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page updated: 7/31/03



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 7/22/03 - 7/7/03)


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(LATE UPDATE - 7/22/03 - 2:30 PM PDT)

We've gotten a lot of e-mails from people requesting a look at the cover art for specific upcoming DVDs - art we missed in yesterday's update. So here's a few of them: Anchor Bay's Halloween: 25th Anniversary Edition (8/5), Lion's Gate's release of Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses (8/12) and Columbia TriStar's The Tick: The Entire Series (9/30).

Halloween: 25th Anniversary EditionRob Zombie's House of 1,000 CorpsesThe Tick: The Entire Series

The Tick, by the way, includes every episode of the series on 2 discs, presented in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Surround audio. You'll also get trailers and audio commentary by producer Barry Sonnenfeld and Ben Edlund (we'd been hoping Patrick Warburten would contribute as well - he told us a few months ago that he'd be willing to - but it seems it wasn't to be).

While we're on the subject of Columbia TriStar titles, in addition to The Tick, they've just announced the DVD release of Nowhere in Africa: Special Edition, Scenes of the Crime, Rudy: Deluxe Edition, Dawson's Creek: Series Finale and The Forbidden Dance is Lambada for 9/30.

In other news, Universal has announced a Babe: Special Edition for 9/23 (featuring anamorphic widescreen video). They've announced more TV titles as well. Look for Law & Order: Criminal Intent - The First Year and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The First Year both on 10/21. And while we're talking Universal, we'd be remiss if we didn't give you a look at their Scarface: Anniversary Edition and Scarface: Deluxe Gift Set, both due on 9/30.

Scarface: Anniversary EditionScarface: Gift Set

The Scarface: Anniversary Edition will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras will reportedly include "interview footage presented by Def Jam featuring today's hottest music stars commenting on how Scarface has influenced their life and music", the Rebirth of Scarface, Acting Scarface and Creating Scarface featurettes, a look at Scarface: The TV Version, the film's alternate ending and more (SRP $26.98).

The Scarface: Deluxe Gift Set will include the Scarface: Anniversary Edition along with the original 1932 version of the film as well (SRP $58).

Warner has announced National Lampoon's Vacation: 20th Anniversary Special Edition, Roger & Me and Memoirs of an Invisible Man for release on 8/19. National Lampoon's Vacation will include introductions by Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid and producer Matty Simmons, audio commentary by the Griswold Family and director Harold Ramis, a behind-the-scenes featurette, the Family Truckster and Roof Rack Easter egg featurettes, the theatrical trailer, outtakes and more. Roger & Me will include audio commentary by Michael Moore and the theatrical trailer. Memoirs of an Invisible Man will include a behind-the-scenes featurette, Easter eggs, outtakes and an ILM effects featurette.

National Lampoon's Vacation: 20th Anniversary Special EditionMemoirs of an Invisible Man

And here's a bunch more upcoming DVD announcements for you. ADV will release Around the World in 80 Days on 7/8 and Beastmaster: Season One on 8/26. Anchor Bay is releasing a number of double feature DVDs on 9/9, including Blade in the Dark/Macabre, Circus of Horrors/Theatre of Death, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark/Transylvania 6-5000, Fade to Black/Hell Night, Hell of the Living Dead/Rats, Night of Terror, Initiation/Mountaintop Motel Massacre, Mountain of the Cannibal God/Cannibal Man, Possession/Shock, Return of the Killer Tomatoes/Return to Horror High and Society/Spontaneous Combustion. Artisan has set Christmas Box/Timepiece, Christmas Comes to Willow Creek, Christmas Story Keepers, Christmas Visitor, Howling V: The Rebirth/Howling VI: The Freaks, Kickboxer 3: The Art of War/Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor, Love Relations, Men Seeking Women, Miami Models, Mrs. Santa Claus, One Christmas, Prom Night III: The Last Kiss/Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil, Silent Night, Strange Affair, Sucker Punch, To Save the Children, Watchers/Watchers II and Waxwork/Waxwork II: Lost in Time all for 9/23, with Barbie: Swan Lake and Boat Trip set to follow on 9/30.

Buena Vista has added Cool and the Crazy to its 8/5 slate, and Junction Boys to 9/9. They've also officially confirmed their Walt Disney Treasures titles for 12/2: Mickey Mouse in Living Color 2, The Chronological Donald, Walt Disney on the Front Lines and Walt Disney's Tomorrowland. Columbia TriStar has announced All I Want, Anger Management, Babysitter's Club, Enigma: Special Edition, Enough: Special Edition, Rocket Gibraltar and Soap: The Complete First Season all for 9/16. They also have Bedford Incident, Big Girls Don't Cry, Daddy Day Care, Gas Food Lodging, In Cold Blood, Men with Guns and Sleepless in Seattle: 10th Anniversary Edition set for 9/23.

Criterion/Home Vision has announced Bostonians and Europeans for 8/19, along with Home Movie, Zatoichi #9: Adventures of Zatoichi, Zatoichi #10: Zatoichi's Revenge and Zatoichi #11: Zatoichi and the Doomed Man. HBO has set Dawg for 9/30, and Cracker 1 and Prime Suspect for 10/14. Kino is releasing Assunta Spira/Last Diva and Holy Mountain on 8/12. Madacy will release Lost World: Complete Collection (1992 version) on 8/5, American Born, Bikini Summer 2, Executive Target, Intent to Kill, Land of the Free, No Escape, No Return and Out for Blood on 8/19. New Concorde has Black Scorpion: The Complete Series due on 9/23, Future Kick, Love Thy Neighbor, Mortal Challenge, Sex, Lies and Politics and Stranglehold on 10/7 and Firefight on 10/21.

New Line has announced Blink, Excessive Force, Heaven's Prisoners, Lawnmower Man #2: Beyond Cyberspace, Unconditional Love and Willard for 10/7. Paramount will release Black Sunday, The Browning Version, Lipstick, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Collector's Edition and That was Then, This is Now on 10/14, and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, Dragonslayer and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell on 10/21.

Back with a little more later. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/22/03 - NOON PDT)

Okay... this is the first post of at least two or three today, so keep checking back for more. To start with, we've updated all the data charts we track, including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers. In addition, both the DVD software sales and rental charts are now up to date.

We've got a BIG post in The Rumor Mill today, with word from various sources on a number of great upcoming Universal, Paramount, MGM and 20th Century Fox DVDs. You definitely don't want to miss it.

Back with more shortly...

7/21/03

Evening all! Yeah, the update today is a little later than usual, but you'll be pleased to know that we've FINALLY updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork section with more than 125 new pieces of cover art! We've got a ton of great stuff for you to see. And remember, clicking on each cover will take you to a pre-order page for the title with our software sponsor, DVD Planet.com. They do a lot to support us, so PLEASE support them with your business.

Just FYI, we have word that Paramount's Once Upon a Time in the West: Special Collector's Edition is due to street on 11/18.

We're going to keep this short and sign off now, so we can start on tomorrow's post. Have a great night and we'll see you in the morning with news and more!

7/18/03

Okay... here's our last post for the week. And we've FINALLY got a new column for you to enjoy. It's the latest edition of Barrie Maxwell's Classic Coming Attractions! This time around, Barrie reviews a pair of lesser-known titles of interest to classic film fans: Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood and Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Adventures of a Wunderkind. Our thanks to Barrie for his patience while we worked to get this posted. And for those of you who enjoy Barrie's columns, we'll have another new entry from him next week, so be sure to check back for it.

Also this afternoon, we've got a whole mess of new DVD-Audio and SACD reviews from Matt and the gang over at our MusicTAP site: Chanticleer: Magnificat, Aimee Mann: Lost in Space, Misha Mengelberg Quartet: Four in One, The Kinks: Everybody's in Showbiz, The Kinks: Low Budget, Miles Davis: Steamin', Muddy Waters: Folk Singer, Sonny Rollins: Plus 4 and Andre Geraissati: Canto das Aguas. Enjoy!

We've got a long overdue artwork update coming on Monday, then we have a last couple columns to post, and we should be all caught up. So then it's back to DVD reviews late next week.

In the meantime, have a great weekend and we'll see you on Monday!

(LATE UPDATE - 7/18/03 - 11:30 AM PDT)

Once again, something's come in that was just too good not to drop everything and post right away. Anyone interested in the COMPLETE list of animated shorts to be included on The Looney Tunes Golden Collection? Yeah, we thought so. Remember, Discs Three and Four are identical to The Looney Tunes Premier Collection as well. So here you go!

Disc One (Bugs Bunny) - 1. Baseball Bugs 2. Rabbit Seasoning 3. Long-Haired Hare 4. High Diving Hare 5. Bully for Bugs 6. What's Up Doc? 7. Rabbit's Kin 8. Water, Water Every Hare 9. Big House Bunny 10. Big Top Bunny 11. My Bunny Lies Over the Sea 12. Wabbit Twouble 13. Ballot Box Bunny 14. Rabbit of Seville

Disc Two (Daffy & Porky) - 1. Duck Amuck 2. Dough for the Do-Do 3. Drip-Along Daffy 4. Scaredy Cat 5. The Ducksters 6. The Scarlet Pumpernickel 7. Yankee Doodle Daffy 8. Porky Chops 9. Wearing of the Grin 10. Deduce, You Say 11. Boobs in the Woods 12. Golden Yeggs 13. Rabbit Fire 14. Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century

Disc Three (All Stars) - 1. Elmer's Candid Camera 2. Bugs Bunny and the 3 Bears 3. Fast and Furry-ous 4. Hair-Raising Hare 5. The Awful Orphan 6. Haredevil Hair 7. For Scent-imental Reasons 8. Frigid Hare 9. The Hypo-condricat 10. Baton Bunny 11. Feed the Kitty 12. Don't Give Up the Sheep 13. Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid 14. Tortoise Wins by a Hare

Disc Four (All Stars) - 1. Canary Row 2. Bunker Hill Bunny 3. Kit for Cat 4. Putty Tat Twouble 5. Bugs and Thugs 6. Canned Feud 7. Lumber Jerks 8. Speedy Gonzales 9. Tweety's S.O.S. 10. The Foghorn Leghorn 11. Daffy Duck Hunt 12. Early to Bet 13. Broken Leghorn 14. Devil May Hare

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/18/03 - 11 AM PDT)

Okay... we've got another post coming in a little while, but this just came in from Bits reader Marcel B. in the Netherlands, so we had to post it. This is the artwork Paramount is using for Once Upon a Time in the West in English speaking countries in Europe. Paramount here in the States hasn't decided whether they're going this route yet or not, but we'd like to STRONGLY encourage them to do so, because this artwork rocks. Thanks again, Marcel!

Once Upon a Time in the WestOnce Upon a Time in the West

Back later. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/17/03 - 3 PM PDT)

We're still working on those columns, but we've had several interesting pieces of art and information come our way today, so that's gotta take priority. And when you see what we've got, you'll understand why. ;-)

To start with, this is the confirmed DVD art that Fox is using for the Japanese release of X-Men 2, which streets on 9/12. We know the release will be a 2-disc set here in the States, and it's expected to have both Dolby Digital and DTS sound, but we'll have to wait a couple more weeks for an official announcement. No word yet on whether the art and street date will remain the same in R1, but they ought to be close, if not identical.

X-Men 2Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic SeriesBattlestar Galactica (movie)

Yep... that is Universal's final artwork for Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic Series and the theatrical version of the Battlestar Galactica pilot episode. Both are due on 10/21 (SRP $119.98 for the series and $19.98 for the movie). According to the excellent TV Shows On DVD website, The Complete Epic Series will include all 24 episodes of the series in full frame video and newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (2.0 stereo will also be included). You'll also get "insight into the making" of Battlestar Galactica, the Creation of Battlestar Galactica: An Interview with creator Glen A. Larson featurette, deleted scenes, audio commentary for selected episodes by cast and crew members, the Visual Effects with John Dykstra featurette, the Sci-Fi Special: Making of the Show featurette, the Composing the Music: Stu Phillips and Glen A. Larson featurette, production notes, an interactive game trailer and a sneak preview of the new Sci-Fi Channel Battlestar Galactica mini-series. As you can see, it also comes in special packaging molded to look like the faceplate from a Cylon Warrior.

And while we're giving you sneak peeks, how about a first look at Paramount's Once Upon a Time in the West: Special Collector's Edition? Yeah... we figured that'd make yer day. We've spoken to Paramount today and gotten the latest on the disc. This information isn't yet final, but you can expect an official announcement next month. So here's where things are at right now. The two-disc set will street in November. Disc One will include the 165 minute version of the film, in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and a cleaned-up mono mix as well. I'm told that the film looks and sounds fantastic. Disc One will also include an audio commentary track. More on that in a minute. Disc Two will include no less than three documentaries on the film, along with a shorter piece on the impact of the railroad in the Old West. The three main documentaries cover such subjects as director Sergio Leone's career, background on the film, the writing and casting process, the location shoot, the style of the film (both cinematographically and other), the film's impact on the Western genre and more. Also featured in the documentary are new interviews with John Carpenter, John Milius, Alex Cox, Claudia Cardinale, Bernardo Bertolucci, Gabriele Ferzetti, cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli, Leone biographer, film historian Sir. Christopher Frayling (author of the excellent book Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death) and more. Many of these individuals also participate in the audio commentary. Additional features are TBA. If you're any kind of serious film fan, you ought to be pickin' your jaw off the ground right now. Here's a look at Paramount's tentative cover artwork for the German version (thanks to the folks at DVDrome.com for that). Note that the final English version may be quite different.

