DVDBeaver Newsletter for Oct 20th, 2005
Hello again to all in our community who take supreme advantage of the experience of world of cinema from the comfort of their own homes.
For those with finicky mail clients - you may read our newsletter via the web HERE.
A visiting film fan visits Ozu-san's grave and send us this PICTURE
This weeks newsletter has 19 new items - with a superb selection of strong films. We are again loaded up with important directors. What a lineup - Hitchcock, Tourneur, Wyler, Burton, Miyazaki, Scorsese, Itami, Teshigahara ... and more.
We are continuing to update our YesAsia recommendations page HERE. They are an e-tailor stocked with rare treasured film releases on DVD - not only some Japanese, Chinese and Korean films that are almost impossible to view theatrically, but some modern and superior mainstream offerings as well.
Our Director's Chair added the seemingly ubiquitous (lately) Jacques Tourneur to our list. You can see the 34-strong group at the Search page HERE. We will continue to try to churn at least one out every week.
Some excellent DVDs this week - firstly two primo film-noirs that are great bargains: Detective Story and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. After a full viewing we endorse the new The Wizard of Oz. Goodness, do we ever need a North American re-release DVD of Taxi Driver - the French edition has a commentary and the Japanese is a stellar SuperBit. Two totally un-related Asian films that I adore - Flower Island and Tampopo are wonderful in their own right.. We will try to get those Hitch masterpiece Collection comparisons done, but viewing our Rear Window page should give you an indication that it is a very worthy purchase. I have the feeling that I am preaching to the converted but I Walked With a Zombie and The Body Snatcher are further evidence to snag the Lewton Set.
Most Recent Reviews
Detective Story - A day in the life of New York's 21st precinct police station. Solid Noir appeal with Kirk Douglas being directed by William Wyler. One the best black and white images I have seen this year... and its cheap too.
Batman Returns - Of all the Batman films that I suffered through this was the only shining spark of attempted brilliance - one of Tim Burton's best films and Michelle Pfeiffer made me forget any boyhood fantasies of Ertha Kitt, Lee Meriweather or Julie Newmar. Stacked new DVD with director commentary.
Maitresse - As is so often the case with films censored in the Seventies and eventually released uncut, one wonders what all the fuss was about. Maitresse is the story of a dominatrix prostitute (Bulle Ogier), her boyfriend (Gerard Depardieu) and how her job affects their relationship. Criterion wins this close battle.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers - Lewis Milestone's classic Film Noir opens in the rain - 1928, where a feisty young heiress named Martha Ivers is thwarted in her attempt to run off with her friend Sam Masterson. Pure Film Noir that builds steam with each scene. Kept buoyant with excellent performances. Wonderful!
The Wizard of Oz - There's no place like home, and there will never be another movie like 'The Wizard of Oz'. Every so often you forget how enchanting this film is... and then a song surfaces on the radio, or a reference is made on TV. Many segments of the film have maintained a cultural and sociological status as an embedded icon in our collected memory banks.
Taxi Driver - Taxi Driver is the definitive cinematic portrait of loneliness and alienation manifested as violence. This masterpiece, which is not for all tastes, is sure to horrify some viewers, but few could deny the film's lasting power and importance. Check out how the new Japanese SuperBit compares...
Flower Island - There's something really impressive about this film in the emotional impact of its characters and the strangely enchanting pace. It's like a fairy tale which slowly lets real life enter into it. Now available again on DVD - I wouldn't wait.
Tampopo - A fun, enjoyable window on another culture... touching, and appetizing film. I defy anyone not to build an appetite watching Juzo Itami's 1985 film 'Tampopo'.
Crying Out Love in the Center of the World - A popular Japanese story of longing that, for many, may have crossed the line of over-sentimentality that it so incessantly flirts with throughout the films entire 2+ hours. Filled with memorable star-crossed scenes the cinematic beauty seems more than enough to carry through its finale.
Basara - The Princess Goh - continues both the plot and the style of Rikyu, a historical drama. If you can stand slow pace, and enjoy sumptuous visuals, I heartily recommend it, but if you haven't seen 'Rikyu', see it first. ohhh this is Tesigahara's (Woman in the Dunes) last film.
Rear Window - It’s set in Greenwich Village during a sweltering summer of open windows, and it reeks of 1954.The movie’s overall narrative form of scanning past windows in a courtyard seems to anticipate channel surfing, but it reflects the way one turns a radio knob, tuning in and out of frequencies while the station indicator moves horizontally or vertically along the dial.
I Walked With a Zombie - but there is no denying this films powerful blend of imagery, music and environment. The camerawork is a real treat as well. A hidden gem that many may dismiss for its repetitively abused title words. Don't let it deter you. A very worthwhile, if short and curious, film.
The Body Snatcher - far more accomplished and evocative than some critics have suggested. In an effort to pull in the punters, Karloff and Lugosi received dual star billing... and Robert Wise is at the helm. Another little gem from the Lewton Collection.
Asta Nielsen - She is probably the greatest Danish film star. However, she only starred in four Danish films, all of which are on this DVD: From her breathtaking appearance in “The Abyss” (1910) to Holger-Madsen’s moral tale “Towards the Light” (1919).
Bolivia - A starkly realistic story of an illegal immigrant from Bolivia who lands a job with a greasy spoon on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Bolivia poignantly depicts the world of poverty, racism and violence that characterize his newfound reality.
The Castle of Cagliostro - Full of silly humor, neck breaking action sequences and nail biting suspense, this is indeed one incredible entertaining adventure film. Hayao Miyazaki anime from 25 years ago.
The Little Norse Prince - is a key film in Japanese animation history, being both the first modern anime, but also the film on which Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, who later formed Studio Ghibli, first worked together.
Mysterious Skin - With almost lyrical simplicity, Gregg Araki has created one incredible powerful film about sexual trauma and how they shape our lives. Beautifully acted by Corbett and Gordon-Levitt, as well as great supporting roles by especially Elisabeth Shue, "Mysterious Skin" is a film first and foremost to experience, at the same time brutal and tender, toying with our perception of things, provokes and seduces. One of the best films of the year.
Upcoming releases (next 2 weeks)
Detective Story (William Wyler - 1951) Paramount Home Video
Jerry Lewis: Legendary Jerry Collection (10pc) Paramount
Kill! (Kihachi Okamoto, 1968) Criterion
Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki - 2004) TLA Entertainment Group
Partner - (Bernard Bertolucci) - NoShame Film - Wea Corp
- Sixties Swordplay Classics (Criterion
Samurai Rebellion (Masaki Kobayashi, 1967) Criterion
Samurai Spy (Masahiro Shinoda, 1965) Criterion
Sword of the Beast (Hideo Gosha, 1965) Criterion
The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953 - Restored Edition) Criterion
Fox Film Noir Collection (Call Northside 777, House of Bamboo, House on 92nd Street, Laura, Nightmare Alley, Panic in the Streets, Somewhere in The Night, A Street with No Name, Whirlpool) Fox Home Entertainment
Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Lucas, 2005) Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
Straight To Hell / Death And The Compass (Alex Cox) - BFI - UK
Ballad Of Narayama DVD and more added to our YesAsia links page HERE
LAST DAY!: If you buy any DVDs at YesAsia.com, you can get $ 5 off a $20+ purchase (FIRST TIME BUYERS ONLY). During the check out process, simply key in coupon code "YesasiaBeaver09", and $5 will automatically be deducted from the total (provided that the total amounts exceeds $20). Good till Oct 21st, 2005!