DVDBeaver Newsletter - December 29th, 2008

Kelemwarre! - 7 new reviews this week - 4 of which are comparisons. So this will be the last newsletter of 2008 - which means our year end poll results are imminent. With the ability to post scrolling messages the DVDBeaver Toolbar remains a viable form of communication for us in the future - please try it out. DVD (and Blu-ray) of the Year should be surfacing as soon as we have tallied and formatted. Stay tuned.

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DECEMBER 29th CONTEST - identify this CLIP to win a brand new Blu-ray of The Duchess - Best of luck all!

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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 and save!):

TCM Spotlight: Doris Day Collection - April in Paris (1952), It's a Great Feeling (1949), Starlift (1951), Tea for Two (1950), The Tunnel of Love (1958) - Warner

L'Innocente (Luchino Visconti, 1976) Koch Lorber

Fallen Angels (Special Edition) (Wong Kar-Wai, 1995) Kino

Happy Together (Special Edition) (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997) Kino

Religulous (Larry Charles, 2008) Lions Gate

Frozen River [Blu-ray] (Courtney Hunt, 2008) Sony Pictures

Paura - Lucio Fulci Remembered Vol. 1 [Limited Edition] (Mike Baronas, 2008) Tempe Video

Come Play with Me (Salvatore Samperi, 1968) Video Music, Inc.

Lake City (Hunter Hill + Perry Moore, 2008) Universal Studios

Careful (Remastered and Repressed) (Guy Maddin, 1993) Zeitgeist Films

Aviva My Love (Shemi Zarhin, 2006) IFC

Max Fleischer's Superman (2pc) – Warner

Choke (Clark Gregg, 2008) 20th Century Fox

Saint Francis (Ezra Gould, 2007) Redemption Films

The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes (Karl Hartl, 1937) Televista

Hard Country (David Greene, 1981) Lions Gate

Ashes Of Time Redux (Wong Kar-wai, 2008) - Sony Pictures

American History X [Blu-ray] (David McKenna, 1998) Warner Home Video

John Q [Blu-ray] (Nick Cassavetes, 2002) Warner Home Video

Taking Lives [Blu-ray] (D.J. Caruso, 2004) Warner Home Video

Point of No Return [Blu-ray]  (John Badham, 1993) Warner Home Video

Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Waltz with Bashir [Blu-ray] (Ari Folman, 2008) RB UK Artificial Eye

Let's Talk About The Rain (Agnès Jaoui, 2008) R2 UK Artificial Eye



ONE VOICE (not Ellsworth Monkton Toohey): It's mostly very good this week with definitive editions of Endfield's Zulu looking just brilliant in Blu-ray, the highly underrated Sophie Scholl  being immensely improved in 1080P, Gigi looking and sounding tremendous in hi-def and Zulawski's weird and wonderful La Femme Publique on Mondo Vision's platter achieving the most viable of the 4 editions compared. I found myself quite immersed in Eclipse Series 14: Rossellini’s History Films—Renaissance and Enlightenment. and with Leonard's endorsement I may check out television's Dexter.   


New Reviews:

La Femme Publique - Ethel (Valerie Kaprisky) runs out on her alcoholic father (Patrick Bauchau) to pursue a career as an actress in Paris. She finds work as a nude model between unsuccessful audition and her beauty catches the eye of flashy director Lucas Kesling (Francis Huster) (in a typical Zulawkian scene where the actress bursts into tears while delivering a monologue as part of a complex camera move) who wants her to play the lead in his period film adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed." Although her acting skills are constantly derided by Kesling (in typically Zulawskian tense and uncomfortable sequences), Ethel's performance skills seem to excel in adapting the role of the dead (possibly murdered) lover of Kesling's mysterious Czech associate Milan (Lambert Wilson) - whom Kesling may be manipulating into assassinating a visiting archbishop - who had also been Kesling's previous starlet (gotta love that art film ambiguity). DVD Release Date: November 11th, 2008

Eclipse Series 14: Rossellini’s History Films—Renaissance and Enlightenment - In the final phase of his career, Italian master Roberto Rossellini embarked on a dramatic, daunting project: a series of television films about knowledge and history, made in an effort to teach, where contemporary media were failing. Looking at the Western world’s major figures and moments, yet focusing on the small details of daily life, Rossellini was determined not to recount history but to relive it, as it might have been, unadorned but full of the drama of the everyday. This selection of Rossellini’s history films presents The Age of the Medici, Cartesius, and Blaise Pascal—works that don’t just enliven the past but illuminate the ideas that brought us to where we are today. DVD Release Date: January 13th, 2009

Dexter Season One BR - I can see the temptation for Michael C. Hall to channel John Malkovich: as Clint Eastwood's Line of Fire nemesis, Mitch Leary is a ruthless psychopath who snorts his nose after a killing in a vague registration of feigned contempt. We hear an echo of Leary in the opening episode of Dexter as the title character has his helpless victim at his mercy. Hall is letting us know something about the extent of Dexter's sociopathy, his disassociation from feeling, about which he confides to us a great deal in the following episodes. All the same, I was relieved when Hall backed off on his Malkovich impersonation. Dexter is a self-admitted sociopath but, in that rarefied place where distinctions are made for such things, he is no Leary. Exactly who and what Dexter is becomes our dilemma – and an intriguing, Escher-like moral problem it is. Blu-ray Release date: January 6th, 2009

