‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ blends action and humor in satisfying ways
New on Blu-ray
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” (Sony DVD, $30.99; Blu-ray, $38.99; also available on VOD)
Due to contractual complications, this may be the last Spider-Man feature film to take place within the same cinematic universe as the Avengers movies. And that’s a bummer, because like its predecessor “Homecoming,” “Far From Home” is action-packed and fun to watch, just as a superhero picture should be. In this latest adventure, the teenage wall-crawler takes a trip to Europe in wake of the dramatic events of “Avengers: Endgame.” There, he inevitably gets roped into another mission, involving S.H.I.E.L.D. and a mysterious new costumed hero played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The film balances high school high jinks with splashy special effects, and it is helped immeasurably by Tom Holland’s winning lead performance and by Jon Watts’ snappy direction.
[Special features: Extensive featurettes, alternate scenes and a new short film]
“Doc Martin: Series Nine” (available now on Acorn TV)
English actor Martin Clunes played an early version of the grumpy small-town doctor Martin Ellingham in the 2000 movie “Saving Grace” and then returned to the role — with slight modifications — on TV just a few years later. He’s been playing “Doc Martin” ever since. His show’s ninth season just debuted on ITV overseas; here in the States, the streaming service Acorn TV will be adding those new episodes weekly. In this latest run, the fussy physician has to defend his sour bedside manner, both to a professional board and to his his own wife, who worries that their son is picking up his bad habits.
TV set of the week
“Chernobyl” (HBO DVD, $49.99; Blu-ray, $59.99; also available on VOD)
This year’s Emmy winner for limited series turns a catastrophic 1986 accident at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant into some nerve-wracking and unexpectedly illuminating drama. Screenwriter Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck, who collaborated on every episode and won Emmys for their work, detail how Soviet bureaucracy and a stubborn nationalist pride led to the disaster then delayed a proper cleanup. A fine cast (including Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson) humanizes the people involved, many of whom quickly come to the realization that they’re just cogs in a bigger machine and then have reactions ranging from righteous anger to fatalistic humor. They’re good company, even as they’re marching to their doom.
[Special features: Featurettes]
From the archives
“The Shining” (Warner Bros. Blu-ray/4K, $41.99)
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s same-named novel was unpopular with King himself, who found it too arty and insufficiently faithful to his book; when it was originally released, the movie divided critics, many of whom found its pulpy shocks too simple and cheesy, coming from the director of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “A Clockwork Orange.” But genre fans were drawn right away to Jack Nicholson’s unhinged performance as an alcoholic writer going mad in a snowbound Colorado hotel; they were equally dazzled by Kubrick’s creepy atmospherics and dynamic staging. This expensive supernatural thriller entered the horror cinema canon almost immediately, and it remains a film that’s imitated, analyzed and enjoyed by fright fans the world over.
[Special features: A scholarly commentary track and featurettes]
Three more to see
“Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season” (Warner Bros. DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD); “Maiden” (Sony DVD, $25.99; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD); “The Prey” (Arrow Blu-ray, $39.95)
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