My Two Cents
April 2013

Guten Tag, dear readers!  We’ve got some good stuff for you here today...

As it happens, it’s officially Doogan Day here at The Digital Bits.  Our very own Todd Doogan is kicking off a new regular column here at The Bits called Gripe Soda, where he’ll chime in about Blu-ray, DVD, film, TV, comic books and pretty much anything else that catches his fancy or gets his goat.  Doogan is also serving as the official curator for another new section we’re launching on The Bits today called The Criterion Spines Project, where we’re going to be compiling as many of our reviews of Criterion titles on Blu-ray and DVD as we can in the months and years ahead.  And he’s christening the section today with his own new review of Criterion’s terrific Blu-ray special edition of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon.  So we hope you enjoy it all... and stay tuned for Doogan’s future exploits around here!

Published in My Two Cents
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:56

Welcome to Todd Doogan's Gripe Soda!

What the hell is Gripe Soda – besides sounding utterly delicious and featuring the Kirby-est banner ever made?  It’s me rebranding myself because I was bored with my old Doogan’s Views column.  So yeah.  Is it any different?  Probably not.  It will most likely be updated about as much, honestly.  But Bill is a stubborn man and he’s a master at Jewish Guilt-Fu, so he’s likely to make me write something here at least once a month, if not more.

Published in Gripe Soda
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 22:10

Coming Soon - Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD

Be sure to check back soon for the launch of Dr. Jahnke's new weekly column here at The Bits... Burnt Offerings: MOD DVD!

 

All right, we’re kicking things off today here at The Bits with a review from our own Jeff Kleist of Universal’s new Battlestar Galactica (1978) on Blu-ray Disc.  The title is currently a Best Buy exclusive, but should go wide in a few weeks.

Also this afternoon, Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates and Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links.  As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it.

Now then… in Blu-ray/DVD release news today…

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got a couple more quick updates for you this afternoon, in addition to yesterday’s Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray pre-order post (which now includes UPDATED details about the exclusive QMx Phaser replica included in the Limited Edition Gift Set, so do check it out.)…

Universal has set The Office: Season Nine for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/13, along with The Mindy Project: Season One on DVD only.  Also coming on DVD only from Universal on 7/16 is Alphas: Season Two.

Disney has set a Peter Pan: Return to Neverland – Special Edition for Blu-ray Combo release on 8/20.

Sony has set Dead Man Down for Blu-ray and DVD on 7/9 (SRP $35.99 and $26.99).  Extras will include a trio of featurettes (Revenge and Redemption: Crafting Dead Man Down, Revenge Technique: The Cinematography and Staging the Action: The Firefights).

Published in My Two Cents

All right, space cadets!  We’ve back early with a rate Sunday update of The Bits for you.  Why you ask?  Well… Amazon has just begun taking pre-orders on the Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which just opened in theaters in the States this past week.  There’s no street date yet (we’d guess it will be out in September or October), but there are FOUR SKU’s on Amazon.com – the Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $54.99 but Amazon has it for just $24.99 – with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy), a Blu-ray Combo (SRP $39.99 but Amazon has it for just $19.99 – with Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy), a DVD version (SRP $29.99 and Amazon has it for $16.99) and – get this – an Amazon-exclusive Limited Edition Gift Set version of the Blu-ray 3D Combo (SRP $99.99 but Amazon has it for $79.99) that ships with a newly-produced prop replica Phaser pistol from the film produced by QMx, which was apparently involved in making the hero props for the film.  Unlike QMx’s 2009 Phaser replica (which is now sold out), this new one features a rotating emitter barrel (that in the film switches the Phaser from ‘stun’ to ‘kill’).  Here’s what it looks like (the image has a pre-order link)…

Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D Limited Edition Gift Set)

A description page for the new Phaser replica was briefly visible on QMx’s website over the weekend but was then pulled down – we suspect it will be back soon.  Only the sold-out 2009 prop’s page is there at the moment.  (Note that Amazon has images of the new prop including one showing the barrel swiveling.)  

[UPDATE: Here’s the official QMx page for this new Phaser replica as well as a page about the props they made for the new film.  It will apparently only be available as part of the Amazon Blu-ray Limited Edition and word is they’re selling quick.]

Meanwhile, here’s the cover artwork for the other three versions.  Clicking on any of the cover art (or the images above) takes you to the pre-order page on Amazon.com – any orders you make after clicking through our link go to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it!

Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D Combo)    Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek Into Darkness (DVD)

All right, back tomorrow with the usual.  Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

 

Published in My Two Cents

Okay… today’s Bits update is going to be a quick one as I seem to have a spotty Internet connection here this morning (curse you Cox Communications!) and I want to make sure I get something up before it goes out completely.

Our own Dr. Jahnke has a brand new Blu-ray Disc review for you today, this time a classic of exploitation cinema: John Flynn’s 1977 Rolling Thunder, which arrives in stores on 5/28 from Shout! Factory.  Do give it a look.  Tim has a new Blu-ray review for you as well this afternoon: Kino’s Zeta One, which is something of a sci-fi “sexploitation” comedy from 1969 and has been released on Kino’s Jezebel label. 

We’ve also updated more of our past Criterion Blu-ray reviews into the new site’s database today (from Tim, the good Doctor, myself and Barrie Maxwell), including Lars-Von Trier’s Antichrist, Fritz Lang’s M, Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge, Erle C. Kenton’s Island of Lost Souls and Kaneto Shindo’s Kuroneko.  Be sure to watch for lots more new and updated Blu-ray reviews here at The Bits all next week.

In release news today… well, it hasn’t exactly been announced yet but Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for Disney’s The Muppet Movie: The Original Classic – The Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray with a reported release date of 8/13.  One would like to think they’re going to get around to finally releasing The Muppet Show: Seasons 4 and 5 on DVD at some point, but no sign of it yet.

Speaking of Disney, retail sources tell us that studio will release new Blu-ray/DVD combo editions of The Sword in the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition (SRP $36.99), the Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (SRP $36.99) and the Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (SRP $29.99) on 8/6.  You can see the cover artwork below.

Sony has set Absolute Deception for DVD only release on 6/11.

And A&E has set Duck Dynasty: Season 3 for DVD release on 8/6.

We’ll leave you with a look at those Disney titles, as well as Paramount’s Marathon Man and The Talented Mr. Ripley (both due 9/10)…

The Muppet Movie: Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    The Sword and the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    Marathon Man (Blu-ray Disc)    The Talented Mr. Ripley (Blu-ray Disc)

All right, better get this up.  Have a great weekend!  Go see Star Trek into Darkness – it’s a ton of fun.

See you back here on Monday.

- Bill Hunt

 

Published in My Two Cents

All right, it’s Thursday here at The Bits and you know what that means!  Well… actually it doesn’t really mean anything except that it’s Thursday, but we do have some great release news and some more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you.

First the reviews:  From our own Tim Salmons we’ve got a new review of Anchor Bay’s Day of the Falcon, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.  We’ve also ported over another pair of his older reviews from the original Bits website – Clerks and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

On top of that, we’ve updated more of our classic Criterion Blu-ray reviews as well – from myself, Todd Doogan and Barrie Maxwell.  They include Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Kagemusha, Sanjuro and Yojimbo (as well as Ran from Studio Canal and Lionsgate) and also Charade and Amarcord.

And that leads me nicely to today’s release news: Our friends at the Criterion Collection have just announced their August Blu-ray and DVD release slate, set to include an updating of Max Ophuls’ The Earrings of Madame De... (Cat #445 – BD and DVD – due 8/6), John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (Cat #667 – BD and DVD – due 8/13), Satyajit Ray’s The Big City (Cat #668 – BD and DVD – due 8/20) and Charulata (Cat #669 – Blu-ray and DVD – also due 8/20) and Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (Cat #670 – BD and DVD – due 8/27).  They also have Eclipse Series 39: Early Fassbinder coming to DVD only on 8/27, featuring Love Is Colder Than Death, Katzelmacher, Gods of the Plague, The American Soldier and Beware of a Holy Whore.  Here’s a look at three of the covers (we’ll update the Amazon links when they become available)…

Seconds (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    The Earrings of Madame De... (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    To Be or Not to Be (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

And that’s all for the moment.  Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

 

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re using this lovely Hump Day afternoon to catch up on more Blu-ray Disc reviews.  So we’ve got a brand new one for you in the form of Tim’s thoughts on Anchor Bay’s recent Shadow People on Blu-ray.  We’ve also ported over a whopping seven more Blu-ray reviews from the original Bits website into the new review database (by Tim, myself, Barrie Maxwell and others), including Fox’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 35th Anniversary Edition, Universal’s Legend: Ultimate Edition, MGM’s Platoon: 25th Anniversary Edition and Criterion’s Paths of Glory, The Killing, Wings of Desire and Howards End.  So enjoy those!

We’re trying to get all of our past Blu-ray review work into the new database first, and then we’ll go back and update as many of our old DVD reviews as time permits.  Step by step.

In announcement news today, Shout! factory has set A Boy and His Dog for Blu-ray release on 8/6 (SRP $26.99), followed by Roadie on 8/20 (SRP $19.97).  Look also for a Bruce Lee Legacy Collection box set on 8/6 (SRP $119.99).  The set includes 11 discs (4 BDs/7 DVDs) comprising the films The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon and Game of Death (each included in both Blu-ray and DVD versions – so that's 8 of the discs – with the BDs being new to North America), plus 3 more DVDs that include the documentaries Bruce Lee: The Man, The Legend (1973), Bruce Lee: The Legend (1983 – a shorter version of the 1973 doc) and I Am Bruce Lee (2012), as well as more than two hours of additional exclusive bonus material.  Here’s a look at the box art…

A Boy and His Dog (Blu-ray Disc)    Roadie (Blu-ray Disc)

Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection (Blu-ray/DVD)

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video is delivering more Paramount catalog titles to Blu-ray for the first time on 9/10, including The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sliver, Snake Eyes, Jennifer Eight and Marathon Man.  SRP is $19.98 each.

And finally, Image Entertainment has set The Numbers Station for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/28.

Don’t forget, Midnight showings of Star Trek into Darkness kick off tonight here in the States.  Maybe we’ll see you at one!

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

 

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’ve got some more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you all to enjoy today.  First up, Tim has given Criterion’s version of Terrence Malick’s Badlands a look for you.  Also, we’ve brought our BD reviews of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 over to the new Bits site.  Enjoy!

Also here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates and Artwork section, featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links.  As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it.  It really does make a difference.  So thank you!

In announcement news today, Universal has set the comedy Admission, staring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/9.  Universal has also set Syfy’s Alphas: Season Two for DVD only release on 7/16.

HBO has set Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/20.  Also coming to Blu-ray and DVD from HBO on 8/13 is Girls: The Complete Second Season, as well as Enlightened: The Complete Second Season on DVD only.

Warner Home Video has announced the Charlie Chan Collection for DVD release on 8/6 (SRP $39.92).  The set will include Shadows Over Chinatown, Docks of New Orleans, Shanghai Chest and The Golden Eye.  All will be remastered.

Sony has set the documentary The Gatekeepers for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/9.  Sony has also set NO for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/25, followed by Dead Man Down on both formats on 7/9.

Here’s a title that’s not officially been announced yet, but Sony has accidentally let it slip that director Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming sci-fi/action film Elysium is likely to street on or around 12/17.  The date is obviously subject to change, but you can tentatively set the Wayback Machine (in reverse) for it.

Meanwhile, CBS has set The Borgias: The Third Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/6.  CBS has also set Family Ties: The Seventh and Final Season for DVD only release on 8/13.

Disney has announced the DVD only release of ABC’s Revenge: The Complete Second Season on 8/20 (SRP $45.99), followed by Army Wives: The Complete Seventh Season (SRP $39.99) and Castle: The Complete Fifth Season (SRP $45.99) on 9/10, and Nashville: The Complete First Season (SRP $45.99) on 9/17.

Disney has also set the animated Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 7/21.

Grindhouse Releasing has set Corruption and An American Hippie in Israel for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/10.

Image Entertainment will release the Sony catalog title Quicksilver on Blu-ray on 8/6, followed by The Tailor of Panama and 88 Minutes on 8/20, and Stranded on 8/27.

Wolfe Video has set Quentin Lee’s White Frog for DVD release on 6/4.

Lionsgate has set the supernatural western Gallowwalkers for DVD release on 8/6 (SRP $26.98).

Magnolia Home Entertainment has announced The Brass Teapot for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/18.

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Detention of the Dead on DVD only on 7/23, followed by The Demented on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 7/30.

And our friends at Warner Archive have made a few more great DVD-R/MOD titles available this week, including Sincerely Yours (1955), Stampede (1949), Short Grass (1950), Wild Stallion (1952) and Rider on a Dead Horse (1962), as well as The Monogram Cowboy Collection: Volume Six – Jimmy Wakely, which includes Riding the Dusty Trail aka Riders of the Dawn (1945), Lonesome Trail (1945), The Rangers Ride (1948), Range Renegades (1948), Silver Trails (1948) and Brand of Fear (1949).

In other news, this has nothing to do with Blu-ray Disc, but it’s just damn cool: Astronaut (and musician) Chris Hadfield just returned safely from the International Space Station yesterday, but before he left he shot an HD video tribute to David Bowie by recording one of the coolest versions of the song Space Oddity you’re ever likely to see.  Bowie himself even recognized it on Twitter.  Do give it a watch (and be sure to select 720p)…

Finally, don’t forget that the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica feature film hits Blu-ray today at Best Buy stores for just $14.99.  I picked up a copy – it’s pretty good.  No extras, but the film looks surprisingly nice given its age.  Nice contrast, color and detail.  Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.1 (with the .1 channel reproducing the Sensurround track of the original theatrical presentation).  Jeff will be doing a review in the next week or so.

We’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Universal’s The Host (due 7/9), Sony’s The Call (7/25) and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season

The Host (Blu-ray Disc)    The Call (Blu-ray Disc)    Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

 

Published in My Two Cents
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