My Two Cents
Tuesday, 10 December 2019 16:21

More on Gemini Man in 4K, plus Red October 4K steelbook, Police Squad BD down under & René Auberjonois RIP

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All right, sorry there wasn’t a post yesterday—rest assured there was a good reason for it, which I’ll explain in a moment. But first, we have a new Blu-ray review for you to enjoy...

Dennis has posted his thoughts on Michael Engler’s Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture, which is now available on Blu-ray from Focus Films and Universal. If you liked the series (as we did), you’ll definitely like the movie too. It delivers everything you’ve enjoyed from the show with a bigger, grander, and more much cinematic aspect that fits the material and the period well. Not every big screen experience needs a superhero, and we look forward to more sequels should they be forthcoming. So enjoy the review!

Now then, we have few pieces of announcement news today...

As most of you will know by now, the Golden Globe nominees were announced yesterday and you can see the full list here via The New York Times. Netflix dominated in the film categories and there were a number of surprises. The Best Picture nominees include 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Marriage Story, and The Two Popes. The Best Musical or Comedy category includes Dolemite Is My Name, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, and Rocketman. Again, you’ll find the rest here. [Read on here...]

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In disc news, Paramount has announced that John McTiernan’s The Hunt for Red October, which was released on 4K as part of the Jack Ryan: 5-Movie Collection last year, is now going to be released by itself in new Steelbook packaging on 2/25. The release is designed to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary. The disc and its extras are the same as before, including a Digital copy. You can see the cover art below.

Paramount will also release the indie circuit thriller I See You on DVD and Digital on 1/21.

Meanwhile, the Australian distributor Via Vision Entertainment has announced that they’ll be releasing Police Squad: The Complete Series on Blu-ray on 3/18. It appears that the extras will be identical to those that were included on CBS/Paramount’s US DVD release back in 2006. There’s no word yet as to whether there will be a US release, but there’s at least a chance that the Via Vision SKU will be all region. We’ll let you know when we can confirm.

Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club Encore are both now available in 4K Digital from Lionsgate. Cotton Club is also available on Blu-ray and DVD here in the States, while The Limey is not. [Editor’s Note: The Limey IS however coming soon as a Blu-ray/DVD Mediabook in Germany from Koch Media.] We have access to the 4K streams but haven’t had the chance to look at them yet. (I’ll comment more on them when I do.)

Speaking of Lionsgate, look for the company to release Trauma Center, starring Bruce Wills and Nicky Whelan, on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 2/4/20.

The company has also set Iain Morris’ The Festival for Digital only release on 2/4.

Shout! Factory has announced the 1/14/20 release of Brewster’s Millions as a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition. Special features will include a new audio commentary with film critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold (hosts of the Critically Acclaimed podcast), a new interview with screenwriter Herschel Weingrod, the 1945 film adaptation of Brewster’s Millions (starring Dennis O’Keefe and Helen Walker), the theatrical trailer, and a still gallery.

Shout! and GKids will also release the Chinese animated film White Snake on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on 2/4/2020. Produced by Light Chaser Animation, the film was co-directed by Jiakang Huang and Ji Zhao.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/21, with the Digital release expected on 1/14. Extras will include a Q&A with Almodóvar & Antonio Banderas and the Pedro Almodóvar: In His Own Words featurette.

CAV and Synapse Films are releasing the cult classic Hot Dog... The Movie: Unrated Producer’s Cut on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/25. This will include a new 4K restoration, a new 5.1 audio mix, audio commentary, and the all-new 50-minute Hot Dog: The Documentary, among other extras.

And Kino Lorber is releasing an Alfred Hitchcock: British International Pictures Collection on Blu-ray and DVD today, which includes 5 early works by the director—The Ring (1927), The Farmer’s Wife (1928), Champagne (1928), The Manxman (1929), and The Skin Game (1931).

Now then... the reason I was absent here yesterday with a news update is that I spent part of the morning and early afternoon at Paramount Pictures getting an early preview of Ang Lee’s Gemini Man on 4K Ultra HD. The studio is going all-out on this title: Not only will it be only the second 4K UHD release to feature high frame rate 60fps (the other being Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk from Sony), it will be the first Dolby Vision title with 60fps. The 4K disc will also feature menus in 4K with HDR and 60fps, and a special feature with 4K, HDR and 60fps too.

At yesterday’s event, Paramount’s SVP of World Wide Product Production Ed Hoxsie—along with Jacqueline Gustafson (VP of Content and Production), Rachel Crang (VP of World Wide Product Production), and Jeremy Miller (Director of Worldwide DVD & BD Production and also the product manager on this title)—previewed 6 scenes from the new 4K disc, along with the 4K special feature (a VFX progression reel from Weta Digital).

Now, I have no opinion of the film itself as I haven’t seen it. But there’s little doubt that the disc, in terms of sheer A/V quality alone, is stunning. Not only is this title employing a 100 GB disc configuration, it features an average video bitrate of 84.25 Mpbs, with peaks as high as 95.75 Mbps! (By comparison, most 4K UHD titles are in the 35-60 Mbps range, whereas 4K streaming is typically around 20-25 Mbps.) And let me tell you, the combination of very high data rate plus 12-bit Dolby Vision results in a major bump in dimensionality, depth, and nuance in the image. The film’s Dolby Atmos mix is impressive too. But visually, this is just breathtaking. Now, it does have that “live” or “video” look imparted by high frame rate that you’re either going to love or hate. This film feels very much like a videogame in many of its action scenes. That issue aside, however, I have little doubt that Gemini Man is going to be a must-have title on 4K UHD, even if only as demo material for many home theater and 4K enthusiasts. And hey—it comes in Steelbook packaging too, which is a nice touch. We’ll be reviewing the title in the next few weeks here at The Bits, so be sure to check back for it.

Finally today, we have no small amount of sad news to report. First, the famed puppeteer, cartoonist, and performer Caroll Spinney has died. You may know him better for creating the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. A gentle giant of a man, he brought joy to generations of young TV viewers, myself included. He was 85. You can read more here at The New York Times.

And while this has already been a tough week for the Star Trek family, with the deaths of writer Dorothy Fontana and actor Robert Walker, Jr (who played Charlie X on The Original Series), yesterday we learned of the passing of the great René Auberjonois. He was 79. René played the beloved character of Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and film and TV fans will also know him the original Father Mulcahy on Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970), Clayton Endicott III on Benson, and Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal. He was also a regular voice actor for videogames, including God of War, Fallout: New Vegas, and Uncharted. You can read more here at NYTimes as well.

Also, Marina Sirtis (who played Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation) took to social media yesterday to report that her husband, musician Michael Lamper, died in his sleep on Saturday.

All of them will be missed, and we send our best wishes to their family, friends, and fans.

We’ll leave you today with a look at a couple of the titles mentioned above (with pre-order links if available)...

Gemini Man (4K Ultra HD) The Hunt for Red October Steelbook (4K Ultra HD) Hitchcock: British International Pictures Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

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



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