DVDBeaver Newsletter - December 17th, 2007


Kwai kwai! - a draining week with 20 new reviews. We apologize to some for the abundance of hi-def stuff (if you are not so inclined) - it is unusual. This week we cover unearthed Indie, TV on hi-def, iconic TV to film, Pop culture to lauded kitsch, Bergman on Blu-ray, the full scope of the Blade Runner editions, Mizoguchi on the calendar and more. Enjoy!  

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March, 2008 Criterions announced - Mafioso (Alberto Lattuada, 1962), Antonio Gaudí (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1984) and The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, 1997)






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THIS WEEK's PRIZE:  Warner's 2-disc Special Collector's Edition of Blade Runner

CONTEST: IDENTIFY ALL THE DVDs (Film, Dist., and edition) visible on THIS PAGE.

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 (Buffalo 66), was B. Widener of San Pedro (he wins Kino's 2-disc Ultimate Edition of Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922)) Congrats Benny!

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


Making sense of tomorrow's Blade Runner releases:

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

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

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 * COVERED HERE

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

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

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

* 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!)

Feast of Love (Robert Benton, 2007) MGM

Molière (Laurent Tirard, 2007) Sony Pictures

The Apartment (Collector's Edition) (Billy Wilder, 1960) MGM

Fierce People (Griffin Dunne, 2005) Lionsgate

Run Lola Run  [Blu-ray] (Tom Tykwer, 1998) Sony Pictures

The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjöström, 1921) - R2 - UK - Tartan

Rocco and his Brothers (Luchino Visconti , 1960) - R2 - UK - Masters of Cinema

Chikamatsu Monogatari/ Uwasa no Onna (Kenji Mizoguchi , 1954) - R2 - UK - Masters of Cinema

All My Good Countrymen (Vojtech Jasný, 1968) Facets

Khadak (Peter Brosens, 2006) Koch

12 Angry Men - 50th Anniversary (Sidney Lumet, 1957) MGM

Shemp Cocktail: A Toast To The Original Stooge - Koch

Secrets of a Soul (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1926) Kino

The Hands of Orlac (Robert Wiene, 1924) Kino

Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997) Universal Studios

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007) Warner Home Video

Elizabeth - The Golden Age (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) (Shekhar Kapur, 2007) Universal Studios

We Own the Night [Blu-ray] (James Gray, 2007) Sony

State of Play (David Yates, 2003) BBC Warner

Across the Universe (Julie Taymor, 2007) Sony Pictures

Across the Universe [Blu-ray] (Julie Taymor, 2007) Sony Pictures, The Kingdom (Peter Berg, 2007) Universal Studios


New Reviews:


Lost - Season Three BR - Lost was ABC's very successful answer to Fox's 24 which had already completed its third season by the time the pilot episode for Lost was launched in September of 2004. Lost's third season closed its hatch in May of this year, with simultaneous release in SD, HD and Blu-ray DVD just this week – even in advance of the start of Season 4 which, somehow, seems to have gotten . . . lost. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 11th, 2007

Chameleon Street - Virtually a lost film, this picked up a prize at the Sundance festival and earned some critical raves, but when Warners acquired the rights with a view to remaking it, they didn't bother to distribute the shoestring original - according to the writer/director/star, they actively suppressed it (it's never been released in the UK, even on video). It's flawed but often brilliant, one of the most provocative and adventurous American movies of the '90s. Harris is Douglas Street, a kind of professional black Zelig, who successfully passes himself off as a reporter, an exchange student, a lawyer and even a surgeon without any relevant qualifications. Formally adventurous, very funny, and deeply sour. Incredibly, it's based on a true story. DVD Release Date: December 18th, 2007

The Simpsons Movie BR - The world's longest running – and best - animated adult comedy television series comes to the big screen. And by "big" I mean not only theatrical, but wide: as wide as it gets these days at 2.40:1. Many fans will find this a bit jarring and a little too much, but the filmmakers help us out some by introducing us to the movie a little at a time - first by a kind of prologue that is really a different movie altogether that the Simpson family happens to be watching in 1.85:1 and then by deliberately stretching the title card once the movie proper gets under way. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 18th, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - Season One HD - From what I’ve learned, Battlestar Galactica began life as a three-hour miniseries that was used to test audience waters. If the miniseries got big numbers, then TV honchos would greenlight it as a regular series. Well, the show is about to enter its fourth and final season. I was blown away by the miniseries--it’s probably one of the best programs ever to appear on TV. It creates a genuine sense of desperation in depicting a civilization’s annihilation, and the acting is filled with believable conviction (even the relative unknowns are credible). HD-DVD Release Date: December 4th, 2007

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Vol. Two - The War Years - Indiana Jones was clearly a character that had captured the public’s imagination after three theatrical movies with blockbuster grosses, so executive producer George Lucas decided to move Indy to the small screen with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The series began as a string of hour-long shows, though surprisingly anemic ratings persuaded Lucasfilm to shift to making periodic movie specials instead. The show began with Indiana Jones as a child before catching up with the archaeologist as a late teen/young adult. Although the movies focused on Indiana’s spectacular encounters with fantastical elements, the TV show threw our hero into the middle of historical events, with Junior interacting with luminaries such as Pancho Villa and British suffragettes. DVD Release Date: December 18th, 2007

Bram Stoker's Dracula BR - This is it, the quintessential vampire movie. Based on Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic masterpiece "Dracula." There are many arguments as to who was Stoker's influence for The Count, and the most rabid purists insist that it is NOT Vlad the Impaler. However, this movie forms it's basis around the Vlad story, and I'm obliged to agree that this is the most familiar of all the various versions of the tale of Count Dracula, and whether or not this is where Stoker got his influence is a moot point and does not make this film any less of a masterpiece. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: October 2nd, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum HD - In Entertainment Weekly’s feature article about the third movie, lead Matt Damon revealed that the script wasn’t ready when the production began. New pages arrived on the set every day, and frequently, much of what was shot was completely discarded as shooting continued. With a budget north of $175 million, Bourne 3 cost much more than its predecessors. The filmmakers had to come up with some semblance of a coherent plot to finish the movie for August 2007. Obviously, they looked to the previous two movies for salvation. HD-DVD Release Date: December 11th, 2007

The Chelsea Girls - What is The Chelsea Girls? It is Warhol's most ambitious work to date. It is also probably his most important work to date. It is an epic movie-novel. [...] I know no other film, with the exception of The Birth of a Nation, in which such a wide gallery of people has been presented as in this film. We don't always understand what they are talking about, only short fragments of conversations really reach us clearly. As the time goes, this gallery of people and lives grows into a complex human hive. The film in its complex and overlapping structure, in its simultaneity of lives before our eyes, comes closest to Joyce.

Reservoir Dogs BR - Clearly influenced by Scorsese's "Mean Streets" and "Goodfellas" and Kubrick's "The Killing," Tarantino would love to be grouped in such company and employs many bravura effects in making his bid. Undeniably impressive pic grabs the viewer by the lapels and shakes hard, but it also is about nothing other than a bunch of macho guys and how big their guns are.

Blade Runner (2-disc - FINAL CUT) - One of the most visually influential science fiction films ever made, Blade Runner has a history as labyrinthine as any of its futuristic film noir sets. A fascinatingly contemplative detective story about a world-weary android-killer and his renegade prey, it has attracted a sizeable cult audience and retains a unique place in cinema. DVD(s) Release Date: December 18th, 2007
Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector's Edition)
Blade Runner (Ultimate and Complete in HD and BR)

The Seventh Seal BR - After a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight challenges Death to a fateful game of chess. More than forty years after its initial release, Ingmar Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s apocalyptic search for meaning remains a textbook on the art of filmmaking and an essential building block in any collection. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 3rd, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End BR - The first movie, Curse of the Black Pearl, beat the hell out of everyone's expectation. The sequel, Dead Man's Chest, could not possibly be as good, I assured myself. It wasn't, but neither was it at all bad. In fact, my second viewing was much more satisfactory – at least I was prepared for some of the scenes I had thought went on too long. Most critics felt that the second sequel, At World's End, went on even longer, so I was again prepared. Let's hear it for low expectations! While not nearly up the standards of the first movie, it was not a difficult experience, and seeing on video was even less so. Blu-ray DVD Release Date: December 4th, 2007

Faster Pussycat... Kill! Kill! - A cornerstone of both camp and punk cultures — no mean feat — Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! (1966) shows the thrillingly lethal consequences when aggravated go-go dancers get bored. Russ Meyer's black-and-white desert Gothic melodrama — for some viewers the crown jewel in a flashy career — opens with crazed half-naked women dancing in shadow and thrusting their tits into the camera, while a pompous male voice in overdub details the horrors of the "predatory female" for its nervous target audience — the sexually paranoid hetero male sitting alone in Pussycat theatres across the country. This film slightly predates the phenomenon of couples going out to porno films that began more or less with Deep Throat. Here Meyer is still unabashedly exploiting his own fantasies of a world of dominant, sexually supercharged women who ruthlessly take out their anxieties on any man who crosses their path — or is lured into their "web."

