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(Archived Posts 2/2/07 - 1/16/07)
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Some of you may have been wondering why we haven't posted a lot of
high-def reviews yet here at The Bits.
Well, part of this is wanting to familiarize ourselves with the quirks
of each format. But we've also been upgrading our video displays such
that we'd be able to fully appreciate all the benefits that 1080p video
can offer. I've personally been using a Panasonic PT-L500U LCD front
projector for DVD reviews, but for HD I've been reverting back to my old
Mitsubishi 65" rear projection HDTV. The 500U has been a great
projector, but its LCD panel is only 1280x720 native, so it just doesn't
perform up to full HD standards. But as I've been pleased with the
performance of Panasonic's projectors thus far, particularly given their
surprisingly budget-friendly prices, I wanted to at least investigate
the brand's new full-1080p offering. So for the last few weeks, I've
been demoing Panasonic's
new PT-AE1000U LCD projector, featuring native 1920x1080. And I
can sum up my reaction in just one word... WOW. Here's a picture we took
of the unit at CES...
I fully anticipated that I'd appreciate and notice the resolution
difference the AE1000U offers. What I didn't expect was such
dramatically improved brightness and stunning color reproduction. And
the contrast! How does an 11,000:1 contrast ratio sound to you? We're
able to fully control the brightness in our home theater space here at
The Bits with thick red theater
curtains, so ambient light isn't a problem. Let me tell you, this unit
delivers blacks so deep and true, you can hardly believe you're viewing
LCD projection. The AE1000U first became available in December, and some
of the very early demo units had issues with the image being too soft.
Panasonic quickly corrected this on the production units, however, and
the one I have is completely problem free. The HD-DVD and Blu-ray images
it throws up onto my 110" DaLite screen are the most clear, natural
and film-like I've ever seen in my home theater. Even with broadcast HD,
the difference is obvious. Sarah and I were watching 24
a couple weeks ago, and she actually commented out loud: "Wow, this
looks really great." My wife is pretty down to earth and is not
easily impressed. She's also no A/V gear-head. So when she notices the
quality, that's saying something. The AE1000U is a dream, and with a
typical sale price of just $3,999 ($2,000 under its original $5,999
MSRP), it's also a fantastic value. I'm going to post a more detailed
review in the next couple of weeks. I know a lot of people are all
excited by plasmas and flat screens these days, but I'll tell you... if
you want an incredibly theater-like experience in your home in full
1080p resolution, you'd be very, VERY hard pressed to find a better one
at that price.
Okay... in DVD announcement news today, Universal has revealed two new
catalog collections for release on 5/15 (SRP $29.98 each)... a Michael
J. Fox Comedy Favorites Collection (including For
Love or Money, Greedy,
The Hard Way and The
Secret of My Success) and a Denzel
Washington Spotlight Collection (including The
Bone Collector, The Hurricane,
Inside Man and Mo'
Better Blues). The titles that were anamorphic widescreen
previously are also anamorphic here. Unfortunately, the titles that
weren't (like The Secret of My Success)
aren't in the new sets.
In other release news, Warner Bros. has announced the horror film Delivery
for on 5/1 (SRP $19.97).
And in case we haven't mentioned it before, Buena Vista has The
Prestige due on DVD (SRP $29.99) and Blu-ray Disc (SRP
$34.99) on 2/20. Extras will include the multi-part The
Director's Notebook: The Cinematic Slight of Hand of Christopher Nolan
documentary and The Art of The Prestige
Here's the cover art for both versions of The
Prestige, as well as Disney's Peter
Pan: Platinum Edition (3/6)...
Finally today, this weekend brings us the Superbowl. Our old pal Matt
Rowe and his clan are hosting a massive, pro-Bears, food and drink
binge-fest on Sunday, so Sarah and I will be there in support of our
friends. Though it's terribly unnatural for any Vikings fan to root for
the Bears, I'll do it for Matt this weekend, because that's what friends
do. I suspect, however, that the Bears are going to have their hands
full during the big game. My armchair analysis tells me that for the
Bears to win, Rex Grossman will need to have a monster first half and
score a LOT of points. If it's even remotely close at halftime, the
Colts offense will probably wear the Bears "D" down in the
second half and Peyton Manning will open up a can of whoop-ass in the
fourth quarter. But we'll see. I'm hoping that it's a competitive game,
and of course there's always the commercials. In any case, whatever your
team of choice is, I hope you sports nuts out there enjoy all the fun as
much as we will.
Alright... have a great weekend, and we'll see you Monday. Peace out!
(LATE UPDATE - 2/1/07 -
4:30 PM PDT)
We've been saying for a while now that this HD format war is going to
come down to the software. So we though you might like to see the cover
art for a few. Here you go...
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/1/07 -
1:30 PM PDT)
Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday I saw something truly extraordinary. As
I worked in my office here at The Bits,
I watched Wolf Blitzer, the city of Boston, and the Department of
Homeland Security freak out over Lite-Brites flashing a cheesy cartoon
character. Lite-Brites that, as it turns out, had been in place all over
the country for three weeks already. Hundreds of police officers and FBI
agents were involved, even the Pentagon was monitoring the situation.
The Governor of Massachusetts declared sternly: "It's not funny!"
Look man, I understand that fears were heightened and millions of
dollars were wasted. But come on... space-suited bomb squad guys blew up
what was obviously a low-rez cartoon character flipping everyone the
bird. The only way this thing could have been MORE absurd would have
been if the character had been Cartman from South
Park. I mean, seriously people. Perhaps this is a sign that
we all need to just take a deep breath and come back to our senses. Duct
tape and plastic sheeting will not save us from our own silliness. I
think we've learned a couple things from the events of yesterday. First,
nobody from Homeland Security watches The Cartoon Network. Second, we
Americans have officially gone right round the bend. Pifffsshhewww...!
[Editor's Note: The rude Mooninite gesture
pictured above in no way represents the opinions of the editorial staff
of The Digital Bits, the family, friends and pets of the
editorial staff of The Digital Bits, the DVD industry at large,
DVD fans as a whole or Wolf Blitzer. Well... okay, we can't speak for
Okay... let's have some DVD news, shall we? Paramount has announced the
release of Mork & Mindy: The Complete
Second Season on 4/17. The 4400:
The Complete Third Season and a new To
Catch a Thief: Special Collector's Edition are due on 5/8,
with Frasier: The Ninth Season and
Wings: The Fourth Season set to
follow on 5/15.
Also today, 4Kids Entertainment Home Video and FUNimation Entertainment
will release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Fast Forward: Future Shellshock on 2/6 (SRP $14.98). The
2-disc set will contain the first 13 episodes of season one, which
debuted on FOX this past Fall.
BCI will release Shadow Warriors: The
Complete First Season, starring martial arts icon Sonny
Chiba, on 4/17. The 7-disc set will include all 27 episodes of the
show's first season (SRP $79.98). Extras will include a new interview
with Chiba, a 12-page booklet on the series by Patrick Macias. Audio
will be Dolby Digital 2.0 in the original Japanese with English
Finally, Starz Home Entertainment is re-releasing Werner Herzog's Little
Dieter Needs to Fly on DVD on 3/27 (SRP $14.98). The film
will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video and will include
production notes and a Herzog bio.
Feeling artsy today? Well, here's some more covers fer ya...
Paramount's The 4400: The Complete Third
Season, Criterion's Overlord
(4/17) and BCI's Shadow Warriors: The
Complete First Season...
(LATE UPDATE - 1/31/07 -
4:30 PM PDT)
The first official retail tracking data from Nielsen VideoScan seems to
show Blu-ray Disc outselling HD-DVD in unit software sales by a more
than 2 to 1 margin, and the gap is widening. According to data reported
Media Retailing (you'll find it on page one of the digital
edition available on their website) for the week ending 1/7/07,
Year-to-Date tracking indicated that for every 47.14 HD-DVDs sold there
were 100 Blu-ray Disc titles sold. Just a week later, ending 1/14/07,
the same YTD tracking indicated just 38.36 HD-DVDs sold for every 100
Blu-ray Discs sold. What's more, tracking by Nielsen VideoScan since the
inception of both formats appears to indicate that Blu-ray Disc is
quickly erasing the sales lead HD-DVD enjoyed as a result of launching
months earlier in 2006. On 1/7, HD-DVD's lead was 100 discs for every
85.05 Blu-ray Discs sold, while just a week later on 1/14, that lead had
been reduced to 100 HD-DVDs for every 92.40 Blu-ray Discs sold.
Specific unit volume numbers are not available, but one would guess
they're still fairly low. No doubt much of the sales surge has to do
with the arrival of Sony's PS3 game system in November. We'll have to
watch closely over the next few months to see if these trends are
affected by specific new software/title releases on both formats from
week to week. Still, this data seems to bear out claims made by the BDA
at CES, to the effect that their format was outselling HD-DVD as of
December 2006 and that the margin could grow to as much as 3 to 1 in
early 2007. It'll be interesting to see how continuing sales of the PS3
(and new dedicated players for both formats) impact these numbers as
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/31/07
- 1:45 PM PDT)
We've got a few new DVD announcements to report today. First up, Warner
has set F-Troop: The Complete Second Season
on 5/29 (SRP $39.98). The 6-disc set will include a featurette.
Other newly announced titles from the studio include a series of Coleccion
Pedro Infante releases (Ustedes
Los Ricos, Sobre las Olas,
Pepe el Toro, Nosotros
los Pobres, Las Islas Marias,
La mujer que yo perdi, El
Seminarista, Dicen que soy
mujeriego, Cuando lloran los
valientes, Asi era Pedro Infante
and Angelitos Negros - SRP $14.98
each) on 4/10, Russell Simmons Presents Def
Poetry Season 5 (for HBO) on 5/1, Everybody
Loves Raymond: The Complete Eighth Season, In
the Womb: Multiples and In the
Womb: Animals (both National Geographic), and Little
Britain Live and Clatterford:
Season 1 (both BBC) on 5/8, Martin:
The Complete Second Season on 5/22, Wide
Awake (HBO) and The Closer: The
Complete Second Season on 5/29, and Path
to Paradise, The Infiltrator,
Deadly Voyage and Ambushed
(all HBO) on 6/5.
In more TVD news, Universal has set the release of Airwolf:
Season Three for 5/22 (SRP $39.98). Where the heck is Baa
Baa Black Sheep: Volume Two? That's what I want to know.
IFC Films and Genius Products have announced the DVD release of Adam
Del Deo and James D. Stern's So Goes the
Nation on 2/13 (SRP $24.95). The documentary looks at
American politics in the 2004 Presidential Election.
Palm Pictures has set the release of Paul Morrison's Wondrous
Oblivion for 3/20 (SRP $24.99). Extras will include audio
commentary track with the director, a behind-the-scenes featurette and
the U.S. theatrical trailer. Audio will be DTS 5.1.
Also, Anchor Bay has just set Masters of
Horror: Season Two - John Carpenter's Pro-Life for release on
3/20 as well (SRP $14.98). Video will be anamorphic widescreen. Extras
will include audio commentary with director John Carpenter and writers
Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan, the Final
Delivery: The Making of Pro-Life and Demon
Baby: Birthing the FX Sequence featurettes, a storyboard
gallery, a director bio and the screenplay (via DVD-ROM).
On the HD front today, the Advanced Access Content System License
Administrator (AACS LA) has confirmed the breach to HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc security that we reported on a few weeks ago. You'll find a little
more on that at
at HMR today, there's an interview with the founder of the
industry research firm Understanding & Solutions, in which he makes
a strong argument that Blu-ray Disc "has the
strongest possibility to dominate the market quickly" in the
HD format war. It's interesting reading.
Finally today, we've got another quick
Mill update today, and I think you fans of director Guillermo
del Toro will be pretty happy with it.
Morning, everyone! Well, it's official. The Police's first public
appearance will be at the Grammy Awards on February 11th. The National
Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences made the official announcement
last night, and the story is now spreading from the
York Times, AP,
and other sources (thanks to all those of you who sent links). No
official news yet about the reunion tour, but industry folk tell me one
will be announced in the next few weeks. Add to that planned reunions
this summer by Van Halen (with David Lee Roth, but minus Michael Anthony
who apparently became too friendly with Sammy Hagar for Eddie's taste)
and other 80s acts, and it's likely to be an exciting summer for live
music! 'Nuff said.
Also today, Warner has just released an official statement about their
Tom & Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume
1 replacement program. Here's the details....
"Previously, Warner Home Video had advised
consumers who purchased Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume 1
DVD that certain episodes on Disc 1 had an alternate picture/audio
track. Warner Home Video offered to replace Disc 1 with a disc that had
the original picture/audio track, which some consumers requested. Those
consumers were inadvertently sent an incorrect replacement disc.
Consumers who recently received the incorrect replacement disc, and any
other consumers who still wish to have Disc 1 replaced with the original
picture/audio track, should contact Warner Home Video at 1-800-553-6937
so that a self-addressed stamped envelope can be sent to you for return
of your current disc. Please note that the replacement disc will be sent
to you in approximately 4-6 weeks."
Okay, let's have some DVD release news, shall we? Universal has just
announced a TON of new catalog titles. Coming on 5/1 are a Clint
Eastwood: Western Icon Collection due to include High
Plains Drifter, Joe Kidd
and Two Mules for Sister Sara (all
in anamorphic widescreen). On 5/8, look for a Classic
Western Round-Up: Volume 1 (including Canyon
Passage, Kansas Raiders,
The Lawless Breed and The
Texas Rangers), a Classic Western
Round-Up: Volume 2 (including California,
The Cimarron Kid, The
Man from the Alamo and The Texans),
and a Pirates of the Golden Age Movie
Collection (including Against All
Flags, Buccaneer's Girl,
Double Crossbones and Yankee
Buccaneer). On 5/15, watch for The
Rockford Files: Season Four. And on 5/22, the studio will
release more Universal Cinema Classics
titles, including No Man of Her Own,
Scarface (1932), So
Proudly We Hail and Unconquered.
