My Two Cents

My Two Cents

All right, we're getting settled into the new site nicely. The old site has been archived for your browsing pleasure - just look in the menu under FEATURES for THE ORIGINAL BITS. Also, those of you who enjoy Russell Hammond's weekly Release Dates & Artwork update can now find it in its new location here at the site - just click the RELEASE DATES option in the menu above. More updates are coming so keep checking back.

Here at the site today, we're pleased as punch to offer you the next in Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest 666 line-up of reviews: a look at Lionsgate's Cabin in the Woods on Blu-ray. Enjoy!

In release news this morning, we've got a few more details for you on Warner Home Video's 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of The Dark Knight Rises due on 12/4 (SRP $35.99). Extras will include the Batmobile documentary, the feature-length multi-part Ending the Knight documentary (includes The Prologue: High Altitude Hijacking, Beneath Gotham, Return to the Batcave, Batman vs. Bane, The Bat, Armory Accepted, Gameday Destruction, Demolishing a City Street, The Pit, The Chant, The War on Wall Street, Race to the Reactor, The Journey of Bruce Wayne and Gotham's Reckoning), 2 character featurettes (A Girl's Gotta Eat and Shadows & Light in Large Format), The End of a Legend, trailers and a gallery of artwork.

There will also be a 5-disc The Dark Knight Trilogy Limited Edition Blu-ray Giftset (SRP $52.99) and a 3-disc The Dark Knight Trilogy Limited Edition DVD Giftset (SRP $38.99). Each will include Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The DVD only version of The Dark Knight streets on 1/1/13 (SRP $22.97). There's also The Dark Knight Rises: Limited Edition on Amazon that comes with a replica of Batman's cowl, and there are likely to be retailer-exclusives too so be sure to watch for them.

Warner Home Video has also officially set The Notebook: Ultimate Collector's Edition Gift Set to arrive on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 1/15 (SRP $49.99). In addition to Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet digital versions of the film, you'll also get exclusive swag including a collectible golden locket, a set of postcards with scenes from the film and a "vintage leather-style blank journal with gold edging and ribbon marker; pages designed with watermarked letters and images from the film". So there you go.

Not to be outdone, Disney has revealed that the Peter Pan: Diamond Edition will soon be released on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD. No street date is yet available, but retailer materials reveal a Spring 2013 release and sources are telling us to expect the street date to be sometime in February.

Meanwhile, Sony has set the 1998 Les Miserables for Blu-ray Disc release on 12/11 (SRP $19.99). Extras will include the A First Look at Les Miserables featurette.

Sony has also announced more new MOD DVD titles for release on 11/6, including Caught, The Vertical Ray of the Sun, The Endurance, Camp on Blood Island, Don't Panic Chaps, All Ashore, The Boogieman Will Get You, Men Without Law, Hannah's Law and Breaking In: The Complete Series.

Anchor Bay and The Weinstein Company have Lawless coming on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/27 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include audio commentary with director John Hillcoat and author Matt Bondurant, 2 featurettes (The True Story of the Wettest County in the World and Franklin County, VA: Then and Now), Willie Nelson's Midnight Run music video and deleted scenes.

And WWE Studios and Anchor Bay will release the horror film The Day on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD on 11/17 (SRP $29.99 and $26.98). Extras will include audio commentary with executive producer/director Doug Aarniokoski, producer Guy A. Danella and writer Luke Passmore.

Also today, a lot of fans have asked us about the differences between Fox's 2-disc Prometheus Blu-ray/DVD Combo ($39.99 - Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy) and the Prometheus 4 Disc Collector's Edition (SRP $49.99 - Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy). The 4-disc edition includes the movie in Blu-ray 3D, the movie in 2D (with commentary by director/producer Ridley Scott and a second commentary by writer Jon Spaihts and writer/executive producer Damon Lindelof, The Peter Weyland Files, deleted and alternate scenes and the Weyland Corp Archive Second Screen with app functionality), a third Blu-ray of extras (including the The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus documentary, scores of Enhancement Pods, more Weyland Corp Archive, Pre-Viz material and screen tests) and finally the DVD/Digital Copy disc. Here's the key - the 2-disc set includes only the 2D movie disc and the DVD/Digital Copy disc. You don't get the bonus disc of supplements. So if you want absolutely everything, you have to get the 4-disc set. Both versions street next week on 10/9. Just so you know.

In other news today, we highly recommend that you Trekkers check out this radio story from KPCC's Off Ramp program - it's a feature on CBS' Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray remastering effort. And you'll definitely want to stick with it right to the end, because for the first time in public (to our knowledge) there's the suggestion made that - provided demand is there and the TNG Blu-rays all sell well - CBS may continue their BD remastering/upgrade effort on to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine! Cool news indeed. This jives with what we've been hearing from our own industry sources. Keep your fingers crossed.

Also today, any fans of the raunchy 80's comedy Porky's? Bits reader Doc D. tells us that Walmart currently has an exclusive BD version in stores.

Finally, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actor Herbert Lom, who died last week at the age of 95. You'll best know him as Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther series.

Here's a look at the Blu-ray artwork for Warner's The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight Trilogy Limited Edition Blu-ray Giftset, as well as Disney's art for the Peter Pan: Diamond Edition (TBA)...

The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray Disc)    The Dark Knight Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)    Peter Pan: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt


Welcome to the all-new Digital Bits!

October 1, 2012 - 12:01 am   |   by

No… your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. At long last, we’ve finally gone and done it. You are now looking at the all-new, fully-modernized Digital Bits. We’ve entered the 21st Century at last! That’s right, The Bits no longer looks like it was designed in the late 1990s. And this is just the beginning.

So what took so long? Well… a funny thing happened over the decade and a half since we first launched The Bits. The site grew so big so fast that it just because a monstrous chore to try and update it! I mean, seriously daunting. It didn’t help that I was always too busy talking to industry sources, taking calls, tracking down release news, reviewing discs and dealing with not one but two format wars. Add to that hundreds of daily reader e-mails in need of answering, and more than a few readers who needed help with defective discs or hardware… you get the idea. The idea of completely redesigning The Bits became completely overwhelming.

But about a year ago, I finally got the bug to get it done. I started playing with various new looks and new layouts, designing new graphics… an all-new Bits logo. The rest of The Bits staff got cautiously excited about it, though to be fair I’m not sure most of them believed it was ever really going to happen. And given all of the personal difficulties I’ve experienced in the last year – the death of my grandmother and father, the death of Sarah’s mom, the loss of a beloved cat and most recently the passing of our dear friend and colleague Barrie Maxwell – well, frankly even I’m not quite sure how I managed to get this done. But here it is and we’re pretty pleased with it. We hope you are too.

Today, we’re essentially ‘soft launching’ the new Bits. I really wanted to get it up and running in time for Adam’s Hell Plaza Oktoberfest to kick off today… and up and running we are. But you’ll notice that there are several features that aren’t fully working or updated yet. Only a few of the most recent column entries are here on the new site. We have a few brand new columns that we’ve yet to launch. Reader comments aren’t yet enabled. And less than a hundred of our many disc reviews – mostly Blu-rays – are in the database at the moment. It’s going to take time to add our entire current review catalog – thousands of titles in all – into the new database. Our immediate goal is to work out the various bugs in the new design (and there are sure to be a few, so your patience is appreciated) and to update and add all the usual features over the coming month or so. We’ll gradually add older Bits content to the new design in the weeks and months ahead. Meanwhile, the original Bits site has been permanently archived here, so you can go back and look through it any time you like. (You can always find it in the main menu bar under Features for future reference)

If you’d like to e-mail me or any of The Bits’ staff, all you have to do is go to Meet the Staff under the About section and you’ll find bio pages for each of us. On each bio page is a Contact e-mail form for that person. Don’t hesitate to use these forms to let us know what you think.

So there you go! It’s a whole new Bits! Updated. Shinny. Easier to use. Links up nice with Facebook and other social media sites so you can share content. It should look good on mobile devices. You can finally search for stuff. We have RSS feeds! And best of all, it’s 100% less unattractive. We hope you like it.

Back tomorrow with the usual. Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt


Afternoon, folks!

Warner Home Video has officially announced the Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of The Campaign on 10/30 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). The Blu-ray will include Line-O-Rama, deleted scenes and a gag reel. The film will be an extended cut with 11 minutes of scenes not seen in theatres.

Warner Bros will also release Dallas: The Complete First Season on DVD only on 1/8 (SRP $39.98). You'll get all 10 episodes, plus 6 featurettes, commentary on the pilot and deleted scenes. 

Look for a Chuck: The Complete Series - Collector Set on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner as well on 10/30 (SRP $179.98 and $149.98). We don't know if these sets will include the 3D version of the Chuck Versus the Third Dimension episode (that was a Best Buy BD exclusive), but we'll try to find out.

And Warner has set Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures: Volume 3 for DVD only release on 1/8/2013.

Meanwhile Lionsgate has a Francis Ford Coppola 5-Film Collection coming to Blu-ray on 12/4 (SRP $39.99). It will include Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux, Tetro, The Conversation and One from the Heart. We believe this is the first time that final film will be available in high-def. (One suspects it will be released separately on Blu-ray next year.)

Drafthouse Films has set The Ambassador for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/23.

Paramount is releasing the classic "western comedy" Something Big on DVD only on 10/9 (SRP $19.99). The film stars Dean Martin and Brian Keith.

Danger After Dark will release the Japanese horror (or "J-horror") film X-Game on DVD only on 11/13. SRP is $17.99.

Shout! Factory will release Simon & Simon: Season Seven on DVD only on 10/16 (SRP $29.99). All 16 episodes from the season will be included.

Any of you guys remember the Nickelodeon classic You Can't Do That on Television? Shout! is also releasing a feature-length documentary on the series, You Can't Do That on Film, on DVD only on 10/16. The disc will include a rare interview with show creator Roger Price, extended cast and crew interviews, recaps of the SlimeCon and SlimeCon 2004 fan conventions and cast reunions, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage from The Official Reunion Episode Titled Project 131 and more.

Image Entertainment has set the documentary The Clintons: An American Odyssey for DVD only release on 10/2.

The Cinema Guild has the indie film Natural Selection coming on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/13 (SRP $29.95 and $24.95). The discs will include interviews with the cast and crew and the film's theatrical trailer.

First Run Features has set Chely Wright: Wish Me Away and Nobody Else But You for DVD only release on 10/16.

Wolfe Video has Funkytown coming to DVD on 10/2.

And Anchor Bay and Starz has Magic City: The Complete First Season coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 10/3.

Finally, we've got a couple title updates for you. First, we've learned that Network doesn't currently have the U.K. release rights to Gerry Andersons' UFO and Thunderbirds so they can't release Blu-ray versions there. A&E does have the U.S. rights to both series and is considering releasing them on BD. However it's very early in the process so there's nothing concrete to report yet.

Also, for those of you who are interested in the Target-exclusive version of Warner's Harry Potter: Year 7 - Ultimate Edition, here's what you need to know. It's a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, but only the movies are included on DVD. All the extras are on the Blu-rays. Also, it only includes the 8th book - Growing Up. It's in many Target stores now, but initial shipment quantities were low so many stores have just 1-3 copies until they restock. Some stores aren't getting their copies of the set in until next week. We strongly suspect that when the Target exclusive ends and Warner puts the set into wide release, you'll get at least two different SKUs - separate Blu-ray and DVD versions - to match the ones they've released thus far. It may also be that the wide release versions will be split into separate boxes for the two films, like the U.K. versions. So if you only want Blu-ray and you're dying to get the set now, Target's the place. But if you want the DVD version or want to wait until it's two separate boxes for each film so you get the two different books, all the character cards, etc, hang tight until early next year.

All right, one last note about upcoming reviews. We do have the Bond 50 Blu-ray Disc set on hand. I will be doing a full review, but it's going to take a couple weeks to really get into it all and cover it properly as I only just got my hands on it and there's a LOT of material to go over. Also, Dr. Jahnke will shortly have the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection Blu-ray set in his hands which means you can definitely expect it to be one of the titles he reviews when we launch his annual Hell Plaza Oktoberfest next week! I know a lot of you have been looking for reviews on those titles, so just know they're coming.

We'll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray Disc cover art for Lionsgate's Francis Ford Coppola 5-Film Collection, Warner's Chuck: The Complete Series and PBS' Downton Abbey: Seasons 1 & 2 (due on 10/2)...

Francis Ford Coppola 5-Film Collection (Blu-ray Disc)    Chuck: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)    Downton Abbey: Seasons 1 & 2 (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt


All right, we've got a quick early update for you today with some major breaking release news...

You may recall that, back on 9/18, we reported on a leaked WHV promotional video on YouTube that teased the home video release of The Dark Knight Rises with the text "Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download 12/3." Well, now Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Warner has confirmed to them that the film will arrive on Blu-ray Combo, DVD and digital on 12/4. There will also be a limited and numbered box set edition of the BD Combo that comes packaged with a replica of Batman's cowl. According to their information, the discs will include a documentary on the history of the Batmobile, the 17-part Ending the Knight documentary, The Journey of Bruce Wayne featurette, trailers, galleries and more. Watch for official details shortly. 

Also today, for those of you Bond fans who have the EPIX channel on your cable or satellite system, they'll be showing a documentary on the Bond franchise called Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007. Directed by Steven Ridley, it focuses "on Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, and author Ian Fleming as they discuss the inception and durability of the longest running film franchise in cinema history." The documentary will debut on Friday, October 5th at 8:00pm ET. Here's the film's listing on the EPIX website.

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt


Okay... we've got a couple more little bits of information for you today...

First, here at the site today, we've kicked off a new Giveaway giving each of you the chance to win one of FIVE copies of Fringe: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray Disc thanks to our friends at Warner Home Video. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 7th. Click on the link for instructions on how to enter and good luck!

Speaking of Warner, Warner Home Video has set LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu: Rise of the Green Ninja for DVD release on 11/27.

Vanguard Entertainment has set Behold the Lamb, The Last Soul on a Summer Night, Flood Streets and Mama Sweetie for DVD release on 11/27.

And Lionsgate will release Bro' on DVD on 12/18.

Back to Warner again for a moment, there are rumors that Target stores have (or will soon have) a retail-exclusive version of a Harry Potter: Year 7 - Ultimate Edition on Blu-ray and DVD. This is obviously the very box set that many of you (who've purchased all the previous UE sets) have been waiting for. We asked WHV for confirmation and have been told that they're not commenting. Which suggests that it's true. However, there's no such set listed on Target.com. We're trying to get to the bottom of this, so if any of you spot the set at your local Target store be sure to let us know. Meanwhile, we've asked Warner if they can at least tell us when and if the set will be available widely for all their loyal customers who, as I noted, have already purchased all the other UE sets. When and if they get back to us on this we'll let you know. We certainly hope they do, because judging by your e-mails many of you are getting understandably impatient about this.

[UPDATE - Target DOES INDEED have a retail exclusive on the long awaited Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2 - Year 7 Ultimate Edition, with both movies included in one box set. That explains why the studio isn't commenting. It's available starting today in stores. A sticker on the front of the box indicates that it's a Target exclusive until 1/6/13, and it's a 6-disc set that DOESN'T include the 3D versions - just 2D. SRP is $49.99. Presumably after 1/6 it will go into wide release. Thanks to the many Bits readers who e-mailed with this information.]

Also today, we've yet to hear back from our contacts at Network and A&E about the BD release status of UFO and Thunderbirds, but Bits reader Robert H. did send us a link to a trailer for the Japanese UFO BD release on YouTube. Keep in mind, given that the U.K. and U.S. rights are owned by other companies, so I wouldn't expect this Japanese release to be all-region. Again, anything we hear from our official contacts we'll post as soon as it comes in.

Finally this morning, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing over the weekend of filmmaker Steve Sabol, who was the president and co-founder of NFL Films (along with his father, Ed). If you love football like I do, you need no explanation as to just how much impact Sabol has had on the game of pro football over his career. Week in and week out, season after season, Steve and his camera teams captured every scrap of the drama, the history and the humanity of the game. Like any good filmmaker, he was a storyteller and he was a damn good one. Steve died of complications of a brain tumor at the age of 69. He will be missed. Be sure to check out the NFL's tribute film here.

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt


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