DVDBeaver Newsletter for August 11th, 2005


Hi folks,

Firstly thanks to all our review/comparison or tidbit contributors. We wouldn't exist with out you!

Earlier this week I threw my hands up staring at the computer screen for a long time. I am at a loss at what to initiate next for DVDBeaver. I have some big plans but they are mostly long-term. ANY INPUT would be greatly appreciated to make the site more functional for our loyal community. If I can get an Online Poll prepared I will ask you to kindly fill it out. Speak to me! - I try to be very accessible. Gary@DVDBeaver.com

Strong personal recommendations of stuff we have recently reviewed/compared this week would be the Bo Ying Ugetsu monogatari DVD (deal of a lifetime at $6 even with the weak, but not fatally poor, subtitles.). The Astaire & Rogers Box is a must-own but see review for some flaws in that baby too. This one slipped under my radar - Kino's The Long Night - a Noir gem in the spirit of Lang's best work - Fonda is miraculous. I loved Gallo's The Brown Bunny but its not for everyone. And finally my "I-refuse-to-be-guilty-pleasure" is Columbo: Complete Season 3 which may be the best of the lot. Falk is at his slovenly and attentively acute best. It is the best value/entertainment going.

Director's Chair database - Wyler added - see Homepage (right column) for all.

Another favorite director coming next. Only 3 films but each internationally lauded - see this Sunday.

Imminent releases (All coming the week of the 21st)::
Dario Argento's the Card Player (2004, Il Cartaio Dario Argento) Anchor Bay, Head-On (Fatih Akin, 2004) [R2-UK], Heimat 3 (Edgar Reitz, 2004) Artificial Eye [R2-UK], Home of the Brave (Paola di Florio, 2004) Home Vision, Life Is a Miracle (Emir Kusturica, 2004) Artificial Eye [R2-UK], Boudu Saved from Drowning
(Jean Renoir, 1932) Criterion, Flowers of St. Francis (Roberto Rossellini, 1950) Criterion, Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962) Criterion, Killing of Sister George (1968, Robert Aldrich) - MGM, Kuroneko (Kaneto Shindo, 1968) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK], Oldboy (Chan-wook Park, 2003) TLA Releasing, Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo, 1964) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK], Preston Sturges Collection: Sullivan's Travels/The Lady Eve/Hail the Conquering Hero/The Great McGinty/Christmas in July/The Palm Beach Story) (Sturges) Universal [R2-UK], Tiresia (Bertrand Bonello, 2003) Tartan [R2-UK], Twenty-nine Palms (Bruno Dumont, 2004) Tartan [R2-UK], Weekend (1967, Jean-Luc Godard) New Yorker Films, Werner Herzog Box Set 2: Even Dwarfs Started Small/Fata Morgana/The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser/Heart of Glass/Stroszek (Herzog) Anchor Bay [R2-UK], A World Apart (Chris Menges, 1988) MGM, Vincent & Theo (1990, Robert Altman) - MGM

Most Recent Reviews:

Ugetsu monogatari - Mizoguchi masterpiece on DVD WITh English subtitles - The digitally neglected master builds the otherworld entirely out of what he is given in this one: shadows and lighting, decor and texture, and the graceful chicanery of desire.

The Astaire & Rogers Collection Vol 1 - More Warner magic - a must-own even with the documented flaws. Five films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the quintessential dancing duo see the light of DVD. The two gems of the set are Top Hat (1935), generally considered their definitive movie, and Swing Time (1936), which many consider their most enjoyable. Follow the Fleet (1936), Shall We Dance (1937), and The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)

The Long Night - Noir masterpiece (How did this get by me?) with Fonda in remake of Marcel Carn?s Le Jour Se Leve (France, 1939).

Springet - Carlsen is using almost the most basic of techniques, being as traditional as can be, and when he does use something like a subjective insert, it almost comes off as avant-garde.

Alexander - I applaud Oliver Stone for attempting to put this man's legacy on film, warts and all.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925 + restored 29) - this is a must-own digital release showcasing the only worthy versions of this magnificently crafted story. We strongly recommend!

Love is My Profession - aka En Cas de Malheur, influential defense attorney played by Jean Gabin wants nubile small-time thief played by Bardot... and she famously shows her bum (again).

The Ghost - But beneath the surface and lack of originality, "The Ghost" is a surprisingly good story about how sins of the past comes back at you.

A Clockwork Orange - Kubrick's classic - greater evil becomes the eradication of a person's ability to make their own moral choices.

How to Steal a Million - one of several elaborate heist comedies that formed sort of a subgenre in the 60's. Good fun caper film dirceted by a master.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai - Like his other films, Jim Jarmusch tells this story using long takes, a stationary camera, deadpan humor and a sense of melancholic irony. Most of the deeper messages of the movie are picked up by the camera instead being spoken.

Friendly Persuasion - this charming, gentle and perfectly crafted William Wyler film stole the Palm D'or from Fellini's Nights of Cabiria. Hey, we all make mistakes.

Les Noces Rouges - As well as being a taut Chabrol thriller, the movie is also a satire, with numerous comic moments that offset the drama.

Apres nous le d'uge - Odoul avoids any plot in this absurdly funny film about life, love, art and death.

Columbo: Complete Season 3 - Peter Falk returns in his four-time Emmy-winning role as the wry and ruffled police lieutenant in Columbo. Perfect TV and great value for the $.

Columbo: Complete Season 2 - ditto...

Kung Fu Hustle - Who could have ever dreamed that a meshing of Jerry Lewis and the Shaw Bros wuxia pan films could be possible, let alone work this well? This does - masterpiece!

Three new from the Fox Studio Classics Series...

Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte - Robert Aldrich followed up the commercial success of his What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with this 1964 feature, an even more outrageous exercise in Hollywood necrophilia. It was camp before the term was coined, but it's somewhat better than that, too.

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit - The title of Sloan Wilson's 50s best-seller became a catchphrase for corporate anonymity, a trait embodied by stolid Gregory Peck in this lush 153-minute 'Scope drama (1956) about a Madison Avenue executive trying to adjust to life after World War II.

In Old Chicago - A lavish period piece set around the Chicago fire of 1871. extraordinary in retrospect, but it is genial enough.

NEW Comparisons:

Columbia Tri-Star (Sony Classics) - Region 1,3 - NTSC "The Brown Bunny" vs. Movie Affairs - Region 2 - PAL

Warner (2 Disc Widescreen Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC "The Aviator" vs. Nordisk Film (Special 2 Disc Edition) - Region 2 - PAL

Paramount (Golden Classic) - Region 2 - PAL "Rosemary's Baby" vs. Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

We have only 4 left of the Malata 393a Region Free Players at bargain-basement price! This may be the last shipment - So far - 126 sold! - 5 returns (defective) Best selling Region-Free player ever made! If you haven't made the plunge yet see HERE and then start shopping HERE and HERE!

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Take care and enjoy what is left of the Summer,