-Website est. 12/15/97-
(Archived Posts 3/26/07 - 3/5/07)
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Afternoon, folks. We've got some new DVD and high-def announcements for
First though, Adam's updated
Theatre with a column reviewing such new theatrical releases
as Shooter, Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hills
Have Eyes II and more. Don't miss it.
Okay, now for those new release announcements. First up, New Line has
set The Number 23 for release on
7/17 (SRP $28.98) in separate R and Unrated Infinifilm editions. Video
is anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 audio.
Extras are set to include feature commentary with director Joel
Schumacher, deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Schumacher), 13
branching Infinifilm featurettes (Original
End, Original Idea,
23s in the Movie, 23s
on the Set, Theory of Cupcakes,
Fingerlings Tattoo, The
23rd Day of Shooting, Mayans End
of the World, Magical Quality of
#5, VFX: Storyboard,
VFX: Suicide Blonde Fall, VFX:
Chapter 23 and VFX: Writing in
Room 23), the Making of The Number
23 documentary and 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes (including
Creating the World of Fingerling,
The Number 23 Enigma and How
to Do Your Numbers).
New Line has also announced a Rush Hour:
Special Edition and a Rush Hour 2:
Special Edition for release on 5/22.
Paramount has announced Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.:
The Second Season for release on 6/26.
Universal has set Miami Vice: Season Five
for release on 6/26 (SRP $59.98).
Warner has revealed Birdman and the Galaxy
Trio: The Complete Series and Space
Ghost & Dino Boy: The Complete Series for release on
7/17. The studio has also set Lockout
and National Geographic's Wild Chronicles:
Season One for release on 6/26, To
Kill a Killer on 6/19, Duplicity
on 5/15 and Music and Lyrics on
HBO has set Vietnam War Story for
And 20th Century Fox has set The Tyrone
Power Collection (The Black Rose,
Blood and Sand, Captain
from Castile, Price of Foxes
and Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Black)
for release on 5/1, with The Verdict:
Collector's Edition following on 6/12.
Finally today, a sizzle reel for New Line's The
Golden Compass (coming to theaters on 12/7) has finally hit
the Net this afternoon (you'll find it
The film is the first of a planned trilogy based on author Philip
Pullman's excellent His Dark Materials
books. We're pretty excited about this film around here and, based upon
this early footage, it looks as if it's shaping up great. Do check it
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Hi to all! Hope you're having a great weekend. I just wanted to drop in
here quickly this morning to remind anyone who might be interested that
tonight is the debut of the Planet Earth
documentary mini-series on The Discovery Channel and Discovery HD. The
entire 11-episode series was shot in high-definition and it's well worth
checking out - highly recommended. You can visit the program's
website here for more information.
Also, don't forget that the season finale of Battlestar
Galactica wraps up this evening as well on Sci-Fi.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/23/07 -
1:30 PM PDT)
No kidding, it's true. Ten years ago tomorrow, the DVD format
officially launched here in the States. Where did the time go? It seems
like only yesterday that Todd was reviewing laserdiscs for TNT's Roughcut,
and Jahnke was making movies with Uncle Lloyd at Troma, and I was
spending every day on the phone trying to get the studios to tell me
what movies they were working on for DVD release so that I could share
the information with fellow enthusiasts on E-Town's
It's All DVD forum (now long
defunct). Anyone remember that? Good times, I'll tell you.
For the record, a little history: March 1997 was the big month here in
the States for DVD (though technically it first went public in Japan in
November '96). The first DVD players from Panasonic (the DVD-A100 and
DVD-A300) became available in the U.S. on 3/1, but there were no movie
discs available until a handful of DVD titles from Lumivision arrived in
a select few stores on 3/19 (I believe they were Africa
the Serengeti: IMAX, Animation
Greats, Antarctica: IMAX
and Tropical Rainforest: IMAX -
all in those horrid Polygram slider cases as I recall). The format's
official launch in seven test markets (Chicago, Dallas, L.A./Orange
County, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.) kicked
off on 3/24 with the release of the first DVD players from Toshiba (the
SD-2006 and SD-3006). An initial wave of movie titles from Warner, New
Line, MGM and HBO trickled out on 3/24 or shortly thereafter (including
such films as Blade Runner: The Director's
Cut, The Fugitive, Batman,
The Exorcist, Interview
with the Vampire, Se7en,
GoldenEye and The
Wizard of Oz).
I remember standing outside the front door of a local Circuit City that
morning to be among the first to get my hands on the SD-3006 and a copy
of Blade Runner. I laid a cool
grand on the barrel head for that privilege and never looked back. I
recall a lot of guys shelling out even more for Pioneer's first player
that could play both DVDs and laserdiscs - the DVL-90 was it? Man...
that seems like forever ago. The Bits
actually began as an e-mail newsletter sent out to a few friends online.
The first issue went out on 4/15, and as I recall it started out
something like "DVD is here at last!" after which I proceeded
to enthusiastically review the 3006 and about six movie discs. Soon the
newsletter began including upcoming release information offered by
friends at the various Hollywood studios. A few months later, I started
posting all the same information on my personal web space at Earthlink,
and a couple weeks after that Earthlink called to tell me that I was
getting too much traffic and I should change over to a business plan.
The Digital Bits.com officially
launched as a website on 12/15, just as Circuit City began to unveil
their dreaded Divx pay-per-view DVD scheme.
It's funny - I was actually the first to tell people about Divx
publicly on the E-Town boards back
in December of '97. I'd been calling Buena Vista to see when they were
going to start releasing movies on DVD (at the time they were holding
out) and the woman I was talking to said, "You know... we're going
to start doing these Divx DVDs in a few weeks. There's a phone press
conference happening later today. Do you want to participate?" Did
I ever. A couple hours later and hopping mad, I posted the log-in codes
on It's All DVD so that people
could listen to the recording... and soon the recording itself was
appearing online so that everyone could hear it. A few months later, I
was invited to be among the first to preview Divx and we posted
feature story and editorial about it on The
Bits - one of the first big features we ever did on the site.
It was the first look the public got at Divx anywhere, online or in
Todd joined up with The Bits a
few months after that with a review of
on DVD. Adam signed on in Y2K, after we hung out with him
the set of Citizen Toxie. Then Barrie and Robert came on
board, and a whole host of other great reviewers and columnists have
been part of our ranks over the years. It's been a fun and fascinating
We'll leave you today with some images from the early days, and some of
the years since, to bring back a few memories for you long-timers...
Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday (maybe some of you
tonight at the Chapman
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/23/07 -
12:01 AM PDT)
Morning, everyone! Or evening, for those of you who are catching this
post early on Friday night.
Okay... the BIG news of course is Warner's announcement of The
Ultimate Matrix Collection and The
Complete Matrix Trilogy for release on HD-DVD format on 5/22.
Here's what the cover art will look like...
The Ultimate Matrix Collection
(SRP $119.99) is a 5-disc set that includes all three films in 1080p
video with Dolby TrueHD audio, each on their own disc. For the record,
Warner has told us that ALL of the extras are standard-definition video
only, including The Animatrix
shorts. Here's the disc by disc breakdown of the special features,
nearly all of which are ported over from the previous standard DVD
releases (the original release as well as
previous box set):
Disc One (Side One - The Matrix) -
the film (see specs above), In-Movie Experience, commentary tracks
(written introduction by the Wachowski brothers, Philosophers commentary
by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber, Critics commentary by Todd McCarthy,
John Powers and David Thomson, Cast and Crew commentary by Carrie-Anne
Moss, Zach Staenberg and John Gaeta, Composer commentary by Don Davis
with music-only track, Behind The Matrix
(including Making The Matrix, The
Dance of the Master: Yuen Wo Ping's Blocking Tapes, The
Bathroom Fight and Wet Wall, The
Code of the Red Dress, The Old
Exit: Wabash and Lake, Agent Down
and But Wait: There's More), The
Music Revisited featurette, Marilyn Manson's Rock
is Dead music video, the film's teaser and theatrical
trailers, and 7 TV spots
Disc One (Side Two - The Matrix) -
The Matrix Revisited documentary,
Take the Red Pill (including What
is Bullet Time? and What is the
Concept?) and Follow the White
Rabbit (including Trinity Escapes,
Fu, The Wall, Bathroom
Fight, Government Lobby,
Government Roof, Helicopter
Disc Two (Side One - The Matrix Reloaded)
- the film (see specs above), In-Movie Experience, commentary tracks
(written introduction by the Wachowski brothers, Philosophers commentary
by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber, Critics commentary by Todd McCarthy,
John Powers and David Thomson), Behind The
Matrix Reloaded (including The
Matrix Unfolds, Pre-Load,
Get Me an Exit and The
MTV Movie Awards Reloaded), Enter
the Matrix: The Game (featurette, plus 23 scenes from the
video game), P.O.D.'s Sleeping Awake
music video, the Reloaded/Revolutions
teaser trailer, the film's theatrical trailer and 8 TV spots
Disc Two (Side Two - The Matrix Reloaded)
- Car Chase (including The
Freeway Chase, Oakland Streets and
Freeway: Unseen Material, Tour of
the Merovingian's Garage, Queen of
the Road, Arteries of the
Mega-City: The Visual Effects of the Freeway Chase, Foresight:
Pre-planning the Mayhem, Freeway
Truck Crash: Anatomy of a Shot, Fate
of the Freeway and Freeway Action
Match), Teahouse Fight
(including Two Equals Clash and
Guardian of the Oracle: Collin Chou),
Unplugged (including Creating
the Burly Brawl, A Conversation
with Master Wo Ping, Chad
Stahelski: The Other Neo, Burly
Brawl Action Match and Spiraling
Virtual Shot: Anatomy of a Shot), I'll
Handle Them (including The Great
Hall, Building the Merovingian's
Lair, Tiger Style: A Day in the
Life of Chen Hu and Heavy Metal:
Weapons of the Great Hall) and The
Exiles (including The Exiles
and Big Brother is Watching: The Architect's
Disc Three (Side One - The Matrix
Revolutions) - the film (see specs above), In-Movie
Experience, commentary tracks (written introduction by the Wachowski
brothers, Philosophers commentary by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber,
Critics commentary by Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson),
Behind The Matrix Revolutions
(including Recalibrated, Neo
Realism: The Evolution of Bullet Time, CG
Revolution, Super Big Mini Models,
Super Burly Brawl, Double
Agent Smith, Mind Over Matter: The
Physicality of The Matrix and Future
Gamer: The Matrix Online), the film's theatrical trailer and
6 TV spots
Disc Three (Side Two - The Matrix
Revolutions) - Behind The Matrix
(including Before the Revolution
and 3-D Evolution), Crew
(including Owen's Army: The Australian Art
Dept., 2nd Unit: A World of Their
Own, Bill Pope: Cinematographer of
The Matrix and Masters of Light
and Shadow), Hel
(including Coat Check, Upsidedown
Under, Fast Break, Exploding
Man, Gun Club and The
Extras of Club Hel), Super Burly
Brawl (including The Skybarn,
The Crater, The
Egg, Anatomy of the Superpunch
and Super Burly Brawl), New
Blue World (including Geography of
Zion, The Ships, Tour
of the Neb, Matrix TV
and Logos Fight Expansion), Siege
(including Dig This, The
Siege Action Match, Anatomy of a
Shot: Mifune's Last Stand, Building
an APU and Product of Zion)
and Aftermath (including Revolutionary
Composition, The Glue,
Dane Tracks and Cause
Disc Four (Side One - The Animatrix)
- all 9 animated Animatrix shorts,
commentary tracks (The Second Renaissance,
Part I commentary by Mahiro Maeda, The
Second Renaissance, Part II commentary by Mahiro Maeda, Program
commentary by Yoshiaki Kawajiri and World
Record commentary by Takeshi Koike), Scrolls
to Screen: The History and Culture of Anime and Execution
(including Making Final Flight of the Osiris,
Making The Second Renaissance, Parts I &
II, Making Kid's Story & A
Detective Story, Making Program,
Making World Record, Making
Beyond and Making Matriculated)
Disc Four (Side Two - The Roots of the
Matrix) - Return to Source:
Philosophy & The Matrix (a.k.a. Brainiac's
Revenge) and The Hard Problem: The
Science Behind the Fiction
Disc Five (Side One - Burly Man Chronicles)
- The Burly Man Chronicles
featurettes, Alameda Shoot
featurettes, Australia Shoot
Disc Five (Side Two - The Zion Archive)
- The Zion Archive (photo
galleries), The Rave Reel, The
Matrix Online, 2 music videos and additional theatrical
trailers and TV spots
So that's the Ultimate box set.
The Complete Matrix Trilogy (oddly
enough just $20 less at SRP $99.99) is a 3-disc set that includes the
movies and ONLY the Side One contents of the movie discs (the film, the
commentaries and some extras) from the Ultimate
box set. So the Ultimate box set
seems like the MUCH better deal here.
As Warner notes in their press release, Blu-ray Disc versions of both
of these sets will be released later in 2007. We've done a little
digging, and as you might expect, the delay in getting Blu-ray Disc
versions out at the same time is related to the lack of full
implementation of BD-Java in Blu-ray Disc authoring software and player
hardware - implementation that's needed to do the same kinds of In-Movie
Experience features in Blu-ray that can be done in HD-DVD. Certainly, if
there's any one area where HD-DVD can be said to be far ahead of Blu-ray
Disc, it's in implementation of the interactive features. The HDi
interactive spec for HD-DVD is mandatory in all players, as is Internet
connectivity, whereas BD-Java is only starting to be fully implemented
in Blu-ray hardware and much of the spec's capabilities are optional
right now. And Warner wants the extras on their titles to be the same on
both formats whenever possible. So for those of you wondering why The
Matrix isn't announced yet for Blu-ray, or why Batman
Begins or V for Vendetta
aren't for that matter, that's the reason.
Anyway, we've been looking forward to seeing these films in 1080p for a
long time, regardless of which format they're on. We expect a lot of
copies of these films to sell on HD-DVD, even despite the steep price.
Okay... one last reminder today: Tonight is the high-def screening of
Nine Inch Nails: Beside You in Time
at the new Folino Theatre at Chapman
University (in Orange, CA). The screening will start at 6:30 PM
(Pacific) and afterwards I've been invited to participate in a live Q&A
with the audience on the subject of high-definition media. The event is
open to all (and again it's completely free), so I encourage any of you
who live in the area and who might be interested to attend. Bring your
questions and I hope to see you there.
Back Monday - stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/22/07 - 2 PM PDT)
Quick heads-up: It occurred to me that I posted the date wrong
yesterday on that Nine Inch Nails: Beside You
in Time screening and Q&A I'll be involved with at
Chapman University here in Orange County, CA. It's not 6/23, it's 3/23.
As in tomorrow night.
the details again. Sorry about that. Momentary dyslexia I guess.
You guys should be used to it by now.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/22/07 -
12:01 AM PDT)
Well... all you guys that hate hearing about the new high-def formats
are going to have to take a couple of Aspirin today, because there's
MAJOR high-def news to report this morning.
to Home Media Magazine, Warner Home Video is apparently
releasing The Ultimate Matrix Collection
(SRP $119.99) and The Complete Matrix Trilogy
(SRP $99.99) on HD-DVD format on 5/22. Blu-ray Disc versions are
reportedly in the works for release later in 2007. The HD-DVDs
(presumably the Ultimate set) will
include 8 discs featuring some 35 hours worth of extras (most likely
ported over from the previous standard-definition DVD box set) as well
as new In-Movie Experience (IME) features. We'll post all the details as
soon as the official press release comes in from Warner.
Also this morning, our industry sources have sent word on Sony's June
Blu-ray Disc slate, which is apparently set to include a few major
catalog titles of their own, not the least of which is Guillermo del
Toro's Hellboy. You'll find all
the details in today's update of
Rumor Mill. We're told that an official press release is
expected very soon.
Whew! Is it just me, or is this high-def train is moving awfully fast?
Can you imagine if DVD had launched as aggressively as these two
high-def formats are attempting to? Ten years ago, I recall a number of
major studio execs saying to me that DVD was just going to be a niche
format like laserdisc. Now these guys are lighting their pants on fire
trying to blast out major titles in high-def, all in just the first year
or so of each format. The times they are a-changin'. And this format war
should still never have happened, and it's STILL a joke to most people.
You know... it's worth acknowledging that sometimes we get a little
worked up about all this format war stuff here at The
Bits. Tempers have flared elsewhere online too over it -
certainly some of the discussion groups get a little heated these days.
I suppose it's only natural though. I can tell you from our perspective
here at the site, as a group of people who have covered DVD since the
very beginning through thick and thin, it's been awfully frustrating to
see the industry as a whole fighting a battle that just isn't ultimately
good for anyone. And we've never been ones to sit on the sidelines. We
got involved back in the Divx pay-per-view days, we lobbied for
anamorphic widescreen, we've campaigned to get specific films released
on DVD. Hell, one of our number even restores them. So it's just in our
blood to sometimes stand up on the soapbox and speak our minds. Some of
you love that and some not so much. But we hope you'll bear with us. A
format war is an ugly business. We (us, you guys) wouldn't be doing what
we do and talking and debating this whole thing if we didn't all care so
much about great films and TV shows on disc. Whichever side of the
format war people may find themselves on, we all have that in common.
That's just a little something we should all try keep in mind more
We'll leave you today with a trio of completely non-format war related
items. First, we were saddened yesterday to learn of
passing of Calvert DeForest... better known to TV audiences as
Larry "Bud" Melman from The Late
Show with David Letterman and Late
Night before it. Toast on a Stick will just never taste the
Second, there's good news for fans of Sci-Fi's Battlestar
Galactica. The series is apparently being picked up for a
full season next year - 20 episodes (click
here for more on that from TV Week).
Plus, a 2-hour Battlestar
cable-then-straight-to-DVD movie project is in the works for later this
year as well, reportedly telling the story of how the Pegasus escaped
the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies. Count us in.
Next, I wanted to give a little shout-out to an overlooked show that
has slowly become one of my favorite things on TV... NBC's Friday
Night Lights. Based on the Universal film of the same name
about a high-school football team in rural Texas, this show could easily
have turned into just some other cheesy teen soap opera. Instead, it's
evolved into a series with great acting, sophisticated storytelling,
surprisingly charming moments and some of the best camera work, editing
and direction on TV. Really, if you haven't seen it, it's worth taking
the time to check it out. Maybe there's something about coming from a
small town myself - I don't know. Whatever it is, this show just really
captures that small town vibe. It's great television.
Finally, here's a little something that should give you pet owners a
laugh. Particularly you cat owners, though the humor is pretty
universal. Sarah found
clip a couple of days ago, and we haven't stopped laughing since. "Oh
long johnson..." (you'll get that in a moment) Enjoy. ;)
Okay, that's enough for now I expect. Stay tuned...
Okay, let's have an update on the latest DVD and high-def release
First up, Sony has set Blood and Chocolate
for release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UMD on 5/29. They've also finally
announced a Blu-ray Disc version of Yimou Zhang's Curse
of the Golden Flower on 5/29 as well.
Paramount has just announced Freedom Writers
for release on 5/22 on both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD, along with Hustle
& Flow on both formats on 6/26. Paramount has also
announced The Untouchables: Special
Collector's Edition and The
Warriors: Ultimate Director's Cut for both Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD on 7/3. In terms of standard DVD, the studio has set Beauty
and the Beast: The Second Season for release on 7/10.
Anchor Bay has an interesting slate of titles due in stores this month,
including Masters of Horror: Pro-Life,
the Re-Animator: Limited Edition,
Death Row and a pair of animated
titles, Tokko: Volume 1 and Stan
Lee presents The Condor. All are now available.
Buena Vista has set the Jump In!: Freestyle
Edition for release on 4/3.
Starz Home Entertainment will release Roseanne:
The Complete Seventh Season on 4/3 as well.
Kultur International Films will release The
Legendary Crooners: Frank, Dean, Bing, Nat and Perry on 4/24.
