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page updated: 10/4/00



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 8/24/00 - 8/4/00)


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8/24/00

We've got a bunch of interesting news for you today, including news on events, upcoming titles and even some new artwork. But first of all, the winners have been announced in the 3rd Annual Divi Awards, and you might want to check them out. We were surprised to see The Matrix winning Best Overall DVD Release nearly a year after being released, but there it is. In any case, congratulations to all the winners!

Now then... the BIG news. Paramount's leaked word that the DVD release of their Mission: Impossible 2 will happen on November 7th, a week earlier than expected. The disc will include more than 60 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage. Both director John Woo and actor Tom Cruise participated on the DVD, Woo with a commentary and Cruise by recording interviews and the like. In fact, we understand (and it's confirmed in the article) that Cruise actually helped produce the DVD.

L.A. area fans of director Robert Wise will get a rare treat on Sunday, September 10th, when he'll be signing copies of Fox's upcoming The Sound of Music DVD at Dave's Video. Also on hand will be actress Charmain Carr. The event will run from Noon to 1 PM, and will also include a celebration of the director's 86th birthday. Dave's Video - The Laser Place is located at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA. See you there!

In other news, you Sting fans will be pretty happy on September 26th, when Interscope Records releases a recent live concert performance on DVD - Brand New Day at Universal Ampitheatre. Gotta tell you that I'm looking forward to it. Here's to hoping that the disc has lots of cool features like lyrics, interviews and more.

Wizard World.com's got a story and interview quote from director Kevin Smith on an upcoming DVD of Clerks animated series episodes. Buena Vista is releasing all six episodes that were produced on the format in December, along with lots of bonus material. Should be cool.

Yahoo's got more word on Disney's upcoming Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 DVD releases, so be sure to check that out. Both discs are currently slated for November 14th.

And finally today, since we've been talking about Fantasia 2000 and Mission: Impossible 2, we thought it only fair to give you an early look at the DVD cover artwork for those titles, along with art for two more upcoming Disney animated titles. Enjoy!

Fantasia 2000Mission: Impossible 2

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. ToadThe Black Cauldron

Stay tuned...

8/23/00

Well, this has been a busy day here at the Bits. I spent my morning at the DVD Entertainment 2000 Conference at Universal Studios. A few months ago, I was asked by the DVD Entertainment Group to moderate a panel discussion on DVD marketing with representatives from the various Hollywood studios, and it turned out to be a rare treat. Paul Culberg, formerly of Columbia TriStar and how Executive V.P. of VM Labs (the Nuon people), gave a welcoming address and director Peter Bogdanovich was the keynote speaker for the morning, talking about the creative impact of DVD on filmmakers. And then, at 10:05 sharp, our panel got down to business.

If you attend a number of these kind of industry events, you begin to realize that they are, by and large, composed of technical and specialty presentations, where people talk about new developments with the format, discuss standards and like. But the studio panel is the fun one - the one everybody has an interest in. That's what DVD Entertainment people assured me, anyway. And darned if they weren't right.

About 300 people were in attendance to watch the panel, which included Janet Wheeler (Executive Director of Retail Marketing for Columbia TriStar Home Video), Peter Staddon (Senior V.P. of Marketing for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), Garrett Lee (V.P. of Marketing for Image Entertainment), Ken Graffeo (Senior V.P. of Marketing for Universal Studios Home Video) and Matt Lasorsa (Senior V.P. of Marketing for New Line Home Video). Now... I talk regularly with many of these people by phone, in my role as editor of the Bits. So once we got started, it was if the audience disappeared and we were just in a room together chatting about what we all love best... DVD. And when we get to talking about the format, many of us could go on for hours. Among the topics we discussed are the sheer volume of major titles coming to DVD in the 4th Qtr, the way the studios pioneer new features to enhance the film experience and interest consumers in their discs, the role of new technologies, the complicated process of developing product for DVD and the role the Internet plays in the process (a number of you will be very pleased to know that many studios consider the Net not just a good marketing tool, but also the best way to get feedback on their work - they DO listen to you!).

Anyway, the panel was a blast and (as you've probably guessed)... I've got a tape to transcribe. I think you'll find it very interesting to learn what these folks had to say, and I'll try to have that up before Friday. In the meantime, I want to thank the DVD Entertainment Group for the opportunity to act as moderator, as well as all of the panelists, who made my job not only easier, but a downright pleasure. So anyway, watch for the transcript soon.

In other news today, Columbia TriStar has announced two great titles for November 7th - Gilda and the Donnie Brasco: Special Edition. Gilda will SRP for $29.95 and will include the Rita Hayworth documentary The Columbia Lady, vintage advertising artwork, talent files and the original B&W full frame video and mono audio. Donnie Brasco will also SRP for $29.95, and will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director Mike Newell, the featurette Donnie Brasco: Out of the Shadows, another behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes (with optional commentary and an introduction), the film's isolated score, a photo gallery, talent files, trailers and DVD-ROM weblinks. Should be worth a look. Columbia has also announced a street date change for their Bridge on the River Kwai. It was slated for November 7th, and is now expected on November 21st. Frankly, November can't come fast enough for me.

One last note on the DVD Conference - watch out for the announcement of the winners in this year's 3rd Annual Divi Awards - which are being presented this evening in a special ceremony hosted by Leonard Maltin. And there should be lots of interesting news coming out of the conference over the next couple of days regarding DVD-Audio, DVD encryption (including reaction to the DeCSS ruling) and more.

And with that... have a great day and stay tuned!

8/22/00

Well... we've taken a look at a couple more discs today, including a big favorite of mine - Paramount's upcoming Braveheart. Fans of this film have been waiting to get it on DVD for a LONG time, so don't miss my in-depth look at the disc and its quality. Todd's also got a review up today of a curiosity in film history, a Sci-fi flick that was apparently a torturous nightmare to complete, with multiple directors and even a last-minute save attempt by Francis Ford Coppola - MGM's Supernova.

Also today, we've got some early word in The Rumor Mill on what to expect in the way of extras on Paramount's Mission: Impossible 2, which should be announced for November any day. We also debunk a few wild rumors that have been flying around the Net lately about DreamWorks' Gladiator.

And Warner's already gotten the blockbuster announcements going, with the official unveiling of their DVD version of The Perfect Storm. Expected on November 7th, the disc will SRP for $24.95 and will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, 3 commentary tracks, production featurettes, artwork, production photos and notes, DVD-ROM extras and more. If only it wasn't such a cheesy film. Anyway, the effects should look great on DVD. Here's a peek at the cover artwork.

Warner's The Perfect Storm DVD

Stay tuned...

8/21/00

Let's kick off the new week with some more reviews, shall we? We've got a couple of good ones for you today - Warner's new North by Northwest (just WAIT until you see the picture quality on this disc!) and Universal's recent Erin Brockovich. Speak of Erin, the real deal came out to sign copies of the film on video and DVD last week. Nothing like a little publicity. Anyway, we've got more great disc reviews on the way, including a Best Picture-winning flick about a Scotsman with a big-ass broadsword. And I don't mean that as a pun. ;-)

Also this morning, we've got the details on just exactly how to access that Easter Egg in the Terminator 2: Judgement Day - The Ultimate Edition DVD. As many of you may know, it's a hidden third cut of the film, which includes one extra scene and an alternate ending. We've got the actual Egg instructions, as well as a work-around for those whose DVD player remotes might not cooperate with them. So now you'll be all set when the disc streets.

Finally this morning, we've announced the winners in our Supernova Trivia Contest. Thanks to everyone who entered, and never fear - our next contest will start in a couple of days and Sarah promises that it'll be a good one.

Stay tuned...

8/18/00

This is a pretty quick update today, just to let you know a couple of things.

First, we've got the last of Todd's Universal Classic Monster Collection reviews up today, with his look at Phantom of the Opera (1943). We've got 2 or 3 more new and upcoming disc reviews on tap for Monday and even more for next week, so stay tuned.

Also today, we've got a lightening fast Trivia Contest for you this weekend. All you have to do is answer one easy question and you could take home one of 5 copies of Supernova on DVD, thanks to our friends over at MGM Home Entertainment. But the contest only runs until this Sunday (8/20) night at 7 PM PDT, so get your entries in quick!

Fox has let slip that their Titan A.E. DVD will street on October 31st, with dual DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. I've been told by Fox that this new anamorphic transfer is going to blow people away. Look also for a documentary, lots of production artwork and more. Also coming on 10/31 is New Line's Frequency - another of their Platinum Series discs.

And finally today, Peter Svensson from AP has written a terrific piece (available at Yahoo) on the entertainment industry's campaign against digital piracy, and how they might be missing the point... and the boat. According to Peter, a number of industry analysts are saying something I've said all along - that the music and film industries should embrace file-sharing technology (because it isn't going away, no matter how many lawsuits they file) and learn to make money from it. It's just like VCRs - the movie industry didn't like those either, and now that's where the real money is in the business. Anyway, I think Peter's written a great story on this issue, so don't miss it.

Have a great weekend!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/17/00 - 2 PM PDT)

In a move that's sure to reassure Hollywood, a federal judge in New York today ruled against defendant Eric Corley, publisher of 2600, disallowing him to re-publish the DeCSS software code, which unlocks content scrambling on DVDs. The judge's opinion includes the following conclusion: "In an era in which the transmission of computer viruses.... can disable systems upon which the nation depends and in which other computer code also is capable of inflicting harm, society must be able to regulate the use and dissemination of code in appropriate circumstance.'' Of course we all know that this case is about far more than just DVD - it sets an important precedent in the protection of copyright in the digital realm. The ruling also means that the Digital Millennium Copyright act has officially passed its first test. You can read the full story on this ruling via these links at Yahoo, CNN and MSNBC.

But before you do, we've got one last thing for you today. A look at the cover artwork for Escape from New York (street date: 11/21), Return to Me (10/31), Never Say Never Again (10/17) and The Ultimate Scream Collection (9/26). You'll be happy to know that Escape from New York is anamorphic (with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound). In fact, all of MGM's slated November releases on DVD (which also include The Bounty, Class, Code of Silence and Malice) are anamorphic. Bravo MGM!

Escape From New YorkNever Say Never Again

Return to MeThe Ultimate Scream Collection

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/17/00 - 11:25 AM PDT)

All right, let's get this show on the road, shall we? How about this - an update before Noon PDT! Must be some kind of record. Anyway, we've got two new reviews for you this morning. Todd was very happy to do an early review of a Tim Burton classic and one of his favorite films, in the form of Fox's forthcoming Edward Scissorhands: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD (street date: 9/5). And Greg Suarez has checked in with a look at Dimension's new Reindeer Games, directed by John Frankenheimer (available now).

Around the site today, we've updated our authorized mirror copy of Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to the latest version (8/9). If you haven't checked it out yet, you might want to look it over, because it's still the single best reference for information about the format.

In other news, Columbia TriStar's got the official Men in Black website running, and it's pretty sweet. You can also view an online commercial for the DVD here. The limited edition DVD is also pretty sweet (street date: 9/5). I just got my hands on it yesterday, and have been putting it through its paces. Look for my review soon, but it might take a few days - there's a LOT of content to look over. I'd have to say that if you're a fan, you'll love this stuff.

CNN's got an interesting story up now about Surround CDs... which basically means a look at DTS-encoded audio CDs with DTS's David DelGrosso. I like these Surround CDs, although some of them are a little studio-gimmicky for my taste. When it comes to surround sound for music, I'd much rather it just be used to create ambiences, like a concert hall, to give you a more natural listening sensation. I don't much care for drums in the rear left speaker, guitars in the front right - you get the idea. I'm a big fan of The Police, for example, but I really didn't care much for the DTS-encoded version of Every Breath You Take - The Classics. It will be interesting to see how DVD-Audio impacts this market and how music aficionados respond to it.

So how do you like this? Image Entertainment's got a ANOTHER new update of their DVD News page, with details on more upcoming titles including Buena Vista's Hellraiser: Inferno, Keeping the Faith: SE and Shanghai Noon: SE, Columbia TriStar's Center Stage, Heavy Metal 2000: SE, Legends of the Fall: SE and Patriot: SE, Universal's Born on the Fourth of July: CE, Pitch Black, The Skulls: CE and U-571: CE and lots more.

And finally today, on August 25th at 6 PM PDT, DVD fans on the Net will have the opportunity to watch Warner's Three Kings in your DVD-ROM, while chatting with Mark Wahlberg and director David O. Russell online. You simply sign up for the event and log in at the right time. Warner will send out a signal to start everyone's movies at the same time - everyone will watch the film together, including Wahlberg and Russell, and they'll answer questions. Visit this website to sign up and for more information: http://www.warnervideo.com/threekingsevents/

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/16/00 - 1 PM PDT)

We've been doing a little legwork, and we've got more information for you this afternoon on Space: 1999 and other Gerry Anderson TV series coming to DVD from A&E next year. There's also an update on Star Trek: The Next Generation - you asked for it so we got the skinny for you. And we've new word on The X-Files Second Season and movie re-release. You'll find all that in a late update of The Rumor Mill.

And we've also got more reviews for you today. Todd continues his series on Universal's next wave of Classic Monster Movies, with a review of The Invisible Man (street date 8/29). And, as promised, I've got my thoughts on Columbia TriStar's just released Léon: The Professional. If you've never seen this great gem before, there's never been a better time.

In other news today, how important is DVD to MGM? Very. Check out this quote from a story in Variety:

"Last month, MGM posted its fourth consecutive profitable quarter for the first time in 14 years. Feature film revenue was up 67% in the second quarter at $254 million, but even more impressive was the change in operating cash flow. That hit $45.3 million in the latest quarter, compared with a negative $134 million a year ago. But despite MGM's yearnings to become more than just a factory for Bond releases, the results were largely fueled by revenue from the 1999 007 title "The World Is not Enough'' hitting home video and DVD."

Interesting. And in other news, Image Entertainment's got a new update of their DVD News page, with details on such upcoming titles as Columbia TriStar's Lady From Shanghai and Time Code, Criterion's The Blob, Sisters and Kwaidan, Fox's The Brothers McMullen, She's the One and Where the Heart Is, Fox Lorber's re-releases of The Killer and Hard Boiled (why, oh why is Fox Lorber getting the rights to these films when Criterion had done such a great job?! Argh!), more Friday the 13th sequels from Paramount and so on...

Well, it's back to work. There are so many great DVDs coming out right now - what are a group of tired reviewers to do? Once more unto the breech... ;-)

Stay tuned...!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/16/00 - Midnight PDT)

We'll have a larger post later this morning. But I wanted to jump in early with word that the British TV series Space: 1999 may be on its way to DVD early next year. You'll find that in the Rumor Mill. Now maybe those laserdiscs of TV episodes of the series will stop selling for $50 each on Ebay.

Stay tuned...

8/15/00

Today is all about reviews, and we've got two great ones for you. Todd's written his sneak peek at Universal's forthcoming Creature from the Black Lagoon DVD, which streets on 8/29. His reviews of Phantom of the Opera and The Invisible Man will be posted over the next couple of days. And I've taken a look at Columbia TriStar's The Big Blue, directed by Luc Besson. That disc streets today, along with Besson's Léon: The Professional (International Version). My review of that will be posted tomorrow.

Joe McLellan has a great editorial on the issue of copyright in the digital age over at Yahoo (via the Washington Post). If you get a chance, I think it's a great read and he raises some interesting points.

In other news today, there's word that Mel Gibson's The Patriot will debut on DVD on 10/14 from Columbia TriStar (SRP $27.95). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a featurette and commentary with Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich.

We've gotten an update on what fans can expect in Fox's The X-Files: The Complete Second Season DVD boxed set (see artwork here). Word is that the set will include The Truth About Season Two featurette, interviews with series creator Chris Carter, trailers for all the episodes, more deleted scenes and two more special effects clips. Can't wait!

And finally, we've got an early look at some menu screens for a few big, upcoming Universal DVDs. So here are the main menu pages from Pitch Black, U-571, Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Enjoy!

Pitch Black - DVD main menu page

U-571 - DVD main menu page

Jurassic Park - DVD main menu page

The Lost World - DVD main menu page

Stay tuned...

8/14/00

Today is a bit of a slow news day, but we've got some great upcoming DVD artwork for you from Universal. Take a look at Pitch Black, U-571, The Flintsones: Viva Rock Vegas and The Skulls...

Pitch Black: Unrated Director's CutU-571: Collector's Series

The Flintsones: Viva Rock VegasThe Skulls: Collector's Series

Pitch Black will be available in 2 versions - the R-rated Theatrical Version and the Unrated Director's Cut (pictured above). Both street on 10/24 and have an SRP of $26.98. Both versions will feature anamorphic widescreen video, dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks, and two separate audio commentary tracks, one with director David Twohy and actors Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser, and a second with Twohy, producer Tom Engelmand and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang. Also included will be a making-of featurette, behind-the-scenes footage from the Raveworld.com Pitch Black events which were held last year, a theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM features. The U-571: Collector's Edition streets on 10/24 for $26.98. It features anamorphic widescreen video, dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks, a commentary by director Jonathan Mostow, The Making of U-571 featurette, historical information, trailers and DVD-ROM features. The Skulls: Collector's Edition also streets on 10/24 for $26.98, and includes anamorphic widescreen video, a commentary with director Rob Cohen, The Making of The Skulls featurette, deleted scenes, a trailer and DVD-ROM features. And finally, The Flinstones: Viva Rock Vegas streets on 9/26 for $24.98, with anamorphic widescreen video, dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, The Making of The Flinstones Viva Rock Vegas featurette and a trailer.

Around the Net today, there's a story over at MSNBC.com on how the DVD-ROM format is performing under expectations, largely due to the lack of software other than movies. It's worth a read.

Stay tuned...

8/12/00

The Trivia Contest is now closed! Congratulations to Mike Rye of Menominee, MI and David Bailey of New York, NY. They've each won a copy of Warner's The Green Mile, signed by director Frank Darabont. The next contest will start soon, so stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/11/00 - 4:15 PM PDT)

We've just posted reviews of Anchor Bay's new Repo Man DVD and Universal's recent Ride with the Devil, directed by Ang Lee. And we've got more reviews coming on Monday. We also hope to have a new special feature story up by mid next week, and I think you'll enjoy this one a lot.

Now then... I'm driving down to see the Vikings playing San Diego tomorrow night in NFL pre-season football. I hope that isn't some kind of sad commentary on my personality or anything. The Vikes are gonna be pretty pathetic this year, but you know what? I just don't care - opening day can't come fast enough for me. Everybody has their thing, I guess, and mine's football. In any case, I hope you all have a great weekend... enjoying whatever your particular thing is. See you Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/11/00 - 12:15 PM PDT)

We've got another Rumor Mill update for you today. It's a quick one, but there's word on 16x9 for a pair of upcoming Universal DVD releases, as well as a little more word on Warner's Superman.

Also today, we've got more upcoming DVD artwork for you - Fox's Titan A.E. (which streets on November 7th) and Disney's Toy Story/Toy Story 2 (the 2-disc version).

Titan A.E.Toy Story/Toy Story 2 (2-disc set)

And keep in mind that this is you last day to enter our Trivia Contest for those Green Mile signed DVDs, so get your entries in fast. We'll be back in a couple of hours with another review or two, so stay tuned.

8/10/00

We've got big word in the Rumor Mill today about a delay for Warner's Superman DVD as well as the disc specs for Universal's forthcoming Pitch Black. I think you'll want to check that out.

Also today, the International Recording Media Association (IRMA) announced the nominees of the third annual DiVi Awards, and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment led the pack with 15 nominations. Winners will be presented by Leonard Maltin during the upcoming DVD Entertainment 2000 Conference August 23-24 here in LA (at which I'm hosting a panel discussion on DVD Marketing - should be interesting). The nominees are as follows:

Best Overall DVD Release
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Men In Black, Columbia TriStar Home Video
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Matrix, Warner Home Video
The Nightmare Collection, New Line Home Video

Best Standard Release
Alien, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Dracula, Universal Home Video
Patton, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
The Green Mile, Warner Home Video
Titanic, Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Special Edition
Apocalypse Now, Paramount Home Entertainment
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Matrix, Warner Home Video
The Wizard of Oz, Warner Home Video

Best Music Release
Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, New Video
Peter Frampton, Image Entertainment
Pink Floyd: The Wall, Sony Music Entertainment
U2: Rattle & Hum, Paramount Home Entertainment
Whitney Houston, BMG Entertainment

Best Educational/Documentary Title
Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, New Video
Mr. Death, Universal Studios Home Video
Rome: Power & Glory, Questar
Super Speedway, Image Entertainment
The Rainbow Fish, Sony Music Entertainment

Best Video Compression
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Men In Black, Columbia TriStar Home Video
Prince of Egypt, Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Saving Private Ryan, Dreamworks Home Entertainment
The Thin Red Line, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Best Audio Compression
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Independence Day, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Men In Black, Columbia TriStar Home Video
Saving Private Ryan, Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment

Best Menu Design
Antz, Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Detroit Rock City, New Line Home Video
Prince of Egypt, Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Abyss, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Best Special Features
Antz, Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Men In Black, Columbia TriStar Home Video
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Matrix, Warner Home Video

Authoring
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Live and Let Die, Laser Pacific
Men In Black, Columbia TriStar Home Video
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Abyss, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Best DVD-ROM Support
Austin Powers 2, New Line Home Video
Stuart Little, Columbia TriStar Home Video
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Abyss, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
The Matrix, Warner Home Video

Best Presentation/Packaging Design
Fight Club, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Repo Man: Limited Edition, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition, Artisan Home Entertainment
The Nightmare Collection, New Line Home Video
X-Files, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

In other news, Universal has announced their Somewhere in Time: Collector's Edition and Touch of Evil: Collector's Edition. Both will street on October 31st for an SRP of $29.98. Somewhere in Time will include an audio commentary with director Jeannot Szwarc, a documentary, interviews, production notes and the trailer. Touch of Evil will include Reconstructing Evil (57-minute documentary), a complete analysis of restored scenes, director Orson Wells' original memo outlining his suggestions for re-editing the original theatrical release, an interview with Wells' daughter, production notes and photos, bios and a trailer.

Image Entertainment's updated their DVD News page again with lots more upcoming titles, including A&E's Monty Python's Flying Circus Set #7: Volume 13 & 14, Monty Python: The Life of Python, two volumes of The Prisoner episodes, Anchor Bay's Beyond: SE, Evil Dead 2: SE, Halloween 5, Hellraiser/Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 and Repo Man: SE, Buena Vista's From Dusk Til Dawn and Scream Trilogy boxed sets, Paramount's Dead Zone and Star Trek: TOS 15 & 16, several REM music titles from Warner and LOTS more.

And finally today, we've got word from New Line on a couple of things. First of all, their upcoming Boogie Nights: Platinum Series DVD is sadly NOT going to include the 30 minutes of excerpts from the John Holmes documentary Exhausted. They had planed to have it and were negotiating for the rights, but unfortunately things fell through at the eleventh hour. However, at this time, the studio expects that the last-minute change should not effect the 8/29 street date. And now something very cool. New Line's official website for their film Final Destination now includes a special sneak preview of the content that will be on the forthcoming DVD (street date 9/26). Click on over to http://www.deathiscoming.com, where you'll be able to sample clips of the documentaries on the disc, the deleted scenes and even the audio commentaries. This is a very cool idea, and we hope more studios try it. Don't miss it!

As always... stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/9/00 - 5:45 PM PDT)

How's about some reviews? Okay? Well, we've got a few for you today. Try this on for size... Anchor Bay's 2-disc Supergirl: Limited Edition, Columbia TriStar's Steel Magnolias: Special Edition, Image's The Complete Superman Collection: Diamond Anniversary Edition and two discs from Fox's 6-disc Planet of the Apes: The Evolution boxed set - the original Planet of the Apes and the excellent documentary Behind the Planet of the Apes. And more are on the way.

But that's not all. We've also got the complete transcript of a recent chat our friends over at The Home Theater Forum held with Anchor Bay, just in case you might have missed it. It's worth checking out, as lots of titles are discussed or announced. Thanks to Ron, Parker and the gang at HTF for the text.

We've also updated our AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list to accommodate all the latest announcements.

Around the Net, there's word that Miramax's Clerks animated TV series will get new life on DVD next year. And Columbia TriStar's getting ready to debut Mike Figgis' Time Code on DVD on October 10th - the first time anyone will get to see the entire filmed image. And finally today, final legal briefs have been filed on that New York DVD cracking case pitting the MPAA vs. 2600.com. A decision could come at any time, and it's gonna be a big deal either way, so stay tuned...

See you back here tomorrow... same Bat time, same Bat channel.

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/9/00 - 12:30 PM PDT)

We'll be back in a couple of hours with a bunch of reviews, but in the meantime, we've got some great DVD news for you. Columbia TriStar has just officially announced the DVD release of Sir David Lean's classic The Bridge on the River Kwai, starring Sir Alec Guinness! The disc will street on November 7th, and will be available two formats - a standard edition DVD, which will include trailers and talent files, and a 2-disc limited edition DVD, which will include trailers, talent files, The Making of The Bridge on the River Kwai documentary, The Rise and Fall of a Jungle Giant featurette, USC short film narrated by William Holden, An Appreciation and Discussion by Filmmaker John Milius, a photo gallery with international posters and lobby art, DVD-ROM materials (including trivia, maps and a screensaver) and a 12-page booklet. SRP for the standard edition will be $24.95 while the SRP on the limited edition is $39.95. Both will contain the film in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio (languages are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese). Remember what I said about this fall being a very expensive time for DVD fans? Talk about understatement - a lot of disc-spinners are gonna have to get second jobs to afford all these great films!

In other news, we've had a LOT of people asking about Universal's Pitch Black - a nifty little sci-fi/thriller from the director of The Arrival. My info is that it's expected to be a collector's edition release in two flavors - R-rated and Unrated. The street date is currently slated for October 24th, and you can preorder the Unrated disc over at Amazon now.

And there's one other thing - I've discovered a way to access the Easter Egg on the T2: Ultimate Edition disc. Since I posted the review yesterday, I've gotten dozens of e-mails on this, saying that I had forgotten to write about this hidden feature. I didn't forget, but I didn't want to talk about it until I'd figured out how to view it. Basically, the disc includes a virtual third cut of the film (thanks to seamless branching) that adds one scene and an alternate ending to the special edition cut. It's about 3 minutes of footage in all. The review has been updated accordingly.

Back in a couple of hours with more...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/8/00 - 5 PM PDT)

Well... I've just spent a very long night going through all of the extras on Artisan's Terminator 2: Judgment Day - The Ultimate Edition, and I've spent another day writing my review. If you're a fan, I think you're gonna love this disc, which packs two versions of the film, with dual Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES soundtracks and some 6 hours worth of supplements all onto a single DVD-18 disc. Pretty cool. We've got several more new reviews coming tomorrow morning, including Anchor Bay's new Supergirl: Limited Edition, Columbia TriStar's Steel Magnolias and Fox's Planet of the Apes. We're also working on reviews of Leon, The Big Blue and New Line's Boogie Nights: Platinum Edition. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. So stay tuned!

In other news today, we've gotten our first look at the cover art for Fox's upcoming The X-Files: The Complete Second Season DVD boxed set, and I for one can't wait. The set will include all 25 second year episodes plus behind-the-scenes material for an SRP of $149.98. Street date is November 7th. And FYI... look for The X-Files: Fight the Future to be re-released on DVD in the 4th Qtr with dual Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks on the same disc and (at long last) anamorphic widescreen video. Sweeeeeeet.

The X-Files: The Complete Second Season

One last note before I sign off for the moment - Buena Vista has revealed that they're releasing Fantasia 2000 on DVD on November 14th, with dual Dolby Digital and DTS sound. Not only that, but the studio is releasing the original Fantasia on the same day, with the same dual sound options. And a 3-disc boxed set will also be available, with both films and a disc of extras, a la Toy Story. Check out Widescreen Review for the details.

Back in the morning...!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/8/00 - 12:15 PM PDT)

This is just a quick update to let you know that we're getting ready to post a number of new DVD reviews later this afternoon. We've got a lot of titles to catch up on, and we're gonna start with our early review of Artisan's upcoming Terminator 2: Judgement Day - The Ultimate Edition. So check back soon and stay tuned...

8/7/00

Well folks, it's a sad day around the offices of The Digital Bits. I'm sure you've all heard the news by now that Sir Alec Guinness passed away this weekend, at the age of 86. Over his long and distinguished career, Guinness appeared in so many of our favorite films (among them Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Bridge on the River Kwai and Star Wars) that it's hard to imagine the landscape of film without him. He was never one to boast about his work, but that's okay - the rest of us will do it for him. And here at the Bits, we didn't feel it right to not acknowledge his passing. So thank you, Alec - you will be missed.

Sir Alec Guinness 1914 - 2000

Now then... we've got a very cool update on Paramount DVD titles to expect in the 3rd and 4th quarter of this year - you'll find that in today's Rumor Mill update. Among the titles listed are The Conversation and Planes, Trains & Automobiles - both much awaited by film fans. Do check it out.

