My Two Cents
Tuesday, 21 December 2021 15:55

New reviews, Fiddler on the Roof, Shooter in 4K & more release news, plus a modest Abyss update from Cameron & Matrix Resurrections hits tomorrow

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We’ve got more disc reviews for you today, along with another great film retrospective column, a bit more release news, and some news that... well, I’m not sure what to think of it. But you’ll understand what I mean in a minute. First, those disc reviews...

Tim has checked in over the last couple of days with no less than four new reviews, starting with his thoughts on Mei-Chun Chang’s Revenge of the Shogun Women (1982) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, a disc that includes both polarized 3D and anaglyph 3D presentations (as well 2D) thanks to our friends at The 3-D Film Archive. It’s a good disc and a rare 3D treat for those who love that format, so do give it a look.

Tim has also reviewed Arrow Video’s Giallo Essentials: Red Edition – Volume One and Yellow Edition – Volume Two, each of which includes three classics of the genre on Blu-ray.

And Tim has posted his thoughts on Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Stunt Rock (1978) on Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment (#8 in their Ozploitation Classics line-up) ad well. All are worth your time. [Read on here...]

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Also here at the site today, our own Michael Coate has turned in a new History Legacy & Showmanship column looking back at Norman Jewison’s musical classic Fiddler on the Roof (1971), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Michael’s column features a look back at the original roadshow release, as well as a Q&A with a great panel of experts including Greg Carson, Matthew Kennedy, Mike Matessino, Daniel Raim, and Alisa Solomon. Enjoy!

Now then, it appears (via listings from retail sources) that Paramount is getting ready to release Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter (2007) starring Mark Wahlberg on 4K Ultra HD on 3/15 in honor of the film’s 15th anniversary. Looks like there will be Steelbook packaging. We’re awaiting official details from the studio, but you can see the cover artwork above left.

Also, Lionsgate has made it official: They’re re-releasing La La Land on 4K Ultra HD as a Best Buy Steelbook exclusive on 2/8. It’s the same disc as before, just with new packaging, but you can see that below...

La La Land (Steelbook 4K Ultra HD)

And don’t forget: Arrow Video is releasing a trio of great international genre films on Blu-ray in January (from Japan, Italy, and Germany, respectively), including Yasuzo Masumura’s Red Angel and Mario Bava’s Shock on 1/18, and Michael Venus’ Sleep on 1/25.

Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron (Book)But here’s the biggie. And I almost hate to post this, because... well, as I said a moment ago, you’ll understand the second you read it: James Cameron has just given an interview with about his new book, Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, which is now available from Insight Editions (it came out on 12/14 and is available on Amazon via this link, or you can click on the book cover image on the right).

Some of you may already know where this is going. To their credit, was heads-up and asked about The Abyss, including whether there will a 4K release. And Cameron answered. Here’s the relevant section (the answers have been edited to get to the meat, but here’s a link to the original article where you can see the full context)... Abyss is often a neglected Cameron classic that was a pioneering film in so many ways. What can you tell us about concept art created for it and will there be a high-definition 4K transfer at some point?”

Cameron: “Yeah, we finished the transfer and I wanted to do it myself because Mikael [Salomon] did such a beautiful job with the cinematography on that film. It is truly, truly gorgeous cinematography. [...] So I just recently finished the high-def transfer a couple of months ago so presumably there’ll be Blu-rays and it will stream with a proper transfer from now on. I appreciate what you said about the film. It didn’t make much money in its day, but it does seem to be well-liked over time.”

Before anyone asks, I’ve already contacted Disney to see if I can get them to comment, or to get any information at all about this. I can’t guarantee that any information will be forthcoming from the studio, but rest assured that I’ll keep shaking the trees to find out what I can.

I still wouldn’t hold my breath for a new Blu-ray or 4K release. But at least we know that Cameron himself has (apparently) finally approved the new transfer. What happens next is up to Disney. Anyway, here’s another link to his new book on Amazon). And special thanks to Bits reader Mike P., who alerted me to the interview. (It’s appreciated, Mike!)

In other news today, don’t forget that Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections arrives in theaters and on HBO Max (in 4K) tomorrow. Early reviews from critics suggest that it’s an interesting film, and worthy of your time.

Finally today, one last reminder before the New Year: We are going to be doing a major upgrade of The Digital Bits website in 2022. It’s been almost a decade since our last significant overhaul here, and the realities of fast advancing technology in server hardware and software means that we’re long overdue for an update. But that’s going to cost money. And given the economic difficulties of the past couple of years (which have unfortunately crushed online advertising and Amazon affiliate sales income), we ask that if you believe in and appreciate the work we do here at The Bits, please consider making a donation to the site via PayPal (click here or the button below). This will help us to plan and complete our upgrade successfully in early 2022, which marks the 25th anniversary of The Digital Bits website. It’s really hard to believe that we’ve been at this now for a quarter century, but there it is: The Bits was launched all the way back in 1997, right at the very beginning of DVD, and we’ve been going strong ever since through thick and thin, multiple format wars, and the advent of Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, and Digital streaming. We certainly plan to keep on going here as long as you’ll have us (all the way to holograms and movies beamed straight into your brain if that’s what the future holds!), but we need your help to do it. Every donation (big or small) makes a difference and we appreciate it very much. And our thanks to every single one of you who have donated in the past, and to all those of you who support our work in other ways. We’re very grateful to have all of you as readers.

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That’s for now. Back in the next day or two with more. Stay tuned…

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