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ARCHIVED NEWS - 16th - 22nd FEBRUARY 2004

20th February 2004

With the release of the first series on DVD imminent (it's released on Monday), what better time to announce the release of Bugs: Series 2?

Revelation's three-disc set will contain all ten fifty-minute episodes (What Goes Up..., ...Must Come Down, Bugged Wheat, Whirling Dervish, Black Out, Gold Rush, Newton's Run, and three episodes written by Stephen Gallagher: Schrodinger's Bomb, The Bureau of Weapons and A Cage For Satan), which were originally broadcast in 1996.

The set will also contain biographies, Series 2 background information, including Allies, Villains and Shadowy Organisations. RRP for the set, which is being released on April the 26th, is £24.99.

Other forthcoming Revelation titles include Around The World With Willy Fog - Volume 3 (Episodes 11-15), on April the 26th; Dogtanian and the Three Musketeers - Volume 3, on March the 22nd; Oktober on March the 22nd; and The Tomorrow People: 4-2 - Into The Unknown on April the 26th.

The fourth season of Babylon 5, subtitled No Surrender No Retreat, will be released in the UK on April the 19th.

The six-disc set will contain twenty-two forty-two minute episodes. Bonus features include introductions and commentary by series creator J Michael Straczynski and cast members Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik and Patricia Tallman; a music suite created especially for the DVD, and a featurette on its composer, Christopher Franke, titled Celestial Sounds; TV promo's; character and series facts and a gag reel. As usual, the episodes will be  presented in 1.78:1 ratio, and have new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes. RRP for the set is £54.99.

Animation fans will be pleased to hear that Warner Home Video is releasing a collection of classic Tom and Jerry cartoons on April the 5th. Whilst not cause for celebration to the same degree that their recent collection of Looney Tunes was (the new set seems to be aimed squarely at kids), Tom and Jerry Classic Collection Volume 1 will nevertheless contain three hours of vintage animation mayhem. The Collection will include Tom and Jerry's first appearance, in Puss Gets The Boot, plus twenty-three other toons: The Midnight Snack, The Night Before Christmas, Fraidy Cat, Dog Trouble, Puss 'n' Toots, Yankee Doodle Mouse, Sufferin' Cats, The Bowling Alley Cat, Fine Feathered Friend, The Lonesome Mouse, Baby Puss, The Zoot Cat, The Body Guard, Puttin' on the Dog, Mouse Trouble, The Mouse Comes To Dinner, Mouse in Manhattan, Tee For Two, Flirty Birdy, Quiet Please, Springtime For Thomas, The Milky Waif and Trap Happy. RRP is £12.99.

Warner Home Video will release a Special Edition two-disc version of Space Jam, the 1996 blend of animation and live action, on April the 5th. The new disc will contain a trailer, a featurette titled Jammin' With Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan, Seal's Fly Like an Angel music video, the Monsters Anthem Hit Em High music video and Bugs Vs Daffy - Battle of the Music video stars. The press release doesn't mention the commentary track or five Looney Tunes animated shorts that are on the Region 1 release. Neither does the new disc contain one of the extras on the old DVD, R-Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly music video. Neither does the press release contain any technical specifications (an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer with 5.1 audio is expected). RRP is £15.99.

Warner Home Video is releasing a 67m documentary about the life of Bruce Lee on April the 19th. Bruce Lee - Martial Arts Master will contain interviews, demonstrations and footage from Lee's greatest fight scenes. The disc will feature a 50-picture Enter The Dragon photo' gallery, and two text features: 30th Anniversary of Bruce Lee and The History of a Martial Arts Master. RRP is £12.99. Warner is releasing a two-disc Special Edition version of Enter The Dragon in August.

Sanctuary Visual Entertainment has formerly announced the details of two two-disc Special Edition discs: Blue Velvet and Dune. Both films will feature re-mastered picture and "new" 5.1 soundtracks (make of that what you will - their existing Dune disc has a 5.1 track). Both discs are due on April the 5th.

The Dune Special Edition will feature a new forty-minute documentary, Impressions of Dune, which will include interviews with Kyle MacLachlan, producer Raffaella De Laurentiis, cinematographer Freddie Francis and editor Antony Gibbs), Destination Dune (never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage and on-set interviews with David Lynch and Frank Herbert), a short BBC interview with the late Frank Herbert, cast and crew profiles, the trailer and a 32-page booklet. The new version will have a choice of 2.0 and 5.1 audio, and an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer.

The Blue Velvet disc will feature a new anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer supervised by David Lynch, and a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio. The disc boasts a new thirty-five minute documentary, Strange Desires, which includes archive interviews with Lynch, and brand new (2003) interviews with Dino De Laurentiis and Dennis Hopper. It will also feature an archive review from the BBC series Moving Pictures, with J.G.Ballard: The Best Film of the 80s. Ther disc will also contain a theatrical trailer.

Initial copies of the disc will come in a velvet slipcase! The set will contain an 16-page booklet which will include two exclusive essays, written by Screencraft: Directing author Mike Goodridge.

RRP for both discs is £19.99. The press release notes that these will be Region 0 (PAL) discs.

18th February 2004

Channel 4 Video has confirmed the details for the Black Books Series 2 DVD, which is due on 22nd March (that's a week later than previously scheduled).

The disc will contain all six episodes of the second series (The Entertainer, Fever, The Fixer, Blood, Hello Sun and A Nice Change).

Bonus materials include audio commentary by stars Dylan Moran (Bernard Black), Bill Bailey (Manny) and Tamsin Greig (Fran); outtakes (11m); stills gallery, trailer(s), hidden deleted scenes (2m) and a Black Books puppet show with look-a-like dolls, written and produced by Dylan Moran. RRP is £19.99.

Here are a few bits and pieces that were gleaned from recent updates to Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment's trade website....

There are still no details for the Fraggle Rock DVD, due on the 5th of April, but this sleeve image is now available...

Oddly, Tim Burton's escapist fantasy Big Fish, which was listed for release on May the 24th, has vanished from their schedule. Conversely, the specifications for the Region 1 disc, which is being released on April the 27th, have been issued. The disc will include seven featurettes, which will be available separately, or via a branching option; b-roll moments with Tim Burton; interviews; a behind the scenes tour with special effects maestro Stan Winston; from page to screen; circus footage, and other bits and pieces. It sounds like a great disc. It will also feature a commentary track by Tim Burton, so it's not all good news.

The 10 Rillington Place DVD, due on March the 29th, has been upgraded to Special Edition status. The 1971 film, about British serial killer John Christie, will appear on DVD with an introduction and exclusive interview with Sir Richard Attenborough (who played Christie), and a commentary track by co-star John Hurt (who played Timothy Evans, the new owner of the flat where Christie hid the bodies). The disc will also contain fact files, vintage lobby card gallery and filmographies. No technical specifications have been released yet. RRP is £12.99.

The Labyrinth Collector's Edition disc, due on the 19th of April, will feature the excellent Inside the Labyrinth behind-the-scenes featurette, photo and poster galleries, storyboards, trailer and filmographies. From those spec's it doesn't look like there's much on the Collector's Edition that it'd make it worth owners of the existing disc (which also has the Inside the Labyrinth documentary on it) upgrading.

As has already been noted here in the Incoming section, and by various online retailers, Columbia has updated their database to officially acknowledge that they're going to split Jim Henson's Storyteller TV series across two discs, the first due on March the 22nd.

Finally, Columbia has listed Sea of Souls - Volume 1 - presumably the current BBC paranormal investigation drama series - for release on the 19th of April.

17th February 2004

Pathé Distribution Ltd will release the drug-addled comedy Spun to buy on DVD on April the 5th. The film, which features Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy and Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman, will feature a two commentary tracks, (director Jonas Åkerlund and star Mena Suvari on one, Åkerlund and screenwriter / producer Creighton Vero on the other), a Making of... featurette, five deleted scenes, MTV premiere "spy-cam" party footage, the Cooking Show and UK theatrical trailers, and poster and on-set stills galleries. (None of these have turned up at the BBFC yet).

It seems from the press release as if the UK version is missing some TV spots and a music video that are on the US version. (This is probably no great loss, since the US disc apparently doesn't even bother to identify the title or the artist). The MTV premiere party footage and the Making of..., which aren't on the Region 1 version, should more than compensate. Pathé's disc will feature a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, and 5.1 audio. RRP is £19.99.

The sixth (penultimate) season of the Thames courtroom drama series Rumpole of the Bailey, which was originally broadcast in 1991, will be released on DVD by Acorn Video on March the 15th.

The two-disc set will contain six fifty-minute episodes (Rumpole a la Carte, Rumpole and the Summer of Discontent, Rumpole and the Right to Silence, Rumpole at Sea, Rumpole and the Quacks and Rumpole For The Prosecution), and will also feature an exclusive interview with creator John Mortimer, QC, CBE. There'll also be a Rumpole book list, and filmographies, which probably took Acorn at least a couple of minutes to put together. RRP for the set is £24.99.

Acorn Video will also release Andrew Davies' 1980 BBC serialisation of R.F. Delderfield's 1972 novel To Serve Them All My Days on DVD on March the 15th. The thirteen-part series (about a young soldier, played by John Duttine, who's invalided from the army and sent to teach at a public boy's school) is being made available across three two-disc sets (with an RRP of £19.99 each), and as a complete six-disc box set, which has an RRP of £59.99. The only extras are biographies and filmographies.

The Good Life - Series 2 is also being released by Acorn on March the 15th. The two-disc set will contain all seven episodes of the 1975 BBC series (Just My Bill, The Guru of Surbiton, Mr Fix-It, The Day Peace Broke Out, Mutiny, Home Sweet Home and Going to Pot?), a well as an exclusive interview with writer Bob Larbey, filmographies and biographies. RRP is a whopping £24.99.

Here's a look at the rest of the Acorn Video sleeves:

Anchor Bay's UK division will release Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 on March the 29th. It will feature an anamorphic  1.85:1 transfer, with a choice of stereo 2.0, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. After the terrific job they did with the The Hills Have Eyes DVD, the lack of bonus materials for the sequel is very disappointing. The US disc from Image Entertainment is mono, and presented in full-frame format, so hopefully the UK version will be a significant improvement. (It does, however, feature the trailer, which isn't listed as being on the UK release). RRP is £16.99.

Archetypal slasher movie Bloody Birthday is also being released by Anchor Bay UK on March the 29th. The 1981 film will be presented on disc with a choice of 2.0 stereo, or Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 audio tracks, and will feature an interview with Executive Producer Max Rosenberg, and a biography of director Ed Hunt (which, looking at his résumé, shouldn't trouble Anchor Bay unduly). No other technical details have been released.

Tartan Video has confirmed that it will be releasing two more Ingmar Bergman titles on March the 29th. These are Crisis (from 1946, Bergman's first movie) and Summer Interlude (1951). No technical details were announced. Bonus materials will be filmographies and trailers. (Note to Tartan: "scene selection" is no more of a DVD extra than "play facility" and "pause capability").  RRP for each disc is £19.99.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has formerly announced the release of the first of the standalone two-disc sets drawn from the Alien Quadrilogy box set.

Alien - The Director's Cut - Special Edition will be released on the 15th of March, with an eyebrow-raising RRP of £22.99.

The set will feature the original 1979 theatrical version of the film, as well as the digitally-enhanced 2003 Director's Cut version, which features footage that wasn't used in the original movie, including the infamous Dallas Cocoon scene. The re-mastered version of the film features a choice of Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. The two-disc set should be practically identical to the two Alien discs in the Quadrilogy set, which include a commentary track, numerous featurettes, screen test footage, artwork and photo galleries and deleted scenes. (None of the Alien-related material on the Quadrilogy set's bonus DVD will be included).

Aliens, Alien³ and Alien Resurrection will also be released as two-disc Special Editions, on April the 12th. These, too, will have an RRP of £22.99.

Speaking of all things Alien, I'm indebted to David at for pointing me towards a new Lance Henriksen interview, which has appeared at fan site Lance Henriksen Magic. Lance has some interesting things to say about the future of the Alien franchise, as the long-awaited Alien Vs Predator movie lurks in the wings. You can find the interview here.

After a period of relative inactivity, pioneering Euro-cult specialist label Redemption are poised to return with a vengeance with a new selection of titles, due on March the 22nd 

Forthcoming titles include three films by Jean Rollin (Night of the Hunted (1980), which stars Brigitte Lahaie, Demoniacs (1973) and Lips of Blood (1975)), Black Magic Rites (1973, a.k.a. The Reincarnation of Isabel), The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance (1975) and 'Luigi Batzella's 1974 "sleaze masterpiece" Nude for Satan. Extras on the discs include trailers, stills and poster galleries and (unrelated?) music videos.

Redemption are also releasing a series of films under a new label, Sacrament, which will feature titles from Japan's so-called 'Pink Cinema' erotica genre. Their first Sacrament releases will be Snow / Woman (2000), Despite All That (1999), Empty Room (2001), Raigyo (1997) and Tokyo X Erotica (2001).

Neither the press release, nor the sleeves themselves, included any details about technical specifications.

16th February 2004

Ceri is on holiday this week, so you'll have to make do with my sporadic updates to the Incoming page this week, and the bargain hunters will have to go cold turkey until Offers is brought up to date. If anyone has any particularly good tips, they can always contribute them to the appropriate thread in The High Street section of Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Previous News entries can viewed be by following this link.



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