UPDATE - 3/17/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Oh... you knew this was coming, didn't you. The
Digital Bits is working with our friends at The
Home Theater Forum, DVD
File and MusicTAP,
along with a growing list of other great DVD and movie websites, to kick
off the Original
Trilogy on DVD Campaign! The goal is quite simple... to
convince director George Lucas to release the original theatrical
versions of the Star Wars movies
on DVD. There's nothing wrong with the upgraded special editions he's
got planned, but we want the films as we remember them preserved on DVD
We implore all of you to click on over to the official campaign website
to sign the online petition. You'll be asked to include your full name,
city, state and country, along with your e-mail address. You'll then get
an e-mail back asking you to confirm your signature - please do so.
Remember to use your real names - not a screen name. This is very
important for the petition to be taken seriously (obviously bogus names
will be deleted).
last campaign effort in 2000, a joint venture with DVD
File, garnered more than 30,000 singatures in less than a
month. The result... Lucasfilm began releasing the new Star
Wars films on DVD. Now it's time to blow that effort out of
click here to sign the petition! Get everyone you know to sign the
And if you have a website of your own, and you would like to join the
effort, feel free to use the graphics below to link to the campaign
(other sizes can be arranged through the campaign site).
Are you happy with the idea that our kids and grandkids could forever
think that Greedo shoots first? Hell no! Everybody knows Han shoots
first! So sign the petition and spread the word! Special thanks to Jay
Sylvester, Hector Cruz and all the others who are doing a lot of hard
work behind-the-scenes to make the campaign possible.
And on a completely different note, I just have to say this before I
sign off for the evening. The Police reunite for the first time in 18
years to play three songs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
ceremony, and VH1 cuts one of them from the broadcast? LAME.
Back with more later this morning...
Okay... we've got a few bits of DVD news for you today before we get
back to work on a bevy of great stuff for next week.
Store magazine is reporting that Matrix
producer Joel Silver was behind the cancellation of Warner's planned
Matrix: Special Edition DVD. It
seems Sliver felt that the double-disc edition gave away too much
information about the upcoming sequel, Matrix:
Reloaded. Not to worry, though... a better DVD of the film is
planned. Silver reportedly wants to do a better transfer of the film for
the next DVD release.
New Line has revealed that their About
Schmidt (one of my favorite films of recent memory) will
arrive on June 3rd (SRP $27.95). The DVD will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS audio, deleted scenes, Woodmen
Sequences short films on the opening sequence (featuring the
Woodmen Tower in Omaha, Neb., showcasing perceptions of the film from
director Alexander Payne's editorial staff) and theatrical trailers.
Here's the cover art...
I'm a little bummed that Schmidt
won't have an audio commentary. Oh well. By the way, that other cover is
the "real rubber tire" outer packaging for Artisan's upcoming
Speed Racer: Limited Collector's Edition
DVD (street date 4/22).
Also this morning, Columbia TriStar has added some new TV titles to
on DVD online poll. New potential choices include Action,
The Critic, Donnie
and Marie, The Nanny,
Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Route
66, Square Pegs and
Werewolf. We still want The
Tick as a special edition. ;-)
And finally, 20th Century Fox has announced a trio of new
high-definition D-VHS videotape titles for release on 4/15. Look for
The Transporter, Die
Hard and Courage Under Fire.
Each tape will SRP for $34.98 each.
So that's it for today. Be sure to check back on Monday, and all next
week, for new DVD and SACD reviews, new columns from our staff writers
and a long-overdue update of our Upcoming DVD
Cover Art section. Plus, you can be sure that there will be
lots more new title announcements. And a new Trivia
Contest will start tonight as well.
Don't forget that tonight brings the second-to-last episode of Farscape
on Sci-Fi. Also on the cable network, Sunday features the start of the
Frank Herbert's Children of Dune
miniseries. And you fans of The Police, The Clash, Elvis Costello and
the Attractions and AC/DC will definitely want to tune in to VH-1 on
Sunday night for the broadcast of The 2003
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. A preview of
what to expect from the broadcast can be found
at Rolling Stone. Check you local listings for broadcast
times in your area.
Have a great weekend!
Warner Bros. has officially announced a trio of new DVDs for release on
6/3. Look for Empire Records: Bootleg Cut -
Special Fan Edition (SRP $24.98), along with Fame
and Spirit of '76 ($19.98 each).
Empire Records will include
sixteen minutes of new footage added back into the film, four additional
deleted scenes, three music videos, the theatrical trailer, a new
anamorphic widescreen digital transfer and remixed Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Fame will include a "class
reunion" audio commentary with Alan Parker, a "making of"
featurette, the Fame Field Trip
featurette tour of the school, the theatrical trailer and anamorphic
widescreen video (no word yet on audio, but likely Dolby Digital 5.1).
And finally, Spirit of '76 will
feature audio commentary by director Lucas Reiner and Carl Reiner, a
behind the scenes featurette, additional deleted scenes, the 1976
music video by Redd Kross, Easter eggs, the theatrical trailer and
anamorphic widescreen video (again, no word yet on audio, but again
likely Dolby Digital 5.1).
(LATE UPDATE - 3/12/03
- 1:30 PM PST)
Here's a couple more pieces of upcoming DVD cover artwork for you:
Columbia TriStar's Adaptation: SuperBit
(5/20), A&E's Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean
(4/29) and HBO's Sex and the City: The
Complete Fourth Season (also 5/20). All of them can be
pre-ordered now from our software sponsor,
Be sure to check out our 11:30 AM post for more upcoming title news.
(LATE UPDATE - 3/12/03 - 11:30 AM PST)
We have some new upcoming DVD announcements for you this morning, so
let's get started...
A&E will release a 3-disc Mr. Bean: The
Whole Bean on 4/29. Anchor Bay will take advantage of the
superhero phenom by releasing The Hulk
Collection (including Incredible
Hulk Returns and Trial of the
Incredible Hulk) on 5/6. Capitol/EMI is releasing a reissue
version of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders
from Mars: The Movie on 4/1. HBO has announced Sex
and the City: The Complete Fourth Season for release on 5/20.
MGM will release Rocky V as a
separate disc on 3/18. MPI has War and
Remembrance: The Final Chapter set for 3/25, with Becket,
First Steps on Mars and George
Carlin: You Are All Diseased all set for 5/27. Sony Music
will debut Tori Amos: A Sorta Fairytale
on 3/25. Synapse's upcoming releases include Blue
Sunshine on 4/15 and Flavia, The
Heretic on 5/20. And Warner Music's Led
Zappelin streets on 5/27.
And as always, Image Entertainment gets their own paragraph. Look for
Car Man: An Auto-Erotic Thriller,
Me, Kate, Level13.net: Weird and
Mysterious, Box of Disorder:
Disorder/Disorder 2: Fat Tire Fury, White
Knuckle Extreme: Road Fools 8, Rockthology
#10: Hard and Heavy, Rockthology
#9: Hard and Heavy and Synergy:
Visions of Vibe (all on 5/13), Before
Hollywood There Was Fort Lee, N. J.: Early Movie Making in New Jersey,
Common Law Wife/Jennie, Wife/Child: Special
Edition, Gene Autry Collection:
Home on the Prairie, Gene Autry
Collection: Melody Ranch, Hip-Hop
VIPs, Killah Priest: A Day in the
Life, Killarmy: A Day in the Life,
Love Cult/Mundo Depravados: Special Edition,
Mike Oldfield: The Art of Heaven Concert:
Live in Berlin, Mondo
Bizarro/Mondo Freudo: Special Edition, Phil
Collins: Live and Loose in Paris, Sinderella
and the Golden Bra/Goldilocks and the Three Bares, Glitch!
and Straight from the Projects: Rappers That
Live the Lyrics - C Murder (all 5/20), Driver
23/Atlas Moth, Keith Jarrett Trio
1996, Not Mozart and
Word (on 5/27) and Chopin:
The Four Ballades and Jim DeJulio Quintet (on 6/3).
Also today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the complete month of
February (weeks ending 2/14 and 2/21 have been added). The total for the
month is 743,488 units, taking the year-to-date total to 1,540,512, and
the format grand total to a whopping 45,259,250. Not bad for a format
that is, this month, exactly 6 years old.
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/12/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
I thought we'd kick off your Wednesday morning right, with a little new
upcoming DVD cover art. Here's Miramax's Gangs
of New York and Criterion's Throne
of Blood and Quai des Orfèvres.
Have you ever seen anything cooler than that Throne
Both of those Criterion titles street on 5/27. By the way... we have
official word from Miramax that Gangs of New
York will street on 7/1, with Chicago
set to follow on 8/19.
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/11/03 - 3:30 PM PST)
As promised, we've got three new DVD reviews today. Dan Kelly weighs in
Adam Jahnke gives you his thoughts on Fox's
Shield: The Complete First Season and Matt Rowe takes a closer
Paradiso: The New Version
Also this afternoon, we have word on the possible release time-frame
for Warner's long-awaited Looney Tunes
DVDs. You'll find that in today's update of
Rumor Mill, so don't miss it.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/11/03
- 9:30 AM PST)
Star Trek website has revealed the content of the seven
deleted scenes that will be included on the May 20th release of Star
Trek: Nemesis on DVD. These include Data and Picard
discussing Riker and Troi's wedding, an alternate introduction to
Shinzon, Worf and Picard discussing defensive preparations, Troi and
Picard talking about Shinzon's motivations, Shinzon's second "mental
rape" of Troi, a scene in Sickbay between Picard and Crusher and,
finally, the film's original ending. There's no word on whether these
will be anamorphic widescreen, but we can always hope. Visit the
official site at the link above for more detailed descriptions of each
In DVD release news today, Columbia TriStar has just announced its Black
Hawk Down: Deluxe Edition. The 3-disc set will street on 6/3.
Also set for that day are Eat a Bowl of Tea,
S.W.A.T.: The First Season and
The Whole Wide World.
There's more good news for Police fans. No, there's still no reunion
tour planned, but it seems that the band's longtime manager, Miles
Copeland (brother of drummer Stewart), is discussing with Universal
Music the idea of releasing more DVDs in the next year or two. This
would include The Police: Around the World
rock-u-mentary, along with more concert material and behind-the-scenes
footage taken early in the band's history.
here for the complete story via Billboard.com.
"We want to do a lot of DVD product," Copeland says. "Bring
it on," I say.
Speaking of the Police, there are stories about last night's Rock Hall
induction performance appearing around the Net for those who are
More music news today... it seems Atlantic is working on a 2-disc Led
Zeppelin DVD showcasing performances by the band. There will
also be a new 3-disc audio set. The DVD will street on May 27th (SRP
here for more, again from Billboard.com.
And finally this morning, the greatest fears of every Hollywood movie
studio have just been realized - the Internet's speed record
officially been broken. Scientists have used fiber-optic cables to
transfer 6.7 gigabytes of data (the equivalent of two DVD movies) across
6,800 miles in less than a minute. You can almost here the "Super
Napster" business plans forming.
Back with those DVD reviews this afternoon. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/10/03 - 11:30 AM PST)
We've announced the winners of our two
Contests, so be sure to check that out if you entered.
Congratulations to all ten winners!
The server seems to be a little slow this afternoon, so we're going to
hold off and post those new DVD reviews tomorrow. We'll have three new
DVD reviews, including DreamWorks' Ringu,
Fox's The Shield: The Complete First Season
and Miramax's Cinema Paradiso.
Also today, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge one of my favorite
bands, The Police, who will this evening be inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame. The Police are going in along with The Clash, Elvis Costello
and the Attractions, AC/DC and The Righteous Brothers. The induction
ceremony takes place in New York City tonight, and the event
be broadcast on VH1 on March 16th (be sure to check your local
listings for showtimes in your area). The Police will be performing
together at the induction ceremony for the first time in public since
1986, so if you're a fan, you definitely don't want to miss it. You can
bet that Matt and I will be watching. And in honor of the event, we'll
soon be posting reviews of the complete Police catalog on SACD, just
released from Universal Music.
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/10/03 - 10 AM PST)
Well, MGM's finally gone ahead and done it! They've revealed their
2-disc Die Another Day: Special Edition
for release on June 3rd (SRP $29.98). The set will include the film in
anamorphic widescreen or full frame (dual versions will be available),
with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES. Extras include audio
commentary with director Lee Tamahori and producer Michael G. Wilson,
plus a second commentary with actors Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike.
There's a behind the scenes text and trivia commentary track as well, a
trailer for the Bond: Special Edition
catalog and DVD-ROM features. Over on Disc Two, look for the Inside
Die Another Day documentary, multi-angle deconstructions
including Scene Evolutions
(storyboard to film comparisons), Inter-Action
Sequences (multi-angle looks at key stunts), Title
Design (a look at the effects for the opening sequence) and
Digital Grading (before and after
comparisons of digitally altered footage), an Equipment
Briefing on each gadget used in the film, a comprehensive
image gallery, trailers and TV spots, Madonna's Die
Another Day music video, a featurette on the making of the
Madonna video, a featurette on the making of the 007
Nightfire videogame, trailers of other MGM releases and more
DVD-ROM features. Here's a look at the cover art:
There's no word yet on the re-release of additional James
Bond Collection DVDs, but you can bet you'll hear something
soon, timed to coincide with Die Another Day.
And you can find more on the DVD at the
official Bond website.
By the way... yes, we know that the website lists an April 15th street
date for Die Another Day. But
MGM's U.S. official sell sheet for the title (from which the above
details were obtained) specifically says June 3rd. And our sources have
always indicated a June street date for the title. I would take the June
3rd date as gospel until MGM says otherwise.
Now then... on Saturday morning, we had the fun of attending the world
premiere of Disney's Inspector Gadget 2
at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood. The film was screened in full
DLP quality and looked surprisingly good for a straight-to-DVD release.
As you can imagine, all the film's stars were there, along with lots of
other celebrities, many of whom brought their kids to share in all the
fun. Here's a look at couple pix that Sarah took...
stars French Stewart, Elaine Hendrix, Caitlin Wachs and director Alex
I spoke with Buena Vista Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek at the
event, who revealed that there are exciting things in store for DVD from
the studio in 2003. Look for their forthcoming The
Lion King: Platinum Edition to be on the cutting edge in
terms of new features and interactivity. He also said that the studio is
very pleased with the success of its Walt
Disney Treasures line of discs. They've apparently sold so
well (far beyond studio expectations) that you can expect the line not
only to continue, but also to expand into new areas.
In a fun side note, actor Patrick Warburton was at the event with his
family. Some of you may know him for his stint on the short-lived TV
series The Tick. I had the chance
to ask him about a possible DVD release of the series, and he told me
that he'd be delighted to participate in audio commentaries and other
features. So Columbia TriStar... we sincerely hope you're listening!
All right. We've got new DVD reviews coming for you today, so be sure
to check back this afternoon! And we'll announce the winners of our
Trivia Contest as well.
How's about some new DVD reviews for you this morning? Good? Good,
'cause we've got 'em. We're pleased to welcome back a veteran reviewer
who's been away for a while - our own Dan Kelly. Dan checks back in
today with a look at DreamWorks' new DVD release of
Ring (widescreen version of course). And Adam Jahnke's got a
review of Anchor Bay's recent
Amazing Howard Hughes, so be sure to check that out as well.
