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page updated: 7/13/05

My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 7/4/05 - 6/10/05)

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Yeah, I know I said we weren't going to be back until tomorrow, but we've gotten a couple of pieces of DVD-related information that are just too good to sit on until then.

First of all, there's good news and bad news about the release of the weekend's Live 8 event on DVD. EMI has officially obtained the DVD release rights to the biggest ever live concert event, and they'll be releasing it on disc in November. That's the good news. The bad news, unfortunately, is that they plan to tailor each DVD release to the country they're releasing it in... meaning that the U.S. DVD will include more of the Philadelphia concert than anything else, the UK release will include more of the London concert than anything else, etc. Personally, as a music fan, I want EVERYTHING! EVERY performance from EVERY Live 8 concert, not just highlights selected by some record company marketing flak. There ought to be one mega-badass ultimate box set that you can buy to get it all. Then, if EMI wants to sell single or double-disc 'highlights' sets, great. I don't know about you, but watching Live 8 on VH1 and MTV was an unbelievably frustrating experience. You'd just get into a performance, and then they'd cut away to barely-out-of-their-teens VJs bantering inanely with each other or with people in the crowd thusly:

Young Hot Babe VJ: "So what brought you here to Live 8 in Philly today?"

Drunk Dude in Crowd: "Live 8 is awesome, man! Bon Jovi rocks! And like... Africa, man! It's all about the poverty! Wooooooooo!!"

Young Hot Babe VJ: "Right on! Okay, now here's thirty seconds of Elton John from earlier in London..."

Let's hope the DVD release makes a better showing. The Pink Floyd reunion at least was cool. However, speaking of reunions (that should have been), if I have to see Sting aggressively jamming old Police tunes again without Stewart and Andy behind him... grrrr.

The other news today... and this is GREAT news... comes from a recent BBC Radio 4 interview with Dirk Maggs, the producer of the new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series (the Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential phases). These new episodes continue the radio series from where the original Primary and Secondary phases left off back in the 1980s, dramatizing the books Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless. They feature most of the original voice cast (along with surprises like Douglas Adams himself playing Agrajag), and were broadcast in the UK earlier this year. For those who can't wait, the complete series is now available on stereo CD (click the images below to purchase the series on CD from FYI, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Collector's Edition contains the Primary and Secondary phases, along with Douglas Adams's Guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The other three CDs contain the new Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential phases, each with 20-40 minutes of material that wasn't broadcast in the UK.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Collector's EditionThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Tertiary PhaseThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Quandary PhaseThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Quintessential Phase

But the cool thing is, 5.1 mixes of all of these episodes were prepared as well. According to Maggs, they'll likely be released in high-resolution DVD-Audio format later in 2005. Can you imagine the complete Hitchhiker's Guide in 5.1 surround sound? Very cool! You can read more at the BBC Radio 4's official Hitchhiker's site, and at the website for Above the Title (the company that produced the new episodes).

Okay, that's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 7/1/05 - 3 PM PDT)

How about a fun little surprise to leave you with before we sign off for the long holiday weekend? From retail sources in Europe, we bring you a sneak peek at the cover artwork for both the 2-disc and 4-disc versions of Paramount's Titanic: Special Collector's Edition, tentatively due on 10/18. Keep in mind, this is early international art (note the Fox logo). The U.S. domestic release will be from Paramount, and the final cover art could (and probably will) differ. Here you go...

Titanic: Special Collector's Edition (2-disc & 4-disc)

Have a great weekend! Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/1/05 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Welcome to July, everyone! Happy Canada Day to all you North of the border Bits readers out there.

We've got a little bit of news for you this afternoon. First of all, 20th Century Fox has officially announced the DVD release of Fever Pitch on 9/13 (SRP $29.98). The DVD will include the film in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, 13 deleted scenes, a gag reel, the Love Triangle and Break the Curse Internet featurettes, the Fox Movie Channel Presents Making a Scene: Fever Pitch featurette and theatrical trailers.

Warner has announced a new TV release that some of you will be excited about. Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season will street on 10/11 (SRP $59.98). The 6-disc set will include all of the show's first season episodes in anamorphic widescreen video, plus extras TBA.

You'll also be excited to learn that Universal has revealed, on a couple of their new DVD releases (including the recent Casino: Special Edition), that The Dude will be back in high style later in 2005. The studio will debut a very long-awaited The Big Lebowski: Special Edition sometime later this year. I have it from reliable sources that the new edition will include featurette coverage of the recent Lebowski Fest West celebration here in L.A. (where I'm told a good time was had by all... including actor Jeff Bridges). By the way, you Bits-ers in the Louisville, KY area will be glad to know that the 4th Annual Lebowski Fest will be held there later this month (July 22nd-24th). There will be bowling, White Russians and what-have-you. How can you turn that down? Click on the links for all the details.

Consider this tidbit seriously Rumor Mill-worthy, but an Italian online DVD retailer has posted possible early details on a little of what you can expect from Lucasfilm and Fox's DVD release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in November. According to the site, look for the 2-disc set to include 2 behind-the-scenes featurettes/documentaries, 5 deleted scenes, a music video, theatrical trailers, 12 TV spots, a production photo gallery, DVD-ROM weblinks to an exclusive Star site, an Episode III videogame trailer and a playable Battlefront II game demo. We suspect there will also be audio commentary. Watch for official details to emerge soon from Lucasfilm, with an anticipated street date for the release of either 11/1 or 11/8.

Word has come in over the last few weeks of the passing of a number of entertainment figures we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge. These include Dana Elcar (of MacGyver and Baa Baa Black Sheep fame), Ed Bishop and Michael Billington (both of whom starred together in Gerry Anderson's 1969 series UFO), Paul Winchell (the voice of Tigger from the animated Winnie the Pooh) and others. All will be missed.

Around The Bits today, we have a great new Artist of the Month for you all to check out. Alison Relyea-Parr is an award-winning children's book illustrator who's well known back in my old stomping grounds of Madison, Wisconsin, having attended UW-M. I think you'll really be impressed and inspired by her artwork and her talent in general. Be sure to visit her artist page here at The Bits and her own website as well.

Finally today, we recommend that you all check out the Live 8 concert event that's going to be held all day tomorrow in 10 cities around the world. Organized by Bob Geldof, Bono and others to benefit African relief efforts, it will be carried live on both VH1 and MTV, as well as BBC One, Two and Three, plus it will be heard over broadcast and satellite radio, and you can even watch online at AOL Music. Simultaneous concerts will be held in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Philadelphia, Barrie, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Moscow. Dozens of leading bands and artists will participate, including U2, REM, Sting, Madonna, Coldplay, Keane and many more, including a number of great regional acts. The highlight is expected to be the long-awaited reunion of Pink Floyd - no kidding. It's for a great cause and it should be a lot of fun, so don't miss it. And be sure to sign the list to add your name to the chorus of voices demanding an end to poverty and suffering in Africa.

Okay, that's it for today. We'll be back on Tuesday with a number of new DVD reviews. We'll also have an update on our Comic-Con DVD Producers Panel as well.

Our best to all of you out there... and to our American readers, we wish you a great and safe Fourth of July holiday!

(LATE UPDATE - 6/30/05 - 5:45 PM PDT)

We're back as promised this afternoon with a new Classic Coming Attractions column from our own Barrie Maxwell. In this edition, Barrie runs down the latest classic DVD release announcements, and also reviews some 16 new and recent classic DVD releases, including Warner's Dark Victory, Mr. Skeffington, Humoresque, Possessed, The Damned Don't Cry, East of Eden, Rebel without a Cause and Tom Horn, 20th Century Fox's The Star, The Bravados and Warlock, Sony's Gun Fury and The Texican, MGM's The Cincinnati Kid and Hour of the Gun, and Paramount's Johnny Reno. In addition, Barrie's Classic Coming Attractions Database and Film Noir Listing have both been updated today. Enjoy!

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/30/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got a couple things for you here in the wee early hours of Thursday morning.

First of all, paint me surprised... but War of the Worlds does not, in fact, suck. Actually, it's pretty damn great. Matt and I (along with our wives, of course) caught a late screening of the new Steven Spielberg film yesterday, and we were both fairly well blown away.

Now... I say that as someone who's been very disappointed by Spielberg in the last few years, particularly in his attempts at science fiction. I really disliked both Minority Report and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, which I believe suffered from Spielberg's tendency to play at darker, edgier storytelling, yet be a little too cute with special effects and force happy endings. I also think Spielberg has a tendency (in recent years) to TELL you how you're supposed to feel during his films, rather than simply make you feel that way. So going into War of the Worlds, while I had very high expectations of the material, my expectations of the film's director were exceedingly low. Don't even get me started on Tom Cruise, faux-M.D., and all his recent Scientology mumbo jumbo. Hey man... I've suffered through Battlefield Earth on film AND in print. Cruise can say that psychiatry is pseudo science until he's blue in the face. I say, anyone who subscribes to a religion concocted by L. Ron Hubbard SHOULD have their head examined. Bit of trivia for you: Did you know Scientology teaches its followers that human beings (all of us, you and me) are possessed by the evil spirits of million-year-old aliens called Thetans? Aliens, as in from outer space? Pseudo science indeed. Cruise is perilously close to becoming Hollywood's new Brando-esque eccentric.

But I digress. Anyway, imagine my surprise to discover that War of the Worlds is genuinely dark, riviting and unsettling. Spielberg pulls few punches and he doesn't explain every twist and turn. He doesn't hold your hand and make you feel like everything will be all right. He scares you, he creeps you out, he shocks you a bit... and then he does it again. Only once, at the very end of the film, is he unable to resist getting a little sugary, giving you a concluding moment that's hard to believe is possible given what you've just seen. Thankfully, I'd enjoyed what I'd just seen so much that I was willing to let it slip. War of the Worlds is classic, 1950s Sci-Fi given serious treatment, infused with a modern thriller sensibility and just the right post-9/11 edge. Rather than presenting us an epic-scaled, ID4-style perspective, we see (and at times even more frighteningly DON'T see) the events strictly from the point of view of a largely dead-beat dad, who is desperately trying to save his two kids from something he doesn't understand (kids who, understandably, don't seem to like him very much at first). The result is a personal and viscerally disturbing assault on the senses. It had me gripping the arms of my theater seat until its final moments... despite the fact that, based on the source material, I already knew how it would ultimately end. Even Cruise delivers his best everyman performance - at least good enough to make me forget his recent rantings about Katie Holmes and antidepressants for 116 minutes. This may not be a complex film, but it's relentless and almost entirely uncompromising. Frankly, I didn't think Spielberg had a flick like this left in him. It's easily his best work since Saving Private Ryan. My grade: A-

Okay... we've got some of those reviews we promised you. Get this... our own Todd Doogan's checked in with a look at Image Entertainment's The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Seasons 1 & 2 on disc. Yes, THAT Todd Doogan. Did you forget who he was? Well, he's back and (maybe) to stay. He just celebrated a birthday too, so drop him an e-mail and tell him how much you've missed him.

Also this morning, we have a pair of new music DVD reviews from our MusicTAP crew. Matt's checked in with a look at The Nomi Song from Palm, and John Dunphy's posted his thoughts on Escape's Testament: Seen Between the Lines.

We'll be back with Barrie's latest edition of Classic Coming Attractions later this morning, featuring still more new DVD reviews.

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 6/29/05 - 4 PM PDT)

Okay... we've got a bunch of new announcements to run down, so here goes...

First of all, we've learned that all 14 films in Universal's Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (due on 10/4), will be digitally remastered. The set will be packaged in velvet slip-case, featuring a 36-page collectible book. It will also contain an exclusive bonus disc that contains "showcasing Hitchcock's films, career and legacy."

Universal will also release single-disc versions of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Cape Fear (1991) and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life on 8/23, It's All About Love on 9/13 (SRP $29.98), Satan's Little Helper on 10/4, Unleashed on 10/11, and a 3-movie Brat Pack Collection on 11/1 (including The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science).

One last title from Universal - look for Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures on 9/20 (SRP $19.99). The title will include A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, along with the never-before-seen Cracking Contraptions shorts and a sneak peek at the upcoming theatrical movie Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (due in theaters 9/30).

We've learned that Touchstone's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (due on 9/13) will include deleted scenes, a commentary track and a "making-of" featurette. We're guessing you can expect a more elaborate special edition at a later date. At least one would certainly hope. By the way, the film will street on UMD format on 9/13 as well (our UMD Movies for PSP Release List has been updated accordingly).

Disney will release Mindhunters on 9/20 (SRP $29.99).

Warner Bros. has announced The Adventures of Superman: The Complete First Season for release on 10/18 (SRP $39.98). The 5-disc set will include all 26 first-season episodes of the classic, 1950s series, which starred George Reeves. You'll find the cover art below.

Warner has also announced The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Second Season for release on 10/11. You can also expect the studio to release The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on 9/20.

New Line has announced a 2-disc Monster-in-Law: Platinum Series DVD for release on 8/30 (SRP $28.98).

Finally, look for Sony to release 3-Iron, Ace in the Hole, Battlefield Diaries, Cirque du Soleil: Midnight Sun, Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto Story, Gunslinger's Revenge, Nero, The Marksman, Last Frontier, Man in the Saddle, Santa Fe, Ten Wanted Men, The Lawless Street, The Longest Drive, The Stranger Wore a Gun and a double-feature DVD of The Boogeyman (1980) and The Return of the Boogeyman (1994), all on 9/20.

We've got a bit of new DVD cover art for you as well today. Here's Universal's To Kill a Mockingbird: Legacy Series (9/6) and Inside Deep Throat: NC-17 Version (9/20), and Warner's The Adventures of Superman: The Complete First Season...

To Kill a Mockingbird: Legacy SeriesInside Deep Throat (NC-17)The Adventures of Superman: Season One

We'll be back with some DVD reviews in a few hours. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/29/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We're back! I trust you all had a great weekend and are having a decent week thus far. Ours was fun, but exhausting (as it always tends to be when family and friends visit). There were long days, whirlwind tours, we ate too much good food, etc. You know the drill. Still, a good time was had by all (including Sarah and I), and that's what counts.

This will be one of several posts today, as we catch you all up on the latest DVD news. There were a couple of big things that happened while we were away, thus this initial early update.

First up, Microsoft (in a not so unexpected move) has officially taken sides in the HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc format war, joining forces with HD-DVD camp leader Toshiba. Microsoft and Toshiba have announced that the two companies will jointly develop HD-DVD hardware together. You can read more here from AP (via Yahoo). The announcement was made at a joint press conference in Tokyo by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida.

Also, in a bit of film news (and in case you haven't seen it yet), the teaser trailer for Peter Jackson's King Kong remake is now online in Quicktime format. It's pretty damn cool. The Universal film hits theaters in December.

Finally, our friends over at TVShowsonDVD have learned that Universal's Battlestar Galactica: Season 1 (which we mentioned here last week) will be a Best Buy exclusive title on DVD starting on 7/26. The set will SRP for $69.99 and will not be available from other retailers until 9/20, giving Best Buy a 2-month exclusive period. Wonder how much they paid Universal for that?

Okay, back later with more news and DVD reviews too. Stay tuned...


There's big DVD release news today. As we first posted in The Rumor Mill a couple weeks ago, Touchstone and Buena Vista have confirmed that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will street on 9/13 (SRP $29.99). We expect official word on the extras in the next few days. In the meantime, here's a look at the cover art...

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyAlien PlanetPretty Woman: 15th Anniversary Special Edition

As you can see, we've also posted cover art for the Discovery Channel's Alien Planet (due on 8/16 from Sony) and Touchstone's Pretty Woman: 15th Anniversary Special Edition (8/30).

Also today, we've got a trio of new music DVD reviews from Lindsay Planner of our MusicTAP affiliate, including Shout! Factory's Sex Pistols: The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, Epic's Manic Street Preachers: The Holy Bible - 10th Anniversary Edition and Slam Jamz' Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation - The First London Invasion Tour 1987.

And that's it for another week. Just to let you know, we're going to be dark on Monday and Tuesday (barring any major announcements that we'll try to check in with). Sarah and I are going to be visiting with family, so you know... analog life takes priority. But we'll be back on Wednesday morning with a brand new column from our own Barrie Maxwell and lots more.

So have a great weekend, thanks for your patience and we'll see you back here on Wednesday!


Hey... so that CNN story I mentioned yesterday afternoon? Yeah... they've changed it. Instead of:

Original text of CNN quake story

It now reads:

"ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Recent earthquake activity in California has prompted fresh speculation about "the big one" -- an enormous quake along California's West Coast."

Well played CNN... well played. I guess that means you California readers can rest easy. Just in case though, your copy of The Digital Bits: Insider's Guide to DVD can be used as a floatation device. See? We got yer back, baby. We got yer back.

Okay... on to business today. We've just posted a review of the indie horror film Ghost Lake on DVD, from Velocity Home Entertainment. It's a surprisingly decent little package on disc. Do check it out.

There's a big DVD announcement today: Universal has announced a 15-disc Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection for 10/4 (SRP $119.98). The set will include The Birds, Family Plot, Frenzy, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, Psycho, Rear Window, Rope, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Topaz, Torn Curtain, The Trouble with Harry and Vertigo, along with a bonus disc of special features (many of the movie discs will feature bonus material as well). We're waiting to see how many (if any) of these films will be remastered on DVD. Vertigo, for example, has been released previously on disc only in non-anamorphic widescreen. We'll let you know when we know.

Universal has also announced the Inside Deep Throat documentary for release on 9/20 (SRP $27.98). Video will be anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The film will be released in separate R and NC-17 versions. Extras will include The Binghamton Trial: Cliterally Speaking, Beverly Hills: Holly Gets Wood, Quincy House: Poison Ivy League, Princeton: Throat Deep in the Suburbs, Cut Throat: Where in the World is Bobby De Salvo?, Harry Reems' Athletic Club, The Tucson Trial: When Gerry Met Annie, The Zen of Deep Throat, Linda Does Hollywood, The Legends of Erotica: Remembering Linda, Fire Dance with Me, Women Against Pornography, Linda's Exit: What's the Big Deal? and The Last Word for Now featurettes, audio commentary with directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, and the theatrical trailer.

Also, Funimation and Gonzo will release the first DVD volume of the anime series Akira Kurosawa's Samurai 7 on 8/23 (SRP $29.98). A limited edition version will also be available (SRP $49.98) that will include a collector's library case (to hold the complete series on DVD) along with 4 storyboard books (for episodes 1-4).

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/22/05 - 5:30 PM PDT)

Well, I've got some good news for you fans of Star Trek: Enterprise today. Ever since it was announced that the series was finally going to be released on DVD by Paramount, I've been getting deluged by fans asking one question incessantly. It has to do with the third season episode, Harbinger, and it goes like this: Will the uncensored version of the episode appear on the DVD release, or will we get the censored version that was broadcast in most parts of the U.S.? For those who don't already know what this is about, the episode featured a short love scene in which a portion of a female character's bare butt is briefly scene on screen (the character in question was T'Pol). Canadian viewers and U.S. viewers in New York saw the original, uncensored version of the scene, but for the rest of the U.S., UPN altered the shot in question by digitally 'zooming' the image to crop out said buttocks. The episode originally aired on February 11th, 2004... just two weeks after CBS incurred the wrath of some audience members when singer Janet Jackson "accidentally" exposed a breast on live TV during her Superbowl halftime performance. UPN and CBS are (or were until the recent split) both Viacom subsidiaries. But fans of the series (and Vulcan bottoms) on DVD can rest easy... we've confirmed with Paramount that Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Third Season (due on 9/20) will include the original, unaltered version of the scene.

In other DVD news today, Lions Gate has announced the release of Crash for 9/6 (SRP $28.98). The film is absolutely a must-see (you can read my comments on it from a couple of weeks ago here).

Universal has announced The Best of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello: Volume 4 for release on 10/4 (SRP $26.98). This fourth and final set will include Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld, Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and The World of Abbott and Costello.

Also, Velocity Home Entertainment will release the documentary Born Into Brothels on 9/20 (SRP $29.99).

One last thing this afternoon - it has nothing to do with DVD, but I was just astonished when I saw it, so I'll be damned if I wasn't going to point it out to you guys. If it wasn't so shockingly irresponsible, it would be awfully funny. Check out this story at It posted in their 'Science & Space' section and written by someone named KC Wildmoon. Now... I don't know who KC Wildmoon is, but he or she apparently got their education in science by reading comic books and watching B-grade Sci-Fi flicks. Here's the first paragraph of the story, posted on the site in bold text:

"ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Earthquakes on the West Coast have prompted fresh speculation about "the big one" -- a quake that could dump a huge section of California into the sea."

Can any of you out there tell me what's wrong with that statement? Anyone?

"Um... it's not physically possible for California to fall into the sea, is it?"


The idea that any part of California is going to break off and fall into the Pacific Ocean due to a major earthquake is a completely absurd urban legend - rather like people saying that we never walked on the Moon. Sure, it was cool in Superman: The Movie and NBC's 10.5 (okay... NOTHING about 10.5 was cool), but it's just a bunch of rubbish. I'd like to personally recommend a little reading from the U.S. Geological Survey for Mr. or Ms. KC Wildmoon. This person has NO damn business writing about science related issues for ANY publication other than the National Inquirer, I'll tell you that much. Of all the irresponsible things to post on a major news website! How many people at CNN do you suppose looked at this story at least once before it was posted... and COMPLETELY missed this glaring falsehood?


By the way, if there are ANY of you out there who actually believe we never walked on the Moon, don't even bother e-mailing me. Seriously, there's enough blood coming out of my ears as it is for me to have to debunk THAT load of bull too.

Now then, we'll be back late tonight (for Thursday's post) with new DVD reviews, including a number by Bits columnist Barrie Maxwell.

See you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/22/05 - 10 AM PDT)

We'll be back later with more, but I wanted to check in with a quick update on a couple of things.

First of all, we expect Universal to FINALLY announce its Battlestar Galactica: Season One very soon. We're trying to get more information for you from the studio, but Best MAY have leaked the street date. The site has something listed in its database as Battlestar Galactica (Uk Version) set for a 7/26 release, although when you try to get more details on the title, the page no longer exists. It could just be an error, but the date is about the right time frame, given the debut of Season Two on SciFi on 7/15.

Also today, consider this Rumor Mill worthy, but we've heard from industry sources that Paramount has finally begun preparing their long-awaited DVD release of David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Season Two. There's a LOT of work involved, however, so don't expect it to hit store shelves until sometime next year.

Stay tuned...


Okay... server troubles be damned. Let's jump right back into the fire, shall we?

First of all today, we're pleased to announce that The Digital Bits is returning to San Diego Comic-Con next month with DVD Producers 2005! Our annual panel discussion has been a big hit in past years, and we're working to make this year's event no exception. The panel will be held on Thursday, July 14th from Noon to 1:30 PM PDT, in room 6CDEF of the San Diego Convention Center. Todd and I will moderate the event, as always, and our panelists will include DVD producers Charles de Lauzirika (Alien Quadrilogy, Spider-Man 2, Kingdom of Heaven, Domino), JM Kenny (Midnight Cowboy: 35th Anniversary Edition, Stealth, An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder, Mallrats 10th Anniversary Edition) and Robert Meyer Burnett (X-Men 1.5, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Superman and director of Free Enterprise), who may offer previews their forthcoming DVD releases. We expect to announce additional panelists here at The Bits in the next few weeks. We're going to have audience Q&A with the panelists, so be sure to bring all your DVD-related questions. We're also going to be giving away a DVD player and a number of great special edition discs after the discussion. It's going to be a lot of fun, so we hope you can make plans to join us!

Now then... time for some new DVD announcements. Universal has officially unveiled the DVD release of The Interpreter on 10/4 (SRP $29.98). Separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions will be available, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras on each will include audio commentary with director Sydney Pollack, an alternate ending, deleted scenes and 4 featurettes (Sydney Pollack at Work: From Concept to Cutting Room, Interpreting Pan & Scan vs. Widescreen, The Ultimate Movie Set: The United Nations and A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters).

Also newly announced by Universal for 9/27 are an American Pie: 3-Movie Pie Pack (in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen - SRP $29.98) featuring American Pie, American Pie 2 and American Wedding, a Beethoven Pooch Pack (SRP $26.98), featuring Beethoven, Beethoven's 2nd, Beethoven's 3rd, Beethoven's 4th and Beethoven's 5th, a 2-pack of The Land Before Time Volume III: The Time of the Great Giving and The Land Before Time Volume IV: Journey Through the Mists (SRP $19.98) and the animated Seuss Celebration (SRP $26.98), featuring Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites, Dr. Seuss: The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss: Grinch Night, Dr. Seuss: The Hoober-Bloob Highway, Dr. Seuss: The Lorax and Dr. Seuss: Pontoffel Pock and His Magic Piano.

Warner has revealed a new slate of TV series "best of" compilation DVDs for 9/27, including Cheyenne: TV Favorites, Chico and the Man: TV Favorites, Dukes of Hazzard: TV Favorites, F Troop: TV Favorites and Maverick: TV Favorites. No doubt the studio is testing the waters with these releases, to gauge the popularity of some of these shows on disc. You can likely expect eventual complete season releases of the series that sell well.

Warner has also announced The Outsiders: The Complete Novel - Special Edition for 9/20 (SRP $26.99). The 2-disc set will include a new longer version of the film in anamorphic widescreen (with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio), featuring footage newly-restored by director Francis Ford Coppola himself. Some 22 minutes of footage has been added, including a new beginning and ending "more true to the book." Extras are expected to include 10 minutes of additional deleted scenes (available separately), a new introduction and audio commentary by Coppola, a new introduction and audio commentary by the actors (including Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Diane Lane), the Staying Gold and On Location with S.E. Hinton documentaries, 3 featurettes (The Outsiders on Location, NBC Today Show: Fresno Book to Film and Hollywood Close-Up: The Premiere at Lonestar-Fresno), a look at the casting of the film with never-before-seen screen test and audition footage, and the film's 1983 and 2005 theatrical trailers. You'll find the cover art below.

And Sony has revealed Faith of My Fathers, Walk on Water, a Major Dundee: Extended Cut and Married with Children: The Complete Fourth Season for release on 8/30.

In other news, we've just learned from writer/director John Harrison that Synapse Films is working on a DVD special edition of the "lost" 1978 horror classic, Effects, which was directed by Dusty Nelson (and which Harrison produced). The film features the talents of Joe Pilato, Tom Savini and many other George Romero alumni. This will mark Effects' first-ever release on ANY home video format. The DVD will include a new high definition transfer of the restored film, audio commentary by Nelson, Harrison and Pasquale Buba, Michael Felsher's hour-long After Effects documentary about independent filmmaking in Pittsburgh, a pair of first-time films by Nelson and Harrison (UBU and Beastie), the Time to Rofflerize spoof musical clip, a photo gallery and more. The DVD is tentatively set to street on 10/25, just in time for Halloween. La La Land Records will release the film's soundtrack on CD the same day. By the way, for you new readers, be sure to check out our 2002 interview with Harrison on Frank Herbert's Dune and our 2001 feature with Harrison and George Romero on Tales from the Darkside.

Also today, for you PSP fans, Anchor Bay has announced that they'll begin releasing movies on the UMD for PSP format on 8/23 (see story at Home Media Retailing). The company's first wave of titles will include Halloween, Evil Dead, Time Bandits, Blood the Last Vampire, Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll. Each will SRP for $19.98. Our UMD Movies for PSP Release List has been updated accordingly.

Around the Net this morning... Gamespot and DVD are reporting (based on a Nikkei Net story) that Sony and Toshiba may restart negotiations to head off the looming Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD format war. Similar talks fell apart last month when both sides took hard-line positions. Following shareholder meetings scheduled for the next week or so however, both companies will see a change of management which may allow for the possibility of a compromise to be reached (MAY being the operative word). Don't get your hopes up, but you can be sure that we'll keep you up to date on any developments.

Also this morning, our friends Michael Coate and Bill Kallay over at From Script to DVD have created a list of theaters showing the new Batman film in IMAX format. Be sure to check it out.

Here at The Bits today, we've updated some of the DVD format stats we track (above), including the CEA DVD Player Sales chart. 215,038 players were shipped to U.S. retailers in the week ending 5/20, with another 574,940 for the week ending 5/27. That takes the monthly total for May to 1,184,490. Add to that another 307,283 for the first week of June (ending 6/3), and the U.S. Format Total to Date now sits at a whopping 90,427,143 players!

We've kicked off FIVE new Contests today as well, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's The Jacket and Miss Congeniality 2, Universal's Casino: Anniversary Edition, Rykodisc's Spenser: The Movie Collection, Capital Entertainment's Bad Girls: The Complete First Season and Footballers Wive$: The Complete First Season... AND a Star Wars: Episode III soundtrack CD SIGNED BY COMPOSER JOHN WILLIAMS from Sony Classical! The contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Thursday, June 30th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

We'll leave you this morning with the cover art for Warner's The Outsiders: The Complete Novel - Special Edition, Fox's Millennium: The Complete Third Season (9/6) and final art for Disney's The Muppet Show: Season One - Special Edition (8/9)...

The Outsiders: The Complete Novel - Special EditionMillennium: The Complete Third SeasonThe Muppet Show: Season One

Stay tuned!


No... the staff of The Digital Bits hasn't gone AWOL, been trampled by stampeding elephants OR abducted by aliens. However, you're probably wondering what's been up the last few days, as we missed our regular posts Friday and today, and our domain names were acting a little strange over the weekend.

The cause of these issues is that we've moved to a new server - one that should be a little faster for you, and that will serve our needs better. Of course, the transfer wasn't entirely glitch free, in that we haven't been able to log in to post updates until now. Thankfully, however, these wrinkles have been ironed out, and we're back to smooth operation around here. We'll return in the morning to catch you all up on the DVD news of the last few days, and hopefully post some long-overdue reviews as well.

Thanks for your patience in the meantime, and we'll see you tomorrow. Best 'til then!


Afternoon, folks. Hope your Thursday's treating you all well.

Matt, Sarah and I took a little time out yesterday to catch a late matinee of Christopher Nolan's new Batman Begins. We all enjoyed the film. It's significantly better than I was expecting, definitely an improvement on the previous live-action films. The film is dark and atmospheric, and I particularly liked the build up of the Bruce Wayne character. You see how he becomes the Dark Knight, and it's entirely believable. As all the pieces of his character fall into place, you're never asked to make a leap of logic that isn't easy to make. Christian Bale is quite good as the title character, while Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are welcome indeed as Alfred and a Wayne Enterprises scientist. It's great to see Gary Oldman playing a good guy for a change. I really liked him as Police Sergeant Gordon (it's nice to know that as the franchise continues, we'll see Gordon move up in the ranks). Even Liam Neeson and Rutger Hauer contribute admirably to the film. Better still, the mood, look and production design is pitch perfect.

Batman Begins, however, is nowhere near perfect. For one thing, it could easily be trimmed by 15 or 20 minutes and you'd never miss them. The major bit of miscasting is Katie Holmes, who brings nothing unique to her role. And as good as the first half of the film is, it gets a little bit too paint-by-numbers in the second half. The build-up here gives this Batman its own unique style, but the action later is pretty pedestrian. There's also a bit of a twist in the last act that's entirely too predictable. Still, Scarecrow is nicely creepy and the final act does set up the potential emergence of a number of the signature villains in future sequels, including (in a nifty little touch) The Joker. That, I think, will be the real test for this remodeled franchise. Okay, I buy the new Batman. The character works, and Bale is more than capable of filling out the cowl and cape. But how in the hell will the filmmakers make me forget Jack Nicholson as Joker? I'll give them credit though... they're doing pretty damn good with Gotham so far. I'm certainly willing to take another ride in the Tumbler to see what's around the next corner. I'll give this film a solid B.

Okay... on to DVD news today. We have official details for you on HBO's updated From the Earth to the Moon: The Signature Edition (due 9/20 - SRP $99.98). The 5-disc set will include all 10 episodes in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio. The extras look to be mostly the same as what was available on the original DVD release (although some of contents that were previously ROM based MAY now be available on the set-top side). The extras will include the HBO First Look behind-the-scenes featurette, a special effects featurette, information on Famous Astronomers, History of the Moon and The Space Race timelines, video of President Kennedy's historic speech to Congress on May 25, 1961, an interactive tour of the solar system and other space phenomena, promotional trailers for the mini-series and more. There MAY be a bit of new material as well - we should know more soon.

Here's the cover art for that, along with Warner and the BBC's Michael Palin: Himalaya (7/19) and Sony's now shorter The Blue and the Gray: Recut (7/26)...

From the Earth to the Moon: The Signature EditionMichael Palin: HimalayaThe Blue and the Gray Recut

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/15/05 - 3:30 PM PDT)

Some good news for you horror fans has just arrived - Warner's announced today a 5-disc Val Lewton Horror Collection box set for release on 10/4 (SRP $59.92). The box set will contain 9 classic films, including The Cat People/Curse of the Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie/Body Snatcher, Isle of the Dead/Bedlam, The Leopard Man/The Ghost Ship and The Seventh Victim. Of these 5 discs, The Cat People/Curse of the Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie/Body Snatcher and Isle of the Dead/Bedlam will also be available separately (for $19.97 each). The rest of the films will be exclusive to the box set. Extras will include audio commentary with Greg Mank and Simone Simon on Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, commentary with Kim Newman and Steve Jones on I Walked With a Zombie, commentary with Steve Haberman and Robert Wise on The Body Snatcher, commentary with Tom Weaver on Bedlam and commentary with Steve Haberman on The Seventh Victim, along with the Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy documentary (on the life and films of the famous RKO Radio Pictures producer - the documentary is exclusive to the box set) and theatrical trailers.

Also coming on 10/4 from Warner are Demon Seed, Dracula A.D. 1972, Night of the Lepus, Private Parts and A Stranger Is Watching.

On the TV DVD front, Warner has announced the release of Smallville: The Complete Fourth Season for 9/13 (SRP $59.98). Video will be anamorphic widescreen, with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. Extras will include unaired scenes, audio commentary on 3 episodes by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and members of the cast and 2 featurettes (Being Lois Lane and Behind Closed Doors: Inside the Writers Room - The Process of Writing an Episode).

Also in TV DVD news, Universal has announced Las Vegas: Season Two for release on 9/13 (SRP $59.98). The 3-disc set will include 24 episodes (in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio) featuring footage "too hot for network TV", along with gag reels from seasons 1 & 2 and the VIP-Only Access featurette.

Here's cover art for the above-mentioned The Val Lewton Horror Collection, The Cat People/Curse of the Cat People and Smallville: The Complete Fourth Season...

The Val Lewton Horror CollectionThe Cat People/Curse of the Cat PeopleSmallville: The Complete Fourth Season

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/15/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got a bit of news that's going to make you Chris Carter fans happy this morning. 20th Century Fox has just officially announced the DVD release of Millennium: The Complete Third Season for 9/3 (SRP $59.98). The 6-disc set will include all the episodes of the series' final season in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio. Extras will include audio commentary on The Innocents by Lance Henrickson and Klea Scott, audio commentary on Collateral Damage by Tom Wright, The X-Files' Millennium episode (which featured the character of Frank Black), and the End Game: The Making of Millennium: Season 3 and Between the Lines featurettes.

Also coming from Fox on 9/13 is The Pretender: Season Two.

Also today comes word that a distributor called has accquired the U.S. release rights to the Eraserhead and The Short Films of David Lynch DVDs that had previously been exclusive to Both DVDs will now be available in a single package box set, which will include all of the extras that were on the original discs. The new box set is currently slated to street on 7/5 for an SRP of $75.86. It's about damn time these films got wide distribution on DVD!

Just FYI, around the site this morning, we've updated a number of the DVD format stats we track (above).

We'll have another update later today, but we'll leave you for now with a look at more upcoming DVD cover artwork. Here's Anchor Bay's The Greatest American Hero: Season 3 (8/2), Miramax's Chicago: The Razzle-Dazzle Edition - Collector's Series (9/13), temp art for Universal's The Bela Lugosi Collection and The Hammer Horror Collection (both 9/6), and Disney's forthcoming Studio Ghibli animated titles, My Neighbors the Yamadas and Pom Poko (both 8/16)...

