DVDBeaver Newsletter for October 6th, 2005


Hello those with discerning DVD taste!


For those with less civilized mail clients - you may read our newsletter via the web HERE.


Two quickies - Jean-Luc Godard's HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA is coming out HERE and The Wizard of Oz (Two and 3-Disc Collector's Editions) HERE and HERE. In a buying mood? Better get THIS at 50% off!!.


2 NEW Articles -

"The Silver Screen and the Gray Cadillac" by Daryl Chin

"Where are you... Ma Petite Lise?" by Fred Patton


January Criterions Announced:
The Bad Sleep Well (Kurosawa - 1960), Young Mr Lincoln (Ford - 1939), The Children Are Watching Us (De Sica - 1944), The Virgin Spring (Bergman - 1960)

This weeks newsletter is reporting only 17 new items - 8 of which are strong comparisons. Frankly, this week we do identify some stuff to be ignored. We are stocked with important directors though... Tarkovsky, Mann, Ozu, Demy, Cronenberg, Fassbinder, Ki-duk Kim, Campion...


HD vs. BlueRay - Beaver hasn't indulged in this discussion but personally I'm not worrying about the battle of the new formats. It took 6+ years to get millions of 'standard' DVD players in just about every home on the planet. I don't suspect the average consumer will run out to get a 'new' player - that 1) will only play a handful of discs initially 2) is not compatible with his current DVD collection - and 3) where most systems (tubes) will not notice a vast image upgrade. For a few years at least it will remain a 'high-end' item (like SACD) that only a few die-hard techies will indulge in... in 2006 we will obtain means necessary to compare this new format with current standards. We are on top of it...


ANNOUNCING: We will be flogging 2 new Malata region-free DVD player models at the lowest price possible. A stand-alone with LCD display in front, and THIS exciting portable with 7' TFT screen, 3-hour rechargeable battery, AC or DC (car).. A great gift item for the holidays. I'm still playing with it but so far I am impressed. Reviews to be done before the next newsletter. Stay tuned...


In the Director's Chair we have added Ulmer to our list. You can see them all in the Search page HERE, until we redo the site layout (we are working on it! <- it will be the best we can do!)



Aside from the Black Narcissus, An Inn in Tokyo, Whisky Galore!, and An Angel at My Table plus a few others most of our recommendations are on older releases compared to the new (God's Little Acre, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Sacrifice etc.), but if you are like me and have a certain fondness for flawed cinema - you can't beat the Edgar G. Ulmer Archive, Guilty pleasure this week include Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Fly.

Most Recent Reviews and Comparisons:

Black Narcissus - All the elements of cinematic arts are perfectly fused in Powell and Pressburger’s fascinating study of the age-old conflict between the spirit and the flesh. The new Network PAL DVD is a remarkable rendition of the original Technicolor print. Our strongest recommendation.

The Sacrifice - is like a compendium of all the ideas (faith, role of artist, power of nature, virtue of childhood) and images (love as levitation, a boy standing by a tree) from Tarkovsky's previous six films. The most recent Korean DVD has some flaws though.

Quilombo - After the slave revolt of 1641, groups of runaway black slaves escaped to mountainous jungle strongholds where they formed self-governing communities. This film is the chronicle of the most famous of these "black Eldorados" which flourished for several decades under the reign of the legendary chieftain Ganga Zumba. Amazing film / Solid, if not perfect, NY'er DVD.

3-Iron - It is a film with many layers; from the cultural insights on the surface to the deeper expression of Korean art which the production represents. It is dark without self pity; it is powerful without pretence; and at times heart-warming without the feel-good factor. We have compared the region 1 to the Korean 2-disc DVD.

Nostalghia - The dark, permanently wet setting, reminiscent of Stalker and The Mirror, supplants the typical Tarkovsky reticence with some unique metaphysical allusions. The slow-moving camerawork may rend some scenes infuriating but the mystic beauty which emanates from the film gives Nostalgia an awe-inspiring, even disturbing vision of man's struggle for true faith. The most recent Korean DVD is compared.

God's Little Acre - Anthony Mann's film based on Erskine Caldwell's book about obsessive faith in 'hidden gold' by an eccentric family of simple southern sharecroppers has quite a censoship history (young Tina Louise's excessive cleavage). Bottom line: Watch out for Geneon Entertainment!

The Fly - Cronenberg's most accessible and successful picture is a stunning example of how an idiosyncratic talent can flourish in the mainstream. The Fly succeeds on pretty much every level, from wham-blam crowd-pleaser to highbrow allegory on AIDS. The new DVD is stacked...

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - The colors, which include bright reds, purples, pinks and oranges on wallpapers and tenement walls, look magnificent on DVD, and the cleaned-up soundtrack remains indelible. These only adds to the masterpiece and embellish the viewers ability to be swept up in the grandeur of forgotten love and the bitterness of being one of its star-crossed casualties. The new Optimum (2 Disc Special Edition) DVD has been added to our comparison.

Edgar G. Ulmer Archive - The 1950 + 60's experimental cinema drove forth an auteur-based appreciation supporting the unrecognized significance of limited production features. This encompassed some competent, and frequently marginal filmmakers who received iconic status in this obscure spotlight. Edgar G. Ulmer became the supportive claim for this theory. New Boxset with 5 films, 2 shorts will sell-out like the last did - mark my words.

Coffee and Cigarettes - From 1986 to 2003 Jim Jarmusch has been shooting short films in a series named “Coffee and Cigarettes”. These partly improvised films show at least two characters playing variations of themselves, having coffee and cigarettes together and talking about… well, what’s currently on their minds.

Whisky Galore! - Based on a true event, “Whisky Galore!” stands today, 60 years after its making, as one of the not just most popular British comedies ever made, but also one of the best British films ever.

In Good Company - A surprisingly serious reflection of corporate life versus family, hidden within one charming comedy.

The Amazing Transparent Man - was shot back-to-back with Beyond the Time Barrier in 1960. The combined shooting schedule was only two weeks - Now, how the heck did these French cineastes find merit in this baby?

An Inn in Tokyo - An Inn in Tokyo (Tokyo No Yado) is the final installment of Ozu's "Kihachi Trilogy, and also one of his finest silent works. In many way, it anticipates Vittorio De Sica's Italian neorealist classic 'The Bicycle Thieves' as it focuses on the dignity of the individual and the vital details of the Depression, in this case in pre-war Japan.

The Stationmaster's Wife - A condensed version of a Rainer Werner Fassbinder TV film from 1977 with a mise-en-scene heavily clogged with intervening objects, generating his classic theme of the impossibility of love in a materialist society

An Angel at My Table - Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker - Before X-Files was even a glimmer in Chris Carter's eye, he was a loyal viewer of this cult giant of classical 70's TV. "It's NEWS Vincenzo! NEWS!"

Upcoming releases (next 2 weeks)

The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, 2004) Sony [R2-UK]

Alan Clarke Pack: Scum/Made In Britain/The Firm (Clarke, 1979/1982/1988) [R2-UK]
Donkey Skin (Jacques Demy, 1970) Optimum Releasing [R2-UK]
Flesh (Paul Morrissey, 1968) Image
Heat (Paul Morrissey, 1970) Image

Intimate Lighting (Ivan Passer, 1965) Second Run [R2-UK]
Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

A Slightly Pregnant Man (Jacques Demy, 1973) Optimum Releasing [R2-UK]

Trash (Paul Morrissey, 1972) Image
Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001) Prism Leisure [R2-UK]

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964) Optimum Home Entertainment [R2-UK]

Black and White (Craig Lahiff, 2002) Image Entertainment

The Big Lebowski (Widescreen Collector's Edition) (Coen Brothers 1998) Universal Studios

Down by Law/Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch, 1986/1992) Second Run [R2-UK]
Landscape in the Mist (Theo Angelopoulos, 1988) New Yorker

Lifeboat Special Edition (Hitchcock - 1944) - Fox Home Entertainment
Picturing a Metropolis (1894-1941) (various) Image

Raw Deal (1948, Anthony Mann) - Sony

Le Samouraļ (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967) Criterion

T-Men (1948, Anthony Mann) - Sony

Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde (1894-1941) (various) Image
The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953 - Restored Edition) Criterion




P.S. Val Lewton reviews are in the works - stay tuned...


P.P.S. Juzo Itami fans ? I'll be picking up the Tampopo - so wait for our report on these pricey delicacies  - HERE (Marusa no Onna (A Taxing Woman), Marusa no Onna 2 (A Taxing Woman's Return), Minbo no Onna (Minbo), Supa no Onna (Supermarket Woman), and Marutai no Onna (Marutai no Onna) and HERE Ososhiki (The Funeral), Tampopo (Tampopo), Ageman (Tales of a Golden Geisha), Daibyonin (The Last Dance), and Shizukana Seikatsu (A Quiet Life).