(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.)
"Girls Trip": Several longtime friends reunite for a trip to New Orleans, and get new revelations along the way, in director Malcolm D. Lee's ("The Best Man'') enjoyable comedy, co-written by ``black-ish'' creator Kenya Barris. Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and rising comic Tiffany Haddish star as the quartet who re-examine some of the decisions they've made in the past while making new ones -- some of which also could stand some reconsideration, as they discover. Larenz Tate, Mike Colter and Mike Epps also appear. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes with commentary by Lee; outtakes; extended Ne-Yo music performance. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"American Gods: Season One": Developed for television by Bryan Fuller ("Hannibal'') and Michael Green ("Heroes'') from the Neil Gaiman novel, this boundary-busting Starz fantasy-drama series makes an ex-convict (Ricky Whittle) the bodyguard of an extremely powerful man (Ian McShane) who wants to preserve a world of traditional magic against new forces who would usurp it. The impressive cast also includes Gillian Anderson ("The X Files''), Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Stormare ("Fargo''). The series will be getting a second season. DVD extras: nine "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by cast and crew members. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also in Blu-ray)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Step": For fans of such stories as "Pitch Perfect'' and "Bring It On,'' here's the real deal, a documentary that follows the highs and lows of the senior year of a female high-school step-dance team in inner-city Baltimore. Their aims involve not only their quest for success at a championship, but also their individual hopes for college careers. The film also shows the involvement of their teachers and parents. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by director Amanda Lipitz; deleted scenes; photo gallery; music video. *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)
"The Good Place: The Complete First Season": Now in its sophomore round on NBC, this clever comedy series from "Parks and Recreation'' alum Michael Schur was one of last season's new series best-received by critics ... thanks in no small part to its surprising twists along the way, plus its judicious use of special effects. Kristen Bell plays an erroneously admitted newcomer to the "Good Place'' that apparently is heaven, where she comes to terms with the vices and bad behavior she practiced during her lifetime. She's guided along her new path by the evidently benevolent Michael (Ted Danson), and let's just say that the motto "Everything Is Fine'' eventually proves to be ironic here. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
"Ernie Kovacs: Take a Good Look - The Definitive Collection": Famously offbeat comedian Kovacs was the host of "Take a Good Look,'' a late-'50s/early-'60s game show that was as much about his humor as "You Bet Your Life'' was about the wit of Groucho Marx. Over two seasons and through sketches and other means, Kovacs tried to clue panelists into the identity of a guest, sometimes with greater success than others. Among the guests were Carl Reiner, chess great Bobby Fischer, Zsa Zsa Gabor, comic Mort Sahl, baseball legend Don Drysdale, Mary Ann Mobley (1959's Miss America before becoming an actress) and Edie Adams, alias Mrs. Kovacs at the time. In his very distinctive way, Kovacs also serves as the commercial pitchman for Dutch Masters Cigars, the longtime sponsor of his television ventures. *** (Not rated: AS)
"The Emoji Movie" (Oct. 24): Yes, those smartphone images get their own film, with T.J. Miller as the voice of an especially boisterous one. (PG: AS)
"War for the Planet of the Apes" (Oct. 24): A reluctant Caesar (Andy Serkis) spearheads a war against a human colonel's (Woody Harrelson) troops. (PG-13: AS, V)
"Kidnap" (Oct. 31): A woman (Halle Berry) takes matters into her own hands to save her abducted son; Jason George co-stars. (R: P, V)
"Orphan Black: The Complete Series" (Oct. 31): Tatiana Maslany wraps up her much-praised performance -- actually, make that "performances'' -- as mutually protective clones. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Westworld: Season One" (Nov. 7): The HBO-series reimagining of the fantasy about a resort populated by lifelike robots stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton. (Not rated: AS, N, 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)
Oldies But Goodies:
"The DaVinci Code" (2006): All of Dan Brown's mysteries with Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, also including "Angels & Demons'' and "Inferno,'' are now available in a Blu-ray set. ***
"One Million B.C." (1940): A caveman (Victor Mature) tries to protect his true love (Carole Landis) from dinosaurs in this thrill classic. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Three O'Clock High" (1987): A school reporter (Casey Siemaszko) fears his showdown with a bully in a new Blu-ray "Collector's Edition'' of the comedy. ***
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending October 1, 2017, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Wonder Woman"
2) "Transformers: The Last Knight"
3) "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
4) "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
6) "47 Meters Down"
7) "Rough Night"
8) "The Big Sick"
10) "The Boss Baby"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence