my two cents 1000

All right, we’ve got some odds and ends for you today…

First up, Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for the Blu-ray and DVD release of the recent Tom Cruise sci-fi film Oblivion (SRP $34.98 and $29.98).  There’s no street date yet, but you can expect it to be announced in the next few weeks.

Speaking of which, Sony’s Olympus Has Fallen is also up for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD at Amazon with a street date TBA (SRP $40.99 and $30.99).

What’s more, it appears that the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica feature film may finally arrive on Blu-ray Disc exclusively at Best Buy stores next Tuesday (5/14).  Best Buy does indeed have the title listed on their website with the cover artwork below.  SRP is just $14.99, so don’t expect any major restoration, but still – casino planet in HD baby!  No doubt it will go into wide release in a month or two.  [Editor’s Note: I’ve confirmed with Universal that this title is a Best Buy exclusive.]

In official announcement news today, Lionsgate has set the June Carter Cash biopic Ring of Fire for release on DVD only on 6/4.

New Yorker Films will release My Dog Tulip on Blu-ray Disc on 5/28.

And our friend Don May, Jr. has announced that Synapse’s forthcoming Blu-ray version of Street Trash is being delayed from its original 6/11 street date until 7/8 so that some additional remastering work can be properly completed.  No problem – we’d always rather have it done right and I’m sure fans will be understanding.

Meanwhile, we have official word on the new special features you can expect on CBS’ Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 4 Blu-ray, due on 7/30.  In addition to all the original DVD features (including both Best Buy bonus disc featurettes), look for deleted scenes, a gag reel, 2 new HD documentary featurettes (In Conversation: The Star Trek Art Department and Relativity: The Family Saga of Star Trek The Next Generation) and a pair of new episode audio commentaries (one with Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga and Mike & Denise Okuda, and a second with Rob Bowman and Mike & Denise Okuda – the specific episodes are TBA).

While we’re on the subject of Star Trek: The Next Generation, CBS’s Redemption “movie edit” Blu-ray which also streets on 7/30 will include promos for both parts, audio commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda and the exclusive Survive and Succeed: An Empire at War featurette.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for the Battlestar Galactica Best Buy exclusive (note that the cover link for this title goes to Best Buy rather than Amazon), as well as both of the Trek titles we just mentioned…

Battlestar Galactica: 35th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Four (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Redemption (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

 

All right, today’s post is a quickie, as there’s a lot of other work going on here at The Bits today… trying to catch up on some things.

BUT… we do have a new Blu-ray Disc review from Todd Doogan this afternoon!  He’s checked in with his thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s recent Django Unchained, and if you’re a Tarantino fan and/or you haven’t seen the film yet it’s definitely worth reading what Doogan has to say about it.

Also today, Sony has finally re-announced a title that was first slated for Blu-ray release a while back: Ishtar!  The film is now set to arrive on BD on 8/6 (maybe) with a 107-minute director’s cut.  It doesn’t appear that there’s much in the way of extras, but if you’ve been eager to have the film on disc in HD, you’ll (maybe) have your chance in a few more months.  (Though personally, I’ll believe it when I finally see the disc in my hand.)

Warner Home Video has set Political Animals: The Complete Series for DVD only release on 8/6.

And Anchor Bay has set the Syfy original movie Super Storm for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/13.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Ishtar, along with Warner’s new BD anniversary edition of The Fugitive (due 9/3) and Sony’s House of Cards (6/11)…

Ishtar (Blu-ray Disc)    The Fugitive: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    House of Cards (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

 

So to start with today, I’ve got a few (non-spoiler-y) words about J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek Into Darkness, which I had the chance to see last night.  Now… I should say up front that I knew pretty much all of the twists and reveals of the plot going in, and have for a while now.  That was my own choice, it’s just how I decided to roll this time.  And yet I still quite enjoyed this film.  Much has been made of the fact that there are “surprises” in the film, but I actually think its strength revolves instead around a set of very strong character performances by Chris Pine, Zach Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch and Bruce Greenwood.  They deliver in a very big way here and their interactions are really the beating heart of the film.  Their performances help carry this sequel through no small amount of mechanical obviousness in the plot and its twists – which will be especially apparent to longtime Trek fans.  If you go into this film looking for flaws, you’ll find them.  And if you go in having memorized your battered old copy of the Starfleet Technical Manual, you’ll probably have an aneurysm.  But like Star Trek (2009), this film is undeniably fun.  The set piece action sequences here are many, surprisingly creative and absolutely relentless.  This Trek is bigger, bolder and much more aggressively paced than the original.  And I actually quite enjoyed it.  More than I expected in fact.  If you let yourself just go with it, Star Trek Into Darkness is a helluva fun ride... and the 3D conversion is actually pretty nice too.  The best thing in my opinion is that, by the end of the film, this “new” Trek franchise is finally where it needs to be.  Much like the latest Bond film, Star Trek Into Darkness clears the decks for new (and hopefully completely original) adventures to come.  With film three, if the filmmakers play their cards right, this Trek universe can finally be about “boldly going” and “seeking out new life and new civilizations” again.  And that would really be something to see.  If I’m grading the film, I’d probably give it a good solid B or B+.  I’m certainly going to see it a few more times on the big screen, so I guess that probably speaks for itself.  By the way, since it’s likely that J.J. Abrams isn’t going to be able to direct the next film (given his involvement in the new Star Wars trilogy), I’d like to submit my suggestion for the ideal director to take his place: Nicholas Meyer anyone?

By the way, for another good and much more in-depth review of the film (though with perhaps a few minor spoilers), I recommend Drew McWeeny’s take on it over at HitFix.  I definitely agree with him – I think he pretty well nails it.

Now then… here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section 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 them after clicking through our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we surely do appreciate it!

On to today’s announcement news…

First up, Universal has just set The Host for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 7/9, preceded by a digital-only release on 6/25.  Extras will include deleted scenes, a Seeker PSA and the Bringing The Host to Life featurette.  This is the film based on the Stephanie Meyer book.

Meanwhile, Sony has announced the DVD only release of Damages: The Final Season on 7/16.  Extras will include deleted scenes and outtakes.

Fox will release Wedding Band: Season One on DVD on 6/11.

Inception Media Group has set The Unbroken for DVD release on 6/11.

Lionsgate has set The Definitive Guide to the Mob for DVD only release on 7/16, followed by Blaze You Out on DVD on 7/30.

BBC Home Entertainment has set The Royal Collection box set for DVD release on 5/21 (SRP $24.99), including The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy, Queen Victoria’s Children and How to Be a Prince, plus “a replica of a booklet for Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, featuring original photography from the ceremony.”

And our friends over at the Warner Archive have made some great new titles available starting this week on MOD/DVD-R, including the Al Brodax-produced Popeye: The 1960s Classics – Volume 1 (2-discs, 72 episodes), Penrod and Sam (1931), Tenth Avenue Angel (1947), The Secret Garden (1949), Duffy of San Quentin (1954) and Without a Trace: The Complete Sixth Season.

Finally today, we really must take a moment to acknowledge the passing of legendary stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died early this morning in London at the age of 92.  Inspired by Willis O’Brien’s work on the original King Kong, Harryhausen proceeded – over the course of his long and distinguished career – to take the art of stop-motion to the next level in such films as Mighty Joe Young, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, It Came from Beneath the Sea, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 20 Million Miles from Earth, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Mysterious Island, Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years B.C. and 1981’s Clash of the Titans.  His final animated work was The Story of the Tortoise and the Hare in 2003.  Or course, that list of titles by no means complete.  Harryhausen’s work inspired the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis, Nick Park, Dennis Muren, Tim Burton, Guillermo del Toro, Stan Winston and so many others.  For my part, I was fortunate enough to meet him in person on a number of occasions over the years at various appearances and other events.  In fact, I had the great honor of chatting with him for nearly 30 minutes during a lull in a DVD signing at the now closed DVD Planet store in Huntington Beach back in 2003.  Ray was simply one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet and he loved talking about animation, his own work and the works of others he admired.  You just got the sense from him that he loved what he did and was truly humbled and honored by how much it had impacted others.  As it happens, our own Dr. Jahnke interviewed him for The Bits back in 2005 and I highly recommend you give it a read.

Thank you, Ray.  We’ll dearly miss you.

Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013)

Back tomorrow with more.  Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

 

All right, we’re kicking things off today with a brand new post in The Rumor Mill (no kidding!) featuring some cool news for James Cameron and genre TV fans.  Don’t miss it!  [Editor’s Note – 5/7 – Note that there’s a small update to the post for clarification worth reading today.]

Also today, we’ve got a pair of new Blu-ray reviews from our own Joe Marchese including a look at Kino Lorber’s restored White Zombie and Warner’s Grand Hotel, both now available.  We’ve also upgraded another of Tim’s BD reviews from the original Bits website: 20th Century Fox’s Fight Club: 10th Anniversary Edition.  Enjoy!

And in announcement news this afternoon, we’ve got a couple good items to report for you…

First up, Warner Home Video has just set The Fugitive: 20th Anniversary Edition for Blu-ray release on 9/3 (SRP $19.98).  Extras will include the all-new featurette The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase (featuring director Andrew Davis, stars Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones and more), the vintage On the Run with the Fugitive and Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck featurettes, the pilot for the 2000 WB TV series The Fugitive, an introduction by Davis and Harrison Ford, audio commentary by Davis and Tommy Lee Jones, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Also, weren’t we just mentioning this?  Disney has officially set The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release on 8/27 (SRP $36.99 and $26.99).  Extras will include the all-new Disney Intermission feature (which lets kids pause the movie and play along in “a variety of engaging activities”), the all-new Pooh Play-Along mode (same drill), 5 new Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh shorts (including If I Wasn’t So Small, Piglet’s Drawings, The Expedition, Geniuses and The Honey Song), the original A Day for Eeyore animated short, the vintage The Story Behind the Masterpiece featurette and a Carly Simon music video.

Finally, Sony has set The Call for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 6/24.  Extras on the Blu-ray will include 3 featurettes (Emergency Procedure: Making the Film, A Set Tour of The Hive and The Lair and Inside the Stunts), audio commentary with director Brad Anderson and stars Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and Michael Eklund’s audition tape.

We’ll leave you with a look at the newly-unveiled Blu-ray Disc cover art for more great upcoming Shout!/Scream Factory catalog titles, including Swamp Thing, Dark Angel, Q: The Winged Serpent, X-ray/Schizoid and Scanners II: The New Order/Scanners III: The Takeover (street dates TBA).  We’ve also got BD Combo art for Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  Only Pooh is currently available for pre-order, but we’ll update the Amazon cover links as the Scream street dates are announced...

Swamp Thing (Blu-ray Disc)    Dark Angel (Blu-ray Disc)    Q: The Winged Serpent (Blu-ray Disc)

X-ray/Schizoid (Blu-ray Disc)    Scanners2/Scanners 3 (Blu-ray Disc)    The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!

- Bill Hunt

 

Okay… LOTS to cover today to close out the week.  First up though, I wanted to call attention to Bud Elder’s new View from the Cheap Seats column from yesterday in case you missed it.  It’s another fine read and includes a tribute to the late Jonathan Winters.  Don’t miss it!

Now then… let’s hit some announcement news…

As most of you know Iron Man 3 has just arrived in theaters.  I plan to see it tomorrow sometime.  I’ll admit… while I’ve mostly enjoyed the Marvel movies (especially The Avengers and the first Iron Man), I’m really not a huge superhero film fan.  But the fact that Iron Man 3 was directed and co-written by Shane Black (of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang fame) is more than enough reason to get me into the theater this weekend.  Here’s hoping it’ll be a fun film.  Speaking of which, Iron Man 3 is already available for pre-order on Amazon on Blu-ray/DVD Combo.  No street date is yet available, but you can bet it will be out in time for Thanksgiving.  Click on the link to get your orders in.

Warner has announced that their Blu-ray release of Shane is moving to a new street date: 8/13 (delayed from 6/4).  Before you get bent out of shape, you’ll be very please to know that this is being done in order that the film can be remastered in the proper 1.37 aspect ratio.  Good news indeed!

A number of Bits readers have informed me that Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for CBS’ Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Four on Blu-ray with a street date of 7/30 (SRP $129.99 but $114.99 on pre-order).  Also coming that day is a new “movie” edit of the episodes Redemption, Parts 1 & 2 (SRP $24.99 but just $19.99 on Amazon).  You can see the cover art for both below.

While we’re talking Star Trek, it’s worth reminding everyone that the new Trek classic movie Blu-rays just released by Paramount are the same discs that were released previously, just in new single-edition packaging.  So don’t expect new cuts of the films or new extras – there aren’t any.

Synapse Films has set Peter Sasdy’s Hands of the Ripper for release on Blu-ray/DVD combo on 7/9 (SRP $29.95) in a restored and uncut edition from the Hammer Films Collection.  Extras will include The Devil’s Bloody Plaything: Possessed by the Hands of the Ripper featurette, 2 “motion” image galleries, the U.S. TV introduction, the original trailer and TV spots and even an isolated music and effects audio track.

Nickelodeon has set the CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder for DVD only release on 7/9 (SRP $14.99).

Shout! Factory has set the 1989 Japanese TV series The Jungle Book: Adventures of Mowgli – Complete Collection for DVD only release on 6/18, including all 52 original episodes.

Hen’s Tooth Video has set Jeffery for DVD only release on 7/9 (SRP $19.95).

Freestyle will release Norman on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 5/7.

Best Buy has listed Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/27, though this has yet to be officially confirmed by Disney so take it with a grain of salt.

Speaking of Disney, retail sources tell us the studio is gearing up for a 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release of their animated Robin Hood.  No street date is yet available, but we’ll let you know when more details are in.

And Kino Lorber have set the following titles to their July release slate, including The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (DVD) and Taika Waititi’s Boy (BD/DVD) on 7/2 from the Kino Lorber label, Hanging for Django (BD/DVD) on 7/23 on the Raro Video USA label, Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath: Standard Edition Remastered (BD/DVD) and Alfredo Leone presents Mario Bava’s Kidnapped: Standard Edition Remastered (BD/DVD) on 7/16 plus Foolish Wives (BD) on 7/30 from the Kino Classics label, and finally Combat Girls (DVD) on 7/9 and Vanishing Waves (DVD) on 7/23 from the Artsploitation label.  You’ll find some of the cover artwork below.

In other news from around the Net today, it seems as if Disney heard your complaints (and probably read my rant from the other day) about the Oz: The Great and Powerful Blu-ray 3D release including no 2D Blu-ray version.  Home Media reports that the studio is offering those who purchase the 3D version a 2D Blu-ray copy for $5.99 (plus shipping and handling) via a special mail-in offer in the package.  For those of you at Disney reading this, we’re still hearing TONS of complaints about this via e-mail from readers, so heads-up.  Here’s the studio’s official statement:

“We strive to give our consumers the best in-home experience and consistently evolve our mix of product offerings.  We know that our 3D consumers enjoy that experience as well as the ease of use and functionality of digital copy.  With Oz the Great and Powerful we’re offering a single, simplified version for their in-home and on-the-go viewing needs.  And, for those desiring a 2D Blu-ray version of the film, there’s an offer included in the package.”

I’m fairly sure that isn’t going to appease Blu-ray 3D fans much, but the studio must be hearing your complaints at least so that’s something.

And speaking of Home Media, they’ve just announced the winners of their recent 2013 Home Media Awards voting so do check it out.

Finally today, I’d like to take a moment to send out a big cheery Digital Bits hello to our very dear friends Bob and Kathy Burns, just because.  I know you’re reading this Bob, so hugs, cheers and best wishes to you both from all of us here at The Bits!

Bob & Kathy Burns with Todd Doogan, Adam Jahnke & Bill Hunt of The Bits

We’ll leave you with a look at art for those two Trek BDs, as well as Kino’s Kidnapped, Black Sabbath, Boy and Hanging for Django.   Just click the cover art to pre-order on Amazon, as always…

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Four (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Redemption (Blu-ray Disc)    Boy (Blu-ray Disc)

Black Sabbath (Blu-ray Disc)    Kidnapped (Blu-ray Disc)    Hanging for Django (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!

- Bill Hunt

 

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