-Newsletter est. 4/15/97-
-Website est. 12/15/97-
page updated: 6/9/11
My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 6/2/11 - 5/5/11)
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All right, let's have some release news updates...
Warner Home Video has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season on 9/6 (SRP $69.97 and $59.98). The set's extras will include "declassified scenes", a gag reel, 2 featurettes (Chuck Versus Directing: Zachary Levi Takes Charge on Chuck Versus the Leftovers and Spying on the Chuck Cast: Operation Gomez) and the Buy Hard: The Jeff and Lester Story 5-episode short series. The Blu-ray version will also add the The Top Secret Chuckipedia Interactive Experience.
Warner and HBO have set Hung: The Complete Second Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/20 (SRP $49.99 and $39.98), along with How to Make It in America on both formats that same day. Following on 9/27 is Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray and DVD.
Warner has also set Two and a Half Men: The Complete Eighth Season for DVD release on 9/8 (SRP $44.98).
And on the catalog Blu-ray front, Warner has set Space Jam for release on Blu-ray on 10/4 (SRP $19.98).
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Robert Redford's The Conspirator for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/16 (SRP $39.99 and $29.95). Extras on the Blu-ray will include video commentary with Redford, the feature-length The Conspirator: The Plot to Kill Lincoln documentary, an Introduction to the American Film Company, photo galleries and 11 production featurettes (including Making of, Introduction to the History Behind the Film, Production Design, Costume Design, Props and Special Effects featurette, The Conspiracy, Mary Surratt's Catholicism, Military Trial, Frederick Aiken: Defense Lawyer, Mary Surratt: Guilty or Innocent and Sentence and Execution).
Lionsgate has also set Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 9 for DVD only release on 8/16.
And Image Entertainment has The Clinic due on DVD on 8/9 (SRP $27.97).
In other news today, though they have yet to be officially announced, Amazon is now taking preorders for Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack versions of Sony's The Muppets Takes Manhattan and Muppets from Space on 8/16. No doubt these are tied to the promotion of the new The Muppets feature film from Disney, which hits theatres on 11/23. One would also hope the final two seasons of the original The Muppet Show TV series will finally arrive on DVD then too. (Word is the Disney-held Muppet catalog films MAY arrive on Blu-ray for the holidays.) Thanks to Bits reader Bill M. for the heads-up on the Amazon link.
Finally, Bits reader Robert D. e-mailed yesterday to let us know that Walmart is now selling a retailer-exclusive Blu-ray of Quigley Down Under. Checking the Walmart website, it looks as if they also have exclusive BDs of MGM's The Big Country and Vivendi's That's What I Am.
Here's a look at the cover art for Lionsgate's The Conspirator, Warner's Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season and HBO's Hung Hung: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray...
Welcome to June, everyone! Hope you're all having a fine morning. Before we get started today, our hats off to everyone at NASA for a safe landing of Space Shuttle Endeavour last night at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Just one more flight to go with Atlantis in July, and it's mission complete for a fine shuttle program!
Now then... we'll probably be back later this afternoon with an announcement news update, but first... how about some new Blu-ray reviews? Our own Barrie Maxwell has turned in a fine new installment of his High-Definition Matters column, featuring review of 10 titles on Blu-ray. Included this time are Criterion's Le cercle rouge and Smiles of a Summer Night, Paramount's Le Mans and Beverly Hills Cop, Alliance's Canadian Blu-ray editions of The King's Speech and The Way Back (available from Lionsgate and Image here in the States, respectively), Warner's Grand Prix and Maverick, Virgil Films' The Terror and Legend Films's double feature of Houdini/Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies. Enjoy!
Also this morning, Russell Hammond has once again updated our 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 the retailer after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it!
Back later. Stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! Hope you all enjoyed the long holiday weekend - at least you readers here in the States.
We've got a couple more Blu-ray reviews for you today. First, Dr. Jahnke has checked in with a look at Severin's The Stunt Man (due in stores on 6/7). Meanwhile, Tim has a look at Criterion's Diabolique. And on the DVD front, David has given Code Red's Rituals a spin on good old classic DVD format as well. Enjoy!
Now then... let's have a few new announcements today too, shall we?
The big news today is that Image Entertainment and the National Film Preservation Foundation have revealed that they're releasing Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938 as a 3-disc DVD box set on 9/27 (SRP $59.98). The set's 10 hours will showcase the "dynamic, gender-bending, ethnically-diverse West that flourished in early movies but has never before been seen on DVD." Among the 40 selections are Mantrap (1926 - the wilderness comedy starring Clara Bow), W.S. Van Dyke's legendary The Lady of the Dugout (1918 - featuring outlaw-turned-actor Al Jennings), Salomy Jane (1914 - with America's first Latina screen celebrity Beatriz Michelena), Gregory La Cava's Womanhandled (1925), the cross-cultural drama Last of the Line (1914 - starring Sessue Hayakawa), one-reel films with Tom Mix and Broncho Billy, Mabel Normand in The Tourists (1912) and more. You'll also get "travelogues from 10 Western states including Seeing Yosemite with David A. Curry and the Fred Harvey Company's The Indian-detour, Kodachrome home movies, newsreels about Native Americans, documentaries and industrial films about such Western subjects as cattle ranching in Santa Monica" and many others. You'll find the cover art below.
Meanwhile, Universal has set a repackaged The Mummy Trilogy for Blu-ray release on 8/30, along with House: Season Seven. Following on 9/6 is a new catalog Blu-ray title - United 93.
20th Century Fox has set Dylan Dog: Dead of Night for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/26, along with Our Family Wedding on both formats that same day.
Warner has set Gossip Girl: The Complete Fourth Season for DVD only release on 8/23 (SRP $59.98). Extras will include 2 featurettes, a gag reel and deleted scenes.
Lionsgate has set Immigration Tango for DVD only release on 6/28, followed by the DVD release of Empire of Assassins, According to Jim: The Complete Fourth Season, Boy Meets World: The Complete Sixth Season, The PJ's: Season Two and Witchville on 7/5. Lionsgate will also release No Eres Tú, Soy Yo on DVD only on 8/16.
Sony will release Winter in Wartime on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on 7/26. Sony has also set Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost on DVD on 8/2 (SRP $26.99). Also coming on that day is the documentary Exporting Raymond on both Blu-ray and DVD (SRP $35.99 and $30.99), about Everyboy Loves Raymond producer Phil Rosenthal's efforts to recteate the show for Russian TV. And following on DVD only on 8/16 is The Grace Card (SRP $26.99).
Finally, Inception Media will release the IMAX titles Ring of Fire and Tropical Rainforest on Blu-ray Disc 7/12 (SRP $19.98 each).
Here's a look at the cover art for Image and the NFPF's Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938 DVD, Universal's United 93 Blu-ray and Sony's Insidious on Blu-ray (due 7/12)...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/27/11 - 3 PM PDT)
All right, we're back this afternoon with 5 new disc reviews for you all to enjoy! First, Barrie Maxwell checks out Warner's 8-film The Mexican Spitfire Collection on DVD-R via the Warner Archive MOD program. Next up, Jeff Kleist spins Disney's Tron Legacy on Blu-ray 3D in a new installment of his The 3rd Dimension. Tim Salmons checks in too with reviews of Paramount's Beverly Hills Cop and Sony's Black Dynamite on Blu-ray Disc. And David Steigman has a review of MGM's Queen of Blood on DVD-R via their own MGM Limited Edition Collection MOD program as well. More reviews are on the way next week, so be sure to watch for them!
And with that, we're marking this week in the books. Monday is Memorial Day here in the States, so we'll be back on Tuesday with news and more. Don't forget that Hangover II has just arrived in theaters if you're looking for a good laugh. Stay tuned and have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/27/11 - 11:30 AM PDT)
Okay, back with more later this afternoon, but first things first: We've got some important announcement news for you this morning...
First, we've just gotten word of more Best Buy-exclusive catalog Blu-rays that - SURPRISE! - are about to show up in stores around the country). Bits reader Heath B. sent us an e-mail this morning with word that MGM's Midnight Cowboy, Casino Royale (the Peter Sellers version), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Back to School and City Slickers are on the way to Best Buy this week. Most are now listed for pre-order on the Best Buy website with SRPs of $14.99 and a 5/29 (this Sunday) street date. We presume you can safely assume that all will come to retailers widely in a few months. This news comes hot on the heals of similar reports that Warner's Wild Wild West and Maverick hit Best Buy stores on Blu-ray earlier this week. Thanks for the heads-up Heath!
Speaking of Warner, the studio will release Justice League: Season 2 on Blu-ray Disc on 7/26 (SRP $39.99).
Also today, Image Entertainment has officially set The Twilight Zone: Season 5 for Blu-ray release on 8/30 (SRP $99.98). All 36 episodes will be included on 5 discs. Nearly everything will carry over from the previous DVD release, and the Blu-ray will exclusively add 20 new audio commentaries, new Conversations with Rod Serling, a vintage audio interview with D.P. George T. Clemens and 22 radio dramas.
Universal has announced the 8/30 DVD release of Parenthood: Season 2. Psych: Seasons Three and Four will also street on DVD from the studio on 8/23. They've also set House: Season 7 for release on both Blu-ray and DVD on 8/30.
Earthchild Productions has set The China Question documentary for DVD release on 6/7. A Blu-ray will follow on 6/28. SRP is $19.98 each.
Microcinema International has set Seducing Time, About Jenny Holzer and The Color of Your Socks for DVD only release on 6/28.
Bits reader Darrell S, has kindly informed us that Amazon.co.uk is now taking pre-orders for the 6/13 U.K. Blu-ray and DVD release of the alien road trip comedy Paul. Watch for the official U.S. release announcement from Universal soon.
And though it's already been essentially acknowledged by Disney, the studio has now officially set The Lion King: Diamond Edition for release on Blu-ray on 10/4. Available will be a 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (SRP $49.99 U.S.) that includes the film in Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy versions), a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (SRP $39.99) that includes the Blu-ray and DVD version, and an 8-Disc Trilogy set (SRP $100) that includes the contents of the 4-Disc BD Combo Pack plus The Lion King 1 1/2 and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride in both Blu-ray and DVD. All of this will follow the appearance of The Lion King 3D in a brief theatrical run starting on 9/16.
Here's a look at the cover art for Image's Twilight Zone: Season 5, Disney's The Lion King: 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack and Universal's The Big Lebowski (due 8/16)...
Back in a little while. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/26/11 - 7 PM PDT)
Well... as expected, our early post today about the aspect ratio of Barry Lyndon has INDEED generated much response from readers. A LOT of response, as a matter of fact. As in hundreds of e-mails. Some are happy that Vitali has clarified the issue personally, while others have called him well-meaning but completely unreliable. A few even accused him of being an outright liar. Experts of all stripes have weighed in with reports that it's impossible for Kubrick to have intended 1.77 to be the proper aspect ratio for the film because 1.78:1 HD displays weren't even conceived of at the time, that 1.77 is indeed the best ratio as they've owned or seen prints of the film best shown at that ratio, that the Taschen book includes several production photographs and storyboards with Kubrick's hand-drawn "framing lines" on them clearly at the 1.77 aspect ratio, that 1.77 is crazy and it should really be 1.66, that 1.77 is crazy and it should really be 1.85, and/or that all other opinions are bullshit, etc. This is CLEARLY one of those passionate, controversial issues that film enthusiasts like to beat the hell out of each other over in online discussion forums. There's much disagreement and everyone is convinced that they're right. Be that as it may, it's the Kubrick estate that calls the shots on this issue. Leon Vitali seems to speak for the estate on the matter. And Warner says they've consulted with the estate and complied with their wishes, the result of which is a 1.78 aspect ratio presentation of Barry Lyndon on Blu-ray. Given all of the above, and the fact that we've now wasted an entire day's work researching the matter, seeking out and consulting with reference material, talking to studio and industry sources, and reading (and attempting to respond to) the voluminous response from readers... we have to consider the matter resolved, at least from the official perspective. The Blu-ray is 1.78 (which most agree looks quite good and is a fair compromise between 1.66 and 1.85) and nothing short of an all-out pitchfork and flaming torch parade is likely to change that. So we've said enough on the topic.
A couple other quick things we wanted to mention today...
First, it seems that Warner's Wild Wild West and Maverick are currently available on Blu-ray at Best Buy stores as a limited-time retailer exclusive. We expect them to be widely available in a month or two, as usual. Thanks to Bits reader Bob G. for the heads-up!
Also, Sony has officially moved the street date for their Das Boot Blu-ray from 6/7 to 7/5. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Now then... reviews are coming. Tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/26/11 - 12:30 PM PDT)
All right, we've got a bit of an update on the controversy with the aspect ratio of Warner's Barry Lyndon Blu-ray. In my review, I said that the aspect ratio was 1.85, which is what's listed on the back of the package. That was an error both on my part and on Warner's - upon specifically checking the disc playback, it's actually 1.78 on the disc. So my review was wrong and has been corrected. The disc's packaging information is also wrong. It's DEFINITLEY 1.78 (note that Lolita and A Clockwork Orange are 1.66).
We contacted Warner Home Video about this and have been told that the studio specifically consulted with the Kubrick estate on their preferred aspect ratio. They were told that Kubrick's intent was to provide 1.66 aspect ratio for standard definition viewing (on old, square 1.37 analog televisions) and to provide "the original aspect ratio" of 1.78 for high definition viewing (on 1.78 HD television sets).
This is interesting as at the time of Kubrick's death (in 1999) 1.78:1 displays were just starting to make their appearance in the consumer home video landscape. The problem with this new information from WHV is that it seems to directly contradict what the estate's Leon Vitali told us in an interview we did with him back in May of 2001, when these films were first released on DVD. Here's the relevant exchange:
Bill Hunt: So let's talk about this new DVD set. One of the features of DVD is the ability to present widescreen aspect-ratio films anamoprhically, to allow for the highest possible resolution when watching on widescreen TV sets. And our understanding is that there were only three Kubrick films that were intended to be seen in a widescreen aspect ratio...
Leon Vitali: Correct. There was Spartacus and 2001. And then there was Lolita, which was 1.66. The important thing to know about Stanley, is that he wanted all of his films shown on video - anything that wasn't a theatrical presentation - in the original camera ratio that he shot it in. He wanted you to see the films exactly as he saw them when he looked through the camera lens and composed them on set. He was no fan of 1.85, because he felt that you were losing part of the image he composed. Now he knew that, with a film like The Shining or Full Metal Jacket, that they would have to be shown in theaters in 1.85 format. But for video, he could present the full frame as he composed it - that's what he wanted.
Now Lolita is 1.66 and Dr. Strangelove is sometimes like 1.33, but sometimes you see a little bit of a mask in there. That's the thing about Stanley - as long as he was pleased with the individual composition of a shot for maximum dramatic effect, he didn't mind that the aspect ratio might be slightly different. Or, for example, that you might see the helicopter blades in The Shining. As long as the shot was good for him, it didn't matter. He thought it was part of his artistic license.
Todd Doogan: So the idea was always to present the original in-camera aspect ratio on DVD.
Leon Vitali: Absolutely.
Bill Hunt: Was there ever talk about doing alternate anamorphic widescreen versions of the later films - the ones that were shown theatrically at 1.85? So you could have both versions on DVD?
Leon Vitali: Yes, it was discussed. But Stanley just wasn't interested.
Todd Doogan: So 2001 is going to be in anamorphic widescreen on DVD. But a lot of people are going to have a question as to why Lolita, which is 1.66, isn't anamorphic on DVD...
Leon Vitali: Well... Stanley just didn't want it done. You know, someone could have a disagreement with that, but the only thing I can tell you is that that's what he wanted. And we didn't feel it was appropriate to go against his wishes.
Bill Hunt: So how will the open matte films be presented in future high definition broadcasts, hi-def having a 1.78:1 aspect ratio?
Leon Vitali: They'll have black bars on either side.
Now, that's how Lolita and A Clockwork Orange are presented on Blu-ray - 1.66 with slight black bars on the side. But again, Warner now says that the estate has decided that 1.78 is the proper aspect ratio for Barry Lyndon on 1.78 HD displays. The question is, why the change? And why only with this particular film?
The interesting thing about this is, you'll note that in the interview above Vitali never mentions Barry Lyndon specifically. Just yesterday, however, Vitali did an interview with film critic Glenn Kenny, in which he specifically addresses the Barry Lyndon aspect ration issue, and claims that the film's original aspect ratio was NEVER 1.66, but was ALWAYS 1.77 - and that Kubrick shot it in 1.77 and intended it to be seen 1.77! [Editor's Note: Some of you have wondered why I haven't commented further on this issue in recent days, and the reason is that we'd asked for - and been waiting for - Vitali himself to weigh in with an official statement on the issue. Now he has.] In any case, Glenn's interview is well worth reading. To be sure, it's hard to find vintage evidence that the film was really intended to be 1.77, but the article notes - and we've confirmed - that Taschen's The Stanley Kubrick Archive book (published in 2004) lists the film's aspect ratio as 1.77 (see the scan below, reproduced from page 4 of the book). Indeed, all the printed film frame images from Barry Lyndon in the book are presented at exactly 1.77.
To be fair, the book was published after Stanley's death, so it will not be seen as definitive to some fans. I also know there are those who feel that Vitali is an unreliable source on this issue, has contradicted himself and/or has revised his opinion on the matter. I can't and will not comment on that. All I can say is that I've met Leon personally and found him to be a very genuine and sincere person, who clearly cares about the presentation quality of Stanley's films. But of course, that's neither here nor there in terms of resolving this controversy. In any case, the Kubrick estate has obviously decided that the proper presentation of Barry Lyndon in HD is at the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Warner's mastering department directly confirmed that with the estate, and that IS the aspect ratio in which Barry Lyndon now appears on Blu-ray. This may not settle the matter in the minds of some Kubrick fans, but short of Stanley himself speaking to the subject from The Great Beyond somehow, that's about as definitive a clarification as we're ever likely to get. So 1.78 is it for Barry Lyndon. And for us here at The Bits, at least, issue resolved (if not satisfactorily settled for some of you).
In any case, our thanks to Glenn Kenny for a great effort to clarify the issue in as much as may be possible. There's nothing like stepping into a little controversy, is there?
[Editor's Note: I was talking with with Doogan this afternoon on the subject - who did the original Vitali interview with me back in 2001 - and he made an interesting observation. It's well known that after Stanley's death, a vast archive of his research material and notes were left behind. This archive was the subject of Jon Ronson's excellent 2008 Stanley Kubrick's Boxes documentary (which we certainly hope will appear on DVD or BD soon) and it was also this source material that was combed through meticulously as part of the preparation of the making of Taschen's The Stanley Kubrick Archives book. It's easy to wonder what might have changed between 2001 and 2004 that the estate finally decided the proper aspect ratio for Barry Lyndon was 1.77 and not 1.66 as originally believed. Todd rightly suggests that it's entirely possible that the estate discovered something in Stanley's notes or files that led them to this new conclusion. We may never know for sure, but it does appear that it was during the process of sorting and archiving all of this research and material that the decision was made to go with 1.77 for the film. Just something to consider.]
Back later with reviews. Stay tuned...
All right... we've got a bunch more bits of announcement news for you... and then we'll be back tomorrow with some new DVD and Blu-ray reviews from Tim, Jeff, Barrie and David.
First up, MGM has announced 29 more films that will be added to their MOD Limited Edition Collection DVD line during the month of June. They include Down Three Dark Streets (1954), Return to Treasure Island (1954), Quincannon, Frontier Scout (1956), The Killer Is Loose (1956), Hot Cars (1956), The Boss (1956), Gun Duel in Durango (1957), The Halliday Brand (1957), Curse of the Faceless Man (1958), Lost Lagoon (1958), Riot in Juvenile Prison (1959), The Man In The Net (1959), Phaedra (1962), Call Me Bwana (1963), Johnny Cool (1963), Love Is a Ball (1963), A Rage to Live (1965), Riot on Sunset Strip (1967), Red, White and Zero (a.k.a. The White Bus) (1967), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968), The File of the Golden Goose (1969), Cannon for Cordoba (1970), Hennessy (1975), Another Man, Another Chance (1977), April Morning (1987), Haunted Summer (1988), The Iron Triangle (1989) and The Fourth War (1990).
Screen Media Films will release a trio of DVD titles in June, including Love's Kitchen on 6/7, Chatroom on 6/14 and 3 Backyards on 6/28.
Anchor Bay Entertainment has set Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf for release on DVD only on 8/16 (SRP $22.98).
Warner and Adult Swim will release Squidbillies: Volume 4 on DVD only on 6/21 (SRP $19.97). Warner and the Sesame Workshop will also release Sesame Street: Learning Letters with Elmo on DVD only on 8/2 (SRP $14.98).
Acorn Media will release Marple: The Pale Horse on DVD (SRP $29.99) and Marple: The Complete Series 5 on Blu-ray (SRP $69.99) on 6/21, followed by Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection - Set 6 on both Blu-ray and DVD on 7/12 (SRP $59.99 and $49.99). The Marple Blu-ray will include The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, The Secret of Chimneys, The Blue Geranium and The Pale Horse, while both Poirot sets include Three Act Tragedy, The Clocks and Hallowe'en Party.
SnagFilms and the Caiprinha DVD are releasing the controversial documentary Cultures of Resistance on DVD only on 6/14 (SRP $20).
Sony's Elektra Luxx will be released on DVD only on 6/21 (SRP $24.96). Sony has also set Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man in 3D for release on Blu-ray 3D on 6/7 (SRP $19.95).
Platform Media will release The Elephant DVD on... well, DVD... on 7/19 (SRP $14.95). The title includes a number of Eric Herman's animated YouTube music videos for kids.
Scholastic Media will release a pair of Storybook Treasures DVD titles on 6/28, including I'm Dirty! & I Stink!: The Kate and Jim McMullan Collection and Good Night Gorilla... and More Wacky Animal Adventures.
Lionsgate has set Care Bears: Flower Power and Bratz: BFF (Best Friends Forever) for DVD only release on 6/7.
Pathfinder will release Catherine Breillat's Night After Night on DVD only on 5/24 (SRP $24.98). Also due from Pathfinder on 7/19 is The Life and Work of Claude Chabrol on 7/19 (SRP $24.98).
Image Entertainment has set Lord, All Men Can't Be Dogs on DVD only on 6/14 (SRP $14.98).
Wolfe Video will release Undertow on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/1.
And finally, Maya Entertainment will release a trio of HBO Latin America original series on DVD only on 7/12, including Alice: Season One, Epitafios: Season Two and Mandrake: Seasons One and Two (SRP $19.98 each).
Also today, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has recently turned in a pair of good The Doctor Is In music columns for our partner site, MusicTAP, run by our good friend Matt Rowe. Today's installment is Settling the Score, in which he talks about memorable film and TV soundtrack releases. Adam also touched on the subject a week a go with Music from the Motion Picture. Do check them out!
I also want to highly recommend a really good editorial column from the excellent Roger Ebert's Journal: The Dying of the Light. Roger proves once again why his voice continues to be a vital and important one in this industry. In the piece, Roger talks about the growing problems he's been experiencing with substandard theatrical movie projection these days, even in a "digital projector" world that's supposed to correct such issues. A big offender these days are digital 3D film projections that aren't bright enough to compensate for the fact that 3D polarized glasses tend to reduce the image brightness experienced by the viewer by as much as 30-50%. Don't miss it. Special thanks to Bits reader Dean S. for the link.
And in other news from around the Net, the good folks at Topless Robot have posted an amusing (but sadly oh-so true) column on 8 features (much wanted by fans) that will be missing from Lucasfilm's Star Wars Saga Blu-rays when they finally arrive in stores in September. I mean, seriously... a 91-minute documentary on Star Wars spoofs? An 84-minute documentary on the 501st Legion?! That last one is awesome if you've got a full set of Stormtrooper armour hanging in your closet, I'm sure, but it's not something most other Star Wars fans are interested in. Anyway... the "saga" continues for fans.
Back with reviews tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/24/11 - 5 PM PDT)
All right, let's get caught up...
First, our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art. As always, a portion of anything you purchase from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work at The Bits and we appreciate it.
Warner Home Video has set their 2011 remake of Arthur for Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release on 7/15 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). Extras will include the Arthur Unsupervised! featurette, a gag reel and 10 minutes of deleted scenes.
Warner has also released official details on the Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release of Sucker Punch on 6/28 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). Extras on both will include the theatrical cut of the film, 4 animated Sucker Punch Prequel Stories shorts (Feudal Warriors, The Trenches, Dragon and Distant Planet), and the Sucker Punch: Behind the Soundtrack featurette. The Blu-ray will add an extended cut of the film and a Maximum Movie Mode: Exploring the Fantasy World viewing option hosted by director Zack Snyder (includes PiP, "walk-ons" and more).
Severin Films is releasing The Stunt Man on Blu-ray Disc on 6/7 (SRP $29.98). Also coming that day are new 2-disc DVD and single-disc DVD versions (SRP $24.98 and $14.98). Extras on the Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD will include audio commentary (with writer/director Richard Rush, and stars Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey, Alex Rocco, Sharon Farrell and Chuck Bail), 4 featurettes (The Maverick Career of Richard Rush, Peter O'Toole Recounts The Stunt Man, Devil's Squadron and Barbara Hershey on Nina Franklin), the feature-length The Sinister Saga of the Making of The Stunt Man documentary, theatrical trailers and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray will also exclusively add The Stunt Man at the New Beverly featurette.
Anchor Bay has set Meet Monica Velour for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/16 (SRP $34.99 and $29.98). Extras include audio commentary (with star Kim Cattrall and writer/director Keith Bearden) and deleted scenes.
Sony has set Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost for DVD only release on 8/2 (SRP $26.99).
Sony has also set Insidious for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/12 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). The title will include 3 featurettes (Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar, On Set with Insidious and Insidious Entities).
And Sony has set Of Gods and Men on Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 7/5 as well.
Meanwhile, Paramount and Showtime have set Dexter: The Complete Fifth Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/16.
First Run Features will release Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, Orgasm, Inc. (SRP $27.95 each) and Anti-Nazi Classics: Four Films About Nazi Germany (SRP $59.95) on DVD only on 6/21. The latter title includes the films The Murderers Are Among Us, I Was Nineteen, The Gleiwitz Case and Naked Among Wolves.
And Phase 4 Films will release Uwe Boll's BloodRayne: The Third Reich on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/5 (SRP $29.99 each). Special features will include audio commentary with Boll, a making of featurette and more.
On the music front, Varèse Sarabande is about to release a Jerry Goldsmith 80th Birthday Tribute Concert DVD (SRP $19.98) in a limited edition of just 2000 copies. The release includes both a DVD and CD of the event, which offers live concert performances of music from many of Goldsmith's film scores, conducted by Mark Snow and Diego Navarro and performed by the Tenerife Film Orchestra and Choir. More details are available here. Discs will begin shipping out on 6/6.
Also on the music front, Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Sheryl Crow: Miles from Memphis - Live at the Pantages Theatre for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/7 (SRP $19.98 and $14.98). The concert includes 18 songs performed live in late 2010. A behind-the-scenes featurette will be included as well as 2 bonus "soundcheck" tracks (Eye to Eye and Stop). Audio will be DTS 5.1.
Here's the cover art for Arthur (2011), Severin's The Stunt Man and Showtime's Dexter: The Complete Fifth Season, all on Blu-ray...
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/24/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning folks! We've got a good bit of catalog release news to start your Tuesday off right. Or as the Dude might say, "New sh-t has come to light, man!"
Yes, that's right... Universal has just officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of one of the greatest films of all time... the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski! Watch for it to hit store shelves in a new Limited Edition on 8/16! That's the good news. The ever BETTER news is that it's apparently been newly-remastered in HD, so the quality should be terrific - better than the previous DVD and HD-DVD versions. The disc will come packaged in a 28-page Blu-ray Book packaging that features an exclusive interview with real-life Dude inspiration Jeff Dowd. It appears that all of the previous DVD extras will carry over to HD, including 6 featurettes (Jeff Bridges' Photo Book, The Dude's Life, The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later, The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever's Story, The Making of The Big Lebowski and Flying Carpets & Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude), a photo gallery, an interactive map and the infamous Mortimer Young introduction. In addition, the Blu-ray version will exclusively add the U-Control Scene Companion PiP viewing mode, the Mark It Dude onscreen counter option (that tracks all the "Dude-isms" in the film), The Music of The Big Lebowski mode (that lets you identify each song and buy it on iTunes), the Worthy Adversaries: What's My Line trivia game (where you have to finish a character's lines) and all the other usual BD-Live, BD-Java and uPOCKET what have you. Audio will be 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Here's a look at the cover art for the disc, in special "large-o-size" resolution...
Back with more later today. Stay tuned!
All right, welcome to the new week. Glad you all survived Saturday's "Rapture". Or perhaps I should extend my sympathies that you weren't saved? Not sure what the protocol is there. In any case, we're glad to have you as readers today! Since we're all still stuck here on Earth, I guess we'll just have to make the best of things.
Now then... I'm obviously writing and posting this on Sunday so that I can spend Monday with my parents (who end their visit on Tuesday morning). So any major breaking news that happens on Monday, I'll cover in Tuesday's post. Just FYI.
Nevertheless, in announcement news... Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Ceremony for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/21 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98). The romantic comedy stars Uma Thurman and Lee Pace (formerly of TV's Pushing Daisies - who, by the way, just joined the cast of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit).
Disney has announced that (in addition to Prep & Landing on DVD on 11/22) they're releasing Bambi II on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD only on 8/23 (SRP $39.99 and $29.99). The Blu-ray/DVD version will be available in both DVD and Blu-ray packaging. Extras on the Combo version will include the Sing the Day deleted song (NEW), 3 Friend Owl's Forest Fun games (also NEW), a trivia track, the Bambi II: The Legacy Continues and Disney Sketch Pad: Learn to Draw Thumper featurettes and the Thumper's Hurry Scurry interactive game.
And FUNimation has revealed that they've secured the U.S. rights to Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos and will be releasing it theatrically in the States in early 2012 and on Blu-ray and DVD later in the Spring. The film debuts in Japan on 7/2/11. FUNimation has also acquired the rights to the Japanese anime series Is This a Zombie? and will be releasing it on DVD in 2012 as well.
In other news, Best Buy is offering $5 discount coupons good on some 135 Blu-ray titles if consumers bring in any DVD title in exchange. More here at Home Media.
Also at Home Media, our friend Chris Tribbey posted a brief but interesting interview with DTS CEO Jon Kirchner, in which he talks a little more about their Neo:X 11.1 audio scheme. Little something for the MEGA movie audiophile. Do check it out.
Now then... a follow-up note from last week: A few dedicated Raiders fans have e-mailed to say that I'm surely wrong in my speculation that Raiders of the Lost Ark will come out on Blu-ray from Paramount in 2012, as THIS year marks the film's 30th anniversary. That's certainly a valid point, and it's one that I've absolutely considered. But here's the thing: I have a VERY hard time believing that Lucasfilm would allow their two biggest franchise properties to hit Blu-ray in the same year and thus directly compete with each other for holiday spending dollars. That just makes very little business sense. And since all 6 Star Wars films are already on tap for Blu-ray release in September - and Lucasfilm started promoting it way back in August of last year - Raiders seems to me unlikely for the format in 2011. On the other hand, with Paramount celebrating their 100th anniversary next year, what better way to celebrate that with the debut of a couple of their biggest catalog hits on Blu-ray - Titanic in the Spring and the Raiders Trilogy for the holidays? Hey... if Paramount announces Raiders BDs for the holidays this year at Comic-Con, I'll be the first to admit I'm wrong. But that's my guess as to how it'll play out, and what information we have from our industry sources so far seems to bear it out. We'll see...
Also... one last bit of follow-up regarding the Bionic Woman: Season 2 DVD: A number of fans have been unsatisfied regarding Universal's comment from last week about the DVD audio defects on 2 episodes from the set. Universal essentially said that the defects are in the source material, and that's the best they can do. Many fans have pointed out, however, that the episodes have been released internationally on DVD in the past without the audio defects. So we went back to the studio again on this, and their response is essentially that those international DVDs were released back in 2006 and "the source material used for that release was not available to us." They weren't specific as to why this is, so one can only speculate. But - and take this with a healthy dose of salt, as it's JUST our speculation - does anyone remember the fire at Universal back in 2008 that destroyed a big portion of the studio lot's on-site film archive and tape vault? An educated guess would be that some of these assets may have been "adversely impacted" by the incident. Anyway, just a guess. I know that even this follow-up info probably won't be satisfying to many of you, but there it is.
More tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Perhaps anticipating tomorrow's predicted "rapture", the Hollywood studios have made no major title announcements today. Coincidence?!?!?
We do have word today that Image Entertainment will release director Lonny Price's 'Master Harold'... and the Boys on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 10/11 (SRP $27.97 each).
Warner has announced that The FBI: Season One (the 1965 series) and Southland: Season Two (a current series) will be released via MOD in the Warner Archive Collection on 5/24.
And retail sources tell us that Disney's CG-animated holiday film Prep & Landing will street on DVD only on 11/22 (SRP $19.99).
Also, Paramount UK has posted an interesting promo video clip with director's James Cameron and Michael Bay talking about theatrical 3D on twitvid.
Speaking of Cameron, a number of news sites have more on next year's Titanic 3D release including indieWIRE, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The L.A. Times.
Here's cover art for Warner's Red Riding Hood (due 6/14 - both versions) and Entertainment One's Elvira's Movie Macabre: Night of the Living Dead/I Eat Your Skin on DVD (also 6/14)...
Have a great weekend! Watch out for driverless cars tomorrow... ;)
Hey guys... hope you're well! Today's post is going to be a quick one, as I have my parents here visiting from out of town. But we DO have a couple good things for you.
First, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke has just turned in a new Bottom Shelf Blu-ray review of Funimation's AVN: Alien vs. Ninja. Oh, come on... how could we NOT review that one? Also today, Tim Salmons has checked in with a review of a catalog Blu-ray title as well: Fox's Fight Club. Enjoy!
Some big Rumor Mill-related news this afternoon: Paramount, 20th Century Fox and director James Cameron are preparing a 4K-scanned, 3D theatrical release of Titanic, set to hit theatres next year on 4/6/2012, not coincidentally on the 100th anniversary of the actual Titanic's maiden voyage. So that's interesting, but it's not Rumor Mill-worthy - it's actually been officially announced by the studios. (Here's more on it from Deadline Hollywood.) MORE interesting from our standpoint, however, is that multiple industry sources have now checked in with us to say that a Blu-ray release of the film (2D for sure and maybe 3D too) will happen a week or two later. And that IS Rumor Mill-worthy, so salt accordingly. By this time next year, a Titanic Blu-ray may already be in your hands.
By the way, 2012 is also the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures. In addition to Titanic, what do you want to bet we finally see Raiders of the Lost Ark on Blu-ray as well? That's just educated speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be at all surprised.
In other release news today, Millennium Entertainment has set the crime drama Shadows & Lies for Blu-ray/DVD release on 6/7. The film stars James Franco.
Shout! Factory will release the 1985 Roger Corman Cult Classics title Streetwalkin' on DVD only on 8/2 (SRP $14.93). Extras will include commentary with director-writer Joan Freeman and producer-writer Robert Alden, and the trailer.
And finally, we have a quick official update for you from Universal on the audio issues related to their recent Bionic Woman: Season Two set. Here's the word...
"Statement from USHE officials:
Every episode in the Bionic Woman Season 2 DVD release has been digitally re-mastered for optimal viewing. However, the remastering cannot correct flaws that either were part of the original presentation or that happened over the passage of time. Certain moments within select episodes from Season 2 may include noticeable moments of imperfect picture or audio. This is reflective of the source material which unfortunately, is the best source material that is available to the studio and cannot be corrected. The episodes are still included in the set to provide as complete a collection as possible.
Consumers not satisfied with their purchase can contact Universal Studios Home Entertainment Consumer Relations by email at [email protected] or by phone at 888-882-5779, for information on returning the DVD set in exchange for a $30 NBC Universal Store voucher, valid for the purchase of any merchandise at http://www.nbcuniversalstore.com."
So there you go. The audio flaws are apparently in the source material and can't readily be corrected. At least those who wish to return the set now have that option. In any case, our thanks to Universal for getting back to us so quickly on this.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...!
All right, we've got a couple of new Blu-ray reviews for you this afternoon from yours truly: A look at Warner's new Barry Lyndon and Paramount's fantastic Once Upon a Time in the West, both coming on 5/31 in fully-remastered HD. Both discs are WELL worth your time. Not only do the films look and sound great, all the DVD extras have carried over and Amazon has them for VERY good sale prices - just $13.99 for Barry Lyndon and $15.99 for Once Upon a Time in the West! Hard to beat that. More reviews are on the way over the next few days.
Now then, 20th Century Fox has set Limitless for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/19 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include an unrated extended cut of the film, audio commentary with director Neil Burger, 2 featurettes (A Man Without Limits and Taking It to the Limit: The Making of Limitless), an alternate ending and the film's theatrical trailer.
Fox has also set Take Me Home Tonight for release on both formats also on 7/19 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include deleted scenes, a theatrical trailer, a "music boombox, a music video, the trailer and TV spots.
Our friends at Automat Pictures are releasing Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story on DVD special edition on 6/21 (SRP $19.95). The disc includes over 5 hours of bonus content, including audio commentary (with producer/director Jeffrey Schwarz, editor Philip Harrison, composer Michael "The Millionaire" Cudahy, graphic designer Grant Nellessen and "with a special guest appearance from the great beyond" William Castle), 2 featurettes (Larger Than Life: The Making of Spine Tingler! and Master Class with William Castle), interview outtakes, rare footage from the original Texas premiere and footage from the AFIFest red carpet premiere.
Alpha Video has set the vintage classics Untamed Fury, The Shadow Laughs, Renfrew of the Royal Mounted on the Great White Trail, Cobra, The Eagle, Decoy: Volume 5, Classic TV Comedies of the 50s: Volume 2, Great Quiz Shows of the 50s, Danny Boy, Tailspin Tommy: Stunt Pilot, Tailspin Tommy: Sky Patrol, Buffalo Bill, Jr: Volume 6, Racket Squad: Volume 7, Trouble with Father: Volume 5, Arizona Bad Man, Coyote Trails, In Old Montana, Melody of the Plains and Riddle Ranch for release on DVD on 5/31.
Lionsgate will release The Music Never Stopped on DVD only on 8/2, followed by The Last Godfather on 8/9.
Warner and the BBC will release Outcasts: Season One on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/16.
IFC Films has set The Housemaid, Exorcismus and In Her Skin for DVD release on 6/7, followed by White Lightnin' and Tetsuo: The Bullet Man on 6/28.
And file this in the Rumor Mill category, but industry sources are telling us to watch for Paramount to release Breakfast at Tiffany's on Blu-ray Disc on 8/23. Watch for an official announcement soon.
In one other bit of news, a number of readers are reporting audio problems with Universal's new Bionic Woman: Season Two DVD set. Specifically, the audio on 2 episodes (The Deadly Ringer: Part 1 and The Return of Bigfoot: Part 2) is muffled for a portion of the running time. We've informed the studio and hope to hear back from them on the issue soon.
By the way, a new director's cut of Ishtar screened last night in New York City at the 92nd Street Y. There's no information as to whether this will be released on DVD and Blu-ray, and what it might mean for Sony's delayed release (which we're assured by the studio is TBA but still in the works) but it's interesting nonetheless. Thanks to Bits reader Marshall C. for the heads-up.
Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Summit's Source Code (due on 7/26) as well as Fox's Limitless and Take Me Home Tonight...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/17/11 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Well, how do you like that? I was in such a rush earlier this morning to get up the great news about Stanley Kubrick's The Killing coming to Blu-ray from Criterion, that I neglected to read the company's press release fully! What can I tell you? It was like 1 AM in the morning. ;)
Anyway, you know how I said that "now all we need is a Blu-ray of Killer's Kiss and we'll have the complete authorized Kubrick catalog in HD!"? Well... guess what's INCLUDED on Criterion's The Killing Blu-ray as an extra? That's right - Killer's Kiss from a restored print! I've asked Criterion if the film is going to be in HD on the Blu-ray and I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything. Either way, at least it's there in good restored quality. A LOT or people e-mailed me about this this morning, so clearly there's plenty of interest in this title. Thanks to all of you! [Editor's UPDATE: Criterion just got back to me to confirm that Killer's Kiss WILL be in HD on the Blu-ray. GREAT news!]
Still no official Sucker Punch press release, but the information I posted earlier this morning came from the studio's official press site, so it should be good. SRP on Sucker Punch is $28.98 for the DVD and $35.99 for the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo. It appears that at least the Blu-ray will include an extended cut of the film. Meanwhile, here's a look at the Blu-ray and DVD cover artwork...
As you can see, we also included Warner and the BBC's Wonders of the Universe on Blu-ray (due 8/30).
Warner HAS officially announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of the Hall Pass: Enlarged Edition on 6/14 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). Extras on the Blu-ray will include both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film, a deleted scene and a gag reel. The DVD will include just the theatrical cut, with a deleted scene.
In other release news today, Lionsgate has set Bending All The Rules for DVD only release on 6/21 (SRP $26.98).
Universal has set The Incredible Shrinking Man for DVD only release on 8/30.
20th Century Fox has set The Warrior's Way for Blu-ray/Digital Copy Combo and DVD on 6/28 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). The film stars Geoffery Rush, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston and Jang Dong Gun. Extras will include deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes montage.
Entertainment One is launching a new Elvira's Movie Macabre double-feature DVD series starting on 6/14 (SRP $14.98 each). The first 2 titles will include Night of the Living Dead/I Eat Your Skin and The Satanic Rites of Dracula/The Werewolf of Washington.
Finally, we have official details for you on Shout! Factory's 7/12 Blu-ray and DVD release of Damnation Alley (SRP $26.97 and $26.97). Both will include audio commentary with producer Paul Maslansky, 3 featurettes (Survival Run, Road to Hell and Landmaster Tales), a theatrical trailer and a TV spot. Also coming from Shout! on DVD only is the cowboys and aliens film Oblivion (SRP $14.93).
Here's cover art for Fox's The Warrior's Way Blu-ray, Universal's The Incredible Shrinking Man on DVD and Shout's Damnation Alley also on Blu-ray...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/17/11 - 1 AM PDT)
All right, we've got some big release news for you all today...
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 artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from the retailer after clicking through to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.
Now then... anyone up for a Sucker Punch? Warner Home Video is about to announce the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo and DVD release of the Zach Snyder CG-actioner on 6/28. Extras and SRP are TBA, but we expect to have the details for you later this morning or early this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Criterion has dropped the details on their August slate, and man oh man are there some goodies! On 8/2, look for a Blu-ray upgrade of Malcolm McDowell's film debut in the form of Lindsay Anderson's IF... (Cat #391 - SRP $39.95). Following on 8/9 is a 2-disc Blu-ray upgrade of Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (Cat #249 - $49.95). A pair of new titles arrive on both Blu-ray and DVD on 8/16, including Roman Polanski's Cul-de-Sac (Cat #577 - $39.95 and $29.95) and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (Cat #575 - $39.95 and $29.95 - now all we need is a Blu-ray of Killer's Kiss and we'll have the complete authorized Kubrick catalog in HD!). Another new title coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 8/23 is Lee Chang-dong' Secret Sunshine (Cat #576 - $39.95 and $29.95). And on 8/30, you'll get a Blu-ray and DVD upgrade of an early Collection title in the form of Jean Cocteau's Orpheus (Cat #39 - $39.95 and $29.95). And rounding things out for the Collection on 8/30 is The Complete Jean Vigo which includes the Vigo films À propos de Nice, Taris, Zéro de conduite and L'Atalante (Cat #578 - $39.95 and $29.95). Finally, coming to DVD only on 8/23 is Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara. The 5-DVD box set will include Intimidation, The Warped Ones, I Hate But Love and Black Sun (SRP $69.95). Here's a look at the BD cover artwork for IF..., The Battle of Algiers, Cul-de-Sac, The Killing, Secret Sunshine and Orpheus...
Back with more later, so stay tuned...!
Afternoon, folks. Hope you're all having a great day today. Matt and I took in a 3D screening of Thor over the weekend. Not great, but far from bad - certainly entertaining for a couple of hours. The Earth and Valhalla bits don't quite blend well, and I can see that if you were a big fan of the original comics the film would be disappointing. But Kenneth Branagh certainly made an accessible big screen version. There's some good bits of dialogue, and Chris Hemsworth's got quite a career ahead of him. The film Matt and I are more interested in, frankly, is Captain America. But we'll see...
Meanwhile today, Summit Entertainment has announced that director Duncan Jones's excellent science fiction thriller Source Code is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 7/26 (SRP $30.49 and $26.99). The DVD version will include audio commentary with Jake Gyllenhaal, Jones & writer Ben Ripley, cast interviews, Science Focal Points and a trivia track. In addition to this, the Blu-ray will add the Access: Source Code interactive viewing mode which adds additional scene-specific features as you watch the film. Audio on the DVD will be Dolby Digital 5.1 and the Blu-ray will add 5.1 DTS-HD MA. We'll post final cover art as soon as it comes in.
Shout! Factory has set Transformers: Beast Wars - Season One and Transformers: Beast Wars - The Complete Series Collector's Edition for DVD release on 6/7. Season One will be a 4-disc set including all 26 episodes (SRP $29.93). Extras will include the Maximize! Creating a New Breed of Transformer featurette, an art gallery and original character models. Transformers: Beast Wars - The Complete Series Collector's Edition will be an 8-disc 52 episode collection (SRP TBA) that includes a a 12-page book, a 24-page comic book, retrospective featurettes and more. The Complete Series will only be available on ShoutFactoryStore.com, starting on 6/7.
Shout! has also set The Wild West Collection: Rio Conchos/Take a Hard Ride for DVD only release on 6/14 (SRP $14.97). Both will feature anamorphic widescreen transfers. Take a Hard Ride will include new interviews with stars Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly and a trailer.
Lionsgate will release The Last Godfather and Camp Hell on DVD only 8/9.
Sony has set Martin Koolhoven's Winter in Wartime for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 7/26 (SRP $45.99).
And Image Entertainment has set the high school comedy Wild Cherry for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/28 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97).
And Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company will release The Company Men on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/7 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). The film stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones. Special features will include audio commentary with writer/director John Wells, The Making of The Company Men featurette and deleted scenes.
All right, we've learned that an official Kane announcement from WHV is not likely in the next week. So we'll likely have to wait until early June for more official details.
We've also learned that WHV has tentatively moved its Blu-ray release of The Right Stuff to 2012, in order to take the time required to get the release right. Okay by us - the release should be nothing if not "right".
Meanwhile, WHV HAS announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release of Red Riding Hood on 6/14 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). Extras on the DVD will include deleted scenes. Meanwhile, the Blu-ray will add a lot of additional material, including an alternate cut of the film with an all-new ending, the Secrets Behind the Red Cloak PiP commentary (with Catherine Hardwicke, Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons), 5 featurettes (Reinvention of Red Riding Hood, Red Riding Hood's Men, Making of the Score, Red Riding Hood in 73 Seconds and Before the Fur... Making of the CG Wolf), a gag reel, casting tapes and rehearsal footage, 2 music videos, a gag reel and an Easter egg.
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and Virgil Films are distributing Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein's How to Fold a Flag documentary via digital-only means on 5/23. More here.
And Anchor Bay has set Kill the Irishman for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/14 (SRP $34 and $29.98).
Finally today, we'll leave you with a look at the final cover art for Universal's Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer on Blu-ray (both due 8/2) as well as Sony's Of Gods and Men (7/5)...
Have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 5/12/11 - 6 PM PDT)
Okay... we've got a little bit of breaking news for you. Our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke (check out his E-Theatre Facebook page here) just spotted something interesting: Warner's long awaited Citizen Kane: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. In fact, Amazon appears to have an EXCLUSIVE offer for the BD set bundled with a DVD edition of Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons. The SRP is $79.98 but Amazon has it for just $55.99. According to the back of its DVD cover art, Ambersons appears to be the existing 88-minute version. The package also includes the excellent RKO 281, lots of paperwork (including replica documents and poster art cards) and a collector's book. Here's a look at the cover art for the Citizen Kane Blu-ray box set, The Magnificent Ambersons DVD and the open contents of the UCE box set...
There's no street date or additional details yet, but watch for an official press release from Warner Home Video in the next day or so. Stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/12/11 - 3 PM PDT)
Some great catalog news today: Universal has officially revealed the Blu-ray Disc release of Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer on 8/2. Conan the Barbarian will include audio commentary with director John Milius and Arnold Schwarzenegger, 4 featurettes (Conan Unchained: The Making of Conan, Art of Steel: Sword Makers and Masters, Conan: From the Vault and Special Effects), material from The Conan Archives and theatrical trailers. Conan the Destroyer will include a theatrical trailer. You'll also get the usual interactive options. Audio for both will be 5.1 DTS-HD MA. We'll post the final cover art as soon as it's ready (it appears the cover art that's leaked out is temp only).
Warner and the BBC have announced the release of Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series on both Blu-ray and DVD on 7/19/ (SRP $129.95 and $119.98). The release is timed to coincide with the premiere of the new "American" Torchwood series on Starz, which features much of the original U.K. cast. Both Season One and Season Two will be included, along with Torchwood: Children of Earth (which is sometimes referred to as the show's Season Three). There don't appear to be any new extras, but the discs now come in book packaging with a slipcover. Here's a look at the cover art...
As you can see, we also posted the cover art for Image's Twilight Zone: Season 5 Blu-ray (due 8/30), Universal's Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused Blu-rays (due 8/9) and one other title, as follows...
In other release news (as you can see from the cover above), Shout! Factory and Best Brains will release the MST3K vs. Gamera: Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Volume XXI Deluxe Edition on DVD on 8/2. The 5-disc set (SRP $64.99) will include Gamera, Gamera Vs. Barugon, Gamera Vs. Gaos, Gamera Vs. Guiron and Gamera Vs. Zigra in a limited-edition tin with 5 mini-posters. If you order the set at Shout Factory.com you'll receive a free Gamera postcard pack and MST3K Stress Ball while supplies last.
Lionsgate has set The Music Never Stopped for DVD only release on 8/2.
Entertainment One will release Haven: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/14 (SRP $49.98 and $44.98). Also coming on 6/14 is The Con Artist on DVD only. Following on 6/28 is Beneath Hill 60, Deliver Us from Evil, The Perfect Man, Music Video Exposed: The Collection on DVD only and Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance on Blu-ray and DVD. So for those of you who were wondering why there isn't more Michael Flatley on Blu-ray... you're welcome.
Meanwhile, MTI has set Death Hunter: Werewolves vs. Vampires for DVD only release on 5/24 (SRP $24.95).
FUNimation Entertainment has announced that it will release the 2010 prequel to the IP Man franchise, The Legend Is Born: IP Man on Blu-ray and DVD later this year, following a limited theatrical release. By the way, if you haven't seen IP Man yet... pretty damn good. Dr. Jahnke suggested I check it out a few weeks ago, calling it The Lord of the Rings of martial arts movies. I don't know if I would say THAT, but the first film was pretty damn awesome. You can buy the original IP Man and its sequel IP Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster on Blu-ray (from Well Go USA) now and they're well worth your time.
Cinema Libre will release God Went Surfing with the Devil on DVD on 5/24 (SRP $19.95), about the surf culture in the Palestinian city of Gaza. Fascinating!
And MPI and Film Buff will release The Wild Hunt on DVD on 6/7.
All right, we've got a trio of new Blu-ray Disc reviews for you from Tim, including Criterion's Blow Out and Sony's Taxi Driver. More Blu-ray reviews are on the way. Enjoy!
In announcement news today, Universal has finally set The Blues Brothers and Animal House for Blu-ray Disc release on 7/26 (SRP $26.98 each). The Blues Brothers will include the original theatrical version AND the extended version, 3 featurettes (Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, Transposing the Music and Remembering John) and the theatrical trailer. Animal House will include 3 featurettes (The Yearbook: An Animal House Reunion, Where Are They Now? A Delta Alumni Update and Scene It? Animal House). Both will also include the usual array of Universal interactive options via BD-Live and BD-Java. Animal House will also include a Scene Companion PiP viewing mode and The Music of Animal House (which lets you identify songs while watching, create a custom playlist and buy the songs on iTunes - not exactly "value added" for actual fans of the film, but I suppose someone finds it useful). Here's a look at the cover art...
As you can see, we also included the DVD art for Rango (due 7/15 - we posted the BD art the other day).
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Spy Kids, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3: Game Over on 8/2 (SRP $19.99 each). Each will include most of the previous DVD features including 10-Minute Film School, deleted scenes and multiple featurettes, as well as Digital Copies.
20th Century Fox has set Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 7/26.
And Warner Home Video has set Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown for Blu-ray release on 5/24 (SRP $24.98). Also look for Pure Country 2: The Gift on DVD from the studio on 8/2 (SRP $19.92), followed by Viz Media's Hero 108: Season One - Volume 2 DVD on 8/16 (SRP $14.97), Viz Media's Gantz on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/30 (SRP $29.99 and $24.92) and the BBC's Dalziel and Pascoe: Season Four on DVD on 9/20 (SRP $29.98).
Okay, we've got a brand new Classic Coming Attractions column for you from Barrie today, featuring 14 new classic DVD/BD reviews. Among them are Warner's Keeper of the Flame, The Sea of Grass and Moguls & Movie Stars, Warner Archive's While the City Sleeps, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Devotion, Whiplash, Wild Rovers, Tim Holt Western Classics: Volume 1 and The Unfinished Dance, Twilight Time's Violent Saturday and The Kremlin Letter and Entertainment One's Goodnight for Justice. Barrie also reviews Warner's King of Kings on Blu-ray, as well as a new book on Katharine Hepburn: I Know Where I'm Going. And as always, he runs down all the latest classic announcement news as well. Enjoy!
Also here at the site today, 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 small portion of anything you order from Amazon through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.
Now then... it looks as though Warner Home Video is releasing a 150th Commemoration of the Civil War box set on 7/4 (SRP $84.99 for the Blu-ray version and $69.92 for the DVD version) that includes both the Gettysburg: Director's Cut and Gods and Generals: Extended Director's Cut along with a National Geographic Civil War map, a 40-page Civil War Artifact book, Time's 32-page The Civil War book extract and a commemorative coin.
Universal has officially set Dazed and Confused and Fast Times at Ridgemont High for Blu-ray release on 8/9 (SRP $26.98 each). The Fast Times Blu-ray will include feature commentary with director Amy Heckerling and writer Cameron Crowe, the Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High documentary, a new Scene Companion PiP viewing mode, The Music of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and a trailer. The Dazed and Confused Blu-ray will include deleted scenes, The Blunt Truth featurette, The Music of Dazed and Confused and Retro Public Service Announcements.
Shout Factory has set the Marvel Knights Animation - Iron Man: Extremis and Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. double feature for Blu-ray release exclusively at Best Buy on 6/14.
And True Mind/Entertainment One is releasing the documentary Vanishing of the Bees on DVD on 6/7 (SRP $19.98).
Finally, our very own Mark A. Altman would be thrilled if you'd watch the new 13-episode TV series he's produced, Femme Fatales, which premieres on Cinemax this Friday night (5/13) at 11 PM EST/8 PM PST. Our old friend Robert Meyer Burnett even directed a couple episodes, so do check it out. More here (including a trailer)!
All right, we've got a couple interesting things for you today here at The Bits...
First, Paramount has officially set Rango for Blu-ray/DVD and DVD release on 7/15 (SRP $39.99 and $29.99). Extras on the DVD will include both the theatrical and new extended edition versions of the film, audio commentary on the extended edition (by co-writer and producer Gore Verbinski, head of story James Ward Byrkit, production designer Mark "Crash" McCreery, animation director Hal Hickel and visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander), the Real Creatures of Dirt featurette and deleted scenes (including an alternate ending). To this, the Blu-ray will add the 2-part Breaking the Rules: Making Animated History documentary (includes The Stage is Set and Now We Ride), an additional featurette (A Field Trip to Dirt), the Storyboard Reel Picture-in-Picture viewing mode (on the theatrical version only), a theatrical trailer and a Digital Copy. Here's a look at the cover art for the Blu-ray/DVD Combo...
As you can see, we also included the art for Disney's The Fox and the Hound/The Fox and the Hound II: 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release (both due on 8/9).
In other announcement news today, Sony has set Damages: The Complete Third Season for DVD only release on 6/10 (SRP $45.99). All 13 episodes will be included. Extras on the 3-disc set will include audio commentaries with the cast and creators, deleted scenes, blooper reel, featurettes and more.
Sony has also set director Xavier Beauvois' Of Gods and Men for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo back on 7/5 (SRP $45.99), as part of their Sony Pictures Classics line. The set will include 2 featurettes (The Sacred Tibhirine: Further Investigation and Merrimack College Augustine Dialogue IX with Author John W. Kiser).
And on the catalog front, Sony will also release the Boys 'N' the Hood: 20th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 7/19 (SRP $19.95). Extras will include audio commentary with director John Singleton, 3 featurettes (The Enduring Significance of Boyz 'N' the Hood, Friendly Fire: Making of an Urban Legend, Audition Videos featuring Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Morris Chestnut & Tyra Ferrell), deleted scenes and music videos from Compton's Most Wanted and Tevin Campbell.
Finally today, we've got a little something for you Trekkies. Consider it very Rumor Mill-worthy, as nothing has been officially announced (though that may change soon - more in a minute). But a lot of you have been asking us if Star Trek: The Next Generation - Remastered is ever going to happen. We've mentioned previously that tests on the feasibility of the project have been on-going at CBS for some time, and one of the key concerns has been cost. (Click here and scroll down a bit.) Well, today we've got an update for you...
As some of you may be aware, a few months ago Netflix signed a non-exclusive deal with CBS allowing them to digitally stream the entire Star Trek library to their customers, along with popular ancillary titles like MacGyver. Well, that arrangement definitely tripped our sensors. Not only is that financial incentive for TNG Remastered to move forward, but the fact that J.J. Abrams' big-screen Trek sequel is likely to start shooting in September (for theatrical release next year) provides a sufficient marketing/cross-promotional incentive too. So after several months of looking into this, our industry sources have finally begun hinting that TNG Remastered IS moving forward and that Netflix (and possibly Paramount's Epix cable channel, which has a strong relationship with the streaming service) may be the first place you'll finally see it - in HD - starting sometime in the fall. Meanwhile, SD TNG episodes will begin appearing on Netflix in July. Trek Movie posted this a month ago:
"Netflix confirmed they will be streaming every episode of every season for all five live-action Star Trek series: the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. TOS, TNG, Voyager and Enterprise will all become available on July 1st. DS9 will launch on October 1st. TOS and Enterprise will be available in HD."
While Deep Space Nine and Voyager are unlikely to generate the kind of revenue to justify a Remastered redo effort (and Enterprise is already available in HD), we believe a high-definition film scan of The Next Generation is very likely in the cards for the entire series run, along with the requisite digitally-upgraded effects. Of course, in addition to syndication and streaming, the end result of all this might be a Next Generation: Remastered Blu-ray release down the line. So if all goes well, you could be spinning Picard and Data on disc in glorious HD by this time next year. In any case, we'll post additional updates on this as they come in. Our best guess: Watch for official news to break at Comic-Con in July.
All right, back with reviews tomorrow. Stay tuned...
All right, we're working on a new Classic Coming Attractions column from Barrie for early next week, along with more reviews from Jeff, Tim and more. So be sure to check back for those.
In news today, 20th Century Fox has offered more information about their new Fox World Label, the first DVDs from which arrive later this year. They'll include Korea's The Yellow Sea, China's The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman, India's Dum Maaro Dum and Italy's Vallanzasca: Angel of Evil, all of which have recently made a splash at international film festivals. According to Fox, the line will feature a wide-ranging variety of subjects and style:
"Filmmakers around the world are creating provocative and entertaining films, many of which are rarely seen outside their native countries," says Mary Daily, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. "With FOX WORLD CINEMA, we are committed to introducing these films to passionate audiences in America that are eager to embrace a range of cultures and experiences." Adds Sanford Panitch, President of Fox International Productions, "Fox has always championed films that transcend language and social differences. In recent years, American audiences have embraced successful foreign films such as Pan's Labyrinth and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The universal themes represented with FOX WORLD CINEMA will be appreciated by film lovers everywhere."
Meanwhile, Disney has announced the Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo, Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release of the CG-animated Mars Needs Moms on 8/9 (SRP $49.99, $39.99 and $29.99). The DVD version will include 2 featurettes (Fun with Seth and Martian 101). The Blu-ray Disc will add an extended opening, 7 deleted scenes with introduction, an Easter egg and the Life on Mars: Full Motion-Capture Experience feature-length PiP viewing mode. The Blu-ray 3D version will include all that, plus an additional exclusive deleted scene finished in full 3D. You'll find cover art for all three versions below.
Disney has also announced the animated The Fox and the Hound/The Fox and the Hound II: 30th Anniversary Edition for release on 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo and 2-disc DVD release on 8/9 (SRPs TBA). Extras will include 3 featurettes (Unlikely Friends, Passing the Baton: The Making of The Fox and the Hound and The Making of the Music), The Best of Friends Sing-Along Song and Lucas Grabeel's You Know I Will music video.
And on the standard DVD front, look for Disney's Brothers & Sisters: Season 5 on 8/23, Cougar Town: Season 2 and Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season on 8/30, Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season and Private Practice: Season 4 on 9/13, Body of Proof: The Complete First Season and Castle: The Complete Third Season on 9/20, and Army Wives: Season 5 on 9/27.
One more Disney title: Look for Julie Taymor's The Tempest on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13 (SRP $39.99 and $29.99).
Also today, Shout! Factory has set Webster: The Complete Second Season for DVD only release on 5/10 (SRP $29.93), followed by All in the Family: Season Nine on 5/17 (SRP $29.93 - this is the show's final season).
And Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Rubber for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/7 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98).
Here's a look at cover art for all three versions of Disney's Mars Needs Moms, plus three of Lionsgate's forthcoming Miramax Blu-ray titles, announced yesterday (for release on 7/19)...
Don't forget: Tonight is the season finale of Fringe on Fox. Should be a mind-bender, as always. And Paramount's Thor hits theatres this weekend. Early reviews are largely positive. And hey - Thor is certainly one of the less well known Marvel characters, so the movie should be interesting for that reason alone.
See you Monday. Stay tuned!
All right... sorry today's update is later than normal. I had to have our ISP come and do a little rewiring here at the house because of speed issues. As in, lack there of. I'm pleased to report that things are much better now. Nothing worse than having slow Internet. Okay, there are lots of things worse, but few more annoying.
Anyway... a LOT of you have asked additional follow-up questions about Fox's Star Wars Saga Blu-ray announcement from yesterday, so we've passed them on to Fox. When they respond, we'll let you know. In the meantime, our sources tell us that the films are indeed the "special edition" versions of the films. Are there additional SE changes to them? Possibly. Certainly, we've heard that Episode I will now feature the digital version of Yoda seen in II and III. Anything else is yet to be revealed. In the meantime, here's slightly higher quality version of the artwork from better sources...
In announcement news today, Shout! Factory has finally revealed that the Battle Beyond the Stars: 30th Anniversary Special Edition will street on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/12 (SRP $26.97 and $19.93). Both will include new transfers from the original internegative. Audio will be 5.1 DTS-HD MA on the Blu-ray and Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD. Extras on both will include audio commentary (by writer John Sayles and Roger Corman), a second commentary (by production manager Gale Anne Hurd), 2 featurettes (The Man Who Would Be Shad and Space Opera on a Shoestring), plus trailers, NS TV and radio spots.
You Miramax fans will be happy to know that Lionsgate is diving right into catalog Blu-rays on 7/19, with Bridget Jones's Diary, Chocolat, Amélie and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (SRP $19.99). Each will feature much of the previous DVD extras and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio.
Magnet and Magnolia have set Kingdom of War: Part 1 & 2 for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/7 (SRP $26.98 and $19.98). Each will be a 2-disc set including a making-of featurette, behind the scenes footage and an international trailer.
Fox has also set Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/21.
WHV and HBO have set Eastbound & Down: The Complete First Season for release on Blu-ray Disc on 8/2 (SRP $39.98 - note that it's already available on DVD). Also coming on 8/2 is Eastbound & Down: The Complete Second Season on both Blu-ray and DVD (SRP $39.98 and $29.98). Extras will include audio commentary, deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and outtakes.
Disney has set Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season for DVD only release on 9/13 (SRP $45.99). Extras will include deleted scenes, bloopers, an extended version of the "musical" episode and a behind the scenes featurette on the making of the musical episode.
Paramount and MTV will release Jersey Shore Uncensored: Season Three on DVD only on 7/26 (SRP $26.99). I know you guys were all holding you breath for that one.
And Anchor Bay and the Weinstein Company are releasing Miral on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/12 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include deleted scenes, 3 featurettes (The Making of Miral, Studio Tour with Julian Schnabel and Filmmaker Q&A) and audio commentary with director Julian Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik.
In other news today, MGM has launched a new MOD website called Classic Movies Now.com, where people can purchase their deep catalog titles on disc. The site has a few exclusive titles not available anywhere else, including Old Dracula, the How I Won the War: Special Edition and Bobbie Jo & The Outlaw. Currently, they have 109 titles available on DVD in all. Do check it out.
Speaking of MGM's MOD program, another 26 classic titles are soon going to be available there (later in May), including Mr. Wong, Detective (1938), The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939), Park Row (1952), Ghost Town (1955), Crime Against Joe (1956), Gun Brothers (1956), The Big Boodle (1956), The Brass Legend (1956), The Girl in the Black Stockings (1956), Hell Bound (1957), My Gun Is Quick (1957), The Careless Years (1957), High School Hellcats (1958), The Fearmakers (1958), Oklahoma Territory (1959), Take a Giant Step (1959), Burn, Witch, Burn! (1962), The Nun and the Sergeant (1962), Blood Bath (1966), Harry in Your Pocket (1972), Report to the Comissioner (1974), Assisi Underground (1984), The Ambassador (1984), The Rose Garden (1989), Keaton's Cop (1990) and Laws of Gravity (1992).
Finally today, there's a bit of sad news to report. Actor Jackie Cooper has died at the age of 88. Most of you will know Cooper from his role as Perry White in the original Superman movie, though older film fans will recall him from the classic Our Gang shorts as well. He'll certainly be missed.
Here's a little more new cover art: Universal's Warehouse 13: Season Two DVD (due 6/28) and both versions of Shout!'s Battle Beyond the Stars: 30th Anniversary Special Edition...
All right, that's all for now. Back tomorrow with more, including a number of disc reviews. Earlier this time!
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