My Two Cents
I decided that I wanted to do something a little different with today’s My Two Cents column on The Digital Bits, so I thought I’d review a few new and/or recent books that may be of interest to cinephiles, especially those of you who are fans of Stanley Kubrick’s legendary 2001: A Space Odyssey.
As many of you would agree, I’m sure, 2001 is a landmark of filmed science fiction. Based loosely on a short story by visionary author Arthur C. Clarke, it depicts an AI-guided and manned journey through space, first to the Moon and then out to Jupiter, in response to the discovery of an alien artifact on the Moon’s surface, apparently having been buried there millions of years ago.
Not only was Kubrick’s film notable for its realistic depiction of the Moon’s surface fully a year before NASA’s Apollo astronauts actually landed there, it’s been lauded ever since for its realistic approach to depicting future spaceflight technology. Indeed, some of those who contributed designs to the project were actually involved in the space program. [Read on here…]
All right, the big news today is that Network Distributing Ltd. in the U.K. has announced the Region B release of Gerry Anderson’s UFO: The Complete Series on Blu-ray on 11/14 (SRP £69.99). The series is restored in high-definition and includes all 26 episodes with audio in the original mono as well as new 5.1 mixes, and a ton of new and legacy special features. Among them is a brand new feature-length documentary called From Earth to the Moon, featuring interviews, archive video, audio, and stills (some never-before-seen). There’s also the new The Women of UFO documentary, a newly-produced SHADO “briefing film” called Identified: SHADO New Recruits Briefing, textless episode title backgrounds, textless end titles, stock footage, TV spots, extra footage for Identified and Exposed, unused footage from Timelash and The Long Sleep, Italian trailers, audio commentaries on Identified (with Gerry Anderson) and Sub-Smash (with Ed Bishop), S.I.D. Computer Voice Session and audio outtakes for these sessions and Kill Straker!, an archive Ed Bishop audio interview from 1996, the Tomorrow Today: Future Fashions with Sylvia Anderson featurette, extensive image galleries (with previously unseen images), and an exclusive 600-page book on the making of the series by archive television historian Andrew Pixley. [Read on here…]
All right, we’ve got a couple interesting things for you today. First up, Sony unveiled its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBP-X1000ES, at the CEDIA Expo recently. It’s an ES Series reference unit that supports the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, BD-ROM, DVD Video, DVD Audio, CD, and SACD formats, as well as numerous video codecs compatible with Amazon Video, YouTube, etc. It can upscale content to 4K, features HDR compatibility and offers “a dedicated picture mode for HDR content – when playing 4K HDR content on a 4K SDR television the X1000ES utilizes a unique Sony algorithm to reproduce the proper brightness and color gradations to provide the best picture possible.” It’s compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS-X, plus has a “32-bit processing DAC compatible with both native DSD (at up to 11.2 MHz) and LPCM (at up to 192kHz) Hi-Res Music files, which are available in a number of different formats.” [Read on here…]
All right, we’re closing out the week with one last new title announcement: Disney and Amblin Entertainment have set Steven Spielberg’s The BFG for Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, and On-Demand release on 12/6. Extras on the Blu-ray will include 5 featurettes (Bringing “The BFG” to Life, The Big Friendly Giant and Me, Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of The BFG, Giants 101, and Melissa Mathison: A Tribute). Sadly, the best featurette is a digital exclusive, which I hate and you hate, but apparently nobody at Disney cares we hate… John Williams: Scoring a Dream. Anyway, audio on the Blu-ray will be English 7.1 DTS-HD MA. You can see the cover artwork to the left there. [Read on here…]
All right, we’ve got two reviews for you today. As expected we’ve got my thoughts on Shout! Factory’s Flight of the Butterflies in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, which I think is their best release on the format to date. I’ve reviewed the Warner Archive’s Longmire: Complete Seasons 1-4 on Blu-ray this morning too. The DVDs are available from Warner Bros Home Entertainment, the Blu-rays via Warner Archive, and you can stream the series – which is terrific – on Netflix. The new season of Longmire debuts on Netflix tomorrow, so do give it a look. I think you’ll really enjoy it. [Read on here…]