History, Legacy & Showmanship

All right, we’re back finally. We were sort of back last week, but a combination of server work and various houseguests kept me from really diving back into things here at The Bits, though Tim and the crew have been active in posting reviews. I’ve also been up to something very exciting over the last few months, which I’ll talk more about in a minute.

We have a trio of recent Blu-ray reviews for you to check out today, including Tim’s look at Cutting Class from Vinegar Syndrome, Dennis’ review of Not Without My Daughter from MVD, and David’s look at Topper Takes a Trip from VCI.

And I am about to embark on an in-depth review of Damien Chazelle’s recent Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, which was one of my favorite films of 2018. I’ve gotten my hands on the 4K Ultra HD from Universal and it’s tremendous. So watch for that review later today or first thing in the morning. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

From Russia with Love is, quite simply, one of the greatest spy films ever made. It is relentlessly entertaining, sexy, sophisticated, elegant yet raw, beautifully shot, brilliantly edited, wonderfully cast, with a score that puts 99.999% of all other modern films to shame.” — John Cork, author of James Bond Encyclopedia

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 55th anniversary of the release of From Russia with Love, the second cinematic James Bond adventure.

Our previous celebratory 007 articles include Never Say Never Again, Live and Let Die, Octopussy, Casino Royale (1967), Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, Dr. No, The Living Daylights, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Casino Royale, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, GoldenEye, A View to a Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger, and 007… Fifty Years Strong.

The Bits continues the series with this retrospective featuring a Q&A with an esteemed group of film historians and James Bond authorities who discuss the virtues, influence and legacy of 1963’s From Russia with Love. [Read on here...]

Happy Thursday, Bits readers!

There’s very little in the way of news to report today, given that Hollywood is essentially shut down until next week for the holidays.

But we do have a couple things I wanted to share with you today.

First, Tim has turned in a pair of new Blu-ray reviews, and they’re good titles… a pair of Hammer Films classics starring Christopher Lee: Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966) from Scream Factory and Horror of Dracula (1958) now available from the Warner Archive Collection. Both are well worth your time, so enjoy the reviews.

Also today, our own Michael Coate has turned in a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column looking back at The Odd Couple (1968) in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary. The piece features a good interview with historian Rob Edelman. I think you’ll enjoy that too.

Now then… I’ve been very busy with a number of things these past few weeks, but I plan to return to reviewing Blu-ray and 4K titles in a big way right after New Year’s, likely starting with a look at Universal’s First Man. And I’m going to knock out a whole bunch of new and recent titles on both formats throughout the month of January.

In the meantime, I hope you’re all having a great and safe holiday break with your family and friends.

So enjoy every minute… and stay tuned!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

Published in My Two Cents

The Odd Couple is one of the great Neil Simon comedies — if not the all-time-great Neil Simon comedy!” — Rob Edelman, author of Matthau: A Life

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of The Odd Couple, the popular Neil Simon comedy about two divorced men with clashing personalities who become roommates.

Featuring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in their memorable roles as Oscar Madison and Felix Unger, respectively, and directed by Gene Saks (Cactus Flower, Brighton Beach Memoirs), The Odd Couple opened fifty years ago to box-office success and critical acclaim.

For the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with author, film historian and Walter Matthau biographer Rob Edelman. [Read on here...]

The Hidden Fortress is an irresistible blend of grand comic adventure with Kurosawa’s emblematic humanism and innovative craftsmanship.” — Stuart Galbraith, author of The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 60th anniversary of the release of The Hidden Fortress, Akira Kurosawa’s influential jidai-geki and starring long-time Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo).

The popular Kurosawa film turns sixty this year, and for the occasion, The Bits features a Q&A with film historian and Japanese cinema authority Stuart Galbraith. [Read on here...]

All right, we’ve got another very quick update for you today...

First, we expect to have a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate tomorrow, so be sure to watch for that.

Also, we’ve learned from retail sources that Universal’s Mortal Engines is likely due to hit Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 3/12. The studio’s Mary Queen of Scots is likely set for 3/5, while Green Book appears to be a 2/19 release. And it seems that Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet seems to be slated for 2/26 or thereabouts. And Paramount’s Overlord appears to be due on or about 2/12.

We’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits accordingly. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’re starting the new week with a reminder of something we posted over the weekend. On Saturday, our own Michael Coate delivered a terrific History, Legacy & Showmanship retrospective column looking back at Richard Donner’s original Superman: The Movie. Saturday was the film’s actual 40th anniversary. In honor of this, Michael offers details about that original release along with a great roundtable interview with film historians Jim Bowers, Kevin Burns, Mike Matessino, Bruce Scivally, and Larry Tye. It’s well worth your time, so don’t miss it!

Now then, the big news on Friday was that Criterion announced their March Blu-ray release slate, which is set to include Ted Wilde’s The Kid Brother starring Harold Lloyd (Cat #964 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Ingmar Bergman’s The Magic Flute (Cat #71 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 3/12, Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (Cat #966 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Barbara Loden’s Wanda (Cat #965 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 3/19, and Robert Zemeckis’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand (with some of his early short films too – Cat #967 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Carlos Reygadas’ Japón (Cat #968 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 3/26. We’ve updated The Criterion Spines Project page here at The Bits accordingly. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Superman: The Movie radiated magic in 1978 and continues to captivate the world 40 years later. This December, surely multitudes of fans will be watching Superman—via streaming, DVD, Blu-ray or the new 4K UHD—with the same hope, optimism, and innocence they felt the first time they watched in awe as Christopher Reeve soared out of the Fortress of Solitude and into the world.” — Jim Bowers, CapedWonder.com

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Superman, Richard Donner’s classic superhero adventure starring Christopher Reeve (Somewhere in Time, Monsignor). The year 2018 also marks the 80th anniversary of Superman’s debut in Action Comics.

Often described as the first modern-day superhero movie, Superman (aka Superman: The Movie) was a box-office smash and winner of numerous awards and, of course, inspired a series of sequels and spin-offs as well as, arguably, decades of superhero/comicbook-themed media. [Read on here...]

Before we get started today, we’ve got two more Blu-ray reviews for you...

They include Tim’s look at Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season from Starz and Lionsgate and Dennis’ take on Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Both are pretty good, so do give them a look.

Our own Michael Coate has also posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column featuring a look back at Bob Clark’s beloved classic A Christmas Story in honor of the film’s 35th anniversary. The roundtable discussion includes film historians Thomas A. Christie, Caseen Gaines, and Eugene B. Bergmann. Enjoy!

Also, we’ve posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Artwork section featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Anytime you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking to them through one of our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it! [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

A Christmas Story should be remembered as a small film that had a very large impact.” – Caseen Gaines, author of A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 35th anniversary of the release of A Christmas Story, the humorous and now-classic Christmas-themed film based upon the writings of Jean Shepherd and directed by Bob Clark (Black Christmas, Porky’s).

Featuring Melinda Dillon (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Darren McGavin (Kolchak: The Night Stalker) and Peter Billingsley (The Dirt Bike Kid) as Ralphie, A Christmas Story opened in theaters across North America 35 years ago this month, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with a trio of historians and pop culture authorities who discuss the film’s enduring appeal. [Read on here...]

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