The studio has also announced the 4/24 release of Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The
Nutty Professor on HD-DVD.
Also today, Warner has announced The
Waltons: Season Five for release on 5/8. 'Nite John Boy.
We've got more anticipated street dates for upcoming titles in
Rumor Mill for you today, including some major titles like
Children of Men, Volver
and Eragon. Don't miss 'em.
Let's give you a look at more cover art today. Here's Paramount's The
Brady Bunch: The Complete Series (4/3), Happy
Days: The Complete Second Season (4/17), Laverne
& Shirley: The Complete Second Season (4/17), An
Officer and a Gentleman: Special Collector's Edition (5/1)
and Melrose Place: The Second Season
(5/1), along with Universal's The Good
Shepherd (TBA but antictpated for 3/2)...
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks. We've got lots of DVD release announcements for you
First up, Universal has set a 3-disc, 5-movie Columbo:
Mystery Movie Collection for release on 4/24 (SRP $26.98).
The specific movies are TBA. Universal has also announced a Fletch:
The Jane Doe Edition DVD for 5/1 (SRP $19.98). The film will
be included in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
and all-new special features (also TBA).
20th Century Fox has announced some new catalog DVD releases for April,
including Royal Flash (1975) and
S*P*Y*S (1974) on 4/3, The
True Confessions on 4/17, and Les
Miserables (2 discs - 1935 and 1952 versions), Jane
Eyre (1944), Anna Karenina
(1915 and 1948 versions), Fixed Bayonets!
(1951), I Deal in Danger (1966),
Man in the Middle (1964), The
Purple Heart (1944), Sailor of the
King (1953) and Tonight We Raid
Calais (1943) all on 4/24.
Sony has revealed Barry Levinson's The
Natural: Director's Cut for release on 4/4 (SRP $24.94). The
2-disc set will include the film with 15 minutes of added footage, the
4-part Extra Innings documentary,
the 3-part When Lightning Strikes
documentary, 3 featurettes (A Natural Gunned
Down: The Stalking of Eddie Waitkus, Clubhouse
Conversations and Knights in
Shining Armor: The Mythology of The Natural) and a new video
introduction by Levinson. According to the studio's press release, the
documentaries and featurettes include "new
interviews with Robert Redford and Glenn Close, as well as professionals
from the sports broadcasting and baseball world."
There's also more great news from Criterion today. As we've reported
previously, the first entry of their new Eclipse line, the 5-disc Early
Bergman (SRP $69.95), will be released on 3/27. Better still,
Criterion has just announced the second entry in the series, The
Documentaries of Louis Malle. The 6-disc set (SRP $79.95)
will street on 4/24 and will include Vive le
tour (1963), Humain, trop humain
(1972), Place de la République
(1972), Phantom India (1969), Calcutta
(1969), God's Country (1985) and
And the Pursuit of Happiness
(1987). You'll find cover art below. Can't wait for it!
Meanwhile, Warner has announced the DVD release of Blood
Diamond on 3/20. Three versions will be available - single
disc anamorphic widescreen and full frame editions (SRP $28.98), as well
as a 2-disc special edition in anamorphic widescreen (SRP $34.99). The
2-disc set will include audio commentary with director Edward Zwick, the
hour-long Blood on the Stone
documentary, 4 featurettes (Becoming Archer,
Journalism on the Front Line, Jennifer
Connelly on Women Journalists at War and Inside
the Siege of Freetown) and Nas' Shine
on Em music video. No word yet on high-def versions.
Other newly announced Warner DVD releases include Marcus
(3/6), Age Old Friends, The
Image, State of Emergency
and a Women & Men Double Feature
(all on 4/17 for HBO), Creepshow 3
and Casi Casi (both 5/15 for HBO),
Prince of the City: Special Edition,
Steelyard Blues, Straight
Time and Whose Life Is It Anyway
(all 5/22), Big Train: Season One and Two
(5/29 for the BBC) and a series of new catalog box sets (all due 4/24)
including Essential Classic American Musicals
(featuring The Music Man, Meet
Me in St. Louis and Seven Brides
for Seven Brothers), Essential
Classic Dramas (with The Maltese
Falcon, Citizen Kane
and Ben-Hur), Essential
Classic Family Films (with Willy
Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The
Goonies and The Wizard of Oz),
Essential Classic Musicals (with
My Fair Lady, Singin'
in the Rain and Gigi)
and Essential Classic Romances
(with Casablanca, Gone
with the Wind and Doctor Zhivago).
Also, New Line has set the DVD release of Little
Children for 4/24 (SRP $27.95).
In high-def news today, Warner has announced the HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc release of March of the Penguins
on 3/27 (SRP $28.99 each).
And CBS Paramount officially announced on Friday that the
digitally-remastered Star Trek: The Original
Series - Season One will be released on HD-DVD/DVD Combo
format "in the fourth quarter 2007"
though no other specific details were available in their press release.
Judging by the surprising number of complaints we've been getting (via
e-mail) from Blu-ray fans over the weekend, we hope a Blu-ray version is
forthcoming as well.
Finally today, a follow-up on my comments about The Police from last
week. No sooner had I posted word that they might be reuniting
Friday, I began getting e-mails from readers - particularly
Canadian readers - and from music industry insiders as well. It seems
that newspapers up north are reporting that Sting, Stewart Copeland and
Andy Summers have gathered at Lionsgate Studios in Vancouver to begin
rehearsing for a huge reunion tour of the U.S., the U.K. and Japan this
summer. Trucks apparently began arriving at the studios last Wednesday
filled with shipping cases covered with Police band logos, and the band
members themselves have been sighed around town. Official word is
expected to break any day now of the tour, and the most surprising news
is that the band may make their first public performance at the Grammy
Awards on 2/11 - word is they'll open the show. My mind reels... REELS,
I tell you! That's the best news I've heard in a long, long time.
Freaking AWESOME. You can read more
Wait... one more thing: I'd be remiss if I didn't congratulate my old
pal Dave Hovde (aka Weatherman Dave, of KSBY TV in San Louis Obispo, CA)
today. Dave won a Golden Mike award over the weekend for Best
Weathercast from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern
California. He even got to meet Vin Scully at the awards ceremony, and
he's a Police fan too, so it was a pretty damn good weekend for ol'
Dave. Well done, my friend.
Okay, we'll leave you today with a look at some new cover art:
Eclipse's The Documentaries of Louis Malle,
Warner's Blood Diamond: Special Edition,
New Line's Little Children,
Universal's Fletch: The Jane Doe Edition,
MGM's Night of the Comet (3/6) and
Sony's Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: Volume 1
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned!
Okay... last update for the week. We've been REALLY busy behind the
scenes here at The Bits these last
few days, the result of which is that we've got some interesting
interviews coming for you next week, and in the weeks ahead. But more on
that later. There's never a dull moment around here, I'll tell you.
First things first today: I've got GREAT news for you Disney fans. I've
just confirmed this morning with Buena Vista Home Entertainment that
their much loved Walt Disney Treasures
line of DVDs has NOT been cancelled. In fact, I'm told that at least a
couple more waves of releases in the line are planned, with the next due
in time for the holidays this year. We'll post additional details as
they become available, but rest assured this news comes straight from
the studio and it's the real deal. So there you go, folks!
We've got a little more for you today on Universal's HD-DVD release
plans for 2007. Following up on their announcement from yesterday, our
friends over at
Home Theater Forum have posted the text of a short Q&A
they've just done with Universal Studios Home Entertainment EVP Ken
Graffeo. There's some interesting new information in there, and you can
discuss it all with fellow enthusiasts in the thread below. Thanks to
Adam Gregorich, Ron Epstein and Parker Clack for that. Keep in mind that
we'll have our own follow-up interview with Universal posted here at
The Bits next week, so be sure to
watch for it.
Finally today, as some of you may know, we're big fans of the band The
Police around here. And as some of you may also know, there's finally
serious talk about the band reuniting this year to celebrate the 30th
anniversary of their first single, Roxanne.
This MAY even include a reunion concert (or concerts). There's also word
Copeland's website that A&M and Universal Music are planning
to celebrate the anniversary by releasing a DVD version of The
Police Around the World, as well as a new CD box set, Message
in a Box: Volume Two. Sting has recently commented on all
the USA Today (click the link and slide down a bit):
"We started 30 years ago, so it would be
nice to do something to celebrate. We don't quite know what, but we're
talking about it." Man, let me tell you... my mind reels at
the very prospect. Seeing The Police play live is something I missed out
on in the 1980s, and it's high on my list of things to do before I die.
Fingers crossed. In any case, cool DVD and CD release news for sure. By
the way, if you're a Police fan, I highly recommend guitarist Andy
Summers' new bio,
Train Later. The second half is all about his time with the
band and it's nicely unvarnished, including interesting stores about
brushes with actor John Belushi and legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
It's a fascinating read.
Okay, it's back to work for me. Have a great weekend and we'll see you
Cha! (sorry... it's a Sting thing)
(LATE UPDATE - 1/25/07 -
4 PM PST)
Afternoon, everyone. I just wanted to jump in here with some
late-breaking high-def news. Universal, presumably to make up for their
relative silence at CES, has just announced that they're planning more
than 100 exclusive releases on the HD-DVD format in 2007... and they've
revealed at least a few new titles that are on the way (if not specific
release dates). The first 40-50 of these will be available in the first
half of 2007, starting with Brokeback
Mountain (now available) and Hollywoodland
(on 2/6). Also on the way to HD-DVD in 2007 according to the studio (90%
of the titles as DVD/HD-DVD Combo releases) are new films like Children
of Men, The Good Shepherd
and Smokin' Aces, as well as
classic catalog titles like Scarface,
The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bruce
Almighty, The Bourne Identity,
Meet the Fockers, American
Pie, Inside Man, Pride
& Prejudice, The Big Lebowski,
Liar Liar, Lock,
Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Brazil,
Erin Brockovich, Shaun
of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead,
Slap Shot and Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The studio also confirmed that
the first season of Sci-Fi's new Battlestar
Galactica will be released on HD-DVD this year, as well as
additional TV series titles yet to be announced. There's definitely some
cool titles in that list, and presumably more (and more details) will be
announced at a later date. It'll be great to see Lebowski
and Brazil in HD, that's for
sure... and the prospect of Battlestar
has us pretty excited too.
By the way, as it happens today, I had the chance to speak directly
with senior Universal reps this afternoon for a story about their HD-DVD
support and the format war in general. So watch for lots more on this
subject here at The Bits next
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/25/07 - 12:01 AM PST)
Morning, folks! It took a little longer than anticipated (we got
sidelined tracking down release rumors yesterday), but here's
latest Classic Coming Attractions column for you. In this
installment, Barrie runs down his picks for the best classic releases of
2006. He also reviews some 25 classic DVD releases, including 20th
Laurel and Hardy Collection: Volume Two,
Charlie Chan Collection: Volume Two and the
Rogers Collection: Volume Two, CBS/Paramount's
Mason: Season One, Volume Two,
Impossible - The Complete First TV Season and
The Directors Collection, Sony Pictures'
Premiere Frank Capra Collection and the
Martin Double Feature, Universal's
Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection, the
Crosby: Screen Legend Collection, the
Grant: Screen Legend Collection, the
Hudson: Screen Legend Collection and
Drum Song, VCI's
John Silver, the
E. Brown Comedy Collector's Set, the
Outlaws Collector's Set,
Film Noir: Volume One, the
Reeves Double Feature, the
Dinosaur 50s Sci-Fi Double Feature,
of Ghost City, and Warner's
Hollywood Collection: Volume One, the
Collection: Volume Two, the
Comedy Teams Collection and
The Theatrical Serials Collection. As always, Barrie also runs
down the latest classic release announcements. There's definitely
something in this column for everyone. And don't forget that every one
of those titles can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking on our cover
art links. Doing so helps support our work here at The
Bits, so we appreciate it very much.
You'll find lots more Amazon purchase links in our latest update of the
DVD Cover Art section today. Our very own Russell Hammond has
just added over a hundred new cover scans to the section for you to
check out, including tons of forthcoming DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc
titles. Imagine that... two updates in a month! You can thank Russell
for all his hard work by clicking on some of those Google ads throughout
the section (which, again, we appreciate). Enjoy the art!
For you TVD fans today, we've got a Twin
Peaks update in
Rumor Mill you might want to check out.
Finally, we wanted to steer you towards
good article over at Audio Video Revolution on the HD format
war. It's by columnist Jerry Del Colliano, who gets something that
a lot of people covering this format war seem to keep overlooking: A
home video format is only as good as the movies you can watch on it.
That means this war is going to be won or lost based upon the available
software... specifically, which format has the best (and most) titles.
It should be no surprise that Colliano gets it - the folks at AVR
were, like us here at The Bits,
well plugged into the winner-less high-resolution audio war. Did no one
else learn from the DVD-Audio/SACD debacle? Anyway, it's a good piece so
do check it out.
Okay... we'll be back shortly with Barrie's new Classic
Coming Attractions column, but first we've got a bit of DVD
release news for you.
First, some possible sad news... we've been told by a number of sources
that Buena Vista is discontinuing their much loved Walt
Disney Treasures line of DVD releases, as of the December
2006 Wave Six titles. The news
reportedly comes from film critic Leonard Maltin himself, who has been
the host of the series. We're waiting to hear official confirmation from
the studio. Reportedly, the decision was made not due to a lack of
sales, but rather in favor of focusing on new product lines like the
Disney Legacy Collection. We'll
let you know what the studio says when they get back to us, but it's a
real bummer if true.
In other news today, Sony has released details as to the extras that
will be included on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of Casino
Royale (due on 3/13). Both will include a trio of documentary
featurettes (Becoming Bond on how
actor Daniel Craig handled stepping into the role, James
Bond: For Real which looks at the action and stunt work, and
Bond Girls Are Forever which looks
at the history of the Bond girls), as well as Chris Cornell's You
Know My Name music video. The 2-disc DVD will carry an SRP of
$28.96, the Blu-ray Disc will be $38.96 and a UMD version (for Sony's
PSP) will be available for $28.95.
We've spoken to Warner Home Video and want to update you as to the Superman
replacement disc issue. Warner says the replacement program is working
smoothly - correct discs are being shipped out now to all those who have
requested them and have sent their incorrect discs in for exchange (via
the envelope provided by the folks at the 800 number - 800-553-6937).
We've been told that all of the product currently on store shelves is
still the original product. To simplify the replacement situation,
Warner is letting that product sell out as it is (rather than pulling
it), and is then arranging replacement discs for those who request them.
All discs now being manufactured however are correct, and sometime later
in 2007 new corrected product will be released to stores of the 14-disc
Ultimate Collection, the Superman:
The Movie 4-disc set and the Christopher
Reeve box set. Warner will make official announcements in a
few weeks as to precisely when this product will be available in stores
and how you'll be able to identify it from the previously released DVDs
(at the very least, the new corrected product will have new UPC or SKU
numbers). Warner's promised to provide The
Bits with all the important details, so rest assured that
we'll tell you as soon as they tell us.
Speaking of Warner, you Bears and Colts fans might want to take notice:
The studio has announced the release of NFL
Super Bowl XLI Champions on 2/27 (SRP $24.98). In addition to
a cut-down version of the big game, the DVD will include interviews with
key players and coaches, a behind-the-scenes look at the Super Bowl,
regular season and playoff highlights for the winning team and a
collectible insert with the team record, photo and stats - three hours
worth of content in all.
On the TVD front, our friends over at
have learned that Warner will be releasing the classic Wait
Till Your Father Gets Home: The Complete First Season on DVD
on 6/5 (SRP $44.98). Click the link for more info.
Also, Manga Entertainment and Anchor Bay have confirmed that Ghost
in the Shell: Solid State Society - Volume 1 will be released
on DVD on 7/3. Look for both regular and special edition versions. No
HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disc version is currently planned (despite rumors to
Finally, Anchor Bay has also announced the release of a 2-disc H.P.
Lovecraft's Re-Animator: Limited Edition DVD on 3/20 (SRP
$24.98) - the first release in the new "Anchor Bay Collection"
line of premium DVDs. Just 50,000 copies will be available, complete
with a collectible syringe-shaped highlighter pen. The DVD will include
a new anamorphic widescreen transfer approved by director Stuart Gordon,
remastered audio in Dolby Digital and DTS, 2 audio commentaries
(featuring Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna and actors Jeffrey Combs, Bruce
Abbott and Barbara Crampton), the new feature-length documentary Re-Animator
Resurrectus, new video interviews with the cast and crew,
deleted and extended scenes, trailers and TV spots, multiple still
galleries, and the original H.P. Lovecraft short story and screenplay
adaptation on DVD-ROM. Ah yes... I remember all those exploding
intestines fondly: Re-Animator has
the unlikely honor of being the first film my wife and I ever saw
together in a theater. And here we are, still together more than 20
years later! FYI, the Anchor Bay Collection titles will all feature
restored picture and sound, and newly-produced extras. According to the
studio, "future Anchor Bay Collection
releases include Don Coscarelli's 1978 cult favorite Phantasm,
the 1994 sequel Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, and an upcoming
Hammer Films box set." Here's a look at cover art for the
Re-Animator Limited Edition and
that cool pen...
Back in a bit. Stay tuned...
We've got a few additional bits of announcement news this afternoon.
First up, though, for those who pay attention to such things, the Oscar
nominations were announced today in Hollywood. Up for Best Picture this
year are Babel, The
Queen, The Departed,
Letters from Iwo Jima and Little
Miss Sunshine. You can read more
Now then... we have a quick Fox update for you today. Amazon has a Borat
Blu-ray Disc listed for release on 3/6. Fox tells me that's an error -
there's no Blu-ray version set to be released yet. Just FYI.
Anyone want some Muppet Show
Rumor Mill today for word on the DVD release of Season
Two, along with anticipated street dates for a trio of major
Disney Blu-ray titles.
BCI's making DVD release news today: They've just announced Defenders
of the Earth: Volume Two for 4/3 (SRP $34.98). The 5-disc set
will include the last 32 episodes of the classic animated series along
with a ton of new special features, including interviews with the
creators, an audio commentary track on the episode Return
of the Sky Band (with the producers, editors, writer and
voice actors), the 90-minute Defenders of the
Earth: The Story Begins bonus film, a bonus episode of the
Flash Gordon animated series,
character profiles, an original model sheet gallery, 2 exclusive art
cards, an episode guide booklet, and episode scripts and storyboards
Also coming from BCI on 3/27 is The New
Adventures of He-Man: Volume Two (SRP $49.98) - a 6-disc set
containing the final 32 episodes, along with 2 documentaries (The
Fans of He- Man and the Masters of the Universe and The
Power of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe), 50
character profiles, 2 art cards, an episode guide booklet and Easter
Wolfe Releasing will debut 3 Needles
on DVD on 4/3 (SRP $24.95). Extras will include behind-the-scenes
interviews (with actors Lucy Liu, Shawn Ashmore and Chloë Sevigny),
trailers, a photo gallery, deleted scenes and 2 featurettes (China
AIDS Initiative with Magic Johnson and Yao Ming and House
on Fire: AIDS in America).
Warner has also just announced the release of Billy
and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure (on 4/3) and Ed,
Edd, n Eddy: The Complete Second Season (4/24). And I'm not
sure if we've mentioned it previously, but Teen
Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is on the way from Warner as well
On the HD-DVD front today, Universal has announced the release of the
Steve Martin comedy The Jerk and
David Fincher's The Game on 4/17.
The Jerk will be a DVD/HD-DVD
Combo title, and will include the Learn How
to Play: Tonight You Belong to Me and The
Lost Filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas De Cordova
featurettes, production notes and the theatrical trailer. The
Game will include just a theatrical trailer. Too bad it's not
a special edition, but still it'll be very cool to have The
Game in HD. How about The Big
Lebowski and The Blues Brothers?
By the way, following up on the HD porn thing from yesterday, Vivid has
Video Business that Debbie Does
Dallas - Again will be released on BOTH HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc format on 3/28 (SRP $39.95 each).
Finally, here's a little more new cover art to check out: BCI's Defenders
of the Earth: Volume Two and The
New Adventures of He-Man: Volume Two, along with Sony's Casino
Royale: 2-Disc Widescreen Edition (3/13)...
We'll be back tomorrow with a new Barrie Maxwell column. Stay tuned!
Well... it was quite the weekend here in the O.C., especially for our
old pal Matt Rowe (of MusicTAP).
You see, Matt's a diehard Chicago Bears fans - a Chicago EVERYTHING fan,
really (save for the Cubs - he's a White Sox man), so he and his brood
were in seventh heaven this weekend as they watched their team win a
spot in the forthcoming Superbowl. I'm a long-suffering Vikings fans, as
many of you already know, but at his encouragement I joined Matt and
company at a local "chicken wings and beer establishment"
(read: Wingnuts) in support of the NFC Norris division. Matt had so many
Fat Tires to settle his nerves that I'm frankly surprised he even
recognized me by the end of the game, but I've seldom seen that boy
happier. The lucky bastard. Anyway, to pay off a bet we made a while
back about who's team would get to the Superbowl first, here's a couple
There's one where I had to kiss his Bears cap too, but I'll let him
post that crap on his website where it belongs. Your time will come my
friend! Anyway, congrats to Matt and Bears fans everywhere. Congrats to
you Colts fans too - that AFC Championship was a helluva great game.
Okay, 'nuff with the football talk. Around the site today, we've posted
our own Adam Jahnke's latest edition of
Bottom Shelf, in which he reviews four recent DVD releases,
Ant Bully, Anchor Bay and Manga's
Castle of Cagliostro: Special Edition, BCI Eclipse's
& Dragons: The Complete Animated Series and Universal's
Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition. Enjoy!
We've also kicked off FOUR new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Waltons: Season Four and the
Mitchum: The Signature Collection box set, the BBC's
Series Two and Fantoma's
The Films of
Kenneth Anger: Volume One. The contests will all run until
Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, February 4th. Click on the links to get
started and good luck!
In DVD announcement news today, Warner has set The
War at Home: The Complete First Season for release on 5/15
(SRP $39.98). Confessions of a Thug
will street on 3/27. They'll release Tsunami:
The Aftermath for HBO on 4/24. And as we've reported
previously, The Departed will
street on 2/13 in full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVD editions, as
well as HD-DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD versions (SRP $28.98 each) will
include a theatrical trailer only. We also have details on Warner's The
Venture Bros.: Season Two release for Cartoon Network's Adult
Swim (due 4/17, SRP $29.98). Look for the 2-disc set to include all 13
episodes, episode audio commentaries and a tour of the show's Astro-base
Go! production studios. Nice. Now if we could just get Warner to release
the second season of Jonny Quest
Also today, Criterion has revealed that their April DVD slate will
include Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine
(#381), Stuart Cooper's Overlord
(#382) and Jules Dassin's Brute Force
(Cat #383). Their latest newsletter also hints that Chris Marker's La
Jetée and Sans soleil
are on the way (thanks to all the Bits
readers who e-mailed us about this).
On the high-def front this afternoon, we wanted to get to the bottom of
what's going on with the whole "porn has chosen HD-DVD"
brouhaha of late. I've spoken with a number of industry insiders today,
including Sony Pictures EVP of Advanced Technologies, Don Eklund, to get
their take on things. According to Don, the situation is pretty
straightforward. Sony places absolutely no restrictions Blu-ray
authoring or licensing that would prohibit adult material from appearing
on the format. Others we've spoken with today tell us that some of the
major disc replicators (including Sony DADC) simply have a general
policy that they don't handle adult material. In the past, with VHS and
DVD, that's never been a problem because there are lots of smaller
replicators that are willing and able to serve the adult community. But
at the moment, there may be fewer replicators here in the States capable
of doing Blu-ray that are willing to do so. These replicators have the
capacity to do adult product in addition to major Hollywood fare, but
choosing not to is simply a matter of policy for them. We do know,
however, that there ARE major replicators that currently do adult
product on DVD AND that are capable of manufacturing Blu-ray titles,
including Ascent Media, Deluxe and others. So far as we can tell,
however, Sony is not working to prevent porn on Blu-ray, despite such
claims in the press recently.
We've seen additional claims in the media (we've reported on them
ourselves) that Disney may have provisions in their own contracts with
replicators that specify that no adult material can be handled by them
if they produce Disney Blu-ray titles. However, a number of industry
sources that we've spoken with today (speaking off-the-record) said
that's not the case, arguing that one company contractually restricting
a second company from doing business with a third is against the law.
Back in the VHS days, Disney would at times specify that replicators use
new VHS stock to manufacture Disney titles on tape (to prevent stock
that may have been used to replicate adult or other material, but that
wasn't degaussed or erased properly, from appearing in Disney packaging
- recall the infamous "Aristocats
incident" from about a decade ago), but there are no Blu-ray
related restrictions imposed by Disney.
To the degree that the adult community may be migrating toward HD-DVD
at the moment, we suspect it's because they're more easily finding
smaller replicators capable of working on that format that are willing
to handle adult material. Based on our research today, it also seems
possible that the HD-DVD camp is making an active (and understandable
from a business perspective) effort to reach out to the adult community
with incentives and assistance in authoring and releasing titles on
HD-DVD - reaching out in a way that is not being matched by the Blu-ray
Disc camp. There are, however, adult titles being released on Blu-ray
Disc format in Japan which means that, at the very least, there seem to
be replicators outside the U.S. that are willing to work with the adult
community. This would explain recent press comments by Vivid
Entertainment Group founder Steven Hirsch, to the effect that he's been
able to secure authoring and replication for his company's forthcoming
The whole situation is nothing if not confusing. There's a lot of hype
and bluster out there on the subject of adult content on high-def discs.
Rest assured, we'll keep looking into the situation... and keep
reporting what we learn here.
By the way, for those of you who are audiophiles, Don Eklund told us
that Sony chose to go with 16bit 48kHz uncompressed LPCM audio on their
early Blu-ray Disc titles, rather than Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD, because
of the lack of hardware decoders for those formats in consumer hardware.
But as more hardware begins to support those audio formats, Sony will
support them as well. FYI, we've heard this same reasoning from
Paramount reps too re: the high-resolution audio on their titles on both
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Boy have we got some great DVD news for you film geeks today! ABKCO
Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment have just announced a pair of titles
that we've been waiting for on DVD since Day One of this format... El
Topo and The Holy Mountain!
No kidding! Anchor Bay will release a special limited edition
collector's box set, The Films of Alejandro
Jodorowsky, on DVD on 5/1 (SRP $49.98). The set will contain
El Topo, The
Holy Mountain and Fando Y Lis
on DVD, fully restored and remastered from new HD transfers in
anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio (El
Topo is 125 minutes in Spanish, The
Holy Mountain is 114 minutes in English, Fando
Y Lis is 93 minutes in Spanish). The box set will also
include 2 music CDs containing the soundtracks for El
Topo and The Holy Mountain,
as well as a DVD of Jodorowsky's never-before-released first film, La
Cravate. El Topo and
The Holy Mountain will also be
available separately (SRP $24.98 each). The El
Topo DVD will contain audio commentary by the director, the
original theatrical trailer (with English voice-over), a 2006 on-camera
interview with the director as well as an exclusive new interview, a
photo gallery and original script excerpts. The
Holy Mountain DVD will include audio commentary with the
director, deleted scenes with commentary, the original theatrical
trailer (with English voice-over), the Tarot
short with commentary, a restoration process short, restoration credits,
a photo gallery and original script excerpts. Fando
Y Lis will include audio commentary with the director and the
La Constellation Jodorowsky
documentary. Subtitles on the discs will be available in English,
French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Awesome news indeed! To which
Todd adds, "Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!" and faints dead away in shock.
This is, you see, his long awaited Holy Grail of DVD.
Here's a look at the preliminary cover art for the Jodorowsky
box set and El Topo, along with
20th Century Fox's A Good Year
If that doesn't get your blood pumping (and it damn well should), maybe
this will: I happened to be watching PBS HD the other day, and saw a
preview for Ken Burns' new multi-part documentary series, The
War. Premiering on PBS in September (click
here for the official website), the seven-part series
"tells the story of the Second World War
through the personal accounts of nearly 50 men and women from four
quintessentially American towns." I'll tell you, about the
only thing better than a new Ken Burns documentary... is a new Ken Burns
documentary on World War II! Nice.
On the HD front today, there are reports that LG's new BH100 Super
Multi Blue HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc combo player might be headed for trouble.
Early reviews indicate that the player has a lot of problems with the
HDi interactivity on HD-DVD discs. That comes as no surprise to us: We
learned at CES that the unit was originally intended to be a Blu-ray
Disc player only, but that HD-DVD compatibility was added at the 11th
hour. Kevin Collins, Director of HD DVD Evangelism at Microsoft,
believes that since the unit doesn't fully support HDi, LG can't claim
it to be officially HD-DVD compliant. Which means that the DVD Forum may
pursue legal action against LG for calling it an HD-DVD compatible
player and selling it with the HD-DVD logo on the cover. Oh, the
humanity. You can read more
at X-bit Labs.
There's another fly in the HD ointment today as well. It seems that
recent post-CES press reports that the porn industry has decided to
release adult films only on the HD-DVD format were somewhat premature.
According to a pair of stories at
it seems that Sony isn't trying to stop porn from appearing on Blu-ray
per se. In fact, a number of adult titles have already been released in
Japan. However, Sony isn't actively giving Blu-ray production assistance
to adult film companies, and they're preventing any replicator that
produces Disney Blu-ray Discs from working on adult titles. Given that,
adult companies like Vivid have had to find other replicators to work
with. So right now, HD-DVD is the easier format to work with of the two.
However, Vivid Entertainment Group founder Steven Hirsch expects that
his company will release films on both HD formats. Says Hirsch,
"It seems to me that Blu-ray has the
momentum right now, due to the release of the PlayStation 3 adding a lot
more players to the market." Just when you think things are
starting to become clearer with regard to this format war, they end up
getting even more complicated.
Before we sign off today, I wanted to take a moment to recommend a few
great films that are deserving of your attention in theaters right now.
A couple weeks ago, Matt and I went matinee crazy and saw four films in
a single weekend: Guillermo Del Toro's
Labyrinth, Zhang Yimou's
of the Golden Flower, Alfonso Cuarón's
Men and Sylvester Stallone's
Balboa. I've praised Rocky Balboa
before. This was my second viewing and it's one of my favorites of last
year. Curse of the Golden Flower
was interesting, but both Matt and I found it to be a bit over the top
and heavy handed. It's worth seeing, but I don't think it's quite up to
the level of Zhang's previous work. Pan's
Labyrinth, however, is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking -
imaginative, spell-binding and absolutely uncompromising in its
sensibilities. It's the kind of film that Ridley Scott's Legend
wanted to be back in the 1980s, and I don't say that lightly. I also
don't say this casually: Children of Men
is absolutely my favorite film of 2006. It's a near-future cautionary
tale that merits consideration alongside such classics of the genre as
Blade Runner and Brazil.
I'll tell you, there's a scene in the film that made the hairs on my
arms stand on end. The point of my saying all this is to remind you that
there's a LOT of great cinema in your local theaters right now, and you
should go see as much of it as you can. You might have to go looking for
some of these films, and drive a few extra miles to find them, but
they're worth the effort.
By the way, don't forget that Battlestar
Galactica returns to Sci-Fi Channel with new episodes
starting this Sunday night (1/21) at 10 PM Pacific. Word is that renewal
for a fourth season depends on better ratings in the new Sunday time
slot, so if you care about the show, rally the troops and get everyone
you know to tune in. 'Nuff said.
Okay, we'll be back on Monday with some new disc reviews from our own
Adam Jahnke, and of course the usual DVD and HD news updates. We've also
got other exciting stuff in the works for next week as well.
As always, have a great weekend and stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/18/07 -
12:30 PM PST)
We've got one more quick bit of DVD and high-def news for you today.
Warner Home Video has just officially announced the DVD and HD release
of a new unrated version of Oliver Stone's Alexander.
The new version, called Alexander Revisited:
The Final Cut, is some 45 minutes longer than the previous
versions. Stone apparently wasn't happy with either the original
theatrical version or the previous director's cut of the film. Says
Stone of the new Revisited cut:
"Over the last two years I have been able to
sort out some of the unanswered questions about this highly complicated
and passionate monarch -- questions I failed to answer dramatically
enough. This film represents my complete and last version, as it will
contain all the essential footage we shot. I don't know how many
filmmakers have managed to make three versions of the same film, but I
have been fortunate to have the opportunity because of the success of
video and DVD sales in the world, and I felt if I didn't do it now, with
the energy and memory I still have for the subject, it would never quite
be the same again. For me, this is the complete Alexander, the
clearest interpretation I can offer." Warner will release
the DVD version on 2/27 (SRP $24.98) as a 2-disc set, complete with a
new introduction to the film by Stone. The film is presented in
anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and it's split over
both discs with an intermission. High-definition HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc
versions will follow in May (street date TBA). Here's a look at the DVD
I have to admit, I'm officially intrigued. That's a badass cover shot
in any case.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/18/07 -
11:45 AM PST)
We've got a bit of follow-up on yesterday's Star
Trek news for you this morning. We're still waiting to hear
back from CBS Paramount as far as The
Original Series (and other Trek
TV properties), but Paramount Home Entertainment's Vice President of
Publicity, Brenda Ciccone, told me last night in no uncertain terms that
when the Star Trek feature films
(which Paramount specifically controls) are released on disc in
high-def, they will each be released on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc, in
keeping with Paramount's stated commitment to support both formats. The
studio is working to evaluate its catalog titles for high-def release
now. So you Trekkers on both sides of the HD format war can all live
long and prosper... on that score at least.
In other release news today, Buena Vista has announced the DVD release
of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Great
Clubhouse Hunt on 3/20 (SRP $26.99). The all new animated
feature film will include unique interactive features that allow "young
viewers to join in the action." Also included are the
never-before-seen Donald's Hiccips
episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
series and a new song.
Meanwhile today, Sony has added Big Fish
to its 3/20 Blu-ray slate, along with repackaged 2-disc DVD versions of
The Bridge on the River Kwai, The
Guns of Navarone and Lawrence of
Arabia (see cover art below). Also coming on 3/20 is a new
single-disc DVD reissue of The Caine Mutiny.
Don't know if we've mentioned this before, but Fox has set Ridley
Scott's A Good Year for release on
Lionsgate has set Man About Town
for release on 2/13.
And BCI Eclipse will release She-Ra:
Princess of Power: Season One, Volume Two as a 6-disc set on
4/3 (SRP $49.98).
Also, Warner has announced a number of new DVD releases today including
Diamonds of War: Africa's Blood Diamonds
(National Geographic) and Burning Annie
(both 3/20), Relentless Enemies
(National Geographic - also on HD-DVD and Blu-ray) and Deep
Sea IMAX (all 3/27), Scooby-Doo,
Where Are You!: The Complete Third Season (it's also the
final season - on 4/10), and E.R.: The
Complete Seventh Season, an E.R.:
The Complete Seasons 1-7 pack, A
Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Volume 6, Tex
Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection and Tom
and Jerry: Tales Volume 2 (all 5/15). The studio has also
announced the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the Steve McQueen
classics Bullitt and The
Getaway on 2/27.
And this would normally go in The Rumor Mill
(so treat it accordingly) but industry sources are telling us to expect
Fox's Night at the Museum to
street on 3/20 (on DVD and Blu-ray Disc).
Here's a bit more DVD cover art for you today - those three Sony
reissue classics mentioned above:
We've got new information on Star Trek
coming to high-def for you today.
Hollywood Reporter and
Media Retailing quote CBS Home Entertainment head Ken Ross as
saying that Star Trek: The Original Series
is going to be released on DVD/HD-DVD Combo format at the end of 2007.
"The reason we chose to do that is to give
us the ability to make high-definition transfers of the show available
to people who don't yet have high-definition players," Ross
says in the interview. However the same piece also notes that while a
Blu-ray Disc release hasn't yet been scheduled, CBS will support both
formats like Paramount does. So, to cut through all the hype, this
likely means that while the HD-DVD camp can probably accurately say that
The Original Series will be an
HD-DVD exclusive in 2007, the release almost certainly won't happen
until the very end of the year (simply due to the fact that it's going
to take that long to finish at least a season's worth of remastered
episodes) and a Blu-ray Disc release probably won't be far behind. Rest
assured, we're looking into this further to confirm all the available
Now for the other big sci-fi saga everyone loves... Star
Wars. Several readers have e-mailed us today with
link to images of a "Star Wars 11
DVD Ultimate Complete Collection Deluxe Box Set"
available from an online DVD retailer. It's bogus - absolutely not
authentic. Your first clue should be that the discs feature subtitles in
Chinese, Thai and Korean in addition to English, French and Spanish.
This is a bootleg all the way. It's basically a repackaged set
containing all of the legitimate Star Wars
DVDs that have been released thus far (or copies of them), along with
the Star Wars: A Musical Journey
program, all in custom Digipack packaging. Our sources tell us that
there is likely a big official DVD release of the Star
Wars films planned for later in 2007 by Fox and Lucasfilm...
but this isn't it. One would expect that it would have to be announced
in the next couple of months, however, so watch this space for more.
Anyway... some new DVD announcements: Universal has just set Succubus:
Hell-Bent for release on 4/17. So you Succubus
fans can all sleep easy now.
Fox has also added Little Robots: Reach for
the Sky to its 4/3 slate.
And on 2/13, Warner is releasing the first four discs in a new
Director's Showcase line (SRP $19.97), featuring new transfers, audio
commentaries and new bonus materials. The first titles will include Neil
Jordan's The Butcher Boy, Federico
Fellini's Ginger & Fred, Tony
Richardson's The Loneliness of the Long
Distance Runner and Nicolas Roeg's Performance.
Here's more cover art for you to enjoy today: Fox's Borat
(3/6), and MGM's Stargate: Atlantis - Season
Two (3/6) and The Addams Family:
Volume 2 (3/27)...
As always, stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! Sorry about the lack of an update yesterday. Even
though it was MLK Day here in the States, I'd planned to post a small
update, but poor Sarah came down with the flu so I spent the day
yesterday ferrying her to the doctor and picking up medicines and so
forth. Anyway, she's starting to feel better, so thanks for your
Okay, first up today, we've just posted
complete transcript of a chat that our friends at the
Theater Forum hosted last night with Microsoft's Kevin Collins
(the company's Director of HD-DVD Evangelism) on the subject of HD-DVD.
There's some interesting things in there. If Kevin is to be believed,
Paramount is going to be releasing the Star
Trek feature films as HD-DVD exclusives in 2007. That's
certainly unexpected, given Paramount's stated support for both Blu-ray
and HD-DVD. We've already got a call into Paramount to confirm this one
way or the other, so stay tuned. Man... this format war is so F-ing
stupid, I can't even tell you. Everyone involved should be ashamed of
themselves for putting consumers and enthusiasts through this mess.
Anyway, it's a good chat regardless, so thanks to Ron, Parker and the
whole crew at HTF for the
transcript, and to Kevin Collins as well. Can't fault a guy for doing
his job. ;)
In terms of standard DVD announcements today, Universal has just
revealed a new Harry and the Hendersons:
Special Edition for release on 4/24, along with a new Parenthood:
Special Edition. Also coming from the studio is Opal
Dream on 4/3 and Murder, She
Wrote: The Complete Sixth Season on 4/17.
Paramount has set Foxworthy's Big Night Out:
Season One for release on 4/10. Happy
Days: The Complete Second Season, Laverne
& Shirley: The Complete Second Season and Mork
& Mindy: The Complete Second Season will all follow on
4/17. Meanwhile, NCIS: The Third Season
and the classic The Odd Couple: The First
Season street on 4/24.
Also, BCI and Freemantle Entertainment have just signed an exclusive
distribution deal that gives BCI the DVD release rights to classic game
shows like The Price Is Right and
Family Feud, the British sitcom
The IT Crowd and the series Prehistoric
Warner has just announced the DVD release of George
Lopez: The Complete First and Second Seasons on 4/17. They've
also announced a new James Cagney: The
Signature Collection for release on 4/24 (SRP $49.92),
including the new-to-DVD films The Bride Came
C.O.D., Captain of the Clouds,
The Fighting 69th, Torrid
Zone and The West Point Story
(also also available separately for SRP $19.97).
Meanwhile, Sony has set The Jeffersons: The
Complete Sixth Season for release on 3/27, along with Mary
Hartman, Mary Hartman: Volume One, Tempest
and Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes.
The Curse of the Golden Flower and
The Pursuit of Happyness are also
set for release on 3/27 - more details on those titles will follow soon.
Sony has also moved the street date for the Gandhi:
25th Anniversary Collector's Edition to 2/20.
In other news, The
Criterion Collection has posted official word of the debut of
their new Eclipse DVD line on their website, featuring details on the
5-disc first release, Series 1: Early Bergman,
which streets on 3/27 and will include the films Torment,
of Call, Thirst and
To Joy. Very cool indeed.
Finally, Lionsgate has set The Last Unicorn:
25th Anniversary Edition for release on 2/6.
Here's a little bit of new cover art, including Early
Bergman, Universal's Arabian
Nights: Cinema Classics (2/6) and Paramount's Babel
(2/20). I love how the Eclipse logo plays off the recently-revised
Criterion logo. They're some cool cats over there at Criterion...
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