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page updated: 5/11/04



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 4/28/04 - 4/9/04)


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4/28/04

Afternoon all! There's one fairly significant bit of DVD interest today, which is that Universal has revealed the DVD cover art for their Dawn of the Dead remake. The street date and features for the disc have yet to be announced, but we figured you might enjoy at look at the cover. We'll have more details as soon as they become available...

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Also today, there's a story up over at CNN.com on a new DVD player from RCA that uses ClearPlay software to censor "objectionable" material out of movies on disc. So, you know... if you're just dying to show your underage kids movies like (for example) Dawn of the Dead, Last Tango in Paris or Natural Born Killers, but don't want them to see any naughty bits, this $70 piece of poo is right up your alley. MMmmmmm... makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and safe inside! Any guesses as to where you can buy this player? Yep... Wal-Mart, that retail bastion of moral decency which, to this day, still sells guns and ammo in its stores (Low Prices on Brands You Trust... like Beretta, Ruger and Savage!). I have nothing against guns - it's the hypocrisy that drives me crazy. Personally, I'd rather just wait until my kids were old enough to see a movie the way it was MEANT to be seen. Ah well. It's a truly puzzling world.

Anyway, we're very pleased today to bring you a new regular column by our own Matt Rowe - TAPNotes! Matt's our resident music expert here at The Digital Bits, so he's created a special column in which he can focus on reviews of interesting music titles on DVD. TAPNotes will be updated once or twice a month. In it, Matt will take a closer look at concerts, band retrospectives, video compilations and the like - any music-related DVD Video titles. And don't forget, you can always read the latest high-resolution DVD-Audio and SACD title reviews from Matt and his team at our MusicTAP affiliate site, of which Matt is the editor. Matt has a daily column over there with all the latest music news. So anyway, we hope you enjoy Matt's TAPNotes. Be sure to drop him an e-mail to let him know what you think!

TAPNotes by Matt Rowe

Stay tuned...

4/27/04

We've got a couple of things for you today. First up, Warner has officially announced the DVD release of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's Starsky & Hutch remake on 7/20 (SRP $27.95). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen or full frame video (in separate versions), Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, director's commentary, a gag reel, deleted scenes, the Fashion Fa Sizzle Wit Huggy Bizzle featurette, a Last Look spoof documentary and more.

Also streeting on 7/20 from Warner is another Owen Wilson film, The Big Bounce (SRP $27.95). The disc will also be available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include several featurettes (including The Big Bounce: A Con in the Making, Wicked Waves - stunt surfer outtakes - and Surfing the Pipeline: Surfing in the Aloha State) and more. There will also be a 2-pack containing both the 2004 and original 1969 versions of The Big Bounce for just $2 more - SRP $29.98. Go figure.

In other release news, Columbia TriStar has announced that they'll debut Monsieur Ibrahim, Fly by Night, The Show, Side Out and Wholly Moses (What a movie!) on 7/6.

Here's cover art for Starsky & Hutch, Monsieur Ibrahim and Wholly Moses...

Starsky & HutchMonsieur IbrahimWholly Moses

In terms of reviews today, Todd's checked in again with his latest Weekly Release Roundup, in which he takes a closer look at some 17 new DVD releases that hit stores this week. Some great stuff this time around, so you definitely don't want to miss it.

Also today, our TAP crew has delivered a review of Steely Dan: Goucho on high-resolution SACD format.

And around the Net today, Renee Graham of The Boston Globe has posted an interesting story on a subject that's near and dear to us here at The Bits - greedy studios dumbing down DVD to squeeze more blood from the stone, and cranking out multiple versions of movies on disc to "take multiple bites from the apple". You studio guys think this is a trivial issue? Not judging by the flood of vitriol we got in our e-mail after that Kill Bill story in the NY Times broke last week. A word to the wise at the studios: you're pissing your most avid customers off - big time.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 4/26/04 - 4 PM PDT)

Now that I've gotten all the news and site business out of the way today, I wanted to tell you about an interesting event I attended about a week ago. One of the advantages of living in Irvine, CA is that the Digital TV R&D division of Mitsubishi Electric is just a few miles down the road from me. I've long been a fan of Mitsu TVs (I've been using their HD-ready 65" WS-65908 since 2001 here at The Bits' left coast offices). So when the company was gearing up to show off its latest DTVs, at their 2004 product line show, they invited me to come by and check it out. I thought some of you might like a sneak peek at what's on the way.

Mitsubishi has long gone after a higher-end videophile market with its Medallion and Diamond lines of rear projection DTVs. This year, the company has 12 new models of CRT-based rear projection DTVs on the way (in 42", 48", 55", 65" and 73" sizes - all widescreen of course). In addition, Mitsu has unveiled 5 new models of LCD flat-panel DTVs (22", 30", 42" and 55" - all widescreen), 3 new Plasma flat-panel DTVs (42", 50" and 61" - all widescreen), and 7 new models of MicroDisplay (or MD) rear projection DTVs (in 52", 62" and 82" sizes - all widescreen).

Mitsu is working hard to implement the FCC's DTV Tuner Mandate. They expect all of their displays to be 100% integrated by 2005 (for 2004, there will still be a few models of HD-ready displays that require separate DTV tuners). They're also working with the Cable TV industry to ensure that their sets all comply with the emerging Digital Cable Ready standard, also known as CableCARD.

The whole idea behind CableCARD, is that your new DTV will work anywhere in the country, with whatever cable operator may service the area you live in. Instead of getting a set-top, digital cable box when you sign up for digital cable service, you'll get what's called a CableCARD - literally an electronic card that plugs into a slot in the back of your DTV. This card programs your DTV with all of the digital services and channel offerings your local cable operator provides. Once your CARD is installed, the coax cable from the wall plugs right into your DTV - no other hardware is needed. If you move to another city, you just turn in your CableCARD to your old operator, and get a new one from your new cable provider when you settle into your new home. It's that easy. This is all thanks to a recent "plug-and-play" agreement between consumer electronics manufacturers and the cable industry. CableCARD/DCR (Digital Cable Ready) is just starting to become available now with select cable operators around the country (eventually, they'll all have it), and CableCARD-ready DTVs are just starting to arrive in stores (all DTVs sold in the U.S. will be so equipped in the future).

18 of Mitsubishi's 27 new 2004 DTVs will be CableCARD/DCR compatible, and they expect their entire line-up will offer the feature from 2005 on. Mitsu says their CableCARD/DCR compatible DTVs will have all-digital signal paths, high-quality upconversion of analog (480i) channels, a full range of formatting and multi-image settings, ChannelView program guides on all models, NetCommand record manager and FireWire output, allowing you to connect future HD recording devices (like HD-ready harddisk recorders, D-VHS VCRs and future Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD recorders) so you can record non-copy protected HD material.

Remember those 7 models of MicroDisplay (MD) rear projection DTVs I mentioned earlier? All but one of them use Mitsu's proprietary DLP Light Engine, featuring a 0.85" T.I. chip with a 1280x720 pixel matrix, a 7-segment color wheel and Mitsu's Perfect Color optimization (which lets you independently control the attributes of 6 color settings for each input your on your DTV - so you can have one setting for DVD, one for D-VHS, one for Cable and Broadcast DTV, etc). It's the high degree of control over these settings that should appeal to many videophiles, particularly those high-end types who are into ISF-style calibration of their displays. Mitsu's largest MD DTV for 2004 - the Alpha 925 (WL82925) 82" display - by-passes DLP for Mitsu's 1920x1080p 3-chip LCoS Light Engine.

Are you into TiVo or ReplayTV-style hard drive recording of your favorite TV programs? Well, several of Mitsu's 2004 MicroDisplay (MD) rear projection DTVs also include a 120 GB hard drive, which is enough to record 12 hours of full-bandwidth HD material, as well as many times that of Standard Definition Digital programming. This also includes a built-in SD MPEG-2 encoder for recording 480i analog TV signals. Just like a TiVo, you can pause in the middle of a recording if the phone rings, or scan back if you'd like to see something again. If you decide to keep the program, you can output it to D-VHS (or future Blu-ray Disc of HD-DVD recorders) via the FireWire cable.

At the risk of sounding like a Mitsu salesman, I have to tell you that the line show was quite an eye-opener for me. The features being offered on new DTVs these days are very impressive (no doubt other DTV manufacturers are ramping up their product features as well). For years we've heard words like convergence, but we're finally starting to see the results. If you're heavy into DVD-based home theater, one of these large widescreen, rear-projection DTVs is an ideal display for your system. Trust me - I've been using one for 3 years now, and the features and quality are only going to get better, whether you buy a Mitsu or another brand. Plus, these new TVs (the ones that have HDMI inputs, and virtually all new DTVs do) are already equipped to work with the forthcoming Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats when they finally arrive. And with CableCARD/DCR (Digital Cable Ready) sets finally starting to appear in dealer show rooms, consumers can finally buy a Digital TV without fear that their set is going to be made obsolete by some new standard or technology. As prices for these features and compatibility continue to drop, well... if you've been waiting to buy a Digital TV, now may be the right time to start getting serious about it again.

For more on HDTV, including a primer on the technology (PDF format), be sure to visit the Consumer Electronics Association's HDTV website.

And for more on Mitsubishi's 2004 DTV models, including product images and specs, check out this link at the company's website.

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 4/26/04 - 11:45 AM PDT)

Just another quick update this morning. We've just posted Barrie Maxwell's latest Classic Coming Attractions column for you to check out. In this edition, Barrie looks at the history of Warner Bros.' work in the Western genre and runs down all of the recent classic DVD release announcements as well. It's another great film history retrospective, so don't miss it.

Also this morning, we've kicked off FOUR new Contests today, giving each of you a chance to win copies of MGM's Osama, Buena Vista's Ghosts of the Abyss, Lion's Gate's The Cooler and Universal's new Classic Monsters releases. The contests will run until Noon PDT on Saturday, May 1st, so get your entries in!

Back later this afternoon with one more post - see you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 4/26/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

So did you all have a good weekend? Sarah's father was in town, so the three of us spent our Saturday climbing rocks, taking pictures and generally wandering our way through Joshua Tree National Park. What a strange and wondrous place it is!

Hope you've got your coffee brewing, because we've got some interesting DVD news for you this morning, as well as some darned cool cover art. Let's get to it...

20th Century Fox has announced the release of their long-awaited Predator: Collector's Edition for 7/20 (SRP $26.98). The 2-disc set will contain the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras on Disc One will include audio commentary with director John McTiernan, text commentary by a film historian (TBA), an Inside Look featurette, a preview trailer for Aliens vs. Predator, and sneak peek featurettes for Aliens vs. Predator and I, Robot. Disc Two will include the If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It documentary, 7 Inside the Predator featurettes, a deleted scene, 3 outtakes, 3 Predator "Red Suit" special effects featurettes, 2 Predator camouflage tests, a stills gallery, a Predator profile, an Alien Quadrilogy trailer, and 3 Easter eggs (which we won't spoil for you).

Next up, Fox has announced the DVD release of Alex Proyas' Garage Days for 7/6 (SRP $27.98). This 2-disc set will include the film in both anamorphic widescreen video and full frame, along with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras on Disc One (widescreen) will include audio commentary by director Proyas, 6 deleted scenes and outtakes. Disc Two (full frame) will include Proyas commentary (we don't know if it's the same or different, but it's probably the same), the Garage Days Backstage Pass documentary and the Behind the Garage Door: Interviews featurettes.

The studio will release Never Die Alone on 7/13 (SRP $27.98). This will be a 2-sided disc, with anamorphic widescreen on one side and full frame on the other, both with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary with director Ernest Dickerson and stars DMX and David Arquette, 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary, and a making-of featurette.

Fox's next Studio Classics title, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, will arrive on 7/6 (SRP $14.98). Look for the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and mono audio. Extras will include audio commentary with director Ronald Neame and actress Pamela Franklin, the teaser and theatrical trailers and a stills gallery.

Finally, you should know that Fox will release an R-rated version of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers on 7/13 in addition to the Unrated version. Extras for both discs will be the same.

Some Warner news this morning... the studio will release a 6-disc Jane Austen: The Complete Collection on 8/24 (SRP $59.98). This will include the original BBC versions of Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility (all of which are or will be available separately as well).

Since we posted Spider-Man: The '67 Classic Collection cover art on Friday, it's only fair that we tell you that the 4-disc Batman: The Animated Series - Volume One will hit store shelves on 7/6 (SRP $49.98). You'll get 28 episodes in their original full frame video format with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio. Extras will include audio commentary with Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Eric Rodomski, and the Batman: The Legacy Continues featurette. And here's the cover art...

Batman: The Animated Series - Volume OnePredator: Collector's EditionGarage Days

Never Die AloneThe Chronicles of Riddick: Dark FuryChallenge of the Superfriends: The First Season

As you might have guessed, that's also the art for Predator, Garage Days and Never Die Alone, as well as Universal's The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury animated prequel to the forthcoming film trilogy (6/15 - SRP $14.98), and Warner's Challenge of the Superfriends: The First Season (7/6 - SRP $29.98). Challenge will be a 2-disc set, featuring 16 episodes (full frame, Dolby Digital mono audio), plus audio commentary (participants TBA), biographies and the Saturday, Sleeping Bags & Super Friends retrospective documentary.

Back later with more. Stay tuned...

4/23/04

Here's some news that's got us excited here at The Bits. Our friends over at Criterion have officially announced that they're working on a 3-disc The Battle of Algiers release for this Fall. Here are the details from the announcement:

Criterion's upcoming release of Gillo Pontecorvo's landmark 1965 film The Battle of Algiers will be a three DVD set. This special edition will include a new transfer supervised by cinematographer Marcello Gatti and a number of features created specifically for the Criterion release, including new interviews with writer/director Gillo Pontecorvo, producer/actor Saadi Yacef, actor Jean Martin, Marcello Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and historians Benjamin Stora and Alistair Horne. Also featured will be filmmakers speaking to the film's importance, including directors Steven Soderbergh, Julian Schnabel, and Spike Lee. Look for Criterion’s The Battle of Algiers this autumn.

Let me just personally say... nice.

Here's something for Stan's True Believers... the cover art for Buena Vista's 6-disc Spider-Man: The '67 Classic Collection (due 6/29 - SRP $59.99)!

Spider-Man: The '67 Classic Collection

I almost hate to admit it, but I remember this show when it was still relatively new. ;-)

Around the site today, we've updated all of the DVD sales and rental stats we track (above), along with the AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list and the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers. The CEA numbers now include all of March (1,545,112 units in all for the month). That takes the format total to date to just shy of 70 million players here in the States. All charts have been updated accordingly.

We've got some interesting information for you fans of David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick in The Rumor Mill today, along with addition word on more upcoming MGM DVDs. Don't miss it.

And that's it for now. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday.

4/22/04

The big news today in terms of DVD releases is that 20th Century Fox has finally announced Chris Carter's Millennium: The Complete First Season for 7/20 (SRP $59.98). All 22 episodes will be presented in their original full frame aspect ratio, with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. Extras will include audio commentary on the Pilot episode by Chris Carter, audio commentary on the episode Gehenna with director David Nutter, audio commentary on the episode The Judge (with participants TBA), 3 featurettes (Order in Chaos: Making Millennium Season One, The Academy Group and Main Title Design), TV spots for all the episodes, and bonus trailers for other Fox Sci-Fi titles (including The Alien Quadrilogy, Planet of the Apes: 35th Anniversary Edition, Predator: Special Edition, and The X-Files: The Complete TV Series). Here's a look at the cover artwork...

Millennium: The Complete First Season

Other newly announced Fox titles include Garage Days for 7/6, and Never Die Alone and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers (NC-17 version), both for 7/13. The Dreamers will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director Bernardo Bertolucci, writer Gilbert Adair and producer Jeremy Thomas, 2 featurettes (Events of May '68 and The Making of The Dreamers), Michael Pitt's Hey Joe music video, the theatrical trailer and trailers for other Fox titles.

Also, Warner Bros has just announced a new batch of film noir classics for 7/6. The 5-film Shadows, Lies and Private Eyes: The Film Noir Collection box set (SRP $42.92) will include John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, Murder My Sweet, The Set Up, Out of the Past and Gun Crazy. Extras will include commentary from actor James Whitmore, directors Robert Wise and Martin Scorsese, and more.

One other bit of title news today - although consider it rumor until it's officially announced - the Dugpa.com website is reporting that director David Lynch said recently in an online chat on his own website that Wild at Heart will be released on DVD in R1 as early as July.

In other news today, industry buzz is that Sony is in talks to purchase MGM for something in the range of $5 billion (although sources at Sony have reportedly called this "speculation" only). The reasoning? Sony, which already owns Columbia TriStar, is interested in gaining control of MGM's huge library of films, as well as the Bond franchise. Here's the more interesting reasoning if you read between the lines: Blu-ray Disc. Combined access to the Columbia TriStar/Sony Pictures and MGM catalogs would mean a HUGE pool of new and classic titles to support the launch and growth of their high-definition video disc format. You can bet the timing is no coincidence.

Around the site today, we've got a new DVD review for you and it's a major title. Our own Adam Jahnke takes an in-depth look at Universal's new Schindler's List DVD.

Also, George Bennett over at our MusicTAP site has given The Who: Live at The Royal Albert Hall a spin on high-resolution SACD. Don't miss it.

Stay tuned...

4/21/04

Universal's just announced a pretty big batch of forthcoming catalog titles for July and August. Here's what's coming:

On 7/6, look for the film noir classics The Big Clock, Black Angel, Criss Cross, Double Indemnity, This Gun for Hire (1942) and Touch of Evil (all SRP $14.98), and a pair of new collections. The Don Knotts Reluctant Hero Pack (SRP $19.98) will include The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Reluctant Astronaut, The Love God? and The Shakiest Gun in the West. Meanwhile, The Woody Allen 4-Movie Comedy Collection (SRP $26.99) will include Anything Else, Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending and Small Time Crooks.

7/13 will see the release of The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition (with a new opening, an alternate ending and all new bonus features, plus a ticket to see The Bourne Supremacy in theaters - SRP $29.98) and Tempo (SRP $27.98).

On 7/27, look for High Art and The Celebration (SRP $19.98 each).

Following on 8/3, you'll get the comedy titles I'm Not Rappaport, Moon Over Parador and The Sting II, along with the Sandra Dee/Bobby Darin titles If a Man Answers, Come September and That Funny Feeling (all $14.98 SRP). You'll also get the The Best of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello: Volume 3 box set (SRP $26.98) which will include Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, Comin' Round the Mountain, Lost in Alaska and Mexican Hayride. Also coming on 8/3 is a Deanna Durbin Sweetheart Pack (SRP $26.98), including 100 Men and a Girl, Can't Help Singing, First Love, It Started with Eve, Lady on a Train and Three Smart Girls.

Finally, on 9/7, look for the Halloween-themed titles The Funhouse, Ghost Story, The Legacy, The Sentinel and Sssssss (SRP $14.98 each), a Cryptkeeper's Deadly Duo Pack (SRP $19.98) containing Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood and Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight, a Monster Bash Fun Pack (also $19.98) containing Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, Monster Mash and Archie & the Riverdale Vampires, and finally a James Stewart: Hollywood Legend Series box (SRP $59.98) containing Vertigo (letterbox widescreen), Rear Window (anamorphic widescreen), Harvey, Winchester '73 and Destry Rides Again (all full frame).

Also today, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Secret Window for 6/22 (SLP $28.95). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director David Koepp, 4 deleted scenes (with optional commentary), 3 featurettes (including From Book to Film, A Look Through It and Secrets Revealed), animatic storyboards for 4 scenes and "bonus" trailers.

The studio has also announced the DVD release of 3 Way, No Small Affair, Dawson's Creek: The Complete Third Season, You Got Served: Take It to the Streets and a You Got Served: SE/You Got Served: Take It to the Streets 2-pack (all for 6/29).

Here's cover art for The Bourne Identity, Secret Window and Dawson's Creek:

The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended EditionSecret WindowDawson's Creek: The Complete Third Season

In other news today, the Magrathea website has posted a new interview with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy producer Nick Goldsmith and director Garth Jennings, in which they discuss the long-awaited film production of the Douglas Adams classic, which just started shooting in the U.K. In addition to the film, they touch briefly upon the eventual DVD release, which they are already preparing for. Says Jennings in the interview: "I don't think there's ever been a film more suited to the DVD format." Nice! Brilliant casting in this film too - click here for more on that from Douglas Adams.com.

Finally this morning, I've saved the best (or worst) for last. The NY Times has a new story up on how the Hollywood studios are rushing to cash in on the DVD boom. Here's your happy, happy, joy, joy from the article... Miramax is reportedly preparing to release a half-dozen different DVD editions of Kill Bill:

"This is the beauty of having two volumes," said Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax. "Vol. 1 goes out, Vol. 2 goes out, then Vol. 1 Special Edition, Vol. 2 Special Edition, the two-pack, then the Tarantino collection as a boxed set out for Christmas. It's called multiple bites at the apple. And you multiply this internationally." Mr. Tarantino has also cut an alternate version of the movie for Japan.

I'm gonna ask the obvious right now: Can you believe the BALLS required to make a statement like that in public? To a reporter? For a story that people are going to READ?! Do you suppose Miramax planned to let fans of the film know about all this, so they could... oh, I don't know... maybe make informed decisions about which version they want to spend their hard-earned cash on? I can understand the need to put out multiple DVD versions of a film on occasion, but DAMN! A half-dozen different DVD editions, and Tarantino wants to release stand-alone Beneath the Crust-style discs of supplemental materials as well?! F#@K THAT.

Multiple bites at the apple, huh?

BITE THIS!

And to think the entertainment industry has the nerve to wonder why some people download this stuff. Greedy bastards. Doh!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 4/20/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)

Okay... we're back this afternoon with Todd's Weekly Release Roundup. Todd profiles 13 new titles you'll find on store shelves today. Don't miss it!

Finally, here's one last reminder that tonight at 5 PM PDT, the staff of The Digital Bits will be participating in a live chat with our friends at IGN DVD. We'll answer your questions about upcoming titles, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD, and basically whatever strikes your fancy. We expect the chat to run for an hour or two. Click here for all the details on how to participate. Hope to see you there!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 4/20/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Lucasfilm has finally provided more details on their Star Wars Trilogy 4-disc set, which streets on 9/21 (SRP $69.98). The set will include more than 10 hours of bonus content in all, in addition to the films. Each film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video (that full frame version shouldn't even exist as far as we're concerned) certified by THX and lovingly restored and remastered by the folks at Lowry Digital. Audio for all three films will be Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. Each film will also include audio commentary with the likes of creator George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, actress Carrie Fisher, sound designer Ben Burtt and ILM's Dennis Muren.

Disc Four will feature all new and exclusive bonus material. The centerpiece of the disc Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. According to Lucasfilm: "This two-and-a-half hour documentary traces the evolution of the saga, from a low-budget labor-of-love space saga to the movie phenomenon that defied the odds and reinvented the rules. This comprehensive documentary features all new interviews with George Lucas and more than 40 members of the cast and crew from the original trilogy, as well as a host of filmmakers and media personalities. Empire of Dreams includes some never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the three films."

When you're done with that, you can check out the Episode III behind-the-scenes preview featurette, The Return of Darth Vader, in which Lucas discusses how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. We also get a first look at the new Vader costume for Episode III, and see how actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor prepared for the epic lightsaber battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Next up, The Birth of the Lightsaber featurette takes a look at the origins and creation of "this elegant weapon from a more civilized age." The Characters of Star Wars featurette takes an in-depth look at how all the classic characters developed, from original concept art to interviews with Lucas and the cast. The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars featurette looks at the influence of the Star Wars films on filmmaking and entertainment as a whole, and includes interviews with "the most notable filmmakers of our time." Rounding out the film content on this disc, are the original theatrical teaser, launch and re-release trailers for each film, plus TV spots, a gallery of hundreds of rare production art images and photos, and a gallery of poster and print campaign artwork.

Then there's "the rest of the disc", which will be of less interest to film fans. This includes preview trailers for the Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Episode III videogames, an Xbox playable demo of Battlefront, and DVD-ROM access to a special online site with additional exclusive content.

All in all, not too bad. Certainly not the definitive special edition treatment of these films on disc, but you know that'll happen later on Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD, so not bad for now. We'll post more information as Lucasfilm makes it available. In the meantime, click here for the official announcement of the above details on the Star Wars website.

Speaking of Lowry Digital, we've gotten a lot of interesting feedback on that "digital negatives" story the NY Times ran over the weekend. Definitely a lot of people out there who are curious about this technology. One reader also reminded us of a story we linked to back in September about Japanese broadcaster NHK, which originated the basis for the current HDTV system, recently experimenting with a 4K HD video system. Looks like 4K may be the future of TV... albeit many years down the line. I'd like to point out that I first saw experimental HDTV demonstrations back in the mid-1980s... and we're only just now making the slow conversion to HDTV 20 years later. Still, it'll be interesting to watch as HD technology continues to progress and be refined.

Around the Net today, CNN's posted an article on the looming format war between Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD. There's nothing really new in the article in terms of information, but it's an excellent primer on the current state of next generation video discs. One interesting point is made by Geoffrey Kleinman of DVD Talk, who was interviewed for the story - consumers aren't really clambering for either of these new formats. He's right - it's the consumer electronics industry that's dying to get the new technology into consumers' homes. Specifically, they want to rejuvenate the gravy train of licensing and royalty fees they'll make from whichever format takes hold.

Still, while all this is interesting and seems rather ominous, you guys should relax. First of all, whichever format wins this war, all the machines will be able to play your current DVD discs (a point reiterated in the article), so you needn't worry about your existing DVD movie collection becoming obsolete. As long as you've been buying anamorphic widescreen DVDs (like we've been telling you for years), you're movies are going to look great on the new players. Second, if I had to guess, my feeling is that unless Hollywood really takes a stand one way or another, these high-definition videodisc formats will take hold very slowly and there won't be a clear winner for some time. It may even be that the formats will coexist uncomfortably for years. Why do I think this? Because that's exactly what's happening right now in high-resolution audio with DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD. Both are excellent in terms of quality, with each format having its own strengths and weaknesses. But the existence of two formats has basically killed the momentum of both, meaning that most consumers (who are plenty happy with current CDs) are warming the bench, at least for this generation of high-resolution audio technology. I guess no one ever said change was easy. CD and DVD might have been obvious choices for consumers, but the high-resolution revolution, be it audio OR video, is going to be a long, tough slog. Our advice with Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD will likely be the same as our position right now with DVD-A and SACD - either wait until there's a clear winner, or wait until there are affordable combo players that play both formats. Nothing wrong with good old CD and DVD in the meantime, right?

Around the site this morning, we've kicked off SIX new Contests, giving you all a chance to win BBC and Warner's The Office: The Complete Second Series, Disney's The Haunted Mansion, MGM's Casa de los Babys and Recipe for Disaster, a great WWII-themed prize package from The History Channel in honor of Band of Brothers, ABC's Celebrity Mole: Hawaii and Universal's The Cat in the Hat. The contests will run until Noon PDT on Saturday, April 24th, so get your entries in.

Finally, don't forget that tonight at 5 PM PDT, the staff of The Digital Bits will be participating in a live chat with our friends at IGN DVD. We'll answer your questions about upcoming titles, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD, and basically whatever strikes your fancy. We expect the chat to run for an hour or two. Click here for all the details on how to participate. Hope to see you there!

Back later this morning with Todd's Weekly Roundup. Stay tuned...

4/19/04

Yeah... I know you've all been waiting for news on Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series complete season sets. Well, we have nothing new yet from the studio, however a number of U.K. retailers are reporting Region 2 street dates as follows: Season 1 on 8/30, Season 2 on 11/1 and Season 3 on 12/6 (one would expect the U.S./Region 1 dates to be similar). We also have a tentative early look at the Region 2 packaging for Seasons 2 & 3 (though the R1 art is likely to be quite different, if Paramount follows its past history with Trek releases in the U.S.). Here's what the U.K. will get...

R2 Star Trek: The Original Series packaging

We'll post more info/art as soon as we have it.

In news today, there's very exciting word over at CNN about the discovery of a one-of-a-kind print of the 1922 silent film Beyond the Rocks, starring Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson. The film had been thought lost for nearly 75 years, but a copy was just found in a private collection which was bequeathed to the archive Filmmuseum in the Netherlands. If only more private collectors would open up their libraries to film historians, many more long-lost gems might be re-discovered. Just goes to show you, you never know what you might find in your attic.

Also today, Fred Kaplan over at The New York Times has revealed a fascinating new project the folks at Lowry Digital have been working on in secret for the last few months (the story was in the Sunday issue - a free subscription is required to access the online article). As you know, John Lowry and his team specialize in the digital restoration of classic films, and have recently worked on such films as Once Upon a Time in the West, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Star Wars trilogy for their respective DVD releases. The project that Lowry has just revealed is nothing less than an attempt to create "digital negatives" of films.

