My Two Cents
Friday, 04 March 2016 17:16

Buster Keaton, Pelham, Journey to Space, Seven Samurai 4K, new Shout, Kino & Olive & MUCH more

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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to follow us on Twitter @thedigitalbits @BillHuntBits and on Facebook here and here. And you can help support The Bits by pre-ordering Blu-rays and other items from Amazon through this link.]

Okay, we’re rounding out the week with a little title announcement catch-up. My plan had been to post a new UHD review each day all week, but then of course it became obvious that the Star Wars Blu-ray announcement was about to happen and that threw off the plan, as such things often do. I do have a review of Sony’s 4K UHD Blu-ray of Chappie in the works, which is a true 4K title, and I’ll have that for you Monday. Look for more UHD reviews next week as well.

That said, our own Tim Salmons has just posted a review of one of my favorite films of 2015, Ryan Coogler’s Creed, which is now available on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. It’s a great film with tons of heart – a Rocky sequel that actually stands on its own beautifully. Stars Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone really shine in it. Do give it a look.  [Read on here…]

Also today, Jim Hemphill has turned in his thoughts on Arrow Video’s terrific new Blu-ray release of Nikkatsu Diamond Guys: Volume 1, which includes Voice Without a Shadow, Red Pier, and The Rambling Guitarist. These are classic Japanese gangster films of the late 1950s and they’re well worth your time. Don’t miss it.

In announcement news today, Universal has just announced the DVD only release of American Gothic: The Complete Series on 5/24. Looks like the title will be a 6-disc set and extras will include Pilot commentary with the show’s creator, writer and producers, as well as deleted and extended scenes from a number of episodes.

Back on the subject of 4K for a moment, Shout! Factory has just set IMAX Journey to Space for 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo release on 6/7 (SRP $39.93). This would be Shout!’s first foray into 4K UHD.

Also, there’s word from NHK and AV Watch in Japan (via Kotaku) that Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Seven Samurai – which is my all-time favorite film – is being digitally restored in full 4K resolution by Toho Studios. It’s being restored from original film prints, apparently, because it appears that the studio doesn’t know where the original negative is and fears it may have been lost. But something is better than nothing. Also revealed in the article is word that Kurosawa’s Ikiru is also being restored. Apparently, Seven Samurai is going to be re-released again in Japan, and I’m betting it will find its way to 4K UHD format in the not too distant future. Fingers crossed. The image below is courtesy of Toho. You can read more here.

Toho's 4K Seven Samurai restoration

All right, back to Shout! a moment: The studio is also releasing Cop Rock: The Complete Series on DVD on 5/17, followed by Two Guys and a Girl: The Complete Series on DVD on 6/28.

Shout! and/or Scream Factory have also listed a number of great titles for Blu-ray release in June, including The Abandoned and The Funhouse Massacre on 6/7, the Jeepers Creepers: Collector’s Edition, the Jeepers Creepers 2: Collector’s Edition, and a Rabid Dogs: Collector’s Edition on 6/14, The Crush and Rollercoaster (with a Sensurround track!) on 6/21, and Two-Minute Warning and a Raising Cain: Collector’s Edition on 6/28.

Meanwhile, our friends at Olive Films have just announced a great batch of deep catalog titles for release on Blu-ray and DVD in May, including French Postcards (1979), Iphigenia (1977), The King and Four Queens (1956), The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947), Rich Kids (1979), The Sum of Us (1994), The Whoopee Boys (1986), Zapped! (1982), Agent Cody Banks (2003), and Agent Cody Banks: Destination London (2004). All are due to street on 5/24.

Not to be outdone, our friends at Kino Lorber Studio Classics have set a Buster Keaton: The Shorts Collection 1917-1923 collection for Blu-ray release on 5/24. The collection includes Keaton only short films, as well as several starring Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle. The shorts include The Butcher Boy (1917), The Rough House (1917), His Wedding Night (1917), Oh Doctor (1917), Coney Island (1917), Out West (1918), The Bell Boy (1918), Moonshine (1918), Good Night, Nurse! (1918), The Cook (1918), Back Stage (1919), The Hayseed (1919), The Garage (1919), High Sign (1920), One Week (1920), Convict 13 (1920), The Scarecrow (1920), Neighbors (1921), The Haunted House (1921), Hard Luck (1921), The Goat (1921), The Play House (1921), The Boat (1921), The Paleface (1922), Cops (1922), My Wife’s Relations (1922), The Blacksmith (US Version – 1922), The Blacksmith (European Version – 1921), The Frozen North (1922), Day Dreams (1922), The Electric Horse (1922), The Balloonatic (1923), and The Love Nest (1923).

Also coming from Kino are The Chase (1946), the Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema box set, and The People That Time Forgot (1977) on Blu-ray on 5/24, followed by The Magnetic Monster (1953) on 6/14, and Shield for Murder (1954) and 99 River Street (1953) on 6/21. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) is also on tap, listed as “coming soon”.

And here’s something more that’s cool from Kino: They’ve just officially set The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) for BD & DVD release on 7/5! This will be a 42nd Anniversary Special Edition, featuring audio commentary by actor/filmmaker Pat Healy and film historian Jim Healy, interviews with star Hector Elizondo, composer David Shire, and editor Jerry Greenberg, a Trailers from Hell with Josh Olson piece, an animated montage of stills and poster art, the original theatrical trailer, and reversible Blu-ray cover art.

In other news, consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but our sources are suggesting to us that Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray (newly announced for 4/5) will offer the film entirely in the 2.35: 1 aspect ratio. But the forthcoming Blu-ray 3D version (alluded to in the press release as due later this year – it is a Blu-ray 3D and not just Digital 3D) may include the IMAX-filmed sequences in 1.78:1. This release will likely be tied to the promotion of the theatrical release of Star Wars: Rogue One in December.

Also today, we’d like to extend a big word of congrats to our old friend Cliff Stephenson, who’s work on the special features on Lionsgate’s Hannibal: Season Three has just been nominated for a Saturn Award! The complete DVD Awards section of the nominees list reads as follows (you can see the complete list of nominees here on the Saturn Awards website):

Best DVD/BD Classic Film ReleaseBurnt Offerings, Cemetery Without Crosses, Ladyhawke, Miracle Mile, Tales of Terror, The Monster That Challenged the World, and X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

Best DVD/BD CollectionThe Frank Darabont Collection, Horror Classics, Vol. 1, The Jurassic Park Collection, The Mad Max Anthology, Nikkatsu Diamond Guys, Vol. 1, and The Special Effects Collection

Best DVD/BD ReleaseBig Game, Burying the Ex, Monsters: Dark Continent, The Cobbler, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and Wolf Totem

Best DVD/BD Special Edition ReleaseFurious 7: Extended Edition, Society: Limited Edition, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition, Vanilla Sky (Alternate Ending), and X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut

Best DVD/BD Television ReleaseBlack Sails: Season 2, From Dusk Till Dawn: Season 2, Hannibal: Season 3, Lost in Space: The Complete Adventures, My Favorite Martian: The Complete Series, and X-Files: The Collector’s Set

Again, you can find the complete list of nominees here at the official Saturn Awards website.

Finally today, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor George Kennedy, VFX supervisor Gary Hutzel, and a chap by the name of Tony Dyson, all of whom will be greatly missed...

George Kennedy was, of course, known for his roles in Cool Hand Luke, the Naked Gun films, Spartacus, The Dirty Dozen, Earthquake, The Guns of the Magnificent Seven, Fools’ Parade, The Eiger Sanction, and more. He was 91. You can read more here via The Hollywood Reporter.

Gary Hutzel’s name and work will certainly be familiar to Star Trek fans. He was the visual effects supervisor for Defiance, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, Virtuality, The Bionic Woman, Spy Kids, Red Planet, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more. I met him a few times, including once during a tour of the Battlestar Galactica VFX department at Universal, he couldn’t have been kinder to me. Gary was 60. His passing was announced on Michael & Denise Okuda’s Facebook page here.

And then there’s artist and effects supervisor Tony Dyson. His is a name probably even most genre fans don’t know, but Star Wars fans the world over owe him a debt: He’s the man who built R2-D2 for the original Star Wars in 1976. Tony was 68 and you can read more about him here at io9.

Now then, we’ll leave you today with a look at some cover artwork for a few of the Blu-ray (and UHD) titles mentioned above. Click on the covers to pre-order them on

IMAX Journey to Space (UHD)    The Taking of Pellham 123 (Blu-ray Disc)    Buster Keaton: The Shorts Collection 1917-1923 (Blu-ray Disc)

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema (Blu-ray Disc)    Rollercoaster (Blu-ray Disc)    Two Minute Warning (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend and, as always, stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)


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