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(Archived Posts 10/7/08 - 9/2/08)
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Okay, folks... today is my birthday, so I ain't doing nothing today except chill out and enjoy the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. And maybe watch a Blu-ray or two. Hey - when you get older, it's the little things, you know?
Luckily though, I was thinking ahead for you guys. So not only do we have another fine entry in Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest for you - Dimension Extreme's Mother of Tears: Unrated - I spent my Sunday afternoon working on a few more reviews, including the new Capricorn One: Special Edition DVD from Lionsgate (which streets next week), as compared to the movie-only, import Capricorn One Blu-ray from ITV DVD (now available in the U.K.), as well as RHI and Genius Products amazing The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection (due 10/28) and Universal Music's new CD/DVD deluxe edition of U2: Live - Under a Blood Red Sky (now available). So how you like them apples, huh?
Also today, our own Russell Hammond has tricked out the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon pre-order links, as usual.
And we have one really cool bit of announcement news for you today: Universal will debut Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.0 on DVD on 1/6/09 (SRP $49.98). The 4-disc set will include all 10 early season episodes (from He That Believeth in Me to Revelations) along with both the broadcast and extended version of Razor and the Razor webisodes. Special features will include everything that was on the original Razor DVD plus deleted scenes, Ron Moore's podcast commentaries, additional commentaries, David Eick's video blogs and three featurettes (The Journey, Cylons: The Twelve and Season 4.5: The Untold Story - Untold). Video is anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. I REALLY wish just one of these sets would include an elaborate behind-the-scenes documentary on the production. You can read more on the DVD at least over at TV Shows on DVD, and thanks to our friend Dave Lambert for sending it over. FYI, there's no Blu-ray version announced, however, a OUR sources tell us that there ARE plans in the works for BSG to debut on Blu-ray later in 2009, so stay tuned. One last note - the 1/6 DVD street date means you can reasonably expect Season 4.5 to debut on Sci-Fi at the end of January.
Back tomorrow with some thoughts on the Matrix films on Blu-ray. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/6/08 - 3 PM PDT)
Okay... I really, really love Blu-ray. I mean, seriously... this is the greatest time to be a movie fan. Every week, tons of your favorite movies are being released in HD quality better than you've ever seen them before.
More are announced every day, there are lots of sales on software and the prices for hardware continue to drop. And few announcements have tickled me more than this one, which we first hinted at last week: MGM has just officially set This Is Spinal Tap for release on Blu-ray on 1/20 (SRP $34.99). You'll get 1080p video and DTS-HD 5.1 audio.
Extras will include all the previous DVD features, including audio commentary by Spinal Tap, commentary by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, yet another commentary by director Rob Reiner, producer Karen Murphy and editors Robert Leighton and Kent Beyda, deleted scenes, music videos (for Gimme Some Money, (Listen to the) Flower People, Hell Hole and Big Bottom), the Flower People press conference, Spinal Tap's appearance on The Joe Franklin Show, the theatrical trailer, the Cheese Rolling trailer and the Rock and Rolls commercials. Plus, you get the brand new BD-Java Create Your Own Band game, that lets you create and customize your own rock and roll avatars. Nice.
Guess what else? Remember how we said last week we hoped Ronin was coming soon to Blu too? Our crack industry sources say it is. Watch for it early in 2009.
I LOVE this format.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/6/08 - 6 AM PDT)
Morning all! We've got a bunch of great stuff for you today, so let's get right to it.
First up, yes... I've FINALLY posted my review of Paramount's new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 2-Disc Special Edition on Blu-ray. I think those of you who liked the film will not be disappointed. Also up today are reviews of Sony's Rudy, one of the great sports movies ever, as well as Warner's Outbreak, both on Blu. Enjoy!
That's not all, however. Our own Adam Jahnke has checked in with today's installment of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest, and today the Fest goes high-def with a look at Universal's The Thing on Blu-ray Disc.
Also today, we've kicked off TWO new Giveaways here at The Bits, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's Jack Frost, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, Silver Hawks: Volume One and Sing a Song of Wiggles, the BBC's Torchwood: The Complete Second Season and Fox's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Three. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 19th. Click on the links to enter and good luck!
Now then... let's get to the announcement news. First up, Sony has just announced that it's launching a new Sony Pictures Blu-ray Club via BD-Live. All you have to do to join, is log online via BD-Live on one of the Sony titles (or visit the official Sony Rewards website on the Internet) and create a profile/account. Then, every time you buy a BD-Live enabled Sony Blu-ray title, and register the disc when you're connected via BD-Live, you'll accumulate rewards points, redeemable for other Sony products and prizes (including, one would presume, future Sony Blu-ray titles). It's free to join and, presuming Sony is generous with their rewards, it seems like a good way to encourage BD-Live use and brand loyalty. Anyway, we'll see. It's a cool idea though. I wonder if other studios will follow suit.
Also, as we first revealed in The Rumor Mill a couple weeks back, Paramount has just announced a number of new catalog Blu-ray titles for release on 12/16, including Coach Carter, The Heartbreak Kid and the Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition. And more catalog titles are due on 12/30 as expected, including Days of Thunder, Event Horizon, Ghost, Last Holiday and The Truman Show. So far it looks like all the extras on the previous DVD editions will be ported over.
Finally this morning, Warner has just set Moonlight: The Complete First Season for DVD release on 1/20/09.
Here's some news that's going to thrill a whole bunch of you Blu-bies. Warner has revealed, in a promotional insert packed with the new Poltergeist Blu-ray Disc, that it's currently working on a Blu-ray version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring! No s--t! Not ONLY that, but the same insert lists The Wizard of Oz, Being There, Gone with the Wind, King Kong, Woodstock, Rush Hour, The Notebook and Amadeus all as coming soon to Blu-ray! How do you like THEM apples? What's more, our industry sources tell us that ALL THREE Lord of the Rings films are planned for release in Blu in 2009, though we're not yet certain if the discs will be the theatrical editions, the extended editions or both.
Still, if that isn't enough reason for some of you holdouts to run out and pick up a player this holiday season, I don't know what is. Here's a look at the actual insert (not that the image links to the official Warner Blu-ray website)...
Now then... the good Doctor has checked in once again today with his latest Oktoberfest installment. This time around, it's Carl Dreyer's excellent Vampyr, brought to us on DVD by the good folks at Criterion. Don't miss it!
Okay, I'm busting my hump to return in a few hours with a review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Blu-ray, so be sure to check back in later this afternoon.
We've got Adam's next installment of Der Fest for you this afternoon: A creepy little DVD called Hell's Ground from TLA Releasing. Enjoy!
In announcement news today, Warner has set Little Britain USA for release on on 1/13 (for HBO), followed by Unlocking the Great Pyramid on 1/20 (for National Geographic), Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger, a Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger - Special Edition (also for HBO), You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition, Killing Hitler (for the BBC) and Shipwreck: Captain Kidd (also for National Geographic) on 1/27, and finally One Foot in the Grave: Season 5 and One Foot in the Grave: Season 6 on 2/10 (both for the BBC).
Also, Image Entertainment has revealed its release slate for December and January. In December, look for The Book of Revelation, Dark World, Elite XC: Lawler vs. Smith II, The Ghost (Aatma), I Claudius: The Epic That Never Was - Remastered, Mythbusters: Big Blasts Collection, Seeding of a Ghost, Sensing Murder and Vans Warped Tour 2007 all on 12/2, Open Window, The Falling, Al Green: Live in '72 and Super Swank: Season 1 on 12/9, Crashing, Darklight, Louis CK: Chewed Up, TK Kirkland: Are There Any Questions? and Will Eisner/Profession: Cartoonist on 12/16, and Battle for Haditha on 12/30, all on DVD. Following in January are Ping Pong Playa, Caligula (Blu-ray), Cyrano de Bergerac, Elite XC: Return of the King - Noons vs. Edwards, Kevin Hart: I'm a Grown Little Man, The Lizard and Anthony Bourdian: Collection 2 on 1/6, American Fusion, Blindsight, Blackout, South of Pico, Comedy Express Presents: Moody McCarthy, Ancient Egypt Unearth, First to Flight: Living Legacy, Man vs. Wild: Season 2 and Super Swank: Season 1 on 1/13, This Is Not a Test and Super Speedway (Blu-ray) on 1/20, and Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired and M.A.N.T.I.S.: Season 1 on 1/27. All are DVD except where indicated.
In HD news, A&E is releasing Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us - The Blu-ray Edition on... well, Blu-ray Disc... on 11/18 (SRP $34.95). The concert was shot with over 25 HD cameras, and features the full 30-song performance in 1080p video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, as well as additional footage of the soundcheck, interviews with McCartney and the band, a pre-tour film and more.
Also, we've learned from retail sources that Fox and MGM are working on Blu-ray versions of Home Alone, Jingle All the Way and - we LOVE this - This is Spinal Tap.
Watch for official announcements in the coming weeks. Our fingers are crossed that they're working on a Ronin Blu-ray too.
And in a bit of completely unrelated news today, you can now view the music video for the theme to the next Bond film, Quantum of Solace, at the official 007 website. It's called Another Way to Die, and it's written and performed by Jack White and Alicia Keyes. It's pretty cool. 11/14 can't come soon enough as far as we're concerned.
Back with more reviews a little later this afternoon. And hey - if you're politically minded, we hear there's a VP debate tonight that should be popcorn worthy.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/1/08 - 2:15 PM PDT)
Well kids... it's the first of October, and you know what that means: It's almost Halloween-mas-time again!
This time last year, our old pal... the good Doctor himself, Adam Jahnke, went completely off the bend with his Hell Plaza Oktoberfest, in which he reviewed a new Halloween-themed disc a day for the ENTIRE month of October. Then he had himself committed to a mental institution, and he's been a little off ever since. Though it was hugely popular with readers, Dr. Jahnke vowed never to do it again. But like all good Americans (not to mention pretty much every politician we can think of), he reserved the right to flip-flop on his position, and now he's gone and done it. Yes, that's right: The Doctor is officially in... and THE HELL PLAZA OKTOBERFEST HAS RETURNED!! Today, Adam checks in with his first entry in another month-long slog through the realm of digital cinematic gore and fight on disc: Anchor Bay's skull-tacular Masters of Horror: Season Two! Be sure to check back tomorrow, and every day throughout the month of October, for more of Jahnke's thoughts on the latest and greatest scary titles on DVD and Blu-ray. It should be a lot of fun - not just the reviews, but seeing how long it takes Jahnke to lose his marbles this time. Enjoy!
And you know... stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/1/08 - 12:30 PM PDT)
It's gotten VERY busy this afternoon, so we'll be checking in with multiple posts.
The big thing so far today, is that a LOT of people are e-mailing to report problems with the playback of Paramount's Iron Man Blu-ray Disc on the Sony PS3 (and other Sony BD players we hear - the reason is the same, so please read on). As a result, we're getting a lot of people saying that the defective disc wasn't recalled after all (as reported last week), and they must have a bad one, etc. Here's the deal: From what we're told, the disc ISN'T defective. What's happening is that the Sony PS3 (and other Sony players) automatically downloads some of the BD-Live content from the studio servers the first time you boot up the disc. And it appears that Paramount initially underestimated the server load - thousands of people got their discs home yesterday, booted up their PS3s and then experienced long, long wait times while the disc loaded, making it look like the disc had frozen up and wouldn't play. But this morning, the problem appears to be resolving, as server loads are easing. (The studio tells me: "capacity was expanded dramatically last night and local servers were established worldwide to accommodate all the fans.") If you're still having troubles with Disc One of the Iron Man BD playing on your PS3, go into your system set-up menu and temporarily set BD-Live to 'prompt' or 'disable'. Then the disc should boot up fine. Wait a few hours (to allow server loads to ease more), and then restore your BD-Live setting. It might take a few minutes, but all the BD-Live content will download and your disc should work just fine after that. If the problem continues over the next few days - which it shouldn't - we'll get a customer service number for you from the studio.
You might also want to take the opportunity to update your player firmware, to make sure you're fully compatible - just FYI.
One other quick thing... you can now preorder Warner's Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Amazon.com (due 11/11). Here's the links...
Back in a little bit with more... stay tuned...
As promised, we're very pleased to present Rob Siegel's latest Golden Hollywood column here at The Bits, featuring an in-depth look behind the scenes at the production of the classic How the West Was Won. You're going to see TONS of cool artwork, and learn many interesting facts and bits of trivia about the Cinerama process and the making of the film itself, so we certainly hope you enjoy it all!
Now then... Paramount's sent over the Blu-ray version of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull so we'll post a review of that probably tomorrow. I'll tell you this much, however... Paramount might have been a pain in the ass when it came to finally getting fully behind Blu-ray, but now that they have, they're doing some of the best work on the format of anyone. The disc looks and sounds outstanding, and I love their commitment to post all the extras in HD whenever possible as well. Anymore, more tomorrow.
Speaking of Paramount, we've just learned that there are a whopping EIGHT retail exclusive versions of Iron Man available today on DVD and Blu-ray. If you purchase the DVD at Circuit City, you'll get access to an exclusive Marvel Digital Comics featuring the artwork of Adi Granov. At Best Buy, you'll get a custom lithograph created by Marvel artist Gerald Parel. Target features "exclusive Mark III" mask packaging on both the 2-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray. At Costco, the 2-disc DVD includes a trio of bobbleheads. At WalMart, the 2-disc DVD comes with an exclusive comic book, while the single-disc DVD comes with a bonus disc containing the first episode of the new Iron Man animated series. FYE and Suncoast stores are offering the 2-disc DVD in exclusive Steelbook packaging. Finally, at Borders stores the disc includes a collectible book of original sketches by Bob Layton.
Moving on, we've got a couple of very cool announcements to report today. First, Image Entertainment and the National Film Preservation Foundation have just announced the newest addition to their Treasures series, Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986. The 2-disc set will street on 3/9/09 (SRP $44.99) and will include 26 films by 27 filmmakers, including the likes of Bruce Baillie, Stan Brakhage, Shirley Clarke, Harry Smith, Hollis Frampton and Andy Warhol. You'll also get a 70-page book of program notes introduced by Martin Scorsese and some of the early shorts will include new music by John Zorn. The set will be all-region, so it will play worldwide. You can read more about the set (as well as download the brochure with the complete list of shorts AND watch a preview) here at the NFPF website (click on DVD Collections).
Here's what the Treasures IV box will look like, along with Warner's Blu-ray art for IMAX Space Station (10/14) and Domino (just announced for release on 1/20/09)...
And here's an announcement that will make some of you happy: Bandai Visual Entertainment will be releasing the landmark Japanese anime Akira on Blu-ray Disc on 2/24 here in the States (and 2/20 in Japan). The disc will be AVC MPEG-4 with lossless Japanese audio in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (24 bit/192 kHz) and linear PCM Dolby Surround. Dubbed English audio will available in standard Dolby Digital 5.1, and you'll also find English and Japanese subtitles. Extras will include a booklet, trailers and video storyboards. More is available here at Anime News Network.
Finally, Sony has announced newly remastered DVD versions of Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It Happened One Night and You Can't Take It With You for release on 12/9 (SRP $19.94 each).
One last note before we go today: Our own Russell Hammond has just posted the latest update of our Upcoming DVD Cover Art section, featuring TONS of new DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon pre-order links. As always, a portion of ANYTHING you order from Amazon after going through our links helps support our efforts here at The Bits... and we appreciate it!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/29/08 - 7:30 PM PDT)
Okay, just one last quick update today: Rob's new Golden Hollywood column WILL be posted early tomorrow morning. It's formatted, all the graphics (50+ of them - whew!) are in place and the column is looking great. I'm just giving it a final proof-read now. So watch for it to go live in the morning.
In the meantime however, a LOT of you have sent in e-mails asking how the aspect ratio is going to work on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions of The Dark Knight (due 12/9). I've just heard back from Warner Home Video on this, so here's the deal: The widescreen versions of the DVD will present the film in a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, reproducing the standard theatrical experience of the film. For the Blu-ray Disc however, while most of the film will also be presented in the 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio, the scenes that were specifically shot in IMAX format will be presented at 1.78:1, which will fill the frame and will thus recreate the IMAX experience at home. This is not via seamless branching (you can't turn it off). But trust me: It's very cool. It's not gimmicky at all, it really adds something to the film - an extra little bit of 'oomph' to the action scenes, so to speak. So there you have it. It goes without saying that we obviously can't wait to get our hands on the discs.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/29/08 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Well... today is a crazy news day thus far. More importantly, however, my phone has been ringing off the hook today. So it's taking longer to get the post up this afternoon than expected. But we did have one quick announcement to post early this afternoon...
A number of readers are reporting that some copies of the DVD version of Paramount's The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration box set have a labeling problem. Specifically, Discs 4 and 5 have their printed labels swapped. So what looks like Disc 5 in the set is actually Disc 4, and vise versa. All of the content is there - no worries - it's just the discs are mislabeled. We've got an inquiry in with Paramount to see if they plan any kind of exchange program. We'll let you know. Just FYI.
Back later, so stay tuned...
We've got a rare Saturday post for you today, with some very good news and some very bad news. Let's have the good news first, to soften the blow...
As I predicted yesterday afternoon, Warner Home Video has just officially announced the U.S. DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Dark Knight on (again, just as predicted) 12/9.
Available on that day will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $28.98 - separate widescreen and full frame versions), a 2-disc DVD Special Edition (SRP $34.99) and a 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $35.99). The single-disc DVD will include just the film itself. The 2-disc DVD will include the film, plus the Gotham Uncovered: Creation of a Scene documentary, The Dark Knight IMAX Scenes (the ability to view the 6 IMAX sequences in their original framing), 6 episodes of the fictional Gotham Tonight news program, galleries of poster art and production stills, and a Digital Copy version of the film. The Blu-ray will include all that, plus the exclusive Batman Tech: The Incredible Gadgets and Tools and Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of The Dark Knight featurettes, additional galleries (Joker Cards, concept art), trailers, TV spots and BD-Live enhancement. The movie on the Blu-ray will also be enhanced with something called Focus Points. All the video features will be in full HD on the Blu-ray, and the audio will be Dolby TrueHD. The Blu-ray Disc will apparently also be available in Limited Edition packaging featuring a replica of the Batpod (pictured below), but we don't know yet if this is a retailer exclusive or if it will be more widely available. Here's the official U.S. cover art for (left to right) the single-disc DVD, the 2-disc DVD, the 2-disc Blu-ray and (second row) the 2-disc Blu-ray Limited Edition. Note that the outer cardboard sleeves on the 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray feature the Batpod (as shown below), while the inner case wrap art will feature The Joker...
BTW, also newly announced by Warner for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 11/18 is The Clique.
So that's the good news. Now for the bad: Legendary Hollywood film actor Paul Newman has just passed away. He died yesterday at his home in Connecticut, of cancer. He was 83. Over his lengthy career, Newman starred in such classics as The Long, Hot Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Exodus, The Hustler, Hud, Torn Curtain, Hombre, Cool Hand Luke, Winning, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sometimes a Great Notion, The Sting, The Towering Inferno, Slap Shot, The Verdict, The Hudsucker Proxy and Road to Perdition. Damn, that's a fine list of work. Most recently, Newman voiced a character in Pixar's CG-animated Cars and the Mater and the Ghostlight short, and he narrated Tom Hanks' Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D IMAX film. I think I'm going to have to pop in Butch on Blu-ray this weekend, in tribute. It certainly goes without saying that he'll be sorely missed.
Afternoon, folks! Well... after Warner and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Clone Wars was announced for DVD and Blu-ray yesterday, it's now looking as if Warner's announcement of The Dark Knight is about to drop as well. Amazon.co.uk has just posted initial UK release details for the title. It appears the film will be available there on disc on 12/8 (so you can reasonably expect the U.S. street date to be the following day, Tuesday 12/9). Brits will find available a 2-disc DVD Special Edition (view here), the same 2-disc DVD Special Edition in Amazon.co.uk exclusive "Batmask" packaging (see here), and a 2-disc Blu-ray Special Edition (see here - other configurations may also be available, TBA). Here's what the packaging looks like for all three, at least based upon what's now posted on Amazon.co.uk...
The Blu-ray art above may not quite be final - as you can see below, it looks like the outer cardboard sleeve features Batman, but the actual case art has The Joker on the cover.
We'd guess that the official U.S. release announcement could happen as soon as Monday. It remains to be seen if the artwork and packaging options will be the same here as overseas. We'll obviously post all the specs, final art and details as soon as they're available.
In the meantime, we've got a little interactive fun for you this afternoon. I've just completed my service as a judge for this year's TV DVD Awards, sponsored by Home Media magazine. The winners will be announced on 10/14, but YOU can have a say in the outcome too! Click here and you can vote for your favorite TV DVDs among the top four titles in each category. The voting will be open until 10/3. Be sure to get your picks in!
Okay... that's it for today, barring any major breaking news later this afternoon. We should have Rob's new Golden Hollywood column (featuring Warner's How the West Was Won) on Monday, as well as the usual news update. I know it's taking some time to get the column posted, but the reason will become clear once you see it: It's MASSIVE. Printed out, it's more than 15 pages long, packed with over 40 amazing images for you to enjoy. Rob's really outdone himself with this one. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait.
Anyway, have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/25/08 - 4 PM PDT)
Well... we suspected this announcement was in the offing, and now here it is: Warner Home Video and Lucasfilm have just officially revealed that the CG-animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be released on single-disc DVD (SRP $28.98), 2-disc DVD Special Edition (SRP $34.99) and Blu-ray (SRP $35.99) on 11/11. All versions will feature audio commentary by the filmmakers (including director Dave Filoni, producer Catherine Winder, writer Henry Gilroy and editor Jason W.A. Tucker), 3 featurettes (The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories, The Voices of The Clone Wars and The New Score), 4 deleted scenes, 6 webdocs from Star Wars.com, the Hologram Memory Challenge game, theatrical and videogame trailers, a gallery of concept and production art, and a Digital Copy version of the film. The Blu-ray will have all the video-based extras in full HD, and will add a video PiP version of the commentary. Special retailer-exclusive packaging options will available at Target and Best Buy stores. Here's the standard cover artwork for all three versions...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/25/08 - 1 PM PDT)
Afternoon, kids. Some interesting release news today...
Fox has just officially announced The Day the Earth Stood Still: Special Edition for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on
12/2. The 2-disc DVD (SRP $19.98) will include the film in its original full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio, the original audio commentary by Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer, a new commentary by film & music historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman, an isolated score track, 8 featurettes (The Making of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Decoding "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto": Science Fiction as Metaphor, A Brief History of Flying Saucers, The Astounding Harry Bates, Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still, The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin, Race to Oblivion: A Documentary Short Written and Produced by Edmund North and Farewell to the Master: A Reading by Jamieson K. Price of the Original Harry Bates Short Story), video of a live performance of the film's main title music by thereminist Peter Pringle, an Interactive pressbook, the vintage Fox Movietonews from 1951 short film, the film's theatrical trailer, multiple still galleries (for advertising, behind-the-scenes, portraits, production, spaceship construction blueprints) and the film's shooting script. The single-disc Blu-ray edition (SRP $34.99) will include all of the above along with the film in 1080p full frame with DTS-HD audio and 2 exclusive bonus features: the Interactive Thermin: Create Your Own Score option and the Gort Command interactive game.
In other news today, Warner Home Video has just officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of the recent Get Smart feature film on 11/4. Available will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $28.98 - in separate full frame and widescreen versions), a 2-disc DVD Special Edition (SRP $34.99) and
a single-disc Blu-ray (SRP $35.99). Extras are TBA, but all tout "62% More Laughs" on the cover via a special "Comedy Optimization Mode" viewing option that lets you see some 20 additional minutes of jokes and unused scenes.
Here's a look at the single-disc Theatrical DVD, 2-disc DVD Special Edition and Blu-ray versions of Hancock (due 11/25), as well as
the single-disc, 2-Disc Special Edition and Blu-ray versions of Get Smart...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/24/08 - 3:45 PM PDT)
First up this afternoon, director Michael Moore has just released his new film, Slacker Uprising, in a rather unique way. You can either view the entire film via streaming video or download it, both options totally for free, or you can order a physical DVD copy for just $9.95, complete with additional special features. All the options are available via the film's official website here.
In more traditional release news, Sony has just announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Luc Besson's Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc and La Femme Nikita, and the Stranger Than Fiction: Special Edition on 12/2. Our fingers crossed, Leon: The Professional isn't far behind.
Meanwhile, Step Brothers will also be available on 12/2 on single-disc Rated and Unrated DVDs, as well as 2-disc Unrated DVD and 2-disc Rated/Unrated Blu-ray Disc. Extras will include audio commentary with the cast and filmmakers, deleted scenes, Line-o-Rama and more video featurettes and clips.
Universal has announced the release on The Strangers on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/21.
Finally, Warner has announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 on 11/18. Also newly announced by the studio for DVD only release are Nip/Tuck: Season Five on 12/30, The Waltons: The Complete Eighth Season on 1/6, Dallas: The Complete Tenth Season and Ben 10 Alien Force: Season One, Volume Two on 1/13, and finally Waking the Dead: Season Three on 1/20.
Here's some new Paramount and DreamWorks cover art... Hot Rod and Into the Wild on Blu-ray (both due 12/16), as well as the direct-to-video DVD "sequelette", Secrets of the Furious Five (available with Kung Fu Panda, only on DVD, due 11/9)...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/24/08 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Yeah... it's a little early (Tuesday evening, as I write this), but I figured now's as good a time as any to get the jump on Wednesday's post. And as promised, we have Barrie's new Classic Coming Attractions column for you. In this installment, Barrie reviews a pair of recent Warner Western box sets on standard DVD:
Errol Flynn: The Warner Bros. Western Collection and the Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection.
Enjoy... and we'll be back tomorrow (a.k.a. later THIS) morning with more!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/23/08 - 3:45 PM PDT)
As expected, we've got two new Blu-ray Disc reviews for you to enjoy this afternoon. Jeff Kleist has checked in with a look at Paramount's Iron Man: Ultimate 2-Disc Edition. I've also turned in my thoughts on Discovery and Image's 4-disc When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions in high-definition. Both are well worth checking out.
We'll be back tonight (or very early tomorrow morning) with Barrie's latest Classic Coming Attractions column. Rob's new Golden Hollywood column is coming too - it's now tentatively set for Thursday, and fans of Warner's How the West Was Won should really enjoy it.
(STILL EARLY UPDATE - 9/23/08 - 11:45 AM PDT)
The official word on the Iron Man BD is in from Paramount. THE DISCS THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE ON STREET DATE AT YOUR LOCAL RETAILERS WILL BE FIXED AND WORKING FINE, so no worries. We're also told that because the discs will be corrected by street, there will be no need for any kind of exchange program. Just so you know.
Back later. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/23/08 - 11:30 AM PDT)
Okay... we wanted to check in early this morning with a quick update.
First, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section as usual with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art, as well as Amazon pre-order links. A portion of anything you order from our Amazon links helps support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.
Second, and more importantly, it appears that there's been a problem with Paramount's Iron Man Blu-ray Disc. We're getting reports from many retailers that the discs have been recalled, and they've had to ship back their stock. Apparently, there are issues with Disc One playing properly on select Sony Blu-ray player models. Indeed, not long after I received my review disc, I also received a "fixed" replacement copy of Disc One. The title is still set to street on 9/30 and we're currently hearing that fixed discs WILL be shipped to retailers in time to meet street date, so there should be no problems with the disc when you purchase it next week. We also suspect that if any bad discs do manage to hit store shelves on street date, a replacement program will be available for those consumers who need it. We've got inquiries into the studio on all this, so we'll let you know as soon as we hear anything official. [Editor's Note: See the 11:45 AM post above - the discs available on street date WILL be okay.]
Back later with more, including (as it happens) an Iron Man review. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/22/08 - 2:15 PM PDT)
Okay... first up this afternoon, we've kicked off some new Giveaways today, giving each of you the chance to take home DVD copies of Anchor Bay's Jack Brooks Monster Slayer, Universal's Forgetting Sarah Marshall on DVD,
Lionsgate's Chaplin: 15th Anniversary Edition on DVD, and Buena Vista's Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 on Blu-ray Disc. We've also extended the Warner Bros DVD and Blu-ray giveaway for another week. All of them will now run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 5th. Click the links to enter and good luck!
In announcement news today,
Paramount has just revealed the 12/16 Blu-ray Disc release of Hot Rod and Into the Wild. The Tudors: The Complete Second Season has also been set for DVD release on 12/30. Transformers: Animated Season Two will street on DVD on 1/6. Matlock: The Second Season and Walker, Texas Ranger: The Sixth Season street on DVD on 1/13. My Three Sons: Season One, Volume Two will follow on DVD on 1/20, as will Alexander Payne's Election on Blu-ray Disc.
Speaking of Paramount, word is that the studio will release
Eagle Eye and Ghost Town on DVD and Blu-ray some time in December. We also have word in The Rumor Mill today on anticipated street dates for a whole number of new and catalog Blu-ray titles from the studio. Do check it out.
In other news today, you may have heard that the television Emmys were handed out last night. If you care about such things, you can view the results here. Congrats to all the winner, of course.
Finally today, our friends over at Genre Online have an interview with David Filoni, the supervising director of the recent Star Wars: Clone Wars CG animated film. They also have reviews of the first few episodes of the actual TV series, so check it out if you're interested.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/22/08 - 1 AM PDT)
Morning, folks. I figured we'd give you a little something to enjoy with your coffee for a change. First things first, though... I trust you all had a fine weekend. Or at least a brief break from pulling your hair out over your stock portfolio. Just remember: Deep breaths. What goes down must come up. Eventually.
My weekend was pretty decent. We spent a couple nice evenings with family and friends. The Vikings picked up a win. I was even arm-twisted into seeing Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which turned out to be WAY better than I expected. Pretty damn funny actually. I didn't realize it was a Judd Apatow effort for some reason (Nicholas Stoller was the director and Apatow produced). I guess it just slipped under the radar. Anyway, it's pretty great, so do check it out if you get the chance and you're looking for a laugh.
Anyway, we're pleased as punch to regale you with a new High-Definition Matters column from our very own Barrie Maxwell this morning. This time around, Barrie spins some 15 new Blu-ray Discs and offers up his thoughts, including Sony's 21, The Counterfeiters, The Devil's Own, In the Line of Fire and Redbelt, DreamWorks' The Ruins: Unrated, Lionsgate's The Eye, 20th Century Fox's Point Break, Jumper and Nim's Island, Miramax's Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2, Paramount's Shine a Light, Warner's The Perfect Storm and Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: 3-Movie Collection. He's also updated his
High-Definition Release Schedule with the latest announcements, so do check it out.
We've got a regular Classic Coming Attractions on deck from Barrie as well, and Rob's almost ready with his latest Golden Hollywood, so both WILL be up in the next couple days. We'll also be back later on to catch up on any interesting release news that breaks over the morning. So you know... enjoy your day until then.
Well, I had an interesting day yesterday (which explains the absence of a post). I attended Panasonic's media day up at Universal City yesterday afternoon, where they offered demonstrations and more information about their forthcoming new Blu-ray Disc players, the DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55. Both will be fully profile 2.0/BD-Live compatible right out of the box, and will street sometime next month.
Panny employees at the event couldn't discuss pricing, but Video Business is reporting that the BD35 will carry an SRP of around $399, while the BD55 will be $499 - surprisingly reasonable given the quality upgrades and features. Both feature a number of refinements over the already excellent BD30 and BD50 models, including a new 3rd generation UniPhier proprietary chip set that removes the encoder (not needed for players), enhances chroma and 4:4:4 processing, and offers additional improvements to the previous P4HD (Pixel Precision Progressive Processing for HD) processing for 1080p. Additionally, these players feature improved 1080p upconversion for standard DVD signals and they're compatible with all high-resolution audio formats, able to internally decode Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. The BD55 offers additional audio functionality, including enhanced high-end audio quality via HDMI, as well as offering a set of analog 7.1 outputs. The HDMI outputs are 1.3a Deep Color compatible. And this was a surprise - something I really appreciate as an eco-minded person (and I'd like to see ALL manufacturers follow suit): Both players consume 20% less energy than BD30 and BD50. Here's a photo of the units (the BD35 is on top - you'll notice the slimmer profile for both units)...
Panasonic is also releasing a new A/V receiver in October, the SA-BX500, priced at around $799. It features a set of analog 7.1 inputs, 3 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. Power is rated at 130 watts per channel, and it decodes all high-resolution/lossless audio formats. The HDMI inputs are 1.3a, compatible with Deep Color. It even features an iPod doc connection, and get this - it offers the ability to connect the surround channel speakers wirelessly, at a range of up to 30 feet, with the use of a pair of wireless connection kits (available separately). Here's the front and back of the unit...
I can't speak to the receiver, other than to say that it sounded awfully good in the demonstration. Both I've been using Panasonic Blu-ray players almost since the very beginning, and I really swear by them. I also use Panasonic's PT-AE1000U HD projector, as some of you may recall. So I'm very excited to get my hands on the BD-55. I'll be sure to give you my thoughts when I do.
Okay... let's catch up on release news and announcements...
Fox has set Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - Unrated and Super Troopers for Blu-ray Disc release on 12/9 (SRP $34.99 each). You'll also be happy to know that the studio's The Day the Earth Stood Still: Special Edition, which has been announced for DVD release on 12/2, is also coming on Blu-ray that same day. That's the original 1951 version, of course. Speaking of Fox, we've posted the cover art for their Planet of the Apes: 40 Year Evolution Blu-ray Collection (11/4) before, but if for some reason you'd rather buy the films individually (SRP $34.99 each), here's what the Blu-ray cover art looks like (It's nice to see that the original film's cover art isn't a spoiler anymore)...
In other news, Warner Home Video has set New Line's Journey to the Center of Earth 3-D (2008) for release on DVD (SRP $28.98) and Blu-ray Disc (SRP $35.99) on 10/28. Special features will include audio commentary with Brendan Fraser and director Eric Brevig, 3 featurettes (including A World within Our World, Being Josh and How to Make Dinosaur Drool) and the Adventure at the Center of the Earth Challenge game. The Blu-ray Disc will include all of the above in HD. Both the DVD and Blu-ray will also include both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film (the Blu-ray obviously in HD). We've posted the Blu-ray cover art above, and you'll find the DVD art below.
By the way, this would normally go in The Rumor Mill (so treat the information accordingly), but our retail sources are confirming once again that Paramount will be releasing a Braveheart: Special Collector's Edition on Blu-ray Disc in January (the tentative street date is 1/20/09). Watch for an official announcement soon.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Lionsgate is releasing a Chaplin: 15th Anniversary Edition DVD only on 10/14 (SRP $19.98). The disc will include 4 all-new featurettes (Strolling into the Sunset, All at Sea, Chaplin the Hero and The Most Famous Man in the World), as well as the theatrical trailer. Lionsgate is also releasing a brand new Capricorn One: Special Edition on DVD only on 10/14 (SRP $19.98) with a brand new anamorphic widescreen transfer. Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Peter Hyams, the Flights of Fancy featurette and theatrical trailers. Here's the DVD cover art for both, along with Warner's Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D on DVD...
Finally, Criterion has announced a new line of DVDs called Essential Art House. You might recall that a couple years ago, Criterion released an elaborate (and expensive) Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films box set on DVD. So the company is now releasing films from that set individually (SRP $19.95 each) and in 6-disc volumes (SRP $99.95 each - 6 films for the price of 5). The first films available will be Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, Peter Brook's Lord of the Flies, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water and Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion. The company has also announced its first two December DVD releases as part of the regular collection, including Samuel Fuller's White Dog (Cat #455) and Lars Von Trier's Europa (#454). Europa will be a 2-disc set.
I know some of you have been waiting patiently for Barrie and Rob's new columns to be posted (Barrie and Rob have been waiting patiently as well), so I promise they're coming. I'll try to have them up later, but worst case they'll be up on Monday morning. This has just been one of those weeks in which a lot of stuff came up unexpectedly - from announcement news, to phone calls, to titles like the Godfather that needed reviewing, etc. What can you do? There's just not enough hours in the day. As always, though, we appreciate your patience.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/17/08 - 5 PM PDT)
I'm working to get Barrie and Rob's columns up as soon as possible, so stay tuned for that. The phone's been ringing off the hook here at The Bits' offices this afternoon, so that's not exactly been helping. In the meantime, though, here's something that's time-sensitive that I figured some of you might appreciate:
Our old friend Mojo reminds us that today marks the 30th anniversary of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Yes, thirty years ago today, the original TV series debuted on ABC. Pretty frackin' cool. I still mourn the loss of my Mattel BSG Viper Launch Station. ;)
On a related note, Mojo also has an extremely cool feature on the creation of the original Cylons on his blog. If you're a fan, it's great reading.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/17/08 - 12:45 PM PDT)
Okay... it took a little longer than expected to post these, but we've finally got a few more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you this afternoon. Here's my thoughts on Buena Vista's Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2, as well as Fox's Night Watch: Unrated and Day Watch: Unrated. All four titles are now on store shelves. While only one of these discs (Night Watch) includes much in the way of bonus material, they're all worth a look if you can get them on sale. The Kill Bill titles in particular look and sound absolutely spectacular. Do check them out.
We also have an update this morning on the disc specs for Buena Vista's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which is coming to DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 12/2. The single-disc DVD (SRP $29.99) includes the film in anamorphic widescreen with audio commentary by director Andrew Adamson and the actors. The 3-disc DVD collector's edition (SRP $39.99) will include that, plus a second disc with bloopers, deleted scenes and 8 featurettes (Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns, The Sets of Narnia: A Classic Comes to Life, A Big Movie Comes to a Small Town, Previsualizing Narnia, Talking Animals and Walking Trees: The Magical World of Narnia, Secrets of the Duel, Becoming Trumpkin and Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik), and a third disc with a "Disney File" version of the film. The 2-disc Blu-ray edition (SRP $35.99) will include all of the above (minus the Disney File) along with BD-Live enhancement, something called CircleVision Interactive: Creating the Castle Raid and more. Finally, the 3-disc Blu-ray edition (SRP $40.99) will include everything offered on the 2-disc Blu-ray, along with a third disc featuring the Disney File version of the film.
Also, 20th Century Fox has set In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale for release on Blu-ray Disc on 12/16 (SRP $29.99). The disc will include an unrated version of the film that's 35 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, along with a BD-exclusive audio commentary with director Uwe Boll, plus all the previous DVD extras including deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette and theatrical trailers.
Paramount has announced CBS's Swingtown: The First Season for DVD release on 12/9, followed by the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget: Uncensored on 12/30.
And Warner has set National Geographic's Dogtown: New Beginnings, Adult Swim's Frisky Dingo: The Complete Second Season and the BBC's Doctor Who: Episode 27 - The War Machines and Doctor Who: Episode 118 - Four to Doomsday for release on 1/6/09. Following on 1/13/09 is the BBC's The Henry James Collection (which includes The American, The Portrait of a Lady, The Spoils of Poynton, The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl).
Here's more cover art: A look at The Weinstein Company's Lou Reed's Berlin (9/30) on DVD, Fox's 24: Redemption on DVD (11/25 - the Amazon listing says 24: Exile, but the title has been renamed by Fox), DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda on Blu-ray (11/9), Fox's The X-Files: Fight the Future (12/2) and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale on Blu-ray, and finally Sony's You Don't Mess with the Zohan: Unrated also on Blu (10/7)...
By the way, in the event we can't get reviews done by street date, it appears that Universal has skimped again on the extras on their Blu-ray titles. John Carpenter's The Thing and Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead seem to have only the audio commentary and Picture-in-Picture options (the previous HD-DVD and DVD releases had a lot more extras). George Romero's Land of the Dead does seem to have some extras, but not all of what was on the previous DVD and HD-DVD has been included (the documentary and a couple other things seem to be missing). Just know that so you don't sell your existing discs in case you wanted to upgrade to Blu-ray, but you also wanted to keep ALL the extras.
We'll be back later with Barrie's latest column. Rob's latest column is on deck for tomorrow, and we've got a Blu-ray review of Paramount's Iron Man on the way as well. Stay tuned!
Let's start the day off right, shall we? Here's an early review of a Blu-ray Disc you guys have been waiting a long time for and, let me tell you, it's been worth every minute: Paramount's The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Blu-ray box set. You get all three films, in extraordinary restored HD quality, plus
all the extras from the previous DVD box set and new extras too. The set streets next Tuesday and it's well worth both your time and money, so don't miss it.
Also today, per usual, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover art, and Amazon.com pre-order links.
It's worth mentioning, because a reader wasn't aware of it yesterday, that the section allows you to sort the titles in a variety of different ways for easy browsing. You can choose to view ALL the titles, just the TOP 100, just the TOP 40, or just the HIGH-DEF titles. In addition to those selections, you can sort the titles ALPHABETICALLY or by BESTSELLING. And keep in mind, as always, a small portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links helps to support our work here at The Bits, and we very much appreciate it.
We've got one more thing for you this morning as well... still MORE new cover art. Here's the covers for both DVD versions of Fox's The X-Files: I Want to Believe (due 12/2 - we posted the specs and the Blu-ray art last night), as well as Fox's Meet Dave on Blu-ray (due 11/25)...
Back later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/15/08 - 3:45 PM PDT)
Okay, Fox just sent over details on the special features for the DVD and Blu-ray release of The X-Files: I Want to Believe and the Blu-ray release of The X-Files: Fight the Future, all due in stores on 12/2. Here's what to expect...
The X-Files: I Want to Believe will be released on single-disc DVD (SRP $29.98), 3-disc DVD special edition (SRP $34.98) and Blu-ray (SRP $39.99). The single-disc DVD will include both the theatrical and unrated extended editions of the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. (FYI, the unrated version is 4 minutes longer.) Extras will include audio commentary by writer/director Chris Carter and co-writer Frank Spotnitz, 2 featurettes (Body Parts: Special Make-up Effects and Chris Carter: Statements on Green Production), deleted scenes, a gag
reel, a music slideshow featuring Xzibit's Dying 2 Live, theatrical trailers and still galleries (featuring collectibles, storyboards, concept art and unit photography). To this, the 3-disc special edition will add the 3-part Trust No One: Can The X-Files Remain a Secret? feature-length documentary (includes You Can Go Home Again, Misinformation and Don't Give Up), as well as a Digital Copy version of the film. The Blu-ray Disc will feature all of the above along with Blu-ray exclusive features, including the BD-Live web-enabled The X-Files Dossier: Agent Dakota Whitney Files (which allows you to examine case files and participate in forensic challenges), Picture-in-Picture enhancement of the commentary track, The X-Files Complete Interactive Timeline (featuring over 80 video clips from various X-Files episodes), additional in-movie viewing options (including a real-time index, Behind-the-Camera material and Storyboards and Concept Art), an isolated score track and D-Box enhancement. The Blu-ray video will be AVC/MPEG-4, with audio in the usual DTS-HD MA. We believe the newly-produced video-based bonus material will be in full HD.
The X-Files: Fight the Future on Blu-ray Disc (SRP $29.99) will feature the original DVD audio commentary by creator Chris Carter and director Rob Bowman, a new BonusView picture-in-picture commentary by Carter, Bowman, co-producer/writer Frank Spotnitz and producer Daniel Sackheim (also available audio only), the exclusive Blackwood: The Making of The X-Files: Fight the Future featurette (in HD), 2 exclusive featurettes (Visual Effects and Scoring - both in HD), plus the original The Making of The X-Files Movie featurette, a gag reel (HD), an alternate version of the Bee Sting scene (in HD), theatrical trailers (in HD), still galleries and D-Box enhancement. As with I Want to Believe on Blu-ray, you'll also get additional in-movie viewing options (including a real-time index, Behind-the-Camera material and Storyboards and Concept Art). Again, the video will be AVC/MPEG-4, with audio in DTS-HD MA. Note that the Blu-ray Disc versions of I Want to Believe and Fight the Future will also be available in a 2-pack for SRP $59.98.
Here's a look at the final Blu-ray cover art for The X-Files: I Want to Believe, along with the BD art for Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - 3-Disc Collector's Edition (12/2) and the DVD packaging for Fox's Murnau, Borzage and Fox box set (12/9)...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/15/08 - 1:45 PM PDT)
Okay, I'm finally feeling better and back to work. Just to let you know, we've updated a lot of the DVD and Blu-ray format stats we track here on the home page (above). Now let's get some announcement news out of the way...
Buena Vista has set The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 12/2. There will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $29.99), a 3-disc DVD collector's edition (SRP $39.99), a 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $35.99) and a 3-disc Blu-ray collector's edition (SRP $40.99). We'll have details on the extras tomorrow, but you'll find the 3-disc DVD cover art below.
Meanwhile, Paramount has set Duckman: Seasons Three and Four, Duckman: The Complete Series and Mannix: The Second Season for release on DVD on 1/6/09.
Paramount has also set DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Sunday, 11/9. Yes, you read that right - a Sunday. Also available that day will be a direct-to-video companion film, the CG-animated Secrets of the Furious Five, on DVD only. Kung Fu Panda will include audio commentary, multiple featurettes, and a video jukebox. The Blu-ray will add the BD-Live A Day in the Life: A Shaolin Monk in Training and Po Around the World featurettes. You can read more here at Video Business.
Fox has announced a 2-disc The Day the Earth Stood Still: Special Edition on DVD only on 12/2 (SRP $19.98). Extras will include audio commentary director Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer, a second commentary by film and music historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman, an isolated score track, The Making of The Day the Earth Stood Still documentary, 4 featurettes (Decoding "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto": Science Fiction as Metaphor, A Brief History of Flying Saucers, Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still and The Astounding Harry Bates), the Farewell to the Master audio presentation of the original short story, the Fox Movietonews from 1951 newsreel, a restoration comparison, the theatrical trailer and a gallery of images.
On the Blu-ray front, Fox will debut The X-Files: Fight the Future and The X-Files: I Want to Believe on Blu-ray on 12/2. I Want to Believe will be Fox's first BD-Live enabled title, featuring the interactive The X-Files Dossier online option. You'll also get an interactive timeline with video clips, PiP commentary with director Chris Carter and co-writer Frank Spotnitz and much more. There will also be single-disc and 3-disc DVD versions of I Want to Believe the same day. More details will follow. You can also read more here at Home Media.
Fox has also announced a 12-disc Murnau, Borzage and Fox box set for release on 12/9 (SRP $239.98). The set will include Lazybones (1925), Street Angel (1928), Seventh Heaven (1927), the Sunrise: Special Edition (1927), Lucky Star (1929), They Had to See Paris (1929), City Girl (1930), Liliom (1930), After Tomorrow (1932), Young America (1932), Song O' My Heart (1930), Bad Girl (1931) and the Muranu, Borzage & Fox documentary.
Universal has set Slap Shot 3: The Junior League for release on DVD on 11/25, followed by The Land Before Time: Friends Forever on 12/2.
And Warner has announced a number of new titles for the BBC, including Skins: Volume 1, Saxondale: The Complete Seasons 1 and 2 and Lovejoy: The Complete Season 4 on 1/13/09, and MI-5: Volume 6 and Jonathan Creek: Season 3 on 1/20/09. Also newly announced are the I Am Legend: Ultimate Collector's Edition on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 12/9, as well as National Geographic's 42 Ways to Kill Hitler on 12/30, and The Plot to Kill Hitler and the 20-disc IMAX Ultimate Collection on DVD (SRP $108.92) on 1/6/09.
Here's a little new cover art for you: Warner's The Shawshank Redemption on Blu-ray (12/2), Fox's The Day the Earth Stood Still: Special Edition on DVD and the 3-disc The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: Collector's Edition DVD (12/2)...
Finally this afternoon, we wanted to encourage you to make a donation to the American Red Cross if you can, to help out all those folks whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane's Ike and Gustov. No doubt there are more bad hurricanes yet to come this season, so if you can afford to donate, it's a good thing to do.
Though given the stock market news today, there's probably fewer of you who can afford to do so. Ugh.
[LATE UPDATE - There's one last thing I wanted to mention today, in case I'm not able to update again until tomorrow morning. It has nothing to do with DVD or Blu-ray, but I think it's pretty damn cool: Astronomers think they may just have taken the first ever picture of a planet orbiting another Sun-like star outside our own solar system. You can read all about it, and see the photo, here.]
I'm going to TRY to check back in later with some more Blu-ray reviews, and then we'll have those new columns from Barrie and Rob tomorrow and Wednesday. Stay tuned...
Hey guys.... sorry about the lack of consistent updates these last couple of days.
This head cold is just REALLY kicking my ass. One minute I'm feeling better, the next I'm ready to fall over. My old pal Weatherman Dave was here yesterday, on his way to his brother's wedding in Hawaii (congrats, Mark!) and I managed to rally enough to make the visit pleasant, only to regress this morning. Ugh. I'll tell you, it seems like everyone I know is sick with this thing, or is recovering from a recent bout with it, so I know I'm not alone.
Anyway, I wanted to check in this afternoon with a review of a Blu-ray Disc that I've personally been waiting MONTHS to get my hands on... Warner's Speed Racer.
Since the disc hits store shelves next Tuesday, and since there's been a bit of controversy about the title (generated in no small part by my own comments here on The Bits based on the lackluster disc specs), I wanted to get this review up ASAP. I will be right up front and say that I'm more impressed by the title than I expected to be, and credit to the tech folks at Warner for that. You should read the review for the complete details, but the Cliff's Notes version is this: The HD video quality is spectacular and the featurettes are better than you'd expect, but the audio quality definitely disappoints, the extras aren't in full HD and the bonus game disc isn't likely to get a second glance. So there you go. Like I said, check out the review for my complete thoughts.
I'm working on additional reviews for Kill Bill, the Night Watch films, Iron Man and more. So I hope to have those up on Monday. Let me just say that the Kill Bill Blu-rays are also spectacular on the video and audio front, and while the Night Watch films are also good looking and sounding, they don't have the animated subtitles that so impressed in theatres. Iron Man I haven't had the chance to really sink my teeth into, so check back next week for more on that. Also next week, we've got new columns from Rob, Barrie and others coming, as well as a full and complete release news update.
In the meantime, everyone have a great weekend, and you folks down in Texas be safe. Fingers crossed, everything will work out okay with this hurricane business, but hang in there. Peace out.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/10/08 - 4:15 PM PDT)
As planned, here's a couple of disc reviews: My take on the standard DVD editions of Warner's Speed Racer and Shout! Factory's Sports Night: The Complete Series - 10th Anniversary Edition. Both are worth a look, if for completely different reasons. Sports Night is really worth checking out if you loved the show, as the extras are outstanding.
More Blu-ray reviews are coming tomorrow, including a look at Kill Bill 1 & 2, Night Watch, Day Watch and MAYBE even Iron Man. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/10/08 - 10:45 AM PDT)
Okay... so I'm lying in bed last night, feeling like crap, and I pick up the phone to check messages 'cause I've been sleeping all day trying to recover from this damn head plague. And there's one from Todd, saying "Hey... when you can pull together enough energy, go check out the new Bond trailer they just released online. It's pretty damn awesome." So I did. And he's right. It's off-the-hook. Quantum of Solace is, far and away, the film I'm most excited to see right now.
Check out both the original trailer and the new one here at the official 007 website, and tell me if these aren't two of the best previews for a movie with a silly name that you've EVER seen. "This man and I have some unfinished business." HELL yeah! BRING IT!
Oh, by the way, the über-geeks CERN turned on their spiffy new super-collider last night. It was pretty cool - I watched it live on SkyNews. My personal congrats to all you guys who were involved. I should note that, as expected, the sun has continued to shine this morning. And yeah, I know they haven't started actually colliding particles - that comes next year. But even then, all these fears are silly. Cosmic rays hitting our upper atmosphere every day produce more energy than the LHC ever will. Still, it's amazing... after I first posted about this a few weeks ago, I must have gotten two dozen e-mails from readers asking if I thought the world was going to end because of this thing. My answer had been to refer them to this website, which - using state of the art detection technology - is officially tracking whether the Large Hadron Collider has destroyed the Earth. See for yourself. By the way, if you want to read a good series of intelligently written stories on the LHC, go here, here and here, in that order.
You know, I think I'm gonna have to get my hands on CERN coffee mug or something. Colliders rock.
All right... I'm still feeling like crap, but I'm back to work reviewing, so hopefully I'll have something to post for you this afternoon. Stay tuned...
Hey guys... sorry for the lack of our regular update today. I've been hit with a pretty bad case of the flux or some such thing. Can't breathe through my nose, and I feel like I got hit by a truck. I've been in bed all day however, and I'm working up to mustering a rally for tomorrow, so with any luck I'll be back in the morning with some new reviews and a bit of catch up on any news we might have missed today.
In the meantime, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section as usual with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon pre-order links.
As always, there's lot of cool new titles to check out.
I also wanted to mention that we've recently re-launched the Artist of the Month program here at The Bits, which some of you might recall from a few years back. Yeah, it has nothing to do with DVD or Blu-ray, but the goal is to help promote the arts in general, and in particular the creative work of a number of worthy, talented and perhaps unknown
artists of all types and mediums. One month we might have a photographer, the next a cartoonist, the next a sculptor or maybe a CG designer. You never know what you might see, and it's all worth checking out. This month, we offer a look at the amazing photography of Mark Robert Halper. And last month (in case you missed it), we featured the work of illustrator Frank Grau. Take a few minutes to check out their stuff, and we think you'll be glad you did.
Anyway, thanks for understanding about my being under the weather today. I'll see you back here sometime tomorrow with our regular update.
First up this afternoon, we've got a new Classic Coming Attractions column for you from Barrie Maxwell, updating all the latest classic film release announcements on DVD and Blu-ray. Definitely check it out - there's some cool news in there.
Also this afternoon, we've got a couple new title announcements for you...
Sony has just announced a number of new Blu-ray catalog titles, including Blue Streak, Mirrormask, National Security, Southland Tales and Revolver. All are due on 11/18. Sony has also set a pair of DVD box sets for release on 11/18. The first is a 6-disc set that includes Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python's Meaning of Life (SRP TBA). The other is a 17-disc Columbia Best Pictures Collection (SRP also TBA), that includes It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1938), All the King's Men (1949), From Here to Eternity (1953), On the Waterfront (1954), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), A Man for All Seasons (1966), Oliver! (1968), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Gandhi (1982).
And on the hardware front today, Best Buy has lowered the price of its Insignia brand Blu-ray Disc player (a re-branded Magnavox unit) to
just $229. Amazon.com is selling Sony's BDP-S300 for $229 as well. Keep in mind, neither of these players is compatible with BD-Live, however Sony has the BDP-S350 selling for about $350 at a number of retailers, and it IS firmware updatable to full BD-Live compatibility via a built-in Ethernet port. Expect further BD player price discounts before the end of the year. (In fact, sources telll me that it's likely that you'll see a sub-$200 Blu-ray player available from select retailers on Black Friday).
Here's a bit of newly released cover art: CBS's packaging for Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Three Remastered on DVD (due 11/18), as well as HBO's Generation Kill miniseries on DVD (12/16) and what retailers are telling us is the cover art for Warner's The Dark Knight on Blu-ray (TBA)...
Back with reviews later. Stay tuned...
More new announcements today...
Universal has set 8-Mile for Blu-ray release on 11/18 (SRP $29.98 - BD-25). Audio will be DTS-HD 5.1, and extras will include the The Making of 8 Mile and Exclusive Rap Battles - Uncensored featurettes, along with the Superman music video (also uncensored). Universal has also set Jarhead and The Kingdom for Blu-ray release on 11/25 (SRP $29.98 each - also available as a 2-pack for $59.98). Continuing a trend, Jarhead will be a BD-25 with DTS-HD audio. Extras will include 2 commentary tracks (one with director Sam Mendes and another with screenwriter William Broyles, Jr. and author Anthony Swofford). The Kingdom is a BD-50 also with DTS-HD audio, along with a U-Control PiP viewing option, deleted scenes, commentary with director Peter Berg, 3 featurettes (Character by Character: The Apartment Shootout, Constructing the Freeway Sequence and Creating the Kingdom) and the History of The Kingdom: An Interactive Timeline feature.
On the standard DVD front, Universal has set Saturday Night Live: The Complete Fourth Season for release on DVD on 12/2 (SRP $69.98 - 7 discs). Extras are TBA.
Sony has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure documentary on 10/14 (SLP $28.96 and $38.96). Extras on both will include 9 additional scenes and commentary with Morris. Exclusive to the Blu-ray will be nearly 2 hours of new interview footage, video of the Berlin panel discussion and press conference, as well as video of the Los Angeles premiere Q & A session.
Meanwhile, Fox has renamed the direct-to-DVD film 24: Exile (due 11/25): It's now 24: Redemption. Fox has also set Bones: Season Three for DVD release on 11/18 (SRP $59.98 - 5-discs). Several episodes in the set will be presented in extended versions.
Finally, Warner has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of New Line's Kit Kittredge: An American Girl on 10/28 (SRP $28.98 and $35.99).
We're working on more DVD and Blu-ray reviews, so check back for those later today and Monday. We'll also be back on Monday with a new Classic Coming Attractions release update from Barrie.
Before we go though, we wanted to acknowledge the passing of Peanuts animator Bill Melendez (he was 91), CBS newsman Ike Pappas (75) and Australian film and TV actor Michael Pate (88). All will be missed.
Have a great weekend, everyone! And you folks in Florida and the Gulf Coast keep your heads down... Ike's a-coming. Stay tuned...
Okay... we've got a little bit of new announcement news for you this afternoon, along with a whole bunch of new cover artwork.
First up, Warner has set NHL: Greatest Games in Montreal Canadiens History for DVD release on 11/4, followed by Bam Margera Presents: Where #$&% is Santa? on 12/2, National Geographic's In God's Name on 12/16 and Girl of the Year 2009 on 1/6/09.
Meanwhile, HBO has set The Wire: The Complete Series (23 discs, SRP $249.99), Deadwood: The Complete Series (19 discs, SRP $179.97) and a Get Smart Gift Set (25 discs, SRP $199.95) for DVD release on 12/9. The Get Smart set is the same one that's been available exclusively on Time Life.com up until now. HBO has also set the recent Generation Kill miniseries for release on 12/16. For now, only a DVD version has been announced.
Also, we've got an update on a title we've announced previously: Universal Music's The Police: Certifiable. As we've noted before, the reunion tour concert release is set to debut on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and LP on 11/11, exclusively at Best Buy stores here in the States. The good news for you international readers is that the title has also now been announced for release elsewhere around the world starting on 11/10 on a non-exclusive basis (the U.K. release is specifically set for 11/24 on both DVD and Blu-ray).
Here are the details...
The U.S. DVD version will be a 2-DVD/2-CD set. The first DVD will contain the 109-minute concert (recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December 2007) in anamorphic widescreen, with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo. The second disc will contain the 50-minute Better Than Therapy documentary, directed by Jordan Copeland (drummer Stewart's son). The documentary will detail "The Police's historic reunion with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews from the band and road crew." You'll also get 2 photo galleries of The Police on tour - one shot by guitarist/photographer Andy Summers and the other by photographer Danny Clinch. The 2 CDs in the set will contain the same concert in stereo audio format.
The Blu-ray Disc version will be a 1-BD/2-CD set. The Blu-ray will contain the concert in 1080p widescreen high-definition video with Dolby TrueHD audio, as well as the 50-minute Better Than Therapy documentary in full HD and also the 2 photo galleries in HD. As with the DVD version, the set's 2 CDs will contain the concert in stereo audio.
There will also be a 3-LP version, pressed on premium 180-gram vinyl. The LP version also includes a file key code that allows you to download (once only) the full concert in MP3 format.
The concert itself is produced and directed by Ann Kim and Jim Gable. Note that there's going to be a special European Blu-ray launch event prior to the release that will be attended by drummer Stewart Copeland. You can read more about the release here at The Police.com, and U.S. customers can pre-order the release from Best Buy.com here (a trailer for the release is also available at the Best Buy link).
Now then... here's the cover artwork I mentioned: DVD art for CBS'
Petticoat Junction: The Official First Season (12/16) and Comedy Central's A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All (11/25), Blu-ray art for DreamWorks' Old School: Unrated (12/16) and New Line's Austin Powers Collection: Shadelic Edition (12/2), as well as the DVD box art for MGM's Pink Panther Ultimate Collection (11/25) and Fox and MGM's Hollywood Musicals box set (11/11)...
Finally today, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of a couple guys who worked in the entertainment industry - people you'll certainly recognize. The first is actor/singer Jerry Reed, who died last week at the age of 71. Reed had a number of hits in the 70s and 80s, but you film fans might recall his East Bound and Down the best (I've been humming it all weekend). Reed also co-starred in the film the song appeared in, Smokey and the Bandit, with Burt Reynolds.
The other is a fellow whose name you might not recognize... but you do know his gravelly voice, as it narrated hundreds of movie trailers over the years. Pretty much any trailer that started: "In a world..." was his (to just scratch the surface), and there were many. Don LaFontaine was 68. Both will be missed.
We'll be back tomorrow morning with a release news update, but we wanted to check in first with another trio of Blu-ray Disc reviews. Here's my take on Warner's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete First Season, as well as Paramount's Clear and Present Danger and Universal's U-571.
More reviews are on the way, so enjoy and stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks! Welcome to September. As you might expect, we've got some announcement news for you today...
First up though, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section once again with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover scans, as well as Amazon.com pre-order links. Remember, anything you pre-order from Amazon through our links helps to support our work here at The Bits... and as always, we really appreciate it. ;)
Now then... Fox will release Space Chimps on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 11/25 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99 respectively). DVD extras will include the Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session featurette, a still gallery and TV spots, along with both full frame and anamorphic widescreen video (it's a flipper disc). The Blu-ray will be widescreen only, but will add the BD-exclusive Trivia Blast Off track "featuring on-screen facts about outer space, space travel and the Space Program."
Fox will also release Meet Dave on DVD and Blu-ray on 11/25 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99). DVD extras will include a gag reel and the Crew Confessions featurette. The Blu-ray Disc will add an alternate ending, 4 deleted scenes and 4 more featurettes (The Making of Meet Dave, Life After Film School with Director Brian Robbins, Making a Scene and World Premiere).
MGM has set a Pink Panther: Ultimate Collection box set for release on DVD on 11/25 as well (SRP $199.98). This 18-disc set contains a new The Pink Panther: Collector's Edition with over 60-minutes of all new special features (only available in this box set for the time being), along with 8 other feature films - A Shot in the Dark, Inspector Clouseau, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, Son of the Pink Panther and The Pink Panther (2006) - as well as all 9 Pink Panther: Cartoon Collection volumes AND a new book (Pink Panther, The Ultimate Guide to the Coolest Cat in Town!) written by Jerry Beck. All of this is packaged in a furry pink collector's case. It should be noted that NOT included here is Return of the Pink Panther, the release rights for which are still owned by Focus/Universal.
Meanwhile, Sony has set This Christmas for DVD and Blu-ray release on 11/11, along with The Perfect Holiday and Storm Hawks: 2-Disc Collector's Set - Showdown in the Skies (the latter two titles on DVD only).
More importantly, Sony will release Hancock on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 11/25. Available will be a single-disc theatrical DVD (SLP $28.96), a single-disc unrated DVD (SLP $28.96), a 2-disc Special Edition DVD (SLP $34.95) and a 2-disc Blu-ray edition (SLP $39.95). The single-disc DVD editions will each include 5 featurettes (Superhumans: The Making of Hancock, Seeing the Future, Building a Better Hero, Bumps and Bruises and Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with Dirty Pete). The 2-disc DVD will include both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film, and the single-disc DVD features, plus will add 2 more featurettes (Home Life and Suiting Up) as well as a Digital Copy version of the film. The 2-disc Blu-ray will also include both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film, along with all of the 2-disc DVD features, and will add BD-Live enhancement, the On-Set Visual Diary BonusView Picture-In-Picture viewing option (including "a longer version of the Picture-In-Picture on the Unrated version of the film") as well as a Digital Copy version of the film.
Universal has announced more catalog DVD-only re-releases, including a Waterworld: Extended Edition (SRP $19.98) and a 3-disc The Bourne Trilogy box set on 11/4 (SRP $34.98), as well as a The Ron Howard Spotlight Collection on 11/25 (SRP $39.98 - includes Backdraft, Apollo 13, Cinderella Man and A Beautiful Mind, each with its own bonus disc). Finally, look for Law & Order: The Sixth Year on 12/2 (SRP $59.98).
Warner has announced the DVD (SRP $27.95) and Blu-ray Disc (SRP $35.99) release of New Line's Mongol (directed by Sergei Bodrov) on 10/14. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen with Mongolian Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (as well as English and Spanish subtitles). There doesn't appear to be any extras on the DVD, and there's no word yet on what might be on the Blu-ray.
Warner has also announced the DVD-only release of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) on 10/7 (SRP $19.97). The film has been newly remastered, and extras are expected to include "cast commentaries, a vintage short and a special cartoon."
Finally, in quasi-related news, the Cartoon Network has announced that the new CG-animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series premieres on the network (as well as Cartoon Network HD) on Friday, 10/3 at 9 PM Eastern and Pacific. The show is regularly 30 minutes in length, though the first night will feature a special hour-long presentation. The reason we mention this, is that it means you can reasonably expect Warner to release the Star Wars: The Clone Wars feature film on DVD (and possibly Blu-ray Disc) around that time as well. Stay tuned for official announcements.
By the way, sorry about the lack of an update on Friday (yesterday's absence was due to the Labor Day holiday, obviously). Sarah and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this weekend, so you know... you've gotta have your priorities straight. 18 years... time sure does fly when you're having fun!
Here's the DVD cover art for New Line's Mongol, Fox's Space Chimps and Sony's single-disc theatrical version of Hancock...
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