New on Blu-ray
“Captain America: Civil War” (Disney/Buena Vista DVD, $32.99; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD)
The title implies a solo superhero adventure, but this summer’s “Captain America: Civil War” is actually a straight-up sequel to 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” bringing together nearly all of its predecessor’s heroes — plus a few surprise guests — for another epic battle. This time out, Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man spend as much time fighting each other as they do any villains. They divide their colleagues into factions, debating whether the U.S. government should have authority over the super-powered. “Civil War” is a little too thematically heavy for a comic book movie, and the plot doesn’t resolve satisfactorily; but directors Anthony and Joe Russo bring the same dynamic energy that they did to their “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Whenever all the costumed guys and gals are on the screen attacking each other, this film serves up some of the most exciting big-screen superhero action ever.
[Special features: A Russo brothers commentary track, deleted scenes, and extensive featurettes]
“31” (available Sept. 16)
Splatter auteur Rob Zombie gets back to his gory roots with “31,” a crowd-funded horror film designed to appeal to the filmmaker’s devotees. Nodding both to Zombie’s “Halloween” remakes and to his popular “Great American Nightmare” haunted mazes, this new movie follows an RV full of carnies (one of which is played by the director’s wife/muse, Sheri) who one Halloween night get trapped by wealthy sportsmen and forced to make their way through a gantlet of violent punishments. “31” is unlikely to win over the B-movie averse — unlike Zombie’s masterpiece “The Devil’s Rejects” — but it’s a suitably nasty bit of bloodletting with a premise designed to maximize cheap thrills.
TV set of the week
“The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Ninth Season” (Warner Bros. DVD, $44.98; Blu-ray, $49.99)
Is it possible for the most popular sitcom on television to be underrated? “The Big Bang Theory” is entering its 10th season this fall as a bona fide phenomenon, successful on CBS and in syndication. The tastemakers may dismiss it as TV comedy at its blandest, but the recently completed ninth season illustrates how the show has deepened and improved over the course of its decade on the air, as its collection of awkward nerds and long-suffering ladies have dealt with death, marriage and drastic changes in their careers. Throughout, the writing has remained snappy and the ensemble sharp, making it all the easier to hang out with these characters for another 24 episodes.
[Special features: A Comic-Con panel, a gag reel and more behind-the-scenes looks]
From the archives
“Raising Cain: Collector’s Edition” (Scream! Factory Blu-ray, $34.93)
On the same day that the documentary “De Palma” arrives on home video, Scream! Factory brings a revelatory new Blu-ray edition of a misunderstood work by that doc’s subject, director Brian De Palma. The 1992 thriller “Raising Cain” is a twisted take on Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” starring a scenery-chewing John Lithgow as an obsessive child psychologist with multiple personalities. Poor editing choices made De Palma and Lithgow’s excesses look too over-the-top when “Raising Cain” came out; but in the years since the filmmakers’ fans have come to appreciate the picture for its perverse study of masculinity and for its stunning set-pieces. One of those fans even recut the movie to approximate De Palma’s originally intended structure. That stronger version is now officially available in this set, allowing a near-classic to get its due at last.
[Special features: Interviews and a featurette]
Three more to see
“De Palma” (Lionsgate Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD); “The Fits” (Oscilloscope DVD, $34.99; Blu-ray, $39.99); “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; also available on VOD)