UPDATE - 9/25/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Okay... another DVD review for you today. Adam Jahnke's got his
thoughts on MGM's recent
Velvet: Special Edition. It's a great film and is definitely
worth a look on disc. And lest you think it's all retro reviews this
week, we'll be back tomorrow with reviews of some new and yet to be
released DVDs. Finally!
See you then!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/25/02 - 11:30 AM PDT)
confirmed the list of deleted scenes that will be included on Disc
Two of the Episode II DVD. Sadly,
the're not as cool as we would have hoped. Most of the rest of the
scenes feature Padme's family, and not additional material from the
action scenes at the end of the film. Here's the full, confirmed list:
1. Padmé Addresses the Senate
2. Jedi Temple Analysis Room
3. Obi-Wan & Mace - Jedi Landing Platform
4. Extended Arrival on Naboo
5. Padmé's Parents' House
6. Padmé Bedroom
7. Dooku Interrogates Padmé
8. Anakin and Padmé on Trial
Also this morning, we're kicking off a new Trivia
Contest, in which five lucky winners will take home copies of
Fox's The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete
First Season on DVD. The contest is nice and easy, and runs
until 12:01 AM PDT on Sunday. Get your entries in!
And we also want to let you L.A. area DVD fans know that Dave's Video -
The Laser Place will be holding another signing event on Sunday,
September 29th. From 1-3 PM (PDT), Victor Spinetti, John Junkin and
Martin Lewis will be signing copies of Miramax's new DVD release of the
Beatles classic A Hard Day's Night.
Spinetti played the TV Director in the film, Mr Junkin played Shake and
Lewis is a noted Beatles historian, who also produced this DVD. Should
be a fun afternoon, so be there if you can. Dave's Video - The Laser
Place is located at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/24/02 -
6 PM PDT)
Wouldn't you know it! I spent a bit of this morning's column talking
about my enjoyment of the new Peter Gabriel CD, UP,
which was just released today. Come to find out that UP
is officially the first major-label album to be made available for
online in 5.1 surround sound! The music plays via Windows Media
Player 9, which is itself a free download (you'll also need surround
sound speakers connected to your computer, or you'll only hear stereo).
You can download the entire album in 5.1 and preview the tracks for 14
days, after which time, you have to purchase them for about $18. Then
you can burn them to disc and listen as you like. And for those of you
who would rather wait to buy a physical disc, UP
will also be available on DVD-Audio and SACD in January (click
here for more). Very cool.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/24/02 - 5 PM PDT)
We've got a trio of DVD reviews for you this afternoon, as promised.
First up, Graham Greenlee takes a long overdue look at Warner's
Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Special Edition (widescreen
version of course). Then, Matt Rowe weighs in on another music title,
Video Collection. And finally, a new addition to The
Bits staff, Robert Smentek, checks in with his first review,
none other than MGM's recent
of the Living Dead.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/24/02 - Noon PDT)
Ah, yes. Another new release Tuesday filled with shiny, factory-wrapped
DVDs and CDs is here, and this one brings with it a real treat for me. I
had to stop at my local Tower this morning to pick up the first new
Peter Gabriel CD in some ten years... UP.
And as I type these words, Gabriel's once again won me over with his
richly-layered, multi-textured soundscapes. Truly incredible. You
long-time Gabriel fans probably know exactly what I'm talking about.
Though not as commercial as his last two CDs, UP
is sure to be ranked as one of the great listening experiences of the
I've also been reading your e-mails regarding my rant yesterday, and it
seems that while most of you agree with my points, those of you who
don't feel quite strongly too. My main position is that I am absolutely
against anyone but the director altering the presentation of a film.
Especially when, these days, directors are fairly willing to make
alterations for TV and airline exhibition themselves. That's why I'm
against MovieMask and similar technologies, why I'm against colorization
and why I'm against altering the theatrical aspect ratio. Look... I
don't love DVD because it's a fun time in the living room, or because it
makes my home theater look and sound great. I love DVD for the SOLE
reason that I love FILM. And DVD is the best way to view films at home,
in as close to the original theatrical experience as possible. Anything
that deviates from that is unacceptable to me. That's what this is all
about kids. Sure... full frame versions and "clean" edits are
a necessary thing these days. And I can accept that, as long as the
filmmakers are given the option of control over the process of creating
them. But this idea of people being able to make their own versions of
films, tailored to their own particular tastes and moral bent, is
patently absurd. Seriously folks, as a filmmaker, what's the point of
MAKING a film, of telling a story as you want it told from your
particular perspective, if anyone can just create and distribute
whatever custom version of it that they want to later? I mean really...
who objects to the swords in Princess Bride
so much that they'd rather their kids see lightsaber blades instead?
Well, someone apparently does, because the MovieMask people show this
very change in their demo reel. Maybe instead of movie "cleaning"
software, what these people should buy are a good pair of rose-colored
glasses. Art is a form of expression, whether its an individual art
(like a painting) or a collective one (like a film). What right does
anyone have to alter that expression just because they don't agree with
it or parts of it? If you don't like it... don't watch it. It's that
But no one can stop you from making your own Phantom
Edits in your own home, for your own use. Moral arguments
aside, here's the real issue to all this. Whether or not it's right for
you to alter a copy of an artistic work that you own, is it right for
anyone to alter a work and then profit by doing so? That's what
MovieMask and these other conpanies are doing. They're altering the
presentation of films, without the filmmakers' permission, and making
money doing so. And that's the rub.
All right.. on to real business. There are more new upcoming DVD
announcements today. Anchor Bay will release Highlander:
Season One on 11/12, followed by Grand
Tour: A Disaster in Time, Making
Contact and Noah's Ark Principle
on 11/19. BFS Entertainment will release Doctor
Finlay on 10/22. BMG Music has Blue
Oyster Cult: A Long Day's Night, Gov't
Mule: Rising Low and Kirk
Franklin: The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin Beggars Banquet/Matador
due on 10/8, with Pavement: Slow Century
following on 10/22. Capitol-EMI has Keith
Richards and the X-Pensive Winos and N.W.A.:
Efil4zaggin: The Only Home Video due on 10/8. Columbia
TriStar will release Love and a Bullet
and Trois 2: Pandora's Box on
11/26. Dreamworks' Minority Report
arrives on 12/17 in both full frame and widescreen versions. Kino
International will release Counsellor at Law,
Good Fairy and Love
Trap/Directed by William Wyler on 11/5. And finally,
Pioneer's added Live at Knebworth
to its 11/12 slate.
Also, HBO has just announced the DVD release of Oz:
The Complete Second Season for January 7th. The 3-disc DVD
release will include all 8 episodes (SRP $64.98), along with The
Museum of Television & Radio Seminar Series: Oz
(featuring commentary from series creator Tom Fontana as well as
director Nick Gomez, producer Bridget Potter and cast members Edie
Falco, Terry Kinney, Ernie Hudson, Kirk Acevedo and Dean Winters), an
exclusive "behind the scenes" short, a Season One recap, a
Season Three preview, Easter eggs, episodic previews, cast and crew
bios, web links, an episode index, chapter selections, audio in English
Dolby 5.1, English Dolby 2.0 and Spanish Mono, and Spanish subtitles.
Back with reviews soon. Stay tuned...
Another week begins, and we've done some updating to the various charts
and data points (see above) that we keep track of
here at The Bits. We've also
announced the winners of the Trivia Contest.
Thanks to all 3,312 people who entered and congrats to the winners!
We're working on a whole mess of new DVD reviews for you this
afternoon, which will be posted throughout the week. So we're going to
spend the rest of the day on that. But first, there are a couple of
important things we wanted to bring to your attention.
First of all,
a great article on the effort to negotiate the spec for HD-DVD
over at Medialine News, and the
possibility of eventual competing formats vying for the attention of
consumers. The article does mention our joint
campaign and includes an important clue as to the temperament of
the studios on this issue:
"Studios, none in any hurry to fundamentally
alter their booming DVD business, are also trying to steer discussions
onto a calmer one-format course."
So maybe there's hope that Hollywood will arm-twist the manufacturers
into a single format spec. Keep your fingers crossed.
Also today, we at The Digital Bits
feel it's time we weighed in on another hotly-debated issue that's
cropped up related to the home video industry. There are a number of
companies that are trying to promote the use of special digital software
packages to "clean up" or "mask" certain portions of
Hollywood movies that are deemed "offensive".
has a technology that allows you to watch any movie on your PC "without
exposing you and your family to the objectionable content contained in
that film". So, for example, instead of blood splattering when
people get hit by gunfire in The Matrix,
you see a shower of sparks instead. Don't want your kids seeing Kate
Winslet's "assets" in Titanic?
No problem - this software will put a dress on her. Oh, but it's not all
about censorship. No... this software can also insert clickable
hyperlinks to retail stores into movies. Really like that dress Meg
Ryan's wearing? Click here to order online now. There are also online
here and here)
that offer "edited" movies for rent. And the
Republic recently did a story on the growing trend.
We side firmly with the Directors
Guild of America on this one folks. Editing a movie without the
filmmaker's knowledge, permission and supervision is absolutely,
unconditionally and completely wrong. This is every bit as bad as
colorizing a black and white film, or showing a 2.35 film in pan &
scan. You don't like the violence or sex in a film? Then don't watch it!
Read a book, for God's sake! I frankly can't believe this is even an
At a recent DVD event, someone came up to me and said, "Gee... you
know, I'm a parent and I love movies. And there are just tons of films
I'd love to start exposing my kids too, like The
Godfather and Saving Private Ryan,
if only I didn't have to worry about them seeing all the sex and
violence and swearing. What can I do?" Well... I do have an answer
to that question, and I'll say it right out in plain language: You have
absolutely no f#@king business showing a film like The
Godfather to your kids until they're old enough to see it
(and understand it) the way it was originally meant by the director to
be seen. Period. There are PLENTY of films out there to watch with your
kids. But altering a film just to conform to your own personal tastes
and morality is absurd and wrong. You wouldn't pull a pair of Fruit of
the Loom boxers over Michaelangelo's David and then say, "Look
kids... that's a Renaissance sculpture! Isn't that great art?" Why
not just paint dresses on all of Picasso's nudes? How about we just let
everyone rewrite sections of classic books to take out whatever they
find personally offensive? Maybe Harry Potter
would read better to religious conservatives if Harry were simply a "boy
scout" rather than a "wizard"? Maybe every reference to
the character of Jim in Huck Finn
should read "disadvantaged African American" rather than "nigger"?
Where does this stuff stop?
People might argue, "But this is a movie! It's NOT the same thing
as a Picasso or a Mark Twain novel!" But it IS exactly the same
thing. Movies are one of the dominant art forms of our time. Some are
good and some are bad. And yes... some depict sex and violence. But that
doesn't give ANYONE (other the creators) the right to change them. 'Nuff
In keeping with our efforts to bring to your attention movies other
than just your typical Hollywood blockbusters and obvious DVD purchases,
today we offer you reviews of a trio of unlikely and offbeat films. Adam
Jahnke offers his thoughts for you on Image's
First Nudie Musical: 26th Anniversary Special Edition and New
Mack: Platinum Series, both of which are recent DVD releases
of older, non-mainstream films. And Graham Greenlee checks in with a
look at Warner's
Walk to Remember - a mainstream film that many dismissed as
fluff, but which some of your (particularly those of you looking for
family-suitable films with a good message) might find worth a look. And
we have many more reviews on tap for next week, including (with any
luck) a few from Todd and I.
In other news today, DreamWorks has revealed that Steven Spielberg's
Minority Report will arrive on DVD
on December 17th (SRP $29.99) in both widescreen and full frame
versions. Word is that DVD producer Laurent Bouzereau was on set during
the production gathering material for eventual use on the disc. Look for
two featurettes (From Story to Screen
and Deconstructing Minority Report)
as well as pieces on the film's stunt work and visual effects,
interviews with Spielberg and star Tom Cruise, storyboards, artwork,
production notes, cast and crew bios and more.
You fans of TV's American Idol
can rest easy... a DVD version of the (I hesitate to call it this)
highly popular reality TV series IS on the way. On October 15th, Ventura
Distribution will release a single-disc special edition packed with "over
60 minutes of bonus footage", all for only $19.99. I wonder
sometimes... is there anyone under 30 that DOESN'T want to be a star
Video Premieres (an occasional
print companion to industry trade Video
Business) has confirmed that Disney is currently working on a
2-disc DVD special edition of Who Framed
Roger Rabbit for next year, which will include new animation
of many of the characters in the film. Look for the title to be released
sometime in the first half of 2003.
By the way, I wanted to reassure all those of you who have been waiting
for our Comic-Con DVD Producers Panel
transcript that we ARE still working on it. There was a lot of audience
Q&A during the panel, and the tape recorder didn't catch some of the
audience questions as clearly as I would have liked, making the
transcribing process a real tough slog. But I promise to have it done as
soon as I possibly can (while still keeping my sanity intact).
All right kids... go have yourselves a helluva good weekend and we'll
see you back here on Monday. Peace.
We've got two great reviews of two great films on DVD for you this
afternoon. Dan Kelly's checked in with his look at one of my favorite
films of 2002, Bill Paxton's
(distributed on DVD by Lion's Gate). And Adam Jahnke's given director
an in-depth review, as seen on DVD from Criterion. I think you'll enjoy
them both (and both films are now available).
Be sure to check back tomorrow for more new DVD reviews as well. Stay
Morning, gang! As you may have noticed, we kicked off the latest
last night, which gives each of you a chance to win one of FIVE copies
of Fox's new 24: The Complete First Season
on DVD. It's a nice easy contest, and it runs until Friday, so get your
entries in quick!
This morning, we're pleased to bring you
transcript of a recent roundtable interview with actor/director Jodie
Foster. The roundtable was held for various members of the press
(our own Jeff Kleist included), to promote the DVD release of Panic
Room (available now) and The
Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys (street date 11/5) from
Columbia TriStar. We think you'll find it worth a read.
Also, we've been informed that Synapse Films will release the "unclassifiable"
erotic cult classic Bacchanales Sexuelles
on DVD on 12/7 (SRP $24.98). Look for anamorphic widescreen video
(1.66:1 aspect ratio) and original French audio with newly translated
English subtitles. The film will also be the uncensored version,
containing almost 30 minutes of additional footage.
