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Matt Rowe's MusicTAP

-Newsletter est. 4/15/97-
-Website est. 12/15/97-

page updated: 12/1/11

My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 11/10/11 - 10/5/11)

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Morning, folks! No, this isn't one of those Mayan Calendar prophecies or silly 11/11/11 = Doomsday deals. Nope - this is early word of "The End"... of a long-lived, disc-based format that we've all come to know and love over the years. But more on THAT in a minute...

First, we've got a new Blu-ray review for you this morning: The good Dr. Jahnke, finally recovered from the grueling ordeal that is Hell Plaza Oktoberfest, has checked in with a look at David Lynch's Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary Edition, now available on high-def disc from MGM. So enjoy!

Now then... back to that whole "The End" thing. There's little in the way of announcement news to report this morning, but we do have this bit of disc-related business, which comes by way of Dr. Jahnke and Matt...

It seems the online magazine Side-Line is among a number of publications reporting that all the major music industry labels are preparing to abandon the Compact Disc format by the end of 2012, in favor of download/streaming only releases via iTunes, Amazon and other digital music services. You know, I'm really not all that surprised. (Though I WILL be surprised if CDs disappear completely next year, given all the indie labels and distributors that still do well with the format.) Nor am I really all that bothered by it. I'm a big music fan, but it's been a while since I purchased an album on CD myself. Actually, what I've been doing lately instead is trying to track down 24-bit vinyl rips of a lot of my favorite albums, which sound FAR superior to regular CDs anyway. I find that, as I get older, when I spend my hard-earned money on music what I really want is high quality. MP3s simply do not cut it anymore for me. For example: When I purchased Peter Gabriel's recent New Blood album, I made sure to get the 24-bit, high-resolution version he offered online. And I'm damn glad I did. Now... I certainly recognize that I might be in a minority of all music consumers, but I'd bet there's still a LOT of guys like me and Matt out there, who have built up nice audio systems (related to home theatre viewing) and who have come to really appreciate high quality music presentation. In fact, Matt's recently become a vinyl hound, going to monthly LP shows to find copies of a lot of his old favorites. For a long time, I thought the whole vinyl resurgence thing was a joke. Then I heard the 45 RPM LP version of the Foo Fighters' Wasted Light. DAMN! It's so much better than the CD, there's almost no comparison. The only thing that captures that same level of sonic quality is a 24-bit digital presentation, not ripped from CD but created directly from the recording masters. So personally, I really don't have a problem kissing music CDs goodbye... as long as the labels FINALLY start offering their "download/stream only" releases with a lossless option.

Anyway, it's an interesting discussion topic if nothing else. Matt may have something to say on the subject of CDs vs vinyl vs lossless over the next couple days, so be sure to check out MusicTAP too.

All right, just a quick heads-up: I'm going to be occupied with important family business this weekend, so there will be no posts tomorrow or Monday. I just wanted to let you all know ahead of time. I'll resume regular our daily posts on Tuesday morning, so be sure to check back then. And I know that a number of you have e-mailed me over the past few days about various news and other issues, and I haven't had the chance to respond to everyone yet. Just know that I'm reading them all, and I'll try to get back to everyone next week.

In the meantime, I wish you all a great (if early) weekend! Stay tuned...


All right... first up today, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon (from books, DVDs and BDs to computers, tablets, BD players and more) after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it!

In announcement news today, Sony will release Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/20 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Extras will include the Midnight in Cannes featurette and a gallery of cast and crew photos. Matt Rowe says great things about this film, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Synapse Films has announced a super-cool exclusive for the first 500 fans to purchase their Intruder Blu-ray/DVD Combo directly from the Synapse store. It's a special edition DVD-R of the Intruder Workprint (aka Night Crew), mastered from director Scott Spiegel's own VHS copy. Act fast if you want it!

Lionsgate has set Margin Call for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/20.

Shout! Factory has set the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical Memphis for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/24.

Cinema Libre Studio has set Becoming Santa for release on DVD on 11/22.

And Image Entertainment has announced a number of new titles for release on Blu-ray in February. On 2/7, look for The Civil War: 150th Anniversary Collector's Edition, WWII: The Pacific Campaign, WWII: Atlantic Campaign, The World's Greatest Railroads, Route 66: Marathon Tour: Chicago to L.A., Arctic Mission: The Great Adventure, Mayday!: Season 3 and 4, Lindsey Buckingham with Special Guest Stevie Nicks: Live, Umphrey's McGee: Live and The Bravest. Following on 2/14 are Short Circuit/Short Circuit 2, Nude Nuns with Big Guns, 3-D Triple Feature: Dinosaurs Alive!/Wild Ocean/Mummies (IMAX) and All Things Fall Apart. Finally, on 2/28, watch for Beneath the Darkness.

Stay tuned...


All right, let's get you caught up on the latest announcement news...

Sony has announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release of Higher Ground on 1/10 (SRP $45.99). Extras will include commentary with Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard and Renn Hawkey, The Making of Higher Ground documentary, deleted scenes and footage of the L.A. Film Festival Q&A.

Sony has also set the updated Straw Dogs for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/20 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Rod Lurie and 4 featurettes (Courting Controversy: Remaking a Classic, The Dynamics of Power: The Ensemble, Inside the Siege: The Ultimate Showdown and Creating the Sumner House: The Production Design).

Sony will release Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/17 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99).

Universal has set Killer Elite for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/10.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has set I Don't Know How She Does It for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/3. This is the Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinear film. SRP is $39.99 and $29.98 respectively.

HBO Home Entertainment will release The Sunset Limited on both Blu-ray and DVD on 2/7 (SRP $24.99 and $19.97). The film is based on the Cormac McCarthy play of the same name.

Magnolia Home Entertainment has set the Sam Shepard western Blackthown for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/20. Magnolia will also release Point Blank on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/6.

Sony will release the documentary Life, Above All on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on 12/6 (SRP $45.99).

In TV news, Shout! Factory has announced that they've acquired the rights to Route 66, and will begin releasing the series on DVD soon. Also, Shout! has licensed classic material from the estate of comedian and actor Richard Pryor, and will begin releasing it in a "career-spanning archival CD/DVD box set" set for Summer 2012.

Also, don't forget that CBS and Paramount have set their Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level sampler disc for release on BD on 1/31.

Speaking of rights, FUNimation Entertainment has acquired the U.S. home video rights to Hellsing Ultimate OVA 8, in addition to the previously announced Hellsing Ultimate 1-7 OVAs. They'll release them on disc in 2012.

In other release news, Wolfe Video will release Kickoff on DVD on 1/17.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Twisted Sister: From the Bars to the Stars - Three Decades Live as a 5-DVD set on 11/8.

Table Ten Films is releasing The Green on DVD on 11/22.

Also, our industry sources are now telling us that Universal will release Steven Spielberg's Jaws on Blu-ray in time for Summer 2012, probably around May or June. Also, E.T. is likely to be a Fall 2012 title, released in time for Christmas.

Speaking of TV, our very own Jeff Kleist just noticed that episodes of The Wonder Years began appearing on Netflix over the last few weeks, suggesting that Fox may finally have cleared most of the music rights for home video use. There are apparently still a few missing tracks, but the vast majority of the songs are intact. Could the show be on the way to DVD as well? Possibly. We'll post updates when available.

Here's a look at the BD cover art for Sony's Straw Dogs, Justified: The Complete Second Season (due 1/3) and Disney's Real Steel (street date TBA)...

Straw Dogs (Blu-ray Disc)Justified: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Disc)Real Steel (Blu-ray Disc)

By the way, Justified? AWESOME series. If you haven't checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and give the first season a spin. While I'm on the subject, I also highly recommend Fringe, Dexter, Breaking Bad and BBC's Sherlock. You can't go wrong with any of them.

Stay tuned!


Hey guys - sorry for the lack of an update today. A couple things came up behind-the-scenes here at The Bits this morning - just crazy life stuff - that totally threw off our normal work schedule and ended up eating pretty much the whole day. I don't know, maybe it's connected to that crazy sunspot that's facing the Earth this week or the giant asteroid that flies by us tomorrow. (I jest, of course - though both things are actually happening.) Whatever, the mojo around here just got completely thrown for a loop today. So I just wanted to drop in here quickly and let you know that all is well (if busy!) and that we'll check back in tomorrow morning as normal with a complete news update. Thanks for your patience!

See you back here then. Peace out!


All right... hope all's well with you guys as we finish out another week.

Just in case you missed it when it went live last night, I encourage you all to check out Tim Salmons' look back at the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, with a movie by movie appreciation/DVD review and also his thoughts on the Never Sleep Again DVD documentary on the series. Enjoy!

Just a couple quick notes in news from around the Net today...

Canon has announced a brand new Digital SLR Camera that they're working on: an EOS-style single-lens reflex unit that - get this - can shoot 4K high-definition video at 24 frames per second! That could be very interesting in terms of its impact on filmmaking in general. More here at the Canon Rumors website, and thanks to Bits reader Scott M. for the heads-up.

