October 22, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

“Bridesmaids,” “Star Wars” lead this weekend’s top rentals

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris Hemsworth and a certain Jedi named Luke Skywalker await you this weekend. Looking for something decent to rent? We’ve got you covered:

“Star Wars: The Complete Saga”
Hands down the most buzzed-about Blu-ray release of 2011, more for what it changes than for what it improves. Which is unfair, because even die-hard “Star Wars” fans screaming “Noooooooooo!” at the alterations George Lucas is making to his beloved sci-fi franchise are backtracking and admitting that the conversion to Blu-ray is spectacular.

20th Century Fox and LucasFilm reportedly hit it out of the park with this multi-disc set. If you can get past the endless gushing, Harry Knowles writes an impassioned speech about the various deleted scenes in the “Star Wars” set, which brings all six of Lucas’ films to Blu-ray for the first time. If you happen to know a Star Wars” fanatic and are wondering where they are this weekend, chances are they’re camped in front of a hi-def television set, nitpicking every little detail of the “Star Wars” trilogies … and absolutely loving every minute of it.

Still one of the funniest films I’ve seen this year, Paul Feig’s “Bridesmaids” hits DVD and Blu-ray this week in an unrated package from Universal. “Saturday Night Live” standouts Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph play best friends caught in a tidal wave of hilarious disappointment as Annie (Wiig) tries to throw Lillian (Rudolph) an unforgettable bridal shower. Wiig’s brilliant timing and outstanding support from Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper make “Bridesmaids” a must see. Stay for the extended and deleted scenes, the gag reel, and the feature commentary track with the cast and crew.

“Thor: Limited Edition 3D”
You haven’t seen the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) until you’ve seen him on Blu-ray. Marvel continues its mighty superhero prequels with an origin story for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) arrogant Norse god who is banished to Earth where he meets his true love (Natalie Portman) and learns the value of his lineage. We’re paying close attention because Kenneth Branagh’s weighty drama – along with Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” – sets the stage for Joss Whedons’ ensemble adventure “The Avengers,” in theaters next summer. To that end, Paramount’s spectacular “Thor” Blu-ray boasts a clever short film with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) that bridges Marvel’s story gaps, seven in-depth featurettes, 11 deleted scenes, previews for “Avengers,” a Branagh commentary track, a digital copy of the film and so much more.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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