New on Blu-ray
How deep is the moviegoing public's infatuation with all things Marvel? So deep that even a snarky R-rated movie about an obscure superhero has grossed more than $350 million in the U.S. and even more abroad. The film is in a lot of ways an evisceration of its own genre, as the vulgar, violent, masked vigilante breaks the fourth wall to point out how his story does and doesn't resemble the Spider-Men, X-Men and Avengers blockbusters. But it's also a genuinely thrilling action-adventure, filled with colorful characters and anchored by Ryan Reynolds' turn as the smart-mouthed anti-hero. The film demands a high tolerance for smug irreverence, but given that millions of people have bought tickets to see it in theaters, it should have a long shelf-life.
[Special features: Deleted scenes; featurettes; two commentary tracks]
"Kill Zone 2" (available Friday)
In 2005, director Wilson Yip and star Donnie Yen brought back the late '80s-/early '90s-style Hong Kong actioner with their bare-knuckle cop picture "SPL," released in the U.S. as "Kill Zone." Now, "Kill Zone 2" (or "SPL 2") pays homage to the original with a new set of a characters and a new setting, but with the same commitment to frenetic, hard-hitting fight scenes. This not-quite-a-sequel stars "Ong-Bak" superstar Tony Jaa as a prison guard who aids an undercover detective played by Wu Jing when he mistakenly lands behind bars. The twisty plot — involving high-level corruption and organ transplants — doesn't make a lot of sense, but none of that matters when Jaa and Wu are leaping and punching in ambitious set pieces that rival the two recent "Raid" movies. Martial arts fans shouldn't miss it.
TV set of the week
"Killjoys: Season 1" (Universal DVD, $39.98; Blu-ray, $44.98)
In a modern television landscape where even the trashiest genre shows are routinely elevated to the "prestige" level, it's refreshing to see a science-fiction series as unpretentious and straightforward as this one. Ostensibly a pulp crime story with spaceships and robots, the show follow a trio of planet-hopping bounty hunters who claim to take jobs based on what pays, but who nevertheless end up embroiled in an interstellar war. There's no real heavy theme explored here; it's just an array of tough-talking characters having dangerous adventures in exotic locales. This show's the equivalent of an old-fashioned Saturday matinee.
From the archives
"In a Lonely Place" (Criterion DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)
Director Nicholas Ray made a handful of classic films during his career in Hollywood (including "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Johnny Guitar"), but his masterpiece may be this lively but dark portrait of a lovable loser with a dangerous side from 1950. Humphrey Bogart plays a flippant, formerly successful screenwriter who takes on a hack adaptation job to prove himself to the studios and ends up a murder suspect when his young female assistant turns up dead. Bogart looks into the crime to get the police off his back — and to woo a pretty neighbor played by Gloria Grahame — but because he knows his own alcoholic temper, all the while, he worries he may be guilty. The movie's hero seems like a decent dude, right up to the moment when he flies into a brutish rage; throughout, Ray cleverly toys with the audience's affection for a major star and the witty guy he's playing.
[Special features: Scholarly commentary tracks; a 1948 radio adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes' original novel; a condensed version of 1975 documentary about Ray]
Three more to see
"Creative Control" (Sony DVD, $25.99; Blu-ray, $26.99; also available on VOD); "Mustang" (Cohen DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $39.98; also available on VOD); "Where to Invade Next" (Starz/Anchor Bay DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.99; also available on VOD)