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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Veronica Mars, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, Angel of Mine, Tone-Deaf and more

Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season (2019) – I’m as big a Veronica Mars fan as they come, so I was super excited when Hulu produced a new season of the show. I love how in this day and age, dead or canceled TV shows are no longer really dead or canceled, there’s always a chance they’ll come back. The new season of Veronica Mars picks up right where the show left off, bringing back most of the old characters, and with time passed since last time we saw them, but without a new continuity or “reboot” status. This new DVD collection is perfect for those of you who don’t have Hulu, and it includes every episode of the new season. If you’ve never watched Veronica Mars before, you can jump in with this new season and follow right along. It’s marshmallow-tastic!

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines – The latest DC Universe Animated film gives us the spotlight on the uber-popular Wonder Woman, giving us her origin story in animated form. As usual with the DC animated movies, it’s a pretty solid effort, with Rosario Dawson providing the voice of the Princess of Themyscira, and Marie Avgeropolous (of The 100 fame) voicing her nemesis, Silver Swan. We see Wonder Woman enter the world at large for the first time, and the story is interesting enough, even if we’ve seen Wonder Woman’s origin before. As usual, the film eventually ends up with a big huge fight scene as the climax, so while the film is enjoyable, ultimately it does feel a little “been there, done that.” Wonder Woman: Bloodlines comes to 4K Ultra HD (as well as Blu-ray & DVD), and the animation really shines in the premium format, with extremely vibrant colors, rock-solid outlines, and a booming soundtrack. A terrific technical presentation.

Angel of Mine – Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, and Luke Evans star in this dramatic thriller that is dark and tense, but ultimately rewarding. Rapace plays a mother who’s spiralling into dark places due to the loss of a child seven years ago. When she sees Strahovski’s young daughter, who bears a strong resemblance to her own, she begins to obsess over the young girl. From there, things quickly get intense, and it’s not always an easy film to watch, especially for parents. But the performances by all three leads are outstanding, and the film does elicit empathy as well as fear. It’s a little different from most of the thrillers I’ve seen recently, which I like.

Tone-Deaf – Robert Patrick and Amada Crew star in this “millennials versus old people” comedy-thriller, and they both turn in excellent performances. The film sees a young millennial needing a break, who rents a cabin from an older gentleman who happens to be going psychotic. You can probably figure out what’s coming next, and I’ll say that the film delivers. I particularly like Robert Patrick’s character’s penchant for breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience. The film has some really funny moments, some cringeworthy moments, and some intense moments, and the end result is a largely enjoyable (if flawed) little thriller.

Also Available This Week on Home Video:

My Son – Guillaume Canet and Melanie Laurent star in this French thriller (a lot of thrillers this week!) that proves that French filmmakers continue to make some of the best suspense films of the past decade. The story involves an estranged dad returning home when his young son goes missing and trying to find him. Director Christian Carion (who helmed 2005’s Joyeux Noel, one of my favorite movies of that year) decided to film in sequence and only let the cast have script pages for the next scene, meaning they didn’t know what was coming. This unique take gives the film an urgency that you don’t normally see. It also means your heart will be in your chest for large parts of the film. Worth a watch!

Bakugan Battle Planet: Origin of Species – I don’t know much about the world of Bakugan, But Bakugan: Battle Planet seems to be a relaunch of the show Bakugan: Battle Brawlers, which went off air in 2012. The events of this show take place 12 years after “The Great Collision,” after which we follow our main characters as they discover a bunch of new Bakugan creatures (the show is not dissimilar to something like Pokemon), and there are adventures that ensue that I’m sure younger kids will enjoy. This two-disc set includes all 26 episodes, giving you a running time of almost five hours, which is a lot of bang for your buck.

Family – The first of three(!) Israeli films out this week, Family is a really intense horror drama about a young woman who shows up at her therapist’s for an emergency session with a secret to spill. I mean, where else do you go when you’ve killed your whole family? (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler.) The film unspools in the therapy session as we learn through her story how things have come to this. And trust me, it’s far from your typical dysfunctional family. Veronica Kedar wrote and directs the film while also acting in it, which makes it an impressive feat. The film is dark and twisted, and I can’t say it was exactly up my alley, but it’s hard to deny there’s a lot of talent at play here.

Indie Spotlight – We’ve got a few new indie titles this week to look at. First up is Ulysses & Mona, a film about a unique friendship between a bored twentysomething artist and an extremely bored 55-year-old man. The film is has comedic overtones, but it also reads as a drama. In short, it’s a very French film, and I think if you like that kind of cinema, you’ll dig this movie. Following that, we have The Quiet One, a music documentary that people will probably really like. Focusing on Bill Wyman, the bassist for The Rolling Stones (and described as a “reluctant rock star”), who is known for being the titular quiet one. Now, he opens up and shares memorabilia and stories from his life as a Stone, and fans of the band will no doubt find the film fascinating. I’m not even a huge Stone fan and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Next up is another music-based documentary (sort of), with GG Allin: All in the Family, which takes us into the world of the mother and brother of GG Allin, the notorious punk musician who was famous for doing really disturbing things on stage. While he died of an overdose in 1993, his family are interesting enough and reflect upon him and his life enough to cobble together a 72-minute documentary. I can’t say I was overly invested in it, but there were some interesting parts. Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is yet another somewhat music-themed documentary, focusing on Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. The film starts in 1960 (and features some actual footage from the time period) when Marianne and Leonard’s friendship began, and would go on to last over 50 years. With footage shot by legendary documentarians Nick Broomfield and D.A. Pennebaker, there’s some interesting stuff to be found here. I can’t say I’m terribly interested in Leonard Cohen, but the film isn’t a documentary about him or his music; rather, it’s a portrait of a beautiful friendship, and I can dig that. Finally, we have two Israeli films, Harmonia and An Israeli Love Story. Harmonia is described as “contemporary variation of the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar,” which didn’t help me all that much as I don’t know that story particularly well. Turns out, it’s a relationship melodrama that’s transposed into the world of a symphony Orchestra. It’s a lush, deep film with some strong performances and nice cinematography. Meanwhile, An Israeli Love Story is a romantic drama, as the title would imply. It’s about an artist and the son of a politician who fall in love in 1947. Of course, nothing is ever easy, so there are trials and tribulations, some of which feel particularly mired in Israel’s culture and history. The movie is based on Pnina Gary’s autobiographical play, and while it’s not my favorite thing I watched this week, if you like foreign cinema, it’s an effective film.

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