My Two Cents
Wednesday, 07 June 2023 14:46

Ziggy Stardust 50th, plus Duel & American Graffiti 4Ks on the way, Super Mario Movie, Matilda, French Connection censorship & more

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We start today with four new disc reviews, with more on the way...

Tim has reviewed Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (1995) in 4K Ultra HD from Arrow Video.

Stephen has turned in his thoughts on Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) in 4K Ultra HD from Criterion, as well as Jim McBride’s The Big Easy (1986) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

And Stuart has taken a look at Susan Seidelman’s Making Mr. Right (1987) on Blu-ray, also from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Meanwhile today, we have a bunch of announcement news to report, starting with this: Rhino/Parlophone are releasing D.A. Pennebaker’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1979) in a new 2CD + Blu-ray package in the UK on 8/11 in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary! The package will include the remastered soundtrack album, as well as the acclaimed concert film itself newly restored in 4K from the original negatives. Note that while this is a UK release, the Blu-ray is coded for all regions and will include both 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and the original stereo in PCM format. Both the film and soundtrack have also been restored to completion for the first time, and now include The Jean Genie/Love Me Do medley and Round and Round featuring Jeff Beck.

You can read more here, and you can see the packaging at left and also below. [Read on here...]

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And here’s a trailer for the global film re-release that happened on 6/3...

Now then, Universal is releasing a pair of early films by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in 4K Ultra HD in Q3 of this year. Spielberg’s Duel (1971) will street on 9/19, and we expect Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973) to arrive in mid-August (on 8/15 or 8/22). Here’s a look at the packaging for Zavvi’s retailer exclusive version of Duel (click here or on the image below to pre-order it from them)...

Duel 4K Ultra HD at Zavvi

And if the Zavvi listing is to believed, this 4K release also includes the original TV movie version of Duel in 1.33:1 in HD, which would be a big deal.

Universal is also releasing a Best Buy-exclusive Jurassic World: The Ultimate Collection 4K Ultra HD Steelbook box set on 10/31, featuring all three Jurassic Park films and all three Jurassic World films. This would basically be the same discs as before, just in new Steelbook packaging.

Universal isn’t done yet though—they’ve also set a new Jurassic Park: 30th Anniversary – Universal Essentials Collection 4K UHD (of just the first film in 4K) for release on 6/27. And they’ve announced a new Big Lebowski: Universal Essentials Collection 4K UHD for release as well on 8/1. The latter will include a booklet, a certificate of authenticity, a film cell replica, and art cards featuring Jeff Bridges’ photography in addition to the same 4K disc released previously. Here’s a look at those (click on the images to pre-order them on Amazon)...

Jurassic Park: 30th Anniversary – Universal Essentials Collection

The Big Lebowski: Universal Essentials Collection

And Universal has just officially announced the Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie next week on 6/13. The Digital version is already available. Extras will include 4 featurettes (Getting to Know the Cast, Leveling Up: Making The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Leadership Lessons with Anya Taylor-Joy, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie Field Guide), plus a lyric video for Jack Black’s Peaches.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also officially announced the 4K Ultra HD release of Danny DeVito’s Matilda (1996) on 9/5. Packaged as a Steelbook release, it will include a new Dolby Atmos mix plus the original 5.1 audio in DTS-HD MA, a brand-new audio commentary with Danny DeVito, the theatrical trailer, and all the legacy special features on Blu-ray.

Meanwhile, the street date for Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD is looking like 8/22, while it appears that Universal’s Fast X and the Fast & Furious: 10 Movie Collection will arrive on Blu-ray and 4K on 8/8.

Retailers have also now confirmed Disney’s wide 4K UHD release of the animated Cinderella (1950) for 8/1, just as we first reported months ago.

Also today, Capelight Pictures is releasing Yuichiro Hirakawa’s Whisper of the Heart on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/20.

And pre-orders for John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) in 4K from Paramount are now up on Amazon and you can find that link with the cover art below.

One other thing we wanted to cover today: It’s been reported by fans of the film that the version of William Friedkin’s The French Connection (1971) that now appears for streaming on The Criterion Channel (and elsewhere) and also for Digital download has been censored by Disney (which now owns 20th Century Studios) to remove some offensive language. You can find the details here on Hollywood Elsewhere.

Look... Gene Hackman’s character Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle was a bigot and a racist. That’s the point. People like him existed then, in the early 1970s, and they exist now. If your sensibilities are offended by that, you have the agency to not watch the film. But there is no human or natural law that says you, as a person, get to walk through the world forever protected from being offended by something you don’t like. That’s not how free speech or freedom of thought work.

Put a disclaimer in front of the film or book if necessary to explain the context and warn people of potentially offensive content! But sanitizing by cutting things out or re-writing is a line we simply should not be crossing as a society.

Let me be absolutely clear on this topic: We here at The Digital Bits find this censorship itself to be egregious and offensive. Censoring older movies and books is just straight-up wrong. Works of art are a product of their time, and accurately understanding history—and the progress we’ve made over time—requires that we see these things exactly as they were, in the context of their time. PC censorship by corporate decision-makers—or by people who want to edit books to be non-offensive, or to ban books from school libraries for that matter—has simply gone too far. It’s time for us all to be adults, and to recognize that the world is complex and nuanced, and far from perfect, and that human beings are smart enough and capable enough to understand this. And it’s time for film and book fans to stand up, say no to this kind of thing, and to draw the line. We strongly encourage you to respectfully make your feelings about this known. And hopefully, that’s enough said on the topic for now.

All right, here’s some more cover artwork, with pre-order links if available...

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (4K Ultra HD) Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (4K Ultra HD) Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: 50th Anniversary (Blu-ray Disc)

The Big Lebowski: Universal Essentials (4K Ultra HD) Weird Science (4K Ultra HD) The Super Mario Bros. Movie (4K Ultra HD)

Stay tuned...

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