UPDATE - 2/2/04 - 12:30 PM PST)
Well... it certainly was an interesting weekend, wasn't it? Any of you
watch the Superbowl? Turned out to be a pretty awesome game, although
for most of the first half it was a real snooze. Then, there was the
half time show "accident" involving Janet Jackson and Justin
Timberlake and a little "overexposure". Accident my ass - that
was planned from the get go. Jackson, you may be interested to know, has
a new album coming out next month.
new single was released today by her record company. Coincidence?
I think not. Still, the way the NFL, CBS, MTV and Timberlake's people
are spinning this today, it seems everyone's trying to shake off the
responsibility for it. Can you say "plausible deniability"?
Well, that's modern marketing for you. Just another day in 21st Century
'Merica. Yeah, boy.
Anyway, moving on. You know how sometimes you go to see a film
expecting to get one thing, and you do get it, but then you find
something else entirely that you didn't expect? Well, that's what
happened to Matt and I this weekend when we caught a showing of Sony
Pictures Classics' The Fog of War.
It's sort of a pseudo-documentary involving confessional,
hindsight-benefited interviews with former Secretary of Defense Robert
McNamara about his experiences during the Cuban Missile Crisis and
Vietnam. It's a pretty interesting film, and is probably guaranteed to
stir up controversy. It's actually very interesting. First of all, it
wanders off track a lot and takes itself far too seriously (almost
comically so). It's also carefully constructed to show you only one
perspective... McNamara's. In that sense, it reminds me an awful lot of
a Michael Moore film. This is a guy (McNamara) who is approaching the
end of his life, and is trying to come to grips with the decisions he
made while serving his country. So the idea of the film is that he's
offering little lessons that he's learned over the years in trying to
understand what happened - eleven of them in fact. But what's most
interesting here is not what McNamara says, but what he doesn't say.
There are still some lessons he hasn't quite learned, or doesn't have
the perspective (because of his close involvement) to be able to see
yet, even after all these years. He was one of the best and brightest
minds of his generation and yet, looking back, he seems pretty shocked
by just how wrong he was about many things, and (in being so wrong) how
close he and his contemporaries came to bringing the world to
destruction. Maybe shocked isn't the right word. He seems terrified by
it. So terrified, in fact, that there are some things he just can't talk
about, one of them being his ultimate sense of responsibility or guilt
for the consequences of his decisions. So the documentary, for all its
self-importance and careful construction, gives you a window on this
fear. Surprisingly, the film manages to succeed in spite of itself. If
you get a chance to see it, whatever you think of the subject matter, I
think you'll at least find it fascinating. Here's
to the film's official website for more information.
Okay... on to DVD news. Bits
reader Makoto in Tokyo e-mailed me this morning with a look at what
might be the most interesting DVD packaging ever. It seems that 20th
Century Fox is releasing the Alien Quadrilogy
in Japan... packed in a replica of an alien warrior's head. No, I am NOT
sh__ting you. Here's a picture and
link so you can see it yourself. I think Anchor Bay's
foul-smelling, foam-fleshed Evil Dead: Book
of the Dead edition may finally have been one-upped. Sure, it
might not fit on your video shelf with all those other DVDs... but when
it's this cool, who the hell cares?
In other news today, Variety
on Friday featured an article on the upcoming work of
screenwriter/director Frank Darabont. In the piece, he let it be known
that he's finished his work on the Indiana
Jones 4 script, and that a Shawshank
Redemption: Special Edition is planned for September DVD
release by Warner Bros. to celebrate the film's 10th anniversary.
Darabont say's he'll be recording a new audio commentary track for the
release. A brief snippet about the story is also available at
This is WAY in the rumor category, but it's worth noting that the
Soon Canadian retail website has posted a 6-disc Star
Wars Trilogy: Collector's Giftset as coming from Fox on DVD
on 10/19. We don't know if it means anything, and we would caution you
greatly against putting much faith in it. But about a million readers
have been e-mailing us links to this over the last few days, and many
inform us that DVD Soon "was one of the first retail sites to post
correct Indiana Jones DVD
pre-order information." So, you know... take that for what you
Finally this morning, we've posted three new
giving you each a chance to win such titles as Buena Vista's Under
the Tuscan Sun and Warner's Gilligan's
Island: The Complete First Season. Get yer entries in quick,
You Sergio Leone fans will be thrilled to learn that MGM has officially
announced the DVD release of The Good, the
Bad and the Ugly: Special Edition. The 2-disc DVD will street
on 5/18 (SRP $29.98). The film will be presented in anamorphic
widescreen video, with English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Italian mono audio.
The film will include some 18 minutes of new footage, which hadn't been
added back into the film previously because only Italian audio was
available. For the new release, actors Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach
have re-dubbed their original lines in English, with Simon Prescott
standing in for the late Lee Van Cleef. Extras on the set will include
audio commentary with film historian Richard Schickel, several
documentaries (including Leone's West,
The Leone Style, The
Man Who Lost The Civil War and Il
Maestro: Ennio Morricone and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly),
the Reconstructing The Good, the Bad and the
Ugly featurette, a never-before-seen extended scene,
trailers, Easter eggs and a gallery of poster artwork. An insert booklet
and collectible postcards featuring more artwork will also be included
in the case.
The good news isn't over yet, folks. Streeting on 5/25 from MGM is The
Great Escape: Special Edition (SRP $29.98). The 2-disc
release will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and
the original mono audio, audio commentary with the cast and crew, The
Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones documentary, 2
featurettes (The Great Escape: Heroes
Underground and The Great Escape:
The Untold Story), a trivia track, the theatrical trailer and
a photo gallery.
Also coming on 5/4 from MGM is Dead Like Me:
The Complete First Season (4-discs, SRP $58.96), featuring
audio commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and
Additional catalog titles streeting on 5/25 from MGM include Custer
of the West (widescreen), Hell in
the Pacific (wide), The Last
Valley (wide), Too Late the Hero
(16x9 wide), a movie-only version of the 181 minute cut of Dances
with Wolves (4x3), Duel in the Sun
(4x3), Guns of the Magnificent Seven
(16x9 wide), Junior Bonner (wide),
The Magnificent Seven Ride (16x9
wide), A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die
(wide) and Shalako (wide), along
with month-long re-promotes of about a gazillion previously released
Westerns and war films.
Also coming from MGM in April are Casa de
los Babys (4/13) and Recipe for
Not done yet. Universal/DreamWorks has just announced House
of Sand and Fog for release on 3/30 (SRP $26.99) in separate
anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. Special features will
include audio commentary with the director, author and cast, deleted
scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Coming in April from Universal are 30 Years
to Life, Gable and Lombard,
Lorenzo's Oil, Lover
Come Back, Pillow Talk,
The Rock Hudson and Doris Day Romance
Collection, Same Time, Next Year
and Fried Green Tomatoes (all
4/6). In May, look for The Adventures of Ma
and Pa Kettle: Volume 2, The Best
of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello: Volume 2, K-9:
The Patrol Pack and the On the
Road with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby box set (all on 5/4),
along with The Border, The
Night of the Following Day, Nighthawks,
Renegades and Shakedown
(all on 5/11), and Battle Hymn,
Gray Lady Down, No
Man Is an Island, Slaughterhouse-Five,
To Hell and Back and Wake
Island (all on 5/25). Unfortunately, we don't know if these
war and action catalog titles are anamorphic widescreen or full frame
yet, but DAMN I hope they're widescreen. I've been dying for an
anamorphic Nighthawks for a long
Here's the cover art for MGM's The Good, the
Bad and the Ugly and The Great
Escape, as well as Universal's 21
Grams (3/16 - which now features revised cover artwork), Nighthawks,
Slaughterhouse-Five and House
of Sand and Fog...
I wanted to make an additional note on Buena Vista's City
of God today. Many people have e-mailed to ask why we're
showing a street date of June 8th, when other sources are reporting the
title as streeting on February 17th. The reason is that the studio has
pushed the title back due to the film's recent Academy Award
nominations. The 6/8 date IS official from the studio.
By the way, we STILL have no follow-up statements from Buena Vista
regarding their postponement of the Ed Wood:
Special Edition. Interestingly, Amazon.ca is now showing an
April 4th street date, but until we hear something from the studio, I
wouldn't think much of it.
In other news today, we have an update about the upcoming Star
Wars DVDs with little bit of new information. You'll find
that in The
Rumor Mill. It seems that another Lucasfilm marketing partner
has let slip additional confirmation of the rumored late 2004 release.
is running a story about Texas-area retailers dumping Disney's
disposable EZ-D discs. Gee... didn't we all see that coming? Thanks to
Bits reader Todd B. for sending
And here's the big non-DVD related (sort of) news today: Pixar has
reportedly chosen to end its distribution partnership with Disney. This
would take affect after 2006, when the last of the movies it currently
has in production with Disney are completed. You can read
on this at CNN/Money.
That's all for now. We've got more new DVD reviews coming next week,
along with a MASSIVE Upcoming DVD Cover Art
update (no kidding - maybe the biggest we've ever done) and more. So
until then, enjoy the Superbowl and stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/29/04 - 1:30 PM PST)
We're back as promised with another new DVD review. Our own Adam Jahnke
has given Fantoma and Zoetrope's new 2-disc DVD release of
from the Heart a spin. It's a long-lost Francis Ford Coppola
film and an interesting release on disc. Definitely worth a look.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/29/04 - 11:15 AM PST)
Yessir, Warner has announced the DVD release of Gothika
for March 23rd. Extras will include audio commentary by the filmmakers,
the Behind Blue Eyes music video
by Limp Bizkit, the theatrical trailer and more. Warner will also
release HBO's And Starring Pancho Villa as
Himself on May 11th.
In other news today, Buena Vista has announced that its City
of God, which has been nominated for 4 Academy Awards, will
street on DVD on June 8th (SRP $29.99). Video will be anamorphic
widescreen (1.85:1), with audio in Brazilian Portuguese Dolby Digital
5.1 (with English, French and Spanish subtitles). No word yet on extras.
Around the Net today, the USA Today
has confirmed (in a recent interview with director Peter Jackson) what
before, which is that the theatrical edition of The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will street in May
or June, while the extended version will arrive in November.
here to read the full story. The most interesting thing here is
that Jackson says he's finished editing the extended cut, which runs
some 4 hours and 10 minutes (or 250 mins total). If accurate, that means
the extended version is 49 minutes longer that the 201 minute theatrical
cut. Nice. I am so there.
For you Trek fans today, we have
a couple of photos from Tuesday's DVD signing event in Hollywood with
Star Trek VI director Nicholas
Meyer. Meyer reportedly addressed the crowd in addition to signing
discs. Thanks to our friends at Paramount for sending these over. Don't
forget, if you're in the San Francisco area, you can see Meyer on
Saturday, January 31st at the Borders in San Rafael at 4PM (588
Francisco Blvd. West).
Interested in a pair of new high-resolution music reviews? Good...
Matt's checked in with his take on the new SACD version of
Purple: Live on the BBC, and the new DVD-Audio version of
Purple: Machine Head.
And if you check back later this afternoon, we might just have a couple
more new DVD reviews for you as well.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/28/04 - 2 PM PST)
Hi everyone. We just wanted to let you all know once again that our
e-mail servers are seriously bogged down by this virus that's going
around. The last time I checked my e-mail, it took two hours to download
it all, and 98% of it was just this virus-triggered junk. So once again,
let me suggest that you all update your anti-virus software, and scan
your computers as soon as you can. And if you've been trying to get a
hold of us in the last week or so, and we haven't responded... well, now
you know why. You can read more about this virus
at CNN. Imagine - 10 years ago most of us hadn't even heard of
e-mail, and now we have to deal with stuff like this. We truly live in
strange and wondrous times.
Before we go, a few more announcements this afternoon. Warner will
release Back to Bataan, Battleground
and Flying Leathernecks on May 4th
(SRP $19.97 each). On April 27th, look for Frankenstein
Must Be Destroyed, Dracula Has
Risen from the Grave, Taste the
Blood of Dracula, and the Hammer
Horror Collection (a 6-disc set with the three titles we just
mentioned, along with Curse of Frankenstein,
Horror of Dracula and The
Mummy). Also coming on June 1st are Dr.
Who: The Curse of Fenric and Dr.
Who: The Two Doctors.
(EARLY UPDATE -
1/28/04 - 12:01 AM PST)
We got so busy updating all our stats here that Tuesday's last update
became Wednesday's first! Happens like that sometimes.
Anyway, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales chart with the final numbers for December,
ending the week of 12/26. Some 320,682 players were shipped that week,
taking the monthly total to 3,027,083, and the final total for 2003 to
21,994,389. That puts the DVD format to date at some 65,713,127 players.
Just in case you were wondering.
Speaking of charts, we've also updated all the DVD sales, rental and
total titles currently available data that we normally track
in case you were wondering about any of those numbers.
In other news today, Buena Vista has officially announced the DVD
release of Haunted Mansion for
4/20 (in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions). Also newly
announced by the studio is James Cameron's Ghosts
of the Abyss documentary, which is due on 4/27.
Nothing new on the Ed Wood front
today, except that a few early copies have already found their way onto
eBay for absurd prices, and the disc is no longer even listed at
There's new information coming in about the possible DVD release of
another classic SciFi series by Universal later this year, along with a
show about some guy everybody loves. You'll find that in The
Rumor Mill today. Here's a clue on the SciFi show:
And speaking of SciFi, yes... we do know that there's no insert in the
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition
DVD. And yes, we do know that the disc art for Disc Two of the set is
printed upside down, and that it's actually an image from Generations,
not The Undiscovered Country. You
have no idea how many e-mails we've gotten about those two issues,
asking what we think. So what do we think about the disc art issue?
Someone in QC obviously screwed the pooch. As to the insert question,
like many studios these days, Paramount is no longer including inserts
with their DVD releases. The feeling is they're a waste of money, given
that most people never even look at them. Personally, I don't miss them
all that much, but I know a lot of you do. What I do wish the studios
would do more often is include nice liner notes booklets in the DVD
cases, instead of just a sheet of paper with the cover artwork and a
list of chapter stops. It's probably not necessary for all releases, but
for good special editions, a nice liner notes booklet is like icing on
the cake. And yes, people DO read them. Anyway, it's an issue that's
sure to stir up dissent in the months ahead.
Finally this morning, we've kicked up another trio of new Contests
for you, thanks to our friends at Buena Vista and Warner. You'll have
the chance to win copies of Alice in
Wonderland, Friends: Season Six,
Grind and Billabong
Odyssey. Get yer entries in quick!
(LATE UPDATE -
1/27/04 - 1:30 PM PST)
Yes, it's true... Rhino Home Video is going to be releasing The
Land of the Lost: The Complete Series on DVD later in 2004.
Like H.R. Pufnstuf: The Complete Series,
which streets on 2/10, this is part of the 35th Anniversary Sid &
Marty Krofft celebration. Good news for Gen-Xers out there.
Also today, Paramount has announced the DVD release of Fat
Man & Little Boy, My Side of
the Mountain and The Molly
Maguires for April 27th.
And we've received word that the filmmakers have completed most of the
extras for New Line's The Butterfly Effect,
which will be released as an Infinifilm DVD later this year.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/27/04 - 10:45 AM PST)
Morning everyone! We're going to have multiple posts today, as we work
to update stats and other items around the site. So be sure to check in
later for more.
But first, we need to remind you all that director Nicholas Meyer will
be signing copies of the Star Trek VI: The
Undiscovered Country DVD tonight at the Borders bookstore in
Westwood at 7:30PM (1360 Westwood Blvd.). So if you're in the L.A.-area
and you're a Trek fan, that's the
place to be.
Also, there's a very nasty e-mail virus spreading around the Internet
today. It's got the Bits and MusicTAP
e-mail servers pretty bogged down. We're each getting hundreds of junk
e-mails per hour, and we know we're not alone. So we'd like to remind
everyone to update your anti-virus software and be sure to scan your
computers. And if by chance you're getting junk e-mails from our
addresses, just know that it's not us sending them.
But the real reason we wanted to check in this morning, is to update
you on the Oscar nominations that came in today. The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was nominated for a
whopping 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and
Best Adapted Screenplay. The big surprise of the morning is that actress
Nicole Kidman wasn't nominated for Best Actress, and her film Cold
Mountain didn't receive a Best Picture nom. The list of films
that are in contention for the top Oscar are as follows: The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost
in Translation (a surprise, but yes, it really is that good),
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the
World, Mystic River and
Seabiscuit. You can
here for the official list, and
for CNN's analysis. If I'm a betting man, my money's on Rings
In other news, we're getting reports that a few retailers (who received
their shipments early and have not yet gotten the recall notice) have
already put their copies of the Ed Wood:
Special Edition on store shelves, more than a week before
what would have been the street date (2/3). Meanwhile, we're STILL
waiting for an official statement about the cancellation from the
studio, although they HAVE confirmed that the disc has been "postponed
indefinitely". I hate to say it, but this is looking like it's
going to be a major cluster f__k. We'll post as soon as we hear
Now then, one last thing this morning. We've just kicked off a whole
new series of Bits Power Buys. We
have new discounts available on a whole range of home theater equipment
just for you loyal readers of The Digital
for the details.
Back later. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/26/04 - 3
We're working on a couple of interesting things for you today, that we
expect to post later this week (one of which is a big Upcoming
DVD Cover Art update). So this afternoon's post is going to
be brief. That said, we think you'll find this interesting.
This is something we didn't see coming but, in retrospect, probably
shouldn't come as too much of a surprise (if it's indeed true). There
are early and unofficial reports circulating in the media that the U.S.
Department of Justice has begun a preliminary investigation of the
Blu-ray Group (led by Sony). Apparently, the issue in question is
whether or not Group members have acted together to deliberately impede
the progress of the rival HD-DVD standard being developed by the DVD
Forum. You may recall that the Blu-ray Group companies have been
developing their high-definition optical disc format separately from the
DVD Forum, but as many of Blu-ray Group are also Forum members, they've
voted together on at least one occasion in such as way as to delay the
development of the Forum's Advanced Optical Disc format (recently
officially adopted as HD-DVD). The Justice Department has thus far
declined to comment.
You can read more on this
If this tells you nothing else, it should inform you that the road to
high-definition movies on disc is going to be longer and more
complicated than some in this industry would have you believe. Expect
many bumps along the way. We'll keep our eye on this story and see how
Don't forget that Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow morning in
Los Angeles. Click
here for the details from the official Oscar site.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/26/04 - 12:01 AM PST)
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
did well at the Golden Globes last night, winning in the Best Picture -
Drama, Best Director, Best Original Song and Best Original Score
categories. Also taking wins last night were Lost
in Translation (for Best Picture - Comedy, Best Screenplay
and Best Actor - Comedy), Charlize Theron (for Best Actress - Drama in
the film Monster), Sean Penn (Best
Actor - Drama for Mystic River),
etc. You can read the complete list of winners at
Globes official website. There's also
usual summary at CNN.
A bit of DVD release news - Buena Vista has announced The
Third Wheel for 4/20 (SRP $29.99).
Also, Columbia TriStar has announced the following titles for release
on 4/6: Passionada, City
of Joy, Sylvester, The
Dresser, The Best of the Muppets
Show: Diana Ross and Charlie's
Angels: The Complete Second Season.
And Warner Bros has announced the release of the 3-disc Sex
and the City: The Sixth Season - Part 1 for 5/18. No artwork
or other details are as yet available.
Finally this morning, we have a look for you at Universal's new
fit-on-your-shelf-easier packaging for Battlestar
Galactica: The Complete Epic Series (which will be available
Back this afternoon. Stay tuned...
We have a quick update for you on the now delayed Ed
Wood: Special Edition. We've been getting a LOT of e-mails
from confused retailers, many of whom are telling us that they've
already received their shipments of the disc from distributors. The disc
had been scheduled for release on 2/3, and many Suncoast stores already
have it in their back rooms. However, we HAVE confirmed with the studio
that the disc has been indefinitely delayed, so we expect that the disc
will get recalled soon and stores will have to return their shipments.
No doubt some copies will escape and find their way to eBay. Many
readers have noticed that the disc is
longer available on Amazon, and it has been removed from the
studio's press site. We'll try to let you know why it was delayed as
soon as possible, and we'll post any information pertaining to a new
street date as soon as it comes in.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/23/04 - 2 PM PST)
Okay... one last update for you today. We've just posted Barrie
Classic Coming Attractions column. This edition features a
look at the films of actor Cary Grant, as well as a rundown of all the
latest classic title announcements.
One more announcement today - 20th Century Fox will release the new
Cheaper by the Dozen remake,
starring Steve Martin, on April 6th. Just FYI.
And finally this afternoon, I'm sorry to have to report some very sad
news. Bob Keeshan, TV's Captain Kangaroo himself, has passed away at the
age of 76. You can read more
at CNN. Like Fred Rogers before him, Keeshan was a friend to kids
the world over, and of course to the likes of Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit,
old Grandfather Clock and Mr. Green Jeans. He'll be missed.
Back on Monday. Until then, stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 1/23/04 - 1 PM PST)
We've just posted 12 new classic film DVD reviews from Barrie Maxwell.
Included are Kino Video's
Me Tonight, 20th Century Fox's
to Be Bad,
Was a Male War Bride,
Will Talk and
Them for Me (Cary Grant classics all), Image Entertainment's
Crusoe of Clipper Island, Milestone's
Edge of the World, Columbia TriStar's
Had Four Sons,
American Style and
and finally my personal favorite John Ford westerns (also one of my
all-time favorite films) just released on DVD by Fox...
Darling Clementine, staring Henry Fonda, Victor Mature and
Walter Brennan. They're good titles all, so enjoy!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/23/04 - 11 AM PST)
Well, here's disappointing news. Buena Vista's Ed
Wood: Special Edition (previously scheduled for release on
2/3) has been indefinitely delayed... again. We've been receiving a lot
of e-mails from our retail sources over the last 12 hours, and we've
just heard official word from the studio. We have no idea why this might
be happening, or when the title might be re-slated for release, but you
can be sure we'll update you with anything we hear.
In better news today, Koch Vision is going to be releasing a Popeye:
75th Anniversary Collector's Edition on 4/6 (SRP $29.98). The
3-disc set will reportedly contain more than 8 hours worth of classic
cartoons featuring the spinach eating sailor. We don't know how complete
this collection will be, or what other extras might be included, but
we'll post more details (and cover art) as they come in.
Also this morning, we have new details on just announced MGM DVD
releases for April. First up, the studio will re-release The
Alamo on April 6th, in anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, with the John Wayne's
Alamo documentary and the theatrical trailer. SRP is $14.95.
We don't know if the video has been remastered or if it's the same
transfer from the previous DVD release. Also on 4/6, look for Lightning
the White Stallion, Little
Monsters, Me and the Kid,
Red Riding Hood, Sword
of Valiant: Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Ring
of Bright Water and Jack the Giant
Killer. On April 20th, watch for The
Fool for Love, Wish
You Were Here, Man of La Mancha,
Follow That Dream, I
Could Go on Singing and Billie.
Also, to catch you up on a new MGM March title, look for Stay
Hungry (Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first American film) on
Finally this morning, speaking of Ar-nuld, here's a look at the cover
artwork for Artisan's forthcoming The Running
Man: Special Edition (street date 3/16)...
Back later with Barry's new column. Stay tuned...
Wow... when we said
months that Warner was getting ready to get more serious about
their classic animated product, we were more right than even we
suspected at the time. We know about The
Flintstones, and we know Jonny
Quest and The Jetsons
are on the way, but here's a surprise: Warner has announced the release
of Scooby-Doo: Where Are You! - The Complete
First and Second Seasons for 3/16. The 4-disc set will SRP
for $64.92. VERY nice. No need to deal with any more of those lame "best
Warner has also announced the DVD release of the following titles, all
for 5/4: Campion: Dancers in Mourning,
Campion: Flowers for the Judge,
Campion: Mystery Mile, Campion:
Sweet Danger, Campion: The
Complete Second Season, Elephant
(HBO), Gilmore Girls: The Complete First
Season (6 discs), Monarch of the
Glen: Series 2 and Monarch of the
Glen: The Complete Series 1 & 2 (2-pack).
Here's a look at the cover art for Scooby-Doo
and The Waltons: The Complete First Season
(which was announced yesterday for 5/11)...
Yep... there's nothing like The Waltons
coming to DVD to make your mom happy. Trust me, mine's been waiting for
this for years!
Of course, another DVD to make mom happy was just announced by Columbia
TriStar for 3/30 - Something's Gotta Give.
The disc will carry an SLP of $28.95, and will include audio
commentaries with director and cast, a "karaoke" deleted
scene, the Hamptons House Set Tour
featurette (with Amanda Peet), cast and crew filmographies and trailers.
By the way, for those of you who are still a little fuzzy on the basic
differences between standard analog TV and digital HDTV, the
Review website has a nice little animated primer that's worth
checking out. It's a good way to introduce family and friends to the
Okay... if all goes according to plan, we're hoping to post Barrie
Maxwell's new Classic Coming Attractions
column tomorrow, which will include a number of new DVD reviews. Then,
with any luck, we've got a huge Upcoming DVD
Cover Art section update planned for Monday or Tuesday. Plus,
we've got lots more new DVD reviews coming next week as well.
See you back here tomorrow. Until then... 'nite John Boy.
Fan of Star Trek? Live in
California? Good news then! Our friends at Paramount have let us know
that director Nicholas Meyer will be signing copies of
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on DVD next week. On
Tuesday, January 27th, Meyer will be at the Borders bookstore in
Westwood at 7:30PM (1360 Westwood Blvd.). Then on Saturday, January
31st, Meyer will be in the San Francisco area at the Borders in San
Rafael at 4PM (588 Francisco Blvd. West).
Moving on to more new announcement news today, we've learned that
Warner Bros. will be releasing Gus Van Zant's Elephant
on May 4th (SRP $27.95), as well as The
Waltons: The Complete First Season on May 11th (SRP $49.98).
Also today, we have word that Lion's Gate will release Saved
by the Bell: Seasons 3 & 4 and The
Cooler (staring William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin) on April
Finally today, two new Zatoichi
films are now available on DVD exclusively from the
- Zatoichi at Large and Zatoichi
and The Festival of Fire. They'll be available from Amazon
and other DVD retailers in a few months. While we're at it, we figured
you'd like a look at the final cover art for Columbia TriStar's new Panic
Room: Special Edition (3/30) and Mona
Lisa Smile (3/9 - it seems the art from yesterday was temp
only), as well as Fox's Futurama: Volume 3
(3/9) and Kino's upcoming version of The
Three Musketeers (1921, starring Douglas Fairbanks - 2/3).
We've got a couple of things for you today. First up, how about a
little new DVD cover artwork? Here's a look at Universal's 21
Grams (3/16), Columbia TriStar's Mona
Lisa Smile (3/9) and Warner's A
Room with a View: Special Edition (formerly from Image, now
remastered and due on 4/6)...
Just FYI, you can now pre-order those Universal Monster
Legacy Collections from Amazon. Just click on the cover art
And Adam Jahnke's checked in with another
Bottom Shelf column. In this edition, Adam reviews 6 DVDs,
including Buena Vista's
Down the House, Lions Gate's
10th Anniversary Special Edition, HBO's
from Baghdad, Home Vision's
Self-Portrait and a pair of Spike &
Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation DVDs -
Frontal. Talk about your potpourri. Enjoy!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/19/04 - 1:30 PM PST)
We've got a trio of new DVD reviews for you today from our own Rob
Hale. Rob's taken a look at three by filmmaker David Cronenberg -
Also, we've kicked off another pair of new
for you today. The first gives you a chance to take home one of 3 sets
of Paramount's Shogun and South
Park: The Complete Third Season, and the other gives you a
shot at 5 copies of Buena Vista's Open Range.
Both will run until Saturday, January 24th.
In DVD release news, Universal has announced the DVD release of three
new titles. Look for 21 Grams on
March 16th, Honey on March 23rd
and 30 Years to Life on April 6th.
Columbia TriStar has announced the release of its Mona
Lisa Smile for March 9th.
Finally today, 20th Century Fox will release The
Grapes of Wrath on on April 6th.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/19/04
- 12:01 AM PST)
This is just a quick post to get the week kicked off right. First of
all, my condolences to Colts fans and especially to you Eagles fans. As
a life-long Vikings supporter, I feel your pain.
How about a little good news? As expected, Columbia TriStar has
officially announced the DVD release of their Panic
Room: Special Edition for 3/30. This 3-disc set will SRP for
$39.95. We'll have cover artwork and more details on the bonus material
as soon as it comes in. Now if only we could get a nice Criterion
special edition of Fincher's The Game,
we'd be in business. I never in a million years imagined we'd get an SE
of Alien³ before one of The
Game. Go figure.
For those of you craving for reviews, Matt's turned in his thoughts on
the new SACD version of Elton John's
Yellow Brick Road. I've got a copy of that myself, and I can
tell you it's a great disc. The industry is definitely starting to get
the hang of this high-resolution audio thing. These SACD and DVD-Audio
discs just keep sounding better and better.
One last thing this morning. Judging by the amount of e-mail we got
about those new Universal Monster Legacy
Collections, there are a lot of excited fans out there. So
here's a good look at the cover artwork for you (remember, all the
titles street on 4/27)...
We've got lots of stuff coming this week, including new columns, tons
of cover art, new reviews and more, so stay tuned!
Now's your chance Trek fans.
We've been telling Paramount for years that it's time they released Star
Trek: The Animated Series on DVD. Hell... it's only 22
episodes, each only like 20 minutes long. They ought to be able to bang
that out pretty quickly, right? But for whatever reason, every time we
ask about it, the reaction seems to be, "Yeah, but why would anyone
really want it?"
The answer to that, of course, is because it's Star
Trek. Animated or not, silly or not, there are a couple of
real gems in those 22 episodes. You've got the entire original cast
doing the voices, you've got follow-ups to classic Original
Series episodes, you've got episodes written by the likes of
Trek staples D. C. Fontana and
David Gerrold. Heck, SciFi author Larry Niven even penned one of these
So why, you might ask, am I raising the subject now? Simple. Star
Trek.com is actually making an attempt to gauge fan interest
in seeing The Animated Series on
to this page at the site, and slide way down to the very bottom.
It's not like they're actually going out of their way or anything, but
there at the bottom in small print is this question:
Would you like to see the Animated Adventures on
DVD? Let us know at email@example.com.
Hell, yeah! Asking Star Trek fans
if they want The Animated Series
on DVD is like asking Cookie Monster if he wants the last Nutter Butter
in the bag. This year is the 30th anniversary of The
Animated Series. If you want 'em on DVD, you'd better tell
Paramount quick before they get bored and forget the series even exists.
E-mail that mysterious editor person and tell 'em what's what. Then go
watch football or something and try not to freeze your patoo off.
See you back here tomorrow morning. ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 1/16/04 - 3 PM PST)
Yeah, there's just nothing like a couple of new DVD reviews to close
out the week. So here's a pair of them for you. Todd's checked out one
of our favorite films on disc, in the form of Criterion's new release of
(now available in stores). I've chimed in as well today with a look at
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition
(which streets on January 27th). We hope you enjoy them... both the
reviews and the discs.
Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/16/04 - 10:30 AM PST)
Boy, it's a great week for DVD announcements! Here's one of those cases
where we don't mind saying that we told you so! Remember
year) how we posted in The Rumor
Millstone that the folks at Warner were working hard on
releasing full seasons of their classic animated TV shows? Well, sure
enough... the studio has just officially announced the DVD release of
The Flintstones: Season One for
3/16! Would we kid you? The 4-disc set will SRP for $64.92 and will
feature all the episodes in their original full frame aspect ratio with
Dolby Digital mono audio. And since we're your DVD friends here at The
Bits, here's a nice look at the cover art for the release...
