my two cents 1000

All right, hope you guys all had a great weekend. Strange Super Bowl yesterday.  Hype aside it was surely one of the weirdest NFL games I’ve seen in a long time.  But hey – the new Star Trek Into Darkness teaser spot sure looked good.  Here’s hoping the film delivers the goods.

Anyway, we’ve got some interesting stuff for you today…

First, it looks like we’re finally going to get a look at Sony’s big plan to deliver 4K content to their 4K displays later this month… and it’s looking very much like that plan involves the PlayStation 4.  Numerous sources are now saying that Sony is expected to officially unveil the PS4 at a mysterious “PlayStation Meeting” press event on 2/20.  Sources are reporting that the code name for the system is “Orbis” and that Ultra HD streaming content and videogames will be a significant part of Sony’s plan for the device.  More here and here at arstechnica.com, and here’s Sony’s official tease video for the event.

By the way, it’s entirely possible that Microsoft’s next generation Xbox will delve into the 4K realm as well.

Also today, Warner Home Video and Warner Archive have just BETA-launched their own online movies-on-demand streaming service called Warner Archive Instant.  It will allow you to watch movies on your computer and also in high-definition if you have a Roku set-top box.  Word is Warner Archive is working to solidify deals with BD player, TV, smartphone and tablet manufacturers to allow Archive Instant access on those devices as well.  Pretty cool – we think this is actually great idea.  There are lots of really deep, deep catalog titles that would probably sell poorly (if at all) on disc, but that we’d still love to be able to watch in good quality somehow.  Access to the BETA is restricted at the moment, but we’ll post more details on all this soon.

In announcement news today, Paramount and CBS have officially set Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three and Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds for Blu-ray release here in the U.S. on 4/30.  That same day, Paramount will also re-release Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis on Blu-ray as singles (Star Trek II and IV aren’t yet listed on the site).  Here’s the kicker though – Paramount’s press site claims that Star Trek: The Motion Picture will be the “newly restored Director’s Cut.”  Frankly, this seem way too good to be true so we’d suggest you not get too excited.  Rest assured, we’re trying to confirm this one way or another.  We’ve asked if any of the other films will feature newly-remastered transfers as well.

Meanwhile, Paramount and CBS have also set James A. Michener’s Texas, Flashpoint: The Fifth Season, Gunsmoke: The Eighth Season, Volume One, Gunsmoke: The Eighth Season, Volume Two, Have Gun - Will Travel: The Sixth and Final Season, Volume One and Have Gun - Will Travel: The Sixth and Final Season, Volume Two for DVD only release on 5/7.

Lionsgate has set The Impossible for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/23 (SRP $39.99 and $29.95).  The film stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor.  Extras will include audio commentary with director J.A. Bayona, writer Sergio G. Sánchez, producer Belén Atienza and María Belón, 2 featurettes (Casting The Impossible and Realizing The Impossible) and deleted scenes.

Sony has set the animated Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/16 (SRP $30.99 and $26.99).

And Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Zero Dark Thirty is now available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon.com – no official street date yet.

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

All right, to close the week out right I’ve got another new Blu-ray Disc review for you today, featuring my own thoughts on the unrated movie version of Universal’s long-awaited new Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.  As many of you know, I’m a huge Battlestar fan – I’ve watched the Ron Moore series three times start to finish on Blu-ray.  So was Blood & Chrome worth the wait?  Well, mostly.  Click here for all the details.  For the record, the Blu-ray and DVD street on 2/19.

In release news today, Disney and Yahoo have just officially unveiled the trailer for the late-2013 Blu-ray Disc release of The Little Mermaid.  The street date is expected to be 10/1.  You can see early BD cover artwork for the release below.

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has announced a pair of new Scream Factory Blu-ray/DVD Combo titles for release on 5/21, including The Burning and The Town That Dreaded SundownThe Burning (SRP $29.93) will include audio commentary with director Tony Maylam and moderated by Alan Jones, as well as the Blood ‘n’ Fire Memories featurette.  The Town That Dreaded Sundown (SRP $26.99) will include the special bonus movie The Evictors and more TBA.

According to Amazon.co.uk, the long-awaited war classic The Great Escape is finally due to be released by MGM and Fox on Blu-ray on 6/3 in the U.K.   Expect a similar release date here in the States.  We’ll post official details as they come in.

Also, look for Fox to release the new miniseries The Bible on Blu-ray and DVD sometime in March.  It debuts on The History Channel on 3/3.

And Image Entertainment has set The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Second Season for Blu-ray release on 5/7.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’ve got another great new Blu-ray Disc review for you this afternoon from our own Joe Marchese.  Joe’s given Warner’s new Blu-ray Book release of the 1927 classic The Jazz Singer a look, and he’s got his thoughts on it for you all to read today.  Enjoy!

Speaking of Warner, as many of you know Amazon.com recently pulled pre-orders of BD and DVD release of Cloud Atlas, which had been listed on the retail site as coming on 2/5.  The studio is sending out reminders to the press today reiterating once again that Cloud Atlas isn’t coming on 2/5 and that in fact the title has not yet been officially announced by the studio, just in case there was any lingering confusion.  So put your plans on hold for the time being and we’ll post official details as they come in.

Meanwhile, Amazon is already taking pre-orders for the Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Universal’s Les Misérables, directed by Tom Hooper (SRP $34.98 and $24.98).  No street date or official announcement is available yet.

In other release news today, Anchor Bay and The Weinstein Company have just set Killing Them Softly for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 3/26 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98).  The film stars Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard and more.  Extras will include deleted scenes and The Making of Killing Them Softly featurette.

Music Box Films has set Any Day Now for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/23.

Magnolia Home Entertainment will release John Dies at the End on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/2.

Flicker Alley will release Nanook of the North, The Wedding of Palo and other Films of Arctic Life on Blu-ray on 3/12.

Severin Films has Zulu Dawn (1979) set for Blu-ray release on 3/12.

And a heads-up for you Disney animation fans: Lady and the Tramp, Lady and the Tramp II and all three Lion King films are apparently set to go “back in the vault” in March.  So if you want to get your hands on the Blu-rays, they might cost you more on the secondary market if you wait too long.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray covert artwork for Killing Them Softly, Weinstein’s The Master (due 2/26) and revised/final Blu-ray 3D cover art for Fox’s Life of Pi (3/12)…

Killing Them Softly (Blu-ray Disc)    The Master (Blu-ray Disc)    Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D)

Stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt

Here at The Bits today, our own Tim Salmons has checked in with a new Dailies column and also a Blu-ray Disc review, in which he checks out Lionsgate’s new Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection.  It’s a nice set so do check it out.

The big release news today is that Fox, MGM and Sony have finally officially announced Skyfall for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/12.  The DVD will include 4 Shooting Bond webisode featurettes (The Title Sequence, DB5, Women and Locations).  The Blu-ray will include those, plus 10 more Shooting Bond webisode featurettes (Intro, Opening Sequence, 007, Q, Villains, Action, Music, End Sequence, M and The Future), an additional Skyfall Premiere featurette, 2 audio commentaries (one with director Sam Mendes and another with producers  Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and production designer Dennis Gassner) and the theatrical trailer.  It’s a shame that the recent Epix Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 documentary isn’t included somehow, but with any luck it will be released separately on disc at some point.  It just came out on DVD in the U.K., but here in the States it seems to be a streaming only release for the time being.

Also today, CBS’ Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.  No street date is yet listed, but we hear 4/30 is the likely date.  We’ll post additional details as they come in.

Anchor Bay will release Down the Shore on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/9 (SRP $24.99 and $22.99).  The film stars James Gandolfini and Famke Janssen.

Image Entertainment and One Village Entertainment have set BMF: The Rise and Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire for DVD only release on 2/5.

Warner Home Video has set Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Third Season for DVD release on 5/14.

And Inception Media Group has set 4 Assassins for DVD release on 2/19.

Here’s a look at the BD cover art for Skyfall, Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three and Fox’s Life of Pi Blu-ray 3D (due 3/12)…

Skyfall (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three (Blu-ray Disc)    Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D)

Stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt

First up today, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Videogame cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links.  As always, a portion of absolutely anything – not just DVDs and BDs – that you order from Amazon after you click through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.  It make a big difference in helping us continue our work here for you guys.  So thanks in advance for the support.

Now then, the first big bit of release news today is that 20th Century Fox has finally officially announced Ang Lee’s Life of Pi for Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 3/12.  It appears as if the DVD will contain the movie only, plus the Digital Copy.  The regular Blu-ray version will be a 2-disc set containing the DVD disc and a Blu-ray that features the film in 2D, 3 documentaries (Remarkable Vision, Epic Journey and Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright), a stills gallery (featuring artwork by Joanna Bush, Haan Lee, Dawn Masi and Alexis Rockman) and a second gallery of storyboards.  The Blu-ray 3D Combo will be a 3-disc set containing the DVD, the regular Blu-ray and a Blu-ray 3D disc that offers the film in 3D, 5 deleted scenes in both 2D and 3D (Anandi’s Second Dance, Time to Grow Up, Happy Birthday, Did I Say Something Wrong? and Darkness), 2 VFX Progressions in both 2D and 3D (Tsimstum Sinking and The Wave Tank) and the film’s theatrical trailer in both 2D and 3D.  The final 2D Blu-ray cover art is below.

The other big bit of release news today is that Universal has just set the Judd Apatow comedy This is 40 for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 3/22.  Both versions will include the theatrical cut of the film, feature commentary with Apatow, deleted scenes, Music from Graham Parker and the Rumour and Ryan Adams, and Line-O-Rama.  To this, the Blu-ray will exclusively add the unrated version of the film, additional deleted, extended and alternate scenes, 9 featurettes (The Making of This Is 40, This Is Albert Brooks (at Work), Graham Parker & The Rumour: Long Emotional Ride, Brooks-O-Rama, Biking with Barry, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Kids on the Loose 3, Fresh Air with Terry Gross and Bodies by Jason Commercial) and more than 30 minutes of additional Music with Graham Parker and the Rumour and Ryan Adams.  You’ll find the BD cover artwork below.

In other release news this afternoon, Sony has set Ghost Storm for DVD only release on 3/19.

Image Entertainment has set Day of the Falcon for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/1, followed by The Devil’s in the Details on both formats on 2/7 and Magic Journey to Africa on both formats on 4/23.

Shout! Factory has set the cult series Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot: The Complete Series for DVD only release on 3/26.  Shout! and Marvel Knights Animation have also set Inhumans for DVD only release on 4/23.

Entertainment One has set Freaky Deaky, based on the novel by Elmore Leonard, for DVD only release on 2/26.

FilmWorks Entertainment has set The Wanderers for DVD only release on 4/23.

And a quick release date change: The street date for the wide BD release of Warner’s The Terminator Anthology has officially moved from 3/5 to 3/26.  Adjust your plans accordingly.

We’ll leave you today with a look at the BD art for Universal’s This is 40 and Sony’s Playing for Keeps (due 3/5), as well as the 2D Blu-ray art for Fox’s Life of Pi… 

This is 40 (Blu-ray Disc)    Playing for Keeps (Blu-ray Disc)    Life of Pi (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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Adam Jahnke

The Twin Peaks Blu-ray set is one of the most beautifully packaged home video sets I have ever seen.

by Adam Jahnke