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Chief Justice Michael Stailey • Location: Santa Monica, CA
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Blade Runner, Twin Peaks, and more!
July 26th, 2007 2:32PM

Just left the panel hosted by our colleagues over at The Digital Bits. Bill Hunt and Todd Doogan hosted a standing room only crowd for special guests producers Charlie de Lauzirika, Javier Soto, Robert Meyer Burnett, and director Michael Davis.

While many not recognize the name of Michael Davis, you may know his work from our reviews of 8 Days a Week or Monster Man. Michael is previewing his new film Shoot 'em Up here in San Diego tonight, starring Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, and Paul Giamatti. Since most of his work has been direct-to-video, he had to work hard to sell this concept to New Line, and did so by hand animating all 11 action sequences on his Mac. It obviously worked. Michael screened a montage of test shots in which he was shooting himself in his basement with a Lyesol bottle, complete with impressive blood splatters. Quite impressive and very funny. I think we're going to be seeing much more of this Zack Snyder school of hybrid filmmaking in the years to come.

Robert Burnett, on the other hand, was the bitter cynical one of the bunch. His claims that DVD has become a wasteland and bonus material creation "is dead" prefaced his move into the production arena. He's now working with Media Blasters (a favorite studio partner of ours) on the creation of The Hills Run Red. He brought a trailer with to show, but the audio wouldn't play, so they scrapped it and moved on. A problem that would become symptomatic of the entire presentation.

Javier Soto, who has been a longtime collaborator with director Guillermo Del Toro, is currently working on Hellboy 2, which he calls "Pan's Labyrinth + Hellboy on steroids" with lots of cool new villains. Following up on Robert's comments, Javier feels the DVD medium is far from dead and that producers simply need to reinvent the type of material they are adding to films on DVD. He's excited about creating original content, such as shorts and new sequences. For example, he's also working on a director's cut of The 4400's Season Four finale, which will only be available on DVD. Also on his plate is the Guillermo produced Spanish lanugage film The Orphanage and a special edition release of the only del Toro film never available on DVD. Hmm...

Charlie was the highlight of the panel, showcasing clips from Twin Peaks: The Complete Series which will include every episode, both pilots (US and European) and hours of vintage and new bonus material, including deleted scenes, interviews with cast and crew (many of whom have never been interviewed about the series before), a new making of documentary, a 30 min roundtable between David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, and Madchen Amick, and much much more. He showed two clips, one of the roundtable in which David waxed nostalgic about his kissing scene with Madchen, and a montage of folks talking about what they knew about Laura Palmer's killer, including Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) who stated "I just hoped it wasn't me!" :)

But the end-all, be-all of the presentation was Charlie's tease for the Bladerunner megaset releasing from Warner Home Video on December 18. Here are just some of the things you can look forward to on this 5-disc set, for which he scoured over 1000 boxes of original source material to create...

* Five versions of the film, all anamorphic widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Surround
* 3.5 hour documentary called "Dangerous Days" including over 80 interviews with cast and crew, including Harrison Ford
* A hybrid shortened cut of the film with early alternate narration by Harrison, 95% of which are alternate angles and coverage shots never before seen.
* A fixed "death of Zora" scene in which Joanna Cassidy recreated the character against green screen to replace the obvious stunt double used in the original film. And Harrison's son Ben came in to remouth his father's words.
* Day and date release of standard DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray with identical content.
* Does not include the BBC Documentary, since it's redundant to what they cover in the new documentary.

During the brief Q&A, the most interesting question asked of the boys from The Bits was which format they like best. The answer -- Blu-ray. It's the one the most studios are backing.

Aside form the technical glitches, the crowd seemed to enjoy the presentation. Nice work, guys! Perhaps next year, we will more seriously entertain the offer of presenting our own panel.

NEXT UP: Star Trek HD DVD presentation


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