So how many of you ran out this weekend to see Gladiator?
If you haven't, you should. It's amazing. You've probably been reading
rumors about the forthcoming DVD version of the film on the Net. Be
aware that the DVD is definitely being planned. We'll have more on the
subject when plans have moved beyond the realm of speculation -
everything is very tentative at this point. But you can certainly expect
deleted scenes and other behind-the-scenes features. DVD or no, don't
miss the chance to see the film in the theaters - it definitely demands
to be seen on the big screen.
Today's update comes late in the day, but we've got a nice bonus to
help make up for it. In addition to our just posted reviews of USA
John Malkovich: Special Edition and Universal's
on the Moon (which includes Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks
on the same disc), Todd and I have teamed up to give you an early look
at Warner's new DVD edition of
Green Mile, which just arrived this morning. It's such a great
film, and it looks and sounds wonderful on disc. It's a bit light on
extras however, so be warned. For those who are interested, the DVD
streets on June 13th - get those orders in!
We've gotta get back to work on tomorrow's post, so we can get it up
earlier. ;-) We'll have lots more new disc reviews for you, so stay
Good news today! The DVD format has officially passed another growth
milestone, by zooming past 7 million players shipped to dealers in the
to CEA, sales for the last week in April (week ending 4/28) were
241,357 units (reflecting end of the month reporting). That makes the
monthly total 409,192 units, and the year to date total 1,592,817 units.
All charts have been updated accordingly.
In other site business today... we'd like to welcome our new sponsor,
TV! You might have noticed their logo at the top of this page.
We're really looking forward to working with them, and you can
definitely expect a feature story on just what Replay TV is and how it
works in the coming weeks. Welcome aboard!
Boy, have we been remiss. I was working on my review of Being
John Malkovich last night, when it occurred to me that
there's a whole lot of new DVD artwork available. So I'm pushing the
reviews back until Monday, and instead, I've put together a major
DVD Cover Art update! We've got high-quality scans of all
kinds of great forthcoming titles, including Jaws,
Men in Black (SE, DTS SE and
Limited Edition versions), Alice in
(which streets July 25th), Ken Burns' Baseball,
Bicentennial Man, Girl,
Interrupted, Bringing Out the Dead,
The Green Mile, The
Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Interview
with the Vampire: SE, Lethal
Weapon 1-3 (SE versions), North By
Northwest (!), Pocahontas,
Princess Mononoke, Scream
3, Robin Hood, The
Puppet Master Collection, Sex and
the City: Season One, Shaft,
Star Trek II, Twister:
SE, The Whole Nine Yards
and more... whew!
and CNet have another story on the legal battle over the DeCSS
hack. And Image
Entertainment has once again updated their
News page to include the latest on more upcoming titles, including
Scream 3, Citizen
X, Hurricane: Special Edition,
Bronco Billy, North
By Northwest: SE and a bunch more.
Warner's issued a press release on their forthcoming The
Green Mile DVD. It streets on June 13 (SRP of $24.98), and
includes a special 10-minute documentary, a trailer, anamorphic
widescreen and English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Paramount's also issued the specs for their late-June to mid-July DVDs:
The Talented Mr. Ripley - 16x9, DD
5.1, trailer, cast & crew interviews, 2 featurettes, 2 music videos,
director's commentary (SRP $29.99 - street date 6/27)
Harold and Maude - 16x9, DD 5.1, 2
trailers (SRP $29.99 - street date 6/27)
Dead Again - 16x9, DD 5.1,
trailer, commentaries with director, producer and screenwriter (SRP
$29.99 - street date 6/27)
Clue - 16x9, DD 5.1, trailer, 3
alternate endings (SRP $29.99 - street date 6/27)
La Cucaracha - 16x9, DD 5.1,
trailer, cast & crew bios, director's commentary (SRP $29.99 -
street date 6/27)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -
16x9, DD 5.1, trailer (SRP $29.99 - street date 7/11)
Searching for Bobby Fischer -
16x9, DD 5.1 (SRP $29.99 - street date 7/11)
Star Trek: The Original Series, Volumes 11 &
12 - full frame, DD 5.1, trailers (SRP $29.99 each - street
Active Stealth - 16x9 (SRP $29.99
- street date 7/11)
Angela's Ashes - 16x9, DD 5.1, 2
trailers, cast & crew interviews, featurette, commentaries with
director and writer (SRP $29.99 - street date 7/18)
Where's Marlowe? - 16x9, DD 5.1,
trailer (SRP $29.99 - street date 7/18)
Finally, wanna meet the new Anakin Skywalker? According to a number of "unofficial
sources close to the production", actor Hayden Christensen's agent
this morning closed the deal for the young man to play the future Darth
Vader in Episodes 2 and 3.
Christensen has previously been seen in John Carpenter's In
the Mouth of Madness. Visit our fellow
Force.net for the latest. It will be interesting to see if
this proves true...
We'll be back on Monday, with reviews of Man
on the Moon, Being John Malkovich...
yes, Pee Wee's Big Adventure...
and lots more. We'll also be launching our May Trivia
Contest - the winner will take home a copy of the James
Bond DVD Boxed Set, Volume 2 and more. So stay tuned and have
a great weekend!
Today we've got some... well, let's call it an interesting mix of
titles reviewed on DVD. Todd weighs in heavy with looks at the offbeat
Hornee, which is one of Image's Something Weird collection.
He's also got Image's
and a blood-spattered gore flick called
from Synapse (definitely not for the kiddies). And then he and Greg
check in with looks at a couple of new MGM titles,
I do have to make one comment here. While both of these titles are
adequate, I'm getting really tired of MGM dumping their non-Bond titles
onto DVD without anamorphic transfers. They seem to be the last major
studio to get really serious about 16x9, and I hope they make a
turnaround quick. Too bad it won't be in time for Princess
In a non-DVD note, we have a word of warning to Microsoft Outlook users
out there. There's a nasty virus going around that shows up in your
e-mail. The subject line will say "I love you", and what it
does it to worm its way through your address book and start sending
copies of itself to everyone whose e-mail address you have on file. In
that way, it bogs down networks and crashes systems big time. I got
warnings about it earlier today and thought it was just another bogus
scare, but I've actually talked with friends and family today who have
been hit hard. If you do get an e-mail like this, delete it quick. For
the report on the virus over at CNN.com.
We'll be back tomorrow with reviews of some more "mainstream"
DVD titles. Stay tuned...
At last! We've just posted that special feature we've been talking
about for a few days -
interview with filmmaker Roger Nygard, the director of the
hilarious film Trekkies, and
producer of the equally funny Six Days in
Roswell. It took longer than I expected to get the article
finished, but I think you'll find it was worth the wait. So enjoy, and
let me know what you think!
One last thing today - our own Brad Pilcher's
a story on Wired.com about the success of
Star Wars on DVD Campaign. Be sure to check it out.
We'll be back much earlier tomorrow with reviews, so stay tuned!
Our look at the films of director Mel Brooks continues today with a
review of Fox's
Frankenstein: Special Edition. Also reviewed today are New
Dove (DVD-18) and MGM's
III (1995). More reviews are on the way for tomorrow.
In other news, the MPAA and Chinese authorities are bustin' a move on
DVD pirates in a recent raid in that nation's Guangzhou province. Some
200,000 different DVD and CD titles were nabbed in the raid, including
illegal copies of Toy Story 2,
Sleepy Hollow and more. You can
the complete story at Yahoo.
Also today, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again with more details on upcoming titles, including
TONS of Image-exclusive titles like Room With
a View and more Twilight Zone
and Laurel & Hardy discs. The
list is huge and is well worth a scan, so do check it out.
And you Star Wars fans should
drop on by the
official site, which has a bit of information on the recent
audition session for the actors in the running to be the next Anakin
Skywalker. Kinda cool.
We'll be back later today with our special feature, so stay tuned...!
We've got more reviews for you today, including Columbia TriStar's new
of the Affair, Miramax's
of the Heart: Collector's Series and New Line's
Jones. We're also taking this week to highlight the films of
Mel Brooks, starting with Image's new DVD version of
Also today, we've updated the
DVD player sales chart, as well as VideoScan's
Top 10 Selling DVDs (see
above). And we've also announced the winner of the
Trivia Contest, and posted the answers. Congratulations to our
winner, Mike Trotter or Mazon, IL!
There is word from Warner about more upcoming "gift box" DVD
editions, including one of Blade Runner.
We think this is going to cause some confusion out there - this is NOT
the new special edition DVD version of the film currently in the works
(that comes out in 2001). It's being referred to in some places (Previews
magazine included) as the Blade Runner:
Special Edition, so don't be fooled. Included in this set
will be the EXISTING DVD version, along with production notes, a
reproduced one-sheet movie poster, reproduced lobby cards, a senitype
image from the movie and a 35mm film clip, all packaged in a deluxe
Collector's Case for an SRP of $79.98.
We'll be back tomorrow with another special feature, so stay tuned...!
We've got another review blow-out for you today, campers!
To kick things off, how about a look at MGM's newest Bond film,
World is Not Enough? We've gotten our hands on the entire new
Bond DVD set, so look for our reviews of all the discs to be added to
Bond on DVD page soon. Also today, we have staff reviews of MGM's
Night of the Hunter, Warner's
House on Haunted Hill (1999) and Artisan's L.A.
Story. And I've taken a good look at a bunch of
Flash Gordon serials from Image Entertainment and VCI -
Gordon: Space Soldiers, Flash
Gordon's Trip to Mars, Flash
Gordon Conquers the Universe and the
Gordon Conquers the Universe: Collector's Edition. Don't for
get your raygun!
