This week’s home entertainment offerings include the politically-charged horror film The First Purge, the excellent indie drama Leave No Trace, the brilliant documentary Three Identical Strangers, the Emmy-winning HBO series Barry, and the final season of the Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals.

Theatrical Movies

This week’s movie offerings are definitely lacking unless you like sensitive indie dramas or documentaries.  The top box office film due on Tuesday is The First Purge (Universal, “R,” 98 min., $19.98, BD $22.98, 4K $44.98), the latest “horror” film in the anarchic series that feeds the bizarre fantasies of survivalists, and in this installment attempts (not very successfully) to put a racial gloss on the franchise’s sick premise, by making the “purge” a sort of revolution of the oppressed.

Also disappointing is Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to the (far better) 2015 film Sicario.  Without the grit and presence of Sicario’s lead actor Emily Blunt in front of the camera and the skilled hand of director Denis Villeneuve behind it, Day of the Soldado is just another drug war shoot-em-up.

Those who like solid indie dramas should make an effort to see Leave No Trace (Universal, “PG,” 109 min., $16.99, BD $19.99), director Debra Granik’s first feature since Winter’s Bone (which introduced Jennifer Lawrence).  This sensitive tale of an Iraq War vet with PTSD, who shuns civilization to live in the woods with his teenage daughter is powerful stuff, rooted in strong performances, and anchored by a real feeling for how ordinary people struggle to make their way in this country.

Another excellent choice is one of 2018’s best documentaries (and this has been a great year for this most “real” of all movie genres), Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers (Universal, “PG-13,” 96 min., $16.98, BD $24.98).  The saga of 3 strangers, who discovered in 1980 that they were identical triplets, has many twists and turns that make for compelling viewing, and elevate this film far above the Ripley’s Believe It or Not conundrum referenced in its title.


Geek viewers will have to make do with the Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals: Season 5 (Warner Bros., $24.98), the final season of the series that followed vampire/werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson and his family as they become involved in the steamy politics of the Crescent City; and The Good Witch: Season 4 (Cinedigm, 650 min., $19.97), the Hallmark Channel fantasy/comedy starring Catherine Bell (JAG); and the gritty Nordic period adventure series The Vikiings; Season 5, Part 1 (MGM, 441 min., $24.98).   All five seasons of The Originals are also available in a box set, The Originals: The Complete Series (Warner Bros. $89.98).

The only other contemporary network series is the earnest medical drama The Resident: Season 1 (Fox, $24.98), but the best of Tuesday’s TV offerings is the HBO series Barry: Season 1 (HBO, $19.98), a dark comedy about a hitman (played by Hader), who decides to become an actor.  Both Hader and Henry Winkler won Emmys for their performances in the standout production.

Vintage series available this week include the classic 1960s sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies: Season 5 (Paramount, 708 min., $29.98); the romantic anthology drama The Love Boat Season 4, Part 1 (Spelling Ent., $29.98), plus The Love Boat Season 4, Part 2 (Spelling Ent., $29.98); the 2004-2011 Denis Leary firefighting drama Rescue Me: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 4022 min., $149.98); and the 2000-2004 Showtime drama of African-American life, Soul Food (Paramount, 3750 min., $49.98).


This week’s releases include a quartet of sports anime movies from Kyoto Animation that are loosely based on the High Speed! light novel series by Koji Oji about a quartet of teenage boys who learn how to work together to form a winning swim medley team. Available for the first time on disc in North America is the 2015 movie High Speed! Free! Starting Days: The Movie (Funimation, “TV-PG,” 111 min., BD/DVD Combo $34.98) along with the 2017 sequel Free! Take Your Marks (Funimation, “TV-PG,” 109 min., BD/DVD Combo $34.98), which presents an all-new original story featuring the Free! Characters.

These two anime movies are also available in a boxset along with Free! Timeless Medley: The Bond, and Free! Timeless Medley: The Promise, which are compilation films based on the two seasons of the Free! anime TV series, which was released here in North America by Funimation in 2017.  Anyone interested in sports anime should check out this series from Kyoto Animation, perhaps the most “Japanese” of all anime studios.  The Free Movie Bundle: With Collector’s Box (Funimation, “TV-PG, BD/DVD Combo $99.98) includes High Speed! Free! Starting Days and Free! Take Your Marks plus the two compilation films.

Other releases this week include Dragon Ball Super: Part 5 (Funimation, “TV-PG,” 325 min., $39.98, BD $44.98), which includes episodes 53-65 of the 131-episode series created by Akira Toriyama and produced by Toei Animation from 2015-2018 (it’s the first new Dragon Ball material in years); and   Pokemon Movies 1-3 (Viz Media, “TV-Y7,” BD $24.98), which includes Pokemon: The First Movie, Pokemon: The Movie 2000, and Pokemon 3: The Movie collected on one Blu-ray disc.