my two cents 1000

All right, we’re back as expected today with a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our very own Michael Coate.

But first, we wanted to take a moment this afternoon to acknowledge a bit of sad breaking news: The legendary film and stage actor Peter O’Toole has died.  He passed away yesterday at the age of 81.  Cinephiles will of course know him from his performance as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, but other favorite film roles include such titles as Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Stunt Man, The Last Emperor and My Favorite Year.  Younger readers may best recall him for voicing a character in Pixar’s Ratatouille.  If you’re one of them, I envy you – it means you have so many great O’Toole films yet to discover.  In fact, I think a fresh viewing of Lawrence just might be in order in O’Toole’s memory.  Our hats off to him.  You can read more here at The New York Times.  [Read on here...]

So it turns out The Desolation of Smaug is pretty good.  I mustered up the energy to catch a double-feature screening last night with a friend, and it was a fine evening’s entertainment.  If you enjoyed the first Hobbit film, I think you’ll like this one a great deal more.  The pacing is much more engaging.  Fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy will definitely feel more at home here, as in this film the prequel trilogy really begins to reveal its connections to the previous films more strongly… and not just in the fact that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) features prominently.  As one would hope, Smaug himself is wonderfully realized.

Smaug aside, with any luck you have a good art house theater in your neck of the woods, because there are a number of fine indie films worth seeing this holiday season: American Hustle, the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, All Is Lost, Nebraska, Her, 12 Years a Slave and many more.  This is the time of year when all the great dramas get dumped into limited theatrical distribution so they quality for Oscar nominations, so be sure to head out to your local theater over the next 2 or 3 weeks.  [Read on here…]

Well… tonight’s the big night for your Tolkien fans.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens tonight at Midnight at theaters around the world, so I’m guessing there will be at least a few people standing in lines over the coming hours.

In announcement news today, Universal will release Closed Circuit on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 1/7.

Kino Lorber has set Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/21.

Music Box Films has The Returned: The Complete First Season coming on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/21 as well.  [Read on here…]

Couple more things for you today...

First, our own Tim Salmons has returned with a review of Sony’s Olympus Has Fallen on Blu-ray Disc.  Sounds like a decent rental at least.

Also today, MPI and IFC Midnight have set Argento’s Dracula 3-D, directed by Dario Argento and starring Rutger Hauer, for Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray release on 1/28.

Scream Factory has set The Slumber Party Massacre for Blu-ray release on 3/18.  [Read on here…]

Well, folks... I continue to battle this damn flu, but I think I’ve got the better of it today at least.  At any rate, we’ve got some good stuff here at the site today.

First, we’ve got a new review for you.  Actually, it’s a rare hardware review here at The Bits.  You see, we’ve found a piece of hardware so awesome, so useful and cool, that we just couldn’t help ourselves but have a little fun with it: Factory Entertainment’s Jaws: Collectible Bottle Opener.  So here’s our very own Todd Doogan to put old Bruce through his paces.  It’s definitely gets the Bits recommendation for great holiday stocking stuffer ideas.

Also today, Russell Hammond has posted the weekly Release Dates & Artwork section update featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game (now including Xbox One and PS4) cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links.  And as always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then, we’ve got some interesting announcement news for you today... [Read on here...]

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