New on Blu-ray
“Mission: Impossible - Fallout” (Paramount DVD, $25.99; Blu-ray, $31.99; 4K, $37.99; also available on VOD) With “Mission: Impossible - Fallout,” producer-star Tom Cruise and writer-director Christopher McQuarrie keep raising the bar for action films, peppering their film with stunts as gasp-worthy as any in the history of cinema. As with the earlier “M:I” films, “Fallout” has a preposterously twisty plot, as Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his team once again covertly protect the world from amoral ideologues, with the help of people they’re not always sure they can trust. The movie’s many narrow escapes and sudden reversals push the limits of credulity. But that’s OK. The whole point of the story is to get the hero to his next dangerous mission: leaping out of planes, zooming a motorcycle through crowded streets, and hanging off the edge of a cliff for our amusement.
[Special features: commentary tracks, deleted scenes, and over an hour of featurettes]
“The American Meme” (available 12/7, on Netflix) The documentary “The American Meme” is aimed at everyone who’s ever stumbled across a news story about YouTube or Instagram celebrities and thought, “Who are these people?” Focusing primarily on a handful of the best-known social media “influencers” — including Paris Hilton and DJ Khaled — director Bert Marcus tracks the rise of a whole new form of popular culture and considers the personal toll it takes on people when they document their lives online for millions of followers. The film doesn’t solve the mystery of how this became a lucrative profession, but “The American Meme” does provide welcome perspective on what this phenomenon means.
TV set of the week
“Yellowstone: Season 1” (Paramount DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99) The Paramount Network’s drama “Yellowstone” stars Kevin Costner as the stubborn, grizzled patriarch of a ridiculously wealthy Montana ranching family, fighting to protect his vast empire against attacks from rival developers, politicians, environmentalists and the increasingly powerful leader of a nearby Indian reservation. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan — best-known for writing the movies “Hell or High Water” and “Sicario” —“Yellowstone” is an ambitious effort to bring the themes and conflicts of the classic American western into the modern day. Sheridan often takes on too much and fumbles the basics of coherent storytelling and character development. But the stunning locations, the accomplished cast (also including Danny Huston, Gil Birmingham and Kelly Reilly) and the daring premise have turned this show into one of cable TV’s biggest hits.
[Special features: extensive featurettes]
From the archives
“The Atomic Cafe” (Kino Classics Blu-ray, $29.95) In 1982, when Cold War paranoia was intensifying into widespread anxiety over nuclear annihilation, the filmmaking team of Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty released “The Atomic Cafe,” a sardonic assemblage of vintage educational material about “the bomb.” The docu-essay immerses the audience in clips that re-create what it was like to grow up in the decades after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bombarded with news reports and instructional films that tried to prepare the American citizenry for the devastation of an inevitable attack. Recently restored in 4K, “The Atomic Cafe” is a cult classic from the ’80s that’s historically fascinating, deeply chilling and frequently hilarious.
[Special features: Bonus short films]