My Two Cents
Monday, 15 May 2023 14:01

Criterion’s August slate, plus lots of new 4K titles: Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, To Live and Die in LA, Needful Things, Vacation, A Bronx Tale & more!

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All right, ladies and gentlemen... we’re back! Thanks again for your patience while we took a little bit of time off here at The Digital Bits last week. All of us here at the site have had a lot going on this past month or so, so we definitely needed and appreciated the chance to recharge a bit. But we’re diving right back into the thick of things today, which means catching you up on all the interesting release news of the past several days.

First, though, we have a quick new disc review... Tim has taken a look at Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957) in 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. This is classic black-and-white courtroom drama starring the great Henry Fonda, along with Lee Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman—it’s a real gem.

Now then, the big breaking news today is that The Criterion Collection has just unveiled their August slate, which is set to include an upgrade of Akira Kurosawa’s legendary Dreams (Spine #842 – 4K Ultra HD) on 8/8, Wayne Wang’s Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (Spine #1188 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 8/15, Bo Widerberg’s New Swedish Cinema (Spine #1189 – includes The Baby Carriage, Raven’s End, Elvira Madigan, and Ådalen 31 – Blu-ray) on 8/22, and Cauleen Smith’s Drylongso (Spine #1190 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 8/29. [Read on here...]

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The chance to get any more Kurosawa on 4K Ultra HD simply can’t be missed! Per Criterion, Dreams features a new “4K digital restoration, supervised by cinematographer Shoji Ueda, with [a] 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.” Hopefully, this is just the start of a full slate of Kurosawa 4K releases from Criterion. It’s worth noting that several classic Kurosawa films are now being released on the format in Japan, though unfortunately without English subtitles.

Also today, our friends at Kino Lorber Studio Classics have just announced the 7/25 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release of Fraser C. Heston’s Needful Things (1993), complete with a new Dolby Vision presentation of the theatrical cut, along with an HD-uprezzed presentation of the 191-minute TV cut. Extras will include audio commentary by the director moderated by Scorpion Releasing’s Walt Olsen, plus a new interview with screenwriter W.D. Richter and the theatrical trailer.

Even better, KLSC has also just announced the long-awaited 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release of William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in LA on 7/18. This is mastered from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative with Dolby Vision HDR. Extras will include audio commentary by Friedkin, new interview featurettes with actors William Peterson, Debra Feuer, and Dwier Brown, composers Wang Chung, and stunt coordinator Buddy Joe Hooker, as well as the Counterfeit World: The Making of To Live and Die in LA documentary, a deleted scene and alternate ending with introductions, a radio spot, and the teaser and theatrical trailers.

As always, both of these 4K releases from KLSC will come on triple-layered UHD100 discs for maximum datarates and image quality.

Not to be outdone, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has finally made Harold Ramis’ National Lampoon’s Vacation official for 4K Ultra HD and Digital release on 6/27. Extras will include audio commentary with Ramis, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Matty Simmons, Anthony Michael Hall, and Dana Barron.

Warner has also set Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/20.

And look for Warner to release Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 6/27. The film is now available on Digital.

Tribeca is releasing Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale (1993) on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on 9/12, in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. The film is new to both formats here in the States. Extras will include new interviews with De Niro and actor Chazz Palminteri.

Cinedigm will release a collector’s edition Blu-ray of the Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story documentary on 7/25.

The Cohen Film Collection is releasing a Douglas Fairbanks Double Feature Blu-ray of Robin Hood (1922, aka Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood) and The Black Pirate (1926) on 7/25. Both of these are silent-era adventure films. Robin Hood was actually the first film to have a Hollywood premiere, which took place at the Egyptian Theatre.

And finally, Synapse Films has set a wide-release 4K version of Dario Argento’s Tenebrae for release on 9/26.

Here’s a look at the cover artwork for several of the titles mentioned above, with pre-order links if available...

To Live and Die in LA (4K Ultra HD) National Lampoon's Vacation (4K Ultra HD) Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (4K Ultra HD)

Evil Dead Rise (4K Ultra HD) Robin Hood & The Black Pirate (Blu-ray Disc) A Bronx Tale (4K Ultra HD)

Back with more tomorrow! Stay tuned...

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