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page updated: 3/16/11



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 3/11/11 - 2/11/11)


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3/11/11

Well... today is a bit of a strange day, isn't it? For all those of in Japan (and I know we have a few readers there), we very much hope that you and your loved ones are safe. I'm sure all of you have probably seen the astonishing tsunami video by now. You see something like that, and it's hard to connect that what you're seeing is real, and no some kind of movie special effect. One imagines that we haven't even begun to see the most astonishing footage - no doubt more video will emerge in the days ahead, as people begin the long recovery from the tragedy. In any case, it goes without saying that our hearts go out to everyone affected. Now might be a good time to suggest that you all consider making donations to the International Red Cross to help with relief efforts.

On a more typical note, we've gotten a lot of great response to the Q&A we posted last night with Sony's Grover Crisp. Our thanks to all of you for the kind feedback and comments, and to Grover for his time and efforts on behalf of classic film fans.

Elsewhere here at The Bits today, we've kicked off a new Giveaway offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Anchor Bay's Sharktopus on Blu-ray! One lucky winner will also win a rare Sharktopus promo plush from the Bay! Entries will be accepted until Sunday, March 27th at Noon (Pacific). Click on the links for instructions on how to enter the drawing, and good luck!

There's not much release news today, but there is some VERY good catalog BD news from 20th Century Fox and MGM. First of all, Benny & Joon, De-Lovely, Lars and the Real Girl, Much Ado About Nothing and Mystic Pizza are all set for release on 4/5 (SRP $19.99 each). Following on 5/3 will be All the Right Moves, Taps and Twelve O'Clock High (SRP $24.99 each). Then on 5/10, you'll get wide releases of those titles previously released as Best Buy exclusives - Dead Man Walking, Hotel Rwanda, The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Leaving Las Vegas (SRP $19.99 each) - followed by Blu-ray singles of all four Alien films - Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection (SRP $34.99 each).

In terms of new release films, 20th Century Fox will also release Waiting for Forever on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/3.

Image Entertainment has set Whitney Cummings: Money Shot for release on DVD only on 4/12 (SRP $14.95).

And Anchor Bay Entertainment has also set Your Love Never Fails for DVD release on 4/5.

In other news, for all you genre TV fans out there, don't forget that after taking last week off due to the NAACP Awards, there's another new episode of Fringe on Fox tonight. Make your plans accordingly!

And on a quick personal note, Happy Birthday to Dr. Jahnke's wife Meegan, Matt's wife Debbie (yesterday) and my old friend Weatherman Dave!

We'll leave you with a bunch of new cover art for some of those Fox and MGM catalog BD titles. Most can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.com by clicking on the covers...

Alien (Blu-ray Disc)Aliens (Blu-ray Disc)T.A.P.S. (Blu-ray Disc)

All the Right Moves (Blu-ray Disc)Mystic Pizza (Blu-ray Disc)12 O'Clock High (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend, everyone. And for those of you in Japan, our best to you and please stay safe.

3/10/11

Afternoon, folks...

We're very pleased this afternoon to present you with a Q&A with Sony Pictures Entertainment's Grover Crisp, the studio's Senior VP for Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Mastering. Under Crisp's supervision, and with the involvement of director Martin Scorsese, Sony recently completed a comprehensive 4K restoration of the director's acclaimed 1976 drama Taxi Driver. The result of their efforts will be released by the studio on Blu-ray Disc on 4/5, for film enthusiasts everywhere to appreciate and enjoy. It will also be released in select theatres in 4K in the months ahead. (In fact, just I post this, Crisp and Scorsese are actually moments away from screening the newly-restored film for a theatre audience in New York City.) We think you'll find Crisp's discussion of the restoration process enlightening, and he's got some very interesting things to say about his general approach to restoring classic films in the age of high-definition. In our opinion here at The Bits, nobody in the business is doing better restoration work than Crisp and his team, so his thoughts are absolutely worth a read for anyone interested in the proper presentation of classic films on Blu-ray. We hope you enjoy it!

Sony's Grover Crisp on the New Restoration of Taxi Driver

Also today, Shout! Factory has just set another Roger Corman's Cult Classic DVD title for release on 5/24 - The Ron Howard Action Pack, featuring Eat My Dust! and Grand Theft Auto. Eat My Dust! will include a new interview with star Ron Howard, 3 featurettes (How to Crash on a Dime: The Making of Eat My Dust!, Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman and The Illustrated Man), along with the film's theatrical trailer and a TV spot. Grand Theft Auto will include an introduction by Roger Corman, audio commentary with Ron Howard and Corman, a second commentary with actor/cowriter Rance Howard, second unit director Allan Arkush, editor Joe Dante and key grip Ben Haller, 3 featurettes (A Family Affair, Interview with Ron Howard and Roger Corman and Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman) and the film's theatrical trailer and TV spots.

One more interesting thing from elsewhere around the Net: Our friends over at Ain't It Cool News have posted an interview with director John Landis, in which he reports that Universal is preparing a long-awaited new Blu-ray release of The Blues Brothers. Sounds like there's no new special feature content planned, but we're still glad of the confirmation that's it's coming as we've suspected.

That's all for now. Stay tuned!

3/9/11

Afternoon, folks!

All right, let's get right to the release news, because there's some good stuff today...

Paramount has finally officially set the Coen Brothers' True Grit for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/7. You'll be able to buy the film in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack with Digital Copy, as well as a standard DVD with Digital Copy (SRP $29.99 and $19.99). The DVD will include 4 featurettes (Hailee's True Grit, From Bustles to Buckskin: Dressing for the 1880s, Re-Creating Fort Smith and The Cast). The Blu-ray will add 3 more (Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western, Charles Portis: The Greatest Writer You've Never Heard Of... and The Cinematography of True Grit) and the film's theatrical trailer all in HD. Cover art isn't available yet, but we'll post it as soon as it comes in.

While we're talking Paramount catalog, take note that the studio has announced the release of the classic Le Mans on both DVD and Blu-ray on 5/24. Extras will include the Filming at Speed: The Making of the Movie "Le Mans" featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. Also coming on 5/17 is the classic Beverly Hills Cop, featuring audio commentary by director Martin Brest, 3 featurettes (Beverly Hills Cop: The Phenomenon Begins, A Glimpse Inside the Casting Process and The Music of Beverly Hills Cop), a Location Map and the trailer. FINALLY - more Paramount catalog BDs!!!

Also today, Sony has announced the Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD release of The Green Hornet on 5/3 (SRP $34.95, $49.95 and $28.95). Extras on the Blu-ray will include filmmaker commentary, 7 featurettes (Jay Chou Audition, Double Barrel, Writing The Green Hornet, The Black Beauty: Rebirth of Cool, The Stunt Family Armstrong, Finding Kato and The Art of Destruction), The Green Hornet Cutting Room, the "Awesoom" gag reel, Michel Gondry's Trust Me music video, movieIQ and a PS3 theme.

By the way, Sony and CreateSpace have also just added more classic film titles to their existing MOD release catalog (nearly 125 titles in all, available through Amazon.com). The new titles include 40 Carats (1973), Screaming Mimi (1958), The Wrong Box (1966), The Nevadan (1950), X, Y and Zee (1971), Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973), Storm Center (1956), The Case Against Brooklyn (1958), The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1988) and The Mind of Mr. Soames (1969).

Also coming on 5/3 from Sony is Drop Dead Diva: Season Two (SRP $29.95).

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has revealed a bit of their May release slate, set to include Boy Meets World: The Complete Fifth Season, The PJs: Season 13 and According to Jim: The Complete Third Season on 5/3, Cougars, Inc. (DVD and Blu-ray) on 5/10, Mob Rules, Barney: I Can Do It and Thor: Tales of Asgard (DVD and Blu-ray) on 5/17, HIT Favorites: Sweet Dreams, Fertile Ground: AfterDark Originals and Seconds Apart: AfterDark Originals on 5/24, and Biutiful (DVD and Blu-ray) and A Nightmare in Las Cruces on 5/31.

Kino Lorber has revealed its May slate as well, including Ward No. 6 (DVD only) on 5/3, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (Blu-ray and DVD), Marriage Italian Style (Blu-ray and DVD), Sunflower (Blu-ray and DVD) and the Sophia Loren: Award Collection (DVD only - includes Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style, Sunflower and the Vittorio D documentary) all on 5/17, and Nenette (DVD only - includes Animals & More Animals), Every Little Thing (DVD only), Louvre City (DVD only) and In the Land of the Deaf (DVD only) all on 5/24.

Music Box Films has set Anton Chekhov's The Duel for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/24 (SRP $38.94 and $29.95). They also have Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 due on both formats on 3/29 (SRP $34.95 and $29.95).

Vivendi Entertainment has set the CG-animated The Garfield Show: Private-Eye Ventures for DVD release on 4/12.

And Warner Home Video has just announced an "online adventure" called Harry Potter: The Quest, where fans can register (for free) "to play games, watch videos and have all new Harry Potter experiences to earn points as a global community. As the global community reaches a predetermined point level each week, they will earn exciting rewards such as exclusive never-before-seen content from all the Harry Potter movies and more." More on all this is available here at the official site.

All right, here's cover art for Sony's The Green Hornet (all three formats) and Paramount's Le Mans and Music Box's Anton Chekhov's The Duel and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 all on Blu-ray...

The Green Hornet (DVD)The Green Hornet (Blu-ray Disc)The Green Hornet (Blu-ray 3D)

Le Mans (Blu-ray Disc)Anton Chekhov's The Duel (Blu-ray Disc)Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great day! Stay tuned...

3/8/11

All right, as expected yesterday's double-barreled commentary from Dr. Jahnke and myself about studio MOD programs inspired much feedback and debate. And today's rant (from yours truly) will likely do the same. More in a minute.

First, as always, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Art section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. Don't forget, you can still sort Blu-ray and DVD separately by using the THREE drop down selection menus to chose your format and filter the results in various ways. You can use all three drop down menus at the same time to really find just the titles you want, so be sure to give it a try. And as always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then, we've got ONE more quick Lord of the Rings Blu-ray update. Warner still hasn't provided answers to our questions about some of the finer technical details of the release, but they HAVE sent over revised cover art for the title this afternoon. As you can see, the words Limited Extended Edition have been replaced by simply Extended Edition. I'm told the inside of the packaging may change as well, so we'll post new images as they come in...

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy - Limited Extended Edition (REVISED Blu-ray box set art)

By the way, the studio tells me that Amazon pre-orders on the title are already exploding - so much so that Amazon's servers were tested pretty heavily yesterday handling all the transactions. Somehow, we're not surprised... ;)

In other industry news today, here's a story that will likely make your geek heart weep: Director Guillermo del Toro has decided to shut down his big screen adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness because Universal was balking at his desired "R" rating. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Like At the Mountains of Madness should be anything OTHER than a R! The idea that Universal thinks it might not make its money back if the film has an R rating just boggles the mind. Other than The Hobbit, I can't think of any other film project I was more excited about than Guillermo's At the Mountains of Madness, and I think a majority of film geeks everywhere would probably agree. Anyway, as disappointed as I am at the moment, I'm proud of Guillermo for having the balls to stick to his guns on this one. And I have high hopes that producer James Cameron might be able to convince 20th Century Fox to spend some of those sweet Avatar greenbacks to set the project up there. Universal - no offense, but seriously! Good luck with Ouiji, Battleship and Stretch Armstrong (tip of the hat to Harry Knowles for the reference). Anyway, more here at the New Yorker.

All right, now for that rant...

Here's an... (*ahem*) interesting... recent article from ars technica I thought worth directing your attention to: It's a story on how iTunes is considering upgrading its digital music catalog to files with a higher-fidelity 24-bit digital sampling rate (they're currently sampled at 16-bit). The writer makes the case that Apple shouldn't bother, because while a small group of audiophiles will appreciate the move, most consumers will never notice the difference and taking full advantage will require improvements in playback hardware (read: new iPods and better headphones). Let me just say, this is just about the most wrong-headed argument I've ever read. First of all, when has it EVER been the wrong move to attempt to improve the quality of a product? Surely it won't cost Apple anything other than a little more server space for the larger file sizes? The higher quality masters already exist. Meanwhile, consumers will not be forced to choose the better quality (and thus slightly more expensive) files unless they want them. It certainly doesn't cost the record companies any more to deliver higher quality digital files - it's just a button push. My guess is that Apple and other hardware companies won't shrug off the chance to sell another round of improved iPods and digital music players. I know for a FACT that headphone manufacturers would LOVE the move and embrace it wholeheartedly. And damnit, there ARE a lot of consumers who want the better quality. I'm one of them. Year after year I watched the music industry promise "This is going to be the year for DVD-Audio and SACD!!" only to see the two formats essentially cannibalize each other. But call them failed experiments, call them what you will - those formats sounded absolutely fantastic. They preserved all of the "analog" warmth, clarity and resolution of the original music. Listening to The Police catalog on SACD was a revelation - I've been listening to their music for 30 years and I heard things in the tracks on SACD I'd never noticed before! Format war aside, those formats failed because they were WAY more expensive - $30 per disc, and at least $200 for the hardware. Improved digital files will cost, what, $.99 more? If even that ultimately? (Note that iTunes recently upgraded from 128kbps to 256kbps files and soon made the 256 standard at regular price.) As for needing to buy a new updated iPod to hear the difference, do you mean to tell me that when the older iPods finally give up the ghost, people aren't going to buy a new one anyway? That doesn't sound much like the Apple fans that I know...

The fact is, a lot of more dedicated music fans have abandoned digital music altogether in favor of rebuilding their LP collections again. Why? Because they HATE the sound quality of MP3, AAC and other lossy digital delivery formats! Here's why that's a problem: People who care the most about music quality tend to spend the most money on buying music! Look - I get that there are younger and more casual music consumers that don't yet have the ability to hear the difference between 24-bit and 16-bit, or they just don't care. The simple reality is, you have to train your ear to appreciate the differences. It's like sampling wines. It takes time and experience to really recognize and appreciate the better quality vintages for what they are. It's a skill - a sensitivity - you have to develop. So does that mean the music industry should never bother to offer better quality? Consider this: There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who - when HDTV first appeared on the scene - purchased HDTV sets, brought them home, hooked them up wrong and would have SWORN they were watching high-def TV, but weren't savvy enough to realize they were still just watching SD, and often stretched SD at that. Does that mean the switch to HDTV was a mistake? Hardly. If digital music is really going to take off, lossless audio quality is simply a must. It's not just audiophiles that want better quality - it's the artists themselves! Artists are really starting to appreciate the potential for digital delivery of their music, but they're tired of hearing their music sound like crap in poor quality, lossy digital file formats. Like it or not, digital delivery is the future of music. Period. And if moving 24-bit files gets artists, musicians and audiophiles more excited about it, as far as I'm concerned that can ONLY be a good thing. That improvement in quality will ultimately benefit everyone - even those who don't yet care. This is the 21st century people! It frankly dumbfounds me that we're even having this argument. (Which, as it happens, is continuing over on my Facebook page...)

All right, that's enough of a rant for today. It's kinda been a while though. Felt good. Let the raging debate begin. Or continue, as the case may be...

Back with more release news tomorrow. Have a great day!

(LATE UPDATE - 3/7/11 - 4 PM PST)

All right... back with more as promised. First things first...

I've communicated with the folks at Warner Home Video and have learned that their official announcement of the Lord of the Rings Extended Blu-rays is still a few weeks off. The reason is, there are some details about the release that are not yet 100% finalized. While Amazon's reveal IS authentic, and you CAN pre-order the title now, the finer points of the release aren't yet official. SO... I've asked for clarification on a number of the details, as you can imagine, and have been advised that my questions will be answered as soon as they're able to once the details are locked in stone, closer to the title's official announcement. In the meantime, everything we know at the moment is posted below, and just know that while it's all mostly accurate, it's still subject to change. Rest assured, we'll post additional official details as soon as the studio provides them.

Meanwhile today, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has just turned in a new Bottom Shelf column addressing the subject of some of the studios' new Manufacturing On Demand (MOD) programs. Let me tell you, I agree with him 100%. I know there have been complains from some DVD fans about these releases, for a variety of reasons, some reasonable and some less so. But Dr. Jahnke and I feel that there's a certain perspective that needs to be taken into account when judging these MOD releases - and frankly a LOT of what the home video industry is doing these days. Like it or not, times are changing. The so-called "Golden Age" of DVD is over. The home video market has shrunk, and DVD sales are on the decline as the market reaches maturity. And while Blu-ray sales are strong - with the format now at about 20% of the total home video market - we're still headed ultimately toward a world where (say, 15-20 years from now) most home video releases are probably going to delivered digitally. I'm betting that physical product will still exist, but it'll be restricted to new release films and big A-list catalog titles. In other words, special "event" releases. Consider that there are still thousands of great films and TV shows that have NEVER seen release on DVD, even after nearly 15 years of DVD's life as the most successful home video/physical media format ever. Like it or not, that number will be vastly larger on Blu-ray, given the added cost of properly mastering material in HD, and the slow decline in physical media sales. Frankly... there are many titles we should just be glad to have access to on physical media at all - titles that will probably only sell less than a few hundred units each and that retailers have NO interest in carrying anyway. So if MOD is the only way we can get them on disc, as far as we're concerned, so be it. Anyway, Adam's column is great reading as always and he also offers the studios some helpful advice on how to improve their MOD efforts. We suspect the piece will inspire some interesting commentary/discussion/reaction. Do check it out!

Back tomorrow! Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/7/11 - 11:30 AM PST)

All right, we'll be back a little later with more, including a new column from Dr. Jahnke. But first, there's this today:

Amazon.com has just revealed the cover art, packaging and price for Warner's forthcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy - Limited Extended Edition Blu-ray Disc box set, along with most of the details. SRP for the set is $119.98, but they've got it available for pre-order NOW for just $83.99 (about 30% off). It looks like it's going to be a 9-disc set. Each extended edition film will be included on a Blu-ray disc in high-definition, along with all of the commentaries from the Extended Edition DVD releases, the MTV Movie Awards Easter egg clips for each film AND (and this is a nice and much appreciated touch) the Costa Botes "behind the scenes" documentaries for each film that were on the Limited Edition DVD releases (the ones that had BOTH the theatrical and extended versions of the films via seamless branching). Then, each film in the Blu-ray set will also include both of The Appendices DVD discs for each film that were included in the previous Extended Edition DVD sets. That adds up to 9 discs total, and it appears to mean that if you buy the Blu-ray, nearly every single extra feature from the previous DVDs carries over. Of course, there do not appear to be any new extras, but then we didn't really expect any until Peter Jackson gets around to working on an ultimate box set of these films plus the two Hobbit films (which start shooting in New Zealand later this month). So there you go. Amazon.com indicates that the box will include access to Digital Copy versions of the films as well - you get a code in the box to enable a digital download. The thing I'm most excited about here - aside from the fact that we're finally getting the extended editions in high-defintion - is that all of the 4-disc DVD extras have carried over AND they've added in the Costa Botes documentaries too. I'd hoped for that, but didn't expect it to happen, so I'm pleased to see it did.

Keep in mind that Warner Home Video hasn't yet made their official announcement of the title, and I've been told it may not happen for a few weeks yet. As such, there may be details we don't know yet about the extras, and we don't have an official street date yet. [Rest assured, I've asked WHV for clarification on a number of issues - I'll post anything I hear back on The Bits as soon as it comes in.] In any case, here's the official cover art for the box set - both the front of the case and the opened packaging. Based on this, it looks as if the discs each come in their own plastic BD case which slips into an outer box with a closable cover - or that cover might just be a replica map of Middle Earth that also fits in the packaging. It also looks as if each film comes with its own booklet. Anyway, here's what it looks like (don't forget you can click on the images to pre-order)...

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy - Limited Extended Edition (Blu-ray box set)

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy - Limited Extended Edition (Blu-ray box set)

Back with more in a bit. Stay tuned...

3/4/11

Afternoon, folks! Another Friday here, another week on the books.

There's not a ton of news to report today, but there are a few things...

HBO and Warner have announced the Blu-ray release of the documentary When It Was a Game: The Complete Collection on 6/7 (SRP $29.99)

Warner and the BBC have set Being Human: Season 3 for both Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/3 (SRP $59.98 and $49.98).

Warner has also slated a new DVD box set of Babylon 5: The Complete Series for release on 4/5 (SRP $215.92) that will apparently include all the movie titles as well. We don't have any additional details on this release yet, but we'll post them as they come in.

Universal has set Covert Affairs: Season 1 for DVD release on 5/17.

And Image Entertainment has set Highwater for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/12 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97), followed by Summer Eleven on DVD only on 4/26 (SRP $27.97).

Also, one other note: A lot of readers have asked about the version of Excalibur included on Warner's new Blu-ray (reviewed here). Amazon apparently says it's rated PG. That's just an error on Amazon's part. Rest assured, it's the original R-rated theatrical version.

By the way, I also wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actress Jane Russell earlier this week at the age of 89. Her body of work is large and impressive, including everything from Howard Hughes' The Outlaw to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Her beauty had an impact off the silver screen as well, even extending to Madison Avenue, and her personal story was compelling too. More here.

Finally today, there's no Fringe tonight due to the NAACP Image Awards, but don't forget that Rango and The Adjustment Bureau open in theatres this weekend and have been getting generally good reviews. There's also some good college basketball on this weekend if you enjoy such things. March Madness is on the way.

We'll leave you with a look at the cover art for Shout! Factory's two new Roger Corman DVDs (due on 4/5), as well as Sony's Inside Job on Blu-ray (3/8)...

Roger Corman Action Packed Triple Feature (DVD)Race with the Devil/Dirty Larry Crazy Mary (DVD)Inside Job (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!

3/3/11

All right, before we get into the news today, our own Barrie Maxwell has turned in a trio of new Blu-ray reviews of the Canadian Blu-ray release of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy on Blu-ray - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. They're available from Alliance in Canada, and Music Box Films here in the States. (Note that the U.S. releases don't have as many supplemental features as the Alliance discs.) They're interesting films, so enjoy the review!

Now then, I'm sure our headline intrigued some of you, so let's get to it: File this in the Rumor Mill category, but we've just gotten multiple reports that Paramount France has announced the Blu-ray release of Once Upon a Time in the West (due to street in France in June) and Breakfast at Tiffany's (due in France in September). That confirms reports that we've been hearing from our own industry sources that both titles were being worked on for Blu-ray release here in the States. The French release has also been apparently confirmed in an interview with studio a rep in the March 2011 issue of the French magazine Les Années Laser (see page 18). So while you should definitely still take the news with a grain of salt until official announcements are made, we think you can safely assume that both titles are on the way for Blu-ray release this year both in Europe and here in the States as well. Certainly great news for catalog film fans! Thanks to Bits reader Matthiew P. for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, we have a little more announcement news today...

HBO (and Warner) have set True Blood: The Complete Third Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/31 (SRP $79.98 and $59.99). All 12 episodes will be included, along with Anatomy of a Scene and multiple True Blood Post Mortems featurettes, 7 episode audio commentaries with members of the cast and crew (including Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Joe Manganiello, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, Denis O'Hare and more) and Snoop Dogg's Oh Sookie music video. The Blu-ray will also add an exclusive PiP enhanced viewing mode with tons of additional video clips and information, and an on-screen interactive guide to the series called True Blood Lines.

HBO and Warner have also announced the Blu-ray releases of 61* (SRP $14.98) and Rome: The Complete First Season and Rome: The Complete Second Season (SRP $69.98 each) on 6/7. The Rome seasons were previously available on Blu-ray in a complete series package.

Also, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has set American Dad: Volume 6 for DVD only release on 4/19, including all 18 Season 5 episodes, plus deleted scenes and audio commentaries.

Comedy Central is releasing Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts on DVD on 3/8 (right after the special debuts on the cable network on 3/6).

Shout! Factory is releasing a pair of additional Roger Corman double and triple feature titles on DVD in April, including Action-Packed Double Feature: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Race with the Devil on 4/5 and Roger Corman Cult Classics - Action-Packed Collection: Georgia Peaches, The Great Texas Dynamite Chase and Smokey Bites the Dust. Extras on the triple-feature set will include theatrical trailers, while the double feature film will each include audio commentaries, new retrospective interview featurettes, trailers and TV and radio spots.

Finally, a new company called S'More Entertainment has announced a few interesting upcoming DVD releases for release on 5/17, including Louis Prima: In Person (SRP $19.99), The Fergusons (SRP $24.98) and here's a curious one: Smokin': Classic Cigarette Commercials (SRP $9.98). That last one ought to appeal to anyone interested in classic advertising or fans of Mad Men. Pretty interesting. I can almost hear it now: "Four out of five doctors say, smoking is great for you!"

Here's a look at the cover art for HBO's 61* and True Blood: The Complete Third Season, as well as Well Go USA's Man from Nowhere, all on Blu-ray...

61* (Blu-ray Disc)True Blood: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Disc)Man from Nowhere (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

3/2/11

All right, more new announcements today, including some nice classic catalog news...

First, Lionsgate has announced the Blu-ray Disc release of the Scream Trilogy - Scream, Scream 2 and Scream 3 on 3/29. Deletes scenes, featurettes and audio commentaries are among the extras that will be included. SRP is $19.99 each. (We believe Scream is the theatrical version, but we're trying to confirm.) Also coming from Lionsgate on 5/17 is Mob Rules on DVD (SRP $26.98), followed by After Dark Originals: Seconds Apart and Fertile Ground on DVD on 5/24 (SRP $19.98 each).

Meanwhile, MGM is releasing director Richard Lester's 1967 black comedy How I Won the War as a Special Edition DVD on 3/20 (a Sunday) via the MGM's online retailer only MOD Limited Edition Collection. The film features John Lennon, and streets on the anniversary of Lennon and Yoko Ono's infamous "Bed-In" protest of the Vietnam War. For a limited time, the disc will come with a printed booklet that features an introductory letter from Yoko Ono and stills from the film (printed via HP's MagCloud service). You can pre-order the title here from Amazon.com.

Speaking of MGM's Limited Edition Collection, 20 new classic and deep catalog films are about to be added to the studio's MOD line-up this month, including Billy Two Hats (1974), Fort Massacre (1958), Man from Del Rio (1956), The Black Sleep (1958), Daughters of Satan (1972), Queen of Blood (1966), The Ambulance (1990), Body Slam (1986), The Caller (1987), Cohen & Tate (1988), Cop Hater (1958), Buried Alive (1990), The Captive City (1952), A Cold Wind in August (1961), The Explosive Generation (1961), The Murder of Mary Phagan (1988), Not As a Stranger (1955), Return from the Ashes (1965), Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday (1976) and Queen of Hearts (1989). Like all of MGM MOD titles, they'll be available online via Amazon an other retailers.

Also today, Warner and HBO are releasing Spike Lee's If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise documentary on DVD on 4/19 (SRP $24.98). The film is a companion piece to his previous When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.

Image Entertainment has set The Inheritance for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/12 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97).

MDV Entertainment is releasing Bob Dylan Revealed documentary on DVD only on 5/1, in honor of Dylan's 70th birthday.

Milestone Films is releasing Margot Benacerraf's Araya on DVD on 4/5. This is its first appearance on DVD. To give you a little background, Araya shared the Cannes Film Festival's International Critics Prize Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour in 1959, but has been largely overlooked by audiences since. Milestone has created a 2K scan off of the director's original 35mm interpositive for this DVD release, and is including two audio commentaries composed of interviews with Benacerraf, her first film Reveron, two television interviews with Benacerraf, The Film of Her Life: Araya documentary by Antoine Mora, the film's American trailer, the film's press kit (via DVD-ROM PDF) and also a primer called From the Files of Margot Benacerraf (also via DVD-ROM PDF). Audio is French with English subtitles. Video is 16x9 B&W. More here.

Speaking of Cannes, Cinema Libre Studio has just released the international comedy Cannes Man on Blu-ray and DVD (it streeted Tuesday - SRP $24.95 and $14.95). Numerous Hollywood stars make guest appearances.

Shout! Factory will release Frank Sinatra's A Man and His Music: The Collection on DVD on 3/8. The 2-disc set includes the TV specials A Man and His Music, A Man and His Music: Part II, A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim and Sinatra: The Man and His Music with The Count Basie Orchestra.

And in soundtrack news today, La-La Land Records has just released new Limited Edition CD soundtracks of Money Train (music by composer Mark Mancina) and Copernicus' Star (music by composer Abel Korzeniowski). Both are available on La-La Land's website for just $19.98 each.

Here's a look at the cover art for MDV's Bob Dylan Revealed and Milestone Films' Araya on DVD, along with Universal's The Dilemma on Blu-ray (due 5/3)...

Bob Dylan Revealed (DVD)Araya (DVD)The Dilemma (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow with reviews. Stay tuned!

3/1/11

Afternoon folks! Hope you're all well today.

First up this afternoon, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Art section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. Don't forget, you can still sort Blu-ray and DVD separately by using the THREE drop down selection menus to chose your format and filter the results in various ways. You can use all three drop down menus at the same time to really find just the titles you want, so be sure to give it a try. And as always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

In announcement news today, here's some great news: Universal has just set an American Graffiti: Special Edition for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/31. Extras will include a pair of new U-Control enhanced options (video commentary with director George Lucas and The Music of American Graffiti documentary), additional screen tests and the film's theatrical trailer.

Also newly announced by Universal today is Ron Howard's comedy The Dilemma (featuring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James), due on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/3.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has set Gulliver's Travels for 3-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack and 2-disc DVD release on 4/19 (SRP $34.99 and $29.98). The Blu-ray will include a gag reel, 8 deleted scenes, 7 featurettes (I Don't Know, Little and Large, Jack Black Thinks Big, Down Time, Life After Film School and Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jack Black and In Character Jason Segel), the Gulliver's Foosball Challenge game, the War Song Dance and BD-Live extras including Jack & Jason's Dance Class, Little and Large and the film's trailer. You'll also get bonus DVD and Digital Copy discs. There's no official word yet on a Blu-ray 3D version.

Sony has set The Hit List for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/10 (SRP $30.95 and $24.96).

Warner Home Video has set Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete First Season for DVD release on 6/28 (SRP $39.98).

A reminder: Warner is also releasing a trio of Charlton Heston titles for release on 3/29, including Antony and Cleopatra and Mother Lode on DVD only (SRP $14.97 each) and Soylent Green on Blu-ray (SRP $19.98). Each is new to their respective format.

Image Entertainment has set the NBA's Sons of the City: New York for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/17 (SRP $17.97 and $14.98), along with Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group for DVD only release on 3/8 (SRP $14.98).

And Blue Underground will release The Nesting on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/28 (SRP $29.98 and $19.98). Extras will include theatrical trailers, TV spots and a gallery of poster art and still images.

In other news, here's a positive development: Netflix says it's going to subtitle 80% of its digitally-streamed rental titles by the end of 2011. That's very good news for those who need subtitles.

By the way, special thanks to Bits reader Mark B., who reminded me that I've been calling Darren Aronofsky's film The Black Swan in recent posts, instead of the correct Black Swan. Funny how the brain fills in such thinks. ;)

Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Universal's American Graffiti: Special Edition, Fox's Gulliver's Travels and Kino Lorber's The Scent of Green Papaya (due 4/26 - we've posted the DVD art previously)...

American Graffiti: Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Gulliver's Travels (Blu-ray Disc)The Scent of Green Papaya (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/28/11 - 12:30 PM PST)

Afternoon, folks!

Just a quick update: As we expected, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has now officially confirmed that Black Swan will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/29 - the exact date we'd been hearing from retailers.

Still no word yet on the Coens' True Grit from Paramount, though Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders on Blu-ray and DVD (and Amazon.co.uk has a 6/13 street date listed).

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/28/11 - 12:01 AM PST)

Okay, so the 83rd Academy Awards are a wrap. And it is just us, or was it a really awful telecast? Personally, I would say downright horrific. Just boring, not funny, no good song performances even - not a spark of energy in the whole show. Okay, there was one: Luke Matheny's funny acceptance speech for Live Action Short Film. Luke, we salute you! Some other deserving people won too (including Colin Firth for Best Actor in King's Speech, our friend Lee Unkrich as director of Toy Story 3, and Trent Renzor and Atticus Ross for their amazing Social Network score) and it was interesting that after peaking early, The Social Network lost out in the big categories to The King's Speech - which was certainly a very deserving winner. But man! Perhaps Oscar's biggest misfire in a whole series during the night: Briefly trotting out ex-host Billy Crystal midway through the proceedings... which only reminded the audience how badly his hosting skills were needed/missed! Ugh. At least Dr. Jahnke's live tweets were amusing, which was really the only reason I'd tuned in to begin with. This one in particular made me laugh...

"Wouldn't it have been awesome if Banksy won and accepted, then took off the monkey mask and revealed Ricky Gervais?"

Yes. Yes, it would have. Ah well. One thing's for sure: Next year, I'm skipping the Oscars going out for the Randy Newman Chicken Dinner instead. (Funny joke, Randy!) Anyway, if you care here's the list of winners. And... scene.

The good news I suppose is that Fox should soon set an official street date for Black Swan, now that they can note that Natalie Portman won a Oscar on the cover. Likewise, Paramount should also soon set a street date for the Coen Brothers' recent version of True Grit.

In actual release news today, Warner Home Video has set Happiness is... Peanuts: Snoopy's Adventures for DVD only release on 6/14 (SRP $14.97). Looks like it will include episode #14 of the Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and Snoopy's Getting Married Charlie Brown.

Universal has set the original Blue Crush for Blu-ray release on 6/7 (SRP $26.98), the same day as the sequel Blue Crush 2 hits Blu-ray and DVD.

And Disney has set Marvel The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 1 and Marvel The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volume 2 for DVD only release on 4/26 (SRP $19.99 each). A sneak peek of Season 2 will be included on each.

By the way, some of you may recall that a few months back, I reviewed a terrific BBC documentary series on Blu-ray called Wonders of the Solar System, hosted by physicist Brian Cox. Well, those of you who live in the U.K. will be delighted to know (if you don't already) that the sequel series, Wonders of the Universe, starts airing on BBC TWO on 3/6. For those of you here in the States, that means we'll probably see a Blu-ray release later this Summer or early Fall from Warner Bros. and BBC Video. The original series was really fascinating, and filled with striking HD visuals. I can't wait to see the new one.

Here's something else random for you Star Trek fans: Word is that the sequel film script is well underway for first draft delivery to the studio in a few weeks. Shooting is tentatively scheduled to start in August. More here at Trek Movie.

Also on the spacey front this morning, the shuttle Discovery is now docked to the International Space Station and there's a big construction spacewalk expected to happen sometime today. You can watch the proceedings live as they happen (and in HD too!) here.

We'll leave you this morning with a look a more new cover art: Anchor Bay and Weinstein's Blue Valentine (due 5/11) and Fox's Glee Encore (4/19) on Blu-ray, along with Shout! Factory's The Unknown War: WWII and the Epic Battles of the Russian Front (5/24) on DVD only...

Blue Valentine (Blu-ray Disc)Glee Encore (Blu-ray Disc)The Unknown War: WWII and the Epic Battles of the Russian Front (DVD)

That's all for now. Stay tuned...

2/25/11

Well... Criterion's 50,000 second mega sale is now history! For a while there, they actually crashed their own website servers, but the site quickly came back up and we suspect great deals were had by many. I hope you all took. Nobody's making better Blu-ray and DVD special editions than the folks at The Collection, so I hope you all took advantage.

In announcement news today, Image Entertainment has revealed that The Twilight Zone: Season 4 is coming to Blu-ray on 5/17 (SRP $99.98). All 18 episodes will be included on 5-discs in 1080p video with uncompressed PCM audio. Nearly all the extras from the previous Definitive Collection DVD release will be carried over, and you'll get hours of all new content as well, including 13 new audio commentaries featuring The Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Scott Zicree, author/film historian Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), Twilight Zone writer Earl Hamner, writer William F. Nolan (Logan's Run), author Bill Warren (Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties), writer/producer Jeff Vlaming (NCIS, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica),writer/producer Joseph Dougherty (thirtysomething, Judging Amy, Saving Grace), authors/historians Scott Skelton and Jim Benson (Night Gallery: An After Hours Tour), and writer/producer Jaime Paglia (Eureka), along with a new vintage interview with D.P. George T. Clemens. Sounds pretty good.

