After playing with the ID4: Special Edition,
we've discovered a cool set of Easter Eggs on the set's second disc.
over to our review of the set, which has been updated to include
information how how to unlock these nifty bonus features!
Well, after struggling overnight with the rather lame DVD-ROM features
on Fox's new 2-disc
Day: Special Edition, I've posted our full-length review of
what is otherwise a very solid DVD release. I think most of you will be
very happy indeed. As I say in the review, this set doesn't push any
boundaries, but these 2 discs definitely serve the film well. And to
finally have ID4 in anamorphic
widescreen on DVD makes the long wait worth it.
So there's ID4... no sooner do we
get that done, Universal's Jaws: Anniversary
Collector's Edition shows up on our doorstep. No rest for the
weary! We'll get a review of that up as soon as we can, but I'm not
gonna say, "By the end of the day..." or anything silly like
that, because inevitably, I'll underestimate the time required to get it
done. I'm working on that. My wife will often ask me when I'm gonna be
done with something, and I'll say something like, "a few minutes."
Hours later I wrap up, having no clue that it took much longer until I
actually look at the clock and start scratching my head. That sound
familiar to you women out there? Maybe it's a guy thing... ;-)
Anyway, in other news today, Columbia TriStar has announced the details
of their Léon: The Professional
(International Version), which streets on August 15th. It
includes 24 minutes of footage edited back into the film, as well as the
international ad campaign, the isolated score and talent files. It will
be in anamorphic widescreen with 5.1 sound (SRP $29.99).
You may have missed this, but a few days ago, Titan:
AE became the world's first digitally-delivered and presented
film. It was screened at the Supercomm 2000 show in Atlanta, which
received the film via Internet transmission from Burbank, CA. It
apparently took some 4 hours to download the movie data. Don't look for
digital delivery to start hitting your local theaters anytime soon, but
this is definitely the future. You can
the press release here.
Finally today, all of us here at The Digital
Bits would like to send out a heaping helping of
congratulations to one of our own - young master Greg Suarez. Greg's
graduating tomorrow with a BS in Marketing and a Psychology minor from
Wright State University. Well done, Greg!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Well... there's been no official announcement yet, but it looks very
much like DreamWorks' American Beauty:
Special Edition is set to street on October 24th. Several
retailers are saying as much online and in their stores, including
That's the kind of information that would normally be in the Rumor
Mill, but I'm putting it here this morning for good reason -
it's easier and I've got a pretty full plate today. This morning my
doorbell rang... and lo and behold, there was my sneak preview copy of
Fox's new Independence Day: Special Edition
DVD (which streets June 27th). Before this day is done, we will have a
full-length review of this 2-disc set here at the Bits.
But it may mean that this is the only post until later in the afternoon.
It IS 2 discs after all, and if it's half as loaded as Fox's Fight
Club, it will take a few hours to go through all the
material! So I'm gonna get busy with that, and you guys all sit tight.
Check you back here later... ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 6/7/00 - 4 PM PDT)
All right! We've got another big
Mill update for you this afternoon, with the street dates on
LOT of upcoming DVDs through July and August. You'll definitely want to
check it out (you Luc Besson fans will even find the street date for
The Big Blue in there).
And we're also kicking off a really cool James Bond
today. I'm pretty hyped about this one - Sarah's made it really easy for
everyone to enter (it's mix and match), and the prizes are really
terrific if you're a Bond fan. One lucky winner will take home BOTH Volumes
1 & 2 of The James Bond DVD
Collection AND The World is Not
Enough: Special Edition - that's 13 special edition DVDs! But
that's not all... the grand prize winner will also take home a set of
5 Bond girl autographed photos and
a World is Not Enough duffle bag
to hold it all! And to spread the wealth around, 4 runners-up will also
win a set of the Bond girl autographed photos and the duffle bag. This
one is about as easy as they get, so if you dig Bond, there ain't no
excuse for giving it a shot. The contest will run until Midnight PDT on
Thursday June 15th, so get those entries in!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/7/00 - 12:45 PM PDT)
In light of yesterday's announcement of Braveheart
by Paramount, we thought we'd give you a look at the cover of that disc,
as well as a couple of other good upcoming titles...
That Star Trek: The Original Series
DVD with Joan Collins on the cover includes the award-winning episode
The City on the Edge of Forever.
Look for both discs (Volumes 13 and 14)
on July 11th. And of course, there's Léon:
The Professional (International Version), which streets on
August 15th (it's 24 minutes longer than the American version, but be
aware that there are no extras on the disc - a decision made by director
of Luc Besson himself). And as you all know by now, Braveheart
arrives on August 29th. We've got more cover scans in our
DVD Artwork section today, including T2:
SE, The Cider House Rules:
Collector's Series, Spinal Tap:
Special Edition and Buzz Lightyear
of Star Command.
Also today, PT
Anderson.com has a mock-up of the artwork for the upcoming Boogie
Nights: 2-disc Platinum Edition. The art is similar to that
used on the Criterion laserdisc - sort of a 70s retro look that's very
cool. Here's the laserdisc cover to give you an idea...
Some other great news today - Paramount will be delivering the complete
Naked Gun Trilogy to DVD (as
special edition discs) on August 15th, as well as Shane.
Columbia TriStar has DVD versions of Brian's
Song and Cat Ballou
(both August 8th) in the works, with new commentaries. And A&E is
bringing episodes of the classic TV series The
Prisoner to DVD in October or November. And 20th Century Fox
is finally releasing The Rocky Horror Picture
Show on DVD in October as well, as nothing less than a 2-disc
special edition. They also have a 2-disc special edition of Robert
Wise's The Sound of Music coming
on August 29th.
Around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to reflect the entire month of May -
the running total of players shipped in the States is now up to
We'll be back later this afternoon, with the start of our June James
Bond Trivia Contest. Stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/6/00 - 11 AM PDT)
A few months ago we
noticed a website with following message:
Where the fook is the Braveheart DVD?!
Sir William Wallace
Good news, Will... Paramount this morning informed us that they'll be
delivering Braveheart to DVD on
August 29th. The disc will SRP for $29.99 and will include anamorphic
widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, a really outstanding (trust us on
this) newly-recorded Mel Gibson commentary track, theatrical trailers
and a half-hour behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film.
So start polishing yer broadswords, folks!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/6/00 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Okay... we're back! Sorry for being gone so long - I won't bore you
with the details, except to say that we're working to resolve some of
those problems you folks using IE 5 for Mac have been having. It's a
real puzzler but we're working hard to figure it all out.
Anyway, today we're taking you back...
to Navarone! We've got the most comprehensive coverage of
Columbia TriStar's The Guns of Navarone:
Special Edition anywhere. I spoke last week with the director
of this classic film, J. Lee Thompson. And we've got a pair of exclusive
interviews for you as well - Todd Doogan's chats with DVD producer David
Fein (of Sharpline
Arts) and one of the stars of the film, actor Jimmy Darren. We
think you'll find each of these interviews a fascinating read, and well
worth a look. And we'll be back with our usual update tomorrow,
including some new disc reviews and other news.
So thanks for your patience, enjoy the interviews and stay tuned...!
This is just a quick note to let you all know that today's post will be
up later this evening. Todd and I are working on another one of our
special features and it's talking a little longer to get finished than
expected. But I think you'll find that it's worth the wait. So check
back later and have a great weekend!
We've got more reviews for you today - an interesting mix of new and
old. There are 6 in all this afternoon, starting with Todd Doogan's take
on the less-than-stellar sequel to The Guns
of Navarone, MGM's
10 from Navarone. Let's just say that the movie would be
better off never having been made, and the DVD isn't much better. Also
on tap for today are Dan Kelly's look at
Heads: Stop Making Sense and New Line's
It Off, as well as Greg Suarez's thoughts on Paramount's
Boy and Columbia's
Romance. Rounding things out, Troma's Adam Jahnke gives
Movie: Special Edition a spin, in a special guest review.
Universal's just launched a
new website in honor of the upcoming Jaws Anniversary Collector's
Edition - it just went live today, so do check it out.
All those of you who have been asking when Columbia TriStar was going
to get around to releasing Fly Away Home
with an anamorphic widescreen transfer (to replace the existing full
frame version) can rest easy - one is currently in the works for release
later this year (possibly even this summer).
Also today, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again with TONS of new Image-exclusive titles, including
several AFI Top 100 titles, Beyond the Clouds,
Black Sabbath (1963), Complete
Superman Cartoons: Diamond Anniversary Edition, Fantasy
Film Worlds of George Pal, Frankenstein's
Daughter, Gruesome Twosome:
Special Edition, Gulliver's
Travels (1939), I, Claudius/ The
Epic That Never Was, James Brown:
Live at the House of Blues, Kronos,
Music For Montserrat Live (Dolby
Digital & DTS), Oliver Twist
(1922), She Devils on Wheels: Special Edition,
South: Special Edition, Space
Thing: Special Edition, Topper
Returns and Twilight Zone, Volumes
29 & 30.
We've got a few things for you today. First up, we've posted the
transcript of last night's live chat with MGM Home Video on the Home
Theater Forum. Thanks to Ron and everyone at HTF for sending that
over. There are some good tidbits dropped about a number of upcoming MGM
DVD titles, including Terminator,
the Rocky films, Princess
Bride, Casino Royale
and Never Say Never Again and lots
more - you don't want to miss it.
Also this afternoon, we've got more upcoming DVD title information in
Rumor Mill. We've updated our authorized mirror copy of
Official DVD FAQ as well.
Looks like Criterion's gonna be rockin' and rollin' soon. They've
announced that they're crossing over into at least occasional music
video distribution on DVD. The company's first title is expected to
feature the Beastie Boys. It will be a 2-disc set with 55 musical
tracks, 18 separate music videos and more than 4 hours of video in all.
Sounds cool, guys! How's about you ring Peter Gabriel up and do a DVD
release with him? Just a suggestion...
And finally today, we've got an announcement for you. Synapse Films has
let it be known that they're going to be releasing Leni Riefenstahl's
classic piece of historical propaganda filmmaking, Triumph
of the Will, as a special edition DVD. As it was originally
funded by the Nazi party, students of world history and cinema alike
will find this controversial film both fascinating and horrifying. The
disc is expected to street on September 12th for an SRP of $34.98. Look
for it to include a brand new "windowboxed" digital transfer
from a 35mm fine grain print, mono German audio with optional
newly-translated English subtitles, Riefenstahl's short film Day
of Freedom and possibly audio commentary. A portion of the
sales of the DVD release will be donated to The United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C..
We'll be back tomorrow with a score of reviews, so stay tuned...
As promised, we've got another pair of Memorial Day-themed reviews for
you today. I've taken a look at a pair really great World War II movies
on disc, both equally good but for different reasons. The first is
Columbia TriStar's new
Guns of Navarone: Special Edition. It's one of my favorite
films and it's been given very good treatment on DVD. The other is a new
film discovery, but one I'm very glad to have found - Image
Story of G.I. Joe. It's a real gem and shouldn't be missed.
Let me know what you think.
About the only other news today, is that there's a new Canadian online
store for DVD - ThunderDVD.com.
You can read
their press release here.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
Hope you're all having a great long weekend (you Americans anyway -
hope the rest of you HAD a great one)! We've got some cool info in The
Rumor Mill today regarding a certain Best Picture-winning film
about a brave Scotsman, as well as word about more of those Universal
Classic Monster films coming to DVD. Don't miss it!
We've also announced the winner of our Replay TV
Contest. Congratulations to Jim Morris
of Keene, New Hampshire! Our next contest will start later this
week, and the winner will take home plenty of James Bond on DVD - more
on that soon.
Finally today, it's come to our attention that a lot of you who read
this website on Macintosh systems, using Microsoft's Internet Explorer
5.0 for Mac, are having trouble viewing pages. Apparently, the IE5 for
Mac browser is buggy (isn't ALL Microsoft software?), and it chokes on
the odd bit of HTML. We're aware of the problem and are taking steps to
correct it. This page, as well as the contest page and The
Rumor Mill, should now all be viewable on IE5 for Mac. Let us
know if you're still having problems. The rest of the site will be
updated as time permits. Thanks for your patience. Curses, Bill Gates!
So for those of you who still have the day off, go enjoy it. Play
outside. Go see a ball game or a great summer movie - there are plenty
around (and I'm NOT talking about Battlefield
Earth). Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow!
In honor of Memorial Day here in the States, we're presenting you today
with a trio of DVD reviews of World War II classics on our favorite
format. Greg Suarez has given his due consideration to these discs, Fox
releases all. So here are his reviews of the
Tora! Tora! and the third and final film in director Terrence
Thin Red Line. And we'll be back on Monday with three more
great war films to start the new week.
You should know that Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again, with details on more upcoming new releases
including Drowning Mona, Whatever
It Takes, those W.C. Fields Criterion titles, MGM's
re-release of Fargo and others
titles, Misery, Six
Degrees of Separation, Platoon
DVD channel comes word that Panasonic will be launching their line of
DVD-Audio products in July (from Panasonic as well as the
company's Techincs brand). It remains to be seen what kind of software
will be available however. Stay tuned for more on this.
Lastly, just a quick note - our Replay TV
Contest ends on Sunday, so be sure to get your entries in.
Todd and I have been playing with our Replay TVs, and it's tough to go
back to watching TV the old way, let me tell you. They're very cool.
Don't forget - lots of great summer movies are opening today. Should be
at least one or two fun 'uns in the bunch. Have a great weekend, and
we'll see you back here on Tuesday!
(LATE UPDATE - 5/25/00 - 7 PM PDT)
This is just a quick update to let you know that we've uploaded 4 new
reviews today. Todd's given Paramount's new
Hollow DVD a spin, and darned if it isn't a quasi-special
edition (even if they don't call it one). Brad Pilcher's taken a look at
one of all of our favorites films from MGM,
And Dan Kelly brings it all home with reviews of a pair of truly great
films from director Terrence Malick (representing fully 2/3rds of his
work), absolute classics both - Warner's
of Heaven. All four of these films are worth a look, so don't
And in a bit of news from Warner Bros., the studio has announced that
they'll be releasing a 10-disc The Clint
Eastwood Collection on DVD on August 1st. The set will
contain Unforgiven, Absolute
Power, The Bridges of Madison
County, Dirty Harry,
The Gauntlet, Pale
Rider, The Outlaw Josey Wales,
True Crime and two titles new to
DVD, Bronco Billy and Kelly's
Heroes. So what will you be asked to pay for the set? A
surprising $99.92 (SRP). That's about a third less than what the studio
sacked us for on the Kubrick Collection.
Granted, most of these films aren't even in the same league... but I
gotta say I'm looking forward to Bronco Billy.
Also from Warner comes word that they'll street The
Big Tease on DVD on July 18th ($24.98 SRP).
Finally this evening, you DVD fans in the L.A. area will have a chance
to meet writer/director Frank Darabont (The
Green Mile, The Shawshank
Redemption) on June 13th, thanks to our friends at Dave's
Video, The Laser Place. He'll be signing DVDs purchased in store for his
fans from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Dave's is located at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in
Studio City, CA. You can bet we'll be there.
Oh... in case you're wondering, that Abyss
story is just a bit lower under the 1 PM update. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/25/00 - 1 PM PDT)
All right... this is pretty funny. You guys are gonna get a laugh out
of this at my expense. I've been struggling with a mystery for weeks
now, and have only just figured it all out this morning. Frankly, I
thought I'd just been doing this DVD thing too long, and was starting to
A couple of months ago, I got an early, check-disc copy of The
Abyss: Special Edition for review from Fox. I spent an
afternoon with it, going through all the extras on the 2-disc set and
evaluating the overall quality. Then I wrote my review. Everything's
hunky-dory so far, right? A few weeks later, I get a second copy of the
set in final packaging in the mail, so I give my original check-disc
copy to a staffer here at the Bits.
No problems yet. But then, a few more weeks later, I sat down to watch
the special edition version of the film again, so I could just relax and
enjoy it. Lo and behold... I can't find the Dolby Digital 5.1
soundtrack! I was certain I'd heard 5.1 when I reviewed the disc, and
sure enough, my review said 5.1. But here was my copy in final
packaging, with this text on the back: "Languages: English Dolby
Surround, French Dolby Surround." I was really scratching my head
over it - could I have been wrong originally? I mean... we watch so many
discs here at the Bits - could I
have just imagined I'd heard 5.1 sound? The prospect frightened the hell
out of me, but I had the evidence right there in my hand. Naturally, I
didn't think to check back on that original disc. Call it a brain fart -
So, completely embarrassed that I'd made such a huge mistake, I went
back and revised my review of the disc to reflect the English and French
Surround tracks. And I've been going around since (like an idiot, I
might add) saying that The Abyss
was cool, but it didn't have 5.1 sound, so how lame was that? Then I
started getting the e-mails: "Ah... I think you're wrong, dude. My
copy has 5.1 sound." I must have gotten 20 or 30 altogether. It was
starting to piss me off. Then, just this morning, I got e-mail from a
pair faithful Bits readers, both
of whom very nicely insisted that their discs not only had the 5.1
sound, but that the packaging on the back even indicated Dolby Digital
5.1. Now I can be a bit slow on the uptake at times... but by this
point, I was starting to figure that something was wrong. So I checked
the back of my disc, and there was the Dolby Surround logo. Then I
checked the cover art posted over at Express.com...
and saw the Dolby Digital logo. Thinking I was out of my mind, I
e-mailed a Fox Home Entertainment staffer (in charge of their DVD unit)
for clarification. And here was the reply:
"You have a very very rare disc. We only manufactured those discs
for French Canada (most of Canada did not even receive it). We did this
because James Cameron wanted us to include his approved 5.1 track and
his approved Dolby Surround track (instead of letting the player mix the
5.1 to a faux Dolby Surround, which we rarely do unless we're out of bit
budget). Because of this, we opted to make a limited number of discs for
French Canada with French but no 5.1. The majority of discs out there
have English 5.1, Dolby Surround and no French. This was all done to
give the highest bit rate to the picture and make French Canada happy."
Well how do you like that? So once again (and for the LAST time) I've
updated my review of
Abyss: Special Edition. This time, I've got the CORRECT audio
information listed (and I'm finally sure of that!), along with a special
note on the variation. I've also added cover scans of the front and back
(at the end of the review) to show you the different markings on the two
versions - proof that I wasn't crazy. God - I sure am glad to have
gotten that resolved! I swear... some of you guys out there must have
thought I was nuts. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me on this. And a
special thanks to our friends at Fox for clearing things up. ;-)
By the way... if you do have that rare French version, you've probably
got a nice little gem of a collectible. We'll be back with more later
this afternoon, so stay tuned...
We've got some great news for you today in The
Rumor Mill, including word on Fox's Planet
of the Apes and The Omen
series of films coming to DVD. There's also word on some new Columbia
TriStar, Criterion and Warner titles, as well as an update on Buena
Vista's August discs.
Also today, we've updated our
DVD Player Sales chart and some of the other
The real meat of today's update, however, is a complete review of Full
Moon's new 8-disc
Master DVD Collection (which streeted yesterday). Todd's given
each disc a spin, and he'll bring you the skinny on what those evil
puppets are up to. Among the films reviewed are the original
Master 5: The Final Chapter (or not so final),
of the Puppet Master and
Puppet Master. Whew... that's a lot of puppets for one day.
One last note - yesterday I mentioned that preview website, FirstLook.com,
and I mistakenly said that they were previewing deleted footage from
Man on the Moon that wasn't on the
DVD. I was wrong - it IS on the DVD. So there you have it.
See ya tomorrow... same Bat time, same Bat channel!
This is just a quick update to let you know that we've got some
information on Toy Story 2 up in
Rumor Mill today. We'll be back later this afternoon with
reviews, including Full Moon's new Puppet
Master boxed set.
Also this morning, I wanted to let you know about an interesting new
website called FirstLook.com.
Starting on May 25th, they're giving you a chance to view exclusive
footage that was deleted from Man on the Moon,
prior to its theatrical release (footage that wasn't on the DVD
apparently). Just FYI - you might want to check it out.
Bet you were wondering where we've been! I was working on a couple of
things on Friday, when my computer started giving me more trouble -
another hard drive problem. So I decided to use the sledgehammer
approach and basically rebuild my system from the ground up, only taking
time out to watch the Lakers/Blazers game and the season finale of The
X-Files (a man's gotta have his priorities). Ahhhh... I can't
get over how much nicer computers are when they actually work for you!
Given all the trouble I've had, I should have done this months ago.
Anyway, today we've got a special report for you that we had planned to
run on Friday. It's called
Galaxy of Bootlegs, and it's a look at several of the many
different versions of the Star Wars
films that are available on DVD thanks to Hong Kong pirates. We've been
hearing from a lot of people who are buying them on Ebay and elsewhere
on the Net, sometimes for outrageous prices. And we've counted no less
than ELEVEN different bootleg versions ourselves. We don't endorse these
discs in any way. But this piracy issue is a fascinating aspect of the
reality of the DVD format, and since so many people are looking for
these discs, we figured you should all at least know what you're getting
for your money. As is to be expected, in many cases, you're simply
throwing it away.
Anyway, enjoy the report. And we'll be back tomorrow with lots more
news and reviews. So stay tuned...!
Wow - we're getting TONS of e-mail from readers
our tip on the original Little Shop of Horrors DVD and
have managed to get themselves a copy. If you want one, you'd better act
fast. But they are out there, and not just at Borders apparently.
Now then... we've also gotten a lot of e-mail from Fight
Club fans. After we
the disc and
with director David Fincher and the disc's producer, David Prior,
a lot of people wanted to know about a few deleted scenes that DIDN'T
make it on the DVD, including a rumored alternate ending to the film,
and a different version of the plane crash sequence. There have also
been questions about a possible Dust Brothers commentary track - all
this stuff has been debated like crazy on the newsgroups. So we went
back to David Prior to get the facts, and
updated our original interview with the DVD producer accordingly.
If you're a fan of this film, you'll definitely want to check out what
he has to say.
Also today, we've got some good news for you X-Files
fans in The
Rumor Mill. And our own Todd Doogan has reviewed one of his
very favorite films, which is about to be re-released by Universal as a
spankin' new special edition - the
the Barbarian: Collector's Edition. The new edition streets on
May 30th, and Todd says it's worth the wait. We all have that one film
experience that just opened our eyes, and for Todd it was Conan.
He's got a lot to say about not just the disc and the film, but also how
it changed him too.
And that brings me to something that Todd and I have been wanting to
say for a while. If there's one thing you should all know about the
staff of The Digital Bits, it's
that as much as we know and love and fight for the DVD format, our love
of film comes first. So while we're picky on video and audio quality
(and we know our P's and Q's technically), we're not gonna get wrapped
up on whether a disc has "bass below 50Hz" or how a DVD
compares to the eight other laserdisc versions that came before it.
You'll never see a shopping list of the specific equipment in each of
our personal home theater systems on this site, and we aren't going to
be posting every press release that ever gets issued. That's missing the
point. To us... it's all about the film. Is the film something you might
want to spend two hours of your life on or not? Does the disc do the
film justice or not? Is a disc worth your hard-earned cash or not?
That's what we're all about here at the Bits.
We know DVD - not just the technical stuff about these little 5"
discs, but the movies on 'em too. Todd and I have been fighting for this
format, in one way or another, since Day One - even before we started
the Bits. When it comes to movies
on DVD, we're your beer and pizza website. We'll cut through all the
crap and call it like it is. And every day, we'll fight to make DVD
better for everyone. That's what we've always tried to do. Believe it or
not, we aren't about money or driving up traffic - we really just love
this format and we love what it can do for movies. Think of it like
this... we got yer back, DVD fans. ;-)
Today's comments will be brief, so that we can get busy on tomorrow's
update. Our work, it seems, is never done here at the Bits!
But what we do have for you this afternoon, is another batch of DVD
reviews. It's a pretty good mix of new and old, from a disc that's yet
to street, to a few titles that were among the first released on the
format. To start with, I've given Warner's new
Special Edition a spin and compared it side-by-side with the
original 1997 DVD release. We've also got reviews of MGM's
SG-1, Columbia TriStar's
League of Their Own and
N the Hood, as well as Paramount's new
Out the Dead. For the record, it's definitely worth replacing
your old copy of Twister with the
new special edition, which features dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
sound, some good extras and a much improved anamorphic widescreen
picture. It streets on June 6th.
In other news today, remember Sony's Super Audio CD (SACD) system? Well
they finally plan to bring it to market next month. You can read the
this link over at Yahoo. Don't worry about an audio format
war - Sony's solidly behind DVD-Audio too, which should arrive later
this summer. In any case, it will be interesting to see just how well
SACD does with consumers.
Finally, for those who missed it, we kicked off our new
last night. We're giving away a brand new Replay
TV 3020 this time, for a nice change of pace. All you have to
do is correctly answer 12 TV-related trivia questions to qualify for the
prize drawing, and you've got until Sunday, May 28th to enter. So what
are you waiting for?
Some great new DVD announcements have been made in the last 24 hours!
First of all, Universal has revealed more of their July line-up. As you
all know, July 11th will see dual DTS and Dolby Digital collector's
editions of Jaws. That same day,
The Hurricane finds its way to DVD
with anamorphic widescreen, a documentary, director's commentary,
deleted scenes and more. On July 18th, director Ang Lee's Ride
With the Devil arrives on disc, also in anamorphic. Isn't
She Great streets that same day, and finally, Beethoven's
3rd arrives on July 25th.
Even bigger news, is that Artisan is set to debut their THX-certified
Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Special Edition
on August 29th. This spiffy DVD-18 release will contain no less than 3
separate versions of the film - the original theatrical cut, the
15-minute longer director's edition and a new "hidden" third
cut (with 5 minutes of never before seen footage). You'll access the
three via seamless branching technology, and all three versions will be
in full anamorphic widescreen. Better still, the disc will include Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio (THX EX 6.1 compatible) AND DTS 5.1 audio as well
(compatible with their new DTS ES 6.1 scheme). And that's just for
starters - the release will also include a special metal slipcase, a
32-page booklet, audio commentary with 26 cast & crew members, The
Making of T2 documentary, T2: More
than Meets the Eye, T2 3D:
Breaking the Screen Barrier, the complete screenplay, the
complete set of storyboards from the film (over 700 in all), and more
than an hour of supplemental "behind-the-scene" video
material. Whew! This information was just released to the press - look
for official public announcement soon. In the meantime, we figured you
might get a kick out of seeing the ad Artisan posted for the title in
Video Business magazine.
It looks like that Little Shop of Horrors
tip we posted the other day is the real deal.
We've had several readers tell us that they've been able to order (or
even find it on the shelf) the original version of the disc (WITH the
alternate ending) from their local Borders Books & Music store. If
you want it, this is probably your last chance to pay retail price. It's
going for as much as $150 on Ebay at the moment. But be sure to check
the back to make sure you're getting the original and not the new
Finally, this morning's edition of
Rumor Mill has some information about a pair of cool Fox
releases coming to DVD, including episodes of Buffy
the Vampire Slayer. And Princess
Bride may be anamorphic after all. We'll be back later with
our new Trivia Contest and more
(LATE UPDATE - 5/15/00 - 3:30 PM PDT)
We've got reviews for ya! Today's batch includes an interesting mix of
new and old releases on DVD, and some classics as well. Available now
Minus Man, Criterion's
of Dreams: Collector's Edition, Buena Vista's
and Michelle's High School Reunion and Warner's
Snatchers. Tomorrow we'll have a look at some of those new
Warner DTS titles.
In other news today, Matsushita (Panasonic) has revealed plans to
launch DVD-RAM recordable decks in Japan as early as June. Pioneer
launched the first recordable machine in Japan earlier this year, using
the different DVD-RW format.
news story (via Yahoo) features this quote: "Industry
specialists see Matsushita's entry as the start of a "format war''
in DVD recording systems that are seen as successors to the ubiquitous
video cassette recorder." Don't bet on it. Have you seen the
players? The DVD-RAM format uses cartridge-based discs, which would be
incompatible with current DVD-Video players. Pioneer has told The
Digital Bits, on the other hand, that when it launches
recordable in the States, the DVD-RW discs its players record will work
on almost all current DVD players. End of format war. I mean - come on!
Which format would you be more likely to buy? You can find pictures of
both formats (including discs and hardware from both Panasonic and
special report on CES 2000.
