UPDATE - 4/8/04 - 4 PM PDT)
We've got something VERY interesting for you Star
Wars fans this afternoon. Do check out
Rumor Mill, won't you? ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/8/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)
This is just a quick update for now, to let you know about a few new
First up, Warner Bros. has announced a 5-disc 50th
Anniversary of Rock and Roll box set for release on 6/29,
which will include all 10 hours of VH-1's History
of Rock and Roll documentary (SRP $99.98). The set will
feature collectible packaging with a metallic embossed outer cover, as
well as a 24-page booklet.
In other news, 20th Century Fox has announced M*A*S*H:
The Complete Sixth Season for release on 6/8. The set will
include all 24 episodes on 3 discs (SRP $39.98).
Buena Vista will release the Bad-er Santa:
Unrated Version (to go with the R-rated edition) on 6/22.
Just FYI, the Schindler's List: Collector's
Gift Set now sells for the lower price of $34.98 (SRP).
Afternoon, folks! We've got a bunch more interesting stuff for you
today, so let's get right to it. First up, some new announcements.
Buena Vista has finally revealed a few more "movie showcase"
titles that are headed to DVD in August (street date 8/3). These include
The Black Hole, Jack,
The Shaggy D.A. and The
Shaggy Dog. No word yet on extras.
Criterion has announced more titles for June release to DVD. Look for
Jean-Luc Godard's A Woman is a Woman
(catalog # 238), Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma
Roma (#236) and Akira Kurosawa's The
Lower Depths (#239 - which had original been slated for
release late in 2003). Note that The Lower Depths will also include the
Renoir version as well. The street date for all 3 is 6/22.
MGM has officially announced the DVD release of the Barbershop
2: Special Edition for 6/29 (SRP $19.95). The disc will
include deleted scenes, outtakes, cast audio commentary, 2 music videos
HBO will release George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's political
insider series K Street on 7/20
(SRP $24.98). The 2-disc set will include the entire series, plus
Docurama will deliver the Academy Award-nominated documentary The
Weather Underground to DVD on 5/25 (SRP $24.95). Extras will
include commentary with former Weathermen Bernardine Dorn and Bill
Ayers, filmmaker commentary, original Weatherman audio "communiques"
and more. THAT should be a fascinating package. Matt and I saw the film
recently, and it's pretty compelling to say the least.
And here's my favorite new announcement of the day - Artisan/Lion's
Gate (actually just Lion's Gate, since it took over Artisan recently)
will release the Speed Racer: Limited
Collector's Edition, Volume 2 on DVD on 5/18 (SRP $22.98).
This will pick up where the previous volume left off, offering the next
12 episodes of the classic Japanese animated series in order
(specifically episodes 12-23) in their original full frame video with
Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. The disc will arrive in collectable
packaging that, at the touch of a button, plays the Speed
Racer theme song and features illuminating Mach V headlights.
That's great news, but my message to the folks at Lion's Gate is PLEASE
release these sets at a better rate than one per year! There are 52
episodes in all, so at the current rate it will take 2 or 3 more years
to get them all on disc! There's no reason these can't come out faster.
Anyway, I can't wait for this one. I've been watching reruns of this
show on the Speed Channel lately - I'm addicted.
Anyway, here's cover art for Speed Racer,
plus revised art for The Station Agent
(6/15), and the aforementioned A Woman is a
Woman, Mamma Roma, The
Lower Depths and The Weather
In terms of reviews today, Adam Jahnke has taken a look back at a title
Universal released last year -
Fast 2 Furious. Also, Matt Rowe's given Sanctuary's
Allman Brothers Band: Live at The Beacon Theatre DVD a spin on
Finally today, we're very pleased to welcome back our own Robert A.
Harris! Robert's work in the film industry has kept him pretty busy
these last few months, but he's just checked in again with
new Yellow Layer Failure column. In this edition, Robert
takes a look back at some of the great DVDs that have streeted while
he's been away - titles that are definitely worth a look on disc. Don't
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 4/6/04 - 1 PM PDT)
We're back as promised this afternoon with Todd's latest
Release Roundup, which runs down the many great titles hitting
store shelves this week. Don't miss it!
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/6/04
- 11 AM PDT)
We have even more detailed information from retail sources this morning
on the content to be included on Disc Four of the Star
Wars Trilogy (due 9/21).
to FYE, the disc will include:
Star Wars: The Independent Films
feature length documentary - The story of Star
Wars is the story of the most successful independent series
film ever produced. It's the story of a Hollywood outsider named George
Lucas and a low-budget labor of love space saga that defied the odds and
reinvented the rules. It's the story of a revolution born of a dream.
It's the story of an independent filmmaker who had to innovate and
invent an entirely new way of creating motion pictures. It's the story
of a fundamental paradigm shift in the creative process made, not by the
studio system, but by a single filmmaker with a simple dream. (150 min.)
The Evolution of Characters
featurette - Get an in-depth look at how all your favorite characters
came to be with exclusive concept art and discussion with George and the
people who shaped what ultimately became our favorite heroes and
villains. Includes a separate still/video gallery cut to Star
Wars music with access to artwork and classic scenes for each
major character. (30 min.)
The Influence of Star Wars
featurette - The groundbreaking special effects that were pioneered to
make Star Wars movies not only
helped viewers escape to a galaxy far, far away, but they changed the
way every movie was made thereafter. Experience never before seen
effects innovations from the films and learn how pivotal the films were
to modern effects wizards and filmmakers. (20 min.)
Lightsabers/Fights featurette -
Forget laser pistols, the lightsaber is the coolest weapon in the Star
Wars galaxy. What were George's influences for creating the
lightsaber? How did Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness, and Darth Vader stunt
people approach wielding a saber? How did the effects guys figure out
the lightsaber beam? How did each fight escalate from the previous one?
And what influences did this creation have on movies thereafter? (10
1977 Featurette - Transport people back in time to the opening of each
Star Wars film. Menus will
showcase all the pop culture features from the 1977 opening such as: TV
references, toy ads, promotional partner commercials, news clips, songs
inspired by Star Wars, Star
Wars magazine and newspaper coverage, classic video game
demos. (20 min.)
Star Wars Battlefront X-Box Video
Game Demo (15 min.)
Teasers and Trailers from the original theatrical releases of each of
the movies along with the 1997 re-releases. (15 min.)
TV Spots from the original theatrical releases of the movies along with
the 1997 re-releases (5 min.)
Episode III Behind the Scenes Preview
-- Section One: The Creator -
Finally the birth of Vader. George talks about finally bringing Vader
back to the series and teases about Anakin's descent to the Dark Side
and the powers of seduction in play. Section
Two: The Costume - Black is back. For the last Star
Wars movie ever and the birth of the ultimate villain, a new
costume was forged. This segment answers some key questions: who created
it? was it made for Hayden? Section Three:
The Actors - Finally I get to become Vader. Key interviews
with the cast (including Hayden) and crew sharing their thoughts and
experiences about working on the last Star
Wars film and finally seeing the completion of the Saga. (10
Stills - A comprehensive gallery of posters from around the world,
classic artwork, and never-before-seen photos from all three films
(approximately 300 images.)
DVD-ROM Features - DVD ROM link to exclusive Star
So there you go... certainly sounds interesting. By the way, each of
the movie discs will also reportedly include a credit roll Easter egg.
Just so you know, all of this does jibe with what
heard from other retailers recently, so it sounds like the real
deal. Throw in
audio commentaries we've reported on previously, and you've got a
nice little package.
In other news today, you Farscape
fans can rejoice a little. The 4-hour mini-series Farscape:
Peacekeeper War will debut on the SciFi Channel this fall.
Dumb f__ks never should have cancelled it in the first place. Guess Tremors:
The Series didn't quite fill the void. Read more
In terms of DVD announcements, Columbia TriStar will release 50
First Dates on 6/15 (SRP $28.95). Extras will include deleted
scenes, a blooper reel, behind-the-scenes featurettes and audio
commentary from Adam Sandler and director Peter Segal.
Also, be aware that HBO will release Da Ali
G Show: The Complete First Season on 7/20 (SRP $29.95).
Extras will include additional scenes, audio commentary on episodes 1 &
2, the Ali G Spyz Movie
featurette, an interview with Ali G, the Ali G glossary and a
We have an adjustment to the
to report this morning. Warner has asked us to suspend the Matrix
and Gothika contests for now for
some unknown reason, so we have. Sorry for the inconvenience. We've also
added 20th Century Fox's Cheaper by the Dozen
to the list of win-able titles. Just FYI.
Back with more in a little while, including Todd's Weekly
Roundup. Stay tuned...
Morning, Bits-ers. Everyone
remember to set your clocks ahead this weekend? We've got a bunch of
stuff for you this morning, so fill your coffee mug and off we go!
First up... we've got three new disc reviews for you to check out
today. Rob Hale has delivered his thoughts on Ar-nuld in
Iron: The 25th Anniversary Special Edition. Over at out TAP
site, Matt's posted his take on one of my favorite albums, Roxy Music's
on high-resolution SACD. Reviewer George Bennett's given The Beach Boys'
Sounds a spin on DVD-Audio format as well.
You might be interested to know that Columbia TriStar wants your
opinion on their forthcoming Spider-Man
DVD releases. They've posted
online survey with all sorts of questions on the new Spider-Man:
Deluxe Edition as well as the eventual Spider-Man
2 DVD. Be sure to check it out. Thanks to Bits
reader Scott D. for the link.
Also today, we're very pleased to present a brand new special feature
for you! Our old friend David Prior, who you may remember as the
producer of the awesome 2-disc Flight Club:
Special Edition (see
in-depth interviews on that title here), has been hard at work on
yet another great DVD release of a Fincher film. David's spent the two
years putting together the fantastic 3-disc Panic
Room: Special Edition, which is now in stores from Columbia
TriStar. He's created a production journal covering his work on the
title, and we've got
One of the journal for you here. We'll post Part
Two, along with a review of the DVD itself, in the days
We've posted no less than FOUR new
this morning, giving you all the chance to win some really great DVDs.
You'll have a shot at taking home one of five copies (each) of Warner's
Complete Seventh Season and
Kung Fu: The
Complete First Season, as well as Shout! Factory's
Geeks: The Complete Series and... for the ladies... Buena
Springs (click on the titles to go to the individual
contests). The contests will run until Noon PDT on Saturday, April 10th,
so get your entries in!
Finally this morning, a quick update to a couple of the street dates we
Rumor Mill on Thursday. We've been told that MGM's Barbershop
2 has been moved to 6/29 (from 6/8), while their Agent
Cody Banks 2 will now street on 7/29 (bumped from 7/13). Just
First things first today - we've got more Star
Wars DVD news for you. Specifically, we've got a list of what
may be actual supplements on the set's 4th disc, which will contain all
of the bonus material. According to
listing for the title on the Best Buy.com website, Disc Four will
contain the feature-length Star Wars: The
Independent Films documentary, 3 production featurettes
(including The Evolution of Characters,
The Influence of Star Wars and
Lightsabers/Fights), a vintage
1977 "making of" featurette, a comprehensive gallery of
posters and production artwork and the Star
Wars: Battlefront Xbox videogame demo. Hhmmmm... not sure
what to think. We'll have to see if and when Lucasfilm and Fox confirm
this. Anyway, thanks to an anonymous Bits
reader for the heads-up.
Now then... not a day after we mentioned it in
Rumor Mill (as coming this Fall), MGM has officially announced
the DVD release of The Manchurian Candidate:
Special Edition, with an earlier than expected street date of
7/13. The disc will carry an SRP of $14.95, and will include the film in
anamorphic widescreen video, with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono.
Extras will include audio commentary with director John Frankenheimer,
the Exclusive Interview with Frank Sinatra,
George Axelrod and John Frankenheimer featurette, the Queen
of Diamonds featurette interview with Angela Lansbury, the
A Little Solitaire featurette
interview with William Friedkin on Frankenheimer, 2 Easter eggs, an
animated photo gallery and the theatrical trailer.
In another Rumor Mill
confirmation, MGM has also announced the DVD release of The
Charlie Chan Chanthology 6-disc set on 7/6 (SRP $69.96). The
set will include the films The Chinese Cat,
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service,
The Jade Mask, Meeting
at Midnight, The Shanghai Cobra
and The Scarlet Clue, all of which
will also be available separately for $14.95 each. All are in their
original full frame aspect ratio with mono audio.
Confirmed for 7/27 by MGM are Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds
Are Go! and Thunderbird 6.
The films are available separately or together in an International
Rescue Edition gift set. Both films are in anamorphic
widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 and mono audio. Extras on
Thunderbirds Are Go! will include
audio commentary with director David Lane and producer Sylvia Anderson,
the History and Appeal
documentary, the Factory of Dolls and Rockets
and Epics in Miniature
featurettes, a trivia quiz, 2 Easter eggs, an animated photo gallery and
the theatrical trailer. Thunderbird 6
will also feature audio commentary with director David Lane and producer
Sylvia Anderson, along with the Lady Penelope,
Building Better Puppets and Tiger
Moth featurettes, a trivia quiz, 2 Easter eggs, an animated
photo gallery and the theatrical trailer.
And announced for 7/6 by MGM are a number of comedy "classics"
including Kotch (letterboxed
widescreen), Take the Money and Run
(full frame), Lovers and Other Strangers
(full frame) and Suppose They Gave a War and
Nobody Came? (letterboxed widescreen). All feature mono audio
(SRP $14.95 each).
Now then... around the site today, we've updated all of the DVD stats
we track (above),
DVD Player Sales data.
And finally today, our own Adam Jahnke has delivered
new Bottom Shelf column this morning, featuring DVD
reviews of no less than FIVE 2-disc special editions released by Warner
Bros. in the last few months. These include
in the Rain,
Color Purple and
Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest. Enjoy!
We've got some great stuff coming next week, including a long-awaited
new Yellow Layer Failure column
from our own Robert A. Harris, a special feature on a new DVD release
and lots more reviews. So have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 4/1/04
- 1 PM PST)
Okay... we've finally figured out the deal with Columbia TriStar's
forthcoming Spider-Man: Deluxe Edition
(due on 6/1 for SRP $24.95). When we first posted the disc specs, a lot
of you complained that it was identical to the original 2-disc special
edition. That's because the 2-disc special edition that was already
released IS included in the new deluxe edition. BUT... you also get a
3rd disc of all new, never-before-seen bonus features, including a sneak
peak at Spider-Man 2, multiple
playable levels of the new Spider-Man 2
videogame from Activision, and more (TBA). You'll also get a free movie
ticket to see Spider-Man 2. We
should also point out that the Spider-Man:
Superbit edition streeting on 6/1 will include an exclusive
audio commentary with star Toby Maguire. So if you want to get
everything, you'll have to buy both titles... AND you'll be re-buying a
disc you already own. Commence the angry e-mailing.
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/1/04 -
No kidding... we have a few Star Wars
Trilogy details direct from Fox (confirmed
this link from Amazon). Disc One of the 4-disc set will include
Star Wars IV: A New Hope with
audio commentary by creator/director George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis
Muren, and Carrie Fisher. Disc Two will feature Star
Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back with audio commentary by
creator/producer George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan,
Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren and Carrie Fisher. Disc Three will include Star
Wars VI: Return of the Jedi with audio commentary by
creator/producer George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren,
and Carrie Fisher. And Disc Four will include "the most
comprehensive feature-length documentary ever produced on the Star
Wars saga; and never-before-seen footage from the making of
all three films, and much more." Depending on which version of the
set you buy, you'll get the films in either anamorphic widescreen
(2.35:1) or cropped full frame (both THX certified), with audio in
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and Dolby 2.0 Surround, as well as Spanish
and French Dolby 2.0 Surround, and English subtitles. And that's the end
of what we know for sure at the moment. Still, not bad. One would hope
that maybe Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford would chime in a little on the
audio commentary as well. We'll see...
Moving on today, 20th Century Fox has also officially announced the DVD
release of Jumpin' Jack Flash and
The Snake Pit (both 6/1), M*A*S*H:
The Complete Sixth Season (6/8), The
Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season (6/15) and Garfield
as Himself (6/29).
By the way, The Simpsons 4-disc
set (SRP $49.98) will include commentary and "optional audio
features" on Kamp Krusty,
commentary, 4 deleted scenes (with optional play), Easter egg bonus
commentary and sketches on Homer's Triple
Bypass, commentary and Easter egg bonus commentary on Marge
vs. the Monorail, commentary and 6 deleted scenes (with
optional play) on The Front,
commentary and Easter egg bonus sketches on Krusty
Gets Kancelled, commentary on A
Streetcar Named Marge, Homer the
Heretic, Lisa the Beauty Queen,
Treehouse of Horror III, Itchy
& Scratchy: The Movie, Marge
Gets a Job, Kid on the Block,
Mr. Plow, Lisa's
First Word, Selma's Choice,
Brother from the Same Planet, I
Love Lisa, Duffless,
Last Exit to Springfield, So
It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show, Whacking
Day and Marge in Chains,
an Animation Showcase on each disc
featuring picture-in-picture, storyboards, The
Animatic (with or without "illustrated"
commentary), A Word from Matt Groening,
the promotional syndication reel, the Bush
vs. Simpsons featurette, 1 color animation and 4 commercials.
Video will be in the original full frame with audio in English Dolby
Digital 5.1, and Spanish and French Dolby 2.0 Stereo.
Also today, MGM has finally announced a title that
revealed in The Rumor Mill a few weeks back. The Showgirls:
VIP Edition box set will street on 7/27 in anamorphic
widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (SRP $39.98). DVD extras
will include a subtitle trivia track, the Lap
Dance Tutorial Featuring the World-Famous Girls of Scores
featurette, the Showgirls Diary
animated storyboard-to-film comparison, audio commentary by Showgirls
"expert" David Schmader and video commentary by the Scores
girls on the "Cheetahs Club" scene. The box set will also
include the Pin the Pasties on the Showgirl
game (complete with blindfold, rules, 2 pasties and a poster pin-up of
star Elizabeth Berkley), two Showgirls
shot glasses, a deck of Showgirls
playing cards, 6 photos of Berkley, and 4 party games (including Sip
or Strip, Showgirls A to Z,
Bad Tipper and Champagne
Room). So basically this is your wholesome, family-friendly
DVD release. I'm surprised it doesn't come with a bottle of Jack and a
coupon for three free hours. Maybe that's in the Big
While we're on the subject of MGM, we've got a look at their Summer
2004 DVD plans in today's edition of The
Rumor Mill. Some great titles in there, so don't miss it.
Finally today, we have word that Warner Bros will release Friends:
The Series Finale on 5/11 (SRP $14.97), just 5 days after its
NBC broadcast. The broadcast version of the 2-part episode will ONLY be
available on this DVD, which will also include the series pilot episode,
as well as the longer DVD version of the finale with additional,
never-before-seen footage. You'll also get music videos for the
Rembrandts' I'll Be There for You
and the Flaming Lips' Phoebe Battles the Pink
By the way, we would caution you about believing anything you read on
the Net today. There's about a million joke April Fool's DVD
announcements, leaks and other silliness, and our e-mail boxes are full
of people who actually seem to believe some of them. Seriously guys.
Back tomorrow with more DVD reviews from our own Adam Jahnke and maybe
some cover art too. Stay tuned...
Well... this should come as no surprise to any of you, but
TriStar has officially announced that it plans to support the Blu-ray
Disc high-definition format with movie titles. The studio will
begin launching all its new titles on Blu-ray Disc (which was
co-developed by parent corp Sony) starting in 2006. In addition to this
of the major Hollywood studios are working behind-the-scenes with the
Blu-ray Group on the final details of the format spec, as pertains
to prepackaged films and other copyrighted material. Because of this,
look for Blu-ray Disc's official launch to happen no sooner than the end
of 2005, and probably early 2006. So where does this leave HD-DVD?
Well... it looks like we're definitely going to have a format war, but
I'll tell you, Blu-ray Disc definitely seems to have the upper hand at
the moment. Frankly, I'm not so sure that isn't a bad thing. Blu-ray
technology represents a somewhat more advanced approach to presenting
high-definition video on disc than HD-DVD, and players for both formats
are virtually guaranteed to be able to retroactively play all your
existing DVD discs. One thing's for sure - the race is definitely going
to heat up as we move through 2004. It'll be interesting to see where it
all ends up. You can be sure The Bits
will be there to cover it all.
In the mood for another new DVD review today? Good, 'cause Todd and I
have laid out our thoughts on Quentin Tarantino's latest opus,
Bill, Volume 1, as delivered to disc by the folks at Miramax.
Look for the DVD to street on April 13th, just a scant three days prior
to the theatrical release of Kill Bill,
Volume 2. Count us in.
By the way, this review takes us to
a whopping 107
individual titles we've examined on DVD in the month of March,
either separately in-depth, in one of our regular columns or in Todd's
Weekly Roundup. Not too bad for
(LATE UPDATE - 3/30/04 - 1 PM PST)
We're back as promised, and we've got the latest installment of Todd's
Release Roundup! Todd gives you his two cents on 21 new DVDs
that hit store shelves this week, including some real gems like the
awesome new Panic Room: Special Edition
3-disc set. As always, you can order (from Amazon) any of the titles
profiled in the Roundup by
clicking on the cover art.
Also today, we've have one more bit of upcoming DVD news. If you visit
official Bob and David website, you'll get the skinny on the
forthcoming Mr. Show: The Complete Fourth
Season, which is now in production for DVD release later this
year. Bob, David and the whole Mr. Show
gang just recorded new audio commentary for the set. Todd and I are very
excited about this - we barely even knew there was a fourth season.
Can't wait! Thanks to Bits reader
Stephan F. for the heads-up!
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/30/04
- 12:01 AM PST)
Okay... we've got some big new announcements for you today. First up
Star Wars Trilogy is now officially available for pre-order at
Amazon.com (SRP $69.98 - Amazon's price $41.99) for 9/21. Any
purchase you make through our links to Amazon goes to support our work
here at The Bits, so we appreciate
it! FYI, the images below are the same widescreen version 4-disc set
(you're seeing the front and the back of the package here).
Now then... announcements. Let's start with Warner... the studio has
finally revealed that they'll release Mystic
River on DVD on 6/8, in no less than three different
versions. You'll be able to buy single-disc standard versions in both
full frame and anamorphic widescreen (SRP $27.95 each, in Snapper
packaging), as well as a 3-disc deluxe edition (SRP $39.98, in Digi-pack
packaging). The deluxe edition will contain the film in anamorphic
widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and audio commentary with
Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon on Disc One, the Beneath
the Surface documentary on the making of the film, an episode
of Bravo's From Page to Screen on
the film, segments from the Charlie Rose Show
including interviews with Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon,
and the theatrical trailer on Disc Two, and the film's soundtrack on CD
as Disc Three.
Also newly announced by Warner are Wonder
Woman: The Complete First Season (6/29) and Everybody
Loves Raymond: The Complete First Season (7/13). Wonder
Woman will be a 3-disc set (SRP $39.98) containing all 14
first season episodes (actually 13 episodes and the 90-minute pilot) in
their original full frame video with Dolby Digital mono audio. Extras
will include audio commentary (with Lynda Carter and producer Douglas S.
Cramer) and the Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof
Braclets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective featurette. Raymond
will be a 5-disc set containing all 22 first season episodes we believe
in widescreen video (but we have yet to confirm this) with Dolby Digital
2.0 Surround audio. Extras will include audio commentary with members of
the cast and crew (specific participants TBA) and a behind-the-scenes
Now a bit of Columbia TriStar news. The studio has announced the DVD
release of Just Shoot Me: The Complete First
and Second Seasons (4 discs), Tour
of Duty: The Complete First Season (5 discs) and Who's
the Boss?: The Complete First Season (3 discs) all on 6/8.
Also streeting on that day are Love Letters
and Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story
(oh, how far Dean Cain's star has fallen). Just to confirm again, Monster
will street from the studio on 6/1 in anamorphic widescreen, with a
behind-the-scenes featurette and the theatrical trailer. The real life
story that inspired the film is told in the Aileen:
Life and Death of a Serial Killer documentary, which will be
available separately on 6/1 as well. If you'd care for a double feature,
you'll also be able to buy both titles as a 2-pack.
Here's cover art for the widescreen standard and deluxe editions of
Mystic River, Wonder
Woman, Raymond, Monster
and (my favorite of this batch) the Das Boot:
Original Uncut Version (6/1):
Also this morning, guest reviewer John D. Babcock III has given Shout!
Jack Paar Collection a spin for you. Be sure to check out his
Back with Todd's Weekly Release Roundup
later this morning. Stay tuned...
We've got some great stuff for you today, from our very own Barrie
Maxwell. First up, we've got
latest installment of Barrie's Classic Coming Attractions
column, in which he follows up on detective series DVDs and runs
down the latest classic release news.
Next, Barrie's reviewed three recent DVDs from the folks at Disney,
and Ollie: Special Edition,
Disney: The Man Behind the Myth and the
in Wonderland: Masterpiece Edition.
Finally, Barrie's conducted
interview with the director of Frank and Ollie, Ted Thomas.
No bad for one day, huh? Great work, Barrie!
Also this afternoon, we've kicked off 2 new
giving each of you a chance to win a trio of great Zatoichi DVDs from
our friends at AnimEigo (Zatoichi at Large,
Zatoichi in Desperation and Zatoichi:
The Festival of Fire), as well as Disney's Brother
Bear: Special Edition and Winnie
the Pooh: Springtime with Roo. Those Zatoichi titles aren't
even available in stores yet! You've got until Noon PST on Saturday,
April 3rd, so get your entries in!
We'll be back tomorrow with Todd's latest Weekly
Release Roundup and more reviews.
Morning, folks! Hope you all are enjoying your day... and looking
forward to a nice weekend off. As promised, we've got a new
DVD Cover Artwork update for you today. We've added more than
75 new cover scans, including such "hot off the presses" gems
as the Ali: Director's Cut, all
the Herbie the Love Bug sequels,
revised Cold Mountain art, tons of
new Criterion art, the new Cop Land:
Director's Cut, Dead Like Me:
Season One, the Star Wars Trilogy
and much more.
In terms of new announcements, retail sources have been informed that
Columbia TriStar will release Patty Jenkins' Monster,
staring Charlize Theron, on June 1st.
New Line has also revealed that they'll release The
Butterfly Effect: Infinifilm Edition on July 6th (SRP
$27.95). The disc will include both the theatrical cut and a new
director's cut in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
and DTS 6.1 ES audio. Extras will include audio commentary with the
director and screenwriters, deleted/alternate scenes, featurettes on
The Creative Process, Visual
Effects, The Science and
Psychology of the Chaos Theory and The
History and Allure of Time Travel, a subtitle trivia track, a
storyboard gallery and the theatrical trailer, in addition to DVD-ROM
extras (including a script-to-screen feature of the director's cut, a
commentary digest, a production gallery, "scene medleys" and
weblinks). Here's the cover art for that...
As you can see, we've also posted the cover art for Criterion's Samurai
Trilogy box set (due on 5/4 - a classic trilogy of Japanese
films that Todd's reviewed
and Paramount's Have Gun Will Travel: The
Complete First Season (5/11).
A couple of other announcements for you today - Artisan's Speed
Racer: Collector's Edition - Volume 2 is expected to street
on May 18th. And we have word that Fox's The
Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season is due on June 15th.
Also today, our MusicTAP crew has
kicked out another new DVD-Audio review... The Flaming Lips'
Battles the Pink Robots from Warner Music. As you'll see, this
release not only sounds great, but features a truly surprising amount of
extras, beyond the actual album itself. It's definitely worth a look for
high-resolution audio fans.
And that's it for today. Next week, we've got a great new Classic
Coming Attractions from Barrie, a new Weekly
Roundup from Todd, a great special feature story, and plenty
of news and DVD reviews. So don't miss it!
Have a great weekend and we'll see you on Monday!
We've got a couple of things for you today, and then we're doing a lot
of behind the scenes work here at the site - archiving, etc - to get
ready for a big cover artwork post tomorrow, and great new columns and
special features for next week.
First up, the
Wars Trilogy is finally listed at Amazon.com for 9/21. It's
not available for pre-order yet, but we expect it to be soon. Just FYI.
In terms of new announcements today, Warner Bros. has officially
revealed its Blazing Saddles: 30th
Anniversary Special Edition for release on 6/29 (SRP $19.97).
The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video (2.40:1), Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, scene-specific audio commentary by director Mel
Brooks, a cast and crew reunion documentary, the Intimate
Portrait: Madeline Kahn Remembers featurette, the 1975 Black
Bart TV pilot inspired by the film and "additional"
scenes. How's about some more beans, Mr. Taggart?
Also coming from Warner on 6/29 are Brooks' Dracula:
Dead and Loving It (SRP $19.97) and the animated X-Men
Evolution: Enemies Unveiled (SRP $14.97). Following on 7/27
are the BBC's original mini-series Pennies
from Heaven (SRP $59.98) and the 1981 Steve Martin film
version of Pennies from Heaven
(SRP $19.97) it inspired.
Also, Buena Vista has announced the DVD release of The
Barbarian Invasions for 7/13 (SRP $29.99).
Around the site today, we've updated all of the DVD format stats we
track with the most recent data, including the
DVD Player Sales chart and top disc sales and rental listings
We've also updated our mirror copy of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to its most recent version (dated March 21st).
And if you check out our
section, you'll notice that we've significantly revised the index
of all the titles we've reviewed on The
Digital Bits. On the left-hand side of the page, we list all
of the most recent, in-depth DVD reviews we've done. On the right-hand
side, we're now listing all of the titles covered in the last 30 days of
Todd's Weekly Release Roundup.
Beneath that, as always, we list the most recent DVD-Audio, SACD and
D-VHS title reviews we've done here at The
Bits and at our MusicTAP
site. Finally, we've added two new categories to our complete review
index at the top of the page - Misc. (covering products, laserdiscs,
etc) and Audio (a complete listing of all DVD-Audio, SACD and other
audio format reviews). This should make it easier for you to quickly
find titles that you might be looking for. In the coming weeks, we're
going to be restoring the search functions to the site as well.
Finally this morning, here's a look at the cover art for Blazing
Saddles, Paramount's Survivor: The
Complete First Season - Broneo (5/11), and Fox's forthcoming
The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season
We'll be back with more later, but first we wanted to check in with
word that Universal has officially announced the DVD release of The
A-Team: Season One for June 8th. No kidding. The 4-disc set
will include all 14 episodes from the show's first season (SRP $59.98)
in their original full frame video and Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio.
Just FYI, Uni has also announced Eurotrip
for June 1st.
Also this morning, Warner Bros. has moved up the street date for their
Smallville: The Complete Second Season
to May 18th. The set had previously been scheduled to street on May
25th. So a bit of good news for you Krypton-ites.
Since we're on the TV subject, we should also mention that Shout!
Factory and Sony Music are releasing a Punky
Brewster: Season One 4-disc set on June 1st (SRP $34.98). The
set will include all 23 first-season episodes, 4 episodes of the
animated spin-off It's Punky Brewster
and interviews with actors Cherie Johnson and Ami Foster,
creator/executive producer David W. Duclon and writer Barry Vigon (guess
Soleil Moon what's her name wasn't available).
Okay, so let's see if we've got this straight. Punky
Brewster's on the way to DVD... and STILL we wait for The
Greatest American Hero, Get Smart
and Lancelot Link? Gaahhh!
DVD can be such a cruel mistress.
Anyway, here's cover art for HBO's Curb Your
Enthusiasm: The Complete Second Season (6/15), Universal's
animated prequel Van Helsing: The London
Assignment (5/11) and... wait for it... The
A-Team. We pity the fool.
One last note... some of you have asked about the specs on Columbia
TriStar's Ali: Director's Cut
(6/1). So here goes. The film itself will run 165 minutes. Look for
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary
with director Michael Mann and The Making of
(LATE UPDATE - 3/23/04 -
We've very excited to say that entertainment wire editor Randy A. Salas
has recommended our new DVD book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD, in today's issue of the
Minneapolis Star Tribune! You can
read his thoughts in print on page E3 (in the Extras
column), and at
link online. We've also got
scan of the print version here. Our sincere thanks, Randy - we're
very glad you liked it!
Also today, we know how much you guys love it, so we're pleased to
bring you another edition of Todd Doogan's
Release Roundup. As always, Todd runs down the best of the DVD
releases that arrive on store shelves this week, and tells you what you
can expect from each. Enjoy!
Finally this afternoon, we've got a new DVD review from our old friend
Brad Pilcher. Brad's taken a closer look at Universal's new
the Mat: Ringside Special Edition - Unrated Director's Cut.
Don't miss it.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/23/04 - 12:01 AM PST)
We've got a little bit more Star Wars
news for you this morning.
is reporting that producer Kevin Burns has been tapped to create
the new feature-length documentary on the creation of the Star
Wars films for the upcoming DVD release. Other such projects
Burns has been involved in include the DVD documentaries Cleopatra:
The Film That Changed Hollywood and Marilyn
Monroe: The Final Days. Given that the set streets in (almost
exactly) 6 months, Burns had better get busy. You know... I wonder if
someone else wasn't already working on the documentary but fell out of
favor, making Burns a replacement. That's just my own speculation,
however I find it hard to believe that work wasn't already in progress
before now, what with schedules being as tight as they are. It's either
that, or Lucasfilm hired Burns months ago and is just announcing it
now. Anyway, I imagine a lot of people will be curious to see what Burns
comes up with. It's safe to say, there's a LOT riding on this release
Columbia TriStar has announced some very exciting new DVD releases for
June 1st. Look for The Company,
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation -
Special Edition, Spider-Man:
Superbit, Spider-Man: Deluxe
Edition, Roughnecks: Starship
Troopers Chronicles - Trackers, Ali:
Director's Cut, J.W. Coop,
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series - The
Mutant Menace, Spider-Man: The New
Animated Series - High Voltage Villains, Spider-Man:
The New Animated Series - The Ultimate Face-Off and Das
Boot: The Original Uncut Version. The studio will release
separate movie-only versions of The Gods Must
Be Crazy and The Gods Must Be
Crazy II on 6/1 as well. That's a SERIOUS batch of titles for
Want some specifics? Disc One of the Spider-Man:
Deluxe Edition will feature anamorphic widescreen video,
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a subtitle trivia track, audio commentary (with
director Sam Raimi, star Kirsten Dunst, producer Laura Ziskin and
co-producer Grant Curtis), a second commentary (with special effects
designer John Dykstra and members of the visual effects crew), branching
"web-i-sodes", the Hero
and What We're All About music
videos, trailers and TV spots, and DVD-ROM extras including a
comic-to-film comparison, the ability to record your own audio
commentary, a countdown to Spider-Man 2
and weblinks. Disc Two will add HBO's The
Making of Spider-Man special, the Spider-Mania:
An E! Entertainment Special, the Director
Profile: Sam Raimi and Composer
Profile: Danny Elfman featurettes, screen test footage for
Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons and the CGI Spider-Man character, costume
and makeup tests, a gag/outtake reel and a conceptual art and production
The Spider-Man: Superbit Edition
will be a movie-only release featuring the film in anamorphic widescreen
video with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks.
And the Das Boot: The Original Uncut Version
will be a 2-disc set featuring the original mini-series version that was
produced for German TV broadcast in 1981 (running time: 293 minutes).
The video will be anamorphic widescreen, with audio in English and
German Dolby Digital (note that you'll get the restored original stereo
audio as well as a newly created 5.1 mix - in GERMAN we hope). A
behind-the-scenes featurette is also included. Can't WAIT for this!
Here's cover art for the two Spider-Man
DVDs, as well as Starship Troopers 2...
Moving on this morning, we've officially confirmed with Paramount that
the following titles will street in June on DVD: Tupac:
Resurrection, The Perfect Score,
Back to the Beach, Funny
About Love, Summer School,
Goodbye, Columbus, The
Day of the Locust, The President's
Analyst, Fancy Pants,
Here Comes the Groom/Just for You,
The World of Suzie Wong, SpongeBob
SquarePants: Sponge Guard on Duty, Dora
the Explorer: Super Silly Fiesta, Reno
911!: The Complete First Season, South
Park: The Complete Fourth Season, The
Joe Schmo Show: Season One Uncensored, C.S.I.
Miami: The Complete First Season, The
Official 2004 NCAA Championship DVD, Rebels
& Redcoats: How Britain Lost America (PBS), Liberty!
The American Revolution (PBS) and Three
In other news, not a day after we posted word of this in
Rumor Mill, we've gotten official confirmation from Buena
Vista that Wave 2 of the Miyazaki Collection will street on August 31st.
Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of
Wind, Porco Rosso and
My Neighbor Totoro will be
released as 2-disc special editions (SRP $29.99 each). All three titles
will feature newly produced English language voice tracks as well as the
original Japanese audio. Also included will be complete storyboards,
behind-the-scenes featurettes and more. All three films will be
presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio). My
Neighbor Totoro and Porco Rosso
will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, while Nausicaä
of the Valley of Wind will be mono.
And finally, we wanted to let you know, before you rush off to pick up
Buena Vista's new Ransom and Splash
special editions today, that Ransom
is NOT presented in anamorphic widescreen. It's just letterboxed only -
the same transfer that was on the original DVD release (can you say "lame-ass"?).
So buyer beware. Just FYI, Splash
Back later with more, including Todd's Roundup.
(LATELY UPDATE - 3/22/04 - 3:15 PM PST)
Just to let you all know, we've kicked off three new
today, giving you a chance to win great new DVDs from BBC, Buena Vista
and Anchor Bay. Get your entries in quick!
Back tomorrow with Todd's latest Weekly
Roundup! Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/22/04
- 12:01 AM PST)
Well... it's early, and we haven't heard any official word from 20th
Century Fox or Lucasfilm yet, but the cover artwork is all over the Net
this weekend, so we're going to post it here now. This was made
available on Friday as a Star
Wars.com Hyperspace exclusive. We expect the title to be
available for pre-order later today. Anyway, as you might have guessed,
here's the final cover art for the Star Wars
Trilogy 4-disc DVD box set, due on September 21st. As you can
see, the widescreen version is platinum colored, while the full frame is
gold. You're looking the front side, and then the reverse side, of the
packaging (note the 3-D views below)...
Whatever new details become available about the set's contents today,
if any, we'll let you know.
As you may have noticed (see above), we've posted the revised cover
artwork for New Line's The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King 2-disc theatrical edition (due May
25th). The only change is a note (on the bottom of the cover) about the
film's 11 Academy Award wins, including Best Picture.
Also today, we have new updates in
Rumor Mill featuring good news for you Seinfeld
fans eagerly waiting for the forthcoming DVDs. There's also word on
possible street dates for the next batch of Hayao Miyazaki DVDs from
Miramax and Buena Vista. Don't miss it!
Yes, it's true. We expect to have final cover art for Lucasfilm and
20th Century Fox's Star Wars Trilogy
4-disc box set on Monday, when the title become available for pre-order
(for a 9/21 street date). But... if you're a paid member of
Hyperspace fan club, you can sign in and see it right now. The packaging
features a metallic slipcover, platinum for the widescreen editions and
gold for the full frame, that's embossed on one side with the heroes of
the original films (positioned to recall the original film's theatrical
release poster), and on the other side with the mask of Darth Vader.
This holds four keep cases (one each for the films and one for the bonus
disc), the cover art for which is styled to match the previous Episode
I and Episode II DVDs,
so they'll all fit together on your video shelf. Anyway, with any luck,
we'll have more details on the set's contents on Monday as well. So
check back then.
Also today, I'm pleased as punch to say that Buena Vista and Miramax
have FINALLY announced a disc I've personally been waiting a long time
for, The English Patient: Miramax Collector's
Series, for June 29th (SRP $29.99). The 2-disc set will
feature the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include newly recorded audio commentary with director
Anthony Minghella, a second commentary with the "filmmakers and
members of the cast", a featurette on Michael Ondaatje (the writer
of the original novel), the 24-minute A
Passionate Journey documentary (ported from the Criterion
laserdisc release), video interviews with Minghella, Ondaatje and
producer Saul Zaentz, deleted scenes and more. In case you hadn't
guessed, the 6/29 street date is shared with the release of Minghella's
Cold Mountain on DVD.
Not much else to report today, so we'll leave you for the week with a
new SACD review from our TAP
crew... The Who's
Deluxe Edition. Just the ticket for all you high-resolution
pinball wizards out there.
With that, have a great weekend. Go catch that new zombie movie. See
(LATE UPDATE - 3/18/04 -
Looks we'll finally be able to cross another much-wanted DVD off our
wish list. Warner Bros. has just announced the release of Jean-Jacques
Annaud's The Name of the Rose,
staring Sean Connery and Christian Slater, for July 6th (SRP $19.98).
The disc will include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame
transfers, plus Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Also on the way from Warner on July 6th is Red
Sonja, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen.
Look for anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital mono audio (SRP
Meanwhile, Lion's Gate will release Girl
with a Pearl Earring on May 4th, in anamorphic widescreen
video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (SRP $26.98). Extras will include the
Anatomy of a Scene featurette.
Due to street on June 29th from Buena Vista/Miramax is the Cold
Mountain: Collector's Edition (SRP $29.99). Extras will
include two audio commentary tracks (which director Anthony Mingella,
stars Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, and editor Walter Murch), deleted
scenes, a behind-the-scenes documentary, video of a live performance of
some of the film's soundtrack music (featuring Alison Krauss, Sting and
Jack White, along with readings from Kidman and Law), interviews with
some of the musicians involved in the soundtrack, and storyboard-to-film
Buena Vista/Miramax will also be releasing new special editions of Cop
Land and Flirting with Disaster
on June 1st (along with the Trainspotting:
Special Edition we've mentioned before). The discs will
include audio commentary, deleted scenes, interviews, outtakes and more.
Trainspotting will SRP for $29.99,
while the other two will SRP for $19.99 each.
Finally today, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Cruel
Intentions 3, You Were Never
Lovelier and the Underworld:
Unrated Extended Cut 2-disc set, all for May 25th. The studio
will also release a Spider-Man: Deluxe
Edition on June 1st (SRP $24.95). Details are sketchy at the
moment on Spider-Man, but one
hopes it will finally be the in-depth, meaty special edition we all
wanted in the first place. We do know that Columbia TriStar produced a
wealth of extras that director Sam Raimi nixed for the original edition,
so cross your fingers that they'll finally see the light of day. The
release is timed to promote the arrival of Spider-Man
2 to theaters. We'll post details when we have them.
Here's the cover art for The Name of the
Rose, Red Sonja, Girl
with a Pearl Earring, Flirting
with Disaster, Disney's The Lion
King II: Simba's Pride - Special Edition (due August 31st)
and Warner's 2-disc Enter the Dragon: Special
Edition (due on May 18th):