All right, we got some goodies for you today...

First, Tim has turned in a new review of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead in 4K Ultra HD from Lionsgate and Studio Canal.

Also, this week’s update of the Release Dates & Artwork section is now live with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Whenever you plan to shop from Amazon for literally anything, please consider starting by clicking through one of our affiliate links (like this one or any of our cover art links) as it really helps us to keep the site going and supports our work. Thank you!

And I should also let you know that I’m going to be taking a week off of regular news posts here at the site to A) visit family in North Dakota and B) finish editing this science fiction novel I’ve been working on. (In truth, I also need a break before all the Comic-Con 2019 hubbub begins.) But Tim will be posting new Blu-ray reviews the whole time, and I’ll be back with a big news update (and reviews of my own) late next week.

Now then... we’ve got some announcements this afternoon. First up, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland on 4K Ultra HD on 10/1 in celebration of the film’s 10th anniversary and also the theatrical release of its forthcoming sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap. All of the existing BD extras will carry over and you’ll get the all-new Raised from the Dead: Zombieland a Decade Later featurette. The 4K will include HDR10 and a new Dolby Atmos audio mix too. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Phantom Menace is the film that caused a generation gap in Star Wars fandom.” — W.R. Miller, author of The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook: Volume One 1971 to 1976

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: Episode IThe Phantom Menace, the first entry in the long-awaited prequel trilogy to the original 1977-83 Star Wars trilogy.

Marking series creator George Lucas’s return to directing, The Phantom Menace opened twenty years ago this month, with some fans camping out for days (plural!) to experience a screening on opening day. And while the movie was an undeniable box-office smash, breaking numerous earnings and attendance records, there was a great disturbance in the Force as the film left a lot of moviegoers and critics underwhelmed and disappointed. [Read on here...]

“With its dramatic and satisfying conclusion of the overall plot and its upbeat finale, Return of the Jedi set the future of the Star Wars brand on an extremely sure footing and ensured that the trilogy would be regarded as one of the greatest of all time.” — Craig Stevens, author of The Star Wars Phenomenon in Britain

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 35th anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi, the concluding chapter of George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, which featured Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher reprising their popular roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, respectively.

Tying up all of the loose ends of the previous chapter and showcasing a galaxy’s worth of creatures, robots and visual effects, Return of the Jedi opened to record-breaking box-office thirty-five years ago this week. [Read on here...]

Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:22

Celebrating Forty Years of Star Wars

All right, I shouldn’t have tell any of you what today is... it’s Towel Day!

And also, of course, the 40th anniversary of a little film called Star Wars. Not Episode IV. Not A New Hope. Star Wars.

To recognize the occasion, we’ve got a couple things for you here at The Bits today.

First up, our very own Michael Coate has updated and expanded his excellent History, Legacy & Showmanship retrospective column, A Force to Be Reckoned With: Remembering “Star Wars” on its 40th Anniversary. He’s combed newspaper archives all across North America to produce a definitive history of the film’s debut theatrical release back in 1977-1978. Every theater that showed the film, the day it opened in that theater, all of it. Trust me, I’ve learned from personal experience that one’s memory of seeing the film back in 1977 is not as accurate as Michael’s exhaustive research – he’s sent me the vintage microfilmed newspaper clippings to prove it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

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

[This is a revised and updated version of a previously published article.]

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, George Lucas’ legendary space opera that introduced the world to The Force and a host of memorable planets, spaceships and characters. [Read on here...]

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 13:03

Here’s What’s Wrong with Movies...

I’ve figured out what’s wrong with movies.

This thesis prevailed on me as I went to see the 3-D Imax version of a new picture called The Great Wall. This picture opened to dismal reviews, but the previews had made it look righteous and the effects, I knew, would be fun, and they were and the whole experience wasn’t bad.

And on the way out, I was thinking of all these feckless movie reviewers who get published and why they would trash this movie. I thought to myself: “Why were they so hard on this movie? It’s just a fun “B” picture?”

And then I figured it out. They all are. 90% of what we see in the theaters are “B” pictures with “A” budgets.

Let’s discuss... [Read on here...]


All right, first things first today: We have a quick bit of follow-up for you this morning on those annual original Star Wars release rumors, the latest appearance of which caused a bit of a stir yesterday (and which we commented on in yesterday’s post). I know... we’re getting tired of talking about it too, but we have what seems to be rather definitive new information.

We’ve essentially confirmed that Disney’s current 4K scan of the film is the most recent revised version (essentially the latest “special edition”), not the original theatrical edition. What’s more, Disney’s director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, held a special event at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts last night, a presentation called Animation Restoration at Walt Disney Studios. Gluck was asked there about Star Wars and reported that the original cut negative for the film currently exists in its “SE” configuration only. (There’s more info, so do continue on past the jump.) [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

“It’s hard to tell who the movie is for. It’s too childish for adults and too provocative and snarky for kids.” — Film historian/author Caseen Gaines

The History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Digital Bits typically celebrates popular and significant motion pictures and TV series. Periodically, though, we will look back at unpopular or maligned productions to examine if the passage of time warrants a reevaluation. So with this in mind, The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective for Howard the Duck on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

Howard the Duck, based upon the 1970s Marvel comic book series, starred Lea Thompson (Back to the Future, All the Right Moves), Tim Robbins (Bull Durham, The Shawshank Redemption) and Jeffrey Jones (Amadeus, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and featured a talking, cigar-chomping duck from another planet that is zapped across the galaxy to Cleveland where he meets a musician who attempts to help him return home.  [Read on here...]

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...]

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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