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Site created 12/15/97.

page updated: 9/10/04

My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 9/1/04 - 8/13/04)

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Today's update is going to be brief, because Sarah and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. Gotta have priorities, you know? That said, we've got a bunch of great new announcements for you this morning, and some new cover art too.

First up, HBO has announced the DVD release of Sex and the City: The Sixth Season - Part 2 for 12/18 (SRP $49.99). The 3 disc set will include the remainder of the series' episodes along with audio commentary on 4 episodes with Michael Patrick King, 10 deletes scenes, 3 never-before-seen alternate endings and a 75-minute video of the Aspen Comedy Arts Festival Seminar recorded in March 2004 (featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Patrick King and other writers from the show). Video will be the original full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0.

HBO has also announced Oz: The Complete Fourth Season for release on 1/11/05 (SRP $64.98). This 3-disc set will tentatively include 30 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary on 2 episodes with Tom Fontana, Rita Moreno, Dean Winters and Lee Turgeson.

On the Warner front, anybody up for Gunga Din? Look for the George Stevens classic on 12/7 (SRP $19.97) in its original full frame video and mono audio. Also coming on 12/7 (with the same specs and price) are Stevens' I Remember Mama, his D-Day to Berlin documentary and the new George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey documentary.

Warner has also announced the TCM Archives: The Buster Keaton Collection for 12/7 (SRP $39.92). The 2-disc set will include 3 classic films from Keaton's MGM period - The Cameraman (1928 - remastered with a new score by Arthur Barnow), Spite Marriage (1929) and Free and Easy (1930 - Keaton's first "talkie"). The set also includes Kevin Brownlow's new So Funny It Hurts: Buster Keaton at MGM documentary.

One last Warner note - be aware that the release date for The Iron Giant: Special Edition has been pushed back to 11/16.

In other news today, Criterion has announced the DVD release of Robert Altman's Short Cuts and the 5-disc Fanny and Alexander Box Set (which will include both the theatrical and television versions of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, along with The Making of Fanny and Alexander documentary). The titles will all street on 11/16.

Also, Paramount has announced the December release of Distant Thunder, A Show of Force (both 12/7) and Lords of Discipline (12/21). No details yet on extras.

Speaking of Paramount... remember how we told you on Monday that the studio had decided not to delay the 9/7 release of its Star Trek: Generations - Special Collector's Edition (to correct the inaccurate spec listing on the back of the packaging)? That information came right from the studio. And guess what? I got another e-mail from them last night saying that they might delay the title after all. Rest assured we'll post whatever we learn as soon as we learn it. Let this be taken as proof positive that even official information changes from time to time.

How's about some of that cover art we promised you? Here's Criterion's Short Cuts, Fox's The Clearing (11/9), Universal's Riverworld (11/16), HBO's Sex and the City: The Sixth Season - Part 2 and Oz: The Complete Fourth Season, and Warner's Gunga Din...

Short CutsThe ClearingRiverworld

Sex and the City: The Sixth Season - Part 2Oz: The Complete Fourth SeasonGunga Din

One last note today... our friends at Fantoma Films are going to be holding a special DVD signing event in L.A. for their new special edition of The Forbidden Zone. Director Richard Elfman will be on hand to sign your discs tomorrow (Thursday, 9/2 at 7 PM) at Amoeba Music in Hollywood (6400 W. Sunset Blvd). It should be a lot of fun, so see you all in the Sixth Dimension!

Have a swell day!


Well... I've talked with Doogan and the good news is he's doing just fine. Todd came out of his surgery like a champ and is already recouping at home. He's a bit loopy, but he's in good spirits. And you know, he's always been a bit loopy. I'm sure he'll tell you all about his little brush with 21st Century medicine in his next column as soon as he's feeling up to it. In the meantime, thanks to all those of you who have sent him kind words. He's definitely been reading your e-mails and he really appreciates them.

I promised you some reviews yesterday, so here's a few for you to chew on. Our own Rob Hale has checked in with a look at Miramax's recent Trainspotting: Collector's Series 2-disc set. And we're very pleased today to welcome a new reviewer to The Bits family... Aric Mitchell. Aric kicks off his tenure here with a look at a pair of horror titles - Anchor Bay's Happy Hell Night (a lost 80s almost classic from the early 90s) and Ventura's Audition (a new Japanese classic from the one and only Takashi Miike). Enjoy!

One interesting bit of DVD news this morning - First Run Features is going to be releasing The Up Series on disc on 10/19 (SRP $99.95). This 5-disc collector's edition will include all of director Michael Apted's acclaimed Up documentaries, including Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up and 42 Up. In case you're not familiar with this series, it has literally followed the diverse lives of a group of English children starting from the time they were all seven years old until recently when they're well into middle age. It's really a fascinating piece of work. The set includes Apted's audio commentary for 42 Up, a biography on the director and a photo gallery for each film. I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

Here's the cover art for The Up Series, along with Paramount's Foul Play and Ragtime (both 11/16)...

The Up SeriesFoul PlayRagtime

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/30/04 - 3 PM PDT)

20th Century Fox has announced the DVD release of 24: The Complete Third Season for 12/7 (SRP $69.98). The 6-disc set will include all 24 episodes in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, along with deleted scenes (viewable by seamless branching), audio commentary on 6 episodes by all the major actors, directors and the show's creators (one commentary per disc), a preview of Season Four, 3 featurettes (including 24: On the Loose, Boys and Their Toys and Biothreat: Beyond the Series), a multi-angle scene study, and the Inside Look: Mr. and Mrs. Smith sneak peek featurette. Here's the cover art:

24: The Complete Third Season

Also, Universal has announced the The Bourne Supremacy for 12/7 (SRP $29.98). The film will be available in separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. This is a single-disc edition, and there doesn't look to be any major special edition features, so you can bet a more elaborate version is on the way for 2005.

Other titles just announced by Universal include Ali G Indahouse: The Movie (11/2) and The Courage to Love (11/30).

There's been a rumor flying around the Internet today that Paramount's Star Trek: Generations - Special Collector's Edition was going to be delayed from its 9/7 street date. This is NOT true. I've just confirmed with Paramount that the title WILL street on 9/7 as expected. There had been some talk about delaying the release so that the spec listing on the packaging could be corrected (the back of the package mistakenly lists the theatrical trailer and preview trailers as extras - we're hearing from sources that they were left off for clearance issues). The studio has decided to release the packaging as is rather than delay the title. So let this end the confusion - there IS no delay.

Finally, we've kicked off FOUR MORE new Contests today, giving each of you the chance to win DVD copies of Fantoma's Forbidden Zone, Universal's Columbo: Season One & Magnum P.I.: Season One, Disney's The Lion King 2: Special Edition, HBO's Chris Rock: Never Scared and Jim Brown All-American. The contests will run until Noon PDT on Sunday September 5th. Good luck!

Just FYI, I'm going to wait until tonight to post those DVD reviews. I'm knee-deep in chasing down some announcement rumors and so forth. Never a dull moment... and not enough hours in the day. ;-)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/30/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Well, here we are... a brand new week. Even as I write this, Doogan is probably lying in some hospital room down in Dixie, pumped full of painkillers and wearing a paper gown with no back.

Yeah, sorry for that disturbing visual image. ;-)

Anyway, Todd'll back later this week and in the meantime, we've got some big news today. Disney has officially confirmed that little bit of Bambi news we posted last week in The Rumor Mill. Their 2-disc Bambi: Special Edition will street on 3/1/05 (SRP $29.99). The set will feature a frame-by-frame digital restoration of the animated classic (a la Snow White), along with the Walt's Annotated Bambi and The Bambi Legacy documentaries, cut scenes and sequences from the film you've never seen before, a Disney Time Capsule, the Disneypedia, interactive games and MUCH more.

For you scalawags out there, Disney will release Pirates of the Caribbean: The Lost Disc on 11/2 (SRP $29.99). This is a 3-disc set that includes the original 2-disc version of the film along with a 3rd bonus disc of all new booty. Unfortunately, methinks there's no way to get the bonus disc WITHOUT buying the original DVD over again. We'll look into it, mateys.

Keeping it in the Disney family, Touchstone will release Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur in 2 different DVD versions on 12/21 - the PG-13 theatrical edition and an unrated director's extended edition. Both versions will include deleted scenes and an alternate ending with optional director's commentary, the Blood on the Land: Forging King Arthur documentary, a "roundtable" audio commentary with the cast and filmmakers, a Knight Vision pop-up trivia track, a playable Xbox videogame demo and a gallery of producer Jerry Bruckheimer's personal on-set photos. I believe there will also be separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen editions of each version, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

On 11/9, Miramax will deliver a Bridget Jones's Diary: Collector's Edition (SRP $19.99 - timed to coincide with the theatrical release of the sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). Extras will include audio commentary with director Sharon Maguire, deleted scenes, a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes, trailers and TV spots, Bridget Jones's columns, reviews of the film and more.

Columbia TriStar will release Falling from Grace on 11/9. No word yet on extras.

And here's a title that has Matt and I excited... New Line will release the ultimate rolling concert film on disc, the Festival Express: Special Edition, on 11/2 (SRP $24.98). The 2-disc set will contain the documentary film in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras will include more than 50 minutes of additional concert footage and interviews not seen in theaters. Vintage 1970 Janis Joplin, The Band and the Grateful Dead, all liquored up on a train and belting out the tunes in DTS surround sound? Now THAT'S a freaking cool concert DVD!

Here's cover art for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Lost Disc, Festival Express: Special Edition and Warner's Smallville: The Complete Third Season (due on 11/16). Art for the other titles announced today isn't available yet, but we'll post it as soon as it is.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Lost DiscFestival Express

Smallville: The Complete Third Season

Now then... we've got some reviews coming this afternoon, but first I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of Emiel Petrone, one of the very early advocates of the DVD format, who apparently died last week at 61. He was the executive VP of Philips Electronics Corporate Alliance Group, and one of the founders of the original DVD Video Group (now the Digital Entertainment Group). I actually met Emiel on a number of occasions back in the early days of DVD, when being the editor of one of the very first DVD websites meant attending conference after conference where the DVD and Divx forces would square off in spirited panel debates about the merits of each format. Here's a photo I took back in 1998 at just such an event at VSDA. That's Petrone on the right, with then VSDA president Jeffrey Eves (middle) and the godfather of DVD, Warren Lieberfarb (left)...

{short description of image}

Anyway, I can't say I knew the guy personally, but I can tell you that he did a HELLUVA lot to help make the DVD format what it is today, so we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Hats off to him from all of us here at The Digital Bits.

Back with more later. Stay tuned...


Top o' the morning to ya, folks! Yes, at long last we've reached the end of another work week. Feels kinda nice, doesn't it? I don't know about you, but I definitely need a couple of days to chill out. Been pretty busy around here of late.

Our first bit of news today is one you TV on DVD fans are going to appreciate. All this week, Best Buy stores have been giving away a free NBC Fall Preview DVD that just so happens to include a bonus trailer advertising a number of classic Universal TV shows coming to DVD in 2004. Among the titles listed as on the way for later this year are such gems as The Bionic Woman, Kojak, Miami Vice and Murder, She Wrote. We'll post all the details as soon as they come in from the studio. Start looking for that second job, folks!

Now then, this next bit has absolutely nothing to do with DVD... except perhaps that I personally can't wait for the title to arrive on disc next year. You know, when Sci-Fi cancelled Farscape, I stopped watching the frelling cable network in protest. But I think I'm gonna have to lift my embargo for this. The series is briefly returning to Sci-Fi (on 10/17) as a mini-series event... and the trailer for Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars is now online in glorious Quicktime video. Do check it out, Scapers.

Okay... I've been promising reviews all week. While I've delivered a couple of new Trek DVD reviews my own damn self (bad grammar intended), posting the rest keeps getting put off for whatever reason. Thankfully, my partner in crime, Todd Doogan, has come to the rescue. He's just turned in his latest Doogan's Views column, in which he reviews 11 new DVDs that arrived in stores this week. Among the titles covered are Miramax's Ella Enchanted and Shaolin Soccer, Fox's The Girl Next Door: Unrated Edition, New Line's Highwaymen and Laws of Attraction, Criterion's I Vitelloni, Warner's Purple Rain: 20th Anniversary Special Edition, Under the Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge, and Universal's The Munsters: The Complete First Season and Night Gallery: The Complete First Season. As usual, Todd also runs down the other major releases of the week, so you definitely don't want to miss it.

While we're on the topic of Todd, I wanted to take a moment to say a quick couple of words on his behalf. I've been getting a lot of e-mails from readers lately asking what's up with Todd's column, where's Todd anyway, and what the hell is Todd smokin' because he sure ain't keeping up with his damn column? Well gang... it's like this. Sometimes when you've got plans to do one thing, life has a way of kicking you right square in the nads. Not long after we got back from Comic-Con, our old buddy Todd learned he's gonna have to have some pretty wicked surgery. Homeboy goes under the knife on Monday, so do me favor - drop the Doogan an e-mail and send a little love his way. Todd's just one of those guys, you know? A real redwood among sprouts. The Bits wouldn't be here without him, so do let him know how you feel. Like Bartles and Jaymes used say, "Thank you for your support."

Oh, I almost forgot. Over at our MusicTAP site this morning, George Bennett's delivered a new SACD review for you to check out - Jim Hall: Concierto from Mobile Fidelity. Matt Rowe and his crew over there are doing a bang-up job covering all the latest DVD-Audio, SACD, music DVD and general CD release news, so be sure to check out their work if you haven't done so already.

Alright... we're all squared up for this week. We've got more DVD reviews lined up for Monday, so be sure to check back then. In the meantime, as always, y'all go have yourselves a dandy weekend!


Time sure is flying, isn't it? Hard to believe it's already almost September. Anyway, we've got three new pieces of cover art for you to check out this morning. Here's a look at Warner's Batman: The Animated Series - Volume Two (12/7) which was announced yesterday, along with Columbia TriStar's Dr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary Edition and Philadelphia: Anniversary Edition (both due 11/2)...

Batman: The Animated Series - Volume TwoDr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary EditionPhiladelphia: Anniversary Edition

Also this morning, this would normally go in The Rumor Mill because it's completely unofficial... but it's Midnight and I'm tired, so here you go. Retail sources are telling us to expect New Line's 4-disc The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition on 12/7. We'll post all the official details as soon as they're announced.

Back later. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/25/04 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Boy... it's a BIG day for animated DVD announcements. Warner Bros. has just unveiled FIVE great animated releases that are all due to street on 12/7, starting with the 4-disc, 28-episode Batman: The Animated Series - Volume Two (SRP $44.98). Extras will include the Robin Rising, Gotham's Guardians and Voices of the Knight featurettes, and audio commentary on 4 episodes.

Next up is the 2-disc, 18-episode Superman: The Animated Series - Volume One (SRP $26.98). Extras will include the Superman: Learning to Fly and Building the Mythology: Superman's Supporting Cast featurettes, audio commentary on 4 episodes, and pop-up trivia.

Anyone up for a 4-disc, 30-episode Top Cat: The Complete Series (SRP $44.98)? Look for the Back to Hoagy's Alley: The Making of Top Cat retrospective featurette, original storyboards, a sing-a-long, Top Cat's Kelloggs commercials, audio commentary on 3 episodes and more.

How about the 4-disc, 32-episode The Flintstones: The Complete Second Season (SRP $44.98)? Extras will include the Carved in Stone: The Flintstones Phenomenon retrospective documentary, the Songs of the Flintstones music video, original pencil drawings, TV spots, audio commentary on 3 episodes and more.

Finally, The Man Called Flintstone feature film (SRP $19.97) will arrive on 12/7 as well in its original full frame aspect ratio.

Here's some cover art. I'll post the rest as it becomes available...

Superman: The Animated Series - Volume OneTop Cat: The Complete SeriesThe Flintstones: The Complete Second Season

The Man Called Flintstone

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/25/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

We've got a short (but mostly sweet) post for you fans of Star Trek and Star Wars today.

First up, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have officially announced that they'll be releasing a trio of much anticipated "double feature" DVDs on 11/23. Star Wars: Animated Adventures - Droids will include select episodes of the original 1985 Droids animated series edited into two feature-length films - The Pirates and the Prince and Treasures of the Hidden Planet (both 86 minutes). Star Wars: Animated Adventures - Ewoks will also include select episodes of the original 1985-87 Ewoks animated series edited into two feature films - The Haunted Village (88 minutes) and Tales from the Endor Woods (89 minutes). Also on 11/23, you'll get Star Wars: Ewok Adventures, which includes both live-action films from the 1980s - The Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor (both 95 minutes). All three of these DVDs will carry an SRP of $14.98. Unfortunately, I suspect MOST of you were hoping for the Droids and Ewoks animated series to be released complete with all the original episodes, but such is not to be (at least not this go-round). Here's a look at the cover art for all three titles...

