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

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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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We’ve got a nice bit of official 4K news to start the new week: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing The Karate Kid on 4K in honor of the film’s 35th anniversary. Look for the disc to street on 4/16, following the film’s limited return to theaters across the US on 3/31 and 4/2.

The disc will feature the film remastered in native 4K from the original camera negative, along with a new Dolby Atmos audio mix (you will also get the original stereo and 5.1 mixes). In terms of extras, legacy content will include a “Blu-Pop” Pop-Up Track (with trivia, interviews, and more secrets from the film), audio commentary (with director John G. Avildsen, writer Robert Mark Kamen, and actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita), The Way of the Karate Kid multi-part featurette, 3 additional featurettes (Beyond the Form, East Meets West: A Composer’s Notebook, and Life of Bonsai) and the theatrical trailer (on the 4K disc). You’ll also get the all new Remembering The Karate Kid retrospective (featuring new interviews with Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Martin Kove – on the 4K disc).

Now then... a quick bit of regular site business: Tim has posted a trio of new Blu-ray reviews for you guys to enjoy today, including his thoughts on Hammer Films’ The Plague of the Zombies (1966) from Scream Factory and Horror Express (1972) from Arrow Video, as well as Dennis’ take on the Joseph H. Lewis/Columbia film My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) from Arrow Academy. Enjoy! [Read on here...]

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The big news today is that our friends at The Criterion Collection have officially announced the launch date for their forthcoming streaming service, The Criterion Channel. Look for it to debut on 4/8. And those who signed up to be Charter Subscribers can create their accounts today and start watching a new Movie of the Week series until the launch.

Not a day after we hinted at it in our daily column, Lionsgate has officially set Man on a Ledge for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on 4/9. Look for it to include both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite on 3/5, with the Digital release expected on 2/12. Extras will include deleted scenes and The Favourite: Unstitching the Costume Drama featurette.

Fox will also release the Melissa McCarthy drama Can You Ever Forgive Me? on DVD only on 2/19 with Digital due on 2/5. [Read on here...]

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We have more new announcements for you today...

First, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has set Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K on 3/12. The 4K release will include both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. Extras will audio commentary by the director and 5 featurettes (Welcome to London, End of the Ancients, Character Series, In the Air, and Film New Zealand).

Here’s an interesting item: Lionsgate has just set Otto Bathurst’s bombastic Robin Hood (2018) for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 2/19, with the Digital release due on 2/5. This will be the first physical 4K release to include both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. You’ll also get Dolby Atmos audio. Extras will include the 7-part Outlaws and Auteurs: Reshaping Robin Hood documentary, outtakes, and deleted scenes. [Read on here...]

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We’ve got a big release news update for you today, but first we have a couple new Blu-ray reviews for you...

First, Tim has taken a look at Scream Factory’s Steelbook re-issue of The Thing: Collector’s Edition. He’s also reviewed Scream’s new Urban Legend: Collector’s Edition. And we also have a Blu-ray review from Dennis of What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Enjoy!

Note that we’ve also posted this week’s update of the Release Dates and Artwork section featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. And we’ll be updating the 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits in the next day or so as well.

Now then... the big news today is that Criterion has just announced their planned April additions to the Collection, as follows. [Read on here...]

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