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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Melodrama > Mystery > Large Frame Format > Comedy > Skit > TV > Romance > American Flyers (1985*)/Death On The Nile 4K (2021 remake/20th/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Fandango (1985/*both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection (1976

American Flyers (1985*)/Death On The Nile 4K (2021 remake/20th/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Fandango (1985/*both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection (1976 - 1978/MPI DVD Set)/Marry Me (2021/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B-/B/B/C+/B & C+ Sound: C+/B+ & B/C+/C+/B & C+ Extras: C-/C/C-/C/C Main Programs: C+/B-/C+/B-/C

PLEASE NOTE: The American Flyers and Fandango Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and all can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a group of comedies with drama, plus one with a serious mystery....

We'll start with two ensemble films made in the wake of The Big Chill that think they are slice of life films, but tend to more so be formulaic 1980s films. In this case, they are from the same year and show Kevin Costner as a star on the rise. You even have two very competent journeyman directors here, though these are not their best films, they have some good moments.

John Badham's
American Flyers (1985) has Costner opposite David Grant (one of many actors here we should have seen more of later, but oddly did not) as brothers, the former a success who has left home as a doctor, while the other has stayed home with their mom and has some issues got deal with. The mother is not a bad woman and they are all still not over the too-soon death of their father, her husband. After we get through some drama with mixed results, the brothers are back in bike racing they used to do and intend to find a victory that will mean more than usual.

The ending is not as important as the story and of course, like Quicksilver and other films of the time involving biking (even Flashdance and VisionQuest to some extent) absolutely wish to capture something of the magic of Breaking Away, especially because it was not the hit many would have liked it to be (extending to the TV version that was not a hit) and I will give this film some credit that it achieves some of that feel in a good way. Its just not as good a film, though the rest of the cast is decent, including Rae Dawn Chong, Alexandra Paul and Janice Rule.

Kevin Reynolds' Fandango (1985) is supposed to take place in the early 1970s, but never totally reaches that palpable period authenticity of an American Graffiti, but it also has it moments as five loyal college roommates and friends have to deal with growing up as one of them is going to get married. Reynolds also wrote the screenplay and Costner is joined by Sam Roberts, Chuck Bush, Brian Cesak and Judd Nelson, an actor who is dismissed as just 'some guy from the time who made movies' but in real life, is better than he gets credit for and gives one of his best performances here.

The actors are giving it their best and its shows, even when the film does not always work, but it is more ambitious than many such films since and like Flyers, is worth a look for those interested.

Extras only include an Original Theatrical Trailer on each disc for each film.

Kenneth Branagh's Death On The Nile 4K (2021) is a remake that follows up his previous remake of a classic Agatha Christie novel and feature film, Murder On The Orient Express. You can read about that remake and more connected Christie works in my review of the 4K edition o that film at this link:


I liked that film even though I also very much liked the 1974 Sidney Lumet version. For Nile, I liked parts of the John Guillerman 1978 film version that introduced Peter Ustinov as Poirot and I liked its supporting cast, but that film missed the mark more than it should have and that was why I thought Branagh could improve on the 1978 film in places. Though he makes more changes than expected, I think he just does it, though (also thinking of the forgettable TV movie version) think the novel might not be strong enough story-wise, yet very cinematic for its locales and both version had much of it shot on location.

This time, Poirot just happens to be vacationing there when he runs into an old friend (Tom Bateman) who happens to be there with his mother (Annette Bening) who is also a painter. This brings him to a luxury ship where he meets an interesting group of passengers... and eventually and unexpected murder!

Again, like so many great Christie films over the years, Branagh is able to get an amazing cast together including Gal Godot, Russell Brand, Dawn French, Jennifer Sanders, Ali Fazal, Armie Hammer, Sophie Okonedo, Letitia Wright, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey and others that do make this pretty period palpable adaptation. These two Christie films and his underrated Hamlet prove that Branagh knows what to do with the large frame format as much as his friend Christopher Nolan or any other filmmaker out there. This is a rare large budget film made by adults for adults and its unexpected box office, with one of the best long-term big screen runs of the last few years as solid word of mouth and solid reviews brought people back to movie theaters worldwide is in itself something to celebrate.

Save a few off moments I cannot get into here (but do in a few tech points below) make this one of the past years best films and one I strongly recommend, including for those who like a challenge. A third film is already planned and apparently going to be made, but it might not be a remake of Evil Under The Sun (1982, which I really liked more than most) if Branagh wanted to follow the Ustinov pattern. Either way, Branagh has found a way o bring Poirot back to life in a strong, unexpected new way and if he continues, this will be the strongest, most successful, big screen mystery movies series in decades and he knows how to deliver. Don't miss this film!

Extras include (per the press release) Featurettes

  • Death on the Nile: Novel to Film: Explore the new vision for Agatha Christie's classic novel DEATH ON THE NILE, and how Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green collaborated with Christie's estate to bring a new twist to this story of love and murder.

  • Agatha Christie: Travel Can Be Murder: The story behind the book connects with Christie's own love of travel, and especially Egypt and its secrets. Her legacy continues through her family and new generations of filmmakers and actors, all at once contributing to the immortality of her novels.

  • Design on the Nile: The setting, the costumes, the photography, all contribute to the Agatha Christie touch. We take a fun tour of this ''ship of suspects'' and learn details about the overall look and design of everything from the characters to the environment.

  • Branagh/Poirot: Kenneth Branagh is a one-of-a-kind artist who can switch hats with exceptional skill, playing Poirot one moment and directing the next. This piece pays tribute to Branagh's ability to stay connected to his cast and creative team through it all.

Deleted Scenes

  • The Market

  • Poirot's Cabin

  • Rosalie and Bouc Outside Temple

  • Windlesham Jogging

  • Poirot Discusses Case

  • Poirot and Bouc Approach Jackie

  • Confronting Bouc and the Otterbournes

  • and Poirot Orders Books

The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection (1976 - 1978) collects four specials worth seeing again, three of which we have covered before. They include Second Honeymoon and the Valentine Special:


Plus A Christmas Carol:


New to us is the Christmas Special, though I had seen it before. I liked all four shows, but this ones as solid as the rest, Ralph with another extremely unwise get-rich-quick scheme, one that today seems even worse than when the show was made. Jean Kean is fine a Trixie, but it amazes me that having Jackie Gleason, Art Carney and Audrey Meadows together again shows the original TV show was no fluke and that their chemistry remains as immortal and strong as it ever was. As you may know, the original show only lasted one season and was the first to become a hit in syndication later, something much more unheard of at the time. After all the satires, Gleason revival skits, Warner cartoons with The Honeymousers and even The Flintstones, they were in rare form here and its great these shows even got made.

Thus, this is a solid set that should go on the shelf with the original filmed TV series Blu-ray set (will CBS issue it in 4K?) and other Gleason shows that survived (many of which we reviewed on the site over the years) and all this just gets better and more interesting with age. What great timing on MPI's part to be issuing this now. Check it out when you can. You won't be sorry, no matter the season.

Extras include a
Honeymooner's Women's Lib skit, Behind The Scenes featurette on the making o these specials, Trixie's Honeymooners Memories with Jane Kean and two parody skits of the show: 1967 with Audrey Meadows & Ray Bolger, the other from 1971 with Shiela MacRea, George Kirby and Rich Little.

Finally we have yet another formula romanic comedy, so formula that all like it are simply called 'rom coms' and Jennifer Lopez is back (as if she ever left) in Kat Coiro's Marry Me (2021) with the always-welcome Owen Wilson as the 'unexpected' love interest and always to-the-point Sarah Silverman as the supporting gal who knows it all. Better than much of the sappy versions of what's left of the genre than certain brain-damaging cable channels, the money and a little more energy than usual is here, but the result is sadly still the same.

Lopez, who can actually act in real life, plays a singer (imagine that!) who is going to get married to another big star when a silent, simple, good guy math teacher (Wilson) enters the picture and you can sadly more than predict the rest. Considering the talent involved, they could not have tried something different or more? I even thought Lopez and Wilson had some interesting chemistry, but the flat script and filmmakers have little idea on what else to do. Thus, there are more wasted opportunities here than even I expected. Too bad, so for fans only, if that.

