“Gemini Man” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

Given that Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) turned out to be the savior of the day in the 2014 “Maleficent,” one should be forgiven for scratching one’s head as to how and why the horn-headed dark fae with the high cheekbones is back to being the baddie. It has something to do with the queen of a neighboring kingdom, Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), spreading fake news about Maleficent’s heroism and turning her into the villain of the story. Hey, sequels need reasons to exist.

One of the reasons a sequel should exist is to expand upon and continue the narrative from the previous story. This is exactly what “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” accomplishes, though there are some bumps in the road plot-wise.

The story picks up five years after the events of the first “Maleficent” movie, and we see Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) all grown up and in charge of an enchanted woodland called the Moors. It’s a magical place where mythical creatures roam free, flying, walking, swimming, or crawling in a beautiful, peaceful, pastoral landscape. It’s a dream sprung to life, and looks as good as it should, given that this is a Disney production.

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

“The Shed” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

Here’s an interesting tidbit I learned from a documentary about notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who did part-time clown work: His makeup was done wrong. Professional clowns know to never use shapes like triangles or put any sharp points on their makeup—it’s frightening to children. The pros use only round, soft shapes. This is perhaps why some people are afraid of clowns. Their parents hired an amateur clown for a birthday party when they were little, and the jagged edges on the clown’s makeup scared them. Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix, giving the best performance of the year regardless of what any award shows have to say about it) was one of the clowns who would scare children.

Arthur goes by the clown name Carnival, but as we know by the title of the movie, he eventually adopts the name Joker. While “Joker” may be part of the DC comic book universe, this is a dark and gritty origin story like no other. The movie takes place in 1981. There is a garbage collector’s strike in Gotham that causes trash to pile up everywhere, the streets are flooded with hoodlums who will beat people up for fun, and there is an underlying tension between the haves and the have-nots that is ready to bust out into Gotham society at large.

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: Joker

“Adopt a Highway” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

Renée Zellweger is Judy Garland in “Judy.” The hair, the makeup, the voice, the facial expressions, the mannerisms—in every respect, Zellweger does more than just imitate Garland, she becomes Garland. It’s almost as if Zellweger isn’t just playing Garland, but channeling her somehow. This is one of those performances where I sometimes thought I was actually watching Judy Garland and not another actress playing her. Zellweger is that good.

Zellweger not only encapsulates the look and feel of Judy Garland, she also nails the sound. When we finally get to hear her sing mid-way through “Judy,” she captures the voice timbre of the older Garland, a woman whose voice isn’t as sweet as when she was a child and has been set upon by age, cigarettes, and a tracheotomy. Still, when she wants to, she can carry a tune.

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: Judy

“Last Blood” and “Abominable” are also new to Blu-Ray this week.

With a Latin title and beautiful, quiet shots of the cosmos, it’s easy to get the perception that “Ad Astra” is artsy, trippy, or full of a pretentiousness that makes it inaccessible to the escapist sensibilities of mainstream audiences. By the time our hero Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) battles crazed baboons on a Norwegian space station (a sentence I can’t believe I just wrote) you’ll understand the wrongness of that perception.

Co-writer and director James Gray should have gone all the way with his title and used the popular Latin phrase “Per aspera ad astra,” which means "through hardships to the stars." Hardships there are. In addition to the rampaging primates, McBride also encounters pirates on the moon, bureaucratic treachery, the crew of a spaceship out to kill him, and various expected perils of being in the vacuum of space. But hey, no one told him it would be easy.

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: Ad Astra
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