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Spider-Man: Homecoming (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Disc Review)

October 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” may not be featuring the Spider-Man that I grew up reading but I will say that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was entertaining to the point that I watched it multiple times already because I really enjoyed watching the film.  The way I see it, if the “Spider-Man” trilogy or the next two films didn’t win you over, this movie may.  Wonderful story, loved the characters and this film was just a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Spider-Man: Homecoming

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 133 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, 2:39:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,  French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese,  Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish and Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13

RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2017


Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Directed by Jon Watts

Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers

Producer: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal

Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Avi Arad, Louis D’Esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Matt Tolmach, Patricia Whitcher

Co-Producer:  Mitchell Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Rachel O’Connor

Music by Michael Giacchino

Cinematography by Salvatore Totino

Edited by Debbie Berman, Dan Lebental

Casting by Sarah Finn

Production Design by Oliver Scholl

Set Decoration by Lauri Gaffin

Costume Design by Louise Frogley


Starring:

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Marisa Tomei as May Parker

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Zendaya as Michelle

Donald Glover as Aaron Davis

Jacob Batalon as Ned

Laura Harrier as Liz

Tony Revolori as Flash

Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz/Shocker

Tyne Daly as Anne Marie Hoag

Garcelle Beauvais as Doris Toomes


A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.


It is well-known that there is friction between Marvel Studios (which is currently owned by Disney) and their Marvel’s deal with FOX which gave them ownership to the X-Men films (and formerly the “Fantastic Four” films) which prevents the interaction of characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to co-exist.  But one big question that many have wondered is if one of the most iconic characters, Spider-Man, which the films are with Sony Pictures, would ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

And when it was announced that Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios and Disney would collaborate and allowed Spider-Man to be featured in a MCU film, not only was it unprecedented, fans applauded the studios of working together.

Spider-Man would be featured in “Captain America: Civil War” and now we have a new Spider-Man film which allows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and even Captain America to be featured in a Sony Pictures film, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

The film begins not long after the Battle of New York (as featured in the first “Avengers” film).  Adrian Toomes (portrayed by Michael Keaton) owns a salvage company and is contracted to clean up the city of the destroyed alien Chitauri technology that have littered the streets of New York.

As Adrian sees the financial possibilities of obtaining this technology, the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.) and a partnership with Stark Industries and the U.S. government have come in to take over, upsetting Adrian because he hired a lot of helped and spent his own money for the operation.

Having lost the job, his men reveal that they still have some of the alien technology.

Fastforward eight years later (following the events that took place in “Captain America: Civil War”), Peter Parker went to help Tony Stark/Iron Man and when taken home, is told that if they need him, they will call. Meanwhile, Happy Hogan (portrayed by Jon Favreau) would be watching over him.

And while Peter lives a double life as an intelligent studying at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, he takes on thugs or helps people with issues around the city, growing bored and wanting to do something huge.  He lives with his Aunty May (portrayed by Marisa Tomei) and hangs out with his best friend Ned (portrayed by Jacob Batalon) and has a crush on Liz (portrayed by Laura Harrier).

Meanwhile, we see that Adrian Toomes and his men have utilized the technology to pull of major theft of alien technology and selling it to the highest bidder and becoming wealthy because of it.

One device made is a shocking device and the person utilizing the technology would be known as The Shocker, while Toomes has a vulture like apparatus that allows him to fly and use the machinery as a weapon.

One day, as Spider-Man is out patrolling, he discovers a group of thieves dressed up with Avengers masks trying to rob a bank near his home.  Spider-Man goes to stop them but is shocked that they have alien technology that can literally destroy buildings quickly and another that makes him utilizing magnetic technology.

When he goes back home and sneaks in, Peter is unaware that his friend Ned is in his room and now Ned knows his secret that Peter is Spider-Man.

And as Peter tries to keep his double life in check, he is wanting to know more about the people using the alien technology despite the warning he receives from Tony Stark that he must stay on the ground.  Will Peter’s pursuit of who is using the Chitauri put him in true danger, especially of the people who are close to him?


VIDEO:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is presented in 4K Ultra High Definition ala 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).

The film looks absolutely magnificent in 4K Ultra HD and Spider-Man’s outfit is vibrant, colors and visual effects look magnificent and with each passing year, I can’t help but be in awe of how these MCU films look better and better.

Videophiles will no doubt be happy with this release.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio quality is equally impressive. Presented in English Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description.

The lossless audio is no doubt immersive considering the amount of action featured in this film.   Each shockblast, each web shot by Spider-Man, hearing the Vulture’s steel wings in action to the many numerous situations that involve explosions and weaponry, these sound effects for this film is truly marvelous.  Similar to the picture quality, for audio, lossless audio for this film is magnificent!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish and Thai

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • The Spide Study Guide – Watch the film with informative pop-ups and hidden references.
  • Gag Reel – (2:17) Bloopers from “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (16:17) Featuring ten deleted and extended scenes.
  • A Tangled Web – (6:12) Stan Lee and filmmakers discusses Spider-Man becoming part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Searching for Spider-Man – (8:05) A featurette about Tom Holland and having him as Spider-Man.
  • Spidey Stunts – (5:48) A featurette about the stunts on “Spider-Man” and how when Tom Holland auditioned for the film, he was doing stunts and using his gymnastic/dance background in the film.
  • Aftermath – (4:48) A featurette about the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe and incorporating storyline elements (featured in the “Avengers” film) to Spider-Man.
  • The Vulture Takes Flight – (6:02) A featurette about creating the antagonist, the Vulture on film.
  • Jon Watts: Head of the Class – (5:30) A featurette about hiring Jon Watts as the director of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and how he takes the character somewhere that has never been done for character on film.
  • Pros and Cons of Spider-Man – (3:28) Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon discussing the pros and cons of Spider-Man.
  • Rappin with Cap – (2:26) Featuring all four Captain America school films.
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


Growing up as a fan of “Spider-Man”, it has been interesting cinematic experiences.  From the Sam Raimi trilogy featuring actor Tobe Maguire in the 2000’s and the Marc Webb films starring Andrew Garfield in 2012 and 2014.  I was entertained by those films.

But with the Marvel Cinematic Universe establishing a well-oiled machine showcasing Marvel’s well-known characters interacting in each other’s films, one of the troubling situations was knowing that various superhero teams or superheroes featured from one studio, may not appear in the Disney/Marvel Studios films.

And when it was announced that Sony agreed to a collaboration for Spider-Man to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first with “Captain America: Civil War” and now with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and I see this as a win-win, for the studios but also the fans who have seen the MCU and how these characters and films tie together as a major plus.

But with numerous Spider-Man films, how would “Spider-Man: Homecoming” do compared to the other films?

For one, there is no rehash of how Spider-Man became a hero, no Uncle Ben, no jocks vs. geeks storyline.  No Mary Jane Watson.  No Gwen Stacy.  In fact, no one knew what to expect from filmmaker Jon Watts (known for indie films, “Cop Car” and “Creative Control”), especially as the film had numerous writers such as Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Watts along with Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

And probably the unknown is what made this film so enjoyable for me.  We saw how Spider-Man was recruited by Tony Stark in “Captain America: Civil War”, but what happened after that film is what many wondered how “Spider-Man: Homecoming” would end up.

The film would kick off by creating a tie-in to the first “Avengers” film with showing how Adrian Toomes owning a salvage company, taking alien high-technology from the ravaged streets of New York and then being kicked to the curb by the government and Stark Industries.  But Toomes and company managed to keep some of that alien technology and eight years later, he and his crew would be able to create superpowered weaponry with the salvaged Chitauri technology and become an arms trafficker.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker who served with Iron Man and other Avengers would now be returned back home and would need to report to Happy Hogan, the former head of security of Stark Industries.  While wanting to be in major skirmishes like the Avengers, Peter Parker for now will be the neighborhood crime-fighting hero, even if it means walking elderly across the street or vandalism.

