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

Site created 12/15/97.




page updated: 11/11/99



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 10/1/99 - 9/15/99)


Back to Previous Archives

Back to Current Posts

10/1/99

It's a late one, but we're not gonna let that stop us from posting. We've got another review for you today, of a film that I know many of you have been waiting for on DVD for a very long time: Warner's Excalibur. I can definitely tell you that I've been waiting eagerly for this title. So was it worth the wait? Well... you might want to read the review and find out. I'll say no more.

By the way, we've had a lot of people ask us if we plan to review the DTS version of Saving Private Ryan. The answer is yes, but I'm told the DTS version hasn't begun replication yet, so it will be a couple of weeks before we can get our hands on a copy. Rest assured, we'll modify our current review to do a full comparison as soon as it comes in.

We've updated the CEMA DVD player sales page (and the above listing), to include the 108,180 players sold in the last week of September. The monthly total for September was 226,011 players sold into retail in the States.

It's a bit of slow news day today, but there's another story on how The Matrix has become the best-selling DVD yet, more that tripling sales of Paramount's Titanic disc.

And speaking of The Matrix, our good friend Andy Patrizio recently interviewed me for a Wired Technology News story about all of the tech support issues people have been having with the disc. We got a couple of good quotes in, but as the article is brief, I wanted to expand on my comments here. Let me just say, that it's my opinion (and that of several DVD technical people I've spoken with) that the problems people are having with this disc are hardware compatibility problems - not so much software related. It's possible that QA suffered somewhat on this title, in the rush to get it done, but the problems are all still about hardware, not the disc itself.

So why are so many people having problems with The Matrix? Why are so many players choking on the disc? Well let's put it into perspective: for every 1 person having problems, there are probably 20 or more for whom the disc works just fine. These problems aren't new: several brands of player have had trouble recognizing hybrid DVD discs before - remember the 4th disc in the From the Earth to the Moon set? The difference now, is that not anywhere near as many people purchased FTETTM, but it seems everyone's buying The Matrix (and rightly so - it's an awesome disc). The reason for the player problems, is that (according to several qualified authoring technicians) almost every DVD player currently on the market does not conform 100% to the official DVD spec. This isn't a result of deliberate efforts, or lackluster engineering. Let's give an example: when the first generation of DVD players were being tested, no one had yet mass-produced a DVD-9 (RSDL dual-layered) disc, or a hybrid DVD, with both video and ROM content on the same disc. Therefore, other than a few specially produced beta test discs, it wasn't possible to fully test how many of the players would respond to such discs. Engineers did the best they could, but when you can't test fully, there's bound to be some problems. The same is true now with the forthcoming DVD-18 discs - all of the current players SHOULD be able to read them, but there are bound to be a few glitches. Fortunately, as the format matures, these bugs will be worked out - newer players are MUCH better than older ones. And there's almost always a free firmware upgrade developed by the hardware manufacturer, which will correct specific player problems. So while a problem may be inconvenient, it can usually be dealt with. This is just a problem you're going to have with any new technology, particularly one which continues to evolve, like DVD. I mean, we haven't even addressed DVD-Audio or recordable DVD yet. There will be bugs in the road.

This gets me back to another comment I made in the Wired story:

"I don't think anyone's not going to adopt DVD because of a compatibility problem," he said. "I think the benefits of the format will outweigh that problem."

People, by and large, aren't going to dump DVD just because of a problem like this. What they MAY do however, is get themselves a different brand of DVD player, or buy less of a particular studio's discs. While such occasional bugs and glitches are irritating, they are to be expected with a technology as complicated as DVD. DVD is not like VHS or Laserdisc in any way, except that we watch movies on them. A DVD disc is essentially computer software, which is read and decoded by computer chips in your player. And as anyone who has struggled with a computer knows, you're going to have problems with them. What the software & hardware manufacturers are going to have to learn, is that professional, friendly and helpful tech support is VERY important. You studios out there need to understand this more than anyone - when someone has a problem with your DVD (whether it's your fault or not), they NEED TO KNOW who to call, and whoever they talk to MUST be helpful. You should all create a tech support hotline where people can get answers about problems using your discs. Or better yet, maybe the DVD Video Group can create one unified DVD Tech Support Center for consumers, which handles problems for all of the studios. As this format grows, player/disc compatibility problems are only going to get more common, and putting on a friendly face to handle the problems for consumers is essential.

That's just my two cents anyway. Have a great weekend!

9/30/99

Today, The Digital Bits is very pleased to bring you our early, in-depth review of DreamWorks' upcoming Saving Private Ryan DVD (street date 11/2). Let me just say that this disc definitely lives up to my expectations - see the review for yourself. If this is the kind of quality we can expect from Spielberg's biggest movies on DVD, may we see many more and SOON. The only other thing I could want on this disc would be a commentary track. But what you do get is good stuff. Is it just me, or are there a LOT of awesome upcoming discs on the "to buy" list right now?

We've also got a new post in the Rumor Mill today, with some more upcoming title information. And our official mirror copy of Jim Taylor's DVD FAQ has been updated as well.

In news, word is out that The Matrix has become the biggest selling DVD title in the history of the format. The title has shipped some 1.5 million units, and sold through some 700,000 copies to consumers (according to Warner's press release). And it has soundly kicked butt on Paramount's bare-bones Titanic DVD. Well, no surprise there. I mean, what was Paramount thinking, releasing a non-anamorphic disc, with virtually no extras to speak of? Sheesh!

Look for more new DVD reviews soon. Stay tuned...

9/29/99

We're in full review mode here at the Bits today. Both Todd and I are wrapping up several reviews for posting tomorrow. And we're very pleased to announce that among those titles we'll be posting tomorrow, will be an advance review of DreamWorks' Saving Private Ryan DVD! Look for it sometime early tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, let's have some news. Image Entertainment has updated their DVD News page again, to list a number of new titles from HBO, Warner, Criterion and others. Among the titles are Cinema Paradiso (in anamorphic widescreen!), Lone Star, Meatballs, The Third Man: Criterion Collection and lots more.

We've added some 25 more cover scans to our Upcoming DVD Artwork section. We've got art on Star Trek IV, Clueless, Bride of Frankenstein, Army of Darkness, A Star is Born, Friday the 13th, Entrapment and LOTS more, so do check it out.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has announced their DVD title lineup for December. Look for: Inspector Gadget, Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas, Shakespeare in Love: Collector's Series, Everest: Collector's Series, Eddie, Senseless, Rogue Trader, The Very Thought of You, Farewell My Concubine, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Supercop 2, and Summer of Sam. No word yet on specific street dates.

And here's a look at one of those upcoming Warner Collector's Edition Gift Sets - this one for The Wizard of Oz:

Wizard of Oz Collector's Gift Set

Just to let you all know, Todd has survived his big wisdom tooth extraction/torture session, and he's doing just fine. He'll be reading all your e-mails tomorrow morning, so keep 'em coming (and thanks again)! ;-)

Back tomorrow with Private Ryan!

9/28/99

Wow! It's been a busy day here at the Bits - which explains the late post. We're going review crazy around here over the next couple of days! Today, we're kicking off our in-depth look at New Line's cool new Nightmare on Elm Street Collection on DVD, with full-length reviews of EVERY disc in the set. We've got the first three discs reviewed today, and we'll post the rest a few at a time over the coming days. We've also just received the Monty Python's Flying Circus DVDs from A&E, so you can expect a review of them too, as well several other titles. Just a hint - they're WAY cool. Wink, wink, know what I mean?

NetFlix has just launched a major new online rental model, that I think will really change the way some of you look at the idea of renting DVDs online. It works like a paid library subscription - you simply pay a flat fee of $15.95 each month, which allows to select and keep any 4 DVDs of your choice at home. There are no late fees, no due dates, and you pay NO shipping at all for the 4 discs. You can watch them when you're ready, and then just swap them for new ones when you're done. If you request more than 4 discs at a time, you simply $2.99 (plus $0.99 in shipping) for each extra title. I have to say, we really think this is a cool idea - kind of what Divx was trying to go for, but without all the hassle, restricted-access to titles, and Big Brother crap. You can read the press release here. And you can be sure we'll be giving the system a try...

We received an e-mail yesterday from our friend GandAlfDC, over at Superman Cinema, who has informed us that Superman is currently being restored for eventual DVD release. Here's the text of the e-mail (reprinted here by kind permission):

"I spoke with Dick Donner's people and they confirm that the Supes DVD is being worked on.

The Extra Footage: A sticky issue, the cut footage is still being considered for inclusion into the context of the film. There might be 2 versions of the film. There might also be a single director's cut which might add some extra scenes with the rest in a supplementary section. At the end of the day, it will be Donner's decision and I will certainly except his version. I hope "Superman waiting for the Hackensack rocket is included in a director's cut" I would expect an anamorphic print, and WB usually deliver this on their Special Edition DVDs.

Commentary: Donner and Christopher Reeve should be providing the voices, as of writing, Chris is unconfirmed.

Special Features: The original documentary hosted by Chris Reeve needs legal clearance. Canal + don't seem to have exclusive rights to this. Probably no isolated score will be on the disc, I personally don't think it would be fair on Rhino Records who will be releasing the entire score on 2 CDs in April 2000.

That is from the horse's mouth. I will keep you updated."

I know I can't wait for the first 2 films in the Superman series to hit DVD, and Warner has hinted at them previously. Word is, however, they're in HEAVY need of restoration, and it remains to be seen what Warner will do with the forthcoming sequel, Superman Lives (currently languishing in development hell). In any case, keep you fingers crossed...

Columbia TriStar has informed us that they'll be releasing Splendor on DVD on November 23rd. The disc will SRP for $27.95, and will include talent files.

We've done a little digging, and found out that Tom Hanks' Bachelor Party IS available on DVD in Region 2 (Japan), and it was also released on Divx. I hope that doesn't mean Garth Brooks has a Divx player... ;-)

Finally today, my friend and yours, Todd Doogan, is getting his wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow morning - ouch! He's been hearing all kinds of horror stories about it - mine were actually a breeze when I had them yanked years ago, but others aren't so lucky. He's real bummed out about the whole thing, so I'd like to ask our readers to send him some e-mail to cheer him up. You guys are like friends to Tddd and I, and I know it would make his day. Many thanks!

We'll see you tomorrow (some of us with fewer teeth)!

(LATE UPDATE - 9/27/99 - 1:45 PM PDT)

Back with the rest of today's post! We're pleased to be able to feature a transcript of a chat that our friends at the Home Theater Forum conducted this weekend, with David Shin, the Director of Interactive Marketing from Universal Home Video. There are some interesting bits of information in the text about upcoming DVD titles, so do check it out. And thanks to HTF for all their hard work!

We're also pleased to bring you a look at 10 screen shots from Buena Vista and Pixar's upcoming A Bug's Life: Collector's Edition DVD. They're very cool, so do check them out. Too bad this wasn't how the film was done on DVD the first time.

Also today, Columbia TriStar has announced that Black and White and Resurrection will be released on DVD on November 9th. Both will SRP for $27.95. Black and White will include audio commentary by director Yuri Zeltzer, a TV spot, a trailer and talent files. Resurrection will feature similar extras, including a commentary with director Russell Mulcahy.

Blockbuster has finally announced the national rollout of DVD in some 3,800 of their stores by year's end (with predictably grand bluster - see press release). I can't help but be a little peeved at Blockbuster. Does anyone recall how they damn-near saved Divx from extinction a few months back (only last-minute intervention by Fox Home Video head Bill Mechanic reportedly prevented this)? And why the heck has it taken them this long to get on the bandwagon? According to insiders, it's because Blockbuster wanted serious spiffs from the studios and manufacturers to support DVD. Ggrrr.... Okay, I know I should be happy they're on-board now. Deep breath... there that's better. Isn't it great that Blockbuster loves DVD so much!? ;-)

We've found another awesome PlayStation 2 web site: PlayStation Europe. It's packed with cool screen shots, spec lists and lots of other good pictures and details. Do check it out.

Image Entertainment has details on Paramount's upcoming Apocalypse Now DVD (street date 11/9) on their DVD News page. Can you say 16x9, baby? It isn't a new update, but I don't recall the Paramount info being up last week. Hhmm... You'll also find details on Star Trek IV, Trekkies, Tommy Boy and several new DVD collections from the studio.

One last note: I'd like to take a moment to correct a comment Garth Brooks made this weekend. Last night on the Saturday Night Live Anniversary Special, he told Tom Hanks that he was a big fan, and had Bachelor Party on DVD. As far as The Digital Bits knows, Bachelor Party has never been released on DVD. Just couldn't resist that little jab - sorry Garth! It's not that we don't believe you're still a DVD fan or anything. Well, okay... Todd doesn't believe you. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. ;-)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 9/27/99 - 11:30 AM PDT)

All right - we have the official word from Warner Bros. on the problems people have been having with The Matrix (and we've gotten lots of e-mails about this). The bottom line: these are hardware-based issues - not software problems with the discs. In most cases there are (or shortly will be) firmware upgrades that will update consumer DVD-Video players with Matrix problems to the proper spec. Computer DVD-ROM problems are trickier, as so many different ROM drives and software decoders are not fully compliant with the DVD spec. But there are work-arounds for almost all of these cases as well. Warner has informed me that PC Friendly has undertaken to officially report on these problems, and provide people the tech support needed to solve them. If you're having a problem with The Matrix DVD, go to one of these two pages on the PC Friendly site for help:

PC Friendly - Matrix tech support for consumer DVD-Video players

PC Friendly - Matrix tech support for computer DVD-ROM drives

You should find your specific player or problem listed there, along with the latest information on how to resolve the problem. In the case of consumer DVD-Video players, these problems are related to others you may have had in the past (anyone remember how some players had trouble recognizing hybrid DVD discs like the 4th disc in the From the Earth to the Moon set?). Once again, just remember that this is a player problem - not a software issue. All of the major manufacturers are aware of the problems, and either already have a firmware upgrade for it, or are currently working on the problem. Please consult the links above, and then check with your manufacturer's tech support.

I'll be back shortly with more to post, but I wanted to get the above information up ASAP. Stay tuned...

9/24/99

A couple of quick updates today. First of all, you all have heard by now that The Force.net has again reported that there will be no Star Wars DVD release before Episode III is finished. And its also been confirmed that the Indiana Jones Trilogy and Young Indiana Jones are being prepped for DVD. This information comes from George Lucas, revealed at a press conference in Paris. Thanks to CanalWeb, you can watch the whole press conference for yourself, via Real Video (get that here). Click on "Cinema" to find the page featuring the Lucas video clip. Watch it, and you'll hear Lucas reveal the DVD news himself...

In other news (and this would normally be found in the Rumor Mill, but I'm putting it here for ease of posting - all the usual disclaimers apply), we're hearing that a Deep Blue Sea DVD will in fact be released on November 30th. Expect an official announcement soon. And we've been told that Saving Private Ryan, when it streets, will include a $5 instant rebate if you purchase Ryan and any of the following DVDs (at the same time): ANTZ, Small Soldiers, The Prince of Egypt, and Peacemaker.

Finally today, we are hearing a LOT of stories out there about The Matrix having problems with some of the existing DVD players on the market. This appears to be a hardware issue, not a software one (some players have trouble recognizing hybrid DVD discs - with both DVD-Video and DVD-ROM content on them), but we can't be sure yet. We've heard of problems with the Sony 550D, the Panasonic A110, A300 & A310, the Sony 7000, the GE GE1105P and the Samsung DVD 709. The problems reported range from not being able to access the special edition content, to player lock-ups, layer switch issues and more. OUCH! Here at the Bits, we use the Sony 7700, and the Pioneer DV414, and the portable Panasonic L50, and have had none of these problems so far. But we'll try to keep you up to date on what's happening with this disc. Feel free to continue reporting problems to us, and if anyone is keeping a master list of players with compatibility problems, send it along.

Have a great weekend, and stay tuned!

9/23/99

All right... today we've got something very special for you. I've been working hard on a behind-the-scenes article on The Prince of Egypt for a couple of weeks now, digging into research, and so forth. The result is now available for all of you to read: The Prince of Egypt and the Changing Art of Animation. I wonder how many of you were aware of just how technically innovative and complex the CGI effects in The Prince of Egypt really are? I'll tell you - I sure had no idea (and I guess that's the best compliment for such work, isn't it, when it goes unnoticed in serving the story?). Special effects are not the kinds of things you usually associate with animated films. But this is some impressive work indeed. I hope you enjoy the article - let me know what you think!

Also today, we've got some cool new information on more upcoming DVD titles in today's edition of the The Rumor Mill. Our sources have told us what's in the works for December and January, and some of it's pretty nifty.

In what seems to be an almost daily Columbia TriStar update, the studio has sent us word that they will be releasing The Way We Were on DVD on November 9th (in anamorphic widescreen). The disc will SRP for $24.95, and is expected to include a brand new 70-minute documentary called A Look Back, featuring new interviews with Barbra Streisand and Sydney Pollack. A Sydney Pollack commentary track, and talent files will also be included. Also, Columbia TriStar has informed us of a couple of street date changes: Immortal Beloved, Night of the Living Dead and Knock Off/Nowhere to Run have been bumped to 10/5, and Someone to Watch Over Me and The City of Lost Children are now expected on 10/19.

Image Entertainment's ever useful DVD News page has again been updated, to include details on The Haunting, The Love Letter and Saving Private Ryan from DreamWorks, as well as the Notting Hill: CE, The Commitments, Patton and a whole host of great DVDs from other studios.

And finally today, speaking of Patton, we'd like to acknowledge our appreciation of actor George C. Scott, who passed away yesterday at his home here in California, at the age of 71 (you can read all the details here). With memorable performances in such films as Dr. Strangelove, The Hindenberg, Taps and the aforementioned Patton, Scott will surely be long remembered. Hats off from all of us here at The Digital Bits.

Stay tuned...

9/22/99

We've got pictures for you today! Shots of the case artwork for Saving Private Ryan and The Iron Giant, have begun appearing in the trades, so I thought you'd all enjoy a look-see...

Saving Private Ryan DVD artIron Giant DVD art

Also, we've got a good shot for you of Sony's upcoming PlayStation 2 game system...

PlayStation 2

There has been a great deal of confusion about whether the DVD-ROM based game system would be able to play actual DVD-Video discs, mostly as a result of conflicting statements by the manufacturer itself. Our friends at IGN.com (of which the Bits is an affiliate) still has this text up on their PlayStation 2 FAQ:

"Will it play DVD movies?

Sony has said that, right out of the box, the PlayStation 2 will not have the ability to play DVD movies. There may be an adapter released later in the system's life that will give it the power to do so. The system does have MPEG2 capabilities, but the problem lies in a front-end for viewing and accessing the movies' menu systems, as well as an interface to skip tracks, rewind and fast-forward, among other things."

This information was also confirmed by system developers. But, as you all know, that's old news now. According to Sony's recent announcement at the Tokyo Game Show, the system will be capable of playing DVD-Video movie discs. For all the news and details, check out or fellow IGN affiliate site: PSXNetwork. You can also visit Sony's official PlayStation 2 site. And despite the fact that IGN's PlayStation 2 FAQ needs updating, you DEFINITELY want to check it out, for lots of pictures and actual video clips of games (see the bottom of the page). The rendering power of this system looks impressive to say the least.

Also today, Columbia TriStar has announced another new upcoming title: Against All Odds: Special Edition. The disc will street on November 9th (SRP $24.94), and will include anamorphic widescreen, seven deleted scenes, director's commentary with Taylor Hackford, James Woods and Jeff Bridges, another commentary with the director and screenwriter Eric Hughes, Phil Collins' Against All Odds music video, Kid Creole and the Coconuts' My Male Curiosity music video, and talent files.

Pioneer has issued a press release, saying that they'll be the first manufacturer to market a 10x DVD-ROM drive. And Sonic Solutions is teaming with major manufacturers and content producers, to produce the first DVD-Audio test discs (see press release). Check out this quote: "By adding a Dolby Digital track or a two-channel LPCM track along with a still image or slide show, some of the record companies are authoring versions which can be played back on existing DVD-Video players as well as new DVD-Audio players." Interesting...

TWICE has a press release, reporting that the first THX Surround EX-encoded DVD will be New Line's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (it will still have DD 5.1 - you'll need new stereo equipment to read the EX flags). As you may know THX Surround EX (aka Dolby Digital Surround EX) has been used for a number of theatrical releases thus far, starting with Star Wars: Episode I. Here's an interesting quote from the release: "At least three other movies -- Star Wars-Episode I, The Astronaut's Wife and The Haunting -- have been recorded in EX for theatrical release, and the EX soundtracks will automatically be transferred to disc when DVD versions become available. EX-recorded movies still to be released in theaters include Toy Story 2, Bats, Chicken Run, The Fight Club, Minority Report, End of Days, House on Haunted Hill, Spooky House, The Bone Collector and Pitch Black."

And finally today, we've received word that the "luxury slip cases" in Warner's upcoming DVD collector's edition boxed sets will be variations on the Snapper case theme, for all those of you who have sent e-mails concerned about this. They will NOT be keep cases.

Stay tuned...

9/21/99

Hang on to your secret agent decoder pens, Bond fans! As promised, we've got 3 full-length reviews of those Bond Special Edition DVDs for you today: GoldenEye, Thunderball and Live and Let Die. You can access them from our special 007 DVD page. And we've done something a little different this time around - each review features a look at the discs' nifty animated menu screens, which were produced by 1K Studios... the same folks who did the menu work on Fox's Alien: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD! Trust me, you are gonna go nuts over these discs. Each of the three discs we've seen so far is absolutely jam-packed with special edition material, including some real gems. This is definitely the must-have DVD set for the holidays, for any man with a DVD player (hint, hint ladies...). Anyway, I think you'll enjoy the reviews, and you'll have a hard time waiting until October 19th when you're done!

Let's get to some news: Columbia TriStar has announced another pair of upcoming DVDs, to street on November 16th: Five Easy Pieces and The Loss of Sexual Innocence. Five Easy Pieces will feature "talent files" and will SRP for $24.95. The Loss of Sexual Innocence will include a Mike Figgis commentary track, and will SRP for $27.95. Both will be enhanced for 16x9 displays.

Image Entertainment has again updated their DVD News page to include more upcoming title announcements, such as Universal's classic Wolf Man.

In other upcoming DVD news, look for Resurrection on 11/9, Easy Rider and School of Flesh on 12/7, Dick and The Last Detail on 12/14, Made Men, Run Lola Run and Year of the Gun on 12/21, and Universal Soldier: The Return on 12/28, all from Columbia TriStar. Buena Vista will release their live-action Inspector Gadget on 12/7. Sony Music is releasing MTV Unplugged: Classic Moments and MTV Unplugged: Finest Moments on 10/12. Universal has Notting Hill and Friends and Lovers set for 11/9. And Warner Music has Madonna: The Video Collection 1992-1999, The Best of Eric Clapton: 1981-1999, and Van Halen: Greatest Hits Volume 1 set to street on 10/5, 10/12 and 11/2 respectively.

Have a great day, and stay tuned!

9/20/99

This is going to be a quick update this morning, but we'll be back with something very cool this evening... more on that in a minute.

First of all today, we've got the official word on Warner's Wild Wild West DVD. The disc will street, as we've reported, on November 30th. The DVD will SRP for $24.98, and will include the following features:

· Anamorphic widescreen video
· Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
· a 30-minute (approx.) "behind-the-scenes" documentary, HBO First Look: It's a Whole New West
· audio commentary with director Barry Sonnenfeld
· Wild Wild West and Bailamos music videos
· multiple photo and artwork galleries
· theatrical trailer

The disc will also include DVD-ROM features as follows:

· Artemus Gordon's Mind Projection Theater (behind-the-scenes clips)
· Wild Wild West ROM game
· links to special web events & original theatrical web site
· two original essays
· theatrical trailer sampler of other Warner films adapted from TV series

Remember that Young Frankenstein: Special Edition disc? Well, we reported erroneously (on 9/16) that it was going to street on October 5th. It is actually available now. Sorry for the error!

Columbia TriStar has announced DVD versions of Limbo and A River Runs Through It for release on November 23rd. Limbo will include audio commentary by director John Sayles, and an isolated 5.1 music soundtrack (SRP $27.95). A River Runs Through It will include "talent files" only (SRP $24.95). The studio has also announced that The Dark Crystal and The City of Lost Children, which had been expected to street on September 21st, have been delayed until October 5th.

Now then, we at the Bits have received advance copies of three of MGM's upcoming James Bond Collection Special Edition DVDs - Thunderball, Live and Let Die, and GoldenEye. The discs street on October 19th for $34.95 each (SRP), or in a boxed set of 7 films at $199.98. Let me just say that they are nothing less than fantastic - you are ALL going to want this set, believe me. We will be posting complete, full-length reviews later today. In the meantime, we've also obtained the complete list of extras that the discs in the first set will contain (it may still be subject to slight change):

GoldenEye: Special Edition

Audio commentary by Martin Campbell (director) and Michael Wilson (producer), two documentaries: The World of 007 and The Making of GoldenEye, theatrical trailers and TV spots, promotional featurette, GoldenEye music video by Tina Turner, booklet

Thunderball: Special Edition

Audio commentaries by Terrance Young (director) and John Hopkins (writer), two documentaries: The Thunderball Phenomenonand The Making of Thunderball, ABC broadcast promotion, theatrical trailers and TV and radio spots, still gallery (600+ pictures), booklet

Live and Let Die: Special Edition

Audio commentary by Guy Hamilton (director) and Tom Manckiewicz (writer), documentary: The Making of Live and Let Die, theatrical trailers and TV and radio spots, still gallery (300+ pictures), UK Milk Board commercial, booklet

For Your Eyes Only: Special Edition

Audio commentary by John Glen (director) and Michael Wilson (producer), documentary: Inside For Your Eyes Only, theatrical trailers and radio spots, still gallery (300+ pictures), Playboy Bond Girl test footage, Sheena Easton music video, booklet

Goldfinger: Special Edition

Audio commentary by Guy Hamilton (director) and others, two documentaries: The Making of Goldfinger and The Goldfinger Phenomenon, theatrical trailers and TV and radio spots, still gallery (1000+ pictures), featurette with screen tests, audio interviews with Sean Connery, ABC broadcast promotion, booklet

Licence to Kill: Special Edition

Audio commentary by John Glen (director) and Michael Wilson (producer), two documentary: Inside Licence to Kill, production featurette, theatrical trailers and TV and radio spots, still gallery (300+ pictures), Licence to Kill music video with Gladys Knight, If You Asked Me To music video with Patti LaBelle, booklet

Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition

Audio commentaries by Roger Spottiswoode (director) and Michael Wilson (producer), Secrets of 007 retrospective, storyboard sequences, special effects featurette, music-only audio track, interview with composer David Arnold, theatrical trailers, Tomorrow Never Dies music video with Sheryl Crow, booklet

Note that the Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition will be the exact same disc with the same menus and content, just repackaged with new cover artwork. With the exception of Tomorrow Never Dies and GoldenEye, all of the previously released Bond films were THX-certified on DVD (Dr. No, Moonraker, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me and From Russia With Love. The new release of these films will NOT mention THX-certification, but the transfers are the same.

A second release wave of Bond films will follow in May of 2000, with the following films available singly and in another boxed set: Dr. No, Moonraker, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. This is not official information, but look for The World is Not Enough to be released at this same time. A final wave will appear in the Fall of 2000, with the rest of the official series: From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, and The Living Daylights. I've spoken with an MGM official today, who says that there are (as yet) no plans to release Never Say Never Again and Casino Royale as part of this "official" Bond collection. However, I'm told that the studio DOES own the rights to both films, and they WILL be released on DVD at some point in the future.

We'll be back tonight with full-length reviews of Thunderball, GoldenEye and Live and Let Die, so stay tuned!

9/17/99

We've got something very special for you today, to round out your DVD week (and what a good week it was for DVD!). Doogan recently had a nice long chat with the Grand Pooh-Bah of Synapse Films himself, Don May Jr... and then he spent literally hours transcribing it for you! But it's definitely worth the trouble - this is a great interview. Todd and Don discuss DVD, the making of classic laserdiscs, favorite horror movies - even health food products. You definitely don't want to miss it! So without further ado, the Bits is proud to bring you An Interview With Don May, Jr. Enjoy!

Also today, we've posted a full-length review of Image Entertainment's new Spider Baby DVD. Todd's got a related announcement he wants to make here - take the mic, Todd:

Just a quick note for L.A. area fans of Jack Hill, his Spider Baby, or anyone that might be interested in the film after reading the review today -- Jack Hill and some folks from Image will be at the Nuart Cinema in Santa Monica tonight at midnight (9/17/99), showing Spider Baby on the big screen. This version will contain 8 recently found minutes of missing footage (edited back into the film), and Jack will be giving away a few copies of the new DVD. This should be very, very, very cool. If you can make it, this is something that should not be missed. Back to Bill...

