DVDBeaver Newsletter for January 26th, 2006


Hi Folks ! - this has been a particularly draining week, 20 reviews/comparisons and lots of relevant release news. A lot of interesting and surprising stuff has surfaced - new and old.


Those with uncooperative mail clients - you may read our newsletters at our new Newsletter Archive HERE.


Our Sight and Sound DVD availability listing has been thoroughly updated - CHECK HERE (Thanks to Gregory!)


Check out our Criterion Review Archive and note that Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring is spine # 331


Sale STILL ON  at Amazon.UK - £ 7.97 or less

Etre Et Avoir [2002], Delicatessen [1991], Sympathy For Mr Vengeance [2002], Mirror [1974], Abigail's Party [1977], The Last Metro [1980], Three Colours Blue [1993], Three Colours White [1993], Three Colours Red [1994], Persona [1966], Lovers Of The Arctic Circle [2000], The Gospel According To St. Matthew [1964], Ivan's Childhood [1962], Jamon Jamon [1992], The Magician [1958], Code Unknown [2001], A Short Film About Killing [1988], To Joy [1949], Crisis [1946], Beau Travail [1999], Summer Interlude [1950], The Terrorist [1998], The Wicker Man [1973]  and many more!   


RECOMMENDATIONS... My head was really turned by a few DVD releases this past week. I found Chichi to kuraseba to be right up my alley - a gentle approach to a devastating topic. Seen many times Chunhyang has been my only exposure to 'pansori' opera - it is a marvelous film and the new DVD edition is top notch. On the Warner DVD of Eros there is an Antonioni directed short film from 2004 - Lo Sguardo di Michelangelo (aka Michelangelo Eye to Eye). I enjoyed it immensely. For fans of classic cinema both Johnny Belinda and The Good Earth are very good purchases. Adam recommends Junebug and that is good enough for me. Hou fans are well aware of Three Times and many rank it as one of his best. 


Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger coming to Region 1 DVD on March 14th! MORE INFO HERE The director takes his own uniquely unanswerable and elliptical look at the basic precepts of identity and truth starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider.                 


Most Recent Reviews and Comparisons:

Eros - is a three-part anthology film about eroticism by a trio of world cinema's outstanding directors. The three vignettes in Eros may seem totally unrelated on surface, but underneath the different stories lies a common theme about erotic desires. Each episode explores erotic desires at a different level, from physical to psychological to spiritual.

The Green Pastures - "You gotta git your minds fixed," the rural preacher tells Sunday School children. And the best way to do that fixin' is from Old Testament stories narrated by the preacher, played by a black cast, backed by the joyful gospel sounds of the Hall Johnson Choir and based on Marc Connelly's folk-themed Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Rex Ingram portrays de Lawd, who has a 100,000 things to do before any human's next breath - like instructing Noah (Eddie Anderson); taking counsel with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; or teaching Moses tricks to dazzle Pharaoh. Get your mind fixed for The Green Pastures. It's a film of its time. But like all great art, it transcends it.

Cimarron - Spaces were neither wide nor open in most early Sound Westerns. Not so in Cimarron. It starts with one of the most renowned giddy-ups in cinema history: a thundering recreation of the 1889 Oklahoma Land Rush. From there Cimarron, based on the bestselling epic by Giant and Show Boat novelist Edna Ferber, traces the generations-spanning saga of that land. There rugged Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) and his resourceful pioneer wife Sabra (Irene Dunne) sink roots, persevere, give shape to their dreams. It's a saga of change, told with an authenticity that moviegoers who had lived through that era recognized - and told with a skill that earned it three Academy Awards including Best Picture!

Johnny Belinda - Jane Wyman won a Best Actress Oscar for her strong performance in this touching drama of a deaf-mute girl (Wyman) and a doctor (Lew Ayres) who works closely with her. The story (based on Elmer Harris's play) seems intent on dumping one grievance after another onto the poor character, from rape to community pressure to give up the resultant baby, plus a terrible loss sustained somewhere in there as well. But Wyman and director Jean Negulesco manage to make the film more than the sum of its perils, and the texture and atmosphere of the town is particularly effective.

The Good Earth - First came marriage, an arranged union of peasant farmer Wang Lung (Paul Muni) and kitchen slave O-Lan (Luise Rainer). Then, through poverty and wealth, family and betrayal, war and pestilence, came love. From Pearl S. Buck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Good Earth combines Wang and O-Lan's story with a sweeping saga of China in upheaval.

Junebug - Watching a film like Junebug, one is reminded of what the name Sundance once meant. This is not a vehicle for a big name star to tackle some darker, more edgy role, but a confidently made and dare I say, one of the most original American films of the year. With an original soundtrack by Yo La Tengo and an appearance by Will Oldham, this is a movie of irresistible appeal, and marks Phil Morrison as a director to watch out for.

Three Times - relates a series of three love stories which, although they take place at different points in time (1966, 1911 and 2005), are played by the same couple of actors (Shu Qi and Chang Chen). "It seems to me that by contrasting love stories from three different times, we can feel how people's behavior is circumscribed by the times and places they live in," explained Hou Hsiao Hsien. This work, whose Chinese title would literally be translated "Our Best Moments", happens to draw upon the director's own memories.

Intimate Lighting - Ivan Passer was Milos Forman's writing partner and his exquisite humor and story telling savoir made itself felt in Forman's early Czech comedies. Then Mr. Passer made his own masterpiece, Intimate Lighting, about the quixotic dreams of two musician friends, one who left their small hometown to become "successful", the other still a music teacher and part of the hometown's chamber music quartet. Intimate Lighting vibrates with pathos and comedy; with a compassionate and ironic eye Passer shines a poetic light on our illusions and small victories.

Wild River - With a touch of humanism and social conviction Wild River focuses on a TVA dam project that will evict a family (matriarch Van Fleet) and her significant number of black employees. Lee Remick, as well as being jaw-dropping stunning as a country lass, is a widowed daughter of said family and graces the screen with another of her magnificent performances.

They Shoot Movie. Don't They? - The line between fact and fiction is often blurred in Hollywood. A true story based upon a lie. Tom Paulson, a fledging baseball superstar suffers an injury and is forced to quit. Never to be held down, he follows his creative heart to... the heart of Hollywood, where he scores a much sought after position with a large movie studio. But it doesn't turn out to be all the glitter he was expecting.

Plan 9 From Outer Space - Firstly this is far from the worst film of all time... but with its exposure in Tim Burtons marvelous "Ed Wood" certainly gave it, and the marginal (at best) director, some renewed nostalgic notoriety. And it is much deserved. We meet people everyday who have real passion - and for Ed Wood it was making films - a profession that he, unfortunately, did not excel at. Still this film is part of cinema history and it is capable of tickling any film fans fancy with its obvious flaws and good intentions.

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story - One of the most interesting individuals of the past 50 years. A wild talent that found an avenue in which to succeed.  Although Vidmer's film touches upon these characteristics, it truly never emphasizes them to the degree that they deserve to be presented. It's the only movie out about Stu Unger's life so I enjoyed it, but being a huge fan, it should have been more detailed and 3-4 times as long.

Love, Ludlow - I suppose I am getting a bit jaded in my old age but this film just did not click for me. I can just about say with certainty that if you had any reservations about your enjoyment of Me, You and Everyone You Know (which I loved, by the way) you may also dislike Love, Ludlow - no, correct that - you will definitely hate Love, Ludlow.

The Devil is a Woman - Josef von Sternberg's final collaboration with Marlene Dietrich (1935) was out of circulation for many years, withheld by Paramount at the request of the Spanish government, which objected to the portrayal of the nation's officials as doom-ridden romantics. But the material world, of Spain or anywhere else, has little to do with Sternberg's creation, which remains one of the most coldly beautiful films ever made. Sternberg's universe is a realm of textures, shadows, and surfaces, which merge and separate in an erotic dance.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue - Sam Peckinpah followed The Wild Bunch with this intimate, eccentric, appealing 1970 comedy, which treats many of the same themes in a soft, regretful mode. As Hogue, the tapped-out prospector who has no one but God to talk to in the middle of his yellow desert, Jason Robards puts his theatrical gestures to good use; he's rarely seemed so at home in a movie.

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid - This is one strange and original movie. In 1973 most American reviewers responded by panning it and deriding its director, whom they saw as having betrayed the promise of Ride the High Country, been swept up in his own cult of violence, and become incoherent as a storyteller. Coherence wasn't helped by MGM's cutting at least a quarter-of-an-hour out of the finished film and removing a bitter, retrospective prelude.

Chichi to kuraseba - This deceptively haunting film is based on the sensitive play by Inoue Hisashi. Chichi to Kuraseba (English title: The Face of Jizo) is set in Hiroshima in 1948. The film dramatizes the life of a pretty girl, Mitsue (Rie Miyazawa from Twilight Samurai and Peony Pavillion), who continues to be tormented by enormous feelings of guilt for having been the only one in her family and friends to have survived the atomic blast.

Chunhyang - "Steeped in poetic beauty and deep-rooted culture, Chunhyang is a fascinating escape into a traditional Korean love story based on the opera of the same name. A gem of a viewing experience, this is a film that will stay with you for quite some time. Beautifully shot, it adeptly reflects the intrinsic essence of the characters emotions of loyalty as well as the ancient class structure of power, control and its abuse."

Repo Man - 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.

Danger: Diabolik - The Italian response to James Bond, this sly, sexy, cool-as-all-hell film manages to one-up the Bond series in just about every category. Starring John Phillip Law as the arch super-criminal Diabolik who elaborately steals from the rich and who plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Inspector Ginko (Michel Piccoli) as he conspires to steal the world’s largest bar of gold. Add to this one of Ennio Morricone’s best film scores and you have yourself something of a masterpiece.


More NEWLY listed releases - keep your eye on our Calendar for more !

Shakha Proshakha (Satyajit Ray, 1990) Seven 7 R2 France

The World (Zhang Ke Jia, 2004) Zeitgeist Films

The Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1996) Cinema Club [R2-UK]

Eros (Antonioni, Soderbergh, Kar Wai Wong 2004) Warner

Metropolitan - (Whit Stillman, 1990) Criterion Collection

Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer, 1949) Criterion

Three...Extremes (Fruit Chan/Takashi Miike/Park Chan-wook, 2004) Lions Gate

La Double vie de Véronique (Kieslowski, 1991) mk2 [R2-France]

Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins , 1974) New Yorker

Fantômas contre Fantômas (Louis Feuillade , 1914) AE UK R2

Miracle In Milan (Vittorio De Sica, 1951) Arrow Film UK R2

Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001) Magnolia

The Prisoner of Shark Island (John Ford, 1936) Eureka MoC

Under Capricorn (Alfred Hitchcock, 1949) Kinowelt

Goto, Island Of Love (Walerian Borowczyk , 1968) Cult Epics

Upcoming Releases:

Amos Gitai: Territories: House/House in Jerusalem/Field Diary/Arena of Murder/Wadi 1981-1991/Wadi Grand Canyon 2001 (Gitai) Facets

La Bataille du Rail (René Clément, 1945) Facets

Captains Courageous (Victor Fleming, 1937) Warner Home Video

The Champ (King Vidor, 1931) Warner

Cimarron (Wesley Ruggles , 1931) Warner
David Holzman's Diary/My Girlfriend's Wedding (Jim McBride, 1968/1969) Second Run [R2-UK]
The Departure
(Piotr and Magdalena Lasakiewicz, 1991) Facets

