All right, it’s been a busy week here at The Digital Bits...

Just in the last 24 hours, we’ve posted three new disc reviews, including Tim’s thoughts on René Laloux’s classic animated film Fantastic Planet on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection, as well as my two cents on Ridley Scott’s Prometheus in 4K Ultra HD from 20th Century Fox and also Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island in 4K Ultra HD from Warner Bros. All of them are worth a look, so we hope you enjoy the reviews.

Now then, we have some new announcement news to run down for you today...

First up today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially set Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind for release on 4K Ultra HD (in both regular and Limited Edition versions) and Blu-ray formats on 9/19, featuring a new 4K restoration of all three versions of the film (included on BOTH the Blu-ray and 4K editions). Both editions will also include a pair of new featurettes: Three Kinds of Close Encounters, featuring Spielberg with directors J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve, and Steven’s Home Movies & Outtakes. Also included will be legacy features, among them The Making of Close Encounters of the Third Kind documentary, the Steven Spielberg: 30 Years of Close Encounters featurette, deleted scenes, the 1977 featurette Watch the Skies, Storyboard to Scene Comparisons, an extensive photo gallery, “A View From Above”, and theatrical trailers. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

The Criterion Collection has just announced an impressive new box set for release on 12/5, entitled 100 Years of Olympic Film. It’s the company’s biggest boxed release ever, including 53 films on 32 Blu-ray Discs or 43 DVDs (the SRP is $319.96, whichever version you choose).

From their press release: “Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Summer and Winter Games, this one-of-a-kind collection assembles, for the first time, a century’s worth of Olympic films – the culmination of a monumental, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of new restorations by the International Olympic Committee. These documentaries cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger”: Jesse Owens shattering sprinting world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean Claude-Killy dominating the slopes of Grenoble in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the first-ever women’s marathon on the streets of Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the work of Bud Greenspan, the man behind an impressive ten Olympic features, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such landmarks of the documentary form as Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia and Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad, along with lesser-known but captivating contributions by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš Forman.” [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Since the earliest days of American television, some programs thereon have become phenoms by lancing through public consciousness at the right time and place in popular culture.

You know the list – The Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle, was the first show to become “must see.” The same moniker could also be used for I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners or The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or even Saturday Night Live.

While these programs and a few shows like them, say All in the Family, breathed rarefied air, none caused a change in the public stratosphere like a comedy sketch show which started airing on NBC Monday nights in 1967, opposite The Lucy Show and Gunsmoke, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.

Now, to celebrate Laugh-In’s 50th Anniversary, Time Life Home Video has released Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series – including every episode from all six seasons along with exclusive new bonus features and a free DVD. That’s 140 episodes on 38 DVDs. [Read on here...]

All right, we’ve a LOT of ground to cover today: Tons of news and announcements, plus some good stuff here at The Bits for you too. Let’s start with the latter...

Tim has turned in new reviews of Meteor (1979) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and also Dave Parker’s It Watches on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment. Both are worth your time. And if you like It Watches, be sure to check out Dave’s Sweet Tooth from Tales of Halloween, as well The Hills Run Red and The Dead Reborn too.

Also today, in honor of the late George Romero, I wanted to share a special feature we did here at The Bits way back in 2001: Telling Tales with John and George. I had the honor of spending an afternoon with George and filmmaker John Harrison (Frank Herbert’s Dune) while they recorded the audio commentary for Paramount’s Tales from the Darkside: The Movie DVD. It really gives you a good sense, I think, of who George was as a person: Truly one of the kindest, warmest, and most engaging people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in my 30+ years in this industry. I hope you’ll enjoy it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Before we get started today, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, whenever you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking to them through our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then... Broad Green Pictures has just set Terrence Malick’s Song to Song for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/4, starring Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, and Cate Blanchet.

The Warner Archive has just announced that Vision Quest (1985), The Loved One (1965), The Accidental Tourist (1988), and Seven Days in May (1964) are all coming to Blu-ray soon, each with a brand new HD transfer. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

First up today, our own Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly Release Dates & Artwork update with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Don’t forget, anytime you order titles through our links you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it!

Now then... in new release news today, Paramount has officially announced Robert Zemeckis’ Allied for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on 2/28, with the Digital HD release expected on 2/14. The WWII thriller stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. Extras on the Blu-rays will include 10 behind-the-scenes featurettes (among them The Story of Allied, From Stages to the Sahara: The Production Design of Allied, Through the Lens: Directing with Robert Zemeckis, A Stitch in Time: The Costumes of Allied, ’Til Death Do Us Part: Max and Marianne, Guys and Gals: The Ensemble Cast, Lights, Pixels, Action! The Visual Effects of Allied, Behind the Wheel: The Vehicles of Allied, Locked and Loaded: The Weapons of Allied, and That Swingin’ Sound: The Music of Allied). You can see the cover artwork to the left and below. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

This is just a quick update today to let you all know that The Criterion Collection has just announced their April slate of titles, which is set to include new editions of George Stevens’ Woman of the Year (Cat #867 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club (Cat #866 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 4/18, followed by Juzo Itami’s Tampopo (Cat #868 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish (Cat #869 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 4/25. You’ll also get updated versions of two existing Criterion titles, including Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Cat #716 – Blu-ray and DVD) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (Cat #717 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 4/11. You can see the cover artwork below. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K announcements have been few and far between in the last few days, but we’ve got a couple of interesting things to report today to close out the week.

First though, we have four new horror Blu-ray reviews from Tim Salmons for those of you who are fans of the genre. Tim has taken a look at Synapse’s Phenomena: Limited Edition, David Cronenberg’s The Brood from Criterion, Arrow Video’s The Initiation, and Grindhouse Releasing’s I Drink Your Blood. Do give them a look.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve been busy here at The Bits these last couple days. Just a quick note first: Tomorrow is my birthday, so I’m not working. I turn 49, if you can believe it, which I can’t. But that’s how these things go. In any case, to make up for it, we’ve got a bunch of good stuff for you all to enjoy today. So let’s get to it...

First, I’ve just spent the last six months putting Samsung’s launch 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBD-K8500, through its paces and I have my full review for you to check out today. Suffice it to say that there’s never been a debut player for any format (that I know of) that offers so much quality and performance for such a low price. If you’re thinking about upgrading to 4K Ultra HD and you’re looking for the best value for your dollar, this is the player for you. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

I think it’s time we caught up. Walking outside during this Oklahoma summer is like tasting something after it’s been in the microwave about eight minutes. The heat and stupidity started even before Memorial Day and has not abated. It’s like we’re living on Mars – I’ve been pricing those spacesuits which protected Matt Damon.

But thank goodness for the movies. Especially the kind one watches in the comfort of one’s own home. Let’s discuss.

Here’s a serious complaint – as I learned over the years, watching a great film is a multi-sensory experience – you see, you listen, you emote. And for me, always a major component of that experience is the music score. For those who pay attention, music is usually the heart of the movie – name a classic up through about 1990 or so for which you can’t hum a main theme. Or name a dud or two with a score that is better than the picture. [Read on here...]

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