DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 5th, 2006


Hello! - Firstly my ISP has lost about a day's worth of my emails. If you sent me something and didn't get a response - please send again.

This is a great week - 14 reviews - many worthy films and DVD releases. Prime Ozu, Chris marker, Kazan, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (LOVE saying that name)... more releases where preo-order savings should be considered... and more.


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


Feature DVD for May: Michelangelo Antonioni takes his own uniquely unanswerable and elliptical look at the basic precepts of identity and truth. Character study, suspense and road picture wrapped up into one intentionally-paced masterpiece of pure cinema... REVIEW HERE   PURCHASE HERE


Popular Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER and SAVE!)

Chaplin Mutual Comedies: Restored Edition (2-disc) - Image Entertainment

Double Indemnity (Special Edition) (Billy Wilder, 1944) Universal Studios

Warner Bros Tough Guys Collection (6pc) - Bullets or Ballots, City for Conquest, Each Dawn I Die, G-Men, San Quentin, A Slight Case of Murder - Warner

Film Noir Classics Collection 3 (6pc) - Border Incident, Film Noir: Bringing Darkness Into Light, His Kind of Woman, Lady in the Lake, On Dangerous Ground. The Racket - Warner

Yi yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion Collection

These Thousand Hills (Richard Fleischer, 1959) 20th Century Fox

House of Flying Daggers [Blu-ray] (Yimou Zhang, 2004) Sony Pictures

Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott , 2005) 4-disc - 20th Century Fox

My Mother's Smile (Marco Bellocchio, 2002) New Yorker Video

The White Countess (James Ivory, 2005) Sony Pictures

Nighthawks (Ron Peck, 1978) Water Bearer Films

Ronin (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (John Frankenheimer, 1998) MGM

Koko - A Talking Gorilla (Barbet Schroeder , 1978) Criterion Collection

A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger, 1944) 2-disc Criterion Collection

Grand Prix (Two-Disc Special Edition) (John Frankenheimer, 1966) Warner Home Video


RECOMMENDATIONS:  Criterion's Late Spring, pictureboxed and all, rose beyond my expectations and is an essential DVD purchase. Speaking of Ozu - intense fans may wish to indulge in the Aussie Pal of An Autumn Afternoon as it has some very keen extras - but the transfer is weak. Second Run's Blissfully Yours may have its flaws as well but it remains the best English friendly version existing on digital. A real work of poetic beauty. Baby Doll completes our review of the entire Tennessee Williams boxset and it is very appealing. Don't own La Jetee / Sans Soleil - well you should - and you better. Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure are two 70's disaster flics that, at there DVD price and value, I have a hard time not endorsing - digital deals of the year! Finally Noir fans might like to have Green For Danger on the shelf! Do you like Terry Gilliam's creative cinema stylings? - try out Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Delicatessen.

Stay satisfied?: Frankenheimer's Ronin is a heck of a ride but the original DVD transfer (and commentary) are adequate unless you intend to wade through the new version's 2nd disc. Just my opinion.

Miss? - Robert Altman Collection The may be one to pause on. A Wedding is the gem that can't be bought individually. Hmmmm...


New Reviews:


Late Spring - (also reviewed with more captures HERE) One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu’s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his only, beloved daughter. Loyal Ozu players Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara command this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan, which remains as potent today as ever—almost by itself justifying Ozu’s inclusion in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest directors. DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006

Blissfully Yours - While the plot paparazzi might miss this scoop, it's not for lack of story. A detour form conventional narrative fixation is requisite, going off-road and leaving behind the gridlock. The narrative of Blissfully Yours barges medias res into a web of calculated maneuverings, some to which, on a larger scale, the off-screen personalities are either oblivious or apathetic. The stakes aren't limited to abstract moral victories, but rather, concrete, readily identifiable human needs. Though the dealers may go incognito, what's clear is that the multi-nationally incorporated house keeps winning. DVD Release Date: May 1st, 2006

Robert Altman Collection - M*A*S*H / A Perfect Couple / Quintet / A Wedding - Clever camera setups, Altman's patented overlapping dialogue, wonderful sight gags and situations, and universally fine ensemble performances combine in 4 of his unique films. DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2006

La Jetee / Sans Soleil - La Jetee’s fans insist that it’s the finest science fiction film ever made, and why not? It’s truly unique, implementing a series of hundreds of unmoving pictures, beautifully edited together to tell a mind-bending story of time travel that doubles as a melancholy fable about memory, loss, childhood, and destiny. In Sans Soleil director Chris Marker hopes to excite you, to share his secrets with you, to consolidate your friendship by the cinema's greatest essayist. It sums up a lifetime's travels, speculations and passions. Among very many other things, his film is the most intimate portrait of Tokyo yet made.

Green For Danger - Hidden Noir - A wartime tale of murder most horrid, with Alastair Sim as the detective sent in to a hospital to sniff out the perpetrator of an operating table death...  DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2006


Delicatessen - In a post-apocalyptic society where food is so rare it's invaluable and used as currency and people eat each other a young clown applies for a job at a local delicatessen. The butcher's intent is to have him work for a little and then serve him to his stranger than normal tenants who pay him in, of course, grain. The film evokes Gilliam, Lynch, the Coens and Carné, but the allusions never get in the way of the nightmarish humor. DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 200

Towering Inferno - Hot off the heels of the success of "The Poseidon Adventure," producer Irwin Allen chose to follow up that seaworthy disaster epic with yet another excursion in peril: "The Towering Inferno," which went on to become an even bigger box office success than its predecessor, and remains to this day one of the most suspenseful and potent thrillers ever to come from a Hollywood studio. DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006

The Poseidon Adventure - Hands down, this is the best movie (and was one of the first) to come out of the seemingly endless cycle of disaster movies that dominated box offices during the 1970s. It could even be argued that Titanic owes some of its success to the precedent set by this 1972 blockbuster starring Gene Hackman as a priest who leads a small group of survivors to safety from the bowels of a capsized luxury liner. DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006

Ronin - Director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), opens up by helpfully informing us of the following: "In feudal Japan, the warrior class of samurai were sworn to protect their liege lords with their lives. Those samurai whose liege was killed suffered great shame, and... were no longer referred to as samurai... Such men were called Ronin." And, although the film takes place in modern-day France, not ancient Japan, the main characters are all, in their own way, Ronin. They are munitions experts, tactical masters, and battle-hardened veterans of the Cold War who, after the systematic dismantling of the Eastern Bloc, find themselves without a master to serve. So they sell themselves to the highest bidder. DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006

The Virgin Queen - Bette Davis takes on the role of Queen Elizabeth I for a second time - 16 years after the successful The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. Richard Todd plays Sir Walter Raleigh, the love interest while Joan Collins via's for his affections. Standard fare for a Hollywood historical drama but Davis is always a treat to see. DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2006

Silent Waters - Silent Waters (Khamosh Pani), the first feature by Pakistani independent documentary filmmaker Sabiha Sumar, is an intense and rare cinematic perspective of the political evolution of Pakistan, the advent of fundamentalism and the fragile rights of ordinary women. The film was selected for The Times bfi London Film Festival 2005. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2006

An Autumn Afternoon - Ozu's last film and a noble competition to his much lauded directorial career. Close to ranking with his recognized great films - "Late Spring" and "Tokyo Story" his themes of familial communication continue. This time we have a similar narrative with widowed father unselfishly releasing his daughter for marriage leaving only himself and courting his son left at home. Contemplative shots fill many scenes with elderly loneliness and the cycle of life being examined in another gentle fashion. Ozu's trademark shots of power lines, trains, and solitary smoking all make their presence but social drinking is dealt extensively throughout perhaps foreshadowing Ozu's own enjoyment of alcohol and shortened lifespan.

Battle in Heaven - Working without a screenplay, Reygadas is a Warholian impresario, creating existential situations where nonprofessionals can expose themselves—sometimes cruelly—on camera. (The Factory connection is clinched by Mushkadiz, an Edie Sedgwick type with a throaty voice and a bird's-nest coiffure.) This concern for authenticity is reinforced by the interpolation of documentary footage—most spectacularly in using a vast religious procession as a backdrop. Tartan Region 1 DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006

Baby Doll - Regarded as scandalous when it was first released, Baby Doll has lost its shock value but retains a strong, sweaty Deep South sensuality. Businessman Wallach moves in next door to boring Malden and his young wife Baker, who is essentially a walking, talking erogenous zone. Lust, muckiness and flaming, violent retribution follow swiftly after Wallach and Malden get into a fight over their cotton mill interests and the nubile Baker. Written by Tennessee Williams and directed by Kazan, it's a darkly witty portrait of passion in a small, sun-baked town full of repressed sexuality and titillating nightwear. DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 200


Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of May 8th, 2006

The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut, 1959) Criterion Collection

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

Nighthawks (Ron Peck, 1978) Water Bearer Films

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

Ronin (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (John Frankenheimer, 1998) MGM

Strip Jack Naked (Ron Peck, 1991) Water Bearer Films

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

Benny's Video (Michael Haneke, 1992) Kino

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

L' Enfant (Dardenne Brothers, 2005) TVA Film
Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997) Kino

Letter From an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) Paramount

Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005) Warner UK

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

My Mother's Smile (Marco Bellocchio, 2002) New Yorker Video

The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke, 1989) Kino

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

The White Countess (James Ivory, 2005) Sony Pictures


Week of May 22nd, 2006

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

100 Rifles (Tom Gries, 1969) 20th Century Fox

The Boondock Saints (Troy Duffy, 1999) 20th Century Fox

Cecil B Demille Collection (5pc) (Cecil B. DeMille directs Sign of the Cross, Four Frightened People, Cleopatra, The Crusades and Union Pacific) Universal

Compulsion (Richard Fleischer, 1959) 20th Century Fox

Decision Before Dawn (Anatole Litvak, 1951) 20th Century Fox

Guns at Batasi (John Guillermin, 1964) 20th Century Fox

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

Hidden aka Caché (Michael Haneke , 2005) Artificial Eye

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

House of Flying Daggers [Blu-ray] (Yimou Zhang, 2004) Sony Pictures

Immortal Sergeant (John M. Stahl, 1943) 20th Century Fox

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

Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott , 2005) 4-disc - 20th Century Fox

The Last Wagon (Delmer Daves, 1956) 20th Century Fox

The Longest Day (Ken Annakin , 1962) 2-disc SE - 20th Century Fox

Murder, Inc. (Burt Balaban, 1960) 20th Century Fox

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

The Proud Ones (Robert D. Webb, 1956) 20th Century Fox

The Seven-Ups (Philip D'Antoni, 1973) 20th Century Fox

These Thousand Hills (Richard Fleischer, 1959) 20th Century Fox

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chan-wook Park, 2005) Tartan UK

Tora! Tora! Tora! (Richard Fleischer , Kinji Fukasaku 1970) 2-disc SE - 20th Century Fox

Yellow Sky (William A. Wellman , 1949) 20th Century Fox

Viridiana (Luis Bunuel, 1962) Criterion Collection





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. Stay tuned!


P.P.S. - Wait at your own risk - sale is still good:

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)