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page updated: 9/19/08



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 8/28/08 - 7/29/08)


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8/28/08

Okay... reviews, reviews, reviews. They're coming. First, more news...

Disney has just offered more official details on their forthcoming slate of Platinum edition classic animated titles on Blu-ray Disc. Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 and Beauty and the Beast are all in the works. According to the studio's press release, "Each will be available for a limited time only, in new multi-disc sets featuring rarely seen footage and an array of new bonus features." Obviously, the Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition will debut on Blu-ray on 10/7 here in the States, timed with the U.S. launch of Disney's BD-Live Network. The Pinocchio: Platinum Edition will debut on Blu-ray in the spring of 2009. The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Platinum Edition will follow in the fall of 2009, and will debut Disney's BD-Live Network worldwide. The Fantasia: Platinum Edition and Fantasia 2000: Platinum Edition will both arrive on Blu-ray Disc in early to mid-2010. Some of you may have wondered why Destino (the unfinished animated feature collaboration between Walt Disney and painter Salvador Dali) was delayed from its originally announced DVD debut as part of the current wave of Walt Disney Treasures titles. This is why: It's now set to arrive on disc (hopefully, on both DVD and Blu-ray) at the same time as the Fantasia Blu-rays in 2010. Finally, the Beauty and the Beast: Platinum Edition will arrive on Blu-ray Disc in the fall of 2010.

On the standard DVD front, Fox and MGM have just announced a MASSIVE new Hollywood Musicals Collection box set for release on 11/11. The 61-disc set (you read that right - SRP $590.98) will contain 50 classic musical films on DVD, including A Chorus Line, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Apple, Alexander's Ragtime Band, March of the Wooden Soldiers (A.K.A. Babes in Toyland), Beach Blanket Bingo, Belle of the Yukon, Bloodhounds of Broadway, Call Me Madam, Carmen Jones, The Clambake, Daddy Long Legs, De-Lovely, Down Argentine Way, The Fantasticks, Flaming Star, Follow That Dream, Frankie and Johnny, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Goldwyn Follies, Guys and Dolls: Deluxe Edition, Hair, Hans Christian Andersen, Hallelujah, I'm a Bum, Hello Dolly, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Kid Galahad, Kid Millions, Moon Over Miami, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Dolly Sisters, All That Jazz: Music Edition, Can-Can (2-disc), Carousel: 50th Anniversary Edition (2-disc), New York, New York: 30th Anniversary Edition (2-disc), Oklahoma!: 50th Anniversary Edition (2-disc), Sound of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition (2-disc), South Pacific: Collector's Edition (2-disc), State Fair: 60th Anniversary Edition, The King and I: 50th Anniversary Edition (2-disc), The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25th Anniversary Edition (2-disc), There's No Business Like Show Business, West Side Story: Special Edition (2-disc), Whoopee, Wild in the Country, With a Song in My Heart, Love Me Tender: Special Edition, The Fiddler on the Roof, Moulin Rouge (2-disc) and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Special Edition (2-disc).

Also, we have some cool new Blu-ray release news from Genius Products... look for ESPN's 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story - Collector's Edition in 1080p high-definition on 11/4 (SRP $34.95), followed by Lucky # Slevin and Awake on 11/18 (SRP $28.95). And here's some great news... Genius will finally release Planet Terror and Death Proof on Blu-ray Disc on 12/16 (SRP $28.95). Extras, however, appear to be identical to the prevoius DVD editions. Then on 12/23, Genius will debut Fanboys on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc (SRP $19.97 and $34.99). We'll post more details on these titles as they become available.

Back later, so stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/27/08 - 5:45 PM PDT)

We've been a little busy tracking down more release information this afternoon, so we'll post more of those Blu-ray reviews tomorrow. But since we've been tracking down release info, we thought you might like to hear about a little bit more of it...

Specifically, for you music fans, we've just learned that Universal Music Enterprises will be releasing four new Blu-ray Disc titles on 10/21, including ABBA: The Movie, B.B. King: Live, Oasis: Lord Don't Slow Me Down and Michael Apted's Sting: Bring on the Night. Also coming that day are two more music titles on standard DVD, including The Four Tops: Reach Out and Johnny Cash: Cash for Kenya - Live in Johnstown.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/27/08 - 1:45 PM PDT)

Okay, we've got more release news for you this morning, then we'll check back in with reviews later today.

First up, the Business section of The New York Times is reporting today that Disney will release five more Platinum animated classic titles on Blu-ray Disc in the next two years, including Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. Pixar's Finding Nemo will also arrive in 2009. (The title was delayed from this year.) Thanks to Bits reader Al M. for the heads-up.

Paramount has just set DreamWorks' Old School: Unrated Edition for release on Blu-ray Disc on 12/16, along with CBS' Petticoat Junction: The Official First Season on DVD. "Come ride a little train as it's rollin' down the track to the junction..." Paramount has also set 'Paramount Centennial Collection' DVD re-issues of Sabrina (1954), Sunset Boulevard and Roman Holiday for release on 11/11. We're not sure yet if any new extras will be included, but we'll let you know as soon as we can find out.

Meanwhile, Universal has set The Gregory Peck Film Collection for DVD release on 11/4 (SRP $59.98), expected to include Arabesque, Cape Fear (1962), Captain Newman, M.D., Mirage, To Kill a Mockingbird and The World in His Arms. Also newly announced for DVD release on 11/11 is The World's Most Amazing Videos: Volume One (SRP $14.98).

On the Warner side of things, it looks like The Shawshank Redemption Blu-ray Disc release has been reslated for 12/2 (SRP $28.99). New Line's Run, Fat Boy, Run has also been set for DVD and Blu-ray release by Warner on 9/23. In other Warner announcement news, Battle Beneath the Earth/The Ultimate Warrior, Moon Zero Two/When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and World without End/Satellite in the Sky have all been set for DVD release on 10/7 (SRP $19.98). They're currently available as Best Buy exclusives. The New Adventures of Old Christine: The Complete Second Season is expected to arrive on DVD on 10/21. NBA Champions 2007-2008 follows on Blu-ray Disc on 11/4. Finally, a new Superman Doomsday: 2-Disc Special Edition is expected on DVD on 11/25.

Now then, we've saved the best for last: The Joker says you might want to check out The Rumor Mill today for anticipated street dates on a trio of MAJOR Warner DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles coming in November and December, along with a big Universal title as well...

Stay tuned!

8/26/08

First things first this afternoon: Universal has confirmed that The Incredible Hulk will street on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/21. You'll get single-disc full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVDs (SRP $29.98 each), a 3-disc DVD special edition (SRP $34.98) and a 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $39.98). Extras on the 3-disc DVD will include audio commentary with director Louis Leterrier and actor Tim Roth, deleted scenes, an alternate opening, 5 documentary featurettes (The Making of Incredible, Becoming The Hulk, Becoming The Abomination, Anatomy of a Hulk Out and From Comic Book to Screen) and a Digital Copy version of the film. To this, the Blu-ray will add DTS-HD audio, exclusive U-Control features (Thunderbolt Files, a scene explorer, a comic book gallery, an animated comic and a Picture in Picture viewing option), and BD-Live options including chat, scene sharing and exclusive downloads.

Also newly announced by Universal for DVD release are on 10/21 are The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Fifth Season (SRP $29.98) and The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Series (available only for a limited time, SRP $149.98).

Better still, following on 10/28 from Universal is the Abbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection DVD box set (SRP $119.98), which includes a whopping 15 discs packing no less than 28 films. The films include One Night in the Tropics, Buck Privates, In the Navy, Hold That Ghost, Keep 'Em Flying, Ride 'Em Cowboy, Pardon My Sarong, Who Done It?, It Ain't Hay, Hit the Ice, In Society, Here Come the Co-Eds, The Naughty Nineties, Little Giant, The Time of Their Lives, Buck Privates Come Home, The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mexican Hayride, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Comin' Round the Mountain, Lost in Alaska, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Most will include a trailer and production notes, and some will include audio commentary and other features. You'll also get a bonus disc with 3 featurettes (The World of Abbott and Costello, Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld and Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters) and an exclusive Abbott & Costello: The Universal Story book. Most of these films have been available before on DVD, save for It Ain't Hay, which was unreleased due to rights issues that have apparently now been resolved. Here's a look at the cover art and contents...

Abbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures CollectionAbbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection

Okay... we promised you guys some Blu-ray Disc reviews, didn't we? Well, we're going to start rolling them out this afternoon. Here's my take on DreamWorks' Transformers (which was absolutely worth the wait), Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Collector's Edition and Paramount's The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears. We'll have more reviews tomorrow, so do check back.

Also this afternoon, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section as usual, with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. There are lots of new titles to see, you can sort them in a variety of ways, and when you pre-order them through our links you help support our work here at The Bits (which we greatly appreciate).

Around the site today, we've kicked off two additional Giveaways, giving each of you the chance to take home one of TEN copies of Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas on Blu-ray Disc, as well as Warner's Virgin Territory on DVD. These new giveaways will be open until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, September 7th (the others end on Sunday, August 31st). Good luck!

Finally, we mentioned yesterday that Warner's Superman Returns will be available on Blu-ray Disc with Dolby TrueHD audio on 9/9. If you just can't wait that long, however, the TrueHD version is ALREADY available on Blu-ray in Australia... and Warner doesn't use region coding on their Blu-rays, so the disc will work here in the States as well. The packaging still says Dolby Digital, but trust us... it's the TrueHD version. Our friends down under at the Aussie retailer DVD Crave have the disc available, and they're extending a coupon good for 4% off of your order to the first 150 customers from The Bits who wish to take advantage of it. (Use coupon code: 4%offbluraydigitalbits) FYI, other region free Blu-rays available in Australia (but not here in the U.S. yet) include Almost Famous, The Bone Collector, Cinderella Man, The Rundown, Starsky and Hutch and The Tudors: Season One, and DVD Crave has them if you're interested.

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...

8/25/08

Hi to all. We've got a couple new announcements for you this afternoon...

First up, Sony has set Good Times: The Complete Series (17 discs), Newsradio: The Complete Series (12 discs), Sanford and Son: The Complete Series (17 discs) and The Berenstain Bears: Christmas Tree for release on 10/28, followed by This Christmas (DVD and Blu-ray), When Did You Last See Your Father, Moscow Zero, Termination Point, I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series (20 discs), an Awakenings/The Fisher King/The Survivors 3-pack and a Budd Boetticher box set (5 discs - includes The Tall T., Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station) all on 11/4.

Anchor Bay has set the animated feature Dead Space: Downfall for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 10/28 (SRP $26.97 and $34.98), based on the Image comic book series. Both will include deleted scenes and bonus codes for EA's Dead Space videogame, which is coming soon to the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. The Blu-ray will also feature a Digital Copy version, a downloadable CD soundtrack, artwork and more.

And Warner Home Video has revealed that it's going to be re-issuing Bryan Singer's Superman Returns on Blu-ray Disc on 9/9, in an edition with Dolby TrueHD surround audio. As you may recall, the original Blu-ray featured only Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio. You'll be able to identify it by a new UPC code, and you'll obviously also find the TrueHD logo on the back of the packaging.

Meanwhile, here's something cute: Universal's Blu-ray Disc cover art for The Hulk has taken on a decidedly GREEN tone. Here it is (the street date is still officially TBA, but Amazon is now showing it as 10/21)...

The Incredible Hulk (Blu-ray Disc)300: Limited Collector's Edition DVD

As you can see, we've also posted the cover art for the 300: Limited Collector's Edition DVD box set due on 11/18. (The Blu-ray version is coming in 2009.)

Finally, just a quick Power Buy update... we have only a few slots left for ALL of our Pioneer Elite and Kuro units, so if you're interested, now's the time to take advantage.

Stay tuned...

8/23/08 (for 8/25/08)

Afternoon, folks! Yeah, I know it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and you guys are probably all out and about having fun with family and friends... but this just couldn't sit until Monday morning, so we wanted to get it posted right away. Just pretend it's already Monday. And if it IS Monday when you read this... well, so much the better. Anyway, Universal has just revealed the cover art and some of the specs for their forthcoming DVD and Blu-ray release of Hellboy II: The Golden Army...

Hellboy II: The Golden Army - 3-Disc Special EditionHellboy II: The Golden Army (Blu-ray Disc)

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Limited Edition DVD Gift Set

As you can see, Universal is planning to release a 3-Disc DVD Special Edition (SRP $34.98), a 2-Disc Blu-ray (SRP $39.98) and a 3-Disc DVD Collector's Set with a limited edition Golden Army statue and replica excerpt from director Guillermo del Toro's journal (SRP $59.98). The Collector's Set will also be available in a Blu-ray version (SRP $64.98). All will feature widescreen video and will include a bonus Digital Copy version of the film. A single-disc DVD version will be available as well (SRP $29.98), with widescreen and full frame on the same disc. Details as to the extras are still TBA, but you can expect 3 hours worth of material on the DVD version, to which the Blu-ray will add BD-Live enhancement, including a Comic Book Builder that allows you to select still images from the film, arrange them on screen, add your own text, and then save it and send the results to your friends online. The street date has yet to be announced, but we expect it sometime in late October or early November. Watch for the official announcement from Universal very soon. Special thanks to Bits reader Wilfried V. for the heads-up.

One other thing today: Wall-E is now available for pre-order on Amazon on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Just click on the cover artwork we posted on Friday (you'll find it below).

Okay... that's it. Enjoy your weekend (or your Monday morning)!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/22/08 - 3 PM PDT)

Okay... two last things today: First of all, we've confirmed with 20th Century Fox that the new Star Wars Trilogy DVD box sets are just re-packs of the previously released 2-disc sets (in the case of the Prequel set) and presumably the recent Original Trilogy 2-disc DVDs that had both the SE versions and the non-anamorphic original theatrical versions of the films. The key point is: THERE'S NO NEW CONTENT. So be advised and spread the word. By the way, special thanks to our good friend T-Bone for bring these new DVDs to our attention this morning. ;)

The other thing just REALLY made my day when it showed up on my doorstep this morning: Universal's new 2-disc The Big Lebowski: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD (street date 9/9). It's AWESOME. In fact, I dug it so much that I had to crank out a quick review of it for you this afternoon. Yes, the Blu-ray reviews are coming - including Transformers - I promise. We've got about a dozen in various stages of completion, and I'll start rolling them out for you on Monday. But look, man... new s--t has come to light! If you're a fan of Lebowski - and I mean, come on, who isn't? - this set is really worth the $20 it'll set you back (cheaper on sale most places). In fact, the only thing I DON'T love about it is there's no Blu-ray version. What's up with that?! Anyway, enjoy the review.

Okay... now we're done. Have a great weekend. Mark it '8', Dude!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/22/08 - 11:30 AM PDT)

Hey kids... so the big news today is that Disney and Pixar are dropping Wall-E on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 11/18. There will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $29.99), a 3-Disc Special Edition DVD (SRP $39.99), a 2-Disc Blu-ray edition (SRP $35.99) and a 3-Disc Blu-ray Edition (SRP $40.99). The single-disc DVD will include the Presto animated short, the all new Burn-E animated short, audio commentary with director Andrew Stanton, deleted scenes, the Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from the Sound Up featurette with Ben Burtt and the Sneak Peek: WALL-E's Tour of the Universe featurette. To this, the 3-Disc Special Edition DVD will add additional deleted scenes, 3 featurettes (The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks, BnL Shorts and Wall-E's Treasures and Trinkets), the Lots of Bots storybook, additional "making of" featurettes, Bot Files and a Disney File (Digital Copy) version of the film. The 2-Disc Blu-ray edition will include all of the above (minus the Digital Copy) and will add a Geek Track viewing option, the Cine-Explore with Andrew Stanton feature, PiP enhancement of Burn-E with storyboards, and an Axiom Arcade suite of "retro style videogames with a twist." The 3-Disc Blu-ray will have all that and also include a Disney File (Digital Copy) version of the film. Whew!

Here's the cover art for all four versions...

Wall-E DVDWall-E 3-Disc Special EditionWall-E: 2-Disc Blu-ray Disc

Wall-E: 3-Disc Blu-rayStar Wars Prequel Trilogy box setStar Wars Trilogy box set

And yes... here's a surprise: As you can see, we've also posted cover art for yet another new re-issue of the Star Wars films on DVD, specifically two new Star Wars Trilogy DVD box sets, due on 11/4 (SRP $49.98 each). Each is apparently a 6-disc set, with two discs per film. We're waiting on official details. This is NOT the ultimate release we've all been waiting for, and no Blu-ray editions are currently planned, but it's possible that these discs MAY include some new special features. We'll try to get an update for you on that point as soon as possible.

In other release news, we've confirmed that the Buena Vista's Kill Bill, Volumes 1 & 2 Blu-rays (due 9/9 - SRP $34.99 each) will be identical to the previous DVD versions, including The Making of Kill Bill, Volume 1 and The Making of Kill Bill, Volume 2 featurettes, musical performances by The "5, 6, 7, 8s" and Chingnon, and the Damoe deleted scenes. You'll also get trailers for both films (the bootleg trailer for Volume 1 and the teaser for Volume 2), along with Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown.

Also today, we have an update for you on Criterion's forthcoming Blu-ray Disc releases, thanks to their latest e-mail newsletter. First, these will only be available in North America, as that's where Criterion has the release rights to the specific titles. As such, they WILL be region coded. Whenever possible, Criterion will release Blu-ray editions day and date with new DVD titles, so you'll know if a Blu-ray is going to be available in advance. For the time being, however, Blu-ray versions will only be available for select titles. As for catalog titles that you may already own on DVD, Criterion is offering a $20 exchange program to allow you to upgrade to the Blu-ray version - you simply send them the DVD plus $20, and they'll send you the Blu-ray. That's VERY cool for Criterion fans, believe me. The packaging will apparently be identical to the DVD versions in terms of artwork and spine numbering, just in the smaller Blu-ray package size. Also, Criterion isn't starting over with Blu-ray numbering (as they did with DVD) and nothing will be available on Blu-ray that's not also released on DVD, so you don't have to worry about getting left behind. The Blu-rays are literally upgrades of their catalog, just like the recent special edition re-releases. Finally, the Blu-rays will be priced to match the DVD versions, making the upgrade choice much easier for you. All of this is great news, by our thinking at least. For the record, the FAQ is also available online here (and it includes specific details on how to use the Blu-ray upgrade program). While we're on the subject of Criterion Blu-rays, The Third Man, The Last Emperor and The Man Who Fell to Earth are all officially due to street on 11/18, with Bottle Rocket and Chunking Express following on 11/25.

One last note today: The final episode of The Venture Bros for this season unfolds on Adult Swim on Sunday night, and you can watch it online here now. It's been a pretty good run for the show this year - some very funny stuff. Do check it out.

We MAY be back later with additional updates, but if not, stay tuned...

8/21/08

Just a quick update, as we're busy working on reviews this afternoon...

Warner has gotten back to us today regarding the Blu-ray Disc version of The Shawshank Redemption. As many of you know, until recently the title was listed on the studio's Blu-ray site and their press site, and Amazon also had it available for pre-order. As we reported a couple of days ago, however, the title was then pulled from those places. Warner obviously confirmed that the title was in the works months ago, but in light of the confusion we went back to them for clarification. The studio notes that the title hasn't OFFICIALLY been announced yet, but we're told it IS still coming and chances are fairly good that it will be released before the end of 2008. Apparently, director Frank Darabont is a big Blu-ray advocate, so he and the studio are reportedly working hard to get everything done right. Watch for the official announcement to come sometime in the few weeks.

Also, one other quick note: Amazon.com is currently running a 30% off sale on ALL Blu-ray Disc titles, and a 50% sale on select Blu-ray Disc titles. Click on the links and check out the details. Bottom line... if there are any BD titles you're interested in, now might be a good time to get a great deal.

Stay tuned...

8/20/08

Morning, everyone! I thought some of you might be interested in a look at the cover art for Sony's new Casino Royale: Collector's Edition Blu-ray Disc release (due 10/21)...

Casino Royale: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Elf (Blu-ray Disc)Sex and the City: The Movie (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included Warner's Elf (10/28) and Sex and the City: The Movie (9/23). And for you Matrix fans, here's a look at the contents of the forthcoming The Ultimate Matrix Collection on Blu-ray (due 10/14)...

The Ultimate Matrix Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

In release news today, Paramount has set The Love Guru for release on single-disc DVD, 2-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray Disc on 9/16. The 2-disc DVD will include audio commentary with Mike Myers and The Love Guru, deleted scenes, bloopers, 4 featurettes (One Hellava Elephant, Hockey Training for Actors, Back in the Booth with Trent and Jay and Outtakes & More) and a theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray will include all of the above, with all of the video features in 1080p video. Both 2-disc editions will also include a Digital Copy version of the film. Here's the cover art for all three...

The Love GuruThe Love Guru: 2-Disc Special EditionThe Love Guru: 2-Disc Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Also, Warner has set Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 6 for release on DVD on 12/16 (SRP $29.98). The 2-disc set will include all 12 episodes of the season.

And in other news, there's word that London-based industry analysis firm Futuresource Consulting believes Blu-ray Disc sales of new release titles in the U.S. could top DVD sales of the same titles in 2012. Blu-ray currently makes up 5-6% of such sales, and could double by the end of the year on select titles available on both formats. You can read more here at Home Media.

Also this morning, there's a new company, Cinevolve, that's planning to release inexpensive titles on Blu-ray Disc format (more here).

Okay, we're off to work on DVD and Blu-ray reviews. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/19/08 - 4:30 PM PST)

Okay, we have a quick update for you on Warner's Austin Powers Collection: Shagadelic Edition Loaded with Extra Mojo (ex-New Line). As expected, the title will street in December on 12/2 (SRP $74.98). The 3-disc set (BD-25s according to the studio press site) will include all three films: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember. Until we see an official press release, the bonus feature details are a bit sketchy, but again we do believe that most (if not all) of the previous Platinum Edition DVD extras will be included.

Also today, we've kicked off two new Giveaways, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Universal's Leatherheads on DVD, as well as a 12-inch Senator/Emperor Palpatine figure set from Sideshow Collectibles. These giveaways will be open for entries until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, August 31st, so get your entries in.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/19/08 - 12:01 AM PST)

Okay... we've got a couple of very cool Blu-ray announcements for you today, folks.

First up, 20th Century Fox is announcing Firefly: The Complete Series later this morning for Blu-ray Disc release on 11/11 (SRP $89.98). The series is already available on DVD. The 3-disc set (each BD-50s) contains all 14 episodes of the Joss Whedon series in full 1.78:1 aspect ratio 1080p video, with audio in English DTS-HD 5.1 Lossless, German DTS 5.1 and Spanish and French Dolby Surround, plus English, Spanish and Dutch subtitles. The set will include all of the bonus material on the previous DVD set, including audio commentary tracks with the cast and crew on 8 episodes, 3 featurettes (Serenity: The 10th Character, Joss Sings the Firefly Theme and Joss Tours the Set), deleted scenes, a gag reel and Alan Tudyk's Audition video. Newly available exclusively for this Blu-ray release, you'll also get an additional cast and crew commentary on the episode Our Mrs. Reynolds, as well as the Firefly Reunion: Lunch with Joss, Nathan, Alan and Ron featurette in HD. Here's a look at the official final cover artwork for the release (the title is now available for preorder on Amazon by clicking on the cover)...

Firefly: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition (DVD)

Meanwhile, as you can see by the other artwork, Warner Home Video has just announced the DVD (SRP $59.98) and Blu-ray Disc (SRP $64.99) release of the Casablanca: Ultimate Collector's Edition on 12/2. Each is a 2-disc set, containing all the previous DVD extras, along with special swag items as follows (from the studio's press release):

"The premium giftset is elegantly boxed in an intricate laser-cut Moroccan design and will include such collectibles as replicas of actual props (Victor Laszlo's "Letter of Transit") as well as a number of Warner studio documents (an executive's letter commanding a new PR image for Bogart from gangster to romantic lead; a note from producer Hal Wallis re-titling the film to Casablanca; and a memo from Wallis to Jack Warner strongly urging casting Bogart over George Raft). The DVD set will also contain a branded passport holder, luggage tag, photo book and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of the original movie poster. Additionally, with more than seven hours of bonus features (see below) along with a documentary on Jack Warner, no matter how often one has seen the unforgettable classic, there's sure to be something to enrich the experience."

Technical specs on the Blu-ray are typically absent from Warner's press release, but their press site indicates that the movie disc is a BD-50, while the extras disc is a standard DVD-5. Note that the previous 2-disc DVD version will also be available in new packaging on 12/2 (SRP $26.99).

Note done yet, folks. Warner is also getting ready to bow some serious 3-disc shagadelia on Blu-ray from New Line. There's no official street date yet (we expect it to be sometime in December), but the Austin Powers Collection: Shagadelic Edition Loaded with Extra Mojo IS coming soon to Blu-ray, and we do expect virtually all of the previous DVD extras to be included. We'll post all the details as soon as they're available.

And here's something very interesting: Warner is also releasing The Polar Express Presented in 3-D on both DVD (SRP $20.97) and Blu-ray Disc (SRP $34.99) on 10/28. Each will include a set of 4 3-D glasses, and each will also include the original 2-D version as well. Extras will include the You Look Familiar: The Many Polar Faces of Tom Hanks featurette, 5 A Genuine Ticket to Ride featurettes, the True Inspirations featurette on author Chris Van Allsburg, 5 Flurry of Effects motion-capture featurettes, the Snow Angels: Moviemakers' Christmas Memories featurette, Josh Groban's Believe music video and a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the video, the Smokey and Steamer song not seen in theaters and the film's theatrical trailer. In short, it sounds like most (if not all) of what was on the previous DVD and Blu-ray editions will be included.

For you standard DVD fans, Warner has announced the 300: Limited Collector's Edition DVD set for release on 11/18 (SRP $49.92). This will include the previous 2-disc DVD edition, along with a bonus disc containing the all-new To the Hot Gates: A Legend Retold documentary. You'll also get a Digital Copy version of the film, a 52-page hardcover book of photos (with a personal message from director Zack Snyder), a lucite display with motion film image and 6 collectible photo cards. A more elaborate Blu-ray Disc edition is expected to be released in 2009. You can view the cover art for this and other forthcoming holiday DVD and Blu-ray gift set releases from Warner here, as exclusively posted on The Bits back in June.

Finally this morning, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans, as well as Amazon.com preorder links. Remember, a bit of ANYTHING you order from Amazon after clicking through to them via our links helps to support our work here at The Bits, and we surely do appreciate it.

We'll be back later with more, so stay tuned...

8/18/08

Morning, folks. We've got a couple of interesting news items for you this morning.

First, according to Best Buy's online website, there are going to be a pair of Best Buy-exclusive DVD collector's sets available in the coming weeks for Paramount's Iron Man and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The graphic actually says they're available online only, so they MAY not be in stores. Regardless, the Iron Man Gift Set (due 9/30) includes the DVD, plus a miniature replica of Iron Man's helmet. The Indiana Jones Gift Set (due 10/14) includes the DVD, plus a miniature replica of the crystal skull itself. You also get gift cards for use on Sideshow Collectibles.com (a $25 card value with Indiana Jones and $50 with Iron Man). The list price for each is SRP $49.99, but they're available online for $44.99.

While we're talking Paramount, it seems the retailer is offering a $10 discount for those people who own select DVD titles that they want to upgrade to the Blu-ray version of the same title. Mail-in coupons for this purpose will be included in the Blu-ray versions of The Godfather Collection, Transformers, Old School, Stardust, Sweeney Todd and Zodiac (a couple of these titles have yet to be officially announced, but they're all coming soon). You can read more here at Home Media.

By the way, I've got an update for you on the status of a couple forthcoming Sony Blu-ray Disc titles: There have been a number of recent reports that Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb would find its way to Blu-ray Disc on 12/9. I've checked in with the studio and have learned that this is NOT the case, but that the title IS expected to be released in 2009. Also, as many of you know, Sony was promoting the Blu-ray release of Ghostbusters 1 & 2 in its booth at Comic-Con. We've confirmed that those two titles ARE coming to Blu-ray soon, but the official announcement is still pending for several reasons, including (but not limited to) the release of the new Ghostbusters: The Video Game from Sierra Entertainment (for the PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and PC) and other factors. We're told to watch for the announcement soon.

Also, a number of astute Bits readers have noticed that Goonies, Gremlins, Batman (1989), Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are all newly listed on Amazon.co.uk for Blu-ray Disc release in the U.K. before the end of the year. When contacted about the U.S. release of these titles, Warner was unable to comment at this time. So my bet is that they're in the works for U.S. release, but the studio isn't quite ready to announce them yet. In any case, releasing the the Batman titles in particular on Blu-ray would make a lot of sense if timed to the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Dark Knight, likely due in December, just before Christmas.

Also, it seems that The Shawshank Redemption Blu-ray Disc has been removed from Warner press site. We believe the title has been delayed until sometime in 2009, but we're awaiting official confirmation from the studio.

In actual announcements today, Sony has set Zombie Strippers for release on Rated DVD, Unrated DVD and Unrated Blu-ray Disc on 10/28. Also coming to DVD on 10/28 are Good Times: The Complete Series, Newsradio: The Complete Series, Sanford and Son: The Complete Series and The Berenstain Bears: Christmas Tree.

Also, Criterion has set Christian-Jaque's Fanfan la Tulipe (#451), Martin Ritt's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (#452), Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket (#450) and Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express (#453) for DVD release in November. Bottle Rocket will be a 2-disc set. Better still, Criterion has now revealed that Bottle Rocket, Chungking Express, The Third Man, The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Last Emperor will all arrive on Blu-ray Disc in November as well. There's no word yet whether (or how) the Blu-ray packaging and catalog numbers will differ from the previous DVD editions. At the moment, the art now on the studio's website shows the DVD version.

Stay tuned...

8/15/08

Okay... quick early update: Buena Vista has just set The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 12/2. There will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $29.99), a 2-disc Collector's Edition (SRP $39.99) and a Blu-ray Disc version ($35.99). The extras haven't been fully announced yet, but you'll get audio commentary with cast and crew members, behind-the-scenes documentaries, deleted scenes, interactive games, outtakes and more. The Blu-ray will have BD-Live features, and word is the title will be one of the studio's first with Digital Copy (though in the grand Disney tradition, they've invented their own name for it... DisneyFile).

While we're on the subject of Buena Vista, there have been a lot of reports around the Net that the studio is planning to release Sin City on Blu-ray Disc on 10/21. That's a big negatory, folks. We've checked with the studio and have officially learned that the title has been pushed back into 2009, along with Finding Nemo. Just so you know... you know?

Also on the Blu-ray front today, Universal has just revealed that American Gangster, Casino and Eastern Promises will arrive on BD format on 10/14. Each will SRP for $29.98. You'll also be able to buy all three titles together in a Gangsters Giftset for $89.98. American Gangster will be a single-disc BD-50 release, containing both the theatrical cut and Ridley Scott's longer director's version via seamless branching, each with DTS-HD audio. Without listing them all here, it looks as if ALL the bonus features from the 3-disc DVD version will be included here in standard-definition, along with the U-Control PiP features from the HD-DVD version. Casino appears to include all the previous DVD and HD-DVD features as well, and it looks as if Eastern Promises might actually include two more featurettes than were on any previous edition (for a grand total of four, including Secrets and Stories, Marked for Life, Two Guys Walk into a Bath House and Watts on Wheels).

Meanwhile, Genius Products has set Lou Reed's Berlin for release on DVD on 9/30 (SRP $24.95) as part of The Miriam Collection. This is a revised street date - the title was originally set for release on 10/14.

Lionsgate will release Monster's Ball on Blu-ray Disc on 11/4 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include audio commentary, 3 featurettes (Behind the Scenes with Producer Lee Daniels, Music for the Film and On the Set), interviews with the cast and crew and deleted scenes.

We'll try to pop back in later this afternoon with those Blu-ray Disc reviews (we're working on several, including Transformers). If it gets too late however, we'll save them for Monday morning instead.

In the meantime, everybody have a great weekend!

8/14/08

Afternoon, folks!

First things first today: We're pleased to bring you Barrie Maxwell's latest edition of Classic Coming Attractions, featuring reviews of 16 new and recent classic DVD releases. Among them, you'll find Warner's Blues in the Night, Criterion's The Furies, Blast of Silence and Lubitsch Musicals, Universal's Man of a Thousand Faces, The Major and the Minor and Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, Lionsgate's Only the Valiant and High Noon: Ultimate Collector's Edition, MGM's If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium and The Pride of the Yankees: Collector's Edition, Paramount's Perry Mason: 50th Anniversary Edition: Season Three, Volume One, VCI's Dick Tracy Returns and Dick Tracy's G-Men, Sony's The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Two and Grapevine Video's X Marks the Spot/Gambler's Choice. As always, Barrie runs down the latest classic release announcements too. Enjoy!

Also today, we've updated The Rumor Mill with an update on a number of new release and long-awaited catalog Blu-ray Disc titles, coming in the next few months from Paramount and DreamWorks. You definitely don't want miss it... think Braveheart.

Here at the site this afternoon, we've also got a brief update on our current Power Buy deals. Pioneer's new BDP-05FD Blu-ray Disc player is expected to arrive at the end of next week, and we only have a few slots left for great deals on the player. Click here if you're interested in taking advantage of the special price.

Also, our friend Mojo, who works on special effects for Battlestar Galactica, has written a non-spoilery review of the new CG Star Wars: The Clone Wars film on his blog. It's worth checking out if you're interested. As for me, I have less than zero interest left in the franchise... though I'll confess, I have recently had a bit of fun with a little something called Star Wars: Revisited (the "purist" version, of course), which reminded me for a time why I liked the original film so much. My thanks, Adywan. Look it up, kids.

There's not much in the way of new announcements today, so we'll leave you with a little new cover art for Fox's Futurama: Bender's Game on Blu-ray (11/4) as well as single-disc and 3-disc DVD art for Universal's The Incredible Hulk (street date TBA)...

Futurama: Bender's Game (Blu-ray Disc)The Incredible HulkThe Incredible Hulk: 3-Disc Special Edition

Okay, I should have that Transformers Blu-ray review up for you sometime tomorrow. There's a LOT going on around here today. Lotsa news and rumors to follow up on at the moment. Stay tuned!

8/13/08

Okay... so, I have to ask: How many of you are barely awake today for staying up all night to play the new Madden NFL 2009? Yeah, I know. A lot of you I bet. Believe me, I understand. If there's one game I have to get each year, it's Madden. ;)

We've got a quick Indiana Jones update for you: Lucasfilm and Paramount's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is also being released on single-disc DVD on 10/14, in addition to the 2-disc DVD Special Edition and 2-disc Blu-ray Special Edition. The single-disc DVD will sell for SRP $34.99. The DVD art we posted yesterday was for the single-disc, so here's all three covers - as you can see, the 2-disc DVD matches the 2-disc Blu-ray (both of which carry an SRP of $39.99)...

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 2-Disc Special EditionIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Blu-ray Disc)

And while we're posting cover artwork, here's Sony's You Don't Mess with the Zohan: Original Theatrical Edition (10/7) and CBS's My Three Sons: The First Season, Volume One (9/30) on DVD, as well as Fox's The Happening on Blu-ray (also 10/7)...

You Don't Mess with the Zohan: Original Theatrical EditionMy Three Sons: The First Season, Volume OneThe Happening (Blu-ray Disc)

By the way, DreamWorks' Transformers: Two-Disc Special Edition just arrived on Blu-ray (watch for our review tomorrow), and some of you will be pleased to learn that the release includes a paper insert promoting the "coming soon" release of Old School: Unrated, Stardust and the Zodiac: 2-Disc Director's Cut on Blu-ray. We expect all three to be available by the end of the year.

In other news today, Universal has announced Run for Your Life on DVD on 10/28 (SRP $24.98).

And Warner Home Video has announced a series of DVD re-issues over the next few months, including Boys Town, The Bridges of Madison County: Deluxe Edition, A Christmas Carol, Christmas in Connecticut, Heaven and Earth, the Risky Business: Deluxe Edition, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Special Edition, Otis: Uncut (also coming to Blu-ray on 10/7) and New Line's Love and Basketball (all on 9/30), as well as The American President, Dave and Mars Attacks! (all due on 10/28). The animated Horton Hears a Who: Deluxe Edition is also being repromoted on 10/7. Newly announced for DVD release are National Geographic Extreme on 11/4, The Hanoi Hilton on 11/11 and National Geographic's Herod's Lost Tomb on 11/25. Also, newly announced by Warner for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release is Fred Claus on 11/25. In addition, Body Heat will find its way to Blu-ray from the studio on 10/7, as will New Line's Elf on 10/28.

We'll be back tomorrow morning with Barrie Maxwell's latest Classic Coming Attractions column. Stay tuned...

8/12/08

Okay... first up today, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans. As always, a portion of ANYTHING (not just DVDs) that you order from Amazon after clicking over there through our links will go to help support our work here at The Bits, and we greatly appreciate it.

Now then, the big news we've all been expecting is finally here: Paramount and Lucasfilm have just officially announced that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will arrive on DVD AND Blu-ray Disc on 10/14, just as we first posted in The Rumor Mill about a month ago. Each will be a 2-disc set, and both will carry an SRP of $39.99. A single-disc DVD will also be available for $29.99. Extras on Disc One of the DVD will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with THX Certified Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio, and 2 featurettes (The Return of a Legend and Pre-Production). Disc Two of the DVD will include the 6-part Production Diary: Making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull documentary (includes Shooting Begins: New Mexico, Back to School: New Haven, Connecticut, Welcome to the Jungle: Hilo, Hawaii, On-Set Action, Exploring Akator and Wrapping Up!), 6 additional featurettes (Warrior Makeup, The Crystal Skulls, Iconic Props, The Effects of Indy, Adventures in Post Production and Closing: Team Indy), 3 Pre-Visualization Sequences (Area 51 Escape, Jungle Chase and Ants Attack), and 5 image galleries (covering The Art Department, Stan Winston Studio, Production Photographs, Portraits and Behind-the-Scenes Photographs). The Blu-ray Disc will feature 1080p widescreen high-definition video with THX Certified English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio. All of the DVD special features will be included on the Blu-ray in high-definition, and you'll also get a trio of interactive Indiana Jones Timelines (including a Story Timeline, a Production Timeline and a Historical Timeline).

Note that all four Indiana Jones films will also be released together as a Complete Adventure Collection box set ON DVD ONLY for SRP $89.99. We're hearing that the other films COULD appear on Blu-ray sometime in 2009, but take that as Rumor Mill-worthy until they're officially announced. Here's a look at the cover artwork for the single-disc DVD and Blu-ray version of Indy IV...

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Blu-ray Disc)

Also today, U2.com has just officially announced that the U2: Live at Red Rocks - Under a Blood Red Sky concert will finally be released on DVD on 9/29 (SRP $19.98). The concert had previously only been available on VHS. The disc will include 5 previously unreleased songs, a director's commentary, digitally re-graded video and a new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix. The songs included in the performance are Out of Control, Twilight, An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart, Surrender, Two Hearts Beat As One, Seconds, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Cry/The Electric Co., October, New Year's Day, I Threw a Brick Through a Window, A Day Without Me, Gloria, Party Girl, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow and "40". A remastered, single-disc audio CD version of the album U2: Live - Under a Blood Red Sky will also be available on 9/29 (SRP $13.98), along with a vinyl LP version of the same (SRP $19.98). You'll also be able to purchase the CD and DVD together in a deluxe 2-disc package (SRP $34.99). Here's the DVD and deluxe CD/DVD artwork...

U2: Live at Red Rocks - Under a Blood Red SkyU2: Live - Under a Blood Red Sky CD/DVD Deluxe Edition

As you may have guessed, all of these recent U2 CD and DVD releases are timed to lead up to the debut of the band's next studio album, now rumored to be called No Line on the Horizon, with an anticipated U.S. street date of 11/18. Watch for the official announcement soon.

Stay tuned...

8/11/08

Morning, folks!

Here's big news today: Sony has just officially announced it's new Casino Royale: Collector's Edition for release on 10/21 on DVD (SRP $29.95) and Blu-ray (SRP $38.96)! Again, this is the 2006 film starring Daniel Craig. The DVD will be a 3-disc set. We've reported much of this previously, but here's the official updated version of the spec list: The DVD will include audio commentary with members of the crew, 8 documentaries (Ian Fleming's Incredible Creation, The Road to Casino Royale, James Bond in the Bahamas, Ian Fleming: The Secret Road to Paradise, Death in Venice, Becoming Bond, James Bond: For Real and Bond Girls are Forever), The Art of Freerunning featurette, 6 filmmaker profiles (Martin Campbell, Director, Chris Corbould, Special Effects, Phil Meheux, Director of Photography, Gary Powell, Stunt Coordinator, Alexander Witt, Second Unit Director and David Arnold, Composer), 4 deleted/extended scenes (Rescue & Recovery, Squandering Government Funds, Cricket Pavilion and Gettler Raises Bond's Suspicions), the Freerunning Chase storyboard sequence, the Catching a Plane: From Storyboard to Screen scene deconstruction, and Chris Cornell's You Know My Name music video. To all this, the Blu-ray Disc will add an exclusive Bonus View Picture-in-Picture visual commentary with Director Martin Campbell and Producer Michael G. Wilson, and Know Your Double-O BD-Live interactive trivia game.

Here's the other big news today... we've got art and disc specs for Image Entertainment's Caligula: The Imperial Edition Blu-ray Disc (due 11/4, SRP $29.98)! It will be a 2-disc set, that includes everything that was on the previous Imperial Edition DVD release. Disc One of the Blu-ray will include both the 158-minute uncensored version of the film, as well as the 153-minute alternate edition, with DTS-HD audio. Extras on Disc One will include 3 theatrical trailers, 12 deleted scenes and 3 audio commentary tracks (including Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren and Ernest Volkman). Disc Two of the Blu-ray edition will be a standard-definition DVD, that will include all of the Imperial Edition's documentary extras. You'll find the cover art below.

Meanwhile, Paramount has set Cannon: Season One, Volume Two, a Cannon: Season One - Two Pack, Jake and the Fatman: Season One, Volume Two, a Jake and the Fatman: Season One - Two Pack and Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume Two for DVD release on 12/2. Following on 12/9 are Gunsmoke: The Third Season, Volume One, Happy Days: The Fourth Season, a Happy Days: Four Season Pack, Rawhide: Season Three, Volume Two and a Rawhide: Three Season Pack. And here's a new one for November: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All on 11/25.

Universal has set Christmas Is Here Again for DVD release on 11/4. A month earlier, they'll release both The Munsters: Family Portrait and The Munsters: The Complete Series on 10/7. A Holiday Inn: 3-Disc Collector's Set is also due on 10/14. All are DVD only.

And Warner has announced the 10/14 Blu-ray Disc release of Interview with the Vampire. Looks like it will be a BD-25, with TrueHD audio (SRP $28.99).

One last note: Don't forget to check out our Power Buy, with updated details on Pioneer Kuro and Elite plasma, projectors, Blu-ray players and receivers.

Finally, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor/comedian Bernie Mack and singer/actor Issac Hayes, over the weekend. Both are gone far too soon and will be missed.

We'll leave you with cover art for Image's Caligula: The Imperial Edition and Warner's Interview with the Vampire on Blu-ray, as well as Fox's The Simpsons: The Eleventh Season on DVD (due 10/7)...

Caligula: The Imperial Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Interview with the Vampire (Blu-ray Disc)The Simpsons: The Eleventh Season

Stay tuned...

8/8/08

Okay, the BIG news today is that Paramount has officially set Iron Man for DVD and Blu-ray release on 9/30, just as we first revealed in The Rumor Mill a couple months ago (click here). You'll be able to buy the DVD in single-disc (SRP $29.99) and 2-disc Ultimate Edition versions (SRP $39.99), as well as the 2-disc Blu-ray Ultimate Edition (also SRP $39.99). Extras on the single-disc DVD will include 11 deleted and extended scenes, a teaser trailer for Iron Man: Armored Adventures and a Stan Lee Easter egg. The second disc of the 2-disc Ultimate Edition will add 15 behind-the-scenes featurettes (two full-length documentaries worth on the making of the film and the history of the character, including The Journey Begins, The Suit that Makes the Iron Man, Walk of Destruction, Grounded in Reality, Beneath the Armor, It's All in the Details, A Good Story, Well Told, Origins, Friends & Foe, The Definitive Iron Man, Demon in a Bottle, Extremis and Beyond, Ultimate Iron Man, Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man and The Actor's Process), Robert Downey Jr. screen test footage, a still gallery with some 175 images and The Onion's Wildly Popular Iron Man Trailer to be Adapted into Full Length Film clip. To all that, the 2-disc Blu-ray will add 4 additional trailers for the film, as well as the Hall of Armor and Iron Man I.Q. BD-Live interactive features. The video extras will also all be in full high-def on the Blu-ray version. Pretty cool stuff. You'll find the cover art below.

Meanwhile, MGM will release The Outer Limits: The Original Series Complete Box Set on 10/21 (SRP $59.98). All 49 original episodes will be included on 7 discs.

And while we're talking vintage TV series, it's worth mentioning again that Universal has set Night Gallery: Season Two for DVD release on 11/18 (SRP $59.98). The 5-disc set will contain all 61 stories, along with audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and a gallery presentation of the paintings from the series.

Here's news that's going to excite some of you female readers: When Sex and the City: The Movie arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Disc from New Line (now Warner) on 9/23, it will feature an extended cut of the film. We're not sure by how much it will be extended (as I recall it was already pretty damn long), but if you loved the film, this can only be seen as good news.

Finally, Warner has just announced the Poltergeist: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition for release on Blu-ray Disc format on 10/14 (SRP $34.99). The disc will be a BD-25, but you will get Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio.

In other news today, there's word that Panasonic is going to be honored with a primetime Emmy later this month (on 8/23) for its work on Blu-ray and high-definition. Specifically, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is recognizing Panasonic's involvement with the Joint Video Team Standards Committee in the development of the High Profile for H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC. Our congratulations to everyone at Panasonic on this well-deserved honor.

Speaking of Panasonic, Home Media Magazine has an interview with our good friend Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, the VP of corporate development of Panasonic America, and also the GM of the company's Blu-ray Disc Group. Trust me when I say that Eisuke and his team have worked tirelessly over the last few years to ensure that Blu-ray delivers a top-quality video and audio experience. Plus, from my own personal experience, he's just a good guy. Do check it out.

Home Media also has good stories on Fox's The X-Files: I Want to Believe and Universal's The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, both of which are of interest to fans anticipating the Blu-ray versions of those films.

Those of you who love the new Battlestar Galactica will be excited to learn that in addition to Caprica (which debuts later this year), a new BSG prequel TV movie has been green-lit, which will be directed by Edward James Olmos. It will apparently air in 2009, following the conclusion of the final 11 episodes of Battlestar (currently set for broadcast on Sci-Fi in January). Here's the synopsis:

"In the beginning, the Cylons had a plan, but it didn't account for one thing: survivors. During the chaotic aftermath of the nuclear destruction, two powerful Cylon agents struggle with plots and priorities on the human ships that got away and among the resistance fighters who were left behind."

Also, producer David Eick and Sci-Fi have revealed that each of the final 11 episodes of Battlestar may air in "extended" versions. And word is that Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.0 will arrive on DVD here in the States on 12/30. The U.K. release has already been announced for 10/6. We're hoping for Blu-ray news soon as well.

Let's close out the week with a bunch of new artwork, shall we? Here's a look at the covers for all three versions of Iron Man, along with all three of Disney's next wave of Walt Disney Treasures DVDs (due 11/11), Warner's Poltergeist: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Blu-ray, and Fox's The Happening (10/7) and New Line's Sex and the City: The Movie - Extended Cut on DVD...

Iron Man (Standard Edition DVD)Iron Man: 2-Disc Ultimate EditionIron Man: 2-Disc Ultimate Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald: Volume FourWalt Disney Treasures - Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney MarshWalt Disney Treasures - The Mickey Mouse Club presents Annette: 1957-1958 Season

Poltergeist: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The HappeningSex and the City: The Movie - 2-Disc Extended Cut

Now then... we'll be back next week (starting on Monday) with lots of news, reviews and new columns from the guys. So have a great weekend, enjoy the Olympics (and what-have-you), and we'll see you then!

8/7/08

Another day, lots more new announcements...

20th Century Fox has just revealed Futurama: Bender's Game for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 11/4 (SRP $29.98 and $39.98 respectively). Audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD, and DTS HD 5.1 on Blu-ray. Extras on both versions will include audio commentary (by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Michael Rowe, Claudia Katz and Dwayne Carey-Hill), 5 featurettes (Dungeons & Dragons & Futurama, How to Draw "Futurama" in 83 Easy Steps, a 3D Models Featurette with Animator Discussion, Blooperama 2: Outakes from Bender's Game and Bender's Anti-Piracy Warning), a Storyboard Animatic (Bender's Game, Part One), a deleted scene (Cup or Nozzle?), a sneak peek of Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder and the Futurama Genetics Lab game. The Blu-ray will also add a PiP viewing option.

In other release news from Fox, look for Deception on 9/23 (DVD and Blu-ray) and M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening on 10/7 (DVD and Blu-ray). MGM will also release Carrie and The Amityville Horror (1979) on Blu-ray on 10/7.

The Happening will include the Visions of The Happening: A Making Of documentary, 6 featurettes (Train Shooting, The Hard Cut, Forces Unseen, "I Hear You Whispering", A Day for Night and Elements of a Scene), 4 deleted and extended scenes with introductions by M. Night Shyamalan, a gag reel and DBox enhancement. A second disc will be included with a Digital Copy version of the film. Again, audio on the DVD will be Dolby Digital 5.1, with DTS-MA 5.1 on Blu-ray.

And here's something cool for you fans of Fox's 24: Fox is releasing 24: Exile on DVD on 11/25 (SRP $26.98), just two days after its broadcast debut on 11/23. This will be an 88-minute "extended cut" (longer than the broadcast version) that takes place between Seasons 6 and 7, in which Jack Bauer must evacuate a group of orphans from the midst of a conflict in a small African nation. Extras will include audio commentary, 2 featurettes (The Making of Exile and Children of War) and 2 previews (24: Season 6 in Four Minutes and 24: Season 7 First Act). All of this leads up to the broadcast debut of 24: Season 7 on Fox in January.

I believe we've mentioned this before, but in case we haven't, Paramount's November DVD slate will include Dora the Explorer: Singing Sensation, JAG: The Seventh Season, a JAG: Seven Season Pack and The Wild Wild West: The Complete Series on 11/4, 7th Heaven: The Seventh Season, a 7th Heaven: Seven Season Pack, The Mind of Mencia: Uncensored Season 4, Noelle, Streets of San Francisco: Season Two, Volume Two and The Boys in the Band on 11/11, the Charmed: The Complete Series - Limited Deluxe Edition, the Charmed: The Complete Series - Standard Edition, Fairly OddParents: Season 6, Volume 1, Hawaii Five-O: The Fifth Season, a Hawaii Five-O: Five Season Pack, The Odd Couple: The Final Season, The Odd Couple: Complete Series Pack, SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 5, Volume 2, Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Three Remastered, a Star Trek: The Original Series - Remastered Three Season Pack and Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan all on 11/18, and finally Beverly Hills 90210: The Sixth Season, a Beverly Hills 90210: Six Season Pack, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Final Season, a Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: Complete Series Pack and The Mod Squad: The Second Season, Volume One all on 11/25.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has revealed their September release slate as follows: Look for The Invincible Iron Man (Blu-ray), The Case for Faith, Bratz Girls Really Rock, UFC 9: Motor City Madness, UFC 10: The Tournament, Jet Li's Black Mask (Blu-ray), The Morgue, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (DVD and Blu-ray) and Bait Shop on 9/2, Son of Sam, The Forbidden Kingdom (DVD and Blu-ray), House of the Dead: Funny Version, Edgar & Ellen: Season One, Edgar & Ellen: Mad Scientists - Season One, Volume One, a Spookley: The Square Pumpkin Gift Set, Clifford the Big Red Dog: A Big Help, Doodlebops: We Love Our Friends, Thomas and Friends: The Great Discovery, The Best of Barney and Hit Favorites: Halloween Spooktacular on 9/9, Before the Rains, The Legend of Bloody Mary, Class of 1999, Dancing with the Stars: Latin Cardio Dance, Will & Grace: Season 8, a Will and Grace: Complete Series Collection, Woman Times Seven, Denise Austin: Best Belly Fat-Blasters and a Kathy Smith: Lift Weights to Lose Weight Double Feature on 9/16, and Copycat, Unemployed and a Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat - Special Edition on 9/23.

The Forbidden Kingdom (starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li) will be available as a single-disc DVD, a 2-disc DVD special edition and a 2-disc Blu-ray Disc special edition on 9/9, as noted above (SRP $29.95, $34.98 and $39.99 respectively). The single-disc DVD will contain both the full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions of the film. The 2-disc DVD Special Edition will contain the anamorphic widescreen version of the film, along with audio commentary by director Rob Minkoff and writer John Fusco, 6 featurettes (The Kung Fu Dream Team, Dangerous Beauty, Discovering China, Filming in Chinawood, Monkey King and The Eight Immortals and an interactive Pre-Visualization featurette with commentary), deleted scenes (with audio commentary by Rob Minkoff and John Fusco) and a blooper reel. Disc Two of the set will be a Digital Copy version of the film. The 2-disc Blu-ray special edition will include all of the DVD extras (including the Disc Two Digital Copy) and will add the BD-Live MOLOG interactive online movie blog option.

Warner will re-release The Man Called Flintstone on DVD on 12/2, along with Hey There, It's Yogi Bear (SRP $19.98 each). I believe the latter is a new release.

Finally, Image Entertainment has announced a few new Blu-ray titles, including the Caligula: The Imperial Edition (11/4 - SRP $29.98), the Sunrise Earth: Seaside Collection (11/4 - SRP $59.98), Encounters at the End of the World (11/18 - SRP $35.98), Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity (11/18 - SRP $29.98), Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special (11/18 - SRP $29.98), The Who: Kilburn 1977 (11/18 - SRP $29.98) and IMAX: Super Speedway (12/16 - SRP $24.98).

The Caligula: The Imperial Edition will be a 2-disc Blu-ray edition, featuring the 156-minute cut of the film in 1080p high-definition, with DTS HD 5.1 audio. We believe it will also include all of the extras from the previous DVD edition. We'll post the specific details and cover art as soon as they're available.

One final note: Best Buy.com appears to have revised the street date for all three versions of The Police: Certifiable to 11/11 (from the 10/7 date they had posted yesterday). Yeah, it's no longer streeting on my birthday, but what the hell. Police? Reunion?! Blu-ray?!! Who would have imagined it just a couple short years ago? Certainly not me. I can wait a few extras weeks. Anyway, adjust your plans accordingly. By the way, when we learn if Best Buy's Canadian stores will be carrying the discs, we'll let you know.

Okay, one MORE final note: A number of you had asked me whether Warner's Risky Business Blu-ray Disc release (due 9/16) would have Dolby TrueHD audio. I've confirmed with the studio that it will. Just FYI.

Here's the cover art for Lionsgate's The Forbidden Kingdom on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as Fox's Futurama: Bender's Game on DVD, Warner's Constantine on Blu-ray (10/14), Adult Swim's Metalocalypse: Season Two on DVD (12/2) and MGM's The Amityville Horror on Blu-ray...

The Forbidden Kingdom (Blu-ray Disc)The Forbidden Kingdom: SEFuturama: Bender's Game

Constantine (Blu-ray Disc)Metalocalypse: Season TwoThe Amityville Horror (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

8/6/08

Afternoon
, folks! We're back! And right up front, let me just tell you, Seattle... what a great city. Sarah and I flew up on Friday to meet family there, and then we took the Amtrack Pacific Starliner train back down the coast to L.A., arriving last night. That's a pretty terrific way to travel. I didn't even take my laptop, so I was unplugged and actually managed to relax. Very nice.

Anyway, it'll take me a day or two to get back up to speed, but let's get right back into it...

First, Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. As always, when you order through our links, you help support our work here at The Bits, and we surely appreciate it.

Also, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has just turned in a new edition of Jahnke's Electric Theatre, featuring the good Doctor's thoughts on The Dark Knight, Hellboy II, The Incredible Hulk, WALL-E and The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Don't miss it.

Now then... let's talk announcements...

Warner has just revealed that it's working on a Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music - Ultimate Collector's Edition for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 7/28/2009, in honor of the festival's 40th anniversary. The 4-hour extended cut release features several never-before-seen performances by the likes of The Who, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald and more, and is remastered from the original elements. It also features a new 5.1 surround mix created by original Woodstock audio engineer Eddie Kramer. The new cut was created with the involvement of director Michael Wadleigh. Extras will include director's commentary, the 40-minute documentary The 60s and the Woodstock Generation, and other cool swag items.

Warner has also set Constantine for release on Blu-ray Disc format on 10/14 (SRP $28.99). All extras from the HD-DVD version will be included. Additional titles newly announced by Warner include Metalocalypse: Season Two (for Adult Swim - due 12/2), Bakugan Volume Two: Game On (also 12/2) and Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry (10/28).

Here's good news: HBO has just set the long-awaited Blu-ray Disc version of the Band of Brothers mini-series for release on 11/11, for the surprisingly walled-friendly price of just SRP $99.98.

20th Century Fox has set Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead - Unrated for release on DVD on 10/7 (SRP $26.98), with Back to You: Season One (SRP $39.98) following on 10/14 and Family Guy: Volume Six set for 10/21 (SRP $39.98). A Family Guy: Freakin' Sweet Party Pack containing all six volumes will also be available on 10/21 (SRP $169.98).

Okay... now I HAVE officially seen everything: Sony has just set Quark: The Complete Series for release on DVD on 10/14! Haven't I used this title as a joke time and again in the past? Someone over at the studio has apparently called my bluff. Anyway, all 8 episodes of the classic, 1970s Buck Henry/Richard Benjamin TV series will be included in their original full frame aspect ratio (SRP $19.94). Touché, Sony. Dare I ask for Supertrain next?

Also newly announced by Sony for release on 10/14 are The Partridge Family: The Complete Third Season, Standard Operating Procedure (both DVD and Blu-ray), Roxy Hunter and the Myth of the Mermaid, Rules of Engagement: The Complete Second Season and an Icons of Horror: Hammer Films 2-disc set (includes The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, The Gorgon and Scream of Fear).

Meanwhile, Sony has also set You Don't Mess with the Zohan for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/7. Available on that day will be a single-disc rated DVD version (SRP $28.96), a single-disc unrated DVD version (SRP $28.96), a 2-disc unrated DVD special edition (SRP $34.95) and an unrated Blu-ray special edition version (SRP $38.96). Special edition extras will include audio commentary with director Dennis Dugan, deleted scenes and alternate takes, 14 featurettes (Laughing is Contagious, Disco Break, Shooting Baja for Tel Aviv, Getting Sticky, Look Who Stopped By, Zohan's Doubles, All-American Redneck, Dugan: The Hand's on Director, The Stunts of Zohan, Dugan Espanol?, Zohan vs. The Phantom, From Guns to Scissors, News on 3: Breaking News Reports and The Robot). The Blu-ray will add a Translating the Zohan PiP track.

Universal has set Ang Lee's The Hulk (2003) for release on Blu-ray Disc on 9/16 (SRP $29.98). All the DVD extras will be included, along with BD-exclusive U-Control features.

Also newly announced by Universal for release on DVD are The Munsters: Family Portrait and The Munsters: The Complete Series (both 10/7), a Holiday Inn: 3-Disc Collector's Set (10/14), Christmas Is Here Again (11/4) and Night Gallery: Season Two (11/18).

Finally, here's news that absolutely makes the day for THIS music fan: Best Buy.com has just officially announced a LIVE concert release by The Police, taken from the current world reunion tour, which draws to an end tomorrow night in New York City. Available exclusively at Best Buy stores on 10/7 (my birthday no less - there's some synchronicity for you), The Police: Certifiable will be available as a 2 DVD/2 CD set (SRP $24.99), a high-definition 1 Blu-ray/2 CD set (AWESOME - SRP just $29.99!!) and even a 3 LP set for audiophiles (SRP $39.99 - which also includes a one-time digital download version). The DVD and Blu-ray versions will obviously include the concert on video, while all three versions will include a stereo audio version of the concert as well. The show in question was recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December of last year. In addition to the concert, the DVD and Blu-ray will include a behind-the-scenes documentary on the tour called Better Than Therapy, directed by Stewart Copeland's son Jordan, as well as "bonus footage" TBA. The title is a Universal Music release. Best Buy has been a key sponsor of the band's reunion tour. [Editor's Note: Best Buy.com has just revised the street dates for all three versions of this release to 11/11 - just FYI.]

Here's a look at the cover art for Universal's The Hulk (2003) on Blu-ray, as well as Sony's Quark: The Complete Series and Universal Music's The Police: Certifiable on DVD...

The Hulk (2003 - Blu-ray Disc)Quark: The Complete SeriesThe Police: Certifiable

Now then... it's going to take me a few days to catch up on all the e-mails I've received over the last few days, so if you're trying to reach me that way, please be patient. I've got a LOT of mail to go through.

Stay tuned!

8/1/08

August... BAM!! Just like that, another month bites the dust. The time, she does a-fly. What's a body to do?

Anyway, we've got some more cool news for you to close out the week, so let's get right down to brass tacks...

Warner has just revealed the official details on the 10/14 release of The Ultimate Matrix Collection on Blu-ray Disc. The 7-disc set (SRP $129.95) will include The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions in 1080p high-definition, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio, each with In-Movie Experience visual commentary. You'll also get a Digital Copy of The Matrix for use in your portable devices, The Animatrix in 1080p high-definition, ALL of the previously-released standard-definition bonus features from the DVD and HD-DVD versions of this box set, and a booklet of photos. The disc breakdown is as follows:

Disc One (BD-50) - The Matrix, plus extras
Disc Two (DVD) - The Matrix (Digital Copy)
Disc Three (BD-50) - The Matrix Reloaded, plus extras
Disc Four (BD-50) - The Matrix Revolutions, plus extras
Disc Five (BD-50) - The Animatrix, plus extras
Disc Six (DVD) - Roots of the Matrix / The Burly Man Chronicles
Disc Seven (DVD) - Zion Archives

For a good in-depth look at all of the DVD special features, check out our lengthy review of the most recent (and elaborate) DVD box set from back in 2004. Virtually all of the disc-based extras mentioned there will be available on the Blu-ray version.

Meanwhile, Warner has also announced a Warner Bros. and the Homefront Collection for DVD release on 11/11 (SRP $39.92), which includes Irving Berlin's This Is the Army (1943), Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) and Hollywood Canteen (1944). This is the Army will include audio commentary by Joan Leslie and Dr. Drew Casper, and all three films will feature original animated shorts, newsreels and trailers.

And as we reported a few days ago, Warner has officially announced (for New Line), the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the Sex in the City: The Movie - Special Edition on 9/23. The DVD will sell for $34.99, and the Blu-ray will be $35.99. We'll post more details as they come in.

In other release news, our friends over at the excellent MI6 U.K. James Bond website have posted details on Sony's yet-to-be-officially-announced DVD and Blu-ray Collector's Edition upgrade of Casino Royale - yes, this time it IS the 2006 movie starring Daniel Craig. Set to be released on 10/21 here in the States (DVD SRP $29.95, BD $38.96 - just in time for the 11/7 theatrical release of the next Bond film Quantum of Solace), both versions will feature extensively updated special features. The 3-disc DVD set and 2-disc Blu-ray will each include audio commentary with the director and members of the crew, 2 documentaries (Becoming Bond and James Bond: For Real), 10 featurettes (Bond Girls are Forever, The Road to Casino Royale, Ian Fleming: The Secret Road to Paradise, Paying Taxes, Rescue & Recovery, Old Boyfriend?, James Bond in the Bahamas, The Art of the Freerun, Death in Venice, Catching a Plane: From Storyboard to Screen and Storyboard Sequence: Freerun Chase), deleted scenes, filmmaker profiles and Chris Cornell's You Know My Name music video. There may be additional Blu-ray features as well (TBA). Consider all this Rumor Mill-worthy until the title is officially announced, but we expect that to happen very soon, and MI6 has been very reliable in terms of Bond DVD and Blu-ray release news thus far.

Speaking of Bond, if you haven't yet seen the trailer for Quantum of Solace, you can do so here. It's outstanding - one of the best trailers I've seen in a LONG time. Don't miss it.

By the way, I took a couple of hours the other night to check out Fox's The X-Files: I Want to Believe. I know the film has been getting drubbed by most critics, but I have to tell you, I really liked it. The film has a stand-alone story, but it's definitely made for the hardcore fans of the show. It's very dark, as well as surprisingly intimate and subtle. Like the best episodes of the series, it makes you work to puzzle things together, and I don't think there's a single explosion to be found. It's also as creepy as anything we saw in the first couple years of the show. As such, it's frankly the complete antithesis of the usual Summer blockbuster fare, and so will have little appeal to anyone outside of the fanbase. But if you're even remotely interested, don't let the bad reviews stop you from seeing it. If you really loved the show, I think you'll leave the film with a smile on your face. Call me a romantic, but it's nice to know that Mulder and Scully are still out there somewhere, still fighting the darkness... and they still want to believe. I'm looking forward to the Blu-ray. Anyway, I think Ebert gets it right in his review. He usually does. Speaking of which, Roger... I hope you're doing well these days. All the best from everyone here at The Bits.

Finally today, in a little bit of hardware news, LG has just announced that their forthcoming BD300 networked Blu-ray Disc Player, due to hit stores here in the States this fall, will not only be a full profile 2.0 Blu-ray player... it will also allow you to connect to NetFlix's servers to stream thousands of movies and TV episodes through the player for viewing on your TV. Pretty interesting. You can read more here via the company's official press release.

Okay, that's all for this week. Just to let you know, there's going to be no post on Monday and Tuesday, as Sarah and I will be spending some time here with family. Let's just say, some of us need a vacation after the 'geek' vacation that was Comic-Con. But when we come back on Wednesday, we'll catch you up on all the latest news... and then reviewing tons of Blu-ray and DVD releases will be the focus of the rest of August. I'm actually looking forward to being able to sit down and watch a few discs for a change.

So anyway, all of you have a great weekend and, as they say in the movies, we'll See You Next Wednesday!

7/31/08

There's big Blu-ray news today, folks: 20th Century Fox has just announced the Planet of the Apes: 40 Year Evolution Blu-ray Collection for release on 11/4 in the U.S. (as well as "throughout the Fall" internationally), and it looks like really a beautiful box set. The U.S. SRP will be $159.98. For that, you'll get a 5-disc set that includes all five vintage Apes films (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes) in full 1080p resolution with audio in English 5.1 DTS MA (as well as English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital mono, and English and Spanish subtitles). For the first time in the U.S., Conquest of the Planet of the Apes will be presented in its unrated version, with 8 minutes of additional footage. New Blu-ray extras will include a BonusView Science of the Apes viewing option, the Beyond the Forbidden Zone adventure game and 8 HD featurettes (A Public Service Announcement from ANSA, Evolution of the Apes, Impact of the Apes, From Alpha to Omega: Building a Sequel, The Secret Behind Escape, Riots and Revolutions: Confronting the Times and End of an Epic: The Final Battle). Each sequel film will include an isolated score track in 5.1 DTS MA. You'll also get an extensive, 200-page coffee table book with artwork and liner notes.

On top of that, you'll get all of the previously released DVD extras too, including commentary by composer Jerry Goldsmith, commentary by actors Roddy McDowall, Natalie Trundy, Kim Hunter and makeup artist John Chambers, text commentary by Eric Greene (author of Planet of the Apes as American Myth), the Behind the Planet of the Apes documentary (with all new interactivity and a timeline), many additional SD featurettes and clips (including a Behind the Planet of the Apes promo (1988), Planet of the Apes makeup test with Edward G. Robinson (1966), Roddy McDowall on-set footage, Planet of the Apes dailies and outtakes (No Audio), the Planet of the Apes NATO presentation (1967), a Planet of the Apes vintage featurette (1968), A Look Behind the Planet of the Apes (1972), Don Taylor Directs Escape from the Planet of the Apes and J. Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes), original theatrical trailers, original sketches by costume designer Morton Haack, a photo gallery, a Planet of the Apes timeline, interactive pressbooks, vintage Apes newspaper galleries, advertising and lobby card galleries, and behind-the-scenes galleries.

To sum up, this set looks AWESOME if you're a true Apes fan. Here's a look at the packaging for the set...

Planet of the Apes: 40 Year Evolution Blu-ray Collection

Planet of the Apes: 40 Year Evolution Blu-ray Collection - open

For those of you who want the DVD version, you might recall the previously released Limited Edition Planet of the Apes: Ultimate Collection DVD box set, that was packaged in a replica ape head. That will be available again on 11/4 for the new lower price of SRP $179.98 (sans the new HD extras).

One other bit of Blu-ray Disc news... Warner is releasing a Harry Potter Years 1-5 Giftset on 11/11 (SRP $129.95), containing the previously released Blu-ray editions of the first five films (presumably minus all the swag from last-years' Limited Edition Giftset edition that came packaged in a replica of Harry Potter's trunk).

And for you SD fans, Genius Products is planning an amazing 8-disc DVD release entitled The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection on 10/28 (SRP $89.95), set to include all 80 of the original Hal Roach Studios/MGM 'talkie' shorts, remastered, restored and uncut from the best available elements. A booklet of some kind will be included, as will additional bonus footage. I have to tell you, I've been waiting for these to arrive on DVD in good quality for a LONG time, so I'm really looking forward to this set. FYI, a company called Laughsmith Entertainment is also reportedly working on a restored set of 32 of the older, silent Our Gang shorts, planned to be released on 4 DVDs (release date TBA). You can see more here. Again, great news if you remember these shorts as fondly as I do.

Also for you DVD folks, those of you who are fans of Warner's classic When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth might want to pick up a copy of the studio's new Best Buy-exclusive Sci-Fi Double Feature release, which includes the *ahem* uncut version of When Dinos, along with Moon Zero Two. Also available are two more such sets that include World Without End and Satellite in the Sky, as well as Battle Beneath the Earth and The Ultimate Warrior. They're just $16.99 each at Best Buy stores while supplies last (note that they're back-ordered online).

Here's the cover art for Warner's Harry Potter Years 1-5 Giftset and Sony's Made of Honor (9/16) on Blu-ray, as well as Genius Products' The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection on DVD...

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Giftset (Blu-ray Disc)Made of Honor (Blu-ray Disc)The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection

Finally this afternoon, Sarah's re-launched our old Artist of the Month program here at The Bits, to help highlight the work of great creative and artistic talent. Our first new artist to be featured is none other than Frank Grau. Those of you who attended the recent Comic-Con convention in San Diego will already be familiar with his work - he did the cover for the show program! He's got some cool stuff for you to see, so do check it all out.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/30/08 - 6:30 PM PDT)

Okay, we're back as promised this evening with Barrie Maxwell's latest High-Definition Matters column, featuring quick reviews of some 23 Blu-ray Disc releases, including Fox's Master and Commander, Mrs. Doubtfire, Patton, The Longest Day and The Sand Pebbles, MGM's Battle of Britain, Paramount's The Untouchables, Cloverfield, The Spiderwick Chronicles and There Will Be Blood, Buena Vista's Gangs of New York, Sony's Untraceable, The Professionals, First Knight and The Other Boleyn Girl, Warner's Twister, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Batman Begins, The Bucket List, Dirty Harry: Ultimate Collector's Edition and 10,000 B.C., and Lionsgate's Rambo and Step into Liquid. As always, Barrie also runs down the latest high-def release announcements. Enjoy!

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/30/08 - 2:15 PM PDT)

Okay, first up, Barrie's column will be up shortly. I'm almost done, so check back in a little bit.

Second, Speed Racer... we've confirmed that the Blu-ray IS BD-25 with Dolby Digital audio only - no TrueHD. And yes, we're STILL getting bombarded by angry e-mail from readers about it. You know, I saw the film in 2K digital projection, and let me tell you - not even the IMAX comes close to the experience of seeing this film digitally. It's amazing. Ultimately, the movie did lousy box office, so I figured Warner wasn't going to be exactly going out of its way to heap money into an elaborate special edition. But I at least figured that people would finally get to see the film in top quality on Blu-ray Disc - with the kind of high-bit rate compression and lossless audio the film demands. And even if it wasn't a loaded special edition, at least it would be an absolute demo disc experience on Blu-ray - the kind of eye and ear candy that few Blu-ray enthusiasts could pass up. So now we find out that the disc is being released on a BD-25, which could potentially impact the video quality, and there's no lossless audio. We get a handful of featurettes, mostly aimed at kids. But kids and families aren't going to buy the Blu-ray - they'll probably buy the cheaper DVD version. Meanwhile, Blu-ray fans aren't going to want compromised video and audio, and they're surely not going to care about the bonus game disc. Not for $35.99. So what we have here is a 3-disc Blu-ray set that satisfies almost no one. It's a shame. If Warner was smart, they ditch the extras and let the BD-25 include only the video and lossless audio, to get the best BD experience. Then, they could ditch the digital copy and the game disc, and include a second standard-def DVD disc with all of the featurettes and other extras (and they'd actually have more room for such extras).

Anyway, I'm (mostly) done complaining about Speed Racer, and I'm sure at least a few of you are tried of hearing about it. But Warner and the other Hollywood studios would do well to remember that Blu-ray is, first and foremost, about delivering a top quality VIDEO and AUDIO experience. If you aren't going to do that, what's the point of releasing a Blu-ray at all? That, at least, is how the vast majority of Blu-ray buyers see things. They're getting tired of paying $35.99 or $39.99 for BD discs that have overly compressed video and no lossless audio, and they're right to feel that way. They don't want a game disc. They want quality.

Okay, some other news today... Paramount has officially confirmed that Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Three Remastered will be released on DVD on 11/18 (our friends over at TVShowsonDVD have the cover art), along with SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 5, Volume 2 and Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan. Speaking of Star Trek, our industry sources are telling us that there's a good chance that Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One Remastered could hit Blu-ray Disc right before the end of the year, though consider that Rumor Mill-worthy. That's coming from more reliable sources than the Batman thing, by the way. ;)

Speaking of Paramount (and DreamWorks), Sweeney Todd is now officially confirmed for Blu-ray release on 10/21, just as expected. Extras will include 11 featurettes (Burton+Depp+Carter=Todd, Sweeney Todd Press Conference, Sweeney Todd is Alive: The Real History of the Demon Barber, Musical Mayhem: Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Sweeney's London, The Making of Sweeney Todd, Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition, Designs for a Demon Barber, A Bloody Business, Moviephone Unscripted with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and The Razor's Refrain - many in full HD), a photo gallery and the theatrical trailer. The audio will be Dolby TrueHD 5.1. You'll find the artwork below.

While we're on that subject of DreamWorks, Home Media Retailing reports today that DreamWorks Animation will debut Kung Fu Panda on Blu-ray in the fourth quarter, with other BD titles to follow. Note that our sources say the street date will be on or around 11/18 - see The Rumor Mill.

Home Media is also reporting that Shout! Factory will debut a 4-disc Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition on 10/28 (SRP $69.99), due to include First Spaceship on Venus, Laserblast, Werewolf and Future War, along with a number of new special features. Read more here.

Finally, Warner has set the BBC's Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest for DVD release on 11/18, with the Raw Feed Horror Collection due on 11/11 (includes Believers: Unrated, Rest Stop: Uncut and Sublime: Uncut).

Here's some cover new artwork... DreamWorks' Sweeney Todd, MGM's James Bond Blu-ray: Volume One and Two (10/20) and Fox's Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (12/9) all on Blu-ray, and Sony's Ray Harryhausen DVD Giftset (10/7)...

Sweeney Todd (Blu-ray Disc)James Bond Blu-ray: Volume One (Blu-ray Disc)James Bond Blu-ray: Volume Two (Blu-ray Disc)

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (Blu-ray Disc)Ray Harryhausen DVD Giftset

Back with Barrie's column in a little while... stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/29/08 - 3:15 PM PDT)

Okay... I'm STILL having a tough time getting a straight answer out of Warner Home Video's new theatrical people. I've got multiple calls into them to try to clear up the Speed Racer BD situation. The best I can tell, the Blu-ray is a BD-25, with only Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The back of the Blu-ray artwork claims that it's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio as you can see below (on the left). On the other hand, Warner's own sell sheet for the title indicates TrueHD (below right).

Speed Racer Blu-ray audio spec confusion

Good grief! When I get a call from someone at Warner who actually has a clue on this, I'll update you all here. In the meantime, I'm hearing that the three featurettes created for the release are at least worth your time. While Spritle in the Big Leagues and Supercharged! are fun but geared more toward younger audiences, I've been told that the Car Fu Cinema piece is a special effects fan's dream, and is a very extensive look at the CG work that went into the making of the film. Of course, that's small consolation for those Blu-ray enthusiasts who, even if they didn't care for the film, had still hoped for the maxed-out video data rate and top-notch lossless audio that would have made this a must-have A/V demo purchase on Blu-ray regardless. In fact, there's now a poll over on Blu-ray.com, which is revealing that a lot of people are either not going to buy the Blu-ray or are canceling their orders given the lackluster specs. What a shame. They're usually pretty reliable, but WHV really screwed the pooch on this title.

[Editor's Note: I'm now FINALLY in contact with WHV on this title, and I expect to have an update with official, accurate details sometime tomorrow, so stay tuned.]

Unfortunately, we have another little bit of bad news for you. It seems the Comic-Con rumors of the 1960s Batman TV series finally coming to DVD are untrue. The rumor was based on an Adam West comment in AgentDVD magazine, indicating that he was working on special features for a Batman DVD. Turns out, he was working on HIS OWN DOCUMENTARY DVD about his time on the series, tentatively called Adam West: The Batman Dairies. Naturally, word got around, the buzz spread fast and the story got all out of control. Our friends Dave and Gord over at TVShowsonDVD have a full update today. The sad fact is, Warner still owns the license to the Batman franchise, Fox still owns the actual series and neither seems in the mood to compromise on making a deal to release it on DVD. It's almost enough to make frustrated fans go buy a bootleg DVD version of the series - and they DO exist. I saw them on sale down at the Con just this past weekend. Hey, I guess Fox and Warner are just happy to leave money on the table over this show.

Anyway, we're working on Barrie's new HDM column, but the earthquake thing today kind of set us back a little. Earthquakes will tend to do that, I guess. We'll have it up early tomorrow for sure, if not sooner. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/29/08 - 1 PM PDT)

Well... we just had a pretty good size earthquake here in the L.A./Orange County area. USGS is saying it was a 5.8 - not big enough to cause any real damage, but more than enough to put a decent scare into you. It was definitely the biggest we've felt in a good long time, that's for sure. Big enough that Sarah and I both took cover pretty quickly. We had cats diving under beds and stuff shaking off shelves. Boy, I'll tell you... that's better than a good cup of coffee to wake you up. Here's my new favorite website this afternoon.

Anyway... while I sit here nervously awaiting an aftershock, we've got a couple quick things for you...

First, our own Russell Hammond has just updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. A portion of anything you order through our links helps to support our work here at The Bits, so we appreciate it very much.

We've got a couple of GREAT new Giveaways running, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's Spaced: The Complete Series (for the BBC), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete First Season and Lost Boys: The Tribe, as well as Anchor Bay's Masters of Science Fiction: The Complete Series, all on DVD. The giveaways will end at Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, August 10th, so get your entries in and good luck!

We've also updated our Power Buy deals with word that Pioneer's Elite PRO-FPJ1 1080P front projector is now available, and we've got a good deal on it for you. Do check it out if you're interested.

Meanwhile, Paramount and DreamWorks have revealed in retail sell sheets that they'll release Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd on Blu-ray Disc on 10/21. This confirms the street date we first posted in The Rumor Mill on 7/3.

20th Century Fox has set its CG-animated Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! for release on 12/9. There will be a single-disc flipper edition (featuring both full frame and anamorphic widescreen - SRP $29.98), a 2-disc Special Edition DVD (SRP $34.98), a Blu-ray Disc edition (SRP $39.98) and a DVD Giftset that includes a Horton plush toy (SRP $39.98). The 2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray will each include a bonus Digital Copy version of the film. Extras on the DVD will include audio commentary, a new Ice Age short film, deleted scenes and animation tests, scores of featurettes, an interactive game and a DVD-ROM Create Your Own Animation option. The Blu-ray will include all of the above (save for the DVD-ROM content), along with a Bonus View viewing option that allows you to "Watch the movie with the smallest 'Who' of all Jo Jo!" (Per the studio's press release)

Also, Warner has set Supernatural: The Complete Third Season for release on Blu-ray Disc on 11/11 (the DVD streets on 9/2). The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete First Season is set for DVD release on 10/7 (for the BBC), with Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Season following on 11/18. And Warner has set Oliver Stone's JFK for release on Blu-ray Disc on 11/11, along with the JFK: Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD box set and The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings DVD documentary.

Just FYI, we've updated some of the details on Sony's Ray Harryhausen DVD and Blu-ray releases from yesterday's late post (below), so do check them out. [Look for the yellow text.]

And sadly, Warner's Speed Racer on Blu-ray Disc does appear to be getting lackluster treatment. It DOES appear to be a BD-25 release WITHOUT Dolby TrueHD audio. WTF?! The back of the packaging confirms the lack of TrueHD (it's Dolby Digital only) and as you already know, the extras are crap - just a trio of making-of featurettes and a game. This is a shame, because we've got industry sources that have confirmed to us that The Wachowski Brothers created a bunch of cool extras for the DVD and Blu-ray that Warner has apparently chosen to shelve at this time, presumably due to the film's lackluster box office. Whoever made that decision at Warner, care to e-mail me to explain? We've got a LOT of readers who are none to happy about this at the moment, and I'm certainly none to pleased either. What a shame! This could have been the reference Blu-ray of the year, and now it's not even worth the purchase price. $35.99?! Seriously? For what's basically a movie-only Blu-ray without TrueHD audio? LAME! It should be $19.99 given what little you get.

And finally, you may recall that I mentioned attending Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica panel at Comic-Con on Saturday. Well, Sci-Fi.com now has the panel available for viewing online - all except for the video previews unfortunately. The panel is still worth checking out if you're a fan, though again be aware that the language gets very blue at times.

Back later with more... stay tuned...


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