Afternoon, folks. We’ve got some news reviews for you today, plus a couple of release announcements, a new special feature column and more!

First, the Blu-ray reviews... Tim has just posted his thoughts on Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria (2018) from Lionsgate. And Dennis Sueling has offered his take on Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns from Disney. Both are worth a look, so we hope you enjoy them!

Also here at The Bits today, our own Michael Coate has just a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column looking back at Ken Hughes’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary. The piece features a great interview with film historian John Cork, an expert of all things Ian Flemming-related. Do give it a look. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re starting off with this...

You can get Fox’s outstanding Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set today on Amazon.com (here at this link) for just $20. That’s a whopping 67% off the SRP, so act fast. This is one of the best box sets ever produced, with all four Alien films remastered in stunning HD quality (including the Alien 3: Restored Workprint Version) on 6 discs, with a massive bounty of extras (including two full discs of bonus content) all created by our old friend Charles de Lauzirika. Those documentaries alone are worth dropping $20 for this package, so if you haven’t picked up a copy yet... now’s the time!

I should add here that if you’re waiting for Fox to release a 4K upgraded Alien Anthology box set, you’re going to be waiting a while. Only the original Alien is being released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in 2019. There may be a new Alien box set that includes the Anthology contents on Blu-ray along with Alien, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant in 4K. We’ve seen artwork packaging artwork circulating (from Amazon.jp). But if you already have Prometheus and Alien: Covenant in 4K, your smartest best at this point is to buy the new Alien 4K release when it arrives and pick up the Anthology for $20 ASAP. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

And... it’s official! 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Ridley Scott’s original Alien on 4K Ultra HD on 4/23 in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary. A Steelbook version will also be available exclusively at Best Buy (pictured below).

Per the press release: “The film was restored in 4K in 2018 by 20th Century Fox at Company 3/Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, supervised by Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, with the 4K scans were done at EFilm.”

The release will include the 1979 Theatrical Version (with the 1999 audio commentary by Ridley Scott) and the 2003 Director’s Cut (with the 2003 commentary by Scott and members of the cast and crew), both the composer’s original isolated score and the final theatrical isolated score in Dolby Digital 4.1, and deleted scenes. (And we believe that all of that will be on the actual 4K disc, but we’re checking to confirm.) [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve some interesting release news today, starting with a little heads-up: Sources say that the long-anticipated official announcement of Ridley Scott’s Alien on 4K Ultra HD is happening very soon. So be sure to watch for that. We’ll have all the details here as soon as they’re official.

In other 4K announcement news, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down official for release on the format on 5/7.

It will include both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film newly remastered in 4K from the original camera negative and featuring an HDR grade approved by Scott. Both will also feature a new Dolby Atmos sound mix. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, Disney has just officially announced the Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD release of Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns on 3/19, with their Digital 4K and Movies Anywhere release set for a week earlier on 3/12. There will apparently also be a “Digital Bundle” of the film with the original 1964 Mary Poppins (we don’t know what resolution that original film will be). Audio on the Blu-rays will be English 7.1 DTS-HD MA. Assume standard HDR10 at least on the physical 4K (the digital 4K may offer Dolby Vision).

In terms of extras, the Blu-rays will include the deleted song The Anthropomorphic Zoo, the 4-part The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns documentary (includes Introduction, (Underneath the) Lovely London Sky, Can You Imagine That?, and Nowhere to Go But Up), the 4-part Seeing Things From a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns documentary (includes Trip a Little Light Fantastic, The Royal Doulton Music Hall/A Cover Is Not the Book, Turning Turtle, and Can You Imagine That?), Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns, Practically Perfect Bloopers, 3 deleted scenes (Leaving Topsy’s and Trip a Little Light Fantastic), and a Sing-Along Mode. The Digital version only will also feature exclusive audio commentary by director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.

You can see the cover artwork at left and also below. [Read on here...]

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There’s some new release news to report today, and then we’re going to return to the topic of physical media in the wake of the news about Samsung on Friday.

But first, late on Friday afternoon, Criterion announced their May Blu-ray release slate, which is set to include William Wyler’s The Heiress (Cat #974 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/7, an updating of David Mamet’s House of Games (Cat #399 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (Cat #975 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/14, Claire Denis’ Let the Sunshine In (Cat #976 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/21, and Agnès Varda’s One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (Cat #978 – Blu-ray and DVD) and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (Cat #977 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/28. We’ve updated our Criterion Spines Project page here at The Bits to include these titles and you can read more about them here.

Speaking of Criterion, we also learned on Friday that the Russian film studio Mosfilm has completed a new 2K restoration of Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic 1966-67 film adaptation of War and Peace. The 7-hour/4-part series is legendary in cinema history as the biggest production ever mounted, besting even David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia by having an essentially unlimited budget, a bottomless supply of props and costumes from the country’s state museums, and a cast of thousands. The film was shot on Russian Sovscope 70mm film stock, but unfortunately it’s suffered from preservation issues over the years. That’s meant the only good options available for viewing in recent years have been DVD versions of modest quality. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has officially set director James Wan’s Aquaman for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 3/26, with the Digital release expected on 3/5. Amazon and a couple of other retailers (including Zavvi and Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc) are currently listing a Blu-ray 3D SKU, but one wasn’t not mentioned in the studio’s official press release. So we’ll have to wait and see if it actually appears. US Retail exclusives including book packaging at Target, Steelbook packaging at Best Buy. Note that the 4K will feature Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio (the Blu-ray will also include Atmos).

Extras will include 12 featurettes (Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman, Becoming Aquaman, James Wan: World Builder, Aqua Tech, Atlantis Warfare, The Dark Depths of Black Manta, Heroines of Atlantis, Villainous Training, Kingdoms of the Seven Seas, Creating Undersea Creatures, A Match Made in Atlantis, and Scene Study Breakdowns) and an Exclusive Sneak Peek of Shazam!

Now then... before we get into more release news, we have some new Blu-ray reviews for you here at The Bits today. Tim has checked in with his thoughts on Severin Film’s All the Colors of Giallo and Dread Central Presents’ Dry Blood. Enjoy! [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, it’s not officially announced yet but we expect it to be at any time. At left you can see the official final cover artwork for Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on 4K Ultra HD. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon (see this link) and the street date is listed as 3/19 (SRP $38.99 but Amazon has it listed for just $22.95, which is a whopping 41% off). We don’t know yet what the HDR will be, but you can certainly expect Dolby Atmos audio. You can also bet that this film is going to look amazing in high dynamic range.

We don’t yet know if there will be a Blu-ray 3D release in the States, but stay tuned. We’ll post the official details as soon as they come in.

Before we continue, we’ve got three new Blu-ray reviews for you today, including Tim’s look at the Out of Time: Special Edition from MVD and All the Colors of the Dark (1972) from Severin Films. Dennis has also checked in with his thoughts on So Dark the Night (1946) from Arrow Academy. Enjoy! [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents
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