(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 Crown: The Complete First Season": John Lithgow recently won a richly deserved Emmy for his portrayal of Prime Minister Winston Churchill in this widely acclaimed Netflix drama, also starring Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, who takes the British throne at a time of national tumult. The script by Peter Morgan -- who also explored the monarch's later years in, appropriately, "The Queen'' -- also examines her life as a newlywed from 1947 through the mid-1950s, in what is being planned as a six-season series (Season 2 is slated to begin streaming on Dec. 8). Matt Smith plays Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip in a sterling cast that also includes Vanessa Kirby, Eileen Atkins, Victoria Hamilton, Jeremy Northam, Jared Harris and Stephen Dillane. **** (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Glass Castle": Former gossip columnist Jeannette Walls' memoir fuels this drama, which features Brie Larson ("Room'') -- who previously worked with director Destin Daniel Cretton on "Short Term 12'' -- as the adult Walls, but really gives the film's showcase role to Woody Harrelson as her iconoclastic father. His drinking is part of his colorful personality, but also of his sometimes dangerous unpredictability ... which especially manifests itself in a harrowing scene in which the dad tries to move young Jeannette past one of her fears by throwing her into the deep end of a pool. Naomi Watts plays her mother, and Max Greenfield ("New Girl'') also is featured. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes; interview with Walls. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this Week:
"The Westworld: Season One": Michael Crichton's original movie concept of a resort where lifelike androids fulfill guests' wishes gets added complexity -- and that's putting it mildly -- in this HBO series adaptation that recently was the most-nominated cable series at this year's Primetime Emmy Awards (with 22 bids). Anthony Hopkins plays the site's founder, who resists others' intentions for it ... including eliminating two romantically involved "hosts'' (Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden) by having an attack staged on the entire park. Ed Harris assumes Yul Brynner's film role as the sinister Man in Black. Principal cast members also include Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Luke Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Clifton Collins Jr. and Rodrigo Santoro. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentaries outtakes; Comic-Con panel. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD)
"Ingrid Goes West": Obsessed with social media, the titular Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza, "Parks and Recreation'') relocates from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles to get closer to a social-media personality (Elizabeth Olsen) in director and co-writer Matt Spicer's effectively unsettling comedy-drama. The relocated woman's efforts to insinuate herself into the online star's life become increasingly desperate, eventually involving the Olsen character's recovering-addict brother (Billy Magnussen) and a would-be screenwriter (O'Shea Jackson Jr.). Plaza is scary good here, quite literally, and the screenplay earned a Sundance Film Festival award. Wyatt Russell also stars. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Family Guy: Season Fifteen": Another round of Seth McFarlane's animated Fox comedy series gets a home-video release, with a special tribute to guest voices Carrie Fisher and Adam West included. Among the plots, Peter (voiced by MacFarlane) runs into trouble while portraying Santa in a shopping mall, and Stewie and Brian (also both voiced by MacFarlane) operate a bed-and-breakfast with a big twist. Among the season's guest voices are Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and athletes Stephen Curry and Rob Gronkowski. The regular voice cast also includes Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis and Patrick Warburton. Other DVD extras: deleted scenes. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
"Atomic Blonde" (Nov. 14): Charlize Theron stars as a Cold War-era MI6 operative who gets very physical and lethal toward her enemies. (R: AS, N, P, V)
"Wind River" (Nov. 14): An FBI agent and a tracker (Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner) work together to probe a murder on a reservation. (R: AS, P, V)
"The Hitman's Bodyguard" (Nov. 21): Samuel L. Jackson plays an assassin who needs a longtime nemesis (Ryan Reynolds) as his protector. (R: P, V)
"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (Nov. 21): In director Luc Besson's fantasy-adventure, a futuristic law enforcer (Dane DeHaan) tries to keep a metropolis -- and the whole universe -- together. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" (Nov. 28): Changes in seasons mean changes for Lorelai and Rory (Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel) in this sequel miniseries. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Logan Lucky" (Nov. 28): Brothers (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) break a convict (Daniel Craig) out of prison to help in their planned speedway heist. (PG-13: AS, P)
Oldies But Goodies:
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965): One of the most beloved of all holiday specials now is available in a combination pack with "The Peanuts Movie.'' ****
"The Godfather" (1972): The legendary crime-family drama gets a re-release, with its two sequels, in a limited and extras-heavy "Omerta Edition'' on Blu-ray; Marlon Brando and Al Pacino star. ****
"Into the Night" (1985): A maritally and professionally unhappy man (Jeff Goldblum) meets a smuggler (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the Blu-ray debut of this John Landis-directed suspense-comedy. ***
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending October 22, 2017, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Spider-Man: Homecoming"
2) "Wonder Woman"
3) "Baby Driver"
4) "The Mummy"
5) "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"
6) "The House"
7) "Transformers: The Last Knight"
8) "47 Meters Down"
9) "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
10) "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence