Well, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, so I’m sure you all know what that means: There are a HUGE number of Black Friday sales going on at online stores around the Internet and at brick-and-mortar retailers near you. Seemingly everyone is offering 40 or 70% discounts, so be sure to take advantage if there’s something you’re looking for.
Here at The Digital Bits, we’re obviously an Amazon affiliate, so if you are busy shopping for online deals today via that particular retailer, we would certainly appreciate it if you clicked through one of our affiliate links first (like this one for US readers, or these for Canadian, UK, French, Spanish, Japanese, or German readers). Once you click through any of our links, literally anything you purchase in that same shopping session counts in our favor and it makes a big difference in helping to support our work here, so we really do appreciate it.
Of course, we hope all you U.S. readers had a great Thanksgiving holiday yesterday. We certainly did here at The Bits, and—given the holiday—there’s not a ton of release news to report. But we do have a few things of note to talk about, and we have a few new disc reviews as well. So let’s cover those reviews first... [Read on here...]
Well, the big news this week is so big that we’re going to address it right off the top: In a sudden and unexpected move, Disney’s board of directors has ousted CEO Bob Chapek and re-hired Bob Iger. The news came out of the blue on Sunday night and seems to have taken everyone by surprise. Bob Iger of course was the company’s previous CEO, who took over for Michael Eisner—the man who’d served in that role for over two decades at that point—back in 2005. It was under Iger’s watch that Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm, and the film division of 20th Century Fox. He also laid the groundwork for the launch of Disney+ in 2019.
Chapek was no stranger to Disney, having joined the company in 1993 as the director of marketing for Buena Vista Home Entertainment. In this capacity he helped steer Disney through the “Golden Age” of DVD and eventually the launch of Blu-ray, which is how I came to know him. He was so successful in that capacity that he was promoted to president of Home Entertainment in 2006, and eventually took over at Disney Consumer Products (in 2011) and Parks and Resorts (in 2015), which seemed to make him a natural fit to become CEO of Disney himself when Iger eventually stepped down.
But apparently, Iger and Chapek did not often see eye to eye. Iger, who could (and probably should) have worked more aggressively to groom a clear successor to lead the company in his own image, failed to do so, resulting in Chapek’s elevation to CEO in 2020. But Chapek’s reign was troubled from the very start, stricken first by the COVID-19 pandemic and next by a series of public “self-owns” and media missteps. [Read on here...]
All right, I’m still working on that Criterion WALL-E 4K review and hope to have it up this weekend. Real life got in the way a little bit here over the last couple of days, not to mention some necessary behind-the-scenes work here at the site. But I will say this: Both the 4K presentation and the accompanying Blu-ray presentation, are absolutely fantastic. As in best-ever image quality for this film.
In the meantime, Tim has posted his thoughts on Rod Serling’s Night Gallery: Season Three on Blu-ray from our friends over at Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Sounds like it’s another fabulous set with more great extras.
And we do have several good pieces of release news to report here at the site today...
First, Turbine Media in Germany has finally announced their planned 6-Disc 4K Ultra HD Ultimate Edition of Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners (1996) for release on 12/2 (Yes, that is a Friday—keep in mind, this is a German release). The film has been fully remastered from the original camera negative and graded for high dynamic range (including Dolby Vision) in a process supervised by the director. [Read on here...]
Morning, folks! We’ve got an early update here on The Bits today with a few more new disc reviews, and some interesting release news as well. First, those reviews...
I’ve just completed a look at Universal’s new E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial: 40th Anniversary Edition 4K Ultra HD release, which came out a few weeks ago. It’s interesting in that both the 4K and accompanying Blu-ray are completely new discs, each of which carries over all the extras from the previous 35th Anniversary release while adding a couple of new features too. A/V quality is essentially the same as before, though the 4K disc is now a BD-100, presumably to allow for the addition of the special features. You can learn more here.
Tim has also just completed a review of Harry Essex’s I, the Jury (1953) which is now available in 4K from ClassicFlix. The package includes a Blu-ray as well, featuring the film in HD and also 3D. And he’s posted a review of Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill (1980) in 4K from Kino Lorber Studio Classics for your reading enjoyment too.
More reviews are forthcoming soon, including my take on Criterion’s new 4K Ultra HD release of WALL-E from Pixar.
Also here at the site this morning, we’d like to call your attention to Michael Coate’s retrospective look at Steven Spielberg’s sci-if classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which celebrated its 45th anniversary yesterday. Michael shared a great Q&A with film historians on the occasion of its 40th anniversary in 2017, and that discussion is well worth checking out if you missed it then. You’ll also find interesting details on the film’s original theatrical release. Enjoy! [Read on here...]
As promised, we’re checking back in today with another trio of new disc reviews…
First, I’ve just posted my thoughts on Clint Eastwood’s rough yet riveting western High Plains Drifter (1973) in 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
Tim has taken a look at Ardman Animations’ A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019), new on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.
And Dennis has delivered his take on George Marshall’s Fancy Pants (1950) on Blu-ray, also from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
More reviews are on the way tomorrow, so be sure to watch for them. [Read on here...]
All right, it’s been a week since we’ve had a news update here at the site, and the reason is two-fold: First, there just hasn’t been a lot of news to report. And second, given that fact, we’ve all been working hard on a TON of new disc reviews here at The Bits. In fact, I’ve personally pledged to post a new 4K Ultra HD review each day all this week here at The Bits. So we’ll start today with the ones I’ve completed so far...
Now available for your reading enjoyment are my reviews of Paramount’s Halo: Season One – Limited Edition Steelbook, Kino Lorber Studio Classics’ Mystery Men, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Elf and A Christmas Story, all in 4K Ultra HD. But the guys have been busy too...
To this, Tim has added his thoughts on Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running (4K UHD) and The Count Yorga Collection (Blu-ray) from Arrow Video, the Species: Collector’s Edition (4K UHD) from Scream Factory, and Quiet Days in Clichy (4K UHD) from Blue Underground.
Stephen has contributed his takes on Married to the Mob (Blu-ray), Vortex (Blu-ray), and The Iceman Cometh (Blu-ray) from Vinegar Syndrome, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons (4K UHD) from Warner, Golden Boy (Blu-ray) from Imprint, X (4K UHD) from Capelight Pictures, and The Sporting Club (Blu-ray) from Kino Lorber.
As I said a moment ago, still more reviews are on the way all this week, so be sure to keep checking back for them. [Read on here...]
We’ve got three more new disc reviews for you today...
Stephen has taken a look at Ben Stiller’s uneven Vietnam war comedy Tropic Thunder (2008) in 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
Dennis has offered his thoughts on Alexander Hall’s I Am the Law (1938) on Blu-ray from Imprint films.
We’ve got more new disc reviews coming all week, so be sure to watch for them. And tomorrow, we expect to have a brand new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate for you to enjoy—a nice longform read for cinephiles to distract from all the Election Day lunacy here in the States. So be sure to watch for that.
In announcement news today, 20th Century Studios and New Regency have set David O. Russell’s Amsterdam for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 12/6, with the Digital release expected on 11/11. Look for the 4K to include HDR10 high dynamic range, Dolby Atmos audio, and one extra: Welcome to Amsterdam. [Read on here...]
I hope all of you are having a good and relaxing Saturday afternoon, or are at least enjoying the weekend in your own unique manner.
We’ve got just two quick news items to report for you this afternoon, a quick site update, and another new disc review to share with you. As always, the review comes first...
I’ve just posted our very in-depth review of Michael Curtiz’s classic cinema masterpiece Casablanca (1942) as newly remastered in 4K Ultra HD by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging and released on physical disc by our friends at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
There are precious few films that—no matter how often you see them—you finish watching and just immediately think, “Well, that’s a masterpiece.” Casablanca is one of them. The film never gets old. It’s one of the all-time classics. There’s a real argument to be made that it’s the single best film produced in the Golden Age of the Hollywood studio system.
Longtime Bits readers will probably remember that our dear friend and Classic Coming Attractions columnist Barrie Maxwell—who passed away in 2012—wrote a terrific review of this film here at The Bits when it first appeared on HD disc in 2007. Barrie’s enthusiasm for the film shines through in every word, so I’ve taken his thoughts on the film and updated them to include my own commentary on the A/V quality and extras on Warner’s new 4K release.
Whether you’ve seen this film a hundred times or never before, it’s an experience that’s not to be missed, and the new 4K disc is certainly the best way to do so. So I hope you enjoy both the review (linked here) and the disc when you get your hands on it this coming week. [Read on here...]