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The Incredible Hulk

Year: 2008
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Written By: Zak Penn, Edward Norton

RYAN’S REVIEW

The Hulk is a hard character to center movies around despite all the attempts to do so.  The Hulk is a really popular character in the Marvel Universe but the Hulk isn’t really a hero per say.  He doesn’t necessarily save, he destroys. The Hulk is the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide of Marvel Comics.  Bruce Banner is a man always struggling to control his power because his power is dangerous and he is afraid of hurting the ones he loves.  That’s a great character dynamic but it makes formatting a film story line difficult, that is part of the reason the Hulk films are never successful.

I grew up watching the Incredible Hulk television show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.  I have always loved the character and I have liked all his incarnations in film.  Despite the popular opinion on Ang Lee’s Hulk in 2003, I thought it was OK.  I thought Eric Bana was a good casting choice for Bruce Banner, and I liked the movie despite its flaws.  The movie was far too long, but it was an Ang Lee film.  His movies are good for great action and incredibly long retarding points with a really long running time.  The movie was exactly that too, it had long stretches of boredom but where most people found that to be disappointing I had merely seen it as something to be expected.  We do not own the movie but I wouldn’t mind revisiting it at some point and writing a review about it.  I like Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross and I think Sam Elliott is awesome whether he was a good choice for the role or not.  If I get the opportunity to see it again maybe I can pinpoint exactly what made this movie so hated.  It was built for a sequel but was a complete and utter box office flop so no sequels were made.

This movie, The Incredible Hulk, is a reboot of the franchise and I thought it was an incredible movie.  Like its predecessor though, it did not live up to studio expectations profit wise. Despite that, this was a great movie and I thought it was awesome.  I am really not familiar with Louis Leterrier but he made a fantastic Hulk movie, even honoring the original Bill Bixby television show along the way.  What I liked most about this movie was that it was connected to the universe of films Marvel was beginning to create.  It was connected with the Iron Man movies as Robert Downey Jr. made a late scene cameo as Tony Stark. However, when that universe the studio was building came to fruition this film was not included.  Edward Norton was replaced as the Hulk in The Avengers film and everything we saw in this movie became nothing more than an after thought.  I know that after this film came out Edward Norton got into a dispute with the studio over a writing credit and things got a little ugly.  I think that in the end the studio obviously won because Norton wasn’t included in the party when things really got going.  I was really disappointed by that decision but I will admit Mark Ruffalo did a great job in the film.  There will probably be a Ruffalo Hulk movie made eventually unless the studio has finally learned its lesson in regards to centering a film on the Hulk character.

It really was a shame that the studio gave up on this movie and the franchise it might have created because I think Edward Norton was excellent in the part.  I really liked what was done with his character, how hard he worked to control his curse, the Japanese Judo breathing methods and what not. I don’t think Liv Tyler was bad in the part of Betty Ross but I did prefer Jennifer Connelly to her. William Hurt is an outstanding actor and I think he is awesome, but Sam Elliott may have had an edge on him too despite how good he is.  The mustache looked ridiculous on him, and nobody wears a mustache like Sam Elliott.  I think Tim Roth was a great bad guy and I liked seeing him in a big time movie again.  Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno both had really good cameos in this movie too.  No Marvel movie should be made without an appearance from Stan Lee for as long as we have him with us, and no Hulk movie should ever be made without paying its respects to Lou Ferrigno.

This movie might not matter anymore after the phenomenal success of The Avengers, but it is still worth your time to see. Mark Ruffalo may have been great in that movie but with all due respect he robbed all of us by taking the part that rightfully belonged to Edward Norton. This was an awesome movie and it’s just flat out not fair that it was discarded by the studio.  I cannot argue with how awesome The Avengers was, but I will always wish that things had went differently and Ed Norton had been involved.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I don’t love this movie. It’s okay I guess, but to be completely honest, I just don’t really like The Incredible Hulk as a super hero. Not my favorite. Let’s go ahead and move on to the poster.

incredible-hulk-poster-big

Ryan sorta gave me some kind of picture in my head when he told me what this poster looked like. He said he was going to write my post for me, so thank goodness I didn’t let him do that. I hate this poster. It looks like Ed Norton is coming out of the Hulk’s ass. I am literally laughing out loud at the whole premise. There is this obtrusive glow on the typography of “Hulk”. I just really do not like this movie or poster. Not a fan.

NEXT MOVIE: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Year: 2001
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Stanley Kubrick

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’ve read that Stanley Kubrick began working on this film in the 70s, always waiting for the necessary technology to develop before getting into actual production.  It seems Kubrick actually wanted a real robot to play the part of David.  Kubrick may have been a little nuts and unrealistic but he did make great movies.  Unfortunately he did not live to actually make this one and his friend Steven Spielberg took up the helm after his death.  Spielberg is a terrific filmmaker and you can see his talent throughout this film as with all his others.  I don’t think this is his best movie however.  It is long and can be painfully boring at times.  Haley Joel Osment delivers a fantastic performance, but the kid creeps me out.  At times I still find myself feeling like I’m watching a horror movie.

A.I. does deliver an interesting view of the future that at times is reminiscent of Blade Runner.  This is a powerful film and the performances are great.  Not just Osment, who really is phenomenal, but William Hurt is great, Francis O’Connor is at her best, and Jude Law isn’t that bad.  If you have some time to kill and the patience to stick with a slow movie then check this one out, it’s a great science fiction film.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I have always loved this movie. It is really long and tiresome, but the theme and story are really original and different. I think the acting done by Haley Joel Osment is great. I think he really understand this robot’s character and fully embraced it. He is eerily creepy in some scenes, which I think he is supposed to be and he completely succeeds. This is a film to watch if you like the sorts of futuristic “what if” storylines.

NEXT MOVIE: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

A History of Violence

Year: 2005
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Written By: John Wagner and Vince Locke (Graphic Novel) and Josh Olsen (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW:

First of all, I want to address this film’s position in the order of  the DVD arrangement.  I have seen this movie placed in the “H” section of friends collections who have a similar arrangement, and it has been suggested to me that the film is out of place on our DVD rack.  This is the only circumstance where the words “A” or “the” are taken into account when placing a DVD in the collection.  This is because the “A” seems too important to the title in this instance.  This is not a movie about the history of violence, or even directly about violence at all.  This movie is about one man who has A history of violence, it’s A history he suddenly has to face and can no longer hide from.

A History of Violence is an awesome movie, it’s not perfect but it is great nonetheless. The movie’s strengths are the story, direction, and the performances of the supporting actors.  Ed Harris is great as the scarred mobster from Philly, Aston Holmes is also very good, and William Hurt is unbelievable.  William Hurt was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in this film, which says a lot because comic book films generally don’t get nominated for the big categories.  His role as the mob boss brother can catch you by surprise, he is a great actor and should play this kind of role again.  It’s a good thing the supporting cast did such a good job because the leads are both awful.  I like Viggo Mortensen as an actor, but he is awful in this movie.  Maria Bello is equally awful and when the two of them are together they could sink the movie.  I know that the two sex scenes were intentionally drastically different to show the duality of the Tom Stall/Joey Cusack character but both of them were awful. The two sex scenes are very awkward and go on for far too long, Mortensen and Bello have absolutely no chemistry together.  David Cronenberg is known for being graphic, and he delivers violence and gore as one would expect.  I have heard this film criticized as being too graphic and gory but on the contrary I think that strengthens the film.  The title is A History of Violence after all, I think you have to have certain expectations about it going in and the movie does a great job of fulfilling those expectations.  The violence is sudden and it’s fierce, the ferocity of that violence sets this film apart, it’s what makes it memorable.  If the violence in this film had failed to make an impression then the movie in itself would have been a failure.

If you are uncomfortable seeing blood and violence then steer clear of this movie, but otherwise I recommend it all the way.  It’s not too long, around an hour and a half but it does drag for many slow minutes at the end.  If nothing else, see this film for William Hurt’s performance alone, it really was amazing.

AMBER’S REVIEW:

A History of Violence is a very slow, interesting film. I really and thoroughly enjoy it. It’s pace is amazing to me. Usually I hate slow moving movies, but this one is eerily quiet and moves by scene by scene leaving you wondering about each and every character. All of the actors in this movie deliver great roles and they are each believable. Ryan thinks the sex scenes are a little uncomfortable and while that may be true, I find them to be more believable. Sorry that I don’t have more to say on this film, but all in all it is a good flick that is worth watching.