(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 Beguiled": Though the original Clint Eastwood version of this moody drama, based on a Thomas P. Cullinan novel, is regarded by many as a classic -- especially in Europe -- director and screenwriter Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation'') tackles it anew in this version, with Colin Farrell assuming Eastwood's earlier role as a wounded Union soldier who finds refuge at a Southern girls' school during the Civil War. At least, that's the situation tentatively, since some want him turned over to Confederate officers while others -- including the women played by Nicole Kidman and Coppola's "Marie Antoinette'' star Kirsten Dunst -- have their own designs on him. The film earned Coppola the Cannes Film Festival's award for best director for the second time; Elle Fanning also is prominent in the cast. *** (R: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The House": Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler match their comedic talents in this tale of a couple desperate to replace the funds for their daughter's (Ryan Simpkins) college tuition, after an expected scholarship falls through. They decide to launch a homegrown casino -- quite illegally -- with their scheme then threatening to spin out of control at several points, especially as the plot to steal back the money they've accrued after a corrupt politician (Nick Kroll) takes it from them. Jeremy Renner, Allison Tolman ("Downward Dog''), Jason Mantzoukas, Andrea Savage (``I'm Sorry''), Cedric Yarbrough ("Speechless''), Alexandra Daddario ("Baywatch''), Michaela Watkins ("Casual'') and Lennon Parham ("Playing House'') are among the many other familiar faces the film is stocked with. DVD extras: outtakes. *** (R: AS, N, P, V)
"Wish Upon": ``Be careful what you wish for'' is a lesson that a teenager, played by Joey King, learns all too well in this thriller directed by cinematographer turned filmmaker John R. Leonetti ("Annabelle''). The girl's scavenger father (Ryan Phillippe) gives her a Chinese music box that turns out to grant wishes, but each one comes with a "blood price'' that means tragedy for someone else. The effect has the familiar feel of the "Final Destination'' series, but it still works here -- with something of a neat twist ending. "Law & Order" alum Elisabeth Rohm appears as the heroine's late mother, and Sherilyn Fenn also is featured. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V; unrated version also on Blu-ray edition) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Dynasty: The Complete Series": It's no coincidence that in the week when The CW launches a new version of the serial that was one of the most popular shows of the 1980s, the original, Aaron Spelling-produced drama gets full-series treatment on home-video. Proving that the rich have problems, too -- a theme that was no small part of the program's success -- John Forsythe stars as Denver oil tycoon Blake Carrington, who finds joy in his new marriage to his former secretary Krystle (Linda Evans) while dealing with endless personal and professional complications, not the least of which are the schemes of his formidable ex-wife Alexis (Joan Collins). Co-stars include Pamela Sue Martin (later succeeded by Emma Samms as Blake's daughter Fallon), Al Corley (followed by Jack Coleman as Blake's son Steven), John James, Heather Locklear (who was making "T.J. Hooker'' for Spelling simultaneously), Pamela Bellwood, Kathleen Beller, Michael Nader and Catherine Oxenberg. Among the major guest sta rs who "came to play'' were Diahann Carroll, Rock Hudson and Ali MacGraw. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Demonic": One of the survivors of a multiple murder ("90210'' alum Dustin Milligan) recalls the situation for a detective and a psychologist (Frank Grillo, Maria Bello) in this horror story that includes genre veteran James Wan ("Saw'') among its producers. The young man is one of several college students who were searching for ghosts in an allegedly haunted house ... never an advisable pursuit, and an ultimately lethal one here. Time is of the essence in the investigation, if two people still missing are to be found alive; a "Blair Witch Project'' element of footage shot by the potential victims is integrated into the plot. *** (R: P, V) (Also on On Demand)
"Spider-Man: Homecoming" (Oct. 17): The latest series reboot casts Tom Holland as Peter Parker, he of the "Spidey-sense'' who must vanquish a new foe (Michael Keaton). (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"American Gods: Season One" (Oct. 17): The Starz fantasy-drama series makes an ex-convict (Ricky Whittle) the bodyguard of an extremely powerful man (Ian McShane). (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"Girls Trip" (Oct. 17): Several longtime friends reunite for a trip to New Orleans and get new revelations along the way; Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish star. (R: AS, N, P)
"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)
Oldies But Goodies:
"Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" (1977): The beloved, Jim Henson-directed special -- narrated by Kermit the Frog -- gets renewed attention with a newly restored 40th-anniversary edition. ***
"Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987): A 30th-anniversary edition of the Steve Martin-John Candy comedy includes a tribute to writer-producer-director John Hughes. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Take the Money and Run" (1969): One of Woody Allen's earliest screen showcases as director and star casts him as an inept bank robber. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending September 24, 2017, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
3) "Rough Night"
4) "Wonder Woman"
5) "It Comes at Night"
6) "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie"
7) "All Eyez On Me"
9) "Megan Leavey"
10) "The Boss Baby"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence