New Blu-ray & DVD releases for the week include some horror, some imported TV and a new Jackie Chan flick.
We’ll start with that one. It’s called Skiptrace and it stars Chan along with Johnny Knoxville. I liked the film, but you can tell they were really aiming for a Shanghai Noon type of movie and it’s not quite that. Chan plays a cop who sees his partner killed because of a notorious crime boss. Knoxville plays a gambler who sees a murder and gets caught up with the Russian mob. Their paths cross as story lines connect. The film is fun and it’s something I’d watch again, but there are a lot better Jackie Chan comedies out there. It’s good to see him still making movies and he has good chemistry with Knoxville. Chan is aging, but does some solid stunt work. Knoxville gets laughs in fish-out-of-water type situations. Like with every Jackie Chan film, there are outtakes during the credits and those are always awesome. I highly recommend it for Chan fans just don’t expect a classic comedy. Their on the road storyline is probably the funniest part of the film. Overall recommended.
Next is Girl in Woods. This is a (wo)man vs. nature film with a twist. It has a really strong lead performance which makes it watchable and not just another alone in the woods movie. Grace is alone in the woods after the death of her fiance. You think Grace will be the stereotypical character lost in the woods trying to get home, but the difference here is, it’s more a psychological thriller. She has a secret she’s pushed down in her memories with the help of pills, but doesn’t have her pills with her so she starts losing her mind. She’s not only fighting the elements, lack of food and safe water, she’s fighting her own mind. She’s having flashbacks. She’s hearing voices and seeing other copies of herself. She’s hearing things in the woods and thinking they are something else. It overall works. Most of the movie is just the lead with her multiple personalities but she holds your attention throughout with her performance. It’s not a home run and might not blow you away, but for a low budget film it works and entertained me.
Third we have Janet King: Series 2 The Invisible Wound. This is an Australian legal drama starring Marta Dusseldorp. This is an extremely well acted, well written and well made show. Season 2 sees Janet still reeling from the death of her partner and that adds even more layers of drama to the series. It’s a classic whodunit, but there’s always a twist and it keeps you guessing. I like that the show mixes in politics, law, relationships, personal issues and more. Most law shows are simple, something happened, we figured it out, let’s prosecute, the end. There’s so much more to this show and Dusseldorp is amazing in it. As an American we are used to a certain type of procedural and this show changes that. It does tackle issues we can all relate to, gun control and murder, but because Janet’s partner’s death is still unsolved, there’s so much more to every episode. A really surprising find here. If you aren’t familiar with the show, find it. Dusseldorp is fantastic and the show is highly recommended.
Next we have The Midnight Swim. Boy did I not get this movie. Three sisters return to a lake home because of the death of their mother. I understand that. There’s some urban legends associated with the area including a story of 7 sisters. Ok I guess I get that. There’s a love interest and one night when they try to call on the 7 sisters, weird things start happening. I’m thinking it’s going to be a horror movie, but it’s not. It’s more a mumblecore film mixed with a fake documentary style. The one sister videos everything for no reason and I hate that. She has quirks they seem to put up with as well. I kept expecting something to happen. Some ghosts or more deaths or something. There’s dead birds and they hear noises, but nothing. I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll just say I didn’t like it. It went nowhere and the characters annoyed me. I hate movies with a documentary style especially one that didn’t need it. The mother was a hippie type who loved the water and the water was cursed or something? I don’t know. Plus the red shawl kept showing up. I clearly didn’t get the point of the movie, maybe you will.
Last we have Agatha Raisin Series One. This stars Ashley Jensen who I saw in Eleventh Hour earlier this year. It’s also based on a series of books I’m not familiar with. I wasn’t expecting this to be a comedy. It’s not a sitcom type comedy, but it’s quite funny and Jensen is fantastic in the role. She plays a small town amateur sleuth and it’s that job and environment that makes the show funny. It has quirky characters with quirkier cases and it doesn’t take itself seriously. To me it’s a mix of The Detectorists and Midsomer Murders (both I’ve seen this year). It has that small town vibe of the first and the whodunit of the second. Jensen shines and handles physical humor surprisingly well. I can’t compare it to the books, but if you are like me and never read them, you should easily like this. Highly recommended.