Around the site today, we've updated our
DVD Player sales page again with sales information for the second
week of April. And don't forget that Sunday is the last day you can
enter our April
Trivia Contest for a chance to win a new Pioneer DVD player
and 3 movies of your choice. It's not too hard, so be sure to get your
Poor Pee Wee got bumped by Bond, but we'll have him for you on Monday.
Also on Monday, we'll be posting another one of our special feature
stories and even more DVD reviews - be sure to check back then.
Have yourselves a great weekend, and stay tuned!
For all you Askew types out there, we've gotten the skinny on Kevin
Smith's plans for the Dogma: Special Edition,
which is coming out later this year. We've also got some early
information on plans to bring the rest of director Steven Spielberg's
classic films to DVD. You'll find all that today in
Mill, so don't miss it.
Our friends over at Film Force
have more information on MGM's forthcoming Spinal
Tap DVD, featured in their recent
with actor/comedian Harry Shearer. Drop on by and check it out.
And if you stop by
Inside DVD later, you might be able to watch a recorded
webcast of Leonard Nimoy's signing event at the Virgin Megastore here in
L.A. last night - the webcast should be available soon, so be sure to
We'll be back this evening and tomorrow with a bunch more DVD reviews,
including Image's complete trio of Flash
Gordon serials on DVD, Pee-Wee's
Big Adventure and more. Stay tuned!
Thanks to everyone who's e-mailed me with comments on the
Trek DVD story I posted last night. I've had tons of people
ask me questions, and I'll try to get to them in a minute.
First of all, I've posted my review of Kevin Smith's
which arrives as a movie-only DVD from Columbia TriStar on May 2nd.
Warning - there be cursives in the review (and I don't mean
hand-writing). I dug the movie, but it does have it's flaws. Still,
controversy aside (and if you read the review, you'll know exactly what
I think of that), the disc is worth a watch. But one note - a special
edition is on the way for the fall, and that's what I'm waiting for...
Also today, I've posted
full transcript of another chat our friends over at the Home Theater
Forum did last night with Michael Stradford of Columbia TriStar Home
Video. Michael is heavily involved in the studio's DVD work, and I
think you'll find that his comments are definitely worth a read. There's
lots of great information about many of your favorite Columbia films
coming to DVD, so do check it out.
For those of you who want more on those upcoming Jaws:
Special Editions (DTS and DD), you should check out
unofficial DVD website for all the details.
Entertainment has updated their
News page with more upcoming titles, including details on Next
Friday and lots of other smaller titles.
And don't forget, Star Trek's
Leonard Nimoy is going to be signing DVDs tonight at the Virgin
Megastore in Hollywood. He'll be there from 7:30 to 9:30 PM PDT (the
address is 8000 Sunset Blvd.). If you're an L.A.-area Trekkie, don't
Finally today, some answers to your Star
Trek DVD questions. A lot of people have asked me why there
are no other extras on the Star Trek: The
Original Series DVDs. I can't speak for Paramount, but I'm
guessing that it has to do with disc space issues and the amount of work
that would be required to assemble bonus material for 40 discs. But
don't quote me on that. As far as the lack of special editions of the
feature films (including deleted scenes and the like), I'm guessing that
Paramount will revisit them as such on DVD in the future. It would just
make sense. And for those who have asked if Paramount's going to release
a boxed set of all the Trek films
on DVD later this year... I'd bet money on it. But again, don't quote
(LATE UPDATE - 4/25/00 - 10 PM PDT)
We've got a little something special for you night owls this evening.
Have you given Paramount's new Star
Trek: The Original Series discs a spin, and wondered just how
they managed to make those old episodes look and sound so good on DVD?
Well, we did... and I recently had the opportunity to chat with Ron
Smith, Paramount's digital mastering guru, who is responsible for
getting the DVD job done. As you'll learn, Star
Trek is in good hands with Ron - in addition to being very
good at what he does, he's also a big fan of the show. So check out
the Final Frontier and get your Trek
fix in for the week. We'll even give you a sneak peek at the cover art
for Star Trek II, and let you know
what's ahead for the franchise on DVD. Enjoy!
Also, we posted a couple of reviews earlier this afternoon - Todd
Doogan's look at Rainer Fassbinder's
from Fantoma Films (which we mentioned this morning), and a review from
a new staffer - Erin Lindsey. She's a very talented writer and we think
she's just the ticket for adding a little much-needed female perspective
to our review work here at the Bits.
You can check out her first offering now - a look at New Line's
Bachelor. Be sure to
drop her an e-mail
and welcome her aboard. Glad to have you with us, Erin!
Finally this evening, I wanted to clear up a mistake I made in my
earlier post. I had originally said that Jurassic
Park, and not Jaws, was
on its way to DVD on 7/11. I quickly caught the error and made the
correction - the incorrect information was only up for about 20 minutes
- but lots of people caught the mistake and have e-mailed me about it.
Sorry folks - as I said, I'm only MOSTLY recovered from the weekend. ;-)
For the record, Jurassic Park is
definitely coming to DVD too, but later in the year.
Back tomorrow with some more reviews - stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/25/00 -
11:30 AM PDT)
Okay - I'm recovered (mostly) and back for business. This post is just
to let you know that I'll be back this afternoon with our main post,
which will include reviews and a very special feature story as well.
In the meantime, however, I figured you'd like to get this piece of
information ASAP: Universal has its Jaws
DVD slated for July 11th. This comes from Universal via Yahoo (read
the full story here). The full announcement is expected later
today. Included on the disc will be deleted scenes, outtakes, a trivia
game, anamorphic widescreen (from a high-definition transfer) and 5.1
audio in both DTS and Dolby Digital flavors. The story also talks about
Spielberg's other Universal hits (like E.T.,
Jurassic Park and Schindler's
List) which are "expected to be introduced later... on a
staggered basis." Other titles confirmed to be coming soon to DVD
include Back to the Future and
Casper. Cool no?
Those of you who are into the films of Rainer Fassbinder will be happy
to know that Whity has arrived on
DVD today. And if you pick up the disc, you might notice something
familiar on the back cover. Fantoma Films, which has released the film
on DVD, recently asked us if they could use our "Anamorphic
Widescreen" logo on their packaging. How could we say no? Look for
the logo on other anamorphic DVDs from Fantoma in the future, and
possibly a couple other studios as well - we'll let you know. And Todd's
review of Whity will be posted
We'll be back later this afternoon with more, including that special
feature story we mentioned. Here's a little hint on the topic:
Hey, everyone. I just wanted to pop in and let you know that there
won't be an update today. Your faithful editor somehow managed to catch
a bad case of food poisoning this weekend, and I came pretty close to an
emergency room visit in the wee hours of the morning. But I'm slowly
recovering, and will be laying in bed most of the day watching movies.
So we'll be back with a big post tomorrow morning, that should include
lots of reviews and more. Thanks for your patience. And a word of advice
- NEVER eat movie theater hot dogs. ;-)
We've got some more reviews for you today. Our own Todd Doogan's taken
a look at a new series of titles from Image and Something Weird -
Blood Trilogy. Any of you that are into slasher/exploitation
flicks like Todd (and we know you're out there), will want to check
these out, because just about every similar film today owes them a debt.
Included in the trio are special edition DVDs of
Thousand Maniacs and
Me Blood Red. If you're not faint of heart, don't miss 'em!
Also today, Frank Ortiz has given another new Image title a spin -
The Joshua Tree (one of their Classic
Albums series). And we'll be back next week with lots more
reviews, including Pee Wee's Big Adventure
and more. We might even have a cool surprise or two for you... ;-)
For those of you who may have missed it, I highly recommend that you
transcript of the Home Theater Forum chat with staff members
from Warner Home Video. There's LOTS of updates on a bunch of very
cool upcoming titles, so do give it a read.
Also today, Sarah's launched our
for April, in the theme of April's Fools - not the jokes but the people
who make us laugh. The contest will run until Sunday, April 30th and you
can win a brand new DVD player a 3 DVDs of your choice. So what are you
Now then... Frank and I are off to see U-571!
I hope all of you have a great weekend, and Happy Easter for those of
you who celebrate it! Stay tuned...
Well, it's official. Lucasfilm has gone on the record with word that
the Star Wars DVDs are in
production. After last week's whirlwind of news about the DVDs from
Lucas himself, we contacted the company for some kind of official
statement on the DVD issue. Lucasfilm representative Jeannie Cole had
this to say on the subject:
"Yes, Lucasfilm has officially begun work on
DVDs for the Star Wars films, but it is still far too soon to
know which films will be released when and what the content will be. It
is up to George to decide the content of the discs, and they will not be
released in 2000, nor is there any firm date beyond this year."
Cole also stated that rumors of new scenes being digitally finished or
existing scenes getting new special effects are false, although this
seems to contradict directly what Lucas himself had to say on KROQ radio
(namely that the DVDs would include new and deleted scenes). This was
also confirmed by a friend of the Bits,
who recently spoke directly with Lucas on the subject. Given the early
stage that such DVD work is no doubt in, and the fact that Lucas'
statements about the DVD on KROQ caught Lucasfilm representatives
completely off guard, it's no wonder that there's some confusion.
All that aside, you can now rest easy that the DVDs ARE finally coming.
And for those of you who participated in our joint
Wars on DVD campaign with DVD
File... there is no longer any doubt that you officially made
the difference. When we asked Cole if the campaign had an influence on
Lucas' decision to start the DVD process now, she had this to say:
"Absolutely! Just like the THX slogan 'The
Audience Is Listening'. We're listening, and George is listening."
So there you have it! Lucasfilm has asked us to deliver the signatures
upon the completion of the petition (on April 30th). If any of you would
like to take the time to thank George for listening,
on over to the petition and let him know. We'll be cleaning up all
the signatures, and highlighting 50 that best represent the spirit of
our efforts. Thanks again to everyone who made the Star
Wars on DVD Campaign a success!
Today we've got
full transcript of the Home Theater Forum's recent live chat with Paul
Hemstreet and Jim Wuthrich of Warner Brothers Home Video. They
talked about the many DVD projects they have in the works, and we even
asked a few questions. If you want word on Blade
Runner, Batman: SE,
Superman and more, don't miss it!
Some other news today - ABC's Good Morning
America had a story on DVD on their program the other day,
can read a brief text version (featuring Joel Siegel) on their website.
It even features a video clip you can watch.
For you Spinal Tap fans out
Film Force recent published an interview with comedian Harry Shearer,
and he confirmed that the DVD is coming in August from MGM. He also
mentioned that he and his fellow co-stars just finished recording a
commentary track for the DVD. Sweet! FYI - the page of the interview
we've linked to is the one containing the DVD comment.
Also today, fans of director P.T. Anderson's work should
drop on by
his website, which has a bit of news on the upcoming Magnolia
and Boogie Nights DVDs. It looks
as if Magnolia will include a new
documentary, and the Boogie Nights
2-disc set will tentatively have additional deleted scenes, an
additional commentary track, simpler menus and will be PTA's director's
cut of the film. Do check it out.
Oh... for you Being John Malkovich
arranged a special translation of this site to make you feel right
Back to Star Wars for a moment -
as expected, we've heard from our friends in Hong Kong that the first
DVD bootlegs made from the Episode I
laserdisc have hit the streets. We all knew they were coming, but talk
about fast! We'll have more on this soon...
And finally today, you LA-area Trekkers will be happy to know that
Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, will be signing copies of Star
Trek III and Star Trek: The
Original Series on DVD at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood
next week. He'll be there on Wednesday, April 26th from 7:30 to 9:30 PM
PDT. The Virgin Megastore is located at 8000 Sunset Blvd..
Yeeehhaaa! Gather 'round, buckaroos - we got review fer ye today!
Okay... sorry. I got all Gabby Hayes there for a moment. Did you know
the guy did damn near 200 films in his day? Sheesh!
Anyway, we have no less than 10 full-length DVD reviews for you today.
We start with Todd's look at
the Clown from Columbia TriStar. Brad adds a nice dose of
white trash shenanegans with a look New Line's
Ivy Trilogy. Greg Suarez checks in with his thoughts on a pair
of classic horror films remade by Columbia TriStar:
Stoker's Dracula and
Shelley's Frankenstein. Not to be outdone, Dan Kelly's given
Collector's Edition a spin (along with the Psycho
(1998): CE just for kicks). He's also got a look at Warner's
Without a Cause. And Florian Kummert rounds it all out with
his two cents on Fox's
Affair to Remember. How's THAT for an interesting mix of new
and old, classic and crap? I'd say that's a pretty good day's work...
One follow-up on yesterday's post - I've officially confirmed with MGM
that The Princess Bride will
include only a trailer and a collector's booklet in the way of extras.
The following isn't "official" but comes off-the-record from
the studio: they had planned to do a special edition DVD of this film
(as we were all led to believe), but they couldn't pull it together in
time, so they decided to do a movie-only release now, and re-visit the
title in the future as a more loaded edition. Sadly, the transfer is
non-anamorphic (although you do get both letterboxed widescreen and full
frame). As for Henry V, it also
will include a trailer and a booklet. It will also be non-anamorphic
widescreen, but I understand that it was filmed at a 1.66:1 aspect
ratio, so the lack of anamorphic may not matter overmuch.
We've got some new information in on the Star
Wars DVDs, as well as word of more upcoming Fox and MGM DVD
releases for August and beyond. You'll find all that in today's update
Rumor Mill. It's a big update, so don't miss it.
Also today, we've updated the
DVD player sales charts to reflect the 46,591 players shipped to
retail in the first week of April (ending April 7th).
Entertainment has updated their
News page again to include details on a whole bunch of upcoming
titles. Listed today are Vampyres: SE,
Nekromantik: SE, Sweet
and Lowdown, Brief Encounter
(Criterion), Caracara, Desperately
Seeking Susan: SE, F/X,
F/X 2, Married
to the Mob, Missing in Action,
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Clue,
Dead Again: SE, Harold
and Maude, La Cucaracha: SE,
The Talented Mr. Ripley: SE
(street date 6/27, with director's commentary, 2 trailers, a featurette
and cast interviews), H.R. Pufnstuf,
Mystery Science Theater 3000
episodes, Jeff Buckley: Live in Chicago,
The Green Mile (street date 6/13,
with a featurette and trailer), Network,
The Philadelphia Story and lots
We're still waiting for confirmation from MGM, but I'm afraid it's
looking like A Princess Bride will
NOT be a special edition. And both Bride
and Henry V may not even be in
anamorphic widescreen. Every other major studio's gotten the message
that anamorphic on DVD is the way to go... except MGM. So we may have to
make sure they jump on the anamorphic bandwagon more wholeheartedly,
with a little well-directed consumer pressure.
on over to their websites' e-mail page and let 'em know you want
anamorphic widescreen to be the standard - not the exception - on their
And speaking of the effectiveness of well-directed consumer pressure,
we'd like to point out this
story from our affiliate network IGN.com, who spoke with
Lucasfilm yesterday about the forthcoming Star
Wars DVDs. As you all know, Lucas originally didn't even have
the DVDs on his radar. But here's what Lucasfilm had to say to IGN.com:
"... apparently George Lucas has had a change of heart. According
to the Lucasfilm spokesperson, the company has changed its course based
on the massive amount of feedback it received from Star
Wars fans and DVD aficionados. So now Lucas will try to get
the DVD released as soon as his schedule permits."
We point this out not to toot our own horn, but to make an important
point. When Peter Bracke (of DVD
File) and I started the
Wars on DVD Campaign back in January, we had a lot of people
say it was a wasted effort that would fall on deaf ears. But we felt
otherwise. And a lot of you out there agreed with us, and felt strongly
enough about this issue to join us in our efforts. Pete and I are proud
to lead the charge, but it's YOU who make the difference. And clearly,
you HAVE made a difference. The point of all this is simple: as
consumers, you have tremendous power to effect change in the world of
DVD. The studios don't produce DVDs for themselves (although sometimes
you'd think so) - they do it for you. You are the market. You have the
money they're after. So speak up! Give them feedback! Tell them what YOU
want. If something's bugging you about their DVD work, let 'em know. As
we've seen... they are listening. And they will get the message. ;-)
We'll be back later this afternoon with reviews, so stay tuned...
Sorry for the late update today, folks. My cable company's been having
troubles with their cable modem service, so I've had some Net congestion
that's made uploading slow today. That being the case, I've decided to
keep today's update limited to updating this column. But rest easy,
'cause we've got a big update coming for tomorrow, including LOTS of
reviews and a Rumor Mill update as
well. Might even be a touch more Star Wars
DVD news too... ;-)
We do have some great upcoming title info for you today - MGM's
complete July DVD release list. So here's what to expect (note that all
titles street on July 18th):
The Best Years of Our Lives, Easy
Money, Henry V (1989),
The Princess Bride, Annie
Hall, Bananas, Everything
You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask,
and Death, Manhattan,
Memories and a Woody Allen Gift
Set (with the 8 films listed here).
The SRP for all the films is $19.98 (the boxed set is $134.98). Most of
the titles are expected to include booklets and trailers. All will be in
their original aspect ratios and many include full frame as well.
There's no word as to which of the DVDs include anamorphic. There's also
no word on extras. We'll try to see what we can find out fer ya.
(LATE UPDATE - 4/14/00 - 12:30 PM PDT)
We've just posted some really cool Star Wars
DVD news in The
Rumor Mill. First up, George Lucas was on the radio this
morning here in L.A. and he actually confirmed that work on the Episode
I DVD is underway. What's more, a friend of the Bits
actually had the opportunity to talk about the DVDs with Lucas while
he's been in town this week! You definitely don't want to miss this!
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/14/00 - 11 AM PDT)
I want to thank everyone for e-mailing me with more places to buy the
import Episode I LD! In addition
to the sites we listed last night, here are more links to websites that
should have the disc available for sale:
Japan and AnimeNation.
I obtained mine from our regular contest sponsor,
Access DVD (however
I don't know if they're taking any more orders). And there is an
officially licensed Video CD version of the film which is pretty cheap
(and pretty low in quality) - you can get it at
News today includes
piece from Variety (via Yahoo) on how Buena Vista is still the
500-pound gorilla in the home video industry, despite Warner's
clear dominance over the DVD market. Also, word has come that
industry consortium which developed the DVD format is starting The DVD
Format/Logo Licensing Corporation, which will be the official
licensor for rights to use DVD formats and logos.
I've had a lot of people ask me how they can purchase Region 2 DVDs
online. Try DVD
Express' international store.
And finally this morning, Columbia TriStar has announced that they'll
be releasing a pair of DVD "two packs" on June 27th. First up
is a two pack that will include Bad Boys
and Blue Streak (SRP $49.95). It
WILL include the Bad Boys: Collector's Series
DVD we mentioned yesterday. The other two pack includes Hanging
Up and Sleepless in Seattle,
with an SRP of $47.95. Sleepless in Seattle
will also be the special edition version.
(LATE UPDATE - 4/13/00 - 9 PM PDT)
After posting our review of the
Star Wars: Episode I laserdisc, we've had a ton of people
e-mailing us to ask how it can be ordered online. We've found three
sites so far that are still taking orders:
Division and The
Laser Exchange. Ebay
and Amazon also
have copies up for auction. If anyone knows of more, please let us know.
Keep in mind that quantities are limited and they're selling fast, so
you should get your orders in as soon as possible if you want the disc.
