(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.)
"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again": Apparently, having every other key cast member return -- plus a previously untapped part of the ABBA catalog -- was enough to greenlight this very musical sequel, though there is a reminder of Streep's Donna along the way. Largely, though, the character is presented by flashbacks to her earlier years ... when she's portrayed by Lily James. The premise is that her daughter (again played by Amanda Seyfried) is planning a big relaunch of Mom's Greek resort, and it's a matter of whether several key people will show up. Since Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard are all in the cast list again, it's not much of a mystery. Christine Baranski and Julie Walters generate some fun again as Donna's pals, but the really big arrival comes well into the picture: Cher as Donna's mother. This follow-up offers its share of entertainment, but just don't expect a bounty of Streep. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Americans: The Complete Final Season": One of television's most acclaimed series of recent years came to its end with this concluding round of the FX drama about Russian spies -- played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys -- posing as a U.S. couple. They initially go their separate ways professionally here, but that expectedly doesn't last long, with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev a factor in what transpires. Their daughter's (Holly Taylor) entry into the espionage game complicates matters. Both Russell and Rhys scored Emmy nominations for their work here, along with the entire show itself. Margo Martindale and Noah Emmerich also wrap up their roles, with Laurie Holden and Scott Cohen appearing as well. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Sorry to Bother You": The term "alternate universe'' definitely applies to hip-hop artist Boots Riley's satire set in a version of Oakland, Calif., that is "heightened'' to say the least. A telemarketer (played by "Atlanta's'' Lakeith Stanfield) follows a colleague's (Danny Glover) suggestion to take a different approach to the job, which elevates him to great success -- but he soon worries about having his new status, which is ironic in a society in which a company called WorryFree offers payment-free living in exchange for employment for life. Writer-director Riley's noteworthy cast also includes Tessa Thompson, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Armie Hammer, Forest Whitaker and Rosario Dawson. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Riley; photo gallery. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"I Think We're Alone Now": Also the name of a classic pop tune, the title of this Sundance Film Festival-honored fantasy-drama from director Reed Morano ("The Handmaid's Tale'') indicates the situation of the dissimilar lead characters after the elimination of most of the human race. One, played by Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones''), is quite happy to be completely on his own -- until someone else (Elle Fanning) enters the picture, for reasons he's not entirely sure of. Those two actors clearly have the lion's share of the movie, but Charlotte Gainsbourg and Paul Giamatti ("Billions'') also turn up. Morano doubled as the picture's director of photography. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Snowed In Christmas": One of the more charming cable movies presented last holiday season, this romantic comedy-drama -- originally shown on Lifetime -- casts Bethany Joy Lenz ("One Tree Hill'') and Andrew Walker as dissimilar journalists stranded together in the Midwestern location of a seasonally themed attraction that may be forced to close. As they try to save the place, they discover sides of each other they didn't know ... and (surprise, surprise) start to fall for each other. The film is paired on DVD with another holiday attraction, "Wrapped Up in Christmas,'' starring Kim Fields, Jasmine Guy and Tatyana Ali. *** (Not rated: AS)
"A Nashville Christmas": As the holiday season nears, those who love it -- and especially those who also love country-music stars -- might want an early taste of it from this release. Recorded in the genre's capital, it features a number of veteran country stars performing traditional yuletide tunes. Emmylou Harris (a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award this year), Wynonna Judd, Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan are among the headliners, along with rock-gospel star Ashley Cleveland and bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent. The artists also reflect on particularly memorable holidays they've experienced. *** (Not rated)
"The Darkest Minds" (Oct. 30): Specially gifted, imprisoned youths who survived a plague rebel against government forces; Amandla Stenberg and Mandy Moore star. (PG-13: AS, P)
"The Spy Who Dumped Me" (Oct. 30): Two friends (Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon) leave Los Angeles and race across Europe to stop a plot that threatens the world. (R: AS, N, P, V)
"2001: A Space Odyssey'' (Oct. 30): In its 50th-anniversary year, director Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi classic makes its debut in the Ultra HD format; Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star. (G)
"Incredibles 2" (Nov. 6): In the animated Disney-Pixar sequel, Elastigirl (voice of Holly Hunter) is called back into action while her husband (voice of Craig T. Nelson) plays "Mr. Mom'' at home. (PG: P)
"The Shield: The Complete Series" (Nov. 6): Michael Chiklis' image-changing, Emmy-winning portrayal of renegade cop Vic Mackey is showcased as the landmark FX drama makes its Blu-ray debut. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"Star Trek: Discovery - Season One" (Nov. 13): The latest edition of the sci-fi franchise will be new to those who haven't watched it on CBS All Access; stars include Sonequa Martin-Green and Jason Isaacs. (Not rated: AS, V)
Oldies But Goodies:
"Creepshow'' (1982): Written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero, this horror anthology gets "Collector's Edition'' Blu-ray treatment; stars include Leslie Nielsen and Ted Danson. ***
"Get Shorty" (1995): A hit man (John Travolta) goes to Hollywood in a new Blu-ray "Collector's Edition'' of the Elmore Leonard story; Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito also star. ***
"Mamma Mia!'' (2008): A woman (Amanda Seyfried) invites the three men who could be her father to her wedding, to her mother's (Meryl Streep) dismay. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending October 7, 2018, Courtesy of comScore, Inc)
1) "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
2) "Sicario: Day of the Soldado"
3) "The First Purge"
4) "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
5) "Ocean's 8"
6) "Deadpool 2"
7) "Uncle Drew"
9) "Avengers: Infinity War"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence