DVDBeaver Newsletter for December 30th, 2005
Apologies for the lateness of our normally prompt newsletter - I am at the mercy of a seasonal flu-bug. Our last newsletter of 2005 will also be our shortest. As promised reviews of John Ford's Mogambo and 3 Godfathers are now posted, (NOTE: purchasable only at brick and mortar presently.) but the big news is our DVD of the Year balloting and formatting is now complete. In case I don't thank him enough - Adam Lemke continues to be the sober Ying to my raging Yang and this would not have come to fruition without his tireless efforts. Anyway HERE is our DVD of the Year 2005 voting!
Those with uncooperative mail clients - you may read our newsletter via the web HERE.
RECOMMENDATIONS... I don't have a lot to say this week - what with the DVD of the Year organization and the poor crop of this weeks release reviews - I can only say that The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach is a very worthy film but the transfer is quite poor. Personally I am going to wait for 3 Godfathers and Mogambo to reach the Online Boxset availability stage. For a very strong year - this last week was one of the most barren.
NOT SHIPPING YET! 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!) but the Gaumont DVD has not shipped yet!
Most Recent Reviews
Raw Deal - Classic Anthony Mann! - Dennis O'Keefe is the framed prisoner
who manages to escape. He seeks revenge while on the run from the police, and
his girlfriend and a hostage come along for the ride. Wonderful film noir with
director Mann on top form and eliciting great performances from his actors and
milking the tight script for every ounce of dark humor and atmospheric shading.
Raw Deal's ending may be predictable, but O'Keefe's quest to clear his name is
always gripping. See how the new Sony Music 'Gangsters Guns & Floozies Crime
Collection' editions stand up to the old VCI.
What Time is it There? - Tsai Ming-Liang follows his trademark 'pondering static camera' ("Rebels of the Neon God", "The River", "The Hole" and "Vive L'Amour") with his fifth feature film, "What Time is it There?". His unconventional style will deter many cinema goers who might envisage something more easily penetrable, perhaps requiring less speculation. In a pure minimalist vein, Tsai uses no music (aside from "The 400 Blows" theme played sparingly). There is no cinematographic panning shots... no camera movement for each take. Each scene is a single static shot. There are almost no close-ups. There are extremely long stretches without any dialogue. Hopefully, this does not send you running in the other direction because it is indeed a wonderful viewing experience touching upon many important modern emotional themes. A new Swedish DVD has a superior image, hour long documentary (with English subs) but the feature has only Swedish subs... but who needs them?
Massacre Time - contains all of the best ingredients to be found in the genre : machismo than teeters on the brim of absurdity, peculiar dubbing, bizarre characters, elliptical dialogue and a casual disregard for human life. There's also an absolutely fantastic score (complete with compulsory inappropriate title song) and enough singular touches to raise it into the highest class of it's type.
The Intruder - “L’Intrus” is such a personal film, such an auteurist creation, captured by Agnés Godard. A blur between reality and dream, an enigmatic meditation, an elegy, “L’Intrus” is cinema extraordinaire. It is cinema most alive. It is a triumph of filmmaking; fearless and honest.
The Tit and the Moon - Bigas Luna shows some boobs. The Tit and the Moon acts like a coming-of-age comedy, with added love triangle romantic comedy , but in the end, it really is a rather pointless and silly excuse for showing a lot of naked breasts. But even so, it is done with so much love and attitude, that I had to give in and enjoy this surreal fantasy.
Granular Synthesis - is a series of multimedia installations created by Kurt Hentschläger and Ulf Langheinrich, which began in 1991. In these installations, disorientating images are projected onto giant screens accompanied by a disorientating soundtrack, in order to completely destabilize the viewer’s senses. The only thing Hentschläger & Langheinrich seem interested in, is the search of the limits of human perception or (in their own words) ‘to probe certain aesthetics […] of an audio-visual aesthetic form’.
The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach - Jean-Marie Straub's 1967 film of the marriage between the widower Bach and Anna Magdalena. The film has a musical structure that is very much like Bach's own St. Matthew Passion; and Straub uses the format of Bach's music to etch a minimalist love story of enormous richness.
3 Godfathers - Queasily kind-hearted action comedy - filmed umpteen times before and since - in which three outlaws are forced to take care of an orphaned baby. Of all Ford's westerns, this is the one that best shows his unblinking attachment to a sentimental, mythical view of the West - one governed by codes of decency and chivalry that only existed in his head. This is the film against which the revisionist westerns of the 1960s and 1970s were aligned: mounted gunmen sweetened into cuddly uncles, for the benefit of the American public. It's phoney, it's bunk - and it might just persuade you of a beautiful lie.
Mogambo - John Ford's 1953 remake of Red Dust lies far from his field of personal interest--in Africa, in fact--but it is a creditable sex and safari yarn. Ava Gardner more than holds her own against Jean Harlow's original performance, lending her dusky energy to a tritely conceived part: she's the international call girl who falls for the great white hunter (Clark Gable, far more interesting than he was in the first version). As the temptingly pure and fragile Englishwoman, Grace Kelly was closer to Ford's sympathy and understanding, but Gardner walks off with the movie and the man. Oddly, the studio scenes are more atmospheric than the location shots.
Figures in a Landscape (Joseph Losey, 1970) Paramount Home Entertainment (UK) R2
Or, My Treasure (Keren Yedeya, 2004) Kino
An Unmarried Woman (Paul Mazursky, 1978) 20th Century Fox
The Bad Sleep Well (Akira Kurosawa, 1963) Criterion Collection
Ballad of Cable Hogue - Warner Home Video
Cabin in the Sky (Vincente Minnelli - 1943) Warner Home Video
Dear Wendy (Thomas Vinterburg, 2005) Metrodome [R2-UK]
Hallelujah (King Vidor - 1929) - Warner Home Video
Island in the Sun (Robert Rossen - 1957) Fox Home Entertainment
Pinky (Elia Kazan - 1949) - Fox Home Entertainment
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2004) Sony
The Short Films of David
Lynch (2006) - Absurda/
Tony Takitani (Jun Ichikawa, 2005) Strand
Triple Agent (Eric Rohmer, 2004) Koch Lorber
Vidas Secas (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1963) New Yorker
Stormy Weather (Andrew L. Stone - 1943) - Fox Home Entertainment
Assassination (Masahrio Shinoda, 1964) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK]
Flightplan (Widescreen Edition) (Robert Schwentke, 2005)Touchstone / Disney
The Savage Innocents (Nicholas
Ray, 1959) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK
Slow Motion (Sauve qui peut (la vie)) (Jean-Luc Godard, France) Artificial Eye [R2-UK]
I do hope you are participating in the holiday spirit at this time of year, and more importantly than anything else is that you have a safe and enjoyable New Year's celebration.
P.S. SALES STILL STRONG AT AMAZON UK - SAVE NOW!
(CLICK TITLES FOR MORE) Blind Chance, A Short Film About Killing, No End, Camera Buff, The Scar, Three colors (all), Bresson: L'Argent, Haneke: The Piano Teacher, Haneke: Code Unknown, Kitano: Zatoichi, Kitano: Dolls, Sokurov: Russian Ark, Dardenne: The Son PLUS MANY MORE!
and STILL A GOOD DEAL!: 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'.