Displaying items by tag: Star Wars

“What’s fun about seeing THX 1138 now, after 50 years, is to see how George Lucas took the rather dark themes and dynamic visual storytelling of his first film and found a way to infuse them into the Saturday matinee style films of the Star Wars series. THX is not his best film, but it’s fascinating to see the seeds of his future work within it.” – Gary Leva, director of Fog City Mavericks

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of THX 1138, George Lucas’s feature-length adaptation of his award-winning 1967 USC student film Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB.

Released two years before American Graffiti and six years before Star Wars, Lucas’s first motion picture starred Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, Tender Mercies) and Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice, Halloween) and was about a dystopian future where love and individuality are forbidden.

THX 1138 was executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) as part of a deal in which Warner Bros. would finance and distribute American Zoetrope productions. [Read on here...]

Thursday, 31 December 2020 09:00

Empire @ 40: Remembering the Early 70MM Cut

“On my thirteenth viewing, which was the first time I saw it at a different theater than the one I’d gone to since opening day, I knew there were noticeable changes when the final scene began with different music.” — film music historian Mike Matessino

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present a continuation of our 40th anniversary coverage of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, the middle act of George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy and one of the most celebrated and beloved sequels of all time. Part One of our Empire 40th coverage appeared back in May.

George Lucas’s penchant for making revisions to his work is about as legendary as his movies. The majority of Lucas’s alterations have occurred years after his films’ original releases. With The Empire Strikes Back, however, the first (of several rounds of) revisions were actually made while the movie was in first release, and it is this lesser-known aspect of the otherwise very-well-known production that is the subject of this column. [Read on here...]

All right, we’ve got another new review for you today, along with some more announcement news and a bit of sad news to report as well...

First up, that review: Tim has just posted his in-depth take on Terence Fisher’s Hammer Films classic The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), now available on Blu-ray in a new 2-disc Special Edition from the Warner Archive Collection. It’s a great film restoration and it sounds like a great disc too, featuring a new audio commentary by our friend Constantine Nasr with Steve Haberman. This is one you’re not going to want to miss if you love the vintage horror genre.

Speaking of the Warner Archive, they’ve just revealed their featured January Blu-ray titles, which are set to include the classic films The Pajama Game, Good News, Room for One More, After the Thin Man, and The Man Who Would Be King, along with The 100: The Seventh and Final Season. Look also for Speedway and Boogie Nights on DVD only.

Paramount has just officially set Arthur Hiller’s Love Story (1970) newly-restored as a Paramount Presents Blu-ray edition on 2/9. Extras will include “a new Filmmaker Focus with film historian Leonard Maltin, with previously released content including a commentary by director Arthur Hiller, an introduction by film critic Ben Mankiewicz, Love Story: A Classic Remembered, and the theatrical trailer, plus access to a Digital copy of the film.” [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Good evening, everyone! Sorry for the lack of news updates this week, but we’ve been incredibly busy here at The Bits over the past several days. We’ve been doing some important server updates and software patching, but more importantly for you guys we’ve been working hard on new Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD reviews. So we have a few of those for you this evening...

First, I posted my review of Christopher Nolan’s TENET in 4K Ultra HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Monday. It’s an ambitious film with stunning image quality and a characteristically Nolan-frustrating surround sound mix. You’ll find all the details here.

And just today, I posted my thoughts on Well Go USA’s brand new Ip Man: The Complete Collection box set, featuring all four films in the series—Ip Man, Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, Ip Man 3, and Ip Man 4: The Finale—in 4K Ultra HD with remastered image quality and new Dolby Atmos sound mixes. It’s also worth a look, especially if you’re a fan of Donnie Yen.

Meanwhile, Tim has reviewed Sean Cunningham’s DeepStar Six (1989) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

And Dennis has turned in his looks at Robert Aldrich’s Attack! (1956) and Frank Perry’s Ladybug Ladybug (1963), also on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

This is just a quick update for those keeping score. Disney’s Investor Day included some... ahem... significant content news this afternoon.

First up, the studio revealed that Disney+ has now reached 86 million subscribers worldwide. You recall that Disney18+ rumor we’ve been talking about? Well, it’s true, and it’s called Star, but it will only be integrated with Disney+ internationally—that’s where all the Fox (read 20th Century Studios and Searchlight) content will go for viewers around the world. Here in the States, it will continue to go to Hulu.

Among that content will be original films, ESPN+ programming, and ABC News original content, along with The Handmaid’s Tale: Seasons 4 and 5 (the former due in early 2021), a Rolling Stones limited series drama, four more seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and a new Alien series from Noah Hawley (Fargo) and Ridley Scott.

Meanwhile, Disney+ will also see “roughly” 10 new Marvel shows, 10 new Star Wars shows, 15 Disney live-action, Disney animation, and Pixar series, and 15 Disney live-action, Disney animation, and Pixar feature films over the next few years. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got just a quick post for you today as we’ll be working on reviews for the rest of the day.

But we do have a couple of things to report...

First, today is Disney’s Investor Day, which means the is expected to reveal big plans for Disney+, how the studio will handle its forthcoming theatrical slate for the next year, and what new streaming series and films they have in the pipeline (Star Wars, Marvel, etc). They MIGHT even reveal that long-rumored Disney18+ service expansion, that would see the studio adding R-rated films from Fox to their streaming service (in a section of the service protected from discovery by younger children by a passcode). Whatever news is revealed today, we expect that Disney means to make a big splash—their stock is trading at an all-time high today in anticipation of the news (see this link). Be sure to watch the trades this afternoon as word breaks—Deadline, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter.

[Editor’s Note: Disney has now confirmed that its Disney+ streaming service has reached over 86 million global subscribers, and that it plans to launch “roughly” 10 new Marvel shows, 10 new Star Wars shows, 15 Disney live-action, Disney animation, and Pixar series, and 15 Disney live-action, Disney animation, and Pixar feature films over the next few years. They’re also integrating a new Star service with Disney+ (for now only internationally) which will include R-rated Fox content. (This appears to be the source of the Disney18+ rumor.) In the US, it appears that R-rated Fox content (from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight) will appear on Hulu.]

Meanwhile, Criterion has just revealed plans to release a new World of Wong Kar-wai Blu-ray collection on March 23, 2021. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Empire Strikes Back should be remembered as one of the greatest films of all time!” — Skywalking through Neverland co-host Richard Woloski

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, the middle act of George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy and one of the most celebrated and beloved sequels of all time.

The Empire Strikes Back (aka Star Wars: Episode VThe Empire Strikes Back) was directed by Irvin Kershner (The Flim-Flam Man, Eyes of Laura Mars) and starred Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, reprising their popular roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, respectively.

As well, Empire featured returning cast members Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Darth Vader), and an uncredited James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader. Newly introduced in Empire were Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams) and Yoda (performed by Frank Oz and a team of muppeteers). [Read on here...]

All right, we’re working on FOUR more 4K Ultra HD reviews for the next couple of days, at least of the first of which we hope to have posted later this afternoon.

In the meantime, we’ve just launched our second giveaway on The Digital Bits’ Facebook page, offering readers the chance to win one of Paramount’s three new Tom Cruise 4K Ultra HD titles – Top Gun, Days of Thunder, or War of the Worlds. All you have to do to enter is follow The Bits’ Facebook page and reply to this post (linked here) with your answer to the question you’ll find. Entries will be accepted until 11 AM Pacific tomorrow (Thursday, May 21). The contest is open to US residents only (due to COVID shipping restrictions—sorry!). THREE winners will be selected at random from the list of those who enter and will be announced tomorrow afternoon. Good luck!

Meanwhile today, we have a bit more announcement news... [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...]

Thursday, 02 May 2019 18:54

Rest in Peace John Singleton and Peter Mayhew

Today’s post is a brief one, as I’m still grappling with this Facebook hacking issue. I’m pleased to report that progress is being made, finally, but very slowly. With a little luck, hopefully this will all be straightened out by next week. Thanks for all your kind words of support – they’re much appreciated.

In the meantime, you’re all welcome to follow me on Twitter here (and The Bits here) for social media updates. Note that The Digital Bits Facebook page is unaffected.

Also today, we continue to post new Blu-ray reviews for you to enjoy, recently including my looks at Apollo 11 from Universal and Baa Baa Black Sheep: The Complete Series from Elephant Films, Tim’s take on Mondo Bizarro and Mondo Freudo from Severin, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire from Arrow, and Tarantula! from Scream, and Chase’s thoughts on Jackie Chan’s Police Story and Police Story 2 from Criterion. And more reviews are on the way. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
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