UPDATE - 3/18/04 - 10:30 AM PST)
So... where will you be at 5:08 PM EST? Well, if you're in the southern
hemisphere, or happen to live in Europe or Asia, grab a pair of
binoculars and look up at the night sky. You might be able to spot an
asteroid as it make
closest recorded pass to Earth by such an object ever (other, of
course, than those that have hit us in the past). The 100-foot diameter
space rock will pass (read: miss) by just 26,500 miles. That means the
object will pass well inside the Moon's orbit (which averages about
238,000 miles distant from us). To give you a sense of scale, the Earth
itself is about 7,900 miles in diameter. So, cosmically speaking, that's
very, very close (click
here for a graphic showing its path, and another story from
If that's not reason enough to start spending serious bucks on Buck
Rodgers, I don't know what is.
Speaking of rocket boys, after we posted the news of that Region 2 Dune:
Special Edition yesterday (which, by the way, we hear may be
coded Region 0 with video in PAL format), a number of you e-mailed to
tell us about a Region 2 Flash Gordon:
Special Edition that's already available in France from
Studio Canal. We're told that the film is presented in remastered
anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, with audio
commentary by director Mike Hodges, a 32-minute interview with the
director, a photo gallery, cast filmographies and the theatrical
trailer. It also includes the soundtrack CD.
Back on Dune for a moment, we've
learned from our readers of two more Region 2 DVD releases of the film.
We're told that a 3-disc Dune Der Wüstenplanet:
Paradise Edition is available in Germany (coded Region 2 and
also in PAL format). This set contains the theatrical version in
anamorphic widescreen on the first disc, the longer "Alan Smithee"
TV version in full frame on the second disc, and a disc of extras that
includes 2 trailers, The Making of Dune
documentary, a photo gallery, cast & crew bios, "film script
information", the Dune Themepark,
Cooking with Spice and A-Z
of Dune featurettes and an Atreides family tree. There's also
another German edition called Dune Der Wüstenplanet:
Perfect Collection, which contains 3 discs and a bonus
soundtrack CD. It sucks, but you just know that I'm clearly going to
have to buy Flash, and one or both
of these Dune DVDs. Can anyone out
there tell me what language the extras are in on the above discs, and if
there are English subtitles? For more information on the Dune
link at Dune
Info.com. And you can find more info on all three titles (at
various international Amazons) by clicking on the covers above.
Universal, what the hell are you guys waiting for on this?! Hire up a
first-rate independent producer and get busy! Or give Criterion a call,
would you? Sheesh!
Anyway, to wrap up our little space opera theme this morning, we've got
word you Star Wars Trilogy fans
are definitely not going to want to miss in today's edition of
Rumor Mill. 'Nuff said.
Finally today, as many of you know
Windows Media 9 compression format was recently selected by the DVD
Forum to be part of the official spec for forthcoming HD-DVD. And
while HD-DVD may still be a couple years away, the first player to take
advantage of WM9 is set to arrive later this year from a company called
here to read their official press release. Word is, the player
will be able to play the WM9 files included as DVD-ROM extras on a few
already released DVDs (like Artisan's Terminator
2: Extreme Edition and Standing in
the Shadows of Motown), in addition to all your regular DVDs.
Thanks to Bits reader Brad H. for
the heads-up on that.
Damn... here's a title we wish Universal would get around to releasing
on DVD here in the States. You U.K. fans are in for a treat at least.
Sanctuary Visual Entertainment is working on a Dune:
Special Edition for release in Region 2 (PAL format) on April
5th. The disc will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the 40-minute Impressions
of Dune documentary, an interview with Frank Herbert, a
vintage promo featurette, the theatrical trailer and a 32-page booklet.
This is a nice release, and is certainly better than we have in Region
1, but it could still be better. Dune
is a film that's in desperate dire need of a serious special edition
release if ever there was one. Can you imagine if Universal let
Criterion do a really nice multi-disc edition, like they did with Brazil?
It could have the original theatrical edition, the 'Alan Smithee'
television version and the original (and much longer) director's cut.
Todd and I would pay a few nickels for that, I'll tell you. So too would
a LOT of other fans out there. Anyway, here's the cover art...
While we're on the topic of special editions Universal really needs to
get around to, how about 1980's Flash Gordon,
starring Sam Jones, Max Von Sydow and Timothy Dalton? Nuff said.
In other news today, Anchor Bay has finally revealed a little more
about their forthcoming, multi-disc Dawn of
the Dead DVD. Tentatively set for September, the set will
reportedly include multiple versions of the film, audio commentary and
here for future updates. Note that the Bay seems to be having a
little trouble with their site at the moment, so be patient if it
doesn't appear right away.
And in the realm of The Rumor Mill
(but not posted there because it's midnight and there's not enough
coffee in the world at the moment), our friends over at
have posted elaborate details on what MIGHT be included in the
forthcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Return
of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition cut (due from New
Line later this year). Some of it is based on inside info, and some is
just speculation, but it's interesting reading in any case. Also,
Force.net are suggesting that when the Star
Wars Trilogy arrives on DVD in September, it will include a
special sneak preview of 2005's Episode III.
Certainly makes sense. We'll see.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/16/04 - 2 PM PST)
Okay... Todd Doogan's latest
Release Roundup is here! As always, Todd takes a look at some
of the great DVD releases that should have arrived on store shelves
today. Don't miss it.
Also this afternoon, we've kicked off no less that FOUR new
Anyone interested in winning copies of Universal's Schindler
List, Universal's Veronica Guerin
and other great DVDs? Then get you entries in quick!
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/16/04 - 2 PM PST)
As promised, we've just posted our reviews of the first of Warner's
long-awaited Hanna-Barbera animated box sets -
Flintstones: The Complete First Season and
Where Are You!: The Complete First & Second Seasons.
You'll find both at your local video store today. The short of it is
that the episodes look and sounds great, but don't expect much in the
way of extras (although of the two releases, The
Flintstones does fare a little better in that respect).
Still, both are worth a look for fans.
We'll be back with Todd's Weekly Roundup
in a little while. Stay tuned...
Hope you all had a great weekend. My brother was here for a couple of
days, so we had a good time catching up on things. Matt and I also
checked out a screening of Columbia TriStar's Secret
Window, which is an adaptation of a Stephen King short story.
Star Johnny Depp was excellent as always, but while the film is
genuinely creepy and atmospheric, it's also VERY predictable. The film
telegraphs its twists badly, which is a shame.
Anyway, we've got a new DVD review for you today. Adam Jahnke's checked
out MGM's recent
Special Edition DVD. Also today, Lindsay Planer over at our
MusicTAP site has
Mavericks on DVD-Audio from Silverline.
Tomorrow, we'll have another Weekly Release
Roundup from Todd, as well as two new reviews of DVDs that
street tomorrow - Warner's The Flintstones:
The Complete First Season and Scooby-Doo
Where Are You!: The Complete First and Second Seasons. Don't
In DVD release news, we have word that those forthcoming Buena Vista
special editions of Enemy of the State
and Crimson Tide have been delayed
from their original May 4th street date. There's no word on why, or when
they'll be rescheduled.
Around the Net today, there's a feature on the future, next-generation
DVD formats over at The
Wall Street Journal (registration is required, but look for
the story titled DVD Succession Race Heats Up
- it's in the print edition as well). Also,
is reporting that Disney is expanding the test marketing of their EZ-D
disposable disc format to Florida and three additional cities, "with
a more sharply defined distribution strategy and significant new support
from major convenience chain 7-Eleven and Papa John's restaurant
franchises. This seems like a desperate attempt (our opinion) to keep
EZ-D going, given that the product has done relatively poorly so far in
test markets in Missouri, Texas and Illinois, with consumers and
retailers showing little interest in the disposable concept.
Also, for you high-end home theater buffs, our friends at Better Cables
have announced a new line of Digital Magic and Display Magic HDMI
(High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cables.
here for all the details, specs and prices from their website. For
what it's worth, we use Better Cables here at The
Bits, and have been very happy with them.
Back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Afternoon all! We're got a few new DVD announcements to cover today, so
let's get started.
First up, 20th Century Fox has officially announced the DVD release of
Welcome to Mooseport on May 25th
(SRP $27.98). The DVD will be available in both anamorphic widescreen
and full frame versions. Extras will include director's commentary, 6
deleted scenes with optional commentary, an outtake reel, the "Soova"
commercial and 2 Easter Eggs.
In Paramount news today, Tupac Resurrection
has been set to street on 6/15. The DVD will include audio commentary
from Tupac's mom, director Luren Lazin and "surprise guests",
deleted scenes, never-before-seen interviews and more.
Look for Reno 911: The Complete First Season
from Paramount on 6/22. The release will include all 14 episodes on 2
discs, along with alternate scenes and audio commentary from the entire
Also on 6/22 from Paramount, watch for The
Joe Schmo Show: Season One Uncensored, which will include 8
episodes, audio commentary from executive producer Rhett Reese and Matt
Kennedy Gould, never-before-seen eviction ceremony interviews, the
extended and unblurred "chocolate sauce on models" sequence,
deleted scenes and more.
Finally, look for The President's Analyst,
Goodbye Columbus and The
Day of the Locust from the studio, all on 6/8 (SRP $14.98
Here's art for Mooseport and
AnimEigo's last Zatoichi release, Zatoichi
Meets the One-Armed Swordsman, which will be available soon
from their website.
Yep... that's also the artwork for Buena Vista's Ed
Wood: Special Edition. We keep hearing that it's on again,
then off again, and we STILL haven't been given an official reason why
this thing was pulled at the 11th hour. But Amazon has started taking
pre-orders for the disc once more (click on the cover art). There's
still no official street date yet, but maybe the pre-order thing is a
good sign. We'll see.
We'll be back on Monday with a host of new DVD reviews. See you then!
Afternoon all! Sorry for our absence yesterday, but we got caught up in
some behind-the-scenes work here at The Bits.
Never enough hours in the day around here.
Anyway, we're back today with two new DVD reviews for you to check out.
I've given one of my favorite films of 2003 a spin on DVD, in the form
in Translation. I've also posted my thoughts on
Borders, Paramount's latest Angelina Jolie star vehicle.
We have one other thing for you today as well. Remember the other day,
when I said that Todd and I were wagering that when Howard
the Duck eventually came to DVD, producer George Lucas would
replace Howard with an entirely CG-animated character? Well, we were
half-joking, but it seems Lucas has already entertained the idea!
to download a ZIP file containing a minute-long MP3 audio clip of an
interview Lucas did with Robin Williams for
this exact topic. Special thanks to Bits
reader Quinton B. for sending this in.
Oh, the humanity!!
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/9/04 - 11:45 AM PST)
Here's something you definitely don't want to miss out on!
DVD executives and staffers from Warner Home Video participated in a
live chat on The
Home Theater Forum last night. The 3-hour long Q&A session
revealed a TON of information about upcoming DVDs that are in the works
from Warner for the next few years. I'm talking a TON of information!
Seriously, if you miss this, we can't be responsible for your DVD lovin'
Here's a link to
complete transcript of the chat itself, as well as
summary of all the titles mentioned/revealed during the chat. And
HTF has also posted
informal survey on Warner titles you'd like to see receive 2-disc
special edition treatment.
Thanks as always to Ron Epstein, Parker Clack and everyone at HTF
for the transcript, for all their hard work, and for a great chat. While
we're at it... Happy Birthday, Parker!
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/9/04 -
12:01 AM PST)
Morning, folks! We've got a lot for you today, so let's get started.
Universal has announced the Field of Dreams:
2-disc Anniversary Edition for release on June 8th (SRP
$26.98). The DVD will feature anamorphic widescreen video, audio
commentary (with Kevin Costner, director Phil Alden Robinson and
producers Lawrence and Charles Gordon), newly discovered deleted scenes,
3 featurettes (From Father to Son: Passing
Along the Pastime, Galena Illinois
Pinch Hits for Chisholm Minnesota and The
Diamond in the Husks), the A Look
Inside Field of Dreams documentary, Bravo's From
Page to Screen: Field of Dreams, stadium facts and photos,
baseball trivia and more. Here's the cover art for that, as well as
Universal's Pitch Black: The Chronicles of
Riddick (6/1) and Buena Vista's Miracle
(TBA - see today's
Mill post). Note that, as before, there will be 4 separate
versions of Pitch Black - R-rated
and Unrated, each in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame. Extras
are likely to be near identical to the previous release, likely along
with new preview material for the upcoming Chronicles
of Riddick films.
It might not be the ultimate "überset" mentioned in
yesterday's post, but you WILL be able to buy the complete theatrical
edition of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
as a 6-disc DVD set from New Line on May 25th (SRP $89.98).
Columbia TriStar has announced the You Got
Served: Special Edition and The
Gene Krupa Story, both for May 18th.
And Warner will release The Dukes of
Hazzard: The Complete First Season on 6/1. Also on the way
from the studio (and its BBC and HBO licensees) are The
Dame Edna Experience: The Complete Series One (6/8) and Nip/Tuck:
The Complete First Season, Curb
Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Second Season and To
the Manor Born: The Complete Series (all 6/15). More
We've got some very interesting stuff today in
Rumor Mill - word on changes being made to George Lucas' THX-1138
for its DVD release (groan), as well as information on several
long-awaited Paramount titles and more. You definitely don't want to
You know... Todd and I are betting that when Howard
the Duck is finally released on DVD, Lucas will have replaced
Howard with an entirely CG animated duck. Any takers?
Moving on, we have Todd's latest
Release Roundup for you this morning, which takes a look at
some of the great DVDs that are due on store shelves today.
As promised, we've updated the
DVD Cover Art section today with more than 75 new cover scans.
Tons of stuff, so check it out and enjoy. As always, any titles you
preorder by clicking on the links to Amazon help to support our work
here at The Bits. We appreciate
And we're pleased to offer another
Bits Power Buy this morning as well - a super low price on
Hitachi's 42HDT50, one of the finest 42" plasma HDTVs available
today, just for readers of The Digital Bits!
We also have nearly 30 other great pieces of home theater equipment
available at special prices for our readers.
for more on our continuing Power Buy
In news from around the Net today,
word from the BBC on a possible DVD release of the 1985 Live
Aid concert. Word is the proceeds from the release will go to
the Band Aid Trust, "which still exists to relieve poverty and
hunger in Ethiopia and the surrounding area."
That's plenty for now, I'd say. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/8/04 -
11:30 AM PST)
We've got more upcoming DVD announcements for you today. Paramount has
revealed that John Woo's Paycheck: Special
Collector's Edition with street on May 18th in both
anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. Extras will include audio
commentary, deleted scenes and a "making of" featurette.
Also on the way from Paramount on May 25th is a 6-disc edition of
Herman Wouk's The Winds of War
miniseries. Have we said lately how expensive May 25th is becoming? TONS
of great titles are streeting on that day.
One more - coming from MGM on April 27th is the Golden Globe winner for
Best Foreign Language Film, Osama.
Here's a look at the cover art for all of the above...
We've also got possible street dates for a number of other upcoming
titles, including Mystic River and
50 First Dates, in today's
Mill update. There's a bit of Star
Wars DVD info in there too.
And here's another big of interesting Lord
of the Rings DVD news,
Video Store magazine. Word from New Line Home Entertainment's
senior VP of marketing, Matt Lasorsa, is that there are as yet no plans
for the "überset" boxed release of the entire Trilogy
on DVD. Here's a quote from Lasorsa:
We need materials compelling enough for the
überset. Even if we can find and compile those materials, we are
looking at something at least a couple of years away. We would make it
significantly different. We want consumers to feel it is worth it."
I think I speak for fans everywhere when I say... very glad to hear
We'll have that big Upcoming DVD Cover Art
update tomorrow. We're bumping it a day, because we just got a bunch
more art, so we want to get it all ready for you.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/8/04 -
12:01 AM PST)
Well, it's official. As we expected, New Line has announced the DVD
release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return
of the King on May 25th. The 2-disc theatrical edition will
be available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions (SRP
$29.95 each), with audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround
(as well as English and Spanish subtitles). Extras will include 2
documentaries (The Quest Fulfilled: A
Director's Vision and A
Filmmaker's Journey: Making The Return of the King), the National
Geographic: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
special, 6 A Final Look at Middle-Earth
featurettes created for
(including Digital Horses, Eowyn
White Lady of Rohan, Minas Tirith,
Aragorn's Destiny, Battle
of the Pelennor Fields and Samwise
the Brave), 2 theatrical trailers, 13 TV spots, the Lord
of the Rings Trilogy "supertrailer", and a
promotional featurette for EA Games tie-in videogames called The
Battle for Middle-earth Continues. The running time for the
film is 200 minutes. Can't wait to see how they managed to compress that
onto a single disc! The 4-disc extended edition will follow later in
2004 (word is November). Here's the cover art for the 2-disc set, as
well as a look at the main menu for Disc One...
Around the site today, we've updated all of the
DVD sales and
rental stats we keep in the charts above, as well as the
DVD Player Sales numbers.
We've also kicked off 2 new
this morning, thanks to our friends at Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox.
Anyone interested in winning copies of Looney
Tunes: Back in Action, Planet of
the Apes: 35th Anniversary Edition, Futurama:
Volume Three and more? Well... you've got until Saturday,
March 14th to enter, so get going!
We have a new
of the Month for you to check out as well. Danny
Beck is an amazing illustrator who specializes in character
design - trust me when I say the guy's got serious skills. Check out the
link for more about Danny and cool samples of his work, as well as a
link to his official website.
Home Theater Forum will be holding a live chat with DVD
executives from Warner Home Video tonight (5 PM PST/8 PM EST). We'll
have a complete transcript of the chat tomorrow.
Back with more later this morning. Stay tuned...
Hey... what do you know? A rare Saturday update to The
Bits! We just wanted to jump in here quickly with a couple of
things. First of all, we've got some new cover art that's too hot to
hold off on until Monday... Disney's Aladdin:
Platinum Edition (due 10/5). We have two versions, one which
appeared on Disney.com (thanks to Bits
reader Jean-Francois A. for sending it in), and another that's been
appearing in trade materials (thanks to Mark B. for that). We don't know
which (if either) is final, but it's all good. We also have revised
cover art for HBO's Sex and the City: Season
Six - Part One (5/18), James Cameron's Ghosts
of the Abyss (a DVD-only release from Buena Vista due on
4/27), Fox's Independence Day: Limited
Edition (5/11), and AnimEigo's new Zatoichi's
Conspiracy (available now exclusively through their
Also today, we wanted to let all of you know that our friends at
Home Theater Forum are going to be holding a live chat on
Monday with DVD executives from Warner Home Video. The chat will be held
at 5 PM PST (8 PM EST).
here for details on how to participate. We'll have a complete
transcript of the chat on Tuesday, just FYI.
Have a great weekend!
Afternoon, gang! I told you yesterday that we'd be back today with
another DVD review... and here it is. Todd Doogan's checked in with a
look at Anchor Bay's forthcoming
of the Dead: Divimax Special Edition (which streets on Tuesday
- 3/9). This disc contains the U.S. Theatrical Cut of the film, along
with audio commentary and other extras. You should know, however, that a
more elaborate, multi-disc special edition of the film is currently
being prepared for release later this year. Still, I think you'll find
this disc worth a spin if you're as much a fan as we are.
We have one other quick bit of news for you today... we've received
e-mails from a number of retail sources, saying that Lucasfilm and 20th
Century Fox's Star Wars Trilogy
DVD box set will become available for pre-order on March 20th. Just FYI.
Don't forget, New Line will be announcing the DVD release of The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on Monday, so check
back then for all the details.
Also on Monday, we'll have a new Upcoming
DVD Cover Art update, updated stats and more DVD release
news. We also have a number of great new DVD reviews coming next week -
some awesome titles that you don't want to miss. So have a great
weekend, and we'll see you then!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/4/04 - 3 PM PST)
Some of you out there have been waiting for this disc for a very LONG
time. Here at The Bits, we've
certainly been following the tumultuous saga of its journey to DVD for
quite a while now. Thankfully, I'm pleased to say that the wait is
over... and you will NOT be disappointed. I've just posted my in-depth
review of Blue Underground's new
Final Countdown: 2-Disc Limited Edition, which streets on
March 30th. If you're a fan, you're going to love it. Trust me.
Back tomorrow with yet another new DVD review. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/4/04
- 11:30 AM PST)
We're going to have a later post today with that review I mentioned
yesterday, so be sure to check back this afternoon. In the meantime,
we've got some interesting studio announcements to cover today, so let's
get those out of the way first.
First up... New Line. Once again, we have confirmation from retailers
that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the
King will arrive on DVD on May 25th (SRP $29.95). Watch for
the official announcement on Monday morning - we'll have all the details
and cover art then.
Next up today... 20th Century Fox. We have word that new Studio
Classics DVDs for 2004 will include Desk Set
(5/4), The Snake Pit (6/1), The
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (7/6) and Zorba
the Greek (8/3). All will include audio commentary (Brodie
& Zorba are director
commentaries) and all SRP for $14.98.
Fox will release In America on
May 11th, with both anamorphic widescreen and full frame on the same
disc, along with director's commentary, an alternate ending, 9 deleted
scenes, and a "making of" featurette (SRP $27.98).
The studio will also release a number of War classics on May 25th (SRP
$14.98), including Crash Dive,
Price Glory, The Enemy Below,
The Hunters and The
Sand Pebbles. That same day, look for more martial arts
titles, including Game of Death II,
Operation Scorpio, The
Prodigal Son, Royal Warriors
and The Young Master (all $9.98
each). Finally, look for 300 Spartans,
Robin Hood (Patrick Bergin &
Uma Thurman) and Prince Valiant
(James Mason) on May 11th (SRP $14.98 each).
Now... Miramax. We have word that the studio (as usual through Buena
Vista) is re-releasing Cop Land,
Flirting with Disaster and Trainspotting
as special editions on June 1st, as part of 'Miramax Collector Series
DVD - Wave 1'. Also, look for Cold Mountain
on July 6th.
Universal has announced a Reality Bites:
10th Anniversary Edition for June 8th. They'll also bow Monk:
Season One on June 15th, and a Shrek/Shrek
3-D 2-Pack on May 11th. By the way, we understand that The
Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (due June 15th) is an
direct-to-video animated prequel to the upcoming Riddick
Trilogy films. Just FYI.
Finally... Warner Bros. Warner will release Mandy Moore's Chasing
Liberty on May 4th, featuring commentary by Moore and
director Matthew Goode, a gag reel, a full concert performance of The
Seed by The Roots, additional scenes, behind the scenes
featurettes, a "Passport to Europe" and more.
Around the Net today, we found it kinda cool that
mentioned The Bits in its Studio Brief column, re:
that leaked Star Wars DVD box art.
You can read the story they're referring to here,
in case you missed it.
Just to let you know, a LOT of the titles we've mentioned in the last
week or two are now available for pre-order from Amazon.com. That
Private Ryan: D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition,
Ho-Tep: Special Edition,
And before we go, here's some new DVD cover art for you to chew on...
Warner's Wyatt Earp and Around
the World in 80 Days (both 5/18), Columbia TriStar's Japanese
Story (5/11), Universal's Along
Came Polly (6/8) and Monk: Season
One (6/15), and Fox's In America
Back later with that review. Stay tuned...
Sorry it took so long to get this posted, but we think you'll really
enjoy it. Our own Barrie Maxwell has kicked off a new
Reviews Roundup today, to supplement his regular column. In
today's Roundup, Barrie reviews no
less than 21 new and recently released DVDs, including Image's Something
to Sing About, Back
in the Saddle and Under
Fiesta Stars, Warner's Goodbye,
Mr. Chips and Mrs.
Miniver, Idem's Swing
Era: Nat King Cole, Swing
Era: Sarah Vaughan and Swing
Era: Louis Jordan, Falcon's 1950s
TV's Greatest Westerns, Criterion's Diary
of a Country Priest, Columbia TriStar's The
Prisoner, 20th Century Fox's Peyton
Place and Planet
of the Apes: 35th Anniversary Edition, MGM's The
Best of Mister Ed: Volume One, Pressure
Love of Ivy, The
Wilby Conspiracy and The
Sidney Poitier Collection and Paramount's This
Property Is Condemned, The
Great Gatsby and Frasier:
The Complete Second Season. Whew!
We'll be back tomorrow with a very special review of an exciting
upcoming DVD release. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/2/04 - 1:30 PM PST)
Afternoon, kids! We have a couple of things for you this afternoon.
First of all, we've spoken with those in the know (the right people,
you'll have to trust us on this) and have learned that
Star Wars DVD box art that's been circulating around
lately is "work in progress" ONLY stuff that should NEVER have
leaked on the Net. These are apparently very early concepts - stuff that
we weren't meant to see - and the final packaging is likely to be quite
different. This kind of thing happens all the time - that a company
working on marketing designs for packaging, or even poster or cover art,
will do many, many different concepts as they hone in on the final
design. So while these packages are sort of the real deal, they're
really not if you get our meaning. Anyway, that's the unofficially
official word - take it as you will. We will, of course, post the final
box art as soon as it's released by Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox.
The other thing we have for you this afternoon is a new
Views column. Yeah, we know... Todd's had a bit of attention
deficit disorder with regard to his column lately. But starting with
today's post, he's worked up a new regular feature that we think you'll
find useful. It's a
Release Roundup, highlighting the best DVDs that are coming to
stores each Tuesday. So watch for that to be posted each Monday.
We're doing some behind the scenes work today, as well as a little
investigative reporting. We'll be back with Barrie's reviews later this
evening. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/2/04 - 12:01 AM PST)
Morning all! We'll be back later this morning with a proper post,
including new reviews from both Barrie and Todd. But first, I wanted to
check in with something that will definitely interest you Lord
of the Rings fans out there. Last night,
hosted a special Oscar party in Hollywood for 1,500 fans of the films,
and many of the cast and crew who were at the Oscars (some with statues
in hand) dropped by to say hello. Director Peter Jackson was among them,
and while addressing the crowd, he had some very interesting things to
say about the forthcoming DVD release of King.
Here's a quote:
"I'm sure most of you have heard me blabbing
off in the past few weeks but we've just finished the extended cut of
the DVD. I finished the edit before I came over here - these poor
bastards at Weta have got another 350 effects shots to do! They're well
on the way. Elijah's seen the extended cut. New Line have announced some
box set that's supposed to be coming out which I didn't know anything
about. When I've done King Kong I'd like to do a proper box set
and we've got a whole bunch of material - not of the movie but we've got
a whole lot of bloopers out there! When King Kong's out the way
I'd like to do a really high definition version with the best possible
Now there's good news if ever we heard it! Rings
in high-def? Count us in! The extended DVD is obviously for Return
of the King (due in November), while the box set he's talking
about would feature the entire Rings
trilogy (New Line already has one planned for 2004, but it sounds as if
Jackson didn't know about that, and would rather do a more comprehensive
HD set at a later time). There were other interesting DVD-related quotes
from Jackson and company made at the event as well, including inside
word on a funny Easter egg that's planned for the extended DVD. There
even a little talk of an eventual film version of The
Hobbit. You can read them all
By the way, in case you missed it the other day, New Line is expected
to announce the DVD release of The Return of
the King this coming Monday (3/8).
(LATE UPDATE - 3/1/04 - 1:30 PM PST)
We've got a few more new DVD announcements to report today. First up,
Columbia TriStar will release Errol Morris' Oscar-winning documentary,
The Fog of War, on May 11th (also
coming that day will be Japanese Story
and The Code). Additional details
will follow later, but here's a look at the cover art...
Also today, as you can see, we have news that Criterion will release
more great new DVDs in May. They include Volker Schlöndorffs
The Tin Drum, Fritz Lang's The
Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Ingmar Bergman's Smiles
of a Summer Night, Luchino Viscontis The
Leopard and Akira Kurosawa's Stray
Warner Bros. will release The Bachelor and
the Bobby-Soxer, Destination Tokyo,
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,
My Favorite Wife and Night
and Day on June 1st.
MPI is going to be releasing ABC Primetime's
Mel Gibson: The Passion interview with Diane Sawyer on DVD on
March 8th (SRP $19.98).
Buena Vista will release more catalog titles on July 7th, including
Balloon Farm, The
Cat from Outer Space, Charlie, The
Lonesome Cougar, Greyfriars Bobby,
Hot Lead & Cold Feet, Napoleon
& Samantha, Never a Dull
Moment, No Deposit No Return,
The North Avenue Irregulars, The
One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, The
Three Lives of Thomasina and The
And Universal will release Along Came Polly
on June 8th (SRP $26.98). Extras will include audio commentary with
director John Hamburg, and alternate opening, deleted scenes (with
optional director's commentary), outtakes, The
Making of Along Came Polly featurette, the Rodolfo
Goes Hollywood featurette, the theatrical trailer and cast
and filmmakers bios.
A lot of you have been asking us about a James
Bond: 40th Anniversary DVD Collection from MGM, various
packaging designs for which appear on the
Syndicate wesbite. We honestly have no idea what this might be.
Keep in mind that the 40th anniversary of the film series would have
been 2002, so it's likely that this was just a mock-up for a product
that was never actually released. Just FYI.
Finally today, we've kicked off a pair of new
giving you a chance to win copies of Warner's Super
Bowl XXXVIII DVD and Buena Vista's Duplex
and Cold Creek Manor.
We have a bunch of new DVD reviews for you tomorrow from Barrie, so
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/1/04
- 12:01 AM PST)
Well... it sure made for a boring Oscar telecast, but The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the night,
justly (in our humble opinion) winning in all 11 categories in which it
was nominated, including Best Director and Best Picture of the Year.
That last, ultimate Oscar makes King
the first science fiction/fantasy picture to be so honored by the
Academy. The film's total domination of this year's ceremony is evidence
that many in Hollywood were hoping that the trilogy's best had been
saved for last, in order to honor this truly astounding filmmaking
achievement. They clearly weren't disappointed, and neither were we. Our
hats off to Jackson and company for the best time we've had in a movie
theater in a very long time. Can't wait for that 4-disc DVD! And to you
guys at New Line and MGM... I think we speak for a lot of people when we
say we'd sure appreciate it if you'd work out your business so Jackson
can tackle The Hobbit after he
wraps King Kong.
But hey... there were other winners last night too. Also taking home
awards on the evening were Sean Penn for Best Actor, Charlize Theron for
Best Actress, Tim Robbins for Best Supporting Actor and Renée
Zellweger for Best Supporting Actress. We was also pleased to see Sofia
Coppola win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Lost
in Translation. You can click
here for a complete list of all the winners.
Now then... we've got some interesting business to report this morning.
First up, an L.A. company called
Syndicate, which apparently is working on the packaging design for
the upcoming Star Wars Trilogy DVD
release, inadvertently leaked images of three different versions of the
packaging on their website over the weekend. The photos were only up for
a very short time before they got yanked (no doubt after a frantic call
from Fox and/or Lucasfilm), but a few of our readers managed to download
them, and naturally they're starting to appear on Star
Wars fan websites and BBS boards all over the Net. We might
post the original images at a later time, but for now you can view them
this French fansite (until they get yanked again, of course).
Basically, there are three different versions - the "Final Conflict"
box (featuring Darth Vader's helmet - my personal favorite), the "Imperial
Collection" (featuring various images from the film including a
Star Destroyer) and the "Jedi vs. Darkside" design (the most
colorful but least classy of the three). We have no idea which of the
three will be chosen as the final design, if any. All three look like
Digipack and slipcase affairs, none of which match the previously
released Episode 1 & 2 DVDs'
spine format. Ah well.
In other Fox news, the studio has announced that The
X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season will street on May 11th.
The 7-disc set (SRP $99.98) will feature all 19 episodes of the show's
final season in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0
Surround audio. Extras will include 10 deleted scenes (with optional
commentary on Disc Six by Frank Sponitz and Chris Carter), international
clips, several Special Effects
featurettes by Matt Beck (with commentary by Paul Rabwin), audio
commentary on Improbable by Chris
Carter, audio commentary on Jump the Shark
by Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz, audio commentary on
The Truth by Kim Manners, The
Truth about Season 9 documentary (30 mins), The
Making of The Truth documentary (90 mins), 4 X-Files
Profiles featurettes (including Monica
Reyes, Brad Follmer,
Cake Cutting and On
Location), 20 TV spots, the Secrets
of the X-Files documentary (45 mins), the More
Secrets of the X-Files documentary (45 mins), the Tribute
to the X-Files featurette (20 mins) and DVD-ROM features
including weblinks and The Truth
Fox has also announced the release of their next Studio Classics title,
the Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy comedy Desk
Set, for May 4th (SRP $14.98). Streeting on that same day is
Fox's The Bernie Mac Show: Season One
(SRP $49.98), which will include audio commentary by Bernie Mac on
several episodes. Finally, Fox will release an Independence
Day: Limited Edition on May 11th (SRP $19.98). The release
will include both the theatrical and special edition versions in
anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, scene specific
commentary by Richard Emmerich and Dean Devlin (on the SE version only),
an additional commentary by FX supervisors Volker Engel and Doug Smith,
and the Inside Look: Day After Tomorrow
sizzle reel. It also includes a coupon for a free ticket to see Day
After Tomorrow (also directed by Roland Emmerich), which
opens in theaters on May 28th. So think of this a "light"
version of the previous 5-Star release.
That's just about all for now... except that we have word in
Rumor Mill this morning on more cool TV DVD releases that are
on the way later in 2004. Don't miss it.
To all you Kiwi's out there, good on ya, mate! We have no doubt there's
a lot of folks down under who'll be up all night celebrating. So greet
the dawn with good cheer... you guys ARE the first to see it after all.
(LATE UPDATE - 2/27/04
- 2:30 PM PST)
Oh, hell... we've got MORE DVD news for you today, and we just couldn't
hold it until Monday.
First up, The Godfather
movie-only re-release will street on May 11th. We have officially
confirmed with Paramount that it's the same anamorphic widescreen
transfer that appeared in The Godfather DVD
Collection - literally it's the exact same disc that was in
the box set, just released as a single for those who want only the film.
been talk of additional digital clean-up passes by the folks at
Lowry Digital, but it didn't happen and the studio is not commenting
further on the subject at this time.
Speaking of Paramount, we have word on more new DVDs from the studio.
The Gunsmoke Movie Collection (Return
to Dodge, The Last Apache
and To the Last Man) will street
on 5/11. Star Trek Voyager: Season Two
will appear on May 18th (including 26 episodes, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
and 8 featurettes). Back to the Beach,
Funny About Love and Summer
School are on the way on June 1st. A 6-disc The
Winds of War release will street on May 25th (which is
shaping up to be a HUGELY expensive day for DVD releases). And John
Woo's Paycheck will arrive on May
18th, including audio commentary with Woo and screenwriter Dean
Next up, we have
from Video Business that 20th Century Fox has agreed to
distribute Mel Gibson's The Passion of the
Christ on DVD. There's no word yet on a street date, but you
can bet it won't take too long to get the film out on disc, given the
film's $26.6 million opening on Wednesday.
And finally today, this would normally go in The
Rumor Mill, because the title hasn't been officially
announced. But it's so brief that I figured this was as good a place as
any. Here's the deal - a representative of Artisan Entertainment has
informed me that Speed Racer: Volume 2
will street sometime later this year, featuring the next batch of
episodes of the classic Japanese animated series. Frankly, I wish the
studio would just hurry up and release all the remaining episodes,
'cause that stupid $300 limited edition box set on eBay is calling my
name like crazy. But the studio seems determined to stretch this out as
long as possible, so there it is. Anyway, told you it was brief.
Okay... that's really it for this week. Have a great weekend, enjoy the
Oscars and we'll see you Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/27/04 -
12:01 AM PST)
Morning, folks! We've got more details for you on the extras to look
for on Universal's forthcoming Saving Private
Ryan: D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, which we
mentioned yesterday. The 2-disc set will boast 5 featurettes (including
A Look Inside with the Filmmakers,
Looking Into the Past: The Research, the
Vision and the Screenplay, The
Making of a Platoon, Boot Camp for
the Cast and Re-Creating D-Day:
Omaha Beach). Additional features are TBA.
As we said yesterday, the 2-disc set will also be available in The
World War II Collection box set, which will include two
additional documentary DVDs. The Price for
Peace: From Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima DVD includes an
introduction by Steven Spielberg, 5 featurettes (National
D-Day Museum: An Introduction, Stephen
Ambrose: About the War Experience, The
National D-Day Museum Montage, Tom
Brokaw Presents... Price for Peace and WWII
Dog Handlers) and a photo gallery. The second DVD, Shooting
War: World War II Combat Cameramen is a 2-hour documentary
hosted by Tom Hanks. Here's the cover art for the box set and both bonus
In other news, 20th Century Fox will release Ralph Bakshi's animated
Wizards on May 25th. The film will
be presented in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0
stereo audio. Extras will include audio commentary with Bakshi, the Ralph
Bakshi: The Wizard of Animation featurette, 2 theatrical
trailers, a TV spot, and a still gallery with some 300 images.
Here's the cover art for that, along with Fox's already announced Stuck
on You (4/27) and Paramount's forthcoming movie-only release
of The Godfather (street date TBA,
due this spring). Note that the film is the exact same version as the
one that appeared in The Godfather DVD
We have word from Spacecraft
Films that those two new From the NASA
Archives DVDs, Apollo 15: Man Must
Explore and The Mighty Saturns:
Saturn V, will street on April 13th (distributed by Fox).
Also today, Universal will release The
Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black (which we assume is a
repackaging of the existing disc) on 6/1, followed by something called
the The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury
on 6/15. And for those of you into high-definition videotape, the studio
will release About a Boy, American
Pie 2, The Contender,
Forces of Nature, The
Mummy Returns and Notting Hill
on D-VHS format on 3/23 (SRP $44.98 each).
Finally, as you know, the
76th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday evening.
Our advice - either TiVo the damn thing so you can skip right to the
good stuff, or pump up on coffee. 'Cause, you know, the show is like 18
hours long these days. May all your favorites win!
Back on Monday with several new DVD reviews. See you then!
Yes indeed, Steven Spielberg's World War II opus is returning to DVD on
May 25th. The Saving Private Ryan: D-Day 60th
Anniversary Commemorative Edition will be a 2-disc special
edition (SRP $26.99) featuring many new extras (still TBA). The film
will be anamorphic widescreen with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio.
The set will also be available in The World
War II Collection with two additional war films/documentaries
on disc (Price for Peace and Shooting
War) and a collectible book (SRP $49.99). Here's the cover
art for the 2-disc version...
Yeah, that's also the cover art for MGM's Bubba
Ho-Tep: Special Edition, which is also coming May 25th (SRP
$27.98). Word is the disc is going to include anamorphic widescreen
video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, three audio commentary tracks including
one with director Don Coscarelli, one with cast members Bruce Campbell
and Ossie Davis, and another with Campbell in character as Elvis,
deleted scenes, several behind-the-scenes featurettes and interviews,
and... you know... more.
We've also included the hot of the presses cover art for Fox's The
X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season, which will conclude the
series' release on DVD. There's no street date yet (rumor is it's not
streeting until later in 2004 - we'd heard November, but that could get
moved up). There's also no specific word on extras, but we're hoping the
studio has something special in the works for the set.
Just for fun, here's a look at more cover art - Fox and Spacecraft
Films' new From the NASA Archives
DVDs, Apollo 15: Man Must Explore
(6-discs) and The Mighty Saturns: Saturn V
(3-discs). There's no specific street dates yet, but we'll post more
details as they become available. We've also added Fox's cover artwork
for The Grapes of Wrath, which
streets on April 6th.
Not done yet, folks! Warner has just announced a Tarzan
Collection box set featuring 6 classic films for June 8th
(SRP $59.92). Included will be Tarzan the Ape
Man, Tarzan Escapes,
Tarzan and His Mate, Tarzan
Finds a Son, Tarzan's Secret
Treasure and Tarzan's New York
Adventure (1942). The films will be arranged 2 per disc, and
the set will include a 4th disc of just special features, among with
you'll find a feature-length documentary on Johnny Weissmuller and the
history of the Tarzan character. Also coming on 6/8 are Greystoke:
The Legend of Tarzan and Tarzan,
the Ape Man (1981).
Warner also has more great titles on the way in June, including Coupling:
The Complete Third Season, The
Emerald City of Oz, The Marvelous
Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz,
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and
Manchester United: Play Like Champions
(all on 6/1), and Last of the Summer Wine,
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 2,
Sealab 2021: Season 1, The
Thin Blue Line and To the Manor
Born: The Complete Series (all on 6/15).
Still not done - here's more new cover art. Street dates and features
are all still TBA, but this is official art for Miramax's Cold
Mountain, The Human Stain
and The Station Agent.
By the way, Miramax is also working on a Trainspotting:
Collector's Series DVD for June, and there DVD of Jackie
Chan's Dragon Lord DVD coming as
Finally today, we've got even MORE cover art for you. The
DVD Cover Art section has been updated to include some 70 new
scans, including the revised art for The Last
Okay... we're really done now. So there. Stay tuned...
We've got a LOT of ground to cover today, so hold on tight!
First up, just a day after our
Mill story, Warner Bros. has officially announced the DVD
release of Around the World in 80 Days,
Wyatt Earp and Enter
the Dragon, all as 2-disc special editions, on May 18th (SRP
Around the World in 80 Days will
be presented in its original, uncut 182-minute version. Extras will
include introductions by film historian Robert Osborne, audio commentary
by BBC Radio's Brian Sibley, Georges Melies' original 1902 A
Trip to the Moon, outtakes, a stills gallery, the 1956
original and 1983 reissue theatrical trailers, the 1968 Around
the World of Mike Todd documentary (narrated by Orson
Welles), experts from Playhouse 90's Around
the World in 90 Minutes, 1957 Academy Awards highlights,
newsreel footage from the film's the Los Angeles premiere and the
opening in Spain, and a DVD-ROM link to Michael Todd's Around
the World in 80 Days Almanac.
Wyatt Earp will include 11 deleted
scenes, the vintage Walk with a Legend
documentary and the newly-produced It
Happened that Way documentary.
Finally, Enter the Dragon will
include audio commentary by producer Paul Heller, the Blood
and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon documentary, the
vintage Bruce Lee: In His Own Words
featurette, a Linda Lee Cadwell "interview gallery", the Lair
of the Dragon featurette (which includes a Backyard
Workout with Bruce Lee), the vintage Bruce
Lee: A Warrior's Journey and Curse
of the Dragon documentaries, theatrical trailers and TV
Warner has also finally announced the DVD release of The
Jetsons and Jonny Quest!
Both titles will street on May 11th (SRP $64.92). The
Jetsons: The Complete First Season will feature all 24
episodes on 4 discs. Extras will include audio commentary by Janet Waldo
(Judy Jetson) on 2 episodes, 3 featurettes (The
Jetsons: Family of the Future, Space
Age Gadgets and Rosie the Robotic
Maid) and more. Jonny Quest: The
Complete First Season will feature 26 episodes on 4 discs,
and will include featurettes on the animators among other extras. Can't
wait! Here's the cover artwork...
As you might have guessed by now, MGM's has announced a Robocop
Trilogy box set for release on June 8th (SRP $36.96),
featuring a Robocop: Extended Version,
as well as both sequels (all remastered in anamorphic widescreen video
with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio). Extras will include deleted scenes, audio
commentary, 3 featurettes, storyboards, photo galleries and more.
MGM will also release Deja Vu,
Dream Lover, For
Queen & Country, Masquerade,
Perfect Strangers and Special
Effects on June 1st, Robocop 2
and Robocop 3 (separate editions)
on June 8th, and The Belly of an Architect,
John Huston's Moulin Rouge, Prick
Up Your Ears, The Raggedy Rawney,
The Wedding Banquet and The
Wild Party on June 15th.
And if you think that's cool, we've got more information on
in-the-works MGM titles in
Rumor Mill this morning, along with word on Trekkies
2 and Starship Troopers 2
Now then... this is either going to excite you, or piss you off,
depending. But word from HMV is that Universal is releasing a Kill
Bill: Volume 1 - Premium Box in Japan on April 16th
(Universal owns the international release rights to the title). The set
is limited to 30,000 copies (6,840 yen). The video will be anamorphic
widescreen (Region 2 coded) with audio in English and Japanese Dolby
Digital 5.1, as well as English DTS 5.1 (with English and Japanese
subtitles). The set will apparently include a "murder bride"
Be@rbrick figure, an Okinawa T-shirt (size large), a Hattori-Hanzo
replica sword (1/10 scale) and a 24-page booklet.
here for a look at the set at the HMV website. It's probably the
exact same disc as we're getting in R1, but those swag items are really
going to appeal to some fans. Thanks to Mark W. of
for the details.
Finally today, we've got a pair of cool pictures for you from a special
event held by Paramount last Thursday night at the California Science
Center. The event was to honor the U.S. space program and the folks at
NASA, and to help launch Star Trek: Voyager
on DVD. The top picture features Voyager
stars Ethan Phillips, Tim Russ, Garrett Wang and Robert Picardo with
shuttle astronaut Dr. Janice Voss, while the second is astrophysicist
Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Voss and Majel Roddenberry. You can read more about
the event at the
Okay... I'd say that's pretty good for one day! We've got another Upcoming
DVD Cover Art update coming tomorrow, and we have more
reviews on the way as well later in the week. Stay tuned!