New video: ‘Alien: Covenant’ is one of the best of the ‘Alien’ franchise movies
New on Blu-ray
“Alien: Covenant” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; 4K, $39.99; also available on VOD)
With “Alien: Covenant,” director Ridley Scott follows up his disappointing “Prometheus” with something much livelier, and continues his reinvention of the franchise he helped bring into the world back in 1979. The new film’s another “Alien” prequel, following a band of interplanetary colonists as they land on a world that proves potentially dangerous to all humankind. Michael Fassbender reprises his “Prometheus” role as a scarily intelligent model of helper-android, while a team of screenwriters that includes John Logan (best known for penning “Gladiator” and “Skyfall”) expands on the deeper meanings of the simple humanity-versus-monsters plot of the original movie, creating an undisguised biblical allegory. This “Alien” is both entertaining and thoughtful — one of the best of the series.
Special features: A Scott commentary, deleted scenes and extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes
“Dave Made a Maze” (available Aug. 18)
In writer-director Bill Watterson’s whimsical indie comedy “Dave Made a Maze,” a slacker artist (played by Nick Thune) constructs a labyrinth in his living room out of refrigerator boxes and then gets lost inside, prompting his friends, girlfriend and a documentary film crew to go in after him. The premise is intentionally preposterous and as is often the case with these kinds of films, all these so-called “adults” behave like precociously foul-mouthed adolescents. But the elaborate cardboard set is like a 9-year-old’s dream-fort, filled with gadgets, booby traps and a Minotaur. It’s so much fun to look at that what happens inside almost doesn’t matter.
TV set of the week
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season” (Warner Bros. DVD, $39.99; Blu-ray, $44.98)
The first season of the CW’s time-hopping super-team adventure “Legends of Tomorrow” was kind of a bummer with its tedious, confusing plot and overly dour characters. But the second season outclassed even the network’s staple costumed crusader series “Arrow” and “The Flash,” introducing a wider and more likable variety of heroes, and sending them on more light-hearted, self-contained missions. Those who prefer their comic book adaptations to be fun, not heavy, should take a second look at “Legends” if they dropped it during its first run.
Special features: Deleted scenes, a gag reel, a featurette and a Comic-Con panel
From the archives
“Meantime” (Criterion DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)
Acclaimed British filmmaker Mike Leigh had one of his first breakout successes with the 1983 TV movie “Meantime,” which played multiple international film festivals and helped introduce cinephiles worldwide to then-newcomers Tim Roth and Gary Oldman. Roth stars as a painfully shy and confused young man named Colin, trying to find a place for himself in a London ravaged by unemployment and violent gangs. Oldman has a small part as a skinhead who makes Colin’s life miserable, and Alfred Molina has a scene-stealing turn as a middle-class businessman who is too chilly and distant for his wife, beautifully played by Leigh regular Marion Bailey. A bleak but energetic and well-acted look at England in the early Thatcher era, “Meantime” marked Leigh as an artist with a keen eye and something to say.
Special features: Interviews with some of the principals
Three more to see
“Blind” (Lionsgate DVD, $18.98; also available on VOD); “Chuck” (Paramount DVD, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD); “The Wall” (Lionsgate DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD)
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