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Site created 12/15/97.




page updated: 1/5/02



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 12/6/01 - 10/30/01)


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(LATE UPDATE - 12/6/01 - 4 PM PST)

Just a quick update to let you know that we've launched two new Trivia Contests here at The Bits. The first gives you a chance to win copies of Fox's The X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season and Universal's Jurassic Park 3: Collector's Edition. The second give you a shot at great prizes from our friends at ShowOff Displays.

Speaking of that, you should also know that ShowOff Displays is offering all readers of The Digital Bits a $10 off coupon this holiday season (click here to obtain the coupon), which can be used towards the purchase of their home theater accessories. They have movie poster frames, backlit cases, sound system/logo signs and more. Be sure to take advantage of it.

We've also just learned that one of our favorite HBO shows, the fab Mr. Show with Bob and David, is finally coming to DVD. There will apparently be three release "waves", with each set featuring 10 episodes plus extras (including audio commentary on every episode). Look for the DVDs to hit stores in early 2002, with the first discs arriving on Feb. 27th. The news comes direct from the Bob and David's very own gee-whiz web page. Now if we could just get Tenacious D on disc...

Back tomorrow!

(EARLY UPDATE - 12/6/01 - 1 AM PST)

Well... they're a few hours later than expected, but we've just posted reviews of Buena Vista's Pearl Harbor: 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition and Columbia TriStar's Baby Boy: Special Edition (both of which are newly available), along with a long overdue look at Columbia's Bridge on the River Kwai: Limited Edition. Look for more reviews on Friday... earlier this time! ;-)

We'll be back this evening sometime to kick off no less than two new Trivia Contests, which will give you a chance to take home cool prizes from ShowOff Displays, as well as copies of Fox's The X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season and Universal's Jurassic Park III: Collector's Edition (widescreen, of course).

And in the meantime, we've got word on more newly announced titles from Buena Vista. Look for The Legend 2 on 2/12, Corky Romano on 3/2, Iron Monkey on 3/12 and (for you 'NSync-ers) On the Line on 3/26. Peter Pan II: Return to Neverland is also forthcoming (street date TBD).

Universal has also finally announced their American Pie 2 (street date January 15th). As expected, the collector’s edition DVD will be available in both rated and unrated formats, with each version available in both full-frame and widescreen aspect ratios (SRP $26.98 each). Here's a note on the extras, from the press release:

"The unrated American Pie 2 has been re-edited to include scenes never before seen by the public. Both versions of the American Pie 2 DVD will feature 10 hours of in-your-face entertainment including: a Jason Biggs faux public service announcement warning consumers of the dangers of confusing lubricant with Ultra-Glue; home video footage shot by the stars on the behind-the-scenes craziness of the making of American Pie 2; never-before-seen casting tapes from the original American Pie auditions; an industry-first American Pie Poll where consumers voted on MSN.com for their favorite American Pie and American Pie 2 scenes and a brand new “Universal Access” DVD-ROM feature which allows consumers the opportunity to access never-before-seen clips from their favorite films..."

Finally this morning, Dave's Video - The Laser Place here in L.A. is going to be holding another DVD signing event on Saturday, December 15th (from 1 to 3 PM PST), this time with Rush Hour 2 director Brett Ratner. As always, you can get two items signed, one of which must be a copy of the DVD purchased at Dave's. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a charity of the special guest's choice. Thanks to Bits reader Guy for the FYI. Dave's Video is located at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA.

Stay tuned...

12/5/01

Before we get to reviews (sometime this afternoon), I wanted to post some more upcoming DVD information from the studios. First up though, we've added word on a possible 2002 street date for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (no kidding) and news about the release of Batman: The Animated Series on DVD from Warner. You'll find that in today's update of The Rumor Mill.

Now then... you Larry Sanders fans will be thrilled to learn that Columbia TriStar is releasing The Larry Sanders Show: The Entire First Season on DVD on February 26th. The extras are basically limited to something called Gary Shandling Talks... "No Flipping". Other upcoming Columba titles include Brother and California Suite (1/2), Zebra Lounge (1/8), You Light Up My Life (1/22), The Man Who Loved Women (1/29), Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles - The Hydora Campaign and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles - The Tophet Campaign (2/5), Mrs. Winterbourne, The Legend of Red Dragon and Sexual Predator (2/12), Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, Punchline and Advertising Rules! (2/19) and Haiku Tunnel, Madame Butterfly and Va Savoir (2/26).

Anchor Bay newly announced titles include Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and Lesson of Darkness/Fata Morgana (both due on 1/8). 20th Century Fox has added Don't Say a Word to its 2/19 slate, along with Glimpse of Hell on 2/26. Urban Vision will release Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust on 2/12. Warner Bros has announced Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (2/12), Split Second, Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Story, Love Beat the Hell Out of Me and Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (all 3/5), Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie (3/19), and Blast!, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring and the classic Watership Down (3/26). They've also got National Geographic: Inside the Vatican on 3/5.

Samurai Jack: The Premiere MovieWatership Down

Back this afternoon...

12/4/01

We've added some 15 new covers to the new Upcoming DVD Cover Art page, including all the Beverly Hills Cop films, the Bad News Bears films, The Larry Sanders Show: The Entire First Season and more.

We've also updated the CEA DVD Player Sales chart to include the 466,033 players shipped to retailers in the third week of November (ending 11/16). That takes the format total to date well past the 24 million mark. All charts have been updated accordingly.

And we've posted the winners of our second Trivia Contest for November. Look for our next one to start very soon. We've got great stuff to give away, including copies of The Sopranos: The Compete Second Season, The X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season, Jurassic Park III and more.

Now that we're caught up on site issues, we've got reviews on the way for a number of major new and upcoming DVDs over the next few days. Stay tuned...

12/3/01

Well... we've had a busy weekend here at The Bits, and we've gotten a lot of that behind-the-scenes work done. So look for us to be back to our normal posts starting tomorrow. In the meantime, we do have one thing for you this afternoon, which is a rundown of Paramount's complete January schedule, as well as official word on Star Trek: The Next Generation coming to DVD. Here goes...

So... Paramount's January slate will include Prophecy (1/8 - 16x9), Seconds (1/8 - 1966 - 16x9, John Frankenheimer commentary), Daria: The Movie - "Is it Fall Yet?" (1/15 - full frame, 2 bonus episodes, music video), Sabrina (1/15 - 1995 - 16x9), Cousins (1/15 - 16x9), Falling in Love (1/15 - 16x9), An American Rhapsody (1/22 - 16x9), Rat Race (1/29 - 16x9, interviews, featurette, gag reel, 6 deleted scenes, outtakes), WWF Tough Enough: The First Season (1/29 - full frame), Behind WWF Tough Enough (1/29 - full frame), Vampire in Brooklyn (1/29 - 16x9), Harlem Nights (1/29 - 16x9), Beverly Hills Cop (1/29 - 16x9, audio commentary, interviews, 2 featurettes, interactive map, photo gallery), Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1/29 - 16x9, interviews, 2 featurettes, deleted scene with director introduction) and Beverly Hills Cop 3 (1/29 - 16x9, interviews).

And now for that Star Trek news. Paramount has confirmed that the Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season One - Collector's Edition will arrive on DVD in March. The 7-disc set will include all 26 episodes of the show's first season, along with more than 2 hours worth of cast & crew interviews and rare behind-the-scenes footage (much of which has never been seen before). And just FYI, if you happen to pick up Star Trek: The Original Series, Volume 40 (which completes the entire original series on DVD), you'll find a preview trailer for the TNG DVDs.

See you back here tomorrow...!

11/30/01

Okay... we're rounding out the week with a new column from Todd, in which he reviews TLA Releasing's Waiting. You'll find that in the Doogan's Views section, along with Todd's List of 10 DVDs Coming Next Week.

Now for a couple of quick personal notes... Sarah and I want to send out congratulations to our friends Jed and Deeanna, who had a new baby daughter earlier this week. Rock on, guys!

Also, my kid brother Jason back in Minneapolis has asked to play his trusty nepotism card. So he wants me to mention to all of you that he's currently appearing in a stage performance of Six Degrees of Separation (presented by Theatre Limina) at the Old Arizona Studios (2821 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis MN). The show runs from November 29th to December 13th, 2001. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at this link at TicketWorks.com.

Six Degrees of Separation

And Todd's wife Erin is appearing in a production of The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of "A Christmas Carol" at Atlanta's First Stage (whew!). It runs from December 6th to the 16th. Click here for directions and to reserve tickets. Todd's even helping out with the sets on this - keep your eyes peeled for him if you happen to go.

In a brief DVD news note, Hollywood's apparently sending DVDs to the troops in the Middle East to keep their spirits high.

And finally this morning, some sad news for music fans. Former Beatle George Harrison has passed away of cancer at the age of 58. I don't suppose there's much else that can or needs to be said.

See you back here next week...

11/29/01

We've got a few new items for you today. First up, we've just posted Greg's Video Game Buyer's Guide, which takes a comparative look at Microsoft's XBox, Nintendo's Gamecube and Sony's PS2 systems. There's detailed specs of the systems themselves and a look at some of the games that are available for each. If someone in your family is asking for one of these systems this holiday season, you'll find it worth a read.

Next up, I've just reviewed Interscope and Universal Music's new U2: Elevation 2001 - Live in Boston 2-disc set. It's available now at Best Buy stores, and it streets everywhere else on December 4th. If you're a fan of the band, I think you'll enjoy it as much as I am.

We've also added some interesting new rumors to The Rumor Mill, including whisperings from Europe about Back to the Future, Episode II and other titles. They DEFINITELY fall in the rumor category, but are worth checking out.

We've also updated the AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list to reflect the release of Doctor Zhivago, and the fact that Universal has all up admitted that E.T. is on the way.

And from the front lines in the DeCSS war, we've got a report that Hollywood's won a major battle. It seems that a federal court upheld a ban on DVD copying software, saying it violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (read more about that here, here and here). As you may know, in a related case in California, a state appeals court earlier this month overturned an order that barred hundreds of people from publishing DeCSS online. Something tells me this battle will be fought well into the 21st century.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/28/01 - 1:15 PM PST)

MGM's just sent us word of their March 2002 DVD slate, along with details on a pair of additional February titles. Let's start with the latter first. Ghost World streets on February 5th, for an SRP of $26.98. The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, deleted and alternate scenes, The Making of Ghost World featurette (featuring cast and crew interviews) and a rare music video from the 1965 film Gumnaam, which showcases the music of Mohammed Rafi's Jaan Pehechaan Ho. MGM's The Smokers streets the same day for an SRP of $26.98. The disc will include anamorphic widescreen and full frame video options and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio.

Now for the March titles - look for Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Electra, Mademoiselle and A Tale of Springtime (aka Conte de Printemps) on March 5th. SRP will be $19.98 for each. All will be letterboxed widescreen except for Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, which will be in anamorphic widescreen. All will feature a theatrical trailer, and Eat, Drink, Man, Woman includes an interview with the director. Following on March 19th (also for $19.98 each) will be Impromptu, Romeo is Bleeding, Angels & Insects, Bar Girls, Boxcar Bertha, De Sade and The Locusts. All will be anamorphic widescreen except Angels & Insects and Impromptu. All will include a theatrical trailer. De Sade will also include a featurette.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/28/01 - 11:45 AM PST)

Hi everyone! A couple things this morning. First up, we've got a lot of yearly maintenance work going on behind the scenes here at the Bits this week. So just bear with us if content isn't quite up to par this week. The site won't be down at all, but our attention may be focused elsewhere a little more than normal for the rest of the week.

In the meantime, we are working on reviews, many of which will be posted this week. And Greg Suarez, being the avid gamer that he is, is creating a buyer's guide to the major video game systems of this holiday season. We'll have that for you tomorrow.

In the meantime, we've got word that could be confirmation that The Back to the Future Trilogy is indeed on its was to DVD. The BTTF.com website reports that Universal has submitted a total of 3 minutes of commercial advertising programming for the DVD release to the British Board of Film Classification (the British equivalent of the MPAA ratings board). No word on even a UK street date yet, but I'd say we'll know soon.

Also this morning, Paramount has confirmed that Hardball is on the way on February 19th. The disc will include anamorphic widescreen, English 5.1 and English and French 2.0 surround tracks, audio commentary with director Brian Robbins and writer John Gatins, The Making of Hardball featurette, 3 deleted scenes, the Hardball music video (by Lil Bow Wow, Lil' Wayne, Lil' Zane & Sammie), the theatrical trailer and TV spots. SRP is $29.95.

And in other news, Don May, Jr. from Synapse e-mailed us yesterday with word that their Grapes of Death: Special Edition will be released on January 29th. The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital mono audio (in French with optional, newly-translated English subtitles), the film's theatrical trailer, a video interview with director director Jean Rollin and star Brigitte Lahaie, a director biography, liner Notes by Nigel J. Burrell and a photo gallery. SRP will be $24.98. Synapse has also added a new online store (complete with a secure shopping cart feature) to their website, so you can order all their great titles on DVD directly from the source.

Back soon...

11/27/01

I wanted to send out a quick warning to all those of you out there who use Microsoft's Outlook or Outlook Express e-mail programs. There's a nasty little computer virus that's going around right now. It's called the Badtrans.b worm, and it's been causing problems all over the place beginning this weekend (here's a story about it from yesterday on CNN.com). You receive it as an e-mail attachment, that launches itself when you go to read the e-mail. You don't even have to click the attachment, it opens when you highlight the e-mail's subject line in Outlook. It hides in your Windows\System folder and records all the keystrokes you enter (passwords, credit card information) and sends it out to the Net. Then it goes through your address book and sends out lots of copies of itself to infect your family and friends. Most companies can block the virus-bearing e-mails using firewall software, but home computers are vulnerable. Todd and I have been getting hammered with this thing for a few days now. Luckily, anti-virus software catches it pretty easily, so we haven't been infected - it's more a nuisance than anything else. But judging by the amount of e-mails we're getting with this virus attached, a lot of you may be infected. Our recommendation is that you update your anti-virus software with the latest virus definitions and scan your systems. And if you don't have anti-virus software, get some right way. There are lots of great programs you can buy and there are plenty of freeware and shareware programs too (visit this page at Download.com to check them out). Just FYI.

Stay tuned...

11/26/01

So did you all have a great holiday weekend? Get in some shopping? Take advantage of the numerous sales on DVDs? I happened to check out Best Buy on Friday morning, and man - I've never seen lines so long at that store! By the way, we're hearing from lots of people who were able to get their hands on the Fox Demo Disc #1 - glad you're enjoying it. We'll be giving away lots more copies in December, so stay tuned.

Speaking of giving away, we've just posted the winners from our last Trivia Contest and have also kicked off the new Trivia Contest, which gives 5 lucky winners a chance to take home copies of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and more. Be sure to check it out.

We've also posted Todd's List of 10 DVDs Coming Tomorrow in the Doogan's Views section, and updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 416,015 players sold in the second week of November (ending 11/9) - all charts have been updated accordingly.

In other news today, we've got more upcoming DVD announcements. ADV's Farscape, Volume 10 streets on January 22nd. Columbia TriStar's added The 6th Day: Special Edition, Brian's Song (TV version) and Lagaan to their January 22nd slate, Groundhog Day: Special Edition, The Man Who Loved Women, The Princess and the Warrior, Richard Pryor: Here and Now and When Strangers Appear to their January 29th batch and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles 3 & 4, Blind Date, Funny Lady, Grateful Dawg, Life Without Dick and Used Cars to their February 5th releases. DreamWorks has given a January 29th street date to their Curse of the Jade Scorpion. HBO has announced Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team (January 8th) and Split Second (March 5th). Lion's Gate's "O": Special Edition arrives on February 19th. Paramount's announced Beverly Hills Cop I-III, Harlem Nights and A Vampire in Brooklyn for January 29th and Bad News Bears, Bad News Bears Go to Japan, Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, Hot Pursuit and Intersection for February 12th. Universal's Captain Corelli's Mandolin: Collector's Edition arrives on February 5th, with The Long Run and Musketeer following on February 26th. Warner has The Bad and the Beautiful, Designing Women, Klute, Summer of '42 and Touch of Class coming on February 19th. Warner BBC titles in the offing include Absolutely Fabulous: Complete Series 4, French & Saunders: At the Movies, French & Saunders: Gentlemen Prefer French & Saunders and Blue Planet: Seas of Life (all February 5th), Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (February 12th) and Father Ted: The Complete Series 2 (March 5th). And Warner Music titles on the way include AC/DC: Stiff Upper Lip Live, The Cure: Greatest Hits and Red Hot Chili Peppers: Off the Map (all December 4th).

Also, we've heard from fans of director Kevin Smith. The director has announced that the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob: Special Edition DVD will include audio commentary with Smith, Jason Mewes and Scott Mosier, over an hour of cut scenes, extended footage and gag reels, 2 behind-the-scenes featurettes, music videos, the Comedy Central Reel Comedy with Jay and Silent Bob special and various trailers and TV spots. Smith has also revealed that he's working on a Clerks: Special Edition for release later in 2004 - the 10th anniversary of the film's release.

Stay tuned...

11/21/01

We've got a few more new DVD reviews for you today before we break for the week. Okay... not entirely true. We may post a thing or two on Friday. But otherwise, we're gonna be spinning lots of great discs and crashing out in a turkey induced stupor like the rest of America. So to tide you over, we've just posted Todd's latest column in the Doogan's Views section. Included are reviews of Image's Chopper and Warner's The Matrix Revisited and The Dirty Harry Collection, featuring Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool. Enjoy!

And with that, we bid you farewell until Friday. Everyone here at The Digital Bits would like to wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday. Eat lots of great food (I can already smell the rhubarb pie!), watch lots of great movies and make sure to pick up a few new DVDs for your collection during the many sales on Friday. Peace!

11/20/01

Boy... seems you guys have some strong opinions as to which game system you think is going to rule the planet - GameCube or Xbox. Right now, the opinions seem pretty evenly split, with a few people throwing PS2 into the mix. But we've gotten hundreds of responses this far. So many, in fact, that we're going to be doing a "shopping guide" for these new systems next week. And we'll post the results of our informal survey then.

In the meantime, Greg's been a busy beaver this week. We've just posted his reviews of DreamWorks' Shrek: Special Edition, MGM's Home for the Holidays (the perfect Thanksgiving title) and Warner's Empire of the Sun. And more reviews will follow tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

11/19/01

Okay... first a few bits of news. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is expected to approve adding a Best Picture Oscar for Animated Film category to the next Academy Awards, which (according to Business Week Online via Yahoo) is sure to sponsor a marketing war between Monsters, Inc. and Shrek. Battle aside, we think it's great that feature-length animation will finally get its due.

Next up, there's word from the BBC that a final novel from author and humorist Douglas Adams will be published next May, on the first anniversary of his death. Salmon of Doubt is reportedly the "sixth" episode of the much-loved Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy". The author had apparently been working on the novel for more than a decade, but never completed it. So it will be published that way - edited but unfinished - along with a collection of Adams's final writing, which will include magazine and newspaper articles, lectures, writings from his website and some of his work with BBC Radio 4. The book will also reportedly include his screenplay for the long-awaited (and yet-to-be-realized) film version of Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Count me in.

In terms of DVD news, we've got more details on Columbia's Groundhog Day: Special Edition, which streets on January 29th. The disc will include audio commentary by director Harold Ramis, The Weight of Time documentary, trailers and talent files, anamorphic widescreen video and audio in English Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 versions. SRP will be $24.95.

We've got word on a number of forthcoming Paramount & Universal titles in today's Rumor Mill update, along with Jay and Silent Bob news. Don't miss it.

We've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 549,290 players shipped to retailers in the first week of November (ending 11/2). All charts have been updated accordingly.

I got an e-mail from a Best Buy staffer with official word on the Fox DVD Demo #1 giveaway: "Just a little inside info on that juicy little DVD promo that will be available at Best Buy on Black Friday (11/23). It will be available FREE to the first 500 costumers per store. I believe that all of our stores open at 7 a.m. and that most stores will have at least 500 copies (probably more)." So there you go - thanks Darryl. As we've mentioned before, we'll also have at least 50 copies of the disc to give away here at The Digital Bits. Stay tuned for that...

And finally... with both Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox finally in stores, we'd like to know which system you think is better positioned for success. From a hardware standpoint alone, Xbox seems to have an edge, coming equipped with a hard-drive, an Ethernet port that will eventually allow broadband Internet play and the ability to play back DVDs. GameCube has none of these, but Nintendo has greater experience in the gaming world and their system sells for $100 less than the Xbox's $299 price tag. So give us an e-mail with your two cents on this issue. Which system is better? Which do you intend to buy? We'll report the completely unscientific results here later this week.

Now then... this week is going to be pretty slow with the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. So we're going to be concentrating on reviews. We've got lots of them in the works, so be sure to stay tuned...