Star Wars: Animated Adventures - DroidsStar Wars: Animated Adventures - EwoksStar Wars: Ewok Adventures

For you Trekkies today, I'm pleased to bring you my in-depth review of Paramount's 2-disc Star Trek: Generations - Special Collector's Edition, which streets on 9/7. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this DVD release... with the exception of one important issue. Check out the review for all the details.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/24/04 - 4 PM PDT)

Well... we got stuck trouble-shooting an e-mail problem and it's naturally taken most of the afternoon to get it resolved. Given that, we're going to save those reviews we mentioned earlier for tomorrow and post them all in the morning.

In the meantime, we HAVE kicked off four more new Contests today, giving each of you a chance to win copies of the complete first seasons of Universal's The Apprentice, Night Gallery and The Munsters, Disney's Ella Enchanted, the BBC's Pennies from Heaven and Warner's The Whole Ten Yards. The contests will run until Noon PDT on Sunday August 29th. Good luck!

Back tomorrow!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/24/04 - 11:45 AM PDT)

We've got some more big announcements for you today. First of all, Columbia TriStar has officially revealed that Dr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary Edition we told you about last week. Look for the 2-disc set (due 11/2) to include the film in its original variable full frame aspect ratio(s), with audio in English Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1. Extras will include The Art of Stanley Kubrick from Short Films to Strangelove documentary, the Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove featurette, original split-screen interviews with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, an original advertising gallery, cast bios and production notes. Other than Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio and the set being released on 2 discs, we're trying to determine how this differs from the previous SE release. There doesn't seem to be much difference.

Also set to arrive on 11/2 from the studio is a Philadelphia: Anniversary Edition, which will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.0 audio. Extras will include audio commentary with the filmmakers, deleted scenes, an original production featurette, courthouse protest footage and interviews, Bruce Springsteen's Streets of Philadelphia music video, and the theatrical trailer.

Additional titles to expect on 11/2 from Columbia TriStar include Facing Windows, Renegade, California Split, Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within (3 discs), a Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within/Varekai 2-pack, Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba (2 discs) and The More the Merrier.

Universal has announced the DVD release of a trio of Sci-Fi Channel "originals". No, not Ron Moore's reinvisioned Battlestar Galactica (although we expect that to be announced soon, to street just in time for the premiere of the new series based on the same). On 11/16, look for Riverworld, Control Factor and Clive Barker Presents Saint Sinner (SRP $27.98 each). All three will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video.

The Criterion Collection has announced the current production of two separate versions of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander - a 2-disc theatrical edition (SRP $29.95) and a 5-disc director's cut special edition ($59.95). Both are due on DVD in November.

We have word in The Rumor Mill today from VERY reliable sources about another classic Disney animated title you can expect on DVD next year. Be sure to check it out.

Also, George Bennett of our MusicTAP crew has turned in yet another SACD review - Blood, Sweat & Tears: 3, from Mobile Fidelity. Don't miss it.

Finally, we have some new cover art for you this morning as well. Here's a look at Warner's Troy (1/4/05), the BBC's The Office Special (11/16), Columbia TriStar's final art for Super Size Me (9/28) and the SuperBit and Collector's Gift Set editions of Spider-Man 2 (11/30) and Image Entertainment's Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (10/19)...

TroyThe Office SpecialSuper Size Me

Spider-Man 2: SuperBitSpider-Man 2: Collector's Gift SetPee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

Back later with some reviews. Stay tuned...


Here's some big news... Warner has just announced the DVD release of Wolfgang Peterson's Troy for 1/4/05 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will include 3 featurettes (In the Thick of Battle, From Ruins to Reality and Troy: An Effects Odyssey), a CG Gallery of the Gods photo gallery/tour of Mount Olympus, the theatrical trailer and Easter eggs. Video will be anamorphic widescreen (aspect ratio 2.40:1), with audio on English and French Dolby Digital 5.1. We'll post artwork when it becomes available.

As promised, we're back this afternoon with Barrie's latest Classic Coming Attractions column here at The Bits. In this edition, Barrie reviews Milestone's Winsor McCay: The Master Edition, Kino's La Habanera, Paramount's The Day of the Locust and Ronald Reagan: His Life and Legacy, Shanachie's The Golden Gong: The Story of Rank Films - British Cinema's Legendary Studio and Playboy and Image Entertainment's Rita/Trouble in Texas: Collector's Edition. Enjoy!

In other news today, AN-Entertainment (i.e. Anime Nation Entertainment) will release the animated Miami Guns, Volume 3 on 9/14, with Miami Guns: Volume 4 following on 10/26. Each disc will carry an SRP of $29.95 and will contain 3 episodes, with translation notes, trailers, an image gallery and character guides.

Here's a look at the cover art for the two Miami Guns titles, as well as MGM's Lost Junction (11/2)...

Miami Guns, Volume 3Miami Guns: Volume 4Lost Junction

MGM has set Lost Junction for release on 11/9, with The Saddest Music in the World following on 11/16.

Interested in more MGM information? Check out The Rumor Mill today for word on several upcoming releases on the way for later this year and early 2005. This includes De-Lovely, a Martin Scorsese Film Collection and a Hoosiers: Collector's Edition. Don't miss it.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/23/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got some cool new announcements for you in today's early post. First up, Miramax has revealed that it will release a double feature DVD of Beat Takeshi's Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman and Sonatine on 11/9 (SRP $29.99). Both films will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1 aspect ratio), with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in both the original Japanese and dubbed English (plus English and Spanish subtitles). In terms of extras, Zatoichi will feature a behind-the-scenes featurette and interviews with the cinematographer, the production designer, the costume designer and the "master swordsman". Sonatine will feature an introduction by Quentin Tarantino and an interview with Beat Takeshi.

In other news today, Buena Vista has announced the DVD release of The Golden Girls: Season One, Home Improvement: Season One and Boy Meets World: Season Two, all for 11/23 (SRP $49.99 each). The Golden Girls will include 25 episodes on 3 discs, including the pilot and a "fashion" commentary by Joan and Melissa Rivers. *blurp*

(You'll have to excuse me. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Okay... better now.)

Home Improvement will include 24 episodes on 3 discs, along with a gag reel and audio commentary by the show's creators. And Boy Meets World will include 23 episodes on 3 discs, plus audio commentary by the cast and crew, and a picture-in-picture video commentary with them as well. Screen format for each set is the original 4x3, with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Moving on, 20th Century Fox will release The Clearing, staring Robert Redford, on 11/9 (SRP $27.98). We believe the disc will offer both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions of the film, along with English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (French and Spanish audio will also be available in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Extras will include audio commentary by director Peter Jan Brugge, writer Justin Haythe and editor Kevin Tent (on the widescreen version only), 6 deleted scenes with optional director's commentary, the film's screenplay (readable on your TV), an Inside Look featurette and the theatrical trailer.

Also this morning, we have details on the extras you can expect on Paramount's forthcoming 2-disc special collector's editions of The Untouchables, Footloose and Deep Impact. The Untouchables (10/5 - SRP $14.99) will include 4 new featurettes (The Script, The Cast, Production Stories, Reinventing the Genre and The Classic), 1 vintage featurette (The Men), and the film's theatrical trailer. Video will be anamorphic widescreen with audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. Footloose (9/28 - SRP $19.99) will include audio commentary by Kevin Bacon, a separate commentary by producer Craig Zadan and writer Dean Pitchford, 3 featurettes (Footloose: A Modern Musical, Part I, Footloose: A Modern Musical, Part II and Footloose: Songs that Tell a Story) and the theatrical trailer. Video will be anamorphic widescreen with audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and 2.0 Surround, and French Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Finally, Deep Impact (10/5 - SRP $14.99) will include audio commentary with director Mimi Leder and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, 4 featurettes (Preparing for the End, Making an Impact, Creating the Perfect Traffic Jam and Parting Thoughts), a photo gallery, theatrical trailers and a teaser trailer. Video will be anamorphic widescreen with audio in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. Whew!

In case you missed it last week, The Ultimate Matrix Collection, Spider-Man 2, the Top Gun: Special Collector's Edition and Before Sunset were all announced on Friday. Be sure to check Friday's multiple posts for all the details.

We'll be back later with a new Classic Coming Attractions column from Barrie. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/20/04 - 6 PM PDT)

Damn, we just can't see to get out of the office today! Warner Bros. has just officially announced their long-awaited, 10-disc The Ultimate Matrix Collection for release on 12/7 (SRP $79.92). The same day, they'll also release The Ultimate Matrix Collection: Limited Edition which includes a Neo mini-bust and a collector's book (SRP $129.92). Here's text from Warner's announcement:

"The definitive ten-disc DVD set, The Ultimate Matrix Collection features all three films in the trilogy together for the first time ever with a newly remastered picture and sound for The Matrix. Also included is the companion piece The Matrix Revisited and the best-selling The Animatrix, plus five entirely new DVDs packed solid with brand-new supplemental materials that encompass every aspect of the Matrix universe, including two new audio commentaries on each film, 23 scenes shot for the Enter the Matrix video game, 106 deep-delving featurettes/documentaries and much more! The Ultimate Matrix Collection Limited Edition also includes a limited-edition Neo mini-bust figurine and a 80-page Collector's Book."

In addition to what's listed above, The Ultimate Matrix Collection will feature 2 audio commentary tracks for each film (one with philosophers Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber, and the other with critics of the film - Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson), an introduction to the set by the Wachowski Brothers, Easter eggs and much, much, MUCH more.

Here's more good Warner news - the studio has also announced a new favorite of mine, Before Sunset, for release on 11/9 (SRP $27.95). A 2-pack of Before Sunset and the original Before Sunrise will be available the same day (SRP $35.98).

Here's the cover art for The Ultimate Matrix Collection, Before Sunset and HBO's Carnivale: The Complete First Season (12/7). For a better look at The Ultimate Matrix Collection: Limited Edition artwork (and more on the extra features), visit this link in The Rumor Mill.

The Ultimate Matrix CollectionBefore SunsetThe Ultimate Matrix Collection: Limited Edition

Been a busy day around here! See you Monday!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/20/04 - 2:30 PM PDT)

Here's one I know you've been waiting for. Paramount has just revealed to us that they'll be releasing the Top Gun: Special Collector's Edition on 11/16 (SRP $19.99). There will be separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions of the release, each a 2-disc set. The widescreen version will be presented at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Both versions will feature audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES, along with French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. Extras will include audio commentary (by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, screenwriter Jack Epps and Top Gun vets Captain Mike Galpin, retired Admiral Pete Pettigrew and Vice Admiral Mike McCabe), 6 documentaries on the making of the film and its cultural impact (from pre-production through its theatrical release), 4 music videos (Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone, Berlin's Take My Breath Away, Loverboy's Heaven in Your Eyes and Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens' Top Gun Anthem), a vintage Tom Cruise interview, a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette, a vintage Survival Training featurette, multi-angle storyboards with optional commentary by director Tony Scott, and 7 original TV spots. Nice. No cover art is approved yet, but we'll bring it to you when it's ready to go.

Also, just FYI, we've updated our Spider-Man 2 post from earlier with full specs and cover art.

Okay... NOW we're done. Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/20/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Okay, I'm back. I've had time to catch a few winks and think more about that THX 1138 screening last night. I'll tell you, I've always really liked this film. I would go so far as to say that I think it's director George Lucas' most interesting work. THX is something of a cautionary on society, but it also addresses the personal loss of identity and control of the individual in a modern, technological civilization. What is a single human being worth in the industrial, consumer world? Are we just cogs in an economic machine? Expendable employees if overhead gets too high? Consumers meant to define our lives and our personal happiness by the products we buy? These are interesting questions that are far more relevant now than they were back in 1971 when Lucas first asked them. Anyone who works for a large corporation knows the same pressures Robert Duvall's THX feels in this film: "Work hard. Increase production. Prevent accidents." Anyone who lives in the Western world is bombarded daily with a similar consumer message: "Buy more. Buy more now. Buy more and be happy." Are we not, almost every hour of every day, pummeled with advertisements telling us how to keep our hair from falling out longer, have harder dicks and softer, younger looking skin? It's almost scary how much TV ads these days sound like moments from THX 1138: "Ask your doctor about purple pill. If you have certain medical conditions, purple pill may be the answer..."

As many of you know, Lucas has restored and extended THX 1138 in a new director's cut, in the same way that his Star Wars films have been enhanced with new CGI footage. The interesting thing here is, the new footage I think actually serves THX 1138 better than it does the Star Wars films. Instead of just adding an eye-candy menagerie of strange creatures and alien vistas, the footage here mostly expands the sense of scale. For example, we now see the vastness of the factory floor at the beginning of THX, many more levels of hallways packed with ever more workers, and more vehicles moving around the underground complex. The film certainly works without this new footage, but I don't think it's really hurt by it either. THX 1138 still retains its full share of foreboding and claustrophobia. To be fair, it's been a long time since Matt, Adam and I have seen the original film, so it's hard to make a truly critical comparison.

I still feel the same way about the original cut of THX as I do about the original cuts of the Star Wars films - Lucas has a responsibility to preserve them for film history. George recently made a rather ironic comment about Columbia TriStar having colorized episodes of The Three Stooges on DVD: "I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them." Hello pot? This is kettle. You're black. I'm glad Lucas appreciates the need to preserve our film heritage, because this is the very same thing I've been saying for years about the need to preserve the original versions of the Star Wars films... and now THX 1138. I have no problem with his new "ultimate versions" - he has a right to change them until he's happy. But at the same time, let's not throw the originals away forever and claim that they don't exist anymore.

That issue aside, Matt, Adam and I all enjoyed this new version of THX 1138, and found it a genuinely satisfying and thought-provoking experience. I was glad to have the chance to see it on the big screen, and I'm very much looking forward to the 2-disc DVD release on 9/14. In fact, I'm probably looking forward to that more than the Star Wars Trilogy DVDs. THX is old school Lucas, the way Close Encounters is old school Spielberg. I really hope, when he's done with Episode III and all, that Lucas goes back to his creative roots. I hope he's got a few more films like THX left in him. 'Cause if he does... you can bet I'll stand in line to see them.

Have a great weekend and we'll see you on Monday!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/20/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Morning, folks! We've got a big announcement for you Spidey fans this morning. Columbia TriStar will officially release its Spider-Man 2 on DVD on 11/30 (SRP $26.98). The 2-disc set will include more than 10 hours of bonus material... lovingly crafted by our good friend, DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika (Alien Quadrilogy, Black Hawk Down: SE). The film will be available in separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen (aspect ratio 2.40:1) versions, both of which will feature audio in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. Both versions will also include 2 audio commentary tracks on Disc One - one with director Sam Raimi, producer Avi Arad, co-producer Grant Curtis and star Tobey Maguire, and another with FX supervisor John Dykstra and his effects team. Disc One will also include a Spidey Sense subtitle trivia track, 4 web-i-sodes, Train's Ordinary music video, a blooper reel and original trailers and TV spots. Disc Two will deliver the 12-part Making the Amazing documentary, 3 featurettes (including Hero in Crisis, Eight Arms to Hold You and The Women of Spider-Man), the Enter the Web multi-angle "Pier Sequence" deconstruction, a gallery of Alex Ross paintings, a look at the Spider-Man 2 videogame, web links and an Easter egg. Here's the cover art...

Spider-Man 2 (widescreen)Spider-Man 2 (full frame)

For you maximum video bitrate and DTS fans, Spider-Man 2 will also be released in a movie-only SuperBit edition that same day. A 2-pack of Spider-Man 2 and the original Spider-Man will be available as well. Finally, there's going to be a limited edition gift set (priced at about $50), which will contain the 2-disc DVD along with a miniature version of Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man #50 comic, a set of 5 collector's cards and a 25-page portfolio of artwork from numerous comic book artists.

Now then... you Trek fans are going to like what I have for you this morning. As you might have guessed, I've just uploaded my in-depth review of Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One, which streets on 8/31. Don't miss it.

Also this morning, our MusicTAP crew has just posted a review of The Searchers' The Collection, now available on high-resolution SACD format from Audio Fidelity.

By the way, Matt, Adam and I just got back from a digital screening of George Lucas' new THX 1138: The Director's Cut up at the Arclight in Los Angeles. In a word, the new cut is... fascinating. But I'll tell you more about that after I've had a few hours of sleep!

Back later. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/19/04 - 4:30 PM PDT)

We just wanted to let you all know that Amazon U.K. is currently reporting Region 2 street dates of 11/26 for Spider-Man 2, 10/25 for Troy and 12/10 for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition. Watch for the U.S./Region 1 dates to be announced fairly soon, and for roughly the same time frames (we've heard 12/14 for Return of the King, and the other dates will obviously all be Tuesdays here in the States). Thanks to Bits reader José Luis Alva P. for the heads-up.

In other news, Warner has just announced the DVD release of A Home at the End of the World for 11/2 (SRP $27.95).

Also PC World has another article on how the Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD format war is heating up, in this case with regard to how expensive (or not) the two formats' disc media is going to be to replicate.

Back tomorrow with that Star Trek review. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/19/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We'll be back with more later today, but I wanted to jump in early with a few quick things.

First of all, we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the passing of legendary composer Elmer Bernstein, whose work includes the score for such films as The Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Magnificent Seven. He will most certainly be missed.

Next, 20th Century Fox has just announced some interesting titles for November. Look for The Clearing on 11/9, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season and National Lampoon's Holiday Reunion on 11/16, and a Daredevil: Director's Cut, Tru Calling: The Complete First Season and Lost in Space: Season Two, Volume Two on 11/30. Daredevil will include the 124-minute version of the film in anamorphic widescreen, audio commentary with Mark Steven Johnson and Ari Arad, the Making of Director's Cut featurette and both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Lost in Space will include original 1966 cast interviews.

Universal has pushed the street date for The Last Ride to 11/16, while Quantum Leap: The Complete Second Season will now street on 12/14.

Also this morning, we've just posted Adam Jahnke's in-depth review of Lars Von Trier's Dogville, which is due from Lions Gate on 8/24. Both the film and Adam's thoughts on it are well worth a look.

Speaking of reviews, we have more coming soon, including my thoughts on Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One. I've only just cracked the set open, but I'll tell you... it looks damn good so far.

Awww, hell... let's throw in some early AM cover art too. Here's Fox's Lost in Space: Season Two, Volume Two and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season, Columbia TriStar's China Syndrome: Special Edition and White Chicks: Unrated & Uncut (both 10/26), and the final cover art for both versions of Universal's The Chronicles of Riddick (11/16)...

Lost in Space: Season Two, Volume TwoBuffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh SeasonChina Syndrome: Special Edition

White Chicks: Unrated & UncutThe Chronicles of RiddickThe Chronicles of Riddick: Unrated Director's Cut

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/18/04 - 2 PM PDT)

Wanna see something funny? This isn't DVD related (at least not yet) but it sure made me laugh. It's a sneak peek at the movie I'm most looking forward to right now. And no, it's not Revenge of the Sith or Batman Begins. Click here to feast your eyes on the trailer for Wes Anderson's forthcoming The Life Aquatic with Steven Zissou, featuring Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.

December 1st can't come fast enough. ;-)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/18/04 - 1 PM PDT)

We've got a few new Paramount titles to report today. The studio has just confirmed that Last Train from Gun Hill, The Naked Jungle, Ace High and Arrowhead will all street on 11/9 (SRP $14.99 each). Bopha!, Foul Play and Ragtime will follow on 11/16 (also $14.99 each).

Also, Paramount has pushed back the street date for its Stepford Wives remake on DVD. The title had been announced for 10/26, but look for it now on 11/9.

Warner Bros. is set to release John Wayne: The Signature Collection on 10/12 (SRP $32.98). The set will include 4 of the legend's greatest westerns - Stagecoach, The Searchers, Rio Bravo and The Cowboys.

Two other Warner announcements today - the studio will release Smallville: The Complete Third Season on 11/16 (SRP $59.98). Look for a 6-disc set with all the episodes in anamorphic widescreen, plus extras TBA.

Warner will also release Gilmore Girls: The Complete Second Season on 12/7 (SRP $59.98). The 6-disc set will include 22 episodes in all, plus extras TBA.

We've finally got reliable word a street date for New Line's Return of the King: Extended Edition. That's in The Rumor Mill today, along with word on when we can expect Warner's Heat: Special Edition.

Finally, we've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include all the latest numbers for the U.S. through the first week of August. Our main chart (and the listing above) have been updated accordingly.

We're working on a number of reviews for tomorrow, so stay tuned...


Morning, folks. We've got some new New Line announcements for you today. No Return of the King: Extended Edition yet, but that's coming in December. These titles are set for release on 11/2 (SRP $19.97 each)... Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Proof (with director and Hugo Weaving audio commentaries and a Martin's Photo Album slideshow), and The Rapture (with audio commentary with director Michael Tolkin).

Also today, VCI Entertainment is releasing a series of what they're calling ACME DVD Classics titles. These are double feature discs and include ultra-deep catalog films. The first batch of them streets on 10/12 (SRP $4.99 each - no kidding), and features the East Side Kids (Ghosts on the Loose/Spooks Run Wild), Gary Cooper (A Farewell to Arms/Meet John Doe), Hedy Lamar (Dishonored Lady/Strange Woman), Joel McCrea (Bird of Paradise/Most Dangerous Game), Susan Hayward (Smash-Up/Tulsa) and Vincent Price (House on Haunted Hill/Last Man on Earth).

We've kicked off THREE more Contests today to go along with the three from yesterday. These new contests give each of you a chance to win copies of Warner's Elvis Presley: The Signature Collection, Babylon 5: The Movie Collection and the Goodfellas: Special Edition. Like the others, these contests will run until Noon PDT on Sunday, August 22nd.

Don't forget to check out our Artist of the Month, Darla Farner, and her website Watercolor in Motion. Also, this is the one year anniversary of the artist program, so please be sure to drop Sarah a note to let her know if you have been enjoying it, or to provide whatever comments you have.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/16/04 - 9:15 AM PDT)

We've got some new DVD announcements for you today from Columbia TriStar. Look for the studio to release dual R-rated and Unrated versions of White Chicks on 10/26, along with Frankenfish, Happy Birthday to Me, The Harvest and The China Syndrome: Special Edition. Also coming on 10/26 from the studio are a batch of new SuperBit titles, including Bad Boys II, Cliffhanger, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, S.W.A.T., The Guns of Navarone, The Missing and Underworld (121 minute version).

We also wanted to let you know that the studio is preparing a major Godzilla onslaught on 10/19. There will be a 3-disc Godzilla Collector's Box Set, to include Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Hedorah and the Roland Emmerich version of Godzilla. Then there's a 5-disc Godzilla Collector's Box Set, to include Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), Godzilla 2000 and Emmerich's Godzilla. There's also a 7-disc Godzilla Collector's Edition Box Set that will include Godzilla 2000, Emmerich's Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Megagrus, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). Just FYI, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Hedorah and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) will also be released separately on 10/19 (DVD aspect ratio unknown). Got that? Whew...

Also this morning, we've kicked off a pair of new Contests today, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Universal's Duel and Sugarland Express, as well as Shout! Factory's Here's Lucy and You Bet Your Life: The Best Episodes. Plus, the Sideshow Hellboy bust contest is still going from last week. All three of these contests will run until Noon PDT on Sunday, August 22nd. Good luck!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/16/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Well... here it comes, folks. Despite warnings by both consumer advocates and the Hollywood studios, the consumer electronics industry is proceeding at reckless, break-neck pace to launch dual, competing next-generation disc formats. Toshiba and NEC have just announced plans to launch HD-DVD hardware in the U.S. and Japan in early 2005. They're obviously hoping to get the jump on Sony and Phillips' Blu-ray Disc format, which has been expected to arrive in the States by the end of 2005. All this comes just as the Blu-ray Group has announced that Version 1.0 of its read-only Blu-ray Disc (BD-ROM) spec has been finalized.

Kids... take it from your Uncle Bill: This is gonna get really ugly before it gets better.

Back with more later. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/13/04 - 3 PM PDT)

One last update for today... we've just posted the second part of Todd's Weekly Release Roundup. This time, Todd reviews a few of the titles that arrived in stores THIS week, including Miramax's Kill Bill, Volume 2, Warner's The Lost Boys: Special Edition, Lions Gate's ALF: Season One and Home Vision's Sada. Plus he runs down the rest of this week's major releases as well.

Back with more on Monday. Have a great weekend!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/13/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Here's something you Kubrick fans are going to enjoy... Columbia TriStar is currently preparing a 2-disc Dr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary Special Edition for release on 11/2. We have no details yet on extras, but expect the title to be announced soon. Maybe we'll finally get to see that "cream pie fight in the War Room" deleted scene.

By the way, we know that Warner Bros is quietly working on a 2-disc 2001: A Space Odyssey - Special Edition for release at some point in the future. Consider that Rumor Mill-worthy, but it's more good news for Kubrick fans.

We promised you more details on Warner's 4-disc Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume 2 (11/2 - $64.92). Here they are, courtesy of animation historian Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research website. Look for audio commentary on 31 of the 60 classic shorts that will be included on the set (check the link for the complete list of commentaries). Other extras will include 6 featurettes (including A Conversation with Tex Avery, Looney Tunes Go Hollywood, Crash! Bang! Boom! The Wild Sounds of Treg Brown, The Man from Wackyland: The Art of Bob Clampett, It Hopped One Night: A look at "One Froggy Evening", and Wagnarian Wabbit: The Making of "What’s Opera Doc?"), additional isolated music/music & effects tracks on 15 shorts, 5 additional bonus shorts (including the restored Adventures of the Road Runner (pilot), Orange Blossoms for Violet, So Much for So Little, the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show opening titles, another set of Bugs Bunny Show bridging sequences) and more features that are still TBA. There are rumored lists of the 60 shorts to be included on the set floating around (including this one at, but we're going to try to confirm with Warner. All in all, not a bad way to spend Election Day here in the U.S. - go vote, pick up your Golden Collection on the way home and spend the rest of the day watching classic toons (or should we say Tunes)!

We've got a little more new cover art for you this morning - Universal's final art for Quantum Leap: The Complete Second Season (10/26) and B&W temp art for both versions of their The Chronicles of Riddick (11/16 - we'll replace them with final color art as soon as it's available)...

Quantum Leap: The Complete Second SeasonThe Chronicles of RiddickThe Chronicles of Riddick: Unrated Director's Cut

Back with Todd's column in a little while. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/13/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Morning, campers. Matt and I just got back from a Midnight screening of 20th Century Fox's Alien vs. Predator, which opens today. Ugh.

You know, AVP is mildly entertaining in a sort of B-movie kind of way, but die-hard fans of either the Alien or Predator franchises are going to be left seriously wanting. There's not a lick of intelligence or sophistication in this film whatsoever, and the whole thing is barely 100 minutes long. It's a total exercise in style over substance. The entire concept, as you might guess from the title, is just the setup for a series of Matrix-esque fight scenes. Yes, that's right... CGI aliens, Klingon-style Predators and bullet time wire-fu. There's one good line and a couple cool moments, but by and large, AVP is terribly written, poorly directed and acted, and (like Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection before it) features seriously mediocre creature effects. Why is it that in 1979 and 1986 they were able to show us creatures that looked and felt like REAL and dangerous organisms, and in 2004 we get creatures that look like videogame cannon fodder? Very, very, very disappointing.

Anyway, we'll be back with more DVD news later this morning, so be sure to check back then.

Oh... and Matt? My Vikings are going to tear your Bears up this season. Best to just get used to the idea now, dude. ;-)

Stay tuned...

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