(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 Florida Project": Veteran actor Willem Dafoe is a current Oscar nominee for his involving performance in this drama as a Florida motel manager who tries to protect the younger people staying at his site. Those efforts encompass his attempt on behalf of one girl (Brooklynn Prince) whose mother (Bria Vinaite) turns to prostitution to make the rent. Director and co-writer Sean Baker reportedly went rogue in filming the concluding portion set at a very famous resort, bypassing the usual protocols and using an iPhone to capture the footage he needed. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; outtakes; cast and crew interviews. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Star": Some very familiar voices, in both musical and nonmusical terms, factor into this animated comedy inspired by one of the most legendary stories of religion -- and of all time. A donkey (voice by Steven Yeun, "The Walking Dead'') sets out on an adventure, guided by a glowing object in the sky. Along the way, a sheep (voice of "Saturday Night Live's'' Aidy Bryant), a dove (voice of Keegan Michael-Key) and three camels (voices of Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan and Tyler Perry) join him. Kelly Clarkson, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Gina Rodriguez ("Jane the Virgin''), Anthony Anderson and Patricia Heaton ("The Middle'') also are heard. The title song is by Mariah Carey (who sings it) and composer Marc Shaiman, and videos included on the home-video release also include tunes by Kelsea Ballerini, Fifth Harmony and Kirk Franklin. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; sing-along videos. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Steve McQueen: American Icon": One of the most iconic of all movie stars is recalled in this Gary Sinise-narrated documentary, which not only looks at McQueen's screen career as a "king of cool,'' but also at the strong faith he maintained in his final years. Pastor Greg Laurie -- such a McQueen fan, he owns a replica of the legendary Mustang from "Bullitt'' -- takes the car out on a cross-country odyssey to determine just what made the famously private superstar tick during the twilight of his life. Mel Gibson and McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill (who collaborated with Laurie on a related book) make appearances. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
"Same Kind of Different as Me": A surprising encounter is the basis of this fact-inspired drama that adapts the true story of Ron Hall (played by Greg Kinnear), an art dealer whose developing link to a homeless man (portrayed by Djimon Hounsou, "Guardians of the Galaxy'') completely changed the lives of Hall and his wife (Renee Zellweger) as they grappled with marital challenges. The result was a very unexpected but enduring friendship. Hall, who had a multiple-year best seller with the book he wrote about the situation, co-wrote the screenplay with director Michael Carney. Jon Voight and Olivia Holt also are featured. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Midnight, Texas: Season One": Another unusual environment informs this series adaptation of books by Charlaine Harris, whose writings also inspired "True Blood.'' The title town in the show -- which NBC aired last summer -- is the base for a psychic (played by former "The Borgias''' co-star Francois Arnaud) whose otherworldly dealings prompt him to seek help from other locals, some human and others not. Additional stars include Dylan Bruce ("Orphan Black''), Arielle Kebbel, Peter Mensah, Sarah Ramos and Jason Lewis ("Sex and the City''). *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"MacGyver: Season 1" (Feb. 27): Lucas Till has the title role in the CBS reboot of the series about a particularly inventive adventurer; George Eads also stars. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Coco'' (Feb. 27): The animated Disney-Pixar tale follows a young would-be musician on a quest to learn about his forerunners; the voice cast includes Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt. (PG: AS)
"Darkest Hour" (Feb. 27): Gary Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill has earned director Joe Wright's drama one of its six current Oscar nominations. (PG: AS)
"Just Getting Started" (Feb. 27): A retirement-community resident (Morgan Freeman) gets a rival (Tommy Lee Jones) who later becomes an ally. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Murder on the Orient Express" (Feb. 27): Also the film's director, Kenneth Branagh heads an all-star cast as detective Hercule Poirot probes the title crime in the classic Agatha Christie mystery. (PG-13: AS, V)
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (Feb. 27): A woman (Frances McDormand) takes an unusual step to try to get her daughter's murder solved; Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson also star. (R: AS, P, V)
"Colossuss: The Forbin Project'' (Feb. 27): The 1970 sci-fi drama, about a super-computer that links dangerously to a Russian counterpart, makes its Blu-ray debut; Eric Braeden stars. (PG: P)
"Thor: Rangnarok" (March 6): The Norse god (Chris Hemsworth) has family problems and a showdown with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) as he tries to save his home world. (PG-13: V)
"Major Crimes: The Complete Sixth and Final Season" (March 13): Switching to a more serialized format for its concluding round, the "Closer'' spinoff stars Mary McDonnell. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
Oldies But Goodies:
"Bullitt" (1968): One of Steve McQueen's top hits -- with one of the screen's greatest car chases -- casts him as a San Francisco police detective assigned to protect a murder witness. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Doors" (1991): Director Oliver Stone's portrait of the rock band boasts a stunning performance by Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison; Meg Ryan and Kyle MacLachlan also star. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Ted" (2012): Though Mark Wahlberg is the top-billed star in the Seth MacFarlane-directed comedy, the title character is a "living,'' profane teddy bear. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending February 4, 2018, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Blade Runner 2049"
4) "Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween"
5) "American Made"
7) "The Foreigner"
8) "Despicable Me 3"
9) "The Mountain Between Us"
10) "Happy Death Day"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence