my two cents 1000

A couple things quickly this morning…

Our own Joe Marchese has just turned in a Blu-ray review of Warner’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.  This is the original 1946 film with Lana Turner and John Garfield.  Enjoy!

In announcement news today, Criterion has revealed their June Blu-ray and DVD release slate, set to include Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries (Cat #139 – Blu-ray and upgraded DVD – due 6/11), Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor’s Safety Last! (Cat #662 – Blu-ray and DVD – 6/18), František Vlácil’s Marketa Lazarová (Cat #661 – Blu-ray and DVD – 6/18), William Cameron Menzies’ Things to Come (Cat #660 – Blu-ray and DVD – 6/18) and Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (Cat #663 – Blu-ray and DVD – 6/25).

Warner and the BBC have set Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part Two for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/28.

Microcinema International has set The Queen of the People, El Cerrito, The Cardboard Bernini and The Great Commanders for DVD only release on 4/23.

Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Garbage: One Mile High... Live for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/28.

And in other news, here’s something cool via TIME magazine:  According to film restoration expert Michael Daruty (who was involved in the recent work on Schindler’s List), Universal  is planning to restore and release between 3 and 5 classic catalog films a year on Blu-ray.  The best news?  They’re currently working on A Touch of Evil, High Plains Drifter and Double Indemnity!

Also, we’ve learned a bit of discouraging news about Space: 1999 – Season Two.  Our sources at Network in the U.K. (which does the actual restoration and remastering work on the series) tell us that Season Two Blu-ray is now a mid-2014 title on their project slate.  So it seems likely that the Amazon listing is an error or other miscommunication between Amazon and Lionsgate.  We’re still waiting to hear back from Lionsgate, but that’s the way it’s looking right now.  Lionsgate can’t release it if Network hasn’t finished the work yet.  Again, more as it comes in.

And finally a bit of good news:  Our own Tim Salmons has learned via Don May, Jr. that director William Friedkin is currently working on a Blu-ray transfer Sorcerer from the original negative!  How cool is that? We’ll post more as it comes in.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Fox’s Broken City (due 4/30), Miramax/Echo Bridge’s Beautiful Girls (due 3/26) and the final release artwork for The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook (due 4/30)…

Broken City (Blu-ray Disc)    Beautiful Girls (Blu-ray Disc)    Silver Linings Playbook (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’ve just kicked off a brand new column here at The Bits today!  Our own Mario Boucher has turned in a number of Hollywood film “behind the scenes” feature  for us in recent months, and now they’re all collected together under his new Inside Cinema column here at the site.  His first official piece under the new label is Steven Spielberg & the Schindler’s List: 20th Anniversary Edition, so I hope you all enjoy it.

Also here at The Bits today, Tim has turned in a review of Fritz Lang’s Ministry of Fear, now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion.  We’ve also upgraded more than 50 Blu-ray and DVD reviews from the original Bits website into the new review database and we’re going to be gradually adding more each week until all 4600+ are in there.

And as usual, 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.  A portion of anything you purchase from Amazon after you click through to them through any of our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we surely do appreciate it.

Now then… in announcement news today, Warner Home Video has set Beautiful Creatures for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 5/21 (SRP $35.99 and $22.97).  Extras will include 6 featurettes (including Book to Screen, The Casters, Between Two Worlds, Forbidden Romance, Alternate Worlds, Beautiful Creatures: Designing the Costumes and Icons by Margaret Stohl), as well as deleted scenes and trailers.

The Warner Archive has announced another new limited pressing Blu-ray release – Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan.  Look for it to start shipping on 4/9 (SRP $19.95).

Universal has set Side Effects for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 5/21.  Extras on both versions will include the Aliza Website Experience, the Behind-the-Scenes of Side Effects featurette and fictional commercials for Ablixa and Intenin as seen in the film.

20th Century Fox will release Broken City on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 4/30.  Extras will include 5 deleted and extended scenes, an alternate ending, the Putting It All Together documentary and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Here’s a nice surprise – 20th Century Fox has also set Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo for Blu-ray release on 5/7.  Our old friend Charles de Lauzirika was the special edition producer for the title when it was first released on DVD back in 2002, and he tells us that the disc will at long last include in-depth and unseen production features he originally produced for the film (that weren’t used on the DVD).

Paramount and Spelling Entertainment have set Stephen King’s Golden Years, The Langoliers and The Stand for DVD only re-release on 6/18

Shelter Island (a new indie label) has set the arctic exploration documentary Into the Cold for DVD (and digital) release on 4/9.

Virgil Films will release the documentary A Whisper to a Road on DVD on 4/16.

Well Go USA Entertainment has set The Assassin’s Blade for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/7.  The film was directed by Jingle Ma, whose previous work includes Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

And Lionsgate has set the documentary Citizen Hearst for DVD only release on 5/7, followed by History Classics: After People, Betty & Coretta and Ninja Masters on DVD only on 6/11.

Also, you Space: 1999 fans will be interested to learn that Lionsgate has just listed Season Two for Blu-ray release on 5/7 on Amazon.  We do believe this is the real deal.  A&E’s distribution recently switched from New Video to Lionsgate here in the States, so it’s quite possible that Lionsgate made the title a priority.   We’ve got inquiries into all the right people at Lionsgate, A&E and Network in the U.K., so as soon as we have more official details we’ll let you know.  But last we’d heard it was planned for sometime “late in 2013” so a May release is certainly plausible.  More as it comes in.

And a quick Roger Rabbit Blu-ray update – the reason for the last of copies of the disc on many store shelves is that the studio mistakenly included the full frame version of the DVD in the packaging instead of the anamorphic widescreen version.  That’s now being corrected by the studio and the new versions should start appearing in stores soon.  In the meantime, if you get a copy with the full frame DVD you can contact Disney Customer Service to arrange in exchange.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Warner’s Beautiful Creatures, Fox’s One Hour Photo and the final art for Fox and MGM’s The Great Escape (due 5/7)…

Beautiful Creatures (Blu-ray Disc)    One Hour Photo (Blu-ray Disc)    The Great Escape (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, here’s hoping you all had a fine weekend… and that those of you who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day aren’t feeling too under the weather today.  Nothing else for it but to fire up the old coffee pot, I say.

We’re starting off the new week in high style this morning with an in-depth review of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray!  The film streets tomorrow from Warner Home Video on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD, but of course you certainly already know that if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan.  You’ve probably got your own copy already on the way.  Well let me tell you, you’re in for a treat.  Whatever you think of the film itself, the disc looks and sounds absolutely fantastic.  But more on all that in my review – enjoy!

Meanwhile, there’s not much in the way of news or announcements to report yet this morning (at least as of 12:01 AM Pacific time), so I’ll let you all dive into the Hobbit review for now and if anything important or interesting breaks later today I’ll drop back in here to cover it.  But we do have hot new BD cover art for you to check out this morning for all of Warner’s forthcoming gangster film titles (due on 5/21).  You can pre-order them all now from Amazon by clicking on the cover images...

White Heat (Blu-ray Disc)    Little Caesar (Blu-ray Disc)    The Petrified Forest (Blu-ray Disc)

The Public Enemy (Blu-ray Disc)    Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics (Blu-ray Disc)    Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Contemporary (Blu-ray Disc)

Watch for a review of CBS’ new Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One on Blu-ray in the next couple of days (it streets next week, on 3/26).  Plus we’ll have all the usual release news and other business too.

So for now, top of the morning to you all… and stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’re closing out the week today with another new Blu-ray Disc review.  I’ve checked in with my own thoughts on Sony’s Zero Dark Thirty, which offers excellent A/V quality and a darned good film as well, in my humble opinion.  The disc streets on Tuesday (3/19).  I’ll be back on Monday with a review of Warner’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, so be sure to watch for it.

In announcement news today, Shout!’s Scream Factory label has announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of The Burning and The Town That Dreaded Sundown on 5/21.  The Burning (SRP $29.93) will include audio commentary with director Tony Maylam and journalist Alan Jones, a second commentary with stars Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski, 4 featurettes (Blood ‘n’ Fire Memories, Slash & Cut, Cropsy Speaks and Summer Camp Nightmare), additional behind-the-scenes footage, galleries of Make-Up Effects and Posters & Stills images, and the film’s trailer.  And The Town That Dreaded Sundown (SRP $26.99) will include audio commentary with Justin Beahm and Historian Jim Presley, 3 featurettes (Small Town Lawman, Survivor Stories and Eye of the Beholder), and essay by Brian Albright, a Poster & Still gallery and the trailer.  You’ll also get director Charles B. Pierce’s The Evictors in the package on DVD only.

In other news, Shout! Factory Kids has set the animated Monsuno: Power for DVD only release on 5/21.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Great Magician on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19.

Magnolia Home Entertainment has set The Sorcerer and the White Snake for BD and DVD release on 4/9.  Magnolia has also set Don Coscarelli’s John Dies at the End for release on both formats on 4/2.

Well Go USA Entertainment will release the martial arts epic fantasy The Four on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/9.

BrinkVision has set the “European road comedy” Robert Mitchum is Dead for DVD release on 5/21.

Finally, Image and RLJ Entertainment are releasing Ghost Hunters: Season 8, Part 2 on DVD on 6/11 (SRP $24.98).  They also have Barrymore coming on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/7.  The film stars Christopher Plummer.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray art for CBS’s Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Two (TBA), Fox’s Panic in the Streets (3/26) and Kino’s The Grapes of Death (4/23)…

Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)    Panic in the Streets (Blu-ray Disc)    Grapes of Death (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!

- Bill Hunt

Our Blu-ray review of the day is none other than Jean Rollin’s School Hitchhikers from Kino Lorber!  Tim has posted his thoughts for you all to check out here.  Meanwhile, know that I’m at work on Blu-ray reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One for the next few days, so be sure to check back.

Meanwhile, in announcement news today, Warner Home Video has officially set a pair of gangster box sets (which we’ve known about since last year) for Blu-ray release on 5/21.  The Ultimate Gangster Collection – Classic will include The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, The Petrified Forest and White Heat, plus the Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Drama documentary, while The Ultimate Gangster Collection – Contemporary will include Mean Streets, The Untouchables, GoodFellas, Heat and The Departed (SRP $49.99 each).  All of the Classic collection titles (which are new to Blu-ray) will also be available individually for $19.98 each.

Anchor Bay has set Syfy’s 2012 remake of The Philadelphia Experiment for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/11 (SRP $24.99 and $19.98).  It stars Nicholas Lea, Michael Paré (yes, of the original film), Gena Holden and Malcolm McDowell.

Wolfe Video will release Face 2 Face on DVD on 5/14.

Lionsgate will release The History Channel’s Ultimate Guide to Presidents on DVD only on 5/28, followed by Mountain Men: Season 1 on DVD only on 6/4.

First Run Features has set the documentaries Gottfried Helnwein and the Dreaming Child and Fatherland for DVD only release on 3/19, followed by Errol Garner: No One Can Hear You Read and The Last Flight of Petr Ginz on 4/9 and Orchestra of Exiles on 4/14.

And finally for those who might be interested, MHz Networks has just released the Danish political drama series Borgen: Season 1 on DVD – street date was yesterday, 3/12 (SRP $49.95).

Also, there appears to be a small delay on shipments of some copies of the Blu-ray release of Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: 25th Anniversary Edition.  Amazon currently lists a shipping time of “9 to 12 days” and claims it’s “due to a manufacturing issue”.  In any case, just know that there may be slight delays in finding copies depending on the retailer you purchased the title from.

Here’s a sneak peek at the open Blu-ray cover packaging for Warner’s two Gangster Collections

The Ultimate Gangster Collection - Classic

The Utimate Gangster Collection - Contemporary

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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