New on Blu-ray
“Southside With You” (Lionsgate DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD)
The big hook of writer-director Richard Tanne’s indie romance is that it tells the story of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, with actors Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter doing a fine job of balancing impersonation and originality as the future POTUS and FLOTUS. Staunch supporters of the current presidential administration may feel uplifted by this glimpse of the young Obama in his days as a budding lawyer and Chicago community organizer, bringing people together. But even right-wingers should be able to appreciate how well Tanne weaves the details of two real people’s lives into a modest little drama. “Southside With You” works beautifully just as a film about two folks falling in love, regardless of who they’d later become.
[Special features: A Tanne commentary track]
“Solace” (available 12/16)
Anyone who’s feeling bummed that “Westworld” and “The Walking Dead” are done for the rest of the year can now catch those show’s stars Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a psychic and an FBI agent tracking a serial killer played by Colin Farrell. The movie’s been sitting on the shelf for a while — after a long development process — and there’s very little about its story of cops and sickos that hasn’t been seen on big and small screens over and over, ever since Hopkins’ massive success with 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs.” Still, this is a well-made procedural with a few supernatural wrinkles and three strong performances at its center. Sometimes good company matters more than a great yarn.
TV set of the week
“Star Trek: The Original Series — The Roddenberry Vault” (Paramount Blu-ray, $76.99)
The original 1960s “Star Trek” episodes have been repackaged so many times in so many formats that fans may think they’ve seen everything associated with the series that’s worth checking out. But the new three-disc collection offers something genuinely new, supplementing 12 classic episodes with outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. The long-locked-away trims have been assembled into new documentaries, which explain what happened on the set and why some of this material was cut in the first place. Devotees will be delighted, and even casual viewers may learn more about why this show remains a sensation.
[Special features: Commentary tracks on selected episodes and isolated music tracks on all 12]
From the archives
“Black Christmas: Collector’s Edition” (Scream! Factory Blu-ray, $29.99)
Ten years before he directed the holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” Bob Clark helmed a very different kind of yuletide tale, a sly Canadian slasher movie that’s had a lasting impact on the horror genre. Set at a sorority house that’s been infiltrated by a serial killer, “Black Christmas” creates a feeling of queasy uncertainty in its first few minutes, with point-of-view tracking shots, deep shadows and the promise that any character can be murdered at any time. An unusual cast (including Andrea Martin, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, and Keir Dullea) and some shaggy counterculture jokes about useless cops keep the movie from being too grim. But make no mistake: There’s a reason why John Carpenter borrowed so heavily from Clark for his “Halloween.” The camera tricks and sudden shocks here drew a blueprint that bloody thrillers still follow today.
[Special features: Three commentary tracks and hours of interviews with the cast and crew]
Three more to see
“Equity” (Sony DVD, $25.99; Blu-ray, $30.99; also available on VOD); “Florence Foster Jenkins” (Sony DVD, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD); “Little Men” (Magnolia DVD, $26.97; also available on VOD)