History, Legacy & Showmanship

Displaying items by tag: Michael Coate

We’re starting out the new week today here at The Bits with a trio of new disc reviews...

First up, Tim and I have taken a look at Arrow Video’s terrific new Limited Edition Blu-ray of Ridley Scott’s Legend. The 2-disc set is absolutely loaded with vintage and new extras, and it includes the US Theatrical Cut newly-remastered from a 4K scan, as well as the Director’s Cut. Legend is a challenging title for a lot of reasons, but Arrow’s done a really great job with this one. If you’re a fan of the film, this is as good as it’s ever looked, and this is essentially a complete archive of all the previous special features and more.

Also today, Stephen has reviewed Chloe Zhao’s first film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, newly-released on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. If that name is familiar, it’s because Zhao is the filmmaker who’s just made The Eternals for Marvel Studios. It sounds like this earlier work is pretty terrific.

And finally, Dennis has given Wallace Worsley’s 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame a look on Blu-ray from Kino Classics. As many of you will already be aware, this version features the great Lon Chaney in the role of Quasimodo. It’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

While we’re on the subject of Universal Monsters, I’m currently working on a review of the Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection in 4K and should have that up by the end of the week. I’m giving myself the week to work on it, however, because I’m attending a studio screening of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune tomorrow afternoon. And I have a sneaking suspicion that’s going to occupy my mind for the next few days afterwards. I’ll definitely post a few non-spoiler thoughts about that film as well this week, rest assured. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

“As soon as Indy stepped out of the shadows in that first scene and revealed himself to us with that badass confidence and intensity, I feel like in that moment, Harrison Ford truly became a movie star of the highest order.” – Charles de Lauzirika, producer/director of Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this multi-page retrospective article commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Lucas & Spielberg action classic that introduced moviegoers to the globe-trotting adventures of Indiana Jones and spawned a franchise of sequels, prequels, games, and theme park attractions.

Raiders, featuring Harrison Ford as everyone’s favorite cinematic archaeologist, was the most successful movie of its year of release and for a period of time the third highest-grossing motion picture of all time. The Oscar-winning movie also starred Karen Allen as heroine Marion Ravenwood, Paul Freeman as archvillain Belloq, Ronald Lacey as villain Toht, John Rhys-Davies as sidekick Sallah, and Denholm Elliott as colleague Marcus Brody.

In 1999 the Library of Congress selected Raiders of the Lost Ark for preservation in the National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” and earlier this year, Raiders and the other movies in the series were released for the first time on 4K UHD (reviewed here). [Read on here...]

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

“Clark Kent’s alley transformation into Superman and Superman’s flight to the White House to return the American Flag are two of the best moments; they are just as chill-inducing and magical today as they were 40 years ago!” — Jim Bowers, CapedWonder.com

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this multi-page retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Superman II, the 1980/1981/2006 follow-up to 1978’s Superman: The Movie and featuring Christopher Reeve reprising his legendary dual role of Superman and alter ego Clark Kent.

Taking over from Richard Donner midway through production, Richard Lester (The Three Musketeers, Help!) directed and re-shot much of the Saturn Award-winning sequel, which focused on the three Kyptonian outlaws (Terrence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O’Halloran) breaking free from their cosmic imprisonment and seeking revenge on the Man of Steel.

The first Superman sequel—also starring Clifton James as Sheriff and E.G. Marshall as The President—featured reprisal performances by Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Ned Beatty as Otis, Jackie Cooper as Perry White, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, Valerie Perrine as Miss Teschmacher, Susannah York as Superman’s biological mother Lara, and Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen. [Read on here...]

“It really was Shaft that proved the true value of the Black dollar. Up until then Hollywood hadn’t seriously considered the breadth, scope and power of the Black moviegoing audience.” – Josiah Howard, author of Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide

“With Shaft, an underrepresented audience finally got the representation they were thirsty for.” – Chris Utley, Shaft fan

“While the Blaxploitation genre lasted less than a decade before burning out, I always thought the Shaft franchise could have endured indefinitely, as the Bond films did.” – Lee Pfeiffer, Cinema Retro

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this multi-page retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Shaft, the groundbreaking, franchise-inspiring, crime thriller directed by Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree) and starring then-newcomer Richard Roundtree as the titular character.

Shaft, also starring Moses Gunn (Roots, Ragtime) and featuring Isaac Hayes’ memorable and award-winning music, was released to theaters fifty years ago this month. 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 some of its film reviews, a reference/historical listing of its original theatrical engagements, and, finally, a roundtable interview segment with a trio of film historians and Shaft authorities who reflect on the movie (and franchise) five decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

We have a quick news column for you here at The Bits today. But first, a couple more disc reviews...

Dennis has taken a look at Basil Dearden’s The Blue Lamp (1950), an Ealing Studios film noir now available on Blu-ray Disc from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

He’s also posted his thoughts on Florian Zeller’s The Father (2020), the recent film drama that won Anthony Hopkins an Oscar for Best Actor, newly-available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate. Enjoy!

Now then... our friends at Severin Films have announced four new Blu-ray titles due to street in August (on 8/24), including Cannibal Man (1972), No One Heard the Scream (1973), Eloy de la Iglesia’s Quinqui Collection (1980-84 – which includes Navajeros, El Pico, and El Pico 2), and—surprise!—Overboard (1987), the MGM film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. You can visit their website here for additional details. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got a bit of ground to cover today. First, we’ve got a few new disc reviews for you to enjoy...

I’ve posted my thoughts Doug Liman’s Chaos Walking in 4K from Lionsgate. It’s not a great science fiction film, but it looks fantastic in 4K (it was shot with the Alexa 65 camera) and it features some very nice special features too created by our old friend Cliff Stephenson. So it’s well worth a look.

I’ve also posted my review of George Cukor’s My Fair Lady (1964) on 4K Ultra HD from Paramount, and that is absolutely a reference-grade title. As some of you may know, it was shot using the Super Panavision-70 camera and was restored by our old friend Robert A. Harris back in 2015 in 4K using an 8K scan of the original camera negative. The film just looks absolutely fantastic and it’s a classic Hollywood musical too. Don’t miss it.

Also seriously worth a look is Arrow Video’s new Battle Royale: Limited Edition in 4K Ultra HD, a UK import boxset that I’ve reviewed in-depth here at the site as well. It features both versions of Kinji Fukasaku’s original film in beautifully-remastered 4K, along with both versions of the sequel on Blu-ray, plus an amazing collection of special features and swag. And even though it’s a UK import, the 4K discs will play fine worldwide. The two Blu-rays in the box are Region B locked, but one of them will still play on any US player anyway (details in my review). If you’re a fan of the film, this is a must-have box. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Shrek sits alongside Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter as one of the definitive ‘new’ franchises of the global tentpole era, while making both animated features and rom-coms ‘safe’ for male-centric protagonists and PG ratings.” – Scott Mendelson, box-office analyst

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of Shrek, PDI and DreamWorks Animation’s popular, award-winning animated film based upon William Steig’s picture book and featuring the voice talent of Mike Myers (Wayne’s World, Austin Powers), Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America) and Cameron Diaz (The Mask, There’s Something About Mary).

Shrek, directed by Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and Vicky Jensen (Shark Tale) and also featuring the voice talent of John Lithgow (The World According to Garp, 3rd Rock from the Sun) as Lord Farquaad, was released to theaters twenty years ago this month. 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 Digital Cinema presentations, and, finally, a film historian interview who reflects on the movie (and franchise) two decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

Okay, we’ve got some serious ground to cover in today’s My Two Cents update, so let’s get right to it...

First, we’ve just posted Michael Coate’s brand new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, featuring a terrific new retrospective of George Lucas’ THX 1138 in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary (which was last week on 3/11 – the piece was delayed due to a technical issue). The column takes an in-depth look back at the original theatrical release and also features a great roundtable discussion with film historian Chris Barsanti, documentary filmmaker Gary Leva, and original Director of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm Craig Miller. I think you’ll really enjoy it. So you’ll find that here.

Next up, as some of you may have noticed over the weekend, we posted word on Saturday (see here) that video distributors had begun listing a 4-film Indiana Jones Collection for release on 4K Ultra HD on 6/8. This is still not to be considered official until Paramount and Lucasfilm make their actual announcement, however be aware that I’ve now confirmed it with multiple film industry sources in addition to retail and distribution sources. And it’s really not all that surprising given that 6/12 is marks the 40th anniversary of the original film’s theatrical release. We expect the set to include all four existing films in 4K with HDR10 high dynamic range and the previous DTS-HD Master Audio lossless sound mixes (but that’s still subject to change). [Editor’s Note: We’ve just confirmed that the set WILL include Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. Details to follow shortly.] The 5-disc set will also include a disc of bonus features that are TBA. Of course, we’ll post more information on this as it comes in.

The other big news today is that our friends at The Criterion Collection have just unveiled their June slate of titles. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

“What’s fun about seeing THX 1138 now, after 50 years, is to see how George Lucas took the rather dark themes and dynamic visual storytelling of his first film and found a way to infuse them into the Saturday matinee style films of the Star Wars series. THX is not his best film, but it’s fascinating to see the seeds of his future work within it.” – Gary Leva, director of Fog City Mavericks

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of THX 1138, George Lucas’s feature-length adaptation of his award-winning 1967 USC student film Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB.

Released two years before American Graffiti and six years before Star Wars, Lucas’s first motion picture starred Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, Tender Mercies) and Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice, Halloween) and was about a dystopian future where love and individuality are forbidden.

THX 1138 was executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) as part of a deal in which Warner Bros. would finance and distribute American Zoetrope productions. [Read on here...]

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