My Two Cents
Sadly, the news today is dominated by the announcement that Turner Classic Movies and Criterion’s FilmStruck streaming service for well-curated classic, arthouse, indie, hard-to-find, and cult movies will be shutting down on 11/29 and has already stopped accepting new subscribers. You can read more here and here.
This is apparently driven the desire by AT&T, which recently purchased Time Warner, to streamline its business by cutting niche services. Though FilmStuck was wildly popular with cinephiles, the audience was small compared to the kind of mass market profit-making a modern media conglom-o-monster prefers. Said Turner and WB Digital Media in a statement today:
“We’re incredibly proud of the creativity and innovations produced by the talented and dedicated teams who worked on FilmStruck over the past two years. While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios.” [Read on here...]
All right, sorry we’ve been a little low-key here at The Bits this week. We’ve been spending our time in one of two ways:
First, we’re recovering from our recent server and Russian bot issues and doing some upgrading and adjusting to make sure everything is working smoothly going forward.
Second, we’re reviewing Blu-ray and 4K titles like mad!
Today, we’ve posted my looks at Universal’s Invisible Man, The: Complete Legacy Collection and Creature from the Black Lagoon: Complete Legacy Collection. Tim has also delivered his thoughts on Maximum Overdrive from Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series. David has offered his thoughts on the Japanese cult classic Battle in Outer Space from Sony. And Dennis has turned in his review of the new City Slickers: Collector’s Edition from Shout! Factory’s Shout Select line-up. Enjoy! [Read on here...]
The big news today isn’t quite official yet, but we expected the press release at any time: Universal will release Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List: 25th Anniversary Edition on 4K Ultra HD on 12/18, as we’ve been saying for a while now. In addition to a new 4K scan, the audio will be English Dolby Atmos, with HDR10 high dynamic range. The previous Blu-ray edition will also be included with DTS-HD MA audio.
There’s a new retrospective featurette: Schindler’s List: 25 Years Later, featuring video of a panel and Q&A with Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Embeth Davidtz, and Caroline Goodall recorded at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. You also get the previous extras and a Movies Anywhere Digital copy. And here’s the deal: The title is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com at this link. You can see the official cover artwork to the left and also below.
Also newly available for pre-order on Blu-ray and 4K are Night School (with a street date of 1/1/19), Halloween (2018), First Man, and The House with the Clock in its Walls. We’ve updated The 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits accordingly. [Read on here...]
All right, we’ve got a little bit of ground to cover today. We’ve been updating our servers and whatnot, on top of which some Russian/Ukrainian bot army decided to launch a DDOS attack on The Bits for random unknown reasons. It should be noted that this kind of thing happens to most websites on the Internet pretty regularly. But it’s a wonder that the Internet works at all these days, with all the trolls, scams, and state-sponsored chicanery going on.
Anyway... first up here at The Bits today, we have four new Blu-ray reviews for you to check out, including Tim’s look at The Man in the Iron Mask from Shout! Factory, Dennis’ take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers from Olive Films, David’s thoughts on The House of Tomorrow also from Shout!, and Jason’s look at Cabin Boy from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Enjoy!
The big news is that Criterion has announced their January Blu-ray slate, which includes Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames (Spine #956 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/8, an update of Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (Spine #137 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/15, Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (Spine #957 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Spine #958 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/22, and finally Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night (Spine #959 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/29. [Read on here...]
We’re kicking off the new week with some fresh title announcements...
First, Lionsgate has just officially set Evil Dead 2 for release on 4K Ultra HD on 12/11. The release will include Blu-ray and Digital copies in addition to 4K UHD. Audio will be the previous English 5.1 DTS-HD, but HDR will be available in Dolby Vision format on the 4K. In addition to the previous audio commentary, the 4K disc itself will include a new tribute featurette called Bloody and Groovy, Baby! All of the previous Blu-ray extras will carry over on the included BD disc. Best of all, SRP is just $22.99. You can see the cover artwork at left and also below.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set The Equalizer 2 for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 12/11, with the Digital release due on 11/13. The disc will include a Retribution Mode with Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua. 11 deleted and extended scenes, a pop-up trivia track, and 4 featurettes. [Read on here...]