DVDBeaver Newsletter for February 6th, 2006
Hello! Apologies for the tardiness of this newsletter but once again my son brought home a devastating Flu bug, of which I was the unfortunate recipient. It gave me an opportunity to do some viewing but the re-viewing portion was put on hiatus. I think as opposed to a regular newsletter, I will only publish only when we have something to say - which should be in the realm of weekly I suspect. We have quite a bit in this edition- 3 Criterion reviews, some revealing comparisons, an anticipated Box set, westerns, indie, classic Hollywood, upcoming releases and more.
ANicholas Ray's epic 1959 film about Eskimo life was unfairly victimized on release, censored at the UK cinema, and neglected by both TV and home video for decades. The Savage Innocents continued Ray's fascination with alternative lifestyles — examining the life of Eskimos and their remoteness from "civilized" values. It represents Ray's first and most ambitious attempt to break free from Hollywood and forge his own route. Reviewed HERE Buy HERE
Like last time this sale could end in a heartbeat pickup now and save...
Amazon.UK - £ 7.97 or less - Some of the notables include:
Etre Et Avoir , Delicatessen , Sympathy For Mr Vengeance , Mirror , Abigail's Party , The Last Metro , Three Colours Blue , Three Colours White , Three Colours Red , Persona , Lovers Of The Arctic Circle , The Gospel According To St. Matthew , Ivan's Childhood , Jamon Jamon , The Magician , Code Unknown , A Short Film About Killing , To Joy , Crisis , Beau Travail , Summer Interlude , The Terrorist , The Wicker Man  and many more!
RECOMMENDATIONS... I'm always a bit hesitant about expounding on my own opinions but I saw some wonderful films this past week or so. I really loved Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Innocence - quite an enigmatic offering - make sure to buy the Region 2 edition! I really embrace the western genre and The Gunfighter was about the best I've seen in a long time. If you don't own the out-of-print Criterion then we suggest buying the Warner The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Breakfast at Tiffany's has its own charm and the new DVD is leagues ahead of its predecessor. I don't often recommend solely on the basis of a transfer but David Lean's Ryan's Daughter is as good as I can remember seeing - Magnificent!. Know any young lads (sons, nephews etc.) or still are one yourself? these two Hollywood classic, The Champ and Captains Courageous, are demanding you pass on the good word. Most are aware of Criterions sterling reputation but Young Mr. Lincoln and La Bête Humaine are worth splurging - very much so. Do it.
Most Recent Reviews
The Cary Grant Box Set -
Only Angels Have Wings,
The Talk of the Town,
His Girl Friday,
The Awful Truth - The films are some of the
best of their period regardless that they all star Cary Grant. Romantic and
screwball comedies helmed by Hawks, Cukor, McCarey and George Stevens. The
reasonableness of the cost make this a financially sound investment even if you
already own 2 of the initial releases.
Holiday is finally seeing the digital light
in Region1. DVD
Release Date: February 7th, 2006
Captains Courageous - Freddy Bartholomew is the spoilt son of a businessman, who falls off an ocean liner when one of his pranks goes wrong. Spencer Tracy is the Portuguese fisherman who rescues him, but the rest of the crew on his boat, captained by Barrymore, dismiss his claims of wealth as fantasy, and set him to work. The boy learns valuable lessons about life, labour and friendship. Another great Warner DVD! DVD Release Date: January 31st, 2006
The Champ - Wallace Beery won an Oscar for his portrayal of the title character, a washed up prize fighter with alcohol and gambling holding him back but he has a little son to raise without a mother. The relationship between Andy Purcell (Beery) and Dink (Jackie Cooper) is as heartwarming as on its initial release and conclude this as one of the finest father/son dramas ever made. DVD Release Date: January 31st, 2006
Lust For Life - "The pictures come to me as in a dream," Vincent Van Gogh said. A dream that too often turned to life-shattering nightmare. Winner of Golden Globe and New York Film Critics Best Actor Awards, Kirk Douglas gives a fierce portrayal as the artist torn between the joyous inspiration of his genius and the dark desperation of his tormented mind. DVD Release Date: January 31st, 2006
The Secret Lives of Dentists - David and Dana Hurst are a married couple, both dentists, who share a clinic. Outside of this, they have two houses, three children and are living a quiet life. That is, until David one day sees his wife in the arms of another man. Rather than confronting her, he lets the vision haunt him. A beautifully crafted and acted film that gravitates to a dark comedy. DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2006
The Gunfighter - A simple story with a unique angle - this is the first western to confront the issue of the aging gunslinger - his reputation dogging his attempts at a settled lifestyle. Gregory Peck is Johnny Ringo - reputed to be faster on the draw than Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Hikcock - and every cowboy looking to make his mark is foolishly prepared to test his mettle - to see how far he can be pushed. This easily ranks as one the greatest westerns I've ever seen. DVD Release Date: January 16th, 2006
Slow Motion - Godard displays cinema as wihtout meaning or value, escaping the trappings of relationships and life. The main characters says, that he creates cinema to keep himself busy. A sensational piece of film. DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2006
Whisky - Everything about Jacobo is dull. He leads a boring life, running a dull dark run-down sock factory, and his life consists of the same dull routines. When his brother, who leads an interesting successful life, comes to visit, Jacobo asks his assistant Martha to pose as his wife, wanting to impress his brother. Herman, the brother, is impressed and invites them both to go to a seaside resort with him. It is nearly impossible not to be charmed by "Whisky". One very beautiful and touching film.
David Holzman's Diary - Jim McBride's ingenious puzzle movie presents itself as a cinema verite document--the attempt of a young filmmaker (L.M. Kit Carson) to put his life in order by recording it on celluloid (1967). The simulation is seamless (it's much more convincing than Woody Allen's Zelig), which produces some wonderful paradoxes... and selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1991. DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2006
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things - Argento emerges as an intelligent and mature director/actress. Her portrait as Sarah is almost brutal realistic, as if she is that person and pays not attention to her own direction. Likewise the acting of both Cole and Dylan Sprouse, which gives the characters a strong voice. A deeply disturbing film, "The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things" is not to be missed. DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2006
Kairo (Pulse) - Kurosawa furthers his protagonist manifesto with Kairo. He manages to create a intriguing and frightening "straight" horror film with an underlying theme of the loneliness prevalent in modern Japanese culture. In a sense, this Kurosawa's nod to Romero's seminal Dawn of the Dead. It parallels the film and shares its sense of vastness. With "J-Horror" perhaps in it's death throws for the time being, this film could very well represent the pinnacle of the trend.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Philip Kaufman achieves a delicate, erotic balance with his screen version of Milan Kundera’s “unfilmable” novel. Adapted by Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carrière, the film follows a womanizing surgeon (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he struggles with his free-spirited mistress (Lena Olin) and his childlike wife (Juliette Binoche). An intimate epic, The Unbearable Lightness of Being charts the frontiers of relationships with wit, emotion, and devastating honesty. DVD Release Date: February 7th, 200
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Romantic comedy is a difficult genre to perfect and it has rarely been done as well as it is here. Hepburn and Peppard create the kind of screen chemistry that comes along all too rarely. Despite the sordid implications of the relationships portrayed, the humor and the Oscar-winning refrains of Henry Mancini's score maintain the feelgood factor. The result is a charming fable of love in big, bad New York. DVD Release Date: February 7th, 2006
Shaun of the Dead - To call this movie an "instant classic" is an understatement. The ability of Edgar Wright (Writer, Director) and Simon Pegg (Writer, Actor) to combine two potentially unmergeable genres is brilliant. Yes, we've all seen our share of horror-comedies, but this time out, the filmmakers combine real romantic comedy with extreme horror and gore. They both mesh seamlessly to create a movie that never fails to entertain.
Me and You and Everyone We Know - Winner of the Camera d'or Award for best first film at the Cannes Film Festival, Miranda July's directorial debut focuses on a separated, but calmly centered, shoe salesman (John Hawkes) and an eccentric square-peg performance artist (played by director/writer July). They connect with parallel stories of children (and the elderly) coping to mature in an adult word in this unique, and at times humorous, expression of contemporary existence.
Ryan's Daughter - Lean's depiction of provincial Ireland during the unrest of 1916 may suffer a little from its rather worthy romanticism, but this does not dilute its powerful, epic vision. Best DVD transfer so far in 2006! DVD Release Date: February 7th, 2006
Innocence - Set in an almost mythical illuminated European forest lies a boarding school for young girls ages 6 to 11. It is a world of strict order without any men. The girls are divided into ages by different colored hair ribbons, they are taught traditions and objects fitting young girls, and the school itself is surrounded by high stone walls without any entrance or exit. It is also a world with a magical logic to it, where the eldest girl will disappear and the new youngest girl will appear in a coffin, without any memory of the outside world. "Innocence" is nothing less than a masterpiece of cinema. It is so delicate in tone, poetic visual porcelain, which uses colors to paint a mythical fable of innocence, hold in place by discipline and terror. Pure cinema magic.
