Roger Ebert Home

Home Entertainment Guide: March 2022

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"21 Bridges"
"Contagion"
"Dunkirk"
"The Green Mile"
"A Nightmare on Elm Street"
"Public Enemies"
"The Shawshank Redemption"
"Starship Troopers"
"Top Gun"
"V For Vendetta"

10 NEW TO HBO MAX

"American Psycho"
"Atonement"
"Drive My Car"
"Dune"
"El Planeta"
"Good Will Hunting"
"King Richard"
"The LEGO Movie"
"Pacific Rim"
"West Side Story"

11 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"Belfast"

Kenneth Branagh's deeply personal drama has been an interesting cinematic talking point over the last seven months or so. When it premiered at the Fall Festivals, and won the Audience Award at TIFF, it felt like a frontrunner for Best Picture was launched, but audiences and critics were more mixed when it descended from the thin fest air. I would never take away the love some people have for a film that clearly has pulled some emotional heartstrings, but I find Branagh's work here too cold and distant to have any real impact. It's a film that feels like it has had all of its rough edges polished away, a movie about death and poverty that lacks genuine stakes. Everything happens in the bubble of "Prestige Filmmaking," the kind that people think of when they hear the words "Oscar Bait." I do like some of the performances, particularly Ciarán Hinds and Caitríona Balfe, but I wonder what the legacy of "Belfast" will be over time, if it has any at all.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Kenneth Branagh
Alternate Ending featuring Kenneth Branagh – Commentary with Writer/Director Kenneth Branagh
Deleted Scenes – Commentary with Writer/Director Kenneth Branagh
A City of Stories: The Making of BELFAST – Go behind the scenes of BELFAST with cast and crew to learn more about the characters, filming location and Kenneth's childhood in Ireland.
Everyone's Inner Child – Kenneth Branagh, Jamie Dornan, Caitríona Balfe, Ciarán Hinds, and Judi Dench reminisce about their childhoods.


"The Flight of the Phoenix" (Criterion)

Director Robert Aldrich knew how to entertain audiences. One of his most purely enjoyable survival thrillers was released in 1965 with this adaptation of the 1964 novel of the same name by Elleston Trevor. Jimmy Stewart gives one of his most engaging late-career performances as the leader of a small group of men in a plane that crash lands in the Saharan desert. Interestingly, the film was relatively ignored on release, and was more of a critical darling than a commercial one, even landing an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Ian Bannen and Best Editing (it also got a Golden Globe nod for Best Picture). The Criterion release is a little slight for a company usually rich on special features but the digital restoration is a beauty.

Buy it here 

Special Features
2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
New conversation between filmmaker Walter Hill and film scholar Alain Silver
New interview with biographer Donald Dewey on actor James Stewart and his service as a bomber pilot
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and critic Gina Telaroli


"The Godfather Trilogy"

What more could possibly be written about at least two of the most influential films of all time? Even five decades after the release of "The Godfather," it remains one of the most beloved movies of all time. The recut version of the third film feels like it brought these movies back into the public sphere again, reminding everyone what they loved about them in the first place, and the recent events around the 50th anniversary have made it clear just how timeless they are. While Paramount has released them in several physical media editions over the years, this is the first time there has been a set this complete with 4K editions of the films, including both cuts of "The Godfather, Part III." New special features include an introduction by Francis Ford Coppola, comparisons of the very detailed 4K restorations, and some incredible home movies shot on 8mm during the production of "The Godfather" that has never been seen before. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW BONUS CONTENT:
The Godfather: Part III—newly remastered and restored versions of the original theatrical cut and Coppola's 1991 cut (note: these are exclusive to the 4K Blu-ray Collections)
Introduction to The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola
Full Circle: Preserving The Godfather—Paramount Pictures archivists detail the incredible restoration process with archival footage showing the evolution of the film through various home entertainment incarnations as picture and audio technologies make quantum leaps over the decades.
Capturing the Corleones: Through the Lens of Photographer Steve Schapiro— In this reflective and frank discussion, special photographer Steve Schapiro shares his unique perspective and cherished memories as a witness to the making of this seminal film. Commentary on curated archival images makes for a fascinating, never-before-seen addition to the production's history.
The Godfather: Home Movies— An assortment of 8mm home movie footage shot in 1971 offers a candid glimpse into the production of The Godfather. Shot on location at the Norton family estate on Staten Island's Emerson Hill, this is the first time it's been made available to the public.
Restoration Comparisons— Before and after highlights showcase extensive picture quality improvements to The Godfather.
LEGACY BONUS CONTENT:
The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't
Godfather World
Emulsional Rescue—Revealing The Godfather
When the shooting stopped
The Godfather on the Red Carpet
Four Short Films on The Godfather
The Godfather vs. The Godfather: Part II
Cannoli
Riffing on the Riffing
Clemenza
The Family Tree
Crime Organization Chart
Connie and Carlo's Wedding Album
2008 Credits
Behind the Scenes
A Look Inside
On Location
Francis Ford Coppola's Notebook
Music of The Godfather
Nino Rota
Carmine Coppola
Coppola & Puzo on Screenwriting
Gordon Willis on Cinematography
Storyboards – The Godfather: Part II
Storyboards – The Godfather: Part III
The Godfather Behind the Scenes 1971
Additional Scenes
Galleries
Trailers
Acclaim & Response
Additional Material
The Filmmakers


"The Kingsman 4K Collection"

I've said it in this column before: the physical media market is becoming one increasingly aimed at collectors instead of casual movie fans. Take the fact that Best Buy has attempted to corner the market on steelbook edition of fan favorites. They know that these movies are readily available on streaming services for the cost of a subscription ("The King's Man" landed on Hulu while it was still in theaters) and so the way to open wallets is to offer something original. And so robust special features and unique packaging are going to become more of the norm, even for recent films. Which brings us to this three-disc set for the films that started with "The Kingsman," collected here in gorgeous steelbook cases, held in a more traditional box set. These films are best appreciated on visual overload, making them perfect for 4K and 7.1 Audio. Find the best HD TV, a great 4K player, and turn them up loud.

Buy it here

Special Features
All the special features from the standalone editions. On "The King's Man":
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK (On the Blu-ray only DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1)
The King's Man: The Great Game Begins Documentary
A Generation Lost – Discover how the filmmakers created a richly textured story that explores the origins of the Kingsman spy organization.
Oxfords and Rogues – Meet the phenomenal new cast of characters Matthew Vaughn has assembled.
All the World's a Stage – Delve into the meticulous world-building of THE KING'S MAN with interviews, on-location footage, artwork, and details of on-set construction and design.
Instruments of War – Experience the analog spy tech and early 20th century weaponry utilized in THE KING'S MAN and see a breakdown of the precise execution and evolution of the major stunts and combat in the film.
Fortune Favors the Bold – Join Matthew Vaughn and his team for music scoring and sound design.
Long Live the Kingsman – Cast and crew reveal their thoughts about their collective journey through the very special experience of making THE KING'S MAN.
Featurettes
No Man's Land – Experience the creative process behind the harrowing knife battle sequence in several stages: rehearsals, storyboards, interviews and on-set footage, culminating with the atmospheric VFX.
Remembrance and Finding Purpose – Learn about amazing organizations such as The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, two U.K.-based resources for recovery, well-being and employment for military veterans. Also hear why Matthew Vaughn strongly supports their mission.


"The Last Waltz" (Criterion)

Any list of the best concert films of all time that doesn't include Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" is incomplete. More than just a music doc, it captures the end of an era, getting backstage for raw footage of the farewell concert of The Band, joined by a dozen or so special guests. The musical talent on display here is breathtaking, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, and many more, but it's Scorsese's deft eye that helps make it so special, captured better than ever in a 4K restoration that the master oversaw himself. It gets better: Robbie Robertson handled the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, so you know it sounds exactly like it should. Criterion also includes the special features from their previous edition, which means you get the awesome commentary that features Scorsese and members of The Band. Finally, the brilliant David Fear of Rolling Stone interviews the legend himself about "The Last Waltz." That alone makes this a must-buy, one of the first essential Criterion 4K releases.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Martin Scorsese, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack supervised and approved by musician Robbie Robertson
In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Two alternate soundtracks: the original 1978 2.0 surround mix, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio, and an uncompressed stereo mix from 2001
Two audio commentaries, featuring Scorsese; members of the Band; members of the production crew; and performers Dr. John, Ronnie Hawkins, and Mavis Staples
New interview with Scorsese, conducted by critic David Fear
Documentary from 2002 about the making of the film
Outtake
Interview from 1978 with Scorsese and Robertson
Trailer and TV spot
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Amanda Petrusich


"Le Cercle Rouge" (Criterion)

Jean-Pierre Melville was a master, best known probably for "Le Samourai" and "Army of Shadows," both also available in Criterion editions. This is the first 4K upgrade for Melville, a restoration by Studio Canal of the uncut version of the 1970 thriller with one of the best heist sequences of all time, a half-hour that features almost no dialogue. Criterion offers some rich special features, including rare archival footage and segments from a show that featured Melville. When the film was first restored in 2003 to its original cut, Roger Ebert wrote, "The heist itself is performed with the exactness we expect of a movie heist. We are a little startled to realize it is not the point of the film. In most heist movies, the screenplay cannot think beyond the heist, is satisfied merely to deliver it. "Le Cercle Rouge" assumes that the crooks will be skillful at the heist, because they are good workmen. The movie is not about their jobs but about their natures."

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K restoration by STUDIOCANAL of the uncut version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Segments from a 1971 episode of Cinéastes de notre temps featuring director Jean-Pierre Melville
Interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueira, author of Melville on Melville
On-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil
Trailer
PLUS: Essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a 2000 interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo


"Lies and Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol"

Claude Chabrol was one of the most prolific filmmakers of the French New Wave, working consistently from the 1950s through the 1990s. Arrow Home Video, one of the best companies in the world for film collectors, has assembled five of his relatively late films, all releases in the 1980s and 1990s. It's a somewhat bizarre blend of styles, including the dry comedy of something like "Cop au Vin" and the period melodrama of his Isabelle Huppert-starring version of "Madame Bovary." The best two films in the set are probably "Torment" (or "L'Enfer") and "Betty," but the real draw here is how much love and care Arrow has given these works. They include three 4K restorations and an amazing amount of special features (check out the list below), accompanied by gorgeous packaging and an 80-page booklet. Critics gave their time for new commentaries on all five films, and each disc includes incredible archival material. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW 4K RESTORATIONS of Madame Bovary, Betty, and Torment (L'enfer)
Original lossless French PCM mono audio on Cop Au Vin (Poulet au vinaigre), Inspector Lavardin, Madame Bovary, and Betty
Original lossless French PCM stereo audio on Torment (L'enfer)
Optional English Subtitles
Fully illustrated 80page collector's booklet of new writing on the films by film critics Martyn Conterio, Kat Ellinger, Philip Kemp, and Sam Wigley plus select archival material
Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella
DISC ONE:
Brand new commentary by film critic Ben Sachs
An Interview with Ian Christie, a brand new interview with film historian Ian Christie about the cinema of Claude Chabrol
Claude Chabrol at the BFI, Chabrol discusses his career in this hour long archival interview conducted onstage at the National Film Theatre in 1994
Claude Chabrol, Jean Poiret & Stephane Audran in conversation, an archival Swiss TV episode in which the director and cast discuss Cop Au Vin (Poulet au vinaigre)
Archive introduction by film scholar Joël Magny
Select scene commentaries by Claude Chabrol
Theatrical Trailer
Image Gallery
DISC TWO:
Brand new commentary by film critic Ben Sachs
Why Chabrol?, a brand new interview with film critic Sam Wigley about why the films of Claude Chabrol remain essential viewing
Archive introduction by film scholar Joël Magny
Select scene commentaries by Claude Chabrol
Theatrical Trailer
Image Gallery
DISC THREE:
Brand new commentary by film critic Kat Ellinger
Imagining Emma: Madame Bovary on screen, a brand new visual essay by film historian Pamela Hutchinson
Archive introduction by film scholar Joël Magny
Select scene commentaries by Claude Chabrol
Theatrical Trailer
Image Gallery
DISC FOUR:
Brand new commentary by film critic Kat Ellinger
Betty, from Simenon to Chabrol, a brand new visual essay by French Cinema historian Ginette Vincendeau
An Interview with Ros Schwartz, a brand new interview with the English translator of the Georges Simenon novel on which the film is based
Archive introduction by film scholar Joël Magny Select scene commentaries by Claude Chabrol
Theatrical Trailer
Image Gallery
DISC FIVE:
Brand new commentary by film critics Alexandra Heller Nicholas and Josh Nelson
On Henri Georges Clouzot, an archival interview with Claude Chabrol in which he talks about fellow director Henri Georges Clouzot (Les diaboliques), whose original attempt to make L'enfer was abandoned, and how the project came to Chabrol
An Interview with Marin Karmitz, an archival interview with Marin Karmitz, Chabrol's most frequent producer
Archive introduction by film scholar Joël Magny
Select scene commentaries by Claude Chabrol
Theatrical Trailer
Image Gallery


"The Matrix Resurrections"

Roughly two decades after the last film featuring Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity, Lana Wachowski returned viewers to the world of "The Matrix" in this highly divisive, incredibly meta take on one of the most influential film franchises of all time. I love the fact that there seems to be almost no consensus on this movie, a work that shifts from action to philosophy to romance to commentary from scene to scene. It can be a frustrating movie but it's a fascinating one, and those are the works that stand the test of time. People will be arguing about this movie for years, and I have a feeling it will be better appreciated in two decades than it is today. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
No One Can Be Told What The Matrix Is
Resurrecting The Matrix
Neo x Trinity: Return to the Matrix
Allies + Adversaries: The Matrix Remixed
Matrix for Life
The Matrix Reactions
Echo Opening
Deus Ex Machina
Welcome to IØ
Bullet Time Redux
Morpheus vs Neo
Exiles Fight
Neo vs Smith
The San Fran Chase
The San Fran Jump


"Nightmare Alley"

Another 2021 work that I suspect will stand the test of time is Guillermo del Toro's stunning Best Picture nominee, one of his darkest, most unsettling pieces of work. I'm a little too close to Del Toro and his movies to be subjective, but I find his craftsmanship to be breathtaking, something that can be more easily appreciated on Blu-ray or streaming services. (Or see it at Ebertfest in April with Del Toro and co-writer Kim Morgan in attendance.) I will say that the Blu-ray release is a little thin. No one does audio commentary like GdT, and I bet there's a special edition for this vicious flick down the road. Pick this up as a placeholder until it's released. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track on the Blu-ray)
Del Toro's Neo Noir – Writer-director Guillermo del Toro and his standout cast decipher the dark, complicated world of Nightmare Alley. The filmmaker reveals how his take on noir is rooted in classic cinema but offers an accessible, modern narrative.
Beneath the Tarp – Production designer Tamara Deverell and her talented team skillfully delivered both a decaying traveling carnival world and a gilded Art Deco high society with striking visuals. We explore how this design supported del Toro's genre-bending filmmaking.
What Exists in the Fringe – Costume designer Luis Sequeira unravels his collaboration with Guillermo del Toro and reveals the symbolism that's constantly at play in the film's carefully crafted wardrobe's design.


"The Toolbox Murders"

Should some movies be watched on dirty VHS instead of pristine 4K? There's something about Dennis Donnelly's 1978 slasher classic that almost encourages viewing via shaky video quality. It's such a dark and brutal movie, one that was reportedly inspired by the profit margin on "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre." The producers here wanted the same profit and ended up with one of the weirdest early slasher pics, a movie that features almost nothing but violent death for the first act before transitioning into a more psychological thriller. None of it is perfect but some of the direction here, especially in the last half-hour, is memorable, and it's a film that clearly inspired superior works in the four decades since it was released. You also have to admire Blue Underground for treating it so well, including new interviews and a new commentary. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW 16-BIT 4K RESTORATION FROM THE UNCUT ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
NEW DOLBY ATMOS TRACK, plus DTS-HD Master audio 5.1 and 1.0
Audio Commentary with Producer Tony DiDio, Director of Photography Gary Graver and Star Pamelyn Ferdin
NEW Audio Commentary #2 with Film Historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
NEW Drill Sergeant – Interview with Director Dennis Donnelly
NEW Tools Of The Trade – Interview with Star Wesley Eure
NEW Flesh And Blood – Interview with Actress Kelly Nichols
NEW Slashback Memories – David Del Valle Remembers Cameron Mitchell
NEW "They Know I Have Been Sad" – Video Essay by Film Historian Amanda Reyes and Filmmaker Chris O'Neill
NEW Poster & Still Gallery
I Got Nailed In THE TOOLBOX MURDERS – Interview with Actress Marianne Walter
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spot
Radio Spots


"West Side Story"

One of my favorite films of 2021 is already available on Disney+, HBO Max, and Blu-ray. Much was made of the film's relatively poor box office performance in the wake of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," a dismal sign of the future of profitable movie making, so let's all just buy this one. Trust me. It's worth the money. Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner's adaptation of the classic stage musical and film is the kind of wonderful piece of work that can be appreciated more fully with each viewing. And the Disney Blu-ray is impressively stacked, detailing how much of the magic here came to life. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
The Stories of West Side Story
Opening – Director Steven Spielberg begins the journey of one of his career goals – to direct his own cinematic version of the iconic musical. Doing so means he will embrace enormous challenges.
Prologue – From the iconic finger snaps to the complex choreography, we are introduced to the film's opening scene and explore its setting. We begin to see Spielberg's vision take shape.
Sharks & Jets – Meet the actors who play the Sharks and the Jets. Go behind the scenes of "La Borinqueña," the song of the Puerto Rican Revolution, which was added into this vision of the story. Discover the deeper meaning of "Jet Song."
Dance At The Gym – Mambo your way through "The Dance At The Gym" and Justin Peck's choreography, as it leads to the pivotal moment when Tony and Maria meet for the first time.
The Romance – Explore the budding romance of Tony and Maria with the songs "Maria" and "Tonight" as Rachel Zegler (Maria) and Ansel Elgort (Tony) talk about the casting process, and what led them to this career-defining film.
America – During a sweltering New York heat wave, the cast and crew take the production to the streets for one of the biggest dance numbers in the film, "America," featuring Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita.
Gee, Officer Krupke – Spielberg and the Jets make "Gee, Officer Krupke" their own through a new setting, vocal direction and choreography, while they explore the meaning of Stephen Sondheim's lyrics. Get to know Iris Menas (Anybodys) and the significance of their role.
Cool – During the first week of production, Spielberg and the cast nervously jump into filming on the elaborate and challenging set of the musical number "Cool."
From Quintet to The Rumble – Spielberg and his team navigate the intertwining scenes of "The Quintet" and "The Rumble." Once there, they take a scene that is traditionally stylishly choreographed, and instead bring a more visceral authenticity to the fight between the two gangs.
I Feel Pretty – Screenwriter Tony Kushner sheds new light on "I Feel Pretty." We see how, in Spielberg's film, the beloved song by lyricist Stephen Sondheim is given new vision, as it is set and performed within Gimbel's department store.
Somewhere – Hollywood Legend Rita Moreno, who won acclaim for playing Anita in the 1961 film, returns as Valentina, a shopkeeper's widow, as well as an executive producer. She brings extraordinary experience and emotion to the film and sings the song "Somewhere."
Finale – In a moving testament to the talented cast and crew of WEST SIDE STORY, Spielberg reluctantly wraps "one of the best filmmaking experiences" of his career.
Tribute – The late Stephen Sondheim reflects on his career and experience making WEST SIDE STORY in this dedication to the esteemed lyricist.
The Songs - Go directly to your favorite musical numbers from WEST SIDE STORY

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

Latest blog posts

Latest reviews

Angelyne
Montana Story
The Essex Serpent
Firestarter
On the Count of Three
Pleasure

Comments

comments powered by Disqus