New video: Disturbing mystery ‘Burning’ turns a character study into a game of cat and mouse

Steven Yeun in a scene from “Burning.”
(WellGo USA)

New on Blu-ray

“Burning” (Well Go USA DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD)

Lee Chang-dong’s disturbing mystery movie “Burning” racked up an impressive string of critics awards throughout 2018 but somehow failed to land a foreign-language film Oscar nomination. Even without the academy’s stamp of approval, “Burning” will be remembered as one of the era’s best pictures. It’s a beguiling drama, based on a Haruki Murakami short story, about an aimless, cash-strapped young man (played by Yoo Ah-in) who falls in love with a flighty former classmate (Jeon Jong-seo), then is gripped by jealousy and suspicion when she starts hanging around with a creepily calm, mega-rich playboy (the sublime Steven Yeun, who also deserved some Oscar recognition). The movie’s first half is a subdued character study about a misfit kid. In the second half, he plays detective, looking for clues to how to get his life together, in what becomes a nail-biting game of cat and mouse.

[Special features: Featurettes]



“I’m Not Here” (available Friday)

An all-star cast and a clever structure enliven the simple premise of “I’m Not Here,” a somber indie drama directed, edited, co-produced and co-written by Michelle Schumacher, and starring J.K. Simmons, her real-life husband. Simmons plays Steve, a depressed drunk enduing another birthday alone in his dark, cluttered home. As he ponders what led him to such a low place, the movie flashes back to his troubled marriage (with the younger Steve played by Sebastian Stan) and his tumultuous childhood (with “Young Sheldon” star Iain Armitage as the kid and Max Greenfield and Mandy Moore as his bickering parents). The subject matter’s pretty bleak at times, but the actors bring color and nuance to difficult roles.

TV set of the week


Seg-El (left, played by Cameron Cuffe) and Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell) in Syfy's "Krypton."
(Gavin Bond / Syfy)

“Krypton: The Complete First Season” (Warner Bros. DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98)

Like the Batman-inspired TV crime series “Gotham,” the science-fiction drama “Krypton” dives deep into DC Comics mythology, telling tales from Superman’s home planet — set nearly 200 years before the Man of Steel was born. Created by savvy action/fantasy writer David S. Goyer, “Krypton” borrows well-known elements from the comics: the robotic super-villain Brainiac, the bitter rivalry between the “El” and “Zod” families, the planet-hopping earthling Adam Strange, the doomed city Kandor and more. But the 10 Season 1 episodes also forge their own narrative path, examining another world’s complicated sociopolitical debates and considering how they reflect our own.

[Special features: Deleted scenes and featurettes]


From the archives

“Kalifornia: Collector’s Edition” (Shout Select Blu-ray, $34.93)

Few movies scream “1990s” more than “Kalifornia,” a shockingly violent road picture that’s also a meta-commentary on serial killer thrillers, featuring early screen performances by Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes. Pitt plays a remorseless criminal, who slays his way across the USA while hitching a ride with an investigative journalist (Duchovny), who’s writing a true-crime book. Lewis and Forbes play their respective girlfriends — the latter a photographer, the former a lifelong abuse victim. A tricky film, “Kalifornia” explores how the raw realities of murder and assault defy artists’ attempts to romanticize them.

[Special features: An unrated cut and featurettes]


Three more to see

“Creed II” (Warner Bros. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; also available on VOD); “The Favourite” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; also available on VOD); “Vox Lux” (Universal DVD, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD)