My Two Cents

Afternoon, folks. We’re starting off the new week with a pair of new Blu-ray reviews for you to enjoy. Tim Salmons has turned in his look at Scream Factory’s The Legend of Hell House and longtime Bits veteran Todd Doogan has returned with a look at Kino Lorber’s terrific new One Million Years B.C. Blu-ray. Both are well worth your time, so be sure to check them out.

In release news today, first up a biggie: 20th Century Fox’s Logan is now available for Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD pre-order on Amazon (via the links in this sentence and also the temp cover artwork below). We hear it’s pretty damn good, so go check it out in theaters and use our links to pre-order (we appreciate it!) if you enjoy the film. [Read on here…]

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Yes, folks, it’s true… this month marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved DVD format. The exact date is a matter of debate; some technically consider March 1, 1997 as the official date, though our records show that March 19 technically marks the official start of the U.S. launch, and the format was actually launched first in Japan in November of 1996. Either way, the first players and movie discs weren’t available in the seven initial U.S. test markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Seattle, and Washington) until much later in March 1997.

Specifically, the first DVD titles appeared at Best Buy, Tower Records, The Good Guys, and other video/electronics stores in those markets on March 24, and the first actual players didn’t arrive in stock until March 26. Warner launched the format with an initial slate of 25 titles, including Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut (as it happens, the first title I purchased – you can see it below), Twister, Batman, GoldenEye, Eraser, The Fugitive, The Glimmer Man, The Mask, and Space Jam, among others. Those titles sold for $19.95 to $24.98. Tell me... do these old Snapper cases (below) look familiar to you? [Read on here…]

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All right, after our UHD Alliance update this morning, we’ve got a little more new release news for you this afternoon…

But first, we’ve just posted the weekly Release Dates & Artwork update with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it very much.

Now then... 20th Century Fox has just officially announced the Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Hidden Figures on 4/11, with the Digital HD release set for 3/28. The 4K release will include English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Extras on the Blu-ray versions will include audio commentary by director Theodore Melfi and actress Taraji P. Henson, the 5-part It All Adds Up: The Making of Hidden Figures documentary (includes No Limits: The Life of Katherine Johnson, The Right People for the Job, Recreating an Era: The Look of Hidden Figures, A Spiritual Journey: The Music of Hidden Figures, and Moving the Decimal: Honoring Katherine Johnson), deleted scenes, the Hidden Figures: Filming in Georgia featurette, and a gallery. [Read on here…]

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Morning, folks. We’ve got a bit of interesting information this morning from the UHD Alliance worth sharing today, which is that they’ve just defined the HDR “premium viewing experience” for battery-powered devices.

Here are the details from their official press release…

BARCELONA – Feb. 28, 2017 – The UHD Alliance (UHDA), the inter-industry group charged with fostering an ecosystem that fully realizes and promotes the consumer benefits of Ultra HD and HDR entertainment technology, announced today its specification and logo for portable devices: ”MOBILE HDR PREMIUM.”

Enjoying high-quality programming on portable devices including laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones has become a primary mode of content consumption for a large and ever-growing segment of the consumer entertainment audience. The UHDA’s MOBILE HDR PREMIUM designation confirms that a device meets UHDA- defined performance criteria for resolution, dynamic range, color space and bit depth and delivers a consistent premium experience.” [Read on here…]

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Kicking off a new week here at The Bits, we’ve got a couple of things for you today...

First up, Tim has reviewed another new Blu-ray release for you in the form of Franco Propseri’s Wild Beasts (1984 – aka Belve Feroci) from Severin Films.

Also, Mark Altman has a few thoughts, in his latest MOS DEF column today, on good catalog titles that ought to get released in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray this year to help the format get on track.

In announcement news today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set A League of Their Own: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray on 4/18. It includes the new Bentonville, Baseball & the Enduring Legacy of A League of Their Own featurette, as well as legacy extras including 15 deleted scenes, a 9-part documentary, audio commentary with the filmmakers, Madonna’s This Used to Be My Playground music video, and the film’s theatrical trailer. [Read on here…]

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All right, first things first today: We have a quick bit of follow-up for you this morning on those annual original Star Wars release rumors, the latest appearance of which caused a bit of a stir yesterday (and which we commented on in yesterday’s post). I know... we’re getting tired of talking about it too, but we have what seems to be rather definitive new information.

We’ve essentially confirmed that Disney’s current 4K scan of the film is the most recent revised version (essentially the latest “special edition”), not the original theatrical edition. What’s more, Disney’s director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, held a special event at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts last night, a presentation called Animation Restoration at Walt Disney Studios. Gluck was asked there about Star Wars and reported that the original cut negative for the film currently exists in its “SE” configuration only. (There’s more info, so do continue on past the jump.) [Read on here…]

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All right, first up today we’ve got a couple more Blu-ray reviews for you: Tim has checked out Lionsgate’s Parents and The Lair of the White Worm, both recently-released entries in their Vestron Video Collector’s Series that are well worth your time. Be sure to give them a look.

Now then…

We’ve been saying for a while now that, once Disney took over the Star Wars franchise, it was inevitable that the original theatrical versions of the Star Wars films would be released at some point. Disney, as a studio, is very disciplined in taking care to meticulously preserve all of the valuable film assets in their vault. So this idea that those original films no longer exist, as suggested by George Lucas himself at one point, is hogwash. [Read on here…]

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Afternoon, folks! We’ve got some great stuff for you here at The Bits today…

First up, Tim has turned in a review of Shout! Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume IV, which includes the episodes Space Mutiny, Overdrawn at the Memory Back, Girl in Gold Boots, and Hamlet. The disc is now available, so do give it a look.

Meanwhile, we have a new MOS DEF column from Mark A. Altman as well today, in which he takes a look back at his favorite Blu-ray releases of 2016. We’ll have more from Mark later this week too. Enjoy!

In announcement news today, the BIG news is that Disney and Lucasfilm have just officially set Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for Blu-ray Combo, DVD, and On Demand release on 4/4, with a Digital HD release set for 3/24. There’s no word yet of a 4K version, but it appears that Target and Best Buy will have retail-exclusive Blu-ray 3D versions on 4/4 (per Star Wars.com). The Target package appears to match the Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition. The Best Buy package comes in a Steelbook. Walmart will also have exclusive packaging. Extras on the Blu-rays will include 11 behind-the-scenes featurettes (A Rogue Idea, Jyn: The Rebel, Cassian: The Spy, K-2SO: The Droid, Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills, Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary, The Empire, Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One, The Princess & The Governor, Epilogue: The Story Continues, and Rogue Connections). Note that the lack of deleted scenes – and we know there are many – or audio commentary suggests that a more elaborate Collector’s Edition BD release is coming later this year. You can see the cover artwork at the left and below. [Read on here…]

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We’re starting today with a pair of new Blu-ray Disc reviews, both of them from Universal. Tim’s given Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings a spin and found it well worth your time, especially if you missed it in the theater. It’s probably the best animated film of 2016, so do give it a look. Tim has also reviewed Universal’s Blu-ray upgrade of Peter Jackson’s King Kong: Ultimate Edition, which includes damn near all of the extras from the previous and elaborate DVD box sets. It’s also available for a great price too – just $13.99 on Amazon right now. Give the reviews a read and I think you’ll enjoy them.

Also, we’ve just posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K cover artwork and pre-order links. As always, anytime you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking to them through any one of our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it very much. So please do and thank you! [Read on here…]

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All right, today is a work holiday for many here in the U.S., but we do have some interesting new release news for you all regardless.

First up, new signals from retail sources (including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others) are suggesting that Disney and Lucasfilm are planning to release Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD on 4/4, instead of the date previously listed by retailers which was 3/28. Until this weekend, Best Buy was taking pre-orders with no date listed, but that’s now been pulled, suggesting that an official announcement may be coming any day. Stay tuned for official details.

Speaking of Disney, the studio has confirmed that it’s currently working on new Walt Disney Signature Edition Blu-ray releases of Fantasia and Bambi. The latter film has been out of print on Blu-ray here in the States for a number of years now, so that’s certainly good news for fans. You can learn a bit more here. [Read on here…]

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