New Blu-ray & DVD releases for the week include horror, some kids stuff, non-US TV and science fiction.
I’ll start with the best of the bunch, Striking Out Series 1. This is a four episode legal series out of Ireland that I could easily see Hollywood remaking. In episode one, Tara (Amy Huberman) finds her fiance in bed with another woman during her bachelorette party. Her future husband also worked with her at his father’s big law firm which she leaves the next day. She sets up shop in the back of a coffee shop and does her business out of there. It’s similar to Rake in that it has quirky cases, but it’s not as dark. It’s charming, funny and well made. Episodes involve her trying to help out a young man who was cashing checks of a dead man, the man who took care of him. The young man, Ray, ends up working for Tara and becoming part of her team. She also deals with a family struggle over a will when their father dies, a young couple losing their child to social services and a bigamy case when a man ends up in the hospital and both wives find out about each other. Of course the big law firm has their hands in everything so Tara is fighting them every step of the way. I really liked the show and I really hope there’s another series coming soon because episode four has a huge cliff hanger.
Next is The Unholy. This is a horror film from 1988 and you can totally tell. It’s not bad and I’m sure someone out there is eager to get this on Blu-ray, but it could have been better. In a 1980s horror film, you were either a slasher attacking kids or it involved Satan, Hell or some sort of demons. This falls into the second category. Two priests are murdered and another, Father Michael, is believed to be blessed. Even though I didn’t love this, I liked it way more than today’s horror which relies on found footage, jump scares or both. There’s some decent blood work, but I wanted a lot more from the film. The creature at the end is pretty cool, but there are far better religious horror films from the 1970s that I would watch before I’d watch this again. But if you remember the film and liked it, this Vestron Collector’s Series looks good, the film was restored, and has a TON of bonus features including multiple featurettes, commentary, interviews and more. A good addition to your collection if you like the film.
Third is Power Rangers Dino Super Charge The Complete Season. I was too old when Power Rangers first became a thing and as an adult I never quite got the draw to it. It always seemed like a live action Voltron rip off to me. Sure this seems like a rip off of the Dinobots from Transformers (the cartoon not the Michael Bay travesty), but I sort of liked this more than any other Power Rangers programming. I’m still not a fan but this had a bit more action than some of the other shows I’ve watched. This 4 DVD collection has 20 episodes including all the episodes of Dino Super Charge Roar and Dino Super Charge Extinction. I’ll never go out of my way to watch something Power Rangers (heck I missed the new movie at the theater), but this was a bit more fun and at least watchable to me. If you are a fan, this is a great collection of all the episodes.
Sticking to things I was too old to get into, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Dark Side of Dimensions is next. I remember my nephew liking Yu-Gi-Oh after the first Pokemon boom and I had no idea it was still around. Not being a fan, I had no idea what was going on in this, who anyone was and what I was supposed to be rooting for. In this Yugi and Kaiba have a special duel that transcends dimensions. That probably sounds cool to you if you know anything about it. It features new designs and a story from its original creator so I’m sure fans are looking forward to that. The animation on the Blu-ray does look fantastic though. I’ll give it a ton of credit for the visuals. I may not know what I watched, but it looked cool for sure. Plus it comes with an exclusive trading card so I’m sure people will want that for their collection.
Next is Midsomer Murders Series 19 Part 1. This show has been around for so long you should know if you like it or not. What I like about it is the acting. It’s always extremely well acted. Sure we’ve seen some similar stories before, but the acting is always great. Like Striking Out, this is 4 episodes on 2 discs. The episodes involve a murder at a ghost park, a patrol member being killed in a remote village who was investigating robberies, a cricketer being killed and someone from Barnaby’s past returning, and a dead body being found surrounded by dead rabbits. I don’t know how many episodes I’ve seen in my life, but the show continues to be well made and enjoyable. Maybe because US shows drag out storylines for so long or something, but I find shows this like to be a nice change of pace and a lot more clever.
Last we have Life of Significant Soil. I really wanted to like this because science fiction done on an indie film level is tough, but man I could not get into it. The biggest issue are the characters. The film wants to be Groundhog’s Day meets External Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it’s not close to either. A couple replays their day over and over again because it’s their last day together and it won’t go further until they figure things out. Sounds great in theory and it’s a story I’d support, but I did not like the characters. First of all, there’s nothing positive about Conor. He’s your typical New York hipster with terrible clothing who treats his girlfriend Addison badly. He cheats on her and doesn’t treat her with respect in the slightest. I don’t think he works, but she does so it seems like he lives off her and does nothing all day. I wanted her to leave immediately because there’s no reason for her to stay. There’s an abortion scene and they sort of replay old dates and none of it worked for me. I simply did not care about these shallow nobody characters so I didn’t care if they repeated their day over and over again. It simply didn’t work for me at all.