My Two Cents
Monday, 30 October 2023 17:40

A Haunting in Venice, Conan 4K pre-orders, new KLSC titles, Rosemary’s Baby & Nightmare Before Christmas updates, Bill on Let’s Get Physical Media & more

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Afternoon, Bits readers and welcome to the new week and, of course, Halloween Eve!

We’ve got a little bit of ground to cover here today, but first I wanted to personally thank all those of you who have signed up to support The Digital Bits via Patreon. Since we first launched our Patreon five days ago, we’re up to 77 backers (and 104 members total), and we really appreciate your support. It means a lot, and it will make a real difference here, let me tell you.

Already, I’ve decided on a couple things: I’m making regular (almost daily) blog posts exclusively for our Patreon supporters that are a little different than the kind of thing I post here and on our social media. For example... my first-take thoughts on things I’m hearing from sources (release news, industry developments, and the like), first impressions on new review discs that I’ve had the chance to look at (before I publish the full in-depth reviews here on the site), and other odds and ends—the kinds of things that offer you a essentially a more personal and candid look behind the scenes here at The Bits. I’m also making the occasional public post for all members there, with information that’s relevant to all our readers—the kind of thing I’m going to share here in a minute today (disc replacement news, a PS5 firmware update of relevance to disc fans, the occasional piece of significant breaking news). And we’ll add more Patreon-exclusive features over time as we get used working there, learning what kinds of perks are possible, and what we can do without dramatically increasing our workload.

Anyway, just know that we really, really appreciate those of you who are willing to support our work with your hard-earned money. Thanks to all 77 paying backers (here’s to reaching 100!) and thanks to all of you who are following us there.

Now then... I’m going to be spending the rest of my day working on a review of Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One in 4K UHD for posting here hopefully tomorrow. But first, there’s some important breaking news... [Read on here...]

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First, Paramount has informed me this morning that the online disc-replacement form that we shared here on Friday for their Rosemary’s Baby 4K UHD release (link here) can be used by both US and international customers who have purchased that disc, either by itself or in the new Paramount Scares 4K box set. Just FYI.

Also, for those of you who have purchased Disney’s recent The Nightmare Before Christmas 4K Ultra HD release, and who are having trouble playing back the Atmos mix correctly via the Sony PlayStation 5, be informed that Sony’s new PS5 firmware update should resolve this issue.

And for those of you awaiting Amazon links for Arrow Video’s newly-announced 4K Ultra HD releases of John Milius’ Conan the Barbarian (1982), Richard Fleischer’s Conan the Destroyer (1984), and/or The Conan Chronicles 4K box set, all three of them are now available for pre-order. Just click on the cover artwork below to visit the relevant pre-order pages (and remember that ordering them through our Amazon links also helps to support our work here at The Bits which we appreciate)...

Conan the Barbarian (4K Ultra HD) Conan the Destroyer (4K Ultra HD) The Conan Chronicles (4K Ultra HD)

In terms of new release or announcement news today...

20th Century Studios has set Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting in Venice for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/28. The 4K Digital version becomes available tomorrow, but at the moment no 4K UHD release us currently planned. Extras will include the Murder, Death, and Haunting featurette and deleted scenes. You can see the cover artwork at left and also below.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just revealed that they’re working on a new 4K Ultra HD edition of John Sturges’ terrific western Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), featuring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. It was shot by Charles Lang, the great cinematographer of The Magnificent Seven (1960), and features a score by Dimitri Tiomkin. It also happens to be one of my favorite classic westerns, along with John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946), so I can’t wait to see this one in 4K. Street date is TBA.

KLSC has also revealed that Joshua Logan’s Paint Your Wagon (1969), a classic musical starring Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg, is coming soon to 4K UHD. Meanwhile, Norman Z. McLeod’s Let’s Dance (1950) and Arthur Penn’s Target (1985) are coming soon to Blu-ray. And look for Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) to arrive on Blu-ray on 1/9.

Here’s something interesting: For whatever reason, MGM is preparing to re-issuing the final Daniel Craig Bond film, No Time to Die (2021), on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K on 12/21. There continue to be rumors about the classic Bond films coming to 4K UHD in the coming year, but to be completely honest I’ve heard nothing yet that I consider reliable. So I’ll keep my eyes and ears open on this one.

Well Go USA has just set Frant Gwo’s The Wandering Earth II (2022) for release on Blu-ray on 12/19. This is the blockbuster Chinese prequel to the 2019 film The Wandering Earth, which itself is Gwo’s adaptation of author Liu Cixin’s acclaimed science fiction novel. Unfortunately, that original 2019 film is not available for Blu-ray yet, but maybe if this prequel sells well on Blu-ray, Well Go USA will follow with it next year.

By the way, Well Go USA has also set Lee Jeong-Beom’s The Man from Nowhere (2010) and Na Hong-Jin’s The Wailing (2016) for release on 4K Ultra HD on 12/12.

A UK company called Screenbound Pictures is releasing a pair of Paul Morrissey horror films on Blu-ray in the UK on 12/15, including Andy Warhol’s Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) and Andy Warhol’s Blood for Dracula (1974). Both are now available on Blu-ray and 4K here in the States from Vinegar Syndrome and Severin Films.

Also for UK fans, the BBC is releasing the newly-restored and remastered series Blackadder (1983-99) on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK on 12/4. The series has been scanned from film wherever possible, and SD content has been upscaled. Legacy special features are included, along with some all-new extras too. The 7-disc set includes all three specials as well. Note that it’s almost certainly region-locked though, so you’ll need a region-free Blu-ray player to view it.

GKids and Shout! Factory have just set the animated sequel Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia for release on Blu-ray on 1/16. This is of course a follow-up to the charming original Ernest & Celestine, and it comes from the producers of The Triplets of Belleville and The Secret of Kells. Extras on the Blu-ray will include a making of featurette, interviews with the director, cast, and producer, tutorial on how to draw the characters, and a trailer.

Umbrella Entertainment has set Blown Away, Red Rock West, a 3-disc Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions, the Frank Herbert’s Dune: Complete Collection, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Collection for release on Blu-ray on 12/1. Keep in mind, these are Australian import titles. Click on each of the titles to visit their respective US Amazon pre-order pages.

And for you music fans, Rhino and Warner Records are releasing Depeche Mode: Strange + Strange Too on Blu-ray on 12/8. This is a collection of 11 remastered music videos directed by Anton Corbijn.

In other news this afternoon, I had the great fun of filling in for Dieter Bastian as co-host on my old friend Robert Meyer Burnett’s terrific Let’s Get Physical Media YouTube show yesterday. It was kind of a last-minute thing, but we had a blast and talked for nearly three hours about Blu-ray, DVD, 4K, the Best Buy news, the future of physical media, the state of the home video industry, and much more. So if you’d like to watch that, you can do so here…

Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to remember a longtime Bits reader by the name of Steven Caron. Steven and his twin brother, Andrew, have been readers of this site for well over a decade. In fact, a few years ago, Steven even carved his Halloween jack-o’-lantern to match the old Bits’ Halloween logo and he shared the pictures with us, as you can see here...

Steven Caron's excellent Bits-o-Lantarn

Steven sadly passed away from cancer back in August. So dammit, we’re rebranding The Bits today and tomorrow—and every Halloween from now on—with that old jack-o’-lantern logo in his honor. Except this time, the face on our jack-o’-lantern is and every will be the actual one he carved!

Thank you, Steven—and a big thanks to you as well, Andrew. All of us here at the site are very sorry for your loss. But we’re damn proud and honored to have counted you both as Bits readers all these years.

We’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for a few of the titles mentioned above, with Amazon pre-order links if available...

A Haunting in Venice (Blu-ray Disc) The Man from Nowhere (4K Ultra HD) The Wailing (4K Ultra HD)

Black Adder: The Complete Series (Region B - Blu-ray Disc) The Man Who Wasn't There (Blu-ray 3D) The Wandering Earth 2 (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)



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