(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 Spy Who Dumped Me": Mila Kunis and "Saturday Night Live'' Emmy winner Kate McKinnon make a reasonably fun duo in director and co-writer Susanna Fogel's comedy-adventure, casting Kunis as the former girlfriend of a man (Justin Theroux) who turns out to be a spy. Trying to finish a mission for him makes her a target of killers who have been pursuing him, as she and her best friend (McKinnon) flee Los Angeles and race across Europe with the assassins on their trail. "Outlander's'' Sam Heughan plays another espionage operative who comes to their assistance. Gillian Anderson, Jane Curtin, Paul Reiser, Fred Melamed and comic Hasan Minhaj ("The Daily Show'') also appear. DVD extras: four "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (R: AS, N, P, V)
"The Darkest Minds": Specially gifted youths who survived an American plague have to fight for their freedom in this sci-fi adventure. Imprisoned in camps by government forces, they organize into a resistance group to ensure that they'll have a future. Amandla Stenberg ("The Hunger Games'') is the first among equals as the rebellious teens, with Mandy Moore as a doctor who's sympathetic to them and Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing'') as the U.S. president. Harris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Gwendoline Christie and Golden Brooks also are featured in the adaptation of a young-adult novel by Alexandra Bracken. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; audio commentary by director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, producer Dan Levine and executive producer Dan Cohen; and five "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scene; outtakes; character profiles; photo gallery. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling": Director Judd Apatow's lengthy, Emmy-winning HBO documentary examines the life, career and psyche of a late talent he knew well -- or as well as he could, as the project explains. Shandling's rise as a comedian and success in the series "It's Garry Shandling's Show'' and "The Larry Sanders Show'' are detailed, but so are the demons that stayed with him throughout his life ... and left whether he truly was able to enjoy his achievements a giant question mark. Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Nealon, Bob Saget and filmmaker James L. Brooks are among those whose comments punctuate the plentiful clips of Shandling in performance. DVD extras: extended interviews; archival performances. **** (Not rated: AS, P)
"Slender Man": With an urban legend as its background -- controversial to the extent that one theater chain near the location of a related tragedy wouldn't show the film -- this horror tale finds three young women trying to retrieve a mutual friend who vanished after dabbling in the occult to summon the title figure. Their loved ones are imperiled as the search progresses. Joey King ("The Conjuring''), Julia Goldani Telles ("The Affair''), Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso and Michael Reilly Burke are among the cast members, with Javier Botet filling the title role. ** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Harry Potter: a History of Magic": Originally televised by The CW to mark the 20th anniversary of J.K. Rowling's immensely popular book series, this special -- narrated by a star of the movies those tales yielded, Imelda Staunton (a.k.a. "Dolores Umbridge'') -- showcases a related exhibition staged by the British Library. The attraction includes numerous artifacts tied to "Potter'' lore, including drawings and drafts that were inspirations for what the public ultimately got to see. Such other actors from the films as David Thewlis, Warwick Davis and Miriam Margolyes also participate. *** (Not rated)
"Charmed: The Complete First Season": With a new version of the series having just started on The CW, it's a measure of how revered the original version (produced by television mogul Aaron Spelling) is that its freshman year is getting a technically upgraded, wide commercial release on Blu-ray. Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs star as San Francisco-based Halliwell sisters Prue, Phoebe and Piper, witches who combine their respective abilities to form the Power of Three. The Book of Shadows helps guide them through their adventures, but two police detectives (T.W. King, Dorian Gregory) become suspicious about their frequent proximity to crime scenes. As the show went along, Rose McGowan and Kaley Cuoco would join it as other witches. *** (Not rated: AS, V)
"Blackkksman" (Nov. 6): Spike Lee's true drama follows a police detective (John David Washington) who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan; Adam Driver also stars. (R: AS, P, V)
"Christopher Robin" (Nov. 6): The adult Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is helped to rediscover himself by Winnie the Pooh and company in this Disney merging of live action and animation. (PG: AS)
"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)
"Succession: The Complete First Season" (Nov. 6): A media tycoon's (Brian Cox) decision to step back sets off a family battle for control in this HBO drama. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Mile 22" (Nov. 13): Mark Wahlberg reteams with "Lone Survivor'' director Peter Berg for this adventure about a covert CIA operative trying to protect an information source. (R: P, V)
Oldies But Goodies:
"Carrie" (1976): A telekinetic teen (Sissy Spacek) gets even with her enemies at a very memorable prom in this Stephen King story. (Also on Blu-ray)
"Friends with Benefits" (2011): Relatively new friends (Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis) decide to add a no-strings-attached level to their relationship. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968): 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) (Also on Blu-ray)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending October 21, 2018, Courtesy of comScore, Inc)
2) "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation"
3) "Sicario: Day of the Soldado"
4) "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
5) "The First Purge"
6) "Ant-Man and the Wasp"
7) "Ocean's 8"
8) "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
9) "Deadpool 2"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence