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.)
"House of Cards: The Complete Fourth Season'': As the acclaimed Netflix adaptation of the British series continues, First Lady Claire Underwood's (Robin Wright, also the director of several episodes here) own agenda for power becomes stronger, unsettling her husband Frank (Kevin Spacey). That's just how she wants it, but never underestimate Underwood, who typically goes about his own scheming to balance the scale. Michael Kelly and Molly Parker are among fellow cast returnees, but this season also brings in a parade of notable newcomers including Ellen Burstyn, Cicely Tyson, Neve Campbell ("Party of Five''), Joel Kinnaman and Colm Feore. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"By the Sea": Having taken the reins as director on earlier films ("Unbroken,'' "In the Land of Blood and Honey''), it probably was inevitable that Angelina Jolie Pitt eventually would call the shots for herself and husband Brad Pitt as ... a married couple! She also wrote the story in which the fictional spouses are experiencing extreme strain in their relationship, but their getaway to a French town starts a healing process, thanks largely to other people they encounter. That's the case initially, anyway, since one of the mates gets a little too close to someone else. Melanie Laurent ("Inglourious Basterds'') also is featured. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Adderall Diaries": James Franco's habit of choosing unexpected projects is legend now -- reaffirmed recently by his involvement in a Lifetime remake of "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?'' -- and this drama, which counts Robert Redford among its executive producers, can go in the same file. Again, he plays someone living on the edge, a writer whose personal demons come into sharper focus as he researches a notorious murder case. His pursuit takes him into various vices in this adaptation of Stephen Elliott's best seller. Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City'') and Christian Slater (whose career has gotten a big recharge from the USA Network series "Mr. Robot'') also appear. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; audio commentary by director Pamela Romanowsky; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Family Fang'': Jason Bateman is a triple threat as director, producer and star of this well-cast comedy-drama based on Kevin Wilson's best seller about a potential family reunion under desperate circumstances. The grown offspring (Bateman and Nicole Kidman, who's one of the movie's producers as well) of two noted performance artists (Christopher Walken, Maryann Plunkett) look for their missing parents, with a lot of never-settled issues rising again for the siblings in the course of the hunt. Also featuring Kathryn Hahn, veteran character actor Harris Yulin and Broadway staple Linda Emond, the film has a screenplay by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, whose "Rabbit Hole'' also starred Kidman. DVD extra: audio commentary by Bateman. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)
Also releasing this week:
"I Saw the Light": Englishman Tom Hiddleston -- alias Loki, Thor's sibling, in the Marvel superhero movies -- may not be the first person who comes to mind for a biography of Hank Williams, but he does a very credible job as the country-music legend in this warts-and-all biography from director and screenwriter Marc Abraham. Though Williams found fast fame, the results weren't all beneficlal for him, taking major tolls on his emotions and his health. Though Hiddleston clearly is the show here (and to answer a likely question, that's actually him doing the singing, coached by country star Rodney Crowell), he gets strong support from Elizabeth Olsen, Cherry Jones ("24'') and Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing''). DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Abraham. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Electra Woman & Dyna Girl": Grace Helbig parlayed her online popularity into her own television series and other ventures, including this update of a kitschy Saturday-morning series, which Deidre Hall starred in around the same time she became a weekday-serial star on "Days of Our Lives.'' Helbig and fellow YouTube personality Hannah Hart play small-town battlers of crime who decide to take their crusade for justice to a bigger landscape -- Los Angeles -- as the self-styled team of the title. Original producers Sid and Marty Krofft's company is still on board here. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Helbig and Hart. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"The Divergent Series: Allegiant" (July 12): Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her allies aim to make it over the wall to the outside world as the adventure saga continues. (PG-13: N, P, V)
"Everybody Wants Some!!" (July 12): Writer-director Richard Linklater's (``Boyhood'') comedy centers around several college baseball players circa 1980; stars include Will Brittain and Ryan Guzman. (R: AS, N, P)
"Miracles from Heaven" (July 12): A woman (Jennifer Garner) tries to save her daughter (Kylie Rogers) from a seemingly incurable eating disorder. (PG: AS)
"Miles Ahead" (July 19): Also the film's director and co-writer, Don Cheadle plays brilliant but troubled jazz-music legend Miles Davis. (R: AS, N, P, V)
"The Perfect Match'' (July 19): A playboy (Terrence J) tries to maintain his carefree ways when he meets a woman (Cassie Ventura) who might be ``the one.'' (R: AS, N, P)
"The Boss" (July 26): After her prison stay, a former business titan (Melissa McCarthy) charts a new course with her former assistant (Kristen Bell). (R: AS, P)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending June 19, 2016, courtesy of comScore)
2) "Dead Pool"
3) "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi"
4) "10 Cloverfield Lane"
5) "Ride Along 2"
6) "The Revenant"
7) "Gods of Egypt"
8) "Dirty Grandpa"
10) "The Boy"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence