my two cents 1000

Well… it’s been a bit of a dispiriting day given the tragic events in Boston this afternoon.  Our thoughts go out to everyone affected there.  Still we’ve got some good stuff for you here today…

First, our own Bud Elder has turned in a new View from the Cheap Seats column with a couple more good Hollywood behind-the-scenes stories, as well as a look at a few new titles in theaters and coming to disc from Warner Archive and Olive Films.  Don’t miss it!

Also, we’ve got three Blu-ray reviews for you to enjoy this afternoon:  Tim has turned in a look at Warner’s Mrs. Miniver which is now available in stores.  Jeff Kleist has also looked at a new Warner distributed BD title – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray 3D from New Line.  And we’ve ported over another BD review from the original Bits website to the database – Tim’s look at Paramount’s Paranormal Activity.  Enjoy!

In announcement news today, Shout! Factory has announced the DVD release of the classic TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis on 7/2.  The Complete Series box set will include all 147 episode on 20 DVDs, plus extras (original rare pilot footage, bonus episodes from Love That Bob! and The Stu Erwin Show and more).  SRP is $139.99.

Shout! has also set The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes for release on DVD.  The box will contain 3 discs full of rare and previously-unseen footage and extras.

Autonomy Pictures has set Blood for Irina for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 5/14.

Finally, we’ve learned that when Anchor Bay delivers AMC’s The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season to Blu-ray and DVD in a few months, there will be another special Limited Edition set with exclusive packaging.  This time, it’s a replica of the Governor’s zombie head aquarium.  Just add water.  Here’s what it looks like…

The Walking Dead: Season 3 Limited Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

We’ve got just a few more new announcements for you today, and a bit of sad news…

First, Universal is releasing a series of Blu-ray double features discs on 6/4, including Battlestar Galactica: Razor/Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, A Beautiful Mind/Cinderella Man, Dante’s Peak/Daylight, Doom/Street Fighter, Green Zone/The Kingdom, Land of the Lost/MacGruber, Leap Year/Love Happens, Miami Vice/Inside Man, Nanny McPhee/Peter Pan, Scent of a Women/Sea of Love, Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz and Uncle Buck/Fletch.

Universal has also set Frankie Go Boom for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/14.

PBS has set NOVA: Mind of a Rampage Killer for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/28.

Cinedigm has set The English Teacher for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/27.  The film stars Julianne Moore, Nathan Lane and Greg Kinnear.

Video Music Inc has set IFC’s Portlandia: Season 3 for release on Blu-ray on 7/9.

Starz and Anchor Bay have set The Amazing Adventures of The Living Corpse for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/18.  They also have Pusher and The Rambler set for Blu-ray on 6/25.

Image Entertainment has Tomorrow You’re Gone due on BD on 5/14, followed by The Numbers Station on 5/28, and Graceland and Pieta on 7/23.

Fox has set In Old Arizona for Blu-ray release on 6/4, followed by Phantom on 6/11.

Also, Olive Films has announced more deep classic catalog and indie films for release on Blu-ray, including Magic Christian, My Brothers, Father Goose, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, In Old California, The Grass is Greener, Reuben Reuben, Shanks, The File on Thelma Jordan, Lady from Louisiana, Blowing Wild and Dark Command on 5/28.  They also have The Enforcer, Cloak and Dagger, Night of the Scarecrow, The Unbelievable Truth, Hoodlum Empire, Parked, The Lonely Trail, Pals of the Saddle, The Miracle of the Bells, The Men and Three Faces West on 4/30.

And here’s something interesting: Paramount in the U.K. has announced the 6/3 Blu-ray release of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  Also coming that day to BD in the U.K. from Universal is Rooster Cogburn, The War Wagon, Joe Kidd and Two Mules for Sister Sara.  Thanks to Bits reader Gary M. for the heads-up!  Sure wish the studios would these in the States as well, but there’s some indication that they may at least be all-region.

Finally today, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of veteran actor and funny man Jonathan Winters, one of the all-time great legends of improv comedy.  Winters had been expected to attend the TCM Classic Film Festival Screening of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World in a couple weeks in Hollywood.  He’ll surely be missed.  More here.  Winters was 87.  Take a look at this bit of improv with Winters and Art Carney on YouTube.  Genius…

We’ll leave you today with a look at cover artwork for Starz/Anchor Bay’s The Star Chamber and My Super Ex-Girlfriend (both due 5/28, for Fox) and Severin’s House on Straw Hill (due 6/11)…

Star Chamber (Blu-ray Disc)    My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Blu-ray Disc)    House on Straw Hill (Blu-ray Disc)

Back Monday with a new column from Bud Elder and more.  Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

All right, quick post today with a bit of release news…

The big news today is that Shout! Factory and their Scream Factory label have revealed the cover artwork for their upcoming Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of John Carpenter’s The Fog (due on 7/30).  You can see what it looks like at left.  Speaking of Shout! Factory, the company has also set George Romero’s Knightriders and William Sachs’ The Incredible Melting Man for Blu-ray release on 7/30.  In addition, they have Cohen & Tate due on BD on 7/9.  You can see more of the artwork below.  All are available for pre-order on Amazon by clicking on the art.

Meanwhile, Troma has announced the release of Father’s Day in three versions – DVD only, Blu-ray DVD Combo and Blu-ray only.  All are now available via the Troma Shop.

Entertainment One has set the CG-animated Car’s Life 3 for DVD only release on 4/23.  It’s notable for featuring the voice of Corinne Orr of Speed Racer fame.

Entertainment One has also set that Lindsay Lohan/Elizabeth Taylor Lifetime movie, Liz & Dick, for DVD only release on 5/14.

Doppelganger Releasing has set Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/6.

And Flicker Alley has pushed the release date for their 5-disc French Masterworks: Russian Émigrés in Paris 1923-1928 on DVD to 5/14.

Also, we’ve confirmed with Well Go USA Entertainment that their Blu-ray release of Sadako 3D, due on 6/4, will include both Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on the same disc.

And Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for the Blu-ray and DVD release of HBO’s Game of Thrones: Season Three.  No street date is yet available, but the SRP is set for $79.98 and $59.99 respectively.

Here’s that Shout! Factory artwork…

The Fog (Blu-ray Disc)    Knightriders (Blu-ray Disc)    Incredible Melting Man (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Judging by the overwhelming response to yesterday’s home video industry rant, it seems as if a LOT of you guys out there are also feeling as we are – specifically, that Hollywood’s gotten out of touch with regard to their home video and Blu-ray release decisions.  It remains to be seen if they industry is listening, but rest assured it’s a topic we’ll be continuing to discuss in the days and weeks ahead.  Many years ago, back even before what became the “Golden Age of DVD,” I said something here on The Bits that remains as true today as it ever was:  Home video is one of the few industries on the planet where consumers actually have to BEG for the product they want to buy… and all too often they still don’t get it.  More and more, this industry just doesn’t seem to understand its product and its own consumers.  It’s little wonder that sales are declining and jobs are being shed.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Anyway, here at The Bits today, our own Joe Marchese has turned in a review of Paramount’s new Cirque due Soleil: Worlds Away on Blu-ray.  We’ve also added three more retro BD reviews from the original Bits site for you to check out:  Tim Salmon’s take on Warner’s The Searchers, Summit’s The Hurt Locker and Criterion’s Repulsion.

In announcement news today, Shout! Factory has revealed new Blu-ray/DVD Combos of Kentucky Fried Movie and Mel Brooks’ The Producers!  Kentucky Fried Movie arrives on 7/2 – details to follow.  The Producers: Collector’s Edition will arrive on 7/2 as well, featuring the documentary The Making of The Producers, the 2012 video interview Mel and His Movies: The Producers, the film’s theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.

Shout! Factory has also set Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVII for DVD release on 7/23, set to include The Slime People, Rocket Attack USA, Village of the Giants and The Deadly Mantis.

Meanwhile, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Dimension Films have set the alien abduction thriller Dark Skies for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 5/28.  Extras will include feature commentary with writer/director Scott Stewart, producer Jason Blum, executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and editor Peter Gvozdas, plus alternate and deleted scenes.

Fox has set Safe Haven for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/7.  Extras will include deleted and extended scenes, an alternate ending and 3 featurettes (Igniting the Romance in Safe Haven, Set Tour and Josh Duhamel’s Lessons in Crabbing).

Image Entertainment has set Home Sweet Home for DVD only release on 6/4.

FilmWorks Entertainment has set Love, Concord for DVD only release on 6/18.

Icarus Films has announced that they’ve acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s landmark 1963 film Le Joli Mai.  It will be released on 2-disc DVD sometime in November, with an official announcement TBD.

Virgil Films has set Shelter Me for DVD release on 4/30.

Well Go USA Entertainment has set Sadako 3D for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/4.

Monarch Home Entertainment has set the horror/thriller It’s in the Blood for DVD release on 4/23.

And Universal will release Frankie Go Boom on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/13.

And in other news from around the Net, are any of you guys silent film fans?  Do you live in the L.A. area?  Well, our friend Roger Miller e-mailed us yesterday to let us know that The Alloy Orchestra is going to be performing their scores for Buster Keaton’s The General (live on 4/28 at the TCM Classic Film Festival) and both Phantom of the Opera (the Lon Chaney classic) and From Morning to Midnight (live on 4/29 at The Silent Movie Theatre).  For more information on these performances, be sure to check out their website.  I highly recommend going if you’re even remotely interested.  The movies are obviously well worth seeing and The Alloy Orchestra puts on a heck of a great show.  Dr. Jahnke and I had the pleasure of seeing them do the score to the restored Metropolis live at the TCM Festival a few years ago and it remains one of the great movie-going experiences either of us have ever had.

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Shout!’s Kentucky Fried Movie, as well as Anchor Bay/Dimension’s Dark Skies and Fox’s Safe Haven

Kentucky Fried Movie (Blu-ray Disc)    Dark Skies (Blu-ray Disc)    Safe Haven (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Happy Tuesday, Bits-ers.  We’ve got some news and whatnot for you today, but first…

Our own Russell Hammond has updated 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 Amazon in the same session (after clicking through to them from our links) goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it!

Now then, Tim has just checked in with a review of Shout! Factory’s new Woochi: The Demon Slayer on Blu-ray.  The disc arrives in stores today and it sounds like it’s pretty fun.  We’ve also updated our review database today with another pair of BD reviews from the original Bits website:  Tim’s take on Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (from Warner Home Video) and District 9 (from Sony).  Enjoy!

Speaking of Sony, in announcement news today the studio has revealed their first batch of “4K-Mastered” Blu-ray releases due on 5/14.  Keep in mind, these are NOT actual 4K Blu-rays.  They’re essentially the BD equivalent of Sony’s Superbit DVDs from a few years back – simply mastered from 4K source material with high video data rates, but still just 1080p.  My personal response to these is similar to my reaction to the Superbit DVDs back in the day:  If you can master Blu-rays in better quality, why haven’t you been doing it all along?  Anyway, the specific titles to look for on 5/14 are Ghostbusters, Glory, Taxi Driver, Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, Angels & Demons, The Karate Kid (2010), The Other Guys, Battle: Los Angeles and Total Recall (2012).  At least the SRP is just $19.99 (which makes them just $14.99 on Amazon).  See the cover artwork below.

Meanwhile, Universal has set a number of their catalog BD titles for re-release in “comic book-style” Steelbook packaging on 6/25, including The Big Lebowski, The Chronicles of Riddick, Death Race, Doom, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Hot Fuzz, The Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, The Mummy (1999), Paul, Pitch Black, Scarface, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Serenity, Shaun of the Dead and Van Helsing.

We should add that Universal has also set An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky for release on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 7/2.

Finally, here’s something that’s going to bug some of you guys:  Retail sources are telling us that Disney is getting ready to announce Oz: The Great and Powerful in four SKUs – a single-disc Blu-ray 3D, a single disc Blu-ray, a 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo and a single-disc DVD, all with Digital Copy.  Yes, you read that right.  They’re NOT announcing a combo with BOTH Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D in the same package.  Yet they’re STILL charging $44.99 for the Blu-ray 3D.  So same price, less value.  DUMB, DUMB, DUMB… and sure to piss off a lot of fans who might be interested in 3D but also want the 2D copy.

I’m sensing a growing trend happening in the home video industry… and it’s not a good one.  More and more, it seems like the people who make these release decisions at the major Hollywood studios – about which titles and features to release on Blu-ray – are people straight out of business or marketing school who are concerned only with the bottom line and have zero connection to the product, no love of film, no experience with home video/home theater enthusiasts and what they want (and are eager to buy if only the studios would listen to them)… and absolutely no interest in taking the time to find out.  By releasing fewer and fewer catalog titles on Blu-ray, by actively turning down ideas for special edition releases and content (a complaint I’ve heard repeatedly in recent months from special edition producers), and by pushing the industry more and more towards downloads… these people are actively (and unwittingly) bringing about the demise of home video as we know it.  They’re abandoning collectors and film enthusiasts, shrinking the home video market, and essentially putting themselves out of a job.  All at a time when the folks at Warner Archive and some of the smaller indie studios (think Shout! Factory, Criterion, Olive Films, Twilight Time, etc) know that the way to move physical product – that’s discs to you and me – is to cater to enthusiasts by finding the right titles, making them special in a cost effective way and aggressively targeting the collector and enthusiast audience online.  Listen up Hollywood:  There’s still a huge audience of people out there who WANT to buy films on Blu-ray!  They have money ready to spend, but you have to LISTEN TO THEM!  You have to give them the product they want, with real value, at a price that isn’t insulting.

Ugh.  I have a feeling this column is going to resume an old tradition of regular industry rants in the near future…

Anyway, we’ll leave you today with a look at the cover art for three of Sony’s “4K-Mastered” BDs…

Ghostbusters (Mastered in 4K BD)    Glory (Mastered in 4K BD)    Taxi Driver (Mastered in 4K BD)

Stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt

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