Well... it's the Fourth of July here is the States, so have a happy and
safe holiday to all you U.S. readers. And for the rest of you... how
Mill update? We've got word on possible street dates for a
number of Universal, including The Hulk.
There's also another Indy tidbit
worth checking out, so don't miss it.
See you Monday!
Okay... still more announcements to get out of the way. First up,
Warner has officially announced the DVD release of Dreamcatcher
for 9/30 (SRP $19.96 SRP). Now, I made the mistake of seeing this film
in the theaters... and let's just say I don't think I'll be seeing it
again anytime soon. Not a good two hours. But, I'm sure there are fans
out there. So the disc will include anamorphic widescreen video (a full
frame version will also be available), Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, several
production featurettes (DreamWriter: An
interview with Stephen King, DreamMakers:
A Journey Through the Production and DreamWeavers:
The Visual Effects of Dreamcatcher), four deleted scenes and
the original ending and the teaser trailer.
Warner also has announced the DVD release of Babylon
5: The Complete Third Season on 8/12 (SRP $99.98). The
six-disc set will include the episodes in anamorphic widescreen video,
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, an introduction from series creator J. Michael
Straczynski, audio commentary on three key episodes by Straczynski and
stars, the Behind the Mask: Creating the
Aliens of Babylon 5 documentary, the Designing
a Better Narn documentary, the Designing
Tomorrow: The Look of Babylon 5 documentary and data and
Warner's also announced the details of their ER:
The Complete First Season box set (8/26 - SRP $59.98). All 25
episodes from the first season will be available on 4 discs, including
the 90-minute pilot. Extras will include personal notes from series
creator Michael Crichton, two new documentaries (one featuring
interviews with Steven Spielberg and executive producers Michael
Crichton and John Wells, the other featuring interviews with Anthony
Edwards, George Clooney, Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wyle and Julianna
Margulies), The First Year Intern Handbook
(containing complete character profiles, 45 "patient"
histories on the various guest stars and a medical terminology
glossary), 2 commentary tracks on the pilot episode (one with Crichton
and Wells and another from pilot director Rod Holcomb and key production
crew), a featurette with the medical consultants and writers, a
featurette about the post-production process, key production crew and
director commentaries on the episodes Love's
Labor Lost and Sleepless in
Chicago, outtakes and unreleased scenes, and hidden bonus
Here's some cover art for you...
New Line has released final packaging shots for The
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Special Extended DVD Version.
The set will be available on its own ($39.99), and in a special
collector's box with a statue of Gollum included (SRP $79.92). Both are
due on 11/18.
Paramount's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- Special Collector's Edition is set to be announced in the
next couple of weeks for release later this year. We thought we'd give
you a peak at the cover art since it's started to leak around the Net.
Here's also a look at Universal's Animal
House: Double Secret Probation Edition (announced for 8/26 -
$19.98) and their TBA Bruce Almighty.
Around the site today, we've finally updated all our
DVD Player Sales numbers with all the latest data. In fact,
all the data
points we track are now fully up to date. Just FYI.
Also today, we have a quick bit of information in
Rumor Mill today regarding the upcoming Indiana
Jones discs. The information is tentative, but worth a look
Now then... in other news, Netflix has been awarded a patent that seems
to offer protection for key parts of its DVD subscription service. What
this means for their competition (particularly in terms of lawsuits),
some of whom have sought to emulate the Netflix model, remains to be
seen. You can read more on this
at CNN Money (and
as well). There's also another story on Netflix
Business 2.0 as well (subscription required).
Finally this morning, we have a bit of bad news on the HD-DVD front.
Until last month, the DVD Forum (the standards body that sets all the
specifications for the DVD format) had been set to continue developing
Toshiba and NEC's blue-laser based Advanced Optical Disc proposal as the
basis for eventual HD-DVD (AOD was the concept favored by the Forum's
technical working groups for its backwards compatibility with existing
DVD among other factors). Unfortunately, when the required motion to
continue developing AOD was put to a vote in the Forum's Steering
Committee (in mid-June), of the seventeen manufacturers that hold
Committee votes, eleven companies voted against the AOD proposal or
abstained from voting (you can read more
at Video Store). Here's the key... a majority of those
companies who voted AOD down (or abstained) are members of the Blu-ray
Blu-ray Disc is also blue-laser based format being developed by Sony,
Matsushita and Philips (along with several other manufactures). This
group hasn't even bothered to present Blu-ray Disc to the DVD Forum as
the format of choice for HD-DVD. Instead, they're doing an end run
around the Forum, advancing their proposal as the "next big thing".
This means Blu-ray Disc is being positioned as a direct competitor for
eventual HD-DVD. And since the group has now managed to kill momentum
for Advanced Optical Disc within the Forum, the development of HD-DVD is
It's worth noting here that Blu-ray Discs are contained in special
cartridges, making them different than existing DVDs. There's no
official word yet on whether Blu-ray players will be backwards
compatible with existing DVDs. Toshiba and NEC are attempting to muster
more support for AOD for another Committee vote scheduled for later this
year. Like the Blu-ray camp, however, they've vowed to continue
developing AOD no matter what happens in the Forum. So... the road to
high-definition on disc just gets muddier and muddier.
More tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Yes... it's true. We are indeed back to business around here. And what
do you know? July's already upon us! June sure seemed to pass in a
blur... at least for us here at The Bits.
So is the book done you may be wondering? Just about. About 95% is in
the can, and there are just a few last things to wrap up. In the
meantime, we're back to full operation around here, so that means we're
back to our regular daily updates.
We've got a LOT of ground to cover over the next week or so, as we work
to catch up on things around here. There's lot of news and new title
announcements to report, we've got several new columns and then it'll be
time to catch up on our review work. So bear with us as we get ourselves
back up to speed.
Today, though, we're going to cover the best of the new DVD
announcements. First of all, Universal has announced the DVD release of
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic
Series as a 6-disc box set for release on 10/21 (SRP
$119.98). All 24 episodes of the series are being presented in the
original full frame video (digitally remastered for superior quality)
and in their original broadcast order, with audio available in the
original 2.0 mono as well as newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1. The set
will include never-before-seen footage, along with new interviews with
series creator Glen A. Larson and series stars' Richard Hatch, Terry
Carter and Anne Lockhart.
As if that wasn't enough, Battlestar
Galactica: The Original Feature Film is also being
re-released on DVD the same day (SRP $19.98). It will also include a
sneak preview of the new Sci-Fi mini-series retelling of the film's
story. Sadly, it looks suspiciously like this will be the same
non-anamorphic widescreen film transfer as before, but we've not yet
been able to confirm this.
Columbia TriStar's got a bunch of great new DVDs on the way in
September, including the Identity: Special
Edition, an Identity
3-pack featuring Identity, Trapped
and Memento, Endurance,
the Boyz 'N the Hood: Anniversary Edition
(2 discs), Ruby, The
Best of Designing Women and Under
Suspicion (all on 9/2) and Casey's
Shadow, Wilder Napalm,
The Debut, and a David Lean 3 pack
that will include The Bridge on the River
Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia
and A Passage to India (all on
9/9). They also have a trio of great new Superbit releases on the way,
including Léon: The Professional,
Hook and Lawrence
of Arabia (2-discs). Each will feature high bit rate
anamorphic widescreen video and both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround
sound. Our own Robert A. Harris, who originally restored Lawrence
in the 1990s under the supervision of director David Lean, is personally
involved in the transfer and remastering of the new Superbit version, so
you can be sure it will be the very best presentation of the film yet
released on DVD. We'll hear more from Robert on this in the coming
Paramount's busy in September too. On 9/2, look for Oswald:
Welcome to the Big City, CSI:
Crime Scene Investigation: The Complete Second Season, MTV
Cribs: Hip Hop, MTV Cribs: Rock
and The Core. On 9/16, look for
Milk Money, Losing
Isaiah, Nobody's Fool
and Regarding Henry. On 9/23, look
for I Love Lucy: Season One - Volume Nine,
The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,
An Almost Perfect Affair, James
Clavell's Shogun, Scrooge,
Leap of Faith, Campus
Man and I.Q.. And then
on 9/30, look for Better Luck Tomorrow,
Blue's Clues: Blue's First Holiday,
Nicktoons: Christmas and Spongebob
The Core will be available in both
anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions (SRP $29.99 each). Extras
on both will include Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by
director Jon Amiel, a featurette on the making of the film, a
deconstruction of the visual effects and ten deleted/extended scenes
with director commentary.
James Clavell's Shogun will
feature the complete epic TV miniseries on 5 discs (SRP $89.99). The
episodes will be presented in the original full frame video, with audio
in remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original 2.0 mono (restored). The
set will also include the 79-minute documentary The
Making of Shogun, three new historical featurettes on aspects
of Japanese culture (including samurai, the tea ceremony and the geisha)
and audio commentary by director Jerry London on seven select scenes.
Here's some Paramount cover art for you. Just FYI, Dragonslayer's
a nice little something to look forward to (street date is TBA for
Moving on, 20th Century Fox is working on The
Dancer Upstairs for 9/23, Bend it
Like Beckham for 9/30 and Down
with Love for 10/7.
They've also announced 24: Season Two
for release on 9/23 (SRP $69.98). The 7-disc set will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, forty-four deleted scenes and
alternate ending with optional commentary (no kidding), three
featurettes (On the Button: The Destruction
of CTU, The Making of an Episode:
Production and The Making of an
Episode: Post-Production), two multi-angle scenes studies and
audio commentary on six episodes (one per disc). Additionally, all of
the deleted scenes and alternate endings will be optionally viewable
during the episodes they're taken from via seamless branching. Here's
the cover art...
Warner's got some great news too. They're releasing The
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The
Adventures of Robin Hood and Yankee
Doodle Dandy as 2-disc special editions on 9/30, as part of
their Warner Legends promotion. Each will be available separately (SRP
$26.99 each), and as part of a Warner Legends
box set of all three (SRP $69.92). All three films have been restored
using Warner's new "Ultra Restoration" process, which begins
with scanning the original Technicolor 3-strip black and white "records"
at high resolution (2K). The black and white records are then combined
electronically to create the color images, which are also electronically
re-registered, steadied and cleaned before the final DVDs are produced.
The result, in theory, is an image that looks better than the original.
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Special Edition
will include the film in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, along with
Dolby Digital mono audio. Extras on Disc One will include audio
commentary by author and film historian Rudy Behlmer, a music-only audio
track showcasing the Oscar-winning score, Warner
Night at the Movies 1938 (introduced by Leonard Maltin, which
includes the theatrical trailer for Angels
with Dirty Faces, a vintage newsreel, the original musical
short subject Freddie Rich and His Orchestra
and the vintage animated short Katnip Kollege)
and an Errol Flynn trailer gallery with trailers for twelve of his most
beloved films including Captain Blood,
The Prince and the Pauper, Dodge
City, The Sea Hawk,
Dive Bomber and The
Adventures of Robin Hood (both the 1938 version and 1942
reissue). Disc Two includes the hour-long Glorious
Technicolor documentary (narrated by Angela Lansbury), the
all-new 65th Anniversary documentary, Welcome
to Sherwood: The Story of The Adventures of Robin Hood, the
classic Looney Tunes shorts Rabbit
Hood and Robin Hood Daffy,
the vintage Warner Bros. short subjects Cavalcade
of Archery (1945) and The Cruise
of the Zaca (1952) with Errol Flynn, the Robin
Hood Through the Ages featurette (on the various screen
adaptations), the A Journey to Sherwood
Forest featurette (with home movies and behind-the-scenes
footage), outtakes, the Breakdowns of 1938
Warner Bros. Pictures blooper reel, audio of the May 11, 1938
National Radio Broadcast The Robin Hood Radio
Show, audio of Erich Wolfgang Korngold piano sessions and
still galleries of historical art, costume designs, scene concept
drawings, cast & crew photos and publicity & poster materials.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Special
Edition will also include the film in its original 1.33:1
aspect ratio, along with Dolby Digital mono audio. Extras on Disc One
will include audio commentary by author/Bogart biographer Eric Lax, Warner
Night at the Movies 1948 (introduced by Leonard Maltin, which
includes the theatrical trailer for Key Largo,
a vintage newsreel, the original short subject So
You Want to Be a Detective, and the Looney
Tunes animated short Hot Cross
Bunny) along with a Humphrey Bogart trailer gallery with
trailers for twelve of his most beloved films including High
Sierra, The Maltese Falcon,
Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep
and The Treasure of Sierra Madre.
Disc Two adds the feature-length 1989 documentary John
Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick, the all-new Discovering
Treasure: The Story of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
documentary, the Looney Tunes
animated short 8 Ball Bunny, audio
of the scoring stage sessions for the film, audio of the April 18, 1949
Lux Radio Theater Broadcast and still galleries of storyboards, dressed
set stills, cast & crew photos and publicity & poster materials.
And finally, the Yankee Doodle Dandy:
Special Edition will also include the film in its original
1.33:1 aspect ratio, along with Dolby Digital mono audio. Extras on Disc
One will include audio commentary by author and film historian Rudy
Behlmer, Warner Night at the Movies 1942
(introduced by Leonard Maltin, which includes the theatrical trailer for
Casablanca, a vintage newsreel,
the original short subject Beyond the Line of
Duty, the Looney Tunes
animated short Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid)
as well as a James Cagney trailer gallery with trailers for seven of his
most beloved films including A Midsummer
Night's Dream, Footlight Parade
and Yankee Doodle Dandy. Disc Two
adds the James Cagney: Top of the World
biographical tribute documentary (hosted by Michael J. Fox), the all-new
Let Freedom Sing!: The Story of Yankee Doodle
Dandy production documentary, the Looney
Tunes shorts Yankee Doodle Daffy
and Yankee Doodle Bugs, the
vintage wartime short You, John Jones
starring James Cagney & Greer Garson, audio of outtakes and
rehearsals, audio of the October 19, 1942 Lady
Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Show with film cast members
and still galleries of sheet music, dressed set stills, scene concept
drawings and publicity & poster materials.
