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Jimmy Stewart Take Flight in Our Home Video Pick of the Week

Plus 14 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
The Flight Of The Phoenix
By  · Published on March 22nd, 2022

Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for March 22nd, 2022!

This week’s home video selection includes The Flight of the Phoenix, some classics from Shaw Brothers studio, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

The Flight Of The PhoenixThe Flight of the Phoenix [Criterion Collection]

What is it? A plane crash leaves the survivors planning an elaborate escape.

Why see it? Robert Aldrich’s big tale of survival brings together a terrific cast, albeit an all-male one, to create an engaging ensemble of characters. Their plane crashes in the desert, and with no hope of a rescue they devise an elaborate plan that involves using the scraps to build a new airplane. There are some thrilling beats here as various threads come to a head, but the film’s strongest sequences feature the characters interacting with each other. James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine, Peter Finch, and George Kennedy are just some of the familiar faces, and all of them bring their A-game. Criterion’s new release once again sees the label under fire for a restoration that futzes with the film’s color temperature, and once again I’m happy to report that it’s a fantastic picture maintaining grain while still capturing detail of faces and landscapes. Again, though, it appears my thoughts are due to this being a first-time watch whereas those already familiar are put off by the changes. Proceed accordingly.

[Extras: 2K restoration, interviews]

The Best

Captains Of The CloudsCaptains of the Clouds [Warner Archive]

What is it? Canadian bush pilots are recruited for World War II.

Why see it? Sometimes a pretty good movie gets a spectacular-looking Blu-ray release, and it raises the quality of the release itself. Exhibit A? Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray of 1942’s patriotic charmer, Captains of the Clouds. James Cagney stars alongside an engaging ensemble, and they all help create a likable crew of Canadians who eventually find themselves drawn into the war. It’s absolutely a jingoistic tale encouraging support of Allied troops, but it’s the pre-war scenes that work best. All of that said, this is absolutely worth a pickup as Warner’s restoration captures the film’s Technicolor glory with bright, sharp, beautiful images.

[Extras: Newsreel, short, cartoons]

Come Drink With MeCome Drink With Me [Arrow Video]

What is it? A woman searches for her missing brother and kicks ass along the way.

Why see it? The Shaw Brothers studio released hundreds of films throughout their reign as the top of the martial arts cinema food chain. Their era ended decades ago, but recent years have seen an uptick in their library getting respectable home video releases. Arrow’s recent ShawScope set is a must-own, and now they’ve put out King Hu’s beloved 1966 effort starring Cheng Pei-pei as a fiercely talented fighter taking down a boys club. The film features plenty of wire work to bring to life its fight sequences, but there’s no shortage of skill and ability either. Arrow’s film offers an HD picture with the understanding that some elements retain visual distortions — due as much to the material as to Shaw Brothers’ habit of playing fast and loose with aspect focus. Still, this is a great release with an otherwise attractive picture and informative extras.

[Extras: Commentary, interviews, Q&A, documentary]

Eastern PromisesEastern Promises [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A Cronenberg film about Russian gangsters.

Why see it? Canadian auteur is best known for his unsettling slices of body horror, but his career shifted in the 90s towards more dramatic fare. This 2007 feature stays in line with the drama, but delivers plenty of genre thrills in the form of gory neck slices, a brutal (and naked) bath house fight, and more. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as a made man working as driver and right-hand man to the son of a powerful Russian gangster. The authenticity of it all is electrifying at times, and while the ending satisfies, we’re still hoping Cronenberg delivers a sequel. Kino’s new 4K UHD release is another winner from the label.

[Extras: Featurettes]

The Godfather Trilogy KThe Godfather Trilogy [4K UHD]

What is it? Two critically acclaimed films and a third movie.

Why see it? Francis Ford Coppola’s epic adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel resulted in to films that dazzled critics and audiences alike, and decades later they remain masterpieces of American cinema. The third film? Not so much, despite Coppola rejiggering it no fewer than two times. His final effort is the one presented here as the concluding chapter in the trilogy, but the two previous incarnations are also included here. The 4K restorations bring even more detail to life with films that are already rich in their cinematography and production design. Paramount’s restoration respects the original grain visible at times in the two earlier films while enhancing shadow and color, and the numerous extras add depth and history in their exploration of the films’ productions.

[Extras: Theatrical and 1991 cuts of The Godfather Part III, featurettes, deleted scenes, short films]

Odd CoupleOdd Couple [Eureka Entertainment]

What is it? Two masters train opposing pupils.

Why see it? Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-wing do double duty here (triple for Lau as he also directed the film) as two old masters who meet each year for a battle that ends in a draw. Each man finds a pupil, played by the opposing performer, to train for an eventual fight, and it’s a blast watching these talents cut loose with weapons of varying kinds. The action is exciting and often blisteringly fast, and the humor manages some fun beats including a very funny intro to a character named Mr. Rocking. Eureka’s new Blu-ray is another solid Shaw Brothers release for the label.

[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentaries, interviews, booklet]

Shaolin MantisShaolin Mantis [88 Films]

What is it? A man sent to squash a rebellion from within instead finds love.

Why see it? The Shaw Brothers studio delivered dozens of bangers, and this deceptively dark tale is one of them. A methodical setup gives way to some surprising character turns, and all of it is set against a backdrop of training montages and fight scenes. Lau Kar Leung stars and directs, and while the mantis style is kept to a minimum — it doesn’t rear its head until the final fight — the various fights and styles we do get deliver impressive and energetic visuals.

[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes, interviews]

The Rest


What is it? A couple lives and dies the same die again and again.

Why see it? 1993’s Groundhog Day remains an all-timer that has inspired numerous copycats hoping to recapture its magic in the form of genre outings. There are good ones (Happy Death Day 2U, 2019), but most fall into a disappointing camp — and that includes 6:45. The setup is straightforward enough as a young couple arrives on a small vacation island only to see their first day end in murder. They wake up the next day to discover it’s the same day, and so on. Viewers will be ahead of the reveal by a good margin, and the journey there feels repetitive in more than just the obvious ways.

[Extras: None]

Back Street [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? An illicit fling becomes a lifelong affair.

Why see it? Fannie Hurst’s bestselling novel has reached the screen a few times, and as with the others this 1941 effort is a satisfying melodrama. The heart here comes from Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullivan, both of whom experienced tragic ends in real life, but even without that offscreen knowledge the pair deliver a tangible longing between them. Kino’s disc includes an informative commentary well worth a listen for fans.

[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]

Blue Skies [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? An Irving Berlin musical!

Why see it? The big draw here is obviously the work of the legendary Irving Berlin, and it’s brought to lively life by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The two don’t share quite enough time together here, though, and their collective absence leaves a void at times. Still, when they are together their song and dance numbers are the expected delights in an otherwise minor story.

[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]

Bryan Loves You

What is it? A found footage look at one man’s investigation into a cult.

Why see it? Cults are inherently creepy because they involve human beings who willingly give themselves over to shared madness, but a couple beats aside this genre effort fumbles the ball making for a dull watch. There’s some logical issues with the footage — it’s recovered after a crime, but it includes security cam footage from places that wouldn’t have turned them over, and don’t get me started on the angles — and it’s unclear why its been collected anyway. The cultists are creepy on occasion when they don masks, but they’re otherwise dull and unthreatening.

[Extras: Commentaries, interviews]

Monkey Kung Fu [88 Films]

What is it? A man searches for meaning and finds violence.

Why see it? Another day, another Shaw Brothers studio film getting a slick new Blu-ray release. This time out our hero makes a friend in prison, but when the old guy bites it he heads out into the world for answers. He finds some in the title which leads in turn to the style getting cut loose in the finale. There’s an engaging enough story here complimented by fun action and antics. It’s far from one of Shaw’s more memorable titles, but it’s a good watch. The release is another fine one, though, from 88 Films’ US line showing real love for the studio and genre as well as a booklet and a poster. Good stuff all around.

[Extras: HD remaster, commentary, interview]

Nightmare Alley

What is it? A con artist is ultimately only fooling himself.

Why see it? Guillermo del Toro’s remake of the 1947 classic is a visually beautiful descent into one’s man’s descent into self-deception. It can’t touch the earlier film which manages the same tale with more power and forty fewer minutes, but a strong cast and memorable production design makes for a good film. A commentary would have pushed this into the Best category above, but a handful of featurettes aren’t quite enough to lift it up. Still, fans should be pleased at least until a Criterion release is announced with more extras…

[Extras: Featurettes]

Now and Forever [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A young couple takes in the man’s young daughter from a previous relationship.

Why see it? There’s a real draw here in the cast that includes Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard as the couple and a young Shirley Temple as the child. Temple is as good as always showing real talent at an early age, and the two adults are good as well. The story can’t quite muster the necessary drama, though, leaving a whole lot of dramatic concern that isn’t matched by the story. You’ll care enough, but it never hits like it should.

[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]

To Sleep So As to Dream [Arrow Video]

What is it? A private eye goes looking for a missing woman from the movies.

Why see it? Director Kaizo Hayashi’s oddly surreal tale of identity and the magic of the movies finally gets a proper release outside of Japan. The film is in the form of a silent picture that moves its characters from the 50s to the 1910s

[Extras: Commentaries, interviews, featurette]

Also out this week:

Dexter: New Blood, Dr. Death

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.