DVDBeaver Newsletter for December 8th, 2005


Hi friends! Big thanks to a recent surge of donations and an upswing in Amazon purchases. I wish I was the type of person who loved living on the edge, but I am far too conservative. - not a desired trait in running the pendulously financial DVDBeaver.com.


Only 14 reviews/updates this week - and a potential turnaround in NY'er's quality! - DVDBeaver's shelving solution is HERE - a kind present from my wife - one idea for any who are in a similar boat (too many DVDs, not enough shelf space).

March 2006 Criterions are listed HERE - exciting times.


Those with overly discerning mail clients - you may read our newsletter via the web HERE.



What it must have been like waiting in line over 70 years ago to get into a 'movie house' and watch the greatest spectacle of the sound era. Even today this new DVD will probably outsell every other digital disc this holiday season... by a wide margin. The aptly crowed Kong will once again reign as King. .

Reviewed HERE Buy HERE

NOTE: a close second was HERE and 3rd place HERE.


BOOK RECOMMENDATION (PERFECT Holiday reading): THE STORY OF FILM - Mark Cousins's chronological journey through the worldwide history of film is told from the point of view of filmmakers and moviegoers.  We learn how filmmakers influenced each other; how contemporary events influenced them; how they challenged established techniques and developed new technologies to enhance their medium. Striking images reinforce the reader's understanding of cinematic innovation, both stylistic and technical. MORE INFO HERE


On the horizon?  2/06:  R1 - Lady and the Tramp SE, Werewolves On Wheels, Curse Of The Living Corpse, The Horror Of Party Beach, Psychomania, Ryan's Daughter SE, Pinky, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Daddy Long Legs, The Frisco Kid, Making Love, Pin-Up Girl, The Last American Hero, Family Plot, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, Shadow of a Doubt, Torn Curtain, Controversial Classics Box Vol. 2 (All The President's Men SE, Dog Day Afternoon SE, Network SE), The Cary Grant Box Set (Holiday, Only Angels Have Wings, The Talk of the Town, His Girl Friday, The Awful Truth), Julia, Midnight Cowboy (Collector's Edition), Erik The Viking DC.


GOOD NEWS: MORE proof thats Histoire(s) du cinéma LISTED HERE - WILL HAVE English subtitles. ie. UCLA Film & TV archive is screening "Histoire(s)" in January and their screening notes include this line: "The Archive is proud to present the local premiere of Gaumont's fully subtitled video restoration of HISTOIRE(S) over two nights." (Thanks Doug!)

MORE: The Dietrich Universal PAL's are shipping !!!

DVDBeaver's TOP YesAsia picks are HERE. One of the best e-tailors on the web.


RECOMMENDATIONS... Well, I was quite blown away by  Loving Couples from a new NY'er!. The Masters of Cinema Kurosawa's (The Idiot , Scandal) are both essential (but wait for the audio sync upgrade in The Idiot - coming soon). Ousmane Sembene's Black Girl is a treat although the print is fairly weak. Angelopoulos' get the nod for his masterpiece film, Landscape in the Mist but again a substandard DVD. Guilty pleasure of the week - The Fantastic Four - ahhh Stan Lee - you are still THE MAN! We're going to stick with the Poker DVD reviews as I am slowly becoming addicted - have you no will power my man? BTW, HIGHLY Recommended reading HERE - absolutely fascinating.         


Most Recent Reviews and Comparisons:

Ben Hur - the film hardly needs an introduction - we have added the new 4-disc PAL (Europe) captures to our existing comparison.

Wizard of Oz - ditto - add the Europe PAL captures to our existing comparison

The Consequence of Love - Italian DVD production company - Medusa captures have been added to the Artificial Eye ones. About the film Henrik says: Easily one of the most impressive shot films I have seen this year, the cinematography is breathtaking, making use of space and depth like rarely seen, and flawless in its tight plot, “The Consequence of Love” is a masterful told thriller by Sorrentino, where every single frame and every line is full of tension. This is one extremely deceiving film.

Loving Couples - For her feature film directing debut, actress Mai Zetterling turned to Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s controversial masterpiece of Swedish feminist literature, - three pregnant women from different backgrounds wait to have their babies in a hospital in Stockholm at the outbreak of the Great War, they relive their childhood and youthful experiences via individual flashbacks. Drawing on the classic Ingmar Bergman style of Swedish filmmaking and collaborating with many of his favorite actors as well as the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Zetterling has produced a powerful fusion of personal emotional drama and a commentary on the role of women in a society in moral decline.

Fantastic Four - At DVDBeaver, we love comicbook-dom and its too easy to cut this up. I won't go into a big spiel about why Marvel comics (Spiderman, X-Men etc.) are superior to DC (Superman, Batman etc.) so you'll just have to take my word on it - they are. The Fantastic Four were my mainstays as a child - such extraneous characters including The Silver Surfer, Galactus and von Doom created some of the best sagas in the history of comic storytelling, and like both recent Spiderman and X-Men films, I suspect the sequel will be superior to the original. It still proves to be a worthy introduction building the base for future films but nonetheless, I am totally biased about this first FF film - it thrilled me to bits.

Watermarks - This account of the pre-Nazi glory and subsequent harrowing fate of the Austrian Jewish sports club Hakoah makes for a necessary corrective to Leni Riefenstahl's grudgingly admired Olympic myth-mongering. Director Yaron Zilberman coaxes forth his octogenarian subjects' memories of youthful hope and athletic prowess. The erstwhile athletes, who all escaped probable death when coaches arranged for illegal passage to safety in Israel, London, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, vividly recall the power of the club to instill a sense of belonging, even as Austria lurched toward German annexation.

Konga - Sometimes 'bad' films are just so 'BAD' - Dr. Decker comes back from Africa after a year, presumed dead. During that year, he came across a way of growing plants and animals to an enormous size. He brings back a baby chimpanzee to test out his theory. As he has many enemies at home, he decides to use his chimp, 'Konga' to 'get rid of them'. Then Konga grows to gigantic proportions and reeks havoc all over the city of London!!.

WPT: Battle of Champions - watch and learn how the world's great players - Gus Hansen, Juha Helppi, Ron Rose, Howard Lederer, Jose Rosenkrantz, Chris Karaagulleyan achive sucess.

Bad Boys of Poker - some of the colorful poker pro's show their stuff - Antonio "the magician" Esfandiari, Phil "the unabomber" Laak, Paul 'The Truth" Darden, Gus 'The Great Dane' Hansen, David 'Devilfish Elliot.

Scandal - Akira Kurosawa's Scandal — as relevant now as when made — is a pointed attack on the rising power of the press and their practices in the newly-Americanized postwar Japan of 1950. Kurosawa was outraged by the gutter press' actions, where "personal privacy is never respected", and by how the public's voyeuristic tendency to delve deeper into the lives of celebrities only encouraged this disrespect. Stirred to broaden his film's scope, Kurosawa made the film a study of personal honour, one which highlights the need for ordinary individuals to speak out against injustice and corruption.

The Idiot - Filmed between Rashomon and Ikiru, Kurosawa poured himself into faithfully capturing the essence of his favorite author's work — only to see it butchered by the studio. Never at all released in its original 266-minute form, the original Kurosawa edit was only ever shown once at the Japanese premiere and then re-edited by the studio prior to the official Japanese release the following week. In spite of Kurosawa's own efforts to locate the original version in the studio's vaults forty years later, his cut is now sadly considered lost. NOTE: Avaialble soon with audio sync fixed!

Black Girl - One of the greatest narrative filmmakers first work - Three times the length of his earlier short Borom Sarret (also included on the NY'er DVD), Ousmane Sembene's feature debut aims for the same condensed storytelling -- too much fumbled Nouvelle Vague fiddling gets in the way, yet it remains a remarkably resonant portrait of cultural (hence, spiritual) dislocation and death.

Landscape in the Mist - Road movies are not a novelty in Angelopoulos' cinema. From his universally acclaimed The Travelling Players to The Bee-Keeper, his characters have always been engaged in endless journeys in mainland Greece. But whereas some of his previous work suffers from overlong sequences, Landscape in the Mist maintains a balance of time, evoking perfectly the duration of the long but wholly unpredictable journey.

Windhorse - Paul Wagner's film explores the violent abuse of Tibetan human rights at the hands of the colonial communist government. The script is based on actual events and circumstances in contemporary Tibet. The film expresses an accurate portrayal of life in occupied Tibet. The story, seen through the eyes of a young western backpacker, ends in the death of a Tibetan nun who has been released from the Chinese prison so that she will not die in prison from the torture. Shot illegally in Tibet, the names of much of the cast and crew is not revealed to protect the people and their families.

Releases till the end of the year!

The 40 Year Old Virgin (Judd Apatow - 2005) Universal Studios

Conan The Barbarian (Arnold Schwarzenegger-1982) -Ultimate Edition (Limited Edition) (Japan Version)

Dark (D.A. Bullock - 2003) Image Entertainment

Five Pennies (Melville Shavelson - 1959) Paramount Home Video

Frank Miller's Sin City (Recut & Extended Edition) (Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez - 2005) Buena Vista Home Video

Godzilla - Final Wars (Ryuhei Kitamura - 2004) Columbia Tristar Home Video

Harryhausen Giftset - 20 Million Miles To Earth, It Came From Beneath The Sea and Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers - Columbia Tristar Home Video

The Island (Michael Bay - 2005) Umvd/Dreamworks

King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries (2005) - Universal Studios

Next Stop, Greenwich Village (Paul Mazursky - 1976) Fox Home Entertainment

Popeye: Original Classics from the Fleischer Studio (1933) Mackinac Media

The Producers (Deluxe Edition) (Mel Brooks - 1968) Columbia Tristar Home Video

The Simpsons - The Complete Seventh Season - Matt Groenig - Fox Home Entertainment

Sundance Film Festival Collection: Celebrating 25 Years - Sundance Channel Home Entertainment

Three Men in a Boat (Ken Annakin - 1956) - Jef Films Inc.

The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Jean-Marie Straub/Daničle Huillet, 1968) New Yorker

Serenity (Widescreen Edition) (Joss Whedon - 2005) - Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Seven Men From Now (Budd Boetticher - 1956) Special Collector's Edition - Paramount Home Video

Track of the Cat (William A. Wellman - 1954) Paramount Home Video

Toy Story 2 (2-Disc Special Edition) - Buena Vista Home Video

2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004) Sony

Cafe Lumiere (Hsiao-hsien Hou - 2003) Wellspring Media

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (Irving - 2003) New Video Group


Apologies for my lack of email correspondence - I've been a little under the weather...



P.S. - Thanks to all who noticed my blatant error last week (Nov 31st ?!?!?) and didn't feel it necessary to tell me. I clicked-in minutes after it was sent.


P.P.S. STILL DEAL OF THE MONTH!!!: If you were contemplating purchasing the 7-disc Preston Sturges Boxset - it is 48% off at the moment from Amazon UK HERE  Seven features: 'Sullivan's Travels', 'The Lady Eve', 'Hail The Conquering Hero', 'The Great Moment', 'The Great McGinty', 'Christmas In July' and 'The Palm Beach Story'.