Daily Column - Desolation of Smaug opens, Catching Fire preorders, Abyss Deluxe CD & more! http://t.co/WAcCTtxLuH
This is a quick post for you to read over your morning coffee, with a trio of Blu-ray Disc reviews. Our own Dr. Adam Jahnke has turned in his thoughts on Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray collector’s edition of The Burning. We’ve also got Tim’s thoughts on Criterion’s Diabolique in HD. And I’ve also updated my review of The Wachowskis’ take on Speed Racer on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.
We’ll check back in later this morning with any important release news, if any. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
All right, we’ve got some great catalog BD news from Fox and MGM for you today. Starting on 7/9, the studios will deliver Blood and Sand on BD (staring Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth), complete with commentary by Richard Crudo, a D.P. and from 2003-2006 the President of the American Society of Cinematographers. Following on 7/23 will be The 300 Spartans on Blu-ray, with TV spots and the original trailer. Then on 7/30 you’ll get Marilyn Monroe’s Bus Stop and Niagara: 60th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray. Each will feature the film’s trailer, as well as other Marilyn film trailers. Finally, 7/30 will also deliver Love Me Tender on BD, the film that introduced audiences to Elvis Presley. Extras will include audio commentary by Elvis historian Jerry Schilling, 3 featurettes (Elvis Hits Hollywood, The Colonel & The King and Love Me Tender: The Birth & Boom of the Elvis Hit) and Love Me Tender: The Soundtrack. You can see all the cover artwork below.
Also today, Shout! Factory (in collaboration with EuropaCorp) is going to be releasing Luc Besson’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 8/13 (SRP $24.97 and $14.97). Both versions will offer audio in French and English, optional English subtitles and extras TBA.
By the way, Shout! is also working on a new Vincent Price Blu-ray box set for release just in time for Halloween that’s set to include The Fall of the House of Usher, The Haunted Place, The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, Witchfinder General (and its alternate U.S. version The Conqueror Worm) and The Abominable Dr. Phibes! Details will follow in the weeks ahead.
Here’s something interesting: Amazon has just begun taking pre-orders on The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo box set, complete with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and an Amazon-exclusive “flash drive”. SRP is $105.43 and Amazon is selling it for just $73.80. (Just click on the link provided until we have high-quality cover artwork.) You can also get just the Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray version here (SRP $35.99 and Amazon has it for $25.19).
And finally today, Amazon.com has a great Deal of the Day featuring 60% off of Universal’s Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series on DVD. So that boils down to the whole (great) show for just $40. Definitely take advantage of that – Clear eyes, full hearts!
Here’s that cover artwork we promised you…
With that... have a great weekend, folks!
- Bill Hunt
All right, we’ve got some odds and ends for you today…
First up, Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for the Blu-ray and DVD release of the recent Tom Cruise sci-fi film Oblivion (SRP $34.98 and $29.98). There’s no street date yet, but you can expect it to be announced in the next few weeks.
What’s more, it appears that the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica feature film may finally arrive on Blu-ray Disc exclusively at Best Buy stores next Tuesday (5/14). Best Buy does indeed have the title listed on their website with the cover artwork below. SRP is just $14.99, so don’t expect any major restoration, but still – casino planet in HD baby! No doubt it will go into wide release in a month or two. [Editor’s Note: I’ve confirmed with Universal that this title is a Best Buy exclusive.]
In official announcement news today, Lionsgate has set the June Carter Cash biopic Ring of Fire for release on DVD only on 6/4.
New Yorker Films will release My Dog Tulip on Blu-ray Disc on 5/28.
And our friend Don May, Jr. has announced that Synapse’s forthcoming Blu-ray version of Street Trash is being delayed from its original 6/11 street date until 7/8 so that some additional remastering work can be properly completed. No problem – we’d always rather have it done right and I’m sure fans will be understanding.
Meanwhile, we have official word on the new special features you can expect on CBS’ Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 4 Blu-ray, due on 7/30. In addition to all the original DVD features (including both Best Buy bonus disc featurettes), look for deleted scenes, a gag reel, 2 new HD documentary featurettes (In Conversation: The Star Trek Art Department and Relativity: The Family Saga of Star Trek The Next Generation) and a pair of new episode audio commentaries (one with Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga and Mike & Denise Okuda, and a second with Rob Bowman and Mike & Denise Okuda – the specific episodes are TBA).
While we’re on the subject of Star Trek: The Next Generation, CBS’s Redemption “movie edit” Blu-ray which also streets on 7/30 will include promos for both parts, audio commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda and the exclusive Survive and Succeed: An Empire at War featurette.
Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for the Battlestar Galactica Best Buy exclusive (note that the cover link for this title goes to Best Buy rather than Amazon), as well as both of the Trek titles we just mentioned…
- Bill Hunt
All right, today’s post is a quickie, as there’s a lot of other work going on here at The Bits today… trying to catch up on some things.
BUT… we do have a new Blu-ray Disc review from Todd Doogan this afternoon! He’s checked in with his thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s recent Django Unchained, and if you’re a Tarantino fan and/or you haven’t seen the film yet it’s definitely worth reading what Doogan has to say about it.
Also today, Sony has finally re-announced a title that was first slated for Blu-ray release a while back: Ishtar! The film is now set to arrive on BD on 8/6 (maybe) with a 107-minute director’s cut. It doesn’t appear that there’s much in the way of extras, but if you’ve been eager to have the film on disc in HD, you’ll (maybe) have your chance in a few more months. (Though personally, I’ll believe it when I finally see the disc in my hand.)
Warner Home Video has set Political Animals: The Complete Series for DVD only release on 8/6.
And Anchor Bay has set the Syfy original movie Super Storm for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/13.
Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Ishtar, along with Warner’s new BD anniversary edition of The Fugitive (due 9/3) and Sony’s House of Cards (6/11)…
- Bill Hunt
So to start with today, I’ve got a few (non-spoiler-y) words about J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek Into Darkness, which I had the chance to see last night. Now… I should say up front that I knew pretty much all of the twists and reveals of the plot going in, and have for a while now. That was my own choice, it’s just how I decided to roll this time. And yet I still quite enjoyed this film. Much has been made of the fact that there are “surprises” in the film, but I actually think its strength revolves instead around a set of very strong character performances by Chris Pine, Zach Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch and Bruce Greenwood. They deliver in a very big way here and their interactions are really the beating heart of the film. Their performances help carry this sequel through no small amount of mechanical obviousness in the plot and its twists – which will be especially apparent to longtime Trek fans. If you go into this film looking for flaws, you’ll find them. And if you go in having memorized your battered old copy of the Starfleet Technical Manual, you’ll probably have an aneurysm. But like Star Trek (2009), this film is undeniably fun. The set piece action sequences here are many, surprisingly creative and absolutely relentless. This Trek is bigger, bolder and much more aggressively paced than the original. And I actually quite enjoyed it. More than I expected in fact. If you let yourself just go with it, Star Trek Into Darkness is a helluva fun ride... and the 3D conversion is actually pretty nice too. The best thing in my opinion is that, by the end of the film, this “new” Trek franchise is finally where it needs to be. Much like the latest Bond film, Star Trek Into Darkness clears the decks for new (and hopefully completely original) adventures to come. With film three, if the filmmakers play their cards right, this Trek universe can finally be about “boldly going” and “seeking out new life and new civilizations” again. And that would really be something to see. If I’m grading the film, I’d probably give it a good solid B or B+. I’m certainly going to see it a few more times on the big screen, so I guess that probably speaks for itself. By the way, since it’s likely that J.J. Abrams isn’t going to be able to direct the next film (given his involvement in the new Star Wars trilogy), I’d like to submit my suggestion for the ideal director to take his place: Nicholas Meyer anyone?
By the way, for another good and much more in-depth review of the film (though with perhaps a few minor spoilers), I recommend Drew McWeeny’s take on it over at HitFix. I definitely agree with him – I think he pretty well nails it.
Now then… here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from them after clicking through our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we surely do appreciate it!
On to today’s announcement news…
First up, Universal has just set The Host for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 7/9, preceded by a digital-only release on 6/25. Extras will include deleted scenes, a Seeker PSA and the Bringing The Host to Life featurette. This is the film based on the Stephanie Meyer book.
Meanwhile, Sony has announced the DVD only release of Damages: The Final Season on 7/16. Extras will include deleted scenes and outtakes.
Fox will release Wedding Band: Season One on DVD on 6/11.
Inception Media Group has set The Unbroken for DVD release on 6/11.
Lionsgate has set The Definitive Guide to the Mob for DVD only release on 7/16, followed by Blaze You Out on DVD on 7/30.
BBC Home Entertainment has set The Royal Collection box set for DVD release on 5/21 (SRP $24.99), including The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy, Queen Victoria’s Children and How to Be a Prince, plus “a replica of a booklet for Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, featuring original photography from the ceremony.”
And our friends over at the Warner Archive have made some great new titles available starting this week on MOD/DVD-R, including the Al Brodax-produced Popeye: The 1960s Classics – Volume 1 (2-discs, 72 episodes), Penrod and Sam (1931), Tenth Avenue Angel (1947), The Secret Garden (1949), Duffy of San Quentin (1954) and Without a Trace: The Complete Sixth Season.
Finally today, we really must take a moment to acknowledge the passing of legendary stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died early this morning in London at the age of 92. Inspired by Willis O’Brien’s work on the original King Kong, Harryhausen proceeded – over the course of his long and distinguished career – to take the art of stop-motion to the next level in such films as Mighty Joe Young, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, It Came from Beneath the Sea, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 20 Million Miles from Earth, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Mysterious Island, Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years B.C. and 1981’s Clash of the Titans. His final animated work was The Story of the Tortoise and the Hare in 2003. Or course, that list of titles by no means complete. Harryhausen’s work inspired the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis, Nick Park, Dennis Muren, Tim Burton, Guillermo del Toro, Stan Winston and so many others. For my part, I was fortunate enough to meet him in person on a number of occasions over the years at various appearances and other events. In fact, I had the great honor of chatting with him for nearly 30 minutes during a lull in a DVD signing at the now closed DVD Planet store in Huntington Beach back in 2003. Ray was simply one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet and he loved talking about animation, his own work and the works of others he admired. You just got the sense from him that he loved what he did and was truly humbled and honored by how much it had impacted others. As it happens, our own Dr. Jahnke interviewed him for The Bits back in 2005 and I highly recommend you give it a read.
Thank you, Ray. We’ll dearly miss you.
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned…
- Bill Hunt