UPDATE - 10/11/02 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Okay... we've just posted a trio of DVD reviews for you. Matt Rowe's
given a look at Image's
Rundgren: Live in Japan. Jeff Kleist checks in with a review
of BMG's reissue of
Cranberries: Beneath the Skin - Live in Paris (version 2.0
this time - compare it with Greg Suarez's
of the original disc from 2001). And Graham Greenlee's got a look
at an older, family title... Disney's
Princess Diaries (widescreen version of course).
Watch for the new Trivia Contest
later this evening. And we've got a BIG review slate for next week.
Monday will see our reviews of HBO's Band of
Brothers and Paramount's Star Trek
III: Collector's Edition. And later in the week, look for our
in-depth thoughts on Fox's Ice Age
and New Line's 4-disc Lord of the Rings: The
Fellowship of the Rings - Extended Version as well.
One quick note - we've confirmed the Suncoast R2-D2:
Beneath the Dome DVD exclusive. It is happening, and may also
be available at all Musicland Group stores (which include Musicland,
Media Play, Suncoast and Sam Goody) as well as Best Buy (which owns the
Musicland Group). We'll let you know when we have exact street date and
So have a great weekend and we'll see you back here for all the
excitement bright and early Monday morning. Go Twins!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/11/02 - 11 AM PDT)
Yeah, you read that right. We've been getting e-mails all morning from
employees of Suncoast stores. Apparently, they've made some kind of deal
with Lucasfilm to have an exclusive DVD available only at Suncoast
stores (and possibly Musicland Group stores as well): the complete R2-D2:
Beneath the Dome "mocumentary" (the trailer for
which is on the Episode II DVD).
Word is the disc will be available on 12/26. Consider this a rumor until
we can confirm it. Is anyone else getting sick and tired of these
You Star Trek fans in R4 have
something to look forward to...
the package design for Paramount's upcoming Star
Trek: Deep Space Nine DVDs. The R1 design will likely be
similar, but without the plastic outer case (similar to The
Next Generation DVDs). We'll post that cover art as soon as
it becomes available.
Around the net today, there's
AP story on the "under the radar" progression of
DVD-Audio and SACD. There's also
piece by Variety's Scott Hetrick on how DVD special
editions are now becoming available on pay-per-view at roughly the same
time they arrive in stores. As an example, the new extended cut of Lord
of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings is going to
available for viewing on Direct TV just three weeks after its DVD debut.
And finally, there's
business story about Sony and Pioneer resolving a DVD patent
dispute in China.
We'll be back in a few hours with some DVD reviews and a new Trivia
Contest. And be sure to check back on Monday, when we'll post
a review of HBO's awesome new Band of
Brothers 6-disc set (street date 11/5).
(LATE UPDATE -
10/10/02 - 2:15 PM PDT)
Some 30+ members of the media gathered on Tuesday morning at the Robert
Zemeckis Center for the Digital Arts (just off the USC campus in Los
Angeles) to attend 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm's press event for the
DVD release of Star Wars: Episode II.
The event began with a breakfast and tours of the Digital Center,
followed by a THX-sponsored demonstration of the disc's picture and
sound quality, as well as a walk-through of the special edition
materials on the 2-disc set.
As last year, the host for the event was Lucasfilm's VP of Marketing,
Jim Ward. And on hand to answer questions were several member of the
film and DVD production team, including Rick McCallum (the film's
producer), Rob Coleman (animation director), Frank Oz (the voice of
Yoda) and DVD producer Van Ling.
Ward started by answering a number of questions related to the disc. I
asked him if the DVD marketing campaign for Episode
II was altered in any way given that the 4th quarter has
become so crowded with other blockbuster titles. His response: "Sure,
a little. But the great thing about this is that we know we can count on
Star Wars fans to be there.
They'll buy the disc no matter what else is out there."
Van Ling's responsibilities on this DVD included the creation of all of
the animated menu screens for the set, using both film images and all
new CG animation, as well as coordinating with the various technical
facilities involved in the disc's production (authoring, compression,
etc). According to Ling, the menus were generated in more than a dozen
languages (with multiple versions of the menu sometimes done in each
language), as the disc is being released worldwide simultaneously. All
told, more than 200,000 frames of new animation were rendered for the
menus. And work on the DVD began very early during the film's
Producer Rick McCallum noted this in particular. "Jim [Ward]
forced George and I to start thinking about the DVD a lot earlier, and
to start prepping stuff for Van and Pablo [Helman]." Many of you
may remember that the Episode I
DVD came out more than a year and a half after the release of the film
to theaters. The goal with Episode II
was to release the DVD in the "normal" time frame after the
theatrical release, which meant that there was much less time to get the
On the issue of digital technology and filmmaking, McCallum noted that,
"George has gone crazy. We were still shooting eight days before
the release of the movie." McCallum claims that he knew it was
going to be a rough day for him when he'd get to work in the morning,
and the first thing George would say was, "Hey Rick... wouldn't it
be great if...?"
McCallum was also asked about digital piracy, and the fact that
versions of Episode II are already
available on the Internet. His concern was obvious. "The issue of
piracy is so deep and so profound. Once the bandwidth is there for
anyone to download a movie in perfect quality, we'll have a huge problem
unless we address that. Movies will change because the money will go
away. The industry will implode unless we can stop the piracy."
Then Rob Coleman and Frank Oz were introduced to talk about the effort
to bring Yoda to life as a fully-CG animated character rather than with
traditional animation. Oz was very gracious, talking about how impressed
he was that the character had been "freed up" and could now
fully interact with the other actors. Coleman spoke about how nervous he
was when confronted with the task. "I was there for all the fan
reaction to Jar Jar, so with Yoda, I was afraid I was never going to
work again. But George believed in us." I asked him if there was a
moment during the production when, finally, he knew the CG Yoda was
going to work. "It was when I finally saw the shot where Yoda
pushes the Force lightning back at Dooku, and you can see the emotion on
his face - the "wizard" battle. Yoda was actually acting.
Seeing that, followed by the "gunslinger" shot [where Yoda
brandishes his saber] - that was when the butterflies finally went away
and I knew we could do it. But I was still a little nervous until I
finally saw the film with an audience for the first time and heard them
Once the Q&A period was over, lunch was served and the gathering
was treated to a special preview showing of the stage play Star
Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes. It's absolutely hilarious and had
the crowd rolling. It's definitely worth seeing when its official run
begins at the Coronet Theater in West Hollywood on 10/25 (visit
the official site
for more). Frank Oz actually went backstage to congratulate the actors
after the production. It makes you wonder if they'll eventually do the
complete Star Wars Saga in 1 Hour...
So there's the DVD event in a nutshell.
here for more on this 2-disc set via the official Star
Wars website, including a look at the menus.
Okay... now I'm gettin' back into bed to sleep off this head cold.
We'll be back tomorrow with reviews and maybe a new Trivia
(EARLY UPDATE -
10/10/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Well folks... up to my eyeballs in mucus or not, we've got some cool
DVD information to cover today.
First up, Buena Vista has revealed that their Signs
DVD will street on 1/7. In addition, they've got a great January slate
of classic live-action Disney titles due on 1/14 (SRP $19.99 each). They
include The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again,
Moon Spinners, The Computer Wore
Tennis Shoes, The Horse in the
Gray Flannel Suit and my favorite... The
Then in February, you'll get ESPN's Ultimate
X: The Movie, The Night and the
Moment, Jane Eyre, Into
the West, The Star Maker
and Citizen Ruth (all 2/4), Cinema
Paradiso: The New Version (2/18) and Spy
Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams - Collector's Edition
Columbia TriStar's also been quite busy lately. Their An
Evening with Kevin Smith streets on 12/17 (SRP $27.95). It
features anamorphic widescreen video, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
audio, and bonus trailers of other Kevin Smith films. As many of you
probably know, this program was shot over the course of several events
on Smith's lecture tour of college campuses, and it features many guest
appearances Askew fans will enjoy.
And the xXx: Special Edition will
street on 12/31 in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions
(SRP $27.95 each). Extras will include audio commentary by director Rob
Cohen, the A Filmmaker's Diary
documentary, several production featurettes (including Diesel
Powered, The GTO is Back,
Designing the World of xXx and
Building Speed: The Vehicles of xXx),
deleted scenes, script-to-screen comparisons, multi-angle
deconstructions, visual effects demos, the Adrenaline
music video by Gavin Rossdale, DVD-ROM extras and more.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/9/02 - 11 AM PDT)
Morning, gang! I wanted to drop in here quickly to let you all know
that I'm going to check back in tomorrow with more on that Episode
II press event, as well as other DVD news and disc reviews.
It seems in all the excitement that I've come down with a pretty nasty
head cold. So I'm gonna take my Alka-Seltzer Plus cold medicine like a
good website editor and try to get some rest.
Thanks for your patience and we'll see you tomorrow. ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/9/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
As promised, we're pleased to bring you our in-depth review of
Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox's upcoming DVD release of
Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. This 2-disc set
streets on 11/12, and is sure to become THE single coolest way to dazzle
your friends with your home theater equipment. The set features
absolutely stellar picture and sound quality. And yes, Virginia... the
all-digital transfer really IS as bitchin' as you imagine.
We'll be back tomorrow to talk more about the press event and bring you
other DVD news. So enjoy the review and stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/8/02 - 3 PM PDT)
Well... we've gotten our hands on the Star
Wars: Episode II DVD (street date 11/12). Our own Matt Rowe
and I have just returned from Lucasfilm's L.A. press event for the
release of the 2-disc set, and we've gone over both discs top to bottom.
So is the all-digital transfer really equal to all the hype? Is the
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack as good as Episode
I? Do the documentaries measure up to The
Beginning from the Phantom Menace
DVD? Tune in tonight to find out. We'll have our complete, in-depth
review of the Attack of the Clones
DVD posted at 12:01 AM.
See you then...!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/8/02 - 6 AM PDT)
Morning gang! We've got a few things going on behind-the-scenes here at
The Bits today, which we'll be
able to tell you about soon. In the meantime, our own Adam Jahnke's
checked in with our in-depth (and long overdue) review of Columbia
TriStar's recent 2-disc
Troopers: Special Edition DVD. It's well worth a spin by any
Around the Net today,
Washington Post has a good story up on the economic impact
that DVD is having on the landscape of Hollywood these days... and the
studios' accounting ledgers as well.
word of a new legal battle brewing over a company that's set to
begin marketing software that can rip a DVD and create exact (or almost
exact), "bit for bit" copies using a standard recordable DVD
drive. As one might expect, the studios are none too pleased.
Stay tuned... and be sure to drink your Ovaltine!
(LATE UPDATE -
10/7/02 - 3:30 PM PDT)
We've heard back from New Line on those 5.1 isolated music and sound
effects tracks. It's confirmed that they will not be on the disc,
contradicting the information they sent us a few days ago. Apparently,
they were to have been included originally, but they eventually had to
be dropped for disc space. The disc spec information we were sent simply
hadn't been updated. Hopefully, that explains the mix-up. The main
concern we have is that the DVDs feature the highest video and audio
bit-rates possible to maintain quality. All other extras are secondary
to the presentation quality of the film in our minds. So while it's
disappointing that the isolated tracks will not be included, it's
Also this afternoon, we've received word that Columbia TriStar will
release another set of SuperBit titles on DVD on 12/17. The next wave
will include the film version of The Who's Tommy,
Resident Evil and the animated
Heavy Metal 2000. Each disc will
include anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio.
SLP is $27.96 each.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/7/02 - 11:15 AM PDT)
Morning all! I hope this sunny Monday finds you all happy and well.
I'm in a very good mood today after my
Twins clinched a spot in the American League Championship Game
yesterday. Thanks to all of you who sent kind notes about this. I know
it has nothing to do with DVD, but allow me the moment. You longtime
readers probably know two things about me. I'm a Twins and Vikings fans
and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve about it. Not so many months
ago, during the last off-season, the Twins very nearly ceased to exist,
when Major League Baseball, the team's owner and commissioner Bud Selig
hatched a plan to contract them out of existence forever. Nothing could
be more painful to a longtime fan. The team was eventually saved by a
legal ruling at the 11th hour. And now here they are, one set of games
away from the World Series. Oh, what a difference a year makes. Whatever
happens - whether the Twins get to the Series or not - I know a few
things. They've proven to all of baseball that money isn't everything.
And they've already won something much more important than a world
championship to Twins fans - respect and the right to exist. And the
last thing I know, is that the ALCS is gonna be some seriously fun
baseball. So hats off to the Twins. Your fans... and all of baseball...
are in your debt.
Now then... this should be a fun week DVD-wise as well. We've got some
good things in the pipeline for the next five days. And we're kicking it
off with a couple of new DVD reviews. First up is Graham's take on
and the Beast: Platinum Edition, which streets tomorrow. And
the second is a new review from our own Robert Smentek - New Line's
X: Platinum Series, which also streets tomorrow. But before
you read the reviews, I'm sure you all want to know a little about
Robert. So here's what we know...
As an infant, Rob Smentek, was left under the
marquee of a South Jersey movie theatre swaddled in the Philadelphia
Inquirer's entertainment section. Virtually raised by the cinema,
Rob ingested a steady stream of films in virtually every genre. One of
his claims to fame is that he is one of six Americans who actually saw
Buckaroo Banzai during its brief theatrical run. As a young
adult, Smentek worked in several video stores, eventually leaving the
field to briefly attempt a career in punk rock.
Currently, Rob works as a editor for a major textbook publisher, and
has written film and music reviews for several online and print
publications. When glued to the TV watching DVDs and the Simpsons,
he writes an autobiographical comic book (called Rewind) and
plays bass guitar.
Sounds like a perfect addition to our motley band here at The
Bits, doesn't he? Welcome aboard, Robert! Drop him an e-mail
and say hello: firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way... we're also checking today on those
of the Rings 4-disc specs which we posted a few days ago. The
specs came directly from New Line, but now we're hearing from our
sources that the isolated score and isolated sound effects tracks have
been dropped from the movie discs. We'll post more as soon as we have
Yes... you read that number right up top. DVD rental revenues continue
on their record-breaking pace, having surpassed $2 billion for the
current year, and continue to claim an ever-increasing percentage of the
home video rental market, according to Bo Andersen, President of the
Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA). DVD rentals now account for
some 37% of all rental business.
And we have more upcoming DVD announcements today. ADV Films will
release Hello Kitty's Paradise: Pretty Kitty
on 11/26 and Farscape, 2.4 on
12/3. Buena Vista's new Walt Disney Treasures titles, Behind
the Scenes: Walt Disney Studio, The
Complete Goofy and Mickey Mouse in
Black and White, are due 12/3, while Halloween:
Resurrection follows on 12/10 and Final
Encounter (aka: For the Cause) arrives on 12/17. Want a
little X-rated anime? Try Central Park Media's La
Blue Girl Returns: Shikima Lust on 11/12. Their Twin
Angels #3 & #4 Cherry Red arrives on 12/3. Columbia
TriStar has added Fat City, Innocence,
My Wife is an Actress and Quicksilver
to its 12/10 slate, with Buying the Cow
following on 12/17 and XXX
officially set for 12/31 in both full frame and widescreen versions.
Delta Entertainment will release four volumes of New
Zoo Revue on 10/22. MGM will release Happy
Accidents on 12/17, with Making
Mr. Right, Much Ado About Nothing,
Music from Another Room, Mystery
Date, Secret Admirer,
Summer Lovers, True
Love and Tune in Tomorrow
following on 1/7. MPI will release Dark
Shadows, Set #3 on 10/29. New Line has set Hairspray
for 11/5 and The Invisible Circus
for 12/10. Manga/Palm will release Virus #1
on 11/26. And Synapse Films will release Cold
Hearts on 10/8.
And one again, we'll give Image Entertainment their own paragraph. Look
for The String Cheese Incident: Waiting for
Snow to Fall on 11/12, The
Adventures of Prince Achmed (silent - 1929), Blockade,
Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion
Davies/Quality Street (silent - 1927), Invaders
from Mars (1953 - U.S./U.K. versions), John
Canemaker: Marching to a Different Toon/Otto Messmer and Felix the Cat,
Days of Clichy and War and Peace
(1965 - Russian) all on 12/3, Anna Karenina
(1967 - Russian), Bride of the Gorilla,
Gentlemen of Fortune (Russian),
Hopalong Cassidy: Hopalong Rides Again/Heart
of Arizona, Hopalong Cassidy:
Rustlers Valley/Texas Trail, Irony
of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath (Russian), Ivan
Vasilievich: Back to the Future (Russian), Kidnapping
Caucasian Style (Russian), Momentum:
IMAX, Snow Maiden
(Russian), Starman #1: Attack from Space/Evil
Brain from Outer Space, Starman
#2: Invaders from Space/Atomic Rulers and Wonderful
Land of Oz/Jack and the Beanstalk (1970)all on 12/10, and
Champagne for Caesar, Exotic
Erotic Ball, Hyper Police #3:
Episodes #9-12, Les McCann and His
Magic Band: Live in New Orleans and Yosemite:
Lightdances all on on 12/17.
Finally, a lot of you have been asking about a possible special edition
of Brotherhood of the Wolf from
Universal. A basic, single-disc version streeted from them on Tuesday.
Well... there is a special edition available, but not from Universal.
There's a 3-disc Region 1 special edition available in Canada only, from
TVA Films. It reportedly includes the film in anamorphic widescreen
video, with audio in French 5.1 (with English subs) and English 5.1.
There are many featurettes and extras in French (with English subs),
along with a director's commentary that's in French only. The set is
selling for $31.99 US dollars
now at Thunder DVD. Keep in mind, however, that since we haven't
seen this set ourselves, we can't confirm the spec list. Just FYI.
We may drop back in later with more, but if not, we'll see you Monday
morning with reviews etc. Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/3/02 - 7 PM PDT)
Our own Robert Harris returns this evening with his latest column here
at The Bits. This week, Robert's
making a list (of musicals that is) and he's checking it twice. And I
had to format the damn thing, so I'm sending him all my carpel
tunnel-related bills. Here's
and More Musings from Robert Harris. ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/3/02 - 1 PM PDT)
All right... we've got some reviews for you. Our own Graham Greenlee's
taken Paramount's new
DVD out for a spin, and he's also looked at an older Miramax title too -
Wings of the Dove. And Matt Rowe's got his thoughts on another
Image music title,
Quartet: Kronos on Stage. All of them are worth a look on
Dallas Morning News has posted an online story on how
companies are jumping on the DVD bandwagon to promote their goods and
services. Word is
Paul McCartney is going to be releasing a live DVD on November
26th, Back in the U.S., featuring
more than 30 songs recorded during his recent tour.
there are also reports that Monsters,
Inc. sold more than 11 million videos and DVDs in a single
week, making its sales second only to the video release of The
Lion King (which just happens to be coming to DVD in 2003).
More importantly, 7 of those million Monsters
We'll be back in a couple of hours with Robert Harris' new column. Stay
To kick things off today, we've got a more comprehensive spec list for
New Line's 4-disc The Lord of the Rings: The
Fellowship of the Ring - Special Extended DVD Edition (11/12
- SRP $39.99). Here goes...
Discs One and Two - The Extended Version of
208 minutes (split over both discs), anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES, isolated 5.1 sound effects mix,
isolated 5.1 music track, Commentary Track One with the director and
writers (Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens), Commentary
Track Two with members of the design team (Grant Major, Ngila Dickson,
Richard Taylor, Alan Lee, John Howe, Dan Hennah, Chris Hennah and Tania
Rodger), Commentary Track Three with members of the production and
post-production team (Barrie Osborne, Mark Ordesky, Andrew Lesnie, John
Gilbert, Rick Porras, Howard Shore, Jim Rygiel, Ethan Van der Ryn, Mike
Hopkins, Randy Cook, Christian Rivers, Brian Van't Hull, Alex Funke),
Commentary Track Four with members of the cast (Elijah Wood, Ian
McKellen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic
Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee and Sean Bean).
Note: Discs Two and Three can be viewed in "explore" mode
with traditional menus or "tour" mode via a Play All feature.
Disc Three - The Appendices Part I: From Book
2 and 1/2 hours of documentary content, including J.R.R.
Tolkien-Creator of Middle-earth featurette, From
Book to Script featurette, Visualizing
the Story section featuring Storyboards
and Pre-viz featurette, Designing
and Building Middle-earth section featuring Designing
Middle-earth featurette, Costume
Design featurette and Weta
Workshop featurette, design galleries including The
Enemy, The Last Alliance,
and Lothlorien, interactive Middle-earth
Atlas with timeline, New Zealand
as Middle-earth intertactive map with video, disc
introduction with director Peter Jackson.
Disc Four - The Appendices Part II: From
Vision to Reality
3 and 1/2 hours of documentary content, including Filming
section featuring a production photo gallery and the The
Fellowship of the Cast featurette, A
Day in the Life of a Hobbit featurette, Cameras
in Middle-earth featuette, Visual
Effects section and featuette, Post-Production
section featuring Editorial
featuette and a multi-angle presentation, Digital
Grading featuette, Sound and Music
featuette and Sound Design Demo,
The Soundscapes of Middle-earth
featurette, Music for Middle-earth
featurette, The Road Goes Ever On
featuette, disc introduction with director Peter Jackson.
All told, the 4-disc set is expected to include over 30 hours of unique
content created just for this release (including the film and the
commentaries). The discs will also feature additional DVD-ROM content
and over 2,000 photos and conceptual sketches. And let me tell you...
we've seen a few of those featuettes. These aren't 5-minute EPK pieces.
They're much more substantial - 20 to 30+ minutes in many cases. Good
Now then... in a feature in today's print issue of Video
Store magazine, Warner reveals that they're gearing up to
release an 18-title Charlie Chaplin
Collection on DVD, starting in June 2003. Each title will be
digitally remastered and cleaned, and will be released as a 2-disc set
with numerous extras, including documentaries, outtakes, photo
galleries, alternate versions re-edited by Chaplin himself and other
material. They'll be available in 2-disc digipack (SRP $26.99) and
collector's box ($34.99 - also containing a booklet and film frame)
versions. All this is being done in association with MK2 and the Chaplin
family. The first three films tentatively due next June are The
Great Dictator, City Lights
and The Circus. More information
will be available at CharlieChaplin.com
in the weeks ahead.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/1/02 -
3 PM PDT)
Okay... how about a couple of reviews? It's been a while since I ponied
up with my thoughts on a disc, so I'm doing so this afternoon with a
look at Columbia TriStar's recent
vs. the Flying Saucers (now available) and Fox's
or Something Like It (street date: 10/15). Both Todd and I are
going to check in a little more often review-wise, and there are some
big titles to cover in the days and weeks ahead.
So check back tomorrow for more reviews, and watch for another column
from our own Robert Harris as well. See you then!
(ANOTHER EARLY UPDATE - 10/1/02 - 10 AM PDT)
We'll be back later with DVD reviews, but I wanted to jump in here with
word on a Paramount title that a lot of you have been asking us about.
The History of Beavis and Butthead,
a 32-episode collection, was originally slated for 9/24 but was recalled
at the last minute. Here's the story, straight from the studio:
"The box set is delayed because we have
decided to explore a new mix of B&B content with MTV and the
show's creators. We do not have a release date set for this new
However, some copies apparently got out before the recall, and are
selling on Ebay. So there you go. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/1/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning gang! Here's
tasty little Quicktime treat to get your day started right...
click on the link there to download the full theatrical trailer for The
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. December 18th just can't
come fast enough.
Say... does anyone know if New Line's got it in their minds to get
Jackson to go back and go a film version of The
Hobbit when this is all said and done? Sure would make sense
Back later this morning!
(LATER UPDATE - 9/30/02 - 2 PM PDT)
We've got MGM's complete slate for January 2003, which features a
number of Valentine-ready titles. Look for Much
Ado About Nothing, Mystery Date,
The Woman in Red, Music
from Another Room, Secret Admirer,
Summer Lovers, Making
Mr. Right, True Love
and Tune in Tomorrow, all on 1/7.
MGM has also officially announced the DVD release of The
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course - Special Edition for
12/17 (SRP $26.98). Look for anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital
5.1 audio, a "making of" featurette, the Lights!
Camera! Animals! featurette, deleted scenes with director's
introduction, "behind-the-scenes" effects footage, the Baha
Men music video, a "pop-up croc" trivia track, interactive
games, a photo gallery and trailers.
Also today, we've got one more
Mill update for you today with confirmed details on MGM's
forthcoming Dances with Wolves: Special
Edition, as well as a street date for their Barbershop.
Okay... given all the news today, we'll post our new DVD reviews for
you first thing in the morning. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
9/30/02 - 12:45 PM PDT)
Image Entertainment has announced the release of a DVD version of
Sergei Bondarchuk's 1968 version of War and
Peace (another version is due from Kultur on 11/26). But
Image's 4-disc version - due on 12/3 (SRP $69.99) - is much more loaded.
Expect anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1 aspect ratio), Dolby Digital
5.1 audio in Russian, English and French and 14 sets of subtitles on the
3 movie discs. The 4th disc contains all the extras, such as a "behind
the scenes" featurette, cast and crew filmographies, an art
direction and set design studies gallery, a documentary on Leo Tolstoy
and interviews with the actors, cinematographer, composer and Mosfilms
Studios president Karen Shakhnazarov. The film is also the longer,
431-minute version. Here's a look at the cover artwork...
And yes... that was Paramount's K-19: The
Widowmaker (12/3) and the final art for New Line's Austin
Powers in Goldmember (also 12/3). K-19
is expected to include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1
audio, audio commentary by director Kathryn Bigelow and cinematographer
Jeff Cronenweth, 3 featurettes, a "making of" documentary and
the theatrical trailer. Features on Goldmember
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/30/02 - Noon PDT)
Back again for another week. We've announced the winners in the
You'll find that above.
Next up, we've got a rundown of a bunch of new DVD announcements. ADV
Films will release Doomed Megalopolis
on 11/26. Artisan Entertainment has Two
Degrees and U.S. Seals: Dead or
Alive coming on 12/3 and Decoration
Day, Doppleganger, Greenmail,
Keys to Tulsa, Long
Walk Home and Wendigo
on 12/17. BMG Music had added Beneath the
Skin: Live in Paris #2 on 10/1, Long
Days Night on 10/8, Boonaroo Music
Festival 2002, Raul Di Blasio: El
Piano de America, Status Quo:
Anniversary Waltz and Taj Mahal:
Live at Ronnie Scott's on 10/22, Dave
Matthews Band: Live at Folsom Field on 11/5, and Drowning
Pool: Cinema and Uriah Heep: Gypsy
on 11/19. Buena Vista will release Country
Bears on 12/17. Capitol-EMI has added Blondie:
Greatest Video Hits to its 10/8 slate. Columbia-TriStar
debuts Happy Times and Three
Stooges: The Outlaw is Coming on 12/3. HBO Home Video will
release Gladiator Days: Anatomy of a Prison
Murder and Oz: The Complete Second
Season on 1/7. Ivy Video has The
Fighting Sullivans coming on 12/13. New Line has announced
Austin Powers in Goldmember for
12/3 (in both full frame and widescreen versions). Paramount will
release Damaged Care, The
Emperor's New Clothes and K-19:
The Widowmaker on 12/10. Roan Group will release Zulu
on 11/19, along with Helldorado/In Old
Cheyenne. 20th Century-Fox has set Like
Mike and The Shield: Season One
for 12/10, Unfaithful on 12/17 (in
both widescreen and full frame versions), The
First $20 Million (Is Always the Hardest) on 12/24, and Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Third Season on 1/7. Warner
Home Video has set Andrew Lloyd Webber:
Masterpiece - Live from the Great Hall of the People for
11/12 and Juwanna Mann for 11/19.
And finally, Warner Music will release Major
League Baseball: 30 Most Memorable Moments on 10/22, Veggie
Tales: The Star of Christmas and Veggie
Tales: The Toy That Saved Christmas on 10/29 and Staind:
MTV Unplugged and Usher
We've also got a look at Paramount's December slate in
Rumor Mill, along with a sneak peek at January and word on
more Star Trek DVDs.
Now then... we'll be back this afternoon with a review or two and more.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/27/02 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Okay... before we say audios for the weekend, we just had to post this.
Just when you thought it was safe for superhero movies in Hollywood
again, especially with Spider-Man
delivering big-time on its promise and The
Hulk and Daredevil
looking A-Okay to fans... along comes word that Warner Bros. is once
again set to gleefully screw the pooch on a beloved comic book
character. Yes, it wasn't bad enough that they put Richard Prior in Superman
III and rode the Batman
franchise head-first into the ground... now they've decided to "reimagine"
Superman. No shit. You heard that
right. They want to "reimagine" the mythology of the most
beloved comic book character in American history, the legendary Man of
Steel. Word is (see
this story at Ain't it Cool) that J.J. Abrams' new script
just got the green light by Warner, with Brett Ratner attached to
direct) features a Superman whose powers come from his suit alone (The
Man of Polyster and Spandex anyone?), and a Kryptonian Lex Luthor who
also has super powers. They also fight with Matrix-style
wire fu. And lemme tell ya, that's just for starters.
Hey Warner... why don't you just shove a Superman
collector's spoon in the eye of every comic book fan on Earth while
you're at it? If I could wish for just one super power right now, it
would be the power to "reimagine" whoever thought this was a
good idea at Warner right out of existance. I mean, come on! How hard to
you have to work to f@#k up Superman?
And how square do you have to be NOT to recognize that you're about to
f@#k up Superman? Jeez Louise...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/27/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
We're closing out the week with a trio of new DVD reviews... of new
DVDs no less! 'Bout time we kicked our review output in the pants. Todd
Doogan's back with a review of Synapse's forthcoming
of Blood (street date: 10/15). Graham Greenlee's got his
review of Universal's
Scorpion King as well (widescreen edition, naturally - street
date: 10/1). And Matt Rowe has delivered a look at Image's recent
Purple: Perihelion DVD (now available). We'll be back on
Monday with a look at more new and yet-to-be-released DVDs, including my
review of Columbia TriStar's Earth vs. the
Flying Saucers and much more.
But before we go, we've also got a quick update of
Rumor Mill for you as well - word on several big upcoming
titles that are due early in 2003.
And don't forget the Trivia
Contest, which ends Saturday night. Get your entries in quick.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned!
(LATER UPDATE - 9/26/02 - 1:30 PM PDT)
We've got the official skinny on those new D-VHS titles from Fox,
Artisan, Universal and DreamWorks. High
Crimes, Kiss of the Dragon
and Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes
will arrive on D-VHS from 20th Century Fox on November 5th (SRP $34.98
each). DreamWorks has added The Haunting
to their D-VHS slate (available now - SRP $44.99). Artisan entries in
this new batch are Van Wilder and
Basic Instinct (due in the 4th
quarter - SRP $34.98 each). And Universal has released Ron Howard's Backdraft
on D-VHS (available now - SRP $44.98).
(LATE UPDATE - 9/26/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Well... it's official. Columbia TriStar has just announced the DVD
release of xXx in dual widescreen
and full frame special edition versions on December 31st. Details and
cover art will follow. What's more, New Line has confirmed that Austin
Powers in Goldmember will arrive as an Infinifilm title on
December 3rd (as reported previously).
In other news, New Line's Hairspray
is also being re-released on DVD on 11/5 in (surprise) an Amaray keep
case. Warner will release another live concert/music title on 11/15,
this one a self-titled release by Usher,
complete with discography, bios and more. Kultur Video is releasing
director Sergei Bondarchuk's 1968 version of War
and Peace on DVD on 11/26. The 3-disc release will contain
the entire 6 1/2 hour program for an SRP of $39.95. And Synapse Films
has acquired the mondo classic Brutes and
Savages for DVD release in 2003 in an uncut, 100-plus-minute
Surprise! We also have a look at the cover artwork for Buena Vista's
upcoming release of the M. Night Shyamalan extraterrstrial thriller Signs.
Strangely, this isn't set to be a Vista Series release, at least
initially. No word yet on street date or features, but we expect that
Also, just FYI, a number of people are reporting a problem with
Disney's new Monsters, Inc. DVD.
The disc freezes up during playback at about the 84 minute mark on many
(but not all) brands of DVD player. Pioneer players seem most suspect to
this problem thus far - we're getting a LOT of reports of this from
Pioneer owners. We expect to hear something soon on this from the
(EARLY UPDATE -
9/26/02 - 11 AM PDT)
What do you know? We've got to hand it to George and the folks at
a comparison on the Star Wars website, using actual frame
grabs from the Episode II DVDs, to
show the difference between the widescreen and full frame versions of
the film. The only thing they neglect to mention is how good that
anamorphic widescreen version will look on a 16x9 TV. But, given the
amount of detail they do provide... you gotta give 'em credit.
In other news this morning, at the CEDIA home theater show in
Minneapolis today, three major national retailers announced support for
D-VHS. Best Buy, Circuit City and Sears will all carry the
high-definition players and tapes in their stores. Both Best Buy and
Circuit City already carried the format in some of their stores, but
with this announcement, they'll now roll-out the product in all their
locations by October. Sears will carry D-VHS in approximately 600 of its
stores. In addition, all four D-VHS studios - Fox, Artisan, DreamWorks
and Universal - will shortly be announcing new titles in the format.
We'll have those details as soon as they come in.
One last item of business this morning... we've got a look at the cover
artwork for Universal's The Best of Baretta
and Baretta: Season One DVDs
(street date for both: 10/29). Both can be ordered now at
Thanks to Tom S..