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.)
"Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising": Just when they thought things had quieted down, the couple again played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne faces problems with rowdy college students -- this time, a sorority instead of a fraternity -- in this comedy sequel. Chloe Grace Moretz (``Carrie'') portrays the leader of the new troublemakers, but Zac Efron is back as the frat leader who was the main source of the problems the first time ... and now may be the saving grace (pun fully intended). Director and co-writer Nicholas Stoller also returns, as do co-stars Dave Franco ("Now You See Me''), Christopher Mintz-Plasse ("Superbad'') and Jerrod Carmichael. DVD extras: four "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Stoller and producer James Weaver; deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Teenage Mutat Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows": The heroes on the half-shell are back in this comedic adventure sequel that merges computer-generated characters and live action, with the turtles battling their famiilar enemy Shredder as well as a mad scientist (Tyler Perry) and a new foe named Krang (voice of Brad Garrett). Megan Fox is back as April O'Neil, with Stephen Amell ("Arrow'') joining the cast ... and a somewhat surprising newcomer is Laura Linney as a police chief. Will Arnett also appears in the tale, which largely restores the fun to the franchise. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Free States of Jones": Mathew McConaughey does solid work in writer-director Gary Ross' fact-inspired drama about Newton Knight, a Confederate Army fugitive who returns to Mississippi and forms his own force in a secession bid. His soldiers are fellow military deserters and runaway slaves, and even without the Union Army's support, they have remarkable success for quite some time. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali also appear, with Keri Russell ("The Americans'') playing Knight's wife. *** (R: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Pele: Birth of a Legend": The life of one of soccer's true icons is dramatized, with Kevin de Paula as the then-youngster who led Brazil to a World Cup victory in 1958. His formerly downtrodden life changed drastically as a result, and he would continue to invest his performance on the field with a spirit that was inspirational around the world. Vincent D'Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro ("Lost''), Diego Boneta and Colm Meaney also are in the cast. *** (PG: AS, P)
Also releasing this week:
"The Last King": Directed by Nils Gaup ("Pathfinder''), this fact-based drama sees the monarch of Norway try to keep his throne while others intend to assume it in a civil war. The king sires a son whose birth is kept secret -- as is the child's location, as two rebel warriors (portrayed by Jakob Ofetbro and "Game of Thrones'' player Kristofer Hivju) steal away with him into the snowy mountains to keep him safe from enemies. DVD extras: interview with Hivju; music video. *** (R: V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Elephant Kingdom": A rescue mission is mounted by animated animal characters in this tale, which sees a pachyderm (voice of Cary Elwes) set out to retrieve his mate (voice of Alexa PenaVega) from the human (voice of Patrick Warburton) who abducted her. Among those helping in the effort is another elephant voiced by PenaVega's husband (and former "Dancing With the Stars'' rival) Carlos. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; "Miniscule'' episodes. *** (PG: AS)
"Central Intelligence" (Sept. 27): A former classmate (Kevin Hart) finds himself enmeshed in a CIA agent's (Dwayne Johnson) dangerous activities. (PG-13: AS, N. P, V)
"The Shallows" (Sept. 27): A Great White shark poses a big, potentially lethal problem for a surfer (Blake Lively) trying to get back to shore. (PG-13: P, V)
"Swiss Army Man" (Oct. 4): Trapped on an island, a man (Paul Dano) gets unexpected and unusual help in returning home; Daniel Radcliffe also stars. (R: AS, P)
"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 September 4, 2016, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice"
2) "The Boss"
3) "Angry Birds Movie"
4) "Barbershop 3: The Next Cut"
6) "The Jungle Book"
7) "London Has Fallen"
10) "Hardcore Henry"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence