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Grimm: Season Two (Blu-ray/DVD)

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Grimm: Season Two (Blu-Ray / DVD)Starring David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby, Sasha Roiz, Bree Turner, Reggie Lee, James Frain, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Directed by Various

Distributed by Universal Studios


This writer didn’t have much hope for “Grimm”, the supernatural police procedural that debuted in late 2011. At first glance it appeared to be a cut-rate cash-in on both the tried ‘n true “monster hunter” subgenre and Hollywood’s recent fascination with fairy tale properties (many of which are still heading down the pike). Imagine my surprise then when I discovered the show was a well-made, well-acted offering which, while flawed, showed lots of promise. If you haven’t yet given “Grimm” a chance, do be sure to check out Season One on either Blu-ray or DVD (perhaps after reading my review here). For those of you already familiar with “Grimm” and curious as to whether or not its second season stacks up well against its first, read on…

When we last left Detective Nick Burkhardt (Giuntoli), his girlfriend, Juliette (Tulloch), had just been hospitalized after an attack of the supernatural variety and he had just discovered that his long thought deceased mother (Mastrantonio) was very much alive and kicking (literally). These two incidents set in motion the events of the second season, which finds poor Juliette suffering from memory loss and Nick running afoul of The Royals, a secretive supernatural family that may be responsible for the death of Nick’s monster-hunting aunt in the previous season. Of course, in between these two story threads are numerous one-offs with any number of cool creatures for our poor hero to tackle (this is, after all, still a monster-of-the-week show at heart).

As with its previous season, “Grimm” continues to be a solidly enjoyable show, chock-full of nifty monsters and a neat mythology. Most everything has improved across the board this time ‘round as well. The actors seem more comfortable with the characters they’re portraying, the writing seems a bit more mature (and considerably darker at times, as with the episodes “Bad Moon Rising” or “To Protect and Serve Man”, for example), and the visual effects work appears to have a healthier budget, even though that damned morphing effect that illustrates the change from human to creature is still more annoying than not.

That’s not to say there still isn’t room for improvement. Along with the cheesy morphing effect, there seems to be a bit less variety in the creature designs this season. And while the writing is mostly sharper, Season Two is still plagued by some overwrought exposition and hammy subplots (Juliette’s amnesia and the love triangle that results from it reach soap opera levels at times). Still, for all its flaws, “Grimm” is a consistently fun and inventive show which deserves a look from genre lovers and monster enthusiasts of all ages. If you dug Season One, you’re bound to love Season Two.

Universal has done right by this show again with its Blu-ray release, giving it a beautiful presentation and a solid set of bonus features for fans to sift through. The image is just gorgeous, boasting beautiful colors, solid blacks, and loads of detail. The audio is immersive and quite punchy, providing a near-cinematic experience at times.

And then, the special features: We have deleted scenes culled from several episodes throughout Season Two; an extended version of the episode “Over My Dead Body” which features twelve additional minutes as well as several bits of unfinished visual effects (honestly, just stick with the aired version); a five-minute gag reel which is humorous enough; a ten-minute featurette which takes a look at the show’s ever-deepening mythology; two brief montages (one featuring the various creatures and transformations from throughout Season Two, the other focusing on the more amusing moments from fan fave character Monroe); a collection of four brief webisodes centered on Monroe, Rosalee, and Bud; and finally, the coolest item – a feature which allows you to peruse an encyclopedia of sorts concerning the various monsters from “Grimm”, featuring illustrations, brief descriptions, and video clips of each creature. Overall, it’s a pretty great set of extras.

With this being the second season of the show, this writer should imagine that you’ve already made up your mind as to whether or not you’re going to continue watching subsequent seasons. If you do decide to give the superior Season Two a shot, here’s hoping you enjoy!

Now bring on Season Three already!

Special Features

  • Grimm: Myths, Monsters & Legends: Learn about the ever-expanding mythology of Grimm as producers and cast discuss the richness of the show’s storylines, covering this season’s terrifying Wesen, the Seven Royal Families, and the mysteries of Aunt Marie’s trailer
  • Grimm: Creatures and Chaos: Watch as the creatures of Grimm morph and wreak havoc
  • Bad Hair Day Webisodes: A fellow Wesen visits Rosalee’s spice shop
  • Monroe’s Best Moments: Revisit the quips and quibbles that makes Monroe our favorite Wesen
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel

    Exclusive HD Content:

  • Grimm Guide: An interactive book that provides insight into the various creatures
  • Extended Episode: “Over My Dead Body”

    Season Two:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss “Grimm”: Season Two in the comments section below!

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    7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here

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    Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar

    Directed by Kimble Rendall


    If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?

    Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.

    We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.

    All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.

    • Film
    2.5

    Summary

    A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE

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    Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.

    What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic

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    Starring Father Gabriele Amorth

    Directed by William Friedkin


    Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.

    It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.

    The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?

    In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.

    Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.

    Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.

    Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!

    As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.

    • The Devil and Father Amorth
    2.0

    Summary

    See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.

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