ARCHIVED NEWS - 17th-23rd JANUARY 2005


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21st January 2005

Momentum Pictures is adding four new titles to their Take One collection on March the 21st. They are Ralph Nelson's controversial Western Soldier Blue, John Sturges' soppy Western Valdez Horses, the Chuck Norris revenge flick An Eye For An Eye and John Boorman's Emerald Forest. No technical specifications were released, but previous discs have generally been in their original theatrical format. RRP for each disc is £12.99. Incidentally, there's nothing on the BBFC's website to say whether or not Soldier Blue has been resubmitted recently (the last time it was looked at was when Universal released it on VHS in 2000). Thanks to Sally for the sleeve images...

The tenth series of Minder will be released by Clear Vision on March the 7th. The three disc set will contain the last ten episodes of the series, which were originally transmitted in 1994. Bonus materials include an exclusive interview with star George Cole, a Series 10 Guide, extracted from the book The Phenomenon That Was Minder, and a Where Are They Now? feature.

HBO Video is releasing the first season of David Simon's latest series, the gritty police drama The Wire, on April the 11th. The set will feature twelve one-hour episodes. Bonus features will include audio commentaries with David Simon and crew. RRP is £49.99.

Freemantle Home Entertainment is rush-releasing a DVD version of Channel 4's recent drama Jasmin. The play, written by The Full Monty's Simon Beaufoy, is about the effect that the events of the September the 11th attacks have on a Muslim community in the north of England. The disc will be released on February the 7th, with an RRP of £15.99.

Mosaic Entertainment is releasing a box set containing the three movies in the Ginger Snaps Trilogy (Ginger Snaps, Ginger Snaps Back - The Beginning and Ginger Snaps Unleashed) on March the 14th.

It's likely that the three discs will be the same as the individual versions released by the company. Potential customers are advised to carefully check the set's specifications against versions from other regions (specifically the Canadian and American discs), which offer better bonus features (but not necessarily better transfers - some of them are non-anamorphic, for example). Details of the individual UK version of Ginger Snaps Back - The Beginning can be found in the News entry for October the 21st, for example.

It's going to be hard to beat the price of the UK set, though: the RRP is £24.99, and have it for £17.99 (better deals might be out there!)

Mosaic's press release specifies the following bonus materials for the set:

Ginger Snaps

Screen tests, featurettes, production and cast notes

Ginger Snaps Back - The Beginning

Deleted scenes, director's video diary, featurettes

Ginger Snaps Unleashed

Deleted scenes, auditions, storyboards, featurettes

Mosaic are also releasing a box set titled Martial Arts Masters, which will feature three "ass kicking fighting films": The King Boxer, Chinese Heroes (Chinese Heros, according to the pack shot!) and Undiscovered Tomb.No technical spec's were released. The set, also due on March the 14th, has an RRP of £19.99.


20th January 2005

Here's the sleeve art for the first volume of Stargate Atlantis. It features the first four episodes of the season: Rising (Parts 1 and 2), Hide and Seek and Thirty-Eight Minutes. Bonus materials include commentary tracks on all four episodes, a VIP Set and Studio tour with director Peter Deluise, a "Preview to Atlantis", and photo and production galleries. The sleeve didn't scan particularly well - it's much darker than it looks here, and a bit less purple in the flesh, so to speak.

The disc is due on March the 14th, with an RRP of £19.99

19th January 2005

Let's get things started with a new review. This time it's of the UK DVD of The Grudge, Takashi Shumizu's Hollywood-funded, Tokyo-shot remake of his 2002 horror movie Ju-On. The disc, from Universal, is due on the 14th of February (more details are at the bottom of this column, in Monday's News update). Click on the sleeve image, right, or here to go to the review. have listed a box set of The Comic Strip Presents... series, which it says is due on the 9th of May, with an RRP of £49.99. This may seem quite high, but unofficial sources have suggested that the set will include all the Channel 4 episodes (twenty-two of them, I believe) and all the BBC episodes (another sixteen episodes). It may also include at least one of the Comic Strip-produced feature films. Sadly, it seems unlikely that new transfers will be made for the series, which means that the company involved (believed to be VCI) will be using analogue video source materials. Thanks to Peter Heamon for pointing out that Play had the set listed.

More details on the Umbrella Danger Man set (see below): the commentary tracks will be on the following episodes: View From The Villa (Brian Clemens and Peter Graham Scott), An Affair of State (Peter Graham Scott) and The Nurse (Brian Clemens and Peter Graham Scott).

I've had a chance to take a look at two of the films due soon from Ventura International: Shikoku and Inugami. (For more information, see the News entry for the 13th of January). Contrary to the press release, both films have a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 (at 192kbps) or DTS 5.1 (at 768kbps) tracks - there's no Dolby Digital 5.1 option on either disc. There are no TV spots on the Shikoku disc, but it does have three minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, and nine minutes of interview material. Both discs feature the same four short trailers, for Shikoku, Inugami, Isola and the as-yet-unannounced Shadow of the Wraith.

Shikoku is presented in 1.77:1 ratio; Inugami is in slightly window-boxed 1.8:1 ratio. Both have anamorphic enhancement. Both discs have nice animated menus. A very quick sampling of  the two discs reveals that both transfers have been sourced from NTSC masters. Inugami looks fine, but Shikoku will probably be less satisfying, with some black crushing, and a lack of fine detail.

Warner Home Video is promoting fifty-eight "blockbusters and critically acclaimed" DVD titles between December the 26th 2004 and February the 27th 2005, at prices of £5.99, £7.99 and £9.99. This is to tie in with the awards season: titles in the promotion have won Golden Globes, BAFTA awards or Oscars (or any combination of these).

The £5.99 titles are: Training Day, The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Mission (1 disc edition), An American in Paris, Arthur, Barry Lyndon, Bonnie and Clyde, Camelot, Gaslight (1944), Gorillas in the Mist, Grand Hotel, The Great Ziegfeld, Into The Arms of Strangers, Key Largo, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Gigi, The Time Machine (1960), Victor / Victoria, Beetlejuice and Dangerous Liaisons

The £7.99 titles are: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Batman (1989), Being There, Ben-Hur (1959), A Clockwork Orange, The Dambusters, Days of Wine and Roses, Deliverance, The Dirty Dozen, Dog Day Afternoon, The Exorcist, Fame, Ice Cold in Alex, The Fugitive - Special Edition, Under Suspicion and Woodstock

The £9.99 titles are: Amadeus - Special Edition, Around The World In 80 Days - Special Edition, Casablanca- Special Edition, The Deer Hunter- Special Edition, Doctor Zhivago - Special Edition, Full Metal Jacket, Giant - Special Edition, JFK, Limelight - Special Edition, The Matrix, My Fair Lady - Special Edition, Once Upon A Time In America, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Special Edition, Purple Rain - Special Edition, Ran - Special Edition, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - Special Edition, Singin' In The Rain - Special Edition, A Star Is Born, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Circus, Unforgiven, The Right Stuff - Special Edition

It looks like many of the online retailers are further discounting the £7.99 and £9.99 titles, but not the £5.99 titles.

Warner Home Video will release the Complete First Season of Wonder Woman on March the 28th.

The five-disc set will feature the Pilot movie and thirteen subsequent episodes. Bonus features on the set include an audio commentary by star Lynda Carter and executive producer Douglas S. Cramer on the Pilot episode, and a documentary, Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective. (Assuming this is the same cut as the one on the US set, this is about twenty minutes long). Technical specifications weren't mentioned in the press release, but it's very likely that the series will be presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. (It's not to be taken for granted, though - this is, after all, the same studio that cropped Kung Fu). RRP for the set is £29.99.

Warner Home Video will also unleash the Duke family with The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete First Season on March the 28th. The five-disc set will feature the first thirteen episodes. Bonus features include a 20th Anniversary Hazzard County Barbeque reunion documentary, with attendees Catherine Bach, John Schneider, James Best, Sonny Shroyer, Ben Jones, Peggy Rea, Rick Hurst and director Paul Baxley; a featurette titled Dukes Driving 101: A High Octane Salute, which features interviews with professional race-car drivers Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, Larry Foyt, Robby Gordon, Jason Leffler and Greg Biffle; and a commentary track by John Schneider and Catherine Back on the first episode. The RRP is £29.99

Sleeve images for these titles:

Warner is adding another three titles to its collection of director-themed World Cinema box sets on April the 4th. The new sets will feature the films of Luis Buñuel, Jean-Luc Goddard and Jean-Pierre Melville, sourced from the Studio Canal library (uh-oh!)

The company's second Buñuel set will feature That Obscure Object of Desire, Phantom of Liberty and The Discreet Charm of The Bourgeoisie (all in 1.66:1 format).

Their second Jean-Luc Goddard set will contain Pierrot Le Fou, Made In USA (both in 2.35:1 format) and Prenom Carmen (1.33:1).

The Jean-Pierre Melville double feature set will feature Bob Le Flambeur and Un Flic. Bob Le Flambeur is in 1.33:1 format, Un Flic is in 1.77:1 format.

All the films are mono. The Buñuel and Goddard sets have an RRP of £29.99, the Melville double feature is £15.99.

18th January 2005

Umbrella has confirmed the final specifications for their Danger Man - Set 1 - 45th Anniversary Special Edition DVD box set, which is due on February the 23rd. They have also released the final artwork, which you can see below.

The full list of bonus features is: three episodes with exclusive audio commentaries (by writer Brian Clemens and director Peter Graham Scott); production notes; insert booklet featuring original ITC pressbook; original script for The Journey Ends Half Way (in PDF / DVD-ROM format); original ITC story information (in PDF / DVD-ROM format); cast and crew profiles; rare episode trailers; extensive image galleries and memorabilia. As usual for Umbrella's titles, the discs will be coded for all regions (in PAL format). You can find the provisional artwork in the News archive, here.

The second series of Law and Order, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 1 and Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 1  will be released by Universal on February the 28th.

Law & Order - Series 2 will include a bonus feature titled Law & Order: The First Three Years. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 1 comes with two bonus items: Special Victims Unit: The Beginning and Dann Florek Walk Through. Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 1 will have a bonus titled Criminal Intent: The Beginning.

All three titles will be six disc box set featuring twenty-two episodes, with an RRP of £44.99.

Courtesy of Google, I've added a search page to the site, which should particularly help visitors looking for archived news items. There's a button for it on the block of Javascript buttons, left. If you can't see the buttons ("Home", "Zeta Minor Search", "DVD", "Roobarb's DVD Forum", etc), it's possible that your anti-virus software is filtering active content on the page, or that you don't have a Javascript plugin installed.

17th January 2005

Yikes! There's a lot of stuff to get through today, and not nearly enough time to do it in!

Firstly, there's a new review for you today! As far as I can tell, it's the first online review of the UK DVD of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's hit comedy Dodgeball. The UK disc is quite different from the US version, although the content is fundamentally the same. Click on the sleeve image, left, or here to go to the review. The disc is released in two weeks' time, on January the 31st.

I've updated the Incoming page today, checking that all the titles listed as coming out today will actually be released today. Titles that have slipped include the 21 Jump Street box set, from Anchor Bay (now due 31/1/05); Demon's Elvis Costello compilation, The Right Spectacle - The Very Best of Elvis Costello - The Videos (new date TBC); Fat Friends - Series 1 and the Fat Friends - Series 1-3 box set (postponed to 18/4/05); the Top Gun Special Edition (pushed back to April the 4th); and the Urban Gothic - The Complete Series 1 & 2 set (now due 28/2/05).

Miraculously, it seems that the Blake's 7 - Season 2 box set has made it to retailer's shelves, defying those who were expecting similar protracted delays to the ones that affected the first season set.

My thanks to Vic Davis, for confirming that Warner Home Video's release of the Hammer movie Devil Ship Pirates - which is released today - is indeed in widescreen format, contrary to what the press release said. 

HBO Video will release Six Feet Under - The Complete Third Series on April the 4th. Oddly, there seems to be no sign of it being released in the US. The series will feature thirteen hour-long episodes, spread across five discs. The episodes are: Perfect Circles, You Never Know, The Eye Inside, Nobody Sleeps, The Trap, Making Love Work, Timing & Space, Tears, Bones and Desire, The Opening, Everyone Leaves, Death Works Overtime, Twilight, and I'm Sorry, I'm Lost.

The set will also include a featurette, Living on the Ledge, and deleted scenes. RRP for the set is £49.99, the same as the previous two sets.

Warner Home Video is releasing the long-overdue The Iron Giant Special Edition DVD in the UK on March the 14th. The set will include a commentary track (by director Brad Bird and "various crew"), eight additional scenes with introductions by Bird, including an alternate opening sequence (hopefully one that's called The Iron Man, grumble, grumble!); thirteen branching featurettes; an interview with creative consultant Teddy Newton on storyboarding the film; and Brad Bird and Vin Diesel on The Voice of the Giant.

The Iron Giant will be presented in its original 2.35:1 widescreen format, with anamorphic enhancement, and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. RRP for the disc is £15.99. The film is a masterpiece, and comes highly recommended to kids of all ages!

Am I the only person who's slightly creeped-out that companies continue to exploit Michael Jackson products? HMV obviously don't agree, as they'll be exclusively releasing Jackson's 1988 fantasy Moonwalker to cash in on the publicity generated by the performer's child abuse court case. Nice. The film is presented in 1.37:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, so it seems like Warner has spared every expense in re-mastering the film. The disc will retail for £15.99.

To tie in with the theatrical release of the film's sequel, Warner Home Video is re-releasing Miss Congeniality on March the 28th, as a Special Edition disc. The disc will feature the bonus features from the existing disc - which wasn't too shabby: two commentary tracks (including one featuring star Sandra Bullock), two featurettes (Preparing for the Pageant and The Pageant), and a theatrical trailer. Added this time around are a sneak preview of Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; a Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Beauty Queen? quiz, hosted by William Shatner, and three deleted scenes. RRP for the new edition is £15.99.

Warner Home Video will complete their collection of Babylon 5-related DVD releases when they issue Crusade - The Complete Series box set on March the 28th. The five-disc set will feature all thirteen episodes, two of them with commentary tracks by creator Michael J. Straczynski (The Well of Forever and Racing The Night). The set will also feature a Making of... documentary, and a look at the creation of the series' starship, titled Forging Excalibur. The US set is shoehorned onto four discs, incidentally, so the UK version might have the edge in terms of bit-rate.

The series will be presented in 4:3 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (the same as the R1 version). RRP the set is £34.99.

Finally, from Warner Home Video, is another Stephen King-related TV movie, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, (a prequel to the Emmy award-winning Rose Red, which is already available on DVD).  The film, which stars Brit Steven Brand and Kate Burton, is a period thriller based on the New York Times best-seller by Ridley Pearson. It was directed by Rose Red and Kingdom Hospital's Craig Baxley, who contributed a commentary track to the Region 1 disc, which isn't mentioned in the press release for the UK disc. UK Rose Red fans got screwed out of the commentary track for the mini-series, and it looks like they'll be short-changing the Brits again this time around (let me guess, it was dropped to accommodate the zillion and one subtitle tracks?) The film will be presented in 4:3 format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The RRP is £15.99.

Sleeve art for the Warner Home Video releases, sans Moonwalker:

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the third and final season of Lost In Space on March the 28th. The seven-disc set will feature all twenty-four episodes, including the notorious Great Vegetable Revolution. The set will feature six 1995 interview clips (with Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris - three each); two dozen "Next on Lost in Space" teasers (1m each); twenty programme interstitials (30" each) and four network bumpers and tags (10" each). The seventh disc will also include a 40" "act break" for Target: Earth, and an interstitial blooper. As usual, the episodes are presented in their original 4:3 format, with mono Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and optional English HoH subtitles. The RRP is £49.99.

Finally, let's have a look at Universal Pictures' forthcoming DVD release of The Grudge remake, which is due on February the 14th. How romantic! The disc features an anamorphic widescreen transfer, in 1.85:1 ratio and a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track (at 448kbps). Initially it seemed that the UK version might be different from the US disc, because it looked like the US version featured an extra titled Behind The Grudge, and the UK version contained something called The Birth of the Grudge. In fact, they're the same thing: the forty-eight minute documentary A Powerful Rage: Behind The Grudge is broken down into chapters, and The Birth of the Grudge is the first. The disc also features a twelve minute featurette, Under The Skin, looking for a medical explanation of the fear response, and a commentary track, featuring stars Sarah Michelle-Gellar, Clea DuVall, Jason Behr,  KaDee Strickland, producers Robert Tapert, Ted Raimi and Sam Raimi, and screenwriter Stephen Susco. Hey, Universal, when are you going to release Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi's American Gothic???

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

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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