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page updated: 3/22/02

My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 2/13/02 - 1/31/02)

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(LATE UPDATE - 2/13/02 - 4 PM PST)

We've just gotten Warner's official press release for the Friends: The Complete First Season on DVD, which streets on April 30th, as expected. The 4-disc set will SRP for $69.98 and will contain all 24 episodes of the show's first year. According to the release, all of the episodes "will be available in extended versions, including previously unseen footage." Special features include audio commentary for the pilot episode with executive producers Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, a featurette which takes viewers on an interactive tour of the set (A Peek at Central Perk), a video guide to the season's guest appearances (Friends of Friends), an interactive video trivia challenge (How Well Do You Know Your Friends?), a sneak peek at what's ahead (The One With the Trailer of Season 2) and cast profiles. Here's a look at the cover artwork (we'll post a larger image when we can - click to preorder via DVD Planet):

Friends: The Complete First Season

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 2/13/02 - 10:30 AM PST)

Okay, we've done some digging on Back to the Future. Sources say... you'll have to read the The Rumor Mill to find out when the DVDs will street. But we're pretty confident about the accuracy of the info, so it's worth heading on over there. We've also got word of another Spielberg title coming to disc, as well as good news for you Kevin Costner groupies.

By the way, you European and Canadian Harry Potter fans will be happy to learn that when the DVD of the new film comes your way, it will indeed be called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as it was in theaters. Look for it on May 11th, at least in the U.K - thanks to Bits reader Robert John Shepherd (also the technical director for DVD Reviewer magazine) for the tip.

How about some Criterion news? The company will release a DVD version of Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes are Flying on April 16th (featuring a new digital transfer and improved English subtitle translation). Also due then is Grigori Chukhrai's Ballad of a Soldier (featuring a new digital transfer, improved English subtitle translation and a new interview with the director and stars Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko). April 16th will also see the DVD release of Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le Flambeur (featuring a new digital transfer, a video interview with actor Daniel Cauchy, a radio interview with the director, a stills gallery, a trailer and improved English subtitle translation). Aspect ratio for all is 1.33:1 in B&W (audio is mono for all three). Each carries an SRP of $29.95.

And don't look now, but Criterion's also producing a new DVD release of Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. More on that soon.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/13/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

We've got some good news for you this morning! Universal has just officially launched their Back to the Future website! That can only mean that the DVDs are on the way. We've been hearing July, but that date's been more uncertain as of late. We'll do some digging and see if we can confirm a street date for you.

But that's not all. We've also got some other good Universal news for you today. We've managed to confirm the street date for their oft-delayed, long-awaited Legend: Ultimate Edition! Check The Rumor Mill for that.

Now then... we've gotten some busywork done here at The Bits this morning too. We've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include the last week of January (ending 1/25). Some 165,310 players shipped during the week, taking the total for the month to 542,698. All charts have been updated accordingly. We've also archived the recent My Two Cents columns to make browsing them quicker. And we've updated our mirror copy of Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to the latest version too.

You may have noticed a few other changes around the site this morning. They're all cosmetic, but they're designed to make the site more accessible and easier to use. First of all, we've changed all the font sizes to be absolute instead of relative. That's not a big deal to most of you, but some will definitely appreciate the difference. We've also resized and repositioned the pages to look good at both 800x600 and 1024x768 resolutions. We've got a snazzy new background image for you 1024 readers too. And you may have noticed that we've added new buttons on the nav bar (on the top left side of the page), linking you to Todd's Doogan's Views section, as well as an Advertise section that will soon be coming online. And that's just the first of several things we're working on behind the scenes here to bring you a faster, better Bits. ;-)

Stay tuned...


Yes indeed... the Oscar nominations are in. And my favorite film of the year Lord of the Rings topped the list with 13 nominations, including a nod for Best Picture. Here's the nominees in the major categories (visit for the complete list):

Best Picture - A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge

Best Director - Robert Altman (Gosford Park), Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), David Lynch (Mulholland Drive), Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down)

Best Actor - Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind), Sean Penn (I Am Sam), Will Smith (Ali), Denzel Washington (Training Day), Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom)

Best Actress - Halle Berry (Monster's Ball), Judi Dench (Iris), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge), Sissy Spacek (In the Bedroom), Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones's Diary)

Best Supporting Actor - Jim Broadbent (Iris), Ethan Hawke (Training Day), Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Jon Voight (Ali)

Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Helen Mirren (Gosford Park), Maggie Smith (Gosford Park), Marisa Tomei (In the Bedroom), Kate Winslet (Iris)

Best Screenplay (Original) - Milo Addica and Will Rokos (Monster's Ball), Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums), Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (Memento)

Best Screenplay (Adaptation) - Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World), Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman and Roger S.H. Schulman (Shrek), Rob Festinger and Todd Field (In the Bedroom), Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)

CNN actually has a great printable ballot that lists all the nominees, so you can play the "at home game". The 74th Annual Academy Awards will be held on March 24 here in Los Angeles. Congratulations to all the nominees and good luck!

Now then... we've got early word on 20th Century Fox's plans for the Hughes brothers' From Hell. You'll find that in today's update of The Rumor Mill. And be sure to check out Todd's Oscar picks for 2002 - that's in the Doogan's Views section.

Stay tuned...


Some news for you today. You fans of David Lynch might be pleased to learn that his Eraserhead is finally going to be released on DVD. But there's a catch - it's not going to be in stores. You'll only be able to get it at It MAY initially be available only to paying members of the site, but it will later be available for purchase to anyone. You will also reportedly be able to buy a DVD of some of the director's short films (Alphabet, Grandmother, Six Figures, Amputee and Frenchman and the Cowboy). We'll post details when they're available.

Columbia TriStar has revealed the street date for their DVD release of Michael Mann's Ali. Look for it in stores on April 30th. No word yet on features. Their 2-disc Jerry Maguire: Special Edition will also street the same day, as will the Not Another Teen Movie: Special Edition.

L.A.'s own Dave's Video is going to be holding another charity DVD signing event on Saturday, March 2nd (from 1 to 3 PM). The guest this time will be director Kevin Smith, and he'll be signing copies of Miramax's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. As always, you can get 2 items signed, one of which must be a copy of the DVD purchased at Dave's. A portion of the profits will go to a charity of Smith's choosing. The address for Dave's is: 12144 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604.

Yahoo has a story today on the recent availability of DVD players for under $100 in many stores. The focus of the article, in particular, is what you might be sacrificing for the nice price. Worth a look.

You R2 fans of Ridley Scott's Legend should be happy next month. Word is that the film will be released on DVD in Region 2 on March 8th. However, this will NOT be the special edition version currently being readied for release by Universal in Region 1. Look for that long-delayed title to be released here in the States by the summer. One other Universal note (and consider this a rumor): we're now hearing that the studio's Back to the Future Trilogy on DVD has again been delayed from its tentative July release date, possibly out of a desire to re-release the films theatrically first. Hopefully, we'll hear more soon.

In other news, word is that Buena Vista is putting the finishing touches on a Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Vista Series DVD. Look for that to be announced in the coming weeks. And we're hearing that New Line's more extensive Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings DVD, currently slated for November, will be a 4-disc set. A movie-only edition is due in August.

Finally this morning, here's some more upcoming DVD cover art for Fox's Behind Enemy Lines (street date 4/23) and The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season (5/14), along with Miramax's The Others (TBD) and Serendipity (4/9).

Behind Enemy LinesThe X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season

The OthersSerendipity

And for you Oscar watchers, don't forget that the nominees for the 74th Annual Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow morning, bright and early (5:30 AM Tuesday PST - 8:30 AM EST)! Click here for the details.

Stay tuned...


Well... I just got back from DreamWorks' preview event for Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The 2-disc set, which streets on March 5th, features some 2 hours of behind-the-scenes material. DVD producer Laurent Bouzereau was the only documentarian allowed on the set of the film during its production, and he compiled numerous interviews with the cast and crew, including Spielberg, Jude Law, Haley Joel Osment, creature effects guru Stan Winston, composer John Williams and more. We've got the disc, so we'll be giving it a spin. Watch for our review soon.

We've also heard that Artisan Entertainment will finally release their Frank Herbert's Dune: Special Edition DVD on April 23rd (SRP $26.98). NO ONE is looking forward to this as much as I am, believe me! The 3-disc set will feature a director's cut with over 30 minutes of new footage, audio commentaries by Frank Herbert (since he's dead, perhaps using archived interviews?), director John Harrison and star William Hurt, a Science Fiction Round Table Discussion documentary with prominent writers, directors and scientists including John Harrison, Richard Dreyfuss, Salman Rushdie, George Lucas, Alexa Poryas, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Crichton, Charles Elachi, William Gibson and Arthur C. Clarke, the Defining Messiah documentary with religious scholars of all faiths, ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN VIDEO (yeah!) and dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Click here to preorder at DVD Planet. You guys at Artisan... as SOON as you have a copy of this available for review, send it over! Can't wait for this one...

In other news today, we've got word on upcoming title announcements. ADV checks in on 3/26 with Farscape, Volume 11. Anchor Bay will release Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Return to Horror High, Transylvaia 6-5000 and Watcher in the Woods on 4/2. Look for The Big Sleep, Mountains of the Moon and Novocane from Artisan on 4/23. Columbia TriStar will release Husbands and Wives on 4/16, with Bare Witness, Butterflies Are Free and Cactus Flower following on 4/23. Image has set Thumbtanic for 4/9. Paramount has finally announced Atlantic City, Brotherhood and The Gambler for 4/14. 20th Century Fox has added Don't Bother to Knock, Let's Make Love, Monkey Business, Niagara and River of No Return (all classic Marilyn Monroe films) to its 5/14 slate. USA has announced Maybe Baby for 4/9 and The Man Who Wasn't There for 4/16. And Rhino has The Junpier Tree due on 4/23.

Okay, so I've gotten the new computer, and most of my weekend will be spent getting it up to speed. No rest for the weary. I am, however, going to take a break now and then to watch the Olympics. I'm not big on the Summer Olympics, but the Winter Games are right up my alley. Sports where people climb on tiny little sleds and race down a mountain head first on an ice track at 80 miles an hour? Now THAT'S good TV. ;-)

A note to review applicants: I'm having trouble sending e-mail right now, so please be patient if you're waiting to hear back from us. The new PC should take care of that.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the games!


Once again, it's a slow news day, so we're reading more review apps. But there's a fantastic article on widescreen TV broadcasts over at MSNBC. Upside magazine editor Eriq Gardner has put together a great piece on the subject. There's even a clip Blade Runner that shows the difference between widescreen and full frame. Nicely done - and mandatory reading for those few of you who still complain about black bars. ;-)

Also this morning, remember that case where the RIAA challenged anyone to try and crack their new secure digital music encryption scheme... and then a professor at Princeton and his students succeeded? The professor wanted to publish the team's results, but was then sued by the RIAA claiming it was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Well, there's been a new development that's worth reading about (click here for more). Looks like the RIAA got its hands slapped for making such threats, though not as harshly as the researchers would have liked. This is really fascinating stuff.

Warner has also revealed some details on their upcoming Friends: The Complete First Season (street date 4/30 - click here to order via DVD Planet). The set will SRP for $69.98 and will contain all first season episodes in their original full frame aspect ratio with English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio. These episodes will contain additional footage (as was seen with Warner's previous Best of Friends DVD releases), along with the Friends of Friends featurette on guest appearances during the first season. Also included will be A Peek at Central Perk (an interactive map with insider stories from the crew), the How Well Do You Know Your Friends? trivia game, The One with The Trailer of Season 2 (which we presume is a sneak peek at the next DVD release) and cast profiles. Remember folks... you asked for Friends on DVD. So if you want more (and more Warner TV product on DVD in general), make sure you let 'em know it with your dollars.

Stay tuned...


Today's a bit of a slow news day DVD-wise, other than the expected write-ups about Harry Potter (click here and here if you're interested). So we're spending the afternoon going through more reviewer applications. If you're one of the first group of people we asked to submit a sample review, we'll try to get back to as many of you as possible over the next day or two.