We've got more DVD cover art for you to take a look at today. We got an early look at New Line's upcoming Seven: Platinum Series release, as well as Warner's Gettysburg (anticipated as a DVD-18) and a pair of upcoming South Park episode discs. Sadly, it looks as if Warner has abandoned Rhino's practice of releasing episodes in order - these upcoming discs are nothing but compilations of the best recent episodes of the show. We think ANYONE releasing TV on DVD should follow Fox's lead - give us entire seasons at a shot. Anyway, here's the artwork...

Seven: Platinum SeriesGettysburg

South Park: The Chef ExperienceChristmas in South Park

Around the Net today, Yahoo has a story up on Sony's plans to delay the European launch of the PlayStation 2 until November, in order to meet anticipated U.S. demand for the DVD-based game console. According to a report by the market research firm Strategy Analytics, DVD is expected to replace video cassettes in the next 5 years. While we think that's a nifty prediction, it's probably a a tad on the optimistic side. And what about the recordable DVD format war? It remains to be seen what affect it might have on the market, but for a quick primer on the various formats, check out this article at Yahoo via Forbes.com.

You Superman fans should check out the Widescreen Review website, which has some early details on the upcoming DVD's supplemental features. No release date has been set, but look for the disc to reach stores hopefully by mid-December.

And finally this morning, we've just kicked of our newest Trivia Contest, and two winners this time will take home a copy of The Green Mile on DVD, signed by director Frank Darabont himself. All you have to do is name 10 Steven King novels or short stories that have been adapted for film and TV. How hard is that? The contest will run until 7 PM PDT on Friday, August 11th, so get your entries in!

Stay tuned...

8/4/00

We're back!! Yes indeed, Todd and I and the rest of the Bits staff have had a much-needed week's worth of rest and relaxation, and we're raring to go. Sarah and I actually spent our time this week travelling back home to good old Fargo, North Dakota. One of my best friends got married, and I was a groomsman at the wedding. I've mentioned him before - David Hovde, TV weatherman extraordinare (he's gonna hate that I linked to that picture). It's funny... half the news media in town was on hand. Thank goodness it was a slow news day! So anyway, congratulations to Dave and Heather. And a big hello to Daron, Matt, Mark, Dale and my whole band of friends. After the wedding, Sarah and I spent a few days relaxing with family and friends, visiting my grandmother up on the farm and we even made a quick trip up to Canada (just for the fun of it, eh). It was just what I needed to recharge my batteries. So thanks for your patience while we all got a much needed break.

Now then... I did say we were raring to go, didn't I? We left you prior to our vacation with an interview with Van Ling, which (based on the e-mails we've gotten) was a big hit. Todd and I have been working on a whole series of interviews with the folks who produce your favorite discs. And so today, as a sort of thanks-for-hanging-in-there to all of you, we're posting Todd's recent conversation with Laurent Bouzereau, the man responsible for Universal's recent Jaws: Anniversary Collector's Edition. Laurent is also an accomplished writer and documentarian of film, having written The Making of Episode I and several other books on the subject. He's also producing upcoming DVD versions of several great films, including classics from directors David Lean and Alfred Hitchcock. He's even got a few more Steven Spielberg projects in the works. I think you'll really enjoy the interview. So we give you A Less Scholarly Approach: A Conversation with DVD Producer Laurent Bouzereau. And we've got lots more great reviews, contests, articles and features in the works for the coming weeks.

Around the site today, we've updated the CEA DVD Player sales chart with the complete sales data for the month of July - 537,453 players sold in all.

Image Entertainment's updated their DVD News page again with details on lots more upcoming Image-exclusive titles, including The Artist: Rave Un2 the Year 2000, Dolphins: IMAX, Akira Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala, Road Movie, Robot Monster and Twilight Zone 34 & 35. And their previous update (published while we were away) includes details on 28 Days, Rudy, Anna and the King, Rules of Engagement, Quadrophenia, Transformers: The Movie, The Time Machine and lots more.

Buena Vista has announced a few October DVD titles other than the Toy Story films (expect more to follow). They include Beowulf, Committed, Hellraiser: Inferno, Keeping the Faith and Shanghai Noon.

And finally today, we've got a few new upcoming DVD cover scans for you - High Fidelity, Boogie Nights: Platinum Edition, Annie Get Your Gun and the The Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition.

High FidelityBoogie Nights: Platinum Edition

Nightmare Before Christmas: Special EditionAnnie Get Your Gun

We'll be back on Monday with a whole bunch of stuff. See you then and have a great weekend!


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