New on Blu-ray
“The Kid Who Would Be King” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; 4K, $39.99; also available on VOD)
Eight years ago, writer-director Joe Cornish had a cult hit with his debut feature “Attack the Block,” a charming, modestly budgeted action-comedy about teenagers thwarting an alien invasion. Cornish’s belated second film is more expensive, but it has the same youthful zest and genre-bending confidence. Louis Ashbourne Serkis (the son of actor Andy Serkis) plays a misfit 12-year-old named Alex who discovers King Arthur’s sword Excalibur and is encouraged by the wizard Merlin to knight his classmates, so they can thwart the evil Morgana. What follows is a fun, family-friendly spin on the old Arthurian legends, ripe for discovery by the same kind of audiences that loved “Attack the Block."
[Special features: Deleted scenes and featurettes]
“Screwball” (available now)
A must for fans of true-crime documentaries — as well as movies about cocky crooks getting comeuppances — Billy Corben’s movie tells the wild behind-the-scenes story of the Florida-based Biogenesis clinic, the source of one of Major League Baseball’s biggest performance-enhancing drug scandals. Just like Corben’s other "Florida Man" docs “Cocaine Cowboys” and “The U,” this new film is raucously entertaining, zipping among interviews, archival news footage and delightfully goofy reenactments by child actors. It’s a fun and informative tale of snake-oil salesmen and athletes (including MLB star Alex Rodriguez) getting in over their heads as they try to convince the government and each other that they’re not doing anything wrong.
TV set of the week
“The Big C: The Complete Series” (Mill Creek DVD, $54.98; Blu-ray, $69.98)
The buzz around the Showtime dramedy “ faded some after the show debuted in 2010, but by the end of its four-season, 40-episode run, this story about a woman’s wild final years had delivered an unusually frank and funny take on the subject of dying. A lot of the credit for that is due to star Laura Linney, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of a stressed-out suburbanite taking a terminal diagnosis as the excuse to live the life she’s always wanted… and then trying to figure out just what that means. This set collects one of the prestige TV era’s more underrated series, notable for its superior cast and its willingness to laugh in the face of death.
From the archives
“Bend of the River” (KL Studio Classics Blu-ray, $29.95)
The second of the five westerns director Anthony Mann made with James Stewart exemplifies what the Mann/Stewart pictures were all about. The star plays a morally ambiguous yet mostly kind-hearted gun-for-hire, helping good people get settled on a hostile frontier, while trying to figure out which of his fellow opportunists he can trust. With its majestic scenery, twisty plot and larger-than-life characters (including a gambler played by Rock Hudson), the 1952 film is one of the decade’s movies that helped the western genre mature beyond simplistic heroes-and-villains stories, and toward something more historically accurate and literary.
[Special features: Scholarly commentary track]
Three more to see