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All right, as promised, we’re kicking things off this week here at The Bits with a new Blu-ray review – my own thoughts on CBS’ Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One, which hits stores tomorrow. The A/V quality isn’t quite up to the level of the other recent Trek “remastered” BD sets for reasons I’ll explain in the review, but the extras more than make up for it. Bottom line: If you’re a fan of Enterprise like me, run… don’t walk… to pick up your copy.
Meanwhile, in announcement news, 20th Century Fox and MGM have officially announced the 5/7 Blu-ray release of The Great Escape, celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary! The film has been given a new 4K remastering, and the restored version will be screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival in L.A. (April 25th-28th) as well as in a limited theatrical run around the world. Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary by director John Sturges and members of the cast and crew, 8 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Bringing Fact to Fiction, Preparations for Freedom, The Flight to Freedom, A Standing Ovation, The Untold Story, The Untold Story – Additional Interviews, A Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones and Return to The Great Escape) and the original theatrical trailer.
Also, Universal has set a War: 10-Movie Collection DVD box set for release on 6/4. Included will be The Eagle and the Hawk, To Hell and Back, In Enemy Country, The Last Outpost, Battle Hymn, Raid on Rommel, Wake Island, Jet Pilot, Ulzana’s Raid and Bengal Brigade.
Sony has announced more MOD DVD-R titles for release on 5/7, including Yankee Zulu, Adventures in Silverado, Alias Mr. Twilight, The Devil-Ship Pirates, Thrill Hunter, Special Inspector, The Lost (2009), The Unknown: The Complete First Season, Rude Awakening: Season One, Great Crimes and Trials of the 20th Century - Volume 1: Gruesome California and Great Crimes and Trials of the 20th Century - Volume 1: The Original Gangstas.
Finally, yesterday was that live online event with director Peter Jackson to preview The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I was so busy working on reviews over the weekend that I forgot about it. But if you’re in the same boat, don’t worry. Doogan tuned in and says there really was very little footage from the film shown and no trailer. An edited version of the event will be up here soon, apparently as the very first Video Blog entry for the second film. So watch for that over the next few days.
All right, that’s all for now. Back tomorrow. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
Okay… we’re closing out the week with some good catalog Blu-ray announcement news...
First up, Disney has set the Atlantis: 2-Movie Collection, Lilo & Stitch and The Emperor’s New Groove for Blu-ray release on 6/11.
Here’s some great news too: Universal has just set Earthquake, Midway and The Shadow for release on Blu-ray Disc on 6/4.
Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Pawn on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/23.
Warner Home Video and Cartoon Network have set Robot Chicken: DC Special for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/9.
Millennium Entertainment has set Crush for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/9.
And Magnolia Home Entertainment has set At the Gate of the Ghost for release on both formats on 4/16.
In news around the Net today, the website The Wrap has more information on the forthcoming re-release of William Friedkin’s Sorcerer straight from the director himself. The remastered film will debut at the Venice Film Festival in August and will finally find its way to Blu-ray and DVD as well. Official announcements are expected in the next week or two, so be sure to stay tuned.
Speaking of stuff from around the Net, have you seen the new international theatrical trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness? Whew! This may not be Trek in the mold of “seeking out new life and new civilizations,” but I’m confident that Trek will return again one day soon, probably on TV. Meanwhile, this sure looks like it’s going to be a helluva fun ride. I still say that casting Benedict Cumberbatch as… well, I’m not going to say who he plays here for those who wish to remain unspoiled… but casting him in the part is brilliant. So here’s the trailer and make damn sure you watch in HD…
Finally today, I had the great pleasure last night (along with many old friends from around the industry) of attending the L.A. premiere of Charles de Lauzirika’s first feature film, CRAVE, at the Fox lot. Now, as some of you may know, I’ve known Charlie since before he started producing DVD special editions – going all the way back to 1998, before the original Alien: 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD release. And I’ve known for years that he was destined to end up directing his own feature films one day, and that no less an expert on the topic than Ridley Scott was urging him to follow that path. When he finally did, I had the pleasure of seeing an early rough cut of CRAVE. The film was good even then, as I said here at The Bits at the time. But the version I saw last night – complete with final edit, sound design, score and gorgeous credit sequences – was lean, mean and terrific. It was like seeing it again for the first time. My first thought after the credit roll was, “Nobody has any business making a first film this polished and entertaining... but in this case I’m not surprised.” If you’ve been enjoying Charlie’s DVD and Blu-ray special edition work for as long as I have – and literally nobody’s been following it longer than I have – you know that he’s been making great films for a very long time already. So I truly look forward to the day, hopefully soon, when I can report on the theatrical and Blu-ray release of CRAVE here at The Bits, so all the rest of you will have the chance to see it too. Charlie, I’m damn proud of you. And I can’t wait to see your next film. (Not sure if I can say what it is yet here, but it’s very cool and I am officially excited.) Here’s the trailer for CRAVE in the meantime...
All right, we’ll leave you with a look at Universal’s advertising art (close to the final cover art but not exact) for Earthquake, Midway and The Shadow…
Back on Monday with that Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One Blu-ray review. Have a great weekend!
- Bill Hunt
Okay, so today’s post is going to be a quickie. Just so you know, I’m hard at work on my review of CBS’ Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One on Blu-ray. That will go up by Monday.
Also early next week, we expect to have another View from the Cheap Seats column from Bud Elder, plus Jeff’s nearly completed a review of The Hobbit on Blu-ray 3D. So be sure to watch for that here over the next few days.
Speaking of The Hobbit, I’ve updated my review of the 2D Blu-ray with an additional note on the Best Buy-exclusive documentary, A Hobbit’s Tale: Part I – The Journey Begins, that’s included in the 2D Blu-ray Combo only at select Best Buy stores. You can identify the packaging with the documentary because it has a sticker marking it exclusive and also it has a lenticular hologram cover that alternates between Gollum and Bilbo Baggins. (You can see the Gollum image above left.) The 30-minute documentary is produced by Rings documentarian Michael Pellerin (as were the Video Blogs) and it’s actually a pretty great look behind the scenes on the making of the film. However, I’m told that it’s essentially an edited-down version of the content that’s being created for the Extended Edition coming later this year on Blu-ray and DVD, so if you don’t get your hands on it, never fear. It will all be in the Extended Cut in a greatly expanded version. Just so you know.
Also today, you can now pre-order Starz and Anchor Bay’s The Walking Dead: Season Three on Blu-ray and DVD on Amazon.com, though there’s no street date yet. See the cover artwork below.
Finally, we’ve confirmed with all parties involved that the listing on Amazon for Space: 1999 – Season Two on Blu-ray is actually for DVD – the very same disc released by A&E and New Video previously, just re-issued by Lionsgate. Network in the U.K. tells me they are well along in developing plans for the Blu-ray release of Season Two, but don’t expect it before mid-2014.
We’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for both versions of The Walking Dead: Season Three as well as Criterion’s Safety Last! on Blu-ray (due 6/18)…
- Bill Hunt
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)…
- 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)…
- Bill Hunt