Well, the chat last night over at IGN DVD went very well. We had a lot
of readers on hand and the chat ran for over two hours. In addition to
Todd and myself, Matt Rowe, Adam Jahnke and Jeff Kleist were on hand to
answer questions about upcoming titles on DVD and other DVD-related
subjects. If you missed it, never fear... it may become a regular thing.
We'll let you know. Thanks to all of you who dropped by and
Now then... we have a rundown on some of Disney's early 2004 DVD
releases. On 1/6, look for Ciao, Professore!,
Get Bruce!, I've
Heard the Mermaids Singing, The
Innocent, The Little Twins: The
Magic of Giving, The Lovers on the
of the Musketeers, Ridicule,
& Chocolate, Talk of Angels,
Torrents of Spring and Unzipped.
1/27 will see the release of the Alice in
Wonderland: Special Edition and the Pocahontas:
Special Edition. Then on 2/3, look for more catalog titles
including In the Army Now, Fire
Birds, Hawk's Vengeance,
Mask of Death, Perfect
Harmony, The Rage, Ruby
Bridges, Selma Lord Selma
and Welcome to Sarajevo.
Ready for Fox's The Shield: Season Two?
Hope so. It's coming on 1/6 (SRP $59.98). Extras on the 4-disc set will
include an audio commentary for one episode on each disc (featuring the
likes of Shawn Ryan, Michael Chiklis, Benito Martinez, Glenn Mazzara,
Kurt Sutter, Scott Rosenbaum, Kim Clements, Barbara Fiorentino, Rebecca
Mangieri, Kevin Reilly and Eric Shrier), 38 deleted scenes (with an
introduction by Shawn Ryan) , the Scene
Evolution: Connie Gets Shot feature with commentary, 3
featurettes (Wrap Day, Director's
Roundtable and Raising the Barn)
and a teaser for Season Three.
Here's the cover art...
As you've probably guessed, that middle one is the cover art for the
BBC's MI-5: Volume One (a.k.a.
Spooks to you Brits), coming from
Warner on 1/13 (SRP $49.98). The 3-disc set will include audio
commentaries on all the episodes, biographies, deleted scenes, numerous
behind-the-scenes featurettes, interviews and more.
And if you skipped right to door Number Three, yes... that is the cover
for Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks,
which is due on store shelves on 11/4. According to
the band's official
"This highly provocative DVD contains:
the legendary and epic recital at London's Brixton Academy that
was by chance recorded on November 3, 2002 - tracks include Wonderboy,
Explosivo, Kyle Quit the Band, Friendship, Kielbasa,
Dio, The Cosmic Shame, F*ck Her Gently, Tribute
and the ever popular Live Short Films that have been screened during The
the groundbreaking, hard to get (legally), HBO episodes which
tell tale of The D in their early days on the road to stardom.
But that's not all! A bonus second disc will be gifted to the
first twelve million loyal Tenacious D apostles who purchase this D-VD.
This second disc includes an intimate portrait of Jack and Kyle and
their life of carnal debauchery on the road. Lucky owners of the DVD
will catch rare and gruesome behind the scenes glimpses of the making of
the Tribute & Wonderboy videos as well as never
before seen footage of The D as they perform their secret backstage
Are we not happy? Gettin' your freak on with a little rock-a-delic D
goodness never hurt anyone. Well... not too badly at least.
In other news this morning, it looks as if DVD has been banned by
Oscar. It seems the Hollywood studios and the MPAA are discontinuing the
practice of sending out screening copies of Oscar nominated films to
Academy voters on DVD in an effort to stem digital piracy.
here for more on this via Yahoo.
Any Star Trek fans out there?
Gotta say, I'd almost given up on Enterprise
last season, but the third season has really been great so far.
Admittedly we're only four episodes in, but I haven't enjoyed this show
so much since... well, ever. If only they'd get rid of that absolutely
awful country-rock theme song. Damn, what the hell were they thinking
when they picked that thing? Since I'm speaking of Trek,
how about a little DVD update? As you know, the Star
Trek V: The Final Frontier - Special Collector's Edition is
due on 10/14. You'll be pleased to learn that the Star
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition
is now expected to be released by Paramount sometime in late January.
The first season of Star Trek: Voyager
should arrive on DVD sometime in February, with new seasons every couple
of months throughout 2004. The Star Trek:
Generations - Special Collector's Edition is also likely for
later in 2004. There are still no plans yet to bring The
Animated Series or Enterprise
to DVD, and there's no new word on the possibility of releasing The
Original Series in season box sets. Finally, don't expect
Megacube containing the entire Next
Generation series on DVD (all 48 discs) to be released in
Region 1. That's going to be R2 only - Paramount has no plans for it
here in the States. And at a UK retail price of £450.99, that's
probably a good thing. Bet it talks when you open it: "Your wallet
has been assimilated... resistance is futile..."
That's all for now. Stay tuned.
(LATE UPDATE - 10/1/03 - 2:30 PM PDT)
We've got an easier way for all of you to join the live chat tonight
with IGN DVD. Rather than download special IRC software, simply log onto
Select a nickname, then just type: /join #dvd
This is a java applet chat room, so you don't have to download anything
to participate. It's very easy to use. The chat will start at 5 PM PDT
and should run for a couple of hours. Hope to see you online tonight!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/1/03 - 10:30 AM PDT)
As promised, we've got two new DVD reviews for you today. The first, as
you might be expecting, is a look at Warner's forthcoming
Matrix Reloaded 2-disc set. And the second is a quick look at
Image Entertainment's new DVD version of
Alien Saga documentary. Both titles are set to street on
10/14, and both reviews are written by yours truly, so enjoy.
Also this morning, we have a review from our own Matt Rowe (over at
of another SACD release...
Storyteller. Definitely worth a look.
We've got a couple of other bits of DVD news for you today. First of
all, Artisan is going back to the well for another DVD version of one of
their films. This time, it's the Dirty
Dancing: Ultimate Edition 2-disc set. Set to street on 12/9,
the set will include newly remastered anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby
Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES audio, a commentary track with the
producers, costumer designers and choreographers, interviews with
Jennifer Gray and other cast members (but not Patrick Swayze), a
featurette on the director, Jennifer Gray's screen test footage, a
trivia track and more. SRP is $19.98. Personally, I wish Artisan would
dip back into the Speed Racer well
and release the rest of that animated series on DVD. Just a suggestion.
According to several industry trades, Disney's self-destructing EZ-D
discs are intriguing to customers, but few are biting on them. At least
that's the early word out of Austin, Texas retailers in the second week
of the test run.
Speaking of Disney, the studio has announced the DVD release of their
recent remake of Freaky Friday for
12/16 (SRP $29.99). Also, Trimark is going to be releasing Milcho
Manchevski's recent take on the western, Dust,
starring Joseph Finnes and David Wenham. Look for it on 10/14 (SRP
And here's something that's going to make you TV on DVD fans happy.
20th Century Fox is expecting to release the classic Lost
in Space: Season One on DVD on January 6th (SRP $79.98).
Extras on the 8-disc set will include the unaired pilot episode No
Place to Hide, plus a "CBS Network presentation"
featurette. Oh, come on... you know you want to say it: Danger Will
Robinson... danger, danger!
Around the site today, since it's October 1st, we have a new
of the Month. His name is Todd White and I think you'll really
like his stuff. He has celebrity clients including Hugh Hefner and Vin
Diesel, and his Hollywood Collection is a must see. According to Todd: "Each
character depicts the subtleties of what one shows and what one hides -
masked masculinity to flowered feminity." Todd sells originals and
giclee prints of his work, so be sure to check out his site at
Finally this morning, if you have a business or product and you've ever
wondered about advertising it on The Bits,
Sarah's put together a few different ad packages that are perfect for
small businesses. They're very affordable.
here to check them out and
email Sarah if you're
interested or have any questions. You'll be supporting The
Bits and building your own business at the same time!
Don't forget to join us tonight at 5 PM PDT for our live chat with
here for details on how to participate (you'll need an IRC client,
such as mIRC - just
FYI). See you there!
We're working hard on a number of new DVD reviews for you, including
Warner's forthcoming The Matrix Reloaded,
which just arrived here at The Bits.
We're going to post them all tomorrow morning, so be sure to check back
for that. The reason for the delay is two-fold. First, we aren't allowed
to post the Matrix review until
tomorrow. Gotta play by the rules.
But the bigger reason, is that we had a very nice surprise here at The
Digital Bits this morning. We just got the very first copies
of our new book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD! So, as you might expect
for a couple of guys who just wrote their first book, we're wasting a
lot of time just walking around holding it and thumbing through it. They
arrived via UPS - 10 copies hot off the presses - and they're everything
we hoped they would be. The front and back cover is gorgeous - this
thing should really stand out on store shelves. The paper is a nice
glossy stock, so it really feels great in your hand. Also, since it uses
glossy stock, the book is also less bulky despite its being a whopping
426 pages long. It has very much the same dimensions as a keep case,
just a little larger. All the images and diagrams look exactly how we
wanted them to... heck, we've even got a features grid on the back! We
can't tell you how thrilled we are about this thing we worked our butts
off on for a year. We really wanted our first book to be something
special, and I'm pleased to say it's everything we hoped for. We hope
you enjoy it and we can't wait to see what you think. By the way,
should have the book in stock any day now. We'll let you know as
soon as it's ready to ship.
Watch for those reviews tomorrow morning. And don't forget, Todd and I
are going to be participating in a live, online chat over at
DVD tomorrow as well (at 5 PM PDT).
here for details on how to participate. We'll be talking about
DVD, as well as the book, and you can ask us questions about whatever
you like. You'll need an IRC client, such as mIRC. Join the IGN server
by using the command /server chat1.ign.com. The channel name is #DVD.
Hope to see you there!
Everyone have a great weekend? My Vikings won on Sunday, saw the new
trailer for The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King... life is good. By
the way, if you want to see the trailer for yourself, it should be
online at the official site soon. It's also up now at
link at Apple.com in Quicktime format.
We've got some new cover art for you today. Warner has revealed the
details on their Babylon 5: The Complete
Fourth Season DVD set. The set is due to street on 1/6 (SRP
$99.98). All 22 episodes from the season will be included on 6 discs in
anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will
include an introduction by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, audio
commentary on a few episodes by Straczynski and series stars Bruce
Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik and Patricia Tallman, the Celestial
Sounds music featurette, the No
Surrender, No Retreat "DVD Suite", The
Universe of Babylon 5 featurette, personnel and data files, a
gag reel, episode previews and more. Here's a look at the cover art...
And yes... that is Columbia TriStar's artwork for the Bad
Boys II: Special Edition (SRP $28.95) and their temp art for
Gigli ($26.96), both of which are
set to street on 12/9. It looks like Gigli
will basically be a movie-only edition (no surprise there), but Bad
Boys II will feature two discs of extras, including deleted
scenes, a Production Diaries
featurette, a Visual Effects
featurette, the La-la-la music
video by Jay-Z, a scene deconstruction, storyboards, promos and much
more. We'll have full details when they become available. Both DVDs will
offer video in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen. Note that a
2-pack of both the Bad Boys and
Bad Boys II special editions will
also be available (SRP $43.95).
There's some more great new Fox news as well today. In addition to My
Darling Clementine, which we mentioned on Friday, 20th
Century Fox is also releasing The Diary of
Anne Frank (on 2/4), Peyton Place
(3/2) and The Grapes of Wrath
(4/6) as part of their Studio Classics series. All will have audio
commentary and Movietone newsreel footage. Thanks to Bits
reader Edgar A. for the reminder.
And how about this? We haven't even gotten fully converted to HDTV yet,
when along comes an even better system. Matt and I found this over the
weekend, on the online site
and we thought it would interest you. It seems there's a new prototype
for high-definition TV, from Japanese broadcaster NHK, called ultra
high-definition video (UHDV). It would boost the resolution to a
whopping 4,000 scan lines! By comparision, the best HDTV is 1080 lines,
and the HD masters that Hollywood creates for its films are generally
around 2,000 scan lines. Check this out from the article:
"NHK researcher Dr. Kohji Mitani said the
project team had shot a three-minute demonstration video by attaching
the camera to the front of a vehicle and driving it around the streets.
The footage was then shown to members of the public on a 4x7m
wide-angle screen provoking, according to Mitani, gasps of astonishment.
Some viewers even experienced nausea because of the ultra realistic
visual effect of speed without the usual physical sensation of movement."
Technology, man. It just never stops, does it? Pretty soon you'll be
plugging cables into your head to watch movies.
That's all for now. Back tonight with new contests, and tomorrow with
more new DVD reviews! Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/26/03 -
2:30 PM PDT)
So you want DVD reviews? Okay... we've got your DVD reviews right here.
How about 15 new DVD reviews from our own Barrie Maxwell, as part of his
Classic Coming Attractions column? Today, Barry runs down
the latest classic release news, and takes a closer look at MGM's 633
in a Texas Town, The
Ghoul and Zulu,
Love Lucy: Season One, Volumes 7 & 8, Scrooge
Die! My Darling!, The
Bedford Incident and In
Cold Blood, Fox's The
Mark of Zorro and The
Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Milestone's The
Chess Player and All Day's Christ
in Concrete. We've got more reviews coming next week as well,
so stay tuned.
Speaking of classic films, one of my favorites has just been announced
for DVD release by 20th Century Fox on January 6th... John Ford's My
Darling Clementine, starring Henry Fonda. The DVD will
feature two versions of the film, the theatrical version and Ford's
pre-release version, both in the original B&W, full frame format.
Audio will be Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and mono. Extras will include
audio commentary by Wyatt Earp III, the theatrical trailer and a
production stills gallery. Awesome news!
Don't forget that you can see the new trailer for The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in theaters
starting today, attached to New Line's Secondhand
Lions. And the trailer will be online on Monday at the
That's reason enough in my book to go see the film, so guess what Matt
and I are going to do this evening? ;-)
Also, just FYI, I wanted to let all of you know that Todd and I are
going to be participating in a live, online chat over at
IGN DVD on
Wednesday, October 1st (at 5 PM PDT). We're going to be talking about
our new book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD, which we understand
Barnes and Noble is now showing a 10/7 street date for. We expect the
book to arrive in stores everywhere throughout the second week of
October, just FYI. So if you have any questions about the book, be sure
drop on by the chat and ask 'em.
All right... that's all she wrote for today. Have a great weekend,
kids. See you Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/26/03 - 10:30 AM PDT)
Hey guys... have we got something good for you this morning! Remember
how I told you about that Fargo
DVD release party that was going to be held yesterday in balmy Fargo,
ND? Remember how I said it was guaranteed to blow your minds? I'll bet
some of you didn't believe me. Well, folks... today we've got pictures.
here for Bits reader Corey
B's complete report on the event. You do NOT want to miss this... trust
Back later with Barrie's column...
As promised, we're back this afternoon with two DVD reviews for you.
First up, our own Rob Hale has given New Video's
Life on the Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 a look for
you. And I've got a review of my own for all of you today... a look at
Lion King: Special Edition - Platinum Edition, which streets
on 10/7. I'll give you a hint... the film looks and sound amazing, but
if you're looking for great extras, you're probably going to be
Also today, some of you might have noticed the banners for a play
called Tales of Lunacy, that's
running at the Touchstone theater in Bethlehem, PA. It started yesterday
and it runs through October 4th. The reason we're promoting it is that
the show was directed by my father-in-law, Paul Meshejian. Paul's an
accomplished actor and director (I say that not just because I have to,
but because it's also true). He's done a ton of theater and he's had
supporting roles in a number of films and TV shows, including Terry
Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, Alan
Rudolph's Equinox and episodes of
(by coincidence) Homicide: Life on the Street.
You Gilliam fans will get a kick out of this - here's my father-in-law
(as Detective Dalva) getting punched out by Bruce Willis at the end of
12 Monkeys... cool, huh?
Anyway, the show's getting great reviews, so if you live in the area
and you're looking for a good evening's entertainment, give it a look.
For more information and tickets, you can call the theater at
610-867-1689 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Tell 'em you heard about it on The Bits.
We'll be back tomorrow with a new column from our own Barrie Maxwell.
He'll run down the latest news about classic films coming to DVD, and
even review a number of great new DVD titles. Don't miss it!
We're spending some time getting back into the review swing of things
here at The Bits today, so check
back tomorrow for our looks at The Lion King:
Platinum Edition and other great new and upcoming DVD
In the meantime however, we've got more new DVD cover art for you.
Here's 20th Century Fox's Firefly: The
Complete Series, Buffy the Vampire
Slayer: The Complete Fifth Season and M*A*S*H:
Season Five Collector's Edition (all three titles street on
12/9). Also, be aware that Fox is listing a street date of 7/6/04 for
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Sixth
Season (just FYI).
We also have the official cover art for Fox's upcoming Alien
Quadrilogy 9-disc box set (the street date is TBA, but is
expected to be 12/16). We have complete details on the making of this
set, as well as a full listing of all the extras, in our new book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD (which is now available
for pre-order from Amazon by clicking the link). We'll post them here as
soon as Fox allows us to do so.
Finally this afternoon, we have official word from Universal Music that
their upcoming U2 Go Home DVD
(street date 11/17) will be released in anamorphic widescreen with audio
in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1, plus PCM stereo. Great news!
We're back! Yessir, there's nothing like a trip to balmy North Dakota
to get your blood going again. The wedding was smooth, seeing the family
was nice and a good time was had by all. Plus, the Twins and Vikings
both won over the weekend, so that's about as good as it gets for THIS
By the way, while I was back home, I happened to read
article in the Fargo Forum newspaper waxing critical on
the new MGM Fargo: Special Edition
DVD which comes out on 9/30. If you want to catch a truly Fargo-esque
event, you might want to jet to the city on Thursday morning (9/25).
Why? There's going to be a special DVD release party there, held at the
Fargo Theater. The fun starts at 11 AM CDT. On the schedule is the
unveiling of wood statue of Marge Gunderson (I s&#t you not), an
Arby's food eating contest, prize giveaways and a noon screening of
film. The event is FREE and guaranteed to blow your mind.
Now then... our new book, The Digital Bits:
Insider's Guide to DVD, is now at the printers. Copies will
be done and boxed for shipment to the McGraw warehouse on Friday (9/26).
From there it will ship out to retailers. What all this means is that
should have it in stock during the week starting 10/6 (and
possibly a little sooner). Retail stores will probably take a little
longer, as the books will have to ship around to distributors and then
get stocked on store shelves. But the good news is that our book is
officially on the way, so get your orders in! We can't wait to see what
you think of it, so when you're able to get your hands on a copy, please
drop us an e-mail.
In the realm of DVD news, Universal has announced the DVD release of
Seabiscuit for 12/16. You'll be
able to get the film in full frame or anamorphic widescreen (SRP $26.98
each), as well as a limited edition gift set that includes a book, a
senitype cell and photo cards (SRP $49.99). Extras will include audio
commentary with director Gary Ross and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh,
several production featurettes including Racing
Through History, Bringing the
Legend to Life, The Making of
Seabiscuit, Anatomy of a Movie
Moment and From Script to Screen,
Jeff Bridge's set photographs, production notes, cast and filmmaker
biographies, theatrical trailers and more.
You will also be pleased to know that the studio's American
Wedding is already set for DVD release on 1/2/04, in no less
than FOUR separate versions. You can buy the theatrical version in full
frame or anamorphic widescreen, or you can buy the Extended
Party Unrated Edition in full frame or anamorphic widescreen.
The SRP is $26.98 no matter which one you buy. Among the extras will be
deleted scenes, outtakes, the featurettes Speaking
Stiffler, Jim & Michelle's
Wedding Video, Grooming the Groom
and From Script to Scene, along
with audio commentary with the stars and filmmakers, trailers and more.
We've got official details from 20th Century Fox on their upcoming Firefly:
The Complete Series DVD due on 12/9 (SRP $49.98). The series
will be in anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio on 4
discs. Extras will include audio commentary on the episodes Serenity
Part 1 & 2, The Train Job,
of Gas, War Stories,
Objects in Space and The
Message, the Here's How How it Was,
Serenity: The Tenth Character and
Joss' Tour of the Set featurettes,
Alan Tudyk's audition video, a gag reel, the Joss
Sings the Firefly Theme video, 4 deleted scenes, an Easter
egg of Adam Baldwin singing Hero of Canton
and more. We'll post cover art as soon as it's available.
Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of a trio of classic,
back catalog titles for 12/2, including Ship
of Fools, The Horsemen
and There's a Girl in My Soup. We
have it on good authority that Bad Boys II,
Gigli and the second season of
Dawson's Creek episodes will be
announced in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that.
As we've reportedly previously, Universal Music has a new Peter Gabriel
DVD on the way on 11/4, called Growing Up
Live. Well, now we have the official details. Unfortunately,
we don't know if it's anamorphic widescreen or full frame video yet
(although we suspect 16x9 given that Gabriel's
World Live was anamorphic). Get this - the audio will be
available in Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 and DTS 5.1 options. The disc will
be coded for all regions (NTSC). The main program will feature Gabriel's
"in the round" performance at the Filaforum in Milan, Italy
from his recent tour, as directed by Hamish Hamilton. The songs
performed will include Here Comes the Flood,
Rain, Secret World,
Sky Blue, Downside
Up, The Barry Williams Show,
More Than This, Mercy
Street, Digging in the Dirt,
Growing Up, Animal
Nation, Solsbury Hill,
to Noise, In Your Eyes
and Father Son. Extras will
include The Making of Growing Up
documentary featurette, a photo gallery and the More
Than This: Elbow Remix bonus track. The packaging will be a
digipack with slipcase. Here's the cover art...
Yep... that is the official cover art for the new Sting DVD too. Inside
Sacred Love is due on 10/7. Packaged in a CD jewel case
rather than the usual DVD-sized case, the disc will feature over two
hours of new footage in full frame video with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0
audio. Among the songs performed in the program are Send
Your Love, Inside, Dead
Man's Rope, Shape of My
Heart/Never Coming Home, Like a
Beautiful Smile, Forget About the
Future/That Sinking Feeling, This
War, Stolen Car/All Would Envy,
Sacred Love, The
Book of My Life, Walking on the
Moon, Roxanne and Whenever
I Say Your Name. Other features include an exclusive duet
performance with Mary J. Blige, audio commentary by Sting throughout the
DVD, rehearsal footage and a special bonus track of Every
Breath You Take.
Finally this morning, how about some MORE cover art? We've got a look
at six new cover scans that have become available while we were away.
Here's the generic art for American Wedding
(1/2/04 - the final art may be slightly different), Seabiscuit
(12/16), South Park: The Complete Third
Season (due 12/16 and yes, it's coming from Paramount - each
episode will have 5-7 minute "mini-commentaries" with Trey
Parker and Matt Stone), Cool World
(11/11), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier -
Special Collector's Edition (10/14) and Space
Ghost Coast to Coast: Volume 1 (11/18). All of these can be
pre-ordered now from our software sponsor,
Okay, we've got a couple of interesting things for you this morning.
But first, we wanted to let you know that The
Bits is going to be dark for the rest of the week. After all
the work on the book, and with a BIG fourth quarter coming up for DVD,
we decided to take a little time to recharge our batteries for the
months ahead. Well... sort of. The reality is, Sarah and I are headed
for North Dakota to attend a family wedding, and Todd and his lovely
wife Erin are moving into new digs in Atlanta. So this would be our
Takin' Care of Business time of the year. We'll be back on Tuesday, so
we appreciate your patience until then.
But hey - we aren't going to just leave you empty handed, believe me.
First of all, we've just updated our
DVD Cover Art section! We've got more than 50 new cover scans
of great upcoming titles for you to check out. And, as always, the discs
can all be pre-ordered from our software sponsor,
Planet.com (which, in turn, supports our work here at The
Bits). So please check 'em out and pre-order if you're so
Now then... we've also got an update of
Rumor Mill that should interest you Star
Wars fans. Yep, it's that time of the year again to talk
about when Luke, Han and the gang might be coming to DVD. Let's just say
we've heard some things, and you'll probably want to check it out.
Also today, we've updated our mirror copy of
Official DVD FAQ to its most recent version, dated 9/7.
We've updated all our DVD statistics, including the
DVD Player Sales information, with the most recent data. And
we've done a whole mess of archiving, so the site should load a little
And for you Python fans with
progressive scan DVD players and TVs, we have a purchase warning.
Universal's new DVD of Monty Python's Meaning
of Life: Special Edition is defective - yet ANOTHER defect in
a Universal title. Only Disc One (the movie disc) is affected, but it's
definitely a defect in the authoring of the disc. It appears that the
software "flags" on the disc that allow progressive scan DVD
players to de-interlace the video signal have been screwed up. As a
result, the 3-2 pulldown is incorrectly done on almost all progressive
DVD players, resulting in constant jagged edges throughout the film. We
have confirmed this on our own equipment. This is a defect of ALL copies
of the disc, but you'll only notice the problem on progressive players.
So you folks with the best technology are screwed. Universal seriously
needs to get its act together with regard to it's Quality Control
department. Judging by the many e-mails we're getting, Bits
readers are getting awfully tired of having to send in discs for
replacement. In any case, call Universal's Meaning
of Life customer "service" hotline at
1-800-433-4673 to arrange to have your copies replaced... by sometime in
mid to late November (with any luck).
So that's all she wrote for this week. We'll see you back here next
Tuesday with lots more. We should have the final street date on our new
book from McGraw by then, plus we've got more columns and reviews on the
way as well. So have a great week and we'll see you then!
We've got some good stuff for you in today's early post, so get your
coffee poured and let's get started!
First of all, we've announced the winners of our
Contest, so congrats to them and thanks to all of you who
Now then, we have a nifty bit of information from our sources about
some possible upcoming Warner animated DVD releases, along with word on
the rest of the Highlander TV
series. You'll find that in
Rumor Mill today.
Also today, we have three new SACD reviews for you to enjoy, thanks to
Matt and the boys at our MusicTAP
Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil (Remix),
Valens: Greatest Hits and
Zombies: Greatest Hits.
Speaking of TAP, we also have the
details from them on that U2 DVD we mentioned last week. U2
Go Home: Live from Slane Castle will street on 11/18. The
disc will feature a 106-minute presentation of the complete concert
recorded at Ireland's Slane Castle on September 1st, 2001. Video will be
anamorphic widescreen (yeah!), with audio in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
along with PCM stereo. Extras will include the 28-minute Unforgettable
Fire documentary, a 30-minute documentary featuring a
behind-the-scenes look at the Slane Castle concert, audio commentary,
bonus tracks and DVD-ROM features to include a U2 calendar, screensavers
and weblinks plus three songs shot on Spincam (allowing the
viewer an interactive, 360 degree view of the concert). Here's the
concert track listing: Elevation,
Beautiful Day, Until
the End of the World, New Year's
Day, Out of Control,
Sunday Bloody Sunday, Wake
Up Dead Man, Stuck in a Moment You
Can't Get Out Of, Kite,
Angel of Harlem, Desire,
Staring at the Sun, All
I Want Is You, Where the Streets
Have No Name, Mysterious Ways,
Pride (In the Name of Love), Bullet
the Blue Sky, With or Without You,
One and Walk
On. And here's a look at the cover art...
Finally this morning, we have
street date from Disney for their The
Lion King: 1 1/2 DVD... 2/10/04.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/15/03
- 1:30 PM PDT)
Buena Vista has officially announced the DVD release of the first of
their animated "masterpiece" editions. The Alice
in Wonderland: Special Edition and the Pocahontas:
Special Edition will both street on January 27th, 2004. They
also have an animated, straight-to-video sequel to The
Lion King on the way in early 2004, called The
Lion King: 1 1/2. And on January 6th, look for a number of
new Miramax catalog titles as well, including Ciao,
Professore!, Get Bruce!,
I've Heard The Mermaids Singing,
The Innocent, The
Lovers on the Bridge, MicroCosmos,
of the Musketeers, Ridicule,
& Chocolate, Talk of Angels,
Torrents of Spring and Unzipped.
We've also got some more Upcoming DVD Cover
Art for you today. Here's Criterion's La
Strada and Naked Lunch
(both 11/11), Fox's League of Extraordinary
Gentlemen (TBA), Columbia TriStar's Marooned
(11/18), Universal's Dragnet (2003): Season
One (11/11) and DreamWorks' Sinbad:
Legend of the Seven Seas (11/18). All can be pre-ordered now
at our software sponsor,
And just for good measure, here's a look at HBO's Sex
and the City: The Complete Fifth Season, which streets on
(EARLY UPDATE -
9/15/03 - 12:30 PM PDT)
A number of Bits readers have
chimed in with word on those defective Monty Python's Meaning
of Life DVDs. Many readers are receiving the following reply
from Universal based on inquiries to the studio on the issue:
"Thank you for contacting Universal Studios.
With the advent of cutting-edge technology in the DVD format, a small
number of DVD players do not have the technical capability to take full
advantage of the Monty Python's The Meaning of Life disc format.
Universal Studios Home Video has become aware of a player specific issue
which results in the appearance of jagged video interlacing, on disc 1
only. Disc 2 is NOT affected. Consumers with an incompatible player may
mail back Disc 1 to Universal and receive a replacement. To obtain a
pre-paid USPS envelope in which to mail back the original Disc 1, please
call 1-800-433-4673. Replacement discs are currently scheduled to be
available mid-November 2003. We appreciate your patronage and hope you
continue to enjoy our products."
We unfortunately don't have a list of the affected players, but this
should hopefully help those with problems. By the way, those of you who
have yet to receive your replacement Back to
the Future discs may wish to call this number to follow up.
Thanks to Bits reader Andrew M.
for the heads-up on this.
In other news today, our MusicTAP
site has word that there's a new Peter Gabriel DVD on the way for
release on 11/4 - it's a live concert disc called Growing
Up Live, covering his most recent tour. There's also word
that Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
album is going to be released on SACD format on 11/11. If you haven't
taken the dive into SACD and DVD-Audio yet, there's never been a better
time to do so. Pioneer is offering a new combo DVD player that plays
both of the high-rez audio formats in addition to DVD-Video - the
Believe this or not... it carries an SRP of only $249, which means you
can buy it many places for less than $200 (Best
Buy has it for $179). It's definitely worth a look.
Back later with those
Contest winners. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/12/03 - 5 PM PDT)
What do you know? We've actually managed to post another DVD review -
we're closing out this particular Friday with my look at A&E's
upcoming DVD release of the classic TV documentary series
at Sea (street date: 9/30). And we have lots more coming next
week, including Wellspring's Russian Ark.
So stay tuned.
Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/12/03 - NOON PDT)
I'm afraid we have some more sad news to report today. From the world
of music, another legend has been lost...
Cash has passed away today, at the age of 71, from complications
of diabetes. Anyone who loves music will know what a loss that is - his
contributions to music are vast. And from the world of television, a sad
John Ritter died of heart failure last night, after collapsing on
the set of his TV series, 8 Simple Rules for
Dating My Teenage Daughter. You may better remember Ritter
for his turns in Sling Blade and
Three's Company. He was just 54.
While we're acknowledging the loss of talent this afternoon, it's also
worth taking the time to recognize
passing of documentarian Leni Riefenstahl, which happened rather
quietly earlier this week. Riefenstahl was a filmmaker of incredible
talent, but her career never recovered from the fact that two of her
best films were made for the Nazi's... and were works of propaganda.
of the Will (about the 1934 Nuremberg rally) and Olympia
(depicting the 1936 Berlin Olympics) are visually stunning despite their
subject matter. Talent aside, Riefenstahl was surrounded in controversy
for her entire life.
In other news today, Video
Business is reporting on the slow but steady growth of the
D-VHS format. Six new titles were unveiled from Universal, DreamWorks
and Artisan this week. These include Brotherhood
of the Wolf, The Emperor's Club,
Mulholland Drive, The
Limey, Novocain and
The Ring. This takes the total
number of titles on the high-definition videotape format to 55. In
addition, JVC has announced a new model of D-VHS player - the HM-DH4000,
which will record digitally from any source. Though it will probably be
obsolete in a few years, when Blu-ray or HD-DVD finally arrives, D-VHS
has carved a tiny but strong niche for itself among high-end consumers.
Store magazine is reporting a study by Forrester Research which
says Video On Demand (VOD) will overtake DVD in ten years. But
trust us on this - don't start selling your movie collection on eBay
just yet. Collectors will ALWAYS prefer to own a DVD rather than rent a
movie over cable or their computer. Personally, I never want to give up
the luxury of having a copy of the movie in my hand, looking at the
liner notes, and setting it on my shelf with the rest of my collection.
What VOD will probably do, on the other hand, is make brick and mortar
rental stores (like Blockbuster and Hollywood) a thing of the past.
Besides... Blu-ray or HD-DVD will be here by then anyway.
Store has a report on the roll-out of disposable EZ-D. In case
We're going to be updating a lot of the stats we track around the site
today, and we'll be back in a couple of hours with another new DVD
review... New Video's Victory at Sea: 50th
Anniversary Collector's Edition.
Okay... Todd and I have put our heads together for a review of 20th
Century Fox's new
The Complete Second Season on DVD. If you haven't gotten into
24 yet... what the heck is up?!
You definitely don't want to miss this show, and with both
now available on disc, now's the perfect time to get yourself hooked
before Season Three starts in a
couple months. Don't miss it.
Also today, we've got some great new DVD cover art for you to see -
Paramount's Lara Croft - Tomb Raider: The
Cradle of Life - Special Collector's Edition (street date:
11/18), Warner's The West Wing: The Complete
First Season (also 11/18) and Disney's Pirates
of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Collector's Edition
(12/2). All three can now be pre-ordered at our software sponsor,
Planet. So please do - you're supporting The
Bits at the same time.
We'll be back with news and more tomorrow, so stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/10/03 - 5:30 PM PDT)
As promised, we've got a pair of DVD reviews for you today. I've
finally had time to give a disc a spin, so you can now read my thoughts
And our own Rob Hale checks in with his review of an older title, MGM's
Another Day: Special Edition.
Watch for more news and reviews tomorrow, including a look at Fox's
24: The Complete Second Season.
See you then!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/10/03 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Just wanted to chime in here with a quick note to let everyone know
that we'll be back with new DVD reviews later this afternoon.
Also, our MusicTAP
site has some good news for you U2 fans. Another concert DVD is expected
on November 18th. MusicTAP also
has a new DVD-Audio review of
Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies today, and they've got Peter
Gabriel CD news as well.
Finally, it's not DVD related, but don't forget to check out
of the Month - Celeste Brignac (Photography). She has some
great work, including images to put on greeting cards for less than the
price of most Hallmark cards these days! You can check out the options,
including some vintage theatre images,
It's all part of our ongoing effort to give greater exposure to talented
artists, so please take the time to check out their work.
Well... our work on the book's pretty much done.
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD is off to the printers
later this week. We'll update you with a final street date as soon as we
get one from McGraw. Boy it feels good to be done!
Around the horn today, our own Adam Jahnke's written up a nice little
tribute to Warren Zevon, who passed away on Sunday. You'll find that at
A lot of you have asked about the Alien:
2003 Director's Cut we mentioned yesterday. It's going to be
in theaters in time for Halloween. Here's a link to the
website, which lists Alien
as coming soon (a website is reportedly coming soon as well).
has the official trailer up for the new release.
Just a quick bit of news.
has announced the DVD release of Federico Fellini's La
Strada and David Cronenberg's Naked
Lunch in November.
In other news, it looks like Fox is temporarily delaying the release of
the next seasons of Buffy and Firefly.
We'll post more details when we get them from the studio.
Disney is testing its self-destructing EZ-Ds this week in a few test
markets. You can read more on that
via Yahoo and
via CNN (just FYI, CNN has a poll on reaction to EZ-D that's worth
checking out). Anyone out there taking wagers on how long this
experiment will last?
And finally, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of The
Sea is Watching, Winged Migration:
Special Edition, The King of
Queens: The First Season, Marooned
and My Big Fat Greek Life: The Entire Series
for 11/18. Here's the cover art for Winged
Migration: Special Edition. Enjoy!
See you tomorrow!
(LATE UPDATE -
9/8/03 - 10:30 AM PDT)
Hi everyone! I just wanted to jump in here with a word on Fox's
upcoming Alien Quadrilogy
nine-disc set. There's obviously not yet been an official announcement
for various reasons, and we suspect there will not be one until after
the new Alien: 2003 Director's Cut
appears in theaters next month. The set IS still coming and with any
luck it will be out before the end of 2003. As all of you know, we've
closely followed this production for many months now for our upcoming
book (it features more than 30 pages dedicated to a look at the making
of the set). Because there hasn't been an official announcement, we're
unfortunately not allowed to say anything here on The
Bits in terms of specs and other details. We can tell you
that all of that information - a complete disc by disc laundry list of
the contents and extras - is included in the book (which streets the
last week of this month or the first week of October). So that's likely
to be the closest to an official announcement we get in the near term.
The reason I wanted to jump in here, is because there's been some
details leaked recently from the British Board of Film Classification
(BBFC). I wish I could tell you more, but the one thing I can tell you
for sure is that The Alien Legacy
documentary is NOT on the new set for space reasons. So just be aware of
that. The moment we're allowed to post anything more about this set and
its contents, we will. 'Nuff said.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/8/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We aren't pulling your leg. This is really it. This is our last day of
work on the book. We're just doing one last proof of the final layout
text and all the images - making sure all the Ts are crossed, etc. As
soon as we sign off on it, the book is officially off to the printers
(whew)! Right now,
is showing a September 26th street date. In order to make that,
and get this baby in the hands of all those of you who have shelled out
your payola in pre-orders, we're going to be working pretty much all day
The good news is, when this is finally done, we'll be getting back to
our old selves in terms of reviews. Frankly, I'm really looking forward
to having the time to spin and review more DVDs. It's really amazing how
much work it is to write a book - especially one with a lot of diagrams
and images. The text can read great in Word, but making sure it all
makes sense in print is a whole other challenge. It's definitely been a
learning curve. But just ONE more day. The light at the end of the
tunnel is blinding us. ;-)
In the meantime, we've kicked off another trio of
Contests - three separate contests from three different
studios, including Warner Bros, Fox and Buena Vista. The contests run
until Saturday, so get your entries in quick.
Is anyone else out there just totally ready for football? I've been
playing Madden 2004 for a few
weeks now just to get my fix in, and I watched last night's NFL season
opener with the Skins and the Jets in high-definition. There's just
something about this time of the year that really gets the old blood
pumping, you know? Repeat after me football fans: "This could be
Todd's back today with another one of his
Views columns. He checks in with a quick look at Urban Vision
Entertainment's new DVD release of
Scroll: The Series, Volume One - Dragon Stone.
Buena Vista has revealed that Pirates of the
Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl will arrive on DVD on
12/2 as a spiffy 2-disc set (SRP $29.99). Get this... the disc will
feature anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary with director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp, a second
commentary with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Keira Knightley, a third
commentary with the screenwriters, the Epic
at Sea production documentary, deleted scenes, an effects
progression reel, trailers, interactive timelines and more.
Just a word of advice... a lot of people are reporting problems with
Universal's new Monty Python's Meaning of
Life DVD. Disc Two of the set is fine, but the movie disc is
plagued by strange picture artifacts - blurring of movement, etc. It
could very well be an encoding problem with the disc itself. We haven't
seen the disc yet ourselves, but we'll let you know when we do.
We'll be posting a new Trivia Contest
this weekend, and we'll be back with one (and possibly two) new DVD
reviews on Monday - The Core and
24: The Complete Second Season.
Enjoy NFL kickoff weekend, may your favorite team win (unless they're
playing my Vikings) and we'll see you back here on Monday!
We're getting an early jump on things today, folks. The big news today
is that Universal Music has revealed that they plan to slash prices for
their A-list CDs across the board to an SRP $12.98 (from their
previously outrageous prices of $16.98 to $18.98). It's a very good
move, designed to curb online digital file sharing. The price shift
takes effect on 10/1. You can bet I'll be buying a few new discs that
day just to celebrate. You can read more on this from Matt at our
at CNN Money.
Also today, we have a pair of new DVD reviews from our own Rob Hale.
Rob takes a look at a pair of great movies on disc from Hong Kong-based
filmmaker Wong Kar-wai -
Express (as released by Miramax) and
the Mood for Love (from Criterion).
And our good friend Adam Jahnke's checked in with another new edition
Bottom Shelf. Wanna know why we love Adam so much around here?
Read his last two columns. Every good team has a go-to guy, and Adam's
that guy here at The Bits. And he
always keeps you guessing. Think he's gonna zig? Nope - zag. His latest
Knowing One's Place: The Big Emotional Spielberg Ending. And
in it, he reviews...
Okay, I'm not gonna spoil it for you. Let's just say we have THREE new
DVD reviews up here at The Bits
this morning and leave it at that. Enjoy!