Hope you're all enjoying those lost Blues
Brothers songs we posted yesterday as part of our
review. After all these years, and all the rumors about whether
they survived or not (particularly the infamous Sink
the Bismarck), it's sure fun to finally be able to hear them.
We're making a rare Saturday update of the site to post some new Buena
Vista news. First up, BVHE will release Touchstone's Dark
Water on DVD on 12/26 (SRP $29.99). Also, though it hasn't
technically officially been announced yet, if you purchase the awesome
new 2-disc Toy Story: 10th Anniversary
Edition (watch for a review soon), you'll find an insert in
the packaging that reveals that Disney will release a 2-disc Toy
Story 2: Special Edition on 12/26, also with ultra-high video
bitrate, and both Dolby Digital and DTS audio. We expect to have more
details soon on both titles.
Enjoy the rest of you weekend and we'll see you Monday!
Okay... we promised you a treat for today, didn't we? Well, we've sure
as hell got one for you today here at The
Bits! Boy do we EVER!
Do we have any fans of The Blues Brothers
in the house? We'll we've just posted our review of Universal's
Blues Brothers: 25th Anniversary Edition, which streets next
Tuesday (8/30). The new DVD includes BOTH the previously released
extended cut of the film, along with the original theatrical edition
which has never appeared on DVD before. But that's not the good part.
Wanna know what is?
We've just located THREE LOST AUDIO TRACKS from The
Blues Brothers film, including the original soundtrack
recording of the legendary, "missing" performance of Sink
the Bismarck by Jake, Elwood and The Blues Brothers Band at
Bob's Country Bunker! We've also got two rare tracks by Murph and The
Magic Tones (direct from The Armada Room), including the complete
version of Quando, Quando, Quando
and a vocal performance of Just the Way You
Are! Here's the best part - we're offering them for download
free today, for your listening enjoyment (and for as long as our server
can handle the strain), in HIGH-QUALITY MP3 format. Just click on
review of the new DVD, and you'll find the full story, along with
a link to a zipped file containing all three tracks. These rare tracks
haven't been heard by most fans of the film in decades, so don't miss
this chance to get your hands on them!
And please... for your own sanity and for the common good of all
Mankind... enjoy them sensibly. ;-)
Okay then... looks like our work is done here for yet another week.
Have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here on Monday! Peace out.
We've got a couple cool things for you this afternoon...
First up, Universal has officially announced the DVD release of Leave
It to Beaver: The Complete First Season for 11/29 (SRP
$49.98). The 3-disc set will arrive in two versions: a regular edition
and the same DVD included in a Limited
Edition Gift Set (SRP $69.98) that comes packaged in a lunch
box and includes a Cleaver family photo album. There's no word yet on
extras, if any.
Universal has announced The Land Before
Time: 2 Mysteries Beyond the Great Valley for 11/29 as well
(SRP $19.98). The double feature release includes both The
Land Before Time Volume VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock and
The Land Before Time Volume VII: The Stone of
Cold Fire in the same package.
Also, we have official details on the extras to be includes on the
studio's The Big Lebowski: Collector's
Edition due on 10/18 (SRP $19.98). The disc will include
digitally-remastered anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. A separate full frame version will also be available. Extras on
each will include an introduction to the film by Mortimer Young, a
gallery of photos taken by Jeff Bridges during the production, the Making
of The Big Lebowski featurette and production notes. Also
available for a limited time will be The Big
Lebowski: Achiever's Edition Gift Set (SRP $49.98) which will
include the widescreen DVD along with a collectible bowling shammy
towel, coasters (that feature photos and quotes from the film) and a set
of photo cards featuring more of Bridges' photography. We're sure that,
as always, the Dude will abide.
In other news, we've got word from our industry sources on street dates
for The Devil's Rejects, Skeleton
Key, War of the Worlds
(2005), March of the Penguins and
more. You'll find that in today's update of
I also wanted to take a moment today to mention our
of the Month for August... Danny
Burk. Danny is a mighty fine photographer, whose work is
pretty breathtaking. Be sure to take a moment to visit his
here (and also his
own website) to soak in some of his amazing imagery.
Here's cover art for Universal's The Big
Lebowski: Achiever's Edition (10/18) and Leave
It to Beaver: The Complete First Season, along with Fox's
Elektra: Unrated Director's Cut
Now then... we're working on something REALLY special for you that we
expect to post tomorrow morning. If you're a fan of the film in
question, you definitely won't want to miss it (trust me on this).
We're back this morning with another new DVD review. Peter's checked in
again today with a look at Paramount's
on disc (street date 8/30). I've also updated my DVD review of
Extended Edition with comments on the audio/video quality of
the disc, and also a few other new and interesting details about the
title. Be sure to check it out.
There's been more news around the Net over the past couple of days that
compromise talks between the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps have broken
down again. No surprise there. You can read more
Interesting in all this is are repeated comments in the linked stories
(attributed to various industry spokespersons) that there's still hope
for a single, unified format to emerge. We'll see.
There's also another bit of sad news to report today, I'm afraid: Actor
Peters has died at the age of 78. While he was probably best known
as Tom Robinson from To Kill a Mockingbird,
Peters' list of credits was long and diverse, including such classics as
Porgy and Bess, Carmen
Jones and Soylent Green,
TV roles on As the World Turns and
Roots: The Next Generation and
even a couple appearances in the Star Trek
feature films. He'll be missed.
We've got a few more new DVD announcements for you today. Universal
will release Murder, She Wrote: The Complete
Second Season on 12/6.
Sony will release Heights, American
Chopper: The Series - Season Three, Monster
Garage: Season Three, Fame: Season
One, MGM's The Outer Limits:
Season One (that's the new series), Bush
Christmas, a Big Fish: Special
Edition (with collectible book), a Steve
McQueen Box Set (with Baby the
Rain Must Fall and The War Lover)
and the Robert Rodriguez Mexico Trilogy Box
Set (with the El Mariachi: Special
Edition, the Desperado: Special
Edition and Once Upon a Time in
Mexico), all on 11/1.
Also, Warner has announced the release of Aqua
Teen Hunger Force: Volume 4 for 12/6.
And New Line has officially revealed its 7-disc Harold
Lloyd Comedy Collection Giftset for release on 11/15 (SRP
$89.85), featuring more than 25 classic Lloyd comedies along with an
exclusive bonus disc of extras.
By the way, our old pal Matt over at MusicTAP
has finally unearthed a street date for The
Police: Synchronicity Concert DVD we revealed a couple weeks
ago. It officially hits stores here in the States on 10/11 from A&M
(via Universal Music). Now if only Sting would come to his bloody senses
and reunite the band for one last tour...
On the UMD front, Sony will release The
Fifth Element, Good Times: The
Complete First Season and Sanford
and Son: The First Season on 11/1, with MGM pitching in Ronin
and Mad Max. We've updated our
Release List accordingly.
Now then... guess what's FINALLY available for pre-order on Amazon.com?
That's right. Your favorite giant ape flick! There's the 2-disc version,
the 2-disc version in a tin with bonus items, and the 2-disc version
packaged with Son of Kong and Mighty
Joe Young. Plus there's The Last
Days of Pompeii (which along with Son
of Kong and Mighty Joe Young
should also be available separately soon). You can click on the cover
art below to get your orders in, which helps support The
Bits (and we definitely appreciate it).
We've been promising you some new DVD reviews for a while now, so how
about FIVE new ones this afternoon? Specifically, we've got my review of
Extended Edition, as well mine and Todd's thoughts on Sony's
Director's Cut. We've also got a trio of reviews from a new
addition to The Digital Bits
staff... Peter Schorn. Peter checks in for the first time around here
with a look at Sony's
Cake: Special Edition, and Home Vision's
of the Sea and
Men and a Cradle. Some of these titles are worthy of your
attention... some not so much. Gladiator
and Layer Cake street today. The
rest are already available.
We hope you enjoy the reviews. If you've got a moment today, be sure to
drop Peter an e-mail
to say hello. Welcome aboard, Pete!
By the way, we've been getting a lot of questions about this from
panicked fans: Disney's upcoming Muppet feature film DVDs (The
Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet
Caper, Muppet Treasure Island
and The Muppet Christmas Carol -
due 11/19) will each include BOTH full frame and anamorphic widescreen
video. That's confirmed, direct from the studio. So endeth the
(LATE UPDATE - 8/22/05 -
12:15 PM PDT)
We expect to be back with at least one more post today, but this was
too good not to post right away.
First, we've confirmed that 20th Century Fox's forthcoming Sound
of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition DVD (due on 11/15) will
feature a new, remastered anamorphic widescreen transfer, correcting the
awful transfer offered on the previous DVD release. Let the rejoicing
We've also learned, from our ever resourceful industry sources, the
anticipated street date for Fox's Fantastic
Four. You'll find that in
Rumor Mill today.
Finally, we've got some more new cover art for you. Here's a look at
Fox's Space Above and Beyond: The Complete
Series (a Best Buy-exclusive on 9/6, then available widely a
couple months later) and the Edward
Scissorhands: Anniversary Edition (due 11/8), along with
Universal's Land of the Dead: Unrated Edition
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/22/05 -
12:01 AM PDT)
No, we haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. We got caught up
Friday in that little project we've been working on here at The
Bits, which we'll be able to tell you more about soon. That
and a visit to the doctor's office for my annual check under the hood
pretty much washed out the whole day around here. What can you do, you
know? That's life fer ya.
Matt and I did get the chance to take in a showing of The
40 Year Old Virgin on Friday night with our wives. Let me
tell you, it's one of the funniest movies I've seen this year. Steve
Carell co-wrote and stars in it, and if you don't already love him from
his time on Comedy Central's The Daily Show,
or his stint in the film Anchorman,
you will once you've seen him in this. It might be a bit too raunchy for
some, but I'll tell you... it's funny, good natured, intelligent and
surprisingly sincere. It's a great two hours in a theater.
We've got a bit of DVD news for you to start the week... but first, we
wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of someone whose name
you might not recognize, but whose work you surely will. Joe Ranft, who
was the head of story writing at Pixar Animation Studios (and a huge
part of their creative team), sadly died last week as the result of a
car accident. He was just 45. You can read more
at the San Francisco Gate's
website. Just last month I saw Joe at Comic-Con, where he was
participating in a panel discussion on the upcoming Toy
Story: 10th Anniversary DVD. In addition to his work
behind-the-scenes, fans of Pixar's A Bugs
Life will know Joe as the voice of Heimlich the Caterpillar.
Animation guru Jerry Beck has been running some nice tributes over at
Brew website, and I recommend you take a moment to check them
out (just slide on down the page and you'll find several entries about
him). Our hats off to Joe, his family and all you folks up at Pixar, who
knew and loved him.
Now then... the DVD news. Disney has officially announced the
re-release (technically Disney's first release) of four of the Muppet
feature films on 11/29 (two classics and two less so): The
Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet
Caper, Muppet Treasure Island
and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
All four are single-disc releases, and they're being pegged as 50th
Anniversary Editions in honor of the creation of Jim Henson's most
famous Muppet character, Kermit the Frog ("Celebrating 50 years of
being green," as Disney's market materials trumpet). Each DVD
carries an SRP of $19.99, and is being promoted as "fully restored
and remastered," with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Special features on
these discs, if any, have yet to be announced.
Also announced for release on 12/20 is Disney's Once
Upon a Mattress (SRP $19.99).
Buena Vista will street The Golden Girls:
The Complete Third Season and Home
Improvement: The Complete Third Season on 11/22 (SRP $39.99
each). Extreme Makeover Home Edition
will also street that day (SRP $29.99).
Meanwhile, Miramax will release Project
Runway on 11/29 (SRP $39.99).
In other news today, Anchor Bay will be releasing Tipping
the Rift: The Complete First Season on 10/25, containing all
13 episodes as broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Around the site today, we've kicked off FIVE new
giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's
The O.C.: The
Complete Second Season, Universal's
Season One, Shout! Factory's
Cavett Show: Rock Icons, Capital Entertainment's
Twist 2 and
Attitude, and 20th Century Fox's
Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection,
Adventures of Ociee Nash and
Transporter: Special Delivery Edition. The contests will run
until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, August 28th. Click on the links to get
started and good luck!
We've also got a little bit of new cover art for you this morning.
Here's Sony's Bewitched: Special Edition
(10/25), MGM's A Bridge Too Far: Collector's
Edition (also 10/25) and Universal's Unleashed:
We'll be back with more this afternoon, so stay tuned...
We've got a few more new announcements for you today, as well as more
The big one is this: Universal has announced George
A. Romero's Land of the Dead for release on 10/18. There will
be three different versions of the film on disc (SRP $29.98 each). Look
for the R-rated theatrical cut in full frame only, while an Unrated
director's cut will be released in both full frame and anamorphic
widescreen. Audio on all three versions will be available in both Dolby
Digital and DTS 5.1. There's no word yet on extras.
Universal has also announced that both George
A. Romero's Land of the Dead and Shaun
of the Dead will be released on UMD format for Sony's PSP on
Release List has been updated accordingly.
In other news, Paramount will release Mad
Hot Ballroom on 10/18 (SRP $29.99).
Also, Bandai and Manga have announced the release of Ghost
in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - 2nd Gig, Volume 1 on
9/27. The DVD includes the first 4 episodes of SAC's
second season (aka 2nd Gig). It
will be available in two versions: a single-disc regular edition (SRP
$24.98) and a 3-disc Special Edition
(SRP $49.98). The regular edition will include the episodes in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The Special
Edition will include the regular edition as Disc One, the
same episodes in anamorphic widescreen with DTS 5.1 audio as Disc Two,
and a soundtrack CD as Disc Three. The Special
Edition will also come packaged in a collectible tin.
Also coming from Bandai on 9/13 is Cowboy
Bebop: Remix, Volume 1 (SRP $29.98), which will include the
first few episodes of the classic anime series remastered and with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio. I'm personally a big fan of Cowboy
Bebop. If you haven't seen it yet, you must. And if you're
unfamiliar with anime, this series is a great place to start.
Finally this afternoon, we've gotten word that Palm Pictures is going
to be releasing The Director's Label Box Set,
Volume 2 on 9/13 (SRP $79.98). The set will include new DVDs
dedicated to the work of directors Anton Corbijn, Jonathan Glazer, Mark
Romanek and Stéphane Sednaoui. From Palm's press release:
"These DVDs are a unique director-created
and compiled series featuring music videos, shorts and commercials,
special features including interviews, alternate versions, unseen short
films & documentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and commentaries
from various featured artists and collaborators. They are specially
packaged with never-before-seen photographs, storyboards, drawings and
interviews and have helped define what is expected of today's music DVD
Here's that cover art we promised: Warner's Batman:
The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997 box set (10/18),
Bandai & Manga's Ghost in the Shell:
Stand Alone Complex - 2nd Gig, Volume 1, Bandai's Cowboy
Bebop: Remix, Volume 1 and Universal's Kolchak:
The Night Stalker (10/4), American
Gothic: The Complete Series and The
Munsters: The Complete Second Season (both 10/25)...
We're working on a number of reviews that we hope to post by Monday.
We're also working on a couple of big things behind the scenes here at
the site. We'll tell you more about that when we can.
Disney has officially announced the next wave of their Walt
Disney Treasures titles for release on 12/6 (SRP $32.99
each). They include The Chronological Donald,
Volume Two: 1942-1946, Disney
Rarities, Celebrated Shorts: 1920s-1960s, Elfego
Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes and The
Adventures of Spin & Marty, The Mickey Mouse Club. Like
the previous releases, each of these Wave 5 titles will be a 2-disc set
packaged in a collectible tin.
In other news this morning - and this is rather interesting - Hollywood
mini-major Lions Gate has officially chosen a side in the forthcoming HD
format war, coming down in favor of Blu-ray Disc. Studio president Steve
Beeks cited the format's more robust copy-protection measures as a key
factor in making the decision (you can read more at
Media Retailing and
Business). This news comes just a day after the Universal
Music Group also joined the Blu-ray camp (read more
adding their support to Blu-ray backers Buena Vista, Sony Pictures, Sony
Music, MGM and 20th Century Fox.
Also, Matt's finally gotten his computer working again, so he's back
over at MusicTAP with all
the latest music release news. He's also posted a new DVD review by
Lindsay Planer for Shout! Factory's
Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons.
How about some more new cover artwork? Here are the Walt
Disney Treasures covers, along with Synapse's Effects
(tentatively due on 10/25), Disney's Aliens
of the Deep (11/1), Fox's Mr. &
Mrs. Smith (11/29), Paramount's SpongeBob
SquarePants: The Complete Third Season (9/27) and Universal's
The Coen Brothers Collection
We'll be back with more later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/16/05 -
1:30 PM PDT)
We've got a couple more things for you this afternoon. First of all, we
have the final specs for Anchor Bay's forthcoming Evil
Dead 2: Book of the Dead 2 - Special Edition (due on 9/27 -
SRP $39.98). The disc will include the film in anamorphic widescreen
video, mastered from a new HD DiviMax transfer personally supervised by
director Sam Raimi. Audio will be available in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras
will include audio commentary (with Raimi, co-star Bruce Campbell,
co-writer Scott Spiegel and special make-up effects artist Greg
Nicotero), the Evil Dead 2:
Behind-the-Screams and The Gore
the Merrier featurettes, the film's theatrical trailer,
talent bios and all-new illustrations by Evil
Dead special effects artist Tom Sullivan (part of the custom "fleshy"
packaging he's created for the new set).
