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The Simpsons - Christmas With The Simpsons/Bart Wars (DVD) 06/03/2009

Christmas With The Simpsons / Bart Wars review

The Simpsons - Christmas With The Simpsons/Bart Wars (DVD) Christmas with the Simpsons / Bart Wars is a boxset containing two previously released Simpsons DVD's. Episodes included on the "Christmas with the Simpsons" DVD are "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", "Mr. Plow", "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace", "Grift of the Magi" and "She of Little Faith". Episodes on the "Bart Wars" DVD include "Mayored to the Mob", "Dog of Death", "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" and "Marge Be Not Proud". "The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" is a nice opening to this DVD as it is the first ever full length episode of "The Simpsons" and deals with Mr. Burns canceling Homer's Christmas bonus, there is also "Mr. Plow", an absolute classic, which is about Homer starting his own snow plow business but soon a rivalry soon forms with his friend Barney, who also wants a piece of the snow plow pie. The Simpsons get burgled in "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" so all Springfieldians pull together to give them the best Christmas possible, little knowing that the culprit was a spiky haired little boy, there's also "Grift of the Magi" where Springfield is taken over by a big corporation who seem less concerned about the children learning, and more about making the next big toy. Finally, in "She of Little Faith", Lisa starts looking for a new religion after the first church of Springfield rents out its wall space to advertisers, commercializing what is supposed to be a place of worship. This is a nice set with some well written episodes and, as always, lots of very ...

The Simpsons - The (DVD) 06/03/2009

The review

The Simpsons - The (DVD) The Simpsons - Classics - The is part of the Simpsons 'Classics' series of DVD releases. There are four episodes included here, each with a mechanical/technological theme. The four episodes are "Treehouse of Horror X", "Itchy and Scratchy Land", "Das Bus" and "Homer Goes to College". "Treehouse of Horror X" includes three terrifying stories, "I Know What You Diddily-Iddly-Did", when the family runs over Ned Flanders, but he comes back from the dead and starts hunting them, "Desperately Xeeking Xena", where Lisa and Bart become superheroes and fight comic book guy (a.k.a. "The Collector"), and "Life's a Glitch, Then You Die", where Homer fails to do his job as the nuclear plants Y2K compliance officer, which spreads the bug to every computer in the world and causes massive devastation. In "Itchy and Scratchy Land", The Simpson family take a vacation to Itchy & Scratchy Land. But soon the Itchy & Scratchy robots go haywire and start to run amok, so the Simpsons must try and find a way off the island. With some great spoofs of "Jurassic Park" and "Westworld", this is a very funny episode with another great script by The Simpsons' writers. In "Das Bus", the Model UN members from Springfield Elementary are on their way to a Model UN conference when the school bus crashes and the kids are stuck on a desert island, so they have to use what they've learnt to co-exist with each other and find food and supplies. Another great spoof here, this time of "Lord of the ...

The Simpsons - Treehouse Of Horror (DVD) 03/03/2009

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror review

The Simpsons - Treehouse Of Horror (DVD) The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror is a collection of the "Treehouse of Horror" specials from The Simpsons. The episodes included are "Treehouse of Horror V", "Treehouse of Horror VI", "Treehouse of Horror VII" and "Treehouse of Horror XII". "Treehouse of Horror V", as with every TOH episode, has three mini stories. In this episode, Homer takes his family up to a hotel in the mountains and goes insane in "The Shinning" (one of the best TOH stories of all time), Homer travels through time and changes history in "Time and Punishment", and in "Nightmare Cafeteria", Principal Skinner finds a solution to the overcrowding in his school and the shortage of meat in the cafeteria... "Treehouse of Horror VI" includes "Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores", where all the giant advertisements in Springfield come to life and start eating everyone, "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace", in which Groundskeeper Willy dies and comes back to invade the nightmares of the children of the people who completely ignored his cries of help, and "Homer3", Homer travels to a strange universe with 3 dimensions and eventually ends up in the most terrifying universe: ours. "Treehouse of Horror VII" has "The Thing and I", in which Bart and Lisa discover Bart's Siamese twin, who plans to sow them back together, "The Genesis Tub", where Lisa's science experiment goes a little awry and she ends up creating life, who all think she is god, and "Citizen Kang", in which Kang and Kodos abduct Homer and take him to ...

Nintendo Wii 03/03/2009

Nintendo Wii review

Nintendo Wii The Nintendo Wii is a home video console released by Nintendo. It is Nintendo's fifth home console and a direct successor to the Gamecube. It was released in November in the US and over here the following month. Ever since word leaked out about Nintendo's new console, it had the codename of 'Revolution'. That changed after 27th April 2006, when the name was changed to 'Wii'. This change wasn't well received by some people who thought it was too childish and that Revolution was a much better name. But I have to say, after two years, it's really grown on me, and now I can't imagine the console being called Revolution! The Wii is backwards compatible with the Gamecube, meaning that you can play all your favourite Gamecube games on it. You just slide it into the slot loading optical drive and away you go. The console has 4 Gamecube controller ports and two memory card slots concealed by removable flip-open panels at the top, so there's no need to buy any extra add-ons in order to play Gamecube games straight out of the box. One of the biggest innovations since Nintendo invented the D-pad for the NES is the Wii controller. It uses accelerometers and infrared detection along with the sensor bar to sense the controller's position in 3 dimensions, meaning you can control the game by physical movements as well as with traditional button presses. Along with the remote you get the nunchuk unit, which plugs into the bottom of the Wii remote and features a traditional analog stick with ...

Nintendo DS 01/03/2009

Nintendo DS review

Nintendo DS The Nintendo DS is a handheld console released by Nintendo in 2002 in Japan and 2005 in Europe. It has a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP, and has two LCD screens inside it (hence DS - meaning dual-screen), one being a normal screen and the other being a touch-screen. It also has a built-in microphone and supports WI-FI. The DS comes with a stylus, which fits neatly into the back, which you use with the touch-screen, being more delicate and precise than your fingers. This allows you to interact with games directly, pulling you right into the game. There are traditional controls as well though, on the left of the bottom screen is a D-pad with the power button above it, and to the right are the A, B, X and Y buttons with 'Start' and 'Select' buttons above them. There are also two shoulder buttons located on the top of the lower half of the console. Also included is a microphone which can be used for voice recognition or if you need to either blow or shout into the microphone in order to accomplish something (i.e. a minigame). The DS has stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound, which is a first for a Nintendo handheld. The battery life is great, giving 10 hours of playing time for an hour's charge. The screens are backlit, which gives more illumination than other Nintendo handhelds, and makes things a lot easier to see. There are a number of excellent ports for this console, from "Super Mario 64 DS" which is a fantastic game, and made even better ...

Top Gear 01/03/2009

Top Gear review

Top Gear Top Gear is a multi award winning TV show about cars that is broadcast on BBC 2 while repeats are shown on Dave. It started in 1977 as a conventional motoring show but, since it's relaunch in 2002, a lot of comedy and quirkiness has been injected into the show. It is currently on its 12th series. The show is presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig, who drives all the featured cars around the Top Gear track to see which posts the fastest time. Jeremy Clarkson is synonymous with this show, having been one of the reasons the old Top Gear peaked in the '90's. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled in 2001 but brought back after Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman pitched a new format to the BBC executives. During the first series Clarkson was joined by Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe, who was replaced by James May after the first series. The new series boasted new features that are still going today, such as "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car", where each week a celebrity sets the fastest lap time they can on the top gear track using a normal car. There are also the power laps, where whatever car the guys test at the track that week is taken around by the stig in order to see which is fastest. Currently the fastest time was set by the Gumpert Apollo. There are also a lot of challenges, such as buying a cheap car and seeing which presenter bought the best by issuing a number of tests. They have also bought trucks, vans, cheap supercars, motor homes and ...

Taken (DVD) 24/02/2009

Taken review

Taken (DVD) Taken is an action thriller in the vein of "The Bourne Identity" starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. It is directed by Pierre Morel and was co-written by Robert Mark Kamen and Luc Besson who directed films such as "Léon" and "The Fifth Element". Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former US intelligence agent whose daughter Kim (Grace) lives with his ex-wife (Janssen) and her new husband, Stuart. We find out that Kim wants to travel to Europe to follow U2's European tour with a friend but she needs her dad's permission and, knowing how over protective her he is, she and her mother say that they will only stay in Paris and look at museums. Kim gets a call from her dad when she is in their house, when suddenly her friend is taken. Bryan tells her exactly what to do and, using some of the skills he learnt as a spy, gains some information about their kidnappers before his daughter is taken. From then on he is on a mission to find his daughter, whatever the cost. The first 30 mins or so are a bit slow, as we are introduced to the characters and the story is set up etc, but from then on it is absolutely non-stop. Liam Neeson is great here, he's ruthless, he's menacing and he will not stop until he finds his daughter, and he won't let a little thing like French law get in the way. One particularly good part was when he was on the phone to one of the kidnappers, there's a lot of power in Neeson's voice as he tells them what he is going to do. The action scenes are ...

American Dad! - Series 2 - Complete (DVD) 24/02/2009

American Dad - Volume 2 review

American Dad! - Series 2 - Complete (DVD) American Dad - Volume 2 is the second DVD boxset from the creator of Family Guy, Seth McFarlane. It was released here on the 28th May 2007. This set comprises of the last ten episodes of the first season and the first 9 episodes from season two, from "Stannie Get Your Gun" to "The Best Christmas Story Never". Quite why they're releasing sets like this is anybody's guess, I don't know why they just don't do what everyone else does and release one DVD boxset for one season, another one for the next season etc. To me what they're doing is pointless and complicates things. Episodes to look for include "The Best Christmas Story Never" where the ghost of Christmas past visits Stan and tries to show him the true meaning of the festive season, Stan however thinks Christmas will be better if he changes the future by killing Jane Fonda, "Of Ice and Men", where Francine finds out about Stan's passion for ice skating and becomes his partner, "Tears of a Clooney", in which Francine plans to woo George Clooney and then break his heart, but Stan infiltrates Clooney's circle and becomes friends with him! What will he do? There aren't really any bad episodes in this collection, so I think everyone should be pleased with this release. If you find Family Guy too racy you should check this show out, it can still be pretty out there but I don't think it goes as far. I think this is pretty under-rated as a show myself, everyone knows about Family Guy but I bet only a small percentage of those ...

American Dad! - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) 21/02/2009

American Dad - Season 1 review

American Dad! - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) American Dad - Season 1 is a collection of the first 13 episodes from the first season of American Dad, from the pilot up to the two parter, "Stan of Arabia". Yep, you heard me right; the boxset entitled Season 1 doesn't even contain all the episodes from the first season! To me it just smacks of trying to get more money out of the fans of this show. The next DVD has the second half of season one and the first half of season two, which is a bit strange really, why release them like that? Why not just release the whole season as one DVD set, like everyone else does? "American Dad" is about Stan Smith, a CIA agent, and his family; his wife Francine, their two children, Hayley and Steve, their pet goldfish Klaus, and Roger, an alien. Episodes to look out for include "Con Heir", in which, at Stan's father's funeral, he reveals that he wasn't his real father, his real father is a master spy; "Stan of Arabia", where Stan is reassigned to Saudi Arabia and eventually renounces his American citizenship after he finds out in the male dominated world of Saudi Arabia, he can have all he ever wanted, and "Homeland Insecurity", where new neighbours move in next door to Stan. He finds out that they are Iranian, and so immediately suspects them as terrorists. He begins watching them constantly and becomes more and more paranoid. Not only a good episode, but also shows the prejudices a lot of people have about people from certain countries. Extras include a behind the scenes featurette, ...

