UPDATE - 12/1/00 - 5:30 PM PST)
This is just a quick late update to let you know that we've picked the
winners for our Turkey
Day Trivia Contest. Thanks to everyone who entered and be sure
to click here
to see the list of winners (and the answers). The December contest will
start soon, so keep your eyes peeled...
Also, we've just learned that Warner Bros. has officially set January
16th as the street date for Battlefield:
Earth (no word on whether it will include John Travolta's
desired edits). Even better (actually, a LOT better) the studio will
release Ben Hur and The
Old Man and the Sea on March 13th. Ben
Hur will be a special edition, with a new anamorphic
transfer, audio commentary by Charlton Heston, the documentary Ben-Hur:
The Making of an Epic, newly-discovered screen tests, the
film's theatrical trailer and more. How awesome is that? And, while
we're at it, how about a look at the artwork for those titles, along
with Oliver Stone's America (which
will be available in the Oliver Stone
Collection in January)? Enjoy...
20th Century Fox has also announced that February 13th will see the
release of Michael Jordan to the Max
and two "double feature" DVDs. The first will feature Revenge
of the Nerds and Revenge of the
Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, while the second will include
Porky's and Porky's
II: The Next Day. And on March 13th, you'll get Grand
Canyon, The Ice Storm,
Inventing the Abbots, Paradise
Road and Smilla's Sense of Snow.
Artisan Entertainment is also set to release Cecil
B. Demented on 1/23. Sweeeet...
Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE -
12/1/00 - 2 PM PST)
Wow... is it December already? Has this year just flown by or what? And
what a good year it's been for DVD.
Let's get the business out of the way first - we've just updated the
Mill with more word on Artisan's upcoming Dune
DVD, as well as a bit or two on Paramount's The
Untouchables disc. And could David Fincher's The Game
be coming to DVD as a deluxe special edition? Read the
Mill and find out...
Don't forget that Universal's Jurassic Park
III live event will be held on December 4th (Monday) at 5 PM
PST. Stan Winston will give a sneak-peek at some of the dinosaurs
appearing in the new movie, live from the film's set. Then at 5:30,
there will be an exclusive live chat with Winston, accessible only via
the DVD-ROM link on the Jurassic Park
and The Lost World: Jurassic Park
DVDs. It should be a lot of fun, so don't miss it.
here for more details.
Some upcoming title news today - Fantoma Films will be releasing a cool
trio of horror discs on April 3rd, 2001. The three are Coffin
Joe: At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, Coffin
Joe: This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse and Coffin
Joe: Awakening of the Beast. They'll all feature new
transfers, interviews with the cast & crew, trailers and
reproductions of the original Coffin Joe
comic books (a different one with each disc). Todd is psyched about
these DVDs. The lead character is apparently a nasty who dresses all in
black with a top hat, a bushy beard and long creepy fingernails. Says
Todd, "Most of these films were banned by the Brazilian government,
forcing director/star Jose Mojica Marins to travel the countryside in a
makeshift theater caravan, showing his films to whomever was willing to
pay." Okay... I'm intrigued. The DVDs should definitely be worth
looking forward to if you like horror.
Bay is also working on a bunch of cool titles. On December 12th,
they're releasing Mr. Bill's Classics!
- the complete collection of Mr. Bill shorts from Saturday
Night Live... along with audio commentary by Mr. Bill
(moderated by Mr. Hands, of course). How do you not like that? Also
coming from them on January 16th is John Woo's A
Better Tomorrow and A Better
Tomorrow II, starring Chow Yun Fat (both with new anamorphic
widescreen transfers). And on February 13th (just in time for
Valentine's Day and the release of Ridley Scott's Silence
of the Lambs sequel, Hannibal),
Anchor Bay will debut director Michael Mann's film version of the Thomas
Harris "prequel" novel Red Dragon.
Manhunter will be released in both
regular and limited DVD editions. And while we're taking about these
discs, how about a look at them?
Now then, speaking of Ridley Scott... last night, I attended a special
Gladiator celebration that
DreamWorks held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The
event was huge, and was officially planned to celebrate the release of
the DVD, which (as many of you know) has become the single biggest title
in the history of the format to date (3.6 million initially shipped
discs, with more being pressed even as you read this). Unofficially,
however, the event was also designed to kick off the studio's Oscar push
for the film, which is considered by many to be a favorite for Best
Picture. The studio rolled out the red carpet for director Ridley Scott
and star Russell Crowe, who were on hand as special guests. Also in
attendance were numerous other cast & crew members from the film,
studio representatives, members of the press and tons of Academy members
- I'd say there were some 1,500 people in all.
