my two cents 1000

All right, we’re pleased to offer you all a brand new View from the Cheap Seats column from our own Bud Elder.  In this installment, Bud remembers a dear friend recently lost – veteran Western actor Dale Robertson, who passed away last month.  It’s a great column so do give it a read.

We’ve also posted Russell Hammond’s 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 Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then… we’ve got a bunch of new announcements to report this afternoon…

First up, 20th Century Fox has set A Good Day to Die Hard for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/14.  The 2-disc Blu-ray will include both the theatrical cut and an extended cut of the film, audio commentary with director John Moore and first assistant director Mark Cotone, 7 deleted scenes (Jack Scopes Out Courthouse, Collins Gets Approval to Move, John McClane Original Introduction, Russian Girls on Plane, Safe House Intrusion, Gun Store and Fight with Anton), the 15-part Making it Hard to Die documentary (includes Introduction, Stunts, Helicopters and Aerial, Special Effects, Motion Base, Armoury, Russia and Budapest, The Look of the Movie, Chernobyl, Camera Work, Editorial Los Angeles, Color Grading, Visual Effects, Film Scoring and Wrap Up), 3 Pre-Viz clips, 5 additional featurettes (Maximum McClane, Anatomy of a Car Chase, Two of a Kind, Back in Action and The New Face of Evil), VFX Sequences, 2 image galleries and theatrical trailer, plus a DVD and Digital Copy disc.  See the cover artwork below.

Meanwhile, Summit Entertainment has set the “zombie-reversal romance/comedy” Warm Bodies for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/4 (SRP $39.99 and $29.95).  Extras include audio commentary with director Jonathon Levine and actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, 9 featurettes (Boy Meets, ER, Doesn’t Eat Girl, R&J, A Little Less Dead, Extreme Zombie Make-Over!, A Wreck in Progress, Bustin’ Caps, Beware of The Boneys, Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer’s Warm Bodies Home Movies and Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry), plus deleted scenes with optional director's commentary and the Shrug and Groan gag reel.

Paramount will release Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 6/11.  The Blu-ray will include the film in an unrated edition, along with 3 featurettes (Reinventing Hansel & Gretel, The Witching Hours and Meet Edward the Troll).  The DVD will include the theatrical version of the film.

And Warner Home Video has set Shane and The Odd Couple for Blu-ray Disc release on 6/4.  SRP is $19.98 each.  You’ll find cover artwork for those below as well.

In other release news, Dark Sky Films will release Manborg on DVD only on 4/30.

Virgil Films will release Future Weather on DVD on 4/16.

PBS Distribution has set Frontline: Cliffhanger for DVD release on 4/30.

And Well Go USA Entertainment has set Back to 1942 for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/14 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98), followed by Nightfall on both formats on 5/2114 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover art for A Good Day to Die Hard, Summit’s Warm Bodies, Paramount’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Warner’s Shane and The Odd Couple, and Criterion’s Things to Come (due 6/18)…

A Good Day to Die Hard (Blu-ray Disc)    Warm Bodies (Blu-ray Disc)    Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Blu-ray Disc)

Shane (Blu-ray Disc)    The Odd Couple (Blu-ray Disc)    Things to Come (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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

Earthquake (Blu-ray Disc)    Midway (Blu-ray Disc)    The Shadow (Blu-ray Disc)

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)…

The Walking Dead: Season Three (DVD)    The Walking Dead: Season Three (Blu-ray Disc)    Safety Last! (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- 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)…

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

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

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