Eppler: Two of the year's best movies ready for rent

Eppler: Two of the year's best movies ready for rent

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Of the new movies out on DVD, Blu-ray and download, there's a great one for families and one that will test audiences:

"Toy Story 4"

Let's be real. There was no reason to continue the "Toy Story" series beyond that perfect face-melter of an ending in Part 3 - other than the opportunity to fill an entire aisle at Target with new overpriced playthings that my son will keep asking about. And yet, "Toy Story 4" is good enough to convince us that there was more story to tell, more for these characters to teach us about ourselves. 
 

It's too good to be a Part Four. In fact, "Toy Story 4" is so good that it'll be an excuse for other series that should end at three movies to continue on with a fourth because it worked THIS TIME. But boy, does it ever work.

 
"Midsommar"
 
You might not be ready for "Midsommar," a beautiful living nightmare of a movie and the work of a young filmmaker who's proving to have a unique vision. 
 
Is it scary? Well, here's the thing: any schlockmeister can make a jump-out-and-scare you movie, but writer and director Ari Aster is a true craftsman who can slowly build dread and tension to a stomach-turning fever pitch with images sure to revisit you. 
 
Florence Pugh stars as a grieving woman who goes to Sweden for a summer vacation with her jerky boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his buddies to visit a colony for a festival. Despite appearances, we know from watching movies something must be amiss - that this is clearly a cult - but the temperature gets turned up so gradually that it's too late to escape when it comes to a boil.
 
Aster gives us so much to see on the screen (just keep an eye on the artwork in the background for clues) and his script is fantastic - rich in characterization to make us care and fascinating in its examination of traditions, ceremony, ritual and the occult. It's a deeply unnerving picture. 
 
With "Midsommer," Aster proves his first movie, "Hereditary," was no fluke. He appears to be the real deal.
 
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