A little background is in order - current DVD carries 525 lines of picture resolution, while full HDTV carries 1,080 lines of resolution (this is the same resolution of the forthcoming Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats). However, in order to duplicate the full resolution of 35mm film in digital video, you'd need to scan the prints at a whopping 4,000 lines (also known as 4K resolution). That's exactly what Lowry is attempting. By scanning entire films at full 4K resolution, they're creating digital copies of films that are every bit as good as the original optical camera negatives. These digital files can then be digitally cleaned of dust, scratches and other impurities, and can also be color corrected by the original director or D.P. (if they're still with us) to ensure that the resulting image is exactly as the filmmakers intended it to look. This 4K file is then of high enough resolution that perfect quality film prints can be made from it for future theater screenings. What's more, a 4K resolution master is more than good enough for HDTV, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc uses. They're of high enough resolution, in fact, that they're likely to be good for future (as yet undreamed of) home video formats as well. Best of all, these "digital negatives" will never fade or deteriorate over time, as long as the data drives are properly stored and cared for.

The process is absolutely fascinating, and could have a HUGE impact on the preservation of our film heritage for future generations. You should know that MGM recently commissioned the 4K scanning of 6 of its classic James Bond films. These 4K masters could be used to generate new DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases. Even if they're just released on standard DVD at 525 lines, because the source is of such high resolution, these new DVD copies should look far superior to MGM's previous DVD releases of the films. We'll have to keep a close eye on this. Fascinating, no?

In terms of upcoming DVD news, the May issue of Diamond Comics' Previews catalog is reporting a July release window for Warner's Batman: The Animated Series - Season One box set (SRP $44.98). The set will include all 27 episodes in production order. Also on the way from Warner is a Challenge of the Superfriends: Season One DVD set (SRP $29.98) and Justice League: Starcrossed - The Movie (SRP $19.97). Additional titles reported by Previews for July release include ADV's Farscape: Season 4, Collection 5 (SRP $39.98 - which I believe completes the series) and 20th Century Fox's Millennium: The Complete First Season (SRP $59.98). Many of these titles have yet to be officially announced, so consider this Rumor Mill material until they do. Click here for an Adobe PDF file of the May Previews order form online. Scan down to the bottom for the DVD info.

All right... we know what you've all been waiting for this this afternoon. We promised you a big Upcoming DVD Cover Art update for today... and a BIG one we've got for you. We've just posted nearly 140 new cover scans! There are some great titles and much of this art is hot off the presses, so we hope you enjoy it. As always, all the titles can be pre-ordered at Amazon.com by clicking on the covers, which helps support our continued work here at The Bits. We appreciate it!

We'll be back tonight to kick off a new batch of Contests.

Stay tuned...

4/16/04

Sometime in the next couple of years, high-definition disc technology will start finding its way onto store shelves and into your living rooms. And as you know, we're going to be closely following the development and roll-out of both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the months ahead. But every once in a while, a wrinkle develops in new technologies that is just absolutely fascinating. And here's a perfect example:

Sony Electronics and a Japanese printing company have announced the development of a new type of optical disc, which will be compatible with the forthcoming Blu-ray Disc format, that is 51% made from paper. I don't know what advantage of that would be, other than maybe making the discs cheaper and more environmentally friendly if they eventually end up in a landfill, but... damn. Pardon my grammatically incorrect phraseology, but don't that just beat all?

It's a wierd and wondrous world we live in.

Anyway, there's not much news to report today, so we're going to start working on next week's content. Look for a bunch of new reviews, another Roundup from Doogan and, on Monday, a big Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork post. I mean big, as in TONS of cover art. Godzilla big.

'Til then, have yourselves a merry little weekend. Peace out.

4/15/04

Oh, those pesky Visitors are back and they just can't stop with the wanting to take over the Earth and have Humanity for lunch. What's that mean for all of you? Yes... V: The Complete Series is finally headed to DVD on 7/27 from Warner (SRP $39.98). The 3-disc set will include the entire 19-episode series in its original full frame video with Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio. It doesn't look like there will be much in the way of extras, but frankly having this series on DVD at all is a bit of a miracle. Here's the cover art for that...

V: The Complete SeriesSpartanThe Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

As you can see, Warner will also release Spartan (staring Val Kilmer, Derek Luke and William H. Macy) on 6/15 (SRP $24.98). Extras will include commentary with Kilmer.

That's also the cover art for Columbia TriStar's modern take on cheesy 1950's horror, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (6/22), which will include anamorphic widescreen video, director and cast commentary, character commentary, a blooper reel, video of the American Cinematheque Q&A session, the Obey the Skeleton featurette, a photo gallery, the Skeleton Frolic short film and bonus trailers (of actual 1950s horror films).

By the way, I had the chance to catch the premiere screening of Roger Nygard's Trekkies 2 at the Paramount lot last night. It's every bit as funny as the original Trekkies, this time featuring a look at the international Trek fan phenomenon. There are also some fun updates on what a few of the people in the first film have been up to since we last saw them, as well as a look at a Trek-themed bands and some shockingly elaborate fan film productions. Roger tells me that he's already hard at work on the DVD release, which will feature animated menus designed by Bakersfield, CA's now infamous Gabriel Köerner, and much more. The DVD will street later in 2004 from Paramount. In the meantime, you can catch the film in theaters on the festival circuit, starting with the Newport Beach Film Festival on Tuesday, April 20th. Be sure to visit the official site for information on upcoming screenings in your area.

Speaking of Paramount, we've gotten word from the studio that their Untouchables: Special Collector's Edition, which had tentatively been slated for July, may now get pushed back to later in 2004. We'll update you when we hear anything new on the title.

Stay tuned...

4/14/04

Today, we're gonna break down some new DVD news and announcements for you, so here goes.

First up, according to the latest issue of Video Business, director Quentin Tarantino has big plans for both Kill Bill, Volume 1 and Volume 2 on DVD. The director has been quoted as saying that he cut an alternate version of Kill Bill, Volume 1 for release in Japan, that will be released in the States eventually. This version contains both new footage and omissions. He also plans to assemble a complete 4-hour version of both films together for art house theatrical screenings. Look for a multi-disc "major special edition" of both films on DVD, which may include significant deleted scenes (including the original introduction to the character of Bill, who originally fought Michael Jai White, as well as the original scene at the wedding chapel). Tarantino is also reportedly considering releasing additional stand-alone supplemental discs after the main DVD release. He was apparently inspired to do this by Universal's recent American Pie: Beneath the Crust DVDs.

Okay Quentin... we're ALL for a killer Kill Bill mega special edition, believe me. But the Beneath the Crust additional bonus disc idea is lame. Beneath the Crust did little but piss off fans who had already purchased multiple versions of the American Pie films on DVD - you could only get them by buying yet ANOTHER version of the films. Our advice is just release one massive special edition with everything, and if you really have to do more, wait for high-definition. Just our two cents.

In other news, Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro is preparing 2 different versions of that film for DVD. The first will be a 2-disc set for the more casual fans of the film. Then, for the hard-core fans, there will be a longer version of the film (by about 20 minutes) as a 3-disc special edition. There will be very candid and in-depth material on that more elaborate version, consistent what the kind of material that appeared on his Blade II DVD - commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes and the like. Look for the first version to possibly be released by Columbia TriStar in August, with the more elaborate version possibly arriving in December (exact dates are still TBD/TBA).

In other news, Variety is reporting that Morgan Creek head James Robinson is lobbying to get Warner Bros to release Paul Schrader's never-before-seen, original version of Exorcist: The Beginning on DVD, as a possible bonus item on (or as a simultaneous release with) Renny Harlin's final version. Harlin's Exorcist: The Beginning is already set to be released into theaters on 8/20. Schrader's version was reportedly scrapped by Warner because it wasn't scary enough. Schrader, however, maintains that he delivered exactly the film the studio asked for, but that the studio later changed their minds. The dual DVD release would be a way to resolve the "the contractual issues of his [Schrader] being owed a preview and an official screening." It would also avoid possible Directors Guild of America credit arbitration on Harlin's version. There's no comment yet from Warner or the DGA.

Confirmed Warner DVDs newly announced by the studio include La Femme Nikita: The Complete Second Season on 7/20 (SRP $99.98), and the 2004 remake of The Goodbye Girl on 7/20 as well (SRP $24.98).

MGM is reportedly prepping a Species 3 direct to video DVD for release later this year, as well as new special editions of the first two films in the series for 2005.

DreamWorks is tentatively planning a multi-disc Gladiator: Director's Cut DVD for 2005, which will include Ridley Scott's longer version of the film (many of the deleted scenes on the previous DVD release will be edited back into the film, and there will be new bonus material as well).

Columbia TriStar will release The Secret Window on 6/29. This would normally go in The Rumor Mill (along with the Gladiator tidbit), because the title hasn't been announced yet. Just FYI.

Columbia TriStar HAS announced The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra: Special Edition and Songwriter for 6/22, as well as the 50 First Dates: Special Edition, Hangman's Knot and a Black Hawk Down: Superbit DVD for 6/15.

NBC's Boomtown will find its way to DVD as a 6-disc set on July 20th, complete with cast and crew audio commentary and more.

Buena Vista has just announced the release of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen for 7/20 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include audio commentary, a deleted scene and a behind-the-scenes featurette, along with both full frame and widescreen video on the same disc.

The studio will also release a Freaky Friday 2-pack with both the original 1976 version and the new 2003 remake in the same set. Look for that on 6/1 (SRP $39.99). The original Freaky Friday will include anamorphic widescreen video and an all-new interview with Jodie Foster.

Additional titles newly announced for DVD by Buena Vista include The Princess Diaries: Special Edition (8/3 - SRP $29.99), The Shaggy Dog and The Shaggy D.A. (both 8/3 - SRP $19.99 each) and After Image (Miramax - 7/13 - SRP $29.99).

And Universal has announced 2 Brothers and a Bride for 7/6, as well as both Knight Rider: Season One and Sliders: Seasons 1 & 2 for release on 8/3.

Finally today, in a bit of site news, I'd also like to announce that staffers from The Digital Bits will be doing another live online chat with our friend Andy Patrizio at IGN DVD. The chat will start at 5 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 20th, and will continue for a couple of hours. Click here for all the details on how you can participate. Save up all your DVD questions for the chat, and we'll try to answer them!

That's all for now. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 4/13/04 - 11 AM PDT)

We're back with Todd's Weekly Release Roundup! Not a lot of new titles hit stores this week, but there are a few good ones in there. Don't miss it!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 4/13/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got a pair of new DVD reviews to kick things off this morning, and both have a decidedly SciFi bent. Adam Jahnke's got his thoughts on the capper to the Wachowskis' cyber cool trilogy in Warner's 2-disc The Matrix Revolutions. He also takes a look at Paramount's adaptation of Michael Crichton's 16th Century time travel romp, otherwise known as Timeline.

Also today, we've added two more Contests to the batch from yesterday, including one for Anchor Bay's Highlander: Season Four and one for a Biography Channel Cult TV prize package including Kids in the Hall: Season One and more. Be sure to get your entries in.

Back later with more. Stay tuned...

4/12/04

For those of you who celebrate Easter or Passover, I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend. We had a nice relaxing weekend around here. My appearance on the Techtalk Radio with Mike and Andy radio show (on Sunday) was a lot of fun. We talked about DVD movies, what's ahead for the technology and the like. They're a bunch of fun guys over there, no doubt about it. You'll be able to listen to the archived show on the Techtalk Radio website soon, so do check it out if you missed it.

By the way, have any of you guys been watching HBO's new series, Deadwood? Damn, what a great piece of work. I've seen 4 or 5 episodes now, and not a bad one in the bunch. It's a Western, set in the makeshift mining camp of Deadwood, South Dakota during the gold rush. The show's got a real gritty feel to it, and a fantastic ensemble cast - TONS of faces you'll recognize, but they all fit in perfectly. The feel of the series reminds me a lot of the film Tombstone. Anyway, it's great stuff. Be sure to catch it if you can - Sunday nights right after Sopranos (which has also been great this year so far).

Let's get to news. Paramount has announced more new DVD releases for July. On 7/6, look for Big Top Pee-Wee, Crazy People, Critical Condition, First Monday in October, Heartburn and Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Third Season. Following on 7/13, look for Danger: Diabolik, The Assassination Bureau, The Counterfeit Traitor, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Against the Ropes (the recent Meg Ryan film). By the way, Against the Ropes will feature a pair of featurettes (A Ringside Seat and Queen of the Ring: Jackie Kallen, Then & Now) and the theatrical trailer.

Additional titles to look forward to from Paramount in July include the long-awaited The Untouchables: Special Collector's Edition, Miss Lettie and Me, Rocket Power: Island of the Menehune and a Star Trek: The Next Generation - Captain Picard box set.

Around the site today, our own Barrie Maxwell has checked in with another Classic Reviews Roundup, featuring reviews of 8 new releases from Warner, including The Chaplin Collection, Volume 2, For Me and My Gal, Gaslight, The Great Ziegfeld, In the Good Old Summertime, the Meet Me in St. Louis: Special Edition, Mutiny on the Bounty and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. Don't miss it!

We've also updated all of the DVD sales and rental data we track, including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers (for the 3rd week or March). Just FYI.

And we've kicked off 4 new Contests today as well, giving you all a shot to take home copies of Warner's Babylon 5: The Complete Fifth Season, HBO's The Hitchhiker, Buena Vista's Kill Bill, Volume 1, Paul McCartney: The Music and the Animation Collection and The Third Wheel and a pair of Comedy Central titles by comedian Mitch Hedberg (a very funny guy - just saw him last week at the Brea Improv), including Mitch All Together (DVD & CD) and Strategic Grill Locations (CD).

Bits editor Bill Hunt
Bill Hunt - photo by Mark Robert Halper
Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to spotlight our current Artist of the Month, Mark Robert Halper. For a long time now, I've been needing to have head shots done, for use here on The Bits and for interviews, magazine articles and the like. Sarah and I have also been wanting to have good pictures of the two of us taken to give to our family. As it turns out, people photography is high among Mark's many talents. He's photographed an amazing and diverse group of celebrities and other personalities - everyone from cast members of Farscape, Enterprise and Angel, to the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Bill Gates and the band Tears for Fears. When he applied for our artist program, he was an easy choice. As you can see for yourself when you visit his website, his work really is fantastic.

Turns out, Mark is also a longtime reader of The Digital Bits. So Sarah and I recently spent an afternoon in his Hollywood studio. We were thrilled with the result (you can see a few samples from our photo session here or by clicking on the photo of yours truly). We actually had such a great time that we all went out to dinner and a movie at the Arclight afterwards. Long story short, Mark's a really great guy, he's affordable and he's a helluva talent. If you're an actor, a filmmaker, an artist, etc, and you need good head shots taken, he's the guy to call. Be sure to tell him The Bits sent you.

Okay... enough for now. We'll be back tomorrow with another edition of Doogan's Weekly Release Roundup and more.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 4/9/04 - 2 PM PDT)

Okay... this was just too good not to post before we sign off for the week. Paramount has just announced the DVD release of South Park: The Complete Fourth Season for 6/29 (no SRP but retail is expected to be under $40). The 3-disc set will include all 17 episodes in their original full frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, along with mini commentaries on each episode by series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Here's the cover art...

South Park: The Complete Fourth SeasonReno 911!: The Complete First SeasonThe Joe Schmo Show: Season One Uncensored

And yes, that's also art for Reno 911!: The Complete First Season and The Joe Schmo Show: Season One Uncensored (both street on 6/22). Reno 911! is a 2-disc set which will include all 14 episodes plus alternate/deleted scenes and audio commentary on 4 episodes by the director and cast. Joe Schmo will include all 8 episodes on 3 discs, plus 5 uncensored deleted scenes, extended cast interviews, the "extended and unblurred Chocolate Sauce on Models sequence, and The Making of the Meal featurette.

I also wanted to let you know that I'll be appearing for about 10 minutes on Techtalk Radio with Mike and Andy, this Sunday at 11:35 AM PDT, to talk about the latest in DVD news. The show is broadcast on KTKT/KLPX in Tucson, Arizona, and you can also listen online at the show's official website. Catch you on the airwaves!

NOW, we're done. See you Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 4/9/04 - 1 PM PDT)

Today's Two Cents is going to be a little light, because we're already hard at work on Monday's post! But we do have a couple of parting gifts for you to end the week...

First up, we have details on Paramount's Star Trek: Voyager - Season Three. The set will street on 7/6 and will include all 26 episodes in their original full frame video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include the Braving the Unknown: Season Three, Voyager Time Capsule: Neelix, Voyager Time Capsule: Kes, Flashback to "Flashback", Red Alert! Amazing Visual Effects, Real Science with Andre Bormanis and Lost Transmissions (interviews with cast & crew) featurettes, a photo gallery and Easter eggs.

Also today, we've posted two new audio/music reviews for you from our TAP crew: a DVD review of Sanctuary's King Crimson: Eyes Wide Open and an SACD review of Columbia's Billy Joel: The Stranger.

We've got some great new DVD cover art for you to check out today as well. Here's Star Trek: Voyager - Season Four (street date TBA), HBO's K Street: The Complete Series (7/20), Warner's Friends: The Series Finale - Exclusive Limited Edition (5/11), MGM's The Day After (5/18), the Charlie Chan: Chanthology box set (7/6), the Thunderbirds: International Rescue Edition 2-disc set (7/27) and the Showgirls: VIP Edition box set (also 7/27)...

Star Trek: Voyager - Season FourK Street: The Complete SeriesFriends: The Series Finale - Exclusive Limited Edition

The Day AfterCharlie Chan: Chanthology box setThunderbirds: International Rescue Edition 2-disc set

Showgirls: VIP Edition box set

Okay... we'll see you back here on Monday with a new column from our own Barrie Maxwell. We've also got a big cover art update slated for next week, TONS of new DVD reviews (including The Matrix Revolutions) and much more.

Have a great weekend, folks! Peace out.


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