DVDBeaver Newsletter for Sept. 1st, 2005


Hello fellow film/DVD aficionados!,

Firstly, we are trying to get away from the ghastly colors that keep appearing in our newsletters - so almost all underlined words are click-able links. Just to let you know.

Another full newsletter this week (27 reviews/comparisons in total)...  with films directed by 2 South Korean film makers - Ki-duk Kim + Park Chan-wook, as well as Anthony Mann, Kurosawa, Sturges, Fellini, some Noirs, and Boxsets of Kieslowski and Yamada... plus more...

Covers for the November Criterions; Ugetsu Monogatori (Mizoguchi, 1953), Ran (Kurasawa, 1985), Tales of Hoffmann (Powell & Pressburger, 1951) are now posted on the Beaver homepage.

Beaver are now affiliated with CD-WOW!
Click the Homepage logo (or HERE) before shopping there and help support us! (Thank you very much!)

We are going to have daily input from the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival from roving reporters... care to join in?

There were a lot of good deals on DVD this month, and a lot of flawed DVDs too - so for our Feature DVD of the Month we chose as perfect a combination of film and DVD as we could - Eureka - Masters of Cinema #13 DVD of Kaneto Shind?s Onibaba - a real triumph from our friends at MoC!

P.S. My choice for the an imperfect DVD, recently reviewed, but an outstanding film would be Yoji Yamada's My Sons (don't miss out on this one either!)
Strong personal recommendations of stuff we have recently reviewed/compared this week would be the CineKorea DVD of Seven Samurai, the The Miracle of Morgan's Creek DVD for the best value - BFI's definitive Il Bidone (long version) - and extensive value in the flawed boxsest of The Yamada Yoji Collection and The Krzysztof Kieslowski Collection (6-disc) (the latter with a substantial savings - $26.96 US X 6 = $161.76 - Boxset = $89.96 - Savings = $71.80).

Director's Chair database - Jean-Luc Godard + Krzysztof Kieslowski added - see Homepage (right column) for all.
Who's Next? I have absolutely no idea...

Ominous day for the wallet is almost upon us - Tuesday Sept 6th is coming (Mann + De Toth westerns, Preminger Noir's, Fellini, Boxsets - take out a loan!.):
3-Iron (2004, Ki-duk Kim) Columbia Tri-Star, Bela Lugosi Collection (Murders In The Rue Morgue (1932) , The Black Cat (1934) , The Raven (1935) , The Invisible Ray (1937) , Black Friday (1940) ) - Universal, The Blue Bird (Maurice Tourneur, 1918) Kino, Career Girls (Mike Leigh, 1997) Fox, Chronicle Of A Disappearance (Elia Suleiman, 1996) Kino, The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Jean-Marie Straub/Dani?e Huillet, 1968) New Yorker, Fear & Trembling (Alain Corneau, 2003) Home Vision, Fellini's Casanova (Federico Fellini, 1976) Fremantle Home Entertainment R2-UK, Garbo: Signature Collection 10-disc (Anna Christie (English and German versions), Camille , Anna Karenina, Ninotchka, Queen Christina, Grand Hotel, Mata Hari, the TCM original documentary "Garbo", the "TCM Archives: Garbo Silents": contains Flesh and the Devil, The Temptress, and The Mysterious Lady. ) Warner Home Video, Hammer Horror Series (Brides of Dracula / Curse of the Werewolf / Phantom of the Opera (1962) / Paranoiac / Kiss of the Vampire / Nightmare / Night Creatures / Evil of Frankenstein)- Universal, Harry and Tonto (Paul Mazursky, 1974) Fox Home Entertainment, The Holy Girl (La Ni? Santa) (Lucretia Martel, 2004) HBO, The House on 92nd Street (Henry Hathaway, 1945) Fox Home Entertainment, The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961) Fox Home Entertainment, The Last Frontier (Anthony Mann, 1955) Columbia Tri-Star, A Lawless Street (Joseph H. Lewis , 1955) Columbia Tri-Star, The Lina Wertmuller Collection (Lina Wertmuller) Koch-Lorber, Man in the Saddle (1951, Andr?De Toth) Columbia Tri-Star, Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944, Preston Sturges) Paramount, Le Paltoquet (Michel Deville, 1986) C'est la vie [R2-UK], Save the Green Planet (Jang Jun-hwan, 2003) Koch Lorber, Somewhere in the Night (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1946) Fox Home Entertainment, Stranger Wore a Gun (1953, Andr?De Toth) Columbia Tristar, Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambety, 1973) Kino, Whirlpool (Otto Preminger, 1949) Fox Home Entertainment

Most Recent Reviews and Comparisons:

Seven Samurai - CineKorea co. (2-disc) - Region 0 - NTSC added to the existing comparison and it appears to be the Kurosawa classic in its most appealing digital format. The Toho print (English subs added) and the Criterion commentary.