Young Mr. Lincoln - Few historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln, and few director-star pairings embody classic American cinema as perfectly as do John Ford and Henry Fonda. In Young Mr. Lincoln, their first collaboration, Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career as the young president-to-be struggling with an incendiary murder case as a novice lawyer. Compassionate and assured, this indelible piece of Americana marks the beginning of Ford and Fonda’s ascent to legendary status. DVD Release Date: February 14th, 2006
La Bête Humaine - Based on the classic Émile Zola novel, Jean Renoir’s La bête humaine was one of the legendary director’s greatest popular successes, tapping into the fatalism of a nation in despair. Part poetic realism, part film noir, the film is a hard-boiled and suspenseful journey into the tormented psyche of a workingman. DVD Release Date: February 14th, 2006
Metropolitan - One of the most significant achievements of the American independent film movement of the 1990s, writer-director Whit Stillman’s debut, Metropolitan, is a sparkling comedic chronicle of a middle-class young man’s romantic misadventures among New York City’s debutante society. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Stillman’s deft, literate script and hilariously high-brow observations mask a tender tale of adolescent anxiety. DVD Release Date: February 14th, 2006
Significant Upcoming releases - keep your eye on our Calendar for more !
Baby Doll (Elia Kazan, 1956) Warner Home Video
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof DELUXE EDITION (Richard Brooks, 1958) Warner Home Video
Delicatessen (Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet , 1992) Miramax
Night of the Iguana (John Huston, 1964) Warner Home Video
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Jose Quintero , 1961) Warner Home Video
A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, 1951) Warner Home Video
Sweet Bird of Youth (Richard Brooks, 1962) Warner Home Video
Tennessee Williams Film Collection (A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 Two-Disc Special Edition / Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958 Deluxe Edition / Sweet Bird of Youth / The Night of the Iguana / Baby Doll / The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone) (1958) Warner Home Video
Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection - (Man of the World, We’re Not Dressing, Hands Across the Table, Love Before Breakfast, The Princess Comes Across and True Confession) MCA Video
Films of Faith Collection - ("The Nun's Story", "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima", "The Shoes of the Fisherman" - also sold seperately) - Warner
Mae West: The Glamour Collection - This two-disc set (1xDVD14, 1xDVD9) includes 5 films: Night After Night, I’m No Angel, Goin’ To Town, Go West Young Man and My Little Chickadee MCA Video
Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection: Morocco, Blonde Venus, The Devil is a Woman, Flame of New Orleans and Golden Earrings.) MCA Video
Master of the House (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1925) bfi [R2-UK]
The Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Arrow [R2-UK]
La Double vie de Véronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) mk2 [R2-France]
Next 3 weeks:
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
Eros (Antonioni,Soderbergh, Kar Wai Wong 2004) Warner Home Video
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
The Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1996) Cinema Club [R2-UK]
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
La Bete Humaine (Jean Renoir, 1940) Criterion Collection
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
All the President's Men (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Alan J. Pakula, 1976) Warner Home Video
Anne of the Thousand Days (Charles Jarrott, 1969) Universal Pictures France PAL
Battle in Heaven (Carlos Reygadas, 2005) Tartan R2 UK
The Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Arrow [R2-UK]
Daddy Long Legs (Jean Negulesco, 1955) 20th Century Fox
La Double vie de Véronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) mk2 [R2-France]
Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins , 1974) New Yorker
Familia rodante (Pablo Trapero - 2004) Artificial Eye R2 UK
Fantômas contre Fantômas (Louis Feuillade , 1914) Artificial Eye UK R2
Miracle In Milan (Vittorio De Sica, 1951) Arrow Film Distributors UK R2
Mixed Blood (Paul Morrissey, 1985) Image Entertainment
Pin Up Girl (H. Bruce Humberstone , 1944) 20th Century Fox
Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001) Magnolia
The Prisoner of Shark Island (John Ford, 1936) Eureka MoC
Twenty-four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK]
P.S. Criterion's upcoming double disc set of Late Spring (spine # 331) will include Tokyo-Ga (1985, 92 mins), legendary director Wim Wenders’ tribute to Yasujiro Ozu, an audio commentary on the feature by Richard Peña, program director of New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center and new liner note essays by critic Michael Atkinson and renowned Japanese-film historian Donald Richie.