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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Shirley Barrett, Sian Davies, Daniel Nettheim, Peter Salmon, Abe Forsythe, and Jet Wilkinson
Australia 2013

 

The eponymous MR. & MRS. MURDER are ToxiClean forensic cleaning couple Charlie Buchanan (Austalian TV personality Shaun Micallef, who also co-created the series) and his wife Nicola (Kat Stewart, MACBETH) in this Australian screwball comic mystery series. With the help of Nicola's long-suffering niece Jess (Lucy Honigman), the Buchanans apply their particular brands of observation and tenacity to cases while letting impossibly thick detective Peter Vinetti (Jonny Pasvolsky, MORTDECAI) take credit in exchange for referrals. In "Early Checkout", the Buchanans book a room at a swanky Melbourne hotel after cleaning up the mess left after the killing of a motivational speaker. The main suspect (Hugo Johnstone-Burt, MISS FISHER'S MURDER MYSTERIES) was found covered in blood with a knife in his hands, but Nicola sets her eyes on the victim's wheelchair-bound business manager (Belinda Bromilow, NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN) while Jess poses as a temporary maid. It's "A Dog's Life" when a golf club owner (TV presenter Merrick Watts) is torn apart by a vicious dog after clashing with local dog owners trespassing on the greens. Charlie discovers which vicious dog served as the weapon but does not believe its violent ex-con owner (Jack Finsterer, KOKODA: 39TH BATALLION) "pulled the trigger." Murder is "En Vogue" when a cut-throat fashion designer (Henry Nixon, TRIANGLE) meets a demise on the catwalk that is "part Shakespeare, part Road Runner cartoon." When an immigrant body building contestant is found "cooked" to death in a tanning bed in "Atlas Drugged", the Buchanans look beyond his fellow competitors to the contest promoter (Vince Colosimo, THE GREAT GATSBY) and his own favorite contender (Dwayne Cameron, THE LOCALS).

When the star of the Amy Winehouse musical "Lost Soul" is found murdered, the Buchanan's tread the boards to identify her killer among the superstitious and temperamental cast and crew. Vinetti is off the case when "The Next Best Man" is murdered before the wedding of his ex-wife's (Vanessa Gray, BAD KARMA) little sister (Amber Clayton, ST. VINCENT). Vinetti would like to think the likely killer was the dead man's stalker ex-girlfriend, but things become considerably more complex when Charlie and Nicola discover that the aged patriarch (Bob Ruggiero, GHOST SHIP) was about to hand over th family business to the victim. In "Thoroughly Dead Thoroughbred", Jess adopts an Irish accent to snoop at a prestigious stable after its resident vet is given an overdose of Ketamine. While the Buchanans discover some compelling ties to the illicit drug trade, the vet's death may have something to do with a growing pattern that suggests a "serial killer of horses." When a returning solo "around the world" (Georgia Chara) sailor is brutally murdered, her possessive father (Robert Taylor, LONGMIRE) is too hung over to offer an alibi. Charlie and Nicola, however, focus on a more intriguing list of suspects including the victim's wicked stepmother (Kellie-Michelle Cheung), controlling ex-boyfriend (Nikolai Nikolaeff), his insecure new flame (Jessica Tovey, LEMON TREE PASSAGE), and the dead girl's middle-aged secret lover (Frank Magree, NED KELLY).

When the body of a homeless man is discovered in a chic gallery hosting the Audacity of Art competition, a seeming break-in turns out to be "The Art of Murder" and one of the suspects trying to make a grisly artistic statement and the gallery owner (Helen Thomson, KANGAROO JACK) has plenty to hide. When the body of an IT mogul is found impaled on a spear in one of Melbourne Beach's "Little Boxes", the Buchanans uncover the embarrassing secrets in ex-Olympian/stock market genius Richard Naylor's (Martin Lynes, HOME AND AWAY) family including illicit affairs, lawsuits, and an artifact from Australian nautical history. Nicola goes under the knife in "Keeping Up Appearances" when a wealthy woman with body dysmorphia is found dead beneath the window of a prominent plastic surgeon (Nicholas Brown). The case starts looking less like a dramatic suicide when the Buchanans delve into the victim's private life and find inconsistences, including a sister (Ella Scott Lynch, SHINE) who stands to inherit an entire family fortune. When a big cat keeper is found bludgeoned to death in "Zootopia", the Buchanans suspect that his conveniently-vanished hippo-keeper ex-girlfriend is either the killer or another victim. The Buchanans become foodies in "The Course Whisperer" when a famous chef is murdered in his own kitchen and his body mysteriously spirited away.

"Grey is the new black" in MR. & MRS. MURDER, and our detectives find in more than a few cases that their villains (or even those suspects who turn out to be guilty of lesser transgressions) are not always the ruthless master villains, although there certainly are a few that threaten their lives (and one Hannibal Lecter-esque baddie who seems to be set up for a return, although there does not seem to have been a second series). While most sleuthing couples of late tend to favor the smart and impulsive wife and blundering and oblivious husband dynamic, Nicola is indeed impulsive but also observant and sensitive to body language and emotions while Charlie is more reserved but also extremely observant, knowledgeable, deductive, and is able to test out and explain his deductions compared to his wife's "I can feel it in my waters" hunches. Micaleff and Stewart have an easy chemistry even if some of their pop culture banter feels forced (they share a passion for BLADE RUNNER - the "version without all the narration" - and their first date movie was VANILLA SKY). Book club friends Alan (Ben Geurens, BODY MELT), a wheelchair-bound former spy, and "Menopause the Musical" Janine (Georgina Naidu) provide, respectively, consultancy and diversion.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 20 February 2013 - 15 May 2013 (Australian TV)

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DVD Review: Acorn Media/RLJ Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Also available in the US on DVD:

 

Distribution

Acorn Media/RLJ Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 9:36:24
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ~1.85 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Acorn Media/RLJ Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
� Disc One:
� Episodes 1-7 (16:9; 310:43)
� 'The Idea' featurette (16:9; 2:32)
� Cast Interviews (16:9; 2:49)
� 'Meeting Shaun Micallef' featurette (16:9; 2:03)
� 'The Worlds: Featuring Lost Soul' featurette (16:9; 3:24)
� 'Lost Soul: Good Stuff' music rendition (16:9; 2:47)
� 'Lost Soul: At Twenty Seven' music rendition (16:9; 3:47)
� Picture Gallery (16:9; 1:33)

� Disc Two:
� Episodes 8-13 (16:9; 265:41)

DVD Release Date: August 3rd, 2015
Amaray

Chapters 67

 

 

 

Comments

Acorn Media has made the rather bizarre (cheap and sloppy) approach to rendering this nine-and-a-half-hour series on DVD. Whereas the US release of the series splits the thirteen episodes (just under ten hours) and extras over four discs, the UK release splits the same amount of material between two discs with an extremely low average bitrate of 1.85 resulting in softer images (the American discs are at about 5.6 per episode). It plays well enough in motion, but may look less satisfying on bigger screens. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio appears to be the original mix and the optional English SDH subtitles seem to reproduce the dialogue with only minor paraphrasing and no glaring errors. Extras are rather slim.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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Screen Captures

 

US (Acorn) - NTSC DVD - TOP vs. UK (Acorn) - PAL DVD - BOTTOM

 

 


 

US (Acorn) - NTSC DVD - TOP vs. UK (Acorn) - PAL DVD - BOTTOM

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Also available in the US on DVD:

 

Distribution

Acorn Media/RLJ Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

 



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