My Two Cents
Morning, folks! Hope you all had a fine weekend.
Today's update will be a quick one so we can get right to the good stuff this morning. Dr. Jahnke and yours truly have just completed our in-depth examination of Lucasfilm and Paramount's long-awaited Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray Disc! The 5-disc set includes all 4 films in the series along with a bonus disc of extras. The good news is the films all look and sound fantastic and there are a couple of really good (and new) gems in the extras - stuff you've never seen before. The bad news is that LOTS of extras from the 2008 DVD set and the previous Crystal Skull Blu-ray haven't carried over. Still, the set's worth your money and remains a great deal of fun. It arrives in stores tomorrow. Click here for all the long-winded details.
One other quick thing for you today: As it happens, I was invited to speak at the Alpha: 2012 convention in Burbank, CA over the weekend. The event is a celebration of all things related to Space: 1999. The point of my appearance was to offer fans of the show an update on the Blu-ray Disc release of Season Two. As many of you know, Season One was released on BD (by Network in the U.K. and New Video/A&E here in the States) back in 2010, but the second season has been MIA since then. Fortunately, with the help of our friends at all three companies (a big thank you, guys!), I've finally been able to learn exactly what's going on with the release and was able to share the details at the convention.
Essentially, here's deal: When Network (which does all the production and remastering on the BDs under license with ITV) went to produce the Season One set, they discovered that all of the mag tracks (that make up the audio on the first season episodes) had already been digitized, so the company didn't have to take on the cost of doing it themselves in order to create new 5.1 audio mixes for each episode (in addition to the original mono). However, those tracks haven't been converted yet for Season Two and the high cost of digitizing this material has caused the budget for the BD production to become quite expensive. Network has informed me that they're definitely committed to releasing the season on Blu-ray and they're talking with ITV and New Video about the best way to make it happen affordably while ensuring that the set is of the same high quality as Season One. As with that set, Network will transfer all the episode film elements in full HD for remastering and hopes to find additional film material in the archives as well (outtakes and the like) that they'll also scan in HD for inclusion on the set. Of course, they again plan for the audio to be available in both 5.1 and the original mono. That said, the time needed to work out these details and complete the production properly means that Season Two will likely not street on BD until late next year or early 2014. In any case, rest assured that it's coming... just not right away. Adjust your plans accordingly.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
- Bill Hunt
All right, there's LOTS more great release news today...
First though, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Art section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.
Now then... Criterion has just announced its AMAZING December Blu-ray and DVD release slate. There are some really great gems here. Look for Terry Gilliam's Brazil (Cat #51 - BD) and René Clément's Purple Noon (Cat #637 - BD & DVD) on 12/4, and Godfrey Reggio's The Qatsi Trilogy (Cat #639 - BD & DVD - includes Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi) and Christopher Nolan's Following (Cat #638 - BD & DVD) on 12/11! For those who may be wondering, Brazil will include the 142-minute Director's Cut and the 94-minutes Love Conquers All version, plus ALL the previous extras!
Also today, Kino Lorber has announced their December slate as well. From their Kino Lorber label, look for Alps (DVD) and a Pablo Larrin: Director's Set (includes Tony Manero & Post Mortem - DVD) on 12/4, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet (DVD) on 12/18, The Well Digger's Daughter (DVD & BD) on 12/24 and Putin's Kiss (DVD) on 12/31. On Kino Classics, look for The Blue Angel (BD) on 12/4, and Mario Bava's Baron Blood: Remastered Edition (DVD & BD), Mario Bava's Kidnapped: Remastered Edition (DVD & BD) and The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection 15-disc box set (BD - includes Buster Keaton: Short Films Collection - 1920-1923, The Saphead, Our Hospitality, Sherlock Jr., Three Ages, The Navigator, Seven Chances, Go West, Battling Butler, The General, College (exclusive to this set until next year), Steamboat Bill, Jr. and Lost Keaton) on 12/11. SRP is $299.95. On the Artsploitation label, watch for Gandu (DVD) on 12/11. Finally, look for Fred and Vinnie (DVD) on 12/18 from the Horizon Movies label.
In addition, Lionsgate and Miramax have officially announced a Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection for Blu-ray only release on 11/20 (SRP $119.99). It will include Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Volume 1, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds, along with "two discs with five hours of all-new bonus material, highlighted by a critics' retrospective on Tarantino's groundbreaking catalog of films and 20 Years of Filmmaking that contains interviews with critics, stars and other masters of cinema." Still no word on the eventual BD release of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair but one hopes it's coming in 2013.
FYI, Lionsgate has also set A Princess for Christmas for DVD only release on 10/16.
Sony has announced the Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD release of Men in Black 3 on 11/30. Extras will include the Spot the Alien game, 3 featurettes (The Evolution of Cool: MIB 1960's vs. Today, Keeping it Surreal: The FX of MIB 3 and Partners in Time: The Making of MIB 3), 4 Scene Investigations, 5 Progression Reels, a gag reel and Pitbull's Back in Time music video. The Blu-ray 3D will add 2 more featurettes (The Case of Boris the Animal: The 3D Models of MIB 3 and Converting to 3D). There will also be a Men in Black Trilogy: Limited Edition Blu-ray Giftset that includes all three films and a "worm" bobble head.
Indomina will release Flying Swords of Dragon Gate on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/2. The film stars Jet Li.
Dark Sky Films and MPI Media Group have set the Michael Rooker thriller Hypothermia for DVD only release on 10/2 as well.
Anchor Bay has announced that they'll be distributing Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem, which presumably means home video as well. Details will follow as they come in.
Here's something to blow your mind: Timeless Media Group (a division of Shout! Factory) has just announced the DVD only release of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams: Season One on 11/6. The 4-disc set will include 13 episodes for SRP $29.93. Big Ben, Mad Jack and old Number 7... wow, I'd actually really get a kick out of seeing this one again.
Speaking of TV DVD titles, don't forget that CBS and Paramount are releasing The Fugitive: The Most Wanted Edition - Complete Series on DVD on 10/23 (SRP $226.99). The 32-disc box set will include all the episodes, a boat-load of extras (rare pilot episodes, interviews, cast TV appearances, featurettes, promos and more) and a soundtrack CD as well.
And Image Entertainment has set Rescue: IMAX for Blu-ray 3D Combo and DVD release on 11/6 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98).
In other news today, 20th Century Fox has just announced their own Digital HD movie download plan. From the press release, Digital HD is "a new initiative that allows consumers to download or stream their favorite Fox movies on a variety of connected devices. Customized for today's digital lifestyles, more than 600 Fox films can now be enjoyed anywhere, anytime in amazing high-definition immediately in the U.S. from Amazon, CinemaNow, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, VUDU, Xbox Live and YouTube." That cross device/cross platform compatibility is a BIG deal - especially with iTunes and Amazon. "Digital HD combines four key benefits into one offering with earlier access to new releases, attractive pricing, cloud storage and availability across multiple devices. Whether the plan involves watching Fox movies on connected HDTVs in your living room, or on your tablet or smartphone on the run, Digital HD offers up versatility and convenience." The first title is available today for "less than $15" - Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
Speaking of Fox, there's been some confusion regarding which version of Casino Royale is being released on Blu-ray Disc both as a re-issue single by Fox and in the Bond 50 box set. Fox Connect indicates that it's an unrated version. This has fans wondering, because there IS a 13-second longer "unrated" version that was released by Sony in Europe. However we've confirmed today with Fox that the version being re-issued on Blu-ray by the studio - both as a single and in the box set - is the same PG-13 rated version released previously. The text on Fox Connect is in error and will be corrected. Just so you know.
And according to multiple Bits readers (thanks for the e-mail guys!) an official promo video that leaked early on YouTube (which is now removed) apparently let slip the planned street date for Warner's Blu-ray Combo version of The Dark Knight Rises with the text "Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download 12/3." Take it with the appropriate grain of salt as it's a Monday, but we have no reason to doubt it.
Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Lionsgate's Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection, Sony's Men in Black 3 and Criterion's Brazil. All three titles are NOW AVAILABLE for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking on the cover art below...
- Bill Hunt
All right, we've got a couple quick updates for you today...
First, we've heard back from Universal regarding the delay the release of Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection. Here's their official statement:
"Universal Studios Home Entertainment is postponing the Blu-ray release of Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection to October 30, 2012. Certain imperfections with the product have come to light and, as a result, we are delaying the release date to correct these points. Our goal is to always deliver the best possible product to our consumers."
So there you go. Also today, a few weeks ago we first confirmed that 20th Century Fox would be finally be releasing the properly remastered version of Patton on Blu-ray Combo. Now it's official: Look for the remastered version to arrive in stores on 11/6 (SRP $24.99). As with the previous release, the Blu-ray will include an introduction and audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola. The DVD disc included in the set will add 3 documentaries (History Through the Lens: Patton - A Rebel Revisited, Patton's Ghost Corps and The Making of Patton), a production still gallery with Jerry Goldsmith's complete score, a second still gallery with audio essay on the real Patton and the film's original theatrical trailer. And yes, it's now available for pre-order on Amazon - see the cover art below.
As if that's not cool enough, the studio now has Von Ryan's Express coming on Blu-ray the same day (11/6 - SRP $24.99). You'll get Jerry Goldsmith's isolated score, 2 documentaries (Hollywood and Its War Films and Bringing Movies to Life: The Legacy of Jerry Goldsmith) and 2 additional featurettes. See the cover art below.
Fox has also set Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for Blu-ray Combo release on 9/23 (SRP $39.99). Extras will include audio commentary with writer Seth Grahame-Smith, The Making of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter featurette, Linkin Park's Powerless music video and The Great Calamity graphic novel. A Blu-ray 3D Combo version will also be available the same day (SRP $49.99).
And Fox will Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li on Blu-ray COmbo on 10/16 (SRP $16.99), followed by Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines on Blu-ray Combo on 10/23 (SRP $29.99).
Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for the remastered Patton, Von Ryan's Express and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter...
Have a great weekend everyone!
- Bill Hunt
FYI... a lot of readers have been asking for images of the special marking CBS has added to their Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One Blu-ray packaging in order for people to identify the fixed version on store shelves. So here you go. Both the outer cardboard O-ring and the cover insert have the same marking - a small delta shield symbol on the spine just below the CBS Blu-ray logo. Also, the UPC symbol on the back is YELLOW on the fixed disc packaging, whereas the original was white. And as we've already reported, the discs now have the delta shield symbol on them as well...
So that's how you can spot the fixed version. Happy hunting, folks.!
- Bill Hunt
Afternoon, folks... we've got some announcement news for you today and a bit of follow-up too...
First, 20th Century Fox has announced the 12/4 Blu-ray and DVD release of The Simpsons: The Fifteenth Season. Included will be audio commentary on all the episodes, 3 featurettes (All Aboard with Matt, The Unusual Ones and Living in the Moment), a pair of sketch galleries, an Animation Showcase, a special language feature, commercial spots, deleted scenes and Easter eggs. The BD version will also include a trio of exclusive featurettes (The Otto Show, Das Bus and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge).
Fox has also set the comedy The Watch for release on both formats on 11/13. Look for deleted scenes, a gag reel, 4 featurettes (Alien Invasions & You, Casting the Alien, Jonah Alternate Takes and Watchmakers), the theatrical trailer and a Digital Copy.
And the studio has set Ruby Sparks for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/30 as well. Extras will include 4 featurettes (Real-Life Couples: Co-Stars & Directors, Be Careful What You Wish For, Getting to Know the Cast and Los Angeles: The Other Character) as well as the film's theatrical trailer.
Meanwhile, HBO has set We Can Be Heroes for DVD release on 12/4, followed by Funny or Die Presents: The Complete Second Season and The Life & Times of Tim: The Complete Third Season on DVD on 12/18.
Here's one I've been looking forward to seeing: Entertainment One has set Iron Sky for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/2 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98). This is the sci-fi comedy about Nazis on the Moon. Extras will include audio commentary with the director and producer, a "making of" featurette, behind the scenes footage and both the film's teaser and theatrical trailers.
DreamWorks Animation and Paramount have set Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/16.
Shout! Factory has set Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXV for DVD only release on 12/4. The box will include the episodes Robot Holocaust, Operation Kid Brother, Kitten with a Whip and Revenge of the Creature, along with introductions by Mike Nelson and Joel Hodgson, 3 featurettes (Life After MST3K: J. Elvis Weinstein, Jack Arnold at Universal and Life After MST3K: Bill Corbett) and a set of 4 exclusive mini-posters by artist Steve Vance.
Moving on, Lionsgate Home Entertainment has The Cup due on DVD on 10/16.
Anchor Bay Entertainment has announced new holiday-themed titles for DVD release, including Chilly Christmas (on 11/6), Icy Escapades (on 10/30) and The Dog Who Saved the Holidays and Elf-Man (on 12/4).
In other news, Amazon.com is now showing a 12/18 street date for Shout! Factory's Blu-ray release of Ridley Scott's The Duellists. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Also today, after getting a number of reader e-mails, I've confirmed that there IS a minor audio issue with Paramount's Titanic Blu-ray. About 29 seconds into the film, just as the vocal music track begins, there's a sort of "popping" sound in the audio mix. It's not overly harsh but it's definitely there on the BD and it's not on the DVD version. We've contacted Paramount to see if they're aware of it and if they have a plan to address it. We'll let you know when we hear back.
Likewise, we're getting a lot of e-mails from readers about possible video quality issues regarding Universal's Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection, due in stores on 9/25. An early review of check discs by a British reviewer for Sight and Sound magazine (see this link) has uncovered some digital remastering problems, typographical errors with titles and more. There are now rumors that the release has now been delayed, possibly to address some of these issues, with a new street date TBA. Again, we've contacted the studio for official word one way or the other and will let you know when we hear back.
Finally, it appears that Warner may have included the wrong Blu-ray version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the Canadian release of the Harry Potter Wizards Collection. The disc apparently doesn't include both the theatrical cut and extended version as billed on the packaging - just the theatrical cut. A number of Canadian readers tell us they're unable to find the extended version on the disc. We'll let you know if Warner confirms this.
We'll leave you today with a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Fox's The Simpsons: The Fifteenth Season, Ruby Sparks and The Watch, Entertainment One's Iron Sky, Section 23's Grave of the Fireflies (due 11/20) and Sony's 2D version of The Amazing Spider-Man (due 11/9)...
Back tomorrow with more news and be sure to stay tuned for our Blu-ray review of Paramount and Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Monday.
- Bill Hunt