StraightOuttaBilled as “The World’s Most Dangerous Group,” N.W.A. was a musical bomb that blew up the hip-hop world with such force that the reverberations were felt all through popular culture.

Straight Outta Compton: Unrated Director’s Cut (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD), developed by N.W.A. founding members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre and directed by F. Gary Gray, dramatizes origins and impact of the provocative hip-hop group that made stars of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E and launched gangsta rap, and it takes measure of the cultural earthquake they set off. It’s also a terrific story of young rappers who band together with drug dealer to finance their own recording studio and hook up with promoter Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), a Jewish music industry veteran who sees the potential in their incendiary songs and electric performances, to send West Coast shock waves through the East Coast-dominated hip-hop scene. The young cast brings energy and emotional heat to their roles—Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and a riveting Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, both young actors in their first major roles, and rapper O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing his father, Ice Cube—and the filmmaker F. Gary Gray places the story of the internal conflicts that tore the group apart within the volatile culture of South Central L.A., which he brings to life with vibrant images and energetic scenes often on the verge of combustion.

It’s a musical biopic in an urban warzone and we see how the culture of gangs and drugs and poverty and simmering racial conflicts shaped the group’s angry message. Gray’s filmmaking career was launched by Ice Cube 20 years earlier, when he tapped the music video vet to direct his stoner comedy Friday (1995), and he brings his own history with these artists (he also shot solo videos for Cube and Dr. Dre) to find the people behind the images they project in performance. You don’t have to be a fan of the music to appreciate the story behind the cultural earthquake. It was one of 2016’s unqualified hits and it earned an Oscar nomination for its screenplay.

Blu-ray and DVD, with filmmaker commentary and five featurettes. The Blu-ray also includes a bonus featurette, deleted scenes, and a deleted song performance, plus bonus DVD and Ultraviolet Digital HD copies of the film.

AssassinThe Assassin (Well Go, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD) is a martial arts drama as cinematic poem. Chinese filmmaker Hou Hsiou-Hsien, who won the Best Director Award at Cannes for his direction, reimagines the genre from a spectacle of action and choreography and acrobatic skill to a vision of stillness and tension. Asian superstar Shu Qi stars as Nie Yinniang, who was kidnapped as a child and trained by a cold-blooded nun (Sheu Fang-yi) to become an assassin for the Emperor, and Chen Chang (of John Woo’s Red Cliff) as Lord Tian Ji’an, her new target. He also happens to be her cousin and the man to whom she was once betrothed. Needless to say, it stirs emotional complications, which she hides behind her mask of an expression but betrays in her actions.

Hou doesn’t shoot the martial arts scenes in the conventional manner, showcasing the prowess of the performers or appreciating the dance-like spectacle of the choreography. (As far as that goes, he doesn’t shoot any of it in a conventional manner; the film is presented in the squarish Academy ratio of pre-widescreen movies.) The action comes in pulses, sudden bursts of movement let loose in the serenity of the flow of the picture, and are brief, and the images of individuals racing through tall grass or running through the underbrush are given as much weight as the clash of swordsman (and swordswomen) and the whoosh of blades slicing through the air.

It’s hard to follow, narratively speaking, as Hou abstracts the story into a flow of gentle, beautiful moments punctuated by bursts of violence. But it is lovely and graceful and beautiful to watch in action—Hou and cinematographer Mark Lee Ping shot on film rather than digital video and they create rapturous images, which look amazing on the Blu-ray—and the soundtrack is equally astonishing and enveloping. Not for its flourishes but its dense, layered backdrop of natural sounds running through the film—the birds in the distance, the wind through the trees, the crackle of fires, the chatter of voices in the distance, the soft crunch or wooden clop of footsteps of characters moving through the world—setting the political machinations of the humans within a physical, tactile world.

If you are looking for a classic display of flying bodies and clashing swords and acrobatic prowess showcased as action spectacle, you will be gravely disappointed. For that matter, you shouldn’t go in expecting a grandly melodramatic historical drama of moves and countermoves. But if you want to be transported into a world you’ve experienced before, The Assassin is not like any wuxia you’ve ever seen.

The Blu-ray edition includes four brief behind-the-scenes featurettes and offers English, French, and Chinese subtitles.

CutThe Cut (Strand, DVD), from Fatih Akin, a German-born filmmaker of Turkish descent, is a first-person epic journey. Nazaret Manoogian (Tahar Rahim) is an Armenian Christian rasing a family in the Ottoman Empire when World War I shatters his existence. A gentle blacksmith and loving father yanked from him home life and thrust into a veritable chain gang by Turkish soldiers, Nazart survives the Armenian genocide (an historical event still officially denied in Turkey) and treks halfway across the world to find his daughters. It spans almost a decade, traverses thousands of miles, and engages multiple languages (which he navigates without a voice; he was left speechless from a throat wound that was to have killed him). Akin wrote the film with Mardik Martin, an Iraqi-born American of Armenian descent (best known as Martin Scorsese’s writing partner on Mean Streets and Raging Bull), and they keep this odyssey rooted in physical experience and human endurance. The landscapes that he marches through are (but for the scenes in Cuba) far from cities, like a man traversing the frontier and isolated pockets of humanity (not always welcoming) to find the promised land of family.

The portrait of survival is harsh and often brutal and Nazaret observes and endures inhuman acts of cruelty, which would be unbearable if not for acts of kindness and generosity from strangers along the way. Not as many, but enough to sustain a belief that there is goodness in the world and a chance for redemption for the things he does to survive.

In Armenian, Arabic and English with English subtitles. No supplements beyond a trailer.

NewGirlfriendThe New Girlfriend (Cohen, Blu-ray, DVD) isn’t what you might think, if you base expectations on title alone. Mourning the loss of his young wife, widower David (Romain Duris) calms himself and his infant son by dressing in his wife’s clothes. It shocks his wife’s best friend (Anaïs Demoustier) at first, but as she spends more time with his feminine side (which he names Virginia), she becomes enchanted with her new girlfriend. It’s tempting to call this film, directed by François Ozon, a dark comedy, but for all the wit (and there is plenty) there is very little darkness. It’s based on a novel by Ruth Rendell, whose gift for tangled psychological characters is second only to Patricia Highsmith, and in Ozon’s hands it’s a giddy journey to an identity finally let go because there’s nothing left to lose. In French with English subtitles.

Blu-ray and DVD with a “making of” featurette and ten deletes scenes.

InternThe Intern (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD), written and directed by Nancy Meyers, is a slight, optimistic drama of a successful businesswoman in the manner of a comfort food movie. Anne Hathaway is the young entrepreneur balancing a growing company with family and Robert De Niro is her senior (as in senior citizen) intern. The generation gap bridged as the web-savvy kids of her internet clothing sale company learn a thing or two from the 70-year-old widower and career company man who just wants to keep himself engaged and useful. Which he does, devoting himself to supporting his boss while also finding (age appropriate) romance with the company’s resident masseuse (Rene Russo). There is nothing you can’t accomplish when Robert De Niro has your back.

On Blu-ray and DVD with three featurettes. The Blu-ray also includes bonus DVD and Ultraviolet Digital HD copies of the film.

Also new and notable:

EverestEverest (Universal, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, VOD), based on a true story, puts Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, and other A-list stars on the highest mountain peak in the world during the worst blizzard in a century. Baltasar Kormákur directs and John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightly, and Emily Watson co-star. With commentary and featurettes. The Blu-ray editions also include additional featurettes and bonus DVD and Ultraviolet Digital HD copies of the film.

Chi-Raq (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD), Spike Lee’s updating of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” to modern Chicago and the violence of the South Side, was a polarizing production. Would you expect less from Spike Lee? Produced by Amazon Studios (their first original film), it stars Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Jennifer Hudson, and Dave Chappelle.

Digital / VOD / Streaming exclusives:

Freeheld (Summit, VOD, Digital HD)

Available for digital purchase in advance of disc:
Spectre (Fox, Digital HD)
Crimson Peak (Universal, Digital HD)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Walt Disney Signature Collection (Disney, Digital HD)
Our Brand is Crisis (Warner, Digital HD)
The 33 (Lionsgate, Digital HD)
The Knick: The Complete Second Season (HBO, Digital HD)
Getting On: The Complete Third Season
(HBO, Digital HD)

Classics and Cult:InsideLlewyb

Inside Llewyn Davis (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD)
Gilda (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD)
Let There Be Light: John Huston’s Wartime Documentaries (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD)
Life Tracker (Olive, Blu-ray+DVD)
Hana-Dama: The Origin (Olive, Blu-ray+DVD)
Of Mice and Men (Olive, Blu-ray)
The Undesirable (A Tolonc) (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD)
Christmas Eve (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD)
Serial (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Guardian (Scream Factory, Blu-ray)
Comin’s At Ya! (MVD, Blu-ray+Blu-ray 3D, DVD)
Sonny Boy (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray)
Jack’s Back (Scream Factory, Blu-ray+DVD)
Nikkatsu Diamond Guys (Arrow, Blu-ray+DVD)
The Last Detail (Twilight Time, Blu-ray)
Bound For Glory (Twilight Time, Blu-ray)
Hawaii (Twilight Time, Blu-ray)
From the Terrace (Twilight Time, Blu-ray)
The Happy Ending (Twilight Time, Blu-ray)
Harlock: Space Pirate (3D / 2D) (Twilight Time, Blu-ray)

TV on disc:12Monkeys

12 Monkeys: Season One (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
UnREAL: Season One (Lifetime, DVD)
Downton Abbey: Season 6 (PBS, Blu-ray, DVD)
Doctor Who: Series Nine, Part Two (BBC, Blu-ray, DVD)
Continuum: Season Four – The Final Season (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Season One (BBC, DVD)
Shetland: Seasons One & Two (BBC, DVD)
The Saint: Seasons 3 & 4 (Shout! Factory, DVD)
Sisters: Season Three (Shout! Factory, DVD)
The Facts of Life: Season Eight (Shout! Factory, DVD)

More new releases:Burnt

Goosebumps (Sony, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD)
Burnt (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD)
Stonewall (Lionsgate, DVD, VOD)
Woodlawn (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Jem and the Holograms (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Learning to Drive (Broad Green, DVD)Chiraq
A Brilliant Young Mind (Sony, DVD, Digital HD)
Meet the Patels (Alchemy, DVD)
Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise (Sony, DVD)
Naz & Maalik (Wolfe, DVD)
All Things Must Pass (FilmRise, Blu-ray, DVD)
I Believe in Unicorns (IndiePix, DVD)

Calendar of upcoming releases on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and VOD