We've got some great stuff for you today. First of all, Todd's checked
in with a review of Universal's awesome new DVD of the classic
You'll definitely want to check that out. And as if that's not cool
enough, we've got TONS of new
DVD Cover Art - some 75 new scans in all. You'll get a first
look at titles like Batman Beyond,
Deep Blue Sea, Diggstown,
The Boys from Brazil, Drop
Dead Gorgeous, Everest (IMAX),
Disney's Tarzan, Great
Expectations, Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,
Lake Placid, Stalag
17 and LOTS more.
The USA Today has a couple of
stories related to DVD online today. First, they take
look at a number of good titles you might want if you're just
starting your movie collection. Next, they've got a story on
hacker-induced delay of DVD-Audio. Yahoo
also has a couple of stories on their newswire about the DVD-Audio delay
here and here
to read them).
Finally, we've updated the CEA DVD player sales charts (both the
chart and the listing above), so account for
the complete data from November.
Have a good weekend!
Howdy-ho, buckaroos! We're back!
Some of you may have noticed that we were off the air yesterday. As we
mentioned in yesterday's post (which probably few of you had the chance
to read until this morning), our hosting company decided to move our
server to a new location without telling us about it. The move IS for
the better, because the new location boasts a much more stable network.
And the move wasn't supposed to disrupt things too much - it took place
very early Wednesday morning. The problem is, someone forgot to
re-address our domain name's DNS entry, so it was still pointing to the
server's old location all day long. And once that was fixed, the
correction takes a few hours to propagate through the network. So that
pretty much killed yesterday for us. Just goes to show you, that nothing
is as easy as it seems in cyberspace.
Just in case you missed it, we posted a review of
McLachlan: Mirrorball - the disc is definitely worth a look.
More reviews are forthcoming.
We also has some news about Matsushita (Panasonic) postponing the
launch of their DVD Audio capable players. The reasons for this have now
been made clear: concerns about digital piracy in light of the recent
has a full story on the issue up today, and I think you'll
definitely want to read it. I hope this serves as a wake-up call to
those who support the group responsible for the DeCSS software. Here is
a direct example of how a few individuals, however altruistic their
intentions, can ruin things for all of us. DVD-Audio will now be delayed
at least six months, making Summer 2000 the earliest target for the
format's debut, while the members of the DVD Forum work on new
encryption. Here's why that's bad for DVD:
"With products now planned to begin hitting the shelves in the
summer of 2000, the format will have lost a year on Super Audio CD, a
Sony-developed next-generation audio CD format. Sony began selling Super
Audio CD products in Japan in May this year, and around 70 titles are
already available for the format, which is mainly confined to use by
audiophiles at present."
In other news, VideoScan is reporting record high weekly DVD software
sales for the last week of November (see
release). And Beyond Music has announced that they'll be getting
into the music DVD game on December 14th, with forthcoming DVD releases
from the likes of Blondie, Motley Crue, Anthrax, Meat Loaf and Face to
Face (read their
press release here).
Entertainment has once again updated their
News page, to include lots of Image-exclusive titles, such as Beavers
(IMAX), the original City Lights,
Destination Moon, Plan
9 From Outer Space: Special Edition (yeah, baby!), and Twilight
Zone #18 and 19. Note
that we've also updated our
Top 100 Films on DVD list to reflect the addition of City
Finally this morning, Columbia TriStar has informed us that Grey
Owl will debut on DVD on February 15th, for an SRP of $24.95.
The disc will be in anamorphic widescreen, and will include a
behind-the-scenes featurette, a "making-of" featurette,
director and cast interviews, dual audio commentary tracks (one with
director Richard Attenborough and another with producer Jake Eberts),
trivia, a production photo gallery, the screenplay (via DVD-Rom) and
more. Check out the film's IMDB
listing for more information about it. Should be a cool disc.
Urgh. This update was originally planned to be up at 9 AM this morning,
but you can probably guess that things haven't gone as planned. It
appears that our hosting service, Concentric, decided to move our server
(along with hundreds of others) to a new and better co-location
facility, a short distance from the old one. Of course, they neglected
to inform us about this first. And while they claim that there shouldn't
be any downtime, there has naturally been nothing but downtime. The
problem now, is that our DNS has changed with the move, but
thedigitalbits.com domain name still points to the old DNS. The
situation is being worked, and should be resolved shortly. And I've been
assured that the new facility will mean a lot more reliability in the
network. Gee... thanks. As you can tell, all this has got the staff of
The Digital Bits not just a little
pissed. We ask for your patience, while we round up the usual suspects
and assemble the firing squad...
In the meantime, I've given the DVD version of
McLachlan: Mirrorball a spin. If you're a fan of Sarah's
you'll definitely want to give this DVD a look. And if you like live
performances on DVD in general, this is one of the better concert
presentations I've yet seen on the format. Do check it out.
Around the Internet, there's news that Matsushita (Panasonic to you and
me) is postponing the launch of their DVD Audio capable line of DVD
players. There's no word on exactly why yet, but more information is
expected in a press conference soon (see
release). And the Consumer Electronics Association (CMA - formerly
CEMA) is trumpeting the fact that 4.9 million DVD players have sold
since the format's launch (see
One last note in the spirit of pointing out cool things on the Net -
NASA's Mars Polar Lander is just two days from making a landing on the
red planet's south pole. The landing is set to take place at 12:00:26 PM
PST on December 3rd. You can follow the progress of the mission live at
the official JPL
Mars Polar Lander website, including (a few days after landing)
lots of pictures and even audio recordings of the surface taken from a
microphone on the lander. Ever wondered what it would be like to listen
to the Martian winds? You'll hopefully know soon. NASA is expecting over
a billion visits to the page, and more than a thousand journalists to
descend on JPL's Pasadena campus, so there should be lots of coverage.
Don't miss out!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/30/99 - 10 PM PST)
Congratulations to Jeffrey Ballstadt of Andover,
Minnesota! Jeffrey was chosen as the winner in our Week 4 Trivia
Contest, and took home the RCA DVD player and the three DVDs.
Thanks to all 587 people who entered. For December, we're getting back
to the monthly contest format, and we'll be starting it in just a few
days, so be sure to stay tuned. And you can find the answers to our Week
4 contest by clicking
We've also got a new DVD review for you tonight. I've taken a look at
Paramount's brash new DVD version of
Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut! It's skimpy on extras, but the
disc definitely delivers on quality. And the movie itself is major
smack-you-in-the-face funny. Don't miss it, m'kay?
See you in the morning...
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/30/99 - 11 AM PST)
Here's a quick early update to get the day going. We've updated our
DVD News page to reflect the 112,063 players sold into retail
in the third week of November. We're now just 400,000 players shy of 5
million. We've also updated out
Top 100 Films on DVD page with the latest information we've
been given, as well as the VideoScan Top 20
DVDs listing (see above).
We'll be back later today to announce the
winner (you still have until 5 PM PST to get entries in), and to post a
couple of new DVD reviews, so stay tuned...
Well, we certainly hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Today
is something of a regrouping day around here at the Bits.
Sarah and I just returned from St. Louis, where we celebrated with
family, so the 11/24 update was done via the trusty laptop. But, as this
is the first day back, there are lots of things that need to get done to
gear up for what we have planned for this week. Todd is going to be away
for about a week in December, so we're working on some things to get up
before then, particularly a couple of special feature stories we've been
working on for a few weeks now. And this week will see a blizzard of new
DVD reviews, starting tomorrow.
There's not a huge amount of new DVD news to report on this first day
back to work after the holiday, other than that Pioneer has issued a
release, indicating that they plan to be the first manufacturer to
market a recordable DVD player next year. Their DVD-R players start
selling in December in Japan, and there's no target date yet for U.S.
debut, but that should change by CES in January. According to the press
release, blank DVD-R media will sell for about $30 a disc.
DTS has a
list of upcoming DTS DVD titles up on their website, and I've had
a lot of people point out what appears to be Disney titles on it. But
notice that Alice in Wonderland,
Hercules and The
Hunchback of Notre Dame all say DVD Ltd. as the manufacturer?
These aren't the Disney classics, but other animated versions of these
stories. DTS does claim that they'll have some 100 new titles scheduled
by the end of the year (see
article at Widescreen Review), but don't look for the
Disney animated classics any time soon...
Our final weekly Trivia
Contest for November will end tomorrow, so be sure to get your
entries in fast. We're giving away three more Disney animated DVDs, and
an RCA 5223P DVD player. We'll announce the winner tomorrow night, after
the contest closes at 5 PM PST.
Finally today, if you're looking for a couple of great movies to see,
I'd like to recommend a pair that I really enjoyed over the weekend.
First of all, you MUST see Toy Story 2.
This is one of the best movie sequels that I've seen in a LONG time - I
haven't laughed this hard in ages. All of your old favorite characters
are back, voiced by all of the original film's voice talent, and there
are lots of new characters along for the ride. We find out lots more
about Woody's past, and get to watch as Buzz Lightyear goes head-to-head
with the evil Emperor Zurg. There are a ton of in-jokes in this film,
and even a few very funny spoofs of some of your favorite movies. This
is a MUST see movie, period. The other film I'd like to recommend, is
the new David Lynch movie, The Straight Story
the film's official website). It's based on a true story, about an
old man in Iowa who is struggling to make his peace with life. When he
finds out that his brother in Wisconsin (with whom he hasn't spoken in
ten years) has had a stroke, he sets out to pay him a visit the only way
he can, hitting the road on a 1966 riding lawnmower. And during his
weeks-long pilgrimage, he has a profound effect on the people he meets
along the way. Straight Story is a
beautiful film in its look and feel, and seems a strange one coming from
director Lynch (Dune, Blue
Velvet). But it's haunting, poignant, and definitely not to
Todd's checked in with a couple of new reviews for all of you today.
We've posted his thoughts on Criterion's new DVD edition of The
Third Man, and Disney's animated Pinocchio.
Both are definitely worth a look.
Frank's pointed out an
article on DVD-Audio that you might want to check out. It seems
that the studios and record companies are working to ensure that new
DVD-Audio discs are at least somewhat compatible with current DVD
players, by including 96/24 stereo tracks on them as part of the
DVD-Audio spec. All current players can read such tracks (even though
they may not be able to pass through a true 96/24 signal). Having heard
96/24 music on DVD, I can tell you that it's a great sound experience -
not as good as true 5.1 DVD-Audio, but still much improved over existing
CDs. Personally, I think this is a great idea, and makes perfect sense.
For DVD-Audio to take off, it must have some appeal to existing DVD
consumers, and not just those who purchase new high-end players. Let's
hope this does become part of the spec....
Around the Net, there's also a
release from Musicland (who predicts substantial gains in DVD
sales this holiday season).
Just to let all of you know, there will be no updates tomorrow and
Friday, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We may come back with an update
on Saturday, just to tide you all over until next week. But I'm sure
most of you are going to be busy anyway, spending the next few days with
family and friends, eating lots of turkey, watching football, going to
the movies and the like. So Frank, Todd, Sarah and I want to wish all of
you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and a safe journey to those of you who
may be travelling this weekend. As for me, I'm on my way to see Toy
Best wishes, and see you back here soon!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/23/99 - 10 AM PST)
All right - the Trivia
Contest for Week 4 is now on! To round out the month of
November, we're giving everyone a chance to win a set of 3 Disney DVDs (Peter
Pan, Lady and the Tramp,
and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride)
and an brand new RCA 5223P DVD Player! The contest will run until 5 PM
on Tuesday, November 30th, so get those entries in!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/23/99 - 4:30 AM PST)
The winner of our week 3 Trivia Contest
has been announced! Congratulations to Bill
Chambers of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, who was chosen in our
drawing last night. And thanks to all 671 of you who entered. You can
find out the answers to the contest by
here. And be sure to check back later today, when the fourth and
final contest for November will begin. We're giving away more discs, and
a DVD player, so stay tuned!
Around the Net today, Sony Music's got a
release up about their upcoming music DVD lineup. And Sony Wonder
has followed suit with a
release about their holiday DVD titles. For those of you who
weren't aware of this yet,
has a page up for their forthcoming Fantasia
2000 soundtrack CD, and the bottom of the page claims that a
DVD Audio version is coming in July 2000. Interesting.
The New York
Times also has new articles on
that are worth a look. And Stereophile
magazine has a good
article up on DVD-Audio.
Have you seen the new
DVD player from Pioneer? I've only had the opportunity to play
with it a little bit, but the screen sure is bigger than my Panasonic
DVD-L50. It's about the same size and shape as a DVD keep case, so it
can fit on your bookshelf. If anyone out there has picked one of these
up, I'd love to hear what you think about it.
We're very pleased to have a special guest reviewer here at the Bits
today. You may know Donald V. Day's review work - he's a frequent
contributor to Fangoria and Video
Watchdog magazines, and we're very glad to have him involved
with us. It seems Donald recently saw a disc that drove him crazy, and
he wants to warn you all not to get
Alive (pun intended). Anyway, we're glad to have you aboard
I hope you've all checked out our coverage of
Day 1999. There's some good information in there. I'm most happy
that Buena Vista is getting a lot more DVD friendly, even possibly on
their disc pricing. And I'm very glad to have confirmed that titles like
Lawrence of Arabia and Braveheart
are in the works for next year.
In other news around the Net, Warner has issued a
release toting their late November and December DVDs. And Warner
Reprise is working on Filter's Title of DVD
(released on VHS as Phenomenology),
which street on December 7th (see
release). Digital Leasure has just released their DVD version of
Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp (see
Wars website has revealed that Fox will be releasing Episode
I again for one week over the holidays to benefit charities.
And finally, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again with lots more good titles, such as Stir
of Echoes, Color of Money
and the Pretty Woman: 10th Anniversary
Anybody see The X-Files last
night? It was one of the most interesting episodes I've seen in a while,
written from the point-of-view of a monster that Mulder and Scully are
tracking. The poor kid works at a burger joint, and has a thirst for
human brains (because, naturally, he a genetic mutant). But he works
hard to keep from killing, because he wants to be a good person, and
when he does give in to the inevitable, he feels guilty about it. It was
a really ingenious episode. And part of it took place right here in
Irvine, CA, which was funny.
FYI - our Trivia
Contest for this week ends at 5 PM PST, and we'll be back
tonight to announce the winner, and start the new contest running.
Anyway, that's about all for today. Hope you had a good weekend. And
one last thing - want a good laugh? Click
link over at Ebay, and I think you'll get a smile of two... ;-)
Having a good weekend? Well we've got some stuff tonight that might
make it a little better -
full report on Studio Day 1999! We've got word on a bunch of
upcoming titles, straight from the studio representatives themselves.
