Since the earliest days of American television, some programs thereon have become phenoms by lancing through public consciousness at the right time and place in popular culture.

You know the list – The Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle, was the first show to become “must see.” The same moniker could also be used for I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners or The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or even Saturday Night Live.

While these programs and a few shows like them, say All in the Family, breathed rarefied air, none caused a change in the public stratosphere like a comedy sketch show which started airing on NBC Monday nights in 1967, opposite The Lucy Show and Gunsmoke, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.

Now, to celebrate Laugh-In’s 50th Anniversary, Time Life Home Video has released Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series – including every episode from all six seasons along with exclusive new bonus features and a free DVD. That’s 140 episodes on 38 DVDs. [Read on here...]

All right, as I work to finish these hardware reviews we’ve some good things for you today here at the site...

First, Tim has posted three new disc reviews, including looks at Synapse Films’ Popcorn Steelbook Blu-ray, Scream Factory’s Slumber Party Massacre II/III Double Feature Blu-ray, and Shout! Factory’s new Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXVIII DVD set. All are worth a look, so do check them out.

Also today, our own Mario Boucher has turned in a new Inside Cinema report on Warner Bros’ recent Wonder Woman panel from the WonderCon 2017 convention here in Anaheim. Both producer Geoff Johns and director Patty Jenkins were on hand to discuss the making of the film and it sounds as if it’s shaping up nicely. The film arrives in theaters on 6/2. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

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…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, it looks like the site is finally up and working again, and it seems fairly stable. We’re continuing to make some tweaks to improve the performance, but it appears that things are starting getting back to normal here at The Bits at last. For the next couple of days, however, we’re going to keep the posts fairly simple just to make sure. So let’s have an release news update...

In new announcements today, Paramount Home Entertainment has just revealed that they’re releasing a new Juice: 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on 6/6.

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox with the street date TBA. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

Before we get started today, my review of Warner’s Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them in 4K Ultra HD went live last night, so be sure to check that out if you’re interested. It’s pretty good. It’s no Harry Potter, but the film has its charms and has real potential.

Also, our own Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. The section also now features the update to sort the titles by format, including by 4K Ultra HD. As always, anytime you order or pre-order literally anything at all through our Amazon links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it. [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 13:03

Here’s What’s Wrong with Movies...

I’ve figured out what’s wrong with movies.

This thesis prevailed on me as I went to see the 3-D Imax version of a new picture called The Great Wall. This picture opened to dismal reviews, but the previews had made it look righteous and the effects, I knew, would be fun, and they were and the whole experience wasn’t bad.

And on the way out, I was thinking of all these feckless movie reviewers who get published and why they would trash this movie. I thought to myself: “Why were they so hard on this movie? It’s just a fun “B” picture?”

And then I figured it out. They all are. 90% of what we see in the theaters are “B” pictures with “A” budgets.

Let’s discuss... [Read on here...]


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…]

Published in My Two Cents
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 14:30

Movie Begats and More

I’ve about decided that a full book could be written regarding just about every produced movie – Lord knows there’s always enough behind the scenes drama to fill a daytime soap. But I love it. Who was supposed to be in what? Who wrote the script? That stuff. The success of X movie produced Y.

OLIVE FILMS

And here’s a story about a Robert Redford motorcycle picture called Little Fauss and Big Halsey, recently released for the first time on home video by Olive Films.

Al Ruddy came to Hollywood in the early 60s and as a young pup sold what has become a classic sitcom called Hogan’s Heroes. Ruddy and Charles Eastman wrote the script for Little Fauss and sold it to Paramount with a then hot director named Sidney Furie (who was bankable because of The Ipcress File and The Naked Runner). Redford was brought on board in the process as was my friend and lifelong Ruddy partner Gray Frederickson. [Read on here...]

All right, we have two more Blu-ray Disc reviews for you this afternoon. Tim has checked out Theatre of Blood (1973) with Vincent Price, new on Blu-ray from Twilight Time. And Jim has looked at another new Twilight release in the form of Richard Marquand’s WWII spy thriller Eye of the Needle (1981). Both are pretty great releases and well worth a look if you’re interested.

In announcement news today, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has set The Girl on the Train for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on 1/17, with a Digital HD release due on 1/3. Bonus features will include audio commentary with director Tate Taylor, deleted and extended scenes, and 2 documentary featurettes (The Women Behind the Girl and On Board the Train).  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, in case you thought we missed posting content yesterday…

There was no Friday news post, but we did post no less than four Blu-ray reviews, including my detailed thoughts on Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray 3D format! The short of it is that the 3D presentation is pretty good, the J.J. Abrams commentary is pretty great, and the set definitely better than the original release. But I do wish that they’d create a truly comprehensive special edition look at the making of this film.  [Read on here…]

Published in My Two Cents
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