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page updated: 11/17/09



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 11/4/09 - 9/30/09)


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11/4/09

Okay... Blu-Con 2.0 went well yesterday. I'll have a full report for you tomorrow, as I really need to take some time to go over all my notes. But I wanted to check in today with some reviews and a little bit of new release news...

First up, we've got a couple of new Blu-ray reviews for you. Barrie Maxwell has taken a good look at Warner's outstanding new North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Edition, and Jeff's given Paramount's new G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra a spin for you. Both are now available, and it sounds like the former in particular is well worth your time.

On the announcement front, Warner Home Video has announced a slate of titles due over the next few months, including The Green Mile on Blu-ray (in book packaging - the same one that's now available exclusively at Best Buy) and Gremlins on Blu-ray (the same one now available exclusively at Target) on 12/1, Alice in Wonderland (1966 - for the BBC) 2/9, Lark Rise to Candelford: Season Two (for the BBC) on 2/16, NFL Run for the Championship 2009 Season in Review and Night Court: The Complete Third Season on 2/23, Doctor Who: Dalek War (for the BBC) on 3/2, and NFL Super Bowl XLIV Champions on both DVD and Blu-ray on 3/9.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox will release Drew Barrymore's Whip It on DVD and Blu-ray on 1/26/10 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99). The Blu-ray will also include a Digital Copy.

Speaking of Fox, be sure to check The Rumor Mill today for word on a trio of upcoming titles planned for Blu-ray Disc release in 2010.

And for you music fans, Eagle Rock has announced Earth, Wind & Fire: Live at Montreux 1997, Billy Idol: In Super Overdrive Live, Santana Presents Blues at Montreux 2004 and Marilyn Manson's Guns, Gods and Government: Live in L.A. on Blu-ray Disc on 11/17 (SRP $24.98 each).

Here's a look at the cover art for Sony's It Might Get Loud on both DVD and Blu-ray (due 12/22) as well as Warner's The Time Traveler's Wife on Blu-ray (2/9/10)...

The Time Traveler's Wife (Blu-ray Disc)It Might Get Loud (Blu-ray Disc)It Might Get Loud

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

11/3/09

Morning, all! We're off to Blu-Con 2.0 for the afternoon to catch up on all the latest industry developments with the Blu-ray Disc format, but we've got a quick review for you to enjoy first...

I've just given Warner's new Blu-ray edition of Robert Zemeckis' Contact a spin on your behalf, and darned if it isn't pretty good. The A/V quality is quite nice (someone's doing excellent mastering work on Warner's recent catalog HD transfers) and all of the extras from the original DVD release have carried over. You even get a new 5.1 music-only track exclusive to Blu-ray. Enjoy!

Elsewhere here at The Bits today, we've posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section as usual, featuring all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order after clicking to Amazon though our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it!

We've also got a new Giveaway running here at The Bits today, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner and the BBC's Red Dwarf: Return to Earth and Fox's Aliens in the Attic on DVD. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, November 15th. Click on the links and follow the instructions to enter. Good luck!

Finally, we do have one more bit of news - an update on the Ponyo release mention from yesterday. It would appear that after Disney printed up those promotional inserts (in the Up BD) listing Miyazaki's Ponyo as streeting on 12/8, the street date was pushed back into 2010. According to disc producer Frank Marshall's Twitter page, the title is now slated for release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 3/2/10. So just ignore those inserts when you see them. Thanks to all the readers who e-mailed us with this overnight.

Back tomorrow with a report on Blu-Con and all the latest release news updates. Stay tuned...

11/2/09

Afternoon, folks! I hope the Halloween weekend treated you all well. Personally, I'm in fine spirits after watching my Vikings complete a season sweep of the Green Bay Packers. It doesn't get much better than that for Vikings fans. Plus, Sarah and I spent some time with family last night watching the World Series, and we caught a screening of the Michael Jackson film, This Is It, on Saturday too. It's actually better than I was expecting. For the first 30 minutes, I kept thinking that Jackson really didn't sound that good, but then I realized that since this was rehearsal footage we were watching, he was saving his voice. (He even says as much at one point.) Later in the film he goes all out however, and you remember - yeah, the guy really WAS every bit as talented as the hype would have you believe. Sounds like Sony is extending the theatrical run through Thanksgiving, so if you're interested do check it out.

I'm getting ready to head up to the Blu-Con 2.0 conference in L.A. tomorrow, so I don't have a tons of news to report today. However, there are couple of things worth mentioning...

First, I've confirmed with the folks at Criterion that their rights to Carol Reed's The Third Man have expired, and so for now the recent DVD and Blu-ray versions are to be considered out-of-print. That means those copies that are now on stores shelves or happen to be sitting in the warehouse are all that's left. (You can click on the links to order from Amazon while supplies last.) So if you want either version, grab 'em fast while you still can.

Meanwhile, Sony has announced that Cliffhanger and The Last Action Hero will arrive on Blu-ray Disc on 1/12/10 (SRP $24.95 each). Also coming on 1/12 on DVD are The Moment After, The Theory of Everything, Damages: The Complete Second Season and By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.

Disney will be releasing Hayao Miyazaki's animated Ponyo on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/8... at least according to an insert included in the new Blu-ray version of Disney and Pixar's Up (a review of which will be posted later this week).

And Disney and Miramax have also confirmed the 12/22 DVD and Blu-ray street date for Mike Judge's Extract.

Speaking of Blu-ray reviews, I thought you might enjoy a couple today, so here's my take on MGM and Fox's new Rocky: The Undisputed Collection box set, as well as Eagle Rock and Vivendi's Monty Python: Almost the Truth - The Lawyer's Cut. Both are worthy of your attention, so enjoy.

And before we leave you today, fan voting for Home Media's 6th Annual TV DVD Awards is now open, so be sure to go make your picks. I was again fortunate to serve as a judge this year, so I'm as eager to see the results as you are. The winners will be announced in December.

That's all for now. Stay tuned!

10/30/09

IT IS FINISHED!

Yes, today marks the final day of Dr. Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest for 2009. And with it comes the final review: Warner's direct-to-disc chiller Trick 'r Treat on Blu-ray! How do you like them apples? Seems like everyone on the planet's doing a Halloween daily review thing these days, but Jahnke's was first (we're pretty sure!) and he's delivered again this year. We really hope you've all enjoyed his Fest III! Be sure to drop Adam an e-mail with feedback and suggestions for Fest IV!

And if you're still in the review readin' mood, I've got a couple more for you today... DreamWorks and Paramount's new Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on Blu-ray, along with PBS's The National Parks: A Ken Burns Film, also distributed Paramount. I'm working on a BUNCH more BD reviews for next week, including Heat, The Prisoner and more, so do check back on Monday.

In terms of release news today, we have a couple updates for you. Industry sources have checked in with word that Michael Jackson's This is It will street on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony sometime in January. As I expected, Sony was hoping to get it out on disc right before the holidays but, according to the L.A. Times, theatre owners weren't too happy about the idea so Sony backed down. I think that's INSANE. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the film is only out in theatres for TWO WEEKS. So how does a late December home video release of this one title cut into the profits of theatres that won't even have been running the film at that point for over a month? Sony could have waited to announce until after the theatrical run ended - what's the big deal? I know theatre owners are desperately trying to protect their turf, but come on. That's a little much. I really want the theatre-going experience to be preserved, but I think theatre owners are their own worst enemy. What they OUGHT to be cracking down on are excessive concession prices, forcing guests to sit though TV commercials passed off as "entertainment" before the movie starts, lousy projection quality, and people talking, cell phones ringing and infants crying during the movie. If they made the movie-going experience fun and affordable again, they might actually get people back. But whatever. That's a rant for another day. We'll get you the exact street date as soon as it's announced.

Also yet to be officially announced by Sony - but revealed on Bowie.net (check the 10/13 post) - is word that Duncan Jones' Moon will hit DVD and Blu-ray on 1/12/10 in the States. This lines up with what we've heard unofficially from Sony, but keep in mind they haven't officially announced yet, so stay tuned for updates.

In other news, it seems that Sears (and likely a lot of other retailers) are going to be selling Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players for under $150 on Black Friday. Video Business has a story up on this today.

In new release news, Warner has set The Time Traveler's Wife for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 2/9/09 (SRP $28.98 and $35.99). Extras will include a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes and more. [Editor's Note: No, the studio is not going back in time to release this title, though that would be a surprisingly clever promotion. The street date is 2/9/10. Sorry for the confusion!]

We've saved the biggest news for last: We've been saying for a while now that other studios would likely be emulating WHV's Warner Archive program, and it appears that Universal has now become the first to announce their own DVD-R "burn on demand" archive of classic and deep catalog titles. According to this report in Variety, they're partnering with TCM on the service, dubbed TCM Vault Collection Presented by Universal. It opens today at TCM.com, with titles available at the initial price of $19.99. They're going to find, I think, that that price is a tad high, but a lot of it will depend on quality, selection and demand. Initially available are Murders in the Zoo (1933), Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942), The Strange Case of Dr. RX (1942), The Mad Ghoul (1943) and House of Horrors (1946). Coming on 11/22 are Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Remember the Night (1940), followed by the Cary Grant films The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), The Devil and the Deep 1932) and The Last Outpost (1935) in January. Additional titles are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. [Editor's Note: TCM needs to do a little more to make the program stand out on their website, because it seems to be lost in the clutter - you'll find it in their Shop section.]

And finally a bit of sad news: Somehow we missed this last week, but comedian Soupy Sales has passed away. Soupy appeared on his own kids show back in the 1950s, Lunch With Soupy Sales, and was a regular on TV game shows in the 60s and 70s. He's also appeared in scores of other TV shows and films over the years. He was 83.

And that's it for this week. Have a great and safe Halloween, and we'll see you back here on Monday! Spooks out...

10/29/09

All right... Dr. Jahnke's penultimate Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review for 2009 is a triple-threat: Adam's checked out Universal's John Carpenter: Master of Fear Collection and The Wes Craven Horror Collection, as well as Warner's TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Horror. There's a lotta good scares, creeps and chills in those three DVD boxes, so do check 'em out.

In release news today, this should come as no absolutely surprise: Sony has already unveiled release plans for Michael Jackson's This Is It. The film - in theatres now for just two weeks - will be available soon on DVD and Blu-ray (SRP $19.99 and $29.99). There will also be a music CD version ($14.99).No street date is given, but I think you can safely assume the street date will be prior to Christmas. In fact, I'd be surprised if it was much past Thanksgiving. [Editor's Note: The CD is actually NOW in stores. I'm told the DVD/BD street date will be announced soon.] We'll post more details as soon as they're available. In the meantime, Amazon.com already has the title available for pre-order and here's the cover art...

9: 2-Disc Special EditionThe Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth SeasonThe Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season (Blu-ray Disc)

In other release news today Warner Home Video has set Chuck: The Complete Second Season for DVD and Blu-ray on 1/5/10 (SRP $59.98 and $69.97). All 22 episodes will be included. Extras will include 4 featurettes (Truth, Spies and Regular Guys, Dude in Distress, Chuck: A Real-Life Captain Awesome's Tips for Being Awesome and John Casey Presents: So You Want to Be a Deadly Spy?), Declassified Scenes (deleted scenes), Chuck Versus the Webisodes (the online webisodes) and a gag reel.

And Universal has set A Perfect Getaway for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/29. Each will feature the film's unrated director's cut. The Blu-ray will add the original scripted ending.

Here's some more new cover art for you to check out: Both versions of Universal's Inglorious Bastards (due 12/15) and A Perfect Getaway, as well as Warner's Chuck: The Complete Second Season...

Inglorious Bastards (Blu-ray Disc)Inglorious BastardsChuck: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Chuck: The Complete Second SeasonA Perfect Getaway (Blu-ray Disc)A Perfect Getaway

Okay, I'll be back with new BD reviews later today, tonight and tomorrow. And don't forget - Adam's final Oktoberfest review will be here tomorrow as well! Stay tuned...

10/28/09

Morning, all! Let's get our Bits on early today, shall we?

First up, our good Dr. Jahnke has spent a little time with Chucky recently in order to bring you an Oktoberfest review of MGM and Fox's new Child's Play Blu-ray. Turns out it's pretty damn good. And there's just TWO more Oktoberfest reviews left to go this merry Halloween week, so do check back for them.

Poor Jahnke... dude's worked himself to the bone for you guys this year. Drop him a word of thanks if you get the chance. His... um... corpse really appreciates the feedback. Thank goodness he turned in his last two reviews early! Don't worry though, I'm sure we'll find some mad scientist to reanimate him for next year's Fest...

Dr. Adam Jahnke, circa Hell Plaza Oktoberfest III (10/2009)

Think we're done yet today? 'Cause we're not, so there! As it happens, our very own Barrie Maxwell has also been busy this October for you guys, and has turned in a lovely new Classic Coming Attractions column featuring all the latest classic release news and of course 11 disc reviews. Included this time around are VCI's Actors and Sin, Paramount's re-issue of My Fair Lady, Warner's The Male Animal, The Tall Target, Badman's Territory, Return of the Bad Men, The Wizard of Oz: Ultimate Collectors Edition (Blu-ray) and the TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams - Volume 2, Criterion's Mayerling, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Blu-ray), and Acorn Media's Traffik: 20th Anniversary Edition. Enjoy!

Don't forget about that Ares I-X rocket launch this morning. Should be cool.

Okay, NOW we're done. Stay tuned... ;)

10/27/09

There's a lot going on here at The Bits today - my damn phone's been ringing off the hook! Anyway, I'm working on a ton of new Blu-ray reviews for posting later this week, and we've got a new Classic Coming Attractions column from Barrie that will be shortly as well.

In the meantime today, Adam's Oktoberfest review for the day is another great Blu-ray title from our friends over at Blue Underground: Jorge Grau's The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. Enjoy!

Also here at the site today, we've updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of ANYTHING you buy from Amazon after clicking to them through our links helps to support our work here at The Bits, and we really appreciate it.

In release news today, Warner Home Video has officially announced a new Goodfellas: 20th Anniversary Edition that will be released on Blu-ray on 2/16 (SRP $34.99). Extras will include 34-page book packaging, commentary by director Martin Scorsese and members of the cast and crew, a second commentary with former mobster Henry Hill and ex-FBI agent Edward McDonald, the feature-length Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film documentary, 3 featurettes (Getting Made, Made Men: The Goodfellas Legacy and The Workaday Gangster), storyboard-to-film comparisons, the film's trailer and a set of 4 classic gangster-themed cartoons (I Like Mountain Music, She Was an Acrobat's Daughter, Racketeer Rabbit and Bugs and Thugs).

Meanwhile, Universal has set 9 for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/29 (SRP $29.98 and $39.98). Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Shane Acker, animation director Joe Ksander, head of story Ryan O'Loughlin and editor Nick Kenway, 4 featurettes (9: The Long and the Short of It, On Tour with Shane Acker, The Look of 9 and Acting Out), the original 9 short that inspired the film and more. The Blu-ray will also add a U-Control PiP viewing mode and more.

Universal has also just announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball on 1/19/10. Extras will include commentary with the director, a gag reel, deleted scenes and 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes.

And 20th Century Fox has set Jennifer's Body for Blu-ray Disc release on 12/29 (SRP $39.99). Even better yet, the studio will debut the first complete season of The Simpsons on Blu-ray in January! The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season will street on both DVD and Blu-ray on 1/12/10 (SRP $49.98 and $59.99).

I'm also pleased (and a bit sad) to see that Defying Gravity: The Complete First Season will arrive on DVD only on 1/19/10 (SRP $49.98). I'm pleased because the show deserves to be seen by more people than obviously checked it out on ABC, and because the 3-disc DVD set includes all 13 episodes - including 5 episodes that never aired on ABC (but were recently shown on Canada's Space Channel - let me tell you, they're pretty darned good). And I'm sad because the show's sets have been destroyed and 13 eps is all we'll ever get. Ah well. At least we'll always have the DVD.

Also, a quick update on yesterday's news: Sony has e-mailed us to say that the street date for Duncan Jones' Moon on DVD and Blu-ray is likely going to change from the 12/29 date we mentioned yesterday to sometime early in January. So just be advised and we'll update you with the final street date when Sony gives it to us.

In other news today, you remember that cool Easter egg we mentioned that's on Universal's Battlestar Galactica: The Plan DVD and Blu-ray (which streets today)? Well it was created by our old friend Mojo, and he's done a quick blog entry on it over on his site. He'll be posting more details on it soon. Think of it as a cool coda to the new Battlestar and a nifty homage to the original series too. It's easy to find, so do check it out.

Finally, here's something completely unrelated to DVD, but those of you who (like me) are interested in spaceflight will find it interesting: NASA is going to be conducting the first test flight tomorrow morning of the new Ares I rocket that may eventually help send astronauts back to the Moon. The launch is set for early tomorrow morning - sometime between 8 AM and Noon Eastern. You can follow along live tomorrow at NASA.gov or Spaceflight Now.

Here's a bit more new cover art for some of the aforementioned titles: Universal's 9: 2-Disc Special Edition DVD, both versions of Fox's The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season and the Defying Gravity: The Complete First Season on DVD, and Magnolias' Food, Inc. (11/3) and Disney's Extract (12/22) on Blu-ray...

9: 2-Disc Special EditionThe Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth SeasonThe Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Defying Gravity: The Complete First SeasonFood, Inc. (Blu-ray Disc)Extract (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow. Earlier this time! Stay tuned...

10/26/09

Afternoon, everyone. We've got a couple things for you today...

First, Dr. Jahnke kicks off the final week of his Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a review of MGM and Fox's Misery on Blu-ray Disc. Speaking of which, Jahnke's been working pretty hard on all these reviews, so do drop him an e-mail with some feedback and your own comments. He'll appreciate hearing from you.

Here's some cool release news: Sony will bow Duncan Jones' Moon on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/29. Extras will include two commentaries (one with Jones, D.P. Gary Shaw, F/X supervisor Gavin Rothery and production designer Tony Noble and one with Jones and producer Stuart Fenegen), 2 featurettes, 2 Q & A session videos and Jones' 2002 short film Whistle.

In addition, Sony has set Riding Giants and Dogtown and Z-Boys for release on Blu-ray Disc on 1/5/10. Also coming on that day is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on both DVD and Blu-ray, and Lorna's Silence on DVD only.

Disney has already set Bruce Willis latest actioner, Surrogates, for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 1/26/10 (SRP $29.99 and $39.99). The DVD will include audio commentary with director Jonathan Mostow and Breaking Benjamin's I Will Not Bow music video. The Blu-ray will add deleted scenes and 2 featurettes (A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates and Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life).

Disney and Miramax are also releasing The Boys Are Back, starring Clive Owen, on DVD only on 1/16/10 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include a pair of featurettes.

Anchor Bay will release Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Red Mist (a.k.a.: Freakdog) and Sands of Oblivion on Blu-ray on 12/8.

And Lionsgate has just officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Gamer and Weeds: Season Five on 1/19/10, along with the DVD only releases of Blood Creek and Fraggle Rock: The Complete Animated Series. The Gamer DVD will include audio commentary with the filmmakers and cast, a behind-the-scenes documentary and a featurette on the film's unique cinematography. The Blu-ray will add the interactive I-Con viewing mode with expanded visual commentary, scene-specific commentaries and a never-before-seen trailer for the film, as well as BD-Touch, Metamenu Remote and D-Box compatibility.

In other news today, Sony has just announced that they're making Netflix movie streaming access available to PS3 owners free of charge. The move is part of an effort to gain ground on Microsoft's Xbox 360. The company also recently dropped the PS3's price, which (according to NPD) pushed Sony to the top sales position in the U.S. in the month of September. You can read more here via Reuters.

By the way, I've gotten a lot of good feedback from you guys about Windows 7 and the Kindle book reader, so thanks for your thoughts and advice. Much appreciated.

Finally today, I just wanted to dedicate today's post to a woman named Lucile Moses. In her youth, Lucile was a traveling Chautauqua actor who toured the country in the early 1930s performing in tents, parks and small theatres. She even lived and worked in Hollywood for a brief time in the 1930s trying to break into the film business, and had a number of pretty amazing experiences. As it happens, Lucile was also my wife Sarah's grandmother and she passed away last week in Ottumwa, Iowa just a month shy of her 99th birthday. She was an amazing person, who is loved by many and will be terribly missed. We should all be so lucky to have as full and wonderful a life.

Lucile Moses

Okay, time to work on more new Blu-ray Disc reviews for you. Check back soon and stay tuned...

10/23/09

Let's send this week off with a bang, shall we? Or at least a creep...

Yes, the good Doctor closes out Week Three of his Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a review of Sony's new Night of the Creeps: Director's Cut on Blu-ray, which streets on this coming Tuesday (a DVD version is also available). Tough to beat that with a stick/mallet/bludgeon, right?

We've got a couple more title announcements to report today...

First, our friends over at Blue Underground have set George A. Romero's 1973 pandemic classic, The Crazies, for Blu-ray Disc release on 2/23/10 (SRP $29.95). Extras will include audio commentary with Romero, The Cult Film Legacy of Lynn Lowry interview featurette, theatrical trailers and TV spots. I love that offbeat stuff like this is coming to Blu-ray! Hats off to B.U. for treating these little B-grade gems right.

Also today, Anchor Bay Entertainment has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Open Road on 11/17, starring Jeff Bridges and Justin Timberlake. The Dude meets N'Sync. Not sure what to think of that, but seems like it would appeal to both demos in my house.

In other news today, Apple finally unveiled their new line-up of iMacs last week, but once again bucked rumors by not including Blu-ray drives.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has officially launched its new Windows 7 operating system to surprisingly good reviews. I'll admit, this PC is curious. Looks like it's optimized to really work well in terms of sending digital media content across your home network and to and from the Internet. I haven't picked it up yet, but if any of you have, please let me know what you think.

And finally in the techo-geek world, Barnes and Noble has just officially launched its own digital book reader - the Nook (SRP $259), which is designed to go after Amazon's Kindle market. Looks like it's got some cool features the Kindle doesn't. At the very least, the Kindle and the Nook should push each other into greater technological improvements. And hopefully a bit of a price war. $399 and $299 are just a little high. Even $259. But at $199... I just might bite. Again, if any of you guys have the Kindle (and try the Nook when it arrives in a few weeks), let me know what you think.

Anyway, here's a little more Blu-ray cover art... Sony's District 9 (12/29) and Snatch (12/1), and Blue Underground's The Crazies...

District 9 (Blu-ray Disc)Snatch (Blu-ray Disc)The Crazies (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a good weekend everyone. Back on Monday. Peace out.

10/22/09

All right, we've got some good stuff for you guys today...

First up, Adam's checked in with another Oktoberfest review for you. It's a DVD title produced by an old friend of ours, Robert Meyer Burnett, and directed by Dave Parker: Warner Premiere's The Hills Run Red. It's a pretty smart little horror flick of the old school variety - you know, where they actually try to scare you more than gross you out. Don't miss it!

In announcement news today, Universal has officially set Michael Mann's Public Enemies for DVD and Blu-ray release on 12/8. Look for a single-disc DVD, a 2-disc DVD Special Edition and a 2-disc Blu-ray. Extras on the 2-disc versions will include audio commentary with Mann, 5 documentary featurettes (Larger than Life: Adversaries, Michael Mann: Making Public Enemies, Last of the Legendary Outlaws, On Dillinger's Trail: The Real Locations and Criminal Technology). Both will also include a Digital Copy version. To this, the Blu-ray will add the usual U-Control options as well as a Picture-in-Picture commentary, an interactive timeline, online chat, a Gangster Movie Challenge and the ability to create and share with others online your own video/audio/text commentaries.

Meanwhile, Fox has set Glee: Season 1, Volume 1 - Road to Sectionals for DVD release on 12/29 (SRP $39.98). All 13 of the show's first season episodes will be included, along with the director's cut of the pilot episode, exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes and cast audition videos. There's as yet no Blu-ray version announced. I have to say, this is a pretty cute show - very smart and subversive, not to mention surprisingly funny. If you think you might like it, I highly recommend you at least check out one episodes. I'm betting you'll have a hard time stopping at just one.

Also today, Overture Films and Anchor Bay have announced Paper Heart (starting Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi) for DVD and Blu-ray release on 12/1 (SRP $29.98 and $39.98). Extras will include cast featurettes, deleted scenes and a music video. The Blu-ray also includes a Digital Copy.

For you sports fans, ESPN and Disney are releasing Spike Lee's Kobe: Doin' Work - Uncensored Special Edition on DVD on 11/24 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include an introduction by Lee, delete scenes, the E:60 Behind-the-Scenes featurette, a photo montage, Bruce Hornsby's Levitate music video, and 2 alternate audio streams (game only and broadcast version).

And Shout! Factory has set a Kingdom of the Spiders: Special Edition for DVD release on 1/19/10 (SRP $19.99). Extras will include audio commentary (by director John Bud Cardos, producer Igor Kantor, spider wrangler Jim Brockett and cinematographer John Morrill, moderated by Hostel producers Scott Spiegel and Lee Christian), an all-new interview with William Shatner, the Jim Brockett: Spider Wrangler featurette, additional behind-the-scenes footage, a poster gallery and the film's original theatrical trailer.

In other news today, it seems that Best Buy has a cool Blu-ray exclusive going at the moment: Warner's The Green Mile (directed by Frank Darabont) is now available at Best Buy stores in HD with Digibook packaging. It's currently back-ordered on the retailer's online store, but readers have e-mailed today saying that they've either seen it or gotten their hands on a copy. The title will be widely available in a few months.

The following is Rumor Mill-worthy (so salt accordingly), but our industry sources are telling us that Paramount may be soon to announce the long-awaited The African Queen for release on both DVD and Blu-ray. By coincidence, Bits reader Lee S. e-mailed this morning to say that Amazon has just created a pre-order page for the Blu-ray which features an actual SRP - $39.99 - which would seem to be a good sign.

Finally today, if you're up in the L.A. area next Tuesday (10/27) and happen to be a fan of Night of the Creeps, our friends up at Laser Blazer are going to be hosting a very cool DVD & Blu-ray signing event with writer/director Fred Dekker. Since the discs street that day from Sony, they'll have TONS of copies on hand for a really great sale price (just $15.95 for the DVD and $19.96 for BD). Just show up, buy your copy and you can have the director sign it personally! The event will run from 7 to 9 PM (Pacific) and Laser Blazer is located at 10587 W. Pico Blvd in Los Angeles (phone: 310.475.4788). Tell 'em The Bits sent you! By the way, if you're a fan of Creeps, you'll definitely want to check our Adam's Oktoberfest review for tomorrow. 'Nuff said.

We'll leave you today with a BUNCH more new DVD and Blu-ray cover artwork. Here's all three versions of Universal's Public Enemies, the two DVD versions of Sony's District 9 (due 12/29) and Fox's Glee: Season 1, Volume 1 - Road to Sectionals...

Public EnemiesPublic Enemies: Special EditionPublic Enemies (Blu-ray Disc)

District 9District 9: Special EditionGlee: Season 1, Volume 1 - Road to Sectionals

Stay tuned!

10/21/09

Okie dokie... Adam's Oktoberfest review of the day is Lionsgate's Fear Itself: The Complete First Season on DVD. It's a pretty interesting - though short-lived - anthology series, in the vein of Masters of Horror. Do check it out.

In release news today, I completely forgot to mention that Criterion has set Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 for release on Blu-ray Disc on 1/12 (cat #140 - SRP $39.95). Now THAT'S going to be a cool film to see in HD!

Warner Home Video has set MI-5: Volume 7 for DVD release on 1/26 (for the BBC). Also coming on 2/2 is Tom & Jerry's Greatest Chases: Volume Four.

Universal will release Funny People for release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 11/24.

CBS and Paramount will be releasing a Star Trek: The Original Series - Three-Season Pack on Blu-ray on 12/15 (the same day Season Three streets individually), featuring all three seasons of the series in HD bundled together. SRP is $321.99 (but it's going for just $192.99 on Amazon.com).

Paramount and CBS will also release Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures - The Complete Series on DVD on 1/5, followed by Becker: The Third Season on 1/12, and Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening (don't ask me, we just report this stuff), Girlfriends: The Final Season, a Girlfriends: The Complete Series Pack and The Game: The Second Season on 1/19.

Disney has set 10 Things I Hate About You: Season 1, Like Stars on Earth and a Make It or Break It: Volume One - Extended Edition for release on DVD on 1/12.

And Time Life is releasing something rather cool: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live, a 3-DVD set of some of the best performances and moments from 25 years of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The set will be in stores on 11/3 (SRP $39.99). There are 44 performances in all, along with 255 minutes of bonus material "including behind-the-scenes and rehearsal footage, as well as candid induction and acceptance speeches." So that's pretty cool. HOWEVER... if you want the COMPLETE experience, a 9-DVD version of this set is available directly from Time Life online (SRP $119.96). This larger Collector's Set includes 125 performances and over 9 hours of bonus material. I am absolutely outraged to report, however, that The Police and The Talking Heads induction reunions do not appear anywhere in the set. Still, there's a lot of good stuff in here, particularly for classic rock fans. You can order the 9-disc set at this website, which also has a complete listing of the contents and performances. Note that the 3-disc retail set includes only the first three DVDs listed.

And in other news today, it appears that there may be volume problems with the DTS-HD MA mix on the Wal-Mart-exclusive IMAX version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on Blu-ray. We've gotten a number of complaints from readers about it. We don't have the disc ourselves, so we're looking into it and will update you when we know more. Be advised that the regular Blu-ray version available at other retailers is unaffected.

Here's a little more new cover art... Criterion's 8 1/2 on Blu-ray, both versions of Universal's Funny People, both versions of Sony's Julie & Julia (12/8) and Lionsgate's Cujo Blu-ray (11/24)...

8 1/2 (Criterion Blu-ray)Funny PeopleFunny People: Unrated (Blu-ray Disc)

Julie & Julia (Blu-ray Disc)Julie & JuliaCujo (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

10/20/09

Afternoon, guys...

Okay, we've got Adam's Oktoberfest review of the day for you: The long-awaited DVD release of Don Coscarelli's Phantasm II, now available from Universal. Enjoy!

Also today, we've updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links (ordering from which helps support The Bits, so thank you!).

As you may have noticed, yesterday's post was lean. After all the stress of last week, Sarah and I went back home to Minnesota to visit with family for the weekend. And I took the opportunity to take my Dad to the Vikings game on Sunday. (Which was thrilling right to the last second.) We really needed to reboot emotionally, so it was a good time. I just got back last night, so I'm working to get back up to speed around here. As such, let's get you all caught up on release news...

First, Universal has set Inglorious Basterds and Taking Woodstock for release DVD and Blu-ray release on 12/15. (I believe we mentioned Taking Woodstock last week.) Both the DVD and Blu-ray of Inglorious Basterds will be 2-disc sets (SRP $34.98 and $39.98). There will also be a single-disc, movie-only DVD ($29.98). All three versions will include extended and alternate scenes, the complete Nation's Pride film (as seen in the film) and domestic and international trailers. Both 2-disc versions will add a Roundtable Discussion (with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and film historian/critic Elvis Mitchell), 5 featurettes (The Making of Nation's Pride, The Original Inglorious Bastards, A Conversation with Veteran Actor Rod Taylor, Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitters and Quentin Tarantino's Camera Angel), the Hi Sallys gag reel, a Film Poster Gallery Tour with Elvis Mitchell, the poster gallery itself and a Digital Copy version. Finally, the Blu-ray will also feature BD-Live access.

Universal also has The Philanthropist: The Complete Series set for DVD release on 1/5.

And for you Galactica fans, Universal will start releasing the show in individual seasons on Blu-ray on 1/5 with the release of Battlestar Galactica: The Complete First Season.

Meanwhile, Criterion has announced several new titles, including Wim Wenders' Paris Texas (Cat #501 - due 1/26 on DVD & Blu-ray), Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (#500 - 1/26 on DVD - includes Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero) and Steven Soderbergh's Che (#496 - 1/19 on DVD & Blu-ray). Also announced by the company is Eclipse Series 19: Chantal Akerman in the Seventies (due 1/19 on DVD).

Watchmaker Films will release Gretchen on DVD on 10/27 (SRP $24.98). Extras will include 3 short films by Meathe director and a 16-page booklet.

Lionsgate has announced some DVD only titles for December release, including a Silent Night, Deadly Night Three-Disc Set (films III, IV and V) and Death Warrior on 12/1, The Cove on 12/8, Psycho Ward and Murder by Decree on 12/15, and Shattered Lives on 12/22.

Warner Home Video has set the original Fame for release on Blu-ray on 1/26. Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics: Volume One is due on DVD only on 1/19.

And Fox will release All About Steve on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/22.

In other news today, Warner has announced a pair of BD-Live "live" screening events. The first will take place on 12/5 and will be Terminator: Salvation with live audio Q & A by director McG. The other should send you Potter fans into a tizzy: Warner will hold a BD-Live screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with live commentary/Q & A by actor Daniel Radcliffe and director David Yates. If you have an Internet-connected Blu-ray player, you should be able to log in now to sign up as a Warner BD-Live Community member. Then you'll get invitations to sign up for the events, and the first 100,000 who respond to each will get to participate on the screening days.

And it looks as if California is going to become the first state to mandate that big-screen TVs and flat-panels must be energy efficient in order to be sold here. You can read more via the L.A. Times. I actually don't have a problem with that. When you look at how much energy we use in this country, and then realize that we essentially just waste nearly 60% of it, you know... simply working to make our energy use more efficient will save us a LOT of money, not to mention improve national security, reduce C02 and other emissions (for those who care about such things), etc. You hear all this talk about needing new nuclear plants and coal plants and whatnot. If we just used the energy we already produce better, we wouldn't need 'em. Industry never likes change, and the Consumer Electronics Association has apparently been lobbying against California's move. But the simple fact is, sometimes you've just got to raise the bar and challenge yourself to jump over it. That's how progress happens and how innovation happens, and in retrospect it's almost always easier to do that people made out beforehand and it ends up being more profitable too. So there's my two cents on that.

Okay... here's a little new cover art: Universal's Battlestar Galactica: Season One on Blu-ray, as well as the Taking Woodstock DVD and Criterion's War Trilogy on DVD...

Battlestar Galactica: Season One (Blu-ray Disc)Taking WoodstockWar Trilogy

By the way, thank you all again for all your kind e-mails and responses over the past few days about the passing of our cat Kirby. We're still getting them this week, and it's just meant so much to us. Many of you have sent in pictures and shared stories of your own pets, and it's been a privilege for us to see them and read about them. So again... thank you!

Back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned...

10/19/09

Morning, everyone. Hope you all had a fine weekend.

We'll be back with a news update and more tomorrow, but this morning we're checking in to bring you Dr. Jahnke's daily Oktoberfest installment: The mechanized terror of Richard Stanley's 1990 classic Hardware, newly-released on Blu-ray from the fine folks at Severin Films. Enjoy!

As always, stay tuned...

10/16/09

Okay... let me just say this right up front: 24 cable news in this country has just officially become a travesty - a full-on parody of actual journalism. Did anyone happen to catch the afternoon-long "balloon watch" yesterday on all three cable news nets? I'm a bit of a news junky and tend to listen to CNN while I'm working during the day on my desktop, and their performance yesterday was just jaw-droppingly embarrassing. "This is CNN breaking non-news!" They filled SIX HOURS yesterday with essentially about 15 minutes worth of actual information. "We're watching live as a giant helium balloon drifts out of control, and we understand that it may, or may not, be carrying a six-year old child. Here's a picture of the balloon and what concerns us is this little dot below it which may, or may not, be a box falling from the balloon that may, or may not, contain the child. Or it may also be a bird. We're working to find out. In the meantime, here's meteorologist Chad Myers to speculate about the volume of gas in the balloon, the possible flight path of the balloon, and the air temperature and 02 levels at this altitude. And stay tuned, because after that we'll be talking live with someone who we understand lives near the family but doesn't actually know them, and may or may not actually know anything..." And, for the record, the kid was fine. He was never actually IN the balloon, but was hiding in the family's garage. Which is great news, obviously. But my god in heaven! I mean, I can see 5 minutes to let you know this was happening to begin with, and 5 minutes when the balloon landed and the kid was found not to be in it, and another 5 or 10 minutes when it was announced that the kid was found okay. But six hours for that? Everyone at CNN should just be embarrassed. Seriously. You might as well just have Blitzer and Cafferty thumb-wrestle while spouting inane banter for 6 hours. And I personally think CNN is the slightly better of the three cable news nets, but that ain't saying much brother. All I can say is, Jon Stewart was right on the money. CNN: Nobody leaves more things there.

Hey, any of you guys remember this from back in 2005? Yeah... things have apparently only gone downhill since then.

All right... rant over. Gosh that felt good. It's been a while. I really needed that this week. I mean, does this stuff drive anyone else crazy too? Anyway...

Today here at The Bits we have... (SURPRISE!)... another Oktoberfest review from Dr. Jahnke! And on this fine afternoon, it's Sony's The William Castle Film Collection on DVD! That's 5 discs' worth of classic scary, creepy goodness. Mmmm....

As promised, I've also managed to squeak out a review of Universal's forthcoming Battlestar Galactica: The Plan on Blu-ray Disc. And if you loved the show, this one's a keeper - a great way to finish off all the fun. Plus, there's one of the best Easter eggs ever. The disc streets on 10/27 (and it doesn't air on SyFy until next year), so don't miss it.

And I'm afraid we'll just have to leave it there for this week. Have a great weekend, everyone. And thanks again for all your kind e-mails about Kirby this week. Very, very much appreciated. ;)

10/15/09

Hey, guys. I hope the day finds you all well.

First of all this afternoon, I really, REALLY want to thank all of you. We've been getting just hundreds of e-mails from you guys filled with kind thoughts, well wishes, and wonderful stories and memories of your own pets. I can't possibly tell you how much it means to us. It's nice to know that there are so many other people out there who feel the same as Sarah and I do about their cats, dogs and other animal family members. A lot of you have been through this too, and your messages just really mean so much to us. It's really helped lift our spirits today. We're forever in your debt.

I thought I'd share one more picture with you. Sarah took this one during our last night with Kirby. There he is napping in his basket, with the smell of turkey in the air and a full tummy. Sitting right in the middle all the activity, as usual. And if you knew Kirby, you'd know without question that that's the picture of a happy boy. We weren't sure we were ready to look at the picture yet, but I couldn't resist and seeing it just makes me feel so good I can't even tell you. We have no regrets and nothing but happy memories and you can't ask for better than that. Life sure has it's tough moments no doubt, but it's mostly pretty great. Anyway, thanks again to all of you from both of us.

A happy boy.

Back to business this afternoon, Adam's continuing his yeoman's effort to review a horror title a day this Oktoberfest (and Adam, THANK YOU for that) with MPI's The Wild Man of the Navidad: Unrated Director's Cut. How's that for an off-beat selection? Enjoy!

In announcement news, MGM's just unveiled Spaceballs: The Totally Warped Animated Adventures for DVD release on 12/19 (SRP $19.98). Included will be 4 episodes plus "hilarious intermission shorts" between each of them. This is a completely new program, and word is that Mel Brooks himself produced and lends his voice. Also returning are voice cast members Joan Rivers and Daphne Zuniga.

Also today, Warner Home Video has won the rights to distribute DVD and Blu-ray titles involving the Sesame Street franchise. The first such title will be Elmo's World: Let's Play Music due in February. You can read more here at Home Media. Word is the studio expects to release 7-10 titles annually.

Speaking of Warner, the studio also has set Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Volume Three for DVD release on 2/2/10 (SRP $14.97).

In other news today, our old friend Mojo has posted some pretty damn cool stuff over on his blog. Battlestar composer Stu Phillips performed the theme to the classic show on a piano for him, and Mojo managed to videotape it for your enjoyment. He's also posted a very cool CG-recreation of an iconic shot from classic Battlestar. Some great stuff. And don't forget, on 10/24 here in southern California there's a great concert event with Stu Phillips. Check out Mojo's blog or the official concert page for all the details.

And speaking of Battlestar, I got my hands on Universal's Battlestar Galactica: The Plan Blu-ray this morning. Thanks to my friends over at Universal for sending it today - given the week's events it couldn't have come at a better time. I could sure use a good couple hours of entertainment. I'm going to try to get it reviewed for you all tomorrow, so be sure to check back for that.

Stay tuned...

10/14/09

Afternoon, folks.

Okay... first up today, we've got Adam's Oktoberfest review of the day: Blue Underground's controversial 1982 Fulci film, The New York Ripper, on Blu-ray. Creepy disturbing stuff. And isn't that exactly what you want out of an Oktoberfest review? I'm just saying. Enjoy.

Also here at the site today, we've added Universal's Land of the Lost DVD to the current Drag Me to Hell Giveaway. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 25th, so click on the link and follow the instructions to enter. Good luck!

And we've updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, shopping (for anything) at Amazon after clicking to them from our links helps support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it.

In announcement news today, Universal has officially set Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock for DVD and Blu-ray release on 12/15 (SRP $29.98 and $39.98). Extras will include audio commentary with Lee and producer/writer James Schamus, deleted scenes and more.

Universal has also announced a Legendary Gangsters: 5-Movie Collection DVD box set for release on 12/8, featuring Scarface, Carlito's Way, Casino, American Gangster and Public Enemies. A Coraline Gift Set is also planned for 12/8, though we're waiting to hear what will be included other than the discs.

Meanwhile, Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Food, Inc. for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 11/3 (SRP $26.98 and $34.98). Extras will include deleted scenes and 40 minutes of additional footage.

And Warner Home Video has announced The Waltons: The Movie Collection for DVD release on 1/26/10 (SRP $39.98), including A Wedding on Walton's Mountain, Mothers' Day on Walton's Mountain, A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain, A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion, A Walton Wedding and A Walton Easter.

In other news today, when did this happen? Author Eoin Colfer has apparently penned the official sixth book in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy. It's called And Another Thing... and it's available now. Interesting - I might have to pick that one up. I'm surprised it flew so far under my radar screen. Has anyone read it yet? Let me know what you think.

Finally today... I made reference to personal stuff going on in yesterday's post. What happened was that Sarah and I lost our cat Kirby yesterday after 17 long years together. It's no exaggeration to say that Kirby was probably the best friend I've ever had. He was more like a dog than the typical cat. He was just with me almost constantly - my whole daily routine revolved around him. He sat with me in my office while I worked, he watched thousands of movies with me in the home theatre over the course of his life. In his later years, he slept on my pillow at night and woke me with a gentle lick on the forehead... you know, so I knew he wanted breakfast sooner rather than later. He was just a great pal. I first brought him home after a visit to my family in North Dakota (he was given to me for free by a high school friend) when he was just a few weeks old - small enough to sit in the palm of my hand - and he's been with us through thick and thin ever since. About 4 years ago, he was diagnosed by our vet as being in the early stages of kidney disease, so we figured his number was up. But with a careful diet to keep his weight up, and nightly fluid injections to ease the burden on his kidneys, he thrived. He was happy, playful, his old self. Loving life. Until Monday afternoon that is, when it became clear that he'd finally reached the late stages of the disease. About 5 PM we noticed that he was having trouble seeing, and he was a little wobbly. He wasn't in any pain, just puzzled by the fact that he couldn't see. But Sarah and I knew this was it - the next thing that follows after sight loss is heart failure, and we absolutely didn't want him to suffer that. So we decided to make his last night a blast. His favorite time of the year has always been the holidays, because he LOVED turkey. So I drove around until I found a grocery store that had fresh turkeys, and we cooked it for him. He got excited as the house filled with the smell, and he eagerly devoured a couple plates full when it was done. We sat with him and just spent time with him the whole night. Then yesterday morning, we took him in to the vet, and he agreed it was time to let him go - that we were doing the right thing. So we said our goodbyes and I held him while they have him the injection. And then he was gone - peacefully, happy right to the end. And today, I'm just gutted. I feel like my right arm is missing. It's amazing how these creatures who are so small and ask so little of us, give us SO much back. As bad as I feel today... I have a lot of happy memories. It's worth every minute.

So anyway, over the next few days if these posts are short, and it seems like my heart just isn't it... that's because it's not. I appreciate your patience as Sarah and I try to deal with the loss of a very important member of our family.

Thank you Kirby, for being our best friend for 17 years. We miss you so...

Kirby... just a few weeks old. Kirby and me in recent good times.

Stay tuned.

10/13/09

Today's post is going to be a very quick one, unfortunately, for personal reasons that I'll go into later.

But we do have Adam's daily Oktoberfest review for you, and it's a classic: Universal's new An American Werewolf in London: Full Moon Edition on DVD. It's also available now on Blu-ray Disc.

Enjoy that, and we'll see you back here tomorrow. Stay tuned...

10/12/09

Afternoon folks! Hope you're all doing well today. Sarah and I had family here all last week, which was a blast, so we spent the weekend recovering. And of course, I watched the Vikings and Twins do business. The Vikes hit 5-0, so that's pleasing, but the Twins got swept out of the MLB playoffs by them damn Yankees, whose payroll is like $140 million more than the Twins. Ah well. At least the Twins played the last baseball game ever in the abomination that is the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. I've spent a lot of hours in The Hump over the years, and I can tell you that Minnesota sports fans have a real love/hate relationship with that place. Hopefully the state will agree to help the Vikings build a new stadium soon, and then let fans push the plunger and demolish that place for good. Ugh.

Anyway, we kick off the new week today with another Oktoberfest review from our own Dr. Adam Jahnke. Today it's a new film - an instant classic from director Sam Raimi. You guessed it - it's Universal's Drag Me to Hell: Unrated Director's Cut, due tomorrow on DVD and Blu-ray. Enjoy!

Speaking of which, we've kicked off a new Giveaway here at The Bits this morning, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Universal's Drag Me to Hell on DVD. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 25th. Click on the link and follow the instructions to enter. Good luck!

In release news today, Sony has set the terrific sci-fi film District 9 for DVD and Blu-ray release on 12/29. There will be a single-disc DVD (SRP $28.96), a 2-disc DVD Special Edition ($36.95) and a Blu-ray ($39.95). There will also be a UMD version. Extras on the single-disc DVD will include director's commentary, the Koobus Big Gun featurette and the 3-part The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker's Log documentary. The 2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray will add 4 featurettes (Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus, Innovation: Acting and Improvisation, Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9 and Alien Generation: Visual Effects). To that, the Blu-ray will add BD-Live, movieIQ, cinechat and the Joburg from Above: Satellite and Schematics of the World of District 9 interactive map.

Also newly announced for DVD and Blu-ray release by Sony is the music documentary It Might Get Loud, due on 12/22 (SRP $27.96 and $37.95) and featuring the ultimate guitar jam with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Extras will include video of the Toronto Film Festival Press Conference.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Wolverine and the X-Men: Beginning of the End for DVD release on 11/3, followed by Train on DVD on 11/17.

MGM is re-issuing 10 Bond titles on Blu-ray on 11/3 (SRP $199.98 - available at Amazon for just $139.99). The James Bond 10-Pack Blu-ray Collection will include Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day and Quantum of Solace. All have previously been available on the format. This as we wait for word on the remaining classic Bond titles on Blu-ray. (We suspect that the studio is waiting for the next film to hit theatres, but MGM is in pretty dire financial straits, so there's no word yet on when that might happen.)

And Warner has Bugs Bunny's Cupid Capers due for DVD release on 1/12/10.

In other news today, Home Media is reporting that several more retailers are now offering sub-$100 Blu-ray players, deciding not to wait until Black Friday to start promoting them.

Home Media also has a good story on the arrival of older, black & white films on Blu-ray which offers some exciting news. First, Warner is working on old Marx Brothers titles for Blu-ray, along with older films featuring Errol Flynn, Betty Davis and Humphrey Bogart - including The Maltese Falcon, which is due on Blu next year. Also, Kino is releasing Buster Keaton's The General on Blu-ray on 11/10.

Speaking of which, here's some new Blu-ray cover art... Kino's The General, Universal's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (12/1) and Lionsgate's Angel Heart (11/24)...

The General (Blu-ray Disc)Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Blu-ray Disc)Angel Heart (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

10/9/09

Afternoon, folks!

We're closing out the week today with another of Dr. Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest reviews. Today's installment is none other than Anchor Bay's Happy Birthday to Me - an 80s B-horror tale with one of the most memorable film posters of its vintage. Enjoy!

In terms of release news today, Criterion has officially set Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale (cat# 492) for Blu-ray Disc release on 12/1 (SRP $39.95). Extras will include everything that's on the DVD release, which has been previously announced for release on the same day.

Warner has set Bugs Bunny's Cupid Capers, Top Gear 11 and Top Gear 12 for DVD release on 1/23/10.

20the Century Fox will release Cheaper by the Dozen 2 on Blu-ray on 1/5/10.

Disney is planning to release a 10 Things I Hate About You: 10th Anniversary Edition on both DVD and Blu-ray in January (street date TBA).

Fangoria is reporting that Kurt McDowell's 1975 film Thundercrack! has been licensed to our friends at Synapse Films for release on DVD and Blu-ray. It's reportedly going to be restored to its original 150-minute length. Very cool - thanks to Bits reader John B. for the good word.

Also, consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but the Things from Another World retail website is taking pre-orders for Warner's Where the Wild Things Are on single-disc DVD (SRP $28.99), 2-disc DVD special edition ($34.99) and a Blu-ray ($39.99) formats. According to the site, the release date is reportedly set for 1/6/10, but that's a Wednesday. Nevertheless, January 2010 seems a reasonable timeframe, though keep in mind that the film hasn't yet been released in theatres (it opens next week, on 10/16), the date is hasn't been officially announced and whatever it is, it's almost certainly subject to change. Thanks to Bits reader Taft W. for the link.

And in other news today, Home Media has announced that its annual Blu-Con conference (Blu-Con 2.0 to be specific) will happen this year in Los Angeles on 11/3, in partnership with the DEG, Video Business, Variety and Dealerscope. Director Martin Scorsese will give the keynote.

We'll leave you with still more new cover art. Here's Warner's The Hangover: Unrated Special Edition (12/15), Lionsgate's My Bloody Valentine: Special Edition (11/24) and Paramount's Transformers: Two-Movie Mega Collection (11/3) all on Blu-ray...

The Hangover: Unrated Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)My Bloody Valentine: Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Transformers: Two-Movie Mega Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and we'll see you back here on Monday. Best to all of you!

10/8/09

The update today is early and another brief one, as I've got family visiting (on a related note, I haven't been checking my e-mail as much the last couple of days, so if you're trying to reach me, I'll try to get back to you over the next few days as things settle down)...

As expected, Dr. Jahnke's Oktoberfest review of the day is here, and it's a recent remake of Wes Craven's first film. Yes, it's Universal's The Last House on the Left (2009): Unrated, now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Enjoy!

And here's more new cover art... Lionsgate's Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series on DVD (due 11/3), along with their Red Heat and Near Dark Blu-rays (due 11/10)...

Fraggle Rock: The Complete SeriesRed Heat (Blu-ray Disc)Near Dark (Blu-ray Disc)

I'll check in to catch you up with more tomorrow. Stay tuned!

10/7/09

Afternoon, folks! Well... today's post is going to be a rather quick one. I've turned 42 today, and while I don't feel old - nor did I suddenly learn the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything - it's apparently nothing to sneeze at either. It's actually kinda funny... I've been watching the sports media comment for months now about how amazing it is that Brett Favre can still play football as well as he is, what with his gray beard and having to be rolled onto the turf in a wheelchair and all, and it turns out he turns just 40 in a few days. Yeah... kinda makes me feel old. So what does a guy of my awesome new vintage do to celebrate the occasion? Go indoor skydiving, of course!

Mad skillz at 42.

Hey, it was either that, or go REAL skydiving, and I figured this would be most of the fun without... you know... the small chance of plunging to your death. Turns out I was right. It WAS fun. Quite a lot actually. I went with Sarah and family to a place called iFly up at the Universal City Walk in Hollywood. I highly recommend indoor skydiving to anyone who thinks they might be interested. It's pretty easy - almost anyone can do it. There are no special skills required. Anyway, I though the picture above might give a few of you a good laugh. One thing that comes of being 42 - you have little fear of embarrassing yourself in public anymore. Still, special thanks to Drew up at iFly for keeping me from crashing off the walls.

Now then... Dr. Jahnke's Oktoberfest review for today is none other than Anchor Bay's Children of the Corn: 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray! And it's Corn-ier than ever in HD. Enjoy.

Elsewhere here at the site, we've updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a small portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we truly appreciate it.

Also today, Paramount has officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra on 11/3. There will be a single-disc DVD edition (SRP $19.99), a 2-disc DVD with Digital Copy ($24.99) and a 2-disc Blu-ray with Digital Copy ($29.99). The 2-disc versions will include audio commentary by director Stephen Sommers and producer Bob Ducsay, 2 documentaries (The Big Bang Theory: The Making of G.I. Joe and Next-Gen Action: The Amazing Visual FX and Design of G.I. Joe) and more.

Meanwhile, Warner has set The Super Friends: Season One, Volume One for DVD release on 1/5/10, followed by Dallas: The Complete Twelfth Season on 1/19/10.

Finally, this is kind of cool - something my friend Johnnie sent over. It appears that fans around the world are each contributing to their own full-length fan version of Star Wars. I'm betting the result will be pretty entertaining.

We'll leave you today with more new cover art. Here's all 3 versions of Paramount's G.J. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, along with both versions of Fox's (500) Days of Summer (12/22) and Lionsgate's New Police Story Blu-ray (11/24)...

G.J. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Blu-ray Disc)G.J. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: 2-Disc DVDG.J. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (single-disc DVD)

(500) Days of Summer (Blu-ray Disc)(500) Days of SummerNew Police Story (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

10/6/09

Okay... predictably, I'm pretty useless today. After last night's Vikings victory over the Packers, man... I'm on cloud nine. If you're a Vikings fan and you've suffered through four Superbowl defeats, the dreaded Atlanta game and Steve Dills, watching Brett Favre torch the Packers in a Vikings throwback jersey is about as satisfying as it gets. And my hats off to you Packers fans. You're a lot more loyal to your team than some of the folks up in Minnesota, and I envy you most of the time. But not right now. As for the rest of you, you're probably sick of me talking about football. My apologies in advance, because I'm really into it this season, for better or worse. That's what it is to be a sports fan - that's the disease. I'll try to keep most of that kind of personal thing to my Facebook page, but occasionally, some of it is going to slip out here and so just enjoy it, laugh a little at my expense (I don't mind) or tune it out. It'll go away in a few months. ;)

Now then... Dr. Jahnke's back again with today's installment of the Oktoberfest, and it's a pretty unique offering - a little something-something from Bollywood. Yes, you read that right. It's Mondo Macarbo's Bollywood Horror Collection, Volume 3 on DVD, featuring a double-feature of Mahakaal: The Monster and Tahkhana: The Dungeon. Enjoy!

In announcement news today, 20th Century Fox has just set (500) Days of Summer for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/22. The DVD (SRP $29.99) will include audio commentary with director Marc Webb, the writers and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and deleted and extended scenes with optional audio commentary. The Blu-ray ($39.99) will add audition tapes, storyboards, 4 featurettes (Not a Love Story: Making (500) Days of Summer, Summer at Sundance, Six Conversations with Zooey and Joseph and Filmmaking Specials), Webb's Bank Dance short film, Mean's Cinemash: Sid and Nancy/(500) Days of Summer, Temper Trap's Sweet Disposition music video and a Digital Copy version of the film.

Meanwhile, Warner has announced a pair of exciting new catalog Blu-ray Disc releases, including Mystic River and the classic The Music Man, both due on 2/2/10. Also coming is Robert Rodriguez's Shorts in separate DVD and Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy versions (11/24), as well as the You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition DVD on 1/26/10 (it also includes the Animating a Charlie Brown Musical featurette).

In other news, Sony has set Julie & Julia for DVD and Blu-ray release on 12/8.

Paramount has United States of Tara: The First Season due on DVD on 12/19 (for Showtime), followed by Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures - The Complete Series, Max & Ruby: Playtime With Max & Ruby and The Backyardigans: Join the Adventurers Club on 1/5/10.

And Universal has officially set Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels for Blu-ray release on 12/1.

Let's close things out today with some more new cover art, shall we? Here's Warner's The Music Man and Mystic River on Blu-ray, and the You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition on DVD...

Mystic River (Blu-ray Disc)The Music Man (Blu-ray Disc)You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition

Stay tuned!

10/5/09

Morning folks! Thought we'd get an early start on things for you today.

First up, Adam checks in this morning with his daily installment of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest: A review of Sony's new Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection on DVD! Enjoy!

Also today, Barrie's got a new Classic Coming Attractions column for you, featuring reviews of 12 new and recent DVD releases! Included are Warner Bros.' Directed by John Ford, Warner Archive's I Died a 1000 Times, Colorado Territory, The Command, Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet, Pride of the Marines, The Verdict and Princess O'Rourke, Sony's Summertree, Paramount's Bonanza: The Official First Season - Volumes 1 and 2, and Acorn Media's Life on Mars: Series 1 and Doc Martin: Series 2. As always, Barrie also runs down the latest classic release announcement news. Enjoy that too!

In news around the Net this morning, Home Media is reporting that while consumers are interested in home theatre 3-D, they don't want to pay very much for it. Can't say I blame them. I suspect that home 3-D WILL take off eventually, but the adoption will be slow. Blu-ray will drive a little of it, as well as broadcast and satellite offerings, but I think the real push for 3-D at home will come from the videogame world. If any (or all) of the next round of next-gen game consoles include aggressive 3-D options, then you'll see it really start to take off. Just my take.

And on a different note, those of you who haven't gone out to see Zombieland yet... REALLY need to go out and see Zombieland. This is one of the funniest films I've seen in quite a while - just an instant classic. There's a number of great laughs here, not to mention one of the best movie cameos I've seen in a VERY long time. Zombieland is a fun take on the whole comedy/zombie genre - not particularly original, but so entertaining it doesn't matter. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, this film is right in that same ballpark. In fact, I suspect the two will be sharing space on a LOT of cult classic double-bills in the years ahead. Don't forget the double-tap!

And we'll leave you this morning with a little more new cover art. Here's a look at Universal's Brüno (11/17) and Lionsgate's Frality and Monster Squad: 20th Anniversary Edition (both due 11/24) on Blu-ray...

Bruno (Blu-ray Disc)Frality (Blu-ray Disc)Monster Squad: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Now then, I'm off to prepare for Monday Night Football. It's Vikings vs. Packers, baby... a.k.a. the upper Midwestern Superbowl! Good stuff. Stay tuned...

10/2/09

Afternoon, folks! We're closing out the week with two more new Blu-ray Disc reviews...

First, Adam continues his Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a review of Shout! Factory's new Audition: 2-Disc Collector's Edition, which features a new full-length audio commentary by director Takashi Miike (subtitled of course)! The Blu-ray streets next Tuesday (10/6).

Also, our own Jeff Kleist has turned in a review of Disney's new Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition, which includes BOTH Blu-ray and DVD versions. Snow White also streets next Tuesday.

And that's about all for this week. Got out and see the Coen Brothers' new film, A Serious Man, if you can. (It opens in New York and L.A. in limited release today, and goes wider soon.) We also hear that Zombieland is pretty funny. Have a great weekend!

10/1/09

Afternoon, everybody! We trust the start of October finds you all well.

We are VERY pleased today to bring you the start of a much-loved annual event here at The Digital Bits: Dr. Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest III! Starting today, and continuing every day throughout the month of October leading up to Halloween, Adam will be reviewing a new horror-related release on DVD or Blu-ray - new stuff, old stuff, overlooked classics... you name it. The fun kicks off this afternoon with a look at Lionsgate's new My Bloody Valentine 3D: 2-Disc Special Edition on DVD. So do check it out, keep coming back for more, and we hope you enjoy The Fest!

In release news today, Lionsgate has revealed their November slate, which includes a number of great new catalog Blu-rays. Expected are Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series Set, A Merry Fraggle Holiday, Fraggle Rock: The Complete Final Season (Season 4), Wolverine and the X-Men: Beginning of the End, Wolverine and the X-Men Gift Set, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Season 7 Set, LeapFrog Learning DVD Set, Night Watcher, The Men, The Dead and Thomas & Friends: Holiday Express (all on 11/3), Summer's Moon, Near Dark (Blu-ray), Red Heat (Blu-ray) and Keeping Up with the Kardashians: The Complete Second Season, (all on 11/10), Train and Barney: We Love Our Family (both on 11/17), and Taking Chances, Angel Heart (Blu-ray), Cujo: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray), The Monster Squad: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray), My Bloody Valentine: Special Edition (Blu-ray), Way of the Gun (Blu-ray), Air America (Blu-ray), Frailty (Blu-ray), New Police Story (Blu-ray) and Reborn (all on 11/24).

Warner and HBO have set Big Love: The Complete Third Season for release on DVD only on 1/5/2010 (SRP $59.99).

Warner will also release the BBC's Robin Hood: Season Three on DVD on 1/12/2010 (SRP $59.98).

And in other news today... it seems that Sony's latest PS3 firmware update has been a bit of a mess for a small percentage of users watching Blu-ray movies on the game system. Not everyone is so affected, but for those that are it's a bit of a mess. One would certainly expect Sony to straighten things out fairly quickly. You can read more here at Home Media. [Editor's Note: We've looked into this further, and have learned that only a VERY few users are so affected, and the issue is being resolved quickly by Sony.]

Finally, our friends over at The Home Theatre Forum have kicked off a new contest in honor of their recent redesign and relaunch. Do check it out!

Stay tuned!

9/30/09

Afternoon, folks! We've got a couple of release announcements for you...

First up though, we've got two more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you: My own looks at DreamWorks' clever new Monsters vs. Aliens, as well as Paramount's South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut! The former is available now, while the latter streets on 10/13. Both are worth your time, so enjoy the reviews. (By the way, watch for our review of Disney's Snow White on Blu-ray, coming soon!)

We're also pleased today to kick off a pair of new Giveaways, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of the BBC's Yellowstone: Battle for Life and Warner's Scare Tactics: Season 3, Part 1, as well as Nickelodeon's True Jackson VP: Season 1, Volume 1 on DVD. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 11th. Click on the links to enter and good luck!

Now then... we've learned that Wal-Mart apparently has a retailer exclusive version of The Wizard of Oz on Blu-ray too, and for just $19.96. But be aware that this is only a single-disc Blu-ray (essentially Disc One of the UCE box), so you're not getting all the disc-based content. However, if all you care about is the movie, that's a good price. Target's 3-disc Emerald Edition (2 BD and 1 DVD - SRP $34.99) is the complete disc-based experience sans swag and Digital Copy.

Next, Warner and the BBC have set Waking the Dead: Season 4 for release on DVD on 1/19/10 (SRP $39.98).

Miramax is expected to release Mike Judge's Extract on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 12/22 (SRP $29.99 and $39.99)

And here's something for you Rush fans: The band's label, Anthem Entertainment, has announced the release of Rush: Working Men on DVD and CD on 11/17. It's a collection of live cuts from three of the band's previous live releases - Rush in Rio, R30 and Snakes & Arrows Live - with one new live track, One Little Victory. Rounder will release the DVD and Atlantic Records will handle the CD version. The complete track listing includes Limelight, The Spirit of Radio, 2112, Freewill, Dreamline, Far Cry, Subdivisions, One Little Victory (previously unreleased), Closer to the Heart, Tom Sawyer, Working Man and YYZ. More information is available at the band's official website.

Also, Vivendi Entertainment and Genius Products have announced the DVD release of the Iron Man: Armored Adventures on 10/20, featuring the first 6 episodes of the animated series.

And in other news, former Fox studio chief Bill Mechanic apparently had some things to say about the cause of the home video industry's current DVD downturn at a conference in Santa Monica yesterday. Click here for that.

Don't forget: We'll be back tomorrow to kick off The Doctor's annual Hell Plaza Oktoberfest marathon of daily horror DVD/BD reviews, so be sure to check back then! Stay tuned...


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