only corroboration you’re likely to find is indirect. Yet this movie’s eroticism as well as its violence, combined with the hyperrealism of its overall look—including its brilliant special effects, which specialize in making bodies materialize from the inside out, with guts and veins sprouting and spreading like gardens—make it as much a Verhoeven production as any of its predecessors. It too makes ethical and ideological observations, in this case mainly about the implications of being invisible—in particular the significance of being able to watch someone without being watched back, a capacity available to anyone who watches a movie. Blu-ray DVD Released: October 16th, 2007

Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection - If [Killer of Sheep] were an Italian film from 1953, we would have every scene memorized,” Michael Tolkin once said. Yet rather than basking in instant name recognition, Burnett’s masterpiece is only now receiving a proper theatrical release. Coming right after the blaxploitation craze of the early to mid-’70s and more than a decade before the in-the-’hood phase of the early ’90s, Killer of Sheep explores what it means to be a man, a woman, a child just barely eking out a marginally comfortable existence. DVD Release Date: November 20th, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum - At the end of the day, Bourne 3 is an action movie, and its greatest contribution to cinema is...yes, an action sequence. Bourne 1’s action showcase is arguably the American embassy sequence (where we see Bourne’s smarts when he rips a fire escape map off the wall to plan his escape). Bourne 2’s action showcase is the Moscow car chase. Bourne 3’s action showcase is the Tangier motorcycle-to-foot chase. After the awkward hint about Bourne and Nicky’s past, the chase partially redeems Nicky’s presence by having her demonstrate her resourcefulness. DVD Release Date: December 11th, 2007

Mikio Naruse Collection - The BFI presents three of Mikio Naruse's finest films, now regarded as among world cinema's greatest achievements. Naruse's films celebrate, without extravagance , the lives of ordinary people struggling for something better than the hand fate has dealt them. Performed with quiet certainty by superb actors, shot and edited with a sure and relentless hand, they raise the ordinary and even the sordid to a quality near sublime. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs / Onna ga kaidan o agaru toki (1960), Floating Clouds / Ukigumo (1955) and Late Chrysanthemums / Bangku (1954). DVD Release Date: November 26th, 2007

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of December 10th, 2007

Atlas (Roger Corman, 1961) IMD Films

The Bourne Trilogy [HD DVD] (Bourne Identity / Bourne Supremacy / Bourne Ultimatum) - Amazon.com Exclusive - Universal Studios

The Bourne Ultimatum (Widescreen Edition) (Paul Greengrass, 2007) Universal Studios

The Bourne Ultimatum [HD DVD + Combo] (Paul Greengrass, 2007) Universal Studios

Cocalero (Alejandro Landes, 2007) First Run Features

The Conscientious Objector (Terry Benedict, 2004) Cinequest

December Boys (Rod Hardy, 2007) Warner Home Video

Frasier - Complete Series - Paramount Home Video

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set (Sorcerers Stone/ Chamber of Secrets/ Prisoner of Azkaban/ Goblet of Fire/ Order of the Phoenix) - Warner

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set [HD DVD] (Sorcerers Stone/ Chamber of Secrets/ Prisoner of Azkaban/ Goblet of Fire/ Order of the Phoenix) - Warner

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set [Blu-ray] (Sorcerers Stone/ Chamber of Secrets/ Prisoner of Azkaban/ Goblet of Fire/ Order of the Phoenix) - Warner

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Widescreen Edition) (Mike Newell, 2005) - Warner Home Video
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [
HD DVD] (Mike Newell, 2005) - Warner Home Video

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [Blu-ray] (Mike Newell, 2005) - Warner Home Video

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (David Yates, 2007) Warner Home Video

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [HD DVD] (David Yates, 2007) Warner Home Video

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [Blu-ray] (David Yates, 2007) Warner Home Video

Ingmar Bergman: Four Masterworks: The Seventh Seal (1957), Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), The Virgin Spring (1960) and Wild Strawberries (1957) - Criterion

Interview (Steve Buscemi, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Jason Bourne Collection (The Bourne Identity / The Bourne Supremacy / The Bourne Ultimatum) - Universal

Latitude Zero (Ishirô Honda, 1969) - Tokyo Shock

Moolaade (Ousmane Sembene, 2004) Ny'er

Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) Criterion

Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Disney

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald, Volume Three (1947 - 1950) Disney

Walt Disney Treasures - Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic - Disney


Week of December 17th, 2007

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones - Volume 2 - Paramount Home Video

Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector's Edition) (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)* (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)* [HD DVD] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)* [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete) [HD DVD] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete) [Blu-ray] (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner

Braveheart (Special Collector's Edition) (Mel Gibson, 1995) - Paramount Home Video

Chameleon Street (Wendell B. Harris Jr., 1989) Homevision

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 - Jean-Luc Godard (Band Of Outsiders / Contempt / Breathless) - 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

Deep Water (Louise Osmond, 2006) IFC

Kaspar Hauser (Peter Sehr, 1993) Kino

Little Flower (Zheng Zhang, 1980) Chinese Film Audio & Video Press

The Mod Squad - Season 1 Volume 1 - Paramount Home Video

Once (John Carney, 2006) 20th Century Fox

Perhaps Love (Peter Chan, 2005) Tai Seng

Seventeen Years (Zhang Yuan, 1999) Qilu

The Simpsons Movie (David Silverman, 2007) Fox Home Entertainment

The Simpsons Movie [Blu-ray] (David Silverman, 2007) Fox Home Entertainment

Stardust (Matthew Vaughn, 2007) Paramount

Stardust [HD DVD] (Matthew Vaughn, 2007) Paramount

Sunday Drive (Hisashi Saito, 1998) Pathfinder

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [Blu-ray] (James Cameron, 2003) Warner Home Video

Underdog - Ultimate Collection (1960s cartoon) - Classic Media

Zhou Enlai (Yinnan Ding, 1992) Qilu

In 3 weeks - it's 2008!!,



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...