My Two Cents
Monday, 03 May 2021 17:49

Warner sets Willy Wonka for 4K on 6/29, plus Prospect & Howard the Duck in 4K, I Dream of Jeannie on BD & WB Shop is back (kinda)

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We’re starting the new week off today with a bunch of new disc reviews. I’ve gone on a 4K Ultra HD review spree over the last week, and have completed and posted my looks at the following titles:

Jan de Bont’s Speed in 4K from 20th Century Studios and Disney, which streets tomorrow.

Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland in 4K, a German import disc that came out earlier this year from Tobis Film and LEONINE Distribution. (It’s worth importing if you like the film, as Universal and STX seem to have no plans as yet to release it in 4K here in the States).

Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 4K from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, a must-have disc which came out last week but is out of stock almost everywhere at the moment. (Rest assured, the company says more copies are on the way very soon, so do NOT pay scalper prices).

And Don Taylor’s The Final Countdown in 4K from Blue Underground, which streets on 5/25.

Meanwhile, Dennis has just offered his thoughts on Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah on standard Blu-ray from Warner Bros, a disc which also streets tomorrow. [Read on here...]

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All of these discs are worth a look, and a couple of them are truly terrific. Rest assured, more reviews are on the way.

In announcement news today, we’ve got a couple of nice 4K surprises to report...

First, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just officially announced the 4K Ultra HD and Digital release of Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory on 6/29 as expected. The film is mastered from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. The disc will include HDR10 high dynamic range, with sound in DTS-HD Master Audio. All of the previous Blu-ray special features will carry over, including audio commentary with the Wonka Kids, 2 documentary featurettes (Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and The Moviemakers), 4 Sing-Alongs (Pure Imagination, I Want It Now!, I’ve Got a Golden Ticket, and Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-De-Do), and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Meanwhile, Arrow Video has just revealed their July slate of Blu-ray and 4K releases. For the UK only, look for Demons and Demons 2 on both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on 7/5, as well as True Romance on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on 7/19 (that last one will be available in both Steelbook packaging and as a Steelbook with Slipcover Limited Edition). Meanwhile, The Cat O’Nine Tails will be available on 4K Ultra HD only in the US, UK, and Canada on 7/26. Also coming in all three countries on standard Blu-ray only are Threshold on 7/5, Vengeance Trails on 7/26, and The Daimajin Trilogy also on 7/26.

Here’s a nice surprise: Our friends at Vinegar Syndrome and DUST have announced a US 4K Ultra HD release of Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell’s nifty 2018 sci-fi film Prospect, which stars Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Sophie Thatcher, and Jay Duplass. Look for that on 5/25, complete with a new high bitrate encode and some all-new extras. We actually reviewed this film on 4K back in 2019, as imported from Capelight Pictures in Germany (you can see that here). Rest assured, we’ll be reviewing this new version too and we can’t wait. It’s a real indie gem.

Universal has officially set Howard the Duck for release on 4K Ultra HD on 7/6. We haven’t seen a press release yet, nor is it up on Amazon yet, but Target is already taking pre-orders. So we know for sure it’s the real deal. Looks like the disc will have HDR10 high dynamic range with the existing audio mix. You can see the cover artwork below.

And if you do look at the art down there, you’ll also notice the cover for Universal’s long-awaited 4K Ultra HD release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which is due on 7/6.

We’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits with the details as well as Amazon, Amazon UK, and Zavvi pre-order links for all of these titles (if available).

On the regular Blu-ray front, Mill Creek Entertainment is going to be releasing I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc on 7/13. You can see that artwork below too (and if you click on the cover, it is actually now available for pre-order from Amazon).

Back to Vinegar Syndrome and Circle Collective for a moment: They’ve also set Donny’s Bar Mitzvah for release on Blu-ray on 5/25.

And in regular DVD news, Paramount and Nickelodeon have set Rugrats: The Complete Series for release on 5/18.

In other news today, the Criterion Collection has just kicked off their Spring Fling sale all this month, featuring 30% off all in-stock Blu-ray and DVD titles as well as pre-orders. So be sure to take advantage if you’re interested.

This is interesting for fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey... visual effects guru Douglas Trumbull is apparently considering reviving his cancelled documentary on the making of the film according to this interview with him on Indiewire. We’d certainly be all-in for that! Fingers crossed it comes to pass.

And here’s a surprise: The WB Shop is back... kinda. It’s clearly being run by a new vendor, but the key thing to note is that they do not appear to be selling discs, nor any Warner Archive titles. All you can get is branded merchandise and swag items. Don’t expect the Warner Archive to return to the Shop either—that seems to have been permanently moved to their new branded Amazon store here. But anyway, if you’re looking for a T-shirt, mug, or keychain, at least that’s back.

We’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for many of the titles mentioned above (Amazon links will be added as they become available)...

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (4K Ultra HD) Howard the Duck (4K Ultra HD) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (4K Ultra HD)

Prospect (4K Ultra HD) Donny's Bar Mitzvah (Blu-ray Disc) I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...!

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