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page updated: 8/7/12



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 7/24/12 - 6/26/12)


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7/24/12

All right, first up here at The Bits today, Russell Hammond has 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 Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Also here at the site today, our own Tim Salmons has turned in a new review of Sony's recent (and excellent) Blu-ray edition of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Not only does he review the film and disc, he runs down the list of all the extras that carry over (or not) from all the previous DVD editions too. The Blu-ray is now available in stores and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!

[Editor's Note: There are some reports of audio issues with the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One Blu-ray set - specifically character dialogue being mixed not just in the center but front left and right channels on some episodes. It's not something I noticed initially (as naturally none of the episodes I've watched thus far are among the problematic ones), but we're looking into it and will post an update as soon as possible. FYI, we're told that CBS is already investigating...]

In announcement news today, Warner Home Video has unveiled a pair of new classic catalog releases in Blu-ray Book packaging. Look for Guys and Dolls on 11/6 and Hans Christian Andersen on 12/18 (SRP $34.99 each).

Universal has yet to announce the street date for their Blu-ray release of Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, but Amazon.co.uk current lists the U.K. release as due there on 10/22 (including a Steelbook packaged version). So it's reasonable to expect the U.S. release around the same time - possibly 10/23, which is a Tuesday. We expect official word from the studio soon.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Five for DVD release on 10/2. They've also announced Where Do We Go Now? for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/11. Extras will include commentary with director Nadine Labaki and composer Khaled Mouzannar and 3 featurettes (Where Do We Go Now?: Making the Music, The Making of Where Do We Go Now? and An Evening with Writer/Director/Actress Nadine Labaki, Composer Khaled Mouzanar and Producer Anne-Dominique Toussaint). And for you TV fans, look for Rescue Me: The Complete Series as a 26-disc DVD only set on 9/25 (SRP $95.99).

Sony has also announced a number of new MOD DVD titles for release on September and October. They'll include The Waterdance, Inner Circle (1991), North (1994), The Solid Gold Cadillac, Sudden Terror: The Hijacking of School Bus #17, Zotz, Final Descent, Among the Missing (1934), And Baby Makes Three (1949), The Old Dark House, Safari (1956) and Fantasy Island: The Complete Second Season on 9/04, followed by Henry Fool, Comanche Station, Rules of Engagement: The Complete Sixth Season, Decision at Sundown, Ride Lonesome, Experiment in Terror, Dancer, Texas, Duel on the Mississippi, Masterson of Kansas, 49th Man, Golden Hawk, The Phantom Stagecoach, Appointment in Berlin, Buchanan Rides Alone, Avenging Waters and Iron Horse on 10/02.

Spelling Entertainment and Paramount will release The Fugitive: The Complete Series - Most Wanted Edition on DVD only on 10/23. We'll give you a look at the open packaging for the set below - just scroll down a bit to the end of this post.

Also, Anchor Bay Entertainment has set High School for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/4.

Image Entertainment will release Mads Brügger's The Ambassador on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/23.

Entertainment One will release the animated Mia and the Migoo on DVD only on 8/7 (SRP $19.98). It's the second feature from renowned French animator Jacques-Rémy Girerd.

MPI has set Samsara for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/4.

And according to Amazon.com, Kino Lorber has slated Charles Evered's A Thousand Cuts for BD and DVD release on 1/22/2013.

Finally today, we wanted to alert you to a great soundtrack release celebration event being held in Los Angeles soon by our friends at La-La Land Records! They're getting ready to release the soundtrack to the 1980 cult comedy Used Cars, so they're holding a screening of the film at the Arclight Cinema (7:30 PM) on Tuesday, 7/31. After the film, they'll have a live panel featuring producer/co-writer Bob Gale, actress Deborah Harmon, actors David L. Lander, Gerrit Graham and Michael McKean, and composer Patrick Williams! They'll also have the soundtrack CD on hand (for $20 cash only) that you can purchase and have them all sign. You'll even get a free "Rudy Russo for Senate" campaign button and bumper sticker with each ticket purchase! Advance tickets are $17.50 each and are available at Creature Features.com. They'll be $20 at the door if the event doesn't sell out earlier. The rest of you will be able to buy your copy of the Used Cars soundtrack on the La-La Land website beginning at 1PM (Pacific) on 7/31. Should be pretty awesome!

We'll leave you today with a look at the cover art for Sony's Where Do We Go Now? Blu-ray and Rescue Me: The Complete Series DVD, Fox's American Horror Story: The Complete First Season Blu-ray and Paramount's The Fugitive: The Complete Series - Most Wanted Edition DVD box set...

Where Do We Go Now? (Blu-ray Disc)American Horror Story: Season One (Blu-ray Disc)Rescue Me: The Complete Series (DVD)

The Fugitive: The Complete Series - Most Wanted Edition (DVD)

Stay tuned...

7/23/12

All right, it's very slow news day today so let's get right to the good stuff...

I've just posted my review of CBS's Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One Blu-ray release, which you will all have the good fortune to get your hands on tomorrow when it finally arrives in stores. Trust me when I say that if you're any kind of fan of this series, I think you're going to love it. Enjoy the review and the discs!

Also today (elsewhere on the Net), director Peter Jackson has just updated The Hobbit production blog with a new video of the cast and crew's recent visit to Comic-Con in San Diego, as well as a whole lot of great behind-the-scenes footage from the final days of filming. Don't miss it. (Be sure to watch it in HD!)

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

7/20/12

All right, we've got a couple more announcements for you today, and then I'm talking Lawrence of Arabia...

First up, Disney has announced the Blu-ray Disc release of The Santa Clause: 3-Movie Collection on 10/16, including The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. All three star Tim Allen and Judge Reinhold.

20th Century Fox has set American Horror Story: The Complete First Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/25. Extras will include audio commentary on pilot episode by Ryan Murphy and 5 featurettes (Behind the Fright: The Making of American Horror Story, The Murder House presented by Eternal Darkness Tours of Hollywood, On the Set of American Horror Story: Season One, Overture to Horror: Creating the Title Sequence and Out of the Shadows: Meet the House Ghosts). Also coming to DVD that day is Family Guy: Volume 10.

Meanwhile, HBO has announced a Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season - Collector's Edition box set for release on 11/20 (SRP $99.97). It will contain Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy all in one box, along with a dragon egg paperweight and a Blu-ray bonus disc with the first episode of Season Two.

And here's something for you Hunger Games fans - the behind-the-scenes clip that we debuted on our Blu-ray panel at Comic-Con last week is now available for everyone to see on YouTube.

Now back to Lawrence of Arabia. Last night I had the good fortune (along with Matt Rowe) to take in the official U.S. premiere of the new 4K restoration of the film at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, which is arguably the best screening venue in all of Southern California. Now I've seen this film many times, but never have I enjoyed it this much, not just because of the impressive technical quality of the presentation but because the sell-out audience was just so into the film. Obviously, this was a largely industry crowd mixed with serious Lawrence fans, all of whom knew the film's various ins and outs well. They reacted to every little moment of humor, every shift of mood and tone. As a result I think I got more out of this viewing than I ever have before.

As I mentioned, the quality of the presentation was first rate. Sony's EVP of Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Management, Grover Crisp, introduced the screening and discussed the restoration effort itself. Work began in 2009 with an 8K scan of the original 65mm camera negative - itself the subject of the excellent 1988 physical restoration by Robert Harris in collaboration with director David Lean. The goal this time around was to build on that work. But the fact was, when Sony went back and looked at the negative, they noticed serious deterioration. Strange vertical bands had appeared throughout the film that looked like faded sections of the emulsion. These turned out not to be actual fading or a photochemical issue, but rather bands of literally hundreds of tiny cracks in the negative. So for those of you who've wondered why it took so long to bring this film to Blu-ray, now you know. Grover actually showed a short restoration demo reel before the start of the film, and the before and after contrast was so striking that the audience burst into applause. The result of this new restoration effort is truly impressive. There are still minor issues in a few places - notably a couple instances of missing frames that have been there on all the previous DVD releases. But I'll tell you... Robert actually offered me the chance to screen the film in 70mm a few years back, and the new 4K digital presentation compares wonderfully to that experience. The color and detail is just extraordinary. Subtle textures in the rocky terrain, the fine detail of blowing sand - all the detail in the original negative is visible in the new digital master. The film is actually going to start screening around the country in 4K on October 4th, and I strongly encourage you all to try and experience it that way. In any case, you're very much in for a treat when the film finally arrives on Blu-ray on November 13th. It can truly be said that most of you have never seen the film like this before - in this level of A/V quality. Trust me... it's going to be an absolute revelation for you. Here's a look at the cover of the program for last night's event...

Lawrence of Arabia: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

All right, that's it for this week. The Dark Knight Rises this weekend, so there's that. Go forth and enjoy, friends!

7/19/12

All right... it's bit of a slow news day today, but after yesterday's unveiling of Lawrence of Arabia probably to be expected. However, we do have a couple things...

Universal has set Monster High: Ghouls Rule and Whitney: Season One for DVD only release on 10/9, followed by Psych: The Complete Sixth Season and The Office: The Secret Santa Pack on 10/16.

Disney has also set a Cinderella II/Cinderella III 2-Movie Collection for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 11/20, timed to surf off the sales of the Cinderella: Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD release due on 10/2.

Meanwhile, Paramount has set 90210: The Fourth Season for DVD only release on 10/2, along with Bonanza: The Official Fourth Season, Volume One and Bonanza: The Official Fourth Season, Volume Two.

CBS has announced Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/18.

Comedy Central has set Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/9.

And finally, Kino Lorber has set a number of great titles for release in October. From their Kino Lorber label, look for Headshot (BD & DVD) on 10/4. From Kino Classics, watch for The Seduction of Mimi (DVD) and the Kino Classics Presents: The Lina Wertmuller Collection set (BD - includes Love & Anarchy, The Seduction of Mimi and All Screwed Up) on 10/9, followed by The Penalty (1920): Remastered Edition (BD) on 10/23 and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: Kino Classics Special Edition (BD & DVD) on 10/30. Via their Alive Mind label, they'll deliver Being in the World (DVD) on 10/9. And of course there's the expected Redemption titles, which will include Jess Franco's Exorcism: Remastered Edition (BD & DVD) and Jess Franco's Female Vampire: Remastered Edition on 10/16, followed by Visions of Ecstasy (BD) on 10/23.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/18/12 - 1 PM PDT)

All right - great news. As many of you know, Sony is holding a special screening of the newly-restored 4K master of Lawrence of Arabia at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in L.A. tomorrow night. As it happens, the L.A. Times' Susan King has written a story on the screening today. It appears to have been edited since it was first posted, because the text originally indicated that the film would be returning to theatres for a limited run starting on October 4th, followed by the Blu-ray release likely in the second week of November (an 11/14 date was given, but that's a Wednesday, so we presume she meant 11/13). In any case, you can reasonably expect Sony to issue an official press release with all the confirmed details in the next few days. Can't wait to see it!

[Editor's Note: Not five minutes after making this post, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment sent me their official press release for the Lawrence of Arabia: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release. As expected, the 3-disc collectible box set will street on 11/13. We've posted details of the extras previously, but the studio didn't confirm them in this press release. We believe that 4th disc pictured below is meant to represent a soundtrack CD sampler. The film will also return to theatres around the country for a limited time as a digital-only theatrical event starting on 10/4. It will also be screened for one night only on Turner Classic Movies on 11/16. From the press release:

"We wanted to return this film to as pristine a condition as possible to honor its anniversary release," says Grover Crisp, EVP of Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Mastering for SPE. The original camera negative was scanned at 8K and the film went through a painstaking process of repairing problems inherent to the 50-year old film elements. Using the latest digital imaging technology, the color grading and re-mastering was completed in 4K at Colorworks, Sony Pictures Entertainments' digital intermediate facility. "The original negative was seriously damaged in a number of ways, some problems dating from the original release and some accumulated over the years." says Crisp. "But, until now, we did not have the tools available to address these issues. We think fans of the film will be as amazed as we are at the detail and resolution in the imagery captured by cinematographer Freddie Young to compliment David Lean's immaculate direction."

So there you have it! Here's your first look at the cover art...]


Lawrence of Arabia: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Also today, Eagle Rock Entertainment has posted a new video on YouTube showing the restoration work they've done on the 16mm negative for their forthcoming Blu-ray release of Peter Gabriel's Secret World Live concert film due next week on 7/24 (be sure to watch the clip in 1080p in the largest size you can). Looks pretty impressive. Personally, I think this is Gabriel's best live performance on disc, so if you like his music the disc should be well worth checking out.

And finally, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of veteran actor Morgan Paull yesterday, whom many of you will best know for his brief appearance as Holden in Blade Runner. He also appeared in such films as Patton and Norma Rae, as well as on many TV series over the year. He was 67.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/18/12 - 11 AM PDT)

All right, we've got something special for you today...

In preparation for this week's theatrical release of Christopher Nolan's final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, our own Mario Boucher thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the history of Batman on the big and small screens. So we hope you enjoy his new feature article, Batman on Film.

In announcement news today, it appears that Warner Home Video is making another Blu-ray version of the Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Edition available on 10/23, in addition to the box set already announced. They've got a 3-disc Blu-ray Book version due the same day (SRP $34.99), presumably including the same 72-page book that will be packaged in the box. So no swag, but everything else. (See the cover art below.) The version with the new replica Spinner car and lenticular hologram will also still be available the same day for a higher price (SRP $64.99).

Warner has also announced a number of new Blu-ray and DVD TV and catalog releases including Alcatraz: The Complete Series (BD and DVD) on 10/16; Metalocalypse: Season Four (BD and DVD - for Adult Swim), House of Dark Shadows (1970 - BD and DVD) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971 - BD and DVD) on 10/30; and The Client and Bonfire of the Vanities (both BD) on 11/6.

Also, Sony has set Will Stillman's Damsels in Distress for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/25 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Sony is also soon to announced the 3-disc Blu-ray 3D Combo, 2-disc Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Men in Black 3 on 11/30. The DVD will include The Making of Men in Black 3 featurette and Pitbull's Back in Time music video. The Blu-ray Combo will add 3 additional featurettes (Men in Black: 1960's vs. Today, Creating the Visual Effects and Scene Investigation), along with Progression Reels and the Spot the Alien game. To all that, the Blu-ray 3D Combo will exclusively add 3D Models of MIB Technology and the Converting to 3D featurette, both presumably in actual 3D.

Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for all three of Warner's The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition singles (due 8/28 - no pre-orders yet but we'll get Amazon links up as soon as they're available), along with the Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book (both the book and the open contents), Paramount's Pet Sematary (10/2) and Shout! Factory's All in the Family: The Complete Series DVD box set (due 10/30)...

The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition - Fellowship of the Ring (Blu-ray Disc)The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition - The Two Towers (Blu-ray Disc)The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition - Return of the King (Blu-ray Disc)

Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Pet Sematary (Blu-ray Disc)All in the Family: The Complete Series (DVD)

Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

7/17/12

All right, we've got a rundown of the other major Blu-ray and DVD announcements of the past few days for you this afternoon...

But first, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section as usual today with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. A portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it!

Now then... our friends over at The Criterion Collection have revealed a fine October slate of Blu-ray and DVD releases. First up on 10/2, you'll get Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love (Cat #147 - BD upgrade). On 10/16, you'll get Joshua Marston's The Forgiveness of Blood (Cat #628 - BD and DVD). John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday (Cat #629 - BD and DVD) follows on 10/23. Rounding things out on 10/30 will be Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (Cat #634 - BD and DVD). And on DVD only, 10/9 will bring Eclipse Series 36: Three Wicked Melodrama's from Gainsborough Pictures (including The Man in Gray, Madonna of the Seven Moons and The Wicked Lady).

Meanwhile, Paramount has announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of Sac ha Baron Cohen's The Dictator: Banned & Unrated Edition on 8/21. Such Alden news! Both the theatrical and unrated editions will be included, along with 15 deleted/extended scenes, a Larry King interview and the Your Money's on the Dresser music video. Paramount is also releasing Stephen King's Pet Sematary on Blu-ray Disc on 10/2. Extras will include director's commentary and three featurettes. And on 9/11, look for The Loved Ones on DVD only.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Salvation Boulevard for release on DVD only on 9/18. The film stars Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei and Ciarán Hinds. They also have Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt coming to DVD only on 8/7. And Resident Evil: Damnation (the CG-animated sequel to Resident Evil: Degeneration) will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony on 9/25. Damsels in Distress also streets that day on both formats from SPHE.

Moving on, HBO will release Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/28 (SRP $79.98 and $59.99). Extras will include 6 commentaries with the cast and crew, 6 featurettes (Living in 1921, Secrets of the Past: Storytelling in Episode 11, Back to Boardwalk, The Money Decade, Updates to the Boardwalk and New Characters), as well as a Character Dossier and a Season Two promo spot.

Shout! Factory has set Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 10 - The Complete Final Season for DVD only release on 8/14 (SRP $14.98). On 8/21, look for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season One, Volume One on DVD only. Shout! has also set the Astonishing X-Men 2-Disc Blu-ray Collection for release on 11/12 (SRP $34.99), including Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous, Astonishing X-Men: Torn and Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable. And Shout! has signed a distribution deal with Hasbro Studios for the eventual home media release of the titles Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters and Transformers Rescue Bots.

And here's big Shout! Factory news that deserves to stand on its own: They're releasing All in the Family: The Complete Series on DVD only on 10/30! The 28-disc DVD set will include all 213 episodes along with 2 featurettes (Those Were the Days: The Birth of All in the Family and The Television Revolution Begins: All in the Family Is on the Air), a new interview with Norman Lear, both of the original pilot episodes (Justice for All and Those Were the Days), the pilot episodes for the spin-offs Gloria, Archie Bunker's Place and 704 Hauser, and a 40-page book with essays by TV critic Tom Shales and USC Media professor Marty Kaplan. Archie himself would be proud.

Also today, Lionsgate has announced What to Expect When You're Expecting for DVD only release on 9/11.

Time Life has announced that The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection will now include a rare 2004 interview with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway conducted at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles. The set is only available online at CarolonDVD.com.

Image Entertainment will release Gone Hollywood on DVD only on 9/18, followed by The Holy Roller on DVD only on 9/25.

CJ Entertainment America has set Sunny for release on DVD only on 8/21.

And Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Slipknot: {sic}nesses - Live at Download for release on Blu-ray on 7/31 (it's already available on DVD).

Here's a look at the cover art for Paramount's The Dictator and Criterion's Rosemary's Baby and In the Mood for Love on Blu-ray, along with Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One - Avengers Assembled Blu-ray box set (due 9/25)...

The Dictator (Blu-ray Disc)Rosemary's Baby (Blu-ray Disc)In the Mood for Love (Blu-ray Disc)

Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One - Avengers Assembled (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow with something cool for you Batman fans. Stay tuned...

7/16/12

All right, The Bits crew is back from Comic-Con 2012 and we're trying to collect ourselves, recover (etc) so that we can catch up with the release news that happened while we were away.

First thing's first: Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has sent in kind words about Barrie's death last week. Rest assured we're going to pass them all on to his wife Sue and his family, who I've been in contact during this difficult time. Our plan right now is to take a day or two sometime soon to have The Bits go dark and do some kind of tribute to Barrie. But not only do we need to gather our thoughts, we want to work with Sue to make it something special, and as you can imagine she's going through a lot right now. When she's ready, we'll make it happen, but we're going to take our cues from his family. Rest assured we will be doing something more as soon as we can. But thank you for all your e-mails and messages - it means a lot.

Now then, I suppose the best way to continue today's post is to run down some of the Blu-ray related things we learned at Comic-Con...

On our own Blu-ray Producers panel, George Feltenstein revealed that Warner Home Video has now officially green-lit the Blu-ray 3D release of House of Wax (1953). The original negative was damaged, so the "separation" film elements are being scanned at 4K for all three color strips, plus the left and right eye for each - essentially like scanning and restoring six films at once. While on the panel, George also showed off the final Blu-ray of Singin' in the Rain which streets this week, mastered from the second-generation Technicolor preservation positive which was scanned and restored in 6K (as the original negative was destroyed in the Eastman fire in 1978). Rest assured, it looked beautiful. And George revealed that lots more titles are coming to the Warner Archive, including the old 1970s Saturday morning Shazam! live-action series (though not Isis, the rights to which are owned by another company). What's more, Warner is in the initial stages of investigating the possibility of BD-R MOD releases in high-def, although many obstacles remain as the current BD-R spec isn't universally supported.

Robert Meyer Burnett showed us a clip from an interview he conducted for the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Seasons 2 & 3 Blu-rays with the show's cast. It's quite funny - one of the best interviews I think you'll see has ever been done with the cast. There is much candid humor. Burnett also talked about the HD restoration and upgrade for the series, and said that a possible special feature being discussed for a future season on BD would put top TNG writers (like Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga and others) into a new writer's room situation to have them break the story for a completely new, never seen "Episode 179" of the series, and capturing their discussion on video for fans to see. Season One streets on Blu-ray on 7/24.

Cliff Stephenson showed a clip from the production documentary on Lionsgate's The Hunger Games BD release (due 8/18) in which Gary Ross directs star Jennifer Lawrence as she runs through a forest that's exploding in flames around her. I haven't even seen the film myself yet, so I'm very much looking forward to the BD release. Cliff has also been hard at work on The Expendables 2, so there's good stuff coming from him.

Charles de Lauzirika was unable to show footage from his BD work on Prometheus or The Amazing Spider-Man, though he did promise that the Prometheus Blu-ray will be among the most comprehensive special editions he's ever created for a single film and that it will definitely "enhance your appreciation" of the story. Charlie also showed off the trailer for his very first feature film, Crave, which has its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, Canada on July 24. You can see the film's trailer for yourself here at the official site. I've had the pleasure of seeing the first rough cut of Crave, and I can't wait to see the final version. It's a complex and visually stunning work. You're in for a treat when it eventually arrives on disc - here's hoping it gets a big-time distributor soon.

All in all, this year's Digital Bits Blu-ray Producers panel was a lot of fun. You can read more about it here at Home Media.

The Digital Bits' Blu-ray Producers panel at Comic-Con 2012

Bill Hunt moderating the Blu-ray Producers panel

Bits Contributing Editors Dr. Adam Jahnke and Todd Doogan on the panel

Some other Blu-ray news we learned at Comic-Con:

MGM and 20th Century Fox's Bond 50 Blu-ray box set (due on 9/25) will include an empty slot for the eventual Blu-ray release of the new film, Skyfall, which we think is a nice touch. Sources tell us to expect the film to arrive on disc in Q1 2013 - probably March.

MGM's open Bond 50 BD packaging reveals a slot for Skyfall.

Fox has also announced the Blu-ray 3D release of iRobot on 10/23. A Comic-Con exclusive "Sonny bust packaging" version was available only at the Con for $99. Fox has also announced Terra Nova: The Complete Series for DVD-only release on 9/11. No Blu-ray version is currently planned, though we're told one could happen if DVD sales are strong enough.

Warner unveiled a whole series of new lenticular 3D posters for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, one for each major character. Warner also had the new Superman suit from Man of Steel on hand in their booth, as well as the Batcycle from The Dark Knight Rises. And out near the line for Hall H, all of the previous versions of the live-action Batmobile were on display, from the old Adam West series version to the newest feature-film Tumblers. Pretty cool.

Speaking of The Hobbit, Weta Digital had the infamous trolls from the new films on display in their booth. Lucasfilm's booth included a glass display full of sand, snakes, the Ark of the Covenant and the Blu-ray packaging for the Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures box set (due 9/18). And MGM was showing off a different Bond vehicle in their booth on the floor each day, along with a display case full of iconic props from the films.

The Ark & snakes in the Lucasfilm booth.

Complete with Indy BDs.

As you can see, we've posted a few pictures taken at the Con above. But if you visit our Digital Bits Facebook page later today, we'll post a whole LOT more there and in higher resolution too. [Editor's Note: The gallery is now live at the link provided.]

We'll return early tomorrow morning with a rundown of other big Blu-ray and DVD announcements made in the last few days. Stay tuned...

7/11/12

To all our readers,

It's with the greatest sadness that I must report the loss of a very dear member of The Digital Bits family. Our very own and beloved Barrie Maxwell has passed away. He died peacefully early yesterday morning, with his family close at hand. As some of you may know, Barrie has been bravely fighting brain cancer this past year, with the support and love of his wonderful wife Sue and their family. Barrie managed to beat one tumor, which was removed successfully last year. Unfortunately, a second appeared in an area of the brain that made surgery impossible, so Barrie underwent experimental treatment in recent weeks. Throughout it all, Sue tells me that his passion for film and his writing here at The Bits became a lifeline - a source of both comfort and satisfaction.

Barrie has been an invaluable Bits contributor since 2002. Through his many columns - including Classic Coming Attractions, High-Definition Matters, The British Beat and Classic Hollywood MOD - and many hundreds of Blu-ray and DVD reviews here at the site over the last decade, Barrie has enriched our lives immeasurably with his love and knowledge of classic cinema. He's made a lasting mark, and all of us here at The Bits will dedicate ourselves to preserving his legacy.

On a more personal note... Barrie was, is and always will be my very dear friend. I love him and will miss him terribly.



Barrie Maxwell
October 23rd, 1947 - July 10th, 2012


We'll have more to say on Monday. In the meantime, on behalf of Barrie, his family and all of us here at the site, thank you for your understanding and especially for all the kindness and support you've given to Barrie in recent weeks and months. It meant the world to him... and continues to means the world to us.

Bill Hunt, Editor
The Digital Bits.com

--

7/11/12

All right, let's get to a few Comic-Con week title announcements...

Universal has officially set Battleship for Blu-ray/Combo and DVD release on 8/28. Both versions will include 3 featurettes (Preparing for Battle, Engage in Battle: Shooting at Sea and Engage in Battle: All Aboard the Fleet). To this, the Blu-ray will add an Alternate Ending Pre-visualization (with commentary by director Peter Berg), 4 additional featurettes (The Visual Effects of Battleship, All Access with Director Peter Berg, USS Missouri VIP Tour and Commander Pete) along with interactive Second Screen viewing options (Alien Tech 3D Model Turntable Explosions, more All Access with Director Peter Berg and Flick View) and the usual BD-Live and BD-Java options.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has Lake Effects due on DVD only on 8/14, followed by producer Roger Corman's Stealing Las Vegas on DVD only on 9/11. The Bay will also release High School on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/4, and (with Dimension Films) Piranaha 3DD on Blu-ray 3D and DVD that same day. No, that's not a misprint - Piranaha 3DD.

Shout! Factory has announced The Ernie Kovacs Collection: Volume 2 for DVD release on 10/23 (SRP $29.93). The 3-disc set will include 8 more episodes from Kovacs' national morning show, 18 bonus sketches, 3 complete episodes of the gameshow Take a Good Look, A Pony for Chris (his rare TV pilot for Medicine Man co-starring Buster Keaton), The Lively Arts (featuring the only existing filmed solo interview with Kovacs), the 2011 American Cinematheque panel and a booklet filled with rare photos and informative program notes.

Shout! has also set The Super Hero Squad Show: The Infinity Gauntlet! - Season 2, Volume 4 for DVD only release on 8/21.

BBC Home Entertainment has announced Misfits: Season One for DVD release on 7/31.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/25.

Lionsgate will release Friends with Kids on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/17, featuring Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. This will be followed by Freelancers on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/21, starring Forest Whitaker and Robert De Niro.

Well Go USA Entertainment has set Dante Lam's The Viral Factor for BD and DVD release on 8/28.

Hen's Tooth Video will release the French film Shut Up! (Tais Toi) on DVD only on 9/25. It stars Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu.

And finally, our friends at Synapse Films have set The Complete Hammer House of Horror for release as a 5-disc DVD Collector's Edition on 9/11 (SRP $39.95), including all 13 episodes plus episode introductions, 2 featurettes (Grave Recollections and Hammer Housekeeping) and an animated stills gallery.

FYI, we've also just learned from our industry sources that there will be NO U.S. retail exclusive versions of Paramount and Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Blu-ray box set, due on 9/18. Target will be offering an exclusive lithograph with the purchase of the set but that's it - no special packaging, bonus discs, etc. However, we do hear that there may be limited edition "Ark of the Covenant" packaging from some international retailers. Just FYI.

Here's a look at the Blu-ray Disc cover artwork for Universal's Battleship, as well as Shout!'s The Ernie Kovacs Collection: Volume 2 and Synapse's The Complete Hammer House of Horror on DVD...

Battleship (Blu-ray Disc)The Ernie Kovacs Collection: Volume 2 (DVD)The Complete Hammer House of Horror (DVD)

And that's all for now. We'll be dark on Thursday and Friday as we're down at San Diego Comic-Con, but we'll be back on Monday with a wrap-up of any BD and DVD news we learn at the show. Don't forget, if you're going down to the Con our Digital Bits Blu-ray Producers 2012 panel is on Thursday from 5-6 PM in room 5AB. Hopefully we'll see you there!

Stay tuned...

7/10/12

All right, Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section as usual today with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. A portion of anything your order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at the site and it's greatly appreciated as always!

Now then, we're going to be back early tomorrow morning with a quick update to cover any pre-Comic-Con announcement news before we head down to San Diego for the week.

But first, we wanted to send a big Bits shout-out to our dear friends Bob and Kathy Burns. Doogan, Dr. Jahnke and I had the great fortune to visit their amazing wonderland of Hollywood history yesterday, and spend the afternoon with them as Bob regaled us with great stories of his time working in the industry. There just isn't a better way on the planet to kick off Comic-Con week than to spend a little time brushing elbows with Bob and Kathy, not to mention Tracy the Gorilla, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and of course the original King Kong. Bob is just a true gentleman of the highest order, Kathy has a heart as big as all outdoors and of course they have the best toys on the planet. It's not every day you get to hold an original flying saucer from Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, or stare into the teeth of the original xenomorph from Alien. For movie fans like us, it just doesn't get better than that!

Todd Doogan trys out for Robot Monster II.Bill Hunt tests the greenhouse effect by wearning an Alien helmet on a 90-degree day.

Dr. Jahnke meets Mr. Kong.

Bob and Kathy Burns, Bill Hunt, Todd Doogan and Dr. Adam Jahnke of The Bits

Morning, Bob! We know you're reading this, so thanks a million from your friends at The Bits!

7/9/12

All right, we've got a couple things for you today...

First up, Joe has another new Blu-ray Disc review for you this morning. This time it's a look at Warner's recent Wrath of the Titans in 2D high-def. Do check it out.

Also today, those of you who have been eagerly awaiting AnimEigo's forthcoming release of Lone Wolf and Cub: The Complete Series will be pleased to learn that it's now up for pre-order on Amazon.com. Street date for the 2-disc set is 9/25. SRP is $59.98, but Amazon has it for just $41.99. We'll post cover art as soon as it's available.

In other release news, Image Entertainment has set Mads Brügger's documentary The Ambassador for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/3 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97). They also have Home Run Showdown and Klown due on both formats on 7/27.

And CAV Distributing and One7Movies have set The Dark Side of Love for DVD only release on 9/11.

Now then... as most of you should know by now Comic-Con 2012 takes place later this week (Wed-Sun) down in San Diego. If you're headed down to the San Diego Convention Center for the event, there are a number of great Blu-ray related things to check out during the con.

First, The Digital Bits' own Blu-ray Producers 2012 panel takes place on Thursday (7/12) from 5-6PM in Room 5AB. I'll be there (Bill Hunt) along with The Bits' Todd Doogan and Dr. Adam Jahnke, and we'll be joined by BD producers Charles de Lauzirika (Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man), Cliff Stephenson (The Hunger Games, The Expendables 2) and Robert Meyer Burnett (Star Trek: The Next Generation - Seasons 1 & 2), as well as Warner Home Video's SVP of theatrical catalog marketing George Feltenstein.

Rob Burnett and other Star Trek luminaries will also be talking about the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays on a panel on Thursday at 2PM in Room 7AB.

Fox and MGM will be showing off their upcoming Bond 50 Blu-ray set in their booth on the show floor all week (#3528).

Lionsgate is going to be promoting The Hunger Games Blu-ray release in their booth as well (#4035).

In addition, Doogan, Dr. Jahnke and I will joining Mark Altman, Jeff Bond and MANY other geek luminaries on the 1982: It was 30 Years Ago Today - Greatest Geek Year Ever! panel sponsored by Geek Magazine, also on Thursday in Room 5AB from 3-4 PM. And you'll find Geek Magazine on the show floor at booth #4014.

And that's just scratching the surface. Our friend John Latchem has a nice rundown of things over at Home Media, and of course you can all check out the official Comic-Con schedule for further details. The Bits crew will be down at the Con from Wednesday night until Saturday evening, so maybe we'll see you there!

Finally today, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of legendary actor Ernest Borgnine, who died on Sunday morning at the age of 95. Borgnine won an Oscar in 1955 for his role in Marty, then went on to star or co-star in some of the greatest genre movies of the 1960s, 70s and 80s (think The Dirty Dozen, Ice Station Zebra, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Wild Bunch, The Poseidon Adventure, The Black Hole and Escape from New York). And that doesn't even include his TV work on such shows as McHale's Navy and Airwolf. Some of us here at The Bits (along with our friends over at the Home Theatre Forum) had the chance to meet Borgnine at VSDA a few years back - he was just a true gentleman and a sweet guy from top to bottom, with tons of great stories to tell us all of his time in the industry. We'll certainly miss him.

Stay tuned...

7/6/12

All right, Barrie's is still away from home today so there's no Classic Hollywood MOD for this week. However, we do have a new disc review for you. Our own Joe Marchese has taken a look at Universal's Pillow Talk, now available on Blu-ray Disc.

In news today, we've heard from our industry sources that yesterday's list of features from Fox's Prometheus Blu-ray (street date TBA) is only partially accurate. The list came from unofficial/early marketing materials seen by Amazon's French online store, and of course was loosely translated into English. So while the general parameters are probably loosely accurate, it's by no means final or official. We're still waiting to see if Fox is going to be ready to officially announce the title's features and street date for next week's Comic-Con, but in any case we would expect more official and accurate details soon. So just consider the list for what it is and salt accordingly.

Disney has announced that the iPhone/iPad The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience app for the forthcoming The Avengers Blu-ray release (due 9/25) is now available for download. In addition to the usual Second Screen synched viewing options, you'll be able to enter the S.H.I.E.L.D. Database on your Apple device to view character files, explore visual effects content, learn of the characters' original comic book origins via the Marvel Digital Reader and view a timeline of events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 1. Pretty cool. Sadly, no Android app yet.

Milestone Film & Video has just announced the Rags & Riches: Mary Pickford Collection for release as a 3-disc Blu-ray and 3-disc DVD (SRP $39.95 and $34.95). The official retail release date for these sets is 11/6, but if you subscribe to Milestone's newsletter, you can purchase them at a discount directly from Milestone now. You can sign up for the newsletter here on their official site (use the Newsletter form at the bottom of the page). The sets will include The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), The Hoodlum (1919), Ramona (1910) and Sparrows (1926), along with commentary, trailers and more. See the cover art below.

Also, Image Entertainment has set Adam Green's Holliston: The Complete First Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/10. And here's exciting news: Image has also confirmed that they're going to be upgrading The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Series to Blu-ray Disc on 10/30 (SRP $349.98). The title isn't up yet on Amazon, but it's definitely in their release database - good news indeed!

Anchor Bay has Black Limousine set for DVD only release on 7/10.

Finally today, we have a couple "best information" updates from our industry contacts on a couple rumored upcoming BD releases...

First, a number of readers have been asking about Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List in recent days, because there's a Universal 100th anniversary promotional piece that mentions the film on the new Born on the Fourth july Blu-ray. So is the film coming in 2012 for the studio's anniversary? The short answer (confirmed with the studio today) is no. However, the long (and better) answer is that next year is the film's 20th anniversary. So you can expect to see it on Blu-ray sometime probably later in 2013, as a major catalog release.

Also, a couple of you have asked for an update on the possible BD release of James Cameron's True Lies and The Abyss. So we've confirmed with the studio that they are working on the films and that there are plans in place to release them on Blu-ray... eventually. But our best guess is that you'll see them both on Blu in 2014, possibly as part of the build-up to the eventual theatrical release of Cameron's planned Avatar 2. Why 2014? Well... as it turns out, both films celebrate major anniversaries that year (True Lies = 20th and Abyss = 25th). We'd love to see them in 2013 of course, but given how long fans have already waited (and how long Cameron takes to sign off on these things) we'd be surprised to see them sooner. Just calling it like we see it.

We'll leave you with a look at the BD cover artwork for Milestone's Rags & Riches: Mary Pickford Collection, as well as Shout! Factory's The Funhouse BD (due 10/16) and Steve Martin: The Television Stuff DVD (due 9/18)...

Rags & Riches: Mary Pickford Collection (Blu-ray Disc)The Funhouse (Blu-ray Combo)Steve Martin: The Television Stuff (DVD)

Back on Monday with a rundown of pre-Comic-Con release news. Have a great weekend!

7/5/12

Afternoon, folks! Okay, we're starting to get some great "unofficial" release information leading up to next week's San Diego Comic-Con.

The first big piece of news we have today is more Rumor Mill-worthy, except that it comes directly from Sony. The studio is holding a special screening of the new 4K digital restoration of Lawrence of Arabia at the Academy on July 19th (tickets are available at the linked site). This means that sometime between now and the 19th, you can expect Sony's official Blu-ray release announcement as well. And in fact, today we have a few details on what you'll find on the new Blu-ray. Planned as either a 2-disc or 3-disc BD set (we're working to confirm which it is), the disc will include a pair of new Blu-ray exclusive options including the Peter O'Toole Revisits Lawrence of Arabia featurette and an interactive Secrets of Arabia: Picture-in-Graphics Track. It appears that the set will also include most (if not all) of the previous DVD special features, including at least 5 legacy and vintage featurettes (Making of Lawrence of Arabia, A Conversation with Steven Speilberg, Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast, In Search of Lawrence and Romance of Arabia - the latter newly restored for BD), original Newsreel Footage of the New York Premiere and a gallery of advertising campaign material. Note that this is a tentative list - we expect full official details soon. But it does appear that Sony is prepping an awfully nice release for high-definition. No street date or SRP yet (this should certainly be a major 3rd or 4th quarter release), but we'll bring them to you as soon as Sony makes the official announcement.

Also today, our friends over at Prometheus Forum (via Amazon.fr) have posted details on what to expect on the 3-disc Blu-ray version of Prometheus. According to the French Amazon listing (and do consider it VERY tentative - not official by any means), Disc One will include the film in 2D along with 150 minutes worth of extras, including 15-minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, audio commentary by director Ridley Scott, 4 Private Records of Peter Weyland viral videos (The Offer of Elizabeth Shaw, Happy Birthday, David, Prometheus Transmission: Extended Version and The TED Conference: Weyland in 2023 - Long Version), Pre-Production material (including text of the first and final drafts of the script, a gallery of Ridleygrams, The Art of Prometheus photo gallery, a 30-minute Pre-visualization featurette, 15 minutes of Noomi Rapace screen tests, a Costume Design gallery and what appears to be a featurette called Look of the Cast), Production material (a Graphic Video Dashboard, a Production Team photo gallery and video taken by the private pilot) and Post-Release material (including a Marketing Gallery). There's also 60 minutes of Second Screen App content featuring the archives of Peter Weyland. Disc Two is the Blu-ray 3D version of the film. And Disc Three is a Bonus Disc containing additional extras, including the 9-part, feature-length The Angry Gods "making of" documentary [includes At the Conquest of Paradise (scenario), The Engineering Upside Down (direction & design), The Manifest Human (characters & costumes), A Nest of Demons (creature design), A World Without Green Spaces (Pinewood), Gains of Chance (stunts & action), The Beginning and End (Iceland), The Sky on Fire (visual effects) and Prometheus Without Limits (post-production and theatrical release)], as well as 30 minutes of Units of Improvement mini-featurettes and the aforementioned Archives of Peter Weyland. In addition to Prometheus, there's also apparently going to be a 9-disc Evolution: From Alien to Prometheus BD box set (at least in France), which basically just combines Prometheus with the previous Alien Anthology BD set. Keep in mind that until Fox make the official announcements this list should be considered tentative and subject to change. However, you can bet we'll get more details next week at Comic-Con.

Also today, Shout! Factory has announced new Blu-ray and DVD Collector's Editions of Roger Spottiswoode's Terror Train and Tobe Hooper's The Fun House for release on 10/16. SRP for the Blu-ray editions of each is $29.93. Extras will include director's audio commentaries, trailers, TV and radio spots and more TBA.

And here's a bit of cheesy-good news: The Digital Bits has learned that Hen's Tooth Video is planning to release the 1982 Hal Needham classic Megaforce on DVD on 9/4 (SRP $19.95). As it happens, The Bits crew will be talking Megaforce and more at the Geek Magazine's 1982: It was 30 Years Ago Today-Greatest Geek Year Ever! panel down at Comic-Con - more on that on Monday! [Editor's Note: You will be glad to hear that we've confirmed the title is anamorphic widescreen.]

We'll leave you with a look at the BD cover art for Fox's Prometheus (TBA) and Shout!'s Terror Train, as well as Henstooth's Megaforce DVD...

Prometheus (Blu-ray 3D Combo)Terror Train (Blu-ray Combo)Megaforce (DVD)

Stay tuned...

7/3/12

Okay... bit of a light release news day today. However we do have a couple items for you...

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. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.

Now then... Paramount has released the FINAL revised cover art for the 4-disc Blu-ray 3D Combo, 3-disc Blu-ray Combo and DVD editions of James Cameron's Titanic, due in stores on 9/10 (yes, that's a Monday). Here's what they'll look like. Pre-orders are open now at Amazon...

Titanic (Blu-ray 3D Combo)Titanic (Blu-ray Combo)Titanic (DVD)

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray Disc)Hatfields & McCoys (Blu-ray Disc)Gerhard Richter Painting (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see we've also included art for Lionsgate's The Cabin in the Woods (due 9/18 - see details below), Sony's Hatfields & McCoys (7/31) and Kino Lorber's Gerhard Richter Painting (9/25).

Also today, Sony has set Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season for DVD only release on 10/2 (SRP $45.99). Extras will include a featurette and outtakes.

Echo Bridge has set The Crow 2: City of Angels/The Crow: Wicked Prayer for BD release on 9/11.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the documentary Produced by George Martin on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/11. Martin, as some of you may already know, started out by producing comedy records with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Peter Ustinov, then in 1962 hooked up with a little band called The Beatles to change the face of music history. SRP will be $19.98 and $14.98.

Well Go USA has set Neil Mackay's Battleground for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/28 (SLP $24.98 and $19.98). They also have Daniel Lee's White Vengeance due on both formats on 9/4 (SLP $29.98 and $24.98).

Lionsgate will release The Cabin in the Woods on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/18, followed by Any Last Words? on DVD on 9/25. The Cabin in the Woods will include commentary (with writer/director Drew Goddard and writer/producer Joss Whedon), the We Are Not Who We Are: Making The Cabin in the Woods documentary, 4 featurettes (The Secret Secret Stash: Marty's Stash, The Secret Secret Stash: Hi, My Mame Is Joss and I'll Be Your Guide, An Army of Nightmares: Make-Up & Animatronic Effects and Primal Terror: Visual Effects), video of the Wonder-Con Q&A with Joss and Drew and the BD-exclusive It's Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods Bonus View Mode.

Meanwhile, A&E and MLB Productions have set Baseball's Greatest Games: New York Met's First No-Hitter for DVD release on 7/10.

Shout! Factory has set Kojak: The Complete Fifth and Final Season for DVD only release on 9/11.

And Image Entertainment will release Paul Rodriguez: Just for the Record on DVD only on 9/25.

In other news today, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor Andy Griffith, obviously best known to audiences around the world for his roles on TV's The Andy Griffith Show, Matlock and the Centennial mini-series, as well as the Elia Kazan film A Face in the Crowd and scores of Ritz Cracker commercials. I'll always recall him fondly for the short-lived 1979 TV series Salvage 1, back when I was a young kid rabidly consuming anything space-related. Griffith was 86 and will be missed.

Finally today, on a completely unrelated (yet awfully cool) science note, the folks at CERN's Large Hadron Collider are gathering to hold a big press conference tomorrow morning (in the wee early hours for U.S. readers) to announce that they've finally found a new subatomic particle that is probably the long-sought Higgs boson. So why is this a big deal? It's essentially the cornerstone of the Standard Model of physics that scientists have been building since Albert Einstein's day. In fact, many in the science community are saying that this discovery is the biggest thing in physics since Einstein first published his theory of general relativity a century ago. As predicted by the Standard Model, the Higgs is the particle responsible for giving all the other subatomic particles mass, thus allowing them to clump together into stuff like iPads, good beer and people like you and me. Interestingly though, scientists know that the Standard Model is not the final "theory of everything" yet because it describes all the known forces of Nature except gravity. But by studying the Higgs, it's very possible that physicists will find clues to that deeper theory. Is there a practical application of all this? Who knows? Certainly understanding the Standard Model has made possible all kinds of devices and technologies we all use in daily life. On a more classically romantic note, it's another clue to understanding the possible answers to big questions like "Why are we here?" What scientists seem to be discovering is that the laws of physics are such that the development of life - including intelligent life - might be the inevitable outcome. M.I.T. physicist James Gates puts it like this: "So ultimately, perhaps we [people - human beings] exist because the Universe had no other choice." Now, whether you're a religious-minded person or more science-minded or (like most people) a combination of both, that's pretty cool. Anyway, for a really good primer of what the discovery of the Higgs means, check out this recent BBC Horizon special The Hunt for the Higgs on YouTube. FYI, lots of good physics blogs are going to be covering the announcement tomorrow including those listed here.

One last quick note: Given that tomorrow is the 4th of July holiday here in the States, there will be no regular update. But we'll be back on Thursday with all the usual. For all you American readers, have a great and safe holiday with your family and friends. Enjoy some great food and fireworks. Maybe go check out The Amazing Spider-Man which hits theatres today - we hear it's pretty darned good.

See you Thursday!

7/2/12

Afternoon, folks! This is obviously a short week here in the States due to the 4th of July holiday, but we do have some interesting news items for you...

First though, our own Barrie Maxwell actually managed to turn in a Classic Hollywood MOD column for last week. Timing didn't work out for posting on Friday, so we've got it for you today instead. Note that Barrie will probably have this week's column as usual on Friday, so be sure to watch for it.

Now then...

Sony has announced Bel Ami (2012) for DVD only release on 8/7. Following on 8/14 is The Raid: Redemption on Blu-ray and DVD. Tonight You're Mine, Marvel Iron Man: Animated Series - Volumes 1 and 2 and Marvel X-Men: Animated Series - Volumes 1 and 2 are also coming to DVD only on 8/14. Finally, Starship Troopers: Invasion will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/28.

Universal has set Rosewood Lane for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/11. Up All Night: Season One is also coming on DVD only that same day.

Warner Home Video has announced the Dr. Seuss's Deluxe Holiday Collection for DVD only release on 10/2, set to include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax. Also coming that day is the Rankin/Bass title The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow - Deluxe Edition also on DVD only on 10/2. Warner has also set Hart of Dixie: The Complete First Season for DVD only release on 10/2.

FilmWorks Entertainment has set Breathe: A Freediving Film for DVD only release on 9/18.

And don't forget that Shout! Factory's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero - Series 2, Season 2 arrives on DVD on 7/10.

Finally, here's an interesting thing: Troma has just shared 96 full movies from its catalog for free via YouTube. More are added daily. Check them out here. Seriously, how can you resist giving the likes of Meat Weed Madness and Bacon Head a free viewing?

Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Sony's Starship Troopers: Invasion and The Raid: Redemption, along with Disney's The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition (due on 9/18)...

Starship Troopers: Invasion (Blu-ray Disc)The Raid: Redemption (Blu-ray Disc)The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

6/29/12

All right, it's been a really nutty day here at The Bits. One of those where the phone rings all day long and getting anything done is a challenge. What are you gonna do?

Anyway, let's run down the news on this the last day before the early pre-4th of July weekend celebrations.

First up... Disney's trailer for The Avengers Blu-ray release is now available on Yahoo Movies. The 4-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $49.99), 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo and 1-disc DVD are officially due in stores on 9/25. Extras on the 4-Disc Combo will include Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy versions, a Digital Download of the Inspired By album, The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen App viewing option, audio commentary with director Joss Whedon, 2 featurettes (Assembling the Ultimate Team and A Visual Journey), a gag reel, deleted scenes, Soundgarden's Live to Rise music video and more. We've posted the cover art previously. Click on the link for more and to see the trailer.

Also today, Fox and MGM have officially unveiled the The Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray on 10/2. All the original Blu-ray and DVD special features will carry over (including audio commentary by Rob Reiner, audio commentary by William Goldman, Cary Elwes' Video Diary, 7 documentaries and featurettes [As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride, Miraculous Makeup, The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas, Love is Like a Storybook, The Princess Bride: The Untold Tales, The Art of Fencing and Fairytales and Folklore], the original theatrical trailer and Easter eggs) PLUS you'll also get the all-new 2-part True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon featurette featuring new interviews with Reiner, stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest and Chris Sarandon, writer William Goldman, producer Normal Lear, Carl Reiner and more. Fans also have the ability to vote on which of the following two pieces of cover art will be used for the release. Just go to The Princess Bride Facebook page and make your opinion known - voting is open now and will continue until 7/11. The two choices are as follows (I kind of like them both - maybe one could be on the sleeve and one on the cardboard slipcover?)

The Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)The Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Four (Blu-ray Disc)

Back to that other piece of cover art in a minute.

In other news today, Shout! Factory and SOFA Entertainment have just announced the DVD release of the Steve Martin: The Television Stuff box set on 9/18 (SRP $34.93). The 3-disc set will include HBO's On Location With Steve Martin (1976), NBC's Steve Martin: A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978), Steve Martin: Comedy Is Not Pretty (1980), All Commercials... A Steve Martin Special (1980) and Steve Martin's Best Show Ever (1981), the Homage to Steve (1984 - a 1979 live performance at the Universal Amphitheatre) and a 72-minute collection of Steve's best TV guest appearances, music videos and comic speeches (including classic SNL, Tonight Show and Late Night bits). All three discs will include special commentary from Steve himself. And here's something extra cool: The first 100 people to pre-order the set from the Shout! Factory store will get a copy signed by Martin! Act fast though - they'll go quick.

Shout! has also announced the 2-disc DVD/CD Combo release of The English Beat: Live at the US Festival 1982 & 1983 on 9/18. You can also purchase signed copies of The English Beat: The Complete Beat DVD/CD box set (which includes the Live at US Festival) on the Shout! Factory store.

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set Fringe: The Complete Fourth Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/4 (SRP $69.97 and $59.98). Extras on the Blu-ray will include deleted scenes, a gag reel, the Beyond the Fringe comic book, Peter Bishop Audition Tapes, 2 featurettes (A World Without Peter and The Observers) and 2 BD-exclusive featurettes (The Scientist Roundtable and Fringe Decoded). You'll also get one last BD-exclusive - access to UltraViolet digital downloads of all 22 episodes.

Back to that other bit of BD cover art (above): Warner and Lucasfilm have also set Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Four for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/23 (SRP $59.99 and $44.98). Extras on the BD will include 5 video commentaries, the Jedi Temple Archives (extensive database of early test animations, concept art and 3D turnarounds) and more.

Also today, we've learned that Lionsgate's new Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition due on Blu-ray on 7/31 will include an all-new director-approved high-definition transfer from the original film negative, along with a never-before-seen interview with Paul Verhoeven and restoration comparisons. This is in addition to much previously released content that will carry over to the new Blu-ray.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Darling Companion for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/28.

And Pasidg Productions is releasing Sedona: The Movie on BD and DVD on 8/22.

Around the Net today, there are new trailers on YouTube for the Universal Classic Monsters Blu-ray set (a restoration piece) and CBS's Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One Blu-ray release. Speaking of the Universal Classic Monsters set, it's now available for pre-order on Amazon.com for $111.99 - just $14 per movie!

Finally, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor Don Grady - better known as Robbie Douglas from TV's My Three Sons.

One last bit of Bits business today: Barrie is visiting family this week, so his regular Classic Hollywood MOD column will return as usual next Friday.

And that's all for now. Have a great weekend, everyone!

6/28/12

All right, here's some very exciting news - news that all of us at The Bits have been eagerly waiting for, as it happens...

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just announced the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-ray set for release on 10/2. Included in the set will be Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. All films will be "digitally restored from high resolution film elements in perfect high-definition picture and perfect high-definition sound for the first time ever." The set will also include a 48-page book "featuring behind-the-scenes photographs, original posters, correspondence and much more." It appears from the press release that all of the extras these films included on DVD will be carried over, and you'll also get a never-before-seen featurette about the restoration of Dracula. On top of that, Creature from the Black Lagoon will be included in both 2D and Blu-ray 3D, recreating the film's original 3D theatrical release! Here's a disc by disc breakdown:

Dracula (1931) - both the American and Spanish versions of the film, 3 featurettes (Dracula: The Restoration (NEW), The Road to Dracula and Lugosi: The Dark Prince), Monster Tracks (interactive Pop-Up Facts), the Dracula Archives, the optional score by Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet, audio commentary (by film historian David J. Skal), audio commentary (by Steve Haberman, screenwriter of Dracula: Dead and Loving It) and a trailer gallery.

Frankenstein (1931) - 4 featurettes (The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster, Karloff: The Gentle Monster, Universal Horror and 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics), Monster Tracks (interactive Pop-Up Facts), the Frankenstein Archives, Boo!: A Short Film, audio commentary (by film historian Rudy Behlmer), audio commentary (by historian Sir Christopher Frayling) and a trailer gallery.

The Mummy (1932) - 4 featurettes (Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed, He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce, Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy and 100 Years Of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era), the Mummy Archives, audio commentary (by Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns and Brent Armstrong), audio commentary (by film historian Paul M. Jensen) and a trailer gallery.

The Invisible Man (1933) - 2 featurettes (Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed and 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters), a Production Photographs gallery and audio commentary (by film historian Rudy Behlmer).

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - 2 featurettes (She's Alive! Creating The Bride of Frankenstein and 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics), the Bride of Frankenstein Archive, audio commentary (by film historian Scott MacQueen) and a trailer gallery.

The Wolf Man (1941) - 5 featurettes (Monster by Moonlight, The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth, Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney, Jr., He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce and 100 Years of Universal: The Lot), the Wolf Man Archives, audio commentary (by film historian Tom Weaver) and a trailer gallery.

Phantom of the Opera (1943) - 2 featurettes (The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked and 100 Years of Universal: The Lot), a Production Photographs gallery, audio commentary (by film historian Scott MacQueen) and the theatrical trailer.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) - both the 2D and 3D versions of the film, 2 featurettes (Back to The Black Lagoon and 100 Years of Universal: The Lot), a Production Photographs gallery, audio commentary (by film historian Tom Weaver) and a trailer gallery.

One thing that makes this especially pleasing for me personally is that a couple years ago at a Blu-Con conference up in Hollywood, I was having a nice conversation about the BD format with USHE president Craig Kornblau and I mentioned specifically that one thing fans were really waiting for on Blu-ray from Universal was the Uni Classic Monsters titles. He was a little on the fence about the idea of releasing them on Blu-ray though because (historically) they've never sold well on disc - even on DVD. Fans always SAY that want them, but then don't actually buy them. So I suggested that the studio should consider putting all the big titles together in one Blu-ray box set and make it a special Halloween-timed release. That way fans who really are serious about wanting them in HD can get them all in one shot for one price, rather than trickling them out a few each year over a longer period (with the risk that the studio might stop before releasing them all). Then the studio can always release the films as singles later. Craig really seemed to warn to the suggestion. And indeed, that appears to be exactly what they've now done - all the big titles will finally appear in one box (and I'd bet that by Halloween next year you'll be able to get them as BD singles too). I'm not sure if our conversation planted the initial bug in his mind or not, but I'm certainly pleased at the news today. In any case, if you guys have been talking about buying these films on disc, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. That probably goes for all these deeper catalog classic films on Blu-ray from all of the studio - if you want more of them, you need to show the studios that there's a real demand for them.

Anyway, here's a look at the packaging and a "beauty shot" of the whole set. Rest assured, we'll add the Amazon.com pre-order links as soon as they're available [Editors Note: It's now available for pre-order on Amazon for $111.99 (SRP is $159.98). Not bad for 8 films - that's just $14 each for HD!]...

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Universal has also set The Five Year Engagement for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 8/28. Extras will include audio commentary (with director/writer/producer Nicholas Stoller, producer Rodney Rothman, writer/star Jason Segel, and stars Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, and Alison Brie), deleted, extended and alternate scenes, a gag reel, 6 documentaries (Weird Winton, Gonorrhea Trouble, Top Chef: Alex Eilhauer, The Making of: The Five Year Engagement, Gastrocule: The Making of and Turkey: The Making of), Line-o-Rama, Experiment-o-Rama and all the usual interactive BD-Java and BD-Live bells and whistles.

Okay... that's the big news for today. Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned!

6/27/12

Afternoon, folks. We've got a few more pieces of release news to report today...

First up, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Glee: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/14 (SRP $69.99 and $59.98). Extras on the Blu-ray will include the Glee Music Jukebox, 6 featurettes or interactive options (Glee Under the Stars, Glee Give a Note, Welcome to the Class, Making the Finale, Sue Addresses Her Fans and More Sue's Quips) and Santana's Santa Baby music video.

Fox has also set Homeland: The Complete First Season and Sons of Anarchy: Season Four for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/28 (SRP $69.99 and $59.98 each).

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set Cartoon Network's Check it Out: Season 1 & 2 for DVD release on 10/16 (SRP $14.98). Warner and the BBC have also set Going for Gold: The 1948 Games for DVD only release on 7/31 (SRP $19.97).

And Universal will release Up All Night: Season One on DVD on 9/11. They also have Life Happens coming to DVD and Blu-ray on 8/28.

And in other news today, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of veteran Hollywood screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, who died this morning of leukemia. Among the many projects she either wrote and/or directed over the years are gems as Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia. She was 71.

We'll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Fox's Glee: The Complete Third Season and Homeland: The Complete First Season, Lionsgate's Mad Monster Party (due 9/4), Disney's Adventures in Babysitting (8/7) and Kino Lorber's Les Vampires (8/14), as well as Neptune Media's The Last Samurai on DVD (now available)...

Glee: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Disc)Homeland: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)Mad Monster Party (Blu-ray Disc)

Adventures in Babysitting (Blu-ray Disc)Les Vampires (Blu-ray Disc)The Last Samurai (DVD)

Stay tuned...

6/26/12

All right, the big news today is that Paramount and Lucasfilm have finally revealed the street date and cover art for the Indy BD box set. Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures officially streets on Blu-ray on 9/18 (SRP $99.98 but Amazon has it for pre-order right now for just $89.99). The complete list of features is still TBA, but will include "English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio accompanied by a collection of documentaries, interviews, featurettes and new bonus features." Here's some additional new detail from the studio's press release:

"Supervised by director Steven Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt, Raiders of the Lost Ark has been meticulously restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film. The original negative was first scanned at 4K and then examined frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired. The sound design was similarly preserved using Burtt's original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981. New stereo surrounds were created using the original music tracks and original effects recorded in stereo but used previously only in mono. In addition, the sub bass was redone entirely up to modern specifications and care was taken to improve dialogue and correct small technical flaws to create the most complete and highest quality version of the sound possible while retaining the director's vision. The result is an impeccable digital restoration that celebrates the film and its place in cinematic history."

Sounds pretty cool. Here's a look at the official cover art...

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (Blu-ray Disc)

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (Blu-ray Disc)Safe (Blu-ray Disc)Ed Wood (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included the cover artwork for Lionsgate's Safe (due 9/4) and Disney's Ed Wood (9/4).

In other release news today, Warner Home Video has set Happiness is... Peanuts: Go, Snoopy, Go! for DVD only release on 10/9 (SRP $14.97). The disc will include the TV special It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown along with an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.

Disney has set more catalog Blu-rays for release in September, including Arachnophobia, Hocus Pocus, Cold Creek Manor and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on 9/4, a Ghosts of the Abyss Blu-ray 3D Combo on 9/11, and Ed Wood (see art above), Judge Dread and The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition on 9/18. They also have the Adventures in Babysitting: 25th Anniversary Edition, the Grosse Pointe Blank: 15th Anniversary Edition, High Fidelity, The Preacher's Wife and the Romy and Michele's High School Reunion: 15th Anniversary Edition all due on 8/7.

Sony has set moved the street date for their 6 Bullets DVD only release release to 9/11 from the originally announced 8/21. Adjust your plans accordingly.

Millennium Entertainment has set The Liquidator for DVD only release on 8/7.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment will release LOL on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/31. The film stars Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore.

And finally today, it appears that CBS's yet-to-be-announced Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 Blu-ray release will include an extended version of the episode Measure of a Man, longer by some 20 minutes according to this report at Trek Movie. Pretty cool - that's actually one of the best episodes of the series.

Before we go, don't forget that our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section here at The Bits 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 Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we really do appreciate it.

And don't forget to get your Digital Bits Comic-Con 2012 T-Shirt orders in by our midnight deadline, so we can get them printed in time for the convention!

Stay tuned!


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