UPDATE - 8/12/02 - 4 PM PDT)
Well... here's the last post for today. We're very pleased, as always,
to bring you the latest column from Robert Harris. This time around,
Robert talks about aspect ratios and runs down some new and forthcoming
titles he feels are worth looking out for on DVD. So with that, here's
Ratios - Salve for the Soul. And don't forget... when you're
done with the column, you can click on over to
official thread for this column at The Home Theater Forum
for lively discussion. Enjoy!
And one last quick note - we've just updated the
Top 100 Films on DVD list to reflect Paramount's announcement
of Sunset Boulevard.
See you back here tomorrow with some new DVD reviews. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/12/02 -
2 PM PDT)
Keep it comin', keep it comin'! Here's the rundown on a whole batch of
new DVD announcements for you, studio by studio...
Buena Vista will release Son's Room
on 10/8, with Felicity: The Complete First
Season, Once and Again: The
Complete First Season and Sports
Night: The Complete Series following on 11/5. Elite
Entertainment is bringing their I Spit on
Your Grave: Millennium Edition to market on 11/26. Lions Gate
(via Trimark) will release It Had to be You
on 10/8, with Liberty Stands Still
and They Crawl following on 10/15.
And Lion's Gate separately will release Beat:
Special Edition, Harvard Man
and Trial of Old Drum on 10/29.
MGM's Windtalkers is due 10/15,
with R and Unrated versions of Y Tu Mama
Tambien on 10/22. MPI will deliver a 6-disc release of War
and Remembrance on 10/29. Music Video's Butthole
Surfers: The Blind Eye Sees All arrives on 9/17, with Stan
Getz/Alto Madness: Cool Summer following on 10/1, Guided
by Voices: Some Drinking Implied and Korn:
Korngraphy - Unauthorized Biography on 10/15, and John
Miles: In Concert on 11/15. In a very cool turn, Paramount's
announced The Sum of all Fears for
10/29, along with Houseboat, Italian
Job, Roman Holiday,
Sunset Boulevard and To
Catch a Thief, all on 11/5. Palm/Manga will release End
of Eva on 9/24. Rhino will release Get
a Life #2 and Silverchair: Across
the Night - The Making of Diorama on 9/10 and Ed
Sullivan's Rock 'n' Roll Classics #1: Hits of 1965-67, Ed
Sullivan's Rock 'n' Roll Classics #2: Hits of 1967-70 and
Ed Sullivan's Rock 'n' Roll Classics
(9 disc set) on 9/24. Also, Warner's Scooby-Doo:
The Movie debuts in both full frame and widescreen versions
on 9/10, with Insomnia following
on 10/15 in both full frame and widescreen versions as well.
We're not done yet - Image gets their own paragraph! Look for Dead
One/Monstrosity, Doctor Gore
(aka: The Body Shop), Grand
Slam, Keith Jarret: Solo Tribute,
Naked Witch/Crypt of Dark Secrets,
Rattlers and Revolver
(all on 10/1), 8 1/2, Can
You Keep It Up For a Week?, Curb
Dogs: Freestyle #1, Curb Dogs:
Freestyle #2, Freshest Kids: A
History of the BBoy, Germany Year
Zero, Good Rockin' Tonight: The
Legacy of Sun Records, Hyper
Police #2, Mick Fleetwood Story:
Two Sticks and a Drum, Mozart:
Magic Flute - Drottnighholm Court Theatre, Snowboarding
Old School: The Very First Contest, Ute
Lemper: The Thousand and One Lives of Ute Lemper and Yellow
Teddybears (aka: Gutter Girls)
(all on 10/8), Diamond Arm, End
of the St. Petersburg/Deserter, Hercules
Against the Moon Men/The Witch's Curse, Kingdom
of the Crooked Mirrors, Ruslan and
Ludmila, Stalker, All
Monsters Attack!, Perfectly Legal,
Playboy Exposed: Spring Break - Greatest
Moments, Playboy: 2003 Video
Playmate Calendar and Tale of Tsar
Saltan (all on 10/15), Best
Arbuckle Keaton Collection, The
Calling: Live in Italy - Music in High Places and Love
of Sunya (silent 1927) (all on 10/22) and Blunt
and Empire, Hopalong Cassidy: Call
of the Prairie/Heart of the West, Hopalong
Cassidy: Cassidy of the Bar 20/Partners of the Plains and
Scrooge (all on 10/29).
Okay... now we're done. For now. ;-)
Back soon with more!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/12/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
We've announced the winners of our
Contest, so congrats to all and thanks to everyone who
entered. To say this was a popular contest would be an understatement!
Also, we've got a quick update in
Rumor Mill today that you fans of Kevin Costner's Dances
with Wolves are definitely not going to want to miss. 'Nuff
Back with more later...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/12/02 - 11:30 AM PDT)
Okay... hope you all had a restful weekend, 'cause we're going to be
hitting you with multiple posts today.
First up, we've updated our
DVD Player Sales chart to include the final week of July
(ending 7/26), and thus now have the complete July numbers - some
890,417 players shipped to retailers here in the States during the
month. All listings have been updated accordingly.
Next up comes word that Columbia TriStar has officially announced the
DVD release of Men in Black II for
11/26 (see the artwork below). The 2-disc set will
be available in separate versions - widescreen and full frame. We expect
details on disc specs to follow shortly. Boy... November sure is gonna
be an expensive month for DVD fans!
Moving on, we've got a look at MGM's November DVD line-up. Look for
Decameron, A Great Wall,
Madame Bovary, My
Father's Glory, My Mother's Castle,
Spetters and Too
Beautiful for You on 11/5, with The
King is Alive following on 11/19.
And we've got a little cover artwork treat for you this morning too - a
look at Warner's South Park: The Complete
First Season (11/12), Insomnia
(10/15) and the live-action Scooby-Doo
(9/10). All of the titles below can be pre-ordered right now at
DVD Planet by clicking
on the cover art. Enjoy!
We'll be back with more, and to announce the contest winners, in a
little bit. Stay tuned...
We've got a mod set of reviews for you today! Adam Jahnke weighs in
with his take on a set of four 1960's spy caper flicks recently released
on DVD by Fox:
Like Flint and
Man Flint. So if that's your bag... have at 'em! Think I'm
gonna have to check out Fathom
myself. Raquel Welch, baby! Can't beat that. By the way, with those
titles, we officially cross the 1,100 DVD titles reviewed mark here at
In other news today, Warner Bros has officially announced the DVD
release of Christopher Nolan's Insomnia
remake. Set to debut on 10/15 (SRP $26.98), the disc will be available
in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. Each will include
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in English and French (dubbed in Quebec),
subtitles in English, French and Spanish, audio commentary by director
Christopher Nolan (presented in the order the film was shot), audio
commentary by Hilary Swank and filmmakers, 180°:
A Conversation with Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino
(on-camera interview), the In the Fog
featurette (an exploration of the film's cinematography and the design
of the "fog" sequence with two separately selectable audio
tracks; one with director of photography Wally Pfister and the second
with production designer Nathan Crowley), the Day
for Night: The Making of Insomnia documentary, the Eyes
Wide Open featurette (on the real sleep disorder), and
extended scene with optional director's commentary, the From
the Evidence Room gallery of theatrical posters, stills and
production designs, the film's theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM weblinks
to the film's website and live online events. I really liked this film,
as well as the original (available on DVD from Criterion and reviewed
so this should be a fun disc.
Also this morning, we've got an exclusive sneak peek at the cover
artwork for Columbia TriStar's as-yet-unannounced DVD releases of Men
in Black II (also in both anamorphic widescreen and full
frame versions). They come from "an unnamed source". I think
from now on, all unnamed sources here at The
Bits are gonna credited as Alan Smithee. So thanks for
sending these in, Alan! ;-)
Don't forget that our
closes on Sunday night, so keep those entries coming in!
And we'll be back on Monday with some great new reviews and a special
feature as well. See you then!
(LATER UPDATE -
8/8/02 - 1 PM PDT)
Okay... last update for today. Columbia TriStar will be releasing Mad
About You: The First Season on DVD on 10/29 as a 2-disc set.
No other details are yet confirmed.
Also, we have a features rundown on Warner's South
Park: The Complete First Season, which streets on 11/12 (SRP
$39.98). Look for "irreverent audio commentary for all thirteen
episodes from South Park creators
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Jay Leno's South
Park guest appearance as formerly seen only on The
Tonight Show, two classic Christmas music videos that haven't
been unwrapped since their original airing in 1997: Cartman's O
Holy Night and Ned's O Little Town
of Bethlehem, priceless on-camera intros to all thirteen
episodes from Parker and Stone, and the original on-air promos for the
(LATE UPDATE - 8/8/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Here's another bit of news that will affect your home video habits in
the next decade. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted 3-1
today to mandate to electronics manufacturers that all TVs must include
over-the-air digital tuners by 2007 (read
more via CNN). Furthermore, all TV sets with screens of 36 inches
and larger must have the tuners by July, 2004. This is being done to
speed the complete conversion to digital television in the States, which
has been slowed by industry reluctance and other political issues. In
response, the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) said manufacturers
believe the mandate could add $250 to the cost of TVs, for a device most
people will never use. Why? Simple - because most people in the United
States these days don't get their TV signals over-the-air. They get them
via cable and direct broadcast satellite. Broadcasters on the other hand
(represented by the National Association of Broadcasters, or NAB) are
happy about the new FCC mandate, because they themselves are being
required by the FCC to broadcast over-the-air digital signals by 2006,
and what's the point if no one can see them? Makes sense, right?
Well... there's a player here that's being overlooked, and I think it's
time someone put the pressure on them - cable companies. More than 70%
of all households in America get their TV signals via cable, and cable
companies are feeling little to no pressure to carry digital (and
particularly HD) signals. Even the companies that do provide digital -
like our own Cox Communications here in Orange County, California -
carry no high-definition channels. And you'd think that if you have a
digital TV and a digital cable service, they'd work together, right?
Think again. That digital signal terminates at your cable box, and then
gets converted to analog for the journey the last couple of feet to your
digital TV. It's ridiculous. If the FCC wants to do some real good, it
should pressure cable companies to join over-the-air broadcasters in
complying with DTV and HDTV standards. Otherwise, they'll keep using the
same old excuse: "We'll provide this service when our customers
ask for it" (click
here for the official wording).
(EARLY UPDATE -
8/8/02 - 2 AM PDT)
Well, it's finally happening. Discussions have officially begun between
the major Hollywood studios about how to move forward with a packaged
HD-DVD format. Representatives from each of the studios
a little over a week ago to begin looking at HD-DVD format options
and timetables. There seem to be 2 basic camps: those that want to use
existing red-laser technology and those who want to use a new disc
format based on higher-capacity Blu-Ray discs and blue lasers (see
EETimes story from March for more on this). The red-laser camp is
spear-headed by Warner Bros, which has a tremendous investment in
existing DVD technology. Their idea would use ultra-high MPEG-4 video
compression algorithms (and/or another compression scheme developed by
Microsoft, called Corona) to squeeze high definition video onto,
basically, existing DVD discs. The good news about this idea is that it
could be brought to market as early as late 2003 (and some aspects of
the format could be compatible with existing DVD machines). The bad news
is that it could (and we believe would) seriously degrade video quality.
Our apologizes to Warner Home Video president Warren Lieberfarb, but
our preference here at The Digital Bits
is firmly with the other camp - the blue-laser option. Until we see a
demonstration of truly high quality, high-definition video using this
new red-laser compression, we remain unconvinced. Could we be wrong?
Well somebody had better demonstrate it to us or we aren't buying it.
The bottom line is simple: if you're going to do high-definition DVD,
let's make it truly high-definition! HD-DVD absolutely MUST be as good
or better than D-VHS, which currently offers an MPEG-2 video bit rate of
28.2 megabits per second and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio at 576 kilobits per
second. Blue-Ray is more than capable of this. Red-laser based
technology is not. Sure, blue-laser might take a little longer to get
right, but so what? Current DVD is doing just fine, thank you, and you
can use the extra time to figure out a copy-protection scheme robust
enough that it won't get cracked in a couple months by some teen-aged
kid in Norway. If HD-DVD is to successfully follow in the footsteps of
DVD, it absolutely MUST offer a clear and substantial quality
improvement over DVD, as DVD offered over VHS and laserdisc. Even IF
that happens, HD-DVD is going to remain a tough sell to all but the most
avid early adopters. Everyone else is going to stick with the new
standard DVD players they just recently upgraded to.
Look, when it finally arrives, we're the first guys in line for HD-DVD,
believe me. Nobody wants it more than we do. But in the rush to get it
done, let's not forget that the "HD" part of HD-DVD is
supposed to mean HIGH DEFINITION. Not "somewhat improved definition"
or "nearly high definition". Warren? All you other studio
execs? You listening? We sure hope so, 'cause we plan to hold your
collective feet to the fire on this.
Don't make us stop this car and come over there.... ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 8/7/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
We've posted another pair of new DVD reviews for you today - Graham
Greenlee's look at Artisan's
to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog and Dallas Ragan's take on Warner
Surf for Guitar: Volume 1.
By the way, both Graham and Dallas have shiny new Digital
Bits e-mail addresses, so be sure to drop them a line and say
We've also kicked off our latest
which will give each of you a chance to win one of five copies of The
Simpsons: The Complete Second Season on DVD. You've got until
12:01 AM PDT on Monday, August 12th to enter, so good luck!
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/7/02 - 11 AM PDT)
We've got some cool upcoming DVD news for you today. First of all, MGM
has announced the DVD release of Windtalkers
for 10/22 (SRP $26.98). The disc will feature both anamorphic widescreen
and full frame video, along with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.
That same day, MGM will also release dual R-rated and Unrated versions
of Y Tu Mama Tambien (SRP $26.98
each). Each disc will feature anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby
Digital 5.1 sound.
Here's a look at the cover artwork for both titles...
In addition, Paramount will release The Sum
of All Fears on 10/29 (MAP $19.95). The disc will include
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, 2 commentaries by
director Phil Alden Robinson (one with novelist Tom Clancy and one with
cinematographer John Lindley), 2 behind-the-scenes featurettes (on the
making of the film and the visual effects) and the theatrical trailer.
In other news, our old friend Don May, Jr.'s updated
news page over at Synapse Films with some new details
about their upcoming titles. Be sure to check it out.
And there's word
over at BTTF.com that the Back
to the Future Animated Series is being prepped for DVD
release in 2003.
Around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to reflect the 217,043 players that
shipped to retailers in the week ending July 19th. All charts have been
We've also updated Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to its most recent version, dated July 22nd.
Back soon with more!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/6/02 -
1 PM PDT)
We've just posted a trio of new DVD reviews for you this afternoon.
First up is Todd Doogan's look at Miramax's
Fiction: Collector's Edition, which streets on 8/20. We think
you fans of the film are going to be very happy at long last. Next up,
we've got two more reviews from Graham Greenlee - MGM's
and Columbia TriStar's recent
Mothman Prophecies. Watch for more new reviews tomorrow.
And in another cool bit of news today, we've got word from YouTwo.net
that the rock group U2 is working on a pair of new DVDs to go along with
their November "best of" CD. The first is expected to be a
compilation of their video singles, and the other will feature their
performance at Slane Castle last year.
Now rush right out and pick up your copy of Lord
of the Rings! Watch for a new Trivia
Contest tonight and we'll be back with lots more tomorrow.
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/6/02 - 11 AM PDT)
Here's some good news for you Wim Wenders fans! Anchor Bay has just
announced that they're releasing some nine of the director's films on
DVD! Among the films included are The
American Friend, Notebook on
Cities and Clothes, Nick's Film:
Lightning Over Water (these are the first three, set for
later this year), along with The Scarlet
Letter, Chamber 666 and
others following in 2003. Very good news indeed.
On a related note, I have it from sources at MGM that Wenders'
acclaimed Wings of Desire will be
released as a special edition in 2003 as well.
Also on a related note, I'm hoping MGM will get around to releasing
Akira Kurosawa's Rhapsody in August,
and that Warner Home Video will release Wim Wenders' Until
the End of the World and Kurosawa's Dreams.
I'm just not going to be happy until all of Kurosawa's films are on DVD
in Region 1.
In other news, Warner Home Video will release Christopher Nolan's
remake of Insomnia on 10/15 in
dual full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions (SRP $26.98 each).
And it looks like Canadian fans of Brotherhood
of the Wolf will be treated to a 3-disc special edition DVD
version of the film on 10/1 from TVA International (SRP roughly $60
Canadian). Here in America, Universal is only releasing a single disc
version on that same day.
Back with reviews and more this afternoon. Stay tuned...
Well... we're back from Comic-Con, where we had another great DVD
Producers Panel. I'm going to be working on a transcript, but
it will probably take a week or so to get it up, just FYI. Today is sort
of our "get back in the swing of things" day, but in case you
missed it, we posted our in-depth review of New Line's 2-disc
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings DVD on Friday
night. It's well worth the money, just for the film alone (along with
the previews of the 4-disc set and The Two
Towers), even if you plan also to buy the 4-disc set later.
You'll find a mail-in rebate offer in the case for $5 off the 4-disc
set, which is a nice touch. So anyway, enjoy the review!
In the meantime, we've got more upcoming DVD announcements for you
today. Artisan delivers Desert Saints
on 9/17, and Black Point, Johnson
County War, Joyride,
Little John, Playaz
Court, The Pool, Raw
Meat (aka: Victim of Love),
Rose Hill, Say
Nothing, Shell Seekers,
Surviving Gilligan's Island, To
Dance with the White Dog and What
Killed the Mega Beasts all on 9/24. BMG Music will deliver
The Calling: Wherever You Go/Adrienne
on 8/27, Black Sabbath: The Black Sabbath
Story #1 and Black Sabbath: The
Black Sabbath Story #2 on 9/10, and Christian:
En Grande and Roy Ayers: Live at Ronnie Scott's on 9/24.
Columbia TriStar's added Lady and the Duke
and Nine Queens to it's 9/10
slate, along with Enough and I
Spy Returns on 10/8. Criterion/Home Vision has set Rocking
Horse Winner and Seance on a Wet
Afternoon for 9/24. Then Criterion follows with the Down
by Law: Special Edition and The
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp on 10/22. Elite will deliver
Patrick on 10/22. As you already
know, HBO's Band of Brothers
arrives on 11/5. New Line's Brother's Keeper
streets on 10/8. Palm Pictures' Scratch
streets on 8/13. Red Distribution will launch Def
Leppard: Hysteria on 8/27. Universal will release Law
and Order: The First Year on 10/15 and About
a Boy in dual full frame and widescreen versions on 10/22.
Warner Home Video's Richie Rich's Christmas
Wish debuts on 10/8. Warner Music streets The
Art of Piano: Great Pianoists of the 20th Century and The
Art of Singing: Golden Voices of the 20th Century on 8/27.
And finally, Warner will also release National
Geographic: Lost Subs on 11/5, National
Geographic: Ambassador, Inside the Embassy on 11/26 and National
Geographic: PT-109 - Kennedy's Lost Ship on 12/17.
Okay, tomorrow we'll be back with more news and reviews. And we've got
another Robert Harris column coming in the next few days as well.
One last note this morning... I managed to catch a really great flick
on Friday afternoon - M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.
It's genuinely creepy and well crafted. It reminded me a lot of George
Romero's Night of the Living Dead.
I happily add that to Sam Mendes' Road to
Perdition (my early favorite for Best Picture), Sam Raimi's
Spider-Man and Joel Zwick's My
Big Fat Greek Wedding on my list of films I've enjoyed most
so far this year. And if you go a little farther back, Bill Paxton's
Frailty is right there too. Is it
just me, or has this been a banner year for good flicks so far?
(LATE UPDATE - 8/2/02 - 10:30 PM PDT)
Oh hell... we just couldn't wait until next week to post our review of
New Line's 2-disc
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring DVD, which
contains the theatrical version of the film. So you'll find it available
for your reading pleasure right now. We've also corrected a few details
in Graham's review of
Apartment as well, just FYI.
Enjoy and we'll see you back here on Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/2/02 - NOON PDT)
We've just announced the winners of our
Contest, so if you entered, be sure to check that out. We've
also just posted a pair of new DVD reviews from Graham Greenlee for you
today - Paramount's
of New York and MGM's
And with that, another week is in the can. And we're off to Comic-Con
in San Diego! Don't forget, our DVD Producers
Panel runs from 11:30 AM to 1 PM tomorrow, in room 6BCDEF.
Maybe we'll see you there!
In any case, we'll be back next week with lots more DVD news and
reviews, including an in-depth look at New Line's 2-disc The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring!
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/2/02 -
12:01 AM PDT)
You fans of NBC's Law & Order
will be pleased to know that Universal is taking their first foray into
releasing TV series product on DVD on 10/15, with Law
& Order: The First Year (SRP $99.98). There aren't a lot
of details yet on the set or its contents but we expect them soon.
I'll tell you this... judging by the number of e-mails we get every day
here at The Bits, there's a HUGE
appetite out there for TV shows on DVD. Seems like everyone's got a
favorite show that they just have to have on disc. Now if we could just
get Warner to pony up The West Wing
on DVD. And here's an obvious choice... thirtysomething
Also today, we have a report to make you Tim Burton fans happy in
Rumor Mill. Don't miss it.
Back later to announce the
winners. Stay tuned...
Yep... it's official. Lucasfilm's
Wars website has just announced the DVD release of Star
Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones for 11/12 (SRP $29.98
- preorders begin on 8/14). Separate anamorphic widescreen and full
frame versions will be available on the same day, each mastered directly
from the digital source material (VERY cool in our opinion). Here are
the official specs: 2-discs, full frame or anamorphic widescreen video
(2.35:1), English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and English, French and Spanish
Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio, THX-certified, feature-length audio
commentary (with writer/director George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum,
sound designer Ben Burtt, animation director Rob Coleman and effects
supervisors Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow), 8 deleted scenes
completed specifically for the DVD release with introduction by George
Lucas, Rick McCallum and Ben Burtt, the From
Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II
documentary, the State of the Art: The
Previsualization of Episode II documentary, the Films
Are Not Released: They Escape sound documentary, 3
featurettes (on storyline, action scenes and love story), Star
Wars.com's Making Episode II
12-part web documentary, the R2-D2: Beneath
the Dome "mocumentary" trailer, John Williams' Across
the Stars music video, international poster art and print
campaign gallery, the original theatrical teaser and launch trailers
plus 12 TV spots, production photo gallery, ILM Visual
Effects Breakdown montage, HoloNet
News website and DVD-ROM weblinks to special DVD-only website
with exclusive content.
Here's a look at the final DVD cover artwork for both versions (click
here to see a larger image of the widescreen disc)...
So then... have yerselves a great day, Force fans! ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 7/31/02 -
1:30 PM PDT)
Hey... what do you know? HBO has just officially announced the DVD
release of Band of Brothers for
11/5 (SRP $119.99). Packaged in a 6-disc, embossed, metallic case,
you'll get the entire miniseries in anamorphic widescreen video
(mastered from high-definition), with audio in English Dolby Digital and
DTS 5.1 (along with English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Surround). Extras will include the 80-minute documentary We
Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company, a 30-minute
Making of Band of Brothers
featurette, actor Ron Livingstons behind-the-scenes Video
Diaries, a featurette on HBOs premiere screening of the
miniseries on the beaches of Normandy, an optional, enhanced viewing
mode called Field Guide (an
interactive reference feature, which details the people, places and
events associated with Easy Companys campaigns through Europe and
WWII as a whole), character biographies, weblinks to the Living Memorial
and other relevant sites, a still photo gallery, episodic previews and a
series index. Here's a look at the final cover artwork...
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/31/02 - 11 AM PDT)
Morning all! It's a slow news day so far and we're busy gearing up for
the Comic-Con DVD Producers Panel
today. But we do have an interesting bit of information in
Rumor Mill this morning - one that you Band
of Brothers fans will want to check out.
(LATE UPDATE - 7/30/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Okay... we've got a nicely eclectic batch of DVD reviews for you today,
retro titles all. First up, we've got Adam Jahnke's spin on DreamWorks'
recent special edition of Steven Spielberg's
Artificial Intelligence. Then, our own Dan Kelly harkens back
to his youth with Rhino's
Villains. To follow that up, we've got a pair of reviews from
two new DVD staffers here at The Bits.
We're proud to welcome aboard future "Golden God" Dallas
Ragan, who gives us his thoughts on Warner Music's
Guitar Basics (The Ultimate Beginner Series) DVD. And we're
also pleased to welcome Graham Greenlee, who waxes fondly over
it Ride. See? Told you it was an eclectic bunch of reviews.
Hey - that's just the cut of our jib... the lay of our land... the color
of our world... the-- okay, you get the idea.
Stay tuned... ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE -
7/30/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We've got your first look at the cover artwork for a trio of upcoming
Buena Vista TV series titles on DVD: Sports
Night: The Complete Series, Felicity:
The Complete First Season and Once
and Again: The Complete First Season (street date for all:
11/5). We've also got the final art for Paramount's Saturday
Night Fever: 25th Anniversary DVD Edition (street date:
(LATE UPDATE - 7/29/02 - 3:30 PM PDT)
My in-depth review of Paramount's upcoming
Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - Director's Edition is now
available. The long awaited 2-disc set streets next Tuesday, and I think
you'll all be very pleased with it.
We've also updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers this afternoon, to include the
131,650 players that shipped to retail in the second week of July
(ending 7/12). All charts have been updated accordingly.
And we've kicked off our latest
in which five lucky winners will take home a copy of 20th Century Fox's
M*A*S*H: Season Two DVD set.
You've got until 12:01 AM on Friday to enter, so don't miss it.
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/29/02
- 10:45 AM PDT)
You know... I'm in a pretty good little mood today. I just found out
that one of my favorite recording artists, Peter Gabriel, is releasing a
new, 13-track studio CD (his first in 10 years) on September 24th,
titled Up. The
Gabriel website also mentions that all of his catalog of albums
have been digitally remastered "to be ready for the new formats of
DVD Audio and Super Audio CD". Plus, he's going on tour in November
and December here in the States. So that right there is enough to make
my month (and maybe we'll finally get a PG DVD or two as well - Secret
World Live anyone?).
Then comes news over the weekend (from Sony's Michael Schlesinger via
our good friend Robert Morris, who wrote an extensive book on the film)
that Lawrence of Arabia is going
to see a brand new 70mm theatrical re-release in September:
"Lawrence will open on 9/20 at the
Ziegfeld in New York, the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, and the Cinerama
in Seattle; the Senator, Baltimore and Music Box, Chicago are also
considering that date. The Castro, San Francisco jumps in a week later.
These will all be in glorious 70mm, with DTS where the theatre has it.
It'll then spread out to many other 70 dates across the country. We'll
also have some quad-track 35s for those poor, benighted odea that don't
So that just makes the week even better. Then we've gotten word of lots
of great new upcoming DVD announcements, as follows:
Anchor Bay will release Initiation,
Kind Hearts and Coronets, Ladykillers,
Lavender Hill Mob, Man
in the White Suite and the Society:
Special Edition (all on 9/10). Artisan's Foxfire
is also on the way in September (9/24). Columbia TriStar has set Enigma,
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control,
Hanky Panky, Shamus,
Vampires: Los Muertos and Vanya
on 42nd Street (for 9/24), The
Collector (for 10/1), The Big
Picture and Three Stooges: G. I.
Stooge (for 10/8) and Mr. Deeds
(for 10/22 in both full frame and widescreen versions). Criterion will
release the Down by Law: Special Edition
and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
(on 10/22). Paramount has added 9/11: The
Filmmakers Commemorative Edition (on 9/10), The
Carol Burnett Show: Showstoppers and Lucky Breaks (10/8) and
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: Special
Edition (10/22) to its upcoming slate. Sony's got Iron
Maiden: Rock in Rio coming (on 8/20). And finally, 20th
Century Fox has added Life or Something Like
It and The Rats (to
10/15) and The X-Files: The Complete Sixth
Season (to 11/5).
How's that for a good way to start your Monday?
Now... here's something that's not so good -
potentially scary bit of news. Our "friends" at the MPAA
and RIAA have officially introduced a bill in U.S. House of
Representatives that would dramatically rewrite federal law to permit
them to legally hack into peer to peer networks and create nearly
unchecked electronic disruptions if a copyright holder has a "reasonable
basis" to believe that piracy is occurring. Keep in mind that peer
to peer networks are basically made almost entirely of end user
computers, so they're asking for legal power to tap into YOUR computers,
at their sole discretion, to cause disruptions. Think about that for a
minute. Angry yet? You should be. Here's another link on this at
And you can read
actual bill (in PDF format) here.
By the way, the bill is being introduced by Howard L. Berman, a
Democrat from California. Wanna guess who donated the largest share of
ol' Howard's campaign contributions? You guessed it - the entertainment
here to see.
Okay, moving on... the
website has confirmed that work is already underway on Paramount's
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Special
And yes... we've heard those rumors posted by
it Cool News about Paramount releasing the Indiana
Jones Trilogy for the holidays next year. This may very well
be under discussion, but it's way too early to start talking about a
release that's officially unconfirmed and is more than a year away. And
how many times have we heard this now? We've decided that we're not
going to post anything on this until we're confident that the discs are
in production. But we'll let you know when and if this becomes more
Finally this morning,
word via the L.A. Times that Miramax has closed a $7
million dollar deal to release the first two seasons of MTV's The
Osbournes on VHS and DVD. Look for both censored and
uncensored versions, with the first season coming this fall. Per the
Prince of Darkness himself, there will be no bubbles...
Now then... we'll be back later with more DVD reviews, including Star
Okay, we're closing this week out with a last trio of new DVD reviews.
Adam's Jahnke's got some thoughts on Paramount's
Man for you, Greg Suarez checks in with a look at Paramount's
in the Hall: Brain Candy, and Matt Rowe's given another music
title a spin - Projekt Records's
of the Earth: A Desert Dreamtime Journey. We'll be back with
more new reviews next week, including Paramount's Star
Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn - Director's Edition.
In other news today, DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox and Universal have
officially announced the next wave of D-VHS high definition titles they
plan to release. Coming soon are Independence
Day, Big Momma's House,
Entrapment and Don't
Say a Word from Fox (street date 8/6 - SRP $34.98),
DreamWorks' Galaxy Quest (8/20 -
SRP $44.99) and Universal's End of Days
(also 8/20 - SRP $44.99). Personally, I'd love to see Universal's Apollo
13 on D-VHS... hint, hint guys!
And we've got a quick blurb in
Rumor Mill today on a possible release date for Fox and
Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode II.
I expect official details to be released any time now. In fact, I'd be
surprised if Lucasfilm doesn't break the news at Comic-Con next weekend,
if not sooner.
Now then... have a great weekend. Go see Goldmember
or one of the best movies Todd and I have seen in a LONG time, Road
to Perdition. Now that's a good flick. Hard to believe it's
only Sam Mendes's second film... and his first was the Best
Picture-winning American Beauty.
See you back here on Monday... ;-)
Continuing our DVD review line-up this week, this morning we've got
Greg Suarez's look at Paramount's
Secret!, Jeff Kleist's take on Fox's upcoming
Simpsons: The Complete Second Season (which streets on 8/6)
and Adam Jahnke's spin on MGM's
Special Edition. And yes, we'll have more reviews tomorrow!
In other news today... how do you like this?
gonna be marketing Disney-branded DVD players in the near future.
The company is already starting with phones and radios in conjunction
with Motorola. Cute for the kids I suppose. Anyone up for a DVD player
with mouse ears? ;-)
Okay... we're kicking off the day with another trio of new DVD reviews.
First up, I've got my take on New Line's
II: Platinum Series, which streets on 9/3. Next, our own Jeff
Kleist takes a look at Fox's new
Season Two Collector's Edition. And we also have a new staffer
joining us here at The Digital Bits
Adam Jones is a freelance writer living in Costa Mesa, California. His
fanatical passion for movies began when his dad took him to see Raiders
of the Lost Ark when he was six years old. The desire to
become a writer came along after reading a beat up copy of The
Shining, while the other kids were flipping through How
to Eat Fried Worms. Adam wants to have a voice, and he's
hoping you'll listen. He checks this morning with his first DVD review
for The Bits - a look at Columbia
Hawk Down. Be sure to drop him a line and say hello at:
(the address should be live later this morning). Welcome aboard, Adam!
Now for the big news of the morning: Paramount has officially announced
the DVD release of their Star Trek III: The
Search for Spock - Special Collector's Edition for October
The 2-disc set will include the original theatrical cut of the film on
Disc One, in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
You will also find feature-length audio commentary with director Leonard
Nimoy, writer/producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles
Correll and actress Robin Curtis, along with another text commentary by
Michael and Denise Okuda. Disc Two will include the Captain's
Log production retrospective featurette (featuring new
interviews with Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Christopher Lloyd and
Robin Curtis), the Terraforming and the Prime
Directive featurette (which looks at the science fiction and
real subject of "terraforming", featuring an interview with a
NASA scientist), 3 additional production featurettes (Space
Docks and Birds of Prey, Speaking
Klingon and Klingon and Vulcan
Costumes), the film's theatrical trailer, storyboards and a
photo gallery. Note that the street date and features have been
officially confirmed with the studio.
Around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 187,442 players that
shipped to retailers in R1 in the first week of July (ending 7/5). All
charts have been updated accordingly.
And finally this morning, our own Jeff Kleist will be moderating the
Otaku No DVD panel this weekend at
Baltimore, MD. Otakon is a convention devoted to east Asian culture,
with a particular focus on Japanese animation (anime). It features 7
video rooms with high quality sound and projection, as well as a
dedicated 35mm theater for showing classics of Asian cinema. Otakon is
held in the Baltimore Convention Center. Jeff's panel is on Sunday
afternoon (12:30 PM EDT), so if you're attending, be sure to check it
(LATE UPDATE - 7/23/02 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Our own Todd Doogan returns to action here at The
Bits today after a long absence! And he's checked in with
reviews of a whoppin' nice trio of new DVDs: Criterion's
Beard, Anchor Bay's
Monster Party and Synapse's
Image. So - recapping - you've got classic Kurosawa, a lost
Rankin/Bass "Animagic" gem and a funky little art/porn flick.
Now that's a helluva triple feature in anyone's book! S'good to have
Doogan back, innit?
And don't worry... we haven't forgotten about Blade
II! It's coming along with several other reviews through the
end of the week. So stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/23/02 - 11:45 AM PDT)
Yep... it's that time of year again. The
Digital Bits is once again going to be heading down to
Comic-Con in San Diego this year, and yes... those of you who attend can
look forward to our DVD Producers 2002
panel discussion! You may remember
years' panel, which was a big hit with attendees. Nearly two
thousand people packed the room to hear our panelists talking shop. This
year, we've got another great batch of panelists (some of whom return
from last year and some new panelists as well), industry professionals
all: Charles de Lauzirika (Speed:
5-Star, Black Hawk Down: SE),
J.M. Kenny (Dances
with Wolves: SE, Evening with
Kevin Smith), David Prior
(Pearl Harbor: Vista, Blade
II), Michael Pellerin (Beauty
and the Beast, Lord of the Rings)
and Mark Atkinson (Almost
Famous: Untitled, American Beauty).
I'll be moderating the discussion once again, and our panelists will be
previewing some of the great upcoming DVD special editions they're
currently working on. It should be a lot of fun. And, like last year,
we'll post a transcript of the discussion here on The
Bits after the show for those who can't attend in person.
But for those who CAN make it, DVD Producers
2002 will be held on Saturday, August 3rd, from 11:30 AM to 1
PM at the San Diego Convention Center (room 6BCDEF). Hope to see you
Now then... we'll be back this afternoon with more new DVD reviews.