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):
(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
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
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.
(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
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
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
Rumor Mill for that.
Now then... we've gotten some busywork done here at The
Bits this morning too. We've updated the
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
Cents columns to make browsing them quicker. And we've updated
our mirror copy of
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
Views section, as well as an
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. ;-)
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 Oscar.com
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
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
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)
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
Rumor Mill. And be sure to check out
Oscar picks for 2002 - that's in the
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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 -
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.
Today's a bit of a slow news day DVD-wise, other than the expected
write-ups about Harry Potter (click
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.
On a personal note, I'd like to send a big IN YOUR FACE to major league
baseball commissioner Bud Selig,
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 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...
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.
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
(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
-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 Snapes, McGonagalls and Flitwicks
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 Gringotts Bank,
Ollivanders Wands (fans can be chosen by a wand) and Eeylops
-A lesson in Quidditch that allows viewers to catch a Snitch with their
-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 Hagrids Hut, the Great Hall and Harrys 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 Harrys 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.
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.
(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
Sandlot from Fox (via our own Dan Kelly) and MGM's
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
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!
(LATE UPDATE - 2/4/02 - 4 PM PST)
We've got some reviews for you today! Todd's turned in his
Doogan's Views column, which features a look at MGM's
World, Columbia TriStar's
Laurer: Wrestling Superstar - Nude (no kidding!). Plus, we've
got Greg Suarez's look at Paramount's Apocalypse
Now, plus their recent
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.
(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
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
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 -
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
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
- A First Look at a New Format. Enjoy!
(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
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
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
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
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
transcript of an online chat our friends over at
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...