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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Judas and the Black Messiah, ’Til Death: The Complete Series and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

Well, it’s another small week as there just isn’t as much left for the studios to release over a year into the pandemic. Here are this week’s notable releases.

Judas and the Black Messiah – This highly acclaimed film based on true events tells the story of assassinated Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton and the FBI informant that infiltrated the organization to gather intel on him. Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) earned a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his blistering turn as Hampton, a fiery leader of the Panther movement who gave speeches that could inspire a dead man to rise from the grave. The film tells an important story — one I was unfamiliar with — and does so in an engaging fashion. While there are some deficiencies, such as a few characters that I wish were more fleshed out, the film is still a powerhouse, thanks largely to Kaluuya’s memorable performance. Definitely worth the watch.

’Til Death: The Complete Series – ’Til Death was a sitcom in the mid-2000s starring Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher, and while it was never a breakout success, it did manage to run for four seasons and gain a decent fan following. Co-starring Eddie Kaye Thomas (the American Pie films) and Kat Foster, the show focused on two couples: Garrett and Fisher, who have been married for decades, and Grant and Foster, who are newlyweds. The pair of new neighbors become friendly, and Garrett tries to be the big, bad alpha male, often doling out marriage advice to Thomas that’s completely the opposite of how he really acts with his wife, who he loves dearly (and who really wears the pants in the relationship). It’s not groundbreaking material, as at the end of the day it’s a pretty typical rom-com sitcom, but the cast is likable, the jokes are funny enough, and the show is an easy watch. Now, the entire series is available in one nice DVD box set from Mill Creek, which gives you all four seasons in one compact box. It’s a fun show, and if you’re looking for something new to binge in these binge-heavy times, this show will give you a chuckle.

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party – Is it a convert film? A documentary? A comedy? Ummm… yes. Released back in 2006 at the height of Dave Chappelle’s success with Chappelle’s Show, this film by acclaimed director Michel Gondry sees Chappelle traveling around the country, inviting people and musical acts to his huge block party event, and then culminating in footage of the party itself. The film is part documentary-style filmmaking coupled with some impressive musical performances, and while Chappelle doesn’t do any stand-up, he’s never far from cracking a joke. The film originally only came out on DVD, and now Mill Creek has brought us a Blu-ray release for the first time. With musical performances and appearances by stars such as Kanye West, John Legend, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, and Big Daddy Kane, this is a film that doesn’t get talked about as much 15 years after it’s release but is still a lot of fun to watch.

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