Toy Story 4

      After spending his life as the favorite toy, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) is in for a rude awakening. His new charge, Bonnie, is a spunky little girl with boundless imagination who loves to play. But she’s not that interested in playing with Woody. 

     Now, Woody’s left in the closet to watch others have fun. 

     When Bonnie makes a toy in kindergarten, a pipe cleaner-festooned spork called Forky (Tony Hale), Woody finds new purpose in life. Forky has no interest in being a toy. He was born to be disposable, and he wants to stay that way. Whenever Bonnie looks away, Forky beelines for the trash. 

     When Forky escapes while the family is on a road trip, Woody takes it upon himself to bring the errant spork home.

     Can Woody convince Forky that being a toy is a good fate?

     The fourth in Pixar’s flagship series is an engaging tale for kids and a fascinating look at existential crises for adults. Pixar’s strength has always been crafting stories that speak deeply to all age groups. Toy Story 4 extends that storytelling reach.

     In his feature debut Director Josh Cooley expands the world of Toy Story, offering us fantastic, funny new characters like Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele). Toy Story 4 is the funniest film of the series, with bursts of hilarious, biting humor and lots of silly sight gags. Most of the humor comes from the cavalcade of new characters, especially the stitched-together duo voiced by Key and Peele. They steal several scenes, earning the biggest laugh of the film.

     Funny as 4 is, it doesn’t have the emotionally stirring storylines of the others. Part of this is due to the fact that most of the cast, including Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Jessie (Joan Cusack), are sidelined. This is very much a movie about Woody recognizing that life might not be as straightforward as he assumed. Lovers of the series’ deep connection within the core group could be disappointed that this sequel leaves many fan favorites in the toy box. 

      Even with a brand-new set of toys, Toy Story 4 retains its charm. It has a solid story about challenging your beliefs and being willing to change, along with lots of silly moments that will entertain children who may not care about a mid-life crisis plotline. With laughs and a good message, it will keep everyone entertained. Take the family to enjoy this heartfelt and witty flick. 

Good Animation • G • 100 mins.

~~~ New this Week ~~~

Annabelle Comes Home

      Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are in the business of containing evil. They exorcise demons, confine ghosts and generally make themselves a nuisance to the things that go bump in the night. 

     Oddly, the Warrens have decided the only safe place to keep the evil objects they’ve collected in their travels is their home — near their 10-year-old daughter. When the Warrens step out, their most demonic object, a doll named Annabelle, wants to play.

     Can the Warrens save their daughter and the babysitter from the onslaught of a spooky doll?

     Annabelle has been the star of multiple movies, so you’d think the Warrens would have devised better security by now. Even as the stories get ridiculous, the terrifying porcelain doll remains an effective visual. 

Prospects: Flickering • R • 100 mins. 


      Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) dreams of fame. He imagines selling out stadiums, but he’s stuck playing kids’ parties. His best friend Ellie (Lily James) believes, but Jack is beginning to doubt.

     Things change after a mysterious blackout causes an accident and Jack is struck by a car. He wakes up to find himself in an alternate dimension where no one but him has heard of the Beatles. Jack now has a temptation. He can take the easy road to fame by passing off some of the greatest songs ever written as his own. 

     Any movie that’s wall-to-wall Beatles music will be fun. Director Danny Boyle is a wonderful visual storyteller, so it’s a safe bet that he’ll make this fantasy a good romp. 

Prospects: Bright • PG-13 • 112 mins.