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Product Reviews

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  1.  Good Gluck Another GREAT Comedy


    Will Gluck, it seems, is becoming a rival to the comedy giant that is Judd Apatow. With Easy A being easily one of the most charming and smartly written teen comedies since the original American Pie Will Gluck follows up with another awesome effort, Friends With Benefits. More adult than Easy A but equally as quippish, smart and (also like Easy A) makes fun of the genre it is placed in but at the same time shows a love for it.
    The story is of Dylan and Jaime, when Dyaln flies from L.A. to New York for a job interview with GQ set up by headhunter Jaime instead of trying to sell Dylan on the job Jaime instead sells him on New York which sparks up a friendship. Soo these 2 are hanging out as besties and have both taken themselves off the dating market and soon come to the agreement of having unemotional purely physical sex with each other. At first everything seems to be fine as the 2 stop when they are ready to start dating again but soon the inevitable happens, their feelings of friendship evolve even though niether of them are willing to admit it. Que a trip back home to L.A. where Jaime meets Dylan's sister and her son along with their alzhiemers suffering father. Next comes the fight that leads to the big make up scene involving a flashdance to a song of which a running gag is made throughout the film. OK yes all of that does sound like your typical rom-com film and it is but what makes this film entertaining is the dialogue, the set ups and the performances.
    Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake's chemistry is off the charts and really it's this great chemistry that MAKES the film. Timberlake is proving to be an actor to watch and Kunis proves what I've been saying of her for years now - SHE DESERVES THE LEAD NOT JUST THE BEST FRIEND ROLES, she's awesome! Jenna Elfman (TV's Dharma) is also a delight to watch as Dylan's big sister but possibly the scene stealer of the film is Woody Harrelson as a very funny if not slightly mysogenistic gay workfriend of Dylans. Patricia Clarkson provides another performance in a Gluck movie as a whacky loving mother who likes to tease her daughter of her paternal lineage.
    There's laughter, pathos, seriousness and yes indeed rom-com cliches but this film is definately better than the Kutcher/Portman film of the same premise (No Strings Attached) probably one of the better films released overall in 2011 and definately the best rom-com I've seen in a while. The extras are a little light on this DVD (the main reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 out of 5) there's about 8 minutes worth of outtakes, 10 minutes worth of deleted scenes and a good commentary track featuring director Gluck and his 2 stars Kunis and Timberlake. One things for sure though, I will be looking out for Gluck's next effort.

  2.  How To Make A Great Sitcom


    To set the scene it's the late 80's and America is in the Reagan administration and the country is in a recession. Along comes a sitcom that would reflect the struggle of the common family struggling to make ends meet, that sitcom was Roseanne. Based on the (then) innovative stand up comedy of Roseanne Barr who would go on stage and deliver hilarious material based on the life of the average homemaker, she wasnt the norm, overwieght, opinionated and feminist in a time when Americans heads werent quite in the pro woman mindset. This sitcom would break a lot of ground on American TV - The show was based around a strong woman who wasnt conventionally attractive and was the alpha figurehead of the family.
    The show premiered in 1987 and is centered around the Connor family, a bluecollar family living in the fictional town of Lanford Illinois. Roseanne works at a plastics factory with her sister Jackie by day and at night spends time with her 3 kids13 year old Becky, 11 year old Darlene and 6 year old DJ. Her husband, Dan is a contractor and a loving father and husband and is building a boat in the garage. As the show roles on Roseanne and Dan try to make do as Dan's contracting business goes through highs and lows and Roseanne goes through jobs such as hair sweeper at a beauty salon and minimum wage at a fast food restuarant and eventually woks and co-owns a Cafe. As the series grows so do the kids as Becky gets married to a biker and moves out, Darlen goes from wise-cracking tomboy to probably one of the first gothy style characters on TV. DJ goes from precostious little kid to even more precostioius teen. The show would become one of the first to show gay characters prominantly and tackle such issues as periods, teen sex and pregnancy and homosexuality (this due in part by Roseanne having 2 gay brothers in real life).
    The show stars Roseanne Barr as the titular character, the kids were played by Michael Fishman (DJ), Sara Gilbert (Darlene) and the role of Becky was originally plated by Lecy Goranson between seasons 1-6 and then future Scrubs star Sarah Chalke in seasons 7 and 8 and curiously the role was split between the 2 in the final season. The brilliant Laurie Metcalfe would play Roseannes neurotic and whacky sister Jackie and rounding off a great cast is the brilliant John Goodman as Dan Conner.
    Guest stars in the series included future superstar George Clooney in the first season as Booker, the line manager at Wellman Plastics and Jackie's on-again-off-again boyfriend, Barr's real life husband (at the time) Tom Arnold, Stephen Root, Sandra Bernhard, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tim Curry.
    This show was a realistic portrayal of middle America with realistic and lovable characters and tackled both important issues and the ludicrously zaney. Plenty of extras inclue interviews with the cast from 2005 looking back on the show and loads more, this is definately worth getting!

  3.  Comedy Kidnapped!


    From the same guys who created Drop The Dead Donkey comes another classic which Im sure will still be as loved in 15 years as Donkey is today.
    The show is about 2 parents trying to survive as they raise 3 very precotious and manic children. The eldest Jake is sarcastic and just starting to realise life sucks like all teenagers do. The middle child Ben is a crazy boy with a unique perspective and knack for causing trouble and the youngest and only girl in the mix Karen is adorably un-PC and PC at the same time.
    The show draws its humour from the whacky things kids say and the kids are improvising most of what they say as Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner who play the parents are also very funny in their own right but honestly after watching this show if you dont want to adopt Karen you'd be crazy!
    In the first 2 seasons here they manage to terrorize an airport, a wedding and also cause plenty of chaos at home and school. If you're a fan of off-the-wall british comed BUY THIS!!