Also today, Peter Jackson and his production crew working on The Hobbit have posted a new production blog video on the process of shooting the two new films in 5K resolution in 3D at a whopping 48 frames per second (normal film is 24 frames per second, while the human eye perceives information at the equivalent of roughly 60 fps). The result should be one of the most immersive and realistic film experiences yet produced. The blog is about 11 minutes long and it's well worth a look, as you get to see a lot of great behind-the-scenes material. Especially amusing is the chance to see conceptual artists Alan Lee and John Howe actually drawing concept art sketches in RED and BLUE colored pencils so that Jackson and the filmmakers can view them in anaglyph 3D. There's even a sample of their artwork that you can view in 3D if you have the proper RED/BLUE glasses! Fascinating. Don't miss it.

And on the subject of forthcoming Blu-ray releases: Retail sources in Scandinavia are informing us that Disney's Lady and the Tramp BD is due to street in the region on or around 3/3/2012. That means you can reasonably expect the U.S. release date to be sometime around then as well. We'll be sure to post official details when Disney announces them. Additional confirmation on this comes from our friend John Berge of Release in Norway, so thanks to him for that.

Finally today, here's something cool for you Bond fans: It's been officially announced that the title of Bond 23 (due in theatres next year on 11/9/2012) will be Skyfall. It will reportedly feature a stand-alone story. The film starts shooting on Monday. More here at Deadline Hollywood.

All right, we'll be back with lots more on Monday morning. Have a great weekend!


Afternoon, folks!

We're pleased today to present our own Tim Salmons' in-depth review of the Nightmare on Elm Street series on DVD! Tim's taken a good look at each film in the series on disc, and you can check out his thoughts here. Enjoy!

In other news today, this is just a quick FYI: Amazon's deal of the day today is the Superman Motion Picture Anthology on Blu-ray for a whopping 57% off. So be sure to take advantage of that great price if you're interested.

Also today, Eagle Rock is planning to release the Talking Heads: Chronology documentary on DVD on 11/21. There will be regular and deluxe editions (SRP $14.98 and $24.98). The deluxe edition will come with "a 48-page hard-cover book with photographs and an essay by the late Lester Bangs." Sounds pretty cool - I'm a big Heads fan. Extras will also include "a fascinating Byrne interview in 1978, a 35-minute 1979 documentary-styled British television show on the band and commentary from Byrne, Harrison, Frantz and Weymouth." Nice.

In other news today, Adult Swim and Warner have set Delocated! Season 1 & 2 for DVD release on 1/17/2012, in a 2-disc set that contains all 19 episodes plus extras. Note that Season 3 of the show starts airing shortly after the disc release.

Also, for those who care about such things: Freestyle Digital Media is planning to release the Sarah Palin: You Betcha! documentary on downloadable streaming on 11/8, on cable video-on-demand on 11/11, and on DVD sometime later in 2012 (street date TBA). Betcha plan accordingly.

Finally today, here's something pretty cool: Wired posted a report yesterday (as did Slashgear) about the unveiling of the world's largest auto-stereoscopic 3D display in Japan. It's a 200-inch, front projection display, though only features a viewing angle of 13 degrees - something that JVC and Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications are working hard to improve. (The goal is to get that up to 200 degrees. Note that lots of effort is apparently being focused on getting this kind of effect into flat-panel displays in Japan as well.) So while it's not ready for prime-time yet, I would bet money that auto-stereoscopic 3D will start to become common in TVs in 20 years or so. Sure hope there'll be a demo of this technology at CES in January, because I'm dying it see it for myself in person.

Stay tuned...


In announcement news today, 20th Century Fox has set In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/27. Extras will include a pair of featurettes, a writer's commentary and director's commentary by Uwe Boll.

Shout! Factory has set Roger Corman's Cult Classics: Lethal Ladies Collection, Volume 2 for DVD release on 1/24/12, including the films The Arena, Cover Girl Models and Fly Me.

Lionsgate has set Champions, Psychic Experiment, The Three Investigators & The Secret of Skeleton Island, Care Bears: Super Cuddly Collection and Clifford the Big Red Dog: Big, Big Collection for DVD release on 12/6. Following on 12/20 will be Warrior on Blu-ray and DVD, and Tales of an Ancient Empire and Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns: Season 4 on DVD only. Gotta admit, I'm actually really curious about the Three Investigators title. It's based on a series of books that I absolutely loved as a kid, and which I hear are still very popular in Germany to this day.

Also, Mondo Macabro has announced Don't Open Til Christmas for DVD release on 12/6. This is their latest Danger After Dark series title.

For all you Hugh Heffner fans, MPI has set The Girls Next Door: The Complete Collection for DVD release on 11/19.

And we've got a street date change on Music Box Films' The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition. Look for the Blu-ray and DVD versions on 12/6 now. (They were previously announced for release on 11/22.) Adjust your plans accordingly.

And this is potentially very cool: very briefly listed Disney's Lady and the Tramp on Blu-ray with a release date of 2/7/12. It's gone now but, if true, we would expect an official announcement soon. Thanks to Bits reader Bill M. for the heads-up.

In other news, Barnes & Noble is selling EVERY Criterion and Eclipse BD and DVD title in their inventory for 50% off through November 21st. So be sure to take advantage if you can!

Also, this is somewhat interesting: Ars Technica has taken a pretty good look at Hollywood's new UltraViolet DRM system, that in theory is a good idea and allows you to access your films across many formats and devices. The upshot seems to be that it works - sort of - but it's clumsy, a pain in the ass to use and isn't quite ready for prime time.

Here's a look at the BD cover art for Music Box's The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition, Fox's In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds and Shout's Roger Corman's Cult Classics: Lethal Ladies Collection, Volume 2 on DVD...

Roger Corman's Cult Classics: Lethal Ladies Collection, Volume 2 (DVD)The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition (Blu-ray Disc)In the Name of the King 2 (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!


Morning, folks! Welcome to November! Lotta things going on here today, so this will be a quick one...

First up, our own Russell Hammond has just updated the Release Dates & Artwork section as usual with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover scans and pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything your order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it!

In announcement news this morning, Warner Home Video has set The Town: Ultimate Collector's Edition for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack format on 2/7/2012 (SRP $49.99). Yes, this is the Ben Affleck film. From the press release, the set "takes you deep behind the scenes, and onto the streets and into the gritty history of Charlestown, Massachusetts. Added insights from director, writer and actor Ben Affleck will be contained in an all new feature length documentary that details his personal journey with the film, and with a never-before-seen alternate ending. Additional extras include a personal filmmaking journal with photos and notes, a detailed map of Charlestown, memorabilia from the set, and a personal letter from Affleck. Also included are film prop reproductions such as mug shots, employee files and FBI report." We'll have additional details and box artwork shortly.

HBO and Warner have set The Life & Times of Tim: The Complete Second Season for DVD release on 12/13 (SRP $29.98).

Shout! Factory has set G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero - Series 2, Season 1 for DVD release on 1/1/2012.

Severin Films has set Horror Express for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 11/29.

Also, Sony has announced that their Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection Blu-ray (due 12/20) will include UltraViolet digital copy versions of the films, as well as a pair of tickets to see the new Underworld: Awakening film in theatres.

And Anchor Bay has announced that they're releasing the unrated director's cut of Xavier Gen's The Divide in limited release in theatres on January 13th, 2012. The film was screened at SXSW and Fantasia 2011, but this version includes new footage. Initial cities will include New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Denver with more to be announced. Presumably, the studio will release the film on disc next year as well.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/31/11 - 3 PM PDT)

Well... thankfully, it turns out that Dr. Jahnke's just fine. We threw him a couple Band-Aids and a bucket of Halloween candy, and he has high hopes of recovering full use of his leg. No worries!

Meanwhile, we've got a couple more things for you today...

First, we've had the chance to ask a few questions of Dan Kenny, New Video's Marketing Director, about the upcoming Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-ray set. We've posted the Q&A here for all of you to read, along with comparative screenshots from both the new Blu-ray set and the old DVDs. I've had the chance to see the discs for myself, and I can tell you that I was very pleasantly surprised by the video and audio quality. To be sure, these episodes aren't going to look like actual native HD material on Blu-ray. So if you buy them - don't expect it. But they look and sound markedly superior to the original cable broadcasts and all the previous DVD releases, whether you have the last New Video/A&E release or either the original or Starburst ADV discs. For what is essentially a PAL up-conversion to HD, the video is really surprisingly good. It's soft as you'd expect, but color and contrast are impressive. There's also a bit more fine detail visible and the BD compression is greatly superior that of the previous DVDs. And the lossless audio is fantastic - truly you have never heard these episodes sounding so good. I'll have a full review of the box set later this week, but in the meantime be sure to check out what Dan has to say in response to some questions about how the set was mastered...

New Video's Dan Kenny on the Farscape BDs

In other news today, here's something interesting: Amazon now has Universal's Hop available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD. There's no street date listed, and the title still hasn't been officially announced, but we suspect you'll see it come out early next year, just in time for Easter viewing. Thanks to Bits reader Roy for the heads-up!

Speaking of Universal, the studio has just announced that they've begun production on the Universal Originals title Untitled Werewolf Thriller, which will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and streaming in time for Halloween 2012. Dare we hope they'll release the classic Universal Monsters titles on Blu-ray then too - Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc? Maybe. We've heard from sources that at least a couple of those titles have recently gotten a thorough HD remastering, so we'll see.

Have a great and safe Halloween evening, folks. Back tomorrow. BOO!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/31/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We come to it at last: The final review of the 2011 Hell Plaza Oktoberfest! Well... and Halloween. These things do tend to go hand in hand, as longtime Fest readers will no doubt already be aware.

Lest we keep you in further suspense, our very own Mad Doctor has just braved that greatest of all terrors on your behalf - the ZOMBIE! Which also happens to be the title of the film in question: Lucio Fulci's 1979 classic Zombie, just released this past week on 2-Disc Ultimate Edition Blu-ray from our fine friends over at Blue Underground! How can you possibly go wrong with vintage undead in high-definition? The answer, naturally, is that you can't. Unless of course it happens that you've mistaken your high-definition display for a 16x9-shaped open front window, which reveals a pack of zombies actually marching up the street to your door. We're pleased to report that Jahnke most certainly did NOT make that mistake again this year.

No, no... rest assured that Dr. Jahnke is, at this very moment, enjoying his well-earned spoils of war for having completed his fifth Hell Plaza Oktoberfest. In fact, would you believe he's already started working on NEXT year's Fest? It's true! Why, here he is now, deep in the subterranean bowels of Digital Bits HQ, carving his way through another stack of disc--

The good Dr. Jahnke, alive and well and celebrating another successful Hell Plaza Oktoberfest - 10/31/11!


Say... does anyone know how long it takes for a grown man to bleed out from a severed limb?

Ah, I'm sure he'll be fine. It's only a flesh wound. We don't call him "Doctor" for nothing. (Although we are a little suspicious - his diploma says he earned his doctorate at the University of North Alaska.) In any case, Adam could probably use some nice reader feedback right about now to help take his mind off things. So be sure to drop him an e-mail and tell him thanks for all his fine efforts on another great Hell Plaza Oktoberfest! We hope you all enjoyed it!

We'll check back in later. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!

(LATE UPDATE - 10/28/11 - 12:15 PM PDT)

Okay, just a couple last quick announcements today...

First, 20th Century Fox has officially set The Simpsons: Season 14 for release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 12/6. The sets will include deleted scenes, audio commentaries, never-before-seen footage and featurettes, sketch galleries, original animated menus, "a special language feature" and more. Here's a look at the packaging...

The Simpsons: Season 14 (DVD)The Simpsons: Season 14 (Blu-ray)Dolphin Tale (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included Blu-ray art for Warner's Dolphin Tale (due on 12/20).

Also, Shout! Factory and Hasbro have set the animated Conan the Adventurer: Season Two - Part 1 for DVD only release on 11/22. The set will include the first 13 episodes.

Back on Monday - stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/28/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Anyone watch the World Series last night? A pretty thrilling Game 6 played out in 11 innings, the result of which is that we've got a Game 7 tonight. Hold on to your hats - could be a thrilling finish!

We conclude our final full week of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with Dr. Jahnke's review of a classic: Mervyn LeRoy's 1956 The Bad Seed, now available in high-definition on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video. This is one of those oft-copied freaky tyke movies, but the original is still well worth your time. Just one review left folks! The BIG one - the Halloween title. Any guesses as to what it might be? Tune in at 12:01 AM Pacific on Monday morning to find out!

In announcement news today, you might have seen the cover art we posted yesterday: WHV is releasing Dr. Seuss's animated The Lorax on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD on 2/14/2012 (SRP $24.98 and $19.97).

Warner is also about to release Dolphin Tale on Blu-ray 3D/DVD Combo, Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD. We expect an official street date later today, but we would expect it to arrive in stores just in time for Christmas. Extras will include 5 featurettes (The Hutash Rainbow Bridge, At Home with Winter, Dolphin Tale: Spotlight on a Scene, Winter's Inspiration and Ormie and the Cookie Jar), along with deleted scenes and a gag reel.

One quick bit of follow-up on the whole Warner/Potter moratorium thing: WHV now says that the moratorium does NOT include digital/streaming copies of the film, nor does it include regions outside North America. Adjust your plans accordingly.

Finally this morning, here's something with interesting implications in the whole Netflix/"end of DVD" business: Ars Technica has a new story up on the latest estimates of which services consume the most peak Internet bandwidth. Just five months ago, Netflix video streaming gobbled up 29.7% of all North American peak download time. Apparently now, it's up to almost 33%. The company has only begun to grow internationally, but the question is how much larger can it become here in the States? Just wait until Net Metering kicks in...

All right, we'll chime in again later if there's anything really worthy of reporting. Otherwise, we'll see you in the wee early hours of Monday morning - Halloween, of course - for the final Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the season. We'll have all the usual news and whatnot as well. We've also got some new stuff coming for next week, including more new disc reviews.

By the way, there was supposed to be a new Fringe on tonight on Fox, but it's obviously going to be preempted by the World Series. Guess that means it will air next Friday instead. Just FYI.

Stay tuned...


All right, our good Doctor has checked in today with a hearty Oktoberfest review of a fantastic new documentary DVD that just hit stores from our friends over at CAV Distributing. It's none other than More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead, from the same fine filmmakers that brought you last year's Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy! Kids, if you like Dan O'Bannon's The Return of the Living Dead like we do here at The Bits, this one is not to be missed.

In announcement news today, Shout! Factory has set Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising for DVD only release on 12/6. This features the original 5-part miniseries edited together seamlessly as a movie. SRP is just $14.97.

Meanwhile, Anchor Bay has set Catch .44 (starring Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker and Malin Akerman) for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/20 (SRP $29.99 and $26.98).

Also, Breaking Glass Pictures is releasing the Without a Home documentary on DVD on 11/1 (SRP $24.99).

And here's something VERY cool: Kino Lorber is planning to release Redemption Films titles on Blu-ray and DVD starting in January 2012! Up to 35 films are included in their exclusive North American distribution deal. They'll apparently begin with some of The Cinema of Jean Rollin films, including such classics as The Nude Vampire, The Shiver of the Vampire, The Iron Rose, Lips of Blood and Fascination! All of the films will be mastered in HD from the original 35mm negatives. Official details aren't yet available, but expect the releases to include new interviews, deleted scenes, essays, behind-the-scenes footage and more. How to describe the late Jean Rollin? He's kind of like the French Stanley Kubrick of horror. In other words, pretty damn cool. Be sure to check out the official teaser website here. We'll post more details as soon as they emerge from the crypt. Awesome!

In other news today, some of you may recall that we reported a few months back that Universal was going to be releasing the Caprica: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc in France, but not here in the States. Well, that set has now streeted in France and there's both good news and bad news. Bits reader Adam W. reports that while the set is all region, it's encoded in interlaced video at 1080i/50 (with video of 50 fields or 25 frames per second, common in parts of Europe) whereas most North American BD players and TVs display interlaced HD video at 1080i/60 (60 fields or 30 frames per second). That means you need to make sure that your player and display are compatible with 1080i/50. Many BD players can either display it as is (to TVs and projectors that can handle it) or convert 1080i/50 to 1080i/60. But not all are compatible with it, so before you pre-order you need to check your hardware specs to be certain. Of course, all this would be much easier of Universal would just release the series on Blu-ray here in the States, but our sources tell us there's a bit of a dispute between Universal and SyFy as to the license fee for the series, so the whole thing got kaboshed here for the time being. Anyway, thanks again to Adam W. for the heads-up on this.

Also, one more important title alert: It looks as if there are major problems with MGM's new West Side Story Blu-ray Disc, due in stores on 11/15. Apparently, the mastering work was done by MGM on the cheap (and not Fox, which has gotten pretty good at it over the last year or two) and as a result there are issues. The studio is apparently going to be fixing these a "running production change", but the disc isn't going to be recalled so there could be lots of the screwed up copies out there on store shelves. Robert Harris had this to say about it over at Home Theater Forum, and Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has been talking about it too. When and if there's a way to identify fixed discs, we'll let you know. In the meantime, the moral of the story is: buyer beware.

We'll leave today you with a look at the cover art for the More Brains! DVD documentary (available now), as well as Warner's Dr. Seuss's The Lorax: Deluxe Edution (due on 2/14/2012) and Sony's Colombiana (due 12/20) on Blu-ray...

Underdog: Complete Collector's Edition (DVD)The Lorax: Deluxe Edution (Blu-ray)Colombiana (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/26/11 - 2 PM PDT)

All right, I've had the chance to talk this afternoon with Jeff Baker - the Executive VP and General Manager for Theatrical Catalog at Warner Home Video - about the newly-announced Harry Potter BD/DVD moratorium. Obviously, WHV expects that the peak consumer demand for these films is going to spike with the 11/11 BD and DVD release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and that it will continue through the holidays and the end of the year. The moratorium will start on 12/29, but even though all existing Blu-ray and DVD releases of the Potter films will no longer be shipped to retailers after that date, the studio still expects that enough existing inventory will remain to meet any lingering demand for the titles until well into 2012. It hasn't yet been decided exactly when the moratorium will end, but Baker told me that it shouldn't be longer then 12 to 18 months. So it could end in late 2012 or early 2013. At that point, all of the product that's already been released will return to stores, and the studio will release the much-anticipated Ultimate Collector's Editions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on Blu-ray and DVD. So those of you who have been collecting the UCEs can rest easy - you will get the last two films as UCE sets eventually as well. In addition, at that time Warner Home Video will also release additional, new Harry Potter Blu-ray and DVD product with substantial new features. (Baker wasn't ready to talk details on this obviously, but it will probably include some kind of new super-deluxe BD and DVD box set of all the films with newly-produced content, among other SKUs.) And of course, the idea will be to make the Harry Potter re-introduction a major "event" release for fans and retailers. [Update: I've also been informed that the moratorium does NOT include digital/VOD and it apparently only applies to the U.S. and Canada - all other regions are excluded.]

The upshot is, this moratorium isn't of the Disney variety (where films go away for 5-10 years at a time) and those of you who are buying the UCEs instead of the more basic movie editions CAN indeed expect UCEs of the final two films when the moratorium ends. So there you go. Hopefully, that answers the most pressing questions and alleviates any concerns.

That's all for now. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/26/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got a couple more new Blu-ray Disc reviews for you this morning...

We'll start with Dr. Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the day, which is none other than Jim Mickle's Stake Land, recently released on Blu-ray Disc by Dark Sky Films. Nothing like a little apocalyptic vampire horror to get your blood pumping.

Also today, Tim checks out a recent creepy classic on Blu-ray: Bong Joon-Ho's The Host, which is about as good a "monster terrorizing a city" flick as you're likely to see. Enjoy!

In announcement news this morning, CBS and Paramount have set Hawaii Five-O: The Final Season for DVD release on 1/10/2012.

Also, MTV and Paramount have set Jersey Shore: Season Four - Uncensored for DVD release on 12/27.

And in other news this morning, Fox News has a story up on how Netflix's financial earnings have fallen over the last year. Apparently, they've lost 800,000 subscribers in the last quarter alone. Naturally, the story goes on to speculate that this could signal the end of the DVD rental business. Never mind, of course, that virtually all of Netflix's woes this past year were self-inflicted. From the piece:

"The future is clearly streaming now -- it's only a matter of time before all disk-based media becomes obsolete," Rob Enderle, a leading technology analyst with The Enderle Group, told

Yeah, okay. Hang on a moment. A point of order: During the last format war, Rob Enderle oft predicted that HD-DVD would win and it was only a matter of time before Blu-ray went the way of Betamax. And perhaps that DID happen... in an alternate universe. Not so much in this one.

Now then... is the future of home video streaming? Probably, and it doesn't take an expert to predict that. But here's a cautionary on this whole death of the DVD rental business thing: DVD household penetration in the U.S. is over 95%. As of late 2010 (according to Nielsen), over 101 million households in this country had at least one DVD player. In August of 2007 - which is the last time hardware sales data was reported by the Consumer Electronics Association on the format - over 133 million DVD players had been sold into the U.S. market format to date, not counting game systems that offer DVD playback or DVD-ROM drives. That is a LOT of DVD players (meaning many households have more than one), and that's just in this country alone. Not to mention that, as of the Q2 2011, the Digital Entertainment Group was reporting nearly 32 million homes in the States had BD players too, which just so happen to also be awfully good DVD players. And have you noticed that Best Buy, Target and Walmart all still carry music CDs in their stores? Guess when that format first appeared. 1982. That's nearly 30 years ago. So is this the end of the DVD rental business? No. Is this the beginning of the end? Probably. But DVD - and physical media in general - is going to stick around a while yet. Let's put it this way: I'm betting there will still be plenty of discs on store shelves in 2021.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/25/11 - 3:30 PM PDT)

Just a quick follow-up post this afternoon...

Our own Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest in fashionable Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and their accompanying pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through our links goes to help support our efforts here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it.

Also today, a quick bit of announcement news...

Virgil Films and National Geographic have announced the 11/8 Blu-ray and DVD release of producer Ridley Scott and director Kevin Macdonald's Life in a Day documentary (SRP $29.99 and $19.99). It's compiled from more than 80,000 videos that users around the world shared via YouTube. Can't wait to see it personally. Extras will include footage from unused submissions, interviews with Joe Walker and Kevin Macdonald, and director's commentary and editor's commentary.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/25/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)

All right, how's about another early update?

First up this morning, we're pleased as punch to present Dr. Jahnke's next installment of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest: A Killer Double Feature DVD release of Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours from the good folks at Shout! Factory. Enjoy!

Also this morning, we've got Tim Salmon's review of a film that's about as far away from B-grade horror as you can get: Disney's Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray Disc. Have you ever seen an elephant fly? Enjoy that one too!

In announcement news this morning, Sony has set Don't Be Afraid of the Dark for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/3/2012 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Extras on the Blu-ray will include a trio of behind the scenes featurettes.

Here's one I'm excited for: Sony has also set Justified: Season Two for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/10/2012. Extras will include outtakes and a trio of featurettes (On the Set of Justified, Clans, Feuds & Apple Pie and the Talking Shop: Roundtable Discussion). That is SUCH a damn fine show - one of my favorites, along with Fringe, Dexter and Breaking Bad.

By the way, Sony has also announced The Legend of Billie Jean for release on DVD on 11/1.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set The Future and Needle for DVD only release on 11/29. Following on 1/3/2012 is Removal on DVD. And due on DVD on 1/10/2012 are Answer This!, Saving Private Perez and Bratz: Desert Jewelz. I know how many of you have been eagerly awaiting word on that Bratz title, so you're welcome.


Moving on, Image Entertainment has set Nick Di Paolo: Raw Nerve for DVD release on 12/13. Image has also set Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Legacy for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/6. And Image has Diary of a Single Mom due on DVD on 1/10/2012.

Back to Sony for a moment: Sony Pictures Classics is releasing David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method into theatres in New York and L.A. on 11/23, which means at least a DVD release (and hopefully a Blu-ray release too) is likely from Sony next year. The film stars Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen as feuding psychologists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Yeah, I'm in. Should be fascinating!

Finally this morning, a number of you have asked what the Harry Potter moratorium that WHV announced yesterday means with regard to the expected future Blu-ray and DVD release of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - Ultimate Collector's Edition sets. The answer is we don't know, but we do still believe they're coming in 2012 and we'll try to find out more for you.

Back with more later. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/24/11 - 3 PM PDT)

All right, we've got a couple of quick news and announcement updates for you this afternoon...

First of all, Warner Home Video has officially announced that they're placing Harry Potter on moratorium on 12/29. All DVDs, Blu-rays and box sets will stop shipping to retailers as of that date. That includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and the Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection. The reason? The studio is planning a massive Complete Harry Potter re-issue in late 2012, and is trying to pump up demand for it. As we reported on 10/3, the studio has revealed the following...

"Hard-core Potter fans will be pleased to know that 2011 is not the end of the Harry Potter film franchise on DVD and Blu-ray. Warner Home Video plans to release a comprehensive Harry Potter film collection, with even more extras and collectible premiums in 2012. More details about the collection will be available at a later date."

So there you go. If you're among those few who haven't already purchased Potter on BD or DVD, and you want to dive in sooner rather than later, act before 12/29 or put your plans on hold for a year.

Meanwhile, our friends at Shout! Factory have announced that an Underdog: Complete Collector's Edition DVD box set will be released in 1/24/2012. The 9-disc set (SRP $69.97) will include all 3 seasons - all 62, 4-part episodes - plus 2 bonus cartoons (Tooter the Turtle and The Hunter), alternate episode openings and closings, a retrospective featurette and audio commentaries on select episodes with writer/producer/co-creator W. Watts Biggers, voice actor George S. Irving, producer Treadwell Covington, animation historian Mark Arnold and more. Very cool!

Also today, Dimension Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment have officially set the thriller Apollo 18 for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD on 12/27 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include audio commentary with director Gonzalo López-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier, deleted and alternate scenes, alternate endings and more features to be confirmed.

Here's a look at the cover art for Shout!'s Underdog DVD, as well as the DVD and Blu-ray art for Apollo 18...

Underdog: Complete Collector's Edition (DVD)Apollo 18 (DVD)Apollo 18 (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/24/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)

All right, this is just a quick post to get the day started off early and right. So fill up yer coffee cups and muscle up to the screen...

I trust you all had a fine weekend - maybe saw some good movies, ate some good food. Heck, maybe you just caught up on your sleep. I know I did. I certainly can't complain about my weekend. I've lately been re-reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of novels and quite enjoying them. Sarah and I went to a weekend art fair on Saturday. And though the Vikings got beat by the Packers on Sunday, it looks like they finally have a good QB of the future. Hell, I even got to play with some really adorable kittens on Friday night. (Sarah donates her time taking adoption pictures for local animal rescue groups, thus she occasionally asks me "I have to go take picture of kittens. You want to come along?" knowing that I'm a sucker for such things.) So you know - all in all, not a bad weekend on this end. In any case, I hope the start of the new week finds you all happy and recharged. And if, on the other hand, you're already having one of those terrible, no good, awful-bad Mondays... may I recommend kittens? Trust me. It works.

Anyway, there's no real announcement news to report yet this morning, but the good Dr. Jahnke has kicked off the last full week of his Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a look at another great Criterion Blu-ray title - Erle C. Kenton's 1932 film adaptation of H.G. Wells' Island of Lost Souls. The title certainly shows its age a little bit, but it's a great film with a lot of excellent supplements - just as you'd expect from Criterion. What's more, they've done a fine job of remastering it in high-definition. Don't miss it.

Meanwhile, in news from around the Net, here's one of the more unusual film-related stories I saw over the weekend: It's seems there's a bit of a civil war going on among Muppeteers - enough so as to become a full story over on The Hollywood Reporter. The old guard doesn't think the new kids respect the characters enough or some such. Lotta ruffled felt... er, feelings. I don't know. I'm a fan of the original show and The Muppet Movie, and the trailers for the new film look pretty damn awesome to me. Considering that not much good has happened with The Muppets in like a decade, maybe these guys should actually see the movie before they decide? Ah well. I know what I'll be doing over Thanksgiving at least.

Back later with more. Stay tuned!


All right, Friday at last!

The good Dr. Jahnke closes out Week 3 of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest with a review of a fantastic Criterion title on Blu-ray that just so happens to be a pretty terrific and chilling Japanese ghost story too: Kaneto Shindo's Kuroneko. It's well worth your time and looks terrific in finely-textured B&W HD. Don't miss it.

In announcement news this afternoon, Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company have revealed the Blu-ray and DVD release of Our Idiot Brother on 11/29. Have to say, this was a better movie than I expected. It's worth a look if you think you might be interested. SRP is $39.99 and $29.98. Extras will include audio commentary with director Jesse Peretz, The Making of Our Idiot Brother featurette and deleted and extended scenes.

Also today, Image has set The River Why for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/8. They also have He's Mine, Not Yours are on DVD only on 12/6.

Here's something cool for you classic TV fans: eOne Entertainment has set It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series for DVD release on 11/15. Note that this is a street date change from the previously announced 10/25. The 18-disc set (SRP $199.98 - but 50% off at right now) will include all 66 original episodes of the 1960s Robert Wagner spy series, along with an extended, feature-length version of the pilot episode, 2 featurettes (The King of Thieves: Interview with Robert Wagner and A Matter of Larceny: Interview with Glen A. Larson), a limited-edition Senitype film frame, a 4-piece coaster set and a booklet with retrospective essay. Here's a look at the package...

It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series (DVD)

Also today, Shout! Factory has announced a DVD Action Double-Feature for release on 12/13 that includes John Frankenheimer's 44/100% Dead and Robert Mulligan's The Nickel Ride.

We'll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Fox's Mr. Popper's Penguins (due 12/6), Anchor Bay's Our Idiot Brother and Warner and New Line's Final Destination 5 (12/27)...

Mr. Popper's Penguins (Blu-ray Disc)Our Idiot Brother (Blu-ray Disc)Final Destination 5 (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend!


Dr. Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the day is a bit of an oddball this time, but it's surprisingly entertaining too: André Øvredal's Trollhunter, now available on both Blu-ray and DVD from Magnet and Magnolia. It's definitely worth a look, so be sure to check out his review.

Also this afternoon, Tim Salmons has looked at the other classic Tarantino film that's now available on Blu-ray Disc from Miramax and Lionsgate - Jackie Brown. Sounds like the studio has really worked with Quentin to do this one right too, and it's available for a great low price on disc. Be sure to give it a look.

It's a slow day as far as title announcements, but we do have a couple things for you this afternoon...

First... here's a surprise: Universal is coming back to another long-languishing TV title and wrapping up its release on DVD. Specifically, look for Sliders: The Fifth and Final Season on DVD on 1/17/2012. And I might have mentioned this before, but they've also set Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Five for DVD release on 1/3/2012. Boy, sure wish they'd get back to Baa Baa Black Sheep and SeaQuest DSV at long last...

Also on the TV DVD front, Warner Home Video has set Family Matters: The Complete Second Season for DVD release on 2/14/2012, and has (with BBC Video) set Waking the Dead: The Complete Season Six for DVD release on 1/17/2012.

In other news today, our old friend Shade Rupe has made a good short film - T Is for Trick - for the ABCs of Death short film contest. It's gotten positive response by no less an authority than Clive Barker, who had this to say about it:

"That was an elegantly shot, sharply edited and strongly conceived and directed four minutes of film-making. Colour me impressed. You managed to imply a whole range of character options for us, from which entirely plausible narrative solutions spilled. Very fine, courageous work from you and your actors. I hit the heart to say I'd been there. I hope it helps and i will certainly make sure my guys do the same.

Bloody good work, my friend.


You can see the film for yourself here. If you like it, don't forget to vote for it to move on to the next round of the contest by clicking on the "Vote for this..." buttons provided on the linked page. Good work, Shade!

Finally today, here's something that's going to make you smile. Have you only just gotten used to HDTV at 1920x1080 resolution? Well, guess what's on the horizon - Ultra HDTV (UHDTV) at 7680×4320! It seems that the International Telecommunications Union's Study Group on Broadcasting Service has worked out some of the technical specs on a future UHDTV format. This is essentially an experimental format - something that NHK in Japan has been working on for a while now under the moniker "Super High Vision". But it looks like this is basically going to be the NEXT next generation TV format. It should have a refresh rate high enough to allow 3D sans glasses (a.k.a. autostereoscopic images) and will likely include lossless audio options. Now, realistically, it's probably a good decade away from really starting even a limited rollout. After all, most of the world only just upgraded to current HDTV. And I remember seeing the first demonstrations of HDTV back in the late 1980s, so these things do take time. But 7680x4320 is effectively a 33 megapixel image - 16 times the resolution of current HDTV! Not only is that beyond 35mm film resolution, it's equivalent to IMAX resolution! Pretty darned fascinating. I expect we'll get a good look at technology demonstrations of UHDTV at CES in January, and I'm definitely looking forward to laying eyeballs on it. More here at engadget, here at Home Media and here (a general primer) at Wikipedia.

That's all for now. Stay tuned!


Hump day already. What do you know? Seems like this month is blazing by...

Anyway, Dr. Jahnke's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest entry for today is a demented little gem - especially if you enjoy clowns with machine guns. Yes, we're talking about Alex de la Iglesia's The Last Circus, now available on Blu-ray Disc from our friends at Magnet and Magnolia! Enjoy!

Also today, our own Tim Salmons has given Lionsgate's new Pulp Fiction Blu-ray a spin on yours behalf. Sounds like the studio has actually done a fine job it on the high-def upgrade, so do check it out.

In release news today, Image Entertainment has announced Sledge Hammer!: The Complete Series for DVD release on 12/13 (SRP $34.98). The 5-disc set will include both seasons - all 41 episodes.

Eagle Rock has set the Paul McCartney documentary The Love We Make for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/6 (SRP $19.98 and $14.98).

Also on the music front today, Universal Music has announced something that should make you Rush fans very happy - they're releasing a trio of Sectors CD box sets on 11/21 - including 5 remastered albums each - from Rush's 15-album Mercury catalog. Each volume ($45.09 a piece on Amazon) will also include a booklet with album lyrics, unpublished photos and more, plus a DVD version of one of the albums in the set with high-resolution 96/kHz/24-bit audio. [Editor's Note: For those of you who (like me) want the ENTIRE set - all 15 albums - in 96/24 lossless instead of 44.1/16 CD quality, I'm told by Universal Music that they will all be available for download on the store for about $17.98 an album.] Sector 1 will include Rush (1974), Fly by Night (1975), Caress of Steel (1975), 2112 (1976) and All the World's a Stage (1976), plus a Fly by Night DVD. Sector 2 will include A Farewell to Kings (1977), Hemispheres (1978), Permanent Waves (1980), Moving Pictures (1981) and Exit... Stage Left (1981), plus a DVD of A Farewell to Kings. And Sector 3 will include Signals (1982), Grace Under Pressure (1984), Power Windows (1985), Hold Your Fire (1987) and A Show of Hands (1988), as well as a DVD of Signals. Here's a look at the sets (note that the Amazon link takes you to the pre-order page for Sector 1 - the other 2 sets are linked from there)...

Rush: Sectors box sets

Also today, New Yorker Films will be releasing the Nine Nation Animation collection on DVD on 10/25. It will include a critically-acclaimed collection of international shorts that debuted last year at the IFC Center.

In other news today, our friends at Kino Lorber have sent over the fresh cover art for their Seven Chances: Ultimate Edition (12/13), Sherlock Holmes (12/13) and A Farewell to Arms (12/20) Blu-rays. Here's a look...

Seven Chances (Blu-ray Disc)Sherlock Holmes (Blu-ray Disc)A Farewell to Arms (Blu-ray Disc)

Finally today, I have a very sad note to share with you all. I received an e-mail this morning from our longtime friend Linda Lukas, the co-founder of the former (and much-loved and missed) Dave's Video the Laser Place store up in the Valley. It seems that Dave Lukas passed away suddenly on Monday. Here's her exact words:

"I just wanted you to know Dave passed away suddenly Monday evening. We are just starting to process this as a family. His greatest source of pride, after his family, was creating Dave's. I miss that more than ever now."

I just can't begin tell you all how saddened I am by this news, and I know that many of you out there were a part of the Dave's Video extended family as well. Some of you longtime readers may remember this interview I did with Dave and Linda back in 1999, in the early days of The Bits. (Here also are some pictures from signing events there back in the day with Kevin Smith and John Carpenter to give some of you a good trip down memory lane and give the rest of you a hint at just how damn cool the store was.) Dave was a huge part of the home video landscape here in Southern California. Dave and Linda's store was Ground Zero for film, LaserDisc and DVD fans in L.A. back in the day - as welcoming a place as you could imagine and a place were you could always go to talk about and share your love of cinema with friends. A lot of talented people in this industry - from VERY well-known filmmakers to writers, bloggers, special edition producers and studio execs - were influenced by and/or were good friends of Dave. Some were even former employees of Dave's. He will be greatly missed. All of us here at The Digital Bits send out our love and very best wishes to Linda, their family and to the whole Dave's Video extended family today. Thanks for everything, Dave.

[Editor's Note: Drew (aka Moriarty) has written up a good tribute to Dave over at AICN tonight. You can also join the Dave's Video fan group on Facebook that Linda started. Feel free to share your photos and memories of Dave and the store there - we know Linda and their family would appreciate seeing and hearing them all.]

Our friends Dave and Linda Lukas at Dave's Video in 1999

Stay tuned...


And the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the day today is... Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo: The Bullet Man on DVD from IFC! It's an interesting little film, though not quite up to the standards of the earlier entries in his Tetsuo series. But read on, friends, and Dr. Jahnke will tell you all about it.

Also here at The Bits today, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we truly do appreciate it.

All right, the big announcement news today is that 20th Century Fox has officially set Rise of the Planet of the Apes for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/13. Extras on the Blu-ray version will include audio commentary by director Rupert Wyatt, a second commentary with writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, 12 deleted scenes, 7 interactive video featurettes (Pre-vis for The Future, Capturing Caesar: Script to Screen, Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis, Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene, A New Generation of Apes, Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries and Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes), 3 Ape Facts clips (Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Orangutan), a Character Concept Art Gallery and 3 theatrical trailers. Here's a look at the cover art for both versions...

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (DVD)Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Blu-ray Disc)Conan the Barbarian (Blu-ray Disc)

Meanwhile (as you can see by the art above), Lionsgate has set Conan the Barbarian for release on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on 11/22 (SRP $39.99, $37.99 and $29.95). Extras will include 2 audio commentaries, a featurette on the history of the Conan franchise, featurettes on the action and fight scenes, and The Man Who Would Be Conan: Robert E. Howard featurette, plus more.

Also coming that day from Lionsgate are The Devil's Double and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (The Play) on Blu-ray and DVD, and Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns: Season 3 on DVD only.

In other release news, Universal has set The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/17/2012. Extras will include deleted scenes, a deleted scenes montage, commentary with director Roel Reine and 2 featurettes (Preparing for Battle and Swords and Scorpions: A Making Of).

Sony's just announced a bunch of new titles as well, including Underworld Trilogy: The Essential Collection on Blu-ray only on 12/20 (SRP $45.99 - includes Underworld: Extended Cut, Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and the exclusive "never-before-seen" 3-part anime series Underworld: Endless War), Colombiana on unrated Blu-ray and DVD on 12/20 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99), A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and Hostel: Part III on unrated DVD only on 12/27 (SRP $26.99 each) and The Guard on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/3/2012 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99).

BBC Video and Warner Home Video have set Dr. Who: The Complete Sixth Series for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/22 (SRP $89.98 and $79.98). Extras will include 5 Night and the Doctor scenes recorded just for this release, 5 episode prequels, 2 sketches for U.K.'s Comic Relief, 4 Monster Files, Doctor Who Confidential looks at each episode, a bonus Doctor Who Confidential about the exclusive scenes done for this release and audio commentary on select episodes.

Warner has also set One Tree Hill: The Complete Eighth Season for DVD only release on 12/20 (SRP $59.98).

And Inception Media Group will release Boy Wonder on DVD only on 11/8.

Also today, The Digital Bits has officially confirmed that Best Buy will have a retail exclusive on Warner's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 on Blu-ray 3D starting on 11/11. You won't have to buy hardware to get them. Pre-orders for Part 1 are already open on the Best Buy website for just $29.99. Part 2 isn't up yet but should be soon. You SHOULD find both titles advertised in this weekend's Sunday Best Buy newspaper insert.

Bits reader Cary S. e-mailed to let us know that Best Buy will also have an exclusive music Blu-ray in a couple weeks - Talihina Sky: the Story of Kings of Leon. The DVD will be widely available on 11/1, but the Blu-ray will be exclusive to Best Buy from 11/1 to 11/15, after which time it will go wide as well.

Finally, the Warner Archive is now taking pre-orders for a new 7-disc Jean Harlow 100th Anniversary Collection MOD box set (SRP $49.95) available in their online store and here at Amazon. All 7 films will be remastered. Included will be Bombshell (1933), The Girl from Missouri (1934), Reckless (1935), Riffraff (1935), Suzy (1936), Personal Property (1937) and Saratoga (1937). Extras will include a portfolio of 5" x 7" photos of Harlow, trailers, rare audio recording sessions and a Lux Radio Theater presentation of Madame Sans-Gene with Harlow. Note that The Archive apparently wanted to include Red Dust and Hold You Man as well, but the original negatives were sadly destroyed in a fire in the 1970s and the surviving elements apparently weren't good enough to achieve acceptable quality for DVD. Warner Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) is still working on those films (and The Secret Six) in an effort to create good quality masters, but that work is open-ended, obviously can't be rushed and there are no guarantees of success. In any case, special thanks to Bits reader Reggie W. for the heads-up and all the background information!

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...


Hope your weekend was delightful... and that you guys at New York Comic-Con had a great time. Things were good on this end. It looks like my Vikings might have finally hit bottom enough to ditch Donovan McNabb and start building for the future with Christian Ponder. Small victories even in defeat. Plus, Sarah and I had a nice dinner with Mr. and Mrs. MusicTAP. And Storm Chasers was new too, so not a bad weekend on balance. It also looks like our e-mail is finally working again, so we might actually be able to finally crawl out from under the pile this week!

Here at The Bits today, Dr. Jahnke gets Week 3 of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest rolling with a review of Sergio Martino's Torso on Blu-ray from our good friends over at Blue Underground. In a word: Awesome. Enjoy!

We've also kicked off a new Giveaway here at The Bits today featuring TV Flashback titles including That 70s Show: Seasons 1 & 2, Roseanne: Seasons 1 & 2 and The Greatest American Hero: The Complete Series. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, October 30th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

In announcement news this morning, Criterion has revealed a really interesting batch of new Blu-ray and DVD additions to the Collection for January. Included will be Luis Buñuel's Belle De Jour on 1/17/2012 (Cat #593 - Blu-ray and DVD), Ishiro Honda's Godzilla on 1/24/2012 (both the 1954 Japanese version and the 1956 American version - Cat #594 - Blu-ray and DVD), Francesco Rosi's The Moment of Truth on 1/24/2012 (Cat #595 - Blu-ray and DVD) and Steven Soderbergh's Traffic on 1/17/2012 (Cat #151 - Blu-ray). Criterion has also set Eclipse Series 31: Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin for release on DVD on 1/17/2012 (includes Poto and Cabengo, Routine Pleasures and My Crasy Life).

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video and New Line have set Final Destination 5 for release on Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Digital Copy Combo on 12/27 (SRP $35.99). Extras will include alternate scenes and 3 featurettes (Circle of Death, Visual Effects of Death: Collapsing Bridge and Visual Effects of Death: Airplane Crash).

Wow, here's a surprise: Disney is actually releasing a couple more live-action catalog titles on Blu-ray! On 1/17/2012, look for Dead Poets Society and Good Morning Vietnam. It looks like there's no new extras, but all the features from the previous DVDs should carry over.

Disney has also set The Last Song for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD on 2/15/2012.

And Anchor Bay and Manga will release Redline and First Squad on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/17/2012.

In other news today, remember where you were when you saw this: It seems that film, as we know it, is no more. Motion picture camera manufacturers Aaton, ARRI and Panavision have all ceased production of film-based cameras and will only produce digital ones from now on. Wow. Digital is awesome and all, but it's awfully hard not to feel like something very important has just slipped away for good. This is going to inspire more than a few passionate discussions over beers at the pub, I suspect. More at and Creative COW. Thanks to Bits reader Adam M. for the links.

We'll leave you this morning with a look at the BD cover art for Criterion's Belle De Jour, Godzilla (LOVE that cover!) and Traffic...

Belle De Jour (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)Godzilla (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)Traffic (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...


All right, zee gut Doktor's final Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review for Week 2 might otherwise be known as Shriek IV, but we'll call it by its actual name, Scream 4. And it's on Blu-ray too, so you know - screams in DTS-HD! Sounds like it's actually pretty decent, so enjoy!

In announcement news today, Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing Lindsey Buckingham's Songs from The Small Machine: Live in L.A. on Blu-ray, DVD and DVD/CD combo on 11/1. I really love how much live concert music Eagle Rock is releasing on Blu-ray and DVD - they're putting some of the major labels to shame.

Speaking of major labels, Columbia Records and Sony Music will release the documentary Pearl Jam: Twenty on DVD on 10/24. Apparently no love for Blu-ray. The disc will include a number of bonus clips and deleted footage. For those of you who want to see it in HD, the film will be shown on 10/21 (9PM Eastern/Pacific) on PBS American Masters. [Editor's Note: Turns out you CAN buy the Blu-ray as a Best Buy exclusive starting on 10/24 until the end of December, after which time it will go wide. There was apparently also a 3-disc BD/DVD/CD combo exclusive that was briefly available through the band's website but is sold out. Naturally, none of this was in the official press release. Thanks to Bits reader Jason A. for the heads-up!]

Also, Anchor Bay has set Renny Harlin's 5 Days of War for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/29 (SRP $29.99 and $26.98).

Buena Vista has officially announced the 12/13 Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD release on the remade Fright Night (SRP $49.99, $30.99 and $29.99). Extras will include 5 deleted scenes, an unrated gag reel, a music video and 4 featurettes (Squid Man: Extended & Uncut, Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind, The Official How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie Guide and Frightful Facts & Terrifying Trivia).

Warner Home Video has announced the first-ever Blu-ray Disc/DVD Combo release of the animated 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on 10/4 (SRP $24.98). Extras will include the Christmas: A Global Holiday animated comic book.

And HBO has officially set Thurgood for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/17/2012, along with the Blu-ray releases of The Tuskegee Airmen and The Josephine Baker Story (SRPs on Thurgood are $34.98 and $26.98, while the others are $14.98). The last two films are already available on DVD.

Finally, here's something you longtime Bits readers might find interesting. I recently did an phone interview with Dan Brooks, who runs The Big Reveal column over on Flightpath. Dan wanted to know some of the history of The Bits, how we got started, some of the interesting things we've experienced in the last 14 years and how we've seen the home video industry landscape change over that time. So I talked with him for a good hour and had fun doing so. He's now compiled our conversation into a 2-part online interview. So for those of you longtime readers who want a quick trip down memory lane, or for you newbies who might not have been around in the early years of The Bits, here you go: Part I and Part II. Let us know what you think! Special thanks to Dan and the folks at Flightpath for the opportunity.

All right, you guys all have a great weekend. Don't forget - there's new Fringe tonight. Everybody "cut loose" or some such, and we'll see you back here on Monday. And a BIG shout-out to all those of you chilling at New York Comic-Con this weekend. Have a great time! I think Jeff Kleist is roving around there somewhere. Cheers!


All right, we've still got limited access to e-mail, but apparently it's gradually coming back to normal. So three steps forward and two back. Seems like a bad couple of weeks for website technical issues. Matt had troubles with his server, and now our e-mail thing. Gremlins!

In today's installment of our favorite, on-going Fest of Oktober, the good Dr. Jahnke selflessly throws himself upon a DVD landmine of sorts to save precious minutes of your movie-watching lives - a bit like the pre-steroid injection version of Steve Rogers in that Captain America movie. So what is this DVD landmine you ask? A title that should probably be banned by the Geneva Convention: An Italian, indie horror flick called Sex, Demons and Death. Not the good kind of Italian either. I think the technical term would be "stinker". Anyway, Jahnke'll tell you all about it, so read on. And do feel free to send him a little love and feedback for all his hard work on the Fest. [Editor's Note: Given the e-mail troubles we've been having, the easier thing to do might be to drop on by his Jahnke's Electric Theatre page on Facebook and say hello!] Jahnke really took one for the team this time, so our hats off to him!

A few more bits of announcement news this morning...

Lionsgate has set The Expendables: Extended Director's Cut, Heavenly Creatures: The Uncut Version, Velvet Goldmine and City of God for Blu-ray Disc release on 12/13 (SRP $24.99 for Expendables and $19.99 for the rest). That will be followed up by She's All That and Serendipity on Blu-ray on 1/3/2012 (SRP $14.99 each). The Expendables: EDC will include 11 minutes of additional footage, a newly-recorded introduction to the film by director Sylvester Stallone, a featurette on Stallone's directing career, the Inferno feature-length documentary on the making of the film, plus Spike TV's Action: The Expendables and a Godsmack music video. Meanwhile, the Heavenly Creatures: UV includes 10 minutes of new footage. The Expendables is a Lionsgate title to begin with, while all the others are Miramax films distributed by Lionsgate.

Also today, Well Go USA has set Triple Tap for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/6 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).

Warner Home Video will release Dr. Seuss’s Holidays on the Loose! on DVD on 10/18 (SRP $26.99). It will include the How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat and Halloween is Grinch Night specials, plus additional games and featurettes.

And here's a nice surprise: Universal will release Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Five on DVD on 1/3/2012.

We'll leave you with a look at all 6 of those Lionsgate/Miramax titles on Blu-ray...

The Expendables: Extended Director's Cut (Blu-ray Disc)Heavenly Creatures: The Uncut Version (Blu-ray Disc)Velvet Goldmine (Blu-ray Disc)

City of God (Blu-ray Disc)She's All That (Blu-ray Disc)Serendipity (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...


Morning, folks! Hope you're all well today.

All right, first things first this morning - we've been having some troubles with our e-mail delivery over the last 48 hours, so if you've sent us messages and have been looking for a response, just know that we haven't gotten them yet. They're all backed-up, however, and we expect to get finally them sometime tomorrow. So we'll try to get back to you all as soon as we can.

In the meantime today, Dr. Jahnke has checked in again this morning with another great Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review. This time it's another entry from Image and Something Weird on Blu-ray: Frank Henenlotter's 1981 horror-comedy gem Basket Case! Not only is it a fun little film, it's a pretty solid disc too, so definitely do check it out.

In announcement news today, Universal has set the political thriller The Debt for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/6. Extras on both versions will include audio commentary with director John Madden and producer Kris Thykier, and 3 featurettes (A Look Inside The Debt, Every Secret Has a Price: Helen Mirren in The Debt and The Berlin Affair: The Triangle at the Center of The Debt). The Blu-ray will deliver all the usual interactive bells and whistles as well.

Speaking of Universal, the studio is also re-issuing the 1970s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV series on DVD on 1/24/2012. It looks as if they plan to re-issue the series in full season sets (the previous release was a complete series box). You'll get Season One on the date listed, with Season Two presumably due to follow later in the year. It doesn't appear that there are any extras to speak of, so if you already have the older DVD set you're good.

And in case you missed it when we updated yesterday's post, WHV's Dangerous Liaisons Blu-ray is officially due to street on 2/7/2012.

Here's the cover art for Universal's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Season One on DVD, plus The Change-Up (11/8) and Disney's The Help (12/6) on Blu-ray...

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Season One (DVD)Change-Up (Blu-ray Disc)The Help (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!


All right, our Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review of the day today is a follow up on yesterday's title - Image and Something Weird's Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore documentary on DVD! Sounds like it's pretty good too, so do check it out if you're a fan of the man's work.

Also here at The Bits today, Russell Hammond will have the Release Dates & Artwork section updated later this morning with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then... there's not a whole lot in the way of announcement news to report yet this morning, given yesterday's Columbus Day holiday here in the States, but we do have word that Warner Home Video appears to have cleared up the rights issues surrounding its previously announced (and then delayed) Blu-ray Disc release of Malcolm X - the title is now set for BD release on 1/31/12 (SRP $34.99). It's a 2-disc set (a BD disc and a DVD) in Blu-ray book packaging. Extras on the BD disc will include audio commentary (by director Spike Lee, cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, editor Barry Alexander Brown and costume designer Ruth Carter), deleted scenes with introduction by Lee, the By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X featurette and the trailer. The DVD is a bonus disc containing the 1972 feature-length documentary Malcolm X.

Speaking of Warner, it appears the studio is also working on a Blu-ray release of Dangerous Liaisons for sometime in early February of next year. We'll post more details as soon as we have them, but you'll find the cover art below. [Editor's Note: The street date is apparently set for 2/7/2012.]

Meanwhile, Sony has set Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/20 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Extras will include the Midnight in Cannes featurette and a photo gallery.

And Showtime and Paramount have set The Borgias: The First Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/27.

Of course, the other big news happening in the industry today is that Netflix has announced that they're killing their horrifically unpopular Qwikster plan, and keeping both DVD and online streaming rentals under their Netflix label. Good move. Need we say it? Boy that was quick! (Ba-dum-dum-tish.) More here from Uncle Reed via Netflix's official blog. Hat... meet hand.

We'll leave you this morning with a look at the BD cover art for Warner's Malcolm X and Dangerous Liaisons, along with DVD art for Showtime's The Borgias: The First Season...

The Borgias: The First Season (DVD)Malcolm X (Blu-ray Disc)Dangerous Liaisons (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!


Morning, folks... thought we'd get another early update in here for you to start the new week.

First up, Week 2 of the Hell Plaza Oktoberfest continues with Adam's review of Image and Something Weird's The Blood Trilogy on Blu-ray! The set includes Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs! and Color Me Blood Red is gory high-resolution! Don't forget - a new Fest review will be posted each weekday all month, so be sure to check back for more!

Also this morning, our own Barrie Maxwell has turned in a new Classic Coming Attractions column with 10 reviews of new and recent classic film releases on DVD and Blu-ray. Included this time are VCI's Doctor in the House, Twilight Time's The Flim-Flam Man, Shout! Factory's The Inspector General, TCM/Universal's Audie Murphy Westerns Collection, and S'more Entertainment's A Big Box of Cowboys, Aliens, Robots and Death Rays all on DVD. Barrie also looks at MGM's individual releases of The Magnificent Seven and Return of the Magnificent Seven, as well as Criterion's The Killing/Killer's Kiss, VCI’s Campbell's Kingdom and Twilight Time's The Egyptian all on Blu-ray. Enjoy!

And in news today, our friends over at the excellent MI6 James Bond website are reporting that MGM's Bond Blu-ray and DVD releases are going on moratorium in January at least in Germany and probably worldwide. The reason? AS we've reported previously, MGM is currently planning a big "re-launch" of the Bond titles on Blu-ray and DVD in late 2012 (likely October), which will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Bond film franchise and also the release of the new Bond 23 film in theatres. I think you can reasonably expect that the remaining 10 Bond films as-yet-unreleased on Blu-ray will finally become available then. More here (and thanks to Bits reader Tim H. for the heads-up).

Finally this morning, Matt wanted us to let everyone know that he's having some server issues with his MusicTAP website. It's been going on a few days which has resulted in

Here's a look at the BD cover art for HBO's Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season (1/10/2012) and Mildred Pierce (1/3/2012), along with Sony's 30 Minutes or Less (11/29)...

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)Mildred Pierce (Blu-ray Disc)30 Minutes or Less (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!


All right... not much news to report this morning, but of course we've got another excellent Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review for you. Dr. Jahnke's checked out Guillermo Del Toro's new director's cut of one of his early projects - Mimic. It's now available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate and it's well worth a look, especially if you're a fan of Del Toro's work. It's no At the Mountains of Madness, but still. Enjoy!

Also this morning, Warner Home Video was kind enough to provide us with a closer look at the packaging for their new Smallville: The Complete Series DVD box set, which they announced yesterday for release on 11/29...

Smallville: The Complete Series (DVD)

Smallville: The Complete Series (DVD)Smallville: The Final Season (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we also posted the Blu-ray cover art for Warner's Smallville: The Final Season (also due 11/29).

Now then... we'll check in again later if there's any additional announcements today. Otherwise, we'll see you back here fresh and early on Monday morning with a new Classic Coming Attractions from Barrie and, of course, Week 2 of the Oktoberfest. See you then (or later - whichever comes first).

Peace out!


All right, today's Hell Plaza Oktoberfest review from Dr. Jahnke is actually a batch of Roger Corman Cult Classics from Shout! factory in the form of the 2-disc Vampires, Mummies & Monsters DVD, which includes Lady Frankenstein, The Velvet Vampire, Time Walker and Grotesque. There's at least one reasonably good flick in that bunch and they're all definitely weird. Enjoy!

In announcement news, we're getting word from readers that the print version of the USA Today is reporting today that Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season is due to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD from HBO and Warner on 1/10/2012, and that Mildred Pierce will be released on both formats on 1/3/2012. We would expect official announcements very soon.

Speaking of Warner, the studio is also readying a Smallville: The Complete Series box set for release on DVD only on 11/29 (SRP $339.88). From the official press release, the set's 62 discs will include "all 218 episodes, over five hours of newly added special features such as an unaired, never-before-seen Superboy pilot from 1961, a retrospective look at the series with over 100 minutes of season featurettes, a decade of Comic-Con featurette and more." It'll also include a printed replica of the Daily Planet newspaper (written by DC Comics) that highlights key storylines, as well as an episode guide with never-before-seen production art and behind-the-scenes photos. Some fans may be wondering why this set isn't being released on Blu-ray, and it's because very early episodes of the show weren't finished in such a way as to make them immediately high-def ready (visual effects weren't done at the necessary resolution, etc). Warner has been trying to figure out some way to release them on Blu-ray that wasn't cost-prohibitive, and apparently hasn't accomplished that yet.

That same day, by the way, Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD from WHV (SRP $69.97 and $59.98). Extras will include 2 featurettes, deleted scenes, audio commentary on 2 episodes and more.

In other release news, Synapse Films will bow Scott Spiegel's Intruder: Director's Cut on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 12/13 (SRP $29.95).

IFC Films will release Error Morris' Tabloid documentary on DVD only on 11/1 (SRP $24.98).

Image Entertainment will release Alleged on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/8 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97). The drama is set against the landmark Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925.

And Image also has Soulja Boy: The Movie set for DVD release on 10/18 (SRP $19.98).

By the way, after my comments yesterday about Silent Running being only a Region B Blu-ray release in Europe, a few readers pointed out that you CAN import Region B discs and watch them here in the States if you have an all-region Blu-ray player. And that is certainly true. However, not everyone has the time, means or desire to try and track one of those down online. They also tend to be more expensive than many are willing to pay. And not every Blu-ray consumer is so inclined as to comb international Amazon sites and the A/V forums looking for information on non-Region A Blu-ray titles worth importing. So, in our opinion, the preferable option would always for the studio in question to release a Region A/U.S. version, which is what we work to encourage whenever possible. For those who do import with all-region players, more power to you!

Finally today, we wanted to make sure this didn't get lost in all the buzz surrounding the death of Steve Jobs yesterday: Longtime actor Charles Napier also sadly passed away yesterday. He was in a TON of great films and TV series over the years - seriously, check out his IMDB credits. That's an impressive list. I'll always remember him most fondly as Tucker McElroy, the leader of The Good Old Boys from The Blues Brothers. Napier was 75 and will be missed.

Here's a look at the cover art for Universal's A Bronx Tale DVD (1/10/2012), and DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Kung Fu Panda Collection (both 12/13)...

A Bronx Tale (DVD)Kung Fu Panda 2 (Blu-ray Disc)The Kung Fu Panda Collection (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 10/5/11 - 5 PM PDT)

We'd just like to take a moment this afternoon here at The Bits to acknowledge the sad breaking news this afternoon - the passing of Apple co-founder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs at the age of 56. Whether you were a disciple of Apple computers and devices or not, there's almost no way to really fully measure the tremendous impact Jobs had on the worlds of technology and entertainment - an impact that will surely be felt for many, many years to come. Jobs was a pioneer and a visionary. Our hats off to him and a life that, though shorter that he would have wished, was well lived.

(EARLY UPDATE - 10/5/11 - 1 PM PDT)

All right... today's Oktoberfest review from Jahnke is a Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D combo in the form of Warner and New Line's Final Destination 3D. So is it all the usual 3D 'poke you in the eye' fun and games? Well, read on to find out!

Speaking of Jahnke, I had the pleasure of spending a nice afternoon with the good Doctor and his wife yesterday, capped off by an excellent dinner and drinks. Pretty nice way to spend a day. Wait 'til you see what he's got cooking for later in the Fest!

In announcement news today, Universal has just set Cowboys & Aliens for release on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on 12/6. I have to say, I enjoyed that movie a lot more than I expected to. The Blu-ray Combo will include audio commentary with director Jon Favreau, the multi-part Igniting the Sky: The Making of Cowboys & Aliens documentary (includes Finding the Story, The Scope of the Spectacle, Outer Space Icon, A Call to Action and Absolution - the last 2 of which are BD exclusive), 6 Conversations with Jon Favreau featurettes (includes Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof), and the usual host of Universal BD, BD-Live and BD-Java interaction options, this time including Universal's Second Screen. Here's a look at the cover art for both Blu-ray and DVD...

Cowboys & Aliens (DVD)Cowboys & Aliens (Blu-ray Disc)Sid & Nancy: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we also included cover art for MGM's Sid & Nancy: 25th Anniversary Edition (due 12/27).

By the way, Universal is also releasing Robert De Niro's A Bronx Tale on standard DVD on 1/10/2012. It has been available as part of their Universal Vault DVD-R catalog, and apparently it proved popular.

In other release news, Disney and DreamWorks have set The Help for release on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo, Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD on 12/6 (SRP $44.99, $39.99 and $29.99 - Disney will distribute). The Blu-ray version will include 2 featurettes (The Making of The Help: From Friendship to Film and In Their Own Words: A Tribute to the Maids of Mississippi) and 3 deleted scenes with introductions by director Tate Taylor. To this, the DVD (in the Combos and separately) will add 2 more deleted scenes and Mary J. Blige's The Living Proof music video.

The BBC is releasing (via Warner) Primeval: Volume 3 on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/10/12.

Meanwhile, Viz Pictures and Warner have set Gantz II: Perfect Answer for release on both formats on 1/17/12.

And 20th Century Fox and MGM have announced that they're adding a number of great catalog titles to their Manufactured on Demand (MOD) DVD-R program this month. All are MGM's Limited Edition Collection titles. Among them are: Fashion Model (1945), Behind the Mask (1946), The Bandits of Corsica (1953), Fort Yuma (1955), The Mugger (1958), Counterplot (1959), Gunfighters of Abilene (1960), Boy Who Caught a Crook (1961), Doctor Blood's Coffin (1961), Gun Street (1962), Incident in an Alley (1962), California (1963), Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966), Devil's Angel (1967), Kill a Dragon (1967), Golden Needles (1974), Welcome to L.A. (1976), Uncle Joe Shannon (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981), Return of the Rebels (1981), Ghost Warrior (1985), Detective School Dropouts (1986), Where the River Runs Black (1986), Malone (1987) and Deadly Intent (1988). You should find them available on soon.

In other news, here's something interesting for your European Blu-ray fans: Eureka Entertainment is releasing Silent Running on Blu-ray Disc on 11/14. Unfortunately, it's Region B, which means U.S. fans can't import it. And - like the French Caprica: The Complete Series Blu-ray - Universal seems to have no plans to release it here on BD in the States.

Finally today, here's something funny for you Netflix consumers: A skit on SNL from last weekend in which a little fun was had about Reed Hastings' recent announcements/apologies.

Stay tuned!

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