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!
“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 got just a quick update for you today, but we’ve got a bit of release news and some new reviews too.
First up those reviews... Tim has checked out National Lampoon’s Class Reunion on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, and David has posted his thoughts on Black Widow (1954) from Twilight and The [Rec] Collection from Scream Factory.
Now then, we’ve confirmed with Sony that there are currently no plans to release The Girl in the Spider’s Web on physical 4K Ultra HD in the States. This could change if the title performs unexpectedly well on Blu-ray, but the film’s failure at the box office seems to have put the kabosh on the studio’s initial release plans. It may also have cramped plans to release David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on 4K and Panic Room on Blu-ray/4K. But we’ll have to wait and see. [Read on here...]
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...]
“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...]
All right, we have a bunch of good release news and reviews for you today…
Before we get to it though, a quick personal note: Often, the first place I post breaking news about Blu-ray and 4K (along with other items I find interest in related to film, science, spaceflight, science fiction, etc) is on my personal Twitter page (@BillHuntBits). So I encourage you all to follow me there if you’re interested. Everyone is welcome and I’m also easier to reach there than via email. So follow if you wish.
Now then, let’s get down to business…
First up, though it’s not officially announced yet, we have word from retail and studio sources that Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will street on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 3/12/19. Watch for the official announcement in the weeks ahead.
This one IS officially announced: Warner’s A Star Is Born will street on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 2/19. The 4K disc will include Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. Extras will include The Road to Stardom: Making A Star Is Born, 3 Jam Sessions and Rarities (Baby What You Want Me to Do, Midnight Special, and Is That Alright), and 4 Music Videos (Shallow, Always Remember Us This Way, Look What I Found, and I’ll Never Love Again). [Read on here...]
We start today with a pair of new Blu-ray reviews, including Tim’s take on John Waters’ Female Trouble from the Criterion Collection, and also Dennis’ look at The Nun from Warner. More reviews are on the way this week and next, including (next week) several new 4K reviews from myself. Among them will be M:I – Fallout and The Lion King. My wife and I have family visiting here at the moment though, so it’s been tough to break away to do the reviews with the justice they deserve.
The BIG announcement news today is that Universal has officially set Damien Chazelle’s First Man for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 1/22, with the Digital release expected on 1/5. Here’s the great news... while the film is presented in its original 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio, the final scenes will be presented in full 1.78:1 to preserve the IMAX aspect as seen in theaters. Audio is English Dolby Atmos and the 4K image will include both HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
Extras on the Blu-ray versions will include feature commentary (with director Damien Chazelle, screenwriter Josh Singer, and editor Tom Cross), deleted scenes, and 8 featurettes (including Shooting for the Moon, Preparing to Launch, Giant Leap in One Small Step, Mission Gone Wrong, Putting You in the Seat, Recreating the Moon Landing, Shooting at NASA, and Astronaut Training). This is certainly the 4K Ultra HD I’m most looking forward to right now here at The Bits. It should be terrific. [Read on here...]
[Editor’s Note: We know the cover artwork at left is the same as yesterday. We’ll fix it soon.]
All right, we’ve got just a quick news update for you today, as we’ve got family visiting here this week.
A couple of notes though: I will be reviewing Disney’s Lion King and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout on 4K Ultra HD. Both releases are worth your time. The latter film is absolutely terrific, and the 4K release does preserve the shifting aspect ratio for scenes filmed in IMAX (which look great).
And though Disney didn’t send out Lion King for review, I did pick up a copy and have given it a cursory look. The HDR grade is restrained, but the wide color gamut makes a big difference for this film, even though it’s traditional hand-drawn animation. And I do believe that a bit more detail is visible in the image (especially in the backgroud artwork) than the Blu-ray. I’ll try to have both reviewed by this time next week, but don’t hesitate to pick up either if you’re interested. [Read on here...]