New in Theaters:
The Conjuring: The Devil made Me Do It (** ½) The third film based (extremely loosely) on the files of famed paranormal investigators, Ed and Loraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), suffers from a change in directors. James Wan, who helmed the first two installments, has stepped back and has been succeeded by Michael Chaves. Chaves does an admirable job but he doesn’t quite have the directorial prowess that Wan exhibited in the previous films.
It also doesn’t help matters that the film’s plot centers more of a criminal nature than of the supernatural either. Here a murder suspect uses the old cop out of demonic possession as his defense and it’s up to the Warrens to determine where the truth lies.
Farmiga and Wilson’s chemistry helps immeasurably but there’s no denying that this is a bit of a comedown for this series. Not bad, but Wan’s guiding hand behind the camera is sorely missed as are the supernatural tropes found in the preceding films.
New to Disc:
Indiana Jones: 4 Movie Collection (1981-2008) To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Paramount has given all of Indiana Jones’s cinematic adventures a 4K upgrade with this impressive set. All of the extras from previous extras have been ported over in this collection in addition to the major upgrade in picture and sound.
True Mothers (2020) This well reviewed Japanese import explores what happens when the mother of an adopted boy finds her life upended by the boy’s biological mother. Extras include the short film, Return to Toyama.
Center Stage (1991) Ruan Lingyau, described as the Greta Garbo of China, is the subject of this acclaimed biopic from director Stanley Kwan. Extras include a new director intro, interviews and a 16 page booklet essay.
Sin Il Peccato (2021) Michelangelo Buonarroti’s struggle to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is the focus of this Italian import from director Andrei Konchalovsky. Extras include a making of featurette and Q and A with the director.
The Stylist (2020) Najarra Townsend is a mentally unhinged hair stylist whose obsession with her clientele takes her to dark places. The two disc set includes the soundtrack on a bonus disc and bonus features which include commentary, featurette, outtakes and behind the scenes doc.
Zeroville (2019) James Franco stars and serves as the director of this adaptation of the novel by Steve Erickson, set in Hollywood 1969, in which an apprentice editor (Franco) becomes transfixed upon a doomed actress (Megan Fox). Extras include a trailer.
There Was a Crooked Man (1970) Kirk Douglas has stashed away a bundle in stolen loot, which he plans to recover. That is if he can avoid the clutches of the long arm of the law which is represented by Henry Fonda. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) directs this action adventure. No extras.
Sesame Street: Cool Counting Collection is a new DVD set aimed at teaching the younger set to count and featuring such celebrity guests as Liam Neeson, Feist and Elvis Costello. The disc includes four bonus featurettes.