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/13/00 - 4 PM PDT)
Okay... we've got some more great stuff for you today. And first up is
a juicy one - what we think may be the first review of the
import laserdisc version of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom
Menace, in print or on the Net! Is it worth $100+ and all the
hair-pulling you're gonna have to go through to find it? Check out the
review and find out. One note - the audio on this laserdisc will blow
And that's not all. Brad Pilcher's checked in with a look at Buena
in Babysitting. And Todd's spun a few disc for you too,
including Criterion's awesome new
of Souls (street date 5/16), Columbia TriStar's
Cops (street date 4/18) and Warner's new
20th Anniversary Special Edition.
Speaking of Warner, they've just announced the DVD version of Pee
Wee's Big Adventure, which is expected to street on May 2nd (read
the press release here). The disc will include deleted scenes,
full-length commentary with director Tim Burton and Paul Reubens, an
isolated music track and lots more (SRP $24.95). Should be awesome.
Columbia TriStar has also sent new word on a pair of upcoming titles -
Hanging Up and the Bad
Boys: Collector's Series. Both are expected to street on June
27th, at an SRP of $24.95. Hanging Up
will include deleted scenes, outtakes, an isolated score and a
featurette. Bad Boys will have a
Michael Bay audio commentary, a special effects featurette (with
multi-angle footage), a documentary, music videos, the isolated score
and more. Both DVDs will feature anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio. Bad Boys will
also include a trailer for Men in Black.
Also today comes word that The Sixth Sense
has become Blockbuster Video's most rented title ever, thanks in part to
strong DVD rental demand (see
And the DVD
Entertainment Group has issued
press release touting the fact that 1st QTR 2000 DVD software
sales have increased dramatically over last year, with some 1.8 million
units shipped. Cool.
(EARLY UPDATE 4/12/00 - 11:30 AM PDT)
We've added a couple more DVD reviews to the library from Brad - a look
at Paramount's new
Family Values, and a retro review of Universal's
of Sight: Collector's Edition.
Also, Warner's sent word that they've got The
Green Mile officially on tap for June (street date June 13th
to be exact), along with Liberty Heights
(on June 20th).
Columbia TriStar has also announced that they're releasing the recent
TV movie The Audrey Hepburn Story
(starring Jennifer Love Hewitt) on DVD on July 11th (SRP $24.95). The
disc will include full frame video, Dolby Digital stereo audio, talent
files and three trailers.
Finally today, I know we mentioned that report from Baskerville
Communications (on how DVD software sales are expected to overtake VHS
by 2003) a couple of weeks ago, but I thought you might like to see
actual press release, which I just found over at Yahoo.
(EARLY UPDATE 4/12/00 - 1 AM PDT)
Calling all X-Philes... have we ever got a tasty treat for you today!
How's about a special sneak peek at Fox's awesome
X-Files Season One Gift Pack on DVD? Anyone who's read the
Bits for any length of time may
know that I'm a huge fan of The X-Files,
so I've been salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs at the prospect of
getting my hands on this set. And after you read my in-depth look at the
multitude of goodies these seven discs contain... I'm guessing you're
all gonna start saving your pennies up for May 9th, when the set arrives
at your local video store!
Stay tuned for more later...
Today we're very proud to announce that The
Digital Bits is now home to more than 400 DVD reviews! And to
commemorate the occasion, we've got 6 new reviews today alone, from
almost our entire review staff. You'll find my review of Paramount's
Trek III: The Search for Spock online, along with Todd's look
to Tango, Greg's take on Buena Vista's
Insider (the second Best Picture-nominated film to arrive on
DVD), Dan's thoughts on Columbia TriStar's
to the Dollhouse and Brad's two cents on Paramount's
Addams Family. And finally, since many of you have asked us
where Frank Ortiz has been over the last few weeks, we've got Frank's
review of MVD's
In other news,
looks like the MPAA is at it again. They've requested a second
injunction, this time against websites that simply LINK to other sites
that may have the DeCSS software posted!! That includes sites that may
have no idea that the site they're linking to offers the illegal
software utility. In my opinion, this is as irrational and unworkable an
action as any that has ever been launched against the Net. And while I
completely understand the MPAA's desire to stop piracy... they can stick
this particular injunction where the sun don't shine. And you can tell
Jack Valenti I said so.
Moving on, a company called
Technology has demonstrated the ability to read and write data "in
multiple thin layers within the depth of a single optical phase change
disk" resulting in a 7 fold increase in the storage capacity over
DVD-ROM discs. Cool.
