(Archived Posts 7/25/98 - 6/20/98)
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Sorry there were no updates yesterday. I spent my afternoon checking
out what could be a very big story next week (more on that in a minute),
as well as seeing Saving Private Ryan.
I'll make my Oscar pick right now: barring any surprisingly good films
later this year (and none look to be forthcoming) Saving
Private Ryan will be the next Best Picture, and Tom Hanks
should walk away with another Best Actor statue. I know there are lots
of people out there who are saying that the film is just too violent,
and that no one under 18 should see it. But I think that anyone who lets
their children play video games like Mortal
Kombat, should make their children see this. They might learn
something that too many kids these days haven't - the value of life.
Believe the reports you've been hearing - Saving
Private Ryan is definitely the most accurate depiction of war
ever filmed. It's brutal in its realism and honesty. As I walked out of
the theater, I found myself wondering what twist of fate it was that
allowed me to be born in a relatively peaceful time. Just 50 years ago
(an eye-blink in all of history), an entire generation of young men from
around world risked and lost their lives, so that we can enjoy the
freedoms we have today. I wonder how many of us really appreciate this
sacrifice? Saving Private Ryan is
definitely a must-see.
OK, enough waxing philosophic. Check the Rumor
Mill today for some interesting information I learned Thursday
- could be a big DVD story next week. There's also some good upcoming
DVD title information. Also, I'd like to send out a thank you to the
good folks over at Cinescape,
who made a nice reference to the Bits
on their site yesterday. Stay tuned...!
OK, I managed to find that Seattle Times
article from earlier this month, in which Chris Carter lets it slip that
a DVD version of X-Files: Fight the Future
is being prepared. Be sure to read it in the Rumor
Mill. There's a brief note about the upcoming Paramount DVD
title announcement too.
Also, after completing my
Speedway review, I've been informed of two new pieces of
information by Image's Garrett Lee. The disc is expected to retail in
early September. Also, the disc has received the THX seal of approval,
and its packaging will include the THX label. It really is a don't-miss
DVD. More later...
7/22/98 - LATE UPDATE (11 AM PST)
Here's a hot update... one of my contacts has come through with a list
of MGM DVD releases scheduled through the end of the year. There are
some absolutely terrific titles on this list, so be sure to check it out
in today's Rumor
EARLY UPDATE (7/22/98 - 1 AM PST)
All right - the
Speedway preview is now up! This DVD is really special -
arguably the best DVD demo material yet produced to show off your home
theater system. It will be available later this Summer (or early Fall)
from Image Entertainment, so keep your eyes peeled for it.
I've also posted a new hardware review from Digital
Man, of the
2090 (a combo Dolby Digital / DTS receiver). Enjoy!
Just a quick note to let you all know that I just posted a DVD preview
Brothers 2000, and I'm working on the preview of Super
Speedway now (should be up tonight). Stay tuned...
So how was everyone's weekend? I spent my time upgrading my PC to
Windows 98 (which I really dig so far), and watching stack of very
interesting demo DVDs. I'll get to those in a minute. First, there's
some interesting information in today's Rumor
Mill about a possible Mallrats
DVD. Also, the Trivia
Contest for July is now up, giving everyone a chance to win a
copy of Boogie Nights on DVD.
Three runners-up will win the disc, and the grand prize winner will win
the DVD, plus a CDPlayRight Trio for DVD Care Kit. So be sure to get
your entries in. Now, on to the discs...
The first disc I watched this weekend, is the oft-mentioned
POP Cineram DVD Center Demo Disc,
which includes the clips from Independence
Day, Volcano and
Star Trek: First Contact (all of
which look terrific - these titles should make great DVD releases...
when they're finally released). These clips aside, the disc provides a
brief glimpse at the DVD authoring and compression process.
Next on my watch list this weekend was Quantel's
Looking Good on DVD (which does indeed look good). The disc
is designed to illustrate just how good DVD video can be delivered. All
of the film clips shown on the disc were scanned and converted directly
into digital data - no telecine was involved. In addition the video runs
at an average bit rate in excess of 9Mbps, with 2.0 Dolby Digital audio
running at 192Kbps. It really is an outstanding demonstration of the
Finally, Garrett Lee of Image Entertainment sent me the final v2.0 beta
test pressing of their upcoming IMAX Super
Speedway DVD. If you've read Image's Preview
magazine recently, you'll know that Garrett believes this disc will be
the demo disc to run on your home theaters. And after watching
it, I'd have to agree with him. This disc looks and sounds awesome. Not
only is the video terrific, but the 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix is
perhaps the most dynamic and immersive I've yet experienced on DVD. And
the disc even has a 'making-of' documentary to boot. I'll post my full
review of this title in tomorrow's update, so stay tuned...
Well, I've got to watch a stack of new DVDs this weekend, so I can
start getting a lot more reviews up on the site (finally). But I wanted
to post that George Lucas quote from American
Cinematographer re: Star Wars
on DVD (in today's Rumor
Mill). I think you'll find it interesting, especially given
that it was published all the way back in February of 1997. Always on
the cutting edge, George was already thinking DVD way back then. Special
thanks to Bits reader Grant
Peterson for digging it up and transcribing it for all of us to enjoy.
You'll also find a few new snippets of Paramount DVD information in
today's post as well.
More later this weekend...
7/17/98 - LATE UPDATE (11:30 AM PST)
There's a new DVD-related article over on
Techweb by Andy Patrizio.
HDTV Gaining Consumer Favor, I think you'll find it interesting
Also, I'm proud to say that the Bits
is now listed as a source for DVD industry news and movie reviews at
Apple's home page. My thanks to
all those who made that possible.
PREVIOUS UPDATE (7/17/98 - 3 AM PST)
There are a couple of very exciting things to be found in today's
update of the Bits.
First of all, you'll find just about everything you want to know about
the disc features on Paramount's upcoming DVD titles in the Rumor
Mill. Just as exciting, I was recently able to get my hands on
an advance copy of Republic's It's a
Wonderful Life DVD. The disc streets officially on August
18th, but you can get your first look at it
Here's a hint - this is one disc you won't want to miss!
Whew... not bad for one day, huh?
No sooner do I post the Paramount information, word of the first
possible Fox DVD titles comes my way. This situation should be
interesting, and I'll be following it closely (as I'm sure all of you
will as well). Check the Rumor
Mill today for the scoop.
I've been getting a lot of e-mail asking about Fox DVD plans, and why
they didn't announce at VSDA. Those who want to know exactly what's
going on with Fox, should read my
July 9th report from VSDA (posted on the 12th). Official word from
Paramount on their DVD product is covered in the
July 8th update (see Page 2). Also in the VSDA coverage is a
detailed look at the other studios' upcoming DVD titles, so be sure to
check it out.
Finally, there are a trio of interesting articles on Divx (directly and
indirectly) on the Net, that you all might want to check out. Here are
From USAToday -
quality may come with a price
From News.com -
NEC to secure DVD
From CNet -
new convenience or digital disaster?
Best until tomorrow!
Well, I've got a list of at least a few of the titles I'm told
Paramount is working on for DVD release starting in September. Check
them out in the Rumor
Thanks to everyone who sent comments on our VSDA coverage here at the
Bits. From the overwhelming response, it sounds like a lot of you
enjoyed the reports, despite the delays. I'm finally rested and
recovered from the experience, so expect more activity around here in
the next few days!
And remember, please try to be civil if you decide to communicate your
desire for DVD support to Fox and DreamWorks, all right? You might be
surprised at the result.
You can now see just about everything that happened at the convention
in the VSDA
'98 Picture Gallery. Be sure to check it out and keep those
VSDA coverage comments coming.
In other, non-VSDA news, CEMA numbers indicate that more than 625,000
DVD players have been sold into retail as of July 3rd. I'm working on
some new DVD reviews, including a very exciting title that's
yet-to-be-released! Also, the July Trivia Contest
will be up in the next few days, so stay tuned...
7/12/98 - LATE UPDATE (9PM PST)
All right! All of the
are now on-line! Gods, am I tired! Well, enjoy the reports, and be sure
to e-mail me to let me know what you think. I'll try to respond to
everyone... after I get about 15 hours of sleep!
One quick word of warning - there is a just-released DVD version of
Fritz Lang's Metropolis (from
Madacy Entertainment) now appearing in stores for only $9.99. Don't
bother with it - the transfer is terrible, and looks like it was done by
a monkey! The frame is cropped too closely and slightly off to one side,
making all of the title cards virtually unreadable. Also, this edition
is only 115 minutes long - the full-length running time of Metropolis
is 120 minutes. Don't waste your $$$.
More as soon as I recover from VSDA! Best Wishes!
PREVIOUS UPDATE (7/12/98 - 8 AM PST)
Sorry to keep everyone waiting for the remainder of the reports from
VSDA. The problem has been the tremendous amount of time required to
load all the pictures we shot for the reports (some 70 per day) from the
digital camera to the laptop, then choose the ones we want to use, and
convert them to web-ready .jpg files for the page. The actual reports
are written already. Sorry about the delay - I know I promoted the VSDA
coverage as daily, but it just look far longer than expected. I also had
to spend most of my actual time at the show running around doing the
physical legwork of reporting. So please bear with me - I really am
doing the best I can here... it's just a LOT of work! All the remaining
reports (Thursday, Friday & VSDA Picture Gallery) will be up later
today, so stay tuned, and thanks for your patience!
7/9/98 - LATE UPDATE (11:55 PM PST)
OK, the Wednesday report is finally up. Click
check it out. It includes an inside report on the DVD Video Group's
luncheon, as well as a look at what happened on the show floor on Day
One. There's some interesting DVD info in the report. The only big DVD
news to come out of the show on Wednesday however (as you no doubt have
heard), is the official announcement of Warner's new three-tiered DVD
pricing. You'll find the press release on the
Warner page of
the Studio News section. Stay tuned for
Thursday and Friday reports, and a VSDA Picture Gallery, coming soon...!
PREVIOUS UPDATE (7/9/98 - 5 PM PST)
Sorry for the delay with the first two reports. No sooner had I
uploaded my 7/7 report, a technical glitch fritzed out my laptop, and
prevented me from sending the 7/8 update last night! Must be a Divx
'ghost in the machine' - go figure! Anyway, the problem was quickly
corrected this morning, but I had to leave early to sit in on a VSDA
panel discussion on DVD (entitled DVD Video:
The Future is Now) with Widescreen
Review editor Gary Reber. On the panel were Warren Lieberfarb
of Warner, and Ben Feingold of Columbia/TriStar. I took lots of notes,
and some pictures, so it should make a nice companion to my upcoming
report on the DVD Video Group's luncheon on Wednesday. I will have the
7/8 report up soon, and today's report early tomorrow morning. I'm also
going to create a picture album, featuring lots of images taken during
the show, which will be up this weekend, following my Friday 7/10
report. So hang in there and here's to hoping there's some kind of DVD
announcement made tomorrow. I'll have some insights on Paramount and Fox
in tonight's report however. Stay tuned...!
Well, doing the web site via laptop has proven more of a challenge than
I anticipated... meaning that it's taking me a LOT more time than I
expected! But I've got the first update (a recap of Tuesday night's
Image Entertainment party) up now, and I'm working (even as you read
this - trust me, it's like 2AM right now) on the Wednesday recap. There
will be lots of pictures, so I think you'll find it interesting. I also
attended the DVD Video Group luncheon on Wednesday, so there's some very
interesting DVD info coming your way. I'll note it here as soon as the
Wednesday update is posted. In the meantime, the Wednesday link is live,
but will be broken until it's up. Click
start reading. And check back soon!
OK, I'm off to Vegas! Just to let you know, all updates to the Bits
the next few days will be made on the
so be sure to check there for daily news.
I've decided to save the Score Card for the weekend - that way I can
include each studio's DVD announcements from the show in the ratings and
comments. If I posted it now, the information would be obsolete before
the week was done.
In the meantime, hang in there! Try to remain calm, and hopefully we'll
all be pleased with the DVD news of the next few days. Best Wishes!
7/6/98 - LATE UPDATE (2:30 PM PST)
Well, just two days from VSDA and already the press releases are
flying! Buena Vista Home Video just issued a statement to the effect
that they are partnering with Warner Bros to launch their DVD product in
Europe. More importantly, the press release reveals their plans to
release animated classics like Dumbo
and Alice In Wonderland to DVD
very soon. Read their full announcement here.
I've just been sent information on the September release lineup from
Columbia/TriStar and MGM. Check the Rumor
Mill for the latest.
Also, I'm beginning to archive several pages of the Bits
to improve low-bandwidth load times. I've started with the
Rumor Mill, and will be doing the home
page as well. Let me know how it improves things. Thanks and stay
7/6/98 (8 AM PST)
OK, the Studio Score Card is almost complete! I've had to go through
comments from some 600 readers on the various studios' DVD releases, so
it's taken me quite a lot of work. I should have the Score Card up late
tonight, so be sure to check back in the morning. I've included my
opinions and evaluation of each studio, given each a rating, and
included a sample of readers comments. I'm also giving some feedback on
the DVD format in general (based on my impressions and readers'
comments) - what we like, what we don't, the definition of a good and
bad DVD, and the direction we'd like to see the format go. So check back
Finally, updates will be sparing the next day or two, as I prepare to
head to Las Vegas for the Video Software Dealers Association convention.
However, I will be updating the Bits
direct from VSDA, each weeknight of the show (Wed - Fri)! Armed with a
digital camera and my trusty laptop, I'm going to try to give all of you
a look behind the scenes at the convention. And of course, I'll be sure
to recap all of the big DVD news of the day. Updates should be posted by
10 PM (PST) each night. It promises to be an exciting week, so be sure
to tune in starting Wednesday night! Best until then...!
Go figure! The moment I try to do the responsible thing and caution all
of you not to expect a Fox DVD announcement next week, what happens? I
get info that they may announce after all! This sudden barrage of inside
info can only mean one thing - VSDA is near! Check the Rumor
Mill for the details...
Sorry for the delay on my Studio Score card. I've had a sudden flurry
of last minute comments from readers, that I wanted to go through before
posting. And Independence Day has naturally gotten in the way (and I
don't mean the alien invasion flick!). I will definitely finish it over
the weekend, and have it up by Monday (just in time for VSDA).
I hope all you Yanks out there have a great 4th of July holiday, and
for everyone else... have a great weekend!
Before I start off on Armageddon,
let me tell you all that today's update of the Rumor
Mill has a brief summary of what I'm told is likely to come
out of the forthcoming VSDA convention. Bits
reader Herman Fung sent me a .jpg file of the
Billboard in San Francisco, so be sure to check it out (thanks
Herman!). And the long-awaited Studio Score Card should be up by later
Now, on to business. I saw Armageddon
yesterday, and well... it was really bad. All right, as Dennis Miller
says, "I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but..." Armageddon
is pretty much a disaster (no pun intended).
OK, I liked about 30 minutes of it - 15 minutes at the beginning, when
a meteor shower was destroying lots of stuff ('cause the effects were
terrific), and 15 minutes right around the launch of the shuttles
('cause anyone who's read my Apollo
13 review will know that I just really dig the 'can-do'
astronaut stuff). Billy Bob Thornton is always terrific, and definitely
delivers here. I'll even admit that Bruce Willis gives it his best in
But there are two things that really irk me in a movie: 1) scenes that
are staged solely for the purpose of tugging heart strings and pushing
emotional buttons, and 2) events that are so implausible that they defy
my ability to suspend belief, even in a big-budget Hollywood action
movie. Now either one of these, found sparingly, is acceptable. But Armageddon
shamelessly and repeatedly employs both time and time again.
Stages scenes abound in this flick. How about Liv Tyler standing
doe-eyed and downcast (her most common expression) in front of the
American flag as her loved ones are blasted into space? Or a crowd of
Hindus raising their hands to the sky in tribute? Or the kids riding
their space shuttle go-carts in a happy little town in the happy little
heartland of America? Or the kids running with their space shuttle toys
past a large picture of John F. Kennedy? Or, worst of all, the sappy
montage of his life that passes before Willis' eyes at the end? I could
go on and on...
Anybody find it hard to believe, that with only 17 days left until
doomsday, NASA would waste time giving physical and psychological exams
to the only people capable of saving the Earth? "I'm sorry Mr.
Stamper. You and your men are our only hope, but you failed your
Rorshack tests, so I guess we're all screwed." Anyone else think
that launching two space shuttles (carrying nuclear warheads) nearly
simultaneously from launch pads only a few hundred yards apart
constitutes a bit of a flight safety hazard? There's even a shot where
the first shuttle's solid rocket boosters fall away... and nearly hit
the second shuttle! I'm supposed to believe that they were able to
transfer 90% of their needed fuel in the 6 seconds before things started
going wrong on the Russian space station (what was that all about,
anyway)? And as they slingshot around Moon at 10 Gs, Steve Buscemi and
company are cracking jokes! At 10 Gs, the pressure against your chest
would make breathing difficult, much less talking. And the loose skin on
your face would start to pull back, making you look like a character in
a Bill Plympton cartoon. Could anyone really survive crashing into an
iron asteroid at 22,000 miles an hour? Anyone else think carrying a
loaded gun on a spacecraft pressurized against vacuum is a bad idea? And
what was with that Evil Knievel Snake River Canyon jump on the asteroid,
anyway? Yikes man!
I'm really disappointed in director Michael Bay. The
Rock wasn't a great film, but it was great action, and it
worked from beginning to end. Nothing was so over the top that I
couldn't buy into it for the sake of the rollercoaster ride. Armageddon,
on the other hand, was just too much. Funny thing is, the most plausible
thing in the movie was that an asteroid really could hit the Earth and
wipe out all life. There are thousands of them out there. And the total
number of people working to find them all, would barely staff an
average-sized Dairy Queen.
My prediction... $80,000,000 in the first weekend. Oh well.
A major new piece of information was passed to me yesterday about
Warner's DVD plans, that if true, is really terrific news. It pertains
to their DVD pricing structure, and includes tentative release
information for a number of upcoming titles. Check the Rumor
Mill today for the whole scoop...
I've got a couple of requests to make of readers in the Divx test
markets (San Francisco and Richmond). First of all, I've been getting
lots of good information, from consumers and employees of Circuit City
and Good Guys stores, about Divx's sales activities. But you can never
have too much information. So if you happen to drop by one of the stores
selling Divx, or work in one, please e-mail me with a report.
Second, a number of people in the Bay area have been telling me that
there's a big open DVD billboard there, similar to the one I mentioned
in yesterday's post (click
here to see
it). I'd like to ask if someone could take a photograph of it, and
either send me the picture via snail mail, or send me a large .jpg file
of it to post here. It's apparently located next to Highway 101, as you
enter San Francisco from the south. There's also another (or perhaps the
same one, I don't know the area) located near the 80/1 split near
downtown. If you can help in this 'quest', I (and the 10,000 - 20,000
other readers who visit the Bits
every day) would really appreciate it!
Just to let you know, in addition to receiving a free DVD, one lucky
winner of the July Trivia Contest will
also recieve a CD PlayRight Max Kit for DVD! You may remember that I
this product, and found it to be a terrific way to protect and repair
your DVDs. The July contest should be up shortly after I return from
VSDA, so stay tuned!
There is a bunch of new DVD title information in the
Studio & DVD
News section, from MGM and Warner Bros, so be sure to check it
And finally, I'll have the Studio Score Card up by tomorrow - promise.
Best Wishes until then...!
Wow is it July already? Time sure flies, doesn't it?
First off, I'd like to congratulate the three winners of the June Trivia
Contest, who each won a DVD copy of L.A.
Confidential. And I'd also like to thank the other 188
readers who participated. I though it was a pretty fun contest this
month - what did you think? The July contest will start as soon as I
return from VSDA, so be sure to check back.
Some great news! You might remember that in a May update of the Rumor
Mill, I broke the news that Target would be carrying DVD,
starting in late June. Well, I have just returned from my local Target
store (for those in Orange County, CA, it's the one at the corner of
Culver and Barranca in Irvine), and surprise - they've got DVD! They
apparently just put the product out yesterday - 3 different players and
50-60 movie titles! You'll find a Phillips Magnavox model (I believe
it's the DVD400AT) for $379.99, and both the Panasonic A105 and Toshiba
SD2107 for $399.99. The best news... the DVD title selection is
excellent and prices range from $19.99 to $24.99! They even had a
fair-quality display running - the Panasonic player connected to a 25"
TV, and signage featuring the DVD logo and all the selling points. For
the record, Spice World (yick) was
playing. With more and more mainstream retail chains carrying DVD,
anyone who doubts that it's here to stay had better begin to reevaluate
Finally, wanna see the World's Biggest DVD Player? Then waste no time,
and click here!
Have a great July 1... more tomorrow!
Some exciting news for DVD fans in Europe - Warner is planning to
release a bunch of new discs there on September 25th. Check the
Studio & DVD
News section for the latest.
I will have the Studio Score card up by tomorrow, so keep giving me
your comments on what you like and don't like about the quality of the
various studios' DVD releases.
We're gearing up for VSDA here at the Bits.
I will be attending the show from Tuesday night, through Friday (7th -
10th) of next week. I'm going to be meeting with representatives from
the studios, taking lots of pictures and (hopefully) doing daily updates
from the show each day. Note: If you represent a studio or other
organization that will be exhibiting there, send me an
e-mail. My goal is to
give Bits readers a look at the
show, and what goes on there. So stay tuned!
Also, I will be announcing the winners of this month's Trivia Contest
later this evening, so be sure to check back, and thanks to all who
OK, finally... I've got it right. I neglected to
mention that I was using AFI's list of 400 nominees when calculating my
list of DVDs, not the Top 100 list - yikes! Guess my enthusiasm got the
best of me! Thanks to everyone who pointed this out. I'm the first to
admit when I'm wrong, so there it is! I have since recalculated the list
based on the correct Top 100 list, and removed my earlier errors. Here
is the official AFI Top 100 Films
list, in order of selection. Films in Bold face type have
already been released to DVD (as of 6/28, there are 33):
1. Citizen Kane
3. The Godfather
4. Gone With the Wind
5. Lawrence of Arabia
6. The Wizard of Oz
7. The Graduate
8. On the Waterfront
9. Schindler's List
10. Singin' in the Rain
11. It's a Wonderful Life
12. Sunset Boulevard
13. The Bridge on the River Kwai
14. Some Like it Hot
15. Star Wars
16. All About Eve
17. The African Queen
20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
21. The Grapes of Wrath
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey
23. The Maltese Falcon
24. Raging Bull
25. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
26. Dr. Strangelove
27. Bonnie & Clyde
28. Apocalypse Now
29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
30. Treasure of the Sierra Madre
31. Annie Hall
32. The Godfather, Part II
33. High Noon
34. To Kill a Mockingbird
35. It Happened One Night
36. Midnight Cowboy
37. The Best Years of Our Lives
38. Double Indemnity
39. Doctor Zhivago
40. North by Northwest
41. West Side Story
42. Rear Window
43. King Kong
44. The Birth of a Nation
45. A Streetcar Named Desire
46. A Clockwork Orange
47. Taxi Driver
49. Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
50. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
51. The Philadelphia Story
52. From Here to Eternity
54. All Quiet on the Western Front
55. The Sound of Music
57. The Third Man
59. Rebel Without a Cause
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
65. The Silence of the Lambs
67. The Manchurian Candidate
68. An American in Paris
70. The French Connection
71. Forrest Gump
73. Wuthering Heights
74. The Gold Rush
75. Dances with Wolves
76. City Lights
77. American Graffiti
79. The Deer Hunter
80. The Wild Bunch
81. Modern Times
85. Duck Soup
86. Mutiny on the Bounty
88. Easy Rider
90. The Jazz Singer
91. My Fair Lady
92. A Place in the Sun
93. The Apartment
95. Pulp Fiction
96. The Searchers
97. Bringing Up Baby
99. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy
You can certainly see why this list was controversial. How did
Touch of Evil,
Meet Me in St. Louis,
Gandhi and All
the President's Men not make the list? Oh well - it's only
100 films. It was, no doubt, a difficult task, and I admire AFI for
trying. At least It's A Wonderful Life
is on its way to DVD. And hopefully Warner will get the hint and finally
release Citizen Kane to DVD. I've
been asking them about it for a long time...
As a follow-up to the main list, I decided to post a second list -
AFI Top 100 Films coming to DVD.
All of these films have either been officially announced, have mentioned
in press conferences or press releases as being in development for DVD,
or have been revealed to distributors. They are presented here in no
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (#22 - 8/25 - MGM)
2. Dances With Wolves* (#75 - 3rd or 4th qtr - Image)
3. It's a Wonderful Life (#11 - 8/18 - Republic)
4. An American In Paris (#68 - no date - MGM)
5. My Fair Lady (#91 - no date - Warner)
6. Casablanca (#2 - November - MGM)
7. Ben-Hur (1959 - #72 - no date - MGM)
8. Some Like it Hot (#14 - no date - MGM)
9. From Here to Eternity (#52 - no date - Columbia)
10. Easy Rider (#88 - no date - Columbia)
11. Gone With the Wind (#4 - November - MGM)
12. Doctor Zhivago (#39 - 7/28 - MGM)
13. The Gold Rush (#74 - 8/4 - DDED)
14. American Graffiti (#77 - 9/15 - Universal)
*Note: although Dances With Wolves
has been previously released as a special promotional DVD with RCA
players, it has not been officially been released at retail, and thus
does not belong on the list of available titles.
I also have unofficial information on at least 3 other titles from the
AFI Top 100 list, that I'm told are currently in development for DVD. I
won't mention them here until I have more reliable confirmation, but a
thorough read of the Rumor
Mill from the last month or two will reveal a few of titles.
A correction to something I posted in the Rumor
Mill yesterday. Warner's new SRP for Sphere
and U.S. Marshals will be $19.99,
making the street price for consumers $16.99. No confusion was intended.
I've reworded my original post. This news is official by the way, so
I've also posted it on the
Studio & DVD
You will also find some interesting new rumors on Divx and Titanic
in today's update of the
Due to the tremendously overwhelming response to this month's
I've decided to give away two more copies of the L.A.
Confidential DVD (for a total of three)! So keep the entries
coming, and thanks to everyone who is participating!
I've done a little research, and added a couple of new tracking
categories to the DVD Sales Stats section.
The first is Estimated Canadian DVD Player Sales,
which is calculated at 10% of U.S. domestic sales (as suggested by an
number of manufacturers I contacted). By adding that number to the U.S.
sales number, you get a better picture of Region 1 market size. The
other new statistic, is the Number of AFI Top 100
Films on DVD. The second number (in brackets) is the number of
additional AFI Top 100 titles my sources indicate are in the works for
this year. I'm pleased to report that nearly a third of these films are
already spinning in DVD players!
Finally, my sources have been able to confirm Warner's upcoming price
reduction. I'm digging for official info, but in the meantime, you'll
find it in the Rumor
Mill, along with some interesting info on Divx's supposed
day-and-date Titanic release
that's come my way... Stay tuned!
Well, it looks as if the Divx test launch isn't exactly all Circuit
City hoped it would be. Several 'moles' within Circuit City and Good
Guys stores in the test markets have been reporting to me on the launch
progress, and it doesn't look good for Divx. The full report is in
I've been hearing that the lack of new DVD title announcements the last
couple of months, will be more than made up for by the titles you'll see
from all the studios this fall. Summer is typically a slow time in the
home video industry anyway, as studios concentrate on gearing up for the
3rd and 4th quarter sales seasons. If what the studios are telling me is
true, some very big titles will be hitting DVD later this year. I don't
have any specifics other than what I've posted in the Rumor
Mill recently, but definitely stay tuned. There should be big
news coming out of VSDA...
Just in case you didn't know it already,
EMA Multimedia is holding their
first annual DVD Awards. Everyone is invited to vote for their favorite
DVDs at the official awards site.
The winners will be posted in August, so be sure to start getting your
votes in. As many of you know, EMA has produced some of the best looking
interactive menus for DVDs, thus far.
Finally, the American Film
Institute recently announced their choices for the 100 greatest
American films of all time. You can see the results at their
web site. Of interesting note,
is that quite a number of them have already been released to DVD, or are
in the works. Anyone out there have specific numbers on this? More
Some interesting information on Fox's reported first DVD titles has
just come my way. You'll find it in today's Rumor
Mill. The June Trivia
Contest is now open, giving you all a chance to win a DVD copy
of L.A. Confidential. The contest
is a fun one this month, so be sure to check it out.
Hope you all had a good weekend! I capped off Friday morning's viewing
of the X-Files movie, by attending
a taping of HBO's Dennis Miller Live,
featuring Ed Harris of The Truman Show.
Dennis usually has a theme for each episode, and this week's was...
conspiracies, of course! I also managed to sneak in a showing of Six
Days, Seven Nights, which was an entirely charming Sunday
I'd like to send a quick congratulations to my friend Frank, who just
received his Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA. Well done Frank!
Finally, I'd like to send my sincere thanks out to all the readers who
voted for the Bits in the
Internet Top 100.
I learned last night, to my great surprise, that the Bits
is now #1 on the list! I really am grateful to all of you, and honored
that you enjoy reading the Bits.
Stay tuned, and I'll try to keep it interesting...!
The Truth is Out There... at a theater near you! OK, here's my nickel
review of the X-Files: Fight the Future.
Please note that I will not review the plot, and I won't give too much
away (I refuse to spoil it for those who have yet to see it):
First of all, the film does stand on its own. You don't have to know
anything about The X-Files to
enjoy the film. The bad guys are clearly bad guys, the good guys are
engaging, and the plot's got plenty of mystery and action. I went with
my wife and brother (neither of whom are fans of the show) and both of
them really enjoyed the film.
The cinematography is really fantastic - all the dark, dynamic imagery
we've come to expect from the show, looks great on the wide screen. The
effects are very good, until near the end, where a couple of shots don't
quite measure up (you'll know what I mean). But it still works pretty
well. The film visits locations unlike any seen in the show before,
which I'm told, is a taste if what we can expect from the show from now
on, now that the production is moving here to L.A.
The acting is all first rate: Martin Landau and Armin-Mueller Stahl, in
particular, are fantastic additions to the gallery of spooks and wierdos
that populate the X-Files
We do get to see a little more deeply into the lives of Mulder and
Scully than ever before. I won't say much about 'the kiss' except that
it's handled very well. Suffice it to say that the events of the film
serve to very much deepen their relationship, and to reinvigorate their
determination to seek the truth.
As for what secrets you do and don't learn... you will leave the
theater with a complete understanding of the Conspiracy and the alien's
insidious plan for the Earth. You will understand what the black oil is
all about (which I think is a pretty cool idea) and what all those bees
are for. You will learn a lot more about the aliens themselves, and even
see a few. But you won't learn what happened to Samantha, and nothing is
revealed about Cancer Man. I let you know this to prevent you from
hoping for too much from the film.
That, I think, is the key to really enjoying this film. If you go in
expecting to be blown away by an awesome film, you'll be disappointed.
On the other hand, if you go in expecting a really big, grand two-hour
episode of the series, you'll really dig it. This isn't so much a
criticism of the film, rather it's more a testament to the terrific
quality of the series week in and week out.
Bottom line: X-Files: Fight the Future
was, for me, an entirely satisfying first trip to the big screen. Mulder
and Scully work just fine up there on the larger canvas. The film gives
you everything you've come to expect from good X-Files
and more. It very much energizes the series as it enters the 6th season,
a year in which (I'm told) we will learn more about Cancer Man, Agent
Spender, Agent Fowley, Samantha and maybe even Area 51 to boot. Cudos to
Chris Carter and company for a fun first flick. I, for one, am looking
forward to many more.
REALLY OLD DVD News Coverage
oldest DVD news coverage (going back to December 1997) was organized
into pages by studio or company. So click on one of the logos below to
see the very earlest work we did here at The
Buena Vista (Disney)
20th Century Fox
Home Box Office
MGM / UA
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