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page updated: 8/20/02



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 7/22/02 - 7/2/02)


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(LATE UPDATE - 7/22/02 - 5 PM PDT)

The first two DVD reviews of the week are now online, including Matt Rowe's look at MGM's recent The Last Waltz: Special Edition and Dan Kelly's take on Buena Vista's recent Swiss Family Robinson: Walt Disney Treasures 2-disc set. Watch for more reviews tomorrow.

Also this afternoon, we've got a look at the DVD cover artwork and specs for Fox's upcoming Malcolm in the Middle: The Complete First Season (street date 10/29 - SRP $39.98).

Malcolm in the Middle: The Complete First Season

The 3-disc set will include all 16 first-season episodes (including the new-for-DVD extended pilot episode), along with the Malcolm in the Middle: A Stroke of Genius featurette, running audio commentary on select episodes, the first season gag reel, deleted scenes, alternate show openings, the original cold open for The Bots and the Bees, the Malcolm "TVOgraphy", "Malcolm Vision" widescreen bloopers, Behind the Middle (a behind-the-scenes sneak preview of Season Two), Dewey's Day Job featurette (a portrait of Erik Per Sullivan) and first season promotional TV spots. Video is full frame (1.33:1), with audio in English 4.0 Surround, French Dolby Surround and Spanish Dolby Surround.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/22/02 - 10:45 AM PDT)

We've just announced the winners of our FAB Fox Trivia Contest. Congratulations to them and thanks to all 933 people who entered.

In the meantime, this week is going to be all about reviews. So we'll be back this afternoon with the first of many this week.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/19/02 - 2 PM PDT)

We're going out with a nifty little bang this week! Here's your first look at the final DVD cover artwork and spec list for Fox's 24: The Complete First Season, which streets on 9/17 (SRP $59.98).

24: The Complete First Season

24: The Complete First Season

The 6-disc set will include all 24 first season episodes, along with video of Kiefer Sutherland introducing Season One and teasing Season Two, and an alternate ending to the season's final episode with optional audio commentary. Video is anamorphic widescreen. Audio is English Dolby Surround, with Spanish and English subtitles.

By the way, the press release Fox is sending out today says full frame 1.33:1, but I have CONFIRMED officially with the studio this afternoon that the release is incorrect - the discs are indeed anamorphic widescreen. Just FYI.

We'll be back Monday with some great new disc reviews, including New Line's Blade II: Platinum Series.

See you then! ;-)

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/19/02 - 10:30 AM PDT)

Okay... we've been getting a TON of e-mail over the last couple days from people who are complaining that Buena Vista's upcoming Heavenly Creatures DVD (street date 9/24) will be in full frame only. It seems BVHE's press site inadvertently had it listed as 1.33:1 and that's been spreading all over the Net, getting fans of director Peter Jackson all twisted up in knots. The capper was an "outraged" post on Ain't-it-Cool just this morning.

It seems in all this outrage, no one actually bothered to contact Buena Vista directly to confirm this. So we did a few minutes ago. Guess what? We've been firmly assured that the studio press site was in error, and that Heavenly Creatures will indeed be released in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on DVD. So everyone can relax now. Put down your pitch-forks and hangin' ropes. Repeat after me, "Everything's gonna be all right..." ;-)

Now then... we've got a little more cool upcoming DVD artwork for you: Warner's The Salton Sea and Monday Night Mayhem (both 9/10), and Columbia TriStar's Snatch: SuperBit Deluxe and The Mask of Zorro: SuperBit Deluxe (both 9/17)

The Salton SeaMonday Night Mayhem

Snatch: SuperBit DeluxeThe Mask of Zorro: SuperBit Deluxe

Stay tuned...

(LATER UPDATE - 7/18/02 - 3 PM PDT)

This afternoon brings a nice little treat for you Friday the 13th fans... a look at the DVD cover artwork for New Line's Jason X: Platinum Series and Jason Goes to Hell (which, as we reported a few days ago, both street on 10/8).

Jason X: Platinum SeriesJason Goes to Hell

Both titles can now be preordered from our software sponsor DVD Planet.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/18/02 - 11 AM PDT)

We've got a look at four new titles on the way from our friends at Criterion: Hopscotch (street date: 8/20), Ratcatcher (8/20), Spellbound (9/10) and Man Bites Dog (9/10).

Hopscotch (Criterion)Ratcatcher (Criterion)

Spellbound (Criterion)Man Bites Dog (Criterion)

Hopscotch will include a new high-definition anamorphic widescreen transfer (2.35:1), video introduction with interviews by director Ronald Neame and novelist and screenwriter Brian Garfield, the original theatrical trailer and TV spot, Dolby Digital mono audio and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired (SRP $29.95).

Ratcacher will feature a new digital anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1), a 2002 video interview with director Lynne Ramsay, three short films by Lynne Ramsay (Gasman, Kill the Day and Small Deaths), a stills gallery, Dolby Digital stereo audio and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired (SRP $29.95).

Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound will include a new digital film transfer in the film's original full frame aspect ration (1.33:1), with both film and sound restoration (includes new theater entrance and exit music cues by composer Miklos Rozsa), audio commentary by Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane, a definitive illustrated essay on the Salvador Dali dream sequence by James Bigwood, the complete 1948 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation starring Joseph Cotton and Alida Valli, essays by Hitchcock scholars Lesley Brill, Leonard Leff and Dan Auiler, excepts from a 1973 interview with composer Miklos Rozsa, a gallery of hundreds of photos and documents on the film's production, the theatrical trailer, Dolby Digital mono audio and more (SRP $39.95).

And finally, Man Bites Dog will feature a new digital anamorphic widescreen film transfer (1.66:1), a 1993 video interview with the filmmakers, the filmmakers' short film No C4 for Daniel-Daniel, a stills gallery, the original theatrical trailer, Dolby Digital mono audio and a new and improved English subtitle translation (SRP $29.95).

By the way, I wanted to make note of something here. A lot of you have been asking if Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man DVDs will include the teaser trailer that featured the World Trade Center twin towers. I've asked the studio about this, but they aren't saying anything officially. I'm guessing they don't want to stir up controversy whether the trailer is in the disc or not. But as soon as we know for sure, we'll post it here.

Stay tuned...!

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/18/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've updated our authorized mirror copy of Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to its latest version this morning, dated July 7th. We've also done a little archiving around the site to make things run a little faster.

We'll be back later this morning with more, but I wanted to make a quick personal note here first. If you live in the Minneapolis area and you frequent the theater, my younger brother, Jason Smith, is going to be performing a one-man show over the next couple of weekends. It's called Consulting Mavis... or How I Got My Ass Out of North Dakota and Remained Sane. You may have seen this banner, which we currently have running around the site.

Consulting Mavis... or How I Got My Ass Out of North Dakota and Remained Sane

The show is playing July 19th, 20th, 26th and 27th at the Center for Independent Artists (4137 Bloomington Avenue South, in the new El Colegio Charter School building in South Minneapolis). Showtime on each night is 8PM and tickets run $15 each. I'm told they're selling fast, so click on the links above (or here) if you're interested. You can also e-mail for tickets at: consultingmavis@aol.com

Hey... what's a big brother for if he can't plug your latest gig, right? ;-)

Stay tuned...

(LATER UPDATE - 7/17/02 - 4 PM PDT)

We're very pleased to bring you the latest column on film and DVD by our own Robert Harris. This week, Robert covers a lot of ground, from Vinegar Syndrome and film grain to digital restoration and aspect ratios. So be sure to read Vinegar Syndrome is a Gas, Gas, Gas and then click on over to this link at the Home Theater Forum to discuss what he's got to say this time.

Also, we've just launched the new Trivia Contest, giving each of you the chance to take home a 4-pack of great FAB spy flicks from 20th Century Fox.

And we've got a surprise for you this afternoon too - a look at a pair of DVD menu screen shots from Columbia TriStar's upcoming Spider-Man DVD! Here you go...

Spider-Man DVD main menu

Spider-Man DVD sample features menu

Also, we have a few details on those Disney TV boxed sets. Felicity and Once and Again will each include their entire first seasons, plus the pilot episodes for each show. As we said before, Sports Night will include the entire two-season series. All three will be presented in their original full frame TV broadcast aspect ratios.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/17/02 - 11:30 AM PDT)

We've got some cool news direct from the DVD Entertainment Group (DEG) today. In only its 5th year as a viable format, the one-billionth DVD software unit is anticipated to ship to retail here in North America this month! Pre-recorded video cassettes took nearly 10 years to reach this same benchmark. The DVD Entertainment Group also expects more than 20 million DVD players to have shipped in 2002 by year's end. “If growth continues at the current rate, DVD will be in more than 40 million households by the end of 2002," says Reid Sullivan, DEG board member and Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. vice president, entertainment group. “When you also include the growing number of PCs with DVD-ROM drives and game consoles with DVD capability, nearly 50 percent of U.S. homes will have the format by year-end."

And that's something to crow about. You early adopters remember when you had the only DVD player in your neighborhood or even your town? DVD's definitely come a LONG way in 5 short years!

Back with a Trivia Contest and Robert Harris' new column this afternoon. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/17/02 - 10 AM PDT)

As we first reported here in The Rumor Mill last month, Buena Vista has officially announced the DVD release of Sports Night, Felicity and Once and Again for November 5th. Each title will carry an SRP of $79.99. Sports Night will include the entire series (2 seasons of 30-minute episodes), while the other sets will include the first seasons of each series. All of these shows were produced by Imagine Entertainment. Once and Again and Sports Night were shown on ABC, while Felicity appeared on the WB Network. There's no word yet on features and extras, but we'll let you know as soon as we do.

Also today, the studio has revealed its second wave of Walt Disney Treasures. Look for Mickey Mouse in Black and White, The Complete Goofy and Behind the Scenes at the Walt Disney Studio, all on December 3rd. There's no word yet on whether Wartime Cartoons is still planned for release, or if it will be replaced with another title.

Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black & WhiteWalt Disney Treasures: The Complete Goofy

Walt Disney Treasures: Behind the Scenes at the Walt Disney Studio

Oh, but there's more! New Line has officially announced the DVD release of Jason X: Platinum Series, which is set to street on October 8th (SRP $26.98). You'll get anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio, the theatrical trailer, commentary (by director Jim Issac, writer Todd Farmer and producer Noel Cunningham), 2 original documentaries (The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees and By Any Means Necessary), the "jump to a death" feature, and a DVD-ROM "script-to-screen" feature, along with the original website.

Also available that same day will be Jason Goes to Hell for $19.98 (with anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions of both the R-rated and Unrated versions of the film, along with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director Adam Marcus and writer Dean Lorey and the "jump to a death" feature). And New Line has also announced Brother's Keeper for 10/8 (SRP $24.98).

Finally this morning, if (like me) you ran out to get yourself a copy of The Dave Matthews Band's new Busted Stuff CD yesterday (which is a studio re-tooling of the infamous Lillywhite Sessions), you got a little bonus: a DVD Video disc that includes video of Bartender and When the World Ends performed live, along with a 5.1 studio mix of Busted Stuff. Not a bad little incentive to buy a CD, if you ask me...

Back with more later...

7/16/02

20th Century Fox has announced the DVD release of 24: The Complete First Season on 9/17. This marks the first time a studio will release a TV series to DVD prior to a syndication run. "We wanted to get this DVD out there before season two started and really give the audience out there a chance to find this show," says Peter Staddon, senior VP for Fox Home Entertainment marketing. "The DVD is going to be a way to solidify and build on its core audience." The set will carry an SRP of $59.98, and will include the series on 6 discs, with 4 episode on each disc. The episodes will also be presented in anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Because of the short amount of prep time for the set (some 2 1/2 months vs. the usual 6 months), the set will feature only a handful of extras. These will include an alternate ending for the season's final episode, audio commentary on "never-broadcast" scenes by executive producers Joel Surnow and Cochran, a preview of season two and an "impact card" featuring the second season premiere date. Future seasons will include greater extra material and will be released promptly subsequent to each season's broadcast run. You can read more via Variety at this link at Yahoo.

And don't miss our major update of the Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork section, which we posted last night.

Stay tuned...

(LATER UPDATE - 7/15/02 - 9 PM PDT)

Okay... last post today! We've just updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork section with more than 100 new scans of upcoming titles. There are titles from Columbia TriStar, Image Entertainment, Warner Bros, MGM and more. We've got huge titles, independent titles, feature films, documentaries, cheesy horror flicks, music titles - you name it. Every page has at least some new art, and you can preorder most of it right now from our software sponsor, DVD Planet, with the links provided. And don't forget - we very much appreciate your continuing support of DVD Planet, which is a big supporter of us here at The Digital Bits.

So enjoy the art and we'll be back tomorrow!

(LATER UPDATE - 7/15/02 - 3 PM PDT)

Here's a quick post with good news for you South Park fans. Warner Home Video will release their South Park: The Complete First Season DVD boxed set on 11/12. Also, Babylon 5: The Complete First Season now has an official street date on 11/5.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/15/02 - NOON PDT)

All right... we're still working on that Upcoming DVD Artwork update for you today, but with these announcements coming in, we've been scrambling a little bit this morning. But it's all worth it for this - we've got your first look at the DVD cover art for the just announced Spider-Man! Here it is:

Spider-Man (Widescreen)Spider-Man (Full frame)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/15/02 - 10 AM PDT)

Well... we knew it was coming. And sure enough, Columbia TriStar this morning announced the details on their forthcoming Spider-Man DVD release. Set for Friday, November 1st (yes, Friday), the 2-disc set will include a plethora of bonus features, and will be available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame editions (note that the SRP was not announced).

Disc One will include the film in either anamorphic widescreen or full frame video, with audio in English & French 5.1 Dolby Digital, subtitles in English, French & Spanish, the Weaving the Web subtitle factoid track, audio commentary (with director Sam Raimi, producer Laura Ziskin, actress Kirsten Dunst and co-producer Grant Curtis), a SFX audio commentary (with SFX designer John Dykstra and the visual effects crew), "branching web-i-sodes" (access via Spider-Sense), trailers & TV spots, filmographies & character files, 2 music videos (Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott - Hero & Sum 41 - What We're All About), plus DVD-ROM features including a comic/feature comparison, a record your own commentary option, a Countdown to Spider-Man 2 and weblinks.

Disc Two will deliver the HBO Making of Spider-Man special, Spider-Mania (an E! Entertainment Special), a director profile on Sam Raimi, a composer profile on Danny Elfman, screen test footage for Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons and CGI Spider-Man, costume and makeup tests, a gag/outtake reel, conceptual art & production design gallery, the Spider-Man: The Mythology of the 21st Century historical documentary, The Spider-Man Comic Book Archives, a "Rogues Gallery", The Loves of Peter Parker, a comic book artist pin-up gallery, Activision game hints & tips and DVD-ROM features including 2 PC-playable levels of the Activision Game, 3 exclusive Marvel dot.comics (Spider-Man: Blue #1, Black Cat #1 and Peter Parker: Return of the Goblin) and the Spider-Man "visualizer".

You can read more on this via this Variety story at Yahoo.

Also announced today is Trimark's Frailty (street date 9/17, SRP $24.99). Look for the disc to include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, subtitles in English & Spanish, audio commentary with director Bill Paxton, a second audio commentary (with Paxton, producer David Kirshner, composer Brian Tiler and editor Arnold Glassman), a third audio commentary by writer Brent Hanley, a "making of" featurette, the Sundance Channel presents Anatomy of the Scene, a photographic presentation by James Hamilton, deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer. Here's a look at the cover artwork:

Frality

Back with more later...

(LATER UPDATE - 7/12/02 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Well... our studio sources have checked in with so much new upcoming DVD cover artwork, that it's going to take a lot longer to get it all prepped for the site. So look for that on Monday morning, along with the next column from Robert Harris.

In the meantime, though, we've got more new DVD announcements for you today. Look for ADV to release Farscape: Season 2, Volume 2 on 9/17. Anchor Bay will release Near Dark on 9/10. Artisan's Within These Walls is set for 8/20. Paramount's announced its slate of September DVDs, including Boomerang, Festival in Cannes, The History of Bevis and Butt-Head (a 32-episode collection), The Read World: Exotic Vacations, The Real World - New York: The Complete First Season and Trading Places (all on 9/24), and I Love Lucy: The 50th Anniversary Special, I Love Lucy: Season 1, Volume 3 and I Love Lucy: Season 1, Volume 4 (on 10/1). Rhino will bow Transformers: Beast Wars #2 on 8/13. And Sony Music will release Underdog: Chronicles and Underdog: Nemesis on 8/6.

Now then, we'll be back Monday with artwork and Robert Harris's new column. Also next week, we'll have several new DVD reviews and all the announcements from this year's VSDA Convention in Las Vegas.

So have a great weekend and stay tuned...!

(LATE UPDATE - 7/12/02 - NOON PDT)

We've got word on another great batch of Warner titles on the way. Look The Bourne Identity (1988 - TV) on 8/27, Little Big League on 9/3, Death to Smoochy on 9/17, Murder by Numbers on 9/24, Stephen King's It, Auntie Mame, Bloodsport, Stephen King's Cat's Eye, The Curse of Frankenstein, Firefox, Heartbreat Ridge, Horror of Dracula, The Shop Around the Corner, Strange Brew, The Thin Man and A Perfect World on 10/1. And we've also got word that New Line's Jason Goes to Hell will hit DVD on 10/8, along with Warner's Richie Rich's Christmas Wish. And finally, Fingers will street on 11/5.

We also have word today on a new upcoming title from MGM - you'll find that in The Rumor Mill.

Around the Net today, Yahoo has a couple of interesting DVD-related stories. The first is on how DVD piracy is flourishing in Asia and the second deals with the growing popularity of DVD - DVD player sales are expected to outpace VCR sales for the first time this year and Borders Books and Music as joined Circuit City in no longer carrying VHS titles.

And we've got something you Speed Racer fans should consider today. Wicked Cool Stuff.com is offering a limited edition DVD release of the complete series in a boxed set. The good is that all 52 episodes are included. The bad is that they're all included on just 5-discs (don't ask me what the video compression must be like) and the set runs a whopping $250.

Okay... we'll be back with another Upcoming DVD Artwork update this afternoon.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/12/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got a little somethin' cool for you Babylon 5 fans out there this morning. How about your first look at the box art for Warner's upcoming Babylon 5: The Complete First Season on DVD? Here it is...

Babylon 5: The Complete First SeasonBabylon 5: The Complete First Season

We've don't have details on the set yet, but we expect an official announcement shortly, so stay tuned.

Back later with more... ;-)

7/11/02

The CEA DVD Player Sales numbers seem to be a little screwy these days, what with all the adjustments happening because of the addition of DVD/VCR combo players. So if they happen to change, you'll know why. But we've nevertheless updated our charts with the number of players shipping in the week ending 6/21 - 390,900 players.

Also today, we're hearing reports from a number of sources that Region 2 street dates for the Star Wars: Episode II DVD are starting to be announced by various international distributors. Denmark and parts of Europe will apparently see the disc on 11/15. We'll keep you up to date on this, and we'll let you know as soon as a Region 1 announcement is made.

Fans of Columbia TriStar's Resident Evil will be surprised to learn that a more deluxe, 2-disc DVD version of the film will be released later this year. This comes from director Paul Anderson (via Empire Online):

“There was a different ending to start with,” says Anderson, “so that’ll be on the disc. There’ll be a lot of additional commentary, a lot of documentary stuff on the visual effects. We did a special feature where I got together with Marilyn Manson and we talk about scoring the movie, which is an additional shoot that we did, so there’ll be a tonne of stuff. In America they’re doing two versions, the first version is the regular movie with director’s commentary and trailers and stuff like that but then later in the year there’s going to be a special, special edition with… well there’s so much stuff it’ll be on two DVDs.”

The initial, single-disc special edition version streets on 7/30.

Last, but not least this afternoon, we've got a look at Image Entertainment's upcoming DVD release slate through the end of September. Look for Don't Try This at Home: The Steve-O Video: Special Edition (8/27), Asylum of Satan/Satan's Children: Special Edition, Hills Have Eyes 2, Island of the Sharks: IMAX, Kidsongs: Boppin' With the Biggles, Kidsongs: Cars, Boats, Trains and Planes, Kidsongs: Ride the Rollercoaster, Kidsongs: We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Prowler: Special Edition, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure: IMAX, Shock Waves: Special Edition, Tabu: A Story of the South Seas: Special Edition, Toolbox Murders: Special Edition and Underwaterworld Trilogy: Deep Encounters/Ocean Allies/Blue Voices (all 9/3), Adrenaline Fix: White Knuckle Extreme, Brainwaves, D.W. Griffith: Years of Discovery 1909-1913: Special Edition, Death in Venice: Britten, Dracula, Dirty Old Man/Guess What Happened to Count Dracula: Special Edition, Fox: The Blockbuster Years, Hardly Angels: White Knuckle Extreme, John Lee Hooker: Live in Montreal: Montreal Jazz Festival and Naked Evil/Exorcism at Midnight (all 9/10), Bobby Vinton: Live: Songs from My Heart, Cologne Music Triennale: Britten/Debussy/Ravel/Rihm, Embrace the Darkness 3, John and Yoko's Year of Peace, Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette: Standards #2, Paul Anka: Night of a Lifetime, Penthouse Eurogirls: Sexual History #1, Playboy Exposed: Sports Girls, Playboy TV: Adult Stars Close Up: Private Lives and Playboy: Wet and Wild Live: Backstage Pass (all 9/17) and finally Frankenthumb: Special Edition, Blood Drinkers: Special Edition, Blood Freak: Special Edition, Brides of Blood: Special Edition, Clark Terry: Live in Concert, Crimson, Mad Doctor of Blood Island: Special Edition, Night of the Bloody Apes/Feast of Flesh: Special Edition, Poncho Sanchez: A Night at Kimball's East, Reggae Session, Ronnie Milsap: Live, Shawn Colvin: Live in Bora Bora: Music in High Places, Slam from the Street #3: New York City: 25 Best Playground Dunks! and Slam from the Street #4: West Coast: Venice Beach: Hoops by the Beach (all 9/24). Whew!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/10/02 - NOON PDT)

Well... looks like the Ranch has weighed in on the Star Wars DVD insert scans. Lucasfilm politely asked that they be removed from the site that originally posted them, which is a surefire hint that they hit pretty close to home. Just FYI.

We've also posted three more DVD reviews - Matt's look at Sony Music's Roger Waters: In the Flesh - Live and Adam's two cents on Warner's Citizen Kane and Elite's Night of the Living Dead: Millennium Edition.

By the way, our main news search engine on the home page is finally working again. We're still working on the review search engine, but we'll let you know as soon as it's fixed.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/10/02 - 6 AM PDT)

Morning all. Some of you might have missed yesterday's Rumor Mill post, but we've got purported specs on the upcoming Star Wars: Episode II DVD release (TBA - due later this year). I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I think they're the real deal. The details are just too specific, and seem to corroborate everything we've heard about the title in recent weeks from our sources. And there are odd little things like the DVD only including the trailer for R2-D2 Beneath the Dome, rather than the entire 3-part "mocumentary" itself (which is available on Star Wars.com). If someone were faking this, using a laundry list of the things they'd LIKE on the DVD, you'd think they would just include the whole thing. It sounds suspiciously to me like a real disc space issue. Obviously, this is all still in the category of rumor, and even if it is legit, EVERYTHING is still tentative until officially announced by Lucasfilm. But I'll wager that this is darned close to the spec list we'll see when the title IS announced in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned...

(LATER UPDATE - 7/9/02 - 4 PM PDT)

Okay... we've taken a closer look at these so-called Episode II DVD insert scans. We don't know if this is real or not, and we're looking into it. But the purported spec list is interesting enough that we've decided to post it in The Rumor Mill. We're working to verify this, and we'll let you know what we learn. Just FYI...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/9/02 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Three new DVD reviews are now available. Our own Matt Rowe's given Image Entertainment's Pete Townshend: Music from Lifehouse a good spin. Jeff Kleist has checked in with a review of Columbia TriStar's new Real Genius. And Adam Jahnke takes a look at MGM's recent Bandits: Special Edition. Watch for more reviews coming tomorrow.

In other news, I'm afraid we have another sad note to report today. Actor Rod Steiger has died here in Los Angeles. The actor will be remembered for his work in films such as In the Heat of the Night, On the Waterfront and Doctor Zhivago. You can read more here.

And one last note this afternoon - a number of scans of what purports to be the case insert (with chapter stop listing) from Fox and Lucasfilm's upcoming (and as yet unannounced) Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones DVD have been appearing around the Net. The 2-disc release is definitely in production (for release in time for the holidays), but whether these scans are the real deal or not remains to be seen. We'll wait until we can confirm something official. In the meantime, take everything you're hearing about the disc with a healthy grain of salt.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/9/02 - 11 AM PDT)

We've got details on Warner's new 2-disc special edition DVDs today. Each set will be released on 9/24 in slipcase packaging (like Citizen Kane) and will include the following extras:

Amadeus: Director's Cut - anamorphic widescreen video featuring a new director's cut of the film with more than 20 minutes of added footage, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, audio commentary by director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer, The Making of Amadeus (37-minute behind-the-scenes documentary), the theatrical trailer and cast/crew highlights.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director Milos Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz, The Making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (48-minute documentary), eight additional scenes, the theatrical trailer and cast/crew film highlights.

Singin' In The Rain: 50th Anniversary Edition - full frame video (OAR) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Cyd Charisse, Rita Moreno, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Rudy Behlmer, Stanley Donen, Baz Luhrman and Kathleen Freeman, the theatrical trailer, the What a Glorious Feeling (30-minute) documentary, the Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM (96-minute documentary), excerpts of movies from which Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown songs originated, the outtake musical number You are My Lucky Star, sound stage sessions and a stills gallery.

Unforgiven: 10th Anniversary Edition - anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by Time Magazine film critic and Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel, the All on Account of Pullin’ a Trigger featurette (hosted by Morgan Freeman), the Eastwood & Co. Making Unforgiven behind-the-scenes documentary, the Eastwood on Eastwood retrospective by critic/biographer Richard Schickel, the classic Maverick TV series episode Duel at Sundown (airdate February 1, 1959 - in which Eastwood plays a virtual younger incarnation of his Unforgiven role), interviews with Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris, the theatrical trailer and cast/crew highlights.

True Romance: Unrated Director's Cut - anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0 and DTS 5.1 audio, three separate audio commentaries (with Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, director Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino, 30 minutes of deleted or extended scenes with optional director commentary, alternate ending with optional director and writer commentaries, selective commentaries with Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport, multi-angle featurette, animated publicity and photo galleries, vintage 1993 production featurette, theatrical trailers and TV spots, cast/crew highlights, DVD-ROM screenplay viewer with storyboards, original production notes and web links.

That's a pretty damn nice batch of bonus material on these discs. By the way, here's the cover art for True Romance and Unforgiven, along with New Line's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 & 3 (both of which street on 9/3).

Unforgiven: 10th Anniversary EditionTrue Romance: Unrated Director's Cut

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

Also this morning, we've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. You'll be happy to know that when MGM's first set of James Bond titles come back again on 10/22, they'll SRP for just $19.98 each... and these are the SAME special editions that were available previously! The titles include Dr. No, GoldenEye, Goldfinger, Licence to Kill, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies. All seven titles are also available in a boxed set for $124.96.

Back soon with reviews, so stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/8/02 - 2 PM PDT)

Okay... as promised, we've got a huge Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork update for you this afternoon. We've got more than 60 new cover scans, including Better Off Dead, In Like Flint, Our Man Flint, John Q, Storytelling, Crossroads, Dinotopia, Collateral Damage, Dragonfly, Super Troopers, Deuces Wild, The Jeffersons, Ed Wood, Showtime, Revenge of Frankenstein, Hopscotch, Van Wilder, The Sweetest Thing, We Were Soldiers, High Crimes, Casino Royale, Blade II, all the upcoming Outer Limits titles, Changing Lanes, Grease, Frailty, Panic Room, Flashdance, Footloose, Staying Alive, Urban Cowboy, Exodus, all the forthcoming James Bond reissues, Back to the Future, Ice Age and lots more. And you can preorder nearly all of them right now at DVD Planet.com by clicking on the links on each cover.

There's new art on every page, so don't miss it!

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/8/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Let's kick this new week off right, shall we? We're gonna start with a rundown of newly announced upcoming DVDs. And there are some good ones in this batch!

Buena Vista starts us off with a re-issue of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Continues on 9/17, followed by Legend of the Swordsman, Project Greenlight, Wrong Guy and Stolen Summer on 9/24. Columbia TriStar has added The Road to Wellville to its 9/10 slate. Criterion chimes in with Man Bites Dog and Spellbound on 9/10. Lions Gate will deliver R-rated and unrated versions of Vulgar on 9/3, with their Frality: Special Edition (yes!) following on 9/17 and Spiders II: Breeding Ground on 9/24. MGM will release CQ: Special Edition on 9/10, Spring Forward on 9/17, Big Bad Love on 9/24, 8 Heads in a Duffle Bag, American Ninja 2/American Ninja 3, Billion Dollar Hobo, Clean Slate, Longshot/They Went That-A-Way and That-A-Way, The Mechanic and Missing in Action 2/Missing in Action 3 on 10/8, and Angel Levine, Barbary Coast, The Big Knife, Casino Royale, Exodus, Hoodlum Priest, How to Murder Your Wife, The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming and The World of Henry Orient on 10/15. New Line will debut Carmen: A Hip Hopera on 8/20. Paramount will release Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Five on 11/5. Showtime will street Further Tales of the City on 9/17, with Scotland, PA following on 10/22. And Warner is releasing a spate of great new titles and special editions on 9/24, including Amadeus: The Director's Cut (2002 version), Murder by Numbers, Once Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Special Edition, Singin' in the Rain: 50th Anniversary Edition, True Romance: Director's Cut and The Unforgiven: 10th Anniversary Edition. Okay... so maybe Murder by Numbers doesn't rank well in that group. What's a studio to do?

Speaking of Warner, here's the DVD cover art for their new Amadeus, Once Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Singin' in the Rain DVDs (2-disc special editions each - all 9/24).

Amadeus: Special EditionOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next: Special Edition

Singin' in the Rain: 50th Anniversary EditionPanic Room: SuperBit

And surprise! That IS indeed the cover art for Columbia TriStar's Panic Room: SuperBit DVD (street date 9/17). Don't worry though - a 2-disc special edition is also in production for release at a later date.

Around the site this morning, we've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 102,186 players that shipped to retailers in Region 1 in the week ending 6/14. That takes our grand total up past the 32 million mark! All charts have been updated accordingly.

Okay, back with more later this morning. Stay tuned...

7/7/02

Hey gang! Well, I hope you all had a great Fourth of July weekend, 'cause I've had better. I went to bed on Wednesday night with a splitting headache, and woke up with terrible vertigo. Damn near thought I'd had an aneurysm or something. It got better as the day went on, but my holiday was pretty well shot. I spent both Thursday and Friday in bed, praying for the world to stop spinning. Nothing like a friendly reminder to slow down once in a while. Needless to say, Friday's post was a no-go. Not to worry though - we'll have it ready tomorrow morning.

Anyway, part of the reason I wanted to chime in here was a sad bit of news. Veteran Hollywood director John Frankenheimer died this weekend here in LA at the age of 72 (see news story). His film work included Birdman of Alcatraz, Seven Days in May, Grand Prix, The Manchurian Candidate, Black Sunday, French Connection II, George Wallace and one of my recent favorites, Ronin. Give a couple of his flicks a spin on DVD in his honor, and we think you'll enjoy them.

See you in the morning...

7/3/02

As you all know, tomorrow is a holiday here in the States. Sarah and I have had family here since the weekend, and it's been pretty much non-stop for about five days now. I've been up all hours working on our initial D-VHS coverage, as well as the other content we've posted this week, so I'm beat. And Todd celebrated a birthday this past weekend too (be sure to drop him a line and let him know how much you appreciate him!). So anyway, we're going to be taking the day off tomorrow. But we'll be back on Friday with new DVD reviews, as well as a big Upcoming DVD Artwork update.

Speaking of family, Sarah, myself and Sarah's brother, Grant, attended last night's Angels/Orioles baseball game in Anaheim. Just for fun, we left our seats mid-game to see what life is like out in the right field bleachers. In the ninth inning, Baltimore's Jay Gibbons hit a home run right to us - it was very cool. The homer turned out to be a record setter and so we it made ESPN's Sportscenter last night. We didn't catch the ball, but you can see us standing right there next to the people who did. Pretty funny.

All right, kids... have a great and SAFE Fourth of July! Our best to you and yours and we'll see you back here on Friday. Peace.

7/2/02

We've got in-depth reviews of three of the first D-VHS high-definition movie releases for you today - Fox's X-Men, Universal's U-571 and Artisan's Terminator 2: Judgement Day. And to put things in perspective, I've also got a few words for you about the D-VHS format in general and what it means for DVD in particular, as well as notes on our review grading scale. It's all well worth a look, so don't miss it.

Around the site this morning, we've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 199,085 players that shipped to retailers in the second week of June (ending 6/7). All charts have been updated accordingly.

MGM has checked in with details on their upcoming Outer Limits DVDs. First of all, their The Outer Limits: The Original Series box set contains the entire first season of the classic series on 4 discs (street date 9/3 - SRP $79.96). For the record, the episodes are Galaxy Being, Hundred Days of the Dragon, The Architects of Fear, The Man with the Power, Sixth Finger, The Man Who Was Never Born, O.B.I.T., Human Factor, Corpus Earthling, Nightmare, It Crawled Out of the Woodwork, The Borderland, Tourist Attraction, The Zanti Misfits, The Mice, Controlled Experiment, Don't Open Until Doomsday, ZZZZZZ, The Invisibles, The Bellero Shield, Children of the Spider County, Specimen: Unknown, Second Chance, Moonstone, The Mutant, The Guests, Fun and Games, The Special One, A Feasibility Study, Production & Decay of Strange Particles, The Chameleon and The Forms of Things Unknown. Whew!

Next up is The Outer Limits: The New Series - Sex and Science Fiction (9/3 - $14.95 SRP), which will contain the episodes Caught in the Act, Bits of Love, Valerie 23, Human Operators, Skin Deep and Flower Child. You'll also get The Outer Limits: The New Series - Time Travel and Infinity (9/3 - $14.95 SRP), containing the episodes Stitch in Time, Tribunal, Gettysburg, Time to Time, Deja Vu and Patient Zero.

While we're talking about upcoming discs, we have word on a number of other newly announced DVD releases for you. A&E will release Nicholas Nickleby, Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete Fourth Season and Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete Fifth Season on 8/27. Anchor Bay will release Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland and Zoltan: Hound of Dracula on 8/20. Columbia TriStar has added The Best of The Muppet Show: Elton John, The Best of the Muppet Show: Mark Hamil, Cowboy Up and Kermit's Swamp Years to its 9/3 slate, with Green Dragon and Son of the Bride following on 9/10. DreamWorks will deliver Hollywood Ending on 9/17. Lion's Gate will release Hollywood Sign on 9/17 as well. 20th Century Fox has added Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie to its 9/24 releases. Universal will debut Monsoon Wedding on 9/24. And Warner will street National Geographic: Inside the Pentagon, Statue of Liberty and Ulysses S. Grant on 8/27, with the first three seasons of As Time Goes By following on 9/17.

We've also received details on HBO's In Memoriam: New York City - 9/11/01 documentary. The disc will street on 9/3, for an SRP of $19.98. Proceeds will be donated to the Twin Towers Fund and other charitable institutions supporting the victims' families. The disc will include the original full frame video with English, French and Spanish subtitles and English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround and Spanish Mono sound. The disc will also feature extended interviews with the staff of former NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

And finally today, we've got some interesting DVD tidbits for you in The Rumor Mill on Artisan's upcoming High Noon reissue, Warner's first South Park full-season box set and HBO's long-awaited Band of Brothers. Be sure to check it out.

Stay tuned...


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