Okay… Star Wars Celebration weekend has ended with… well, not much in the way of Blu-ray release news related to the Star Wars films. Not that we expected any, per our recent posts, but still. Lucasfilm’s John Knoll did show off some interesting behind the scenes material on The Making of Rogue One panel at the event, including a rare extended cut of the Death Star briefing room scene from the original Star Wars, as well as virtual recreations of a number of classic Death Star settings that didn’t make the final cut of Rogue One, but there was no indication as to when (if ever) any of that material might be released on Blu-ray, nor was there any indication of a more elaborate Rogue One: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release later this year. (The Making of Rogue One panel also doesn’t seem to have been live-streamed for some reason, though probably to keep the footage shown there from appearing online.) At any rate, it seems that Disney and Lucasfilm are just going to do whatever they’re going to do, with regard to releasing these films on Blu-ray, and fans will simply have to deal with it.

I will say that I thought the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi looked interesting. It was visually striking, with echoes of The Empire Strikes Back of course, but there seems to be a genuine mystery to the story too. We’ll see. [Read on here…]

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All right, first things first today: We have a quick bit of follow-up for you this morning on those annual original Star Wars release rumors, the latest appearance of which caused a bit of a stir yesterday (and which we commented on in yesterday’s post). I know... we’re getting tired of talking about it too, but we have what seems to be rather definitive new information.

We’ve essentially confirmed that Disney’s current 4K scan of the film is the most recent revised version (essentially the latest “special edition”), not the original theatrical edition. What’s more, Disney’s director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, held a special event at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts last night, a presentation called Animation Restoration at Walt Disney Studios. Gluck was asked there about Star Wars and reported that the original cut negative for the film currently exists in its “SE” configuration only. (There’s more info, so do continue on past the jump.) [Read on here…]

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Afternoon, folks! We’ve got some great stuff for you here at The Bits today…

First up, Tim has turned in a review of Shout! Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume IV, which includes the episodes Space Mutiny, Overdrawn at the Memory Back, Girl in Gold Boots, and Hamlet. The disc is now available, so do give it a look.

Meanwhile, we have a new MOS DEF column from Mark A. Altman as well today, in which he takes a look back at his favorite Blu-ray releases of 2016. We’ll have more from Mark later this week too. Enjoy!

In announcement news today, the BIG news is that Disney and Lucasfilm have just officially set Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for Blu-ray Combo, DVD, and On Demand release on 4/4, with a Digital HD release set for 3/24. There’s no word yet of a 4K version, but it appears that Target and Best Buy will have retail-exclusive Blu-ray 3D versions on 4/4 (per Star Wars.com). The Target package appears to match the Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition. The Best Buy package comes in a Steelbook. Walmart will also have exclusive packaging. Extras on the Blu-rays will include 11 behind-the-scenes featurettes (A Rogue Idea, Jyn: The Rebel, Cassian: The Spy, K-2SO: The Droid, Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills, Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary, The Empire, Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One, The Princess & The Governor, Epilogue: The Story Continues, and Rogue Connections). Note that the lack of deleted scenes – and we know there are many – or audio commentary suggests that a more elaborate Collector’s Edition BD release is coming later this year. You can see the cover artwork at the left and below. [Read on here…]

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All right, after several days of hard work (with lots more to go), The Bits is finally up and running on newly-updated database software. You may have noticed that The Bits looks a little different here today, and this is why. We’ve got lots more tweaking to do, and there will probably be some things that are broken around here that we’ll have to get around to fixing, but for now the basics seem to be working. Please bear with us as we dial everything in here at the site and get things buttoned up. Code and functionality updates like this are the bane of any webmaster, but you gotta get them done.

Meanwhile, here at The Bits today, we’ve got a pair of new Blu-ray reviews. Tim has checked out William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A.: Collector’s Edition from Shout Select, as well as Michael Anderson’s Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze from the Warner Archive.

And I’ve got a whole mess of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews coming, now that our server updates are nearly completed. Watch for those starting Monday with Denis Villeneuve’s The Arrival from Paramount first up on deck.  [Read on here…]

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All right, I’m finally back to some semblance of functional today after a good three-day bout with the flu. As such, we’ve got a bit of good content for you here at The Bits today.

First up, our own Michael Coate celebrates the 40th anniversary of Rocky with a brand new film retrospective and roundtable discussion in his latest installment of History, Legacy & Showmanship. The column is a great in-depth read, as always, and features the participation of film historians Leger Grindon, Edward Gross, and Eric Lichtenfeld, and documentary filmmaker Cliff Stephenson. Don’t miss it!  [Read on here…]

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My apologies, but this flu I’ve come down with has gotten worse rather than better today. So I’ve got a release news update for you but that’s about it. Still, there’s definitely some good news to report.

First up, Kino Lorber has set Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944) for Blu-ray release on 3/7. Extras will include audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas, audio commentary by film professor Drew Casper, The Making of Lifeboat documentary, an animated montage of images, and reversible cover art (the front part of which you can see there on the left). Also coming to Blu-ray on 3/7 from the company is Richard Fleischer’s Compulsion (1959). [Read on here…]

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We’re kicking things off this week with Tim’s in-depth thoughts on Well Go USA’s new Phantasm: Remastered Blu-ray release (see here). Sounds like the new transfer is pretty terrific, though you might want to keep those older versions of the film for all the previous extras.

In announcement news today, Lionsgate Home Entertainment is planning a Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo release for 2/7, following a brief return to theaters for the film on 1/29 and 2/1 through Fathom Events. The home media release will include a regular Blu-ray/DVD Combo and a Limited Edition Collector’s Box set with swag. Both will feature new disc-based extras. You can see the regular version at the left there. We’ll post additional details as they become available.  [Read on here…]

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Okay, just got a quickie post to close out the week here at The Bits, as I’m hard at work on more new disc reviews. Among the titles I’m working are Kubo and the Two Strings and UFO: The Complete Series on Blu-ray (the latter being a Region B title), and also Suicide Squad, Morgan, and The Magnificent Seven in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. So watch this space over the next week or so for my thoughts on those.

Meanwhile, Tim has turned in a new Blu-ray review himself, in this case a look at Lucio Fulci’s Manhattan Baby: 3-disc Limited Edition, which is now available from our friends over at Blue Underground.  [Read on here…]

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So did you guys all score your Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tickets? Seems like they sold pretty fast. If you’re a fan of Star Wars and are looking forward to the new film, Wired has a good feature article on the film’s VFX Supervisor, John Knoll, who also came up with the idea for the film. Do give it a look.

We’ve got a new Blu-ray review for you today, and I’m working on several more reviews on both Blu-ray and 4K. Today’s review is from Tim and features Arrow Video USA’s new BD of Dead-End Drive-In, which is now available.  [Read on here…]

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All right, there’s still not a ton of news to report so far this week. It’s Cyber Monday, which means most of the Blu-ray powers that be (and retailers) are focused on Cyber Monday sales. As such, if you would kindly use this link when shopping for Cyber Monday deals on Amazon.com, we’d surely appreciate it. It’ll go a long way toward helping us to continue our work here at The Bits and we thank you for the support.

Speaking of Amazon, Paramount’s Allied is now available for Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray pre-order (street date TBA). Also available for pre-order on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format is Warner’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 20th Century Fox has Keeping Up with the Joneses coming on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format as well. BBC Home Entertainment has set Planet Earth II for Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray pre-order too. Street dates are TBA, but you can click on the format links in this paragraph to pre-order.  [Read on here…]

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