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ARCHIVED NEWS - 24th - 30th NOVEMBER 2003

28th November 2003

Medusa Communications has signed a deal which will see many titles from Lynda La Plante's production company released on DVD, beginning in March next year. The deal includes the entire series of Supply & Demand, Trial & Retribution, Mind Games and The Commander. La Plante International Limited will also be producing  bonus features for the DVDs. You can discuss this in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Warner Home Video is releasing a brand new animated Batman movie, Batman: Mystery of Batwoman, on January the 26th. The film features the voices of Kevin Conroy (as Bruce Wayne and Batman), Hector Elizondo (as Bane), David Ogden Stiers (as The Penguin), Kyra Sedgwick (as Batwoman) American talk-show hostess Kelly Ripa (as Dr. Roxanne 'Rocky' Ballantine) and veteran character actor John Vernon (as the Penguin's partner-in-crime, Rupert Thorne).

The DVD also contains several bonus features: Chase Me, a new original short film, exclusive to the DVD, a Look Behind the Mystery behind-the-scenes featurette, a look at Batman's toys in Great Gadgets, and an interview with seasoned Batman director Curt Geda. The disc will also contain additional scenes, trailers an "much much more!" RRP for the DVD is £12.99.

Warner Home Video has also indicated that it will be releasing "further volumes" of Batman: The Animated Series from Summer 2004... Let's hope that they mean "season box sets". 

I've added menu screen grabs for two forthcoming discs: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's UK DTS version of The Sin Eater and Tartan's Region 2 version of Black Christmas. Click on the titles to see them...

Acorn Video will release the second series of the vintage BBC comedy series To The Manor Born on December the 29th. The two-disc set contains all six episodes, and the Christmas Special. It also includes an exclusive interview with writer Peter Spence. RRP for the set is £24.99. You can discuss this release in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

The fourth series of Monarch of the Glen will be released on December the 29th. The series will be released across two two-disc releases, and presented in cropped, non-anamorphic 14:9 widescreen ratio. Episodes 1-5 are on the first disc, 6-10 on the other.

Bonus materials include an exclusive interview with Susan Hampshire, production notes, photo' gallery and filmographies. You can discuss these releases in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Here are the sleeve images...

27th November 2003

Pixar Animation and Walt Disney’s summer blockbuster Finding Nemo – the highest grossing animated movie in box-office history - will be released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment on February 27th, as a two-disc Special Edition set in special "water effect" packaging.

The disc will feature a 1.78:1 anamorphic digital transfer, with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio. Sadly it will also feature French and Spanish audio tracks, rather than the DTS tracks that recent Disney titles like Monsters Inc and Lilo and Stitch have benefited from. It’s perhaps worth noting that previous Disney press releases have failed to list a DTS track when there was one, but that scenario seems unlikely this time, even though the foreign language tracks seem superfluous. The press release also states that a full-frame presentation of the film will be on the second disc, but this seems rather redundant. 

Disc one will feature an introduction to the film (by directors Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, and co-writer Bob Peterson); a Visual Commentary (133m, including video cutaways to behind the scenes footage); and screensaver-like Virtual Aquariums.

The second disc contains the bulk of the bonus materials (the BBFC has certificated more than two hours worth of supplements), including: Exploring the Reef  (7m); Making Nemo documentary (25m); more Virtual Aquariums (menu screens without text); Art Review (8m, with optional commentary*); Art Galleries; Colour Script; Mr Ray’s Encyclopaedia (7m - profiles of the fish that inspired the characters); restored and re-mastered (i.e.: newly-sanitised) Pixar short Knick Knack (with optional commentary*); Fish Charades game; read-along Story Time; Pixar Studio Tour (5m); Behind The Scenes; Character Interviews (3m); Robbie Williams' video Beyond The Sea; seven TV spots and trailers; and comprehensive art and poster galleries. The disc will feature a THX Optimiser, for tweaking your display settings.

So, how does that compare to the R1 version, which is already available? Well, the R1 version features a widescreen version and a recomposed full-frame version. Many of the bonus features that are on Disc Two of the UK version are squeezed onto disc one of the US version, too. Some reviews of the American disc have remarked that the transfer looks over-compressed. Hopefully the UK version will offer an improvement, (unless the UK Disc One turns out to be a DVD-5!) The US disc features a couple of worthwhile “Sneak Peek” trailers, including one for the next Pixar film, The Incredibles, and one for the next big Disney film, Home on the Range. There’s no mention of these on the UK press release, but then they’re not necessarily the sort of thing that would be put on a press release, anyway. The Robbie Williams video seems to be exclusive to the UK disc.

* - Note that these features are indicated by the material certificated by the BBFC, and are not mentioned in the official press release.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are releasing the Heath Ledger supernatural thriller The Sin Eater on the 9th of February. 

The film (which was re-titled The Order at the last minute in the US) will be presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio, with a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448kbps) and DTS 5.1 audio (at 768kbps) tracks. (The press release says it's 2.0, but it is in error - I have seen a copy of the disc. The announced specifications for the Region 1 version don't list a DTS option, but it will apparently include the theatrical trailer, which isn't on the UK version). The film, which reunites Ledger with his A Knight's Tale co-star Shannon Sossamon and their director Brian Hegeland, is supported by a commentary track (by Hegeland), and seven deleted scenes (with optional commentary): [POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!] Father and the Nuns, Father Bernier gives the last rights to George, William Eden visits the nursery, Father Bernier and the nuns / Mara meets Father Garrett, Club Inferno outtake, Nightengales [sic] and Father Garrett's End. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

Now you see it, now you don't. Pathé has requested that I take down the Jeepers Creepers 2 review, so if you missed it, you'll have to wait until nearer the release date. Apologies for any inconvenience. 

24th November 2003

Warner Home Video are releasing a box set of Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple adventures, on February the 2nd. The set will contain four films: Murder, She Said, Murder at the Gallop, Murder Ahoy and Murder Most Foul. All four films will be in 1.33:1 ratio, with mono audio. The RRP for the set is £34.99.

Warner Home Video will also be releasing two fine British comedy classics from brothers John and Roy Boulting on February the 16th: Private's Progress and I'm Alright, JackPrivate's Progress, from 1956, will be presented in full-frame ratio; I'm Alright, Jack will be 1.66:1. Both discs will have mono audio, and an RRP of £12.99.

Previous News entries can viewed be by following this link.



Unless explicitly stated, DVD screen captures used in the reviews are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to be accurate representations of the DVD image.   While screen captures are generally in their correct aspect ratio, there will often have been changes made to the resolution, contrast, hue and sharpness, to optimise them for web display.

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