But meanwhile Peter is trying to balance school and uses his superhero front working with Stark Industries as a “student internship” and trying to enjoy his teenage life with his buddy Ned while enjoying the presence of his high school crush, Liz from afar.

But life changes for Peter when he discovers Toome and their crew trying to use Chitauri technology for crime and because of their deadly weapons, he was nearly killed until Tony Stark utilized one of his costumes to save Peter.  But Peter wanting to prove himself to Tony Stark pursues the criminals not realizing the full extent of the danger that awaits him but also how with great power comes great responsibility.

The major difference between this Peter Parker than other incarnations of Peter Parker is that this is a modern film.  The costume that Peter Parker wears utilizes technology from Stark Industries giving him a wide range of selections for combat and even has an assistant built in to the costume.  And part of the entertainment factor is seeing Parker learn what his costume is capable of.

Meanwhile, as for Peter, another key difference is that while he is often bullied by Flash, unlike the first trilogy and the comic books, Flash is not an athlete but a part of Peter’s decathlon team.  Modernized for today’s generation, I liked how the film portrayed Peter, Ned, Liz, Flash as smart, intelligent teens and showcasing geeks as “cool” unlike the past where the geeks were always tormented by the jocks.

The film mirrors today’s world society and one of the things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done was to show diversity.  The film showcases a white teen who has a crush on an African American teen, her mother is married to a Caucasian man, the film features Peter Parker’s best friend Ned who happens to be a Filipino.

It may not mean a lot to some people but for those who have been wanting to see diversity, wanting to see situations that mirror real life and have wanted Hollywood to showcase diversity will definitely get that with “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

The film looks absolutely fantastic on 4K Ultra HD and the lossless soundtrack is immersive and quite active thanks to the plethora of action sequences.  And you also get a numerous special features included as well.

Overall, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” may not be featuring the Spider-Man that I grew up reading but I will say that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was entertaining to the point that I watched it multiple times already because I really enjoyed watching the film.  The way I see it, if the “Spider-Man” trilogy or the next two films didn’t win you over, this movie may.  Wonderful story, loved the characters and this film was just a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

avengers-ultron-a

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” is a fantastic and exciting action film. While it does not have the same epic-feel of the original, fans of the first film will no doubt enjoy the film’s intensity of the many action scenes that this film has to offer. Looking for an action film and enjoyed the first “The Avengers” film? Then it’s a no brainer…”Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition

YEAR OF FILM: 2015

DURATION: 141 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Color, 2:40:1 Aspect Ratio

COMPANY: Disney

RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2015


Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Joss Whedon

Based on the Marvel Comics Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Executive Producer:  Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, Alan Fine, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Patricia Whitcher

Producer: Kevin Feige

Co-Producer: Mitchell Bell

Associate Producer: Jamie Christopher

Music by Danny Elfman, Brian Tyler

Cinematography by Ben Davis

Edited by Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Lassek

Casting by Sarah Finn, Reg Poerscout-Edgerto

Production Design by Charles Wood

Art Direction by Thomas Brown

Set Decoration by Sheona Mitchley, Richard Roberts

Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne


Starring:

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye

James Spader as Ultron

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch

Paul Bettany as Jarvis/Vision

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter

Idris Elba as Heimdall

Linda Cardellini as Laura Barton

Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig

Claudia Kim as Dr. Helen Cho

Thomas Kretschmann as Strucker

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue

Julie Delpy as Madame B

Stan Lee as himself


Marvel Studios unleashes the next global phenomenon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — MARVEL’S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Good intentions wreak havoc when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unwittingly creates Ultron (James Spader), a terrifying A.I. monster who vows to achieve “world peace” via mass extinction. Now Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) — alongside Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) — must reassemble to defeat Ultron and save mankind…if they can! This action-packed adventure is a mind-blowing blast!


avengers2-d

With the first film of “The Avengers” (2012) earning $1.52 billion in the box office, becoming at the time, the #3 film to have the highest gross of all time and the first billion dollar film for Marvel Studios.

And with the sequel “Avengers: Age of Ultron” gaining plenty of hype and the good news that director/writer Joss Whedon (“The Avengers”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and the original cast will be returning, Disney/Marvel hoped to achieve similar success.

And sure enough, “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron” accomplished just that.  Earning $1.4 billion in the box office, the film would become the sixth highest grossing film of all time and the second highest grossing film of 2016.

The all-star cast for the film includes Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man” films, “Chaplin”, “Sherlock Holmes”), Chris Hemsworth (“Thor” films, “Rush”), Mark Ruffalo (“Shutter Island”, “Now You See Me”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), Chris Evans (“Captain America” and “Fantastic Four” films), Scarlett Johansson (“Lost in Translation”, “Lucy”), Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”, “American Hustle”, “The Bourne Legacy”), James Spader (“Boston Legal”, “Lincoln”, “Stargate”) as the voice of Ultron, Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction”, “Django”, “Star Wars I-III” films), Don Cheadle (“Iron Man 2 & 3”, “Hotel Rwanda”, “Crash”), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass” films, “Godzilla”), Elizabeth Olsen (“Godzilla”, “Old Boy”, “Very Good Girls”), Paul Bettany (“A Beautiful Mind”, “Iron Man” films”), Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”, “Million Dollar Baby”, “Real Steel”).

While the film received mixed, but yet positive reviews, it set into motion the third and fourth films to be released in 2018 and 2019.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will be released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD in October 2013.  The film is also available on Disney Movies Anywhere and when you buy the film through Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) you get an exclusive bonus feature, “Connecting the Universe.” Disney Movies Anywhere is a cloud-based digital movie service that is available on Roku, Android TV, iTunes, Google Play, Walmart’s VUDU, Amazon Video, and Microsoft Movies & TV! Disney Movies Anywhere provides more ways to buy and watch your favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies at home or on the go.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” begins with the Avengers raiding a Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in Eastern Europe country of Sokovia.  The team is trying to retrieve a scepter that was previously wielded by Loki and is being used for experimentation of humans.  Two of the humans that are part of von Strucker’s experiments are twins, Pietro (who has superhuman speed) and Wanda Maximoff (who has the ability to manipulate minds and project energy).

As the Avenger’s retrieve the scepter and Thor is to return it to Asgard, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner discover that the scepter has artificial intelligence within the gem embedded in the scepter.  While Stark has AI via Jarvis, Stark with Banner’s help (and not letting any of the other Avengers know) that they will use the scepter’s power to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program.

But once the group are having a party, the Ultron AI becomes sentient and immediately wants to eradicate humanity to save Earth and tries to destroy the Jarvis AI.  Ultron immediately takes control of other robotics and tries to create other robots based on Ultron to destroy the Avengers and their friends, by attacking them at their HQ after the party.

Ultron immediately escapes with the scepter and heads to Sokovia using the resource in Strucker’s base to build an army but also teaming up with Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, who want revenge against Tony Stark for creating missiles that killed their parents.  As they head to Wakanda, Africa to obtain the tough metal known as Vibranium, in order to build his army, the Avengers lead an attack, but are quickly beaten thanks to Wanda’s power of mind manipulation, but also manipulating the Hulk’s mind, who ends up causing major damage and becomes a threat to human life.

Because of the wide-scale destruction blamed entirely on the Avengers, they must come up with a plan on how to defeat Ultron, the twins and his army, considering the worldwide backlash the Avengers are receiving.


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VIDEO:

“Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film is presented in 3D and 2D.

First, let’s discuss the 2D.  The film looks magnificent in HD.  CG elements are well-balanced with live action scenes and there is amazing detail when it comes to closeups.  Outdoor scenes are vibrant, the colors are well saturated and black levels are nice and dark.  But it’s important to note that there are many scenes that were purposely made to look gloomy and soft, but for the most part, the film looks fantastic in HD!

As for the 3D version of the film (included on a separate disc), the film does feature good use of displaying depth.  From the introduction action sequence, to the first battle with Ultron, the Hulk Buster Iron Man vs. Hulk and seeing Tony Stark and his floating visuals around his helmet or the final action scenes, depth was well-utilized for the 3D.  But in terms of any 3D elements that look like they are coming straight out you, you’ll find that it’s the smaller things that look more effective.  Sparks, glass shattering, rocks and debris flying out to you, those are the most effective, but for the most part, this is a depth-driven 3D film.  One shouldn’t be bowled over by the 3D but if you do love your films showcasing solid depth, then you’ll enjoy the 3D version of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the lossless audio, “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital Language Tracks.

The lossless soundtrack is quite immersive with great use of the surround channels and LFE via the subwoofer.  Due to the large amount of action sequences, many times I felt the room tremble to my delight.  Dialogue and music were crystal clear but I felt the surround channels were well done!  Audiophiles for the most part, should be quite satisfied with the overall mix.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • From the Inside Out – Making of Avengers: Age of Ultron – (20:54) Featuring interviews with director Joss Whedon and the cast of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.  Featuring footage from pre-production, production and on the red carpet.
  • The Infinite Six – (7:28) A featurette about the Infinity Stones (gems) and featuring the storyline of the Infinity Gauntlet and how they were featured in other Marvel films.
  • Global Adventure – (3:01) A short featurette of where the film was shot around the world.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (12:04) Featuring four deleted and extended scenes with optional audio commentary from Joss Whedon.
  • Gag Reel – (3:38) A hilarious gag reel from “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron”.
  • Audio Commentary with Director Joss Whedon

EXTRAS:

“Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” comes with a slipcover and a Disney Movie Rewards code.  Plus the 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs for the film.


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Watching the first “The Avengers” film, I was actually in awe of how the film was well-done in terms of execution of bringing all major characters from various films together.

While I wasn’t expecting a faithful adaptation to the comic books (fans of the comic books should know that faithful adaptations to the comic book series will not happen in superhero films or TV series), what was important to me is how faithful the films were for the individual character’s behaviors. And for the most part, the film delivered and felt it was an amazing action film when it was released.

Here we are in 2015 with the second film and I’ve read many Ultron-related comic books with his appearance in “The Avengers” and “Fantastic Four” comic series, but I was really interested in seeing how they would be able to pull things off for the sequel.  Especially as the film introduces us to Wanda (Scarlett Witch) and Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), especially one Avenger that I couldn’t wait to see… Vision.

With that being said, this was going to be a difficult film for even Joss Whedon.  When you have too many superheroes, it’s really hard to craft a storyline when you have to include everyone.

Captain America as the leader, Tony Stark becoming the mad scientist, Bruce Banner wanting to get away from everyone because he’s afraid of the damage that the Hulk will do, the Black Widow and her past, Thor’s nightmares after being mind controlled by Wanda Maximoff.

And then you have to throw in Nick Fury and Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., add a few other characters from the other films such as James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine from the “Iron Man” films, Peggy Carter from the first “Captain America: The First Avenger” film and “Agent Carter” TV series, Samuel Wilson a.ka. Falcon from “Captain America: The Winter Soldiers”, Heimdall and Erik Selvig from the “Thor” films and then you have Dr. Helen Cho, Hawkeye’s family and there are way too many characters to fit in the film.  In fact, Tom Hiddleston film scenes of Loki that were cut out of the final version of the film, which would complicate things even more.

And while I love seeing many characters make guest appearances in a comic book series, for a film, it took away too much from the plot.    Yes, I like how characters connected to the various Marvel Superheroes films but the execution and balance of the film didn’t feel right.

But despite the “too many characters” problems in the film, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is still a fantastic, exciting popcorn action film that delivers in battles (Hulk Buster Iron Man vs. the Hulk) to major destruction in various countries.

This is Joss Whedon’s final film for “The Avengers”, as the next two films will be directed by the Russo brothers and will be a two-parter titled “Avengers: Infinity War”, which shows us the next Avengers antagonist, Thanos.  And for those who have read the “Infinity Gauntlet” comic books, that’s a major storyline in the Marvel Universe, but it’s also a theme that has been mentioned in other Marvel films including “Guardians of the Galaxy”.  So, there has been a build up for these next films, but with so many characters, it will be interesting to see the Russo brothers take the helm.

But I did enjoy the film a lot, but perhaps the simplicity of the first film and focus on the prime characters made me enjoy it even more.

As for the Blu-ray release of “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition”, while I preferred the 2D of the film, the 3D does provide great depth and sparks, debris, glass coming at you.  But the film looks great in HD (although a bit soft than sharp) and features great detail on closeups.  Lossless audio is fantastic and great utilization of the surround channels and LFE.  Special features were surprisingly more on the short side, but you do get audio commentary.  I was just expecting a bit more in terms of special features.

While the Collector’s Edition includes the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and Digital HD version of the film, the film is also available on Disney Movies Anywhere and when you buy the film through Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) you get an exclusive bonus feature, “Connecting the Universe.”  For those not familiar with Disney Movies Anywhere, it is a cloud-based digital movie service that is available on Roku, Android TV, iTunes, Google Play, Walmart’s VUDU, Amazon Video, and Microsoft Movies & TV! Disney Movies Anywhere provides more ways to buy and watch your favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies at home or on the go.

Overall, “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” is a fantastic and exciting action film. While it does not have the same epic-feel of the original, fans of the first film will no doubt enjoy the film’s intensity of the many action scenes that this film has to offer.

Looking for an action film and enjoyed the first “The Avengers” film? Then it’s a no brainer…”Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – Collector’s Edition” is recommended!

Iron Man 3 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

foolishwives

This is the best “Iron Man” film created thus far!  The change of having Shane Black as a director and co-writer along with Drew Pearce would bring an attention to a character driven film, in this case, Tony Stark.  This is the most vulnerable that we see of the character but how it integrates and balances with the action, makes “Iron Man 3” much better than its predecessors.  As an “Iron Man” fan, if you love superhero films especially with a lot of heavy hitting action, “Iron Man 3” on Blu-ray is highly recommended!

TITLE: Iron Man 3

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 130 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Marvel Entertainment/Disney

RATED: PG-13

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Directed by Shane Black

Screenplay by Drew Pearce, Shane Black

Based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby

Based on the “Extremis” mini-series by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov

Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Dan Mintz, Charles Newirth, Lars P. Winter, Bing Wu, Wen-ga Xiao

Produced by Kevin Feige

Associate Producer: Mitchell Bell, Lars P. Winther

Music by Brian Tyler

Cinematography by John Toll

Edited by Peter S. Elliot, Jeffrey Ford

Casting by Sarah Finn

Production Design by Bill Brzeski

Art Direction by Alan hook, Desma Murphy, Jay Pelissier, Brian Stultz, John Eaves

Set Decoration by Danielle Berman

Costume Design by Louise Frogley

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes

Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian

Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery

James Badge Dale as Savin

Stephani Szostak as Brandt

Paul Bettany as the voice of Jarvis

William Sadler as President Ellis

Dale Dickey as Mrs. Davis

Ty Simpkins ans Harley Keener

Miguel Ferrer as Vice President Rodriguez

The studio that brought you Marvel’s The Avengers unleashes the best Iron Man adventure yet with this must-own, global phenomenon starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow.

When Tony Stark/Iron Man finds his entire world reduced to rubble, he must use all his ingenuity to survive, destroy his enemy and somehow protect those he loves. But a soul-searching question haunts him: Does the man make the suit… or does the suit make the man? Featuring spectacular special effects, Marvel’s Iron Man 3 explodes with exclusive Blu-ray content.

It’s currently the fifth highest grossing film worldwide and the highest grossing film of 2013, “Iron Man 3” has earned over $1.2 billion worldwide (second highest grossing film of the Marvel cinematic universe after “The Avengers”) and the highest grossing “Iron Man” film yet!

And I have to say, it’s the best “Iron Man” film created so far!

From the writer of “The Monster Squad” and the “Lethal Weapon” films, Shane Black may only have had one film in his directorial belt with the 2005 film “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” but the he has demonstrated that he can write and he can direct and together with co-writer Drew Pearce (Executive Producer of “Damage Control”), the duo have proven that they can deliver!

And the film features an all-star cast with Robert Downey, Jr. (“The Avengers”, “Sherlock Holmes”, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”), Gwyneth Paltrow (“Se7en”, “Glee”, “Shakespeare in Love”), Don Cheadle (“Crash”, “Hotel Rwanda”), Guy Pearce (“Memento”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Prometheus”), Rebecca Hall (“The Prestige”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), Jon Favreau (“Swingers”, “Elf”, “Zathura: A Space Adventure”) and Ben Kingsley (“Schindler’s List”, “Shutter Island”, “Gandhi”).

And now “Iron Man 3” is set to be released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy and Blu-ray + DVD on September 24th.

“Iron Man 3” begins with Tony Stark (portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr.) discussing an event that took place on New Year’s Eve back in 1999 in Switzerland.  Stark along with scientist Maya Hansen are about to have a romantic fling for the night but they are interrupted by a scientist named Aldrich Killian (portrayed by Drew Pearce) who wants to talk with him about his company, Advanced Idea Mechanics.  Tony tells Aldrich to meet him on top of the building in five minutes.

But after talking to Maya Hansen about Extremis (an regenerative treatment to allow recovery from crippling injuries), the two are distracted by Extremis and one another.  And eventually, Tony forgets about Aldrich Killian who continues to wait on top of the hotel building.

Fast forward to 2013 and Tony is still recovering from his bout with anxiety and paranoia after the alien invasion of New York (featured in “The Avengers” film) and has panic attacks, worried that he may not have what it takes to protect humanity.

During his period of isolation, he has created several dozen Iron Man suits and is trying to control them with his thoughts.  But it’s creating a stress on his relationship with Pepper (portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow), his girlfriend and the person overseeing Stark Industries.

Meanwhile, the broadcast networks are hacked and a terrorist known as the Mandarin talks of his disdain of America and becomes the #1 terrorist that the U.S. government are after.  Meanwhile, Aldrich Killian comes to visit Stark Industries to introduce Pepper a new technology he has developed but she tells him that Stark Industries is not interested.  Because Aldrich came with a shady bodyguard, Stark Industries security chief Happy Hogan (portrayed by Jon Favreau) begins investigating them.  One night when following them to Hollywood, he sees the bodyguard making a transfer to a man.  As Happy bumps into the man, he manages to knock over a case full of metal parts and takes one piece but is caught by Aldrich’s bodyguard.  A fight ensues and the man who received the case from the bodyguard explodes, killing those who are nearby and severely injuring Happy Hogan.

With the Mandarin making threats, Stark issues a threat for the Mandarin to attack him at his personal address and gives his personal address out on television.

Back at Tony’s home, he is visited by Maya Hansen who is about to tell him something important.  But as Tony tries to introduce Pepper to Maya, she sees a television report and sees a helicopter shooting missiles towards Tony’s home.

Several helicopters begin attacking the home knocking Maya out and Tony activating his Iron Man prototype suit on Pepper and protecting her.  As Tony gets his prototype suit back, he tells Pepper to get Maya outside to safety, meanwhile the attackers continue to send missiles, destroying Tony’s home and all his Iron Man suits.  Iron Man’s prototype suit has no weapons yet assigned to it, so Tony tries to fight back but ends up going down the sea and sinking with remnants of his home. His suit is able to escape to rural Tennessee but in the process, he loses the AI known as J.A.R.V.I.S. and he is stuck on his own in the freezing middle of nowhere.

He manages to leave Pepper a message that he’s OK, but the world thinks he is dead.  Tony finds a garage and breaks into it and tries to find a way to fix his armor.  Meanwhile, a 10-year-old named Harley comes in and befriends Tony and helps him find the parts he needs to fix his armor.

But as Tony investigates the attack in Hollywood, he finds out that a similar situation happened in Tennessee.  Meanwhile, as he hopes to find a way to fix his prototype suit, unbeknown to Stark is that Mandarin agents have arrived to his location to kill him.

Will Tony find the Mandarin or will he find out another mastermind who is responsible for this deadly plot?

VIDEO:

“Iron Man 3” is presented in 1080p High Definition and is possibly one of the top looking Blu-ray I have seen all year.  Not only are details evident in the Iron Man’s armor but closeups are also well-done on camera closeups, CG elements via green screen look magnificent and integrates with the real surroundings remarkably well.

I found no artifacts, no banding and this is one of the most detailed films on Blu-ray!  Recommended!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Iron Man 3” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and it is one of the most immersive lossless soundtracks I have heard for 2013 and the last two years.  From the helicopters sending missiles to destroy Tony Stark’s home and the sound of explosions and all out destruction is fantastic.  Especially the fight sequence towards the end of the film with explosions galore, great use of LFE and the amount of weaponry featured in this film from Iron Man or the antagonists, they sound magnificent in HD!   A fantastic lossless soundtrack and one of the best I have listened to in 2013!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Iron Man 3” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with director/co-writer Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce.
  • Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter – (15:29) Featuring Agent Carter (actress Hayley Atwell) who is left doing a desk job, takes on a mission without alerting her superiors.
  • Iron Man 3 Unmasked – (10:59) Behind-the-scenes of “Iron Man 3”.
  • Deconstructing the Scene: Attack on Air Force One – (8:43) How the following action scene was created and how people actually did sky dive for the scene.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (16:20) Featuring ten deleted and extended scenes.
  • Exclusive Look at Thor: The Dark World  – (1:53) A short interview and clips for the upcoming “Thor: The Dark World”.
  • Gag Reel – (5:09) Outtakes from “Iron Man 3”.

EXTRAS:

NOTE: The review copy we are reviewing is the disc only, but we do know a DVD version of the film is included with the Blu-ray release.

When it comes to superhero films, I have to admit that within the last decade, we have seen action-heavy films based on the characters of the comic books, but while action and special effects are great, the story tended to be more towards the weak side.

Fortunately for the “Iron Man” films, they have been films that are full of action, full of humor thanks to the outstanding performance from Robert Downey, Jr.  But I have to admit that as much as I enjoyed both films, I did not love them.

Here we are with the third film based on the popular iconic Marvel character.  And while it’s a deviation from the comic book storyline as expected, the sheer magnitude of destruction and emotional situations that Tony Stark must go through makes “Iron Man 3” the best film in the series.

Yes, he has been the intelligent, suave playboy.  But with the third “Iron Man”, Marvel has made sure that the film has some connection to last year’s summer blockbuster “The Avengers”.

In this case, with Tony Stark seeing that humanity can be in danger by enemies that humanity has never known, he needs to prepare by improving his technology, which include the ability to have control of various armor parts coming back to him by mental or vocal commands.  But also the experimentation with various prototypes he had created.

The Tony Stark featured in the third “Iron Man” film is one that is not the same after the fight against the aliens in “The Avengers”.  Panic attacks plague the hero billionaire as he has stopped sleeping because of his need to protect the people he loves.

But when America is tempted to respond to terrorism thanks to a man named “The Mandarin”, America is under alert after a man explodes and kills people in Hollywood with shadows that heat into the walls resembling a nuclear attack. One person injured is Tony Stark’s good friend Happy Hogan.

As the Mandarin is responsible, Stark offers the direct challenge to attack him at his home and sure enough they do, several helicopters arrive and many missiles are fired in Stark’s compound and obliterates Stark’s home. The visual scenery of the Iron Man costumes blown up or seeing the ultimate destruction of the home was wonderful.

But there are also death defying stunts including a rescue attempt with people who blew out of an airplane which Iron Man has to rescue them.  Where most companies would take the short route of not having any casualties or injuries, to shoot via blue screen and have it done via CG, but in the case of “Iron Man 3”, they actually planned it via sky diving, so it’s one of the most intriguing stunts for a scene that I have seen in a long time.  I was impressed!

One of the most exciting action sequences on “Iron Man 3” (one of many), it’s when you realize that Marvel tries to keep things simple and showcasing the characters much more.  Bringing these characters to the forefront and giving them more of a role than just standing and sitting around.  Pepper (portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow) has much more involvement in this film, as does Col. James Rhodes (portrayed by Don Cheadle).  It’s what makes this film much better, utilizing characters but also making Tony Stark, the man, now in danger.  Without his “Iron Man” suit which is badly in need of a recharge, he must use his intelligence in trying to protect the people he loves and finding those who are responsible.

While purists will always complain how Marvel superhero films don’t resemble the comic books in anyway, this is probably the best we could see of the utilization of the Mandarin and also AIM as antagonists.  As a longtime Marvel fan and grew up reading the comic books, I wasn’t disappointed but actually thrilled of how they were able to pull things off.

And I felt that Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow had even more chemistry onscreen than in previous films.  And once again, the utilization of the characters was important to the storyline and having a change in directorial direction with Shane Black at the helm along with writer Drew Pearce made a difference to the film.

As for the Blu-ray release, this is a spectacular release with one of the better Blu-ray releases I have seen for 2013.  In terms of picture quality and also an immersive lossless audio soundtrack, this Blu-ray release is a video and audiophile’s dream release in terms of wonderful detail, colors and presentation in HD, while audio is immersive and those with a 7.2 system can be assured that explosions, artillery, you name it is heard from all around you.

As for special features, there are a quite a good number of them. The audio commentary was informative but my favorite was the Agent Carter short that I was not expecting and it was a very wonderful addition to this Blu-ray release.

It’s important to remind everyone that there are three releases, one on 3D Blu-ray, the other is a Blu-ray release which includes the DVD and a digital copy and the regular edition with the Blu-ray and DVD included.  So, special features may differ with these other Blu-ray versions.

Overall, this is the best “Iron Man” film created thus far!  The change of having Shane Black as a director and co-writer along with Drew Pearce would bring an attention to a character driven film, in this case, Tony Stark.  This is the most vulnerable that we see of the character but how it integrates and balances with the action, makes “Iron Man 3” much better than its predecessors.

As an “Iron Man” fan, if you love superhero films especially with a lot of heavy hitting action, “Iron Man 3” on Blu-ray is highly recommended!

 

Marvel’s The Avengers (A J!-Ent Blu-Ray Disc Review)

October 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is the biggest movie of 2012 and it doesn’t disappoint.  With an all-star cast and an amazing director, this non-stop thrill-ride lives up to the expectations of a summer blockbuster and provides so much more.  The film is filled with action, comedy, amazing special effects and redefines the term, “comic book movie”.  This film is not only for fans of the comics, but has something for everyone and you can now relive the excitement in the theater at home with this Blu-ray release.  This Blu-ray release is absolutely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

TITLE: Marvel’s The Avengers

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 143 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1 Widescreen Presentation, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, and Spanish

COMPANY: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures

RATED: PG-13 (For Intense Sequences of Sci-Fi Violence and Action Throughout, and a Mild Drug Reference)

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Joss Whedon, Zak Penn

Produced by Kevin Feige

Executive Producers: Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, Alan Fine, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Patricia Whitcher

Series Producer: Alex Ward

Music by Alan Silvestri

Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey

Edited by Jeffrey Ford, Lisa Lassek

Casting by Sarah Finn, Randi Hiller

Production Design by James Chinlund

Art Direction by Benjamin Edelberg, Jann K. Engel, Gregory S. Hooper, William O’ Hunter, Randy Moore

Supervising Art Director: Richard L. Johnson

Set Decoration by Victor J. Zolfo

Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne

Starring:

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson

Cobie Smoulders as Agent Maria Hill

Stellan Skarsgård as Selvig

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Marvel Studios presents “Marvel’s The Avengers”—the team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series The Avengers, first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures. The film was produced by Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Jon Favreau, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patricia Whitcher, Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham. The story was by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon and the screenplay was by Joss Whedon.

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film smashed the industry record for the biggest domestic opening of all time with $207.4M, crossed the $1 billion global box office threshold in 19 days, and currently stands as the #3 global and domestic release of all time.

So, remember in May, 2008 and “Iron Man” came out in theaters?  It totally changed what a “comic book movie” should be.  “Iron Man” was not only the best comic book film to date at the time, but audiences of all ages, who had no idea about the comics, enjoyed the movie.  Soon after, “The Incredible Hulk” followed and it as a big summer hit.  At the very end of “Iron Man”, we see the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and he brings up “The Avengers Initiative”.  Now, anyone who knows anything about the “Avengers Initiative”, had something to possibly look forward to, and probably never thought would come true.  In “The Incredible Hulk”, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), or Iron Man, makes a cameo and once again mentions the “Avengers Initiative”.  What the “Avengers Initiative” possibly entailed in the terms of future movies, was not just another “Iron Man” sequel, but a series of movies with various Marvel superheroes and eventually, hopefully an epic movie with all of those superheroes in one movie.

Two years later, “Iron Man 2” came out and was another smash hit.  At the end of that movie, there was another tie-in with the next movie, “Thor”, which came out in 2011.  Finally, a few months later, “Captain America: The First Avenger” came out in theaters.  Not only were these all very successful comic book films, but they all became huge summer blockbusters that anyone could enjoy, and the success of these films actually was going to make “The Avengers” come true.  This would mean that they were bringing all of these characters, who all had their own movies, together into one giant movie.  Each movie had headlining characters, which also meant that they all had very big actors.  To bring all of these people into one movie just sounds like too much could go wrong.  However, if they were able to pull it off, it could be one of the most amazing movies of all time.

Thankfully, Marvel Studios, Joss Whedon, and the amazing all-star cast made the impossible happen.  “Marvel’s The Avengers” not only became the biggest movie of 2012, but one of the biggest movies of all time.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s half brother, comes to Earth with plans to take it over and make it his own.  Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D, quickly acts and starts taking the necessary steps to stop this from happening.  He has his agents, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) to retrieve Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).  Nick Fury himself summons Steve Rogers/Captain America (Steve Rogers), who is still trying to deal with the fact that he has been asleep for 70 years and has woken up in a world he doesn’t know anymore.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth), joins the group, uninvited, because he wants put a stop to his brother.  What all this does is not create the most unstoppable superhero team of all time, but instead the most dysfunctional team ever.  Before they can even stop Loki, they need get over conflicting egos, anger, distrust, and other issues with each other.  If they can’t, Loki and his army will take over the Earth.  With Joss Whedon writing and directing this all-star cast, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish.

VIDEO:

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented in 1080 p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  This film is beautiful: both due to the cinematography and the special effects.  Seamus McGarvey did a phenomenal job as the cinematographer.  Every shot in the movie, with or without special effects, were beautiful to look at and fit with the current emotions being felt in every part of the movie.  The first half of the movie is dark, but the details are still all there.  The second half of the movie is pretty bright and filled with tons of explosions and once again, no details lost.

The special effects in this movie are flawless.  Even in HD, everything looks ridiculously real.  Some of the most memorable parts are when the helicarrier first appears and then disappears into the sky and of course, the very long battle scene at the end of the movie.  Joss Whedon mentions this as well in his commentary, but it is almost scary what can be done with special effects nowadays.  This movie was absolutely gorgeous in the theaters and the Blu-ray release for home doesn’t disappoint!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, with other options including English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service Dolby Digital, French 7.1 DTS-HD HR, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  This movie is filled with non-stop action well as non-stop dialogue.  And you can hear all of it perfectly in the Blu-ray.  Lossless audio is absolutely immersive and amazing use of all channels.

Despite all of the fighting and explosions throughout the movie, you could still hear all of the dialogue and the original music by Alan Silvestri brought out the atmosphere throughout the film.  Nothing ever seemed too loud or too soft: it was just right (I appreciate when I don’t have to adjust the volume from my TV because the dialogue was so quiet and then all of the sudden there’s a ridiculously loud explosion and I have to turn the TV down).  This film sounded epic on the big screen and I’m very satisfied with the experience I get watching it at home as well.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Marvel’s The Avengers” comes with the following special features:

  • The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience – (2:22:54) Access the S.H.I.E.L.D. data base to immerse yourself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dive into the Avengers Comic Book History, and much, much more in this exclusive experience for your iPad, iPhone, or laptop.
  • Commentary by Director Joss Whedon – (2:22:54) Audio commentary with Director Joss Whedon.
  • Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 – (11:20) Original short film about something that happened after the events of “The Avengers”.
  • Gag Reel – (04:05) Marvel’s first ever gag reel.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes – (14:59) See deleted and extended scenes from the movie including an alternate opening and ending to the movie with Maria Hill.
  • A Visual Journey (Featurette) – (6:28) Discover amazing sets, groundbreaking visual effects, and stunning cinematography of this phenomenal film.
  • Assembling the Ultimate Team – (8:08) The all-star cast shares the excitement of teaming up to bring these characters to life, and Director Joss Whedon discusses what each of them brought to their role.
  • “Live to Rise” Soundgarden Music Video – (4:49) Music video for the Soundgarden song, “Live to Rise”.
  • Sneak Peeks – (7:21) Sneak peeks at other Marvel Studios, Disney, and ABC releases.

EXTRAS:

“Marvel’s The Avengers” comes with various extras, depending on which version you purchase.  The 5-Feature Action Pack comes with a 3D slip cover, a 3D Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray of the feature film, the DVD of the feature film, a digital copy of the feature film, and a digital album copy of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture.

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is a film that lived up to all the hype and all of the expectations this past summer.  If successful, it was not only going to be the biggest comic book movie of all time, bringing together characters from five other movies, but one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.  This film did everything that it was set to accomplish and probably did more than anyone could have imagined.

I’m sure that many people have already seen this movie, and they already know that they should probably buy this Blu-ray or DVD release, but to the ones who actually haven’t seen it yet: this movie is phenomenal.  It’s not just for comic book fans and nerds (or whatever else you may call us).  Just like “Iron Man” had done four years ago, this movie is enjoyable by audiences of all ages and comic book knowledge is not required whatsoever.  If you want to watch a fun movie filled with action, quick comedic dialogue, and absolutely stunning special effects, this movie has it all.

This movie is really an impossible dream come true in a way.  I don’t think most people would have ever thought that they’d be able to see this movie happen successfully because so much could have gone wrong.  This was indeed a first of its kind.  This was the first time that any studio had brought together so many huge characters from separate successful franchises into one epic movie.  With so many main characters in one movie, this movie could have easily gotten messy.  Too many things could have happened at once with so many characters or the characters’ screen times could have been terribly unbalanced.  “The Avengers” in the comics has a huge cast of superheroes on the team.  The movie itself has Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, along with Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and Maria Hill.  Just seeing that many main characters could make one’s head spin.  But somehow, Joss Whedon made it work.  He balanced out everyone’s roles quite equally and produced a great story that brought out the best in each of the characters.

This movie follows five Marvel Studios films and is a collaboration of the characters from those movies, so it should be watched after seeing those five.  This is like the big, completed puzzle of all the other movies.  However, Whedon managed to make this movie enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the previous films.  You don’t have to, but you’ll get more out of this film if you see the previous films.  This film really does have a bit of everything.  It’s beautiful to look at visually (the cinematography as well as the flawless special effects), fast, witty dialogue, non-stop action, comedy, and a movie that both comic book fans and the general public could fully enjoy.  The movie is almost 2 ½ hours long, but it never seemed too long or dragged out.  So much is going on, but it never seemed too chaotic, unless it was supposed to.  It’s so much fun and so much happens that it can easily be enjoyed for multiple viewings.

The cast is filled with brilliant actors, but two of the most fantastic performances came from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Tom Hiddleston as Loki.  Robert Downey Jr. is a major reason this movie even happened.  If he didn’t bring Tony Stark to life in “Iron Man” and help make it such a successful film along with director, Jon Favreau, I honestly don’t think this movie would have ever happened.  Robert Downey Jr. probably has the most number of memorable lines in the movie.  Almost anytime he spoke, a memorable quote from the movie came out.  Of course, this also has to do with Joss Whedon’s writing style, but combined with Robert Downey Jr.’s skills, what came out was pure genius (I am slightly curious to know how much was actually adlibbing as well).  If you’ve seen any of Joss Whedon’s previous works, you know that he goes from being serious to funny very quickly, which was perfect for Tony Stark’s personality in general.  Whedon and Robert Downey Jr. made a wonderful pair and helped make this movie brilliant.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki was also amazing.  Loki in general is a wreck of emotions, and Hiddleston brought all those emotions out.  Just like Robert Downey Jr., Hiddleston brought a little extra to any of the witty lines Whedon had given him.  There is a part in the movie that Tony Stark and Loki share a scene together, and it made for one of the best parts of the whole film.

Of course, everyone else in the movie did an amazing job as well.  There was one notable change in the cast for this film from the previous films.  In “The Incredible Hulk”, Bruce Banner/The Hulk was played by Edward Norton and in “The Avengers” is played by Mark Ruffalo.  The Hulk has been adapted a handful of times, and I think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk to date.  He was the only cast replacement in the movie, but you forget the fact that even happened because he does such a great job as Bruce Banner.  In “Captain America: The First Avenger”, Chris Evans plays the Captain America that was the super soldier and brilliant leader that helped fight against Hydra.  In “The Avengers”, we get to see another aspect of his character: the man who wakes up 70 years into the future and has no idea what’s going on anymore.  Steve Rogers is an endearing person and his personality shines through in this movie.  His scenes of with Tony Stark both provide humor and conflict within the team.  As Joss Whedon says himself, Chris Hemsworth is Thor.  He brings the Asgardian to life and it suits him well.  Despite being such a powerful character, Thor was used for some comic relief as well and Hemsworth handled both aspects of the character very well.

