'X-Men' sequel jumps across time and earlier films

 'X-Men' sequel jumps across time and earlier films
Hugh Jackman as Logan in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Alan Markfield / Twentieth Century Fox)

X-Men: Days of Future Past

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99


Available on VOD on Oct. 28

This is an unusual kind of blockbuster sequel, using a time-jumping storyline to simultaneously follow up 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand" (which was set in the present day) and 2011's "X-Men: First Class" (which was set in the 1960s). The team in the future sends back the ageless Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to try to prevent an assassination that will have dire repercussions. Director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg retain the basic premise of Chris Claremont and John Byrne's original comic-book, and the movie contains a handful of dazzling scenes and strong performances. Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique are especially great. But the supporting characters crowd out the main cast, and there's so much story — and so much of it is so dark — that the movie lacks the flair of "First Class." The DVD and Blu-ray come with featurettes and deleted scenes.

Fargo: Season One

20th Century Fox, $39.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

There was no reason to expect that the Coen brothers' one-of-a-kind crime picture "Fargo" would make a good TV show, but damned if writer-producer Noah Hawley didn't turn his FX series into one of the year's best by using the snowy American Upper Midwest as the staging ground for a new story about humanity's dark urges and how law enforcement struggles to contain them. Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman play the Minnesota cops who use wit and pluck to chase down a dangerously amoral man (played by Billy Bob Thornton) and the meek middle-class murderer (Martin Freeman) he mentors. Stylish and snappy, with a lot more faith in the goodness of people than a lot of other cable dramas, "Fargo" is as distinctive as its source material — which isn't an easy trick to finesse. The Season One "Fargo" DVD and Blu-ray contain 10 episodes, plus deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary tracks.

Venus in Fur

MPI/IFC, $24.98

Director Roman Polanski's adaptation of David Ives' provocative play "Venus in Fur" stars Mathieu Amalric as a demanding director-playwright named Thomas who's having trouble casting the lead in his latest sexually charged production until he meets a deceptively amateurish actress named Vanda (played by Polanski's real-life wife, Emmanuelle Seigner). As the two rehearse the play, Vanda goes from seeming carelessly unprepared to taking charge of the rehearsal, arguing about the meaning of the text while enacting its story of a man who longs to be dominated.

Polanski doesn't "open up" the play, but he does move the camera and change angles to make it more cinematic. And Seigner gives the best performance of her career, playing a mysterious woman who shows her employer what it means to be the boss. The "Venus in Fur" DVD adds interviews.

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Cinema Guild, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

This first played on the festival circuit in 2003 and has been seen since at special repertory screenings (and online in bootleg form), but Cinema Guild's new DVD and Blu-ray of Thom Andersen's docu-essay is its first real release. The film compiles clips from dozens of movies — from "Chinatown" to "Die Hard" to "L.A. Confidential" — to illustrate how Los Angeles has been misappropriated by filmmakers for generations. The result is both a tribute to a misunderstood city and a brilliant piece of film criticism, delving deeply and entertainingly into how architecture, geography and civic self-consciousness intermingle. Cinema Guild's release tacks on a new Andersen short film about obscure character actor Tony Longo.


Mr. Peabody & Sherman


20th Century Fox/DreamWorks, $29.98; Blu-ray, $38.99

My Darling Clementine

Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Nothing Bad Can Happen

Drafthouse, $24.99; Blu-ray, $29.93

Penny Dreadful: Season One

Paramount/Showtime, $45.99; Blu-ray, $54.99

Whitey: United States of America V. James J. Bulger

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98