Family Guy - Freakin' Sweet Collection (DVD) 21/02/2009

Family Guy - Freakin' Sweet Collection review

Family Guy - Freakin' Sweet Collection (DVD) Family Guy - Freakin' Sweet Collection is a compilation of five Family Guy episodes along with some episode commentaries exclusive to this DVD. The episodes included are "When You Wish upon a Weinstein", "Road to Rhode Island", "To Love and Die in Dixie", "I Am Peter Hear Me Roar" and "Lethal Weapons". In "When You Wish upon a Weinstein", Peter tries to convert Chris to Judaism because he thinks that will make him more of a success in life, in "Road to Rhode Island", Brian asks to bring Stewie back from his grandparents in California, but they miss their plane and so have to travel across the country to get back to Quahog (also features some pretty funny old fashioned songs), in "To Love and Die in Dixie", the Griffin family move to the south when a criminal threatens to kill Chris because he witnessed him committing a crime, in "I Am Peter Hear Me Roar", Peter is forced to go to a women's retreat after telling a sexist joke at work, but comes back completely emasculated and convinced he's a woman himself, and finally, in "Lethal Weapons, Lois takes up Tae-Jitsu classes, but starts to worry that this may be a negative influence on her family. A very nice set of extras include Seth McFarlane talking about "American Dad", an inside look at "American Dad" and perhaps the best extra of all, a commentary by Brian and Stewie on the episode "Road to Rhode Island"! This must be hard for Seth as he does both of their voices, so he's basically just talking to himself. Regardless, ...

Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest (DVD) 17/02/2009

May the farce be with you

Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest (DVD) Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest is the Emmy nominated hour long premiere to the sixth season of Family Guy, premiering on September 23rd, 2007. This was the first ever 60 minute episode of Family Guy. The whole episode is a spoof on the first "Star Wars" film, with Family Guy characters taking up the famous roles of Luke, Chewbacca et al. The title is a reference to the code name for the production of "Return of the Jedi", which was called Blue Harvest. The sequel, spoofing "The Empire Strikes Back", will be shown as part of the seventh season and will be entitled "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side". Luke Skywalker is played by Chris Griffin, Lois is Princess Leia, Brian is Chewbacca, Peter is Han Solo and Meg is...,well, see for yourself. Stewie is perfectly cast as the evil Darth Vader and C-3PO and R2-D2 are played by Quagmire and Cleveland respectively. To see such an iconic film with well known characters in the starring roles is great, and it's nice to see George Lucas has got a sense of humour, as he usually stops anything infringing on his beloved films. So the story is basically the same as "Star Wars", with Luke Skywalker training with Obi-Wan Kenobi to become a Jedi in order to defeat Darth Vader, who Obi-Wan says killed his father. The whole thing is filled with funny references (a star destroyer having a 'Bush-Cheney '04' bumper sticker) and in-jokes about the Star Wars universe (two people on the Death Star talking about mundane topics) so there is ...

Family Guy Season 6 DVD 17/02/2009

Family Guy - Season 6 review

Family Guy Season 6 DVD Family Guy - Season 6 is the sixth season of Family Guy, the animated sitcom created by Seth McFarlane. Who would've thought that we would reach six seasons after it was canceled the first time? During this season the Family Guy staff celebrated their 100th episode, but because of the feature length film and "Blue Harvest", it's hard to tell which is the actual 100th episode produced. At the end of 2007 there was a writer's strike that lasted for months and saw production halt on virtually every scripted show. Because of this a lot of the season six episodes were put on hold, which resulted in Fox airing roughly one new "Family Guy" episode a month until the end of the season. That is why there are only 12 episodes in this season whereas in season five there were 18. The animation here is very fluid, with very little skips or bad animating. It's like "The Simpsons" but with the "South Park" style of humour. And like Matt and Trey, Seth is not afraid to take pot shots at anyone, regardless of their race, gender or political affiliation. A lot happens in this season for Quahogs residents, in "Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air" Joe has a leg transplant and finds himself able to walk again, in "Padre de Familia" Peter finds out he is actually an illegal immigrant born in Mexico, in "Back to the Woods" James Woods returns to Quahog to seek revenge on Peter by stealing his identity and his family (Woods shows he can laugh at himself with these great performances) and in ...

Family Guy - Series 5 - Complete (DVD) 15/02/2009

Family Guy - Season 5 review

Family Guy - Series 5 - Complete (DVD) Family Guy - Season 5 is the fifth season of Family Guy from the same person who brings you American Dad, Seth McFarlane. This season premiered in 2006. Family Guy follows the Griffin family, who live in Quahog, New Jersey. The head of the household is Peter, an absent minded father who is not the smartest person in the world. He is married to Lois and together they have three children, Meg, who is often the butt of jokes because of her low-key appearance, Chris, who takes after his father in a lot of ways, and Stewie, a baby with machiavellian tendencies who seems determined to take over the world. I love the secondary cast they have as well; it's almost as good as the Simpson's. From Quagmire, the over-sexed friend of Peter's, to the somewhat outspoken news team of Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons to the legend that is Greased up Deaf Guy, they ensure that even when none of the main characters are on screen, you are still in store for plenty of laughs. There are plenty of good episodes, such as "Mother Tucker", in which Peter's mother begins seeing local news anchor Tom Tucker while Brian and Stewie host a radio show (this episode also features a funny Peanuts spoof). There's also "Prick Up Your Ears", which has a brilliant spoof on the ways evangelicals try to connect with kids when they're bringing their crazy into schools. And "Barely Legal" where, at Meg's junior prom, Meg and Brian make out (!) and when Brian tells her is was just a mistake, Meg goes a bit crazy and ...

Family Guy - Series 4 - Complete (DVD) 15/02/2009

Family Guy - Season 4 review

Family Guy - Series 4 - Complete (DVD) Family Guy - Season 4 is the fourth season of the popular TV show, Family Guy! It was created by Seth McFarlane, who also created "American Dad", and was the first season back after they were canceled during the third season run. Understandably, Family Guy fans were furious at this and started again to try and get their show back on the air again. Petitions were created garnering thousands of signatures, and people wrote into Fox and staged protests to try and bring back Family Guy. Luckily for them (and me), when the show was released on DVD, it was a huge success, selling over two million units within the first year. This, combined with good ratings of past episodes on Cartoon Network, prompted the execs at Fox to screw their heads back on and renew the show. The fourth season premiered in 2005 and the first episode opened on a very funny sequence set in 2002 showing Peter telling the family they have been canceled. He then lists off all the Fox shows that would have to be canceled (they were) before they could return to the airwaves. The last three episodes of this season were the basis for the feature length film "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story". "North by North Quahog" is a great start to the season where Peter and Lois go on a second honeymoon and Peter ends up impersonating Mel Gibson so they can use his luxury hotel suite. There they see a trailer for "Passion of the Christ 2" and then have to escape from the priests who have come to collect it. I think over time ...

Family Guy - Series 3 - Complete (DVD) 11/02/2009

Family Guy - Season 3 review

Family Guy - Series 3 - Complete (DVD) Family Guy - Season 3 is the third series of the Emmy award-winning show, Family Guy. It was created by Seth McFarlane and was first broadcast in 2001. During this season and the previous one, Fox frequently moved the show to different days and times with hardly notice, and the ratings suffered a lot for this. In fact, Fox had already canceled Family Guy at the end of the second season, and it was only because of huge amounts of people creating websites, starting petitions and writing letters that Fox brought it back. The joy was to be short lived though, as during this season it was announced it would be canceled for good. Luckily this was not the case, but it was not for Fox's lack of trying. How they treated this show is despicable, I'm just glad they seemed to come to their senses and revive it again. Again there are a lot of quality episodes to keep the average fan very happy. I especially like "One If by Clam, Two If by Sea", in which Peter's favourite bar, The Drunken Clam, is turned into a British pub after a hurricane hits Quahog. Cue lots of jokes at everything British, one I especially like the drive by argument. Another is "Lethal Weapons", where Lois takes up Tae-Jitsu lessons to fight back against the New Yorkers that have invaded Quahog. The humour can be quite close to the bone, so is not for everyone. Personally I like it though, I like it when shows push the boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn't. The animation is crisp and fluid, it's no ...
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