There's also great news about Buena Vista's DVD plans, and lots of other
interesting DVD information as well. Be sure to check it out, and we'll
see you back here on Monday.
(LATE UPDATE - 11/19/99 - 2:30 PM PST)
We've got a late update on CEMA's DVD Player sales numbers for early
November. The month's first week (ending 11/5) saw 68,135 players
shipped by manufacturers into retail, and the second week (ending 11/12)
saw another 97,349 shipped. The two week total for the month so far, is
165,484, bringing our format-to-date numbers up to 4,493,739 - just
500,000 units shy of 5 million players in the States! Optimistic
projections by the industry earlier in the year were that the market
would reach 4 million this year, so the format is definitely exceeding
expectations. We've updated our
chart and the listing above with all the
We've got a last pre-Studio Day update of upcoming (early 2000) DVD
titles in today's Rumor
Mill. One particular title of note that we'll mention deals
with our favorite sword-swingin' Scottsman... do check it out!
Finally today, comes word (via CNet)
that the MPAA is coming out guns blazing for that DVD-encryption
cracking software (read the
here). The MPAA is working hard to eliminate the DeCSS software
from all Internet sites, in the first major test of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act, which now makes it a crime to create, sell or
distribute any technology that could be used to break
copyright-protection devices. The MPAA has sent cease and desist orders
to every web site that they can find which offers the software for
download - including CNet's own Download.com,
which stupidly (in my opinion - no offense) offered the program to its
readers. The MPAA isn't going after the hackers who created the
program... yet. The reason is that the portion of the law that would
give them the power to do so hasn't gone into effect as yet. But that
day is coming soon, and you can bet the hackers will be its first
target. Stay tuned on this issue.
Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/19/99 - Noon PST)
Okay, we've got just a quick update for you this morning, to let all of
you L.A. area DVD fans know about an important event tomorrow. Dave's
Video - The Laser Place, located in Studio City, CA, is holding
their annual Studio Day event. You may remember our report on
year's Studio Day, or the
we did with Dave and Linda Lukas (the store's owners) following
last year's event.
Studio Day is a chance for DVD fans to interact one-on-one with
representatives of all of the major studios (and even some
manufacturers), to learn about what's in the works, and to give them
feedback about their DVD product. It's really enlightening, and a
complete blast as well. This year, Entertainment
Tonight's Leonard Maltin will be on-hand as a special guest.
Also invited (many of which have confirmed that they'll attend) are
representatives from hardware companies like Yamaha, Pioneer
Electronics, Atlantic Technologies, Jamo speakers, NAD, PSB speakers,
Tara Labs, and software companies such as Artisan Entertainment, Buena
Vista, Columbia TriStar, Dreamworks, Image, Lucasfilm THX, MGM Home
Entertainment, New Line, Paramount, Pioneer, Sony DVD Center, Sony
Pictures, Trimark, Turner Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Universal,
Warner, and possibly more. I will definitely be there, and I'll be
reporting on the event for all of you, as will several other DVD
webmasters I'm sure.
The event will run from 10 AM to 1 PM at Dave's Video, which is located
at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA. Hope to see you there!
Todd's spun up a few more discs over the last couple of days, and he's
got reviews for you. This time around, he's looked at Columbia TriStar's
awesome new Heavy
Metal: Collector's Series, Artisan's
Stand: Special Edition (which is the first major studio DVD-18
release), and a new Image Redemption horror title,
Living Dead Girl. You'll definitely want to check them out.
We also have a Toy Story DVD
update in Rumor
Mill today. The disc is still coming, but it looks like the
release date is being pushed back.
Columbia TriStar has sent us word that they'll be releasing a trio of
discs in early 2000. The first is Elmo in
Grouchland, which will street on December 21st, for $24.95
(SRP). The disc will include a "making-of" featurette, a brief
introduction by Elmo and Bug, and several trailers. Also coming is Blue
Streak on February 8th, for $24.95 (SRP). It will feature an
HBO: First Look documentary, a
featurette, 3 music videos and talent files. And on the same day, look
for Absense of Good (also $24.95
SRP) with a couple of trailers.
Around the Net, there's an
article with speculation on just how much of a threat DVD piracy
really is (or isn't) over at the San
Francisco Gate. And MSNBC
has an article
on MGM's awesome James Bond DVD set.
By the way... that meteor shower last night? Well, if you live western
Europe, you were able to see some 1,600 meteors per hour last night. By
the time the Earth had turned, so that we in California could see the
shower, the storm had subsided, and it was down to just 30 meteors an
hour. And when Frank and I went out to check out the action at about 1
AM Pacific...? Well, we saw 4. Figures.
(LATE UPDATE - 11/17/99 - 3 PM PST)
Not a lot going on news-wise today. Seems like all the news at COMDEX
this week is about information connectivity products (Palm Pilots and
the like), and there's very little in the way of DVD news at the show.
