History, Legacy & Showmanship

“Unlike most of the Bond films, [A View to a Kill] lacks the sense of cleverness that is so instrumental to the success of 007. It is a film where everyone was working a bit too quickly, where the inherent tone of a Bond film was in short supply, the Bond film that feels the most like an expensive TV movie. It is the Bond film that should have gotten the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.” — John Cork

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of A View to a Kill, the 14th (official) cinematic James Bond adventure and, most notably, the final to star Roger Moore as Agent 007.  [Read on here...]

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We’ve got a couple things for you today to close out the week. First though, I wanted to direct you all to our own Michael Coate’s latest History, Legacy & Showmanship column, which we posted yesterday, which features a great look back at The Empire Strikes Back in celebration of the film’s 35th anniversary (which was yesterday). Michael offers lots of extensively-researched details about the film’s initial theatrical release, as well as production trivia, a summary of critic reviews, and even a great new roundtable interview with cinema historians about the film. Do give it a look – I think you’ll really enjoy it.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

The Empire Strikes Back joins The Godfather, Part II as one of the rarest of films—a sequel that lives up to and expands upon its original.” — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

There is no question this year is a huge one for fans of Star Wars. While the whole galaxy awaits Episode VII: The Force Awakens, let us not forget this year also marks the 35th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, one of the most revered sequels of all time. The Digital Bits celebrates the occasion with this retrospective featuring a compilation of box-office data that places Empire’s performance in context, quotes from well-known movie critics, production and exhibition information, a list of the opening-week, limited-market theaters that were the first anywhere to play the movie, and an interview segment with a group of filmmakers and historians who discuss the attributes of the movie and examine why Empire is frequently labeled the fan favorite.  [Read on here...]

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We’re closing out the week today (on this first day of Spring) with a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate, looking back at Steven Spielberg’s 1941. The film turned 35 last year. Speaking of which, if you happen to live in the L.A. area, be sure to check out the American Cinematheque screening of 1941 at the Egyptian this Sunday, hosted by Mike Matessino of La-La Land Records. Members of the cast and crew are expected to attend. It should be a lot of fun.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“[Spielberg] has said he felt invincible at the time, so what you get is a Steven Spielberg channeling his inner ten-year-old and going crazy on a movie backlot.” Mike Matessino

“The main reason to celebrate 1941,” says Mike Matessino, “is because it has been restored in HD and released on Blu-ray, particularly the extended version that fans have come to love and which Steven Spielberg considers his Director’s Cut.” Matessino produced the two-disc CD soundtrack release of 1941 issued by La-La Land Records in 2011 and will be hosting the American Cinematheque’s March 22nd screening of the film and cast-and-crew Q&A. The screening will mark the theatrical debut of a new DCP of the extended cut of the film.  [Read more here...]

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Here at the site today, our own Michael Coate has posted another great History, Legacy & Showmanship column featuring a look back at Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music, celebrating the 50th anniversay of the film. The piece includes details of its original roadshow release and a new interview with film historians too. Don’t miss it.

All right, we’ve got a bunch of announcement news for you today, so let’s get right to it…

First up, the BIG catalog news is that HBO is releasing The Wire: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc on 6/2 (SRP $199.99). Extras on the 20-disc set will include 12 audio commentaries, 3 prequel videos, a gag reel, Q&A with series creator David Simon and the creative team, and multiple behind-the-scenes documentaries and featurettes. As many of you know, the show has been reformatted from 4x3 to 16x9 for its HD release, but this has been done in consultation with Simon himself, who views it as a “valid alternate version of the series” (you can read his in-depth thoughts about this here on his blog).  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“I knew we had a good picture, but I had no idea that it would become such a staggering hit.” — producer-director Robert Wise

“Considering the degree to which most people pride themselves being cynical, I’m still surprised that a movie this heartfelt was so thoroughly embraced by so many people and continues to be. Perhaps folks aren’t as hard-edged as they pretend to be.” — film historian and author Barry Monush  [Read more here...]

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We’ve got a few more reviews for you today, as promised.

Before we get to those though, I’ve got a quick note: This is going to be my last post on The Bits for a couple weeks. There are a couple reasons for this. First, I need a break. For the last several months now I’ve been working myself ragged without much of a let up. One of the problems – good to have, but problems no less – of running your own business is that there’s no end to the amount of hours you can work. So, I am sorely in need of a good staycation to recharge the batteries. The other reason, though, is that my wife and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year. Our actual anniversary is in the Fall, but we’re going to be busy then with other things, so we’ve decided to celebrate early this year. Anyway, I hope you all understand and I appreciate your patience. I’ll be back on March 4th to resume business as usual. Meanwhile, back to those reviews… [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Star Trek: The Motion Picture provided a unique experience, leaving some audience members, myself included, elated at the prospect, “The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning.” — Robert Meyer Burnett

“I do feel very lucky to have been a kid while this amazing renaissance of fantasy filmmaking was going on.… Star Wars, then Close Encounters, then Superman, then Alien, then Star Trek: The Motion Picture… at least in terms of going to the movies, those are two-and-a-half years I wish I could experience again. It was a truly magical time.” — Mike Matessino  [Read more here...]

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