-Website est. 12/15/97-
(Archived Posts 9/5/06 - 8/15/06)
to Previous Archives
to Current Posts
Morning, folks. First thing's first. We want to take a moment to
passing of Steve Irwin, a.k.a. The Croc Hunter, this weekend down
in Australia. His death while filming a nature documentary was just a
fluke one-in-a-million thing, and it's really a shame to lose someone
who cared as much about preserving nature and wildlife as he did, not to
mention someone so young (he was just 44). Anyone who ever watched
TV series on The Discovery Channel or Animal Planet was struck by
his enthusiasm and engaging personality, and if his daring exploits
didn't get you, his boisterous "Crikey!" probably did. Khaki's
the new black, at least for today. Our hats off to you, mate.
Now then... there's some big DVD news today. Sony has officially
announced the 11/14 DVD release of The Da
Vinci Code, in separate 2-disc full frame and anamorphic
widescreen editions (SRP $29.96 each). Each will feature more than 90
minutes worth of extras. A gift set will also be available that day (SRP
$80.95), as will a UMD version. The gift set will include the DVD along
with a working replica of the "cryptex" prop and a replica of
Langdon's journal from the film. Oddly, there is as yet no Blu-ray Disc
version announced, though we don't expect that to remain the case for
long (we're guessing they're working on more advanced BD-Java features
for the release). The 90 minutes worth of extras were all shot in
high-definition, so expect them to be presented in 1080p on the Blu-ray
Disc when it IS finally revealed.
In other news today, Classic Media has announced the release of The
Dick Tracy Show: The Complete Animated Crime Series on 9/26.
The 4-disc set will include every episode of the classic 1960s series in
the original full frame.
Also, Warner Bros. has finally revealed the 11/28 release of Superman:
The Theatrical Serials Collection, tied no doubt to the
soon-to-be-announced release of Superman
Returns. The 4-disc set will contain both the 1948 and 1950
serials starring Kirk Alyn (SRP $39.98).
Around The Bits today, we've
kicked off SEVEN new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
The Complete First Season,
Flintstones: The Complete Sixth Season and
The Complete Second Season, the BBC's
Complete Season One, TimeLife's
Couple: Season One, and IFC Film's
Jim. These contests will run ONE week, until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, September 10th. We're also giving you the chance to win copies
of Criterion's awesome new DVD editions of
The Criterion contests will run TWO weeks, until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, September 17th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Finally today, saving the best for last, we're pleased to bring you the
latest installment of Barrie Maxwell's
Coming Attractions column, featuring reviews of Universal's
Indemnity: Legacy Series, Warner's
Prix: Special Edition and
Noir Classic Collection, Volume 3 (5 films), Fox's
Clark Gable Collection (3 films), Grapevine Video's
of Bing Crosby (4 films), Paramount's
Mason: Season 1, Volume 1 and Acorn Media's
Set 1. As usual, Barrie also runs down the latest classic
And we'll leave you with a bit of new DVD cover art this morning.
Here's Warner's Superman: The Theatrical
Serials Collection and the HD-DVD release of The
Adventures of Robin Hood (9/26), along with Sony's An
Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (11/7)...
Enjoy Barrie's column, and stay tuned...
Today's post is going to be a fairly quick one. It's been a very busy
week... and Sarah and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary today. So
you know... priorities.
First up today, there's something I wanted to mention before I talk
about other subjects: I've just gotten the chance to see Warner's newly
remastered Blade Runner DVD... and
let me tell you, if you love this film even half as much as we do, the
new disc is an absolute MUST have. The new transfer makes the original
DVD - which was one of the very first discs Warner ever released back in
March of 1997 - look like dog chow by comparison. Contrast, color,
detail... all are dramatically improved with the new anamorphic
transfer. Like the first DVD, the newly remastered disc is the 1992
Director's Cut and it's movie-only. As a new multi-disc Blade
Runner special edition DVD box set is already planned by
Warner for release next year (to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary),
this remastered DVD is only going to be available for four months. But
it retails for just $19.98 (it's
on sale at Amazon for just $13.99) and like I said... if you're
really a fan and you've been living with the crappy original DVD
release, that's a small price to pay for a much better transfer to hold
you over until the box set next year. The DVD street date has been moved
up by Warner to this coming Tuesday (9/5) from the original 9/12 street
date, so when you're out buying your DVDs next week definitely keep it
Around here at The Bits today,
we're pleased to being you the latest installment of our own Adam
Jahnke's much loved
Electric Theatre. Sadly, it's also going to be the last
installment for a while. Adam's got a lot of things on his plate at the
moment - stuff that's going to demand all of his attention for a while.
But don't worry... he'll be back again later in 2006. On a related note,
however, all of us here at The Bits
want to take a moment to honor the passing of one of our own unsung
feline staffers... Adam's pal, DVD review assistant, long-time boon
companion and all-around friend, Chris Jahnke. When you spend as much
time as we do reviewing films and DVDs... and sitting at the computer
writing up your thoughts on them... well, you'd be surprised the
difference your animals make in the process. They're always right there
beside you on the couch, or draped across your computer keyboard for
moral support. Sarah and I, Todd, Matt... we're all very attached to our
animals, so we know how hard it is to lose them. Our heartfelt
sympathies to Adam and his wife Tisha for the loss of their friend.
Okay... some news: Warner Bros. has just announced that they'll debut
15 HD-DVD titles for release in France, Germany, Spain and the UK later
in 2006. Among the expected titles are Rumor
Has It, Constantine,
and Lethal Weapon. The exact dates
are TBA, but the release is expected to coincide with the availability
of the first HD-DVD players in the European market. Also expected are a
large slate of Blu-ray Disc titles as well (timed to coincide with the
first European BD players) including Firewall,
Metal Jacket, Training Day
and Space Cowboys. Additional
details will follow in the weeks ahead.
Fox has announced a few more new DVD releases for November. On 11/7,
look for a Carousel: 50th Anniversary Edition,
The King and I: 50th Anniversary Edition
and a South Pacific: Collector's Edition.
All three are new 2-disc sets with extensive extras (SRP $26.98 each). A
Rodgers & Hammerstein Box Set Collection
of all three of these titles, along with the 2-disc SEs of Oklahoma!,
The Sound of Music and State
Fair, will be available on 11/7 as well (SRP $99.98).
Meanwhile, Criterion has just announced the 10/24 release of a
spectacular new 50-film collector's book/DVD box set combination,
entitled Essential Art House: 50 Years of
Janus Films. Carrying a whopping $650 price tag, the set will
include the Criterion DVDs of Alexander
Nevsky (1938), Ashes and Diamonds
(1858), L'Avventura (1960), Ballad
of a Soldier (1959), Beauty and
the Beast (1946), Black Orpheus
(1959), Brief Encounter (1945),
The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires
on the Plain (1959), Fists in the
Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds
(1959), Forbidden Games (1952),
The 400 Blows (1959), Grand
Illusion (1937), Häxan
(1922), Ikiru (1952), The
Importance of Being Ernest (1952), Ivan
the Terrible, Part II (1958), Le
Jour se léve (1939), Jules
and Jim (1962), Kind Hearts and
Coronets (1949), Knife in the
Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes
(1938), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
(1943), Loves of a Blonde (1965),
M (1931), M.
Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie
(1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé
le Moko (1937), Il Posto
(1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon
(1950), Richard III (1955), The
Rules of the Game (1939), Seven
Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal
(1957), The Spirit of the Beehive
(1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime
(1955), The Third Man (1949), The
39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu
(1953), Umberto D. (1952), The
Virgin Spring (1960), Virigiana
(1961), The Wages of Fear (1953),
The White Sheik (1952), Wild
Strawberries (1957), The Great
Chase (1962), The Love Goddess
(1965) and Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist
(1979). Whew! Also included in the box will be "a
lavishly illustrated hardcover book that tells the story of Janus Films
through an essay by film historian Peter Cowie, a tribute from Martin
Scorsese, and all new extensive notes on all fifty films, plus cast and
credit listings and U.S. premiere information." That is one
HELLUVA great classic film collection. Very nice indeed.
In other news today, BCI is launching a new label for DVD releases,
called the Deimos Brand, which will focus on classic horror, cult and
sci-fi DVD releases. These will include such new and upcoming titles as
the Crypt of Terror, The
Spanish Horror Collection, Galaxina,
Don't Answer the Phone and The
Starlite Drive-In Theater series.
Also, Sony will be releasing the comedy Bottoms
Up on DVD on 9/13 (SRP $24.96), for those of you who can't
get enough of Paris Hilton and Jason Mewes (of Clerks
fame). Paris... you know... like "cried" when she heard her
own new album. 'Nuff said.
Those of you who are interested in what the newly-enhanced Star
Trek episodes MIGHT look like, will be interested to check
out the Trek
Enhanced website, created by CG artist Daren Dochterman. Daren
was one of the talented people who worked on the new effects for the
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Special
Collector's Edition DVD release a few years ago. Sadly, Daren
is NOT involved in CBS' new effort to upgrade The
Original Series (he has a statement up on his website to that
effect)... and we think that's too bad given how awesome the enhanced
clips that he created look (from the episode The
Doomsday Machine). In any case, his site is well worth
Finally today, we want to take a moment to acknowledge
passing of actor Glenn Ford earlier this week, at the age of 90.
His list of film work is long and legendary, from The
Blackboard Jungle, Gilda
and The Big Heat to Cimarron,
Midway and, of course, the 1978
Superman. You'll even find his
picture (as Pa Kent) in a frame on the shelf of Clark Kent's Smallville
home in Bryan Singer's recent Superman
Returns. He will surely be missed.
Okay... we'll be back on Tuesday, after the Labor Day holiday, with
that new column from Barrie Maxwell we promised a couple days ago
(before it got delayed by all the high-def news). We should have a cover
art update next week, a new column from Todd Doogan, and I'll have some
new disc reviews too - DVD and HD if all goes well. So have a great long
weekend and we'll see you then!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/31/06 -
11 AM PDT)
So what do you know? There's more big high-definition news today. 20th
Century Fox has finally, officially unveiled their first batch of
Blu-ray Disc titles, timed to coincide roughly with the November release
of Sony's BD-equipped PlayStation 3 game system (which, believe it or
not, sources are telling us may be the best and most fully-tested and
functional BD player on the market initially). Fox has also unveiled
it's first Blu-ray titles distributed for MGM. The Fox titles include
Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven Director's
Cut (with audio commentary and other select features TBA),
Behind Enemy Lines (with audio
commentaries and trailers), Fantastic Four
(with audio commentaries and trailers), Kiss
of the Dragon (with audio commentaries and trailers), The
Omen (2006 - with audio commentary, featurettes, extended
scenes and BD-Java features including a pop-up trivia track), The
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (with audio commentaries
and trailers, as well as BD-Java features including special search
options, an animated pop-up trivia track and a first-person shooter
game), Speed (with audio
commentary, trailers and BD-Java features including a pop-up trivia
track, an interactive game and special scene selection options) and The
Transporter (with audio commentary and trailers) all on
11/14. Kingdom of Heaven will be
released on the dual-layered 50 GB BD-ROM discs (and may be the first
such title, depending on Sony's TBA release plans). Ice
Age: The Meltdown follows on 11/21, day-and-date with
standard DVD (extras will include commentaries, featurettes, animated
shorts and the No Time for Nuts
shot in high-def). All of Fox's titles will sell for SRP $39.98. All
will include DTS HD Lossless Master audio, and some (Behind
Enemy Lines, The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen and Speed)
will be presented using the AVC (MPEG-4) video codec. The MGM titles
that Fox has revealed include The Usual
Suspects and Windtalkers
on 11/28 and Rocky and Bulletproof
Monk on 12/5. Our
Release List has been updated accordingly with all of this
news. You can read more
Also today, here's the text of CBS Paramount Domestic Television's
official press release on the Star Trek
"Hollywood, Calif. -- STAR TREK is getting a
21st century makeover. CBS Paramount Domestic Television is releasing
digitally remastered episodes of the iconic 1960s sci-fi series, with
all new special effects and music, to celebrate the groundbreaking
series' 40th anniversary, it was announced today by John Nogawski,
president of CBS Paramount Domestic Television.
The new episodes also mark the first time in 16 years that the original
STAR TREK series can be seen in broadcast syndication. The episodes will
begin airing on the more than 200 stations that own the rights to the
weekend broadcast syndication window starting Sept. 16 (check local
listings for station and dates). All 79 episodes of the original STAR
TREK series will eventually be remastered, with the first batch of
episodes chosen from a list of STAR TREK fans' favorite shows.
"STAR TREK redefined science-fiction and constantly pushed the
envelope with concepts that were ahead of their time," Nogawski
said. "By giving the series a digital upgrade using the best
technology available today, it will continue to be a leader in
cutting-edge television programming as we introduce the series to a new
generation of viewers."
The most noticeable change will be redoing many of the special effects,
created with 1960s technology, with 21st century computer-generated
imagery (CGI). That includes:
Space ship exteriors -- The space ship Enterprise, as well as
other Starships, will be replaced with state of the art CGI-created
ships. The new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact
measurements of the original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C.
Show opening -- The Enterprise and planets seen in the main
title sequence will be redone, giving them depth and dimension for the
Galaxy shots -- All the graphics of the galaxy, so frequently
seen through the window on the Enterprise's bridge, will be redone.
Exteriors -- The battle scenes, planets and ships from other
cultures (notably the Romulan Bird of Prey and Klingon Battle Cruisers)
will be updated.
Background scenes -- Some of the iconic, yet flat, matte
paintings used as backdrops for the strange, new worlds explored by the
Enterprise crew will get a CGI face-lift, adding atmosphere and
The refurbished episodes also feature higher quality sound for the
famous opening theme. The original score by Emmy Award-winning composer
Alexander Courage has been re-recorded in state-of-the-art digital
stereo audio with an orchestra and a female singer belting out the
famous vocals. A digitally remastered version of William Shatner's
classic original recording of the 38-word "Space, the final
" monologue continues to open each episode.
The remastered episodes have been converted from the original film into
a High-Definition format, which gives viewers a clearer, crisper, more
vibrant picture than before, even when viewed in standard definition.
Once stations upgrade and start broadcasting HD signals, the episodes
will be all ready for viewers to enjoy in HD."
So there you go. Busy day!
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE -
8/31/06 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Well... it's the real deal, folks.
first reported in The Rumor Mill the other day, and as was
further confirmed by
CBS has just
informed TV Guide's Insider that all 79 episodes
of Gene Roddenberry's classic Star Trek: The
Original Series are being given a special effects upgrade
with new CG effects. Longtime Trek
veterans Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda and David Rossi are apparently
involved in the process to ensure that this is a class effort, as
opposed to some kind of 'Where's Jar-Jar' operation. Says Mike in the
"We're taking great pains to respect the
integrity and style of the original. Our goal is to always ask
ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today's technology?"
The ships will now have more detail, backgrounds will be more lively
with people and activity, landscapes will now feature moving clouds,
etc. The show's opening will be overhauled too, and the theme music has
been re-recorded with a larger orchestra. What's more, technical goofs
in the original production will apparently be fixed. Click
on the image below) for the article. We expect additional details to be
announced by CBS shortly. As we anticipated, all of this work is being
done in HD resolution (so they will likely EVENTUALLY be released on one
or both of the high-def disc formats, though there are no official plans
as yet). Our understanding is that the new "upgraded" episodes
are part of a new syndication package to broadcast stations. The
episodes are being upgraded one per week, and are being done out of
order for some reason. The first upgraded ep, Balance
of Terror, will apparently debut via broadcast syndication HD
on 9/16. Consult your local listings. In the meantime, here's a look at
the new CG Enterprise model...
Crazy, huh? Like I said in The Rumor Mill
the other day, this is a pretty cool idea... in principle. We're very
cautiously excited here at The Bits,
but we'll reserve judgement until we see the final result. See? Told you
this was happening.
We're sure glad the Okudas are involved. That's reassuring at least.
Mike's been a busy boy lately... he also recently designed the new
Project Orion logo
NASA just unveiled for its new manned return to the Moon effort,
and eventually manned flights to Mars (get your official patches
folks). Looks great, Mike! Boldly go, indeed. Nice work.
Wow... have we been busy here at The Bits
these last few days! There's tons of stuff going on behind-the-scenes
around here. We made a trip up to Hollywood yesterday, and spent the
whole day discussing the new high-definition formats with a major
studio. We can't tell you any more details than that, unfortunately, but
I think you'll be pleased to know that at least some of the studios are
very interested in getting feedback about their high-def plans. We were
very careful to let them know what we've been hearing from all of you on
the subject. So know that your voice IS being heard. We should also
mention that Sony is reporting to us (in light of
from last Friday) that the issues with regard to hardware
compatibility with the new 50 GB BD-ROM discs has been (or is being)
resolved as well. So good news for you Blu-ray fans out there. We're
going to be visiting Sony in the near future to learn more on this, so
stay tuned for that.
In addition, we've been on the phone a lot in the last couple days,
talking about other recent DVD news developments with our industry
sources. There's never a dull moment around here, I'll tell you!
The big news today is that Warner has just announced the release of TEN
new high-definition catalog titles on 9/26. Debuting on Blu-ray Disc on
that day from the studio will be Tim Burton's
Corpse Bride, Swordfish,
Space Cowboys, Lethal
Weapon 2, The Fugitive
and House of Wax. Meanwhile, the
studio will release The Dirty Dozen,
Grand Prix, Terminator
3: Rise of the Machines and The
Adventures of Robin Hood on HD-DVD. All of these titles will
SRP for $28.99. All of the standard-definition DVD features will be
included on the high-def versions. We've updated the
Release List accordingly. Boy... can't WAIT to see how good
The Adventures of Robin Hood might
look in high-def.
Also set for regular DVD release today by Universal is After
the Rain. It's due on 12/5.
Finally this morning, this would normally go in The
Rumor Mill, so quality it accordingly: Our retail sources are
now telling us to expect Paramount's An
Inconvenient Truth on 11/21 (we'd previously heard 10/3).
Speaking of The Rumor Mill, the
website has posted some independent confirmation of that Star
Trek: The Original Series information
the other day. Do check it out. We're hearing that CBS and
Paramount might make some kind of official announcement soon.
Back with a new column from Barrie Maxwell tomorrow. Stay tuned...
We've got more new DVD release announcements for you this morning...
First, Sony has announced the 11/7 release of Battle
of the Brave, the 2-disc An
Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder, an Evening
with Kevin Smith 1 & 2 2-pack and Little
TV spy series fans will be pleased to hear that CBS and Paramount have
set the classic Mission: Impossible: The
Complete First Season for release on 12/5 (Awesome!). The
7-disc set will include 28 uncut episodes in the original full frame
video with audio in remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original Mono. A
5-disc Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Complete
First Season follows on 12/12 (Also awesome!). So
NoTorious: The Complete First Season is due on 11/21 (Much
less awesome!). Finally, the mountain will deliver VH-1's Totally
Awesome on 11/7 (Totally awe-- ah, screw it). Sure am glad to
see Gomer Pyle finally make its
way to disc. Now if only we could get C.P.O.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has confirmed their September DVD slate, which
kicks off on 9/5 with National Lampoon's Dorm
Daze 2 (R-rated), National
Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2 (Unrated), Alf:
Season 4 and The Feeding.
Following on 9/12 are Clifford's Big
Halloween, Are You Scared,
Dark Fields, Latino
Kings of Comedy: Volume 1, Latino
Kings of Comedy: Volume 2 and Moonlighting:
Season 4. A Tyler Perry Collection
DVD Gift Set streets on 9/19, along with Hard
Candy and a number of Zane Grey movies, including The
Dude Ranger, Fighting Westerner,
Light of the Western Stars and
Wanderer of the Wasteland.
Finally, Drop Dead Sexy and a Thunder
in Paradise Collection round out the month on 9/26.
Not sure if we've mentioned this previously, but Warner has E.R.:
The Complete Sixth Season due on 12/19.
Finally today, Buena Vista has announced the DVD release of Home
Improvement: The Complete Fifth Season on 11/14. Look also
for the Walt Disney Legacy Collection:
True-Life Adventures on 12/5.
Here's the cover art for Paramount's Mission:
Impossible and Gomer Pyle,
along with Warner's The West Wing: The
Complete Seventh Season (11/7)...
Afternoon, Bits-ers! Hope your
weekend was swell.
Boy, have we got
interesting Rumor Mill report for you today! Those of you
who are eagerly awaiting news on the DVD release of Superman
Returns will want to check in for the tentative street date,
and street dates for a few other titles too. What's more, we've also got
additional information in The Rumor Mill
that's going to be of MAJOR interest to you Star
Trek: The Original Series fans. Trust me, you definitely
don't want to miss this.
In other news today, the winners of Warner Home Video and Amazon.com's
DVD Decision 2006 have been
announced. Film fans were asked to select 10 classic catalog films for
DVD release from among a long list of possible titles. The first batch
of winners is due to arrive on DVD on 12/19 and will include The
Illustrated Man, Operation
Crossbow, Presenting Lily Mars,
There Was a Crooked Man... and
Up Periscope. Best
Foot Forward will also be released that day as an Amazon
exclusive. The second batch of titles will street on 1/30 and will
include The Arrangement, Band
of Angels, Gymkata,
Looker and Madame
Curie. Angels in the Outfield
(1951) will also be available on 1/30, again exclusive to Amazon.
here for more.
Moving on this afternoon, I wanted to follow up on
comments on Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD from Friday. One of the most
unfortunate things I've seen with regard to this high-definition format
war, is that it seems to have really divided the early adopter
community. Some early adopters (fine folks all) are strongly in favor of
one format, while still more are equally enthusiastic about the other
format. Sadly, this rift is all too often passionate... and has even
gotten contentious on occasion... such that, that these days, whenever I
say anything even remotely negative about HD-DVD, I get scores of angry
e-mails from HD-DVD supporters. And the same is true when I make less
than positive comments about Blu-ray Disc, as I did on Friday: "How
dare you! I am outraged, sir! Outraged, I tell you..." etc.
Meanwhile, I know that MOST of you out there don't care one wit about
either of these HD formats, and are happy to stick with standard DVD.
But to specifically address my comments about 50 GB Blu-ray Discs on
Friday, my information comes from multiple sources - some in key
positions at some of the Blu-ray Disc supporting companies, some in
other industry positions involved with either the testing or production
discs in both high-def formats - speaking to me off the record. The
problem is not with the discs per se, it's with the hardware. Samsung
didn't have final product 50 GB movie discs to test their firmware with
before they launched, so they're having problems getting the players
working with these discs now. Sony and Pioneer are also working hard to
resolve compatibility issues on their forthcoming hardware. I'm sure
that all of these issues are fixable with firmware upgrades, and I have
no doubt that the issues WILL be fixed. But up until a couple weeks ago,
I was told that Samsung at least was STILL having problems. As you can
imagine, there are a few studios that are anxious to get these 50 GB
BD-ROM discs to work properly, because there are a number of longer
films waiting on them. Obviously, Sony has delayed Lawrence
of Arabia and Black Hawk Down
(they were originally going to be released this summer) for this very
reason. I know of other titles waiting on the 50 GB disc compatibility
issue being worked out as well.
Business interview that Ben Feingold did last week, about how
Sony will have at least two of the 50GB titles out this year... that was
all about reassuring the restless folks in the media and the early
adopter community that the discs are coming, and perhaps soothing some
frayed nerves in their own camp as well. It's amazing how many people
have e-mailed me that story as proof that I'm wrong about the 50 GB
BD-ROM issue, but you'll notice that no specific dates or other
information were given in the interview. It's classic studio smoke and
mirrors - a bit of P.R. damage control. They know that BD has been
taking some hits in the press and with early adopters, and they're
anxious to show things in a more positive light. And keep in mind that I
say all this as someone who has been very positive about Blu-ray Disc...
or at least the format's potential. But Sony and their camp has a long
way to go to really start delivering on it. It seems to me that the
HD-DVD camp is delivering 1) more titles 2) somewhat better looking
titles 3) titles with more features - even if most of them are just
ported over from standard DVD - and 4) select titles with more advanced
interactivity. The Blu-ray Disc camp is lagging behind, a lot more than
I thought they'd be at this point. They can still catch up certainly,
but I think they really need to start delivering some big, great titles.
Fox needs to announce titles. Disney needs to announce BETTER titles.
It's not exactly inspiring confidence when
is telling their own shareholders that they have no intention of
releasing Cars and Pirates
on BD this year, while the HD-DVD camp has announced several big
day-and-date releases (and more are on the way). We need firm street
dates for Pioneer and Sony hardware, for that matter. The Blu-ray camp,
in short, needs to get busy.
Okay, one other quick thing for you today... we've kicked off a pair of
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Complete Third Season and Manga's new
of Cagliostro: Special Edition (animation legend Hayao
Miyazaki's first turn at directing). Both contests will run until Noon
(Pacific) on Sunday, September 3rd. Click on the links to get started
and good luck!
Today's update is a quick 'un, but if you own a Toshiba HD-DVD
player... you're gonna be a happy camper after reading today's My
Two Cents. More on that in a minute.
First, a little bit of DVD release news: Universal has set Magnum
P.I.: The Complete Fifth Season to street on 10/10. They also
have a pair of Spanish language Telemundo soap operas coming out on
11/7, each as a 5-disc set - Pasión de
Gavilanes and El Cuerpo del Deseo.
Meanwhile, Warner will release HBO's The Oh
in Ohio on 12/5 (SRP $24.98).
And Fox has officially confirmed that MGM's The
Addams Family: Season One is now The
Addams Family: Volume One (due 10/24). Here's a look at the
cover art for The Addams Family,
along with Stargate SG-1: Season 9
(also Fox for MGM - 10/3) and Fox's The Omen
Finally, here's that bit of great HD-DVD news... Toshiba has officially
released version 2.0 of their firmware for the HD-A1 and HD-XA1 HD-DVD
players. It's available now via Ethernet download (just follow your
player's instructions, as listed in the manual). According to Toshiba:
"This firmware update adds support for
certain anticipated network delivered content in future HD DVD discs,
improves certain video and audio processing capabilities, as well as
addresses certain disc playback and HDMI/DVI related problems identified
by Toshiba." So what exactly does that mean? Check THIS out:
"Support for Dolby True HD is extended from
two channels to 5.1, which will be available in full resolution on the
HDMI and analog 5.1 outputs and down-mixed to a DTS bit stream on the
SPDIF output." FULL 5.1 TrueHD support! Keep in mind, the
player was shipped with 2.0 support only. A lot of people are already
talking about the new firmware
at AVS Forum, and it sounds as if it's pretty great. Guess
I know what I'll be doing tonight! You can find official details about
the firmware update here
at Toshiba's HD-DVD website. Click on "Support," then "Firmware
Update V2.0" to read more specifics. Thanks to Bits
reader Michael G. for the heads-up.
That's a very cool development, I'll tell you. I'm somewhat surprised
to find myself saying this, but HD-DVD is quietly making Blu-ray Disc
look pretty silly. Motivated as I've been by a desire to see this format
war end quickly, I was quick to sing the potential praises of Blu-ray
Disc early on, simply because it seemed to have the clear advantages of
better technology and much broader studio support, plus the potential
market-share dominance of the forthcoming PS3 game system. And to be
honest, my very early experiences with HD-DVD were disappointing. Since
that time, however, an interesting this has happened... the early
Blu-ray experience has turned out to be pretty lackluster too. Discs
have looked bad, the Samsung player is a disaster and Sony's over-priced
the PS3 right out of the market (you'll be able to buy both an Xbox 360
AND a Nintendo Wii for the price of a PS3). Sony and their BD camp
allies are just not delivering on the promise of their format - period.
Meanwhile, HD-DVD software and Toshiba's hardware (via these firmware
updates) just keeps getting better and better. And get this: Sony STILL
can't get their 50GB dual-layered Blu-ray Discs to work right on the
existing and prototype players. The current Samsung player, as shipped,
will not play them. How do you like them apples? Ouch.
If the BD camp doesn't do something dramatic and fast... they will have
lost the hearts and minds of the early adopters to HD-DVD. To my
thinking at least, HD-DVD is looking better and better all the time...
and it seems to me it's now the format to beat.
Have a great weekend, folks. Stay tuned...
We'll start off today with some new street dates for major upcoming
titles in The
Rumor Mill. These are Sony titles, so think The
Da Vinci Code and the like. There's also another interesting
bit of information in there, so do check it out.
Speaking of Sony, we have word from the studio that their Bugsy:
Extended Cut DVD, that had been slated for release on 10/3,
has been delayed until further notice. We'll update you when we have
Those of you who purchased Warner's Tom &
Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume 2 will be pleased to know
that the disc replacement program for Discs One and Two (on which some
episodes featured incorrect audio tracks) is now in place. All you have
to do is call 1-800-553-6937 and give them your address. A
self-addressed stamped envelope will be sent to you so that you can
return the old discs. You'll be sent corrected replacement discs within
about 4 weeks. No word yet on the Volume 1
One more quick Warner note: In yesterday's post, we mistakenly noted
that the Forbidden Hollywood Collection:
Volume One (due 12/5) would include the 1940 version of Waterloo
Bridge. It's actually the original 1931 version. We've
corrected the post from yesterday, so just take note.
Those of you who are, despite our warnings about quality, purchasing
the new Star Wars limited edition
DVDs (which include the laserdisc mastered original versions as a "bonus")
might be interested to see the menus for the "bonus" discs at
Wars.com. Before you do buy them, however, you might also want
to read today's
In other news, the HD-DVD camp's
format promotional website has added a few of new catalog films to
their "coming soon" list, including Ridley Scott's Blade
Runner. We've asked the studios for specific details and
confirmation about many of the titles in this list, and their common
best answer seems to be something on the order of, "They're
planned, but they probably won't be released until later in 2006 or
2007." So just know that it's true that all these titles are coming
to HD-DVD at some point in the next year or so... but you'd be wise not
to start holding your breath this afternoon for many of them. In any
case, it's still a damn fine list and we've added all the new titles to
Release List accordingly.
Finally today, we wanted to give a plug to the latest endeavor of our
friend DocDVD (a.k.a. Josh
Lehman). He's opened a badass new home theater store in Atlanta, GA...
Rock Star Home Theater! Here's the
"Rock Star Home Theater Opens in
Atlanta, Featuring the Largest 1080P Projection Screen in the South and
Over 70 Lines of Consumer Electronics
Nestled in the heart of Atlanta's Buckhead district, Rock Star Home
Theater brings the nation's most cutting edge design and technology
to the forefront, in a unique design implementing today's latest in
multi-zone, surround sound and HDTV technologies. Rock Star was founded
in 2001 by one of the nation's premier home theater designers and noted
ISF/THX/HAA technician, Josh Lehman. Already successful in Maui
and Salt Lake City, Rock Star features a 4500 sq. foot showroom,
and unlike many custom-installation showrooms, Rock Star
features a full retail facility, with inventory of the majority of
products that can be taken home or delivered the same day as purchased.
Rock Star features the largest breath of high-end and
established electronics brands anywhere, with Sony, Mitsubishi, Marantz,
Monster, Apple, KEF, Snell, Revel, Lexicon, Halcro Logic, Niles,
Monitor, Stewart Filmscreen, Velodyne and over 70 other lines. Rock Star
also features the largest retail theater in the South featuring
luxurious Premier seating, a 135" Micro-Perforated screen with BOTH
a Sony VPLVW100 (Ruby) SXRD and a Marantz VPL11S1 1080P front projectors
on the same screen in the same theater. Also featured are the entire
line-up of Sony Bravia and Mitsubishi 1080P flat panels on display, as
well as the entire line-up of 1080P rear projection televisions with
true 1080P video from HD-DVD, Blu-Ray disc and a proprietary Apple Media
Rock Star Home Theater is open seven days a week from 10AM to
9PM Monday through Friday, 10AM to 8PM on Saturday and 1PM to 8PM on
Sunday. Located 1/2 mile north of the Monroe-Piedmont intersection, Rock
Star is located diagonal across from Taco Cabana 500 ft south of the
Cheshire Bridge intersection, directly next to Atlanta Cycling at 1860
Piedmont Road. For more information, email
or call toll-free nationwide at 1-877-785-ROCK or locally at
If you're in the Atlanta area, drop on by and tell 'em The
Bits sent you.
Warner's announced the 12/5 DVD release of the Elizabeth
Taylor & Richard Burton Film Collection (SRP $49.92). The
4-movie box set will include the new 2-disc Who's
Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?: Special Edition (also available
separately - SRP $26.99), along with The
Comedians, The Sandpiper
and The V.I.P.S.. Also set for
12/5 is the Forbidden Hollywood Collection:
Volume One (SRP $39.92), which will include Baby
Face (1933), Waterloo Bridge
(1931) and Red-Headed Woman
On 10/17, the studio will release Close Call,
followed by Lightyear's Invitation to a Suicide
on 10/24. Finally, 11/14 will see Warner release the NBA title Detroit
Pistons: 1989 Champions - Born to be Bad.
We've learned that the Lionsgate Blu-ray Disc titles scheduled to have
been released yesterday have been pushed back a week until 8/29. We've
Release List accordingly.
Universal has officially revealed The
Break-Up for release on 10/17, on both DVD and the new
DVD/HD-DVD Combo format. Also newly announced for 11/14 is PollyWorld.
Paramount has set Dr. Katz, Professional
Therapist: Season 2 for release on 11/21. Meanwhile, The
Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series Pack will street on
12/12. Touched by an Angel: The Third Season,
Volume Two and a Touched by an
Angel: The Third Season - Volumes One & Two Gift Set will
both street on 11/28.
Morning all! We've got another big new DVD release to talk about today.
According to a number of published reports (click
here for more), Buena Vista has set the release of Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest for 12/5, just as
predicted last month. There will be two versions - a single-disc
edition (available in full frame and anamorphic widescreen) with audio
commentaries and a blooper reel, as well as a 2-disc collector's edition
with additional featurettes and more. For the record, the studio has
indicated that there will be no Blu-ray Disc version this year. We
expect the official announcement to be made shortly, so we'll post all
the details as they come in.
Also, Buena Vista has officially announced the release of Disney
Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Volume One for 11/14, a Grand
Theft Auto: Tricked Out Edition for 11/21, and the animated
The Fox and the Hound 2 for 12/12.
Meanwhile, Warner has announced the release of Lightyear's Jailbait
on 10/24, HBO's Angel Rodriguez on
11/28, and for their own bad selves, What's
New Scooby-Doo? Volume 10 on 12/5.
Around the site today, we've kicked off SIX new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
The Old Grey
Whistle Test, Vol. 3,
Show: Vol. 2 and
Season 4, Paramount's
Season 8 and
Now: Complete Dossier, Universal's
Bring it On:
All or Nothing, the
Show: Season 1 and
Murders, New Line's
and Rhino's Duck
Season. All of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, August 27th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Finally this morning, we've got some new cover art for you to check
out. Here's Paramount's M:i:III: Special
Collector's Edition (10/30) and Oh!
What a Lovely War: Special Collector's Edition (11/7), along
with Sony's Click: Special Edition
(LATE UPDATE - 8/21/06
- 4:30 PM PDT)
Well... it's been a bit of a busier day than we expected. Paramount has
just officially informed us of the details of its first full waves of
catalog Blu-ray Disc releases. And you probably won't be too surprised
as to which titles they've chosen. Due on 9/26 (SRP $29.99 each) are
Tomb Raider, Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Four
Brothers and Tim Burton's Sleepy
Hollow. Following on 10/10 are Sahara,
U2: Rattle and Hum, Æon
Flux and The Italian Job
(SRP also $29.99 each). Due on 10/30, of course, is the already
announced M:i:III. According to
the studio's press release, "Paramount Home
Entertainment plans to support the Blu-Ray format with a strong slate of
titles moving into 2007." Like the HD-DVD releases before
them, don't expect these titles to include any real extras. However,
audio on all of these releases should include both Dolby Digital Plus
5.1 and DTS 5.1.
Release List has been updated accordingly.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/21/06
- 3:45 PM PDT)
Just a quick late update this afternoon, to let you all know that Fox
has just revealed the 12/12 release of Volumes
3 and 4 of their James Bond
Ultimate Collection box sets. Volume
3 will include Goldeneye,
Live and Let Die, For
Your Eyes Only, From Russia with
Love and On Her Majesty's Secret
Service. Volume 4 will
round out the presentation with Dr. No,
You Only Live Twice, Octopussy,
Tomorrow Never Dies and Moonraker.
Like the first two, these sets will carry an SRP of $89.98 each.
There's no word yet on a Blu-ray Disc high-definition release of these
films, but as they've all recently been given new HD transfers, it's
certainly possible once Fox reveals their BD plans.
Also newly announced for re-release for MGM by Fox on 12/5 is The
Rocky Anthology 5-film box set (SRP $49.98), just in time to
promote the December theatrical release of Rocky
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/21/06
- 1:15 PM PDT)
Well... hope you all had a great weekend, because we've got some
interesting news for you today. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has
just announced its first DVD releases on behalf of MGM, and they're some
damn good ones.
First up on 11/7, Fox will release MGM's The
James Bond Ultimate Collection - Volume 1 (SRP $89.98,
including The Man with the Golden Gun,
World Is Not Enough, Diamonds Are
Forever and The Living Daylights)
and The James Bond Ultimate Collection -
Volume 2 (SRP $89.98, including A
View to a Kill, Thunderball,
Die Another Day, The
Spy Who Loved Me and License to
Kill). No additional details have yet been made available,
but we'll let you know when we have specs and other information.
Also newly announced for release on 10/3 by Fox (for MGM) is Stargate
SG-1: Season Nine, followed by The
Addams Family: Season One (SRP $29.98) on 10/24.
Meanwhile, Paramount has set Once Upon a
Christmas, Twice Upon a Christmas
and Richard Attenborough's Oh! What a Lovely
War: Special Collector's Edition for release on 11/7. The
studio will also release Survivor: Vanuatu -
The Complete Season on 12/5.
And Sony officially announced Adam Sandler's Click
for release on 10/10 on DVD, UMD and Blu-ray Disc. We've updated the
Sony has also announced the TV scare-fest Fatal
Contact: Bird Flu in America on 10/31. Beware the birds!
Be sure to check the
DVD Cover Art section today for a look at some of the great
DVD titles that hit store shelves tomorrow. We've nearly got a new
update of that section ready, so watch for that soon.
Finally today, we're very pleased to offer
new Yellow Layer Failure column from our own Robert A.
Harris. In this installment, Robert talks with Ned Price, Vice President
of Mastering for Warner Bros. Technical Operations, about the new DVD
and HD-DVD release of The Searchers.
I think you'll enjoy it, so do check it out.
Back later with some new Contests.
Morning all! We're doing some archiving and catch-up work here at the
site today, starting with all of the DVD format stats we track (above)
and including the
DVD Player Sales numbers. We've added the sales data for the
complete month of July and the first week of August. Just FYI.
Elsewhere around The Bits today,
Adam Jahnke has checked in with a new edition of
Electric Theatre, including reviews of Little
Miss Sunshine, The Descent,
Scoop and World
Trade Center. Do check it out.
Over at our MusicTAP.net
website, Lindsay Planner has delivered reviews of four new music DVD
Underground: Under Review and
Beefheart: Under Review from Sexy Intellectual,
O'Brien's TV PARTY from Brinkfilm, and
Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n Roll - The Ultimate Collector's Edition
from Image Entertainment. Matt's got some new CD reviews over there too.
On the DVD release news front today, Genius Products will deliver The
Gathering for The Weinstein Company on 10/3.
Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Pixies:
Live at the Paradise in Boston for release on 10/3 as well.
Universal's The Break-Up has been
confirmed for release on 10/17. Waist Deep
streets on 10/10. The studio has also just announced a Holiday
Inn: Special Edition for release on 10/10 (SRP $19.98), as
well as a day-and-date DVD/HD-DVD combo format release of Slither
Lionsgate has set Hard Candy for
9/19, with Drop Dead Sexy
following on 9/26, and both House of Blood
and Invader due on 10/3. Lionsgate
has also announced that they'll finally release Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir
Dogs on Blu-ray Disc on 10/24. We've updated the
Release List accordingly.
Finally, Paramount will be releasing a South
Park: The Hits, Volume 1 - Matt and Trey's Top Ten DVD on
Here's a look at the cover art for South
Park: The Hits, Volume 1, along with Universal's Lock,
Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Locked 'N Loaded Unrated Director's Cut
(10/3) and Criterion's The Double Life of Véronique
By the way, we ordered a copy of that
Fish Called Wanda: Collector's Edition from Amazon. It just
came in today and it IS indeed the new 2-disc set that's been pulled by
Sony. So if you don't want to wait for the Fox release in October, order
away. We've only checked out a little of it so far, but John Cleese's
audio commentary is pretty good. Oh... almost forgot: Paramount's
Trek: The Animated Series is finally available for pre-order
on Amazon as well. Thanks to Bits
reader Erik S. for the heads-up!
Have a great weekend. See you Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/17/06
- 11:30 AM PDT)
We've got another quick update for you this morning. Warner has just
informed us that in addition to the new Blu-ray Disc releases they
announced earlier, they'll also be releasing 4 more HD-DVDs on 9/12 (SRP
$28.98 each). The titles expected are Troy,
Lethal Weapon 2, House
of Wax (2005) and Space Cowboys.
Troy will include the In-Movie
Experience (IME), which "has director
Wolfgang Petersen and his creative team leading the viewer on an
audio-visual tour of their epic recreations of Greece and Troy."
All of the HD-DVDs and Blu-ray Discs announced today will include all of
the previously released DVD features. The
Release List has been updated.
While we're talking HD again,
Media Retailing is reporting that the HD-DVD format's backers
are selling more players, but the Blu-ray Disc format's backers are
actually making more money on hardware. For what it's worth.
Also this morning, those of you interested in getting your hands on a
copy of Sony's recently pulled
Fish Called Wanda: Collector's Edition (actually delayed until
10/10, when it will be released by Fox for MGM instead of Sony) might
want to place a quick order for it with Amazon.com right now. Turns out
Amazon has gotten its allotment of the discs and is actually selling and
shipping them. We've had several readers confirm that they've already
gotten copies of the SE, as ordered from the online retailer. Don't know
how long that situation will last, so if you just can't wait until
here and get your order in quick.
Just a reminder... we've got
Artist of the Month for you to check out, and he's got
some pretty unique and fascinating stuff. Marc
Sky actually makes tiny little sculptures out of dollar
bills. I'm not kidding - like Alien Queens, Yodas, all kinds of animals
and movie characters. Be sure to check
out his website, and I think you'll be amazed.
Finally today, we've updated our
Bits Power Buy today, offering you great prices on the Pioneer
Elite DV-79AVi DVD player, as well as the entire line-up of new Pioneer
Elite A/V receivers. We also have, for a very limited time, an even
lower Power Buy price on the Pioneer Elite 1080P 50" PRO-FHD1
Plasma TVs. Click
here for all the details.
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/17/06
- 1 AM PDT)
Morning, all! We've got a few more DVD release announcements for you
today, and some other random bits of DVD-related news to report.
First up, we've have a few details for you on the contents of
Paramount's single-disc Nacho Libre: Special
Collector's Edition, due on 10/24. Expect audio commentary
with star Jack Black, director Jared Hess and co-writer Mike White,
multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes (over an hour's worth in all),
deleted scenes, a Nacho Libre
comic book and a "Luchador Mask Creator."
You Melrose Place fans will be
interested to note that Paramount has also issued new DVD cover artwork
for Melrose Place: The Complete First Season
(due 11/17). What did they change you ask? Heather Locklear's picture.
That's it. Here's the new cover (you'll find the old one in
post). Somebody's agent must've made a few calls...
Thought some of you might also enjoy a look at the HD-DVD art for
Universal's The Thing and Spartacus
While we're talking high-definition, Warner has just updated their
release plans with regard to Blu-ray Disc. Four new catalog titles have
been announced, including Blazing Saddles,
Metal Jacket and Lethal Weapon,
for release on 9/5 (all are already available on HD-DVD). The
Release List has been updated.
Back on the standard DVD front, Warner has just confirmed a BIG bunch
of new releases that should get a lot of you excited. On 11/7, look for
Gary Cooper: The Signature Collection
(SRP $49.92 - includes Dallas,
The Fountainhead, a Sergeant
York: Special Edition, Springfield
Rifle and The Wreck of the Mary
Deare), The Marlon Brando
Collection (SRP $59.92 - includes The
Formula, Julius Caesar,
the Mutiny on the Bounty: Special Edition,
Reflections in a Golden Eye and
Teahouse of the August Moon) and
separate releases of The Fountainhead,
Julius Caesar, the Mutiny
on the Bounty: Special Edition and the Sergeant
York: Special Edition. On 11/14, watch for Adventures
of Superman: The Complete 5th & 6th Seasons and an Adventures
of Superman: Seasons 1-6 4-pack, Lois
& Clark: The Complete Fourth Season and a Lois
& Clark: The Complete Seasons 1-4 4-pack, The
Paul Newman Collection (SRP $59.92 - includes The
Drowning Pool, Harper,
The Left Handed Gun, The
Mackintosh Man, Pocket Money,
Somebody Up There Likes Me and
Young Philadelphians) and a
separate release of Harper.
Following on 11/21, you'll get a trio of classic comedy double-feature
DVDs including Abbott & Costello: Lost in
a Harem/Abbott & Costello in Hollywood, Laurel
and Hardy: Air Raid Wardens/Nothing But Trouble and The
Three Stooges: Meet the Baron/The Gold Raiders (1951), as
well as a Classic Comedy Teams Collection
containing all three of the just mentioned double-features. Then on
12/5, watch for Animaniacs: Volume 2
and an Animaniacs: Volumes 1 & 2
2-pack, Pinky and the Brain: Volume 2
and a Pinky and the Brain: Volumes 1 & 2
2-pack, Greatest Moments in NBA History,
NFL Hall of Fame: Complete History
and NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Giftset
(still no Vikings!). Finally, on 12/19, you'll get ER:
The Complete Sixth Season and an ER:
The Complete Seasons 1-6 6-pack. We've mentioned a few of
those titles before, but still. Whew!
While we're posting cover artwork today, how's about a look at Warner's
Sergeant York: Special Edition,
Julius Caesar and Mutiny
on the Bounty: Special Edition? Here you go...
Finally this morning, while it's not DVD-related, we find it
interesting nonetheless. Remember how we all learned that there were 9
planets in our solar system? Yeah, well... maybe not so much any more.
Soon, the official number is likely to be bumped up to 12. Read more
The times they are a-changin'.
More new DVD release announcements today...
Universal has set Hip Hop Life to
street on 11/21. Also due on that day is the 7-disc Preston
Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection (SRP $59.98) which will
include Christmas in July, The
Great McGinty, The Great Moment,
Hail the Conquering Hero, The
Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story
and Sullivan's Travels, all in
their original full frame aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Disney has an Escape from Witch Mountain
2-Movie Collection due on 9/5 that will contain both Escape
from Witch Mountain and the sequel Return
from Witch Mountain.
Paramount has finally officially announced the DVD release of their
Nacho Libre: Special Collector's Edition
for 10/24, as we first reported they would
month. Additional details will follow, but here's a look at the
We've also included the alternate cover art for Sony BMG's 2-disc Transformers:
The Movie - 20th Anniversary Special Edition (due 11/7 - the
cover will transform back and forth from this image to the image
posted previously, via a lenticular hologram cover) and
Universal's HD-DVD release of Terry Gilliam's 12
By the way, Paramount also has Flavor of
Love: The Complete Second Season due for 10/17... which is
just about as disturbing as it gets. Do you suppose it'll come packaged
with a schwanky clock?
In a little more exciting news (sorry, Flav), our friends over at
Criterion have announced a cool new slate of DVD releases expected in
November, including Carol Reed's The Fallen
Idol (#357 - due 11/7), Krzysztof Kieslowski's The
Double Life of Veronique (#359 - 11/21) and G. W. Pabst's
Pandora's Box (#358 - also 11/21).
Alfonso Cuarón's Sólo con tu
pareja (#353 - 10/17) has also been added to the October
On the high-def front, it looks like Image Entertainment is going to be
releasing its first titles on the HD-DVD format on 11/7 (SRP $24.99
each). All three are music releases, including Barry
Manilow: Manilow Live!, Chicago
and Earth, Wind & Fire: Live at the Greek and Heart:
Alive in Seattle. We've updated the
Release List accordingly. Tell you what... we want to see some
of those Image IMAX titles in HD, like Super
Speedway or Fighter Pilot.
Now, that'd be pretty cool...
Finally today, we're sorry to say that we have another death to report:
Kirby has passed away at the age of just 57, from complications
related to leukemia. Among his large list of film and TV credits are
such classics as City Slickers,
When Harry Met Sally, This
Is Spinal Tap and The Godfather,
Part II. He even recent appeared in an episode of HBO's Entourage.
He'll be missed.
Universal has just announced a new batch of both DVD and HD-DVD
releases. First up, look for Alfred Hitchcock
Presents: Season Two on DVD on 10/17, followed by Columbo:
The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons, Northern
Exposure: The Complete Fifth Season and Quantum
Leap: The Complete Fifth Season on 11/14.
And on the HD-DVD front, they've set 12
Monkeys, Out of Sight,
Spartacus and The
Thing for release on 10/24, and rescheduled the recently
delayed The Interpreter for that
day as well.
Also on the HD-DVD front today, Warner Bros is advertising a number of
new TV properties soon to be released on the high-def format, in recent
promotional inserts with such TV DVD releases as Invasion:
The Complete Series. Among the titles listed as coming to
HD-DVD soon are Smallville: The Complete
Fifth Season and The West Wing:
The Complete Seventh Season. Personally, we're most excited
about the idea of Universal's new Battlestar
Galactica in HD, which we hear is already in the works. We've
Release List accordingly.
One last high-def note today. Paramount informed us this morning that
the M:i:III HD format spec list
they sent us, which we posted yesterday,
contained a couple of errors. The Inside the
IMF featurette is in standard definition video, not high-def,
on both HD versions. Also, the audio on the Blu-ray Disc will be Dolby
Digital, while the audio on the HD-DVD will be Dolby Digital Plus. We've
updated the spec list below. Adjust your purchase plans accordingly.
Here's some news you fans of The Police are going to get excited about.
We've got details for you on Universal Music's 9/12 DVD release of
drummer Stewart Copeland's Everyone Stares:
The Police Inside Out documentary, which was a hit at the
recent Sundance Film Festival (the doc is also being seen on Showtime
throughout August and September). The disc will include the film in
anamorphic widescreen video, mastered from an HD transfer of the
original Super-8 film (culled from over 50 hours of such film). Audio
will be available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 options, as well
as PCM 2.0 stereo. Extras will include audio commentary with ex
Police-men Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers, and over 20 minutes of
bonus footage added exclusively for the DVD. The film has also been
scored by Copeland with 7 previously-unreleased "derangements"
of classic Police studio and live tracks, along with many more familiar
tracks throughout the film.
Here's a look at the DVD cover art, along with art for Paramount's Jackass:
The Movie - Unrated Special Edition (9/5) and Universal's
DVD/HD-DVD Combo release of George Romero's
Land of the Dead (9/26)...
Speaking of cover art, be sure to check out the
DVD Cover Art section today for a look at all of the great DVD
releases that hit stores today. A major art update is coming soon, just
By the way, if anyone wants to see just how bad high-def video can
look, I sure got a taste of it last night watching ESPN
Monday Night Football. Ugh... that had to be the most
digitally over-compressed HD image I've seen yet. Sure hope the regular
season broadcast isn't that bad. I don't know, maybe it was Cox here in
Orange County that crunched it all to hell, but ugh.
In an interesting business development today, Image Entertainment has
just signed a 10-year distribution deal with Relativity Pictures, the
L.A.-based production company whose recent films include Inside
Man, Talledega Nights: The Ballad
of Ricky Bobby and The Fast and
the Furious: Tokyo Drift. The deal will give Image
distribution rights to future Relativity productions on DVD, the new
high-def discs and other digital formats, starting in 2007. This is part
of an effort by Image to ward off a takeover bid by Lionsgate. Image is
a good company - nice folks over there. We hope this works out well for
them. Seems to us that there's enough companies being gobbled up by
other companies these days. Anyway, you can read more about this
Finally this morning, we wanted to take a moment to mention the passing
of legendary TV talk show host
Douglas last week. He was 81. I remember watching The
Mike Douglas Show when I was younger, and it was always
entertaining. Anyone who has seen clips of that episode with John Lennon
and Jerry Rubin will know what I'm talking about. Fascinating stuff.
Douglas will be missed.
to Current Posts