My Two Cents

Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits ties into the Blu-ray news we announced earlier (see our post here). It’s A&E Home Video’s Space: 1999 – 30th Anniversary Edition box set, released on DVD on July 31, 2007.

Licensed from Network/ITV in the UK, the series was first released on DVD both in the US and UK beginning in 2001 – by A&E/New Video in the States and by Network in the UK. The US release was initially done via 8 2-disc sets (4 per season). In 2002, all 8 volumes were packaged together in a “Megaset” with an exclusive DVD bonus disc that includes the short follow-on video A Message from Moonbase Alpha.

The set you see at left and below is a repackaging of that same Megaset from 2002, re-issued in 2007 for the show’s anniversary. All 17 discs carried over, along with the bonus disc, simply packaged in ultra-thin DVD slim cases. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

About a year ago, and after years of reporting on this title, we reported here at The Bits that Shout! Factory had quietly obtained the rights to release Network/ITV’s classic 1970s British TV series Space: 1999 and UFO, produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

As many of you know, both series were released on DVD here in the States, and on Blu-ray in the UK and elsewhere, but only Season One of Space: 1999 ever appeared here in the States on the HD format.

Well, that changes now. On 7/16, our friends at Shout! Factory will release Space: 1999 – The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc as 13 disc set including all 48 episodes in production order and special features (which are still TBA). The package will also include a booklet of photos and liner notes. [Read on here...]

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All right, we’ve got a few items for you guys today here at The Bits...

First up, I know some of you guys are big fans of the Fast and Furious franchise, so you might be interested in this: Amazon is now taking pre-orders on Universal’s Fast & Furious and Fast Five on 4K Ultra HD. Each will feature DTS-X object based audio. Street date is 6/11. I’ve included cover artwork at below (and you’ll find the Amazon pre-order links down there too.

I’ve also posted the artwork for Universal’s The Scorpion King, which streets on 4K on 6/18 and is also available for pre-order.

Now then, the big news today is that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced a new Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II Steelbook 4K Ultra HD release on 6/11 that will include a new special features disc with more than two hours of “long-requested and rare archival elements—including never-before-seen deleted scenes from the first film—along with returning interviews, effects breakdowns, multi-angle explorations and much more! Both films also feature brand new commentaries, featuring the filmmakers on Ghostbusters II and passionate fans with deep-cut insights on Ghostbusters.” You can see the cover artwork to the left. [Read on here...]

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Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits is a favorite of mine personally, as well as a favorite of our readers and classic Star Trek fans overall. It’s the acclaimed 2-disc Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition DVD, released by Paramount Home Entertainment in 2001.

The film was directed by the great Robert Wise, who had previously directed the Best Picture winners West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), as well as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and who was an editor on Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) at RKO early in his career. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in theaters on December 7, 1979 and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

As many Trek fans know, Star Trek: The Motion Picture began life as an effort to return the franchise to TV with Star Trek: Phase II, but the box office success of other science fiction films convinced Paramount to try bringing the property to the big screen. The film reunited the entire original series cast, along with newcomers Persis Khambatta and Stephen Collins. The legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith was hired to score the film, which would become among his most iconic and widely-recognized works. [Read on here...]

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Today is a day many of us in the cinephile community have been eagerly awaiting: Criterion has finally launched their streaming replacement for FilmStruck, better known as The Criterion Channel.

It officially launched this morning with apps on AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS and Android. You can also view it via web browser.

The good news is, the launch seems to have gone nearly flawlessly. I checked for the Roku download shortly after midnight. Finding it not yet available, I figured it was more likely to launch early AM on the East Coast, where Criterion’s offices are located. So I went to bed and checked again when I woke up here in California. [Read on here...]

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Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits is one that caught the eye of more than a few of our readers in the background of photos I’ve posted of recent Retro Release Day titles. I’m speaking of ADV Films’ 4-disc Farscape: Starburst Edition DVDs!

Farscape, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 19, was a Sci-Fi Channel original series that debuted in 1999 from The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. An Australian-American production, the live action science fiction series was created by Rockne S. O’Bannon and starred Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Paul Goddard, Lani Tupu, and Wayne Pygram.

The series was first released on DVD starting in 2001 by ADV Films in a regular DVD edition (with 2 episodes per set plus extras on one DVD-9 disc). This was followed in 2005 by an initial Starburst Edition release (with 6-7 episodes per set plus additional extras on 2 DVD-18 discs). Both releases presented the series in the original broadcast 1.33:1 (or 4x3) TV aspect ratio, save for Season Four which switched production to 1.78:1 (or 16x9). Audio was lossy Dolby Digital. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Today’s Bits postings are a double-header, and this first one will be pretty substantial. I’ve unfortunately come down with the flu, so the last few days my functionality has been limited. But, I’m going to do a couple posts today to make up for it.

Before we begin, though, we’ve posted 4 new Blu-ray reviews here at The Bits in the last few days, including... Tim’s look at The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires from Scream Factory, Ecco and The Forbidden from Severin Films, and the Region B release of Dragonwyck (1946) from Powerhouse Films and Indicator. We also have Dennis’ look at Stan & Ollie on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Enjoy!

So... first things first: We’ve confirmed with Warner Bros. that their new Burton/Schumacher Batman 4K releases will feature new Dolby Atmos audio mixes on both the 4K and the Blu-rays in the package. Those Blu-rays will be remastered too. High dynamic range will be HDR10 only on the 4Ks. And the Blu-rays will carry over all of the previous BD extras with one exception: Don’t expect to find the Batman: The Birth of a Modern Blockbuster featurette from the recent Batman: Diamond Luxe Blu-ray. Beyond that, most everything should be there. (Thanks to Bits reader Anthony DiPaola for spotting that). [Read on here...]

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We mentioned this title a few days ago, but now we can officially confirm that Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Neon will be releasing Todd Douglas Miller’s acclaimed large format documentary, Apollo 11, on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on May 14th.

From the studio’s press release:

“Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future ” [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just officially confirmed information we’ve had in our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits for a while now, which is this…

Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) and Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) are officially coming to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Digital on 6/4. You’ll be able to buy them as single SKU editions that day, and then a 4K Batman Anthology box set will follow on 9/17.

The films have been scanned from the original camera negatives in native 4K, fully remastered, and graded for high dynamic range in HDR10 (there is no mention of Dolby Vision but we’ll try to confirm its inclusion). They’ll also feature new Dolby Atmos audio mixes. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Attention all readers of The Digital Bits. This is just a quick announcement to remind you all that The Criterion Channel officially launches in the U.S. and Canada on Monday (4/8).

That means you only have ONE WEEK left to become a Charter Subscriber of the service. Benefits include an extended 30-day free trial (starting April 8), reduced fees for the life of your subscription (for as long as you maintain it), and more.

Specifically, charter subscribers (who sign up before 4/8) will pay just $9.99 for a monthly plan or $89.99 for a yearly plan, following the trial period. After 4/8, the prices will rise to $10.99 for monthly or $99.99 for yearly.

Content includes the complete Janus Films library, plus curated and original content, with special features to supplement it.

You can watch on your desktop right now, and the official app is expected to go live for download on Monday for Apple TV 4 and newer, Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS, and Android devices. [Read on here...]

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