The Last Frontier - Anthony Mann western - documents the 'civilizing' of a noble savage. Victor Mature is on fine form as the brutish trapper!

3-Iron - Korean masterpiece. It's dark without self pity; it is powerful without pretence; and at times heart-warming without the feel-good factor. Be prepared - the central character doesn't utter a single word throughout the entire film.

The Cabinet of Calagari (62) - Aggressively eccentric remake of the 1919 classic which strains for the weirdnesses that just seemed to flow naturally from the original.

Dressed to Kill - fast paced, and fun gumshoe yarn from 1944.

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek - An unquestionable masterpiece from Sturges' purple period with comedy that is broad, blasphemous and funny as all hell. DVD deal of the year !

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation - This is a good DVD of an adequate Jimmy Stewart film - certainly in the bottom half of his impressive list of films credits but the price is right to enjoy a sweet and occasionally humorous family film.

House on Haunted Hill - Classic 59' Horror with the DVD having both colorized and black and white versions... with a fun commentary.

The House on 92nd Street - Taut and tense mystery thriller that paved the way for many imitators and was one of the first 'Hollywood' pictures to use real locations.

Il Bidone - BFI - Region 2 - PAL longer edition (by 17 minutes) of third of Fellini's "trilogy of solitude" - compared the to US edition - no contest.

Downfall - Nominated as best foreign film and winner of several German film awards, Der Untergang is the best film to date about the final days of Hitler and the fall of the Third Reich.

Rounders - CE vs. Standard DVD of this fantasy dream story - with the talented young man forsaking all in his quest for fame/fortune. Hollywood stars out the wazoo - Damon, Norton, Turturro, Malkovich, Landau.... a guilty pleasure.

Old Boy - enjoy one of Koreas greatest filmmakers taking you on a roller coaster ride. Park is not everyman's taste, but an acquired taste, which ones you get the hang of it, never can let go again.

Woman on the Run - neat little thriller from 1950 with snappy dialog and Ann Sheridan (hubba hubba). Weak DVD, great historical noir.

The Yamada Yoji Collection - a Japanese directorial master of melodrama, Y?i Yamada (famous in his native Japan and all but unknown in the west), was once pegged as the heir-apparent to Ozu... and will good reason! - 5 films in this ridiculously cheap package including:

Final Take - Yoji Yamada's ode to 1930s film production during the transition from silent film to talkies (of which Japan was quite late to adopt this feature). Watch for Ittoku Kishibe playing the part of Ozu!

The Yellow Handkerchief - Yamada consistently shows his talented story-telling techniques especially in the area of the affectionate human spirit dramas. A near masterpiece!

A Distant Cry From Spring - another memorable and touching drama with reminiscences to "Shane".

The Village - A quasi-docu-drama pertaining to the monumental process to bring a performance troupe to a small Japanese village to perform for one night.

Home From the Sea - There is a wonderful amount of early 70s Japan in this film, the cars, the sounds, the buildings - and Yamada successfully conveys the tangible sadness of the main characters' plight. The great Ozu regular Chishu Ryu has a large role as the grandfather.

The Krzysztof Kieslowski Collection (6-disc) - Six internationally acclaimed feature films from Polish film maker Krzysztof Kieslowski (The Decalogue, Tri-Colors Trilogy, The Double Life of Veronique) including:

A Short Film About Killing - is an extended version of Decalogue V and considered by many critics to be Krzysztof Kieslowskis masterpiece!

A Short Film About Love - Kieslowski creates a complex tale of desire, obsession, love and voyeurism.

Blind Chance - Strikingly modernist and compulsively watchable, European film master Krzysztof Kieslowski's 1982 Blind Chance has profoundly influenced cinematic storytelling for nearly two decades.

Camera Buff - "Suffused with Kieslowski's dry wit and intelligence this is his tragi-comic meditation on film making.

No End - Seen as the predecessor to Tri-Colors: Blue (1993), No End also focuses on the story of a woman coping with the sudden death of her husband.

The Scar - Kieslowski's feature film debut, it presages his future triumphs Camera Buff and Blind Chance in its even handed social critique and richly personal characterizations.

I may not have the time to communicate extensively in email anymore but your input means everything to me... truly.


P.S. Quote of the Week!

"What is Bresson's genre? He doesn't have one. Bresson is Bresson. He is a genre in himself. Antonioni, Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Dovhenko, Vigo, Mizoguchi, Bunuel each identified with himself. The very concept of genre is as cold as the tomb. And is Chaplin comedy? No: he is Chaplin, pure and simple; a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated. He is unadulterated hyperbole; but above all he stuns us at every moment of his screen existence with the truth of his hero's behavior. ..."
- Andrei Tarkovsky from his book "Sculpting in Time : Reflections on the Cinema"