Today's update will be brief, but we've posted a review of Miramax's
in Love disc for you, which also happens to be Buena Vista's
first anamorphic widescreen DVD. It's a great movie (it WAS this year's
Best Picture winner, after all), and it's a pretty good disc too, as
movie-only DVDs go. Do check it out.
The reason for the brief update, is that I'm posting this from DVD Pro
'99 in San Francisco. DVD Pro is mostly a technical conference - a nuts
and bolts meeting, where content producers, equipment manufacturers, and
others come together to talk about the format, and how best to use it.
There are lots of people here involved in program creation, not just
from Hollywood, but from independent production companies and post
houses, involved in doing corporate, educational and government work.
DVD is definitely moving into the mainstream video world, there's no
doubt about it.
My reasons for attending the show this year are simple - this is a
great place to roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty (so to
speak) talking about the format, the spec, and all kinds of technical
aspects involved in creating and mastering interactive programs on DVD.
I've been eager to educate myself a bit more on the intricate details of
the format, and to find out some of the difficulties that it presents to
content producers. Despite it's amazing capabilities, DVD is a tricky
format to work with. After attending some of yesterday's pre-show
conferences, I've already learned some very interesting things about the
format, technically-speaking, that I didn't know before. I'll share a
few of them when I get back (don't expect a big report - this isn't
really the kind of event that demands it, but I will talk about it here
more over the next couple of days). And I was also a judge for this
year's Discus awards, so I'm attending the presentation ceremony
tonight. I'll be sure to post a list of the winners later this evening
In the meantime, enjoy the review. Todd's been busy recently too, so
we'll have a new Doogan's Views for
you come tomorrow. See you then!
Okay - first of all, congratulations to Doug Singer of Glenview,
Illinois! Doug was the winner of our Friday the 13th
Contest. Thanks to all 249 people who entered. FYI - we've
just kicked off out monthly
for August as well, which will run until 8/27. We're giving away another
Sony DVD player and more, so get those entries in!
In other news, Columbia TriStar has announced a new animated DVD title:
The Nuttiest Nutcracker. Look for
it on October 19th, with a sing-along feature, and three interactive
games (SRP $19.95). Warner Bros has announced a day-and-date DVD version
of Jack Frost, starring Michael
Keaton. The disc streets November 2nd (SRP $24.98). And Buena Vista has
issued some press materials on their upcoming Who
Framed Roger Rabbit DVD (street date 9/28), including several
menu screens. I wouldn't read much into this, but given the dimensions
of the released art, it looks like the menu screens at least will be
anamorphic (although that doesn't guarantee anamorphic video - Fox's
X-Files DVD also has anamorphic
menus, but a straight letterboxed transfer). Go figure...
Also, look for DVD versions of 10 Things I
Hate About You, Rodgers &
Hammerstein's Cinderella (The Wonderful World Of Disney),
Children of the Corn, 666:
Isaac's Return, Existenz,
Halloween: H2O, and A
Walk on the Moon from Buena Vista in October.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned...!
Sorry about the lack of updates. We've been dealing with some major
server issues - slowdowns, crashes and the like, that are really causing
problems. I hope to have it all resolved by this afternoon, but please
let us know if you have trouble accessing the site in the meantime.
We'll be back tonight with our regular update. Meanwhile, we've got a
mini Contest for you all today, in honor of Friday the 13th (the
day, not the movie - maybe that's why we're having so many problems!).
You have the chance to win a copy of The
Exorcist: SE DVD, as well as an
IGN.com T-shirt, (and
it's an easy one) so get those entries in fast! We'll accept them until
8 PM tonight, and we'll announce the winner sometime shortly after that.
Well, I'm sure some of you noticed that we didn't post an update
yesterday. An odd convergence of occurrences resulted in a major
headache for the Bits staff for
most of the afternoon, and much of last night.
I spent the early afternoon up in L.A., attending New Line's Editor's
Day for their upcoming Nightmare on Elm
Street box set (I'll talk more about that in a minute). I had
intended to make a post about that yesterday afternoon. But when I
returned, it came to my attention that our server was down. I'm not sure
what time it crashed, but it was down for most of the evening, and after
several hours of tech support calls to our hosting service (Concentric),
we finally got it restarted. But by that time, it was 2 AM. And no one
has any idea what caused the crash, which is what I've been
investigating all morning. As Homer Simpson might say, "Doh!"
Anyway, server issues aside, it seems to be stable enough now to make a
post. So let's talk about Nightmare on Elm
At the time Nightmare was
released, visceral teen slasher films were all pretty straightforward
(think Friday the 13th, or Halloween).
Then Wes Craven came up with the idea of a killer who inhabited a dream
world, and a horror plot in which the line between dreams and reality
became blurred. As imaginative as this was, almost no one thought it
would work - it was too "high concept" for horror (imagine
that). But New Line's Robert Shaye was excited about the idea, and
managed to scrounge up $1.2 million to fund it. Not only was it a huge
hit with American audiences, but New Line took a chance and marketed the
film internationally, where its success spawned one of the first film
franchises (at a time when "franchise" had yet to become a
buzzword in Hollywood), and really helped to launch New Line as a
Despite the importance of the series, New Line only recently reacquired
the home video rights to several of the films. On December 31st, 1997,
the rights to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th installments in the series
reverted back to the studio. Many of these films haven't been available
on video for years, and copies are very hard to come by. So for the 15th
anniversary of the franchise, New Line decided to do something special,
and release a new DVD boxed set. The Nightmare
films have been by far the most requested DVDs from the studio yet, and
the idea is to market the films at the male 18-34 demographic,
introducing them to a whole generation who has never seen them, and
reintroducing them to those who grew up with them in high school. A huge
marketing campaign is being launched to support the series.
The plan to release these films on DVD actually originated over two
years ago, and work began on the films just as New Line's first Platinum
DVD title, The Player, was coming
together. One at a time, the films were remastered, to create new,
fully-digital, Hi-Def, anamorphic masters. DVD producer Mark Rance was
brought in to shepherd the project, and several other companies were
contracted to produce various elements of the discs: WAMO (authoring),
Belief (menus and interactivity), The Content Project (DVD-ROM
features), Sonic Deli (audio design), and PC Friendly.
I have to tell you, that having seen New Line's demonstration, this is
going to be a really terrific DVD set - probably the best yet released.
First of all, all seven films in the series boast new anamorphic
widescreen transfers (as I mentioned). Each film has a fully-animated
menu system (also anamorphic), that is visually similar on all of the
discs (providing unity for the set), but is also unique to each title
(you see flashing, dream-like images from the film). I can tell you that
the video quality is outstanding. And all of the soundtracks have been
remixed for Dolby Digital 5.1 (you can also listen to the original mono
audio on the films that have it). Each DVD includes a cast & crew
bio section, with information taken straight from the original studio
press kits for each film, and "Jump to a Nightmare" scene
selection. Nightmare on Elm Street
and Wes Craven's New Nightmare
also include full-length audio commentary. And Freddy's
Dead: The Final Nightmare allows you to choose up front if
you want to watch the ending sequence with or without 3D (3D glasses
included). You can also choose to jump right to the 3D sequence from the
special features section. And at the demonstration, the 3D effect worked
But, as if that wasn't cool enough (and it is), the real star of this
set is a special eighth DVD, The Nightmare
Series Encyclopedia. Even as we speak, WAMO is working around
the clock to complete the complex authoring on this last disc
(replication is just beginning on the films themselves, and WAMO and New
Line DO expect to make the September 21st street date). The 8th disc is
a DVD-9 disc (dual-layered - all of the others in the set are DVD-5 -
single layered). It has no less than 94 chapter stops, and no less than
4 hours of supplemental material on it, and that's if you could watch it
all back to back (I'll explain more in a minute). The disc is broken
into three sections: Primetime, Labyrinth, and Index. Primetime is a 45
minute, "behind the scenes" documentary, with lots of new
interviews and footage. Index allows you to access lots of supplemental
material by each film title (music videos, all the theatrical trailers
for the series, etc...). But Labyrinth is the real meat of this disc.
It's an interactive maze, if you will, where you use your DVD player
remote to navigate through an environment composed of settings and
elements from all the films. As you do, you can come across (and pick
up) objects, and you'll stumble into more than 30 juicy little Easter
Eggs - rare footage, interview clips, photographs, alternate endings,
Freddy's stint on MTV, and more. I'm told that if you know your way
around this maze, it would take you some 5 and a half hours to get
through it all. Cool no? Just think of the Easter Egg list on that
But were not done - we haven't even touched upon the DVD-ROM content of
the set yet! That cumbersome PC Friendly interface is gone - each disc
has animated menus for your computer that mirror the style of the
DVD-Video menus. Each disc includes the complete screenplay of the film,
which you can browse scene by scene. As always, you can jump from the
script to that scene in the film at any time. But even better, you can
actually watch the scene in a small window, AS you follow along in the
script! Sweet! Each disc also features links to updated IMDB bios of the
cast & crew, Freddy's Portal web links to the
on Elm Street web site (where you can download screensavers,
play trivia games, buy stuff and lots more), screensavers, "Interactive
Freddy" characters (that you can e-mail to friends), and a Dream
World Trivia Game. On each disc, are 60 trivia questions, which are
asked in bunches of 20. if you answer 13 of 20 correctly, you get a
code, and you move on to the game on the next DVD in the set. Once you
have all 7 codes, you can access the game on the 8th disc. And if you
win that 8th game, you're entered (via the Net) in a drawing for prizes
from New Line. Whew! You also get a nifty 36-page booklet, and having
leafed through it, I can tell you that it's just icing on the cake.
As you can see, the Nightmare on Elm Street
boxed set promises to be a huge blast, and one of the biggest DVD "events"
the format as seen thus far. Best of all, the SRP on the WHOLE set is
only $129.98 ($20 LESS than Warner's Kubrick
Collection, which has an SRP of $149.92). The Minimum
Advertised Price (at retail) is $99, and you can get the set for even
less online ($77.99
at DVD Express, for example). You can be sure that we'll give you
full reviews of all 8 discs, as soon as we get our hands on the set. And
you can be sure that we CAN'T WAIT to get our hands on the set!
Thanks to the folks at New Line for their Editor's Day event, and for
giving us a preview of these cool DVDs. Just one last note - I've
learned that all of the elements for the studio's Austin
Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me DVD are currently being
approved by Mike Myers himself. The disc is on-schedule and should be
Finally today, some very good news: CEMA has reported that some 189,595
DVD players were shipped to retailers in the U.S. in the last week of
July. That gives July the second highest monthly sales total to date (at
325,151 - June was about 1,000 higher). It also moves our Region 1
player total to the very brink of 3 million players (currently 2,963,480
to be exact). 4 million players is starting to look VERY achievable by
the end of the year. Both the listing above and the
chart have been updated, so you can check out all the details for
yourself. Just FYI, you'll also notice above that, according to Nimbus,
we're just about to cross the 4,000 Region 1 DVD titles available mark
(not counting adult titles). Love this format, baby!
Well, I hope you all had a great weekend. I spent my time relaxing, and
seeing 3 movies: Deep Blue Sea,
Mystery Men, and The
Sixth Sense. Darned if all weren't completely enjoyable. Deep
Blue Sea is a B-movie in every sense of the word, and
thankfully, it doesn't take itself seriously. But it's got some great
scares, some excellent CGI and animatronic shark effects, and it throws
in some good surprises. I completely enjoyed it. There's also one great
moment that I won't spoil, that had the whole audience in stitches
(strangely enough). Go see it - it's good fun. Mystery
Men is also fun, although I think it would have benefitted
from some editing and script tightening - it gets a bit slow in parts.
But the performances are good, and the film definitely pokes fun at the
whole "superhero film" genre, with plenty of laughs along the
way. Finally, The Sixth Sense
sports a really creepy premise, some good scares and performances, and
an ending that holds a darned nifty twist. All three films are
definitely worth a watch.
Here at the Bits today, we'd like
to welcome a new DVD reviewer to the family - Frank Ortiz.
Frank's a good friend of mine, who is very knowledgable in home theater,
computers and lots of other technical areas. He's particularly
interested in music and concert DVDs, and DVD Audio, so you can expect
to see his work here cover those areas. In the meantime, we're kicking
things off with Frank, by posting his first two DVD reviews:
Ned Devine and
Wedding Singer. Feel free to drop Frank an
e-mail, say hello and
welcome him to the site. I think you'll really enjoy his work. Glad to
have you aboard, Frank!
In other news, DTS
has announced a bunch of
DTS-encoded DVD titles, and promises lots more titles in the
future. You can check out the list of current titles at the link
provided, as well as a
file of upcoming titles (Adobe
Acrobat is required to view the file). And word is that DTS may be
working with Buena Vista and Fox to release their films on DTS-encoded
DVDs in the near future.
Also today, we have a few more details on those Columbia TriStar DVDs
for you. The Blue Lagoon and Hard
Eight will both be special edition DVDs, to be released on
October 5th. Blue Lagoon will have
two commentaries (with the director, screenwriter, and both Brooke
Shields and Christopher Atkins among others), a featurette, Brooke
Shield's personal photos, and "talent files". Hard
Eight will also include dual audio commentaries, as well as a
deleted scene, a trio of Sundance Institute Filmmaker Lab scenes, and
Also coming are Desert Heat and
The Night of the Living Dead
(1990) on September 28th. Desert Heat
will have a Jean-Claude Van Damme featurette (you can be SURE that as
soon as it streets, we'll add it to
DAMAGE!), as well as talent files. Night
of the Living Dead will include a "making-of"
featurette, talent files, and audio commentary with director Tom Savini.
Finally today, DVD
International has issued a press release, claiming that they (and
not Artisan) will be releasing the first DVD-18 title to market: Aquaria.
The title, which streets on September 28th (SRP $24.98) is 20 hours
worth of fish tank wallpaper for your TV, in full frame, letterboxed
widescreen, and anamorphic widescreen. Multiple DD 5.1 audio tracks are
also included. I can just imagine hearing that goldfish swim around
behind my head. I wish they'd just do more Earthlight
The fifth and final day of our
DAMAGE! review fest is here! Today we've got a look at the
last 3 Van Damme DVD titles currently available: Cyborg,
Black Eagle and Kickboxer.
And with these last few reviews, we're very pleased to say that we now
have reviews for fully 200 DVD titles available for you to read here at
the Bits! Todd and I have been
working hard towards this day, and we're very happy about it - this is
something of a milestone for us. Rest assured, we've got lots more for
you very soon.
For those of you who jones heavy over
DVD cover artwork, we've got The Matrix
up today, on
6 of our DVD art section.
Those busy folks over at Columbia TriStar have announced even more
upcoming DVD titles. Look for The City of
Lost Children (16x9, commentary, costume design &
production artwork galleries, and talent files), Heavy
(commentary - widescreen, but no word on anamorphic), and Someone
to Watch Over Me (full frame, 16x9, talent files), all on
9/21, for an SRP of $27.95 (Someone to Watch
Over Me is $24.95).
And for October, Columbia TriStar has The
Thirteenth Floor (with 16x9, audio commentaries, a "before
and after" effects gallery, conceptual art, talent files, DVD-ROM
features, and The Cardigans Erase/Rewind
music video), The Monster (16x9,
with Robert Benigni talent files), and This
is My Father (with 16x9, audio commentary, and talent files).
All are expected on 10/5, at an SRP of $24.95.
Finally, Sony Music has a host of titles on the way as well. Look for
VH1 Pop-Up Videos (8/17), Doors
of Wonder: Little Witch and John
Denver: The Wildlife Concert (both 8/31), MTV's
Celebrity Death Match and Charlotte
Church: Voice of an Angel (both 9/7), Golden
Books: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (9/14), and Alice
In Chains: MTV Unplugged, Ricky
Martin Video Compilation, Karajan
Legacy: New Year's Concert 1988 - Kissin, Karajan
Legacy: Beethoven Violin Concerto - Mutter, Karajan
Legacy: Beethoven Symphony 2&3, and Karajan
Legacy Beethoven Symphony 4&5 (all 9/21). All of these
titles will list for $24.98, except Rudolph,
which will list for $19.98. All will have Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM
2-channel tracks (except the Karajan
titles, which will have only PCM).
I'm told the John Denver title,
which was first announced a year ago, will feature exceptional video and
audio quality. The 5.1 remix for Alice In
Chains was supervised by Toby Wright, the original producer
for the broadcast and CD, so it should be one of Sony Music's best yet.
The second edition of Best of Sessions
is expected in October, and a George Michael collection is currently set
for November. Best of all, Sony expects their Pink
Floyd's The Wall DVD to also ship in October, with a brand
new hi-def, anamorphic transfer, a full 5.1 soundtrack, a brand new
Roger Waters commentary (and possibly other commentaries as well), an
additional song (Hey You) which
was cut from the original release, and fully animated menu screens. It
should be extremely cool.
Have a great weekend, and see you soon!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/5/99 - 3 PM PDT)
As promised, here's Day Four of
DAMAGE! Freshly posted for all you Van Damme fans out there
today, are reviews of Nowhere to Run,
Universal Soldier and Lionheart.
But that's not all - not by a long shot. We've also just posted our
full-length first look at the first of Universal's classic horror DVDs,
none other than the original
Both Todd and I have been through this disc, and it's just terrific -
absolutely worth the wait. It streets on August 17th, so just trust us
and get in line for it now!
Back with more tomorrow!
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/5/99 - 3 AM PDT)
I wanted to squeak in an early morning update today, for all those of
you who check the Bits out first
thing when you get to work (hey - it's a coffee break!). We've got some
hot information for you today in the Rumor
Mill. We've managed to get our hands on Paramount's expected
DVD release list well into December (we're talkin' some big catalog
titles here, and LOTS of stuff for you Trekkies), and we've got some
late-breaking information on that Blair Witch
Project DVD we told you about. Need I say the words? Do not
miss it. Okay... I said the words. ;-)
Columbia TriStar has announced DVD versions of Alvarez
Kelly, and The Who's classic rock opera Tommy,
for September 14th. Alvarez Kelly
will feature Dolby Digital Mono audio, and three trailers (including one
for The Bridge on the River Kwai).
Tommy will be in full Dolby
Digital 5.1. Both discs will include full frame, anamorphic widescreen,
and talent files, and will SRP for $24.95.
Also, Universal has announced their October DVD slate, which includes
their next classic horror DVD, The Bride of
Frankenstein, along with The
Hercules Collection, Liar, Liar:
Collector's Edition, and Life,
all of which street on October 19th. Bride of
Frankenstein will include audio commentary, a David J. Skal
documentary, and more (SRP $29.98). The
Hercules Collection includes 4 discs (a Hercules
TV disc with 2 episodes, a Xena TV
disc with 3 episodes, Young Hercules,
and Hercules & Xena: The Battle for Mount
Olympus) - SRP is yet to be decided. The Liar,
Liar: CE will include anamorphic widescreen (yeah!),
commentary, a featurette, trailers, photo, production notes, a trailer
and more (SRP $34.98). Eddie Murphy's Life
will also include anamorphic widescreen, along with a trailer (SRP
And Image Entertainment has announced a pair of cool DVD boxed sets,
both of which street on October 12th (SRP $59.99): The
Marx Brothers Box and RoboBox.
The Marx Brothers includes three
of Image's DVDs for Universal in one set (Animal
Crackers, Duck Soup,
and Horse Feathers). And RoboBox,
as you might guess, will contain Image's RoboCop
1-3 discs in one set. Very cool.
We'll be back later today with more DVD reviews, including Day Four of
DAMAGE! Stay tuned...
DAMAGE! continues into its third day today, with three more
DVD reviews: Street Fighter: Collector's
Edition, Timecop and
Hard Target. Thanks to all of you
who have e-mailed us to say that you're enjoying this collected look at
a particular actor's DVD work. After the popularity of this, and our
recent Kubrick reviews, we're thinking of highlighting the work of some
other directors or actors as well. Be sure to let Todd or I know if you
have any suggestions.
Columbia TriStar has announced another upcoming DVD title. Look for a
Sleepless in Seattle: Special Edition
on September 28th, with audio commentary by Nora and Delia Ephron, a
featurette, the When I Fall in Love
music video by Celene Dion and Clive Griffin, talent files and more. SRP
will be $27.95. Columbia also has an Immortal
Beloved: Special Edition DVD scheduled for the same day,
which will include audio commentary, featurettes and more. Once again,
SRP is $27.95.
As for other upcoming DVDs, look for The
Matrix to include storyboards, an isolated score, audio
commentary, featurettes and behind-the-scenes footage, among other
things. Warner also has Lost & Found
set for October 5th, and Goodbye Lover
on October 12th.
Yessir... it's Day Two of our
DAMAGE! review fest! Today, we've got a look at DVD versions
of Legionnaire, The
Quest, and Sudden Death.
And I've just posted my long-overdue, full-length review of Columbia
Collector's Series DVD, which gets my vote for damn near the
best of the year so far. It's a very cool disc, so do check it out.
Several good new titles have been announced over the last few days.
Columbia TriStar announced The Thirteenth
Floor (which goes head-to-head with The
Matrix on September 21st), This is
My Father (also 9/21), Desert Heat
(9/28), and Muppets From Space
(10/26). Artisan Entertainment is weighing in with a DVD version of the
television miniseries Joan of Arc,
as part of their Halmark series. Look for that on September 28th.
They've also got Black Mask on the
way (10/19). Warner is working on Thumbelina
for 9/21, and they're also reissuing A
Christmas Story (in 16x9 widescreen), and How
the Grinch Stole Christmas/Horton Hears a Who on 8/24 (Horton
will have a lower SRP than the MGM version - $19.98). HBO is readying
Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You For the Last
Time, and Tales From the Crypt:
The Robert Zemeckis Collection (both on 9/7). And Monty
Python's Flying Circus: Sets 3 and 4 are both now set for
11/16 from A&E.
Entertainment has a huge new batch of their own titles to announce
today. Be sure to check out their
News page, and their
where you'll find the scoop on tons of new DVDs, including such titles
as Baron Blood, The
Phantom of the Opera (starring Burt Lancaster), a DTS version
of Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and
Music and lots more. And there's even better news. Image has
two new DVD product lines of classic British and European horror films:
the EuroShock and Mario Bava collections. Very cool!
See you tomorrow!
Hope you all had a great weekend, DVD-fans! I'm just going to make some
brief comments here today, as I'm working hard to get lots of stuff
posted. But I can tell you that the Bits
is very proud to present you with none other than...
DAMAGE! It's our tongue-in-cheek look at some 15 of action
star Jean-Claude Van Damme's films on DVD. Yep, there's one thing you
can say for sure... the Muscles from Brussels has been good to DVD.
We've got 3 of his films reviewed today: Knock
Off, Double Team and
Maximum Risk. And every day this
week, we'll be adding 3 more. Why Van Damme you ask? Why the hell not?
Somebody had to follow up our look at Kubrick...! ;-)
Around the Net today, there's
of some new head-honchos being appointed to run the show over at
Warner. And Toshiba
has also announced the first CD-RW drive, with DVD-ROM capability.
Speaking of Warner,
studio has revealed that they're hoping their upcoming Matrix
DVD (which streets on September 21st, as we've reported) will become the
first DVD title to sell 1 million copies. We at the Bits
wouldn't bet against it. Despite the fact that Titanic
debuts on the format a month earlier, it will be only a non-anamorphic,
bare-bones disc, while The Matrix
will be a fully-loaded special edition, perfectly tailored to the
average DVD consumer. And The Matrix
is only available for sale on DVD. The disc will contain
behind-the-scenes footage, the complete screenplay, over 700
storyboards, and special scenes shot specifically for DVD during the
film's production. A live, online event (a la Ronin)
will be held a month after the disc's release. Very cool.
I'll be back later with that Ghostbusters
review, and we'll have lots more tomorrow. See you then!
Surprise - a rare Saturday update of the Bits!
So is everyone enjoying their weekend? I know I am - too many late
nights working on the site. Working until 3AM every night gets a little
rough after a while, let me tell you. I'm starting to feel like one of
those mole people from campy '50s sci-fi - the ones who live underground
and never see the light of day....
We've announced the winner for our July Trivia
Contest. Congratulations to Brian Phelps of Auburn, Alabama!
Brian correctly answered all of the crossword puzzle questions, and was
chosen at random to win the Sony DVD player. And thanks to all 736
readers who entered. We'll get the August Trivia
Contest up soon.
I've just posted our full-length review of Fox's
Resurrection DVD, so we now have all of the Alien
films reviewed here at the Bits.
And Todd has finished his look at Paramount's new anamorphic widescreen
with Mel Gibson. I really have to give Paramount a lot of credit. With
the annoying exception of Titanic,
they've been very supportive of DVD's anamorphic capabilities (and I'm
told the Titanic decision was made
way back in January, prior to their 16x9 commitment). Almost everything
they've released lately has been 16x9 enhanced. Well done, Paramount.
Titanic still pisses me off,
almost enough for me to stick with my laserdisc version, but I'll
forgive you if you can get an anamorphic widescreen Braveheart
out in time for the holidays... ;-)
It's come to my attention that we haven't been reviewing much Columbia
TriStar DVD product around here lately, so I'm fixing to remedy that in
a hurry. I've been going over their Ghostbusters:
Collector's Series DVD, and I'd definitely give it my vote
for one of the very best discs of the year so far. Look for a
long-overdue review on Monday. And Todd's got something very special
planned for you in the next week or so, in terms of disc reviews. I'll
just give you one clue: the Muscles from Brussels. Chew on that one for
a few days!
We've updated our CEMA DVD Player sales chart, to include the latest
numbers - 62,280 players sold to retailers in the week ending July 23rd.
At this pace, July is likely to be another very strong month for DVD.
chart and the listing above have been updated
We've also updated our
100 Films on DVD list again, to include Warner's upcoming Rebel
Without a Cause DVD, which streets on 9/21. By the way, we've
had several people say that The Jazz Singer
is already out on DVD... and that's true, but not the one on the AFI
list. That's the 1927 Jazz Singer,
starring Al Jolson, which was the first-ever "talking"
picture. The 1980 Neil Diamond version, sadly, doesn't count.
Around the Net today, there's
good article on the lessons to be learned following the demise of
Divx, over at PCWeek
Online (via ZDnet). It's funny how we're hearing less and
less about Divx these days, after two years of rallying against it. I
was talking with a buddy over at The Good Guys the other day, and
discovered that they're selling Divx discs for 99 cents now - but they
still aren't moving. "We can't give them away," was my
friend's comment. I'm just glad Divx is gone, so I can feel good about
patronizing Good Guys again. I dig the sales guys at my local store -
it's one of my favorite places to shop for gear. Why... it's almost like
Divx never existed at all. ;-)
Also, electronics giant Matsushita (that's Panasonic to you and me) has
announced that they'll market a pair of DVD-Audio capable DVD players in
the States in October (click
here for the press release).
Have a great weekend, everybody!
We've got a big update for you here at the Bits
today. To start things off, we've updated our
DVD Art section, to remove old artwork, and add some 49 new
cover scans. We've got new artwork for such titles as The
Mummy (both versions), Strange
Days, Excalibur, The
American President, Monty Python
and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's
And Now for Something Completely Different, The
For All Mankind, The
Prince of Egypt, The Avengers
and Star Trek TV episodes discs,
and the list goes on and on... whew!
We've updated our
100 Films on DVD list as well, to include Patton,
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, All
About Eve, and It Happened One
Night, all of which are now in the works for release later
this year. And our Top 10 Selling DVD list has also
been updated to include last week's VideoScan numbers.
Finally, we've got three new DVD reviews for you. Todd has weighed in
on the new Clerks:
Collector's Series and
Springer: Too Hot for TV 2000 (no, I'm not kidding), and I've
posted my review of
Faculty as well. And don't forget our full-length look at
Warner's long-awaited Heat
disc, which we posted late yesterday. How's that for exceeding your
daily dose of DVD?
In other news, Columbia TriStar has just announced a series of new DVD
releases for September 7th: The Buddy Holly
Story ($24.95, with audio commentary, "talent files",
trailer, full frame and 16x9 widescreen), Tingler:
40th Anniversary ($24.95, with featurette, "Scream"
sequence, "talent files", two trailers and 16x9 widescreen),
Fright Night ($24.95, with
trailer, full frame and 16x9 widescreen), and Monty
Python and the Holy Grail ($24.95, with 4 trailers and 16x9
No, I haven't forgotten about that digital projection story. It's still
coming. We'll have that and some more reviews for you tomorrow. I know,
I know... you'll believe it when you see it. :-)
Have a great day, gang!
Well, I think we've got our technical difficulties mostly solved. Or,
let me rephrase that - I think my cable service provider has THEIR
technical difficulties resolved. And while we regroup here at the Bits,
I've got something special for you - another big Rumor
Mill update, with lots more upcoming DVD title information!
We've got unofficial street dates through the end of '99, for titles
like The Matrix, Austin
Powers 2, Life is Beautiful
and more. And we've also got some exciting information on Artisan's
plans for their upcoming The Blair Witch
Project DVD release. Don't miss it!
Entertainment has updated their
News page once more, to include DreamWorks' Forces
of Nature, Columbia's The
Thirteenth Floor, Paramount's Breakfast
at Tiffany's and more. Looks like Columbia is also
re-releasing several titles as double feature discs.
Finally, my full-length review of Warner's new DVD release of
has just been posted. Did Warner make good after a year-long wait? Check
out our review and find out.
All right, after going back and forth with my cable service provider,
I'm told that the problems with my cable modem will be resolved this
afternoon. In the meantime, using the laptop again, I've managed to get
most of today's update up.
I've just posted the last two of our Kubrick disc reviews,
of Glory and
Lyndon. We're pleased to say that we now have
reviews of every Kubrick film currently available on DVD here at
the Bits. Sadly, few of them are
of very good quality. But at least you can arm yourself with that
knowledge as you begin to explore the director's work on DVD.
We've updated our DVD Titles Released and/or Announced
number again - we're up to 3,829 net titles available (excluding adult
titles). That number seems to be growing faster as the year goes on.
For whatever reason, in the last 24 hours I've been asked by numerous
readers to confirm or deny rumors regarding a possible Planet
of the Apes DVD box set coming from Fox, as well as details
on the upcoming Warner DVD of The Matrix.
I haven't had time to explore what information is being posted around
the Net, or where it's coming from, but we can talk a little about these
titles. First of all, Fox is not saying anything about a Planet
of the Apes set, even if one is in the works. I can tell you,
that we at the Bits do know menu
screens have been done for at least the first film, and that at least
the first film will be available late this year, or early next year. But
anything else is speculation - there's just too much going on over at
Fox right now to get reliable information. As for The
Matrix, Warner HAS NOT announced the title officially yet,
but I'm told to expect such an announcement within the next 10 days or
so. Until then, a WHV spokesperson has told me that most of what has
been published on the Net about this title is not accurate. So let's
just wait and see - the official details will soon be available.
Normally, this next bit of information would be posted to the Rumor
Mill, but with my cable modem troubles, I'm just going to
post it here (all the usual disclaimers apply): Buena Vista sources have
again confirmed to me that a handful of their classic Disney animated
films WILL find their way to DVD before the end of the year. There's
still a great deal of discussion going on at the studio as to which
titles will be released, and what the features will be, but I can say
that at least a couple will likely be older titles, originally presented
in Academy Standard aspect ratio (so anamorphic widescreen will not
apply to some of them). Look for them by the holidays, but possibly much
earlier if all goes well. There's no word yet on specific announcements,
but you'd have to believe that we'll probably hear something in the next
30 to 60 days, in order for retailers to make adequate sales
Back to Warner again - the studio HAS officially announced their August
slate, which will include Analyze This
(8/17 - $24.98, with commentary and a gag-reel), Message
in a Bottle (8/3 - $24.98, with commentary, deleted scenes
and "hidden" documentary effects segments), True
Crime (8/10 - $24.98, with two featurettes), The
American President (8/31 - $19.98, with a theatrical
trailer), and the Monterey Jazz Festival:
Forty Legendary Years (8/31 - $19.98). The $19.98 price on
American President is confirmed by
WHV - their press release mistakenly indicated $24.98.
Finally today, you can now check out George Lucas's recent Star
Wars DVD comments (made on the British show The
Big Breakfast) for yourself. Just pop on over to the
Home website, where you will find a text transcript, along
with MP3 audio and Real Video files of the relevant discussion. Nice
I'll be back as soon as my cable modem is operational again with that
digital projection story (which has been updated to include information
about the new Tarzan projections)
- there are just too many pictures to post it from the laptop. And you
can expect a full-length review of Warner's new Heat
DVD for tomorrow.
Well, I've been struggling with cable modem problems (apparently the
local node in my neighborhood crapped out again) since early Sunday
morning. I've got a bunch of stuff ready to post, and will get it up as
soon as possible tonight. I'm making this update from my laptop and, if
I have to, I'll post everything like this later this evening. Hopefully,
things will be worked out by later today. I definitely live my life by
technology, but every now and then, that mysterious ghost in the machine
jumps out and bites you square on the ass. Go figure.
In the meantime, I've posted Todd's look at some Hong Kong cinema:
Films of Wong Kar-wai on DVD. Todd reviews a trio of the
director's work on the format: Ashes of Time,
Fallen Angles and Happy
Together. Do check it out.
Thanks for bearing with us. Back later...
Well, after the flurry of exciting developments yesterday, we're
working to get back on top of things here at the Bits.
We've been doing some more housekeeping work, and have finally caught up
on some of the things we've needed to do for a while.
First of all, we reposted our news on Miramax's upcoming 16x9 Shakespeare
in Love DVD in the Rumor
Mill today, as we know that lots of people read that section
of the Bits every day, but may
just skim this column. If you read yesterday's post, just ignore it -
it's the same text. But we felt that the news was too important for
anyone to miss.
We've also added two new reviews today. Todd has checked in with a look
at Criterion's new
DVD, which stars Stellan Skarsgård (whom you may remember from
Ronin). The disc has the
distinction of being Criterion's first (and LONG overdue) foray into
anamorphic widescreen on DVD (and let's hope it's just the first of
many). And, as Todd says, it's also a damned good film. I've also
updated my Alien:
20th Anniversary Edition review, to include a brief look at
Alien Legacy documentary disc, which is available by special
mail-in offer, if you purchase Fox's complete Alien
Legacy Collection. And yes, for those of you who have been
asking, we will be reviewing Alien
Resurrection very soon.
We've updated the CEMA DVD Player sales numbers again today, for sales
data from the week ending 7/16 - 31,122 players sold. Both the
listing above, and the
chart have been updated.
Finally today, we do promise to have our oft-delayed Star
Wars digital projection story up this weekend. With all of
the upcoming title and Miramax stuff we've uncovered over the last few
days, it's been tough to get everything posted. But we do expect that to
be posted over the weekend. And, as both Todd and I have been busy
spinning discs, we will have a number of new reviews up for Monday,
including the last two Kubrick titles, and lots more.
In the meantime, for those of you who missed the Star
Wars digital projection, DLP
Cinema has just announced the first animated feature film to be
digitally projected: Disney's Tarzan.
The film begins screening today at three theaters: AMC Pleasure Island
24 (Lake Buena Vista, FL), AMC Media Center 6 (Burbank, CA), and the
Edwards Irvine Spectrum (Irvine, CA). If you have access to any of these
theaters, I highly recommend that you check it out. You'll be very
surprised at how good it looks.
Anyway, that's all for now. Have yourselves a great weekend!