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(Archived Posts 6/6/07 - 5/15/07)
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We've got more announcement news to report today, including a few
big theatrical, catalog and TV titles... and even a couple new
high-def releases too.
First up, Lionsgate has confirmed the details of their July slate.
Look for White Boyz in the Hood
and Mummy Maniac on 7/3, Amor
Xtremo and Brutal
on 7/10, Waiting (Blu-ray
Disc), The Ogre, Baxter,
Surf School and Haunted
Boat on 7/17, Slow Burn,
The Monster Squad: 20th Anniversary
Edition, Weeds: Season Two
(DVD and Blu-ray Disc) and The Long
Weekend on 7/24, and Bratz
Kidz Sleep-Over Adventure, Dead
Clowns and Played
Fox has just announced It's Always Sunny
for release on 9/4, with Bones: Season
Two following on 9/11. Bones
will include 21 episodes on 6 discs, along with extensive audio
commentaries with the cast and crew, deleted scenes, featurettes, a
gag reel and more (SRP $59.98).
Also newly announced for DVD release by Fox are a Commando:
Director's Cut (includes both the original theatrical
version and a new 5-minute longer cut via seamless branching, along
with director's commentary, deleted scenes, the Let
Off Some Steam and Pure Action
featurettes and photo galleries) and a Wall
Street: 20th Anniversary Edition (intro by Oliver Stone,
new interviews with Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen, deleted
scenes and the Money Never Sleeps: The
Making of Wall Street and Greed
is Good featurettes), both on 9/18. SRP on Commando
is $19.98 (Wall Street is
Meanwhile, Warner has announced a Supernatural:
The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 2-pack for release on
9/11, with The Grim Adventures of Billy &
Mandy: The Complete Season 1 following on 9/18. Warner
has also announced TMNT for
release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD on 8/7.
And on the high-definition front today, Warner has set Purple
Rain and Out for Justice
for release on both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD on 7/24.
Also, while we're talking high-def, Universal Studios Home
Entertainment contacted us yesterday afternoon with word that their
fixed replacement copies of The Good
Shepherd and Children of Men
on DVD/HD-DVD Combo format are now available. You can call (800)
626-9497 anytime 24/7 to arrange a swap for your defective copies.
For ease and speed of service, Universal would prefer people use the
800 number rather than e-mail to contact them with problems.
In more announcement news, here's a quick to cancelled TV show to
DVD release from Buena Vista Home Entertainment... What
About Brian: The Complete Series is due on 9/25 (SRP
$59.99). The 5-disc set contains 24 episodes in anamorphic
widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, along with
"cast interviews and behind the scenes
bonus features." Hey, what about that Brian guy anyway?
I guess we'll never know.
And Paramount has set Charmed: The Final
Season and Charmed: The
Complete Series pack for release on 9/11, followed by
Ghost Whisperer: The Second Season
and Backyardigans: Super Secret Super Spy
Here's a look at the DVD cover art for Warner's TMNT,
and Fox's Prison Break: Season Two
(due 9/4) and the Commando: Director's
Finally today, here's
bit of great news from Variety... CBS is apparently
about to announce its decision to bring back its hastily cancelled
Jericho for at least 7 or 8
more episodes next season (read more
at CNN). Depending on how those eps do in the ratings (and CBS
is now tracking DVR and download/streaming viewing as well), there's
the possibility of more. After the show was canned last month, fans
went nuts... literally, bombarding the CBS offices with angry mail,
phone calls and bags of nuts (20 tons of nuts at last count) in
protest. The nuts refer to a plot thread ("NUTS!") that
was part of the season finale - one of the strongest cliff-hangers
we've seen in years. If you haven't been watching, Jericho
is a terrific series. Both Sarah and I were hooked from the first
episode. You can head
over to CBS.com to catch up on the show from the beginning,
and we expect the first season to be announced soon for DVD release
on 9/11 (from CBS via Paramount). What great news this is! Congrats
to all you fans who kept hope alive. Hope nobody at CBS had nut
Man... Jericho and NBC's Friday
Night Lights are both coming back next season? Bill's a
happy boy right now...
First things first today... we're pleased as punch to bring you
fine installment of The Bottom Shelf, from our very
own Adam Jahnke. In this edition, Adam takes a closer look at 5
recent DVD releases, including Warner's
Revisited: The Final Cut and
Your Consideration, Universal's
Good Shepherd and Paramount's
Writers. And he is not thankful for it (but you may be)!
Also today, Adam's
ever-lovin' Electric Theatre turns 50... or at least
hits 50 installments with this week's edition, which features his
reviews of Knocked Up, Mr.
Brooks and more. My, how the time does fly.
In addition, Greg Suarez has checked in with a look at Buena
Vu in full 1080p via Blu-ray Disc.
In announcement news today, Paramount has set the DVD release of
South Park: The Complete Tenth Season
for 8/21. Also announced by the studio (for DreamWorks) for release
on 8/28 is Blades of Glory in
DVD (in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame), Blu-ray and
HD-DVD versions. All versions will include 6 featurettes (Return
to Glory: The Making of Blades, Celebrities
on Thin Ice, Cooler Than Ice:
The Super-Sexy Costumes of Skating, Arnett
and Poehler: A Family Affair, 20
Questions with Scott Hamilton and Hector:
Portrait of a Psychofan), deleted scenes and alternate
takes, a blooper reel, Moviephone
Unscripted with Will Ferrell, Jon Heder and Will Arnet,
MTV interstitials, trailers and TV spots, a photo gallery, Bo Bice's
Blades of Glory music video
and more. Also newly announced (for DreamWorks) for release on 10/30
is Surviving Christmas.
Meanwhile, Sony will release the DVD and Blu-ray versions of Vacancy
on 8/14. Following on 8/21 will be Perfect
And New Line has set the DVD premiere movie Safe
Harbour for release on 10/16 (SRP $19.97), complete with
an introduction by author Danielle Steel. Moms everywhere will be
On the high-def front today, you knew this was coming: Sony has
just officially dropped the price of its new second-generation
Blu-ray Disc player, the BD-S300, to $499, though they claim that
it's not in response to Toshiba's recent HD-DVD player price
slashing, but rather reductions in manufacturing costs. The price of
its original BDPS1 has also been cut from $999 to $799. The BD-S300
is reportedly on its way to stores now and should soon be available
widely. You can read more
at Video Business.
Video Business is also
here) that Sony's DADC replication facility is adding Blu-ray
production capacity to meet increasing demand, and that Panasonic's
Hollywood Lab "is expanding its research
and development facility here and its staff to grow with the Blu-ray
Disc format" (click
Things aren't all rosy for Blu-ray though... a company called
Target Technology has apparently filed suit against Sony for patent
infringement involving Blu-ray.
here for that.
Around the site today, we've kicked off FIVE new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Closer: The Complete Second Season,
The Complete Fourth Season,
The Complete Second Season,
Your Father Gets Home,
Back, Kotter: The Complete First Season and the BBC's
Hood: Season One (along with an engraved Robin
Hood tankard, for all your... ahem... 'tanking' needs),
Sergio Leone Anthology box set and Sony's
Rider on Blu-ray Disc! The contests will all run for TWO
WEEKS, until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, June 17th. Click on the links
to get started and good luck!
We've also updated our authorized mirror copy of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to its most recent version (dated 1/9/07). We'll
update it again when Jim's master copy is... well... updated again.
We'll leave you today with some new cover art. Here's Buena Vista's
Wild Hogs (8/14), Ugly
Betty: The Complete First Season - The Bettyfied Edition
(8/21), Grey's Anatomy: The Complete
Third Season - Seriously Extended (9/11) and Brothers
& Sisters: The Complete First Season (9/18),
Paramount's South Park: The Complete
Tenth Season (8/21) and DreamWorks' Blades
Oh, by the way... one last thing. Any of you guys Speed
proof that we meant it when we said that we still dig Harry
and the boys over at AICN. My
faith in Larry and Andy Wachowski's Speed
Racer live action/CG feature film just went up by a HUGE
margin. Maybe this means we'll get the original series on DVD again,
but with some real extras this time. Lionsgate? You listening?
Morning, folks! Hope you all had a great weekend. Just so you know,
we've been having some minor server glitches over the last week, so
the site may go down from time to time while they're corrected. The
problems started last Wednesday, and are being debugged now, so
thanks for your patience while we deal with them.
Now then... we've got something special for you this morning. Last
year at our annual Comic-Con panel in San Diego, DVD producer Andy
Mangels set the audience buzzing by talking about literally dozens
of great DVD titles that he was currently working on - titles like
Space Academy, He-Man,
Ark II, The
Secrets of Isis, Bravestar,
She-Ra and scores of other
great Saturday morning favorites from the Filmmation library. We
enjoyed our discussion with Andy so much, that Todd and I decided to
continue our chat with him here, in the pages of The
Digital Bits, for all of you to enjoy. A shortened
version of this appears in the pages of the latest issue of
as well, but here's the full, epic and unedited version in all it's
glory. So with that, we give you...
the Power of Mangels!!
Okay, elsewhere around The Bits
today, our own Russell Hammond has yet again updated our new
DVD Cover Art section. Included are lots more new DVD,
HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover art and Amazon links. So be sure to
check that out.
Also today, we've updated all of the DVD and high-def format stats
we track (above),
and we've even added a couple of new stats as well, including Total
Blu-ray Disc Titles and Total
HD-DVD Titles - useful numbers to have handy if you're a
fan of either format.
One brief update this morning: Time is running out to sign up and
Digital Bits and The Home Theater Forum at the EMA
Expo in Las Vegas (July 17-19th) in celebrating 10 great
years of DVD. We've got special reduced rates for rooms at The
Venetian, and we're putting together a very cool line-up of
exclusive events just for our group. It's a perfect chance to join
some 60 of your fellow enthusiasts, along with Bits
and HTF staffers, in enjoying
good company, Vegas fun and a special schedule of studio
presentations and other private events.
here for more but act fact to join us!
Now then... it's time for a little follow up on our length
Soapbox editorial from Friday evening. As you can
imagine, we've gotten a few interesting e-mails over the weekend. ;)
Surprisingly (or maybe not), the overwhelming majority of the mail
we got was in agreement with us, though some (having already chosen
HD-DVD for reasons of their own) took exception. A small handful
were personally offended by our "obviously
biased rantings," and we got one or two rather juvenile
posts along the lines of "FU Bits!"
Such is the elevated state of dialogue in parts of the home
theater/film enthusiast community these days. Thanks to the captains
of Hollywood and consumer electronics, we have a format war that's
bitterly divided the online enthusiast community in a way that it's
never been before. Nice going, industry!
I wish we could reply personally to everyone who e-mailed us, but
there just isn't enough time in the day. Thank you to all those of
you who took the time to send us your thoughts, however, whether you
agree with us or not. We appreciate and value your opinions. We did
want to make a few general replies to some of your comments here.
What some HD-DVD fans would call 'obvious bias,' we'd call
carefully formed opinion based on observation and experience. It's a
format war, folks. There may or may not be winners in this fracas,
but there will definitely be losers. We didn't start this thing, but
if we can help in some small way to nudge it to a conclusion with
the occasional bit of straight talk and common sense, we mean to
The e-mails we found most puzzling were to the effect of:
"Shame on you for taking sides! Where
are your journalistic standards? This is a sad day for your site's
integrity, sir!" Question: Were any of you guys around
back when we took sides for DVD and against Divx? Were you reading
when we said that we've actively lobbied the studios to support
anamorphic widescreen? Do any of you not recall our efforts over the
years to get certain films released on DVD, or to see that the
studios correct problems with defective discs that they might rather
just sweep under the carpet? We're enthusiasts. The
Bits is an enthusiast publication, about sharing our love
of great films on disc. We report industry news, but we also offer
our editorial opinions. And we GET INVOLVED. That's how The
Bits has always been, and that's how it will continue to
be. Our guiding principle here will always be to work for what we
think is best for the films themselves, for our readers and for the
film enthusiast community as a whole. And in our opinion, sitting by
and watching this format war destroy all the great things that have
come about as a result of the success of DVD over the last ten years
is good for no one. Except maybe Microsoft.
One other point to note: To those who would say,
"Relax! These formats can coexist just
fine! The real answer is obviously combo players," we
would point to DVD-Audio and SACD as a cautionary tale from which
everyone needs to learn. Those formats coexisted just fine. There
were affordable combo players. And good luck finding DVD-Audio and
SACD discs on store shelves anymore. Two competing formats =
consumer confusion = crash and burn. Continuing to straddle the
fence in the hopes that HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc will sort itself out
before cannibalizing the entire market was just getting tiresome. So
we want to try and do something about that if we can.
We might lose a few readers over this, but we'll gain new readers
because of it too. The Net is funny that way. Actually, very little
is going to change here at The Bits.
We'll still review HD-DVDs as well as DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, and
report release news for all three formats. The basic difference is
that when anyone asks us what format they should buy or which we
think is the smarter bet, our advice is generally going to be
Blu-ray. We'll certainly keep an open mind and watch the situation
closely. If the Blu-ray exclusive studios suddenly start flipping
like poker chips, we'll let you know and revise our opinions
accordingly. But you can't be afraid to stand up for what you
believe. And we believe that of these two very good formats, Blu-ray
has the far greater chance of succeeding long term. So there you go.
We'll be back tomorrow with a new edition of The
Bottom Shelf from Adam. Stay tuned...
Okay... we've got some new title announcements to report this
morning, and then I'm gonna get up on the soapbox and rant a little
bit. We've held our tongue on the HD issue for a while, but long
enough. But back to that in a moment.
First, the new announcements. We'll start with MGM, which has just
set the DVD release of Stargate SG-1:
Season 10 for 7/24. The 5-disc set will include all 22
episodes in anamorphic widescreen video. Extras will include audio
commentary on 19 episodes, 5 SG-1
Directories Series featurettes (including Insiders,
Memento Mori, Company
of Thieves, The Shroud
and Unending), 4 additional
behind-the-scenes featurettes (The Ori: A
New Enemy, Stargate SG-1:
Behind the 200th, Setting the
Mood with Jim Menard and Life
As a Tech with Gary Jones), deleted scenes with
introduction by Joseph Mallozzi, and extensive photo and production
Next up, Sony has announced the DVD release of Angels
Fall, Are We Done Yet?
and Montana Sky on 8/7.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment has set Ugly
Betty: The Complete First Season - The Bettyfied Edition
for release on 8/21, with Brothers &
Sisters: The Complete First Season following on 9/18 (SRP
$59.99 each). Ugly Betty will
feature 23 episodes in anamorphic widescreen video on 6 discs, along
with the Becoming Betty, A
La Mode and Green is the New
Black featurettes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries and
a blooper reel. Brothers & Sisters
will also include the episodes in anamorphic widescreen video on 6
discs, along with an unaired bonus episode, the Walker
Family Tree, Set Tour with
Dave, Balt and Matt and Family
Business featurettes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries
and a blooper reel.
We're not done yet with Buena Vista: They've also just announced
Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third
Season - The Dirty Laundry Edition (due 9/4), Grey's
Anatomy: The Complete Third Season - Seriously Extended
(9/11) and Lost: The Complete Third
Season - The Unexplored Experience (12/11). Again, all
three titles will SRP for $59.99 each, and all three will include
the episodes in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Desperate Housewives
(23 episodes on 6 discs) will offer the Here
Comes the Bride, Amas de Casa
Desesperadas and Cherry Picked
featurettes, unaired storylines, deleted scenes, and bloopers and
outtakes. Grey's Anatomy (25
episodes on 7 discs) will include four uncut extended episodes,
audio commentaries and the Making Rounds
with Patrick Dempsey, Good
Medicine and Prescription for
Success featurettes. Meanwhile, Lost
(23 episodes on 7 discs) will include the Lost
Flashbacks, The World of the
Others, Lost in One Day,
Lost on Location and The
Lost Book Club featurettes, deleted scenes, audio
commentaries and bloopers.
On to other studios: Warner has set Carlos
Oscar: Life is Crazy Good for 7/17.
HBO has announced White Light, Black
Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (for
8/7), Bob Saget: That Ain't Right
(8/28) and Dare to Dream
New Line has announced the DVD release of Full
of It on 9/25.
And finally, Universal has set Hot Fuzz
for release on 7/31 in full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVD
versions (SRP $29.98 each) as well as a DVD/HD-DVD Combo format
Universal has also announced Curious
George: Takes a Job and Other Monkey Business for 8/28,
an Arnold Schwarzenegger: Comedy
Favorites Collection on 9/18 (the very title makes me
cringe - you get Twins, Kindergarten
Cop and Junior -
SRP $19.98), a John Candy: Comedy
Favorites Collection also on 9/18 (Uncle
Buck, The Great Outdoors,
Going Berserk - $19.98), and
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid
and a Dawn of the Dead/Land of the Dead
2-Movie Collection on 9/25.
And on the HD-DVD front, Universal will release Dawn
of the Dead, The Hurricane
and Notting Hill on 8/25.
Okay, now then... here's that rant we promised. We straddled the
fence in this HD format war as long as we could, folks. We really
did. But something's happened to push us off, and sometimes you just
have to have the strength of your convictions and the balls to stand
by them. So hold onto your seats, 'cause this here's a goodun...
Buyers Beware (or... What Have You Done, Headgeek?!)
Check back on Monday (if you dare) for a very cool, in-depth
interview with one of our favorite DVD producers. We've got a new
Bottom Shelf column from
Jahnke coming next week as well, along with plenty of reviews, news
and more. Don't miss it.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned!
Let's kick things off today with
installment of Jahnke's Electric Theatre. This time
around, Adam offers up his take on such "now showing"
films as Fay Grim, Pirates
of the Caribbean: At World's End and Luc Besson's
unfortunate Angel-A, as well
as a trio of other films now on DVD. Don't miss it.
Also (speaking of missing things), in case you missed it last
night... we posted
latest Doogan's Views column early yesterday evening,
featuring several more new DVD reviews. You'll find a pair of recent
Masters of Horror titles,
Anchor Bay's awesome 6-disc/4-film The
Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky box set and more. Be sure
to check that out as well today.
In other news this morning, Toshiba is crowing in the trades about
increased HD-DVD player sales as a result of their recent and rather
dramatic price cuts. You'll find
at Video Business.
And while we're talking high-def, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
has updated their catalog Blu-ray Disc release slate for the summer.
Look for Flatliners and The
Patriot: Extended Cut on 7/3, with Premonition
and Wild Things following on
7/17. August catalog titles so far include Are
We Done Yet?, Arlington Road
and the CG-animated Final Fantasy: The
Spirits Within all on 8/7. The studio tells us that
several additional summer catalog and new release titles are in the
works as well, and will be announced soon.
And on the standard DVD front today, Fox has set The
Salon for release on 8/7.
Around the site this morning, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include data on players
shipped to retail though the end of April. All charts (above)
have been updated accordingly.
By the way, did any of you guys happen to catch the debut of Traveler
last night on ABC? They replayed the pilot (first shown a few weeks
ago) and ran the first regular episode. You should check them both
out if you can (they may have the episodes available
online). It's kind of a new spin on the 24
meets The Fugitive formula,
but it's well written and acted. The basic plot is: Two guys fresh
out of college seem to have been betrayed by their best friend -
someone they've known and lived with for a few years - and have been
framed for a terrorist bombing in New York City, which as you can
imagine results in the hammer of Homeland Security falling pretty
hard on them. So now these two guys are on the run, trying to figure
out who's framed them and why. And they need to try to figure out
who their friend (the title character, Will Traveler) really was,
because it's the only way to prove they're innocent. I guess it's
just a summer replacement show for now, but I hope ABC considers
picking it up for a full season order, because it's pretty damn
good. It grabs you and keeps you interested, which is a lot more
than we can say for most crap on network TV these days.
Finally, there's good news for those you who hate all that digital
copy protection clogging up your music downloads. Apple's iTunes
service has just begun offering music downloads with no DRM. The
songs cost a little more than those with DRM ($1.29 each vs $.99),
but the move means that you can now play iTunes downloaded music on
at least some other portable music players, like Microsoft's Zune.
You can read more here
at MSNBC. Now if only Hollywood would see the light too...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/30/07
- 6:15 PM PDT)
As promised, we're pleased to check in this evening with Todd's
edition of Doogan's Views. In this installment, Todd
spins a few new and recent DVD releases from our friends over at
Anchor Bay, including
of Horror: Pro-Life,
of Horror: Family,
and Deader, the
Anchor Bay Collection, the
III: Lord of the Dead - Anchor Bay Collection and
Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky 6-disc box set, which
Holy Mountain, along with soundtrack CDs for both El
Topo and Holy Mountain.
As always, Todd's column is well worth a read, so be sure to check
We've also got FOUR new music DVD reviews from our
MusicTAP crew today,
the Hoople: Under Review and
Buckley: My Fleeting House, Hip-O/Universal Music's
Lennon & Yoko Ono: Give Peace a Song and Eagle
Zappa: Classic Albums - Apostrophe/Over-nite Sensation.
By the way, we've got updated information for you direct from the
studio on Fox's Charlie Chan Collection:
Volume 3 box set (due on 8/14). The SRP will be $39.98,
and the box will include Charlie Chan's
Secret, Charlie Chan on
Broadway, Charlie Chan at
Monte Carlo, The Black Camel
and the bonus film Behind That Curtain
(we've updated our early post today as well). The set's special
features are as follows: Charlie Chan's
Secret will include commentary by film critic Ken Hanke,
2 featurettes (Charlie Chan and the Rise
of the Modern Detective and Dr.
Henry Lee: The Modern Day Charlie Chan), a restoration
comparison, the original theatrical trailer and a still gallery.
Charlie Chan on Broadway will
include 2 featurettes (The World of
Charlie Chan and Chanograms:
The Aphorisms of Charlie Chan), a restoration comparison,
the original theatrical trailer and a still gallery. Charlie
Chan at Monte Carlo will add the Chan
Is Missing: The Last Days of Warner Oland featurette, a
restoration comparison, original theatrical trailers, a still
gallery and a poster gallery, as well as the 1929 film Behind
That Curtain film (featuring the earliest surviving
onscreen appearance of the Charlie Chan character). Finally, The
Black Camel will offer commentary by film critic Ken
Hanke, a restoration comparison, the original theatrical trailers, a
still gallery and Charlie Chans
Chance: A Recreation (a dramatized recreation of the lost
film, Charlie Chans Chance,
with an optional introduction by film historian John Cork).
(EARLY UPDATE -
5/30/07 - 12:15 PM PDT)
Okay... let's start off today with some new announcements.
Fox has set Prison Break: Season Two
for release on 9/4 (SRP $59.98). You'll get 22 episodes on 6 discs,
including audio commentary on 11 episodes with members of the cast
and crew, as well as all-new cast and crew interviews, 3 featurettes
(Reinvention of a Series, Turning
Dallas Into America and Prison
Break Theme - Ferry Corsten Breakout Mix) and an Easter
egg. Video will be anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1
Fox has also announced the Charlie Chan
Collection: Volume 3 box set for release on 8/14 (SRP
$39.98), which will include Charlie
Chan's Secret, Charlie Chan on
Broadway, Charlie Chan at
Monte Carlo, The Black Camel
and the bonus film Behind That Curtain.
Meanwhile, Universal has set I Witness
for release on DVD on 9/25 (SRP $24.98). They've also set Elizabeth
for release on DVD ($14.98) and HD-DVD on 9/18 ($29.98). A DVD
double feature of Anne of the Thousand
Days and Mary, Queen of Scots
will also street on 9/18 (SRP $19.98). And a Favorite
Family Treasures 3-pack (containing Babe,
Beethoven and Dr.
Seuss' The Cat in the Hat) will arrive on 8/28 (SRP
On the high-def front, Universal has set the HD-DVD release of Erin
Brockovich, Meet the Fockers,
Mercury Rising and What
Dreams May Come for 8/14 (SRP $29.98 each).
Meanwhile, New Line has set Full of It
for release on 8/14 (SRP $19.97). The DVD will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, deleted scenes, the
trailer and 5 featurettes (Video Yearbook,
Introducing Ryan Pinkston,
Perils of Lying, Bad
Advice and Man on the Street).
Warner has set Masters of the Arctic Ice
(National Geographic) and History of Penn
State Football for release on 9/4, with Engineering
the Impossible (National Geographic), IFL
Greatest Knockouts & Extreme Action and the animated
Superman Doomsday following on
9/18. In addition, Attenborough in
Paradise and Other Personal Voyages (BBC) will street on
10/2, and Michael Palin: Pole to Pole
(BBC) will round things out on 10/9.
Finally, a reminder: The Weinstein Company and Genius Products will
release of a pair of John Woo films on DVD, Hard
Boiled and Last Hurrah for
Chivalry, on 6/24. The 2-disc Hard
Boiled: Ultimate Edition (SRP $24.95) will include Dolby
Digital 5.1 (Catonese and English) and Mono (English) as well as DTS
5.1 (Catonese), English and Spanish subtitles, audio commentary by
Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan, 4 featurettes (A
Baptism of Fire, John Woo:
Partner in Crime, Terence
Chang: Art Imitates Life and Mad
Dog Bites Again), a location guide, the Hong Kong
theatrical trailer and U.S. promotional trailer. Last
Hurrah for Chivalry will include Dolby Digital 5.1
(English dubbed and Cantonese) and Mono (Cantonese) audio, English
and Spanish subtitles, audio commentary with Bey Logan, 3
featurettes (Pray for Death: An Interview
with Fung Hak-On, Deliver Us
from Evil: An Interview With Lee Hoi-San and Legendary
Weapons of China), the original theatrical trailer and
U.S. promotional trailer.
We'll be back in a little bit with Todd's latest Doogan's
Views, so stay tuned!
Time sure does fly, doesn't it? Three days go by awfully fast. We
hope that all of you had a great long holiday weekend - those of you
here in the States at least. Given the nature of the holiday, we'd
like to take a moment to send a shout-out and thanks to all you
folks serving in the military, wherever you may be. Be safe, guys.
We're thinking about you.
So the news from Star Wars: Celebration
IV this weekend was sadly non-DVD related, but people we
trust who attended tell us that a good time was had by most
nonetheless. It seems the fanboys were treated to the spectacle of
dozen young damsels dressed as Slave Leia from Return
of the Jedi, which I suppose makes up for the lack of a
DVD box set announcement in some small way. Naturally, there were
oodles of other new product announcements. Lucasfilm is always ready
with new ways to take your money. The only really interesting news
out of the weekend from our perspective, however, was the debut of
the first trailer for the new Clone Wars
CG animated series (coming at some vague time in the future). Looks
kinda cool, we'll grudgingly admit. Anyway, you'll find that over at
link at the newly redesigned Star
Wars website if you should wish to check it out.
By the way, Sarah and I took a few hours out of our afternoon on
Friday to take in the latest Pirates of
the Caribbean film. Turns out it's pretty darned good.
It's been getting mixed reviews by critics, but we both found it to
be an entertaining climax to the trilogy. It's both funnier and
darker than the last film, and a good deal more satisfying. All the
characters' stories are wrapped up in a way that doesn't disappoint,
and there are some really great action sequences - absolutely
terrific CG effects work is on display here. The film is a bit long
to be sure, but I would say that if you liked the first two films,
you'll definitely enjoy this one as well. It should look great on
Blu-ray later this year too.
Okay... the first a bit of site business today: Our stout-hearted
Russell Hammond has once again updated the
DVD Cover Art section. There are scores of new DVD, HD-DVD
and Blu-ray Disc covers included, so be sure to check them all out.
And don't forget that preordering discs through our Amazon links
supports our work here at The Bits,
so grazie, merci and thanks!
Just to let you know, we've also update some of the DVD and HD
format stats we track (above).
We'll be updating the CEA stats in the next couple of days as well.
Now then... let's catch up on some DVD release news. There's not a
ton of it to report yet this morning, given the holiday, but we do
have a couple things for you.
First of all, Buena Vista has confirmed the 8/14 release of Wild
Hogs on DVD (SRP $29.99) and Blu-ray Disc ($34.99).
Extras on both editions will include the Bikes,
Brawls and Burning Bars: The Making of Wild Hogs and How
to Get Your Wife to Let You Buy a Motorcycle featurettes,
deleted scenes, an alternate ending, audio commentary with director
Walt Becker and writer Brad Copeland, outtakes and an Easter egg.
Also today, Paramount has set Cheech and Chong's Up
in Smoke: Special Collector's Edition for release on 9/4.
Fox has confirmed that the DVD release of Chris Rock's I
Think I Love My Wife (due 8/7, SRP $29.98) will include
both full frame and anamorphic widescreen video, audio commentary by
Rock, deleted scenes, bloopers and outtakes, the I
Think I Love Making This Movie and What's
a Man to Do? featurettes, FX Movie Channel footage of the
casting session and premiere, The Brand New Heavies' I
Don't Know Why (I Love You) music video and the film's
And we'd normally put this in The Rumor
Mill (so salt it accordingly), but industry sources are
telling us to expect the DVD release of Disney's The
Lookout and Sony's Vacancy
on 8/14. Sony is also expected to release Perfect
Stranger and The Lives of
Others on 8/21.
On the high-def front today, we've got word today that in addition
to all of the standard DVD features we've mentioned previously (50
deleted scenes, the 73-minute unaired pilot, audio commentary with
the cast and crew, and behind-the-scenes featurettes), Universal's
HD-DVD release of Heroes: Season One
(due 8/28) will include a number of U-Control features, among them
picture-in-picture video commentary on 12 episodes with series
creator Tim Kring and producer Dennis Hammer, interactive character
profiles, the ability to "discover the
hidden helix symbol revealed throughout the series" and
a Heroes "ability test."
The discs will also be web enabled, allowing for future downloadable
Universal has also announced that the DVD and HD-DVD release of
Hot Fuzz (tentatively due on
8/7) will include deleted scenes, outtakes, 3 featurettes (Hot
Funk, The Fuzzball Rally
and The Man Who Would Be Fuzz)
featurettes, audio commentary and more. By the way, in case we
haven't mentioned it previously, Universal has Shaun
of the Dead set for release on HD-DVD on 7/31.
In other high-def news today, Paramount has confirmed that Shooter
will street on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 7/31, a month after
the DVD hits stores (on 6/26). Extras on both versions will include
7 deleted scenes, the Survival of the
Fittest: The Making of Shooter documentary, the Independence
Hall featurette, the film's theatrical trailer (all video
features will be in HD on both versions) as well as audio commentary
with director Antoine Fuqua. Paramount has also confirmed the HD-DVD
and Blu-ray release of Zødiac
on 9/18 (features TBA - the DVD streets on 7/24).
We've got new cover art to show you today as well: Here's
Universal's Serenity: Collector's Edition
(8/21) and House: Season Three
(8/21), Sony's 20 Million Miles to Earth:
50th Anniversary Edition (7/31), Universal's Heroes:
Season One HD-DVD, and Disney's Roving
Mars (7/31) and Paramount's Shooter
on Blu-ray Disc...
By the way, a quick note for you music fans: The Police officially
kicked off their reunion world tour last night up in Vancouver
(preceded by a fan/rehearsal gig on Sunday night). The reviews are
all pretty great, and we hear that Bono, members of R.E.M., Pearl
Jam's Eddie Vedder and even Eddie Van Halen were in the house for
the fan show. Check out the
band's new website later today for video and pictures from the
first concert. Weatherman Dave and I have tickets to the L.A. shows
next month. We've been waiting 25 years for this, and we mean to
enjoy every moment of it. ;)
Finally this morning, we want to acknowledge
passing of actor Charles Nelson Reilly on Sunday. Some of you
might be too young to remember, but Reilly appeared in the TV
version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,
before later becoming a fixture on TV game shows like Match
Game and the Hollywood Squares
in the 70s. He also appeared in a TON of other TV shows (if you grew
up in the 70s and 80s, the guy was everywhere), including Lidsville,
The Love Boat and one of my
all time favorites, the Jose Chung's
'From Outer Space' episode of The
X-Files (as none other than Jose Chung himself). Reilly
even won a Tony Award for his performance of Bud Frump in the
original Broadway version of How to
Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He was 76, and
his signature laugh will be missed.
Barring any breaking news before then, we'll be back tomorrow
morning with a new Doogan's Views
column from Todd (no, we're still not kidding). You'll definitely
want to check back for that rarified stuff.
It's hard to believe that today marks the 30th anniversary of the
theatrical release of the original Star
Wars to theaters. Three decades ago, on May 25th, 1977,
the first few thousand members of an entire generation of young
filmgoers had their minds blown away... and the rest would soon join
them in the weeks and months that followed. Like many of them, I'm
turning 40 this year and have over time developed something of a
love/hate relationship with all things Star
Wars. Padawans and midichlorians have soured the Saga a
bit for folks like me, but I still can never forget how that initial
viewing of the original film in an old dark theater with a couple
hundred other people changed my life. It was the first time I was
ever so excited by a film that I literally leaped out of my seat
cheering. And then came the waiting. Back in the late 70s and early
80s, there was no Internet. There were no fan sites and discussion
forums. All you got was Starlog
magazine, and they didn't print spoilers. So you just had to suck it
up wait three years for the next film... and incredibly, The
Empire Strikes Back was even better! But oh, the
humanity! Could Darth Vader REALLY be Luke's father?! How was a
13-year old mind to deal with that? Simple. You stumbled into the
restroom, splashed some water on your face to recover from the
shock... and snuck right back into the theater to see the next
showing. Then you had to wait three MORE years to find out if it was
true! But in the meantime, there was E.T.
to see, and Blade Runner and
Raiders of the Lost Ark! And
the original Star Wars was
being released back into theaters, and Alien
and Close Encounters and Superman
II were all on HBO - cable was such a cool new thing at
that point. It wasn't all roses to be sure.
Ringel Gillespie of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
posted a column earlier this week bemoaning how the
blockbuster success of Jaws
and Star Wars killed the
commercial prospects for the kind of more substantial filmmaking
that had dominated the 70s to that point. And she's right. In fact,
the dearth of good mainstream dramatic Hollywood filmmaking today
can arguably be traced right back to May 25th, 1977. Most every
studio head these days would rather chase an epic fantasy franchise
instead of nurturing off-beat, thoughtful film fare, and all too
many young directors and writers want to make a Star
Wars of their own. But that's now... and this was then.
And back then... well, it was a helluva great time to be a kid going
to the movies, I'll tell you.
The geek place to be this weekend is up at the Los Angeles
Convention Center, where Lucasfilm is holding court at the
Celebration IV convention with events like "Billy Dee! The
Lando Diaries" and "Advanced Droid Building." But I
just couldn't bring myself to shell out at least $40 to watch the
guy that plays Jango Fett talk about his experience of making Episode
II. I'm still considering the slim chance that Lucasfilm
will finally announce their long-awaited, 9-disc Ultimate
Star Wars DVD box set sometime this weekend, but I'm
certainly not holding my breath. In the meantime, if you're a Force
weary fan like me, but you're still looking for a way to acknowledge
the occasion... here's a couple suggestions.
First, our friend Michael Coate (who I used to write with over at
Widescreen Review) has updated
his excellent reference piece on the release of the original film,
25, 1977: A Day Long Remembered, over at From
Script to DVD.com. It's always well worth a read, and
should bring back some fond memories.
Also, there's an amazing new book out that is a must-have for
anyone whose life was changed back in '77... J.W. Rinzler's
Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film.
That subtitle isn't a boast - this truly is THE definitive look at
the making of the film. It's been getting rave reviews. And if we
can't have the definitive DVD special edition that we all really
want, a definitive book is the next best thing. The
Making of Star Wars is also available in
softcover version, but the hardback has like 80 more pages of
content, so it's the better buy.
As for me... well, it's not Blu-ray or HD-DVD, but I've somehow
managed to fill up my DVR by recording all the Star
Wars movies in 1080 off HBO HD, so I may have to watch a
couple of them this weekend just for kicks. Now if I could only
figure out a way to burn them onto actual Blu-ray media so I can
free up some badly-needed space on my DVR...
A couple of quick news updates today: First, we've updated our late
post yesterday with an e-mail address that Universal suggested we
refer people to - those of you who want to exchange your defective
Children of Men and The
Good Shepherd DVD/HD-DVD Combo discs. For the record,
We expect to have an 800 phone number next week as well.
We've got a couple new DVD announcements to report today: Universal
has set 30 Rock: Season 1
(3-discs, 16x9 video, SRP $49.98) and Alvin
and the Chipmunks: Scare-riffic Double Feature (SRP
$14.98, includes Alvin and the Chipmunks
Meet Frankenstein and Alvin
and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman) for release on 9/4.
Also, Warner has announced that they'll release a 2-disc Tom
and Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume 3 on 9/11 (SRP
$26.99). A 3-pack of Volumes 1-3
will be available as well (SRP $80.92).
And around the Net today, the trades have stories about this past
Tuesday's glut of great high-def releases (Video
Business) and Warner's strong sales of The
Departed on high-def disc (Home
Media). That Home Media
story now includes actual unit numbers for the title broken down by
format: 58,300 Blu-ray and 35,300 HD-DVD.
Okay... this being the long Memorial Day weekend here in the
States, The Bits and
MusicTAP are going
to be taking the day off on Monday. But we'll be back on Tuesday
with news and a cool new in-depth interview as well. We've got more
disc reviews coming too, as well as more column and section updates.
Todd's even going to grace us with his presence next week (gasp!),
or so he claims.
So in the meantime, all of you have a great long weekend. May the
Force be... you know, and we'll see you back here on Tuesday.
(LATE UPDATE -
5/24/07 - 5:30 PM PDT)
Okay... it took a little longer than we expected, but here at long
last is my review of Warner's 5-disc
Ultimate Matrix Collection on HD-DVD. All in all, it's a
good release - not without a couple of strikes against it, but the
new high-def video and high-rez audio is pretty great. If you're a
total fan of these films and you're moving into the HD world, you'll
probably have little trouble justifying the $100+ upgrade price.
More casual fans however, might prefer to purchase just
Complete Matrix Trilogy on HD-DVD (3-discs, which includes
just the movies in 1080p plus audio commentaries, IME and some
limited extras), or just stick with the existing 10-disc DVD version
Ultimate Matrix Collection. I'll break it all down for you
in the review, so be sure to check it out.
By the way, part of the reason it took so long to complete the
review is that the new HD-DVD set includes virtually everything that
was in the previous 10-disc set (and even adds a couple of features
from the previous DVD releases that the 10-disc set omitted), but
the new 5-disc DVD/HD-DVD Combo configuration means that some of the
extras have been shuffled around. Going though it all, disc by disc
and item by item, to make sure that everything was still there was a
massive and somewhat brain-frying task. Nonetheless, I think I've
covered it all. That said, if you spot any errors or omissions in
the review text, please feel free to
e-mail me and I'll
One other quick note today, Universal has informed us that they're
currently in replication on those corrected/fixed versions of Children
of Men and The Good Shepherd
(the DVD/HD-DVD Combo discs, which have been having playback and
compatibility issues on many brands of HD-DVD players, apparently
due to a slightly too thick bonding layer). They expect to start
having the fixed discs available for exchange as early as next week.
For now, use this e-mail address to arrange exchanges:
(we'll have a phone number for you next week).
And finally, Warner has informed us this afternoon that the
software sales breakdown for their HD releases of The
Departed (mentioned in the earlier post this morning) is
approximately 60/40 in favor of Blu-ray Disc. So that would equate
to roughly 60,000 Blu-ray copies and 40,000 HD-DVD copies sold
through. Just FYI.
(EARLY UPDATE -
5/24/07 - 11 AM PDT)
Morning, folks! We've got a couple more new announcements for you
First, Universal has set House: Season
Three for DVD release on 8/21. The studio has also
revealed The Land Before Time: Amazing
Adventures for 8/28.
Also today, Warner Home Video has revealed that they'll bow Tweety's
High Flying Adventure on 9/18.
A couple of quick corrections: Warner's online website apparently
had listed the incorrect street dates for Smallville:
The Complete Sixth Season and Two
and a Half Men: The Complete First Season, which we
posted yesterday. The correct dates for SHOULD be 9/18 (for Smallville)
and 9/11 (Two and a Half Men)
respectively. Just FYI.
Be advised that the version of Count
Dracula that Warner is releasing for the BBC on 9/25 (SRP
$14.98) is the 3-part miniseries from 1977, staring Suzanne
Shepherd, Frank Finlay, Louis Jourdan, Mark Burns, Judi Bowker and
Susan Penhaligon. It's widely regarded as the most faithful version
of Bram Stoker's novel ever filmed, and has long been awaited by
fans on DVD.
Finally, the correct street date for The
Tick vs. Season Two from Buena Vista should be 8/7.
In other news today, this week's release of The
Matrix films on HD-DVD and the Pirates
films on Blu-ray has not been without a measure of difficulty. As we
review of the Pirates discs, the BD-Java features (Liar's
Dice and Scoundrels of the Sea)
require new firmware updates on many existing models of Blu-ray
player in order to function properly. There are now reports that
some of The Matrix HD-DVD
discs are having compatibility issues as well. Reloaded
seems to be the most commonly reported problem disc, specifically on
the Xbox 360 add-on drive. No doubt there may be firmware updates
required there too. As we've said before, it's worth remembering
that these problems are the kinds of things you have to expect on
any new format, so they should come as no surprise to early
adopters. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of your specific HD
player to make sure you have the latest firmware updates.
Speaking of firmware updates, Sony's about to give the PlayStation
3 a new update (available now - version 1.80) that will reportedly
allow the unit to upconvert PS2 and PS3 games, as well as standard
definition DVDs, to 1080p video. Other new functionality is being
added as well, including downconversion of 1080p Blu-ray content to
720p for some displays. You can read more
at Gamespot and you can find the specific details on
at Sony's PS3 website.
Also today, Warner has issued a new press release announcing that
The Departed has become the
first film to sell through more than 100,000 units in HD. One
qualifier: This is a combined sales total across both HD formats -
the studio isn't breaking down how many units sold on HD-DVD and how
many sold on Blu-ray Disc (indications from other industry sources
suggest that they've sold more Blu-ray, but that awaits studio
confirmation). You can read more
at Video Business.
We'll be back with more later this afternoon, so stay tuned...
We've got a couple new announcements for you this afternoon.
First, Sony has announced the 7/31 release of Lonely
Hearts, Yellow, a
2-disc 20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th
Anniversary Edition and a new Kung
Fu Hustle: Deluxe Edition. Details will follow when they
Meanwhile, Fox has set Chris Rock's I
Think I Love My Wife for release on 8/7.
Warner has announced the DVD release of A
Room With a View: Special Edition (for the BBC - it looks
to be the same 2-disc release available previously - 7/3), Short
Fuse (7/10), Rock the Bells
(7/31), Two and a Half Men: The Complete
First Season, And Then Came
Love, an Essential Directors:
Martin Scorsese box set (includes The
Aviator, The Departed
and the Goodfellas: Special Edition),
NFL's Greatest Follies: Volume 3,
Street Stars: Game Over and
Street Stars: The Alpo Story
(8/14), Smallville: The Complete Sixth
Season (9/11), Supernatural:
The Complete Second Season (9/18) and Count
Dracula (also BBC - 9/25).
And Paramount and DreamWorks are jointly releasing The
Epic Legends Collection on 7/31, featuring both Braveheart
and Gladiator. Too bad it's
DVD only. We'd love to see both of those films in high-def.
Around the site this afternoon, we've updated our reviews of
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on Blu-ray Disc, to
include a bit of news about the Easter eggs that were on the
previous DVD release. Turns out they ARE all on the Blu-ray
versions, along with a couple of new ones too.
