Howdy, kids! How's your news? I don't know, for whatever reason I'm
just in an irrationally good mood today. Best not to question it, right?
Todd's column will be a little late. It's his birthday, so you know...
gotta cut him some slack. We'll probably post it tonight for tomorrow.
He promises it'll be packed and so worth the wait.
Meanwhile, we've got a very cool announcement to make today. We're
going to be back at ComicCon in
San Diego this year! Todd and I will both be on hand for our DVD
Producers 2004 panel discussion. Scheduled to participate
with us this year are producers Charles de
Lauzirika (Alien Quadrilogy,
Spider-Man 2), J.M.
Kenny (Footloose: SE,
Prior (Panic Room: SE,
Master and Commander), Javier
Soto (Devil's Backbone,
Hellboy) and Robert
Burnett (X2, The
Chronicles of Narnia). We'll talk about the DVD format in
general, our panelists will discuss projects they currently have in
production, and we'll have LENGTHY Q&A with the audience. We're even
going to give away a DVD player and great movie discs. This is your
chance to ask questions and give feedback to the people behind some of
your favorite DVD special editions. The panel will be held on
Thursday, July 22nd from 1:30 to 3:00 PM at
the San Diego Convention Center (Room 6AB). We're told that
no MAJOR events are going on at the same time as us this year, so you
don't have to worry about missing Lucasfilm's Star
Wars panel or anything. Better still, we're told that right
after us, in the very same room, some of the producers and cast of Freaks
and Geeks will be on hand to talk about their recent (and
release of the complete series. It's going to be a lot of fun, so
if you're a DVD fan and you're going to be in the area, you don't want
to miss it. Hell, it's only going to be Doogan's second public
appearance as a Bits co-editor in
like 7+ years, so you can't miss that, right? We hope to see you all
Now then... we've got some great new Paramount art to show you today -
Happy Days: The Complete First Season,
Laverne & Shirley: The Complete First
Season (both 8/17) and Star Trek:
The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection (8/3)...
We've also got a line on MGM's catalog DVD release slate for October.
Look for Stargate: SG-1 - Season 7,
Alexander the Great, the Species:
Special Edition, Charly,
The Garden of Allah, I'll
Be Seeing You, Intermezzo,
Made for Each Other, Portrait
of Jennie, Michael Crichton's Pursuit,
Ruby Gentry, Since
You Went Away, Straw Dogs,
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and
The Young in Heart, all on 10/19.
MGM has also added two new titles for September - Bookies
and two special edition versions of Soul
Plane, the theatrical edition and an unrated edition. Look
for both titles on 9/7.
Over at his Cartoon
Brew website, Jerry Beck (one of the main creative forces
behind Warner's Golden Age of Looney Tunes
DVDs) has confirmed that the second set of classic shorts will street
sometime in November. Slide on down to the bottom of the page for his
brief comments. Jerry does a helluva job on these, so we can't wait!
Thanks to Bits reader Scott G. for
We've got another look at a new DVD-Audio disc for you from our TAP
crew today - Mike Oldfield's
Bells 2003. Thanks to reviewer George Bennett for that.
One last comment today - a number of readers have reacted to our report
on the possible forthcoming Universal special edition of David Lynch's
Rumor Mill yesterday). They've reminded us that Lynch has
commented many times that he never wants to touch the film again, and
that he hates it. That's absolutely correct of course, but it's really a
shame. If ever a film deserved the kind of in-depth, special edition
treatment Criterion gave to Terry Gilliam's Brazil,
it's Lynch's Dune. Even if it is
terribly flawed, it's an amazing conceptual piece of work. It's also a
fascinating study of a troubled production. Like Brazil
and David Fincher's Alien³,
it deserves serious examination on DVD. We hope it receives just that
someday. Anyway, just our two cents.
We've got a lot of interesting ground to cover today, so let's get
started with the big news. Warner Bros. has announced the anniversary
DVD re-release of The Shawshank Redemption
for 10/5 in two separate versions. First up is the 2-disc The
Shawshank Redemption: Special Edition (SRP $26.99), which
will include the film in newly-remastered anamorphic widescreen video
(1.85:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras will include
newly-recorded audio commentary by director Frank Darabont, 2
documentaries (running about 90 minutes in all), a recent Charlie
Rose Show segment, storyboards, a photo gallery, the
theatrical trailer, DVD-ROM extras and the Shark
Tank Redemption spoof. Also available will be The
Shawshank Redemption: Deluxe Limited Edition (SRP $44.99),
which will include all of the Special Edition
contents plus the film's CD soundtrack and a book about the film's
production by historian Mark Kermode. You'll find the cover art for both
editions a little lower in this column.
Speaking of Warner,
has a great story on the former chief of home video at the studio
(and the acknowledged Godfather of DVD) Warren Lieberfarb. Specifically,
the story details how he successfully championed the DVD format to
Hollywood, resulting in a transformation of the film industry and
billions of dollars in new revenue for the studios, and has now been
screwed by Warner out of his much deserved reward (his DVD bonus was
paid in stock options which evaporated when the disastrous AOL/Time
Warner merger went down). Lieberfarb is suing the WB to be paid that
bonus in real currency, and we hope he wins. Hollywood... you ungrateful
bastards. You might not love this guy, but you damn well owe him big
time. Warren... you go boy. Our hats off to you.
In other DVD release news, Entertainment
Weekly magazine posted a short blurb in their June 19th issue
about what we can expect on the forthcoming The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition
(which arrives in December - street date TBA). Look for the film to be a
whopping 49 minute longer, complete with more than 300 new FX shots
completed just for this release. Among the new scenes you'll see will be
Gandalf facing down the Witch King at Minas Tirith, the Mouth of Sauron
taunting Aragorn and company at the Black Gates, Aragorn tending to
Eowyn at the House of Healing, and Gandalf's final confrontation with
the wizard Saruman. You'll also get more audio commentaries from
everyone involved, two discs worth of exclusive, in-depth documentaries
and (we've heard) a pretty funny Easter egg or two. Look for the 4-disc
set's faux leather slipcase to be blue. We'll post further details as
they become available.
Be aware that Universal has moved the street date for its forthcoming
trio of Law & Order full
season DVDs to 9/14 (from 9/7). So it's a delay, but only of a single
Universal will also release the American
Dreams: Season One - Extended Music Edition on 9/7 (SRP
$89.98). The 7-disc set will include all 25 first season episodes of the
show with the full performances by each episode's musical guest stars
(not seen in the original broadcasts on NBC). Additional extras will
include audio commentaries by Dick Clark and the cast, a gag reel, a
music video featuring the cast with Stacie Orrico, and a documentary
look back at American Bandstand
with Dick Clark.
In other news today, L.A.-area fans of King
of the Ants director Stuart Gordon will have a chance to meet
him at a special signing event at the Dark Delicacies bookstore in
Burbank, CA (4213 W. Burbank Blvd.). The event will be held tomorrow
(Tuesday, June 29th - the day of the film's release on DVD from DEJ
Productions) starting at 7:30 PM PDT. Also on-hand for the signing will
be actors Chris McKenna, George Wendt, Vernon Wells and Lionel Smith.
Sounds like a pretty cool time, so be sure to drop on by (tell 'em The
Bits sent you).
Remember those deluxe Japanese releases of Kill
Bill, Volume 1 and Alien
Quadrilogy we mentioned a few months ago? Well, looks like
Japanese fans of Godzilla and Star
Trek: The Original Series are getting similar treats on DVD
First up, our own Jeff Kleist reports that Toho is releasing a Godzilla
Final Box: 50th Anniversary Perfect Collection on 1/11/05.
This massive set will feature all 27 films including the Emmerich Godzilla
and the U.S. version of the first film, 3 discs of dedicated bonus
material, a book, a Godzilla Symphonic
Fantasy CD, and space in the case for Godzilla
Final Wars (the "last" movie) when it's released on
DVD later in the year. The slipcase itself will be covered in a latex,
hand-painted Godzilla "skin". All this can be yours for the
delightfully wallet-friendly price of 99,750 Yen ($1000 U.S. by the time
you ship it).
here for all the details (in Japanese of course) along with a
photo of the box.
Also, a number of Bits readers
have learned that the entire Star Trek: The
Original Series (all three season sets) will be released in
Japan in a special display case that also includes a tricorder replica
that doubles as a radio. The set will street on 12/10 with a 94,200 Yen
price tag (nearly $900 U.S.). Here's a link to the
Japan page for the release. And here's a look at the package with
and without its plastic covering. Keep in mind that the complete series
will be released in the U.S. as well on 12/3, but without the case and
We've got a lot of great information for you in
Rumor Mill today, including word on possible catalog special
editions from Universal and the forthcoming The
Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2.
We're also pleased today to bring you Robert Harris's
Yellow Layer Failure, Vinegar Syndrome and Miscellaneous Musings
column here at The Bits. In
this edition, Robert talks Disney's recent Walt
Disney Treasures titles, the films of producer Ismail
Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala on
DVD, recent Ingmar Bergman releases and Universal Westerns too. Don't
Here's some of that cover art we mentioned earlier - Warner's dual
editions of The Shawshank Redemption
(10/5) and the Taking Lives: Unrated
Director's Cut (8/17), Universal's American
Dreams: Season One (9/7), Fox's Angel:
Season Four (9/7) and Paramount's Twisted
We've kicked off FOUR more new
this morning, giving each of you a chance to win copies of Miramax's
Season 3 and
Simpsons: Season 4, Paramount's
Season 4 and Shout Factory's
Brewster: Season 1. All of these contests will run for TWO
weeks, until Noon PDT on Saturday, July 12th. Good luck!
Finally today, Sarah and I managed to view a screening of Michael
Moore's scathing Fahrenheit 9/11
on Friday, which
the box office this weekend by taking in more than $21.8 million
(despite having opened on just 868 screens) - the first time a
documentary film has ever debuted as Hollywood's top weekend film.
Having finally seen the film after all the hype and the partisan
mudslinging, I can tell you one thing about it with confidence. Like it
or not, Fahrenheit 9/11 is Moore's
most entertaining and effective film to date. Believe me, there's good
Tomatoes has this film listed at over 80% "fresh" (at
Yes, the film is completely non-objective, but Moore is right up front
with this - the film is his argument, agree with it or not. And yes,
there are some occasions where Moore plays loose with the facts to make
his argument (an example is his claim that Saudis and Bin-Laden family
members were allowed to sneak out of the country without being screened
or questioned in the days immediately after 9/11 - the reality is all
were cleared by the FBI,
to then White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, and all
were understandably concerned for their safety). But what makes this
film most damning is that Moore doesn't HAVE to play loose with much to
make his argument effective. Most of the material included in this film
is taken from the public record, so it's really only the meaning of it
all that's subject to interpretation. Moore tells you what he thinks it
means certainly, but you're able to make up your own mind as to whether
you agree with him or not.
Unlike his previous documentaries, Moore remains largely behind the
lens in this film, choosing to narrate and only occasionally appear on
camera. Quite simply, the stars of this film are George W. Bush, Dick
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft (and others in
the administration) speaking in their own words... and, in most cases,
hanging by them. Certainly, some of these clips are taken out of context
(thereby allowing Moore to put his own spin on them), but it's
stretching credibility to argue that all of them are. And if you've been
paying attention to the news over the last year or so, you'll already
know the context of most of this anyway.
Whether you agree with Fahrenheit 9/11
or not, it remains a very effective piece of filmmaking. You will likely
leave it feeling angry, either at George W. Bush or Michael Moore. In
any case, whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent or apathetic,
it's sure to get you talking, thinking and arguing with your friends and
neighbors about the direction our country is headed and what its place
in the world should be. In a healthy democracy, that's never a bad
Just FYI, according to Moore (speaking
to the USA Today) the film will be available on DVD by
September and will include new footage and commentary not in the
theatrical release. "Among scenes being
considered: additional footage of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft
and man-in-the-street interviews Moore commissioned in 30 countries in
which participants are asked what they love - and hate - about the USA."
Later this week I'll talk about Spider-Man 2,
which opens in theaters on Wednesday. Sometime this week or next, I'll
also give you my two cents on the film I've been most looking forward to
this summer, Before Sunset,
director Richard Linklater's long-awaited sequel to the charming 1995
All right... barring major/breaking DVD news, we're done for today.
We'll be back tomorrow with Todd's Weekly
Release Roundup and more.
Well... what's a Friday without a little more Star
Wars DVD news? Specifically, we're pleased to say that
Lucasfilm has revealed the final, official cover art for the individual
movie DVDs. It's basically the same as what we've shown you before (with
the sole difference of the WIDESCREEN notation across the top), except
that now we have the art for the fourth DVD of bonus material as well,
along with the individual disc label art. Better still, all of it is in
much higher quality than what we've posted previously. So here it is...
It's nice to see that the DVD sleeves are similar in style to the Episode
I & II packaging,
and that the discs themselves use the original theatrical poster art
from the films. Click on
link to visit the relevant page over at Star Wars.com,
which has further information on the artwork and packaging design, along
with even larger images to look at.
If we don't have any additional news to post later today, we'll be back
on Monday with a new column from Robert Harris. We've got a new Classic
Coming Attractions column from Barrie for early next week as
well, along with Todd's Weekly Release
Roundup and lots more news and reviews.
Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/24/04 - 1
We're back with two more new DVD reviews this afternoon. Our own Adam
Jahnke's taken a closer look at two of the new Walt
Disney Treasures releases -
Chronological Donald, Volume One and
- Disney in Space and Beyond. Enjoy!
Also, here's a little more upcoming DVD cover art today... Miramax's
Rounders: Special Edition (9/7),
New Line's The Twilight Zone
(9/7), Warner's Alfred Hitchcock Signature
Collection (9/7), Universal's Dawn
of the Dead: Unrated Director's Cut (10/5), and Lions Gate's
Late Night with Conan O'Brien: 10th
Anniversary Special and The Best
of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (both 8/10)...
New Line's Twilight Zone will
include all 43 episodes of the re-made UPN series on 6 discs (SRP
$59.98). The episodes will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video,
with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, along with Dolby 2.0
Surround. No word yet on extras, if any.
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/24/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We'll be back with more later, but I wanted to chime in early today
with word that 20th Century Fox has announced more new titles for their
September slate. To start with, look for Angel:
Season 4 on 9/7. Lost in Space:
Season 2, Volume 1 will follow on 9/14, along with Love
Comes Softly and Simpsons Gone
Wild (a sort-of episode sampler which includes Homer's
Night Out, Sunday Cruddy Sunday,
The Mansion Family and Homer
the Moe with the featurette Krusty
the Clown: King of Comedy). Finally, on 9/28, the studio will
release Hunting of the President.
In one other early note this morning, Miramax will release a Rounders:
Collector's Edition on 9/7.
Today's post is all about DVD reviews. So to kick things off, we're
pleased to present the latest installment of Todd Doogan's
Release Roundup. In this edition, Todd checks out 8 new DVD
releases in stores this week, including Columbia TriStar's
Window, Public Media's
Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story, Criterion's
Lower Depths and
Roma, Home Vision's
Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, and Razor Digital's
Behind the Cape.
Next up, we've got a new
column from Matt Rowe, featuring reviews of 6 great music DVD releases,
Doors of the 21st Century: L.A. Woman Live,
Cult: Live Cult - Music Without Fear,
A Night in the Life of Matchbox Twenty,
Night Live: 25 Years of Music,
Ash: Classic Rock Legends and
West: Kings of Wishful Thinking - Live.
And if all that isn't enough for you, George Bennett of our
MusicTAP crew has
checked in with a look of Everclear's
Much for the Afterglow on high-resolution DVD-Audio format.
There's something for everyone in that batch of reviews, so enjoy!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/22/04
- 4:45 PM PDT)
Here's an update you guys are going to love! We've got official street
dates, straight from the studio, for major releases through the end of
2004. There are some titles here that you've been waiting for a long
time. Here goes (note that some of these dates are in addition to titles
we've already mentioned as announced in this column - all dates are
subject to change)...
9/14 - Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to
Manhattan - The Ultimate DVD Collection (includes the first 8
films, plus a bonus disc of extras)
9/28 - Footloose: Special Collector's
10/5 - The Untouchables: Special Collector's
Edition, Bebe's Kids,
Black Beauty, All
I Want for Christmas, The
Godfather, Part II, The Godfather,
10/12 - The Stooge, The
Delicate Delinquent, The Ladies'
Man, The Patsy, Cinderfella,
The Bellboy, The
Errand Boy, The Family Jewels,
The Disorderly Orderly, The
Nutty Professor: Special Collector's Edition (that's the
classic Jerry Lewis original)
10/19 - Deep Impact: Special Collector's
Fire in the Sky, Conquest
of Space, D.A.R.Y.L.
10/26 - The Thing Called Love,
Brain Donors, Jimmy
11/9 - Last Train from Gun Hill,
Ace High, Arrowhead,
The Naked Jungle
11/16 - Testament, Bopha!,
The Conquest of Paradise, Foul
Play, Top Gun: Special Collector's
11/30 - Racing with the Moon,
The Lords of Discipline, It's
All True, The Keep
12/21 - A Show of Force, Distant
This of course is only the catalog film titles. Look for additional TV
and new film releases to be announced as well. Now if we could just
squeeze Robinson Crusoe on Mars
outta Paramount... hint, hint.
Back tomorrow with Todd's column and more. Stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/22/04 -
12:01 AM PDT)
I'm afraid we have some bad news for you David Lean fans. We've just
gotten word from MGM that "the David
Lean Collection has been removed from the MGM Home Entertainment
schedule indefinitely." No reason for this delay was given,
and there's no word on a new street date (the set and individual titles
had been slated for release on 9/7). We'll keep you up to date on this
as new information comes in.
But here's a very cool bit of great DVD news: Anchor Bay Entertainment
has just announced their George Romero's Dawn
of the Dead: The Ultimate Edition 4-disc DVD for release on
9/7 (SRP TBA). Disc One will
include the original, 127-minute, unrated U.S. Theatrical Version in
anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0,
DTS 5.1, Dolby 2.0 Surround and the original mono. Extras will include
audio commentary by director George Romero, assistant director Chris
Romero, make-up artist Tom Savini and moderator Perry Martin. Also
included will be theatrical trailers, TV and radio spots, a poster art
galley, a bio of George Romero and a comic preview. Disc
Two will include the 139-minute Extended Version in
anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with audio in the original mono. Extras
will include audio commentary with producer Richard Rubinstein and
moderator Perry Martin, the Monroville Mall commercial, galleries (of
behind-the-scenes photos, memorabilia and production stills). Disc
Three will include the 118-minute European Version in
anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0,
as well as the original mono. Extras will include audio commentary with
actors David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger and Gaylen Ross,
international theatrical trailers, U.K. TV spots, galleries (of
international lobby card, poster and pressbook images), soundtrack
artwork and a Dario Argento bio. Finally, Disc
Four will include Roy Frumkes' original Document
of the Dead documentary, the all-new, 75-min The
Dead Will Walk documentary, on-set home movies with audio
commentary by zombie extra Robert Langer, and a tour of the Monroville
Mall with director George Romero. Now THAT is one seriously bad-ass DVD
release! We'll post cover art when it's available. For more on this
link at the Anchor Bay website. Thanks to Bits
reader Mike S. for the heads-up.
In other news this morning,
has just filed a story on Sony in which it's claimed that
"the company was recently in exclusive talks
to acquire MGM, including the Lion's impressive film library, for an
estimated $5 billion, though the deal-making has come to a standstill,
and MGM has opened up the table to other companies, such as NBC and Time
Warner." We'll keep you informed on this front as well.
Miramax will release Shaolin Soccer
on DVD on 8/24. There's no word yet on extras.
Columbia TriStar has announced the following titles for release on
8/31: Ike: Countdown to D-Day,
Annie: A Royal Adventure, Physical
and Relentless 2: Dead On.
Finally, here's a look at more new DVD cover art - Universal's Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (9/28), Miramax's Shaolin
Soccer and Warner's Martin
Scorsese Collection box set (8/17)...
Back later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 6/21/04 -
2:30 PM PDT)
Sooooo... guess what I did today? Folks, your erstwhile Bits
editor is seriously beat right now. I'm talking dead tired. Let me tell
you though, having just been up all night and driven some 120 miles on
no sleep, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. As you've probably guessed by
now, I made the long pilgrimage out to the Mohave desert from Orange
County, in the wee hours of Monday morning, to see the world's first
private manned spaceflight. Why? Because as those of you who've been
reading The Bits for any length of
time know by now, I'm a total frickin' space geek. And while I'm too
tired to tell you much about my little trip right now... I've brought
back pictures! I figured some of you would get a kick out of seeing a
little of the goings-on this morning. On the remote chance that you
weren't one of the tens of thousands who camped out in the desert all
night, the flight was broadcast live on CNN, it will be on all the
evening news shows tonight and the Discovery channel is filming a
documentary on the event (and you can read about it
here, etc). In the
a look at these snappy photos (all but one of which were taken by
yours truly). Enjoy!
I'll back tomorrow (after about 12 hours of sleep) to tell you all
about it. Plus, you know, maybe we'll have some DVD news for you too.
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/21/04
- 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning, folks! Hope you all had a great weekend.
I wanted to let you know that I've OFFICIALLY confirmed the specs for
the Star Trek: Generations - Special
Collector's Edition (from
post) with Paramount, and updated them accordingly. Both Dolby
Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 5.1 audio WILL be included.
Also, be aware that retail sources have given us the street dates for
the rest of the Star Trek DVDs due
in 2004. Star Trek: Voyager - Season Three
is due on 7/6, with Season Four on
9/28, Season Five on 11/2, Season
Six on 12/7 and Season Seven
on 12/21. After Star Trek: The Original
Series - Season One hits stores on 8/31, watch for Season
Two on 11/2 and Season Three
on 12/7. Complete series sets will be released (or re-released) as well
- The Original Series (12/7), The
Next Generation and Deep Space
Nine (both 10/26) and Voyager
(12/21). And don't forget, Enterprise
(and possibly The Animated Series)
is coming in 2005, along with a Star Trek:
First Contact - Special Collector's Edition. Insurrection
will likely get 2-disc collector's edition treatment later in 2005 as
well. Any way you slice it, that's a lot of Trek
The other big piece of news that seems likely to break this week (and
it is BIG, let me tell you) is starting to slip out now: Sony is
to completing their deal to buy MGM for a reported $5 billion, and
sources are saying the ink is already drying on the paperwork. As
you may recall, we mentioned this possibility a couple of months ago (click
here and slide down a little to see our original new story). So
what's this all about? We said it in April and we'll say it again now...
Blu-ray, baby. If this deal pans out, Sony gains access to Hollywood's
largest library of films for exclusive release on Blu-ray Disc, giving
their high-definition format an even greater edge (than it already has)
in the brewing battle with HD-DVD. With all due respect to Warren
Lieberfarb, this whole format "war" is looking a little
one-sided right now. Can you imagine James Bond in high-definition? That
day might not be far off, folks. James... meet Spider-Man. Spidey...
007. Everybody play nice now. You can be sure we'll watch this little
sitch-E-ation VERY closely, so stay tuned.
By the way, those of you who haven't yet seen Lucasfilm's Star
Wars Trilogy DVD trailer can do so now for free at
link at Amazon.com (in .asx format).
Around the site this morning, we've got another big
DVD Cover Art update for you this morning. Well over 150 new
scans have been added, thanks in large part to the efforts of Russell
Hammond (our resident artwork sleuth). There's lots of great art and we
guarantee you haven't seen some of it before, so be sure to check it
We've also kicked off FOUR new
today, giving each of you a chance to win copies of Miramax's
of Dreams and
The Complete First Season and Columbia TriStar's
Window. The contests will run until Noon PDT on Saturday, June
26th. Good luck!
I wanted to take a moment to encourage you all to check out the work of
of the Month for June (if you haven't done so already).
Canadian born Mark Baylin is a
wonderful photographer with over 25 years of experience at his craft.
His work focuses mainly on abstract objects, urban and rural scenes, and
relics. Mark tries to get to the heart of whatever his subject matter
is, bringing out fascinating textures and patterns in the process. Be
sure to take
a look at his stuff when you've got a moment. We think you'll
Finally today, I've been after my wife Sarah to write reviews for The
Bits for I don't know how many years now (she currently does
all the contests here on the site, and handles a lot of the business
side of things). So imagine this: she's finally written something... and
it's for our MusicTAP
affiliate site! Matt bribed her with Journey concert tickets recently,
so the two of us took in the show, and now
posted a full report. She'll probably be after a Rolling
Stone gig next. Sheesh! Anyway, enjoy. ;-)
We now resume your regularly scheduled Monday morning, already in
(LATE UPDATE - 6/18/04 - 3
Gosh... we must be suckers for this DVD stuff. Can't seem to walk away
from the job today! Anyway, because we love you (and because we can't
seem to go more than a day without some kind of Star
Trek news), here's the final cover art for Paramount's 2-disc
Star Trek: Generations - Special Collector's
Edition (SRP $19.99 - due 9/7).
The 2-disc set will include the 117-minute film in anamorphic
widescreen video (2.35:1) with English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, DTS 5.1 and
Dolby Surround audio (also French Dolby Surround). Disc One will include
audio commentary by screenwriters Brannon Braga and Ron Moore, along
with another text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda. Disc Two
will include The Star Trek Universe
section (A Tribute to Matt Jefferies,
The Enterprise Lineage, Captain
Picard's Family Album and Creating
24th Century Weapons), the Production
section (Uniting Two Legends, Stellar
Cartography: Creating the Illusion and Strange
New Worlds: The Valley of Fire), the Visual
Effects section (Inside ILM:
Models and Miniatures and Crashing
the Enterprise), the Scene
Deconstruction section (Main Title
Sequence, The Nexus Ribbon,
Saucer Crash Sequence), the Deleted
Scenes section (Orbital Skydiving,
Walking the Plank, Christmas
with the Picards and Alternate
Ending) and an Archives
section (storyboards, a production gallery, and the teaser and
theatrical trailers). All in all, looks like a damn fine DVD.
That's it! Stick a fork in us... we're done. See you Montag!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/18/04 -
1:15 PM PDT)
Okay, NOW we're talking. Thanks to Bits
reader Chris J., we're able to bring you a much better look at the
individual DVD cover art for the Star Wars
Trilogy discs. Looks like the Empire
and Jedi covers were reworked a
little more from that image we posted earlier this morning. Here you
By the way, we have a look at
Lucasfilm marketing tearsheet for the DVD release for you as well.
One other note today - Buena Vista has delayed the second wave of
Miyazaki DVDs, which had been slated for release on 8/31 (My
Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of
the Valley of the Wind and Porco
Rosso). We'll give you the new date as soon as it becomes
See you Monday (unless something else pops up first)!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/18/04 - 10 AM PDT)
Well, we've been waiting for our first look at the individual DVD cover
art for the discs contained in the Star Wars
Trilogy box set (due 9/21)... and here it is. This image has
been floating around a number of Star Wars
fan sites this morning (including
one), and apparently leaked from Europe. It's only a glimpse, but
I'd say it speaks for itself...
Thanks to Bits reader Ian J. (and
all of the many, many readers) who sent this in this morning.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/18/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Man, I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this one. I've
just posted my in-depth review of Miramax's new 2-disc
English Patient: Collector's Series DVD (street date - 6/29).
If you love the film as much as I do, you're going to be very happy with
this release, let me tell you.
Also today, we have more confirmation on the street date for Shrek
Rumor Mill, along with a mess of Star
Wars rumors including word on a possible DVD release of the
animated Star Wars: Clone Wars
series of shorts seen recently on the Cartoon Network. Miss it not,
We've got a last bit of new cover art for you to check out today.
Here's a look at Touchstone's The Alamo
(9/28), Rhino's My Favorite Martian: The
Complete First Season (9/14) and 20th Century Fox's The
Girl Next Door: Unrated Version (8/24)...
My Favorite Martian will include
37 original, uncut episodes on 3 DVDs, and will come in reflective foil
packaging (SRP $39.95).
The Girl Next Door will be
available in both the theatrical and unrated versions (SRP $27.98). Each
disc will contain its particular version of the film in both full frame
and anamorphic widescreen (on opposite sides of the disc), along with
audio commentary by director Luke Greenfield, a subtitle trivia track
and the Revealing the Girl Next Door
Okay... unless something Earth-shattering happens this afternoon,
that's it for this week. We've got lots more stuff coming next week,
including new columns from Robert Harris and Matt Rowe, Todd's Weekly
Release Roundup, another big Upcoming
DVD Cover Art update and more reviews too. In the meantime,
I'm gonna go catch a screening of Riddick...
or something. Can't decide at the moment.
Anyway, have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!
We've got another cool upcoming DVD announcement for you today. 20th
Century Fox will release Tony Scott's Man on
Fire on 9/14 (SRP $29.98). The disc will including the film
in anamorphic widescreen video with audio in both Dolby Digital and DTS
5.1. Extras will include audio commentary by producer Lucas Foster,
screenwriter Brian Helgeland and actor Dakota Fanning, "making of"
featurettes and more.
On a related note (this would normally go in The
Rumor Mill, so take that into consideration), we suspect
Buena Vista may reschedule the new special editions of Tony Scott's Crimson
Tide and Enemy of the State
(which were indefinitely delayed a number of months ago) to coincide
with the release of Man on Fire,
as well as Scott's TBA Top Gun: Special
Edition from Paramount. We'll post any details we learn on
this as they become available.
Speaking of The
Rumor Mill, we have reliable word today on the street date for
Paramount's soon-to-be-announced Star Trek:
Generations - Special Collector's Edition. How reliable you
might ask? Well, it comes straight from the film's co-writer, Brannon
Braga. Be sure to check it out.
Also on the Star Trek front this
morning, Paramount will release a 2-disc Star
Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection on 8/3
(SRP about $19.99). The set will include the episodes The
Big Goodbye, Sarek,
Drumhead, Darmok, The
Inner Light and Tapestry,
along with the 42-minute From Here to
Infinity documentary on space exploration. The documentary is
the only new-to-DVD item on the set (and it has nothing to do with Star
Trek other than the fact that it was narrated by actor
Patrick Stewart - just FYI).
While we're on a Paramount bender today, how about your first look at
more new cover art from the studio? Here's Paramount's newly announced
United States of Leland, Murder
on the Orient Express (both 9/7), Orca
and I Married a Monster from Outer Space
(both 9/14), along with Criterion's Slacker
(8/31) and Universal's Dazed and Confused:
Flashback Edition (9/14)...
Damn if my Internet connection hasn't been a little buggy in the last
24 hours... but at last, here's Doogan's latest
Release Roundup. At least a few interesting titles find their
way onto your local store shelves this week, so be sure to check them
I don't know HOW this one managed to slip under our radar, but HBO has
just released a film we've had on our "dying to get on DVD"
list for a while now... the cable TV classic By
Dawn's Early Light. It should be in stores now (street date
was 6/1). The film stars Martin Landau, James Earl Jones and Powers
Boothe. It's B-grade, World War III fun in the same vein as The
Day After and Fail Safe,
so do check it out. Here's a look at the cover art...
Thanks to Bits reader Kirk H. for
alerting us to the release. Speaking of B-movies we want on DVD, we're
angling for Hangar 18, Robinson
Crusoe on Mars, Joe Camp's The
Double McGuffin and Mad Magazine's
Up the Academy next. It'd be great to get anamorphic upgrades
of Capricorn One and The
Arrival too. Both were Artisan titles, which was just taken
over by Lions Gate. Hey, Lions Gate! You guys paying attention? While
you're at it, kick out those Speed Racer
discs a little faster too!
You may have noticed cover art for Paramount's South
Park: The Passion of the Jew (due on 8/31). It contains the
episode of the show spoofing Mel Gibson's The
Passion of the Christ (which, not coincidentally, is also due
on 8/31) along with two bonus episodes. Also shown is Rhino's Land
of the Lost: The Complete First Season (6/29), which we can't
wait to get our hands on (look for all 17 episodes plus hours of bonus
material including audio commentary, deleted scenes and more).
Speaking of Paramount, the studio has just announced the following new
titles: Murder on the Orient Express,
United States of Leland and Whispers
in the Dark (all for 9/7), and I
Married a Monster from Outer Space, Orca:
The Killer Whale, Body Parts,
Joe: Valor vs. Venom and 7th
Heaven: Complete First Season (all for 9/14).
In other news today, New Line will street Laws
of Attraction on 8/24, with both full frame and widescreen
versions on the same disc. Look for at least some deleted scenes to be
included as well. SRP is $27.95.
And here's something cool for you. News
Askew has posted details on the forthcoming 3-disc, 10th
anniversary edition of Kevin Smith's Clerks
(due 9/7 - appropriately titled Clerks X).
The disc will include the 93-minute theatrical cut (with the audio
commentary from the original DVD release), the 103-minute first cut
(with new audio commentary), the 95-minute Snowball
Effect: The Story of Clerks documentary, the MTV Jay
and Silent Bob shorts, the Arclight 10th anniversary Q&A
session and just an absolutely silly amount of additional bonus material
- enough to please almost any Smith fan. Be sure to visit the link for a
complete list of the extras and an early look at prototype packaging for
DreamWorks' Envy has been
re-announced for a 9/28 street date (just FYI).
By the way, in the rush to get the specs up yesterday, we mistakenly
listed the street date for Star Trek: The
Original Series - The Complete First Season and Trekkies
2 as 8/21. The correct date is 8/31, and we've fixed it in
Finally today, we've kicked off a new
this afternoon giving you all a chance to win one of FIVE copies of
Anchor Bay's Xena Warrior Princess: Season
Four. The contest will run until Noon PDT on Sunday, June
20th. Good luck!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/15/04
- 3:30 PM PDT)
Hey... more great Star Trek news
today! Paramount has finally announced the DVD release of Star
Trek: The Original Series - The Complete First Season for
8/31. The 8-disc set (no SRP, but expect the price to be about $100)
will include all 29 episodes of the show's first year in broadcast order
(full frame video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio). Extras on the first
season will include the The Birth of a
Timeless Legacy featurette (on how the show began), the Life
Beyond Trek: William Shatner featurette (an interview with
the actor who played Kirk on how the show has affected his life), the
To Boldly Go... featurette (a
discussion with cast and crew members on key episodes of the season),
the Reflections on Spock
featurette (a similar interview with actor Leonard Nimoy on how the role
has influenced him), the Sci-Fi Visionaries
featurette (on some of the famous Sci-Fi writers that have contributed
to the series), original preview trailers for each episode and a photo
'log' (gallery). All these extras are contained on the 8th disc. In
addition, the episodes Where No Man Has Gone
Before, The Menagerie, Part I,
The Menagerie, Part II and The
Conscience of the King will all feature text commentary by
Michael and Denise Okuda.
The studio has also announced the DVD release of our old friend Roger
Nygard's new film, Trekkies 2.
Look for that on 8/31 as well (for about $19.99). The film will be
presented in its original full frame aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include audio commentary (with filmmakers Roger
Nygard, Denise Crosby and Mike Leahy, and composers JJ Holiday and Billy
Sullivan), 20 deleted scenes, 2 short films by Trek
fans Brian Dellis and Gabriel Koerner (both of whom appear in Trekkies
2), and the trailer for Roger Nygard's Six
Days in Roswell as well as a clip from another Nygard film,
We'll follow these Trek
developments closely, but in the meantime, here's the DVD cover art for
Star Trek: The Original Series - The Complete
First Season, Trekkies 2
and (at last) Star Trek: Voyager - Season Six
(street date TBA). Below that, you'll also find an "exploded"
view of the Star Trek: TOS
(LATE UPDATE - 6/15/04 - 2 PM PDT)
We're also pleased today to finally bring you
Maxwell's latest Classic Coming Attractions column. This
time, Barrie takes a look at the many big-screen collaborations of actor
John Wayne and director John Ford over the years. As always, he also
runs down the latest classic DVD release announcements. Barrie's columns
are great reads and are packed with information - this one is no
exception. We hope you enjoy it.
We'll be back tonight with Todd's Weekly
Release Roundup. See you then!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/15/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Afternoon all! We're pleased to bring you
interview our own Adam Jahnke did last week with DVD producer Dave
Bossart, who was the creative force behind Disney's recent Walt
Disney Treasures: Walt Disney on the Front Lines collection
(you can also review Adam's review of this great release
In terms of news today, our friends over at
have new word on the possibility of Miami
Vice and more classic Universal shows finally coming to DVD.
Lots of TV news these days.
Just FYI, we've also updated all of the DVD format sales and rental
data we track (above),
DVD Player Sales numbers.
Back in a little while with more. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 6/14/04 - 5 PM PDT)
We've been chasing down a couple of interesting DVD stories today, so
we're going to post Barrie Maxwell's new Classic
Coming Attractions column tomorrow morning. We'll have an
interview Adam Jahnke did with Walt Disney on
the Front Lines DVD producer, Dave Bossert, tomorrow as well.
In the meanwhile, we do have Adam's in-depth DVD review of
Disney Treasures: Walt Disney on the Front Lines for you now.
We also have one of those interesting DVD stories for you this
afternoon in The
Rumor Mill. It's a story you Trek
fans will want to pay attention to, as it pertains to Enterprise
and The Animated Series finally
making their way to our favorite format. Don't miss it.
(LATE UPDATE - 6/14/04 -
3 PM PDT)
Universal has announced that they'll release the remade Dawn
of the Dead on 10/5 (SRP $29.98). Extras will include audio
commentary with director Zack Snyder and producer Eric Newman, deleted
scenes with commentary by the director, 3 featurettes (The
Lost Tape: Andy's Terrifying Last Days Revealed, Special
Bulletin: We Interrupt This Program!, and Surviving
Dawn of the Dead) and DVD-ROM extras. Full frame and
anamorphic widescreen versions will be available, each with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio.
Universal will release the 7-disc American
Dreams: Season One - Extended Edition on 9/7 (SRP $89.98).
There are no details yet on extras, if any.
Universal will also release Santa vs. the
Snowman 3D on 10/12 (SRP $14.98) complete with 4 pairs of 3D
Finally, look for DreamWorks to reschedule the postponed Envy
soon. We'll post the new street date when it becomes available.
Here's a look at some more new DVD cover art, including FINAL revised
art for Miramax's Kill Bill, Volume 2
(we hope - street date 8/10) and Ella
Enchanted (8/24), Universal's Night
Gallery: The Complete First Season (8/24), Columbo:
The Complete First Season and Magnum
P.I.: The Complete First Season (both 9/7), and Buena Vista's
The Ladykillers (9/14)...
More to come. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/14/04
- 1 PM PDT)
We'll be back several times throughout the day, but I wanted to jump in
here first with word that the DVD Forum has finally approved Version 1.0
of the official technical spec for blue laser-based HD-DVD, specifically
the ROM version (or read-only, which is what would be used for
pre-packaged high-definition films on disc). Interestingly, the spec
requires three different video codecs be built-in for compliance to the
format, including current MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) and Microsoft's
VC-9 (which is a component of their Windows Media 9 format). You can
read more in this story
There are two interesting aspects to this final approval. First of all,
it finally gives the HD-DVD camp something tangible to talk about with
regard to their technology, and we'll now (at last) start seeing
technology demonstrations of the final spec. Lately, the news has been
all Blu-ray Disc, which is getting ready to roll out the first products
based on the BD-R (recordable) and BD-ROM specs later this year in the
U.S. (some are already available in Japan). Second, it will be
interesting to see if the inclusion of MPEG-4 AVC and VC-9 will force
the Blu-ray Disc camp to include at least one "higher efficiency"
codec as well. Currently, the Blu-ray Disc format is based solely around
current MPEG-2, and uses a greater capacity physical disc to store more
data (single-layered BD-ROM discs can contain about 27GB of data, while
dual-layered discs contain 50GB). HD-DVD, on the other hand, uses the
higher compression of MPEG-4 and VC-9 to squeeze more video data onto a
physical disc with less storage capacity than Blu-ray Disc
(single-layered HD-DVD-ROM discs are designed to hold only 15GB of data,
with dual-layered discs holding 30GB). It should be noted that both
formats store far more data than current DVD (which holds a measly
4.37GB for single-layered discs, and 15.9GB for dual-sided, dual-layered
This is definitely going to become more and more interesting, and
contentious, before it's all over. We'll post more on the Blu-ray
Disc/HD-DVD format war in the weeks again, you can be sure.
In terms of interesting DVD news today, we have word that Disney's The
Black Hole (8/3 - $19.99) will include a featurette on the
film and the original "extended" theatrical trailer. The film
will be anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
One other interesting bit of news for you this afternoon - Universal
will release Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind on 9/28 (SRP $29.98). No word yet on extras.
Back with lots more over the next few hours. Stay tuned...