New on Blu-ray
“Blinded by the Light” (Warner Bros. DVD, $15.99; Blu-ray, $19.99; also available on VOD)
Audiences didn’t exactly turn out in droves for the British dramedy when it was released this year, which is a shame, because it’s one of 2019’s biggest crowd-pleasers. Based on journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memories of growing up in the working class city of Luton during the Margaret Thatcher era, the film stars Viveik Kalra as Javed, the son of Pakistani immigrants struggling with a depressed job market and a rising tide of racism. Javed finds comfort in Bruce Springsteen songs (featured in multiple stirring musical sequences), but his love of American rock ’n’ roll and his plans to become a writer put him at odds with his father, who finds his son’s dreams and obsessions too frivolous. With its cheery tone and cultural specificity, this is a sweet and universal coming-of-age picture.
[Special features: Deleted scenes and featurettes]
“Cheat” (available Nov. 21 on Sundance Now)
In the soapy, twisty, tense four-part British miniseries, university professor Leah Dale (Katherine Kelly) accuses her student Rose (Molly Windsor) of academic dishonesty, provoking the younger woman to seek revenge by exposing the teacher’s own humiliating secrets. Though it’s structured like a puzzle, jumping back and forth in the timeline to keep viewers guessing, as the two antagonists spring one surprise after another, it’s ultimately more of a melodrama: an entertainingly over-the-top story of two people who know they hold power over each other and are unafraid to wield it.
TV set of the week
“Deadline: The Complete 39 Episode Series” (Film Chest DVD, $19.98)
Long before our current “prestige TV” era, innovative producers found ways to work in the medium’s margins, creating mature, socially relevant television for discerning audiences. Between 1959 and 1961, the syndicated series was one of the more sophisticated. The anthology series featured some of the earliest work by actors Peter Falk and Diane Ladd, and it dramatized the biggest newspaper articles of its day, covering human interest stories, crime reports and exposés of institutional corruption. Long forgotten, the 39 episodes on the DVD set were found neglected in a garage and are now being made available to anyone interested in the history of TV or journalism.
[Special features: Featurettes]
From the archives
“Cold War” (Criterion DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)
One of the rare foreign-language films to pick up multiple Oscar nominations, director Pawel Pawlikowski’s picture is short, stylish and surprisingly ambitious, covering (in just 88 minutes) the tumultuous romance between two Polish musicians from 1949 to 1959. Tomasz Kot plays a musical director who yearns to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Joanna Kulig is a talented young singer who complicates his plans. Shot in high-contrast black-and-white — with a narrow 4:3 frame that makes the actors look like the world is literally crushing them — the movie works as a tuneful love story, a slice of mid-20th century European history and a study of two people who are truly happy only when they think they’re getting away with something.
[Special features: Interviews and featurettes]
Three more to see
“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” (Paramount DVD, $17.99; Blu-ray, $19.99; also available on VOD); “A Faithful Man” (Kino Lorber DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95; also available on VOD); “The Handmaid’s Tale: Season Three” (MGM DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD)