(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.)
"Arrival": Amy Adams does a stunning job as the audience's surrogate in director Denis Villeneuve's ("Sicario'') contact-with-aliens drama, now up for eight Oscars including best picture. The actress plays a linguistics expert enlisted by the U.S. government to determine the intentions of the visitors from another world, who have stationed themselves around Earth, and it's ultimately up to her to deconstruct governmental fears that an intergalactic war may be looming. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also star, but the heavy lifting is on Adams -- who fulfills it very successfully -- as a woman who channels her personal grief into her professional mission. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Edge of Seventeen": With James L. Brooks as an executive producer, writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig's high-school tale benefits greatly from a winning performance by Hailee Steinfeld as a teen who's devastated to learn that her brother (Blake Jenner) and her best friend (Haley Lu Richardson) have been dating secretly. Accepting the situation may not be an option for the heroine, as she reveals to one of her teachers (Woody Harrelson). Kyra Sedgwick also stars as her mother, and Hayden Szeto is enjoyable as the Steinfeld character's novice-animator friend and confidant. DVD extras: deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk": Oscar-winning director Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain,'' "Life of Pi'') brings Ben Fountain's novel to the screen effectively, as the story traces the homecoming of young title soldier Lynn (played by newcomer Joe Alwyn), a presumed hero after he is among the survivors of an intense battle in Iraq. As others celebrate him, though, flashbacks reveal what actually happened to and for him during the conflict. The notable cast also includes Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin. DVD extras: four "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Bleed For This": After "Whiplash,'' "The Spectacular Now'' and his many other movies of late, Miles Teller goes for something different -- and achieves that aim -- by playing boxer Vinny Pazienza in this biographical drama. After a near-fatal car accident leaves the fighter all but paralyzed, he's determined to make his way back into the ring with the backing of trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart, in an effective transformation). Ciaran Hinds and Katey Sagal portray "Paz's'' parents, with Ted Levine also notable as manager Lou Duva. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Quarry: The Complete First Season": Inspired by a series of novels by Max Allan Collins, this gritty, 1970s--set Cinemax drama centers around a Vietnam veteran (played by Logan Marshall-Green) who's at loose ends upon returning to Memphis after two tours of duty. Vulnerable as he experiences much rejection, he's lured into a criminal network by the mysterious Broker (Peter Mullan), leading to danger for both himself and the wife (Jodi Balfour) he's on martially shaky ground with. Collins and Greg Yaitanes ("Banshee'') are among the executive producers. DVD extras: deleted scenes. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Series": Newly repackaged on Blu-ray, the fifth live-action television show in the science-fiction franchise (and the last before the upcoming "Star Trek: Discovery'') casts Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer, chief officer of the legendary starship roughly a century before Captain James Kirk took to the cosmos in what would be the original series. Such familiar elements as Klingons factor in. Co-stars Jolene Blalock, Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery and John Billingsley comprise the rest of the core "crew.'' *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Bad Santa 2" (Feb. 21): The offbeat Willie and his sidekick Marcus (Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox) team up again and set their sights on a Chicago charity. (R: AS, N, P)
"Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bette)" (Feb. 21): Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux ("Spectre'') have the title roles in this mature version of the fairy tale. (PG-13: AS, N, V)
"Grace and Frankie: Season 2" (Feb. 21): Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin continue as the Netflix series' title characters, who bond after their husbands leave them for each other. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Hacksaw Ridge" (Feb. 21): Mel Gibson directs the true drama of an Army doctor (Andrew Garfield) who, weaponless, saved numerous lives during the World War II battle of Okinawa. (R: AS, GV)
"Manchester by the Sea" (Feb. 21): A loner (Casey Affleck) is named guardian of his late brother's son in writer-director Kenneth Lonergan's drama; Michelle Williams also stars. (R: AS, P)
"Solace" (March 14): A psychically skilled FBI consultant (Anthony Hopkins) goes up against a serial killer (Colin Farrell); Jeffrey Dean Morgan also stars. (R: AS, N, P, V)
Oldies But Goodies:
"The Deer Hunter" (1978): Several small-town friends enter the Vietnam War; stars include Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Oscar winner Christopher Walken. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Rocky" (1976): Writer and star Sylvester Stallone introduces "the Italian Stallion,'' the boxer who wants a shot at a championship. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Sixteen Candles" (1984): The John Hughes classic stars Molly Ringwald as a teen whose birthday is memorable ... for the wrong reasons. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending Janury 29, 2017, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Deepwater Horizon"
2) "Jason Bourne"
3) "The Secret Life of Pets"
4) "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children"
5) "The Magnificent Seven"
9) "War Dogs"
10) "Suicide Squad"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence