My Two Cents
Monday, 17 July 2017 16:48

Celebrating RoboCop’s 30th, Guardians 2 4K = HDR-10, new Ghibli distributor & RIP George A Romero & Martin Landau

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All right, there’s a lot going on here today, so today’s update will be relatively quick...

First up, Tim has posted a new Blu-ray review, shared today in honor of the passing of George A. Romero. It’s Knightriders, available on BD via our friends at Shout! Factory. We hope you enjoy, and more on George in a moment.

Also, Michael Coate has posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column in which he celebrates the 30th anniversary of director Paul Verhoeven’s original RoboCop. The piece features another great retrospective look at the film’s original theatrical release and also an interview with author Calum Waddell. Don’t miss it. [Read on here…]

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And we’ve posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it very much. It makes a big difference in helping us to keep going, so thank you for supporting us in this way.

Now then... first things first: I’ve just finally heard back from Disney on the matter of the High Dynamic Range that will be included on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 4K Ultra HD release. The disc itself will only include HDR-10. The 4K Digital Copy, accessible via a code in the packaging, will apparently offer a choice of HDR-10 or Dolby Vision. Why this should be is rather unfathomable, but that’s apparently official per word from the studio. I guess third time checking in with them’s the charm. Sorry that’s not the news many of you wanted to hear, but I appreciate your patience given all the confusion.

In terms of announcement news today, we’ve just learned that GKids (distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment) is now the official distributor for Studio Ghibli animated films in the US. They’ll be re-issuing six classic Ghibli films on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/17: Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. Those will be followed by re-issues of Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind at a later date (TBA). We expect new editions of Porco Rosso, Pom Poko, Whisper of the Heart, My Neighbor the Yamadas, The Cat Returns, Tales from Earthsea, and The Secret World of Arrietty to follow eventually as well (the remaining Ghibli films have already distributed and released by GKids). We don’t know yet whether these will be remastered in any way, or whether the past subtitle issues (that plagued the Disney Blu-rays) will be corrected. If they get their source material directly from Ghibli, however, we think there’s a good chance the proper corrections will be made. More as we learn it.

Now then, there are more new announcements to cover, but I have to run off to a doctor’s appt. So I’ll come back to them tomorrow.

I wanted to close today by taking a moment to acknowledge the passing of two men – Hollywood legends both – that I’ve long admired and respected: director George A. Romero and actor Martin Landau, both of whom died yesterday. Fortunately, at ripe old ages, but still. Landau starred in many great TV series and films over the years, including the original Mission: Impossible, North by Northwest, Space: 1999, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The X-Files: Fight the Future, and Ed Wood (for which he won an Oscar). He was 89. Romero is, of course, the godfather of the modern zombie movie, having directed the original Night of the Living Dead (1968), as well as Dawn of the Dead (1979), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2008), Knightriders (1981 – reviewed today here on Blu-ray), Creepshow (1982), and Bruiser (2001) and others. I had the great honor of spending an entire afternoon with George, and his old friend and fellow filmmaker John Harrison, back in 2001 while the audio commentary for Paramount’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie DVD was recorded. I wrote an article on it here at The Bits (on the original Bits site) and I’ll share an updated version of that with you all here tomorrow. So I know from personal experience that George was a big bear of a man, funny, warm, friendly and incredibly welcoming, always full of stories. He was 77. Both he and Landau will be very greatly missed, by me, by all of us here at The Digital Bits, and by film fans the world over.

Martin Landau, Rest in Peace

George A. Romero, Rest in Peace

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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