(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.)
"Kidnap": As many of her movies have indicated, you don't mess with Halle Berry -- which makes the abduction of her character's son ill-advised in this very physical, New Orleans-filmed action tale. She plays a waitress who embarks on a lengthy, sometimes reckless pursuit to retrieve her child (Sage Correa) ... and with all the risks she appears to take in the no-frills tale, it's an interesting challenge to try to determine the exact points where stunt performers step in for Berry. Not-so-fun fact: The picture's release was held up for nearly two years by the original distributor's financial problems. Jason Winston George also appears. *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"American Masters: Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive": There's no more appropriate week than that of Halloween for both the home-video and television premieres of this PBS portrait of the horror writer whose work fueled not only many classics of popular literature, but their screen versions as well. Denis O'Hare ("American Horror Story'') portrays Poe in re-enactments of highlights of the author's life, and also participates with Chris Sarandon and Ben Schnetzer in readings from Poe's works. Roger Corman -- the legendary producer-director who put many Poe stories on film -- is among the interviewees as narrator Kathleen Turner helps to address questionable characterizations of Poe that have been perpetuated through the years, as well as the mystery surrounding his death. *** (Not rated: AS)
"Orphan Black: The Complete Series": With the show now over, there can be cumulative appreciation of what Tatiana Maslany -- rightfully elevated to stardom by her virtuoso work here -- attained in her roles as clones who are targeted for elimination. Being offered on Blu-ray, this gathering of all five seasons charts the efforts of all of them to survive and determined what their individual purpose is, generally helped in that quest by the others (who sometimes impersonate their look-alikes). Additional cast regulars include Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris, Kevin Hanchard and Maria Doyle Kennedy, but there's no question that this principally is Maslany's tour de force ... several times over. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Sherlock: Seasons 1-4 & The Abominable Bride Collection": Anyone who enjoys Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's contemporary incarnations of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson -- and there are many people who made the result a major television hit, including on PBS in America -- can get their fill with this set that compiles the adventures made to date. There may yet be more, since Cumberbatch is contracted for a fifth "series'' (as individual seasons are called in England) -- but for now, there's plenty of pleasure to be had here, though the number of episodes overall is relatively small. Cast members also include Rupert Graves and Mark Gatiss. **** (Not rated: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Shadow Man": Well-timed for a home-video premiere right on Halloween, this thriller cast Sarah Jurgens ("iZombie'') as a woman whose terrifying dream depicts a true nightmare of a pregnancy ... not only in terms of what the result of the birth is, but also in who attends to her at the moment she delivers. She seeks professional help, but that move seems destined to make matters worse than better. Reportedly inspired by experiences of screenwriter and executive producer Adam Tomlinson, who plays the counselor the woman consults, the picture also features Alison Louder and Nick Baillie. DVD extras: audio commentary by Tomlinson, director Joshua Fraiman and executive producer Andrew Cymek; deleted scenes. *** (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)
"Cars 3'' (Nov. 7): The animated Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) refuses to be sidelined by a newer, faster brigade of automobiles. (G)
"The Glass Castle" (Nov. 7): Brie Larson plays the adult Jeannette Walls in this adaptation of the writer's autobiography about her unconventional family life. (PG-13: 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)
Oldies But Goodies:
"Carrie" (1976): Sissy Spacek is cast perfectly as the telekinetic teenager in the first of Stephen King's novels to be made into a movie. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Die Another Day" (2002): Halle Berry makes her mark as Jinx, alternately a foil and an ally for James Bond (Pierce Brosnan), in this 007 adventure. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Raven" (2012): John Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe, who chases a serial killer emulating details of some of the writer's horror stories. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending October 15, 2017, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Wonder Woman"
2) "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"
3) "Baby Driver"
4) "Transformers: The Last Knight"
5) "The Mummy"
6) "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
7) "47 Meters Down"
8) "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
10) "Cult of Chucky"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence