My Two Cents
Wednesday, 08 March 2023 14:45

Warner remasters the Fleischer Superman shorts, plus Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), new Paramount 4K catalog & more!

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We’ve got a bunch more great announcement news for you this afternoon, along with new disc reviews as always. So let’s start with the latter first...

Stuart has posted his take on Paolo Heusch and Brunello Rondi’s A Violent Life (1962) on Blu-ray from Raro Video.

Stephen has offered his thoughts on Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond (1986) in 4K Ultra HD from Vinegar Syndrome.

And Tim has gone way down the rabbit hole with Turbine Media’s fantastic new Knight Rider: The Complete Series – 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray box set, a whopping 23-disc release that includes all four seasons of the original Knight Rider with (for the first time ever on home video) all of the original music re-instated. You also get Knight Rider 2000, Knight Rider 2010, and Team Knight Rider: The Complete Series, as well as a bonus disc with legacy extras and new material. This is truly the ultimate collection for fans of the film, and the best part is that it’s an ALL-REGION release. But it’s only available directly from Turbine’s online shop, so act fast if you want it. And don’t miss Tim’s review!

Now then, the big announcement news today is something I’ve personally been lobbying the studio for behind the scenes for well over a decade. And I am absolutely thrilled to see that it’s finally happened: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment has officially set Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 for Blu-ray and Digital HD release on 5/16! [Read on here...]

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What makes this new release so great, when the studio has made these classic animated shorts available on disc previously? Warner has gone back and scanned the original 35 mm Technicolor negatives in 16-bit 4K and done a complete new restoration on all 17 shorts! From their press release:

“Warner Bros. Discovery’s advanced remastering process began with a 4K, 16-bit scan of Fleischer’s original 35 mm successive exposure negative. Staying true to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37-to-1, the highest quality raw image was then scanned and then entered into the recombine process – utilizing special proprietary software to merge the successive exposure Technicolor negatives into a single RGB color image. The end result are pristine animated shorts that have been restored to the animators’ originally intended production quality.”

In addition to all 17 shorts, you’ll get two existing featurettes (First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series – The Origins and Influence of This Groundbreaking Cartoon Series and The Man, the Myth, Superman: Exploring the Tradition of Superman Heroes on the Page and Screen), as well as the all-new Superman: Speeding Toward Tomorrow. You can see the cover artwork for this release above left and also below. I personally cannot wait to get my hands on this release!

Max Fleischer’s Superman

Also today, MVD Entertainment has announced the next installment in their MVD Rewind Collection: David A. Prior’s Kill Zone (1985)! Look for it to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/13.

Meanwhile, our friends at Kino Lorber Studio Classics have announced that they’re working on a new 4K Ultra HD edition of Don Siegel’s original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)! Look for that to arrive later this year. Also coming soon on Blu-ray from KLSC is Joshua Logan’s Paint Your Wagon (1969). And look for Craig R. Baxley’s Stone Cold (1991) to arrive on Blu-ray from the company on 5/9.

While we’re talking 4K Ultra HD, Paramount has revealed a bunch more catalog titles to retailers, starting with the long-awaited single film 4K Amaray SKUs of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on 6/6. These are no doubt timed to surf the promotional wave for the theatrical release of James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on 6/30.

Also coming on 6/6 from Paramount is a regular 4K Amaray edition of the Tom Clancy title Clear and Present Danger (1994), which previously has only been available in the Jack Ryan: 5-Film Collection.

And following on 6/20 are a pair of Tom Cruise titles in 4K UHD, The Firm (1993) and Vanilla Sky (2001). Again, these are timed to take advantage of the theatrical release of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One on 7/14.

From Vinegar Syndrome, look for Primal Rage (1988) and Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby (1999) in 4K Ultra HD widely on 4/25... or you can currently purchase the limited edition slipcovered version directly from the indie label’s online store here.

FYI, we’ve confirmed that Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III is tentatively set for Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD release on 5/23 from Warner Bros. I actually just saw this film last night and it’s pretty damn good—not quite as good as the original Creed (2015), but better than Creed II (2018), and certainly a solid directorial debut from Jordan.

Finally today, we need to take a minute to acknowledge the passing of actors Ricou Browning and Tom Sizemore. Browning was the man who brought the Creature from the Black Lagoon to life on film, and he worked on other great aquatic projects like the original 20,000 League Under the Sea, Raise the Titanic, Thunderball, and TV’s Sea Hunt and Flipper. You can read more about him here. He was 93.

Tom Sizemore, of course, has starred in many great films including Heat, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, True Romance, Natural Born Killers, and Strange Days to name but a few. He appeared on TV in such series as China Beach and the recent Twin Peaks revival, and he was a voice actor for videogames as well. Sadly, Sizemore suffered a brain aneurysm on 2/18 and did not recover. He passed away last Friday at the age of 61. You can read more about him here.

We’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943, Kill Zone, and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal: The Complete Second Season. pre-order links will be added as they become available...

Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 (Blu-ray Disc) Kill Zone (Blu-ray Disc) Primal: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

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