Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to Todd Doogan's weekly column
Go to the Reviews Page
Go to the Trivia Contest Page
Go to the Upcoming DVD Artwork Page
Go to the DVD FAQ & Article Archives
Go to our DVD Links Section
Go to the Home Theater Forum for great DVD discussion
Find out how to advertise on The Digital Bits

Site created 12/15/97.




page updated: 12/23/05



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 12/14/05 - 11/14/05)


Back to Previous Archives

Back to Current Posts

12/14/05

So... I expect a lot of you are eager to know what I think of King Kong this afternoon, right? Okay, I'll tell you. In a moment. First a little bit of DVD news.

We've gotten wind from our north-of-the-border readers that DreamWorks' DVD release of The Island (distributed by Universal) up in Canada is missing its English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The packaging says the disc includes both English and French 5.1 audio, but when you actually play the disc, only French 5.1 and English 2.0 audio is available. Strike ONE for shoddy QC.

In an interesting and related note, there's a new report up over at Video Business on how many consumers are having problems playing DVD-18 discs recently - so many problems in fact that many studios are switching to other disc configurations. Which company leads the list of studios whose releases are problematic, you might ask? Universal, of course. Strike TWO for shoddy QC.

By the way, when we learn what DreamWorks and Universal intend to do about these situations, we'll let you know.

Speaking of Universal... the studio has just announced that The Ice Harvest will hit stores on 2/28.

Also... this has yet to be announced (consider it Rumor Mill worthy until it is), but we're hearing that Sony is tentatively planning to release its film version of Rent on 2/28 as well.

Okay... back to Kong. I think most of you will be pleased to know that Peter Jackson's re-telling of this classic tale of beauty and the beast is absolutely wondrous, engaging and even poignant. The very best you can say about the film is that it's a thrilling, highly respectful and faithful remake of the original 1933 classic. Ironically, the worst thing you can say about the new Kong... is also that it's a thrilling, highly respectful and faithful remake of the original 1933 classic. Confused? Well, let me explain.

As much as most of us love the original Kong... there's no denying that it was arguably the first blockbuster Hollywood B-movie. As such, as dazzling and evocative as its visual charms were at the time, its story and characters were paper thin. People often say that it's Kong you most empathize with in the original, and that's no accident. He's the best-realized character in the film by a wide margin. For his 2005 remake, Jackson and his writing team thankfully devote much more story time to better develop their characters. I've heard some critics complain that it takes far too long for the characters to arrive on Skull Island (and thus get to the real action), but I disagree. It's BECAUSE we spend a little more time here getting to know the characters that we connect with them as well as we do.

The casting and performances are excellent across the board. Jack Black is inspired as manic movie producer Carl Denham, and Adrien Brody is imminently likable as Jack Driscoll - Denham's tweedy scribe and the unlikely hero who falls for, and ultimately sets out to rescue, Ann (the film's only major narrative change from the original). But it's Naomi Watts who really shines here. Her Ann Darrow is as stunningly beautiful and capable a romantic heroine as we've seen on film in years. With her soft, golden locks, her innocent face and sparkling eyes... you BELIEVE that Kong could fall in love with her. Not only is she beautifully groomed and photographed, her performance is exceptional. We all know how hard it can be for actors to work with digital effects, and to interact with characters that simply aren't there to act against. In this case, it helps a great deal that actor Andy Serkis actually played Kong on set (as he did with Gollum), in addition to providing the digital creature's movements. Watts and Serkis together prove what good performers can do, with an understanding director's guidance, when working in the digital arena.

Once the good ship Venture reaches the island and the action starts, it is absolutely edge-of-your-seat. The visuals are astonishing - WETA Digital's CG realization of Kong is as much a quantum leap over Gollum (from LOTR: The Two Towers) as Gollum was over every digital character that preceded him. Kong is as absolutely believable, soulful and emotionally well-rounded a character as you've ever seen in a film... and he never utters a single word. In fact, virtually all of the effects work in this film is stunning. The T-Rex fight sequence alone will leave you gasping in surprise and delight - it's relentlessly clever and well conceived. The attention to detail in this film, literally from start to finish, almost defies belief. Occasionally, the images are SO perfectly composed, even painterly, that you find yourself marvelling at what great CG work it is... which pulls you out of the film briefly. The landscapes are just a little too beautiful... the retro New York City skyline is just a little too gorgeous. And to be fair, a few effects shots aren't quite as polished to perfection as the rest. Still, in the same way that the original Kong dazzled audiences with imagery beyond that which anyone had ever seen before, so too does Jackson's Kong represent (in large measure) another landmark achievement in visual effects.

If I had any REAL complaints about Jackson's Kong, the first would be that it could easily be trimmed by 30 minutes. That's not to say that the film isn't good at 3 hours and 7 minutes, but much of the action feels... padded. This feels more like the special extended DVD edition than a theatrical cut. If I'd been the film's editor, I'd have recommended cutting about 10 minutes of set-up, 15 minutes of Skull Island and maybe 5 minutes of the film's climax - all of it in little bits and pieces. The only major scene that doesn't really work is a short bit in Central Park between Ann and Kong. It's sweet, and I understand the emotional idea behind it, but it's just a little too sugary to be truly poignant. My other criticism of the film, is that the character of Denham is still a little one-dimensional. You never get the sense that he truly realizes and regrets what he's done. Rather, it seems only that he regrets that his greatest chance at fame and fortune has collapsed like all his past efforts. It's a shame, because if we'd felt like the sheer horror and tragedy of the film's climax had managed - even for a moment - to cut through his dreams of avarice enough to leave him haunted by his actions, the film's ending would have been that much more powerful.

That said, as a pure cinematic experience, there is MUCH about Jackson's Kong to love. Is it as good as his Rings films? I don't think so - simply because they had much more dense story material to work with. Is it the best film of 2005? Again, I don't think so. But like the original, this Kong IS a great and truly thrilling popcorn film. Pound-for-pound, it's easily the best all-around entertainment value in years, maybe since James Cameron's Titanic. There's definitely something here for everyone to enjoy, and you might even shed a tear or two before it's all over (although you should be aware that the action is a little too intense for very young tykes - parents are definitely recommended to use their best judgement).

King Kong is a dazzling, passionate and evocative thrill ride that's well worth taking. Just go easy on the Dr. Pepper. 187 minutes is a LONG damn time to sit with a full bladder. My grade: B+

Okay, it's nap time for yours truly. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

12/13/05

Well... it's a busy day here at The Bits. We're working on a number of new DVD reviews for posting in the next couple of days, and of course Matt and I are getting ready to head on down to the Irvine Spectrum for tonight's Midnight screening of Peter Jackson's King Kong (that's 11:59 PM in Auditorium #1).

Sarah and I have also been busy. Our remodeling is mostly done, and just in time too. We had an old friend down for a visit these last few days. I've mentioned him a few times before... KSBY's own Weatherman Dave. We go all the way back to Jr. High in frozen Fargo, North Dakota. It's been a nice couple of days catching up, watching the Bears get spanked in high-def, having a nice meal or two. We even played a few games of Madden NFL, and took in a couple of films (Syriana and The 40-Year-Old Virgin). Good times. I've known Dave for... hell, going on 25 years now. Let me tell ya, you folks up in the Central Coast of California are lucky to have him making the forecasts for you.

Anyway, I've got a couple bits of new DVD information for you this afternoon. First, Disney has officially announced the release of the animated Chicken Little for 3/14. Extras on the disc will include deleted scenes, 3 alternate openings, music videos by The Cheetah Girls and the Barenaked Ladies, a karaoke sing-along option, the Where's Fish trivia game and more.

Also today... and this would normally go in The Rumor Mill (so be sure to take it as such)... sources I trust are telling me today that Peter Jackson's King Kong is tentatively being planned by Universal for DVD release in early April of next year. That's a nicely timed bit of information, don't you think?

Okay... for those of you planning to take in Kong at the Spectrum tonight, I'll be wearing a black St. Paul Saints baseball cap (yeah, that's Bill Murray's team - look for the blue 'StP' logo). And if Mr. TAP holds true to form, he'll have on some kind of Chicago Bears or White Sox apparel. Anyway, if it happens that you're going to be down there, be sure to say hello. Wherever you are, we hope you enjoy the film... all three hours of it! You can bet we will.

Back tomorrow (after not nearly enough sleep). Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 12/12/05 - NOON PST)

Some new DVD release announcements today... Universal has set Just Like Heaven and The Land Before Time: 2 Big Dino-Riffic Adventures for release on 2/7, with Prime following on 2/28 and Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Third Season and Columbo: The Complete Fourth Season due on 3/14.

Meanwhile, Warner will release Everything is Illuminated on 3/21. They've announced a couple of new BBC releases as well... MI-5: Volume Three on 1/31 and Bleak House on 2/28.

Criterion has revealed an exciting new box set of films by French New Wave director Louis Malle for release in March (3 Films by Louis Malle, catalog #327), including Murmur of the Heart (#328), Lacombe Lucien (#329) and the acclaimed Au revoir les enfants (#330).

Also, New Line has set How to Lose Your Lover for release on 3/14.

And on the music front, A&M (Universal Music) will release The Police: Synchronicity Concert on UMD format on January 31 (it's now available on DVD). There's also word that Mercury Records is working on a DVD release of Rush: Exit... Stage Left. No word yet on a street date.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 12/12/05 - 11 AM PST)

We'll be back with more later this afternoon, but I just wanted to check in this morning with some news.

First of all, Viacom (parent company of Paramount Pictures) has come up with a $1.6 billion deal to purchase DreamWorks SKG (see news story at CNN Money). NBC Universal had been attempting to purchase the studio for some time (Universal has long been the distributor of DreamWorks DVD product), but a deal between the two fell through.

Also today, we wanted to acknowledge the passing of actor/comedian Richard Pryor on Saturday. His film work included such classics as Silver Streak, Stir Crazy and Car Wash, all of which we happen to love here at The Bits. We're also fond of his many comedy albums and specials (among them Live on the Sunset Strip and Live & Smokin'), that've had us laughing to the point of tears over the years. Pryor was 65, and had been suffering for years from multiple sclerosis. He will most certainly be missed.

Stay tuned...

12/9/05

There's some news on the Blu-ray front this week. First off, Panasonic has announced that they've started replication of 50GB dual-layer BD-ROM media just up the road from us in their Torrance, California plant. They're already claiming 80% yield rates for single-layer 25GB BD-ROM media, which they've been manufacturing for a while now. This means that Panasonic will be able to begin providing dual-layered BD-ROM discs to hardware manufacturers by the end of December, so that they can start testing their currently in-development player hardware. You can read more on this in Panasonic's press release.

In a related note, Reuters is reporting that the Blu-ray Disc Group is expected to finally begin making specific announcements about their planned Spring 2006 format launch at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas early next month (January 5-8, 2006). You can bet that The Digital Bits will be there to learn all the details and start getting a look at actual Blu-ray hardware and software.

I wanted to take a moment today to let you know that our own Matt Rowe has updated his regular MusicTAP column with the latest music news, CD reviews and more. I gotta tell ya... Matt and I are really looking forward to taking in the midnight screening of Peter Jackson's King Kong at the Irvine Spectrum next week (Tuesday at 11:59 PM to be exact). We're gonna be exhausted by Wednesday morning, but it'll be worth it. Ahhh... good times. Anyone out there brave enough to join us?

Around here at The Bits today, you'll be pleased to know that Todd's checked in this afternoon with a new Doogan's Views column, featuring his thoughts on the new X3 trailer and DVD reviews of all four films in Warner's new Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997 box set. If you haven't picked it up yet, it's well worth your time and money. Do check it out.

Okay... another week bites the dust. Enjoy the weekend and we'll see you Monday!

12/8/05

Boy... have we ever got a LOT of new DVD release news to report today. We've got a bunch of new cover art for you as well, so we'll get right to it in a moment.

First up though, a quick note from our friend Ron Epstein and the boys over at the Home Theater Forum:

"Home Theater Forum has been experiencing problems since we recently upgraded our software. The forum has been offline for the past 24 hours as we have been working diligently with our web host to resolve problems. We expect HTF to be back online shortly. We thank all our members for their patience during our outtage crisis."

We believe they're back up and running now, but if you've been having trouble signing in at HTF over the last couple of days, now you know why.

Back here at home, our own Adam Jahnke has checked in with a new edition of his Electric Theatre, featuring reviews of Syriana, Aeon Flux and other recent films. Do check it out.

Okay... news. Let's start with Warner Bros. The studio has officially announced the DVD release of North Country for 2/21 (SRP $28.98). The film will be available in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. There's no word yet on extras, but expect making-of documentaries and deleted scenes at least.

North CountryBatman Beyond: The Complete First SeasonJustice League of America: Season One

In addition, Warner has announced Knots Landing: The Complete First Season for 3/28 and Ambulance Girl for 4/4. Also announced by the studio are a trio of new TV animated titles for 3/21, including Batman Beyond: The Complete First Season, Justice League of America: Season One and Ed, Edd 'n Eddy: Volume Two.

New Line will release a Domino: Platinum Edition on 2/14 (although the date may be changed to 2/21 - SRP $27.95). The DVD will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (a separate full frame edition will also be available), with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES audio. Extras will include audio commentary (with director Tony Scott and writer Richard Kelly), a second commentary with script notes and story development (with Scott, Kelly, executive producer Zach Schiff-Abrams and actor Tom Waits), the I am a Bounty Hunter featurette (with optional commentary by Kelly and the late Domino Harvey), the Bounty Hunting on Acid: Evolution of a Visual Style featurette, deleted and alternate scenes (with optional commentary by Scott) and the film's teaser and theatrical trailers. Note that Domino will also be released on UMD format the same day.

New Line will also release A History of Violence on 2/28 (SRP $28.98). The film will be offered on disc in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras will include commentary by director David Cronenberg, a deleted scene (with commentary by Cronenberg), 4 featurettes (including Acts of Violence, Violence's History: United States Version vs. International Version, The Unmaking of Scene 44 and Too Commercial for Cannes) and the film's theatrical trailer.

Domino: Platinum EditionA History of ViolenceGrey's Anatomy: Season One

By the way, that's also the cover art there for Buena Vista's Grey's Anatomy: Season One, due to street on 2/14. Pretty cute show if you haven't seen it.

You'll be happy to know that we've confirmed with Buena Vista that the next batch of Studio Ghibli animated films to be released on DVD will include Hayao Miyazaki's recent Howl's Moving Castle and his older My Neighbor Totoro, along with Yoshifumi Kondo's Whisper of the Heart. You'll find those in stores on 3/7.

In other Buena Vista news, the studio will re-release a pair of Jerry Bruckheimer titles on 3/14 (SRP $19.99 each), including a Crimson Tide: Unrated Extended Edition and a Remember the Titans: Director's Cut. Both titles will also be released on UMD that same day. The Crimson Tide: Unrated Extended Edition will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are set to include a little bit of footage added back into the film, along with additional deleted scenes (available separately) and a new documentary on the film's production.

Buena Vista will also release UMD editions of Swingers and Rounders on 2/21. Our UMD release guide has been updated accordingly with all the new titles we've mentioned above.

Crimson Tide: Unrated Extended EditionRemember the Titans: Director's CutNorthern Exposure: The Complete Fourth Season

As you can see, we've tossed in the art for Universal's Northern Exposure: The Complete Fourth Season (due on 3/28). Unfortunately, it looks like the box will be the same cardboard affair as Season Three, rather than the cool faux-jacket sleeves of Seasons One and Two.

Speaking of re-issues, Disney has announced The Shaggy Dog: Wild and Woolly Edition and The Shaggy D.A.: The Canine Candidate Edition (SRP $19.99 each) for 3/7.

Meanwhile, Sony is set to release Zathura on 2/7 (SRP $28.95). Specs and features are TBA. The studio has also moved up the DVD release of The Exorcism of Emily Rose from 12/27 to 12/20. Just FYI.

Criterion has announced a pair of new releases for March, including Orson Welles’ The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Cat. # 322) and Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket (# 333). Also, be aware that John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln (# 320) has been pushed back from January to February.

Finally today, we have word that Fox's The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (due to street next Tuesday, 12/13) will be available in two different packaging options. Here are the details from Fox:

"The first is a limited edition molded pack in the shape of Marge Simpson's head, and is the next in a line of collectible molded character packages that began with Homer Simpson in Season 6. The second package will be available at street date and on an on-going basis, and is in the same format as the Simpsons: Season 1-5 digipacks. Package selection and mix is at the discretion of each account."

Note that "at the discretion of each account" means it's up to each retailer as to which version they'll carry in their stores. Here's what the two packages look like (both are available for pre-order from Amazon):

The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (normal version)The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (Marge version)The Rat Patrol: The Complete First Season

Couldn't resist... I tossed in the art for Sony's The Rat Patrol: The Complete First Season (due 1/31) as well. I STILL can't stop whistling that damn theme song...

We'll be back tomorrow and Monday with more new DVD reviews. Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 12/7/05 - 2:30 PM PST)

We've just posted a new edition of The Bottom Shelf, in which Adam reviews a pair of recent Universal Legacy Series titles in-depth, including To Kill a Mockingbird and The Deer Hunter.

Also this afternoon, we've updated the UMD Release List to include a trio of new, just-released anime titles for the PSP from Manga.

We've also kicked off FIVE new Contests today, giving each of you the chance to take home a HUGE collection of new Warner film, TV and animated titles, Fox's 24: Season Four, M*A*S*H: Season Nine, Fantastic Four and Garfield and Friends: Volume Five, Universal's 40-Year-Old Virgin: Unrated Edition and The Rockford Files: Season One, and ADV Films' The Fuccons: Meet the Fuccons. The Warner contest will run for the rest of the month, until December 30th. All of the other contests will run for TWO weeks, until December 18th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

By the way, we'll have the winners of the previous contests posted in The Winners Circle later tonight.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 12/7/05 - 12:01 AM PST)

I wanted to check in early with this bit of information. In the latest edition of their regular newsletter, Criterion has hinted that they're working to deliver newer, more elaborate editions of their previously-released Akira Kurosawa DVDs Yojimbo, Sanjuro and yes... Seven Samurai in 2006. Nice. We're hoping some yet to be released Kurosawa films will arrive on disc from Criterion next year as well.

Back with more later. In the meantime, here's something we think'll put a smile on your face from our friends over at AICN. Viva Nacho Libre! JB... you're one funny and seriously twisted bastard, man.

Stay tuned...

12/6/05

Afternoon, folks! Let's get right to it today, shall we?

We've pushing those DVD reviews we promised until tomorrow, but I think you'll be pleased when you learn why: Our own Russell Hammond has just completed a long-awaited update of the Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork section. There's a TON of new cover scans to see in there, and Russell even went back a month to catch up on artwork for titles you might have missed. Russell's also working on a second update that he'll post in another week or two, with even more cover art. Do us a favor and drop Russell an e-mail to let him know how much you appreciate his efforts on this. I know it's taken a while to get this latest art update done, but hey man... this is a busy time of year, you know? There's work and family and more work and more family to deal with. Trust me when I say that it takes a LOT of effort to collect all the cover art from our studio sources and elsewhere, format it all, organize it and then get it all properly coded into HTML for posting. Like the rest of us here at The Bits, Russell isn't getting rich doing this - he does it because he enjoys it and because he (and we) know how much you guys like to see the cover art all lined up by street date. He's been taking a little flak for the delay, so how about sending him a little love for a change? Much appreciated and enjoy the covers!

In a bit of news today, Universal has announced a pair of new TV titles. Look for Northern Exposure: The Complete Fourth Season and Quantum Leap: The Complete Fourth Season on 3/28. By the way, the studio has also announced Just Like Heaven for release on 2/7.

Other news today: Sony has set The Mechanik and Nine Lives for 2/14, with a Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild - Special Edition following on 2/21 (the title will also be available on UMD the same day).

By the way, Lions Gate has announced more UMD titles as well for release on 1/3/06, including The Doors, Made, Godsend and Saturday Night Live: The Best of Will Ferrell, Volume 2. Our UMD Release List has been updated accordingly.

Back tomorrow with reviews and new Contests too (we'll announce the winners of our recently-ended contests as well). Stay tuned!

12/5/06

Morning, everyone!

We've got some interesting word in The Rumor Mill this morning about exciting titles being worked on by Paramount right now. Lotta TV in the offing from the studio, including a ton of new and classic CBS shows. Be sure to check that out.

By the way, Paramount's already announced March slate is shaping up to include a new 3-disc collector's edition of The Ten Commandments, The Thing Called Love, a new Stalag 17: Collector's Edition, a Billy Wilder Collection (containing Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17 and Sabrina), Snoopy Come Home, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Third Season and that silly Spring Break Shark Attack show that was on CBS a few months ago. That's in addition to that Star Trek: Fan Collective - Borg set we've already mentioned.

In other news this morning, Lions Gate will release the funny (and decidedly un-P.C.) The Aristocrats on 1/24 (SRP $29.99). The film will be presented in its original full frame, with extras set to include audio commentary with the filmmakers, a highlights reel, footage of the comedians doing their favorite jokes, footage of amateur comedians, an extended version of "The Joke" and extra footage of many of the comedians in the film (over 2 hours worth of video extras in all).

Universal's announced a 2-pack of The Nutty Professor I & II for 2/7 (SRP $19.98). They've also moved the street date for The Richard Pryor 4-Movie Collection to 2/7 as well (the set includes Brewster's Millions, Bustin' Loose, Car Wash and Which Way is Up? for SRP $26.98).

By the way, it looks like 20th Century Fox is working on new single-disc releases of all of the classic Planet of the Apes movies. No word yet on whether they'll be remastered, or include any extras, but look for at least Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of Planet of the Apes on 3/28.

Warner's releasing a Doctor Who: The Beginning Collection for the BBC on 3/28. The set will include the episodes An Unearthly Child, The Daleks and The Edge of Destruction (SRP $49.98).

And Buena Vista has officially announced The Greatest Game Ever Played (street date: 4/4), Goof Troop: Volume 1 and Quack Pack: Volume 1 (both 2/14), Zu Warriors (3/7), a Deuce Bigelow Male Gigolo: Little Black Book Edition (ugh... 3/14), Johnny Knoxville's Daltry Calhoun (2/7), Undertaking Betty (3/7) and Benji: The Hunted, The Devil and Max Devlin, My Dog, the Thief and Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (all 1/17).

Finally today, Matt's updated his MusicTAP website with the latest music news, and he's posted a DVD review of Virgin's Iggy Pop: Live at The Avenue B as well.

FYI, Russell Hammond has chained himself to his computer and promises to have a big cover artwork update for you this week. One way or another, you'll get your artwork update THIS week ('cause some of you readers are definitely getting restless for it).

We'll be back tomorrow with new DVD reviews from the likes of Adam Jahnke, Greg Brobeck and more. Stay tuned!

12/1/05

Holey Moley! It's already December! Can you believe this? Where did the rest of 2005 go?! Time does seem to fly when you're busy, and/or having fun and what-have-you.

Sorry about going MIA yesterday. First of all, we've still got a lot of home improvement work going on, and I got heavily involved with it again yesterday. In this case, it's putting up wainscoting in the "water closet," so to speak. Tiling's done at least, so that's something.

Also, funny story... I went to get my hair cut yesterday afternoon, and made the mistake of peeking into my local Good Guys store. Now, as some of you may be aware, a lot of The Good Guys stores are closing up. What that means is that they're selling their inventory in said stores at like 40%-70% off. So anyway, there I am, about to get my hair cut... and I peek into the Good Guys... and end up spending like two and a half hours in there. I eventually left with a new widescreen LCD monitor for my computer (at less than 2/3rds of its original retail price). I never did get my hair cut. Go figure.

Anyway, we've got some good stuff today, to make it up to you. First of all, our own Barrie Maxwell's delivered another great Classic Coming Attractions column, this one looking at the films of Merian C. Cooper. In the process, Barrie turns in his in-depth reviews of Cooper's King Kong, Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young (all now available on disc from Warner), as well as a pair of Cooper's early documentary films (available from Milestone), including Grass and Chang.

In addition, we've got FOUR more archive editions of our ever-popular Jahnke's Electric Theatre from Adam Jahnke. In these particular installments, Adam reviews TONS of major (and minor) theatrical releases from earlier this year, including Sin City, Oldboy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and MANY more. Don't miss 'em.

Also, Matt Rowe updated his regular MusicTAP column again yesterday with all the latest music news.

In a bit of DVD release news this afternoon, we have word that Universal will debut Kids in America on 3/7, with Love on the Side following on 3/28.

We have another death in the film industry to report. Back to the Future fans will mourn the loss of actress Wendie Jo Sperber, who sadly lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday. Sperber also starred in TV's Bosom Buddies with Tom Hanks, and appeared in such other films as 1941 and Private Benjamin.

Finally, so as not to end on a down note this afternoon, there's word that Bennifer V 2.0 finally had their baby. Hope they don't scar it with a name like Apple or Kal-El or something. Ah hell... what do I care?

Stay tuned.

11/29/30

Well... we're taking care of some housekeeping chores around The Bits today. We've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales chart, along with the DVD format sales and rental stats that we track (above). We've also updated the AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list to reflect the release of King Kong. Now if we can just get The African Queen and the original The Jazz Singer out on disc, we can wipe the slate clean. We've updated our mirror copy of Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to its most recent version as well.

Also, Matt from our MusicTAP crew has turned in DVD reviews of Rush: R30 and Dickey Betts & Great Southern: Back Where It All Begins - Live.

And Russell Hammond has updated DVD Fanboy with details on new retailer exclusives.

Around the Net today, Maxell has announced that it expects to debut 300GB "holographic" storage discs in late 2006. There's already a movement by the HDV Alliance in Japan to create an Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) video format, which would make HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc obsolete. However, with the industry (both on the hardware and software side) so invested in HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc, don't look for HVD to make much in the way of a splash on the home video side. It will, however, quite likely be a big hit in the data storage industry at large. Click here and here for more on this story. Just goes to show you how quickly the technology is evolving... new formats are developed before the other new formats are even available yet! Welcome to life in the 21st Century.

By the way, Universal has just announced the DVD release of Doom for 2/7 (SRP $29.98). The title will be available in separate unrated anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, and also a full frame theatrical cut. Extras will include an "unrated first-person shooter sequence," and the Game On!, Doom Nation and Basic Training featurettes. Additional features are TBA. FYI, the title will also be available on UMD that same day.

Also, Sony and MGM have announced MirrorMask, The Cutting Edge: Go for the Gold, The Net 2.0, a 2-pack of The Net/The Net 2.0, Poltergeist: The Legacy - The Complete First Season, a 13 Going on 30: "Fun & Flirty" Edition, The Cutting Edge: Gold Medal Edition, a reissue of The Net (with a sneak peak at The Net 2.0), a Hitch/Bewitched: Special Edition 2-pack, a Man in the Moon/Benny & Joon 2-pack and finally a Cary Grant Box Set (that will include Holiday, Only Angels Have Wings, Talk of the Town, His Girl Friday and The Awful Truth), all for release on 2/7. MirrorMask will be available on UMD format as well the same day.

And here's a little new cover art. Okay... a LOT of new cover art. Here's Paramount's Elizabethtown (2/7) and The Weather Man (1/31), Universal's Doom, 20th Century Fox's Alien Nation: The Complete Series (1/3) and The Transporter 2 (1/10), and finally Warner's All the President's Men: Special Edition (2/21), Network: Special Edition and Dog Day Afternoon: Special Edition (both 2/28) and Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers (3/14)...

ElizabethtownThe Weather ManDoom

Alien Nation: The Complete SeriesThe Transporter 2All the President's Men: Special Edition

Network: Special EditionDog Day Afternoon: Special EditionBabylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers

Finally today, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor Pat Morita (of Karate Kid and Happy Days fame), along with author Stan Berenstain (co-creator of The Berenstain Bears). Both will be missed.

Back tomorrow with DVD reviews. Stay tuned...

11/28/05

We're back! A few hours later than we expected, but what can we say? All that turkey we ate this weekend's got us moving a little slower than normal today. Or, in my case, rhubarb pie.

We hope you all enjoyed a great, and safe, holiday weekend with your family and friends. Sarah's dad was here all last week, so we ate well, did a little antiquing and even managed to take in a few movies, including the new Harry Potter and Disney's Chicken Little. And I watched the 93rd Grey Cup in high-def. Go Eskimos! If you've never watched it, CFL football is quite a trip. Man, I'd forgotten how big those endzones are up there...

Unfortunately, as my luck would have it, I was sidelined on Saturday and Sunday with a nasty head cold. Don't know how I got it, but it struck quickly and without warning and it really kicked my ass. I spent pretty much the whole weekend in bed, unable to do more than sleep and gurgle pathetically once in a while, so Sarah knew I was still alive. Thankfully, it wasn't the bird flu, and it seems to have run its course in a little over 48 hours. So while I'm still talking funny this afternoon, I'm up and around and able to make a post.

To that end, it seems like I promised you an interview last week, didn't I? Well... an interview is exactly what we have for you today. Here's After Effects with John Harrison. In it, John and I discuss Synapse's new Effects DVD (one of John's first filmmaking efforts, which he produced and also starred in), along with a whole range of interesting and related subjects.

By the way, thanks to John (and all of you as well), for patiently waiting for us to get the piece posted. You'd have thought we were transcribing the complete code for Human DNA or something, for as long as it took us to get this thing formatted! I certainly hope you enjoy it.

We've got plenty of news, reviews and cover art coming this week, so we'll be back tomorrow with the first of that. Stay tuned...

11/23/05

Okay... this will be our last post until Monday, so all of our terribly over-worked Bits staffers can go home and enjoy some turkey tomorrow with their families (and have enough time to sleep it all off).

Before we sign off today, as promised, I've finally posted my in-depth DVD review of Synapse Films' long-awaited (both the DVD and the review!) Effects. The 1980 film, which was directed by Dusty Nelson and produced by John Harrison, has tragically gone unseen by horror fans for some 25 years. Thankfully, it's now available in stores for all to enjoy... and I think you'll find that it was worth the wait.

Now then... we've got our interview with John Harrison (about Effects) all ready to go, but I think to be fair to John, and to make sure that it gets as widely read as possible, we're going to wait and post it when we get back on Monday. Too many of our readers here in the States have already hit the road Planes, Trains and Automobiles-style to visit family for the holidays, and I don't want any of them to miss the piece.

Don't despair, however, because for those of you hardy folk who HAVE taken the time to check in with us here at The Bits this afternoon, we've got a brand new Doogan's Views column for you to enjoy. Since I've been plugging Effects for well over a week now, Todd decided to jump on the theme by reviewing SIX more new and recent titles from our old pal Don May, Jr. and his Synapse Films. So in this column, you'll find Todd's take on Long Weekend, Street Trash, Thriller: They Call Her One-Eye - Vengeance Edition, Cyclone, 42nd Street Forever - Volume 1 and Stillwater. Not too shabby.

Of course, our own Adam Jahnke didn't want to be left out of the pre-holiday fun, so he's also checked in this afternoon as well with a brand new edition of Jahnke's Electric Theatre, featuring his thoughts on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Walk the Line, HBO's Rome and more.

Matt's also checked in today with his last update over at MusicTAP for the week.

So there you go. Whew! Frankly, I'm exhausted.

Be sure to check back on Monday for that interview - I promise we'll have it up early for you. We've also got a new Classic Coming Attractions from Barrie Maxwell coming next week, along with more new DVD reviews (including War of the Worlds, The Simpsons, new DVDs from Peter Gabriel & U2, etc) and yes... that long awaited Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork update. No kidding. Believe it when you see it.

From all of us here at The Bits, a happy and safe holiday to your and yours. We wish you peace, love and lots of stuffing.

As Heidi Klum might say, "Auf Wiedersehen!"

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/23/05 - 11 AM PST)

We'll be back in a few hours with more, but I wanted to jump in here early to let you all know that Best Buy has got a very special deal going on. If you buy the King Kong: Two-Disc Collector's Edition there, you get the tin packaging version... bundled with BOTH Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young, AND a set of 5 additional poster art collector's postcards (different from the ones included in the tin), all for just $33.99! It's a great deal, and it gives you everything you want as a Kong fan DVD-wise. Just FYI.

Also, consider this Rumor Mill-worthy until official announcements are made (very soon), but sources are telling us to expect Sony's The Gospel on 1/3 and The Legend of Zorro on 1/31, New Line's Domino on 2/7, Warner's North Country on 2/14 and Miramax's Proof also on 2/14.

Back soon. Stay tuned...

11/22/05

Well... the family's here, our tiling's mostly done (for now) and the Vikes even managed to finish off the Packers last night (sweep!). So that can only mean that the holiday week's officially begun in high style. Just so you know, we'll have a couple more updates before we sign off (late tomorrow) for the week, so keep checking back. We've got a few good things to post before we leave you.

In the meantime... how many of you folks are bleary-eyed today from staying up all night playing with your new Xbox 360 game systems? Be honest... you know who you are. For those of you who have yet to take the 360 plunge, our old friend DocDVD has an in-depth look for you today at the system. It's a little pricey if you want it fully-loaded for (virtual) bear, but it sounds like the diehard gamers are pretty happy so far.

Our own Russell Hammond has also updated his DVD Fanboy with word on the latest retailer-exclusive bonus DVDs and other promotions available in select stores today. Be sure to check it out.

In news today, a few online retailers are reporting that DreamWorks' War of the Worlds: Deluxe Edition is in short supply. We've got a review copy that we'll try to spin for you in the next week or so, but just be advised if you're out there looking for it and are having trouble finding a copy.

Some new announcements: Warner Bros. has set new 2-disc special editions of Dog Day Afternoon and Network for release on 2/28 (SRP $26.99). The two will also be available as part of a Controversial Classics, Volume 2: The Power of Media collection (SRP $59.92) which will also include the new 2-disc All the President's Men. All three titles will include anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras on Dog Day Afternoon will include audio commentary by director Sidney Lumet, the new 4-part The Making of Dog Day Afternoon documentary (featuring The Story, Casting the Controversy, Recreating the Facts and After the Filming), the vintage Lumet: Film Maker featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. Extras on Network will also include commentary by director Sidney Lumet, along with the 6-part The Making of Network documentary (including The World and Words of Paddy Chayefsky, The Cast and the Characters, Mad As Hell! The Creation of a Movie Moment, The Experience and The Style Network by Walter Cronkite), a vintage interview with Paddy Chayefsky from the Dinah! show, Turner Classic Movies’ Private Screenings featuring Sidney Lumet and the film's theatrical trailer. We've posted the details for All the President's Men previously.

Also today, Universal has announced a trio of new TV titles for release in February. Emergency!: Season Two will street on 2/7, while Gimme a Break!: Season One and Charles in Charge: The Complete First Season will follow on 2/14. All I can say is, where's Baa Baa Black Sheep: Season Two?

Elsewhere around the site today, we've got EIGHT new Contests for you this week, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's King Kong: Two-Disc Collector's Edition and March of Penguins, Fox's Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Universal's Leave it to Beaver: The Complete First Season, SIX great anime titles from Geneon including Samurai Champloo, Volume 6, Paramount's CSI: The Complete Fifth Season and CSI: Miami - The Complete Third Season, Universal Music's Peter Gabriel: Still Growing Up Live & Unwrapped and Rhino's Pixies: Sell Out 2004 (including 2 signed copies)! All of these contests will run for TWO weeks, until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, December 4th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

Okay... as I said, we'll be back as soon as we can with more. We've got some new DVD reviews from Todd coming, and also that Effects interview/review I've been dangling in front of you for a few days now. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/21/05 - 3:45 PM PST)

Just a quick update with some new DVD release news: Sony has just re-announced its Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection (5-disc set - SLP $69.96) for 1/31. Also coming on that day are three separately-available volumes from the collection (including Volume 1 - Pranks in the Pink, Volume 2 - Adventures in the Pink and Volume 3: Frolics in the Pink - SLP $14.94 each), along with the live action Inspector Closeau, Son of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther. In addition, you'll get remastered editions of the original 1964 The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther and A Shot in the Dark. The original The Pink Panther will also be released on UMD format.

A number of additional titles are coming from Sony on 1/31 as well, including Rat Patrol: The Complete First Season, Diff'rent Strokes: The Complete Second Season, Archie Bunker's Place: The Complete First Season and The Adventures of Mark Twain, along with a Four Weddings and a Funeral: Deluxe Edition, a Legally Blonde/Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde 2-pack, a Maid in Manhattan/Fools Rush In 2-pack, a Mona Lisa Smile/America's Sweethearts 2-pack, a The Wedding Planner/My Best Friend's Wedding 2-pack and a Muppets Movies Collection Box Set (including Muppets Take Manhattan, Muppets from Space and Kermit's Swamp Years).

Meanwhile, New Line has announced Paul Reiser's The Thing About My Folks for 2/14 (SRP $26.95).

And here's one my wife's going to love: Buena Vista will be releasing Grey's Anatomy: The Complete First Season on 2/14 (SRP $29.99). Video will be anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include Anatomy of a Pilot (addressing the cuts made to the pilot episode), Dissecting Grey's Anatomy (deleted scenes from the first season), Behind the Scenes of Grey's Anatomy, an "avant-garde" trailer, cast and creator audio commentaries and more. By the way, if you haven't seen it yet, it's actually a pretty great show. Sarah roped me in and now I'm hooked, so you know...

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/21/05 - 10:30 AM PST)

Welcome to Turkey Week, folks! And also 360 Week for those of you who have been waiting on pins and needles for your shinny new Xbox 360, which finally arrives in stores tomorrow.

We've got family coming later today, so there's a mad scramble this morning to get the tiling work cleaned up and make the house presentable again. Plus, there's Vikings/Packers tonight on Monday Night Football... likely the who-cares game of the year for the rest of the league, but for us Vikes fans, it's the Superbowl. So we've got to get all this work done in time for that.

We'll be back with more later this afternoon, but first I wanted to jump in here early with a bit of HD format news. Sony Pictures said late on Friday that it has finally authored the first actual Blu-ray Disc title. And what might it be? Lawrence of Arabia? Spider-Man? No... it's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Uhhh. Lackluster title though it may be, this is still a very important milestone, because it gives all those hardware manufacturers the chance to finally start testing their Blu-ray Disc players to see if its compatible with final product software. According to the story at Video Business, the 25GB disc also features full-resolution graphics and animation and dynamic menus." The disc does not, however, include the BD-Java interactive layer, which is still not ready for prime time.

Stay tuned...

11/18/05

Well... the end of another long week is finally here. I'm up to my elbows in grout, and there's not a lot of DVD news to report today anyway... BUT, we DO have word on the expected street dates for a handful of major upcoming DVD releases (Flightplan, The Weather Man, etc.). You'll find that in The Rumor Mill this afternoon, so be sure to check it out.

Meanwhile, Matt over at our MusicTAP site is reporting on some new soundtrack SACD releases that are on the way from Sony, including Phantom of the Opera and The Legend of Zorro.

Also, Lindsay Planner at TAP has posted reviews of a few new music DVD releases today, including Shout! Factory's The Dick Cavett Show: John & Yoko Collection, Apple Films' George Harrison & Friends: The Concert for Bangladesh, Music Video Distributors' DEVO: Live 1980 and Columbia's Journey: Live in Houston 1981. Share and enjoy!

We'll be back on Monday with more new DVD reviews and that interview we mentioned yesterday as well. In the meantime, take the kids to that new Harry Potter flick or something. We hear it's pretty good. Or spin a few new DVDs. Do something fun, m'kay? Life's too short.

Our best to all of you and have a great weekend!

11/17/05

Morning, everyone. Boy, I tell you... if you could see the mess at my house right now. Home improvement work is one of those long dark tunnels, you know? It's a tough, depressing journey, but when you come through on the other side, it's well worth the trip. Our kitchen and dining room look like a bulldozer came through. Tile's looking great though - much better than the nicked up linoleum we had before. I'll post a picture when it's all done as proof I'm not just playing hooky and slipping off to the movies.

We've got some new DVD announcement news to report today. First, Universal will release new single-disc versions of Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, Shadow of a Doubt and Torn Curtain on 2/7 (SRP $19.98 each). These will be the same newly-remastered editions that are currently available in Universal's Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection box set.

Also today, 20th Century Fox has set In Her Shoes for release on 1/31 (SRP $29.98). Separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions will be available, each with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras will include an alternate opening title sequence, 3 featurettes (including The Casting of Honey Bun, The Making of In Her Shoes and A Community for Acting Seniors) and an Inside Look promo piece. The lack of substantial extras (like audio commentary or deleted scenes) makes us wonder if a more elaborate version isn't being planned for later in 2006.

Warner's announced some exciting new DVD releases as well. Look for Adventures of Superman: The Complete Second Season, Lois & Clark: The Complete Second Season, The Old Grey Whistle Test: Volume 2 (for the BBC) and Walking with Monsters: Before the Dinosaurs (BBC) (all 1/17), Allo, 'Allo! Complete Series Four (BBC) and Dallas: The Complete Fourth Season (both 1/24), The Batman: The Complete First Season, Blue Collar TV: Season 1, Volume 2, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, Eros, Growing Pains: The Complete First Season, In Country, Ryan's Daughter: Special Edition, Teen Titans: The Complete First Season and The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Special Edition (all 2/7), The Fresh Prince of Bel Air: The Complete Third Season and Living Single: The Complete First Season (both 2/14), Bleak House (2005), Camara Oscura (Deadly Cargo), Hormigas en la Boca (Ants in the Mouth) and La Ultima Noche (The Last Night) (all 2/28), The Flintstones: The Complete Fifth Season and The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour: The Complete Series (both 3/7) and finally the 2-hour Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers telefilm (3/14). Whew!

Speaking of exciting Warner news, be sure to check out tonight's episode of Smallville (on The WB) for your first look at the new teaser trailer for Superman Returns. You'll also be able to find it online later tonight on the film's official website, and in theaters this coming weekend with the new Harry Potter film.

In news around the Net, Reuters is reporting that HP and the rest of the Blu-ray camp are at odds over a proposal HP made. It seems the company wants Blu-ray to adopt a couple of technologies that it feels are key to PC users (iHD and mandatory managed copy), or it will consider backing HD-DVD instead. Mandatory managed copy would let PC users make a digital copy of the disc's content and store it as a file on a home network (important for media PC use), while iHD allows for new kinds of ROM drive interactivity with Microsoft's next-generation operating system (code-named "Vista"), which is set to make its PC debut in late 2006. The Blu-ray camp has apparently agreed to adopt managed copy, but is balking at iHD (they've chosen to use a Java-based format instead), although they claim it's still being considered. Personally, having seen demonstrations of iHD, it seems to me like the superior option. But we'll see.

In a related note, Microsoft has announced that the Vista OS will be compatible with HD-DVD (in part because of its use of iHD), while it says that Blu-ray compatibility has "technical difficulties" at this time. Watch this space for developments on this front in the weeks ahead.

FYI, we're going to wait on that Effects review until Monday, when we also expect to post a new interview with its producer... our old friend John Harrison. It should be worth the wait.

In the meantime, we'll leave you today with some new DVD cover art. Here's Warner's The Wild Bunch: Special Edition (1/10), The Flintstones: The Complete Fifth Season, The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour: The Complete Series, The Old Grey Whistle Test: Volume 2, The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Special Edition and Fox's Hill Street Blues: The Complete First Season (1/31)...

The Wild Bunch: Special EditionThe Flintstones: The Complete Fifth SeasonThe Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour: The Complete Series

The Old Grey Whistle Test 2The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Special EditionHill Street Blues: The Complete First Season

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

11/15-16/05

Okay... I've got some "home renovation" work going on here in the old OC, so this post is going to cover both today and tomorrow (11/15 and 11/16). Sarah and I are tiling our kitchen and dining room floor, and apparently it's all gotta get done before family comes for the holidays (yadda, yadda, yadda...). So... you know. I'm just rolling with it. That's my motto.

In the meantime, I've posted a trio of new DVD reviews for you to check out. Here's my own take on Warner Home Video's forthcoming King Kong: Collector's Edition (the limited tin packaging version, although be aware that the DVD itself is identical in all versions - just the packaging is different), along with 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume Two and Kingdom of Heaven. We'd meant to have Kingdom of Heaven reviewed before this, but the review copy we were initially sent by the studio had "Property of 20th Century Fox" burned in on the video. We make it a policy not to review such marked copies, as they don't represent the final product you guys will find in stores. So anyway, there you go. All three titles are well worth a look in my opinion, with Kong obviously the best of the batch. Kong streets on 11/22, while Clone Wars follows on 12/6. Kingdom of Heaven is now available.

Also today, we've started FIVE new Contests, giving you the chance to win copies of Warner's The Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series, The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth Season, The Huckleberry Hound Show: Volume One and Friends: The Complete Tenth Season, Paramount's Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection, Fox's The Sound of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition, Universal's The Skeleton Key and finally, Sony Music's The Dick Cavett Show: John and Yoko Collection. The contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, November 20th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

In DVD release news, Sony has set Oliver Twist (2005), Thumbsucker, Barely Legal, The Berenstain Bears: Always Look on the Bright Side, Dragon Tales: Say Hola to Enrique, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: The Cat's Home but Not Alone, Cisco Pike, Educating Rita and Modern Romance for release on 1/24.

That same day, Universal will release Saturday Night Live: The Best of Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live: The Best of David Spade.

Meanwhile, New Line will street National Lampoon's Adam & Eve on 2/7.

Buena Vista has slated Underclassmen for release on 1/7 (from Miramax), with Venom following on 1/17 (from Dimension), Shadows in the Sun and Everything You Want due on 2/7, and The Golden Girls: Season Four (yes, Quentin Tarantino's TV acting debut) and Proof (for Miramax) coming in on 2/14.

On the UMD front (for the PSP), look for The Island from Universal on 1/20 and Escape from New York on 1/24 from MGM (via Sony). The UMD Movies for PSP Release List has been updated accordingly.

In other news today, there's word that Warner is going to start allowing broadband downloads of classic TV programming - shows like Welcome Back Kotter, Sisters, Lois & Clark and Growing Pains - via AOL. This is all part of a growing trend towards broadband, video-on-demand distribution of film and TV content, and it's a real threat to the packaged media industry - just one of the reasons many in Hollywood are hoping this HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc format war gets resolved before one or both of them launch next year.

Speaking of classic TV, our friends over at TVShowsonDVD.com are reporting that one of my favorites, The Rat Patrol, is on its way to DVD in January from Sony. I'm gonna have the theme music from that show going through my head all day now...

Finally today, there's a bit of sad news to report. Moustapha Akkad, the producer of the Halloween films, was apparently killed in those hotel bombings in Jordan last week. Sadly, his daughter Rima was among the victims as well. In addition to the Halloween series, Akkad also directed a pair of films starring Anthony Quinn, The Message and Lion of the Desert, both of which ironically were just re-released on DVD (on 11/1) by Anchor Bay as new 2-disc Anniversary Editions. Each edition features its film (along with newly-recorded audio commentary by Akkad and documentary material as well) in both English and Arabic - a very nice touch. Akkad will certainly be missed. It's nice at least to have these new DVD editions to remember him by, so be sure to give them each a look.

Okay, that's it for now. We'll see you back here on Thursday with a review of Synapse's Effects, and more.

Until then... stay tuned!

11/14/05

We've got a new Classic Coming Attractions column for you this morning from our own Barrie Maxwell - just the thing to kick off the new week in style. This time around, Barrie reviews some 22 new and recent classic DVDs from Paramount, including Elephant Walk, Another Time, Another Place, The Adventurers, I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season, The Red Tent, Branded, Red Garters, Chuka, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, the Hondo: Special Collector's Edition, the 10-film Jerry Lewis: Legendary Jerry Collection, The Rainmaker, A Breath of Scandal, the Island in the Sky: Special Collector's Edition, The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Third Season, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, Casanova's Big Night, We're No Angels, PBS's Mary Pickford documentary, Detective Story, the McLintock!: Special Collector's Edition and Darling Lili. Enjoy!

Also today, Matt's posted a new column over at MusicTAP featuring all the latest music release news, and Russell Hammond should be checking in with updates on the latest retailer exclusive bonus DVDs you'll find in stores tomorrow at DVD Fanboy.

Stay tuned...


More Archived Posts

Back to Current Posts


E-mail the Bits!


Don't #!@$ with the Monkey! Site designed for 800 x 600 resolution, using 16M colors and .gif 89a animation.
© 1997-2002 The Digital Bits, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com