The Greatest American Hero: Season 3Chicago: The Razzle-Dazzle Edition - Collector's SeriesThe Bela Lugosi Collection

The Hammer Horror CollectionMy Neighbors the YamadasPom Poko

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 6/14/05 - NOON PDT)

Wouldn't you know it? No sooner do I finally get to catch a few hours of shut-eye, Universal goes and pulls The Return of the Pink Panther after all. The title was still listed in the studio's release schedule (for 7/26) as of last night, and it seemed that it was going to stay there. But a day after I go and post the artwork and confirmation of the 7/26 date, it's now been yanked (as we originally suspect it would be), no doubt to reappear again in early 2006 when MGM relaunches their own recently-delayed Pink Panther promotion. Hey Uni... you guys might send a fella an e-mail next time, huh?

Oh, it doesn't end there. I mentioned that CNN/Money story about Wal-Mart no longer carrying VHS tapes in 2006 yesterday as well, and today the company goes and denies the report (which apparently originated from The Hollywood Reporter. Doh!

Must be Bizarro Tuesday. I never could get the hang of Bizarro Tuesdays.

(EARLY UPDATE - 6/14/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We're back in the wee early hours of the morning with those DVD reviews I promised yesterday, including my own thoughts on Criterion's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: 2-Disc Special Edition, Universal's Baa Baa Black Sheep: Volume 1, Paramount's Coach Carter and A&E's Danger Mouse: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2. All are now available save Coach Carter, which streets on 6/21. We should have more DVD reviews for you in the next day or two, including Velocity's Ghost Lake and a trio of exclusive Gerry Anderson-themed titles.

On the DVD news front this morning, Warner has officially announced their animated Polar Express for 11/22 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (a full frame version will also be available) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the never-before-seen Smokey and Steamer song, 5 featurettes (including You Look Familiar: The Many Polar Faces of Tom Hanks, A Genuine Ticket to Ride, True Inspirations: An Author's Adventure, Behind the Scenes of Believe and Meet the Snow Angels: The Moviemakers' Christmas Memories), video of a Josh Groban performance of Believe at the Greek Theatre, a Polar Express Challenge game, a playable THQ PC game demo (DVD-ROM) and the film's theatrical trailer. You'll find the cover art below.

We've confirmed that Universal will still release The Return of the Pink Panther on 7/26 as expected, despite the recently-announced delay of those MGM Pink Panther titles that had been set to street the same day.

We've also learned that Universal's To Kill a Mockingbird: Special Edition (9/6) will be a "Legacy Series" release, and that it will include a replica of the film's script, complete with original notes from star Gregory Peck.

In other news, 20th Century Fox has announced more titles for release on 9/6, including The House on Haunted Hill (1958), The Innocents, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Satisfaction, Sherlock Holmes: Prelude to Murder (1946), Somewhere in the Night, Terror by Night (1946), Whirlpool, Almost You, The Chase (1994), House on 92nd Street, Goosebumps: Chillogy, Goosebumps: Scary House and Goosebumps: The Ghost Next Door.

By the way, Fox has also officially announced a pair of titles we revealed in The Rumor Mill the other day - The Fly: Special Edition and The Fly II: Special Edition. Look for those on 9/27.

New Line has announced some new titles too, including Campfire Tales, Nature of the Beast and The Hidden/The Hidden II double-feature disc. You'll find those in stores on 8/30.

HBO has revealed that they're preparing a newly-updated DVD box set of Tom Hanks' From the Earth to the Moon mini-series for release on 9/20 (SRP $99.98). The original box was one of HBO's first ever DVD releases, and it was presented in the series' full frame aspect ratio. For the new 5-disc set, you'll get all the episodes in anamorphic widescreen video, complete with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras will include a mix of new and old bonus material. We'll post the complete spec list when it's available. No doubt this updated set is connected to HBO's planned HD-DVD release of the mini-series due later in 2005 (and first announced back in January). Since the episodes had to be remastered in high-definition anamorphic widescreen for HD-DVD, why not reissue them in regular DVD anamorphic widescreen too?

Also today, Home Media Retailing is reporting that Warner is currently planning an All the President's Men: 30th Anniversary Edition for release in 2006. No doubt they're hoping to cash in on the recent revelation of the real identity of reporter Bob Woodward's infamous 'Deep Throat' source.

Finally this morning, if you just can't stop buying VHS tapes yet, you'll be shocked and saddened to hear that Wal-Mart is officially going to stop selling the things in 2006 (see this report at CNN/Money) to make more room on its store shelves for DVDs. It's about damned time, if you ask us.

By the way, for those of you who have been waiting patiently, we've announced the winners of last week's Contests here at The Bits.

We'll leave you this morning with more new cover art. Here's Warner's The Polar Express, Universal's The Return of the Pink Panther and Fox's Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation...

The Polar ExpressThe Return of the Pink PantherMr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

Stay tuned...


Good afternoon, everyone! I trust you all had a great weekend. I spent mine celebrating my wife Sarah's birthday (Happy B-Day, babe!) and taking in a helluva good movie... Paul Haggis's Crash. It's absolutely outstanding - probably the best film I've seen yet this year. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it yet. We also found time for a nice dinner with Mr. TAP himself, Matt Rowe, and his wife Debbie. Nothing like time spent with good friends, is there?

We've got a few reviews to post today, so we'll be back later with some of those. But first, I wanted to check in with some cool DVD release info, both official and unofficial, and some new Contests too.

First up, we've got some GREAT new information from our sources in The Rumor Mill today on planned street dates for a number of MAJOR upcomig releases. Think Kingdom of Heaven, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and House of Wax, and you're on the right track. We've also got information on Paramount's planned R1 Star Trek release slate through the end of 2005, and we have news on Universal's long awaited Battlestar Galactica: Season One as well. Don't miss it!

In other news, 20th Century Fox has announced the DVD release of Harry & Tonto and Career Girls for 9/6. Fox has also revealed that it will release the animated Robots on DVD and UMD (for PSP) on 9/20. Expect the DVD to be available in full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, each of which will include a new 4-minute, CGI short created just for the DVD release, an Xbox multiplayer racing game featuring characters from the film, interactive games, 3-D character biographies and The Copperbottom Show (the original pitch to studio executives). You'll find artwork for Robots below.

Also today, Sony has announced the DVD release of Crusader, Layer Cake: Special Edition, Good Times: The Complete Fifth Season, That's My Mama: The Complete First Season, That's My Mama: The Complete Second Season and What's Happening: The Complete Third Season, all for 8/23. Layer Cake and Snatch will also street on UMD for PSP on 8/23.

And from MGM on 8/23, look for Beauty Shop, Dust to Glory, A World Apart, Four Friends, I Love You, Don't Touch Me!, Inserts, Kissed, The Killing of Sister George, Vincent & Theo and Without You I'm Nothing.

By the way, our UMD for PSP Release List has been updated to reflect the new announcements.

Now for those new Contests. We've kicked off SIX today, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's Bette Davis Collection and Joan Crawford Collection, Universal's Jaws: 30th Anniversary Edition, Northern Exposure: The Complete Third Season and Rory O'Shea Was Here, Geneon's Appleseed, 20th Century Fox's Man on Fire: All-Access Collector's Edition and The Shield: Season Three, Capital Entertainment's Double Dare, and a super-sweet Sundance Channel Al Franken Show promotion including an Apple iPod Shuffle, the Sundance Channel's The First Amendment Project DVD, an Al Franken bobblehead, an Al Franken “Smells Funny” air freshener and a Sundance Channel tote bag! All of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, June 19th. By the way, the winners of our previous contests will be announced tomorrow - just FYI.

We'll leave you early this afternoon with more new DVD cover artwork. Here's Fox's Robots, along with Disney and Pixar's Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition (9/6) and Dimension's Scary Movie 3.5: Unrated Collector's Edition (9/20)...

RobotsToy Story: 10th Anniversary EditionScary Movie 3.5: Unrated Collector's Edition

Back with more later. Stay tuned...


Man, I take one day off and look what happens? A TON of big announcements. I've been feeling a little under the weather these last couple of days due to allergies, but no matter. Let's get you caught up, shall we?

Universal has checked in with word that they'll release The Ring Two, Ringu 2 and a 4-disc Ringu Anthology of Terror set on 8/23. Expect 3 different versions of The Ring Two - a full frame PG-13 version and anamorphic widescreen and full frame unrated versions (SRP $29.99 each). Ringu 2 will be available in an anamorphic widescreen unrated version (SRP $29.99). The 4-disc Ringu Anthology of Terror will include the original Ringu, Rasen, Ringu 2 and Ringu 0, all in anamorphic widescreen and featuring the original Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (with English, French and Spanish subtitles). There's no set SRP on the set. You'll find cover art for these titles below.

We're just starting with Universal - on 9/6, look for The Deer Hunter: Special Edition (SRP $26.98), a 2-disc set featuring anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, video of the acceptance of the Best Picture Award, the Anatomy of a Scene featurette, deleted and extended scenes, production notes and the film's original theatrical trailer.

Also on 9/6, you'll get The Sting: Special Edition (SRP $26.98), a 2-disc set featuring anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, The Art of The Sting retrospective documentary, the film's theatrical trailer and production notes.

Again on 9/6, Universal will street its To Kill a Mockingbird: Special Edition (SRP $26.98), also a 2-disc set featuring 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mono audio, DTS 5.1 audio (no kidding), audio commentary with director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan Pakula, the Fearful Symmetry "making of" documentary, the A Conversation with Gregory Peck featurette, video of Peck's Academy Award Best Actor acceptance speech, video of Peck receiving the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award, a video excerpt from an Academy tribute to Gregory Peck, the Scout Remembers featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. Very nice.

And for you horror film fans, Universal has slated The Bela Lugosi Collection and The Hammer Horror Collection for 9/6 as well.

The Bela Lugosi Collection (SRP $26.98), is a single-disc, DVD-18 release containing the Lugosi classics Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, The Invisible Ray, Black Friday and The Black Cat (1934) (all in the original full frame video and Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio) along with some of the films' theatrical trailers.

And The Hammer Horror Collection is a 2-disc (SRP $29.98) set containing Brides of Dracula, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Phantom of the Opera, Night Creatures, Paranoiac, Kiss of the Vampire, Nightmare and The Evil of Frankenstein (all in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio).

Now THAT is a nice little batch of titles for one studio to announce, wouldn't you say? Just to spice it up a little more, Universal has also announced the UMD/PSP titles American Pie, The Bourne Identity and Friday Night Lights for release on 8/30 (SRP $19.98 each). We've updated our UMD for PSP Release List accordingly.

In other DVD release news today, we have word that New Line's Monster-In-Law will street 8/30.

Buena Vista and Touchstone's A Lot Like Love is set for release on 8/23 (SRP $29.99).

Paramount has officially set 9/20 as the street date for their Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Three 7-disc set. Click here to see the cover art we posted a couple days ago (and just scroll down a bit).

Also, 20th Century Fox has officially added A Man Called Peter to its 9/6 slate. And if you're interested in details on a couple of additional special editions Fox is going to be releasing in September, you might want to check out The Rumor Mill today. Bring your fly-swatter...

Around the Net today, Newsfactor is reporting on the latest developments on the Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD front, specifically that a deal between the two groups is now unlikely, and that the Toshiba group is now preparing to launch their recordable HD-DVD discs.

Also, Gamasutra is reporting that Sony Computer Entertainment's Ken Kutaragi, the so-called "father of the PlayStation," is now saying that he's pessimistic that there will be any kind of Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD deal.

Closer to home, over at our MusicTAP affiliate site, Matt Rowe's posted an interview with long-time music industry PR man Bob Merlis. Those of you interested in the ins and outs of the music biz should find it fascinating.

George Bennett's also checked in over there with a review of Rhino's Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE on DVD. Many considered the album version of SMiLE one of the best releases of 2004, so be sure to check it out.

We'll leave you with some new cover art today. Here's Universal's The Ring Two, Ringu 2 and Ringu Anthology of Terror...

The Ring TwoRingu 2Ringu Anthology of Terror

Now then... I may check back in later this afternoon with some long-awaited DVD reviews. If not, I'll be sure to post them first thing on Monday. Have a great weekend!

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