My Two Cents

Almost Famous on 4K, plus Donnie Darko, Dr. Strangelove, Abbott and Costello Show & a Zack Snyder’s Justice League update

May 21, 2021 - 6:31 pm   |   by
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We begin today’s My Two Cents column with another big new 4K Ultra HD review...

Our own Tim Salmons has taken a look at Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko (2001), as recently released in a 4K Ultra HD Limited Edition box set by our friends at Arrow Video. It sounds like an excellent set from start to finish, so do give that a look here.

On the same note, we know that some of you have been experiencing a video frame rate/studdering issue on some models of 4K player on this title that Arrow has been quietly investigating for a couple of weeks now. Well, the good news is that they’ve just announced an official disc replacement program for those of you who are having an issue, and you can now find out how to apply for a fixed copy via this page on their website.

Also today, Dennis has posted a review of A. Edward Sutherland’s Every Day’s a Holiday (1937), a classic Mae West film now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classic. Enjoy! [Read on here...]

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In announcement news today, our friends at Paramount have just officially set Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous for release on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook and Paramount Presents Blu-ray on 7/13. Each will include both the Theatrical Cut and the much-loved Bootleg Cut on disc (aka “Untitled”—both cuts are actually in 4K on the UHD), as well as a Digital copy of the Theatrical Cut only. Separately, there’s also an elaborate new 5-disc CD box set of the film’s complete musical soundtrack coming on 7/9 from Universal Music, which includes every song from the film along with Nancy Wilson’s score (click here to see that).

The 4K version will include both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range, with audio on both the Blu-ray and 4K available in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio format. Extras will include the following newly-produced features: Filmmaker Focus: Cameron Crowe on Almost Famous, Casting & Costumes, Rock School, Extended Scenes, and Odds & Sods. In addition to this, you’ll also get the legacy special features from previous Blu-ray editions, including audio commentary with Crowe and friends (on the Bootleg Cut), an Introduction by Crowe, The Making of Almost Famous, an interview with Lester Bangs (with optional audio intro by Crowe), Cameron Crowe’s Top Albums of 1973, the Fever Dog music video, “Loves Comes and Goes” (with optional audio intro by Crowe), Rolling Stone Articles (with optional audio intro by Crowe), B-Sides (with optional audio intro by Crowe), Cleveland Concert (with optional audio intro by Crowe), “Small Time Blues”, Stairway (with optional audio intro by Crowe), Script, the theatrical trailer, and Hidden Talent (unhidden Easter Eggs). You can see the cover artwork above left and also below.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove for single-film 4K Ultra HD release on 7/6. The film was previously available only in the studio’s Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection: Volume 1 (see our review here).

Also today, Alliance Entertainment will release H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones on DVD and Digital on 6/15.

Lionsgate will release Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/15, with the Digital release set for 6/11.

And RLJE Films has set the dramedy Shoplifters of the World for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/1.

In other news today, our friend Bob Furmanek of the 3-D Film Archive has just launched another new Kickstarter effort to fund the 4K restoration (from 35mm master elements) of Season One of the original 1950s Hal Roach TV series The Abbott and Costello Show for release on Blu-ray and DVD. You can see the details here. Sounds like a great project, so do give it a look and support it if you’re interested.

And while we’re talking 4K, it’s time for yet another update on the situation with Zack Snyder’s Justice League. As many of you know, the title streets internationally on Blu-ray and 4K UHD this coming Tuesday, but Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is giving no indications that they intend to release the title here in the States on Tuesday as originally expected.

What’s weird about that, is that I’ve been trying for weeks now—including again just this afternoon—to get to the bottom of this situation with the studio, both officially and unofficially. And the only response I’ve been offered has essentially been, “There’s nothing new to report at this time.”

Now... that’s really unusual. It’s almost never the case that I can’t find out what’s actually going on with a title like this, and that suggests to me that this might be one of those weird internal studio politics situations, not unlike what happened with the James Cameron/20th Century Fox mutual finger pointing tiff a few years back regarding the almost-happened-then-didn’t release of The Abyss and True Lies on Blu-ray. I’m not saying for sure that’s what’s happening here; it could simply be that the studio just wants to keep the title HBO Max-exclusive here in the States for a whlie longer. But something is definitely non-normal with this particular title. And keep in mind, this is after Snyder’s remastered Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 4K release was essentially relegated to being a Warner Archive release with little fanfare a few months back.

Will Zack Snyder’s Justice League come out eventually here in the States on Blu-ray and 4K? Yes, I think it will. But I have no idea when. I’ve been checking in closely with US retail sources this past week, and none of them are reporting getting product for this title in their latest shipments, nor is it even listed in their ordering systems.

So for those of you who are really eager to own it on disc as soon as possible, it’s now my opinion that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is giving you no reason at all not to import the UK release from Amazon.uk or Zavvi. To that end, I actually have a 4K copy coming myself, and I will be reviewing it here at The Bits as soon as it arrives. Until then, we can’t yet guarantee whether the Blu-ray versions in the package are region-locked or not. But as soon as we know for sure, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, here’s the Zavvi US/Canada pre-order link and the Zavvi UK/EU pre-order link. And here’s the Amazon UK pre-order link. If I’m able to learn anything new about this situation between now and Tuesday, I’ll post an update on my Twitter feed, on The Bits’ social media (Facebook and Twitter), and here as well. Sorry I don’t have better news to report, but it’s just a damn odd duck this title.

And finally today, given the current difficult economic times of this past year (which have unfortunately crushed online advertising and affiliate sales income), we ask that if you believe in and appreciate the work we do here at The Digital Bits, please consider making a donation to the site via PayPal (click here or the button below). Every little bit makes a difference in terms of helping us to keep the site going strong, and we really do appreciate it very much. And thank you again to every single one of you who have donated in the past, and to all those of you who support our work in other ways. We’re very grateful to have all of you as readers.

CLICK HERE to BACK THE BITS in our fight to preserve Physical Media

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for a couple of the titles mentioned above, with Amazon (or other) pre-order links if available...

Almost Famous (Steelbook 4K Ultra HD) Almost Famous: Paramount Presents (Blu-ray Disc) Dr. Strangelove (4K Ultra HD)

Zack Snyder's Justice League (UK import 4K Ultra HD) Zack Snyder's Justice League (UK import Blu-ray Disc) Zack Snyder's Justice League (UK import 4K Ultra HD)

In the meantime, have a great weekend! Stay tuned...

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

 

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