My Two Cents

My Two Cents

Well folks… with all this talk of 4K and 8K high-definition televisions over the past year, this was probably inevitable. But the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has just officially “Ultra High-Definition” or “Ultra HD” as the new standard for display technology in the home. The term was approved yesterday by a vote of the organization’s Board of Industry Leaders. 

The standard technically refers to displays with a minimum of 4K resolution (“at least” 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution) but may also be used to refer to 8K displays as well – the term “UHDTV” is used for both resolutions in Japan. One can also expect that displays with ever higher refresh rates and autostereoscopic capabilities at 4K and 8K resolution will also likely be covered by this term. You can read more on this here via CEA’s official press release.

So are you ready for Ultra HD? The potential is certainly exciting. However, I would expect the rollout and adoption of Ultra HD displays to be very, very slow. You have to remember that the first HDTV displays appeared in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the last 5-10 years that displays with 1080 pixel resolution finally went mainstream with consumers. Many TV stations in the U.S. still don’t broadcast in high-definition resolution, because of the high cost of upgrading cameras and other studio production equipment. There’s also the question of whether Ultra HD content can and will be delivered to consumers via Blu-ray or some other hypothetical future physical media format… or whether studios and content producers will simply choose to bypass physical media entirely in favor of direct digital distribution via satellite or the Internet. In any case, it seems that just when you thought you’d finally caught up to the state of the art in home entertainment technology… the goal posts have moved once again.

The big announcement news today is that Universal has officially set The Bourne Legacy for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 12/11 (SRP $34.98 and $29.98). Both will include feature commentary (with director/co-writer Tony Gilroy, co-writer Dan Gilroy, editor John Gilroy, director of photography Robert Elswit, second unit director Dan Bradley and production designer Kevin Thompson), deleted scenes and 2 featurettes (Re-Bourne and Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase). To this, the Blu-ray will exclusively add 5 more featurettes (Enter Aaron Cross, Crossing Continents: Legacy on Location, Man vs. Wolf, Wolf Sequence Test and Moving Targets: Aaron and Marta) plus all the usual interactive features.

Warner Home Video will release The Apparition on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 11/27 (SRP $29.98 and $22.97). Extras will include 4 featurettes (The Dark Realm of Paranormal, Haunted Asheville, The Experiment of The Apparition and The Apparition: A Cinematic Specter).

Well Go USA Entertainment has set the Korean anthology film Doomsday Book for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/11 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98). It offers viewers three short films with different takes on the apocalypse – New World, Heavenly Creature and Happy Birthday – directed by filmmakers Kim Ji-woon and Yim Pil-sung.

Lionsgate has set the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection for release as a 23-disc DVD box set on 11/13 (SRP $99.98). All 193 original episodes will be included along with all the bonus content that was found in the individual season DVD sets. The Collection will come packaged in a replica of the “Party Van”.

And Shout! Factory has set Ultra Seven: The Complete Series Collector’s Edition for release as a 6-disc DVD set on 12/11 (SRP $49.97).

Don’t forget that Dr. Jahnke’s posted his latest Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review for the day: Warner’s new Little Shop of Horrors Blu-ray Book!

And our own Mario Boucher has posted an interview with actress Dee Wallace about her work on Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, now available on Blu-ray Disc from Universal (read our review of the disc here).

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray box art for Lionsgate’s Killer Joe (due 12/21), Well Go’s Doomsday Book and Universal’s The Bourne Legacy, as well as Lionsgate’s open packaging for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection

Killer Joe (Blu-ray Disc)    Doomsday Book (Blu-ray Disc)    The Bourne Legacy (Blu-ray Disc)

tmntcompleteseriesdvdopen

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt


All right, here at the site today’s the good Doctor’s latest Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the day is Paramount’s big screen version of Steven King’s Pet Sematary on Blu-ray. And fans of director Frank Oz will enjoy tomorrow’s review, having a little something to do with a very large and very carnivorous plant. Be sure to check back tomorrow for that.

More release news updates today...

As you can see, we've posted cover artwork for 20th Century Fox's Beasts of the Southern Wild, due on Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 12/4 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). They also have Ice Age: Continental Drift due for Blu-ray 3D release on 12/11 (SRP $49.99), followed by Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/18.

Shout! Factory has set Transformers Prime: Season Two for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/27, including all 26 episodes, interviews with the creative team and footage of the Comic-Con 2012 panel.

Shout! has also set What Happened to Kerouac? for release as a 2-disc DVD on 11/6, including The Beat Goes On documentary.

Magnolia Home Entertainment will release I Wish on DVD on 11/6, along with 360 on Blu-ray and DVD the same day.

Also, New Yorker Films has set The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye for DVD only release on 10/30.

First Run Features will release The Island President, The Raw and the Cooked: A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan and Culinary Masterpieces: Four Great Foodie Films (Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven, Kings of Pastry, Guy Martin: Portrait of a Grand Chef and A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt) on DVD on 11/13.

And Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Patti Smith: Live at Montreux 2005 for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/13.

In other news today, Disney’s Movie Club (for members) apparently now lists the Peter Pan: Diamond Edition as “Available to own on 2/5/2013”. Thanks to Bits reader Gavin C. for the heads-up!

Also, Milestone Film and Video is asking for your help in restoring a “great American independent documentary”, Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason. They’ve launched a Kickstarter to fund the restoration and a release of the film back into theatres and on Blu-ray and DVD. More here.

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt


We’ve got some more new announcements to report today, but first…

Dr. Jahnke’s Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the day is none other than Tim Burton’s updating of Dark Shadows, newly released on Blu-ray by Warner Home Video.

Also, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork update 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 to them from our links goes to help support our work at The Bits and we really appreciate it.

Now then…

Criterion has announced its January Blu-ray and DVD slate, highlighted by the release of Win Wender’s first foray into 3D filmmaking, the documentary Pina, on Blu-ray 3D Combo and DVD (Catalog #644 – due 1/22/2013)! As if that’s not enough, Criterion will also release Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum “in a restored director’s cut never before seen in the United States” (Cat #234 – BD and DVD – 1/15), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (Cat #643 – BD and DVD – 1/15), Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop (Cat #414 – BD –1/8) and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (Cat #397 – BD and DVD – 1/22).

Also today, Disney has set The Odd Life of Timothy Green for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 12/4. Extras will include the Family Roots: Bringing The Odd Life of Timothy Green to the Screen documentary, Glen Hansard’s This Gift music video, the Glen Hansard: Behind This Gift featurette, 5 deleted scenes and commentary with director Peter Hedges.

Lionsgate has set William Friedkin’s Killer Joe for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/21 (SRP $24.99 and $19.98). The Blu-ray will feature and Unrated Director’s Cut of the film while the DVD will have the NC-17 rated Theatrical Cut. Both will include director’s commentary, 3 featurettes (Southern Fried Hospitality: From Stage to Screen, SXSW Q&A with the Cast and SXSW Intro by William Friedkin) and the “Red Band” theatrical trailer.

[Update: I've just learned that the Blu-ray will be the original NC-17 cut but now labeled "unrated" because most stores will not carry titles listed as NC-17. The DVD on the other hand will be a brand new R-rated cut. Adjust your plans accordingly.]

Shout! Factory has set Jane Campion’s The Portrait of a Lady for BD release on 12/11. Shout! has also set Hazel: The Complete Fourth Season for DVD only release on 12/11.

And Timeless Media Group (a division of Shout!) has something for you spaghetti western fans – a pair of Django! double-feature DVDs including A Man Called Django (1971)/Django and Sartana Showdown in the West (1970) and Django! Cut Price Corpses (1971)/Django Kills Silently (1967). SRP is just $6.95 each. Timeless says they’ll both feature “newly re-mastered prints and all-new bonus features”.

In addition, Synapse will release Chiller: The Complete Television Series as a 2-disc DVD on 12/11 (SRP $29.95). All 5 original U.K. episodes will be included.

Well Go USA has set the Honk Kong action film Wu Dang for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/4 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98). Extras will include a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted and extended scenes and a trailer.

Anchor Bay Entertainment and RADiUS-TWC have set the dark comedy Butter for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/4 ($29.99 and $24.98). Anchor Bay has also set 10 Years for release on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 12/18.

Sony has revealed that Premium Rush (coming to BD and DVD on 12/21) will include a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes (including The Starting Line: Meet the Cast and Behind the Wheels).

Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview for DVD only release on 10/23.

Finally, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Let the Music Play: The Story of the Doobie Brothers for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/13.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Criterion’s Pina, The Tin Drum and The Man Who Knew Too Much

Pina (Criterion Blu-ray 3D Combo)    The Tin Drum (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    The Man Who Knew Too Much (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt


Afternoon, folks. Hope you all had a fine weekend. I haven’t had the chance to see Ben Affleck’s Argo yet, but all the word from friends who have is that it’s pretty darned good. Instead, Sarah and I spent time helping get Mom settled into her new home. And then we had an interesting little adventure on Saturday night. Some of you may have heard that the Space Shuttle Endeavour was being driven across Los Angeles to its new home at the California Science Center this weekend. It was supposed to be a quick overnight trip and it turned into a two and a half day marathon. As it happens, on Saturday night the shuttle got stuck at the intersection of Crenshaw and MLK for over six hours. So about 11 PM we decided to drive up from Orange County to get a closer look at it. Many thousands of people were there to do the same – it was almost like an impromptu street carnival. It was pretty cool.