Watch for The Jetsons: Season One
and Jonny Quest: The Complete Series
later in 2004!
Back with those new DVD reviews in a little while. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 1/15/04
- 3 PM PST)
We've got some great news for you fans of Universal's Classic Monsters
series. The studio has today announced a number of new titles including
several new Monster-themed releases.
On April 6th, look for Gable and Lombard,
Lorenzo's Oil, Lover
Come Back, Same Time, Next Year,
a new digitally remastered version of Pillow
Talk, and a Hudson/Day Romance
Collection (which will include Pillow
Talk, Lover Come Back
and Send Me No Flowers). All
titles are $14.95 except the collection which will street for $29.98.
Now here's the really great news! On April 27th, you'll get the Dracula:
The Legacy Collection, a 2-disc set which will include Dracula
(1931), Dracula: Original Spanish Version
and Dracula's Daughter on Disc
One, with Son of Dracula and House
of Dracula on Disc Two.
Also streeting on that day will be the Frankenstein:
The Legacy Collection, another 2-disc set including Frankenstein,
Bride of Frankenstein and Son
of Frankenstein on Disc One, with Ghost
of Frankenstein and House of
Frankenstein on Disc Two.
Not done yet - you'll also see the 2-disc The
Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection on 4/27, which will include
The Wolf Man and Werewolf
of London on Disc One, and Frankenstein
Meets the Wolfman and She-Wolf of
London on Disc Two. The SRP on each of these collections will
Finally, 4/27 will also see the release of The
Monster Legacy Gift Set 6-disc set (SRP $79.98), which will
include all three of the above Legacy
collection discs, along with collectible Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf
Man figurines in a boxed set.
We'll have full DVD cover art soon for all of these new Monster sets,
but the small thumbnails above should do in the meantime. We don't know
if the previously released titles are going to have the same extras as
before, but we'll post any additional details regarding bonus material
when it comes in. We do know that the packaging for these releases will
be Digipaks with outer boxes, and that all of the films will be in their
original full frame aspect ratios with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
All of this is timed to coincide with the release of Van
Helsing to theaters.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/15/04 - NOON PST)
Afternoon everyone. Today's post is going to be a brief one, because
I've got a dentist's appointment this afternoon (no, I'm most definitely
not looking forward to it). But we do have a couple of interesting links
for you today in the meantime.
First of all, that recording of Todd and I on the
Shocks with Barry Lynn show is now online
at this link at the
show's website. It's in MP3 format, so you should all be able to listen
to it without problem. Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to let us know what
you think. Our thanks to the show's producer, Donya Khalili, for making
it available so quickly.
Also today, there are a couple of interesting stories up online. First
tech story from Reuters (via Yahoo) on HP and Dell announcing
their support for Sony's Blu-ray Disc format. You may remember we talked
about that in
report on Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD from CES last week. There's also
interesting story at PCWorld on a soon to be released
product, the Bravo D3 Home HD DVD Media Player, that will play
high-definition video content on standard DVDs via the Windows Media 9
Now then, we'll be back tomorrow with more new DVD reviews, including
Criterion's just released special edition of Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru.
See you then.
Afternoon, folks, and a pretty good one too, if I do say so myself! In
case you haven't heard,
going back to the Moon. Living as we do in the 21st Century, I
would say it's about damn time.
We've got a couple of cool things for you to enjoy today, DVD-wise.
First up, we've got
complete transcript of a live chat our friends over at the
Theater Forum held Monday night with Peter Staddon of 20th
Century Fox Home Entertainment. Included in the chat are the revelations
that Chris Carter's Millennium and
Harsh Realm are on their way to
DVD later this year, along with (possibly) Space
Above and Beyond. Also expected in 2004, in time for the
theatrical release of Alien vs. Predator,
is the long-awaited Predator: Special Edition.
The long-delayed 300 Spartans will
finally make its way to DVD as well, around the time Troy
hits theaters. And if luck holds, we might even see an anamorphic
widescreen re-release of Fox's awesome special edition of James
Cameron's The Abyss in 2004 or
2005. Peter's long been a great friend to the DVD format, so be sure to
give the transcript a read. As always, thanks to Ron, Parker and the
gang at HTF for letting us post
Also today, we've got another new DVD review for you from Todd.
Seriously, no kidding - two reviews in as many days from Todd! Today, he
takes a look at New Line's newly-released
vs. Jason: Platinum Series DVD. Don't miss it.
We've got an early look for you at the DVD cover art for Miramax's Kill
Bill, Volume 1, which was announced yesterday for 4/13. Kill
Bill, Volume 2 is expected to hit theaters on 4/16, just FYI.
Finally, Todd and I had a great time yesterday on
Shocks with Barry Lynn. For over an hour we talked about the
latest developments in DVD technology, the future of the format, the
surprising success of cult movies on DVD, the effects of digital piracy
on the film industry and even some of the titles to look forward to in
2004. We even managed to take a listener call or two. Barry, as it turns
out, is a big fan of DVD, and a longtime Bits
reader. He definitely knows this format. Anyway, the hour was a lot of
fun. For those of you who missed it, a recording of the broadcast will
be available on the Culture
Shocks website in the next few days, that you'll be able to
listen to online via Windows Media Player. We'll post a link to it as
soon as it's available. Our thanks to Barry and his staff for having us
That's all for now! Have a great day and, as always, stay tuned...
Yes, it's true... Bill (that's me) and Todd are going to be on the
radio later today. More on that in a minute. First, we've just gotten
word from Buena Vista on the announcement of 5 new DVDs on the way in
March and April. So here goes (and you Tarantino fans will want to stick
around for this)...
Duplex (staring Ben Stiller and
Drew Barrymore) will street on 3/2 (SRP $29.99) with video in anamorphic
widescreen (1.85:1) and full frame, plus audio in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Bonus material will include deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes
The Ransom: Special Edition is
set to arrive on DVD on 3/23 (SRP $29.99), featuring anamorphic
widescreen video (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are
expected to include audio commentary with director Ron Howard, deleted
scenes, cast and filmmaker discussions, behind the scenes featurettes
The Splash: 20th Anniversary Special Edition
will also arrive on DVD on 3/23 (SRP $29.99), in anamorphic widescreen
video (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio
commentary with director Ron Howard and crew members, the Making
a Splash featurette with the cast and crew, and audition
tapes for Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. Many of these extras will feature
introductions Ron Howard and/or producer Brian Grazer.
The romantic comedy Hope Springs
(staring Colin Firth, Minnie Driver and Heather Graham) is due on 4/6
(SRP $29.99) with anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1) and audio in
Dolby Digital 5.1.
And we've saved the best for last! Quentin Tarantino's Kill
Bill, Volume 1 will street on 4/13 (SRP $29.99). The disc
will include anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1), both Dolby Digital
and DTS 5.1 audio, a Behind the Scenes with
Quentin Tarantino documentary and additional extras TBA.
Interestingly, this DVD release is just 3 days prior to the scheduled
release of Kill Bill, Volume 2
into theaters. Our initial information is that this is NOT a special
edition release, so it's possible that a more elaborate edition of both
films is planned for a later date.
Here's a look at the cover art for Ransom
and Splash, as well as Fox's Reefer
Madness (4/20). We'll post Kill
Bill art as soon as it's available.
Also today, Columbia TriStar has announced a few new titles, all
streeting on 3/23. Look for Vampire Effect,
For Keeps, Fresh
Horses and Godzilla Against
Mechagodzilla. Just FYI, on 3/16, look for Baby
the Rain Must Fall, December,
is Right and Married with
Children: The Complete Second Season.
Around the site today, we've got a new DVD review from Todd of
Synapse's recent Asian cult/zombie mayhem release on disc...
Zero. The disc is now available, and we think some of you out
there might get a kick out of it.
We've posted early word on some exciting Warner classic animated TV
series releases that our sources are telling us are currently in the
works. You'll find that in
Rumor Mill this morning.
We've also updated the
DVD Player Sales charts to include the 479,044 players shipped
to retailers here in the States in the week ending 12/19. One more week
to go, and we'll have the final numbers for 2003. That last week aside,
the format has now officially passed the 65 million stand-alone DVD
players (and DVD/VCR players) mark here in the States.
You should also know that we've updated all the other DVD sales and
rental numbers we keep track of here at the site (you'll find that
Now then... if any of you Bits
faithful are interested, both Todd and I are going to be on the radio
later today. We've been invited to appear on
Shocks with Barry Lynn. Barry's AM talk radio show broadcasts
out of KCAA, 1050 AM here in Southern California, but is syndicated all
across the country. You may know Barry from his appearances on Fox News
Channel's O'Reilly Factor, MSNBC's
News with Brian Williams and CNN's
Crossfire. It turns out Barry is a
BIG fan of DVD, so he's asked us to join him for an hour to talk live
about all the latest DVD news, upcoming releases and the like. We might
also be taking listener calls, so feel free to listen in and
participate. The show is broadcast from 2-3 PM PST (5-6 PM EST). You can
tune in to your local station, or listen online at
website via Windows Media. We're really looking forward to it, so
we hope you can join us. ;-)
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
(LATER UPDATE -
1/12/04 - NOON PST)
Yeah, we just can't seem to stop posting stuff today. Here's an early
look at the DVD cover artwork for Blue Underground's The
Final Countdown: Limited Edition (3/30), Warner's Meet
Me in St. Louis: 60th Anniversary Special Edition (4/6), and
Anchor Bay's Dawn of the Dead: Divimax
Special Edition (3/9)...
Also today, just FYI, our friends over at the
Theater Forum are going to be holding a live chat tonight with
Peter Staddon of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (at 6 PM PST). So
if you have questions about upcoming Fox titles, now's your chance to
ask them (click
this link for more information). We'll post a transcript of the
(LATE UPDATE - 1/12/04 - 9 AM PST)
Yep... it's official. As we mentioned in the
Mill last month, Warner Bros. has just announced the DVD
release of The Matrix Revolutions
for 4/6 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will include the film in anamorphic
widescreen video (aspect ratio 2.40:1), with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Extras will include the Revolutions
Recalibrated documentary on the making of the film, the CG
Revolution documentary on the film's visual effects, the Super
Burly Brawl featurette on final Neo/Agent Smith showdown, the
Before the Revolution "3-D
Matrix timeline"), the Future Gamer: The
Matrix Online featurette on the massively multi-player online
game, the 3-D Evolution "multidimensional
stills gallery", the theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM weblinks to
The Matrix Online videogame test
site and the film's official website. A full frame version of the DVD
will also be available.
Here's a look at the cover art...
Have a great day and stay tuned!