History, Legacy & Showmanship

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I just wanted to check in with you all briefly this evening for a rare Sunday update to bring you a bit of Star Wars: The Force Awakens news.

Amazon.com today very briefly listed the street date for Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray as 4/5, then pulled the date down again (SRP $39.99 but Amazon discounts it to $19.99). However, Amazon Canada also added the same date and left it up.  [Read on here…] 

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All right, Tim’s just posted his thoughts on Shout!’s recent Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special Blu-ray. And I’m making good progress on the X-Files review. Christmas has intruded on my time over the past week, but I’ve finally gotten through all the extra content on the set and so I’m getting there. I can’t stress enough what a mammoth task it is to review this set – there’s just SO much material to go through and check. But I’m working on it. Watch for it soon-ish. I will just quickly say that, given Amazon.com’s current pricing (see here), it probably makes more sense to buy the seasons individually. There’s nothing in the box that you wouldn’t get that way, other than the box itself, and you’ll pay significantly less.  [Read on here…]

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The early update is going to be a quick one, as I really want to finish the X-Files Blu-ray review today if possible. So let’s start with a quick rundown of release news...

The following recent films are now all available for Blu-ray and DVD pre-order on Amazon.com (street dates TBA): Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney), The Big Short (Universal), Creed (Warner), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Lionsgate). Just click on the titles (or on the temp art below) to pre-order.  [Read on here…]

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So... as planned, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night in Hollywood, at the Arclight’s iconic Cinerama Dome with a great group of friends. Among them were names you’ve heard before here at The Bits (filmmakers, special edition producers, etc), including the likes of Robert Meyer Burnett, Alec Peters, Charles de Lauzirika, Chris Gore, Mary Forrest, Kevin Rubio, Daren Dochterman, Cliff Stephenson (and his fine young mini-Cliff), Dennis Przywara, Diana Kingsbury, my lovely wife Sarah, of course, and various spouses, partners, friends, etc. We gathered for dinner and drinks beforehand, saw the film, then regrouped for more drinks and discussion afterwards, as alpha-geeks are want to do.

First, let me offer you my thoughts on the film itself, 100% without spoilers...  [Read on here…]

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All right, today is Star Wars Day here at The Bits! I spent last night watching a marathon of Harmy’s Despecialized version of the Original Trilogy (click here and here for more on that), which I hadn’t done in years so that was a treat. And tonight, my wife and I are joining a group of friends both old and new for a screening of The Force Awakens in Hollywood – the first show at the glorious Cinerama Dome.

So let’s just give you a quick rundown of the release news today…  [Read on here…]

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015 00:01

A Force to Be Reckoned With

Star Wars is a landmark film, a work of such soaring imagination that it will set standards for years to come.” — Bob Thomas, Associated Press

On the eve of the release of the eagerly-awaited Episode VII: The Force Awakens, The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship offer a look back at the original Star Wars, George Lucas’ legendary space opera that introduced the world to The Force and a host of memorable characters.  [Read on here...]

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Today’s update is later than usual (and it’s also Wednesday’s update too), but you’ll see why in a moment...

We’ve just spent the whole day working on a brand new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate, featuring a look back at the original 1977 theatrical release of Star Wars, in anticipation of this week’s long-anticipated release of The Force Awakens. Michael has produced an exhaustively-researched chronicle of the film’s debut theatrical run, featuring trivia, period review quotes, and a listing of all the original theatrical engagements around North America. He even rounds the column out with a great roundtable interview featuring historian and author Marcus Hearn (The Cinema of George Lucas), filmmaker Patrick Read Johnson (5-25-77), filmmaker and special edition producer Charles de Lauzirika (Crave, and most recently documentary content for Disney’s Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit), and filmmaker Kevin Rubio (Troops). It’s a great read, so do give it a look and enjoy!  [Read on here…]

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The Empire Strikes Back joins The Godfather, Part II as one of the rarest of films—a sequel that lives up to and expands upon its original.” — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

There is no question this year is a huge one for fans of Star Wars. While the whole galaxy awaits Episode VII: The Force Awakens, let us not forget this year also marks the 35th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, one of the most revered sequels of all time. The Digital Bits celebrates the occasion with this retrospective featuring a compilation of box-office data that places Empire’s performance in context, quotes from well-known movie critics, production and exhibition information, a list of the opening-week, limited-market theaters that were the first anywhere to play the movie, and an interview segment with a group of filmmakers and historians who discuss the attributes of the movie and examine why Empire is frequently labeled the fan favorite.  [Read on here...]

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First up today, we’ve got a little follow-up on the BDA’s Ultra HD Blu-ray announcement, specifically a few additional technical clarifications...

The video resolution is 3840x2160, with disc capacity at 66GB (dual-layer) and 100GB (triple-layer) – at data rates of 108 mbps and 128 mbps respectively – using the HEVC codec (H.265) via HDMI 1.2 and 2.0, as well as HDCP 1.4 and 2.2. The “digital bridge” system (for Digital Copy) is optional and consists of copy features that enables local playback. What that means for each disc/player is up to the manufacturer and although the Ultra HD Blu-ray spec is complete, the BDA is waiting to hear how manufacturers will implement these features.  [Read on here…]

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