This week kicks off with Toy Story 4, the newest film in the beloved Disney franchise. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are enjoying their lives as Bonnie’s (Madeleine McGraw) toys. When Bonnie makes a new toy named Forky out of a spork and some craft materials, the new toy struggles with his place in the world not knowing if he is a toy or trash. When Bonnie’s family goes on a road trip and Forky gets lost, Woody must find him and convince him he could have a happy life as one of Bonnie’s toys.
The Toy Story films have really stood apart from many other animated films mainly due to the authentic heart the characters express. They are among the most memorable characters in film history, especially with Hanks and Allen providing the now iconic voice work. Toy Story 4 keeps the love alive with another fun adventure full of great morals for the youngsters in the audience. And there is still plenty to enjoy for the adults as well including a fantastic new character named Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt motorcycle driver toy voiced by Keanu Reeves. Toy Story 4 is another solid notch in the Disney animated belt.
Next up this week is a whole other kind of toy in Annabelle Comes Home. Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) have contained the possessed doll Annabelle in their locked artifact room. But when they are called away on another call, they leave their ten-year-old daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of their usual babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) joins them in hopes of getting in the locked room to try and connect with her deceased father, but when she accidentally releases Annabelle, all the evil spirits in the room come alive to wreak havoc and the girls must find a way to get things back under control and stop Annabelle before someone gets hurt.
The Conjuring universe of movies have been a new phenomenon in horror thanks to maestro James Wan’s overseeing eye. The Annabelle movies just seem to get better and Annabelle Comes Home ups the ante by upping the number of evil spirits that are to be contended with. And adding The Conjuring’s Wilson and Farmiga into the mix is a smart bet as well giving the film extra gravitas. The scares are plentiful, the new spirits interesting and fun and the lead performances by Grace, Iseman and Sarife are all excellent. Here’s hoping this universe of horror continues and gives us plenty more to be scared of.
Lastly this week is a little more horror to get you ramped up for Halloween. Midsommar is the story of Dani (Florence Pugh) a traumatized young woman who recently lost her parents and sister in a suicide/murder. To get away and try to escape her grief she goes along with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his friends on a trip to Sweden to research a commune that lives remotely and practices ancient midsummer festivities. But as the festival goes on, it gets more and more disturbing and members of their group start to go missing. Dani must find a way to confront her fears but also finds a strange connection to the group and their rituals, not knowing where it will lead her in the end.
Midsommar comes from writer/director Ari Aster, who previously unleashed the instant cult hit Hereditary on us all. Midsommar is kind of the flipside to Hereditary, with all of its horrors taking place in broad daylight in an idyllic setting. Florence Pugh is excellent here as the tortured soul Dani and her journey from grief stricken to where she ends up is epic to say the least. From the first frames Midsommar feels ominous and uneasy and it never lets up over almost two and a half hours. Yet the film never feels slow, in fact it seems to be over before you know it. And then you realize it is safe to breathe again. Aster is a master and both Midsommar and Hereditary are brilliant horror films that push the boundaries in every way. I for one cannot wait to see what he does next.
Also of note this week is the Casey Affleck apocalyptic father/daughter story Light of my Life, the HBO favorite Deadwood: The Movie and the new Judi Dench spy thriller Red Joan.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday October 8, 2019
3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg (1927-1928)* - Criterion Collection
A Bread Factory
American Dreamz (2006)*
Annabelle Comes Home
Art of Deception
Baby Blood (1990)*
Boruto: Naruto Next Generation Set 3
Deadwood: The Movie
Dudley Do Right (1999)*
Framing John DeLorean
Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)*
Kung Fu Monster
Leave it to Beaver: The Complete Series
Life with Lucy: The Complete Series
Light of My Life
MST3K: Volume XII
My Boyfriend's Back (1993)*
Nightmare Beach (1988)*
PJ Masks: Dinosaur Trouble
Primary Colors (1998)*
Scorpio Films: The Dutch Sex Wave Collection*
Sgt. Bilko (1996)*
The Electric Horseman (1979)*
The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil
The Monster (1994)*
The Wedding Guest
Toy Story 4
Toys Are Not for Children*
Vikings: Season 5, Volume 2
*Catalog Blu-ray debut