My Two Cents
February 2013

Schindler’s List has become a milestone in more ways than one.

Out March 5 by Universal and on Blu-ray for the first time, Schindler’s List remains an important and potent film bringing to light the atrocities of World War Two.

Recently at the Chandler School in Pasadena, California, I had the opportunity to meet Steven Spielberg, the man who has contributed so much not only in films but also in establishing important support institutions like the Shoah Foundation.

Published in Inside Cinema

All right, here’s hoping you all had a fine weekend… and that those of you who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day aren’t feeling too under the weather today.  Nothing else for it but to fire up the old coffee pot, I say.

We’re starting off the new week in high style this morning with an in-depth review of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray!  The film streets tomorrow from Warner Home Video on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD, but of course you certainly already know that if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan.  You’ve probably got your own copy already on the way.  Well let me tell you, you’re in for a treat.  Whatever you think of the film itself, the disc looks and sounds absolutely fantastic.  But more on all that in my review – enjoy!

Meanwhile, there’s not much in the way of news or announcements to report yet this morning (at least as of 12:01 AM Pacific time), so I’ll let you all dive into the Hobbit review for now and if anything important or interesting breaks later today I’ll drop back in here to cover it.  But we do have hot new BD cover art for you to check out this morning for all of Warner’s forthcoming gangster film titles (due on 5/21).  You can pre-order them all now from Amazon by clicking on the cover images...

White Heat (Blu-ray Disc)    Little Caesar (Blu-ray Disc)    The Petrified Forest (Blu-ray Disc)

The Public Enemy (Blu-ray Disc)    Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics (Blu-ray Disc)    Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Contemporary (Blu-ray Disc)

Watch for a review of CBS’ new Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One on Blu-ray in the next couple of days (it streets next week, on 3/26).  Plus we’ll have all the usual release news and other business too.

So for now, top of the morning to you all… and stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re closing out the week today with another new Blu-ray Disc review.  I’ve checked in with my own thoughts on Sony’s Zero Dark Thirty, which offers excellent A/V quality and a darned good film as well, in my humble opinion.  The disc streets on Tuesday (3/19).  I’ll be back on Monday with a review of Warner’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, so be sure to watch for it.

In announcement news today, Shout!’s Scream Factory label has announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of The Burning and The Town That Dreaded Sundown on 5/21.  The Burning (SRP $29.93) will include audio commentary with director Tony Maylam and journalist Alan Jones, a second commentary with stars Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski, 4 featurettes (Blood ‘n’ Fire Memories, Slash & Cut, Cropsy Speaks and Summer Camp Nightmare), additional behind-the-scenes footage, galleries of Make-Up Effects and Posters & Stills images, and the film’s trailer.  And The Town That Dreaded Sundown (SRP $26.99) will include audio commentary with Justin Beahm and Historian Jim Presley, 3 featurettes (Small Town Lawman, Survivor Stories and Eye of the Beholder), and essay by Brian Albright, a Poster & Still gallery and the trailer.  You’ll also get director Charles B. Pierce’s The Evictors in the package on DVD only.

In other news, Shout! Factory Kids has set the animated Monsuno: Power for DVD only release on 5/21.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Great Magician on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

Magnolia Home Entertainment has set The Sorcerer and the White Snake for BD and DVD release on 4/9.  Magnolia has also set Don Coscarelli’s John Dies at the End for release on both formats on 4/2.

Well Go USA Entertainment will release the martial arts epic fantasy The Four on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/9.

BrinkVision has set the “European road comedy” Robert Mitchum is Dead for DVD release on 5/21.

Finally, Image and RLJ Entertainment are releasing Ghost Hunters: Season 8, Part 2 on DVD on 6/11 (SRP $24.98).  They also have Barrymore coming on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/7.  The film stars Christopher Plummer.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray art for CBS’s Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Two (TBA), Fox’s Panic in the Streets (3/26) and Kino’s The Grapes of Death (4/23)…

Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)    Panic in the Streets (Blu-ray Disc)    Grapes of Death (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

Our Blu-ray review of the day is none other than Jean Rollin’s School Hitchhikers from Kino Lorber!  Tim has posted his thoughts for you all to check out here.  Meanwhile, know that I’m at work on Blu-ray reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One for the next few days, so be sure to check back.

Meanwhile, in announcement news today, Warner Home Video has officially set a pair of gangster box sets (which we’ve known about since last year) for Blu-ray release on 5/21.  The Ultimate Gangster Collection – Classic will include The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, The Petrified Forest and White Heat, plus the Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Drama documentary, while The Ultimate Gangster Collection – Contemporary will include Mean Streets, The Untouchables, GoodFellas, Heat and The Departed (SRP $49.99 each).  All of the Classic collection titles (which are new to Blu-ray) will also be available individually for $19.98 each.

Anchor Bay has set Syfy’s 2012 remake of The Philadelphia Experiment for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/11 (SRP $24.99 and $19.98).  It stars Nicholas Lea, Michael Paré (yes, of the original film), Gena Holden and Malcolm McDowell.

Wolfe Video will release Face 2 Face on DVD on 5/14.

Lionsgate will release The History Channel’s Ultimate Guide to Presidents on DVD only on 5/28, followed by Mountain Men: Season 1 on DVD only on 6/4.

First Run Features has set the documentaries Gottfried Helnwein and the Dreaming Child and Fatherland for DVD only release on 3/19, followed by Errol Garner: No One Can Hear You Read and The Last Flight of Petr Ginz on 4/9 and Orchestra of Exiles on 4/14.

And finally for those who might be interested, MHz Networks has just released the Danish political drama series Borgen: Season 1 on DVD – street date was yesterday, 3/12 (SRP $49.95).

Also, there appears to be a small delay on shipments of some copies of the Blu-ray release of Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: 25th Anniversary Edition.  Amazon currently lists a shipping time of “9 to 12 days” and claims it’s “due to a manufacturing issue”.  In any case, just know that there may be slight delays in finding copies depending on the retailer you purchased the title from.

Here’s a sneak peek at the open Blu-ray cover packaging for Warner’s two Gangster Collections

The Ultimate Gangster Collection - Classic

The Utimate Gangster Collection - Contemporary

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a couple more new Blu-ray Disc reviews for you today.  Tim has checked out another pair of great Scream Factory titles for your reading enjoyment: Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm II and Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond.  Both discs are long overdue and well worth your time, so do give them a look.

Also here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly Release Dates & Artwork update 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 from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it.

Now then... today’s a little slow announcement-wise, but Lionsgate has set Mountain Men: Season One for DVD release on 6/4.

Warner Home Video has set Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc: Season 2, Part 2 - Spooky Stampede for DVD release on 6/18.  Warner has also announced that the street date for Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Third Season on DVD has moved from 5/14 to 6/11.  Adjust your plans accordingly.

PBS Distribution will release the Masterpiece series Mr. Selfridge on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/23.

And Inception Media Group will release The Colombian Connection on DVD only on 4/16.

Also, here’s a bit of other news that might get you Sherlock fans excited – the BBC series’ third season begins shooting in London next Monday and is tentatively set to air before the end of 2013.  Even better yet, star Benedict Cumberbatch has officially confirmed to Radio Times that the series is coming back for a fourth season as well!  One word: AWESOME.

Back with another new Blu-ray review tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re kicking off a new regular column here at The Bits this week: Bud Elder’s View from the Cheap Seats!  Bud is a longtime movie reviewer and has been associated with Hollywood for many years as the film commissioner for the state of Oklahoma.  He’s also been a Bits reader almost since the very beginning of the site, and was a friend of Barrie Maxwell.  So we’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.  Bud’s column will cover a range of topics, especially including interesting and funny behind-the-scenes stories from his many years in the industry.  In this first piece, he’d got a great Godfather story we think you’ll get a kick out of.  We hope you enjoy it!

In announcement news today, PBS has revealed that they’re distributing Ken Burns’ The Central Park Five on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/23 (SRP $29.99 and $24.99).  PBS will also release NOVA: Australia’s First 4 Billion Years on BD and DVD on 6/25.

Shout! factory will release Electra Glide in Blue on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/4,

Disney will release Disneynature: Wings of Life on Blu-ray on 4/16.

Image has set Magic Journey to Africa for BD and DVD release on 4/23.  Image will also release Numbers Station on BD and DVD on 5/28 and The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season 3 on Blu-ray on 6/11.

Millennium will release Upside Down on Blu-ray 3D Combo and DVD on 6/18.

And Dark Sky Films will release the horror film Stitches on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/2.

Here’s a look at the BD cover artwork of Kino Lorber’s Jacob (due 4/16), Paramount’s Not Fade Away (4/30) and Lionsgate’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (5/14)...

Jacob (Blu-ray Disc)    Not Fade Away (Blu-ray Disc)    A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents
Monday, 11 March 2013 02:01

Welcome to View from the Cheap Seats!

My name is Bud Elder and I’ve loved movies ever since I sold pickle juice at the Canadian Theater in downtown Purcell, Oklahoma in 1971.  My first movie reviews were published in the Purcell Dragon student newspaper in 1975 and I took a class on Hitchcock film at a regional college between the summer of my high school graduation and the first semester at the University of Oklahoma.

We’re closing out the week here at the site with a quick 3D Dimension column update from Jeff Kleist.  It seems some of the online natives are a bit restless regarding the color timing of the new Top Gun 3D Blu-ray master, so Jeff did a little digging on the subject and presents his findings.  Do check it out.

In announcement news today, Warner Home Video has set TNT’s Major Crimes: The Complete First Season for DVD only release on 6/4 (SRP $39.98).

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/23.  Extras will include “Joint” commentary featuring Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, a second commentary with Branden Chambers, Eric D. Chambers and Lou Adler, a third commentary with Tommy Chong and Paris Chong, a Low Maintenance Listening Mode, video of Blind Mellon’s recording session for Medical Marijuana Blues and a Cheech and Chong gallery.

And that’s pretty much it, except to say that Home Media magazine has opened up the voting for their 2013 Home Media AwardsClick here and you can vote for your picks, which will be combined with the official judges selections to select the final winners.  Voting is open until 4/14.  (In the interests of full disclosure, Bits editor Bill Hunt - yours truly - is part of the panel of judges.)

We’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Fox’s Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie and The Bible (due 4/2), as well as Universal’s In the Name of the Father (5/7)...

Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie (Blu-ray Disc)    The Bible miniseries (Blu-ray Disc)    In the Name of the Father: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

There’s a lot of film enthusiasts out there who have issues whenever a filmmaker makes changes to his films years after the fact.  Whether it’s a new director’s cut (Amadeus comes to mind) or revised color timing (Fellowship of the Ring, Terminator, Alien), some fans/purists don’t want any part of it.  But for all except the hardest of the hardcore, they’re mostly worried about intent behind the changes.  The latest such “scandal” involves Top Gun.

Published in The 3rd Dimension

Our own Tim Salmons been a busy fellow of late – in addition to the other reviews he’s already done this week, Tim has just turned in his thoughts on Fox’s new Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray box set.  Do check it out.  It’s now available in stores.  Yippee-ki-yay!

In announcement news today, Warner Home Video has set Gangster Squad for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 4/23 (SRP $35.99 and $22.97).  Extras on the Blu-ray version will include audio commentary with director Ruben Fleischer, deleted scenes, 17 The Gangland Files featurettes (The Set-Up, The Real Story, James Brolin on O’Mara, One Continuous Long Shot, Fashion of the 40s, Ryan & Emma Reunited, Emma Stone on Grace, The Real Mickey Cohen, Ryan Gosling on Wooters, The Real Gangster Squad, The Real Locations, Nick Nolte on Chief Parker, Inside Slapsy Maxie’s, Ryan & Emma on the Set, Bringing Back Gangsters, Park Plaza and Then and Now: Locations), plus 2 more featurettes (Rogues Gallery: Mickey Cohen and Tough Guys with Style).

Warner and HBO have set True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/21 (SRP $79.98 and $59.99).  The Blu-ray version will offer all 12 episodes with an “enhanced viewing mode” that gives you access to audio commentary and numerous interactive features on each episode including character bios, True Blood Lines, Anatomy of an Episode, Authority Link-outs, Inside the Episodes, Flashbacks/Flash Forwards and Hints/FYIs.

Also, while we’re talking about Warner, their upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-rays include a card (with a special URL and code) that grants special access to an exclusive live online event on 3/24 (3 PM EDT) with director Peter Jackson to preview the upcoming sequel The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Meanwhile, PBS has just announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of the 2-hour NOVA: Earth from Space documentary.  I actually watched this when it originally aired on PBS recently and it’s pretty extraordinary.  I highly recommend it, especially to those of you who may have enjoyed Planet Earth and other similar series.  The graphics and visuals are really stunning, including absolutely gorgeous imagery of the nighttime Earth as seen in time-lapse from the International Space Station.  Street date is 4/30 (SRP $29.99 and $24.99).

Shout!’s Scream Factory label has announced another great Blu-ray and DVD release today – Dead Souls.  Look for it on 6/25 (SRP $19.97 and $14.93).  Extras will include commentary, bloopers, a set tour and TV spots.

And Kino Lober have just announced much of their May Blu-ray and DVD release slate.  From their Kino Lorber label, look for If I Were You on DVD only on 5/7.  Redemption titles for May will include The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine: Remastered Edition and Enzo G. Castellari’s Cold Eyes of Fear: Remastered Edition, each available on both Blu-ray and DVD on 5/21.  The company’s Alive Mind label will release A Good Day to Die on DVD only on 5/28.  Finally, their Raro Video USA brand will release Fernando Di leo’s Shoot First Die Later: Remastered Edition on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/28.

And in news from around the Net today, Bloomberg Businessweek has a great piece up on the process by which Bob Iger and Disney convinced George Lucas to sell them Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise.  Definitely worth reading, if only for the confirmation that all three major actors (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford) from the original Star Wars films are expected to return for the new sequels.

We’ll leave you with a look at the BD cover artwork for Warner’s Gangster Squad, HBO’s True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season and Kino Lorber’s Cold Eyes of Fear

Gangster Squad (Blu-ray Disc)    True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray Disc)    Cold Eyes of Fear (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents
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