We even took Mom along for the ride - her first big L.A. adventure. Given what a big fan of the space program Dad was, he would have been proud. Here’s a couple pictures Sarah took. You can almost read the small print on the tiles there...

Space Shuttle Endeavour at MLK & Crenshaw in L.A. - 1/13/2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour at MLK & Crenshaw in L.A. - 1/13/2012

All right, down to business. To get things started here today, our very own Dr. Adam Jahnke kicks off this third week of The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a review of director Roger Spottiswoode’s debut film Terror Train, now available on Blu-ray Disc from the folks at Shout! Factory via their Scream Factory label.

Also today, Tim Salmons has looked at another recent Steven Spielberg film on Blu-ray Disc in the form of Universal’s new E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Anniversary Edition.

Both films are well worth a look on Blu, so we hope you enjoy the reviews.

In announcement news today, Lionsgate has set The Expendables 2 for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/20 (SRP $39.99 and $29.95, respectively). For your money, you’ll get audio commentary with director Simon West, 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Gods of War: Assembling Earth’s Mightiest Anti-Heroes, Big Guns, Bigger Heroes: The 1980’s and the Rise of the Action Film, On the Assault: The Real-Life Weaponry of The Expendables and Guns for Hire: The Real Expendables), deleted scenes and a gag reel. The special edition content was produced by our old friend Cliff Stephenson, so it should be pretty cool.

Lionsgate will also release Arbitrage on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/21 (SRP $24.99 and $19.98). Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Nicholas Jarecki, 2 featurettes (Who Is Robert Miller? and A Glimpse Into Arbitrage) and deleted scenes with optional writer/director commentary.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Hope Springs for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/4 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Bonus features will include commentary with director David Frankel, 6 featurettes (An Intimate Look at Making Hope Springs, An Expert’s Guide to Everlasting Passion, The Doctor Is In: Steve Carrell on Dr. Feld, Inside the Perfect Marriage: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, The Passionate Performer and Museum of Acting Introduction by Director David Frankel), 4 Museum of Acting Alternate Takes and a gag reel.

In addition, Sony has set Sparkle for BD and DVD release on 11/30, followed by Blue Lagoon: The Awakening on DVD only on 12/18 and Premium Rush on BD and DVD on 12/21.

Sony has also set the sequel to Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth miniseries, World Without End, for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/4 (SRP $75.99 and $65.99). Both will include all 8 episodes on 2 discs along with The Making of Ken Follett’s World Without End documentary.

Meanwhile, Warner and HBO have set Enlightened: The Complete First Season and Game Change each for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/8/2013.

CBS and Paramount have set Perry Mason: The Eighth Season - Volume Two for DVD only release on 1/15/2013.

Image Entertainment has announced a number of interesting new and catalog Blu-ray releases. Look for Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer and Stephen Sondheim’s Company on 11/13, the Frank Sinatra film Suddenly on 12/4, Miami Connection on 12/11, All Superheroes Must Die on 1/1/2013 and Lightning Bug and Wake in Fright on 1/15/2013.

And PBS has set Downton Abbey: Season 3 for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/29/2013 (SRP $54.99 and $49.99). The new season is currently airing in the U.K. and starts running on PBS’ Masterpiece Classics on 1/6/2013.

In other news today, a number of readers are reporting problems with Fox’s Prometheus Blu-ray. Throughout the second half of the film, some copies are plagued with macro-blocking and will occasionally cause players to simply shut down. It appears to be a manufacturing error and isn’t affecting all copies, so if you’re having trouble we recommend you exchange it with your retailer. You can also contact Fox Customer Care at 1-888-223-4369.

Finally today, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of cinematographer Harris Savides, who helped pioneer digital cinema with his work on David Fincher’s Zodiac. He also shot Ridley Scott’s American Gangster and Gus Van Sant’s Milk among others. He was just 55. Also, actor Gary Collins has died at the age of 74. Collins was master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant and the host of Hour Magazine and The Home Show. He also appeared in guest roles on many TV series in the 1970s and 80s. Both will be missed.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray Disc cover artwork for Lionsgate’s The Expendables 2, Warner’s The Jazz Singer (due 1/8), Sony’s Hope Springs and The World Without End, Universal’s temp art for ParaNorman (11/27) and PBS’ Downton Abbey: Season 3

The Expendables 2 (Blu-ray Disc)    The Jazz Singer (1927 - Blu-ray Disc)    Hope Springs (Blu-ray Disc)

World Without End (Blu-ray Disc)    ParaNorman (Temp art - Blu-ray Disc)    Downton Abbeys: Season 3 (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend and stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt


Afternoon, folks. Sorry for the lack of an update yesterday. I’ve been working on some little tweaks and bug fixes on the new site design here. Still, Dr. Jahnke’s Oktoberfest review for yesterday went live as expected - Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator on Blu-ray from Image - while his review for today is none other than Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse now on Blu from our friends at Shout! Factory via their Scream Factory line. Enjoy!

A number of you have asked if we’re going to be posting reviews of E.T., Prometheus and the Bond 50 box set, and the answer is definitely yes! E.T. will be up early next week and I’m hard at work on Bond right now. I’m only a couple films into the Bond set given my recent travels, but I’ll tell you it’s pretty terrific. How nice it is to finally have all the films in a single box set... and in high-definition too! More on Bond hopefully next week, but I would say that if you’re a fan don’t hesitate to pick yourself up a copy. The BD upgrade is worth the money.

As for Prometheus - now THAT is a more complicated subject. I’m definitely working on a review and frankly I can’t wait to A) watch our friend Charlie de Lauzirika’s in-depth documentary on the set and B) listen to the audio commentary tracks on the film. I just wish I liked the film more than I do. I actually watched it for a second time yesterday and unfortunately it did nothing to improve my feelings that this film tried to be both an Alien prequel and a completely original sci-fi story at the same time and failed at both. A few of my friends who liked the film tell me “Yeah, but you must have missed all the amazing symbolism and metaphor...” and “But there’s all this other great backstory going on... all these great high-concept ideas...” Sadly no. I got all of it. I understand the implications of "2,000 years ago" and the murals changing when the humans walked in. I mean, come on... they named both the ship and the film ‘Prometheus’. They weren’t exactly subtle. But the script is just full of holes - not so much the backstory or larger concept but I’m talking about stupid characters doing really stupid things on a trillion dollar space mission. I simply wish that director Ridley Scott had focused on making a great Alien prequel OR making a great and completely original sci-fi film - just not both at the same time. Because the film that resulted is a gorgeous looking mess in my opinion. And I think a lot of people are giving the film a bit of a pass because it's "Ridley's big return to the genre", etc. Anyway, if you loved the film... more power to you. I just wish I had. More in my review of the Blu-ray again hopefully next week.

By the way, I’m still working on answering all those e-mails you guys have sent in. Just so you know!

In announcement news today, Universal has set Cape Fear (1962), Fear and The Bone Collector for Blu-ray Disc release on 1/8/2013.

Okay... regarding the Best Buy-exclusive Bond movie BD singles - On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me - we’re hearing from sources that they’ve been delayed from release in Best Buy stores until 10/23. This despite the fact that one or two readers HAVE reported finding them in their local stores. We’re not sure what the confusion at Best Buy is, though it might be due to product supply issues. In any case, it looks like they’re still coming. And Walmart and Target stores do seem to have their own Bond BD exclusives out on store shelves.

Speaking of Best Buy-exclusive Blu-rays, many readers are reporting that the retailer does now have an exclusive 7-film Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray box set available for around $45. Do check it out if you’re a fan of the series.

And while we’re talking Target exclusives, they apparently have a Blu-ray Book edition of The Dark Knight Rises coming on 12/4 for $31.99. Thanks to Bits reader Steve for the heads-up.

Is anyone else frustrated by all these retailer exclusives? It’s not that some of them aren’t cool and desirable, it’s that allowing titles to be exclusive to a particular retailer or chain makes it harder for customers to track them down - particularly when the chain in question has no locations near you. From our standpoint, they’re also frustrating because the studios typically refuse to provide information about the exclusives, instead allowing the retailers to take the lead on disseminating information about them. And outside of appearances in their Sunday circular ads, the retailers are all uniformly bad about making them known to fans. Ah well.

A quick note: Ben Affleck’s Argo arrives in theatres this weekend and early word is it’s pretty terrific. Be sure to check it out.

Finally today, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of former Detroit Lions lineman and actor Alex Karras. TV fans will remember him as George Papadapolis on Webster, thought I’ll always recall him fondly for his appearance as Mongo in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. "Mongo only pawn in game of life." So are we all, Mongo. Karras was 77.

Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Warner's A Star is Born (2/5/2013) and Grand Hotel (1/8/2013), and Universal's Ted (12/11)... 

A Star Is Born (Blu-ray Disc)    Grand Hotel (Blu-ray Disc)    Ted (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend and stay tuned.

- Bill Hunt


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