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All right, today is of course Election Day here in the States. In honor of the joyous occasion/apocalypse (depending on the outcome and your own particular political leanings) we thought we’d review an appropriate and recently released title on Blu-ray – Warner’s new HD upgrade of The American President. Enjoy!

Note that we’ll have the regular weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section posted later this afternoon, so be sure to check back for it.

In the meantime, Amazon is now taking pre-orders on Disney’s Peter Pan: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray. Street date is 2/5/2013 as expected (SRP $44.99).

Kino Lorber has set a White Zombie: Kino Classics Remastered Edition for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/29/2013. This 1932 gem stars Bela Lugosi.

Olive Films will release a Cujo: 30th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 1/22/2013, along with King of the Pecos (1936), Frontier Horizon (1939) and The Quiet Man (1952). SRP is $24.95 each.

And Magnolia has set Nobody Walks and Nature Calls for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/22 as well.

Don’t forget... Fox’s remastered Patton Blu-ray streets today, along with Von Ryan’s Express. And the studio has Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure coming on Blu-ray next week (11/13). Here’s the cover art (click on each to pre-order from Amazon.com)...

Patton (Remastered Blu-ray Disc)    Von Ryan's Express (Blu-ray Disc)    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

Morning, folks! Hope you all enjoyed the weekend. If you live in the hurricane-ravaged Northeast, here’s hoping the new week finds you and yours dry and with full power restored. We tend to take such things for granted until they’re taken away. Given all the political advertising on TV these days, some of the rest of you probably wish you didn’t have power! Ah well – with any luck there’s just one more day to have to put up with it all.

Here at the site this morning, we’ve posted a new Blu-ray Disc review – my own take on Eagle Rock’s excellent HD upgrade of Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live. If you’re a fan of Gabriel’s music, it’s not to be missed.

In news today, Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders on Sony’s Looper on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD (SRP $35.99 and $27.98). No street date is yet available, but we expect details to be announced soon. Click on the links for the Amazon pre-order pages.

Speaking of Sony and Amazon, the retailer also has Resident Evil: Retribution available for pre-order on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD. Street date is listed as 12/21 (SRP $45.99, $35.99 and $30.99). Again, click on the links for the respective Amazon pre-order pages.

Meanwhile, Hannover House has set Toys in the Attic for release on Blu-ray on 2/5/2013.

Funimation has set Shorts HD Presents: Oscar Winning Short Films for release as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 1/29/2013 (SRP $24.98). Among the shorts included will be God of Love, The New Tenants, Toyland, West Bank Story, The Lost Thing, Logorama, The Danish Poet, Ryan and Harvie Krumpet.

Shout! Factory has moved the release of Ridley Scott’s The Duellists on Blu-ray from 12/18 to 1/29/2013. Adjust your plans accordingly. Shout! has also set a double-feature Blu-ray of Jackie Chan’s Crime Story and The Protector for release on 1/15 (SRP $19.93).

And in other news for you Star Trek Fans, Fathom Events is holding another theatrical screening of remastered Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes on 11/29 – Q Who? and The Measure of a Man: Extended Version. Click here for details on tickets and participating theatres.

We’ll leave you with a look at the cover art for Fox’s The Big Trail (due 11/13) and Archer: The Complete Season Three (1/8/2013), as well as Warner’s Easter Parade (2/19/2013). All three can be pre-ordered now on Amazon by clicking on the covers...

The Big Trail (Blu-ray Disc)    Archer: The Complete Season Three (Blu-ray Disc)    Easter Parade (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a bit more announcement news to report today, as well as updates on some previously announced titles…

First up, CBS has revealed more details about the extras that you’ll find on the Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Two Blu-ray set due on 12/4 (SRP $130). In addition to including all 22 episodes from the season, you’ll get The Measure of a Man in both the original broadcast version and an Extended version “which includes deleted scenes and different angles from the broadcast version.” You’ll also get a Hybrid Extended Cut of the episode that combines the broadcast version with “video of the extra material taken from an early VHS rough-cut of the episode that was in the writer’s (Melinda Snodgrass) archives.” Audio commentary on the episode is also provided by Snodgrass and Mike and Denise Okuda. Nice! That’s one of my all-time favorite episodes of the series, so this should be a real treat. [UPDATE: I'm told there's also a second audio commentary for the episode Q Who? with director Rob Bowman, VFX supervisor Dan Curry and Mike and Denise Okuda.] On top of that, you’ll also get promos for each episode, an On-Air Season Two promo from 1998, a 1988 Reading Rainbow segment with LeVar Burton, a 2012 Reading Rainbow iTunes promo, a gag reel, deleted scenes [from the episodes The Icarus Factor and Up the Long Ladder], 5 Archival Mission Log featurettes (including Departmental Briefing Year Two: Production, Inside Starfleet Archives: Penny Juday, Star Trek Coordinator, Selected Crew Analysis: Year Two, Departmental Analysis Year Two: Memorable Missions and Mission Overview Year Two), an additional featurette (Energized! Season Two Tech Update), the all-new Reunification: 25 Years After Star Trek: The Next Generation cast documentary [hosted by our old friend and regular Bits Comic-Con panelist Robert Meyer Burnett] and the 2-part Making It So: Continuing Star Trek: The Next Generation retrospective production documentary (includes Part 1: Strange New Worlds and Part 2: New Life and New Civilizations).

Are any of you fans of TV’s JAG or the classic Mission: Impossible? Well, CBS is releasing both in new complete series DVD box sets on 12/11. JAG: The Complete Series - Collector’s Edition (56 discs - SRP $310.99 but just $267.83 on Amazon) includes an exclusive bonus disc with new cast and crew interview featurettes (The Jagged Edge and JAG: Beyond the Scenes) plus promos and a 40-page JAG Manual. Meanwhile, Mission: Impossible - The Complete Television Collection (56 discs - SRP $370.99 but just $267.83 on Amazon) also offers a new bonus disc of extras including 5 featurettes (Birth of the Mission, Mission Debriefing, Hour Magazine segment featuring Martin Landau, Peter Lupus and Greg Morris, Clip from CBS Fall Preview Show “Seven Wonderful Nights” (1966) and Archival interview with Greg Morris), select series and episode promos and a photo gallery montage with a vocal version of the show’s theme performed by The Kane Triplets. Here’s what the opened packaging will look like for each (you can click on the image to pre-order on Amazon)...

Mission: Impossible - The Complete Television Collection (DVD)

JAG: The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (DVD)

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set the animated Duck Dodgers: Dark Side of the Duck - Season 1 for DVD only release on 2/19/2013 (SRP $19.97). Warner also has the 29-disc Gossip Girl: The Complete Series (SRP $199.70) and Gossip Girl: The Complete Sixth Season (SRP $39.98) coming on DVD only on 2/19. And for you Christopher Guest fans, Warner has set the pedigreed pooch comedy Best in Show for Blu-ray release on 2/19/2013 (SRP $19.98)!

Universal has set Guns, Girls and Gambling for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/8/2013. The film stars Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has set the documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis for DVD only release on 1/22/2013. SRP is $19.98. The films looks at the comedian’s life and career.

Also, Artsploitation Films has set Lapland Odyssey – essentially the Finnish version of The Hangover – for DVD only release on 1/8/2013.

Shout! Factory has announced that they’ve acquired the U.S. home video release rights to a pair of British titles – the zombie apocalypse comedy Cockneys vs. Zombies and the action-thriller Tower Block. Look for them to be released in early 2013.

And don’t forget that Disney has The Muppet Christmas Carol: 20th Anniversary Edition due on Blu-ray on 11/6. That same day they’ll also have the Prep & landing: Totally Tinsel Collection on Blu-ray Combo featuring the original Prep & Landing and Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for CBS’ Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Two, Shout! Factory’s The Nest (1/22/2013), Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol, Fox’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (12/4) and Warner’s Best in Show, along with DVD cover artwork for Warner’s Duck Dodgers: Dark Side of the Duck - Season 1

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)    The Nest (Blu-ray Disc)    The Muppet Christmas Carol (Blu-ray Disc)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Blu-ray Disc)    Best in Show (Blu-ray Disc)    Duck Dodgers: Dark Side of the Duck - Season 1 (DVD)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

Happy Halloween, folks! Hope you’re all enjoying this spookiest of days on the calendar each year. Here at The Bits today, we’re celebrating in a couple ways…

First, the good Dr. Jahnke has delivered the coup de grace in this year’s Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a review of Criterion’s new Rosemary’s Baby on Blu-ray – just the perfectly creepy film to end the Fest-ivities with and it’s a great release to boot. And hats off to Adam for another successful Oktoberfest celebration – his sixth in a row!

Also today, we’re kicking off a new regular column here at the site – Tim Salmon's Dailies! This first installment features another Halloween-appropriate topic with Tim's in-depth appreciation of the Friday the 13th franchise. We hope you enjoy it!

In release news today… 20th Century Fox has set House at the End of the Street for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/8/2013. Both will include an unrated cut of the film. The BD will exclusively add the Journey into Terror: Inside the House at the End of the Street featurette and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Warner and the BBC have set Red Dwarf: X for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/8/13 (SRP $39.98 and $34.98). This is the brand new series. No word yet on extras if any, but all 6 episodes will be included.

Magnolia Home Entertainment has set the ‘Claymation’ animated film The Adventures of Mark Twain for release as a Blu-ray and DVD Collector’s Edition on 12/4 (SRP $19.98 and $14.98). Extras will include director’s commentary, 2 featurettes (Story of Claymation and Behind the Scenes), soundtrack selections, crew interviews, a gallery and the film’s trailer.

Magnolia also has V/H/S coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 12/4 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98). Extras will include deleted scenes, 3 featurettes (Visual Effects, Behind the Scenes and AXS TV: A Look at V/H/S) and trailers.

And Shout! Factory has revealed the extras to be included on their Deadly Blessing: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and DVD (due 1/22/2013). Look for an all-new audio commentary with director Wes Craven, 4 interview featurettes (Say Your Prayers!, Secrets Revealed, Rise of the Incubus and So It Was Written), radio and TV spots, and the film's theatrical trailer.

Also today, I wanted to let you know about a couple changes we’ve made here at The Bits based on some of your reader suggestions about the new website. A number of you had mentioned that you missed the way you could read an entire week’s worth of daily My Two Cents news columns in one glance just by scrolling down the home page. Some of you had also expressed a dislike for the way the new site made you click into a post to read the whole thing, then click back out and into the next one, etc. I totally agree with both points! So what we’ve done is:

  • On the home page, you can now read an entire week’s worth of My Two Cents posts in their entirety without having to click in and out of individual posts.
  • To read back beyond a week, we’ve added a link at the bottom of the home page: READ MORE MY TWO CENTS>> Clicking on that will take you to the My Two Cents column page where all the columns are archived.
  • On the My Two Cents column page, I’ve also altered the formatting so you can scroll through a full week’s posts in their entirety without having to click in and out of individual posts. What’s more, going back to read older columns is easy – all you have to do is navigate back a page at a time using the links at the bottom of the page or you can access all the posts for a particular month using the MY TWO CENTS ARCHIVES links on the right-hand column.

So there you go! Hopefully, that will make the experience of reading my daily news update here on the new updated Bits similar to that of the old site.

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at more new cover artwork. Here’s the updated BD Book art for Warner’s Empire of the Sun (now set for release on 11/13), Warner and the BBC’s Red Dwarf: X and Shout! Factory’s Deadly Blessing: Collector’s Edition

Empire of the Sun (Blu-ray Disc)    Red Dwarf: X (Blu-ray Disc)    Deadly Blessing: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a happy and safe Halloween and we’ll see you back here tomorrow! Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

"His name was Jason..."

When it comes to the slasher sub-genre of horror films, it's difficult to find any that are unique and bring something new to the table. Most of the ones that came out of the early 1970's and throughout the 1980's followed a particular formula: teens go into woods; teens drink & do drugs; teens have sex; teens get slaughtered. That pretty much sums up the genre, more or less. Immortalizing that formula was the Friday the 13th franchise, a series of films made specifically to cash in on the success of the original and annually provide entertainment for horror fans.

Published in Dailies

Six years ago, I was standing at a crossroads with my trusty blues guitar when a stranger came up to me. “Nice guitar,” said the stranger in a seductive purr. “You play?”

“Not a lick,” said I. “But I heard tell that a fella needs himself a guitar in these parts.”

“True enough,” replied the stranger. “True enough. But it ain’t doin’ you much good strung across your back like that. Instrument like that ought be played.”

“Reckon you’re right but who’s gonna teach me? You?”

Published in The Bottom Shelf

Holy guacamole! Here’s an industry news shocker that’s breaking around the newswires as we speak: Walt Disney Studios has just announced that they’ve purchased George Lucas’ Lucasfilm Ltd for an estimated $4.05 billion. This includes the rights to the Star Wars franchise among other properties. What’s more, Disney has announced that they plan to make at least one and maybe several new Star Wars sequels, beginning with the release of Episode VII in 2015! WOW.

Here’s a quote from the original announcement: “Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger in a release announcing the deal. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”

Just when you thought the Star Wars franchise had been milked right into the ground, the cycle begins anew. There’s obviously going to be TONS of additional details and coverage of this breaking news in the hours, days and weeks ahead, so we’ll check back here with updates as more information comes in. Meanwhile, additional details can be found at Deadline Hollywood and Variety.

UPDATE – 1PM: We’re hearing that the deal also includes Lucasfilm’s technology companies – LucasArts, Industrial Light + Magic and Skywalker Sound. It MAY also include Lucas’ share of the Indiana Jones franchise as well, which would make Disney a partner with Paramount on future projects. Additional stories here at the L.A. Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Statement by George Lucas: “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

UPDATE – 3 PM: Here are new and updated details on this deal from the official Disney investors’ conference call this afternoon:

  • Deal signed and announced earlier today – includes Star Wars franchise and all Lucasfilm operating businesses.
  • Indiana Jones franchise rights ARE also included in this deal.
  • Disney loves the Indiana Jones franchise, but it wasn't included in the studio’s Lucasfilm valuation due to its “encumbrances” (meaning existing financial/legal involvement of Paramount).
  • First project under the joint under Disney/Lucas partnership will be Star Wars: Episode 7 in 2015, followed by Episode 8 and Episode 9.
  • Disney purchased “extensive and detailed” treatment for Episodes 7-9 as part of this deal which they “feel very good about.”
  • Disney long term plan is to release a new live-action Star Wars film every 2-3 years – films may eventually explore entire 20,000 year time-span of the franchise.
  • It’s Lucas’ plan to stay retired, but he will serve as creative consultant on new Star Wars films. Kathleen Kennedy will executive produce. Both are now sitting down with writers to discuss stories.
  • Fox retains certain distribution rights to the existing Star Wars films but not the new franchise films going forward.
  • Kennedy will serve as Lucasfilm president, reporting to Bob Iger at Disney.
  • Disney plans to expand Star Wars brand into many new product categories and internationally.
  • Star Wars brand will also be expanded into Disney parks, games and TV businesses.
  • Iger feels Disney XD would be a good TV home for the franchise going forward.
  • Star Wars interactive strategy: Disney will focus more on social and mobile platforms, opportunistically on consoles.
  • Deal was 50% cash and 50% stock – $4.05 billion
  • Disney believes Lucasfilm value is comparable to value of Marvel, but valuation is only based on Star Wars alone – value of other Lucasfilm intellectual properties are in addition to this.
  • Disney plans to let ILM continue operating as it currently does.

NEW VIDEO: George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discuss the future of Star Wars at Disney…

Whew! Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

Head's-up folks: Are any of you out there fans of the Criterion Collection? Yeah, we know you are! Our own Todd Doogan would like you to know that today Barnes & Noble kicks off their big 50% off art house films on DVD/BD sale, featuring the Criterion Collection! The sale extends only for a limited time but LOTS of great Criterion titles are available on disc for half off so hurry to take advantage!

Also this morning, Dr. Jahnke's posted his penultimate Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review for the year... Warner's Chernobyl Diaries on Blu-ray Disc! Be sure to tune in tomorrow for his final review of the Fest. What ghoulishly horrorific title has the Doctor saved for last? Check back in here at 12:01 AM tomorrow - Halloween itself - to find out!

Also today, as you can probably tell by the pictures and video on the news this afternoon, lot of people in the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy can all the support they can get right now. So please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross or a similar relief organization. Every little bit helps.

Back with more later. Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

Here's a bit of sad and tragic film-related news: The "tall ship" replica of the HMS Bounty used in filming the 1962 classic Mutiny on the Bounty (as well as some of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and others) has sunk off the coast of North Carolina in rough weather related to Hurricane Sandy. You can read more here at The Telegraph. Two members of its 16-person crew are still missing.

For all you Bits readers who live in the Northeast, which is about to get hit hard by Sandy, please stay safe. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with you and your families.

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents

Afternoon, folks. Welcome to the last week or October... and the final three days of Adam’s Hell Plaza Oktoberfest!

In case you missed them on Thursday and Friday, Adam’s delivered reviews of the Steven King’s Sleepwalkers and the Hammer Films classic Twins of Evil, and his Oktoberfest review for today is none other than Jess Franco’s Exorcism (a.k.a. Demoniac)! Just two more Oktoberfest reviews to go for this year, so be sure to check back tomorrow for the penultimate entry!

In release news today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set the FX series Justified: The Complete Third Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/31 (SRP $65.99 and $55.99). You’ll get all 13 episodes along with deleted scenes, outtakes, cast and crew commentary on nine episodes and 3 featurettes (Crossing the Line: Making Season 3, Ellstin’s Joint: Nobles Holler Set Tour and Anatomy of a Stunt). The Blu-ray version will exclusively include one additional featurette (In Conversation:  Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins). You’ll find the cover artwork below.

Also, Warner Home Video has announced the Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve on 12/18 (SRP $35.99 and $22.97). Extras will include a pair of featurettes (Rising through the Ranks and For the Love of the Game) plus an UltraViolet digital copy. Again, you’ll find the cover artwork below.

In other news today, Saban Entertainment and Lionsgate have set Power Rangers Samurai: A Team Divided - Volume 3 and Power Rangers Super Samurai: Rise of the BullZooka - Volume 3 for DVD only release on 1/15, followed by Lionsgate’s Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft on DVD only on 1/22.

Lionsgate has also set the Sam Raimi produced horror tale The Possession for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/15 (SRP $39.99 and $29.95). Both versions will include audio commentary with director Ole Bornedal, a second commentary with writers Juliet Snowden and Stiles White and The Real History of the Dibbuk Box featurette. See the artwork below.

Image Entertainment has set Syfy’s Ghost Hunters Academy for DVD only release on 1/15 (SRP $24.98).

The BBC as set the original U.K. version of Call the Midwife: Season One for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/6 (SRP $39.98 and $34.98).

Shout! Factory will release The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Three for DVD only release on 12/18. The set includes the final 10 episodes of the series plus commentaries, audition videos, deleted scenes, the original pilot and the Writers Conversation featurette.

And our friends at Blue Underground (via Entertainment One) have announced some February 2013 releases (all due 2/26), including a Midnight Movies Mondo Triple Feature DVD of Mondo Cane, Mondo Cane 2 and Women of the World, a Midnight Movies Suspense Triple Feature DVD of The Fifth Gord, The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion and The Pyjama Girl Case and a Midnight Movies Shockumentary Triple Feature DVD of Africa: Blood & Cuts, Goodbye Uncle Tom and The Godfathers of Mondo. SRP is $19.98 each

In other news this afternoon, we’ve got some very cool soundtrack CD news: GNP Crescendo is releasing the complete score for Star Trek: Generations in a terrific 2-disc Expanded Collector’s Edition set. It’s due on 10/29 for $24.98. Pre-orders are being accepted now here at their online store.

We’ve learned that Costco currently appears to have an exclusive on DVD versions of Wuthering Heights and The Best Years of Our Lives from Warner Home Video. These will be released widely either right before Christmas or early next year. No word yet on Blu-ray versions (rest assured we’re trying to find out) but if you’ll recall these long out of print titles were part of Warner’s deal to acquire the home video release rights to some 74 titles from the Samuel Goldwyn library, which we first reported on way back in May. Warner’s going to be awfully busy in 2013. Thanks to Bits reader Ric. T for the heads-up on the Costco spot!

Lot of you have asked about my review of Prometheus - it’s coming very soon along with other big reviews. Working all the little bugs out of the redesigned site has taken up a lot of time, but I’ve now diving into review work so check back over the next few days.

Finally, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor and Native American activist Russell Means, who appeared in such films as The Last of the Mohicans, Natural Born Killers, Into the West and others. He died last week at the age of 72. More here.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Sony’s Justified: The Complete Third Season, Lionsgate’s The Possession and Warner’s Trouble with the Curve...

Justified: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Disc)    The Possession (Blu-ray Disc)    Trouble with the Curve (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

Published in My Two Cents
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