New on Blu-ray
“Hidden Figures” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99; also available on VOD)
One of last year’s most unexpected smash hits, the Oscar-nominated film is bound to be a staple in high schools for years to come because it illuminates two pieces of American history in a highly entertaining, lump-in-the-throat kind of way. Based on the true accounts of three black women who rose through the ranks at NASA in heavily segregated early ’60s Virginia, the film conveys the injustices and indignities of racism as well as the phenomenal collaborative project that was our space program. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe are each responsible for more than one stand-up-and-cheer moment in a movie that does oversimplify a complicated story, but only in service of the worthy cause of celebrating perseverance and scientific achievement and illustrating how bigotry harms us all.
Special features: A commentary track, deleted scenes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
“Worlds Apart” (available April 11)
The “everything’s connected” sub-genre of indie film has fallen out of favor a bit since the days when “Babel” was winning raves and “Crash” was winning Oscars, but with the international hit “Worlds Apart,” Greek writer-director-actor Christopher Papakaliatis proves there’s still some potency in an old formula. An anthology of three unlikely love stories — which share a hidden link not revealed until the final third — the movie works well just as a sketch of life in modern Greece. The situations range from a violence-torn refugee melodrama to a sweet rom-com featuring J.K. Simmons as a kindly German writer, but all play out under the shadow of the recent economic troubles in Europe, showing how people persevere by leaning on each other.
TV set of the week
“Veep: The Complete Fifth Season” (HBO DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)
With current events as they are, it may be hard to watch the upcoming sixth season of HBO’s political satire “Veep” and derive much pleasure from its portrait of a dysfunctional Washington. So maybe the best thing to do is to re-watch the brilliant fifth season, which — presciently —made fun of how hard it is for a widely unpopular U.S. president and a stubborn, partisan Congress to get anything worthwhile done. Though the show’s original creator, Armando Iannucci, stepped down before Season 5, his replacement, David Mandel, and the stellar cast (led by multi-Emmy-winning Julia Louis-Dreyfus) delivered another 10 episodes of foul-mouthed, funny and devastatingly on-point comedy
Special features: Commentary tracks and deleted scenes.
From the archives
“Daughters of the Dust” (Cohen DVD, $19.99; Blu-ray, $25.99)
It’s hard to believe that it took until 1991 for a feature-length film directed by an African American woman to get a wide(ish) release. It’s even harder to believe that Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust” remains relatively obscure, even though its rich visual textures and twisty narrative mark it as a true original (as well as a partial inspiration for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” HBO special). Set in the early 20th century on a small South Carolina island, the movie follows multiple generations of a Gullah family descended from slaves as they ponder the future of their culture. It’s a luminous look at a mostly vanished past in a familiar land where the people have strange ways of communicating.
Special features: A Dash commentary track and extensive interviews.
Three more to see
“Brimstone” (Sony DVD, $17.99; Blu-ray, $22.99; also available on VOD); “Lion” (Starz/Anchor Bay DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; also available on VOD); “Toni Erdmann” (Sony DVD, $26.99; Blu-ray, $26.99; also available on VOD)