11/18/01

Amazing! Did anyone else brave the cold late Saturday night and early Sunday morning to go out an catch the Leonid meteor shower? My buddy Matt and me took a van full of teenagers up to the high desert here in California to see what scientists were predicting was going to be a literal meteor storm - the best show in more than 30 years. And we weren't disappointed. All across North America last night, stargazers were treated to a tremendous display of the power of nature. It's no exaggeration to say that we easily saw more than 1,000 meteors an hour, some so bright they lit up the night sky and cast shadows on the ground. We even saw a couple explode into pieces. We got to our viewing location at about 2:30 AM and stayed until shortly after dawn and the show never let up for a moment, even with the sun coming up. Sometimes, there were 4 and 5 at a time - your eyes literally couldn't follow them all. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I truly hope many of you were lucky enough to partake in it. If not, there's still a chance over the next few nights for you to see the tail end of the shower - do try to take a few minutes and check it out.

So that's it. Not DVD related, I know. But hey - even here at The Bits, there's more to life than just DVD. Hope your weekend's been as great as mine! See you tomorrow... ;-)

(LATE UPDATE - 11/16/01 - 12:30 PM PST)

Afternoon all! Bits reader John G. sent us a link to Universal's E.T. 20th Anniversary website this morning, which contains the studio's official press release about the theatrical run. This press release also specifically mentions "the movie's first-time release on DVD, featuring both the original version of the film and the 20th anniversary enhanced version, as well as exclusive supplementary materials." Guess that makes it official. Thanks for the link, John!

In other news, we've figured out the goofy street date thing for the U2: Elevation 2001 DVD. It will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores on November 20th, and then will street widely on December 4th.

Also this afternoon, Retuers has a story on the Episode II exclusive DVD preview via Yahoo. And there's word that the upcoming Nine Inch Nails DVD release (Live: And All That Could Have Been) has been delayed until January 22nd.

Now then... there's lots of new movies and DVDs for you guys to check out, so there's no excuse for you all not have a great weekend. We'll see you back on Monday with some major upcoming DVD reviews and another great week of chocolaty DVD goodness. See you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/16/01 - 3:45 AM PST)

Morning, kids! Thought I'd get a jump on things for a change... beat you all to the coffee machine. My lovely wife, Sarah, and I have just returned from a jam-packed Midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Darned good movie that! Wicked one might even say. It's rare that a movie lives up to its hype, but aside from being just a tad long in spots, Harry's a winner. I can certainly see why it needed to be 152 minutes long. If it wasn't, kids everywhere would be complaining that stuff from the book was left out. And having read all the Harry Potter books thus far, that's the thing I'm most pleased to say - the movie is VERY faithful to the book. So much so, in fact, that almost everything about it makes you say, "Yup... that's just how I pictured it." Take the kids and have a great time.

If you do, you should also be lucky enough to see the Episode II teaser trailer, version 3.0 (a.k.a. "Forbidden Love"). Which, I might add, is NOW available for download at Star Wars.com. The acting still feels a bit stiff, but this flick looks WAY better than Episode I, that's for sure. Meet you in line. ;-)

One other Star Wars note - director George Lucas has officially confirmed that he's shot additional scenes to be added into the original film Trilogy to "complete the story". This explains why it's unlikely that we'll see the original films on DVD until after Episode II and III have been released on disc. Hopefully, he'll remember to include the original theatrical versions of the films on the discs as well. Otherwise, there will be howls of outrage. Personally, I just want him to un-tweak the scene where Greedo shoots first in Star Wars. That's it - just fix that and I'm happy. In any case, this information comes direct from an interview with Lucas on E! Daily News.

Don't forget to check out Adam's interview with John Landis, which we posted last night. And Todd's List of 10 DVDs Coming Next Week is now available in the Doogan's Views section. Don't miss it!

Okay... now I'm gonna play the Episode II trailer a few dozen more times and hit the sack. See you in the morning! Or should I say afternoon? Definitely afternoon. Or maybe evening...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/15/01 - 4:45 PM PST)

A quick note - we've just heard from our friends at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. They report that Demo Disc #1 will be available at Best Buy stores on Friday, November 23rd, on a first-come, first-served basis. Best of all, there's no purchase necessary to get the disc.

Now then... the good stuff. We've just posted our own Adam Jahnke's in-depth interview with one of our favorite directors here at The Digital Bits... John Landis. Just a few days ago, Adam got the chance to sit down with Landis for an hour-long, face-to-face chat. We think you'll really enjoy both their lively discussion and the wide ranging subjects they touched upon. So without further bru-ha-ha, adieu and pontificating... we give you Adam Jahnke's Movies, Monkeys and Music with John Landis. Enjoy!

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/15/01 - 10:45 AM PST)

Morning all! There's a couple things to go over this morning. First up, word is that the final, full teaser trailer for Episode II will be available for download at Star Wars.com tomorrow. This is the trailer that will appear in theaters, also starting tomorrow, with Harry Potter. We're told that you'll need to register at the site to download it, so if you want to see the trailer tomorrow, you might want to get the registering done today. It's free, so what the heck.

Next up, you may or may not have seen this yet, but a German DVD site claimed yesterday to have shots of the packaging for the first Star Trek: The Next Generation DVD boxed set. They've taken it down, but here's what it looks like...

TNG DVD packaging?

We've got calls into Paramount as to whether or not this is ledgit. We expect to hear back from them soon, so we'll keep you posted.

And finally, we've been hearing from a lot of readers that they're having trouble finding copies of the newly released widescreen version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It seems many stores have been slow to stock it. I have no idea why that would be and I certainly don't think it's deliberate. But if you can't find it in your area, we recommend you try ordering it via this link at DVD Planet (for $18.74 plus shipping). Good service and a decent price too.

We'll be back in a couple of hours with a very special interview by our own Adam Jahnke. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/14/01 - 3:45 PM PST)

We've just posted Todd's new weekly column in the Doogan's Views section, which includes reviews of Paramount's Tomb Raider: Collector's Edition (available now), both the full frame playset and widescreen versions of Universal's How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Collector's Edition (November 20th), Anchor Bay's Bad Taste: Limited Edition (November 20th) and Fantoma's The Educational Archives, Volumes 1 & 2 (available now). Enjoy!

Back tomorrow with a new special feature piece. See you then...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/14/01 - 12:45 PM PST)

We've got more DVD cover artwork for you today - we've posted several new cover scans in a New Artwork section. These include Jeepers Creepers, Ghost World, Evil Dead: Book of the Dead Edition, Farscape, Volumes 8 & 9 and more.

We've also posted a look at the menus screens for the M*A*S*H: TV Season One, M*A*S*H: 5-Star Edition and Moulin Rouge DVDs from Fox.

And there's news today about recordable DVD. At a Comdex press conference yesterday, the Recordable DVD Council (a coalition of nearly 75 DVD technology developers and manufacturers) expressed support for all 3 recordable DVD formats (DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW) that comply with the recordable standards established by the DVD Forum. Will this cause consumer confusion about recordable DVD? It's too soon to tell. Hopefully, a format war can be avoided, although different manufacturers continue to support different formats. Still Sony, Pioneer and Philips all expect to launch home DVD recorders next year. Sony has just launched a line of recordable DVD media in anticipation of this.

In other news, U2's forthcoming live DVD, which streets on November 20th, will be a 2-disc set. The release, titled Elevation 2001 - Live From Boston, will include the following songs performed live: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until the End of the World, Stuck in a Moment, Kite, Gone, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, In a Little While, Desire, Stay (Faraway, So Close), Bad, Where the Streets Have No Name, Bullet the Blue Sky, With or Without You, The Fly, Wake Up Dead Man and Walk On. Disc One will feature the complete 107-minute show. Disc Two will feature the show again, but with the "Another Perspective" option - the concert was shot with more than 20 different camera angles, and Disc Two will give you the option to view many of them. There are also a number of bonus tracks, a 5-minute time-lapse segment and a 25-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. SRP is $32.97. I actually saw U2's Anaheim, CA performance and was lucky enough to score a floor spot inside the "heart" shaped stage. If this disc is half as cool as the concert was, it should be terrific.

Stay tuned...

11/13/01

Okay... we've got some news for you today. First of all, we've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers for the complete month of October - some 1,516,211 players shipped to retail during the month (week ending 10/26), making the total for the year thus far 9,062,764 players, and pushing the format total to date to a whopping 22,985,095 players. All charts have been updated accordingly.

In other news, we've got word from our friends at Dave's Video that they're going to be holding a special signing event on Tuesday, November 20th, 2001 from 7 to 9 PM. The guest of honor will be director Richard Rush, and he'll be signing copies of Anchor Bay's new The Stunt Man DVD. 2 items may be signed per person, 1 of which must be a copy of the DVD purchased at Dave's. Should be a fun evening.

Columbia TriStar has just announced their The 6th Day: Special Edition DVD for release on January 22nd. The 2-disc set (SRP $24.95) will contain anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by composer Trevor Rabin with 5.1 isolated music score, the On the 6th Day behind-the-scenes featurette, the Showtime special The Future is Coming, storyboard comparisons, animatics, the RePet infomercial and TV spot, theatrical trailers and more.

The official Highlander website has just revealed that Highlander: Season One will arrive on DVD on December 10th. You can order it there now for $129.95. The 8-disc set will contain all 22 first season episodes of the TV series, along with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 sound, a "Slate button" feature that lets you access newly created on-camera commentary from executive producer Bill Panzer for each episode, a "Watcher Chronicles button" feature that opens biographical and historical information on each episode's mortals, Immortals, weaponry and the Watchers themselves, "Flashback buttons" that activate each episode's flashback scenes, a " Q button" that takes you straight to the Quickening, a blooper reel, a behind-the-scenes featurette (the original series promo created to launch the show's first season) and a CD-ROM of all of the scripts for the first season's episodes.

Next up, we're pleased to announce that 20th Century Fox will be giving a free promotional DVD at Best Buy stores, starting first thing on the morning of Friday, November 23rd. I'm not sure if it will be completely free or free with a purchase (any purchase or a specific title), so I'll try to find out. It's called Demo Disc #1, and the idea is to introduce newcomers to DVD to some of the many special features the format offers. There are samples of video and sound quality, as well as special feature demonstrations, from over 20 popular Fox DVD titles. You get demos of audio and text commentary, deleted scenes, documentaries and vignettes, even Easter eggs. There's a piece on film restoration and a sample of other interactive features as well. You also get a THX Optimizer, the THX "Cavalcade" and "Tex" trailers, and the trailer for Fox's upcoming Ice Age. The staff of The Digital Bits was invited to contribute content to the disc as well, for a section called DVD for Beginners. We've taken our popular Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic DVD and created a slimmed-down version that works in menu page format. And Todd's compiled a Glossary of more than 50 common DVD terms, with explanations that even non-techies can understand. The disc is sure to disappear fast, so be sure to get yours quickly when it becomes available. We'll also be giving away a number of copies of the disc here at The Digital Bits, so watch for that later this month.

Fox DVD Demo Disc #1 - available soon only at Best BuyEvil Dead: Book of the Dead prototype cover

Zoinks! What's that other piece of art you ask? Well Bits faithful, that's a sneak peek at the just created prototype for the DVD case for Anchor Bay's forthcoming Evil Dead: Book of the Dead Edition that's due sometime early next year (tentatively February 2002). You have permission to salivate...

And finally, Roger Waters fans will be pleased to hear that Roger Waters: In the Flesh will be released on DVD on December 18th by Sony Music (SRP $19.98). The disc will include all the tracks listed on the CD set, along with Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM stereo audio, a 30-minute "behind-the-scenes" documentary, band biographies, still photos, projected images, lyrics and even a "technical sound system set-up guide". Very cool. Thanks to Joseph for the heads up.

Stay tuned...

11/12/01

Morning all. Everyone have a good weekend? Obviously the morning's brought with it some more tragic news, so our best wishes out to all those affected. In the meantime, we've posted Todd's column from Friday in the Doogan's Views section, which includes reviews of Fox's Willow: Special Edition (street date 11/27), MGM's Fritz the Cat (12/11) and Columbia TriStar's America's Sweethearts (11/13) DVDs. We've also posted Greg's look at Warner's recently released Swordfish. And we intend to catch up on lots more news discs this week, so keep an eye out for more reviews.

We have word from Columbia TriStar this morning that You Light Up My Life will arrive on DVD on January 22nd. The disc will include anamorphic widescreen and full frame video and Dolby Digital mono audio. SRP is $24.95. Buena Vista's added The Adventures of Huck Finn and Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (live action) to their January 15th slate. Other newly announced titles include Belle de Jour, Bubble Boy, Dragstrip Girl, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (live action), Purple Noon, Young Girls of Rochefort and Robinson Crusoe (all January 22nd). And Criterion's announced another title for release on January 22nd as well - Me and Isaac Newton.

By the way... finally saw that Episode II "Mystery" trailer this weekend, with the help of Lucasfilm. Damn thing looks VERY cool. We're also pleased to say that Lucasfilm and Apple have worked out a way you Mac users can view the trailer via DVD-ROM - click here for all the details (and kudos to them for doing this). Can't wait to see the final teaser trailer in theaters this Friday with Harry Potter... ;-)

11/9/01

Well... there's a new Episode II trailer online. It's called "Mystery" and it's a more traditional trailer than the "Breathing" trailer we've already seen, with dialogue and lots of new footage. That's the good news. The bad news is that you can only get it if you have a Windows equipped PC, with a DVD-ROM drive and the Episode I disc. I've seen about half of the new trailer, and I'd love to see more. Why only half you say? Because Interactual's PC Friendly software keep crashing my computer. Actually, it crashes both of the computers we have here at The Bits. The best I can do is to get about halfway through the trailer, and then it locks up on me. Ah well.

We're gonna try to get those reviews up shortly. They're ready to go, but we seem to be having the latest in a seemingly endless run of server problems. If we can't get them up today, we'll put them up tomorrow some time. Stay tuned...

11/8/01

Okay... no sooner do we finish uploading all that new Upcoming DVD Cover Art, we get 20 more hot new covers from Paramount and 20th Century Fox! Some of this art is so new, we guarantee you won't find it anywhere else online (and if you do find it elsewhere, it probably came from us!). So enjoy your very first look at the cover art for the last 4 volumes of Star Trek: The Original Series, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Pootie Tang, 'Til There Was You, Soapdish, The Score, Frankie & Johnny, The Elephant Man, Medium Cool, Seconds, Prophecy, Breaking Away, Rookie of the Year, The Sandlot, Dimples, Bright Eyes and Heidi! Just FYI, the pages with additional art from what we posted yesterday are 2, 3, 5 and 6.

In other news this morning, there's word that the DVD version of America: A Tribute to Heroes will arrive on December 4th from Warner Music. The disc will feature the entire telethon as broadcast on TV, including all of the musical performances. Proceeds from the event will go to the September 11th Telethon Fund. The complete list of tracks are as follows: Bruce Springsteen - My City of Ruin, Stevie Wonder and Take 6 - Love's In Need of Love Today, U2 - Walk On, Faith Hill - There Will Come a Day, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - I Won't Back Down, Enrique Iglesias - Hero, Neil Young - Imagine, Alicia Keys - Someday We'll All Be Free, Limp Bizkit with Johnny Rzeznik - Wish You Were Here, Billy Joel - New York State of Mind, Dixie Chicks - I Believe in Love, Dave Matthews - Everyday, Wyclef Jean - Redemption Song, Mariah Carey - Hero, Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer, Sheryl Crow - Safe and Sound, Sting - Fragile, Eddie Vedder - Long Road, Paul Simon - Bridge Over Troubled Water, Celine Dion - God Bless America and Willie Nelson and guests - America the Beautiful.

And here's the big news today. The numbers are in on Shrek's recent sales performance and it should come as no surprise to anyone. Some 2.5 million copies of the DVD were sold in the title's first 3 days of release, making it the fastest selling DVD title of all time. It beats records set only very recently by Fox's Star Wars: Episode I (which sold 2.2 million copies in its first week) and Universal's The Mummy Returns (2 million first week). Recession or no... people sure do gobble up their DVDs these days, don't they?

Finally, to all you PC users out there, don't forget to keep your Episode I DVD handy tomorrow. The online Episode II preview goes live tomorrow morning on the special DVD-ROM website. Should be cool. Wonder how long it'll take to log in?

Now then... I'm damn tired after prepping all this artwork! So I'm gonna take the rest of the morning off and sleep in. Todd, myself and the rest of The Bits review staff will be spinning discs this afternoon and evening, and we'll be back tomorrow with a look at a whole slew of new and forthcoming discs. So until then... peace.

Betcha thought I was gonna say "stay tuned..." didn't ya? ;-)

(LATE UPDATE - 11/7/01 - 7:15 PM PST)

You wanted an Upcoming DVD Cover Art update? Well... you got one! We've just completed a major updating of the entire section, adding more than 150 new covers. And more art is on the way over the next few days. The list of new titles is way too long to post here, but highlights include The Stunt Man, U2 Elevation 2001: Live from Boston, Twin Peaks: Season One, Sting: All This Time, Bram Stoker's Dracula: SuperBit, Mists of Avalon, Evolution, The Glass House, Ken Burns' Mark Twain, Love Affair, Miss Evers' Boys, The Object of My Affection, Kiss of the Dragon, Groundhog Day: Special Edition, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and many more. We suggest you just check out the complete update for yourselves. EVERY page has new art, so enjoy!

A quick update from earlier - I didn't realize that the links I gave in the 11:45 AM post (re: Mac DVD-ROM access) were out of date. So I've removed the links and revised the comments accordingly. A lot of people blame the studios for the lack of Mac DVD-ROM content, and a lot of people blame Apple. I can only tell you what DVD producers themselves are telling me, which is that the tools and software support they need to produce Mac DVD-ROM content just aren't available yet. Take it as you will.

And one last note this evening. Criterion has just announced that they'll release Marcel Carné's Children of Paradise on DVD on January 22nd. The 2-disc set will SRP for $39.95, and will include B&W, full frame video (the original aspect ratio, made via a new digital transfer of restored elements), Dolby Digital mono audio (in French with optional English subtitles), audio commentary by film scholars Brian Stonehill and Charles Affron, a video introduction by director Terry Gilliam, a restoration demonstration, Jacques Prévert's film treatment, production designs by Alexandre Trauner, a production stills gallery, the U.S. theatrical trailer and filmographies for both Carné and Prévert.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/7/01 - 11:45 AM PST)

You know, while I'm working to finish the artwork update, I wanted to make a quick comment on the subject of access to DVD-ROM materials on Apple machines. I've been getting a lot of e-mails from readers who are upset with the Hollywood studios for the fact that most of the DVD-ROM content on current DVDs are designed for Windows PCs only. The fault here doesn't lie with the studios... the problem is with Apple itself. It's my understanding, from talking with DVD producers and content providers, that Apple isn't letting 3rd party software companies have access to their OS code to produce software agents to view ROM content. So while Macs now support DVD-Video playback, the studios are still having trouble creating ROM applications. Hopefully, Apple with get more aggressive with its DVD-ROM support, because I can tell you that DVD producers would like very much to be able to create material for Macs (most of them use Macs themselves!). Hope that explains it.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/7/01 - 10:15 AM PST)

First up this morning, a reminder. Star Trek: The Motion Picture director Robert Wise will be signing copies of The Director's Edition DVD tonight here in LA, at the Virgin Megastore at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights. He'll be there from 7 to 9 PM PST, so be sure to get there early! Don't forget, Paramount is going back to all the Trek films and turning them each into 2-disc special editions. You'll have Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in your hands by this time next year. And there's new word that both Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner have agreed to provide audio commentary for future discs. Very cool...

Okay... here's the plan. I've been gathering lots of Upcoming DVD Cover Art over the last few days, so look for a MAJOR update of that section by late this afternoon. And if you work for a studio and have any good art for us, send it over. So that's what I'm working on today.

In the meantime, I've just posted Todd's Next List of 10 DVDs Coming Next Week in the Doogan's Views section. Normally, today would be his regular column, but poor Todd's got anthrax... uh, I mean the flu... and so we're reversing the order this week. We've also just posted the complete transcript of last night's live chat with New Line over at The Home Theater Forum.

In other news, if any of you enjoyed NBC's recent Jon Avnet miniseries, Uprising (I know I did), you'll be happy to know that the entire miniseries will arrive on DVD on December 18th. The 2-disc release will feature the program in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Also included will be two documentaries (Resistance and Breaking Down the Walls) which look at the actual historical events and the effort to recreate them, and a pair of audio commentaries (one with director Jon Avnet and another with actors with Leelee Sobieski, Hank Azaria, David Schwimmer and Jon Voight). SRP will be $24.98.

Now then... just FYI, the plan for the rest of the week (Thursday and Friday) is to catch up on a number of new and upcoming DVD reviews. So look for Shrek, Monty Python, Willow and more.

Be sure to check back for that Upcoming DVD Cover Art update later today. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/6/01 - 5 PM PST)

We've just launched our new Trivia Contest, which gives 5 lucky winners the chance to win great DVDs from MGM & Fox, including the Legally Blonde: Special Edition, Dr. Doolittle 2 and The Woody Allen Collection, Volume 3!

We've also got a little more DVD news for you this afternoon. Buena Vista and Miramax have announced the release of Young Girls of Rochefort, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Live Action) and Belle Du Jour for January 15th. Dragstrip Girl and Bubble Boy will follow on January 22nd. They've also revealed a number of new titles that they're readying for February 2002 release, including Hav Plenty, Fresh, The Glass Shield, Squeeze, Strictly Ballroom, Basquiat, The Jungle Book (Live Action) and The Adventures of Huck Finn. March titles will include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (animated) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 (animated). And coming later in the year are Robinson Crusoe (TBD) and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (May 7th).

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/6/01 - 11 AM PST)

We've got a whole bunch of upcoming DVD news for you today. First up, Columbia TriStar has added Brother to their January 2nd release slate. MGM has set After the Fox, Cast a Giant Shadow, Girl with Green Eyes, Hallelujah, I'm a Bum, Kings Go Forth, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning and Town Without Pity for February 5th. Paramount has MTV: Behind Tough Enough and WWF Tough Enough: The First Season due on January 8th, Cousins, Daria Movie: Is it Fall Yet?, Falling in Love and Sabrina on January 15th and American Rhapsody and Rat Race on January 22nd. Universal's Shaolin: Wheel of Life is set for January 8th, with Bingo Long Travelling All Stars and Motor Kings and Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World following on January 29th. And finally, Warner has set January 15th as the street date for its 3-disc Roots: 25th Anniversary Edition.

Star Wars fans will be pleased to know that there's more Episode II video on the way in November. On November 9th, your Episode I DVD will unlock a special Episode II online preview (via the special DVD website) with all-new footage from the film. Then, on November 16th, the full Episode II teaser trailer will appear on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, featuring an additional 2 minutes of never-before-seen Episode II footage (you'll also be able to download it at the official site). And all this is just the beginning. Check Star Wars.com for the complete details.

Back soon...

(LATER UPDATE - 11/5/01 - 5 PM PST)

Okay... we've just posted 4 more DVD reviews, including a look at Fox's Men of Honor: Special Edition and both versions of Universal's recent American Pie: Ultimate Edition. And we've got reviews of a number of great forthcoming titles on the way.

We've also just posted the rest of the pictures from the Paramount's studio screening of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition DVD last week. Shots of all the actors and guests, including William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are included.

Following up on our story from earlier about the "sticker goo" problem with the Shrek DVD, a number of readers have suggested a product called Goo Gone. You can pick it up cheaply at K-Mart, Target and most other stores, and it's designed remove leftover sticker goo from plastic and other surfaces. Give it a try.

In other DVD news, there's been a ruling in the lawsuit over the DeCSS "DVD cracking" code that's been published widely on the Internet. A California court of appeals has determined that the code qualifies as protected free speech. The ruling came on Friday. Here's a link to the story via Yahoo.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 11/5/01 - 11 AM PST)

This is just a quick FYI-type of update. First of all, the Episode II "Breathing" trailer is now officially available for download at Star Wars.com. Just be patient, because the servers are overloaded at the moment with everyone trying to download it. You can also try a mirror site at Apple's Quicktime page.

Also, we've got that link for you with producer Kathleen Kennedy's quote about the E.T. DVD having two versions of the film. Turns out it's at MSNBC.com. Thanks to Bits reader Lowell for the link!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/5/01 - 12:01 AM PST)

So... everyone have a good weekend? Mine, not so shabby. Saw some good movies (Monsters, Inc. and Riding in Cars with Boys), talked with lots of family on the phone (even Grandma!). Can't complain. And watching a thrilling conclusion to a fun World Series was the clincher. It comes down to the last at bat in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 7, and the winners were behind going into the inning. Gotta love that. Congrats to you Arizona fans. And to you New Yorkers, you gotta admit, 3 (damn near 4) championships in a row is nothing to sneeze at. Hell, my Twins have only won it twice and they're talking about folding the team!

A bit of DVD news this morning... or at least a rumor. Cinescape.com is reporting a comment in USA Today by producer Kathleen Kennedy, that when Steven Spielberg's E.T. arrives on DVD from Universal next summer, it will feature both the original theatrical version and the new director's cut that will be in theaters in March. We can't find the original article that contains the quote, but if anyone else can, let us know. That would be great news for movie fans if true. Maybe George Lucas will take note for future Star Wars DVDs...

One other DVD note - many fans who picked up DreamWorks' Shrek DVD on Friday were pissed to discover that it has an X-Box contest sticker on it... that's stuck right on the keep case cover itself and not on the cello wrapping. Many people are reporting that they 1) can't get the sticker goo off the case or 2) that the clear plastic artwork sleeve on the case gets ripped or damaged when they try to get the sticker off. Okay... so whose bonehead idea was that?

We'll be back later this morning with more DVD reviews. And just FYI, we'll have a massive Upcoming DVD Artwork update up by mid-week. I know a lot of people have been asking for it.

But I wanted to remind all of you that, word is, the Star Wars: Episode II teaser trailer is going to be all over the place this week, starting today. If you didn't have the chance to see it this weekend with Monsters, Inc., look for it on MTV's TRL later this afternoon, and probably Entertainment Tonight and other shows too. It should also be available for download sometime today at Star Wars.com, and probably other places as well. Our friends over at The Force.net are keeping a close eye on things, so check there for the latest.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/2/01 - 6:30 PM PDT)

We've just posted 6 new DVD reviews from Dan and Greg. We've got Columbia's Hollow Man: Special Edition, Warner's The Killing Fields, New Line's Little Nicky: Platinum Series, DreamWorks' The Road to El Dorado: Special Edition, Image's Manilow Live! and Pioneer's The Complete Sam Kinison. Hollow Man, Little Nicky and Manilow Live! (the horror!) were meant to be scary Halloween reviews, so consume with that in mind. Enjoy!

With that... spin a few DVDs, go out and see some movies and, most important, have a great weekend!

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/2/01 - 3:45 PM PDT)

Okay... back from the movies. For the record, Episode II officially looks like it's gonna be a WAY better film than The Jar Jar Binks Story, at least based on what little can be seen in the teaser trailer. I was particularly pleased to note that the CGI work in evidence seems much more detailed and natural than Episode I. And we've got word from Apple now that the trailer will be available for download next week at Star Wars.com. Monsters, Inc. is pretty cute - well worth seeing. Better still, the CGI animated short on the front of Monsters (it's something about Birds - can't recall the title) is very funny.

Now then... we've just posted Todd's REAL List of 10 DVDs Coming Next Week. Anyone who thinks we posted anything different this morning was mistaken. Nothing to see here. Move along... move along. ;-)

Also this afternoon, we've gotten official word from Warner about their virus-infected Powerpuff DVD:

"It has been determined that the DVD-ROM portion of THE POWERPUFF GIRLS: MEET THE BEAT-ALLS DVD (available to consumers as of October 23, 2001) contains a virus that could cause damage to computer operating systems.

Warner Home Video (WHV) has notified its sales divisions of the problem, and retail accounts will be apprised of the situation immediately. All further shipments of the title have been suspended, and retailers will be offered a 100% refund on all returned THE POWERPUFF GIRLS: MEET THE BEAT-ALLS DVDs. Retail accounts, moreover, are encouraged to return all unsold DVD copies of this title as soon as possible.

WHV is planning to offer a corrected version of THE POWERPUFF GIRLS: MEET THE BEAT-ALLS DVD, which should be in stores within the next few weeks.

Thank you for your continued support of Warner Home Video."


And our friends at Columbia TriStar have just informed us that director John Singleton will be making a personal appearance at the Wherehouse in Ladera Heights in Los Angeles (5390 Centinela Ave) on November 7, between 6-8 PM to promote the DVD release of Baby Boy. Be there or be square.

Okay... back with those reviews shortly. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 11/2/01 - 9:30 AM PDT)

Don't forget that today marks the release of Pixar and Disney's Monsters, Inc. to theaters. That means that you'll be able to get your first look at the trailer for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, which is attached to the film. And out friends at The Force.net have word that you may be able to download Quicktime versions of the trailer at Star Wars.com on Monday.

Around here this morning, we've just posted a few pictures we took last night at the special premiere screening of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition DVD at Paramount last night. There were lots of honored guests, including director Robert Wise himself. I think you'll get a kick out of the pix, especially if you'd like a better look at the Enterprise. Enough said.

We'll be back this afternoon with a few reviews... after we get back from seeing that Star Wars trailer first, of course! Gotta have priorities.

Stay tuned...!

11/1/01

See? What do you know... Halloween happened and no one blew up. Gotta love those Internet rumors. We're back today with that special feature article I mentioned yesterday, which is a look behind the scenes at the recording of the audio commentary for Paramount's new Tales from the Darkside: The Movie DVD. The film's director, John Harrison, and the legendary George Romero (can you even say his name without using the words "the legendary"?) were both involved, so I think you'll enjoy it.

We've also announced the winners of the Halloween Trivia Contest - you'll find that above. Those reviews we were planning to put up today will have to wait until tomorrow however. We're having some server issues again. Will it never end? ;-)

Stay tuned...

10/31/01

Happy Halloween, everyone! As you can probably tell, the staff here at The Digital Bits are big fans of this particular holiday. Today, we've got reviews of 9 more great DVDs - some campy, some spooky - in Todd's weekly column in the Doogan's Views section. So look for Children of the Living Dead, Total Recall: SE, Basic Instinct: SE and all of Universal's new Classic Monster Double Feature discs, including The Ghost of Frankenstein/Son of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man/House of Frankenstein, Dracula's Daughter/Son of Dracula, Werewolf of London/She-Wolf of London, The Mummy's Hand/The Mummy's Tomb and The Mummy's Ghost/The Mummy's Curse. Whew! Just to let you know, we'll be extending our Halloween festivities until tomorrow, so we can squeeze in a few more reviews and present a cool special feature article as well. And we're happy to say that today's additions push us past the 900 reviews mark here at The Bits.

Here's a wacky first for DVD - it seems that you might want to think twice before you pop Warner's new Powerpuff Girls: Meet the Beat-Alls DVD into your PC DVD-ROM drive. The discs are all infected with the W32.FunLove.4099 virus. No kidding - I've scanned it myself with Norton AntiVirus and it's definitely there. Warner is aware of the problem and is repressing the discs. There will likely be a recall, and some way for people to exchange their infected copies, although the studio is still working out exactly how this will happen. In the meantime, DO NOT insert the disc in your DVD-ROM drive. If you have already, you should immediately scan your computer for viruses. And if you've got a copy of the disc, we recommend that you return it as defective to the retailer where you purchased it right away.

In other news, we've got word today that Anchor Bay will release The Evil Dead: Book of the Dead Limited Edition on February 19th. The disc will feature anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES audio, THX-certification and audio commentary (among other things). It will be packaged in a special case that's a replica of The Book of the Dead. A standard edition will also be available. Also, their Army of Darkness: Director's Cut - The Official Bootleg Edition was slated to be released yesterday (see the artwork below)...

Army of Darkness: Director's Cut - The Official Bootleg Edition

Don't forget - our Trivia Contest ends tonight at 11:59 PM PST, so get your entries in fast.

Now then... everyone please have a happy and (most of all) SAFE Halloween. Watch lots of scary movies on DVD, spend time with family and friends and (of course) be sure to eat lots of candy (although we recommend against putting anything white and powdery into your mouth these days). There's even a rare full moon to trick-or-treat by tonight. ;-)

See you tomorrow!

(LATE UPDATE - 10/30/01 - 5:30 PM PST)

Okay... it's almost Halloween, folks! And we've got new reviews of 12 great DVDs from Adam, Florian and Greg to get you in an appropriately spooky, campy or creepy mood. Just posted are reviews of Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (both versions), Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, The Haunting (DD & DTS), Ghostbusters 2, The Howling, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and a trio of Hammer Collection camp classics, Prehistoric Women, The Viking Queen and The Vengeance of She.

And just a quick update - we've heard back from Columbia TriStar about Holy Grail. They're working to correct the subtitle problems now and will replace the defective discs (no details are available yet). They're also looking into the missing title graphic.

Stay tuned...!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/30/01 - 10:30 AM PST)

We've got a bunch of reviews that we want to post today, but first some news. A&E's just reminded us that they've got a number of cool DVD "mega-sets" out for the holidays. The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus DVD Mega-Set contains all 45 episodes (SRP $199.95). The Complete Emma Peel DVD Mega-Set contains 51 original Avengers episodes (SRP $199.95). The Complete Prisoner DVD Mega-Set features 17 episodes (SRP $149.95). Then they've got their Pride & Prejudice: Special Edition for (SRP $39.95) and The History Channel's Pearl Harbor (SRP $29.95). You'll be happy to know that A&E will release the complete second season of Space: 1999 next year, with the first sets slated for Spring and the last two coming in the second half of the year.

Other cool recently announced titles from 20th Century Fox include Boondock Saints, Deep Water and Silent Trigger (12/18), Carmen Jones, Five Heartbeats and Kiss of the Dragon (1/22), and Baby's Day Out, Breaking Away, My Bodyguard and a trio of Shirley Temple titles, including Heidi, Dimples and Bright Eyes (1/29). Warner's announced Rock Star for 1/22 as well. Anchor Bay will release Werner Herzog's Heart of Glass, Little Deiter Needs to Fly and Stroszek on 1/8. And Buena Vista's added Bravo Two Zero, Artemesia and Snapper to its 12/18 slate.

In other news, the Los Angeles Virgin Megastore will hold a special DVD signing event with director Robert Wise for Paramount's new Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition on Wednesday, November 7th. Click here for the latest.

And speaking of Star Trek, we'll be attending the premiere of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition DVD at Paramount this Thursday night, and we'll be sure to take lots of pictures.

Finally this morning, a lot of people are reporting subtitle problems with Columbia TriStar's Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Special Edition DVD. It seems that on many players, the subtitles occasionally will not stay turned off. This is known to occur with many Toshiba and Sony players, along with a few other brands. We still haven't gotten our review copy of the disc, so we can't verify this, but a lot of people do seem to be having problems. There also seems to be a missing title during the film's opening credits. When the film's title appears, there should be a second, burned-in subtitle that reads: "Mønti Pythøn ik den Hølie Grãilen". It's not there. We've contacted Columbia to see what the story is, and we'll let you know when we hear anything.

Back soon with more...

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