New to Blu-ray
"Ready or Not" (20th Century Fox DVD, $ 29.98; Blu-ray, $ 34.99; also available on VOD)
One of the craziest and bloodiest films of this year, the satirical horror comedy is Samara Weaving as a newlywed who plays in the traditional wedding night hide-and-seek game of her rich in-laws, unaware that they intend to kill her. Co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (from a script by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy), the film is a shrewd comment about how some rich people will preserve their privileges. But it's basically just a fun, entertaining and thrilling chase thriller, with Weaving performing great as a brilliant young woman who uses her wits to survive a succession of cartoon aristocrats in an elegant old mansion filled with cool secret passages.
(Special features: a comment track and a behind-the-scenes multipart feature)
"Hala" (available December 6th on AppleTV +)
Talented young actress Geraldine Viswanathan excels in her first starring role in the well-observed high school melodrama of screenwriter and director Minhal Baig. As the main character – a Chicago native whose sexual awakening alarms her conservative Muslim immigrant parents – Viswanathan brings complexity to a classic maturing plot. Instead of making the film about a larger cultural conflict, Baig keeps this story short. Hala is a popular child whose peers accept hijab and prayers. Her problems start at home, where her family fears what will happen if they let her become a typical American teenager. Viswanathan captures the inner strength and egocentric impulsiveness of a young protégé wishing to be free.
TV set of the week
"Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season" (HBO DVD, $ 59.99; Blu-ray, $ 74.99; 4K, $ 74.99; also available on VOD)
The six-episode final season of HBO's success was inevitably controversial, with some fans complaining – strongly – about the way writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss finished his version of novelist George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic. Regardless of whether or not the series had the "right" ending, this latest race is still an impressive television achievement, with over six hours of great battles, with massive armies and fire-breathing dragons, interspersed with calmer scenes of war tired characters who share a few more moments together. From season 1 to season 8, the series had a wonderful sense of scale, balancing the jaw-dropping spectacle with the human drama.
(Special Features: Comment Bands, Deleted Scenes, and Extended Features)
From the archives
"Big Problems in Little China: Collector's Edition" (Shout! Factory Blu-ray, $ 27.99)
When the film was released in the summer of 1986, director John Carpenter and 20th Century Fox were sure they had succeeded: a fun neo-western liberally lending the cutting-edge action of Hong Kong martial arts films starring the charismatic Kurt Russell, making his best impression of John Wayne, as a philosophical truck driver battling Chinese American gangs. But the image failed in its theatrical release and took a few years to become the cult's favorite of today, beloved for its loopy dialogue (courtesy of unconventional screenwriter WD Richter) and the way director Carpenter turns the film into a big one. Video game, with heroes fighting one secret hideaway filled with dangers after another.
(Special features: a comment track, deleted scenes, and new and old interviews)
Three more to see
"The Goldfinch" (Warner Bros. DVD, $ 28.98; Blu-ray, $ 35.99; also available on VOD); "The Parts You Lose" (Samuel Goldwyn DVD, $ 19.95; Blu-ray, $ 24.95; also available on VOD); "Young Titans: The Complete Series" (Warner Archive Blu-ray, $ 47.99; also available on VOD)