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page updated: 3/19/09



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 3/10/09 - 2/13/09)


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3/10/09

Okay... we've got some news to report today, and some reviews as well. Let's have the news first...

First up, MGM has just officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Bryan Singer's Valkyrie on 5/19 (distributed by Fox). There will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $29.98), a 2-disc DVD Special Edition ($34.98) and a Blu-ray Disc ($39.99). The single-disc DVD will include just the movie itself. The 2-disc DVD Special Edition will include audio commentary by Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, a second commentary by McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander, 2 featurettes (The Journey to Valkyrie and The Valkyrie Legacy) and a Digital Copy version of the film. Both DVDs will feature anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The Blu-ray will feature DTS-HD MA audio, will include all the 2-disc DVD special features, and will also add 5 additional featurettes (The Road to Resistance: A Visual Guide, The African Front Sequence, Taking to the Air, Recreating Berlin and 92nd Street Y: Reel Pieces with Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer). You'll find the cover art for all three versions below.

Also today, Warner Home Video has announced a Peanuts: 1960s Collection DVD box set for release on 7/7 (SRP TBA). The 2-disc set will include all of the classic Peanuts shorts released in the 1960s, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown's All-Stars, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, You're in Love, Charlie Brown, He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (new to DVD) and It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown (also new to DVD). The set will also feature the The Maestro of Menlo Park: Vince Guaraldi documentary. This set will be followed by a Peanuts 1970s Collection: Volume One box set, and presumably a Volume Two set as well, at a later date (both still TBA).

Finally, Paramount has announced Cannon: Season Two, Volume One for release on DVD on 6/2 (for CBS), followed by Perry Mason: The Fourth Season - Volume One and The Cleaner: The First Season on 6/9 (also for CBS).

Now then... let's get to those Blu-ray Disc reviews. Today, you'll find Jeff's take on Disney's terrific new Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition and my own thoughts on Magnet's Let the Right One In, both available in stores today in full 1080p. So that's a film about a new puppet who wants to be a real boy... and an ancient vampire who wants to be a normal little girl. A strange combination? Sure, but that's just how we roll here at The Bits. Enjoy!

Also at the site here this afternoon, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section (a.k.a. Release Dates & Artwork in the button bar) per usual with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links.

Here's a look at more new cover art... Fox's The Wrestler on DVD and Blu-ray (4/21) and Paramount's Enemy at the Gates on Blu-ray (5/19), as well as all three versions of MGM's Valkyrie. All are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com...

The Wrestler (Blu-ray Disc)The WrestlerEnemy at the Gates (Blu-ray Disc)

Valkyrie single-disc DVDValkyrie: 2-Disc DVD Special EditionValkyrie (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

3/9/09

All right... let's see if we can't get the new week started off a little early, shall we? I trust you all had a wonderful weekend.

I still haven't seen Watchmen yet, but had a pretty great time on Friday night regardless. I had the good fortune of attending a production screening of Friday night's episode of Battlestar Galactica up in Hollywood. A number of members of the show's cast and crew were on hand, including Edward James Olmos, who directed the episode. There was definite anticipation for the series finale, which begins next week, but you could tell that everyone is very reluctant for the show to end. Boy, I think a lot of us know how that feels. Special thanks to my old friend Mojo for the opportunity... and for taking the photo. (And yes, Olmos is just as nice a guy as he seems - this was a definite "pinch me" moment.)

Edward James Olmos and yours truly.

Here at the site today, we're pleased to offer you a trio of new Blu-ray Disc reviews from Jeff Kleist: DreamWorks' Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Paramount's Primal Fear: Hard Evidence Edition and Comedy Central's South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season, all distributed by Paramount. Madagascar is now available, Primal Fear streets tomorrow and South Park arrives in stores next week. More reviews are coming in the next few days. Enjoy!

Also here today, we've kicked off a new Giveaway, offering each of you the chance to take home a copy of Warner's animated Wonder Woman on Blu-ray! Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, March 15th. Good luck!

And in announcement news this morning, Image Entertainment has unveiled their DVD and Blu-ray release slate for June. Look for the Drive-In Classics Collection (includes Speed Lovers, Swamp Girl, This Stuff'll Kill Ya, Year of the Yahoo, and Two Thousand Maniacs), Ghost Adventures: Season One, Highlander: The Complete Animated Series and the Shaw Brothers: Legendary Heroes Box Set (includes Legendary Weapons of China, The Shadow Whip, Shaolin Intruders and The Deadly Breaking Sword) on 6/2, Powder Blue (DVD and Blu-ray), Goddess, Mysteries of Angels and Demons, Time Warp (DVD and Blu-ray) and Survivorman: Season Three on 6/9, Body Armour, I Can't Believe I'm Single: The Complete First Season, Mission: Classified and What's Up, Tiger Lily? on 6/16, Phoebe in Wonderland, Bizarre Foods: Collection 3 and Ghost Hunters: Fan's Favorite Investigations on 6/23, and Everybody Dies, Ali on Ali: The Lost Interviews, Kong: 5-Disc Collector's Edition (animated), The Swiss Family Robinson, Blackout, Keith and American Fusion on 6/30.

We'll leave you with a little more new Blu-ray cover art... DreamWorks' The Uninvited (due 4/28), Fox's Bride Wars (also 4/28) and Paramount's Changing Lanes (5/19)...

The Uninvited (Blu-ray Disc)Bride Wars (Blu-ray Disc)Changing Lanes (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/6/09 - 4:30 PM PST)

Okay... we've got a couple more announcements to report today...

Genius Products and The Weinstein Company have set The Reader for DVD release on 4/14 (SRP $29.95) and Blu-ray Disc release on 4/28 (SRP $34.99). Yes, that's right... the Blu-ray comes out two weeks after the DVD. However, we're told this is due to a delay in the BD production, and not any kind of deliberate to slant sales in favor of standard definition. Extras will include deleted scenes and 5 featurettes (including Adapting a Timeless Masterpiece: Making The Reader, A Conversation with David Kross and Stephen Daldry, Kate Winslet on the Art of Aging Hanna Schmitz, A New Voice: A Look at Composer Nico Muhly and Coming to Grips with the Past: Production Designer Brigitte Broch).

Also today, Warner Home Video has announced more DVD titles for release in May and June, including Chandni Chowk to China 2008 on 5/5, Taking Chance (for HBO) on 5/19, The Alzheimer's Project (for HBO) and a Lookin' to Get Out: Director's Cut on 5/26, NFL: Road to Super Bowl XLIII on 6/2 (the title is also coming on Blu-ray that day), Get Smart: Season 3 (for HBO) on 6/9 and Everwood: The Complete Second Season on 6/16.

Finally, this would normally go in The Rumor Mill, so salt it accordingly, but our industry sources are telling us to expect Paramount to release the Braveheart: Special Collector's Edition on Blu-ray Disc sometime in the 3rd quarter of this year. The street date is still TBA, but know that the title IS coming. (It's already available on DVD.)

Don't forget that tonight is another episode of Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi. It's called Islanded in a Steam of Stars and was directed by series star Edward James Olmos. After tonight, there's just two episodes left - an hour-long episode next Friday and a two-hour episode on 3/20 - which together make up the three-hour series finale.

On a completely unrelated note, don't forget that Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday night (3/8) at 2 AM. Clocks go forward one hour. Ugh.

By the way, here's a link to the HD versions of that Star Trek trailer I mentioned earlier. Just pick your preferred resolution.

Enjoy and see you Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/6/09 - 12:45 PM PST)

Okay... so it seems like a lot of you guys went and saw Watchmen last night. I haven't seen it yet, but Doogan has and he's writing up a review for Monday's post. What I have seen, however, is the new Star Trek trailer that's attached to Watchmen. Let me just say: Holy s--t! I knew the new Trek film was going to be epic, but I didn't expect this kind of scope and scale. The trailer is absolutely amazing - the best one I've seen since the trailer for Quantum of Solace. Not that a trailer is always a good indicator of a film's quality, but still. Even if you're a longtime Trek fan and you're entirely skeptical about the sequel/prequel/reboot, I think this trailer has to at least get you a little excited. And if the music in the trailer is any indication of what we can expect from composer Michael Giacchino's soundtrack for the film... well, I am now cautiously (but very) excited to see Star Trek. And that's something I haven't been able to say for a long, long time. Fingers crossed this movie delivers.

Back with more in a bit...

3/5/09

Afternoon, folks! Here's another quick update with some late-breaking announcement news. We'll have a couple disc reviews for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, 20th Century Fox has just announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler on 4/21. Single-disc DVD and 2-disc Blu-ray editions will be available (SRP $29.98 and $39.99). The single-disc DVD will include the Within the Ring featurette and Bruce Springsteen's The Wrestler music video. To this, the Blu-ray will add the Wrestler Round Table featurette and a Digital Copy version of the film on the second disc.

Also newly announced by Fox today for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 4/21 is the Notorious: Unrated Director's Cut. There will be a single-disc DVD, a 3-Disc DVD Collector's Edition and a 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $29.98, $34.98 and $39.99). The single-disc DVD will feature both the unrated director's cut and the theatrical editions of the film. The 3-Disc DVD Collector's Edition will add commentary with director George Tillman, Jr., co-screenwriter Reggie Rock Bythewood, co-screenwriter Cheo Hodari Coker and editor Dirk Westervelt, a second commentary with producer/Biggie's Mom Voletta Wallace, producer/Biggie's co-manager Wayne Barrow and producer/Biggie's co-manager Mark Pitts, 10 deleted scenes, the 8-part The B.I.G. Three-Sixty documentary, 6 featurettes (Making of Notorious, I Got a Story to Tell: The Lyrics of Biggie Smalls, Notorious Thugs: Casting the Film, Biggie Boot Camp, Anatomy of a B.I.G. Performance and Party & Bulls**t) and a Digital Copy version. To all that, the Blu-ray will add the Life After Death: Making Notorious BonusView and The Music BD-Live interactive options.

Not done yet - Fox's Bride Wars is also coming to DVD and Blu-ray on 4/28 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99). The Blu-ray will be a 3-disc set including the Blu-ray, the DVD version AND a Digital Copy version.

And Possession will street on DVD and Blu-ray from Fox on 5/12 (SRP $22.98 and $29.99).

While we're talking Fox, look for Mel Brooks' Spaceballs to arrive on Blu-ray Disc from the studio (for MGM) on 6/16.

Also this afternoon, and as expected, Warner has just announced the release of HBO's John Adams miniseries on Blu-ray Disc on 6/16. The set (SRP $79.98) will include all 7 episodes on 3 BD-50 discs in full 1080p video with DTS-HD MA audio, along with the previous DVD features. The set will also include the new Facts Are Stubborn Things and Who's Who in History options, both exclusive to the Blu-ray.

Finally today, Warner has announced the Blu-ray Disc release of HBO's recent Generation Kill miniseries too, also due on 6/16. Again, the set will include 7 episodes on 3 BD-50 discs with 1080p video and DTS-HD MA audio. The previous DVD features will carry over, and you'll also get the new Military Glossary, Chain of Command Chart and Mission Maps features exclusive to Blu-ray.

Here's a look at the cover art for HBO's John Adams and Generation Kill, along with Fox's Notorious, all on Blu-ray...

John Adams (Blu-ray Disc)Generation Kill (Blu-ray Disc)Notorious (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

3/4/09

We've got more catalog Blu-ray announcements from Paramount to report today, folks. Officially revealed for release on 5/5 are Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Grease and Saturday Night Fever. Major League and Black Sheep follow on 5/12. Also, as a quick reminder, due on BD on 4/14 from the studio are Mean Girls, Strange Wilderness and The Last Kiss. It appears that all will include the same extras that were on the previous DVD editions.

Here's a look at some of the cover art. All are now available for pre-order at Amazon.com by clicking the cover links...

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Blu-ray Disc)Grease (Blu-ray Disc)Saturday Night Fever (Blu-ray Disc)

3 Days of the Condor (Blu-ray Disc)Wayne's World (Blu-ray Disc)Wayne's World 2 (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included the cover art for a trio Paramount catalog BD titles we mentioned yesterday, 3 Days of the Condor, Wayne's World and Wayne's World 2. The former is due on 5/19, while the others street on 5/12.

We're working on our new GeekBits column for Geek Monthly this afternoon, so we'll have more for you tomorrow. Stay tuned...

3/3/09

Morning everyone! Okay, so we finally have the official details on Fox's Slumdog Millionaire, as well as final artwork.

Slumdog Millionaire will street on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/31. Available will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $29.98) and a 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $39.98). Video will be anamorphic widescreen on the DVD and 1080p widescreen on the Blu-ray (aspect ratio 2.35:1). Audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD, and DTS-HD MA 5.1 on Blu-ray (English/Hindi). The DVD will include the Slumdog Dreams: Danny Boyle & The Making of Slumdog Millionaire documentary, 12 deleted scenes, audio commentary with Boyle and actor Dev Patel, a second commentary with producer Christian Colson and writer Simon Beaufoy, the Indian short film Manjha, the Bombay Liquid Dance music video and the From Script to Screen: Toilet Scene and Slumdog Countdown featurettes. To all this, the Blu-ray will add a Digital Copy version of the film. Here's what the final cover art looks like...

Slumdog MillionaireSlumdog Millionaire (Blu-ray Disc)Paycheck (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included the cover art for Paramount's Paycheck (5/19) on Blu-ray.

Speaking of which, Paramount has now officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Black Sheep, Major League, Without a Paddle, Wayne's World and Wayne's World 2 on 5/12, followed by 3 Days of the Condor, Changing Lanes, Enemy at the Gates and The Machinist on 5/19, as we first revealed in The Rumor Mill here and here.

Finally this morning, our own Russell Hammond has just finished the Upcoming DVD Cover Art update (a.k.a. Release Dates & Art in the button bar), featuring all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon.com preorder links. As always, a 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 greatly appreciate it.

Stay tuned...

3/2/09

Afternoon, folks! Hope your weekend was good. Did anyone else think that Friday night's episode of Battlestar Galactica was one of the best of the season so far? It'll tell you, I think it was really masterfully written and directed. It was heavily character-driven, but offered major surprises in the end - surprises you knew were coming, but just couldn't quite figure out until they were revealed. What a great show!

Anyway, we're pleased this afternoon to present you with Barrie's latest installment of High-Definition Matters, featuring reviews of 19 new and recent Blu-ray Disc titles. Included are Warner's Amadeus: Director's Cut, Any Given Sunday, JFK: Director's Cut and RocknRolla, Fox's Babylon A.D., The Day the Earth Stood Still and Unfaithful, Buena Vista's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Swing Vote, Paramount and DreamWorks' The Duchess, Eagle Eye, Ghost and Ghost Town, Criterion's The Last Emperor, Lionsgate's The Forbidden Kingdom, Sony's Groundhog Day, Lakeview Terrace and Stranger Than Fiction: Special Edition, and Universal's Mamma Mia. Don't miss it!

Also today, here's something you classic catalog fans might be glad to hear. I checked in with the folks at Warner Home Video on Friday, and asked about those remaining catalog titles that were released on HD-DVD, but haven't yet found their way to Blu-ray - think Forbidden Planet, Grand Prix, Excalibur, Mutiny on the Bounty, Poseidon, Caddyshack, Troy (theatrical cut), The Dukes of Hazzard and there are probably a couple others whose names elude me at the moment. The studio confirmed that they ARE finally coming to Blu, adding that "patience will have its rewards." And yes, to answer your question in advance, they WILL have lossless audio. Good news indeed.

By the way, consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but we've also heard from our industry sources that Rob Reiner's The American President is in the early planning stages for Blu-ray release. There's no release date yet, but it's definitely on the studio's "to do" list. We'll keep you up to date on all of these upcoming releases as more information becomes available.

In other news, DVD/BD producer Van Ling has confirmed that Lionsgate's forthcoming Terminator 2: Skynet Edition Blu-ray Disc (5/19) WILL include the hidden cut of the film as well. So that's all three cuts of the film that will be on the Blu-ray via seamless branching. Here's a look at the trailer for the release...



Also today, Paramount has just officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Uninvited on 4/28. Separate DVD and Blu-ray versions will be available (SRP $19.99 and $29.99). Extras on both will include the Unlocking the Uninvited featurette, deleted scenes and an alternate ending (all in 1080p on the Blu-ray).

Also newly announced from the studio is an Arctic Tale Blu-ray due on 4/21.

And Lionsgate has just announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of My Bloody Valentine 3-D on 5/19. The film will be available in single-disc DVD, 2-disc DVD special edition and Blu-ray versions (SRP $29.95, $34.98 and $39.99 respectively). Here's the kicker - each will offer the film in both 2-D and 3-D (a la Warner's Polar Express) and will include 4 pairs of 3-D glasses.

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 2/27/09 - 3:45 PM PST)

Afternoon, folks! We're going to close out the week with some new announcements...

First though, you may have noticed that we finally posted Rob's latest Golden Hollywood column last night, so be sure to check it out. There's lots of great artwork to see.

Also, for those of you interested in a new disc review and interview, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has just completed an in-depth interview with director Richard Donner about his career in general and his work on Inside Moves in particular. Adam has also posted a review of the new Inside Moves DVD release, which is now available from the fine folks at Lionsgate. Our thanks to Richard for his time, and our old friend (and DVD producer) Cliff Stephenson for helping to set this up. Hope you enjoy!

Inside Man: Richard Donner on Inside Moves

The good Doctor's not done yet, though - he's also updated his Jahnke's Electric Theatre column today as well. This time around, he offers his thoughts on Coraline in 3-D and The International, and he introduces his new Tales from the Queue feature too. Just remember, kids: EVERY day is Jahnke Day if your heart's in the right place! Yes... Adam DID pay me to say that, in case you were wondering.

Now then... some announcements...

Universal has just revealed that the film Personal Effects is going straight to DVD and Blu-ray on 5/12.

In addition, Paramount has set a Paycheck: Special Collector's Edition for release on Blu-ray on 5/19. The title is already available on DVD.

Likewise, Sony has just set Roxanne and It Could Happen to You for release on Blu-ray on 5/5, again both already available on DVD. The studio has also revealed the debut of Not Easily Broken on both DVD and Blu-ray on 4/7.

Also today, just a quick update for those of you interested in the forthcoming Blu-ray Disc edition of Twilight. It's seems that - as far as retail stores - the film will ONLY be available on Blu-ray at Best Buy and Target for a limited time after street date (3/21). It further appears that the Target version is a 2-disc set that comes with an exclusive bonus disc featuring over 45 minutes of additional content, and also grants you a free iTunes download of the film. And if you're really a fan, Amazon.com has an exclusive Ultimate Collector's Box Set version which includes the regular Blu-ray along with a watch, special packaging and tons of other swag. Just FYI.

Speaking of retailer exclusives, we've had a number of readers ask us about the exclusive Steelbook packaging for the upcoming wave of Bond Blu-ray titles due on 3/24 - Moonraker, Goldfinger and The World is Not Enough. The first wave of Bond titles featured Steelbook packaging that was only available at Best Buy. It appears that Amazon.com has the Steelbooks this time around. Just click the links to pre-order them.

In news around the Net, Video Business has a good story up today on Panasonic's efforts to launch 3-D in the home market, tied to their involvement with the production of James Cameron's Avatar. The film will be presented in 3-D in theatres next year, and the plan is for Panasonic to launch 3-D ready HDTV displays and Blu-ray players later in 2010, just in time for the home video release.

Finally, regarding our big new Facebook adventure, Sarah says that those of you who have joined our Digital Bits group on Facebook should also sign up as friends of our Facebook profile page, as that's where updates are going to be posted. So sign up on the profile page, then you can join the group, but you'll want to keep checking the profile page for the latest news. Cool? Cool. Hey... I don't make the rules, I just follow 'em.

Don't forget that tonight is one of the last four episodes of Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi! The episode is called Someone to Watch Over Me, and it appears that it's finally going to explain what the deal is with Starbuck. I'm headed up to the Universal lot this evening to attend a special screening with the writers of the episode, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, so rest assured I'm already gettin' my geek on. There's one more regular episode next week, and then begins the 3-part series finale (counted as 2 episodes - one an hour long and the other two hours). Man, it hurts just to say that.

And that's it! That's all she wrote. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday with Barrie Maxwell's latest installment of High-Definition Matters. We'll have a bunch of new disc reviews next week as well.

See you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/27/09 - 12:01 AM PST)

Morning, folks! I thought we'd get the jump on our Friday posts a little early, and with good news too...

Industry and retail sources are confirming that MGM will soon announce the Blu-ray Disc release of two more classic James Bond films, License to Kill and The Man with the Golden Gun, on 5/12 (SRP $34.95 each). As you know, both have previously been available on DVD, most recently in 2-disc Ultimate Editions. As with the other Blu-rays, all of the extras from those should be included in the new BD versions. Watch for additional details soon. This follows hot on the heels of the upcoming 3/24 Blu-ray release of Moonraker, Goldfinger and The World is Not Enough, as well as the latest film in the series, Quantum of Solace (on DVD and Blu-ray). It's possible that a third title could be announced soon too, which would allow for a James Bond Blu-ray: Volume Four box set to be released as well. You might recall our Rumor Mill post from last December, in which we first mentioned the second round of Bond Blu-rays. Based on the list we were given at the time, it's possible that the third title could be either GoldenEye or Diamonds Are Forever. We'll be sure to let you know, and keep you up to date on all the details.

One last thing this morning... Sarah's created new Facebook and Twitter pages for The Digital Bits, to help all of you keep up with the latest DVD and BD news items we post when you're out on the go. These social networking sites seem to be all the rage these days, so we figured why not? Hell... if stodgy members of Congress can Twitter, so can we. It's better and easier for us manage than the usual newsletter, and it's probably more effective and fun for you guys to use anyway, so we definitely encourage you to join us. Once you've signed up on our Facebook profile page (where all the latest updates will be), you can join our Facebook group as well if you like. And while we're on the subject, Matt has created a Twitter page for our MusicTAP partner site as well. See you all there!

Back later with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 2/26/09 - 9:30 PM PST)

Evening, folks. Well... as promised (finally) and at LONG last (finally!), we're very proud to present Rob Siegel's latest installment of Golden Hollywood, featuring a look at the production (and production artwork) of Cimarron, Becket, Fanny, Woman Times Seven and Many Rivers to Cross. Rob's put a ton of work into it, so we think you'll see exactly why it took so long to get posted. We hope you enjoy it and, again, thanks for your patience!

Also this evening, word has reached us from retail sources that 20th Century Fox will soon announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire on 3/31 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99). Official details will follow soon, but it's already available for pre-order from Amazon.com. Just click on the links provided, or on the cover art below. Note that the art we show here is NEAR final. The actual final art will feature banners indicating that the film was Best Picture winner. As you can see, we've also included the cover for MGM's Lions for Lambs Blu-ray (5/19)...

Slumdog MillionaireSlumdog Millionaire (Blu-ray Disc)Lions for Lambs (Blu-ray Disc)

Also, be aware that Lionsgate's Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Skynet Edition Blu-ray Disc is finally available for pre-order from Amazon, as is the Limited Edition T2 Complete Collector's Set (with the Endoskull packaging). Just click on the links below...
Terminator 2: Skynet Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Limited Edition T2 Complete Collector's SetLimited Edition "Endoskull"

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/26/09 - 12:30 PM PST)

Almost done with Golden Hollywood. In the meantime, here's some new cover artwork for those catalog titles we announced yesterday... MGM's Fargo, Force 10 from Navarone and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly on Blu-ray Disc (due 5/12), along with Universal's Caprica (4/21) and Frost/Nixon (also 4/21), and Warner's Tom & Jerry: Chuck Jones Collection (6/23) all on standard DVD...

Fargo (Blu-ray Disc)Force 10 from Navarone (Blu-ray Disc)The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Blu-ray Disc)

Caprica (series Pilot film)Frost/NixonTom & Jerry: Chuck Jones Collection

By the way, for those of you wondering if Warner's Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray set is still on schedule for release on 3/10, it is. You can pre-order it now at Amazon.com.

Stay tuned...

2/25/09

This is going to be a quick post, so I can get back to formatting all the graphics for Rob's Golden Hollywood. Yes, it's coming, and sorry it's taking so long. In my defense, it's like 26 pages long in MS Word, and there are over 60 graphics to prepare. It'll be awesome as usual, however, and worth the wait. So thanks for your patience.

Some quick announcement news: MGM has just revealed four new catalog Blu-ray Disc titles for release in May (distributed by Fox): Fargo, Force 10 from Navarone and The Good The Bad and The Ugly will all street on 5/12, followed by Lions for Lambs on 5/19. Additional details will follow.

Also, Warner has just announced the Tom & Jerry: Chuck Jones Collection for release on DVD. Due on 6/23 (SRP $26.99), the 2-disc set will include 34 classic animated shorts as well as the Tom and Jerry... and Chuck and Chuck Jones: Memories of a Childhood featurettes.

Okay, it's back to the grindstone for me. Stay tuned...

2/24/09

We've got a quick update for you on Lionsgate's upcoming Terminator 2: Skynet Edition Blu-ray Disc release (due 5/19, SRP $29.99). A number of you have asked which version of the film is on the disc. According to the studio's official press release, the disc includes "multiple versions" of T2, likely via seamless branching like the previous DVD, including the 152-minute Special Edition, the 137-minute Theatrical Cut and (we believe) the Extended Special Edition as well (featuring the "2027" alternate ending). All are presented at 1080p resolution in the 2.35 aspect ratio. The transfer is THX certified. Audio will be available in English DTS-HD MA 6.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX, as well as French Dolby 2.0 Surround. English TheatreVision descriptive narrative audio for the blind and vision-impaired will also be included. Once again, extras on the Blu-ray will include 8 hours worth of extras and 140-minutes of "Bonus View" features, including a PiP viewing mode with behind-the-scenes video, text commentaries and multimedia galleries, a second storyboard-to-script viewing mode, audio commentary with director James Cameron and co-writer William Wisher, a second commentary with 26 members of the cast and crew, interactive quizzes and games, BD-Live online features, the THX Optimizer and D-Box motion control system enhancement. The Blu-ray is available separately or in the 6-disc Limited Edition T2 Complete Collector's Set (SRP $174.99) that also includes the previous Extreme Edition DVD and Ultimate Edition DVD releases as well as a Digital Copy version, all packaged in a 14" T-800 Endoskull bust that plays sound effects from the film while its eyes light up. Here's what the Blu-ray packaging looks like, along with the packaging for the Limited Edition box set (the German art for now - I'll replace it with the U.S. version as soon as possible) and the actual Endoskull bust...
Terminator 2: Skynet Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Limited Edition T2 Complete Collector's SetLimited Edition "Endoskull"

Also, it looks as if the SRP for Paramount's Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection on Blu-ray (due 5/12) has changed. The original press release had it listed at $104.99. However, Amazon now shows an SRP of $139.99 and they're actually selling it for just $97.99. Adjust your plans accordingly.

Finally this morning, our own Russell Hammond has just completed the weekly update of the Upcoming DVD/Blu-ray Cover Art section, with all the latest cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. Again, don't forget that a small portion of anything you buy from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits, and we truly appreciate it.

Back later this afternoon with Golden Hollywood. Stay tuned...

2/23/09

Sorry for the later than planned post today. I ended up having to spend my morning with the auto mechanic after an unexpected brake problem cropped up on the car this weekend. Seems like it's always something... (and it's never something cheap).

So, it appears that Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at last night's Oscar ceremony. I'm fairly happy with that. Sarah and I watched the film last night, and really enjoyed it. So many of the movies nominated for Academy Awards this year were the usual Hollywood fare - shameless award grabs, bloated period pieces, big "issues" grinders, etc. Not that those films aren't good and deserving in their own right, but it's nice when something a little more different gets recognized. Slumdog is far from the best film I've ever seen, and I don't even think it's Danny Boyle's best work, but its story offers one of the most original perspectives I've seen in some time. Boyle's one of those filmmakers where I'm happy to watch anything he makes sight-unseen, as it's always sure to be interesting. Anyway, you can view the complete list of all the Oscar winners here.

Speaking of the Oscars, our retail sources are telling us that Fox will soon announce the DVD and Blu-ray release of Slumdog Millionaire. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is also yet to be announced, but almost surely will be unveiled soon, so be sure to watch for that. Rest assured, we'll have all the details as soon as they come in.

Here at the site this afternoon, we've got a trio of new Blu-ray Disc reviews from our own Jeff Kleist: Bandai's long-awaited Akira and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, as well as Paramount's Friday the 13th: Uncut. Akira streets tomorrow, while GitS 2 and Friday the 13th are already available. There's nothing like a little classic anime and horror in HD. More reviews will follow this week. Enjoy!

We've also got a new Giveaway today, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Shout! Factory's Mystery Science Theater 3000 XIV and Simon & Simon: Season Two. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, March 8th. Good luck!

In announcement news today, Sony has revealed a number of new titles on both DVD and Blu-ray, including The Da Vinci Code (2-disc Blu-ray), The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volume 4, Nothing But the Truth, What Doesn't Kill You (DVD and Blu-ray) and Sex and Lies in Sin City all on 4/28, and Roxanne (Blu-ray), It Could Happen to You (Blu-ray), Ivanhoe, Florence Nightingale, Not Easily Broken (DVD and Blu-ray), Flirting with Forty, Living Proof and The Note II: Taking a Chance on Love all on 5/5.

What's more, Paramount has announced some additional titles for release in May, including El Dorado: Centennial Collection, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: Centennial Collection, Jo Koy: Don't Make Him Angry, Russell Brand in New York City and Sister, Sister: The Second Season on 5/19, as well as Dora the Explorer: Super Babies Adventures, Gunsmoke: The Third Season, Volume Two, The Mod Squad: The Second Season, Volume Two, The Mod Squad: Two Season Pack and a pair of TV sampler sets, under the names Action Packed and Forever Funny, all due on 5/26.

Also today, Matt's posted his full review of U2's new album, No Line on the Horizon over at MusicTAP. It's a good read, and I agree with his assessment. Do check it out.

Here's a look at more new cover art for you... Disney's Bedtime Stories on Blu-ray (4/5), as well as Criterion's The Hit (4/28) and Sony's The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Five on DVD (3/17)...

Bedtime Stories (Blu-ray Disc)The Hit (Criterion)The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Five

Back tomorrow morning with Rob's long awaited new Golden Hollywood column. Stay tuned...

2/22/09

Afternoon, everyone! Hope your weekend is going well.

I just wanted to jump in here quickly to remind everyone that tonight is the Academy Awards, if you care about them. Sarah and I usually TiVo them and watch the whole fifteen hour smash in like 20 minutes. Personally, I'd like to see Heath Ledger win for his last role in The Dark Knight, and I wouldn't be too disappointed to see Danny Boyle win Best Director. I really like that guy's body of work. His take on different genres is always fresh and interesting. I'm betting the ratings for the broadcast will be down again this year, but whatever. It is what it is.

Speaking of awards, we're gearing up to present our annual Digital Bits Bitsy Awards within the next couple weeks, recognizing the best of DVD and Blu-ray from the past year. We're already hard at work making our lists and checking them twice, so watch for the presentation soon. We'll let you know.

In other news, I know some of you guys are U2 fans, as am I, so let me tell you that the band's new album, No Line on the Horizon, is pretty terrific (it streets on 3/2 here in the States). I think it's their best and most interesting album since Achtung Baby. It's not quite as commercial as their last two, but I think it's far more sophisticated and interesting musically. I'd put it right up there with Baby, Joshua Tree and Unforgettable Fire. Matt's going to be posting his review soon over at MusicTAP. We've been listening to it and talking about it, and we agree that the album deserves a good 4 stars out of 5, ratings-wise. But you don't have to take our word for it. You can listen to it for free right now: U2 has made the ENTIRE ALBUM available for your listening pleasure via online steaming over at MySpace. Just scroll down to the playlists and select the album cover. Let us know what you think!

Finally today, all of the new Star Trek DVDs and Blu-ray sets are now available for pre-order from Amazon.com. Just click on the links below. Anything you order through our links helps support our efforts here at The Bits, so we appreciate it!

Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One (Blu-ray Disc)The Best of Star Trek: The Original SeriesThe Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation

That's all for now. See you tomorrow! Stay tuned...

2/20/09

We've got some BIG and VERY cool release news for you guys today, so let's get right to it...

First, Universal has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Frost/Nixon on 4/21. We'll post additional details as they become available.

Next, consider this Rumor Mill worthy, but our industry sources are confirming a bit of exciting news that our friends over at Galactica Sitrep have posted today... specifically that Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series is currently set to be released by Universal on Blu-ray Disc on 7/28. Also coming to DVD soon is Season 4.5 and a Season 4.0/Season 4.5/Caprica pilot 3-pack. It's likely this will street on 7/28 as well. And don't forget, the Caprica pilot is expected on DVD on 4/21. We expect the official announcement in the next few weeks, so be sure to check back for all the details.

Also today, Buena Vista and Walt Disney Home Entertainment have just announced the Blu-ray Disc release of A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc. on 5/19. A Bug's Life will include all the previous DVD bonus features, along with BD-exclusive Filmmaker's Round Table, the Original Story Treatment and BD-Live. Monsters, Inc. will also include the previous DVD features and BD-Live, as well as BD-exclusive Filmmaker's Round Table and Ride and Go Seek: Building Monstropolis in Tokyo. Both will also include Disney File digital copies of the film. We'll have more on both soon, but you can find the temp art below. And don't forget that the studio will release Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray in October.

Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stores is also set for release on 4/7 by Buena Vista in single-disc DVD and 2-disc DVD with Disney File editions. The 3-Disc Blu-ray with Disney File will street a couple days earlier on 4/5.

In addition, Lionsgate has announced its title slate for April, including Bled, The Boys From Brazil and House on 4/7, The Spirit (DVD and Blu-ray) and a number of The Lost Collection titles including Homer & Eddie, Irreconcilable Differences, Morgan Stewart's Coming Home, My Best Friend is a Vampire, The Night Before, Repossessed and Slaughter High on 4/14, The Arrival (Blu-ray), The Burrowers, Voyage of the Damned and Wolverine and the X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy on 4/21, and finally Never Surrender on 4/28.

And Lionsgate has also confirmed the 5/19 release of a Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Skynet Edition on Blu-ray Disc. That same day, you'll also get a 6-disc T2: Complete Collector's Set - Limited Edition containing the new Blu-ray along with the previous Ultimate and Extreme Edition DVD releases. Both the Blu-ray and the set will also include a Digital Copy version. You can read more on that here at Video Business today. We also have word that European versions of the Blu-ray will come packed in badass "Endoskeleton Skull" packaging. There's no word yet on whether the U.S. version will have this. (We sure hope so!) You can learn more at the German Area DVD website. Thanks to Bits reader Wilfried V. for the heads-up on the packaging. Here's what it looks like. Take a look at this bad boy...

German Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Skynet Edition packaging

[Editor's Note: Shortly after we posted this, IGN confirmed that the Skull packaging will be available here in the States with the 6-disc Limited Edition T2 Complete Collector's Set (SRP $174.99). The set will also include the the Terminator 2: Skynet Edition Blu-ray (SRP $29.99 separately). The Blu-ray will feature DTS-HD MA audio, audio commentary with director James Cameron and co-writer William Wisher, a second commentary with 26 members of the cast and crew, an enhanced viewing mode with PiP video, text commentary and art galleries, an additional storyboard-to-script viewing mode, interactive games and trivia, a THX Optimizer and D-Box motion control enhancement.]

While we're giving looks at stuff, here's a peek at the BD cover art for A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc., along with Paramount and Showtime's Dexter: The Second Season BD (5/5), and Lionsgate's The Spirit (4/14) on DVD/BD and The Arrival (4/21) on BD. All are now available for pre-order from Amazon.com by clicking on the cover links...

A Bug's Life (Blu-ray Disc)Monsters, Inc. (Blu-ray Disc)Dexter: The Second Season (Blu-ray Disc)

The Spirit: Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The Spirit: Special EditionThe Arrival (Blu-ray Disc)

Okay, we've got a lot of additional content coming next week, including reviews, a new interview, new columns from Rob and Barrie and more. I know you guys have been waiting very patiently for Rob's Golden Hollywood column, so I promise that's at the top of the list.

In the meantime, have a great weekend!

2/19/09

Afternoon, folks! Our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has just updated his Electric Theatre column with his thoughts on this weekend's upcoming Oscar ceremony. Like the good Doctor, I haven't seen many of these films frankly. It was a strange year at the movies for me: Little out of Hollywood had me excited this year and I just had a hard time mustering the desire to see any of them. But if you care about such things, Jahnke's take is always worth a read, so do check it out.

Also here at the site this afternoon, if you check out The Rumor Mill, we've got an update for you on the possibility of the Alien films coming to Blu-ray Disc this year from Fox. Don't miss it!

In announcement news today, Universal has set 8 Mile for release on Blu-ray Disc on 4/14. The title has previously been available on both DVD and HD-DVD.

Also, Warner Home Video has announced the Blu-ray release of New Line's Fracture on 6/16.

And Criterion has announced the next two entries in its Eclipse series on DVD... Eclipse Series 15: Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu (due 3/17, includes Japanese Girls at the Harbor, The Masseurs and a Woman, Mr. Thank You and Ornamental Hairpin) and Eclipse Series 16: Alexander Korda's Private Lives (due 3/12, includes The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Rise of Catherine the Great, The Private Life of Don Juan and Rembrandt). Each is a 4-disc set with an SRP of $59.95.

And in news around the Net today, our friends over at High-Def Digest have posted an update on Warner's classic catalog Blu-ray plans for 2009 and beyond from Warner's George Feltenstein. You might recall some of these titles from our posts from early last year on the same subject (available here and here). You can read all the new details at the link provided, but here's the Cliff's Notes version...

From this point on, Warner intends to release all catalog BDs with Dolby TrueHD audio. (They've taken note of complaints about the lack of one on Casablanca.) Gone with the Wind, Woodstock, The Wizard of Oz and North by Northwest will all be released on Blu-ray later this year. A series of Astaire-Rogers films will be released on Blu-ray in 2010, along with A Star is Born featuring Judy Garland. 2011 will see Citizen Kane arrive on Blu-ray in honor of the film's 70th anniversary. Ben-Hur is still coming to Blu-ray in the next couple of years, but requires a completely new transfer and restoration for release in 1080p, as does Singin' in the Rain. The Music Man, Doctor Zhivago and Meet Me in St. Louis are also in the pipeline for Blu-ray release in the next 2-3 years. Hats off to David Krauss at HDD for a great update!

Here's a look at more new cover art: Universal's 8 Mile, CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The First Season (5/12) and New Line's Fracture all on Blu-ray, along with Criterion's In the Realm of the Senses (due 4/28), Empire of Passion (also 4/28) and Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé (4/21) all on DVD...

8 Mile (Blu-ray Disc)CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The First Season (Blu-ray Disc)Fracture (Blu-ray Disc)

In the Realm of the SensesEmpire of PassionScience Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé

Stay tuned!

2/18/09

We've got more announcement news for you today...

MGM has set the direct-to-video sequel Legally Blondes for DVD only release on 4/28.

Anchor Bay has set American High School and Tokyo Zombie for DVD release on 4/7.

Retail sources have confirmed that Buena Vista will release Doubt on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 4/7.

CBS has set Hawaii Five-O: The Sixth Season for DVD release on 4/21, followed by Mission Impossible: The Sixth TV Season on 4/28.

Genius Products has announced (for The Discovery Channel) Gettysburg: The Battle and the Address, Africa's Elephant Kingdom, The World's Biggest and Baddest Bugs, Mars: The Quest for Life and The Beauty of Snakes for Blu-ray Disc release on 4/7.

Warner Home Video has set the BBC's Doctor Who: Mega Set - Volume 2 for DVD release on 3/24, followed by a Lookin' to Get Out: Director's Cut, M. Butterfly, Beyond Rangoon, Revolution Revisited, The Closer: The Complete Fourth Season, Zabriskie Point and the BBC's World War II: Behind Closed Doors on 5/26, NFL Greatest Follies: Volume Four on 6/2, the BBC's Last of the Summer Wine: Season 5 on 6/9, and National Geographic's Inside the Wire: Guantanamo and World's Toughest Fixes on 6/16.

And Fox has set There's Something About Mary Blu-ray Disc release on 5/5 (the title is already available on DVD).

Also today, our friend Frosty over at Collider has learned from Watchmen director Zach Snyder that when the film comes to DVD and Blu-ray later this year, you'll get a couple of versions. In addition to the theatrical cut which clocks in at 2 hours and 36 minutes, there will be a director's cut that runs 3 hours and 10 minutes, plus an even longer 3 hour and 25 minute version that incorporates the Tales of the Black Freighter footage. Very cool indeed.

Finally, we have word on the extras you'll find on DreamWorks' Galaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition DVD, due on 5/12. Look for 5 new featurettes (Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest, Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector, By Grabthar's Hammer, What Amazing Effects, Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race, Actors in Space and Sigourney Raps), along with the deleted scenes, theatrical trailer and Thermian audio track used on the previous DVD release. Here's hoping this gets released on Blu-ray later this year.

We'll leave you with more new Blu-ray cover art... here's Fox's There's Something About Mary, Miramax's Doubt, and Sony's Fly Away Home, Winged Migration (both 4/7), The Thirteenth Floor and Universal Soldier: The Return (both 4/14)...

There's Something About Mary (Blu-ray Disc)Doubt (Blu-ray Disc)The Thirteenth Floor (Blu-ray Disc)

Fly Away Home (Blu-ray Disc)Winged Migration (Blu-ray Disc)Universal Soldier: The Return (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 2/17/09 - 2 PM PST)

Afternoon, folks. We have more Star Trek information for you today from CBS and Paramount. We've updated our original announcement post with a number of Editor's Notes with all the details, but here's the Cliff's Notes version...

First, the subtitle options on the Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One Blu-ray (due 4/28) include English SDH, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and French.

The Starfleet Access feature on the episode The Galileo Seven (from the original HD-DVD release) has been dropped on the Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One Blu-ray to make room for other features.

The Star Trek VI Blu-ray and DVD from the Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection set (due 5/12) will be presented at the original theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio, as newly approved by director Nicholas Meyer. The previous DVDs versions featured a 2.0:1 aspect ratio.

In addition, all of the Okuda text commentaries from the previous 2-disc DVDs of the feature films have been dropped from the Blu-rays. The reason is that the Okudas used the same material in the new Library Computer interactive options on the Blu-rays, so the text commentaries were redundant.

By the way, we mentioned in the original post that The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series and The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation would be released on DVD later this year. We've confirmed with CBS and Paramount that they're coming on 5/12 as well. The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series will include the episodes The City on the Edge of Forever, The Trouble with Tribbles, Balance of Terror and Amok Time. These will be the new "remastered" versions. The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation will include the episodes The Best of Both Worlds, Part I, The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2, Yesterday's Enterprise and The Measure of a Man.

Also today, Sony has announced the DVD release of Sex and Lies in Sin City and Nothing But the Truth on 4/28. Also coming that day are DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of What Doesn't Kill You.

Finally, Universal has set Dark Matter for DVD release on 4/14, with Smother following on DVD on 5/5.

Here's a look at some more new cover art: CBS's The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series and The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD, and Criterion's Ran (5/12), and Fox's Marley and Me: Bad Boy Edition (3/31), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 - 4/7) and Big (4/28) all on Blu-ray...

The Best of Star Trek: The Original SeriesThe Best of Star Trek: The Next GenerationRan (Blu-ray Disc)

Marley and Me: Bad Boy Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 - Blu-ray Disc)Big (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/17/09 - 12:01 AM PST)

Okay... things are finally back to normal around here, which is good. So let's have some early news...

First up, Criterion has just announced more new DVD releases for May. This is in addition their recent announcement of Akira Kurosawa's Ran coming to Blu-ray on 5/12. (MAN, are we ever excited about that title!) John Huston's Wise Blood (cat #470) is due on DVD on 5/12, followed by Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura (#471) and Peter Yates's The Friends of Eddie Coyle (#475) on 5/19. You can read more about them here on the Criterion website.

Speaking of Criterion, those of you who are interested in their new Blu-ray line will want to pick up the latest issue of Geek Monthly (the March 2009 issue, with Joel McHale on the cover). Our new GeekBits column in the issue (written by Todd and myself) features an in-depth interview with Criterion president Peter Becker about their new efforts in high-definition. It's a good read, I think, so if you're interested don't miss it.

In a bit of other news, it looks like we're about to get a little preview of the big DTV cut-off here in the States. As you may know, the new cut-off date for analog broadcasting is 6/12, but about 600 TV stations across the country are going ahead and shutting down their analog signals tomorrow, as originally planned. You can read more here at Time. This should be interesting...

Also this morning, our own Russell Hammond has just completed the weekly update of the Upcoming DVD/Blu-ray Cover Art section, with all the latest cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. Again, don't forget that a small portion of anything you buy from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits, and we truly appreciate it.

Finally, just in case you were off yesterday and missed it, Paramount and CBS have officially announced a whole bunch of new Star Trek Blu-rays (and DVDs too) coming in April and May, timed to the theatrical release of the new J.J. Abrams film. You'll find all the exclusive details and cover artwork here. Enjoy!

We'll be back later with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 2/16/09 - 10 AM PST)

"Aaarrghhh" is, of course, the official terminology you use in a time like this.

Sorry about the delay getting the Trek announcement news posted, folks. As you might have guessed, our server chose just the perfectly bad moment to go down on us this morning. [Editor's Note: To be fair to our server guys, it actually turns out that the problem was with a third party company that services our hosting company. The practical result is that the server appeared to be down. D'oh!] Murphy's Law I guess... or whatever the equivalent is in the Trek-verse. Anyway, it should be mostly back to normal now, and you can read our official news report here. Nevertheless, we're likely not going to make another post until tomorrow, as we work to make sure all the gremlins are out of things. Enjoy the big news, and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.

Live long and prosper 'til then!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/16/09 - 9 AM PST)

Here we go Trek fans! Here's the news we told you was coming, and now The Digital Bits (in conjunction with our friends at Trek Movie.com) have all the details for you.

Paramount Home Entertainment has just officially announced the May 12th release of the Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection on Blu-ray Disc, and also the Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD. In addition, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount have officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One on April 28th.

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One (Blu-ray Disc)

The Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One Blu-ray Disc (SRP $118.00) will include all 29 first season episodes in 1080p high-definition, presented in the original 4x3 aspect ratio. Using seamless branching, you will be able to view the episodes either with the newly-remastered digital effects or the original effects, and you'll also have your choice of newly-enhanced audio in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA or the original English 2.0 Mono. (French and Spanish 2.0 mono are also included. There's no word yet on subtitles and captions - we're checking.) [Editor's Note #1: Paramount tells us that the subtitle options are English SDH, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and French.] You'll be able to make this choice at the beginning of each episode, or switch back and forth on the fly to compare. (We're told that the newly remastered versions are included in their entirety. Those scenes and shots from the original broadcast versions that are different are included via branching - mostly new effects shots.) Select episodes will also have enhanced Starfleet Access bonus content (specifically Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Menagerie: Parts 1 & 2, Balance of Terror, Space Seed and Errand of Mercy) featuring pop-up trivia and picture-in-picture video commentaries. Other special features on the set include preview trailers for each episode, along with 9 featurettes (Spacelift: Transporting Trek into the 21st Century, Reflections on Spock, Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner, To Boldly Go... Season One, The Birth of a Timeless Legacy, Sci-Fi Visionaries, Billy Blackburn's Treasure Chest: Rare Home Movies and Special Memories and Kiss N' Tell: Romance in the 23rd Century) and the Interactive Enterprise Inspection. What's more, "an exclusive collectible Sulu figure from Diamond Select Toys is also being made available with purchase of the Blu-ray set; fans pay only shipping and handling charges." For those wondering about the packaging, it's a 7-disc Blu-ray Amaray case with an outer O-sleeve (a vertical cardboard slipcase).

From the list above, it appears that this set includes almost everything that was on the HD-DVD side of the previous HD-DVD/DVD Combo format release, though a couple of the features from the DVD side appear to be missing, specifically the Trek Connections featurette, the Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier History Channel special and the Star Trek Online game preview. The HD-DVD side also included Starfleet Access on The Galileo Seven, which isn't listed in the official press release, though it's possible that it IS on the set and there's just an error in the release (we're checking on it). [Editor's Note #2: We've confirmed with the studio that Starfleet Access on The Galileo Seven was dropped to make room for other features.]

For those trying to decide whether or not to keep your original Season One DVDs, note that none of the Red Shirt Diaries Easter eggs are included on the Blu-ray version. The original Okuda text commentaries are also not included on the Blu-ray (for the episodes Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Conscience of the King and The Menagerie, Parts I & II), though the Okudas do participate in the new Starfleet Access feature (so it's possible that much of the text material appears there). The Okuda text commentary from the Star Trek: Time Travel - Fan Collective is not included either (for the episode Tomorrow is Yesterday).

It's worth noting that the $110 SRP for the Blu-ray set is substantially lower than the original $217.99 SRP with which the HD-DVD version arrived in stores. The following has yet to be officially announced (so consider it Rumor Mill-worthy), but our studio and industry sources are telling us that Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Two and Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Three will follow on Blu-ray Disc later this year, likely timed to the release of J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek feature film on DVD and Blu-ray. So that's The Original Series on Blu-ray. Now let's take a look at the new feature film sets...

Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

As we noted up front, Paramount will release the 6-film Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection on Blu-ray Disc on May 12th (SRP $104.99). We've confirmed that the set will include the original theatrical editions of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Note that this will mark the first time that the theatrical editions of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country have been released on either DVD or Blu-ray Disc. The Original Motion Picture Collection will include an exclusive Star Trek: The Captains' Summit bonus disc in HD as well (more on that in a minute). All the films have been digitally remastered in high-definition. Star Trek II has undergone additional restoration work starting with the original film elements in a process similar to the recent Godfather restoration. [Editor's Note #3: We've learned from director Nicholas Meyer that the original film elements had deteoriated, thus requiring a full restoration effort to be undertaken.]

Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)

The studio will also release the 3-film Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy box set on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc the same day (SRP $29.99 and $48.99 respectively). The Trilogy set will include the "Genesis arc" films, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The Blu-rays will feature audio in English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 2.0 Dolby Surround and Spanish Mono, with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The DVD versions will feature audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX, French 2.0 Dolby Surround and Portuguese and Spanish Mono, with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The packaging for both sets is Amaray "thin packs" with a cardboard slipcase.

Here's a look at the special features you'll find on the Blu-ray versions of each movie disc (it's over 14 hours of bonus content in all, including 2 hours of all-new material)...

[Editor's Note #4: In the features descriptions below, you'll notice that all of the Okuda text commentaries from the previous 2-disc DVDs have been dropped. We're told by studio sources that the Okudas used what they wrote in the text commentaries in the Library Computer feature on each disc, so the original text feature was dropped as redundant.]

Star Trek: The Motion Picture will include new audio commentary by Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman, 3 HD featurettes (The Longest Trek: Writing the Motion Picture, Special Star Trek Reunion and Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind V'ger), deleted scenes, storyboards, trailers (in HD), TV spots, BD-Java Library Computer access and the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature.

Missing from the previous 2-disc DVD release are the Director's Edition of the film, the Robert Wise group audio commentary, the Okuda text commentary (see Editor's Note #4 above), 3 featurettes (Phase II: The Lost Enterprise, A Bold New Enterprise and Redirecting the Future), and the Director's Edition trailer. Presumably, these will be included on a future Director's Edition Blu-ray release.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan will include audio commentary with director Nicholas Meyer, a new commentary by Meyer and Manny Coto, 4 HD featurettes (James Horner: Composing Genesis, A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban, Collecting Star Trek's Movie Relics and Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI), 4 SD featurettes (Captain's Log, Designing Khan, Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Star Trek Universe: A Novel Approach), original interviews with DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban, storyboards, the theatrical trailer (in HD), BD-Java Library Computer access and the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature.

Missing from the previous 2-disc DVD release is the Extended Director's Edition of the film, the extended commentary with Meyer, and the Okuda text commentary (see Editor's Note #4 above). Presumably, these will be included on a future Director's Edition release on Blu-ray.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock will include audio commentary by director Leonard Nimoy, writer/producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles Correll and Robin Curtis, a new commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, 3 HD featurettes (Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek, Spock: The Early Years and Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum Hall of Fame), 6 SD featurettes (Captain's Log, Space Docks and Birds of Prey, Speaking Klingon, Klingon and Vulcan Costumes, Terraforming and the Prime Directive and Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer), storyboards, photo galleries, the theatrical trailer (in HD), BD-Java Library Computer access and the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature.

Missing from the previous 2-disc DVD release is the Okuda text commentary (see Editor's Note #4 above).

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home will include audio commentary by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, a new commentary by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, 4 HD featurettes (Pavel Chekov's Screen Moments, The Three-Picture Saga, Star Trek for a Cause and Starfleet Academy: The Whale Probe), 12 SD featurettes (Time Travel: The Art of the Possible, The Language of Whales, A Vulcan Primer, Kirk's Women, Future's Past: A Look Back, On Location, Dailies Deconstruction, Below-the-Line: Sound Design, From Outer Space to the Ocean, The Bird of Prey, Roddenberry Scrapbook and Featured Artist: Mark Lenard), original interviews with Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and DeForest Kelley, a production gallery, storyboards, the theatrical trailer (in HD), BD-Java Library Computer access and the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature.

Missing from the previous 2-disc DVD is the Okuda text commentary (see Editor's Note #4 above).

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier will include audio commentary by William Shatner and Liz Shatner, a new commentary by Michael & Denise Okuda and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman, 3 HD featurettes (Star Trek Honors NASA, Hollywood Walk of Fame: James Doohan and Starfleet Academy: Nimbus III), 11 SD featurettes (Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute, Original Interview: William Shatner, Cosmic Thoughts, That Klingon Couple, A Green Future?, Harve Bennett's Pitch to the Sales Team, The Journey: A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary, Makeup Tests, Pre-Visualization Models, Rock Man in the Raw and Star Trek V Press Conference), deleted scenes, a production gallery, storyboards, theatrical trailers (in HD), TV spots, BD-Java Library Computer access and the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature.

Missing from the previous 2-disc DVD is the Okuda text commentary (see Editor's Note #4 above).

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country will include audio commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and screenwriter Denny Martin Flinn, a new commentary by Larry Nemecek and Ira Steven Behr, 3 HD featurettes (Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman, To Be or Not to Be: Klingons and Shakespeare and Starfleet Academy: Praxis), 6 SD Stories from Star Trek VI featurettes (It Started with a Story, Prejudice, Director Nicholas Meyer, Shakespeare & General Chang, Bring it to Life and Farewell & Goodbye), 8 additional SD featurettes (Conversations with Nicholas Meyer, Klingons: Conjuring the Legend, Federation Operatives, Penny's Toy Box, Together Again, The Perils of Peacemaking, DeForest Kelley: A Tribute and Original Cast Interviews), footage of the 1991 Convention Presentation by Nicholas Meyer, a production gallery, storyboards, trailers (in HD), BD-Java Library Computer access and the Star Trek I.Q. BD-Live feature. [Editor's Note #5: A number of readers have asked us whether this film will be presented at the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the theatrical release, or the 2.0:1 ratio of the previous DVD release. We've confirmed that it will be 2.35, and that the director was involved in this decision.]

Missing from the previous 2-disc DVD is the Extended Version of the film, the extended commentary with Meyer, and the Okuda text commentary (see Editor's Note #4 above). Presumably, these will be included on a future Extended Edition release on Blu-ray.

Finally, the Star Trek: The Captains' Summit bonus disc (in HD) will include a 70-minute exclusive roundtable discussion, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, in which William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes share candid moments and intimate details about life on the set.

Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy DVD

For those of you who purchase the Blu-ray version of the Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy, the special features on the Star Trek II, III and IV discs will be identical to those listed above. If you purchase the DVD version, however, the special features are as follows...

The Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan DVD will include the new commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto, and 4 featurettes (James Horner: Composing Genesis, Collecting Star Trek's Movie Relics, A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban and Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI).

The Star Trek III: The Search for Spock DVD will include the new commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, and 4 featurettes (Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek, Spock: The Early Years, Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum Hall of Fame and Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer).

And the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home DVD will include the new commentary by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and 4 featurettes (Pavel Chekov's Screen Moments, The Three-Picture Saga, Star Trek for a Cause and Starfleet Academy: The Whale Probe).

The nice thing about these DVDs is that, while they're yet another double-dip (or in this case, triple-dip), if you have the previous 2-disc DVDs there's no overlap in terms of the special features. You get the new commentary tracks and the all-new featurettes, without any of the older material you already own, so you can just add them to your collection.

The following is yet to be officially announced (so again, consider it Rumor Mill-worthy), but we believe that all these films will be available individually on Blu-ray Disc (and possibly DVD) later this year, when the Abrams film is released on both formats. We've heard that The Best of The Original Series and The Best of The Next Generation sets may be released later this year on DVD as well. [Editor's Note #6: We've just learned from CBS and Paramount that these two Best of sets will in fact street on DVD on 5/12.] What's more, our industry sources are telling us to look for all of the remaining Next Generation films (Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis) to arrive on Blu-ray Disc in time for the holidays, packed individually, in a 4-film Next Generation Blu-ray Disc box set and possibly also in a massive 10 or 11-film Blu-ray Disc box of all the Star Trek feature films (an 11-disc set would include the new Abrams film). The bottom line is that by December of this year, you'll be able to buy all three seasons of The Original Series and all of the Trek feature films on Blu-ray. Rest assured that The Digital Bits and Trek Movie.com will have all the official details as they're announced, and we'll keep you up to date on additional details and developments as they come in.

Finally this morning, here's one last look at the cover art for Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection on Blu-ray, the Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy on both Blu-ray and DVD, and the Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One Blu-ray. Though they're not yet officially announced, we've also included the preliminary Blu-ray cover art for Star Trek: The Original Series - Seasons Two and Three, so you can see what they'll look like when they arrive later in 2009...

Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: The Original Series - Season Three (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/16/09 - 12:01 AM PST)

Morning, everyone!

We've got a quick early post for you to enjoy with your coffee, with word on a new Criterion announcement. Criterion has just set Akira Kurosawa's Ran for release on Blu-ray Disc on 5/12 (cat #316 - SRP $39.95). It looks as if everything from the existing DVD version of the film will be included.

Also, Warner has set NFL: Super Bowl XLIII Champions - Pittsburgh Steelers for release on DVD on 2/24. Note that Amazon.com also has an exclusive (for the time being) Blu-ray Disc release of this same title. Thanks to a couple of Bits readers who pointed this out this morning.

And Shout! Factory has announced The Paper Chase: Season One for DVD release on 4/7. Also, Malcolm & Eddie: Season One follows on 4/14, Rhoda: Season One is due on 4/21 and Spin City: The Complete Second Season is due on 4/18.

That's all for the moment, but trust us... you're definitely going to want to check back here at about 9AM Pacific for more.

See you then!

2/13/09

Okay, we're pretty busy around here working on some cool stuff, so today's post is going to be a quick one. Worry not: All will become apparent next week. In the meantime, we do have one cool bit of announcement news for you today...

Universal has just officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the Army of Darkness: Screwhead Edition on 5/19 (SRP $19.98 and $29.98). Extras on both versions will include audio commentary (with director Sam Raimi, star Bruce Campbell and co-writer Ivan Raimi), an alternate ending, deleted scenes, additional unused footage from the film, The Men Behind the Army featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray version will add U-Control with interactive production photos, BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes. Audio on the DVD will be Dolby Digital 5.1, while the Blu-ray will feature 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and standard DTS 5.1.

Also, we've kicked off a new Giveaway, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's Pride and Glory and Amusement on Blu-ray, as well as Poison Ivy: The Secret Society on DVD. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, February 22nd. Good luck!

Don't forget that there's a episode of Battlestar Galactica tonight on Sci-Fi. Looks like it'll be another good one, and there's only 5 more left after it. Also, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns to Fox this evening, followed the debut of Joss Whedon's new Dollhouse. Check your local listings.

We'll be back on Monday morning with a BIG post, featuring some cool release news, Rob's Golden Hollywood column and more. Have a great weekend in the meantime!

Stay tuned...


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