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page updated: 7/10/08



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 6/30/08 - 6/6/08)


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(LATE UPDATE - 6/30/08 - 1:45 PM PDT)

How's about a look at the cover art for The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Blu-ray Collection? This comes straight from the studio, but we suspect there will be one minor change on the final version - that DVD logo on the spine will be a Blu-ray logo. In any case, here you go...

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Blu-ray Disc Collection

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/30/08 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Okay, as if The Godfather wasn't good enough, we've got a host of other great Blu-ray Disc announcements to report this afternoon.

First up, Buena Vista has set The Sixth Sense for release on 9/30 (SRP $34.99). Buena Vista has also set a Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy Blu-ray Disc box set for release on 9/16, containing all three films in a single package (SRP $82.99).

Next, DreamWorks and Paramount have officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd on 10/21. The title is already available for pre-order here on Amazon. Additional details will follow shortly.

Also, Sony has just set both Rudy and Jerry Maguire for Blu-ray Disc release on 9/9 (SRP $28.95 each). We expect most, if not all, of the DVD special features to be ported over on the new editions. Married Life has also been set for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/2.

By the way, Sony has also set The Spectacular Spider-Man: Attack of the Lizard, Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour, Taking 5 and The Fall for DVD release on 9/9.

Universal has set Foreign Exchange and 14 Women for DVD release on 9/9 as well.

As we've reported previously, Warner Home Video has set a Risky Business: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 9/16. Extras will include The Dream is Always the Same: The Story of Risky Business documentary, a new cut of the final scene with introduction by director Paul Brickman, screen tests for Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay. Both editions will also include commentary with Cruise, Brickman and producer Jon Avnet (audio on the DVD and PiP video on the Blu-ray). The Blu-ray edition will also include a Digital Copy version of the film.

And for those of you who have been dying for a Uwe Boll film in high-def, Vivendi will debut Postal on DVD (SRP $26.99) and Blu-ray Disc ($34.99) on 8/26, packed with commentary, featurettes and the Postal 2: Share the Pain PC game.

So much for all this talk about there not being enough Blu-ray announcements.

Here's some cover art for you... the DVD art for Paramount's The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration DVD Collection and New Line's The New World: Extended Cut (10/14), and Blu-ray art for DreamWorks' Shrek the Third and Madagascar (both 9/16), as well as Sony's Maximum Risk and xXx: State of the Union (both 8/12)...

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration DVD CollectionThe New World: Extended CutShrek the Third (Blu-ray Disc)

Madagascar (Blu-ray Disc)Maximum Risk (Blu-ray Disc)xXx: State of the Union (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/30/08 - 6 AM PDT)

Well... we've known that this news was coming for months now, but we're thrilled today to say that it's FINALLY official: Paramount has just announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection on both DVD and high-definition Blu-ray Disc on 9/23! The 5-disc DVD set (SRP $72.99) and 4-disc Blu-ray set (SRP $119.99) will contain all three films in the series, along with an archive of the previous DVD extras and all-new bonus material as well (the new material will be in high-def on Blu-ray). The remastered films will also be available individually on DVD only (SRP $19.99 each). And let me tell you... this new restoration looks simply FANTASTIC.

Remember last year, when Jahnke and I had that amazing movie experience, except we were sworn to secrecy about it, but we promised that you would all get to experience it yourselves eventually? THIS is what we were talking about. We've seen the first two restored films (a restoration personally supervised by The Digital Bits' own Robert A. Harris), presented on the big screen. The result is just breathtaking. You may recall that there was a lot of talk, back when these films were first released on DVD, that the image quality was underwhelming, and how sad it was that the films had deteoriated so badly. Simply put, they've now been saved. The films haven't looked this good since their original theatrical release. If you're a fan of The Godfather Trilogy, trust me - you're going to LOVE these discs.

We should note that the restoration effort will soon be the topic of one of Robert's new Yellow Layer Failure columns here at The Bits, so be sure to watch for it.

Here's a look at the final U.S. packaging for the DVD version (now available for pre-order on Amazon.com). The art is close - but not the same - as the European packaging we've posted previously. You'll also find Paramount's official press release below. We'll post the final Blu-ray art as soon as it's available. Here you go...

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration DVD box set


DIRECTOR FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S EPIC TRILOGY
DEBUTS ON DVD AND BLU-RAY IN ALL
NEWLY-REMASTERED VERSIONS

THE GODFATHER: THE COPPOLA RESTORATION

Cinematic Classics Return to their Original Pristine Glory with All-New Special Features

Must-Own Collections Arrive September 23, 2008

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (June 30, 2007) - More than three decades after they won the Academy Award® for Best Picture, director Francis Ford Coppola's classic films The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II will once again be enjoyed by audiences as they originally were meant to be seen, thanks to a meticulous restoration by Paramount Pictures, overseen by Coppola himself. On September 23, 2008, both fully restored films will debut on DVD and Blu-ray, along with a newly remastered version of The Godfather Part III, to be included as part of The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection. All three films will be available individually or in a five-DVD collection or four-disc Blu-ray collection, which are loaded with a host of all-new special features.

The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II underwent extensive frame-by-frame examination and restoration utilizing state-of-the-art digital technology in this historic preservation effort, which required more than a year to complete. Robert A. Harris of the Film Preserve supervised the restoration under the direction of Coppola and cinematographer, Gordon Willis. Harris' restoration credits include Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, Vertigo and Rear Window among others.

The new special features created by Kim Aubry, founder of Zoetrope Aubry Productions, explores the complexities of the restoration process and provides new insights and perspectives about how the film almost didn't come to pass as we know it. The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't relates the unlikely events, intrigue, allegiances and luck that put together the unknown director with the "unwanted" cast and contains interviews with most of the living players and many of the film' admirers. Other featurettes include …when the shooting stopped and Godfather World, which take a look at The Godfather's influence on popular culture today. Each film includes a commentary by Coppola.

THE GODFATHER: The Coppola Restoration DVD Collection

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration DVD Collection, enhanced for 16:9 TVs, with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround and English Mono (The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II) and English, French and Spanish subtitles. The DVD disc breakdown is as follows:

Disc 1:

- The Godfather feature film
- Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola

Disc 2:

- The Godfather, Part II feature film
- Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola

Disc 3:

- The Godfather, Part III feature film
- Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola

Disc 4: (previously released special features)

- Making of The Godfather
- Additional Scenes
- Filming Locations
- The Corleone Family Tree
- The Music of The Godfather
- The Godfather Historical Timeline
- Profiles on the Filmmakers
- Photo Galleries and Storyboards

Disc 5: (new special features)

- Godfather World
- The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't
- ...when the shooting stopped
- Emulsional Rescue: Revealing The Godfather
- The Godfather on the Red Carpet
- Four Short Films on The Godfather
--- The Godfather vs. The Godfather, Part II
--- Cannoli
--- Riffing on the Riffing
--- Clemenza

THE GODFATHER: The Coppola Restoration Blu-ray Collection

THE GODFATHER: The Coppola Restoration Blu-ray four-disc set is presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Mono (except The Godfather: Part III) and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The following special features are presented in high definition as noted:

Disc 1:

- The Godfather feature film
- Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola

Disc 2:

- The Godfather, Part II feature film
- Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola

Disc 3:

- The Godfather, Part III feature film
- Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola

Disc 4:

- Godfather World (HD)
- The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't (HD)
- ...when the shooting stopped (HD)
- Emulsional Rescue: Revealing The Godfather (HD)
- The Godfather on the Red Carpet (HD)
- Four Short Films on The Godfather
--- The Godfather vs. The Godfather, Part II (HD)
--- Cannoli (HD)
--- Riffing on the Riffing (HD)
--- Clemenza (HD)
- The Family Tree
- Crime Organization Chart
- Connie and Carlo's Wedding Album

2001 DVD Archive:

-Behind the Scenes
-- The Godfather Family: A Look Inside
-- On Location
-- Francis Coppola's Notebook
-- The Music of the Godfather
-- Coppola & Puzo on Screenwriting
-- Gordon Willis on Cinematography
-- Storyboards from The Godfather, Part II
-- Storyboards from The Godfather, Part III
-- The Godfather: Behind the Scenes 1971
- The Filmmakers
-- Francis Ford Coppola
-- Mario Puzo
-- Gordon Willis
-- Dean Tavoularis
-- Nino Rota
-- Carmine Coppola
- Additional Scenes
- Acclaim & Response
- Trailers (HD)
- Photo Gallery
- Rogues' Gallery

About Paramount Home Entertainment

Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) is part of Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment. PPC is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. PHE is responsible for the worldwide sales, marketing and distribution of home entertainment products on behalf of various parties including: Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Studios, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, CBS, PBS and Hasbro and for providing home entertainment fulfillment services for DreamWorks Animation Home Entertainment.

---


So there you have it! Not a bad way to start the new week, eh? Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/27/08 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Okay, one last announcement today: Fox has just officially revealed the Blu-ray Disc release of The Omen (1976) and The Omen Collection, as well as Night Watch and Day Watch. All will street on 9/9, as we've reportedly previously. What's new here are official details on these titles, as follows:

Night Watch, Day Watch and The Omen (1976) will all be released on BD-50 discs. The other discs (in The Omen Collection) will be BD-25s. All will feature DTS-HD audio, save for Night Watch, which will include Dolby TrueHD. Each title will SRP for $39.98, while the collection will sell for SRP $129.98.

The Omen (1976) will include the previously-released DVD extras, among them an introduction by director Richard Donner, audio commentary by Donner and editor Stuart Baird, a second commentary with Donner and screenwriter Brian Hegeland, the "dog attack" deleted scene with optional commentary, 5 featurettes (666: The Omen Revealed, The Omen Legacy, Curse or Coincidence?, An Appreciation: Wes Craven on The Omen, Jerry Goldsmith on The Omen Score and Screenwriters Notebook), the film's theatrical trailer and a still gallery. Also included will be a number of BD-exclusive features, such as the Richard Donner on The Omen featurette, The Omen Revelations BonusView viewing option with trivia track, a third audio commentary with film historians Lem Dobbs, Nick Redman and Jeff Bond, and the film's score in Dolby Digital 5.1 as an isolated audio track.

The Omen Collection will include The Omen (1976 - with extras listed above), Damien: Omen II (with audio commentary by producer Harvey Bernhard and the theatrical trailer), Omen III: The Final Conflict (with audio commentary by director Graham Baker and the theatrical trailer) and The Omen (2006 - includes audio commentary with director John Moore, producer Glen Williamson and editor Dan Zimmerman, the Revelations 666 and Abbey Road Sessions featurettes, extended scenes and the BD-exclusive The Devil's Footnotes trivia track).

Meanwhile, Night Watch will include audio commentary with director Timur Bekmambetov, subtitled commentary by novelist Sergei Lukyanenko (in English, French and Spanish), 3 featurettes (The Making of Night Watch, Characters, Story and Subtitles and Night Watch Trilogy), 7 deleted scenes with commentary by Bekmambetov, an extended ending, poster and comic book still galleries, the film's theatrical trailer and D-Box compatibility.

And Day Watch will include audio commentary with Bekmambetov, The Making of Day Watch featurette, original Russian TV spots, theatrical trailers and D-Box compatibility.

Here's the final cover art for all four titles...

The Omen (1976 - Blu-ray Disc)The Omen Collection (Blu-ray Disc)Night Watch (Blu-ray Disc)

Day Watch (Blu-ray Disc)

Also announced for DVD release on 9/16 by Fox is the Charlie Chan: Volume Five box set (SRP $49.98), including Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum, Murder Over New York, Dead Men Tell, Charlie Chan in Rio, Charlie Chan in Panama, Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise and Castle in the Desert. All will be presented in the original full frame aspect ratio, and will feature theatrical trailers and still/advertising galleries. Also included in the set will be the 30-minute The Era of Chan featurette. This is the final volume of Chan films from the studio.

Back Monday... have a great weekend!

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/27/08 - 9:15 AM PDT)

Okay, welcome to another Friday! We've just gotten a WHOLE BUNCH of cool release news from Warner, so let's get right to it. Here goes...

Apparently driven by the success of last year's Blade Runner and Harry Potter box sets, Warner has just revealed a number of new DVD and Blu-ray Disc box sets due later this year (both from Warner and also HBO). As it happens, we've got some early details for you, as well as an exclusive first look at the packaging and artwork for nearly all of them. Street dates and exact specs aren't yet available, but here's a sneak peek at some of what's planned for release in the fourth quarter of this year (official announcements will follow in the weeks ahead)...

First up is The Peanuts Holiday Collection on DVD, which will contain A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Deluxe Edition, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Deluxe Edition and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition, along with a CD of songs from the original soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi.

Next, The Clique is a film based on the bestselling book series by Lisi Harrison, and it's currently planned for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

HBO is releasing The Wire: The Complete Series as a 23-disc DVD box set, including all the previous extras along with a never-before-seen gag reel.

Now we get to the pictures...

We mentioned this the other day, but HBO's The Sopranos: The Complete Series will be a 33-disc DVD box set with special packaging and some 3.5 hours of all new bonus content exclusive to the set.

The Sopranos: The Complete Series

HBO's Deadwood: The Complete Series box set will feature 18 DVD discs, with all the previous extras, along with an exclusive bonus disc containing 2 hours worth of new material.

Deadwood: The Complete Series

Also coming in time for the holidays from HBO, just as we anticipated, is the Band of Brothers mini-series on Blu-ray Disc. All of the previous DVD extras will be included, along with new bonus content exclusive to high-def. The new extras will include In the Words of Easy Company, a dynamic, optional picture-in-picture commentary by the surviving Easy Company veterans, and In the Field with the Men of Easy Company, an interactive field guide charting a path from the storming of the beaches on D-Day to the assault on Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.

Band of Brothers (Blu-ray Disc)

Next up, from Warner, is The Flintstones: The Complete Series, which will include all six seasons on DVD plus extras (24 discs in all) in special packaging with a lenticular hologram.

The Flintstones: The Complete Series

Batman: The Complete Animated Series on DVD will include all four seasons plus extras (16 discs) in special packaging along with new bonus material exclusive to this set (TBA).

Batman: The Complete Animated Series

On the live action front, just in time for the Presidential election, Warner will deliver a 3-disc JFK: Ultimate Collector's Edition on DVD, including special packaging, 3 hours of bonus content and collectible memorabilia, as well as an all new documentary, The Kennedy's: America's Emerald Kings. This title will also be available on Blu-ray Disc format in Digibook packaging.

JFK: Ultimate Collector's Edition

A Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition box set is also coming to both DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Both will include 40 minutes of special features, 2 feature-length commentaries, branded travel-related premiums, a photo book, and much more.

Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition

As for more recent live action fare, an I Am Legend: Ultimate Collector's Edition box set will be available on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and will include an alternate version of the film with the "controversial ending," all-new special features such as a new filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, "iconic" premium collectible items and more.

I Am Legend: Ultimate Collector's Edition

Also, a 300: Limited Collector's Edition box set will be available this fall on DVD only, as a special box set including all the previous DVD extras along with two new documentaries (Recreating the Spartan Era and 300: Legend Filtered Through History, Graphic Novel and Film), as well as other exclusive memorabilia (a lenticular hologram, artwork cards and more). The reason it's DVD only? The studio tells us that a much more elaborate Blu-ray Disc version is currently in production for release in 2009, complete with new BD-Live and Bonus View content. It's tentatively set for about mid-year, so watch it to arrive in stores about a year from now. We'll have more details as they become available.

300: Limited Collector's Edition

Finally, the A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition will soon be announced, set to include the previous 2-disc DVD special edition along with exclusive premiums only available in the set. We're waiting to hear if any new disc-based content will be included, but we do know that this will also be released on Blu-ray Disc format.

A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition

FYI, also on the way to stores this fall is HBO's Get Smart: The Complete Series and Warner's The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Series (the latter has already been announced for release on 10/21). Both will be the same discs and packaging that were previously available exclusively online from TimeLife.

Again, all of these titles are expected to be officially announced in the next few weeks, so we'll post more specific details as they become available.

So there you go. That's not bad for one day. We'll check back in later if there's any last-minute breaking news, but otherwise, we wish you all a great weekend. See you Monday!

6/26/08

Okay... we've got a few more release announcements today.

Warner has set Blu-ray Disc versions of the IMAX titles Cosmic Voyage/Destiny in Space and Space Station/Mission to Mir for release on 10/14 (SRP $28.99 each). The studio has also set National Geographic's Six Degrees Could Change the World for release on 9/30 (SRP $28.99). Six Degrees has already been available for a couple months now as an Amazon exclusive.

Also, MGM has announced the DVD release of Goosebumps: A Night in Terror Tower, Goosebumps: Monster Blood and Goosebumps: One Day at HorrorLand on 9/16.

And in a bit of news out of the Vegas convention, EMA has released its 2008 Annual Report on the Home Entertainment Industry (see press release here), which features an interesting bit of information. EMA estimates that Blu-ray Disc sales will exceed those of standard DVD by 2012, with revenues of some $9.5 billion generated.

Finally today, we've updated our Power Buy deals on Pioneer Kuro receivers and plasmas, so do check them out.

By the way, if you're a fan of Battlestar Galactica, Sci-Fi.com has finally posted a couple of Ron Moore's remaining podcast episode commentaries, specifically the last two episodes, The Hub and Revelations. There are still two missing, and the commentary for Faith is completely FUBARed (I refuse to say fracked), so presumably it's being re-recorded.

Speaking of which, as a bit of Rumor Mill info, industry sources say that Season 4.0 of the show will be released on DVD very late this year, or very early in 2009 (prior to the broadcast debut of the last 11 episodes of the series), and you MAY see the first BSG release on Blu-ray at that time as well. Details are still being worked out, so watch for more information in the weeks ahead.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/25/08 - 3:15 PM PDT)

City Lights Home Entertainment and Amazon.com have just announced that Hector Babenco's 1985 film Kiss of the Spider Woman will be released in dual collector's editions on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 7/22, both available exclusively at Amazon. The 2-disc DVD (SRP $25.99) and Blu-ray ($27.95) are now available for pre-order, with extras TBA. Already currently available on DVD from Amazon is the Tangled Web: Making Kiss of the Spider Woman documentary (SRP $16.99). It's as yet unclear whether this documentary will be included on either the new DVD or Blu-ray editions. We'll have more information when it's available. Meanwhile, here's the cover art...

Kiss of the Spider Woman: 2-Disc Collector's EditionKiss of the Spider Woman: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Tangled Web: Making Kiss of the Spider Woman

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/25/08 - 11 AM PDT)

Morning, folks...

Our industry sources have confirmed today that HBO will release the Band of Brothers miniseries on Blu-ray Disc in time for the holidays. By coincidence, our friends at TVShowsonDVD.com have reported today that all the extras from the previous DVD release will be included, along with new picture-in-picture content.

Meanwhile, Warner has announced that The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Series will be released in stores on DVD on 10/21 (SRP $199.92). The title had previously been available only via mail order online from Time Life. The good news is that the retail version will include the same nifty briefcase packaging and bonus content.

Speaking of Warner, as we mentioned the other day, the studio is releasing a Watership Down: Deluxe Edition on DVD on 10/7. A LOT of you have since asked about a Blu-ray Disc version, but unfortunately, the studio currently has no plans for one. Yeah, I know... we're unhappy about that too.

What IS apparently coming to Blu-ray Disc later this year from Warner is The Goonies. The title has yet to be announced for North American release, though the website PlanetaHD claims it's been announced for release in Spain (and elsewhere in Europe) on 10/15. We suspect the U.S. version will be revealed shortly by Warner Home Video, possibly along with A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition, which the studio informed us (way back in February) was also in the works for Blu-ray release later this year.

Also newly announced by Warner is an All Roads Film Festival: 5th Anniversary Collection from National Geographic, set for release on 9/30. Further details are still TBA.

In other release news, 20th Century Fox has set Prison Break: Season 3 for release on both DVD (SRP $49.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($79.98) on 8/12.

Retail sources are indicating that Fox has also revealed a Child's Play: Anniversary Edition for DVD only release on 9/9 (SRP $14.98). Extras will include audio commentary, a select scene commentary with Chucky, the multi-part Evil Comes in Small Packages documentary, 2 featurettes (Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play and It's Hard Being Evil), a photo gallery and the film's theatrical trailer.

And Buena Vista has set Smart People for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/12. Both versions will include interviews with the cast and crew, audio commentary with director Noam Murro and writer Mark Jude Poirier, outtakes, 9 deleted scenes and the Smart People at Sundance featurette.

Here's a look a more new cover art: Warner's Watership Down: Deluxe Edition DVD, Universal's Heroes: Season 2 Blu-ray (8/26) and Image Entertainment's Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag (IMAX) on Blu-ray (9/9)...

Watership Down: Deluxe EditionHeroes: Season 2 (Blu-ray Disc)Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag (IMAX) (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/24/08 - 2:15 PM PDT)

Okay... we've got a couple more things for you this afternoon.

First up, we have a new Yellow Layer Failure column from our own Robert A. Harris. In this piece, Robert begins to address a MAJOR problem in this new realm of movies in high-definition... the scourge of Digital Noise Reduction, or DNR. Sadly, DNR is being used by several of the major Hollywood studios to scrub film grain out of many of their new Blu-ray Disc releases - particularly classic catalog titles - and they're actually removing image detail in the process! It's becoming a HUGE problem and it's one we're going to be talking a LOT more about in the coming weeks, rest assured.

Also, we've gotten official confirmation from the good folks at Kino International that they're planning to release Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels in high-definition on the Blu-ray Disc format sometime in 2009. The exact street dates and special features are all still to be determined, so we'll follow up with them over the next few months. But still - good news indeed. Those are terrific titles.

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/24/08 - 10:45 AM PDT)

Okay... we're going to have a couple of posts today, so check back later this afternoon.

First up, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section once again, to include all the latest DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. As always, anything you order from Amazon through our links helps to support our work here at The Bits, and we greatly appreciate it.

Now then... HBO has just announced The Sopranos: The Complete Series for DVD release on 11/11 (SRP $399.99). Packed in a hefty black linen box, you'll get all 33 DVDs along with 3 soundtrack CDs, a 56-page book, a 16-page episode guide and a pair of exclusive bonus DVD discs with additional extras, including 16 "lost" scenes, an interview with series creator David Chase, interviews, Sopranos spoofs and more. All of which is very cool, except that so far no Blu-ray Disc version has been revealed.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has announced Street Kings for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 8/19. There will be a single-disc DVD ($29.98), a 2-disc DVD ($34.98) and a Blu-ray ($39.98). Extras on the DVD will include audio commentary by director David Ayer, 15 deleted scenes, 10 alternate scenes, 10 vignettes, the Street Rules: Rolling with David Ayer and Jaime FitzSimons featurette and the HBO First Look special City of Fallen Angels: Making Street Kings. The Blu-ray will add the Under Surveillance: Inside the World of Street Kings picture-in-picture track. The 2-disc version and the Blu-ray will also add a Digital Copy version of the film.

Fox has also set Her Best Movie for DVD only release on 8/19.

Universal has set 14 Women for DVD only release on 9/9.

And Warner Home Video has announced the animated Watership Down: Deluxe Edition DVD for 10/7 (SRP $19.97), set to include 2 featurettes (Watership Down: A Conversation with the Filmmakers and Defining a Style) as well as a storyboard-to-film comparison. Video will be anamorphic widescreen.

And in other news today, there are a number of reports from industry analysis firms (including Futuresource, formerly Understanding & Solutions) that the adoption of Blu-ray Disc so far has outpaced the early adoption of DVD at the same stage in that format's life. European consumers are apparently buying into Blu-ray hardware six times faster than they did DVD, while here in the states, its three times faster. What's more, the Hollywood studios are forecasting that Blu-ray software sales will hit $1 billion in 2008. You can read more here at Video Business.

Finally this morning, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of Cyd Charisse, a dancer in classic Hollywood films from the golden age of musicals, as well as Dody Goodman, a comedian who made many film and television appearances including Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Grease.

Back a little later, so stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/23/08 - 12:45 PM PDT)

On the standard DVD front this afternoon, Warner has just announced The New World: Extended Cut for release on 10/14 (SRP $19.97). This is one of the titles the studio picked up when New Line was folded into Warner. The disc will include 30 minutes of additional footage unseen in theatres, along with the 10-part Making the New World documentary. There's no official word yet whether the title will be released on Blu-ray, but our sources say one isn't currently on the slate.

Also this afternoon, Samsung has officially launched an online Blu-ray Resource Center to help its customers adapt to the format and ease player firmware updates.

Speaking of Samsung, the company's new BD-P1500 Blu-ray Disc player is profile 1.1 (Bonus View) compatible right out of the box, but it's also profile 2.0 (BD-Live) ready, which means that a quick firmware update in the future (likely this fall) will bring it into full final profile compliance. You can read more here at Video Business.

And in other news, Hyundai has just launched 3-D high-def displays in the Japanese market. The displays require special glasses and content for viewing.

Also, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and IBM recently unveiled the fastest computer in the world, nicknamed Roadrunner. Here's the kicker: The computer is powered by a "suped-up" version of the Cell processor design used in Sony's PlayStation 3. You can read more here.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/23/08 - 11 AM PDT)

Morning, folks. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Before we get started today, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of comic George Carlin. Carlin appeared in many films and TV shows over the years, including Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Dogma and The Simpsons. I first saw him in Car Wash back in the 70s, and he's obviously known for his many, many comedy specials on HBO and elsewhere, as well as his infamous "Seven Words" bit. His comedy was a little edgy for the faint of heart, but the guy was damn funny and he made most of us laugh and hard. I'm sure there will be a ton of tributes to Carlin over the next few days, so I'll let those speak for themselves, but I'll just say this: We'll surely miss him.

Now then... let's have some announcements. Just FYI, we're keeping an eye open for any big news out of EMA (which kicks off tomorrow in Vegas), so be sure to check back a few times throughout the day...

Okay, Paramount has just announced its October DVD slate, set to include Backyardigans: Escape from Fairytale Village, Brotherhood: The Complete Second Season, Dora the Explorer: Three Kings Day, Go Diego Go!: It's a Bug's World, Max & Ruby: A Very Merry Christmas Collection, Mission Impossible The Fifth TV Season, a Mission: Impossible Five TV Season Pack, The Beverly Hillbillies: The Second Season, The Naked Brothers Band Season 2, TV Sets: Holiday Treats and Wonder Pets: Save the Nutcracker all on 10/7, Lil Bush: Resident of the United States - Season Two, Nash Bridges: The First Season, SpongeBob SquarePants: Who Bob What Pants, The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Two, Volume One and Yo Gabba Gabba: The Dancey Dance Bunch all on 10/14, and a Charmed: The Complete Series - Limited Deluxe Edition, Charmed: The Complete Series (regular edition), Dynasty: Season Three, Volume Two, a Dynasty: Three Season Pack, The L Word: The Complete Fifth Season and The L Word: Five Season Pack on 10/21. Further October announcements are expected, including Blu-ray titles and new releases.

Meanwhile, Sony has set The Counterfeiters for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/5. A Cirque Du Soleil: Corteo Blu-ray follows on 9/2, and Tortured has been set for DVD release on 9/16.

Also, you might recall that we mentioned Warner's An American in Paris and Gigi on Friday. The studio has just officially announced that the 2-disc DVD versions of each will be available on 9/16, but the Blu-ray Disc versions will arrive "in early 2009" for unspecified reasons. According to the studio's press release, issued just this morning...

"An American in Paris, originally photographed in Technicolor, is the latest recipient of Warner Bros.' proprietary Ultra-Resolution process, which takes the original Technicolor negatives and meticulously combines them to yield a stunning picture with sharpness and depth of field never seen before.

Gigi was produced after the demise of the original Technicolor system, photographed in the industry-standardized Eastmancolor process. For this new DVD release, Gigi has been photo-chemically restored from its original camera negative and safety separations to produce a much sharper and colorful image than has been seen in decades. It also contains a 5.1 audio mix created from the original multi-track source elements."


In terms of bonus features, An American in Paris include the 2002 Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer documentary, the newly-produced S'Wonderful: The Making of An American in Paris documentary, audio outtakes, radio interviews and 2 film shorts (Paris on Parade and Tex Avery's Symphony in Slang). Gigi will include the Thank Heaven! The Making of Gigi documentary, and 2 more shorts (The Million Dollar Nickel and The Vanishing Duck).

Here's a look at Sony's The Counterfeiters on Blu-ray, as well as Warner's Popeye The Sailor: 1941-1943 - Volume Three DVD (9/30) and Universal's The Office: Season Four on DVD (9/2)...

The Counterfeiters (Blu-ray Disc)Popeye The Sailor: 1941-1943 - Volume ThreeThe Office: Season Four

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/20/08 - 1 PM PDT)

Okay... we've got just a last couple of things for you this afternoon...

First, the good folks at Blue Underground have let us know that their Blu-ray edition of The Final Countdown will officially arrive in stores on 10/28. Further details on this and other Blu-ray titles from the company will be announced soon, so be sure to check back in the next few weeks.

Also, we forgot to mention this earlier, but in addition to Warner's An American in Paris: Two-Disc Special Edition (the DVD art for which we posted this morning), the studio will deliver a Gigi: Two-Disc Special Edition on 9/16 as well. BOTH titles are expected to be released on Blu-ray Disc in addition to standard DVD (as Warner exclusively confirmed to us back in early February), though we'll have to wait for the official announcement for more specific details. What we do know for sure is that Gigi has been given a full 4K restoration and An American in Paris will be the first new Ultra Resolution restoration to debut on Blu-ray. Here's the DVD cover art for both titles...

An American in Paris: Two-Disc Special EditionGigi: Two-Disc Special Edition

That's all for now. See you Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/20/08 - 11:15 AM PDT)

Morning, folks. It's a slow news day today, which probably shouldn't be surprising. With this year's EMA Home Media Expo conference set to begin on Tuesday in Las Vegas, most of the Hollywood studios are likely saving any big announcements for next week. But we do have a little bit more release news to mention this morning. We've also got some more new Universal Blu-ray art (below), so do continue reading.

First though, speaking of announcements that might be impending, industry and retail sources are telling us today that Paramount is close to announcing the Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the newly remastered Godfather Trilogy, which has already been announced for release in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Consider that Rumor Mill worthy, but there's reason to believe that the announcement could come as soon as Monday on the eve EMA. It's possible that other interesting DVD and Blu-ray announcements will be made by various studios next week as well, so definitely check back here starting on Monday for all the latest.

In terms of today's announcements, MGM has set the Burt Reynolds film Deal for release on 8/19 (SRP $27.98). Extras will include the Pokerstars Presents: Winning Big at Texas Hold 'Em featurette.

Meanwhile, Fox has set the Fox Horror Classics: Volume Two DVD box set for release on 9/9 (SRP $19.98). The set will include three classic films, including Chandu the Magician (1932), Dr. Renault's Secret (1942) and Dragonwyck (1946). In terms of extras, Chandu the Magician will include audio commentary by author Gregory William Mank, the Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu featurette, a restoration comparison and a still gallery. Dr. Renault's Secret will include the By the Book: Horror, Suspense, and Literary Inspiration featurette, a restoration comparison, the film's trailer and a still gallery. And Dragonwyck will offer the A House of Secrets: Exploring Dragonwyck featurette, audio of a Dragonwyck radio show performed by Vincent Price and Gene Tierney on 10/7/1946, an isolated score track, a restoration comparison, the film's trailer and multiple still galleries.

Also today, we have details on the 23 shorts set to be included on Sony's Three Stooges Collection: 1940-1942 (due 8/26). The 2-disc set will include A Plumbing We Will Go, All the World's a Stooge, Boobs in Arms, Cookoo Cavaliers, Dutiful but Dumb, From Nurse to Worse, How High is Up, I'll Never Heil Again, No Census, No Feeling, Nutty but Nice, Rockin' Thru the Rockies, So Long Mr. Chumps, You Nazty Spy, An Ache in Every Stake, Cactus Makes Perfect, Even as IOU, In the Sweet Pie and Pie, Loco Boy Makes Good, Marti-Phony, Sock-a-Bye Baby, Some More of Samoa, Three Smart Saps and What's the Matador.

Finally, Warner has set Another Cinderella Story for DVD (SRP $27.95) and Blu-ray Disc ($35.99) release on 9/16.

Here's that cover art we promised... Universal's 'fresh-from-Photoshop' Blu-ray art for U-571, Miami Vice and End of Days (8/26), as well as Universal's Fletch Collection (8/19), Warner's An American in Paris: Two-Disc Special Edition (9/16) and Sony's Three Stooges Collection: 1940-1942 on DVD...

U-571 (Blu-ray Disc)Miami Vice (Blu-ray Disc)End of Days (Blu-ray Disc)

Fletch CollectionAn American in Paris: Two-Disc Special EditionThree Stooges Collection: 1940-1942

Now then... there's no new Battlestar this weekend sadly, but you Venture Bros. fans will be pleased to know that there's a new episode of that show on Sunday night. Also, if you've been watching the excellent When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions on Discovery HD, the final two episodes of the series debut on Sunday night as well.

We'll check back in with any major breaking news that might happen later today or over the weekend, but that aside we'll see you back here on Monday morning. We hope you all have a wonderful weekend. For those of you in the Midwest suffering through yet another hundred year flood, our thoughts are with you. If any of you Bits readers are of the mind, you might consider making a donation to the American Red Cross to help those folks out. They're going through a pretty tough spell right now.

See you Monday. Peace out.

(LATE UPDATE - 6/19/08 - 11:45 AM PDT)

We first mentioned that this title was coming way back in April, and we've known it was in the works for some time. But Warner Home Video has finally officially unveiled the details: The studio will release an L.A. Confidential: Two-Disc Special Edition on both DVD (SRP $20.97) and Blu-ray Disc ($28.99) on 9/23. Extras on both will include audio commentary by film critic Andrew Sarris, an isolated music-only track, 14 deleted scenes, the 2000 L.A. Confidential TV pilot, the Whatever You Desire: Making L.A. Confidential documentary, 7 featurettes (Sunlight and Shadow: The Visual Style of L.A. Confidential, A True Ensemble: The Cast of L.A. Confidential, L.A. Confidential: From Book to Screen, Off the Record, Photo Pitch, The L.A. of L.A. Confidential and Hollywood Center Motel), trailers and TV spots, and the film's soundtrack promo. Additional details and specs are TBA.

By the way, in case you didn't see it when we updated our post yesterday, MGM's newly-announced James Bond Blu-rays are officially set for release here in the States on 10/21 (and they'll arrive a day earlier, on 10/20, in the U.K. and elsewhere internationally). Additional details (specs, etc) will be announced in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/19/08 - 11 AM PDT)

Here you go, Michael Bay fans... we thought you might be interested in this - a first look at the cover art for DreamWorks' Blu-ray Disc release of Transformers (due in stores on 9/2). We've also included a look at Blue Underground's forthcoming The Final Countdown (TBA) and MGM's Stargate: Continuum (7/29) on Blu-ray...

Transformers (Blu-ray Disc)

Transformers (Blu-ray Disc)The Final Countown (Blu-ray Disc)Stargate: Continuum (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

6/18/08

There's BIG Blu-ray news today folks. MGM Home Entertainment has just OFFICIALLY announced that they'll be releasing no less than SIX classic James Bond films on Blu-ray on 10/21, including Dr. No, Die Another Day, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia with Love and Thunderball. The exact specs and features are still TBA, but the studio's press release indicates that each will offer "state-of-the-art Lowry process digital frame-by-frame restoration and featuring special features galore" which would seem to indicate that all of the extras on the recent DVD editions will be ported over. This, of course, is happening to help promote the theatrical release of the new Bond film, Quantum of Solace, this November. Very, very exciting news!

In other announcement news today, Fox has set Young@Heart for DVD release on 9/16 (SRP $27.98). Extras will include deleted scenes, the Young@Heart Goes to Hollywood featurette and music videos.

Criterion has revealed their September DVD slate, set to include Max Ophuls' La ronde (Cat #443), Le plaisir (#444) and The Earrings of Madame de... (#445), as well as Yasujiro Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon (#446). The company has also revealed its next Eclipse release, Eclipse 12: Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy, which will include Shadows in Paradise, Ariel and The Match Factory Girl.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set their August DVD and Blu-ray slate as follows: Carmen, Bram Stoker's Dracula's Guest, Fortress (repackage), Bobby Jones Comedy All-Stars: Volume 2, Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre and Sunset Tan: Season One (all 8/5), Belly (Blu-ray), The Doors (Blu-ray) and Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club (all 8/12), Restraint, Love and a .45 (repackage), a 6 Films to Keep You Awake box set (includes Blame, Spectre, A Real Friend, Xmas Tale, The Baby's Room and To Let) and Never Love a Stranger (both 8/19), and Artifacts, Skinned Alive, Delicatessen, Bob the Builder: On Site and The Legend of the Lone Ranger (all 8/26).

For you political wonks, A&E Home Video is releasing Biography: Barack Obama and Biography: John McCain on DVD on 8/5 (SRP $12.95 each).

Magnolia has set The Life Before Her Eyes for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/19. Extras on both will include deleted scenes, an alternate ending, audition tapes, a photo gallery and 2 featurettes (The Making of The Life Before Her Eyes and The Life Before Our Eyes: Life in an Instant).

Also, New Line's Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay will arrive on DVD (SRP $28.98) and Blu-ray ($35.99) on 7/29 from Warner. Extras will include the Dude, Change the Movie! interactive viewing option, audio commentary with the directors and stars, a second commentary with the directors and "the real Harold Lee and the guy who plays George W. Bush," 27 deleted scenes, a PSA and The World of Harold and Kumar featurette. The DVD will be available in theatrical and unrated editions, while the Blu-ray will be the unrated version only. Both unrated editions will also feature Digital Copy.

Other Warner new announcements include Rest Stop: Don't Look Back (Raw Feed, DVD and Blu-ray) on 10/7. Also coming that day is Robot Chicken: Season Three. The studio is re-releasing Time After Time in a new DVD edition on 9/2 (SRP $14.97), set to include anamorphic widescreen video, audio commentary with director Nicholas Meyer and star Malcolm McDowell, the It's About Time essay and theatrical trailers for this film as well as both versions of The Time Machine. Finally, Silverhawks: Season 1, Volume 1 is set for 10/14.

And around Net today, our good friend Mojo has written about his experience at the Paul's Brain Trust Blade Runner screening with Ridley Scott this past weekend. He's got a good memory! I think you'll enjoy what he has to say.

Finally, I learned a few interesting things at the Home Media Expo up in L.A. yesterday. The focus was obviously on Blu-ray Disc, and industry analysts reported on some of the trends they're seeing in the market data, research and consumer surveys. The first interesting thing is that there's no evidence that the multiple Blu-ray Disc profiles is confusing or turning off anyone from buying the format. Consumers reportedly have two major things they care about with regard to Blu-ray - A/V quality and price. In addition, based on current sales trends of hardware and software, the industry prediction is that the format will reach 25% market penetration in late 2009 or early 2010. 25% is widely considered to be the threshold or "tipping point" for any format to go mass market. Price is key in this area, and there were predictions that you'll see at least one Blu-ray Disc player offered at the special price of $199 on Black Friday, a price which will become permanent early in 2009. Also, Toshiba's new "Blu-ray killer" standard-def upconverting technology is considered to be just what we thought - a paper tiger. Market research shows that few consumers are interested in upconverting technology of any kind, compared to reasonably priced, "True 1080" quality on Blu-ray. Why Toshiba doesn't try to offer the most affordably priced Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo player this holiday season is beyond me. They'd do very well with one. Evidently, egos are still out of control over there. Ah well.

By the way, the panel I was on at the conference went very well. We had a fun discussion and it's always good to see fellow online DVD and high-def journalists, including Pete Bracke (High-Def Digest), Michael Stailey (DVD Verdict) and Scott Hettrick (Hollywood in High-Def). A good time was had by all, as they say.

We'll leave you with a little new DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover art. Here's Warner's Robot Chicken: Season Three, the final North American Blu-ray art for Fox's Night Watch and Day Watch (due 9/9 - the art matches the previous DVD editions), Lionsgate's The Doors and Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas on Blu-ray (8/26), and Warner's Time After Time reissue DVD....

Robot Chicken: Season ThreeNight Watch (Blu-ray Disc)Day Watch (Blu-ray Disc)

The Doors (Blu-ray Disc)The Nightmare Before Christmas (Blu-ray Disc)Time After Time

One last note: We've kicked off THREE new Giveaways today, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Rails & Ties, 10,000 B.C., The Closer: The Complete Third Season, The Bucket List, Fool's Gold, Mama's Boy, E.R.: Season Nine, Popeye the Sailor: 1938-1940 and The Richie Rich Scooby-Doo Show: Volume One from Warner, Anchor Bay's It's a Boy Girl Thing, and Universal's Andromeda Strain miniseries. All of these giveaways will be open for entries until Noon (Pacific) on June 29th. Good luck!

Stay tuned...

6/17/08

Here at The Bits this morning, our own Russell Hammond has just completed the weekly update of our Upcoming DVD Cover Art section, featuring tons of new DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. Do check it out.

Also this morning, our industry sources have sent us tentative information on when you might expect to see Paramount's Iron Man arrive on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. You'll find that in The Rumor Mill today.

In terms of title news today, Warner's latest DVD announcements include Charlie and Lola: Volumes 1-8 on 8/5 (for the BBC), Keepin' the Faith: Lookin' for Mr. Right on 8/19 (for Lightyear), Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq on 9/2 (for HBO), To the Manor Born: Silver Wedding Anniversary and To the Manor Born: The Complete Series - Silver Anniversary Edition on 9/9 (both for the BBC), Another Cinderella Story on 9/16, Popeye & Friends: Volume Two and Popeye the Sailor: Volume Three - 1941-1943 on 9/30, and Allo 'Allo: The Complete Series 9, Allo Allo!: The Complete Collection, Full Circle with Michael Palin, Michael Palin: Hemingway Adventure/Great Railway Journeys, The Michael Palin Collection (all BBC) and The Picture of Dorian Gray on 10/7. FYI, the The Michael Palin Collection is a 19-disc box set (SRP $249.92) that includes Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Great Railway Journeys, Sahara, Himalaya and New Europe.

And Image Entertainment has set Korn: Live on the Other Side for release on Blu-ray Disc on 10/7 (SRP $24.98). Audio will be available in both Dolby Digital, Dolby Stereo and DTS formats, while extras will include the See You on the Other Side and See Who's on the Other Side featurettes, the Coming Undone music video and a jukebox option. The DVD version (SRP $14.98) will street on 7/8. In addition, the IMAX titles Coral Reef Adventure, Dolphins and The Living Sea are all due on Blu-ray on 10/14 (SRP $24.98 each). Also in the works for Blu-ray from Image are Art Wolfe: Vanishing Act and Everest: Seasons 1 & 2 (street dates TBA).

In other news today, I'm going to be up at the Home Media's 7th Annual Home Entertainment Summit in Century City this morning, participating in the Word from the Blogosophere panel discussion, hosted by Chris Tribbey. I'm STILL not sure what a "blogosphere" is, but what the heck. The panel runs from 10:30 to 11:30AM at the Hotel InterContinental, so if you're at the conference, drop on by and say hello.

Finally, in a ceremony last evening at the very same conference, Blade Runner won top honors at The 4th Annual DVD Critics Awards, taking the Best of Show and Best Extended Cut categories. I was among the judges for the awards, so my congratulations to all the winners (you can view the complete list here at Home Media).

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 6/16/08 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Wow... here's some TERRIBLE news to have to report. According to The L.A. Times this afternoon, legendary creature effects designer Stan Winston has just passed away. We'll have more to say about it in the next day or two, when we have time to collect our thoughts, but man... that just seriously blows.

In the meantime, let's have some release news...

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has FINALLY set Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 for Blu-ray Disc release on 9/9 (SRP $34.99 each). In terms of extras, look for everything that was on the previous DVD versions to be ported over. We're working to determine whether any new material will be included as well. This is not, repeat NOT, the long-awaited Whole Bloody Affair version. That will be coming from The Weinstein Company, no sooner than 2009. In any case, here's the early Blu-ray cover art for what IS coming on 9/9...

Kill Bill, Volume 1 (Blu-ray Disc)Kill Bill, Volume 2 (Blu-ray Disc)Boston Legal: Season Four

As you may have noticed given that other DVD cover (above), 20th Century Fox has set Boston Legal: Season Four for DVD release on 9/23 (SRP $59.98) as a 4-disc set. Extras are TBA. The studio has also set Her Best Move for DVD release on 8/19.

Meanwhile, Paramount has officially confirmed that Clear and Present Danger and The Hunt for Red October will street on Blu-ray Disc on 7/29, along with the already announced Patriot Games and The Sum of All Fears. Clear and Present Danger will include English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio, along with French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 and subtitles in English, English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Extras will include the Behind the Danger featurette and the film's theatrical trailer (the latter in HD). The Hunt for Red October will include identical audio and subtitle specs, along with audio commentary with director John McTiernan, the Beneath the Surface featurette and the theatrical trailer (again in HD). Here's the final cover art (along with DVD art for Sony's The Band's Visit, due 7/29)...

Clear and Present Danger (Blu-ray Disc)The Hunt for Red October (Blu-ray Disc)The Band's Visit

Meanwhile, Sony has set The Shield: The Complete Sixth Season for DVD release on 8/26 (SRP $59.95). Extras will include audio commentary on select episodes, deleted scenes and 3 featurettes (Saturn's Sons, Two Directors and Full Circle: Franke Potente). Sony has also set CJ7 for DVD and Blu-ray release on 8/12 (SRP $28.96 and $38.96), along with the Three Stooges Collection: 1940-1942 as a 2-disc set on (SRP $24.96).

And in case we haven't mentioned them recently, other newly announced Blu-ray titles from Sony include 7 Seconds, Felon, Half Past Dead, Maximum Risk and xXx: State of the Union (all 8/12), along with The Big Hit (9/19).

Also today, Universal has just announced the DVD release of Fishtales and The Land Before Time: Magical Discoveries (8/26), The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper: Volume Two (9/9), Dororo and Midnight Eagle (9/23), and Barbie in A Christmas Carol (11/4).

The better Universal news is that the studio has just revealed the Blu-ray Disc release of End of Days, U-571 and Miami Vice on 8/26 (SRP $29.98). All three will also be available in a Blu-ray Action Starter Pack the same day (SRP $59.98). U-571 will be a BD-25 with audio in English DTS-HD MA 5.1, along with French and Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. Extras will include a picture-in-picture viewing option and audio commentary with director Jonathan Mostow. End of Days will also be a BD-25 with audio in English DTS-HD MA 5.1, along with French and Spanish DTS 5.1. Extras will include audio commentary with director Peter Hyams. Finally, Miami Vice will be a BD-50, with audio in English and French DTS-HA MA 5.1. Extras will include a picture-in-picture viewing option (with GPS, tech specs, cast bios, production photos and a "share" option), at least 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Miami Vice Undercover, Miami & Beyond: Shooting on Location and Visualizing Miami Vice) and audio commentary with director Michael Mann. We'll have additional details (if any) and art when available.

And here's the best news: Universal has officially set Heroes: Season One for Blu-ray release on 8/23, and they've also set Heroes: Season Two for DVD and Blu-ray release the same day! Heroes: Season One on Blu-ray will be a 5-disc set (SRP $99.98). All the discs will be BD-50s, with audio in English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (along with subs in English SDH, French and Spanish). Extras will include nearly (if not) everything from the HD-DVD version, including artwork presentations, character connections and PIP cast video commentaries, the 73-minute premiere episode with audio commentary by Tim Kring, multiple featurettes (including The Making of Heroes, The Special Effects, The Stunts, The Score and a Profile of Artist Tim Sale) as well as 50 deleted scenes. The set will also be BD-Live enabled. Meanwhile, Heroes: Season Two on DVD (SRP $39.98 - see cover art in today's early post below) will be a 4-disc set with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted scenes, audio commentaries with members of the cast and crew, 6 featurettes (Heroes: Season 2 - A New Beginning, Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint, The Drucker Files, Genetics of a Scene, Untold Stories and Inside the Alternate Ending of Generations), the actual alternate ending from Generations, a gallery of Tim Sale artwork, all the NBC.com featurettes, previews and a Season 3 Sneak Peek. The Blu-ray Disc version (SRP $69.98) will also be a 4-disc set (2 BD-50s and 2 BD-25s), with audio in English DTS-HD MA 5.1. Extras will include all of the DVD material, along with character connections and PIP cast video commentaries, as well as BD-Live functionality.

Okay, we'll be back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/16/08 - 11:45 AM PDT)

Morning everyone! Yes, we're back as promised today. And thanks for your patience while we took a much needed break. Sarah and I spent some time in Philadelphia with her parents. It was a nice visit... although on my way to join her there, I ended up stuck overnight in Chicago after my flight was cancelled due to weather. But not, of course, until I'd already spent four hours stuck in the damn plane on the runway, waiting to take off. Nice.

Speaking of which, the fact that I was previously scheduled to be in Philly this past weekend meant that I was unable to attend the Paul's Brain Trust Blade Runner screening event on Saturday night. Yeah, I know... I was bummed not to be there. Still, I'm told that the event came off great, and that a good time was had by all. We'll try to post a few pictures of the event in the coming days. Rest assured, there will be more auctions and events in the months ahead, and you can still donate to help Paul and his family here via PayPal. On behalf of Paul, his family and friends, and everyone at the Brain Trust, thanks for all you guys have done. It's going to make a real difference.

Anyway, we've got a couple of quick things to mention this morning. First, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of NBC News' political guru and Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, who for many, many years was the host of Meet the Press on Sunday mornings. Russert, as many on both sides of the political spectrum have already said these last few days, was a rare journalist indeed - fair, smart and dedicated to the truth. He was one of the good ones, and goodness knows we have so few of those. We'll miss him.

Now then... what did you Battlestar fans think of Friday night's cliff-hanging mid-season finale? Industry sources have told me that the final ten episodes of the season (and the series) are set to air in January or February of next year, and that the finale is likely going to be expanded to three hours from the previously planned two, meaning the final ten eps are actually going to become the final ELEVEN! It's also possible that the two-hour Caprica pilot will be aired this fall to help ease the wait for fans. What's more, as many as three two-hour, straight-to-DVD movies (a la Razor) are in the early planning stages with Sci-Fi and NBC Universal. Word is they're dependent on negotiating cast involvement, but I'll tell you what... even if NONE of the regular cast sign on for these (or if they're too expensive), what I'd PERSONALLY love to see is the adventures of young Bill Adama during the first Cylon War. We caught a brief glimpse of it in Razor, and I think fans of the show would really dig seeing more of that era. By the way, our pal Mojo from the Battlestar FX department has talked about the show on his blog this past week (here and here - you can even vote for what you'd like to see in these Battlestar DVD movies). Do check it out.

One other quick note... YES, we know that Mark Altman made a mistake in his guest column on the laserdisc format from Tuesday. As HUNDREDS of you pointed out while we were gone, laserdisc's early competitor wasn't Discovision but rather RCA SelectaVision CED (which used a physical stylus to read discs encased in plastic sleeves or cartridges). Discovision itself was an early trademark of laserdisc used by MCA. Nevertheless, a lot of people clearly enjoyed the piece, so thanks for all your responses on it. The print version is in the latest issue of Geek Monthly (the Hellboy issue), on newssstands now.

Here's a quick (and cool) bit of release info: Both industry and retail sources are now telling us to expect Paramount to announce the remastered Godfather trilogy for release on DVD and Blu-ray here in the States on (or around) 9/23. Consider that Rumor Mill worthy until the official announcement is made, but watch for it soon.

Okay... I'm going to be back in a couple of hours to catch you all up on the latest DVD and Blu-ray news from this morning and the past week, so be sure to check back this afternoon.

In the meantime, here's a little new cover art for you to enjoy: Universal's The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King on Blu-ray Disc (7/22), as well as Heroes: Season 2 on DVD (8/26), Warner's Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray (9/16) and Paramount's Patriot Games on Blu-ray (7/29)...

The Mummy: Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The Mummy Returns: Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The Scorpion King (Blu-ray Disc)

Heroes: Season 2Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)Patriot Games (Blu-ray Disc)

Back with more in a little while, so stay tuned...

6/10/08

First up today, we've got a special guest column from our friend Mark Altman. As some of you may know, Mark was the writer/producer of Free Enterprise. He's also the founder of Geek Monthly magazine, for which Todd and I are regular contributors. In his piece here at The Bits, Mark pays tribute to the laserdisc format many of us remember fondly. Laserdisc officially went the way of the dinosaur 10 years ago. Seems like only yesterday...

By the way, our GeekBits column in the next issue of Geek Monthly is called Before the Devil Knows Your Worst List, and looks at the ten films we'd be forced to watch for all eternity should we ever find ourselves in Hell. The whole issue is Hell-themed, as Hellboy is on the cover. Just FYI.

Around The Bits today, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon preorder links. As always, anything you purchase from Amazon through our links helps to support our efforts here at the site, and we appreciate it.

We've got a little bit of announcement news for you today...

MGM has just set a Bright Lights, Big City: 20th Anniversary Edition for release on DVD on 9/2 (SRP $14.98). Extras will include audio commentary with author/screenwriter Jay McInerney, a second commentary with cinematographer Gordon Willis, 2 featurettes (The Light Within and Big City Lights) and a photo gallery.

Meanwhile, CBS has set Criminal Minds: The Third Season for release on 9/16, with Friday the 13th: The Series - The First Season following on 9/23.

Paramount has added Numbers: The Fourth Season, a Numbers: Four Season Pack, Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil to its 9/30 DVD slate.

Sony has set its recent remake of Prom Night for release on 8/19. Look for R-rated and Unrated DVD editions (SRP $28.96 each) as well as an unrated Blu-ray Disc (SRP $38.96). The DVD will feature cast and director commentary, deleted scenes and an alternate ending with optional commentary, and 5 featurettes (Bridgeport High Vikings Video Yearbook, A Night to Remember: The Making of Prom Night, Profile of a Killer, Gothic Spaces: Creating the Pacific Grand Hotel and Prom Night Photo Album: Real Prom Stories from the Cast). The Blu-ray will add a Bonus View Picture-in-Picture viewing option and a BD-Live interactive poll.

Also newly announced for DVD and Blu-ray release by Sony is The Band's Visit on 7/29.

Finally, Warner has set the 2-disc Earth: The Biography documentary for release on Blu-ray Disc on 7/22 for the BBC (SRP $39.99).

Just a quick last Brain Trust reminder: If you're attending our Blade Runner screening event at Warner Bros. this Saturday, YOU MUST RSVP FOR THE EVENT BY 12:01 AM ON THURSDAY, JUNE 12TH (you can do so via e-mail at this link) or you will not be admitted to the event. We suggest you check the CONFIRMED RSVP LIST to make sure you're on it (you'll find the list on the Brain Trust's My Space and Facebook pages).

Here's a bit of new cover artwork: Disney's Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition (8/26), MGM's Bright Lights, Big City: Special Edition and Shout! Factory's Sports Night: 10th Anniversary Edition (9/30)...

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas: Special EditionBright Lights, Big City: Special EditionSports Night: 10th Anniversary Edition

Okay... that's all for this week. Yeah, I know it's only Tuesday, but I'm officially taking the rest of the week off to spend some time with family. It's been a while since I've taken much of a break, and given that things are going to heat up over the next few months in terms of Blu-ray releases, it's better to do it now.

Don't forget, the last new Battlestar Galactica episode of 2008 premieres this Friday night on Sci-Fi. Sounds like it's going to be a shocker. We're hearing that the final ten episodes of the series will debut in early 2009.

Everyone have a great week and I'll see you back here on Monday, June 16th. Peace out!

6/9/08

Morning all! First up today, two quick Paul's Brain Trust notes: Our eBay auctions for the Blade Runner screening/studio tour premium passes ended on Sunday, and they were a terrific success. Our sincere thanks to all those of you who participated. To those of you who won: You're going to have a great time. Also, to EVERYONE who has purchased tickets to the screening event, YOU MUST RSVP BY 12:01 AM ON THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 12TH (you can do so via e-mail at this link) and we suggest you check the CONFIRMED RSVP LIST to make sure you're on it (you'll find the list starting later today on the Brain Trust's My Space and Facebook pages). If you've purchased tickets but your name isn't on the list, call this number (818-977-4522). This is VERY IMPORTANT because they won't let you in unless you're on the RSVP list. Got that? Good. Enjoy!

Now then... as promised today, we're very pleased to bring you the latest edition of Rob Siegel's Golden Hollywood, featuring a look at the classic film productions of If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium, Merrill's Marauders, The Car, The Mole People, The Secret of Santa Vittoria and Duck, You Sucker (a.k.a. A Fistful of Dynamite). Enjoy!

Also this morning, I've posted a review of HBO's excellent John Adams miniseries on DVD. The 3-disc set streets tomorrow (6/10).

Elsewhere around the site, we've updated many of the DVD and high-def stats we track (above).

A couple comments on those TV shows we mentioned on Friday: Did anyone catch last night's Venture Bros.? I have to say, it was one of the funniest I've seen in a long time. "Your powers are useless on me, you silly billy!" You can catch it here at adultswim.com if you missed it. Friday night's Battlestar was excellent too, as one would expect. You know, before the season started I made a list of predictions of all the stuff I figured was going to happen before the show ended. To my surprise, many of them have come true. To my delight, they've all happened BEFORE next Friday's mid-season cliffhanger, so now I have absolutely NO IDEA what's coming in the last 10 episodes (due to air early next year). Being continually surprised is one of the things I love most about this show. As for Discovery's When We Left Earth, I'll just say this: "WOW!" And I'll add an enthusiastic: "I can't WAIT for the Blu-ray!" Don't miss it. As we've said, the DVD and Blu-ray street on 9/30 in stores, but it looks as if you'll be able to get them early (in July) if you order direct from Discovery online.

Here's something you Godfather fans might want to check out this morning: A column over on Blocks and Files (a data storage news website) about the recently completed restorations of the films, done over at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. Of key note is this comment at the end:

"The restoration effects are dramatic. The beautifully restored Godfather trilogy will be re-released in September, prompting, no doubt, hundreds of thousands of DVD sales and, hopefully, Blu-ray disk sales as well. Only with Blu-ray will the full richness of tone and detail in Coppola's masterpiece transfer to home screens. Perhaps this will be the Blu-ray offer that home movie screen viewers cannot refuse."

Indeed. We expect an official announcement from Paramount on this release very soon.

Stay tuned...

6/6/09

Okay... we've got a couple things to talk about today...

First up though, just one last reminder: The Paul's Brain Trust eBay auctions for the Blade Runner Screening/Studio Tour Premium Passes end on Sunday. Just FYI.

Now then... we're pleased today to feature a new Bottom Shelf column from Adam, with a review of Paramount's recent The Animation Show: Volume 3 on DVD. Enjoy!

In the news today, we've got word on the extras that will be included on Buena Vista's Nixon: Election Year Edition (due 8/19). It's obviously director Oliver Stone's longer version of the film, featuring 28 minutes of additional footage. Both the 2-disc DVD (SRP $29.99) and 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $34.99) versions will feature two separate audio commentaries with Stone, the all-new Beyond Nixon 35-minute documentary, deleted scenes introduced by Stone, the original theatrical trailer and video of Stone being interviewed on The Charlie Rose Show. Both versions will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, while the Blu-ray will add Uncompressed PCM 5.1 (48/24) as well.

Also, Fox has confirmed that Day Watch and Night Watch will both street on Blu-ray Disc on 9/9 (you'll find the temp cover art here). Day Watch (SRP $39.98) will include audio commentary with director Timur Bekmambetov, The Making of Day Watch featurette and trailers. Night Watch (also $39.98) will include commentary with Bekmambetov, a subtitled commentary by novelist Sergei Lukyanenko, 7 deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Bekmambetov), an extended ending, 3 featurettes (The Making of Night Watch, Characters, Story and Subtitles and The Night Watch Trilogy), trailers and 3 still galleries (photos, comic book and poster art). A 2-pack of both films will also be available on Blu-ray on 9/9 (SRP TBA).

Here's a nice surprise... we're being told by retailers that Fox is debuting The Omen: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray Disc on 9/9 as well (SRP $129.98). This set will include The Omen 666, The Omen, Damien: Omen II and The Final Conflict, plus most (if not all) of the extras from the previous DVD editions. No word yet on whether Omen IV: The Awakening will be included too. Additional details are TBA.

Meanwhile, Universal has announced the direct-to-video release of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/19. The DVD will be available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen editions (SRP $29.98), each of which will include deleted scenes, a gag reel and 6 featurettes (The Making of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, Fighting Like an Akkadian, Becoming Sargon, Beauty and Brawn, Creating a Whole New World and The Visual Effects of The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior). The Blu-ray (SRP $39.98) will include all of the above, along with the U-Control My Scenes option, allowing you to select your favorite clips for playback later. The DVD versions of The Scorpion King and The Scorpion King 2: Rise of the Warrior will also be available in a 2-pack (SRP $36.98) on 8/19.

Genius Products has set Superhero Movie: Extended Edition for release on DVD on 7/8, featuring 7 additional minutes of footage. A theatrical cut DVD will also be available. Extras will include audio commentary, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and two featurettes.

Finally today, here's a trio of TV viewing reminders for the weekend: First, there's a new episode of Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi tonight... The Hub. After tonight's episode, there's only one new episode left before the mid-season break, so expect these next couple of eps to have some shocking revelations, twists and/or surprises. The final ten episodes of the series will follow later this year, or early next (it's still TBA).

Also, there's a new episode of The Venture Bros. on Cartoon Network's adult swim on Sunday night... The Doctor Is Sin, featuring the return of Dr. Henry Killinger and his mystery murder bag.

Finally, there's something else extremely cool on Discovery HD on Sunday night... the first two episodes of Discovery's six-part When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions documentary series. The cool thing about this is that Discovery has worked with NASA to transfer, remaster and restore all of the old film footage taken by NASA astronauts during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions in full 1080p high-definition. So you're going to be seeing things like you've NEVER seen them before. It should make for extraordinary viewing, so be sure to watch it with the kids if you can. The series will arrive on both DVD (SRP $49.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($69.98) on 9/30 via Discovery and Image Entertainment. The Blu-ray will include DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. FYI, the series will also be broadcast in standard def on the regular Discovery Channel, so check your local listings.

We'll leave you with a little more new cover art today. Here's Blu-ray art for Buena Vista's Nixon: Election Year Edition, Universal's The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (temp art - subject to change) and Discovery's When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, along with DVD art for When We Left Earth (they're not available for preorder from Amazon yet, so these link to the program's official website), as well as Paramount's Shine a Light (7/29) and The Ruins: Unrated (7/8)...

Nixon: Election Year Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (Blu-ray Disc)When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions (Blu-ray Disc)

When We Left Earth: The NASA MissionsShine a LightThe Ruins: Unrated

Back with Rob's new Golden Hollywood column on Monday. Have a great weekend!


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