History, Legacy & Showmanship

Displaying items by tag: Michael Coate

Evening, folks. We’ve got a quick news update for you here today at the site.

But first, a new disc review: Tim has just posted his thoughts on William Lustig’s Vigilante (1982) on 4K Ultra HD from the good folks at Blue Underground. And it sounds like it’s a pretty terrific release if you like the film, which stars Robert Forster and Fred Williamson. Do check it out.

Also a reminder today: We posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate on Friday—a piece that was delayed from the very end of 2020 due to all of the site maintenance we’ve been doing over the past several weeks. This one is a look back at the early 70mm cut of The Empire Strikes Back, featuring a new roundtable discussion with historian and soundtrack producer Mike Matessino along with director Saul Pincus. We think you’ll really enjoy it, so do give that a look here if you missed it.

Now then... there’s not a lot of release news to report today, but we do have a few things worth mentioning. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Hey everyone! Well... another week is officially in the can and, as promised, I’ve got an update for you on some release news and whatnot.

First up, I wanted to alert you to a 4K Ultra HD deal: Amazon currently has Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite available in 4K for just $11.00 for a limited time only. So click here to order a copy if you’re interested.

Also today, we’ve got a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate—one that was delayed from the very end of 2020 due to all of the site maintenance we’ve been doing over the past several weeks. This one is a terrific look back at the early 70mm cut of The Empire Strikes Back, featuring a new roundtable discussion with historian and soundtrack producer Mike Matessino along with director Saul Pincus. We think you’ll really enjoy it, so do give that a look here.

Now then, in announcement news today, Severin Films has revealed that it’s working on a new 4K Ultra HD release of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre (1989) that’s due on 4/27. The title will also be released on Blu-ray and DVD. You can see the cover artwork for the 4K at left. Click here to pre-order on Amazon: 4K, Blu-ray, DVD.

But that’s not the only 4K catalog title we now know is coming from our retail sources... [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, this is our final Bits post of 2020. And it’ll be a quick one.

This has certainly been a difficult year for all of us here and no doubt it has been for all of you, our readers, as well. But a new year at least brings the hope that things can and will get better on Planet Earth going forward.

On a personal note, I’m pleased to say that—though it’s been a struggle—The Digital Bits is still here. We’ve made it through some difficult times, we’re still alive and ticking. And we intend to keep cracking on in 2021 and beyond.

I’ve also been working on a second science fiction novel, and hope to see my first actually published sometime in 2021—something I’ve had to put on the back-burner this past year in order to keep the site going. But the writing process has certainly been personally satisfying, and it’s kept me going in dark moments. That, plus having a telescope to look at the stars a few times a month, and of course great family and friends—even though we’ve only been able to see them from afar.

In any case, I know I speak for all of us here at the site when I say that we’re grateful to have each and every one of you as readers of The Digital Bits.

So with that, we’d like to wish you all a very happy and safe New Year! And together we’ll make 2021 a better time for all of us.

See you back here on Monday. Peace out!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook) 

Published in My Two Cents
Thursday, 31 December 2020 09:00

Empire @ 40: Remembering the Early 70MM Cut

“On my thirteenth viewing, which was the first time I saw it at a different theater than the one I’d gone to since opening day, I knew there were noticeable changes when the final scene began with different music.” — film music historian Mike Matessino

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present a continuation of our 40th anniversary coverage of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, the middle act of George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy and one of the most celebrated and beloved sequels of all time. Part One of our Empire 40th coverage appeared back in May.

George Lucas’s penchant for making revisions to his work is about as legendary as his movies. The majority of Lucas’s alterations have occurred years after his films’ original releases. With The Empire Strikes Back, however, the first (of several rounds of) revisions were actually made while the movie was in first release, and it is this lesser-known aspect of the otherwise very-well-known production that is the subject of this column. [Read on here...]

Afternoon, everyone and happy Cyber Monday. We hope you’ve all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, for those of you here in the States. And for everyone else, we hope you had a great weekend.

We were very busy here at The Bits over the weekend. I’ve completed our in-depth review of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy in 4K Ultra HD from Warner Bros. The disc streets tomorrow, but we’re hearing that supplies are a little short so it might take another few weeks for everyone who ordered to get their copies.

For those of you who want the short version, the set is fantastic. It includes all three films—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King—in both the Theatrical Cuts and Extended Editions on separate discs (the Extended Editions are split over two UHD discs, as they were on Blu-ray and DVD). There are no special features in the set beyond a Digital Copy code. However, the new 4K remasters are spectacular. Truly, these films have never looked better—not even during their original run in theaters. The 4K-remastered image falls a bit short of reference quality, but trust me when I say that they’re so much better than their previous Blu-ray versions that there’s just no comparison. And the new HDR color grade is breathtaking. Not to mention the sound—each film includes a new Dolby Atmos surround sound mix that absolutely IS reference quality. So I highly recommend that you all check out my review here. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Flintstones was the first animated sitcom in television history. They paved that gravel road and it’s been smooth traveling ever since.” — Steve Cox, author of Mining Bedrock: The Voices Behind Television’s First Animated Sitcom, The Flintstones

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 60th anniversary of the broadcast premiere of The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera’s animated series set in the Stone Age (but inspired by The Honeymooners and mid-20th Century suburban America) that introduced the world to Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Barney and Betty Rubble, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, Dino, Mr. Slate, The Great Gazoo, and a host of other memorable supporting characters.

The popular series (recently released on Blu-ray and reviewed here) originally ran in prime time on ABC from 1960 to 1966 and spawned numerous spin-offs, TV specials, movies and tie-in merchandise. It premiered 60 years ago this autumn, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with a trio of pop culture and animation historians who reflects on the series’ appeal six decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

We’ve got some interesting news to report today...

First though, our own Michael Coate has posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, featuring a look back at CBS’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show in honor of its 50th anniversary. Michael interviews historians Herbie J. Pilato and Vince Waldron on the popular TV series and its legacy. Enjoy!

Also today, we’ve posted the latest update of our Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links.

Before we get to announcements today, we’ve learned from our sources that Warner should be officially announcing the 4K Ultra HD release of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings sometime in the next two weeks, if all goes well with delivery of the 4K masters. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

The Mary Tyler Moore Show opened the floodgates for the kind of grown-up TV comedies that would thrive in the 1970s, and beyond. Although Mary’s show had little in common with M*A*S*H, All in the Family, or Barney Miller, it’s hard to imagine any of those breakthrough sitcoms getting a green light had The Mary Tyler Moore not proven to the TV networks that it was possible to attract a sizable audience to intelligent, risk-taking television shows — that good TV was, in fact, a viable business model.” — Vince Waldron, author of The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the broadcast premiere of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the Emmy-winning and multi-spinoff-inspiring television series starring Mary Tyler Moore (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ordinary People) as Mary Richards that ran on CBS from 1970 to 1977.

The series — created by James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News) and Allan Burns (A Little Romance, Just Between Friends) and featuring the memorable supporting cast of Edward Asner as Lou Grant, Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern, Gavin MacLeod as Murray Slaughter, Ted Knight as Ted Baxter, Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom, Georgia Engel as Georgette Franklin Baxter, and Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens — premiered 50 years ago, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with a pair of classic television historians who reflect on the series’ appeal, impact and legacy five decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

“It’s heartening to remember now, at a moment of sharp political divisions, how the whole world seemed to hold its collective breath when the three American astronauts were in mortal danger.” — Beverly Gray, author of Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon… and Beyond

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the silver anniversary of the release of Apollo 13, Ron Howard’s popular and award-winning docudrama about the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar expedition starring Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump) as astronaut Jim Lovell.

Apollo 13 — featuring Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Tremors) as Jack Swigert, Bill Paxton (Aliens, Twister) as Fred Haise, Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, CSI:NY) as Ken Mattingly, Ed Harris (The Right Stuff, The Abyss) as Gene Kranz, and Kathleen Quinlan (Twilight Zone: The Movie, Breakdown) as Marilyn Lovell — was released twenty-five years ago this summer. For the occasion The Bits features a package of statistics and box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context, along with passages from vintage film reviews, a reference/historical listing of the movie’s IMAX re-release presentations, and, finally, an interview segment with a film historian who reflects on the film two and a half decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

Psycho should be remembered as the gold standard of psychological horror thrillers because it respects the audience by paying as much attention to delivering memorable, relatable characters, smart dialogue, a gripping plot, and emotional punch as well as jump scares.” — Stephen Rebello, author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 60th anniversary of the release of Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s popular psychological horror film starring Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, owner-manager of the Bates Motel.

Psycho, which also starred Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, and Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, was released sixty years ago this month. For the occasion The Bits features a package of statistics and box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context, along with passages from vintage film reviews, a reference/historical listing of the movie’s major-market first-run presentations, and, finally, an interview segment with a film historian who reflects on the film six decades after its debut. [Read on here...]

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