Items filtered by date: September 2023
Afternoon, Bits readers and welcome to the new week and, of course, Halloween Eve!
We’ve got a little bit of ground to cover here today, but first I wanted to personally thank all those of you who have signed up to support The Digital Bits via Patreon. Since we first launched our Patreon five days ago, we’re up to 77 backers (and 104 members total), and we really appreciate your support. It means a lot, and it will make a real difference here, let me tell you.
Already, I’ve decided on a couple things: I’m making regular (almost daily) blog posts exclusively for our Patreon supporters that are a little different than the kind of thing I post here and on our social media. For example... my first-take thoughts on things I’m hearing from sources (release news, industry developments, and the like), first impressions on new review discs that I’ve had the chance to look at (before I publish the full in-depth reviews here on the site), and other odds and ends—the kinds of things that offer you a essentially a more personal and candid look behind the scenes here at The Bits. I’m also making the occasional public post for all members there, with information that’s relevant to all our readers—the kind of thing I’m going to share here in a minute today (disc replacement news, a PS5 firmware update of relevance to disc fans, the occasional piece of significant breaking news). And we’ll add more Patreon-exclusive features over time as we get used working there, learning what kinds of perks are possible, and what we can do without dramatically increasing our workload.
Anyway, just know that we really, really appreciate those of you who are willing to support our work with your hard-earned money. Thanks to all 77 paying backers (here’s to reaching 100!) and thanks to all of you who are following us there.
Now then... I’m going to be spending the rest of my day working on a review of Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One in 4K UHD for posting here hopefully tomorrow. But first, there’s some important breaking news... [Read on here...]
All right, a quick heads-up for those of you who have purchased Paramount’s new Rosemary’s Baby 4K Ultra HD: An error has been discovered on the 4K disc’s soundtrack. When Dr. Sapirstein’s line “We happen to be in labor here” is spoken in the film, the only word audible in the mix is “here.” Note that this also pertains to the disc included in Paramount’s new Paramount Scares 4K box set.
Having been made aware of this error, Paramount intends to fix it and launch a disc replacement program. So if you have the new disc, visit this online form: https://phe-physical-consumer-support.imoxiemedia.com/
Select issue type “Other,” format “UHD,” put “Rosemary’s Baby 4K Ultra HD” in the title field, and in the brief description box add “Replacement Disc.” You might also want to specify whether you have the stand-alone disc or the Paramount Scares box set version.
You’ll be asked for your shipping info and (possibly) for a proof of purchase (which is often just a picture of the disc and its packaging). The fixed discs will be shipped out in the next couple of months when they’re ready. Thanks to Paramount for responding to this issue and taking steps to make it right.
Now then, in announcement news today, our friends at Arrow Video have indeed announced their January 2024 Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD slate as planned, and it’s pretty exciting.
It includes Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) on 4K Ultra HD on 1/22 (in the UK only—Scream Factory has already released the film here in the States on the format), as well as Peter Yates’ Murphy’s War (1971) on Blu-ray on 1/30 (in the US and Canada only), and both John Milius’ Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Richard Fleischer’s Conan the Destroyer (1984) on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on 1/16 (in the US and Canada only). You’ll be able to buy the two Conan films individually, or in The Conan Chronicles: Limited Edition 3-disc set on Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD. [Read on here...]
All right, I’d like to start today’s post out by saying a big thank you to everyone who’s signed up to support our Digital Bits Patreon, or expressed the intent to do so soon, or made a PayPal donation, or simply sent us good wishes. Thanks also to those among you who are using our Amazon affiliate links whenever you shop or pre-order new Blu-ray and 4K titles. The overall response has been very encouraging and very understanding, and we appreciate each and every one of you. So thank you!
Now then, we’re going to catch up on some news, plus we’ve got a bunch of new disc reviews for you here, and then I’m going to spend the next few days working on a few Blu-ray and 4K reviews myself. But first, here are some reviews our team has posted for you all to enjoy in the last few days...
Stuart has chimed in with reviews of Henry Hathaway’s Nevada Smith (1966), John Cassavetes’ Gloria (1980), and Ida Lupino’s Outrage (1950) all on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine (2021) on Blu-ray from Cohen Media Group, and John Mackenzie’s Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971) on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
Dennis has offered his thoughts on Dorothy Arzner’s Christopher Strong (1933) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection, Harley Cokeliss’ Malone (1987) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Chalit Krileadmongkon and Pakphum Wongjinda’s Creepy Crawly (2022) on Blu-ray from Well Go USA, and Brian Paulin’s At Dawn They Sleep (2000) on Blu-ray from Saturn’s Core and Vinegar Syndrome.
Stephen has taken an in-depth look at Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby (1978) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Godfrey Ho’s Undefeatable (1993) on 4K Ultra HD from Vinegar Syndrome, and Allen Plone’s Night Screams (1987) also in 4K Ultra HD from Vinegar Syndrome.
And Tim has reviewed Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha’s direct-to-video animated finale Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar (2023) on Blu-ray from Adult Swim and Warner, as well as Amy Holden Jones and Deborah Brock The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) and The Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) in 4K Ultra HD from Scream Factory. [Read on here...]
Well, it’s been a big couple of weeks at The Bits, as detailed in Monday’s editorial here at the site. The response to that piece has been overwhelming—and overwhelmingly positive, I’m pleased to report. I’ve had a good number of people within the industry tell me they’ve been quietly (and no so quietly) cheering its message, hoping the powers that be at certain studios will listen.
One of the interesting side effects of the last couple of weeks is that it’s really highlighted some of the key challenges we face here at the site. The first is that so much of my time as editor of The Bits is dedicated to communicating with sources, researching stories, responding to everyone who wants to engage with us after we post major news or a big editorial, or simply dealing with behind-the-scenes issues, that it’s become hard for me to do all that effectively and still write Blu-ray and 4K reviews too. I have a stack of titles I keep trying to get to, but when a well-known filmmaker or high-level studio executive contacts me wanting to talk, you definitely can’t—and shouldn’t!—say no in my position.
The other problem was illustrated by what happened when we broke the news of Best Buy’s exit of the physical media business—the website simply couldn’t handle all the traffic we were getting! Off and on, from Thursday night (10/12) to the following Monday (10/16), the site simply wouldn’t load for some people or took a long time to load. That’s not a knock on our infrastructure, our server team, or our hosting company—99% of the time, there’s no problem at all. And they do an incredible job of managing all that in the face of ever more difficult cybersecurity challenges. It’s really rather shocking how difficult that problem has become—not just for The Bits but almost literally every website online. Frankly, it’s a wonder the Internet even still works at all. [Read on here...]
I’ve been thinking a lot, in recent days, about the future of physical media.
Frankly, I can’t recall a time in this industry that’s offered greater cognitive dissonance than this past week, which began with the news that Best Buy is exiting the disc business—and saw a Digital Bits headline on the subject appear in Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show monologue—but ended not only with the release of Barbie and The Exorcist in 4K, but also with the Ultra HD announcement of Titanic, The Color Purple, and Oppenheimer, to say nothing of the revelation (by Kino Lorber Studio Classics) that Stanley Kubrick’s earliest films are coming to the format!
What’s the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities again? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.” Charlies Dickens was nothing if not a visionary.
This coming December, I’ll mark my twenty-sixth year as editor of The Digital Bits, and my thirty-fifth as a working professional in the business of media more generally. For most of that time, I’ve had a front row seat from which to view the ebbs and flows of the disc business—both its public-facing portion, as well a singularly-unique insider’s perspective. I launched The Bits website in 1997, at the height of LaserDisc and the dawn of DVD, to create a nexus between fans of these formats and the industry professionals who create them.
Soon afterwards, I gave the world its first look at Circuit City’s pay-per-view DIVX format, then led the crusade against it. I co-led a campaign that convinced George Lucas to begin releasing his beloved Star Wars films on DVD. I reported from the trenches on—and correctly predicted the outcome of—the high-definition format war between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. And I’ve covered every minute of the Golden Age of Physical Media, the rise and stumbles of Digital and streaming, and the continuing adventures of our favorite little format that could… 4K Ultra HD. [Read on here...]
All right, believe it or not, even after the insanity that’s been the last couple of days, we still have a bit more new release news to catch you all up on here at The Bits...
First things first… Lionsgate has officially set The Expendables 4, aka Expend4bles, for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 11/21. There will also a trio of retail exclusive versions, including an Amazon 4K with lenticular cover, a Best Buy 4K Steelbook, and a Walmart Steelbook 4-Film 4K Collection. All 4K versions of Expend4bles will offer Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio on a 100GB disc. Extras on the Blu-ray and 4K SKUs will include audio commentary with director Scott Waugh, 2 featurettes (Bigger, Bolder, Badder: The Expendables in Action and More Than a Team: New Blood Meets Old Blood), plus the film’s theatrical trailer. You can see the cover artwork at left and also below.
Lionsgate has also set Kevin Greutert’s Saw X for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 11/21. Look for HDR10 and Dolby Atmos on the 4K SKU. Extras will include audio commentary (with director-editor Kevin Greutert, cinematographer Nick Matthews, and production designer Anthony Stabley), the 6-part Reawakening documentary (includes I Want to Play a Game: Bleeding New Life into the Saga, This Time It’s Personal: Characters and Casting, Another Time, Another Place: Locations and Cinematography, There Will Be Blood: Production Design and Make-up, Leave Nothing to Chance: Post-Production, and Live or Die: Release and Legacy), 2 additional featurettes (Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Scene Breakdowns with Kevin Greutert and Make-Up Department Trap Tests), deleted scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer. Again, you’ll find the cover art below. [Read on here...]
All right, there’s one more big title announcement we need to cover today here at The Bits.
And this one is a catalog title that we first revealed was coming to 4K Ultra HD nearly a year ago now.
Warner Bros. has just announced Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated drama The Color Purple (1985) for release on 4K Ultra HD... you guessed it, on 12/5!
Look for the disc to include HDR10 high dynamic range and the previous 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
Here is the full text of the studio’s official press release today featuring all of the relevant details...
THE COLOR PURPLE
COMES TO 4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL
THE ACCLAIMED FILM WHICH WAS NOMINATED FOR
11 ACADEMY AWARDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 4K RESOLUTION WITH HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE (HDR)
Purchase the film on 4K Ultra HD Disc and Digital on December 5th
Burbank, Calif., October 17, 2023 – As part of the year-long centennial celebration for the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Studio, the epic coming-of-age period drama The Color Purple from Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) will be available for purchase on 4K Ultra HD Disc and Digital for the first time this December.
On December 5th The Color Purple will be available to purchase on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc from online and in-store at major retailers and available for purchase Digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. [Read on here...]
All right, Bits readers... this is another title we know that many of you have been waiting for released on, particularly on 4K Ultra HD, but now it too is finally official.
Universal has just announced Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed OPPENHEIMER (2023) for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 11/21!
And the good news is that the 4K disc will be a 100GB disc, for maximum video and audio data rates, with HDR10 high dynamic range and DTS-HD Master Audio.
The video is also presented in a variable aspect ratio.
Here are all the details…
Universal City, California, October 17, 2023 – From celebrated writer and director Christopher Nolan comes the must-see cinematic masterpiece about the man and the moment that changed the world forever. As it continues its dominant global box-office run, OPPENHEIMER will be available to own just in time for the holidays on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, & Digital on November 21, 2023 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. [Read on here...]
All right folks... this is a title we know that many of you have waited a very long time to see released on this format, but now it’s finally official.
Paramount has just announced James Cameron’s TITANIC (1997) for release in 4K Ultra HD & 4K Limited Collector’s Edition on 12/5!
Here are all the details…
Debuts on 4K Ultra HD December 5th
Limited-Edition Collector’s Box Set Also Available
Revisit James Cameron’s epic masterpiece TITANIC when it arrives for the first time ever remastered on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc December 5, 2023 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
[Editor’s Note: The title will be released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment internationally, so watch for a separate announcement by them outside the U.S.]
The beloved, worldwide phenomenon won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and continues to attract new fans 25 years after it was originally released. Now, viewers can experience all of the drama and spectacle in stunning 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack for the finest visual and audio presentation at home.
TITANIC will be available nationwide in a two-disc set that includes the film on 4K Ultra HD, plus a Blu-ray Disc boasting more than five hours of new and legacy bonus content, including new interviews with James Cameron, star Kate Winslet, and producer Jon Landau. The set also includes access to a Digital Ultra HD copy of the film. [Read on here...]
We’re starting our first big news update of the week here at The Bits with some new disc reviews, as always. So now available for your reading enjoyment are...
Stephen’s in-depth reviews of both the wide release 4K Ultra HD and the Disney Movie Club-exclusive “quad” 4K Ultra HD release of Walt Disney’s classic animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). The good news is that Disney’s positive change in direction with 4K catalog releases is officially no fluke—the disc features absolutely beautiful 35mm film remastering with lovely grain structure and wonderfully vibrant colors.
Stephen has also turned in a review of Michael Cimino’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) in 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, which also features terrific new remastering.
And Stuart has delivered a look at Norman Taurog’s Spinout (1966) on Blu-ray from our friends at the Warner Archive Collection.
As always, more new reviews are on the way later this week, so be sure to watch for them.
Now then... in announcement news today, the Criterion Collection has officially revealed their January 2024 release slate. [Read on here...]