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page updated: 6/8/04



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 5/18/04 - 4/29/04)


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5/18/04

We've got some great TV news for you today! Paramount has just officially announced a whole mess of new TV releases on DVD, both new and classic series! Let's run them down for you.

First up, Happy Days: The Complete First Season arrives on 8/17, featuring all 16 episodes of the show's first year on 3 discs. Also on 8/17, look for Laverne & Shirley: The Complete First Season featuring 15 episodes on 3 discs. That same day, you'll also get a more recent show - Al Franken's Lateline: The Complete Series, which will feature all 19 episodes of the series (including 4 that never aired) on 3 discs.

Oh, but that's not all. Paramount has announced a number of additional TV releases as well. Touched by an Angel: Season 1, Survivor All Stars and I Love Lucy: Season 2 will all street on 8/31, with Keen Eddie: The Complete Series and Mork & Mindy: Season 1 following on 9/7. 7th Heaven: Season 1 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Season 4 are expected on 9/14. Frasier: The Final Season is due on 9/21. Finally, The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1, Taxi: Season 1, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment: Season 2, Hogan's Heroes: Season 1 and CSI: Miami - Season 2 are all expected to arrive on 10/12. Whew!

We've got some New Line news for you as well today. No, they still haven't announced The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition. BUT... they have revealed a few good Halloween titles. Look for Tobe Hooper's The Mangler on 8/17 (featuring an alternate scene edit comparison, the original theatrical trailer and both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio - SRP: $19.97). Also coming on 8/17 are a director's cut of The Guyver and (as far as we know) the theatrical version of The Guyver 2.

Just FYI, since Todd's power was out this weekend, his Weekly Release Roundup will be posted a bit later than usual - tonight for tomorrow - so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Stay tuned...

5/17/04

Hope you all had a great weekend! Sarah and I spent ours looking for trees for our house, Todd spent part of his without power, and Matt spent his building a new computer. Been a strange few days around here!

We've got a big DVD announcement for you today. As we predicted in The Rumor Mill last week, Columbia TriStar has officially revealed that they'll debut the 2-disc Hellboy: Special Edition on 7/27 (SLP $28.95). The set will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted scenes, two audio commentaries (featuring director Guillermo del Toro and cast members), "DVD comics" (a never-before-done DVD feature containing eight branching DVD comics by Mike Mignola), an onscreen look at Hellboy comic books with the creator, the Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation 27-part documentary (focusing on brining Hellboy from the script to the screen), The Right Hand of Doom: Set Visits viewing option (at key moments during the movie viewers are given the option to branch out to a short featurette showing what life was like on the set during that day of shooting), a feature-length storyboard track (another DVD first - a picture-in-picture-feature that storyboards the entire film), weblinks and more. Sounds pretty cool. Be aware that, according to director Guillermo del Toro himself, an even MORE elaborate 3-disc director's cut is expected to be available in time for the holidays.

Other newly announced Columbia TriStar releases due on 7/27 include They Came to Cordura, The Devil's Backbone: Special Edition (also by Guillermo del Toro), The Jeff Foxworthy Show: The Complete First Season and Dragon Tales: Believe in Yourself! The studio has also added a Half Past Dead/Foreigner 2-pack and Side by Side to its 7/20 slate.

Here's the cover art for Hellboy, Devil's Backbone, Aircraft Films' Memphis Belle (6/30), final cover art for Disney's Aladdin: Special Edition (10/5), Universal's Backbeat (9/28) and Criterion's French Can Can, one of the new Renoir titles they're working on for July...

Hellboy: Special EditionThe Devil's Backbone: Special EditionThe Memphis Belle: 60th Anniversary  2-DVD Set

Aladdin: Special EditionBackbeat: Special EditionFrench Can Can (Criterion)

Speaking of the Memphis Belle, it's worth noting that Robert Morgan, the commander of the Belle, passed away this weekend. He was 85.

Also today, we've gotten word that Image Entertainment is going to be releasing Combat: The Complete First Season sometime in July. Word is that the release will be in 2 parts, each a box set with cool extras. We'll post more details when we have them.

Finally this afternoon, we've kicked off a whopping FIVE new Contests today, giving each of you the chance to win copies of HBO's Sex and the City: The Complete Sixth Season, Part One, Disney's Miracle and the new Walt Disney Treasures titles, MGM's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Great Escape special editions, and Sideshow Toys' retired Brian 12" figure from Monty Python's The Life of Brian! Entries will be accepted until Noon PDT on Saturday, May 22nd. Please wait until tonight to start entering - we've modified the way our Contest e-mail is handled, so there shouldn't be any more problems with e-mails getting bounced back. Thanks for you patience!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/14/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Warner has announced that they're going to be releasing The Whole Ten Yards on 7/27 (SRP $27.95). The only announced extra at this time is audio commentary with the director & writer. Also on the way from Warner is a Goonies/Beetlejuice 2-pack for 8/10 (SRP $24.98).

Some Universal news... Double Indemnity has unfortunately been dropped from the studio's 7/6 Film Noir promotion - no reason given. Hopefully, they're working on a better release of the film to street on a later date. A pair of Beatles related titles, I Want to Hold Your Hand and Backbeat, are coming on 9/28. Also, the studio will release Half-Caste on 8/3.

Universal has also announced that the new version of Ned Kelly (with Orlando Bloom, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts and Geoffrey Rush) will be released on 7/27. Extras will include the Ned Kelly in Popular Culture and The Real Kelly Gang featurettes, an artist to feature comparison, a gallery of poster campaign art, theatrical trailers and more (SRP $29.98).

Speaking of new announcements, we have word on the street date for the 2-disc release of Columbia TriStar's Hellboy in The Rumor Mill.

Also today, Spacecraft Films, makers of those great From the NASA Archives DVDs (distributed by Fox), is turning their efforts to aviation titles as well. Under the Aircraft Films banner, they've already released F4F Wildcat and F-86 Sabre (SRP $29.99 each), which feature tons of historical and archival footage, interviews with pilots, documentary material, a look at early test flights for the aircraft and much more. On the way for 6/30 is a 60th Anniversary 2-disc set of the William Wyler Memphis Belle Army Air Corps movie, newly restored (through an HD transfer). The set will be packed with footage from the 34 reels of film (held at the National Archives) that were shot during the production. There's also a 3-disc F4U Corsair release coming on 7/6. Here's cover art for the available Aircraft Films titles, as well as Ned Kelly:

F4F WildcatF-86 SabreNed Kelly

Speaking of F4U Corsair, is anyone else hoping that Universal will eventually get around to releasing The Black Sheep Squadron TV series on DVD? We are poor little lambs, who have lost our way... baaa, baaa, baaaaaa. Love that show.

Finally, MTV News has posted word that when the Star Wars Trilogy DVDs hit stores on 9/21, the set's feature-length Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy documentary will include interviews with more than 40 members of the cast and crew from all three of the films. Nice.

Okay... have yourselves a merry little weekend. See you Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/14/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Morning, folks! Man, did any of you out there catch the finish to the Lakers/Spurs game last night? Holy s#@t... talk about a great ending. I'm not a fan or either team (I'm rooting for the T-Wolves, like any good ex-Minnesotan), but the Lakers pulled out a one-point victory on an amazing basket with just .4 seconds left in the game. That came after the Spurs had gone ahead on an equally amazing shot with less than a second left in the game. I'll tell you, I've never seen anything like it. Some good basketball in these playoffs, that's for sure.

Anyway, I thought I'd check in early this morning with a new DVD review for you. Actually, it's one review of three DVD releases. I've just given Columbia TriStar's forthcoming Das Boot: The Original Uncut Version a spin (street date: 6/1), and put together an in-depth review comparing it to the original Das Boot: The Director's Cut release, as well as the more recent Das Boot: The Director's Cut - Superbit Edition. Whichever version you choose on DVD, this is a truly great flick - one of the best war films ever made in fact. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the review.

Back later. Stay tuned...

5/13/04

Thanks to everyone who has sent in their thoughts on David Prior's Panic Room Production Journal. Seems like a lot of people really enjoyed it. Rest assured, we're forwarding all your comments on to David, and he appreciates them.

Not much news today, other than that we can report comedian Jerry Seinfeld, appearing on The Tonight Show last night, said that he expects the first season of the Seinfeld TV series to arrive on DVD in November. We'll be sure to let you know when the title is officially announced. Thanks to Bits reader Bryan P for that.

We're working on some DVD reviews for tomorrow, but we have a very interesting one for you in the meantime. Our own Rob Hale has chimed in with a look at one of the strangest (and most welcome) DVD releases in some time... David Lynch's Eraserhead. This disc has been available for some time now, but you can only buy it through the web store at DavidLynch.com. It's a spendy $50, but if you're a fan of the film, and Lynch's work in general, you'll definitely find it worth the price as you'll see in the review. So enjoy that!

We hope some of you had the chance to watch yet another great episode of Star Trek: Enterprise last night. Just two more left this season, and hopefully it will get picked up for another year (Call UPN if you want to see that happen - 1-310-575-7000 - ask for the Save Enterprise voicemail box). We should know in about a week, when UPN announces their fall line-up. I'll tell you, we just can't wait to see this show on DVD eventually, in full anamorphic widescreen.

By the way, in the interest of equal time (and because we know there are many of you who love the show), we'd like to encourage you to support the Saving Angel campaign as well. Can't let these suits at the networks replace all the great genre shows with so-called "reality" garbage. The X-Files is gone, Farscape, Buffy and Firefly got the axe, now Angel, and maybe Enterprise too... bastards!

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/12/04 - 2 PM PDT)

Anyone interested in knowing what you can look forward to for Walt Disney Treasures, Wave 4? Well, following a special screening last night in Hollywood of short films from the forthcoming Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines collection, animation historian Jerry Beck and Dave Bossert, the producer of the On the Front Lines DVD, held a Q&A session with members of the audience. They revealed that the next batch of titles in the series will include True Life Adventures, Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 2, a Pluto collection, and a Mickey Mouse Club collection. Look for them in December. You can read a full report on the evening's events at the Animated News website. Thanks to Bits reader Ben for the link.

Some new Warner announcements: look for Son of Lassie, Courage of Lassie and Lassie Come Home on 8/24, as well as Flipper and Flipper's New Adventure (SRP $14.97 each). And on 9/7, watch for a Wattstax: The Special Edition DVD with newly-remastered anamoprhic widescreen picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, along with a "lost" 1973 ending (performed by Isaac Hayes), audio commentary by Chuck D and music historian Rob Bowman, and additional "never before seen" footage (SRP $24.98).

Also today, don't forget to check out our current Artist of the Month - Callie Danae Hirsch. Callie is a New York artist with degrees from NYU and the Parsons School of Design. She has three sections of work you can see on her website: paintings, ink drawings and mannequins. Her artwork is richly organic and vibrant, with incredible and very beautiful detail. Click on over and take a look when you have a moment. I think you'll be glad you did.

Speaking of artists, if you're in the L.A. area this weekend, our artist from October of last year, Todd White, will be in booth 414 at the Affair in the Gardens art show in Beverly Hills (along Santa Monica Blvd in the park). He's there all day Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to stop by (tell him The Bits sent you)!

And don't forget to watch Star Trek: Enterprise tonight on UPN! Just a couple episodes left this season, and looks like they're going to be great ones.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/12/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We're pleased to finally bring you Part Two of DVD producer David Prior's Panic Room Production Journal. In this second half, David takes us inside the audio commentary recording process, discusses the creation of the DVD menus screens and more. Watch for our review of the Panic Room: Special Edition very soon. Thanks, David!

Also this morning, we've got a pair of new DVD reviews for you. Adam Jahnke's given Warner's Gothika a look, and Brad Pilcher's turned in his thoughts on Shout! Factory's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls documentary.

We've got an interesting announcement for you TV on DVD fans this morning. Warner has revealed that they'll release the 5-disc Dallas: The Complete First and Second Seasons on 8/24 (SRP $49.98). All 29 first and second year episodes will be included in their original full frame aspect ratio, along with Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio. Extras will include the Soaptalk Dallas Reunion featurette (with Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Charlene Tilton) and audio commentary on the series pilot (and select other episodes) featuring stars Larry Hagman and Charlene Tilton, with series creator David Jacobs.

And on the way from Columbia TriStar on 7/20 are Broken Wings, Out of Reach, Castle Keep, All in the Family: The Complete Third Season, Soap: The Complete Second Season and Starsky & Hutch: The Complete Second Season.

Here's the cover art for Dallas, All in the Family, Soap and Starsky & Hutch, along with Universal's Sugarland Express (8/17) and very cool new artwork that's been created by Drew Struzan (also available on Struzan's website) for the packaging of Warner's TBA Shawshank Redemption: 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD (thanks to Bits reader Tom F. for the heads-up)...

Dallas: The Complete First and Second SeasonsAll in the Family: The Complete Third SeasonSoap: The Complete Second Season

Starsky & Hutch: The Complete Second SeasonSugarland ExpressDrew Struzan art for the Shawshank Redemption: 10th Anniversary Special Edition

By the way, we've been getting a few e-mails from readers trying to enter our latest Contests, who say that their entries are bouncing back. We're looking into this and we'll let you know as soon as we've resolved the problem. Thanks for your patience!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/11/04 - 3:30 PM PDT)

Okay... we're back with Todd's Weekly Release Roundup. This week, Todd reviews some 13 new DVDs you'll find in stores today, including a number of new TV series releases.

We'll be back tonight with the next part of the Panic Room Production Journal, and we've got more disc reviews coming tomorrow as well. Stay tuned...!

(LATE UPDATE - 5/11/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)

We'll be back soon with more, but first we have some big Universal news we wanted to get posted.

On 8/17, the studio will finally (cross your fingers) release their Duel: Collector's Edition (SRP $19.98). Extras will include the featurettes A Conversation with Director Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg and the Small Screen and Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel, a photograph and poster art gallery, the trailer, cast and filmmaker bios and production notes. Also coming on 8/17 is Sugarland Express (SRP $19.98) - no word on extras.

On 8/31, look for a Jesus Christ Superstar: Special Edition (SRP $19.98), that will include new audio commentary with director Norman Jewison and actor Ted Neely, the trailer, cast and filmmaker bios and production notes.

On 9/7, watch for a Mask: Special Edition (SRP $19.98) featuring a new interview with director Peter Bogdonovich.

On 9/28, the studio will release a Backbeat: Collector's Edition (SRP $19.98), with audio commentary by director Iain Softley, deleted scenes, an Iain Softley interview for the Sundance Channel, another interview with Iain Softley and Ian Hart, a director's essay, a TV featurette, video of the casting session, a photo gallery, music videos, the MTV Video Music Awards performance by the Backbeat Band, an interview with (and photographs by) Astrid Kerchherr and a Stuart Sutcliffe paintings gallery. Also on that day, watch for an I Wanna Hold Your Hand: Collector's Edition (SRP $19.98), with audio commentary with director/writer Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale.

That's great and all, but where's the Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century and Dune special editions? That's what I wanna know.

We also have some new MGM announcements today. On 8/3, look for Recipe for Disaster. And on 8/24 the studio will release a double feature of The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler, along with The Apple, Chastity, Good Times (Sonny & Cher), Joyride, Roller Boogie, A Small Circle of Friends, Smile and Zachariah, as well as a trio of full frame/movie-only titles in its "Hannibal Lector Series" at SRP $14.95 each: Michael Mann's Manhunter, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.

Back later... stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/11/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

It's here! We've just posted our in-depth review of New Line's 2-disc The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King DVD! Director Peter Jackson's triumphant final entry in the Rings trilogy arrives in stores on 5/25, and while the extras are pretty anemic, the film is more than worth the price of purchase. New Line has yet to announce the 4-disc Extended edition, but we expect it to be available in time for the holidays. Of course, we'll give you all the details as soon as they come in. In the meantime, enjoy the review! And just in case you missed them, here are links to our 2-disc and 4-disc Fellowship of the Ring reviews, as well as our 2-disc and 4-disc Two Towers reviews, for comparison.

Also this morning, Matt's managed to fire off a TAP update from his still-functional laptop, and it's a dandy... an interview with Marshall Blonstein of Audio Fidelity.

We'll be back later today with Todd's Weekly Release Roundup and the next part of DVD producer David Prior's Panic Room Production Journal. Stay tuned...!

(LATE UPDATE - 5/10/04 - 4:30 PM PDT)

Okay... as promised we're back with Barrie Maxwell's latest Classic Reviews Roundup. In this edition, Barrie reviews some 15 classic films on DVD newly released by 20th Century Fox, including Reefer Madness, The Grapes of Wrath, Roxie Hart, Cheaper by the Dozen, Belles on Their Toes, As Young As You Feel, Love Nest, Let's Make It Legal , We're Not Married, Call Me Madam, Prince Valiant, Desk Set, A High Wind in Jamaica, Those Magnificent Men... Flying Machines and Bandolero!.

Also this afternoon, we've kicked off some great new Power Buys on Fujitsu plasma TVs and more - be sure to check them out.

So enjoy those, and be sure to check back at Midnight for our in-depth review of New Line's 2-disc The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. See you then!

(LATE UPDATE - 5/10/04 - 2 PM PDT)

Afternoon folks. We're doing a little bit of shuffling today. We're going to hold the next part of the Panic Room Production Journal until tomorrow, but we'll be back with Barrie's reviews in a little while. The reason? We've just gotten our hands on New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King DVD, so we're already hard at work on a review of that. The review is embargoed until tomorrow, so check back tonight at Midnight for that. Also, we expect to have a review of the Panic Room: Special Edition DVD very soon as well (which will go nicely with the Journal), along with Todd's new column. So lots of stuff cooking this afternoon here at the old Bits.

There is big news that I wanted to chime in with now, however. 20th Century Fox has revealed that they'll be releasing Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ on DVD on 8/31 (SRP $29.98). There will be few (if any) extras, so that the maximum video bit rate can be achieved for the film presentation. The disc will include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, as well as audio in the original Aramaic/Latin in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround (with English and Spanish subs). Sources are telling us that a more elaborate special edition release is in the works, for a possible Easter 2005 release. You can read more on this here, here and here. And here's the cover art...

The Passion of the Christ

Back soon. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/10/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Hope you all had a great weekend. Before we get started, I wanted to let you all know that Matt's computer took a serious dive on him over the weekend, so it might be a few days before MusicTAP gets updated again. He's working hard to get up and running again, but when I say serious dive, I mean Serious (with a capital "S"). As in not quite bursting into flames Serious, but completely non-functional so Matt's going gray Serious. Anyway, we feel your pain, Matt. Best wishes restoring your HAL 9000.

Okay... big news today. Warner Bros. has finally announced their Goodfellas: Special Edition for 8/17, as well as a 5-title Martin Scorsese Collection box set (SRP $59.92) that includes Goodfellas along with After Hours, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Who's Knocking at My Door? and a Mean Streets: Special Edition.

The 2-disc Goodfellas: Special Edition (SRP $26.99) will include audio commentary with Scorsese and members of the cast and crew, another commentary featuring ex-gangster Henry Hill and ex-FBI agent Edward McDonald. 4 "making of" documentaries and the film's theatrical trailer. Mean Streets: Special Edition (SRP $19.97) will include audio commentary with Scorsese, a "making of" featurette and the trailer. After Hours (SRP $19.97) will include audio commentary with Scorsese, deleted scenes, a "making of" featurette and the trailer. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (SRP $19.97) will include audio commentary with Scorsese and cast members, a documentary and the trailer. And Who's Knocking at My Door? (SRP $19.97) will include audio commentary with Scorsese and Mardik Martin, and a "making of" featurette. All the films will be anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and will feature Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio, except Goodfellas which will have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Here's cover art for Goodfellas and Mean Streets, as well as Image/Milestone's Winsor McCay: The Master Edition (6/1), Disney's The Cat from Outer Space and Hot Lead and Cold Feet (street date 7/6 for both), and Red Distribution's Kill Chiba Collection (5/18):

Goodfellas: Special EditionMean Streets: Special EditionWinsor McCay: The Master Edition

The Cat from Outer SpaceHot Lead and Cold FeetKill Chiba Collection

By the way, that Winsor McCay: The Master Edition DVD (SRP $29.95) will include brand-new digital transfers of every surviving film from the legendary animator (including Little Nemo, How a Mosquito Operates, Gertie the Dinosaur, The Sinking of the Lusitania, the existing fragments of The Centaurs, Gertie on Tour, Flip's Circus, Bug Vaudeville, The Pet and The Flying House), plus commentary by McCay historian John Canemaker, a new piano score by composer Gabriel Thibaudeau, Canemaker's Remembering Winsor McCay documentary and a stills gallery. Should be a great disc.

Around the site this morning, we've kicked off FOUR new Contests, giving you all a shot to win Fox's The X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season, Buena Vista's Scary Movie 3 and Dragon Lord, MGM's The Legend of Johnny Lingo and Stay Hungry and Shout Factory's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls documentary. Entries will be accepted until Noon PDT on Saturday, May 15th, so get 'em in quick!

We'll be back later with more reviews from Barrie and more Panic Room Production Journal as well. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/7/04 - 2 PM PDT)

We promised you we'd be back with some new DVD reviews, and here we are. Our own Barrie Maxwell has checked in with a new Classic Reviews Roundup today, featuring reviews of a trio of new 2-disc releases - Paramount's The Ten Commandments: Special Collector's Edition (now available) and MGM's The Great Escape: Special Edition and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Special Edition (both of which street on 5/18). Don't miss it!

Well, that's it for another week. We've got a lot on the way for Monday, including ANOTHER Classic Reviews Roundup from Barrie, as well as the second part of David Prior's Panic Room Production Journal. And on Tuesday, we'll have a new review from our own Adam Jahnke, as well as Todd's usual Weekly Release Roundup. Plus, look for new Contests next week, plenty of news and lots more DVD reviews.

Have a great weekend and we'll see you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/7/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Well... anybody watch a little TV last night? Man! Matt and I went out to dinner with our wives at like 6 PM, and by 7 the place was starting to empty. Even our waitress checked out on us so she could get home and see the Friends finale. Sheesh! Anyway, hope you all enjoyed it.

Now then... a lot of you have been waiting for this title, so here goes. Warner has just announced the DVD release of The Lost Boys: Special Edition for 8/10 (SRP $26.99). The 2-disc set will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (aspect ratio 2.40:1), with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher, The Lost Boys: A Retrospective documentary (with Joel Schumacher, Richard Donner, Keifer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Jamison Newlander, Greg Cannom, Edward Herrmann and Michael Chapman), the Inside the Vampire's Cave multi-part documentary (including A Director's Vision, Comedy vs. Horror, Fresh Blood: A New Look at Vampires and The Lost Boys Sequel?), the Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom featurette, a photo gallery, the Haimster & Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys featurette, multi-angle video commentary with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander, deleted scenes, an interactive map of "vampires in the ancient world", Lou Gramm's Lost in the Shadows music video and the theatrical trailer.

Here's the cover art for that, along with Warner's Speedway (8/3) and Freaks (8/10), both of which we mentioned in The Rumor Mill yesterday, along with Paramount's Stepford Wives reissue (6/14), and Columbia TriStar's I Like it Like That and The 5th Musketeer (both 7/13)...

The Lost Boys: Special EditionSpeedwayFreaks

The Stepford WivesI Like it Like ThatThe 5th Musketeer

Back later with reviews. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/6/04 - 2 PM PDT)

We've got yet another update of The Rumor Mill for you today - no kidding - with word on some good upcoming Warner titles (some confirmed) as well as likely choices for Warner's next wave of Hanna Barbera animated DVD releases. Don't miss it.

Also this afternoon... I suppose I should have expected it in an election year, but it's still a little surprising to me how quickly some people are to turn any discussion into a hot-button political battle. I've gotten more than a few e-mails this morning (based on our earlier post) from angry people lambasting Michael Moore as a liberal, un-American, axe-grinding blowhard, and from others trashing Disney CEO Michael Eisner as a right-wing, ultra-conservative, neo-Nazi. And I just don't give a rat's ass about any of that. Seriously, people! Save the political rallying cry for November. I'm not interested.

My problem is with the idea of the mass communication of personal opinion, whether it be by filmmakers or editorial columnists or TV and radio pundits or what have you, in a media environment in which a few massive corporations control the entire playing field - all the outlets and resources for creation, distribution and exhibition of films, TV shows, newspapers, talk shows, news commentary etc. For years now, industry critics have been warning that as these massive media conglomerates were allowed to buy ever more studios, publications, broadcast stations and networks, and as they then merged into even larger companies (like AOL/Time Warner, Fox News Corp, etc), there would a greater danger of the stifling of opinions.

Look... I think Michael Moore is an okay guy, but I didn't care for all the factual liberties he took in his last film, Bowling for Columbine, nor did I care for his using the Academy Awards as a bully pulpit. I think Mel Gibson's a pretty decent fella too, and I've always loved his films, but I didn't much care for The Passion of the Christ - not for any personal political or religious reasons, but for the simple reason that I'm just not all that interested in sitting in a theater for 3 hours watching a guy get beaten to a bloody pulp.

The point is, whatever your feelings about controversial filmmakers and their works, people have a right to agree or disagree with them, and a right to see or not see their films. A few decades ago, when there were lots of independent studios and distributors and TV stations, this wouldn't have been an issue. If a major studio balked and pulled their support, there would be plenty of other independent labels to step in and take over. Not so anymore. How many studios and distributors bailed on Gibson? How many millions of his own money did he have to spend to get The Passion made and seen? You might be thinking, well so what? The film did get made and it did get seen. Turned out it was a monster hit and Gibson profited many times the amount he spent. The problem is not everyone has the kind of personal wealth Gibson does. Not every filmmaker can pull tens of millions out of their own pocket to back their work.

If a studio or distributor pulls support for whatever reason - political, economic or what have you - in THIS day and age, there aren't many alternatives. And the more filmmakers have to face these kind of market obstacles, the less likely controversial voices will be inclined to make controversial films. The same is true of any creative (but controversial) endeavor, meant for wide distribution to a mass audience. Look at all the trouble Howard Stern is having these days. The decision to pull his show from Clear Channel radio stations isn't just about economics, I'll guarantee you that.

THAT is my problem with this. Is this a Constitutional free speech issue? No... but it's a free speech issue of another sort just the same.

By the way, for the one or two of you out there who e-mailed me to say, "You're a DVD website! Stick to DVD news!" My response is this: There isn't a person on our staff who isn't about the love of film, first and foremost. The Digital Bits is a champion of films and filmmaking, and we are a champion of your rights as film fans and consumers. DVD just happens to be the best way for the most people to view films today, so that's what we deal with. Tomorrow it could be Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD or something else, and then we'll be a Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD or something else website. But we will ALWAYS champion filmmaking, and the rights of filmmakers, and your rights as film fans. That's why we fought DIVX, that's why we support anamorphic widescreen and the presentation of films in their original aspect ratio, and on and on and on. Hell... that's why we respect the right of George Lucas to make all the changes he wants to Star Wars, but it's also why we damn well want the original version preserved for the future too.

What does that mean? It means sometimes we're gonna stick our heads into an issue. You may not always agree ("I don't like widescreen - I want my pan and scan!"), and we respect that, but there it is. So get used to it or go elsewhere. I'm sure DVDHappyPlace.com or whatever would be glad to have you.

'Nuff said. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/6/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got some troubling news today. Director Michael Moore is reporting on his website (and it's being reported by the NY Times, CNN, The Hollywood Reporter and elsewhere as well), that Disney has pressured Miramax to pull its distribution deal for Moore's new Bush-critical documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Whatever the reason for Disney's move, and whatever you think of Moore (who definitely has a personal agenda in his filmmaking), this has VERY disturbing implications for free speech in a media environment that has come to be dominated by fewer and ever more massive corporate players. I just find this really extremely alarming. Have we become so polarized politically that some are willing to erode civil liberties just to squash dissenting opinions? Another studio needs to step up to the plate and distribute this film, NOW. Focus Films? Sony Pictures Classics? Anyone...?

Around the site this morning, we've updated the DVD software sales and rental data again (charted above).

And after yet another great Enterprise episode last night, I thought it only appropriate to post a status report on other Star Trek titles on the way for DVD release later this year. You'll find that in today's update of The Rumor Mill, along with information on a few other Paramount titles, and the scoop on Fox's Harsh Realm as well. Don't miss it.

By the way, we're just not going to stop banging the Enterprise drum until UPN picks it up for another season, so there you go.

While we're on the subject of TV shows, don't forget that tonight is the series finale of Friends... as if you hadn't already guessed from NBC's 24/7 coverage this week. Overkill or not, it's been undenyably fun these last ten years. Come on, admit it. You just know you have to watch the last episode... The One Where Everybody Cries, or whatever. Yeah, sure... Ross' first kid has gone missing, things haven't been the same since the monkey went away and the series has long since jumped the shark... but still. It was your show Gen-Xers, so enjoy the last one.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/5/04 - 3:30 PM PDT)

Okay... I feel compelled to remind all you Trekkies and Trekkers out there to be sure to check out tonight's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. Also, our friends over at SaveEnterprise.com inform me that UPN has created a special voicemail box for fans to call to tell the network you want the show back for Season 4. Here's their press release:

UPN implements dedicated "SaveEnterprise.com" voicemail.

After receiving a flood of calls from the website www.saveenterprise.com. UPN has established a dedicated voice mailbox to handle all Save Star Trek Enterprise calls to UPN.

A UPN representative confirmed that the calls coming in from the website are major! So much that it was decided that the members of saveenterprise.com warranted a dedicated voice mailbox. Therefore, when you call all you need to do is ask the operator for the "SaveEnterprise.com" voicemail and you will be redirected. We were also told by the UPN representative that every message is listened too. Moreover, May 20, 2004 is fast approaching, we need to rally more support for the show as time is of the essence. Everyone needs to call in NOW! Call several times a day, if possible. Our goal is to flood UPN with calls from "SaveEnterprise." Remember, we are going into the closing week we have momentum on our side let us not waste it.

Here is the telephone number for UPN: 1-310-575-7000 (ask for the SaveEnterprise.com voice mail, or if after hours press 3).

Operators at UPN are expecting your call: Call now!


Can't say it better than that. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/5/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)

I just wanted to check back in today with word that Warner Bros has announced some new HBO and BBC DVD releases. On 8/3, look for HBO's animated I Spy DVD Collection, along with the separate I Spy: A Rockin' Bronco and Other Stories and I Spy: A Thing That Flings and Other Stories. The BBC's Graham Norton: The Best of So Graham Norton streets on 8/10. HBO's Jim Brown: All American arrives on 8/24, with Iron Jawed Angels set for 9/7, and Heir to an Execution and Angels in America following on 9/14.

More tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/5/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Buena Vista has revealed that they'll be releasing a Mulan: Special Edition on 10/26 (SRP $29.99). The 2-disc DVD will feature the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted scenes, a never-before-heard song, alternate openings and an exclusive sneak peek at the direct-to-video Mulan II.

The studio has also announced the DVD release of Hidalgo on 8/3 (SRP $29.99). Disc features and extras are TBA (you can reasonably expect anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio), but here's a look at the cover art...

Hidalgo

We've got some new Star Trek DVD cover art for you to check out this morning. We've already posted Star Trek: Voyager - Season Four, but here's a look at Voyager - Seasons Five and Seven as well...

Star Trek: Voyager - Season FourStar Trek: Voyager - Season FiveStar Trek: Voyager - Season Seven

We've got an update for you on Manga and Bandai's Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1 DVD, which we mentioned yesterday. Volume 1 will feature the first 4 half-hour episodes of the 26-episode series. There will be 7 volumes in all, which will be released every other month, starting with the first on 7/27. Additionally, there will be 2 versions of each volume, a standard edition and a special edition.

The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1 - Standard Edition (SRP $24.95) will contain one disc featuring 4 episodes in anamorphic widescreen, with English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, English subtitles, an interview with director Kenji Kamiyama, an interview with Atsuko Tanaka (the Japanese voice of Motoko), trailers and weblinks.

The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1 - Special Edition (SRP $59.95) will contain three discs in collector's packaging along with a special booklet. Disc One will be identical to the Standard Edition DVD. Disc Two will contain 4 30-minute episodes presented in anamorphic widescreen, with English and Japanese DTS 5.1 surround sound and stereo (we believe it's the same 4 episodes). Disc Three will be the original series soundtrack CD. Future volumes will contain new interviews from the production team and acting talent of the series.

So... it seems like there's not a great deal of difference between Discs One and Two of the SE version except DTS sound. So the only real difference we can see between the Standard and the SE version is DTS, the soundtrack CD and the booklet. We'll look into this further. In the meantime, you can read the full text of the press release over at Anime on DVD.com.

Around the site this morning, we've updated all of the DVD hardware and software data points we track (above) including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers for April Weeks 1 & 2, as well as the DVD software sales and rental numbers. All charts have been updated accordingly.

Back later with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/4/04 - 2:30 PM PDT)

We've gotten word that Manga Entertainment will release Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1 on July 27th (SRP $24.98). This Japanese anime TV series (the follow-up to the original Ghost in the Shell film) will feature anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are TBA. There are 26 episodes in all in this series. We're attempting to find out how many episodes will appear on Volume 1, and how many volumes there will be in all. In the meantime, here's the cover art...

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1Port of Shadows (Criterion)Early Summer (Criterion)

As you may have guessed, that's also cover art for a pair of newly announced upcoming Criterion DVDs. Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows, Yasujiro Ozu's Early Summer and Jean Renoir's The Golden Coach, French Cancan, Elena and Her Men and Stage and Spectacle: Three Films by Jean Renoir have all been announced for DVD release by Criterion in July. Visit this link at the Criterion website for more details.

In terms of reviews today, Matt's given four of Universal Music's new 20th Century Masters: The DVD Collection discs a look. This latest batch of DVDs in the series feature music videos from the bands Tears for Fears, Styx, ABC and Asia. The SRP for each is only $7.98!

Our old friend Josh Lehman (alias Doc DVD) has reviewed an interesting new piece of home theater hardware - Sony's Qualia Q004 SXRD Front Projector. Definitely worth a look.

Finally today, Todd's checked in with his latest Weekly Release Roundup, featuring reviews of 7 new titles that street this week on DVD, including The Last Samurai, Samurai Jack, The Triplets of Belleville and more. Don't miss it.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/4/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

There has been speculation for months now that when the Star Wars films are finally released on DVD (on 9/21), the versions we get will feature new scenes, updated effects and other changes from the 1997 Special Edition versions. We've been reporting here at the Bits for some time now that our inside sources were telling us that at least some additional changes were being made to the films for the DVD release. Well... we finally have official confirmation of this. While we don't know anything official about specific changes, Lucasfilm's "fan relations" guru Steve Sansweet had this to say this weekend, while speaking at the WonderCon convention in San Francisco:

When asked if the forthcoming DVDs would feature the original theatrical release versions of the trilogy or the Special Editions, Sansweet answered that the films contained on the discs would be the incarnations of the films "as George Lucas sees them today." He reminded people of the 1995 video release of the trilogy that hailed itself as the last time the original theatrical cuts would ever be available. "They weren't kidding," Sansweet noted.

Without saying we told you so... there you go. Personally, I'm just hoping against hope that Lucas lets Han shoot first again. The rest is trivial compared to that one thing for me. Anyway, thanks to Bits reader Mike S for spotting that.

Back with more soon...

5/3/04

Well... I hope you guys all had a great weekend. I took the opportunity to cruise up the Cali coast on the 101 to visit my old friend (KSBY's own) Weatherman Dave in San Luis Obispo. We drank some beer, ate some good sushi, played a few Dreamcast NFL2K football grudge matches (he's too cheap to buy an Xbox), hung out with some of the KSBY crew. A good time was had by all, as they say. Naturally, the one souvenir I took home from my relaxing weekend away was a wicked bad headcold. Bastards! Ah well... still well worth the trip. There are no friends like your oldest friends, and Dave and I have known each other for something like 22 years now.

Anyway, so as I sit here trying to cut through a snoot full of phlegm, my head is still reeling over the craptitude that was the first half of NBC's 10.5 last night. 10.5 makes the mistake of taking itself way too seriously (complete with 24-style shaky cam and split-screen), while at the same time having one of the most weak-ass, pseudo-science plots ever. I'm talking Land of the Lost weak-ass, without all the Saturday morning fun. How bad is 10.5? Let me put it this way... the only way it could get worse would be if aliens arrived to save California with "Super Duper Fault Glue", or real live dinosaurs came up out of the ground. Scratch that... aliens and/or dinosaurs might actually make this cheesy flick better. 10.5 makes Armageddon look like Lawrence of Arabia, and if you've read this website for any length of time, you know I don't say that lightly. Perhaps the most entertaining thing about this film was the teaser commercials for our local NBC newscast afterwards: "10.5... could it really happen? We'll separate the fact from the fiction, tonight at 11!" Now, I'm gonna take the high road and assume you all have at LEAST a first grade education. If there are those among you who actually need the fact sorted from the fiction in 10.5, I'm losing hope for the survival of our species.

Not much in terms of new DVD announcements or news today, but Columbia TriStar has revealed the release of I Like It Like That and The 5th Musketeer for 7/13.

We've kicked off a pair of new Contests today, giving you all a chance to win Rundown and Honey from Universal, as well as Buena Vista's Calendar Girls & Osbournes 2½. You have until Noon PDT on Saturday, May 8th to enter, so get 'em in quick!

Our TAP crew would like you to know that they've just reviewed Marillion's new album, Marbles, on regular CD format, along with The Rolling Stones' Singles: 1963-1965 box set. Yeah, we know... neither is high-resolution, but you've gotta respect classic technology sometimes, you know? Besides, Matt tells me that the Marillion CD kicks ass. 'Nuff said.

And finally this morning, our own Adam Jahnke has heroically checked in with a retro DVD review, thus giving me a chance to climb back in bed and recover from the weekend. Here are his thoughts on 20th Century Fox's There's Something More About Mary: Collector's Edition. Thanks Adam!

Stay tuned, folks...

4/30/04

Afternoon, folks. We've got a couple of new pieces of cover art for you to check out today. We have 20th Century's Garfield and Friends: Volume 1 (7/27), Miramax's The Barbarian Invasions (7/13), and Warner's Cartoon Network Halloween: 9 Creepy Cartoon Capers (8/10)...

Garfield and Friends: Volume 1The Barbarian InvasionsCartoon Network Halloween: 9 Creepy Cartoon Capers

Also today, any hockey fans out there old enough to remember the 1980 Olympic "Miracle on Ice"? Man, I'll never forget watching that. This afternoon, I've given Disney's forthcoming Miracle a spin on DVD (street date 5/18). The film tells the story of the coach and players that made it happen, and tells it well. Definitely worth a look.

Finally today, a LOT of people responded to my comments about Star Trek: Enterprise yesterday! Man, I got literally hundreds of e-mail from people about it. Seems a lot of folks out there are coming back to Star Trek this season, and are anxiously waiting on both UPN to pick up Enterprise for a fourth season... AND Paramount to get the first three seasons out on DVD! Several readers pointed out that Enterprise was recently selected by a wide margin as the show USA Today readers most want to see return next season. And rightly so. For those of you who missed Wednesday's episode, most UPN affiliate rerun the episode on Sunday nights, so be sure to check it out. The episode, called The Forgotten, is one of the best yet this season, and there's only four episodes left until the season finale. If, like all of us here at The Bits, you want Enterprise back next year, you need to let UPN know right now. Believe it or not, as good as it is this season, Enterprise is in danger of not being renewed. There are a couple of websites you can visit to learn how to help keep the show on the air (SaveEnterprise.com and EnterpriseProject.org), and we encourage you to pitch in with letters and phone calls to UPN (that's key - don't call Paramount, call UPN - they are not the same, and it's UPN that needs to hear from you). With all of the reality garbage on TV these days (is anyone else sickened by The Swan for example?), let's not let yet another good science fiction series go down the drain like Farscape did. Act now!

Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Stay tuned...

4/29/04

We've got some new upcoming DVD cover artwork for you. Here's a look at Fox's R and NC-17 versions of Dreamers (street date 7/13 - can't wait for that), as well as Warner's The History of Rock and Roll box set (6/29)...

Dreamers (R-rated)Dreamers (Unrated version)The History of Rock and Roll

In terms of news today, we've got word on some of the titles Paramount is planning for August release to DVD. Look for Twisted, The Prince & Me, The Reckoning, The Black Orchid, Desire Under the Elms, Broadway Bill, The Country Girl, The Rose Tattoo, Come Back, Little Sheba, Riding High, The White Dawn, The Roast of Denis Leary, Star Trek: The Picard Box, Blue's Clues: Blue's Room - Snack Time Playdate, The Fairly Oddparents: Channel Chasers, Dora the Explorer: Dora's Halloween, The Real Olympics (PBS) and The Sports Pages (movie of the week). Additional titles are TBA.

In other news today, the Lord of the Rings fan site The One Ring.net has posted a new interview with New Line's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Matt Lasorsa, about plans for the Return of the King: Extended Edition. Matt's a good guy - we've met him many times before - and this is a good (if brief) interview in that you get some solid facts about future Rings DVD plans. Definitely check it out if you're interested in the 4-disc DVD. The gist is that the 4-disc version is due "just before Christmas 2004". Look for the extended version to be over four hours long, featuring extended scenes and dialogue, as well as new scenes involving Faramir, the fate of Saurman, the Mouth of Sauron at the Black Gate and more. As far as a possible "Mega Box Set" of the extended versions of the whole Trilogy, it's at least 2 years away, and will likely feature all-new content created with Peter Jackson's participation.

One last thing today... have any of you been watching Star Trek: Enterprise these days? If you haven't, then you're missing out some of the best Trek in years. Planned as a prequel to the original 1960s Star Trek series, Enterprise admittedly started out pretty weak in the knees, and spent its first two seasons trying to figure out what the hell it wanted to do. But this season, the show has been re-energized by an entire season long arc in which the crew of the first starship Enterprise have been attempting to prevent the destruction of the Earth by a mysterious species known as the Xindi. The writers have borrowed from shows like 24 and Alias to deliver season-long plot lines, major jeopardy, serious and lasting consequences for the characters and more action than you can shake a stick at. You've got a captain (Scott Bakula ex of Quantum Leap) forced to make morally questionable decisions to save his planet, you've got an engineer dealing with the death of a family member all the while trying to keep the battered ship going with duct tape and bailing wire, you've got a young Vulcan woman dealing with a substance addiction that's eroded her emotional control. Over a third of the crew has been killed in action, there's a team of Marines aboard to help out in tight spots (led by veteran actor Steven Culp, who's been in a ton of films and TV shows), there's an Andorian captain as a sometimes ally, sometimes adversary of the "pink skins" (played by Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator fame). This is just great stuff. Bottom line, Enterprise this season is doing stuff that Star Trek hasn't dared to do in a long time (if ever). The last few episodes have been simply outstanding, with last night's installment possibly the best of the season. There are four episodes left this year, and I encourage all of you to check them out if you can. I think you'll be surprised. It's even being broadcast in high-definition in many markets, so if you've got an HDTV, you've got one more cool show to watch. Now if we could just get Paramount to start releasing Enterprise on DVD, we'd really have something.

I tell you, between Enterprise and Deadwood this season... screw reality TV! I'm hooked good old fashioned drama again. If Enterprise doesn't get reviewed for next year by UPN, I'm gonna be seriously pissed.

Stay tuned...


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