‘Magic Mike XXL’ plays to its fans, ‘Going Clear’ takes on Scientology

Jada Pinkett Smith and Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike XXL”
Jada Pinkett Smith and Channing Tatum star in “Magic Mike XXL.”
(Claudette Barius / Warner Bros.)

Magic Mike XXL

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $44.95

Available on VOD Oct. 6

Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” attracted massive audiences with its sexy dance numbers and winning bro-banter, though those were mostly concentrated in the movie’s first half, while down the stretch the story hammered home some sobering melodrama. The sequel mostly ditches the seriousness, giving fans more of what they want. Channing Tatum returns as a beefy workingman just trying to earn a dollar, while Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello (among others) reprise their roles as strippers who like to party. But while it’s funnier and breezier than the original, “Magic Mike XXL” still makes strong points about the commodification of desire in an exploitative economy. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes.


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Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

FilmRise, $24.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Available on VOD Oct. 30


Documentarian Alex Gibney makes so many movies that his quality control sometimes suffers, but when he finds the right approach to a topic, he’s as good a storyteller as cine-journalism has. Gibney’s adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s book “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” isn’t just provocative, it’s also utterly absorbing, telling the story of an American success story gone awry: a homegrown religion that’s been meaningful and helpful to many but has also led to families being torn apart and unconscionable campaigns of intimidation. This is a star-studded, twisty tale, about how deep need for spiritual faith can sometimes conflict with other, equally necessary cultural institutions.

The Leftovers: The Complete First Season

HBO, $39.98; Blu-ray, $44.96

“Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof has another potential TV classic on his hands with his HBO adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s spine-tingling novel “The Leftovers.” With Season 2 about to premiere, now’s a good time to catch up with the first season’s 10 episodes, which follow the intertwined lives of the residents of a small New York town after a rapture-like event has caused a significant portion of its population to spontaneously, simultaneously disappear. While telling a larger story about how people deal with inexplicable tragedy, “The Leftovers” is also broken up into smaller slice-of-life episodes, at once melancholy and — at times — mordantly funny. Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston and Ann Dowd anchor a uniformly terrific cast. The DVD and Blu-ray set includes commentary tracks on the premiere and finale, plus featurettes.

Masterworks of American Avant-garde Experimental Film 1920-1970

Flicker Alley Blu-ray, $59.95/$79.95

Most of the shorts included in Flicker Alley’s new DVD/Blu-ray combo set have been compiled before on other collections, but for anyone who’s a complete neophyte when it comes to avant-garde cinema, this set makes an excellent primer. Starting with the seminal 1920 urban tone-poem “Manhatta,” “Masterworks” proceeds decade-by-decade through an alternate history of American movies, where the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Maya Deren, Oskar Fischinger, Bruce Conner, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage are as well-known as Orson Welles or Steven Spielberg. Far from being a chore, these films are a thrill to watch, as they demonstrate cinematic techniques and personal visions of America that are still relevant today. The set also features imaginative new musical scores for the silent shorts.



American Horror Story: Freak Show

20th Century Fox, $59.98; Blu-ray, $69.99

Dark Places

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99

Available now on VOD

Escobar: Paradise Lost

Starz/Anchor Bay, $22.98; Blu-ray, $26.99

Fresh Dressed


Samuel Goldwyn, $14.99

Insidious: Chapter 3

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $34.99

Available on VOD Oct. 6


MPI, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD Oct. 6

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

Asylum, $14.93; Blu-ray, $19.97

Available on VOD Oct. 6

We Are Still Here

MPI/Dark Sky, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

When Marnie Was There

Universal, $19.99; Blu-ray, $24.99

Available on VOD Oct. 6