‘Ready or Not’ is a nutty, bloody chase thriller
New on Blu-ray
“Ready or Not” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; also available on VOD)
One of this year’s nuttiest, bloodiest movies, the satirical horror-comedy stars Samara Weaving as a newlywed who participates in her wealthy in-laws’ traditional wedding night game of hide-and-seek, unaware that they intend to kill her. Codirected by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (from a screenplay by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy), the movie’s a sly commentary on the lengths some rich people will go to preserve their privilege. But it’s mostly just a fun, funny chase thriller, with Weaving giving a terrific performance as a bright young woman who uses her wits to outlast a succession of cartoonish aristocrats in an elegant old mansion filled with cool secret passages.
[Special features: A commentary track and a multipart behind-the-scenes featurette]
“Hala” (available Dec. 6 on AppleTV+)
Talented young actress Geraldine Viswanathan excels in her first leading role, in writer-director Minhal Baig’s well observed high-school melodrama. As the title character — a Chicago native whose sexual awakening alarms her conservative Muslim immigrant parents — Viswanathan brings complexity to a classic coming-of-age plot. Rather than making the movie about a larger culture clash, Baig keeps this story small. Hala is a well-liked kid whose classmates accept her hijab and her prayers. Her problems begin at home, where her family fears what’ll happen if they let her become a typical American teen. Viswanathan captures both the inner strength and the self-centered impulsiveness of a sheltered youngster, yearning to be free.
TV set of the week
“Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season” (HBO DVD, $59.99; Blu-ray, $74.99; 4K, $74.99; also available on VOD)
The six-episode final season of the blockbuster HBO hit was inevitably controversial, with some fans complaining — strongly — about the way head writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wrapped up their version of novelist George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic. Leaving aside whether or not the series had the “right” ending, this last run is still an impressive television achievement, with more than six hours of grand battles, featuring massive armies and fire-breathing dragons, intercut with quieter scenes of war-weary characters sharing a few more moments together. From Season 1 to Season 8, the series had a marvelous sense of scale, balancing jaw-dropping spectacle with human drama.
[Special features: Commentary tracks, deleted scenes and extensive featurettes]
From the archives
“Big Trouble in Little China: Collector’s Edition” (Shout! Factory Blu-ray, $27.99)
When the film came out in summer 1986, director John Carpenter and 20th Century Fox were sure they’d made a hit: a fun neo-western borrowing liberally from the cutting-edge action of Hong Kong martial arts movies, starring the charismatic Kurt Russell, doing his best John Wayne impression, as a philosophical truck driver battling Chinese American gangs. But the picture flopped in its theatrical release, and it took a few years to become the cult favorite it is today, beloved for its loopy dialogue (courtesy of offbeat screenwriter W.D. Richter) and for the way director Carpenter makes the film into one big video game, with heroes fighting their way through one danger-packed secret lair after another.
[Special features: A commentary track, deleted scenes and new and vintage interviews]
Three more to see
“The Goldfinch” (Warner Bros. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; also available on VOD); “The Parts You Lose” (Samuel Goldwyn DVD, $19.95; Blu-ray, $24.95; also available on VOD); “Teen Titans: The Complete Series” (Warner Archive Blu-ray, $47.99; also available on VOD)
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