To say that The Avengers on Blu-Ray Hulk-smashes the little screen is both cliche and an understatement. Not an easy feat.

If it was possible to enjoy The Avengers even more than we did in theaters, then consider the Blu-ray experience the absolute best way to experience the film without a couple extra thousand dollars and access to state-of-the-art digital projection technology.

The Film

Not much has changed about our enjoyment of the film, other than the fact that the replay value is well worth the price of the Blu-ray all by itself. Even without the special features, the extra disk, and all the special swag that comes with the price of the Blu-ray, the film is endlessly re-watchable; especially to devout followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The non-stop Whedonesque humor, the title-to-credits action sequences, and even the biting drama makes The Avengers a joy to own. We’ve gotta admit, we would have paid full price just for the opportunity to replay the “Puny God” scene thirty times in varying stages of slow motion. It’s just a fun film to own.

The Asthetics

For anyone worrying that the most visually stunning film of the year would be dulled down in the DVD/Blu-ray transfer, you can rest your soul easy and bury it with a few of your favorite orchids. The film is gorgeous, colorful, and even more crisp than we recall seeing it on the silver screen.

The sound, particularly the soundtrack, is all-consuming and even overwhelming at times. This isn’t a bad thing, particularly for fans that don’t mind waking up the neighbors with the roar of The Hulk or the screech of The Leviathan.

Of course, this is a Disney production so the sound of gunfire has been toned down considerably (what do you think this is, The Dark Knight?), but other than that, every noise has been beefed up to amplify the theatrical effect in a home-theater environment.

The Special Features

Have we even mentioned the title menu yet? It’s awesome. As this writer compiles this review, he has kept the main title sequence on loop in the background for inspiration and encouragement. Braaaa bra bra bra braaaaaa dumm dummm DUUMMMMM. What? Oh, sorry.

The Deleted Scenes: If you weren’t expecting the deleted scenes to completely redefine what The Avengers could have been, then maybe you aren’t quite ready to check out this list of deleted, extended, and alternative scenes.

You’ve probably already seen the alternate opening with Maria Hill and the Council. What you might not have known is that scene basically could have functioned as a brand new launching pad and narrative from which we view The Avengers. Also included is an alternative ending, featuring a voiceover from Maria Hill as The Avengers assemble in Central Park as well as a number of scenes that serve to explain a little more behind Loki’s motives and Bruce Banner’s sudden scooter-pearance.

Combined with a few extra scenes that detail Hill’s and Fury’s complicated relationship, the bulk of the deleted scenes are meant to serve a longer, more serious, and more pondersome cut of The Avengers; one that would have placed it more in the category that Iron Man found itself in as opposed to the fun and flighty Whedonesque film that we eventually got and fell in love with. The “Play All” experience is very satisfactory since it basically presents an alternative Avengers.

Commentary with Joss Whedon: Perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited features (sorry to our UK readers) is the track commentary by director Joss Whedon. Having his play by play, his wit, and his vision play side-by-side with the film adds a new layer of artistry.

Realizing exactly how many ideas were floating around in that brain of his while he was directing not only helps to fully realize the full extent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also gives us hope that he didn’t use up all of his best ideas and leave nothing for Avengers 2. We don’t want to spoil the best bits for you, but getting an insight from the mastermind of Marvel’s entire Phase 2 process proves to be a very revealing process.

Item 47: Like Thor and Captain America before it, The Avengers comes equipped with a Marvel One-Shot; this one called Item 47. Whereas the first to One-Shots chose to follow Agent Coulson and his hi-jinks, this one chooses instead to focus on two regular New Yorkers, one of which has figured out how to use a fancy Chitauri weapon.

It has an odd, kooky air to it, even though it features two protagonists that have taken on a life of armed robbery. Then the ending takes a turn that can be seen as a cop-out that doesn’t really make sense. We don’t want to ruin the ending of this one, but out of all the special features, this was easily our least favorite.

If anything, the short has given us an insight into what we might be able to expect from that S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, but we can only hope that future ventures are a little more thought out.

The Gag Reel:It’s hysterical and even more fun to watch immediately after a viewing of the movie, but you already knew that.

Target’s Special ‘Building A Cinematic Universe’ featurette

We totally don’t work for Target, nor are we currently accepting money from them, so we can say this with absolute honesty and zero corporate involvement. Buy it from Target. Seriously. Wal-Mart is currently offering a promotion with a graphic novel or some bullshit. DON’T BE DRAWN IN BY THEIR LIES. Get your special Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Target and you’ll be treated to an extensive documentary about the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

If you were looking for the end-all-be-all of special features, this is the one for you. There are about ten minutes worth of featurettes on the feature disc, but this full-on documentary (available only at Target) is so detailed that it takes almost twenty minutes before the featurette even gets to the part where Marvel studios makes Iron Man.

From the casting of Robert Downey Jr. all the way to the decision to hire Joss Whedon to direct Avengers, this full blown documentary explores it all. Just to give a sense of perspective, the Building A Cinematic Universe featurette has a scene selection option in the menu. If you want the full experience, we highly recommend the combo pack exclusively available at Target.

Final Thoughts

Buy it, and buy it from Target. The film is expertly transferred, endlessly rewatchable, and comes with hours of special features, deleted scenes, featurettes and additional commentary. The Avengers Blu-ray is now available in stores (especially from Target. We swear we’re not getting paid to say that).

What do you think of ‘The Avengers’ Blu-ray? Will you buying it?

Hollywood reacts to ‘Begin Again’ director’s candid criticism of Keira Knightley’s acting skills

Should the trust between actors and directors ever be broken?

10:33 am EDT, May 30, 2016

After Begin Again director John Carney’s candid comments about Keira Knightley’s acting went viral, Hollywood has taken to Twitter to defend the British actress.

In case you’ve somehow not heard the story, here’s the sitch:

Over the weekend, The Independent released an interview with Irish director John Carney, in which he had some harsh words for former colleague Keira Knightley.

The pair worked together on the 2013 musical rom-com Begin Again, where Knightley starred opposite Mark Ruffalo as a promising young folk singer recovering from a broken heart.

Carney evidently wasn’t satisfied with Knightley’s performance, claiming she “always has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done.”

Related: Exclusive: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright talk Anna Karenina and the choice to set it in the world of theater

Going on to praise both Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s performances, Carney said, “I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

“I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he continued. “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.”

Carney concluded, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Now, Carney clearly had a frustrating experience working with Knightley on this film, and his distinction between ‘proper film actors’ and ‘movie stars’ may be legitimate in theory. Begin Again certainly wasn’t the great critical hit that Carney’s Once had been, and at the time of the movie’s release, Keira Knightley herself admitted that she struggled with the material, not being a singer-songwriter herself and having no great appreciation for music.

“It’s terrible. I know nothing about music whatsoever,” she told The Guardian. “I was always more into reading and drama. I was such a geek. … There’s often a huge link between music and memory. And I’ve got such a bad memory.”

But the issue Hollywood professionals have with Carney’s comments seem to have less to do with Knightley’s specific performance, and more about the fact that Carney made these comments at all.

Ava DuVernay certainly makes a great point about why Carney should have stayed silent:

Both industry professionals and notable journalists have joined DuVernay in speaking out against Carney. Here are some of their reactions:

All the same, there are some that find Carney’s candidness refreshing.

What do you think? Should John Carney have held back his criticism of Keira Knightley out of professional courtesy? Or was he right to share his negative experience?

John Carney rose to international fame with Once in 2007, and this year he’s coming out with a musical drama titled Sing Street.

Spectre director Sam Mendes is officially not returning for more James Bond movies.

While we wait for (almost certain) confirmation that Daniel Craig won’t reprise his role as 007 in the next James Bond film, we can at least contend with the knowledge that Sam Mendes will not direct Bond 25.

The two-time James Bond director came on board the franchise for the wildly successful Skyfall, but his follow-up Spectre was not considered as great of a success.

Even before Spectre‘s release, Mendes was talking about quitting the all-consuming franchise, saying at the time, “I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.” But it was only during a Welsh literature festival that he finally confirmed his departure.

Related: Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra doesn’t want to be a Bond Girl, she wants to be Bond

“It was an incredible adventure. I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else [to direct],” said Mendes, as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

Bond 25 is likely to be completely new chapter of the franchise, with Daniel Craig set to follow Mendes’ lead and officially announce his departure soon. Everyone’s been expecting him to bow out ever since his controversial promotional campaign for Spectre, and it’s even more likely now that his two-time collaborator has called it quits.

On the speculation about who might replace Craig, Mendes says, “I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect.”

“[Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who is going to be the next Bond, end of story. And without that there would have been no Daniel Craig because public support for Daniel was zero. It was her saying: ‘That man over there, he’s going to change the whole tenor, I’m going to cast him.’ That turned the whole thing on its head,” says Mendes.

Rumor has it that Tom Hiddleston is in talks to be the next James Bond, but until we learn more, we can speculate away as we wish! It’s also time to start making those Bond 25 director wishlists. Anyone know if Ava DuVernay is available?

How will ‘The Flash’ finale affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?

Or will it at all?

11:00 am EDT, May 29, 2016

In the final moments of the Flash‘s season 2 finale, Barry made a decision that could have major ramifications for the other Arrow-verse shows.

It looks like The Flash is headed in the direction of Flashpoint, a comic book story in which Barry saves his mother and creates an alternate future in which he never became The Flash, and the world is in chaos. I’ll do a more in-depth look at this story later in the hiatus.

On The Flash, the death of Barry’s father sent him on a downward spiral that resulted in him going back in time and stopping The Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. Barry watched as his season 1 counterpart faded away as the timeline changed before assuring his mother that she was safe.

It’s early, but I’ll take a shot at theorizing what this change could mean not only for The Flash but the other Arrow-verse shows as well.

The Flash season 2, episode 18 recap Barry, Caitlin, Cisco

‘The Flash’

All we know about The Flash‘s third season so far is that Tom Cavanagh will be back as a series regular, indicating there will be some version of Harrison Wells in play. I believe that is likely to be the Earth-1 version of Wells, the one who Eobard Thawne murdered and whose identity Thawne stole, since the original timeline of those events has been changed.

There is also a good chance that when Barry returns to the alternate future he’s created, he’ll no longer have his speed since there would have been no impetus for Barry to become a CSI. Without being at his lab at CCPD, he wouldn’t have been thrown into a rack of chemicals when he was struck by lightning, thus granting him powers.

It’s also likely Barry also won’t be as close with the West family, since he wouldn’t have been taken in and raised by them, which will be heartbreaking.

We also know that the original Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator wasn’t meant to go active until several years after the one Eobard Thawne-as-Wells created; he wanted to expedite the process so he could return to his own time. If that timeline remains the same, there won’t be nearly as many metahumans on the the loose since the particle accelerator created the majority of those we’ve met.

Flash and Arrow crossover


Stephen Amell doesn’t know whether the Flash finale will affect Arrow, though it will be odd if it doesn’t since time across Earth-1 has been changed. “I do know that we’ve done a lot of work on Arrow to introduce the other shows, for lack of a better term, and now that that’s all done, we’re focused on doing the things that we do well for season 5,” he tells

He adds, “Arrow is at its best when we’re dealing with problems in Star City. We’re not a time-travel show, we’re not a multi-Earth show, though obviously [we do that] with crossovers and stuff like that. We’re Arrow, we deal with Star City, and I feel like we’ll be better off focusing on that.”

Considering Barry was directly responsible for the Team Arrow’s survival in Nanda Parbat at the end of season 3 as well as when Vandal Savage attacked in the season 4 crossover, though, it seems impossible that such a major change in time wouldn’t affect the group in some way, especially if there is no longer a Flash.

One change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Laurel’s survival, but I won’t hold my breath.

Legends of Tomorrow season 1, episode 1 recap team

‘Legends of Tomorrow’

One reveal from the Flash finale that seems especially likely to impact Legends in some way is the appearance of Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger. In the comics, Jay Garrick is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, which the Legends finale introduced via Rex Tyler.

John Wesley Shipp has teased that the writers are excited to explore more of the Jay Garrick character, and he speculates that will include the JSA. It will be interesting to see if he crosses over to that show at any point.

As for the time travel change, if the team does take on the role of the Time Masters, as they’d considered doing before Rex Tyler’s arrival, that seems like a major event for them to take notice of.

It’s also worth noting in the comics during Flashpoint that Leonard Snart is a hero in Central City known as Citizen Cold — I’d love to see Wentworth Miller (who will recur on both Flash and Legends next season) play that part for a bit.

Supergirl season 1, episode 18 airs tonight Kara, Barry

Bonus: ‘Supergirl’

Some are theorizing that this change may, somehow, merge Kara’s world with the Arrow-verse now that Supergirl is on the same network with the other shows. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it since Kara and Barry are an absolute delight together — and we know a major four-series crossover is in the works.

All that being said, there is also the possibility that the Flashpoint events will remain on The Flash, such as in an alternate universe, because of the concern that too many viewers of Arrow in particular don’t also watch The Flash and don’t want to have to catch up just to understand the show. This is a complexity of having a shared universe.

While I understand that concern, however, I feel like storytelling concerns should take precedent. And if you’re going to create that shared universe, you need to embrace what comes with that, including shows having direct affects on one another.

How do you think the ‘Flash’ finale will affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?