You can be scared on purpose with one of this week’s new releases, or see how scary bad a production can be with another.
“The Conjuring 2”: 3.5 our of 4 stars. Although he made his first mark with “Saw” — a film that launched one of the goriest franchises in film history — director James Wan demonstrated with the 2013 release “The Conjuring” that he didn’t need blood and guts to scare. In “The Conjuring,” he masterfully used things that go bump in the night to create hair-raising tension.
He’s done it again with the sequel, “The Conjuring 2.”
All of the thrills and chills are created by starting with the real-life story of self-taught ghostbusters Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and her husband, Ed (Patrick Wilson), Warren. The couple were involved with many notable cases during their long careers, including an examination of the Amityville hauntings.
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Shows the right director, script and actors can make a movie that’s scary without having to resort to the now-trite tricks of blood and gore.
“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”: 0.5 stars: Forget stopping. This film never should have started.
Andy Samberg, a poor man’s Adam Sandler, plays Conner, one of the founding members of the boy band Style Boyz. Creative differences and the solo success of Conner ends the group. Conner — now known as Conner4Real — becomes as big as Justin Bieber with his first album.
The movie’s uninspired plot about a rapper who struggles with his second album has enough material to fill a three-minute sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” Even then, there would be about a minute of failed comedy.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
“Marauders”: A series of robberies are really part of a large conspiracy. Bruce Willis stars.
“The Last Reef: Cities Beneath the Sea”: Examination of the connection with the ocean’s complex, parallel worlds.
“Wonders of the Arctic”: Focuses on the efforts to explore and come to terms with the Arctic.
“Scorpion: Season Two”: Walter and his team of brilliant misfits keep saving the world.
“Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe”: The 1953 film serial features Judd Holdren as Commando Cody.
“Madam Secretary: Season Two”: Dr. Elizabeth McCord often goes against protocol to get the job done.
“Hawaii Five-0: The Sixth Season”: Investigations on the island state keep the team busy.
“King Jack”: Teen is stuck taking care of his runty younger cousin.
“Standing Tall”: Rebellious youth learns there is hope in life.
“The Automatic Hate”: Two cousins unravel a dark family secret.
“Take Me To the River”: Gay teen becomes involved in scandal at a family reunion.
“Captive”: The early Cecil B. DeMille film is available on Blu-ray for the first time.
“Presenting Princess Shaw”: Strangers, almost 7,000 miles apart, begin to create a song.
“All Things Must Pass”: A look at the end of a record store dynasty.
“Odd Squad: Creature Encounters”: The team must deal with some unusual creatures.
“See the Keepers: Inside the Zoo”: A behind-the-scenes look at the Memphis Zoo.
“Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season”: Longmire and his deputies try to put events of the past behind them.
“You Are Special, Daniel Tiger!”: Daniel worries that he’s not special.
“Raising Cain”: John Lithgow stars in this thriller from Brian De Palma.
“Wiener Dog”: Dachshund goes from one oddball owner to another.
“Nazi Mega Weapons: Season 3”: Includes look at the Fuhrer’s Megasub that could have won the war for the Nazis.
“Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants”: Batman and Green Arrow face giant threat.
“The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Ninth Season”: Includes the episode where Leonard and Penny marry.
“Be Somebody”: Two teens from different worlds discover they are not that different.
“Masterpiece: Churchill’s Secret”: An aging and ill prime minister plots to outwit the high government officials who want to replace him.
“The Monster of Piedras Blancas”: The 1958 film is best known for its incredibly small budget of $29,000.
“Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection”: Includes three made-for-television movies.
“Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”: Miner and his daughter fall prey to the evil dictator.
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD
“The People Garden”: Women tries to find her rock star boyfriend who has disappeared.
“Men Go to Battle”: Kentucky brothers Henry are more concerned about surviving each other than if the Civil War will end by Christmas.
“The Shallows”: Surfer is stuck on a rock a short distance from shore, but a shark is in the way. Blake Lively stars.
“Central Intelligence”: Reuniting with an old friend pulls a man into the spy world. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart star.
“Warcraft”: Azeroth is on the brink of war in this film based on the popular video game.
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”: Nature gets gangster in this comedy.