Daily Column - Heavy Traffic, Rectify & Microsoft's Xbox One unveiled http://t.co/4wptAERNOD
All right, we’re kicking things off today here at The Bits with a review from our own Jeff Kleist of Universal’s new Battlestar Galactica (1978) on Blu-ray Disc. The title is currently a Best Buy exclusive, but should go wide in a few weeks.
Also this afternoon, Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates and Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it.
Now then… in Blu-ray/DVD release news today…
Shout! Factory has set the Ralph Bakshi animated classic Heavy Traffic for Blu-ray release on 7/16.
Anchor Bay Entertainment has set the Sundance Channel's Rectify: The Complete First Season for DVD only release on 6/18. The set will include all 6 episodes plus 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Anchor Bay and RADiUS-TWC have set the action-thriller Erased (starring Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko) for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/16.
Image Entertainment has set The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Third Season for Blu-ray release on 6/11 (SRP $59.98).
Image will also release Combat!: The Complete Third Season on DVD only on 6/4.
Comedy Central and Paramount will release Workaholics: Season Three on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/18.
Warner Home Video has set Southland: The Complete Fifth and Final Season for DVD only release on 8/13.
Entertainment One will release Todd & The Book of Pure Evil: The Complete Second Season on DVD only on 6/25 (SRP $19.98). The 2-disc set will include deleted and extended scenes, extended musical numbers, a blooper reel, cast and crew commentary and more.
And Autonomy Pictures has moved the Blu-ray/DVD street date for Blood for Irina to 6/18. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Also, new titles available at Warner Archive starting this week include A Guy Named Joe (1943 – Spencer Tracy), a set of films starring Robert Taylor, including Stand Up and Fight (1939), The Power and the Prize (1956), The House of the Seven Hawks (1959) and Cattle King (1963), the western Massacre River (1949 – Rory Calhoun), the film noir The Mask of Dimitrios (1944 – Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre) and TV’s Growing Pains: The Complete Third Season (1987-88).
And Fox has announced the new availability of 23 additional classic films as part of the Fox Cinema Archives Collection, including The Gambler from Natchez (1954), Tail Spin (1939), The True Story of Jesse James (1957), Powder River (1953), Princess of the Nile (1954), Young Guns of Texas (1962) and White Witch Doctor (1953) all available now, The Road to Glory (1936), The Siege at Red River (1954), The Silver Whip (1953), Welcome Home Soldier Boys (1972) and Western Union (1941) all due on 5/28, King of the Khyber Rifles (1953), Bird of Paradise (1951), Hard Contract (1969), Lure of the Wilderness (1952), Red Skies of Montana (1952) and Untamed (1955) all due 6/4, and The Fighting Lady (1944), Paris After Dark (1943) Marines, Let’s Go (1961), Battle at Bloody Beach (1961) and Confirm or Deny (1941) all due 6/11.
Finally, the other big news today (and it’s actually mildly Blu-ray related) is that Microsoft has just announced some details of their upcoming Xbox One console system – the next-generation replacement for the current Xbox 360 game system – that’s set to street “later this year.” It comes complete with a HAL 9000-like “eye” (via Kinect) to watch your every move. Here’s Jeff Kleist with a summary of the home theater/home entertainment-related aspects the new system and also a couple pictures (he’ll be back to talk about the specs and game-related angle tomorrow)…
“Today, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One, a device that’s centered around the home theater as much as gaming. This successor to the now 8-year old Xbox 360 is a cable box on steroids, able to integrate Second Screen and social experiences side-by-side with live television, movies or games. Couple that with literal Minority Report-style gesture control, Star Trek-style voice commands (“Xbox, watch SyFy”), a DVR, a Blu-ray drive and a vast array of connectivity options (which appears to even include antenna/cable coax) and the One could become the centerpiece control system for your whole home, as well as your home theater. Combined with new partnerships with the NFL (to create side-riding interactive experiences), ESPN and brand new exclusive television series, and Microsoft has essentially just fired its guns over the bow of GoogleTV and other companies that have tried, and thus far failed, to make truly interactive TV a compelling reality.
The biggest thing that impressed me, aside from Kinect finally working right, was the task switching. Microsoft’s presenter went from live TV, back to the dashboard, then to a game and back to TV again almost instantly, all with voice commands. There was no three second wait for the cable box to tune, bam – you’re there. Supposedly any app written for Windows 8 will work with the new device, and that opens up a whole new world of interactivity. Commands like “Xbox turn on NBC news, set the air conditioning to 68 degrees and order my usual from Pizza Shack” are a very real possibility. But that’s not all – the console will recognize you when you walk into the room and can be programmed to your preferences automatically. This presumably could include room temperature, light levels, your favorite TV channel and anything else that’s connected to your network.
When you program your DVR, the shows you’re subscribed to become more like a Netflix experience on an iPad. When you click the show, it takes you to a menu that shows all available episodes (likely from both the hard drive and streaming services), as well as news and other information. Xbox One will also be tightly integrated with their Smartphone apps, allowing you to connect and interact with the device – and by extension your home – from anywhere with an Internet connection, even streaming a Skype video call. Say you see junior playing Halo instead of doing his homework. Not only can you shut down his fun via your phone, but you can lecture him right from the TV. The future for parents is now!
Movie studios and television networks have been trying to integrate their content with the online experience for years, but the technology just wasn’t there. From the failed effort that was BD-Live, to Second Screen apps, it’s still pretty clunky in the best of cases. The Xbox One looks like it’s going to be great for people that really want to computerize their homes… even if you never care to bother with playing games. (And I’ll talk more about the system for gaming tomorrow.) There’s likely going to be a lot more information on content partnerships in the near future, so stay tuned for E3 (in 3 weeks). The console is rumored to be priced at $499, with potential cell phone style subsidies from subscribing to Xbox Live Gold or a cable contract, which are rumored to decrease that by $2-300.”
And that’s all for now! Back tomorrow with more so stay tuned…
- Bill Hunt
This is just a quick post to let you all know that our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section as usual with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Just click on RELEASE DATES & ART in the menu above. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it!
- Bill Hunt
All right, we’ve got a couple more quick updates for you this afternoon, in addition to yesterday’s Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray pre-order post (which now includes UPDATED details about the exclusive QMx Phaser replica included in the Limited Edition Gift Set, so do check it out.)…
Universal has set The Office: Season Nine for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/13, along with The Mindy Project: Season One on DVD only. Also coming on DVD only from Universal on 7/16 is Alphas: Season Two.
Disney has set a Peter Pan: Return to Neverland – Special Edition for Blu-ray Combo release on 8/20.
Sony has set Dead Man Down for Blu-ray and DVD on 7/9 (SRP $35.99 and $26.99). Extras will include a trio of featurettes (Revenge and Redemption: Crafting Dead Man Down, Revenge Technique: The Cinematography and Staging the Action: The Firefights).
Also coming from Sony on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/25 is Pablo Larrain’s No. And Flying Monkeys is coming on DVD only on 7/16.
Meanwhile, Image Entertainment and RLJ Entertainment have set a 7-disc Prime Suspect: Complete Collection for Blu-ray release on 8/27 (SRP $119.99).
The Tommy Lee Jones/General Douglas McArthur film Emperor is coming from Lionsgate to Blu-ray and DVD on 8/13.
Finally today, Home Media is reporting that Best Buy has now begun selling (as of yesterday) Sony 4K ultra HD displays in some 700 of its retail store locations around the country. Sony has also apparently announced that it’s going to be making a 4K player – the FMP-X1 4K Media Player – available for $699 starting this summer.
Here’s a look at the Blu-ray Disc cover artwork for Dead Man Down, Peter Pan: Return to Neverland and final retail art for Universal’s Midway (due 6/4)…
- Bill Hunt
All right, space cadets! We’ve back early with a rate Sunday update of The Bits for you. Why you ask? Well… Amazon has just begun taking pre-orders on the Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which just opened in theaters in the States this past week. There’s no street date yet (we’d guess it will be out in September or October), but there are FOUR SKU’s on Amazon.com – the Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $54.99 but Amazon has it for just $24.99 – with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy), a Blu-ray Combo (SRP $39.99 but Amazon has it for just $19.99 – with Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy), a DVD version (SRP $29.99 and Amazon has it for $16.99) and – get this – an Amazon-exclusive Limited Edition Gift Set version of the Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $99.99 but Amazon has it for $79.99) that ships with a newly-produced prop replica Phaser pistol from the film produced by QMx, which was apparently involved in making the hero props for the film. Unlike QMx’s 2009 Phaser replica (which is now sold out), this new one features a rotating emitter barrel (that in the film switches the Phaser from ‘stun’ to ‘kill’). Here’s what it looks like (the image has a pre-order link)…
A description page for the new Phaser replica was briefly visible on QMx’s website over the weekend but was then pulled down – we suspect it will be back soon. Only the sold-out 2009 prop’s page is there at the moment. (Note that Amazon has images of the new prop including one showing the barrel swiveling.)
[UPDATE: Here’s the official QMx page for this new Phaser replica as well as a page about the props they made for the new film. It will apparently only be available as part of the Amazon Blu-ray Limited Edition and word is they’re selling quick.]
Meanwhile, here’s the cover artwork for the other three versions. Clicking on any of the cover art (or the images above) takes you to the pre-order page on Amazon.com – any orders you make after clicking through our link go to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it!
All right, back tomorrow with the usual. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
Okay… today’s Bits update is going to be a quick one as I seem to have a spotty Internet connection here this morning (curse you Cox Communications!) and I want to make sure I get something up before it goes out completely.
Our own Dr. Jahnke has a brand new Blu-ray Disc review for you today, this time a classic of exploitation cinema: John Flynn’s 1977 Rolling Thunder, which arrives in stores on 5/28 from Shout! Factory. Do give it a look. Tim has a new Blu-ray review for you as well this afternoon: Kino’s Zeta One, which is something of a sci-fi “sexploitation” comedy from 1969 and has been released on Kino’s Jezebel label.
We’ve also updated more of our past Criterion Blu-ray reviews into the new site’s database today (from Tim, the good Doctor, myself and Barrie Maxwell), including Lars-Von Trier’s Antichrist, Fritz Lang’s M, Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge, Erle C. Kenton’s Island of Lost Souls and Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko. Be sure to watch for lots more new and updated Blu-ray reviews here at The Bits all next week.
In release news today… well, it hasn’t exactly been announced yet but Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for Disney’s The Muppet Movie: The Original Classic – The Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray with a reported release date of 8/13. One would like to think they’re going to get around to finally releasing The Muppet Show: Seasons 4 and 5 on DVD at some point, but no sign of it yet.
Speaking of Disney, retail sources tell us that studio will release new Blu-ray/DVD combo editions of The Sword in the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition (SRP $36.99), the Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (SRP $36.99) and the Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (SRP $29.99) on 8/6. You can see the cover artwork below.
Sony has set Absolute Deception for DVD only release on 6/11.
And A&E has set Duck Dynasty: Season 3 for DVD release on 8/6.
We’ll leave you with a look at those Disney titles, as well as Paramount’s Marathon Man and The Talented Mr. Ripley (both due 9/10)…
All right, better get this up. Have a great weekend! Go see Star Trek into Darkness – it’s a ton of fun.
See you back here on Monday.
- Bill Hunt