Entertainment's DVD News page is newly-updated, with the details
on Anchor Bay's Duel in the Sun &Kentucky
Fried Movie, Artisan's Breaking
the Waves, Buena Vista's Diamonds,
Columbia TriStar's Men in Black
(all editions), Paramount's Star Trek II,
Universal's Jaws (both editions),
Warner's My Dog Skip and lots
We'll be back with more reviews and our next Trivia
Contest tomorrow, so stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE -
5/15/00 - 8:30 AM PDT)
We've gotten MGM's official August DVD release list, and it contains an
interesting mix of Halloween classics and old favorites MGM acquired
from Polygram and others. All the titles you see below will carry an SRP
of $19.98. Thank God - there isn't much on any of 'em. All will include
booklets. Anamorphic is noted below where available. Here's what's on
Street Date August 1st:
Misery - widescreen, English 2.0,
Phantasm: Special Edition
(repriced) - widescreen, English 5.1 & 2.0 mono, director's
commentary, deleted scenes and more
Phantsam IV: Oblivion - anamorphic
widescreen, English 5.1, trailer
Pumpkinhead - full frame, English
Swamp Thing - widescreen &
full frame, English 2.0 mono, trailer
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 -
widescreen & full frame, English 2.0, trailer
Street Date August 15th:
Fargo - anamorphic widescreen,
English 2.0, trailer
Kalifornia - widescreen & full
frame, dual R & Unrated versions, English 2.0, trailer, featurette
Platoon - anamorphic widescreen &
full frame, English 5.1, trailer
Six Degrees of Separation -
widescreen & full frame, English 5.1, trailer
Also, a number of horror-related DVDs already released from MGM are
being repriced to $19.98 (from $24.98). They are Carrie,
Child's Play, The
Dark Half, Disturbing Behavior,
Shines, The Rage: Carrie 2,
Species and Species
I gotta tell ya... some exec responsible for DVD over at MGM is making
decisions that are really pissing us off here at the Bits.
Look at this - lots of non-anamorphic titles, and not a special edition
among them except one that was already released. And even the repackaged
titles aren't much changed from the original DVD releases. At least Platoon
is getting anamorphic treatment. But no special edition? Come on! This
is made all the more frustrating by the very existence of the Bond SEs.
I mean, we know the studio can do great DVDs when they put their minds
Hey MGM - you guys badly need to get with it. Would it kill you to do a
non-Bond SE and more anamorphic transfers? Practically EVERY other major
studio is leaving you guys in the dust, in terms of quality and content
on DVD. You need to get with the program and fast. You're definitely on
a fast track to be named Most Disappointing
Studio of 2000 in our next
All of you out there who feel as disappointed as we do about MGM's
lackluster DVD releases should contact the studio using the information
MGM / UA Home Video
Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
Web site: http://www.mgmua.com/
DVD Web site: http://www.mgm.com/dvd/
E-mail (Form on site):
All right... that's my MGM rant for the day. Somehow, I'm guessing it
won't be my last. In other news, Universal has released the details on
their dual Jaws DVDs, which are
coming on July 11th (both SRP for $26.98). Here's the deal:
Jaws: Anniversary Collector's Edition
- anamorphic widescreen, English DD 5.1, French & English captions,
making of featurette, Shark World
documentary, trailer, photo gallery, storyboards, production drawings,
trivia game, PC screen saver, weblinks
Jaws: Anniversary Collector's Edition (DTS)
- anamorphic widescreen, English DTS 5.1, French & English captions,
making of featurette, Shark World
documentary, trailer, photo gallery, storyboards, production drawings,
trivia game, PC screen saver, weblinks
We'll be back with more later, so stay tuned...
Hey Little Shop of Horrors fans -
wanna get your hands on a copy of the ORIGINAL Warner Bros. release of
this DVD? You know - the one with the B&W alternate ending footage?
We've just gotten a hot tip from a source that works for Borders Books &
Music. It seems that the chain's warehouse has gotten their hands on a
batch of the original version of the disc and shipped them out to
stores. So if you check your local branch over the next few days, you
might make a nice little find. Keep in mind that the cover art looks the
same, so you'll need to check the back. Look for the words "alternate
ending" in the special features listing (or words to that effect).
Also, the original disc has a package design copyright date of 1998 (the
new one says 2000 in small print). And check the UPC number - if it's
0-85391-83252-2, that's the NEW version. Look for a different number
than that. Good luck, and thanks to John for the info...!
Oh... and while you're there, be sure to score some points with Mom.
Grab her a nice copy of Pretty Woman
or Notting Hill or some other
Julia Roberts flick on disc. Anything with Harrison Ford is probably
good too... ;-)
Those reviews are coming. I've got several to post - just need
formatting - but I've been delayed by the arrival of my in-laws. Gotta
have my priorities, right? But they will be up this weekend sometime. In
the meantime, Bits editor Bill
Hunt (that's me) is going to be on the radio a couple of times this
weekend. For you L.A.-area readers, I'll be on the Wayne
Resnick Show this evening to talk about DVD addiction.
Wayne's show is on KFI 640 AM, and I should be on between 10 and 11 PM
PDT (probably around 10:30 PM). You can listen on the Internet using
Real Audio at: http://www.kfi640.com.
And for you Canadian readers, and folks in parts of the upper-Midwest
(the Dakotas, Montana, etc...), I'll be on Saskatchewan
Weekend with Dan Reynish. That's broadcast on Sunday morning
by CJME 1300 AM in Regina. You can also listen to that program via Real
here, and go to the very bottom left part of the page). The
program is on on Sunday morning from 8 AM to Noon MDT, and sometime
during the show, I'll be talking with Dan for about 5 minutes about
with Dinosaurs on DVD. Catch it if you can!
Anyway, have a great weekend. And Happy Mothers Day, Mom!
Well... we're winding down the week here at the Bits,
by getting some housekeeping stuff done around the site. We've updated
our mirror copy of
Official DVD FAQ to the latest version (May 9th to be
exact). Boy - that bugger's getting big! It's well over 400k and still
growing. We've also updated the CEA
DVD player sales chart to reflect the 38,933 DVD players
shipped to retail in the first week of May (week ending May 5th). And
we've updated the Top 10 Selling Discs
and the Total DVD Titles listings
No doubt you've all heard the good news from E3 by now - Sony's
DVD-based PlayStation 2 game console will debut here in the U.S. on
October 26th, for a decent price of $299 - just like the original
PlayStation. You can find the
launch details here, the
revised specs here, details about
driver inside PS2 here, and
the initial U.S. line-up of games for the system here. All of this
E3 coverage comes via our friends over at IGN.com
- they've got a huge team of busy little beavers roaming the show floor,
and they're doing a great job. If you want to know everything and
anything about the goings-on at E3, just click on over there pronto!
Also today, we just received our early review copies of Warner's June
DVD line-up, and man - is this ever a cool batch of titles! I've only
had a few minutes to play with the new DTS/DD 5.1-encoded special
editions of Twister, Interview
with the Vampire and Lethal Weapon
1-3, but... WOW! You're really gonna dig this batch. The DTS
sound is terrific - I'm really glad to see Warner jumping in to support
the audio format. And for the record, Twister
looks MUCH better that the original DVD release. We'll try to get
reviews of them done as quickly as possible, so check back on Monday for
In the meantime, we've got a bunch of reviews coming for later this
afternoon and early this evening, so be sure to check back. And thanks
to everyone that's e-mailed Todd and I about our
of Fight Club on DVD, and particularly our interviews with
David Fincher and David Prior. We've gotten lots of nice comments - glad
you enjoyed them!
Stay tuned... and have a great weekend!
The Digital Bits is very pleased
to present you with more of our
coverage of Fight Club on DVD. We've reviewed the DVD...
and now we've got an interview with the film's director, David Fincher.
We've also interviewed the producer of the two-disc DVD special edition,
David Britten Prior. I think you'll definitely find them worth a read.
So how's that for cool?
Last, but not least, we've got another disc review for you today, this
time of Image's upcoming double feature DVD edition of
and the Devil and The House of Exorcism (street date
5/16). Nothing like a two-shot of Bava to get you going in the morning.
I'd say that's pretty good for one day, wouldn't you? ;-)
Some news for you today. Warner Bros. has announced their DVD version
of Liberty Heights. It's expected
to street on June 20th, for an SRP of $24.98. Look for it to include a
special introduction by director Barry Levinson, "on the set"
behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with cast & crew, a music-only
track, trailers and more.
Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Drowning
Mona on July 25th (SRP $24.95). Look for that disc to include
a director's commentary track, deleted scenes with optional commentary
and talent files. The studio has also announced that the DVD version of
The Eyes of Laura Mars and the
second installment in The Bear in the Big
Blue House series have been delayed. New street dates are
TBD. Saving the best Columbia news for last, the studio has announced
that it plans to release a Ray Harryhausen/Sinbad DVD boxed set on July
11th (SRP $77.95). Included in the set will be The
7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden
Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and
the Eye of the Tiger.
And you Synapse Films fans should check out the
official website for a newly-updated DVD release list and a new
message from big bad Jim Van Beeber. How can you beat that? Thanks to
our good buddy, Don May, Jr. for the update.
Finally today, there's word out of Japan that electronics manufacturers
are ramping up DVD player production to meet the ever-increasing
worldwide demand. You'll find the
story over at Yahoo.
We'll be back this afternoon with reviews. Until then... we got ya
Man... have we got a treat for you today! We've just received Fox's new
Club: Special Edition, and it's just very, very cool. We were
critical about Fox's DVD work early on, but not only have they made a
180-degree turn-around, they're now setting the standard with this one.
Our hats off to our friend David Prior (you may remember
interview we did with him about his work on Ravenous).
David produced this DVD for Fox and director David Fincher, and it's a
grand slam home run. In fact, it's been so much work to go through it
all, that me and Todd are taking a break now. We're wiped. But you can
read our full tag-team review of the set now. The disc streets on June
6th, and you're gonna want it bad. Trust us on this one.
One last note - there have been a lot of rumors going around about the
Gladiator DVD. I've been made
aware that they're about 90% false - just FYI. We'll have a lot more on