Staff at the renowned video store and nonprofit archive highlight the best in this month’s new DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Better Call Saul: Season 2
Chronicling the progression of Breaking Bad‘s scrappy lawyer Jimmy McGill as he evolves from ambitious underdog to the unscrupulous drug lawyer known as Saul Goodman, this series shares many thematic elements of its forerunner, rounding up a group of complicated, self-contradictory characters and exploring notions of loyalty, family, ambition, manipulation, honesty and crime, all framed by a compelling storyline. –Spenser Hoyt
Kubo and the Two Strings
Animation studio Laika (Coraline, The Boxtrolls) have outdone themselves with this gentle, lovingly handcrafted, action-packed ode to storytelling and family. It’s filled to the brim with beautifully designed creatures and worlds—including the largest stop-motion character ever created!—yet it never feels overstuffed or busy. Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Art Parkinson provide understated voice-acting. –Kevin Clarke
To Live and Die in L.A.
Fourteen years after dazzling the world with The French Connection, director William Friedkin moved his thrill ride from New York to LA and broke all of the rules of cop movies, again. This synth-fused ’80s concoction features brilliant crooks, unhinged lawmen and car chases that rival anything before or since. Just before his breakout performance in Platoon, Willem Dafoe slithered onto the screen here as one of the baddest bad guys of the decade. –Mark Steiner
Who knew that porn star Marilyn Chambers could act very, very well? Evidently David Cronenberg was paying attention when he cast her in this zombie/vampire hybrid as a woman infected with an insatiable bloodlust following an experimental procedure during emergency surgery. Naturally, she infects others and soon Quebec and Montreal are in the middle of a zombie/vampire epidemic. Cronenberg’s fascination with science and the breakdown of the natural order is on display here, in his second feature. The Blu-ray comes loaded with supplements for delving further into his genius mind. –Mark Steiner