And Warner has set The New Adventures of
Superman (36 6-minute episodes on 2 discs - SRP $26.99), The
New Adventures of Batman: The Complete Series (the Filmmation
animated series featuring the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward - 16
episodes on 2 discs - SRP $26.99) and Wild
Chronicles: Season One Collection (for National Geographic),
all for release on 6/26. They also have Vietnam
War Story due on 5/22 (for HBO) and The
Black Woman's Guide to Finding a Good Man due on 6/5. We sure
wish Warner and Fox would resolve their issues so that we could finally
get the live action Batman series
(with West and Ward) out on DVD. D'oh!
Around the site today, we've got one more Bitsy
Award update for you this afternoon. HBO and Time Life's Get
Smart: The Complete Series box set isn't available in stores
yet. It was produced and released last year (online
from Time Life), but we weren't originally able to consider it for
The Bitsys because it was next to
impossible to get our hands on a review sample. However, we've finally
had the chance to see these discs, and they're so good and so
comprehensive that we'd be seriously remiss if we didn't include them in
our awards in the
DVD - TV Series Presentation category. But we also don't want
to take away from our praise of Universal's fantastic and long awaited
Saturday Night Live: The Complete First
Season. So we've made the rare decision to award a Bitsy
to both titles and make the category a tie. We're told that Get
Smart: The Complete Series is expected to be available in
stores (on a season by season basis) sometime later in 2007. But given
that The Bitsy Awards is all about
recognizing superior DVD work, we just felt that we needed to give
credit where credit is due. Click on the link to see the revised
Around the Net today, Toshiba is apparently fighting back in the
industry press (see
story at Engadget) against the BDA's claims of last week
that they expect their format to oust standard DVD in the storage realm
in three years (click
for that). Toshiba's Deputy General manager of HD-DVD, Olivier Van
Wynendaele, calls the touted 3 to 1 software sales advantage in favor of
Blu-ray "propaganda", because he claims that those numbers
were artificially inflated by free Blu-ray movie vouchers being redeemed
by PlayStation 3 owners. Now that would be a shocking claim... if
Toshiba could show hard data to indicate that they haven't included all
those free copies of King Kong
(that were shipped with Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive) in
THEIR format sales numbers, and if they could further show that they
won't be including in their future sales numbers any of the FIVE free
now offering anyone who buys one of their HD-DVD players. This
seems a lot like the pot calling the kettle black to me. And by the way,
it was THREE free movies just last month - an offer they were running
way back in October of last year (click
here). So which camp is it that's working harder to inflate their
software sales numbers now? HHhmmmm... How long do you suppose it'll be
before Toshiba starts offering $100 players and TEN free movies? You
just watch - that'll be their holiday promotion later this year. I'll
tell you what, this format war is rapidly becoming a joke. Can someone
finally just end this thing, so we can all move on? Universal? Hello?
One last note today: For those of you in the L.A./Orange County area,
(in Orange, CA) will be hosting a free screening of the new Nine
Inch Nails: Beside You in Time Blu-ray Disc on Friday evening
(3/23) at the gorgeous new Folino Theatre (click
here for more). The screening will start at 6:30 PM (Pacific).
I'll be there in person, and afterwards I've been invited to participate
in a live Q&A with the audience on the subject of high-definition
media. The event is open to all (and again it's completely free), so I
encourage any of you who live in the area and who might be interested to
attend. Bring your questions and I hope to see you there!
Today's update is a quick one, to inform you of a couple new things
here at The Bits.
First up, we've just posted Adam's latest edition of
Electric Theatre, featuring film reviews of grindhouse
classics like Dead Silence,
The Town That Dreaded Sundown and
Also this afternoon, we bring you a hardware review that we promised
was coming a few weeks back... an in-depth look at
PT-AE1000U 1080p LCD projector. It's an absolutely fantastic value
for the price - just the thing if you've got a front projection home
theater system and you're looking to upgrade to full 1080p/24
compatibility to enjoy the latest Blu-ray Discs and HD-DVDs. Don't miss
We'll catch you all up on the latest release news tomorrow morning.
(LATE UPDATE - 3/19/07 - 1:45 PM PDT)
Okay, as promised we're back with
latest edition of Classic Coming Attractions. In this
installment, Barrie reviews 19 recent classic releases on DVD, including
20th Century Fox's
Mr. Moto Collection: Volume Two,
Alice Faye Collection,
Ernest Hemingway Film Collection, Cheezy Flicks's
of the Rocket Men, Hermitage Hill's
Tommy in the Great Air Mystery, MGM's
on the Roof: Collector's Edition, Universal's
Quiet on the Western Front,
My Way and
Ryder Double Feature: Volume 11 and Warner Bros.'s
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,
in the Rain,
Mitchum: The Signature Collection and
Was a Crooked Man.... As always, he also runs down the latest
news regarding forthcoming classic releases on DVD and both HD formats.
It's yet another great column from Barrie, so we hope you enjoy it!
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/19/07 -
1:45 AM PDT)
Morning, everyone! Sorry for our disappearance on Thursday and Friday.
We had some construction going on in our neighborhood, and our Internet
connection was erratic both days. What did people do before the Net was
around anyway? It's funny how much we've come to depend on such things.
Anyway, we've got a lot of DVD and high-def announcements to cover this
morning. First though, a quick heads-up: We'll be back later this
morning with a new Classic Coming Attractions
column from our own Barrie Maxwell, including lots of new DVD reviews
and a rundown of the latest classic release announcements. So be sure to
check back for that.
We've also kicked off a pair of new
today, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's
The Dukes of
Hazzard: The Beginning,
Diamond: Two-Disc Special Edition and
Trace: The Complete Second Season, as well as Universal's
Men and The
Good Shepherd. Both contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, April 1st. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Now then, let's get to that release news. First up, a reminder: The BBC
has announced that they'll be releasing (via Warner Home Video) their
upcoming Planet Earth documentary
series on 4/24, just two days after the final episode debuts on The
Discovery Channel and Discovery HD. The 11-episode series looks amazing,
as anyone who's seen the HD previews can attest. The 5-disc DVD release
will SRP for $79.98. And here's even better news: Planet
Earth will be released on both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD as
well (5 discs each, SRP $99.98). All three versions will contain the
U.K. version of the series, which includes 90 minutes worth of footage
not seen on Discovery. The standard DVD set will also include 10-minute,
behind-the-scenes featurettes for each of the 11 episodes, as well as
the 3-part, 150-minute Planet Earth: The
Future documentary. It doesn't appear that these extras will
be included on the HD releases. I've actually seen the first couple of
episodes on DVD, and let me tell you, it's both extraordinary and
visually stunning. This series should be THE must-see high-def event of
Speaking of Warner, the latest issue of Home
Media Magazine (click
here) reports that when Zack Snyder's 300
arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD later in 2007, it will offer a number
of deleted scenes, including one considered too outrageous for theaters
featuring "giants with midget archers on
their backs." Two other deleted scenes will feature
Ephialtes. There will also be an interactive feature where you'll get to
compare panels of Frank Miller's original graphic novel with the same
scenes in the film, as you watch the film.
In other DVD release news, Fox has announced the debut of Epic
Movie on 5/22, in two versions - a theatrical DVD that
includes both full frame and anamorphic widescreen, and an unrated
edition with 8 minutes of added footage. Extras on both will include
audio commentary with the directors, behind-the-scenes featurettes, an
alternate ending, a gag reel and more. Fox has also announced a Mrs.
Doubtfire: Behind the Seams Edition for 5/8, complete with
deleted scenes and a Robin Williams interview. And Fox has set the
classic catalog films Can-Can,
Pigskin Parade and On
the Rivera for release on 5/22.
Universal has announced a number of new DVDs, including Because
I Said So (on 5/8), Kathy Griffin:
My Life on the D-List - Season One and The
Office: Season One and Season Two value pack (both on 6/12),
and Monk: Season Five and Psych:
The Complete First Season (both 6/26).
Universal has also officially announced more of those catalog HD-DVDs
we outed a
couple weeks ago in The Rumor Mill, including Born
on the Fourth of July, Bruce
Liar Liar, Monty
Python's The Meaning of Life and Sneakers
(all on 6/12), and American Me,
Being John Malkovich, Bulletproof,
Joe Black, Mystery Men
and The Watcher (all on 6/26).
Meanwhile, Buena Vista has set Dinosaurs:
The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons for release on 5/1,
with Scrubs: The Complete Fifth Season
following on 5/22.
Sony has announced that Catch & Release
will street on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 5/8.
Lionsgate has announced their Dirty Dancing:
20th Anniversary Special Edition for release on DVD (SRP
$19.99) and Blu-ray Disc ($29.99) on 5/8 as well. Among the all-new
extras you'll find an interview with Patrick Swayze, deleted and
extended scenes, outtakes and more. Audio options will include Dolby
Digital EX and DTS ES.
Shout! Factory has unveiled a Batfink: The
Complete Series 4-disc set for release on 6/19 (SRP $34.98).
All 100 5-minute episodes of the classic 1967 Hal Seeger animated series
will be included.
And Criterion has announced a great new batch of DVD releases for May,
including Claude Berri's The Two of Us
(Catalog #388), Duan Makavejev's WR:
Mysteries of the Organism (#389) and Sweet
Movie (#390), Lindsay Anderson's If....
(#391) and Chris Marker's La jetée/Sans
There's one last bit of high-def announcement news. A retail source has
informed us that StudioCanal's second wave of European HD-DVDs (15
titles) have been re-slated for 5/21. No word, however, on a new date
for Prête-moi ta main.
In other news around the Net today, the latest Nielsen VideoScan
Blu-ray Disc vs. HD-DVD numbers are in for the week ending 3/11. As
expected, Blu-ray continues to add to its 2 to 1 software sales margin
over HD-DVD. You'll find the exact stats
along with updates of the latest top ten DVD titles, for both sales and
New York Post has an article on the HD format war. In the
piece, by columnist Lou Lumenick, industry analyst Alison Casey of
Understanding & Solutions predicts that retailers will start pulling
the plug on HD-DVD sometime next year: "They
never wanted two formats. It confuses consumers and creates problems
with them with returns. They're looking to go to a single format as soon
as possible." She also predicts that Blu-ray players will be
available for below $300 by the end of the year, and that Blu-ray's
studio advantage (and the PS3) will prove insurmountable to HD-DVD. We
can't say that we disagree with that analysis, but your own mileage may
Okay... enough with the format war business for today. Here's a look at
the cover artwork for the BBC's Planet Earth,
Warner's Cult Camp Classics: Volume 4 -
Historical Epics (6/26) and Disney's Chicken
Little Blu-ray Disc (due to street tomorrow, 3/20)...
Okay, we'll be back with Barrie's column later this morning, so stay
There's a couple of big title announcements to report today. First,
Buena Vista has set Mel Gibson's Apocalypto
for release on 5/22 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include audio commentary
with director Mel Gibson and writer Farhad Safinia, the Becoming
Mayan "making of" featurette and deleted scenes
with optional commentary. Video will be anamorphic widescreen with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio in the original Mayan (with English subtitles).
Sources tell us that you can expect a day-and-date Blu-ray Disc version
to be announced shortly as well.
The studio has also set KYLE XY: The
Complete First Season - Declassified for release on 5/22.
Extras will include an alternate pilot episode and an extended version
of the finale.
Meanwhile, Sony has set Harold and the
Purple Crayon: Let Your Imagination Soar!, Harold
and the Purple Crayon: New Worlds to Explore, The
Italian, It's a Big, Big, World:
Safe and Sound, It's a Big, Big,
World: The Earth Needs You, Stuart
Little: The Animated Series - Volume One and Stuart
Little: The Animated Series - Volume Two all for release on
5/22. Also coming on that day is a Blu-ray Disc version of Closer.
Warner has set F-Troop: The Complete Second
Season for release on 5/29 (SRP $39.98). The 6-disc set will
include 31 episodes along with the Fall in
with F-Troop featurette.
Here's even better news from Warner: The studio has announced Tex
Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection for
release on 5/15 (SRP $26.99). The 2-disc set will include 24 re-mastered
and unedited animated shorts, including Dumb-Hounded,
The Shooting of Dan McGoo, Wild
and Woolfy, Northwest Hounded
Police, Señor Droopy,
Wags to Riches, Out-Foxed,
The Chump Champ, Daredevil
Droopy, Droopy's Good Deed,
Droopys "Double Trouble",
Caballero Droopy, The
Three Little Pups, Drag-a-Long
Droopy, Homesteader Droopy,
Dixieland Droopy and Deputy
Droopy. The set will also include 7 Cinemascope shorts in
anamorphic widescreen, including Millionaire
Droopy, Grin and Share It,
Blackboard Jumble, One
Droopy Knight, Sheep Wrecked,
Mutts About Racing and Droopy
Leprechaun. Extras on the set will include the Droopy
and Friends: A Laugh Back documentary and the Doggone
Warner has also announced a number of great catalog classics for
release on 6/26, including a Cult Camp
Classics: Volume 1 - Sci Fi Thrillers (Attack
of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958), Giant
Behemoth and Queen of Outer Space),
Cult Camp Classics: Volume 2 - Women in Peril
(The Big Cube, Caged
and Trog), Cult
Camp Classics: Volume 3 - Terrorized Travelers (Hot
Rods to Hell, Skyjacked
and Zero Hour) and Cult
Camp Classics: Volume 4 - Historical Epics (Colossus
of Rhodes, The Prodigal
and Land of the Pharoahs). Each of
the sets carries an SRP of $29.98, and the films will be available
separately for $14.97 each. Also coming on 6/12 is National Geographic's
Planet Carnivore: Sharks & Lions,
with Hustle: Complete Season Three
following on 7/10 (for the BBC).
On the high-def front, here's news that will have HD-DVD and Blu-ray
backers buzzing online: From
IMDB comes word that Casino Royale
on Blu-ray Disc has become the first high-definition release to crack
Amazon's top ten sellers list, debuting at #8. The widescreen DVD
debuted at #1. It will be interesting to see if the Nielsen VideoScan
sales numbers reflect strong sales for the title in a couple weeks.
Also today, Warner has just announced the simultaneous Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD release of The Road Warrior
and Battle of the Bulge on 5/8
(SRP $28.99 each). All bonus features from the DVD versions will be
included on the high-def versions.
By the way, we're hearing that Studio Canal has delayed the release of
their second wave of HD-DVDs in Europe due to technical issues. Look for
them all to be re-announced soon. Like Fox's recent Blu-ray delays,
high-def fans shouldn't consider the postponements a major problem or a
sign of something more serious. Keep in mind, these formats are new, so
minor technical issues are bound to crop up from time to time as the
studios ramp up production. This kind of thing is to be expected.
Here at The Bits this afternoon,
our own Adam Jahnke has posted
a new edition of his
Electric Theatre, featuring reviews of 300,
The Host and more. Having just
seen 300 myself last night, I
think Adam pretty well nails it with his review. It's well worth a read.
We'll leave you today with a look at some new cover art. Here's
Warner's Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete
Theatrical Collection, Attack of
the 50 Ft. Woman (1958) and Cult
Camp Classics: Volume 1 - Sci Fi Thrillers...
Wow... did anyone else watch the
Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night? Grandmaster Flash
and the Furious Five, R.E.M., The Ronettes, Patti Smith and Van Halen
were justly welcomed into the ranks of the Hall, but man... that Van
Halen induction was embarrassing. Eddie Van Halen wasn't there... he's
checked himself into rehab (probably a wise move). Alex Van Halen wasn't
there either... he's hanging with Eddie. David Lee Roth wasn't there...
he got pissed that they couldn't pull the song he wanted to preform
together in time, so didn't show. So who represented the band live?
Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony... the two guys Eddie ousted from the
band and has spent the better part of the last three years trashing in
interviews. To no one's surprise, they were both class acts, graciously
thanking not only Eddie and Alex (and wishing Eddie well in rehab), but
also David and even Gary Cherone. Man... for a band that was rumored to
be on the verge of a big reunion tour this summer, talk about an
implosion. What a shame. Ah well.
Down to business. First of all today, thanks to everyone that's sent in
kind words and various comments about our
Awards post yesterday. We try very hard to honor deserving
work in the industry with the awards, and to expose people to great
titles they might have missed during the year, so we appreciate all the
feedback. We also work hard to make our Bitsys
Awards the most comprehensive such DVD recognition event
around, and to not just give you a list of the winners, but to tell you
why they deserved to win and to also point out lots of deserving
runners-up in each category as well. By the way, those who may wish to
compare this year's awards with previous editions can find links to
our past Bitsys here. Our sincere congratulations to all
the winners and nominees.
Now then... some DVD announcements. The BIG news today is that New Line
has officially announced the release of Guillermo del Toro's Pan's
Labyrinth on 5/15. Two versions will be available: A
single-disc standard edition (SRP $28.98) and a two-disc Platinum Series
special edition ($34.99). One would certainly hope high-definition
versions are forthcoming as well. Both DVDs will feature anamorphic
widescreen video and the original Spanish audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
and DTS 6.1 ES (with English subs). The 2-disc set will include a video
prologue from director Guillermo del Toro, audio commentary by del Toro,
5 "making of" featurettes (The
Power of Myth, The Faun and the
Fairies, The Color and the Shape
and The Lullaby, Parts 1 & 2),
the DVD Comics: Giant Toad, The Pale Man
featurette, the excellent Charlie Rose Show
interview with del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro Gonzalez
Inarritu, an Interactive Director's Notes and
Sketches gallery with video prologue by del Toro,
storyboard/thumbnail comparisons, photo and art galleries, a DDT
creature design/production scrapbook, a VFX plate comparison, trailers
and TV spots, and both Spanish and English versions of the screenplay
with synchronized storyboards and photo galleries via DVD-ROM.
Here's a look at the cover art for the 2-disc version of Pan's
Labyrinth, as well as Warner's The
Fountain (5/15) and Paramount's Dreamgirls
In other DVD news, Warner has set The
Painted Veil for release on 5/28 (SRP $27.95).
And Fox has set Anna Karenina
(staring Vivien Leigh) for release on 4/24.
Around the Net today, tech guru
Mossberg has posted an interesting editorial column on the
high-def format war. His basic take is one we agree with:
"Until the electronics and movie companies
support universal high-definition players and/or universal
high-definition discs, I don't recommend that most people invest in
either technology. Why prolong a war that's bad for consumers?"
Why indeed. Thanks to Bits reader
Dave M. for the link.
While we're on the subject of the format war, the latest Nielsen
VideoScan numbers for the week ending 3/4 are in from
Media Retailing. Here's the graphic and we've added the data
to our stats section (above)...
By the way, we've been getting a few e-mails from readers with
questions on the subject, so we called 20th Century Fox Home
Entertainment for another update on the Blu-ray titles that they've
recently delayed (including Mr. & Mrs.
Smith). Fox's Steve Feldstein told us that the delay was
related to minor technical/production issues, but that they expect to
begin announcing new release dates for the titles "imminently".
We'll post details as they come in.
Speaking of Blu-ray, Sony's new Casino
Royale BD (which is excellent by the way - watch for a full
review soon) includes a preview of Blu-ray Disc titles from the studio
which promotes the forthcoming release of Spider-Man
2, Lawrence of Arabia,
The Patriot, Legends
of the Fall, Bad Boys II,
Charlie's Angels, Charlie's
Angels: Full Throttle and Once
Upon a Time in Mexico.
Morning, everyone! We hope you all had a great weekend, and that you've
got your coffee and danish at the ready.
As promised, we're pleased today to bring you
8th Annual Digital Bits Bitsy Awards! The staff of The
Digital Bits has carefully nominated and debated our
selections for the best DVD, high-definition video and high-resolution
audio releases of 2006. We've examined hundreds of great discs, and
we've chosen those lucky few that we feel are most deserving of
recognition in a wide variety of different categories. We present them
now for your reading pleasure. As always, we hope you enjoy
Bitsys for another year. And remember... no wagering!
By the way, any errors you may find in the text are entirely the
product of sleep deprivation. If you find any, let me know and I'll fix
them when I return to consciousness... in about 12 hours. ;)
We've got still more DVD and HD release news for you today. But first,
an announcement: The Bitsys are
coming! Yes, if all goes well over the weekend, The
8th Annual Digital Bits Bitsy Awards will be posted on
Monday. The staff of The Digital Bits
has compiled our list of nominees and checked it twice. Now we've picked
the winners, representing the best of DVD for 2006, and all that remains
is to get them all up for you to enjoy. So tune in Monday for that.
Now then... Warner has finally announced Darren Aronofsky's The
Fountain for release on 5/15. There will be dual full frame
and anamorphic widescreen DVD versions (SRP $27.95 each), as well as
Blu-ray Disc ($34.99) and HD-DVD/DVD Combo versions ($39.99). Extras are
expected to include the 6-part Inside The
Fountain: Death and Rebirth documentary and more.
Also today, Universal has officially revealed that Smokin'
Aces will street on DVD and HD-DVD formats on 4/17. There
will be full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVD versions (SRP $29.98)
as well as an HD-DVD/DVD Combo format version ($39.98). Extras on all of
them will include audio commentary (with writer/director Joe Carnahan
and editor Robert Frazen), a second commentary (with Carnahan, Common,
Christopher Holley and Zach Cumer), deleted and extended scenes,
outtakes, the "Cowboy" ending and 3 featurettes (The
Line-Up, The Big Gun
and Shoot 'Em Up: Stunts & Effects).
And Paramount has announced that their long-delayed Mahogany
(staring Diana Ross) will finally street on DVD on 5/1, timed to
coincide with the same-day release of Dreamgirls.
There's a bit of industry news from Video
Business worth mentioning today: First, there's word that the
Cartoon Network is going to be expanding its DVD release slate (click
for more). Second, there's a story about Blu-ray Disc's continued sales
dominance over HD-DVD in February, with commentary from both camps
Also, VB editor Paul Sweeting has
written an interesting editorial examining the notion of whether the HD
format war is a good thing or a bad thing (click
Finally today, our friends over at
Script to DVD have just posted a list of all the places you
can go see 300 this weekend in
IMAX format. Count us in!
Okay, don't forget Daylight Savings this weekend. See you Monday for
The Bitsys! Peace out.
We've got a little bit more new DVD release information for you this
afternoon from Warner. The studio has announced the classic Angels
in the Outfield for release on 5/1, followed by Best
Foot Forward on 6/19. Also coming on 6/19 is The
Lucille Ball Film Collection box set (SRP $49.92), which will
include The Big Street, Critics
Choice, Dance Girl Dance,
Dubarry Was a Lady and Mame
(each also available separately).
In other DVD news today, Home Media Magazine
(formerly Home Media Retailing)
has announced the winners of the third annual Music
DVD Awards, for which Matt and I were honored to serve as
judges. Image Entertainment's outstanding Hail!
Hail! Rock 'n' Roll: Special Collector's Edition was named
Best of Show. VH1 Classics' Kiss:
Kissology - Volume 1 was named Best
Compilation. Vivendi Visual Entertainment and First
Independent Pictures' New York Doll
was named Best Music Documentary.
Paramount's Neil Young: Heart of Gold
took the Best New Concert honors.
Finally, Best TV Concert was won
by Shout! Factory's The Tomorrow Show With
Tom Snyder: Punk and New Wave. You can read more
For those who care about such things, Sony has recently announced the
details of the online service for their new PlayStation 3. You can read
all about that at
And here's some cool news: Our very own Adam Jahnke has been nominated
for a Scribe Award for his
Toxic Avenger: The Novel with uncle Lloyd Kauffman. The awards
are sponsored by The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers
(you'll find a list of all the nominees
We're pretty proud of Adam, I'll tell you. We're definitely rooting for
Toxie to take the compeitition out to the woodshed. The winners will be
announced at Comic-Con this summer. Congrats on the nom, Adam!
Finally today, our own Todd Doogan has served up another heapin'
helpin' of South Park on DVD, with
a review of Paramount's
Park: The Complete Sixth Season.
Okay, you know the drill. Back tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Okay... let's have that news update we promised yesterday. There's lots
of ground to cover this morning. First up, the standard DVD news...
Paramount has announced a Coming to America:
Special Collector's Edition and a Trading
Places: Special Collector's Edition for release on 6/5.
Paramount has also revealed that Black Snake
Moan is set to street on 6/26, along with Gomer
Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Second Season. We'll come back to
Paramount in a minute.
Lionsgate has announced that their April DVD slate will include The
Lost Room, Death of a President,
Dancing with the Stars: Cardio Dance,
The Convent, The
Silent Partner and Freeway
(all 4/3), Beneath Still Waters,
GameBox 1.0 and the Shanghai
Surprise: Special Edition (all 4/10), Rancid,
Alien Invasion Arizona and The
Rival (all 4/17), and Diary of a
Cannibal, Get up and Groove with
the Doodlebops and a 3-disc Jean
Renoir Collector's Edition Box Set (all 4/24). The Jean
Renoir Collector's Edition Box Set will include the films
La Fille de l'eau (Whirlpool
of Fate), Nana, Sur
un air de Charleston (Charleston
Parade), La Petite marchande
d'allumettes (The Little Match
Girl), La Marseillaise,
Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier
(The Doctor's Horrible Experiment)
and Le Caporal Epingle (The
Elusive Corporal), as well as the all-new Jean
Renoir: An Auteur to Remember documentary (SRP $29.98).
Meanwhile, Universal has set Big Bad Wolf
for release on 6/5, with Something to Cheer
About following on 6/26 (SRP $24.98 each).
Anchor Bay Entertainment has announced that Don Coscarelli's Phantasm
and Phantasm III: Unrated Edition
will street on DVD on 4/10 (SRP $19.98 each). Each will be released
under the new Anchor Bay Collection banner, featuring sparking new
anamorphic widescreen transfers, remastered Dolby Digital and DTS
surround sound, and all new extras. Phantasm
will include audio commentary with writer/director Don Coscarelli and
stars Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm and Bill Thornbury, 6 deleted
scenes, 3 featurettes (Phantasmagoria: The
Making of Phantasm, Phantasm:
Behind the Scenes and Phantasm:
Actors Having a Ball), vintage interviews, trailers and TV
spots, interview outtakes, footage of Angus Scrimm's 1989 convention
appearance and more. Phantasm III
will include audio commentary with stars Michael Baldwin and Angus
Scrimm, the Phantasm III: Behind the Scenes
featurette, trailers and TV spots, and the screenplay via DVD-ROM.
Anchor Bay will also release Masters of
Horror: Season Two - John Landis' Family on 4/17 (SRP
Magnolia has set Brian W. Cook's Color Me
Kubrick (staring John Malkovich as Stanley Kubrick
"while he was on the set of his final film
Eyes Wide Shut") for release on DVD on 3/17 (SRP
$29.98). This film was all the rage at last year's Tribeca Film Festival
and we can't wait to see it.
Warner has set the animated Superman
Doomsday for release on 9/18. Yes, that's right - September.
Produced by Bruce Timm, the film (based on D.C.'s infamous The
Death of Superman comic book series) features the voice
talents of Adam Baldwin (Superman), Anne Heche (Lois Lane) and James
Marsters (Lex Luthor). The DVD will include over 70 minutes worth of
extras, including 4 featurettes (The Clash of
the Juggernauts, The Artists
Playground... From Art to Sound Design in Superman Doomsday,
Justice League: The New Frontier
and Defeat Doomsday: Battle Challenge).
Video will be anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Also newly announced for release on 5/22 by Warner (in honor of John
Wayne's 100th birthday) is a new John Wayne
Film Collection box set (SRP $49.92), which will include Allegheny
Uprising, Reunion in France,
Reservations, Trouble Along the
Way and Big Jim McLain.
This is in addition to Warner's already announced Rio
Bravo: Special Edition, Rio Bravo:
Ultimate Collector's Edition and The
Cowboys: Deluxe Edition.
Paramount is joining in with Warner on the John Wayne celebration by
releasing a True Grit: Special Collector's
Edition, along with the 14-film John
Wayne Century Collection box set (SRP $99.99). Included will
be The High and the Mighty: Special
Collector's Edition, the Island in
the Sky: Special Collector's Edition, the True
Grit: Special Collector's Edition, the Hondo:
Special Collector's Edition and the McLintock!:
Special Collector's Edition, along with The
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The
Shootist, Big Jake,
Donovan's Reef, In
Harm's Way, Hatari!,
Rio Lobo, The
Sons of Katie Elder and El Dorado.
Sony has added single-disc editions of Rent
and Memoirs of a Geisha to its
And Buena Vista has set Home Improvement:
The Complete Sixth Season for release on 5/15 as well. The
3-disc set will include 25 episodes, an all-new blooper reel and more.
In other DVD news this morning, we're hearing reports that Thinkfilm's
newly-released DVD of Terry Gilliam's Tideland
offers the film in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. The only
problem is, Terry Gilliam did his preferred DVD transfer at about 2.25:1
statement on the film ick website in the U.K.. Anyone
remember when Lionsgate did this same thing with Lord
of War? DVD plus ten years, you'd think companies would stop
trying to cut corners like this. Anyway, we recommend that you don't buy
Tideland until Thinkfilm does it
Now for the HD release news...
Disney has announced that Finding Neverland
and Chicken Little will arrive on
Blu-ray Disc on 3/20. Both will include uncompressed PCM audio (48/24).
Finding Neverland extras will
include 3 featurettes (The Magic of Finding
Neverland, Creating Neverland
and On the Red Carpet) and
outtakes. Chicken Little will
include new BD-Java interactive features (The
Alien Invasion Game and in-movie Filmmaker
Q&A that allows you to ask the filmmakers questions while
watching the film), as well as all of the standard DVD features
including audio commentary, deleted scenes, music videos and more.
Also, Universal has started fessing up to some of those forthcoming
HD-DVD releases we told you about in
Rumor Mill the other day. Officially due on 5/29 are The
Big Lebowski, Dragonheart,
The Frighteners, Lost
in Translation, Midnight Run
and The River (SRP $29.98 each).
In addition to the DVD versions revealed above, Paramount has announced
that the Coming to America: Special
Collector's Edition and Trading
Places: Special Collector's Edition will both be available on
Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats on 6/5 as well. In other Paramount HD
news, the Mission: Impossible 1
and 2 high-def discs (both formats
- that had previously only been available in a 3-pack with Mission:
Impossible 3) will be released as separate editions on 5/22.
Also on 5/22, Paramount will release Flags of
Our Fathers on both HD formats as 2-disc sets.
Finally today, Lionsgate has set an Ultimate
Avengers Collection for release on Blu-ray Disc on 4/24,
containing both Ultimate Avengers: The Movie
and Ultimate Avengers 2.
Okay... that's MORE than enough news for one day. Stay tuned!
Today's comments will be brief, so that we may being you new DVD
reviews. From Glorious Site Leader Bill, here is look at Fox's
Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of
Kazakhstan in stores today. From Also Glorious Todd Doogans, a
thorough reviewing of Paramount's
Park: The Complete Seventh Season courtesy of his latest Doogan's
Viewings. And from Additionally Glorious Adam Yankee,
a new issue of Yankee's
Steam Powered Moviefilm Room, featuring thoughts on Zodiac,
Black Snake Moan and many more
film entertainments. Do not be alarmed.
News reportings will return tomorrow. A good time will be had by all!
Afternoon, folks. First things first... go see David Fincher's Zodiac.
Matt and I caught a screening on Saturday, and I'll tell you... it's the
first great film I've seen so far in 2007. It's long to be sure and if
you're expecting a thriller you'll be disappointed. But it's
exceptionally well written and directed. If it hooks you early, it's
riveting for the entire 158 minutes. Plus, there's lots of little
Fincher-esque touches: At one point, the camera hovers directly over a
maneuvering taxi cab, keeping it fixed in the same position as the
streets of San Francisco move around it. Later in the film, Fincher
shows the passage of time during the Zodiac investigation by digitally
recreating time-lapse footage of the Coit Tower being constructed.
[Editor's Note: Sorry, it's the TransAmerica
building. My bad. Dammit Jim, I'm a writer not an architect!] All
in all, it's a damn good film with fine performances by Jake Gyllenhaal,
Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and others. Don't miss it.
Now then... we're pleased today to bring you
Adam Jahnke's latest
edition of Jahnke's Electric Theatre, in which he offers
his thoughts on the recent Oscar telecast, and reviews a number of
recent films in theaters and on DVD. Don't miss it.
Also today, we're thrilled to offer you
Doogan's very first Doogan's Views column of 2007,
featuring a review of Paramount's
Park: The Complete Eighth Season. Given that the show's
eleventh season kicks off on Comedy Central on Wednesday, Todd will be
looking at the show's past work on DVD all week.
And Matt Rowe's got a new column up over at
MusicTAP today as well,
so be sure to check that out as well.
In DVD release news today, Sony has confirmed that Catch
& Release will street on 5/8, with Stomp
the Yard following on 5/15.
Also today, Paramount has confirmed that Dreamgirls
will arrive on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 5/1. Single-disc (SRP
$19.95) and 2-disc ($29.99) DVD editions will be available. The
single-disc edition will include a never-before-seen Jennifer Hudson
performance, 12 extended musical numbers and alternate scenes, and
Beyonce's Listen music video. The
2-disc set will add behind-the-scenes footage, the Building
the Dream featurette, screen test footage and more. No word
yet on the HD format extras.
And in other DVD news,
Media Retailing is reportsing that Geneon has taken over
distribution of Bandai Visual anime titles. Click the link for more on
Finally today, the latest Nielsen VideoScan Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD numbers
are in from
Media Retailing. For the week ending 2/25, Blu-ray continued
to hold its 2 to 1 software sales advantage over HD-DVD, making slight
Year to Date and Format to Date gains. Here's the graphic from HMR...
Back with more new release news tomorrow. Stay tuned...
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