Displaying items by tag: The Criterion Collection

All right, let’s get right down to it. I’ve been reluctant to talk about the prospects of James Cameron’s The Abyss and True Lies arriving on Blu-ray (and dare we hope 4K) in 2019 because we’ve had SO many solid reports that these films were finally coming only to see them evaporate. And when I’ve tried to find out why, Fox always pointed at Cameron and Cameron always pointed back at Fox. What I finally figured out is that Cameron has just been too distracted with other projects to approve new transfers of these films, first with diving to the bottom of the ocean and more recently with his Avatar prequels.

As longtime Bits readers will be well aware, both films were expected for their last major anniversaries in 2014. We know for a fact that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment had even prepared new Blu-ray releases (most recently rumored for release in 2017), but Cameron never got around to approving the new transfers, so the Blu-ray releases never happened. The transfers were quietly released to the pay cable movie channels only.

Well, now it’s five years later. 2019 officially marks the 30th anniversary of The Abyss and the 25th of True Lies. Naturally, that means Bits readers have been asking me for weeks about the prospects of finally seeing these films released on Blu-ray (and, again, dare we hope 4K). I’ve even spoken to studio sources about this recently. And again, what I learned was that the ball was still in James Cameron’s court. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

(As I am writing this month’s column, word spread that the world had lost Nick Redman, a man of incomparable vision and love of classic films. He was a friend of mine and this entire website. I’ll write more next time.)

Maybe it was the mustache. Or the unscripted quips. Or the genteel Southern manner.

Or just maybe it was that laugh, a bombastic cackle delivered by one comfortable in his own skin – inviting his audience gut bust with him, as though they were all in a private joke.

That’s our Burt. And he’s, unbelievably, gone. [Read on here...]

There’s some new release news to report today, and then we’re going to return to the topic of physical media in the wake of the news about Samsung on Friday.

But first, late on Friday afternoon, Criterion announced their May Blu-ray release slate, which is set to include William Wyler’s The Heiress (Cat #974 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/7, an updating of David Mamet’s House of Games (Cat #399 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (Cat #975 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/14, Claire Denis’ Let the Sunshine In (Cat #976 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/21, and Agnès Varda’s One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (Cat #978 – Blu-ray and DVD) and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (Cat #977 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/28. We’ve updated our Criterion Spines Project page here at The Bits to include these titles and you can read more about them here.

Speaking of Criterion, we also learned on Friday that the Russian film studio Mosfilm has completed a new 2K restoration of Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic 1966-67 film adaptation of War and Peace. The 7-hour/4-part series is legendary in cinema history as the biggest production ever mounted, besting even David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia by having an essentially unlimited budget, a bottomless supply of props and costumes from the country’s state museums, and a cast of thousands. The film was shot on Russian Sovscope 70mm film stock, but unfortunately it’s suffered from preservation issues over the years. That’s meant the only good options available for viewing in recent years have been DVD versions of modest quality. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Hidden Fortress is an irresistible blend of grand comic adventure with Kurosawa’s emblematic humanism and innovative craftsmanship.” — Stuart Galbraith, author of The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 60th anniversary of the release of The Hidden Fortress, Akira Kurosawa’s influential jidai-geki and starring long-time Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo).

The popular Kurosawa film turns sixty this year, and for the occasion, The Bits features a Q&A with film historian and Japanese cinema authority Stuart Galbraith. [Read on here...]

Before we get started today, we’ve got two more Blu-ray reviews for you...

They include Tim’s look at Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Third Season from Starz and Lionsgate and Dennis’ take on Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Both are pretty good, so do give them a look.

Our own Michael Coate has also posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column featuring a look back at Bob Clark’s beloved classic A Christmas Story in honor of the film’s 35th anniversary. The roundtable discussion includes film historians Thomas A. Christie, Caseen Gaines, and Eugene B. Bergmann. Enjoy!

Also, we’ve posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Artwork section featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. Anytime you order literally anything from Amazon after clicking to them through one of our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it! [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Tuesday, 09 October 2018 13:29

Bud on Burt, plus New on Blu-ray

[What follows is a feature I wrote for The Daily Oklahoman about one of the greatest movie stars and human beings ever… Burt Reynolds]

Maybe it was the mustache. Or the unscripted quips. Or the genteel Southern manner.

Or just maybe it was that laugh, a cackle delivered by one comfortable in his own skin – inviting his audience gut bust with him, as though they were all in a private joke.

That’s our Burt. And he’s, unbelievably, gone.

Fame, according to Jeanine Bissinger, is “often conferred or withheld just as is love, for reasons and on grounds other than merits.” Burt Reynolds earned his fame with raw boned talent and insight into the business of filmed diversion. [Read on here...]

All right, we’ve got your first look at what might be the cover artwork for Warner’s Superman: The Movie 4K Ultra HD release… by way of the official German retail cover artwork seen at left.

We know that the disc will include the theatrical version of the film in 4K, with Dolby Atmos audio.

There is also the possibility that the longer cuts will be included in the package on Blu-ray only.

The German street date is November 8, but we suspect it will be an October release here in the States.

We should know more soon, when Warner makes the official announcement, so stay tuned. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Wednesday, 30 May 2018 12:50

On Someone with Foresight & Recent Releases

Sometimes it’s wonderful to find someone who hails from the same planet as you. I go to film festivals and am always pleased to find intelligent, well dressed and conversant people on subjects close to my heart. These folks, somewhat like yours truly, are professionals, go to work every day, raise families and live contemplative and productive lives. And, well, like a fool such as I, love, as Pauline Kael once said, “when the lights go down.”

I’ve been extremely lucky – I’ve had mentors and friends who have done their dead level best to educate me in the ways of the world while also sharing their deep and abiding love for everything silver and screen. [Read on here...]

Monday, 15 January 2018 02:14

The Place to Be

A little preface – I started writing my little nickel and dime pieces for the holidays not before December 25 but after. And I’ll tell you why. How many of us receive as presents gift cards – they’re easily purchased and delivered. However, many have time limits and they’re incredibly easy to lose. Come on, you’ve lost a few, haven’t you?

So, I write up these fabulous video gifts because you have gift money to spend. And please do so.

When I was in the throes of graduation from Purcell Oklahoma High School about 40 years ago, we Seniors observed a tradition that I’m sure in some form or fashion was copied throughout the country – we had to complete a form that listed our personal “likes.” You know, favorite song, favorite type food, favorite movie, etc. [Read on here...]

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