NEW ON DVD: ‘Logan’ shreds comic-book film conventions

Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and Dafne Keen as Laura in “Logan.”

Hugh Jackman’s dry-witted, sharp-clawed Wolverine has been one of the most electrifying of all comic-book heroes so it makes perfect sense that Wolvy’s final screen appearance in “Logan” (2016, Fox, R, $30) should be a highwater mark for the genre.

Closer to “Shane” than a special effects bonanza like “The Avengers,” this somber, blood-soaked actioner from James Mangold (“Cop Land”) pivots on Logan and a much-diminished Xavier (Patrick Stewart) as they hit the road in an attempt to keep a mutant girl (Dafne Keen) from falling into the hands of a bounty hunter (Boyd Holbrook).

Thanks to the well-staged action scenes and the deeply-felt performances, this is an end game that was well worth the wait. Extras: featurettes.

Also New to DVDBeyond The Gates (2017, Shout Factory, unrated, $25): Running a brisk 82 minutes, this retro horror show offers up plenty of scares as well as nostalgia for the days when video stores were among the coolest places in town. Two estranged brothers (Graham Skipper, Chase Williamson) head back home after their dad’s disappearance to box up his old video store when they stumble upon a board game that comes with its own VCR. After popping in the tape, they discover a portal to a nightmare world from which they can’t escape unless they keep on playing. Even allowing for a bit of overkill in third act, “Beyond The Gates” is good, gory fun, with just enough character development to keep you rooting for the bewildered brothers. Extras: commentaries, featurettes and deleted scenes.

Dheepan (2016, Criterion, unrated, $30): A top prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival, the latest from Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet”) pivots on a former rebel soldier from Sri Lanka (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) who flees his country, along with a woman and child posing as his family, only to relocate to a Parisian housing project that’s under fire from clashing drug lords. In just two hours, Audiard covers a lot of ground, probing not only the psychological aftereffects of combat but also the everyday challenges of being an immigrant. Most movingly, “Dheepan” examines how strangers can become a makeshift family, even under the most brutal of conditions. Extras: deleted scenes and Audiard commentary.

The Assassin (1961, Arrow, unrated, $30): Newly restored for its Blu-ray bow, the directorial debut of Italian master Elio Petri (“The Tenth Victim”) is a sparkling black-and-white thriller that places under the microscope a morally dubious antiques dealer named Martelli (Marcello Mastroianni) who’s accused of murdering his older, far wealthier lover (Micheline Presle). As the police badger Martelli, his flashy lifestyle is put on trial. Petri is particularly gifted in his use of flashbacks while Mastroianni proves that he can make even a slithery character strangely sympathetic. Extras: featurettes.

World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers (1964, Olive, unrated, $25): Con artistry is the theme which ties together four slight sagas from a quartet of international filmmakers, including Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti and Hiromichi Horikawa. None of the segments is a must-see but the Chabrol installment about a gullible German tourist being suckering into buying the Eifel Tower is the funniest and the Horikawa chapter about a grifter being hustled by one of her marks is the most compelling. Extras: none.

Willard (1971, Shout Factory, PG-13, $30): Bruce Davison, a talented character actor who’s appeared in everything from “Longtime Companion” to the “X-Men” movies, singlehandedly makes this horror film watchable. He brings a sense of humanity to the title role of an office drone struggling under the weight of a sick mother (Elsa Lanchester) and a demanding boss (Ernest Borgnine.) Given his dire circumstances, it’s no wonder Willard finds solace feeding the rats he discovers in his garden. “Willard” isn’t particularly scary but it does work as a character study of a man who’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Extras: Davison commentary.

Anathan (1953-1958, Kino, PG, $30): Newly restored for its Blu-ray bow, the last film from Josef Von Sternberg (“The Blue Angel”) is based on the true story of Japanese sailors who were shipwrecked on a remote island in the Pacific during the waning days of World War II. The seamen’s time on the island is complicated by a native — the only woman — who stirs up feelings of desire, jealousy and violence. Boasting beautiful images and big themes, the movie is a potent reminder that it doesn’t take much to peel away the veneer of civilization. Extras: both 1953 and 1958 versions and featurettes.

Storytelling (2002, Warner Archive, R and unrated, $20): Has there ever been a filmmaker who skewered the American Dream quite as viciously as Todd Solondz? For his third feature, now back in print courtesy of Warner Archive, the director takes aim at a handful of painfully deluded characters. In the first segment, a college student (Selma Blair) bounces between her boyfriend (Leo Fitzpatrick) and writing professor (William Windom.) And, in the second segment, a documentary filmmaker (Paul Giammati) trains his camera on a messed-up family (John Goodman, Julie Hagerty, Mark Webber). Solondz explores issues of race, sex and class while exposing the hidden despair which can run through the most “normal” of families. Extras: both unrated and R-rated editions.

Shadows and Fog (1991, Twilight Time, PG-13, $30): Woody Allen pays tribute to German Expressionism with a gorgeously shot comedy that stars the filmmaker as a nebbish caught in Kafkaesque nightmare involving a serial killer, a circus, a brothel and a vigilante mob. In the midst of all that action, Woody meets a lovely sword swallower (Mia Farrow) with whom he falls in love. Mia has plenty of adventures of her own after stumbling into a brothel and making out with John Cusack. One of Woody’s lesser efforts, “Shadows and Fog” has aged surprisingly well. Extras: none.

Mannix: The Complete Series (1967-1975, Paramount, unrated, $129): Of all the TV gumshoes who cruised the mean streets of Los Angeles, rounding up down-and-out dirtbags and high-class scumbags, Mike Connors’ Mannix most resembles the crime-solvers created by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. One of the highlights of the show, now available in a 48 disc set, is the relaxed chemistry between Mannix and his secretary Peggy ( Gail Fisher). Over the course of 194 episodes, Mannix’s way with a mystery as well as Connors’ chemistry with Fisher never grows old. Extras: featurettes and commentaries.

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