Now that Game of Thrones is over, it’s time to just throw our televisions into the bin, right? Hold up a second: there’s still a lot of decent home viewing available. Here’s a few of the recent releases in the world of DVD and Blu-Ray that I (for one) have been enjoying now that I have a dragon-shaped hole in my viewing schedule.
Happy season 1: Demented ex-cop turned nutty hitman Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni at his craziest) is a crumbling mess drifting through an amoral world when he gets shot and starts to see a child’s imaginary friend (voiced by Patton Oswalt). Yes, it’s a buddy story featuring an amoral monster, a relentlessly positive flying unicorn, and a lot of extremely weird crime (it’s directed by Brian Taylor, one half of the team who made the brilliant Crank movies); if you like your television crazy, this is one for you.
The Mule: Clint Eastwood gets back in front of the camera for the first time in a decade to play a 90 year-old former florist who, having fallen on hard times and with his family openly loathing him for a lifetime of neglect, somehow becomes a drug trafficker for the Mexican Cartel. It’s less a thriller (though it definitely has tense moments) than a character study of a man realising he’s lived a life that’s left him with nothing, a film that manages to say some substantive things about race and aging while still letting Eastwood outsmart the cops and have a Cartel-sponsored threesome.
Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries: These four telemovies spinning off from the ABC’s hit Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series aired on Seven earlier this year shifted the action to 1960s Melbourne, as Peregrine Fisher (Geraldine Hakewill) looked to step into her (now missing over New Guinea) aunt’s mystery-solving shoes. The mysteries themselves are nice and twisty and the show itself doesn’t take things too seriously – one murder involves a pop star; another leads to a top secret military instillation and rumours of alien abductions – and while the series doesn’t exploit Melbourne’s 60s side quite as well as the original did the remaining 20s-era streetscapes and buildings, it’s definitely a lot more colourful than an old episode of Homicide.
Aquaman: You couldn’t call it the surprise hit of last year because Jason Momoa was easily the stand-out in Justice League – obviously people were primed to see him playing Aquaman in his own movie. But on the other hand this is Aquaman we’re talking about: his superpower is being able to swim well. So okay, it was a little surprising that this turned out so well, as director James Wan went and invented an entire crazy undersea world then figured out how to make sub-surface fight scenes work. Momoa’s Arthur Curry turned out to be the most normal thing in this film, and he ends up riding into battle on a giant sea monster; at a time when often superhero movies feel like they’re starting to play things a little safe now that they’re basically dominated pop culture in all it’s forms, Aquaman is an extremely fun reminder that superhero movies are at their best when they’re pushing reality to breaking point and beyond.
Written by Anthony Morris