Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDs
Toy Story 4 (Disney Pixar). The franchise (founded in 1995) is in excellent shape. If you are looking for a present for a young child, look no further. It’s Pixar perfect, sentimental, touching and appealing to child and adult. Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) is no longer a little girl’s favourite toy; but true to his good natured character, he remains loyal and self-sacrificing. She has a new toy she made herself out of rubbish in kindergarten, called Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). The joke is he doesn’t want to be a toy; he wants to be trash and is constantly looking for dustbins. There’s another new toy, a daredevil bike-rider (voiced by Keanu Reeves) who is all vain posturing. The villain is a broken doll. Her four henchmen might be too scary for some children. They look as nasty as the ventriloquist dummy in that excellent British film, Dead of Night.
Blinded by the Light (Entertainment One) is based on Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir and is set in Thatcher’s Britain. 3 million are jobless. The National Front is on the march and racism is rife. A British Muslim teenager (Viveik Kalra), obsessed with and inspired by the socially conscious lyrics of Bruce Springsteen’s songs, dreams of becoming a poet and escaping Luton and his traditional Asian dad (Kulvinder Ghir) who claims the boy will always be a Pakistani and never be British. Director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) has the lyrics printed on screen whirling around the teenager’s head and they work best during a storm sequence. The musical fantasy sequences, however, are cringe-making and spoil the film.
The Holly and the Ivy (StudioCanal) is a 1952 film version of Wynyard Browne’s popular 1950 matinee drama. No English middle class Christmas would be complete without a traumatic family row. It’s traditional. This family is afraid to speak freely in front of their father because he is a clergyman. Browne writes about the sacrifices women make for their parents and argues that parents have no right to batten on their children. George More O’Ferrall directs a strong cast of well-known faces: Ralph Richardson, Celia Johnson, Margaret Leighton, Hugh Williams, John Gregson, Denholm Elliott plus two theatrical legends, Maureen Delaney and Margaret Halstan, who were in the original stage play.
Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections (MUBI). Olivier Meyrou’s behind-the-scenes documentary about the legendary haute couture designer was originally seen in 2007 but withdrawn at the insistence of Pierre Bergé , Laurent’s business manager and ex-lover. Berge, with the help of a loyal and hardworking staff, was the driving force behind the last collection. There is no catwalk parade but there is an excerpt from the monumental fashion show (300 models) held in the Stade de France for the FIFA World Cup in 1998. 70-year-old Laurent, who looks very ill, died in 2008. Berge died in 2017.
Operation Petticoat (EUREKA) The title suggests we are about to see Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in drag. No such luck, I am afraid. Directed by Blake Edwards in 1959, this dreary comedy is set during World War II in the Philippines. A damaged submarine is making a perilous journey to safety. Grant is the commander of the sub and the script doesn’t offer him anything remotely funny to do. The romancing with nurses is feeble and sexless. Tony Curtis is his supply officer, a scavenger, so cute you think he might get into drag at any moment.