DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 28th, 2006


Hello! - we have an amazingly eclectic selection of reviews today - 11 to be exact - with films from such renowned directors as Yasujiro Ozu, The Dardenne Brothers, Jean-Pierre Melville, Luchino Visconti, classic noir from Robert Siodmak. Marco Bellocchio's powerful debut, poetic realism from The Taviani brothers, A Vietnam Vet documentary, new releases, some sales and more.


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


NoShame Film sale on Amazon.com (50% off!):

Story of a Love Affair, Devil in the Flesh and Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow


NEWS!: DVDBeaver will soon be reviewing a new DVD release of Kenji Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin - available HERE. The film is based on a famous historical incident, one that inspired numerous 18th- and 19th-century Japanese plays and at least 20 films and so is well-known to Japanese audiences. An old OOP edition exists, selling for absurd prices in auctions - see review HERE.


Hakan tells us: 'I've been tracking this for some time (because it has excellent reviews), and this is the cheapest price I ever encountered (regular £200).'.Laurel-Hardy 21-disc collection (R2-Universal) is now available at £89.96 at Amazon.co.uk (55% off). Without VAT, it becomes £76. REVIEW HERE    FOR SALE HERE


Another Contest Coming Soon - DVDBeaver in conjunction with Image Entertainment will be giving away 5-10 copies of Patlabor - The Movie (Limited Edition) - an over $70 value. It is quite a package. This anime classic tells of a mysterious suicide and a series of unmanned robot run-aways sparks off a Police investigation into the suspicious software on-board thousands of industrial robots around Tokyo. Step by step, the police find themselves tangled up by the web of a perfect crime which awaits the approaching Typhoon to activate thousands of virus affected robots. As time runs out, Asuma and his team must complete a task that is doomed to be a failure before the Typhoon lands Tokyo. Hmmmmm....


NOTE: Beaver has registered www.michelangeloantonioni.org - there is nothing developed yet but stay tuned...


Popular Additions to the Release Calendar

The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut, 1959) Criterion Collection

Abhijaan (Satyajit Ray, 1962) Eureka Masters of Cinema R2 UK

Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) Eureka - Master's of Cinema R2 UK

John Wayne-John Ford Film Collection (The Searchers Ultimate Edition / Stagecoach Two-Disc Special Edition / Fort Apache / The Long Voyage Home / The Wings of Eagles / She Wore a Yellow Ribbon / They Were Expendable / 3 Godfathers) - Warner Home Video

The John Ford Film Collection (Cheyenne Autumn, The Informer, Sergeant Rutledge, Mary of Scotland, The Lost Patrol) Warner Home Video

The Nymph (Lina Wertmueller, 1996) Koch Lorber Films

Nathalie... (Anne Fontaine, 2003) Koch Lorber

Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993) Criterion Collection

The Powell & Pressburger Collection - 9 DVD Box Set - (A Matter Of Life & Death, The Red Shoes, The Life & Death Of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I'm Going, 49th Parallel, Battle Of The River Plate, Ill Met by Moonlight, They're A Weird Mob) Granada Ventures R2 UK

Equinox (Jack Wood, 1970) 2-disc Criterion Collection

The Ultimate Film Noir Collection -Scarlet Street, Detour (1945), The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, Whistle Stop (1946), He Walked By Night, Trapped (1949), Impact (1949), D.O.A. (1950), Quicksand (1950), The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Bonus - Best Of Film Noir - Passport Int'l (Vid)

The Poseidon Adventure (Special Edition) (Ronald Neame, 1972) 20th Century Fox

The Towering Inferno (Special Edition) (John Guillermin, Irwin Allen, 1974) 20th Century Fox

Earthquake (Mark Robson, 1974) Universal

Go West/The Big Store (Edward Buzzell, 1940) Warner

Room Service/At the Circus (William A. Seiter, 1938) Warner

Bogie & Bacall - The Signature Collection ( Howard Hawks : The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo, To Have and Have Not) Warner Home Video

Yûkoku (Patriotism) (Yukio Mishima, 1966) [R2-Japan] or from YesAsia HERE

The Intruder (Claire Denis, 2004) Wellspring

Christ Stopped At Eboli 2-disc [Francesco Rosi, 1979] Infinity Arthouse R2 UK

Columbo - The Complete Fifth Season (various etc.,1971) Universal

Benny's Video (Michael Haneke, 1992) Kino
Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997) Kino
The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke, 1989) Kino

Music in Darkness (Ingmar Bergman, 1947) Tartan [R2-UK]
Prison (Ingmar Bergman, 1949) Tartan [R2-UK]

À nos amours (Maurice Pialat, 1983) Criterion


RECOMMENDATIONS:  It is getting pretty close to Feature DVD of the Month time and I'm leaning toward last week's reviewed classic The Passenger but it may get edged out by Blaq Out's perfect DVD of the Dardenne's Palm D'or champ L'Enfant. Tartan has really impressed us lately and deservedly their Ozu Boxset # 3 would be in the running if it only had some viable extras - still you can't beat the transfers of the three classic Ozu films - plus decent subtitles. It is a must-own. For value we recognize Visconti's Conversation Piece. 'There is no bad noir' and even with a weak transfer Cry of the City deserves to seen - great stuff! I was pretty blown away by the Criterion package of Fists in the Pocket. Great film, great transfer, solid extras. Finally, do yourself a favor and watch Winter Soldier. A documentary that remains quite unforgettable.


New Reviews:


L'Enfant - Twice garlanded by the Cannes Film Festival, the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have a style and set of interests that are as instantly recognizable as those of any filmmakers in the world. Cine Dardenne is characterized by its hectic, rough-and-ready camerawork, impeccable performances, a concern with the urban dispossessed (specifically those living in the small industrial city of Seraing), and an unlikely affinity for Robert Bresson; the mode might be described as spiritually infused social realism.

A Bittersweet Life - It was easy to be impressed by Ji-woon Kim’s previous feature, “A Tale of Two Sisters”, as it was an intelligent, haunting and beautifully crafted horror film. However, after watching “A Bittersweet Life”, my expectations were not only met, but exceeded, as it is one of the most impressive Korean films I’ve seen in recent years.

Un Flic - Jean-Pierre Melville's last film is far from his best, but it still presents some wonderfully executed noir (or should I say blue) moments. The opening heist scene is beautifully shot and executed, like all Melville heist scenes. The production budget was clearly quite restricted, with some very obvious studio backdrops in certain scenes. The second heist scene is a nail-biting twenty minutes of cinematic fun.

Games of Love and Chance - A sensitive, daringly original and deeply human portrait of a group of teenagers living in the projects outside Paris and surviving in a world marginalized by society. Set during preparations for a school production, it captures their affections, quarrels and jealousies as well as the budding romance between shy Krimo and Lydia, the fiery blonde star.

Cry of the City - Riveting example of Siodmak's skill not only in transforming indifferent material, but in giving the feel of studio noir to location shooting. The familiar '30s theme (cop and criminal sharing the same deprived background in New York's Little Italy) acquires an almost metaphysical ring in being displaced by what turns into a literal cry of the city as the wounded gangster (Conte, terrific) goes on the run for the last few hours of his life, leaving behind him a dark trail of murder, pain and betrayal.

Tartan Ozu Boxset # 3 - Regarded by critics and filmmakers alike as one of the world’s greatest directors, Yasujiro Ozu has been praised for his deliberate and striking visual style. After his directorial debut in 1927, he went on to direct 55 films before his death from cancer in 1963. Largely unappreciated during his lifetime, it is only relatively recently that Ozu has come to be considered as one the best filmmakers that the world has ever seen. Tartan's exceptional Boxset # 3 contains Equinox Flower, Tokyo Twilight and Good Morning.

Night of the Shooting Stars - The Taviani brothers have constructed here an epic account of historical events and personal experiences, a beautiful wedlock of realistic and poetic elements which is a homage to the rich tradition of neorealism. Borrowing themes from Rosseltini's Paisa, the Taviani brothers pave the way for a breakthrough in contemporary cinematography. They blend inventively the realist theme of the past with the naturalistic element inherent in their work (Knos, The Night Sun) infusing into the film flashes of surrealism.

Gothic - Ken Russell’s films are always interesting to look at, although those who haven’t acquired a taste for his symbolism-laden work and his perplexing visual jokes tend to write them off as nothing more than that. Russell is a smart filmmaker – sometimes too smart – and his movies are uncompromising in their refusal to provide a straightforward narrative. Is there any way to make Russell’s films easier to follow? Apparently there is. If the subject matter is fantastic enough, it might just be that Russell’s need for outrageous images can be satisfied without needing to introduce as many incomprehensible visual non-sequiturs.

Conversation Piece - When Lancaster's professor opts for a quiet life in a solitary Roman palazzo, the last thing he expects is for the room upstairs to be rented by a vulgar Italian family and his cozy, ordered life to be completely turned upside down by their antisocial lifestyle. It's an unusual role for the Hollywood heavyweight but he does well, more than holding his own against some genuinely unpleasant characters and giving depth to this art house outing.

Fists in the Pocket - Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions in this astonishing 1965 debut from Marco Bellocchio. Charged by a coolly assured style, shocking perversity, and savage gallows humor, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) was a gleaming ice pick in the eye of bourgeois family values and Catholic morality, a truly unique work that continues to rank as one of the great achievements of Italian cinema.


Winter Soldier - Winter Soldier is a documentary which one experiences, instead of simply viewing. Over three days in January and February 1971, just a couple months before Lieutenant William Calley would be sentenced to life in prison for the My Lai Massacre (he would eventually serve less than four years), a group of Vietnam War veterans convened at a Howard Johnson in Detroit to testify about the atrocities they had witnessed or partaken in while serving in Vietnam.

Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of May 1st, 2006

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

Go West/The Big Store (Edward Buzzell, 1940) Warner

Histoire (s) du cinéma - 4 DVD (Jean-Luc Godard) Gaumont R2 France

Night of the Iguana (John Huston, 1964) Warner Home Video

Nathalie... (Anne Fontaine, 2003) Koch Lorber

The Nymph (Lina Wertmueller, 1996) Koch Lorber Films

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Jose Quintero , 1961) Warner Home Video

Room Service/At the Circus (William A. Seiter, 1938) Warner

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

The Ultimate Film Noir Collection -Scarlet Street, Detour (1945), The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, Whistle Stop (1946), He Walked By Night, Trapped (1949), Impact (1949), D.O.A. (1950), Quicksand (1950), The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Bonus - Best Of Film Noir - Passport Int'l (Vid)


Week of May 8th, 2006

Earthquake (Mark Robson, 1974) Universal

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005) Momentum Pictures

Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu 1949) Criterion Collection

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

The Poseidon Adventure (Special Edition) (Ronald Neame, 1972) 20th Century Fox

The Towering Inferno (Special Edition) (John Guillermin, Irwin Allen, 1974) 20th Century Fox


Week of May 15th, 2006

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (Michael Haneke , 1994) Kino International

Christ Stopped At Eboli 2-disc [Francesco Rosi, 1979] Infinity Arthouse R2 UK

Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005) Warner UK

Monsieur Hire (Patrice Leconte , 1989) Second Sight Films Ltd.

Three Times (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2005) TF1 Vidéo R2 France

Benny's Video (Michael Haneke, 1992) Kino
Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997) Kino
Letter From an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) Paramount
The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke, 1989) Kino


Have a fabulous weekend!



P.S. NOTE: It is quite possible that Histoire (s) du cinéma - 4 DVD (Jean-Luc Godard) R2 France from Gaumont will NOT have English (or any subtitles). We will report when we are more sure.


P.P.S. - We notice prices are on the rise in the UK - still god buys include:

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 (56% off), The Seventh Seal (65% off), Central Station (62% off), Kes (56% 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 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), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)