Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to The Digital Forum
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
Matt Rowe's MusicTAP
Russell Hammond's DVD Fanboy

-Newsletter est. 4/15/97-
-Website est. 12/15/97-





page updated: 11/1/06



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 10/17/06 - 9/21/06)


Back to Previous Archives

Back to Current Posts

10/17/06

Sorry for the delay in getting those reviews posted. I'm working to wrap them up now, both yesterday's and today's. In the meantime, we've got some interesting DVD release news to report for you.

First, 20th Century Fox has just announced the DVD release of The Chairman, The Quiller Memorandum and The Ultimate Flint Collection (including Our Man Flint and In Like Flint) on 11/7. Following on 11/21 is How I Met Your Mother: Season 1. Bones: Season 1 is due on 11/28. Stacked: The Complete Series has been slated for 12/12 release. And finally, Haven is now set for release on 12/26.

By way of update, Fox and MGM have also confirmed the release of MGM's recently-delayed A Fish Called Wanda: Collector's Edition on 11/21. That's official. You'll find the new cover art below.

Fox has also confirmed their next batch of Blu-ray Disc releases. They include From Hell (12/5 - 50GB, with BD-Java enhancements and AVC/MPEG-4 compression), Flight of the Phoenix and Rising Sun (also 12/5 - Rising Sun with AVC), The Devil Wears Prada (day and date on 12/12 - with director and crew commentary, pop-up trivia and 15 deleted scenes) and Transporter 2 (12/26).

Also today, Warner Bros. has just announced the DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water on 12/19. The DVD will be available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions (SRP $28.98 each), with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio. The HD-DVD (SRP $39.99, therefore likely a combo format release) will feature Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. The Blu-ray Disc (SRP $34.99) will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio. No word on extras has yet been released.

Note that we've updated the High-Def Release List with all the relevant new announcements.

Warner has also announced the 11/14 release of the 2-disc The Green Mile: Special Edition (SRP $20.97). The disc will include the 6-part Miracles and Mystery: Creating The Green Mile, a new interview with star Tom Hanks, audio commentary by writer/director Frank Darabont, additional scenes, makeup and screen tests, and the Walking the Mile: The Making of the Green Mile documentary (from the original DVD release). We believe the film will be released in the new high-def formats as well, but there's no official announcement yet.

Here's the cover art for Warner's Lady in the Water, MGM's A Fish Called Wanda: Collector's Edition, and Fox's The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season (12/19) and Haven on DVD, along with Warner's Superman: The Movie HD-DVD and Superman Returns Blu-ray Disc (both 11/28)...

Lady in the WaterA Fish Called Wanda: Collector's EditionThe Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season

HavenSuperman: The Movie (HD-DVD)Superman Returns (Blu-ray Disc)

Oh, by the way... if you've noticed that things seem a little more crowded here in the States than usual, it's because the population just passed 300 million this morning. So you know... next time you're taking a piss, guys, watch where you wave it. It's gonna be like that overcrowded planet in the old Star Trek episode pretty soon.

Back later. Stay tuned...

10/16/06

Morning everyone! I'll be back with some new DVD reviews later, but before we get to that I wanted to jump in here with the day's early news.

I'm pleased today to report one of the best things I've heard in a while: Classic Media has announced that they'll be releasing The Complete Harveytoons Collection on 11/7. That's right, I said THE COMPLETE. This 4 disc set (double-sided DVD-18s), will include ALL 312 classic Harveytoons shorts with digitally remastered picture and sound. Anyone else, like me, old enough to know and love these shorts? Yeah, we're talking Casper the Friendly Ghost. We're talking Richie Rich. We're talking Wendy and Herman and Katnip, Hot Stuff, Baby Huey, Little Audrey and The Modern Madcaps. The set will SRP for just $39.98, and it comes in collectible packaging with an original Casper comic printed inside. Very cool news indeed. Here's a look at the cover art...

The Complete Harveytoons CollectionMiami Vice (DVD/HD-DVD Combo)Charlie Chan: Volume 2

Also pictured are Fox's Charlie Chan: Volume 2 box set (12/15) and Universal's DVD/HD-DVD Combo release of Miami Vice (12/5)...

Meanwhile, Paramount has revealed the DVD release of World Trade Center on 12/12 (as expected). No other details are yet available, but we expect both DVD and high-def format versions to be available. We'll post more as it comes in.

Sony has set Magma: Volcanic Disaster for release on 12/26.

Anchor Bay Entertainment will bow the vampire film Slayer on 11/21 (SRP $19.98). Look for anamorphic widescreen video, audio commentary by writer/director Kevin VanHook and star Casper Van Dien, a photo and concept art gallery and the film's script via DVD-ROM.

Also today, BCI is also promoting a number of new terror releases just in time for Halloween, including Crypt of Terror: Land of the Minotaur/Terror, Starlite Drive-In Theater: The Madmen of Mandoras (aka They Saved Hitler's Brain)/The Devil's Hand, MPD: Psycho, The Tomie Collection and Don't Answer the Phone! All are available now, and we'll be giving away copies of all these titles very soon.

20th Century Fox has also set The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season for release on 12/19.

Finally, this morning, there's an interesting article in The Talk of the Town column at The New Yorker that's well worth a read. I think the writer has a pretty solid grasp of the current situation with HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Thanks to Bits reader Jack K. for sending the link.

Back with reviews later, so stay tuned...

10/13/06

So... you want some cool news to make the end of your week a happy one? This should do nicely then: Universal has just officially announced the DVD release of Saturday Night Live 1975-1976: The Complete First Season for 12/5! The 8-disc set (SRP $69.98) will include all 24 90-minute episodes complete with their original hosts and all the original musical guests. You also get a 32-page book of liner notes and rare case photos. I'll tell you, we were wondering if this would EVER happen. How cool will it be to be able to go back and enjoy vintage SNL just as it was originally broadcast? Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman. Can you imagine? Frickin' awesome, man. AWESOME!

Universal's also announced the standard DVD release of Altered for 12/19. Not as cool as SNL, I know, but what the hell? SNL's coming, for Pete's sake!

A couple other quick standard DVD announcements today... Warner has set Dallas: The Complete Sixth Season for release on 2/6/07, with Ballykissangel: The Complete Series 5 following on 2/13 (for the BBC). And for you animated superhero fans, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is due on 2/6 as well.

Of course, we have a quick bit of high-def news today as well... We've learned that Image Entertainment will release a number of those Discovery Channel titles on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc soon, based on the announcement made public earlier this week. Tentative titles and dates include the following (we suspect they're subject to change):

HD-DVD - Discovery Atlas: China Revealed (11/21), Discovery Atlas: Australia Revealed (1/16), Discovery Atlas: Italy Revealed (1/16)

Blu-ray Disc - Discovery Atlas: China Revealed (11/21), Discovery Atlas: Australia Revealed (1/16), Discovery Atlas: Brazil Revealed (1/16)

One more bit of high-def news today... Home Media Retailing is reporting this morning that according to data from research firm Nielsen (released by the North American HD-DVD Promotional Group), HD-DVD software has so far outsold Blu-ray Disc software by a factor of 3 to 1. Although to be sure, that's not exactly a fair comparison, given how much later Blu-ray Disc launched and how few titles have been available thus far. I had to smile at this quote from Fox's Steve Feldstein in the piece: "Congratulations to the HD DVD team - they outsold Blu-ray when we didn't have any product in the market." I can SO hear him saying that too. Anyway, the fact is, he's right. The Blu-ray Disc camp is only NOW seriously ramping up their software releases. Personally, I think the real test will happen early next year, after the holidays... by which time both camps will have issued a number of big A-list software titles, players from multiple manufacturers will be available for both formats, and both the Blu-ray-ready PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on will be available. That's when we'll really finally be able to compare the best of what these two formats have to offer, and when a comparison of sales figures will actually be meaningful.

Speaking of the high-def capable videogame systems, another report from market research firm Interpret would seem to indicate that the game industry will be the main early driver of sales of these formats, rather than home theater or film enthusiasts. Not sure if I agree, but it's interesting. The question remains in my mind: How many people are going to buy these videogame systems and actually watch movies on them? I'm not sure that number will be terrible large.

By the way, sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. We've been investigating some interesting rumors we've heard this week. We're also working on a TON of new DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc reviews - something we've had precious little time for these last few months. Watch for a bunch of great reviews to be posted every day next week. We're working hard to try to ramp our review coverage back up to speed over the next few months, so thanks for your patience.

Now then... we're going to leave you today with a look at the cover art for Universal's Saturday Night Live 1975-1976: The Complete First Season on DVD, as well as Warner's HD-DVD releases of Excalibur and V for Vendetta (both due 10/30):

Saturday Night Live 1975-1976: The Complete First SeasonExcalibur (HD-DVD)V for Vendetta (HD-DVD)

Don't forget the new ep of Battlestar tonight on SciFi. Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday. As always... stay tuned!

10/11/06

One last quick update for today... we have word from Warner on the audio specs for the studio's newly-announced high-definition discs (due 10/30). They are as follows:

HD-DVD - Excalibur (Dolby Digital Plus 2.0 - English, Dolby Digital Plus 1.0 - French & Latin Spanish), Under Siege (Dolby Digital 5.1 - English & French, Dolby 2.0 Surround - Latin Spanish), V for Vendetta (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 - English, Dolby Digital 5.1 - English & French)

Blu-ray Disc - The Phantom of the Opera (Dolby Digital 5.1 - English & French), The Searchers (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono - English, French & Latin Spanish), Under Siege (Dolby Digital 5.1 - English & French, Dolby 2.0 Surround - Latin Spanish), Unforgiven (Dolby Digital 5.1 - English, Dolby 2.0 Surround - French & Latin Spanish)

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/11/06 - 2 PM PDT)

Just another quick update... Warner Bros. has also today officially announced the standard DVD release of Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly. The disc will street on 12/19 (SRP $27.95), and will include anamorphic widescreen video, audio commentary by Linklater, star Keanu Reeves, producer Tommy Pallotta, author Jonathan Lethem and Isa Hackett Dick (daughter of author Philip K. Dick, upon whose novel the film was based), 2 behind-the-scenes documentaries (One Summer in Austin: The Story of Filming A Scanner Darkly and The Weight of the Line: Animation Tales) and the film's theatrical trailer.

The following is Rumor Mill-worthy, but our industry sources are telling us to expect MGM's Material Girls (distributed by Fox) on 12/12, Buena Vista's Invincible and Step Up on 12/19, and DreamWorks' The Last Kiss (distributed by Paramount) on 12/26.

Here's cover art for A Scanner Darkly along with the BBC's Doctor Who: The Complete Series Two (1/16/07) and Universal's Casino on HD-DVD (12/19)...

A Scanner DarklyDoctor Who: The Complete Series TwoCasino (HD-DVD)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/11/06 - NOON PDT)

Okay... we've got some big Warner news for you today. First up the standard DVD news. Warner has announced that it will be releasing a Robert Mitchum: The Signature Collection box set on 1/23/07 (SRP $59.92). The 6-disc set will include Angel Face, The Good Guys & the Bad Guys, Home from the Hill, Macao, The Sundowners and The Yakuza. All will be available separately that day as well for SRP $19.97 each. Also newly announced for DVD release by Warner are Clash (11/14), Sparkle (1/9/07), The Snow Queen (for the BBC - also 1/9/07), The Queen's Sister (BBC - 1/16/07), NBA Chicago Bulls 1991 Champions: Learning to Fly (1/23/07) and Ballykissangel: The Complete Series 5 (BBC - 2/13/07).

Meanwhile, Warner has also just announced the release of 7 new high-definition titles. Coming on 10/31 from the studio are V for Vendetta, John Boorman's Excalibur and Under Siege on HD-DVD format. Under Siege will also be released on Blu-ray Disc format that day, along with The Phantom of the Opera, The Searchers and Unforgiven (all of which are already available on HD-DVD, but are new to Blu-ray Disc). All of these discs will carry an SRP of $28.99, and will include all of the standard DVD features. V for Vendetta will also include a new In-Movie Experience (IME), featuring something called Director's Notebook: Reimagining a Cult Classic for the 21st Century. We've inquired as to the audio formats and will post the details here as soon as we have them. For the record, the Blu-ray Disc releases of The Searchers and Unforgiven will both be on 50GB dual-layered media (BD-50). As you'd expect, we've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

One other bit of high-def information... we've learned from our industry sources that Paramount is planning to release Oliver Stone's World Trade Center on both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats, day and date with standard DVD in December. The Blu-ray release is expected to be a BD-50. Consider this Rumor Mill-worthy until the title is officially announced. [Editor's Note: This has been tentatively confirmed by Home Media Retailing.]

Finally today, a lot of you have been wondering what's up with Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand DVD. Some readers have reported that select copies of the DVD were released with 22 deleted scenes, while others have only 10. We've checked with our industry sources and have learned this is true. However, we've also learned that the number of discs that were released with the larger number of deleted scenes is very, very small - so little in fact that they all sold out early on the first day. We don't know why they were pulled, and speculation runs from a problem with clearance issues on the deleted material to the possibility of Fox releasing an even more elaborate special edition in 2007. Either way, there was no way to tell which disc you were getting based on the packaging. The main thing to know, is that if you've already purchased a copy and have been thinking of returning it hoping to get one of the copies with 22 deleted scenes, don't bother. Those discs are LONG gone at your local retailer. In fact, if you purchased your DVD on the first day but haven't opened it yet, that's your best bet short of eBay for getting the version with more deleted scenes. Also, as far as Wal-Mart's bonus disc - the packaging claims the bonus disc inside will include a pair of making-of featurettes, and then when you open it, you get a featurette on the history of the X-Men comic book. The packaging was simply mislabeled. You're getting exactly what you're supposed to be getting. We hope this information at least helps ease your minds a bit.

Stay tuned...

10/10/06

Just a quick announcement update... first the high-def stuff. Universal has announced the HD-DVD release of Casino and The Scorpion King on 12/19. Casino will carry an SRP of $29.98. The Scorpion King will be an DVD/HD-DVD Combo disc and thus carry a slightly higher SRP of $34.98.

And in the standard DVD realm today, Paramount has set Two-A-Days: Hoover High - The Complete First Season for release on 12/26.

In other news around the Net, we're hearing reports that Best Buy stores that feature Magnolia Home Theater sections are going to start showcasing both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc more equally as we move into the holiday season. Drop us a line if you happen to see this first hand when you're out shopping.

Elsewhere around the Net, industry analysis firm Forrester Research is still predicting Blu-ray Disc to win the high-def format war, according to this story at Video Business, though both formats are expected to have difficulty making in-roads with most consumers. Whichever format you prefer, our guess here at The Bits is that, best case, the high-def formats (either or both) will very likely remain enthusiast niche formats only, with standard DVD remaining the primary choice for the vast majority of consumers, for at least the next 10 years or so. And somewhere in there, broadband downloading to set-top TiVo-like boxes will start to grab a growing percentage of the overall market share.

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has halved its sales projections for consumer spending on both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats, due to the shortage of available hardware. For various reasons, manufactures that had been expected to ship players in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of this year (like Pioneer, Sony, Philips and Panasonic) have pushed back their ship dates into the 4th quarter.

And finally today, Image Entertainment has just signed an exclusive distribution deal with Discovery Communications, which will include DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc content. The first title to ship under this deal will be Discovery Atlas: China Revealed on all three formats in December.

Stay tuned...

10/9/06

Afternoon, folks! Hope you had a great weekend.

We've got a couple of new DVD release announcements to report today, as we start the new week. First, Sony has announced that The Celestine Prophecy, Dreamland and Married... with Children: The Complete Sixth Season will street on 12/19. We also expect All the King's Men to be announced for release on that day. Sony has added Wah-Wah to its 11/21 slate, and Battle of the Brave to its 11/7 release line-up as well.

Meanwhile, Universal has announced the DVD release of Accepted on 11/14. The title will be available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen (SRP $29.98 each). A DVD/HD-DVD Combo disc will also be released that same day (SRP $39.98).

Paramount has set SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 4, Volume 2 for release on 1/9/07. Go Diego Go!: The Great Jaguar Rescue will follow on 1/16. The studio has also announced the release of We Were Soldiers on Blu-ray Disc on 1/12, with The Manchurian Candidate following on the format on 1/23. Both high-def titles are already available on HD-DVD.

Shout! Factory will be releasing The Best of the Electric Company: Volume 2 on 11/14 (SRP $39.98). The 4-disc set includes 20 more classic episodes, new cast interviews, a 1975 documentary, Bill Cosby's appearance on The Dick Cavett Show and more.

And Magnolia Home Entertainment has announced that it will release Steven Soderbergh's Bubble, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, The War Within, Bikini Destinations: Triple Fantasy, HDNet World Report Special: Shuttle Discovery's Historic Mission and One Last Thing... on Blu-ray Disc format tomorrow (10/10).

We've updated the High-Def Release List with all of today's high-def news accordingly, and we've updated our Amazon purchase links on the list as well to include the latest HD titles now available for pre-order. Ordering from our links supports our work here at The Bits, so we appreciate it.

Elsewhere around the website today, we've updated a number of the DVD format stats we track (above), including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers.

Finally today, we've got a little new cover artwork for you. Here's a look at Warner's HD-DVD release of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (11/28), Sony's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Unrated and Uncut Blu-ray Disc (12/12) and HBO's standard DVD release of When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (12/19)...

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (HD-DVD)Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Unrated and Uncut (Blu-ray Disc)When the Levees Broke

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

10/6/06

Well... another week bites the dust, and just in time for the weekend too. Love how that works out, don't you? We've got some interesting news to report today, as usual. First up though, I want to thank everyone out there who's sent in comments about my appearance on Attack of the Show on Wednesday (see video below). Seems like I represented well, and it seems like a lot of you agree with me that DVD's got plenty of life left in it. In fact, more than 80% of you seem to agree based on The Loop poll question that was asked during the show. Anyway, it's always fun peeking on the folks at AOTS, so my thanks to everyone up there on the staff. Thanks also to Chris Gore, who's always good company and conversation.

Speaking of Chris, he sent me a link to this funny video on YouTube last night, and I think it's well worth sharing with all of you guys. Imagine what it might have been like if George Lucas had made the Lord of the Rings films instead of Peter Jackson. I absolutely love how they animated Rick McCallum's hair. Funny stuff.

And speaking of George Lucas, the old Jedi Master made some pretty interesting statements in yesterday issue of Variety about the future of the film industry. Specifically, he thinks that big-budget filmmaking is going the way of the dodo bird and the dinosaur. The article is well worth a read.

Something else I wanted to point out to you today... Todd and I first saw this at Comic-Con back in July and it absolutely blew us away. Now it's online for all of you to see, and I think it might get yer blood pumping a little... the trailer for Warner's The 300, directed by Zack Snyder and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. The film hits theaters on 3/9/07, and you can bet your asteroids that we'll be in line for the first showing.

Okay... a couple last general things, and then we'll get to the disc news: This week marked the debut of the new season of South Park, and if you haven't seen the first episode (which premiered on Wednesday) make sure to catch a rerun on Comedy Central sometime this week. It's well worth watching, especially for you gamers out there. Also, and even more importantly, tonight is the third season premiere for Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica. The first two episodes of the new season are being shown tonight back-to-back, starting at 9PM (Pacific). Tune in our you'll be missing out in THE best show on television, bar none. Just trust us on this.

Okay... we've gotten an official update from Warner that both Superman: The Movie and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut will be released on 11/28 in high-def, on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats. Superman: The Movie will be the 2000 expanded edition, and the high-def discs will include audio commentary by director Richard Donner and writer Tom Mankiewicz, additional footage, 2 featurettes (Taking Flight: The Development of Superman and Making Superman: Filming the Legend), the music-only track and theatrical trailers. In other words, it will NOT include all the standard def bonus material that's on the new 4-disc set. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, however, will include all the DVD extras (specifically an all-new introduction by Donner, audio commentary by Donner and Mankiewicz, the Superman II: Restoring the Vision featurette and deleted scenes). According to Warner's press release, all versions will SRP for $28.99. We're told the other films will likely follow in the high-def formats at some point in the future.

I have to say, we're a little bummed that all of the extras from Superman: The Movie aren't going to be included, and we're bummed that the new Superman II: Special Edition isn't coming out in high-def on 11/28 either. Specifically, we're disappointed that the Fleischer animated Superman episodes aren't going to be available in high-def, because you just know they'd look amazing. Having seen The Adventures of Robin Hood on HD-DVD, which includes classic Looney Tunes shorts in 1080p quality... well, let me tell you, I haven't been that surprised and excited in a while as I was when I saw those on the disc. The quality and resolution is so good, you can see little bits of dust floating across the glass on the animation stand. No kidding. I REALLY hope Warner releases the Fleischer Superman shorts in high-def, even if just as a stand-alone release. And you know that SOMEONE at Warner is already thinking about a future high-def release of the Looney Tunes collections. By the way, watch for a review of The Adventures of Robin Hood HD-DVD soon, along with Warner's Batman Begins, which I just got my hands on yesterday. Rest assured, it looks and sounds every bit as good as you'd expect.

In other hi-def news today, as we first posted yesterday, Sony has officially announced that Click will be their first 50GB Blu-ray Disc release next week, on 10/10. Black Hawk Down (on 11/14) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (on 12/12) will also be 50GB dual-layered titles. As we expected, Click will include ALL the DVD bonus content in full 1080p high-definition. Black Hawk Down will include Blu-Wizard, which according to Sony is "a unique playlist technology which lets consumers customize the way they watch special features." The disc will include all of the audio commentaries that were on the 3-disc DVD version, along with the complete The Essence of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down documentary in standard definition (as it was originally shot). Talladega Nights will feature the unrated edition of the film and all of the DVD extras in high-definition (except the Sirius, Daytona 500, Nextel Cup and NASCAR TV spots). We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Now then... in standard DVD news from Warner, the studio has announced that they'll release Beerfest on DVD on 12/5 in both R and Unrated versions (SRP $28.98 each). Extras will include 2 audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a featurette, an interview with "The Frog Fluffer", the animated history of beer, the theatrical trailer and more.

HBO has set Martin: The Complete First Season for release on 1/2/07, with Extras: The Complete First Season following on 1/9 and Journalist in the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl due on 1/30.

Meanwhile, Paramount has set It's Black Entertainment for 1/9/07 release, with both Cavedweller and Safe House due to street on 1/19.

Finally today, Universal has announced that they'll debut American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile on 12/19 in 3 versions - full frame R-rated, full frame Unrated and anamorphic widescreen Unrated (SRP $29.98 each).

Don't forget to check out Barrie Maxwell's latest Classic Coming Attractions column, which we posted yesterday. Barrie's work here at The Bits is always high quality and well worth a read. His latest column features lots of great classic film DVD reviews and the latest announcements as well. Don't miss it.

Okay, that's the news and I... am... outta here!

Hope you all have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/5/06 - 5:30 PM PDT)

We're back as promised to post our own Barrie Maxwell's latest edition of Classic Coming Attractions. This time around, Barrie reviews 29 films on 15 DVD releases, and runs down all the latest classic film release announcements as usual. Don't miss it!

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/5/06 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Afternoon, folks! I know a lot of you have been waiting patiently for Barrie's new Classic Coming Attractions column. Never fear, it's coming later today. We've just been a little busy around here, what with all the phone calls and e-mails.

The reason for this is that some interesting news is about to break tomorrow, specifically Sony's OFFICIAL announcement of their first three 50GB Blu-ray Disc titles. And you might be surprised as to how soon you'll be able to get your hands on one. Read today's Rumor Mill post for the details from our industry sources.

In other news today, it seems that there's some confusion over Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand DVD release. According to reports from readers, it seems that some copies of the DVD include 10 deleted scenes, while others have 22. In addition, copies of the DVD purchased at Wal-Mart include a bonus disc. The disc was supposed to include behind-the-scenes content on the making of the film (Fox Movie Channel: Casting Sessions and Life After Film School, as it says on the back of the packaging), but instead it includes a 68-minute featurette on the history of the X-Men comic book (X-Men Revealed). We'll try to sort out the confusion and post an update on this in the next day or two.

In other news today, we now know what films will be included in Universal's Romantic Favorites Collection (due 1/9/2007, SRP $29.98) - About a Boy, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Love Actually and Notting Hill. That's not a bad price if you're interested in those films and don't already have them. Less than $8 a film.

You Lord of the Rings fans will be happy to learn that Reprise Records/WEA and New Line Records will be releasing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - The Complete Recordings on 11/7 (SRP $75.98). The 4-disc set will include 3 CDs containing the film's complete soundtrack, along with a DVD-Audio disc of the same music in 48kHz/24-bit PPCM DVD-Audio quality (5.1 and 2.0), as well as 48kHz/16-bit Dolby Digital (5.1 and 2.0) quality. You'll also get a booklet with extensive liner notes. This is the follow-up release to least year's similar box set of the complete soundtrack to The Fellowship of the Ring.

Finally, those of you who missed Chris Gore and I debating the future of DVD on Attack of the Show yesterday can watch the video clip of The Loop segment by clicking on the image below. Chris and I always have fun talking about this stuff, and host Kevin Pereira is great at keeping the discussion moving, so it turned out well I think. Bottom line... those of you who haven't jumped on the high-def bandwagon yet should feel no guilt about sticking with standard DVD for now, until this format war is over or until downloading really takes off. Good old DVD is going to be the main event in the home video realm for at least another good 10 years or so. 'Nuff said. Enjoy the clip.



Back with Barrie's column later this afternoon. Stay tuned...

10/4/06

A couple of really quick things for you this morning... first, as I mentioned yesterday, I'll be appearing in The Loop segment on G4's Attack of the Show this afternoon to debate the future of DVD with my ol' pal Chris Gore (editor of Film Threat). Does DVD even have a future what with downloads and these new HD formats trying to cut in on the dance, you might be wondering? Well... don't start counting our favorite 5-inch disc out anytime soon. Check your local cable listings to watch us live, and we'll have an online clip of the segment here tomorrow for your viewing amusement.

As for that other thing... you remember how a while back I told you in The Rumor Mill that Lucasfilm was going to be wanting to sell you the Star Wars movies on DVD again next year, to commemorate the original film's 30th Anniversary? And I told you they'd be releasing a box set of all 6 films? Yeah... well our friends over at The Force.net may have found the first official confirmation of that. And yes, I will say I told ya so. Come on, did anyone really doubt it was happening? Hell... if it DOESN'T happen, I'll eat a Boba Fett action figure and post the pictures in this column.

Back tonight with Barrie's column, so stay tuned...

10/3/06

Okay... today's post is going to be a quick one. You'll have to excuse me, but my Minnesota Twins have made the baseball playoffs and they're taking on Oakland on ESPN HD this morning. Hey... at least I'm honest with ya. Lotta folks playing hooky today, and yet here I am with some news for you.

Let's start with HD... Universal has officially re-announced the HD-DVD release of Ang Lee's The Hulk for 12/12, this time paired with Field of Dreams (SRP $29.98 each). The High-Def Release List has been updated.

Universal has also set Sherrybaby for release on standard DVD on 1/16/07, with Rx following on 1/30. There's also a Romantic Favorites Collection set for 1/9, but as of this post Universal had yet to offer details on their press site as to which films might be included.

Sony, meanwhile, has added The House of Sand and Mozart and the Whale to its 12/12 slate (along with the already announced Talladega Nights). The studio also has a 2-disc Bugsy: Extended Cut due on 12/12, along with a Dean Martin Double Feature that will include How to Save a Marriage (and Ruin Your Life) and Who Was That Lady on the same disc.

20th Century Fox has officially announced My Super Ex-Girlfriend for release on 12/19 (SRP $29.98). The disc will include both full frame and anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, 5 deleted scenes, an extended "Shark Sequence" and Molly McQueen's No Sleep 2nite music video.

Just a quick reminder... Lionsgate standard DVD titles for October are due to include House of Blood and Invader (streeting today), Comedy Club Shootout: Vol. 1, Comedy Club Shootout: Vol. 2, Ju-On 2 and Ulli Lommel's Black Dahlia (due 10/10), Blackwater Valley Exorcism (due 10/17), the Reservoir Dogs: 15th Anniversary Edition, Saw II: Special Edition, An American Haunting and Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw (due 10/24) and Punto y Raya, Tres Pajaros, Three Wise Guys and Speed Racer: Volume 5 (due 10/31).

Finally this morning, Warner will release (for HBO) Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet Seereez on 11/21 (SRP $49.99), no doubt timed to take advantage of the buzz for Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat (which hits theaters on 11/3). The 4-disc set will include both seasons of the show.

Here's a look at the cover art for New Line's just-announced Snakes on a Plane (1/2/07), along with Fox's My Super Ex-Girlfriend and Sony's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Unrated and Uncut Edition (12/12)...

Snakes on a PlaneMy Super Ex-GirlfriendTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - Unrated and Uncut Edition

We'll be back tomorrow with a new Classic Coming Attractions column from our very own Barrie Maxwell. And for those of you who just can't get enough of my ugly mug, I'll be appearing on tomorrow's episode of G4's Attack of the Show, during The Loop segment, to talk about no less weighty a subject than the future of DVD. Never a dull moment, I'll tell ya.

Okay... have a great day! Go Twins!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/2/06 - 2 PM PDT)

20th Century Fox has just launched a new website to promote their forthcoming Blu-ray Disc releases, and in the process announced a slate of 5 more catalog titles due on 12/5. The newly revealed titles include Flight of the Phoenix, Rising Sun, From Hell, Entrapment and The Sentinel. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/2/06 - 12:15 PM PDT)

Wow... October already! Seems like the summer just started and now we're into fall already.

We've got some big DVD news today. New Line has just announced the release of Snakes on a Plane on 1/2/07 (SRP $28.98). Separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions will be available, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 6.1 ES audio. Extras will include audio commentary with star Samuel L. Jackson and director David R. Ellis, deleted scenes with optional commentary by Ellis, the Snakes on a Plane (Bring It) music video, a gag reel, the Pure Venom behind-the-scenes documentary, 3 featurettes (Snakes on a Blog, Meet the Reptiles and Snakes on a Plane VFX), an Easter egg, trailers and TV spots.

Also today, Sony has announced the DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UMD release of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby on 12/12. The DVD will be available in separate theatrical and uncut versions (each alternatively available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions - SRP $28.95 each). Extras on both DVD versions will include audio commentary with director Adam McKay and stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, Line-o-Rama, alternate lines (not used in the film), interviews with Ricky, Cal and Carley, bonus race footage, the Will Ferrell Returns to Talladega featurette, and TV spots for the Daytona 500 and NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup. The uncut DVD will add to this 13 minutes of additional footage in the film, interviews with Jean Girard and Gregory, more deleted scenes, the Walker & Texas Ranger: Montage and Outtakes video, and Ricky and Cal's commercials and PSA. No word yet on the extras on the Blu-ray Disc (if any), but SRP will be $38.96. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

A word of follow-up on Universal's recently announced Miami Vice DVD/HD-DVD Combo release (due 12/5): We've learned that the disc will include the unrated cut of the film (140 mins) in high-definition video, as well as the theatrical cut of the film (133 mins) in standard definition on the DVD side. Other extras (according to the studio's press site) will apparently include "an Entirely New Level of Interactivity, Including Tech Specs and GPS!"

In other news today, 20th Century Fox has set Love's Abiding Joy for release on 1/2/07 as well (SRP $26.98).

Meanwhile, Paramount has added New Year's Day, Tracks and Someone to Love to its December slate (all are due on 12/5).

Buena Vista has announced a High School Musical: Remix Edition for 12/5 (SRP $29.99). The 2-disc set contains all of the extras of the original DVD release, along with the Dance-Along and High School Reunion featurettes, 3 new music videos and video of the London and Hollywood El Capitan theater premieres.

Sci-Fi fans will be happy about this: Warner has announced (for the BBC) the release of Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series on 1/16/07 (SRP $99.98). The 6-disc set will include all 13 45-minute episodes, plus the 60-minute special. A 2-pack of both series 1 & 2 will also be available (SRP $179.98).

Other new Warner announcements include Red Doors (11/14), The Royle Family: The Complete First Season (also for the BBC - 1/16/07) and The Waltons: The Complete Fourth Season (1/23/07).

Finally, around the site today, we've kicked off THREE new Contests, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's Avenger, Gloomy Sunday and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law - Volume 2, as well as Shout! Factory's The Dick Cavett Show: Hollywood Greats. All of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 8th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

Stay tuned...

9/29/06

Afternoon, folks. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, but then there wasn't really much in the way of DVD or HD news to report anyway. I had an appointment to take the car in for servicing... 120,000 mile servicing... so my morning appointment turned into an all day affair. I brought the laptop along to get some work done, but my battery was dead, so I ended up reading the whole afternoon. It was actually kind of nice... a forced break. The book, by the way, was Patrick O'Brian's H.M.S. Surprise - the third in his Aubrey/Maturin series which was the basis for 20th Century Fox's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. If you haven't read them, they're absolutely fantastic... some of the best books I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy (can't believe I haven't done so before this). Speaking of the film, I hear through the grapevine that odds are good we'll see a Blu-ray Disc release before the end of the year.

Now then... the big news today is that Universal has officially announced the DVD and HD-DVD release of Michael Mann's Miami Vice on 12/5. The film will be available in separate R and Unrated Director's Cut versions on DVD (SRP $29.98). Extras are TBA on the single-disc sets, but expect anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The theatrical version will also be available as a DVD/HD-DVD Combo Format title (SRP $39.98), which will 1080p high-definition video (anamorphic widescreen of course) with both Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio.

Also on the Universal front, the studio now says that Ang Lee's The Hulk is no longer part of their November HD-DVD slate. We assume the title will be re-announced at a later date. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

One last bit of HD-DVD news today... Microsoft has revealed that its HD-DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 will street in the States in "mid-November" for $199.99. It will also come bundled with Universal's HD-DVD of Peter Jackson's King Kong (for a limited time only), along with a universal remote.

On the standard DVD front, 20th Century Fox has announced the release of John Tucker Must Die for 11/14. The DVD will include both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, along with audio commentary (by director Betty Thomas, editor Matt Friedman and writer Jeff Lowell), deleted scenes, People in Planes' Instantly Gratified music video, a making of featurette and an on set tour video.

Also, we've got word in The Rumor Mill today on more upcoming DVD street dates for major titles that are now (or have recently been) in theaters. Don't miss it.

One last thing today... remember that mention I made the other day of Borat? Check out this story from Mike Clark at USA Today (and be sure to read the "statement" link as well). Very funny! Can't wait to see this flick...

That's all for now. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday.

Stay tuned!

9/27/06

We've gotten word that MGM and their distributor, 20th Century Fox, have rescheduled the street date for the delayed 2-disc A Fish Called Wanda: Special Edition for 11/21 (SRP $26.98). Revise your plans accordingly.

In other news this morning, Discovery Communications has revealed that they're going to begin releasing some of their Discovery HD titles on HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc format, as well as DVD. The effort begins in late October with a series of Discovery Atlas titles, the first of which will be Discovery Atlas: China Revealed. The titles will be available at Discovery's retail stores. You can read more here at Home Media Retailing.

Also, the band Nine Inch Nails have announced on their website that they'll be releasing a concert title, Nine Inch Nails Live: Beside You in Time, in early 2007 on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats. We're not sure which studio will be releasing the title, but we'll add it to our High-Def Release List when we find out. You can learn a little bit more, and see clips from the release, at the band's official website. Thanks to Bits reader Lindsay M. for the heads-up.

In other news around the Net today, there's a good story at CNN on Criterion's effort to restore Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai to its original glory for its recent DVD re-release. It's worth noting that the 3-disc DVD is easily one of the best of 2006. We'll be posting a review soon.

CNN has also posted a story on that new (and apparently successful) effort to create a viable dual-format disc configuration that can hold both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc content on the same disc. We're getting TONS of e-mail about this story, but I want to caution all of you again that this disc is only going to make an impact if studios other than just Warner Bros. decide to take advantage of it. I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon, given the current climate in Hollywood, but we'll see.

Finally today, wanna see something funny? Check out the official website for the upcoming film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which arrives in theaters on 11/3 from Fox. The film stars Ali G Show creator Sacha Baron Cohen as the title character, and is a sort of fish-out-of-water/road movie documentary as Borat travels to America "from his native Kazakhstan" to meet real Americans (see the trailer here). Apparently the official government of Kazakhstan is so ruffled over the film that they're going to raise the issue in diplomatic talks with President Bush (click here). Nice.

Stay tuned...

9/26/06

We've got a little bit more high-def format information for you this morning. We originally posted early yesterday evening that Sony had just announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Layer Cake and Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (144-minute version) on 11/14 (SRP $28.95 each). For the record, they DID have them listed on their press website for a few hours yesterday afternoon, before hastily taking them down again. What you can infer from this is that the announcement is impending. I've spoken to Sony reps who say that the actual official announcement will happen "very soon". In any case, we have confirmed that both titles will be part of the announcement, and both will be released on the new 50GB dual-layered BD-ROM configuration. Both titles will feature 1080p video and uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio. We believe (and we're working to confirm) that Black Hawk Down will include at least some (if not all) of the standard-def extras that were released on the previous 3-disc set. Extras on Layer Cake are TBA. We'll post all the official details as soon as they come in. Here's the cover art for both titles, along with the studio's already announced Blu-ray Disc release of Monster House (10/24)...

Black Hawk Down (Blu-ray Disc)Layer Cake (Blu-ray Disc)Monster House (Blu-ray Disc)

In standard DVD news today, Sony has announced the 12/5 release of Attack Force, Lies and Alibis, George Cukor's Holiday (1938) and The Premiere Frank Capra Collection box set. The 6-disc Capra Collection (SRP $59.95) will include American Madness, It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can't Take it With You and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, along with a scrapbook.

HBO has also just announced the 12/19 release of When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spike Lee's four-hour documentary chronicling of the death and rebirth of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Extras will include a gallery of photos set to music by Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, along with the supplemental Next Movement documentary, which includes 90 minutes of previously unseen additional segments. The 4-disc set will SRP for $29.98.

By the way, I need to take this opportunity to give my old pal Matt Rowe a little grief. Matt took time in his regular post at our MusicTAP partner site yesterday to raz me about the Vikings losing to the Bears this weekend. So I wanted to return the favor. Be sure to e-mail him and ask what the hell happened to his White Sox, who got edged out of the post-season by the Twins last night. Snap!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 9/25/06 - 12:15 PM PDT)

Afternoon, folks! Hope you all enjoyed your days off. Matt and I took in screenings of Jet Li's Fearless (pretty good, very HERO-like) and Jackass: Number Two over the weekend. Jackass was even more over the top than the first film, and of course just wrong on SO many different levels. It was also extremely funny. Haven't laughed that hard in a while. Frankly, I'm surprised one of those guys hasn't died yet. Let's just say I'll be stunned if Steve-O ever collects his Social Security benefits. There's this bit with these sharks and a... yikes.

The big announcement today is that 20th Century Fox has set the DVD release of 24: Season 5 for 12/5 (SRP $59.98). All 24 episodes will be included on 7 discs in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary on 12 episodes (various participants include Kiefer Sutherland, Jon Cassar, Howard Gordon, David Fury, John Allen Nelson, Evan Katz, Brad Turner, Tim Iacofano, Julian Sands, Jean Smart, Greg Itzin, Matt Michnovetz, Duppy Demetrius, Nicole Ranadive, Joseph Hodges, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Manny Coto, Jude Ciccollela and Bob Cochran), 23 deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Stephen Kronish and Scott Powell), 4 featurettes (Supporting Players, Unsung Heroes: 24 Camera Department, Music by Sean Callery and Logan's Retreat), the 100th Episode Reel, a sample of the book 24: Behind the Scenes and DVD-ROM features. Here's the cover art...

24: Season 5The Devil Wears PradaBehind Enemy Lines (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included art for Fox's The Devil Wears Prada (12/12) and their Blu-ray Disc release of Behind Enemy Lines (11/14).

Fox has also announced Who Made the Potatoe Salad? (their spelling, not mine - 11/7) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (11/14), both SRP $19.98.

Meanwhile, Paramount has set Wonder Showzen: The Complete Second Season and The Andy Milonakis Show: The Complete Second Season for release on 10/10.

BCI has officially announced the DVD release of Ark II: The Complete Series for 11/7 (SRP $29.98). The 4-disc set will include all 15 episodes, along with the half-hour documentary The Launch of Ark II, 2 episode audio commentary tracks (featuring producers Lou Scheimer and Richard M. Rosenbloom, actress Jean Marie Hon-Trager, director Henry Lange and writer David Dworski, hosted by Andy Mangels), an extensive photo gallery, an art gallery for a proposed Ark II animated series, a booklet with episode guide and trivia, and DVD-ROM features (including scripts for several episodes and the series bible). Man, I loved that show when I was a kid. That, along with Space Academy and Jason of Star Command (which, FYI, are also soon-to-be-announced by BCI for release on DVD).

And New Line has revealed that they'll street How to Eat Fried Worms on 12/5 (SRP $27.95), with extras to include audio commentaries, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

By the way, there's still no additional information about the HD-DVD release of Superman: The Movie and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which we mentioned on Friday. There's also no news yet as to whether the other films are coming to HD-DVD, or whether there will be Blu-ray Disc releases as well. Apparently that news leaked a bit early, and Warner is working hard to gather all the details together. We'll post them all for you here as soon as they're made official by the studio (likely in the next few days).

Around the site today, we want to encourage you all to take a moment to check out the awesome illustrations of our Artist of the Month for September, Tim Wann. We think his work is pretty outstanding, and you can see lots more of it showcased on his own Wann's World website.

Finally this morning, we've kicked off a trio of new Contests today, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's The Lake House, One Tree Hill: The Complete Third Season and Whose Line Is It Anyway? Season 1, Volume 1, Sony Wonder's The Dick Tracy Show: The Complete Animated Crime Series and New Line's A Nightmare on Elm Street: Infinifilm Edition. All three of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 1st. Click the links to get started and good luck!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 9/22/06 - 6 PM PDT)

There's just no end to the madness this week, folks! No sooner do we sign off for the day, tentative word comes in from Warner that the studio is going to be releasing at least SOME of the classic Superman theatrical films in high-def as well on 11/28. We're trying to get all the details for you, but what we know so far is that the studio's press site indicates that Superman: The Movie and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut will be released on HD-DVD format on 11/28 (SRP $28.99 each - 1080p 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio). We're pretty sure that isn't the whole story (we'd be surprised if all the films weren't on the way to BOTH high-def formats, based on comments studio reps made earlier this year at their 2006 catalog press event). When we have an update for you, we'll be sure to jump back in here with all the details.

By the way, we've added a couple more details to our Superman Returns DVD/HD-DVD Combo specs (click here). We've confirmed with the studio that the disc will be an HD-30C configuration (30/9 - 30GB on the HD-DVD side and 9GB on the DVD side), and that it will include BOTH Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio (previous information indicated only Plus). This comes straight from studio reps.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 9/22/06 - 12:30 PM PDT)

Afternoon, everybody! Okay... just a couple last items to report for you today. First up, a new DVD release announcement: 20th Century Fox has confirmed the 12/12 debut of The Devil Wears Prada (SRP $29.98).

Also today, a bit of high-def related news: Sony has apparently announced that BOTH versions of their Blu-ray Disc-equipped PS3 game system (the $499 20GB model and the $599 60GB model, due 11/17 here in the States) will now ship with HDMI 1.3 ports for connection to high-def displays. Previously, only the 60GB was to be so featured. Now if they'd just ship them with HDMI cables, you'd really have something. You can read more on this here at CNet.

A quick update on that radio show thing I mention earlier... I'll be appearing on Dean Richards' Sunday Morning in Chicago between 8:40 and 9 AM (Central), for those of you who might be interested in tuning in this weekend.

Finally today, we've added a few more confirmed details to our list of specs and features on the Superman Returns DVDs, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Note that the extras on the high-def discs will NOT be in high-def, and there will be no Bryan Singer commentary (standard or IME). There will, however, be theatrical trailers and an EA videogame promo. We've also added a link to our original announcement about the Chris Reeve movie DVDs from our Comic-Con report back in July, in case you were wondering what's going to be on the individual discs included in the 14-disc set (which streets on 11/28 as well). There's still no Blu-ray Disc cover art, although we have learned that the HD-DVD disc configuration will be HD-30C (30/9).

Okay... that's it. Stick a fork in us. We're done for the week. Enjoy the weekend and we'll see you all back at the rock pile bright and early on Monday.

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 9/22/06 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Man, I'm officially wiped out. This week has been a real bear, what with all the DVD and high-def announcements, and trying to keep all the dates, details and features straight. Tracking THREE separate formats? Ugh. Matt and I are gonna try to catch a screening of Jackass at some point this weekend (and watch the Vikings/Bears game, naturally), and then I need like 48 hours of sleep. That's not gonna happen, of course (the sleep that is), so I'll probably have to make due with like 5 hours a night. What are you gonna do?

One of the reasons I'm not gonna sleep much this weekend (relevant to you Chicago-area Bits readers), is that I'll be getting up early on Sunday morning to do another short guest appearance on the Dean Richards' Sunday Morning radio show on WGN Radio (720 AM). I'll be on with Dean to talk DVD for about 10 minutes between 8:40 and 9 AM (Central). You can listen online via RealPlayer - just visit the WGN Radio website and click on "listen now" on the top left corner of the page (make sure you install the RealPlayer software first if you don't already have it). I invite you all to tune in if you're able.

Now then... we've got another bit of high-def news for you today. Paramount has just revealed that they'll release Nacho Libre on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/24, day and date with the already announced standard DVD version. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Also, be advised that we've updated the Superman Returns release information we posted yesterday with the latest and most accurate details we're able to get our hands on from Warner Home Video, so be sure to check it out again for all the late-breaking info you might have missed.

By the way, Warner is also close to announcing the HD-DVD release of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We'll post details when available.

Here's the cover art for the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of Paramount's Nacho Libre and their Mission: Impossible - Ultimate Missions Collection (due 10/30), as well as Sony's Joyeux Noel (11/14) and Universal's Airwolf: Season Two (12/26) DVDs. You'll note that the Mission: Impossible sets are packaged in the exact same arrangement as the DVD version, just banded with the relevant high-def format logo at the top. Here's hoping people don't confuse them on store shelves...

Nacho Libre (HD-DVD)Nacho Libre (Blu-ray Disc)Joyeux Noel (DVD)

Mission: Impossible - Ultimate Missions Collection (HD-DVD)Mission: Impossible - Ultimate Missions Collection (Blu-ray Disc)Airwolf: Season Two (DVD)

So... there you go. Barring any OTHER major announcements today, that'll do it for another week. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Peace out!

(LATE UPDATE - 9/21/06 - UPDATED 5 PM PDT)

Okay... you've been waiting for it, and it's FINALLY here. Warner has just officially announced the DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns on 11/28, the exact street date we've been expecting for months now. Here are the official details of the versions that will be available:

[Editor's Note: We're taking directly with Warner reps to get as accurate and exact a list of specs & special features as possible. New information is being added regularly.]

Single-Disc DVD - SRP $28.98 (available in both full frame and 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen versions) - 2006 Theatrical Version of the film, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (English, Latin Spanish), no special features, subtitles: English SDH, English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned

Two-Disc Special Edition DVD - SRP $34.99 (featuring embossed gold foil packaging - some retailers will offer exclusive lenticular hologram packaging) - 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen video, 2006 Theatrical Version of the film, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (English, Latin Spanish), includes the 7-part/172-minute documentary Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns (16x9 - broken into Secret Origins and First Issues, The Crystal Method, An Affinity for Beach-front Property: Shooting Superman - Part A: Superman on the Farm, An Affinity for Beach-front Property: Shooting Superman - Part B: Superman in the City, An Affinity for Beach-front Property: Shooting Superman - Part C: Superman in Peril, The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman and Wrapping Superman - note that the documentary also includes outtakes and bloopers over the credits), the Resurrecting Jor-El featurette, 11 deleted scenes (16x9 - all finished and mixed by Singer, including The Date, Family Photos, Crash Landing/X-ray Vision!, Old Newspapers, Are You Two Dating?, Martinis and Wigs, I'm Always Right, Jimmy the Lush, Language Barrier, Crystal Feet and New Krypton) and an Easter egg (How Wrong Can You Be? - Kevin Spacey's "Wrong!" outtakes), theatrical trailers, EA videogame promo trailer, subtitles: English SDH, English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned

DVD/HD-DVD Combo - SRP $39.99 - disc config: HD-30C (this is confirmed - 30/9), VC-1/1080p video (2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen), 2006 Theatrical Version of the film, Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (English, French, Latin Spanish) and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) audio, special features (ALL Two-Disc DVD features will be included on the HD side, but NOT in high-definition - movie-only on the standard DVD side), subtitles: English SDH, English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned

[Editor's Note: I have to say, I think Warner making this a combo title is a bad move. I'd rather they dropped the standard definition movie portion, and used a different disc configuration to include the documentary and other extras in actual high-def instead - I've confirmed that most of the bonus footage was shot high-def originally - as well as adding the IME commentary that director Bryan Singer has mentioned in press interviews that he's helped create. Warner's press releases are also careful to note that the film is the 2006 Theatrical Version. Could this mean a more elaborate Director's Cut with IME is being planned for release down the line? In any case, these HD-DVD/Combo releases are a nice idea on paper, but in the real world the standard-definition content is just wasted space, it seems to me. It's not like there isn't a DVD version available separately, and this is a BIG high-def release. My opinion: The combo decision is a bad call.]

Blu-ray Disc - SRP $34.99 - disc config: BD-50, VC-1/1080p video (2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen), 2006 Theatrical Version of the film, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (English, French, Latin Spanish), special features (ALL Two-Disc DVD features will be included, but NOT in high-definition), subtitles: English SDH, English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned

As fans have been hoping, Warner has also officially announced the 11/28 release of the 14-disc Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD box set (SRP $99.92). Packaged in a special tin case, the set will include the 2-disc Superman Returns: Special Edition, the 4-disc Superman: The Movie - Special Edition, the 2-disc Superman II: Special Edition, the single-disc Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, the single-disc Superman III and Superman IV DVDs, the You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman documentary, the previously-released Look Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman and a Bryan Singer's Journals Extended Edition disc featuring ALL of the director's video journals shot on the set of Superman Returns (along with 2 that have never been seen before). The case will also include a reproduction of the Superman #7 comic book, a booklet on the history of the character and a mail-in offer for all 5 Superman feature film movie posters. Note that we've posted disc by disc details on the extras on these discs previously. Here's a look at the box set's contents, all laid out for you to see...

Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition

Here also is a look the OFFICIALLY released cover art for the 2-disc special edition DVD, the single-disc widescreen and full frame DVDs, the DVD/HD-DVD Combo version and the front of the 14-disc set's outer tin case packaging...

Superman Returns: 2-Disc Special EditionSuperman Returns (widescreen, single disc)Superman Returns (full frame, single disc)

Superman Returns (DVD/HD-DVD Combo)Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition

We'll update this post with the Blu-ray Disc artwork (and any corrections/updates as to the specs and special features) when available.

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 9/21/06 - 11:30 AM PDT)

We've got a little bit of additional high-def information for you this morning.

First up, Genius Products has announced that they'll begin supporting the Blu-ray Disc format next year with ESPN titles that they distribute for Buena Vista. You can read more in this story at Home Media Retailing.

Also today, there's a story at Gamespot indicating that Microsoft's HD-DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 will be released in Japan on 11/22 (price: $177). The drive will include a remote control, will connect to the 360 via USB and will support 1080p video. There's no official word yet on the U.S. release, but it's tentatively expected to be released here in November as well, for around $200.

In other high-def news today, WEA/Warner Music has officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis on 10/24 (SRP $34.99). The disc will include 13 live jazz performances in 1080p video by such artists as Al Jarreau, Chris Botti, Lee Ritenour, David Sanborn, Robert Cray, Keb' Mo', Dave Brubeck and others. Best of all, audio is expected to be Dolby TrueHD 5.1. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Finally today, there are stories at the BBC and MSNBC about that new 3-format combo disc that a trio of engineers at Warner Bros are working on. As we've reported in recent days, the disc would include HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc layers on one side of the disc, and a standard DVD layer on the other side. A lot of readers have been e-mailing us to say how great the news is, and that it could mean the end of the format war. Which is true... POTENTIALLY. However, the reality is that it's not likely to mean much of anything unless a majority of the Hollywood studios beyond Warner agree to use the new discs. And there's a lot of political pressure within the HD-DVD and Blu-ray camps not to do anything that could be seen as throwing in the towel in the format war yet. All of these companies are still well into the "We can win this thing." mode, which is one of the reasons that those much-ballyhooed combo format players haven't materialized yet. This time next year, however, if the format war remains a stalemate... you might see combo discs and combo hardware begin to have an impact. But we just want to caution you all not to get your hopes up that this news today is going to make much of a difference anytime soon.

Also today, on the standard DVD front, Warner has just announced the release of the direct-to-video Rest Stop, directed by John Shiban (formerly of The X-Files). The disc will street on 10/17 (SRP $24.98) in separate R and Unrated versions. We should note that this film is the first in Warner's new "Raw Feed" branded line of DVDs. Extras will include an alternate ending and the Scotty's Home Movies and On the Bus featurettes.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 9/21/06 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Morning, Bits-ers. Forgot to mention this earlier, what with all the announcements and news, but did anyone happen to catch Aaron Sorkin's new TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip the other night? Man, his writing is just superior stuff. Great characters set-ups, dialogue with depth that's not over-written. Plus, I don't know whose idea it was to team up Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford as a comedy duo, but man... just brilliant. Great chemistry there. Hope the show does well. Gimme that, gimme Boston Legal, gimme Battlestar Galactica and I'm set for the new season.

We've got a new standard DVD announcement today that's sure to make you Ultraman fans happy. BCI has just revealed the release of Ultraman: Series One, Volume Two for 11/7 (SRP $39.98). The 3-disc set will include the series' final 19 episodes uncut, along with newly-remastered Dolby Digital 2.0 audio in the original Japanese (with new English subtitle translation) as well as dubbed English, 2 collectible baseball cards featuring Ultraman's foes, a Kajiu (monster) encyclopedia and a 12-page booklet on the series.

Also this morning, we've got a look at the cover art for some of the newly-announced high-def titles from Buena Vista and Universal. Here's Dune, The Mummy (1999) and An American Werewolf in London on HD-DVD (due 11/28) and Annapolis, Casanova and Flightplan on Blu-ray Disc (due 11/21)...

Dune (HD-DVD)The Mummy (HD-DVD)An American Werewolf in London (HD-DVD)

Annapolis (Blu-ray Disc)Casanova (Blu-ray Disc)Flightplan (Blu-ray Disc)

While we're talking high-def... I'd like to make a suggestion to you folks at Universal who might be reading this morning. When you guys get around to working on an HD-DVD release of The Blues Brothers, do us a favor and talk to director John Landis about getting those recordings that he has of the three "lost" songs from the film: Sink the Bismarck, Quando, Quando, Quando and Just the Way You Are. You can read more about them in our review of the recent 25th Anniversary DVD release, and even download high-quality MP3 files of the songs (zipped file). I spoke with Landis in person at the anniversary screening of the film and he's definitely got the masters on tape that he'd be willing to include on the disc. It'd be a real shame for yet ANOTHER release of that film to hit disc without 'em. Just a little suggestion from your pals here at The Bits.

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