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New Video: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is Spike Lee’s electrifying and wildly entertaining look at American racism

New Video: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is Spike Lee’s electrifying and wildly entertaining look at American racism
Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman and John David Washington as Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKLansman." (David Lee / Focus Features)

New on Blu-ray

“BlacKkKlansman” (Universal DVD, $22.99; Blu-ray, $28.62; also available on VOD)

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Director Spike Lee had his biggest box-office hit in years with the undercover cop dramedy, which was based on an autobiography of the same name, adapted into a screenplay by Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz (revised by Lee and Kevin Wilmott). John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth, who in the 1970s set out to squelch local KKK activity by sending a white colleague (played by Adam Driver) to attend Klan meetings, while he coordinated the whole operation by phone. Depressingly timely — yet also funny and often thrilling — the film is one of 2018’s most electrifying, and an incisive look at how racism can be radicalizing.

[Special features: A behind-the-scenes featurette]

VOD

“Outlaw King” (available Nov. 9, on Netflix)

For this gritty historical action picture, director David Mackenzie re-teams with his “Hell or High Water” star Chris Pine, to tell the story of the revolutionary Scottish nobleman Robert the Bruce. The movie, a valuable companion-piece to the movies “Braveheart” and “Rob Roy” — not to mention the popular Starz series “Outlander” — aims for a more realistic rendering of the centuries-long struggle for Scottish liberation. Mackenzie includes plenty of mud-spattered combat scenes, but the real heart of the story is in Pine’s performance as a reluctant hero who takes on the responsibility of leading his people in the fight against tyranny, even though it pushes him from a lordly life to a succession of blood-soaked battlefields.

TV set of the week

Brian Cox in a scene from "Succession."
Brian Cox in a scene from "Succession." (Craig Blankenhorn / HBO)

“Succession: The Complete First Season” (HBO DVD, $49.99; Blu-ray, $59.99; also available on VOD)

It took a while for HBO’s political-domestic melodrama to build up some buzz, but by the end of its first season, it had become an object of obsession among fans of ripped-from-the-headlines shows about the foibles of the rich. Based loosely on the Rupert Murdoch clan, the 10 episodes in the set tell the story of a fading media titan (played by Brian Cox) and the various children, relations and longtime employees who have different ideas about what to do with his empire when he passes it on. The series’ creative team includes Jesse Armstrong (a writer on the brittle British satire “The Thick of It”) and Adam McKay (director of “The Big Short”), who both know how to tell entertaining and insightful stories about the intricacies of power.

[Special features: A behind-the-scenes featurette]

From the archives

“Midaq Alley” (Film Movement Classics DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)

Based on a classic Naguib Mahfouz novel, set on a busy Cairo street, director Jorge Fons’ award-winning 1995 film transfers the action to Mexico City and divides the original’s sprawling, episodic narrative into four parts, each circling the same stretch of time, from different perspectives. Perhaps best-known today as the movie that helped make Salma Hayek an international superstar — for her role as a heartbroken young romantic who drifts into prostitution — it’s on the whole an impressive ensemble piece, exploring the interconnected lives of various types of people in one neighborhood.

[Special features: A behind-the-scenes featurette]

Three more to see

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“Christopher Robin” (Walt Disney DVD/Blu-ray combo, $24.99; also available on VOD); “Incredibles 2” (Walt Disney DVD/Blu-ray combo, $24.99; also available on VOD); “Papillon” (Universal DVD, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD)

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