My Two Cents

More Blu-ray Announcements: Return to Oz, Osterman Weekend, etc, plus an Alamo update

March 30, 2015 - 2:30 pm   |   by
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We’ve got some more Blu-ray release news for you this afternoon…

Here’s something for you catalog fans: The official Disney Movie Club has revealed that they’re going to be releasing the live action classics Swiss Family Robinson (1960) and Return to Oz (1985) on Blu-ray on 4/14, though only to club members. Other classic live-action titles are already available on Blu-ray to club members, including The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), Polyanna (1960), Old Yeller (1957), The Love Bug (1968), and Herbie Rides Again (1974). I haven’t seen any of these personally, but readers tell me they’re pretty good on the whole. There are currently no signs that these BDs will be made available widely, although that’s always a possibility down the line. The regular club price is $29.95 for Blu-ray, but when you first join you get some good discounts. Visit the official Disney Movie Club website here for more information and to sign up.  [Read on here…]

In other news this afternoon, Severin Films has set Jess Franco’s She Killed in Ecstasy (1971) for Blu-ray release on 5/12 as well. This in addition to Vampyre Lesbos (1971), which we mentioned earlier. Details on the extras will be announced soon.

Also today, Anchor Bay and Starz have also set Sam Peckinpah’s The Osterman Weekend for Bu-ray release on 5/19.

Excel Entertainment has set the documentary Meet the Mormons for Blu-ray and DVD release on 3/31. Extras will include a bonus story (The Artist), David Archuleta’s Glorious music video, the Making of Meet the Mormons featurette, producer and director commentary, and more.

Alchemy will release Icetastrophe on DVD and VOD on 5/12.

Virgil Films has announced Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto for VOD only on 4/21.

And Lionsgate has announced Power Rangers Super Megaforce: Sky Strike for DVD and digital release on 6/9.

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Are there any Hobbit fans in the house today? Amazon is having a sale on their retail Blu-ray exclusives – the Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Extended Editions versions packed with collectable statues and what not. They’re usually $69-99 each, but for today only, you can get them for 35-45% off. Click here for that.

In other news this afternoon, let me make a quick film viewing recommendation: Go see What We Do in the Shadows. It’s a mockumentary send-up of the vampire genre made in New Zealand in 2014 and produced by Funny or Die. It debuted at Sundance last year and is now in theaters here in the States distributed by Madman Entertainment. You might have seen the Kickstarter campaign to make the American theatrical release happen. The film is already available on Blu-ray in Australia and the UK, and is set for DVD only release here in the States on 5/19 from “Team Marketing” – hopefully Team will get a Blu-ray going as well later this year.  If not, a lot of people are going to end up importing the Blu-ray. Let me tell you, it’s very funny. Here’s a look at the trailer…

In other news today, here’s something that’s not too surprising all things considered: Canada’s Future Shop is closing its online store and rebranding as Best Buy. More here (and thanks to Bits reader Dennis L. for the heads-up).

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Finally, a bit of disappointing news: Our sources have informed us that MGM may be quietly putting together a new Blu-ray release of John Wayne’s The Alamo. However, this is a restoration meant for Blu-ray only – it’s not being done properly or with an eye toward preserving the film for future generations. So the quality is going to be makeshift at best. Here’s a bit of a recent update from our old friend and restoration legend Robert A. Harris on the status of the film (posted on The Home Theater Forum on 3/1):

“As enough time has gone by for MGM to put on their “big boy” pants and step to the plate, it is very obvious that decisions have been made at the highest levels to allow The Alamo to deteriorate beyond repair.

Any products released from now on will come from 35mm elements or problematic masters. If 35 is the basis, imagery will be approximately 20% of the original.

Not a smart decision, but MGM is merely a shell waiting for the right buyer or investors to come along and take over. Hopefully, any entity that has designs on the library will perform proper due diligence, by inspecting every physical element in the library.

Pity.

RAH”

Such a shame.

Anyway, here’s a little more new Blu-ray cover artwork for you to check out. As always, click on the covers to pre-order the titles in question Amazon (and, in so doing, help support The Bits)…

The Osterman Weekend (Blu-ray Disc)    She Killed in Ecstacy (Blu-ray Disc)    Peter Benchley's Creature (Blu-ray Disc)

Little Man Tate (Blu-ray Disc)    Foyle's War: Set 8 (Blu-ray Disc)    Lord of the Flies (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned…

Bill Hunt

 

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