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





page updated: 12/4/06



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 11/13/06 - 10/18/06)


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11/13/06

Afternoon folks! It took a little while to get today's post up, but I think you'll see that it was worth the wait.

A lot of you have wondered when we were going to start reviewing high-definition titles here at The Bits, in addition to regular DVD releases. The fact is, we've been trying to be very cautious thus far. We've reviewed a few titles, but mostly we've been trying to really get a sense of HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc - to live with them, to kick the tires and to let their strengths and weaknesses sink in. There's been a real rush to judgement about these formats, with supporters of each quick to declare their favorite the superior choice based on quality issues. But with only a handful of players available for each format, it's just too early to know for certain what quality issues are related to specific equipment and what are representative of the formats themselves. The fact is, BOTH formats deliver the goods in terms of high-quality video and audio. In our experience, the differences between them are mostly in the technical specs (slightly favors Blu-ray), the special features available (slightly favors HD-DVD), the support of the studios and manufacturers (strongly favors Blu-ray), and the price (strongly favors HD-DVD). So while both formats are ready for prime time quality-wise... neither can be considered the clear winner at the moment.

Understandably, with two competing high-def formats and no obvious choices, we recognize that most of you are likely going to wait before risking your hard-earned money on one of them. We don't blame you. In fact, that's what we recommend the vast majority of you should do. Standard DVD isn't going anywhere... and the longer you wait, the greater the chance becomes that one format or the other might move ahead. Prices will drop, the selection of available players and movie discs will improve, new features will be added and the technical bugs will gradually be worked out. With any luck, by this time next year, we'll have a better idea as to which format is the superior option. In any case, even with the debut of Sony's Blu-ray Disc-ready PlayStation 3 (on Friday) and Microsoft's HD-DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 (now available), it's really just smarter for most of you to wait and see. And if you ARE going to buy one of these new game systems, we recommend you base your decision primarily on the game software... not the movies.

All that said, we also recognize that some of you are interested in HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc RIGHT NOW, and are willing to risk your money for the privilege of watching films at home in the highest possible quality. So we're pleased today to announce the debut of a new regular column from our own Barrie Maxwell... High-Definition Classics and Beyond! The first installment features 11 HD-DVD reviews, including classic films like Warner's The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Searchers, Grand Prix and The Dirty Dozen and Paramount's Reds: 25th Anniversary Edition, as well as more recent films like Warner's Unforgiven, The Polar Express and Batman Begins, Paramount's Mission: Impossible III and Universal's Apollo 13 and U-571. We've been evaluating the best way to do high-def reviews here at The Bits, and we think we've struck a nice balance of information and accessibility with Barrie's column. If you spot errors in the specs, let us know and we'll correct them. This is all pretty new, so we ask your patience.

As for the rest of you, never fear... Barrie's going to continue reviewing lots of standard DVDs in his Classic Coming Attractions, as will the rest of us elsewhere around the site. Always remember, The Digital Bits isn't just a DVD website... we're about celebrating films in the digital age. That word 'digital' covers a LOT of ground these days! But we'll always be here to try and help sort it all out for you.

We hope you enjoy Barrie's column, and we'll be back tomorrow with more news, some new DVD reviews and Todd's Weekly Release Round-up. Until then...

Stay tuned!

11/10/06

Well... there's more sad news to report today, I'm afraid. Word has just come in that actor Jack Palance has died today of natural causes at the age of 87 (read more here). His list of film credits was long and varied, but it'll probably be for his role in City Slickers, and a series of Oscar night push-ups, that he'll be best remembered. Also today, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of film composer Basil Poledouris (more here), whose film scores included Conan the Barbarian, The Hunt for Red October, Starship Troopers and many others. Both will be missed.

Now then... we've got a bit of high-def news today. Warner has finally confirmed the 12/5 HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Also today, on the standard DVD front, Warner has set Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Complete Season One for release on 3/6/07 (SRP $19.98).

In addition, Universal has announced the 1/30 release of Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Fifth Season (SRP $49.98) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The Third Year (SRP $59.98). The studio has also set a Danielle Steel 2 DVD Collection (SRP $19.98) for release on 1/9, including the films Palomino, Secrets, Star and The Promise. Tell you right now, Mom's gonna be thrilled.

By the way, a lot of you have been asking what's up with Warner's promised Stanley Kubrick special editions - the ones that we talked about back in January when we attended the studio's 2006 catalog DVD event. I've checked in with Warner reps and have learned that they're definitely still on the way. They're being completely remastered and will have all-new special features. They're now planned for release sometime in 2007... but most of you probably already guessed that. Just know that they're still coming and they should be pretty cool. We'll say more when there's more to say.

We've got a little bit of new cover art to show you this afternoon. Here's Warner's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on HD-DVD, along with Universal's Brokeback Mountain: Collector's Edition (1/23) and Fox's The Illusionist (1/9)...

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (HD-DVD)Brokeback Mountain: Collector's EditionThe Illusionist

Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to send a big shout-out to all those of you who are participating in our very own Digital Forum BBS group. I haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like to check in over there, but there's a good group of DVD fans who are keeping things interesting. All of us here at The Bits would like to encourage our readers to sign up (it's totally free!) and participate in the ongoing DVD and high-def discussion over there. We'll try to drop by a little more often to say hello as well.

Now then... we've got some great stuff coming next week. I'll have some DVD reviews, including Superman Returns and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, and possibly some new high-def format reviews too. Todd will check in with his regular Weekly Roundup. And our own Barrie Maxwell will debut his brand new High Definition Classics column, featuring reviews of several classic films on HD-DVD. It should be a lot of fun. Plus we'll have all the latest DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc news too.

So have a great weekend in the meantime, and we'll see you back here on Monday. Stay tuned!

11/9/06

Afternoon, folks. First up this afternoon, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the death of longtime CBS newsman and 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley (read more here). The news business has certainly changed over the years. Where TV journalists once strove to remain unbiased and simply report the facts, reporters today are now as concerned with entertaining you as informing you. They make glib comments, crack wise or act buddy-buddy with those they interview and wear their bias on their sleeves. Ed Bradley was a true newsman of that rarified old school, in the mold of Murrow and Cronkite. There are precious few of them left, and we're all the poorer for it. Bradley was just 65, but had been fighting a battle against leukemia. He'll be missed.

Now then, some new DVD announcements. Universal has set the first wave of a series of classic film releases and re-releases for 2/6. Included in the first batch will be All Quiet on the Western Front, Arabian Nights, Going My Way and The Heiress (SRP $14.98 each). In addition, Universal's Idlewild has officially been set for release on 12/5 (SRP $29.98).

Meanwhile, New Line has set Undisputed II: Last Man Standing for release on 1/1 (SRP $19.97).

Warner has set a Literary Classics Collection for release on 3/6 (SRP $59.92). The 5-disc set will include Billy Budd, Captain Horatio Hornblower, Madame Bovary, Prisoner of Zenda (1937/1952) and The Three Musketeers (1948). All of the titles will be available separately as well for $19.97 each. Warner has also announced single-disc, individual volumes of a pair of Hanna Barbera classics. The Yogi Bear Show: Volume 1 and Huckleberry Hound: Volume 1 will carry an SRP of $14.94 each. In addition, the studio has announced The State Within (for the BBC) and Secrets of Jerusalem's Holiest Sites (for National Geographic) as well. Both titles street on 2/27. Also coming from Warner (for the BBC) are a pair of new Doctor Who titles - Doctor Who: Ep. 46 - The Invasion and Doctor Who: Ep. 77 - The Sontaran Experiment, both on 3/6.

Stay tuned...

11/8/06

Morning, everyone! Any of you out there in the mood for some new DVD reviews? I've just posted an in-depth look at a trio of new and recent re-issues of previously released titles on disc. Among them are Criterion's new anamorphic widescreen updating of their already terrific Brazil: Three-Disc Special Edition (now available), Warner's awesome new Forbidden Planet: 50th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition (due on 11/14) and Paramount's newly-remastered It's a Wonderful Life: 60th Anniversary Edition (also now available). All are well worth a look.

Geek Monthly: Issue #1 - on newsstands now!

Now then... I want to take a moment to talk about something that's pretty exciting for all of us at The Bits. In addition to our work around here, I'm pleased to say that Todd Doogan and yours truly (Bill Hunt) have joined the staff of the new Geek Monthly as Contributing Editors! Geek is a great new magazine by the fine folks at CFQ Media, and the brainchild of Mark Altman (publisher of CFQ Magazine and Femme Fatales, and producer of Free Enterprise). It's dedicated to coverage of all things 'geek', including entertainment topics, lifestyle, tech and all sorts of fun obsessions. You'll find a new regular column by Todd and myself in every issue called, appropriately, Geek Bits. Issue #1 (December) is arriving on newsstands now (that's it on the left there), and we think you'll really enjoy it.

Our first Geek Bits is an introduction of sorts, in which Todd and I lay out our diabolical plans for the column. Future installments will delve into various DVD issues, including the high-def format war, and other interesting film related topics. We may highlight the work of great filmmakers on disc, offer interviews with industry insiders - the sky's the limit. We encourage you all to check out Geek and consider subscribing if you dig it. Geek Bits will be a lot of fun, so we hope you'll join us.

Now then... we've got a little more announcement news to report today. First, Warner has announced a pair of new pro football DVDs... NFL Greatest Follies: 1997-2000 and NFL Greatest Follies: The Classics. Both street on 12/12.

Sony has informed us that their All the King's Men: Special Edition DVD (due 12/19 - SRP $28.95), will include deleted scenes and 5 featurettes (An American Classic, La. Confidential: On Location with All the King's Men, Shake Hands with the Devil, The Legend and Lore of Huey Long and The Making of All the King's Men). We believe the Blu-ray Disc version will be movie-only (SRP $38.95).

Meanwhile, Universal has announced a new 2-disc Brokeback Mountain: Collector's Edition for 1/23/07 (SRP $26.98), featuring anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS audio, 6 featurettes (A Groundbreaking Success, On Being a Cowboy, Directing from the Heart: Ang Lee, From Script to Screen: Interviews with Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, Sharing the Story: The Making of Brokeback Mountain and Music from the Mountain) and a stills gallery. The film will also be available as a DVD/HD-DVD Combo format release (SRP $34.98). We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Also today, we've learned that Paramount's Jackass Number Two (due 12/26) will be available in three versions... R-rated full frame and anamorphic widescreen, and Unrated anamorphic widescreen. Extras on all three will include audio commentary by Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn, Wee Man, Preston Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey, Jeff Tremaine and Dimitry Elyashkevich, The Making of Jackass Number Two featurette, bloopers, outtakes, TONS of deleted scenes, Easter eggs, trailers, TV spots, a photo gallery and much more.

In addition, Paramount's World Trade Center (due 12/12) will be available in three versions as well... a standard edition in full frame and anamorphic widescreen, as well as a 2-disc commemorative edition in anamorphic widescreen. Extras will include audio commentary with director Oliver Stone, interviews, deleted scenes and more TBA.

Here's a look at the cover art for Fox's Little Miss Sunshine (12/19), Sony's All the King's Men on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Paramount's Jackass Number Two: Unrated Edition and World Trade Center: 2-Disc Commemorative Edition, and Universal's The Black Dahlia (12/26)...

Little Miss SunshineAll the King's Men: Special EditionAll the King's Men (Blu-ray Disc)

Jackass Number Two: Unrated EditionWorld Trade Center: 2-Disc Commemorative EditionThe Black Dahlia

One other note today... Matt's posted some great music news over at our MusicTAP affiliate site. It seems that the ENTIRE Genesis catalog is currently being remastered for release on the high-resolution SACD format next year! Just when you thought SACD was dead, good news indeed.

Stay tuned...

11/7/06

Well... there's not a great deal of news to report today, either on the standard DVD or the high-def front. We do have a couple of new announcements, however, so we'll get to that in a second.

First up today, own own Todd Doogan has checked in again with his Weekly Release Roundup, taking a look at some of the great DVDs hitting store shelves this fair Tuesday. Some of you might be standing in line to vote today, yes? Well... Todd's already in another kind of line, and he's got a bunch of gamers with him. Be sure to check out his column - it's always worth a read.

Also today here at The Bits, we've kicked off FOUR new Contests, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's The West Wing: The Complete Seventh Season and Gary Cooper: The Signature Collection, Paramount's Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete First Season, Dark Sky's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Two-Disc Ultimate Edition and IFC Film's Wordplay. The contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, November 12th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

Now that news... Warner has just announced the HD-DVD/DVD Combo and Blu-ray Disc release of the CG-animated The Ant Bully on 11/28, day and date with standard DVD. The HD-DVD/DVD Combo version will feature Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio (SRP $39.99). The Blu-ray Disc will include Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (SRP $34.99). Extras should be the same as on the standard DVD. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Warner has also announced the standard DVD release of Crooks (aka Errors, Freaks and Oddities) on 1/23/07 (SRP $19.97).

Told you there wasn't much news. Watch for reviews soon.

Stay tuned...

11/6/06

Yagshemash!

We've got some good DVD and high-def news for you today... but first a brief movie recommendation. If you haven't seen Borat yet, then go see Borat as soon as you can (here's the official website). I'm not kidding - it's one of the funniest things I've seen in years, and one of the sharpest satires in recent memory. Think the kind of social commentary you find in South Park, matched with the balls-out attitude of Jackass, performed live in the mold of an Andy Kauffman or a Peter Sellers. It's WELL worth your time, just trust me on this. I don't want to give anything away or say too much about it, because you need to just experience it for yourself. But I will say this... if you think the best parts of the film have already been given away in the trailers, you're in for a surprise. Sacha Baron Cohen has balls. BALLS, I tell you! We can't WAIT for this DVD, and it had better be jam packed with extras (including LOTS of deleted scenes, because there are a LOT of deleted scenes). You listening Fox?

Okay, let's get to that news: First up this afternoon, Sony has set the DVD release of King of Queens: The Complete Seventh Season for 1/16/07. Also coming on that day are Blu-ray Disc versions of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Winged Migration. Sony has also confirmed today that they'll release Blu-ray Disc versions of Kung Fu Hustle on 12/12 and All the King's Men on 12/19... which of course means the DVD version of All the King's Men will street on 12/19 as well. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Meanwhile, Warner will release Loonatics Unleashed: Season 1 on 3/13/07. Also newly announced (for HBO) are Lucky Louie: The Complete First Season on 1/30, and Def Comedy Jam: Volume 1 and Def Comedy Jam: Volume 2 on 2/6.

Shout! Factory has set World Series 2006: Tigers vs. Cardinals for release on 11/21 (SRP $19.98 - note that this is not a DVD release of the complete games).

Finally, 20th Century Fox has set The Illusionist and Bandidas for release on 1/9.

You'll find additional upcoming street date information for major anticipated January titles in The Rumor Mill today, so don't miss it.

Here's a look at cover art for Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand on Blu-ray (11/14) along with Warner's A Christmas Story HD-DVD (TBA) and Criterion's The Double Life of Veronique DVD (11/21)...

X-Men: The Last Stand (Blu-ray Disc)A Christmas StoryThe Double Life of Veronique

We also want to remind you all to take a few moments tonight to research your local issues and candidates in the mid-term elections tomorrow (your local newspapers should have print and online guides to all the issues and positions)... and, or course, to be sure to get out there and vote. It's easy, it's painless, it only takes a moment and it's patriotic too. 'Nuff said.

We'll be back tomorrow with new disc reviews and a new Doogan's Views Weekly Roundup as well, so be sure to check back then.

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 11/2/06 - 11:45 AM PST)

Well... we've got still MORE high-def news for you today. It seems the studios are eager to make as much of a splash with HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc as they can before the holidays, so the title announcements just don't stop coming. The latest is that Warner Home Video is about to announce the simultaneous release (on BOTH formats) of A Christmas Story, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Scooby-Doo: The Movie. Warner hasn't finalized the street date yet, but we expect to have it shortly. You can reasonably expect the titles late this month or early in December.

Also today, we have some more details for you on 20th Century Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand Blu-ray Disc. Fox claims that it's their first Blu-ray Disc title with 100% high-definition content. The 11/14 release will SRP for $39.98. From the studio's press release: "Authored in HDMV with AVC (MPEG 4 compression) and exceptional 6.1 DTS ES HD Lossless Master Audio, the X-Men: The Last Stand BD release boasts two commentary tracks (director Brett Ratner with writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg; separate track featuring producers Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter), 12 alternate/extended scenes presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital audio (with optional director/writer commentary) and enhanced Marvel Trivia Track - with this feature activated, color graphics pop up throughout the film giving inside information from the Marvel universe on characters and events, plus favorite Marvel Comics are referenced and Marvel characters and graphics are incorporated into the presentation." We'll post art as soon as it's available.

Still not done. Paramount has just revealed that they'll be releasing Ridley Scott's Black Rain on HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 1/23/07. Also on that day, they'll be releasing We Were Soldiers and The Manchurian Candidate on Blu-ray Disc (both titles are already available on HD-DVD). And on 2/6, they'll follow with Failure to Launch on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Hey Paramount... where's Braveheart? You know Braveheart, right? How's about some more GOOD high-def catalog? Like Braveheart. And while we're talking Ridley Scott, how come 1492 isn't even out on standard DVD yet? D'oh! Anyway, the High-Def Release List has been updated to reflect all the above news.

And on the standard DVD front today, we have still more good news from The Mountain. Paramount will release The Animation Show: Volumes 1 & 2 on 1/16/07 as a 2-disc set, featuring 20 animated shorts selected by Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt, including The Cathedral, The Rocks, Mt. Head, Judge's Early Pencil Tests and Other Experiments, Rejected and more. Better still, Paramount will release Beauty and the Beast: The Complete First Season on 2/13 - yes, that's the cult fave TV series starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman (that collective gasp you just heard was the sound of the ladies out there swooning). Also streeting on that day is Reno 911!: Reno's Most Wanted Uncensored. And following on 2/20 is Family Ties: The Complete First Season. Here's a look at cover art...

The Animation Show: Volumes 1 & 2Beauty and the Beast: The Complete First SeasonFamily Ties: The Complete First Season

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/2/06 - 12:01 AM PST)

Morning, Bits-ers! We've got some interesting high-def and standard DVD news today. Let's talk high-def first...

We've just learned that 20th Century Fox will officially announce today the Blu-ray Disc release of X-Men: The Last Stand on 11/14 (SRP $39.98). The disc is timed to street just a few days before the 11/17 debut of Sony's BD-enabled PlayStation 3 game system. The title is expected to feature 1080p AVC video, DTS HD 6.1 audio, audio commentary with director Brett Ratner and writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg, audio commentary with producers Avi Avrad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, 12 deleted/extended scenes, a "Marvel Trivia Track" and more. All of the extras will reportedly be in high-definition. You can read more here at Home Media Retailing.

Fox has also just announced its first January Blu-ray Disc titles (due 1/23), including Alien vs. Predator, Commando, Courage Under Fire and Men of Honor, as well as its first February Blu-rays as well (due 2/13), including Planet of the Apes (2001), Broken Arrow, Entrapment, The Sentinel, Phone Booth and Chain Reaction. We're told to expect many of these discs to include at least some of the previous DVD extras. Alien vs. Predator will also include both the theatrical and unrated editions of the film via seamless branching. We believe this is the first time this feature has been used on a high-definition release.

Not done yet: MGM (via Fox) has announced a pair of their own February Blu-ray Disc releases (also due 2/13), including The Princess Bride and The Usual Suspects.

We've updated the High-Def Release List with all of these titles (and LOTS of new Amazon pre-order links) accordingly. In the meantime, here's a look at the cover art for a sampling of these newly-announced discs:

Alien vs. Predator (Blu-ray Disc)Planet of the Apes (Blu-ray Disc)The Princess Bride (Blu-ray Disc)

The Usual Suspects (Blu-ray Disc)Broken Arrow (Blu-ray Disc)Chain Reaction (Blu-ray Disc)

A couple other bits of high-def news... DVD International will release an HD-DVD version of Digital Video Essentials: High Definition on 11/14. No word yet on a Blu-ray Disc release, but one is likely on the way. Also, the first Weinstein Company HD-DVDs (due 12/5) are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com, including Derailed, Wolf Creek, Scary Movie 4 and The Matador.

On the standard DVD front today, Universal has announced the release of a Steve Martin: The Wild and Crazy Comedy Collection on 1/23 (SRP $19.98), which will include newly-remastered versions of The Jerk, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and The Lonely Guy. Also coming that day is a Tom Hanks: Comedy Favorites Collection (SRP also $19.98), including remastered versions of The Money Pit, The 'Burbs and Dragnet.

Meanwhile, Warner has added All Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series 1 Collection, All Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series 2 Collection, All Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series 3 Collection, All Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series 5 Collection and All Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series 6 Collection to its 11/14 DVD slate (for the BBC). In addition, they're releasing a pair of documentary titles for National Geographic in February... Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary (on 2/6) and Eye of the Leopard (2/20).

Warner has also announced a new line of catalog DVDs, called the Triple Features Collection. Each will be priced at SRP $14.98 and will include 3 classic films. Due on 11/7 are a pair of John Wayne collections including The Telegraph Trail/Somewhere in Sonora/The Man from Monterey and The Big Stampede/Ride Him Cowboy/Haunted Gold, a pair of Randolph Scott collections including Colt 45/Fort Worth/Tall Man Riding and The Man Behind the Gun/Thunder Over the Plains/Riding Shotgun, and several additional releases including catalog action and family titles. Most interesting among them is Never So Few/Go for Broke!/Objective, Burma!, in which Go for Broke! is new to DVD. All the other titles have been previously released.

Just FYI, we've also confirmed today that MGM's 5-film Rocky Anthology DVD box set (due on 12/5) will NOT include the new 2-disc Rocky: Collector's Edition. You'll only be able to purchase that separately for now.

And around the site this morning, we've posted a new Digital Bits Power Buy on Pioneer's Elite Pro-FHD1 that some of you might be interested in.

Back with more later, so stay tuned!

11/1/06

Afternoon, folks! Hope you all are doing well. I'm at least starting to feel human again from this cold, so you know... you take what you can get.

As promised, our own Barrie Maxwell has checked in with a look at the current state of Humphrey Bogart films on DVD in his latest Classic Coming Attractions. Barrie also reviews 8 classic titles on disc, including Warner's Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection - Volume 1, Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection - Volume 2, the Doctor X/The Return of Doctor X double feature and the Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection, along with Universal's Dracula: 75th Anniversary Edition, Frankenstein: 75th Anniversary Edition, The Boris Karloff Collection and Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection. As always, he runs down the latest classic film DVD and high-def release announcements as well. It's another great column so do check it out and enjoy!

Also today, Universal has finally re-announced the 12/26 HD-DVD release of The Breakfast Club and The Deer Hunter. The Breakfast Club will be a DVD/HD-DVD combo format disc. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Warner has set 2-packs of The Batman: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 and Teen Titans: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 for release on 12/5.

In other news, Pioneer has just announced that they're going to follow Sony's lead and postpone the release of their $1500 set-top Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-HD1, until December. According to Pioneer's Andy Parsons, "We just want to make sure the player does what it's supposed to do." You can read more here at Video Business.

Meanwhile, Toshiba, which will be releasing its 2nd generation HD-DVD players around the time that Pioneer and Sony are releasing their 1st gen Blu-ray players, has announced a plan to boost its sluggish hardware sales by offering three free HD-DVD titles with the purchase of their players. Click here for the details from Home Media Retailing.

While we're talking about the new high-def formats, Fortune magazine has just listed HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc among the "Scariest tech of 2006". That's not exactly good news for either format, but you can hardly blame senior editor Peter Lewis for the comment, given the format war and each format's uncertain future. It's certainly an interesting time for movie fans, that's for sure.

Finally today, we've updated a lot of the DVD format stats we track (above) including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers for the first half of October. We've also updated Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to its most recent version, dated 9/12.

Stay tuned...

10/31/06

Yes... it's Halloweenie Time again - that fateful day most loved by dentists, mask makers and sweet shops everywhere!

As luck would have it, I'm living in an appropriately mucus-coated nightmare at the moment, so I'm pretty much stuck in bed for the day. I couldn't even taste a piece candy right now if I wanted to, and I'm pronouncing it "caddy" to boot.

But as some of you know, Halloween is our old pal Todd's favorite holiday of the year. So in honor of all the spooky fun, he's checked in again with a new Doogan's Views Weekly Roundup to run down all the big DVD releases hitting store shelves today. He's even tucked an actual DVD review in there... Subversive Cinema's Future-Kill: Limited Collector's Edition. What's not to love, right?

Okay... as there's no other real DVD news to report at the moment, I'm off to bed before this cold turns me into a full-on zombie. However, I'll be watching some discs while stuck between the covers, which means reviews'll be posted later this week of Warner's new Forbidden Planet: Collector's Edition and yes... Paramount's M:i:III among others. Plus, we have a new Classic Coming Attractions column from Barrie that should be up tomorrow.

We hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween, and we'll see you tomorrow.

Stay tuned!

10/30/06

Afternoon, folks! Sorry today's post is a little late. We've been having these damn Santa Ana winds here in So-Cal lately, not to mention a couple really nasty wildfires, and the combination has me struggling to fight off a massive head cold.

Anyway, first up today, I'm pleased to present a trio of new DVD reviews for you. I've taken an in-depth look at Sony Wonder's forthcoming Harveytoons: The Complete Collection (due 11/7), along with Universal's Saturday Night Live: The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse and Criterion's absolutely first-rate new 3-disc special edition of Seven Samurai (reviewed with Todd Doogan). I'll tell you, Seven Samurai is one of those rare special editions that's so good, it belongs in every Bits reader's DVD collection. No kidding. We can't wait for more Akira Kurosawa films on DVD from Criterion - some of the older titles that have yet to find their way to disc, like Dodesukaden perhaps. Criterion also has new re-issues of Yojimbo and Sanjuro coming in January, BTW.

We've got some new DVD announcements to report today. First up, Universal has set Jet Li's Fearless for release on 12/29, in separate Unrated full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVD versions, along with an HD-DVD/DVD Combo release that contains the Unrated version in high-definition on Side A, and both the unrated and theatrical versions in standard definition anamorphic widescreen on Side B. Extras on all three releases will include a deleted scene and the "making of" featurette, A Fearless Journey. Also newly announced by Universal for release on 12/26 is The Black Dahlia, in separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVDs (an HD-DVD version is expected, but has yet to be officially announced).

Meanwhile, Sony has set The Covenant for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 1/2/07, with Quinceanera and Van Gogh (1992) set to follow on DVD on 1/9. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Also today, New Line has announced the 1/23 DVD release of Undisputed 2 (SRP $19.97).

Finally, Lionsgate's November slate will include Shockwave, Jekyll + Hyde, Koala Brothers Outback Christmas, Care Bears: The Nutcracker and a Clifford Gift Set on 11/7, Cheatin' Hearts, Bedroom Window, Martial Arts Master, The Life of Bruce Lee, Untamed Antarctic: The World of Luc Jacquet and Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man on 11/14, Dark Harvest 3: Scarecrow, Blood Stains and The Punisher: Extended Cut on 11/21, and Chasing Christmas, See No Evil and a Van Wilder: Van Gone Wilder Edition on 11/28.

Around the Bits today, we've kicked off FOUR new Contests, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of HBO's The Hitchhiker: Volume Three, Lionsgate's Speed Racer: Volume 5, Paramount's M:i:III - Collector's Edition and 20th Century Fox's Boston Legal: Season Two. All of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, November 5th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

We'll be back tomorrow with a new Weekly Roundup from Todd, more news and (with a little luck pending my cold) a review of Paramount's M:i:III, which hit stores on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats today.

Stay tuned!

10/27/06

It's been rather slow news-wise these last couple of days, so we've been spending our time preparing a bunch of DVD reviews that we'll start posting on Monday. In the meantime, however, we do have a couple of things to report today.

First of all, we've gotten our hands on Classic Media's Harveytoons: The Complete Collection DVD and we have a couple comments about it. The bad news is that these are NOT the original Harveytoon shorts per se, but rather this 4-disc set contains episodes of the more recent The Harveytoon Show (each episode of which contained 3 or 4 Harveytoon shorts) as seen on Fox Family Channel and more recently on Boomerang as Casper and Friends. The OTHER bad news is that there's no list of the episodes and shorts included anywhere on the packaging, and even when you pop the DVDs in, they're only identified by a number. A booklet would have helped this set immensely. What fans will consider even WORSE news, however, is that the set only includes 52 episodes, while there were 78 episodes of the show in all. On top of that, while the episodes are listed by number, they don't always even correspond to the original series' episode numbers. Disc One seems to correspond to the Wikipedia episode list fairly well, but then the set starts to skip episodes and jump around like crazy. And while the original series occasionally duplicated some of the same shorts over different episodes, new episodes seem to have been edited together such that there's little to no duplication... and yet a LOT of the original shorts even from this series are missing. Obviously, there are many more original Harveytoon shorts that were never included in this series as well. The one bit of good news that we can report about Harveytoons: The Complete Collection is that the video and audio quality here is very good. But calling this set "complete" is terribly misleading to say the least. Despite its problems, however, this is still a decent collection of great and classic shorts on DVD. If your kids haven't had the chance to see these before, this is a good way to expose them to a lot of wonderful animation. But with a little more attention to detail, this could have been a truly great DVD release, ranking right up there with Warner's Looney Tunes Golden Collections and Disney's Walt Disney Treasures sets. What a shame. Animation historian Jerry Beck has more information on this Harveytoons DVD over at his Cartoon Brew website (check the 10/26 post).

In other news today, Paramount has confirmed the 12/12 release of World Trade Center on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Also due on 12/26 from Paramount is The Last Kiss on standard DVD. The studio has confirmed that Jackass Number Two will be released on 12/26 as well.

Here's a look at the cover art for World Trade Center on HD-DVD, along with Warner's Superman: The Movie on Blu-ray Disc (11/28) and Paramount's The Last Kiss on standard DVD...

World Trade Center (HD-DVD)Superman: The Movie (Blu-ray Disc)The Last Kiss

Also today, Samsung has finally issued their first official public firmware update for the BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player. You can find it here at this link on their website. It corrects the Genesis chip issue and adds functionality for new BD Java features among other things. You simply download the zipped archive, then burn the unzipped file onto a CD-R via the "burn image" option. Once you insert the disc into your player, it should recognize the file and begin updating the firmware automatically. It takes about 15 minutes, after which point the disc will pop out and the player will turn itself off. Then just fire it up again and the player should be updated. I've done it myself, and it worked like a charm. Good luck with the update.

We'll be back with more if breaking news warrants it. Otherwise, have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday. Stay tuned...

10/25/06

We've got a quick Godzilla update for you today. As some of you know, Classic Media recently released a nice 2-disc DVD set of the original Godzilla film (aka Gojira), which includes both the original Japanese version of the film as well as the dubbed American version, along with audio commentaries and other extras. The follow-up releases, Mothra vs. Godzilla (aka Godzilla vs. The Thing) and Godzilla Raids Again, each also a 2-disc set (with both the Japanese and American versions), were to have been released on 11/7, but have now been delayed. Those of you who had pre-ordered them on Amazon have been (or will be) receiving an e-mail notice saying that the titles are "no longer available". They haven't been cancelled... just delayed until Spring 2007. However, you CAN still buy them starting on 11/7 online, but only on the exclusive promotional website. In the meantime, here's a look at the artwork for all three...

Godzilla (aka Gojira)Mothra vs. Godzilla (Godzilla vs. The Thing)Godzilla Raids Again

In other news today, Warner has announced the DVD release of the Dark Castle Horror Collection on 2/20 (SRP $42.92). The set will include Ghost Ship, Gothika, House of Wax (2005), House on Haunted Hill (1999) and Thirteen Ghosts. Also announced by Warner (for National Geographic) are The Hunt for Zarqawi and Triple Cross: Bin Laden's Spy in America on 1/30.

The following is again Rumor Mill-worthy, but our industry sources have informed us that Fox will release Flyboys on 1/23, Lionsgate will release Crank on 1/9, Universal will street Jet Li's Fearless for Rogue Pictures on 12/19 as well as The Black Dahlia on 12/26, Sony will release The Covenant on 1/2, Velocity Home Entertainment's Farce of the Penguins will street on 1/30 and the Yari Film Group's The Illusionist will arrive on 1/9 (DVD distributor MGM via Fox).

And on the high-def front, Sony has re-announced their Kung Fu Hustle Blu-ray Disc for release on 12/12.

Also, we've confirmed with Buena Vista that in addition to their upcoming Pearl Harbor Blu-ray Disc being a 50GB dual-layered title, both Enemy of the State and Flightplan will be 50GB as well. We've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Stay tuned...

10/24/06

Afternoon, folks. We're a little later today that expected with our post, but for good reason. We're very pleased to say that Todd Doogan's back and he's resurrected his Weekly Roundup to help all of you sort out the many DVD releases that come out each week. He starts with a look at the titles hitting stores today, including new releases, catalog double-dips, box sets, TV on DVD and even the latest Criterion discs. We're certainly glad to have Todd back in business, so we hope you enjoy his Roundup! Be sure to drop him an e-mail and say hello!

Now then... there's a little bit of DVD announcement news to report this afternoon. First, Sony has set a 2-disc release of Shottas and a repackaged 2-disc Glory: Special Edition for on 1/2/07.

Also, Warner has announced the DVD release of The Wicker Man (2006) on 12/19 (SRP $28.98). Hustle: The Complete Season 2 will follow on 2/13/07 (for the BBC), with What's New Scooby-Doo: Complete First Season due on 2/20/07.

As a quick follow-up, we've gotten word that those First Look Baywatch "season" DVDs we mentioned yesterday (due on 10/31), will not include all of the episodes, apparently because First Look doesn't own the rights to four episodes that have been released on DVD previously by other companies. Just so you know.

Finally, Sony has unfortunately revealed that they're delaying their BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc player again. It had been expected on 10/25 (tomorrow), but it's now tentatively due to be released on 12/4. According to a company spokesperson, Sony is working on fine-tuning the player's firmware. I'll tell you, it's getting a little old hearing about these hardware delays. Hopefully, Sony's player will be out before the end of the year.

We'll leave you today with a look at a trio of those newly-announced Disney Blu-ray Disc titles (due on 11/21 and 12/14)... Pearl Harbor, Enemy of the State and Invincible...

Pearl Harbor (Blu-ray Disc)Enemy of the State (Blu-ray Disc)Invincible (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

10/23/06

Morning, everyone! Boy, have we got some good announcement news today! Both DVD and high-def.

But first, did any of you happen to catch Friday night's episode of Battlestar Galactica? DAMN! That was one of the best hours of television I've seen in YEARS. What an outstanding piece of drama! I'll tell you what, if the Television Academy overlooks this show for an Emmy nod again this year, those folks are smoking something funny. If you didn't get the chance to see it, I highly recommend that you check it out.

Okay, sorry. Just had to get that out there.

Let's start with the DVD news. You knew this was coming eventually, so repeat after me: Hasselhoff, Hasselhoff! Yeah, that's right. Baywatch is finally coming to DVD! Baywatch: Season One and Baywatch: Season Two street on DVD on 10/31 (SRP $34.99 each) from First Look Home Entertainment. Each 5-disc set includes all of the season's episodes along with bonus material, most of which are TBA. But expect photo galleries, trivia tracks and even lost episodes. What else can you say, but happy days indeed.

The following would normally go in The Rumor Mill, so salt accordingly. But our studio sources are telling us to expect Miramax's The Night Listener on 1/9/07, as well as Paramount's Jackass 2 and The Last Kiss on 12/26. The Last Kiss will include audio commentary by Zach Braff, Tony Goldwyn, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson and other members of the cast and crew, the Cary Brothers' Ride music video (directed by Braff), deleted scenes, a gag reel and more.

Also today, Sony has officially announced The Covenant for release on 1/2.

And Genius Products has announced the 1/23 release of IFC Films' This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

Now then... we've got some VERY interesting high-def news today. Buena Vista has just officially announced Waves 3 & 4 of their Blu-ray Disc slate. As we posted a while back, Wave 3 streets on 11/21 and includes Annapolis, Flightplan, Goal!, Sky High and The Wild. Newly added to the 11/21 line-up, however, is Enemy of the State. Better still, Wave 4 streets on 12/14 and includes Invincible (BVHE's first day and date Blu-ray Disc release) and Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor (the studio's first 50GB release). These titles are official and confirmed with the studio. Additional details and artwork will follow soon.

One more note on Buena Vista: There's a rumor circulating around the Net (that originates from the Ultimate Disney website) that the forthcoming Cars DVD includes a trailer that promotes many of the Disney animated Platinum Edition titles for release on Blu-ray Disc format. This is apparently true, however I spoke with the studio this morning, and was told in no uncertain terms that there are currently no plans to release any Platinum titles on Blu-ray Disc at least through the first half of 2007. I'd be surprised if they weren't released eventually but, as of now, don't expect them until later in 2007 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Warner has officially announced the HD-DVD release of Smallville: The Complete Fifth Season on 11/28 (SRP $79.98). The 5-disc set will include all of the same extras as the DVD release that's already available.

As expected, we've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Also today, Target Corp. has announced that they've started to begin stocking both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc movie titles in many of their retail locations, side by side, in anticipation of the forthcoming release of the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive. They're actually offering pretty great pricing according to this report at Home Media Retailing. Blu-ray Discs are $29.99 for new releases and $19.99 for catalog films, while all HD-DVDs are $19.99 except DVD/HD-DVD Combo titles, which are priced at $29.99. I have to say, I'm impressed. I still think two formats scare most people away, but at those prices, people who buy the new game systems MIGHT actually take a look if they happen to see that one of their favorite films is available.

Finally this morning, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actress Jane Wyatt on Friday. Wyatt was familiar to many for her roles in such films as Great Expectations, Lost Horizon and Gentleman's Agreement, and on TV's Father Knows Best. Perhaps even more fame came to her as a result of playing Spock's mother, Amanda, on both TV's original Star Trek series and the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. She was 96.

Stay tuned...

10/20/06

We don't have a ton of news for you today, but there are a few interesting items to report, all of it high-def related.

First up, MGM (via Fox) will release Rocky and Bulletproof Monk on Blu-ray Disc format on 12/5 (SRP $39.98 each). Both titles will apparently include English DTS HD 5.1 among the audio options. Windtalkers is also set for release on 11/28.

What's more, we've learned that future MGM titles on Blu-ray Disc will include The Usual Suspects (possibly also for release on 11/28) and Rocky Balboa (day and date in 2007).

We've also learned that Fox is currently working on Blu-ray Disc releases of Phone Booth, Planet of the Apes (2001) and Flyboys, among other titles.

Meanwhile, while visiting Paramount's DVD production facilities yesterday to preview Monday's HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of M:i:III (watch for reviews Monday), I was able to confirm that Oliver Stone's World Trade Center will be released day-and-date on both high-def formats (on 12/12, according to their press site). The Blu-ray Disc will be a 50GB release. The studio is also planning to release most new films day-and-date on both high-def formats going forward, and is working to develop plans for their large slate of catalog titles for 2007.

I also learned that the reason the HD-DVD version of M:i:III includes the enhanced commentary, but the Blu-ray Disc version doesn't, is that when production started on the title, the Blu-ray Disc/BD-Java authoring toolset wasn't quite ready to do it. That's about to change, however, so expect future releases to include similar such features on both formats. With regard to the lack of more advanced audio options (beyond standard Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus) on Paramount releases, the studio wants to be able to hear and test these audio formats on actual consumer hardware before including it on their releases. They do, however, expect to add such audio options eventually.

One other interesting note - I was told that both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc are now capable of seamless branching, though no title has yet taken advantage of it. Basically, all of the same basic functionality that the existing DVD format is capable of is now ready to go on the high-def formats. What's left to be worked out in authoring software and hardware testing are the more advanced interactive features that are new to HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. You'll start to see a lot more of that on titles from the various studios early next year.

Meanwhile, we've got official word on the audio specs for Warner's just-announced HD-DVDs of Forbidden Planet, Mutiny on the Bounty and Casablanca (street date 11/14). Forbidden Planet will include Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (in English) and 1.0 (in French and Spanish). Mutiny on the Bounty will include Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (in English and French) and 1.0 (Spanish). Finally, Casablanca will include Dolby Digital Plus 1.0 (in English, French and Spanish). All of the standard DVD extras will be included on the HD-DVDs.

Here's cover art for Warner's Forbidden Planet, Mutiny on the Bounty and Casablanca on HD-DVD, Universal's The Breakfast Club DVD/HD-DVD Combo (TBA) and MGM's Rocky and Bulletproof Monk on Blu-ray Disc...

Forbidden Planet (HD-DVD)Mutiny on the Bounty (HD-DVD)Casablanca (HD-DVD)

The Breakfast Club (DVD/HD-DVD Combo)Rocky (Blu-ray Disc)Bulletproof Monk (Blu-rau Disc)

Naturally, we've updated our High-Def Release List with all of the new title and date information.

One last note today... our friends over at From Script to DVD.com have posted a list of all the places you can see Disney's A Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D, starting this weekend. It should be pretty cool, so do check it out if you have the chance.

We MAY be back later today with a little bit more. If not, we'll definitely see you back here on Monday with the latest news and some disc reviews too.

Stay tuned (and have a great weekend)!

10/19/06

We've got some interesting standard DVD and high-definition news for you today. First, let's get the HD news out of the way. There are rumors going around the Net that Apple may have decided to support both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats in version 10.5 of its Mac OS X operating system. The rumors originated from the Think Secret website. It's interesting news if true but, to our knowledge, Apple has issued no confirmation at this point. It's also probably no surprise, given that both formats seem determined to stick around, at least for the foreseeable future. Computer software giants like Apple and Microsoft would be foolish not to support both eventually. It's worth noting, however, that according to CNet, Microsoft claims that its new Windows "Vista" operating system will support neither HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disc out of the box. Its Windows Media Player 11 software will obviously support the VC1 codec, but playback of discs in either format will apparently require third-party software, like Cyberlink's PowerDVD.

In other high-def news (well... sort of news anyway), Universal briefly announced on their press website yesterday that they plan to release The Breakfast Club and The Deer Hunter on HD-DVD on 12/26. The Breakfast Club will be a DVD/HD-DVD Combo disc (SRP $34.98), while The Deer Hunter will be HD-DVD only (SRP $29.98). Both titles will feature Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. Unfortunately, Universal pulled the news from their database later in the day. I think we can safely assume the titles are coming, and we've added them as TBA for 12/26 in our High-Def Release List, but it's probably best not to consider them official until the studio gives the final word.

By the way, don't forget to check out yesterday's post for the details of Warner's new catalog high-def announcement - some GREAT titles were just added to Warner's November slate for both formats.

Now then... we've got some great standard DVD news today. To start, Criterion has just announced their January release slate. The newly-announced titles include Allison Anders, Kurt Voss and Dean Lent's Border Radio (Cat #363), upgraded editions of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (#52) and Sanjuro (#53), Robert Bresson's Mouchette (#363) and producer Richard and Alex Gordon's Monsters and Madmen 4-disc box set (#364), which will include The Haunted Strangler, Corridors of Blood, The Atomic Submarine and First Man into Space. Separate discs of First Man into Space/The Atomic Submarine (#365) and The Haunted Strangler/Corridors of Blood (#366) will also be available. For those who might be wondering, according to Criterion's website, Yojimbo and Sanjuro will now feature new, high-definition digital transfers from restored elements and optional Dolby Digital 3.0 soundtracks (preserving the original Perspecta simulated-stereo effects). Each will also now include audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince, a documentary on the making of the film (created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create), theatrical and teaser trailers, photo galleries and new and improved English subtitle translation. Sanjuro will also include a booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow, along with notes and statements from Kurosawa and his cast and crew. Here's some of the Criterion cover art (that Monsters and Madmen cover is bad-ass)...

Yojimbo (Criterion reissue)Sanjuro (Criterion reissue)Monsters and Madmen 4-Disc Box Set (Criterion)

Not done yet, folks. Warner has officially announced the DVD release of more catalog titles, including Blume in Love, The Clock, Crossing Delancey, Miracle in the Rain and A Summer Place for 2/6/07, with The Butcher Boy, Ginger & Fred, Performance and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner following on 2/13.

We also have a couple of street date changes to report today. Sony has moved An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder from 11/7 to 11/28. And Universal has pushed Sherrybaby from 1/16 to 1/23.

A lot of people have asked whether Fox's 11/21 release of MGM's A Fish Called Wanda: Collector's Edition will be different from Sony's recent almost release (some copies of which were shipped by Amazon). As far as we can tell from Fox's spec list, the only change (aside from the cover art) is that the preview trailers are slightly different. The Sony disc included previews for Creature Comforts: The Complete Series, Fun with Dick and Jane, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Pink Panther (2006). The new DVD ditches Creature Comforts and Fun with Dick and Jane in favor of trailers for The Princess Bride and Casino Royale. Otherwise, the 2-disc set appears to be identical right down to the Easter eggs.

Speaking of Fox and MGM, we've learned that Fox will be releasing a new 2-disc Rocky: Collector's Edition on 12/5 (SRP $26.98). Disc One will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, along with new audio commentary by writer/star Sylvester Stallone, a second new commentary by boxing legends trainer Lou Duva and commentator Bert Sugar, and 3 featurettes (3 Rounds with Legendary Trainer Lou Duva, Interview with a Legend: Bert Sugar and The Opponents). Disc Two will add the 3-part In the Ring: The Making of Rocky documentary, deleted scenes, 4 additional featurettes (Steadicam: Then and Now, Make Up! The Art and Form with Michael Westmore, Stacatto: A Composer's Notebook with Bill Conti and The Ring of Truth) and more. All of this is different from the extras included on the previous Rocky DVD releases, so you'll need to keep those too if you want it all. Fox will also be releasing (for MGM) the same 5-disc Rocky Anthology box set that's been available previously (SRP $49.98) - the one that came out a couple years ago with all new high-def anamorphic transfers for all the films. This is clearly all timed to promote the 12/22 theatrical release of Rocky Balboa.

While we're on the subject, here's the cover art for the Rocky: Collector's Edition, along with Fox's Family Guy: Volume Four (11/14) and M*A*S*H: Martinis & Medicine Collection box set (11/7)...

Rocky: Collector's EditionFamily Guy: Volume FourM*A*S*H: Martinis & Medicine Collection

Finally this morning, in case you missed it, be sure to check yesterday's post for SIX new DVD reviews by yours truly. Told you I'd get them up eventually. There's good news in there for you fans of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet too.

'Nuff for now. Stay tuned...

10/18/06

Hey... how 'bout some DVD reviews? It took me a while, but I've finally managed to complete no less than SIX reviews of new and recent DVD releases, including Disney's The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition, Vice Films' The Vice Guide to Travel, BCI/Eclipse's Flash Gordon: The Complete Series, Universal's United 93, Lionsgate's Speed Racer: Volume 5 and, last but not least, Hip-O/Universal Music's Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out. There's definitely something in there for everyone, so I hope you enjoy them. We're hoping to have more reviews posted in the next day or two as well, so be sure to watch for them.

In the news today, I've spoken with Warner Home Video and learned that they've completed the telecine process for a long-awaited release of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. Work is now underway on special edition content, with the goal of releasing a worthy DVD release sometime in 2007. Good news indeed.

Also today, on the high-definition front, Warner has announced the release of SIX more great catalog titles on 11/14: Casablanca, Mutiny on the Bounty and Forbidden Planet on HD-DVD, and Million Dollar Baby, The Last Samurai and ATL on Blu-ray Disc. All of these titles will sell for $28.99 except ATL, which will sell for $34.99. At least Casablanca and Mutiny on the Bounty will include all of the standard DVD extras. But here's the best news: The Forbidden Planet HD-DVD will also be available in the same 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition tin set packaging as the DVD! So you'll be able to purchase the tin set either on DVD or HD-DVD (SRP $59.92)! We'll post additional details as they come in. In the meantime, we've updated the High-Def Release List accordingly.

Finally today, we've kicked off FIVE new Contests here at The Bits, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's Batman Beyond: Season Two, Rhino's The Dudesons Movie, BCI's 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!, Genius Products' Feast: Unrated and Manga's Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd Gig - Volumes 6 & 7! All of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 29th. Click on the links to enter and good luck!

Back tomorrow with more, so stay tuned...


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