Righteous Kill BR - Righteous Kill pairs two cinematic icons whose previous screen collaboration, Michael Mann's 1995 Heat, was absolutely electrifying despite minimal time together in a long movie. Now in their mid-60s, De Niro and Pacino are playing veteran cops who, despite being grizzled, should look much younger than these actors. The incongruent casting makes the dark story improbable from the get-go, and things get worse as dialogue by screenwriter Russell Gurwitz quickly sounds like a parody of vintage cop movie cliches. It's a strain to find anything that works. The two leads play longtime detectives and partners whose weariness with rapists, murderers, pedophiles and other villains appears linked to the acts of a serial killer taking out bad guys who got away with heinous crimes. Blu-ray Release date: January 6th, 2009

Gigi BR - Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1958 direct-to-screen follow-up to their My Fair Lady was--miraculously--every bit as memorable as that stage smash. Set in fin-de-siècle Paris and based on a Colette story, Gigi also is about a girl (Leslie Caron) on a lower rung of society who blossoms into Cinderellahood before our eyes and ears. Thank heaven for Hermione Gingold and Maurice Chevalier as her mentors, and Louis Jourdan as her prince. The screenplay writer and lyricist Lerner always said that Gigi's title song was his favorite of all he'd written, and it's easy to see why--"Gigi" is a transcendent anthem to being transformed by love from an unexpected source. Blu-ray Release date: October 8th, 2008

Sophie Scholl BR - Sophie Scholl -- The Final Days is yet another German cinematic soul search. After WWII, the Germans were basically forced to say, “We’re sorry for being the bad guys” over and over again. The Germans essentially weren’t allowed to mourn for their losses (since their soldiers died for the “wrong” cause), and the Allies decided that there weren’t any “good” Germans between 1930 and 1945. Still, the remarkable story of Sophie Scholl and The White Rose began to surface, and at least two movies were made about Scholl and her brief life. Sophie Scholl is the first of these biopics to be based on recently released documents that were locked away by the East-German government. Blu-ray Release Date: October 27th 2008

Zulu BR - No matter its shortcomings, it is difficult to discredit a film that pulls off an entire second half of nonstop, exciting action in a way that isn’t completely mind-numbing. Zulu’s scenes of war move with intelligence and grace, and its battle sequences are true sights to behold. It’s when the characters open their mouths and actually try to speak real dialogue that the movie deflates: The entire first half is a big, meandering mess of clichés and racial stereotypes. But those battle sequences—wow. Blu-ray Release Date: November 3rd, 2008

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:

Week of December 29th, 2008

Baghead (Duplass bros., 2008) Sony Pictures

Days of Thunder [Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 1990) Paramount

The Duchess [Blu-ray] (Susanne Bier, Saul Dibb, 2008) Paramount

Eagle Eye (D.J. Caruso, 2008) Dreamworks Video
Eagle Eye [
Blu-ray] (D.J. Caruso, 2008) Dreamworks Video

Event Horizon [Blu-ray] (Paul W.S. Anderson, 1997) Paramount

Ghost [Blu-ray] (Jerry Zucker, 1990) Paramount

The Heartbreak Kid [Blu-ray] (Farrelly brothers, 2007) Dreamworks Video

Serenity [Blu-ray] (Joss Whedon, 2005) Universal

Towelhead (Alan Ball, 2007) Warner Home Video

The Truman Show [Blu-ray] (Peter Weir, 1998) Paramount

Woman on The Beach (Sang-soo Hong, 2006) New Yorker Video


Week of January 5th, 2009

Bangkok Dangerous [Blu-ray] (Danny Pang, 2008) Lions Gate

Battlestar Galactica - Season 4.0 - Universal Studios

Blind Mountain (Li Yang, 2007) Kino

Days and Clouds (Silvio Soldini, 2007) Film Movement

Eden Lake [Blu-ray] (James Watkins, 2008) Weinstein

The Flock [Blu-ray] (Wai-keung Lau, 2007) 101 DISTRIBUTION

Friday Night Lights [Blu-ray] (Peter Berg + Josh Pate, 2004) Universal Studios

The Grocer's Son (Eric Guirado, 2007) Film Movement

Inheritance (James Moll, 2006) Docurama

Jim Jarmusch Collection Vol.2 - Mystery Train, Night On Earth and Dead Man - R2 UK Optimum

The Last Emperor [Blu-ray] (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987) Criterion

The Last Legion [Blu-ray] (Doug Lefler, 2007) 101 DISTRIBUTION

Life Gamble [Blu-ray] (Chang Cheh, 1979) Navarre

Michael Powell Double Feature (A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Age of Consent (1969) - Sony Pictures
Opium and the Kung Fu Master [
Blu-ray] (Tang Chia, 1984) Navarre

Pineapple Express (David Gordon Green, 2008) - Sony Pictures

Pineapple Express [Blu-ray] (David Gordon Green, 2008) - Sony Pictures

Righteous Kill [Blu-ray] (Jon Avnet, 2008) Anchor Bay

The Wackness (Jonathan Levine, 2008) Sony Pictures
The Wackness [
Blu-ray] (Jonathan Levine, 2008) Sony Pictures

"I found out life's hard but it ain't impossible."
August Wilson, from the play Two Trains Running
Have a super, and safe, entry to 2009!