My Two Cents

All right, first things first today: Criterion has just announced its February 2020 slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles.

Look for it to include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma (Spine #1014 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/11, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Spine #1013 – Blu-ray and DVD) and an updating of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Antoni Gaudí (Spine #425 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/18, and Jeannie Livingston’s Paris is Burning (Spine #1018 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman (Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/25. That last set includes Journey to the Beginning of Time (Spine #1015), Invention for Destruction (Spine #1016), and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Spine #1017). You can read more here at the Criterion website.

Those are all fine titles, but Roma is particularly appreciated given that it was a Netflix release last year and hasn’t been available on physical media yet.

Also today, our own Michael Coate has a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits—first posted yesterday afternoon—in which he looks back at James Cameron’s The Abyss with historian Matthew Kapell in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. It’s a great piece, so do give it a look. And who knows? Maybe it will remind the director that he’s got a new 4K HDR grade of the film to approve so we can all watch it on Blu-ray and UHD sooner rather than later. [Read on here...]

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The Abyss does something that every single Cameron film does: explores new frontiers in the technology of film making. And that’s important.” — Matthew Kapell, editor of The Films of James Cameron: Critical Essays

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of The Abyss, James Cameron’s (The Terminator, Titanic) underwater sci-fi adventure starring Ed Harris (The Right Stuff) and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Color of Money).

Also starring Michael Biehn (Aliens) and featuring groundbreaking visual effects, The Abyss opened thirty years ago this past summer. For the occasion The Bits features a package of statistics and box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context, along with passages from vintage film reviews, a reference/historical listing of the movie’s showcase presentations, and, finally, an interview segment with a film historian who reflects on the film three decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

So I spent a couple hours up in Hollywood yesterday afternoon to cover something pretty interesting…

At a press event at the Screen Actors Guild, members of the UHD Alliance, three major consumer electronics manufacturers, and leading Hollywood filmmakers officially announced a new partnership effort to implement Filmmaker Mode as an extension of the 4K Ultra HD spec.

The idea is to ensure that when you watch a movie at home in 4K on your new Ultra HD display, whether from a disc, stream, or cable/satellite broadcast, it will look exactly as it should. UHD Alliance research suggests that as many as 80% of people who buy 4K TVs never change the settings out of the box. This means irritating features like motion smoothing and unnecessary processing are being applied to the image by default – processing that actually takes the picture away from the filmmakers’ intent.

What the Filmmaker Mode will do is to allow the user – either with one push of a button on the remote, or with a very easy and obvious menu setting – to set the TV’s display parameters to most accurately display the 4K content. This would be a baseline setting for the image – any added adjustments signaled by HDR10, HDR10+, or Dolby Vision metadata would happen on top of that setting. [Read on here...]

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Okay, this is just a very quick late Friday update to let you all know that director Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel will officially arrive on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 7/23, with the Digital release expected on 7/9.

And the great news is that the 4K Ultra HD package will include a Blu-ray 3D version of the film too. (It appears that the 4K package will be the only way to get the film in 3D in the States, unless there’s a retail exclusive SKU we don’t know about yet.)

This is official from the Fox Movies website, and we would expect the home video press release to go out at any time now.

You can see the 4K cover artwork at left, and we have artwork for all three versions below. [Read on here...]

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All right, quick update today...

First of all, I’m going to be finishing my Aquaman 4K review later today, so watch for that sometime before the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Tim has posted a couple more Blu-ray reviews here today, including his look at Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Color Me Blood Red (1965) from Arrow Video and Dennis’ take on Boy Erased from Universal.

And on Friday, Tim posted his thoughts on HGL’s The Wizard of Gore (1970) from Arrow and Geoff Murphy’s The Quiet Earth (1985) from Umbrella Entertainment.

Also here at the site today, Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Anytime you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking through to them from one of our links (like this one), you’re helping to keep The Bits alive and we really, really appreciate it. So thank you! [Read on here...]

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We’re starting a new tradition here at The Bits: Every Tuesday and Thursday, we’re officially celebrating Retro Release Day!

Each day, we’ll look back through The Bits’ archives and highlight a classic release on physical media.

Look for lots of DVDs titles, some older Blu-rays, and maybe even Laserdisc release or two. Who knows what we’ll find in the archives!

Longtime Bits readers will definitely remember these discs, and we’ll post pictures so you younger readers can get a look at discs of yore too.

Today’s title is nothing less that James Cameron’s The Abyss: Special Edition, released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on DVD on March 21st, 2000. [Read on here...]

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All right, let’s get right down to it. I’ve been reluctant to talk about the prospects of James Cameron’s The Abyss and True Lies arriving on Blu-ray (and dare we hope 4K) in 2019 because we’ve had SO many solid reports that these films were finally coming only to see them evaporate. And when I’ve tried to find out why, Fox always pointed at Cameron and Cameron always pointed back at Fox. What I finally figured out is that Cameron has just been too distracted with other projects to approve new transfers of these films, first with diving to the bottom of the ocean and more recently with his Avatar prequels.

As longtime Bits readers will be well aware, both films were expected for their last major anniversaries in 2014. We know for a fact that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment had even prepared new Blu-ray releases (most recently rumored for release in 2017), but Cameron never got around to approving the new transfers, so the Blu-ray releases never happened. The transfers were quietly released to the pay cable movie channels only.

Well, now it’s five years later. 2019 officially marks the 30th anniversary of The Abyss and the 25th of True Lies. Naturally, that means Bits readers have been asking me for weeks about the prospects of finally seeing these films released on Blu-ray (and, again, dare we hope 4K). I’ve even spoken to studio sources about this recently. And again, what I learned was that the ball was still in James Cameron’s court. [Read on here...]

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We’ve got just a quick update for you today, but we’ve got a bit of release news and some new reviews too.

First up those reviews... Tim has checked out National Lampoon’s Class Reunion on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, and David has posted his thoughts on Black Widow (1954) from Twilight and The [Rec] Collection from Scream Factory.

Now then, we’ve confirmed with Sony that there are currently no plans to release The Girl in the Spider’s Web on physical 4K Ultra HD in the States. This could change if the title performs unexpectedly well on Blu-ray, but the film’s failure at the box office seems to have put the kabosh on the studio’s initial release plans. It may also have cramped plans to release David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on 4K and Panic Room on Blu-ray/4K. But we’ll have to wait and see. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, big release news today...

As we first reported was coming a few weeks ago here on The Bits, HBO has just officially announced the 4K Ultra HD release of Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season on 6/5. The discs will include Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos object-based audio. You can see the cover artwork at the left and below. The package will include all 10 episodes in Ultra HD with the previous BD bonus features in their original HD, plus a Digital copy code.

That bonus content includes: Animated Histories, Anatomy of an Episode, Cast Auditions, Making of Game of Thrones, Characters Profiles, Creating the Show Open, From the Book to the Screen, The Night’s Watch, Creating the Dothraki Language, and 7 episode Audio Commentaries with the cast and crew. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, sorry for the lack of a news post yesterday, but the reason for it is that we’re hard at work on reviews for you here at The Bits. Speaking of which, late last night I posted my thoughts on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant in 4K Ultra HD format from 20th Century Fox. That streets today. Yesterday afternoon, I also completed a review of Arrow’s new Blu-ray edition of John Frankenheimer’s Ronin, which arrives in stores on 8/29.

Meanwhile, Tim has turned in his thoughts on Scream Factory’s fine new Teen Wolf: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and he’s also taken an exhaustive look at the contents of Sony’s recent Spider-Man: Limited Edition Collection Blu-ray box set. Now, a number of Bits readers have asked me recently what’s in the set, do all the legacy extras carry over, and what new content there may be. Tim has answered all of those questions for you in his review. The highlight of the set if definitely the new Spider-Man 3: Editor’s Cut created by Bob Murawski – we hear it’s a definite improvement upon the theatrical cut. So do give all of the above a look.

Also know that I am currently hard at work on my review of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on 4K Ultra HD format and I hope to have that posted later today. So keep checking back for it. [Read on here…]

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