Newsletter - FOR THE WEEK

OF December 26th, 2011

  This Week's Highlights
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! - An abbreviated newsletter to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Holidays Season... some reviews and calendar updates this issue as we continue to toil over the DVD and Blu-ray of the Year 2011 result preparations... Hey, in a few days it will be 2012! Let's make it the best year of our lives!

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To Catch a Thief [Blu-ray] (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955) Paramount

Take Shelter [Blu-ray] (Jeff Nichols, 2011) Region FREE Universal Pictures UK

Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn [Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2011) Triple Play - Region Free UK Paramount
Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn [
Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2011) 3-D - Region Free UK Paramount

Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts 1934-1937 [Blu-ray] - Kino

Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except [Blu-ray] (Josh Becker, 1985) Synapse Films

Reindeer Games [Blu-ray] (John Frankenheimer, 2000) Miramax Lionsgate

My Joy (Sergei Loznits, 2010) Kino

The Search for One-eye Jimmy [Blu-ray] (Sam Henry Kass, 1994) Lorber Films

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


ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): Short and sweet... I was, pretty much, blown-away by von Trier's Melancholia - a visuals treat on Blu-ray and it was wonderful to revisit Monty Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop and Alex Cox' Repo Man in 1080P. Witchfinder General really advanced over the previous DVD in the new format. Futurama always make me smile. Gregory heightens my curiosity of Safe in Hell and The People Against O'Hara sounds like noir-lovers must have. Speaking of the Black Cinema Koch's Hollow Triumph aka "The Scar" is leaps and bounds ahead of its North American DVD counterpart. Eric reviewed Love Exposure and Mammuth among other 'interesting' titles on SD. Talk to you next year!


Melancholia BD - Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland). Meanwhile, the planet, Melancholia, is heading towards Earth... MELANCHOLIA is a psychological disaster movie from director Lars von Trier. Blu-ray Release date: January 23rd, 2012

The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner - When Alexander (Carlo Ljubek, THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX) is in a road accident and his parents are killed - Vasil (Hristo Mutafchiev) and Yana (Ana Papadopulu) - his "Backgammon King" grandfather Bai Dan (Miki Manojlovic, THE BURMA CONSPIRACY) travels from his home in Bulgaria to care for him and discovers that the young man is suffering from retroactive amnesia. The doctors advise Bai Dan that telling Alexander about his parents could do more harm than good; however, the old man grows tired of trying to jog his grandson's memory when he won't even leave his hospital room. He breaks the news of their deaths to Alexander, who still does not remember anything. Bai Dan decides to take Alexander back home to Bulgaria; however, he chooses to do it in a way that will hopefully help him recover his memories (by traveling back along the same route that Alexander and his parents took to escape communist Bulgaria years before). DVD Release Date: December 20th, 2011

Mammuth - Not really the "X-rated MR. BEAN written by Charles Bukowski" - as the critical blurb on the cover pronounces it - MAMMUTH could be just as much about an indictment of a cracked system or a pro-establishment biker movie (Serge dropped out of school, did his own thing - he calls spending all of the money in the summers that he made working in the winters "paid vacations" - and is now left to deal with outstanding debts and health care issues). Although the relationship between Serge and Solange is touching, we don't really see the parallels between them (Adjani's ghostly visitations make more sense in pushing Serge into realizing what's important). There are a handful of comic interludes that are just there to pile on the eccentricity and the bits with the hooker have no pay off (she accepts a ride from a guy named Jean-Luc - the name of Serge's brother - and disappears from the film); however, the film works as a piece of film festival-bait with some threads to ponder in a time of economic instability and increasingly obvious bureaucratic incompetence. DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2011

Two-Lane Blacktop BD - Hellman, as his later inactivity testifies, seems to have turned himself into box-office anathema by toying once too often with his beloved actes gratuites, so open-ended that they would delight even the most demanding existentialist. Here two young hot-rodders (Taylor, Wilson), making their way across America by picking up racing bets on the side, challenge (or are challenged by) the boastful middle-aged owner of a gleaming new Pontiac (Oates). As their mesmeric duel unfolds within a landscape that narrows down to a claustrophobic tunnel of highways, filling stations and roadside cafés, it soon becomes apparent that Hellman is less interested in allegory (class and generation conflicts as in Easy Rider) or in the race itself (which simply fizzles out), than in the mysterious process whereby a challenge is subtly metamorphosed into an obsession. Self-enclosed, self-absorbed, and self-destructive (as the last shot of the film catching in the projector and burning suggests), it's absolutely riveting. Blu-ray Release Date: January 23rd, 2012

Witchfinder General BD - Not as well-known as Robin Hardy's more eccentric and complex The Wicker Man (which was also packaged and sold by its distributors as a common exploitation flick), this third film by then-24-year-old Michael Reeves (his last film before an untimely death) is nevertheless one of the best examples of the witchcraft subgenre of horror film. Starring Vincent Price as real-life witchhunter Matthew Hopkins (ca. 1619 - 1647), Witchfinder General is an intense and brutally violent film not merely for its time (which resulted in multiple cuts made at the behest of the British Board of Film Censors) but even now, retaining its power to shock much more so than gore films of the same period, as the emotional stakes here are established with beautiful economy. It is possible that Price never gave a better performance than this one, as he completely eschews camp theatrics in favor of a subduedly sinister and menacing depiction of sadistic evil masked behind a cloak of piety. Price plays Hopkins as an unmerciful reptile with a genteel manner and an appetite for torture, creating in Witchfinder General one of cinema's most frightening villains. Blu-ray Release Date: June 13th, 2011

Repo Man BD - A volatile, toxic potion of satire and nihilism, road movie and science fiction, violence and comedy, the unclassifiable sensibility of Alex Cox's Repo Man is the model and inspiration for a potent strain of post-punk American comedy. Otto, a baby-face punk played by Emilio Estevez, becomes an apprentice to Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a coke-snorting, veteran repo-man-of-honor prowling the streets of a Los Angeles wasteland populated by hoods, wackos, burnouts, conspiracy theorists, and aliens of every stripe. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but there's a "latticework of coincidence" (as Tracey Walter puts it) underlying everything. Repo Man is a key American movie of the 1980s--just as Taxi Driver, Nashville, and Chinatown are key American movies of the '70s. Blu-ray Release Date: February 20th, 2012

The People Against O'Hara - James Curtayne (Spencer Tracy) was once a brilliant defense attorney, saving scores from prison-time and death row. But that was before a part of him crawled inside a bottle and never crawled out. He now practices civil law…it’s safer that way. But when John O’Hara (James Arness), a kid from the neighborhood, gets hauled up on Murder One, he allows himself to get cajoled into returning to his former vocation. It’s a mistake. The DA runs circles around the alcohol addled attorney, and O’Hara now faces execution. It’s Jimmy’s worst nightmare come true. The question is, what’s he planning to do about it? A young John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven) teams up with seasoned cinema vet Tracy for this noir-tinged legal drama, and it proves a potent combo – a solid, by-the-numbers thriller rises above the machinations of plot to provide a compelling portrait of a very good, but very weak man in thrall to some very bad, very strong impulses. DVD Release Date: November 22nd, 2011

Safe in Hell - Gilda (Dorothy Mackaill) thought she had fallen as far as a woman could fall when she got a call telling her a client was requesting her “services.” But when the client turns out to be the man responsible for her fall from grace, Gilda flies into a murderous rage. Taking it on the lam, Gilda finds shelter in the arms of a sailor boyfriend (Donald Cook) who smuggles her to sanctuary and safety, or so he thinks. In reality he has booked her a bridal suite in hell. Too long imprisoned by obscurity, Safe in Hell is released at last. This pre-code crime classic, touted at the time as “Not For Children,” is frank, startling and arresting, as gripping today as it was eight decades ago. Directed by William A. Wellman, Safe in Hell is full of terrors and delights, including the most striking ensemble seen this side of Freaks and a truly twisted stunner of a finale. DVD Release Date: November 8th, 2011

Hollow Triumph - "The Scar" (1948) Originally released under the title "Hollow Triumph," (and also known as The Man Who Murdered Himself), this dandy little film noir thriller from Eagle Lion features Paul Henreid with a chance to lose his leading man image for not one, but two sinister performances. When crooked gambler (Henreid) seeks to hide from a rival mobster, he hatches a plot to take the place of a psychiatrist that he's a dead-ringer for. But it's not long before the good doctor's secretary (Joan Bennett) is on to his scheme. Koch Media DVD Release Date: November 25th, 2011

Futurama Vol. 6 BD - During its original run, Futurama was one of the highlights of the TV schedule. The misadventures of the Planet Express crew - Fry, Leela, Bender, Zoidberg, Amy et all - make for some outstanding re-visitation - years post initial cancellation. This is great fun and fans should rejoice at the 13 NEW episodes! Most impressive is the inventive writing and hilarious animated execution of the plots and characters. I could watch this 24/7 and never grow tired of the comedy and unique situations. Let's hope this runs as long as The Simpsons! Bravo! Blu-ray Release date: December 20th, 2011

Love Exposure - Although epic in length at three minutes shy of four hours (Yu's story is the prologue and it runs exactly one hour - before the film's title card finally comes up!), Sion Sono's LOVE EXPOSURE is strangely intimate in scale with three intertwining perspectives overlapping action in a story that could have easily formed three different shorter feature films. The running time goes by fast as Sono seamlessly moves from melodrama to utter hilarity to Tarentino-esque violence (including Koike's backstory which seems like something suited to a KILL BILL villain) to tragic drama to a poignant close. Despite some outrageous bloodshed and various perversions, shock value seems to be the least of Sono's concerns; however, the impressive three-and-a-half hour build-up of this absurd story leads to a somewhat hasty and episodic resolution in the last half-hour. Although quite entertaining, the film should probably not be approached as one's introduction to Sion Sono (try SUICIDE CLUB or COLD FISH). DVD Release Date: December 20th, 2011

The Undying - Seduced by the ghost of a Civil War soldier, whose spirit dwells in her new home, Dr. Barbara Haughton contrives to have him live again in the body of a man who died in her hospital. But, it's this man's violent past that may affect Barbara's desired future. Is this ghost now the gentle soul he appears to be? Or someone much darker? DVD Release Date: December 13th, 2011

The ABCs of Love and Sex - In between the mondo mayhem of AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK and the softcore teenage classic FELICITY, producer/director John Lamond schooled the continent with this graphic grindhouse jaw-dropper: What was ostensibly presented as a serious study of sexual behavior is actually an erotically-charged trip through an alphabet of deviant sexual pleasure, including mile-high clubs, female masturbation, mincing homosexuals, hot lesbians, enormous genitals, disco music, rape fantasies, interpretive dance, socio-cultural blathering, relentless nudity and even a bit of creepy stop-motion animation. Marilyn Rodgers (FELICITY) and Maj-Brith Berström-Walan of The Swedish Institute For Sexual Research star in this delightfully dubious documentary relic, now fully restored from a print originally seized by the Australian Classification Board and presented uncut & uncensored for the first time ever in America. DVD Release Date: January 10th, 2012

Australia After Dark - Five years before he turned the world on with his schoolgirl sexploitation classic FELICITY, producer/director John Lamond made his indelible debut with this mondo -style look at the depraved underbelly of a land down-under. It s an ultra-sleazy, full-frontal journey through the weird and the pathetic, the ugly, the obscene and the beautiful, featuring strippers, swingers, murderers, devil worshippers, nutty gurus, drunken aborigines, and much more. From the back alleys of the big cities to the savage cruelty of the outback, discover a continent of pleasure, pain, erotic art, wriggling cuisine, tiny bikinis, alien landings, record-breaking beer consumption and insane amounts of 70s nudity, now fully restored from a print recently discovered in the cellar of the Lower Wonga Drive-In and presented uncut & uncensored for the first time ever in America. DVD Release Date: January 10th, 2012

 Next 4 weeks on the Calendar

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



January 16th, 2012


Adaptation [Blu-ray] (Spike Jonze, 2002) Image Entertainment

Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Belle de jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967) Criterion

Belle de jour [Blu-ray] (Luis Buñuel, 1967) Criterion

The Boys in Company C [Blu-ray] (Sidney J. Furie, 1978) Henstooth Video

Caterpillar (Koji Wakamatsu, 2010) Lorber Films

The Coast Guard [Blu-ray] (Ki-duk Kim, 2002) Palisades Tartan

Dead Poets Society [Blu-ray] (Peter Weir, 1989) Touchstone / Disney

Dead Ringers [Blu-ray] (David Cronenberg, 1988) FilmMedia

Dutch [Blu-ray] (Peter Faiman, 1991) Anchor Bay/Starz

Eclipse Series 31: Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin - Poto and Cabengo (1978), Routine Pleasures (1986), My Crasy Life (1992) - Criterion

Exodus [Blu-ray] (Otto Preminger, 1960) RB FR Opening

Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection [Blu-ray] - Caliber 9 (1972), The Italian Connection (1972), The Boss (1973) and Rulers of the City (1976) - Entertainment One

Good Morning, Vietnam (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Barry Levinson, 1987) Touchstone / Disney

The Ides of March [Blu-ray] (George Clooney, 2011) - Sony

Last Hard Men/Sky Riders [Double Feature] - Shout! Factory

Mysteries of Lisbon [Blu-ray] (Raul Ruiz, 2011) Music Box Films

Nothing in Common [Blu-ray] (Garry Marshall, 1986) Image Entertainment

The Overcoat (Il Cappotto) (Alberto Lattuada, 1952) Raro

Project X [Blu-ray] (Jonathan Kaplan, 1987) Anchor Bay/Starz

Redline [Blu-ray] (Takeshi Koike, 2009) ANME9

A Soldier's Story [Blu-ray] (Norman Jewison, 1984) Image Entertainment

Traffic [Blu-ray] (Steven Soderbergh, 2000) Criterion

United Red Army (Koji Wakamatsu, 2007) Lorber Films

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