My Two Cents
Monday, 06 December 2021 13:49

Escape from LA & Touch of Evil are coming in 4K, plus Sony finally sets Looper for US Ultra HD, and lots more UHD & Blu-ray announcement news

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All right, we have some new and recent disc reviews for you all to enjoy today...

Stephen has checked in with his thoughts on James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad in 4K Ultra HD from Warner, along with Claude Chabrol’s Blue Panther (1965) from Kino Lorber Studio Classics and Jean Renoir’s Whirlpool of Fate (1925) from Kino Classics both on Blu-ray Disc.

Also, Tim has checked out Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) in 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, along with Richard Friedman’s Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989) from Arrow Video on Blu-ray.

And Dennis has turned in his take on Basil Dearden’s The Assassination Bureau (1969) on region-free Blu-ray from Imprint Films and Via Vision.

Lots more reviews are on the way, including several 4K UHD titles that I’m diving into this week, so be sure to stay tuned for them. [Read on here...]

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Now then, the big announcement news today is that Paramount has set John Carpenter’s Escape from LA for release on physical 4K Ultra HD on 2/22. Look for the disc to include HDR10 high dynamic range and the previous 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. You’ll also get the theatrical trailer and a Digital copy, but no Blu-ray version in the packaging. You can see the cover artwork above left and also below.

Even better, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just set Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958) for 4K Ultra HD release on 2/14! The release will be a 3-disc set that includes three versions of the film in 4K (each on UHD100 discs) with Dolby Vision HDR—the 96-minute Theatrical Cut (with a new commentary by Tim Lucas and the previous commentary by FX Feeney), the 111-minute Reconstructed Cut (with a new commentary by Imogen Sara Smith and the previous commentary by Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, and reconstruction producer Rick Schmidlin), and the 109-minute Preview Cut (with audio commentary by Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore)! Also included on these discs will be the theatrical trailer and 2 legacy featurettes (Evil Lost and Found and Bringing Evil to Life). There will also be a 3-disc Blu-ray version with similar features. You can see the cover art below.

Newly announced for release on physical 4K Ultra HD here in the States as well today is Rian Johnson’s Looper on 2/15. This has been in our 4K Ultra HD Release List for nearly a year now and it has come out in the UK. (In fact, we’ve reviewed that disc right here.) To give Sony a little credit though, unlike the UK release the US disc will include a new director-approved Dolby Atmos sound mix along with the original 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix that’s on the UK 4K (and was included on the previous Blu-rays). Otherwise, the extras on the Blu-rays in the package are the same: Audio commentary with Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt, 3 featurettes (Looper: The Future From the Beginning, Scoring Looper, and The Science of Time Travel), 22 deleted scenes with commentary, and an animated trailer for the film. You’ll also get a Digital copy code. You can see the cover artwork below. [Editor’s Note: Per cinematographer Steve Yedlin on Twitter (see this link), Sony’s new Looper 4K release will also feature a new and more accurate image remaster. Thanks to Bits reader Eric J. for the heads-up!]

Moving on, Sony is re-issuing Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy on 4K UHD on 1/18. It will include Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 (SRP $56.99). This is no doubt meant to tie into the theatrical release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, which arrives in theaters on 12/17.

Speaking of re-issues, Paramount is also re-soliciting the Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection on 4K Ultra HD on 2/8. This is probably because when the title originally streeted back on 9/7 (see our review here), the studio couldn’t keep it in stock anywhere. So this gives them a chance to re-issue it properly. AND—though I’m not saying this is for sure—it seems like a good time to release or announce the next wave of Star Trek catalog films in 4K as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

One last 4K announcement today: For those who like their medieval ultraviolence rotoscoped and highly-stylized, RLJE Films (via Image Entertainment) is expected to release Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King’s animated fantasy/horror film The Spine of Night on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 2/1. It looks interesting, very much in the spirit of Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards.

In other release news, don’t forget that Creepshow: Season 2 arrives tomorrow on Blu-ray and DVD from RLJE Films.

RLJE Films will also release The Superdeep on VOD, Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD on 1/4. It’s a sci-fi horror film, not unlike The Thing or Alien (with a touch of Alex Garland’s Annihilation), set in Russia’s Kola Superdeep Borehole.

Meanwhile, Blue Underground is releasing new regular Blu-ray editions of Harry Kümel’s Daughters of Darkness (1971) and William Lustig’s Vigilante (1982) on 3/22, mastered from the recent 4K scans. Those of you who own the actual 4K Ultra HD versions of these will know how good the new restorations are.

VCI Entertainment is releasing the Mary Pickford classic Sparrows (1926) on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on 12/21.

And finally, Well Go USA Entertainment has set Escape from Mogadishu for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/18.

One other interesting thing today: The Hollywood Reporter has posted a nice long feature on the making of Denis Villenueve’s Dune. One of the interesting revelations is that after testing a variety of cameras and film/digital formats, Villenueve and director of photography Greig Fraser found that neither film nor digital gave them exactly the look they wanted. Digital was too crisp and modern, while film looked too nostalgic. So what they ultimately decided to do is to capture the film in large format digital (ARRIRAW 4.5K) using Arri Alexa LF cameras. Then they printed the image out to 35 mm interpositive stock, which was then scanned back to digital in 4K. This process took the edge off of the digital appearance while retaining much of the resolution gain, but allowed for real organic film grain, natural photochemical halation, and a more timeless look—essentially the best of both worlds. It’s also the first time this kind of process has been used in a major feature film. Anyway, you can read more about all this here in The Hollywood Reporter, and there are starting to be lots of more in-depth discussions about the process, including this interview with Fraser via the Go Creative Show on YouTube, where he talks about the approach (the entire interview is great, but the relevant bit is 21:36)...

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for Escape from LA, Looper, and Touch of Evil in 4K, as well as a couple other titles, and we’ll add the Amazon pre-order links as they go live. By the way, in case you weren’t already aware, Warner Bros is going to release Dune in Blu-ray 3D as well as regular Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K. So we’ve included that art (and pre-order link) below as well...

Escape from LA (4K Ultra HD) Looper (US 4K Ultra HD) Touch of Evil (4K Ultra HD)

The Howling: Collector's Edition (4K Ultra HD) Dune (Blu-ray 3D) Dune (4K Ultra HD)

That’s all for now. Stay tuned...!

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