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Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK

OF December 19th, 2011

  This Week's Highlights
Pehe korua? - Where I live the climate has been unseasonably mild - and hence the Holiday Spirit hasn't 'taken over' as in previous Seasons. Digital releases seem to have trimmed-down the past few weeks as well with a barer calendar. But the world is a big place and there are always discs we can celebrate. There are Blu-rays on the upcoming Calendar, including Criterion's March lineup, of films by Martin Scorsese, Mikhail Kalatozov, David Lean Elia Kazan, Pedro Almodovar, Edward Dmytryk etc. We also have a new Clips contest with a Criterion Blu-ray prize and continue to hope for more ballots in our Year End Poll!. "You know, the worst ain't so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it'll be before it's happened."

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FEATURE DVD and Blu-ray of the MONTH chosen for DECEMBER! HERE


December 19th CONTEST - identify the clip on the CONTEST PAGE to win a Criterion Blu-ray of Branded to Kill 


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Gary at 2ze dot com


The Last Temptation of Christ [Blu-ray] (Martin Scorsese, 1988) Criterion

Letter Never Sent (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1959) Criterion
Letter Never Sent [
Blu-ray] (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1959) Criterion

The War Room (Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, 1993) Criterion
The War Room [
Blu-ray] (Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, 1993) Criterion

David Lean Directs Noël Coward (Brief Encounter, 1945 - In Which We Serve, 1942 - This Happy Breed, 1944 - Blithe Spirit, 1945) Criterion
David Lean Directs Noël Coward [
Blu-ray] (Brief Encounter, 1945 - In Which We Serve, 1942 - This Happy Breed, 1944 - Blithe Spirit, 1945) Criterion

A Night to Remember [Blu-ray] (Roy Ward Baker, 1958) Criterion

A Streetcar Named Desire [Blu-ray] (Elia Kazan, 1951) Warner

The Skin I Live in [Blu-ray] (Pedro Almodovar, 2011) Sony Pictures

Kim Soo Yong Collection - Seashore Village (1965), Confessions of an Actress (1967), Mist (1967), Night Journey (1977) - Korean Federation of Film Archives

Magicians (Il-gon Song, 2005) Planis

Where Love Has Gone [Blu-ray] (Edward Dmytryk, 1964) Olive Films

The Mountain [Blu-ray] (Edward Dmytryk, 1956) Olive Films

The Terminator [Blu-ray] (James Cameron, 1984) RB UK Fox

A Night to Remember [Blu-ray] (Roy Ward Baker, 1958) RB UK ITV

Battle Royale [Blu-ray] (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000) Starz / Anchor Bay
Battle Royale: The Complete Collection [
Blu-ray] (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000) Starz / Anchor Bay

Automobile / L'Automobile - Raro Video USA Ltd

Love Story [Blu-ray] (Arthur Hiller, 1970) Paramount

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World [Blu-ray] (Stanley Kramer, 1963) MGM

The Thing [Blu-ray] (Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., 2011) Universal Studios

Baba Yaga [Blu-ray] (Corrado Farina, 1973) Blue Underground

Real Steel [Blu-ray] (Shawn Levy, 2011) Disney

Demons [Blu-ray] (Lamberto Bava, 1985) RB UK Arrow

Demons 2 [Blu-ray] (Lamberto Bava, 1987) RB UK Arrow

Beneath the Darkness [Blu-ray] (Martin Guigui, 2011) Image Entertainment

To Kill a Mockingbird [Blu-ray] 50th Anniversary Special Edition (Robert Mulligan, 1962) Universal Studios

To Kill a Mockingbird [Blu-ray] (Robert Mulligan, 1962) Universal Studios

Notorious [Blu-ray] (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946) MGM

Rebecca [Blu-ray] (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940) MGM

Manhattan [Blu-ray] (Woody Allen, 1979) MGM

Annie Hall [Blu-ray] (Woody Allen, 1977) MGM

All Quiet on the Western Front [Blu-ray] (Lewis Milestone, 1930) Universal

Koyaanisqatsi [Blu-ray] (Godfrey Reggio, 1982) RB DE Koch Media

Striptease [Blu-ray] (Andrew Bergman, 1996) Warner

The Lorax [Blu-ray] (Hawley Pratt, 1972) Warner


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): This week I really enjoyed Woody Allen`s Midnight in Paris via Blu-ray - such a cool, human movie - one of his best in recent years. Also Fright Night evoked nostalgia for an evenings fun, and my darker side sinks back into `Buke`s world in Barfly. Rapture was a new experience and one I endorse - despite issues around the transfer. It was a treat to watch Carole Lombard in Nothing Sacred through the Blu-ray medium. If approached with the right mood Colombiana is a positive take on the female-vengeance genre. Doctor Dolittle wasn't a viewing that I would quickly repeat. Eric covered 13 Assassins on DVD which heightens my curiosity for differences in the Blu-rays. Body Puzzle sounds like another gruesome horror but I'll certainly give Wim Wenders` Pina a whirl. Gregory diligently exposed Humphrey Bogart: The Columbia Pictures Collection with comparative captures to the existing DVD versions. As I'm an Alan Ladd fan I might indulge in The Man in the Net but even being a fan of Glenn Ford I will avoid The Green Glove. "I'm walking here! I'm walking here!."


Humphrey Bogart: The Columbia Pictures Collection - Five diverse examples of the films Bogart made for Columbia are showcased in this set from the obscure romantic drama LOVE AFFAIR (1932), in which the studio was testing his potential as a leading man, to the postwar melodrama TOKYO JOE (1949) to the hard-hitting social drama, KNOCK ON ANY DOOR (1949). SIROCCO (1951), an exotic espionage thriller in the tradition of Casablanca, and THE HARDER THEY FALL (1956), a boxing racket expose that received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, are also highlights. Pairing Bogart with such celebrated directors as Nicholas Ray and Curtis Bernhardt as well as acclaimed actors like Sessue Hayakawa, Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger, this collection reveals yet another side to the actor whose screen persona became forever identified with the tough guys, loners and anti-heroes he played. DVD Release Date: November 28th, 2011

Body Puzzle - When a psychopath (François Montagut, DANGEROUS LIAISONS) butchers the proprietor of a candy shop, Detective Mike Livet (Tomas Arana, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) assumes that the killer made off with the victim's as a souvenir. When the ear winds up in the refrigerator of newly widowed Tracy Grant (Joanna Pacula, THE KISS), Livet suspects that the grisly gift may have something to do with the death of her husband Abe (whose corpse was disinterred from its grave the same night). When a woman is butchered in a shopping mall bathroom and a severed hand winds up on Tracy's doorstep, Livet looks into Abe's shady past and discovers sex, drugs, and a stalker who did not take Abe's nuptials all too well. DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2011

13 Assassins - A stirring, unexpectedly moving story of love and blood, the samurai movie “13 Assassins” opens with a dignified man seated alone in a large courtyard. Perfectly centered in the shot, he says nothing, his face a ferocious mask. But words are immaterial given his open shirt and the blade in his hand. The Japanese director Takashi Miike has no qualms about letting the red run down the screen. Here, though, instead of showing the blade sinking in, he moves in closer, letting the scene play out in the man’s crumbling face, the gray sky framing him as the moist, tearing sounds of the knife doing its terrible work fill the air. DVD Release Date: September 5th, 2011

Barfly BD - Bukowski's books are, like the screenplay for 'Barfly', all semi-autobiographical. They portray their protagonist (in most cases a fellow named Henry Chinaski) as an unemployed alcoholic with a philosophy skewered from both the writings of several classics of literature and real life existence on the wrong side of the tracks. Chinaski takes life less seriously than anyone in history, seemingly unafraid of fist'a'cuffs, women or lack of personal hygiene. His charm and artistic conviction will always remain - even now after his death in 1994 - untouchable. His life is detailed with little poetic license, in "Barfly" which later had him produce one of his final books entitled "Hollywood" (in which he detailed how he wanted his friend, Sean Penn, for the lead). It is somewhat comforting that a man can carve out his place in society and obtain a stage for his creation with such stalwart conviction that forces society to rethink their perceptions of life, materialism and their own delusions. Blu-ray Release Date: December 2nd, 2011

Doctor Dolittle BD - This won a couple of Oscars (Best Song, Best Effects) and was nominated for seven more, including Best Picture. At the time of release, however, this was a box-office dud. Based (in part) on the magical Hugh Lofting book, it begins in Puddleby-by-the-Marsh, England, from which the world-renowned veterinarian Dolittle (Harrison) begins his quest for a giant pink sea snail. Children should find this enjoyable for its exotic creatures, such as the Pushme-Pullyou. Most adults may not agree as readily, although some of us consider this a guilty pleasure. Blu-ray Release date: October 21st, 2011