The Jedi Master himself,
Lucas, has officially announced that he's going digital for the
filming of Episode II. Working
with special cameras developed by Panasonic and Sony, the Lucas team has
been testing digital filmmaking for the past 4 months... apparently to
George's satisfaction. The new cameras shoot high-definition digital
video at a rate of 24 frames per second, matching the frame rate of
traditional film cameras (video is normally originated at a rate of 30
frames per second). Going digital will give the director greater
flexibility on location - imagine not having to wait for the film to be
processed to see what your project looks like? It's also cheaper - as
cutting-edge as the new cameras are, they cost only $100,000 each, which
is less than 35mm film equipment. Again, cool... but we still want those
Finally today, I wanted to let you all know about a terrific new film I
recently saw at the recent
Beach Film Festival. It was produced and directed by the same team
who brought you the hilarious Trekkies,
and I must say, it's even funnier. It's called Six
Days in Roswell, and it follows the misadventures of one
Richard Kronfeld (remember the geek who built the Capt. Pike wheelchair
in Trekkies?) as he journeys from
Minnesota to Roswell, New Mexico to attend the 50th anniversary UFO
Crash Celebration. I saw this film with my wife and some friends of
ours, and I have to tell you, we were completely in stitches the entire
time. I haven't laughed that hard in a long while. We'll be talking more
about this film in the coming weeks - if things pan out, we may even be
able to announce its release on DVD soon. In the meantime, if you get a
chance to see this film... don't miss it. It isn't yet in wide release,
but the next showing will be at the
Paul Film Festival on April 29th (call 612-627-4431 for more
information). And you can visit the film's
now online. Tell 'em Bill from The Bits
The winner of The Abyss Trivia Contest
have been chosen! There are 10 in all -
you can click here
to find them all listed (along with the answers to our questions). We
had some 935 entries this time, so thanks to everyone who played. And
congratulations to all the winners!
Now then - good news for you Jim Carrey fans. Universal Studios has
just announced that Man on the Moon
will street on May 30th. The DVD will SRP for $24.98, and is expected to
include a documentary on comedian Andy Kaufman, deleted scenes and music
videos for REM's Man on the Moon
and The Great Beyond. Also
arriving on DVD that day from Universal is Snow
Falling on Cedars, which will include deleted scenes, a
featurette on the Manzanar internment camp referenced in the film, a
Spotlight on Location featurette,
DVD-ROM extras and more. SRP is also $24.98.
I know that many of you are excited for Fox's upcoming The
X-Files: Season One gift set (street date May 9th), so we've
got a look at the final packaging and the discs themselves...
But that ain't all - we've just gotten our hands on Paramount's Star
Trek III: The Search for Spock, and inside is a small promo
flyer for the studio's complete line of Trek
DVDs. Among the titles it lists as coming soon are Star
Trek: The Motion Picture and Star
Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. Better yet, it lists Star
Trek: The Next Generation episodes as coming soon as well...
and includes cover artwork!
Around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player sales chart to include the sales for the last 2 weeks
in March. The new shipments have pushed the Region 1 player total to a
whopping 6,607,411 players!
article over at MSNBC on DVD, which features an interview
with Columbia TriStar's Michael Stradford and talks about why some
titles aren't yet on DVD (and how the studios make the decision as to
which titles should be released on the format). It's a good read, so
check it out.
Also today, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again with a TON of new upcoming titles from a host of
studios. Among the titles included are Bicentennial
Man, Eyes of Laura Mars,
Girl, Interrupted, Golden
Voyage of Sinbad, Kiss the Sky,
Miss Julie and lots more.
Just to remind everyone, Warner's
Kings: Special Edition streets tomorrow, so you may want to
look over the review of the disc that we posted a few weeks ago. And
we'll be back later this afternoon, with new reviews of Buena Vista's
The Insider and Paramount's Star
Trek III: The Search for Spock.
And on a personal note, today is my father's birthday. He's an
architect back in North Dakota, and I know he reads the site every day
from work. So happy birthday, Dad! I'll call you later today... ;-)
Some of our sources checked in overnight with an update on a few big
June and July DVDs currently in production at Paramount and other
studios. You'll find that in today's update of
Rumor Mill, including word on The
Beach, The Talented Mr. Ripley,
The Green Mile, The
Hurricane and more.
And we've got reviews for you today. Our own Dan Kelly's taken a look
at a pair of DVDs: Universal's new
Birds: Collector's Edition and Warner's
We're also pleased to have a special guest reviewer join us today: Adam
Jahnke. Adam is a director of operations at Troma's LA office. When he's
not figuring out new ways to Tromatize the world, he's neck deep in DVD.
We've asked him to take a look at Roger Corman's
DVD... just because. He actually found a lot to say about it. So take a
moment and read what Adam thinks. All he asks is that you visit
when you're done.
Okay... so maybe Episode I is
doing fine sales on VHS after all. Or
says Variety (via Yahoo). Yeah, whatever... I
ain't buying the damn thing.
Run, don't walk, over to the
official Lord of the Rings website for a sneak peek
trailer of the production. I saw it last night at about 3 AM, and it's
well worth it... even if it is brief. Just be ready for a wait - traffic
is heavy on the site. Can't wait for the first film - X-mas 2001 seems a
LONG way off!
Don't forget that our Abyss Trivia Contest
ends Sunday - get yer entries in fast, folks.
Okay... that's it. We're done now. You can go. Have a great weekend,