And A&E has a whopping cool slate of just-announced upcoming
titles. On 10/29, look for A&E's original The
Lost World miniseries in a 2-disc special edition (SRP
$39.95), featuring anamorphic widescreen video and more than 2 hours of
bonus documentary programming from both A&E and The History Channel.
That same day, you'll also get the A&E original movie Lathe
of Heaven, based on the sci-fi novel by Ursula Le Guin (SRP
$19.95). We're not done yet - how about Shaka
Zulu: The Complete Mini-Series? Yep... the complete 1983,
10-hour mini-series by director William C Faure will arrive as a 4-disc
set from A&E, also on 10/29 (SRP $79.95). Oh, but we've saved the
best for last. A&E will round out its 10/29 offerings with Courageous
Cat: The Complete Series! You heard that right - all 130
episodes of the classic 1960s animated series (which was developed by
Bob Kane, the legendary creator of Batman,
as a parody of the caped crusader) will arrive on DVD as a 4-disc set
(SRP $79.95). They'll be presented digitally remastered and uncut, in
their original broadcast order.
Now... for those of you who may be wondering what the definition of
cool is on DVD... THAT'S it right there. Courageous
Cat and Minute Mouse on DVD. Just imagine it.
I wonder how many of you are old enough even to have heard of Courageous
Cat. This is the real deal, kids... back from a day when
Saturday morning still meant cartoons that weren't designed just to sell
action figures. Do they even HAVE cartoons on Saturday mornings these
days? Nuff said.
We're very pleased today to bring you a new special feature here at
The Bits. Our own Adam Jahnke
spoke yesterday with director Michael Apted, whose many films include
World is Not Enough, Nell,
the 7 Up series and one of my
favorites, Thunderheart. So here's
the complete account of Adam's interview... The
Enigma of Michael Apted.
In other news today, 20th Century Fox - fast on the heels of having
condensed many of their excellent 2-disc special editions into single
disc re-releases - has announced that they're kicking off a new line of
discs - Fox Studio Classics. These will be tied in with next year's 75th
anniversary of the Academy Awards. On January 14th, Fox will release a
trio of newly restored and remastered Best Picture-winning films,
including All About Eve, Gentleman's
Agreement and How Green Was My
Valley. Then, on the first Tuesday of every month thereafter,
Fox will release another film on DVD (as part of this line) that either
won or was nominated for an Oscar. Other titles in the series will
include Viva Zapata, The
Grapes of Wrath, Anastasia
and Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.
SRP will be $19.98.
can read more here via Yahoo.
In another bit of Fox news, fans of the FX series The
Shield will be happy to learn that the entire first season of
the series (all 13 episodes plus extras) will be released on DVD on
January 7th (the same day the show's second season debuts on cable).
Each episode will feature commentary by writers, producers, directors
and cast members. The 4-disc set will carry an SRP of $59.98, and will
also include audition reels of every main character in the series.
And finally this afternoon, Warner Bros has officially announced the
DVD release of Chuck Jones: Extremes and
In-Betweens, A Life in Animation for October 22nd. This
documentary DVD looks back on the life and career of the pioneering
animator, and features two of his classic Looney
Tunes shorts: Feed the Kitty
and Duck Dodgers and the 24 1/2th Century.
And as we mentioned in
Mill recently, we believe this is just the prelude to a larger
plan for the Looney Tunes catalog
by the studio in 2003 and beyond.
We'll be back with that Trivia Contest
later this afternoon. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/16/02 - 3 PM PDT)
We've just posted a major update of the
DVD Cover Artwork section. We've added more than 50 new pieces
of cover artwork, including Reign of Fire,
Law and Order, Minority
Report, Stuart Little 2,
Down by Law, Solaris,
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,
Mad About You, Bad
Company, The Complete Monterey Pop
Festival, all of MGM's recently announced November and
December titles (including The Producers),
The Duellists, Serpico,
Lilo & Stitch, The
Thief of Bagdad, the revised final Lord
of the Rings: Extended Edition art and more. And you can
order each of the titles right now from
by clicking on the cover links.
Now then... we've got a new Trivia Contest
coming for tomorrow, giving you all a chance to win a copy of Fox's 24:
The Complete First Season. And we have a new special feature
planned as well.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/16/02 - 11:45 AM PDT)
Morning all! We're kicking off the new week with a big update of
Rumor Mill. We've got details on the Back
to the Future Trilogy DVDs, what could be the final deleted
scene list for the Episode II DVD,
word on a possible street date for New Line's Goldmember,
news on a big iron giant returning to DVD and even possible word on
Bugs, Daffy and the gang finally hitting disc. Don't miss it!
Back with more soon...
(LATER UPDATE - 9/13/02 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Okay... last post for today. We're closing things out for the week with
a pair of new DVD reviews. Graham Greenlee's taken a look at HBO's
Sopranos: The Complete Second Season on disc. And Dan Kelly's
given MGM's new
Fog: Special Edition a spin on your behalf. Be sure to give
both reviews a read.
Now then... we'll be back next week with a very cool special feature, a
big Upcoming DVD Artwork update
and more new DVD reviews.
Have a great weekend and stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/13/02
- 1 PM PDT)
Well... the product demos have begun. On Wednesday, Sony showed off a
technology demonstration of their Blu-Ray player/recorder at the Sony
Dreamworld 2002 show in Japan. As expected, the machine uses a
high-capacity optical disc contained in a cartridge.
here for a report on the show (in Japanese) that features several
more pictures of the deck and discs. Thanks to Jeremy of IGN for the
Also this afternoon, we've got a sneak peek at the main menu screens
for New Line's forthcoming 4-disc The Lord of
the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring DVD (street date
(EARLY UPDATE -
9/13/02 - 11:45 AM PDT)
We've got a whole slew of new upcoming DVD announcements for you this
Buena Vista will release Disney's Very Merry
Christmas Sing-Along-Songs on 11/5. Columbia TriStar has
officially announced 13 Conversations About
One Thing and Sunshine State
for 11/19, with My Girl 2 and Where
Sleeping Dogs Lie following on 12/3, and Stuart
Little 2 on 12/10. Criterion will release the Complete
Monterey Pop Festival on 11/12, along with Contempt
and the original 1970's Solaris on
11/26. Kino International has Piano Teacher
set for 11/5. MGM hits hard in November and December with
Wall, Madame Bovary,
My Father's Glory, My
Mother's Castle, Spetters
and Too Beautiful for You due on
11/5, Gangster No. 1 due on 11/8,
and Alphabet City, Bad
Influence, Blue Steel,
Body of Evidence, Children's
Hour, Company Business,
Dead of Winter, Kiss
Before Dying, Legend of the Lost,
Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song,
Miami Blues, The
Producers, Road to Hong Kong,
of Grace, Thief of Bagdad,
Where's Poppa? and Whistle
Blower all on 12/3. Rhino has set Rock,
Rhythm and Doo-Wop: The Greatest Songs for 11/12. And Warner
will release Scooby-Doo: Winter Wonderdog
on 10/8, with Skinwalkers
following on 11/26.
Around the site this morning, we've updated Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to its latest version, dates 9/11. And we've updated
DVD Player Sales charts to reflect the 500,484 players shipped
to U.S. retailers in the week ending 8/30. For the record, the format is
now over 35 million players here in the States.
Also this morning, you may have seen the rumors around the Net
regarding the October 2003 release of The
Indiana Jones Trilogy on DVD from Paramount and Lucasfilm, as
reportedly announced at the Deauville Festival by a studio spokesperson.
As of right now, that's all this is... a rumor. I've spoken with the
studio and they're not even sure who this "studio spokesman"
was. That's not to say that this isn't possible. But until we hear more,
let's not get our hopes up.
Back with more soon...
Doogan's back! Yessir... our own Todd Doogan has checked in with his
Views column in quite some time. This time, Todd's got a look
at our latest list of
That Damn Well Ought To Be On DVD. We're already five years
into this format, but we think this list proves that there's still
plenty of work left for the studios to do...
Morning everyone. I suppose I would be remiss not to make note of the
day today. One year later here in the U.S., I think many of us are
feeling a little on edge and unsure about what the appropriate thing is
to do today, particularly with TV and radio giving us non-stop coverage
related to last year's terrible events. So here at The
Bits, we'd just like to say that we're very glad this day
seems to be passing uneventfully, and we wish all of you peace and
happiness whereever you may be.
We're also pleased to present you with another column from our own
Robert Harris today. This time around, Robert takes a look at a pair of
films that have touched him in some way. So here's his column,
are Personal. And don't forget, when you're done, you can
thread at The Home Theater Forum to discuss the column
with Robert and others.
And you Star Wars fans will be
pleased to know that
preview trailer for the Episode II DVD is now online at
IGN (the Windows Media Viewer is required). Based on the trailer, we've
identified at least five of the eight deleted scenes that will be
included on Disc Two of the set. These include Anakin and Padme on trial
on Geonosis, Padme addressing the Senate, Obi-Wan visiting the Jedi
temple analysis room, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan discussing Anakin on the
starfighter platform and at least some of Anakin and Padme in her family
home on Naboo. I would guess the remaining three scenes include more of
Padme's family (there was a brief dinner scene) and the cut action
scenes of the Jedi assault on the droid control ships during the last
battle. We'll post more when we can confirm it. Let's all hope there
wasn't a deleted *NSync musical number... ;-)
We'll be back tomorrow with new reviews and more. Stay tuned.
Well... the first news story about the
Format Only campaign is now out. Enrique Rivero of Video
Store magazine put together a look at the campaign right as
we were just kicking things off.
can find it online now, and it's also in this week's print issue
of the magazine (Sept. 8-14) for those who have access to it.
The main thing I want to stress, is that while I worked to get the
campaign started, this has really become a group effort. John Randall of
The DVD Cyber Center
and Paul Russell of DVD
Angle in particular have been working very hard on the
website, graphics and other issues related to the effort. So thanks to
them and EVERYONE who is participating!
In other news on the HD-DVD front, there's
great article from the EE Times with specific details on
the various specs that have been proposed for HD-DVD, with particular
focus on the recent Tohsiba/NEC announcement. VERY good reading. And
second story from The Toronto Star on the brewing HD-DVD
format battle as well.
In other news this morning, we've announced the winners of the
Trivia Contest, so thanks to everyone
who entered and congratulations to those of you taking the Soprano
family home. ;-)
Also this morning, we've got a look at the DVD cover artwork for
Paramount's upcoming The Duellists: Special
Collector's Edition and Serpico
(both street on 12/3). Both titles can now be ordered online at
Finally today, we're getting reports that there are now pirated bootleg
discs in circulation, mastered directly from Disc One of the official
Attack of the Clones DVD, which
was apparently stolen from the replication plant. A number of readers
have reported seeing these available both online and in person in parts
of Asia. Here's what one had to say:
"I don't know how secure the plants
Lucasfilm uses to make the discs but over here in Kuala Lumpur, the
pirated first disc is already selling. From the looks of it, it seems
that they copied it from the original disc. How'd they get that original
disc, I have no idea. But it's out and it's being replicated by the
thousands. I only saw it being played by the vendor... and they were
very cautious over people who asks too many questions. These kinds of
leaks have happened before on various titles - Blade II, Session
9, Lord of the Rings and perhaps the other bigger
blockbusters. It just sounds like the pressing plants have a habit of
And here's another report:
"The original disc is a DVD-9, but the "pirated"
disc doing its rounds on the net is a DVD-5 (as are the DVD-R discs used
in PC DVD-R/RW drives). Therefore, the pirates have downsampled, or
better yet, re-encoded the MPEG-2 data to fit the movie on a DVD-5.
Because of that, one should expect some degradation of the picture
quality compared to the official release... the pirated DVD has the
original Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX soundtrack as well as the
commentary track. All other audio tracks have been removed. DVD credits
featuring some outtakes are present, but other possible extras have been
You know... it's really a shame that someone would do this. The REAL
disc is but two months away, but people are paying money for a poor
quality copy? Sad. But I suppose... to be expected. Thanks to Petri,
Fuad and everyone else who sent in e-mails on this.
Morning film fans! We've got some very interesting news from around the
Net today. First of all, a small handful of copies of the first disc
(the movie disc) from Lucasfilm and Fox's upcoming Star
Wars: Episode II DVD have apparently been "leaked"
to online movie reviewers. Now... according to Lucasfilm, these discs
are "stolen" property - they were obtained illegally (likely
from the replicator) and given without authorization to those that have
them. It's also possible that they were "leaked" deliberately
to get a buzz for the DVD going, particularly since only the first disc
was sent out (remember how some reviewers were "allowed in secret"
to see the near complete film on VHS before it was released in
theaters?). With that spiffy, all-digital transfer, what better way to
start getting DVD fans (who have thus far been talking almost
exclusively about Spider-Man and
Lord of the Rings) excited about
Ep II? Whatever the story may be,
news is news. So if you want to get a bit of a better look at what you
can look forward to on 11/12,
Also this morning, our own Matt Rowe forwarded me a link to a really
great story from the National Journal's
Technology Daily on the battle between Hollywood and the
Silicon Valley over copyright issues and the Internet. It's called Digital
Divide, written by Drew Clark and Bara Vaida. You will not
read a better and more in-depth look at the long-standing animosity
between those who create content and those who create technology, and
their political and legal wrangling that continues today. More
importantly, it perfectly frames many of the issues we've been talking
about here at The Bits, like
file-sharing, and recordable and high definition DVD. Make no mistake...
the outcome of this battle will effect you in ways we can only begin to
imagine, from how we watch TV and movies on DVD, to how we listen to
music, to the ways we access the Net and beyond. Do give it a read.
And don't forget - our Sopranos Trivia Contest
ends tonight, so get those entries in fast!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/6/02 - 10:30 PM PDT)
Yes... you read that right. The frell-nicks in programming at the
Sci-Fi Network have opted out of their just-signed contract for seasons
five and six of Farscape at the
11th hour, meaning that after the rest of season four airs in January,
the best science fiction show on television is effectively cancelled.
The news was announced this evening in a live chat at
with series executive producer David Kemper and star Ben Browder. As Jon
Stewart might say, "Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaa?"
Now... here at The Bits, we're
not normally of the sort to raise a stink about a TV show being
cancelled. That's just life, right? And it doesn't really have much to
do with DVD (other than the fact that we're all really enjoying the
first and second seasons on DVD from ADV, thank you very much). But this
one does stick in our collective craw. Now... we recognize that some of
you may not care. But if (like us) you do, the show's producers have
asked for help in convincing Sci-Fi of the error of their ways. Contact
Sci-Fi and politely let them know how you feel.
Sci-Fi's programming department email:
Comment line: 212-413-5577
General Line: 212-413-5000
Address: The Sci-Fi Channel
1230 Avenue of the Americas, F115
New York, NY 10020-1513
And for more information on what you can do,
Anyone at UPN or Fox in the mood to pick up an already
critically-acclaimed hit show?
(LATE UPDATE - 9/6/02 - 7:30 PM PDT)
We've got those reviews for you - 4 in all this evening. Brad Pilcher's
checked in with a look at Universal's
Game: Collector's Edition (widescreen of course), as well as
A Tribute to Heroes and Disney's
20th Anniversary Edition. And Graham Greenlee's got a review
Have yourself a great weekend and see you back here on Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/6/02 - 1
Okay... we got us a
Five lucky winners will take home copies of HBO's The
Sopranos: The Complete Third Season on DVD. The contest is
easy, but you've only got until 7 PM PDT on Monday, September 9th to
enter, so get started.
We've also updated the
DVD Player Sales charts to reflect the 237,378 players that
shipped to U.S. retailers in the week ending 8/23.
And we've got some new DVD announcements for you as well. ADV Films
will release Dragon Half #1 on
9/24, with Sailor Moon #11: The Ties That
Bind and Sailor Moon #12: The
Wrath of the Emerald following on 11/26. A&E's World
Trade Center: In Memoriam streets on 9/24. Alpha Video will
street Atom Age Vampire, Carnival
of Souls, Charade, Corpse
Vanishes, Dick Tracy's Dilemma,
Golem (silent-1920), Kid
Dynamite, Little Lord Fauntleroy,
Little Shop of Horrors, My
Dear Secretary, Phantom from Space,
Radar Men from the Moon, Part 1,
Radar Men from the Moon, Part 2,
Santa Fe Trail, Shock,
Smart Alecks, Walk
in the Sun and Wasp Woman
all on 9/24. Anchor Bay's October titles will include Mad
Mission Box Set (includes Mad
Mission #4, which cannot be purchased separately) on 10/8,
and the Carry On: Box Set on
10/22. Artisan Entertainment will release Dog
Soldiers: Special Edition, Honeybee
and Legion of the Dead on 11/5,
along with 'R Xmas, Call
Girl (aka: Nighttime Lover), Carolina
Skeletons, Getting Gotti,
Glengarry Glenross: Special Edition,
Harts of the West, The
Hit, Lap Dancer, Last
Seduction, Last Seduction II,
the Streets of L.A., Robin Cook's
Invasion, Rosewell: The U.F.O.
Sweet Bird of Youth and Tropical
Tease on 11/19. Buena Vista has Spider-Man:
The Return of the Green Goblin on 10/29, Frank
McKlusky C. I., Heroic Trio
and Victory on 11/19, and Undisputed
on 11/26. Capitol-EMI is releasing Bryan
Ferry and Roxy Music - Video Collection, Crowded
House: Dreaming, The Videos, Pat
Benatar: Best Shots - The Videos, Peter
Tosh: Captured Live, Queensryche:
Building Empires, Red Hot Chili
Peppers: What Hits? and Tina
Turner: Simply the Best, all on 10/1. Columbia TriStar will
release Armed and Dangerous, Cold
Steel, Spider's Web and
What to Do in Case of Fire on
11/12. Lion's Gate has set Dead Zone
for 11/5, A Shot at Glory for
11/19, and Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
for 11/26. Via Trimark, Lion's Gate will release Under
Hellgate Bridge on 11/12, Rhapsody
on 11/19 and Lovely and Amazing on
11/26. Paramount upcoming titles include Diva's
Christmas Carol on 11/19, Ridley Scott's The
Duellists: Special Edition, Serpico:
Special Edition and War and Peace
on 12/3, and MTV Jackass 2 & 3
on 12/10. Showtime's Off Season
and Red Sneakers are due on 11/19,
with Amy's O (aka: Amy's Orgasm)
following on 11/26. Universal is releasing Fraternity
on 11/5 and Harrison's Flowers on
12/24. And Warner Bros will release Powerpuff
Girls: The Movie on 11/5, with Mountain
Gorilla: IMAX and Secret of Life
on Earth: IMAX due on 10/8 and Larryboy:
The Cartoon Adventures - The Yoder Napper on 11/26.
Entertainment also has a new slate of titles announced. Look for
Beast of Blood: Special Edition,
Blood of the Vampires: Special Edition,
Cult: Live Cult - Music Without Fear,
Kidsongs: A Day at the Circus,
Kidsongs: Country Sing-A-Long,
Kidsongs: I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing,
Kidsongs: Yankee Doodle Dandy,
Marquis de Sade's Justine, The
Westside and Widespread Panic: The
Earth Will Swallow You on 11/5, Bach:
St. Mathew Passion - Neubeuem Choral Society, Brain
of Blood: Special Edition, Cocaine
Cowboys, Daniel Barenboim:
Berliner Luft, Godthumb,
Hooked Generation/The Psychedelic Priest,
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro - Drottingholm
Court, Puccini: La Boheme - Opera
Australia and Tobacco
Roody/Southern Comforts on 11/12, Cruel
Romance: Special Edition, Dauria,
Ice-T and SMG: The Repossession Live,
Juvenile and UPT: Live in St. Louis,
of the National Fishing and Pirates
of the XXth Century on 11/19, and Captain
Fracasse (silent - 1929), Hollywood
Hot Wheels, Mahabharata,
Making the Misfits, Mauvaise
Graine, Shoeshine, Velasquez:
The Painter of Painters, Verdi's
MacBeth - Zurich Opera House, White
Knuckle Extreme: Black Out, White
Knuckle Extreme: Disorder #3 - Freewheel Burning and Visions
and Voyeurism: Pandora Peaks on 11/26.
We'd also like to take a moment to thank Ralph Tribbey for mentioning
the HD-DVD One
Format Only campaign in the latest issue of the DVD
Release Report, which is circulated widely throughout the
industry. Much appreciated!
We'll be back with those reviews later this evening. Stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/6/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning all! We'll be back with our usual post later this morning,
including reviews. But first, we wanted to let you all know that
the official website
for the HD-DVD: One Format Only campaign is now online.
And new sites continue to join (if you're an avid follower of the online
DVD community, all your favorites are likely now part of this effort).
Be sure to check it out!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/5/02 - 4:30 PM PDT)
Hey gang... developments with the
One Format campaign have keep us pretty busy this afternoon,
so we're going to wait until tomorrow to post those reviews. But we'll
have several then, along with a new Trivia
Contest. Anyone want to win a copy of Sopranos:
Season Three? Check back tomorrow! In the meantime, check out
temp page for the latest details there...
(EARLY UPDATE -
9/5/02 - 11:45 AM PDT)
Morning all! We've got a few more DVD reviews on the way this
afternoon, but first I wanted to jump in with some general site update
stuff and a few bits of DVD news.
First up, we've added a list of Top 10
Rental DVDs to our charts above, with
weekly updated from VSDA's VidTrac service. Just FYI.
Also, we've had a TON of websites e-mail to say they're joining the
HD-DVD: One Format Only campaign,
and judging form the e-mail I'm getting from some of the other
webmasters involved in the campaign, their readers are getting on the
bandwagon too. We'll let you know when the main campaign site is up. And
in case you didn't see it, we've added
Laser to the list of major online DVD sites that are now part
of the effort. The fact the virtually the entire online DVD community is
getting behind this speaks volumes about the need for this effort.
In other news, we've received word that Pink
Floyd Live at Pompeii: The Directors Cut is coming to DVD in
March of 2003. And don't forget... David
Gilmour in Concert streets on 11/5 from Capitol.
In other DVD-related music news,
is reporting that Neal Young's Rust
Never Sleeps concert film will be released on DVD on 9/24
also reporting that when the CD release of U2:
The Best of 1990-2000 happens on 11/5 from Interscope, the
3-disc set will include 2 music CDs (one the 16-track "best of"
and another 14-track disc of B-sides) as well as a bonus DVD disc with
exclusive content, including the History Mix
of U2 in the '90s. Very cool. And don't forget that an
additional pair of U2 DVDs are on the way as well - the U2:
The Best of 1990-2000 (featuring all their music videos) on
12/3 and a live concert DVD of a recent performance at Ireland's Slane
Castle sometime next year.
Finally this morning,
is reporting that BMG Music is finally getting on the DVD-Audio
bandwagon. This would be good news for those of you who favor DVD-Audio
in its on-going battle with Sony's SACD for the hearts and minds of the
few early adopters who are willing to brave the high-resolution audio
format wars. So the score card is as follows - BMG, AOL TimeWarner and
EMI back DVD-Audio, with Sony and Universal backing SACD. But word is,
Universal hasn't ruled out DVD-Audio support as well. Which is good,
because frankly, I'm just so sick of these little format turf wars
killing a perfectly good idea.