DVDBeaver Newsletter for March 5th, 2006
Hello friends! Many Asian films proliferate our listing in this newsletter - a budding Chinese master's current pinnacle, 2 from a Japanese animation icon, 3 from Korea - an erotic drama, a much-discussed 50's melodrama and an enigmatic modern phenomenon completing a vengeful trilogy - include a Hong Kong musical romance, a forgotten - but much revered - Japanese samurai masterpiece and another in the assembly line of Asian sado-masochistic horror suspense thrillers... but we have only begun - we also have a riveting Italian documentary masterpiece, 3 atmospheric film noirs, Keaton, Frankenheimer, an indie time-travel trek and three 50's sci-fi alien invasion B-films. Plus plenty of news on new and upcoming releases...
Great Quality Epics NOW Available at YesAsia
Henry Hathaway'sCircus World - REVIEW / BUY
Anthony Mann'sThe Fall of the Roman Empire - REVIEW / BUY
SEE UPDATED LISTINGS AT OURYESASIA PAGE!
Some very interesting older Chinese and Korean films NOW on DVD at YesAsia:
NEWS:Warner announced they will be releasing Greed, The Wind, The Crowd, The Big Parade, The Unholy Three, and several other silents this year and in 2007.
Krzysztof Kieslowski focuses on identity using naturalistic and sultry actress Irene Jacobs in the dual role of French music teacher Veronique and Polish soprano Weronika - both born on the same day. The director's use of music and atmosphere again appears unmatched in the modern era of film. Overall, an ambiguous and enigmatic offering, this is a film that clings to you for years after viewing. A true masterpiece of cinema.Reviewed HERE Buy HERE
MORE NEWS:Exciting NEW Master's of Cinema's upcoming titles listings:
#31F for Fake /The Hearts of Age (1934) - Welles, #32 Funeral Parade of Roses - Matsumoto, #33 Shoeshine - de Sica, #34 Repast - Naruse, #35 Sound of the Mountain - Naruse, #36 Flowing - Naruse
NEW Hardware ReviewHERE: Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma TV!
RECOMMENDATIONS... at the top of our list is Jia Zhang-ke's The World... it is simply a must-see film. You'd have to be a rare bird indeed to ignore the incredible deals on the 3 new Noir representatives from Fox - The House on Telegraph Hill, No Way Out and Fallen Angel. Open your film nights with a Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection short - his stoic countenance and some roll-on-the-floor slapstick start a complete film evening. Adam and Henrik give the thumbs up to Primer. Well, after much detailed research I am continuing to read up on Madam Freedom. It's intangible appeal may be its greatest asset. Ohhh and samurai lovers will have to get Goyokin - possibly the best of its genre - certainly an essential.
Most Recent Reviews and Comparisons:
The World - The title of Jia Zhang-ke's
2004 masterpiece, The World -- a film that's hilarious and upsetting, epic and
dystopian -- is an ironic pun and a metaphor. It's also the name of the real
theme park outside Beijing where most of the action is set and practically all
its characters work. "See the world without ever leaving Beijing"
Mondo Cane - “All the scenes you will see in this film are true. If they are shocking, it is only because there are many shocking things in this world…” With those words, directors Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara and Franco Prosperi unleashed the international sensation that stunned critics and moviegoers alike while revolutionizing the documentary genre forever.
Watch the Skies - First The Cosmic Man arrives in a strange spherical spaceship. Is he here to destroy the world or bring it peace? Humanity stands in the balance in this powerful and engaging sci-fi saga with John Carradine, inspired by The Day the Earth Stood Still. Then a Stranger From Venus has the power of life and death at his touch, and Academy Award-winner Patricia Neal is a woman caught up in the biggest event in history in this touching and haunting story of "first contact" with a peaceful and advanced intelligence from another planet. Finally, America and Russia race against the clock in a thrill-packed contest to capture The Flying Saucer hidden in the uncharted, avalanche-prone wastelands of Alaska.
Kiki's Delivery Service - Kiki, a witch-in-training, is now 13 years old and according to tradition, she must leave home to find a town in which to practice her magic. Hayao Miyazaki fills his ouvre with another marvelous adventure - not simply a great animated film, but a great film period.... to the existing DVDBeaver comparison we have added the new Optimum DVD!
Primer (PAL vs. NTSC compared)- Time travel
films are rarely this intelligent. This one is borderline brilliant, and the
fact that it was made for only $7,000, by a first time filmmaker (Shane Carruth
who also wrote, shot, scored, edited, produced, and starred in the film) and
took home the Grand Jury prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival goes to prove
that sharp, thought-out films can still be recognized by American audiences.
Repo Man - DVDBeaver has added the old Anchor Bay version to its comparison - 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.
Sympathy For Lady Vengeance - This movie is a tremendous piece of work. Park Chan-wook has a very brutal, yet lyrical way of showing the ills of society. The movie is not easy to take and the ending is not as sweet as vengeance might seem. It’s real and brutal. Nothing is too easy in this world and everybody has to pay a certain price.
Vital - It is tempting to trace a sentimental education on Shinya Tsukamoto’s part from the full-on Cronenberg ‘body-horror’ of ‘Tetsuo’, through ‘Tokyo Fist’ to ‘Snake of June’. True, newcomers may still find ‘Vital’ extreme; its story of an amnesiac trainee-doctor’s obsessive (and intimate) four-month relationship with a cadaver he’s dissecting – which, by ‘supernatural’ coincidence, happens to be that of his ex-girlfriend, killed in a car crash he survived – is replete enough with gloopy, close-up, gory innards, disorientating, industrial-level noise, sado-masochistic shenanigans, and eerie, hallucinatory atmospherics.
Laputa: Castle in the Sky - Many of the elements by which one defines Miyazaki comes together. The fascination with aeroplanes, the struggle of nature versus technology, the maturing of young girls. Not surprisingly, it has a feel of "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" over it aswell. Based upon the Gulliver's story about the flying city of Laputa, the story centers around a mysterious crystal held by a young girl, who with the help of a boy escapes the evil skypirates, who wants the crystal, and finds her way to the city in the sky. The action and slapstick is similar to the one in Cagliostro, the motifs allude Nausicaä, and the film is all Miyazaki.
The House on Telegraph Hill - With its sophisticated construction and eerie ambience there's much to appreciate in Wise's direction. However, it's Basehart's character that generates the tension and as Viktoria sifts through his past he's transformed from unctuous charmer to murderous monster. Not the most high profile of Robert Wise's films but a rewarding, gothic-tinged thriller with more than a touch of Hitchcock about it.
No Way Out - There is little preaching in Mankiewicz's screenplay (which was nominated for an Academy Award, losing to Mankiewicz's script for "All About Eve"). It also has a refreshingly direct confrontation of tokenism and double standards, but the film is more than a historical curiosity. It is a gripping, noirish melodrama with outstanding performances. . . and striking black-and-white cinematography by Milton Krasner.
Fallen Angel - In 1945, a year after the tremendous success of Laura, director Otto Preminger again uses Dana Andrews, this time as as a drifter, Eric Stanton , who is thrown off a San Francisco bus for limited funds to continue. A survivor, with use of his charm and well dressed demeanor, falls almost immediately for a waitress named Stella (Linda Darnell), who half the town appears to be nursing a huge crush on. It may be below Preminger standard, but it will keep you keen with its powerful atmosphere.
Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection - Ten very slapstick comedic shorts from the Great Stone Face himself, Buster Keaton, surface on DVD for the first time in this special two-disc set. The honorary Academy Award-winner shines in rare films from Hollywood's golden - and hilarious - years. Teamed with the brilliant comediennes Dorothy Appleby and Elsie Ames, Keaton bumbles from one side-splitting mishap to another, always maintaining his famously blank expression. Whether he's a millionaire, a plumber, or a hat maker, Keaton's physical antics and hapless adventures light up the screen in these unforgettable 1940s comedies.
I Walk the Line - A married backwoods Tennessee sheriff (Peck) falls in love with a teenager (Weld) whose father is a moonshiner. With a few of the earmarks of Frankenheimer the film follows a gentle, yet subtly building pace. I fear there was a little too much production intrusion with Johnny Cash tunes popping up frequently - assuming, I suppose, his popularity might help ticket sales. Peck is his usual fabulous self, this time as a brooding, uncomfortable adulterer but overall the film doesn't seem to fill all the pieces of the puzzle quite adeptly. Luckily the performances carry the us through and Frankenheimer's still has a few tricks up his sleeve with a unsuspecting finale.
The Drew Carey Show - I always liked The Drew Carey Show. He brought some excellent writing with an inventive sitcom environment, outrageous characters and off-the-wall antics. Certainly one the better grass-roots comedy shows in recent television history. A bit disappointing that entire seasons weren't released on DVD for this fine series. This is a compilation of 6 of the better episodes (including the pilot).
Goyokin - Hideo Gosha's "Goyokin," an elaborate but undistinguished Japanese samurai movie with a bleeding, liberal heart, although the movie's real interest is not politics but the kind of swordplay and slaughter that anesthetizes without giving preliminary pleasure. The time is 1834, toward the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, whose collapse is as much a reference point for samurai films as the Civil War is for American frontier movies.
Duck Season - This impressive debut feature from Mexican filmmaker Fernando Eimbcke, deserves a place in the hearts of underachievers worldwide. Duck Season is highly evocative of Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger than Paradise as a comedic black and white study in boredom, but it captures the apathy of my generation with such poignant wit and subtle poetry, that it probably belongs to be placed in a category of its own.
Eoudong - Eoudong is one of the most famous erotic dramas in Korean cinema history. Kind of an interesting film with a decent narrative that gets slightly derailed with healthy does of actress Lee Bo Hee's sexuality - mostly showing her occasionally naked torso, buttocks and back plus her suggestive glances in the cameras direction. She actually gives a strong performance and the film shows nothing particularly explicit.
Perhaps Love - Some say Peter Chan offers a Chinese version of the famous musical movie Chicago. Whether this claim holds true or not, in Perhaps Love Peter Chan has explored an art form which very few Hong Kong or even Chinese film directors dare try. Yet, beneath all the enchanting singing and spectacular dancing scenes indeed lies the theme of romance, which seems a recurring motif in all Peter Chan films from Comrades, Almost a Love Story to Perhaps Love.
Madam Freedom - If you were not patient you might initially dismiss this film for its apparently weak acting, however under the surface is a constraining poke at many encroaching societal trends in 1950's Korea. I had never seen a Korean film of this era - yet alone a melodrama paralleling Hollywood in so many different veins. The film has such an unusual appeal and I have a hard time nailing down its central angst... but female aspirations and western value influences are key - it is almost like propaganda actually. I am very glad I saw it and it has stayed with me for quite a while - perhaps due its bizarre unconventional rendering - I still am unsure.
Next 3 weeks - keep your eye on our Calendar for more !
All the Mornings of the World (Tous les matins du monde) Two-Disc Edition (Alain Corneau, 1991) Koch Lorber Films
Buster Keaton: 65th Anniversary Collection (2pc) - Sony Pictures
Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964) [R2-UK]
Les Demoiselles De Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967) Momentum Pictures Home R2 UK
Fallen Angel (Otto Preminger -1945)
The House on Telegraph Hill (Robert Wise, 1951)
I Walk the Line (John Frankenheimer, 1970) Sony Pictures
Jarhead (Widescreen Edition) (Sam Mendes , 2005) Mca Home Video
Kagero-Za (Seijun Suzuki, 1991) Kino Video
Mahapurush (The Saint) (Satyajit Ray, 1965) [R2-UK]
My Neighbor Totoro (2-Disc Set) (Hayao Miyazaki ,1988) Walt Disney Video
No Way Out (Joseph L. Mankiewicz1950)
Party Girl (Nicholas Ray , 1958) Warner Home Vidéo - France
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Albert Lewin , 1945) France R2 Warner Home Vidéo
Prix de beauté (Miss Europe) (Augusto Genina, 1930) Kino International
Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1942) Image Entertainment
Yumeji (Seijun Suzuki, 1991) Kino Video
Zigeunerweisen (Seijun Suzuki, 1981) Kino Video
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) New Line Home Video
Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle, 1987) Criterion Collection
Columbo: The Complete Fourth Season - Mca Home Video
3 Films by Louis Malle ( Murmur of the Heart; Lacombe, Lucien; and Au revoir les enfants) Criterion
Lacombe, Lucien (Louis Malle, 1974) Criterion Collection
Murmur of the Heart (Louis Malle, 1971) Criterion Collection
The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005) Columbia/TriStar
Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005) Momentum Pictures Home R2 UK
The Busby Berkeley Collection (Footlight Parade / Gold Diggers of 1933 / Dames / Gold Diggers of 1935 / 42nd Street) - Warner
Toni (Jean Renoir, 1934) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK]
Hoping you are well and content,
P.S. Recently released out of France or coming very soon:
P.P.S. Still holding firm...
Amazon.UK SALE - £ 7.97 or less - Some of the notables include:
Pretty Poison (1968) , 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!