DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 6th, 2006


I really love DVDBeaver and all the wonderful people I can converse with in email (when I have time)... and I love disseminating this information to you. Thanks to all who continue to support our efforts! We have some strong films on DVD this week. 7 comparisons and 10 new reviews from the likes of Dreyer (2), Hitchcock, Welles, Mayazaki (2), Bergman etc. plus some new Amazon deals available. I'm quite proud of our first (in a series) of articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum - be sure to check it out!


NEW Article: Jonathan Rosenbaum (exclusive for DVDBeaver!) tells us his 10 Favorite Offbeat Musicals


Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.


Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma - 4 DVD Boxset from Gaumont Columbia Tri-Star Home Video is back on schedule for May 4th, 2006! HERE


More Sales At Amazon.UK:

Summer With Monika (60% off), The Gospel According To St. Matthew (46% off), Jamon Jamon (60% off), Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (65% off), Girl on the Bridge (70% off), Baise-Moi (62% off), The Seventh Seal (65% off), Central Station (68% off), Kes (62% off), The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (2-disc) (70% off), Amelie (Two Disc Special Edition) [DTS] (72% 0ff), Pedro Almodovar Collection: Bad Education / Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down / Live Flesh / All About My Mother / Talk To Her (58% off), Visconti's Conversation Piece (61% off), The 39 Steps (68% off), The Fallen Idol (43% off), Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (54% off), Katherine Hepburn - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Rita Hayworth - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Barbara Stanwyck - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Sophia Loren - 6-disc Screen Goddess Collection (52% off), Mae West - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)


Recent Additions to the Release Calendar

The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 2 - (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Jezebel, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Marked Woman and Old Acquaintance) Warner Home Video

Viridiana (Luis Bunuel, 1962) Criterion Collection

The New World (Terrence Malick, 2006) New Line Home Video

Claude Chabrol Box Set: Les Biches/La Femme infidele/Que la bete meure/Le Boucher/Juste avant la nuit/Le Noces rouge/Nada/Madame Bovary (Chabrol) Arrow Film Distributors [R2-UK]

The Guard From Underground (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1992) Arts Magic

Mother Joan of Angels (Jerzy Kawalerowicz) Polart

An Unfinished Life (Lasse Hallstrom, 2005) Miramax


RECOMMENDATIONS:  I'll remind you that these are my personal suggestions and may not be for everyone - I loved the new BFI Day of Wrath - an intense film and a stupendous digital package!  If you like Film Noir, I can see how you wouldn't embrace Stolen Face  - with Lizbeth Scott defining herself as one of the ultimate Noir babes. Pepsi's says a gig yea to both Battle In Heaven and Chabrol's - The Bridesmaid and that is good enough for me. I was quite enthralled with Herz's The Cremator but it may not be for everyone. If you enjoy the early romantic comedies I'd say the Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection is for you. When Criterion go to town - I open up my pocketbook - Orson Welles' Mr. Arkadin on Criterion DVD is the definitive package for that film(s). In email one chap told me that Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is not just the director's best film but possibly the best children's film of its decade! Okay okay... I buy, I buy!

AVOID: Kinowelt really disappointed me with their DVD of Hitchcock's Under Capricorn. Save your money and buy the Image Entertainment disc if you want the film.


New Reviews:


Princess Raccoon - Seijun Suzuki's "Princess Raccoon" is mad, nuts, lysergic, wonderful, kitsch, genius, smutty, sexy, funny, funny, funny, Zhang Ziyi, Joe Odagiri, Kabuki, "Snow White," "The Wizard of Oz," "Romeo and Juliet," Noh, hip-hop, rock, Broadway, Disney, fuzzy-wuzzys, yakuza, swordsman, by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea, the cherry blossoms are in bloom again. DVD Release Date: March 29th, 2006

Gertrud - NEW BFI DVD! - Carl Dreyer’s last film neatly crowns his career: a meditation on tragedy, individual will and the refusal to compromise. A woman leaves her unfulfilling marriage and embarks on a search for ideal love—but neither a passionate affair with a younger man nor the return of an old romance can provide the answer she seeks. Always the stylistic innovator, Dreyer employs long takes and theatrical staging to concentrate on Nina Pens Rode’s sublime portrayal of the proud and courageous Gertrud. DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006

Day of Wrath - NEW BFI DVD! a harrowing account of individual helplessness in the face of growing social repression and paranoia. Anna, the young second wife of a well-respected but much older pastor, falls in love with her stepson when he returns to their small 17th-century village. Stepping outside the bounds of the village’s harsh moral code has disastrous results. Exquisitely photographed and passionately acted, Day of Wrath remains an intense, unforgettable experience. DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006

Stolen Face - Lizbeth Scott is glowing in this intriguing Noir that appears to be the bridge between Anthony Mann's Strange Impersonation and Hitchcock's Vertigo. Good clean 'Classic Noir' with the insertion of the ex-con as a plot device and hints of an imposing (and once-disfigured) femme fatale as a pivotal stylistic convention. Early Hammer B-films like this are addictive as hell. It never strays too far into the melodramatic and only suggests a foreboding evil of its love-bound protagonists - but just enough to keep you on your toes.

Under Capricorn - NEW KINOWELT DVD Hitchcock oddity, like a second-rate Gainsborough melodrama transplanted to Australia, in which a drunken Bergman, driven to the bottle by her husband's cruelty, is drawn to her cousin (Cotten), just off the boat from England. The two stars offer reheated versions of their performances in Gaslight - the relationship between their two characters is much the same, and despite the odd experimentally distended take, Hitch seems as glum and dissatisfied with the material as his cast.

Battle In Heaven - Working without a screenplay, Reygadas is a Warholian impresario, creating existential situations where nonprofessionals can expose themselves—sometimes cruelly—on camera. This concern for authenticity is reinforced by the interpolation of documentary footage—most spectacularly in using a vast religious procession as a backdrop.

The Bridesmaid - Once again veteran French director Claude Chabrol peers beneath the facade of bourgeois respectability to unearth the skeletons piled up in the closet. Skillfully adapted from a Ruth Rendell novel and set in a provincial French town, The Bridesmaid is a slyly enjoyable thriller with echoes of Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train. DVD Release Date: March 27, 2006

The Cremator - Juraj Herz’s film The Cremator has been described in many ways - as surrealist-inspired horror, as expressionist fantasy, as a dark and disturbing tale of terror. This brilliantly chilling film, a mix of Dr Strangelove and Repulsion, is set in Prague during the Nazi occupation. It tells the story of Karl Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrusínský), a professional cremator, for whom the political climate allows free rein to his increasingly deranged impulses for the ’salvation of the world’. DVD Release Date: April 9th, 2006

Mae West: The Glamour Collection - Smart, seductive and undeniably funny, Mae West is one of cinema’s most enduring comedy legends. Now this larger-than-life buxom beauty charms fans all over again in an amazing 5-movie collection of some of her most wildly popular films. Revel in Mae’s breakout performance in Night After Night; join her as a bewitching lion (and man) tamer in I’m No Angel; lasso up some fun with the wealthy and the wicked in the rags-to-riches tale of Goin’ To Town; delight in a comic country romance in Go West Young Man; and see how wild the West can really get in My Little Chickadee. It’s a must-own salute to one of Hollywood’s most outrageous and hilarious leading ladies! DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006

Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection - An amazingly talented comedy actress with the face of an angel, Carole Lombard illuminated the silver screen with her sparkling wit and dazzling beauty. Now fans have a chance to reunite with six of her most hilarious and heartwarming films, together in one unforgettable collection. Join Carole as she travels to the seductive streets of Paris in Man of the World; gets shipwrecked on a tropical island in We’re Not Dressing; chases after the millionaire of her dreams in Hands Across the Table; chooses between two romantic rivals in Love Before Breakfast; travels the high seas to murder and mayhem in The Princess Comes Across; and takes to the witness stand in True Confession. It’s a DVD collector’s dream come true with one of Hollywood’s brightest stars! DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006

Mr. Arkadin - NEW CRITERION DVD Orson Welles’s Mr. Arkadin (a.k.a. Confidential Report) is one of cinema’s great mysteries. How did a globetrotting narrative of espionage, amnesia, and backstabbing come to be itself marked by these qualities? In the film, small-time American smuggler Guy van Stratten is hired by elusive billionaire Gregory Arkadin to investigate the tycoon’s past. What follows is a dizzying descent into the Cold War landscape of a Europe trying to erase its history. In making the film, Welles was ultimately banned from the editing room by producer Louis Dolivet. As a result, many versions exist, none of them definitive. DVD Release Date: April 18th, 2006

Pulse (Kairo) - NEW OPTIMUM DVD K. 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.

Howl's Moving Castle - NEW OPTIMUM DVD Director Hayao Mayazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) has produced another masterpiece from his Studio Ghibli. A beautifully crafted, mostly hand-drawn animated feature, Howl's Moving Castle is the latest in an impressive catalogue of quite simply, some of the best animation ever committed to celluloid.

Saraband - NEW TARTAN DVD Ingmar Bergman is back. With a vengeance. "Saraband" is not what might be expected from a venerable director with six decades of experience who will turn 87 next week. But Bergman has never been an ordinary filmmaker, and what he's given us is no genial last hurrah but rather an intensely dramatic, at times lacerating examination of life's conundrums that is exhilarating in its fearlessness and its command. Tartan DVD Release Date: March 27, 2006

My Neighbor Totoro - While it lacks all signature leitmotivs of Miyazaki's previous and following films, it is a timeless tale of how magical the world is thru the eyes of a child, here by the gentle trolls and the adventures of Mei. It may be naive, it may lack any social or gender context, but it ranks up there alongside Milne's Pooh and Carroll's Alice.

Calvaire (The Ordeal) - While "The Ordeal" has been praised from all sides, I find it more a Gasper Noe-ish Euro Sleaze variation of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Straw Dogs" and "Deliverance". There is little story but to lead up to sadistic exploitation and torments of the protagonist, camouflaged by pseudo religious allusions. "The Ordeal" is an interesting film, that deserves better than being. DVD Release Date: March 27, 2006 promoted for its sickness.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Tim Burton is back. The Burtonesque grotesque imagination is reborn. After some good, but not great years, we finally get everything what Tim Burton is all about, and as such, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is the most pure Burton film since the power-trio "Edward Scissorhands", "Batman Returns" and "Ed Wood".

Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of April 10th


An Unfinished Life (Lasse Hallstrom, 2005) Miramax

The Cremator (Juraj Herz, 1968) Second Run [R2-UK]

Laurel and Hardy Giftset (Great Guns / Jitterbugs / The Big Noise) - 20th Century Fox

Renoir Silents - La Fille de l'eau / Sur un air de Charleston / La petite marchande d'allumettes (Jean Renoir - silents) - No English subtitles - Studio Canal

Day of Wrath (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1943) bfi [R2-UK]

Gertrud (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1964) bfi [R2-UK]


Week of April 18th, 2006


The Chess Players (Satyajit Ray, 1977) Kino Video

Claude Chabrol Box Set: Les Biches/La Femme infidele/Que la bete meure/Le Boucher/Juste avant la nuit/Le Noces rouge/Nada/Madame Bovary (Chabrol) Arrow Film Distributors [R2-UK]

L'Enfant (Dardenne Brothers, 2005) blaq out R2 France

The Laurel and Hardy Collection (The Devil's Brother / Bonnie Scotland) - TCM Archives - Warner

The Complete Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report) - (Orson Welles, 1962) Criterion Collection

Second Circle (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1990) Kino Video

Swamp Water (Jean Renoir, 1941) Fox [R2-UK]

Toni (Jean Renoir, 1934) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK]


Week of April 24th, 2006


The Robert Altman Collection: M*A*S*H, A Perfect Couple, Quintet, A Wedding (Altman) Fox
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002) Second Run [R2-UK]

Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory (Ziegfeld Follies / Till the Clouds Roll By / Three Little Words / Summer Stock / It's Always Fair Weather) Warner Home Video

The Double Life of Veronique - Artificial Eye - [R2-UK]
Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985) Nouveaux Pictures [R2-UK]
Every Little Thing (Nicolas Philibert, 1997) Second Run [R2-UK]

Forgotten Noir, Vol. 1 - Portland Expose (Harold D. Schuster , 1957) + They Were So Young (Kurt Neumann, 1954) Vci Video

The Guard From Underground (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1992) Arts Magic

Blood For Dracula / Flesh For Frankenstein (Morrissey, 1974) Tartan

Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple , 1976) Criterion Collection

The Hidden Blade (Yôji Yamada, 2004) Tartan

The Intruder (Claire Denis, 2004) Wellspring
The Kingdom (Lars Trier, 1994) Tartan [R2-UK]
Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Julio Medem, 1998) Home Vision

Mother Joan of Angels (Jerzy Kawalerowicz) Polart

Night Watch (Timur Bekmambetov, 2004) 2-disc -20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Yûkoku (Patriotism) (Yukio Mishima, 1966) [R2-Japan]
The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Artificial Eye [R2-UK]
Effi Briest (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974) [R2-UK]
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion
Fists in the Pocket (Marco Bellocchio , 1965) Criterion Collection
Hotel du Nord (Marcel Carné, 1938) Soda Pictures [R2-UK]
The Marriage of Maria Braun (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979) [R2-UK]

The Passenger (Antonioni, 1975) Sony Pictures
Tickets (Abbas Kiarostami/Ken Loach/Ermanno Olmi, 2005) Artificial Eye [R2-UK]


I am sick as a dog - hope you are much healthier!