New video: ‘Julieta’s’ mother-daughter story is surprisingly muted for Pedro Almodóvar

Adriana Ugarte as Earlier Julieta in “Julieta.”
(Manolo Pav—n / Sony Pictures Classics)

New on Blu-ray

“Julieta” (Sony DVD, $26.99; Blu-ray, $30.99)

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar is well-known for his colorful melodramas, so it may take a while to adjust to the muted tones of this mother-daughter saga. Based on a trio of Alice Munro stories, the film stars Emma Suárez as the title character, a woman recounting in long flashbacks the events that led to her estrangement from her only child, and the decades she’s spent trying to understand what happened. The film is episodic and elliptical, with events from the heroine’s life echoing each other for reasons that aren’t always entirely clear. By the end of the relatively short running time, the plainness pays off in scenes that are unexpectedly resonant, retroactively giving everything that came before more meaning. Ultimately, this is a haunting movie about how other people’s motivations confound us, because we’re never entirely sure of our own.

Special features: A pair of breezy featurettes.



“Atomica” (available March 21)

Shot in an actual abandoned missile silo, the science-fiction thriller stars Sarah Habel as a nuclear safety technician who travels to a remote outpost to figure out why the facility has gone off-line, and finds an employee (played by Dominic Monaghan) who seems to be losing his marbles. Director Dagen Merrill makes good use of an unusual location, taking what’s essentially a set-bound story and giving it a sense of futuristic exoticism. The cast (which also includes Tom Sizemore) takes it from there, playing up characters’ creeping paranoia to bring a jittery energy to an otherwise thin plot. This is a slight film, but it’s well acted and atmospheric, and a minor treat for fans of higher-toned genre fare.

TV set of the week


“Insecure: The Complete First Season” (HBO DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.98)

Writer-actress Issa Rae effectively transfers her popular Web series “Awkward Black Girl” to HBO with this funny and insightful look at how a young professional balances a career and romantic prospects in Los Angeles. Rae’s multifaceted performance as the lead character — a woman who can be meek, charming, flustered or fierce, depending on the situation — anchors stories that consider how technology and modern culture affect our daily experiences with race, class, gender and friendship. The eight episodes in this set are gems, setting the stage for what should be an excellent Season 2.

Special features: Featurettes, and a glimpse at the show within the show.

From the archives

“Multiple Maniacs” (Criterion DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)

Some of our greatest filmmakers draw inspiration from pieces of the culture that others neglect. For John Waters’ landmark 1970 midnight movie classic, the Baltimore-based underground artist turned his lifelong obsession with carnival freak shows and exploitation pictures into 90 minutes of what he proudly dubbed “celluloid atrocity.” Waters’ favorite collaborator, drag queen Divine, plays the ringleader of a traveling band of lowlifes who entice middle-class folks to witness their perversions, then rob them at gunpoint. With its punchy dialogue, energetic performances and almost childlike eagerness to shock — while simultaneously skewering any squares who might be offended — “Multiple Maniacs” turns cheap thrills into uniquely American art, as entertaining as it is purposefully awful.

Special features: A Waters commentary track, plus new cast and crew interviews and a video essay.

Three more to see


“Evolution” (Scream! Factory Blu-ray, $29.99); “Fire at Sea” (Kino Lorber DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95; also available on VOD); “Sing” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; 4K, $44.98; also available on VOD)