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Profile for Gary M. Miller > Reviews

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Content by Gary M. Miller
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Reviews Written by
Gary M. Miller (Pittsburgh, PA USA)

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Hulk (Widescreen Special Edition) [2 Discs] (Bilingual) [Import]
Hulk (Widescreen Special Edition) [2 Discs] (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Eric Bana
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 37.09
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Majestic modern drama with 30s Universal horror sensibility, Nov. 2 2003
"HULK" by filmmaker Ang Lee isn't a film for everyone. It's not for the kiddies, it certainly isn't for comic purists, and people looking for dumb blockbuster-style fun will be sorely disappointed. However, Lee has re-envisioned the comic book opera by treating it with as much seriousness as it deserves (it's a *drama*, folks!) and come out with something new and refreshing, not to mention reflective of a better time for moviegoing--specifically, he's recalled the genre of the 1930s-40s Universal horror film, i.e. "The Wolf Man" and "Frankenstein" certainly, though updated it to the 21st century--pretty much only in its vastly superior special effects and budget.
Bruce Banner, introverted scientist, has spent his life subconsciously working toward the answers to questions that have plagued him since childhood--"Who am I, why am I here?" and the answers--in the form of an egomaniacal father and a misunderstood manifestation of Banner's brutish id--frighten him, justifiably so. Monsters abound in the script (in different ways--David Banner, Bruce, Talbot, Ross), and nobody's totally innocent or entirely 'good' or 'evil' as such, they're three-dimensional iterations that really make you think.
When the Hulk displays his vast powers for the camera, he's every bit the creature from the comics, leaping vast distances through panoramic desert vistas, exploding through labyrinthine corridors of a government base, smashing and destroying a lab by virtue of his size just as well as his fists--it's all terrific eye-candy. The film dares you to understand his all-too-human conflicted nature--the Hulk, flawed much like us, cannot forget the past his father inflicted upon him, just like the nanomeds that combined with the gamma radiation and Banner's own biology to create him, will not, as their often fatal flaw, forget. As referred to in a terrifically illuminating deleted scene, they remember all too well.
"HULK" is a first-rate, instant classic from director Ang Lee and a studio I did not believe had the potential to make a film so terrific ever again. Watch it and enjoy the human drama at its core; give it a chance. Time will tell whether Lee's auteurship really impacted this film positively or negatively, but I've already got my mind made up that it sits at the forefront of not only the comicbook genre, but also 21st-century filmmaking as a whole.

Fright Night Part II [Import]
Fright Night Part II [Import]
DVD ~ William Ragsdale
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 163.43
9 used & new from CDN$ 85.17

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, awful presentation, Aug. 22 2003
Fright Night Part II is, IMO, very nearly the equal of the first movie, which itself is my favorite horror film of all time. That said, I have been waiting for a few years (ever since the release of the first FN film by Columbia TriStar in '99) for Part II to become available on DVD.
I'm not disappointed that the presentation is full-frame, 1.33:1, as from what I understand, the film was originally shot in this aspect ratio. I'm not even disappointed that there aren't any extras to speak of (extras being rare for any sequel DVD, really).
No, the problem lies with the ABOMINABLE transfer. The movie seems to have been mastered directly from whatever print Vista had lying around--it's very grainy and looks about the same, or perhaps slightly worse than, an SP speed VHS copy. For DVD, it's absolutely hideous. Artisan should know better than to release such product without at least attempting a remastering which would have tightened up the picture and made it worth the DVD release (look at the 2 films' DVD releases side-by-side...nothing to compare!).
If you're a Fright Night completist or just really really like the movie, buy this DVD. It'll keep your VHS copy (you know you have one!) from withering away. Don't buy the disc looking to be wowed by the digital format, you'll disappoint yourself (I did).
The movie: 4 stars (out of 5)
The DVD: 1 star
Average rating: 2.5 stars

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