My Two Cents

The Living Daylights was an admirable attempt to inject the series with renewed purpose and to ensure that it remained germane to moviegoers of the time.” — 007 historian Thomas A. Christie

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of The Living Daylights, the fifteenth (official) cinematic James Bond adventure and, most notably, the first to feature Timothy Dalton in the lead role and the last to feature a musical score by John Barry.

As with our previous 007 articles (see The Spy Who Lived Me, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Casino Royale, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, GoldenEye, A View to a Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger, and 007… Fifty Years Strong), The Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship continue the series with this retrospective featuring a Q&A with an esteemed group of James Bond scholars, documentarians and historians who discuss the virtues, shortcomings and legacy of The Living Daylights. [Read on here...]

Since the earliest days of American television, some programs thereon have become phenoms by lancing through public consciousness at the right time and place in popular culture.

You know the list – The Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle, was the first show to become “must see.” The same moniker could also be used for I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners or The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or even Saturday Night Live.

While these programs and a few shows like them, say All in the Family, breathed rarefied air, none caused a change in the public stratosphere like a comedy sketch show which started airing on NBC Monday nights in 1967, opposite The Lucy Show and Gunsmoke, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.

Now, to celebrate Laugh-In’s 50th Anniversary, Time Life Home Video has released Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series – including every episode from all six seasons along with exclusive new bonus features and a free DVD. That’s 140 episodes on 38 DVDs. [Read on here...]

Today’s update is a fairly quick one, as we’re working on more new reviews here at the site after finally catching up post Comic-Con.

Speaking of which, Tim has two for you today, including his thoughts on James Gunn’s Slither on Blu-ray from Scream Factory and also the long-awaited Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Blu-ray from the Warner Archive! Both discs are worth your time. And do keep in mind, the better Batman: Mask of the Phantasm sells on Blu-ray, the more likely it is that Warner will be encouraged to re-visit Batman: The Animated Series on the format.

Speaking of Warner Bros, we now have a possible street date (from retail sources) for Wonder Woman on Blu-ray Combo, Blu-ray 3D Combo, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD: 9/19. We’re awaiting official confirmation and expect the announcement from the studio any day now. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we promised more release news today, and more release news we’ve got for you...

Starting with this: Sony Pictures is releasing Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on 9/19, in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary and fully-remastered in 4K. The film is also being re-released into theaters on 9/1. We don’t have details yet on any new extras (nor audio and HDR), but you can assume that all the previous Blu-ray extras will carry over. You can see the final cover artwork to the left and below, and both SKUs are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking here and here. There’s also a deluxe 4K/BD edition that includes a 64-page book and packaging that lights up and plays the film’s iconic theme.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will also release Jonathan Teplitzky’s Churchill on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/3. The film stars Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, and John Slattery. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Good afternoon, everyone! So there’s a LOT of ground to cover today, including new announcements and some interesting Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K news that came out of Comic-Con this past weekend.

First, though, Tim has checked in with reviews of three films on Blu-ray – reviews originally written by Adam Jahnke here at The Bits, but updated by Tim to cover Shout! Factory and Scream Factory’s recent Steelbook editions: The Fog, They Live, and Escape from New York. Do give them a look.

Also today, Michael Coate is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ron Howard’s Far and Away with a new retrospective in his History, Legacy & Showmanship column. Far and Away, as some of you may know, was one of the last high-profile film productions in 70 mm before the recent theatrical resurgence that’s led (most recently) to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Michael details the film’s original theatrical release in 70 mm and also interviews Howard biographer Beverly Gray. The article is well worth your time, as always, so we hope you enjoy it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“[The failure of Far and Away] taught Ron Howard that even in a star-driven vehicle, the story must be strong, and that action and character elements must be well integrated in order to achieve a successful outcome.” — Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon… and Beyond author Beverly Gray

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the silver anniversary of the release of Far and Away, Ron Howard’s 70mm Irish immigrant epic starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. [Read on here...]

All right, today’s a bit of a catch-up day here at The Bits...

First, Tim has reviewed a trio of Blu-ray titles for you, including Kino’s Moving Violations, Grindhouse Releasing’s Gone with the Pope, and Arrow Academy’s Terror in a Texas Town. Do give them a look.

Now then... this will be our last post until Monday, as I’m headed down to Comic-Con in San Diego tomorrow. For the record, I’m scheduled to be on TWO panels at the Con this weekend.

First, I’m moderating the Breaking News from Shout! Factory and Scream Factory panel tomorrow (Friday) at 8-9 PM in Room 4 at the San Diego Convention Center (details here):

“Join Shout! Factory’s Jeremy Whitham (Development Director), Brian Ward (Senior Director of Blu-ray and DVD Production), and Jeff Nelson (Senior Marketing Director) as they make special announcements and unveil exclusive sneak peeks. Moderated by Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits.” [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve a LOT of ground to cover today: Tons of news and announcements, plus some good stuff here at The Bits for you too. Let’s start with the latter...

Tim has turned in new reviews of Meteor (1979) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and also Dave Parker’s It Watches on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment. Both are worth your time. And if you like It Watches, be sure to check out Dave’s Sweet Tooth from Tales of Halloween, as well The Hills Run Red and The Dead Reborn too.

Also today, in honor of the late George Romero, I wanted to share a special feature we did here at The Bits way back in 2001: Telling Tales with John and George. I had the honor of spending an afternoon with George and filmmaker John Harrison (Frank Herbert’s Dune) while they recorded the audio commentary for Paramount’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie DVD. It really gives you a good sense, I think, of who George was as a person: Truly one of the kindest, warmest, and most engaging people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in my 30+ years in this industry. I hope you’ll enjoy it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

[Editor’s Note: This feature was first published on the original Bits website back on November 01, 2001. We republish it here for the enjoyment of those who many not have seen it before. We’d like to dedicate it to the memory of our friend George A. Romero.]

You know how they say it never rains in California? Well, they lie. What they mean to say is that it never rains in California... unless you really need to be somewhere. But they also say something about April showers, right? So on this appropriately gloomy morning in April, I’m racing up the 405 freeway in a heavy downpour, running late for an appointment. But not just any appointment. I’ve been invited to sit in on the audio commentary recording session for Paramount’s new Tales from the Darkside: The Movie DVD, with its director, John Harrison, and screenwriter, the legendary George Romero. Who could pass a chance like that up? Certainly not me. [Read on here...]

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