NEWS ARCHIVE - 13th - 19th MARCH 2006


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17th March 2006

Budget label Prism Leisure and independent distributor of old school martial arts movies Soulblade Distribution have teamed up to create a new DVD label, called 55th Chamber.

Soulblade's managing director, Dharmesh Patel, said "We have a strong product range and have access to hundreds of Modern Hong Kong Cinema titles; 55th Chamber has a clear plan for the next three years at least".

The label's first batch of releases, due on April the 24th, will be Sam Cheung's historical epic Death Duel of Kung Fu, Lau Kar-leung's action film Prodigal Boxer 2: Secret of Shaolin Poles, and Lu Po Tu's comedy My Kung Fu 12 Kicks. Future releases will include Attack of the Joyful Goddess (22nd May), Dragon Lee's Ways of Kung Fu (19th June), Aphat's In Fury (19th June), and Mar's Villa (17th July).

Each title has an RRP of £7.99. Sleeve art...

The release of science-fiction mini-series The Triangle, which was featured in the News page last week, has been delayed becayse of "late delivery of materials" to the BBC, which has had a knock-on effect on Momentum's April the 10th release plans. The new date is TBA.

The four-part Channel 4 series The Sci-Fi Files will be released on DVD by Sanctuary Home Entertainment on May the 29th.The series, subtitled A History of Science Fiction in Movies, Television and Print, mixes film and TV series clips with talking head interviews with luminaries like Terry Gilliam and William Gibson. It is narrated by Mark Hamill.

The series will be presented in 4:3 ratio, with stereo audio.

The four episodes (Children of Frankenstein, Spaceships and Aliens, March of the Machines and Living in the Future) will be available on separate discs, or as a four-disc box set. The episodes are fifty-two minutes long, so could easily have been put on one disc. Instead Sanctuary has gone the rip-off route, charging £29.99 for the box set, or a criminal £9.99 each for the individual discs.

Right Entertainment has released some 'Before and After' retoration comparison shots from their forthcoming Trumpton DVD (see last week's News report). You can see a couple of them here. Keep in mind that they've been compressed - the original images were nearly 1Mb each.

Anchor Bay UK will release the first season of the mid-90s sitcom Cybill on DVD on April the 24th.

The three disc set will include thirteen episodes, including the pilot episode, Virgin, Mother, Crone. The series starred Cybill Shepherd as - big stretch - a forty-something actress struggling to maintain a flagging Hollywood career. It also featured Alicia Witt and Dedee Pfeiffer as Cybill's daughters and Chicago's Christine Baranski as Cybill's hard-drinking best friend. Guest stars during the first season included Elliot Gould, Burt Reynolds, Ellen Greene, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Jonathan Frakes and Hercules' Kevin Sorbo.

The set will feature a photo gallery and cast biographies. The episodes will have a choice of three sound tracks: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 tracks, and a DTS track. What a waste of bitrate! The episodes will have English HoH subtitles. The RRP is £24.99.

I have some more information about Universal's The Game DVD, which was announced on Tuesday (see below).

It's actually a bit more impressive than it sounds on paper. It contains half an hour of Behind The Scenes footage, with an option of a commentary track. There's also optional commentary on the two trailers provided, and on the ten minutes of On Location material. The CGI test footage is tagged on to the end of the second trailer - it's of the wooden marionette seen on the cover, and in the teaser trailer. The Alternate Ending is less than two minutes long. The disc also has a gallery of storyboards, and a couple of dozen screens of Production Design Art.

The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (at 448kbps).  There are optional English SDH subtitles. Menu screens from the new disc can be seen here.


If you were thinking about going to see V For Vendetta, you might like to know that it will be playing at the bfi London IMAX Cinema, from April the 14th. It will be the first Warner Bros. film of 2006 to be released in the IMAX DMR [Digital Re-Mastering] format. The theatre uses a screen more than twenty metres high, and has a sound system delivering 12,000 watts.

"We’re excited to give fans the opportunity to experience V For Vendetta in IMAX’s spectacular format,” said producer Joel Silver. “The clarity and immersive quality of The IMAX Experience adds a dynamic dimension to the film’s powerful visuals, breathtaking action and multi-layered storytelling".

The film has a 15 certificate. The bfi London IMAX Cinema is located at South Bank, London SE1. For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 0870 787 2525 or visit the website at

14th March 2006


Universal Pictures will finally release a Special Edition version of David Fincher's psychological thriller The Game on DVD on May the 8th.

No surprise, of course. Special Editions of The Game have been popping up all over Europe over the last couple of weeks, and now it's the UK's turn.

The disc will feature an alternate ending (nothing to get too excited about, as anyone who's seen it will testify); a commentary track; thirty minutes of On Location footage; and some CGI test footage. While perhaps not the stacked Special Edition Fincher fans have been blessed with in the past, it does, at least, mean that those who weren't lucky enough to get a copy of Criterion's laserdisc edition will now have a chance to own its content.

No technical spec's were announced. The RRP is £15.99.

13th March 2006


There are three new reviews on the site today!

Andy Davidson has reviewed two more titles in Optimum's wonderful Studio Ghibli Collection, the very sweet My Neighbour Totoro and the recent Oscar-nominated theatrical hit Howl's Moving Castle, which has a whole disc full of bonus material. Click on the sleeve images, right, or here for the Howl's Moving Castle review, or here for the My Neighbour Totoro review.

Our third review is of a fab 'n' groovy new music CD titled The Tomorrow People - Original Television Music. As you might expect, this features music from the 70s Thames Television science-fiction ITV series of that name! Several of the tracks on the disc were also used in Doctor Who (and, indeed, in ATV's science-fiction series Timeslip). It's a very cool limited edition CD, and Amazon have it at a very decent price (here). Click here, or on the sleeve image, left, to read the review.

There's no update to the Incoming page this week. Things are going on behind-the-scenes here to completely revamp the page, and that's what's keeping us busy at the moment. The changes will make it easier to read (no more wonky formatting - yay!) and will make it easier for us to keep it up-to-date and accurate. Fingers crossed, all will be revealed in the next week or two!


The BBC has announced their April releases! And, what's more, they've actually told me about them! Here goes...

The fourth and final series of Blake's 7 is released on April the 24th.

The four-disc set will feature thirteen "digitally re-mastered" episodes, and more than two and a half hours of extras.

The bonus material is comprised of: Introducing Soolin and Introducing Slave (character profiles); Liz Parker on Pebble Mill (an interview with the series' special sounds creator, which includes some behind-the-scenes footage); Blue Peter - How To Make a Scorpio Bracelet; Ken Ledsham's Blake's 7 Designs - Slash-Drapes, Corridors and Cheap Tin Trays (interview with the series' set decorator); Special Sounds: Radiophonics (interviews with Richard Yeoman -Clark and Elizabeth Parker); Forever Avon: You're Him, Aren't You? (a new interview with Paul Darrow, shot in December 2005 - well, it says December 2006 here, but I don't think that's right!); Series 4 Studio Recordings - Games 1 - "Eyes Locked"; Series 4 Studio Recordings - Games 2 - "Standby to Launch"; Series 4 Studio Recordings - "Gold, Guns and Air-Locks" (behind-the-scenes footage); Terry Nation - On Series 4 (described as an "interview snippet" from 1991); Blake's Bloops [sic] and Series 4 Clean Titles (by BBC Graphics Designer Douglas Burd). The RRP is £49.99. And yes, I know it's the wrong logo! I don't care!

The fourth season of One Foot in the Grave will be released on April the 24th. It will feature some episodes, including the 1993 Christmas episode,. One Foot in the Algarve. The disc will faeture a bonus commentary track, on Hearts of Darkness, with Richard Wilson and David Renwick. RRP is £15.99.

The second series of Nighty Night will insinuate its way onto retailer's shelves on April the 3rd. The disc will feature all the episodes, presumably, as well as a making of... documentary called Behind Nighty Night, over an hour of deleted scenes, out-takes, BBC trails and a location picture gallery. RRP is £19.99.

Something called Inspector Lynley Series 1 and Pilot will be released on April the 10th. The set will include "four new crime mysteries", which is presumably the April 2002 series (Well-Schooled in Murder, Payment in Blood, For The Sake of Elena and Missing Joseph).

This is where it gets slightly worrying. The press release says ""Inspector Lynley was first aired on BBC1 in April 2002", which isn't correct - a two part story, A Great Deliverance, aired in March 2001.

Four ninety-minute episodes would add up to the quoted "360 mins", so perhaps they're counting the first two - the Pilot? - as a bonus? The RRP is £24.99.

Volume 3 of Hancock's Half Hour is due on April the 24th. The disc will feature "ten episodes from his fifth series of Hancock's Half Hour, which were originally broadcast in 1959". RRP is a remarkably good £12.99.

A zillion other sites have already spilled the beans about April the 10th's Doctor Who release, the early Tom Baker story Genesis of the Daleks, so I won't recount the details here. Check out the great article at the Doctor Who Restoration Team's website here for more information. RRP for the two-disc set is £19.99. If I can get hold of review discs, expect a review!

The second series of amusing geriatric cop show New Tricks will be released on April the 24th. The three-disc set will feature eight episodes of the series, which stars James Bolum, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman as three coppers brought back from retirement to re-examine unsolved crimes. A new series is due on BBC 1 in May, incidentally, and a fourth series will follow next year. RRP for the set is £24.99.

The final April BBC title is Bug Cat Week - 1 & 2, a two-disc set containing both series so far, and two additional half-hour documentaries, Bella and Her Cubs and Cheza and Sala. It's released on April the 10th. RRP is £12.99.

Momentum Pictures will release the second half of the first season of CSI: NY on March the 27th.

The three-disc set features episodes thirteen (Tanglewood) to twenty-three (What You See Is What You Get). These are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (at 448kbps).

Bonus features include a commentary track on Tanglewood (by writer / producer Anthony E. Zuiker); The World's Largest Crime Scene (9m, about the creation of the series); The Cast Examine The Characters (15m, about casting the series' regulars); The Zoo Year (10m, about the animals featured in the series); and a CSI: NY Set Tour (9m). The RRP is £39.99.

Bee Season, a drama starring Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche, about a couple supporting their daughter in a spelling bee contest, will be released on disc by Twentieth Century Home Entertainment on March the 27th.

The disc will feature six deleted scenes; director's commentary; and two featurettes: The Essence of Bee Season and The Making of Bee Season. No technical details were announced. The RRP is £19.99.

Universal Pictures will release God Is Great, I'm Not (the 2001 romantic comedy Dieu Est Grand, Je Suis Toute Petite), starring Amélie's Audrey Tautou, on May the 8th. Bonus features on the disc include a Making of... documentary; deleted scenes; a photo' gallery; a trailer and filmographies. RRP is a modest £9.99.

Anyone want a look at a promotional website for Universal's forthcoming Doom DVD?  Click here. Be warned - it's noisy! The DVD is released on April the 3rd.

Anchor Bay will now not be releasing How To Get Ahead In Advertising any time soon. Presumably this is because the film was given away with one of the newspapers this weekend!


Robin Hardy, director of The Wicker Man, will release a new book on May the 1st, titled Cowboys For Christ. (Well, it's a better title than Riding The Laddie!) It's being published in hardback by Luath Press.

Here's the publicity blurb:

Cowboys For Christ is a book that inhabits the same disturbing territory as The Wicker Man with horrifying results that won’t disappoint fans. Ripping through the themes of religion, paganism, power, sex and sacrifice Cowboys for Christ builds up to its gruesome and excruciating climax.

: Beth a gospel singer and her cowboy boyfriend Steve, two virgins promised to each other through ‘the silver ring thing’, set off from Texas to enlighten the ‘Scottish heathens’ to the ways of Christ. Meanwhile in the Scottish border village of Tressock, Beame sharpens his taxidermist’s tools and preparations for the May Day feast get under way. The siren Lolly is accommodating the inquisitive local PC Orlando Furioso. Sir Lachlan Morrison, Laird and chairman of Nuada Nuclear Power Station, is on the hunt for the Queen and her Laddie to fulfil a horrifying pagan fertility ritual.

Here's an Amazon link. The RRP is £14.99.

Last week's Zeta Minor News can be viewed here.

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

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