All right, let’s get right down to it. I’ve been reluctant to talk about the prospects of James Cameron’s The Abyss and True Lies arriving on Blu-ray (and dare we hope 4K) in 2019 because we’ve had SO many solid reports that these films were finally coming only to see them evaporate. And when I’ve tried to find out why, Fox always pointed at Cameron and Cameron always pointed back at Fox. What I finally figured out is that Cameron has just been too distracted with other projects to approve new transfers of these films, first with diving to the bottom of the ocean and more recently with his Avatar prequels.

As longtime Bits readers will be well aware, both films were expected for their last major anniversaries in 2014. We know for a fact that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment had even prepared new Blu-ray releases (most recently rumored for release in 2017), but Cameron never got around to approving the new transfers, so the Blu-ray releases never happened. The transfers were quietly released to the pay cable movie channels only.

Well, now it’s five years later. 2019 officially marks the 30th anniversary of The Abyss and the 25th of True Lies. Naturally, that means Bits readers have been asking me for weeks about the prospects of finally seeing these films released on Blu-ray (and, again, dare we hope 4K). I’ve even spoken to studio sources about this recently. And again, what I learned was that the ball was still in James Cameron’s court. [Read on here...]

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We’ve some interesting release news today, starting with a little heads-up: Sources say that the long-anticipated official announcement of Ridley Scott’s Alien on 4K Ultra HD is happening very soon. So be sure to watch for that. We’ll have all the details here as soon as they’re official.

In other 4K announcement news, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down official for release on the format on 5/7.

It will include both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film newly remastered in 4K from the original camera negative and featuring an HDR grade approved by Scott. Both will also feature a new Dolby Atmos sound mix. [Read on here...]

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All right, Disney has just officially announced the Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD release of Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns on 3/19, with their Digital 4K and Movies Anywhere release set for a week earlier on 3/12. There will apparently also be a “Digital Bundle” of the film with the original 1964 Mary Poppins (we don’t know what resolution that original film will be). Audio on the Blu-rays will be English 7.1 DTS-HD MA. Assume standard HDR10 at least on the physical 4K (the digital 4K may offer Dolby Vision).

In terms of extras, the Blu-rays will include the deleted song The Anthropomorphic Zoo, the 4-part The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns documentary (includes Introduction, (Underneath the) Lovely London Sky, Can You Imagine That?, and Nowhere to Go But Up), the 4-part Seeing Things From a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns documentary (includes Trip a Little Light Fantastic, The Royal Doulton Music Hall/A Cover Is Not the Book, Turning Turtle, and Can You Imagine That?), Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns, Practically Perfect Bloopers, 3 deleted scenes (Leaving Topsy’s and Trip a Little Light Fantastic), and a Sing-Along Mode. The Digital version only will also feature exclusive audio commentary by director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.

You can see the cover artwork at left and also below. [Read on here...]

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We’ve got some more interesting 4K Ultra HD release news for you today, and some Blu-ray news as well...

First up, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just officially set Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla (1998) for release on 4K Ultra HD on 5/14, complete with Dolby Atmos audio. The film has been remastered in 4K from the original camera negative. The 4K disc will include a trio of trailers. You’ll also get the film on Blu-ray with all of its legacy extras, and a Digital copy will be included as well. You can see the cover artwork at left.

While we’re on the subject of Sony, this is both good news and bad news: Sony has recently made Sir David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia available in 4K... as a digital exclusive (on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and elsewhere). To which we reply: WHAT THE HELL?! The download reportedly doesn’t have HDR, but so what? Sony... what the hell are you waiting for?! [Read on here...]

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The big news today is that our friends at The Criterion Collection have officially announced the launch date for their forthcoming streaming service, The Criterion Channel. Look for it to debut on 4/8. And those who signed up to be Charter Subscribers can create their accounts today and start watching a new Movie of the Week series until the launch.

Not a day after we hinted at it in our daily column, Lionsgate has officially set Man on a Ledge for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on 4/9. Look for it to include both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite on 3/5, with the Digital release expected on 2/12. Extras will include deleted scenes and The Favourite: Unstitching the Costume Drama featurette.

Fox will also release the Melissa McCarthy drama Can You Ever Forgive Me? on DVD only on 2/19 with Digital due on 2/5. [Read on here...]

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All right, we’re back finally. We were sort of back last week, but a combination of server work and various houseguests kept me from really diving back into things here at The Bits, though Tim and the crew have been active in posting reviews. I’ve also been up to something very exciting over the last few months, which I’ll talk more about in a minute.

We have a trio of recent Blu-ray reviews for you to check out today, including Tim’s look at Cutting Class from Vinegar Syndrome, Dennis’ review of Not Without My Daughter from MVD, and David’s look at Topper Takes a Trip from VCI.

And I am about to embark on an in-depth review of Damien Chazelle’s recent Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, which was one of my favorite films of 2018. I’ve gotten my hands on the 4K Ultra HD from Universal and it’s tremendous. So watch for that review later today or first thing in the morning. [Read on here...]

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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!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

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[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...]

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We our close out of the week with three more new disc reviews…

We’ve got Tim’s take on the Zombiology/Vidar the Vampire double feature Blu-ray from Dread Central and Dennis’ thoughts on The Witch Files on DVD from Dark Sky and Bruce’s Deadly Fingers on Blu-ray from VCI Entertainment. Enjoy!

In terms of news today, our friends at The Criterion Collection have just unveiled their February 2019 slate and it includes some very nice titles indeed. It starts with Ingmar Bergman’s Shame (Spine #961 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/5. Next up is Henri-Georges Clouzot’s La vérité (Spine #960 – Blu-ray and DVD) and an upgrade of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (Spine #411 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/12. Then you can look forward to Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice (Spine #962 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/19 and Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger (Spine #963 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/26. [Read on here...]

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All right, we’ve got a little bit of ground to cover today. We’ve been updating our servers and whatnot, on top of which some Russian/Ukrainian bot army decided to launch a DDOS attack on The Bits for random unknown reasons. It should be noted that this kind of thing happens to most websites on the Internet pretty regularly. But it’s a wonder that the Internet works at all these days, with all the trolls, scams, and state-sponsored chicanery going on.

Anyway... first up here at The Bits today, we have four new Blu-ray reviews for you to check out, including Tim’s look at The Man in the Iron Mask from Shout! Factory, Dennis’ take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers from Olive Films, Davids thoughts on The House of Tomorrow also from Shout!, and Jason’s look at Cabin Boy from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Enjoy!

The big news is that Criterion has announced their January Blu-ray slate, which includes Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames (Spine #956 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/8, an update of Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (Spine #137 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/15, Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (Spine #957 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Spine #958 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/22, and finally Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night (Spine #959 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/29. [Read on here...]

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