Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits ties into the Blu-ray news we announced earlier (see our post here). It’s A&E Home Video’s Space: 1999 – 30th Anniversary Edition box set, released on DVD on July 31, 2007.

Licensed from Network/ITV in the UK, the series was first released on DVD both in the US and UK beginning in 2001 – by A&E/New Video in the States and by Network in the UK. The US release was initially done via 8 2-disc sets (4 per season). In 2002, all 8 volumes were packaged together in a “Megaset” with an exclusive DVD bonus disc that includes the short follow-on video A Message from Moonbase Alpha.

The set you see at left and below is a repackaging of that same Megaset from 2002, re-issued in 2007 for the show’s anniversary. All 17 discs carried over, along with the bonus disc, simply packaged in ultra-thin DVD slim cases. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits is a favorite of mine personally, as well as a favorite of our readers and classic Star Trek fans overall. It’s the acclaimed 2-disc Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition DVD, released by Paramount Home Entertainment in 2001.

The film was directed by the great Robert Wise, who had previously directed the Best Picture winners West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), as well as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and who was an editor on Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) at RKO early in his career. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in theaters on December 7, 1979 and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

As many Trek fans know, Star Trek: The Motion Picture began life as an effort to return the franchise to TV with Star Trek: Phase II, but the box office success of other science fiction films convinced Paramount to try bringing the property to the big screen. The film reunited the entire original series cast, along with newcomers Persis Khambatta and Stephen Collins. The legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith was hired to score the film, which would become among his most iconic and widely-recognized works. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Today is a day many of us in the cinephile community have been eagerly awaiting: Criterion has finally launched their streaming replacement for FilmStruck, better known as The Criterion Channel.

It officially launched this morning with apps on AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS and Android. You can also view it via web browser.

The good news is, the launch seems to have gone nearly flawlessly. I checked for the Roku download shortly after midnight. Finding it not yet available, I figured it was more likely to launch early AM on the East Coast, where Criterion’s offices are located. So I went to bed and checked again when I woke up here in California. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits is one that caught the eye of more than a few of our readers in the background of photos I’ve posted of recent Retro Release Day titles. I’m speaking of ADV Films’ 4-disc Farscape: Starburst Edition DVDs!

Farscape, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 19, was a Sci-Fi Channel original series that debuted in 1999 from The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. An Australian-American production, the live action science fiction series was created by Rockne S. O’Bannon and starred Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Paul Goddard, Lani Tupu, and Wayne Pygram.

The series was first released on DVD starting in 2001 by ADV Films in a regular DVD edition (with 2 episodes per set plus extras on one DVD-9 disc). This was followed in 2005 by an initial Starburst Edition release (with 6-7 episodes per set plus additional extras on 2 DVD-18 discs). Both releases presented the series in the original broadcast 1.33:1 (or 4x3) TV aspect ratio, save for Season Four which switched production to 1.78:1 (or 16x9). Audio was lossy Dolby Digital. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We mentioned this title a few days ago, but now we can officially confirm that Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Neon will be releasing Todd Douglas Miller’s acclaimed large format documentary, Apollo 11, on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on May 14th.

From the studio’s press release:

“Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future ” [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Heads-up: Disney and Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger appears to be coming to 4K Ultra HD on 2/26, per Best Buy pre-order listings. The retailer currently has listings for the title in SKUs with regular and Steelbook packaging.

The film has a 2K DI. It’s possible there could be a new Dolby Atmos audio mix, but as has recently been the case with Disney 4K releases, look for Dolby Vision HDR on the digital version only.

It should be noted that 2/26 is the same street date as their already announced The Little Mermaid and Ralph Breaks the Internet 4K releases, both of which will also have Steelbook SKUs at Best Buy.

Meanwhile, we have one other 4K-related item to report today: Some of you have noticed that there’s been an image circulating around the Internet over the past few days purporting to show an exclusive 4K release of the Indiana Jones films in China. Our studio sources tell us this is bogus. There are no plans at this time. We take that to mean not never, but not anytime soon. Adjust your plans accordingly.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you with a full news update on Monday.

Stay tuned...!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve checked in with our retail and industry sources and have learned that Marvel and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s wildly popular animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is likely to street on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 3/19.

As you know, the film has just been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Feature Film category (and is very likely to be the leading contender). We haven’t been able to confirm the production and finish resolution of the film, so we don’t know if the animation was rendered natively at 2K or 4K. Either way, with its bright color palette and unique comic-panel texturing, it should look amazing on both Blu-ray and 4K UHD.

It’s reasonable to assume you’ll get at least Dolby Atmos audio. Sony doesn’t typically include Dolby Vision HDR on their 4K releases though, so expect HDR10.

Amazon is showing Blu-ray, Blu-ray “Limited Edition”, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD SKUs. We don’t know of any other retailer-exclusive versions, but we’ll have to wait until the title is officially announced.

FYI, it appears that Universal’s planned street date for M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K is 4/16.

And we believe Pet Sematary (1989) is coming to 4K from Paramount on 3/26.

Both of those dates are yet to be confirmed with our sources.

Stay tuned...!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

Published in My Two Cents

We may have more of an update later if news and time permit, but I just wanted to check in early here at The Digital Bits to share word we’ve just gotten from our retail and industry sources that suggests 3/26 is likely to be the street date for Warner and DC’s massively-successful Aquaman, from director James Wan.

The film has a 2K Digital Intermediate (per IMDB, and I haven’t confirmed this officially), but large portions were filmed in IMAX which should mean very high quality pixels. And the film should still look impressive in HDR on 4K. We have no word yet what the specs will be, but we would imagine Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio at the least.

Amazon.com is also suggesting that there will be a Blu-ray 3D SKU in addition to Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD. Watch for the official announcement in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned…

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

Published in My Two Cents

[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally posted on The Digital Bits on 5/4/01. It refers to the original and much-maligned Kubrick DVD collection release and also the better and properly remastered 2001 DVDs. It hints at future HD releases, but this was five years prior to the debut of Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD was still well over the horizon. Read it as an artifact of the period. But our admiration of Vitali has only been enhanced by the recent and terrific documentary about his life, Filmworker, not to mention his fine work on the new 4K release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so we thought it would be fun to share this vintage interview we did with him. It’s clear just how protective he was then – and remains now – of Stanley Kubrick’s body of work. We salute him for it. All Kubrick fans owe him a great debt.]

One thing you can say for sure about Leon Vitali, is that he knew Stanley Kubrick. Vitali first came into contact with Kubrick when he was cast to play the role of Lord Bullingdon in Barry Lyndon. The two quickly struck up a friendship, and Vitali soon found himself working side-by-side with the director as his assistant and a permanent part of Kubrick’s staff. Over an association of more than 25 years, Vitali personally worked on nearly every facet of Kubrick’s films, from scripting to casting, production, laboratory supervision and advertising. He even worked on the translations of Kubrick’s films into other languages for international markets. [Read on here...]

Published in Interviews

Dazed and Confused is an admirably nuanced take on the teen movie that was congruent with the fresh wave of nineties entries in the genre.” – Thomas A. Christie, author of The Cinema of Richard Linklater

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 25th anniversary of the release of Dazed and Confused, the coming-of-age comedy revolving around the final day of school in 1976 in a small Texas town. Directed by Richard Linklater (Slacker, Before Sunrise, Boyhood) – and featuring a large ensemble cast including Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Michelle Burke, Wiley Wiggins, and notable early-career performances by Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, and Parker Posey – Dazed and Confused opened 25 years ago this month, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with author, film historian and Richard Linklater biographer Thomas A. Christie. [Read more here...]

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