Speaking of Adam... gotta tell ya, the boy's been awfully busy of late.
And we've got the proof right here. Here's Adam himself to explain...
"Ahoy there! As you may or may not know, for
the past few years, whenever I wasn't cranking out reviews for
The Bill N Todd Show,
I was slaving away at Troma Entertainment, helping to produce such
timeless entertainments as Troma's Edge TV
and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV
(both of which are now available on DVD... check em out, you'll be
glad you did). Because you cannot work at Troma unless you're capable of
doing at least 15 things simultaneously, Troma president Lloyd Kaufman
and I have also cranked out a book: Make Your
Own Damn Movie!, which will be published by St. Martin's
Press and in stores April 5.
If you're familiar with Lloyd's first book, All
I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger,
you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect in this one.
Make Your Own Damn Movie! is for
anybody who's ever wanted to direct their own independent movie but
aren't sure how to get it off the ground. Lloyd and I (with insight from
Citizen Toxie co-writer/producer Trent Haaga) show you how Troma
does it every step of the way. From fund-raising to script writing to
production to post-production to marketing and distribution. If nothing
else, you'll come away thinking, "Hell, if these idiots can make a
movie, anybody can!"
So whether you're an aspiring filmmaker, a Troma fan, somebody who
thinks this Jahnke character writes halfway decent movie reviews, or
just a rich dude with $15 burning a hole in your pocket, check out
Make Your Own Damn Movie!. I think
you'll get a laugh or two and who knows, you might just learn something
before you're done.
Thanks to Bill and Todd for letting me get in this bit of shameless
self-promotion. We now return you to your regularly scheduled editorial,
already in progress."
Our pleasure, Adam. By the way, if you're interested, you can pre-order
the book now at Amazon by clicking on the cover art. Adam kicks serious
you-know-what for us around here, so we hope you'll all consider
checking out his new literary adventure. ;-)
Finally this morning, you Dune
fans will be might be interested in reading
of the first reviews of Sci-Fi's new Children
of Dune miniseries, which debuts on March 16th.
reviewer Mark Rivera says it's well worth a watch. Don't forget that the
program will appear on DVD from Artisan on 5/20.
And that's all she wrote for another week. Have a great weekend and
we'll see you all back here on Monday. Peace.
(LATE UPDATE -
3/6/03 - 3 PM PST)
Well... we've finally heard back from Warner Brothers. The
Matrix: Special Edition, which had been set for release on
4/29, has been officially cancelled. Here's the studio's statement:
"Warner Home Video will not be releasing the
previously announced The Matrix Special Edition double-disc DVD. In a
shift in strategy to broaden The Matrix fan base prior to the May 15
theatrical release of the highly anticipated sequel The Matrix Reloaded,
Warner Home Video will reprice The Matrix DVD to $19.99 SRP on April 29.
Also on April 29, WHV will reprice the two-pack of The Matrix and The
Matrix Revisited - the complete, behind-the-scenes two-hour companion to
The Matrix phenomenon - to a new low price of $34.99 SRP."
There's no official reason given as to why this SE was cancelled.
Consider this next bit Rumor Mill-category
information, but we've been hearing word that the Wachowski Brothers
themselves decided to pull the plug, opting instead to revisit the title
as a completely new special edition from the ground up at some point in
the future. If we can confirm anything else with regard to this title,
we'll let you know.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/6/03
- 12:01 AM PST)
As promised today, we're very pleased to offer to you Adam's Jahnke's
in-depth review of all three films in Krzysztof Kieslowski's masterful
Colors trilogy -
We've been waiting for nearly six long years here at The
Digital Bits to have these films released on DVD, and we're
pleased to say that it's been well worth the time. Now I can finally lay
my laserdisc copies to rest before. If you haven't seen these three
films yet, I think Adam's review will be just the convincer you need to
take the plunge. You'll be very glad you did.
In DVD news, Columbia TriStar has announced a new slate of DVDs for
release on 5/27. Look for a 2-disc Charlie's
Angels: SuperBit Deluxe, along with The
Best of Charlie's Angels, Charlie's
Angels: The Complete First Season (5 discs), Mississippi
Masala, Bad Boys: Special Edition,
a Lou Diamond Philips 3-pack (including La
Bamba, Bats, The
Big Hit), The Mothman Prophecies:
Special Edition (2 discs), Love
Liza and a National Security:
Special Edition. Classic Charlie's
Angels on DVD?! It was only a matter of time.
Buena Vista has revealed a couple new titles as well. Look for Unstrung
Heroes, A Stranger Among Us,
Super Mario Bros., Where
the Heart Is, 3 Ninja,
The Truce, Cry
the Beloved Country, A La Mode
and The Horseman on the Roof all
on 6/3. And here's a little something to get you Chicago
fans excited (watch for the disc to be announced soon, along with Gangs
of New York)...
Also, Warner Bros. has announced the DVD release of This
Boy's Life on 5/13. Ken Burns'
America: The Congress and Ken
Burns' America: The Shakers have also been set for release,
both on 6/3. Anyone out there remember Scooby-Doo
Meets the Harlem Globetrotters? You'll get that on 5/6. And
speaking of Warner, we're investigating rumors that they've pulled their
forthcoming Matrix: Special Edition
indefinitely. We'll let you know when we confirm anything either way
with the studio.
Around the Net today,
2.0 has a story on a new trend in movie-going... the haute
theater experience. It seems there's a daring entrepreneur who thinks
there are people out there willing to spend $14 a ticket to see movies
in luxurious comfort. Personally, I'd pay a few bucks extra if my local
theater would nix the 30-plus minutes worth of TV commercials they force
you to sit through before the film starts and enforce a 'no cell phones'
$14?! Heck... I'd almost rather just stay home and spin discs in my own
private theater. Anyone else out there feel the same?
By the way... just when you thought you'd never have to hear about that
Norwegian kid who cracked DVD's DeCSS encryption scheme again,
Norwegian appeals court goes and approves an appeal on his acquittal.
So now, get ready for a retrial... and at least another year or two of
'DVD Jon' news. Doh!
And finally this morning, we've got some great news in
Rumor Mill for you Right Stuff
fans. "Hey Ridley... ya got any Beeman's?" DAMN, it's gonna be
a good year for DVDs!
We've got another new DVD review for you today... Jeff Kleist's take on
20th Century Fox's newly released
Season Three set. And tomorrow, look for Adam Jahnke's review
of Miramax and Buena Vista's long-awaited DVD release of Krzysztof
Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy
Two new Trivia
Contests have also gotten underway this morning - FIVE
lucky winners will take home MGM's Salaam
Bombay on DVD, and another FIVE
winners will receive a copy of Buena Vista's Tuck
Everlasting. You've got until Monday to enter, and it
couldn't be easier to do so. Good luck!
And in a brief bit of DVD news this morning, the
Today website has obtained details on some of the seven
deleted scenes (twenty minutes worth in all) that will be included on
the Star Trek: Nemesis DVD (set to
street on 5/20).
Today's a bit slow news-wise, and we're working on some other things
behind-the-scenes here at The Bits
that you'll all get to see in the future, including new reviews and
But we do have word in
Rumor Mill today on possible street dates for Fox's upcoming
Daredevil: Special Edition and
Solaris. Definitely worth a look.
And we've also got some new upcoming DVD cover artwork for you as well.
Here's DreamWorks' Catch Me if You Can
Also this afternoon, we have word from Children
of Dune writer and producer John Harrison, that the upcoming
DVD version from Artisan (due 5/20) will probably not be a special
edition release. More when the studio announces official specs.
And there's word from CNN that
has sold the first BluRay high-definition optical disc recorder in
Japan, although the story incorrectly calls it a DVD recorder.
Keep in mind, BluRay and DVD are NOT the same format. Nor is BluRay
HD-DVD. The official DVD Forum has said that it will announce the final
spec for true HD-DVD in March.
We expect to launch a pair of new Trivia
Contests this evening as well, so be sure to check back. Stay
Morning folks! Pour yourself a nice hot cup o' jo, cause we've got some
ground to cover this morning. First up today, there's news that
DreamWorks will release Steven Spielberg's Catch
Me if You Can on 5/6, as a 2-disc special edition, in both
anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. There's no commentary
naturally (can't give away all those filmmaking magic tricks we've
already known about for years), but you can expect a boat-load of
documentaries and featurettes.
Next, there's great news for you Dune
fans. Artisan has already set Sci-Fi's upcoming Frank
Herbert's Children of Dune miniseries for DVD release on
5/20. No word yet on features, other than anamorphic widescreen video
and Dolby Digital audio, but here's the cover art. I'm definitely
looking forward to seeing this...
Next, we have word of some great new Criterion titles on the way. The
company will release Derek Jarman's Jubilee
(SRP $39.95), Henri-Georges Clouzot's Quai
des Orfèvres ($29.95) and Volker Schlöndorffs
Coup de grâce ($29.95), all
on 5/27. Best of all, look for Akira Kurosawa's Throne
of Blood that same day ($39.95). Throne
of Blood will include audio commentary by Japanese-film
expert Michael Jeck, a new essay by Stephen Prince (author of The
Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa), the original
theatrical trailer, two alternative subtitle translations (a new version
from renowned Japanese-film translator Linda Hoagland and Kurosawa
expert Donald Richie's subtitles utilizing Jacobean diction), plus notes
on the subtitling by Hoagland and Richie. Can it get any better?
What do you know? It can get better! Nothing like a Zatoichi chaser for
your Kurosawa main course! Let me tell you, if you're a fan of classic
films, you haven't lived until you've watched a few Zatoichi flicks.
Great stuff! Zatoichi 4 is
available now, as are the first four films in the series. The other
titles shown above all street from Criterion/Home Vision on 4/29.
In other news today, we've gotten word from MGM that their Bowling
for Columbine: Special Edition DVD will not street on 4/22 as
originally announced. A new street date will be announced in the future.
Also, they've informed us that Checking Out
and How to Get Ahead in Advertising,
which has been set for April release, have been cancelled. No further
details are available at this time.
In today's Rumor
Mill update, we have word that writer/director Lawrence Kasdan
has let it slip what he knows about The
Indiana Jones Trilogy being released on DVD. It's definitely
worth a look.
We've got some more new upcoming DVD announcements for you today. ADV
Films will release Andromeda: Season 2,
Volume 2 on 6/3. Anchor Bay has announced Not
for Publication, Not Quite
Paradise, Railway Children
and Tales of Beatrix Potter for
5/6, the Emmanuelle Collection (Emmanuelle,
Emmanuelle 2 and Goodbye
Emmanuelle) for 5/13, Breakthru
Pilates Plus, Dead of Night/Queen
of Spades and Strike it Rich
for 5/20 and Road Games: Special Edition
(for 6/10). Artisan Entertainment will release The
Jeff Corwin Experience: Costa Rica/The Amazon on 4/22 and
Children of Dune, Cloak
and Dagger, Last Days of Frank and
Jesse James, Menace
(aka: White Boy), The
Music Box, Return to Lonesome Dove,
Separate but Equal and The
Shaft (aka: Down) all
on 5/20. Columbia TriStar will release People
vs. Larry Flynt: Special Edition on 5/6, with Borderline,
Commandoes Strike at Dawn, Hellcats
of the Navy, Men in Black:
SuperBit, Men in Black II:
SuperBit, Talk to Her,
Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze,
War Lover and XXX:
SuperBit all following on 5/13.
Not done yet. HBO Home Video has Real Women
Have Curves set for 4/22. Lions Gate will release The
Pilot's Wife on 5/6 and Gacy
and The Long Ride Home on 5/13.
Trimark (via Lion's Gate) will release Sabretooth
on 5/13, Max on 5/20 and American
Mullet, Edge City and
Marines on 5/27. MGM has House
on Carroll Street, Seven Hours to
Judgment and Slam Dance
all due on 6/3. Look for Dark Shadows, Set 5
on 4/29 and Dark Shadows, Set 6 on
6/24, both from MPI. Paramount will release Cheers:
The Complete First Season, Frasier:
The Complete First Season and MTV:
Real World Las Vegas - Complete Season on 5/20 and Good
Burger, Harriet the Spy
and Jimmy Neutron: Confusion Fusion
on 5/27. 20th Century-Fox has set Love is a
Many Splendored Thing for 5/6, 300
Spartans, Barton Fink,
The Big Trail, Brubaker,
The Comancheros, Flight
of the Phoenix, From the Terrace,
The Hot Rock, The
Long Hot Summer, Miller's Crossing,
North to Alaska and The
Undefeated for 5/20, The Song of
Bernadette for 6/3, Buffy the
Vampire Slayer: Complete Fourth Season for 6/10 and King
of the Hill: Season One on 6/24. And Universal will release
McHale's Navy, Opportunity
Knocks and Smoky and the Bandit 2
And finally today, our own Barrie Maxwell has turned in another
Coming Attractions column. This time around, Barrie looks at
great films on disc from a pair of Hollywood screen legends, and runs
down the latest news about classic films coming to DVD. So here's
Wyler, Buster Keaton & More Upcoming Classics. Enjoy!
We've checked in with 20th Century Fox about that defective disc in
The X-Files: The Complete Sixth Season
(the one with the episode Triangle
in less that optimal video quality). The fixed discs aren't available
quite yet, but you can now call Fox's Consumer Hotline to get yourself
added to a list to receive the fixed discs when they are finished. Call
1-888-223-2FOX. They'll take your name and number and mail you the disc
in due course. Just FYI.
Now then... we're closing out the week today with a review of my
absolute favorite film of 2002... DreamWorks'
to Perdition. I've taken a look at both the DTS and Dolby
Digital widescreen editions. And while the film itself is highly
recommended, I'm afraid the DVDs leave a LOT to be desired. We didn't
receive this disc for review purposes from the studio until after street
date, and now I suspect I know why. That should give you a pretty good
idea what's coming in my review...
Also today, we've announced the winners of our
Congratulations to the 5 of you who were able to win Road
to Perdition for free. Be glad you don't have to spend the
And on that somewhat depressing note, we'll throw in the towel for
another week. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on
(LATE UPDATE - 2/27/03
- 12:30 PM PST)
Some sad news to report today I'm afraid. Mister Rogers, aka Fred
passed away at the age of 74. That's such bummer that there's just
not much else to say.
Except maybe, "Speedy delivery..."
(LATE UPDATE - 2/27/03 -
11:30 AM PST)
While we're dishing out cover art around here, let's throw up a look at
Fox's The X-Files: The Complete Seventh
Season (5/13), as well as Rhino's re-release of Ramones:
Around the World (due 4/8).
The X-Files: The Complete Seventh Season
will feature all 7th season episodes on 6 discs, in anamorphic
widescreen with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio (SRP $149.98). Extras
will include several deleted scenes, audio commentary (for the episodes
First Person Shooter, All
Things and Je Souhaite),
The Truth About Season Seven
featurette (30 mins), international clips, TV spots, 13 special effects
featurettes with audio commentary, 2 X-Files
Profiles featurettes (on A.D. Skinner and Samantha Mulder)
and a PlayStation game preview.
Ramones Around the World will
include 17 live performances (including an excerpt from their final
performance), extra footage, a discography, an interview with Marky
Ramone and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (SRP $19.99).
And here's some great news for you classic Disney and Disney animation
fans: on 5/20, the studio will release The
Aristocats: Gold Collection, Hercules:
Gold Collection, The Rescuers Down
Under: Gold Collection, Pete's
Dragon: Gold Collection, The
Rescuers and The Rookie.
Several of these titles has been released before, but some are new to
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/27/03
- 12:01 AM PST)
No Punch? Okay... well how's about some new upcoming DVD artwork?
Here's 20th Century Fox's Dark Angel: The
Complete First Season (5/20) and There's
Something More About Mary: Special Edition (5/13) and
Wellspring's Ran: Masterworks Edition
Just FYI, we've also updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 2nd week of February
(ending 2/7), which saw 79,778 players shipped to U.S. dealers. We had
mistakenly included the week ending 1/31 in the January total, but CEA
is saying that's actually February week 1. Don't ask us, we just work
here. Anyway, that makes the February total so far 341,809. We've
corrected all the charts accordingly.
And fans of Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant (which basically means all
you chicks out there) will be pleased to know that Warner's Two
Weeks Notice is set for DVD release on 4/29 (SRP $27.95) in
both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. Might as well hit
ya'll up with the art on that too, as well as Artisan's Standing
in the Shadows of Motown (4/22).
(LATE UPDATE - 2/26/03 - 2 PM PST)
We've confirmed that Wellspring will finally release their Ran:
Masterworks Edition on DVD on 4/15 (SRP $34.98). This is the
same disc that was previously available only in the Kurosawa
DVD Collection box set from Amazon. It features anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by Peter
Grilli, audio commentary by Steven Prince), English subtitles, a
restoration demo, the European trailer, the home video trailer,
filmographies, production notes and weblinks.
Also today, we've learned that Artisan will debut Standing
in the Shadows of Motown on 4/22 (SRP $22.98). The 2-disc set
will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, DTS
ES 6.1 audio, deleted scenes, audio commentary with the director and
producer and numerous other extras.
Also set for DVD release if NBC's Kingpin:
The Producer's Cut as a 3-disc set. It will be available
later this year in stores, but can be purchased now at
for $44.95 (plus $7.95 shipping - ouch!).
As promised today, we're pleased to present Robert Harris' latest
column here at The Digital Bits.
This time around, Robert discusses the DVD work of Acorn Media, as well
as a couple of noteworthy new titles on disc from Paramount. So here's
and Duellists. Enjoy!
Also, we've kicked off a new
Contest that gives you a chance to win copies of DreamWorks'
Road to Perdition. We'll run the
contest until 12:01 AM on Friday, February 28th. The winner will be
announced later that morning. Good luck!
And finally today, we have updates on a few big upcoming DVDs in
Rumor Mill today. Think Two Towers,
Catch Me If You Can, Taken
and the Black Hawk Down: SE.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
2/26/03 - NOON PST)
Another quick update. We have word that Columbia TriStar will release
Beautiful Thing, Belle
Epoque, Family Business,
Adaptation: SuperBit, Avenging
Angelo and Murder in Greenwich,
all on 5/20.
Back with more soon...
(EARLY UPDATE -
2/26/03 - 11 AM PST)
We've got a bunch of news and links for you this morning, and we'll be
back in a couple of hours with Robert Harris' new column and a new Trivia
Contest as well.
First up, the c.r.a.p.tv.
online trailer (.mov format) for the forthcoming Orgasmo:
Special Edition DVD (reportedly due later this year from
Universal). Thanks to everyone who sent that in.
A lot of people are upset about Fox's just announced Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season (6/10), which
apparently will include the episode in full frame rather than their
original widescreen format. We're looking into this and we'll let you
know what we hear.
In the meantime, here's the cover art for the set, along with Cheers:
The Complete First Season and Fraiser:
The Complete First Season, both officially due from Paramount
Both of those last two titles will be 4-disc sets. Cheers
will include an interview with Ted Danson, 3 featurettes and a trivia
game. Frasier will include audio
commentary on the pilot episode, "celebrity voices" and 2
featurettes. There is no SRP, but expect them to be priced at about $40
Speaking of Paramount, we have the final street dates for their Star
Trek: Deep Space Nine DVDs. These vary just slightly from
what we've reported previously: Season Two
(4/1), Season Three (6/3), Season
Four (8/5), Season Five
(10/4), Season Six (11/4), Season
Also today, Bits reader Mike H.
has informed us that NPR is doing a 3-part radio report on the rise of
1 is on the sales/rental challenges of DVD, while
2 talks about audio commentaries. Both are now available online.
Part 3 of the report will be broadcast tomorrow and will be available
Back with more soon...
(LATE UPDATE -
2/25/03 - 2:30 PM PST)
We've announced the winners of our two
Contests! Congratulations to all 15 winners and thanks to all
2,101 people who entered. Our next contest will start tomorrow, and
you'll have the chance to win DreamWorks' Road
to Perdition, so be sure to check back.
In new upcoming DVD news, we've confirmed with A&E that they'll
release Homicide: Life on the Street - The
Complete First and Second Seasons on DVD on 5/27. Watch for
an official announcement soon.
And that's all for today. We'll be back with a new Robert Harris column
tomorrow. And just a reminder - you superhero fans might want to check
out tonight's episode of Smallville,
which features a nifty guest appearance by none other than Christopher
Reeve. Plus you've got another great episode of 24
tonight too. ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 2/25/03
- 11 AM PST)
We've got some fun news for you this morning. First up, Buffy. 20th
Century Fox has just announced the DVD release of Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season for 6/10 (SRP
$59.98). The 6-disc set will include all the episodes plus audio
commentary for 7 episodes, the scripts for 3 episodes, featurettes and
Also today, we have more details for you on Warner's The
Ben Stiller Show DVD, which streets on 6/3. The 2-disc set
will include all 12 episodes of the series, plus a previously unaired
episode. And among the extras are 7 audio commentary tracks with the
entire cast (including Ben Stiller and the writers), unaired sketches
(with optional commentary), 10 outtakes, the A
Brief History of The Ben Stiller Show featurette, the E!
Behind the Scenes special, alternative versions of the pilot
episode and the Melrose Heights
special commentary Easter egg. SRP is $34.98. You fans of Mr.
Show should find this right up your alley... ;-)
And finally this morning, we've done some asking around about MGM's
Zulu (coming on 5/20). Given all
the crappy, bargin-bin versions out there, a lot of you are concerned
about the quality that MGM will be delivering. Well, rest easy. Here's
the scoop, direct from MGM's tech services department:
"We created a brand new interpositive off of
the Super Technirama original negative and completed the new high
definition transfer, in cooperation with Paramount, at HTV. Despite
searching for stereo audio, which is believed to have been created at
some point, we were only able to find mono audio. This audio was
provided by Paramount."
Too bad about the audio, but this tells us that MGM went the extra
mile. Our hats off to 'em. Can't wait for this disc!
Watch for the contest winners to be announced very soon. Stay tuned...!
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/25/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Whaddya know? We've got more new DVD reviews for you today! Adam's
turned in his thoughts on Buena Vista's new release of
Ultimate X: The Movie (now available). And I've put together
an in-depth review of Paramount's new
Trek IV: The Voyage Home - Special Collector's Edition (due on
We'll be back to announced the winners of our
Contests later this morning. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 2/24/03
- 5 PM PST)
One last quick update this afternoon... here's the cover artwork for
MGM's Zulu and The
Battle of Britain (both due 5/20).
Don't forget... the
Contests end tonight! Get your entries in fast!
(LATE UPDATE - 2/24/03 -
3:30 PM PST)
Three new reviews for you today! Adam Jahnke's given MGM's new
& Louise: Special Edition a spin. I've posted a review of
Lang's Metropolis: Restored Authorized Edition. And Matt
Rowe's got his two cents on a new SACD release -
Who: My Generation from Universal Music. All three of these
titles are now available in stores. Enjoy!
You'll be happy to learn that Warner Bros has officially announced the
DVD release of South Park: The Complete
Second Season for 6/2 (SRP $49.98). The 3-disc set will
include all 18 second season episodes in the original full frame, with
Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Extras will include documentary, interactive
menus, music video and TV spot. Warner's spec list includes no mention
of audio commentary tracks, so we're waiting for word from Comedy
Central as to whether there will be separate audio commentary CDs as
there were for Season One. Here's
the cover art...
Also today, we're putting out a request for online retail partners in
the areas of DVD hardware and high-resolution audio software (DVD-Audio
& SACD formats). As you're no doubt aware, we're doing a lot more
high-rez audio reviews around here, and we'd like to be able to direct
our readers to a good place to purchase the discs we look at. There
aren't many good high-resolution audio retailers out there, so if you're
one (and you're interested), give us an
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/24/03 -
12:01 AM PST)
Hope y'all had a great weekend!
Here's some more new DVD announcements to start your Monday off right.
Anchor Bay will release Five Wives, Three
Secretaries and Me, Girl Named
Rosemarie and Xena: Warrior
Princess - Season One, all on 4/29. Artisan has announced
Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie for
3/4, with James Cameron's Expedition:
Bismarck following on 4/22. Columbia TriStar will release
Darkness Falls on 4/29. Delta
Entertainment is releasing Charlie Chaplin,
Volumes 1-12 on 3/25 (these include nearly 60 original shorts
in all, plus the documentary His Life and
Work). MGM will release Rocky II,
Rocky III and Rocky
IV on 3/18 (previously, these were only available in the
Rocky Collection box set). 20th Century Fox will release Antwone
Fisher (full frame & widescreen) on 5/20, along with Master
Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story. Universal has announced Far
from Heaven for 4/1, Car Wash,
Electric Horseman, The
Unsaid and Emperor's Club
for 5/6, and The Fast and the Furious:
Tricked Out Edition for 6/3. And Warner Bros will release
Hysterical Blindness on 4/15, with
The Ben Stiller Show following on
And while we're at it, here's a look at the DVD cover art for
Universal's The Emperor's Club and
Far from Heaven (mentioned above),
as well as Paramount's Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine - Season Four (TBA).
Back with more later. Stay tuned...