Just FYI, there's also a couple of news stories up today about the increased profits of (due to DVD) and potential sale of MGM. Click here and here for those.

On a personal note, I'd like to send a big IN YOUR FACE to major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig, whose plans to contract my hometown Minnesota Twins have been foiled for at least a year. One of these days, Bud... bang, ZOOM! Right to the Moon. You're talkin' to a fan who keeps his Kirby Pucket signed Game 7, 1991 World Series ticket under glass, man. Now all you Minnesotans out there... get on the horn with your public officials and demand that these new ball parks get built (click here and here to make your voices heard)! Don't make me hafta come back there and knock some heads together...

Allrightey then. We're back to hangin' with our bad selves, reading review apps. So... peace out, I guess. Snap? Snap. Definitely snap.

(LATE UPDATE - 2/5/02 - 10 AM PST)

Sort of getting lost in the shuffle of all the Potter-mania today, are a couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal (available online only to subscribers, but its in the print issue today) and on MSNBC (click here for the story) about how DVD pricing has many in the industry going crazy... and not in a good way. Bottom line - some studios and rental giant Blockbuster want rental pricing for DVD and they want it now.

Now then... we've got a more detailed spec list on the Harry Potter DVD. And I have some initial thoughts on the title too. First the specs...

Disc One

Includes the film in either anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) or full frame (1.33:1) versions. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 (English and French - dubbed in Quebec) with English and French subtitles. Extras on Disc One include trailers and more.

Disc Two

Includes never-before-seen footage prepared especially for DVD, a 360-degree IPIX self-guided tour of Hogwarts (including the Gryffindor Common Room, The Great Hall, Harry's Room, Hagrid's Hut) controlled by your remote, new interviews with director Chris Columbus and producer David Heyman, a tutorial on how to play Quidditch (with an original Quidditch montage featuring Oliver Wood and Harry) and the Catch a Snitch game (play with your remote). There are also many interactive games that give you the chance to "have a wand choose you at Ollivander's Wands", "meet the ghosts of Hogwarts", "cast a spell over a scene in eight languages", "create potions correctly or wind up in the Infirmary", "sneak past Fluffy and other challenges to reveal the secret in the Mirror of Erised", "transfigure objects", "open a screaming book", "enjoy video highlights of the students and professors" and much more. The disc also includes many interactive DVD-ROM features that allow you to "be sorted by the Sorting Hat", collect Wizard Trading Cards, download "flying owls in the Great Hall", "Quidditch screensavers" and "your own Rememberall". You can also receive "owl e-mail messages", play Apple game demos and more.

All right, so that's the DVD. Now my thoughts. Glancing at this material, this DVD looks like it will be a TON of fun for kids. But I was hoping for a little more balance on this title. I understand that a huge effort's been made to please the kids here. But the Harry Potter books took over the New York Times bestseller lists not JUST because kids were buying them, but because adults were too. And while there's lots of fun interactive games here for the kiddies, if you're a more adult fan of this film, the offerings look a little lean. Okay, so there's new footage available on Disc Two. Where's the commentary with the director and the author on the effort to adapt the story to the big screen? How about one with the kids on the challenges of working on such a big film? Where's the in-depth documentary look behind-the-scenes at the making of the film? In short, there's little here for more serious film fans. And that's a shame. More and more, DVD is just becoming this platform for adding tons of interactive bells and whistles (many of which are cool, I'm sure). But once again, substance seems to be taking a back seat. How many times do we have to say this: "DVD should be about the FILM, not the bells and whistles."

Keep in mind that I haven't seen the actual disc. Maybe I'll be dazzled when I do. We'll see. Don't forget to take a look at the DVD artwork below. Thoughts?

(LATE UPDATE - 2/5/02 - 9:15 AM PST)

It's official. Warner Home Video has just announced the DVD release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for May 28th. The disc will be available in 2 versions - anamorphic widescreen and full frame (SRP $26.99 each). Each will be a 2-disc special edition, comtaining the following:

-Thrilling, new scenes completed specifically for the home video release.

-An in-depth, interactive tour that allows fans to experience Hogwarts as a first year student including the Great Hall, The Gryffindor Common Room and more.

-Visits to Snape’s, McGonagall’s and Flitwick’s classrooms which allow viewers to discover the “secret” at the heart of the DVD.

-Captivating interviews with producer David Heyman and director Christopher Columbus providing insights into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

-A visit to Diagon Alley that provides access to Gringott’s Bank, Ollivanders Wands (fans can be “chosen” by a wand) and Eeylops Owl Emporium.

-A lesson in Quidditch that allows viewers to catch a Snitch with their remotes.

-An opportunity to cast a spell over Harry and his friends that will let viewers watch them perform a scene in eight different languages.

-A visit to Hogwarts’ library which allows users to open a screaming book, catch a clue to the Mirror of Erised, choose video bios of favorite characters and meet the ghosts of Hogwarts.

-DVD-ROM features worthy of the Hogwarts House Cup include the following: An enhanced, personalized tour in real-time of Hogwarts, including Hagrid’s Hut, the Great Hall and Harry’s room, which allows users to experience the magic of Hogwarts firsthand! Viewers can look in all directions as well as view a split screen of forward and reverse views simultaneously.

-Unique and exclusive electronic trading cards that allow users to collect and trade online.

-Magical Harry Potter game demonstrations that will put users in the spotlight as they allow players to take on the role of Harry and to navigate through Hogwarts. An additional game demonstration offers users an “activity center” in which they can create their own version of Harry’s world.

-Personalized owl emails that will allow users to receive Harry Potter updates and information.

-A sorting by the Sorting Hat that gives users the opportunity to be assigned to one of Hogwarts’ houses.

-Video biographies that will allow viewers to become better acquainted with the Hogwarts faculty.

-Downloadable screensavers and remembralls.

Here's a look at the DVD cover artwork itself (widescreen version on the left), along with the main menu screen.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (widescreen)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (full frame)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - DVD main menu

You can expect a massive media campaign for the title, tied in to the release of the 5th J.K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this summer and the next film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which is expected in November.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/5/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

We'll be back later this morning (sometime between 9 and 11 AM PST) to give you all the details on Warner's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone DVD. And we've got a few things for you to check out in the meantime too...

First up, we've got a trio of new DVD reviews, including Breaking Away and The Sandlot from Fox (via our own Dan Kelly) and MGM's Runaway Train (the second review offering from new review guru Drew - okay, one too many rhymes there maybe).

Also this morning, we've kicked off a new Trivia Contest, which gives five lucky winners the chance to take home copies of Ghost World, Babylon 5 and "O" on DVD, along with cool Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers T-shirts and (as a grand prize) a Daniel Clowes-signed copy of the Ghost World graphic novel! Get your entries in fast!

And finally, we've got a couple of upcoming DVD cover scans to tide you over until we update the actual Upcoming DVD Cover Art section. Here's a look at Fox's The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season (street date: TBA/May) and Universal's K-PAX: Collector's Edition (March 26th). Enjoy!

The Simpsons: The Complete Second SeasonK-PAX: Collector's Edition

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 2/4/02 - 4 PM PST)

We've got some reviews for you today! Todd's turned in his new Doogan's Views column, which features a look at MGM's Ghost World, Columbia TriStar's Glitter and Image's Joanie Laurer: Wrestling Superstar - Nude (no kidding!). Plus, we've got Greg Suarez's look at Paramount's Apocalypse Now, plus their recent Apocalypse Now: Redux. And we've got more reviews on tap for tomorrow.

For those who still doubt that X-Files: Season Five will be 16x9, here's an excerpt from the Fox's hot-off-the-wires press releases: "All episodes from The X-Files fifth season are compiled on six dual-layered discs and are available in anamorphic widescreen (aspect ratio 1.78:1), a first for any of The X-Files DVD Collections." Rock on!

One last thing today. A lot of people have been asking when we're going to update our Upcoming DVD Cover Art section. We deliberately haven't updated it in a few weeks to keep bandwidth down until we're moved to our new server. That should be done in a week or two, so you can be sure that the first thing we do is post TONS of new artwork. Patience until then.

Don't forget to check back with us tomorrow morning for all the details on Warner's upcoming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone DVD.

Stay tuned...!

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/4/02 - 11:45 AM PST)

Okay... so was that a Superbowl or what? One of the biggest upsets ever in the history of the championship, decided in the last few seconds by a lowly kicker. And a damn fine halftime show too by U2. Hats off to the New England Patriots for a helluva football game. For once, the Superbowl was more interesting than the commercials.

We'll be back with more later, but I wanted to jump in here to let you all know that we've updated the CEA DVD player sales charts to include the 176,563 players that shipped in the third week of January. The DVD format has now officially crossed 27 million players here in the States. Let's see D-VHS top that. ;-)

And speaking of D-VHS, we've moved our look at the new format from my daily column below to its own special feature page. That will keep it more readily accessible in the future. By the way... thanks to everyone who sent in e-mail saying they appreciated the story. We'll keep our eye on it.

One last note this morning. Don May, Jr. has let us know that Synapse will release the 1952 classic Invasion U.S.A. - The Atomic Edition on DVD on May 7th (SRP $24.98). The disc will include a brand new windowboxed (1.33:1) digital transfer, two original Civil Defense Department audio recordings on the alternate audio tracks (The Complacent Americans and If the Bomb Falls: A Recorded Guide to Survival), the 1956 re-issue theatrical trailer, the original controversial "Red Scare" short film, Red Nightmare (starring Jack Webb), CONELRAD 100: Film Encyclopedia of the Top 100 Best Atomic Films Ever Made and new video interviews with stars Dan O'Herlihy, William Schallert and Noel Neill, made specifically for this DVD release. Hey Don - I darned well better get a copy of this siffy disc!

Back in a little while. Stay tuned...


Here's a rare Saturday update to let you all know that a few more upcoming DVDs have just been announced. A&E has added Peter Gunn Set 1&2 and Tom Jones to their 3/26 slate. Buena Vista has added High Heels and Low Lives to their 4/9 releases, along with Serendipity (also 4/9) and Texas Rangers on 4/16. First Run is releasing Aberdeen and Cool and Crazy on 4/23. Rhino will release their Gumby: Box Set on 3/26. Fox's Black Knight and The Deep End are now set for 4/16, with Behind Enemy Lines and Dunston Checks In due on 4/23. X-Files: Season Five follows on 5/14, and The Man from Snowy River and Pagemaster arrive on 5/28. You Trey Parker and Matt Stone fans will be thrilled to learn that USA will release Orgasmo on 4/23. And finally, Universal will officially release Mulholland Drive on 4/9 as predicted.

That's all for now. Enjoy the weekend!


A lot of people have been asking why the recent James Bond Collections on DVD are so hard to find. The reason is that MGM has placed them on moratorium until the release of the untitled Bond 20 later this year. But fear not - MGM and Best Buy are teaming up for a big 007 DVD promotion. Look for the festivities to begin this summer, featuring the return of the DVD box sets, leading up to the release of the new film.

In other news, we've confirmed with 20th Century Fox that their The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season (street date: May 14th) WILL be in anamorphic widescreen after all. There was some question, but Fox says the episodes are in 16x9. Good news indeed.

A quick update on The Final Countdown. Numerous readers are reporting that, upon contacting Pacific Family Entertainment, they're being told to expect the discs to begin shipping in "two to three weeks".

Also, on April 9th, MGM will release No Man's Land on DVD (SRP $26.98 - includes anamorphic widescreen and full frame video & Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono audio in Serbo-Croation with English subtitles). Following on April 23rd is The Learning Curve (SRP $26.98 - includes anamorphic widescreen and full frame video & Dolby Digital 5.1 in English). And look for Holiday Heart from the studio in June.

All right, that'll do it for this week. We're off to go through more new reviewer applications and try to enjoy the Superbowl this weekend (hope it's not the blowout it looks to be). See you back here on Monday!

(LATE UPDATE - 1/31/02 - 2:30 PM PST)

Okay... I know you all want to hear more about D-VHS. So let me just get a couple of quick news items out of the way. First up, Dimension and Buena Vista have just officially announced the DVD release of The Others for May 14th. The 2-disc release will SRP for $29.99. There's no word yet on extras, but I think anamorphic widescreen at least is safe to assume. Also announced today is Miramax's Serendipity (street date April 9th, SRP $29.99). This will include audio commentary with the director, his production diary, 16 minutes of deleted scenes, a 30-minute "making of" featurette, a still gallery, storyboards and more. And Max Keeble's Big Move is set for June 18th (SRP $29.99) with deleted scenes, a featurette, interactive games and an audio commentary with the cast, director and producer.

Now then... on to D-VHS. I was fortunate to attend a demonstration of the new format this morning, and specifically to see the high-definition D-Theater platform first hand. I've written a new special feature story to give you all a glimpse of what's ahead. So here's D-VHS - A First Look at a New Format. Enjoy!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/31/02 - 1 AM PST)

First up this morning, we've got a rundown of some of the cool DVDs that 20th Century Fox has in the works for the first half of the year. Did I hear someone say The Hustler: Special Edition? Can you gimmie a nice loud "From Hell"? Oohhhh, yeah! You'll find those titles and more in The Rumor Mill. Yessir... good upcoming DVD news is like a song of salvation to salve the soul.

Speaking of souls, we've stolen another one to join our sinister ranks here at The Bits. He's the first of several new reviewers we'll be announcing over the next week or two. And damn if he isn't a ringer! That's right, the newest member of The Digital Bits rat pack is none other than Drew Feinberg, the man who puts the... uh, Drew... in Drew's Script-O-Rama! He applied for the gig and so we asked him to review any title he wanted for his audition. He picked Miramax's Rounders... which, frankly, convinced Todd and I pretty much on the spot that his particular brand of kung-fu is right up our alley. Here's the man himself to say a few words to all of you:

I'm Drew, the new kid in class... please refrain from blowing spitballs my way. I'm one of those types of grumps who profess to love the movies, yet wind up hating about 80% of what they see. But like a moth to the flame, or Cuba Gooding Jr. to appallingly heinous roles, I can't help but come back for more. I figure that if I'm going to suffer through movies starring Jason Biggs, I might as well share the pain with you guys. Besides, for every four Boys and Girls-type dreck of the world, there's a Magnolia, and I'm willing to wade through the mountains of chaff to get to get the wheat. Whatever chaff is.

I must confess, when I was but a wee child, I told people my dream of one day reviewing DVDs, preferably on the Internet. Sure, people looked at me strangely and asked things like, "What's the Internet?" or "Has your mother considered upping your dosage?" But being the patient fella that I am, I simply waited for both things to come into existence. Now Jupiter is aligned with Mars, and I thank The Bits for giving me my chance to make my lifelong dream come true. Now I'll have to work on my next dream... getting an mLife of my own. Whatever an mLife is.


Okay... it's Bill again. Now I ask you, who can still have a dry eye after a howdy-do speech like that? No doubt about it - Drew's gonna fit in here just fine. Welcome aboard, comrade!

Here's a little bit of the old "what goes around comes around" - just a day or two after MGM took New Line to task over the whole Goldmember/unauthorized parody of a Bond title thing, Universal's obtained a restraining order to prevent MGM "from stating or suggesting, directly or indirectly and in any advertising, marketing and/or distribution of 'Rollerball' that anybody responsible for the creative content of 'The Fast and the Furious' also is responsible for the creative content of 'Rollerball' and ... from stating or suggesting that those two movies were made by the same individuals or teams of individuals." Swwaaa-TISH! You can read all the gory details here and here. This would all seem pretty ridiculous if it wasn't so damn funny. Oh, hell... it IS ridiculous. As Arthur, King of the Britons might say, "On second thought, let's not go to Hollywood. It tis a silly place."

All right, if all that melodrama isn't enough for you this morning, we also have the complete transcript of an online chat our friends over at The Home Theater Forum held with DVD producer Van Ling on Tuesday evening. How do you like them apples?

Now then, I'm off to catch a few winks and then head on up to JVC's official D-VHS shin-dig this morning. More on that this afternoon when I return. Stay tuned...

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