We're back from Vegas and the weekend was... well, interesting. This
year's Video Software Dealers Association show was probably the most
lackluster it's ever been. First of all, you know you're in trouble when
the Adult Video News porn
convention (which is always held at the same time as VSDA) is 3 times as
big and WAY more busy. While the VSDA floor held little of interest,
with most major studios opting for private meeting spaces instead of a
floor presence, the porn room was an outrageous mix of adult stars,
nakedness and various surly shenanigans. Naturally, that's where
everyone wanted to be. And naturally, almost everything that was going
on there isn't the kind of thing we can talk about here. But suffice it
to say that most VSDA attendees did a quick tour of the more upstanding,
Hollywood studio displays, then did a quick hustle over to watch
mostly-naked women performing all kinds of simulated acts. The whole
thing was really something of a joke.
There were also very few really good upcoming title announcements made
at the show, other than Columbia TriStar's revealing that their 2-disc
Lawrence of Arabia: Limited Edition
will street on April 3rd (SRP $39.95). And Universal made it known that
April 24th will see a 2-disc The Mummy:
Ultimate Edition ($29.98 SRP). We do have some additional
upcoming title information, but most of the good stuff we've already
talked about in The
Rumor Mill last week.
Also, with the Consumer Electronics Show on at the same time, most
everyone opted to spend time there instead - including a lot of the
video industry press. DVD-Audio seemed to be the talk of the town (at
least that's what the industry wants you to talk about). But is it
really ready for prime time? We'll take a closer look at that in our
report. And several companies are finally bringing DVD-R to market in
the States in 2001, but again, is it ready? Or perhaps the better
question to ask is - Are consumers ready for either DVD-Audio and DVD-R?
One of the side effects of having VSDA, CES and AVN going on all at the
same time, was that it was virtually impossible to get around town and
see everything we wanted to see. Still, we did make an effort to check
out the things we figured you'd all be interested in as best we could.
So we'll begin filing our report on the weekend's events, probably
tonight. I think we've got a few interesting things to show you and talk
about, and we've got some artwork for upcoming titles too. You'll also
get to see if things went to hell in a handbasket when Todd and I met in
person for the first time. Don't want to miss that, do you?
to R: Digital Bits editors Bill Hunt and Todd Doogan at VSDA
So stay tuned and we'll be back with more soon...
Okay... we just HAD to squeeze in one more
Mill update to hold you until we get back from VSDA. We've got
a slew of last minute, official DVD announcements from Image, Artisan,
Buena Vista, Paramount, Troma and others - some good titles mentioned.
We've also gotten wind of a couple of big Disney animated DVDs slated
for late 2001. And we've got details on Artisan's upcoming Frank
Herbert's Dune (as well as a look at the cover art). Don't
Now then... we'll see you back here on Tuesday afternoon. Have a great
weekend! Go Vikes!
Well... we're off to CES and VSDA! Saturday morning I'm gonna get up,
watch my Minnesota Vikings stomp the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs
(hopefully) and then hop on a plane to Las Vegas. Todd gets in from
Atlanta that evening, and we'll meet for the first time in person,
despite having worked together here on the Bits
for almost 3 years! So if we don't come back next week, you can safely
assume that Todd and I clashed like matter and anti-matter, decided we
hate each other's guts and are calling it quits. Kidding. We'll be back
Tuesday and we'll make at least a small post that evening, followed by
our full report on the show beginning on Wednesday.
In the meantime, we know that's a long time to wait, so we've packed
today's update as full as we could. First up, we've got reviews of 4 new
DVD titles. Todd's got reviews of both
1974 and 2000 versions of Gone in 60 Seconds (DVDs by
Navarre and Buena Vista, respectively) and Dan's checked in with a look
at Artisan's new
Way of the Gun and Paramount's
Mmmm... but that's not all. We've also updated the
Mill with information on MGM's expected DVD slate for May.
Anyone care to spin The Magnificent Seven
and more Stargate SG-1 episodes in
their DVD players? And while we're on the subject of MGM, here's what to
expect in terms of extras from their April titles:
Rocky: Special Edition (anamorphic
widescreen, English DD 5.1, French & Spanish DD mono, 33-min video
commentary with Sylvester Stallone, "behind-the-scenes"
featurette with interviews and "never-before-seen" footage,
tributes to Burgess Meredith and James Crabe, audio commentary with
director John Avildsen, the producer and cast members, trailer, original
advertising materials and more, SRP $24.98, street date 4/24), Rocky
Gift Set (all 5 films for $89.98 - Rocky
II-V will only be available in this set, street date 4/24),
How I Won the War (letterboxed
widescreen, English & Spanish DD mono, trailer, $19.98, 4/10), Boxing
Helena (letterboxed widescreen, English DD 2.0, trailer,
$19.98, 4/10), Tank Girl
(anamorphic widescreen, English & French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 2.0,
trailer, $19.98, 4/10), The Adjuster
(anamorphic widescreen, English DD 2.0, trailer, $19.98, 4/10), Live
Flesh (anamorphic widescreen, Spanish DD 5.1 with English
subs, trailer, $19.98, 4/10), King of Hearts
(letterboxed widescreen, English, French & German DD mono, trailer,
$19.98, 4/10), Women on the Verge of a
Nervous Breakdown (anamorphic widescreen, English, French &
Spanish DD mono, trailer, $19.98, 4/10), Fellini's
Satyricon (anamorphic widescreen, English & Italian DD
mono, trailer, $19.98, 4/10), Fellini's Roma
(letterboxed widescreen, French & Italian DD mono with English subs,
trailer, $19.98. 4/10)
MGM has also announced the DVD release of Hendrix
(full frame, English DD 2.0, $24.98, 3/27) and The
Fantasticks: Special Edition (anamorphic widescreen, audio
commentary by director Michael Ritchie, 30 minutes of deleted footage
including deleted & extended songs and an alternate ending, English
DD 5.1, French & Spanish DD 2.0, trailer, $24.98, 2/27). You may
also be happy to learn that MGM will include English subtitles on all
future DVD releases (something they've omitted on occasion recently).
Finally today, we've updated our Upcoming
DVD Artwork section yet again, this time with cover art from
MGM's April slate (all the titles listed above are included), as well as
Artisan's Requiem for a Dream and
your very first look at Fox's Cleopatra:
5-Star Edition 3-disc set, which is expected (unofficially)
on April 3rd. Here's an even closer look...
Now then... are we happy campers yet? ;-)
We'll see you all when we get back from Vegas. So until then, have a
great weekend and stay tuned...!
We've got three new DVD reviews for you today - Greg Suarez has given
all 4 discs of HBO's
Sopranos: The Complete First Season a spin. If you haven't
picked up this set yet, let me tell you personally - you have no idea
what you're missing. Sarah and I had seen a few second season episodes
on HBO and liked the show a lot, so when we got this boxed set, we
started watching them right away. We ultimately burned through the set's
13 episodes in less than a week, and we were bummed to finish them.
We're totally hooked. Absolutely don't miss this set.
Brad Pilcher also has something for you John Woo/Hong Kong action fans
- reviews of Anchor Bay's new A
Better Tomorrow I & II DVDs, which feature the films in
Also today, we've added 10 more cover scans to the
DVD Artwork section: Paramount's Alfie,
Terms of Endearment, The
Evening Star, Mother,
Real Life and Star
Trek: The Original Series, Volumes 19 & 20, as well as
Criterion's Double Suicide, I
Know Where I'm Going and Fiend
Without a Face. Be sure to check 'em out.
We'll be back with more reviews tomorrow, so stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/3/01 - Noon PST)
Hey... what can we say? We're not making this stuff up! We've got even
more upcoming title information in the
Mill this afternoon, with details on Charlie's
Angels and A Passage to India,
and that's not all. We'll be back with the contest soon...
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/3/01 - 2 AM PST)
We're starting early again today with lots more DVD news and artwork.
First of all, we've got another
Mill update with word on tentative street dates for a slew of
upcoming Fox DVDs (like Cleopatra,
Die Hard and X-Files:
The Complete Third Season), as well as other great titles
(like Speed Racer, Madadayo
and Quadrophenia). And don't
forget that we posted
Mill updates yesterday as well. There's a lot in there to
check out, so don't miss it!
Also today, we've updated the
DVD Artwork section yet again, to add some 30 more DVD covers,
including the final Clerks: Uncensored
cover, Being There, A
Walk in the Clouds, Speed Racer:
The Movie, Mo' Better Blues,
Bless the Child, Cherry
2000, The Little Vampire,
Remember the Titans, Omega
Man and more.
Around the Net today, Variety
(via Yahoo) has a story on how
many Academy members are requesting their
screeners on DVD these days. According to Oscar consultant Judi
Schwam, last year some 300 screener requests were for DVDs. This year,
that number has shot up to almost 2,400. Just another sign of the times.
And Bruce Kirkland of the Toronto Sun
DVD story up at Canoe.com, this time on DVD special
editions. It's definitely worth a quick read.
And finally this morning, we've learned of a cool new DVD release that
we hadn't even been aware of until just recently. Carl Sagan's complete,
13-episode PBS series Cosmos has
been released on DVD (SRP $169.95), as a 7-disc DVD boxed set. It
features updated footage and information, is all-region compatible and
boasts remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. 10% of the proceeds of the sale
of these DVDs will be donated to the Carl Sagan Foundation. Now... we
haven't seen these discs (which were produced by "Cosmos Studios"),
so we can't vouch for their video & audio quality. But the show was
awesome, and on DVD, it can only be even better. You can
here to order the disc from the Carl Sagan.com website
(you'll find more information on the discs there as well). Here's a look
at the set's cover art...
I'll refrain from the "Billions and billions" jokes. ;-)
We'll be back later this morning to kick off our new Trivia
Contest. Stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE -
1/2/01 - 3:30 PM PST)
We've contacted Columbia TriStar and gotten the official from the
studio on their Dogma: Special Edition
DVD. Numerous readers e-mailed us this morning with word that Amazon.com
was informing customers (who preordered the disc) that the title has
been delayed. The studio HAS confirmed to us that there is a delay. The
DVD was finished, however "issues beyond the studio's control"
may result in changes to the 2-disc set's content. This delay is
temporary only, and the studio will contact us as soon as they have an
update. They hope the problem will be resolved this week, and we'll let
you know when a new street date is determined.
Now then, we've got another
update today, to give you the early word on more upcoming DVDs from
Warner Bros. for early 2001. Among those we've got listed are The
World According to Garp, Being
There and Get Carter (2000).
We also have word on a possible delay for Paramount's Ordinary
People, so don't miss it.
And finally, we've just updated our
DVD Artwork section with 13 more great DVD covers, including
many of the Warner titles you'll find listed in the
And we've moved the Wonder Boys
and Dogma: SE discs into the TBA
category to reflect their now uncertain street dates.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/2/01 - Midnight PST)
Welcome to the New Year (and the real new millennium for you math
geeks)! This is a quick early post to let you all know that there have
been a couple of more DVD announcements for the 1st Qtr of 2001. Look
for Columbia TriStar's The 6th Day,
starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, on March 13. The video will be
rental-priced, but the DVD will be sell-through for an SRP of $27.96.
Also, USA Entertainment has set February 27th as the street date for
their Nurse Betty, starring Renee
Zellweger, Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock. And the hit
British TV series Absolutely Fabulous
will arrive on DVD from Warner on March 13th. The series' 18 episodes
will be available on 3 discs (with 6 episodes each, photo galleries and
outtakes) for $29.98 each. There will also be a boxed set of all 3 discs
(plus a 4th bonus disc) for $99.98.
And while we're at it, how about we take a look at some other titles
that are currently in production for DVD - you'll find that in today's
update of The
Rumor Mill. Citizen Kane
We'll be back with more later. Stay tuned...
Boy... we're keeping some weird holiday hours, aren't we? This update
is late in the day, but again, I think you'll really enjoy it. Earlier
this week, I had the opportunity to speak with Hollow
Man director Paul Verhoeven. Those of you who know his work
know that the man is not without controversy. His films, which include
Starship Troopers, Robocop
and Showgirls to name a few,
definitely provoke strong reactions - and not always favorable ones -
from critics and audiences. Here at the Bits,
we dig Starship Troopers and
(we won't talk about
although I know Todd has a definite jones on for the flick). But I have
to tell you, Verhoeven's a fascinating man to talk with and I really
enjoyed our discussion. I think you will too.
check out our transcript and see for yourself... ;-)
Now then... it's true (if not yet official) - The
Godfather Trilogy is on the DVD release slate over at
Paramount for late 2001. How do we know? Well... those hard working
types up at
recently spoke with staffers at Coppola's American Zoetrope DVD Center,
who let it be known that they're currently working to restore the
classic film trilogy for DVD release in the fall of next year. Also on
tap is a newly-restored, special edition of Apocalypse
Now, with more than an hour of deleted footage added back in.
Look for a theatrical rerelease to precede the disc. Thanks to all the
readers who send this in, and to the author of the article, John McKay,
for a good read. Can't wait!
All right... we're officially done for 2000! We'll be back in the New
Year (that's Tuesday - and we mean it this time!) with lots more great
DVD coverage. We've got TONS of reviews on the way, as well as another
great director interview to kick 2001 off right. We'll get our next Trivia
Contest going next week as well. And then, before you know
it, we'll be off to the Consumer Electronics Show and the Video Software
Dealer's Association convention, both of which are being held at the
same time in Vegas during the first weekend in January. As if that
weren't enough, Todd Doogan and yours truly (who have been working
together on this site for more than two years now) will meet in person
at the show for the first time - EVER. See? We're definitely keeping it
interesting for ya here at the old Bits,
baby! Then, maybe in February, Todd and I will jump the Snake River
Canyon on a tricycle, while juggling flaming knives blindfolded! And
From all of us to all of you, a very happy and safe New Year. See ya!
We're back! Sorry we were gone a couple of days longer than expected,
but we've spent the last two days working on something that you're gonna
love - a MASSIVE update of the
DVD Cover Artwork section. And not JUST an update, but a
complete revamping of the whole area. You'll now find titles sorted by
street date, and the cover art is now much larger than before. We've got
cover artwork for Thunderbirds 1 & 2,
Farscape 1 & 2, Legend,
Space Cowboys, Almost
Famous, all the Hitchcock titles, Survivor,
TONS of MGM titles, Battlefield Earth,
Dogma: Special Edition, Cecil
B. Demented, Glory: Special
Edition, Battle Beyond the Stars,
Space: 1999 1 & 2, Rated
X, Dr. T and the Women,
Michael Jordan: To the MAX, the
Porky's and Revenge
of the Nerds double feature discs, Highlander:
Endgame, Clerks Uncensored
and LOTS more. Don't miss it!
Speaking of Highlander: Endgame,
we've gotten word that the 2-disc set, which streets on February 20th,
will include the original theatrical cut of the film AND a new
director's cut. You'll also get director's audio commentary, deleted
footage, behind-the-scenes featurettes, Easter eggs, an interactive
game, DVD-ROM content and more. SRP is $29.99. Should be cool if you're
Also today, we've got word that DreamWorks has announced some more
great upcoming titles. Almost Famous
is slated for March 13th, Meet the Parents
is expected on March 6th and The Contender
is due on February 27th. And Artisan Entertainment has announced the DVD
release of Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows,
also for March 13th.
One last note - A&E's Thunderbirds -
Sets 1 & 2 are expected on February 27th. Each set will
include 2 discs (4 volumes), with 3 episodes each (the first 12 episodes
in all) as follows:
Volume 1 - Trapped
in the Sky, Pit of Peril,
City of Fire
Volume 2 - Sunprobe,
The Uninvited, The
Volume 3 - Vault
of Death, Operation: Crash Dive,
Move and You're Dead
Volume 4 - Martian
Invasion, Brink of Disaster,
The Perils of Penelope
More volumes will follow in early 2001 (ultimately, the whole series
will be released on DVD). And look for UFO
and Captain Scarlet to follow
later in the year.
Now then... we'll be back tomorrow with reviews and more, so stay
As promised, we've got some great holiday DVD reviews for you to help
get you in the spirit of the season - Brad Pilcher's look at The
Santa Clause, Dan Kelly's take on
Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Greg Suarez's 2 cents on
on 34th Street and
And don't forget, we've got lots of other holiday titles already in the
review index, including the classic It's
a Wonderful Life and more.
We've also announced the winners of our Trivia
Contest today, so be sure to check that out. Our next contest
will start right after the holiday and we're giving away a DVD player
among other great prizes, so be sure to stay tuned for that.
Now then... we'll be back on Tuesday with more DVD news and reviews. So
from all of us here at The Digital Bits,
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
This is just a quick update to let you all know that our last post
before Christmas will be tomorrow. In the spirit of the season, we'll
have a number of holiday-themed reviews for you to check out. We've also
today updated the
Top 100 Film on DVD list to reflect the official announcement
of Universal's Rear Window and
Warner's Ben Hur. And when we get
back from the holiday, we'll have more on the Warner TV on DVD situation
and a couple of fun special feature stories as well.
One funny thing to note from around the Net - be sure to visit
for a very funny animated holiday card. It's definitely work a look. ;-)
Now then... for all of you who are travelling today to be with family
and friends, may you have a safe and hassle free journey and a wonderful
time wherever you're headed. Happy Holidays from all of us at The
(LATE UPDATE - 12/21/00 - 11:30 AM PST)
As promised, we're back with another review of another great DVD. This
time around, it's Todd Doogan's take on Miramax's terrific
Mononoke. You remember - the film that was supposed to be out
on disc months ago, without the original Japanese language track, and
which (after fans protested) Miramax delayed in order to include said
track. Well, you've really got to give the studio credit, because not
only did they include the original Japanese audio, the video quality of
this film on DVD is nothing short of breathtaking. If you haven't seen
it yet, you're doing yourself a major disservice by not buying or
renting the disc and checking it out. And before you think you're going
to have to watch a film with subtitles, be aware that the English Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio features some serious Hollywood vocal talent,
including the likes of Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Crudup,
Claire Danes, Jada Pinkett Smith and Billy Bob Thornton. Don't miss it.
Looks like Gladiator is well on
its way this awards season - this morning the film picked up no less
than 5 Golden Globe nominations. It was nominated for Best Motion
Picture - Drama, along with Billy Elliot,
Erin Brockovich, Sunshine,
Traffic and The
Wonder Boys. Click
here to see the full list of nominees.
Now then... I wanted to talk a little bit about Warner Bros. this
morning, and the studio's stance towards releasing TV product on DVD.
Ever since Warner took over for Rhino in releasing South
Park on DVD, I've been hearing from upset fans. For those of
you who don't know what I'm talking about, Rhino made a practice of
releasing South Park episodes on
DVD in sequence, starting with the first episode of the series and
working in order through all the episodes. But when Warner took over the
Comedy Central license, the first thing they did was to release a pair
of compilation or "best of" DVDs, selecting episodes with a
Christmas or Chef theme and releasing them on two discs. This really
outraged fans. Would Warner go back to releasing the episodes as Rhino
did, or would they screw up what Rhino had started (and done right in
the minds of fans)? Then, more recently, Warner announced plans to begin
releasing episodes of the smash TV hit Friends
on DVD. And, once again, fans were outraged to learn that what they were
going to get was a pair of "best of" discs. It's particularly
irritating, given that in Region 2, almost the ENTIRE series of Friends
has been released on DVD, in season by season boxed sets (click
here to see for yourself). To make matters worse, South
Park is also being released season by season on DVD in R2 (click
here). Literally dozens of our readers have purchased all-region "hacked"
players just to import these discs.
We at the Bits share our readers
frustration at Warner's handling of their TV product. Some studios have
figured out the proper way to do TV on DVD. HBO has been very diligent
about releasing its
and the City and
Sopranos a season at a time, and no studio has done more to
promote this idea than Fox, which continues to release
X-Files in season by season boxed sets (which are selling very
well, I might add). In fact, Fox likes the idea so much, that they're
prepping The Simpsons, the
original M.A.S.H. and Buffy
the Vampire Slayer to be released on DVD in the same way, and
will likely continue on with such shows as Millennium
and others in the future. A&E is going so far as to release more
offbeat TV shows on DVD, whole runs of episodes at a time, including
Monty Python's Flying Circus, The
Avengers, The Prisoner,
Space: 1999 and the Thunderbirds.
Even MGM is getting into the act - we've got reliable word that the
studio has plans to release more first season episodes of Stargate:
SG1 on DVD in May (4 more discs in all, in addition to the
one already available - virtually the entire first season of the show).
There will also be a gift set of all 5 discs.
Look... we really love Warner's Best of
Friends 2-disc set (our review is forthcoming). The episodes
look and sound great and the extras (including unaired footage) are
nifty. But what is Warner's reluctance to do more with TV on the format?
What will become of Friends, South
Park, Babylon 5, Scooby
Doo and all those Looney Tunes
classic shorts? Remember... those fantastic Golden
Age of Looney Tunes laserdisc collections were released by
MGM... not Warner. So are we forever doomed to releases like The
Road Runner's Greatest Escapes?
I spoke with the studio this morning about this issue, in an effort to
try to understand Warner's position on releasing TV properties on DVD.
Their feeling seems to be that they're really in a position of testing
the waters with TV product on disc right now. They know there's an
interest in it, but just how much? It's definitely fair to say that what
the studio does next with its TV product will be greatly influenced by
how the current "best of" discs sell. The studio assured me
that more TV product is definitely coming on DVD. The question is, will
it be more "best of" releases or the complete seasons of shows
we know fans really want. We can only hope Warner figures out what many
other studios already have: if fans are interested enough in a TV show
to want it on DVD, odds are they don't just want a few "best of"
discs - they want the whole series. As for all of us here at The
Digital Bits, we think "best of" compilations are
better left to VHS. It's time for Warner to start giving its fans what
they want, and they can start by releasing Friends:
The Complete First Season and picking up where Rhino left off
with South Park. That's just our
We're still working on the
DVD Artwork section, so stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 12/21/00 - 1:30 AM PST)
I thought I'd sneak an early update by you this morning. We've just
posted a review of all three versions of the animated classic How
the Grinch Stole Christmas that have been released on DVD,
thanks to our own Brad Pilcher. Nothing like a little Grinch to get you
in the holiday spirit. Speaking of which, you might want to check out
the new live-action, Jim Carrey version of the story, now in theaters.
Bring the kids and you'll have plenty of fun - there's actually one or
two really good laughs in there.
We'll be back with more this afternoon, so stay tuned...
We're working on a big update (and reformatting) of the
DVD Artwork section today, but there's just so much new art
that it's taking a LOT longer than we expected it would. With any luck,
it will be up by tomorrow. I think you'll really enjoy what we have to
show you - some great upcoming DVD covers.
In the meantime, we've gotten word that A&E will be releasing a
pair of 2-disc sets of episodes of the British TV classic Thunderbirds.
The sets should arrive on February 27th, for an SRP of $39.95 each.
We'll post details as soon as we get them.
There have been rumors lately, started by the latest issue of the
European version of The Official Star Trek
Magazine, that Paramount's Star
Trek: The Motion Picture - Special Edition would be released
here in the States in January (appropriately on 1/7/01 - a date Trekkies
will no doubt get the significance of). Unfortunately, it was just a
rumor, and not an accurate one at that. We spoke with the studio this
morning, and the DVD is still not slated to arrive until mid-2001. You
can put your phasers away until then.
FYI, we've also heard back officially from MGM on their upcoming Terminator:
Special Edition. The title's release date has NOT been moved
up. It's still slated to be a 3rd or 4th Qtr 2001 DVD release here in
the States. And until the studio announces the final spec list for the
disc, I'd take the list of details you're seeing for the early 2001
Region 4 disc with a grain of salt. We don't doubt that they're accurate
for R4, and the U.S. disc may very well include those extras (or
similar). But the Region 1 release may also include material not made
available on the R4 release, due to licensing issues. Anyway, I know
that people were starting to get excited about it, given the published
R4 cover artwork. But it's probably a bit too early to start thinking
about it here in the States...
In other (sort of) DVD news, there's
story over at WorldNet Daily that the reason some of you
here in the States may not be getting your PlayStation 2 game system
this Christmas, is that Saddam Hussein's men are buying as many as they
can here and then shipping them to Iraq. The reason? Well... given the
system's powerful CPU and graphics processing capabilities, it seems the
consoles can be networked into a crude supercomputer (of sorts) for
military applications. This is kind of funny if true. Apparently, U.S.
investigators believe as many as 4,000 PS2s have been shipped to Iraq.
The crafty bastard. Bet he kept one to play Madden
Finally this afternoon,
got an interesting story up on the dozen most wanted DVDs, and why
they're not on disc yet. It's actually been up for a while, so you might
have seen it already. But if you haven't, check it out and you'll learn
exactly why Universal's Back to the Future
DVDs were delayed (we hear they ought to be Summer 2K1 releases, if not
sooner). Can you say, Eric Stoltz?
We've got a couple of reviews for you for tomorrow and, hopefully, the
DVD Artwork section will be done. By the way... what do you
think of our new holiday logo? Stay tuned... ;-)
All right... today we've got that special feature we mentioned
yesterday about Showtime's upcoming Rated X
DVD. The film stars real-life brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez
as Artie and Jim Mitchell, a pair of would be filmmakers who
revolutionized the porn industry in the 1970s by proving that you could
make serious money doing it. In fact, their biggest film, Behind
the Green Door, has made many tens of millions since it was
first released in 1971 - back when porn on home video had yet to appear
on the scene. Rated X was also
directed by Estevez. The DVD streets on February 6th, and we recently
had the chance to chat with Charlie and Emilio as they were preparing to
record a commentary track for the disc. I think you'll enjoy what they
have to say. So check out
the "X" on DVD.
In other news, Warner has officially announced their DVD release of
Ben Hur on March 13th. The disc
will SRP for $24.98. The film was shot in MGM Camera 65, which is the
widest film aspect ratio ever used theatrically at 2.76:1. The DVD will
include the original, restored widescreen version of the film, enhanced
for anamorphic displays. The disc will also include newly remixed Dolby
Digital 5.1 surround sound, a new audio commentary track with Charlton
Heston, newly-discovered screen tests of the final and near final cast,
including Leslie Nielson, Cesare Danova and Haya Harareet, the addition
of the seldom-heard Overture and Entr'acte music, the behind-the-scenes
documentary, Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic,
the original theatrical trailer and an on-the-set photo gallery
featuring Wyler, producer Sam Zimbalist, cameraman Robert Surtees and
others. This should truly be a fantastic DVD release. Can't wait!
And in other news, there's
effort to create a single, MultiPlay standard for disc-recorded music
on CD and DVD, and CD and DVD-ROM as well. The idea is to end
compatibility issues where, for example, you burn a disc on your DVD-R
drive, but you can't play it on your car stereo. It sounds like a good
isn't without its critics. We'll have to wait and see what happens
Finally today, there's been a lot of rumors around the Net lately about
MGM's Terminator: Special Edition.
It seems there's word that the disc will be released in Australia
(Region 4) in March. The website Dark
Horizons even has
artwork up of the R4 disc. Keep in mind that release dates often
differ between regions. Everything we've heard officially about this
disc from MGM indicates a 3rd or 4th Qtr 2001 release here in the States
(Region 1). Nevertheless, we've got a call into the studio to see if
there's been a change of plans.
Yep... it's that time of year again. The snow is falling... the cold
wind blows... the holidays are almost here... and the Minnesota Vikings
begin their inevitable crumble from serious Superbowl contention. Hey...
I still have hope. So what does that have to do with DVD? Absolutely
nothing. Just had to get it off my chest. ;-)
We do have a cool new review for you today. Todd's taken a look at
Columbia TriStar's forthcoming
2000 DVD, which streets on 12/26. Finally... a Godzilla film
that's worth watching! Don't miss it.
In other news, Hollywood's been dealt a setback in their anti-DeCSS
piracy case in California. It seems that the state's Supreme Court has
issued an order that could see many of the defendants dropped from case
(ultimately as many as 18, because they do not reside in California).
here for more on that via Yahoo.
Also today, Artisan Entertainment has revealed March 20th as the
official street date for their Frank
Herbert's Dune: Special Edition. The 2-disc release is
expected to include the complete mini-series along with a host of
behind-the-scenes material (although there's no word as to whether it
will be anamorphic widescreen, or if the extras will be the same was
those that were released on DVD with the behind-the-scenes book).
And another image has leaked from Paramount's upcoming Star
Trek: The Motion Picture - Special Edition DVD (which is
slated for mid-2001). The new image,
was posted to IGN's Film Force website, shows the changes made to
the scene with Spock on surface of Vulcan. VERY cool. The disc should be
well worth the wait.
And finally this afternoon,
Entertainment has once again updated their
News page to include details on more upcoming titles. Among those
listed are Anchor Bay's C.H.U.D.
and Manhunter: SE, Columbia
TriStar's Dr. T and the Women: SE
and Urban Legend: The Final Cut,
Fox's Demetrius and the Gladiators,
the classic 12 Angry Men (and the
rest of the March DVD slate from MGM), Paramount's The
Original Kings of Comedy, Showtime's Rated
X and Universal's Meet the Parents.
Speaking of Rated X, we recently
had the chance to speak with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen about
their film, which chronicles the lives of 70s porn kings the Mitchell
Brothers. We'll have the text of that conversation for you tomorrow. And
don't forget that our big Holiday Trivia
Contest will start soon - in the meantime,
be sure to enter
the current contest for a chance to win DVD copies of Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty
We're very pleased to present you with another of our special features
Suarez's recent interview with Exorcist director William
Friedkin. Greg gets Friedkin to talk about his films, his new
version of The Exorcist and his
feelings about DVD as well. And Friedkin even reveals his next major
(and soon to be released) DVD special edition. We think you'll really
enjoy the interview, so don't miss it.
Naturally, to go along with the interview, we've just updated our
review of The Exorcist to include
all three DVD versions - the original 1997 release, the 25th
Anniversary Special Edition and the new Version
You've Never Seen. Enjoy!
Finally, around the site today, we've updated our authorized mirror
copy of Jim
Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to the most current version.
(LATE UPDATE - 12/13/00 - 3:15 PM PST)
All right - we've just posted two new reviews. First up is Todd's take
on Warner's new
Art of War, starring Wesley Snipes. The disc streets on
December 26th. And Greg's buried himself in Disneyana to give you his
in-depth look at Disney's massively elaborate and exhaustively amazing
Anthology 3-disc set, which includes the Fantasia:
60th Anniversary Edition and Fantasia
2000, as well as a disc of bonus material called Fantasia
Legacy. There is something like 16 hours of content on the
third disc alone. Heck - it'll probably take you an hour just to read
the review! This is definitely not a set to miss.
In more DVD news today, Columbia TriStar has announced their In
the Line of Fire: Special Edition for February 27th. The disc
will feature new audio commentary with director Wolfgang Petersen,
deleted scenes, the documentary The Ultimate
Sacrifice, the Showtime special Behind
the Scenes with the Secret Service, 2 featurettes (How'd
They Do That? and Catching the
Counterfeiters), TV spots, theatrical trailers, talent files
and production notes. SRP will be $29.95.
Also this afternoon, I thought I'd give you a look at the details for
ADV's first Farscape DVD, which
streets on February 3, 2001 (SRP $24.98). The disc will feature the
episodes Premiere and I,
E.T, with footage never seen by American audiences due to
Sci-Fi Channel commercial limitations. Included is an actor profile on
Ben Browder (Crichton), 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital audio tracks, web
links and an exclusive Making of a Space
Opera featurette. Better still, Browder joins series creator
Rockne S. O'Bannon and executive producer Brian Henson for a commentary
track on the episode Premiere,
while I, E.T. features audio
commentary by Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun) and Anthony Simcoe (D'Argo). The
second Farscape disc is expected
on March 20th, and will include the episodes Exodus
from Genesis and Throne for a Loss.
Features are TBD.
One last note this afternoon - we've FINALLY gotten a hold of the
DVD Player Sales numbers for the complete month of November -
866,507 players were shipped to retailers in Region 1. That pushes the
format-to-date total over the 13 million mark here in the States. And
given that the first week of December saw 510,272 units shipped, we
could peak 14 million before the year is done. Whew! All charts have
been updated accordingly (and we'll try to keep them that way). ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 12/13/00 - 8 AM PST)
We've got a good update of the Rumor
Mill for you this morning, with word on MGM's expected April
DVD slate, as well as info on Close
Encounters and more. If you're a fan of Stallone or Woody
Allen, you don't want to miss it...
We're almost ready to post that interview we mentioned yesterday
afternoon, and more reviews, so do check back later today. In the
meantime, we've got something interesting for you Kevin Smith fans. If
you chance on by
and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, you'll find a very unusual DVD
boxed set. Why is it unusual? Well... 'cause you're gonna pay $35 for
just a box - no DVDs. But the box is pretty sweet, because it's all done
up in metallic silver, and it's designed to fit the three "Jersey
Trilogy" movies on DVD (Clerks,
Mallrats and Chasing
Amy). Hey... if you're a SERIOUS fan, why the hell not?
Here's a look at
"raw art". Enjoy.
Entertainment's updated their
News page again, with details on a ton of upcoming titles (among
them Space: 1999, Smilla's
Sense of Snow and Battlefield
here for more great titles you might have missed while we were
down (like Ordinary People, Terms
of Endearment and all those Hitchcock titles). And
here for a listing of Image-exclusive titles for February
(including Lilith Fair: A Celebration of
Women in Music and the classic Things
We'll be back this afternoon with more, so stay tuned...
All right... all the bugs are worked out, so let the uploads begin.
First up, we've got a pair of new DVD reviews for you, of a pair of
really great films. Todd's got a look at DreamWorks'
Run and Dan Kelly's chimed in with his take on the latest
David Lynch film from Buena Vista,
Straight Story. Both are absolutely not to be missed, and I
really liked The Straight Story in
particular. It's a big little film, as they say.
In other news, Columbia TriStar has announced a special edition version
of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
The disc will street on February 27th, and will include The
Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove
featurette, the Inside the Making of Dr.
Strangelove documentary, an original split-screen interview
with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, a gallery of the film's original
advertising artwork and more. Shoot - a feller could have a pretty good
weekend in Vegas will all that stuff! SRP is $29.95. This is great news
for Kubrick fans. Hopefully, 2001 will see Warner revisit some of it's
Kubrick titles as special editions as well.
Columbia TriStar will also release Minnie Driver's Beautiful
on February 20th, with anamorphic widescreen video and a $25.95 SRP.
ADV Films will debut their second disc of Farscape
episodes to DVD on March 20th. It will include the episodes Exodus
from Genesis and Throne for a Loss.
We've also been able to confirm that March is the expected release
timeframe for Artisan's Frank Herbert's Dune:
Special Edition. Details should follow soon.
We'll post more later this afternoon or early this evening, including
two more reviews and that interview we mentioned yesterday. Stay
We're back! We spent our weekend doing a lot of behind-the-scenes
testing and tweaking here at the Bits,
and the site seems to be fully back to normal now. In fact, it actually
seems to be running a little faster than usual - go figure.
Anyway, we're making a few changes and doing a little updating around
the site - you may have noticed the new
DVD Art button on the navbar on the top left side of the page.
We're going to be updating, overhauling and expanding that popular area
of the site this week, and the new button will give you more direct
access to it. It replaces
Editors Speak, which is a section that had sort of fallen by
the wayside anyway. You can still access that section (and the older
editorials it contains) from the
Now then... we'll be posting our regular update in just a few hours,
which will include new reviews and a special feature interview as well.
So thanks for your patience and stay tuned...!
Okay, how ironic does this seem to you. It's December 7th... and our
servers crash? Hhmmmm.... Yes indeed, the Internet backbone of our ISP
took the opportunity yesterday to crash resoundingly, knocking us off
the Net along with our friends over at the
Theater Forum. Things seems to have settled down now and we're at
least back online. We're going to try to get the post we had planned for
yesterday up this afternoon, but we're still having a hard time
uploading to the server. So if it isn't up until this weekend, you'll
know why. Hey - if NASA can crash a multi-million dollar Mars probe, I
suppose we oughta be able to take a dive now and again, right?
So give us a few hours to get back up to speed, and we'll have a post
up for you soon. In the meantime, here's something we thought was pretty
funny. So what do you do after you retire as President of the Russian
Republic? Well... if you're Boris Yeltsin, you catch up on all those
great DVDs you missed. It seems old Boris is a sucker for Celine Dion,
Sting and George Michael concerts on disc. You can
more here. We'd like to think he's checked out the Bits
over a good stiff shot of Stolichnaya, but sadly (according to the
article), "...grandson Boris once tried to help Yeltsin log on to
the Internet, but the screen bothered his eyes too much." Ah well.
Do you suppose he orders his DVDs online? Can you imagine former KGB
agents browsing the racks at Best Buy for him? "Da - Britney
Spears! Boss vill like dat one." Keep spinning those discs, Boris!
Stay tuned... ;-)
We've been doing a little digging over at Universal, and we've
confirmed that the only way to get the 2nd, 3rd and 4th volumes of Alfred
Hitchcock Presents episodes is in the three upcoming DVD
boxed sets. As with the first volume, there are no plans at this time to
offer them separately. That means if you're a Hitchcock fan who wants
them, and you've already purchased the Universal Hitch films already
available on DVD... you're screwed. The studio's gonna make you buy them
all over again just to get the TV episodes. This, I'm sure, was the
brilliant idea of some studio marketing type, but you can be sure that
it will NOT sit well with fans. Universal can be so inconsistent with
their DVD product. Every now and then you'll get a great Collector's
Edition from them, and then the rest of their titles are cookie-cutter.
We wish they'd just figure out a game plan on how to do this format
right... and stick with it. Anyone else feel the same?
Just FYI... we're doing some year-end site maintenance work, which we
should finish today. We'll be back tomorrow with our usual mix of news
and reviews. Stay tuned...
Well Hitchcock fans, looks like you're gonna be happy campers come
March 2K1 - Universal is releasing several new Hitch films on DVD, as
well as 3 new DVD boxed sets. On March 6th, you'll get Shadow
of a Doubt, Rope, Rear
Window: Collector's Edition, The
Man Who Knew Too Much, Family Plot,
The Trouble with Harry, Torn
Curtin, Frenzy and Alfred
Hitchcock Presents, Volumes 2-4. SRP for each is $29.99.
Here's a look at what the 3 new boxed sets will contain:
The Best of Hitchcock #1 will
include 8 titles - Shadow of a Doubt,
Window: Collector's Edition, The
Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho:
Collector's Edition, Topaz,
Family Plot and Alfred
Hitchcock Presents, Volume 2, containing the TV series
episodes Revenge, Breakdown,
Wet Saturday and Mr.
Blanchard's Secret. SRP is $174.98. Street date: March 6th.
The Best of Hitchcock #2 includes
7 titles - Saboteur, The
Trouble with Harry, Vertigo:
Collector's Edition, The Birds:
Collector's Edition, Marnie,
Torn Curtain, Frenzy
and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Volume 3,
containing the TV series episodes Poison,
The Perfect Crime, A
Dip in the Pool and One More Mile
to Go. SRP is $174.98. Street date: March 6th.
The Hitchcock Collection #2
includes 3 titles - Rear Window: Collector's
Edition, The Man Who Knew Too Much
and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Volume 4,
containing the TV series episodes Arthur,
The Crystal Trench, The
Horseplayer, Mrs. Bixby and the
Colonel's Coat and Bang! You're
Dead. SRP is $64.98. Street date: March 6th.
Damn - that's a lotta Hitch! While we're at it, I've got new upcoming
DVD cover artwork for you for the Rear
Window: Collection's Edition, as well as those three Coffin
Joe titles I mentioned last week (street date April 3rd).
How that for a strange batch? Now then... in keeping with the theme of
March Madness (and I don't mean the basketball variety), MGM is set to
release The Greatest Story Ever Told
on DVD on March 6th. The disc will feature an anamorphic widescreen
presentation of the film, restored to its original theatrical roadshow
version (from the film's original re-timed negative, restored at a cost
of $400,000). The disc will also include English Dolby Digital 5.1 (and
French surround) audio, along with two documentaries and special
behind-the-scenes footage, all for an SRP of $26.98. Now... I know MGM's
had a bunch of quality problems with a few of their recent DVDs. But
you've really gotta give them credit for trying. We're betting they'll
hit their stride big time in 2001. Keep your fingers crossed.
Anyone else out there enjoying Sci-Fi's Dune
miniseries as much as I am? The effects aren't quite feature film
quality, and the whole thing has a bit of a theatrical feel to it. But
I'm still enjoying it immensely. For those who care, parts 2 & 3 air
several times each tonight and Tuesday night, and the whole mini-series
will be rebroadcast in its entirety on December 10th. Plus... I'm now
DEFINITELY looking forward to that DVD version from Artisan in March
(note that the VHS version will street 1/23/01). And one last note - if
you like what you see, I really recommend the book The
Secrets of Frank Herbert's Dune (which I mentioned the other
day), if only for the 80-minute DVD that comes with it. The disc
includes tons of behind-the-scenes interviews and several galleries of
production photographs (covering effects, casting, costumes, effects,
production design and more). You can view each piece separately, or you
can watch them back to back (it plays like an 80-minute documentary).
It's pretty well done - I suspect this disc will make a perfect
companion to the film on DVD when it's released. And given the book's
$19.95 SRP, that's a steal. Do check it out.
One last note this morning...
a newswire story up on that Gladiator
event from last week (via Hollywood Reporter).
That's all for now. Stay tuned...