Whew! Okay... I'd say that's enough for today. We've got a lot more
coming tomorrow, so see you then!
Well... the book's almost done, folks! Things will officially be back
to normal here at The Bits on
Wednesday. So be sure to check back then, as we start working to catch
up on lots of news, reviews and special features.
But we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge
passing this weekend of actress Katharine Hepburn. The legendary
actress starred in such films as The African
Queen, Bringing Up Baby,
The Philadelphia Story and On
Golden Pond, among many others. She was 96.
Okay... see you on Wednesday with a nice long post (the first of many)!
We thought you might all enjoy a few pictures from last night's signing
event with Ray Harryhausen at
Planet. There was a great turnout, and Ray was in top form,
signing discs and posters, and chatting with his fans. A lot of people
were clearly thrilled to meet him in person. Ray's a true gentlemen, and
we don't have to tell you that he's a legend in the film industry. So,
as they say, a good time was had by all. Anyway, enjoy the pics!
Just FYI, as some of you may know, Ray received his very own star on
the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this month. For more on that, along
with pictures of the event, visit Bruce Crawford's
Just a quick update for all of you... don't forget that our software
Planet, is going to be holding a special celebrity DVD signing
event tonight at their Orange County, CA store location. The guest of
honor will be none other than stop-motion/special effects legend Ray
Harryhausen! The event will run from 5-7 PM PDT, at the DVD Planet store
(16672 Beach Blvd in Huntington Beach, CA). If you're in the L.A./Orange
County area, don't miss it!
Also today, we have some final details on Warner's upcoming Smallville:
The Complete First Season DVD (9/23 - SRP $64.92). The
six-disc set will include all 21 episodes from the first season,
including the pilot, in anamorphic widescreen video. Extras will include
audio commentary on the pilot episode by executive producers Alfred
Gough and Miles Millar, and pilot director David Nutter. Another
commentary with Gough and Millar is available on episode Metamorphosis.
Also available will be deleted scenes from two episodes, a
storyboard-to-screen featurette for the pilot, an interactive tour of
Smallville and DVD-ROM weblinks.
Minneapolis Star Tribune has a great article up today on the
difference between widescreen and full frame on DVD. The story includes
quotes from our own Robert Harris, so don't miss it.
Well... just one more week until we wrap on the book and get things
back to normal here at The Bits.
Thanks again for everyone's patience. We've got lots of ground to cover
in July, and you can bet we'll hit that ground running.
In the meantime, we've announced the winners in our
Congrats to all of them.
And just FYI, Star
Trek.com has posted a story about a featurette on Matt
Jefferies (the art director on the original series) that's being created
for release on the upcoming Star Trek:
Generations - Special Edition, which is expected to be
released on DVD sometime next year (2004 is the film's 10th anniversary,
so it makes sense). You Trek fans
will find the story well worth a read.
As you've probably guessed, we're a little swamped by book work and
deadlines. We're going to try to post some things in the next couple of
days, including that column. But if we don't... you'll know why. Almost
done! And then things can get back to normal around here. We've got a
stack of discs to review and we're dying to get to them. So hang in
In the meantime, here's a bit of information that would normally be in
The Rumor Mill. In the interest of
getting it posted at all, we're putting it here. But sources are telling
us that Universal's 2 Fast 2 Furious
will street on DVD on 9/30. You'll also likely get Fox's X2
in September as well, with Pixar and Disney's Finding
Nemo tentatively following in November. We'll post more
details when we have them.
By the way, our apologizes to Paramount. We had inadvertently listed
one of their upcoming Yo MTV Cribs
DVDs as Yo MTV Crips. And man...
that's a WHOLE other title! Thanks to those of you who pointed that out.
Got a good laugh over it around here. ;-)
And we're going to update the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers as soon as
we can. We're waiting on some updated data. Just FYI.
Okay... we've kicked off our new
this morning. Five lucky winners will have the chance to win 20th
Century Fox's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The
Complete Fourth Season, The Death
of the Incredible Hulk, Song of
Bernadette and Baywatch Hawaiian
Wedding, along with MGM's Stargate:
SG-1: Season Three. And you've got until 12:01 AM PDT on
Sunday, June 22nd to enter. If you've ever seen an episode of Sesame
Street, you'll get the idea of this contest right away. So be
sure to check it out.
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
Big TV on DVD news today! Warner Bros. is finally releasing Smallville
on disc. Smallville: The Complete First
Season will arrive on 9/23 ($64.92). There's no word yet on
extras, but all the episodes will be released in anamorphic widescreen
We've got more word on upcoming Paramount DVDs due in September. This
is confirmed by the studio. Look for The Core,
Jr - Oswald: Welcome to the Big City, MTV
Cribs: Hip Hop, MTV Cribs: Rock,
Losing Isaiah, Milk
Money, Regarding Henry,
An Almost Perfect Affair, Campus
Man, I.Q., Leap
of Faith, Bang, Bang You're Dead,
House of Fools, I
Love Lucy: Season One - Volume 9, Scrooge,
Nickelodeon: Christmas, SpongeBob
SquarePants: Christmas and Blue's
Clues: Blue's First Holiday.
Elite Entertainment is launching a third volume of its Drive-In discs
on August 5th ($14.95 each). This one will include I
Bury the Living and The Hand,
with Distorto! sound (audio only sent to the left front speaker to
recreate the drive-in speaker experience), along with film shorts and
other drive-in related extras.
Also Universal has just announced the Animal
House: Double Secret Probation Edition DVD for August 26th
(SRP $19.98). The disc will include an original video segment directed
and produced by filmmaker John Landis and co-produced by Matty Simmons,
entitled Where Are They Now? This
feature includes interviews with Kevin Bacon, Tim Matheson, James
Widdoes, Bruce McGill, James Daughton, Karen Allen, DeWayne Jessie and
Stephen Furst as the characters in the film, just 25 years later. Also
included are pop-up facts and trivia and a "Greek Game". The
disc will be available in anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions.
In other news, Anchor Bay will release The
Cheerleader Collection (The
Cheerleaders and Revenge of the
Cheerleaders) and Halloween: 25th
Anniversary Edition on 8/5. Artisan Entertainment has
cancelled its release of Da Hip Hop Witch,
which had been set for 6/17. BMG Music will release Phil
Collins: A Life Less Ordinary on 6/17. Buena Vista has
announced The Lizzie McGuire Movie
for 8/12, along with Scorcher on
8/26, The Apple Dumpling Gang,
The Brave Little Toaster, The
Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, The
Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, Escape
to Witch Mountain, Power Rangers:
Ninja Storm, Episode #2 - Looming Thunder, Power
Rangers: Ninja Storm, Episode #3 - Lightning Strikes and Return
from Witch Mountain all on 9/2, and Holes
on 9/23 (in both full frame and widescreen). Lions Gate/Trimark is
releasing a whole slew of former Universal titles on 6/17, including
Big Kahuna, Buffalo
'66, Gods and Monsters: Special
Edition and Shadow of the Vampire.
They're also releasing But I'm a Cheerleader,
The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Jesus'
Son and Love and Death on Long
Island (also former Universal titles) on 7/22. And they have
The House of a 1,000 Corpses and
Will and Grace: Season One due on
8/12. MGM has added Article 99,
The Boost, Chattahoochee,
The Hospital, Prizzi's
Honor and There Goes My Baby
to its 9/16 slate. They also have Bullet
Proof Monk: Special Edition due on 9/9. Sony Music will
release The Clash: The Essential Clash
and Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted
Festival of Animation - Full Frontal on 6/17. And 20th
Century Fox will release Futurama: Volume Two
on 8/12, NYPD Blue: Season Two on
8/19, Angel: Season Two on 9/2 and
Family Guy: Volume Two on 9/9.
We'll be back in the morning with that stuff we intended for today.
Two weeks 'til the book's done. We're gonna try to keep things updated
this week with news and whatnot. So here's some news and whatnot. Pour
coffee and enjoy...
20th Century Fox is releasing The Simpsons:
The Complete Third Season on 8/26 (SRP $49.98). The set will
include Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary for all the episodes,
pop-up storyboard sketches for several episodes, multi-language clips,
Butterfinger TV ads, Toyota TV ads, a baby translator feature, character
poster, audio outtakes a jukebox feature and more. On 9/2, you'll also
get The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror
(SRP $14.98), which will include a video montage of Kang and Kodo's
finest moments. And on 9/9, look for Family
Guy, Volume 2 (SRP $49.98). Extras will include audio
commentary for select episodes, an unaired episode with commentary (When
You Wish Upon a Weinstein), 15 minutes of animatics, pilot
pitch for the show and a series overview. Here's some cover art...
In other news, Artisan Entertainment has announced 29
Palms, Bride of the Re-Animator,
Fourth Angel, Fright
Night: Part II, Ive Been
Waiting for You, Junior,
Killing Mr. Griffin, Lair
of the White Worm, Repossessed,
Spring, Wes Craven's Invitation to
Hell and When Thugs Cry,
all for 8/18. Buena Vista has added Sounder
to its 6/24 slate. Columbia TriStar will release Whole
Wide World on 7/29, and Die! Die!
My Darling, He Loves Me, He Loves
Me Not and The Once Upon a Time in
China Trilogy all on 8/12. MPI Home Video will release Dark
Shadows: Volume 7 on 8/26. New Line has added The
Ballad of Little Joe, A Man Apart
and Once Were Warriors to its 9/2
slate, with Run Ronnie Run
following on 9/16. Paramount will release The
Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius - Sea of Trouble,
MTV Video Music Awards: Hip Hop
and MTV Video Music Awards: Rock,
all on 8/5. Showtime has Mule Skinner Blues
set for 8/26. Synapse Films will debut Brutes
and Savages: The Uncivilized Version on 8/26. 20th Century
Fox has added The Good Thief to
its 8/19 slate, with Chasing Papi
following on 8/26 and Home Alone 4
due on 9/2. Universal will release Mobsters
on 9/30. And Warner Home Video has set Baby
Genius: Favorite Nursery Rhymes, Baby
Genius: Four Seasons, Baby Genius:
Underwater Adventures, Double
Double Toil and Trouble, Nightmare
Room: Camp Nowhere, Nightmare
Room: Scareful What You Wish For, Roger
and Me and Tom and Jerry: Hijink
and Shrieks for release on 8/19, with The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn following on 8/26 and Scooby-Doo
and the Monster of Mexico due on 9/30.
Image Entertainment gets their own paragraph. Look for Prison
of the Dead, Speck,
Talisman and Virgins
of Sherwood Forest (all on 6/24), Frank
Sinatra: They Were Very Good Years (7/22), Playboy
Exposed: Hard Hat Honeys, Playboy
TV: Sexy Urban Legends 2 - Seeing is Believing and Playboy:
Girls of Reality TV (all on 8/5), Boogeyman
2 (aka Revenge of the Boogeyman),
Borodin Quartet: Concert Master Class,
The Devil Came from Akasava, The
Flesh Trilogy (Touch of Her Flesh,
Curse of Her Flesh, Kiss
of Her Flesh), L'aventure C'est
L'aventure, La Boone Annee,
Treasures of the Hermitage, Via
Dolorosa, Calamari: Looking Up,
Dale Spalding: Downtown, Ian
Whitcomb: Turned On Alley and Wild,
Wild World of Jane Mansfield/Labryrinth of Sex (all on 8/12),
I'm Going Home, Rediscovering
Dave Brubeck, Sideshow: Alive on
the Inside, Sideshow: The New
Sideshow and Thunderbox: Fistful
of Dollars (all on 8/19), and Boombox,
Nasty's World, Poetic
Silence, Props 47, Broadway
Theatre Archive: Andersonville Trial, Cher:
Farewell Tour, Fall of the Louse
of Usher and Hands of Blood
(all on 8/26).
We'll have a new Trivia Contest
for you tomorrow, along with updated CEA player sales numbers and a new
column too, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
6/12/03 - 1 PM PDT)
We wanted to chime in here with a quick late update to address a couple
of things this afternoon.
First of all, the good news. The
Today has a story up with details on some of the cool new
scenes that will be included in the 4-disc version of The
Two Towers due on November 18th. If you're a Rings
fan like us, November just can't come fast enough.
And now the bad. We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing
David Brinkley and
Gregory Peck today. Brinkley was an old-school journalist, from a
time when journalism still had standards and wasn't driven by ratings. "Could
your nail polish kill you? Find out at 11!" And Gregory Peck...
well, what more needs to be said about the man who breathed life into
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Both men were icons and will be sorely missed.
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/12/03 - 1 AM PDT)
Yeah, yeah... I know I said we'd be taking the rest of the week off.
But sometimes you just can't walk away completely, you know? The job
becomes an all-consuming passion and all that. So we've got a post
First up, we've got another
Mill update this morning with news on a title I've been
waiting forever for, The English Patient:
Special Edition. Plus we have word on more Trek
SEs and even another cool Universal title that's reportedly on the way.
Second, Criterion has just announced the DVD release of The
Ingmar Bergman Trilogy box set for 8/19 (SRP $79.98). The set
will include Through a Glass Darkly,
Winter Light and The
Silence. Each film will feature new high-definition digital
transfers, optional English dubbed tracks, new English subtitle
translation, original theatrical trailers and poster art and video
discussions of each film by Bergman biographer Peter Cowie. All are B&W
in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, with Swedish mono audio. You've
just gotta love those folks at Criterion. I mean, you've just gotta.
It's a rule, I think.
Third, for those of you who may just be wading into the bewildering
world of HDTV, we'd like to direct your attention to
good report on the subject over at CNN Money. It's a quick
and dirty primer on the subject, that talks about prices, options and
available programming. We agree by the way... HDTV is well worth a look
and there's never been a better time to do so. Those anamorphic
widescreen DVDs sure do look awesome on a big, wide HDTV. MMmmm, mmmm,
mmmm... that's a good cracker!
Finally, just for kicks and to round things out today, there's
quirky story at CNN on all those raunchy flicks that
Bollywood's churning out these days. I mean REALLY... 17 kisses and a
string of bikini-clad girls? What's the Indian film industry coming to
anyway? You've just gotta love Bollywood. Seriously, you've just gotta.
Think that's a rule too.
See... now if this website were a Bollywood flick, this the part where
the entire staff of The Digital Bits
would leap onto your computer screen for the elaborate song and dance
Yeah... we'll just be skipping the song and dance number, I think.
See you Monday. If not sooner. ;-)
Okay, folks... as most of you have probably noticed, our content's gone
down a little bit around here while Todd and I have been busy writing
this book. We're not thrilled about it, but since we don't have the
massive staff and resources of the New York
Times or the Washington Post,
it's unavoidable. Remember... we're yer Mom & Pop DVD website. The
good news is that we're nearly done! Just another couple of weeks or so
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD is in the can. The bad
news is that, since we're into crunch time, we're going to take the rest
of this week off to get book work done. You guys are shelling our your
hard-earned cash for our snappy tome, so we want to deliver the best
book we can to all of you. But when we're done, by the end of June,
we'll kick right back into full website mode. We've got lots of reviews
and cool special feature stories lined-up to help you forget that we
were ever away. So once again, we appreciate your patience in the
In the meantime, we've updated the
Top 100 Films on DVD list to indicate new titles that are in
production for eventual DVD release, as well as the release of Warner's
Over at our MusicTAP
site, Matt's got a bunch of new high-resolution audio reviews for you to
check out, including The
Kinks: Everybody's In Showbiz,
Kinks: Low Budget,
Waters: Folk Singer,
Rollins: Plus 4,
Artists: Got Swing!,
Byrds: Greatest Hits,
Valens: Greatest Hits and
Zombies: Greatest Hits (all on SACD format), as well as
Mac: Say You Will,
The Game and
Martinon and the Orchestre de Paris - Ravel: Boléro
(all DVD-Audio Discs). By the way, Matt's also got some great SACD
release news regarding Bob Dylan and more, so be sure to check it out
his posts of the last few days.
We've added a new hardware and tech supply sponsor here at The
is a great place to buy supplies like blank CD and DVD media and
burners, empty CD and DVD cases, toner and printer ink cartridges,
computer cables, memory and other computer parts and accessories - you
name it. They have great prices and service, so be sure to check 'em
out. And don't forget to tell them The Bits
sent you. Much appreciated!
Finally today, we have a new
Mill post with a number of great upcoming titles from 20th
Century Fox and Paramount, as well as a tentative street date for
Warner's The Matrix: Reloaded. And
we even have details on a new DVD Universal special edition featuring
the Python boys (that's Monty to
you mister)! Definitely don't miss it.
If anything big or interesting happens between now and Monday, we'll
drop in here with a quick post. Otherwise, we'll be back on Monday with
our usual update. So thanks again for your patience and stay tuned!
As most of you know, Warner's DVD special editions of The
Right Stuff and Sergio Leone's Once
Upon a Time in America hit stores today. We were fortunate to
attend Warner's gala screening of The Right
Stuff last night at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. There
was a reception with the film's director, Philip Kaufman, and much of
the cast and crew, as well as a panel discussion with them all following
the film presentation. But two of the guests of honor were truly
special, so we thought we'd share with all of you a couple of great
pictures that Sarah took of them. Those of you who are fans of The
Right Stuff will immediately recognize how cool these shots
The first image is none other than General Chuck Yeager, the famed Air
Force test pilot, with the filming model of the X-1 rocket plane in
which he broke the sound barrier in 1947.
The second picture we have for you this morning is Mercury Astronaut
Gordon Cooper, posing alongside the full-sized replica of the Freedom 7
spacecraft used in the making of the film. Talk about your right stuff!
As you can probably imagine, the event was a blast. And if these images
don't get you in the mood to watch the DVD, I don't know what will. Both
The Right Stuff and Once
Upon a Time in America deserve a place in any respectable
film fan's collection, so be sure to pick up your copies ASAP.
Morning, folks! Hope you all had a great weekend. I spent mine working
on the book, of course, which was relaxing if you can believe that. Then
Sarah and I took in the Peter Gabriel concert last night. I just can't
pass up a chance to see him whenever he comes around. Let me also say
that if you're a high-resolution audio aficionado, Universal Music's
recent SACD releases of the ENTIRE Peter Gabriel catalog (including his
latest album, Up) are well worth a
spin. I'll be reviewing them all here at The
Bits... as soon as Todd and I finish this book!
By the way, we also caught a showing of Pixar's Finding
Nemo this weekend, and I have to tell you, I think it might
be their best film yet. It's very funny and definitely worth seeing when
you get the opportunity.
We've got some interesting info that's found its way to us from a few
different sources this last week about Warner's The
Matrix: Reloaded, as well as word on Universal's Schindler's
List coming to DVD. You'll find it in
Rumor Mill this morning, so don't miss it.
In other news, you fans of TV shows on disc (and particularly my
mother) will be pleased to learn that the first two seasons of Little
House on the Prairie are set to be released by Goldhill Video
on July 8th. Each set will SRP for $49.98 each. If someone starts
cranking out box sets of The Waltons
on disc, Mom'll pass out from the sheer excitement of it all. ;-)
Video Business has a
great article on the latest on the race to develop the next-generation,
high-definition optical disc format. It's available in the July 2nd
issue and should also be online as well (note that registration is
required). An interesting bit of new information in the story is that
Columbia TriStar may begin releasing pre-recorded, high-definition
software in Blu-Ray format next year, although no other studio has
announced support for the format (nor is any other major studio likely
to do so). We believe that most of the studios will end up backing the
final HD-DVD format, the spec for which is due next year. We've said it
before and we'll say it again... the industry would be foolish to launch
any high-definition disc format before the market is ready for it. And
consumers are too heavily invested in DVD to bite hard on a
next-generation replacement for it. We love high-definition video as
much as the next guy, but all things in good time.
And finally this morning, we've announced the winners of our James Bond
Congratulations to them, and thanks to all 2,650 people who entered.
We'll start another contest very soon, so be sure to watch for it.
Warner Bros. has announced that it will release director Michael Moore'
acclaimed Roger & Me on 8/19,
no doubt to coincide with MGM's release of Bowling
for Columbine on DVD. The disc will include the film in its
original full frame aspect ratio and mono audio, with audio commentary
by Moore and a theatrical trailer.
Other newly announced titles include: NFL
Fantasy Preview 2003-2004 (7/22), The
Year Without a Santa Clause (8/16), Sonny
(HBO via Warner), Cabaret (8/19),
Crossfire Trail, Sudden
Impact, Magnum Force,
The Enforcer (9/2 - the last three
are Clint Eastwood DVD Collection
reissues), Ken Burns' America: Brooklyn
Bridge (PBS via Warner), French &
Saunders: The Ingenue Years, French
& Saunders: Living in a Material World, Full
Bottom: Not Another Half-Arsed DVD Set, Absolutely
Fabulous: Absolutely Special (9/30 - the last four all BBC
Here's some cover art for Roger & Me,
Bottom: Not Another Half-Arsed DVD Set, The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960 - 8/26), Friends:
The Complete Fourth Season (7/15) and New Line's Once
Were Warriors (due 9/2):
By the way, we mentioned yesterday that Criterion is releasing Akira
Kurosawa's The Lower Depths on
8/19. Well, in the liner notes for their new Throne
of Blood DVD, subtitle translator Linda Hoaglund mentions
that Criterion has commissioned her to create new subtitle translations
for Seven Samurai, Ikiru,
Stray Dog, The
Bad Sleep Well, Drunken Angel
and I Live in Fear (a.k.a. Record
of a Living Being) as well. Meaning that you can expect new
Criterion DVD releases of all of those great Kurosawa films in the
And on a similar note, we wanted to mention that RUSCICO has created
nice anamorphic widescreen 2-disc DVD set of Kurosawa's Derzu
Uzala. It's an all-region title, with lots of language and
subtitle options, and is available in both PAL and NTSC versions. I
ordered up a copy recently (for roughly $35 USD) and while it took about
three months for it to be shipped from Russia, I'm glad I have it. To
our knowledge, it's currently the only way to get this Kurosawa film in
anamorphic widescreen in NTSC.
We should also remind all you Japanese cinema fans that
has released Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo on DVD, and will
release Zatoichi the Outlaw (aka
The Blind Swordsman's Rescue) and
Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival
before the end of the year. They've also released
first two Lone Wolf and Cub DVDs, Sword
of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the
River Styx, with more on the way. You can never have too many
samurai films on DVD, so be sure to check them out. Unfortunately,
they're pretty tough to find in stores, so try DVD Planet: Zatoichi
Meets Yojimbo (the two Lone Wolf
and Cub DVDs will be available in stores later this month).
That's it for now. Don't forget that our latest
ends at 12:01 AM PDT tomorrow morning, so get those entries in quick.
Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!