UPDATE - 11/6/02 - 10:45 AM PST)
We've got some news that you South Park
fans are going to find pretty disappointing. It seems that Warner's
dumped all of the Trey Parker and Matt Stone audio commentaries off of
the episodes on their South Park: The
Complete First Season DVDs. But
Central.com is offering all of the commentaries on a multi-disc CD set
as a bonus if you buy the DVDs through their website. Sez Matt
Stone of the commentary:
"Warner Brothers would not release it on the
DVD without editing some of its content for "standards"
issues. Trey and I simply love the sounds of our own voices to let this
happen. We also believe in a little thing called the First Amendment.
After you hear it you may wonder "What was the big deal about it
anyway?" Good question. And one better directed at Warner Brothers
than at a TV screen. So let them know what you think. Trey and I did.
And enjoy our first ever sober audio commentary."
Note that you can also get the bonus commentary CDs by sending in your
proof of purchase with a small shipping and handling fee to Comedy
Central, and they'll mail you the CDs. You can visit Trey and Matt's
Studios for the address information soon. Thanks to Bits
reader Randall G. for sending the link over.
Now then... Criterion has asked us to extend a little invite for those
of you who live in (or plan to be in) the L.A. area on the evening of
"On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the
height of the "Summer of Love," the first and only Monterey
International Pop Festival roared forward - capturing a decade's spirit
and ushering in a new era of rock and roll.
On November 13, 2002, The Criterion Collection and its distributor Home
Vision Entertainment will host a free promotional screening of the
78-minute masterpiece, Monterey Pop, at the Laemmele Theater,
8000 Sunset Boulevard (7:30-10pm). The festival that launched the
careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, while securing
the careers of Simon and Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, The Who,
The Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar, has been
brilliantly captured by director D.A. Pennebaker, immortalizing those
moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend destroying his guitar;
Jimi Hendrix burning his.
The Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive
document of the Monterey International Pop Festival ever produced,
featuring all three films of the Festival - Monterey Pop, Jimi
Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey - along with
nearly every complete performance filmed by Pennebaker and his crew.
Free passes to the screening can be obtained by visiting the Virgin
Megastore, 8000 Sunset Blvd, (in the same mall as the theater)."
Note that you can also
this site and print out an invitation yourself.
Just FYI, Criterion's The Complete Monterey
Pop Festival 3-disc DVD set streets on 11/12 (SRP $79.95) and
Disc One - Monterey
Pop (spine #168) with a new high-definition digital transfer
supervised by D.A. Pennebaker, a new 5.1 mix by legendary recording
engineer Eddie Kramer presented in both Dolby Digital and DTS, audio
commentary by Festival producer Lou Adler and D.A. Pennebaker, a new
video interview with Lou Adler and D.A. Pennebaker, audio interviews
with Festival producer John Phillips, Festival publicist Derek Taylor
and performers Cass Elliot and David Crosby, a photo essay by
photographer Elaine Mayes, the original theatrical trailer, original
theatrical radio spots, a Monterey Pop scrapbook and more
Disc Two - Jimi
Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis
at Monterey (spine #169) with new high-definition digital
transfers supervised by D.A. Pennebaker, new 5.1 mixes by engineer Eddie
Kramer presented in Dolby Digital and DTS, audio commentary on
Jimi Plays Monterey by music
critic and historian Charles Shaar Murray, two audio commentaries on
Shake! by music critic and
historian Peter Guralnick: the first on Otis Redding's Monterey
performance, song by song; the second on Redding before and after
Monterey, an interview with Phil Walden, Otis Redding's manager from
1959 to 1967, the original theatrical trailer for Jimi
Plays Monterey, a video excerpt: Pete
Townshend on Monterey and Jimi Hendrix and more
Disc Three - Monterey
Pop-The Outtake Performances with two hours of performances
not included in the original film from the following artists: The
Association, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Blues Project, The
Byrds, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Country Joe and the Fish, The
Electric Flag, Jefferson Airplane, Al Kooper, The Mamas and the Papas,
Laura Nyro, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Simon and Garfunkel, Tiny Tim
and The Who
So there it is. If you can make the screening, you can't beat free,
right? We're also going to be giving a copy of the DVD away very soon,
so watch for that.
Finally this morning, we'd like to welcome a new sponsor to The
Escape.com (you can see their new logo at the top of this
page). DVD Escape offers online
rentals of both adult and mainstream DVD titles, and sells used copies
of adult and mainstream titles as well. Keep in mind that when you click
over there... well, they've got adult DVDs. But if you give 'em a try,
tell 'em The Bits sent you.
All right... it's going to take us most of the day to get all the new
DVD cover artwork up, because so much is still coming in from the
studios. So be sure to check back late this afternoon or early this
evening to see it all.
We've got a list of new DVDs on the way from Buena Vista for early next
year. Some you know about, some are newly announced...
January 7th - Signs:
January 14th - Summer
Fling, Roadracers, Ethan
Frome, The Journey of August King,
The Substance of Fire, The
Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Gus,
The Moon Spinners, The
Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The
Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, The
Absent-Minded Professor, Tangled,
January 21st - 101
Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, Tadpole,
Ordinary Decent Criminal
February 4th - ESPN's
Ultimate X: The Movie, Sweet Home
Alabama, The Night and the Moment,
Jane Eyre, Into
the West, The Star Maker,
February 11th - Spider-Man
February 18th - Cinema
Paradiso: The New Version, Spy
Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams - Collector's Edition
February 25th - Beauty
and the Beast: Belle's Magical World
March 4th - Blue,
Blue in the Face, Smoke
and Stepfather II, The
Duke, Blank Check, Heavyweights,
Man of the House, First
Kid, A Kid in King Arthur's Court,
Fishin', Boys, The
Ref, A Low Down Dirty Shame,
Born Yesterday, Green
Card, One Good Cop
March 11th - Stanley:
Hop to It, Stanley: Spring Fever,
Inspector Gadget 2, MVP
March 18th - Pokemon
March 25th - Who
Framed Roger Rabbit: Vista Series
And yes, that is Krzysztof Kieslowski's long-awaited Three
Colors Trilogy (Blue,
White and Red)
listed for March 4th. Unfortunately, there's no word yet on extras on
these DVDs. We'll post more details when we have them.
Here's a look at the DVD cover art for three of the just mentioned
titles, including the newly revised Signs:
Vista Series art. We've also thrown in the art for the new
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Criterion
Collection 2-disc DVD we mentioned yesterday...
Also today, we have word of two additional D-VHS, high-definition
titles coming in December from 20th Century Fox. On 12/3, look for Cast
Away and From Hell (SRP
We've got 4 new DVD reviews for you this morning. Dan Kelly's checked
out Anchor Bay's
Cliff Richard Collection, which includes
Life. And Graham Greenlee's got another Woody Allen DVD review
and Her Sisters.
And on the high-resolution audio front, I've given the DTS 5.1 CD
Police: Every Breath You Take - The Classics an in-depth look.
Gotta tell you... music in surround sound takes some serious getting
We'll be back tomorrow with a big Upcoming
DVD Artwork update. Until then... stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/4/02 - 2 PM PST)
We've got a pair of DVD reviews for you this afternoon. Adam Jahnke's
given MGM's recent
a spin, and Graham continues his look at Woody Allen films with MGM's
Also we've got some great Criterion DVD news for you. Criterion has
just announced a mess of terrific titles coming through January.
First up, look for Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble
in Paradise on 11/26 (SRP $39.95) featuring a new digital
transfer with restored picture and sound, audio commentary by Lubitsch
biographer Scott Eyman, a new video introduction by Peter Bogdanovich,
Lubitsch's 1917 short film Das fidele Gefängnis
and text tributes to Lubitsch written by Billy Wilder, Leonard Maltin,
Cameron Crowe, Roger Ebert and others.
On 1/7, look for Jean-Luc Godard's Band of
Outsiders ($29.95), featuring a new digital transfer, a
visual glossary detailing cultural references in the film, exclusive
video interviews with Raoul Coutard and Anna Karina, interview excerpts
with Godard from 1964 along with behind-the-scenes footage on the making
of the film and 2 theatrical trailers (including the original).
Also on 1/7, look for Julien Duvivier's Pépé
le Moko ($29.95), featuring a new digital transfer made from
restored film elements, a 1962 French television interview with
Duvivier, excerpts from the 1978 TV documentary Remembering
Jean Gabin, excerpts from Ginette Vincendeau's BFI classics
study of the film addressing its historical background and the French
crime novel genre, a story of the film's influence including a video
comparison of the film to the 1938 U.S. remake, Algiers,
the theatrical trailer and more.
On 1/28, Criterion bows the 2-disc release of Ernest Hemingway's The
Killers, featuring BOTH the 1946 Robert Siodmak-directed film
version AND the 1964 Don Siegel-directed version (SRP $39.95). You'll
get new digital transfers of each film, the 1949 radio adaptation, actor
Stacy Keach reading the original short story, production and publicity
stills, original essays, a music and effects only track for each,
production correspondence and much more.
And finally, saving the best for last, Criterion will release Terry
Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
on 1/28 as well (SRP $39.95). You'll get a new digital transfer of the
film, new Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound mixes, 2 audio commentary
tracks (one with Gilliam and one with Johnny Depp, Bencio Del Toro and
producer Laila Nabulsi), an audio interview with author Hunter S.
Thompson, deleted scenes with director's commentary, storyboards and
production design sketches, a collection of original artwork by
illustrator Ralph Steadman, the BBC documentary Fear
and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, a selection of Hunter
S. Thompson's correspondence read by Depp, rare material on the real
attorney upon which the character of Dr. Gonzo is based, production
photos and more.
If all that isn't cool DVD news, we don't know what is folks. Stay
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/4/02 - 10:45 AM PST)
Morning everyone! We've got a new update of
Rumor Mill that you fans of Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang and
Robert Wise won't want to miss. There's also a John Carpenter update
too. Some good new information about upcoming titles in there, so don't
Also today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales charts to reflect the 350,301 DVD players
shipped in the States in the week ending 10/18. All charts have bene
And there's an interesting bit of news today. You may recall that, a
while back, we reported on a St. Louis company called 321 Studios, which
intended to begin selling a piece of software called
DVD X Copy that
could make exact copies of DVD via DVD-R drives. Well...
is the day they officially begin selling their software, which has
raised the ire of the studios. 321 Studios has already initiated
preemptive legal proceedings against Hollywood, asking the courts to
affirm that consumers have the right to make copies of products they own
(giving them time to release their software in the meantime). Watch this
space, 'cause you can bet this will be the next battle in the
entertainment industry's war against piracy.
We'll be back with a couple of new DVD reviews this afternoon, so stay
(LATE UPDATE - 11/1/02 - 12:30 PM PST)
Okay... we're back! As promised, our own Graham Greenlee's given New
Powers in Goldmember: Infinifilm DVD a spin (widescreen
version, naturally). The disc streets on December 3rd. And Adam Jahnke's
checked in with a look at MGM's just released
Tu Mamá También (Unrated Edition). Enjoy!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/1/02 - 11 AM PST)
Welcome to November, DVD fans. You know what that means... Spider-Man
is on store shelves today, and the Lord of
the Rings 4-disc and Star Wars:
Episode II are less than two weeks away!
We've got more great new DVD reviews for you this afternoon, including
New Line's new Austin Powers in Goldmember:
Infinifilm, so be sure to check back.
But first I wanted to pop in here with some interesting news. 20th
Century Fox has officially announced that their CGI animated Ice
Age will be the first title to be released day-and-date on
both DVD and the high-definition D-VHS format on 11/26. It will also be
the first D-VHS release mastered directly from its digital source
material - no film involved. As such, it should look amazing. The D-VHS
will street for $34.98, and it will also include the animated short Scrat's
Also today, Columbia TriStar is claiming record sales of its Spider-Man,
with worldwide sales of over 40 million copies, 26 million in the States
alone. This includes both DVD and VHS formats (no DVD only numbers are
as yet available).
Okay... yes, we didn't get any reviews posted last night. But we're
going to make it up to you today, by posting no less than SIX reviews of
new and recent discs. And this being Halloween and all, half of them are
of the horror milieu.
First up, Todd Doogan checks in with his latest
Views column, in which he takes a look at Warner's new
of Dracula and
Curse of Frankenstein, classic Hammer films both. Then, our
own Robert Smentek passes judgement on New Line's
Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Graham Greenlee switches gears
to review a couple of recent Woody Allen classics on DVD from MGM -
Danny Rose and
Purple Rose of Cairo. And finally, Brad Pilcher guards our
flank, with a look at Artisan's recent
& Swingers: The Money Collection double feature DVD. Not
too bad for one day, right?
All right, you kids have fun, watch some good scary flicks on DVD and
keep yer eyes peeled for all those zombies, ghosts and monsters that'll
be haunting your neighborhoods tonight. We'll see you tomorrow!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/30/02 - 3 PM PST)
We've got something you fans of My So-Called
Life should find interesting. Our own Jeff Kleist has spoken
with the driving force behind the DVDs... Jason Rosenfeld. Jason is the
person who originally pushed BMG to release the complete series on DVD,
and after leaving BMG, Rosenfeld was the person who continued to
champion the project. And as you know, the series has finally arrived on
DVD... but not without a lot of heartache, both for fans and for
Rosenfeld. I think you'll find his story fascinating, as it provides a
taste of the kind of difficulties involved in trying to bring TV series
to DVD. And for those of you diehard fans of the show, who pre-ordered
the discs and were charged two and three times by mistake, it should
explain a lot of things. So here's
So-Called Nightmare. Enjoy!
Back with reviews soon...
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/30/02 - 11:30 AM PST)
Morning all! We've got more stuff to post today, including a number of
DVD reviews. But first I wanted to jump in here this morning with some
interesting news and good little tidbits we've gleaned over the last
couple of days.
First of all, I know a LOT of you are eagerly awaiting word on
Artisan's new Stargate: Ultimate Edition.
We've heard from the studio that the title is now slated for early next
year, with an announcement expected probably in the next few weeks.
We'll have more details for you as soon as they come in.
You fans of director Peter Jackson will be thrilled to learn that
Anchor Bay is busily preparing a DVD release of his Meet
the Feebles for the fall of 2003. Other major releases in the
offing for 2003 from the Bay are: The Three
Musketeers/The Four Mustekeers (February), The
Man Who Fell to Earth (Spring), Winter
Kills (Spring), Day of the Dead
(April), Fear No Evil (Summer),
The Incredible Hulk Returns/Trial of the
Incredible Hulk (TV movies - Summer), Halloween:
25th Anniversary Edition (Fall) and Dawn
of the Dead (Fall/Winter). But that's not all. Be sure to
check out this
link over at the Anchor Bay website for a list of even more great
titles that are in the works for DVD release.
We've got word that Warner Bros will be releasing Eddie Murphy's The
Adventures of Pluto Nash on DVD on December 24th, with Clint
Eastwood's Blood Work following on
December 27th. Here's the cover artwork for both, along with Buena
Vista's upcoming Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
Vista Series DVD (due on 3/25)...
And sources are telling us that Pioneer's upcoming DTS 5.1 DVD version
of the anime Akira will reportedly
feature full bit-rate DTS (1.5 mbps). Good news for those of you who
have been waiting for this option.
Finally this morning, and this falls in the rumor category, our sources
are again telling us that the first season of Star
Trek: Deep Space Nine will arrive on DVD here in the States
in March. A March release has also been confirmed for the UK by our
friends at the
Back later this afternoon with more, so stay tuned...
We have officially announced the winners in our special
Lord of the
Rings Trivia Contest! 50 lucky people out of some 881 who
entered will get to attend the private DVD screenings in New York and
Los Angeles, and will take home the 4-disc set free as well if they
attend the screenings in costume. Click on the link to see the complete
list of winners. Congratulations to them all and thanks to everyone who
entered. Special thanks also to New Line for offering a lucky group of
Bits readers this fun opportunity!
Note that details and attendance information will be e-mailed to the all
winners soon, either by us or by New Line directly.
Have a great morning and stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/28/02 - 9 PM PST)
As promised, we're pleased to bring you Robert Harris' new regular
column here at The Bits this
evening. This time around Robert ponders great films starring Alec
Guinness, Columbia TriStar's SuperBit DVDs and the misconception of THX.
And he ends it all with the words "Kevin Bacon" in his closing
sentence. No kidding! So enjoy SuperBit,
THX and Six Degrees.... And don't forget that when you're done
reading, you can discuss the column with Robert and others over at
Home Theater Forum.
Also today, we've got a rundown of the titles you can expect from MGM
in February, along with a couple new January titles too (still no
official word on the Escape from New York: SE,
but more on that soon enough).
In January, look for the Barbershop: Special
Edition (street date: 1/1), Our
Song (1/14) and 24 Hour Party
February 4th will finally see the release of the Thelma
and Louise: Special Edition (SRP $24.98). The disc will
include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a "collectable
slip cover", 4 documentaries featuring brand new interviews (with
Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Michael Madsen, Brad Pitt, director Ridley
Scott and writer Callie Khouri), audio commentary (with Ridley Scott), a
second audio commentary (with Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Callie
Khouri), 30 minutes of newly found deleted scenes, and alternate ending
with director's commentary, multi-angle storyboards for the final chase
scene, the Part of Me, Part of You
music video by Glenn Frey and more. By the way, that art below is only
the outer sleeve (the actual keep case art features the girls).
That same day, MGM will also release Larger
Than Life, Joey, The
Water Babies, The Black Stallion
Returns, Road House,
A Prayer for the Dying, No
Man's Land, all 5 of the Stargate
SG-1: Season Two discs individually and a series of Charles
Bronson action movies, including 10 to
Kinjte: Forbidden Subjects, Messenger
of Death, Mr. Majestyk
and Murphy's Law. There will also
be a Charles Bronson Action Pack
(containing 10 to Midnight, Kinjte:
Forbidden Subjects and Messenger
Then on February 18th, look for a series of catalog comedies, including
Basic Training, Life
Stinks, Meteor Man,
Bank Shot, How
to Beat the High Cost of Living, Maxie,
Mr. North and Waiting
for the Light.
Don't forget - our Lord
of the Rings Trivia Contest ends at Midnight, so get your
entries in quick!
Back in the morning...
(LATE UPDATE - 10/28/02
- 3:30 PM PST)
We'll be back with Robert Harris' column soon, but I wanted to chime in
here quickly with news on Fox's X-Men 1.5:
Collector's Edition DVD, which is due on 2/11 (SRP $26.98).
The spec list for the 2-disc set has been revised. Here's what to expect
Disc One features will include an "enhanced viewing mode"
allowing access to 6 deleted scenes and 17 behind-the scenes featurettes
while watching the film, and audio commentary by director Bryan Singer.
The film will be in anamorphic widescreen video with English DTS and
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, along with French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish
Dolby Surround. Subtitles will be available in Spanish and English.
Disc Two features will include an introduction by Bryan Singer, The
Uncanny Suspects casting featurette, the X-Factor:
The Look of the X-Men costume featurette, The
Special Effects of the X-Men featurette,
storyboard-to-animatic-to-film comparisons, the Reflection
of the X-Men featurette, exclusive movie premiere footage
from Ellis Island and around the world, multi-angle scene studies, a
still photo gallery, 3 theatrical trailers, 14 TV spots, 12 web
interstitials and the X-Men 2
sneak preview teaser.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/28/02 - 11:30 AM PST)
Morning gang! Boy... is anything in sports more exciting that a World
Series Game 7? Damn - great baseball. Congratulations to you Anaheim
Angels fans. You've been waiting a long time for this. And beating both
the Yankees and Twins to get there, you deserved the win.
We're starting off today's post with a trio of new DVD reviews. Brad
Pilcher makes a long overdue appearance with two reviews - 20th Century
Life and Times of Hank Greenberg and Miramax's recent
Collector's Series DVD. And Adam Jahnke's got a look at 20th
Century Fox's new
Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete First Season box set. More
new reviews are on the way tomorrow, so stay tuned.
In other news today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales chart to incorporate the players shipped to
retail here in the States in the first two weeks of October. All charts
have been updated accordingly.
We'll return later this afternoon with Robert Harris' new column, so be
sure to stop back in. Also, watch for an Upcoming
DVD Artwork update in the next few days.
And don't forget that our special
Lord of the
Rings Trivia Contest ends tonight at Midnight. You could win
one of 50 tickets to exclusive marathon screenings of the 4-disc DVD in
New York and L.A.. And if you do win (and attend the screening
appropriate Rings costume) you
WILL receive a free copy of the 4-disc set. How cool is that? If you're
a serious fan of these films... VERY.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/25/02 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Word out of London is that
Richard Harris passed away today at age 72, after a long battle
with Hodgkin's Disease. Active professionally until the end, he can be
seen as Professor Dumbledore in Warner's upcoming Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He leaves behind a legacy
of great films, that include Gladiator,
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (long
overdue on DVD), Camelot, The
Guns of Navarone, A Man Called
Horse and many others I'm sure I'm forgetting. All of us here
at The Bits doff our pointy
wizard's hats in his honor.
Also today, I wanted to take a moment to honor the memory of Minnesota
Senator Paul Wellstone,
died today in a small plane crash along with his wife, daughter
and members of his staff. My wife, Sarah, and I lived in Minnesota for
many years, and Wellstone was a man who we both respected tremendously.
Whether you agreed with his politics or not, he was someone who always
passionately stood up for what he believed was right, whether it was
popular or not (and most often it wasn't). He embodied the best spirit
of what it means to be a public servant... and he'll be greatly missed.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/25/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
We've got some GOOD news for you Pink Floyd fans. Roger Waters'
manager, Mark Fenwick, had confirmed that Pink
Floyd: Live at Pompeii - The Director's Cut is being prepped
for DVD release in March 2003. Not only that, Pink Floyd's Dark
Side of the Moon is going to be released on DVD-Audio on
3/3/03 in honor of its 30th anniversary! We're still waiting for an
update on Pulse, so we'll let you
know if we hear anything.
We've announced the winners of our last Trivia
Contest, and we've already kicked off a new one! And this one
is VERY special. Thanks to our friends at New Line, we're giving you the
chance to win one of 50 tickets to special private screenings of
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the
Ring - Extended Edition that will be held in New York and Los
Angeles on November 11th! The screenings will start at Noon and run
until Midnight. You'll get to see NOT ONLY the 3 1/2 hour version of the
film on a big screen, but also much of the extras on the 4-disc set.
AND... if you dress up as your favorite Rings
character, you will receive a coupon redeemable for A FREE COPY of the
4-disc Extended DVD set at the Virgin Megastore at the end of the event!
A judging will also be held at the events - those judged to have the
best costumes will also win a free copy of
the Collector's Gift Set! Seating for the events will be
first come, first served. Note that no travel expenses are provided -
you're on your own as far as transportation. We'll have specific details
as far as screening locations for the winners. The contest runs until
12:01 AM PDT on Tuesday, October 29th. So click
here to get started and good luck!
SPACE IS LIMITED, SO PLEASE ONLY ENTER THIS
CONTEST IF YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU CAN ATTEND!!
In other news today, we've got word in
Rumor Mill about an upcoming Star
Trek movie on DVD, as well as a major Artisan title that fans
have been waiting eagerly for. Be sure to check it out.
Also today, we've updated our authorized mirror copy of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to its current version, dated 10/10. The
Top 100 Films on DVD list has been updated as well to reflect
the release of E.T..
Now then... we'll be back Monday with a huge Upcoming
DVD Cover Art update, Robert Harris' new column and more news
and reviews. Have a great weekend!
How about some more reviews, folks? We've got an interesting batch of
titles for you today. First up, Jeff Kleist has his thoughts on a really
wonderful animated film available on DVD from Central Park Media...
of the Fireflies. And I've taken a look at a fun disc geared
toward the serious home theater enthusiast... CinemaWise's
Night: Custom Edition.
But that's not all. Our resident music guru, Matt Rowe, kicks off our
coverage of high-resolution music on disc, with a closer look at a pair
of new DVD-Audio titles from 5.1 Entertainment/Silverline...
Speedwagon: Live Plus and
Ash: Bare Bones. In the coming weeks and months, you can
expect lots more reviews of both DVD-Audio and SACD titles, and in-depth
coverage that will compare and explain both formats.
In other news today, Universal has officially launched their
Back to the
Future DVD website, so be sure to check that out if you're
Store has word that Wal-Mart is going after a little of
Netflix's business with an online DVD rental program. Wonder if they
offer free ammo via mail with those full frame discs? Speaking of which
(here's an interesting segue), go see the new Michael Moore movie if you
get the chance, Bowling
for Columbine. It's as good as anything Moore's done yet and
is at once powerful, scary and bitingly funny. We Americans have a hard
time turning a critical eye on ourselves, but this film is a rare,
unflinching gem. And I think it's an important film given the kind of
fear and paranoia TV news coverage broadcasts daily into our homes. Can
eggs kill you? New health concerns about laundry detergent... tune in at
11! Exciting footage of today's deadly freeway chase... and only Channel
2 can bring it to you! Watch for our continuous coverage of the Maryland
sniper investigation...! It's enough to make you want to turn off the TV
for good and pick up a good book...
Back tomorrow with news and more, so stay tuned.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/23/02 - 3 PM PDT)
We've got some reviews for you as expected. Matt Rowe has checked in
with a look at Image Entertainment's recent
Mason: Live at Sunrise. Dan Kelly's got a review for you of
Warner's just-released remake of
(widescreen version). And Graham Greenlee adds his take on an older
title, Columbia TriStar's
Thirteenth Floor: Special Edition.
We've got more reviews on the way for tomorrow, including our first
in-depth look at a DVD-Audio title. You can expect a whole series of
DVD-Audio and SACD reviews from Matt in the coming weeks, as these two
high-resolution audio formats begin to pick up momentum.
(EARLY UPDATE -
10/23/02 - 10 AM PDT)
So I woke up this morning to check my e-mail, and BAM... I get hit with
a couple hundred angry messages from readers who purchased E.T.
and aren't too happy. Some didn't know about the missing DTS track on
the 3-disc collection, but many are upset at the packaging on the 2-disc
version. Specifically, Universal (or someone) added up to 3 security
stickers to seal the packaging on some copies of the set. Problem is,
when you remove them, the glue is so strong that they take a bunch of
the color artwork from the front of the packaging with 'em. Several
people have noted that you can remove the stickers off without
destroying the packaging art IF you go VERY slowly when peeling the
stickers off. But it isn't easy. And the sad reality is that there are a
LOT of people today who have packaging that looks like this...
Readers are also complaining that the spine of the package has no title
to identify the package on your video shelf. You know, it's really
unfortunate that all of this stuff (the missing DTS track, the
version/content swap, the packaging problems) happens on a title this
important. The real shame, of course, is that this is otherwise a nice
Anyway, in other news today, we have word that Rhino is going to be
releasing a Mystery Science Theater 3000
DVD boxed set on 11/12 (SRP $59.95). The new-to-DVD collection includes
the much-requested episodes Catalina Caper,
The Creeping Terror, Bloodlust
and The Skydivers. The set also
includes the full features without cast commentary, original trailers
from three of the films and "interactive" packaging (maybe it
We'll be back with several new DVD reviews this afternoon. Stay
We're working on more reviews and other stuff today here at The
Bits, so today's post is going to be limited to a new
Most of you guys are probably out buying Star
Trek III and E.T.
anyway, right? ;-)
We'll be back with some new reviews tomorrow, so stay tuned...
How's about a nice Hawaiian Punch this morning? No? Okay... how about
Todd Doogan's review of Columbia TriStar's 2-disc
Widescreen Special Edition DVD, which streets on 11/1? Ah...
that's more like it. I've seen the disc as well, and I can tell you that
if you liked the film, you should be quite happy. Hard core DVD fans
will find it a little wanting however. Having seen all of the major
releases for the 4th quarter now, I'm even more confident that the
Fellowship Extended Version is the DVD of the year. Looking
back over the last 8-10 months, only the
Harbor: Vista Series DVD comes close. One note...
unfortunately the much talked about WTC teaser trailer is NOT included
on the Spider-Man set (the Easter
egg is a gag real of CGI footage). Just FYI.
Now then... we've got some exciting information in
Rumor Mill for you Snake Plissken fans this morning. Seems
MGM's long-awaited special edition of Escape
from New York might not be too far away.
Also today, I wanted to follow up on the information we posted on
Friday about Fox's My Neighbor Totoro.
Many of you have noted that the disc is set to be full frame only, and
unfortunately you're right. The rights to all of the Miyazaki films are
currently owned by Disney... except Totoro
(which is owned by Fox). That said, Totoro
will pass to Disney in 2004, and so this is just a quick release to make
a few bucks on Fox's part before their rights to the title expire. We
expect Disney will re-release the title eventually in its original 1.85
aspect ratio (we'll try to find out more from them for you).
And finally, we've got a bit of strange news for you. It seems that the
3-disc version of E.T. DOESN'T
include a DTS track on the 1982 version of the film... which IS
available on the 2-disc set (both sets have DTS on the 2002 version of
the film). So diehard collectors who would normally buy the set with
more discs WILL NOT get the DTS track they usually also want. Doh!
We've got some details on upcoming titles from 20th Century Fox, as
well as a few pieces of upcoming artwork. The studio will be releasing
My Neighbor Totoro on 12/3, with
Like Mike following on 12/10, Unfaithful,
The King of Comedy and Big
Shots: Confessions of a Campus Bookie following on 12/17 and
The First $20 Million on 12/24.
Then in January, the studio will release The
Good Girl, The Shield: The
Complete First Season and Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Third Season on 1/7, with
Python II following on 1/21 and
One Hour Photo due on 1/28. We can
also confirm that X-Men 1.5, the
long awaited special edition of the original X-Men
movie, will street on 2/11.
Here's a look at the cover art for One Hour
Photo, The Good Girl,
My Neighbor Totoro and The
Shield: The Complete First Season.
Now then... we'll be back on Monday with several new DVD reviews and
more. Have a good weekend and we'll see you then!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/17/02 - 4:30 PM PDT)
We've just posted our other new DVD review of the day for you - my
thoughts on Paramount's
Trek III: The Search for Spock - Special Collector's Edition
(also due on 10/22). Long time Trek
fans will find it another welcome upgrade to the previous movie-only
release. But I will tell you that the featurettes on the disc leave a
lot to be desired in terms of production quality. I'm hoping the studio
puts a little more effort into the Star Trek
IV: The Voyage Home - Collector's Edition.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/17/02 - 11:15 AM PDT)
As promised, we've got a review of E.T.
for you today. Specifically, our own Todd Doogan has given Universal's
The Extra-Terrestrial: Limited Edition 2-disc set (widescreen
version of course) a good hard look. So not only can we confirm that the
set does in fact include BOTH versions of the film, we can also give you
an idea of the set's overall quality. The disc streets on 10/22. Also
this afternoon, we WILL be back with a review of Paramount's Star
Trek III: Collector's Edition.
By the way... for those of you who DON'T watch South
Park, Todd makes a funny reference in the E.T.
review to a recent episode of the show about filmmakers going back and
digitally altering their films. The reference MIGHT involve the words "terrorist"
and "hippy". Just FYI, 'cause several former hippies have
apparently already e-mailed Todd in indignation.
here for the original quote in wav format.
Jeez... you can't even make a hip pop culture reference anymore without
the PC police breaking down your door. Doh! If E.T. were real, he'd take
one look at our planet and say to his buddies, "On second thought,
let's not go to Earth. It is a silly place."
Now... you guys had better get THAT pop culture reference, or we're
giving up on you! ;-)
Other news in brief -
Wars producer Rick McCallum talks with CNN about the Episode
II DVD and digital piracy. Worth a quick read. And there's
more on the Who Framed Roger Rabbit
special edition via
Variety story at Yahoo.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/16/02 - 4 PM PDT)
Okay gang... we've been really swamped with questions about this E.T.
thing today. And we've been shakin' our tail feathers to get the
official skinny. Let me say that all of your questions about the 2-disc
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Limited Edition
should be answered tomorrow. We've gotten our hands on a copy of the
widescreen version of the set and we'll post our review sometime before
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/16/02 - 11:15 AM PDT)
Folks... Universal's really screwed the pooch on this one. So word
comes in that now both the 2-disc and 3-disc versions of the E.T.
DVD here in the States will have the 2002 and 1982 versions of the
movie, right? Well, since that time, confusion and outright anger have
been boiling over among DVD fans all around the world. Confusion because
Universal apparently hasn't seen fit to inform retailers, who are
continuing to use sales materials that steer fans toward the more
expensive set as the only way to get both versions of the film. And
anger because apparently director Steven Spielberg's decision to make
sure both DVDs have both versions of the film ONLY extends to Region 1.
And international fans are NOT happy about it, judging by the outraged
e-mails we've been getting from them. What a mess...
(LATE UPDATE - 10/15/02 - NOON PDT)
It's done! I've just posted my complete, 2-part, in-depth review of
what is sure to become the DVD release of the year... New Line's
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (4-Disc Special Extended
Version). The first part (posted yesterday) has been updated
with new information and the second part now details the complete and
exact supplemental content. I think you'll enjoy the review and I'm
quite confident that you'll enjoy the set itself. So there you have it.
Back tomorrow with a look at Paramount's new Star
Trek III: The Search for Spock - Special Collector's Edition.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/15/02 - 10 AM PDT)
Morning everyone! I've
my review of the Lord of the Rings
4-disc set to include the complete spec list for Discs Three and Four.
I'll have my review of the the rest of the set up by early this
afternoon, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, we've gotten word from Buena Vista that they'll be
releasing the Signs: Vista Series
DVD on 1/7. We've posted the cover art previously (and I don't think
it's final), but here's the spec list. Look for anamorphic widescreen
video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the Looking
for Signs diary by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan,
Shyamalan's Making Signs
documentary, Building Signs
storyboard featurette, The Effects of Signs
special effects featurette, Signs: The Music
featurette, Full Circle
featurette, 5 deleted scenes (Graham and Merrill, The Flashbacks (x2),
The Dead Bird, Alien in the Attic and The Third Story), 2 Story-Reel
multi-angle featurettes, M. Night's first alien movie and more. SRP is
Also today, we've gotten confirmation that BOTH the 2-disc and 3-disc
versions of Universal's upcoming E.T. the
Extra-Terrestrial on DVD will include the original 1982
version of the film as well as the recent 2002 re-release version. As
many of you know, Universal originally planned to include both versions
on the $70 3-disc boxed set. But director Steven Spielberg vetoed the
idea... "When people buy E.T. I want
them to know they have the original movie, not just for collectors and
aficionados, but for everybody who remembers it and wants to continue
remembering it just that way."
here for more via NBC4. Thanks to Spielberg for imposing a little
consumer-friendly common sense. Definitely good news for you E.T.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/14/02 - 4:30 PM PDT)
Yes indeed... we have the discs, and we've posted the first part of the
review. I'm going to say this right now. New Line's
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (4-Disc Special Extended
Version) is hands-down, the DVD release of the year. And I
believe it's also the most thoughtful, extensive, well-rounded and
qualitatively deep special edition that's been released on the format to
I'm going to be posting my in-depth review in two parts, the first of
which is available now.
One looks closely at the first two discs in the set, which contain
the film itself, as well as the audio commentaries. I'll address the new
cut and the quality of the new version, both in terms of picture and
sound. Part Two, which we expect to post sometime tomorrow, will take
you deep into the second half of the set, which contains the majority of
the special edition materials. Guess it's only fitting that our biggest
review yet is for the most impressive DVD we've seen yet.
One and we'll see you back here for Part Two tomorrow. Stay
(LATE UPDATE - 10/14/02 - NOON PDT)
Okay... just a quick update. My Star Trek
III review is on hold for 24 hours while I work furiously to
complete another review that you kids are definitely going to enjoy. I'm
gonna to try like a madman to get it posted before the clock strikes
Midnight. Might take every last minute of that time too... ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/14/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Well folks... I have seen the new extended cut of The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Matt and I
attended a special screening of the contents of the new 4-disc DVD at
New Line on Saturday. The event ran from 9 AM to after 9 PM, and even
after 12 hours of viewing, they still didn't have time to show
everything that's included in the set (the 4 audio commentaries and
thousands of production artwork gallery stills went unseen). To be fair,
Matt and I only stayed to see the new cut of the film shown in a
big-screen, theater environment with DTS surround sound. 12 hours is,
after all, a LONG damn time to sit on one seat! But I can tell you that
the new cut of the film is absolutely wonderful.
Many of you already know a little about the 30 minutes of material
that's been added back in, but here's a list of SOME of the new scenes:
an extended opening with Bilbo writing his memoirs, a new introduction
to Samwise Gamgee, a scene at the Green Dragon Inn, the Hobbits
witnessing the departure of the Elves from Middle Earth on the way to
Bree, Aragorn singing the ballad of Beren and Luthien, Aragorn at his
mother's grave, new moments during the departure from Rivendale in which
we see Arwen's emotional reaction to Aragorn's leaving as well as Elrond
seeing the Fellowship off, a scene in the mines of Moria in which we
learn how the Dwarves unleashed the fire-demon, Galadriel's complete
gift-giving scene at Lothlorien and more footage of the battle at Amon
That's impressive enough, right? But there are also many smaller
scenes, scene extensions and additional brief moments that have been
added in throughout the length of the film. The cumulative effect is to
make this film seem vastly more epic in scope - something I would never
have guessed possible. There's a greater sense of distance to the
Fellowship's journey, with many more points of interest along the way.
We get to learn much more about Hobbits in the new opening, and there's
more interaction between Frodo and Bilbo, which illuminates their fond
relationship. You see that Gollum has continued to follow the Fellowship
after leaving Moria. Lothlorien is depicted in much greater detail. The
battle scenes are all much more intense now, and several characters are
given added moments that make them feel more rounded, particularly
Boromir (his last stand is now much more heroic and emotional). There's
more humor in this cut. And the new footage adds significant texture and
depth to the film - particularly welcome as much of this directly
references material in the original book. The result, ultimately, is a
much more satisfying viewing experience. I have no doubt that those who
disliked the film because it was too long will bemoan the new version.
But for fans, if you liked Fellowship
in its theatrical form, you will absolutely love this. The 15 or 20
people in the preview audience with us were in complete agreement - the
new cut of this film is nothing short of extraordinary. We'll be back
with our in-depth review of the entire 4-disc DVD set later this week.
But I just wanted to chime in this morning with the good word on the
Now then... as promised, we do have a couple of big new reviews for you
today. First up, you've got my thoughts on HBO's Golden Globe-winning
mini-series on DVD,
of Brothers (street date: 11/5). And I'll be back this
afternoon with a review of Paramount's new Star
Trek III: The Search for Spock - Special Collector's Edition.
Tell you right now... both titles are well worth a look.
CEA has released the final
Player Sales numbers for September, revealing a record-setting
month. Some 2,213,302 players were shipped from manufacturers to dealers
during the month. That takes the format total to date to just shy of 37
million. All charts have been updated accordingly.
We've also announced the winners of our
which ended last night. Congratulations to them all and thanks to
everyone who participated. Watch for another contest to start in the
next few days.
Some new DVD announcements for you... Anchor Bay will release The
Amazing Howard Hughes, The
Criminal (aka: Concrete Jungle), Frightened
City, Handgun (aka: Deep in the
Heart), Hell is a City: Special
Edition and Slayground
all on 12/3. Buena Vista has Tangled (aka:
Conspiracy of Weeds) set for 1/14, with 101
Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure following on 1/21,
Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams
on 2/11 and Inspector Gadget 2 on
3/11. Columbia TriStar will release Half a
Loaf of Kung Fu (English dubbed) on 12/17. Goodtimes has set
Casper the Friendly Ghost (cartoon
collection), Criminal Instincts: A Colder
Kind of Dead, Criminal Instincts:
The Wandering Soul Murder, Felix
the Cat (cartoon collection), Love,
Murder and Deceit (aka: My Stepson, My Lover) and Top
Ten Forgotten Cartoons all for 11/5. Lion's Gate will release
One Way Out on 12/10, Speed
of Life (aka: Saturn) on 12/17 and Wisegirls
on 12/24. Lion's Gate/Trimark titles for 12/20 will include Season
the Brink, Double Whammy
and Gang Tapes: Special Edition.
Music Video Distributors will debut Ozzy
Osbourne: Crown Prince of Darkness on 11/19. New Line's Cherish
and Human Nature will arrive on
10/29. Paramount has officially announced Hey
Arnold! The Movie for 12/31, with Be
My Valentine, Charlie Brown following on 1/7. Red
Distribution/Redline is releasing Andre Rieu:
Dreaming, Andre Rieu: Live at the
Royal Albert Hall, Fatboy Slim:
Live on Brighton Beach, Op King of
Skate and Six Feet Under: Double
Deal on 11/5, followed by Deep
Purple: Machine Head, On the Scene
#1: The New Automotive Movement and Sex
Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks on 11/19. Rhino has Elton
John: Live in Barcelona due on 11/12. Synapse Films has Bacchanales
Sexuelles due on 12/17. Universal will release Best
Little Whorehouse in Texas, Born
in East L.A., CB4, Imitation
of Life, Matchmaker,
North Shore and To
Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, all on 1/7.
And finally, Warner Music has set Barenaked
Ladies: Barnaked Ladies, Eric
Clapton: One More Car, One More Rider, Miguel
Bose: Los Videos and P.O.D.: Still
Paying Dues for 11/5, with Phish:
Live in Las Vegas following on 11/12.
And finally this morning, I want to say congratulations to you Anaheim
Angels fans. Damn... 13-5! Guess it was just your year. I'll definitely
be rooting for you in the World Series. Anaheim is, after all, my local
team. And your outfielder, Darin Erstad, is a fellow North Dakota boy.
In fact, he grew up just down the road from my old stomping grounds in
Valley City. I also want to thank my Minnesota Twins for a helluva run.
When I think back to the way this season began... UGH! It was a great
year and (thankfully) Twins fans can now look forward to many, many
more. Meanwhile, for you Minnesotans... get busy and build 'em a decent
ball park, okay?
By the way, the news wasn't all bad for Minnesota sports fans. After
all... the Vikes picked up their first win this weekend. Doh! ;-)