My Two Cents

All right, first things first today...

I’m currently at work on a 4K Ultra HD review of MGM’s 007: The Daniel Craig Collection, which includes all four of the existing Craig Bond films. That will be up either later today or first thing AM.

The quick preview is that the films look very good, a nice uptick from Blu-ray in terms of the video quality, with a restrained HDR grade. For video, I’d score the films as follows… Casino Royale: B+, Quantum of Solace: A-, Skyfall: A, SPECTRE: A. The first two are 2K upsamples, while the latter two are native 4K DIs. Watch for more details in the review.

Now then... the big news today has to do with Universal and Amblin’s Back to the Future films. Universal Brand Development (a division of Universal Studios) has revealed today that The Back to the Future Trilogy will officially be coming to 4K Ultra HD next year (in 2020) in honor of the original film’s 35th anniversary. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got another new disc review for you to enjoy today...

I’m just posted my thoughts on HBO’s Deadwood: The Movie, written by David Milch and directed by Daniel Minahan. If you’re a fan of the original Deadwood TV series (reviewed here on Blu-ray), you should really appreciate what a fine piece of work it is (and what a miracle it is that it finally happened).

I should note here though that HBO has informed us they’re no longer sending out review product for most of their physical media releases (they’re deciding it on a title by title basis, essentially the same thing). That is a sorry state of affairs for a network of HBO’s pedigree. In any case, it means that we had to purchase our own copy of this title for the review, something will certainly not be doing often in the future. Sadly, we can only see this as yet another sign that physical media is waning.

In any case, we do thankfully have some good physical media news for you today... [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a quick update for you today, to report that Criterion has just announced their January 2020 Blu-ray and DVD titles.

They include: George Cukor’s Holiday (Spine #1009 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/7, Sidney Lumet’s The Fugitive Kind (Spine #515 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/14, Jean-Luc Godard’s Le petit soldat (Spine #1010 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/21, and Sidney Lumet’s Fail Safe (Spine #1111 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother (Spine #1012 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 1/28.

We’ve updated our Criterion Spines Project page here at The Bits to include them, and you can read more about each title on the Criterion website. You can also see the cover artwork below. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, thanks for your patience while I was away at the end of last week. My father-in-law passed away, so my wife and I flew across the country to attend his memorial and see family.

But there’s a good deal to catch up on today news-wise, so let’s get right to it. First things first...

Yes, we are aware of the rumors that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is planning to bring The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films to 4K Ultra HD. They originated on the excellent 4K Filme.de website, which (I’m told) found the titles briefly listed on a Warner B2B website for German retailers. All six films were indicated for release on UHD (with the Extended Editions included) and with a tentative street date given of June 25, 2020. All right, now let’s put this in context...

First of all, there’s no doubt that Warner Bros. is going to release these films on physical 4K Ultra HD. These are literally their most demanded catalog titles on the format. Also, 2021 is the 20th anniversary of Fellowship of the Ring. And Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings prequel series, which reportedly begins production next month and will apparently be in production for two years, is likely to debut on Amazon Prime in late 2022. So the studio is certainly going to want to get those films ready for 4K release by then. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we start today with a bit of news for gamers that will also make physical media fans happy... or at least it should.

Sony has begun to reveal details about its forthcoming PlayStation 5 game console (and yes, that is the official name), which is due in late 2020 (in time for the holidays), and the great news is that they’ve confirmed it will have an optical 4K Ultra HD disc drive for movies and 100 GB optical game discs.

Other details include an SSD drive, an AMD Ryzen CPU, Navi GPU hardware with ray-tracing acceleration, controllers with adaptive triggers and improved speakers to boost haptic feedback, and more. You can read all the details here at Wired.

Now, here’s the thing: Physical media is in decline. There’s just no doubt about it. Sales are down, studios are getting more choosy about what they release on disc, and studios like Disney are dumping catalog titles on 4K disc ahead of paywalling them all as Digital 4K streams with HDR on Disney+. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

I’ve posted my thoughts on Disney and Marvel’s new Guardians of the Galaxy release on 4K Ultra HD this morning. This following yesterday’s review of Doctor Strange on the format.

And yes, you can expect my review of Ant-Man in 4K today.

Tim is also working on a review of Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home in 4K, so watch for that soon.

Next up on my review plate are Warner’s Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shining in 4K, so watch for at least one of them tomorrow (and both by next week).

In announcement news today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has revealed that Easy Rider is now available in Digital 4K with HDR on various streaming platforms in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary. There appear to be no plans to release it on physical 4K. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got a couple more disc reviews and some news updates for you today...

First up, Tim has posted his thoughts on Scream Factory’s new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of John Carpenter’s Vampires.

And Dennis has take a look at Billy Wilder’s The Major and the Minor on Blu-ray, a Paramount title from Arrow Academy.

Also, I’m working on reviews of Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shining, and Toy Story 4, all in 4K. And again, I’ll post Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Doctor Strange in 4K as soon as the discs arrive from the Disney Movie Club.

Speaking of the DMC, we’ve learned that the studio has pulled The Black Hole on Blu-ray from their online store. The reason is that they’re fixing the disc to correct for the authoring error that prevents you from seeing the film’s Overture (see our review of the Blu-ray here). [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Evening, folks!

This is just a quick update here at The Bits to let you all know that we’ve posted FIVE new and recent 4K Ultra HD title reviews here today and over the weekend.

Available now for your reading enjoyment are my thoughts on: Gremlins (Warner Bros), Zombieland (Sony), Iron Man 3 (Marvel/Disney), Ratatouille (Pixar/Disney), and Daybreakers (Lionsgate)

Those first two street tomorrow. So enjoy those and know that more reviews (including more regular Blu-ray reviews) are on the way tomorrow and later this week. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got a bunch of new disc reviews coming over the next week or so, starting with a couple later today. So be sure to watch for them.

We do have a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate today, celebrating the 50th anniversary of TV’s classic The Brady Bunch. It features a new interview with historian Herbie J. Pilato, and is well worth a read if you’re a fan. You’ll find it here.

Meanwhile, we’ve got a bunch of release news to report today, so let’s get started...

First up, our friends at The Home Theater Forum have revealed that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is going to be releasing Farscape: The Complete Series – 20th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 11/19. The set will include all 88 episodes of the series along with 15 hours of extras and – at long last on BD here in the States – the series finale miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. The aspect ratio is 1.33 for most of the series, but the last season and film are 1.78. Audio will be DTS-HD MA 5.1. Extras will include audio commentary, featurettes and documentaries, director’s cuts, TV promos, etc. We don’t know if this will be a complete carry-over of the previous DVD and BD extras, but we’ll have to wait and see. You can see the cover artwork at left. [Read on here...]

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