As promised, we're pleased today to bring you
Maxwell's latest edition of Classic Coming Attractions,
featuring reviews of 8 new classic DVD box sets (that's 38
individual films in all) plus an additional 15 single film releases,
Flynn: The Signature Collection - Volume 2,
Cagney: The Signature Collection and the
Classics Collection, Fox's
Shayne Mysteries: Volume 1, the
Fields Comedy Collection: Volume Two,
Western Round-Up: Volume 1 and
Western Round-Up: Volume 2, Sony's
Caine Mutiny: Collector's Edition,
Guns of Navarone: Collector's Edition,
the Umpire/Safe at Home and
Natural: Director's Cut, Paramount's
Catch a Thief: Special Collector's Edition, Criterion's
Parallel and VCI's
Film Noir Double Feature: Volume 4 and
Film Noir Double Feature: Volume 5. Barrie also runs down
the latest classic release announcement news as always. Enjoy!
Also today, our own Adam Jahnke has checked in with
installment of his Jahnke's Electric Theatre,
featuring his thoughts on a few new films in theaters, including
Paris, je t'aime, 28
Weeks Later, Shrek the Third
and more, as well as some DVD releases too.
In announcement news today, as we first posted
The Rumor Mill last week, Paramount has confirmed the
6/26 release of Shooter on DVD
(and likely both HD formats as well, though that hasn't been
announced yet). Paramount has also announced the 8/3 DVD release of
a number of Elvis classic, including Blue
Hawaii, Easy Come, Easy Go,
Fun in Acapulco, G.I.
Blues, Girls! Girls! Girls!,
King Creole, Paradise,
Hawaiian Style and Roustabout.
20th Century Fox has set Pathfinder
for release on DVD on 7/31, in both single-disc 99-minute R-rated
and 2-disc 106-minute Unrated
editions. Both editions will present the film in anamorphic
widescreen with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, and will include
audio commentary with director Marcus Nispel and 8 deleted scenes
with optional commentary. The Unrated
edition adds to this 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes (The
Beginning, The Design,
The Build, The
Shoot and The Stunts),
the We Shoot Now! Marcus Nispel on the
Set of Pathfinder and Clancy
Brown: Cult Hero featurettes, and theatrical trailers.
Strangely, the SRP for both versions is $29.98. No word yet on
high-def editions but we do expect them to be announced soon.
Meanwhile, Universal has set I'm Reed
Fish for release on DVD on 9/4.
Buena Vista has set the animated The
Tick vs. Season Two for release on 8/7 (12 episodes on 2
discs - SRP $34.99 - for the record, the press release notes that
"Episode 15 will not be included on this
release"), with Darkwing
Duck: Volume Two following on 8/7 (27 episodes on 3 discs
- SRP $34.99). Also newly announced by Buena Vista are Cory
in the House: All-Star Edition and The
Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Sweet Suite Victory (both on
8/7) , as well as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse:
Mickey's Treat (on 8/28).
Finally, Warner Home Video has set Virginia
for release on 7/17.
friends over at TVShowsonDVD.com have also learned
that the studio will be releasing Josie
and the Pussycats: The Complete Series on DVD on 9/18.
Here's a look at the cover art for Shooter,
Pathfinder: Unrated and The
Hills Have Eyes 2: Unrated (7/17)...
Okay... we've got a couple new disc reviews for you today. I've
just completed my review of Disney's
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on Blu-ray Disc. Both
titles street tomorrow and, as I think you'll find after reading my
thoughts, they're well worth a look. In fact, Dead
Man's Chest has the best looking HD video I've seen yet.
I'm almost done with that review of The
Ultimate Matrix Collection HD-DVD box set, which also
streets tomorrow, so watch for that later this evening.
Elsewhere around the site today, we've yet again updated our
DVD Cover Art section with lots more new DVD, HD-DVD and
Blu-ray Disc cover art (and Amazon links, the use of which supports
our work here at The Bits), so
be sure to check it out.
In terms of announcement news today, MGM has revealed a series of "Awesome
80s" catalog double-feature DVDs they're releasing on 7/17 (SRP
$19.98 each), including Class/Secret
Admirer, Desperately Seeking
Susan/Something Wild, Fatal
Beauty/Running Scared, Losin'
It/The Last American Virgin, Johnny
Be Good/Youngblood, Once
Bitten/Vampire's Kiss and The
Sure Thing/Valley Girl.
Also, New Line has set Fracture,
staring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, for release on DVD on 8/14
And on the high-def front today, Sony has confirmed that they'll be
releasing a remastered Blu-ray version of The
Fifth Element on 7/17 to replace the previous BD version,
the video quality of which was sorely lacking. We're waiting to see
if the studio will offer any kind of exchange program to those who
purchased the original disc.
Around the Net this afternoon, New Line has released the first
teaser trailer for a film that we're REALLY looking forward to right
now here at The Bits...
Golden Compass. It's the big screen adaptation of the
first novel in Philip Pullman's excellent His
Dark Materials trilogy. Think of the Harry
Potter books, only with a somewhat more adult
sensibility. We're certainly hoping the film delivers the goods.
It's sure got a great cast. Click on the link to check out the
trailer in Quicktime HD.
By the way, watch for a brand new Classic
Coming Attractions column from our own Barrie Maxwell
Well, it's a mighty slow news day here at The
Bits today, so we're hard at work on finishing up those
Matrix reviews. Yeah, I
know... but there's a LOT of stuff on these discs! What's a fella to
do but slog through it all?
Speaking of reviews, we've just gotten our hands on an early copy
of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Man's Chest Blu-ray Disc. All we can say is... wow! Who
says 50GB doesn't come in handy? The video quality is just stunning
(using the AVC codec). This is arguably the best looking high-def
title we've seen yet, and we've seen a lot of great 1080p video over
the last year, so that's really saying something. We'll have more on
the title on Monday, but suffice it to say that you guys are in for
a treat when it streets next week.
Just a couple of quick announcements this afternoon: Warner has set
Grindin for release on 8/21
Fox has Firehouse Dog due for
release on 7/31.
And Paramount and DreamWorks have just announced Perfume:
The Story of a Murderer for release on 7/24.
Okay... time to put our noses back to the grindstone. Have a great
Sorry for the absence yesterday, folks. Things are just absolutely
crazy around here at The Bits
this week. We're chasing down news stories... the phone is ringing
off the hook. Normally, our busy time of the year is in the fall,
during the holiday DVD release season, and things slow down again in
January. But this year, what with the format war, the frantic pace
just hasn't stopped. Go figure.
Anyway, we've got a lot of news to report today, and we'll catch up
with that review I mentioned soon.
First, our own Adam Jahnke has posted
a new edition of
his regular Electric Theatre column, featuring a 2007
Summer Movie Preview and his take on each of the films
listed. Be sure to check it out.
Warner has announced a number of new DVD releases today. The studio
will release Life Support on
8/7, followed by Nip/Tuck: The Complete
Fourth Season and a Nip/Tuck:
The Complete Seasons 1-4 4-pack on 9/4. Foster's
Home for Imaginary Friends: Complete Season Two and a
2-pack of both Season One and
Season Two will street on
9/11, as will the Noel Coward Collection.
Following on 9/18 are Ballykissangel: The
Complete Series 6, Ballykissangel:
The Complete Collection, Jekyll
and Van Gogh.
Warner has also revealed that the HD-DVD version of 300
(due 7/31) will include the ability to watch the entire film with an
In-Movie Experience featuring special commentary by Zack Snyder, as
well as an exclusive HD strategy game, Vengeance
& Valor. Both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray versions will
include Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio.
Not done yet... Warner has also re-upped their distribution deal
with producer Saul Zaentz for five years. As part of this deal
Warner will be releasing One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus
in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats in February '08. You can
at Video Business.
Still not done with Warner: Some HD-DVD copies of The
Ultimate Matrix Collection (due in stores next Tuesday)
will come packaged with a pamphlet promoting the forthcoming
high-def release (in both formats) of Blade
Runner and a number of Stanley Kubrick films including
2001: A Space Odyssey, A
Clockwork Orange, The Shining,
Full Metal Jacket and the
unrated Eyes Wide Shut. All
are expected before the end of the year.
And for you Elvis fans, Warner has also announced that both Jailhouse
Rock and Viva Las Vegas
will be released on HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats on 9/18.
In other HD news today, Sony and Midway are reportedly using the
extra disc space on Blu-ray Disc to include a high-def version of
John Woo's Hard Boiled on a
BD-50 special collector's edition of the PS3 game Stranglehold,
which is set for release in August. You'll find more on that
at Digital Trends.
Also, Universal has announced that its Heroes:
Season One release (due 8/28 on both DVD and DVD/HD-DVD
Combo formats) will include some 50 deleted scenes, a
behind-the-scenes featurette and the 73-minute original series
premiere that never aired on NBC.
By the way, Universal has also set Dog
Whisperer with Cesar Millan: The Complete Second Season
for DVD release on 8/21.
Criterion has announced its DVD release slate for August. Look for
David Mamet's House of Games
(Cat #399), along with Carlos Saura's Cria
cuervos... (#401) and Luis Bunuel's The
Milky Way (#402).
Meanwhile, MGM has set Blue Water, White
Death for DVD release on 7/31.
Finally this morning, Paramount has announced a number of new
titles for this summer (from Paramount, DreamWorks, CBS and more).
This includes the official announcement of the release of David
Fincher's Zødiac on
7/24 (on full frame and widescreen DVD, as well as HD-DVD and
Blu-ray Disc), along with Dynasty: The
Second Season on 8/14, A Night
at the Roxbury: Special Collector's Edition, The
Crocodile Dundee Triple Feature and The
Odd Couple: The Second Season on 8/28, The
Naked Brothers Band: Battle of the Bands on 9/1, Bosom
Buddies: The Second Season and SpongeBob
SquarePants: Season 5, Volume 1 on 9/4, and Avatar:
The Last Airbender - The Complete Book 2 Collection box
set on 9/11.
Here's the cover art for Zødiac
on DVD, as well as Warner's 300
on HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc...
Back with those reviews we mentioned as soon as possible, so stay
(LATE UPDATE -
5/15/07 - 3:15 PM PDT)
Okay... we've got more new release announcements for you, including
a couple of major titles.
First up, Universal Music will release U2:
PopMart - Live from Mexico City on 6/26, directed by
David Mallet. The DVD will be available in two versions, a standard
single-disc edition featuring the concert and a 2-disc limited
edition with a second disc of "previously
unreleased live audio and video material, including documentaries, a
PopMart tour visuals montage and DVD-ROM extras."
Meanwhile, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the
HD-DVD release of Darkman and
Sea of Love for 7/31. The
studio has also officially set Heroes:
Season One for release on 8/28. The DVD will SRP for
$59.98, with all of the episodes in anamorphic widescreen on 7
discs. The HD-DVD will also be a 7-disc set, and will carry a $99.98
price tag. The high-def version will also feature Dolby Digital Plus
Sony has set Premonition for
release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 7/17, and has also announced the
DVD release of Benson: The Complete First
Season on 7/24.
20th Century Fox will release Perfect
Creature and The Hills Have
Eyes 2: Unrated Edition on 7/17.
The big news today is that Warner has announced the release of 300
on 7/31 in four versions - a standard DVD, a 2-disc special edition
DVD, a DVD/HD-DVD Combo version and a Blu-ray Disc. All four
versions will include audio commentary with director Zack Snyder,
writer Kurt Johnstad and DP Larry Fong. The 2-disc DVD and both
high-def versions will also include deleted scenes with introduction
by Snyder, the 300 Spartans: Fact or
Fiction?, Frank Miller Tapes
and Who Were the Spartans?
featurettes, websiodes, photo galleries and more. The high-def
versions will also offer additional features TBA.
Warner has also set a number of new Elvis Presley films for release
on 8/7. Elvis: The Hollywood Collection
(SRP $49.92) will include Charro,
Girl Happy, Kissin'
Cousins, Live a Little, Love a
Little, Stay Away, Joe
and Tickle Me (each also
available separately for SRP $12.97 each). Other Elvis titles
available on 8/7 include a single-disc Viva
Las Vegas: Deluxe Edition, a single-disc Jailhouse
Rock: Deluxe Edition, a 2-disc This
Is Elvis: Special Edition, a 2-disc Elvis:
That's the Way It is - Special Edition and single-disc
regular editions of Viva Las Vegas,
Jailhouse Rock, It
Happened at the World's Fair, Harum
Scarum, Double Trouble,
The Trouble with Girls, Speedway
and Spinout. The Big E rocks
And in other news, Panasonic has just revealed that they're
debuting a cheaper version of their previous DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Disc
player at the end of this month... the DMP-BD10A. Carrying an SRP of
just $599 (it was originally $1299), the player includes support for
Dolby TrueHD and DTSHD audio, BD-Java and more. The player will also
come packaged with 5 Blu-ray Disc movies, including Pirates
of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The
Transporter, Fantastic Four
and Crash. Here's
press release and you can see photos of the unit
Around the site today, we've got two GREAT new
running, giving each of you the chance to Disney's
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on Blu-ray Disc, as
well as ELEVEN awesome new DVD titles from Warner Home Video,
from Iwo Jima,
Like About You: Season 1,
Waltons: Season 5,
The Complete Theatrical Collection and
Jerry Tales: Volume 2.
Here's a look at the DVD art for both versions of Warner's 300,
along with Universal's Heroes: Season One...
That Matrix high-def review
is still on the way, either later tonight or tomorrow morning.
There's a LOT to go through on the discs, as you can imagine, and we
want to be thorough with it.
(EARLY UPDATE -
5/15/07 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Hey guys... we'll be back with more later this morning, but first
we wanted to check in early with a quick bit of Disney release news.
At a press event in Hollywood last night for the forthcoming Pirates
high-def release, Buena Vista Home Entertainment president Bob
Chapek revealed that his company has started production on the
Blu-ray Disc release of The Chronicles of
Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, likely due
to hit stores sometime early next year. Additional titles are also
in production, so look for more announcements in the coming weeks.
We'll have details as they become available.
By the way, while we're talking Disney... consider this Rumor
Mill worthy, but we're told by our industry sources to
expect the DVD release of Wild Hogs
and The Lookout on 8/14. Also
coming on the TV front from the studio are 8
Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter: The Complete First
Season and Home Improvement:
The Complete Seventh Season, both on 8/7.
One other quick note: Microsoft is apparently releasing a firmware
update for their Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive later today, for those
of you who have one and want to keep it up to date. You'll find the
details over at
Xbox. Thanks to Bits
reader Joey S. for the heads-up.
We'll be back later with more news, and that review of the Matrix
HD-DVDs. Our Pirates BD
reviews will follow later in the week.
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