While this film is filled with fantastical characters that have super powers, you also have two main characters that don’t have any (or very little) super powers.  Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) hold their own along with the super-powered heroes just by being very conditioned and having very high skill sets.  Black Widow is one of the world’s greatest spies and Hawkeye is the world’s greatest marksman armed with a bow and arrow.  Also because they don’t have super powers, they did a lot of hand-to-hand combat as well as many of their own stunts.  Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow definitely held her own as the only female on the team.  I appreciate the fact that Whedon was able to figure out how to incorporate Hawkeye into the movie, considering he does not have his own movie, but is a big part of The Avengers and Jeremy Renner did a great job playing the role.

The supporting characters feature Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cobie Smoulders as Agent Maria Hill, and the fan favorite, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.  Nick Fury shows up as a cameo in some of the other films, but he finally gets to shine in this film and Jackson definitely doesn’t disappoint.  Cobie Smoulders does a great job as the very serious Maria Hill.  In the deleted scenes, there is an alternate opening and ending with Maria Hill that I recommend watching because it adds so much to her character that ended up being taken out in the final cut.  Finally, there’s Agent Coulson.  Agent Coulson had become one of the favorite characters that showed up in the previous films.  His cool, calm demeanor and nonchalant lines of witty humor made him a very memorable character and that continues in this movie.

With so many characters and so much happening from beginning to end and not making it feel like one big mess, takes a lot of skill.  Joss Whedon was the perfect person to write and direct this film.  He knows the characters, he writes fantastic dialogue, and he made this all work.  This movie probably doesn’t have the most in-depth plot in the world but that’s okay because it didn’t need it.  Because this film was fun, from start to finish.  The plot that was in this movie was more than enough and it was executed well.  Joss Whedon provides commentary on the film on the Blu-ray and it’s definitely worth listening to.  Whedon is funny and very insightful, which makes for a great and entertaining commentary.

The special features included in this release were fun as well, but if there was one thing I may have been disappointed with in the Blu-ray release itself (and not the movie), was the amount of bonus features.  Not including the commentary, there are about 50 minutes of bonus features.  With a movie this big, I would have liked to see more featurettes than what was included.  There are two making-of featurettes, a handful of deleted and extended scenes, a five minute gag reel (which is pure gold), and a Marvel one-shot film.  I’m slightly disappointed in the amount of features, but the features that are on the disc are fantastic.  The featurettes are short, but insightful and fun, and the gag reel is awesome.  I don’t usually care too much for deleted/extended scenes because you can usually see why they were deleted to begin with, but the ones from this movie I found to be worth watching.  I found some scenes could have stayed in the movie perfectly fine if it weren’t for time constraints.  Like some other Marvel Cinematic Universe releases, this release also came with a “Marvel One-Shot” short film.  This one takes place after the events of the film.

For those looking for more special features, there are a couple of options.  Target is selling exclusive versions of the Blu-ray/DVD combo packs (both the 2 and 4 disc versions) with a bonus Blu-ray that has a 90+ minute documentary on the making of all six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films so far.  Not all of the footage is new, but it was still fun to watch and very well put together.

Another option for some extra bonus materials, is a free app available for the iPhone/iPad called “Marvel’s The Avengers Second Screen Experience”.  In the months leading up to the Blu-ray release, you could download the app and see a couple of the S.H.I.E.L.D. files on the characters(though sadly most were locked until the release of the Blu-ray).  Once everything on the app worked, you could sync with the Blu-ray as it was playing and trivia, production art, cast bios, videos, and many other things would pop up on your phone while the movie played.  You have the choice of either network syncing, audio syncing, or you can explore all the content on your own with the movie playing or not.  It’s a free and entertaining app so I highly recommend it.

So, to wrap things up, if you enjoyed the movie in theaters, this is a must-buy.  The film on Blu-ray is absolutely gorgeous and the gag reel and Joss Whedon’s commentary add even more to the viewing experience.  To those who haven’t seen it yet, if you enjoy fun movies, you’ll love this movie.  This film has so much to offer for so many different audiences and I don’t think it’ll disappoint.  I absolutely recommend this release for anyone’s movie collection.

UPCOMING GUESTS ON THE “LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN” ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK (Oct. 21-Nov. 3)

October 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Monday through Friday, 11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT

(*Denotes changes and/or additions to previous schedule

(n) Denotes new broadcast)

Thursday, Oct. 21                    Actor Bruce Willis; musical guests will.i.am and Nicki Minaj

Friday, Oct. 22                         Actor Joaquin Phoenix; musical guest Tom Jones

Monday, Oct. 25                      NBA commentator Charles Barkley; radio personality Garry Dell’Abate; musical guests Kings of Leon (n)

*Tuesday, Oct. 26                  Musician Taylor Swift; comedian Seth Meyers (n)

Wednesday, Oct. 27                Comedian Dana Carvey (n)

Thursday, Oct. 28                    Actor Will Ferrell; musical guest Kid Cudi; musician Slash (n)

Friday, Oct. 29                         Actor Michael J. Fox; snowboarding star Shaun White (n)

Monday, Nov. 1                       Actor Robert Downey Jr.; musical guest Elvis Costello (n)

*Tuesday, Nov. 2                   Guests TBA

*Wednesday, Nov. 3              Actress Tina Fey; musical guest Brad Paisley (n)

RATING:  TV-PG (Rating may change on day of broadcast due to specific subject matter.)

Official CBS website:  http://www.cbs.com/late_night/late_show/

ROBERT DOWNEY JR. TO APPEAR ON “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: AFTER THE ACADEMY AWARDS®, ALONG WITH A MUSICAL PERFORMANCE FROM GRAMMY® AWARD WINNER KEITH URBAN

March 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Host Jimmy Kimmel welcomes two-time Academy Award®-nominated Robert Downey Jr. and a musical performance by Grammy Award® winner Keith Urban to the fifth consecutive “Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Academy Awards”, SUNDAY, MARCH 7, immediately following the late local news (12:05-1:05 a.m., ET, approx). Downey will introduce the world premiere of the new “Iron Man 2” trailer only moments before Urban performs his new hit single, “‘Til Summer Comes Around,” from his 2009 album, “Defying Gravity.”

On a historic night where Jimmy Kimmel has previously debuted such pieces as “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck” video and Mel Gibson’s “The Colonel,” tune in to see another celebrity-filled surprise this year featuring special appearances from such notables as Matthew McConaughey, Rob Lowe, Sting, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and many more.

Previous “Jimmy Kimmel Live: After The Academy Awards” celebrations have welcomed Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, including two-time Academy Award winner Mel Gibson and Emmy® Award winners Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres. Two years ago Kimmel welcomed winner Ben Affleck and premiered the internet sensation music video, “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck,” as a rebuttal to the Emmy Award-winning “I’m F*** Matt Damon” video with Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon.

Packed with hilarious comedy bits and a band led by Jimmy’s childhood best friend, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” features a lineup of guests that includes celebrities, athletes, musicians, comedians and humorous human interest subjects. Each night, Jimmy delivers up-to-the minute news addressing the hottest topics of the day in his monologue and recently has welcomed such notables as Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Cameron Diaz, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Don Cheadle, Hilary Swank, Orlando Bloom, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Williams, Kanye West, Heidi Klum, Kobe Bryant and Janet Jackson, as well as performances by Coldplay, The Killers, Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Clarkson, Linkin Park, Incubus, Destiny’s Child, Tim McGraw, Avril Lavigne, 50 Cent, Depeche Mode, Mariah Carey and many more, including Matt Damon… well, almost Matt Damon.

