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ARCHIVED NEWS - 8th to 15th DECEMBER 2003

12th December 2003

The third film in the American Pie series, American Pie - The Wedding, will be released on DVD by Universal on January the 26th. 

The disc will contain a different version of the film to that seen in cinemas earlier this year. It will contain eight minutes of new bachelor party footage, and seventeen minutes of "spiced up" alternate takes. The disc will also contain deleted scenes, outtakes, a wedding video, and two commentary tracks (one by actors Seann William Scott and director Jesse Dylan, the other by actors Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas).  There are also four featurettes: Enter the Dominatrix - Inside the Bachelor Party (10m), Stiffler Speak (a profile of Seann William Scott's character), Grooming the Groom (behind the scenes on the shaving scene) and Nikki's Hollywood Journey (former Playboy model Nikki Schieler Ziering at the premiere party).

Revelation Films will release the first series of the Carnival Films / BBC action series Bugs on February the 23rd. The series, which originally aired in April 1995, stars Jaye Griffiths, Craig McLachlan and Jesse Birdsall.

The three-disc set will contain all ten episodes (Out of the Hive, Assassins, All Under Control, Down Among The Dead Men, Shotgun Wedding, Stealth, Manna From Heaven, Hot Metal, A Sporting Chance and Pulse), together with cast and crew biographies, a photo' gallery, episode synopses and audio commentaries. The set has an RRP of £24.99.

Revelation release the first story of the fourth season of The Tomorrow People on February 23rd. The disc will contain the three episodes of the 1976 story One Law, which introduced the character of Michael Bell (played by Michael Holoway). The disc will contain new character biographies, a picture gallery, fact files, and a commentary track, by actors Nicholas Young, Peter Vaughan-Clarke and Michael Holoway. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

11th December 2003

Fabulous Films have announced that they'll be dubbing thirteen 'lost' episodes of cult Japanese series Monkey, for release on DVD during 2004, the show's 25th anniversary year. 

The episodes have previously only been released in subtitled versions. Fabulous Films has tracked down all the original dubbing cast, including David Collings, Andrew Sachs and Miriam Margoyles, and will even be using the same studio and recording equipment in their quest for authenticity! The only significant cast change is in the narrator: Bert Kwok replaces the series' original narrator, the late Frank Duncan.

Momentum Pictures will release James Foley's scam thriller Confidence on February the 23rd. The film, about a grifter who cheats a mob accountant out of thousands of dollars, stars Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia, Ed Burns and Rachel Weisz. 

The disc will feature three commentary tracks (a director's commentary, one by the writer, and one by the four main cast members); the Sundance Channel: Anatomy of a Scene breakdown (27m); Cast interviews (37m); and deleted scenes (5m, according to the BBFC - the US disc has 12m). The press release says "16 x 9 widescreen", but doesn't otherwise specify an aspect ratio. The disc will have 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. RRP is £17.99.

Also due from Momentum Pictures on February 23rd is Wisegirls ("These waitresses are about to turn the tables on the Mob"), starring Mira Sorvino, Melora Walters and... err... Mariah Carey. The disc will feature a behind-the-scenes featurette. No technical details were released. RRP is £12.99.

Mosaic Entertainment will release the serial killer movie Nightstalker (about Richard Ramirez) to rent on January the 5th. The disc will feature the trailer and deleted scenes, but no other details were available.

Momentum Pictures are releasing Owning Mahowny, the film based on the true story about a Toronto bank vice president who embezzled more than $10m, on February 16th. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver and John Hurt. There are currently no technical details, or information about bonus materials.

Sleeves for these three releases...

If you've pre-ordered a copy of the Region 1 version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (due next week), prepare to cancel it! 

The $78m film, about a group of Victorian-era literary characters battling a Fu-Manchu-style crime lord, got a rough reception from the critics, and died a death in the US, but did pretty well with European audiences. The movie, based on a terrific graphic novel, is an Avengers-style mess, but it's a fun popcorn movie, with much more potential than Blade director was able to bring to it.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will be releasing two versions of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the UK: a single disc version, featuring the film and two commentary tracks (one by producers Don Murphy and Trevor Albert, and actors Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran and Shane West, and another by costume designer Jacqueline West, Viual Effects supervisor John E. Sullivan and miniatures creator Matthew Gratzner), and a two disc Special Edition, which will also feature a group of featurettes collectively known as Making The League (53m, split into Origins, Attire, The Nemo-mobile, Making Mr Hyde, Resurrecting Venice and Sinking Venice) and twelve deleted scenes (15m). That much makes it the same as the single-disc US release. 

The UK version will also feature an additional five deleted scenes (an extra fifteen or so minutes!). 

The BBFC has them listed as: 

00:06:15:01 | UNTITLED
00:04:51:19 | GRAY'S LIBRARY
00:00:23:09 | DORIAN'S STATEROOM
00:00:15:02 | JEKYLL'S OFFER
00:01:09:03 | TREACHERY
00:01:32:21 | PAST LOVERS
00:01:04:23 | THE BEAST WITHIN
00:02:59:22 | THE CEMETARY
00:02:05:09 | A LEADER OF MEN
00:01:12:19 | MINA WARMS UP
00:00:54:18 | TO THE DEATH

The two-disc Region 2 version also has an additional pre-production featurette, Matters of Pre-Visualisation (10m), an extra post-production featurette, Behind The Fantasy (18m), eight minutes of footage from the film's Prague and London premieres, a stills gallery, three trailers, twelve TV spots and posters.

And it gets better - both UK discs will feature Dolby Digital and DTS audio tracks (the US version is Dolby Digital only). The film will be presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with English HoH subtitles. RRP for the single-disc version is £15.99; the two-disc Special Edition is £22.99. The release date is February the 16th.

Not content with keeping fans waiting for what seems like an eternity for the final Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD box set, Fox are going to taunt fans of the series by releasing a series of themed discs titled The Slayer Collection, each featuring episodes centered around one of the show's leading characters. Nothing official has been released yet, except for the rather smart sleeve artwork...

Buffy The Vampire Slayers fans may also like to know that Fox are re-issuing the first six season box sets on Boxing Day, in new (Amaray-style) packaging, with a new RRP of £34.99. 

The BBC has formally announced its lineup for January. It includes one title that was supposed to come out earlier this year, Wild West - Series 1, and one title that's been announced and delayed so often that it will be a New Year's miracle if it comes out when the BBC say it will: the Blake's 7 Series 1 box set. 

The Blake's 7 Series 1 box set will contain thirteen fifty-minute episodes spread across five discs. Bonus materials include commentary tracks for three episodes (Space Fall, by actors Michael Keating, Sally Knyvette and director David Maloney, Seek-Locate-Destroy, by actors Stephen Greif, Michael Keating and Jacqueline Pearce, and Project Avalon, by Stephen Greif, Sally Knyvette and Jacqueline Pearce).

The set will also include "two outtakes, a missing scene, 1 Robot, 2 Flat Feet & a blooper"; a Blue Peter segment with Lesley Judd, showing how to make a Liberator teleport bracelet, and nine character introductions. It will also feature trailers for series two and Easter Eggs. What's notable by its absence is the first part of Kevin Davies' three-part documentary, which has fallen foul of the current Blake's 7 rights holders. The set is due on 26th January - ha! - and will have an RRP of £49.99.

The first season of Simon Nye's rural sitcom Wild West is now due on January the 12th, with an RRP of £19.99.

The 1982 Peter Davison Doctor Who story The Visitation will be released on the 19th of January, with an RRP of £19.99. The set will feature a commentary track, isolated music track, production subtitles, 5'32" of material discovered on the original film footage (including extended and deleted scenes), a featurette about director Peter Moffatt, Directing Who (26'13"), an interview with the story's writer in Writing a Final Visitation (15'20"), an interview with composer Paddy Kingsland, Scoring The Visitation (16'19"), a picture gallery (5'12"), and Easter Egg. You can read more about this disc, and the efforts that went into cleaning up the master tapes, at the Doctor Who Restoration Team website.

It's a mark of how belated the official BBC Worldwide press releases are distributed that the next Doctor Who DVD has been semi-officially announced by the Doctor Who Restoration Team, the group who re-master the episodes, and produce the bonus material. It's the 1975 Tom Baker story Pyramids of Mars. The disc will feature a commentary track (by actors Elisabeth Sladen and Michael Sheard, and producer Philip Hinchcliffe), a Making of... featurette titled Osirian Gothic (22m), a featurette charting the Hinchcliffe era of the show, titled Serial Thrillers (42m), a look at exterior filming locations, in Now and Then: The Locations of Pyramids of Mars (8m), a short Deleted Scenes package (taken from production team viewing tapes), and a very popular comedy sketch, featuring the story's villain, Sutekh, called Oh Mummy. The disc will also contain a picture gallery (10m), production subtitles, and an Easter Egg. You can read more about this release here.

Warner Home Video unleash a collection of classic catalogue titles on the 16th of February, under the Awards Winners banner. 

The films are Goodbye Mr Chips (Best Actor Academy Award, 1939), Grand Hotel (Best Picture Oscar, 1932), Mrs Miniver (six Oscars, 1942), Mutiny on the Bounty (Best Picture Academy Award, 1935), The Great Ziegfeld (3 Oscars, 1936) and Gaslight (Best Actress and Best Art Direction: Interior Decoration, 1944). All these titles will be presented in full-frame (1.33:1) format, with mono audio. 

Several of the discs will include bonus materials: Grand Hotel will feature the Checking Out: Grand Hotel featurette, newsreel footage, Just a Word of Warning 1932 theatre announcement, and a Vitaphone short, Nothing Ever Happens. Mrs Miniver will feature Greer Garson Academy Awards footage, a photo' gallery, and MGM shorts Mr Blabbermouth and For The Common Defence. The Mutiny on the Bounty disc will include a featurette, Pitcairn Island Today, and footage from 1935 Award footage. The Gaslight DVD will include a Reflections of Gaslight documentary, and Oscars for Movie Stars footage.

The six discs will be available for £12.99 each, but will also be promoted as part of a "2 For £20" offer, alongside other award-winning titles: Dangerous Liaisons, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Training Day, The Perfect Storm, The Wizard of Oz, The Witches of Eastwick, Beetlejuice, Being There, Calamity Jane, The Exorcist, Gorillas in the Mist, Gone With The Wind, The Last of the Mohicans, All The President's Men, An American in Paris, Woodstock, Gigi, The Time Machine (1960, obviously), Ben-Hur, The Deer Hunter, Doctor Zhivago, The Color Purple, Dog Day Afternoon, JFK, LA Confidential, Goodfellas, Batman, Bullitt, The Towering Inferno, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon and Fame.

The promotion runs from the 19th of January to the 29th of February.

On the face of it, this looks like a great offer for fans of vintage movies, but note that the UK version of Gaslight apparently does not include the 1940 film version as a bonus feature, which is offered by the Region 1 version, and the Great Ziegfeld disc also seems to be missing a couple of bonus features that will be on the US disc (released on February the 3rd).

Anchor Bay UK has acknowledged the packaging problems with the Amicus Collection box set, and will shortly be announcing how customers with scratched discs can obtain replacements.

8th December 2003

The Amicus Collection box set competition was won by Mike James, who knew that the Amicus film that featured Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt was The House That Dripped Blood, one of my favourites. Congratulations to Mike, and my thanks to Anchor Bay, for donating the prize. If you are picking up a copy of the nifty little box set, my advice is to check the discs carefully, as there have been numerous reports of the discs coming loose in the packaging, and getting scratched. This seems to be a very widespread problem. 

VCI will be releasing a DVD of the second series of Bedtime on December the 29th. The disc will feature all six episodes of the series, which was written by Andy Hamilton, and featured a star-studded cast, including Timothy West, Sheila Hancock, James Bolam, Doon Mackichan, Kevin McNally, Alun Armstrong and Sienna Miller. The disc will feature 16:9 anamorphic 1.78:1 transfers, with Dolby Digital stereo audio. RRP is £19.99.

VCI are also releasing the new series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and the first season of the Robert Lindsay / ZoŽ Wanamaker sitcom My Family on February the 9th. The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet set (presumably two discs) will have an RRP of £24.99; My Family will be £19.99. 

There seems to be some doubt that the Anchor Bay Hammer double-bill DVDs that were due out this month will be coming out after all. 

Anchor Bay's American division was sold last week  (to a company called IDT Media, part of the IDT Corporation). Retailers are reporting that the Hammer discs did not come out as scheduled, and, since Anchor Bay's rights to the Hammer titles will probably still expire - perhaps at the end of this year - buyers might want to weigh up the risks of letting the individual titles go out of print. Many - if not all - of them look likely to be re-released by Blue Underground, but it's possible that the new discs will be missing the Anchor Bay bonus materials (the practically worthless World of Hammer "documentaries", and, more importantly, the commentary tracks). I'll be updating the Hammer DVD Guide tomorrow to reflect this development.

Eureka Video will be releasing F.W. Murnau's 1924 masterpiece The Last Laugh on DVD on February the 16th. The film has been filly restored and digitally-remastered, and will be presented in full-frame ratio, with a choice of Dolby Digital stereo or 5.1 audio. The disc will also feature a Making of... documentary, biographies, facts and dates. RRP for the disc is a hefty £22.95.  

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