We've got some great TV news for you today! Paramount has just
officially announced a whole mess of new TV releases on DVD, both new
and classic series! Let's run them down for you.
First up, Happy Days: The Complete First
Season arrives on 8/17, featuring all 16 episodes of the
show's first year on 3 discs. Also on 8/17, look for Laverne
& Shirley: The Complete First Season featuring 15
episodes on 3 discs. That same day, you'll also get a more recent show -
Al Franken's Lateline: The Complete Series,
which will feature all 19 episodes of the series (including 4 that never
aired) on 3 discs.
Oh, but that's not all. Paramount has announced a number of additional
TV releases as well. Touched by an Angel:
Season 1, Survivor All Stars
and I Love Lucy: Season 2 will all
street on 8/31, with Keen Eddie: The Complete
Series and Mork & Mindy:
Season 1 following on 9/7. 7th
Heaven: Season 1 and CSI: Crime
Scene Investigation - Season 4 are expected on 9/14. Frasier:
The Final Season is due on 9/21. Finally, The
Andy Griffith Show: Season 1, Taxi:
Season 1, The Jamie Kennedy
Experiment: Season 2, Hogan's
Heroes: Season 1 and CSI: Miami -
Season 2 are all expected to arrive on 10/12. Whew!
We've got some New Line news for you as well today. No, they still
haven't announced The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition. BUT...
they have revealed a few good Halloween titles. Look for Tobe Hooper's
The Mangler on 8/17 (featuring an
alternate scene edit comparison, the original theatrical trailer and
both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio - SRP: $19.97). Also coming on 8/17
are a director's cut of The Guyver
and (as far as we know) the theatrical version of The
Just FYI, since Todd's power was out this weekend, his Weekly
Release Roundup will be posted a bit later than usual -
tonight for tomorrow - so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Hope you all had a great weekend! Sarah and I spent ours looking for
trees for our house, Todd spent part of his without power, and Matt
spent his building a new computer. Been a strange few days around here!
We've got a big DVD announcement for you today. As we predicted in
Rumor Mill last week, Columbia TriStar has officially revealed
that they'll debut the 2-disc Hellboy:
Special Edition on 7/27 (SLP $28.95). The set will include
the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Extras will include deleted scenes, two audio commentaries (featuring
director Guillermo del Toro and cast members), "DVD comics" (a
never-before-done DVD feature containing eight branching DVD comics by
Mike Mignola), an onscreen look at Hellboy
comic books with the creator, the Hellboy:
The Seeds of Creation 27-part documentary (focusing on
brining Hellboy from the script to
the screen), The Right Hand of Doom: Set
Visits viewing option (at key moments during the movie
viewers are given the option to branch out to a short featurette showing
what life was like on the set during that day of shooting), a
feature-length storyboard track (another DVD first - a
picture-in-picture-feature that storyboards the entire film), weblinks
and more. Sounds pretty cool. Be aware that, according to director
Guillermo del Toro himself, an even MORE elaborate 3-disc director's cut
is expected to be available in time for the holidays.
Other newly announced Columbia TriStar releases due on 7/27 include
They Came to Cordura, The
Devil's Backbone: Special Edition (also by Guillermo del
Toro), The Jeff Foxworthy Show: The Complete
First Season and Dragon Tales:
Believe in Yourself! The studio has also added a Half
Past Dead/Foreigner 2-pack and Side
by Side to its 7/20 slate.
Here's the cover art for Hellboy,
Devil's Backbone, Aircraft Films'
Memphis Belle (6/30), final cover
art for Disney's Aladdin: Special Edition
(10/5), Universal's Backbeat
(9/28) and Criterion's French Can Can,
one of the new Renoir titles they're working on for July...
Speaking of the Memphis Belle, it's worth noting that Robert Morgan,
the commander of the Belle, passed away this weekend. He was 85.
Also today, we've gotten word that Image Entertainment is going to be
releasing Combat: The Complete First Season
sometime in July. Word is that the release will be in 2 parts, each a
box set with cool extras. We'll post more details when we have them.
Finally this afternoon, we've kicked off a whopping FIVE new
today, giving each of you the chance to win copies of HBO's
Sex and the
City: The Complete Sixth Season, Part One, Disney's
and the new Walt
Disney Treasures titles, MGM's
the Bad and the Ugly and
Escape special editions, and Sideshow Toys' retired
figure from Monty Python's The Life of
Brian! Entries will be accepted until Noon PDT on Saturday,
May 22nd. Please wait until tonight to start entering - we've modified
the way our Contest e-mail is
handled, so there shouldn't be any more problems with e-mails getting
bounced back. Thanks for you patience!
(LATE UPDATE - 5/14/04 -
1:30 PM PDT)
Warner has announced that they're going to be releasing The
Whole Ten Yards on 7/27 (SRP $27.95). The only announced
extra at this time is audio commentary with the director & writer.
Also on the way from Warner is a Goonies/Beetlejuice
2-pack for 8/10 (SRP $24.98).
Some Universal news... Double Indemnity
has unfortunately been dropped from the studio's 7/6 Film Noir promotion
- no reason given. Hopefully, they're working on a better release of the
film to street on a later date. A pair of Beatles related titles, I
Want to Hold Your Hand and Backbeat,
are coming on 9/28. Also, the studio will release Half-Caste
Universal has also announced that the new version of Ned
Kelly (with Orlando Bloom, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts and
Geoffrey Rush) will be released on 7/27. Extras will include the Ned
Kelly in Popular Culture and The
Real Kelly Gang featurettes, an artist to feature comparison,
a gallery of poster campaign art, theatrical trailers and more (SRP
Speaking of new announcements, we have word on the street date for the
2-disc release of Columbia TriStar's Hellboy
Also today, Spacecraft
Films, makers of those great From the
NASA Archives DVDs (distributed by Fox), is turning their
efforts to aviation titles as well. Under the
banner, they've already released F4F Wildcat
and F-86 Sabre (SRP $29.99 each),
which feature tons of historical and archival footage, interviews with
pilots, documentary material, a look at early test flights for the
aircraft and much more. On the way for 6/30 is a 60th Anniversary 2-disc
set of the William Wyler Memphis Belle Army
Air Corps movie, newly restored (through an HD transfer). The
set will be packed with footage from the 34 reels of film (held at the
National Archives) that were shot during the production. There's also a
3-disc F4U Corsair release coming
on 7/6. Here's cover art for the available Aircraft Films titles, as
well as Ned Kelly:
Speaking of F4U Corsair, is
anyone else hoping that Universal will eventually get around to
releasing The Black Sheep Squadron
TV series on DVD? We are poor little lambs, who have lost our way...
baaa, baaa, baaaaaa. Love that show.
News has posted word that when the Star
Wars Trilogy DVDs hit stores on 9/21, the set's
feature-length Empire of Dreams: The Story of
the Star Wars Trilogy documentary will include interviews
with more than 40 members of the cast and crew from all three of the
Okay... have yourselves a merry little weekend. See you Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/14/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning, folks! Man, did any of you out there catch the finish to the
Lakers/Spurs game last night? Holy s#@t... talk about a great ending.
I'm not a fan or either team (I'm rooting for the T-Wolves, like any
good ex-Minnesotan), but the Lakers pulled out a one-point victory on an
amazing basket with just .4 seconds left in the game. That came after
the Spurs had gone ahead on an equally amazing shot with less than a
second left in the game. I'll tell you, I've never seen anything like
it. Some good basketball in these playoffs, that's for sure.
Anyway, I thought I'd check in early this morning with a new DVD review
for you. Actually, it's one review of three DVD releases. I've just
given Columbia TriStar's forthcoming
Boot: The Original Uncut Version a spin (street date: 6/1),
and put together an in-depth review comparing it to the original Das
Boot: The Director's Cut release, as well as the more recent
Das Boot: The Director's Cut - Superbit
Edition. Whichever version you choose on DVD, this is a truly
great flick - one of the best war films ever made in fact. Anyway, I
hope you enjoy the review.
Back later. Stay tuned...
Thanks to everyone who has sent in their thoughts on David Prior's
Room Production Journal. Seems like a lot of people really
enjoyed it. Rest assured, we're forwarding all your comments on to
David, and he appreciates them.
Not much news today, other than that we can report comedian Jerry
Seinfeld, appearing on The Tonight Show
last night, said that he expects the first season of the Seinfeld
TV series to arrive on DVD in November. We'll be sure to let you know
when the title is officially announced. Thanks to Bits
reader Bryan P for that.
We're working on some DVD reviews for tomorrow, but we have a very
interesting one for you in the meantime. Our own Rob Hale has chimed in
with a look at one of the strangest (and most welcome) DVD releases in
some time... David Lynch's
This disc has been available for some time now, but you can only buy it
through the web store at DavidLynch.com.
It's a spendy $50, but if you're a fan of the film, and Lynch's work in
general, you'll definitely find it worth the price as you'll see in the
review. So enjoy that!
We hope some of you had the chance to watch yet another great episode
of Star Trek: Enterprise last
night. Just two more left this season, and hopefully it will get picked
up for another year (Call UPN if you want to see that happen -
1-310-575-7000 - ask for the Save
Enterprise voicemail box). We should know in about a week,
when UPN announces their fall line-up. I'll tell you, we just can't wait
to see this show on DVD eventually, in full anamorphic widescreen.
By the way, in the interest of equal time (and because we know there
are many of you who love the show), we'd like to encourage you to
support the Saving
Angel campaign as well. Can't let these suits at the networks
replace all the great genre shows with so-called "reality"
garbage. The X-Files is gone, Farscape,
Buffy and Firefly
got the axe, now Angel, and maybe
Enterprise too... bastards!
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/12/04 - 2
Anyone interested in knowing what you can look forward to for Walt
Disney Treasures, Wave 4? Well, following a special screening
last night in Hollywood of short films from the forthcoming Walt
Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines collection, animation
historian Jerry Beck and Dave Bossert, the producer of the On
the Front Lines DVD, held a Q&A session with members of
the audience. They revealed that the next batch of titles in the series
will include True Life Adventures,
Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 2,
a Pluto collection, and a Mickey
Mouse Club collection. Look for them in December. You can
read a full report on the evening's events at the
News website. Thanks to Bits
reader Ben for the link.
Some new Warner announcements: look for Son
of Lassie, Courage of Lassie
and Lassie Come Home on 8/24, as
well as Flipper and Flipper's
New Adventure (SRP $14.97 each). And on 9/7, watch for a Wattstax:
The Special Edition DVD with newly-remastered anamoprhic
widescreen picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, along with a "lost"
1973 ending (performed by Isaac Hayes), audio commentary by Chuck D and
music historian Rob Bowman, and additional "never before seen"
footage (SRP $24.98).
Also today, don't forget to check out our current
of the Month - Callie Danae Hirsch.
Callie is a New York artist with degrees from NYU and the Parsons School
of Design. She has three sections of work you can see
website: paintings, ink drawings and mannequins. Her artwork is
richly organic and vibrant, with incredible and very beautiful detail.
Click on over and take a look when you have a moment. I think you'll be
glad you did.
Speaking of artists, if you're in the L.A. area this weekend, our
artist from October of last year, Todd
White, will be in booth 414 at the Affair in the Gardens art show
in Beverly Hills (along Santa Monica Blvd in the park). He's there all
day Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to stop by (tell him The
Bits sent you)!
And don't forget to watch Star Trek:
Enterprise tonight on UPN! Just a couple episodes left this
season, and looks like they're going to be great ones.
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/12/04
- 12:01 AM PDT)
We're pleased to finally bring you
Two of DVD producer David Prior's
Room Production Journal. In this second half, David takes us
inside the audio commentary recording process, discusses the creation of
the DVD menus screens and more. Watch for our review of the Panic
Room: Special Edition very soon. Thanks, David!
Also this morning, we've got a pair of new DVD reviews for you. Adam
Jahnke's given Warner's
a look, and Brad Pilcher's turned in his thoughts on Shout! Factory's
Riders, Raging Bulls documentary.
We've got an interesting announcement for you TV on DVD fans this
morning. Warner has revealed that they'll release the 5-disc Dallas:
The Complete First and Second Seasons on 8/24 (SRP $49.98).
All 29 first and second year episodes will be included in their original
full frame aspect ratio, along with Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio. Extras
will include the Soaptalk Dallas Reunion
featurette (with Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Charlene
Tilton) and audio commentary on the series pilot (and select other
episodes) featuring stars Larry Hagman and Charlene Tilton, with series
creator David Jacobs.
And on the way from Columbia TriStar on 7/20 are Broken
Wings, Out of Reach,
Castle Keep, All
in the Family: The Complete Third Season, Soap:
The Complete Second Season and Starsky
& Hutch: The Complete Second Season.
Here's the cover art for Dallas,
All in the Family, Soap
and Starsky & Hutch, along
with Universal's Sugarland Express
(8/17) and very cool new artwork that's been created by Drew Struzan
(also available on
website) for the packaging of Warner's TBA Shawshank
Redemption: 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD (thanks to
Bits reader Tom F. for the
By the way, we've been getting a few e-mails from readers trying to
enter our latest Contests,
who say that their entries are bouncing back. We're looking into this
and we'll let you know as soon as we've resolved the problem. Thanks for
(LATE UPDATE - 5/11/04 - 3:30 PM PDT)
Okay... we're back with Todd's
Release Roundup. This week, Todd reviews some 13 new DVDs
you'll find in stores today, including a number of new TV series
We'll be back tonight with the next part of the Panic
Room Production Journal, and we've got more disc reviews
coming tomorrow as well. Stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 5/11/04 -
12:30 PM PDT)
We'll be back soon with more, but first we have some big Universal news
we wanted to get posted.
On 8/17, the studio will finally (cross your fingers) release their
Duel: Collector's Edition (SRP
$19.98). Extras will include the featurettes A
Conversation with Director Steven Spielberg, Steven
Spielberg and the Small Screen and Richard
Matheson: The Writing of Duel, a photograph and poster art
gallery, the trailer, cast and filmmaker bios and production notes. Also
coming on 8/17 is Sugarland Express
(SRP $19.98) - no word on extras.
On 8/31, look for a Jesus Christ Superstar:
Special Edition (SRP $19.98), that will include new audio
commentary with director Norman Jewison and actor Ted Neely, the
trailer, cast and filmmaker bios and production notes.
On 9/7, watch for a Mask: Special Edition
(SRP $19.98) featuring a new interview with director Peter Bogdonovich.
On 9/28, the studio will release a Backbeat:
Collector's Edition (SRP $19.98), with audio commentary by
director Iain Softley, deleted scenes, an Iain Softley interview for the
Sundance Channel, another interview with Iain Softley and Ian Hart, a
director's essay, a TV featurette, video of the casting session, a photo
gallery, music videos, the MTV Video Music
Awards performance by the Backbeat Band, an interview with
(and photographs by) Astrid Kerchherr and a Stuart Sutcliffe paintings
gallery. Also on that day, watch for an I
Wanna Hold Your Hand: Collector's Edition (SRP $19.98), with
audio commentary with director/writer Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob
That's great and all, but where's the Flash
Gordon, Buck Rodgers in the 25th
Century and Dune
special editions? That's what I wanna know.
We also have some new MGM announcements today. On 8/3, look for Recipe
for Disaster. And on 8/24 the studio will release a double
feature of The Night Stalker/The Night
Strangler, along with The Apple,
Times (Sonny & Cher), Joyride,
Roller Boogie, A
Small Circle of Friends, Smile
and Zachariah, as well as a trio
of full frame/movie-only titles in its "Hannibal Lector Series"
at SRP $14.95 each: Michael Mann's Manhunter,
Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
Back later... stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/11/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)
It's here! We've just posted our in-depth review of New Line's 2-disc
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King DVD! Director Peter
Jackson's triumphant final entry in the Rings
trilogy arrives in stores on 5/25, and while the extras are pretty
anemic, the film is more than worth the price of purchase. New Line has
yet to announce the 4-disc Extended edition, but we expect it to be
available in time for the holidays. Of course, we'll give you all the
details as soon as they come in. In the meantime, enjoy the review! And
just in case you missed them, here are links to our
Fellowship of the Ring reviews, as well as our
Two Towers reviews, for comparison.
Also this morning, Matt's managed to fire off a
TAP update from his
still-functional laptop, and it's a dandy...
interview with Marshall Blonstein of Audio Fidelity.
We'll be back later today with Todd's Weekly
Release Roundup and the next part of DVD producer David
Room Production Journal. Stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 5/10/04 - 4:30 PM PDT)
Okay... as promised we're back with Barrie Maxwell's latest
Reviews Roundup. In this edition, Barrie reviews some 15
classic films on DVD newly released by 20th Century Fox, including Reefer
Grapes of Wrath, Roxie
by the Dozen, Belles
on Their Toes, As
Young As You Feel, Love
Make It Legal , We're
Not Married, Call
Me Madam, Prince
High Wind in Jamaica, Those
Magnificent Men... Flying Machines and Bandolero!.
Also this afternoon, we've kicked off some great new
on Fujitsu plasma TVs and more - be sure to check them out.
So enjoy those, and be sure to check back at Midnight for our in-depth
review of New Line's 2-disc The Lord of the
Rings: The Return of the King. See you then!
(LATE UPDATE - 5/10/04 -
2 PM PDT)
Afternoon folks. We're doing a little bit of shuffling today. We're
going to hold the next part of the Panic Room
Production Journal until tomorrow, but we'll be back with
Barrie's reviews in a little while. The reason? We've just gotten our
hands on New Line's The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King DVD, so we're already hard at work on
a review of that. The review is embargoed until tomorrow, so check back
tonight at Midnight for that. Also, we expect to have a review of the
Panic Room: Special Edition DVD
very soon as well (which will go nicely with the Journal),
along with Todd's new column. So lots of stuff cooking this afternoon
here at the old Bits.
There is big news that I wanted to chime in with now, however. 20th
Century Fox has revealed that they'll be releasing Mel Gibson's The
Passion of the Christ on DVD on 8/31 (SRP $29.98). There will
be few (if any) extras, so that the maximum video bit rate can be
achieved for the film presentation. The disc will include both
anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, as well as audio in the
original Aramaic/Latin in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround (with
English and Spanish subs). Sources are telling us that a more elaborate
special edition release is in the works, for a possible Easter 2005
release. You can read more on this
And here's the cover art...
Back soon. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/10/04 -
12:01 AM PDT)
Hope you all had a great weekend. Before we get started, I wanted to
let you all know that Matt's computer took a serious dive on him over
the weekend, so it might be a few days before
MusicTAP gets updated
again. He's working hard to get up and running again, but when I say
serious dive, I mean Serious (with a capital "S"). As in not
quite bursting into flames Serious, but completely non-functional so
Matt's going gray Serious. Anyway, we feel your pain, Matt. Best wishes
restoring your HAL 9000.
Okay... big news today. Warner Bros. has finally announced their Goodfellas:
Special Edition for 8/17, as well as a 5-title Martin
Scorsese Collection box set (SRP $59.92) that includes Goodfellas
along with After Hours, Alice
Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Who's
Knocking at My Door? and a Mean
Streets: Special Edition.
The 2-disc Goodfellas: Special Edition
(SRP $26.99) will include audio commentary with Scorsese and members of
the cast and crew, another commentary featuring ex-gangster Henry Hill
and ex-FBI agent Edward McDonald. 4 "making of" documentaries
and the film's theatrical trailer. Mean
Streets: Special Edition (SRP $19.97) will include audio
commentary with Scorsese, a "making of" featurette and the
trailer. After Hours (SRP $19.97)
will include audio commentary with Scorsese, deleted scenes, a "making
of" featurette and the trailer. Alice
Doesn't Live Here Anymore (SRP $19.97) will include audio
commentary with Scorsese and cast members, a documentary and the
trailer. And Who's Knocking at My Door?
(SRP $19.97) will include audio commentary with Scorsese and Mardik
Martin, and a "making of" featurette. All the films will be
anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and will feature Dolby Digital 1.0 mono
audio, except Goodfellas which
will have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Here's cover art for Goodfellas
and Mean Streets, as well as
Image/Milestone's Winsor McCay: The Master
Edition (6/1), Disney's The Cat
from Outer Space and Hot Lead and
Cold Feet (street date 7/6 for both), and Red Distribution's
Kill Chiba Collection (5/18):
By the way, that Winsor McCay: The Master
Edition DVD (SRP $29.95) will include brand-new digital
transfers of every surviving film from the legendary animator (including
Little Nemo, How
a Mosquito Operates, Gertie the
Dinosaur, The Sinking of the
Lusitania, the existing fragments of The
Centaurs, Gertie on Tour,
Flip's Circus, Bug
Vaudeville, The Pet and
The Flying House), plus commentary
by McCay historian John Canemaker, a new piano score by composer Gabriel
Thibaudeau, Canemaker's Remembering Winsor
McCay documentary and a stills gallery. Should be a great
Around the site this morning, we've kicked off FOUR new
giving you all a shot to win Fox's
The Complete Ninth Season, Buena Vista's
3 and Dragon
of Johnny Lingo and
and Shout Factory's
Raging Bulls documentary. Entries will be accepted until Noon
PDT on Saturday, May 15th, so get 'em in quick!
We'll be back later with more reviews from Barrie and more
Room Production Journal as well. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/7/04 - 2 PM PDT)
We promised you we'd be back with some new DVD reviews, and here we
are. Our own Barrie Maxwell has checked in with a new
Reviews Roundup today, featuring reviews of a trio of new
2-disc releases - Paramount's
Ten Commandments: Special Collector's Edition (now available)
Great Escape: Special Edition and
Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Special Edition (both of which
street on 5/18). Don't miss it!
Well, that's it for another week. We've got a lot on the way for
Monday, including ANOTHER Classic Reviews
Roundup from Barrie, as well as the second part of David
Prior's Panic Room Production Journal.
And on Tuesday, we'll have a new review from our own Adam Jahnke, as
well as Todd's usual Weekly Release Roundup.
Plus, look for new Contests next
week, plenty of news and lots more DVD reviews.
Have a great weekend and we'll see you then!
(EARLY UPDATE -
5/7/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Well... anybody watch a little TV last night? Man! Matt and I went out
to dinner with our wives at like 6 PM, and by 7 the place was starting
to empty. Even our waitress checked out on us so she could get home and
see the Friends finale. Sheesh!
Anyway, hope you all enjoyed it.
Now then... a lot of you have been waiting for this title, so here
goes. Warner has just announced the DVD release of The
Lost Boys: Special Edition for 8/10 (SRP $26.99). The 2-disc
set will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (aspect ratio
2.40:1), with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director Joel
Schumacher, The Lost Boys: A Retrospective
documentary (with Joel Schumacher, Richard Donner, Keifer Sutherland,
Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Jamison Newlander, Greg Cannom,
Edward Herrmann and Michael Chapman), the Inside
the Vampire's Cave multi-part documentary (including A
Director's Vision, Comedy vs.
Horror, Fresh Blood: A New Look at
Vampires and The Lost Boys Sequel?),
the Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg
Cannom featurette, a photo gallery, the Haimster
& Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys featurette,
multi-angle video commentary with Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison
Newlander, deleted scenes, an interactive map of "vampires in the
ancient world", Lou Gramm's Lost in the
Shadows music video and the theatrical trailer.
Here's the cover art for that, along with Warner's Speedway
(8/3) and Freaks (8/10), both of
which we mentioned in
Mill yesterday, along with Paramount's Stepford
Wives reissue (6/14), and Columbia TriStar's I
Like it Like That and The 5th
Musketeer (both 7/13)...
Back later with reviews. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/6/04 - 2
We've got yet another update of
Rumor Mill for you today - no kidding - with word on some good
upcoming Warner titles (some confirmed) as well as likely choices for
Warner's next wave of Hanna Barbera animated DVD releases. Don't miss
Also this afternoon... I suppose I should have expected it in an
election year, but it's still a little surprising to me how quickly some
people are to turn any discussion into a hot-button political battle.
I've gotten more than a few e-mails this morning (based
on our earlier post) from angry people lambasting Michael Moore as
a liberal, un-American, axe-grinding blowhard, and from others trashing
Disney CEO Michael Eisner as a right-wing, ultra-conservative, neo-Nazi.
And I just don't give a rat's ass about any of that. Seriously, people!
Save the political rallying cry for November. I'm not interested.
My problem is with the idea of the mass communication of personal
opinion, whether it be by filmmakers or editorial columnists or TV and
radio pundits or what have you, in a media environment in which a few
massive corporations control the entire playing field - all the outlets
and resources for creation, distribution and exhibition of films, TV
shows, newspapers, talk shows, news commentary etc. For years now,
industry critics have been warning that as these massive media
conglomerates were allowed to buy ever more studios, publications,
broadcast stations and networks, and as they then merged into even
larger companies (like AOL/Time Warner, Fox News Corp, etc), there would
a greater danger of the stifling of opinions.
Look... I think Michael Moore is an okay guy, but I didn't care for all
the factual liberties he took in his last film, Bowling
for Columbine, nor did I care for his using the Academy
Awards as a bully pulpit. I think Mel Gibson's a pretty decent fella
too, and I've always loved his films, but I didn't much care for The
Passion of the Christ - not for any personal political or
religious reasons, but for the simple reason that I'm just not all that
interested in sitting in a theater for 3 hours watching a guy get beaten
to a bloody pulp.
The point is, whatever your feelings about controversial filmmakers and
their works, people have a right to agree or disagree with them, and a
right to see or not see their films. A few decades ago, when there were
lots of independent studios and distributors and TV stations, this
wouldn't have been an issue. If a major studio balked and pulled their
support, there would be plenty of other independent labels to step in
and take over. Not so anymore. How many studios and distributors bailed
on Gibson? How many millions of his own money did he have to spend to
get The Passion made and seen? You
might be thinking, well so what? The film did get made and it did get
seen. Turned out it was a monster hit and Gibson profited many times the
amount he spent. The problem is not everyone has the kind of personal
wealth Gibson does. Not every filmmaker can pull tens of millions out of
their own pocket to back their work.
If a studio or distributor pulls support for whatever reason -
political, economic or what have you - in THIS day and age, there aren't
many alternatives. And the more filmmakers have to face these kind of
market obstacles, the less likely controversial voices will be inclined
to make controversial films. The same is true of any creative (but
controversial) endeavor, meant for wide distribution to a mass audience.
Look at all the trouble Howard Stern is having these days. The decision
to pull his show from Clear Channel radio stations isn't just about
economics, I'll guarantee you that.
THAT is my problem with this. Is this a Constitutional free speech
issue? No... but it's a free speech issue of another sort just the same.
By the way, for the one or two of you out there who e-mailed me to say,
"You're a DVD website! Stick to DVD news!" My response is
this: There isn't a person on our staff who isn't about the love of
film, first and foremost. The Digital Bits
is a champion of films and filmmaking, and we are a champion of your
rights as film fans and consumers. DVD just happens to be the best way
for the most people to view films today, so that's what we deal with.
Tomorrow it could be Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD or something else, and then
we'll be a Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD or something else website. But we will
ALWAYS champion filmmaking, and the rights of filmmakers, and your
rights as film fans. That's why we fought DIVX, that's why we support
anamorphic widescreen and the presentation of films in their original
aspect ratio, and on and on and on. Hell... that's why we respect the
right of George Lucas to make all the changes he wants to Star
Wars, but it's also why we damn well want the original
version preserved for the future too.
What does that mean? It means sometimes we're gonna stick our heads
into an issue. You may not always agree ("I don't like widescreen -
I want my pan and scan!"), and we respect that, but there it is. So
get used to it or go elsewhere. I'm sure DVDHappyPlace.com
or whatever would be glad to have you.
'Nuff said. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/6/04 -
12:01 AM PDT)
We've got some troubling news today.
Moore is reporting on his website (and it's being reported by the
Hollywood Reporter and
as well), that Disney has pressured Miramax to pull its distribution
deal for Moore's new Bush-critical documentary, Fahrenheit
9/11. Whatever the reason for Disney's move, and whatever you
think of Moore (who definitely has a personal agenda in his filmmaking),
this has VERY disturbing implications for free speech in a media
environment that has come to be dominated by fewer and ever more massive
corporate players. I just find this really extremely alarming. Have we
become so polarized politically that some are willing to erode civil
liberties just to squash dissenting opinions? Another studio needs to
step up to the plate and distribute this film, NOW. Focus Films? Sony
Pictures Classics? Anyone...?
Around the site this morning, we've updated the DVD software sales and
rental data again (charted
And after yet another great Enterprise
episode last night, I thought it only appropriate to post a status
report on other Star Trek titles
on the way for DVD release later this year. You'll find that in today's
update of The
Rumor Mill, along with information on a few other Paramount
titles, and the scoop on Fox's Harsh Realm
as well. Don't miss it.
By the way, we're just not going to stop banging the Enterprise
drum until UPN picks it up for another season, so there you go.
While we're on the subject of TV shows, don't forget that tonight is
the series finale of Friends... as
if you hadn't already guessed from NBC's 24/7 coverage this week.
Overkill or not, it's been undenyably fun these last ten years. Come on,
admit it. You just know you have to watch the last episode... The
One Where Everybody Cries, or whatever. Yeah, sure... Ross'
first kid has gone missing, things haven't been the same since the
monkey went away and the series has long since jumped the shark... but
still. It was your show Gen-Xers, so enjoy the last one.
(LATE UPDATE - 5/5/04 -
3:30 PM PDT)
Okay... I feel compelled to remind all you Trekkies and Trekkers out
there to be sure to check out tonight's episode of Star
Trek: Enterprise. Also, our friends over at
inform me that UPN has created a special voicemail box for fans to call
to tell the network you want the show back for Season
4. Here's their press release:
UPN implements dedicated "SaveEnterprise.com"
After receiving a flood of calls from the website
www.saveenterprise.com. UPN has established a dedicated voice mailbox to
handle all Save Star Trek Enterprise calls to UPN.
A UPN representative confirmed that the calls coming in from the
website are major! So much that it was decided that the members of
saveenterprise.com warranted a dedicated voice mailbox. Therefore, when
you call all you need to do is ask the operator for the "SaveEnterprise.com"
voicemail and you will be redirected. We were also told by the UPN
representative that every message is listened too. Moreover, May 20,
2004 is fast approaching, we need to rally more support for the show as
time is of the essence. Everyone needs to call in NOW! Call several
times a day, if possible. Our goal is to flood UPN with calls from "SaveEnterprise."
Remember, we are going into the closing week we have momentum on our
side let us not waste it.
Here is the telephone number for UPN: 1-310-575-7000 (ask for the
SaveEnterprise.com voice mail, or if after hours press 3).
Operators at UPN are expecting your call: Call now!
Can't say it better than that. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/5/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)
I just wanted to check back in today with word that Warner Bros has
announced some new HBO and BBC DVD releases. On 8/3, look for HBO's
animated I Spy DVD Collection,
along with the separate I Spy: A Rockin'
Bronco and Other Stories and I
Spy: A Thing That Flings and Other Stories. The BBC's Graham
Norton: The Best of So Graham Norton streets on 8/10. HBO's
Jim Brown: All American arrives on
8/24, with Iron Jawed Angels set
for 9/7, and Heir to an Execution
and Angels in America following on
More tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/5/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Buena Vista has revealed that they'll be releasing a Mulan:
Special Edition on 10/26 (SRP $29.99). The 2-disc DVD will
feature the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include deleted scenes, a never-before-heard song,
alternate openings and an exclusive sneak peek at the direct-to-video
The studio has also announced the DVD release of Hidalgo
on 8/3 (SRP $29.99). Disc features and extras are TBA (you can
reasonably expect anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1
audio), but here's a look at the cover art...
We've got some new Star Trek DVD
cover art for you to check out this morning. We've already posted Star
Trek: Voyager - Season Four, but here's a look at Voyager
- Seasons Five and Seven
We've got an update for you on Manga and Bandai's Ghost
in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1 DVD, which we
mentioned yesterday. Volume 1 will
feature the first 4 half-hour episodes of the 26-episode series. There
will be 7 volumes in all, which will be released every other month,
starting with the first on 7/27. Additionally, there will be 2 versions
of each volume, a standard edition and a special edition.
The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Volume 1 - Standard Edition (SRP $24.95) will contain one
disc featuring 4 episodes in anamorphic widescreen, with English and
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, English subtitles, an
interview with director Kenji Kamiyama, an interview with Atsuko Tanaka
(the Japanese voice of Motoko), trailers and weblinks.
The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Volume 1 - Special Edition (SRP $59.95) will contain three
discs in collector's packaging along with a special booklet. Disc One
will be identical to the Standard Edition
DVD. Disc Two will contain 4 30-minute episodes presented in anamorphic
widescreen, with English and Japanese DTS 5.1 surround sound and stereo
(we believe it's the same 4 episodes). Disc Three will be the original
series soundtrack CD. Future volumes will contain new interviews from
the production team and acting talent of the series.
So... it seems like there's not a great deal of difference between
Discs One and Two of the SE
version except DTS sound. So the only real difference we can see between
the Standard and the SE
version is DTS, the soundtrack CD and the booklet. We'll look into this
further. In the meantime, you can read the full text of the press
release over at
Around the site this morning, we've updated all of the DVD hardware and
software data points we track (above)
DVD Player Sales numbers for April Weeks 1 & 2, as well as
the DVD software sales and rental numbers. All charts have been updated
Back later with more. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/4/04 - 2:30
We've gotten word that Manga Entertainment will release Ghost
in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Volume 1 on July 27th
(SRP $24.98). This Japanese anime TV series (the follow-up to the
original Ghost in the Shell film)
will feature anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Extras are TBA. There are 26 episodes in all in this series. We're
attempting to find out how many episodes will appear on Volume
1, and how many volumes there will be in all. In the
meantime, here's the cover art...
As you may have guessed, that's also cover art for a pair of newly
announced upcoming Criterion DVDs. Marcel Carné's Port
of Shadows, Yasujiro Ozu's Early
Summer and Jean Renoir's The
Golden Coach, French Cancan,
Elena and Her Men and Stage
and Spectacle: Three Films by Jean Renoir have all been
announced for DVD release by Criterion in July. Visit
link at the Criterion website for more details.
In terms of reviews today, Matt's given four of Universal Music's new
Century Masters: The DVD Collection discs a look. This latest
batch of DVDs in the series feature music videos from the bands Tears
for Fears, Styx, ABC and Asia. The SRP for each is only $7.98!
Our old friend Josh Lehman (alias
has reviewed an interesting new piece of home theater hardware -
Qualia Q004 SXRD Front Projector. Definitely worth a look.
Finally today, Todd's checked in with his latest
Release Roundup, featuring reviews of 7 new titles that street
this week on DVD, including The Last Samurai,
Samurai Jack, The
Triplets of Belleville and more. Don't miss it.
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/4/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)
There has been speculation for months now that when the Star
Wars films are finally released on DVD (on 9/21), the
versions we get will feature new scenes, updated effects and other
changes from the 1997 Special Edition versions. We've been reporting
here at the Bits for some time now
that our inside sources were telling us that at least some additional
changes were being made to the films for the DVD release. Well... we
finally have official confirmation of this. While we don't know anything
official about specific changes,
"fan relations" guru Steve Sansweet had this to say this
weekend, while speaking at the WonderCon convention in San Francisco:
When asked if the forthcoming DVDs would feature
the original theatrical release versions of the trilogy or the Special
Editions, Sansweet answered that the films contained on the discs would
be the incarnations of the films "as George Lucas sees them today."
He reminded people of the 1995 video release of the trilogy that hailed
itself as the last time the original theatrical cuts would ever be
available. "They weren't kidding," Sansweet noted.
Without saying we told you so... there you go. Personally, I'm just
hoping against hope that Lucas lets Han shoot first again. The rest is
trivial compared to that one thing for me. Anyway, thanks to Bits
reader Mike S for spotting that.
Back with more soon...
Well... I hope you guys all had a great weekend. I took the opportunity
to cruise up the Cali coast on the 101 to visit my old friend (KSBY's
own) Weatherman Dave in San Luis Obispo. We drank some beer, ate some
good sushi, played a few Dreamcast NFL2K
football grudge matches (he's too cheap to buy an Xbox), hung out with
some of the KSBY crew. A good time was had by all, as they say.
Naturally, the one souvenir I took home from my relaxing weekend away
was a wicked bad headcold. Bastards! Ah well... still well worth the
trip. There are no friends like your oldest friends, and Dave and I have
known each other for something like 22 years now.
Anyway, so as I sit here trying to cut through a snoot full of phlegm,
my head is still reeling over the craptitude that was the first half of
NBC's 10.5 last night. 10.5
makes the mistake of taking itself way too seriously (complete with 24-style
shaky cam and split-screen), while at the same time having one of the
most weak-ass, pseudo-science plots ever. I'm talking Land
of the Lost weak-ass, without all the Saturday morning fun.
How bad is 10.5? Let me put it
this way... the only way it could get worse would be if aliens arrived
to save California with "Super Duper Fault Glue", or real live
dinosaurs came up out of the ground. Scratch that... aliens and/or
dinosaurs might actually make this cheesy flick better. 10.5
makes Armageddon look like Lawrence
of Arabia, and if you've read this website for any length of
time, you know I don't say that lightly. Perhaps the most entertaining
thing about this film was the teaser commercials for our local NBC
newscast afterwards: "10.5... could
it really happen? We'll separate the fact from the fiction, tonight at
11!" Now, I'm gonna take the high road and assume you all
have at LEAST a first grade education. If there are those among you who
actually need the fact sorted from the fiction in 10.5,
I'm losing hope for the survival of our species.
Not much in terms of new DVD announcements or news today, but Columbia
TriStar has revealed the release of I Like It
Like That and The 5th Musketeer
We've kicked off a pair of new
today, giving you all a chance to win
from Universal, as well as Buena Vista's
You have until Noon PDT on Saturday, May 8th to enter, so get 'em in
Our TAP crew would like
you to know that they've just reviewed Marillion's new album,
on regular CD format, along with The Rolling Stones'
1963-1965 box set. Yeah, we know... neither is
high-resolution, but you've gotta respect classic technology sometimes,
you know? Besides, Matt tells me that the Marillion CD kicks ass. 'Nuff
And finally this morning, our own Adam Jahnke has heroically checked in
with a retro DVD review, thus giving me a chance to climb back in bed
and recover from the weekend. Here are his thoughts on 20th Century
Something More About Mary: Collector's Edition. Thanks Adam!
Stay tuned, folks...
Afternoon, folks. We've got a couple of new pieces of cover art for you
to check out today. We have 20th Century's Garfield
and Friends: Volume 1 (7/27), Miramax's The
Barbarian Invasions (7/13), and Warner's Cartoon
Network Halloween: 9 Creepy Cartoon Capers (8/10)...
Also today, any hockey fans out there old enough to remember the 1980
Olympic "Miracle on Ice"? Man, I'll never forget watching
that. This afternoon, I've given Disney's forthcoming
a spin on DVD (street date 5/18). The film tells the story of the coach
and players that made it happen, and tells it well. Definitely worth a
Finally today, a LOT of people responded to my comments about Star
Trek: Enterprise yesterday! Man, I got literally hundreds of
e-mail from people about it. Seems a lot of folks out there are coming
back to Star Trek this season, and
are anxiously waiting on both UPN to pick up Enterprise
for a fourth season... AND Paramount to get the first three seasons out
on DVD! Several readers pointed out that Enterprise
by a wide margin as the show USA Today readers most want to
see return next season. And rightly so. For those of you who
missed Wednesday's episode, most UPN affiliate rerun the episode on
Sunday nights, so be sure to check it out. The episode, called The
Forgotten, is one of the best yet this season, and there's
only four episodes left until the season finale. If, like all of us here
at The Bits, you want Enterprise
back next year, you need to let UPN know right now. Believe it or not,
as good as it is this season, Enterprise
is in danger of not being renewed. There are a couple of websites you
can visit to learn how to help keep the show on the air (SaveEnterprise.com
and we encourage you to pitch in with letters and phone calls to UPN
(that's key - don't call Paramount, call UPN - they are not the same,
and it's UPN that needs to hear from you). With all of the reality
garbage on TV these days (is anyone else sickened by The
Swan for example?), let's not let yet another good science
fiction series go down the drain like Farscape
did. Act now!
Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Stay
We've got some new upcoming DVD cover artwork for you. Here's a look at
Fox's R and NC-17 versions of Dreamers
(street date 7/13 - can't wait for that), as well as Warner's The
History of Rock and Roll box set (6/29)...
In terms of news today, we've got word on some of the titles Paramount
is planning for August release to DVD. Look for Twisted,
The Prince & Me, The
Reckoning, The Black Orchid,
Desire Under the Elms, Broadway
Bill, The Country Girl,
The Rose Tattoo, Come
Back, Little Sheba, Riding High,
The White Dawn, The
Roast of Denis Leary, Star Trek:
The Picard Box, Blue's Clues:
Blue's Room - Snack Time Playdate, The
Fairly Oddparents: Channel Chasers, Dora
the Explorer: Dora's Halloween, The
Real Olympics (PBS) and The Sports
Pages (movie of the week). Additional titles are TBA.
In other news today, the Lord of the Rings
One Ring.net has posted a new interview with New Line's Senior
Vice President of Marketing, Matt Lasorsa, about plans for the Return
of the King: Extended Edition. Matt's a good guy - we've met
him many times before - and this is a good (if brief) interview in that
you get some solid facts about future Rings
DVD plans. Definitely check it out if you're interested in the 4-disc
DVD. The gist is that the 4-disc version is due "just before
Christmas 2004". Look for the extended version to be over four
hours long, featuring extended scenes and dialogue, as well as new
scenes involving Faramir, the fate of Saurman, the Mouth of Sauron at
the Black Gate and more. As far as a possible "Mega Box Set"
of the extended versions of the whole Trilogy, it's at least 2 years
away, and will likely feature all-new content created with Peter
One last thing today... have any of you been watching Star
Trek: Enterprise these days? If you haven't, then you're
missing out some of the best Trek
in years. Planned as a prequel to the original 1960s Star
Trek series, Enterprise
admittedly started out pretty weak in the knees, and spent its first two
seasons trying to figure out what the hell it wanted to do. But this
season, the show has been re-energized by an entire season long arc in
which the crew of the first starship Enterprise have been attempting to
prevent the destruction of the Earth by a mysterious species known as
the Xindi. The writers have borrowed from shows like 24
and Alias to deliver season-long
plot lines, major jeopardy, serious and lasting consequences for the
characters and more action than you can shake a stick at. You've got a
captain (Scott Bakula ex of Quantum Leap)
forced to make morally questionable decisions to save his planet, you've
got an engineer dealing with the death of a family member all the while
trying to keep the battered ship going with duct tape and bailing wire,
you've got a young Vulcan woman dealing with a substance addiction
that's eroded her emotional control. Over a third of the crew has been
killed in action, there's a team of Marines aboard to help out in tight
spots (led by veteran actor Steven Culp, who's been in a ton of films
and TV shows), there's an Andorian captain as a sometimes ally,
sometimes adversary of the "pink skins" (played by Jeffrey
Combs of Re-Animator fame). This
is just great stuff. Bottom line, Enterprise
this season is doing stuff that Star Trek
hasn't dared to do in a long time (if ever). The last few episodes have
been simply outstanding, with last night's installment possibly the best
of the season. There are four episodes left this year, and I encourage
all of you to check them out if you can. I think you'll be surprised.
It's even being broadcast in high-definition in many markets, so if
you've got an HDTV, you've got one more cool show to watch. Now if we
could just get Paramount to start releasing Enterprise
on DVD, we'd really have something.
I tell you, between Enterprise
and Deadwood this season... screw
reality TV! I'm hooked good old fashioned drama again. If Enterprise
doesn't get reviewed for next year by UPN, I'm gonna be seriously