Once Upon a Time in the West: Special Collector's Edition (Temp German artwork)

Damn... November's gonna be a GOOD month for DVD! A 4-disc Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, a 4-disc Indiana Jones Trilogy and a 2-disc Once Upon a Time in the West... does it get any better than that? We don't think so.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/17/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Morning, folks! We've finally got official cover artwork on Warner's upcoming Looney Tunes DVDs - these should be the final cover designs.

The Looney Tunes Golden CollectionThe Looney Tunes Premier Collection

Warner's press release was pretty sketchy in terms of disc specs, but we hope to have those details for you soon - specifically a detailed list of the shorts included on the sets.

Back with more later this morning. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/16/03 - 11 AM PDT)

We've got a couple of interesting notes to post this morning. First of all, several readers have informed us that the Disney website lists a new black and white/widescreen release of The Absent-Minded Professor set to hit DVD on 9/2, along with The Apple Dumpling Gang, Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain. If true, this would be in response to consumer complaints about the original Absent-Minded Professor DVD, which was released in January - it was full frame and colorized. What possessed Disney to do THAT is anyone's guess. This is the first we've heard of the release and it's not on any of the studio's sales charts. We're trying to get official confirmation of the title with the studio, so we'll let you know when we do.

Meanwhile, Yahoo has posted a new article from the USA Today on TV series DVD releases. It's definitely worth a read, if for no other reason than it confirms that both Seinfeld and Northern Exposure are currently being prepped for DVD release (both are TBA). And Alias: Season 2 is reportedly due on 12/2.

Sadly, two TV series you won't be seeing on DVD any time soon are Miami Vice and WKRP in Cincinnati. Video Store Magazine has reported that Universal claims a DVD release of Miami Vice is nearly impossible because of the complicated music clearance issues. We have personal knowledge that the same is true with Fox's WKRP in Cincinnati. Both shows used a great deal of then contemporary music as part of their soundtracks. The problem is, at the time these shows were produced, no one was thinking about future home video and DVD releases. So the license agreements with the music industry to use these songs didn't apply to future home video use. That means that they studios would have to re-license each song - which can literally cost millions of dollars per episode. You'd like to think the music industry would be flexible in working out new agreements to at least make DVD releases possible, but given the sad state of the music industry these days and their shotgun approach to enforcing copyright, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Just FYI, we've announced the winners of the Trivia Contest. Congrats to all!

We're working on a posting a couple of new columns from Barrie Maxwell and Robert Harris. It might take us until tomorrow to get them both up, but they're coming. Then, our next catch-up priority will be a massive Upcoming DVD Cover Art update for Friday. And it's all reviews after that. So stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/16/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got great news today for you Star Trek fans. Paramount has just announced the DVD release of the 2-disc Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Collector's Edition on 10/14 (SRP $24.99). The disc will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director/star William Shatner and Liz Shatner (his daughter and author of Captain's Log, William Shatner's personal account of the making of the film), another text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes (including Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute, Original Interview: William Shatner, Cosmic Thoughts, That Klingon Couple and The Green Future?), Harve Bennett's pitch to the sales team, The Journey documentary, make-up tests, a look at pre-visualization models, a look at the abandoned "rock man" costume, video of a press conference for the film, deleted scenes, theatrical trailers (including the teaser and theatrical trailers, as well as the trailer for The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones), storyboard art and a gallery of production photos. Be sure to visit Star Trek.com for more information. And don't forget, a 2-disc edition of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is being prepared for release early in 2004.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Collector's EditionThe Final Countdown

In other news this morning, we have an update on the new Final Countdown DVD, finally with at least a little bit of new information. In retrospect, our comments yesterday were a bit harsh, reflecting our frustration with the previous DVD release. So our apologies to Pacific Family Entertainment and Triumph Marketing for that. The good news is, we have been in contact with PFE, and they've officially confirmed to us that the DVD has been remastered to improve the video quality of their original release. So the new DVD up for sale on Amazon.com (due on 8/19) is the remastered version. The bad news is, we have no further official details than that, and it's unlikely we'll see the disc before its release. However, we've also been in contact with a video retailer who we trust, who has seen the new version. He tells us that, while the newly remastered widescreen video isn't anamorphic, it IS an improvement on the original PFE release. We don't know whether the audio has also been remastered, but it should be Dolby Digital 5.1 like the original disc. The disc should also include the film's theatrical trailer, as did the original. So while it still isn't the special edition many of you have been waiting for, the improved quality should make it at least worth a purchase for fans. We get at least 2 or 3 e-mails a week about this title, so we know how badly you guys out there want this film on DVD. Hopefully, if this disc sells well, PFE and Triumph will revisit the title with more extras and an anamorphic transfer in the future. Note that the disc art above is for the original version - we don't know if the new art is identical or not.

