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.)
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2": It took so long -- 14 years -- to mount a sequel, writer-star Nia Vardalos and company don't mess much with the original recipe in this easy-to-take follow-up. The wedding in this case is one that never actually took place, though others believed it did ... the nuptials of Toula's (Vardalos) mother and father (Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine). While plans are initiated to change that, the daughter (Elena Kampouris) Toula has with husband Ian (John Corbett) plots a getaway from her relatives, who sometimes are too much for her to deal with it. Rita Wilson (also a producer of the picture) and John Stamos join the cast, which also includes returnees Andrea Martin, Joey Fatone, Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor and Bess Meisler. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries; outtakes. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Anesthesia": Written, produced and directed by actor Tim Blake Nelson ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?''), this drama links the stories of several New Yorkers. A professor (Sam Waterston) who has retirement in mind is mugged, with the aftermath revealing how many other lives he has impacted -- including those of his wife (Glenn Close), his daughter-in-law (Jessica Hecht) and a student (Kristen Stewart). Corey Stoll ("House of Cards''), Gretchen Mol, Michael K. Williams ("Boardwalk Empire''), Gloria Reuben ("ER'') and filmmaker Nelson also are in the strong ensemble cast. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Midnight Special": A man's unfailing dedication to his son under very unusual circumstances fuels writer-director Jeff Nichols' ("Mud'') science-fiction-flavored drama, casting Michael Shannon ("Man of Steel'') as a dad whose son (Jordan Lieberher) has special powers. Many factions are after the boy, wanting him for their own purposes ... but his parent's determination to protect him takes the two of them across the country, fleeing from the government and other forces. Joel Edgerton ("Black Mass''), Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens'') and Sam Shepard also star. DVD extras: six "making-of'' documentaries. *** (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Knight of Cups": Terrence Malick, the visionary filmmaker behind "Badlands,'' "Days of Heaven'' and "The Tree of Life,'' wrote and directed this drama about a man -- played by Christian Bale -- who tries to break through his general dissatisfaction with life through involvements with six women including his ex-wife (Cate Blanchett). Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto ("Slumdog Millionaire''), Teresa Palmer ("The Choice'') and Isabel Lucas portray the others. Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy and Antonio Banderas also are in the impressive cast of the sometimes surreal story. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also releasing this week:
"How To Get Away with Murder: The Complete Second Season": The Shonda Rhimes-produced ABC drama series continues with new cases for Annalise Keating (Emmy winner Viola Davis) and the law students who are learning from her ... possibly to their detriment more than their benefit. However, the matter of Rebecca's murder also continues to hang over them, taking then into fresh trouble over it as they dig deeper. Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Karla Souza, Charlie Weber and Liza Weil also continue in the regular cast. DVD extras: deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"The Brothers Grimsby": Put traditionally offbeat star and co-writer Sacha Baron Cohen together with action-specialist Louis Leterrier ("The Transporter''), and this genre jumble is what you get. Cohen plays a generally unambitious Englishman who has but one desire -- to reunite with the brother (Mark Strong) he hasn't seen in almost 30 years. The missing sibling turns out to be a killer for MI6, and he has to stop a plot to nuke the world ... with his rather dim relative's help. Isla Fisher (alias Mrs. Cohen), Rebel Wilson, Ian McShane ("Deadwood''), Penelope Cruz and Gabourey Sidibe also appear. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; outtakes. ** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Eye in the Sky" (June 28): British military officials oversee a drone mission against terrorists in Kenya; Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and Aaron Paul star. (R: P, V)
"Kung Fu Panda 3" (June 28): Po (voice of Jack Black) reunites with his father (voice of Bryan Cranston), but faces a new threat. (PG: AS, V)
"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (June 28): Tina Fey stars as a reporter who goes to Afghanistan with no experience in war-zone coverage. (R: AS, P, V)
"By the Sea" (July 5): Angelina Jolie Pitt directs herself and husband Brad Pitt in the story of a couple recapturing their passion while visiting a French town. (R: AS, N, P)
"House of Cards: The Complete Fourth Season" (July 5): First Lady Claire Underwood's (Robin Wright) own agenda for power becomes stronger, unsettling her husband Frank (Kevin Spacey). (Not rated: AS, N, 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)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending June 5, 2016, courtesy of comScore)
1) "Ride Along 2"
2) "The Revenant"
3) "Dirty Grandpa"
4) "Gods of Egypt"
5) "Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition"
7) "The Fifth Wave"
10) "Daddy's Home"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence