Superb family drama, two first-rate animated films top the list of DVDs hit stores on Nov. 7.
• “The Glass Castle”: No standard horror film delivers as many battles with demons, showdowns with the unknown and confrontations with emotional and physical struggles as the family drama “The Glass Castle.”
The film, based on Jeannette Walls’ memoir about her life growing up with an alcoholic father, Rex (Woody Harrelson), and out-of-touch mother, Rose Mary Walls (Naomi Watts), puts the four children in the Walls family in proximity to an evil that is deeply rooted in reality. That’s why the film from director/writer Destin Daniel Cretton is such a strong story of the power of the human will, the strength that comes from family and the endless protection from human evil provided by hope.
It’s Brie Larson’s performance as the older Walls child that gives the film both its touches of hopefulness and brushes with total frustration that binds all of the emotional threads. The sign of a great actor is when they can fill a long scene with multiple emotions without saying a single word.
That scene for Larson in “The Glass Castle” comes during a Thanksgiving meal where she sits at the end of the table surveying the room. The look in her eyes goes from resignation to exhilaration to pure joy. This is the kind of work that has cemented Larson’s place as the leading actor with the skills to be the next Meryl Streep.
• “Cars 3”: Brian Fee, who was a storyboard artist with the original “Cars,” makes his directing debut in style with “Cars 3” by getting the franchise back on the right track. His script with Ben Queen (“Cars 2”) returns to the formula filmmaking that made Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) so entertaining during the first film lap.
All of the characters in “Cars 3” are vehicles but they manage to convey very human emotions when dealing with serious issues such as self-doubt, following a dream, the potholes of getting older and the importance of seeing the good in oneself that others see. Bonus points go for having not only a male perspective with McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) but showing the same issues aren’t gender exclusive as Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) shows she also faces the harsh headlights of reality.
Reversing the mistakes of “Cars 2” and going back to the starting line has shifted the franchise into a high gear of action and emotions.
• “Your Name”: Director Makoto Shinkai has created an animated story that examines love, loss, desperation and hope through stunning imagery. The film starts slowly but becomes a tale of teen romance that is captivating. Once the pieces begin to line up, this story of comet-crossed lovers comes together in a surprising and pleasing manner.
Shinkai has designed the film to look like a dream that has come to life. That’s a fitting design considering the two teens emerge in their exchanged bodies after a night of sleep. But, no matter how far the director takes the movie visually, the film is bound tightly together by the unique love story at its heart.
Also on DVD
• “Westworld: The Complete First Season”: An adult amusement park begins to have problems when the attractions begin to think for themselves.
• “Slamma Jamma”: Ex-con gets one more chance to show off his basketball skills.
• “The Settlers”: Documentary from Shimon Dotan that looks at Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
• “Killing Ground”: Camping trip turns deadly when a crime is witnessed.
• “Gun Shy”: Rock legend must save his kidnapped wife. Antonio Banderas stars.
• “The Limehouse Golem”: London police suspect a mythical creature of committing murders.
• “Crown: Season One”: Cable series starring Claire Foy that depicts the early years of Queen Elizabeth II’s rule.
• “Overdrive”: Scott Eastwood stars in this tale of car-stealing brothers who grab the wrong vehicle.
• “The Good Karma Hospital”: British doctor leaves England for a demanding job at an under-resourced cottage hospital in India.
• “The Show”: Reality TV star becomes host of talk show where on-air suicides are encouraged.
• “Family Guy: Season 15”: Episodes in the set include Stewie and Brian running a bed-and-breakfast brothel and Peter getting into trouble as a mall Santa.
• “Patti Cake$”: An unlikely rapper finds her voice as a one-of-a-kind hip-hop legend.
• “Ingrid Goes West”: Aubrey Plaza stars in this story of a woman who wants to be part of the inner circle of an internet sensation.
• “19-2, Season 4”: Final season of the series about the demons that haunt the men and women behind the badge.
• “In His Own Home”: Documentary on the 2010 shooting of Kofi Adu-Brempong, a disabled Ghanaian student attacked by University of Florida campus police.
• “Into the Night”: John Landis 1985 film about an insomniac who discovers that his wife has been having an affair.
On digital HD
• “Leap!”: Animated tale of an orphan girl determined to become a ballerina. Will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 21.
• “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”: Hit man (Samuel L. Jackson) is put under the protection of an elite bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds). Will be available on DVD Nov. 21.