What do you know? It's Friday again. Feels good, doesn't it?
Our own Adam Jahnke's penned another fine edition of
Bottom Shelf today, featuring three new comedy-themed DVD
reviews. Included is Adam's take on Universal's
Jerk: 26th Anniversary Edition and the
Director's Cut, along with Paramount's
Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004. So enjoy that.
We've also got a bit of DVD announcement news for you today. Universal
has set Two for the Money for
release on 1/17 (SRP $29.98). The title will be available in separate
full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, each with Dolby Digital
5.1 audio. Extras will include feature commentary with directors Dan
Gilroy and DJ Caruso, an Insider Interview
featurette and The Freeroll: The Making of
Two for the Money documentary.
Now then... I'll be posting my regular review of this next week, and
Barrie's going to be doing a more in-depth review as well. But I've just
gotten my first look at Warner's new King
Kong: Special Edition (due on 11/22) and I HAD to tell you
all a little bit about it. First of all, the film looks amazing. This
restoraton is really impressive - I'm betting Kong
hasn't looked better since its original 1933 theatrical release. I
haven't listened to the audio commentary yet, nor have I looked at the
documentary about Merian C. Cooper. But I'll tell you... the 7-part RKO
Production 601 documentary is outstanding. You get a really
in-depth history of the film itself, as well as a look the producers and
the production, complete with new interviews with film historians (like
Rudy Behlmer, Bob Burns), filmmakers (Peter Jackson, Frank Darabont,
etc) and special effects experts (Ray Harryhausen, Ken Ralston, Phil
Tippett and others), as well as a look at original photographs,
production artwork and more vintage materials. But here's what's really
great - specifically for this DVD release, Jackson and his crew at WETA
(who, as you know, have been working on their own remake of King
Kong, which hits theaters next month), worked to build - in
exacting detail - replicas of many of the original stop-motion
miniatures from the 1933 film, and to recreate footage using the
original effects production process. The result of this is that when
they're talking about how the original Kong
was made, you actually get to SEE the process in action! The folks at
Pellerin Multimedia and Sparkhill were able to document the effort as
Jackson's animators worked with their new, meticulously recreated Kong
puppet, on a multi-layered miniature set that's a nearly exact duplicate
of one created for the original film. It's VERY cool to see, let me tell
you. As you may know, Jackson also tasked his effects crew with
recreating the lost "Spider Pit" sequence for this DVD
release. Their work was never intended to be edited back into the film,
but simply to give you a sense of what that lost footage MIGHT have
looked like. It's a joy to see. In fact, this DVD release is just a
really special piece of work - something that's clearly made by die-hard
Kong fans, for die-hard Kong
fans. You're going to love it. I think it was well worth the wait.
Anyway, we'll leave you today with a look at more new DVD cover art.
Here's Sony's 2046 (12/27), the
Cartoon Adventures Starring Gerald McBoing
Boing (1/3) and The Cave
(also 1/3), Universal's The Chumscrubber
(1/10) and Two for the Money, and
Fox's Time Tunnel: Volume One
Okay... we've got a big one in store for you next week. Todd and I will
both be kickin' out the review jams, and we've got another review column
from Barrie Maxwell on the way as well. We'll also have a new interview,
a long-awaited update of the Upcoming DVD
Cover Artwork section and more. So be sure to check back on
As this is Veteran's Day, hats off to all you folks in the armed forces
serving around the world, and to those of you who have worn the uniform
in the past. Our best to all of you.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned!
Some more new announcements for you...
Warner has set Cimarron, The
Champ, Captains Courageous,
The Good Earth, Kitty
Foyle, Johnny Belinda
and Lust for Life for release on
1/31 (SRP $19.97 each). Each title features remastered picture and
sound, and extras like animated shorts, documentary featurettes and
We also have word that Sony will debut its remade The
Fog on disc on 1/24.
And Lions Gate has set Barbie Diaries
for release on 1/31.
Around here at the site today, we've posted two more editions of
Electric Theatre. First up, we've got
brand new edition (factory fresh!) with reviews of Shopgirl,
Jarhead and a pair of other recent
films. We've also posted
older installment from May, which includes Adam's review of Star
Wars: Episode III and more. Don't miss 'em!
And be sure to drop Adam
an e-mail to say howdy. He's sick in bed with some kind of
would-be bird flu, so he could use a little cheering up. ;-)
It's a bit of a quiet news day, so we're busy working on new DVD
reviews here at The Bits. But
there are a couple things worth reporting this afternoon.
has officially announced that they're going to be supporting the
Blu-ray Disc high-definition format when it debuts next year... a move
which should surprise exactly nobody given the studio's recent purchase
by Blu-ray backer Sony.
Next, 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm are reporting strong sales of the
Star Wars: Episode III DVD around
the world, and Lucasfilm is also crowing about sales of their Star
Wars: Battlefront II videogame. Together, the two titles have
apparently raked in $210 million worldwide. There's no specific unit
sales numbers available, but Lucasfilm's Jim Ward is saying that sales
in some areas are nearly double what they expected. You can read more
Business is reporting that Pixar is back in discussions with
Disney about renewing their previous distribution deal. It seems that
Pixar CEO Steve Jobs is getting along better with new Disney chief Bob
Iger than he did with Michael Eisner (which should also surprise no
one), making the prospect of a renewal more likely than it's been in
recent months. Pixar's future is also looking brighter following
than expected profit earnings in their last financial quarter.
Okay... it's back to spinning discs for us around here. Stay tuned!
You know... I really enjoy the whole voting thing. Call me idealistic,
call me what you will, but there's just something about living in a
country where you're guaranteed the right to research the issues, form
your own opinion and then go out and pull a level to call things like
you see it, you know? It's worth keeping in mind that we've got our good
young men and women over in Iraq right now (and a big Bits
shout-out to all of you folks over there!) risking their lives so that
the Iraqi people can finally have the right to vote. And here we are in
the U.S. and all too many of us take that same right for granted. I
think Election Day should be a national holiday. You want to really
honor some of what our troops are fighting for? Then get out there today
and exercise your right to vote. Trust me, it feels good. They even give
you a sticker. Then you can head on over to your local video retailer,
and pick up a few new DVDs as a reward for being a good citizen. God
bless America, baby!
First thing's first today: We've got more new DVD announcements for
you... and some big ones too.
Warner Bros. has announced the release of Tim Burton's The
Corpse Bride on 1/31 (SRP $28.98). The film will be available
in separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame editions, each with
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio. Extras will include behind-the-scenes
documentaries, the Tim Burton: Dark vs. Light,
Voices from the Underworld, Danny
Elfman Interprets the Two Worlds, Making
Puppets Tick and Inside the Two
Worlds featurettes, a music-only track, galleries of
pre-production artwork and more.
Warner has also announced a 2-disc All the
President's Men: Special Edition for release on 2/21 (SRP
$26.99). The DVD will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital
5.1 audio, a new audio commentary by star Robert Redford (his first
ever), 3 documentaries (Telling the Truth
About Lies: The Making of All the President's Men, Out
of the Shadows: The Man Who Was Deep Throat and Woodward
and Bernstein: Lighting the Fire), the Pressure
and the Press: The Making of All the President's Men vintage
featurette, a vintage Jason Robards interview excerpt from Dinah!
hosted by Dinah Shore and an Alan J. Pakula thrillers trailer gallery.
Also today, Universal has set The Constant
Gardener for release on 1/10 (SRP $29.98). The DVD will be
available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted and extended
scenes, and 3 featurettes (including Embracing
Africa: Filming in Kenya, John le
Carré: From Page to the Screen and Anatomy
of a Global Thriller: Behind the Scenes of The Constant Gardener).
Finally, Paramount has set the first of its fan-selected Trek
releases for 3/7. Star Trek: Fan Collective -
Borg will be a 4-disc set including select Borg-themed
episodes from Enterprise, The
Next Generation and Voyager.
Details on price, the specific episodes and extras to be included are
Here's a look at the DVD cover artwork for The
Corpse Bride, The Constant
Gardener and the Star Trek: Fan
Collective - Borg:
Before we go, we've got a new
of the Month for November that we'd like to point out. Kevin
Greene's a fantastic caricature artist and illustrator. If
you're a fan of films, you'll really dig some of his work. Be sure to
page here at The Bits, and
own website as well. Enjoy!
Morning, everyone! Hope you all had a darned spiffy weekend. We're
going to kick off the new week with some new DVD announcements, so here
20th Century Fox has added The Five
Heartbeats: 15th Anniversary Special Edition and Trouble
Man (1972) to its 1/10 slate. Following on 1/31 are Billy
Graham Presents Last Flight Out and a Billy
Graham Presents Gift Set (which includes Road
to Redemption, Something to Sing
About and Last Flight Out
for SRP $39.98).
Meanwhile, Sony has set The Escapist,
The Hunt for Eagle One, a Classic
Comedies Collection (including Ghostbusters,
Day) and Resident Evil: Apocalypse
(single-disc edition) for release on 1/17.
New Line has set a Final Destination: Scared
2 Death Pack for release on 1/17 as well, which includes the
existing Final Destination and
Final Destination 2 DVDs, along
with an exclusive preview of Final
Destination 3 (plus a free movie ticket for Final
Destination 3). SRP is $19.99.
Also, Disney has announced the 2-disc Lady
and the Tramp: Special Edition for release on 2/28 (SRP
$29.99). The release will include both anamorphic widescreen and full
frame video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio ("new digital restoration
with enhanced picture and sound"), 2 never-before-seen deleted
sequences (La La Loo and Turning
the Tables), the Finding Lady: The
Art of the Storyboard and Lady's
Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp documentaries, a
newly discovered alternate storyboard concept, Disney's "virtual
puppy" DVD-ROM activity, a Disney Dogs Trivia game, an interactive
Puppypedia and more.
Here's a bit of news some of you might find interesting. You think HDTV
is cool? We'll, you've seen nothing yet.
to the EETimes, the Japan Broadcast Corporation (NHK) has
been testing a new Super Hi-Vision format. The idea is to create a
television format so good, that it can convey the illusion of reality
over broadcast video - literally it's like looking out a window. Super
Hi-Vision boasts an eye-popping 7680 x 4320 pixel resolution. By
comparison, regular TV offers 704 x 480 resolution, and new HDTV tops
out at 1920 x 1080 (1080p). We haven't even fully upgraded to
high-definition yet and we're ALREADY behind. D'oh!
Around the site this morning, we've updated all of the DVD format stats
we track (above),
DVD Player Sales numbers for the second week of October
(ending 10/14). All charts have been updated accordingly.
Matt's chipped in with a new music DVD review over at his MusicTAP
website: Shout Factory's
Cooper: Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper.
Also, be sure to check out Russell Hammond's
Fanboy for a look at a few exclusive bonus DVDs that you'll be
able to find in certain stores in the next couple of weeks.
Finally today, we've kicked off THREE new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Paramount's
Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season and
Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection - Volume One, Warner's
the Chocolate Factory, Ventura's
Sullivan Show Rock & Roll Classics Box Set,
Unbecoming. The contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, November 13th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Well... another week's under the belt. Time sure flies, doesn't it? I
wonder how many movie fans out there have already done all-day marathon
viewing of the Star Wars saga on
DVD? Bet a lot of people will be doing so this weekend.
Speaking of Star Wars, no sooner
did I post that explanation of the Episode
III DVD's "Charlotte" volume label, do I learn that
DVD producer Van Ling has also done
same thing on the official Star Wars website. Van would
know better than anyone, and his explanation goes nicely in-depth, so do
check it out if you're interested. Also, Bits
reader Byron W. e-mailed us to say that Wal-Mart's Episode
III bonus disc is also available at Sam's Club stores (just
in case you're out there looking for a copy). Thanks, Byron!
While we're on the subject of DVD producers, our good friend Michael
Pellerin (who crafted the The Lord of the
Rings DVDs) is featured in
new Hollywood Reporter interview discussing his work on
the DVD version of Peter Jackson's upcoming King
Kong. Michael and Peter also worked together to produce some
of the features on Warner's soon-to-be-released DVD of the classic 1933
King Kong. According to Michael,
Universal has set Jackson's Kong
for release on disc in April '06. Expect LOTS of great extras.
We've got more new release announcements to report today. First up,
Sony has added a Mad Max: Superbit
DVD to its 1/10 slate, along with a UMD version of Underworld
Movie Release List has been updated accordingly).
Also, 20th Century Fox has set The
Simpson's: Kiss & Tell for release on 2/7, with The
Pretender: Season 3 following on 2/14 and NYPD
Blue: Season 3, Pin-Up Girl,
Daddy Long Legs, Weekend
in Havana and Voyage to the Bottom
of the Sea: Volume 1 all streeting on 2/21.
Also today, the folks at
Criterion Collection have announced some new titles for February
(street dates TBA). Look for them to include Luis Buñuel's Viridiana
(cat #332), Jean Renoir's La bête
humaine (#324), Robert Hamer's Kind
Hearts and Coronets (#325) and Whit Stillman's Metropolitan
We've got a trio of new DVD reviews for you this afternoon. Lindsay
Planner's checked in over at our MusicTAP
affiliate with his thoughts on Shout Factory's
Volume 4, and Brentwood/BCI Eclipse's
Tahse's After School Specials and
Cargo: The Complete Series, Volumes 1 & 2. Do check them
Finally, we're going to leave you with a sneak peek at some new DVD
cover artwork. Here's Universal's Serenity
(12/20) and Broken Flowers (1/3),
as well as DreamWorks' Red Eye
Okay... have a great weekend, everyone! We'll see you back here on
(LATE UPDATE - 11/3/05 - 6
Any of you ready to see The Eighth Wonder of the World in all his
Samsonite-smashing glory? Then do visit Universal's
King Kong website without delay and feast your eyes. You
can even watch the film's just-released final trailer in HD if you've
got the right hard 'n' soft. Peter Jackson's latest home movie looks
like it's gonna be a fun one, folks. 12/14 can't come fast enough.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/3/05 -
12:01 AM PST)
Well... I'm a little tuckered out this morning. Sarah and I slipped
away last night to take in the U2 show up at the Staples Center in L.A.
Or as they've been calling themselves these last few days, The Larry
Mullen Band. I'll tell you... Bono and the boys sure know how to put on
a helluva good dog and pony show. They're sold out all along their
current tour, but if you ever get the chance to see U2 live, I highly
recommend doing so. Concert going is always a hoot in L.A. anyway - you
never know which celebrities you're going to bump into in the crowd.
Celebs and non-celebs alike, they're all trying hard to be seen, those
Hollywood folk. Strange place, La-La Land.
Anyway, speaking of U2... the band's new live DVD release hits stores
on 11/15. Vertigo 2005: Live from Chicago
will be available in a single-disc regular edition (SRP $19.98) and a
2-disc Deluxe Edition ($32.98)
which includes a bonus documentary on the tour and extra performance
footage. Should be cool.
We've got a few bits of Episode III-related
DVD info for you this morning. A few savvy readers have e-mailed to say
that about five minutes into The Chosen One
featurette on Disc Two, you get a glimpse of the new digital Yoda from
Episode I. Also, those of you who
have the Wal-Mart bonus disc may notice that in The
Story of Luke Skywalker documentary on that disc, you'll
catch a glimpse of the original Emperor from Episode
V and also the original ghostly Anakin Skywalker from the end
of Episode VI.
Even more savvy readers have e-mailed us to ask why, when they put the
Episode III DVD in their ROM
drives, does the disc have the volume name "Charlotte"? That's
all about fooling would-be pirates during the disc's production, prior
to its official release. When very high profile DVD titles are being
authored and tested, they're sometimes given project code names so that
anyone who might see check discs lying around (or see project-related
files on the production facility's computer network) won't know what's
actually on them... and thus be tempted to steal and pirate them. Last
year's Star Wars Trilogy release,
for example, was referred to by the code name "Eve" when it
was in production, and the individual films were labeled "White"
(A New Hope), "Black" (The
Empire Strikes Back) and "Jane" (Return
of the Jedi). When the final DVDs were about to be
manufactured, the discs were given their correct volume names. With
piracy concerns even more extreme this year, Sith
was likely left "Charlotte" on purpose into final disc
manufacturing as an extra measure of protection against 11th hour
digital theft. Think of it as a DVD version of the old "Blue
Anyway, that's just a little bit of useless DVD trivia from your Uncle
Bill. No charge. ;-)
Around the site this morning, we've got another great
Coming Attractions column for you from the ever-prolific
Barrie Maxwell. In this edition, Barrie reviews 13 new classic releases
on DVD, including Image Entertainment's
Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition - Seasons 3 & 4 and
Seasons 3, 4 & 5, along with Sony's
Man with Nine Lives and Hart Sharp Video's
Man with the Golden Arm and
Chaplin: The Forgotten Years. He also runs down the latest
classic release announcements. Do check it out (and enjoy).
Finally this morning, I wanted to let you all know that our friends
Script to DVD.com have posted a list of all the places you can
see Disney's new Chicken Little in
3-D DLP. It's definitely worth a look if there's a properly equipped
theater in your area. You can bet you're going to be seeing a lot more
films offered in 3-D digital projection in the years ahead.
Okay, I may be back with more later this afternoon. So in the meantime,
off to work with you!
There's some sad news to report in the world of television science
fiction this morning. Writer/producer Michael Piller passed away
yesterday after a long fight with cancer. He was just 57. Piller was a
veteran of the Trek franchise,
having produced literally hundreds of episodes of the series Star
Trek: The Next Generation, Star
Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star
Trek: Voyager. He was co-creator Voyager
and also wrote the feature film Star Trek:
Insurrection (along with many Trek
TV episodes). More recently, he co-created and co-produced USA's The
Dead Zone and ABC Family's Wildfire
with his son, Shawn. You can read more
at Star Trek.com. He'll be missed.
On a more upbeat (and also Trek-ish)
note this morning, I have to tell you... I'm REALLY enjoying William
Shatner's performance as legal eagle Denny Crane on ABC's Boston
Legal. He and co-star James Spader have a fantastic rapport
and chemistry on screen. They really play off each other wonderfully. I
bring this up now because, as a Trek
fan, I'm just really jazzed to see Shatner finally tearing up the small
screen again. I think people forgot how good an actor he was for a
while, and Denny ranks right up there with Kirk in terms of memorable TV
roles. I also mention it now, because I don't think I've seen anything
more absurdly funny in a VERY long time than Shatner and Spader smoking
cigars in pink flamingo costumes from last night's episode. And yes, I
know how silly that sounds, but I'm STILL laughing about it and I'm
telling you... if you aren't watching these two on Boston
Legal, you're really missing out.
In other news this morning,
Business is reporting that Warner Home Video will finally
begin releasing movies on UMD format (for Sony's PSP system). Its first
titles are expected to be Dukes of Hazzard
and Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 4,
both on 12/6. We've updated the
Movies for PSP Release List accordingly.
By the way, we've learned from Bits
readers that the Wal-Mart Episode III
bonus DVD is ONLY available at Wal-Mart stores here in the States. It's
unfortunately not available to Canadian customers. Just FYI.
Here at the site today, we're kicking off your Wednesday morning right
with a whopping EIGHT new DVD reviews from Peter Schorn and Greg
Brobeck. Peter checks in with his thoughts on Fox's
A True Underdog Story and
Tomatoes Eat France!, Inecom's
Magic of the White City and Discotek's
Woman: Red Handcuffs - Limited Edition. Meanwhile, Greg's spun
Duckula: The Complete First Season, Universal's
1967: Season 1 and Fox's
Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Second Season and
Steele: Season One, and he lets you know what he thinks about
each of them. All eight titles are now available in stores.
Also today, we've got another update of
Rumor Mill, which includes word from our sources on a bunch of
interesting catalog titles on the way for early next year from Fox.
Anyone out there ready for Valley of the
Dolls? Don't miss it!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/1/05 -
12:45 PM PST)
Okay... we've got some BIG DVD release announcements to report today.
As we first told you here in
Rumor Mill, Universal has finally revealed Joss Whedon's Serenity
for 12/20. The film will be available in dual anamorphic widescreen and
full frame editions (SRP $29.98 each). Both versions will include Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, deleted scenes, outtakes, a video introduction with
Whedon, audio commentary with Whedon and 3 featurettes (including Future
History: The Story of Earth That Was, What's
in a Firefly and Re-Lighting the
Universal will also release Broken Flowers
on 1/3 as expected, and also The Chumscrubber
Paramount has set Elizabethtown,
Survivor: Pearl Islands Panama - The Complete
Season and a Breakfast at
Tiffany's: Anniversary Edition for 2/7.
Meanwhile, Sony will release Mirror Mask,
Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders,
Medicine: The Complete First Season, a rare Superbit edition
of Rollerball (2002), The
Magnificent Seven: Collector's Edition, Stuart
Little: Deluxe Edition, Stuart
Little 2: Special Edition and a Wild
Things Collection (including Wild
Things, Wild Things II &
Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough),
all on 1/10.
On the UMD front today, Universal's Serenity
will be available in UMD for the PSP on 12/20. Also, Sony will release
Mirror Mask and a Stuart
Little/Stuart Little 2 double feature on UMD as well, both on
1/10. We've updated the
Movies for PSP Release List accordingly.
In other news today, we're very pleased to introduce a new affiliate
site of The Digital Bits. As you
know, our own Russell Hammond had started a DVD
Exclusives column here at The Bits.
But his ongoing effort to document and catalog all of the various bonus
DVDs and other retailer-exclusive items got SO big, that it made more
sense to turn the column into a site all its own. So Russell has created
DVD Fanboy. Like Matt's
MusicTAP, Russell's DVD
Fanboy is a great supplement to The
Bits. You'll find the latest updates about new exclusives and
an ever-growing database of past exclusives. As the database grows,
you'll even find images of many of the bonus discs to help you identify
them. Russell expects to update the site frequently as new exclusives
are announced, but you can definitely expect regular Monday updates
covering the exclusives that will be available the next day in stores.
You'll find links to DVD Fanboy at
the top of this page (under the button bar and in our columns section).
We think it's another valuable resource for readers of The
Bits, so we hope you enjoy it. Our congrats (and thanks) to
Russell for all his efforts!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/1/05 -
10:30 AM PST)
We'll be back with more this afternoon, but we wanted to check in early
with a quick comment on Wal-Mart's exclusive Episode
III bonus disc. We've seen it... and while die-hard fans and
completists will probably want it, it's not really worth going out of
your way for. The disc includes two 30-minute documentaries (4x3, DD
2.0), each hosted/narrated by C3P0 and R2D2. The first, The
Story of Anakin Skywalker recaps the events of Episodes
I & II. The second,
The Story of Luke Skywalker,
summarizes the events of Episodes IV,
V & VI.
They're pretty cheesy, consisting almost entirely of excerpts from the
other films. They seem to be targeted at kids, and those adults who need
to be Cliff Noted prior to viewing Episode
III as a reminder of what's happened so far and what comes
next. Just FYI. We've updated our
Back soon. Stay tuned...
Well... it's Halloween time again. Todd's favorite holiday and sure to
line the pockets of dentists everywhere.
In honor of the day, we've got
new edition of The Bottom Shelf from our own Adam Jahnke.
Adam reviews a trio of recent films on DVD from the one and only Bruce
Campbell, including the
Dead 2: The Book of the Dead 2 - Limited Edition,
with the Screaming Brain and
Apocalypse. All three titles are now available on disc from
Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Adam also chimes in today with
new Electric Theatre column, in which he runs down
thirteen of his favorite scary movies - just the perfect viewing
material for later this evening, after the kids are all tucked in bed
with their stomachs full of sugar.
Elsewhere around The Bits today,
we've kicked off SIX new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
TV: Season One, Volume One, Universal's
Man and The
Brat Pack: Movies & Music Collection, Paramount's
CSI: NY -
The Complete First Season, 20th Century Fox's
and the Office
Space: Special Edition (with Flair), and finally Ventura's
UFC 53 Heavy
Hitters. The contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday,
November 6th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
We've got a bit of info for you on a problem people are reporting with
Paramount's new Titanic: Special Collector's
Edition DVD. It seems there's a little video encoding error
on Disc One at about 1:19:19 into the film. It appears for just one
frame, but once you know it's there it's irritating impossible not to
see. Here's what it looks like:
To the best of our knowledge, ALL copies are affected by this error
(we've check ours and have confirmed it's definitely there). It's a
pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but it's enough for
home theater-philes to be on about. So we're waiting to hear back from
Paramount on this, to see what they have to say about it and if they
plan to correct the problem. Thanks to Bits
reader Shannon N. for the image.
Around the Net today, there's
good story over at Home Media Retailing about how
retailers are starting to get excited about the Blu-ray Disc format in
light of Paramount and Warner's recent endorsements. Meanwhile, HD-DVD's
prospects are looking dimmer with each passing week. I'm telling you,
folks... this format war may already be over.
We've got another new Classic Coming
Attractions column from Barrie on the way for later this week
and, if all goes well, we'll have new DVD reviews from Peter, Todd and
myself too. We'll also try to have a follow-up for you on that early
Universal disc problem, and the new Titanic
problem as well.
Don't forget... tomorrow's the big day you can finally bring
Wars: Episode III home on DVD. I suspect it'll be one of the
biggest, if not THE biggest, DVD release of the year. Also set for
release tomorrow (and highly recommended if you're a Trek
Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season - easily the
best year of the show bar none (and unfortunately the last).
Safe trick-or-treating and we'll see you tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks. We've got some new DVD announcements to report today
as we end another week.
First up, 20th Century Fox has announced a number of new titles for
January. Look for The Five Heartbeats: 15th
Anniversary Edition, Island in the
Sun, Stormy Weather,
Pinky and Transporter
2 on 1/10, with Hill Street Blues:
Season One and Supercross
following on 1/31.
Media Blasters has announced Zatoichi: TV
Series - Volume 2 for release on 1/31.
And Warner Home Video has announced a big slate of titles for January
and February, including Red Dwarf VII
(for BBC - 1/10), Walking with Monsters:
Before the Dinosaurs (for BBC) and Lois
& Clark: The Complete Second Season (both 1/17), Dallas:
The Complete Fourth Season (1/24), Captains
Courageous, The Champ
(1931), Cimarron (1931), a 2-disc
Gone with the Wind: Special Edition,
The Good Earth, Johnny
Belinda, Kitty Foyle,
Love, Ludlow, Lust
for Life, Murder in the Hamptons,
and a number of double-feature releases including Blood
Alley/Sea Chase, Collateral
New Adventure, Lawnmower
Man/Lawnmower Man 2, Mr.
Nanny/Suburban Commando, My Blue
Heaven/The Man with Two Brains, National
Lampoon's Loaded Weapon/Senior Trip, The
NeverEnding Story/The NeverEnding Story II, Passenger
57/Boiling Point, A Piece of the
Action/Uptown Saturday Night, Tarzan,
the Ape Man/10 and Train
Robbers/Tall in the Saddle (all for 1/31), Club
Paradise, Collision Course,
Deal of the Century, For
Richer, For Poorer, The Fresh
Prince of Bel Air: The Complete Third Season, The
Frisco Kid, Living Single: The
Complete First Season, Odd Jobs,
Quick Change, Mad
Magazine's Up the Academy and Who's
That Girl (all for 2/14), What's
New Scooby-Doo? Volume 8: Zoinks, Camera, Action! (on 2/21)
and finally The Easter Bunny's Coming to Town
I'm pleased to see Mad Magazine's Up the
Academy on that list. Sure it's a cheesy flick, but I've been
looking forward to it for a while now. Maybe Warner will release Under
the Rainbow next...
Around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the first week of October
(ending 10/7). We've also updated all of the DVD hardware and software
stats we track (above).
We'll be back on Monday with new DVD reviews and more, so have a great
weekend and we'll see you then!
We've got some street dates for you this morning for a few major
upcoming DVD releases. You'll find that in
Rumor Mill so be sure to check it out. Think Broken
Flowers, The Constant Gardener,
Lord of War and more.
And as they say good things come to those who wait... let me take a
personal moment for an old pal. Mr. MusicTAP
has waited his entire life for this. He's officially on Cloud 9 right
now, and I don't think I've ever seen him happier. So this one's for
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
We've got a nice little surprise for you today... our own Todd Doogan's
checked in with
Doogan's Views column! In this edition, Todd offers his
thoughts on five recent TV favorites of his that are now available on
DVD, including Warner's
Mars: The Complete First Season, Sony's
Hospital, Buena Vista's
The Complete First Season, Universal's
M.D.: Season One and
Office: Season One.
Also today, over at Matt's MusicTAP
site, crack music reviewer Dw Dunphy's posted his thoughts on
Dylan: No Direction Home DVD.
Speaking of Matt, he and his wife Deb were over at our house last night
watching the World Series' longest game ever with Sarah and me. As you
may know, the Sox won... and as you might guess, Matt's walking around
today like the cat that ate the canary. Matt's hoping his team will wrap
the series up tonight in a sweep. We'll see (and we'll see you at
Wingnuts tonight, Matt!)...
Okay... we've got some new DVD announcements to report today. First up,
Universal has revealed more new titles including Michael
Flatley's Celtic Tiger (12/13), Red
Eye (1/10 for DreamWorks), The
Nutty Professor I & II (box set - 1/17), The
Richard Pryor Collection (including Which
Way is Up?, Brewster's Millions,
Car Wash and Bustin'
Loose - also 1/17), Confessions of
a Sociopathic Social Climber (2/7) and Soldiers
of Change (2/28).
Sony has announced The Cave, All
in the Family: The Complete Fifth Season, Cartoon
Adventures Starring Gerald McBoing Boing, The
Valachi Papers, a Football Box Set
(including Rudy, Radio
& Jerry Maguire), a Snatch:
Deluxe Edition (with a CD and a booklet) and The
Mob Box Set (including Bugsy,
Brasco and The American Gangster
with a booklet), all for 1/3.
Paramount has set Asylum for
release on 1/17.
Finally, New line has set The Man
for 1/17, with Jackie Chan's Thunderbolt
following on 1/24.
We've got some new UMD announcements to report today as well. Universal
will deliver Billy Madison, National
Lampoon's Animal House & Scarface
(1983) on the format on 12/20, and Sony's The
Cave is set for 1/3. We've updated the
Movie Release List accordingly.
In other news today, we've learned that Warner Bros. has recalled The
Adventures of Superman: The Complete First Season in Canada.
It seems that Discs 4 & 5 of the 5-disc set release up there are the
same disc (despite having printed labels that state otherwise). We
expect Warner will re-package the set correctly and re-issue it as soon
as possible. As far as we know, this only affects copies released in
Canada. Thanks to Bits reader
Michael and all you other guys up North who e-mailed us on this.
Finally this afternoon, we've got word on the eventual first season
release of a popular new FX show in
Rumor Mill. Don't miss it.
We've got a real treat for you classic film fans. Our own Robert A.
Harris has delivered
new Yellow Layer Failure column in which he talks with
George Feltenstein, Ned Price & Ronnee Sass of Warner Home Video
about the restoration work that went into the long awaited King
Kong DVD (due in stores on 11/22). The piece features
interesting information on the history of the film and the efforts to
preserve it, as well as the creation of the DVD and its special
features. If you're as excited for this release as we are, the interview
is well worth a read. Don't miss it.
Also today, we've kicked off FIVE new
giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's 2-disc
Wizard of Oz:
House of Wax,
The Tom and
Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume 2 and
Tunes Spotlight Collection: Volume 3, Universal's
Munsters: The Complete Second Season and
Gothic: The Complete Series, and 20th Century Fox's
Atomic Tommy and
Aliens Unleashed. The contests will run until Noon (Pacific)
on Sunday, October 30th. Click on the links to get started and good
We'll be back tomorrow with news, new DVD reviews and more. Stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks. Well... it was a pretty decent weekend 'round The
Bits left coast offices. Matt's White Sox took a quick 2-0
lead in the World Series (boy, is he enjoying that) and my Vikings even
mustered a rare win on Sunday. By a 56-yard field goal, against the
Packers no less. You know, if the Vikes win NO other games all season,
they DAMN well better win both Packers games. That's all I can say. ;-)
Okay... we've got
new Classic Coming Attractions for you today from our very
own Barrie Maxwell. In this edition, Barrie takes a look at the westerns
of actor Randolph Scott. Barrie also reviews 12 new western DVD releases
in the Saddle,
Stranger Wore a Gun,
Last Frontier and
Dundee: The Extended Version, as well as VCI's
with Kit Carson,
of Red Dog,
of Death Valley,
Ryder Double Feature, Volume 9 and
Ryder Double Feature, Volume 10. And as always, he runs down
the latest classic film DVD release announcements. Don't miss it.
Around the horn today,
Week's got an interesting story up on that move HP made last
week to try to get the Blu-ray Disc camp to make their format a little
more like HD-DVD in terms of consumer friendliness with regard to
playback and use of its discs in ROM drives.
Week's also got a nice little primer up on the current state
of the format war. Both pieces are worth checking out.
Back at home, we've got some more upcoming DVD cover artwork for you to
take a look at. Here's Warner's The
Adventures of Superman: Second Season (1/17/06) and The
Flash: The Complete Series (1/10/06), Media Blasters' Zatoichi:
The Blindswordsman - Volume One (TV series - 11/29), Warner's
Sam Peckinpah: The Legendary Westerns
Collection box set and Pat Garrett
and Billy the Kid: Special Edition (both 1/10/06 - Pat
Garrett's in the box and available separately), and
Paramount's Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
Bueller... Bueller... Edition (also 1/10/06)...
I hope you all had the chance to take a look at that
King Kong video from this weekend. We'll be back tomorrow with a
new Yellow Layer Failure column
from Robert Harris... on Warner's restoration work to bring classic King
Kong to life on DVD.
See you then!
We've seen a lot of cool things this year - the last Star
Wars movie, the Superman Returns
trailer at Comic-Con, etc. But this may be the coolest thing yet. For
those of you who are fans of classic King
Kong, this might just bring a tear to your eye. No kidding.
What you're about to see are some truly amazing moments in film history,
newly captured on video thanks to director Peter Jackson and film
historian and expert prop collector/preserver Bob Burns. Click on over
production diary page at Kong Is King.net, choose your
preferred Quicktime video size... then sit back and be amazed.
Well... Warner's finally spoken out about Blu-ray. Here's a couple of
their comments from yesterday:
"Consumers will soon be able to enjoy a
large selection of catalogue favorites and contemporary hits from
Warner's vast library on the Blu-ray format" - Jim Cardwell,
president, Warner Home Video
"We are going to put our product on for
consumers on both formats. The market will decide if the functionality,
if the price, if the consumer offering is what they want." -
Marsha King, executive vice president of New Business Development,
Warner Home Video
You can read the actual statement
Pretty dry, I know, but there it is. You can also read more about the
Not surprisingly, HD-DVD backer Toshiba was quick to comment about all
this yesterday as well:
"Toshiba and Warner Bros. continue to
collaborate closely toward the commercial launch of HD DVD. We
understand Warner Bros. continues to strongly support HD DVD, due to its
outstanding features, cost structures, and market readiness. We
recognize Warner Bros's participation in the Blu-ray Disc Association
represents the studio's understandable commitment to listen to broad
array of opinions and to continue to make technical evaluations of each
format, and we are more than confident this will not affect timely
introduction of HD DVD content to the market. The fact that new voices
from within the Blu-ray camp have recently called for adoption of key
features already in HD DVD - iHD for its superb PC interoperability and
Mandatory Managed Copy to allow for secure DVD ripping - shows the level
of technical balance achieved by the HD DVD format. HD DVD offers
already-verified volume disc production and substantial superiority in
terms of recordable disc cost. It also integrates a series of advanced
technologies, including AACS for robust content protection system, and
VC-1, a highly efficient video compression technology, for enhanced
storage capacity. Toshiba strongly believes the HD DVD format will
eventually win broad support as the more superior format, and in
cooperation with our partners, we are committed to bringing HD DVD
products first to market early next year in the U.S.."
So there you have it. We're still going to have a format war... but I'm
not so sure that this thing isn't already over and the HD-DVD folks just
don't know it yet. We'll just have to see how all this plays out over
the next few months.
FYI, out of respect for Barrie, we're holding his new column until
Monday. His stuff is just too good to dump on a Friday. ;-)
No worries though, we've still got something for you today. I've given
new DVD editions of two of my favorite films a spin on disc and written
reviews of both of them: 20th Century Fox's
Space: Special Edition with Flair! (due on 11/1) and
Big Lebowski: Collector's Edition (now available). Sadly,
neither new edition offers much that's really... well, new. But hey -
both are great flicks. If they aren't already part of your DVD
collection, they ought to be, loaded or not (not).