Jimmy Kimmel and Jill Leiderman serve as executive producers of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Jason Schrift and Douglas DeLuca serve as co-executive producers. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is shot live in front of a studio audience and produced by Jackhole Industries in association with ABC Studios. For more go to www.jimmykimmellive.net

IRON MAN (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 6, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

“For comic book fans who have been waiting for a film on the Invincible Iron Man, this film definitely delivers with a lot of action, cool special effects and also a very awesome performance by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.”

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FILM:  IRON MAN

COMPANY: Paramount

DVD INFORMATION: Color, Subtitled, NTSC, Widescreen

RATED: PG-13

DURATION: 125 minutes

Screenplay by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcom,  Matt Holloway

Directed by Jon Favreau

Executive Producers: Louis Desposito, Peter Billingsley, Jon Favreau, Ari Aradm Stan Lee David Maisel

Producer: Avi Arad, Kevin Fege

Editor: Asim Nuraney

Music:  Ramin Djawadi

Director of Photography: Matthew Libatique

STARRING:

Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow

Suit up for Action with Robert Downey Jr. in the ultimate adventure movie you’ve been waiting for, Iron Man!  When jet-setting genius-industrialist Tony Stark is captured in enemy territory, he builds a high-tech suit of armor to escape.  Now, he’s on a mission to save the world as a hero who’s built, not born, to be unlike any other.  Co-starring Gwynneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges, it’s a fantastic, high-flying journey that is “hugely entertaining” (Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal).

I’ve been a big fan of the Iron Man comic book series for such a long time and from the “Tales of Suspense” comic books, as a young child, I would always be into the “Avengers” and even be this happy child with his “Secret Wars” Iron Man toy.

Years before “IRON MAN” became a movie, I’ve always pictured Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.  He had the look and even back then with Downey Jr.’s personal life, there is some instances that mirror Tony Stark’s challenges in the comic books.  So, suffice to say that I was quite happy with him being cast for the film.

As for the the film, I had no doubt in my mind that “IRON MAN” would be a blockbuster hit in the Summer but I purposely waited for it to come out on DVD, so I can watch it on my own personal home theater and watch it with no distractions.

This film focuses on Tony Stark, the millionaire who runs Stark Industries which creates weapons for the military but while on a meeting to the Middle East, Stark’s military escort are gun down and eventually the suave millionaire gets caught in a blast (from weapons created by his company), next thing you know, Stark is being operated on and being held by prisoner by terrorists.

While under captivity, Stark creates his first Iron Man uniform and uses it to escape his captors.  Upon returning back to America, Stark’s perspective of the world and his company has changed.  Also, his goal to develop a more technologically advanced mobile suit armor becomes his obsession and leads him to take on the terrorist who have been using his companies weapons for evil but most of all prepare for the lies and deceptions that await him.

AUDIO & VIDEO:

The version that I am reviewing is the regular widescreen DVD, not the awesome Blu-ray version packed with a lot of extras.  But the audio for this version is Dolby Digital 5.1 and video is widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TV’s.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

This “IRON MAN” DVD version features deleted and extended scenes.   Deleted scenes that I’m glad the director chose to eliminate from the final cut of the film.

There are three versions of this release on DVD/Blu-Ray.  This version is the single disc version, the double disc version features many featurettes including a 108-minute documentary, a six part documentary and more.  The Blu-ray version has received almost perfect stars for its amount of content and BD-Live.  So, if you have a Blu-ray player, the Blu-ray version of “IRON MAN” is what is recommended.

After watching it, I definitely enjoyed the film but like any superhero film, as the first film always focuses on the origin, this series will be judged on its continuing storylines.  Similar to like the “X-Men”, “Spider-Man” and the “Fantastic Four” films, there is always the “origin” that not many people are too enthusiastic about and want to see more battles.

Fortunately, “Iron Man”did offer quite a bit of kick as battles but I loved the scene where Iron Man just rescues a village being terrorized by the enemies.

Again, Robert Downey Jr. did a great job as Tony Star, Jeff Bridges as Obidiah Stane was pretty good.  As for Terrence Howard’s James Rhodes… it was OK but I was expecting more of a no-nonsense Rhodes.  But with Don Cheadle replacing Howard for the next film, I hope that Cheadle can bring the attitude especially if he’s going to be War Machine.

But definitely enjoyed this film.  With “IRON MAN”, unlike any other top tier Marvel superheroes, Robert Downey Jr. has a lot of inner demons to contend with and is such a complex character.  For the comic series, the alcoholism consumed him and I’m curious to see if it happens in the films.   It will definitely be interesting to see how his character is explored and what new Iron Man outfit we will see him sporting next Silver Centurion Iron Man?  Maybe even see some Hulkbuster or Thorbuster?  Who knows.  And of course, there is James Rhodes as War Machine and I look forward in seeing that character come to play in the films.

But all in all, “IRON MAN” was an enjoyable film for the first version.  A lot of action, special effects but definitely would like to see where they go with the characters in the next upcoming film.

All in all, a very cool movie and enjoyed it so much, now I’m going to have to pick up the Blu-ray ultimate edition next!

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U.S. MARSHALS (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 27, 2003 by · Leave a Comment 

Netflix, Inc.

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MOVIE COMPANY: Warner Bros.
CAST: Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., Joe Pantoliano, Kate Nelligan, Tom Wood and Irene Jacob
DIRECTED BY: Stuart Baird
PRODUCED BY: Arnold and Anne Kopelson
RATING: Rated PG-13
INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE URL: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0120873
TYPE OF MOVIE: Action, Thriller
DURATION: 131 minutes


When a prisoner transport plane carrying Deputy Sam Gerard as an escort crashes, one prisoner, Mark Sheridan helps him rescue some trapped prisoners and then escapes himself. Gerard and his crack team of U.S. Marshals start their pursuit, but the simple fugitive situation soon gets more complicated when Gerard learns that Sheridan is no mere criminal and the story behind his incrimination becomes more and more suspicious. At the same time, Mark Sheridan is out to find out the truth himself while keeping one step ahead of Gerard.

DVD EXTRAS:

• Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
• Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen
• Commentary by director Stuart Baird
• Production notes
• Theatrical trailer(s)
• Interactive special effects segment “Anatomy of a Plane Crash”
• A documentary on the history of the U.S. Marshals “Justice Under the Star”
• Widescreen anamorphic format

KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): After the documentary is finished, there will be two trailers for movies about US Marshals.  One is a John Wayne movie and the other is “Wyatt Earp”.

DVD REVIEW:

I actually enjoyed this movie a lot.  I know that many people felt it was “The Fugitive” all over again but this movie really kept me interested for the whole 131 minutes.

From the so-so reviews on this movie, it’s not bad at all.  I think that people tend to compare this movie with its predecessor “The Fugitive”.  But it was an entertaining movie and if you give it a try, you will enjoy it.  Tommy Lee Jones does a great job!

As for the DVD, since this is one of the older special edition DVD’s released, it is double sided.  The good news is that the movie is one sided but the special features are on the other side.  As for special features, there is quite a bit of cool features like the behind-the-scenes documentary, how they made the plane crash, tv and movie trailers, historical documentary, commentary and more.

One of the better and older Warner Bros. DVD’s giving fans more for their buck!  Check it out!

THE MOVIE:  B-
THE DVD EXTRAS:  A-
THE DVD OVERALL:  B+

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