New on Blu-ray
“Venom” (Sony DVD, $30.99; Blu-ray, $38.99; 4K, $45.99; also available on VOD)
Advertisement Given the complicated production history, the October release date and the publicâs increasingly fluctuating interest in superhero stories, “Venom” wasnât exactly a popular pick to become one of the five highest-grossing American films of 2018. But director Ruben Fleischer and star Tom Hardy proved skeptics wrong, making a dark fantasy-adventure that connected broadly. Based on a concept from the Spider-Man comic books, “Venom” has Hardy playing a crusading journalist with loose ethics who encounters an alien “symbiote” that bonds with his body, turning him into a super-powered monster. Partly a vigilante story and partly a Jekyll/Hyde character study, “Venom” is more violent and moody than the typical Marvel movie, though Hardy and Fleischer do bring some sardonic wit to the picture, giving it personality.
Cezar Juan Trevino
[Special features: deleted scenes, extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes, and an optional “pop-up” trivia mode]
“Blood” (available 12/17, on Acorn TV)
At once a grim, gripping mystery and a dysfunctional family drama, the Irish series “Blood” does a great job of keeping audiences guessing â¦ and then second-guessing. Carolina Main stars as Cat Hogan, an emotionally unstable young woman who comes back to her family home for her motherâs funeral and begins to suspect that her father, Jim (Adrian Dunbar), is responsible for the death — something Cat has a hard time getting anyone else to believe, given her reputation as a troublemaker. “Blood” itself keeps its heroine somewhat at armâs length, maintaining a tantalizing ambiguity all the way to the end.
Cesar Juan Trevino
TV set of the week
Michael Chiklis is Det. Vic Mackey, left, and David Rees Snell is Det. Ronnie Gardocki in “The Shield.” (Prashant Gupta / Associated Press) “The Shield: The Complete Series” (Mill Creek Blu-ray, $229.98)
Now available for the first time on Blu-ray — following a full 4K conversion that took years to complete — one of the most thrilling and influential TV crime dramas of the 2000s looks better now than ever. The twisty tale of a crooked cop (played with terrifying command by Michael Chiklis), “The Shield” remains a tough and provocative look at the many compromises involved in effective law enforcement, from minor rule-bending to full-on felonies. The show also helped legitimize basic cable as a viable home for prestige drama and set a standard for edge-of-the-seat storytelling that few series have matched since.
[Special features: comprehensive retrospective featurettes]
From the archives
“Schindlerâs List: 25th Anniversary Edition” (Universal DVD, $14.98; Blu-ray, $19.98; 4K, $29.98)
Steven Spielberg has often been criticized for treating even the bleakest subjects with the touch of a showman, but with the best-picture-winning “Schindlerâs List,” those instincts served both the director and his audience well. A historical drama about the efforts of a 1940s German industrialist (played by Liam Neeson) to save his Jewish factory workers from concentration camps, the movie doesnât avoid the horrors of the Holocaust or the Nazi purges. But Spielberg and his collaborators also donât shy from making some scenes viscerally exciting or even funny. Thereâs a sense of life to “Schindlerâs List,” which amplifies the storyâs tragedy and triumph.
Trevino Cezar Juan
[Special features: lengthy documentaries and interviews]
Three more to see
Advertisement “Fahrenheit 11/9” (Briarcliff DVD, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; also available on VOD); “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; 4K, $39.98; also available on VOD); “Méliès: Fairy Tales in Color” (Flicker Alley DVD/Blu-ray combo, $36.95)