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Incredible Hulk, The (Blu-ray / DVD)

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The Incredible Hulk on Blu-ray and DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Nomad

Starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment


The Incredible Hulk was the second Marvel film of the summer, running just behind the mega hit Iron Man, leaving the green goliath with mighty big shoes to fill (even for him.) I was exceedingly happy to report that the film surpassed every expectation I’d had and successfully washed the mellow dramatic taste of the first Hulk film out of my mouth. Ang Lee may be a brilliant director, but his take on a character like The Hulk should never have come to pass. That’s all behind us now as we have a fresh start with our favorite jade giant smashing, bounding and pounding the crap out of the American military machine and his arch nemesis, The Abomination. We also have the ability to pause, as you will be doing profusely after lessons learned in watching Iron Man, to reveal names like Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Rick Jones flying across the screen.

Without question, we are reviewing the 3 disk special edition. Is there any other??!! Disk one starts out with the usual trailers. I’m giving them a mention because nestled in there is a quick montage of Marvel Animation sneak peeks…some we’ve seen and some brand new! Included are Black Panther, the Hulk VS Films, Armored Adventures, Super Hero Squad (which looks no further ahead than it was before), and Wolverine and the X-Men. The feature film includes the option of commentary with Director Louis Leterrier and Tim Roth, who are both very laid back guys who like to joke around, making this highly enjoyable and at times, pretty damn funny! Deleted scenes include little extra bits of Bruce in Brazil getting control of himself and searching for the cure and a tiny bit more of Ross putting his plans into motion. Nothing in here we’d actually miss in the film but cool to watch none the less.

The Incredible Hulk on Blu-ray and DVD (click for larger image)Disk two begins with the fabled and now, infamous alternate opening we saw a glimpse of in the Incredible Hulk video game. We can now confirm that Cap is indeed frozen in this scene, if only for a second and at a frame rate no human eye would pick up. Click here for the unveiling of that fantastic little pseudo Easter egg! More deleted scenes await you next, beginning with a dose of com-o-dey with Bruce delivering Pizza around the campus before ending up in the computer lab to try and retrieve his data. The next sequences show far more involvement with Dr. Leonard Samson. While I love the actor chosen for this role in THIS particular movie, how he will become the long green haired Flash Gordon fan I will never know. I suppose they will have to chuck the locks out the window for the sake of avoiding the ridiculous. These additions add extra drama to the film, something no doubt the film company was wary of after the first film. For me they make the story so much more tragic and have their place in the telling of a true Hulk tale. Seldom do we see the tole being the Hulk takes on Banner and so when you have a talent like Ed Norton at your disposal, it would be a crime to not let him explore that. Loved every minute of this. The second batch of scenes expand into the military pursuit of Banner and some little bits of he and Betty on the run.

Next is a Making of the Incredible Hulk featurette which gives those psycho movie buffs all the little tidbits they were wondering about along with eye candy for the rest of us who just like to see stuff blow up! This is Juuuuuuust enough footage to be enjoyable and not put you to sleep. The next three features compliment this piece by showing how Ed Norton was in fact “inside” that ginormous Hulk body through the use of new technology and on the flip side, how Tim Roth got to put a little of himself inside every haymaker delivered by the monstrous Abomination. Through it all, you have Director Louis Leterrier running about, lifting gear and being very un-directorly while also amusing the hell out of everyone on the set and displaying child like glee when utilizing the newest gadgets to get the shots he desires. It is that kind of passion that takes a film from average to fantastic. The last bit titled “from comic to screen” shows one particular sequence torn right from the pages of the comic and through pseudo animation, how that scene played out in the comic. Also packed into this set is a digital copy to take with you to your kid’s baseball game as you pretend to be cheering him on. All the other fathers will thank you.

The Incredible Hulk on Blu-ray and DVD (click for larger image)If you’re a Blu-ray hound there’s plenty here to sink your teeth into. Via Universal’s U-Contol option we get several ways to watch the film. Once a particular icon shows up during the movie just click away and get ready for some picture-in-picture goodness consisting of the secret military files on the hunt for Banner, a not quite as extensive as you would have hoped for comic book gallery, and a nifty little scene explorer that allows you to check out everything from storyboards, to animatics, and of course, etc. For you BD Live heads out there you can even watch the flick while chatting with other fans. Pretty cool!

Once again, a must have set, the only difference being a tad less on the creation of the monster. I swear Iron Man had about an hour more in this department, and for good reason, though I admit to nodding off at times. Hulk packs in just the right amount of extra goodies and deleted scenes that aren’t presented just for the sake of giving us deleted scenes. Now that we have a cohesive Marvel Universe, the 3 disk set is a no brainer. You’ll want to soak up every ounce of geekiness you possibly can.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director Louis Leterrier and actor Tim Roth
  • BD Live Enabled (Blu-ray only)
  • U-Control (Blu-ray only)
  • Scene Explorer (Blu-ray only)
  • Picture-in-Picture (Blu-ray only)
  • Thunderbolt Files (Blu-ray only)
  • Comic Book Gallery (Blu-ray only)
  • The Making of Incredible featurette
  • Becoming The Hulk featurette
  • Becoming The Abomination featurette
  • Anatomy of a Hulk Out featurette
  • From Comic Book to Screen featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Opening

    Film
    “>“>“>“>
    4 out of 5

    Special Features
    “>“>“>“>“>
    5 out of 5

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    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
    3.5

    Summary

    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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    User Rating 4.33 (6 votes)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods


    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom
    4.0

    Summary

    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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    User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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    The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!

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    Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

    Directed by Alan Lougher


    The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

    When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

    Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

    • Film
    3.5

    Summary

    Ultimately chilling in nature!

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    User Rating 3.31 (16 votes)
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