This week kicks off with another film in James Wan’s Conjuring universe, The Curse of La Llorona. Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) is a mother of two and a devoted social worker struggling to survive after the death of her husband. When two children from one of her cases turn up dead with their mother claiming a supernatural entity killed them, Anna soon finds strange things happening around her own house and starts to fear for the safety of her own children. With the help of a former priest (Raymond Cruz) Anna will question her own beliefs and do everything she can to protect her children.

I have always been a huge fan of anything James Wan has anything to do with and the Conjuring universe of films is no exception. The Curse of La Llorona is a throwback ghost story that never goes too far with effects or cheap thrills and instead relies on solid storytelling, creepy visuals and great performances across the board, especially from Cardellini and young Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen. Fans of old school ghost stories check this one out.

Next up this week is a unique genre masher, Pokémon Detective Pikachu. In a world where Pokémon creatures really exist and live among humans, Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) travels to the Ryme City when he finds out his estranged father, Detective Harry Goodman, has gone missing. Upon searching Harry’s apartment Tim meets Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds), a Pokémon who was his father’s partner. Together they set out on a thrilling adventure to unravel the mystery of Harry’s disappearance and uncover a shocking plot that could threaten all Pokémon and human’s alike.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a visually beautiful tale that crossed many genres from fantasy to family to mystery and comedy. Reynolds absolutely nails the voice work on Pikachu making him a cute and adorable but smart and cunning character. And Justice Smith, best known for the Netflix series The Get Down, is also solid, especially when competing with a cute animated Reynolds. The story is interesting and much less silly than I was expecting, which may account for the film’s failure at the box office. This isn’t a splashy colorful kids movie; it is a fantasy mystery with deliberate pacing and interesting characters. Unique and entertaining, Pokémon Detective Pikachu is worth the watch.

Lastly this week is the Cinemax series Strike Back: Season 6. Section 20 elite soldiers Sgt. Samuel Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson), Sgt. Thomas “Mac” McAllister (Warren Brown), and LCpl. Gracie Novin (Alin Sumarwata) join forces with Russian spy Katiya Korikova (Katrina Durden) to track down a notorious terrorist following a brutal prison break. Tasked with covert military intelligence and high-risk operations, the resurrected unit embarks on a lethal manhunt that will uncover a vast web of interconnected criminal activity. As the team journey across the Middle East and Europe, they uncover a deadly conspiracy which threatens to overwhelm them all and change the face of modern warfare forever.

Strike Back has been one of the most brilliantly produced action series every produced from its inception in the UK to Cinemax’s American reboot and now the second incarnation of that series with new leads. The stories are fascinating, in depth and insanely authentic feeling with a hugely charismatic cast and out of this world action sequences that top even the best Hollywood theatrical films. This season is no exception when it comes to the consistent quality with an engaging storyline, frequent twists and surprises and top notch action. If you are an action fan and have not seen Strike Back yet, so yourself a favor and start playing catch up, you will not regret it.

Also of note this week is the classic horror flick Alice, Sweet Alice getting the special Arrow Video treatment on Blu-ray for the first time, the new thriller about the Manson girls Charlie Says starring Dr. Who’s Matt Smith as the infamous cult leader, and the new Diane Keaton comedy Poms.

Until next week movie lovers!

DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 6, 2019

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)*

Amazing Grace

An Angel at My Table* - Criterion Collection

Batman: Hush

Charlie Says

Donnybrook

Girls of the Sun

Hellmaster (1992)*

How Long Will I Love U

I Love Lucy: Colorized Collection

LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Mascara (1983)*

Penguin Highway

Play Dead (1983)*

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

Poms

Project Ithaca

Sesame Street Dance Party

Strike Back: Season 6

The Command

The Curse of La Llorona

The Front Page (1974)*

The Iron Orchard

The Jungle Bunch

The Pink Ladies (1980)*

The Reflecting Skin (1990)*

The Souvenir

Tiger Milk

Tolkien

Touch of Death (1988)*

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

WWE: Stomping Grounds 2019

*Catalog Blu-ray debut