Those "retro" Force Awakens posters.
All right, space cadets! We’ve back early with a rate Sunday update of The Bits for you. Why you ask? Well… Amazon has just begun taking pre-orders on the Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which just opened in theaters in the States this past week. There’s no street date yet (we’d guess it will be out in September or October), but there are FOUR SKU’s on Amazon.com – the Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $54.99 but Amazon has it for just $24.99 – with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy), a Blu-ray Combo (SRP $39.99 but Amazon has it for just $19.99 – with Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy), a DVD version (SRP $29.99 and Amazon has it for $16.99) and – get this – an Amazon-exclusive Limited Edition Gift Set version of the Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $99.99 but Amazon has it for $79.99) that ships with a newly-produced prop replica Phaser pistol from the film produced by QMx, which was apparently involved in making the hero props for the film. Unlike QMx’s 2009 Phaser replica (which is now sold out), this new one features a rotating emitter barrel (that in the film switches the Phaser from ‘stun’ to ‘kill’). Here’s what it looks like (the image has a pre-order link)…
A description page for the new Phaser replica was briefly visible on QMx’s website over the weekend but was then pulled down – we suspect it will be back soon. Only the sold-out 2009 prop’s page is there at the moment. (Note that Amazon has images of the new prop including one showing the barrel swiveling.)
[UPDATE: Here’s the official QMx page for this new Phaser replica as well as a page about the props they made for the new film. It will apparently only be available as part of the Amazon Blu-ray Limited Edition and word is they’re selling quick.]
Meanwhile, here’s the cover artwork for the other three versions. Clicking on any of the cover art (or the images above) takes you to the pre-order page on Amazon.com – any orders you make after clicking through our link go to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it!
All right, back tomorrow with the usual. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
Okay… today’s Bits update is going to be a quick one as I seem to have a spotty Internet connection here this morning (curse you Cox Communications!) and I want to make sure I get something up before it goes out completely.
Our own Dr. Jahnke has a brand new Blu-ray Disc review for you today, this time a classic of exploitation cinema: John Flynn’s 1977 Rolling Thunder, which arrives in stores on 5/28 from Shout! Factory. Do give it a look. Tim has a new Blu-ray review for you as well this afternoon: Kino’s Zeta One, which is something of a sci-fi “sexploitation” comedy from 1969 and has been released on Kino’s Jezebel label.
We’ve also updated more of our past Criterion Blu-ray reviews into the new site’s database today (from Tim, the good Doctor, myself and Barrie Maxwell), including Lars-Von Trier’s Antichrist, Fritz Lang’s M, Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge, Erle C. Kenton’s Island of Lost Souls and Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko. Be sure to watch for lots more new and updated Blu-ray reviews here at The Bits all next week.
In release news today… well, it hasn’t exactly been announced yet but Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for Disney’s The Muppet Movie: The Original Classic – The Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray with a reported release date of 8/13. One would like to think they’re going to get around to finally releasing The Muppet Show: Seasons 4 and 5 on DVD at some point, but no sign of it yet.
Speaking of Disney, retail sources tell us that studio will release new Blu-ray/DVD combo editions of The Sword in the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition (SRP $36.99), the Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (SRP $36.99) and the Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (SRP $29.99) on 8/6. You can see the cover artwork below.
Sony has set Absolute Deception for DVD only release on 6/11.
And A&E has set Duck Dynasty: Season 3 for DVD release on 8/6.
We’ll leave you with a look at those Disney titles, as well as Paramount’s Marathon Man and The Talented Mr. Ripley (both due 9/10)…
All right, better get this up. Have a great weekend! Go see Star Trek into Darkness – it’s a ton of fun.
See you back here on Monday.
- Bill Hunt
All right, it’s Thursday here at The Bits and you know what that means! Well… actually it doesn’t really mean anything except that it’s Thursday, but we do have some great release news and some more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you.
First the reviews: From our own Tim Salmons we’ve got a new review of Anchor Bay’s Day of the Falcon, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. We’ve also ported over another pair of his older reviews from the original Bits website – Clerks and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
On top of that, we’ve updated more of our classic Criterion Blu-ray reviews as well – from myself, Todd Doogan and Barrie Maxwell. They include Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Kagemusha, Sanjuro and Yojimbo (as well as Ran from Studio Canal and Lionsgate) and also Charade and Amarcord.
And that leads me nicely to today’s release news: Our friends at the Criterion Collection have just announced their August Blu-ray and DVD release slate, set to include an updating of Max Ophuls’ The Earrings of Madame De... (Cat #445 – BD and DVD – due 8/6), John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (Cat #667 – BD and DVD – due 8/13), Satyajit Ray’s The Big City (Cat #668 – BD and DVD – due 8/20) and Charulata (Cat #669 – Blu-ray and DVD – also due 8/20) and Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (Cat #670 – BD and DVD – due 8/27). They also have Eclipse Series 39: Early Fassbinder coming to DVD only on 8/27, featuring Love Is Colder Than Death, Katzelmacher, Gods of the Plague, The American Soldier and Beware of a Holy Whore. Here’s a look at three of the covers (we’ll update the Amazon links when they become available)…
And that’s all for the moment. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
All right, we’re using this lovely Hump Day afternoon to catch up on more Blu-ray Disc reviews. So we’ve got a brand new one for you in the form of Tim’s thoughts on Anchor Bay’s recent Shadow People on Blu-ray. We’ve also ported over a whopping seven more Blu-ray reviews from the original Bits website into the new review database (by Tim, myself, Barrie Maxwell and others), including Fox’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 35th Anniversary Edition, Universal’s Legend: Ultimate Edition, MGM’s Platoon: 25th Anniversary Edition and Criterion’s Paths of Glory, The Killing, Wings of Desire and Howards End. So enjoy those!
We’re trying to get all of our past Blu-ray review work into the new database first, and then we’ll go back and update as many of our old DVD reviews as time permits. Step by step.
In announcement news today, Shout! factory has set A Boy and His Dog for Blu-ray release on 8/6 (SRP $26.99), followed by Roadie on 8/20 (SRP $19.97). Look also for a Bruce Lee Legacy Collection box set on 8/6 (SRP $119.99). The set includes 11 discs (4 BDs/7 DVDs) comprising the films The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon and Game of Death (each included in both Blu-ray and DVD versions – so that's 8 of the discs – with the BDs being new to North America), plus 3 more DVDs that include the documentaries Bruce Lee: The Man, The Legend (1973), Bruce Lee: The Legend (1983 – a shorter version of the 1973 doc) and I Am Bruce Lee (2012), as well as more than two hours of additional exclusive bonus material. Here’s a look at the box art…
Meanwhile, Warner Home Video is delivering more Paramount catalog titles to Blu-ray for the first time on 9/10, including The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sliver, Snake Eyes, Jennifer Eight and Marathon Man. SRP is $19.98 each.
And finally, Image Entertainment has set The Numbers Station for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/28.
Don’t forget, Midnight showings of Star Trek into Darkness kick off tonight here in the States. Maybe we’ll see you at one!
- Bill Hunt
All right, we’ve got some more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you all to enjoy today. First up, Tim has given Criterion’s version of Terrence Malick’s Badlands a look for you. Also, we’ve brought our BD reviews of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 over to the new Bits site. Enjoy!
Also here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates and Artwork section, featuring 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 through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it. It really does make a difference. So thank you!
In announcement news today, Universal has set the comedy Admission, staring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/9. Universal has also set Syfy’s Alphas: Season Two for DVD only release on 7/16.
HBO has set Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/20. Also coming to Blu-ray and DVD from HBO on 8/13 is Girls: The Complete Second Season, as well as Enlightened: The Complete Second Season on DVD only.
Warner Home Video has announced the Charlie Chan Collection for DVD release on 8/6 (SRP $39.92). The set will include Shadows Over Chinatown, Docks of New Orleans, Shanghai Chest and The Golden Eye. All will be remastered.
Sony has set the documentary The Gatekeepers for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/9. Sony has also set NO for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/25, followed by Dead Man Down on both formats on 7/9.
Here’s a title that’s not officially been announced yet, but Sony has accidentally let it slip that director Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming sci-fi/action film Elysium is likely to street on or around 12/17. The date is obviously subject to change, but you can tentatively set the Wayback Machine (in reverse) for it.
Meanwhile, CBS has set The Borgias: The Third Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/6. CBS has also set Family Ties: The Seventh and Final Season for DVD only release on 8/13.
Disney has announced the DVD only release of ABC’s Revenge: The Complete Second Season on 8/20 (SRP $45.99), followed by Army Wives: The Complete Seventh Season (SRP $39.99) and Castle: The Complete Fifth Season (SRP $45.99) on 9/10, and Nashville: The Complete First Season (SRP $45.99) on 9/17.
Disney has also set the animated Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 7/21.
Grindhouse Releasing has set Corruption and An American Hippie in Israel for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/10.
Image Entertainment will release the Sony catalog title Quicksilver on Blu-ray on 8/6, followed by The Tailor of Panama and 88 Minutes on 8/20, and Stranded on 8/27.
Wolfe Video has set Quentin Lee’s White Frog for DVD release on 6/4.
Lionsgate has set the supernatural western Gallowwalkers for DVD release on 8/6 (SRP $26.98).
Magnolia Home Entertainment has announced The Brass Teapot for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/18.
Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Detention of the Dead on DVD only on 7/23, followed by The Demented on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 7/30.
And our friends at Warner Archive have made a few more great DVD-R/MOD titles available this week, including Sincerely Yours (1955), Stampede (1949), Short Grass (1950), Wild Stallion (1952) and Rider on a Dead Horse (1962), as well as The Monogram Cowboy Collection: Volume Six – Jimmy Wakely, which includes Riding the Dusty Trail aka Riders of the Dawn (1945), Lonesome Trail (1945), The Rangers Ride (1948), Range Renegades (1948), Silver Trails (1948) and Brand of Fear (1949).
In other news, this has nothing to do with Blu-ray Disc, but it’s just damn cool: Astronaut (and musician) Chris Hadfield just returned safely from the International Space Station yesterday, but before he left he shot an HD video tribute to David Bowie by recording one of the coolest versions of the song Space Oddity you’re ever likely to see. Bowie himself even recognized it on Twitter. Do give it a watch (and be sure to select 720p)…
Finally, don’t forget that the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica feature film hits Blu-ray today at Best Buy stores for just $14.99. I picked up a copy – it’s pretty good. No extras, but the film looks surprisingly nice given its age. Nice contrast, color and detail. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.1 (with the .1 channel reproducing the Sensurround track of the original theatrical presentation). Jeff will be doing a review in the next week or so.
We’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Universal’s The Host (due 7/9), Sony’s The Call (7/25) and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season…
- Bill Hunt
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