Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD

Displaying items by tag: DVD

Thursday, 28 March 2019 18:58

Retro Release Day: Ben-Hur on DVD (2001)

For today’s Retro Release Day here at The Bits, we’re looking at a 65 mm epic from director William Wyler: MGM’s Ben-Hur (1959), first released on DVD on March 13, 2001 by Warner Home Video.

Winner of 11 Academy Awards, the film stars Charlton Heston in the title role, with cinematography by Robert L. Surtees (Camera 65 process), music by Miklós Rózsa, and a supporting cast that includes Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Cathy O’Donnell, and Sam Jaffe.

The film is renowned for its chariot race sequence, which takes full advantage of the 2.66:1 widescreen frame (70 mm prints featured 2.76:1).

Today, Ben-Hur is often considered the second greatest American epic film behind Lawrence of Arabia. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits happens to be the very first DVD title I ever purchased and it’s also one of the very first titles released on the format.

I’m talking of course of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut on DVD, released twenty-two years ago today on March 26, 1997.

The film stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, and Daryl Hannah, with cinematography by the great Jordan Cronenweth, and music by Vangelis.

This was not the first time that Blade Runner had been released in its Director’s Cut form for home viewing; it appeared on VHS and LaserDisc in 1993. It would also not be the last version of the film to reach home video. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

(As I am writing this month’s column, word spread that the world had lost Nick Redman, a man of incomparable vision and love of classic films. He was a friend of mine and this entire website. I’ll write more next time.)

Maybe it was the mustache. Or the unscripted quips. Or the genteel Southern manner.

Or just maybe it was that laugh, a bombastic cackle delivered by one comfortable in his own skin – inviting his audience gut bust with him, as though they were all in a private joke.

That’s our Burt. And he’s, unbelievably, gone. [Read on here...]

[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally posted on The Digital Bits on 5/4/01. It refers to the original and much-maligned Kubrick DVD collection release and also the better and properly remastered 2001 DVDs. It hints at future HD releases, but this was five years prior to the debut of Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD was still well over the horizon. Read it as an artifact of the period. But our admiration of Vitali has only been enhanced by the recent and terrific documentary about his life, Filmworker, not to mention his fine work on the new 4K release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so we thought it would be fun to share this vintage interview we did with him. It’s clear just how protective he was then – and remains now – of Stanley Kubrick’s body of work. We salute him for it. All Kubrick fans owe him a great debt.]

One thing you can say for sure about Leon Vitali, is that he knew Stanley Kubrick. Vitali first came into contact with Kubrick when he was cast to play the role of Lord Bullingdon in Barry Lyndon. The two quickly struck up a friendship, and Vitali soon found himself working side-by-side with the director as his assistant and a permanent part of Kubrick’s staff. Over an association of more than 25 years, Vitali personally worked on nearly every facet of Kubrick’s films, from scripting to casting, production, laboratory supervision and advertising. He even worked on the translations of Kubrick’s films into other languages for international markets. [Read on here...]

Published in Interviews
Tuesday, 09 October 2018 13:29

Bud on Burt, plus New on Blu-ray

[What follows is a feature I wrote for The Daily Oklahoman about one of the greatest movie stars and human beings ever… Burt Reynolds]

Maybe it was the mustache. Or the unscripted quips. Or the genteel Southern manner.

Or just maybe it was that laugh, a cackle delivered by one comfortable in his own skin – inviting his audience gut bust with him, as though they were all in a private joke.

That’s our Burt. And he’s, unbelievably, gone.

Fame, according to Jeanine Bissinger, is “often conferred or withheld just as is love, for reasons and on grounds other than merits.” Burt Reynolds earned his fame with raw boned talent and insight into the business of filmed diversion. [Read on here...]

First things first today...

No sooner did we post word from retail sources yesterday that Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is expected to street on Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D, and 4K Ultra HD on 9/18 (pending Universal’s official announcement), we learned this...

20th Century Fox Home Entetainment is now expected to release John McTiernan’s original Predator (1987) on 4K Ultra HD on 8/7. And we know this because the title is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com for that date (SRP $39.99, but Amazon has it for $34.19). You can see the official cover artwork at left and also below the break.

We’re awaiting Fox’s official announcement, which we expect at any time now, but this should be a full new native 4K film scan and restoration from the original camera negative and it should finally rid the film of the godawful DNR scrubbing it’s been given on past Blu-ray editions.

The disc will also include a Blu-ray copy in the package, and we suspect that this will be mastered from the same 4K scan too (but we’ll have to wait for the press release to confirm that officially, along with other details). [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Wednesday, 30 May 2018 12:50

On Someone with Foresight & Recent Releases

Sometimes it’s wonderful to find someone who hails from the same planet as you. I go to film festivals and am always pleased to find intelligent, well dressed and conversant people on subjects close to my heart. These folks, somewhat like yours truly, are professionals, go to work every day, raise families and live contemplative and productive lives. And, well, like a fool such as I, love, as Pauline Kael once said, “when the lights go down.”

I’ve been extremely lucky – I’ve had mentors and friends who have done their dead level best to educate me in the ways of the world while also sharing their deep and abiding love for everything silver and screen. [Read on here...]

First things first today... some of you may have seen my reviews of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator on 4K Ultra HD when I posted them late on Friday night, but if not... there you go. Both are coming out on 5/15 from Paramount in reference quality (or very close to it) and they’re certainly the best way to see these films yet bar none.

Also today, Tim has just posted reviews of Kino Lorber Studio Classics’ outstanding new The Outer Limits: Season One box set, along with Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty: Season 1 and Season 2, all on Blu-ray. Each of these titles are well worth a look.

In 4K Ultra HD catalog news, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just set The Quick and the Dead for release on the format on 7/17. The 4K disc will feature Dolby Atmos audio and HDR10. It will also include the previous Blu-ray extras and will add 7 never-before-seen deleted scenes for this release. We’ve updated the 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits accordingly. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, this is just a quick post today, but it’s an important one...

First up, I’ve just completed my in-depth review of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther in 4K Ultra HD from Marvel and Disney. As you probably already know, it’s a great installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and an interesting 4K release for a couple of reasons. Do check it out.

I’m currently working on a review of Universal’s The Incredible Hulk in 4K Ultra HD too (speaking of the MCU). What’s more, I expect to have my hands on Paramount’s Braveheart and Gladiator in 4K Ultra HD sometime today. So those reviews will be posted as soon as possible too. Be sure to check back for them. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Okay… the first of our big 4K Ultra HD catalog reviews this week is in the works and we hope to have it for you bright and early tomorrow morning. First though, we need to take care of an important bit of site business. Please read on (and bear with us a moment)...

For over twenty years now, from the dawn of DVD to the rise of 4K Ultra HD, The Digital Bits has been a powerful advocate for home media enthusiasts online. From our unique position within the industry, we’ve shared our love and knowledge of film, advised our readers honestly and well through two format wars, helped to make the adoption of the latest home theater technology easier, and served as a bridge between enthusiasts and the Hollywood professionals that produce our favorite content.

But in recent years, our costs to operate The Bits have unfortunately increased, from contributors and equipment, to servers, bandwidth, even cybersecurity, even as advertising revenue has dropped all across the Internet (outside of social media), leading to the disappearance of all too many popular websites. When even an enthusiast-favorite company like Oppo can’t keep going in this climate, you know things are tough. Yet we think it’s incredibly important for us to keep fighting for the continued survival of physical media on behalf of all of you out there who love it. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
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