We do have a great scoop for you in today's
Mill, however. Let's just say that if you're a big fan of Buzz
and Woody, you'll be a happy camper after reading it - check it out!
News page has again been updated, with details on tons of those
early 2000 DVDs that we've reported in the Rumor
Mill in recent weeks. There are titles like The
13th Warrior, Jumanji: SE,
The Man from Laramie, Mr.
Deeds Goes to Town, Ally McBeal
(TV episodes), Great Expectations,
French Kiss and more.
In non-DVD related news, tonight and tomorrow night is supposed to mark
the return of the Leonid meteor shower, which is expected to be
spectacular this year (according to many predictions). If you go out
after sunset and look towards the constellation Leo in the
East-Southeast, they say you may be able to see between 300-2000 meteors
an hour. No one knows for sure, but check out the
website, which will help show you where and when to look, and tell
you what the action's like hour-by-hour. Enjoy!
We should have some more reviews for you tomorrow, so stay tuned...!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/17/99 - 1 AM PST)
Just in case you missed it, we started out
for Week 3 last night. This time, we're giving one lucky winner a set of
7 DVDs that should definitely help to get them in the holiday spirit!
Included are It's a Wonderful Life,
Holiday Inn/Going My Way, A
Christmas Story, How the Grinch
Stole Christmas, The Santa Clause,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and
Christmas Vacation. The contest
will run until Monday, November 22nd, and we'll pick the winner that
evening. Get your entries in quick!
We'll be back later this morning with more, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/16/99 - 4 PM PST)
The new Trivia Contest is almost
ready to start, so look for it soon. In the meantime, here's a full
length review of New Line's awesome Platinum Series DVD of
Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Don't miss it.
Also, Columbia TriStar has informed us that they're releasing the Jumanji:
Collector's Series DVD on January 25, 2000. The disc will
street for $27.95 (SRP) and will include a "making of"
documentary, SFX crew commentary, a production design featurette,
conceptual art and still galleries, three storyboard sequences, the
isolated score and more.
Finally, director George Lucas spoke at the COMDEX show in Las Vegas
this week, and revealed that Sony and Panavision are about to deliver
the first prototype 24-frame progressive high definition camera system
to Lucasfilm, for use on Star Wars: Episode
here for the full story at starwars.com.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/16/99 - 11 AM PST)
Today's post is going to be a series of updates throughout the day, so
I figured let's get 'em started. We've updated the
Mill today with some information that's come our way about
Episode I. No doubt there will
likely be a TON of such rumors in the coming months, so we're going to
try to double and triple check everything about what we hear before
posting anything in the Rumor Mill.
Such was the case here, but we still definitely recommend that you treat
it with kid gloves - we're probably months away even from official
announcements of anything. But we'll try to give you the best
information our sources are telling us.
Here's a quick note from Doogan:
Okay, okay... I get the point. I received a whole stack of e-mails
amending the two lists of films we want on DVD. It would seem that
everyone out there could add 20 more titles to our already bulky lists.
Just remember that we're not trying to make a complete list of all the
films ever made. This is a list of films people think need to be on DVD
-- by the end of 2000.
last list was what everyone sent to me after I put mine and Bill's
list up. I had no input on that list -- this was your list and only your
list. You can see my list by clicking
Bill and I will be back with 30 titles (updated from the original 25)
that we think should come out in 2000. It's going to be taken from the
two lists, and possibly from some of the "better late then never"
entries that are coming my way as you read this. Along with that, we
will be giving info on how to contact the studios and request these
titles get made. I'd like to focus our attention on the 30 -- and I know
that a great many of you have their personal favorites, but the industry
can only do what it can do.
Bill and I have also discussed making a list of obvious choices (like
Star Wars) that we think should be
out next year, and probably could come out next year -- but most likely
won't. Whether that is included in the 30, or precedes it, will be known
when the list comes out.
So, keep 'em coming. We'll get the last list out very soon. Until then,
keep spinnin' those discs...
Back to you Billy.
Yeah, what he said. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/15/99 - 10 PM PST)
We've announced the winners for the second Weekly
Trivia Contest! Congratulations to D.G.
Hollums of Wilmore, KY and Susan Peterson
of Tucson, AZ! D.G. and Susan got all of the answers correct, and
were drawn at random as the winners this week, from 534 total entries.
You can read the answers to the second contest
And be sure to check back tomorrow, when we'll kick of the contest for
I'll also be back in a few hours with the first part of tomorrow's
update, so stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/15/99 - 2:30 PM PST)
Just a quick update for now. First of all, Todd's reviewed a couple of
new discs for you: Fox's recent
Been Kissed, and A-Pix's
Argento's Phantom of the Opera. And we'll have at least one
more review for you later this evening, when we announce the winner of
Contest, so stay tuned (there's still a couple hours left to
A couple of quick notes: first of all, there's a new anime store
online, which sells DVD and VHS anime (and presumably has a good
selection). I though some of you might want to check it out - it's
called Anime Depot.
and DVDTalk are
cosponsoring a live online chat with Deep
Blue Sea director Renny Harlin tomorrow night (see
release). Click here
for the details.
Finally, a few Bits readers have
informed me that the subtitles on that
I DVD we looked at recently, are Malay and Mandarin Chinese,
and that the print appears to be an exhibition print from Malaysia. Just
See you back here tonight!
So are you all having a good weekend? Mine's been okay - the Vikings
eeked out a win, picked up the new Tonic and Foo Fighters CDs which were
cool, watched a couple of good DVDs - can't complain, you know?
I also caught Dogma, and...
well... I have mixed emotions. It was a really cool idea anyway. I don't
want to say too much until those of you who are going to see it do so,
but while I really thought the concept was clever (frankly downright
brilliant - Smith definitely did his homework on Catholic "mythology"),
the execution left something to be desired. I can see why some were
offended, but I though it was great - I have no problem poking a little
fun at the Catholic church. I went to Catholic grade school (I still
have nightmares about ruler-swinging nuns), and believe me, no one is in
greater need for a laugh than the average Catholic. And I intend no
offense by that - you know what I mean. But the pacing was ponderous,
and while some of the acting was really good, some of it was REALLY bad
too. I'm sure many of you will agree with me, while others will think
it's the best film since Chasing Amy.
But if I have to see Jason Lee bluster and overact his way through
another film... ouch. Still, there are a LOT of good laughs, and I think
it's well worth a watch. I also dig who Kevin got to play God - very
clever. FYI - those of you wanting a DVD version of Dogma
will be happy to know that it's in good hands - Columbia TriStar's to be
exact. Check out News
Askew for the details.
Anyway, I've got a review up for you to enjoy this evening: my take on
Warner's new DVD version of
Iron Giant, which streets on November 23rd. Not exactly a
special edition (sadly), but worth picking up anyway - it's a damn great
film. Both Todd and I will be back tomorrow with more reviews, so stay
Keep in mind that the
runs until 5 PM tomorrow, so get those last entries in. For those of you
who may be scratching your heads over the Monday finish for the contest,
I had said previously that the contest would end on Sunday, November
15th. Which is actually a Monday. So you now have until tomorrow to
enter. Hey - we're good here at the Bits,
but perfect we ain't! ;-)
Those of you who missed the digital projections of Episode
I will be happy to know that
DLP is at it again
with Toy Story 2. Check their
release for the show times and locations.
Panasonic is going to have an online press conference to explain the
wonders of DVD-Audio to the masses. The conference will be on November
16th, from 8 until 9 PM EST. You can check it out live at
And finally, CNN has a couple of stories about the DVD-hack:
which deals with the original story, and
wherein an activist defends the hackers' actions. I'm all for Linux
users being able to play DVDs, and for fair use copying, but come on -
all freedoms are abused on the Internet. And what about the intellectual
property rights of the artists here? All I can tell you, is that if I
made a movie, and it appeared on DVD, and anyone who wanted to could
make tons of perfect digital copies of it, I'd be a bit freaked out by
that. Which is not to say that music artists haven't been dealing with
the same thing for a long time. I mean, I've had friends copy CDs onto
tape for me lots of times. But if I liked the music, I usually went out
an picked up the actual CD. But where's the incentive to pick up an
authorized CD (so the artist gets paid), when you can burn your own copy
on CD-ROM? And that doesn't mean I'm totally against that ability
either. It's just a MUCH trickier issue in the digital realm. I can
understand why lots of people lose sleep over it all.
Okay, here's a last couple of quick notes for you space nuts out there.
NASA's Mars Polar Lander is fast approaching the Red Planet, and if all
goes will, it will set down safely on the planet's south pole in just 18
days (Dec. 3 to be exact). The science (and of course, the pictures)
should be cool. You can follow the whole thing live at
this link at
JPL. And just as cool, scientists this weekend
the first visual evidence of planets beyond our solar system. Seems they
were watching a star via telescope (around which they had indirectly
detected a Jupiter-sized planet), and darned if the planet didn't pass
right across the disc of the star, making the light dim for a short
time. Just goes to show you folks - it's a BIG universe out there. And
it's not only stranger than we imagine, it's probably stranger than
we're CAPABLE of imagining.
See you back here tomorrow!
Thank God it's Friday. What a LONG week this has been... whew! And
frankly, the weekend can't come fast enough, because I'm dying to catch
Insider and The Messenger
this weekend, as well as the second part of The
X-Files season opener (on Sunday night). I'm a slave to good
entertainment, what can I say? There are just WAY too many must-see
films coming out in November - it's gonna be a box-office
slaughterhouse. Later this month, we've got The
World is Not Enough, Toy Story 2
and Sleepy Hollow - whew!
Speaking of good entertainment, I saw a movie earlier this week that
you all should catch as soon as you can - Being
John Malkovich. I don't want to say too much, but it's one of
the most original and funny films I've seen in a long time, and it's got
a really interesting cast as well. Just go see it, and you won't regret
Today, Todd's checked in with a couple of reviews, for Columbia's
Daddy, and Universal's
Hill: Collector's Edition. And I'll be back sometime soon
(tonight or tomorrow morning) with The Iron
Giant and Lost Horizon,
so stay tuned...
Not much going on around the Net today, but Yahoo
does have a couple of new press releases: one for Disney's upcoming
Life: Collector's Edition ("priced to own at $49.99"
- I don't care how cool it is, $50 is too damn much to charge Disney!)
and a live
broadcast of the Austin Powers 2
DVD premiere party (look for our review of the disc itself soon). And
once again, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page, with the details on a bunch of upcoming titles,
including Tarzan from Disney, Runaway
Bride from Paramount and more.
Finally, our Disney weekly Trivia
Contest ends on Monday, so get your entries in fast!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
We're squeaking an update in right under the wire tonight. First of
all, we've got another update to
Rumor Mill, with lots more upcoming DVD titles - this time
from February 2000. It should give you an idea what's on the way for
early next year.
And, as promised, we've got reviews for you tonight - 3 in all. Frank
Ortiz takes a look at Columbia's
Road, and Polygram's Lock,
Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. And I've given Columbia's
From Space a spin for you - definitely worth a look. And we'll
have more reviews for you tomorrow morning, so stay tuned...
Around the Net, PCWorld is
finally talking about the fact that DVD encryption has been broken (read
their little blurb
Sonic Solutions has launched an e-commerce
store to help push their budget-priced DVDit! authoring software
release). Yahoo has
story on Disney's commitment to DVD. And those of you who missed
the live webcast of the interview with the folks from DreamWorks' DVD
department, will find the program archived on the
DVD website soon, so be sure to watch for it.
See you tomorrow morning!
Okay, we've got some interesting stuff for you today. First of all, our
own Todd Doogan has been collecting all of your suggestions as to films
you'd like to see on DVD. He's taken his original list of films, added
your new suggestions, and we've got the result for you today in his Doogan's
list of films that damn well ought to be on DVD, Round Two!
You'll definitely want to check it out... especially you studio types
out there. ;-)
There's been a lot of interest from our readers in those Star
Wars: Episode I bootleg DVDs. A reader sent a copy of one of
them our way, and I'll give you a detailed look at it today in:
the Force: A Look at a Pirate Episode I DVD. There are screen
shots, close up looks at the disc and packaging, and plenty of details.
And you can definitely count on me to do a little editorializing at the
end. Bottom line - it's time Fox and Lucasfilm get busy with authorized
DVDs of the Star Wars films, or
these bootleg discs will spread everywhere in a hurry.
We've also updated our mirror copy of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ today, to the latest version (November 8th to be
exact). And we've fixed all those internal links, so they reference the
correct spot in the FAQ text here at the Bits.
Around the Net, Image
Entertainment's updated their
News page to include a bunch of new DVD titles from Warner Bros
and other studios. And our friends over at DreamWorks will be featured
in a live, online chat at the Inside
DVD website, on Thursday, November 11th (Veteran's Day) at
10:00 PM EST. The Saving Private Ryan
DVD production team will be on hand to answer questions, and talk about
Here's some great news: Disney has officially unveiled their strategy
for releasing their classic animated films on DVD (see
release). Over the next two years, Disney will release some 26
classic library feature animation titles to VHS and DVD, on an
unrestricted, always-available basis. The studio will also create a
Disney Platinum Collection, which will include "another 10 classic
library feature animation titles that Disney will hold in moratorium for
a specific time period before reintroducing them into the market."
Disney will also release all future titles on DVD and VHS
simultaneously. We say - VERY COOL!
The buzzword for tomorrow's edition of the Bits
will be REVIEWS. We've got several in the works, so do check back. We'll
also have another look at upcoming DVDs for 2000 in The
Rumor Mill, with a number of new titles revealed. So until
tomorrow, stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/9/99 - 8:30 PM PST)
We're doing some housekeeping things around here tonight, and we're
going to be working until the wee hours of the morning getting things
posted. But we do have something for you to look at right now. A LOT of
you have asked about our opinion of the DTS version of Saving
Private Ryan, and you'll be happy to note that
full length review of the title has just been updated to include a
full disc-to-disc comparison between the two versions. Enjoy and stay
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/9/99 - 11 AM PST)
Hi everyone! Today's post is going to be a late one. After being gone
most of yesterday at that director's commentary recording session, and
exhausting myself watching Monday Night
Football last night (with the desperation of a Viking fan
suffering through a damn strange season), I've got a lot of catching up
to do. The post will be made sometime early this evening, and should
include a bunch of updates and new information.
I'm working on a full report of the commentary session itself, which I
hope to have ready soon. I'm not going to be specific as to when it will
be posted, because I've gotten myself into trouble doing that too many
times before. I have a bad habit of saying we're gonna get certain
things posted, and then something comes up - breaking news, or an
opportunity to go behind-the-scenes, or an interview or something - and
then Todd and I have to scramble to keep up. Suffice it to say that
we're working VERY hard on a lot of interesting articles, fun
interviews, disc reviews and news stories, and we will get them posted
as soon as we are able.