The evening started out with a private reception with the cast &
crew, with plenty food and drink. Then, at 7PM, we filed downstairs into
the main Academy theater (where the stage is flanked by giant Oscar
statuettes), to join the rest of the attendees for a special screening
of the film. I can't express how much fun it was to Gladiator
on the big screen, in fantastic surround sound. As great as the DVD is,
there's just something about that larger canvas that adds a more
visceral quality to the experience. The theater is naturally
state-of-the-art, and the crowd was very enthusiastic, even to the point
of cheering during the film. Adding to the atmosphere, was the fact that
cast & crew were all around (including editor Pietro Scalia, writer
David Franzoni, director of photography John Mathieson and actors Tomas
Arana (Quintus) and Ralph Moeller (Hagen) - the film's composer, Hans
Zimmer, was sitting right in front of us). Then, after the film played
out, director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe were introduced to a
standing ovation, and took the stage for a Q&A/discussion moderated
by a representative from Variety
magazine. Ridley and Russell told some interesting and funny
behind-the-scenes stories about the production, and Ridley provided "live"
commentary to three or four clips of the film that were shown. The
clips, which included the Germania battle, Commodus' arrival in Rome,
Maximus' entrance into the Coliseum and the digitally constructed scene
with Proximo, illustrated the amazing special effects wizardry involved
in the film. Russell's stories, in particular, we're especially amusing
(and off-color) and included one in which he and Richard Harris
apparently got Joaquin Phoenix drunk one night to help him loosen up and
relax on the set (he was nervous about playing Commodus). Russell's a
good bloke - very funny. And at the end of the Q&A, the audience
sang Happy Birthday to Ridley, who
turned 63 yesterday.
Then, everyone filed down to a large reception area on the building's
main floor, where tons of props and artwork from the film were on
display, and there was more food and drink to be had. Along with some of
those who worked on the DVD, I watched as the film's storyboard artist
cranked out a sketch of a gladiator in his helmet. And we had a great
discussion with the film's special effects supervisor, who talked about
the panic caused when actor Oliver Reed (Proximo) died, and how they
were able to digitally build the scene where he releases Maximus (and
sacrifices himself) from alternate takes and unused footage of other
scenes - amazing. All in all, it was a fantastic evening. Don't be
surprised if you see clips from the event on Entertainment
Tonight... well, tonight.
So will Gladiator win Best
Picture? We'll have to wait and see. But I'll tell you this... I
certainly wouldn't bet against it.
Don't forget - there's just a few more hours to get your
entries in! We'll announce the winners this evening, and you've got
until 5 PM PST to enter.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned...
We've got another DVD review for you today... MGM's long-awaited
from New York. I know MGM is trying hard to do a Fox-like turn
around with their DVD product, and they're really ramping up the number
of titles they release. But they really need to focus a LOT harder on
the quality of those titles, because Escape
is probably going to disappoint a lot of fans. Let's hope future titles
from the studio fare better.
Speaking of MGM, we've got some more upcoming DVD artwork for you
today, including a look at MGM's River's Edge
(1/23) and The Abdominable Dr. Phibes
(2/20), along with Paramount's Death Wish
(1/16), Warner's Heaven and Earth
(1/16), ADV's Farscape, Volume 1
(2/6) and one to make the wives and daughters happy... BMG's N'Sync:
Making the Tour (12/12).
Great Scott!! It's
Blob!! No... not the toy stuff that comes in a plastic
container with little plastic eyes and other creepy stuff in it. We're
talking about the new special edition DVD from our friends at The
Criterion Collection. Don't miss Dan Kelly's review, 'cause this disc is
sure to please fans of B-movies on DVD.
We're continuing to work on site maintenance today, but we've also got
the latest update of
Official DVD FAQ for you. The guy definitely knows his
DVD. This latest update is dated 11/27, so be sure to check it out if
you've got a baffling technical question about your favorite format.
Looks like DreamWorks' Gladiator
DVD has done even better than expected. The title shipped a whopping 3.6
million units, with 2 million of those already sold to consumers over
the Thanksgiving holiday week. That is nothing short of amazing. Anyone
still doubt that DVD's gone mainstream? You can read more
There also a new update of
News page, with the details on lots of upcoming titles. Among them
are A&E's The Great Gatsby,
Artisan's Cecil B. Demented,
Columbia TriStar's Get on the Bus,
Glory: Special Edition and School
Daze, Double Suicide
from Criterion, DreamWorks' What Lies Beneath,
New Concorde's Battle Beyond the Stars:
Special Edition (gasp!), Affair of
Love and Five Senses
from New Line, Red Letters from
Paramount, Trimark's Steal This Movie,
Universal's Harvey and The
Lost Weekend and the whole Oliver
Stone Collection from Warner. And those are just the
Finally this morning, don't forget that our
Trivia Contest comes to a close on Friday. It's a pretty easy
one, so there's no excuse for not entering, especially when you consider
the cool prizes we're giving away. Get your entries in fast!
We've got a little more upcoming DVD news for you today. But first,
we've just updated the
DVD Player Sales statistics for the first half of November, and
darned if the DVD format didn't pass 12 million players shipped here in
the States. Looks like we might even it 13 million before Y2K is
history. All our stats above have all been updated
Now then... ADV is releasing their first disc of Farscape
TV episodes on 2/6. The first disc will include the episodes Premiere
and I, ET, along with commentary
and other behind-the-scenes material. SRP is $24.98. Look for additional
discs to follow. Buena Vista is prepping Clerks:
Animated Series Uncensored for release on 2/20. The disc will
include all 6 episodes of the series for an SRP of $29.99. Disney has
more classic/animated titles coming to DVD in early 2001. Look for Lady
and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure on 2/17. Bedknobs
and Broomsticks and The Sword in
the Stone follow on 3/20 (those are in addition to Pete's
Dragon, which we mentioned yesterday). A&E will release
The Best of the Original Avengers
on 1/2, featuring 6 classic episodes on 2 DVDs, hand-picked by Patrick
Macnee himself (aka John Steed). And Columbia TriStar has announced the
DVD release of Cirque du Soleil's Dralion
on 1/23. The DVD will feature anamorphic widescreen video and a
behind-the-scenes featurette (all for $24.95).
Now then... I think you need more upcoming DVD cover artwork. So here
are Paramount's The Untouchables
(street date 1/16), Warner's The Oliver Stone
Collection (1/16), MGM's Untamed
Heart, Mystic Pizza and
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (all 1/9)
and DreamWorks' Small Time Crooks
FYI - if you're looking forward to the Sci-Fi Channel's upcoming Dune
miniseries (which we mentioned yesterday in the
you might be surprised to know that there's a book currently available,
called The Secrets Behind Frank Herbert's
image here), which includes a bonus DVD disc featuring
behind-the-scenes video and "special edition" material from
the production (my copy is on order now). The disc is available on
elsewhere, and retails for $18.95. Thanks to Mark for the heads-up!
One last note - our friends at the
Theater Forum have just published
full report and
album of their recent California trip, which included
behind-the-scenes visits to several studios and DVD production
facilities. Be sure to check it out.
We're going to be doing some site maintenance and archiving work for
the rest of the day today, but we'll be back tomorrow with reviews and
So did everyone have a good holiday? We've got a LOT of upcoming title
ground to cover today, so let's get right to it.
First of all, we've got word that the Sci-Fi Channel's 6-hour Dune
mini-series is coming to DVD in 2001. Check the
Mill for that.
We have news on a title that a LOT of folks have been waiting for from
Miramax - one which caused a heap of controversy not too long ago. Princess
Mononoke will finally arrive on DVD on December 19th, and the
studio's official press release (you'll be happy to know) proclaims that
it WILL include the original Japanese language track. The DVD will
feature anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1), a 5.1 English track and
separate Japanese and French tracks. You demanded it, and the Mouse is
giving it to you.
Love's Labour's Lost is also
coming to DVD from Miramax on 12/19. The DVD is expected to include
deleted scenes, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. December 12th
will see the DVD release of the comedy Human
Traffic from the studio. And Jet Li's The
Legend debuts the same day (you will also be able to buy The
Legend in a Dimension Jet Li
Collection with The Defender,
Jet Li's The Enforcer, Fist
of Legend and Twin Warriors).
You might be surprised to know that Dimension is also working on a Reindeer
Games: Exclusive Director's Cut, featuring 20 minutes of
never-before-seen footage, for release on December 12th. Disney's Air
Bud: World Pup also arrives on 12/12.
And, in the last of the Disney news, the studio has announced the first
of its classic Gold Collection titles for 2001 - Pete's
Dragon, which will street on January 16th. The DVD will
include the never-before-available, 1946 animated Donald Duck short,
Lighthouse Keeping, along with
trailers and TV spots, a 26-minute featurette on the Loch Ness Monster
called Man, Myth and Mysteries, a
showcase of Disney artist Ken Anderson (who worked on the film), still
frame galleries of concept art, promotional stills and behind-the-scenes
photos, and the Where's Elliot "disappearing
dragon game". SRP is $29.99.
DreamWorks will be releasing their DVD version of Harrison Ford's What
Lies Beneath on January 30th. Director Robert Zemeckis will
provide an audio commentary for the disc.
Paramount's announced some of their February DVD slate. Among the
titles expected are Bless the Child
(2/13), along with Alfe, The
Evening Star, Ordinary People
and Terms of Endearment (all
2/27). Stock up on Kleenex, guys. Before I forget, Star
Trek: The Original Series, Volumes 19 & 20 are due 2/13
Look for Warner's Bait on 1/23
(but where's Space Cowboys?). FYI,
we've heard rumors that the DVD delay with John Travolta's godawful Battlefield:
Earth has to do with the star's desire to re-edit the film
for home video release to "make it better". Good luck, John.
And surprise! Warner's releasing The Best of
Friends, Volume 1 on DVD on 12/19. I sure wish that the
studio would get with the program and just release TV product like Fox
does - a season at a time. They screwed up Rhino's great treatment of
South Park, and now Friends?
Ouch. This "best of" crap is for the birds. Anyway, the disc
will feature audio commentary, a featurette, extended takes and 180
minutes worth of episodes (including the Pilot,
The One with Two Parts 1 & 2,
The One with All the Poker, The
One Where Ross Finds Out and The
One with the Prom Video). SRP is $19.98. That same day will
also see The Best of Friends, Volume 2
with more episodes (including The One Where
No One's Ready, The One with the
Embryos, The One with Ross's
Wedding 1 & 2, The One with
All the Thanksgivings and The One
Where Everyone Finds Out).
Here's a bunch of upcoming artwork for some of the titles we've
mentioned today (and in previous posts)...
And no... I don't know for sure which version of Natural
Born Killers will be on the DVD (although I suspect it will
be the theatrical version). The Oliver Stone titles street on January
16th, with The Oliver Stone Collection.
Columbia TriStar has also announced Solomon &
Gaenor for DVD release on January 30th. The disc will include
anamorphic widescreen video, writer/director commentary, talent files
and trailers. SRP is $29.95. That same day, look for If
Lucy Fell, with full frame and widescreen video and talent
files (SRP $24.95). And the studio will release a Jackie
Chan Gift Set on DVD 1/30, which will include Gorgeous,
Jackie Chan's Who Am I and Miracles.
The set will have an SRP of $53.95
Finally this morning, a little holiday story. My family and I spent our
Thanksgiving in Las Vegas (a turkey buffet has got to be the ultimate
cheesy way to celebrate the day, but watching the Vikings game at the
Mirage sportsbook was too cool). Anyway, we went there to celebrate
Sarah's grandmother's 90th birthday, and more than a dozen family
members were there for the fun. It was really a great time - everybody
won a little money (including Gram), we all ate a little too much and a
good time was had by all. So on the way back, my wife, her mother and
grandmother and I are checking in at the airport for our America West
flight back to Orange County, CA, when we discovered that the airline
had severely over-booked the flight, and we only had 3 guaranteed seats.
I volunteered to ride stand-by and had to wait while everyone else
boarded. Luckily, I was able to get on at the last minute. And who do
you suppose got on right after me, and sat right next to my
mother-in-law? Rudy Ruettiger. Any of you see the movie Rudy
(which we just
recently here)? Well, the real Rudy Ruettiger apparently lives in
Las Vegas and is now a motivational speaker. I recognized him from the
featurette on his life on the DVD, and said hello. And darned if he
wasn't one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He was travelling to visit
family in Orange County, and we got to talking about the business and so
forth. When he found out what I do for a living, he excitedly took down
the website address for the Bits
(and said he'd be checking it out), and give me his contact information
to keep in touch. You know... the word hero doesn't seem to mean much
these days. But here's a guy who, because of his hard work and
determination, has inspired lots of kids to get good educations and
chase their dreams. So Rudy, if you're reading this, it was an honor to
meet you. What a nice way to end an already fun weekend. ;-)
As always... stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/22/00 -
10 AM PST)
WOW! Was yesterday a big day for DVD? You might as well ask if the sky
is really blue. I've gotten reports that there were lines at Best Buy
stores around the country yesterday morning, with people waiting to take
advantage the retailer's $14.99 price on Gladiator.
The title was sold out at tons of retailers by noon. And while Gladiator
was the first title people picked up, it wasn't the last. X-Men,
Bridge on the River Kwai and Chicken
Run all flew off the shelves as well. I can't wait to see
what the sales numbers for yesterday look like. If this isn't a sign
that DVD has gone mainstream, I don't know what is.
Now then... need a movie to get yourself into the Thanksgiving spirit?
Well, how about Paramount's
Trains & Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and John
Candy. That's as classic and good a Turkey Day movie as you'll find
anywhere. And we've just posted Greg Suarez's full review. Also today,
we've got Todd's review of Criterion's awesome new
Boys Video Anthology. If you're a fan of music on DVD, this is
a MUST have disc. Criterion has definitely set a new standard for
presenting music on our favorite format. Very cool.
As seems to happen once every couple of months, a few websites have
commented again on rumors of Star Wars
coming to DVD. And, as expected, we've gotten a flurry of concerned
e-mails from Star Wars fans
letting us know that the subject has come up again, and what's the deal?
It seems that several Fox executives in Europe have let it slip that
Star Wars: Episode I might be
arriving on DVD in November 2001. Of course, Lucasfilm and Fox aren't
commenting. And WE'RE getting tired of commenting on rumor after rumor
started by other websites. Here's the official story (which hasn't
changed since the last time we posted it): Star
Wars: Episode I is officially "in production" for
DVD, as it as been for many months. It will likely be released sometime
in 2001, but no official date has been set. Also, don't expect the
original Star Wars Trilogy in the
foreseeable future. Are you guys as sick as we are of all this? When the
DVDs finally do show up, it's almost going to be anti-climactic.
Hopefully, this is the last time we'll have to comment on this subject
until there's real news to report. Which may be quite a few months, at
this rate. Definitely enough said.
Now then... this is our last report until after the Thanksgiving
holiday. Have a great and safe time, best to you and yours and
remember... turkey makes you sleepy (so don't eat and drive). ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/22/00 - 1 AM PST)
Remember how we said the other day in the
Mill that the British Sci-fi TV series Space:
1999 was coming to DVD in Region 1 from A&E sometime in
Q2 2001? Well... we were wrong. It's coming in January! The first two
2-disc sets will be released on January 30th, for an SRP of $39.95 each.
The episodes have been digitally remastered from the original 35mm
negatives, and will contain additional footage not seen in U.S. TV
broadcasts. Set 1 will include 2
discs with 3 episodes each (the episodes are Breakaway,
Matter of Life and Death, Black
Sun, Ring Around the Moon,
Earthbound and Another
Time, Another Place). Set 2
will also include 2 discs with 3 episodes each (the episodes are Missing
Link, Guardian of Piri,
Force of Life, Alpha
Child, The Last Sunset
and Voyager's Return). Additional
sets will follow later in 2001. This is cool news - as cheesy as this
show was, I have to confess to being a big fan. You can pre-order the
discs online now. And before I forget, here's a look at the discs' cover
We also have word that A&E has plans to release the complete Thunderbirds
series on DVD later in 2001. And MGM is apparently expecting to release
the two Thunderbirds feature films
(Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbird
6) next year as well. F.A.B., baby...!
We'll be back with more later this morning - stay tuned...
We've got two things for you today. First of all, we've just launched
our "Turkey Day" Trivia Contest,
giving you all a chance to take home one of 13 great prizes. We've got 4
copies of the Jurassic Park 2-pack
from Universal, 5 copies of The Rolling
Stones: Gimmie Shelter from Criterion, a copy of The
Perfect Storm signed by director Wolfgang Peterson from
Warner Bros., 2 Atlantic DVD-360 storage
shelves for your home theater from
Displays, and the grand prize, a fully-programmable RTI-T2
remote control unit, thanks to contest sponsor
Whew! The contest will run until Friday, December 1st, so you have
plenty of time to get your entries in over the holiday. And given that
this is Thanksgiving, the contest might have a little something to do
with "turkeys" - you know... the movie kind. So
click here to
enter and enjoy!
The other thing we have for you today, is a detailed look at
Paramount's January DVD release slate. Here's what to expect (including
Survivor Season One: The Greatest and Most
Outrageous Moments - 16x9 enhanced widescreen, Dolby Digital
2.0 sound (English), cast profiles, island map, voting histories,
polling histories, interviews with creator Mark Burnett and host Jeff
Probst, English subs, never-before-seen footage including emotional
confrontations, voting confessions, intimate conversations and exit
Wonder Boys - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 and French 2.0, A
Look Between the Pages featurette with cast interviews,
interactive Pittsburgh map, singer/songwriter profiles, Bob Dylan Things
Have Changed video, trailer, English subs
Kiss Me Guido - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, commentary by writer/director Tony Vitale, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English subs
The Untouchables - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 and French 2.0, trailer, English
Death Wish - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English and French Dolby Digital mono, trailer, English subs
Juice - 16x9 enhanced widescreen,
English Dolby Digital 5.1, English subs
The Warriors - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English and French Dolby Digital mono, trailer, English subs
Necessary Roughness - 16x9
enhanced widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1 and French 2.0, English
The Longest Yard - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English and French Dolby Digital mono, English subs
North Dallas Forty - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English subs
Red Letters - 16x9 enhanced
widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English and Spanish subs,
commentary with writer/director Bradley Battersby and writer Tom Hughes,
I'm definitely glad to see Untouchables
in that mix, but I wish it had more in the way of features. Paramount
really needs to start doing a little more with their discs. I'd like to
see at least one good (real) special edition title out of them a month.
Anyway, there you go.
Everybody have a good weekend? As we head into Thanksgiving week here
in the States, there are a whole slew of great DVDs coming into stores.
Tomorrow, film fans will be cueing up to buy Gladiator,
on the River Kwai and more. It's gonna be an expensive day.
But hey - we think watching movies on DVD with family and friends is a
pretty darned nice way to spend the holiday. And there's always the
Vikings vs. the Cowboys on turkey day. ;-)
We've got three new DVD reviews for you today. Todd's given New Line's
Platinum Series a spin (street date 12/19), along with Fox's
2-disc Gladiator tie in,
Stomper (also starring Russell Crowe - streets tomorrow). And
Dan Kelly's got a look at Fox's 2-disc
Sound of Music: Five Star Collection as well.
We've also got early word on MGM's expected February & March DVD
slates - you'll find that in today's update of
Rumor Mill. Some good titles are on the way from the Lion. We
just hope their Quality Control people have been working overtime. Check
the post out, because there's also word on a pair of February Universal
titles and Space: 1999 as well.
And in other DVD news, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release
of Spike Lee's Get on the Bus and
School Daze. The 2 discs will
street on January 30th, in honor of Black History Month. Both discs will
feature audio commentary with Lee and will SRP for $24.95. Now if we
could just get She's Gotta Have it
on DVD, with those Lee directed Nike commercials in the bonus section.
That'd be cool.
Finally, this afternoon, we've got a look at some cool upcoming DVD
cover artwork for you: Columbia TriStar's Hollow
Man (street date 1/2/01), DreamWorks' Road
Trip (12/10), Universal's The
Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (1/23) and Paramount's
Shaft 2000 (12/12). Enjoy.
We'll be posting the Trivia Contest
very soon, so stay tuned...
There's been a lot of rumors flying around the Net over the last few
days regarding Columbia TriStar's upcoming Godzilla
2000 DVD (street date 12/26). Here's the deal, straight from
the studio this morning. Columbia TriStar had planned to include both
the U.S. domestic and the original Japanese version of the film (with
Japanese audio) on the disc, but the licensor (Toho) couldn't provide
the necessary elements in time to meet street date. So as it stands, the
disc will now include widescreen and full frame versions of the U.S.
domestic cut of the film only (with English 5.1 audio), along with an
audio commentary track with Michael Schlesinger and about 2 minutes of
behind-the-scenes B-roll footage showing the actor in the Godzilla suit
being directed on set. This is the definitive word on the disc. Here's a
look at the disc's cover, along with a look at Fox's Me,
Myself & Irene (street date: 1/23/01).
Also, members of the Home Theater Forum visited Paramount during their
L.A. trip last week and heard that the studio is currently working on
Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West
for DVD. I've spoken with the studio personally, and I'm very happy to
be able to confirm this. This is one of Todd and my favorite all-time
westerns, and we've been lobbying hard for it to be released. I can't
tell you how thrilled we are that it's coming to DVD. The disc should be
out sometime in 2001, along with a number of other Paramount westerns.
And by the way, while talking with the studio, I lobbied hard for the
original, 20-minute longer version of the film, that's been broadcast on
TNT and TBS. "Did you bring a horse for me?" AWESOME!
We'll be back later with more, so stay tuned...
Anyone interested in talking X-Men
with director Bryan Singer and creator Stan Lee? Well, that's exactly
what we got the opportunity to do last Friday, when we attended a
special event at the Fox lot to promote the upcoming DVD release of the
film. We've just posted
full report on the day, including lots of pictures, so be sure to
check it out. We'll also give you a sneak peek at some of the DVDs Fox
has in the works for 2001, in case you missed our
Day 2000 report. Enjoy!
Also today, Todd's got a review of Criterion's new music-related title,
Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter. Greg Suarez has taken a break
from playing with his new PlayStation 2 to review Paramount's terrific
(but often overlooked)
And Brad Pilcher chimes in with a pair of reviews today, as well -
King of Dreams and Warner's
The Movie 2000. That last title is a dirty job, but someone's
gotta do it... ;-)
And finally today, we've been hearing rumors that the animated Lord
of the Rings may be on its way to DVD - look in the
Mill for more on that.
There are a lot of you out there who have been waiting a long time to
get your hand on Sony's new PlayStation 2. The DVD based game system,
which just debuted here in the States last month is in very short
supply. But is it worth the wait? Are the early games any good? How does
it handle playing DVD-Video discs and music CDs? Our own Greg Suarez had
his PS2 reserved in March, and he was one of first in line to get his
hands on the system. Greg's put his PS2 through the paces, and
can now read his in depth report here at the Bits.
From set-up and game play to CD and DVD-Video handling, Greg gives you a
good layman's first look at the Sony PS2. I think you'll be even more
eager to get one when you're done reading his review. But with supplies
so low... you're probably looking at 1st Qtr 2001 at the earliest.
In other news today, Warner Bros. has just announced their new DVD
version of The Exorcist... The
Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen. The disc will street
on December 26th for an SRP of $24.98. The new DVD includes a new
anamorphic transfer of the longer version of the film, with re-mixed
audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. Also on the disc is a new audio
commentary featuring director William Friedkin, trailers, TV and radio
spots and more. I may never have seen this version before, but this will
be the THIRD different Exorcist
DVD released by Warner (and we hope the last).
A lot of you have e-mailed me to ask if our
DVD Player sales numbers include the DVD-capable PlayStation 2.
The answer is no - PS2 and DVD-ROM is NOT included.
And just a quick note - Universal is getting ready to launch their Jurassic
Park III live event. As promoted on their recent DVDs, this
will be a live chat with the cast and crew on the set of JP3, which is
currently in production on the Universal Studios lot in Hollywood,
California. All you have to do is buy either Jurassic
Park or Jurassic Park: The Lost
World and log onto Universal's
JP website for all the details. Remember - you'll need a
DVD-ROM and Internet access drive to participate.
All right - we've just posted our
report on our visit to Dave's Video for Studio Day 2000. There's
lots of news on upcoming DVD titles for next year, some of which we've
covered before. But there's lots of new information as well. 2001 is
shaping up to be an even bigger year for DVD than 2000! So enjoy the
Also this morning, we've just posted our long-awaited review of New
Platinum Series DVD. More reviews are on the way.
We've updated our mirror of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ, as well as the sales numbers above.
And we've finally gotten an update from CEA on the
Player Sales numbers for the complete month of October. For the
week ending October 20th, some 156,450 players were shipped to retail
here in the States. And in the week ending October 27th, a whopping
768,381 units were shipped. That makes October the second highest month
for DVD players yet, with some 1,236,658 units shipped. And that takes
the format's grand total here in the U.S. to 11,752,733 players. Anyone
doubt that the format will hit 12 million by the end of 2000?
We've got Greg's PlayStation 2 report on the way, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/13/00
- 4:30 PM PST)
We're still working on our main post, but there's been some
announcements today that we figured you'd want to know about. First of
all, Columbia TriStar has officially announced their Glory:
Special Edition for release on January 30th. The 2-disc set
will SRP for $29.95 and will contain anamorphic widescreen and full
frame video, English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, French and Portuguese
Dolby Surround 2.0 audio, audio and "picture-in-picture"
commentary by director Edward Zwick, The
Voices of Glory featurette, deleted scenes with optional
commentary, a second "original" featurette, trailers,
production notes and talent files.
Also announced today by Warner Bros. is something you've all been
waiting for - The Oliver Stone Collection.
Expected on January 16, this boxed set will contain the new 2-disc Any
Given Sunday: Special Edition Director's Cut, the new 2-disc
JFK: Special Edition Director's Cut,
Heaven and Earth, Natural
Born Killers, Universal's Talk
Radio and Born on the Fourth of
July, Fox's Wall Street,
Buena Vista's new 2-disc Nixon,
Columbia TriStar's U-Turn,
Artisan's new 2-disc The Doors: Special
Edition and a special bonus disc featuring the documentary
Oliver Stone's America. The set
will be available in 2 editions - the 10 movie box (with the movies
listed above and the bonus disc for SRP $199.92) or a "Warner only"
6-movie box (with the Warner titles only and the bonus disc for SRP
The Any Given Sunday: Special Edition
Director's Cut can only be found in the new boxed set, and
includes 6 minutes of footage not seen in theaters, the Full
Contact: The Making of Any Given Sunday featurette, the LL
Cool J Shut em' Down music video,
the Jamie Foxx Any Given Sunday
and My Name is Willy music videos,
two feature-length audio commentaries (one with Stone and one with Jamie
Foxx), more than a dozen deleted/extended scenes with optional
commentary by Stone, Jamie Foxx's audition tape and screen tests, a gag
reel and football outtake montage, a photo and advertising materials
gallery, a music-only track and more. The JFK:
Special Edition Director's Cut includes a new digital
transfer, 17 minutes of new footage not seen in theaters, feature-length
audio commentary by Stone, deleted/extended scenes with optional
commentary by Stone, an interview with Fletcher Prouty (the
ex-government official who inspired Donald Sutherland's character),
multimedia essays updating the debate on the Kennedy assassination,
biographies and filmographies, trailers, an exclusive second Stone
commentary that links from the Internet to the DVD via DVD-ROM, weblinks
and DVD-ROM essays on the JFK assassination and Stone's movies. Heaven
and Earth will include feature-length audio commentary by
Stone and deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by Stone.
Natural Born Killers will include
everything that is on the current release, but will also include an
exclusive Charlie Rose interview with Oliver Stone. If you're a fan of
Stone, this is the kind of thing you live for. And even if you aren't,
some of the new material in this set is pretty compelling. All that in
one boxed set? Must be a conspiracy.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/13/00 - Noon PST)
This is just a quick note to let you all know that we're working on a
big update that we'll be posting this evening and tomorrow. We'll be
including an update on the goings on at Studio Day 2000, as well as a
report on our visit to Fox on Friday morning to attend their X-Men
presentation. We've also got a few reviews for you and Greg Suarez's
report on the PlayStation 2. So check back tonight and tomorrow for all
that. Stay tuned...
Well, we're off to Fox. But to keep you going while we're away, here's
Todd Doogan's review of Paramount's cool new
Impossible 2 DVD. How's that for a nice chaser our
Signature Series review from last night? Enjoy! And we'll be
back this weekend with Greg Suarez's look at the new PlayStation 2, so
be sure to check back.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned...! ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 11/9/00 - 7:30 PM PST)
The wait is over folks! We've just posted our review of DreamWorks'
Signature Selection (street date 11/21), and I think you'll be
extremely happy with this release. The 2-disc set simply rocks. Speaking
of Gladiator, DreamWorks is
reporting that the title has set a new initial shipment record here in
North America, with some 2.6 million units on the way to retailers.
Also, we have two other reviews for you this evening. I've done a
comparison between Fox's original and new DVD versions of
X-Files: Fight the Future (the new disc features dual Dolby
Digital and DTS sound and a new anamorphic widescreen transfer - street
date 1/23/01). And Brad Pilcher's given Rhino's new DVD release of
Joe: The Movie a spin.
In other news today, Columbia TriStar has officially announced their
Dogma: Special Edition DVD for
release on January 23rd. The 2-disc release will retail for $29.95 and
will include a cast and crew audio commentary track by director Kevin
Smith, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, producer Scott Mosier and
Vincent Pereira, a technical audio commentary by director Kevin Smith,
producer Scott Mosier and View Askew historian Vincent Pereira, the Judge
Not: In Defense of Dogma documentary, storyboards from 3
major scenes, 100 minutes of deleted scenes with View Askew crew intros,
a weblink to the official View Askew site, cast and crew outtakes, "Jay
and Silent Bob's Secret Stash Spot", "Saints and Sinners"
Talent Files, "Follow the Buddy Christ" feature and lots more.
This should be a very cool set.
Now then, tomorrow we're going to be attending a special press event
for the X-Men DVD at Fox studios,
featuring director Bryan Singer and producer Stan Lee. Then, on
Saturday, we'll be in attendance at Dave's Video: The Laser Place for
their annual Studio Day event. Lots of studio DVD people will be there
to answer questions, along with other members of the DVD press and
plenty of DVD fans as well (including members of the
Theater Forum, who have travelled to L.A. to attend from all over
the world). It should be a lot of fun and it's open to the public. The
event will be held from 10 AM to 1 PM PST. Dave's Video - The Laser
Place is located at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA. We'll
feature both events here on the Bits
next week. See you at Dave's!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/9/00 - 10:30 AM PST)
Hi everyone. As you may have noticed, The
Digital Bits was down for much of the day yesterday due to
network problems. Those problems not only meant that the site was
offline, but they also prevented us from making posts to the server even
when it was back online. Those problems appear to have been resolved
this morning and, finally, we can upload to the server again. So we
should be back to normal this afternoon, with our "regularly
scheduled programming". Gotta love technology. ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 11/7/00 -
1:30 PM PST)
Could there be another X-Men DVD
in 2001? Director Bryan Singer has been
in the New York Post as saying that a second version of
the film will be released on DVD next year, which will include many more
deleted scenes (including two that the director will be allowed to shoot
that were never finished) in a longer, seamless branching version of the
film. Also included will be a documentary using video taken
behind-the-scenes, and a commentary track. These comments confirm
information we've heard from our sources unofficially. We understand
that the decision to release two versions had to do with the fact that
there just wasn't time enough to get a more deluxe version done in time
for street date. We'll be visiting with Fox and Singer in person on
Friday, so we'll be sure to find out more.
In other Fox news, we've confirmed that the U.S. DVD release of Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season has been
delayed unti later in 2001. The UK DVD release will go forward as
planned in January (the U.S. release had been slated for 1/9/00). The
reason for the delay here has to do with the complicated nature of the
U.S. domestic syndication rights, in which Warner Bros. is obviously
involved. The DVDs will be released eventually, and will hopefully be
the better for the delay (perhaps that will give Fox time to negotiate
for the rights to include the unaired pilot episode?), but again, not
until later in the year. Just FYI.
And finally, we have street dates for those six Fox DTS releases. There
will be 2 waves of 3 discs each. The first wave will street on 12/26,
and will include Courage Under Fire,
Predator and The
Siege. The second wave will feature The
Last of the Mohicans, The Thin Red
Line and The X-Files: Fight the
Future on 1/23/00. All 6 discs will feature new anamorphic
transfers, and dual Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Speaking of
X-Files, we'll have a complete
review of The X-Files: The Complete Second
Season and the new DTS version of the movie for you tomorrow.
And here's a little tidbit for you: look for anamorphic, Dolby
Digital/DTS, 5-Star editions of the entire Die
Hard Trilogy sometime early in the new year... ;-)
Now then... here are a couple reviews for you of classic Japanese
films. Todd's given Criterion's
a spin, as well as Image's new DVD release of the Akira Kurosawa classic
Uzala. Don't miss 'em!
We'll be back with more tomorrow, so see you then! And remember... rock
the vote, baby!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/7/00 - 8:30 AM PST)
So did everyone have a good weekend? Sorry we took an extra day. It
just so happened that Sarah and I spent our weekend visiting Madison, WI
and hanging out on the campus of our alma mater, the University of
Wisconsin. Wouldn't you know it? There's a place that specializes in DVD
rentals right there on State street, just a block from the university.
So you Badgers around campus have no excuse for not diving heavy into
DVD. Drop on by State Street DVD and tell 'em Bill from The
Digital Bits says hello.
After the nice relaxing (long) weekend, we've got a bunch of stuff
coming in the next couple of days for you. We'll have some reviews for
you later today and a bunch more tomorrow, including (with a little
luck) one you've been waiting for featuring a bad-ass gladiator. Stay
tuned for that.
Now then... believe it or not, there are more important things than DVD
today (gasp!). Today is, as I'm sure you realize, Election Day here in
the States. Living here in America, we all enjoy a lot of pretty amazing
freedoms that most of us sadly take for granted. All of the fighting and
dying for those freedoms was done by our grandfathers and
greatgrandfathers, so we've all had it pretty good - particularly you
Gen Xers and Yers out there. As Americans, most of us don't seem to
think those freedoms come with any responsibility. But if you don't get
out and VOTE, then you don't deserve those freedoms - you haven't earned
them and you have no right to sit around complaining about the
government and taxes and politicians. So we here at the Bits
want to ask everyone out there to put the DVD player in pause mode for a
hour or so, log on to the Internet and read up on your local issues (try
your favorite local newspaper's website, which should have all the
information you need), and get out there and exercise your right to
VOTE! This presidential election's gonna be VERY close, and if you don't
think your vote will count... you're just not thinking very hard. We
don't care who you vote for, just VOTE! Enough said.
And when you've pulled those levers and punched those ballot cards,
come on back here and we should have some new reviews for you to read
later this afternoon. Stay tuned...
We're working on a couple of things for next week, along with a bunch
of new DVD reviews, so today's post is going to be a little light. But I
wanted to give you all an early look at the cover artwork for 6 upcoming
Fox DVDs. All of them are re-issues of films that were released
previously, many with non-anamorphic transfers. These new DVDs will all
feature new anamorphic widescreen transfers, along with dual Dolby
Digital and DTS soundtracks. The street dates are mostly TBD, but look
for the titles to arrive in December and January. Here are Last
of the Mohicans, Predator,
The Siege, The
Thin Red Line, Courage Under Fire
and The X-Files: Fight the Future.
In other news, Image
Entertainment's got a new update of their
News page posted, which includes titles like The
Best of the Original Avengers, Bedknobs
and Broomsticks, Coyote Ugly,
The Crow: Salvation, The
Kid, Lady and the Tramp 2,
Hollow Man, Road
Trip, Benny and Joon,
In the Heat of the Night, When
Harry Met Sally, Mystic Pizza,
The Cell, Se7en,
The Art of War, Cannonball
Run and lots more. Do check it out.
AP newswire's got a brief story up comparing the Sony PlayStation
2 to Sega's Dreamcast system.
Yahoo's also got a story on how these two game systems are just
the start of a new gaming war, with Microsoft's X-Box and Nintendo's
GameCube coming in 2001.
Finally today, to promote their Perfect
Storm DVD, Warner's launched a "forward this e-mail"
campaign, and is donating money to the American Red Cross for each
e-mail sent. Click
here for more on that, or to participate. Also, in a totally
non-DVD related note, the American
Red Cross is in desperate need of people to donate blood for use
in emergencies. So if you're feeling like you've got an extra pint or
two and you're feeling generous... well, you know what to do. ;-)
Now then... have a great weekend and we'll see you back here next week
with lots more reviews of great upcoming DVD titles, a new Trivia
Contest and a very special feature story. Stay tuned...!