Also today, Magnolia Entertainment has set the psychological thriller All Good Things for DVD and Blu-ray release on 3/19 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98).

Warner Home Video has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of NFL Super Bowl XLV Champions: Green Bay Packers on 3/8, that will include the complete game, great moments from the playoffs and regular season, bonus footage, interviews and more (SRP $34.99 and $24.98).

And Lionsgate has set the Marvel animated Thor: Tales of Asgard on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 5/17 (SRP $29.99 and $19.99).

Also, for your you Back to the Future fans, TellTale Games has launched a new episode of their BTTF adventure game for PC, Mac, PS3 and iPad. Jeff says it's pretty fun and well done, and Christopher Lloyd actually returns as Doc Brown. You can download and try the first episode for free (there are 5 in all). If you're interested, check out their website here. Word is TellTale Games also has a Jurassic Park game coming in April.

In completely unrelated news today, congratulations to the folks at NASA for another beautiful shuttle launch to the International Space Station yesterday, this one Discovery's last mission. I had the chance to see Discovery launch back in 1997 on the STS-95 flight with John Glenn aboard, and it's one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. There are only two shuttle flights left, so if you can get down there to Florida to see one of them, it's something I can't recommend more highly.

Also, since I'm talking science for a moment, the folks at CERN's Large Hadron Collider have just switched the device back on after the Winter break to resume the hunt for the Higgs boson, dark matter, super symmetry, other dimensions and all matter of other cool unknown physics. More here and here. By the way, CERN has created a live LHC Status Display page where you can watch what's going on in real time. You can see when beams are circulating, see what energy levels are like and if you click on any of the 4 detector icons you can see live readouts of the data they're gathering. Pretty awesome. Gotta love science!

All right, don't forget that we've got another new episode of Fringe tonight on Fox (early word from a number of TV critics including Ken Tucker at EW is that it's DO NOT MISS good), and also there's the Oscars this weekend. As you know, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke is going to "LiveTweet" the proceedings on Twitter, starting at about 4PM Pacific. It may just be that his unique expertise and ironic wit will enhance and illuminate the event in ways heretofore unknown to humanity. Or, it may open up a vortex in the space-time continuum that will destroy us all. I mean, really... what's more likely to destroy the planet: A giant particle collider or Twitter? I think you know my opinion on the matter. Anyway, it should be a lot of fun so if you're interested you can follow him here: @DrAdamJahnke.

Speaking of the Oscars, my money is still on The Social Network to take Best Picture, but it COULD be that the film peaked a little early. The King's Speech is also a terrific and deserving film, and it's been picking up steam, so it could be that it sneaks in there and wins. Either way, I'm betting that Colin Firth wins Best Actor, Natalie Portman wins Best Actress, and that The Social Network wins Best Director, Best Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. No matter who wins, though, it should be an interesting evening. After all... Dr. Adam Jahnke! Plus, I wanted to take a moment to wish our old friend Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3, and the folks at Pixar good luck this weekend. TS3 is arguably a shoe-in for Best Animated Film, but a little extra luck never hurt anyone, so there you go!

We'll leave you today with a look at the cover art for Warner's just-announced Gettysburg: Director's Cut and Gods and Generals: Extended Director's Cut (both due 5/24), along with the BBC's Human Planet (4/26) all on Blu-ray...

Gettysburg: Director's Cut (Blu-ray Disc)Gods and Generals: Extended Director's Cut (Blu-ray Disc)Human Planet (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/24/11 - 3:30 PM PST)

Hey Guys - any of you Criterion Collection fans? They just announced on their Facebook page that when they hit 50,000 Facebook fans, they're going to be holding a big 50% off sale on ALL their Blu-ray and DVD titles (for sale on their own Criterion.com site) for 50,000 minutes! They'll release a code on their Facebook page and then you can use it to get the discount in their online store. So if you're interested, head on over to Facebook, sign up with them and get ready to order some great discs. And be sure to watch the situation closely, because the sale will come and go fast!

[SALE IS ABOUT TO START AS OF 3:30 PM PST - THE CODE WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE LINKED ABOVE - 50,000 SECONDS IS ABOUT 13.5 HOURS]

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/24/11 - 1:30 PM PST)

Okay... today's post is going to be a little quicker today.

First though, if you're a fan of manned spaceflight, NASA is about to lunch the space shuttle Discovery on its last flight today. After this there are just two more planned shuttle flights left. You can watch the launch live on SpaceflightNow.com.

Now then...

Warner Home Video is going to be releasing the Gettysburg: Director's Cut and Gods and Generals: Extended Director's Cut on 5/24 as Blu-ray Book editions (SRP $34.99 each). Each will be a 2-disc set. Gettysburg (271 mins) will include audio commentary with Ronald Maxwell, map and interview galleries, 4 featurettes (The Battle of Gettysburg, The Making of Gettysburg, On Location and Behind the Scenes of Nuremberg) and TV spots. Gods and Generals (280 mins) will include new audio commentary, a new intro by Ted Turner and Ronald Maxwell, a music video and 4 featurettes (Journey to the Past, The Authenticities of the Film, The Life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Visit Virginia). We'll post artwork soon.

Warner and the BBC has set Being Human: Season Three for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/3 (SRP $59.98 and $49.98).

Image Entertainment has set The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: IMAX for release on Blu-ray 3D and DVD on 3/1 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98).

Universal has also finally officially announced the street date for the direct-to-video Blue Crush 2 on Blu-ray and DVD. Look for it to arrive in stores on 6/7. Extras will include audio commentary with the filmmakers, deletes scenes, a gag reel, 3 featurettes (The Making of Blue Crush 2, Surf Safari! Filming in South Africa and Ripping It! Shooting the Surf Scenes) and the usual BD-Live and BD-Java extras.

Also, Bits reader Philip R. has informed us that Costco up in Canada is currently running a sale on Fox's Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set - they have it for just $47.97 right now. It's possible Costco in the U.S. is running a similar sale, so do check it out if you're interested.

And here's something fun: Our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has decided to do something fun for the Oscars this Sunday night. He's going to live Tweet along with the proceedings. Should be absolutely fascinating! So if you find yourself in TwitterSpace on Sunday night, you'll find him by following @DrAdamJahnke. Place your bets now!

Stay tuned...

2/23/11

Hey guys - sorry about the lack of an update yesterday. Sarah was attending a photography conference, and I tagged along as her trade show wingman. I was able to get Monday's update done no problem, but what with checking out of the hotel and such, I was unable to finish yesterday's post before we had to hit the road. So anyway, let's get caught up as there's definitely some good release news to report today...

First though, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Art section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. Don't forget, you can still sort Blu-ray and DVD separately by using the THREE drop down selection menus to chose your format and filter the results in various ways. You can use all three drop down menus at the same time to really find just the titles you want, so be sure to give it a try. And as always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Speaking of Amazon, the retailer now has the new Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition and the Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection available for pre-order on Blu-ray, along with the Stanley Kubrick Essential Collection on DVD. The discount is about 30% off each if you're interested.

Now then...

Sony has set Country Strong for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/12 (SRP $34.95 and $28.95). Extras on the Blu-ray will include the film's original ending, deleted scenes, 3 featurettes (Friends in High Places: The Cast of Country Strong, Putting the Words in Their Mouths: The Songwriters and A Little Bit Country: The Costumes), 2 music videos (Gwyneth Paltrow's Country Strong and Sara Evans' A Little Bit Stronger), and extended version of Shake That Thing, and movieIQ+sync. You'll also get a bonus CD soundtrack.

Warner Home Video will release John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix on Blu-ray on 5/24 (SRP $19.98). Extras will include 5 featurettes (Pushing the Limit: The Making of Grand Prix, Flat Out: Formula 1 in the Sixties, The Style and Sound of Speed, Brands Hatch: Behind the Checkered Flag and Grand Prix: Challenge of the Champions).

Warner and the BBC have announced the Human Planet documentary series for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/26 (SRP $49.98 and $39.98).

Warner and Adult Swim will also release Squidbillies: Volume 4 on DVD only on 6/21 (SRP $19.97).

And Warner will release Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray for the first time on 6/14 (SRP $59.96 - the title is already available on DVD). All 22 episodes will be included, along with all the previous DVD features. The Blu-ray will also add an interactive "road map" complete with new interviews and insights into the show.

20th Century Fox has announced a Glee Encore Blu-ray for release on 4/12 (SRP $29.99). The disc is essentially just a selection of 30+ song performances from the show's first season, playable back to back. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 only. So... there you go.

Also due from Fox on 4/19 is Street Kings 2: Motor City on Blu-ray and DVD (SRP $29.99 and $22.98), along with a 2-pack of the original Street Kings and Street Kings 2 on Blu-ray only (SRP $39.99).