Thanks, Todd - sounds like a great time. Okay, finally today, speaking of Image Entertainment, they've just updated their DVD News page again, with the details on lots of great new titles, including those Collector's Edition boxed sets that Warner and its affiliates have worked out with Steeplechase. One thing that puzzles me though... they're supposed to come in "luxury fitted slipcases". Hhmmm... those aren't keep cases by any chance? Hope not, or the DVD natives out there, who have been forced to settle for Snappers all this time, but get a little restless.

We've got some nifty things coming for you all next week, so stay tuned. And have a great weekend!

9/16/99

We've got a bunch of stuff to cover today. First of all, we've got more Upcoming DVD Cover Art for you to look at - nine titles in all, including The Crossing Guard, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Pink Floyd: The Wall, Arlington Road, My Favorite Martian and The Blue Lagoon.

Today's Rumor Mill post has some details on the DVD release date for Warner's Wild Wild West, including the extra features to expect on the disc. There's also a note on the studio's Deep Blue Sea as well.

I spoke today with a representative for Columbia TriStar's DVD department, and asked why their recent Monty Python & the Holy Grail disc isn't in anamorphic widescreen. Apparently, Columbia TriStar was limited as to what they could do with the DVD by no less than Python Pictures. Python only provided the film itself for use on DVD, and not even an actual print - just a master tape of the transfer done for the previously-released Criterion laserdisc edition. This was, of course, not a high-def or anamorphic film transfer. Neither did Python bother to provide the deleted scenes or the commentary that were found on the Criterion LD. As a result, the video quality of the final DVD pales somewhat in comparison to Columbia's regular DVD work. Columbia TriStar is hopeful that they'll be able to release an anamorphic widescreen DVD special edition of the film (that consumers will be more happy with) at a later time. But the decision to release the film now, at this level of quality, was made because the studio is uncertain as to when they'll be able to get their hands on the better source and extra materials. I was told that a better quality DVD edition is definitely not likely for this year. So hang in there Python fans - SOMEDAY this film will look better on DVD... just not anytime soon.

Back to Pink Floyd: The Wall - we can give you a complete rundown today on the extras that will be included on the disc. Look for:

· new anamorphic widescreen, high-def transfer
· previously unreleased footage
· remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
· The Other Side of the Wall - 25-minute documentary
· audio commentary with Roger Waters and Gerald Scrafe
· Retrospective - an exclusive new 45-minute documentary
· original trailer and production stills
· interactive menus
· subtitles, scene/song selection, and "secret buttons"
· "deluxe" DVD packaging

Pink Floyd: The Wall DVD Young Frankenstein DVD

Also today, we have word that Fox Home Video is re-releasing a repackaged DVD special edition of their Young Frankenstein on October 5th, to coincide with the "25 and 1/2 anniversary" of the film. Designed as a tongue-in-cheek play on all of the recent anniversary DVD releases, the disc will be the same as before, just with new case artwork (seen above). A first-ever VHS version will also be released that day.

In other news, Paramount has announced its upcoming DVD version of Chinatown. The disc will include trailers, interviews and more, and will street on November 23rd (SRP $29.99). There's another press release available today on Iron Giant and Private Ryan. Caligula is coming to DVD in all its uncut glory (street date 11/23), and some are sure there will be a world of controversy about it (see press release). And surprise - Circuit City's profits are up in the 2nd quarter... excluding the financial hit taken as a result of the Divx shutdown. Just has to get a little Circuit City news in there - it's just been too long. ;-)

Finally today, Doogan's back again with a look at Columbia TriStar's new DVD edition of Fright Night, so don't miss it!

See you back here tomorrow!

9/15/99

A quick update today, but we've got some interesting things for you. First of all, we've posted some more information, in today's Rumor Mill, about Sony's upcoming PlayStation 2 - looks like it will be a fully-loaded DVD player after all. We've also got a reader-submitted tidbit, that Star Wars: Episode I may soon be appearing on bootleg DVD, via Hong Kong. Also, Todd's got a couple of new reviews for you - full-length looks at Fox's new Bruce Lee Master Collection, and Paramount's King Kong (1976).

Enjoy, and stay tuned...!


More Archived Posts

Back to Current Posts


E-mail the Bits!


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