Also today, those of you who happened to pick up 20th Century Fox's
The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season
today will find a little card inside your packaging... "For all
those that fear change." Basically, if you don't like the new "character
head" packaging, Fox is offering to send you (for the cost of the
postage) replacement packaging for the Season
6 set that matches the packaging for Seasons
1-5. All you have to do is call 1-800-223-2369 for
instructions (yes 1-800 - the 800 number has finally been activated), OR
visit the special simpsonsbox.com
website the studio has created to handle the replacement program. You
know, I have to give Fox a lot of credit, both for trying something new
with their packaging AND for offering to take care of the fans who
preferred it the old way. Very nice indeed.
(LATE UPDATE - 8/16/05 -
10 AM PDT)
How about some more new announcements? Sony's made some good ones this
Due on 10/25 from the studio are the Bewitched:
Special Edition (the new 2005 version), a Bewitched:
Special Edition/Bewitched TV Sampler 2-Pack, Left
Behind: World at War, Sex and the
Teenage Mind, Single White Female
2: The Psycho, a Single White
Female/Single White Female 2: The Psycho 2-Pack, Bewitched:
The Complete Second Season (5 discs - Black & White),
Bewitched: The Complete Second Season
(5 discs - Colorized) and Hart to Hart: The
Complete First Season (6 discs). My mom will be thrilled
about that last one. Seems like EVERYONE'S mom loved Hart
The studio will also release Bewitched
and Heavy Metal on UMD format for
Sony's PSP that same day.
Sony's announced some good MGM titles for release on 10/25 as well,
including Captain John Smith and Pocahontas,
a 2-disc Battle of Britain: Collector's
Edition and a 2-disc A Bridge Too
Far: Collector's Edition. Which is very cool - I can't get
enough of those World War II flicks, let me tell you.
In the same spirit, Sony has two different World
War II 60th Anniversary Commemorative Box Sets planned for
10/25, each containing four films and a scrapbook. The first will
include Das Boot, Anzio,
The Caine Mutiny and Dead
Men's Secret. The second will include The
Guns of Navarone, From Here to
Eternity, Bridge on the River Kwai
and Weapons at War.
Finally, MGM will be releasing Species,
and The Terminator on UMD format
for Sony's PSP on 10/25. We've updated the
Release List accordingly.
In case you missed them late yesterday, we posted reviews of
Muppet Show: Season One and
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/16/05 -
12:01 AM PDT)
Well... Warner's finally gone and done it. They've officially announced
the DVD release of Batman Begins
for 10/18, as we've been expecting. You'll be able to buy a single-disc
regular edition (SRP $28.98) and a 2-disc Deluxe
Edition (SRP $30.97). Each will include the film in
anamorphic widescreen video (2.40:1), with English and French Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio. We believe there will be a full frame version of the
regular edition as well.
We don't have all the details yet, but we do know that the 2-disc Batman
Begins: Deluxe Edition will feature 8 documentaries
(including Genesis of the Bat: Batman
Incarnations from the Mid-1980s to the Present, The
Journey Begins: Creative Concepts, Story Development and Casting,
Shaping Mind and Body: Fighting Style,
Gotham City Rises: Production Design,
Cape and Cowl: The New Batsuit,
The Tumbler: The New Batmobile,
Path to Discovery: Filming in Iceland
and Saving Gotham City: The Monorail Chase
Sequence), several Confidential
Files featurettes (broken into Characters
and Weaponry), an interactive Inner
Demons comic book, theatrical trailers, a photo gallery,
Easter eggs and DVD-ROM features (including a Batman
Begins "mobile game demo"). The set will also
include an exclusive 72-page comic book containing 3 reprinted
issues/stories that influenced the film (including Detective
Comics #37, Batman: The Man Who
Falls and Batman: The Long
Halloween). There's no word yet on possible audio commentary,
and additional extras are likely TBA.
Here's a look at the cover art for both editions. Each is available for
preorder now at Amazon.com (just click on the cover art)...
In other DVD news today, Buena Vista has announced the release of
Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded (for
10/25) and Touchstone's Dark Water
(for 12/26 - yes, we know that's a Monday but that's what we're being
told). Both will be released in DVD only. There will be no VHS version
of either title.
Back later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/15/05 - 5 PM PDT)
We're back as promised this afternoon with a trio of new DVD reviews
from yours truly. We've got a look at Dimension's
City (our own Todd Doogan actually checks in on that one),
Muppet Show: Season One and Miramax's
For the record, Sin City streets
tomorrow. The other two titles are already available.
We'll be back tomorrow with more new DVD reviews, so stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/15/05 -
12:01 AM PDT)
We wanted to check in early this morning with a look at the new cover
artwork for Fox's Office Space: Special
Edition with Flair (11/1) and Paramount's War
of the Worlds: The Complete First Season (a 6-disc set, also
due 11/1). We've also got Criterion's forthcoming edition of The
Man Who Fell to Earth (due 9/27)...
Anyone remember the 1988 War of the Worlds
TV series? For whatever reason, I never really watched that one myself,
so I only vaguely recall it. Anyway... what this means is that you can
likely expect Steven Spielberg's recent film remake to hit DVD on or
about 11/1 as well. We'll let you know as soon as we hear anything
Also this morning, DreamWorks has announced the DVD release of the
animated Madagascar for 11/15. You
can read more
at Home Media Retailing, in an article about how crowded
the 4th Qtr is becoming with first-release titles. The story also notes
that Warner is expected to release its recent Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory on 11/8, while 10/18 is deemed
likely for Batman Begins as we've
been expecting (both titles remain as yet unannounced).
Business is reporting that many of the Hollywood studios are
scaling back on VHS releases. HBO has discontinued VHS altogether, and
Disney has apparently told retailers not to expect any major VHS
promotions in 2006. And here we thought tape was ALREADY dead. Go
figure. Hey... the format's been around since 1977. It's been a good
run, you know? But 28 years is enough. At that rate, DVD will still be
with us until at least 2025. And you know what? It probably WILL be
around at least that long, even with new HD formats waiting in the
wings. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
By the way, Matt had a nasty tangle with Microsoft's new Internet
Explorer 7 (Beta 1) this weekend, which left his PC running about as
well as a one-legged dog. The upshot of this, of course, is that it
might be a few days before his next MusicTAP
update. We'll keep you up to date.
Okay, that's enough for now. Drink your coffee and go about your
business. We'll see you back here later on this afternoon.
We've got more good new announcements for you this afternoon to round
out the week.
First up, Universal has announced Unleashed
for release on 10/11 in both R and Unrated versions (SRP $29.98 each).
Also coming on 10/25 is American Gothic: The
Complete Series (SRP $49.98) - something I know a few of you
have been waiting a while for. The 3-disc set will include all 22
episodes of the series, including 4 that were never aired during the
show's original run, as well as over 45 minutes of deleted scenes.
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has announced its Edward
Scissorhands: Anniversary Edition for release on 11/8. There
will be 3 versions - separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen
editions (SRP $14.98), as well as the anamorphic widescreen version
packaged in a collectible tin (SRP $19.98). Extras will include audio
commentary by director Tim Burton, audio commentary by composer Danny
Elfman, a short featurette on the making of the film, interview clips
)with Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Weist, Tim Burton, Caroline
Thompson, Alan Arkin, Vincent Price and Danny Elfman), trailers, TV
spots and a video gallery of concept artwork.
Meanwhile, Disney has announced a few new DVD releases as well
including James Cameron's Aliens of the Deep
for 11/1 (SRP $29.99). The DVD will include both the 47-minute
theatrical cut of the film and a new 99-minute extended cut on the same
disc, both in anamorphic widescreen video (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital
5.1 audio. Extras if any are TBA.
Disney has also announced some new TV DVDs, including Chip
'N Dale: Rescue Rangers, Duck
Tales and Tales from Avonlea:
Season One. These are each 3-disc sets due to street on 11/8
(SRP $34.99 each). Also coming from the studio is Five
Mile Creek: Season One (a 4-disc set also due on 11/8 - SRP
Meanwhile, New Line has announced Chained
Heat 2, Excessive Force II: Force
on Force and Felony for
release on 10/18 (SRP $19.97 each).
And we have some very interesting UMD (for Sony's PSP) news today.
Sanctuary Visual Entertainment has announced that they're going to be
releasing a number of interesting titles on the format in the U.K.,
timed to coincide with the 9/1 debut of Sony's PSP system in Europe and
Australia. The first, Iron Maiden: Rock in
Rio, will be available on 9/1. INXS:
Live Baby Live and Bob Marley:
Live from Santa Barbara will follow on 9/12. Here's where it
gets interesting... Sanctuary will release a couple of movie titles as
well on UMD on 10/2... David Lynch's Dune
and Blue Velvet. You can
here for more information. Our
Release List has been updated accordingly.
Around the Net today, Sin City
director Robert Rodriguez has revealed that there's a 2-disc deluxe
edition of the film coming to DVD "fairly quick". You can read
more on that at
this link at IGN. So for all those of you chomping at the
bit to buy the basic, movie-only edition available in stores this coming
Tuesday... well, the phrase "caveat emptor" might be
appropriate. Just FYI.
Okay... barring any big announcement or cool new piece of cover art too
cool to wait on, that's it for this week. We'll be back here on Monday
and with any luck, I'll have a bunch of new DVD reviews for you from
yours truly. Have a great weekend and we'll see you them.
Okay... we've got more new announcements for you today, and I think
some of you TV DVD fanatics are really going to dig 'em.
Universal has officially announced the DVD release of Kolchak:
The Night Stalker for 10/4 (SRP $39.98). The 3-disc set will
include all 20 episodes from the series' 1974-75 season on ABC. Video
will be the original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio. The
studio promises that the episodes have been "digitally restored for
maximum clarity." Kolchak,
which starred Darren McGavin, was one of the inspirations for Chris
Carter's The X-Files, so this is
very cool news indeed.
Also coming from Universal on 10/25 is another long-awaited title...
The Munsters: The Complete Second Season.
Also a 3-disc set (SRP $49.98), the release will include 32 episodes in
the original B&W full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio.
Extras will include a 4-part documentary (including America's
First Family of Fright, Fred
Gwynne: More Than a Munster, Yvonne
De Carlo: Gilded Lady and Al
Lewis: Forever Grandpa). All of this will be wrapped in "collectible
Herman Munster packaging." Nice.
Around the site today, we're pleased to bring you
Bottom Shelf column from our own Adam Jahnke. In this
edition, Adam reviews 6 new documentary titles on DVD, including
Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause, Other Cinema's
70s Dimension and
Wrong They're Right, Disinformation's
Seeking Seka, NY After Midnight/Blue Underground's
Midnight Blue Collection, Volume 1: The Deep Throat Special Edition
and Capital Entertainment's
War I in Color. Adam's columns are always worth a read, so
don't miss it. For the record, So Wrong
They're Right streets on 8/30, and the rest of the titles are
Also today, we've kicked off a whopping TEN new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Fu: Season 3,
The Dukes of
Hazzard: Season 4,
The Thin Man
Director's Cut, the BBC's
The Lost Years, Sony Music's
Complete Series, Universal's
Season 3 and
Wife: Season 1, Anchor Bay's
Complete Series, Fox's
Hush, Sweet Charlotte,
The Man in
the Gray Flannel Suit,
Simpsons: Season 6 and
Comedy Show: Volume 3, a
Jerry Garcia DVD
and CD from Rhino and
edition Silver Screen Frankenstein figure from Sideshow
Collectibles! The contests will all run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday,
August 21st. Click on the links to get started and good luck! Just FYI,
the winners of the previous contests are now up on
We'll leave you this morning with a little more new artwork. Here's a
peek at Fox's Melinda and Melinda
(10/25), as well as Sony's Sabata Trilogy
and Dark Shadows: The Revival
(LATE UPDATE - 8/10/05
- 4 PM PDT)
Did I say that the last post was going to be it for today? Ah well...
I'm making a liar of myself I'm afraid, 'cause I figured you'd want to
see this: official cover art from Warner for all four Batman:
The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997 titles due on 10/18.
We've also got Sony's Batman: The Complete
1943 Movie Serial Collection (also due 10/18) and Warner's
Imagine: John Lennon - Deluxe Edition
DVD which we mentioned earlier is coming on 12/6. Enjoy.
Okay... THAT'S the last post for today. See you in the morning!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/10/05 -
2:45 PM PDT)
Wow... it's been a busy afternoon here at The
Bits. This will probably be our last update of the day, but
we couldn't resist checking in with this... a look at the official cover
art for Warner's Son of Kong, Mighty
Joe Young and The Last Days of
Pompeii (all due on 11/22). Enjoy!
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/10/05 -
2 PM PDT)
Today's issue of the
Street Journal features an article on HD-DVD, which indicates
that the HD-DVD camp seems to be scaling back its 4th Qtr launch. Only
Toshiba will likely have a player available in time for the holiday
season launch, which at least Circuit City will carry (the exact date of
availability has yet to be announced, but expect the price to be over
$1,000). While Paramount had promised to issue some 20 HD-DVD titles for
the debut, they now say they won't release any in 2005. Universal has
trimmed back from 16 to 12 titles. Warner hasn't yet announced its
HD-DVD software plans, reportedly waiting to see if there's an 11th hour
compromise between the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps. From the story:
"If there is a unification of formats, we
would want to work toward that," said Jim Cardwell, president of
Warner Home Video, who didn't rule out a holiday-season launch for
Warner movies on HD-DVD.
Media Retailing's T.K. Arnold has posted a similar story,
adding that Warner Home Video may now wait until the 1st Qtr of 2006 to
launch software titles on HD-DVD format. Another quote:
We are considering rolling back our launch
in the hopes of a last-minute compromise, which would avoid two formats
straining the marketplace, said Jim Cardwell, president of Warner
What's more, according to
story at HMR, new market studies conducted by Jupiter
Research indicate that consumer interest in these new HD formats is
still very low.
We believe here at The Bits that
a compromise at this point is unlikely, although we haven't given up
hope. We expect that both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray camps are getting an
angry earful from retailers about the inconvenience of having to carry
two new HD disc formats in addition to regular DVD. Whatever happens, WE
STRONGLY ENCOURAGE ALL OUR READERS, PARTICULARLY EARLY ADOPTERS, TO SAVE
YOUR MONEY. We know that some of you out there are excited about the
prospect of HD on disc, and already have your own particular preference
of the two formats, but if sales of both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc are
weak in the initial weeks and months after the launch of each format,
the two camps will feel increasing pressure to sit down and seriously
talk about a compromise. DON'T ENCOURAGE THE FORMAT WAR.
[Editor's Note: Earlier we'd posted the link to
the HD-DVD: One Format Only Campaign
site, along with some comments. The Digital
Bits is currently talking with the editors of other DVD
websites about updating and refocusing the effort to be more specific to
the HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc format war, as the original campaign was
launched before either of the two competing formats was officially
announced. Never fear - you can definitely expect The
Bits and other sites to get active on this issue. Stay tuned
to this column in the coming days and weeks for more information. We'll
keep you up to date as things progress.]
Special thanks to Bits reader
Karl D for the link to the WSR
(LATE UPDATE - 8/10/05 -
11:45 AM PDT)
Warner Home Video has just announced a whole mess of new action titles
(including a few starring Chuck Norris) for release on 12/6 including
Hitman, Delta Force 3,
Chain of Command, American
Samurai, American Kickboxer 1,
American Ninja 4: The Annihilation,
American Ninja 5 and Fifty/Fifty
(SRP $14.95 each). Note that many of these titles are now available
exclusively at Best Buy stores (until the 12/6 date).
Also newly announced by Warner for release on 12/6 are A
Star is Born (1976), director Gerry O'Hara's 1993 The
Mummy Lives and a title that should make you Beatles fans
excited... Imagine: John Lennon - Deluxe
Imagine (SRP $19.97) will include
the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
Extras will include never-before-seen additional footage (of the Island
House), a subtitle trivia track, BBC radio interviews with John and
Yoko, an interview with William Ernest Pobjoy (headmaster at John's
grammar school), the Tribute to John Lennon:
The Man, the Music, the Memories featurette, a DVD-ROM guide
to Lennon's music and Acoustic Imagine
(a previously unreleased live performance recorded at the Apollo Theatre
in New York City, Dec. 17, 1971).
Home Vision has announced a few new releases including Face
(Kao), The Tunnel (both
10/4), Black and White and a box
set containing Five Children and It
and The Return of It (both 10/18).
On the UMD (for PSP) front, Paramount has announced Lara
Croft: Tomb Raider, Lara Croft:
Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life and The
Warriors (for 10/4), South Park:
When Technology Attacks and Chappelle's
Show: Season 1, Volume 1 (10/11) and The
SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and U2:
Rattle & Hum (10/25).
Universal has also announced a few new UMD titles, including 2
Fast 2 Furious, Pitch Black
and American Pie 2 (for 9/20) and
American Wedding (10/11). Our
Release List has been updated to reflect the new
Also this morning, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to reflect the units shipped during
the week ending 7/22. All charts have been updated accordingly.
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/10/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Somebody mention cover art around here recently? Oh yeah... we promised
you a update of the
DVD Cover Art section, didn't we? Okay, then. You wanted an
update... you've got one, thanks to the tireless efforts of our very own
artwork guru, Russell Hammond - a man who's afraid of neither man nor
beast nor long hours in front of a computer monitor. Well, okay... that
Evil Dead 2 cover maybe creeps him
out just a little. I don't know exactly how big the update is, 'cause I
got tired of trying to count all the new covers. But let's just say it's
probably our biggest art update yet. There's TONS of great new artwork
in there - something for everyone and lots of stuff you likely haven't
seen before. As always, when you click on our cover art and pre-order
the DVDs through our Amazon links, it goes a long way toward helping
support our work here at The Bits,
and we surely do appreciate it. Speaking of appreciation, be sure to
drop Russell an e-mail
and thank him for all his hard work. He loves seeing all that shinny new
artwork as much as you guys do.
Before we go this morning, a quick Contest
note: We'll post the winners of the just completed contests, and kick
off some new ones, later tonight.
(LATE UPDATE - 8/9/05 -
6:30 PM PDT)
We've got some news for you about upcoming 20th Century Fox TV releases
that I think a lot of you are going to be pleased about. In a
promotional insert included with Fox's new DVD of the pilot episode of
Over There, the studio lists a
number of upcoming TV titles of interest. According to the insert, you
can expect 24: Season Four to be
released on DVD in December, along with The
Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season, M*A*S*H:
Season Nine and Reba: The Complete
Second Season. NYPD Blue: Season
03 is listed as coming in January. The
Shield: Season 4 is expected "in Winter". And
here's perhaps the best news. The following TV series are all listed as
"coming soon" to DVD from Fox: Alien
Nation, Hill Street Blues,
Over There, Time
Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of
the Sea. The pamphlet also lists Space:
Above and Beyond and The White
Shadow, which have already been confirmed. Good news, no?
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/9/05 -
1:30 PM PDT)
We're nearly finished with a major update on the Upcoming
DVD Cover Art section, and we're also working on a number of
new DVD reviews for later this week, but today we have more new DVD
announcements for you.
First up, Universal has announced Cinderella
Man for release on 12/6. There will be a regular edition (SRP
$29.98) as well as a more elaborate limited collector's edition
($44.98). Both will include anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, along with audio commentary by director Ron Howard,
additional commentary by writers Akiva Goldsman and Cliff Hollingsworth,
deleted scenes with optional commentary by Ron Howard, 5 featurettes
(including The Fight Card: Casting Cinderella
Man, The Man, The Movie, The
Legend: A Filmmaking Journey, For
the Record: A History in Boxing, Ringside
Seats and Jim Braddock: The
Friends & Family Behind the Legend) and more. The
collector's edition will include all of the above, along with a bonus
disc and a collectible book. The bonus disc will offer additional
deleted scenes with optional commentary by Ron Howard, 6 more
behind-the-scenes featurettes (including Pre-Fight
Preparations, Lights, Camera,
Action: The Fight From Every Angle, The
Sound of the Bell, Braddock vs.
Baer Fight Footage, Russell
Crowe's Personal Journey: Becoming Jim Braddock and The
Human Face of the Depression), and a photo montage.
Universal has also announced House of Voices
and The Coen Brothers Collection
for 10/18. The Coen Brothers Collection
(SRP $39.98) will include The Big Lebowski:
Collector's Edition (the new edition) along with the existing
Blood Simple, Intolerable
Cruelty and The Man Who Wasn't
There DVDs (all in anamorphic widescreen).
In other release news, 20th Century Fox has finally announced their new
2-disc Sound of Music: 40th Anniversary
Edition for 11/15 (SRP $26.98). We believe this will include
the film remastered in anamorphic widescreen (2.20:1), along with
English Dolby Digital 4.0 and 5.1 surround, as well as French and
Spanish mono (with subtitles in English, French and Spanish). Disc One
will offer an introduction by Julie Andrews, audio commentary by
director Robert Wise, additional audio commentary with Andrews and
Christopher Plummer, the film's score on an isolated track, a special
song-access chapter listing (with a "play all" option) and
sing-a-long subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Disc Two will add
a second introduction by Julie Andrews, the A
Few of My Favorite Things retrospective documentary, 3
additional featurettes (including On Location
with the Sound of Music, From
Liesl to Gretl: A 40th Anniversary Reunion and When
You Know the Notes to Sing: A Sing-Along Phenomenon) a
storyboard gallery, additional galleries of production photos as well as
lobby card and one-sheet art, street test footage, and scores of
theatrical trailers and TV spots (both new and old).
Fox's Shirley Temple Collection, Volume 2
will street on 11/22 (SRP $29.98) and will include Baby
Takes a Bow, Bright Eyes
and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
(once again, with both the original B&W as well as new colorized
Fox is re-issuing or re-promoting a number of great catalog titles in
November, including the original Fight Club:
Collector's Edition on 11/29 (SRP $26.98) and the Alien
Quadrilogy box set on 11/22 (SRP $79.98). Fox is also
re-releasing the Star Wars Trilogy
box set on 11/1 (SRP $69.98), along with Episodes
I & II (SRP $19.98 each) as part of a cross-promotion
with the new Episode III DVD
(available the same day - SRP $29.98).
