DVD Releases (for week of Oct. 6)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“Toy Story 4”

“TOY STORY 4”: Not only is this (allegedly) final film in the animated Disney-Pixar series as effective as its forerunners, it might leave you an emotional wreck. Its main theme explores what happens when your time supposedly is up … which is the dilemma of cowboy Woody (again voiced by Tom Hanks), whose new owner is less interested in him than in a makeshift doll she has fashioned from a spork. It has the voice of “Veep’s” Tony Hale, and it’s seen by Woody as his avenue to become useful and wanted again, giving the film the means to yield the franchise’s traditional mix of clever visuals and heart-tugging character development. Of course, Tim Allen also is back as the voice of Buzz Lightyear, and Annie Potts gets special kudos as she reprises the part of Bo Peep. Notable among cast newcomers is Keanu Reeves as a motorcycle-daredevil toy, and there’s a welcome reunion of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, If in voice only. **** (G) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“ANNABELLE COMES HOME”: The third of the “Annabelle” movies – and also the seventh in the “Conjuring” film franchise —  this thriller makes the title doll the center of terror again. A babysitter (played by Madison Iseman) has no idea what she’s getting into when she goes to work for the demon-researching Warrens (returnees Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), and friends (Katie Sarife and filmmaker-name-sharing Michael Cimino) who come to visit her while she’s minding Warren daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) also discover the malevolent power of Annabelle. After writing the two earlier “Annabelle” chapters, Gary Dauberman repeated that job and also debuted as a director here; the film has a dedication to Farmiga’s real-life counterpart Lorraine Warren, who passed earlier this year. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“DEADWOOD: THE MOVIE”: Rumored for so long that some – including cast members – developed doubts that it actually would be made, this sequel to the HBO Western series restores the bulk of the original actors and characters to writer-producer David Milch’s saga of the title South Dakota town and its dwellers. A decade has passed in the timeline between the weekly show and the follow-up with a statehood-fueled reunion stirring old emotions, encompassing deep resentment in certain cases, and mixed emotions over changes that advancements and the passage of time have brought to the region. Among the many returning stars are Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant (both of whom get executive-producer credit as well), as well as Molly Parker, Paula Malcomson, John Hawkes, Anna Gunn, Dayton Callie, Brad Dourif, Robin Weigert, William Sanderson, Kim Dickens, Gerald McRaney, Sean Bridgers, W. Earl Brown and Keone Young. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“MIDSOMMAR”: As if an American couple (played by Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) hasn’t had enough relationship strain, plus trauma from a murder-suicide hat they’re connected to, they encounter more trouble while attending a festival at a Swedish commune in this melodrama from horror specialist Ari Aster (“Hereditary”). What’s anticipated as a fun event and a much-needed getaway turns increasingly darker, ultimately making the visitors fear for their lives. William Jackson Harper – who’s used to tales about sites that aren’t what they seem, thanks to his television role on “The Good Place” – and Will Poulter (“The Revenant”) also star. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (R: AS, N, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“LIFE WITH LUCY: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: Lucille Ball had the gift of reinventing herself – while still playing essentially the same character – in a number of television sitcoms, and this Aaron Spelling-produced venture was her last attempt. She plays a widow trying to continue the operation of her late husband’s hardware store, teamed uncomfortably with his business partner (played by veteran Lucy foil Gale Gordon). Complicating matters: the marriage of her daughter (Ann Dusenberry) to his son (Larry Anderson). In an early episode, avowed Lucy devotee John Ritter appeared as himself; guest stars also included Peter Graves, who had starred in “Mission: Impossible” for Ball’s Desilu company, and Kellie Martin. ABC canceled this series before all 13 produced episodes aired, and this set includes the five that didn’t. *** (Not rated)

“CHRISTMAS AT THE PALACE”: As the holiday season approaches, some of Hallmark Channel’s seasonal fare is getting home-video releases, and this movie filmed in Bucharest is one of the more charming examples from recent years. Merritt Patterson (“The Royals”), who’s become a staple of Hallmark projects, plays a former ice skater enlisted by a country’s king (Andrew Cooper) to train his daughter for a holiday performance. She eventually starts to fall for her employer, but complications arise, particularly the question of a foreigner becoming the queen … and if you don’t think those will be ironed out by the final act, as we’ve often said, you’ve never seen a Hallmark movie. Brittany Bristow, who also appears on the channel frequently, co-stars. *** (Not rated)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“The Haunting of Hill House”


“STUBER” (Oct. 15)



“THE WIZARD OF OZ” (Oct. 29)


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2185 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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