Mel Gibson's Apocalypto BR - With Apocalypto, Mel Gibson has proven it's possible to create a compelling action/adventure film in almost any setting. Gibson's theme (which is only partially developed), as revealed in an opening caption, is that all great civilizations fail when they begin to rot from the inside. Over the next 2 1/4 hours, he provides glimpses into the degeneracy of the Mayan society on the eve of its encounter with the Spanish conquistadores. However, Apocalypto is not a political tract or a dissertation about why the Mayan age came to an end. Instead, it's a high-octane adventure that concludes with one of the most intense extended chase sequences in recent movie history.

Balls of Fury - Balls of Fury is a goofy send-up of movies as disparate as Enter the Dragon, The Karate Kid, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and any number of martial-arts brawlers or inspirational-sports dramas. Christopher Walken is a hoot, and it’s clear that the yellow-face casting ridicules yellow-face casting of the past. Maggie Q acts too seriously, as if she were still in Mission: Impossible 3 or Live Free or Die Hard, but maybe her earnestness is part of the movie’s charm. Tell you what--I was in the mood for some silly laughs, and this movie gave me what I wanted. Have fun with this one, guys. DVD Release Date: December 18th, 2007

Crash - Almost as pared down and purified as late Bresson, Cronenberg's Crash focuses on half a dozen individuals who aren't so much characters as separate versions, aspects, or stages of the same character; all are car-crash veterans and most have sex with most of the others. The first two we encounter, Catherine Ballard (Deborah Kara Unger) and James Ballard (James Spader), are a married couple who have a lot of casual sex with other partners, experiences that are then recounted during their sex with each other. James produces TV commercials, and Catherine spends a lot of her time around an airport (in the novel she works at one). But the film is interested only in their sex lives and their driving.

In a Year With 13 Moons - Elvira (Spengler) was Erwin until s/he went to Casablanca for a discreet operation. She now lives in Frankfurt, abandoned by her lover, befriended by a hooker who's not much better off than herself, and ripped to shreds by cruelties and social inequalities. In a Year with 13 Moons is not only Fassbinder's last word on victimised innocence, it's also a subjective response to the suicide of his own lover Armin Meier, and a sincere admission that life is messier than his earlier films acknowledged. A movie riven with contradictions and fuelled by vehemence and passion.

Un Chant d'Amour - By the time Jean Genet made Un Chant D'Amour in 1950, he was already an infamous poet-pornographer whose novels and plays were banned internationally for their explicit descriptions of romping gay men and gorgeous criminals. Decades later, Genet maintained his antisocial image by writing reverentially about African-American radicals and the P.L.O. Transgression and eroticism remained forever tied in Genet's art, which shouldn't be surprising, since he came of age in an era when homosexuality was against the law, and for many, being a crook inevitably became a turn-on. Once Genet got access to a movie camera, he turned it on a group of rugged actors, playing imprisoned men who literally claw at the walls, overcome with thwarted desire. And when the stars of Un Chant D'Amour aren't scratching their palms against the plaster, they're unbuttoning their pants and stroking themselves.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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

* The Ultimate Collector's Edition is 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.


Week of December 24th, 2007

Cat People [HD DVD] (Paul Schrader,1982) Universal

Eastern Promises (Widescreen Edition) (David Cronenberg, 2007) Universal Studios

Eastern Promises [HD DVD Combo] (David Cronenberg, 2007) Universal Studios

The Kingdom (Peter Berg, 2007) Universal Studios

Lost and Found: The Harry Langdon Collection (4-disc/ 23 films) - Facets

Movieside Film Festival: 20 Award Winning Short Films from Around the World! - Microcinema

Pan's Labyrinth [HD DVD] (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) New Line Home Entertainment

Pan's Labyrinth [Blu-ray] (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) New Line Home Entertainment

Resistance[s]: Experimental Films from the Middle East and North Africa - Microcinema

Rush Hour 3 (Two-Disc Platinum Series) (Brett Ratner, 2007) - New Line Home Video

Rush Hour 3 [Blu-ray] (Brett Ratner, 2007) - New Line Home Video

Shattered (Mike Barker, 2007) Lions Gate

Shovel snow in shifts... it should never be a rush job!,



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...