(LATE UPDATE - 8/8/05
- 3 PM PDT)
Feast your eyes on this film fans... fresh from Warner Home Video, the
official cover art for ALL THREE VERSIONS of King
Kong on DVD, due on 11/22...
Isn't that just a sight for sore eyes?
(LATE UPDATE - 8/8/05 -
12:30 PM PDT)
Okay... we have FINAL King Kong
details for you. Warner has sent over their official press release with
all the specs on the release, so here they are:
The King Kong: Two-Disc Special Edition
(SRP $26.99) will include the 104-minute restored and remastered B&W
film on video in its original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include
audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C.
Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Ruth Rose, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong),
the 2005 I'm Kong: The Exploits of Merian C.
Cooper documentary, a gallery of trailers for other films by
director Merian C. Cooper, the new RKO
Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World
documentary by Peter Jackson (featuring the following featurettes: The
Origins of King Kong, Willis
O'Brien and Creation, Cameras Roll
on Kong, The Eighth Wonder, A
Milestone in Visual Effects, Passion,
Sound and Fury, The Mystery of the
Lost Spider Pit Sequence and King
Kong's Legacy) and Creation
test footage (with commentary by Ray Harryhausen).
The King Kong: Two-Disc Collector's Edition
(SRP $39.98) will include all of the above in limited tin packaging that
also features a 20-page reproduction of the original 1933 souvenir
program, King Kong original
one-sheet reproduction postcards and a mail-in offer for a reproduction
of a vintage theatrical poster.
The King Kong Four-Disc Collector's Set
(SRP $39.92) will include the King Kong:
Two-Disc Special Edition along with The
Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young.
It will NOT include the extras in the Collector's
Fortunately, The Son of Kong and
Mighty Joe Young will also be
available separately (as will The Last Days
of Pompeii, also by Kong
directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack) for an SRP of
The Son of Kong will include the
70-minute restored B&W film on video in the original full frame,
with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish
subtitles. Extras will include the theatrical trailer.
Mighty Joe Young will include the
94-minute restored B&W film on video in its original full frame,
with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish
subtitles. Extras will include audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen, Ken
Ralston and Terry Moore), 2 new featurettes (Ray
Harryhausen and The Chioda Brothers and Ray
Harryhausen and Mighty Joe Young) and the film's theatrical
Finally, The Last Days of Pompeii
will include the 96-minute, B&W film on video in the original full
frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish
subtitles. There are no extras.
We're waiting on high-quality cover art for any and all of the above.
We'll post it as soon as it comes in.
In other news this morning, we've got word that Sony's new Ghostbusters
2-pack says on the back of the packaging that one of the films is full
frame, while the other one is widescreen. Rest assured, this is just an
error. BOTH films are anamorphic widescreen. Just FYI.
Also, Capital Entertainment has announced that they're going to be
releasing Count Duckula: The Complete First
Season on 10/4 (SRP $39.98). The 3-disc set will include all
26 episodes of the 80s British animated series' first year uncut and
restored, along with an interview with the show's creators (including
Brian Cosgrove), as well as a photo gallery, a featurette on how to draw
the Count Duckula character and original artwork from the series
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/8/05 -
1:30 AM PDT)
We've got a sad bit of news this morning I'm afraid. Yeah, it's not
really DVD-related, but some things need to be acknowledged. Longtime
ABC World News Tonight anchor
Jennings has died of lung cancer. He was 67. It probably comes as
a surprise to many of you. It certainly surprised me. Apparently
Jennings himself only learned of the diagnosis a few months ago, and
made a public announcement during a broadcast. You know... given how
much info-tainment, fear-mongering, spin-doctoring and just plain
airtime-filling passes itself off as journalism these days, particularly
on TV, it's truly disheartening to lose someone like Jennings. A
broadcaster of the old school, you know? Those no-nonsense types who
creed and who believed in fairness, accuracy, responsibility and
the public trust. Journalists who knew that news was supposed to inform
you, not entertain you. Where are those guys today? Cronkite, Sevareid,
Murrow. We need them now more than ever, but there just aren't many like
them left on the air anymore. Instead, the airwaves are clogged with
empty-headed teleprompter readers who specialize in inane banter and the
cute segue, and blowhard commentators claiming to be fair but grinding
an agenda and labeling anyone who disagrees with them as "un-American".
Jennings wasn't perfect, but he was a man of integrity. He was the real
deal: A news man. We respected him here at The
Bits, and we think the profession is lessened by his absence.
Peter, you'll most certainly be missed.
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/8/05 -
12:01 AM PDT)
Morning all. Hope the weekend treated you right. I spent mine watching
discs for reviews to come later this week. Work, work, work...
We've got a few quick new DVD announcements for you from Sony to start
the new week off right. On 10/18, look for the studio to release Blood
of Beasts, Eternal
(2004) and Saving Face. Also
coming on that day are The Batman: The 1943
Serial Collection, Dark Shadows:
The Complete Revival Series (on 3 discs), The
Sabata Trilogy Collection (including Adios
Sabata, Return of Sabata
and Sabata), a new The
Mask of Zorro: Deluxe Edition and finally a new MGM American
Movie Musicals Collection (released by Sony of course)
containing West Side Story, Guys
& Dolls and Fiddler on the
Roof. FYI, The Mask of Zorro
will grace the UMD format on 10/18 as well.
For King Kong fans today,
Business has a nice new story up on the 11/22 Warner release
with a few additional details about the DVD. Definitely worth checking
We've also learned from Paramount that the studio has revised the
official cover artwork for the Titanic:
Special Edition (10/25). It now features both the signature
and likeness of director James Cameron, in addition to the images
included previously. I dunno... I kind of liked it the way it was before
better. Anyway, here it is...
Back later. Stay tuned...