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-Website est. 12/15/97-
page updated: 5/9/11
My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 5/4/11 - 4/7/11)
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Morning, folks! As expected, we've got an early update for you today with secret plans fresh from our Bothan spies...
Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have now OFFICIALLY unveiled details about the 9/16 release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray Disc (it's on sale for 36% off at Amazon right now at the link provided). Here's a look at the packaging for each of the three different configurations that will be available on Blu-ray (The Complete Saga, The Prequel Trilogy and The Original Trilogy)...
And here's the latest on all the special features from their official press release this morning:
"Bring home the adventure and share Star Wars™ with your whole family – when STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment! To be released beginning on September 12 internationally and on September 16 in North America, the nine-disc collection brings the wonder of the entire Saga direct to your living room, where you can revisit all of your favorite Star Wars moments – in gorgeous high definition and with pristine, 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. Dive deeper into the universe with an unprecedented 40+ hours of special features, highlighted by never-before-seen content sourced from the Lucasfilm archives.
STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA ON BLU-RAY is presented in widescreen with 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. Special features include:
DISC ONE – STAR WARS: EPISODE I THE PHANTOM MENACE
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
DISC TWO – STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
DISC THREE – STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
DISC FOUR – STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
DISC FIVE – STAR WARS: EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
DISC SIX – STAR WARS: EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew
DISC SEVEN – NEW! STAR WARS ARCHIVES: EPISODES I-III
Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; a flythrough of the Lucasfilm Archives and more
DISC EIGHT – NEW! STAR WARS ARCHIVES: EPISODES IV-VI
Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; and more
DISC NINE – THE STAR WARS DOCUMENTARIES
NEW! Star Warriors (2007, Color, Apx. 84 Minutes) – Some Star Wars fans want to collect action figures... these fans want to be action figures! A tribute to the 501st Legion, a global organization of Star Wars costume enthusiasts, this insightful documentary shows how the super-fan club promotes interest in the films through charity and volunteer work at fundraisers and high-profile special events around the world.
NEW! A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010, Color, Apx. 25 Minutes) – George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams look back on the making of The Empire Strikes Back in this in-depth retrospective from Lucasfilm created to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the movie. The masters discuss and reminisce about one of the most beloved films of all time.
NEW! Star Wars Spoofs (2011, Color, Apx. 91 Minutes) – The farce is strong with this one! Enjoy a hilarious collection of Star Wars spoofs and parodies that have been created over the years, including outrageous clips from Family Guy, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and more — and don't miss "Weird Al" Yankovic's one-of-a-kind music video tribute to The Phantom Menace!
The Making of Star Wars (1977, Color, Apx. 49 Minutes) – Learn the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how the original Star Wars movie was brought to the big screen in this fascinating documentary hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2. Includes interviews with George Lucas and appearances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX (1980, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) – Learn the secrets of making movies in a galaxy far, far away. Hosted by Mark Hamill, this revealing documentary offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the amazing special effects that transformed George Lucas' vision for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back into reality!
Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi (1983, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) – Go behind the scenes — and into the costumes — as production footage from Return of the Jedi is interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film. Hosted and narrated by Carrie Fisher and Billie Dee Williams.
Anatomy of a Dewback (1997, Color, Apx. 26 Minutes) – See how some of the special effects in Star Wars became even more special two decades later! George Lucas explains and demonstrates how his team transformed the original dewback creatures from immovable rubber puppets (in the original 1977 release) to seemingly living, breathing creatures for the Star Wars 1997 Special Edition update.
Star Wars Tech (2007, Color, Apx. 46 Minutes) – Exploring the technical aspects of Star Wars vehicles, weapons and gadgetry, Star Wars Tech consults leading scientists in the fields of physics, prosthetics, lasers, engineering and astronomy to examine the plausibility of Star Wars technology based on science as we know it today."
So that's what's been released so far this morning. There's meant to be a promotional video at the official Star Wars Infinite Saga Site (we think - though high Internet traffic is making it VERY difficult to load at the moment). And apparently, if you share the site link on various social networks images from the set are going to be revealed throughout the coming days. We'll post some here when they're available. [See cover art above.] In any case... there you go.
Meanwhile today, just a reminder: MGM and Fox are releasing The Horse Soldiers, a Some Like It Hot: 50th Anniversary Edition and The Misfits: 50th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 5/10. All of the DVD extras should carry over.
And Music Box Films has set Max Manus: Man of War for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/28 (SRP $38.94 and $29.95). Extras will include the 45-minute Film and Reality documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the directors, cast and crew, and archive interview footage of Manus and daughter.
All right, that's all for now. We'd say that's pretty good for one morning! Stay tuned...
All right... first up this morning, our own Russell Hammond has just completed this week's update of the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.
Now then... Universal has released more details on their American Graffiti: Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD, due on 5/31 (SRP $26.98 and $19.98). Featuring a new digital master supervised by director George Lucas, the disc will include a new Director Video Commentary along with audio commentary as well. You'll also get a new featurette on the music, The Music of American Graffiti with the ability to create a playlist of the songs from the film and buy them on iTunes, the usual BD-Live options, and previous DVD features as well, including the film's theatrical trailer, screen tests (with stars Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, Paul Le Mat and Charles Martin Smith) and The Making of American Graffiti featurette.
Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has announced a few more titles, including Unknown for release on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo and DVD on 6/21 ($35.99 and $28.98), the animated Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz for release on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo and DVD on 8/23 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98), Cartoon Network's Young Justice: Volume One on DVD only on 7/19 (SRP $14.97) and a Justice League 3 Pack DVD also on 7/19 (SRP $19.98 - includes Young Justice: Volume One, Justice League: The Brave & the Bold and Justice League Unlimited: Saving the World).
Shout! Factory and the folks from Trailers from Hell have announced the DVD release of Trailers from Hell: Volume 2 on 7/5 (SRP $19.93).
MGM Home Entertainment will release Stargate Universe: Season 2 on DVD only on 5/31. The 5-disc set will include all 20 episodes with optional commentary by the series' stars. You'll also get 20 featurettes, including Robert Carlyle Directs, Andy Mikita Directs, Eli's Mom Comes on Board, Brian J. Smith's First Fight, Crashing a Shuttle, The Seed Ship with Joe Mallozzi, Saying Goodbye to Sgt. Riley, Lou Diamond Phillips on Guest Stars, Lt. Scott Gets Hit By a Car, Inside Cloverdale with Brad Wright, How to Get Sucked Into Space, SG-U Welcomes You to New Mexico's Bisti Badlands, Deconstructing Destiny, A Day in the Life of Jamil Walker Smith, Transplant Day, Sitting Down with Mike Dopud, Bringing the Bridge to Life, Louis Ferreira vs. Colonel Young, Pitches: A Journey of Friendship and Discovery and Behind the Season 2 Finale: Gauntlet.
And Image Entertainment has announced more new Blu-ray Disc releases for August, including Jewel: The Essential Live Songbook, Sheryl Crow: Live, Heart: Live, The Perfect Game and Adrenaline Rush: IMAX on 8/2, Armed and Dangerous, Two Can Play That Game and Hush on 8/16, and The Twilight Zone: Season 5 and Daniel Tosh: Completely Serious on 8/30.
Finally this morning, a Friday story in The New York Times about summer movie releases on DVD and Blu-ray included this intriguing tidbit:
"On June 7 the Marx Brothers' campaign to destroy any semblance of sanity of order reaches Blu-ray, as their early comedies - The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Duck Soup, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers - are released. And you can't get them unless you say "swordfish" (see Horse Feathers)."
Universal has yet to announce this, but industry sources confirm the release is in the works. The piece also adds this, which we assume refers to an as-yet-unannounced Criterion release...
"On Aug. 2 Cocteau makes his second home video appearance of the summer with the DVD and Blu-ray release of his Orpheus. The same day the complete works of Jean Vigo arrive, including his only feature, L'Atalante, one of the most lyrical and profoundly beautiful films ever made."
Watch for official details in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, here's a look at the cover art for Warner's Unknown, Warner and the BBC's Doctor Who: Series Six, Part One (due 7/19) and Universal's American Graffiti: Special Edition all on Blu-ray...
We've got more disc reviews on the way over the next couple of days, and don't forget about Fox's planned Star Wars BD announcement tomorrow morning. Be sure to check in here early for all the details. Stay tuned...
All right... interesting weekend. Hope you all had a good one.
We got additional confirmation from Fox today that much will be revealed about the Star Wars Blu-rays on Wednesday morning, so be sure to check back for all the details then.
Meanwhile, Sony has announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo, Blu-ray and DVD release of Battle: Los Angeles on 6/14 (SRP $38.96, $34.95 and $28.95). The DVD will include 6 featurettes (Behind the Battle, Building the Aliens, Acting with Aliens, Shooting the Aliens, Preparing for Battle and Creating L.A. in LA). To this, the Blu-ray will add 14 more featurettes (Directing the Battle, Boot Camp, The Freeway Battle, Command Control, Staff Sergeant Nantz, Marine Behind the Scenes, Aliens Ambush the Marines, Battling Unknown Forces, Technical Sergeant Santos, Alien Autopsy, Gas Station Explosion, Visual FX on the Freeway, Do You Believe in Aliens? and Alien Command & Control), plus a PS3 theme and the Resistance 3 PS3 game demo.
Sony Pictures has also announced the DVD release of [REC] 2 on 7/12 (SRP $26.99). Extras will include deleted and extended scenes, behind the scenes featurettes, a set walk-through, something called [REC] 2 on Tour and video of the film's Sitges Film Festival press conference.
Also announced by Sony for DVD only release were Damages: The Complete Third Season (due 7/12) and The Unusuals: The Complete Series (7/20).
Paramount has set an Elvis: 4-Movie Collection for DVD release on 7/12, including Girls! Girls! Girls!, Fun in Acapulco, G.I. Blues and Roustabout. Melrose Place: The Sixth Season and Melrose Place: The Sixth Season - Volume 2 are expected on DVD on 7/19. Note that Melrose Place: The Sixth Season - Volume 1 streets tomorrow.
Disney is launching a new World Cinema line of DVDs, announcing the first releases as Do Dooni Chaar, Once Upon a Warrior and Zokkomon ($29.99 each). Street date is TBA for July.
Warner Home Video and the BBC have announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Doctor Who: Series Six, Part One on 7/19 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98). Seven episodes will be included on 2 discs. Extras will include Monster Files and The Silence and Gangers.
Hen's Tooth has announced the DVD only release of Born Innocent on 6/21 (SRP $19.95).
And Lionsgate has set After Dark Originals: Scream of the Banshee, The Task and Goblin for DVD only release on 7/26.
In other news today, the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) has revealed its 1st Quarter 2011 Home Entertainment Report. From the DEG's press release, here are the salient highlights:
"Due in part to a 25 percent reduction in box-office revenue of the home entertainment new release slate for the first quarter of 2011, U.S. home entertainment spending in the period was down 9.8 percent.
Sell-through was down 18 percent for the quarter, as anticipated, since there were four tentpoles accounting for $1 billion of box office released on Blu-ray and DVD in first quarter 2010 but no such equivalent for first quarter 2011. Further, the Easter holiday, a considerable home entertainment buying season, was not part of first quarter this year, accounting for some of the period’s decline. However, the second quarter is off to a strong start, with sell-through up 20 percent in the first few weeks alone.
The industry has proven resilient, with modest gains posted in a number of key areas. According to The NPD Group’s recent “Entertainment Trends in America” report, while digital home video options are gaining in popularity, more than three quarters of U.S. consumers continue to view movies on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
In Blu-ray Disc software sales, consumer spending was up nearly 10 percent over the same period 2010. Blu-ray 3D software is also beginning to show signs of material growth, with anticipated retail sales of more than $100 million for the year.
Additionally, Blu-ray Disc hardware increased, with sales (inclusive of BD set-tops, PS3s and HTiBs) up more than 13 percent over first quarter 2010. This brings total household penetration of all Blu-ray compatible devices to nearly 30 million U.S. homes.
FutureSource forecasts wider Blu-ray Disc sales growth in 2011 on the strength of hardware penetration - estimating nearly 50 million Blu-ray playback devices in U.S. homes by year's end with Blu-ray Disc sales exceeding 120 million units, up from 85 million sold in 2010.
Further, nearly seven million HDTVs were sold to U.S. consumers in first quarter 2011, up 11 percent over first quarter 2010. HDTV penetration life-to-date is more than 64.5 million U.S. households.
Comparing the first nine months of 3D TV sales to the first full year of HDTV sales, HIS Screen Digest noted that 3D TV adoption is outpacing HDTV adoption by 50 percent.
FutureSource projects that by 2015, 3D TVs will be in more than 60% of US households and 3D Blu-ray players will be in more than 75% of US households.
Emerging formats such as digital distribution provided additional growth for the industry with electronic sell-through spending up nearly 11 percent and consumer spend on VOD up nine percent in the quarter. In total, digital movie transactions were up close to 10 percent over the same period last year.
The home entertainment business is morphing as increased enhancements to technologies like Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray 3D and new digital service offerings are made available. Our analysis demonstrates that home entertainment consumers still have a strong appetite for value and convenience."
Now then... here's a look at the cover art for all three versions of Sony's Battle: Los Angeles...
(LATE UPDATE - 4/29/11 - 2 PM PDT)
All right, I think I told you earlier this morning that we might be back with a little more announcement news, if there were any. Well, turns out there is...
Disney has just officially set the Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo (in both BD and DVD packaging) and DVD on 9/20 (SRP $39.99 and $29.99 - it will also be available for HD download and SD download that same day for essentially the same price). The Walt Disney Restoration team apparently started with the original 70 year old nitrate camera negative stored with the U.S. Library of Congress, and turned to an original nitrate dye-transfer Technicolor print held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a color reference. Audio was sourced from a rare print held by the UCLA Film and Television Archives which was apparently "the earliest surviving generation" of the original audio, and will include 7.1 DTS and 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theatre mixes. Extras on the DVD will include audio commentary (with Pete Docter, Paula Sigman and Andreas Deja), the original Walt Disney television introduction, a deleted scene (The Mouse's Tale), a deleted song (Are You a Man or a Mouse?), the Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo documentary, The Magic of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage featurette (on the Disneyland theme part ride) and a sound design excerpt from The Reluctant Dragon. The Blu-ray will include all that, plus a Cine-Explore viewing mode, Disney View, a pair of interactive games (What Do You See? and What Do You Know?), the Celebrating Dumbo featurette and a pair of animated shorts (The Flying Mouse and Elmer Elephant). Here's what all three versions of the packaging look like...
And that's not all folks: Word from our friends at 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm is that "ALL WILL BE REVEALED" about the forthcoming Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray release. In fact, they've created a teaser website with a ticking countdown clock bearing the slogan "May the 4th Be with You" - the countdown is set to expire next Wednesday, on 5/4. What's so important about that day? Well, the 4th ties nicely into the slogan, but May IS in fact the month that the original Star Wars hit theatres back in 1977. So this is a nice way to start the promotional build-up to the 9/16 Blu-ray release of all the films. Some things we might find out on Wednesday include technical specs of the discs and a breakdown of the special features. We might even get our first look at the box set's packaging.
Need we even say it? Stay tuned folks! And have a great weekend in the meantime.
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/29/11 - 1 AM PDT)
Morning, folks! We'll be back with more of an update later today, pending additional announcement news, but first we've got this for you...
Kayos Productions and Eagle Rock Entertainment will release David Byrne's Ride, Rise, Roar live concert/documentary film on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/31 (SRP $19.98 and $14.98).
Image Entertainment has set B.B. King: Live for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/12 (SRP $17.97 and $14.98).
Microcinema International will release Seducing Time: Selected Prize Winning Videotapes by Lynn Hershman Leeson 1984-2008 on DVD on 6/28, along with About Jenny Holzer and The Color of Your Socks: A Year with Pipilotti Rist (SRP $29.95 each).
And Muse Entertainment, in association with Asylum Entertainment and ReelzChannel, will be releasing The Kennedys miniseries on DVD exclusively at shoptheshows.com on 5/15 (SRP $39.95, but it'll be on sale for at least a while for $29.99). The 3-disc set will feature all the episodes plus 45 minutes of bonus footage, including the Making of the Kennedys featurette.
Also, we've mentioned recently that Sony's Monty Python and the Holy Grail is now up for Blu-ray pre-order on Amazon.com (street date TBA). So too (still) are Universal's The Blues Brothers, The Birds and To Kill a Mockingbird (also TBA). Hopefully, we'll see official announcements soon. Thanks to Bits reader Mišo K. for the reminder!
Here's a little fresh Blu-ray cover art for you: Paramount's The Island (due 6/21), Blue Underground's The 10th Victim (8/30) and Warner's IMAX Hubble 3D (on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 5/31 - the 2D version is already available but the Blu-ray 3D version has been a Best Buy exclusive)...
Don't forget about Fringe tonight on Fox (for you genre TV fans) and that space shuttle launch today (set for 3:47 PM Eastern - for you space enthusiasts).. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Afternoon, folks! We've got a couple of interesting items for you all today...
First up, we're pleased to present a brand new installment of Barrie Maxwell's The British Beat, featuring 11 new DVD reviews: VCI's Candlelight in Algeria and Thunder in the City, Acorn Media's Fresh Fields: Set 1, Midsomer Murders: Set 17, Murder Investigation Team: Series One, Upstairs Downstairs: Series One, Murphy's Law: Series 3 and Single-Handed: Set 1, and Warner and the BBC's Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 3, as well as Network's Region 2/PAL DVDs of Is It Legal?: Series Three and The Governor: Season One. Enjoy!
In announcement news today, TCM and Universal Studios Home Entertainment have revealed that they're releasing a Pre-Code Classics Double Feature on MOD DVD on 5/2 (exclusively at TCM's online store), including This Is the Night (1932) and The Song of Songs (1933). The 2-disc set will feature an all-new restorations of This is the Night from the UCLA Film & Television Archive, as well as extensive supplemental materials from the archives including original movie posters, lobby cards, color publicity stills, behind-the-scenes photos and more.
20th Century Fox is releasing Season of the Witch on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/28, starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Pearlman. Extras on the Blu-ray will include an alternate ending, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and commentary.
Blue Underground has set Elio Petri's The 10th Victim for release on Blu-ray Disc on 8/30 (SRP $29.98). Extras will include the 2006, 102-minute Marcello: A Sweet Life documentary (on star Marcello Mastroianni) as well as the theatrical trailer. The film is already available on DVD.
Meanwhile, Cult Epics is releasing Radley Metzger's Camille 2000: Extended Version on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 6/14 (SRP $34.95 and $29.95). This 129-minute version has never been released before. Extras will include 3 featurettes (On the Set of Camille 2000, Restoration of Camille 2000 and Syviane's Bare Striptease), the Cube Love Scene, audio commentary and trailers.
And here's something interesting: We've just gotten word that Disney's D23 Fan Club is going to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer though a special screening at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on 6/21. Kevin Smith is hosting the event, which will feature a cast and crew reunion and panel discussion as well as a special exhibition of props and costumes from the film. Tickets are $50 and go on sale to D23 club members on 5/2 (public sale tickets go on sale on 5/23). More details are available here. Cool yes? Here's HOPING it means that Disney plans to release The Rocketeer on Blu-ray (and better quality DVD - the only official DVD release so far is non-anamorphic) later this year as part of the anniversary celebration. This is a title we've been waiting to see get better treatment on disc for a LONG time, and it's one that our readers often ask about. Get cracking, Disney!
Now then, there's a lot going on over the next 24-48 hours! Tonight is the NFL Draft (here's hoping the Vikings get themselves a decent QB), obviously the royal wedding happens in the wee early hours tomorrow morning in the U.K., the space shuttle Endeavour is set to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow (on the penultimate mission of the shuttle program) and tomorrow night is a new episode of Fringe (one of the last two of the season). You knew I had to get the Fringe plug in there, didn't you?
Here's a look at the Blu-ray and DVD cover art for Fox's Season of the Witch, along with Sony's Jumanji Blu-ray (due 6/28)...
All right, we've got a couple more release news items for you today...
First though, we have two more Blu-ray reviews from Tim: Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland, both now available. Enjoy!
Now for that news...
We've spoken with the good folks at 20th Century Fox and have learned that they ARE in fact working on a new HD master of Patton. It appears that it will NOT be included on the 5/10 Blu-ray re-issue of the title, however the studio tells me they ARE working to make it available on Blu-ray to all of you sometime before the end of the year. We'll post all the official details as soon as the studio provides them. Just know that a new remastered Blu-ray IS coming later this year and we'll let you know more when release plans are set.
By the way, we also have confirmation from Fox that West Side Story is coming to Blu-ray later this year (as we first reported back on 4/14), so make your plans accordingly. Again, we'll post details here as soon as they're officially announced.
Also this afternoon, Warner Home Video has officially revealed that a Smallville: The Complete Series box set will arrive on DVD this fall. The set will include all 218 episodes, all of the existing extras and over 5 hours of new special features including an unaired (and never-before-seen) Superboy pilot from 1961, a 90-minute retrospective documentary, video of the 2010 final Comic-Con panel. You'll also get printed materials including "a Daily Planet newspaper, written by DC Comics, that highlights the important storylines developed during the 10-year run of the show and an episode guide with never-before-seen production art (storyboards/sketches) and behind-the-scenes photos." Unfortunately, it appears there are currently no plans for a similar release on Blu-ray.
We have more information for you today on Sony's Beastly, due on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/28 (SRP $34.95 and $28.95). Extras will include deleted scenes, an alternate ending, Kristina and the Dolls' Be Mine music video and 2 featurettes (A Classic Tale Retold: The Story of Beastly and Creating the Perfect Beast).
Speaking of Sony, the studio has set Bond of Silence and Lies in Plain Sight for DVD only release on 7/5 (SRP $20.95 each).
And in case you missed it when we posted it yesterday, Warner Home Video got back to us with details on how people having problems with the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Blu-ray can contact the studio to address the issue. So if you're having troubles with the disc glitching, skipping or what have you, the studio asks that you contact them via their customer service website here. When you send the e-mail, select "Home Video, DVD & Blu-ray" for the topic. The studio asks that you please help them investigate the issues by including such details as your Blu-ray player model, details of the specific problem and information as to the specific sections of the film where you're having the problem.
Here's a look at the cover art for Kino/Lorber's Sophia Loren Award Collection on DVD (due 5/17 - Sunflower, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and Marriage Italian Style are also available individually on Blu-ray that same day), and Universal's Dante's Peak (7/26) Blu-ray and Warner's Final Destination 3D (8/16) on Blu-ray 3D...
All right, we've got no less than THREE new disc reviews for you all today...
First, our own Todd Doogan has checked in with his thoughts on Anchor Bay's new Blu-ray editions of Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo and The Holy Mountain. Both of them street today, and are well worth a look.
Also today, a new member of our Bits review team, David Steigman, has just turned in his thoughts on Shout! Factory's double-feature DVD release of Gamera vs. Zigra/Gamera: Super Monster. Enjoy!
And our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game 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 really do appreciate it.
Now then... 20th Century Fox has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of The Warrior's Way on 6/29.
New Video will release the "Supermarionation" World War II comedy Jackboots on Whitehall on DVD on 7/26. Extras will include behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the creators, 6 featurettes (The Swastikas, Bad Day to be a Nazi, Hitler's Rat Pack, The Nazi Hotties, Explosions and Voiceovers) and the film's theatrical trailer. Looks pretty crazy!
Warner and Adult Swim will release Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season Cinco on DVD on 5/17 (SRP $19.97). All 10 episodes will be included along with blooper reels, deleted scenes, Tim and Eric karaoke and more.
And Sony has set Cross for DVD release on 5/31 (SRP $24.96). Extras will include commentary with the director, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and an animatic.
In other news today, you may recall that on Friday we told you Warner Home Video was planning to get back to us with details on how people having problems with the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Blu-ray can contact the studio to address the issue. Well, they have. If you're having troubles with the disc glitching, skipping or what have you, the studio asks that you contact them via their customer service website here. When you send the e-mail, select "Home Video, DVD & Blu-ray" for the topic. The studio asks that you please help them investigate the issues by including such details as your Blu-ray Player model, the specific problem and any specific sections of the film where you're having the problem.
Finally today, Jeffrey Wells has an interesting column over at his Hollywood Elsewhere site called End of an Era. In it, he bemoans the lack of studio support for deep catalog, classic films on Blu-ray. It's well worth a read. Essentially, it talks about how the studios aren't much willing these days to spend money to properly restore their classic films for HD, and even when they do they're sometimes sitting on them rather than releasing them on Blu-ray.
Let me first say this about the piece: I agree with him almost wholeheartedly. There's no doubt that lots of classic films should have been restored and released on Blu-ray by now and haven't been. Think MGM's The Alamo. Think the classic Universal Monsters titles, more Hitchcock films. Think To Kill a Mockingbird. If you sit down to make a list, it's a long one indeed. And some of the restorations and BD releases that HAVE been done are shoddy. (*cough* Patton *cough*) On the other hand, I do think Wells is overstating things just a bit. The fact is, there are a LOT more catalog classics coming out on Blu-ray this year than ever before, with many more planned to follow in 2012. Yes, it's taken a while, but the catalog floodgates to seem to at least be cracking open a little more lately.
But here's the thing: The willingness of the studios to release more of these classic titles on Blu-ray is all about SALES. If people don't buy these classic BD titles when they're released, the studios aren't going to spend the money to release more of them. The sad reality is, the problem with catalog titles is multi-fold: You have studios run by business people SOME of whom aren't fans of these films and aren't always really even regular consumers of their own product. (This isn't true of all of the studios to be sure, but one or two specific cases come quickly to mind.) You have the recent recession that's forced a huge contraction of the industry, leaving home video divisions with fewer resources to work with. Frankly, you have a consumer base that YES... has been sold one too many catalog re-dips but that ALSO (at least a portion of it) feels a little unrealistically "entitled" with regard to every release. (And before some of you get worked up about that statement, you have to admit that when you read some of the A/V enthusiast forums these days, you DO tend to get the feeling that when every BD title isn't Alien Anthology for $12.99 - looking absolutely blemish and grain-free like HD video - some folks feel like they're getting ripped off. Let's face it: We've all gotten a bit spoiled by the special edition riches of DVD's now-ended "Golden Age.") Finally, DVD sales are on the decline, and it was the bonanza of profits from DVD sales that funded most of the great catalog restorations of the past decade.
What I'm saying is, it's a complicated problem. But I AM at least encouraged that such catalog titles as Once Upon a Time in the West are coming out. If films like that sell well on BD, you can bet Paramount and other studios will release more catalog titles on the format. On the other hand, if fans (rightly or wrongly) complain and nitpick about EVERYTHING... and maybe decide to wait to buy them later (or not at all)... sales will be lackluster and studios will give up on deeper catalog. So the simple fact is, the fate of catalog film releases on Blu-ray is REALLY in the hands of the enthusiast base. In other words, it's up to YOU - all of you who are reading this.
One VERY interesting bit of information from the Wells piece: Fox's 5/10 re-issue of Patton - the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition in Blu-ray Book packaging - MAY feature a NEW HD transfer. One that's going to look properly film-like, without excessive digital over-scrubbing. We're attempting to confirm this.
One other interesting thing from the Wells piece: I'm glad he chose to single out HTV Illuminate - the mastering facility responsible for the awful, original Patton Blu-ray. Let's just say I'm not a big fan of HTV's HD mastering work for catalog films. The philosophy there seems to be that grain in a film image is ALWAYS bad and should ALWAYS be 100% removed. That's not exactly going to win you devotees in the film enthusiast community.
Anyway, we'll leave you with a bit more cover art. Here's WHV's Cobra (due 8/16) and The Name of the Rose (8/2) on Blu-ray, as well as Lionsgate's Biutiful Blu-ray (due 5/31).
(LATE UPDATE - 4/25/11 - 2 PM PDT)
One more piece of news for you today... Home Media Magazine has announced the winners of their annual awards for the best of Blu-ray and DVD in the past year. I was honored to serve as a judge for the awards again this year, and I know a lot of you voted as well in the reader voting. As you'd expect, Fox's Alien Anthology and Disney's Lost: The Complete Series dominated the awards this year, winning in a number of categories. Alien Anthology in particular won Blu-ray of the Year, Best Extras, Best Franchise Collection and Best Packaging for the "egg" case. Other highlights: The Complete Metropolis won Best Restoration, the Back to the Future Trilogy won Best Title Upgrade and Avatar won Best Blu-ray Movie. The Sound of Music, The Twilight Zone: Season 1 and Apocalypse Now were also acknowledged, along with many other titles. You can see the full list of winners here.
Congratulations to all of them!
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/25/11 - 1 PM PDT)
Afternoon, folks! We've got a little more interesting release news to start the new week...
First though, while it's sort of been officially announced by Disney, The Lion King: Diamond Edition can now be pre-ordered at Amazon.com on 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo (SRP $39.99 but Amazon has it for $29.99), 4-disc Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo (SRP $49.99 but they have it for $36.99) and a super-über 8-disc The Lion King Trilogy Collector's Set (SRP $100 but $74.99 at Amazon) that includes The Lion King (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy), The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (Blu-ray/DVD) and The Lion King 1 1/2 (Blu-ray/DVD). No street date is yet available, but assume it will be available in time for the holidays. We've posted the BD3D art before, but here's what they all look like again (covers link to Amazon)...
As you can see, we've also included cover art for Sony's Another Year on Blu-ray (due 6/7).
Now then... Warner Home Video has set The Final Destination for Blu-ray 3D release on 8/16 (SRP $44.95). This is the 4th film in the series, and its BD3D release is timed to promote the 8/26 theatrical release of Final Destination 5. The disc will include BOTH 2D and 3D versions, along with 2 alternate endings, additional scenes and 2 featurettes (Body Count: The Deaths of The Final Destination and The Final Destination: Pre-visualization and Storyboards).
Meanwhile, Sony has set Barney's Version for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 6/28 (SRP $38.96). Also coming that day is Beastly on Blu-ray and DVD ($34.95 and $28.95). Lies in Plain Sight and Bond of Silence street on DVD only on 7/5 (SRP $20.95 each).
And in other news this afternoon, there's word that Nintendo is going to preview a new version of its Wii game system at E3 on 6/7. Rumors are it will feature true HD graphics, on par (or better than) Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360. Neither of those companies is expected to launch new systems until 2014 or 2015. Nintendo has confirmed that formal product launch is set for its new Wii will happen in 2012.
Meanwhile, it appears that hackers took down Sony's Play Station Network last week, and it's still down. More here and here. Is anyone else as skeptical of this whole "cloud" concept as I am...?
All right, we've got a little bit of interesting stuff, a review and some good artwork for you today...
I actually meant to post this the other day when I first learned of it, then forgot in the chaos of phone calls tracking down other announcement information. But Amazon.com has just begin taking pre-orders for a Blu-ray version of Sony's Monty Python and the Holy Grail - not only one of my favorites but one of the all-time funniest films ever. SRP is listed as $19.95, but Amazon has it for $14. I'm hopeful that all of the extras from Sony's fine Special Edition DVD release will carry over. No street date is yet listed, but I think you can safely assume the title will be announced in the next few weeks. Thanks to all the many Bits readers who sent this in today.
Meanwhile, Anchor Bay and Manga have just announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Ghost in the Shell: Laughing Man and Ghost in the Shell: Individual Eleven on 6/21 (SRP $34.98). Solid State Society was designed as an "OVA" TV movie while the other two are OVA movie-edited versions of 26-episode anime series - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (in the case of The Laughing Man) and Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG (the Individual Eleven). In both of the latter cases, the full 26-episode series are already available on DVD. Here's a look at the cover art...
As you can see, we've also posted cover art for Shout! Factory's Gordon's War/Off Limits and Crash and Burn/Robot Wars double feature DVDs (due 6/14) and preliminary art for Universal's The Cape: The Complete Series (due 7/5).
One last title note: We've heard back from WHV about the problems people are having with the new Harry Potter Blu-ray. They're looking into the issue and hope to know more officially - and also have a customer service number or e-mail address for you - by next week, after the Easter holiday. So check back then.
Don't forget that tonight is another new Fringe on Fox. And things are really heating up on the show. Tonight's episode is essentially the start of a 3-part season finale arc that promises to deliver pretty major twists. The arc continues next Friday night and the season's finale is May 6th. It's been a great season so far. We're really looking forward to the TBA Blu-ray (now available for pre-order on Amazon here).
Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate. See you on Monday!
Afternoon! We've got a little bit more release news for you today...
Warner Home Video has announced more catalog Blu-ray releases for 8/16 (SRP $19.98), including Assassins, Cobra, Demolition Man and The Specialist. All star Sylvester Stallone.
Warner has also announced the DVD release of the TCM Greatest Classic Films: Legends - Elizabeth Taylor collection (includes Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Father of the Bride, Butterfield 8 and The Sandpiper) and Naruto Shippuden Uncut: Set 7 on 7/12, followed by Vampire Knight Guilty: Volume 3 on 7/26, Cartoon Network: Ben 10 Ultimate Alien - The Return of Heatblast on 8/2, Doctor Who: Ep. 95 - The Sunmakers on 8/9 and Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season Two, Part One on 8/16.
And Universal has announced The Cape: The Complete Series for DVD only release on 7/5 (additional details are TBA).
Speaking of Universal, their Warehouse 13: Season 2 DVD (due 6/28) will include audio commentary by the cast and crew on 3 episodes, video blogs, a photo gallery, deleted scenes, a gag reel, 3 featurettes (A Thrilleromedy, A Stitch in Time and Designing the Warehouse) and the Eureaka "cross over" episode Crossing Over.
Here's Fox's final revised cover art for Cedar Rapids (due 6/21 - both formats) and Warner's newly-announced Demolition Man Blu-ray...
Afternoon, folks. Lotta responses to my editorial comments from yesterday. Pretty interesting as always. I'll try to get back to everyone, but when I say "lotta responses" I mean several hundred! So it might be difficult. But I'll definitely read them all and I really do appreciate all the e-mails.
Okay, first up today, we've got a trio of additional Criterion Blu-ray reviews from Tim Salmons. This week, Tim's checked out House, Repulsion and Videodrome, so do check them out.
Now then, before we get into the news... there are unfortunately a trio of deaths to we have to mention today. First, there's actress Elisabeth Salden, who played Sarah Jane Smith in the classic Doctor Who TV series and reprised the role in the recent The Sarah Jane Chronicles. She passed away yesterday at the age of 63.
Also today, there's sad news that journalist Tim Hetherington, the co-director of the excellent and Academy Award nominated documentary Restrepo, was killed today while covering the fighting in Libya. He was just 41. If you haven't seen Restrepo yet, I highly recommend it.
And this one really surprised as well: Jeff Morey, who was a historical consultant for the film Tombstone, e-mailed me this morning to say that he'd just learned that Kevin Jarre passed away on 4/3. Kevin was the screenwriter and original director of the film (and also the son of composer Maurice Jarre). Here's Jeff's statement on this sad news:
"I am saddened beyond words. Kevin Jarre had the rare power of an alchemy which transformed the harsh noise of life into music. We have all been robbed of what might have been. It is a pity that only a few people were lucky enough to have read his complete scripts. None of the films he wrote come close to matching the unique quality of his words on the printed page."
I certainly agree. (Our friend Harry Knowles over at AICN has written up a few words that are worth reading too.) Let me tell you... if you love Tombstone like I do, and you've never read Jarre's original screenplay for the film, you have no idea what you're missing. It's one of the best western scripts - hell, one of the best scripts period - that I've ever read. As good as the film is, there was SO much more to those early original drafts. You can find his 4th draft online here (PDF format) and I highly recommend it. Jarre died of a heart attack and was just 56.
We offer a sincere Bits tip of the hat in honor of the lives, work and passing of all of three.
Now then... there's one other issue before we get to the news: A lot of readers seem to be having problems with glitching, skipping and freezing on Warner's new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Blu-ray. The glitches appear to be happening at different times during the film, so it might be a manufacturing problem. We're looking into it.
All right... today's announcement news....
Here's a title I've been waiting for: BBC Video and Warner Home Video will release the Wonders of the Universe documentary series on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/30 (SRP $24.99 and $24.98). This is the sequel to the excellent Wonders of the Solar System series already available on both formats.
Meanwhile, Fox has set the Cedar Rapids: Super Awesome Edition for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/21. The DVD will include deleted scenes, a gag reel and 4 featurettes (Mike O'Malley: Urban Clogger, Tweaking in the USA, Wedding Belles: Crashing a Lesbian Wedding and Top Notch Commercial). The Blu-ray will add 6 Convention Connection featurettes, a Fox Movie Channel Presents special and the BD-Live exclusive Ed Helms Mad Chopper Skills.
Universal will release Eureka: Season 4.0 on DVD only on 7/5. The studio has also set Dante's Peak for release on Blu-ray Disc on 7/26 (the title is already available on DVD).
Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Kill the Irishman on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/14 (SRP $34.99 and $29.98).
Shout! Factory will release a pair of double-feature DVDs on 6/14: Gordon's War/Off Limits (SRP $19.97 - extras will include commentary and trailers) and Robot Wars/Crash and Burn (SRP $14.97 - no extras).
Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Primal Scream: Screamadelica for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/31.
Lionsgate will release After Dark Originals: Seconds Apart and Fertile Ground on DVD on 5/24.
And Acorn Media will release the British TV series Identity and Murdoch Mysteries: Season 3 on DVD on 5/3.
We'll leave you today with a look at the cover art for Fox's Cedar Rapids (both versions) and Sony's Zathura BD (6/28)...
Well, folks... there's a few interesting home video industry-related stories floating around the Internet today that I think are well worth commenting on. So, given that I've been covering this industry since before DVD, I figured I might as well chime in with some perspective...
First though, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. Anything you order through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and as always we greatly appreciate it.
Now then... let's get our perspective on, shall we?
First, there's this one at ars technica on NPD market research indicating that despite the growth of streaming consumers still love DVD and physical media and spend over 78% of their media budgets on DVD and Blu-ray. No surprise there. I've long said that physical media is going to be around at least another 20 years, and that the slow improvement in high-speed broadband infrastructure - not to mention the broadband industry's desire to implement net metering and more restrictive "pay for bandwidth use" billing plans - would restrict streaming and downloading for years to come.
Next, there's a piece over at Deadline New York on predictions that Blu-ray 3D sales are expected to increase dramatically in the next couple of years. Personally, I'm not sure I agree with this one. Just because Blu-ray 3D capable hardware is available doesn't mean consumers are going to buy lots of Blu-ray 3D software. First, consumers continue to hate having to wear the glasses. Second, there just isn't an overabundance of truly GOOD movies that require 3D. I'm personally not all that interested in seeing an endless parade of CG-animated kids movies in 3D, and more adult-oriented 3D movies like Tron: Legacy and Avatar are still rare. Yes... lots of new movies are filming in 3D including Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, and Lucasfilm is working to convert the Star Wars films to 3D, but do we REALLY need to see those films in 3D at home? You know, maybe 3D is just a little more fun and more special in the theatre, and 2D is good enough for the home - as it has been for decades now. I have no doubt that the future of entertainment - and particularly home entertainment - is 3D. But I personally don't see it taking off for at least 10-15 years, when display hardware no longer requires special glasses for 3D viewing.
Finally, there's this: A piece on Fox News on why Blu-ray has "failed to catch on". When I read something like this I just shake my head. Here's what so many "experts" seem to forget: Blu-ray will NEVER be as successful as DVD. It was never GOING to be as successful. I was saying that even before the high-def format war began. NO PHYSICAL MEDIA FORMAT is likely ever to repeat the success of DVD. DVD was the single most successful media format in the history of home entertainment - bigger than CD, bigger than VHS. It was successful because it delivered massive improvements in quality, convenience and entertainment value for the price, at EXACTLY the right time in the history of consumer electronics. Most people have been really happy with DVD. Most people are STILL happy with it.
A lot of tech "experts" want to compare the movie industry to the music industry, where physical media is being gradually replaced by downloads and digital files, and I think that's a mistake. The fact is, you can very easily enjoy a good quality music experience ANYWHERE with nothing more than an iPod and a set of earphones. You can listen to music on the go, while you do almost anything. Highly-portable digital files are perfect for that. Movies are different. The movie viewing experience is something that requires your eyeballs to fix on a screen in a comfortable viewing environment, and requires you to pay attention. Sure, you can watch movies on your iPod or iPad or smartphone, but who is EVER going to want to watch Lawrence of Arabia on a 7-inch screen? It's one thing to watch a quick episode of The Office or The Daily Show on your iPhone while you're sitting on the bus on the way to work, or while you're sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office. But movies are different. They almost demand less-portable viewing conditions by their very nature. My feeling is that movie streaming and downloads will most greatly impact the movie rental industry. That's why the Netflix streaming model works so well. You get home interested in watching a movie with your family, log into your Netflix equipped Blu-ray player, TV, game system or cable box, pick a streaming title and off you go. You don't have to stop at the local Blockbuster, you don't have to deal with late fees. It's easy. Digital movie purchases will increase over time, but most people are still going to buy physical movie discs for quite a while yet. And that means DVD and Blu-ray.
Back to this bit of Fox News "expertise" on Blu-ray: The simple fact is, Blu-ray HAS caught on. It HAS gone mainstream. Consider some of the latest format stats from CES in January. Blu-ray makes up over 20% of the total market by many estimates. Blu-ray players are now installed in nearly 30 million U.S. households. Great players are available for less than $150. Good players are available for less than $100. You can get select catalog titles for as low as $7.99. LOTS of deep catalog movies are starting to come out. Even the Star Wars films are finally coming. Many new titles sell as high as 30% of their total units on Blu-ray. LOTS of people are enjoying great movies on disc in great high-def quality at home. Is everyone? No, of course not. For many people, DVD is just fine! But for those who want it, Blu-ray is now everywhere and it's highly affordable. And THAT, folks, is what a physical media format success story looks like at the start of the second decade of the 21st century. Yes, it's not as successful or high-selling as DVD. Well, duh. No physical home entertainment format will EVER be that successful again. The world is changing, faster and faster all the time. But here we are 14 years into the DVD format, and lots of people are still buying DVD movies. I'd bet real money that 14 years from now, people will still be buying movies on Blu-ray too. Bottom line: The Fox piece is complete rubbish, and reveals a serious lack of perspective about the reality of the home entertainment market over the last 20 years. And as someone who successfully called both the DVD/Divx and Blu-ray/HD-DVD format wars before they even got started... that's MY expert opinion.
Well, the big release news today is that Universal has officially set The Adjustment Bureau for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 6/21 (see cover art below). Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director George Nolfi, deleted and extended scenes, 3 featurettes (Leaping Through New York, Destined to Be and Becoming Elise) and the usual Universal Blu-ray interactive options. The Blu-ray will also include the BD-Java The Labyrinth of Doors: Interactive Map of New York. If you haven't seen it, this is a pretty darned good little movie. It's based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (The Adjustment Team) and the film adaptation - though its ending is a little too pat and easy - is better than it has any right to be. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are terrific. Doogan, Matt, Dr. Jahnke and I all really enjoyed this film, so don't miss it. I'm looking forward to seeing what Nolfi does next.
By the way, Universal has also set Syfy's Warehouse 13: Season Two for DVD release on 6/28.
Meanwhile, the OTHER big release news this afternoon is that Criterion has announced some GREAT new Blu-ray and DVD titles for July, including Satyajit Ray's The Music Room (due 7/19 - #573 - Blu-ray and DVD), Jean-Pierre Melville's Léon Morin, Priest (7/26 - #572 - Blu-ray and DVD) and Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime (7/26 - #574 - Blu-ray and DVD). You'll also get new Blu-ray upgrades of existing Collection titles, including Mike Leigh's Naked (7/12 - #307), Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (7/19 - #6) and Akira Kurosawa's High and Low (7/26 - #24)! More here and we've posted some of the BD cover art below.
In other release news today, Sony has announced some catalog Blu-ray/DVD Combo releases for 6/28, including Stuart Little, Stuart Little 2, Jumanji, Barney's Version and Zathura: A Space Adventure (SRP $19.95 each). You Got Served: Beat the World arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/21.
Paramount has set Dynasty: Season Five, Volume One and Dynasty: Season Five, Volume Two for DVD release on 7/5, along with Mannix: The Fifth Season, Team Umizoomi and Victorious: Season One, Volume One.
Elite Entertainment will release Devil's Grove on DVD on 6/7 (SRP $14.98).
Warner Home Video and BBC Video have set The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine for DVD only release on 5/24 (SRP $9.98).
Lionsgate has announced some of its July release slate (though more will surely be revealed in the weeks ahead). Look for HIT Favorites: Preschool Fun, Barney: 123 Learn, Fireman Sam: Brave New Rescues, Empire of Assassins, Witchville, The PJs: Season 2, According to Jim: The Complete Fourth Season and Boy Meets World: The Complete Sixth Season all on DVD only on 7/5.
And while it's not yet officially announced, you can pre-order Sony's Battle: Los Angeles on Blu-ray now on Amazon.com (SRP $34.95, but they've got it for $24). Thanks to Bits reader Pete G. for the heads-up!
Finally, here's something that's likely to upset South Park fans: We've just gotten our hands on the Blu-ray release of Comedy Central Home Entertainment's South Park: The Complete Fourteenth Season, and while it does have the episodes 200 and 201, it includes both as aired on Comedy Central, with the 2-minute "moral of the story" from 201 bleeped out on all audio tracks. The subtitles for this portion of the episode say "BLEEP" the whole time. The episodes at least have mini-commentary from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in which they address the controversy and the censorship, but even much of that is bleeped! I could be wrong, but I suspect that's actually a deliberate joke, given the tight spot Parker and Stone are in with regard to the issue. On the track, Parker actually says, "We really can't even talk about it here. Probably the thing we could talk about is just the fact that..." and then it's all BEEPED until the end of the commentary, when you hear Stone say "... And so that was basically it." Commentary over. Now, that's kind of funny. But couldn't Comedy Central have at LEAST let the actual episode dialogue through in subtitle form? Anything? To quote Cartman: "Lame."
Anyway, here's a look at the fresh-off-the-wires cover art for Universal's The Adjustment Bureau, along with the BD art for Criterion's Naked, Beauty and the Beast, High and Low and Life During Wartime...
By the way, sources tell me that the voice at the end of Peter Jackson's first production diary for The Hobbit IS Martin Freeman. Just FYI. ;)
All right, let's have a bit more release news to close out the week, shall we?
Anchor Bay has set happythankyoumoreplease for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/21 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include audio commentary with the director and producer, the happythankyoumoremusicplease featurette, deleted scenes and the film's theatrical trailer.
Microcinema International will release a double-feature DVD box set of In Search of Mozart and In Search of Beethoven on 5/31, along with Echo School House.
Warner's issued a press release with more details about their forthcoming AC/DC: Let There Be Rock: Limited Collector's Edition DVD and Blu-ray due on 6/7 ($39.99 and $44.98). The film features a 1979 Paris live concert by the band which happens to be the last filmed performance by then lead singer Bon Scott. The release will feature the entire 13-song performance, along with limited edition packaging and premium collectibles (a 32-page custom mini book, a custom guitar pick and 10 postcards with images from the show - see image below). Disc-based extras will include 5 featurettes (AC/DC: The Bedrock of Riff, Angus Young: A True Guitar Monster, Bon Scott: The Pirate of Rock 'n' Roll, AC/DC: A Rock Solid Legacy and Loud, Locked & Loaded: The Rites of Rock) and 6 song-specific interviews. The Blu-ray will also allow you to view the concert with the tracks arranged in your preferred order. There will also be a DVD-only version of just the film itself for $21.95.
Entertainment One will release Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/31, along with The Waiting City, Ben Bailey: Road Rage, Ellery Queen Mysteries: The Disappearing Dagger and The Abbot and Costello Show: Hit the Road on DVD only.
Cinema Libre has set Oliver Stone's Looking for Fidel documentary for DVD release on 4/26 (SRP $19.95), along with Jean-Jacques Beineix's Betty Blue on Blu-ray the same day (SRP $29.95 - it's already available on DVD). Betty Blue will include an interview with Beineix and Tim Rhys, publisher of MovieMaker Magazine.
And Maya Entertainment has set Filhos do Carnaval: Seasons One & Two for DVD release on 5/31.
By the way, after posting word of the renewal of the MGM/Fox distribution deal yesterday, a LOT of you have asked about the Blu-ray release status of the remaining 9 classic James Bond films. There's no official word yet, BUT... my studio and industry tell me unofficially that - at the latest - fans should start watching for them mid-to-late next year, leading up to (or timed with) the theatrical release of the as-yet-generically-titled Bond 23 (currently set for 11/9/2012). It's also possible you might see a couple later this year, in time for the holidays, but 2012 is more likely. Rest assured, they ARE coming. MGM has just been waiting to tie them promotionally to another new film. So there you go.
Has anyone noticed that AMC has been playing Steven Spielberg's 1941 in HD lately? Here's hoping a Blu-ray release might be on the way. Anything is better than Universal's previous, non-anamorphic DVD release.
Also, after posting that Hobbit production video yesterday, a lot of people e-mailed to ask if I'd been able to identify the voice actor who reads the line "In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit..." and the end. My guess is Ian Holm. Anyone else? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Here's a look at the cover art for Warner's AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, Cinema Libre's Betty Blue and Blue Underground's Deep Red (due 5/17) all on Blu-ray...
Don't forget: There's a new episode of Fringe tonight on Fox. Have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 4/14/11 - 3:30 PM PDT)
Here's a bit of interesting news for you guys today: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment have renewed their current DVD and Blu-ray distribution deal. Fox will continue to serve as the official distributor for MGM titles on both formats, as well as downloads, through the year 2016. This includes both current and new release titles, including the forthcoming James Bond film. Here's the official press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA April 14, 2011 – MGM announced today that the company has renewed its worldwide Blu-ray Disc and DVD distribution pact with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment through 2016. As part of the new agreement, Fox will now oversee electronic-sell-through for MGM titles and will continue to handle MGM's vast and extensive movie and television library, as well as distribute several upcoming new release productions in the home entertainment market, including the next JAMES BOND film, set for global theatrical release on November 9, 2012."
"Twentieth Century Fox is a valued partner that has taken great care of the MGM library for many years with the highest degree of integrity," said Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of MGM. "They are a tremendous asset to the studio as we look towards the future."
"MGM and UA have made enormous contributions throughout the history of film, and we're proud to be part of that legacy," said Fox Filmed Entertainment's chairmen and CEO's Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. "We're delighted that we are extending our partnership with the studio under the leadership of our friends Gary and Roger."
Twentieth Century Fox began managing MGM's international home video distribution in 1999. The flourishing partnership expanded in 2006 when MGM signed a worldwide distribution pact with Fox. Fox's home entertainment group has enhanced the MGM legacy by maximizing key franchises and legendary films from the library that include JAMES BOND, ROCKY and WEST SIDE STORY. Additionally, Fox leveraged MGM's deep catalog to offer a selection of never before released classic films and TV shows via CreateSpace's DVD On-Demand service.
"The MGM brand has become part of our DNA," said Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. "We are privileged to handle this incredible library of acclaimed films, many that rank as the most commercially and critically successful films of all time."
By the way, you'll notice that the press release mentions Robert Wise's West Side Story. That's no accident. 2011 is the film's 50th Anniversary, and our studio and industry sources tell us that Fox and MGM have big plans for a Blu-ray release of the film later this year.
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/14/11 - 12:30 PM PDT)
All right, today's a slow news today, but we do have a little more announcement news for you, and something else that's VERY exciting. More on that in a moment...
First, 20th Century Fox has set I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell for Blu-ray release on 7/5 (SRP $24.99), followed by Mao's Last Dancer on Blu-ray on 7/26 (SRP $29.99). Here's a look at the cover art for both, along with Sony's Just Go with It (due 6/7)...
Also today Magnolia Home Entertainment is going to release Vanishing on 7th Street on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/17 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98). Extras will include director's commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Image Entertainment will release Fall Down Dead on DVD only on 6/14 (SRP $27.97).
And Vanguard Cinema will release Prime or Your Life, Alphonso Bow, Here and The Lawn Boy on DVD on 6/21.
Finally, that very exciting bit: If you're a fan of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, I promise you... this is without doubt THE BEST TEN MINUTES you'll spend all day. Jackson has just posted his very first video "diary" (on his Facebook page) from the set of The Hobbit! In it, you get to see sets, actors, lots of pre-production work and - at long last - the start of shooting itself. And I don't think anything more needs to be said, except this: We hope you enjoy it as much as WE did. (Note: The link seems to be having issues at the moment. Just go to Facebook, and search for Peter Jackson - Producer. You'll see it there. It's also here on You Tube)
All right, let's start today's post with some reviews. We've got a trio of Blu-ray Disc reviews for you today from our own Tim Salmons. Tim's given Criterion's recent Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes releases a look, and has deemed them all worthy of your time. Do check it out!
In news today, the big story is that Warner Warner Archive and Sony's Screen Classics by Request Collection are about to join forces. Starting on 4/13, Warner's Archive Collection MOD program is going to start offering select titles from Sony's Screen Classics program for sale as well. Approximately 150 titles will be included initially in this arrangement. We're big fans of these deep catalog MOD efforts, but one of the big problems - as our own Dr. Jahnke suggested in a recent Bottom Shelf column - is that it's hard to know what titles are available, and there's no one central place to purchased them, as some are available on Amazon and some aren't. Hopefully, the new combined effort will make it easier for movie fans to find and buy titles.
In announcement news today, Image has set the NBA's When They Were Young for BD and DVD release on 6/14 (SRP $17.97 and $14.98).
Fox has announced the 6/14 Blu-ray and DVD release of Big Momma's Like Father, Like Son. Extras will include both the theatrical and extended cuts, deleted scenes, a gag reel, commentary, music videos and a couple of featurettes.
Shout! Factory has set Melissa & Joey: Season One, Part One for DVD release on 5/24.
And IFC Films has set The Other Woman for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/17 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98). The film stars Natalie Portman.
Neither title has been officially announced yet, but Amazon.com has MGM's Blood Simple and Some Like it Hot available for purchase on Blu-ray. Some Like It Hot is set for release on 5/10. Blood Simple is TBA.
In other news today, after seeing the story we posted yesterday about Peter Jackson's The Hobbit shooting at 48fps, Bits reader Wilson T. (thanks Wilson!) sent over this link from First Showing.net regarding James Cameron and the future of cinema: 48fps and 60fps.
Here's a little more new cover artwork: Warner's TBA Fringe: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray (TBA - now available for pre-order on Amazon - the latest artwork appeared at Blu-ray.com a couple days ago), MGM's Blood Simple (TBA) and Image's Jagged Edge (due 5/17)...
Anyone know what today is? Yes, that's right: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight. On this day back in 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and became the first human to orbit the Earth, helping to trigger a space race that led to Americans walking on the Moon eight years later. Pretty damn cool. Let's hope 50 years from now we're back on the Moon to stay and walking around on Mars as well.
Here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Art section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we truly do appreciate it.
Now then... in announcement news today, Paramount has set Jackass 3.5: The Unrated Movie for release on Blu-ray (exclusively at Best Buy) and DVD on 6/14. The release will include 30 minutes worth of exclusive outtakes and deleted scenes. Yeah, I know. We feel the same way. Still no Blu-ray 3D.
Image Entertainment is releasing a pair of DVD collections on 6/7: The Michael Palin Collection (includes Time Bandits, A Private Function and The Missionary - SRP $24.98) and The Bob Hoskins Collection (The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Raggedy Rawney and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne - SRP $29.98).
Sony will release HawthoRNe: The Complete Second Season on DVD on 6/7 (SLP $29.95).
Vivendi will release the western Deadly Shooter on DVD on 5/17.
NeoClassics Home Entertainment is releasing the thriller L'Affaire Farewell on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/19 (SRP $34.98 and $24.98).
And are there any fans of the legendary post-apocalyptic classic Damnation Alley? It's on the way to Blu-ray and DVD from Shout! Factory on 7/12 (SRP $26.97 and $19.93), and it's now up for pre-order on Amazon.com. The DVD cover art can be seen below. Thanks to Daniel S. for reminding me!
In other news, director Peter Jackson has revealed on his Facebook page that he's now shooting The Hobbit films at double the usual 24fps frame rate of modern film and HD video. Not only will the films be in 3D in properly-equipped theatres, they'll be shown at 48fps in select theatres as well for greater clarity. Fascinating! Jackson's going to be posting video updates from the set on Facebook over the coming months as well, so do check it out.
By the way, for you Foo Fighters fans, the band's new album, Wasting Light, hits stores today on CD and vinyl. I'm a little biased, but in my opinion it's a damn fine bit of brick-layin' rock and roll. The band recorded the album in Dave Grohl's garage on analog tape. Let me say that again - ANALOG TAPE. They wanted an "old-school" rock sound and they got it. There's a regular version of the CD and a deluxe version (available only at Best Buy) that includes a bonus disc with a couple videos and 2 extra tracks (the same bonus tracks available at iTunes). But here's what's cool: When you open the packaging up, there's an actual piece of the master analog tape inside! When they were done recording the album, they apparently took some of the tapes, cut them up and put them in all the physical copies! Nice. One more thing Foo fans will want to know: The excellent new Back and Forth documentary on the band (which was shown in theatres recently and will be re-screened on 4/14) is going to be released on Blu-ray and DVD exclusively at Best Buy on 6/14.
Here's a look at the cover art for Shout! Factory's Damnation Alley on DVD, along with a couple of superhero animated Blu-rays - Warner's Justice League: Season Two (due 7/26) and Lionsgate's Thor: Tales of Asgard (5/17)...
Afternoon, folks. Hope your weekend was fine!
We should start today by acknowledging the passing of director Sidney Lumet on Saturday at the age of 86. Among his films are such classics as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, The Verdict, Network, Murder on the Orient Express, The Fugitive Kind and Fail-Safe. More here at the New York Times.
In announcement news today, Warner and HBO have set Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/12 (SRP $49.99 and $39.98). Extras will include commenataries, interviews and featurettes.
Sony has set Just Go With It for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/7 (SRP $34.95 and $28.95). Extras will include commentary (with director Dennis Dugan), commentary (with Adam Sandler, Nick Swarsdon and "the filmmakers") and 14 featurettes (Adon: Living Plastic, Along Came a Prop Guy, Decker's Got Gas, Dolph: Not the One from Rocky IV, Kevin Nealon: The Plastic Man, What's a Dugan?, Look Who Else Is in the Movie, The Not So Perfect Couple, Decker's First Role, Laughter is Contagious, Sneaky Kiki & Bart the Water Fart, The Perfect Couple: Jen and Adam, Shooting Hawaii and Grand Wailea Promo).
Sony's also set Elektra Luxx for DVD release on 6/21 (SRP $24.96).
And Image Entertainment has revealed more new Blu-ray Disc releases for July, including 'Master Harold' ...and the boys and Greece: Secrets of the Past (IMAX) on 7/5, B.B. King: Live, Foreigner: Live and Megadeth: That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires on 7/12, and Nowhere to Run, Belly of the Beast and The Reef on 7/19.
Here's a look at the cover art for HBO's Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season, along with FINAL cover art for Universal's Brazil (due 7/12) and The Eagle (6/21) on Blu-ray...
Yes that's right, folks... we may not have the official Star Wars Blu-ray art yet, but we DO have cover art for 20th Century Fox's Gulliver's Travels on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD (due 4/19 - SRP $49.99, $39.99 and $29.98). To recap: All versions will include a gag reel, deleted scenes, 9 featurettes (I Don't Know... with Lemuel Gulliver, Little and Large, Jack Black Thinks Big, Down Time, Gulliver's Foosball Challenge, War Song Dance, Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jack Black, Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character Jason Segel and Life After Film School: Rob Letterman of Gulliver's Travels), footage from the World Premiere and the film's theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray 3D version will include regular Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy. The Blu-ray will include DVD and a Digital Copy. Here's a look at the cover art for all three...
Yeah, technically Fox actually revealed it a few weeks ago. But you know... it's Jack Black plus a slow news day. ;)
Fox has also set the thriller N-Secure for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/14 (SRP $29.99 and $22.98).
Meanwhile, back at JLA Headquarters... Warner Brothers has set Justice League: Season 2 for Blu-Ray release on 7/26 (SRP $39.99). This is an HD upgrade of a title already available on DVD. All 26 episodes will be included.
Disney will release Gray's Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season on DVD only on 9/13 (SRP $45.99).
Don't forget that Shout! Factory has The Ernie Kovacs Collection coming to DVD on 4/19.
Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Black Death and I Saw the Devil for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/10 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98 each, respectively).
Our friends at Synapse Films have Radley Metzger's The Image coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 6/24 (SRP $29.95 and $24.95).
For you lossless audio fans, Rush's Moving Pictures: Deluxe Edition album has just been released on CD+DVD-Audio and CD+Blu-ray Audio (SRP $17.99 and $19.99 each). The CD+DVD-Audio version is in stock now on Amazon, while the retailer says the CD+Blu-ray Audio version is delayed until 5/3. However, Bits reader Brian (thanks Brian!) says that it's in stock at Best Buy stores right now. The second disc in each set includes 96kHz/24-bit lossless audio in both 5.1 and 2.0! I sure wish more bands/labels would do this. Think I'm gonna have to mosey on over to Best Buy today...
And on the science-y front, even though the Large Hadron Collider over at CERN is revvin' up for big discoveries, it looks like Fermilab's due-to-be-shutdown-in September Tevatron collider might have at least one new feather in its cap: Researchers there announced results that MAY point to a completely new particle discovery - not the Higgs boson and not supersymmetric particles but something completely unknown. More here. Science is pretty damn cool, ain't it?
All right, you'll be glad to know that The Digital Bits will keep on keepin' on, government shutdown or no! So all of you have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here on Monday. Peace out!
(LATE UPDATE - 4/7/11 - 2:30 PM PDT - UPDATED 3:14 PDT)
Well, folks... when Fox and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray finally arrives in stores on 9/16, here's what it MIGHT look like. This artwork was just unveiled by the official European Blu-ray Disc Association blog...
[IMPORTANT UPDATE: We've now heard back from OFFICIAL sources at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment who have informed us that this is NOT what the final Blu-ray box art for Star Wars will look like. Adjust your expectations accordingly!]
Interesting. It's not up yet on Star Wars.com, nor Fox's press site, so we can't confirm whether it's final or official yet, but still... interesting. We're double-checking with Fox and we'll let you know ASAP. Looks more like temp or internal development art to me. Meanwhile, thanks to Bits reader Jerome W. for the link.
[IMPORTANT UPDATE: We've now heard back from OFFICIAL sources at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment who have informed us that this is NOT what the final Blu-ray box art for Star Wars will look like. Adjust your expectations accordingly!]
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/7/11 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Warner Home Video has set Everwood: The Complete Fourth Season for DVD release on 8/2 (SRP $39.98). Warner and the BBC have also set Gavin & Stacey: Season 3 plus 2008 Christmas Special (SRP $29.98),
Gavin & Stacey: Season Two (SRP $34.98) and Gavin & Stacey: The Complete Collection (SRP $79.98) for release on DVD on 8/16.
Meanwhile, Universal has just announced that The Eagle will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/21. Both versions will include a never-before-seen alternate ending, deleted scenes, The Eagle: The Making of a Roman Epic featurette and audio commentary with director Kevin MacDonald. The Blu-ray will add the usual BD-Live and pocket BLU interactive features.
Paramount will release Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup and SpongeBob SquarePants: Heroes of Bikini Bottom on DVD on 6/14 (for Comedy Central and Nick respectively). Medium: The Final Season and Big Time Rush: Season One, Volume Two follow on 6/21.
Shout! Factory will release Nickelodeon's Rocko's Modern Life: Season One on DVD on 6/21 (SRP $19.93).
Gigante Media will release The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show on DVD on 5/24.
Image will release Burning Palms on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/24.
Kino Lorber has set Salt of the Sea for DVD release on 6/7, followed by Korkoro on DVD only on 6/14. They also have The Romantic Englishwoman and Priest of Love on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/21, followed by The Sacrifice: Remastered Edition on both formats on 6/28.
In other news today, just a quick heads-up: Amazon's Gold Box deal for today only is The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Series for just $66 - that's 73% off the regular price. Don't miss out if you're a fan.
Toshiba claims that they're going to have "glasses free" 3DTVs available to roll out by next year (though with reduced resolution). No doubt they'll be on display at CES in January. More here at engadget.
And EA and FUNimation Entertainment have announced a deal to produce a anime feature film based on the game Mass Effect. It's expected to be released in 2012.
Here's a look at the cover artwork for Universal's Adrift (6/14) and The Eagle: Unrated (temp art) on DVD and MGM's The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert on Blu-ray (6/7)...
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