(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.)
"Suburbicon": Intended satire goes a bit too dark for its own good in the hands of director George Clooney, who takes a script by siblings Joel and Ethan Coen ("Fargo'') brothers and shows why material originated by them probably should be completed by them. The varying tone is much of the problem, as Clooney pal Matt Damon plays a family-man resident of a seemingly perfect late-1950s neighborhood -- which, in the Coens' world, typically is anything but perfect. That's made clear by the block's general reaction to racial integration, and also by a tragedy that transforms Damon's character, though the heavy lifting in acting terms is done by Julianne Moore in dual roles. Oscar Isaac also is notable as an insurance investigator. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Only the Brave": The true story of the firefighting unit known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots is dramatized in this sincere and occasionally hair-raising tale, recalling their efforts to stop Arizona's Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013. The camaraderie among them -- and, in some cases, the individual troubles they had to overcome -- are played out affectingly by actors including Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale and Geoff Stults, with the pyrotechnics on the order of "Backdraft'' (though computer imagery also is involved here), Jennifer Connelly, Jeff Bridges and Andie MacDowell also are in the cast. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"LBJ'': In director Rob Reiner's drama, Woody Harrelson makes a good run at portraying Lyndon Baines Johnson's sudden ascension to the U.S presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy (who's portrayed by "Burn Notice'' alum Jeffrey Donovan). That period in the Oval Office was marked by tension and controversy as Johnson tried to unite an increasingly divisive America -- also encompassing the differences among politicians, making Johnson's presidential tenure that much more challenging. The interesting cast also includes Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Lady Bird Johnson), Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman and C. Thomas Howell. The music is by Marc Shaiman, who also worked earlier with Reiner in depicting an American president ... in "The American President.'' *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and DVD)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season": With the seventh round of the acclaimed, award-winning Showtime series about to begin, its previous chapter brings Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) back to the U.S. -- Brooklyn, N.Y., to be specific -- in a plot that initially finds her assisting Muslims in need of help. It also comes to involve America's first female president (played by Elizabeth Marvel) and counterterrorism efforts, eventually and inevitably leading Carrie back to the CIA. Rupert Friend, Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham also continue their roles, with Robert Knepper, Hill Harper (now of "The Good Doctor'') and Rachel Ticotin among those joining the cast. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Bosom Buddies: The Complete Series": Before such movies as "Forrest Gump'' and "Philadelphia,'' this early-1980s sitcom introduced the public to an actor by the name of Tom Hanks, who played one of two pals -- with Peter Scolari, later of "Newhart,'' as the other -- posing as women to take advantage of the cost-effective fees at a for-women-only residential hotel. Much mirth ensued as the fellows tried to keep others, including their ad-agency boss (Holland Taylor), in the dark about their ruse. Donna Dixon and Wendie Jo Sperber also star in the show, which had a two-season run ... ending two years before the success of the movie "Splash'' changed the course of Hanks' career. *** (Not rated: AS)
"The Deuce: The Complete First Season" (Feb. 13): James Franco plays dual roles in the HBO drama series about the birth of the pornography business in early-1970s New York. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Feb. 13): Denzel Washington has the title role of an unconventional attorney; Colin Farrell also stars. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"The Sinner: Season One" (Feb. 13): Jessica Biel stars as a wife and mother who suddenly erupts in a murderous rage. (Not rated: 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)
"Just Gettin 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)
"Major Crimes: The Comlete 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:
"Christine" (1983): Director John Carpenter's effective telling of the story of a possessed automobile is part of a new ``Stephen King 6-Film Collection''; Keith Gordon stars. ***
"Good Night, and Good Luck" (2005): Directed by George Clooney, this excellent drama follows iconic newsman Edward R. Murrow's (David Strathairn) efforts against Sen. Joseph McCarthy. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Rear Window" (1954): This and another Alfred Hitchcock-directed classic, "Vertigo,'' are among the titles in a new "James Stewart 4-Movie Collection.'' ****
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending January 28, 2018, Courtesy of comScore)
2) "Blade Runner 2049"
3) "American Made"
4) "The Foreigner"
6) "Despicable me 3"
8) "The Mountain Between Us"
9) "Happy Death Day"
10) "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence