UPDATE - 10/23/03 - 11 AM PDT)
We have a few early details for you on Paramount's upcoming Star
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition.
The 2-disc set is expected to street on January 27th, featuring a new
anamorphic widescreen video transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras
should include audio commentary with director Nicholas Meyer, text
commentary with Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, numerous
behind-the-scenes featurettes on the production, trailers, storyboards,
an art gallery and more. Just FYI, the first season of Voyager
is tentatively expected in February. Here's a look at the cover art...
Also this morning, we have word that 20th Century Fox is planning to
release another batch of D-VHS titles, and these are nothing to sneeze
at. Moulin Rouge and League
of Extraordinary Gentlemen are expected on November 25th,
with X2, True
Lies and Speed expected
to follow on December 16th. X2 and
League will be day-and-date
releases with their DVD counterparts. All five titles will SRP for
$34.98, will be presented in anamorphic widescreen 1080i high-definition
video and will feature audio in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 as
well (encoded at 1509 kbps). These will mark the first D-VHS titles to
be released with DTS audio.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/23/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Anyone up for a new DVD review today? Good, 'cause we've got a great
one for you! Start the coffee brewing and enjoy. Our own Barrie Maxwell
had a personal marathon screening of Warner's new
Tunes Golden Collection 4-disc set last night, and yes... he's
checked in with his in-depth review! The set contains 56 classic
animated shorts and lots of extras. It's due to street next Tuesday
(10/28), and we think you'll agree that it was well worth the wait.
These remastered shorts really looks fantastic. Hats off to Warner for
an amazing restoration job. May EVERY SINGLE short in the Warner library
find its way to DVD looking this good before the studio's done.
Also this morning, we have word over at our
affiliate that the new Rush in Rio
DVD from Coming Home/Rounder Records (distributed by Universal Music) is
unfortunately NOT in the anamorphic widescreen that was promised in
early press releases (and which is indicated on the back of the
package). Also, the DTS track that had been expected based on the
original announcement seems to have been dropped at the last minute.
That's obviously very disappointing - we've been inundated with e-mails
from angry Rush fans who hurried out to get the disc on Tuesday only to
surprised by this. Our understanding is that the concert was shot
anamorphically in Digi-Beta format, so there should be no reason why the
concert couldn't have been anamorphic on DVD. Matt's trying to figure
out what happened, so we'll post when we know.
(LATE UPDATE -
10/22/03 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Well... it looks like things are backfiring on Jack Valenti's
anti-piracy plan to ban all screener copies of films for awards season.
Film actors, directors and particularly independent filmmakers have been
protesting vigorously, going so far as to take out full page ads in
local newspapers and industry trade magazines. The problem is that the
ban would make it unlikely that most awards voters (including Academy
voters at Oscar time) would ever see smaller, art house films, given
that they're run in so few theaters. That would unfairly skew voting
towards big-budget, major Hollywood studio films. Anger in the industry
over this move is so great that the Los Angeles Film Critics Association
has, in protest,
that they'll cancel their 2003 awards unless the ban is rescinded.
Now, however, it looks like
might be a compromise in the works. Valenti, who had been
previously unwilling to budge in his position, seems to have softened in
response to some pretty harsh criticism. The compromise? Screeners are
okay now, but only on VHS... not DVD... and each tape would be coded
with the recipient's name, so that pirated copies could be traced
directly back to the person responsible. You can read more on this via
the links in the text above. Let me just say, people in Hollywood are
REALLY steamed over this whole thing, and rightly so. It will be
interesting to see how it all shakes out.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/22/03
- NOON PDT)
Today's post is going to be a quick one, because we're working on a
number of new DVD reviews of major titles. Watch for reviews of Finding
Nemo, Terminator 3: Rise of the
Machines and more in the next few days.
Also, it looks like we may have found a new web hosting solution. We're
working on the arrangements now, and we'll keep you up to date over the
next few weeks as we move the site and get settled into our new digs. So
thanks to everyone who has e-mailed us about this issue. We appreciate
all your support.
Just FYI, we really appreciate all those of you
have purchased our new DVD book, or intend to do so in the weeks
and months ahead. We're getting lots of really kind e-mails about it -
it's very nice to know people like it. If you haven't gotten your copy
yet, your local bookstores should have copies in stock as we speak. If
they don't, please don't hesitate to ask them to order copies for you.
Remember, the proceeds from the book will help us to keep the site going
both now and in the future, so thanks again to all of you for supporting
us in this way.
Now then, we do have one new disc review for you this afternoon. Our
own Rob Hale has checked in with a look at MGM's controversial
for Columbine on DVD. Love it or hate it, director Michael
Moore always has a lot to say, and he never fails to get a debate going.
We also have a few more pieces of upcoming cover art for you. Here's
Disney's 2-disc Alice in Wonderland:
Masterpiece Edition (1/27), Warner's Alex
& Emma (12/23), and MGM's Jeepers
Creepers 2: Special Edition (also 12/23).
Finally today, you should know that MGM has already announced the DVD
release of Denzel Washington's Out of Time:
Special Edition for January 6th. Also, Woody Allen's Anything
Else is due to street on December 23rd.
Kicking things off today, we've got word from retailers on a street
date for Universal's Schindler's List
DVD. You'll find that in
You'll be happy to know that Universal has also announced the DVD
release of Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English
on January 13th (SRP $26.98). Extras will include Spy
Tips, an "observation test", deleted scenes and "more".
In other news this morning, Artisan is going to be releasing the On
Golden Pond: Special Edition on 12/16 (SRP $19.98). The disc
will include the film anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio, a commentary track with playwright Ernest Thompson, the Reflections
on Golden Pond documentary on the work of cinematographer
Billy Williams, a Katherine Hepburn tribute featurette, the Loving
Against Time documentary and more.
Also, CBS News had a feature story last night, as part of its Eye on
America series, on how DVDs are reshaping the Hollywood landscape. You
can view the story
We've got two new
for you today thanks to our friends at Warner Bros. Fancy winning a copy
of The Looney Tunes Golden Collection?
How about The Thing from Another World,
Soylent Green or The
Omega Man? Then what are you waiting for?
to get started. By the way, we're not going to be announcing the winners
here on the home page anymore, because there are just too many. But you
can always check the contest
Circle page which will be updated after each contest ends with
a complete list of all the winners.
Finally this morning, we've got some more upcoming DVD cover art for
you to check out. Here's On Golden Pond,
the Dirty Dancing: Ultimate Edition
(12/9) and Disney's Spy Kids 3D: Game Over
I've been fighting a funky software glitch today, so that's kept me
busy all morning. BUT... Man with baseball bat still trumps Computer,
I'm pleased to say. I've overcome the unsavory evil genie of technology
just in time to post some new DVD announcements for you today.
Columbia TriStar has revealed that they'll release Belly
of the Beast, So Close
and the S.W.A.T.: Special Edition
on 12/30. S.W.A.T. will be
available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions. Extras
will include a gag reel, deleted scenes, 2 audio commentary tracks
(featuring the director, cast and screenwriters), 4 behind-the-scenes
featurettes (6th Street Bridge,
Anatomy of a Shootout, S.W.A.T.
- TV's Original Supercops and The
Making of S.W.A.T.), another piece called The
Sound and Fury of S.W.A.T. and more.
Paramount has announced a few more January titles. First up are both
Cheers: Season Two and Frasier:
Season Two, due on 1/6. Next is a 2-disc set featuring Ashton
Kutcher in Punk'd: The First Season.
That streets on 1/20. Following that on 1/27 are A
Smile Like Yours, Best Defense,
Pontiac Moon and Dear
God. All the 1/27 titles SRP for $14.99. They've also
announced The Jamie Kennedy Experiment:
Season One for release on 12/2, with South
Park: The Complete Third Season following on 12/16.
How about some great new 20th Century Fox titles? Look for Avril
Lavigne: My World on 11/4, Duel to
the Death, Eastern Condors
and Heart of the Dragon all on
12/30, Scorched on 1/27, The
Diary of Anne Frank, In Living
Color: Season One and a 2-disc Planet
of the Apes: 35th Anniversary Edition on 2/3, and both Angel:
The Complete Third Season and Roswell:
The Complete First Season on 2/10.
Just FYI, Planet of the Apes will
include the 112-minute film in anamorphic widescreen video (a full frame
version will also be available), with audio in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
surround. Extras will include audio commentary by composer Jerry
Goldsmith, additional commentary with actors Roddy Mc Dowell, Natalie
Trundy, Kim Hunter, producer Richard Zanuck and make-up artist John
Chambers, a text commentary by Eric Greene (author of Planet
of the Apes as American Myth), the Behind
the Planet of the Apes documentary (126 mins), a 1998 promo
for Behind the Planet of the Apes,
an original makeup test with Edward G. Robinson, 20 minutes of Roddy
McDowall's home movies, original dailies and outtakes, the 1967 N.A.T.O.
Presentation Reel, an original featurette from 1968, the 1972
A Look Behind the Planet of the Apes
featurette, the Don Taylor Directs Escape
from the Planet of the Apes featurette, the J.
Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
featurette, original theatrical trailers for all films in the series,
original film reviews, a theatrical poster gallery, a production photo
gallery, a gallery of original costume sketches, a gallery of toys and
merchandise, an Easter egg featuring a vintage MEGO toy commercial, and
a DVD-ROM Planet of the Apes
timeline. Let me be the first to say this... VERY frickin' cool!
Moving on, Three's Company: Season One
streets from Anchor Bay on 11/11. Buena Vista has revealed that they'll
release Open Range on 1/20, with
the Alice in Wonderland: Special Edition
following on 1/27 and the Spy Kids 3D: Game
Over - Collector's Series rounding things out on 2/24.
DreamWorks will debut Anything Else
on 12/23. Rhino will release The Monkees:
Season Two on 11/18. And finally, Warner has at last
re-announced The Ben Stiller Show
for 12/2, now with meatier extras (including audio commentary, deleted
scenes, a featurette, outtakes, production notes, a TV special, Easter
eggs and more).
Here's a look at the cover art for S.W.A.T.,
Open Range and Roswell:
The Complete First Season.
We've got one last new DVD review for you this week. Our own Jeff
Kleist takes a look at The Big Blue Bug of Justice. Yes... it's Columbia
Tick: The Entire Series on DVD. It's a fun little package...
the episodes at least. But why the studio didn't tap Patrick Warburton
to do some nifty bonus material for this set, I'll never know. A very
big missed opportunity by any measure.
We've got just a few more upcoming DVD announcements for you today.
Artisan Entertainment will release The
Adventures of Captain Marvel (the original 12 chapter serial)
on 12/16. Warner has announced Let's Do It
Again, A Piece of the Action,
Superfly and Uptown
Saturday Night for 1/13, The
Accidental Tourist, Best Friends
and Swing Shift for 1/20, and I'll
Be There for 1/27. Warner will also release the BBC's MI-5:
Season One on 1/13, Allo Allo!:
Complete Series One, Ballykissangel:
Complete Series One and Ballykissangel:
Complete Series Two on 1/20, and As
Time Goes By: Complete Season Six on 2/3. Eagle Rock
Entertainment has The Man Show: Season One,
Volume Two due on 11/4. Showtime will release Family
Business: The Complete First Season on 1/6, with Out
of Order (the pilot episode) following on 1/13. And finally,
upcoming Columbia TriStar DVDs to watch for include Bonjour
Tristesse, Dawson's Creek: The
Complete Second Season and Henry
Fool on 12/16, as well as I
Capture the Castle, The Medallion,
Black Dragon and Nil
by Mouth on 12/23.
That's it for now. Seven new DVD reviews this week... not bad. Have a
Okay, folks... this was going around the Net yesterday as something in
the works for Region 2, so I thought we'd get the skinny for you about
Region 1. I've officially confirmed with Paramount that complete season
box sets of Star Trek: The Original Series
are in the planning stages for DVD release here in the States. However,
you probably shouldn't expect them until after most of the work on the
Star Trek: Voyager complete season
DVDs is finished. Voyager is
expected to be released, a season at a time, throughout 2004. I'm told
that late 2004 is a possibility for TOS,
but they might not be released until 2005. This is definitely going to
happen, but it's early in the planning and plenty is still up in the
air. So don't start warming up those phasers just yet.
By the way, we have word on a couple of Best Buy exclusive bonus discs.
There's one currently available with The
Matrix Reloaded, but if you already have the original Matrix,
Matrix Revisited and Animatrix
DVDs, don't worry... you've already got everything that's on the bonus
disc. On the other hand, there's another bonus disc that will be
available with the Indiana Jones
box set next week. That's expected to include a vintage, 10-minute Raiders
featurette not available anywhere else. So plan your purchases
Finally this morning, and this would normally be in The
Rumor Mill but I'm too tired to put it there (so take with
salt accordingly), sources are telling us to expect the Coen Brothers'
new film, Intolerable Cruelty, on
DVD from Universal in February.
So... how's about a nice Hawaiian Punch? No? Okay... how's about some
more new DVD reviews then? Our own Todd Doogan's checked in with a look
at Criterion's nifty
which streets on 10/28.
Not enough fer ya? Okay... how's about another new edition of Adam
Shelf column, in which he barely manages to escape Rhino's
of the Killer Tomatoes and Warner's
with his life? See... keeping you guys happy. That's what it's all about
here at The Bits.
One of these days, we're going to have to toss Adam something good to
review. I barely survived Dreamcatcher
Okay... let's see a show of hands. Who played hooky yesterday so they
could stay home and watch
Matrix Reloaded? I know there are a few of you out there who
are struggling to catch up on all that paperwork today. Think that's
bad? Just wait 'til next week when
Jones comes out. ;-)
We've got another
Mill update for you today, with the latest on Miramax's The
English Patient: Special Edition. Yes, it's still coming.
All of us here at The Digital Bits
would like to send our thanks out to Ron Epstein and his crew over at
Home Theater Forum. Ron's just posted
really positive review of our new DVD book, and he said some very
kind things about us. They've been good friends over there for a long
time, so it means a lot to us that they enjoyed the book. Thanks, guys.
Our hats off to you. Just a reminder to all our readers - please
up a copy over at Amazon or your local bookstore if you can. Doing
so will go a long way to helping support our work here at The
Bits, as well as helping us to keep the site going in this
tough online advertising climate. Much appreciated!
While we're virtually doffing our caps today, hats off to the Chinese
for finally lobbing a man into space. Don't forget... what goes up must
come down. Hats off also to you Cubs fans for enduring last night's
unbelievable eighth inning loss to the Marlins in the NLCS. Damn, guys.
I'm not even a Cubs fan and that made me sick to my stomach. Can you
imagine how bad that poor shmoe who tried to catch the foul ball must be
feeling today? Ouch.
We've just posted another pair of new DVD reviews. The first is Adam
Jahnke's look at Warner's recent release of
Animatrix, in honor of today's release of The
Matrix Reloaded. Also today, we're pleased to present Matt
Rowe's look at Warner's new single-disc version of the BBC's classic 70s
and 80s music program
Old Grey Whistle Test. I think you'll find that both DVDs are
well worth a look. Just to let you know, tomorrow we'll have another
pair of new DVD reviews, so be sure to watch for that.
Speaking of music, we have official confirmation that Universal Music's
upcoming DVD release of U2 Go Home: Live from
Slane Castle, Ireland will be presented in anamorphic
widescreen. The audio is also confirmed to be in PCM 2.0 stereo, along
with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The street date is 11/18, and it
will be available in limited editition Digipak and standard jewel case
packaging. If this title hasn't got you pumped, you are no kind of music
We've got a look at MGM's forthcoming January slate of DVDs today.
Titles to expect include Green Acres: Season
One, The Best of Mister Ed: Volume
One, Jeremiah: Season One,
Stargate SG-1: Season Five, Just
Between Friends, Love at Large,
Love Is All There Is, Sleep
with Me, Stanley & Iris,
a trio of Sidney Poitier titles including For
Love of Ivy, Pressure Point
and The Wilby Conspiracy, and four
new Soul Cinema titles including Blacula,
Monkey Hustle and Scream, Blacula,
We have word today that Universal and DreamWorks will release Woody
Allen's latest movie Anything Else
on December 23rd.
Also Warner and HBO have announced the release of American
Splendor on DVD on February 3rd. Extras will include audio
commentary, Easter eggs, an 8-page comic insert entitled My
Movie Year, the theatrical trailer and more.
And we have a bit of new upcoming DVD information in
Rumor Mill today on upcoming Studio Ghibli titles, so be sure
to check that out.
Finally today, you Enterprise
fans will be happy to learn that the show will now be broadcast in full
1080i HD resolution by UPN affiliates starting with tomorrow night's
episode, thanks to a new promotional partnership with Zenith. So there's
another good reason to pick up that new widescreen Digital TV.
Just to let everyone know,
Digital Bits: Insiders' Guide to DVD is only just now starting
to appear in bookstores. So please be patient if you're looking for it
at your local retailer. Drop us an
e-mail if you're able
to find it in stores.
(LATE UPDATE -
10/13/03 - 1 PM PDT)
Okay... we've just posted our review of Paramount and Lucasfilm's
Adventures of Indiana Jones: The Complete DVD Movie Collection,
a 4-disc box set that includes
of the Lost Ark,
Jones and the Temple of Doom and
Jones and the last Crusade, as well as an entire, separate
disc of bonus materials. The set streets on 10/21, and we were surprised
to find that it was actually well worth the wait. The films look great,
they sound even better and the extras are a satisfying exercise in
quality over quantity.
By the way, we should tell you that the Indy DVD event on Saturday
turned out to be a lot of fun. It was held at the American Film
Institute in Hollywood. In attendance were all the usual suspects from
the DVD and mainstream press. These events are always a great chance to
catch up with friends and peers from the DVD community, and to chat
about the latest developments with the format. Naturally, the good folks
from both Paramount and Lucasfilm were on hand as well. The event was
hosted by Lucasfilm's Jim Ward, and began with demonstrations of the DVD
set's remastered picture and sound quality. We also viewed some of the
documentary material on the bonus disc. The afternoon session featured a
Q&A with Indy producer Frank Marshall, DVD producer Laurent
Bouzereau, film restoration expert Jim Lowry and Paramount's senior V.P.
of DVD production, Jeff Radoycis. This was followed by a second Q&A
with the three "Ladies of Indiana Jones", including Karen
Allen, Kate Capshaw and Alison Doody. The highlight of the day, however,
was a surprise visitor. As the three ladies were talking on stage with
the moderator, a shadowy figure appeared at the side of the theater... a
figure who turned out to be none other than actor Harrison Ford, decked
out in his classic leather jacket and fedora. No kidding.
Every now and again in this business, you know you're at the coolest
place in town. This was just such a moment. Ford took the stage for a
minute or two to greet the ladies and to pose for pictures, before
leaving with the words, "See you soon..." (an obvious
reference to the forthcoming Indiana Jones 4).
Here's a shot we think you'll appreciate. Left to right, this is Alison
Doody, Kate Capshaw, Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and AFI CEO Jean Picker
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon, huh?
We've also got a number of great new bits of DVD information in today's
update of The
Rumor Mill. These include more Star
Wars DVD rumors, word on Young
Indy, and word that Paramount's planning some great special
edition titles for 2004 and beyond.
We'd like to thank everyone who has e-mailed us about our web hosting
problems. We've gotten a lot of generous offers of support, so we're
going to be taking a look at them over the next few days. We'll try to
get back to everyone, so thanks again.
Finally this afternoon, we have a pair of new
for you to enter today, both featuring great Warner Bros. (and BBC)
titles. You have a chance to win copies of The
Matrix Reloaded, The Old Gray
Whistle Test (which we'll review here tomorrow) and The
Singing Detective. By the way, we're not going to be
announcing the winners on the home page anymore, because there are just
too many of them. But you can always visit
Winner's Circle for a complete list.
We've got more new DVD reviews ready to go, so we'll see you tomorrow!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/13/03 - 10 AM PDT)
Morning, everyone! We have a server glitch that prevented us from
uploading over the weekend, but it looks like it's just been corrected.
So we're going to be posting our Indiana
Jones DVD review in just a little bit. Thanks for your
(LATE UPDATE - 10/10/03 -
2:30 PM PDT)
We hadn't planned to check in with another update today, but this one
is just too good not to let you all know about. We have official
confirmation from Universal Studios (via
article at Video Store - slide down to the very bottom of
the text) that Steven Spielberg's long awaited Schindler's
List will finally debut on DVD in 2004. How's that for a nice
way to end the week?
NOW then... that's all folks!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/10/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
So how many of you out there managed to get tickets yesterday for the
day-long Lord of the Rings Trilogy Tuesday
on 12/16? It was a constant battle of wills with online theater ticket
venders, but Matt and I managed (just barely) to snag a pair. Selected
theaters are playing the extended editions of both Fellowship
and Two Towers back to back,
followed by the debut of Return of the King
that evening. Yes, it's the ENTIRE trilogy in a single day - 12 straight
hours of Rings madness - and you
can bet the crowd will be amped for it. Yes, we ARE crazy to want to put
ourselves through that, but how can any good film fanatic pass up a
chance like that?
Okay... don't answer that... ;-)
Speaking of trilogies, have you signed the
Trilogy.com petition yet? Our friends over at
Force.net are reporting that it's approaching 40,000
signatures, and the folks at Lucasfilm are reportedly "monitoring
the petition with interest". Given the
we've been hearing about Episodes IV-VI
coming to DVD in late 2004, it's time to send a clear message to good
ol' George that the DVDs should include BOTH the original theatrical
versions of the films as well as the ultimate editions he has planned.
So if you haven't signed it yet, please do so and encourage all your
friends to do the same.
And hey... speaking of trilogies, are any of you in the mood for a
little Indiana Jones on DVD? Good,
because we're going to be attending Lucasfilm's DVD press event on
Saturday morning. That means, with a little luck, we'll have our
complete review of the forthcoming box set up by Monday early AM (and
maybe sooner). So stay tuned for that.
Good news for you Ben Stiller Show
fans... the long delayed DVD of the series has finally been rescheduled
for a 12/2 street date by Warner.
here to read some cool details about the set via Yahoo.
In other news, word is that The Lion King
is off to the races on DVD. It's apparently sold more than 3 million
copies in its first 2 days of release.
here for more on that.
By the way, if anyone out there knows of a really reliable (and really,
really inexpensive) web hosting option that might work for The
Bits, please let
us know. We're looking for a new home, and our budget's never been
tighter unfortunately. But like Don Quixote, the crazy bunch of nuts
around here are determined to keep tilting at the DVD windmill. We'll be
damned if the system's gonna get us down. So anyone out there who can
help us keep fighting the good fight... please drop us a line.
Also, we've been getting reports that the book is starting to arrive in
stores around the country, and virtually every store can now order you a
copy from their warehouse. We're also getting tons of nice e-mails from
people who have already gotten their copies. We really appreciate all
your kind words. Every copy that gets sold helps us keep this site
alive, so thanks much to all of you who have bought a copy (or plan to).
And if you do pick one up, and you find that you enjoy it, please do us
a favor and write up
quick review at Amazon.com to let others know that you find it
useful. You guys really are the best - we're lucky and grateful to have
readers like all of you. We can't thank you enough for all your support.
Well... okay then. We've said our piece for today. Have a great weekend
and watch this space for Indy
Well folks, we've been checking in with DreamWorks about this issue
with Taken, and now it looks like
it might not be the disc at all, but rather a player issue. Here's their
"We have tried (exhaustively!) to re-create
this problem using a variety of DVD players and monitors, but have not
been able to. Our C&A facility has tested the streams and confirm
everything was encoded and flagged correctly, and that there is no
corruption to the stream. Plus, our independent third party QC facility
that tests DVDs on a vast array of DVD players that best mimics the
consumer marketplace also cannot recreate this anomaly. We have
researched this from a hardware perspective and have found that the
Pioneer DV-45A, among a few others, has a problem deinterlacing video
(it doesn't have motion-adaptive video deinterlacing). There is a
special report on hometheaterhifi.com that you can reference."
So it turns out that some progressive scan de-interlacing problems are
player specific, at least in the case of Taken.
At least two of the players we use at The
Bits are having this problem. Here's a link to
scan primer and a
database of players tested for this problem (as well as the
explaining how the tests were done). Here's the problem - certain
players are going to have trouble with certain discs only, so when you
have a problem, we recommend that you contact your player manufacturer
for an update. Our thanks to the folks at DreamWorks and Deluxe for
responding on this so quickly.
Anyway, we also have some new DVD announcements from Warner Bros. for
you today. On January 13th, look for Superfly,
with the Homeboys, Let's Do It
Again, Piece of the Action,
Uptown Saturday Night, Who's
the Man? and Woo.
Following on January 20th, look for The
Accidental Tourist, Best Friends,
Everybody's All American, Overnight
Delivery and Swing Shift.
(LATE UPDATE -
10/8/03 - 2 PM PDT)
Okay, Star Trek fans... as
promised, we've just posted our review of Paramount's upcoming
Trek V: The Final Frontier - Special Collector's Edition. The
2-disc set streets on 10/14. More reviews are on the way, so...
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/8/03 - NOON PDT)
Thanks to Bits reader David S, we
finally have our first look at the cover artwork for Fox's Lost
in Space: The Complete First Season (street date 1/13/04).
The 8-disc set will include all 29 first season episodes, plus the
unaired pilot episode. Video is black and white full frame with mono
audio in English and Spanish (SRP $79.98). Here's that art...
Also today, our friend Gord Lacey over at
wants everyone to know that Broadway Video Enterprises is asking fans of
the Kids in the Hall what they
want to see on a DVD set of the series. Here's more from Gord:
"Fans can go to
and register on the site to be notified when the set starts preselling,
and they can also take a survey, the results of which will influence the
DVD set. Right now they're focusing on season 1, but if there's enough
demand they will continue on releasing the show. These are the uncut HBO
versions of the episodes. The "Kids" will be in LA shooting
bonus material on Oct 8 and 9th for the set. Many of the questions
they'll be asked were submitted by fans through the survey on the site."
Very cool news. If you're a fan, be sure to get involved.
Finally this morning, our own Matt Rowe has learned that the complete
Lord of the Rings movie soundtrack
is going to be released on DVD-Audio format in the first quarter of
2004. You'll find that and more over at our
Back with more this afternoon, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 10/7/03 - NOON PDT)
Just a quick update on that problem we discovered with Taken
last night. We're talking with DreamWorks and Deluxe, which did the
authoring on the title, in an effort to track the problem down. I can
tell you that we've received several e-mails this morning from other
online reviewers who have seen the same interlacing problem with
progressive scan players. So it looks like there's a some kind of issue
here. We'll post more as soon as we hear anything new.
In other news today, it looks our old friend Warren Lieberfarb has
joined up with satellite radio service Sirius. He's now on their board
here for more on this from Yahoo.
have some pictures to share with all of you. Sarah took these at
Disney's Lion King DVD premiere
event in Hollywood on Friday night. I have to tell you, it was hands
down the best digital projection of a film I have ever seen - just
breathtaking. The screening was made all the better for the fact that
Elton John preformed the songs Can You Feel
the Love Tonight? and Circle of
Life live on stage after the film. It was a pretty amazing
night. You can read our review of the disc
We're pretty occupied with this Taken
issue today, so our Star Trek V
review will probably be bumped until tomorrow.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/7/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We've just gotten our hands on DreamWorks' new box set of Taken,
and we're seeing the same sorts of progressive scanning errors that were
visible on Universal's recent release of Monty Python's The
Meaning of Life. It's not nearly as severe as it was on Meaning
of Life, but it's definitely there. The jagged edges are
particularly visible on fast moving objects - the UFOs in the opening
sequence for example. We're trying to confirm this problem, so if you
happen to get your hands on the set (it streets on 10/21), please let us
know if you're seeing this issue as well.
Also, just FYI, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Bonjour
Tristesse, Dawson's Creek: The
Complete Second Season and Henry
Fool for 12/16. Look also for The
Best of the Muppet Show: Steve Martin, Jury
Duty and The Looking Glass War
(LATE UPDATE - 10/6/03 - 4 PM PDT)
Okay... we've just posted a review for Warner's recent
The Complete First Season 6-disc set. Back with Star
Trek V and more tomorrow.
See you then!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/6/03 - NOON PDT)
Morning everyone! Congrats to all you Cubs, Yankees and Marlins fans.
And hats off to my Twins for a great year. October baseball is
definitely heating up. ;-)
Thanks to everyone who's e-mailed us over the weekend. We've received
hundreds of nice e-mails with encouragement, words of support and
general excitement about the book. We've even heard from a number of
people who managed to get their copies over the weekend, who seem to
have really enjoyed it so far. It means a lot to us, so thank you. Keep
sending us your reviews, 'cause we're definitely reading them. We thank
all of you very much for buying a copy.
Around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers for the first four weeks of
September. With one week to go in the month, the monthly total is
already up to a whopping 1,405,112 players shipped from manufacturers to
retailers. We've also updated
all of the
stats we track above, including top ten DVD rentals and sales and
In other news, we have a trio of new contests starting today thanks to
our friends at Warner Bros. and Disney. We're giving away copies of Absolutely
Fabulous, French & Saunders,
Lion King and more! The contest will run until Noon PDT on
Saturday, October 11th.
to get started and good luck!
Finally this morning, we have some new upcoming DVD release
announcements for you. A.D.V. Films will release Beastmaster:
Season Three on 11/18, with Sakura
Wars TV #6: Curtain Call following on 12/23. Asylum will
release From the Grave on 11/4,
Speed Demon on 11/11, Monster
Hunter on 11/15 and Fourplay
on 12/2. Capitol/EMI will debut Duran Duran:
The Greatest DVD Video Anthology and One
Night with Blue Note: An Historic All Star Reunion Concert on
11/4. Columbia TriStar has added Another
Meltdown to its 10/7 slate, Forever
Knight: Complete Season One following on 10/21, and Bad
Boys II and Gigli on
12/9. Criterion/Home Vision will release Kids
for Two Farthings on 10/21. Kultur is releasing Inside
Tolkien's The Hobbit and Inside
Tolkien's The Return of the King on 11/11. MGM will debut
Assassination Tango on 12/9 and
Shredder on 12/16. MPI Media will
release Dark Shadows: Set #8 on
10/28 and Dark Shadows: Set #9 on
11/25. New Concorde has Book of Days
and Legally Exposed due on 12/16.
Rhino has set Phil Collins: Serious Hits...
Live! for 11/11. And 20th Century Fox will release Christmas
with the Simpsons and Olive, The
Other Reindeer on 10/14, Christmas
Wish (aka: The Great Rupert)
and Ox-Bow Incident on 11/4, and
Born to be Bad, I
was a Male War Bride, Kiss Them
for Me, My Darling Clementine,
People Will Talk and Shield:
Season Two all on 1/6. As we've reported previously,
Universal's four versions of American Wedding
debut on 1/2.
And once again, Image gets their own paragraph. Look for Lost
World: Season One, Meat
Rack/Sticks and Stones, Rent a
Girl/Aroused/Help Wanted Female, Xotic
Xtreme: Ruch Zone - Hawaii, Xotic
Xtreme: Wavebreaker - Hawaii, and Xotic
Xtreme: X-Girls Island Adventure - Hawaii all on 12/2, The
Blot (silent 1921), La Terre
(silent 1921), Les Uns et les Autres
(French), Lowrider Experience,
Mad Love: The Films of Eugeni Bauer: Twilight
of a Womans Soul (silent 1913), After
Death (silent 1915), Dying Swan
(silent 1917), Off the Hook: Off the Chain #1,
Toute Une Vie (French), Reality
and Ultimate Fear of Speed all on
12/9, Best Motoring: Impreza versus Lancer -
The Final Round, Best Motoring:
The 350 Z Shock, Best Motoring:
Tokyo Auto Salon 2003, Merry Widow,
Underground Comedy Movie, Underground
Comedy Movie (unrated version), Verdi:
La Traviata, Robinson Crusoe of
Clipper Island and Something to
Sing About on 12/16, Beautiful
Latin Ladies #2, Five
Conversations About Soul, Happy,
Sex and Rock n Roll: Godsmack
and Sex and Rock n Roll: Ja Rule
on 12/13, and Forts and Castles of Ghana,
Hells Angels on Wheels, Last
Game: Directors Cut, Pie in
the Sky and Virgin Report
(German) on 12/30.
Back with reviews this afternoon. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 10/3/03 - NOON PDT)
We're going to sign off now for the weekend, so we can get started on
reviews for next week. If you check back in on Monday, you'll find my
reviews of Smallville: The Complete First
Season and the Star Trek V: The
Final Frontier - Special Collector's Edition. And we'll have
many more throughout the week.
But before we go, I need to make a humble plea to all of our readers -
especially you longtime readers. Running The
Digital Bits has been a long, difficult and often bumpy road,
but we keep sticking it out to try and bring you the best coverage of
DVD that we can. Those of you who have been with us since 1997 know that
we've been in the trenches on this format since the beginning, fighting
the good fight with the studios and the industry to keep DVD the best
that it can be. In fact, that's been our goal every bit as much as just
posting news and reviews. We've tried to be your voice to the industry.
Over the years, we've made it a point to keep this site free of pop-ups
and other annoying animated advertisements that crawl all over the
screen to drive you crazy (and us too). But with online advertising down
pretty much across the board, it's been tough to keep the site going,
and to keep our servers running smoothly. I'm not exaggerating things to
say that The Digital Bits is very
much at a crossroads right now. Our current site hosting arrangement is
set to end in January and we're struggling to bring in enough
advertising to cover our expenses. We've never asked you guys for a dime
in nearly six years of doing this. But we need your help now. Please
show your support for our work here at The
Bits by picking up a copy of our new book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD, either at your local
bookstore starting next week or now on Amazon.com. $17.95 is not much to
ask for six years of the best free DVD coverage we know how to bring
you, and we think you'll be getting a pretty darned good book in return.
We know that some of you are probably sick of hearing about the book by
now, but its success really is important to our survival, so we have to
talk about it. If you like the book, give it a nice review at Amazon. If
you find it useful, pick up a copy for your friend. If your Dad's a
gadget head, and whose dad isn't, pick him up a copy for the holidays.
We really, REALLY appreciate your support guys. We wrote this book for
you, and put all our hearts into it. Please pick up a copy if you can. I
know I speak for everyone here at The Bits
when I say that we're absolutely grateful for all of you readers out
there, whereever you may be. So from all of us... thank you.
We leave you today with some new upcoming DVD cover art - Fox's My
Darling Clementine (1/6) and Christmas
with the Simpsons (10/14), and Disney's Freaky
Man, I can't wait for Clementine!
I've been looking forward to seeing that film on DVD forever. It's one
of John Ford's best works in my humble opinion. Match that with
Paramount's Once Upon a Time in the West
and you've got two of the best Westerns ever, both starring Henry Fonda
(playing a good guy and a bad-ass bad guy respectively). You definitely
don't want to miss them when they're released.
Now then... have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday
with lots more shiny DVD goodness. Cheers!
(LATE UPDATE - 10/3/03 -
11 AM PDT)
We've been getting a lot of e-mails today from readers wondering
this story that appeared over at News.com. It's about how DivX is
courting the movie studios, hoping to become a technology partner in the
effort to bridge the Internet and television. But this is NOT the same
Divx as the now defunct pay-per-view "enhancement" of DVD that
Circuit City tried to shove in everyone's faces in the early days of
DVD. This DivX is simply a video compression standard that has become
common on the Internet for video downloading. The only thing it has in
common with the Circuit City effort is the name... in fact, we
understand it was named DivX as a deliberate jab at the Circuit City
format. Anyway, DivX is trying to partner with Hollywood so that the
studios will use the compression standard for the online streaming of
movies and TV programming, and they've inked a deal with Royal Philips
Electronics to create a DivX-certified DVD player, which is now
available in Europe. That means the player could play a DivX-encoded
video file on disc, much like many players can now read burned CDs with
MP3 files on them.
So anyway, we just wanted to clarify this. There's no reason to fear
that pay-per-view DVD is making a comeback. In fact, the closest thing
would be Disney's self-destructing, rental EZ-Ds and those aren't doing
well in the test markets according to recent reports in
Business and other industry trades. No surprise there.
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/3/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We've been getting a lot of e-mails from readers this morning about
new DVD book. It seems that Amazon.com has informed them that
their pre-ordered copies have finally been shipped and are now in the
mail. That means the book is now officially IN STOCK at Amazon! Other
book stores should have it out on their shelves starting next week.
Please let us know when you're able to find it and, of course, what you
think of it. Thanks for the reports everyone! ;-)
Just a quick note this morning about the new Sting SACD, which is in
stores now. Sacred Love is
available in TWO versions on disc - a standard CD and a hybrid
stereo/multi-channel SACD (with a standard CD layer). If you're looking
for the SACD, look for the version in Digipak packaging. The regular CD
comes in plastic jewel case.
Also, Warner Bros has informed us of the details on those "DVD
Decision 2003" winning titles that street on 1/6. Days
of Wine and Roses will include commentary by Blake Edwards,
and interview with Jack Lemmon and two theatrical trailers. Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will include both the 1932 Paramount
uncut long version and the 1941 MGM remake, along with commentary by
film historian Greg Mank, the Bugs Bunny animated short Hyde
and Hare, and the theatrical trailer. The
Postman Always Rings Twice will feature an introduction by
film historian Richard Jewell, The John
Garfield Story documentary (narrated by daughter Julie
Garfield), a "behind the scenes" image gallery, and two
theatrical trailers. The Wind and the Lion
will include commentary by writer/director John Milius, a "behind
the scenes" featurette and the theatrical trailer. And finally,
Where the Boys Are will include
audio commentary, the Fort Lauderdale Scene
of the World Premiere featurette, and the Where
the Boys Were: A Retrospective featurette. To those who voted
over at AOL, nice picks.
And there's another story -
one at the Hollywood Reporter - on the fallout from the
MPAA's crusade to eliminate screener DVDs from the Hollywood awards
season landscape. The gist is that a lot of smaller movies probably
won't get seen my voters because of this.