Anchor Bay and The Weinstein Company have set Blue Valentine: Uncut and Uncensored for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/10 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include audio commentary (with director Derek Cianfrance and co-editor Jim Helton), a making of featurette, the Home Movie featurette and deleted scenes.

Here's some awesome classic release news: MPI Home Video has set a Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection for Blu-ray on 3/29 (SRP $129.98). 14 classic films will be included on 5 discs: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943), Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943), Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943), The Spider Woman (1944), The Scarlet Claw (1944), The Pearl of Death (1944), The House of Fear (1945), The Woman in Green (1945), Pursuit to Algiers (1945), Terror by Night (1945) and Dressed to Kill (1946).

Also, Magnolia and Magnet Releasing have set Vanquished for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/8 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98).

Retail sources have informed us that Warner Home Video will release IMAX Hubble on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D combo pack on 3/29, the same day as the DVD version. We're awaiting official confirmation from the studio.

And Universal has a number of classic Marx Brothers films for release on individual DVD on 6/7, including Animal Crackers, The Cocoanuts, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers and Monkey Business.

We'll leave you with new cover art for Sony's Country Strong, Warner's Grand Prix and MPI's new Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection all on Blu-ray...

Country Strong (Blu-ray Disc)Grand Prix (Blu-ray Disc)Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

2/21/11

All right, it's Presidents Day here in the States, which means at least a few of you lucky readers probably have the day off. Enjoy it!

As promised, we've got a couple new Blu-ray reviews for you this morning. I've given Warner's long-awaited Excalibur a look in HD (it streets on 3/8). Also, several readers have asked for more comments on the French-imported Open Range Blu-ray from Pathé, so I'm happy to oblige. By the way, I'll try to get a few more reviews done in the weeks ahead. I've been so wrapped up with news and other issues here at the site that I'd forgotten how long it's been since I reviewed a few titles. Anyway, hope you enjoy.

The big title news today, is that Warner Home Video has just officially announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Ultimate Edition box sets on 6/14, just in time for the 7/15 theatrical release of the last film. SRP is $49.99 for the Blu-ray version and $39.92 for DVD. Each will include all of the previous DVD and Blu-ray extras, along with 44-page books and new installments of the Creating the World of Harry Potter documentary (Order of the Phoenix will include Part 5: Evolution and Half-Blood Prince will include Part 6: Magical Effects). So that leaves only the Ultimate Editions of Deathly Hallows, Part I and II, which will probably be released sometime next year.

Warner Home Video has also added IMAX Hubble for DVD release on 3/29 (SRP $27.95). No word yet on a Blu-ray release, but this was a 3D release in theatres so we'd be surprised if official word of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D versions didn't follow soon.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has added The Greatest Story Ever Told for release on Blu-ray Disc on 3/29 (SRP $19.99).

Speaking of Fox, the studio still has yet to announce an official street date for Black Swan on Blu-ray and DVD, but retail sources are telling they're planning for a 3/29 release.

Sony has set Hawthorne: Season Two for DVD release on 5/3, along with Drop Dead Diva: Season Two.

And Universal will release Covert Affairs: Season One and Royal Pains: Season Two on DVD on 5/17.

Back with more tomorrow! Stay tuned...

2/18/11

All right, we've got a last little bit of release news for you this week, plus I've got some additional musings on Warner's Kubrick BD announcement too...

Speaking of Warner, Warner and the BBC are releasing Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 3, Judge John Deed: Season Three, and the classic Doctor Who: The Ark and Doctor Who: The Seeds of Doom on DVD on 3/8, followed by The Alan Bennett Collection featuring An Englishman Abroad on DVD on 3/29.

Here's something cool: Shout! Factory will release The Unknown War: WWII and the Epic Battles of the Russian Front on DVD on 5/24 (SRP $39.97). Narrated by Burt Lancaster, this is a classic 1978 documentary series on the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, featuring tons of rare combat footage filmed by Soviet camera crews on the front lines. All 20 episodes will be included on 5 discs, along with 2 featurettes (Interview with Rod McKuen - who adapted the screenplay and composed the score for the series - and Analysis by Willard Sunderland - a professor of Russian history). I've never seen this before and am fascinated by that period in history, so this release sounds pretty interesting.

Also on the history front, A&E is releasing The Third Reich on DVD on 4/12, followed by The Universe: The Mega Collection on DVD and Blu-ray on 4/26. Also coming on DVD on 4/26 are Stan Lee's Superhumans: Season One and The President's Book of Secrets.

Now then... a lot of you have been e-mailing with your thoughts on Warner's recent Stanley Kubrick Blu-ray announcement. There's some disappointment that only A Clockwork Orange has been upgraded with new features, and that Lolita and Barry Lyndon are planned to be available only in the box set (initially) in the States. We've passed on your concerns about the latter issue to the studio, and they've taken it under advisement, so you never know. But as to the fact that only A Clockwork Orange has been upgraded, let me offer this bit of perspective. I was thinking about 2011 bring the 40th anniversary of the film, and got to wondering when Warner's other Kubrick films would mark anniversaries of their own. Take a look at this list...

2011 - A Clockwork Orange (40th) - BD/DVD already announced

2012 - Lolita (50th), Full Metal Jacket (25th)

2013 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (45th)

2014 - Eyes Wide Shut (15th)

2015 - Barry Lyndon (40th), The Shining (35th)

So EVERY YEAR for the next four years, at least one of the Stanley Kubrick films in the Warner library celebrates a major anniversary. Given that, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the studio already had plans to upgrade each of these titles on Blu-ray and DVD to mark these occasion. It's a good marketing opportunity for them, plus it allows the studio to spread out the upgrade cost over a few years, making the whole prospect more attractive to them. Anyway, this is just something to consider. Hopefully, Warner will release Barry Lyndon and Lolita individually in the meantime, and those of you who - like us - already own all the rest of Kubrick's films on Blu-ray can just pick up the new titles along with the upgraded Clockwork Orange, then wait for more true upgrades over the next few years.

Finally today... if it's Friday, that means there's another new Fringe on Fox tonight. After a strong start in its move to Friday nights, the last couple weeks have seen the ratings drop pretty sharply. Here's the thing: If you guys love Fringe and want it to get renewed for another season, it's not enough just to record it on your DVR and watch on Sunday night. Or worse yet, just wait for the Blu-ray or DVD release. If you really want to send a message to Fox that you want more Fringe, you need to watch it live during the original broadcast. If you want to DVR it too, and watch it a second time later, awesome. But your favorite shows need live eyeballs to survive. Yeah, that might seem old school, but that's just the way it works. I know we live in an era where everyone wants to consume their media content on the go, whenever they wish and for free, but if you like a TV series, you need to support the folks who make it happen. That's especially true of genre TV series, which have a limited audience anyway (and tend to have audiences that do the most time-shifting with mobile devices and streaming). It's not that there aren't lots of people who love these shows, it's that broadcast advertisers still pay the bills. So networks still care about ratings and YOU have to do your part. Anyway, Fringe is a great show. If you're a fan, time to step up and show it.

All right guys, that's it for now. I'll be back on Monday with new Blu-ray reviews of Warner's Excalibur and Pathé's Open Range French import disc. Have a great weekend, and see you then!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/17/11 - 1 PM PST)

By the way, one more quick update this afternoon...

Warner Home Video has just informed us that Casablanca and ALL FOUR FILMS in the Lethal Weapon series are about to go on Blu-ray and DVD moratorium (starting on 3/28). Why, you may ask? Simple: The studio has big plans for the films in 2012, as Casablanca celebrates its 70th anniversary next year, while the original Lethal Weapon celebrates its 25th anniversary. What this means is that you can expect all of these films to be fully remastered and re-released on Blu-ray and DVD in brand new Ultimate Collector's Editions, complete with new extras. So add those to Warner's already announced 2012 UCEs of the Singing' in the Rain: 60th Anniversary Edition, the Camelot: 45th Anniversary Edition and the What Ever Happened to Baby Jane: 50th Anniversary Edition. Not bad.

There you go. Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/17/11 - 12:45 PM PST)

All right, once again, we've got a little more interesting release news for you today...

First though, we've got a couple of Kubrick Blu-ray title updates. We've heard back from Warner Home Video about some of our questions, and here's what we've learned: The new A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition features the same HD master and lossless audio that were released previously on Blu-ray. Likewise, the audio on all of the other Blu-ray titles is the same as previously released. We have, however, learned that Lolita features 1.0 DTS-HD MA, while Barry Lyndon offers 5.1 DTS-HD MA. As for the possibility of Barry Lyndon and Lolita being released as BD singles in the U.S., so that fans who already own all the other Kubrick Blu-rays don't have to buy the whole box to get them, that's still unknown. However, it does look as if both films are being released as BD singles in Europe (France, Germany, Denmark) and elsewhere in May. So if the discs aren't Region-locked, you may be able to import them. (And we've heard from a LOT of readers that that's exactly what they hope to do.) Rest assured, we've let WHV know how many of you have strong feelings about this issue, so maybe they'll find a way to let you get the two new films individually yet. We'll see...

Speaking of Warner, here's another quick issue we wanted to follow up on: A couple of readers have e-mailed worried that the version of Dallas: The Early Years - due to be included in the Dallas: The Movie Collection DVD box set on 4/12 - is going to be cropped into faux widescreen, when the original broadcast ratio of the TV movie was 1.33:1. The evidence causing the freak-out? Apparently images of the back of the packaging (circulating on the Net) list the aspect ratio for that title as 1.78:1. Here's the deal: No need to freak out. I've asked Warner and they've informed me that the 1.78:1 presentation ISN'T CROPPED in any way. What the studio did was take the original 1.33 presentation and add side mattes to it to create a 16x9/1.78:1 presentation. So the ENTIRE 1.33 image area is visible in the new presentation. You're just going to have bars on the sides to fill up the remaining space. Get it? Good. 'Nuff said.

Also today, Warner has announced the DVD only release of Pretty Little Liars: The Complete First Season on 6/7 (SRP $59.98).

In other exciting news this afternoon, we've been playing with Disney's new Bambi Blu-ray (which looks absolutely gorgeous!) and have been pleasantly surprised to see that the disc insert and trailers are promoting a September 2011 2-Film Blu-ray Combo pack release of both The Fox and the Hound and The Fox and the Hound II. The title also continues to promote the already officially revealed 2011 Blu-ray releases of the Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition, The Lion King and The Incredibles (due 4/12). Keep in mind, Disney has also indicated that The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast will be released on Blu-ray 3D this Fall as well. Looking beyond that, the following is UNOFFICIAL and definitely subject to change, but based on a tentative Diamond Edition Blu-ray schedule the studio circulated to the media a few years ago, 2012 could see the high-def releases of Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp and Aladdin, along with more Pixar titles (think possibly Finding Nemo) and one or two more "second tier" Disney animated titles (possibilities include The Rescuers, Robin Hood, etc). The upshot of all this is that no one need worry that Disney isn't moving aggressively to get their classic animated titles out on Blu-ray in the next few years.

While we're talking Disney, retail sources are telling us to expect Julie Taymor's The Tempest on DVD only on 6/7 (SRP $29.99).

In other release news today, the Cartoon Network is releasing Firebreather on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/22 (SRP $28.99 and $19.97).

Universal has set Sophia Coppola's Somewhere for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/19. They also have Pysch: The Complete Fifth Season coming on DVD only on 5/31.

And while Paramount hasn't officially announced it yet, the Coen Brothers' True Grit is already set for Blu-ray and DVD release in France on 6/30, so look for it here in the States sometime in the late May/June timeframe as well.

Speaking of French Blu-rays, does anyone out there like Kevin Costner's Open Range as much as I do? It's a Touchstone film but Disney hasn't bothered to do jack with it on Blu-ray here in the States. Fortunately, Pathé has released it on Blu-ray in France. I've got a copy and the good news is that it's All Region and includes all of the extras from the previous Disney Region 1 DVD release, in English with optional French subtitles. So if you're dying to have it on Blu-ray, there you go.

In other news today, it looks like we're only a few short years away from being taken over by Skynet and HAL-9000: IBM's Watson super-computer crushed the two best human Jeopardy! players ever yesterday to achieve a new level of A.I. gameshow domination. More here at ars technica. Next stop: A computer that plays Call of Duty better than YOU! Hey, I wonder if Watson can be trained to quarterback the Minnesota Vikings? Hhmmmm...

We'll leave you today with new Blu-ray cover art for Universal's Somewhere, Criterion's Le Cercle Rogue (due 4/12) and Warner's The Cincinnati Kid (6/14), along with a better look at Warner's new Kubrick BD releases and the FRENCH Blu-ray cover art for True Grit (TBA in the States)...

Somewhere (Blu-ray Disc)Le Cercle Rogue (Criterion Blu-ray)Point Break (Blu-ray Disc)

South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season (Blu-ray Disc)Taxi Driver (Blu-ray Disc)True Grit (2010 - French Blu-ray)

Stay tuned!

2/16/11

All right... we've got a couple more interesting catalog announcements again today....

Warner Home Video has revealed that Point Break and The Cincinnati Kid will be released on Blu-ray Disc on 6/14 (SRP $19.98 each - Point Break had previously been available from Fox, but the disc was discontinued and is currently selling on Amazon for $40). Also coming on DVD only is Night Flight on 6/7 (SRP $19.98 - not sure yet which version this is, though we'd bet on the 1933 Clarence Brown film - so stay tuned). Also, Warner and the BBC will be releasing the animated The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe on DVD only on 5/31 (SRP $14.98).

Also, 20th Century Fox has set Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon's 2004 Taxi for release on Blu-ray on 4/5 (SRP $24.99).

Sony will release the miniseries Kennedy: Robert Kennedy and His Times on DVD on 3/1 (SRP $19.94).

Entertainment One has announced that they will be releasing Michael Flatley: Lord of the Dance 3D on Blu-ray and DVD later this year, as they've just acquired the home video/digital distribution rights. Street dates are TBA.

And Disney has announced the animated Marvel The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Volumes 1 and 2 for release on DVD on 4/26 (SRP $19.99 each).

In other news today, did any of you happen to watch Jeopardy! last night? The result: IBM's Watson super-computer took Round 2 pretty handily! The final episode which will decide it all airs later this afternoon, so do check it out. Pretty damn fascinating....

Finally, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing a few days ago of actor Kenneth Mars, who starred in a pair of great Mel Brooks films, The Producers and Young Frankenstein, among other film and TV appearances. He was 75.

We'll leave you today with some more new Blu-ray cover art: Paramount's South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season (due 4/26), Sony's Taxi Driver (4/5) and Warner's Point Break...

South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season (Blu-ray Disc)Taxi Driver (Blu-ray Disc)Point Break (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

2/15/11

All right... we've got a few more interesting things to report today...

First though, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.

Now then, we've had a lot of readers asking additional questions about Warner's Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection announcement. These include: Will any of the Blu-rays include Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA audio (most of the previous Warner BD titles had PCM lossless audio)? Will A Clockwork Orange feature a new HD transfer or the same one previously released? Is there any way for people who've already purchased Warner's previous Kubrick BDs to get the new Lolita and Barry Lyndon BDs without re-buying the whole set? We can't promise answers to all these questions, but we HAVE asked the questions. So we'll let you know what we hear back from WHV if and when replies come in.

Speaking of Warner, the studio has just announced the DVD only release of Everwood: The Complete Fourth Season on 6/14 (SRP $39.98). The 5-disc set will include all 22 episodes of the show's final season.

Meanwhile, our friends over at Kino Lorber have set a trio of new titles for release in April. First up is a Gaumont Treasures: Volume 2 - 1908-1916 3-disc DVD box set due on 4/19 (SRP $79.95 - includes classic films by Emile Cohl (Fantasmagoria, The Puppet's Nightmare, The Living Fan, Comic Mutations, The Twelve Labors of Hercules, Petit Faust and Bebe's Masterpiece), Jean Durand (Calino Wants to Be a Cowboy, Onesime Goes to Hell, Onesime, Clockmaker, Onesime Loves Animals, Zigoto Drives a Locomotive, The Railway of Death, Burning Heart: An Indian Tale and Under the Claw) and Jacques Feyder & The Early Masters of French Cinema (Heads... and the Women Who Use Them, The Barges, La Marseillaise, Child's Play and Feet and Hands). Additional extras will include documentaries, additional shorts, excerpts and rare behind-the-scenes clips. Total content is over 10 hours of material.

Also due on 4/19 from Kino Lorber is a 3-disc Ingrid Bergman: Swedish Film Collection DVD box set (SRP $39.95) that will include Intermezzio, A Woman's Face and June Night.

Finally, Kino Lorber will release The Scent of Green Papaya on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/26 (SRP $29.95 and $24.95). Here's a look at the DVD cover art for all three titles...

Gaumont Treasures: Volume 2 - 1908-1916 (DVD)Ingrid Bergman: Swedish Film Collection (DVD)The Scent of Green Papaya (DVD)

Also today, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has finally officially confirmed the 4/5 Blu-ray and DVD release of Little Fockers. We've posted the list of extras previously.

Lionsgate has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Cougars, Inc. on 5/10. They've also revealed that The Cove, Still Waiting... and The Rules of Attraction will all street widely on Blu-ray on 4/5. These three titles are currently available as Best Buy Blu-ray exclusives.

In other news today, Criterion has announced that much of its library of great films is soon going to be available for digital viewing (for a fee) on Hulu Plus. They're starting with some 150 titles and will continue to add more in the months ahead. More on this is available here in an editorial piece by Criterion's Peter Becker. We think it's a great idea - a great way to continue to expose new audiences to their fantastic films.

Finally today, you might have heard the news today: IBM's Watson super-computer is currently competing on the TV game show Jeopardy! against two of the show's all-time best champions, and is tied with one of them for the lead after one match. Not only is this a fascinating story in itself (the second part of the match airs later today), but there's a great story "behind the story" too. PBS's NOVA last week aired a FANTASTIC episode on IBM's effort to build and train Watson to compete on the show via the use of "machine learning." Best of all, you can watch for FREE online right now at this link on the PBS website. Trust me - if you're as fascinated by this development in AI as we are, the NOVA episode is totally worth your time. HAL9000 anyone? ;)

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/14/11 - 4 PM PST)

Okay, we have an update for you on Warner's Kubrick announcement from this morning. We've confirmed directly with Warner Home Video that Disc Two of the A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition BD is also a Blu-ray, and the new O Lucky Malcolm! documentary is included in full HD. The Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures documentary is included on this disc as well, but in SD resolution (as originally produced). Also, be aware that for the time being the Lolita and Barry Lyndon Blu-rays will ONLY be available in the Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection Blu-ray set (though realistically, we wouldn't be surprised to see them released individually in time for the holidays or early next year). Meanwhile, here's a look at the packaging for the BD box and A Clockwork Orange...

Warner's Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/14/11 - 1 PM PST)

All right... some good release news today...

First, Warner Home Video has FINALLY announced its Stanley Kubrick plans! Due on 5/31 are the 9-film Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection Blu-ray box set (SRP $148.95), a 9-film Stanley Kubrick: The Essential Collection DVD box set (SRP $74.92) and a new A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition (SRP $34.99). The new Blu-ray of A Clockwork Orange will be a 2-disc release including the new 25-minute Turning Like Clockwork documentary about the film's "Ultra-violence" and its cultural impact and the Malcolm McDowell Looks Back featurette in which Malcolm McDowell reminiscences on closely working with legendary director Stanley Kubrick. It'll also include the Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures and O Lucky Malcolm! documentaries (we've asked if these are HD or SD - we'll let you know), and will come packaged in a Blu-ray Book with rare photos, production notes and more. The Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection Blu-ray box set will include the A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition, along with new Blu-rays of Lolita and Barry Lyndon [UPDATE: These will initially ONLY be available in the Limited Edition Collection - see the 4PM post above.] and the previous Blu-ray editions of Spartacus (via Universal), Dr. Strangelove (via Sony), 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. It will come in a 40-page, hardcover book-style package. The same 9 films will also be available on DVD, with a slipcase and a 40-page softcover version of the book - that's the Stanley Kubrick: The Essential Collection DVD set. So the good news is that you get 2 new films on Blu-ray, a new special edition of A Clockwork Orange (which includes Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures) and the book. The only real bad news is there's no new extras on the other films, including 2001. And the fact that they're probably the same Blu-rays (and DVDs) as previously released means a lot of duplication for serious Kubrick fans who may already own them. One added note: For those of you who've heard the news about Douglas Trumbull's (currently cancelled) plans for a new documentary on the making of 2001, as well as potential deleted footage (etc - we've reported on all this previously), we should point out that 2013 is the film's 45th anniversary. So it's always possible some of that content might emerge then. We'll post Kubrick cover art as soon as it's available.

Speaking of Warner, the studio has set Yogi Bear for release on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 3/22 (SRP $44.95, $35.99 and $28.98). Extras on the Blu-ray will include 4 featurettes (Spending a Day at Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear Mash-Up, Fun on the Yogi Bear Set and Tour of Jellystone Park), 3 interactive options (the Are You Smarter Than the Average Bear? game, Jellystone Visitor Pic-a-nic Demo and Jellystone Park Jewels: Yogi's Secret Hiding Spot) and a Digital Copy. The Blu-ray 3D version will also include the Looney Tunes short Rabid Rider in 3D. Here's cover art...

Yogi Bear (Blu-ray 3D Combo)Yogi Bear (Blu-ray Combo)Yogi Bear (DVD)

More great news from Criterion today! The company's May line-up will include Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator (Cat #565, $39.95/$29.95, due 5/24 - Blu-ray and DVD), Jonathan Demme's Something Wild (#563, $39.95/$29.95, due 5/10 - Blu-ray and DVD), Masahiro Shinoda's Pale Flower (#564, $39.95/$29.95, due 5/17 - Blu-ray and DVD) and Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique (#35, $39.95/$29.95, due 5/17 - Blu-ray and DVD), new Blu-ray and DVD upgrades of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris (#164, $39.95/$29.95, due 5/24), and Blu-ray upgrades of Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl (#259, : $39.95, due 5/3) and Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night (#237, $39.95, due 5/3)! Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for The Great Dictator, Solaris and Diabolique...

The Great Dictator (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)Solaris (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)Diabolique (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Also today, Sony has confirmed Taxi Driver for release on Blu-ray Disc on 4/5 (SRP $24.95). Extras will include the original 1986 audio commentary (with director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader, recorded by The Criterion Collection), new feature-length commentary by Schrader, new feature-length commentary by professor Robert Kolker, 7 featurettes (Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver, God's Lonely Man, Producing Taxi Driver, Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute, Taxi Driver Stories, Making Taxi Driver and Travis' New York Locations), Storyboard to Film Comparisons with Martin Scorsese, animated photo galleries, an interactive Script to Screen option and movieIQ. Following on 4/26 from Sony is Sniper: Reloaded on Blu-ray and DVD (SRP $30.95 and $24.96).

Lionsgate has revealed their April release slate as follows: Look for I Love You Phillip Morris (Blu-ray and DVD), KJB, Tyler Perry's House of Payne: Volume Seven, Thomas & Friends Playdate Pack and Barney Playdate Pack on 4/5, Muay Thai Fighter and Mandrake on 4/12, Rabbit Hole (Blu-ray and DVD), Shaun the Sheep: The Big Chase and Hyenas on 4/19, and Blood Out (Blu-ray and DVD) and Mongolian Death Worm on 4/26.

And finally, retail sources have confirmed the 4/5 Universal Blu-ray and DVD release of Little Fockers. Watch for the official announcement soon...

Stay tuned!

2/11/11

All right... today's a slow news day, and I've just had my surgery bandages removed, so I'm going to take it a little easy this afternoon.

However, there are some interesting news developments to report...

First up, the big news: Lionsgate has inked a deal to distribute Miramax catalog product. The deal will give Lionsgate Blu-ray, DVD and digital release rights to more than 550 catalog titles in the Miramax library, including Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill (The Whole Bloody Affair? perhaps), No Country for Old Men, The English Patient and many more. Which means, hopefully, that we'll FINALLY start to see more of these great titles arriving on Blu-ray here in the States. I don't know about you guys, but we've been getting tired of having to import them on BD from overseas. May we suggest the Coen Brothers' Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? as an early title? More on all this here at Home Media.

Also, Criterion has officially confirmed that it's going to be releasing new Blu-ray and DVD versions of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film Solaris in May. All of the extras from the original DVD release will carry over, and they've now learned that the B&W scenes in the film were originally intended to be tinted blue, so they've made that change to the new release accordingly. Meanwhile, they're offering 65% off their remaining copies of the original DVD version (use the promotion code RHEYA at checkout on the Criterion store). So if you're interested, be sure to take advantage.

For you music fans, Warner Home Video has set an AC/DC: Let There Be Rock: Limited Collector's Edition for release on Blu-ray Combo, DVD Steelbook and DVD on 6/7 (SRP $44.98, $39.98 and $21.95). This is a filmed version of the band's 1979 Paris concert shot during their Highway to Hell tour. The Blu-ray and Steelbook-packaged DVD will include a 32-page mini book, a custom guitar pick and 10 postcards with photos from the performance.

20th Century Fox will release Arthur and the Invisibles 2 & 3: The New Minimoy Adventures on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/27 (SRP $29.99 and $29.98 - just 1 penny difference). Fox is also releasing Casino Jack on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/5.

Speaking of Fox (and MGM), we don't have all the official details yet, but retail sources indicate that their Fiddler on the Roof Blu-ray (due 4/5) will include the following extras: commentary with director Norman Jewison and Topol, 6 featurettes (Norman Jewison, Filmmaker, Norman Jewison Looks Back, John Williams: Creating a Musical Tradition, Songs of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye's Daughters and Set in Reality Production Design), the deleted song Any Day Now, a storyboard to film comparison, the Tevye's Dream Sequence side-by-side comparison, trailers and TV spots. You'll also get a bonus DVD copy of the film.

And the Italian DVD label RaroVideo is releasing Federico Fellini's The Clowns on DVD here in the States on 3/1 (SRP $29.98), followed by The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection on DVD on 3/8 ($39.98).

In other news today, for those of you who are interested in more 3DTV programming, Sony, Imax and Discovery's new 3net around-the-clock 3D network launches this weekend, though initially only on DirecTV. More here at Engadget.

Finally today, one more plug for tonight's new episode of Fringe on Fox. The show definitely needs all of its fans to tune in live to keep the ratings strong and make sure the show gets renewed for another season - DVR numbers alone aren't enough. Good genre shows really need to be supported by viewers, even these days. But the rumors about tonight's episode - which takes place in the "alternate" universe - are that MAJOR revelations will be made by the end of the episode that will impact the show and characters in both universes going forward. So if you're a fan, do NOT miss it. I'll tell you, I've had friends who recently started watching Fringe favorably compare its quality to the recently-ended Lost (also produced by J.J. Abrams), and say they're now hooked. Trust me: If you have any interest in sci-fi or genre TV, you really should be watching Fringe. You're missing out on something pretty great.

All right, that's it. Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday.


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