By Jay Bobbin Zap2it
(Ratings for each film begin with a "star'' rating -- one star meaning "poor,'' four meaning "excellent'' -- followed by the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and then by a family-viewing guide, the key for which appears below.)
"The Forest": A familiar-feeling premise gets a boost from good acting in this thriller, as Natalie Dormer ("Game of Thrones'') plays a woman who travels to Japan to seeks her twin sister -- a supposed suicide -- in, you guessed it, a forest. Taylor Kinney ("Chicago Fire'') also stars as a reporter investigating the mystery, which involves the siblings' late parents and expectedly deepens the farther the searchers venture into the woods ... with a reasonable number of "Boo!'' moments. Eoin Macken ("The Night Shift'') also is featured. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Jackie Robinson": An icon of sports and civil rights is recalled in this documentary -- debuting on home video the same week it premieres on PBS -- from a master of the genre, Ken Burns ("The Civil War''), working here with his daughter Sarah and her husband, David McMahon. The profile logically starts by focusing on Robinson's life before he played pro baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers, standing up for his rights at a lunch counter and a movie theater ... and as an Army lieutenant. Later, he would be accused by some African Americans of ``selling out'' because of his ties to prominent white leaders in society and politics. Interviewees include Robinson's widow Rachel, Harry Belafonte, Tom Brokaw, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Jamie Foxx speaks Robinson's words in some segments, and the music score was co-composed by Wynton Marsalis. **** (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Grace and Frankie: Season One": Dolly Parton isn't on board -- nor is she expected to be as the show continues, at least for now -- but the other two-thirds of the "9 to 5'' trio reunite in this Netflix comedy series as Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin play the title characters, women left by their husbands ... for each other. That leaves the ladies to deal with their shared abandonment, opening the door for them to address various issues of modern times, particularly where people "of a certain age'' are concerned. Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston also star as the spouses, with Brooklyn Decker ("Friends With Better Lives'') and Ethan Embry ("That Thing You Do!'') also in the cast of the sitcom, created by genre-veteran executive producers Marta Kauffman ("Friends'') and Howard J. Morris ("Home Improvement''). The second season debuts on the streaming service in early May. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P)
Also Releasing this week:
"Justice League vs Teen Titans": Batman vs. Superman isn't the only intra-DC Comics battle raging these days, as proven by this animated, made-for-video feature. The sinister Trigon (voiced by "The Walking Dead'' alum Jon Bernthal) is the source of the trouble, as he sends his minions to overtake the minds of the Justice League members -- who include the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel (respectively voiced by Jason O'Mara and Jerry O'Connell) -- prompting the Teen Titans to save, or stop, their powerful elders. Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore ("Criminal Minds''), Christopher Gorham ("Covert Affairs'') and Taissa Farmiga ("American Horror Story'') also are heard. *** (PG-13: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Prisoners' Wives: Complete Collection": The title tells the theme of this BBC drama series, which focuses on spouses of the incarcerated. Polly Walker ("Mr. Selfridge'') plays a mobster's mate, Emma Rigby ("Once Upon a Time in Wonderland'') appears as the pregnant wife of a murder suspect, and Karla Crome ("Under the Dome'') is cast as the daughter of a career criminal. David Bradley ("Broadchurch'') and Iain Glen ("Game of Thrones'') are among the others stars of the saga, which ran for 10 episodes over two seasons. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
"The Revenant" (April 19): The recent Oscar winner for best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and director (Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu) is an early-19th-century frontier survival story. (R: AS, N. P, GV)
"Haven: The Final Season" (April 19): Alternate dimensions and William Shatner play big roles in the wrap-up to the Stephen King-inspired series. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Krampus" (April 26): A youngster (Emjay Anthony) disappointed at the holidays conjures up a Christmas demon; Toni Collette also stars. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Ride Along 2" (April 26): Kevin Hart and Ice Cube reunite as their characters team with a female cop (Olivia Munn) against a drug dealer. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Lou Grant: The Complete First Season" (May 3): Edward Asner carried his "Mary Tyler Moore Show'' character into this drama series, which made Grant a Los Angeles newspaper editor. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Joy" (May 3): Jennifer Lawrence plays Miracle Mop inventor and marketer Joy Mangano in director David O. Russell's comedy-drama, also reuniting the actress with Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper. (PG-13: AS, P)
"Anomalisa" (June 7): The animated Oscar nominee focuses on an author (voice of David Thewlis) who gains a renewed appreciation of his life and family. (R: AS, N, P)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS
(Week ending March 27, 2016, courtesy of Rentrak Corp.)
1) "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2"
2) "Daddy's Home"
3) "The Good Dinosaur"
5) "The Big Short"
6) "The Night Before"
7) "The Martian"
8) "Black Mass"
9) "The Intern"
10) "Straight Outta Compton"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence