My Two Cents
Wednesday, 17 January 2024 16:51

Criterion’s April slate, Powerhouse Films, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, a terrific Greig Fraser interview, Collider’s For All Mankind cast/crew Q&A & more!

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All right, we’ve got quite a bit of ground to cover today here at The Digital Bits. But as always, we’re starting first with some more new disc reviews. And they’re good ones...

Stephen has taken a look at a pair of 4K Ultra HD releases, including Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979) in 4K from Arrow Video—an absolutely fantastic release—as well as Ishirō Honda’s original Godzilla (1954) in 4K from Toho, a Japanese import disc that has no English subtitles. But read on, because Stephen’s thoughts on it are well worth your time.

Now then, the first big piece of news we have today is that our friends at The Criterion Collection have just announced their April Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K UHD slate, which is set to include an update of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La haine (1995) (Spine #381 – 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) on 4/2, an update or Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) (Spine #29 – 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) on 4/9, Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky’s Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) (Spine #1215 – 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD) on 4/16, Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba (1964) (Spine #1214 – 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray, Blu-ray) on 4/23, and Nancy Savoca’s Dogfight (1991) (Spine #1216 – Blu-ray) on 4/30. Of the 4K titles, La Haine will include Dolby Vision HDR. [Read on here...]

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You can read more here at The Criterion Collection website to learn about the various features and extras included on each.

Also, I wanted to offer a quick update here today on the status of Disney’s James Cameron 4K Ultra HD pre-orders here in the States. They were originally to have started today on Amazon and elsewhere, but the pre-order start has been pushed back to next week. I’m told that the studio wants to wait until the titles are well into replication to make sure that things go smoothly. So by Wednesday next, they should be live everywhere. Rest assured, the moment they are we’ll share the Amazon pre-order links here on The Bits, on all our social media, and on our Patreon page as well.

Speaking of Patreon, we’re closing in on 300 paid supporters, and we’d really like to hit that mark. We’ve been posting great bonus content over there—stuff that enhances what we’re doing here on The Bits website—including early film reviews, thoughts on fan remasters of favorite films, some behind-the-scenes on a special event we got to attend last week up in Los Angeles, and more. For as little a $6 a month, you can really make a big difference in helping us to ensure that we’re able to keep our work here on behalf of physical media going. So if you love and appreciate what we do here, and you find that it brings some joy or value to you, please consider supporting us via Patreon. We appreciate it!

Before we continue this afternoon, I also wanted to make a pitch for our friends at Powerhouse Films, whose terrific Indicator label is releasing great and rare deep catalog content on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD, both here in the US and in the UK. I had a lovely Skype chat with my friend Robert King from Powerhouse last night, who tells me that the company has a terrific slate of titles scheduled all the way through the end of 2025, including more Jean Rollin films and many 4K releases! But they really want to get the word out about them, so to make sure you don’t miss out, be sure to sign up for their mailing list. (You can do that via this page on their website.) And watch for some new announcements next week!

In terms of announcement news today, Shout! Studios has just officially made Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986) and Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal (1982) available for Digital purchase via iTunes and elsewhere, complete with legacy bonus features. We suspect the company will be doing their own Blu-ray and physical 4K releases in the coming year as well.

Paramount is preparing to release Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.’s Mean Girls (2024) in the next couple of months. We don’t have a street date yet but here’s the Amazon pre-order link.

According to retail sources, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment and DC will release James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 3/12. We expect the official announcement any day now. Again, in the meantime, here’s the 4K pre-order link.

Here’s a wildly unexpected title: Cinématographe and Vinegar Syndrome will release Ron Maxwell’s Little Darlings (1980) in 4K Ultra HD on 2/27. Yes, that’s the Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol film. Never imagined we’d see that one in 4K, but that’s the state of this industry for you. (I mean that in a good way.) And why the heck not?

Meanwhile, the MVD Rewind Collection will release Albert Pyun’s Mean Guns (1997) on Blu-ray on 4/9. And they’ve also set Tibor Takács’ Sabotage (1996) for release on Blu-ray on 5/7!

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just set Mario Bava’s The Whip and the Body (1963) for Blu-ray release on 3/12, along with Theodore J. Flicker’s The President’s Analyst (1967).

And Well Go USA has set Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster (2023) for Blu-ray release on 4/9.

In other news today, my good friend Robert Meyer Burnett has just shared a terrific interview with cinematographer Greig Fraser (Dune: Part One and Two, Rogue One, The Batman, The Creator, and Zero Dark Thirty) on his Designing Hollywood YouTube show (in association with John Campea). If you’re a fan of Fraser’s work—and you absolutely should be—it’s a wonderful interview. You can watch it here...

Also, last week I had the great pleasure of attending Apple TV+ and Collider’s For All Mankind: Season Four finale screening event up in Los Angeles. The episode looked and sounded fantastic on the big screen, and my friend Steven Weintraub hosted a great Q&A afterwards with the cast and crew, which included executive producers/creators Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert, and Ben Nedivi, executive producer Maril Davis, and actors Joel Kinnaman (Ed Baldwin), Krys Marshall (Danielle Poole), and Wrenn Schmidt (Margo Madison).

The cast and crew of For All Mankind

L to R: Mike Okuda, Robert Meyer Burnett, Bill Hunt, Sarah Hunt, Denise Okuda

Perhaps the best part about the evening however, was that my wife and I got to have dinner with some old and dear friends beforehand, including Rob Burnett and Michael and Denise Okuda—the long-time Star Trek historians and Trek art department luminaries, who recently worked on Picard: Season Three and who now serve as technical consultants for... you guessed it... For All Mankind! It was a great evening all around, and the good news is that the Q&A was videotaped and you can now all watch it here...

As I’ve said many times before, For All Mankind is a fantastic show that’s really picked up the torch of Gene Roddenberry’s classic Star Trek franchise (thanks in no small part to the involvement of Moore, the Okudas, and other Trek and Battlestar Galactica alums). And between that, Foundation, Monarch, Solo, Severance, and more, Apple TV+ is quietly becoming the single best place for serialized TV science fiction, not to mention non-science fiction titles like Ted Lasso, Shrinking, and Slow Horses! All of them are worth checking out.

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for the new Criterion April titles, and we’ll add the Amazon pre-order links as they go live [Update: Links have been added and pre-orders should begin soon]...

Picnic at Hanging Rock (4K Ultra HD) La haine (4K Ultra HD) I Am Cuba (4K Ultra HD)

Wreckmeister Harmonies (4K Ultra HD) Dogma (Blu-ray Disc) Little Darlings (4K Ultra HD)

Stay tuned…

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)



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