This week, a bizarre pairing exists between a “Toy Story” sequel and Ari Aster, highlighting the new releases coming to Blu-Ray/DVD. Besides those two very different choices, there are other worthwhile efforts to consider today too. Read on for more.
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Toy Story 4”
This sequel was equally anticipated and dreaded, as “Toy Story 3” was a brilliant cap to the franchise. Well, Tim Allen and Tom Hanks returned to their iconic voice roles, care was given to the development of a worthwhile plot, and the end result is another top notch “Toy Story” effort. Clayton was a big fan, as you can see here:
Josh Cooley‘s “Toy Story 4” is a film that dares to explore the inventive scale of our humanity, all within the lens of plastic figures navigating a constant foreign and changing world.
“Toy Story 4” potentially brings the series to a close, but even if it leads to more sequels, the story moves things in a new enough direction to warrant it. As far as family options go, it’s one of the year’s best bets.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $433,083,004 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
“Light of My Life”
Casey Affleck‘s latest directorial effort sees him write and direct, as well as star, in a moody character study/drama. Featuring some solid filmmaking and ton of impactful emotional cues, it showcases the actor as a talented storyteller in his own right. Mark felt the same way, in this review on the site:
“Light of My Life” is a deeply emotional drama that works despite its derivative narrative.
“Light of My Life” is further proof that Affleck is a talent. More fertile ground was traversed in Debra Granik‘s “Leave No Trace,” but this is a quality character study as well.
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $20,056
Major Awards: None yet
Ari Aster’s follow up to “Hereditary” couldn’t be more different, even if they’re both pretty out there. This time, he utilizes bright colors and wide open spaces, though still the man is operating in art house horror territory. A divisive filmmaker, his indie trappings have deliciously been given wide release by A24. From Karen’s take on his latest, right here on the site:
Much like “Hereditary,” this film starts out bleak and only gets darker.
“Midsommar” is the darkest (even though it’s drenched in sunlight) breakup movie in some time. It’s also one of the best. Indulge in Aster’s demented mind and you’ll be taken on a hell of a ride!
Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $27,426,361 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “Parasite,” the pick today is going to be another effort from filmmaker Bong Joon-ho. The movie in question is “Snowpiercer,” the master’s first English language production. The switch to a Western cast did nothing to dampen his talents though, as we stated here at the time in our rave review:
With Snowpiercer, director Joon-ho Bong has sprung yet another depraved and unapologetically fun film on an unsuspecting public.
“Parasite” is a masterpiece and one of the year’s very best films, so prep for it accordingly!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the trio of recommended titles in “Light of My Life,” “Midsommar,” and “Toy Story 4.”
“Annabelle Comes Home”
This horror sequel, which is a spinoff from “The Conjuring” and its sequel, continues to find terror in the doll which gives the movie its title. This time around, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson show up to bring the two franchises even closer together. Here’s a bit from our positive review, here on the site:
“Annabelle Comes Home” is an entertaining movie for fans of the genre and especially fans of “The Conjuring” universe.
Horror nuts can pick this one up and enjoy.
Box Office: $74,152,591
Judi Dench doesn’t act as much as she used to, and each appearance of hers should be an event. Instead, this spy thriller more or less wastes her, giving Dench short shrift. When you have her, use her. Most critics weren’t too kind to this one, but The Hollywood Reporter found plenty to like:
A taut old-school thriller with a modern heroine.
Hardcore Dench backers only really need apply here.
Box Office: $1,579,730
“The Wedding Guest”
A thriller starring Dev Patel, this film came and went incredibly quickly. Apparently, seeing Patel play a darker character than usual only held limited appeal, if at all. The flick met with mixed reviews, critically, though Entertainment Weekly was somewhat fascinated by it:
Guest barely bothers to meet the traditional wham-bam metrics of the genre. But as an intriguing, impressionistic wisp of a story, its mood and colors linger on the screen.
Looking for a different sort of Patel turn? This might be one to consider.
Box Office: $386,166
Special Criterion Collection Section
“3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg”
The only option coming to Criterion today is this trio of works from filmmaker Josef von Sternberg. The box set includes 1927’s “Underworld,” 1928’s “The Last Command,” and “The Docks of New York,” also from that same year. The Collection sells this one to you like so:
Vienna-born, New York–raised Josef von Sternberg directed some of the most influential, stylish dramas ever to come out of Hollywood. Though best known for his star-making collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, von Sternberg began his career during the final years of the silent era, dazzling audiences and critics with his films’ dark visions and innovative cinematography. The titles in this collection, made on the cusp of the sound age, are three of von Sternberg’s greatest works
Fans of von Sternberg should definitely pick this three-pack up!
“Black Lightning: Season 2”
“Into The Badlands: The Complete Collection”
“Shazam!: The Complete Series”
“Vikings: Season 5, Volume 2”