my two cents 1000

Morning, folks!  Hope you all enjoyed The Bitsy Awards yesterday.  We’ve got some announcement news and a new Blu-ray review for you this morning here at The Bits.

But first, our very own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates and 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 Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it.

All right, time for that review.  Tim Salmons has checked in with a look at another fun Scream Factory title in high-definition – The Nest!  Enjoy and be sure to watch for more new BD reviews every day here at The Bits all this week.

Warner Home Video has just announced a new Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray collection for release on 6/4 (SRP $49.99).  The set come in limited tin packaging and will include Mad Max (1979), The Road Warrior (1982) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985 - new to Blu-ray).  The latter two will be released as BD singles on 6/4 as well.  No word yet on extras.  As some of you may know, George Miller has returned to direct a fourth film in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road, which should hit theaters sometime later this year.

Warner Home Video has also set the animated Superman: Unbound for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/7, featuring actor John Noble as the voice of Brianiac.

Sony would like to remind you all that the newly-crowned and Oscar-winning Best Documentary Feature, Waiting for Sugar Man, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.  We hear it’s pretty good.

Well Go USA Entertainment has set Takashi Shimizu’s Tormented for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/2.  This will be followed by Deadball on both formats on 4/9.

Cohen Media Group will release The Other Son on both Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

And here’s a cool bit of news:  Severin Films is releasing the 1970s classic Zulu Dawn on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/12 (SRP $29.95).  Extras will include “new featurettes with Zulu War expert Ian Knight, the film’s historical advisor Midge Carter, a visit to the actual locations of the battle of Isandlwana hosted by Knight, and a selection of rare out-takes.”  You can see the cover artwork below.

We’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Severin’s Zulu Dawn, Warner’s Superman: Unbound and Kino’s Little Fugitive (due 3/26)…

Zulu Dawn (Blu-ray Disc)    Superman: Unbound (Blu-ray Disc)    Little Fugitive (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...!

- Bill Hunt

The Bitsy Awards are here!

February 25, 2013 - 1:41 pm   |   By

All right, we’ll be back tomorrow with the usual cover artwork update, the latest announcement news and even a new Blu-ray Disc review.  But first… it’s time for The 10th (Semi) Annual Digital Bits Bitsy Awards!  We’ve nominated, we’ve voted and now here are our picks for the Best of the Blu-ray format in 2012.  Enjoy!

The Bitsy Awards are here!

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, first up today we’ve got some new title announcements for you...

Paramount has set Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away for Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD release on 3/12.  The studio will also release Not Fade Away on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/30.

Disney will release a Shanghai Noon: 2-Movie Collection on Blu-ray on 5/7, due to include Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights.

Lionsgate will release Mighty Fine on DVD on 5/7.  They also have Dark Feed coming on DVD on 3/19.

MPI/Dark Sky Films will release Stitches on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/2.  MPI will also release The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies on DVD on 3/12, followed by The Big Picture on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

Shout! Factory has set The Aquabats! Super Show! Season One! for DVD release on 5/21.

Timeless Media Group will release A Haunting: The 2012 Season on DVD on 4/23.

Inception Media Group will release The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp: The Complete Season Two and Pressed on DVD on 3/12, followed by The Hunt for Bin Laden on DVD on 3/19.

Indomina Releasing will release Holy Motors on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/26.

Acorn Media will release Foyle’s War: The Complete Home Front Files – Sets 1-6 on DVD on 3/12.

Well Go USA Entertainment has set Tormented for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/2, followed by Deadball on both formats on 4/9.  The company also has A Simple Life coming on both formats on 2/26.

Comedy Central has set Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore for DVD only release on 4/2.

Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Miles Davis with Quincy Jones and the Gil Evans Orchestra: Live at Montreux 1991 on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

And finally, 20th Century Fox has set Parental Guidance for release on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 3/26.

Also today, don’t forget that that this year’s Oscars are awarded this weekend in Los Angeles.  The broadcast will be live on ABC on Sunday evening for those who may be interested.  I guess I’m rooting for Argo to win Best Picture, but Lincoln could sneak in there too.  We’ll see.  Meh…

And before we go, we should let you all know that we’re getting in the awards season spirit here at The Digital Bits too.  Yes, it’s almost time for The Bitsy Awards!  On Monday, we’ll offer a rundown of our staff picks for the very best of Blu-ray in 2012, so be sure to check back then.

The Bitsy Awards are coming!

In the meantime, have a great weekend!  Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

There’s a bit of release news to talk about today, but first some other business…

Here at the site today, our own Jeff Kleist has written a new 3rd Dimension column about the conversion of Tony Scott’s Top Gun into 3D for IMAX 3D and Blu-ray 3D release.  It’s well worth a look, so do check it out.  Don’t forget you can read Jeff’s review of the Blu-ray 3D here.

Also today, as expected Sony held their big PlayStation 4 unveiling last night.  The unit is expected to be released in time for the holidays in the U.S. and Japan.  Strangely, they didn’t show the actual console, but did reveal images of the controllers and many games in the works for the platform.

So what did we learn last night? Here are the official system specs:

Main Processor

  • Single-chip custom processor
  • CPU : x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
  • GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon based graphics engine

Memory

  • GDDR5 8GB

Hard Disk Drive

  • Built-in

Optical Drive (read only)

  • BD 6xCAV
  • DVD 8xCAV

I/O

  • Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0),  AUX
  • Communication Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)

 AV output

  • HDMI
  • Analog-AV out
  • Digital Output (optical)

Just as we expected, the PS4 will include 1080p Blu-ray playback capability and it will also play 4K movie content – presumably via Sony’s own streaming service as we’ve expected (that’s yet to be announced) – but not 4K games (this per Sony’s Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida).   It will, however, be capable of playing games in full 1080p 3D.  It also will apparently NOT block used games, so there’s that.  There are many other details available from last night’s event (viewable in re-streams here and you can read more here at ars technica) that will surely be of interest to gamers, but that covers the PS4’s utility as a movie playback device for now.

Now… in announcement news today, Universal has set Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land (written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski) for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 4/23.  Extras will include an extended scene and The Making of Promised Land featurette.

CBS and Paramount are re-issuing all 7 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD individually on 4/16.  These are the original DVDs as previously released – not SD versions of the new HD re-masters.  Just FYI.

20th Century Fox is re-issuing The Sandlot as a new 20th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray Combo on 3/26.

Amazon is taking pre-orders on Disney and ABC’s Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray and DVD – no street date is yet announced.

And New Video Group will release the documentary Chasing Ice on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/10.

Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of acclaimed film historian Donald Richie, who passed away on Tuesday in Tokyo at the age of 88.  Richie was one of America’s foremost experts on Japanese cinema and almost single-handedly (at least in the early days, until his converts began making their own contributions to the effort) introduced English audiences to the masters and classics of Japanese film.  Tuesday’s New York Times describes one of Richie’s earliest visits to a Japanese movie studio:

In his memoir, The Japan Journals, 1947-2004, Mr. Richie recounted how in the late 1940s he paid his first visit to a Japanese studio, where he met a director in a white floppy hat and “someone I guessed was a star” wearing “a loose Hawaii-shirt.”  Thus began Mr. Richie’s enduring acquaintance with two of the giants of Japanese cinema, the director Akira Kurosawa and the actor Toshiro Mifune.

Can you imagine not only meeting but starting a long friendship with both Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune in their filmmaking prime?  That’s Ritchie on the left in the photo below and Kurosawa in the center.

Donald Richie (left) with Akira Kurosawa (center)

Richie’s 1959 book (co-written with film critic Joseph L. Anderson) The Japanese Film: Art and Industry remains a landmark text on the subject.  And my own battered copy of his comprehensive The Films of Akira Kurosawa has become indispensible to me.  I know I speak for my fellow Japanese cinephile Todd Doogan (and others on the Bits staff) when I say that Donald Richie’s work has enriched our enjoyment and appreciation Japanese film immensely.  Would I have discovered Kurosawa or... say... the Zatoichi films of Shintaro Katsu on my own, without Richie’s having opened the door for us so many years before?  Probably not and – speaking personally – what a great tragedy that would have been.

Donald… we thank you.

Donald Richie

Donald Richie (1924-2013)

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’ve got some big news for you today, but first…

We’ve posted a couple of new Blu-ray Disc reviews here at the site for you to check out today.  Tim has given Shout! Factory’s Deadly Blessing: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray a review – part of their Scream Factory brand.  And Jeff Kleist has turned in a look at Paramount’s new Top Gun 3D on Blu-ray 3D.  Both are now in stores and are definitely worth your time.

Now then… let’s get some announcement news out of the way…

The lead this afternoon is that Warner has officially set the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 5/14 – pretty much exactly around the time we expected it.  SRP is $35.99 and $22.97.  Extras on the Blu-ray will include 7 featurettes (including A Film Like No Other, Everything is Connected, The Impossible Adaptation, The Essence of Acting, Spaceships, Slaves & Sextets, The Bold Science Fiction of Cloud Atlas and Eternal Recurrence: Love, Life, and Longing in Cloud Atlas).  You can see the cover artwork below.

Also today, Warner and the BBC have set Doctor Who: The Visitation – Special Edition for DVD release on 5/14, followed by Call the Midwife: Season Two on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/21.

Warner has also set Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Third Season for DVD only release on 6/4.

In other announcement news, Showtime (distributed by Paramount) has set Dexter: The Complete Seventh Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/14.

Speaking of Paramount, the studio has set An Officer and a Gentleman for release on Blu-ray Disc for the first time on 5/17, distributed by Warner Home Video.

CBS has set Laverne & Shirley: The Complete Sixth Season for DVD release on 5/21.

Lionsgate has set Mighty Fine for DVD only release on 5/7.

And Universal has set the comedy A Haunted House for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/23. The only significant extra will be How to Survive a Paranormal Presence featurette.

Also, the Cohen Media Group has announced that they’re restoring some 700 films (formerly of The Rohauer Library) directed by the likes of Buster Keaton, D.W. Griffith, Alfred Hitchcock and others, many of which the company plans to release on Blu-ray and DVD.  The first release of the Cohen Film Collection is the already announced Thief of Bagdad (which just arrived in stores yesterday) and the new theatrical release Tristiana due on both formats on 3/12.  Future classic catalog titles will include The General, Intolerance, Sudden Fear, Son of the Sheik, The Mark of Zorro and many more.  Visit their website for additional details.

And 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just announced their first batch of MOD DVD-R titles for 2013, which are now available through online retailers.  They include Warlock (1959), Clive of India (1935), Wife, Husband and Friend (1939), Mister 880 (1950), Tender Is the Night (1962), Remember the Day (1941), Apartment for Peggy (1948), Coney Island (1943), Holiday for Lovers (1959), The Marriage-Go-Round (1961), A Message to Garcia (1936), Oh Men! Oh Women! (1957), Something for the Birds (1952), Unfaithfully Yours (1948), Thanks a Million (1935), The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947), Wabash Avenue (1950), 23 Paces to Baker Street (1956), Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939), Lisa (1962), Wilson (1944) and Raiders from Beneath the Sea (1965).

Finally today, Sony is set to officially unveil their new PlayStation 4 videogame system today via a live press conference set for 6 PM Eastern (3 PM Pacific).  You’ll be able to watch a live stream here at the official PlayStation website.  The rumors are that the system will offer some kind of 4K capability (possibly including both gaming and movies) as part of Sony’s support plan for their new 4K displays.  Guess we’ll know for sure soon enough, so do check it out if you’re interested.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Cloud Atlas, An Officer and a Gentleman and Dexter: The Complete Seventh Season (note that only Dexter is currently available for pre-order on Amazon)…

Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray Disc)    An Officer and a Gentleman (Blu-ray Disc)    Dexter: The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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