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The big news today is that Samsung has just announced the very first 4K UHD Blu-ray player at the IFA 2015 conference in Berlin: the UBD-K8500. It’s expected to be available in Europe early in 2016, but a U.S. version will be available as well. No pricing information has yet been given, but we think it’s reasonable to look for prices in the $500 - 1000 USD range to start.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

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All right, we’ve got a bit of ground to cover today. As you may be aware, I’ve been away for a few days. Specifically, my wife and I were attending a family gathering (of my brothers and sister, plus significant others) in Chicago this past weekend. Sarah and I also just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary yesterday. So things have been a little busy here, as you can imagine, but good busy!

Meanwhile, our own Jim Hemphill did post a review of Kino Lorber’s Defiance on Blu-ray on Friday afternoon. Tim Salmons also took some time on Monday to honor the passing of a director and horror film legend we all greatly admire here at The Bits: Wes Craven. The man who gave us The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, and many more died of cancer on Sunday. He was 76 and will be dearly missed. (Read more here at NPR.) So you should check out both of those posts if you haven’t already.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Monday, 31 August 2015 11:24

R.I.P. Wes Craven 1939-2015

Yesterday marked the tragic passing of Wes Craven, who was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away at the age of 76.

Since this man and his work affected many of us and was tied to me personally and what I do here at The Bits, I felt compelled to share my bit of history with Wes Craven and maybe get across more firmly why he was such an influence on all of us. [Read on here...]

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We’ve got a great new View from the Cheap Seats column from our own Bud Elder today, entitled The Biggest Movie Story in America, featuring another of Bud’s great stories and a rundown of recent releases. Don’t miss it.

Also today, Tim Salmons has just turned in a new review of Scream Factory’s Invaders from Mars (1986) on Blu-ray.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Thursday, 27 August 2015 11:57

The Biggest Movie Story in America

I had to sit on maybe the biggest movie story in America. For a long time. And now that it’s been completed and is over, I’m shocked that the whole thing hasn’t been on the front page of The New York Times.

I’ve perhaps casually mentioned that I helped create (didn’t get in the way of) a film school here in Oklahoma City, actually at Oklahoma City Community College. The idea was, unlike film degrees that are based on watching and studying themes and points of view and reading scripts, the creative side, so to speak, to offer a technical, hands on degree program, why a community college was selected in the first place. And to enhance the experience, we got the finest equipment in the world – Avid editors and cameras and lenses and lights and then, through a lot of hard work from a lot of good people, here came the ultimate – a full end studio, built to the specs of an actual Hollywood soundstage. If another state funded school has a facility like this, I’d like to see it.  [Read on here...]

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We’re kicking things off today here at The Bits with a trio of new reviews. Tim Salmons has added Scream’s Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf to his Scream BD coverage. Jim Hemphill has turned in a good look at Twilight Time’s House of Bamboo BD, a fine film noir title from 1955. And I’ve just posted my thoughts on George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. The film streets on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD next Tuesday. Trust me, it’s worth a look.  [Read on here…]

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We’ll be back with more later, but this is just a quick early post to let you all know that Amazon now has their pre-orders pages up for Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray, and DVD (SRP $54.98, $35.99, and $34.99), as well as The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition on regular Blu-ray (SRP $99.98).  [Read on here…]

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The big Blu-ray news today is this: Warner Home Video has just officially set The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition for release on 3-disc Blu-ray and 5-disc DVD on 11/17 as we expected (SRP $35.99 and $34.99), with a digital release on 10/20. The film is R-rated (presumably for added violence) and will be 20 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. There will also be The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition 9-disc Blu-ray and 15-disc DVD box sets that same day (SRP $99.98 and $78.92). All of these will include UltraViolet digital copies.

Now…  Warner’s press release doesn’t really mention a Blu-ray 3D release of either, so I called and asked for clarification. Here’s the deal: The Blu-ray 3D versions of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition and The Hobbit Trilogy: Extended Edition are going to be Amazon-exclusives. That’s why they’re not listed in the press release.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

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We’ll be back later with our regular post, but this is just a quick heads-up: Amazon’s Blu-ray Deal of the Day is terrific one – none other than Criterion’s amazing 25-film Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Blu-ray/DVD box set! As you know if you’ve read our review here, this set is one of our all-time favorite releases on either format. And now you can get your hands on a copy for just $97.99 – 56% off the regular SRP! That's a great deal for a whole bunch of great films, so act fast if you want to take advantage. Today only! Click on title above, here, or on the image below to order on Amazon…  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

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All right, we’ve got a few things for you today...

First, I’ve posted a new Blu-ray review of the Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways recently released by RCA. This is the 8-episode series that aired on HBO earlier this year. I’ll have a few more new BD reviews for you this week, including Warner’s Mad Max: Fury Road (possibly as soon as tomorrow), so be sure to check back.

Also today, Tim has posted a new installment of his Pick-Ups column, featuring the first two of several new Scream Factory horror Blu-ray reviews – Ghost Town and Stigmata. He’ll have more each day all this week.  [Read on here…]

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