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.)
"The Shallows": Not to oversell it, but by sticking to the no-frills basics, this thriller from director Jaume Collet-Serra ("Non-Stop") proves to be a reasonably suspenseful diversion. Blake Lively acquits herself nicely in what amounts to a one-woman show, playing a surfer who's mourning her mother -- but she soon gets other concerns when a Great White shark attacks, leaving her wounded and stranded on a small land mass within sight of shore. She has to use her wits to figure out how to get there without letting the shark finish its "meal." DVD extras: four ''making-of" documentaries; deleted scenes. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Central Intelligence": Another "odd couple'' action-comedy, this one teams Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as former high-school classmates who have taken very different roads in life. Hart plays a former class hero who's now an accountant, while Johnson's character is an ex-outcast who became a CIA agent. A reunion provides the means for them to team up on a case that might prove quite lethal, with the laughs coming from the clearly clashing styles of the two stars. Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad'') and Amy Ryan also appear. DVD extras: audio commentary by director Rawson Marshall Thurber; outtakes; alternate scenes; "Line-O-Rama.'' *** (PG-13 and, on Blu-ray, unrated versions: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates": The title spells out the plight of the title siblings in this fact-inspired (believe it or not) comedy, as Adam Devine and Zac Efron play the brothers who manage to make a shambles of every family occasion. In a bid to avoid doing that to their sister's wedding in Hawaii, they advertise for respectable female companion to the event ... and end up with a duo (Anna Kendrick, reuniting with Devine from "Pitch Perfect,'' and Aubrey Plaza) whose behavior is even wilder than theirs. The always watchable Kendrick, a smart performer under any circumstances, is a prime reason for viewing. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Warcraft": The successful franchise that encompasses video games and novels comes to life in this feature film about Azeroth, a world fighting for its survival against invaders. A portal provides the means to reach a new home -- or to accelerate the destruction of the existing one. As should be expected, the visual effects are bountiful and are handled by a director familiar with their use, Duncan Jones ("Moon''). Cast members include Travis Fimmel ("Vikings''), Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster and Toby Kebbell ("Ben-Hur''). DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (PG-13: V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also releasing this week:
"Cell": Anyone concerned about rumored dangers of cell-phone use won't be comforted by this thriller, based on a Stephen King novel in which a signal given off by the devices makes callers downright lethal. At Boston's airport, an artist (John Cusack) witnesses results of the bizarre phenomenon, making him desperate to find his estranged wife and son. Another observer of the mayhem (Samuel L. Jackson) helps him with his personal mission as they also try to fight the larger plight. Stacy Keach and Isabelle Fuhrman ("Masters of Sex'') are among the co-stars; King co-wrote the screenplay. DVD extras: ``making-of'' documentary; audio commentary by director Tod Williams. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Catch: The Complete First Season": From the stable of producer Shonda Rhimes ("Scandal,'' "Grey's Anatomy''), this romantic mystery-drama underwent some alterations before getting on the air, and it performed well enough for ABC to order a Season 2. Mireille Enos ("The Killing'') stars as Alice Vaughan, a Los Angeles private investigator whose "perfect life'' crumbles when she learns -- her fiance, attorney Chris Hall (Peter Krause, "Parenthood''), actually is a grifter named Ben Jones. And it gets worse: He bilked her out of millions before disappearing. Alice does not take it well and pursues him relentlessly while also handling other cases. Additional cast members include Jacky Ido ("Taxi Brooklyn''), Sonya Walger and Alimi Ballard ("NUMB3RS''). *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Knight Rider: The Complete Series" (Oct. 4): Troubleshooter Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and his talking car KITT (voice of William Daniels) come to Blu-ray. (Not rated: AS, P, 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)
"The Legend of Tarzan" (Oct. 11): The jungle-raised hero (Alexander Skargsard) returns to his roots through an enemy's (Christoph Waltz) manipulation. (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)
"Independence Day: Resurgence" (Oct. 18): Twenty years later, aliens invade Earth again; Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman return, and Liam Hemsworth joins the cast. (PG-13: P, V)
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending September 11, 2016, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "The Jungle Book"
2) "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice"
3) "The Boss"
4) "Now You See Me 2"
5) "Money Monster
6) "Angry Birds Movie"
8) "Barbershop 3: The Next Cut"
10) "London Has Fallen"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence