Morning folks! First up today, thanks to all of you who joined us for
the live chat on IGN last night. We had a pretty good crowd given the
short notice, and a good time was had by all as they say.
Now then... the big news for today. Paramount has officially announced
the DVD release of Star Trek: Voyager
for 2004, starting with Season One
on February 24th. Additional seasons will follow every two months
throughout the year until all seven are released. Season
One will include all 15 first season episodes on 5 discs, in
their original full frame format, with newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include the featurettes Braving
the Unknown: Season One (includes new interviews on the
creation of the series), Voyager Time
Capsule: Kathryn Janeway (a new interview with Kate Mulgrew
on taking the role), The First Captain:
Genevieve Bujold (rare footage of the actress originally cast
as Janeway), Cast Reflections: Season One
(new interviews with cast and crew looking back), On
Location with the Kazons (a tour of the desert locale set),
Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One
(behind the scenes effects highlights), Launching
Voyager on the Web (a look at the first official website to
promote a new Trek series), Real
Science with Andre Bormanis (on how the writers try to get
things accurate) and Lost Transmissions from
the Delta Quadrant Easter eggs (additional interviews with
the cast and crew). No SRP has been set, but look for it to be under
$100. Here's a look at the cover art for Season
One, and the whole series.
In other news, Universal plans to release Focus Films' Lost
in Translation on February 3rd (SRP $26.98). Extras will
include the Found in Conversation
featurette with Bill Murray and director Sofia Coppola, deleted scenes,
and an extended scene ("Matthew's Best Hit TV").
Warner Bros. has announced the DVD release of the My
Fair Lady: Special Edition on 2/3 (SRP $26.98). The 2-disc
set will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby
Digital 5.1, audio commentary (with art director Gene Allen and singer
Marni Nixon, as well James C. Katz and our own Robert A. Harris, both
restoration experts), the More Loverly Than
Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady documentary, audio clips of
director George Cukor at work, alternate vocal tracks for the songs Show
Me and Wouldn't It be Loverly,
a gallery of poster art and lobby cards, a vintage radio interview,
additional behind-the scenes featurettes, galleries of production
photos, documents and artwork, Rex Harrison's Golden Globe acceptance
speech, Academy Awards excerpts, a discussion with Martin Scorsese and
Andrew Lloyd Webber, trailers and more.
In other Warner DVD news, the studio will release Babylon
5: The Complete Fourth Season on 1/6, Friends:
The Complete Sixth Season on 1/27, OZ:
The Complete Third Season on 2/24, and Grand
Hotel, The Great Ziegfeld,
Mrs. Miniver, Gaslight,
Goodbye Mr. Chips, the original
1935 Mutiny on the Bounty and The
Thorn Birds miniseries all on 2/3.
Also newly announced by Columbia TriStar for 1/27 are Gang
of Roses, The Secret Lives of
Dentists, the Labyrinth:
Collector's Edition box set, Trois
(R-rated version), Dilbert: The Complete
Series, Guilty as Charged
and The Critic: The Entire Series.
For you samurai film fans, we've got an update from AnimEigo on their
forthcoming Zatoichi and Lone
Wolf and Cub DVDs. Let's start with Lone
Wolf first. Look for Baby Cart to
Hades to be available on the
on 12/29 (a wider retail release will happen a few weeks later). Baby
Cart in Peril will follow on 1/12, with Baby
Cart in the Land of Demons due on 1/30, and Baby
White Heaven in Hell on 2/23. For you Zatoichi
fans, look for Zatoichi the Outlaw
on 11/24, Zatoichi at the Fire Festival
on 12/19, Zatoichi at Large on
1/5, Zatoichi in Desperation on
3/8, Zatoichi's Conspiracy on
3/31, and Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed
Swordsman on 4/19. Again, these are all dates for expected
availability on the website. Also, just for kicks, look for Lady
Snowblood on 1/19 and Lady
Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance on 2/9.
In the Rumor
Mill today, we have word on a new Godfather
DVD re-issue, Kill Bill, Volume One
and a forthcoming Friday the 13th
box set. I neglected to mention here yesterday that
Rumor Mill post included new updates on upcoming DVD
releases of Wizards, a new Time
Bandits disc and a special edition of The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
I don't know how this got past us, but Buena Vista quietly released the
Frank and Ollie: Special Edition
on DVD last month (SRP $29.99). The classic documentary profiles the
work and friendship of two of Disney's greatest animators, Frank Thomas
and Ollie Johnston. There's a ton of bonus footage and artwork included
(more than 70 minutes worth), along with the documentary itself.
Definitely don't miss it.
And just to soothe the savage cover beast, here's art for Lost
in Translation, the Frank and
Ollie: SE, the My Fair Lady: SE,
Mutiny on the Bounty, Friends:
The Complete Sixth Season and Gilligan's
Island: The Complete First Season (due from Warner on 2/3).
We'll be updating the main Upcoming DVD Cover
Art section later this week.
We've got more new DVD reviews, the wrap-up on
Quadrilogy and a new Robert Harris column on the way, so stay
(LATE UPDATE -
11/17/03 - 2:30 PM PST)
Almost done now... I've just posted the review of
Seven of the
Quadrilogy, which holds both the original and new versions of
Alien Resurrection. The final part
of the review, covering Disc Eight, should be posted later tonight or
tomorrow morning. We'll have some cool upcoming DVD news tomorrow as
well, hot off the wire.
I also wanted to let everyone know this afternoon that we've got
another great artist featured in our Artist
of the Month program. All November long,
profiling the work of painter Scott Moore. His stuff is really
very cool, and we hope you'll take a moment to check it out. You can
visit his own website here.
It's all part of our effort to use some of the extra banner space we
have here at The Bits to expose
people to great creative talent of all kinds. So enjoy!
Just a reminder, don't forget our
chat with IGN tonight at 5 PM PST. Just enter a username, then for
channel, use #DVD. Hope to see you there!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/17/03 - NOON PST)
Okay... I've just posted the review of
Nine of the
Quadrilogy, which includes all the bonus disc features, the
conclusion to the review and a few photos of the packaging. I'm still
working on Discs Seven and Eight, which hold Alien
Resurrection - I'll have those posted soon.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/17/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Hope you all had a great weekend! We're closing in on being finished
with our server move. Just a few little things to wrap up now, and it
should all be done by the end of this week.
So we've got a little ground to cover this morning. First up, several
Digital Bits staffers are going to
be participating in another live, online chat with IGN tonight at 5 PM
PST. Todd and I will be there, along with Matt Rowe and others. To
participate, all you have to do click on
link in your browser. Or, if you use an IRC client, connect to the
server chat1.ign.com and then join the
#DVD channel. We'll answer your questions
about upcoming DVD releases and more. Hope to see you there!
Just a quick update on our new book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD. We've been told by our
publisher that the book is now in stores everywhere. Sure enough, when
we took a little drive around to several Orange County, CA stores
(Barnes & Noble, Borders and others), we found that most of the big
stores had at least two copies on hand. So if you've been waiting to buy
a copy until your local store had them in stock, now's the time. And, of
course, it's still available
Amazon for only $12.57. We've been getting good reviews on the
one at DVD Answers.com), and a lot of very kind e-mails
from people who have found it useful. We're going to try to reply to
everyone that's e-mailed us about it, so if you've sent an e-mail, we'll
get back to you soon. We've also gotten a number of requests for Todd
and I to autograph copies of the book. We're looking into ways to make
this happen (probably for no charge other than the cost of return
postage). We'll post here when we've got a plan for this worked out.
Thanks again to everyone for all your support - we're really thrilled
that you're enjoying the book!
Now then... time for some DVD news! We've got details on Buena Vista's
new Ed Wood: Director's Cut, which
is due on February 3rd (you
can pre-order it here at Amazon.com). The disc will SRP for
$29.99. We don't know if the actual cut of the film is any different - "director's
cut" is how Buena Vista is currently referring to the title.
Running time is 127 minutes, same as the theatrical release. Look for
new anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary (with director Tim Burton, star Martin Landau, writers Scott
Alexander and Larry Karazewski, costume designer Colleen Atwood and
cinematographer Stefan Czapsky), numerous deleted scenes (including Bill
Murray singing Que Sera Sera with
a Mariachi band), the Let's Shoot This
[email protected]! behind-the-scenes documentary (featuring Johnny Depp
and director Tim Burton), The Theremin
featurette on the use of the instrument in the score, the Making
Bela featurette on how actor Martin Landau was transformed
into Bela Lugosi by make-up artist Rick Baker, the When
Carol Met Larry cross-dressing featurette, the Pie
Plates Over Hollywood production design featurette, a music
video for the film directed by Tim Burton and the original theatrical
In other DVD news,
EE Times has posted a fantastic status report on the current
situation with the development of HD-DVD, including background on the
rivalry between the Blu-ray and Advanced Optical Disc (AOD) camps. The
DVD Forum's steering committee is set to meet in New York this week for
a big vote on the next-generation optical-disk format. The spec that's
to be voted on is based on Toshiba and NEC's blue-laser diode AOD
proposal, featuring four "high efficiency" codecs (H.264,
Windows Media 9, MPEG-2 or a hybrid of MPEG-2 and H.264). At stake here
is whether the Blu-ray group of companies (including Sony, Philips,
Hitachi, Sharp and Samsung) can once again hijack the AOD vote to kill
momentum for it within the Forum (the AOD proposal would be a director
competitor for the Blu-ray format, which they're developing separately
outside the Forum). This is a big deal - the outcome of this vote, and
more importantly the rivalry overall, will determine which
high-definition video disc format will one day replace current DVD.
We'll post more news on this as it comes in this week. Thanks to Bits
reader Tim K. for the link to this story. It's a great primer on the
subject, so we recommend that you all give it a read if you're
interested in "what's coming next".
In a bit of non-DVD news, you Farscape
fans (like us) may finally have reason to rejoice. Word is that the
Sci-Fi Channel has realized the error of their ways, and has
commissioned the production of a 4-6 episode miniseries to wrap up the
cancelled show. With a little luck, and good ratings, you never know
what might happen. You can read more
Around the site today, we've got another pair of
started today that you guys are definitely going to want to enter. Why,
you may be asking? Simple... we're giving away The
West Wing: The Complete First Season and all three of the new
James Bond DVD Collections! So
what are you waiting for? ;-)
We'll be back this afternoon with more of our
Quadrilogy review. Stay tuned...
Okay... the site's almost back to normal. Our primary e-mail addresses
are working well, and we'll have the other ones good to go over the
weekend. The site's slow right now, but we're working to monitor and
adjust our bandwidth, so things will get smoother and faster over the
next few days. And then we can really get back up to speed.
We'll have the remainder of the
Quadrilogy review for you on Monday, and Todd's working on
several new reviews for early next week as well. Also, you should know
that we're going to be doing another live, online chat with IGN at 5 PM
PDT on Monday, November 17th. So you can join Todd, Adam, Matt and
myself as we talk about all the latest new and upcoming releases,
including great titles on the way for next year as well.
here for more information. We'll post complete instructions on how
you can participate in the chat on Monday morning.
Updating stats and archiving is the order of the day here at The
Bits today. So the
DVD Player Sales numbers, the Top Ten DVD Sales
and Rental charts and other data points we track here have all
been updated today to the latest numbers. On that note, according to the
Consumer Electronics Association, more than 59 million DVD players have
now shipped from manufacturers to retailers in the States since the
debut of the format back in March of 1997.
We've also got some interesting new upcoming DVD cover art for you
today. Here's a look at Buena Vista's Avalon
(12/16), Cold Creek Manor (3/2)
and Under the Tuscan Sun (2/3),
New Line's Secondhand Lions: Platinum Edition
(3/3), Columbia TriStar's Once Upon a Time in
Mexico (1/20) and Fox's The Diary
of Anne Frank (3/3).
Now then, have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/13/03
- 4 PM PST)
We've just gotten official word that Disney's Walt
Disney Treasures, Wave 3 has been delayed until May 18th,
2004. This includes The Chronological Donald,
Volume 1 (1934-1941), Mickey Mouse
in Living Color, Volume 2, Tomorrowland:
Disney in Space and Beyond and Walt
Disney On the Front Lines. We're told this has nothing to do
with content issues - the delay is reportedly due to manufacturing
capacity, or a lack thereof. With all the other big Disney titles being
released, it's not possible to press enough copies of the WDT
titles to meet demand by the originally scheduled release date. So just
be aware. In the meantime, don't forget that you can catch up on
previously released Walt Disney Treasures titles at Costco
right now if you act fast.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/13/03 - 1 PM PST)
Welcome to our new server! We're still working to get all the kinks
out, and that will probably take a few more days. But we're slowly
getting back to normal around here. Our e-mail is up again, but it's
still a bit spotty, so be patient if you're trying to contact us.
In the meantime, just to keep you all entertained, we've got a new
review from Rob Smentek of one of our absolute favorite films, given new
life on DVD by Warner Bros...
Christmas Story: 20th Anniversary Special Edition. Finally,
Warner's given this holiday classic a new anamorphic transfer and some
nice extras including audio commentary and more. It's well worth adding
to your collection. Enjoy the review.
We'll be back with our normal post tomorrow, including DVD release
news, stat updates and more. See you then!
Well, with all the server work going on right now behind-the-scenes
here at The Bits, and with our
e-mail down at the moment, we're declaring today a "mental"
health day for our staffers. So no post today beyond just this update.
Even DVD reviewers need to be able to watch a disc once in a while
without having to go to work when it stops spinning, you know? ;-)
With any luck, our e-mail should be working again soon. We'll post here
and let you know. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of Alien
Quadrilogy in preparation for posting the rest of my review
later this week.
So thanks for your patience. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/11/03 - 4 PM PST)
As promised, our look at
Six of Fox's
Quadrilogy box set has now been posted. While it contains
plenty of material that you're going to really enjoy, and much that
you've never seen before, it's also in some ways the one weak spot of
the set. I'll tell you why in the review, so do check it out. We'll
continue with the last film, Alien
Just to let you know, the server move continues smoothly this
afternoon, although as expected, our e-mail is now down for a couple of
days. So if you're trying to contact us, or enter the
be sure to try back later this week.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/11/03 - NOON PST)
Okay... I just wanted to chime in here quickly to let you all know that
the server move is going smoothly so far. No major problems to speak of
It's going well enough, in fact, that I am currently working to finish
the review of Disc Six of the
Quadrilogy box set, which contains the supplemental material
for David Fincher's Alien³.
It WILL be posted by the end of the day today, come hell or high water.
So be sure to watch for that. I'll post here when the new part is up.
Thanks again for your patience while we slide into our new virtual pad.
Back later... stay tuned.
Morning everyone. Well... the server move is underway. If the site
looks a little wonky for the next few days, don't be surprised - banners
not loading and so forth. You shouldn't notice much different other than
that, and that our search engines will be down for a while until we get
them going again. Our e-mail is also going to be down for a couple of
days, so just be advised. As far as the new Contest
(which gives you a chance to win Terminator 3
and more), just wait a day or two to send your entries in. If they get
bounced back, try again later. We should have most of the bugs worked
out by mid week. Once we're settled in, we'll get our site stats updated
DVD Player Sales numbers) as well as the
DVD Cover Art section. So thanks for your patience.
Now then... we've got a new DVD review to get you started this morning.
Our own Rob Hale has given Fox's
Days Later a spin and he's got his thoughts on it posted for
Also this morning, we have a couple of quick title announcements for
you. Columbia TriStar has just announced a batch of DVD releases for
1/20. Look for Fist of the Red Dragon,
Once Upon a Time in Mexico, a
2-pack of Once Upon a Time in Mexico
and the Desperado: Special Edition,
Barney Miller: The Complete First Season,
Black Gunn, Manny
& Lo and Spellbound.
Also today, Buena Vista has revealed that Under
the Tuscan Sun will arrive on DVD in February. And streeting
on 3/2 will be American Dream,
The Gnome-Mobile, Miracle
of the White Stallions, Mr. Toad's
Wild Ride and Picture Bride.
Finally this morning, New Line has announced the Secondhand
Lions: Platinum Series DVD for release on February 3rd (SRP
$27.95). The disc will include both full frame and anamorphic widescreen
video, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio, filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes,
three documentaries and more.
Back later this afternoon. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/7/03 - 11 AM PST)
Okay... some of you may have noticed how slow our site's been this
week. With all of the major reviews we've been posting, we're getting
extremely high traffic... and that's unfortunately more than our
existing server/bandwidth combination can handle. The bad news is that,
in the interest of keeping the site from crashing altogether, we're
going to hold off on posting more Quadrilogy
today. But the good news is that we're going to be moving servers
starting this weekend. It might take a few days to get everything moved
and all the bugs worked out, but probably by mid next week, The
Bits will be back to its fast, streamlined self.
During the move, there will likely be some mail glitches, so if you're
trying to contact us, please try again later. But once we get through
this, things will be a lot better all around. So thanks for your
We'll post more
on Monday, along with an additional review or two. We've also got a new
Robert Harris column coming next week and much more, so be sure to check
back then. In the meantime, have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/7/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Anyone up for a few Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves? I sure hope so...
'cause here's our review of
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Special Extended DVD Edition,
Now you go and enjoy that while I try to catch a few hours of sleep and
rest my weary fingers. ;-)
Back later this afternoon!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/6/03 - 2 PM PST)
Okay... we're delaying the review of
Quad Disc Six until tomorrow afternoon. I know a lot of you
are waiting for it, but with all the hubbub over the
news today, we need a little extra time to get it finished. And
there's another reason for the delay as well... we're working feverishly
to finish our look at the OTHER major 4th Qtr DVD release.
Check back at Midnight (PST) for our in-depth review of New Line's
4-disc The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- Special Extended DVD Edition. No kidding.
See you then!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/6/03
- 11 AM PST)
Remember that meeting
we told you
about last month, in which Lucasfilm reps were going to be meeting
with their retail partners to lay out their marketing strategy through
the release of Episode III? Well,
it was yesterday. And the good news is, it confirmed what we
suspected... the Star Wars Trilogy
is coming to DVD in 2004. You can read more in
Rumor Mill today. How do you like them apples?
All right Disney fans... you'd better listen up to this one. If you
haven't been able to find all of the out of print Walt
Disney Treasures titles yet, here's another chance for you.
Costco is apparently selling The Ultimate
Disney Treasure Chest for $125, containing all seven of the
previous titles, including Mickey Mouse in
Living Color, Silly Symphonies,
Davy Crockett, Disneyland
USA, Mickey Mouse in Black &
White, Behind the Scenes at the
Walt Disney Studio and The
Complete Goofy. These are each 2-disc sets, sans the outer
numbered metal tins they were originally packaged in. This is not a
title that appears on Buena Vista sell sheets, so it could be a Costco
exclusive. We also can't find it anywhere online. You'll find a shot of
the package below. Our advice is to see if you can't get your hands on a
copy before the eBay sharks buy them all up. Thanks to Bits
reader Johnnie Y. for that information.
In other news today, Columbia TriStar has announced the release of
several new titles for 1/13. Look for Stark
Raving Mad, Annie: Special
Anniversary Edition, It Should
Happen to You, The New Adventures
of Spider-Man: Season One - Special Edition (2 discs) and
The Three Stooges: Stooges at Work.
Our friends over at TVShowsonDVD.com
have posted an ad that Paramount's apparently been running in Playboy
and other magazines promoting the release of complete season sets of the
original Star Trek series for
2004, so it looks like it's official now.
Buena Vista has announced the DVD release of Mamoru Oshii's Avalon
for 12/16. Mark Hamill's Comic Book: The
Movie will street on 1/27. And The
Lion King 1½ is headed to DVD on 2/10.
We've got a new DVD review for you from Todd this morning... Manga's
Scroll: 10th Anniversary Edition. And we'll be back later
today with still more
specifically a look at Disc Six, containing all of the bonus material
(LATE UPDATE - 11/5/03 - 4 PM PST)
We've got a little more of our
Quadrilogy review for you this afternoon, specifically
look at Disc Five, which contains the original Theatrical
Cut of David Fincher's Alien³,
along with a newly created Special Edition
version. We'll look more closely at the extras for the film on Disc Six
We'll have another new DVD review on Thursday as well, with still
another following on Friday.
And before we sign off today, a quick bit of news. Disney and Pixar's
Finding Nemo DVD has apparently
set a new sales record for the format. A whopping 8 million copies of
the film were sold on DVD and VHS on the title's first day of release
(about 80% of that number was reportedly DVD). You can read more
via CNN Money.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/5/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Imagine that! We've got more new reviews for you today!
First up, Todd and I have been waiting for this DVD release for a LONG
time... so Paramount's kindly given us permission to post an early
review. At long last, the
Upon a Time in the West: Special Collector's Edition is here!
The 2-disc set streets on 11/18. This is a truly great flick - not only
is it the definitive example of the Spaghetti Western format, it's
arguably the best Western ever made (at least in our humble opinions).
Don't miss it.
Also this morning, we've got another new DVD-Audio review for you from
Matt and his crew over at our
site... the Reprise release of The Rat Pack's
at the Villa Venice. They've also reviewed a new SACD as
well... John Lee Hooker's
Chillen' from Audio Fidelity.
And we have a couple of quick bits of info in
Rumor Mill this morning, specifically possible street dates
for Ed Wood and Return
of the King. Interested? We thought so - do check it out.
Of course, we'll be back with more of our epic-length
Quadrilogy review later this afternoon... carpel tunnel
syndrome permitting that is. ;-)
By the way, we've updated the
review with Easter egg information for all the supplement discs. For the
record, there are two featurette Easter eggs and four of DVD production
(LATE UPDATE - 11/4/03 - 3 PM PST)
Our look at Fox's 9-disc
Quadrilogy box set continues this afternoon with a review of
Discs Three and Four of the set... James Cameron's Aliens.
We'll be back tomorrow with still more Quadrilogy,
and reviews of another pair of great new DVDs as well.
Enjoy and stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/4/03 - 9 AM PST)
Morning, everyone! This is just a quick post to let you all know that
we'll be back later this afternoon with much more of our
Quadrilogy review, so don't miss it. And we'll be back
tomorrow with two more great new DVD reviews as well. Plus, one of these
days, we'll update all our DVD sales stats too. And yes... next week
we'll get a long overdue Upcoming DVD Cover
Art update done. But first, more Quadrilogy,
so check back this afternoon!
See you then!
(LATE UPDATE - 11/3/03 - NOON PST)
We're back as promised... and we've got a surprise for you! Today we
begin our look at Fox's 9-disc
Quadrilogy, with an in-depth review of the first two discs in
the box set! Discs One and Two contain the film versions of Ridley
Scott's original Alien, and all of
the extras compiled for that first film in the series. Over the next few
days, we'll add to the review until the complete Quadrilogy
has been reviewed top to bottom (we need the extra time to get through
everything in the set - there's a LOT of material here). Be advised,
however, that the complete technical specs for all nine discs are
available in the review right now, so you can get a better look at
everything that's coming your way on December 2nd. The box set carries
an SRP of $99.98, but you'll be able to find it on sale for around $70
at many retailers. You can read the studio's
release announcing the title here (text format - be aware that the
release contains a few errors - for exact disc details
our review text). There's also a
story on the release over at Yahoo. We should also let you know
that separate 2-disc versions of each of the films in this box set will
be released on DVD on January 6th (for $26.98 each - the 9th bonus disc
will only be available in this set).
Thanks to our friends at 20th Century Fox for allowing us a first look
at these DVDs. And don't forget, you'll find extensive coverage of the
making of the box set in our new book,
Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD.
Keep checking back over the next couple of days for new Quadrilogy
review updates. As you can probably tell, the site's been a little slow
today, so please be patient.
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/3/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Welcome back from the weekend, folks! We've got big news for you today.
20th Century Fox is set to announce their 9-disc Alien
Quadrilogy box set later this morning. The 12/2 street date
has leaked everywhere online, from
own online store. Trust us... this is the real deal.
We're going to have a LOT more on this release at Noon today (PDT),
including complete specs and details, so you're DEFINITELY going to want
to check back then. 'Nuff said.
Also this morning, we have a new
going that gives you all a chance to win copies of Warner's Friends:
The Complete Fifth Season on DVD. Get your entries in.
Our guys at MusicTAP
have another great SACD review up for you to check out this morning as
well... Bob Dylan's
on the Tracks. Don't miss it.
See you back here at Noon. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 10/31/03 - 3 PM PDT)
Okay... we've just posted
Maxwell's latest column, featuring a look at some recent
Halloween-themed, Midnite Movie DVDs from MGM. Included are reviews of
Haunted Place/Tower of London,
of Terrors/The Raven,
Tomb of Ligeia/An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe and
Dracula/The Vampire Lovers.
Have a happy and save Halloween, enjoy the weekend and we'll see you
back here on Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/31/03
- 1 PM PDT)
Happy Halloween, everyone! We've got some ground to cover today, so
let's get started.
MGM has officially announced their February DVD slate. Look for the
Rain Man: Special Edition (SRP
$19.98), several Ingmar Bergman titles (all of them special editions -
$24.98 each) including Hour of the Wolf,
The Passion of Anna, Persona,
The Serpent's Egg and Shame,
new world film titles including La Chamade
(Heartbeat), Cyrano de Bergerac,
The Mystery of Rampo and Together
($19.98 each), and more catalog action titles including Allan
Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, Death
Wish 2, Death Wish 3,
Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Flesh
+ Blood, King Solomon's Mines,
Roadhouse 66 and X-15
(all $14.95 each). There's also a release of That
Championship Season in honor of March Madness. Note that the
Bergman titles will also be available in a giftset for $112.96. Here's
the cover art for Rain Man (street
date 2/3), Out of Time (1/6) and
Uptown Girls (12/30)...
Just FYI, Rain Man will include
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a deleted scene,
an original featurette, audio commentaries with director Barry Levinson
and screenwriters Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow, a photo gallery and
Warner Bros. has just announced the DVD release of Blow
Up, The Damned and Death
in Venice for February 17th, with Doctor
Who: The Three Doctors and Doctor
Who: The Seeds of Death set to follow on March 2nd.
You Kids in the Hall fans should
be sure to check out the Kid's
site. After you register, you can participate in an online survey
and help determine the extras that are going on the forthcoming Kids
in the Hall: Season One DVD release.
Also today, we've got word in the
Mill about more possible releases from Warner in early 2004.
It seems Warner has leaked information about titles they're working on
for R2, and you know R1 releases can't be too far behind. There's also
word on some great Paramount catalog titles in the works for early 2004.
Don't miss it.
We'll be back in a while with more, so stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks. I'm sorry this post is so brief, but I'm feeling a
little under the weather today. With all these wildfires burning around
the area, my allergies have turned into a pretty good head cold. But
while we don't have much today, a lot of us are working on some great
new DVD reviews, so watch for those next week.
I'll be back in the morning with lots of news and our usual post. In
the meantime, just to keep your review hunger sated, we've got another
DVD-Audio review for you today from Matt.... Emerson, Lake and Palmer's
Salad Surgery, now available from Rhino Records.
Thanks for your understanding and we'll see you back here tomorrow. ;-)
(LATE UPDATE - 10/29/03 -
2 PM PDT)
Okie dokie... we're back as expected. Hope you all got a chance to see
the Northern Lights last night (or the Southern, for you folks standing
upside down on the bottom of planet Earth as it were). We got blasted by
a huge solar flare last night, which reportedly triggered some pretty
amazing auroral displays over the wee hours of the morning.
Anyway, New Line has just announced their Freddy
vs. Jason: Platinum Series DVD release for January 13th
(damn, and here I was, hoping for a Freddy
vs. Jason: Infinifilm Edition - doh!). The 2-disc set will
SRP for $29.95 and will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby
Digital 5.1 EX audio, audio commentary with Ronny Yu, Robert Englund and
Ken Kirzinger, the "jump to a death" menu option, deleted and
extended scenes including the original opening and ending,
behind-the-scenes documentaries, a visual effects exploration,
storyboards and galleries, trailers and TV spots, a music video and, via
DVD-ROM, script-to-screen and an interactive editing workshop. Sharp
objects are most definitely NOT included, so remember to bring your own
Also coming from New Line in January are B.A.P.S.,
Who's the Man?,
Woo and Hangin'
with the Homeboys (all on 1/13), followed by Overnight
Delivery (on 1/20).
Universal's kicking up their catalog jams in early 2004 with a newly
announced batch of titles, most re-issues of earlier DVDs (but you'll
find one or two first-timers in there too). On 1/2, look for American
Wedding, American Pie Revealed
and the American Wedding Gift Set.
On 1/13, you'll get Johnny English
and the American Graffiti Drive-In Double
Feature. Following on 1/20 are a big batch of catalog
releases including An American Tail,
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,
An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night
Monster, An American Tail: The
Treasure of Manhattan Island, Biloxi
Blues, Conan: The Complete Quest,
Night, Repo Man, the
Smokey and the Bandit Pursuit Pack,
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and
Trespass. 2/10 will see The
Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle: Volume 1, the Airport
Terminal Pack, The Best of Abbott &
Costello: Volume 1 and the Imitation
of Life: Two Movie Collection. Finally, on 3/2, you'll get
The Dragonheart Franchise Collection,
The Flintstones Franchise Collection,
King Ralph, Mad
Dog and Glory, Melvin and Howard
and the Problem Child Tantrum Pack.
For you Star Trek fans, we've
also got more details on the studio's upcoming Star
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Special Collector's Edition
DVD, which streets on 1/27. The 2-disc set will include audio commentary
with director Nicholas Meyer and writer Denny Martin Flinn, as well as a
text commentary by Mike and Denise Okuda. You'll also find a series of
documentary featurettes, including A
Conversation with Nicholas Meyer, Klingons:
Conjuring the Legend, Federation
Operatives, Penny's Toy Box,
Together Again and The
Perils of Peacemaking. Rounding out the set, you'll find DeForest
Kelley: A Tribute, additional interviews with the cast and
crew, a storyboard gallery, trailers and TV spots and footage of
Nicholas Meyer's presentation on the film at a 1991 convention.
Around the horn today, there's
interesting AP story up over at Excite on Warner's new Looney
Tunes Golden Collection. It seems some folks out there aren't
happy with the selection of shorts on the set. Warner's response? Chill
out... you'll get the ones you want eventually. We can verify that it's
taking the studio a long time to properly restore all 1,100 of their
Looney Tunes shorts. The plan is
to release a new collection of 60 every year, hopefully until they're
all out. Of course, that means it will take 18 years to get them all on
DVD. With any luck, the studio will pick up the pace a little as they
go. We're guessing that if sales of this first batch are good, they'll
get a LOT more enthusiastic about Looney
Tunes on DVD in the future. Thanks to all you readers who
sent this in.
story online at Wired on the decidedly lackluster sales of
Disney's disposable, vacuum-packed, 48-hours-and-out EZ-D discs (thanks
to Bits reader Johnnie Y. for the
link). Surprise... nobody's buying 'em. We could've saved Disney some
big bucks if they'd come to us with this idea first, but nnnnoooooooooo.
They had to go and test it out on an unsuspecting public. Will mega
monster media conglomerates never learn? Oh, the humanity!
All right... we wouldn't be The Bits
if we didn't bring you some new upcoming DVD cover art on a regular
basis. So here's a look at Criterion's Ikiru
and The Rules of the Game (both
due in January) and New Line's aforementioned Freddy
vs. Jason: Platinum Series (1/13)...
And last, but certainly not least, we're pleased today to bring you
Jeff Kleist's in-depth review of Universal's new
Galactica: The Complete Epic Series on DVD. It's a
surprisingly great box set... and there's not a bit of felgercarb
anywhere to ruin the experience. Our advice is, don't miss it if you're
a fan of the show.
Oh, fine... I lied. We've got ONE last item for you today. Matt's
spoken now not only with the director of the Rush
in Rio DVD, but also executive producer Allen Weinrib (who
also happens to be Geddy Lee's brother). Matt has now posted the
definitive and final skinny on what happened with that DVD to make it
non-anamorphic and sans DTS sound. You'll find that over at our
TAP music site.
Done. Whew! Stay tuned...
Back later... brushfires and solar flares permitting. ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 10/29/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We'll have our normal post up later this morning, but I wanted to check
in here with a quick update on something. After looking through my notes
from the The Two Towers - Extended Edition
screening, I realized that I'd omitted one or two new scenes from the
list we posted yesterday. So if you're a fan, you might want to give it
Matt's got a new DVD-Audio review for you to kick things off today...
Zeppelin's How the West Was Won. We've also got a look at
Universal's Battlestar Galactica: The
Complete Epic Series on DVD coming later today, so be sure to
watch for that.
Yes... it's true. Matt and I yesterday attended an all-day, marathon
screening of New Line's forthcoming The Lord
of the Rings: The Two Towers - Special Extended DVD Edition,
which streets on November 18th. And let me tell you... you're going to
be blown away.
This extended edition includes more than 43 minutes of new scenes and
footage, added by director Peter Jackson just for this DVD release. As
with the Fellowship extended cut,
these new moments add tremendous depth and development to certain
characters, give a greater sense of epic scope to the journey, provide
wonderful new moments of humor and greatly enhance the intensity of the
major battle scenes. Here's a detailed rundown of the new footage you
can expect to see on this DVD:
A new opening scene, after Gandalf's fall in Moria, in which we see Sam
and Frodo climbing down a rocky crevasse using the Elven rope (the title
The Two Towers now appears at the
start of this scene).
Sam and Frodo getting rained on in the mountains as Gollum watches from
a cliff above them.
Gollum's good and bad selves fighting over whether or not to lead Sam
and Frodo to Mordor.
The Orcs arguing about their orders, and Pippen asking them to give a
wounded Merry some water.
More of Saruman the White overseeing the construction of his Orc army,
including his ordering the destruction of Fangorn Forest to fuel his
furnaces, as well as the Wildmen pledging allegiance to him.
More of the villages of Rohan being plundered by the Wildmen.
Éomer finding a mortally-wounded Théodred at the scene of
a great battle with Saruman's Orcs.
More of Gríma Wormtongue banishing Éomer from Rohan.
More of the Orcs fighting over whether or not to eat Merry and Pippin,
including the realization that they believe the two Hobbits are carrying
Gollum complaining of his hunger in the Dead Marshes, eating a worm and
playing on Frodo's knowledge of the Ring.
Leoglas talking about the trees in Fangorn Forest, and how Elves first
raised them into intelligent creatures long ago.
More of Gandalf the White's return in Fangorn, in which he talks about
what's happening in Edoras and how, because of Merry and Pippin's
arrival in the forest, the Ents are going to wake up and fight.
Treebeard reciting Ent poetry to Merry and Pippin, which puts them to
Gandalf telling Aragorn about events to come on the way to Edoras: "Sauron
fears what you may become." Gandalf says Sauron doesn't suspect
that the plan is to destroy The Ring rather than use it.
Merry and Pippin drinking a potion in Fangorn that causes them to grow,
then getting trapped in the roots of a tree until Treebeard saves them.
Treebeard telling Merry and Pippin why there are so few Ents left -
they've lost the Ent wives.
Wormtongue spitting on Aragorn's outstretched hand before he escapes
after being spared in Edoras.
Théodred's funeral at Edoras, with Éowyn singing in
tribute of her cousin.
Aragorn calming a horse named Brego in the stables of Edoras with
Elvish talk, as Éowyn watches.
Saruman grumbling about Gandalf's reappearance, then learning of
Aragorn's existence from Wormtongue.
King Théoden promising that they'll return to Edoras before
leading his people to Helm's Deep.
More of Faramir capturing Frodo and Sam.
Aragorn and Théoden talking about Éowyn on the road to
Aragorn and Éowyn talking about his great age over a bowl of bad
Extended flashback moments of Aragorn and Arwen together in Rivendell.
More intense footage of the battle with the Warg Riders.
Éowyn checking on the meager food stores upon arrival at Helm's
More of Faramir telling Sam and Frodo of Boromir's death, and of
finding the Horn of Gondor broken.
A major new flashback scene in which we see Boromir and Faramir after
reclaiming Osgiliath for Gondor. We learn that their father, Denethor,
disapproves of Faramir. Denethor tells Boromir about a meeting that's
been called by Elrond in Rivendell. Denethor suspects that the Ring has
been found. He sends Boromir to the meeting, with instructions to bring
the Ring back to Gondor to save their people.
Faramir's men beating Gollum briefly before questioning.
Aragorn and Éowyn talking before the battle of Helm's Deep. Éowyn
says she wants to fight at his side, and basically admits that she loves
More of the Ent council in the woods - it's already night, but the Ents
have only just finished saying "Good morning" to each other.
Much more intense footage during the battle at Helm's Deep.
The trees of Fangorn Forest marching to Helm's Deep, to get revenge on
The Orcs fleeing Helm's Deep, only to be swallowed up by the trees
which have blocked their escape.
A very funny moment between Legolas and Gimli in which they brag to
each other about the number of Orcs they've each killed in the battle.
The result? A tie (sort of).
Merry and Pippin discovering a pantry filled with food after the battle
And finally, Faramir leading Frodo and Sam out of Osgiliath. Sam tells
Faramir that he's finally shown his quality - the very best. Faramir
threatens Gollum as to what will happen if the Hobbits come to harm. As
they depart for Mordor, Sam is kind to Gollum for the first time,
telling him that Frodo only meant to save him by letting Faramir's men
take him prisoner.
So that's a rundown of all the new footage. As far as the bonus discs,
we only stayed to watch Disc Three. But what we saw included incredibly
in-depth documentaries on J.R.R. Tolkien's development of the story of
The Two Towers, in the context of
The Lord of the Rings as a whole,
how the filmmakers struggled to adapt this second book and the changes
they had to make in order for the story to work on-screen, and the
incredible efforts of actor Andy Serkis, the team of special effects
artists at Weta Digital and the writers to bring the character of Gollum
to life. You might think you know how much work was involved in creating
the first digital character to give a realistic dramatic performance on
film, but it was even tougher than you can imagine.
Matt and I really had a blast watching this new cut of the film and
some of the extra features on the upcoming DVD release. Believe me when
I say that this 4-disc set promises to be another absolute home-run for
Rings fans. It's definitely one of
the must-have DVD releases of 2003, along with Indiana
Jones and the upcoming Alien
Quadrilogy. Watch for our in-depth review of Two
Towers in the next couple of weeks.
In one other quick bit of upcoming DVD information today, Criterion has
just announced the DVD release of Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru
(Criterion catalog # 221) and Jean Renoir's The
Rules of the Game (216) for January 2003. Also expected in
January are re-issues of Jacques Tati's M.
Hulot's Holiday (110) and Mon
Oncle (111), which had gone out of print for a time. Word is
Laurence Olivier's Richard III
(213), Robert Bresson's Diary of a Country
Priest (222), Samuel Fuller's Pickup
on South Street (224) and Barbet Schroeder's Maîtresse
(223) are coming later in 2004, along with several more Kurosawa titles.
Back tomorrow with another new DVD review and more. Stay tuned!
So... did all you American readers remember to set your clocks back an
hour on Saturday night? We've been busy this weekend here in La-la-land.
Orange County's been buried in smoke and ash from all the brushfires
burning around the area, so what better way to spend the weekend than
with the windows shut tight and the air conditioning on, working on DVD
As a result, we're pleased to offer you our review of Warner's new
3: Rise of the Machines - Special Edition DVD, courtesy of
yours truly. The 2-disc set streets on November 11th.
Also this morning, we've got another new SACD review from the
in the Attic. Do check it out.
Speaking of TAP,
our own Matt Rowe had the chance to speak with the director of the Rush
in Rio concert DVD on the phone last night, so he's got the
full skinny on why the disc ended up being non-anamorphic and sans DTS
audio. The gist is, blame the band. Click
on over to TAP for the fill story.
We've just kicked off a pair of new
for you today. We're giving away copies of The
Sopranos: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, as well as a
bunch of UglyDolls for the kids, in honor of Halloween. You've got until
Saturday to enter, so good luck!
We're also pleased to present another new
Coming Attractions column from Barrie Maxwell today. This time
takes a look at a great year for Hollywood filmmaking... 1939. As
always, he's updated the
of classic titles on the way to DVD in the weeks and months ahead.
In a bit of DVD release news, Columbia TriStar has announced their Underworld:
Special Edition for January 6th, in both full frame and
anamorphic widescreen versions (SRP $28.95). Extras are TBA. Also
streeting on that day from the studio are The
Animal: Uncut Special Edition, The
New Guy: Director's Cut, Adam Had
Four Sons, Divorce American Style,
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and Godzilla,
Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack.
Finally today, I wanted to tell you about a very cool DVD-Audio package
I got my hands on over the weekend. The Barenaked Ladies have released a
helluva special edition of their new album, Everything
to Everyone. Check this out... for an SRP of $24.98, you get
a 2-disc set in Digipak packaging with a plastic slipcase. One disc
contains the complete 14-track album in CD format. The other disc is a
DVD-Audio version of the same 14 tracks in advanced resolution 5.1 and
2.0 (96KHz/24-bit), as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 for standard DVD
players. The second disc also contains a bonus track in advanced
resolution 5.1 96/24, plus an acoustic performance of 11 of the album
tracks in advanced resolution 2.0 48/16, plus a 50-minute video of the
very same acoustic performance (all 11 tracks) with Dolby Digital 2.0
audio, plus a few funny video clips of the band in the studio working on
the album. Toss in a nice little lyrics booklet and you've got a pretty
amazing package for Barenaked Ladies fans. It's a great album, and I'm
really impressed by the quality and content. I wish more DVD-Audio
releases gave you this much bang for your buck.
Okay, that's it for today. Matt and I are driving up to Hollywood this
morning to a preview screening of the new Two
Towers: Extended Cut. Yeah, I know... work, work, work, work.
Someone's got to do it. We'll tell you all about the new footage Peter
Jackson has created for the film in our post tomorrow.
You should know that 20th Century Fox has been quietly re-releasing
some of its 2-disc DVD special editions and 5-Star editions. I happened
to find myself at a Best Buy store the other day, and lo and behold,
there on the shelf was a 2-disc ID4:
Independence Day special edition (previously released as a
5-Star edition), in Digipak packaging. You'll also find The
Abyss, Cast Away, Die
Hard, Planet of the Apes
(2003) and The Sound of Music
available again in this format. For those of you new to the term,
Digipak is the same cardboard and plastic format of packaging that used
by Fox's 2-disc Moulin Rouge DVD.
Given this new trend, it's reasonable to assume that other 2-disc Fox
titles currently on moratorium will return to store shelves in this
format in the weeks and months ahead.
Around the site today, Grey Cavitt of our
MusicTAP affiliate has
written a review of the new Bob Dylan
on Blonde SACD. Definitely worth a look.
We're almost done with our review or Terminator
3, so watch for that on Monday morning. We expect to post a
new column from our own Barrie Maxwell on Monday as well. Finding
Nemo and several other new DVD reviews will follow.
Have a great weekend!