Okay, off you go for another weekend. I'm gonna watch some Sox games
with Matt, and maybe catch a flick or two. You folks in Florida keep
your heads down and hang in there. As for the rest of you... have a
great weekend. See you all on Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/20/05 -
12:15 PM PDT)
Apparently it's official: Warner has agreed to support the Blu-ray Disc
format, and the Blu-ray Disc Association's board formally approved the
studio's admission to their ranks last night. You can read more at
Media Retailing. A statement from Warner with regard to
movie/software support is expected later this afternoon.
Given this breaking news, we're going to delay Barrie's new Classic
Coming Attractions column until tomorrow. So watch for that
then, and check back later today for Warner's comments.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/20/05 - 11:30 AM PDT)
While we wait for Warner's Blu-ray announcement, there's word (from
Reuters via Yahoo) that tech industry analysts Forrester Research
have declared Blu-ray Disc the winner of the HD disc format war. The
piece is WELL worth a read. I'll tell you, we at The
Bits do not much disagree.
There's also word today that Hewlett-Packard has asked Sony and the
Blu-ray camp to include features in their format that are more
consumer-friendly to computer users. You can read about that
(at ZDNet) and
Around the site this morning, we have word from our industry sources on
more soon-to-be-announced street dates for major upcoming DVD releases.
You'll find that in
Rumor Mill. There's also a bit of information about a
forthcoming director's cut of Kingdom of
Heaven. Be sure to check it out.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/20/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Well... we'd been expecting this to happen, and it looks like it's
finally about to.
Business is reporting that Warner Home Video is set to
officially announce today that it will support the Blu-ray Disc
high-definition format in addition to their already announced backing of
HD-DVD. This move by Warner, likely bringing New Line and HBO with it,
comes after the Blu-ray camp agreed to concessions on increased copy
protection and other issues. This will make Universal the only major
Hollywood studio yet to back Blu-ray Disc, while several studios
(including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Sony, MGM and Lions Gate) have not
- and likely will not - support HD-DVD in the foreseeable future. The
decision by Warner would seem to give Sony and the Blu-ray camp a
near-slam dunk victory over rival Toshiba's HD-DVD format. However, all
of this hinges on the two groups actually being able to deliver robust
and functioning hardware and software in time for their expected launch
windows in early to mid-2006. On this score, HD-DVD seems to be farther
along. Interesting in the Video Business
piece is the suggestion (albeit unsubstantiated) that the Blu-ray folks
may still have a lot of work to do.
You can bet that additional announcements by both camps will follow in
the weeks ahead. We'll continue watching this situation closely and keep
you informed of any new developments.
Back with more later, so stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! We hope all's well in your neck of the woods.
We'll be back with a new Classic Coming
Attractions column from Barrie Maxwell tomorrow. In the
meantime, we've got some more new DVD release announcements to report.
First up, Universal has set Knight Rider:
Season Three, The A-Team: Season
Three and Magnum P.I.: The
Complete Third Season for release on 1/31/2006. The studio
has also announced Cry Wolf for
Meanwhile, Sony (and thus MGM) has announced a large slate of titles
for December. Look for The Baxter,
Beautiful Country, Godzilla:
Final Wars, Pretty Persuasion,
Saint Ralph, Crooked
Hearts, Everybody Wins,
Producers: Deluxe Edition, a Harryhausen
Gift Set (including 20 Million
Miles to Earth, It Came from
Beneath the Sea and Earth vs. the
Flying Saucers plus a scrapbook), Tour
of Duty: The Entire Series (3-season pack), and a
double-feature of the Spider-Man
and Spider-Man 2 special editions,
all on 12/13. November, White
Dragon, Party of Five: The Second
Season, 21 Hours at Munich
and Here Come the Tigers are set
to follow on 12/20. Finally, 2046,
Black Dawn, Empire
of the Wolves, Happy Here and Now,
a double-feature of Bram Stoker's Dracula
and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
will arrive on 12/27 (we believe these are the same as the previously
released versions, just packaged together).
Speaking of Sony, this is Rumor Mill-category
stuff, but sources are telling us to expect the studios' The
Exorcism of Emily Rose on 12/20.
Finally today, we've done a major update of our
Movies for PSP Release List. There are TONS of new titles in
there, so be sure to check it out.
Anyone up for another new DVD review? I've been working all day on this
one... my novel-length look at Paramount's
Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season. The 6-disc set
streets on November 1st... and let me tell you straight away, it's the
best season this series has to offer. It's also, sadly, the final season
of Enterprise. Damn, that still
burns. Oh well. These episodes are WELL worth a spin for fans of both
Enterprise and classic Star
Trek as well. Just take my advice and skip the last one. The
review will explain why. Trust me, if you love Enterprise,
ignorance is bliss with that last episode.
A bit of news today - New Line has announced the DVD release of Jackie
Chan's Thunderbolt on 1/24/06 (SRP
$19.97). Look for anamorphic widescreen video and the usual Dolby 5.1
sound. There are no extras to speak of.
Universal has revealed yet another American
Pie DVD. This one is the direct-to-video American
Pie Presents: Band Camp, starring Eugene Levy. It's due on
12/26 in R and Unrated versions (in both full frame and anamorphic
widescreen - SRP $26.98 each).
Media Retailing has some news that should make you fans of
Davey and Goliath happy. Following
the success of Volume 1 on DVD
earlier this year, Starlight Home Entertainment had decided to release
all the rest of the series' 65 episodes and the various TV specials as
Okay... I'm whupped. As some farmer once said, "That'll do pig.
See you tomorrow. ;-)