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All right, we’ve got a bit of ground to cover today. As you may be aware, I’ve been away for a few days. Specifically, my wife and I were attending a family gathering (of my brothers and sister, plus significant others) in Chicago this past weekend. Sarah and I also just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary yesterday. So things have been a little busy here, as you can imagine, but good busy!

Meanwhile, our own Jim Hemphill did post a review of Kino Lorber’s Defiance on Blu-ray on Friday afternoon. Tim Salmons also took some time on Monday to honor the passing of a director and horror film legend we all greatly admire here at The Bits: Wes Craven. The man who gave us The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, and many more died of cancer on Sunday. He was 76 and will be dearly missed. (Read more here at NPR.) So you should check out both of those posts if you haven’t already.  [Read on here…]

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We’ve got a great new View from the Cheap Seats column from our own Bud Elder today, entitled The Biggest Movie Story in America, featuring another of Bud’s great stories and a rundown of recent releases. Don’t miss it.

Also today, Tim Salmons has just turned in a new review of Scream Factory’s Invaders from Mars (1986) on Blu-ray.  [Read on here…]

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We’re kicking things off today here at The Bits with a trio of new reviews. Tim Salmons has added Scream’s Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf to his Scream BD coverage. Jim Hemphill has turned in a good look at Twilight Time’s House of Bamboo BD, a fine film noir title from 1955. And I’ve just posted my thoughts on George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. The film streets on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD next Tuesday. Trust me, it’s worth a look.  [Read on here…]

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We’ll be back with more later, but this is just a quick early post to let you all know that Amazon now has their pre-orders pages up for Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray, and DVD (SRP $54.98, $35.99, and $34.99), as well as The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition on regular Blu-ray (SRP $99.98).  [Read on here…]

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The big Blu-ray news today is this: Warner Home Video has just officially set The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition for release on 3-disc Blu-ray and 5-disc DVD on 11/17 as we expected (SRP $35.99 and $34.99), with a digital release on 10/20. The film is R-rated (presumably for added violence) and will be 20 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. There will also be The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition 9-disc Blu-ray and 15-disc DVD box sets that same day (SRP $99.98 and $78.92). All of these will include UltraViolet digital copies.

Now…  Warner’s press release doesn’t really mention a Blu-ray 3D release of either, so I called and asked for clarification. Here’s the deal: The Blu-ray 3D versions of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition and The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition are going to be Amazon-exclusives. That’s why they’re not listed in the press release.  [Read on here…]

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