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-Newsletter est. 4/15/97-
-Website est. 12/15/97-





page updated: 6/28/10



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 6/14/10 - 5/14/10)


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(LATE UPDATE - 6/14/10 - 4:30 PM PDT)

Okay... we've got LOTS more title announcements for you this afternoon...

First, Shout! Factory is releasing Small Wonder: The Complete Second Season and Swamp Thing: The Series - Volume Three on DVD on 6/22, available for sale directly to fans via their website (SRP $29.99 and $34.99, respectively).

As a reminder, Shout! Factory is also releasing the original Japanese version of the second Gamera film on DVD on 7/6 - the Gamera vs. Barugon: The Special Edition!

Warner Home Video has set Gossip Girl: The Complete Third Season for DVD only release on 8/24 (SRP $59.98). The set will include all 22 episodes, along with 2 featurettes, unaired scenes, a gag reel and a pair of music videos. One Tree Hill: The Complete Seventh Season also arrives on 8/17 (SRP $59.98), including all 22 episodes, commentary on 2 episodes, unaired scenes, a gag reel and 3 featurettes.

For classic film fans, Warner has set the DVD release of The Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume 5 for 7/13 (SRP $49.92). The 4-disc set will include the films Cornered, Desperate, The Phenix City Story, Dial 1119, Armored Car Robbery, Crime in the Streets, Deadline at Dawn and Backfire.

And Warner and Adult Swim have set Squidbillies: Volume 3 for DVD release on 7/6 (SRP $19.97).

Meanwhile HBO (via Warner) has set Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Collection for DVD release on 8/24 (SRP $49.99). The set will include the complete seasons 1 & 2, along with the never-before-released Flight of the Conchords: One Night Stand special.

Here's one I've been really looking forward to: Lionsgate has set Kick-Ass for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc + DVD + Digital Copy combo on 8/3 (SRP $29.95 and $39.99). Both versions will include audio commentary, art archives and the It's On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass featurette. To this, the Blu-ray will add an in-depth "making of" documentary, a feature-length Ass-Kicking Bonus View Mode, and an interactive Metamenu Remote option (powered by BD Touch) for iPhone and Android users that allows you to personalize your viewing experience. From the press release: "Once connected through BD-Live, viewers can select menus using intuitive gestures, find scenes by dialogue, discover details about the actors and more. With headphones, they can select to listen in alternate language tracks, or enjoy other synchronized content, including portions of the Ass-Kicking Bonus View, which users can take "to go" on their mobile device." Hhhmmmmm... [Editor's Note: That "Hhhmmmmm..." wasn't part of the press release - that's all my thing. Raise your hands if you've ever used your iPhone as a BD remote. Now raise it again if you've ever done that TWICE. We'll see...]

Moving on, Vivendi Entertainment has set Return to Lonesome Dove for DVD only release on 7/6 (SRP $19.93).

RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment have also set the vampire thriller Bitten for DVD only release on 7/6.

Magnolia Home Entertainment is releasing The Eclipse and The Warlords (staring Jet Li) on both DVD and Blu-ray on 6/29. The Warlords is part of the company's Six Shooter Film Series.

Our friends over at SuicideGirls.com are releasing their first "reality horror" title on DVD on 6/29 - Suicide Girls Must Die! - featuring no real script, no real actors and "...no escape!" Plenty of scantily-clad goth babes we're guessing, though. Wait a minute... do we have friends over at SuicideGirls.com? Doogan would certainly love to think so...

Moving on... Isis Cinema is releasing Corey Feldman's Terror Inside on DVD tomorrow (6/15). Rush right out.

Anchor Bay has revealed that they've acquired the home video release rights for the anime thriller First Squad: The Moment of Truth, and will be releasing it on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc later this summer (street date TBA).

Summit has revealed that it's going to be releasing its first Blu-ray/DVD Combo title on 8/3 - The Ghost Writer, starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan (SRP $40.99). This will be the same "flipper" format Universal has recently adopted for some of its catalog titles, featuring BD on one side of the disc, and DVD on the other.

Sony has announced Jesse Stone: No Remorse for DVD release on 7/27.

Image Entertainment has set Skellig: The Owl Man for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/17 (SRP $27.98 and $29.98).

And Well Go USA has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the award-winning war film 9th Company on 8/31. I'm pretty intrigued by this one. It's essentially the Russian version of Platoon, covering the Red Army experience of the Soviet Afghanistan conflict. Here's what I find most interesting: it's directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk, the son of legendary Russian filmmaker Sergei Bondarchuk (of War and Peace fame). The film will be available on both formats in standard and Collector's Edition versions (SRP $24.98 and $26.95 for the standard edition on each format and $29.98 and $32.98 for the CEs). The standard editions will basically be movie-only. The Collector's Editions will include deleted scenes, director and crew interviews, historical interviews accounting the Soviet-Afghanistan conflict and the film's theatrical trailer. Audio will be available in the original Russian as well as a new English dub.

Also today, in other news from around the Net, NetFlix has revealed that it's launching a streaming movie viewing app for the iPhone later this summer. There's no word yet whether they're doing an Android app as well, but they'd certainly be smart add one. Anyway, here's the story at Home Media.

All right... I'd say that's pretty good for one day. Lots more tomorrow, plus we've got new reviews and columns on the way this week as well. See you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/14/10 - 11 AM PDT)

Morning, everybody! Sorry we disappeared there on Thursday and Friday. It actually wasn't planned. As it happens, Sarah and I were in New York City all last week (a mix of business and family time - Sarah's birthday). Traveling or not, I'd figured I could sneak posts up on the site in between all the stuff that was going on, and I was actually able to manage just fine on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But then by Thursday, walking 5 miles a day (or more) exploring around the city and getting little sleep finally caught up with me. So my apologies to those of you who started wondering if we'd dropped off the face of the Earth there. But what an amazing city New York is! If you've never visited, I highly recommend it. The pace of life is brutal if you aren't used to it, but the atmosphere and culture is off the hook.

While I was there, I managed visit The Strand bookstore (one of the city's best), as well as a little ol' place called Forbidden Planet (a pretty famous comic shop down by NYU). We walked down through SoHo to the Brooklyn Bridge, checked out the Museum of Modern Art (I really dig vintage photography). And of course we hit a pub or two, and ate a lot of good local food. (NYC has the best bagels on Earth, and the best in the city are found at the Ess-a-bagel. Trust me.) One of the most fun things we did, however, was to attend a taping on Tuesday night of The Late Show with David Letterman. To make a long story short, this feller by the name of Jay Johnson, who I went to a couple years of high school and college with back in the day (yes, in scenic Fargo, North Dakota) is now Creative Director for Digital Media on the show. He does stuff like put all the clips up on the Late Show website after the broadcast, and he even runs Dave's personal screening room (which, I've been assured, is well equipped with Blu-ray Disc). Anyway, Jay had extended an open invitation to stop by when I was in town, so that's what we did. I mean, really... how can you resist? And I'll tell you, having seen tapings of Leno too here in L.A.... well, let me just say that Dave's got a much tighter operation going there at Worldwide Pants. He's got a great staff, all very friendly and clearly loving what they do. Dave rolls up his sleeves (so to speak) during the commercial breaks and pow-wows with his writers and producers to make the jokes funnier. Plus, he's got a band that (to quote Donald 'Duck' Dunn from The Blues Brothers) could turn goat piss into gasoline. Hell, Dave even made waffles during the show - tough to beat that. And afterwards, Jay invited us up to see the set. Pretty damn cool. Anyway, Jay... thanks a million brother! And I'd like to send out a big shout out to The Late Show writing staff, some of whom (I'm reliably told) are Bits readers. Keep up the great work guys!

Bill & JayBill & Sarah at Dave's desk

All right... I'm going to post a few news items now, and then I'll be back again at least once more this afternoon with another 'catch-up' news post. Next time I'm out of town though, I think I'm going to get one of the guys to fill in for me here in the daily column. I've got to learn to step back and relax once in a while. And I'm definitely prone to biting off more than I can chew. ;)

Okay... release news. Universal has unveiled a couple more catalog Blu-ray titles for release on 9/14: Mercury Rising and Unleashed. Strangely, they have the 1983 film The Pirates of Penzance due on DVD only on 9/14. Meanwhile, they've also revealed the cover art for their Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (due on 10/19). Here it is...

Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Blu-ray 3D)Date Night: Unrated Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included the cover art for Sony's Blu-ray 3D version of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (due 6/22 - SRP $39.95) and Fox's Date Night: Unrated Edition Blu-ray (due 8/10).

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has added two more titles to its August slate for release on DVD and Blu-ray. Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? and Beatdown will street on both formats on 8/31.

And Sony has announced Death at a Funeral for release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 8/10 (SRP $28.95 and $34.95), followed by an Orlando: Special Edition DVD on 8/17 (SRP $19.94), and Stomp the Yard: Homecoming on both DVD and Blu-ray on 9/21 (SRP $24.96 and $30.95).

Back with more in a few hours. Stay tuned...

6/9/10

Afternoon, everyone! More new announcements today...

Warner Home Video has set One Tree Hill: The Complete Seventh Season for DVD release on 8/17, followed by Gossip Girl: The Complete Third Season on 8/24. The studio has also set a few new double feature Blu-ray titles for release on 9/14, including Timecop/Bloodsport, Shiloh/Saving Shiloh and A Cinderella Story/Another Cinderella Story. And for anime fans, Bleach: Volume 32 arrives on DVD on 9/21, followed by Bleach Uncut: Box Set 6 and Vampire Knight: Volume 2 on 9/28.

Meanwhile, Sony's just officially announced its first Blu-ray 3D title to be regularly released onto store shelves - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, due in just a couple weeks on 6/22 (SRP $39.95). It looks as if all the extras from the 2D Blu-ray version will be included. It DOES, however, also include 3D previews of Monster House and Open Season, which would lead us to believe those titles will soon be announced for Blu-ray 3D release as well.

Lionsgate has revealed at least some of their August DVD and Blu-ray slate, currently set to include Henson's Place and Open House (DVD and Blu-ray) on 8/3, Under the Mountain on 8/10, Burning Bright, Ca$h, Wolverine and the X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy and Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Season 3 on 8/17, and finally The Least Among You on 8/24.

Not sure if we've mentioned this one before, but CBS has set The Lucy Show: The Official Second Season for DVD release on 7/13.

And 20th Century Fox has officially set the comedy Date Night for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/10 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99), along with The Joneses on both DVD and Blu-ray that same day. The Date Night DVD will include both the theatrical cut of the film and a new extended cut. You'll also get audio commentary with director Shawn Levy, alternate scenes, the Directing Off-Camera and Directing 301 featurettes, PSAs and a gag reel. The Blu-ray will add more deleted and extended scenes, the Disaster Dates featurette, Steve Carell and Tina Fey camera test footage and also a Digital Copy version of the film.

Speaking of Fox, we've learned more about the new special features you'll find on the Glee: The Complete First Season Blu-ray due on 9/14, in addition to those that carry over from the Volume 1 DVD. You'll get the Behind the Pilot: A Visual Commentary with Cast and Crew on the pilot episode, a Glee Music Jukebox, Glee Sing-Along Karaoke and 8 new featurettes (Staying in Step with Glee, Sue's Corner, Bite Their Style: Dress Like Your Favorite Gleek, The Power of Madonna, Making of a Showstopper, Dance Boot Camp, Jane Lynch A to Glee and Meet Jane Lynch).

And in other news today, as expected Sony has announced 19 new HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, theater systems and audio/video components compatible with 3D. Many are now available for pre-order and will arrive in stores starting in July. These include the BRAVIA XBR-LX900 (with built-in 3D transmitter and 2 pairs of active shutter glasses) and the 3D-ready BRAVIA XBR-HX909 and KDL-HX800. Screen sizes available will include 40, 46, 52, 55, and 60-inch units. Sony's new Blu-ray 3D player, the BDP-S770, will be available in July as well for around $300. It will also include WiFi. The company has also released a free firmware update (now available) that activates Blu-ray 3D compatibility in their already available BDP-S470 and BDP-S570 Blu-ray players, as well as their BDV-E570 and BDV-E770W Blu-ray home theater systems. The PS3 Blu-ray 3D firmware update will be announced at a later date for release before the end of the year. Meanwhile, 3D games that will be downloadable over the PlayStation Network for the PS3 include PAIN (partial game) and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift (demo), as well as the full games WipEout HD and Super StarDust HD. You can read the complete press release here.

That's all for now. Stay tuned...

6/8/10

First up today, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a 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 do appreciate it.

In news today, we now have an official street date for Warner's Ocean's 11: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. Look for it on 10/5 (SRP $24.98).

Speaking of Warner, the studio has now officially announced The Goonies: 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition on DVD and Blu-ray for release on 11/2 (SRP $39.92 and $49.99). Special features on both versions will include cast commentary with director Richard Donner and all seven actors, The Making of The Goonies documentary, Cyndi Lauper The Goonies 'R Good Enough music video, deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. So not much new on the disc itself, other than the new HD transfer and 5.1 lossless audio. However, the packaging will include "an exciting new board game, collectible storyboard prints, a 1985 souvenir magazine with captivating behind-the-scenes stories about the actual filming in Astoria, Oregon, including the production design that transformed Astoria into the "Goon Docks," and a reprint of a 2009 article with updates of the entire cast, as well as producer Steven Spielberg and director Richard Donner." Here's a look a the packaging...

The Goonies: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray contents

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Ricky Gervais' Cemetery Junction for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/17 (SRP $24.96 and $30.95). Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary with writers/directors Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, cast commentary with Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan, deleted scenes, 8 featurettes (The Directors: A Conversation with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, The Lads Look Back: The Stars Discuss Cemetery Junction, Seventies Style: Production and Costume Design, Snow Dude, The Start of Filming, Week 1, Meet the Boys and The Directors on Set), and the usual movieIQ+sync and BD-Live options.

CBS and Paramount have set Numbers: The Final Season and Numbers: The Complete Series for DVD release on 8/10, followed by 90210: The Second Season and NCIS: The Seventh Season on DVD on 8/24.

Shout! Factory has set The Lost Skeleton Returns Again and Dark and Stormy Night for DVD release on 8/17 (SRP $14.97).

And Fox has set Persons Unknown: Season 1 for DVD release on 8/17.

In other news today, our friends over at TrekWeb have kicked off a new campaign to lobby Paramount to let William Shatner create a new "ultimate director's cut" version of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, presumably with new special effects and some of the cut footage finished and added back in. (Can you say Rock Monster?!) Why the hell not, right? It'd be a good excuse for the studio to come back in a year or two and release a second wave of Trek film Blu-rays, including the longer director's version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (with its redone CG effects re-rendered in full HD). Anyway, check out the details at the link provided.

Stay tuned!

6/7/10

Okay... it's soapbox time to start the new week! It's time for an overdue rant/editorial on the state of the catalog Blu-ray biz this summer. And here's the provocative topic of conversation: We here at The Digital Bits (and we suspect we speak for many others as well) really wish that the Hollywood studios would start spending little more money to create new HD transfers for their catalog Blu-ray titles, and a little less on all the BD-Java and BD-Live bells and whistles those titles are so often caked up with. Far too often these days, great catalog films are coming out on Blu-ray in editions that let you control the player with your iPhone, or look up recipes via BD-Live, but that are absolutely, utterly mediocre and disappointing in terms of video and audio quality.

Now, we know that the studios are working hard to try to differentiate Blu-ray from standard DVD with consumers. And we know that all the studio marketing departments probably have market research that shows "average" consumers really like all those bells and whistles, and that's what attracts them to Blu-ray. But here's the problem... in the middle of a recession, those "average" consumers aren't buying Blu-rays right now. They're renting or sticking with DVD! The people who ARE still spending money on Blu-ray at the moment are film enthusiasts - the same guys who have spent the most money on elaborate DVD special editions and box sets over the last decade. And while the consumers polled in focus groups at places like the Mall of America might like their mobileBlu and Focus Points, what film enthusiasts really care about - what will get them to buy a Blu-ray or not - is absolutely first-rate HD video and lossless audio quality on their favorite films. That means NEW high-def transfers for catalog titles, so the BD releases can take full advantage of the latest mastering technology. Recycling HD transfers done 5 or more years ago amounts to an EPIC FAIL for catalog BD fans! And this whole "digital remastering" thing is WAY out of control. The studios need to have someone in charge of catalog mastering with real film restoration experience - someone who understands that grain isn't inherently a bad thing, and it shouldn't be wholesale scrubbed away with Digital Noise Reduction. We can safely guarantee you guys in Hollywood that there's NOTHING film enthusiasts hate more than seeing their favorite films from the 60s, 70s and 80s polished to death for Blu-ray release to the point that they look as if they were shot on HD video yesterday. How many times do we have to say it?!

"Perfect" on Blu-ray doesn't necessarily mean "flawless" - it means the film should look as good as it did if you went to see the very best projection at a quality theater on opening day. The film should look as good on Blu-ray as it would in an exclusive preview viewing in the director's own screening room, right out of the can. So many of our readers here at The Bits are telling us now that they no longer feel comfortable pre-ordering catalog Blu-ray titles from certain studios when they're announced, because they've gotten burned too often. They spend their hard-earned cash to upgrade from DVD to HD versions of their favorite films, only to get the Blu-ray home and be appalled at the presentation quality. A film should look like a FILM on Blu-ray - PERIOD. And anyone who tells you that even very old B&W films can't look fantastic on Blu-ray when properly handled - bullshit. They don't know what they're talking about. Just look at any such title Criterion has released on Blu-ray for proof of that: The Seventh Seal, , The Third Man, M... you name it. Hell, look at ALL of their classic film BDs! How does Criterion hit their catalog BDs out of the park virtually EVERY time? They put their time and money in right place - the A/V quality, not mobileBlu. They have people working on these transfers that KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING. And they don't settle for mediocre mastering work.

Meanwhile, major studios are spending $100K per title to create and QC PiP viewing modes, live streaming content, cast bio look-up modes and other interactive drivel on Blu-ray, then they're turning around and recycling old HD transfers through the use of excessive "digital mastering" and just assuming that will do. It won't, and no amount of DNR will change that. Rating the importance of BD-Java and BD-Live over new, high-quality HD transfers is putting the cart before the horse. But a few key studios are doing it anyway, and then they're acting surprised when their catalog titles aren't selling well. Here's a hint guys: It's not because people out there don't WANT to buy your catalog BD titles, because trust us... they DO. We hear from them every day. The reason your discs aren't selling well is because too many of the titles you've been releasing have suffered from poor quality HD transfers, and select studios have now earned a bad reputation because of it. And while it's true that some enthusiasts simply can never be pleased, don't kid yourselves - the vast majority can easily be thrilled with your BD work if you simply make the effort to do so. But make no mistake - savvy Blu-ray enthusiasts can spot a half-assed HD master a mile away. So to all you studio home video department types reading this: Please do yourselves, your most loyal consumers and the Blu-ray format overall a big favor, and try a little harder going forward to get your priorities in the right order, will you? Because believe us, we're getting as tired of talking about disappointing catalog Blu-ray titles as you guys probably are hearing all the complaints. But there's a REASON for the complaints. It's a REAL problem, and you studios REALLY need to deal with it pronto. 'Nuff said.

All right, I'm sure we'll be talking more about this topic soon enough. In the meantime, let's have some release news...

Warner Home Video has revealed this morning that it's preparing a classic Ocean's 11: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray for release this fall. Extras will include all of the features from the previous (2008) DVD release, including audio commentary by Frank Sinatra Jr. and Angie Dickinson, an Interactive Las Vegas Then and Now Map, Casino Vignettes, an excerpt from The Tonight Show featuring Frank Sinatra as guest host (with guest Angie Dickinson) and the film's theatrical trailer. Street date is TBA.

Meanwhile, our friends over at Japanese genre-friendly AnimEigo are getting ready to throw down with their first Blu-ray Disc release - the swordplay classic Shogun Assassin! The 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition (SRP $24.98 - their website says it's coming in July, but Amazon lists it for 8/24) will include an interview with Samuel L. Jackson (a fan of the film) and audio commentary by members of the original (English version) cast and crew, along with a new 1080/24p transfer. Very nice. Dare we now begin to hope for AnimEigo's Zatoichi films on Blu-ray in the months ahead?! Fingers crossed...

Also today, Disney has set The Last Song for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 8/17. Following in September are Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Sixth Season on 9/14 (DVD - with an extended version of the season finale featuring 22 additional minutes), Desperate Housewives: The Complete Sixth Season and Castle: The Complete Second Season on 9/21 (both DVD), and Legend of the Seeker: The Complete Second Season, Scrubs: The Complete Ninth and Final Season and Scrubs: The Complete Collection on 9/28 (all also DVD). And in October, look for both Oceans and Crimson Wing from the Disneynature line to be released on DVD and Blu-ray (street date TBA).

Finally this morning, we want to tip our caps to the memory of actress Rue McClanahan (of Golden Girls fame - she was 76) and legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden (he was 99 - not a TV or film star, but we greatly admired him nonetheless), both of whom passed away over the last few days. They'll surely be missed.

Here's artwork for Warner's Ocean's 11, AnimEigo's Shogun Assassin and Spacecraft Films' outstanding Live from the Moon: The Story of Apollo Television documentary on Blu-ray (begins shipping this week directly from Spacecraft Films - review coming soon)...

Ocean's 11: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Shogun Assassin (Blu-ray Disc)Live from the Moon: The Story of Apollo Television (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

6/4/10

Morning, folks! We've got some interesting release news for you today, along with cool new artwork...

First, Warner and HBO have officially set The Pacific miniseries for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 11/2 (SRP $79.99 and $99.98). The DVD version will include all of the 5-minute Historical Background prologues for each episode, along with 3 documentary featurettes (Making The Pacific, Profiles of The Pacific and Anatomy of the Pacific War). To this, the Blu-ray Disc will add a pair of BD-Java interactive options, including The Pacific Enhanced Viewing mode (a 10-part, 10-hour PiP mode that offers interviews with historians and veterans, archival footage, maps and more) and The Pacific Field Guide (which allows you to search for additional information on the real historical events depicted in the miniseries and to view additional animated maps, extensive interviews with historians and veterans, historical footage, photographs and more).

Warner has also announced the release of The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/31.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set The Bad Mother's Handbook and The Least Among You for DVD release on 8/24.

Shout! Factory and the Sesame Workshop will release Ghostwriter: Season One on DVD on 6/8.

Image Entertainment has That Evening Sun, Numb, Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale and UFC Presents: The Best of WEC set for Blu-ray release on 9/7, followed by The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (as many of you already know) and Janeane Garofalo: If You Will on 9/14. Those titles not yet available on DVD will also be released in that format. The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (SRP $99.98) will be a 5-disc set. Sources tell us that in addition to all of the previously released DVD extras, the set will include much newly-created material as well. We'll post more details as they're available.

And though it hasn't yet been officially announced, Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for a Blu-ray version of Paramount and DreamWorks' Stardust. Once again, don't forget that there are a number of as-yet-unannounced TV BD titles also available for pre-order already, including Fringe: The Complete Second Season, V: The Complete First Season, Chuck: The Complete Third Season and Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season, just to name a few.

Here's a look at the cover artwork for Image's The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Blu-ray, along with both versions of HBO's The Pacific. All three are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking on the cover links...

The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (Blu-ray Disc)The Pacific (Blu-ray Disc)The Pacific (DVD)

Finally today, I know we have a lot of aerospace industry readers. Do any of you work at or with SpaceX? Drop us an e-mail and say hello! For those of you who aren't aware, SpaceX is attempting its first test launch of the Falcon 9 rocket - that may one day carry astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station - this afternoon (or tomorrow pending weather and other issues). These things rarely go 100% smoothly the first time around, but I like the pluck of these guys at SpaceX. They definitely seem to have the right stuff. So good luck to all of you involved! [Late Update: Congratulations to SpaceX on a successful first launch of the Falcon 9 rocket. Their Dragon capsule is now in orbit. Looks like Neil Armstrong might want to rethink his position. SpaceX definitely has the right stuff!]

Okay, that's all for now. Have a great weekend and, as always, we'll see you back here on Monday. Peace out.

6/3/10

Afternoon, folks. We've gotten a lot of response about the Sony 3D gaming story from yesterday, and we have a quick update for you. Sony announced today that it's going to be showcasing its new line of 3D-compatible Bravia HDTVs, Blu-ray players and additional 3D-compatible products (the PS3, etc) at the CEA Line Shows in New York City on 6/22 and 6/23. Sony is also going to be working with the new ESPN 3D channel (which launches next week, on 6/11) to broadcast World Cup live feeds in 3D at the event. More on Sony's 3D products soon.

In release news today, Universal has set Heroes: Season 4 for DVD and Blu-ray release on 8/3. Extras on both versions will include 3 featurettes (Deconstructing Sylar, Milo Speaks and Heroes Revolution), the Genetics of a Scene scene deconstruction, deleted and extended scenes, a Sullivan Brothers Design Gallery screensaver option and audio commentaries with the cast and crew on the episodes Once Upon a Time in Texas, Shadowboxing, The Fifth Stage and Brave New World. The Blu-ray will add the usual mess of U-Control, pocketBlu and BD-Live interactive options, along with additional deleted and extended scenes, Picture-in-Picture video commentaries and Heroes Connections cast bios.

Speaking of Universal, EW has confirmed news we reported to you a while back, specifically that the studio is going to be releasing the original Bionic Woman TV series on DVD. According to the story, the set is due in October. As expected, The Six Million Dollar Man is also on the way to DVD (TBA).

Warner Home Video has set 5 4-film Pedro Infante Collections (Coleccion Pedro Infante) for release on DVD on 9/14 (SRP $27.92 each), including El Amante (The Lover - includes Dicen Que Soy Mujeriego, La Oveja Negra, No Desearas La mujer de Tu Higo & Angelitos Negros), El Cantante (The Singer - includes A Toda Maquina, Que Te Ha Dado Esa Mujer, Escandalo de Estrellas & Sobre Las Olas), El Comediante (The Comedian - includes Los Tres Garcia, Vuelven Los Garcia, Viva Mi Desgracia & Arriba Las Mujeres), El Heroe de Guerra (The War Hero - includes Cuando Lloran Los Valientes, La Mujer Que Yo Perdi, Mexicanos Al Grito de Guerra & Las Mujeres de Mi General) and El Hombre (The Man - includes Los Tres Huastecos, El Seminarista, Las Islas Marias & Asi Era Perdo Infante).

Also, Warner and HBO will release Bill Maher: But I'm Not Wrong on DVD on 9/14 as well.

And Warner and the BBC will release Being Human: Season 1 on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc, as well as Desperate Romantics on DVD only, on 7/20.

Speaking of the BBC, we've kicked off a new Giveaway today, giving each of you the chance to take home a copy of the Life documentary series on Blu-ray Disc, along with a copy of the companion book and a bookmark. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, June 13th. Click on the link for instructions on how to enter, and good luck!

And in other release news, you Star Trek fans might be interested in Varese Sarabande Records' forthcoming Star Trek: The Deluxe Edition 2-CD release of composer Michael Giacchino's thrilling and COMPLETE score to the 2009 reboot film. The set comes packaged in a Blu-ray sized book case featuring 28-pages of liner notes by Starlog Magazine founder Kerry O'Quinn. Only 5000 copies will be available, priced at $29.98 each. It's not available on Amazon, but you can find all the details on how to order here. I can't wait to hear it myself!

Also today, there are reports at Home Media that Hulu's content streaming service MIGHT be coming to the Xbox 360, and also that Redbox will start adding $1.50 a night Blu-ray rentals in many of their rental kiosks over the next few months.

Stay tuned...

6/2/10

The big news today is that Sony is soon to roll out not only its 3D-compatible Blu-ray players and HDTVs, but also 3D gaming for the PS3. Starting next week on 6/10, the first of those 3D games will go on sale in Japan - the same day as Sony's 3D HDTVs go on sale there. (Note that the initial firmware upgrade required to play 3D games on the PS3 was part of the v3.3 firmware update in April). Japanese PS3 users will be able to download the games from the PlayStation Store for the yen equivalent of between $8 and $20. The first 3 titles are Mr. Pain, Star Strike HD and Wipeout HD. A 4th title, MotorStorm 2, will also be available as a free demo. All are 2D to 3D conversions, but fully original and native 3D games will follow. 3D games will reportedly be made available soon for PS3 users here in the States and elsewhere as well. Sony is expected to announce dates for its U.S. 3D launch (with HDTVs, PS3 and Blu-ray players) as early as next week. According to the latest reports, another firmware update to the PS3 - now currently expected "before the end of the year" - will allow Blu-ray 3D movie playback on the game system too. We'll post additional news updates on Sony's 3D plans soon, but in the meantime, you can read more here at the Wall Street Journal and here at andriasang.com.

In announcement news this afternoon, Fox has set The Order for release on Blu-ray on 9/14 (SRP $24.99). All the DVD special features will be included. Fox has also announced Diary of a Wimpy Kid for DVD and Blu-ray release on 8/3.

Meanwhile, Cartoon Network and Warner Home Video will release Ben 10 Alien Force on DVD on 6/29, followed by Bakugan Battle Brawlers on 7/6.

Fangoria and Lightning Media have teamed up to release 8 Fangoria FrightFest horror titles on DVD on 9/28, including Fragile, The Tomb, Grimm Love, Road Kill, Dark House, Hunger, Pig Hunt and The Haunting.

The Cinema Guild will release the documentary Sweetgrass on DVD on 8/3.

And finally, New Video has obtained the home video release rights to the animated film The Secret of Kells, made by the producers of The Triplets of Belleville. They'll release it on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/5.

And in other news today, there's word that James Cameron's underwater submersible experience might soon pay off in an unexpected way. The visionary director is apparently part of a team of scientists and engineers that's consulting with BP and the federal government to brainstorm ideas for way to shut off the Gulf oil spill. We certainly hope he comes up with something brilliant, because BP seems to be running out of their own "Top"-branded schemes to get the job done. Hell, they can call up Aquaman for all we care as long as they get the damn job done soon...

Here's a little more new cover art... Fox's The Order and Sons of Anarchy: Season Two (due 8/31), as well as Sony's The Runaways (7/20)...

The Order (Blu-ray Disc)Sons of Anarchy: Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)The Runaways (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

6/1/10

All right, the good Dr. Jahnke has turned in a timely new Electric Theatre today, saluting the life and work of actor Dennis Hopper, who passed away over the weekend. Do check it out.

Also here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with lots of new DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from the retailer after clicking to them through any of our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it.

In release news today, Universal has set The Black Dahlia and The Skeleton Key for release on Blu-ray Disc on 9/7. They've also announced The Office: Season Six for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc that same day. Unfortunately, we've gotten a look at their new Flash Gordon Blu-ray, and like many of their other recent catalog BD titles, it's also been over-scrubbed with DNR in the mastering process. Hopefully, they'll get a handle on their catalog BD quality issues soon, because we'd hate to see Psycho and Back to the Future suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, Magnolia has announced that George Romero's Survival of the Dead will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/24. There will be a single-disc standard DVD (SRP $26.98), a 2-disc Ultimate Undead Edition DVD (SRP $29.98) and an Ultimate Undead Edition Blu-ray (SRP $29.98). Extras on the Ultimate versions will include an introduction by Romero, audio commentary by Romero, the Walking After Midnight documentary and a companion short film called Sarge.

Also, Sony has set a Kim Novak Film Collection for release on DVD on 8/10 (SRP $39.95). The set will include Bell, Book and Candle, Middle of the Night, Jeanne Eagels, Picnic and Pal Joey. Sony has also set The Runaways for release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 7/20, followed by A Prophet on both formats on 8/3.

Anchor Bay has set Operation: Endgame for release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 7/27.

HBO will release Bored to Death on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 9/21 (SRP $39.98 and $49.99 - via Warner).

Vanguard has set Dark Arc, One Night, Four Stories of St. Julian and A Step into the Darkness for DVD release on 8/24.

And Lionsgate has set Ca$h for DVD release on 8/17.

In other news today, there's an interesting follow up to that story from yesterday about director Guillermo del Toro leaving The Hobbit. In a new piece in The Dominion Post (from New Zealand) today, producer Peter Jackson has said that he'll step in to direct the Hobbit films if that's what's required to get MGM and Warner to move the project forward. That would definitely be a measure of good news, but you'll note that Jackson's quoted in the article as saying "If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore." There's been a lot of speculation in the last day or so about just where the problem lies - MGM's financial troubles (MGM is a partner on the project) or various issues at New Line (which is essentially Warner Brothers now). The reality is, it's almost certainly a bit of both, though it's telling we suspect that Jackson specifically mentions Warner in his quote. Because of MGM's financial troubles, Warner is likely having to invest more than their expected share of money in the production to get it going. The result is a great deal of foot-dragging and hand-wringing, and of course no greenlight on the project as yet. CNN and EW also have more on this as well today. Hopefully, this will all sort itself out soon, but it's a shame that it's already cost Guillermo's involvement.

Finally this afternoon, Apple reports that it's now sold over 2 million iPads since the device was launched here in the States. More on that here.

Here's a look at the cover art for Warner's King Kong Blu-ray (due 9/28), along with Universal's The Skeleton Key and The Black Dahlia...

King Kong (Blu-ray Disc)The Skeleton Key (Blu-ray Disc)The Black Dahlia (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow, so stay tuned!

5/31/10

Hope you guys are all enjoying the long Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately, we've got some sad news to report to you all today...

First, as you may have heard, actor Dennis Hopper has passed away after a battle with cancer. Thankfully, Hopper had a long and terrific career, including memorable roles in such films as Easy Rider, Hoosiers, Blue Velvet, Speed, Waterworld and many more. He even played Billy Clanton in John Sturges' 1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He was 74, and he'll surely be missed. We suspect a few Pabst Blue Ribbons have been cracked in his honor over the weekend...

The other unfortunate news today, is that director Guillermo del Toro has backed out of The Hobbit, after many long months of frustration trying to get the project going with producer Peter Jackson, MGM and Warner Brothers. Let me tell you, as someone who LOVED the Lord of the Rings films, this is upsetting in the extreme. When Guillermo was announced as the director of the two Hobbit films, after Jackson said he'd only produce, it was definitely a "dream come true" match. Guillermo was - IS - perfect for the job. But after after TWO YEARS of delays by the studio(s), he finally had to bow out in order to take on other work he wanted to be part of. What a damn shame! Warner was handed (when they absorbed New Line) what could and should have been a surefire hit, based on a property that's a proven film success and that almost everyone loves. But partner MGM's financial difficulties, and other issues, are turning this into a real mess. You can read more here and here about it.

Finally today, there IS one little bit of good news, and ironically it comes from Warner Home Video. As expected, the studio has confirmed that its bringing the original 1933 King Kong to Blu-ray Disc on 9/28 (SRP $34.99). We don't believe that any new extras are being created for this release, but it will be remastered and feature all of the supplements from the previous - and excellent - DVD special edition (reviewed here). It will also come packaged in a 32-page book with liner notes by film historian Rudy Behlmer. More here at Home Media.

All right, we'll be back tomorrow morning with our usual update. Everybody enjoy the rest of your day off. And for all those of you about to hit the road back home this afternoon, be sure to drive safely. See you tomorrow...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/28/10 - 3 PM PDT)

Okay, Lost fans... Disney Home Entertainment has just OFFICIALLY announced what we all already knew was coming: Lost: The Final Season and Lost: The Complete Collection arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/24.

Lost: The Final Season (SRP $59.99 and $79.99) on both formats will include every Sixth Season episode, bloopers and deleted scenes, audio commentaries on 4 episodes (LA X, Dr. Linus, Ab Aeterno and Across the Sea), 4 featurettes (The End: Crafting a Final Season, A Hero's Journey, See You in Another Life, Brotha and Lost on Location). Plus, both will allow you to "go deeper into the world of Lost with a much-anticipated new chapter of the island's story from Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse." This is likely what actor Michael Emerson was referring to on G4 the other day.

Meanwhile, Lost: The Complete Collection (SRP $229.99 and $279.99) will include every episode of the series, over 30 hours of hours of bonus material from the existing Seasons 1-6 sets, and new extras exclusive to the box set that include a series of featurettes in which cast and crew members take viewers on tours of Oahu where the series was created, a look back at the history and phenomenon that of Lost, a closer look at key props and their significance, a look back at every character who died during the series, 16 Lost Slapdowns featurettes (in which celebrity fans ask the show's creators about the secrets of the series final season) and more. The collectible packaging will also include a number of cool swag items, including a collectible Senet Game as seen in Season Six, a custom island replica, an exclusive episode guide, a collectible Ankh and a black light penlight.

Here's a look at the packaging for both releases in both versions, along with the open contents of The Complete Collection. All are available for pre-order now from Amazon.com...

Lost: The Final Season (DVD)Lost: The Final Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Lost: The Complete Collection (DVD)

Lost: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

FYI, the top Complete Collection image is linked to the Amazon pre-order page for the DVD set (just $148.99 - 35% off the SRP), and the bottom one is linked to the Blu-ray pre-order page ($194.99 - 30% off retail). The packaging and swag is essentially identical.

That's it. Have a great weekend!

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/28/10 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Afternoon, folks! So how many of you guys are being dragged to see Sex and the City 2 this weekend? Well, good luck to you! I saw the first one and have to admit that, while it's not my thing, it wasn't as bad as I expected. This one though... the trailers can't even make it look good. It comes off a bit like some weird Ishtar remake with catty women. All well, I salute all of you taking your wives/girlfriends/significant others this weekend. Me... I'm going to Robin Hood or something while Sarah sees Sex and the City 2. She's okay with that arrangement. To quite Val Kilmer in Tombstone, "My hypocrisy only goes so far..."

Let's get to some release news, shall we?

The big news this afternoon is that Warner Home Video has officially set its Clash of the Titans remake for release on DVD and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Combo Pack on 7/27 (SRP $28.98 and $35.99). The DVD will include deleted scenes. The Blu-ray will add an alternate ending, the Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages featurette and a Maximum Movie Mode called Harnessing the Gods with PiP commentary, interview clips, scene breakdowns, VFX clips and more.

Warner has also set The Losers for release on both formats on 7/20 (SRP $28.98 and $35.99). The DVD will include the Zöe and the Losers featurette. The Blu-ray will add to that the Band of Buddies: Ops Training and The Losers: Action-Style Storytelling featurettes, a deleted scene and a sneak peek at the forthcoming Batman: Under the Red Hood animated film.

Here's a look at the cover art for both of the just-mentioned titles, along with Warner's Elvis Blu-ray Collection (due on 8/3) and Sony's The Bounty Hunter Blu-ray (7/13)...

Clash of the Titans (DVD)Clash of the Titans (Blu-ray Disc)The Bounty Hunter (Blu-ray Disc)

The Losers (DVD)The Losers (Blu-ray Disc)Elvis Blu-ray Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Also today, Anchor Bay Entertainment has set After.Life for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/3 (SRP $29.98 and $34.98). The film stars Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci and Justin Long.

Infinity Entertainment Group has set Secrets of the Great Barrier Reef for DVD release on 8/10 (SRP $9.98).

E1 Entertainment has set Sanctuary: The Complete Second Season for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 6/15 (SRP $44.98 and $49.98). Extras will include audio commentaries on all 13 episodes with cast and crew (including Amanda Tapping, creator Damian Kindler, director Martin Wood and more), 4 mini-featurettes (International Sanctuary, Amanda Tapping Directs Veritas, Dancing in Mumbai and Sanctuary Visual Effects), the Anatomy of an Episode documentary on the making of the Next Tuesday episode from script to screen, 2 Robin Dunne Video Diaries (Behind-the-Scenes and Sanctuary Goes to Japan), the Sanctuary Goes to Comic-Con featurette, bloopers and outtakes and a production stills gallery. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD and DTS-HD 5.1 on Blu-ray.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has set Sons of Anarchy: Season 2 for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/31 (SRP $59.98 and $69.99). You'll get all 13 episodes along with a gag reel, deleted scenes and multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes.

And our friends at Blue Underground have set William Lustig's Vigilante for release on Blu-ray Disc on 9/21 (SRP $29.98 - the film is already available on DVD). The release will feature a brand new 2K high-def transfer of the original uncut and uncensored version, mastered from the original camera negative. Audio will be DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless with D-Box motion control enhancement. Extras will include BD-exclusive audio commentary with co-producer/director William Lustig and co-producer Andrew W. Garroni, a second commentary with Lustig and stars Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Frank Pesce, theatrical trailers, TV spots, radio spots and a promotional reel.

In other news today, those of you who enjoy movie soundtracks will be pleased to know that Film Score Monthly and Screen Archives Entertainment are releasing an expanded, 2-disc version of James Horner's complete score for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It streets on 6/1 (SRP $24.95) and includes a 20-page booklet of liner notes. Disc One is the complete score, while Disc Two recreates the original LP release track order, complete with the Group 87 "pop" version of The Search for Spock. Pretty cool. I'll tell you, it's a good time to be a soundtrack fan.

Finally today, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor Gary Coleman, of Different Strokes fame, who sadly died today at the age of 42. Gary had a pretty extensive TV career in the 1980s, but in recent years he struggled with serious health and financial problems. Frankly, he had a pretty tough go of it. So our hats off to him. Gary made his mark, and will certainly be missed.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, folks. And to all those of you serving here and overseas, stay safe. Back on Monday!

5/27/10

More announcement news today...

Warner, Cartoon Network and Lucasfilm have officially set Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Two for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/26 (SRP $44.98 and $59.99). All 22 episodes of the season will be included, along with "a look inside the Lucasfilm vaults, with featurette interviews." Among them will be Attack of the Zillo Beast, Magic of the Holocron, Return to Geonosis and Creating Mandalore. You'll also get audio commentaries with the director and artists on each disc. Both format versions will also include a "64-page production journal with concept designs, original sketches and notes from Supervising Director Dave Filoni." Finally, the Blu-ray will exclusively contain another The Jedi Temple Archives interactive mode allowing access to a large database of artwork and other creative materials from the season, including special effects footage, early concept art, 3-D character and object turnarounds and early animation. You can read more here at Star Wars.com. And here's a look at the cover artwork...

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Two (DVD)Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)U2 360 (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included artwork for the new U2360 at the Hollywood Bowl Blu-ray, which is due in stores on this coming Tuesday (6/3 - also available on DVD).

Also today, Warner and the BBC have set the documentary The Great Rift: Africa's Greatest Story for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 9/21 (SRP $19.98 and $24.99).

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has announced a second round of Roger Corman's Cult Classic Special Edition releases available in stores on 8/3. Among them will be DVD and Blu-ray versions of BOTH Joe Dante's Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep (SRP $19.93 and $26.97 respectively).

Piranha will include a new anamorphic/HD widescreen presentation (1.78:1), audio commentary with director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davison, behind-the-scenes footage, a new The Making of Piranha featurette, bloopers and outtakes, the Piranha trailer with commentary by producer Jon Davison, a gallery of still photos and poster artwork, a second gallery of photos from Phil Tippett's personal collection, additional scenes from the network television version, radio and TV spots, and other New World trailers. The cover will feature vintage poster art and the DVD version will include a lenticular hologram.

Humanoids from the Deep will include a new HD transfer of the uncut international version (1.78:1), never-before-seen deleted scenes, Leonard Maltin's interviews with Roger Corman on the making of the film, a new The Making of Humanoids from the Deep featurette, the film's trailer and TV and radio spots, and other New World trailers.

Not done yet: Shout! is also releasing a new Corman's Classic Double-Feature DVD on 8/3: Deathsport/BattleTruck (SRP $19.93)! Deathsport will include a new anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.78:1), audio commentary with co-director Allan Arkush and editor Larry Bock, interviews with actor Jesse Vint, original theatrical trailers, a still gallery, and the film's trailer and TV spots. BattleTruck will include audio commentary with director Harley Cokliss, and trailers.

Here's the cover art for the Corman titles, along with Criterion's Black Orpheus Blu-ray (due 8/17)...

Piranha: Special Edition (DVD)Piranha: Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Deathsport/BattleTruck (DVD)

Humanoids from the Deep: Special Edition (DVD)Humanoids from the Deep: Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Black Orpheus (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Also today, Shout! Factory has set Dragnet 1968: Season 2 coming to DVD on 7/6 (SRP $44.99). The 6-disc set will include all 28 episodes, the Jack Webb: The Man Behind Badge 714 featurette, the original Dragnet 1966 pilot movie, a vintage Dragnet 1969 trailer and a commemorative booklet.

A&E has set American Pickers: The Complete Season One for release on DVD on 6/8, followed by How the Earth Was Made: The Complete Season Two and Paranormal Cops: The Complete Season One on 6/29.

And Screen Media Films has set director Steven Kastrissios' The Horseman for DVD and Blu-ray release on 6/15. This was a big hit at last year's SXSW Festival.

By the way, before we go, you Glee fans will be pleased to learn that Glee: Season One DVD and Glee: Season One Blu-ray are finally available for pre-order on Amazon.com, each for 30% off the suggested retail price. Get your orders in, folks!

Stay tuned...

5/26/10

Afternoon, folks... some release news and updates...

First, Universal has moved up the street date for Green Zone on DVD and Blu-ray from 6/29 to 6/22. Update your plans accordingly.

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set a NHL Stanley Cup Champions 2009-2010 Blu-ray Disc for release on 7/20, followed by Batman Legends Begins: Volume 1 for DVD release on 7/27, Doctor Who: The King's Demons, Doctor Who: Ep.135 - Planet of Fire and Doctor Who: Ep.106 - Creature from the Pit for DVD release on 9/7 (for the BBC), Dalziel and Pascoe: Season Two on DVD on 9/14 (also for the BBC), and dual NFL's Greatest Rivalries: Chicago vs. Green Bay and NFL's Greatest Rivalries: Green Bay vs. Chicago DVDs for release on 9/28.

And here's a bit of good news from Fox and MGM - they've announced a new batch of catalog Blu-ray + DVD sets for release on 8/3 (SRP $24.99 each), including a few titles we haven't seen on Blu-ray: Blood Simple, Bull Durham, Escape from New York and Kalifornia. Also coming that day are new combos of Fargo, The Graduate, Never Say Never Again, Out of Time, The Princess Bride, Spaceballs, Walking Tall, Road House and the Rollerball remake (some of these are $19.99 each). For the new titles, there are two packaging options - DVD case or Blu-ray case. FINALLY, Escape from New York in HD!

Here's a look at the BD case options for all of the new MGM catalog titles, as well as Lionsgate's Lock Up (due 7/27) and Sony's Jason and the Argonauts on Blu-ray (7/6)...

Escape from New York (Blu-ray Disc)Blood Simple (Blu-ray Disc)Bull Durham (Blu-ray Disc)

Kalifornia (Blu-ray Disc)Lock Up (Blu-ray Disc)Jason and the Argonauts (Blu-ray Disc)

We should also take a moment today to acknowledge the passing of radio broadcast legend Art Linkletter. You'll find more on his life and career here. He was 97.

Stay tuned...

5/25/10

Okay, first things first: Our very own Dr. Jahnke has posted a new update of his Electric Theatre column, featuring Micmacs, The Monster That Challenged the World and It! Pretty tough to shake a stick at that, boy! Do check it out.

Also today, Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a small portion of anything you buy from Amazon after clicking to them from our links goes to support our efforts here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it.

We've also kicked off some new Giveaways here at the site today, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of New Video Group's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Blu-ray, Lionsgate's The Spy Next Door on DVD & Blu-ray, New Video NYC's The Guild: Season Three on DVD, the BBC's Survivors: The Complete Original Series and Survivors: The Complete Seasons One and Two on DVD, and also a pair of general admission passes to the L.A. Film Festival! Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, 6/6. Click the links to see how to enter, and good luck!

Now then, some release news...

As expected, Fox has just announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of 24: Season 8 on 12/7. And as predicted the 24: The Complete Series box set is also on that day... only on DVD. According to the press release, the set is "bursting with bonus features including deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes footage; a comprehensive retrospective that looks back at the show's unforgettable eight seasons; an alternate ending for the series finale and much more." No word yet on exact features and SRPs, but there you go.

Any of you watch the series finale last night? The season was actually pretty terrible in my opinion, but the last couple hours were definitely the best of the season. I actually liked the very last scene quite a lot as well. In any case, as someone who watched all 8 seasons, I think 24 was definitely ready to be over. So I'm glad it is.

Meanwhile, Sony reminds you all that Bad Boys arrives on Blu-ray on 6/1, followed by Unthinkable on 6/15.

Image Entertainment has Ghost Hunters International: Season 1, Part 1 coming on DVD on 6/1 as well.

And just a reminder: Disney has officially set Lost: The Final Season for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 8/24 (SRP $59.99 and $79.99). The 5-disc set will include original scripted content produced by Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse, bloopers and deleted scenes, audio commentaries, the Lost on Location and Crafting a Final Season featurettes and more. Meanwhile, Disney will also release Lost: The Complete Series on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/24 (SRP $229.99 and $279.99). That will be a 38-disc DVD set and a 36-disc Blu-ray set. Extras will include a full disc of exclusive-to-this-set bonus content (2+ hours) and all of the bonus content from the previous season sets. More details are expected to be announced soon.

And in other news today, Taschen has announced a new film-related book that looks pretty awesome: The Godfather Family Album written by Paul Duncan with photos by Steve Schapiro. It's available in a couple different versions - a standard hardcover (SRP $69.99, but just $44 on Amazon) and also a special Deluxe Edition (SRP $1800, but $1400 on Amazon). Taschen sure know how to make great (and EXPENSIVE) film books! I wish I'd had the funds to drop on that amazing Stanley Kubrick book they released last year - Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made. It sold for $1500 at the time, but it's now out of print and selling for $5000 on Amazon. DAMN. Hey, at least that standard edition of the Godfather book is affordable.

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

5/24/10

Afternoon, folks. Hope your weekend was good, and that you Lost fans enjoyed the finale last night. Judging by the reactions online, people had mixed feelings about it, but that was probably inevitable. It'll be interesting to see how fans react to the 24 series finale and Chuck season finale tonight.

Okay, down to business: We've got a couple more interesting announcements for you today...

First up, Sony has set the original Charlie's Angels movie for release on Blu-ray Disc on 8/3 (SRP $24.95) - the title is already available on DVD. The studio has also set Chloe for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 7/13 (SRP $27.96 and $34.95).

Meanwhile, Fox has announced details for its Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition on Blu-ray on 6/29 (SRP $29.99). The news that will make many of you very happy is that the disc will feature an all-new digital restoration of Predator, along with DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, a sneak preview of the Predators sequel and a new Evolution of the Species: Hunters of Extreme Perfection featurette. The disc will also include most (if not all) of the extras from the previous DVD special edition, including feature-length commentary by director John McTiernan, text commentary by historian Eric Lichtensfeld, 2 documentaries (If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It and Inside the Predator), special effects featurettes, deleted scenes and outtakes, Short Takes, theatrical trailers, photo galleries and a Predator Profile. One suspects the "new digital restoration" might simply be the same transfer just digitally scrubbed of grain a little more, though that said, Fox has gotten a lot better in recent months at watch-dogging the digital restoration process to make sure that it doesn't go too far. We're certainly eager to see the results in this case.

Also, here's something interesting for you music fans... MVD Visual is releasing Cliff Richard: Rare and Unseen and Ian Dury: Rare and Unseen on DVD on 7/27. Each of these will include "rare footage featuring original rare film and videos, newsreels and photographs from private collections." I'm a big fan of this kind of rare music material, so if you dig the work of Richard and Dury, these should be worth a look.

And in other quasi-release news today, there's unofficial word from our friend Scott Hettrick of Hollywood in Hi-Def that you Avatar fans WILL get your first chance to see the film on Blu-ray 3D format in November... but ONLY packaged with Panasonic Blu-ray/HDTV 3D systems. Panasonic has apparently signed a deal with Fox to make it an exclusive with their hardware for a limited time this year. This is nothing new - Samsung has had a detail with DreamWorks for Monsters vs. Aliens on Blu-ray 3D packaged exclusively with their 3D hardware (that deal expired this weekend, but no word on a wide retail release), and Sony is working on similar deals with Disney. One suspects we won't start really seeing regular Blu-ray 3D movie releases until this summer, when Sony launches their hardware, or even later in the fall. Either way, you can reasonably expect at least some titles on Blu-ray 3D to be available in time for the holidays.

I should note that I've seen demos of some of these titles, and they do look very good. But I'm still waiting to see what demand for Blu-ray 3D is going to be like. My best guess is that consumer interest will be VERY limited this year, but will start to grow into a small niche next year. How fast and large that niche grows is going to be driven largely by improvements in the hardware needed to view 3D at home, how quickly the cost of that hardware comes down, and the quality and number of great movie titles in 3D. I'll go a step further as well, and say that the biggest obstacle hardware-wise is going to be the glasses - right now they're WAY too expensive and WAY too fragile. They need to be kid-proof, and kid-proof at a price not greater than $50 or $60 - the price of a typical new videogame title. And in my opinion, videogaming is going to be the REAL driver of 3D in the home. You can almost guarantee that the next round of videogame consoles will embrace 3D very aggressively and as gamers gradually upgrade to 3D hardware, every other 3D application - from movies, to cable/satellite broadcasts, to live sporting events, etc - will all benefit in a big way.

Stay tuned...

5/23/10

[Editor's Note: The following takes place on the day of the California Presidential Primary. Events take place in real time.]

Kidding. But we DO have a rare (and quick) Sunday update of The Bits for you today with release news about 24. Actor Kiefer Sutherland was on The Tonight Show on Friday night (watch the full ep here), to talk about the 2-hour series finale on Fox on Monday night. During their conversation, Jay revealed that a 24: Complete Series box set was coming and Kiefer confirmed it. Then, in an on-screen graphic as Jay signed off the episode, the following additional information was revealed...

"24" Season 8 Blu-ray DVD and The Complete Series available December 7

We're going to take a wild guess and assume that this means that 24: Season 8 will be available on both DVD and Blu-ray, and that 24: The Complete Series will be available on at least DVD for sure (though a Blu-ray box isn't yet confirmed). We expect official details in the coming days from Fox Home Entertainment, but that's the unofficial skinny directly from Jay and Jack Bauer. And fans didn't even have to torture it out of them, so we guess that counts for something.

(Also, the Lost series finale airs tonight on ABC, and don't forget that Chuck has a 2-hour season finale on Monday night as well. Best of all, Chuck has officially been renewed by NBC for a 13-episode 4th season!)

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned. durt... deet... durt... deet...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/21/10 - 4:15 PM PDT)

One more update for you before we sign off for the week this afternoon...

For you Star Wars fans, today just so happens to be the 30th anniversary of the original theatrical release of The Empire Strikes Back. Ahh... I remember the day well. Our old friend Michael Coate has written up a little something to commemorate the occasion, so do check it out here at Cinema Treasures. He's got details, trivia and more. Michael and I go way back to our days writing for Widescreen Review magazine, so give his stuff a look.

Also today, we've got two more MAJOR release announcements...

First up, 20th Century Fox (pretty much exactly as I expected) has officially announced Glee: The Complete First Season for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 9/14 (SRP $59.98 and $69.99 - 7 DVDs and 4 BDs). All 22 episodes of the season will be included, along with new special features. According to series creator Ryan Murphy: "The show started out as a comedy musical about the underdog in all of us and has blossomed, largely due to the incredible support and passion from the fans that have embraced the show. When we developed the Blu-ray and DVD, we wanted to give those fans something special because they've been so great to us. There's everything from a sing-along karaoke, to a behind-the-scenes look at our Madonna episode, to a dance lesson from our amazing choreographers. There's even some all new Sue's Corners which have never been seen before. It's our thank you to the Gleeks." In addition, fans who have already purchased the previous Glee: Volume One - The Road to Sectionals DVD will find a special "Gleebate" in the complete season packaging good for $10 back via mail. Details will be available here on 6/1. And here's a look at the cover art...

Glee: The Complete First Season (DVD)Glee: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Finally, it looks as if Warner Home Video is getting ready to reveal their long-awaited new Goonies DVD & Blu-ray... and it looks as if they're going to announce it at the official 25th anniversary fan celebration of the film in Astoria, Oregon on June 4th-7th. There will be tours, activities and all kinds of fun events, and several cast members will be on hand including Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Joe Pantoliano and Curt Hanson. Said cast members will personally deliver a "special announcement" to the fans from Warner Home Video, which I think you can safely assume will be word of a new Goonies: 25th Anniversary Edition on DVD and Blu-ray coming later this year. We'll post more when it's announced. In the meantime, you can find all the details about the fan celebration in Astoria here. Sounds like fun!

Okay, NOW that's it. See you Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/21/10 - 3:30 PM PDT)

Okay, we've got a couple last announcement news items for you today...

First, Warner Home Video has set Bugs Bunny's Howl-oween (DVD - SRP $14.97) and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Blu-ray - already available on DVD - no SRP available) for release on 9/7. Also due on both formats on 8/24 is the original Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes movie (SRP $19.98 each).

Meanwhile, Universal has set Friday Night Lights: The Fourth Season for DVD only release on 8/17.

And we have some tentative details from retail sources on the specs for Disney's CG-animated A Christmas Carol, which we first mentioned yesterday is due to arrive in stores on 11/16. The big news is there WILL be a Blu-ray 3D version. To be specific, there will be three versions in all - a regular 1-disc DVD (SRP $29.99), a 1-disc Blu-ray (SRP $39.99) and an exclusive 4-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (SRP $49.99). The DVD includes deleted scenes and 2 featurettes (Capturing A Christmas Carol and On Set with Sammi). The 1-disc Blu-ray adds to this a Digital Advent Calendar and a featurette called Behind the Carol: The Full Motion Capture Experience. The 4-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack will include the regular Blu-ray, the DVD and a Digital Copy disc, along with an exclusive Blu-ray 3D disc that contains a 3D version of the film along with a bonus 3D short film called Mr. Scrooge's Wild Ride. Audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD and DTS-HD 5.1 on the Blu-rays.

Here's a little cover art for you to check out... Universal's Greenberg Blu-ray (due 7/13), Warner's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Blu-ray and Universal's Friday Night Lights: The Fourth Season DVD...

Greenberg (Blu-ray Disc)It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Blu-ray Disc)Friday Night Lights: The Fourth Season (DVD)

Have a great weekend, everyone! See you Monday...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/20/10 - 4:15 PM PDT)

We've got a late update with a couple more bits of announcement news for you...

First, Disney's live-action Alice in Wonderland Blu-ray Disc (due in stores on 6/1) includes a paper insert promoting the 11/16 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Robert Zemeckis' CG-animated A Christmas Carol. No word as to whether there will be both 2-D and 3-D versions on Blu-ray yet, but we expect official details soon.

Also today, BFS Entertainment has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the BBC's Last Chance to See documentary series, staring Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine, on 7/6 (SRP $29.98 and $39.98). The series is based on the book of the same name by the late Douglas Adams, who was a friend of Fry's.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/20/10 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Afternoon, folks...

The big announcement news today is that Starz and Anchor Bay have set Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/21 (SRP $59.97 and $79.97). All 13 episodes will be included, along with 4 featurettes (Gladiator Camp, History Rewritten, Make-up Effects and The Hole), additional behind-the-scenes footage, multiple audio commentaries, bloopers and trailers. Several of the episodes have been enhanced with additional digital effects, and as a Blu-ray exclusive 4 of the episodes have been extended by the director with additional unrated footage. For both formats, the discs will arrive in premium book packaging.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Under the Mountain for DVD release on 8/10.

Fox has added My Name is Khan to their August DVD release slate, also due on 8/10.

New Video has set Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Bass Ackwards and Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect for DVD release on 6/29.

Warner has set Supernatural: The Complete First Season for Blu-ray release on 6/15 (SRP $49.99 - it's already available on DVD). The Blu-ray includes two new and exclusive special features - The Devil's Road Map (an interactive map guide to the season's urban legends and unusual facts) and video of a Paley Festival Panel Discussion featuring the cast and creators.

In addition, Warner has set Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season 4 for DVD release on 9/14 (for Cartoon Network). Everybody Loves Raymond: Seasons 8 and 9 is also coming from HBO via Warner on 7/6.

Warner has also updated the street dates for their One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: UCE and Cop Out. One Flew is now due on 9/14 (it had previously been set for 9/7). Meanwhile, Cop Out is now due on 7/20 (previously announced for 6/22). Adjust your plans accordingly.

And CBS and Paramount have set MacGyver: The TV Movies for DVD release on 6/15 (containing The Lost Treasure of Atlantis and Trail to Doomsday).

On another note, Paramount has sent over their newly-fixed version of Saving Private Ryan on Blu-ray. As expected, the bar code on the back is yellow now instead of white, and when you open the case, the label of Disc One (the movie disc) is now printed blue rather than the gray of the first version (and of Disc Two of the set). Here's a couple of pictures sent over by Bits reader Jim P. (Thus saving me the trouble - thanks, Jim)...

FIXED Saving Private Ryan Blu-ray

Here's a look at the cover art for Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season and Universal's Repo Men (due 7/20) on both formats, Disney's James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition Blu-ray (8/3), and Paramount and Showtime's Dexter: The Fourth Season Blu-ray (8/17)...

Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season (DVD)Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Repo Men (DVD)Repo Men (Blu-ray Disc)Dexter: The Fourth Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

5/19/10

Okay... so we have a couple of new title announcements today...

First, Warner and the NFL have announced a new DVD release on 9/14 for fans in two versions: NFL's Greatest Rivalries: Dallas vs. Washington and NFL's Greatest Rivalries: Washington vs. Dallas. They have different UPC codes, so presumably, they'll feature different covers highlighting your preference of the two teams (5-discs - SRP $26.95). Brilliant marketing there.

Meanwhile, Warner and the BBC are releasing the documentary series Wonders of the Solar System on both DVD and Blu-ray on 9/7 (2 BD discs and 3 DVDs). I'm looking forward to this, but I really wish they'd release Voyage to the Planets and Beyond on Blu-ray too.

Speaking of Warner and the BBC, they also have Sherlock Holmes: 1964-1965 coming on DVD on 9/14 (SRP $19.98). This the classic BBC series starring Douglas Wilmer.

Also today, Sony has announced a new Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Blu-ray for release on 7/27 (SRP $24.95). This new edition will feature all the extras of the original Blu-ray release (including audio commentary with Ang Lee and James Schamus, the Unleashing the Dragon: The Making of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and A Conversation with Michele Yeoh featurettes and the photo montage) along with an all-new commentary by cinematographer Peter Pau. The disc will also include new Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mixes in Chinese (Mandarin), English and French. The previous Blu-ray had uncompressed PCM 5.1 and standard Dolby Digital 5.1 only. Let the grumbling begin.

Finally, here's something interesting but unrelated: Google is about to launch a new "Smart TV" service, featuring a set-top box (powered by Google's Android OS) that will allow users to control, download and view media content on their HDTV, Blu-ray players and streaming over the Internet. It's designed to go after Apple's "Apple TV" system. You can read more here at Home Media. I'll tell you, Apple had better be a little concerned. Android-based phones are now outselling iPhones, though Apple denies it (I have one myself - the HTC Hero, newly updated to Android 2.1 - and I really love it) and they're kicking off Android-based "tablet" devices from multiple manufacturers designed to go after Apple's iPad market. Plus, Apple's had a series of PR glitches in the last few months, and now this? Hey, I'm no Apple hater, but it seems to me that Google's fixing to put the hurt on 'em. In any case, I'm at least glad to see a little more competition in some of these mobile device product categories. Consumers can only benefit from that.

Here's a look at the cover artwork for Warner/BBC's Wonders of the Solar System Blu-ray, the cover for Sony's new Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Blu-ray (the only difference on the front is the new Sony Pictures Classic branding band at the top), and also the Blu-ray cover for Criterion's just-announced Crumb (due 8/10)...

Wonders of the Solar System (Blu-ray Disc)Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (NEW EDITION - Blu-ray Disc)Crumb (Blu-ray Disc)


Stay tuned...

5/18/10

Morning, folks. Don't forget to check out Barrie Maxwell's new Classic Coming Attractions column, which we posted last night. 12 classic titles are reviewed and Barrie runs down all the latest classic announcement news too.

Also today, our own Dr. Jahnke has turned in a new installment of his Electric Theatre, talking about all the great forgotten films not yet available on DVD. He also reviews The Great Silence on DVD from Fantoma. Enjoy!

And Russell Hammond has once again 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 order from the retailer after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it.

In announcement news this morning, Universal has set Repo Men (2010) for DVD and Blu-ray release on 7/20. Extras will include audio commentary with director Miguel Sapochnik and writers Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner, deleted scenes with optional commentary, the Inside the Visual Effects featurette, the Union Commercials as seen in the film, and all the usual BD-Live, pocketBlu and U-Control features.

Universal has also set The Breakfast Club: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray on 8/3. Extras will include previously released DVD material. House: Season Six will follow on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/31.

And in other news today, Best Buy has kicked off a new movie & TV download service, called CinemaNow, offering new movies on the same day the DVD and Blu-ray versions street. More here at Home Media. Purchasing will cost you $13.95, with rentals priced at $3.99 and TV episodes at $1.99 each. Though why anyone would pay $13.95 for a digital download is beyond me.

Here's a look at the cover art for Universal's The Breakfast Club: 25th Anniversary Edition, Warner's NFL History of the Minnesota Vikings DVD (due 9/14) and DreamWorks' She's Out of My League on Blu-ray (6/22)...

The Breakfast Club: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)NFL History of the Minnesota Vikings (DVD)She's Out of My League (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 5/17/10 - 7 PM PDT)

Okay, we're back as promised this evening with Barrie Maxwell's latest installment of Classic Coming Attractions! In this edition, Barrie reviews 12 classic film and TV titles, including Warner Archive's Warner Bros. Big Band, Jazz & Swing Short Subject Collection and Fighter Squadron, Warner's No Time for Sergeants, Sony's Sword of Sherwood Forest, TCM's Cary Grant: The Early Years, Universal & Create Space's Spawn of the North, Timeless Media's Treasure of Ruby Hills, Yuma and The Texan, and Acorn Media's Poldark: Series 1 and A Mind to Kill: Series 1 on DVD, as well as Warner's The Music Man on Blu-ray! As always, Barrie also runs down all the latest classic release announcements. We hope you enjoy it!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 5/17/10 - 11:15 AM PDT)

Morning, folks. We'll be back with more later this afternoon, but first a quick release news update...

Criterion has announced its August DVD and Blu-ray slate, and as you'd expect there are some great titles in there. First up is Terry Zwigoff's Louie Bluie (#532 - DVD) and Crumb (#533 - DVD & Blu-ray) on 8/10. Following on 8/17 is a new updated version of Marcel Camus's Black Orpheus (#48 - DVD & Blu-ray), along with Maurice Pialat's L'enfance nue (#534 - DVD). Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg (#528 - includes Underworld, The Last Command and The Docks of New York - DVD) rounds things out on 8/24. And from Criterion's Eclipse line, the long expected Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa set arrives on DVD on 8/3. It'll include Sanshiro Sugata, The Most Beautiful, Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two and The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail. Those are the four films that until now have been exclusive on DVD to the awesome - but very expensive - AK 100 box set (reviewed in depth here).

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set New Line's Se7en for release on Blu-ray Disc on 9/14 (SRP $34.99), as we've been expecting. It'll come in 32-page book packaging, and will include 4 audio commentaries (featuring director David Fincher, actors Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, and other collaborators on the film), deleted/extended scenes, alternate endings, a multi-angle exploration of the title sequence (with multiple audio mixes and commentary), production design and still galleries with commentaries, The Notebooks featurette (detailing "John Doe's" writings) and the film's theatrical trailer. In short, it looks like most - if not all - of the previous Platinum Series DVD extras. The HD video is reportedly remastered and the disc will feature 7.1 lossless audio.

Sony has set Jesse Stone: No Remorse for DVD release on 7/27. My mom will be thrilled about that one. They also have My Boys: The Complete Second and Third Seasons due on DVD on 7/20. And To Save a Life is coming on both DVD and Blu-ray on 8/3.

Paramount and Showtime have set Dexter: The Complete Fourth Season for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/17. That same day, you'll also get a Dexter: Four Season Pack on both formats as well.

Image has officially announced their Thriller: The Complete Series DVD box set for release on 8/31 (SRP $149.98), featuring all 67 episodes on 14 discs. Extras will be incredibly substantial and will include "over 24 hours of audio commentaries, over 31 hours of isolated music & effects tracks for select episodes from composers Jerry Goldsmith and Morton Stevens, rare episode promos, extensive promotional and production still galleries and more!" Image really knows how to treat these classic TV titles well, I'll tell you. Pretty cool.

And Disney has set the James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition for release on Blu-ray on 8/3. The Last Song is also expected to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 8/17.

Also today, in a bit of interesting news from around the Net, the Australian board of classification has just given a rating to an interesting and as-yet-unannounced Blu-ray Disc release: a Die Hard 4.0: Intercept Edition from 20th Century Fox. One would expect you can put that on your wish lists for the holidays. Watch for official news soon, and thanks to Bits reader Darren S. for the spot.

Okay, here's some cover artwork for you... Warner and New Line's Se7en Blu-ray, Image's Thriller: The Complete Series DVD and Criterion's Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa DVD...

Se7en (Blu-ray Disc)Thriller: The Complete Series (DVD)Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa (DVD)

Finally this morning, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have sent in kind words about Lucy, our cat who passed away on Friday after 18 long years with us. It's been pretty rough these past few days, and it's especially hard given that we just lost her brother six months ago. It seems really strange to not have her sitting next to me on my desk (or in my lap) as I write up this post this morning. Every day here at The Bits for a very long time has been "Take Lucy to Work Day" and there are few posts from the last 13 years to which she didn't contribute in some small way. She was a near-constant presence in my life and she meant everything to me. I can't even begin express how much I miss her - both Sarah and I do. I thought I'd share a couple pictures with you guys... the first you long-time readers may recall from a post WAY back in 1999: A shot of yours truly working on the early Bits with Lucy supervising in the background. And here's a shot from late last year, showing that not much had changed over the years. (Other than my hairline.) Funny how these little creatures steal your heart...

Lucy & me at work in 1999.Lucy & me at work in 2009.

Anyway, thanks again for everything. Sarah and I really appreciate your patience and kindness. It means more than you know.

Back with more in a few hours (with luck, Barrie's new Classic Coming Attractions column), so stay tuned...

5/14/10

Hey, guys... I'm really sorry but I don't have a post for you today. You may recall about six months ago, that Sarah and I lost our cat Kirby. Well... I'm sad to have to report that this morning we lost Kirby's sister, Lucy, too. She's been like my shadow for 18 years now. Seriously, I can't even begin to calculate how many hours, days, months and even years she's spent either in my lap, or curled up at my side, day and night. It's been a pretty rough 24 hours for us. In fact, I'm so wiped out that I don't even have it in me to type up something eloquent, so I'm just gonna sign off for now.

Hope you all have a better weekend, and I'll catch back up with you on Monday...


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