All right… yesterday’s My Two Cents was a quickie so we’re making it up to you today with a nice long post and lots of news, given that this is (almost) our last post before Memorial Day weekend. More in a minute.
First up this morning, some disc reviews…
The good Dr. Jahnke has turned in new musings on Twilight Time’s Philadelphia and Scream Factory’s The Town that Dreaded Sundown, both on Blu-ray Disc. Philadelphia is a limited release of just 3,000 copies, available as always here through Screen Archives Entertainment (SRP $29.95).
Also today, we’ve upgraded more of Tim’s Blu-ray reviews from the old Bits website including Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, the Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition, Super, The Host: Collector’s Edition, Brooklyn’s Finest and the American Graffiti: Special Edition. Enjoy!
Next up… some release news…
Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for CBS’ Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Two on Blu-ray Disc with a street date of 8/20 (SRP is $119.99, but Amazon has it for just $83.99). Extras will include the second part of the behind-the-scenes documentary on the Season One BD set, as well as video of a group interview/discussion/catch-up session featuring the entire reunited main cast of the series. You’ll find the revised final cover artwork below.
Lionsgate has set the action thriller Black Rock for Blu-ray and DVD release on 7/30.
Warner has set New Line’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls for Blu-ray release on 9/3.
Universal has announced that their Battlestar Galactica: 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray will go into wide release on 8/6. The title is now available as a Best Buy exclusive. Universal also has NBC’s Smash: Season Two coming on DVD only on 8/6, as well as a re-promote of its previously released Riddick Collection Blu-ray and DVD that same day.
Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment has set The Garfield Show: Pizza Dreams for DVD only release on 6/25.
XLrator Media will release the ScreamFest title American Mary on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/18.
Cartoon Network is releasing The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange: The Complete First Season on DVD only on 5/28, in anticipation of the second season’s Network debut.
Millennium Entertainment has set Brooklyn Castle for DVD only release on 6/4.
And our friends at Kino Lorber have announced their August Blu-ray and DVD release slate, set to include Fear Not (DVD – Horizon Movies label), The Cream Farewell Concert (DVD – Kino Classics) and Sushi: The Global Catch (DVD – Alive Mind) on 8/6, Detour (DVD – Horizon) and I Killed My Mother (DVD – Kino Lorber) on 8/13, Wither (DVD – Artsploitation Films) and Jess Franco’s A Virgin Among the Living Dead: Remastered Edition (BD and DVD – Redemption), Nightmares Come at Night: Remastered Edition (BD & DVD – Redemption) and The Awful Dr. Orlof: Remastered Edition (BD & DVD – Redemption) on 8/20, and Unit 7 (DVD – Kino Lorber) and Hanging for Django (BD & DVD – RaROVIDEO USA – available for the first time on any home video format) on 8/27.
Are any of you Speed Racer fans? Do you happen to speak Japanese? Well, Tatsunoko Productions in Japan has released the original Mach GoGoGo: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc. It’s coded for Region A and we hear it looks fantastic. The catch? It’s all in Japanese and there are no English subtitles. Yeah, and the box set also imports for a whopping $487! We’d sure love to imagine that Lionsgate will come around to releasing their Speed Racer: The Complete Classic Series Collection on Blu-ray Disc one day, but we suspect sales of the DVD version are nowhere near strong enough to justify the cost of remastering the American version for HD. That… and the small problem that Speed Racer Enterprises, which has been the American license holder of the series since the early 1990s, recently lost their rights and is in the middle of a tangled legal dispute with Tatsunoko. Ah well. Might just be time to finally take up Japanese…
In other news, my old friend Steve Weintraub of Collider was on Facebook the other day and asked if anyone had questions for director Richard Linklater, who he was about to interview for the theatrical release of Before Midnight (which hits theaters today). The film is the sequel to his outstanding Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, all three of which star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. So I said, “Yeah, Steven – are all three films in his Before trilogy ever coming to Blu-ray?” So Steve asked. And Linklater answered. There are indeed hopes that a box set of all three films might eventually be released on Blu-ray, and apparently Criterion is already working on a Blu-ray edition of his earlier Slacker! You can watch Linklater’s comments here. Nice job, Frosty!
And in completely non-Blu-ray related news today, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor Steve Forrest, who appeared in such films as The Longest Day and is perhaps best known for his turn on TV’s S.W.A.T. back in the 1970s. He died on 5/18. Thanks to Bits reader Joe G. for the heads-up.
And in the event you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out Bud Elder’s new View from the Cheap Seats column here on The Bits. Turns out Bud’s friends with this feller named Gary Busey… and he’s got some good Busey stories to share with you! Don’t miss it.
We’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray Disc cover art for CBS’ Star Trek: Enterprise – Season Two, Disney’s The Sword and the Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition (due 8/6) and Tatsunoko Production’s Mach GoGoGo: The Complete Series (don’t forget it’s Japanese only!), as well as Kino Lorber’s Nightmares Come at Night, The Awful Dr. Orloff and A Virgin Among the Living Dead…
Whew! Okay, so there’s going to be no post on Monday given the Memorial Day holiday, however we just might be back tomorrow (yes, Saturday) with a little something special for you Star Wars fans.
Until then... stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
As we’ve been promising you Jeff Kleist’s follow-up report on Microsoft’s Xbox One announcement for a couple days now, we thought we’d give it to you in its own post to separate it from all of today’s other news. So here’s Jeff to fill you in on the details and to offer a little informed opinion (though his own and not necessarily that of The Bits as a whole)…
“With the Xbox One announcement yesterday there has been a huge amount of traffic in the Twitter-verse and not all of it is excitement. The elephant in the room, at least for gamers, has been the supposed blocking of used games by Microsoft’s console, a technology that is also part of Sony’s forthcoming PS4. There is truth to this, but many fans online have blown it entirely out of proportion. PC gaming, especially the hugely popular Steam service, has been blocking resale of games, tying them to one account for all of eternity via some kind of serial number. This feature is completely optional and up to the manufacturer of the game in question.
According to the official FAQ posted by Microsoft: For pre-owned games, the Xbox One is designed “to enable customers to trade in and resell games,” Microsoft said in the same Q&A post, promising more details later.
These features are not necessarily demanded by Microsoft and Sony, but by the third parties as a gun to hold to GameStop’s head. GameStop typically buys back games at less than half retail immediately after release, which is $10-15 under what they’re paying the publisher. A copy of the new Call of Duty, according to a former GameStop manager I talked to “...typically sits less than a day, even months after release, and there’s typically no shortage of copies to churn after the first month, that continue to move very nicely for years.”
The fact that GameStop can sell a game half a dozen times without paying the publisher is a major sticking point, and forcing them to play ball with some kind of kickbacks has been high on the industry’s agenda for quite some time. In my opinion, Microsoft hasn’t acted wisely, allowing Sony to control the narrative on this issue, and if I were them I’d be putting Sony’s Patent on every billboard I could find. In the end, there is no question that the Xbox One and the PS4 are powerful pieces of hardware, and it looks like there may be a clear philosophical choice between the two
I’m a big supporter of the first sale doctrine, but I believe that it applies to individuals far more than corporations. When you buy something, within reason you should be able to turn it into paper hats if you wish, but the second you base a business on it, then that’s where I think things get a little sticky. In the movie industry, rental shops would pay $80-100 per videotape for the right to rent them out, and they got an exclusive window to do so. Later, studios entered into revenue sharing agreements that allowed video stores to stock large quantities of copies to satisfy demand. So too must the gaming industry evolve, and this is one of those painful steps where companies learn, often the hard way, what works and what doesn’t. If GameStop and the studios reach mutually beneficial agreements, like exclusive content and benefits, or more favorable pricing in exchange for price controls and “no-used” windows, I think the publishers will be more than willing to back off. Hopefully these agreements can be reached in time for a strong launch for both new consoles this fall, and a return to the important battles like which one is better as nature intended.
Anyway, for you gear heads in the audience, here’s what’s known about the hardware inside Xbox One:
CPU – AMD-based, x64 Architecture, 8 CPU cores running at 1.6 gigahertz (GHz), each CPU thread has its own 32 KB L1 instruction cache and 32 KB L1 data cache, each module of four CPU cores has a 2 MB L2 cache resulting in a total of 4 MB of L2 cache, each core has one fully independent hardware thread with no shared execution resources, each hardware thread can issue two instructions per clock
GPU – custom D3D11.1 class 800-MHz graphics processor, 12 shader cores providing a total of 768 threads, each thread can perform one scalar multiplication and addition operation (MADD) per clock cycle, at peak performance the GPU can effectively issue 1.2 trillion floating-point operations per second, High-fidelity Natural User Interface (NUI) sensor is always present
Storage and Memory – 8 gigabyte (GB) of RAM DDR3 (68 GB/s), 500GB Hard Drive, Blu-ray Disc drive
Networking – Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, system not “always on” but “mostly on”
More in upcoming weeks as Microsoft reveals further details.
- Jeff Kleist”
Okay, back with today’s regular post in a bit. Stay tuned...
- Bill Hunt
All right, I’ve got a lot of family stuff going on here today – what with Memorial Day weekend impending – so today’s post is going to be a quick one. BUT…
We’ve got a GREAT new View from the Cheap Seats column for you today. Our very own Bud Elder has offered up a true classic for you guys today! Turns out, in his many twists and turns through the film industry over the years, Bud became good friends with the immortal Gary Busey. Yeah… that Gary Busey. And Bud’s got stories! Enough said. So run – do not walk – to read his new column today: On the Immortal Gary Busey (& Other Musings)…
Enjoy! And back tomorrow with more.
- Bill Hunt
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!
Also, in release news today, Shout! Factory has set MADtv: Season Three for DVD only release on 6/25.
Speaking of which, Shout! has also started a new weekly video update called Shout Out!, featuring our friend (and special edition producer) Brian Ward talking about all the great work they’re doing on upcoming titles at Shout! and Scream Factory as well. (Man, that’s a lot of exclaimation marks.) You can check out this week’s new installment here…
Finally today, there’s apparently been another live video event going on this afternoon with Microsoft offering updated (and clarified) details about their newly-announced Xbox One. Jeff’s taking it all in and he’s going to compile all the relevant information (including the gaming-related details) into another update for tomorrow’s edition of My Two Cents. So be sure to watch for it in the morning.
And that’s all for now! Stay tuned…
- Bill Hunt