Extras include Digital Code, while the discs (per the press release) add:


    • It's Coming Together

    • Plotting the Future

    • Is Everyone Happy?

    • Come to the Concert

    • What Am I Doing Here?

    • You're Married!

    • Having Fun at the Dance

    • Flight Status


  • JENNIFER UNVEILED - Using raw, of-the-moment, b-roll shot on set throughout production, this piece will give audiences unprecedented access behind the scenes, showcasing close-up, intimate footage of Jennifer Lopez - actress and producer.

  • BEHIND THE CAMERA: THE MAKING OF MARRY ME - Glitz, glamor, romance and music. Go behind the scenes in this making-of, for an up-close look at how powerhouse performer Jennifer Lopez and all-star director Kat Coiro are teaming up to put the swoon back on the big screen.

  • TURN IT UP: THE MUSIC OF MARRY ME - Go inside the process with both J.Lo and Maluma as we discover what they wanted these songs to achieve, the stories and meanings behind them, and how they collaborated though countries apart.

  • LIVE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - To create a fictional, epic, on-stage moment between Kat Valdez and Bastian, the production of Marry Me pulled off a REAL epic on stage moment between Jennifer Lopez and Maluma. Surprising a massive real-world audience of Maluma's at Madison Square Garden, Jennifer Lopez joined him on stage for one of the film's most powerful numbers. As we head backstage, we'll not only reveal how they pulled off such an exciting surprise, we'll also get an up-close look at international pop star Maluma.

  • MARRIED WITH STYLE - Complete with eye-catching musical numbers, the nuptials of Kat and Bastian was meant to bring the house down IN STYLE! Now, visit Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City as the team behind this magical moment that could have been, breaks it down for us.


  • and a FEATURE LENGTH AUDIO COMMENTARY with Director Kat Coiro and Producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.20 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Nile is easily the visual champ here, shot entirely on 65mm Kodak Vision 3 color, photochemical, film negative and looking as fine as possible in 10-bit color. However, though I have not seen it in a 70mm film print yet, I did screen it in 12-bit Dolby Vision color and I can tell you that it did a better job of capturing the image. This is still impressive enough to enjoy the film and the previous Branagh/Poirot film, Murder On the Orient Express 4K, also skipped Dolby Vision. They are holding that hostage for theatrical presentations, we guess.

It also looks better than the also-included 1080p, regular Blu-ray, which is sufficient, but struggles even more to deliver the ultra high definition and resolution of the 65mm negative. The 4K edition has the full, lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) sound mix, but the regular Blu-ray only has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mixdown that is fine, but not as good or open as the Atmos. Some sound effects are overdone and distract, even interrupt the flow of the film, but the sound is very well recorded, engineered and mixed otherwise and also has some solid demo moments.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on
American Flyers and 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Fandango both can show the age of the materials used, as these look like slightly older HD masters. Still, they have their moments and some shots in each are a bit stylized, so they would not be as clear. Both originally issued in Dolby's older A-type, analog Dolby System format, Flyers and Fandango are respectively upgraded her to DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo or 5.1 lossless mixes. Unfortunately, the soundtracks sound dated and down a generation, so they disappoint a little more than the image. Can the soudnmasters sound this old?

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the
Marry Me Blu-ray is the only HD shoot here and it is professional and competent at best, even looking better than usual at times, but nothing striking or memorable. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image DVD included is much softer and harder to watch. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray version is also competent for a dialogue-based romantic comedy with more music than it needs, so you can hear everything they say. The DVD offers lesser, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound that is thin and weak, so stick with the Blu-ray if you must see this one.

Finally, the full color 1.33 X 1 image on all four Honeymooner Specials look just fine for mid-1970s analog, professional NTSC video productions, but in a few spots here and there, you can still get analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, tape scratching, cross color, faded color, color variation and even slight tape damage. Otherwise, these have been remastered as well as possible and the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound on all four shows can be good, but sometimes a little lower-sounding than expected. Be careful of volume switch and high level playback to be on the safe side.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays,
American Flyers and/or Fandango, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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