June 2021

Today’s update is a quick one, but we have some new disc reviews for you, a bit of announcement news, and word of new Amazon pre-orders that are now live. First let’s get to those reviews...

Stephen has posted a look at Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct, which is now available in a new 4K Ultra HD edition from StudioCanal that includes the remastered Director’s Cut version of the film. It’s worth a look.

Also, I’ve given Lionsgate’s recent Steelbook release of Dirty Dancing (1987) a look on 4K Ultra HD. As many Bits readers will know, the title has long been a favorite of home video enthusiasts, selling well in virtually every format it’s ever been released in. The UHD is currently only available at Best Buy stores, but we suspect it’s going to get a wider release in 4K later this year or early next (probably in standard Amaray packaging).

Speaking of retail-exclusive Steelbook 4K titles from Lionsgate, we now know that the studio will be releasing Akira Kurosawa’s Ran at Best Buys stores later this year (we believe in November, but the title is still TBA). You can read my review of the recent Studio Canal 4K release here. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got just a quick news update today to bring you a standard Blu-ray announcement of a TV title that many of you have waited a very long time for.

But first, we have two more new disc reviews for you...

Stephen has chimed in today with his thoughts on David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, as released in 4K Ultra HD by StudioCanal in the UK. This is an import release, so while the 4K disc works on UHD players worldwide, you’ll need an all-region capable player to look at the regular Blu-ray Discs included in the package.

Also today, Stephen has taken a look at Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on 4K Ultra HD from Universal, a newly-released catalog title on the format that’s been given a significant image remaster and a new Dolby Atmos sound mix too.

We’ll have more new disc reviews tomorrow, so be sure to check back then. But now let’s get to that BD release news... [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got some big release news today, but first we’re starting the week off with a trio of new disc reviews...

I’ve given Akira Kurosawa’s Ran a look in 4K Ultra HD from StudioCanal and found it to be a pretty impressive upgrade, save for a less than stellar English subtitle translation. It’s definitely worth a look for cinephiles.

Also, I’ve just reviewed Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 4K Ultra HD from Warner Bros, a release that celebrates the film’s 50th anniversary. It’s certainly never looked better (and it’s finally presented in the correct 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio as well).

Finally, I’ve also posted my thoughts on John Krasinski’s long-delayed A Quiet Place: Part II in 4K UHD from Paramount. It’s a more satisfying film than the original and it looks and sounds terrific, though the extras leave much to be desired.

More new Blu-ray and 4K UHD reviews are on the way later this week, so be sure to keep checking back for them. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’re rounding out the week with a bit of new announcement news here at The Bits...

I’ll have a review of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran in 4K Ultra HD for you later today as well, but first I wanted to jump in early with some breaking news.

Universal Monsters fans may be pleased to learn that Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) is now available for purchase on iTunes/Apple TV in 4K UHD with HDR. And the SRP is just $4.99. It looks fantastic—the high dynamic range really does make a difference in subtle things, like shadow detailing, candle and moonlight luminance, Dracula’s glowing white eyes, and the like.

As I mentioned in my review of the complete Universal Monsters Blu-ray Collection back in 2018, all of these films were remastered from new 4K scans. So potentially, they could all be made available in native 4K, both digitally and on disc. And in fact, we’ve had Dracula on our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits for many months now. Both Dracula and Frankenstein celebrate their 90th anniversaries this year. The Mummy turns 90 next year, while The Wolf Man celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2021. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ll have a bit of additional announcement news for the week tomorrow here at The Bits, and I’ll be spending the afternoon working on a review of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran in 4K UHD, which will be posted then as well.

But today, I want to talk about Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE.

I had the opportunity last night to attend one of Warner and Legendary’s IMAX sneak peek events for the film as a member of the press.

A little background first... I would definitely go so far as to call myself an expert on the subject of science fiction cinema. I’ve been reading literary science fiction my entire life (including DUNE many times), I’m known in some circles to be well-versed on the topic human spaceflight, and I’m a life-long student of science in general. I read physics and astronomy research papers like some people read comic books.

So as I noted in my recent review of Voyagers in 4K, I have certain critical expectations of science fiction films and TV series. Is the story and its science setup plausible, or does it require too many contrivances or conveniences? Is the story logically consistent? Is the world-building credible and convincing? And most importantly, is the story entertaining, engaging, or thought-provoking? The vast majority of genre programming fails on one or more of those criteria. In other words, on both the big and small screen, truly great science fiction is rare. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We begin our post today with a few more new disc reviews...

Dennis has posted his thoughts on the 1945 musical revue classic Ziegfeld Follies, an MGM title now available on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection.

Dennis has also reviewed Billy Wilder’s The Emperor Waltz (1948), an old Paramount title that’s coming on Blu-ray in August from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

And Stephen has checked in with his look at the latest entry in the Saw franchise, Darren Lynn Bousman’s Spiral (2021) on 4K Ultra HD from Lionsgate.

Speaking of 4K Ultra HD, the big news today is that Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just revealed that it’s going to be releasing Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991) on 4K Ultra HD (with Blu-ray) on 10/19, featuring Dolby Vision HDR, a new audio commentary with film historian Tim Lucas, and lots of legacy extras. You can see the cover artwork at left. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ll likely have at least one more review for you to check out later today, and we’re all working on more over the weekend. But in the meantime, we have a couple of quick site updates for you and some big announcement news to catch you all up on...

First, our own Michael Coate has delivered a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, featuring a look back at the theatrical release of Richard Lester’s Superman II. The retrospective includes an interview with our old friend Jim Bowers of the excellent Caped Wonder website. And we’d like to dedicate the piece to the memory of director Richard Donner, without whom the film would not be possible. So here’s Battle on Planet Houston: Remembering Superman II on its 40th Anniversary. Enjoy!

Also today, we’ve just posted a major update of our Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring lots of new Blu-ray and 4K UHD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, whenever you order literally anything from the retailer after clicking through to them from one our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then, let’s have some news... [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

This is a quick post to let you all know that Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Cover Artwork section here at The Digital Bits with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As a NEW feature, the section now lets you search for upcoming Blu-ray titles, DVD titles, AND 4K Ultra HD titles seperately to help you find exactly the ones you’re looking for. Just click on RELEASE DATES & ART on the menu bar above to visit the page, and use the search options in the red bar (at the top) to sort by format and date. Once you find a title you like, just click on the cover art and you’ll be taken right to the Amazon.com pre-order page. Thank you for shopping through our links!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

We’re starting today with three more new disc reviews...

Stephen has given Rod Lurie’s The Last Castle a look on Blu-ray from Paramount Pictures, along with Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi’s Baise-moi on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

And Dennis has reviewed Cecil B. DeMille’s Four Frightened People (1934) on Blu-ray also from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

In announcement news today, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has set Jon Chu’s In the Heights for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 8/31, with the Digital release expected on 7/30. The 4K will include HDR10 high dynamic range, while both the Blu-ray and 4K will include Dolby Atmos audio. You can see the 4K cover artwork at left. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
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