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Movies

What movies to watch at home now? Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time,’ for starters

Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.”
(Andrew Cooper / Columbia Pictures)

New on Blu-ray

“Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” (Sony DVD, $30.99; Blu-ray, $38.99; 4K, $45.99; also available on VOD)

For the dazzlingly retro “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,” writer-director Quentin Tarantino revisits the Los Angeles of his youth, telling a strange, not-quite-true showbiz story, about a fading TV western star named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), his affable stunt double Cliff (Brad Pitt), rising starlet Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and a band of violent counterculture revolutionaries in thrall to Charles Manson. Eschewing his usual genre deconstruction, Tarantino focuses more on re-creating a densely layered slice of 1969 life, drawn from the era’s actual music and fashions but filtered through the filmmaker’s usual insistence on rewriting pop history. The result is an entertaining, offbeat period drama, filled with moments and images only Tarantino could imagine.

[Special features: deleted scenes and featurettes]

VOD

“Knives and Skin” (available now)

Fans of David Lynch and “Donnie Darko” might be the ideal audience for writer-director Jennifer Reeder’s “Knives and Skin,” a highly stylized high school noir. After a small-town girl disappears in the wake of an awkward sexual tryst, her friends, family and teachers are haunted by her absence — and worried their own secrets may soon be exposed. Reeder doesn’t tell anything like a conventional mystery story here. The performances are intentionally monotone, and the plot matters less than the many disturbing, surreal moments, in which young people ponder their deepest desires. This is very much an art film, not a genre exercise. But it could resonate with cinephiles who enjoy seeing tween melodramas turned inside out.

TV set of the week

“The Simpsons: Complete Seasons 1-20” (20th Century Fox DVD, $549.99)

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Very few TV series have run as long as the animated satire “The Simpsons,” and even fewer have had more of a sustained run of excellence. The fan-targeted limited-edition box set “The Simpsons: Complete Seasons 1-20” (of which only 1,000 copies of which are being made available) contains more than 400 episodes of smart, fast-paced comedy, featuring characters and jokes that have become integral parts of American popular culture. These cleverly crafted stories about one not-so-typical suburban family have had an enduring influence on modern television.

[Special features: extensive behind-the-scenes material]

From the archives

“Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic” (Film Movement Classics DVD, $39.95; Blu-ray, $49.95)

Early in director Fritz Lang’s career, he worked on an adaptation of his second wife Thea von Harbou’s novel “The Indian Tomb,” about a German architect drawn into the dark, exotic world of a maharajah. Another director ended up making that film but decades later — after Lang’s long and productive stint in Hollywood had ended — he was offered a chance by a German producer to return to Europe to do his own version, released in two parts in 1959 as “The Tiger of Eschnapur” and “The Indian Tomb.” A fascinating fusion of lowbrow pulp adventure and highbrow epic sweep, “The Indian Epic” isn’t peak Lang, but it’s very much of a piece with the master’s other stories of forbidden love and obsessive jealousy.

[Special features: in-depth featurettes and an informative commentary track from Lang expert David Kalat]

Three more to see

“Hustlers” (Universal DVD/Blu-ray, $24.99; 4K, $44.98; also available on VOD); “It Chapter Two” (Warner Bros. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; 4K, $44.95; also available on VOD); “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” (Greenwich DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95; also available on VOD)


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