(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 First Purge": The current USA Network series version of the franchise would have been made anyway without this latest movie chapter, which repeated its predecessors' impressive box-office performance, but both incarnations detail the roots of the saga. Just as the title suggests here, the story explains how the first 12-hour period in which lawlessness is permitted came to be, with politicians offering compensation for people to stay at home during that half-day -- and also for those who "purge'' individuals who don't follow that advice. Two of the participants (Y'lan Noel, Christian Robinson) are drug dealers whose individual concerns eventually and inevitably bring them into gritty conflict. The cast also includes Lauren Velez ("New York Undercover''), Marisa Tomei and Steve Harris ("The Practice''). *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Barry: The Complete First Season": A big player in the recent Primetime Emmy Awards with 13 nominations, this HBO comedy series -- already renewed for a second round -- gives "Saturday Night Live'' alum Bill Hader a big creative workout as the title star as well as a writer, director and executive producer. His title character is a hired killer who finds the impetus for a career change when he stumbles into a Los Angeles acting class and becomes the pet project of the teacher (a marvelous Henry Winkler). However, others don't want Barry to abandon the job he's so skilled at, particularly the handler (Stephen Root, "NewsRadio'') who cashes in from Barry's jobs. Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler and Anthony Carrigan also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"The Resident: The Complete Season One": Medical series certainly aren't uncommon, but this Fox drama benefits from both a strong cast and an undercurrent of intrigue. Matt Czuchry ("The Good Wife,'' "Gilmore Girls'') plays a rebellious doctor determined to make sure that his hospital's patients are less economic concerns and more human ones. That becomes even more challenging as he runs up against a senior-ranked peer (Bruce Greenwood, "The Post'') and an esteemed medic (Melina Kanakaredes, as a much different doctor than the one she played on "Providence'') determined to do things her way, regardless of whether the result is harm to others. Emily VanCamp ("Revenge''), Manish Dayal and Shaunette Renee Wilson also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
Also Releasing this Week:
"Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection": Any fan of the antics of the gang at Bayside High is bound to be satisfied by this all-encompassing set of the youth-oriented school comedy that was a Saturday-morning staple on NBC and opened up a wave of similar programs for several years. Performers including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani (then Tiffani-Amber) Thiessen, Mario Lopez, Lark Voorhies and Elizabeth Berkley -- and, of course, Dustin Diamond as Screech -- got their big career boosts and a sizable fan following by depicting the lives and loves of energetic students, who often got quietly sage advice and plenty of raised eyebrows from dedicated teacher Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins). This start-to-finish compendium also includes the original, short-lived version ("Good Morning, Miss Bliss,'' which starred Hayley Mills) and the primetime "Saved by the Bell: The College Years,'' plus the two TV-movie sequels. (Not rated: AS)
"Death Race: Beyond Anarchy": The series continues its direct-to-video chapters with this saga, casting Zach McGowan ("Black Sails'') as the latest person intent on vanquishing the hard-driving racer known as Frankenstein. To do so, he enters a maximum-security prison where rules don't apply -- which could short-circuit his mission before it even really begins. Danny Glover also is a newcomer to the franchise here, joining such returnees as Danny Trejo ("Machete'') and Fred Koehler. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by McGowan and director and co-writer Don Michael Paul. ** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Skyscraper" (Oct. 9): Dwayne Johnson stars as an FBI veteran and security expert whose Hong Kong inspection of the world's tallest building coincides with a terrorist group's invasion of the structure. (PG-13: P, V)
"Hotel Transylvania 3" (Oct. 9): Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) and company take a sea cruise that turns out to be quite eventful in this animated ``threequel.'' (PG: AS)
"Elvis Presley: The Searcher" (Oct. 16): Shown on HBO, this documentary recalls the rise of one of the ultimate pop-culture icons in American history. (Not rated: AS, P)
"The Americans: The Complete Final Season" (Oct. 23): Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys) put the coda on their espionage adventures while posing as U.S. citizens. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"2001: A Space Odyssey" (Oct. 30): In its 50th-anniversary year, director Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi classic makes its debut in the Ultra HD format; Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star. (G)
"Star Trek: Discovery - Season One" (Nov. 13): The latest edition of the sci-fi franchise will be new to those who haven't watched it on CBS All Access; stars include Sonequa Martin-Green and Jason Isaacs. (Not rated: AS, V)
Oldies But Goodies:
"The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" (1988): The three Leslie Nielsen comedy movies now are packaged on DVD with the TV series that inspired them. ***
"The Spiral Staircase" (1946): The classic thriller stars Dorothy McGuire as a servant who may become a serial killer's next target. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Wayne's World" (1992): "Excellent!'' The Mike Myers-Dana Carvey vehicle is part of a new "Saturday Night Laughs'' collection showcasing movies with "Saturday Night Live'' stars. ***
TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending September 16, 2018, Courtesy of comScore)
1) "Ocean's 8"
2) "Deadpool 2"
4) "Avengers: Infinity War"
7) "Book Club"
8) "Life of the Party"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence