By Jay Bobbin Zap2it
(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.)
"Captain America: Civil War": After their activities draw concern and a regulation effort from the United Nations, Captain America (Chris Evans) or Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) are divided on whether to comply -- forcing the other Marvel superheroes to side with one or the other -- in this entertaining chapter of the franchise, back in the hands of directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier''). The Avengers are well-represented again, with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Paul Rudd's Ant-Man and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye all present ... and the screen's newest Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, also makes an appearance. Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen are in the powerful ranks as well. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Conjuring 2": Solid acting and a smart script enabled the first film to freshen a familiar genre, and this sequel manages much the same under returning director James Wan, though it can't help but have a certain deja vu being the second round. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga also are back as paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, who head for England to try to help a spectre-plagued mother (Frances O'Connor) and her children (Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley, Benjamin Haigh). Fans of the original thriller -- and there were many -- are likely to come away satisfied here. DVD extras: five "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Back in Time": The enduring popularity of the "Back to the Future'' comedy-fantasies is explored in this documentary, boasting interviews with many of the principals ... including stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson, director Robert Zemeckis (and his "Future'' co-writer, Bob Gale), and executive producer Steven Spielberg. The result of a Kickstarter funding campaign, the project took two years to complete, encompassing filming at an England fan convention to celebrate the franchise. *** (Not rated)
Also releasing this week:
"Empire: Season Two": The stakes are higher in the sophomore round of executive producer Lee Daniels' Fox drama series, as Lucious Lyon's (Terrence Howard) release from prison sets off an all-out battle with the relentless Cookie (current Emmy nominee Taraji P. Henson) for control of his music label. Their discord, plus that of their sons Jamal and Hakeem (Jussie Smollett, Bryshere "Yazz'' Gray), leaves the business vulnerable to takeover attempts by others. Notable guest stars include Alicia Keys, Chris Rock, Marisa Tomei, Naomi Campbell, Ludacris, Rosie O'Donnell and Vivica A. Fox. DVD extras: ``making-of'' documentaries; music performances. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Quantico: The Complete First Season": FBI trainees have more on their hands than just the basic learning in this ABC series, which moves between the past and present regularly in telling its stories. Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra made a big U.S. splash as Alex Parrish, one of the agents-in-training who ultimately becomes a fugitive, suspected of having a hand in terrorist activities ... and unnerved to find that some of her fellow students may be the actual culprits. Additional stars include Josh Hopkins ("Cougar Town''), Aunjanue Ellis, Johanna Braddy, Tate Ellington and Graham Rogers. Marcia Cross ("Desperate Housewives'') has a guest arc toward the season's end. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season": Those who don't subscribe to Netflix will find these 10 episodes completely new, since that streaming service became the home of the modern Western-mystery series after its A&E run ended. Sheriff Walt Longmire (still played by Robert Taylor) thinks that with his wife's murder apparently solved, he can begin anew -- buy a casino that has just opened in his Wyoming territory means potential new problems, and crimes, for him to deal with. Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase and Cassidy Freeman also continue in the cast. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" (Sept. 20): The comedy sequel finds a couple (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) facing the same problems they had with a next-door fraternity from a sorority. (R: AS, N, P)
"Teenage Mutat Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" (Sept. 20): The heroes on the half-shell battle Shredder as well as a new foe, Krang. (PG-13: P, V)
"Free State of Jones" (Sept. 20): A fugitive (Mathew McConaughey) from the Confederate Army returns to Mississippi and forms his own force in a secession bid. (R: AS, V)
"Miami Vice: The Complete Series" (Oct. 4): Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas star as detective partners Crockett and Tubbs in the Blu-ray debut of the trendsetting drama. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"X-Men: Apocalypse" (Oct. 4): The younger incarnations of the Marvel heroes try to save mankind from a more malevolent mutant; Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy star. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Alice Through the Looking Glass" (Oct. 18): Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland to help the depressed Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). (PG: P, V)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending August 28, 2016, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice"
2) "Angry Birds Movie"
3) "The Boss"
4) "Barbershop 3: The Next Cut"
5) "Mother's Day"
7) "London Has Fallen"
8) "King Fu Panda 3"
9) "Hardcore Henry"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence