New video: ‘Girls Trip’ is one of the year’s happiest surprises
New on Blu-ray
“Girls Trip” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; also available on VOD)
The raunchy comedy “Girls Trip” has been one of 2017’s happiest surprises, both creatively and commercially. The stealthy summer blockbuster stars Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and the revelatory Tiffany Haddish as four longtime friends who try to renew their sisterly bonds with a drunken, debauched New Orleans vacation. Co-written by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris and “Survivor’s Remorse” story editor Tracy Oliver, and directed by “The Best Man” hitmaker Malcom D. Lee, “Girls Trip” is a polished piece of entertainment, with memorable characters, an engaging plot and sharp dialogue. And at a time when too many big screen comedies seem to draw from the same small pool of funny folks, it’s refreshing to see some actresses not generally known for telling jokes spending two hours having fun and getting laughs.
[Special features: A Lee commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes]
“Dealt” (available Oct. 20)
Master “card mechanic” Richard Turner refuses to call himself a magician, since what he can do with a deck happens in plain sight and has little to do with illusion or secrets. But given that Turner is legally blind, the huge crowds he’s played to during his decades as a professional entertainer can be forgiven for thinking that he’s performing miracles on stage. Luke Korem’s engaging documentary “Dealt” doesn’t lack for astonishing card tricks, but it’s mainly about Turner’s amazing personal story, and how he’s fought nearly his whole life — sometimes controversially — to avoid being diminished or even categorized by what he lacks.
TV set of the week
“American Gods: Season 1” (Lionsgate DVD, $34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)
Based on Neil Gaiman’s popular picaresque fantasy novel, the Starz series “American Gods” stars Ricky Whittle as an ex-con who takes a job as a bodyguard for a mysterious, gregarious character named Mr. Wednesday (played by Ian McShane) and soon finds himself mired in a burgeoning war between the “old gods” of ancient myth and the “new gods” of technology, media and materialism that captivate modern humanity. The series veers wildly between the brilliantly satirical and an aimless melange of violence and weirdness, but for the most part the level of imagination in the first season’s eight episodes is impressive, and makes a promising start for whatever’s coming next.
[Special features: Commentary tracks on selected episodes and multiple featurettes]
From the archives
“Barry Lyndon” (Criterion DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)
After director Stanley Kubrick delivered three consecutive zeitgeist-defining masterpieces with “Dr. Strangelove,” “2001” and “A Clockwork Orange,” he threw critics and fans a curveball with 1975’s “Barry Lyndon,” a lavishly produced but bone-dry adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s episodic 1844 novel. It’s really only in recent years that the movie has gotten its due as one of Kubrick’s best, with the filmmaker’s puckish wit and keen eye trained on the preposterousness of the European class system, as experienced by a social-climbing Irish rogue (played by Ryan O’Neal). Gorgeous to look at and fertile with meaning, “Barry Lyndon” has endured because it rewards multiple viewings.
[Special features: New and old interviews and visual essays]
Three more to see
“Batman vs. Two-Face” (Warner Bros. DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.98; also available on VOD); “Lady Macbeth” (Lionsgate DVD, $19.98; also available on VOD); “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony DVD, $30.99; Blu-ray, $38.99; 3D, $40.99; also available on VOD)
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