For the record, the commentary session itself was really a treat. I had
an opportunity to meet my favorite feature film director, and even chat
with him briefly about his work and his thoughts on DVD. I can't wait to
share the experience with you.
One last note: we've had a number of people point out a small error in
last weeks' Bond
Trivia Contest. The first question (What was the first Ian
Flemming Bond novel to be adapted for the screen?) was worded in such a
way as to leave room for a couple of answers. I think most people knew
that what I mean by screen, was the Silver screen - meaning theatrical
film. But some thought it was a trick question, and that I meant TV
screen. That's my bad - I should have been more clear. The first Bond
novel adapted for theatrical release was Dr.
No, but Casino Royale
was adapted earlier for television (live television, in fact, on CBS in
1953). There were only some 15 people who were confused by this, but I
should still have been more clear. My apologies for the confusion!
We'll be back later, so stay tuned...
How cool is this? We received CEMA's DVD player sales data for October
over the weekend, and with the 603,048 player that shipped last month
(another record month for the format) we now have well over 4 million
players shipped in the U.S. market - 4,328,255 to be exact! And with 2
full months left to go, we're almost halfway to 5 million. Not bad for a
format that's less than 3 years old. Check the
the main chart, and the listing above, for
all the details.
We're very pleased to announce the winner of our
November weekly Trivia Contest - Greg
Coleman of Austin, Texas! We've also started the
second weekly Trivia
Contest already, and two winners will walk away with four of
Disney's upcoming animated DVDs each: Pinocchio,
and 101 Dalmatians. The winners
will be drawn on November 15th, so get your entries in!
Doogan's new editorial will be ready tomorrow (when you see it, you'll
understand why it's taking so long to get it ready!). And our look at
the Episode I bootleg is going to
be delayed a couple of days. There are two reasons for this. First of
all, I've been invited to be on hand during the recording of the
director's commentary track for an upcoming (and very cool) Universal
Collector's Edition DVD later this morning. I'll be giving you an inside
look at the recording session in the coming days - needless to say,
preparing has kept me busy this weekend. I'm also going to the MPAA
early this week, with the actual Episode I
disc in hand, to talk about DVD piracy and studio reaction to the recent
CSS encryption hack. And finally, I found out over the weekend that my
Inside DVD article for the next
issue of Widescreen
Review magazine is due today, so I've been hard at work on
that. I tell ya, there's not enough time in the day around here...
We'll be back tomorrow in full force, so stay tuned!
This is another quick update here, but we've got lots of content for
you. First of all, we've posted three new DVD reviews today: Todd
Doogan's take on MGM's
Dark Half, and Image's loaded
Special Edition, and Frank Ortiz's 2 cents on Columbia's
Beloved: Special Edition.
We've also added 5 more
DVD Cover Scans, for some of the forthcoming Disney/Buena
Vista titles (Inspector Gadget and
the like - I'll be doing a lot of housekeeping in this section very
soon), and we've updated the
Mill again with word on a New Line Platinum Series DVD version
of Seven, a second batch of
Universal Classic Monster DVDs, and some early 2000 Paramount titles.
I'll also be back this weekend with that new Doogan's
Views, and the look at the Episode
Around the Net, Dana J. Parker (of the excellent
Professional) has written an
commentary on the CSS encryption crack, so don't miss that. And
Australia has another article on the subject with some initial
studio reaction to the news. The attitude in Hollywood seems to be...
watch and wait.
We'll be back this weekend, so stay tuned!
We're working on a number of reviews for tomorrow, so today's update
will be fairly brief. But we do have one killer bonus for you today - a
MAJOR update of
Rumor Mill, which includes January 2000 DVD releases for
Columbia TriStar, Fox, MGM and more. We've also got word on a bunch of
VERY cool titles in the works at several of the studios for later in
2000 - stuff like The Princess Bride,
and Ally McBeal TV episodes, Diggstown,
Spaceballs and TONS of other
titles. It's definitely not to be missed.
has an article on the DVD encryption being cracked, and MPAA and
Hollywood reaction. You'll also find the
on Yahoo. Yes, as the article mentions, "the MPAA
tapped Bill Hunt to the newly created post of chief technology officer,
charged with coordinating the group's Internet and optical media
antipiracy efforts". And no, that Bill Hunt ISN'T me. Just a funny
coincidence, don't you think? FYI, the
Post also has an article about the crack up today.
Speaking of piracy, I yesterday received a copy of the Episode
I bootleg DVD. After a quick scan, I have to say that it's
pretty poor quality - rather like a second generation VHS copy. But it
begs the question - with SO many versions of the film now appearing
illegally on bootleg DVDs, how long can Lucasfilm wait before issuing
their official DVD version of the film? I'll post more about the disc
tomorrow, along with more upcoming DVD artwork, a couple of reviews, and
an article from Todd. Stay tuned...!