Well, I hope you all had a nice and relaxing Valentine's Day, 'cause
we've got a LOT of ground to cover this afternoon! This is, of course,
Oscar Nomination Day, and there were some BIG surprises this morning.
Among the biggest, is that actor Jim Carey got snubbed for a Best Actor
nomination for his amazing performance as Andy Kaufman in Man
on the Moon. And Toy Story 2
got overlooked for Best Picture (which I suppose was no surprise, given
the Academy's bias against animation, but I still found it
disappointing). You'll find the nominations for the
major categories at the end of this post, and you can read the
rest at the official
Congratulations to Gene Wells of Houston, Texas.
Gene won our Valentine's Contest
and takes home the three DVDs of his choice. And thanks to all 1,778 of
you who entered - a record for such a short contest. Our usual Monthly
Contest will start later this week. In the meantime, you can
read the answers
to this one here.
We've got a BIG update of
Rumor Mill for you today! You'll find details on an Artisan
DVD price drop (to $9.95 on some titles), street dates on lots of
upcoming titles like DreamWorks' Galaxy Quest,
and all the details on those Warner June DVDs (which we mentioned a few
days ago), including newly remastered DVD editions of Interview
with the Vampire, Twister
and Lethal Weapon 1-3: The Director's Cuts.
And if you dig a particular PBS documentary about America's favorite
pastime, you're gonna be a happy camper in June...
We've updated our
Top 100 Films on DVD listing (finally!), so you may wish to
check out the changes.
As you may have heard, director Spike Lee will be signing copies of
Malcolm X and his other films on
DVD tomorrow (2/16) here in Los Angeles, in honor of Black History
Month. He'll be at the Virgin Megastore (8000 Sunset Blvd) in Hollywood
from 7:30 to 9:30 PM PST. You may have to make a purchase at the
store... just be ready.
Want an opportunity to ask George Lucas about Star
Wars on DVD? He'll be giving a lecture tomorrow night (2/16)
at 7:30 PM PST at Zellerbach Hall on the campus of the University of
California Berkeley (that's in Berkeley, California - just FYI). There
will apparently be a Q&A session after the lecture.... Tickets
still available at Tickets.com.
Here are those Oscar nominations from this morning - see you tomorrow!
Best Picture - American
Beauty, The Cider House Rules,
The Green Mile, The
Insider, The Sixth Sense
Best Actor - Russell
Crowe (The Insider), Richard
Farnsworth (The Straight Story), Sean
Penn (Sweet and Lowdown), Kevin
Spacey (American Beauty), Denzel
Washington (The Hurricane)
Best Actress - Annette
Bening (American Beauty), Janet
McTeer (Tumbleweeds), Julianne
Moore (The End of the Affair), Meryl
Streep (Music of the Heart), Hilary
Swank (Boys Don't Cry)
Best Supporting Actor - Michael
Caine (The Cider House Rules), Tom
Cruise (Magnolia), Michael Clarke
Duncan (The Green Mile), Jude Law
(The Talented Mr. Ripley), Haley Joel Osment
(The Sixth Sense)
Best Supporting Actress - Toni
Collette (The Sixth Sense), Angelina
Jolie (Girl, Interrupted), Catherine
Keener (Being John Malkovich), Samantha
Morton (Sweet and Lowdown), Chloe
Sevigny (Boys Don't Cry)
Best Director - Sam
Mendes (American Beauty), Spike
Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Lasse
Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules), Michael
Mann (The Insider), M. Night
Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense)
Best Screenplay (original) - Alan
Ball (American Beauty), Charlie
Kaufman (Being John Malkovich),
Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia),
M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense),
Mike Leigh (Topsy Turvy)
Best Screenplay (adaptation) -
John Irving (The Cider House Rules),
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor (Election),
Frank Darabont (The Green Mile),
Eric Roth and Michael Mann (The Insider),
Anthony Minghella (The Talented Mr. Ripley)
Happy Valentines Day everyone! We've got a couple of things for you
today. First of all Brad's given both DVD versions of Universal's
Pie a look, so be sure to read his thoughts. Also, we've got
word that Warner is soon to adopt DTS support on some of their discs -
that's in The
Rumor Mill today.
We've had a few people tell us that the Valentine's
Day Trivia Contest e-mail box is full. Worry not, we'll empty
it ASAP, and we're extending the contest until midnight so you'll all
have a chance to enter. We'll announce the winner tomorrow. If you can't
get your entry in now, try again in an hour or two.
Entertainment's updated their
News page again with lots of new titles, including Columbia's The
Messenger and Little Women: SE,
Artisan's Journey to the Center of the Earth
and The Omega Code from Goodtimes.
They've also got the beta version of their upcoming online retail site
up - DVD
Planet. Be sure to give it a look-see.
and not to be overlooked,
word that funny man Jim Varney passed away last week. Varney was
famous for his Ernest P. Worrell character, and as the voice of the
Slinky Dog in the Toy Story films.
As our own Todd Doogan put it... Ernest Goes
to Heaven. We'll miss him too (and we think Jim would
appreciate the joke).
may have heard the sad news this weekend -
creator Charles Schultz has died, ironically on the eve of the
Sunday publication of his farewell strip (visit the
Peanuts site). Schultz has being penning the adventures
of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang for some 50 years. He was born
in my old neck of the woods - St. Paul, Minnesota - and he actually
went to the same high school as my wife. Now he's gone to that Great
Pumpkin Patch in the sky, and he'll be greatly missed. Our hats off to
Day Trivia Contest is now up! Be sure to get your entries in
fast for your chance to win any 3 DVDs of your choice (up to $39.95
each)! You'll be asked to match up 10 famous celebrity couples (past or
present). The contest will run until 7PM on Monday, February 14th. The
winner will be announced the next morning. Good luck!
It's finally Friday, and I bet you're all looking forward to the
weekend! We've got just a couple of things for you today. First of all,
you may have noticed that the graphics above have changed slightly.
Clicking on the Got DVD? graphic will take you to our
Wars on DVD Campaign page. The logo on the right will, as
always, take you to the official
Wars on DVD petition over at DVD File.com. And
finally, the little golden boy in the middle there (aka The
Bitsy) will take you to our
Digital Bits Bitsy Awards, which some of you may have missed
the first time around. We thought the re-arrangement looked better, and
helps people find things easier.
Brad and I have got a couple more DVD reviews for you today. Brad's
checked in with a look at a retro title, MGM's
And I've given Buena Vista's
13th Warrior a spin for you. There are lots more reviews
coming on Monday from all of us. Also, this weekend, we'll be running a
brief Valentine's Day Trivia Contest,
which will give one lucky winner a chance to take home any three DVDs of
their choice (up to a $39.95 each). That will be up by tomorrow morning,
and will end on Monday.
DVD player sales numbers have been updated for the first week of
February - 54,611 players were shipped into retail in the week ending
2/4. All charts have been updated accordingly.
Finally today, the Star Wars on DVD
Campaign's gotten another press mention, this time in
yesterday's issue of The
Washington Post. You can
the article online at this link.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for that contest, and have a great
Howdy campers! The staff of The Digital Bits
is very pleased today to introduce you to our newest staff reviewer,
young master Brad Pilcher. Todd, Sarah, Frank and I want to welcome him
to our unique bag of mixed nuts. So welcome, Brad! You can get your
first taste of his work today, with his new DVD reviews of
Bueller's Day Off and
now available online. And he's got more on the way. Todd's got a little
more to tell you about Brad, and he's got lots of other stuff to say
today too, so I'm letting My Two Cents
be his two cents for the day. So take it away, comrade...
I just had to pop my face into the Two Cents
today to let everybody know about some way cool stuff. First, I want to
tell you about a couple of upcoming DVD titles. April will see another
installment from Fantoma Films, the producers of the wicked-smart DVD
Fando & Lis. The upcoming
title is the rarely seen Rainer Werner Fassbinder film, Whity.
This is a treat for you Fassbinder fans out there, because this thing is
hard-to-find. All we know about it for now, is that it'll feature an
audio commentary by actor-producer Ulli Lommel and cinematographer
Michael Ballhaus, along with a brand new anamorphic transfer. Like Fando,
the transfer is being done at American Zoetrope, home of Francis Ford
Coppola. And after looking at Fando,
I think you can expect a wonderful job.
Next up... oh doggie, we have a doozy: the notorious German film Nekromantik!
It's probably one of the sickest, most twisted and stomach churning
films ever made, and it's slated to hit the digital streets before the
summer reaches an end. Directed by Jorg Buttgereit, the film follows a
hapless chap and his sicko girlfriend as they spice up their
relationship with a dead body, a chair leg and a prophylactic. Ouch.
Brian Krueger, President of Barrel Entertainment, is the daring soul
behind getting the project on DVD. And as he tells it, it isn't very
easy. They've lost quite a few transfer houses and a German translator
due to the nature of the film. We wish him luck, and can't wait to see
how the whole thing turns out. Brian tells us that it will be digitally
remastered from a 16mm negative and will have optional English subtitles
to go along with the German soundtrack. Don May, Jr. is spinning in his
Extra features on the disc will include feature length audio commentary
from director Jorg Buttgereit and co-writer Franz Rodenkirchen, Horror
Heaven (a Jorg Buttgereit Super-8 short, subtitled in English
for the first time with it's own audio commentary from Jorg Buttgereit),
The Making of Nekromantik with 15
minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, a 10-minute featurette/interview
with Jorg Buttgereit including Nekromantik
out-takes, an extensive photo gallery from the collection of
Jelinski/Buttgereit, trailers for Nekromantik,
Der Todesking, Nekromantik
2 and Schramm and liner
notes by Buttgereit biographer David Kerekes. The disc will be Region 1
coded, NTSC and hopefully dual-layered. The first 500 pieces sold will
be signed and numbered by Jorg Buttgereit, and are only available
through Barrel at $38 (which we are told are pretty much gone). The
non-signed DVD will retail for $35, and judging from the content, you
might want to save yourself some time looking for it at your local DVD
shop, and just order it through them as well. You can reach Barrel with
the following information:
PO Box 182035
Shelby Township, MI 48318
They're working on a website and it should be up soon. We'll let you
know where to find them when it's up.
With the upcoming stuff out of the way, we move onto a past DVD release
being replaced. We heard a while back that there were problems with
Manga's DVD release of Macross Plus
on some players. Specifically, there's been reports of an audio dropout
in the center channel on the second volume. Manga/Palm Pictures, being a
stand up company, has issued the following statement with instructions
on how to replace your copy if it is indeed defective:
"We have noted your concerns regarding our Macross
Plus DVDs. If you are not completely satisfied with your Macross
Plus DVD, please send them to the following address for a
Attn: Macross Plus DVD
P.O. Box 482
Lincolnshire, IL 60069-0482
We will be accepting exchanges from Tuesday, February 8th through
Monday, May 8th. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. Please include all
original materials (disc, case) along with your address and telephone
number inside the DVD case. If you have any other questions, please send
an email to: email@example.com
We are very proud of the Macross Plus
DVDs and we hope that you find them highly entertaining. Manga
Entertainment, Inc. A Palm Pictures, LLC Company (http://www.manga.com)"
Okay... we've saved the best for last. You're going to notice a new
name on some of the DVD reviews we'll be posting in the coming weeks,
starting with two today. That name is Brad Pilcher, and he's a talented
young writer trying to make his mark on the Internet. We're proud to
help him with that endeavor. Currently, Brad's studying film and
journalism at Georgia State University, where he's the Editor-In-Chief
for the campus newspaper The Signal
(which is a great collage paper, by the way). Brad's a big DVD, movie
and computer head, and we're glad to have him on board. Be sure to check
out his reviews and join us in welcoming him to the Bits
family (you can send e-mail to Brad starting tonight at:
And I wanted to make a note that The Digital
Bits is looking to hear from a handful of other new writers
like Brad, who are looking to get published on the Net. So IF you have a
passion for film, you know DVD better than anyone out there AND you're a
serious and professional writer (and we mean that), then feel free to
send a resume and writing sample to me here at this e-mail address:
Please direct all inquiries to me (Todd) and not Bill, as he just
doesn't have the time to go through them all. And since I'm the review
editor here at the Bits, I'm the
guy to talk to anyway. Just FYI - I'll only be accepting submissions
until February 20th. Anything that comes in after that, will have to be
deleted without being read (sorry!).
Right up front, I want to let everyone know that this is non-paying
gig. So if you're looking to get rich, join the club (aren't we all?).
This is about a chance to get published, show what you can do and build
up a portfolio with a respected Internet site. And it's about having the
glory of seeing your name in bytes. So if you think you've got what it
takes to be a DVD advocate like the rest of the Bits
staff, get those reviews to me and we'll see what you've got.
That's about all I have for now. Keep spinnin' those discs!
Back to you Bill, captain, my captain...
Thanks, Doogan. Well, I've only got a couple of other things to report
to you today. First of all, is the fact that
sold off their U.S. disc replication assets to Deluxe. They plan
to concentrate strictly on A/V products. And
Entertainment has signed a deal with the Black Entertainment
Television (BET) network to distribute a series of live concerts on
We're pleased to say that there are now over 100 web sites that have
joined us and DVD
File.com in our
Wars on DVD Campaign. Some of those who have thrown in their
support include Cinescape
Review magazine, JediNet
and even Anchor
Bay Entertainment. You can read
full list of supporters here. Keep those signatures coming!
Finally, the Star Wars on DVD Campaign
was even mentioned in yesterday's edition of one of Canada's largest
Toronto Star. You can
the article online at this link. Thanks to the paper's movie
critic, Peter Howell, for his tongue-in-cheek mention!
See you next Wednesday! Okay... we'll see you tomorrow too. Haven't you
ever watched a John Landis flick closely? ;-)
Wow... were we ever swamped yesterday. I spent most of the day on the
phone, and yesterday afternoon's update fell by the wayside. But we've
got lots of stuff for you today to make up for it.
First of all, we're pleased to say that we've gotten some 15,514
signatures so far in our joint
Wars on DVD Campaign with our friends at DVD
File. And using some of our
to George Lucas, Pete's created some funny new animated
buttons that you can use on your web pages to show support for the
campaign (you'll find them on both
campaign page, and the actual
page over at DVD File). Please keep those signatures
Also today, Doogan's checked in with three more new DVD reviews, this
time of Columbia TriStar's
McBeal: Ally on Sex and the Single Life and Warner's
X. If you haven't seen Malcolm X
yet, it looks great on DVD. It's one of Spike Lee's best, and it's
definitely worth checking out.
We've just posted Jim Taylor's latest update of
Official DVD FAQ - the February 8th revision. If you have any
questions about DVD, that's definitely the place to start.
It looks as if that theory about the bad Tarzan
DVD part numbers isn't holding water - people are reporting bad discs
with both of the listed part numbers. Still, it was a nice try. We're
digging into this more with Disney to find out the official story, so
We've gotten an official update on The Abyss
from the folks at Lightstorm, which is now available in
Rumor Mill. Our opinion on the reported problems with the
disc? We'll have to wait and see. There's also a look at the disc cover
for Braveheart on DVD, and word of
more upcoming Paramount titles too.
has a good new story up on Nuon technology enhancement for DVD
players. You may remember that we addressed Nuon briefly in our
Warner's created a new video club for those of you who buy lots of
their videos and DVDs - just follow this link to the
official site. You'll get exclusive offers on Warner video
products and have a chance to win stuff. Best of all, it doesn't cost
anything to join.
Dolby Laboratories has created a new demonstration DVD disc that
includes seven of Dolby's trailers, along with multi-channel music
demonstration samples and more. It's called We've
Got the Whole World Listening, and you can order it online
for $15 (plus shipping) by clicking
to this link.
Finally, Columbia TriStar has announced a host of great new DVDs. On
April 25th, look for Fortress 2: Re-Entry,
The Lords of Flatbush, The
King of Marvin Gardens and a Rutgar Hauer double feature disc
of Blind Fury and Omega
Doom. All four of the discs will SRP for $24.95 and will
include a smattering of extras. They'll all also be in anamorphic
We'll be back later this afternoon with our usual full update, but I
wanted to sneak in early with this information for those of you who
picked up the Tarzan DVD (thanks
to Jack for bringing it to our attention). There's a theory brewing on
the newsgroups, and I think there might be something to it. It seems
that a number of people with bad copies of the disc have noticed that
the defective discs seem to share the same part number - E1690. This is
found on the printed face of the disc, near the edge. And those who feel
their disc has good Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio have noticed that
their discs have a part number of E7401. I just got my copy of Tarzan,
and after careful examination, it appears that the audio is okay. And
indeed, it's got the E7401 number on the edge. Unfortunately, this
doesn't help you identify the disc in the packaging - mine says E1691 on
the back of the keep case, which doesn't match the disc. But if this
theory holds up, it may be a way for those who already have the disc to
know if theirs is bad. This theory would make sense if (as is likely)
more than one replicator was used to press the discs - one of them may
have had a bad master, and each plant's pressing would be identified by
a different part number...
We'll be back later, so stay tuned...
We've got a bunch of interesting stuff for you today. First of all, our
own Todd Doogan's taken a look at the three new volumes of
Park on DVD - Volumes 4, 5 & 6. And we've got a LOT more
reviews coming in the next week.
I've posted a new
to George Lucas today, this one a spoof on the by now familiar
logo of a Lucas company. Here's a hint: the audience is waiting...
Speaking of Lucas, we're up to nine pages of signatures on our
Wars on DVD petition drive. I'll have a full count of the
number of signatures thus far tomorrow. Several people have noticed that
some are taking advantage of the petition to post more than once, or to
post "less than courteous" messages. Worry not - we delete
these once each page is full. And we'll go through the entire petition
and delete duplicate posts before we forward them on to Lucas. So rest
assured, those who would take advantage of the situation are only
wasting their time. In the meanwhile, please keep those signatures
coming - we need as many as possible. And again, please sign only once
We've had a lot of people ask about those
Ed Wood DVD
reviews we posted on Friday. Specifically, people want to know
what happened to the DVD version of Night of
the Ghouls, which was expected to be released with the other
titles. Rest assured, it's coming from Image later this year. It just
needs more work for DVD.
users are blasting the DVD industry over the whole DeCSS case
again. And they're not alone. Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux,
added his voice to the mix. Check out both links via Yahoo and
We've got some new stuff for you in
Rumor Mill today. There's word on Jaws
and The Exorcist, as well as
whispers of trouble for The Abyss
on DVD. Don't miss it!
We'd like to send our best wishes out to director Steven Spielberg, who
we've just learned underwent surgery today due to a "kidney
the story here from CNN). Get well soon, Steven.
Finally, we'd like to thank
host Wayne Resnick and his producer at KFI for having us on his
show on Saturday night. Todd and I had a blast, as we chatted about all
kinds of DVD-related issues. Poor Wayne's a DVD addict, and we know how
he feels. We even got to answer a few caller questions. So thanks again,
Wayne! Anytime you need to talk DVD some more, we're here for you,
buddy. We got your back.
All right - we've got some great DVD reviews for you today. First of
all, in honor of the release of Scream 3
to theaters, we've got a look at the dual DVD versions of the first
But we're saving the best for last, 'cause today we've got a sneak peak
at Image's upcoming DVD editions of the films of Ed Wood! Yep - we've
or Glenda? and
Bait. We've got
of the Monster too. And best of all, we've looked at the
greatest Wood classic...
9 From Outer Space! The folks at Image have really outdone
themselves this time - don't miss it!
Also today, we've gotten the latest
DVD player sales numbers for January. Some 173,464 players were
shipped in the week ending January 28th, making the total for the month
370,031. All charts have been updated accordingly.
Finally today, if you live in the Los Angeles area and you've got
nothing better to do on Saturday night, you might want to tune in to
Resnick's radio show on KFI 640 AM. At about 10 PM PST tomorrow
night, your faithful editor Bill Hunt (that would be me) should be
joining Wayne for a discussion on "DVD Addiction". Seem's that
Wayne's just gotten his first DVD player and he can't stop buying
movies! Our own Todd Doogan may join us as well. So tune in and don't
touch that dial...
Have a great weekend, everyone!
(LATE UPDATE - 2/3/00 - 4:30 PM PST)
Have you ever wondered what the set of a major Hollywood motion picture
was like? Well too bad... you're not gonna find out here. But we are
very pleased to be able to take you all behind-the-scenes on a movie of
different sort... a B-movie to be specific. Frankie and I were recently
lucky enough to be invited to the L.A. set of the latest Troma
production, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger,
Part 4. And we had a pretty interesting time - much more than
we bargained for going in. We definitely got caught up in the fun. So
please enjoy our report -
Tromatic: A Visit to the Set of Citizen Toxie!
And we'll be back tomorrow with a flurry of new (and long-overdue) DVD
reviews for you. Stay tuned...!
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/3/00 - 12:45 PM PST)
We've got that special report almost done - it's coming this afternoon,
along with a bigger post. But we wanted to get the following information
up immediately. We've gotten reports that SOME of the copies of Tarzan
currently shipping have good audio, while others have the messed up rear
channels. I've heard from several people (that I consider experts) since
yesterday afternoon, who say that their copy of the disc is a-okay,
while others claim to have a problem. And our own Digital Man (Josh
Lehman) claims to have found a copy of each - good and bad. So just be
aware that some good discs are shipping. We'll have more on this as soon
as we hear it.
We've got some good news for you Star Trek
fans in today's update of
Rumor Mill. It looks as if episodes of another favored Trek
series are coming to DVD in 2000! We've got that, plus updates on some
other Paramount titles. So as one famous Captain of the Enterprise might
Entertainment's updated their
News page again, with details on a number of Image-exclusive
titles. Image will be releasing some
DVD titles in April. Here are some highlights: On April 4, Lost
in Space Forever comes to DVD hosted by television's John
Larouquette - a tribute to the classic '60s TV series. April 4 will also
see the release of Victor/Victoria,
the Broadway musical starring Julie Andrews. This was her last public
singing role, filmed live on stage at New York's Marquis Theatre. It
will be released in anamorphic widescreen, and full Dolby Digital 5.1
sound. Another Broadway title, Via Delarosa,
is also upcoming. For different musical tastes, VH1's
Divas Live 1999 with Whitney Houston, Cher, Tina Turner and
Brandy will come out on 4/4, with DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks
on the same disc and a host of ancillary materials. Two new volumes of
Twilight Zone DVDs hit the streets
on April 11 (Volumes 22 & 23),
featuring the following classic episodes: A
Word of Difference, Back There,
One More Pallbearer, Ring-a-Ding
Girl, Long Live Walter Jameson,
Dead Man's Shoes, You
Drive and The Long Morrow.
April 11th will also see four more classic Chaplin masterpieces
released: Limelight, The
Great Dictator and A King in New
York (coupled with A Woman of
Paris). All of these Chaplin DVDs will contain extensive
supplementary materials. Also on the 11th, Fritz Lang's scathing
critique of fifties America's hunger for bloodshed and scandal, The
Blue Gardenia, comes to DVD starring Anne Baxter, Raymond
Burr and Ann Sothern. On April 18, Image will satisfy cinemaphiles with
yet another landmark DVD release, Krzysztof Kieslowski's nine hour-plus
masterpiece, The Decalogue.
Another volume of classic sci-fi serials, Flash
Gordon Conquers the Universe will also street that day. The
IMAX film The Discoverers will be
released on April 25, with both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on the
same disc. The program will also contain an extensive "making of"
documentary. Finally, The Slipper and the
Rose, starring Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven with a
musical score by the Sherman Brothers (Mary
Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
The Jungle Book), comes to DVD in
its original, 143-minute British cut. A retelling of the classic Cinderella
story, this disc will be presented with anamorphic widescreen video and
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The special edition disc will also include
commentary by director Bryan Forbes, a video interview with Robert and
Richard Sherman and a promotional featurette, Cinderella
Story: The Making of The Slipper and the Rose. And these are
just the highlights...!
Sigma Designs has officially announced that it will add Linux support
to its DVD and MPEG streaming capable products.
here for the official press release. They're a little to the ball
game perhaps - isn't this what started all of the DeCSS problems to
begin with? As Wired said in a
a Linux Thing.
We've gone back and forth with Buena Vista today about their Tarzan
DVD "missing" the .1 channel in the soundtrack. We thought it
was a little strange that they would claim to us that it will be "returned
to the mix when the fixed audio DVD is pressed", since the film
never had a 5.1 soundtrack to begin with. Our feeling is that this was
just incorrect information - someone didn't know their Ps & Qs. They
claimed to be getting a lot of complaints about the disc only being 5.0,
so apparently a lot of people didn't know that the film ran theatrically
with only 5.0 (with bass in the mix, but not on a separate channel).
BVHE should be getting back to us on this, but our feeling is that the
.1 issue is moot.
Our friends over at
have endorsed the
Wars on DVD Campaign, with
good editorial on the issue. Our thanks to Ian Ebright, the
websites' Senior Editor, for his words of support.
Finally, we'll be back tomorrow with a very special report on a recent
visit we made to the set of an upcoming film. As you'll see... it was
quite an adventure.
We've gotten word of some problems with Disney's new Tarzan
DVD. Apparently the left and right rear channels in the English Dolby
Digital 5.0 audio have been mixed incorrectly, resulting in a serious
problem with the sound. I've spoken to Buena Vista personally, and they
tell me that they ARE re-pressing the DVD with the correct mix. Not only
that, but the .1 subwoofer track that was missing from the first
pressing will be returned to the mix for this new DVD. We recommend that
you return your copy if you've already purchased it, and wait for the
corrected release. We'll have all the details as to when the fixed discs
will be available as soon as we learn them. Does anyone think that maybe
Buena Vista should work a little harder at quality control? This
certainly isn't the first time that they've screwed up audio or features
on one of their discs...
No doubt by now you've heard that Star Wars
Episode I: The Phantom Menace is going to be made available
on laserdisc in Japan, but not here in the States. Here are the details
Release Date: April 7, 2000
LD# PILF-2830 (Pioneer)
List Price 7,800 yen
THX, Dolby Digital, 2 Discs-3 sides, CLV, Japanese Subtitles,
Cinemascope Size, 133 Min.
This note came with the solicitation:
"It's ONLY available from Japan or from Taiwan and it won't be
released in American / European market yet. Also it won't be released on
DVD through this year 2000 in any market."
This should tell you two things. First, by not releasing a laserdisc
here in the U.S., Lucasfilm is hoping to drive up demand for an eventual
DVD release (whenever that may happen). This is the same thing that
happened with the now-cancelled Indiana Jones
Trilogy laserdiscs. Second, you will probably be able to find
very good quality bootleg DVDs mastered from the laserdisc by pirates by
the end of the summer. I've personally seen the bootleg copies of the
original Star Wars trilogy, and I
was stunned by how good they look compared to other bootlegs. They come
straight off of the laserdiscs, and they even have Dolby Digital 5.1
audio - surprising for a pirated disc.
Why Lucasfilm would choose to give pirates this kind of an edge is hard
to fathom, unless you come to the conclusion that they just don't care.
In any case, there's new hope that we'll hearing from them directly on
this issue. Stay tuned...
Columbia TriStar has announced a few new goodies for DVD. Jackie Chan's
Gen-X Cops is slated for release
on April 18th. The disc will include a "making of"
documentary, a music video, a "making of" the music video, a
deleted scene, and a talent file on Chan. The disc will also include
both full frame and widescreen, and 5.1 audio in both English and
Cantonese Chinese, with English and French subs, all for $24.95. Also
coming from the studio on that same day is The
Red Dwarf. The disc will include full frame and widescreen,
trailers and French 2.0 audio with English subs. SRP is also $24.95.
Picnic and Two
Moon Junction are also slated for 4/18. Picnic will include
vintage advertising, a photo montage and talent files. Both discs carry
an SRP of $24.95. Finally, April 18th will also see a Little
Women Collector's Series DVD from Columbia. The disc will
include a "making of" featurette, director's commentary,
deleted scenes with commentary, trivia games, historical timeline, the
isolated score, and a costume and set design gallery with commentary.
SRP is also $24.95, and the disc will feature anamorphic widescreen and
Dolby Digital audio in 5.1 and 2.0. Whew!
posted an interesting interview yesterday with Jon Johansen, that
young Norwegian hacker who helped to mastermind the DVD encryption hack.
It's well worth a read to get a sense of what he was trying to
accomplish, and what he's up against legally. And the
Francisco Chronicle has an interesting summary of the digital
piracy situation, and the different issues and legal cases associated
Finally today, we'd like to mention an
Wide Shut petition drive to encourage Warner Bros to release
Kubrick's last film in its original unaltered version. Do check it out.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/31/00 - 10:45 PM PST)
Congratulations to Jerold A. Moses of Baltimore,
Maryland. Jerold correctly unscrambled all of the movie titles in
the January Trivia
Contest, and was chosen in our drawing as the winner. He's won
the Pioneer DV-525 DVD player (and three discs of his choice to play on
it), thanks to sponsor Access
DVD. We'll start the next contest soon, but you can
click here to
see all of the movie titles revealed. Thanks to everyone who entered!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/31/00 - Noon PST)
All right... did everyone's favorite team win the Super Bowl? Probably
not... but to all you Rams fans out there, congratulations!
Now then. Today, we've got a new disc review for you - Frank Ortiz's
Floyd: The Wall. We've also got another
to George Lucas. We're giving you a look-see deep into the
bowels of the Lucasfilm Archives. It's a play on a famous image from
Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we
think it will give you a laugh. ;-)
Today is the last day of our
Contest, so get those entries in quick for your chance to win
the DVD player. We'll be back tonight to announce the winner.
Warner's issued a new press release on their DVD lineup for February,
which includes 4 classic Humphrey Bogart titles on disc.
here to see it via Yahoo.
Mill post we had about a month ago, about more Steven
Spielberg films coming to DVD in 2000? Well
gotten some more information from inside sources at Universal that seems
to corroborate it. Looks like Steven's backing DVD in a big way in Y2K.
Hey Steve, can you do us a favor and try to get your old pal George on
the bandwagon too?
We got a good laugh this weekend, when we received the first issue of
new e-mail newsletter The Homing Beacon.
The first bit of news they go into is as follows:
"But why no DVD??
Most of you have accepted the fact that there will be no Star Wars
films released on DVD in 2000 or the foreseeable future. This week Rick
McCallum answered the ultimate question... WHY NOT?"
They then rehash the McCallum comments we've heard before. Talk about
propaganda spin - "Most of you have accepted the fact that there
will be no Star Wars films
released on DVD..." How do you like that? We've gotten
huge pages of signatures so far from people who would argue that
line, and we know there are lots more out there. Naturally, you can
preorder Episode I on VHS now.
Yeah, right. As if...
Finally today, we've gotten the latest
DVD player sales numbers - some 101,298 players were shipped to
retailers during the week ending January 21st. That brings us up to
196,567 for the month so far, and some 5.6 million for the format at
We've got some details on the upcoming Warner DVD release of Stanley
Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. The film
will be presented in open matte full frame aspect ratio (per Kubrick's
wishes), and will include a 30-minute featurette that boasts interviews
with Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg (apparently it's
pretty moving, as these interviews were done after Kubrick's death). The
disc will also include a theatrical trailer, a pair of TV spots and
production notes. The audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1. The U.S. release
WILL indeed be the R-rated (altered) version of the film. In talking
with Warner, we've been told that their policy is to not release on home
video anything with higher than an R rating (this explains why Natural
Born Killers - a Warner property - was just released on DVD
by Trimark). Our feeling is that Warner could (and should) put both
versions on the DVD, and restrict access via parental lock if necessary.
If only we ruled the world...
For all those of you out there following our joint Star
Wars on DVD Campaign with DVD
File, we've got another tongue-in-cheek
to George Lucas that should give you a smile. The idea for
this one came from Doogan, and we think it's pretty funny - kinda says
it all. Here's a two word hint: milk mustache. FYI - you can access all
of the messages we've done so far on the
page, and more are in the works...
We'd like to thank everyone who has e-mailed us in support of these
efforts, and we ask that you
those signatures coming in to the petition page! We'd particularly
like to thank Matt Springer, for his well-written editorial on the
effort over at Cinescape
Online. It's some of the best damn dead horse-flogging we've
ever seen. ;-) And thanks also to our friends over at the excellent Star
Wars web site JediNet,
for officially endorsing the campaign. These efforts have also received
a good mention in Video Store
magazine this week. By the way - if you're an editor or journalist with
any publication or program (newspaper, magazine, TV, radio - you name
it) and you'd like to know more about the campaign, please give us an
e-mail. We're trying
to spread the word as far and wide as possible, and we greatly
appreciate all the help we can get.
Howdy-ho, gang! We've got a couple of new disc reviews for you today.
To start with, Doogan takes a look at New Line's new DVD edition of
Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1. As for the other title... well,
we've gotten a lot of e-mails about this disc, which has been delayed
several times. But it's finally set to street on February 14th, and
we're happy to say that it was worth the wait. So enjoy a First Look at
All Mankind. If you're a space nut like me, you're gonna want
this disc - trust me.
Speaking of Criterion, we have officially confirmed that they're in
production on a DVD version of Kevin Smith's Chasing
Amy, with the release tentatively set for mid-2nd quarter of
this year (final street date TBD pending production schedule).
Yet another leak for the DeCSS hacking code has been plugged - the
State of California itself. Apparently, when lawyers submitted the
source code as evidence for the trial, it wasn't placed under seal. The
code (in hard-copy paper document form) was apparently publicly
available for viewing at the Santa Clara courthouse until yesterday. Oh
my. You can read the story
this link to Yahoo. Someone did apparently get to them, because
(believe it or not) we've found these legal documents available for
reading online... INCLUDING the source code. We can't publish the link
for obvious reasons, but it just goes to show you how difficult an issue
this is becoming.
Finally today, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again, with details on such titles as Eyes
Wide Shut, Pokemon: The First
Movie and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure:
Special Edition from Warner, For
Love of the Game and collector's edition DVDs of The
Birds, The Bone Collector,
End of Days and Conan
the Barbarian from Universal, and lots more.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/26/00 - 1:30 PM PST)
Groan! How do you like this? While Lucasfilm claims that there are no
plans to release Star Wars DVDs in
the foreseeable future, there are already plans to release the Star
Wars Trilogy on VHS again! A number of readers pointed us to
article at the BBC News. The article is about all of the
books being published related to the film. Here's the relevant quote
from the publisher: "We are looking at the Phantom
Menace video release in April and the Star
Wars classic videos in autumn as good opportunities to sell
Just what we need - 3 more VHS tapes to add to the 10 or 15 other
copies of these films collecting dust on our shelves. This should make
you angry. THIS is why we need
many signatures as possible in our petition. Keep 'em coming!
Also, Buena Vista has revealed their DVD release line-ups for March and
April. Here they are:
March - The
Sixth Sense: Collector's Edition, Outside
Prophecy III: The Ascent, B.
Monkey, Pinocchio (Gold
Collection), Miami Rhapsody
April - Tarzan:
Collector's Edition, The
Aristocats, The Insider,
Texas, That's the Way I Like It,
Music of the Heart, The
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/26/00 - Noon PST)
Yow! I don't know how this one slipped under our radar, but I guess
we've been so busy with the Star Wars
campaign, that we missed it. Jon Johansen (the 16-year old kid in Norway
who was the person who originally broke the CSS code and published it on
the Net) had his house raided by police on Monday. Two of his computers
were confiscated, and both he and his father were brought in for
questioning. Jon himself was questioned for some 8 hours. The pair are
also being sued by several of the companies involved in the DVD format,
and could face heavy fines and up to 2 years in prison if convicted. You
can read brief stories on this at
Norway Post and
And I'd be willing to bet that this is just the beginning. Heads are
gonna roll over this one...
You Paul Thomas Anderson fans out there should head on over to
definitive p.t. anderson resource. They've got a recent
conversation with the young writer/director, in which he talks about the
possibility of a NEW Boogie Nights: Special
Edition DVD release, as well as tentative plans for the DVD
version of Magnolia. I've gotta
tell ya - I'm a big fan of Anderson. In my opinion, he's one of the most
interesting young filmmakers I've seen in a long time.
Columbia TriStar has informed us that The
Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is coming to DVD on April
4th. The DVD will include the extended international version of the film
(in anamorphic widescreen), with 10 additional minutes of footage. Also
included will be the HBO: First Look
featurette, the film's isolated score, and talent files. SRP is $27.95.
The studio is also releasing Shakes the Clown
and Godspell to DVD on April 4th.
Both will also include anamorphic widescreen. Shakes
will SRP for $24.95, while Godspell
will SRP for $27.95. And Bell Book &
Candle is coming to DVD on March 28th. The movie stars Jimmy
Stewart, Jack Lemon and Kim Novak. It will include anamorphic widescreen
and full frame, talent files, vintage advertising and the original mono
audio. SRP is $24.95.
has launched their CineMatch campaign, which lets you rate DVDs that you
like. Once you've rated enough of them, the system will actually
recommend movies that you might also want to see. Think of it as
here for their press release.
Finally today, we've heard some very early word on a bunch of great MGM
DVDs that are coming later in the year, including a number of cool
special edition titles that are in the works. Check the
Mill for that.