Rapture BD - Rapture (1965) is a dark fairy tale: set against the rugged beauty of the Brittany seacoast, it tells the story of a young girl (Patricia Gozzi) whose lonely isolation under the watchful eye of her stern and bitter father (Melvyn Douglas) is abruptly shattered by the arrival of a seductive fugitive from the law (Dean Stockwell). With stunning CinemaScope images from director John Guillermin and cinematographer Marcel Grignon, this tumultuous coming-of-age fable also features a deliriously romantic score by Georges Delerue. Blu-ray Release date: December, 2011

Colombiana BD - In the action film "Colombiana", Cataleya, a young woman who has grown up to be an assassin after witnessing the murder... of her parents as a child. Turning herself into a professional killer and working for her uncle, she remains focused on her ultimate goal: to hunt down and get revenge on the mobster responsible for her parents' deaths. Blu-ray Release date: December 20th, 2011

Fright Night BD - Charley (Ragsdale) has seen a coffin being carried into the house next door and a corpse being dragged out, but no one will take him seriously. In desperation he enlists a TV vampire killer, who's initially charmed by neighbour-from-hell Jerry (Sarandon), before noticing the absence of his reflection in a mirror. A farrago of cartoonish exaggeration (mouthfuls of fangs, razor-sharp talons and eyes like burning coals), knowing humour and '80s camp, it shouldn't even begin to work, and yet, strangely, it does, sort of, thanks to the assured handling of writer/director Holland, and two performances in particular - Geoffreys as Charley's pal Evil, and McDowall as the timid vampire killer. Blu-ray Release date: December, 2011

Nothing Sacred BD - As potent today as it was when released in 1937, this classic screwball satire stars Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, the small-town girl who mistakenly believes she's dying of radium poisoning. Sensing a great human interest story that will tug the public's heartstrings and help sell newspapers, exploitative journalist Wally Cook (Fredric March) brings Hazel to New York City and turns her into a media darling. Wally's callous strategy takes a sudden turn when he starts having feelings for the vulnerable Hazel. Filmed in early three-strip Technicolor and scripted by Ben Hecht and James H. Street, this sharp comedy still sizzles with its cynical take on media profiteering, and the matching of Lombard and March is unforgettably entertaining. Blu-ray Release date: December 20th, 2011

Midnight in Paris BD - “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s charming new film, imagines what would happen if that wish came true. It is marvelously romantic, even though — or precisely because — it acknowledges the disappointment that shadows every genuine expression of romanticism. The film has the inspired silliness of some of Mr. Allen’s classic comic sketches (most obviously, “A Twenties Memory,” in which the narrator’s nose is repeatedly broken by Ernest Hemingway), spiked with the rueful fatalism that has characterized so much of his later work. Blu-ray Release date: December 20th, 2011

The Man in the Net - Alan Ladd portrays a painter with an alcoholic and dissatisfied wife (Carolyn Jones). She disappears-leaving behind his slashed paintings. He is accused of murdering her, and flees to the woods. Among the pursuers: one of her former lovers--a tough cop. DVD Release Date: August 19th, 2011

Pina - Wim Wenders turns to 3D HD video for this tribute to the late modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009), featuring performances by several of her dancers on stage, sets, out in the city and the country (it is a tribute to her style that the dance performances themselves seem to segue into one another and the modern moves blend with a diverse array of musical choices. Even without the 3D enhancements, Wenders camera gives the viewer a more dramatic perspective from the front-oriented stage audience with multiple angles and POV shots that give us clearer views of the dancers' expressive faces. DVD Release Date: September 12th, 2011

The Green Glove - An American G.I. and a nefarious art dealer face off in a quest to find a ancient relic. Tortured by a need to atone for the past, Lieutenant Mike Blake (Glenn Ford) returns to France in search of the Green Glove, a priceless artifact stolen during the Allied Invasion. But Count Paul Rona (George Macready) is also after the gauntlet and is convinced that Blake has had it all along. Blake finds himself framed for murder and must evade the police and the Count's henchmen in order to track down the glove and return it to the village church where it belongs. With the help of a Paris tour guide (Geraldine Brooks), he hatches a desperate plan to foil the thieves and clear his name before it's too late. DVD Release Date: April 27th, 2004

