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New video: 'Dunkirk' is a stirring and stunning World War II epic

New on Blu-ray

“Dunkirk” (Warner Bros. Blu-ray/DVD combo, $35.99; also available on VOD)

Perhaps only “Inception”/“Interstellar” writer-director Christopher Nolan could earn a half-billion dollars at the global box office with what’s essentially an expensive experimental film. Nolan’s “Dunkirk” repeats the oft-told tale of how the British turned a crushing defeat in the early days of WWII into an inspiring moment of national unity. But rather than just laying out the details of what happened, the picture weaves between three different stories — one set on a civilian boat racing to evacuate the troops, one following a pilot running low on gas, and one tracking the desperation of men pinned down on a beach — and finds the visual and thematic symmetries between them, even though they’re taking place across slightly different timelines. “Dunkirk” is stirring as a war movie and stunning as a piece of cinematic art. It’s one of 2017’s best.

Special features: Extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes



Available now

Jon Dunham’s documentary is pitched as a history of the Boston Marathon from 1897 to today, though as one might expect it focuses heavily on the 2013 bombing at the finish line — and the preparations for the following year’s event. Dunham bounces from anecdotes about past races, fly-on-the-wall footage of planning sessions and brief sketches of some of the marathon’s more colorful participants. The results are a bit scattered but still filled with fascinating details about a vital American institution as it tries to recover from being associated with an infamous act of terrorism.

TV set of the week

“A Town Called Panic: The Collection” (Shout! Factory DVD, $19.59; Blu-ray, $24.97)

Belgian animators Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar have produced 20 five-minute episodes of their cult-favorite, stop-motion animated series “A Town Called Panic” since the year 2000, along with a hilarious feature film and two half-hour specials. “The Collection” is missing the movie but otherwise presents over 150 minutes of inspired comedy on a single disc, all about the adventures of a serious-minded Horse who lives with a not-too-bright Cowboy and Indian in a town populated by plastic toys with names like “Policeman” and “Postman.” The humor here is at once manic, cute, surreal and just a little bit cutting — like what would happen if a snarky preteen were left alone with a camera and a farm play-set.

Special features: A bonus short

From the archives

“Suspiria” (Synapse Blu-ray, $49.95)

Italian director Dario Argento became internationally famous in the early ’70s for his sexy, bloody, artfully photographed suspense films. With 1977’s “Suspiria” he pivoted to outright horror, sharing the disturbingly weird story of an American dancer (played by Jessica Harper) who gets accepted to a European academy hiding a dark, supernatural secret. A “Suspiria” remake is coming soon, but in the meantime, the stylish and terrifying original looks better than ever in its new 4K restoration, taken from the original uncensored 35 mm camera negative. This latest Blu-ray release is the best edition yet of one of genre cinema’s greatest aesthetic achievements.

Special features: Two scholarly commentary tracks, a visual essay and multiple retrospective featurettes

Three more to see

“Mother!” (Paramount DVD, $25.99; Blu-ray, $31.99; 4K, $34.99; also available on VOD); “Stronger” (Lionsgate DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD); “Victoria & Abdul” (Universal DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98; also available on VOD)

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