On a similar note, the aforementioned retailer also informs us that Convoy and The Point are due from Triumph on 8/19. Savannah Smiles will reportedly follow from them in September. We have no other official details on these titles.

Back this afternoon with the Trivia Contest winners and some columns. Stay tuned...

7/15/03

Today's post is going to be a little short, because I've got a dentist visit I've gotta take care of this afternoon. Tomorrow, however, we'll come back with a couple of new featured columns from our staff writers and more news. We'll also try to update the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section before the week is out, and post a few more reviews as well. So watch for that.

The big news today is in The Rumor Mill, concerning Universal's plans for Scarface on DVD. If you're a fan of the film, I think you'll be pleased. Don't miss it.

Also on the Universal front, the studio is releasing The Shape of Things on 9/23 and Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision on 9/30. And 9/2 will see the release of their "high school reunion" titles, including Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Three O'Clock High, The Breakfast Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Mallrats, Dazed and Confused, American Graffiti and a High School Reunion Collection box set of all these films. Most of these titles are obviously re-issues.

Moving on today, New Line has officially announced the DVD release of the Willard: Platinum Series on 10/7 (SRP $27.95). The DVD will feature two documentaries, The Year of the Rat and Rat People: Friends or Foes. You'll also get audio commentary with director Glen Morgan, producer James Wong, and stars Crispen Glover and R. Lee Ermey. There's also a music video. both widescreen and full frame video, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio, trailers and TV spots and the script-to-screen DVD-ROM feature.

Other newly announced New Line DVDs include Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III on 9/30, followed by Unconditional Love, Blink, Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe's War, Heaven's Prisoners and Excessive Force on 10/7.

And Columbia TriStar upcoming titles for 9/23 include Big Girls Don't Cry: Special Edition, Daddy Day Care: Special Edition, Gas Food and Lodging, In Cold Blood, Men with Guns and The Bedford Incident.

Finally this morning, you fans of director Steven Soderbergh will be pleased to know that Criterion plans to release a DVD version of his 1996 Schizopolis late this fall (street date TBA). You can read more at the Criterion home page. Thanks to Bits reader J.R. E. for the heads-up.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/14/03 - 1 PM PDT)

Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research website has posted full specs on the upcoming The Looney Tunes Golden Collection. Beck is actually working with Warner on the new set, and he provides lots of disc by disc details. The first thing to know is that Discs One and Two of The Looney Tunes Golden Collection are exclusive to that set, while Discs Three and Four are the same as the two discs in The Looney Tunes Premier Collection. So if you buy the Golden Collection, you're getting the content of both sets. The other great news is that the Golden Collection is just the first wave of Looney Tunes releases on DVD. Our guess is that you'll get a new collection every year until most or all of the shorts have been released. Of course, all of that will no doubt depend on how these first shorts sell.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/14/03 - 10:30 AM PDT)

Okay... we've looked into this Final Countdown DVD from "Triumph Marketing" and we've discovered that they are, in fact, connected to Pacific Family Entertainment. That means that the DVD being offered on Amazon is likely the same disc PFE released before. We have it, and it's a real mess. The film transfer isn't anamorphic and the video is the worst we've ever seen on DVD. The film fades up from black (or should we say gray, because the blacks are washed out and lifeless) to the softest DVD video you'll ever seen. This looks like VHS tape. Hey... if you guys at PFE HAVE fixed this disc, drop us an e-mail and let us take a look at it. If it's better, we'll be the first to admit it. Otherwise, our suggestion to readers is to avoid it like the plague.

We are REALLY getting tired of talking about this film on DVD. Somebody PLEASE just release even a passable version of this flick on disc and be done with it! Sadly, "Triumph Marketing" also has the DVD release rights to Convoy, directed by Sam Peckinpah as well. 'Nuff said.

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/14/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Warner Home Video is today officially announcing the release of The Matrix: Reloaded on October 14th (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will be available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. Interestingly, early press information indicates that the disc will be available in an Amaray keep case rather than the typical Snapper packaging Warner is so fond of. Audio on the DVD will be available in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 and English 2.0 Dolby Surround. Extras will include numerous documentary featurettes, including Preload (behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew), The Freeway Chase (a look at the making of the complex stunt sequence), Enter the Matrix (behind-the-scenes on the new videogame), What is the Amimatrix? (a promo for the animated companion DVD), The Matrix Unfolds (a look at the film "phenomenon") and Get Me an Exit (a look at design advertising inspired by the film), as well as DVD-ROM weblinks to the official site and the MTV Movie Awards spoof video. There may also be additional features TBA. Here's the final cover art for the disc:

The Matrix: Reloaded DVD

We'll have more details on this title, as well as Looney Tunes, as they come in from the studio.

In case you missed it, DTS went public last week in the biggest opening on NASDAQ in a long time. You can read more here and here via Yahoo.

Criterion has announced some new titles. On 9/16, look for Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water, William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster and The BDR Trilogy 4-disc set, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss and Lola.

You fans of the Universal Classic Monsters series have a little new reason to be happy. No, Universal doesn't seem to have plans to revive the series, but Image Entertainment is releasing the original The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney on 9/9 (SRP $24.99). The 2-disc set will include the 1925 version (110 mins) with a score by Jon Mirsalis, the 1929 restored version (98 mins) with a soundtrack by Carl Davis (stereo) and the original mono soundtrack, audio commentary by film historian Scott MacQueen, Carla Laemmle Remembers: A Video Interview conducted by David Skal, the 1925 and 1930 theatrical trailers, a Faust opera extract from the 1929 Tiffany Sound feature Midstream, still galleries of deleted and missing scenes, 8 audio-only dialogue sequences from the 1929 version and an audio interview with cinematographer Charles Van Enger. Very, very cool.

The Phantom of the Opera

And we have some more cover art for you this morning - Fox's Bend it Like Beckham (street date 9/30), Down with Love (10/7) and From Justin to Kelly (8/26). Beckham will have director's commentary, featurettes, outtakes and 10 deleted/extended scenes. We threw From Justin to Kelly in just for s&!#s and giggles. It's noteworthy only because it's one fastest film-to-video dumps ever - the DVD streets just 68 days after the film's theatrical release. Ouch.

Bend it Like BeckhamDown with LoveFrom Justin to Kelly

Finally this morning, we've been getting inundated with e-mails from readers who have noticed that there's a new Final Countdown DVD available for pre-order on Amazon.com (street date 8/19). The studio is listed as Triumph Marketing. We have no idea whether or not this is the same disc Pacific Family Entertainment released, but we'll try to find out.

Back with more later. Stay tuned...

7/12/03

You've waited a long time, folks... and now the wait is over. Warner Bros. has officially announced their first DVD release of classic Looney Tunes animated shorts for October 28th. Here's what to expect...

The Looney Tunes Golden Collection will retail for $64.92 and will contain 56 of the very best animated shorts, restored and remastered to pristine quality, on 4 discs. You'll also get audio commentaries, music-only tracks, behind-the-scenes featurettes and documentaries and much more.

The Looney Tunes Premier Collection will retail for $26.99. Its 2 discs will feature 28 of the best restored and remastered shorts, featuring the "best of favorite characters" and some supplemental material.

Also available that day will be Looney Tunes: Reality Check! and Looney Tunes: Stranger Than Fiction (SRP $19.98 each). Reality Check features newly-created shorts spoofing reality TV, while Stranger Than Fiction includes new shorts spoofing sci-fi movie blockbusters and TV shows.

We don't have final cover art yet, or complete disc specs, but you can see tentative art for the Golden Collection and the Premier Collection here. We should have all the details for you on Monday. Also... be sure to watch this space for ANOTHER big announcement from Warner on Monday morning. You can probably guess what it is.

We suggest you take the RED pill.

See you Monday for all the fun! Stay tuned...

7/11/03

"Holy s#@t, Batman! You... you mean The Bits has actual DVD reviews again? NEW ones?!"

"That's right, Robin. Three brand new reviews. I fear the Joker is up to his old tricks again..."

No joke, folks! Told you we'd get back on the review wagon sooner or later! We even dusted the cobwebs off Todd for the occasion. He's been chained to a desk working on the book for months now, but he's checked in with a review of the awesome new documentary Lost in La Mancha. And Adam Jahnke's got a pair of titles comin' at you today as well - Piñero and Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy (the unrated cut of course). So pick your jaws up off the ground and enjoy. We might even make the review thing a habit around here again. ;-)

Oh... but we're not done. We've also posted the complete transcript of a live chat held on Tuesday evening (over at the Home Theater Forum) with DVD producer Van Ling. Thanks to Ron, Parker and the gang at HTF for sending it over.

And finally this morning, we've got some word for you on Columbia TriStar's new Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Collector's Edition. It is indeed the same 2-disc special edition that's already available. The only difference is, it now comes in a spiffy black slip case and includes a paperback copy of the screenplay and a collectible senitype film frame. We've got an e-mail into CTHE to try and find out if the film disc has been fixed to correct that missing first Swedish subtitle: "Mønti Pythøn Ik den Hølie Gräilen?" We'll let you know what we find out.

So that's the way it is. Go about your business, have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday! Peace.

(LATE UPDATE - 7/10/03 - 11:30 AM PDT)

Just in for your viewing pleasure... new Universal cover artwork for Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (9/2), Duel: Collector's Edition (8/12) and 2 Fast 2 Furious (TBA).

Monty Python's The Meaning of LifeDuel: Collector's Edition2 Fast 2 Furious

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/10/03 - 11 AM PDT)

Okay... a few retail sources have been posting this information online, and we've confirmed that it's the real deal with Paramount. Here's the first official details about the bonus features on the upcoming Indy DVDs...

"Indiana Jones: Making the Trilogy - The Lucasfilm archives were raided to give you unprecedented access to the making of the Indiana Jones trilogy. Join the cast and crew of all 3 films on an epic movie-making adventure, including all-new interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Frank Marshall, Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw and more. Go on set and experience firsthand the rough-and-tumble world of the films' creation. Illustrated with never-before-seen footage, outtakes, screen tests, production drawings and photographs, Making the Trilogy is your first-class ticket to behind-the-scenes movie-making history.

The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones - In an era before computer-generated effects existed, Industrial Light and Magic managed to bring to life the unique world of Indiana Jones by using groundbreaking techniques in special and mechanical effects. The ILM wizards reveal how they employed miniatures, matte paintings, morphing and more to make Indy's spectacular quests and supernatural adventures believable.

The Sound of Indiana Jones - Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt takes us on what director Steven Spielberg describes as "an adventure in sound." Discover the crucial role that sound effects and editing play in the Indiana Jones films and learn the aural history behind some of your favorite scenes.

The Stunts of Indiana Jones - Each Indiana Jones film topped its predecessor with heart-stopping, perilous stunts. The stunt crew takes you behind the scenes to witness the intense coordination required by the entire production team to make certain a death-defying scene looks convincing on film. Learn how the Indy films paid homage to the past and were pivotal to the future of movie stunts.

Original trailers - Watch the original theatrical teasers and trailers for the Indiana Jones movies along with a trailer for the Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb video game from LucasArts.

Exclusive DVD-ROM content - Each of your Indiana Jones DVDs has the ability to unlock exclusive Indiana Jones content available only through a special DVD-ROM Web site. In addition, you can link to Indianajones.com (the official site for Indiana Jones fans) and check out the daily features and updates on Indiana Jones 4."


So there you have it. Thanks to Bits reader Scott R., and everyone who sent this in.

And while we're talking things of a Spielberg nature, some of our best sources have checked in with details on Universal's plan for Schindler's List, as well as near final art and a street date for Warner's The Matrix Reloaded! You'll find that in The Rumor Mill today, so don't miss it.

We've got some new Fox TV street dates for you today. Look for Dark Angel: Season 2 on October 21st, The X-Files: Season 8 on November 4, King of the Hill: Season 2 on November 11 and M.A.S.H: Season Five, Firefly: The Complete Series and Buffy: Season 5 all on December 9th.

Finally this morning, Warner has announced the films that were selected by fans in their DVD Decision 2003 on AOL. Officially set to debut on DVD on January 6th are Days of Wine and Roses, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Wind and the Lion and Where the Boys Are (SRP $19.98 each).

Back with more later this afternoon, including a new Trivia Contest. Stay tuned...

7/9/03

Surprise! We thought we'd get an early start on things for a change today.

First up this morning, MGM has announced some of their October releases. On 10/7, look for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Christmas Carol: The Movie (animated), Second Star to the Left: A Christmas Tale, A Freezerburnt Christmas, Silkwood, Alien from L.A., Impulse, Street Smart, West Side Story (Standard Edition), The Whales of August and Straight Out of Brooklyn.

We've also gotten official word from Paramount on their October DVD releases. Street dates are still TBA, but look for The Italian Job (both the new and original 1969 versions in separate editions), House of Fools, The Original Latin Kings of Comedy, Latham Entertainment Presents, the first The Honeymooners: The Original TV Series episodes, Conviction, Black Sunday, Lipstick, That Was Then, This is Now, The Browning Version, Dragonslayer, Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, Dora the Explorer: Meet Diego, Little Bear: Feel Better, Little Bear, Jimmy Neutron: Sea of Trouble and SpongeBob SquarePants: Season One. Just FYI, all of the Paramount catalog titles for September are now set for release on 9/9.

Columbia TriStar's got some new titles to announce too. On 8/14, look for All I Want, Anger Management: Special Edition (widescreen and full frame versions), Enigma: Special Edition, Enough: Special Edition, Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Collector's Edition, Rocket Gilbraltar, Soap: The Complete First Season and The Babysitter's Club. That Holy Grail DVD is a 2-disc set and the packaging is new. We're still working to determine if it's a completely new edition or just the previous special edition release in new packaging (we suspect it's new).

We're working up to a major update of our Upcoming DVD Cover Art section in the next week or so. In the meantime, here's some new cover scans for you...

Anger Management: Special EditionMonty Python and the Holy Grail: Collector's EditionEnigma: Special Edition

DreamcatcherA Mighty WindThat Was Then, This is Now

And before we go this morning, we leave you with a last bit of DVD cover art that retail sources sent our way yesterday - Disney and Pixar's upcoming Finding Nemo (street date: TBA).

Finding Nemo

Stay tuned...

7/8/03

Morning all! We're wrapping up the last of the work for our book today, so we're damn close to officially done. But we wanted to jump in here an point out a great story that Mark Rahner of The Seattle Times did last week about many of the great films that have yet to be released on DVD. The good news is, many of them are already on the way.

Plus, and this comes straight from Paramount, we've been told that Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West is looking very good for release before the end of the year as a special collector's edition. How's that for cool? Rahner also points out that, in addition to Dragonslayer, Paramount's Young Sherlock Holmes is also on the way to DVD. We've been told that That Was Then, This is Now is forthcoming as well.

Columbia TriStar has announced that a pair of Michael Apted titles, Enough and Enigma, are going to be re-released on September 16 as fully loaded special editions with all new bonus features (SLP $27.95 each).

And Warner is expecting to release A Mighty Wind on September 23rd (SRP $27.95). The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary with director Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy, biographies and discographies (with album art and lyrics) for The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers and Mitch & Mickey, Easter eggs, 15 additional scenes, the "live TV broadcast" of the concert in its entirety, TV appearances by The Folksmen and Mitch & Mickey and more.

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 7/7/03 - 5 PM PDT)

There's an interesting (but brief) story up at Yahoo on a new wireless "DVD product" that Gateway is developing. Basically, it sounds like a DVD player that can connect wirelessly to your PC, allowing you to view digital photos and videos on your TV, and listen to downloaded music in your home theater as well.

For those of you who are interested in Sony's Blu-ray technology, there's an online review at the Digit Life website of one of their new Blu-ray player/recorders. These have already been launched in Japan. The review is written in less than... well, good English. But it's worth a look for the features and specs of the player alone. According to the review, this particular model is backwards compatible with DVD-Video. Interesting. Thanks to Bits reader Ben H. for the link.

Finally today, DreamWorks has announced that they'll be two discs of Spin City episodes, personally selected by series star Michael J. Fox. Spin City: Michael J. Fox - His All Time Favorites, Volume 1 & 2 will street on August 26th (MAP $22.95 each). Each title is a 2-disc set. The two volumes together contain some 22 episodes of the series, each with video introduction by Fox. Also included are PSAs starting the show's cast.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/7/03 - 10 AM PDT)

So you wanna know the details about the documentaries on the Indiana Jones bonus disc? The British Board of Film Classification's revealed them. All such materials have to be submitted to the BBFC in order for them to be released in the U.K., and the BBFC makes the details public. So here's what to look for on Indy according to them.

The Making of the Indiana Jones Trilogy - Part 1: Raiders of the Lost Ark (51 mins)
The Making of the Indiana Jones Trilogy - Part 2: The Temple of Doom (41 mins)
The Making of the Indiana Jones Trilogy - Part 3: The Last Crusade (35 mins)
The Stunts of Indiana Jones (11 mins)
The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones (12 mins)
The Music of Indiana Jones (12 mins)

Keep in mind that none of these details have been confirmed by Paramount and Lucasfilm, but we suspect they're accurate nonetheless.

Back with more this afternoon... stay tuned...


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