ARCHIVED NEWS - 15th - 21st AUGUST 2005



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NEW AUDIO REVIEW





18th August 2005

The fifth and final Umbrella Roger Moore The Saint DVD box set, Set 5, is shaping up nicely. It's currently pencilled in for an October or November release, meaning fans will be able to complete their collection by the end of the year.

Details of the new six-disc set are still provisional, but here's a list of the bonus features as they stand at the moment: audio commentary by star Sir Roger Moore and Executive Producer Robert S. Baker on The Ex-King of Diamonds; audio commentary by Sir Roger Moore, Robert S. Baker and Associate Producer Johnny Goodman on Vendetta For The Saint; introduction to The Gadic Collection by Peter Wyngarde; original episode trailers and commercial break bumpers; theatrical trailers for The Fiction Makers and Vendetta For The Saint; reproduction of the Vendetta For The Saint promotional booklet; original script PDF's; extensive image galleries and memorabilia information.

Here's an exclusive work-in-progress look at the box art...

The twenty-two episodes of the fifth season of ER will be released by Warner Home Video on October the 17th. Hankies at the ready, ladies, because this is where we say goodbye to Dr Doug Ross (George Clooney).

The episodes will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. There don't appear to be any bonus materials (this is probably because we're well ahead of the American release schedule). RRP for the set is 44.99.

Optimum Releasing will issue the popular anime Appleseed on September the 19th, as a Limited Edition two-disc tin-cased DVD set.

The film will be in anamorphic widescreen format, with a choice of Japanese or English audio tracks, in either DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1.  English subtitles will be available for the Japanese version.

The disc will have a commentary track, by the director and producer. Disc Two will have a thirty-five minute featurette, titled The Birth of 3D Live Anime, an image archive, staff profiles, and trailers. The RRP is 19.99.

A partnership between Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures has resulted in a series of seven actress-themed Screen Goddesses DVD box sets, which will be released on September the 29th.

The actresses and films in question are:

Marilyn Monroe - Some Like It Hot, The Misfits, We Remember Marilyn, Ladies of the Chorus, Hometown Girl, Marilyn Monroe at the Movies

Sophia Loren - El Cid, The Pride and The Passion, The Fall of the Roman Empire, White Sister, The Key, Countess From Hong Kong

Rita Hayworth - Gilda, Salome, You'll Never Get Rich, Lady From Shanghai, The Magnificent Showman, Miss Sadie Thompson

Doris Day - Pillow Talk, Young at Heart, It Happened To Jane, Lover Come Back, The Thrill of It All, Send Me No Flowers

Katharine Hepburn - Bringing Up Baby, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, Suddenly Last Summer, Rooster Cogburn, State of the Union

Mae West - I'm No Angel, Klondike Annie, She Done Him Wrong, The Heat's On, My Little Chickadee, Belle of the Nineties

I don't have the details for the Barbara Stanwyck set, sorry!

I expect that the discs in these sets are the same as the currently-available individual discs, where applicable. RRP for each set seems to be 49.99. Here's a look at the sleeve art / box design...

Nicolas Roeg's film version of Roald Dahl's The Witches will make its DVD debut on October the 17th. It doesn't look like there'll be any bonus features, and no technical details were announced.

Previous home video versions of the film have been cut by the BBFC. There is no indication in the press release that this new version will be uncut. The image, left, is what the PR company is using to promote the disc, but it's not the right shape for a DVD sleeve, so it might not be the sleeve art. The RRP is 15.99.

A box set featuring Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (i.e.: the 1971 movie), The Witches and Danny The Champion of the World is also due from Warner on the 17th, with an RRP of 29.99. This raises an irksome question. The current UK DVD version of Willy Wonka... doesn't have any bonus features, and yet there's been a Special Edition version, with documentary and cast commentary track, available in the US for nearly four years! Are Warner UK ever going to replace the old version with the new one? They recently re-released the old disc to coincide with the release of the Tim Burton movie, so missed that golden ticket opportunity. Will the UK division finally give the film the Special Edition treatment when the new movie gets released on DVD?

On a similar subject, I've heard from Warner Home Video that the version of Gremlins in the forthcoming Gremlins / Gremlins 2 box set (see the News entry for the 15th of August, below) will be the existing bare-bones UK disc. This means Warner Home Video is expecting UK fans to buy another copy of a disc they probably already own, in order to get a copy of Gremlins 2, knowing that there's a Special Edition version of Gremlins available in the US, that Warner Home Video has chosen not to release here. Hmmm, are we sure that Brain Gremlin isn't running the marketing department at Warner Home Video...? 

The third season of Star Trek: Enterprise will be released by Paramount on the 5th of September. The season was nominated for four Emmy awards.

As usual, the set contains bonus material that's not available on the generally-available US edition: a featurette called Behind The Camera, a behind-the-scenes peek with Enterprise cinematographer Marvin Rush.

Other bonus features include: text commentary on selected episodes by Michael and Denise Okuda; audio commentary on North Star by Assistant Director Mike DeMerritt; audio commentary on Similitude by writer / Executive Producer Manny Coto; The Xindi Saga; Star Trek: Enterprise Moments - Season 3; Profile: Conner Trinneer; A Day In The Life of a Director: Roxann Dawson; outtakes; deleted scenes and a photo gallery.

The twenty-four episodes will be presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. RRP for the set is 84.99.

Anchor Bay will release a collection of former video nasties on September the 19th, titled Box of the Banned.

The seven-disc set will contain six notorious shockers, all using sleeve art that mimics the original mid-80s VHS releases. The films included in the set are Driller Killer, The Evil Dead, The Last House on the Left, I Spit On Your Grave, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain and Zombie Flesh Eaters.

The set will also feature a collector's booklet, and a seventh disc featuring a brand new forty-seven minute documentary, Ban The Sadist Videos (which takes its title from a Daily Mail headline of the era). The documentary, which was directed by David Gregory, will feature interviews with distributors, retailers, politicians, experts and moral guardians.


17th August 2005

Warner Home Video has formerly announced the UK release of the two-disc Special Edition versions of the first four Batman films.

All four films will sport new anamorphic transfers, with a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 audio tracks, with optional English subtitles. The discs will be released on October the 24th. The RRP for each disc is 19.99.

Bonus materials for the four films are:

Batman

Commentary by Director Tim Burton; On the Set with Bob Kane; Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman (The Batman comic book saga as reinvented and reinterpreted over nearly seven decades); Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Parts 1-3 (The Road to Gotham City, The Gathering Storm and The Legend Reborn); Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery ( Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design of Batman; Building the Batmobile; Those Wonderful Toys: The Props and Gadgets of Batman; Designing the Batsuit; From Jack to the Joker; Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman); Music Videos by Prince (Batdance, Partyman and Scandalous); The Heroes and The Villains Profile Galleries; Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence; and a theatrical trailer.

Batman Returns

Commentary by Director Tim Burton; The Bat, the Cat and the Penguin (Cast and crew members recall the making of the sequel); Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (Part 4: The Dark Side of the Knight); Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery; Gotham City Revisited: The Production Design of Batman Returns; Sleek, Sexy and Sinister: The Costumes of Batman Returns; Making up the Penguin; Assembling the Arctic Army; Bats, Mattes and Dark Nights: The Visual Effects of Batman; Face to Face music video by Siouxsie and the Banshees; The Heroes and The Villains Profile Galleries; and a theatrical trailer.

Batman Forever

Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher; Additional Scenes; Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever? (How a new director and cast created a new version of Gotham's classic good and bad guys); Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (Part 5: Reinventing a Hero);
Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery (Out of the Shadows: The Production Design of Batman Forever; The Many Faces of Gotham City; Knight Moves: The Stunts of Batman Forever; Imaging Forever: The Visual Effects of Batman Forever; Scoring Forever: The Music of Batman Forever); Kiss from a Rose music video by Seal; The Heroes and The Villains Profile Galleries; and a theatrical trailer.

Batman & Robin

Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher; Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (Part 6: Batman Unbound); Additional scene (Alfred's Lost Love); Beyond Batman documentary gallery
(Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin; Maximum Overdrive: The Vehicles of Batman & Robin; Dressed to Thrill: The Costumes of Batman & Robin; Frozen Freaks and Femme Fatales: The Makeup of Batman & Robin; Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin); Four music videos (The End is the Beginning is the End by the Smashing Pumpkins, Foolish Games by Jewel, Gotham City by R. Kelly, Look into My Eyes by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony); The Heroes and The Villains Profile Galleries; and a theatrical trailer.

Sleeve art...


15th August 2005

Let's start with Ceri's update to the Offers page, with lots of new bargains that should be of interest, including the best prices on many Network titles, a good deal on the re-mastered Optimum Sherlock Holmes movie set, and a new book about Nigel Kneale.

Prey For Rock and Roll, a film starring Gina Gershon, The Sopranos' Drea de Matteo and Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Marc Blucas, is being released by Blackhorse Entertainment on September the 26th.

The film, about an all-girl rock band waiting for their big break after years of playing the LA club scene of the late 80s, was based on a screenplay by Cheri Lovedog, the founder, singer, guitarist and songwriter of girl-group Lovedog, who supported bands like Janes Addiction, Guns 'n' Roses and L7. The RRP is 15.99.

Optimum Releasing is releasing a box set of John Cassavetes titles on September the 12th. The John Cassavetes Collection set will include five films: Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Opening Night.

The films will be presented in anamorphic widescreen format, from new high definition digital transfers. The set will come with a booklet containing interviews with Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands.

Bonus features are:

Shadows: audio commentary by Seymour Cassel and critic Tom Charity; silent rehearsal footage

Faces: alternate opening sequence, which features seventeen minutes of footage not included in the final cut; commentary on alternate opening sequence by Peter Bogdanovich and producer Al Ruban; Interview with Seymour Cassel

A Woman Under The Influence: interview with Elaine Kagan (Cassavetes' assistant; audio interview with Cassavetes

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie: two versions of  the film (Cassavetes' 1976 135m cut, and his subsequent 108m 1978 re-edit); audio interview with Cassavetes; commentary on selected scenes with Bogdanovich and Al Ruban

Opening Night: Audio interview with Cassavetes; commentary by Tom Charity, cameraman Mike Ferris and sound recordist Bo Harwood.

RRP for the set is 49.99

Premier Asia will release the widely-acclaimed Korean war film Brotherhood: Platinum Edition on September the 5th. (It's currently available as a rental title).

The film, described by The Independent as "a Korean Saving Private Ryan", will be presented as a two-disc set, featuring a full-length commentary track by Asian cinema experts Bey Logan and Mike Leeder; Tears of Fire, a forty-five minute behind-the-scenes documentary; History Through The Lens, an on-set location featurette (19m); Captain's Orders, an exclusive interview with action director Jung Doo-hung (20m); The Colours of War, an "evocative" photo' gallery; Battle Plans, an animated look at the storyboards (11m); Don't Look Back in Anger, a documentary about the Korean War, featuring interviews with veterans and archive footage (25m); Honoured Despatches (sic, 15m), interviews with cast members; Brotherhood, a featurette about camaraderie in the face of war (18m); Special Operations, a featurette about the logistical challenges of Korea's biggest ever film production (12m); and two theatrical trailers. The press release also listed 1950 Re-lived, a historical featurette about the effects of the war, but I couldn't find it on the Extras disc that accompanied it (it might be on the same disc as the movie).

The film has been digitally re-mastered, and is presented in 2.19:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with a choice of language tracks (English dubbed, or Korean, with new English subtitles), in Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1. The RRP is 19.99.

Warner Home Video will release a double pack of both Gremlins films on October the 3rd. This marks the first time that Gremlins 2 has been available on DVD in the UK.

The press release notes that the Gremlins 2 disc will feature a trailer, a gag reel, twenty minutes of deleted scenes, a commentary track by director Joe Dante and producer Mike Finnell, a Behind The Screams featurette and an Easter Egg (which should be the alternate 'technical breakdown' scene, from the VHS version).

It does not, however, say anything about Gremlins, which is currently available here only as a bare-bones disc. In the US there's a Gremlins Special Edition, with lots of bonus material, including two commentary tracks. It would be very unfortunate if the new box set didn't include a new version of Gremlins with these features, too, especially as the set has a whopping RRP of 24.99.

Warner Home Video has also announced the release of Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist, Paul Schrader's version of the fourth film in the series.

Details are a little sketchy, but the disc should feature deleted scenes and a stills gallery.

The film will also be available in a set featuring the complete series (see the News entry for the 5th of August for details). The RRP for the individual disc, which is released on October the 17th, the same day as the box set, is 15.99.

Universal has made a short trailer for The Interpreter DVD available online. You can view it by clicking here. (It should open in a new window). The disc is released today.

More details about the disc can be found in the News update for the 4th of July.

I've also added a page featuring three interviews with the film's director, Sydney Pollack, and its star, Nicole Kidman, which you can find here.

The first Pollack one, in particular, is very interesting, and well worth reading if you're an admirer of his films, (which include Out of Africa, Tootsie, Jermiah Johnson and my own favourite, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) My thanks to Universal for allowing me to reproduce the interviews here.

Last week I attended the press screening of the latest Warner Brothers blockbuster to make its way onto the huge IMAX screen at Waterloo: Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The film is a visual treat, with the enormous colourful rooms inside the chocolate factory contrasting starkly with the grim, cold East European-looking landscape outside. The scenes inside the factory are hyper-coloured, with a soft luminance that's slightly reminiscent of old Eastmancolour films. The film has been re-mastered with the proprietary IMAX DMR technique, which results in a print ten times larger than a conventional 35mm print (and three times as large as 70mm film). The film positively bursts with colour!

Tim Burton's new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is, somewhat surprisingly, not terribly different from Mel Stuart's beloved 1971 version. Anyone expecting a radically-different interpretation, from a director who is, after all, famous for his artistic vision, is going to be a little disappointed. Burton has reinstated a lot of material that was in the book, that wasn't in the 1971 version, giving much more screen time to Charlie's family, and reinstating the story of how Wonka discovered the Oompa Loompas. (The new Oompa Loompas, which are all played by one man, Deep Roy, quite steal the show!) The new version is certainly more cruel, which I'm sure Roald Dahl would have heartily approved of.

Johnny Depp's Wonka is suitably weird, but rather more subdued than Gene Wilder was. This is only fitting, since Wonka has been cut off from the outside world for years. Looking pale (more post-filming tinkering, I suspect), Depp manages to stay just this side of insane.

The film's music is provided - virtually single-handedly, by the sound of it, by long-time Burton associate Danny Elfman. Elfman not only composed most of the music for the film (including the infuriatingly catchy Wonka's Welcome Song), he also provided most of the vocals. Fans of Oingo Boingo will be especially thrilled!

Anyway, if you're planning on seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you certainly won't see it at a better venue than the IMAX cinema. Details are available at the BFI website.


Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.


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