My Two Cents
Monday, 01 August 2016 18:38

Lionsgate bows new Vestron BD series, plus BFI’s Napoleon, Peter Gabriel, Da Vinci Code 4K, Phantasm & more

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All right, we’re starting the week with a new Blu-ray review from Tim Salmons, who has checked out Criterion’s The Kid for you today. Do give it a look.

I’m currently working on my reviews of Batman v Superman, Watchmen, and Man of Steel in 4K, but it might take a few days to get them finished. Sarah and I have had a never-ending stream of family visitors here in SoCal this summer, so it’s been tricky to get a lot of work done. The last of these visitors arrives tonight for a few days, so I appreciate your patience.  [Read on here…]

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We’ve got a few interesting pieces of announcement news for you today...

First up, Lionsgate has announced a new line of Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray releases, set to include new remastered special editions from the iconic Vestron Video cult and horror label of the 1980s. The first release will be Jim Wynorski’s Chopping Mall (1986) on 9/27. Extras will include commentary with Jim Wynorski, actress Kelli Maroney, and co-writer/2nd unit director Steve Mitchell, a second commentary with Nathaniel Thompson (of Mondo Video) and Ryan Turek (of Shock Till You Drop), and a third with Wynorski and Mitchell alone, 7 featurettes (Back to the Mall, Chopping Chopping Mall, The Killbots, Scoring Chopping Mall, The Robot Speaks, The Lost Scene, Army of One, and Chopping Mall: Creating the Killbots), an isolated score track by Chuck Cirino, and the film’s trailer. The second release in the series will be Jackie Kong’s Blood Diner (1987), also on 9/27 (SRP $39.99). The title will feature a newly remastered HD transfer supervised by Kong himself, along with audio commentary by Kong, 5 newly-produced featurettes (Queen Kong, The Cook, The Uncle, and The Detective, Open for Business, Scoring for Sheetar!, and You Are What They Eat), an archival interview with project consultant Eric Caidin, the theatrical trailer, TV spots, and a still gallery. You can see the cover artwork at the left there. When you think of the list of B-titles distributed by Vestron, this line could be full indeed. We can’t wait to hear what’s coming next!

Lionsgate is also releasing Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s De Palma documentary on Blu-ray on 9/13.

The British Film Institute has officially announced the 11/21 Blu-ray release of Abel Gance’s restored Napoleon. The 3-disc set (currently only available in the UK as a Region B release) will include the 5 1/2 hour film itself, plus the 1968 Abel Gance: Charm of Dynamite documentary, an interview with composer Carl Davis, a 60-page illustrated book, and more TBA. If you have an all-region player, you can pre-order it from by clicking on the cover artwork below. (Note: We believe that Francis Ford Coppola’s restored version will be coming to Blu-ray here in the States in 2017.)

For Peter Gabriel fans, Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing Growing Up Live & Unwrapped + Still Growing Up Live on Blu-ray on 9/16. It will include the complete Growing Up Live concert in HD, along with Growing Up On Tour A Family Portrait and Still Growing Up Unwrapped. The 2-disc set will also include Still Growing Up Live on DVD (it was shot in standard definition only).

Meanwhile, Paramount has announced yet another Blu-ray re-issue of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, this time a Platinum Anniversary Edition due on 10/11 (SRP $22.98). We have no word yet on additional features over previous releases, if any.

Warner and Cartoon Network have set Adventure Time: The Complete Sixth Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/11 as well.

Sony is re-issuing The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons on Blu-ray on 10/11, and you’ll be able to get new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray versions of each film that same day. The Da Vinci Code will include a new Launching a Legacy featurette, with new interviews with Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Dan Brown, and Brian Grazer. Angels & Demons will include the new Legacy of Langdon featurette, with the same. Both will also include new Dolby Atmos soundtracks and a first look at the upcoming Inferno feature film. You can see the cover artwork below.

Well Go USA has announced that they’ve obtained the rights to Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm series of films, “including an all-new 4K restoration of the original 1979 cult classic Phantasm: Remastered, never-before-seen HD restorations of 1994’s Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead and 1998’s Phantasm IV: Oblivion, and the long-anticipated debut of the fifth and final film in the series, 2016’s Phantasm: Ravager.” A new Blu-ray and DVD Collector’s Edition set of all the films will be released later this year, as well as individual Blu-ray and DVD releases of each.

Here’s something interesting: Amazon is now showing a Middle Earth: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (SRP $79.99) and Middle Earth: Theatrical Collection (SRP $68.99), both due on 10/4. At the moment, it looks like these are simply new box sets including all the previously released content, probably with new swag, though it’s possible there could be a new bonus disc or two in the sets. We’ll have to wait until an official announcement.

Also, we have a quick update on the rumors we’ve been hearing regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally being released in Blu-ray 3D format. The latest from our retail and industry sources is that Disney and Lucasfilm are considering a 5-disc Blu-ray 3D box set, which would include The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens – all in Blu-ray 3D format – along with a fifth disc of exclusive bonus content. The release date would presumably be in time for the holidays this year, and likely timed to promote the theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on 12/16. As soon as we catch any official word on this we’ll let you know.

Finally today, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing last week of actor Jerry Doyle. As many of you will no doubt already be aware, Doyle was best known for his role as Michael Garibaldi on TV’s Babylon 5. He also founded Epic Times. He was just 60. You can read more here at Variety.

All right, we’re going to leave you with a look at new Blu-ray cover artwork for many of the titles mentioned above (click on the images to pre-order if available and also support The Bits)...

Stephen King's It (Blu-ray Disc)    Peter Gabriel: Growing Up Live (Blu-ray Disc)    Abel Gance's Napoleon (BFI Region 2 Blu-ray Disc)

De Palma (Blu-ray Disc)    Vamp (Blu-ray Disc)    Vikings: Season 4 Volume 1 (Blu-ray Disc)

The Da Vinci Code (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)    Angels & Demons (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)    It's a Wonderful Life: Platinum Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)


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