 Next 4 weeks on the Calendar

December 19th, 2011


Blackthorn [Blu-ray] (Mateo Gil, 2011) Magnolia (BEAVER REVIEW)

Captain America: The First Avenger [Blu-ray] (Joe Johnston, 2011) RB FR Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

Catch .44 [Blu-ray] (Aaron Harvey, 2011) Anchor Bay/Starz

Colombiana [Blu-ray] (Olivier Megaton, 2011) Sony Pictures (BEAVER REVIEW)

A Farewell to Arms [Blu-ray] (Frank Borzage, 1932) Kino Classics Edition (BEAVER REVIEW)

Futurama: Vol. 6 [Blu-ray] - Fox Home Entertainment

Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2008) Olive Films

Margin Call [Blu-ray] (J.C. Chandor, 2011) LionsGate (BEAVER REVIEW)

Midnight in Paris [Blu-ray] (Woody Allen, 2011) Sony Pictures (BEAVER REVIEW)

Nothing Sacred [Blu-ray] (William A. Wellman, 1937) Kino Classics Edition (BEAVER REVIEW)

The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (Stephan Komandarev, 2008) Olive Films


December 26th, 2011


Apollo 18 [Blu-ray] (Gonzalo López-Gallego, 2011) Weinstein

City Under Siege [Blu-ray] (Benny Chan, 2010) Funimation

Dirty Country (Nick Prueher, 2009) Kino

Kill List [Blu-ray] (Ben Wheatley, 2011) StudioCanal

A Lonely Place to Die [Blu-ray] (Julian Gilbey, 2011) RB UK Kaleidoscope

Sid & Nancy [Blu-ray] (Alex Cox, 1986) MGM

The Skin I Live In [Blu-ray] (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011) RB UK Pathé

Tuesday, After Christmas (Radu Muntean, 2010) Lorber Films


January 2nd, 2011


Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Five - Universal

Contagion [Blu-ray] - single-disc (Steven Soderbergh, 2011) Warner

Contagion [Blu-ray] - 2-disc (Steven Soderbergh, 2011) Warner

The Guard [Blu-ray] (John Michael McDonagh, 2011) Sony Pictures

Magicians (Il-gon Song, 2005) Planis

Mildred Pierce [Blu-ray] (Todd Haynes , 2011) HBO

Puncture [Blu-ray] (Adam Kassen, Mark Kassen, 2011) First Look

Swastika (Philippe Mora, 1974) Kino


January 9th, 2012


1911 [Blu-ray] (Li Zhang, 2011) Well Go USA

Arrietty [Blu-ray] (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2010) RB UK Optimum

Aurora (Cristi Puiu, 2010) Cinema Guild

The Big Picture [Blu-ray] (Eric Lartigau, 2010) UK Artificial Eye

Billy Elliot [Blu-ray] (Stephen Daldry, 2000) Universal Studios

The Dust of Time (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 2008) Artificial Eye

Film Socialisme [Blu-ray] (Jean-Luc Godard, 2011) Lorber Films

The Hellstrom Chronicle [Blu-ray] (Walon Green, Ed Spiegel, 1971) Olive Films

Koyaanisqatsi [Blu-ray] (Godfrey Reggio, 1982) RB DE Koch Media

Looney Tunes Showcase: Volume 1 [Blu-ray] - Warner Home Video

The Man from London (Bela Tarr, 2007) Zeitgeist

Moneyball [Blu-ray] (Bennett Miller, 2011) Sony

Night and Day (Sang-soo Hong, 2008) Zeitgeist Films

Protektor (Marek Najbrt, 2009) Film Movement

Sinners And Saints [Blu-ray] (William Kaufman, 2010) Anchor Bay

The Theo Angelopoulos Collection Vol 2 - Reconstruction (1970) Days of '36 (1972) The Travelling Players (1975) and The Hunters (1977) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Theo Angelopoulos Collection Vol 3 - The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991) Ulysses' Gaze (1995) Eternity and a Day (1998) The Weeping Meadow (2004) and The Dust of Time (2008) - R2 UK Artificial Eye

The Tin Drum [Blu-ray] (Volker Schlöndorff, 1979) RB UK Arrow

When Harry Met Sally... [Blu-ray] (Rob Reiner, 1989) MGM

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