Dune (David Lynch , Extended Edition) Mca Home Video
End of August at the Hotel Ozone (Jan Schmidt, 1967) Facets

The Essential Atom Egoyan Box Set (Egoyan) Zeitgeist

Gojira aka 'Godzilla' (Ishirô Honda, 1954) BFI R2 UK

The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin , 1937) Warner
Intimate Lighting (Ivan Passer, 1965) Second Run [R2-UK]

Johnny Belinda (Jean Negulesco, 1948) Warner

Kitty Foyle (Sam Wood , 1940) Turner Home Ent.

Lust for Life (Vincente Minnelli, 1956) Warner Home Video

The Mysterians (Ishirô Honda, 1957) BFI R2 UK
Ozu Collection 3: Tokyo Twilight/Equinox Flower/Good Morning (Yasujiro Ozu, 1957/1958/1959) Tartan [R2-UK]

Pom Poko (Isao Takahata - 1994) Optimum Home Entertainment

Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992) Optimum Home UK PAL

Breakfast at Tiffany's (Blake Edwards, Anniversary Edition) (1961) Paramount Home Video

The Cary Grant Box Set (Holiday / Only Angels Have Wings / The Talk of the Town / His Girl Friday / The Awful Truth) Sony Pictures

The Incredible Shrinking Man (Jack Arnold, 1957) Universal Pictures Video R2 UK

Julia (Fred Zinnemann, 1977) 20th Century Fox

The Killing Fields ( Roland Joffé -1984) Optimum Home Entertainment

Mirrormask (Dave McKean, 2005) Sony Pictures

The Piano (Special Edition - Jane Campion - 1993) Optimum Home Entertainment

Ryan's Daughter (Two-Disc Special Edition) (David Lean, 1970) Warner Home Video

A Slightly Pregnant Man (Jacques Demy, 1973) Koch Lorber

Danton (Andrzej Wajda , 1983) Second Sight R2 UK

Gojoe reisenki (Sogo Ishii - 2000) Optimum Home Entertainment

Hangmen Also Die (Fritz Lang, 1943) [R2-UK]

Lost Embrace (Daniel Burman, 2003) New Yorker

Metropolitan - (Whit Stillman, 1990) Criterion Collection

Raise the Red Lantern (Yimou Zhang, 1991) Razor

Shakha Proshakha (Satyajit Ray, 1990) Seven 7 R2 France

Young Mr. Lincoln - (John Ford - 1939) Criterion Collection

The World (Zhang Ke Jia, 2004) Zeitgeist Films





P.S. BFI's Upcoming 'Free Cinema' DVD set contains:

O Dreamland (1956 - Lindsay Anderson), Momma Don't Allow (1955 - Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz), Together (1956 - Lorenza Mazzetti and Denis Horne), Wakefield Express (1952 - Lindsay Anderson), Nice Time (1957 - Alain Tanner and Claude Goretta), The Singing Street (1957 - Norton Park Film Unit), Everyday Except Christmas (1957 - Lindsay Anderson), Refuge England (1959 - Robert Vas), Enginemen (1959 - Michael Grigsby), We Are The Lambeth Boys (1959 - Karel Reisz), Food For A Bush (1959 - Elizabeth Russell), One Potato, Two Potato (1957 - Leslie Daiken), The Vanishing Street (1962 - Robert Vas), Tomorrow's Saturday (1962 - Michael Grigsby), and Gala Day (1963 - John Irvin)



P.P.S. In his new Tarkovsky book, Sean Martin seeks to demystify Tarkovsky as a ‘difficult’ director, whilst also celebrating his radical aesthetic of long takes and tracking shots, which Tarkovsky was to dub ‘imprinted’ or ‘sculpted’ time, and to make a case for Tarkovsky’s position not just as an important filmmaker, but also as an artist who speaks directly about the most important spiritual issues of our time. . MORE INFO HERE