All right, I promised my thoughts on The Mandalorian on Disney+. I have to say, I like it. It’s nice to watch a slice of Star Wars that doesn’t involve Jedi, Sith, and Skywalkers for a change. It’s a little in the mold of Rogue One, though that was more closely tied to the Saga films. But Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have crafted a half-hour series that feels like a slice of lived-in classic Star Wars, and is taking its time developing its story. The texture is right, the supporting cast is terrific (thus far including Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, and Nick Nolte), and I love the Bill Conti-infused score by Ludwig Göransson.

Pedro Pascal is good in the lead role, but to be fair we haven’t seen him outside the Mandalorian armor yet, nor have we learned very much about the character. But each episode seems to peel back the onion a little more, and again I like the fact that the show is taking its time. I would have thought that 30-40 minute episodes would seem too short, but I find I’m satisfied after each one. And reports from friends and Lucasfilm insiders who have seen more suggest that the show gets better with every new installment (there will be 8 in all in this first season). What I can tell you is that I’m certainly enjoying it. The show also looks great in 4K with HDR, and sounds great too in Dolby Atmos. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, first things first today: Criterion has just announced its February 2020 slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles.

Look for it to include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma (Spine #1014 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/11, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Spine #1013 – Blu-ray and DVD) and an updating of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Antoni Gaudí (Spine #425 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/18, and Jeannie Livingston’s Paris is Burning (Spine #1018 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman (Blu-ray and DVD) on 2/25. That last set includes Journey to the Beginning of Time (Spine #1015), Invention for Destruction (Spine #1016), and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Spine #1017). You can read more here at the Criterion website.

Those are all fine titles, but Roma is particularly appreciated given that it was a Netflix release last year and hasn’t been available on physical media yet.

Also today, our own Michael Coate has a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits—first posted yesterday afternoon—in which he looks back at James Cameron’s The Abyss with historian Matthew Kapell in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. It’s a great piece, so do give it a look. And who knows? Maybe it will remind the director that he’s got a new 4K HDR grade of the film to approve so we can all watch it on Blu-ray and UHD sooner rather than later. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, I’ve been busy working on Blu-ray reviews for you these last couple days, and we have four to share with you now. Late yesterday I posted my thoughts on Magnolia’s The Wave (aka Bølgen), which is a nifty little Norwegian disaster film from last year, as well as Madman Entertainment’s excellent North Sea Hijack (1979), better known to Americans as ffolkes! The film stars Roger Moore and it’s a great little gem. Best of all, though the packaging says Region B, the disc is actually an All Region release. Then today, our own Jim Hemphill has turned in his thoughts on Twilight Time’s new double feature of the Frank Sinatra films Tony Rome (1967) and Lady in Cement (1968). Finally, I’ve just completed my thoughts on CBS and Paramount’s whopping new 30-disc Star Trek: 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Blu-ray box set, which as many of you know includes the first-ever release of Star Trek: The Animated Series on Blu-ray. That title will also be released separately on Blu-ray later this year, but in the meantime do check out our thoughts on the box set.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!  A day early we know, but this is going to be our last post here at The Bits until Monday, as we all go off to celebrate the holiday with family.  Couple things for you today… 

First, we’re pleased to bring you a trio of additional Blu-ray Disc reviews today.  Tim has checked in with his thoughts on Criterion’s Lonesome and The Uninvited in HD, as well as Scream Factory’s The Horror Show.  All are now available.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

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