All right, it looks like the site is finally up and working again, and it seems fairly stable. We’re continuing to make some tweaks to improve the performance, but it appears that things are starting getting back to normal here at The Bits at last. For the next couple of days, however, we’re going to keep the posts fairly simple just to make sure. So let’s have an release news update...
In new announcements today, Paramount Home Entertainment has just revealed that they’re releasing a new Juice: 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 6/6.
All right, first things first: We had a hard drive meltdown at the server farm a couple of days ago, the upshot of which is that The Bits (and several other sites) crashed for about a day. We’re on a newly-built server now and we seem to be back up and running, but it’s likely that there’s going to be some tweaking needed to get back to full stability. So anyway, we appreciate your patience. With a little luck, full normality should be restored by Monday morning.
In the meantime, I posted my in-depth review of Disney and Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray on Tuesday afternoon in case you missed it. I’ll have more to say about that subject in a minute.
Also, our own Tim Salmons has posted a new Pick-Ups review of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life: 30th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray. And Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Don’t forget, you can now sort titles by format in 4K in addition to DVD and Blu-ray. And a portion of anything you order from Amazon, after clicking to them from our links, goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it. [Read on here…]
All right, I’m back from WonderCon in Anaheim and regrouping here at The Bits. The Everyone’s a Critic: Being a Journalist in the Online Age panel that I participated in on Friday afternoon went well. We had a nice turnout and a lively discussion. I’ll post a few pictures below.
Obviously, tomorrow sees the Blu-ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I expect to have my in-depth review posted here as soon as possible tomorrow, probably early afternoon. So be sure to watch for that.
In news today, 20th Century Fox is holding an Alien Day celebration on 4/26, featuring 24 hours of all things Alien in celebration of the 5/10 theatrical release of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. There will be a live stream broadcast starting at 10 AM Pacific, a global screening event at Regal RPX Cinemas of Alien and Prometheus, trivia challenges, fan art contests, and more. Visit the AlienUniverse.com website for all the details. [Read on here…]
First things first today... I’ll be at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA tomorrow afternoon to participate in an interesting panel discussion with friends. It’s at 5PM in Room 207 and it’s called Everyone’s a Critic: Being a Journalist in the Online Age. Here’s the panel description:
Bill Watters (Bleeding Cool), Mary Anne Butler (Aggressive Comix), Jeff Bond (Geek Monthly), Bill Hunt (The Digital Bits), Alexandra August (Comic Book Resources), and Thomas Parham (APU) discuss the expansion of journalism over the past decade, from the rise of citizen journalism to blogging to vloggers, podcasters, and online-only news sources. This panel of nationally known writers and hosts will talk about the roles new media play between their readers and the industries and communities they serve, varying levels of informality versus classic ideas of professionalism, show-specific outlets versus general news sites, moving from hobbyist to being a professional, and more. Friday March 31, 2017 – 5:00pm-6:00pm – Room 207
It’s an interesting topic and I think it’ll be a good discussion so I hope to see you there or elsewhere around the show! [Read on here…]
Before we get started today, my review of Warner’s Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them in 4K Ultra HD went live last night, so be sure to check that out if you’re interested. It’s pretty good. It’s no Harry Potter, but the film has its charms and has real potential.
Also, our own Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. The section also now features the update to sort the titles by format, including by 4K Ultra HD. As always, anytime you order or pre-order literally anything at all through our Amazon links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it. [Read on here…]
All right, we’ve got another quick one for you today, as I’m still working on reviews. My look at Warner’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 4K Ultra HD review will be up shortly and I’ll update this link when it’s posted (update: here it is). Meanwhile, we also have a new review from Tim Salmons, who looks at Scream Factory’s new Firestarter: Collector’s Edition on regular Blu-ray.
Also today, we have a couple of great new feature columns... Bud Elder has chimed in with a new View from the Cheap Seats and he’s pretty sure he’s figured out what’s wrong with movies these days. Do give it a look. Not to be outdone, our old friend Dr. Adam Jahnke has turned in new Jahnke’s Electric Theatre Special column today here at The Bits, in which he says something that’s badly needed saying for a while now. You’ll find that in Open Along Edge: Netflix’s DVD Problem. Enjoy! [Read on here…]
I’ve figured out what’s wrong with movies.
This thesis prevailed on me as I went to see the 3-D Imax version of a new picture called The Great Wall. This picture opened to dismal reviews, but the previews had made it look righteous and the effects, I knew, would be fun, and they were and the whole experience wasn’t bad.
And on the way out, I was thinking of all these feckless movie reviewers who get published and why they would trash this movie. I thought to myself: “Why were they so hard on this movie? It’s just a fun “B” picture?”
And then I figured it out. They all are. 90% of what we see in the theaters are “B” pictures with “A” budgets.
Let’s discuss... [Read on here...]
In the fall of 2015, Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation debuted at the Venice International Film Festival where it was acquired for distribution by Netflix for a whopping $12 million. The film went on to rack up an impressive list of awards and nominations, many singling out Idris Elba’s powerful supporting performance as the Commandant of a battalion of child soldiers. It appeared on several critics’ year-end top ten lists, including, among others, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, Drew McWeeny (then at HitFix), and Erin Whitney of ScreenCrush. It is “certified fresh” by review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with an enviable 91% standing on Ye Olde TomatoMeter. It also made less than a million dollars at the box office, received zero Academy Award nominations, and, as of spring 2017, is not available on Blu-ray or DVD. You probably haven’t thought of it at all in at least a year. [Read on here...]
All right, this is just a quick update for this afternoon and it’s all 4K. The reason is that I’m near the end of a big 4K Ultra HD review marathon of Warner’s new Harry Potter titles, which all street tomorrow. So over the weekend I’ve posted reviews of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, and just a short time ago I posted my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. For those of you who may be wondering why Warner released only the four later film in the series in 4K Ultra HD, it’s likely because – being the most recent – they required the least amount of work to prepare for the format, and they were all directed by David Yates, which makes the mastering approval process faster and easier. The first four films in this series are all coming to 4K Ultra HD as well, either later this year in time for the holidays or next year (it remains to be seen). Also for those of you who may be wondering: No, they do NOT have Dolby Vision. But they do look pretty terrific, with modest improvements in resolution and sound (DTS:X) but the HDR does make a big difference here. It really brings these films to life. [Read on here…]
We’re kicking things off today with more new disc reviews. Tim has turned in his thoughts on Scream Factory’s new RoboCop 2: Collector’s Edition and RoboCop 3: Collector’s Edition, both well worth a look on Blu-ray. I’ve also added my thoughts on Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format from 20th Century Fox. It’s a better film than I expected and, more importantly, it’s an absolutely reference-quality 4K release. So if you’ve upgraded to the format, you definitely don’t want to miss it.
Now then, as expected, the FedEx man just showed up at the door with all four of Warner’s new Harry Potter 4K titles, as well as Fantastic Beasts 4K, and the BBC’s Planet Earth II 4K. So I’m going to dive right in and start reviewing those ASAP. Watch for them to be posted starting tomorrow. There are not enough hours in the day, let me tell you. [Read on here…]