History, Legacy & Showmanship

Sorry for our absence yesterday. We’ve been dealing with various and sundry server issues over the weekend and we’re just starting to get back to normal. Honestly, it’s a wonder the Internet still works at all these days. So anyway, thanks for your patience.

We have a bunch of title announcements to cover today, but first, today marks the 20th anniversary of our friends Robert Meyer Burnett and Mark A. Altman’s film Free Enterprise. So we wanted to call your attention to Michael Coate’s retrospective on the film from its 15th anniversary back in 2014. You can read Still Loving Long & Partying: Remembering Free Enterprise on its 15th Anniversary right here. The film isn’t on Blu-ray yet and so it’s always surprising how many people haven’t see it. But if you’re a fan of classic Star Trek, pop culture, and actors William Shatner and Eric McCormack, we think you’ll really enjoy it.

Meanwhile, we’re starting to get back to reviews. I still have two more Batman 4Ks coming, plus Tim and Dennis have some Blu-rays they’ve reviewed for you too. I’ve also got a trio of science fiction Blu-ray releases I’m going to try to cover soon as well. So be sure to watch for those. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a couple interesting things for you this afternoon before we get to today’s release news...

First up, reviews... I’ve posted my in-depth thoughts on Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) in 4K Ultra HD here at The Bits and will have reviews of Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin in 4K over the next few days. The upshot of this first Batman film in 4K is that Warner’s new transfer and Atmos mix are terrific, but the HDR may take a little getting used to and a few of the sound effects have been changed for reasons explained in the review. You can read that here.

Also, Tim has posted a review of Archer: Danger Island – The Complete Season Nine on DVD from Fox and Dennis has looked at Isn’t It Romantic on Blu-ray from Warner.

And some of you may know that this past weekend was the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s original Alien (1979). So our own Michael Coate has posted a new History, Legacy, and Showmanship retrospective column looking back at the film’s theatrical release. It includes a great new roundtable of experts to discuss the film, including authors Chris Barsanti, Paul M. Sammon, and J.W. Rinzler (whose new book The Making of Alien is coming in July). You can read the piece here and if you’re a fan of the film, I think you’ll really enjoy it. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Alien (like other 1970s films such as Jaws, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Godfather, and Star Wars) was a seminal landmark in the upgrade of shopworn B-movie clichés — monsters, comic book characters, flying saucers, gangsters, Saturday afternoon serials — into major A-movie assets.” — Paul M. Sammon, author of Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of Alien, the sci-fi/horror classic about the five-man, two-woman (and one cat) crew of the Nostromo, who got more than they bargained for after investigating a distress signal from a mysterious planet.

Suspense, atmospheric moodiness and Oscar-winning visual effects were among the highlights of Alien, directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator) and starring Tom Skerritt (Top Gun), Veronica Cartwright (The Right Stuff), Harry Dean Stanton (Repo Man), John Hurt (The Elephant Man), Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire), Yaphet Kotto (Live and Let Die), and Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters) as Ellen Ripley. [Read on here...]

All right, I trust you all saw our new History, Legacy, and Showmanship column from last night featuring Michael Coate’s retrospective on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sunday. You’ll find that here and if you’re a Star Wars fan, I think it’s well worth your time.

Meanwhile, we have some major new Blu-ray and 4K announcements for you today, so read on...

First, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just officially set Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD (with Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D) on 7/23. The Digital version will be available on 7/9. The 4K will include not only Dolby Atmos audio, but HDR in Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+. Aspect ratio is 2.39:1, per the press release.

And there will be HOURS of special features, as follows... [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...]

We’re going to have a new Michael Coate retrospective today in his History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, looking back at Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in honor of yesterday’s 20th anniversary for the film. That will be up later this afternoon, so be sure to watch for it.

In the meantime, we have a bit of 4K and standard Blu-ray news to report...

First up, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me for release on 4K Ultra HD on 8/27. Scanned from the original camera negative, the film will be presented with a new Dolby Atmos mix, along with the original theatrical mono audio and the previous 5.1 remix. Extras on the 4K disc will include never-before-seen deleted and alternate scenes. The package will also include the previous Blu-ray with picture-in-picture video commentary with Reiner and the cast, the Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand by Me documentary, and audio commentary with Reiner. You can see the cover artwork at left. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Matrix managed to outdo Star Wars in terms of truly reshaping the zeitgeist mere months before George Lucas’ first prequel was supposed to roar into theaters and show everyone how big budget sci-fi is supposed to work.” — Zaki Hasan, co-author of Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release of The Matrix, the popular, franchise-inspiring action/sci-fi/cyberpunk adventure starring Keanu Reeves (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, John Wick) and highlighted by Academy Award-winning editing, sound effects editing, sound, and visual effects.

Directed by The Wachowskis (Bound, Speed Racer), produced by Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) and co-starring Laurence Fishburne (Boyz n the Hood, What’s Love Got to Do with It), Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento, Disturbia), Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta, The Lord of the Rings), and Joe Pantoliano (Midnight Run, The Fugitive), The Matrix introduced moviegoers to Bullet Time and featured the music of Deftones, Marilyn Manson, Prodigy, Rage Against the Machine, Rammstein, and Rob Zombie. [Read on here...]

Afternoon, folks. We’ve got some news reviews for you today, plus a couple of release announcements, a new special feature column and more!

First, the Blu-ray reviews... Tim has just posted his thoughts on Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria (2018) from Lionsgate. And Dennis Sueling has offered his take on Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns from Disney. Both are worth a look, so we hope you enjoy them!

Also here at The Bits today, our own Michael Coate has just a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column looking back at Ken Hughes’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary. The piece features a great interview with film historian John Cork, an expert of all things Ian Flemming-related. Do give it a look. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang should be fondly remembered as the bastard child of Mary Poppins and James Bond.” — John Cork, co-author of James Bond Encyclopedia

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the musical-fantasy adaptation of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel starring Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Poppins).

Produced by Albert R. Broccoli (the James Bond series) and directed by Ken Hughes (The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Cromwell), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was highlighted by Irwin Kostal’s score and musical numbers by The Sherman Brothers, including their Oscar-nominated title song. Co-stars included Sally Ann Howes (Brigadoon stage production), Lionel Jeffries (The Trials of Oscar Wilde), Gert Frobe (Goldfinger), Anna Quayle (A Hard Day’s Night), Benny Hill (The Benny Hill Show), James Robertson Justice (The Guns of Navarone), and Robert Helpmann (The Red Shoes). [Read on here...]

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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