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page updated: 5/21/02

My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 3/28/02 - 3/13/02)

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(LATE UPDATE - 3/28/02 - 3 PM PST)

Okay... we've got word on new Farscape discs from ADV, as well as a small note on Disney's upcoming Muppet Treasure Island DVD. Look for that in today's update of The Rumor Mill.

Also this afternoon, we've announced the winners of the Trivia Contest. Congratulations to everyone and thanks to all who entered!

We've got word that HBO's Mr. Show with Bob and David: The Complete First and Second Seasons DVDs (street date 6/11) will feature some very cool extras. Look for all 10 episodes of the first and second seasons, rare stage-show footage of Mr. Show "before it was a TV show," a full 10 episode audio commentary with Bob, David and many cast members, a 30-minute Best of Mr. Show featurette, original television spots and a special collector's card (500 of which have been personalized by Bob and David and randomly distributed in the production run).

Manga will release Macross Plus: The Movie Edition on 5/28 (SRP $29.98). The disc will feature a new opening sequence, new scenes that further clarify the relationships between key characters, plus a new ending featuring extended footage of the concert given by the film's virtual pop star, Sharon Apple. Extras will include Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio with English subtitles, character bios, a photo gallery, trailers, previews and weblinks.

In a marketing move sure to piss off DVD fans everywhere, Columbia TriStar has decided to release yet ANOTHER DVD version of a previous release... this time the Men in Black: Deluxe Edition (street date 5/21). The 2-disc set will include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, visual and audio commentaries, the Men in Black II teaser trailer, a sneak peek at Men in Black II, extended and alternate scenes, the Will Smith music video, storyboard comparisons, the Men in Black documentary, the scene editing workshop, production notes and an artwork gallery. That makes, what... 4 versions of this film on DVD now? All while tons of great classic titles in Columbia's catalog have yet to be released on DVD at all? Can you say "shameless way to milk consumers"?

A somewhat more welcome upcoming title from the studio is the Memento: Limited Edition, also due on 5/21. It's expected to include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio options, audio commentary by director Chris Nolan, an "anatomy of a scene" workshop, the shooting script, trailers, the original short story, international ad campaigns, production stills and sketches, hidden features and more. Thanks to Bits reader Evan E. for the cover art.

Men in Black: Deluxe EditionMemento: Limited Edition

Also on the anime front, Pioneer ash set 6/25 as the street date for its Armitage Dual-Matrix: Special Edition DVD. The disc will include some 35 minutes of bonus features including a Making of Armitage Dual-Matrix featurette (with interviews with director Katsuhito Akiyama and voice talent Juliette Lewis), an extensive photo gallery, a 5.1 music player with 3 tracks from the soundtrack, a 16-page booklet and a trailer. SRP for the disc is $29.98. This disc will also be available in a 2-disc set with the original Armitage Poly-Matrix (SRP $39.98) and a limited edition "lunch box" set with an exclusive variant Armitage action figure from McFarlane Toys (SRP $69.98).

More sad news from Hollywood today. They say bad things happen in threes, don't they? Well... word has just come in that legendary director Billy Wilder has passed away (fortunately at the ripe old age of 95). A few of Wilder's better known films include The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment and one of my all-time favorites, the noir classic Double Indemnity. You should know that Paramount is currently working on a Sunset Boulevard DVD for release later this year. I'm hoping that Double Indemnity eventually gets a better, restored DVD release than the existing version.

And finally... some good news. In fact, we've saved the best for last. We've contacted New Line after receiving a lot of questions from readers about this very issue. They tell us that The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring - Special Extended Edition 4-disc set due in November will TENTATIVELY feature a DTS audio option in addition to the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track. Before you bombard us with more questions, no... we don't know if it will be ES 6.1. Having DTS on the extended version is ONLY planned at this time - there are no other details (official or otherwise) available. New Line can only confirm that they are indeed working to have DTS on the 4-disc set. A lot depends on the actual production (the tentative nature of this is likely due to concerns over disc space/quality issues - making sure the film looks great split over 2 discs with both DTS and Dolby Digital audio included). New Line has, however, told me that they expect to confirm the DTS option for sure sometime later this summer. Still, tentatively very good news. Keep your ring fingers crossed... ;-)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/28/02 - 10:30 AM PST)

We've got a few things in the works for this afternoon, so be sure to check back for that. In the meantime, we've gotten word that the classic 1983 film Koyaanisqatsi, which depicts life in motion in all its visual splendor, is finally coming to DVD. In late January IRE and MGM reached an amicable agreement that will allow the release of Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi on DVD as early as the Fall of this year, hopefully coordinated with the theatrical release of Naqoyqatsi by Miramax. Naqoyqatsi's release will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Koyaanisqatsi. Thanks to Bits reader Darrel B for sharing the information!

Before we move on this morning, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the lives and work of two great entertainers, who passed away yesterday... Milton Berle and Dudley Moore. They will most certainly be missed.

We've got some new DVD cover artwork this morning, so I thought I'd share it here before we move it to the Upcoming DVD Artwork section. Here's a look at the final art for Disney and Pixar's Monsters, Inc. (street date 9/17), and Columbia TriStar's The Mothman Prophecies (6/4), The Patriot: SuperBit Deluxe and Hollow Man: SuperBit Deluxe (both 5/28).

Monsters, Inc.The Mothman Prophecies

The Patriot: SuperBit DeluxeHollow Man: SuperBit Deluxe

We'll be back later to announce the winners of the Trivia Contest and more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/27/02 - 11:45 AM PST)

We're getting a lot of e-mails from readers asking if the special features set to be included on the theatrical edition of The Fellowship of the Ring (due on 8/6) will be repeated on the special extended version (following on 11/12). The answer is no. The documentaries and web featurettes are being included on the theatrical edition because a lot of fans have requested them. But since the special extended version includes an entirely new cut of the film, everything that will be included on that later edition is being custom created specifically for that release, for a more adult audience and to go MUCH deeper into the making of the film trilogy than what was seen in any of the TV specials. The idea is that most DVD consumers will be satisfied with the theatrical edition, while more sophisticated fans will wait for the extended edition. The most diehard fans will probably want both, as they perfectly complement each other but do not overlap.

Also, just to clarify, each DVD version includes a SEPARATE edit of the film. The 4-disc special extended set DOES NOT include the theatrical cut of the film on a separate disc or via seamless branching. If you want the theatrical cut, you have to buy the August 2-disc set. If you want the longer cut, you buy the November 4-disc edition. If you want both, save your money accordingly and buy both. Some people may feel that this is an effort to milk consumers, but I don't think so at all. In order to include everything you'll be getting on both editions, New Line would have to create a single 6-disc release, which would be WAY too expensive for most consumers to even consider. This way, they can have DVD purchase options for everyone. And by not having any overlap between the two editions, fans who buy both are absolutely getting the most for their money. Just think... over eight hours of unique special edition material alone on these two releases, not including the films themselves! If you're a fan, I say don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/27/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

Yes indeed, in a gala event at the Warner Bros. studio lot that attracted hundreds of studio executives, retailers and members of the press, New Line last night unveiled its plans for the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on DVD and VHS.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Widescreen Theatrical EditionThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Full Screen Theatrical Edition

As expected, there will be multiple versions of the film available on DVD. The first is a 2-disc Theatrical Edition on August 6th, which will arrive in dual full frame and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen versions (SRP for each is $29.95). Disc One of this release will feature the film itself (in the aspect ratio of your choice, depending on the version you purchase), along with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and Dolby Surround audio, English subtitles and closed captioning. Disc Two will feature over two hours of bonus content, including an exclusive, 10-minute preview of The Two Towers hosted by director Peter Jackson, the Welcome to Middle-Earth Houghton Mifflin in-store special, The Quest for the Ring (the FOX Network special) and A Passage to Middle-Earth (the Sci-Fi Channel special), some 15 additional featurettes created for, theatrical trailers and TV spots, Enya's May it Be music video, a preview of the Electronic Arts The Two Towers video game, a preview of the special extended DVD version, exclusive online content via DVD-ROM and more. The cover artwork for these two versions can be seen above. This release will be the PG-13 cut of the film that was seen in theaters.

Then, on November 12th, New Line will release the Special Extended Edition of the film, as a 4-disc set (in anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and Dolby Surround). The packaging for this set is still in the mock-up stage, but I can tell you that it looks like an ancient, leather-bound hardcover book. This will feature director Peter Jackson's much talked about extended cut, with some 30 minutes of scenes restored to the film (more on that in a minute). The film will be split over the first two discs of the set, with the second two containing more than SIX HOURS of in-depth behind-the-scenes material. Much of this content is still in production, so the final disc specs are still TBA. But you can look for feature-length director's audio commentary, art and photo galleries, documentaries and more (note that the SRP has not yet been set). Back to the longer cut of the film - WETA Digital is creating many new visual effects shots for the new footage and composer Howard Shore is currently recording new music cues for these scenes, which are being personally supervised by Jackson. Here's a rundown of the new scenes you can look for (and to you ring-bearers, please forgive me if I get a few of the names or details wrong):

A new addition to the opening sequence in which Bilbo provides background on Hobbits and their history in voice-over as he writes his memoirs.

A new introduction to Samwise Gamgee, seen in his capacity as a gardener.

A scene taking place at the Green Dragon Inn, which introduces us to the camaraderie of the Hobbits (we see them singing together) and sets up the geopolitics of the story.

The Hobbits witnessing the departure of the Elves from Middle Earth on the way to Bree.

Aragorn watching over the sleeping Hobbits, singing the ballad of Beren and Luthien to himself in the night.

Aragorn at his mother's grave, in which we learn that he was raised by Elves and that Sauron has long hunted him.

Two new moments during the departure from Rivendale, one in which we see Arwen's emotional reaction to Aragorn's leaving, and another in which Elrond sees the Fellowship off.

A scene with the Fellowship in the mines of Moria, in which we learn how the Dwarves themselves unleashed the fire-demon that eventually destroyed them.

A scene at Lothlorien, where Galadriel bestows upon each of the Fellowship a gift which will play an important role later in the Trilogy.

And finally, more footage of the battle at Amon Hen. This is not particularly bloody footage, but its addition will likely result in this cut of the film receiving an R-rating.

So that's the extended version. This same 4-disc DVD edition will also be available in a Collector's Gift Set, which will include the National Geographic: Beyond the Movie - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring DVD (containing 2 previously unreleased featurettes and a photo gallery), a set of exclusive Decipher game cards and a pair of bookends sculpted by WETA artists to look like the Argonath, all in packaging designed by production artist Alan Lee.

All of the information above was revealed during an elaborate multi-media presentation, followed by a number of speeches by New Line executives. On hand were several members of the cast and crew, including John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Orlando Bloom (Legolas Greenleaf), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), hair designer Peter Owen, costume designer Ngila Dickson and Oscar-winning visual effects/make-up supervisor Richard Taylor (with his new golden statue in hand - and yes, it IS heavier than you'd think). The event was bookended by an elaborate reception and buffet dinner. But the highlight of the evening was a special video greeting from director Peter Jackson (absent due to his tight post-production schedule on both the DVDs and the next film), who talked about his work on the discs and introduced a special treat - the public premiere of the preview for The Two Towers, which you can see in theaters attached to the end of Fellowship starting this Friday. And I can tell you, this alone was worth my hour-long drive up to the studio. The next film looks simply amazing.

So there you have it - New Line's Lord of the Rings DVD plans in a nutshell. We'll have the artwork for the special extended DVD and the collector's gift set as soon as they're available. In the meantime, here's a look at the menu screens for the theatrical edition DVDs. Enjoy!

Theatrical Version - Main Menu

Theatrical Version - Special Features Menu #1

Theatrical Version - Special Features Menu #2

Now then... I'm off to get some sleep! Don't forget that tonight is the end of our Oscar-themed Trivia Contest, so get your entries in quick if you want to participate. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/26/02 - 12:30 PM PST)

We've got new word from Columbia TriStar on a pair of 2-disc SuperBit Deluxe titles - The Patriot and Hollow Man. We've mentioned The Patriot before, but Hollow Man is a new announcement. Both discs street on May 28th, each with an SRP of $28.95. We at The Bits think it's about time Columbia TriStar figured out that THIS is the best way to use its SuperBit line - just include the extras on a seperate disc!

The Patriot: SuperBit Deluxe will feature [Disc One] digitally mastered audio and anamorphic widescreen presentation, audio in English 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS, subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai [Disc Two] visual effects interactive featurette, battlefield featurette: The Art of War, The True Patriots featurette, deleted scenes with commentary by Roland Emmerich, conceptual art-to-film comparisons, photo gallery, direct weblink, filmographies, theatrical trailers and talent files.

Hollow Man: SuperBit Deluxe will feature [Disc One] digitally mastered audio and anamorphic widescreen presentation, audio in English 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS, subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai [Disc Two] the HBO "making of" Anatomy of a Thriller, 3 deleted scenes, theatrical trailers, filmographies, Fleshing Out the Hollow Man behind-the-scenes featurettes and VFX picture-in-picture comparisons

And in other news, we've got a street date for Monster's Ball. Look for the title on 6/11 from Vidmark.

Also today, we've got some very cool upcoming DVD information on yet-to-be-announced Paramount titles. You'll find that in The Rumor Mill, so don't miss it!

See you back here late tonight or early tomorrow morning for that Lord of the Rings info!

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/26/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

We've got a couple of things for you this morning. First of all, we have a pair of new DVD reviews. I've given Paramount's new Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One DVD boxed set a look, and Todd's checked in with a review of Criterion's new release of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. Both titles street today.

We've also got an interesting link for you Blade Runner fans. Director Ridley Scott recently did an interview with Swedish television in which he talked a little bit about what we can expect from the new special edition DVD that's in the works. It boils down to a 3-disc set with multiple cuts of the film. One note however - I wouldn't start getting excited yet. There's still a LOT of work to be done on this release, so don't look for it to be released before the end of the year at the earliest. My guess is it will arrive in 2003. I will, however, be worth the wait.

And finally this morning, tonight is New Line's big The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring DVD event in Los Angeles. The studio will be unveiling all its detailed DVD release plans for the title, including street date, artwork and disc specs. I'll be there in person to get the full report, so check back here very early tomorrow morning for all the details!

Until then... stay tuned.

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/25/02 - 10 AM PST)

And to think we almost forgot! Yes indeed... today marks the 5th anniversary of the debut of our favorite format into its initial test markets. On this day, 5 years ago, I high-tailed it out to my local Good Guys and bought a Toshiba SD-3006 DVD player and three DVDs - Blade Runner, Dr. Strangelove and Legends of the Fall. And I watched them each about a dozen times that first week. Back then, there were only about 20 titles available and just a few thousand players were sold in the first week. Now look at us... more than 15,000 titles and over 28 million players later. DVD... you've come a long way baby!

Were you among the very earliest adopters of DVD? Did you get your first player in March or April of 1997? Then drop me an e-mail and share your favorite early memories of the format with us. And thanks to all you readers who e-mailed to remind us about DVD's big day!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/25/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

Well... what did I tell you? Definitely some surprises at the Academy Awards last night. My ouija board only nailed 11 out of 24 - not my best effort to be sure. Despite being unpredictable, however, the event still managed to drag heavier than Divine in a John Waters flick. Frankly, I'm exhausted after another evening spent watching Hollywood pat itself on the back. One can only hope Robert Redford's plea for the industry to start taking more risks will fall on receptive ears. But even Redford seemed a little tired. Oh well. Anyway, here's the full list of the winners...

Picture - A Beautiful Mind
Director - Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind
Actor - Denzel Washington, Training Day
Actress - Halle Berry, Monster's Ball
Supporting Actor - Jim Broadbent, Iris
Supporting Actress - Jennifer Connelly , A Beautiful Mind
Adapted Screenplay - Akiva Goldsman, A Beautiful Mind
Original Screenplay - Julian Fellowes, Gosford Park
Cinematography - Andrew Lesnie, The Lord of the Rings
Film Editing - Pietro Scalia, Black Hawk Down
Art Direction - Moulin Rouge
Visual Effects
- Lord of the Rings
Costume Design - Moulin Rouge
Makeup - Lord of the Rings
Sound - Black Hawk Down
Sound Editing - Pearl Harbor
Score - The Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore
Song - If I Didn't Have You, Randy Newman Monsters, Inc.
Animated Film - Shrek
Foreign Film - No Man's Land
Documentary - Murder on a Sunday Morning
Documentary Short - Thoth
Animated Short - For the Birds
Live Action Short - The Accountant

On a more DVD related theme, we've got more Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork for you this morning - some 30 new covers in all. There's Atlantic City, Desert Rats, Dune: Special Edition, Graveyard Shift, The Hustler: Special Edition, I Am Sam: Platinum Edition, It Came from Outer Space, Silent Running, The Man from Snowy River, all of the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection: Volume II titles, The Pagemaster, The Verdict and more. Do check them out.

We've also got some new upcoming DVD news for you today. A&E has announced Thunderbirds, Sets 5 & 6 for 4/30. Columbia TriStar has added Midnight Clear and Mission Kashmir to their 6/4 slate. HBO will debut Don King: Only in America on 7/9. Madacy will release Figure Skating: The Competition and Figure Skating: The Exhibition from the 2002 Winter Olympics on 4/2. New Line has announced I Am Sam and Happy Campers for release on 6/18. Paramount's added Five Card Stud, Will Penny, Bad Company and Goin' South to 6/4. And Warner will release Big Wednesday, The Champ, Oh, God!, Innerspace and My Favorite Year on 7/9.

There's news today about the first ever bust of an illegal DVD piracy operation here in the States. Authorities on Sunday raided and shut down a DVD burning lab based in a New York City apartment. Police confiscated "two computer towers, 15 DVD burners, 1,208 copies of pirate DVDs and about $5,200 in cash. Only one person was arrested." Click here for the full story via Yahoo (thanks, Matt!).

We've even got some news about a DVD that's many months away. In fact, the film itself just hit theaters this weekend - New Line's Blade 2. Director Guillermo del Toro spoke with Entertainment Weekly recently and revealed that he's already working on the 2-disc set. Look for a "making of" documentary, interviews, storyboards of unrealized sequences, audio commentary and deleted scenes. Del Toro is also reportedly working on a new DVDs of Cronos and Devil's Backbone.

Back later this morning with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/22/02 - 3 PM PST)

Just a last update before the weekend to let you all know that Universal's official Back to the Future DVD website now features a trailer for the DVD release that you can watch online. Be aware that it's a little slow at the moment, what with so many people trying to access it. But if you're eagerly awaiting the discs, it's worth a look. Thanks to Stephen Clark of for the heads-up. Have a great weekend!

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/22/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

Morning all! We're up early (or late?) to end this Oscar week in style. First up, we've got a new Doogan's Views feature for you today, which is the complete text of a Instant Messenger chat between Todd and Drew about (what else?) the Oscars. It's a good, in-depth and occasionally even funny conversation, so give it a read to get yourself in the award show mood. 'Cause these days, you NEED a reason to watch an award show.

Also this morning, we've added some 19 more cover scans to the Upcoming DVD Artwork section, including Criterion's Traffic, A&E's Shackleton, MGM's The Last Waltz, Caveman, The Manhattan Project and more. Remember, click on each cover will allow you to pre-order the title with DVD Planet. They support us, so please support them.

We've also updated some of the sales charts above, as well as updating our mirror of Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ to the most recent version (dated March 10th).

And before I sign off for the day, since Todd and Drew are talking Oscar, here's my picks for this year...

Picture - Lord of the Rings
Director - Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind
Actor - Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind
Actress - Halle Berry, Monster's Ball
Supporting Actor - Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings
Supporting Actress - Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom
Adapted Screenplay - Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff, Ghost World
Original Screenplay - Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson, Royal Tenenbaums
Cinematography - Slawomir Idziak, Black Hawk Down
Film Editing - Pietro Scalia, Black Hawk Down
Art Direction - Moulin Rouge
Visual Effects
- Lord of the Rings
Costume Design - Moulin Rouge
Makeup - Lord of the Rings
Sound - Black Hawk Down
Sound Editing - Pearl Harbor
Score - Harry Potter, John Williams
Song - Until, Sting - Kate & Leopold
Animated Film - Shrek
Foreign Film - Amelie
Documentary - War Photographer
Documentary Short - Sing!
Animated Short - For the Birds
Live Action Short - Copy Shop

I'm usually able to get about 85% correct, but I'll admit, this year is a real crapshoot - probably the hardest it's been in a decade or more. There's a lot more politics at play, for one thing. And too many better performances didn't even get nominated. So the above are my best guesses - some I would love to see win, and some I wouldn't. But hey - since I'm not an Academy voter, it's all in fun anyway. I do think Lord of the Rings is gonna eek out a win over Beautiful Mind for Best Picture, the latter film not having the "big screen" feel that Academy voters usually seem to prefer in the category. But it's gonna be close. Will the fact that Lord of the Rings is a fantasy weigh more negatively with Academy voters than Mind's inaccuracies? Who knows. But one thing is certain... expect a few surprises.

So that's all. Enjoy the Oscars and have a great weekend!


We've got some big DVD news for you today. First of all, as you may have heard, New Line will officially unveil their dual DVD versions of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings at a special event on the evening of Tuesday, March 26th. So we'll have all the details for you on the discs the following morning.

Now then... there's word today from the Hollywood Reporter that Warner will be issuing a special director's cut of Amadeus to theaters on April 5th (created by producer Saul Zaentz and director Milos Forman). That new cut of the film will then be part of an Amadeus: Special Edition 2-disc DVD set in September, which will include audio commentary, along with a "making of" documentary that will include lots of new interviews and footage. The pair also decided to create a new One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next: Special Edition 2-disc DVD release at the same time, which will feature the original theatrical cut. It will have some additional extras, including a number of outtakes and new interviews with co-screenwriter Bo Goldman, Forman and Zaentz, along with restored picture and sound. Here's the DVD cover artwork for both titles...

Amadeus: Special EditionOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next: Special Edition

Now then... we've got word on a whole bunch of new upcoming DVDs, so let's run 'em down. Other forthcoming Warner titles include As Time Goes By: Series 4 (4/2), The Harvey Girls and Hyperspace (4/30), South Park: Insults and Injuries (5/7), All Creatures Great and Small: Series 1 (5/14), Sex and the City: The Complete Third Season (5/21), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Great Race (6/4), Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol (7/2) and Oh, God! and The Champ (1979 - 7/9). A DVD version of The Vagina Monologues is also on the way (street date TBD).

Columbia TriStar has revealed that they'll be releasing Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down on 6/11. Other forthcoming Columbia titles include Race the Sun (4/30), The Villain and a Memento: Limited Edition (2-discs, both 5/21), The Mothman Prophecies (6/4), Slackers, The Patriot: Deluxe SuperBit Edition (2-discs) and a Starship Troopers: Special Edition (2-discs, all 5/28).

They also have a Stuart Little: Deluxe Edition due on 5/21, as part of the build-up for Stuart Little 2, which features "new" material not included on the previous DVD special editions (full frame video, English 5.1 and 2.0 audio, Stuart's Central Park Adventure game, bloopers & gag reel, visual effects gag reel, A Little Look with Stuart game, sneak peek at Stuart Little 2, Making it Big: HBO Special, Race with Stuart ROM game, visual effects interactive featurette, director and animation supervisor audio commentary, visual effects supervisor commentary, artists screen tests, Read Along with Stuart, Boat Race early concept reel, deleted scenes, art galleries, talent files, theatrical trailers and more).

And there are a few more Buena Vista titles to mention today as well, including The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (5/7), The Journey of Natty Gann and Monkeys Go Home (both 5/21) and Girls In Prison, Krippendorf's Tribe, Office Killer, Gordy, Mr. Wrong, The Color of Money, The Joy Luck Club, Muppet Treasure Island, Captives, V.I. Warshawski, Sarafina!, The Scarlet Letter, The Neverending Story III and The Good Mother (all on 6/4).

Now then... we've added some 19 new pieces of DVD artwork to the Upcoming DVD Artwork section, including many of the titles listed above. Enjoy!

Speaking of Columbia TriStar, a number of our readers are working on an online petition to protest the company's decision to release a number of its upcoming DVDs in full frame only (including Stuart Little: Deluxe Edition, Mo' Money, To Gillian on her 32nd Birthday and 84 Charing Cross Road). Head on over there and sign it if you agree strongly, as we do, that all widescreen aspect ratio films should be presented unaltered on DVD.

Also today, we've got a look at what MAY be the spec list for the yet-to-be-announced Back to the Future DVDs. You'll find that in The Rumor Mill today.

One last note... the latest word on Pacific Family Entertainment's MIA Final Countdown DVD is that it should start shipping "by the end of the month". I wouldn't hold your breath. Thanks to Bits reader Roger C. for the tip.

We'll be back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/20/02 - 7 PM PST)

A quick update for those of you who reported the problem - our Trivia Contest e-mail should be working again. Just FYI! ;-)

Back in the morning with more. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/20/02 - 12:01 AM PST)

We've got a few more retro reviews today that we're clearing out... New Line's Sugar & Spice and Touchstone's Shanghai Noon from Brian, along with Dimension's Scary Movie from Dan.

We've also kicked off our new Oscar-themed Trivia Contest, with tons of great prizes including great Fox and DreamWorks DVDs, a Last Castle poster signed by James Gandolfini and copies of Sophie B. Hawkins: The Cream Will Rise on DVD signed by Sophie B. Hawkins and director Gigi Gaston! You've got a week to enter, so get busy!

Also this morning, we've got a look at the packaging for Paramount's Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Two DVD box set, which streets 5/7:

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Two

By the way, already has the rest of the Star Trek: The Next Generation DVD sets available for preorder... and has revealed the street dates for each! So look for Season Three on 7/2, Season Four on 9/3, Season Five on 11/5, Season Six on 12/3 and Season Seven on 12/31. Thanks to Bits reader David S. for the tip. Also, this is official from the studio - Paramount's told us that they will be resuming the release of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager on VHS in June and July. That, along with the fact that preorders of The Next Generation on DVD are apparently looking very good, means there's a high likelihood of seeing Deep Space Nine and Voyager hit DVD in 2003 and beyond.

While we're on a space theme, here's a scary little bit of belated news to mull over with your morning cup of coffee. Our humble little planet just barely missed getting nailed by a small asteroid on March 8th. The rock came at us from a blind spot in the direction of the sun, so astronomers didn't even see it until it had already passed us. It scooted by at a relatively slim distance of some 288,000 miles, or just slightly farther away then our own Moon. Had it hit, there would have been no warning, and it was big enough to flatten a large city. You might think this is a rare occurrence, but this exact sort of thing has happened a few times in the last year (including recently on January 7th and January 16th). If this isn't a good enough reason to fund NASA a little better these days, I don't know what is!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/19/02 - 4:45 PM PST)

Our long-awaited Upcoming DVD Artwork update is finally online, featuring more than 150 new cover scans. We've got Mulholland Drive, From Hell: Limited Edition, Vanilla Sky, Sidewalks of New York, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Two, Spy Game: Collector's Edition, Rashomon, Black Knight, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Highlander: Immortal Edition, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Transformers: Season One, Spriggan, Ali, Waking Life, Legend: Ultimate Edition, The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season, The Fan, UHF, Shallow Hal, Mr. Show, School House Rocks! and TONS more.

We'll be back later this evening with our new Trivia Contest. In the meantime... enjoy the art!

(LATE UPDATE - 3/19/02 - 2 PM PST)

Doogan's Views is now up, featuring Todd's reviews of Rubric's Abnormal: The Sinema of Nick Zedd, Fox's Behind Enemy Lines and Dimension's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: Collector's Edition. Back soon with more...

And by the way, we are aware that our search engines and banners aren't working right yet. They'll be functioning correctly in a day or two. Just FYI. ;-)

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/19/02 - 11:45 AM PST)

Hay gang... we've got several posts coming today for you. We received lots more Upcoming DVD Artwork than we expected, so it took a while to sort it all out. But we expect to have some 150 new covers up for you to check out this afternoon. In the meantime, we've got new information on some cool upcoming Paramount titles available in The Rumor Mill right now. And we've got a new Doogan's Views coming this afternoon too. Heck, we might even kick off our new Oscar-themed Trivia Contest. So be sure to check back in a few hours for those.

On the topic of Internet gossip today, The's got Lucasfilm's official reaction to Ain't It Cool News's having seen (and reviewed) a VHS roughcut Star Wars: Episode II. It boils down to they don't know how it happened but they're "glad he liked the movie". Sheesh... you can almost hear their shit-eating grins. Oh, SSSUUUUUURREEE we don't know how he might have seen it (wink, wink... nudge, nudge). Anyone else think this "leak" was a savvy and intentional effort by Lucasfilm to generate a little good press for the movie? And is anyone surprised that old Harry took the bait like a starving piranha to steak tartar? Hell, then he went to schlok-monger Matt Drudge and CNN, and today it's a Variety story and it's up on the newswires. Man, hats off to you guys at Lucasfilm! You've got to both hate and admire brilliant movie marketing. I can't wait to see the flick myself, but man... I still can't stop laughing about this! ;-)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/18/02 - 2:15 PM PST)

Let's start testing the bandwidth on this new server, shall we? Here's a sneak peek at the DVD menu screens for Universal's Legend: Ultimate Edition (street date 5/21 - note that the director's cut features the Jerry Goldsmith score):

Legend Menu #1

Legend Menu #2

Legend Menu #3

Legend Menu #4

Legend Menu #5

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/18/02 - 12:15 PM PST)

Afternoon all! We're working on adding some new artwork to the Upcoming DVD Artwork section, so we'll let you know when that's ready. But first, we wanted to update you all on a couple of interesting stories.

First of all, you may or may not be aware of this, but a number of yet-to-be-released Oscar nominated films are already available on Ebay as bootleg DVD versions. A few of them look to be copies of Academy DVD screeners, while others are of truly poor quality. Someone actually sent me a copy of The Lord of the Rings on bootleg DVD, and I was surprised to find 5.1 sound, animated menus and at least VHS-quality video. Certainly, it will be nothing compared to the anamorphic widescreen official version coming later this year from New Line, but the fact that these discs exist at all attest to the increasing sophistication of digital pirates. Reuters has story up on this (via Yahoo) and it's worth checking out.

Also today, there's word that USA Home Entertainment is folding, to be absorbed by Universal Home Video. According to published reports: Universal Studios Home Video will start to distributed USA titles beginning with seven-time Oscar nominee Gosford Park. Note that title was to have been released by USA on May 28th - the date is now TBA. You can read more on this via this link at Video Business online.

And there's one more note from the corporate world today - AV electronics company Marantz will be merging with Denon. You can read more at Audio

Finally, here's an interesting tidbit for you Star Wars fans. Ain't it Cool News supposedly got a look at the rough cut of Attack of the Clones on VHS, and has a review. Sprinkle generously with salt, but the review seems pretty positive... if you can read it that is. Their server seems to be taking a beating today. Can May come fast enough?

Back later so stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/15/02 - 2:45 PM PST)

First things first - we want to point you all to a very cool article by Ron Epstein of The Home Theater Forum on the work of film preservationist Robert Harris, specifically his effort to preserve MGM's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. We've long championed efforts to restore classic films, and Bob is one of the best in the business at it. Ron's story is good reading and features a great interview with Harris about his work. Don't miss it.

Now then... we're clearing out our review "x-files" this afternoon, with no less than SIX DVD reviews that were delayed by the server difficulties we've had over the last few months. Most of them are retro reviews, but there's a couple more recent titles too. We've got Adam Jahnke's look at Remstar's Baise-Moi (hide the kiddies for that one!) and Brian's take on Dimension's The Crow: Salvation. Then we've got two from Greg - New Line's Last Man Standing and Universal's Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Uncensored - followed by two more from Dan - Artisan's Cecil B. Demented and Columbia TriStar's All About My Mother. Better late that never... that's my motto. ;-)

And with that, we bid you a fond adieu for the weekend. See you back here on Monday with another big update (think artwork). And all you Irish types out there, have a safe and happy Saint Patrick's Day!

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/15/02 - Noon PST)

Okay, time for another upcoming DVD news update (and we haven't even started with The Rumor Mill yet)!

Anchor Bay has set Supergirl: Director's Cut and How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way for 5/7. Artisan will release Wagons East and Cover Up on 6/18. Megadeath: Rude Awakening streets from BMG Music on 4/9. Buena Vista will release Imposter on 7/9. Columbia TriStar has added 84 Charing Cross Road, Agnes of God and Villain to its 5/21 slate, with Dark Blue World and Slackers following on 5/28 and Mothman Prophecies on 6/4. Criterion's take on Traffic is due on 5/28. USA will deliver Robert Altman's Best Picture nominated Gosford Park on 5/14, with Street King following on 5/21 and Firestarter 2: Rekindled due on 5/28. On the Edge hits DVD on 5/21 from Universal. And UAV will deliver Across the Great Divide, Animal Farm (1954), Blood on the Sun, Border Cop, Cage, Christmas Wife, Deadly Drifter (aka: Out), Eliza’s Horoscope, Fifteen and Pregnant, Ginger in the Morning, Herod the Great, Joe, Last Days of Patton, Last of the Belles, Little Mermaid (animated), Lying Eyes, Muhammed Ali, Murder in Coweta County, Narrow Escape, Real American Hero (aka: Hard Stick), Suddenly, Take My Advice, Ultimate Betrayal, When Husbands Cheat, When Innocence is Lost and Windwalker, all on 4/2.

We also have a Rumor Mill update this morning with word on what are expected to be the biggest DVD titles of 2002. Don't miss it!

Back this afternoon with more reviews...

(LATE UPDATE - 3/14/02 - 1 PM PST)

As promised, we're back with a pair of new DVD reviews. First up, we've got Drew's take on Fox's new Sexy Beast, a film for which Ben Kingsley has garnered an Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor. It's well worth a look.

Also today, we're pleased to welcome another new DVD reviewer to The Digital Bits fold - one Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz (we'll just call him Mojo around here). He's got a look at Columbia TriStar's recent The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete First Season on DVD. Mojo's worked in the "biz" for a while now. He supervised visual effects for Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager, helped produce the recent Buckaroo Banzai DVD and he's a published writer too. He even has his own IMDB listing. We think he'll make a great addition to our staff of DVD hooligans here at The Bits. So welcome aboard, amigo!

We'll have more for you tomorrow, so stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 3/14/02 - 10:30 AM PST)

Okay... our e-mail is now officially working again. That means that we're finally going to be able to continue our previous effort to bring more new DVD reviewers online. In fact, we'll start with one new reviewer this afternoon.

We've just updated the CEA DVD Player Sales charts, the AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list and a few other such items here at The Bits. And we're working to get the other sections of the site updated in the next few days.

How about our first big upcoming DVD news update? ADV Films has officially announced 4/23 as the street date for the anime Spriggan. A&E has added Ivanhoe to their 3/26 slate, with Shackleton: The Greatest Survival Story of All Time due on 4/9 and Elizabeth on 4/23. Anchor Bay is releasing Three Stooges: All Time Favorites and Three Stooges: Greatest Hits and Rarities on 4/16. Artisan's got Fidel, First Blood: Special Edition, Good Advice, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., Outta Time, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III: Special Edition, Snow White, Spirit Lost and When the Party's Over all due on 5/21. Buena Vista upcoming DVDs include The Kid (97 version) on 5/21, Biscuit Eater, Cheetah, Journey of Natty Gann, King of the Grizzlies, Monkeys Go Home and Rascal on 5/28, Behind the Sun and Kate and Leopold on 6/11, Beneath Loch Ness and The Shipping News on 6/18, Pearl Harbor: Vista Series on 7/2, The Royal Tenenbaums on 7/9, Amelie, Backflash and Pinero on 7/16, The Great Mouse Detective and Tarzan and Jane on 7/23, Schoolhouse Rock on 8/27, Mickey's House of Villains on 9/3 and Monsters Inc. on 9/17. Other May DVDs from Buena Vista (street date TBA) will include Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, Old Yeller and The Parent Trap (1961). Columbia TriStar has added To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday to their 5/7 slate, with Cowboy and Requiem for a Heavyweight following on 5/14 and Boa due on 5/21. Newly announced Criterion DVDs include General Idi Amnin Dada and Horse's Mouth on 5/14. Criterion's sister company, Home Vision, is also releasing Zatoichi #1: Blind Swordsman - The Tale of Zatoichi and Zatoichi #2: Blind Swordsman - The Tale of Zatoichi Continues on 5/14.

Let's give Image Entertainment their own paragraph... look for Beach Girls and the Monster, Carman: In Concert - One Night Only, Educational Archives #3: Driver's Ed, Educational Archives #4: On the Job, Flight to Mars, Kidsongs: A Day at Camp, Kidsongs: A Day at Old McDonald's Farm, Kidsongs: Baby Animal Songs, Kidsongs: Very Silly Songs, Penthouse Variations: Too Many Women for a Man and Matchbox Twenty: VH1 Storytellers (all 5/7), Beethoven: Symphony #7/Piano Concerto #1, Cologne Music Triennal: Shostakovich/Berio/Sofia, Day After Trinity, Debussy: Pelleas et Melisande - Opera De Lyon, Emily Hubley: Pigeon (And More) Within, Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr., Night of the Ghouls, Penderecki: A Celebration, Pierre Boulez: In Rehearsal, Sweeney Todd in Concert, Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna and Verdi: Aida - Theatro Di San Carlo (all 5/14), Beautiful Latin Ladies, Penthouse: Forum Letters #2, Penthouse: Euro Girls - Eager to Please, Fiend of Dope Island/Pagan Island, Swamp Girl/Swamp Country and Three Dog Night: Live with the Tennessee Symphony Orchestra (all 5/21), Dizzy Gillespie: Live in Montreal, Horace Parlan by Horace Parlan, Melba Moore: Anight in St. Lucia, Phantom Ship, Teddy Edwards: The Legend of Teddy Edwards and Vincent Price: The Sinister Image (all 5/28).

Continuing on, Paramount's added Vanilla Sky to their 5/21 pack, and Graveyard Shift, Real World You Never Saw: Chicago, Real World: Decade of Bloopers, Silver Bullet and Sorry, Wrong Number to 5/28. Rhino continues with Transformers Season #1, Volumes 1-3 on 4/23. Sony will release Clash: Westway to the World on 4/9. Fox will debut Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Second Season on 6/11, with The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season following on 7/9. Universal's How High debuts on 5/21. Universal Music's Kiss: Exposed, Sum 41: Introduction to Destruction and Supertramp: The Story so Far hit disc on 3/26, with Quincy Jones: In the Pocket following on 5/21. And Warner's added a full frame version of Ocean's Eleven to 5/7 (to go along with their widescreen release). Whew!

Back with a couple of new DVD reviews this afternoon. Stay tuned...


Yes... it's true. WE'RE BACK, BABY!! Did ya miss us? ;-)

If you're reading this, you're doing so from our spiffy new, lightning-fast server. Naturally, we planned on the move being a lot smoother that it turned out to be, but hey - the forced vacation was good for us. We're refreshed... rejuvinated even.

Be aware that it's gonna take us the rest of the week to rev our engines back up to full throttle. We've got a lot of news to catch up on, plus we're working to get our new reviewers online. Our e-mail was disrupted the whole time the site was down (and it's STILL very funky), so if you send us mail and we don't reply or it bounces back... you know why. All in all, we expect to be fully up to speed by Monday. And you can expect that a massive Upcoming DVD Artwork update will be at the top of our "to do" list now that we've got plenty of bandwidth to worth with.

While we're coming back online, be sure to check out Dan Kelly's one-on-one interview with Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann, which went live right before the site went down (which, therefore, most of you haven't seen yet). And we'll be back in the morning with the first of several catch-up posts.

We plan on sticking around for a LONG time, so don't go anywhere... ;-)

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