‘Queen & Slim’ combines slick style and righteous anger in a satisfying package
New on Blu-ray
“Queen & Slim” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; 4K, $44.98; also available on VOD)
A fugitive romance in the tradition of “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Aloha, Bobby and Rose,” this hard-hitter stars Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya as the title characters: a young black couple whose awkward first date takes a tragic turn after a tense confrontation with police. These two relative strangers go on the run together, looking for friends and family who can hide them, and becoming internet folk heroes in the process. Written by Lena Waithe (creator of the TV series “The Chi,” and an Emmy-winner for her writing on Netflix’s “Master of None”) and directed by Grammy-winning music video helmer Melina Matsoukas, this film combines a slick style with righteous anger, bringing new life to an old genre.
[Special features: A commentary track and featurettes]
“Midnight Family” (available March 3)
The fascinating and disturbing documentary follows the Ochoa family, which operates one of Mexico City’s many independent ambulance services, filling a need left by an underfunded local government. Director Luke Lorentzen tells the Ochoas’ story in the form of an episodic ride-along, stringing together scenes of various emergency calls: some mundane, some horrifying. Though never heavy-handed, the film clearly explains what’s wrong with a healthcare system where nonprofessionals are providing essential medical services and where incentives are offered to keep costs low and billings high.
TV set of the week
“Titans: The Complete Second Season” (Warner Bros. DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD)
The first season of the DC Universe adventure series brought to the small screen some of the best-known characters and storylines from the popular 1980s superhero comic “The New Teen Titans,” re-imagining them in the style of a dark and moody modern prestige TV drama. The 13 episodes in this set are even more fan-friendly, adding heroes and villains from multiple eras, pairing Robin, Raven and Starfire with the likes of Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Superboy. Even with the increased level of costumed super-beings, this show retains its sense of seriousness, focusing on angsty characters wrestling with troubled pasts.
[Special features: A featurette]
From the archives
“Sergio Leone Westerns: Five Film Collection” (KL Studio Classics Blu-ray, $79.95)
During his 40-plus years in the Italian movie industry, Sergio Leone was credited as a director on only seven feature films — five of which are widely considered to be the exemplars of the European-styled historical action pictures dubbed “spaghetti westerns.” The Clint Eastwood-starring “Man with No Name” trilogy (1964’s “A Fistful of Dollars, 1965’s “For a Few Dollars More” and 1966’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”), plus the sweeping 1968 epic “Once Upon a Time in the West” and the eccentric 1971 thriller “A Fistful of Dynamite” all feature realistic violence, morally shady characters and haunting Ennio Morricone scores. They’re idiosyncratic and artful, with something to say about the rough-hewn men who seemed most at home amid the bloody chaos of the frontier.
[Special features: Commentary tracks and extensive featurettes]
Three more to see
“Dark Waters” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; also available on VOD); “Kinetta” (Kino Lorber Blu-ray, $34.95); “The Sonata” (Screen Media DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD)
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