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(Archived Posts 1/30/06 - 1/13/06)
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We've got a few new DVD announcements to report this morning. First up,
Paramount has revealed that they'll debut a Mission:
Impossible 10th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition on
4/11. It'll be a single-disc set, but there's no word yet on the extras.
The studio also has a new 4-disc Star Trek:
Fan Collective - Time Travel on the way for 4/4, featuring
select time travel episodes from The Original
Series, The Next Generation,
Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
They have a Sliver: Unrated Edition
due on 3/28 as well (although the unrated version will only be available
in the U.S. - Canadian viewers will get the R-rated version).
Meanwhile, New Line has announced the release of a Wedding
Singer: Totally Awesome Edition on 4/25 (SRP $19.97). The
disc will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital & DTS
5.1 audio, 5 minutes of never-before-seen footage, The
Wedding Singer featurette (on the new Broadway musical), the "80s
Mix Tape" song-select option, and the film's theatrical trailer.
Warner has set the 6-disc Life Goes On: The
Complete First Season for release on 5/9 (SRP $39.98).
Finally, there's also a 7-film Tennessee
Williams Film Collection due from Warner on 5/2 (SRP $68.92),
including a new 2-disc A Streetcar Named
Desire: Special Edition, a Cat on
a Hot Tin Roof: Deluxe Edition, Sweet
Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana,
Baby Doll, Roman
Spring of Mrs. Stone and a bonus disc containing Tennessee
William's South. Look for lots of extras including unseen
footage, documentaries and more.
Now then... if you're in the Hollywood area tonight, I'm going to be
participating in a panel discussion at the Creative Artists Agency
(CAA). Sponsored by the Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance
and hosted by producer David Zucker (Num3ers),
the event is called Film & TV & DVD:
The Next Generation. Here's the description:
"Have we reached the tipping point? Is the
ritual of movie-going drawing to a close as the speed in which new DVD
titles reach store shelves increases? Has the filmmaker's craft been
diminished or enhanced by extras and uncensored cuts?
And as the size of televisions grow and the era of downloads and
on-demand explode, where will these trends ultimately deliver us?
Hollywood Armageddon or a New Genesis?"
Among those scheduled to be on the panel in addition to yours truly (Bill
Hunt - Editor, The Digital Bits)
are DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika
(Spider-Man 2, Alien
Quadrilogy) and studio executives Mike
Mulvihill (of New Line) and Michael
Stradford (Sony). The event will run from 8 to 10 PM, and is
expected to include time for Q&A. It should be a lot of fun, so
maybe we'll see you there.
Also today, I'm headed up to a special presentation on the Warner Bros
lot this afternoon, during which the studio is due to unveil the
complete slate of new and catalog titles they're working on for DVD
release in 2006. It should be very interesting, and of course we'll give
you the complete skinny here at The Bits
In the meantime, here's some new DVD cover artwork for Paramount's Mission:
Impossible 10th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition, Star
Trek: Fan Collective - Time Travel and Sliver:
Unrated Edition, Warner's A
Streetcar Named Desire: Special Edition, Tennessee
Williams Film Collection and Samurai
Jack: Season Three (5/23)...
By the way, Matt and I caught George Clooney's Good
Night, and Good Luck this weekend, and I highly recommend it.
It's a very good piece of work. It hits DVD on 3/14.
And for those who care about such things, Crash
(another great film already available on DVD) took the award for
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at last night's
Screen Actors Guild Awards. Click
here for more.
See you back here tomorrow for all the Warner DVD news. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/27/06 - 1 PM PST)
Just a quick update for you on the status the remainder of our CES
coverage: This morning I conducted an in-depth, an hour-long interview
with Mark Knox (adviser to the HD-DVD promotion division at Toshiba)
about HD-DVD, the format launch plans, the format war, etc. And yes... I
DID ask him about the analog-out/down-rez issue. I expect to have that
posted early next week, along with my show report. ;-)
Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/27/06 -
11 AM PST)
Yes... looks like it's true. We've known
for a while
now that Warner Home Video was working on new DVD special editions
of the Superman films to tie in
with the release of Bryan Singer's Superman
Returns later this year (in theaters 6/30), but now we have
the first actual confirmation... from Ilya Salkind, who co-produced the
first three Superman films!
Salkind has acknowledged that he's working with Warner on the new DVDs,
and that all of the films in the series are being restored and given
deluxe new special edition treatment, a-la last year's Batman
Anthology collection. By far the best news in all this, is
that it seems that Warner is FINALLY allowing Richard Donner to create
his original director's cut of Superman II!
How damn cool is that?! As many of you know, Donner directed Superman:
The Movie and most of Superman II
back to back, but was eventually fired from the sequel. Director Richard
Lester was hired to replace him, and it's Lester's cut of the film that
we've seen all these years. What's cool is that Lester's theatrical cut
of the film is being given special edition treatment as well, so you'll
be able to fully explore BOTH versions of Superman
II on DVD this summer. Lester MAY even do an interview for
the DVD - something he's been reluctant to do over the years given the
controversy. This information comes from Salkind via
Superman Homepage fan site, which expects to publish a full
interview with Salkind in the coming weeks. Very cool news indeed
(though keep in mind that until Warner announces this set, it's all
still unofficial). Thanks to Bits
reader Matt K. for the heads-up on this.
Gotta tell you, I am REALLY looking forward to seeing the Man of Steel
back in action this summer. Superman Returns
is definitely THE movie I'm most anticipating for 2006.
Some confirmed Warner news... the studio will release Samurai
Jack: Season 3 on 5/23 (SRP $29.98).
Other DVD release news today... Universal has announced the DVD release
of a Fried Green Tomatoes: Anniversary
Edition on 6/6 (SRP $19.98). Look for anamorphic widescreen
video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director Jon
Avnet, deleted scenes, outtakes, The Moments
of Discovery: The Making of Fried Green Tomatoes documentary,
the Sipsey's Recipes and Jon
Avnet's Director's Notes featurettes, a gallery of production
photographs and poster artwork, additional production notes and the
film's theatrical trailer.
Buena Vista has set An Unfinished Life
and Spymate for release on 4/11.
Shadows in the Sun, Everything
You Want and Little Einsteins:
Team Up for Adventure will follow on 4/25. And the
Henson-produced Dinosaurs: The Complete First
and Second Seasons will follow on 5/2, along with The
Warrior, Ritual and
Jean-Pierre Juenet's Delicatessen.
By the way, Disney has
officially confirmed the DVD release of The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on
4/4 in single and 2-disc versions (SRP $19.99 and $29.99). Both will
offer two commentaries with director director Andrew Adamson, one with
members of the production crew and one with the film's child actors.
They'll also include a "pop-up" trivia track, while the 2-disc
set will add a booklet, galleries of concept artwork, filmmaker dairies,
production featurettes, an interactive map of Narnia and more.
Paramount has announced The Sentinel: Season
One for release on 4/18, along with a Laugh
or I'll Shoot Collection (including Airplane,
The Naked Gun, The
Naked Gun 2½ and Top Secret!)
on 4/11. Now if we could just get the complete Police
Squad! TV series on disc. There's only like 6 episodes,
Finally, Taylor Hackford's Hail! Hail! Rock n
Roll is due on 6/27 from Image Entertainment. The film
tribute to Chuck Berry will be featured in separate 2-disc and 4-disc
sets, priced at $29.99 and $49.99 respectively.
One last thing today... we've got new word on street dates for Stay,
Memoirs of a Geisha and The
Greatest Game Ever Played in
Rumor Mill. 'Nuff said.
That's all for now. We've got a LOT of work to do to get ready for
Monday's post, so be sure to check back then for new DVD reviews and
Have a great weekend and we'll see you then!
Any West Wing fans out there?
You're probably still stinging from NBC's recent announcement that
they're cancelling the series, but here's a little something to take the
edge off. Warner has officially announced that The
West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season will street on 5/9 (just
in time for the series finale later that week). The 6-disc set will
include all 22 episodes in anamorphic widescreen video. Extras will
include never-before-seen footage, audio commentary with members of the
cast and crew on 3 episodes (including King
Corn, In God We Trust
and 2162 Votes), the C.J.Cregg:
From Press Secretary to Chief of Staff featurette and the
Easter egg featurette A Conversation with
John Spencer (a nice tribute to the late actor).
In other release news, Universal has announced that the Hitchcock
classics Frenzy, Rope,
and The Trouble with Harry will
each be available in singly on 6/20 (SRP $19.98 each). These are the
same remastered versions available currently as part of the studio's
Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection
We've also got an update for you this morning, direct from Lionsgate,
on Speed Racer: Volume 4 (street
date 3/14). The good news is that we now know exactly what's going to be
on the disc. The bad news is that it ain't much - 8 episodes only with
no extras (other than the collectible Mach V diecast car) for $22.98.
Volume 4 will feature episodes
37-44 of the series, including The Terrifying
Gambler, The Secret Invaders, Part
1, The Secret Invaders, Part 2,
The Man Behind the Mask, The
Car Destroyer, The Desperate Racer,
The Dangerous Witness and Race
the Laser Tank. This means, of course, that we'll have to
wait for a future Speed Racer: Volume 5
in order to get the remaining 8 episodes that will complete the series'
release on DVD. We've asked the studio when they expect Volume
5 to be available, and if and when they tell us, we'll pass
that information on to you.
I suspect we're going to get a TON of e-mails about this. We've already
gotten something of an earful from Speed
fans in the last couple days, even prior to posting this news. The
prolonged wait to get the complete series on DVD has been frustrating
for those we've heard from. I'm sure Lionsgate thought they were doing
something cool with the diecast car and the custom packaging on previous
volumes.. but the reality is, anyone who wants a diecast Mach V can find
better and more detailed ones already on the market (as several readers
have pointed out to us, the Johnny Lightning car sells for less than $5
on eBay). What fans would RATHER have are some real DVD extras, like
interviews with the voice cast, or maybe a commentary or two... or
simply ALL the episodes sans the three-year wait. The custom packaging
was a nice idea in theory too, but the Volume
2 package (the one with the lights and sound) has stopped
working for most people, and you can't replace the battery without
tearing the cardboard slipcase. And the Volume
3 tin case doesn't match the other cases on your shelf. Now
fans will get only 8 episodes and no extras on Volume
4... and have to wait still longer for the final 8 episodes
on Volume 5. We've had a number of
readers tell us that they've gone ahead and purchased the complete
series on bootleg DVD, just so they can be done with it. We're big Speed
fans here at The Bits... but we
certainly understand the aggravation.
Anyway... we've got more new DVD reviews for you to check out today.
First up, our old pal Todd has checked in with
first new Doogan's Views of 2006, featuring his thoughts
on 4 recent DVD releases including Warner's
A.D. 1972, Universal's
40-Year-Old Virgin: Unrated and
Deep Throat - NC-17: As Seen in Theaters, and Synapse's
Also today, we've got two more DVD reviews from Peter Schorn - Fox's
Season Three and Buena Vista's
The Complete Third Season.
Remember how I said the other day that Universal's Dune:
Extended Edition included both versions of the film at the
correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio... then said yesterday that the extended
version was actually 1.78:1? Yeah... call me an idiot, call me what you
will. I was right the first time. Both versions are anamorphic
widescreen at 2.35:1. And I know this because I've now watched nearly
the entire disc (a full review will be posted soon). What can I say...
musta had too much coffee yesterday or something. I've corrected my
Elsewhere around the site today, we've posted some new information in
Rumor Mill about the forthcoming DVD releases of Hostel,
Aeon Flux and Event
Horizon. Be sure to check that out.
We've also updated our recent
Bits Power Buy (in conjunction with Digital
Audio Video.com) with a special offer on Pioneer's Elite
VSX-74TXVi surround receiver - just $1050 delivered anywhere in the
domestic U.S. for readers of The Digital Bits.
Be sure to click on the link if you're interested.
Enjoy the rest of your day! Stay tuned...
We've got some interesting news to report this morning (though only one
of them is directly DVD related). But before we start with that, our own
Barrie Maxwell has checked in with
edition of his Classic Coming Attractions column today.
This time around, Barrie runs down the latest classic release
announcements, and reviews 11 new classic DVDs, including Image
Change Your Wife?/Miss Lulu Bett, 20th Century Fox's
Fighting Sullivans: Commemorative Edition, Paramount's
50th Anniversary Collection - Volumes 1 & 2 and
Five Pennies, Criterion's
Wild Bunch: The Original Director's Cut - Two-Disc Special Edition,
American Experience and Acorn Media's
War: Set 3. There's something there for everyone, so enjoy!
Now for that news. First up,
has agreed to purchase Pixar Animation Studios for a whopping $7.4
billion. As part of the deal, Steve Jobs will join the Disney corporate
board, and Pixar creative director John Lasseter will assume the role of
chief creative officer for the combined Disney and Pixar's animation
studios, as well as oversee the development of new Disney theme park
rides and attractions. John's a smart guy... maybe he'll do the right
thing and his first step will be to resurrect Disney's recently
deep-sixed traditional animation division (just a suggestion). A
genuinely cool overhaul of Tomorrowland (West) might be nice too...
Next up today, hot on the heels of the Viacom/CBS split, the new
Corporation and Warner Bros. have jointly announced plans to merge
their struggling UPN and The WB TV networks into a single new network,
The CW, starting this fall. The new network will be targeted toward
younger and minority viewers. How this will affect programing on each
network (shows like Smallville and
Veronica Mars) is still unclear,
however it's been suggested that the strongest shows from each will be
cherry-picked and moved to The CW. So I wonder what happens to the Star
Trek franchise in all this mess, given that Paramount's TV
division was absorbed into CBS and renamed CBS Paramount Television (and
Trek was carried with it)? Even the possibility of hip,
young Trek makes me want to gag...
shades of that aborted Starfleet Academy
TV series some to mind. Oh, how I long for the simpler days of Kirk and
I'm afraid there's a sad bit of news to report today:
Chris Penn has died. The younger brother of Sean Penn, he's
appeared in a number of films over the years, including Rumble
Fish, Rush Hour, Footloose
and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.
Chris was just 40 years old. He'll certainly be missed.
Also today, there's word that
Business is restructuring and shutting down its separate
Exclusive magazine. Sadly, as part of this process,
editor-in-chief Scott Hettrick and editor Carl DiOrio have "left
the publication." I've known Scott for quite a few years now, so
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish both he and Carl the very best
of luck and success in whatever they do next.
Now for a bit of actual DVD-related news: It seems that Lionsgate's new
Lord of War DVDs have been
released with anamorphic widescreen video at the rather surprising
aspect ratio of 1.78:1 - surprising because the film was released
theatrically at 2.40:1. We've contacted Lionsgate about this, based on
complaints from our readers, and have been told that the 1.78:1 ratio
was chosen by the film's production company. So it's not an error, but
rather was a deliberate decision, though we can't confirm whether or not
director Andrew Niccol was involved. Hopefully, that clears the issue
up... at least a little.
Speaking of Lionsgate, we've got official cover art for the studio's
forthcoming Speed Racer: Volume 4
(street date 3/14, SRP $22.98). It seems that the disc will include a
die-cast replica of the Mach V. Unfortunately, we still don't know if
it'll include all of the series' 16 remaining episodes, or what the
extras (if any) might be. We do, however, expect to know more soon. In
the meantime, here's the cover...
As you can see, we've also included cover art for Media Blasters'
absolutely bad-ass Zatoichi: The TV Series -
Volumes Two and Three
(street dates: 1/31 and 3/14 respectively), Sony's Blue
Thunder: Special Edition (4/4), Fox's 9
to 5: Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot Edition
(also 4/4) and Criterion's The Complete Mr.
While we're on the subject, Criterion has announced that they'll now be
releasing Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the
Pocket (cat # 333) on 4/25 (it had previously been expected
in March). Newly announced by Criterion, also for 4/25, is Louis Malle's
Elevator to the Gallows (#335).
Finally this morning, Disney has delayed the DVD release of the Crimson
Tide: Unrated & Extended Edition from 3/14 to 5/16. No
word as to why.
Okay, I think that's good enough for 3 AM government work. Time for me
to catch a few winks.
As always, stay tuned...
Here's a bit of high-def news (while, again, you wait for my CES report
to conclude) that's sure to set some early adopters into a tizzy: the
companies and studios behind the AACS (Advanced Access Content System)
copy protection scheme (that's going to be used on both Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD) have officially decided this week to require hardware
manufactures to prevent full 1080-line resolution video signals
(1920x1080) from being passed through unprotected analog outputs (read:
component connections). The decision as to whether or not to use the
restriction will be left up to the content providers and will be
triggered by a software flag on the discs on a case by case basis. What
this means, however, is that most movie discs are only going to be
displayed at full 1080 resolution through digital HDMI connections. If
you don't have HDMI on your HDTV or projector (we're not sure if
DVI-to-HDMI adapted connections will be affected), the best you'll be
able to see through your component cables is an electronically
down-converted 540 lines (960x540 lines). That's just a tad better than
regular DVD, which weighs in at 480-line resolution (720x480). We knew
this was coming, but still... ouch! The problem is that many early
adopters - the very folks these new formats are going to have to hit
with to succeed - have older displays that aren't equipped with HDMI
inputs (although most new HDTV and projectors sold now have them). You
can read more on this
at DVD Exclusive.
Here's the rub... while I know that this is going to piss many early
adopters off, I'm willing to bet my right arm that NOTHING is going to
make the Hollywood studios change their minds on this. Over the last
couple months, I've spoken privately with a number of highly-placed
studio execs on this subject, and nearly to a person they tell me that
there's no way the studios will go forward without this analog
restriction on the hardware. There are a couple of exceptions (Fox, for
example, has reportedly lobbied privately against the feature, and the
hardware manufacturers themselves are generally against it), but by and
large, the sense I get is that most of the studios would rather see
Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD wither and die on the vine (and stick with
regular DVD alone) than leave unprotected 1080 video signals on disc
open to casual digital pirates. Clearly, there's no way to stop the
organized, professional pirate - sooner or later they'll crack whatever
protection there is (or figure out a practical work-around). But
Hollywood seems DETERMINED to get the piracy genie back in the bottle,
and trust me when I say that they're not going to budge on this issue.
It just isn't going to happen. So while it yeah... it really sucks,
we're unfortunately either going to have to live with it or just not
upgrade to HD discs.
Anyway, I'll talk more about this issue soon. Commence the grumbling.
Moving on today... so, Universal's new Dune:
Extended Edition? Yeah, it's pretty decent. I just got my
hands on it this morning, and I haven't had the chance to go through it
all yet, but what I've seen so far is nice. It's not great, but this is
certainly the best treatment Uni's given the film to date. For the
record, yes... both the theatrical and extended editions on this disc
are presented in full anamorphic widescreen at the correct 2.35 aspect
ratio. Both look good and I think, probably because it's seen less wear
over the years, the extended edition actually looks better than the
theatrical cut. There's still visible dust and dirt on the print
(particularly the theatrical cut) but this film certainly looks better
than it ever has before at home - certainly on DVD. That's the good
news. The less good news is that while both cuts feature Dolby Digital
5.1 audio, it seems that Universal has dropped the DTS tracks they
originally announced. That's disappointing, but I can see why it was
done. It's pretty clear to me that including the DTS would have really
pushed the video compression. The film's the thing, so that's a
compromise I can accept.
The disc is DVD-18 (the theatrical cut and extras are on one side, and
the extended cut is on the other), so here's hoping that Universal's
gotten their DVD-18/QC bugs licked. For what it's worth, I haven't had
any trouble with it so far. All the extras are in full frame, but they
aren't coded as such, so my player/projector combination tries to
present them in anamorphic (like the menus and the film) and stretches
them out - a mild irritation. The extras, however, seem fairly
substantial. I'll post a full review soon, but you get decent featurette
looks at the production design, at the special effects, at the wardrobe
process and the miniatures. There's also about 14 minutes worth of
additional deleted scenes (in letterboxed widescreen and introduced by
producer Raffaella De Laurentiis), along with a nicely packed gallery of
production photos and artwork. It's well known that Lynch declined to
participate in this DVD release (Universal DID ask him), so don't look
for any interviews or commentary with him. Lynch does, however, feature
prominently in the photo gallery - there are lots of shots of him
working on set with the cast and crew. I even quite like the packaging
for this DVD. It's something I've never seen before - a solid yet thin
metal package, with plastic on the inside holding it together (so it
looks like a tin package when its closed, but it looks like a regular
keepcase open. Oh... you even get an insert booklet of sorts. One side
tells you about the extras, while the other side is a guide to the
terminology of the Dune universe.
Anyway, I've basically just written about half of my DVD review. But I
knew a lot of you were excited about this release, so I'm here to tell
you that you're going to be mostly happy with it. Again, I wish
Universal had simply done with Lynch's Dune
what they did with Gilliam's Brazil
years ago, and licensed the title to Criterion. The result would have
been a much more well-rounded special edition. This is decent, but it's
also sadly incomplete. There's really no discussion anywhere on the
troubled history of this film, or the politics, etc. That said, this is
far more special edition than I ever really expected Universal to
deliver for Dune, so my hats off
to those at the studio that championed this project. It's certainly long
overdue. FYI, the Dune: Extended Edition
streets on 1/31 (SRP $27.98). You can pre-order it
You know... now that there's a Dune
special edition out, I've got nothing to keep my mind off that
long-awaited, multi-disc Blade Runner
release that's languishing in political hell over at Warner. Ah well.
Changing gears for a moment, we've gotten confirmation from our sources
that Universal will street Peter Jackson's King
Kong on 3/28. Of course, this is unofficial (consider it Rumor
Mill worthy) until the studio announces it, which should
happen very soon. Also unofficial is a reported 4/4 street date for
Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia.
We expect an announcement soon on that as well.
In more official DVD news, Sony has revealed the following titles for
release on 4/4: Dirty, Dawson's
Creek: The Complete Sixth Season, The
Story of Qiu Ju, Thank God It's
Friday, a Blue Thunder: Special
Edition and a Pedro Almodovar
Classics Collection (including All
About My Mother, Bad Education,
Talk to Her and The
Flower of My Secret).
For those who are interested (and I know there are more than a few of
you out there), the Blue Thunder: Special
Edition (SRP $19.94) will include anamorphic widescreen
video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director John Badham
(with editor Frank Morriss and motion control supervisor Hoyt Yeatman),
the 3-part/45-minute Ride with the Angels:
Making Blue Thunder documentary (featuring all-new interviews
with Roy Scheider, John Badham, Dan O'Bannon and others), the 8-minute
The Special: Building Blue Thunder
featurette, an 8-minute vintage promotional featurette, storyboard
sequences and theatrical trailers. Blue
Thunder's a fun and oft overlooked little flick, so it's cool
to see it finally getting a some SE treatment.
'Nuff for now. Stay tuned!
Well... it's been an interesting weekend here in The OC. We've been
having these wicked Santa Ana winds since last night, and I'm surprised
our house is still standing. There are pieces of trees lying all over
the place, and the air's all dry and nasty. Monday is garbage collection
day here in Irvine, so last night I all put out our cans as usual...
only to wake up this morning to find that the garbage cans had blown all
over the street during the night. Sheesh.
Plus, I had a cool experience on Sunday. As I might have mentioned once
or twice in the past, I'm a bit of a spaceflight junkie. A friend of
mine here locally has been helping Gene Kranz sell a number of his
artifacts for charity lately. By way of reference, Gene is arguably the
most famous of NASA's original flight directors. He's the guy who was
played by Ed Harris in Apollo 13.
You know, the "We've never lost an American in space, we're sure as
hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option!"
guy. So anyway, my friend and I are talking, and he pulls out something
he's selling for Gene... and I'll be damned if it isn't one of Gene's
original Mission Control vests. Remember that scene in Apollo
13 where the other flight controllers are joking, "Looks
like Mrs. Kranz pulled out the old needle and thread again..." and
then Ed Harris pulls that white vest out of a box? That's what I'm
talking about. One of those. There are only like four that exist, one of
which is hanging in the Smithsonian. And I saw one of the other three in
person this weekend. I'll tell you, it was pretty damned cool for this
space junkie. FYI, if you're interested in such things, you can check
'em out here.
Anyway, we've got a bunch of new reviews for you to check out today
(whilst you continue to wait patiently for my CES wrap-up). First of
all, we've posted a new edition of Jahnke's The
Bottom Shelf column, entitled
& Roll All Night. In this installment, Adam reviews a trio
of recent music-related DVDs, including Factory 515's
Metal Parking Lot, Anchor Bay's AC/DC spectacular
and Shout! Factory's
Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons.
Also today, our own Peter Schorn checks in with a pair of DVD reviews,
including IFC and Capital Entertainment's recent
Attitude and a DVD blast from the past (literally) in the form
Our erstwhile team over at MusicTAP
adds to the review mayhem today as well, with a look at Virgin's
Pop: Live at The Avenue B, A&M's
Police: Synchronicity Concert (a recent favorite of mine) and
Holiday: The Ultimate Collection on DVD. They've also got a
trio of new high-resolution audio reviews for you, including Rhino's
Browne: Running on Empty (on DVD-Audio), Sony Classical's
Ma Plays Ennio Morricone (on SACD) and Mercury's
Jovi: Slippery When Wet (on DualDisc).
Elsewhere around the site today, we've updated the
Movies Release List to include Tim Burton's Planet
of the Apes, which is due on 3/28.
And around the Net, our friends over at
have some tentative information on the possibility of the animated
The Tick finally coming out on
DVD. Be sure to check that out.
We'll leave you with more new cover art today. Here's Anchor Bay's Free
Enterprise: Five-Year Mission Extended Edition (3/7), temp
art for Fox's Over There: Season One
(3/21) and also Fox's slipcase art for the Planet
of the Apes: The Legacy Collection (3/28)...
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
We've got some major release updates for you today.
First of all, we have the official skinny from 20th Century Fox on
their upcoming celebration of all things Planet
of the Apes on DVD. The centerpiece of the affair will be the
3/28 release of the 14-disc, THX-certified Planet
of the Apes: The Ultimate DVD Collection (SRP $179.98).
Here's a disc by disc list of the extras, as confirmed by the studio:
Disc One - Planet
of the Apes (1967 - anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby
Digital 5.1 & DTS 5.1 audio, audio commentary by composer Jerry
Goldsmith, commentary by actors Roddy McDowell, Natalie Trundy and Kim
Hunter, and make-up artist John Chambers, text commentary by Eric
Greene, author of Planet of the Apes as
American Myth) - note that this is the same as Disc One from
the 35th Anniversary Edition.
Disc Two - Planet
of the Apes Bonus Disc (includes the 1998 Behind
the Planet of the Apes documentary, trailers for all of the
classic Apes films, promo spots, a
make-up test with Edward G. Robinson from 1966, Roddy McDowall's
original home movies, dailies and outtakes, the 1967 N.A.T.O.
presentation, 4 vintage featurettes (Planet
of the Apes, A Look Behind the
Planet of the Apes, Don Taylor
Directs Escape from the Planet of the Apes and J.
Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes),
original film reviews and galleries of poster art, production photos and
costume sketches) - note that this is the same as Disc Two from the 35th
Anniversary Edition and is also the same basic content as was
included on Image Entertainment's Behind the
Planet of the Apes: Special Collector's Edition.
Disc Three - Beneath
the Planet of the Apes (1970 - newly remastered in anamorphic
widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus a cast page,
theatrical trailers for this and all of the other Apes
films and a behind-the-scenes photo gallery) - same extras as on the
Disc Four - Escape
from the Planet of the Apes (1971 - newly remastered in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus a cast
page, theatrical trailers for this and all of the other Apes
films and the Don Taylor Directs Escape from
the Planet of the Apes featurette).
Disc Five - Conquest
of the Planet of the Apes (1972 - newly remastered in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus a cast
page, theatrical trailers for this and all of the other Apes
films and the J. Lee Thompson Directs
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes featurette).
Disc Six - Battle
for the Planet of the Apes (1973 - newly remastered in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus a cast
page, theatrical trailers for this and all of the other Apes
films and the Fox Interactive's Behind the
Scenes of the Planet of the Apes videogame promo).
Discs Seven-Ten - Planet
of the Apes: The Complete TV Series (1974 - includes all 14
episodes in the original full frame video with Dolby Digital mono audio,
plus photo galleries and TV spots) - this is basically the same as the
previous 4-disc DVD release of the TV series, but the photo galleries
and TV spots are new to this edition.
Discs Eleven-Twelve - Return
to the Planet of the Apes: The Complete Animated Series (1975
- includes all 13 episodes in their original full frame video with Dolby
Digital mono audio).
Disc Thirteen - Tim Burton's Planet
of the Apes (2001 - anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby
Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio, plus extras) - note that this is
identical to Disc One of the previous DVD release of this film.
Disc Fourteen - Tim Burton's Planet
of the Apes Bonus Disc (with additional extras) - note that
this is identical to Disc Two of the previous DVD release of this film.
As you can see, what's new in The Ultimate
DVD Collection are the new anamorphic transfers of the four
classic Apes films that have
previously been available in letterboxed widecreen only, along with the
complete animated TV series (its first appearance on DVD and exclusive
to The Ultimate DVD Collection)
and a couple new extras on the 1974 live-action TV series. All of this
comes with a special "ape" display case designed to replicate
the original mask designs from the classic films. This is the kind of
packaging that Fox has previously released in Japan only (with I,
Robot and The Alien Quadrilogy),
so you've got to at least give the studio credit for making it available
to U.S. fans as well (expensive though it is). Here's a picture of the
For those not quite ready to part with $180, Fox is also releasing a
6-disc Planet of the Apes: The Legacy Boxset
(SRP $49.98), which will include all five of the original Apes
films, along with a bonus disc containing the Behind
the Planet of the Apes documentary, trailers for all of the
other Apes films and the Fox Interactive's
Behind the Scenes of the Planet of the Apes videogame promo.
We believe the classic films will all be the newly remastered anamorphic
And for those simply wanting to add the later films to their libraries
in better quality one at a time, Battle for
the Planet of the Apes, Beneath
the Planet of the Apes, Conquest
of Planet of the Apes and Escape
from the Planet of the Apes will all be re-released as
stand-alone versions on 3/28 as well (SRP $14.98 each). These will each
be the same as the movie discs contained in The
Ultimate Collection, with newly remastered anamorphic
widescreen video and the same extras.
Finally, just for kicks, Fox will release Tim Burton's Planet
of the Apes on UMD format for Sony's PSP on 3/28 as well (SRP
Moving on, we have release details today on Disney's Chicken
Little, due to street on 3/21 (SRP $29.99). The disc will
include anamorphic widescreen video (mastered directly from the digital
animation files) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include
deleted scenes with 3 alternate openings, the Hatching
Chicken Little featurette, an interactive game, music videos
by The Cheetah Girls and Barenaked Ladies, a Karaoke sing-along and
While we're talking about upcoming DVD releases, we've got some
information from our sources on what to expect on Fox's Walk
the Line here at the site today, as well as an update on what
the deal is with all of those David E. Kelley TV shows eventually coming
to DVD (think Boston Legal, Ally
McBeal, Boston Public,
Snoops and The
Practice). You'll find that in
Rumor Mill, so be sure to check it out.
Here's another look at the box art for Fox's Ultimate
Apes release, along with Disney's Chicken
Little and the regular edition of The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
(TBA - tentative street date 4/4), and Sony's Capote
(3/21), The Squid and the Whale: Special
Edition (also 3/21) and I Dream of
Jeannie: The Complete First Season - In Black & White
I'm not going to mention my CES report again, I'm just going to
surprise you with it. But watch for it very soon - it IS coming.
Meanwhile, have a great weekend! Enjoy some playoff football, or maybe
go catch Terrence Malick's new flick, The New
World. I hear it's worth seeing...
Well... as luck would have it, I'm still waiting on a couple of files
for my CES report. I was supposed to get them today, and now I'm hoping
to get them in tomorrow. If I haven't gotten them by tomorrow afternoon,
I'll go ahead and post the report without them and just add the files
later. What can I say, this is a lot of work! But you already knew that,
In the meantime, Adam's checked in with
Electric Theatre #24, in which you'll find his thoughts on
New World, The Family Stone,
The Ringer, Wolf
Creek and more recent films. You'll also find Adam's year-end
#1, in which he looks back and makes his picks for the best,
and the worst, films of 2005. It's definitely worth a look. Young master
Jahnke sees a LOT of films he does.
Rumor Mill today with a few new expected release dates for
upcoming titles including Memoirs of a Geisha,
so be sure to check that out.
We've got a bit more DVD release news for you as well. First of all,
Disney has unveiled the list of extras you'll find on their Lady
and the Tramp: 50th Anniversary Edition, due on 2/28 (SRP
$29.99). The 2-disc set will include the film in both anamorphic
widescreen and full frame, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will
include two never-before-seen deleted scenes, the original 1943
storyboard version of the film, a rare alternate recording of The
Siamese Cat Song, the Finding
Lady: The Art of Storyboards and Lady's
Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp documentaries,
artwork galleries, original trailers, excepts from the Disneyland
TV series, interactive games and more.
Warner has also released details on the extras to be found on the
forthcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire: Special Edition (3/7 - SRP $30.97). This will be a
2-disc set (FYI, single-disc versions will also be available for $28.98
in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen). The 2-disc version will
include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio, deleted scenes, 7 featurettes (including Conversations
with the Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson,
Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task,
In Too Deep: The Second Task, The
Maze: The Third Task, Meet the
Champions, He Who Must Not Be
Named and Preparing for the Yule
Ball), several interactive games and DVD-ROM features
(including an EA game demo).
Warner also has Knots Landing: The Complete
First Season and Robot Chicken:
Season One due on 3/28. And here's a bit of good news... the
studio is finally releasing a decent DVD version of Rob Reiner's The
American President on 4/18. There won't be much in the way of
extras, but the new DVD will at least include both full frame and
newly-remastered anamorphic widescreen video (the previous DVD release
was non-anamorphic letterbox only). Audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1 and
2.0. To make up for the lack of extras, the SRP is just $12.76. Nice.
Meanwhile, Universal has announced The Cecil
B. DeMille Collection for 5/23 (SRP $59.98). The collection
will include Cleopatra, The
Crusades, Four Frightened People,
Sign of the Cross and Union
Pacific, all in their original full frame aspect ratios.
Universal has also announced the 4/25 DVD release of Law
& Order: Trial by Jury - The Complete Series (SRP
$59.98), along with The Adventures of Brer
Rabbit on 3/21 (SRP $22.98) and the R-rated theatrical
version of The 40-Year-Old Virgin
on 1/24 (SRP $29.98).
Sony has set The Cutting Edge: Going for the
Gold, G (2005), a G/You
Got Served 2-pack, Dark Kingdom:
The Dragon King - Special Edition, Godzilla:
The Series - Monster Mayhem, Godzilla:
The Series - Mutant Madness, a new Godzilla:
Special Edition (the Roland Emmerich film), and a Left
Behind Collection 3-pack (including Left
Behind: The Movie, Left Behind:
Tribulation and Left Behind: World
at War) all for release on 3/28.
And New Line has announced Cyber Wars
and Puerto Vallarta Squeeze for
We'll leave you this morning with some new DVD cover artwork. Here's a
sneak peek at Disney's The Chronicles of
Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Special Two-Disc
Collector's Edition (TBA), Universal's The
Cecil B. DeMille Collection, Warner's The
American President, Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire: Special Edition and Robot
Chicken: Season One, and finally Paramount's South
Park: The Complete Seventh Season (3/21)...
By the way, with all the hubbub around here, I missed posting this
yesterday. We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge
passing of actress Shelly Winters on Saturday. Winters starred in
many films during her long career, including The
Diary of Anne Frank, Alfie,
Pete's Dragon, The
Poseidon Adventure, Stanley Kubrick's Lolita
and A Place in the Sun. She was
And for those of you who care about such things (though I must admit
our own interest is waning),
Golden Globe winners were announced on Monday night. Ang Lee's
Brokeback Mountain won the Best
Picture - Drama category, making it an early favorite for the Oscar. Or
so they say.
As promised, we've begun to post our coverage from CES 2006 today.
We're starting this morning with
in-depth interview with Andy Parsons, senior vice president of
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., about his company's Blu-ray Disc plans
for the year ahead. Our
2006 Image Gallery is online as well, as you already know.
Later this afternoon, from
main CES 2006 menu, you'll be able to access my full show report,
including my thoughts on the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD announcements and
developments from the convention. So be sure to watch for that later
Meanwhile this morning, we've got more standard DVD news. We've been
looking into this for a while now, and we expect to have some official
details for you in the next couple of days. But we've been told by
representatives of the studio that Lionsgate will be releasing the next
volume of Speed Racer animated
episodes on DVD on 3/14 (SRP $22.98). This will be Volume
4 of the series on DVD. Given that there's only 16 episodes
of the series left to be released, we suspect that all of the remaining
episodes will be included. We're still waiting for confirmation on this,
but you can already
this release at Amazon.com. We'll bring you the exact details as
they come in from the studio.
In other DVD news, Sony has moved the release dates for Capote
and The Squid and the Whale: Special Edition
from 3/14 to 3/21. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Also today, our old friend Robert Burnett has let us know that his
long-awaited Free Enterprise: Extended "Five
Year Mission" Edition will finally be released by Anchor
Bay on 3/7. The 2-disc set will feature the film in a new Divimax
anamorphic widescreen transfer with 6 minutes of added footage. Audio
will be included in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras on Disc One will include
two new commentary tracks (the first with writer/producer Mark A. Altman
and director Burnett, and the second with stars William Shatner, Eric
McCormack and Rafer Weigel along with Burnett). Disc Two will add the
now 20-minute longer documentary, Where No
Fan Has Gone Before: Making Free Enterprise - The Atavachron Edition,
featuring never-before-seen deleted scenes, extended takes, bloopers and
interview material. Additional extras will include still more deleted
scenes and the unaired television pilot Cafe
Fantastique. You'll also get a 10-page booklet of liner
We have more to report today on that 14-disc Planet
of the Apes: Ultimate DVD Collection from Fox as well. First
of all, it's looking as if the street date has been moved up from 4/4 to
3/28, allowing the release to coincide better with the DVD debut of
Universal's new King Kong (in
keeping with the "ape" theme). FYI,
can now pre-order the Ultimate Collection from Amazon.com as
well. The best news is that all of the previously released classic
Apes films have been remastered in
full anamorphic widescreen video, and will now feature remastered Dolby
Digital 5.1 soundtracks. Our friends over at
who as you might expect are excited over the release's inclusion of the
1975 animated series, have posted a disc-by-disc list of the set's
expected contents. Just keep in mind that these details are not yet
officially confirmed by Fox, so consider them Rumor
Mill-worthy for the time being.
Elsewhere here at The Bits today,
we've updated our
Movie Release List with a few new titles.
And finally, we've kicked off a whopping SEVEN new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
of Superman: The Complete Second Season,
Clark: The Complete Second Season and
Peckinpah Collection, SIGNED copies of WEA's
Behrendt is Uncool, Anchor Bay's
1984: Special Edition, the BBC's
The Old Grey
Whistle Test, Volume 2, Universal's
of the Pink Panther, and
a set of five
catalog titles from Fox including Pinky,
Stormy Weather, Island
in the Sun, American Women
and An Unmarried Woman. All of
these contests will run for TWO WEEKS, until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday,
January 29th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Okay, that's it for this morning. I don't even have time to get into
all the great playoff football action from this weekend (the two
favorites for the Super Bowl are now out of the mix - who-da thunk it?),
much less the awesome debut of the new season of 24
on Fox Sunday night (ol' Jack's back with a vengeance, let me tell you)!
Not enough hours in the day. Or week. Or year. D'oh!
Anyway, enjoy that interview and we'll catch you back here later with
(LATE UPDATE - 1/13/06 -
4:30 PM PST)
Some last big news for the week: 20th Century Fox has just announced a
pair of massive new DVD box sets for release in April, plus an
additional pair of very cool DVD gift sets.
First up is the long-awaited Mel Brooks
Boxset Collection (due 4/4 - SRP $99.98), which will include
High Anxiety, History
of the World, Part I, Blazing
Saddles (in conjunction with Warner Bros), Robin
Hood Men in Tights, Silent Movie,
To Be or Not to Be, Twelve
Chairs and Young Frankenstein!
We're still working to confirm this, but we believe each title will
feature anamorphic widescreen transfers. Extras are expected to include
theatrical trailers, HBO specials and other featurettes on select
titles, audio commentary by Brooks on select titles and more. We'll post
a confirmed spec list when we have it.
Fox also has planned a 14-disc Planet of the
Apes: Ultimate DVD Collection (SRP $179.98) for release on
4/4, which will include all 5 classic Apes
feature films, the complete Planet of the
Apes TV series, the 2001 Tim Burton remake and the
never-before-released Return to the Planet of
the Apes NBC cartoon series from 1975, along with the Behind
the Planet of the Apes documentary and an additional disc of
bonus content. You can read a little more about this from our friends
over at TVShowsonDVD.com.
In addition, Fox will release a Laurel and
Hardy Giftset on 4/11 (SRP $34.98), that will include Big
Noise, Great Guns and
Jitterbugs, plus extras.
There's also a Robert Altman Collection
due on 4/25 (SRP $39.98) that will include M*A*S*H
(a single-disc edition), A Perfect Couple,
Quintet and A
All of this is in addition to Fox's just announced Be
Still, Bee Season, Little
Manhattan, 9 to 5: Sexist,
Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot Edition and The
World's Greatest Lover (4/4), The
Bob Newhart Show: Season 3, In
Living Color: Season 5, Stay
and Woman Thou Art Loosed: Collector's
Edition (4/11), Mercenary for
Justice and Remington Steele:
Season 3 (4/18) and Reba: Season 3
and American Dad: Volume 1 (4/25).
Okay... that's all for now. Have a great weekend and see you Tuesday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/13/06 -
3 PM PST)
Is it Friday already? Sheeh, time does fly when you're working
We've got a couple interesting things for you today. First, if you
Rumor Mill this afternoon, you just might find a little bit of
information on Fox's currently-in-planning DVD release of Ridley Scott's
Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut.
Also, we've got a new
Bits Power Buy up in conjunction with our friends over at Digital
Audio Video.com. We're offering exclusive pricing for Bits
readers on Pioneer's Elite DV-79AVi DVD player. Believe me, this is an
awesome unit - one of the best DVD players you can currently get your
hands on - so do check it out.
Now then... we've got a little new cover art for you to check out
today. Here's Paramount's Aeon Flux: Special
Collector's Edition (4/24), Fox's Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea: Season One, Volume One (2/21) and
Lionsgate's Ultimate Avengers: The Movie
And since I know we've got a lot of superhero fans out there, here's an
exclusive look at some of the menus screens for Ultimate
Avengers: The Movie while we're at it...
FYI... I'm targeting Tuesday for posting all our long-awaited CES
high-def coverage. Trust me, it'll be worth it. I'm waiting on a few
files to be sent from some of the corporate parties involved - cool
stuff for you to see. I've been working all week to cut through the
bureaucracy to get them, but I don't expect them until early Tuesday
morning. Plus, Monday is a work holiday for many here in the States,
which complicates things. If I can get the coverage up earlier, I
definitely will. You guys have been patient long enough! Besides, we
need to get all this HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc coverage out of the way so
we can start posting the backlog of other content we have for the site.
We've got new columns from Adam and Todd on the way, along with a number
of new DVD reviews and lots more.
So y'all have yourselves a great weekend and we'll see you Tuesday!
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