• Criterion’s February slate includes Roma, plus Bill reviews Rogue One, the Prequels & Force Awakens in 4K
    Criterion’s February slate includes Roma, plus Bill reviews Rogue One, the Prequels & Force Awakens in 4K
  • Michael Coate & Matthew Kapell look back at James Cameron’s The Abyss for its 30th anniversary
    Michael Coate & Matthew Kapell look back at James Cameron’s The Abyss for its 30th anniversary
  • Our review of the original Star Wars Trilogy in 4K/HDR on Disney+
    Our review of the original Star Wars Trilogy in 4K/HDR on Disney+
  • Tim checks out Warner’s new release of Batman Beyond: The Complete Series on Blu-ray
    Tim checks out Warner’s new release of Batman Beyond: The Complete Series on Blu-ray
  • Disney+ launches with a number of surprises including nearly all of the Star Wars films, Roger Rabbit & more in 4K
    Disney+ launches with a number of surprises including nearly all of the Star Wars films, Roger Rabbit & more in 4K
  • Bill reviews Network’s amazing 50th anniversary restoration of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on Blu-ray (now UPDATED to include the entire set)!
    Bill reviews Network’s amazing 50th anniversary restoration of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on Blu-ray (now UPDATED to include the entire set)!
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment makes James Gray’s Ad Astra official for BD, DVD & 4K on 12/17
    20th Century Fox Home Entertainment makes James Gray’s Ad Astra official for BD, DVD & 4K on 12/17
  • HBO & BBC’s His Dark Materials was worth the wait—read Bill’s non-spoiler review in My Two Cents
    HBO & BBC’s His Dark Materials was worth the wait—read Bill’s non-spoiler review in My Two Cents
  • Bill reviews Warner’s stunning new 8K/16-bit restoration of The Wizard of Oz on 4K Ultra HD
    Bill reviews Warner’s stunning new 8K/16-bit restoration of The Wizard of Oz on 4K Ultra HD
  • Sony sets Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood for Blu-ray, DVD & 4K Ultra HD on 12/10
    Sony sets Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood for Blu-ray, DVD & 4K Ultra HD on 12/10
  • Michael Coate celebrates the 60th anniversary of The Twilight Zone with a roundtable of TV historians
    Michael Coate celebrates the 60th anniversary of The Twilight Zone with a roundtable of TV historians
  • Bill reviews 007: The Daniel Craig Collection with Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall & SPECTRE in 4K
    Bill reviews 007: The Daniel Craig Collection with Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall & SPECTRE in 4K
  • It’s true: Universal will release The Back to the Future Trilogy on 4K Ultra HD in 2020 for its 35th anniversary
    It’s true: Universal will release The Back to the Future Trilogy on 4K Ultra HD in 2020 for its 35th anniversary
My Two Cents
November 18, 2019 - 12:37 pm

All right, I promised my thoughts on The Mandalorian on Disney+. I have to say, I like it. It’s nice to watch a slice of Star Wars that doesn’t involve Jedi, Sith, and Skywalkers for a change. It’s a little in the mold of Rogue One, though that was more closely tied to the Saga films. But Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have crafted a half-hour series that feels like a slice of lived-in classic Star Wars, and is taking its time developing its story. The texture is right, the supporting cast is terrific (thus far including Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, and Nick Nolte), and I love the Bill Conti-infused score by Ludwig Göransson.

Pedro Pascal is good in the lead role, but to be fair we haven’t seen him outside the Mandalorian armor yet, nor have we learned very much about the character. But each episode seems to peel back the onion a little more, and again I like the fact that the show is taking its time. I would have thought that 30-40 minute episodes would seem too short, but I find I’m satisfied after each one. And reports from friends and Lucasfilm insiders who have seen more suggest that the show gets better with every new installment (there will be 8 in all in this first season). What I can tell you is that I’m certainly enjoying it. The show also looks great in 4K with HDR, and sounds great too in Dolby Atmos. [Read on here...]

November 15, 2019 - 4:57 pm

All right, first things first today: Criterion has just announced its February 2020 slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles.

Look for it to include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma (Spine #1014 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/11, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Spine #1013 – Blu-ray and DVD) and an updating of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Antoni Gaudí (Spine #425 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/18, and Jeannie Livingston’s Paris is Burning (Spine #1018 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman (Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/25. That last set includes Journey to the Beginning of Time (Spine #1015), Invention for Destruction (Spine #1016), and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Spine #1017). You can read more here at the Criterion website.

Those are all fine titles, but Roma is particularly appreciated given that it was a Netflix release last year and hasn’t been available on physical media yet.

Also today, our own Michael Coate has a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits—first posted yesterday afternoon—in which he looks back at James Cameron’s The Abyss with historian Matthew Kapell in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. It’s a great piece, so do give it a look. And who knows? Maybe it will remind the director that he’s got a new 4K HDR grade of the film to approve so we can all watch it on Blu-ray and UHD sooner rather than later. [Read on here...]

November 13, 2019 - 9:21 pm

Before we begin today, a quick note: Our own Tim Salmons has just posted his in-depth review of Warner’s new Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Blu-ray box set. And it sounds like the set is quite good, very much in keeping with their recent Batman: The Animated Series BD set. So here’s the review and we hope you enjoy!

All right, I’ve now had a good solid day to play with Disney+ and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed, in principle, with what I’m seeing and experiencing. I’ll have some more comments later this week on how I think streaming services (and specifically Disney+) will impact the home video market. But I certainly do like what I’m seeing. (Note that I’m viewing via the Disney+ app on the Roku Ultra 4K, running through the Oppo UDP-203 to two different display devices—a flat panel and a projector).

One of the best aspects of Disney+ are the surprises: The chance to see deep catalog Disney live action and animated films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Sword and the Stone, and The Black Cauldron in native 4K with HDR is absolutely tremendous. And the more of this kind of experience Disney+ (and other streaming services) can give us, the better. [Read on here...]

November 12, 2019 - 1:51 am

Well, Disney+ is here at last and it offers some surprises!

The service went live last at about 9PM Pacific (Midnight Eastern) and it’s running very smooth right out of the gate.

But the surprise is how much 4K/HDR content is available on the service.

It starts with nearly all of the Star Wars films. You read that right: All of them are here in 4K with HDR except Solo and The Last Jedi (because Netflix has the rights to those for a few more months).

But you also get most (but not all) of the Marvel films, almost all of the Pixar animated films, a TON of Disney live action films and even some surprises of classic animation. [Read on here...]

November 11, 2019 - 3:18 pm

We have a few interesting things to report today, but first some more reviews...

I’ve finally finished my in-depth review of Network’s complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus Norwegian Blu-ray box set, which streets tomorrow here in the US (it’s available via Amazon here). I’ve broken it out disc by disc, and episode by episode (including details on which have added and uncensored content restored), plus all the extras. This is a pretty amazing restoration by the folks at Network; if you’re a fan of Python, I think you’ll be as impressed as I was. Enjoy the review.

Also, Tim has posted reviews of Edward Bianchi’s The Fan (1981) on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, along with his thoughts on the documentary series The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-ray from Screen Media. Both are well worth a look.

We’ve also got reviews of Warner Archive’s Batman Beyond Blu-ray box set on the way and more, so be sure to watch for them. [Read on here...]

November 7, 2019 - 1:00 am

This is a quick post to let you all know that Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Cover Artwork section here at The Digital Bits with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As a NEW feature, the section now lets you search for upcoming Blu-ray titles, DVD titles, AND 4K Ultra HD titles seperately to help you find exactly the ones you’re looking for. Just click on RELEASE DATES & ART on the menu bar above to visit the page, and use the search options in the red bar (at the top) to sort by format and date. Once you find a title you like, just click on the cover art and you’ll be taken right to the Amazon.com pre-order page. Thank you for shopping through our links!

- Bill Hunt

November 6, 2019 - 4:57 pm

All right, this is a quick post with a couple items of interest for you today...

First, I’ve just posted my review of Dogwoof’s new UK import of the Apollo 11 documentary in 4K Ultra HD. And unfortunately, this HDR grade is very heavy-handed. I can’t say I’m a fan of it. I’m going to try to compare it to one of the Digital 4K download versions to see if it’s the same or if something went wrong on Dogwoof’s end. Anyway, here’s the review.

[Editor’s Note: It appears that my projector and 4K player are having handshake problems in terms of handling the HDR on this title. I’m pulling the review down until I can get to the bottom of it.]

[Late Update: Yeah... it’s not a technical problem. The HDR grade on this title is just not good. The review is back up. And it turns out that I’m not the only person to notice the weirdness here. See this post at Blu-ray.com for another opinion.]

Also today, Scream Factory has just confirmed that their forthcoming Blu-ray release of the My Bloody Valentine: Collector’s Edition is going to feature a brand new transfer of both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film in conjunction with Paramount. So that’s great news. Extras are still TBA and the disc is expected to street on 2/4/19. You can see the cover artwork to the left. [Read on here...]

November 5, 2019 - 2:25 pm

Some of you may have seen it when I posted last night, but I’ve finally gotten my review of Network’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Norwegian Blu-ray Edition box set posted.

The key is, Network was only able to send me the first two discs for review early. They’re sending the rest of the set as it becomes available, but I suspect I’ll end up having final product in my hands before the rest of the review check discs arrive. The set is now available in the UK and the US release streets on 11/12 from Amazon. (US orders from Network are now being shipped, so it’s just a matter of when they arrive.) The point is that I reviewed the two discs I have now—essentially Season One of the show. The restoration image quality is impressive, as are the new extras. Just know that I’ll update the review when the entire series is in my hands.

Meanwhile this afternoon, Dennis has turned in new Blu-ray reviews of Andrea Berloff’s The Kitchen from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Michael Gordon’s Woman in Hiding from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. So do enjoy those. [Read on here...]

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