  4.  Stand Up For Funny People!!!


    Judd Apatow came out the boxes strong wi him first 2 films pretty much being universally loved and raved about. To me 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up are amazingly good films and 2 of the best films in the last 10 years. With his 3rd film Judd Apatow goes back to his roots as a stand up comic with Funny People.
    The film stars Adam Sandler (Apatows old housemate from back in the day) who plays George Simmons who is basically a little bit like Adam Sandler in the fact that he's a huge movie star who does whacky comedy films... thats probably where the similarity ends though. George Simmons is kind of a jerk, self-centered and alone in his big old mansion. The film starts with George finding out he's got a dicease that will probably kill him, after looking back on his life he decides to get back into stand up where he meets Ira, a young guy just getting started (played by Seth Rogen). He hires Ira to write jokes for him and tells Ira he is ill and asks him not tell anyone (sidenote: one of the funniest moments in the film for me is when he asks Ira not to tell anyone and then the very next scene Ira tells his roommates, it's not meant to be funny but I found it hilarious) Through the course of the film George gets better and then decides he's going to take this 2nd chance to get back with the girl that got away which for him is Laura, problem being Laura is married but the good news is George has no bad feelings breaking them up.
    This film is not as light hearted as Virgin or Knocked Up and certainly experiments more in the drama of the situation as well as the humour around it. Adam Sandler shows off the acting chops that he rarely uses (say beyond Punch Drunk Love) and plays a lovably charming a**hole with seeming ease. Leslie Mann (Apatows real life wife) plays Laura and is underused but sweet and funny even though she's playing a badly written character. Eric Bana is funny as hell as Laura's overly Australian husband but the film belongs to Seth Rogen who is finally given the space to use the acting chops he showed in Freaks And Geeks. Jason Swartzmen and Jonah Hill appear just in time with a fart joke or 2 when the film starts getting really heavy and relative newcomer Aubrey Plaza is deliciously deadpan as Rogens love interest. There are also some great cameos by the likes of Andy Dick, James Taylor, Paul Rieser, Sarah Silverman, The Wu Tang Clan's RZA and a showstealing (in my opinion) 5 minutes of Eminem.
    The film runs just under 3 hours and falls apart towards the end but is redeemed by the last 5 mins!
    As usual with Apatow there are great extras including a making of documentary diary of the film, 2 gag reels, a commentary track with Apatow, Sandler and Rogen where they get off the topics of their own penises for 5 mins to talk about the film (seriously funny and worth a listen) and also some old pieces of stand-up like Sandlers early works and a 13 year old Seth Rogen talking about his jewish grandparents.
    As usual for Judd Apatow, heavily improvised 1 liners are the key to the comedy, Rogen and Sandler work well together and Aubrey Plaza should be given her own film in my opinion, check it out, not as awesome as his first 2 films but still a strong outing once more.

  5.  Osmosis Rocks!


    Osmosis Jones is a fantastic film that is just simply a must for anyone who loves good animated comedies mixed with live action. The film takes place in Frank, an unhealthy and lazy zoo keeper. When his daughter comes to visit him at the zoo he eats a filthy peanut which unleashes a virus into his body. Enter Osmosis Jones a white blood cell in Franks body who wants to clean things up. He is joined by neurotic but lovable Thrax, a flu pill Frank takes. Together these 2 unlikely partners set to take down this virus and save Franks health.
    This film has an awesome cast that includes Chris Rock (Dogma), David Hyde Pierce (Niles from TV's Frasier), Lawrence Fishbourn (The Matrix) and William Shatner (like you dont know where William Shatners famous from!) . Also starring Bill Murray as Frank in live action and supported by the likes of Brandy Norwood, Ron Howard and Molly Shannon this cast is a phenominal one of talent and class.
    Extra features on the DVD include a behind the scenes and a few other mini featurettes about the design of the characters and so on but the film is the real treat. So if you have a kid and want to teach them a little something about the inportance of hygene or even if, just like me you're a big kid who loves a good flicc, this film is definately for you!

  6.  Layin' The Smackdown! on DVD!


    The Best of Smackdown! - 10 Year Anniversary 3-disc DVD surprised me when it first came out because I didnt realise the show had been on for 10 years even though I watched the very first episode, I guess if you enjoy something enough you dont realise those things! Smackdown! started as a 1-off Network TV special that became it's very own network TV legitimizing the WWE's main stream status, now they were on network TV and not just cable they are entertainment mainstream. Although I still feel to this day Raw is the better show of the 2 (as a WRESTLING fan) Smackdown! is still one hell of an entertaining show and over the years has provided jaw dropping or just plain weird moments that you could never see anywhere else. Throughout it's turbulant history Smackdown has gone through many announcers, general managers and superstars the only 2 constants being Michael Cole (up to 2008 at least) and The Undertaker (who was originally drafted to Smackdown! when the show first seperated as a seperate brand to Raw).
    This DVD boxset counts down the top 100 moments in Smackdowns! first 10 years. From the old WWF Attitude Era days there are moments such as Stonecold blowing up the DX-Express coach, The Rocks most impressive looking peoples elbow of all time and matches that include the very first main event in the shows history which saw The Rock challenge Triple H for the WWF Title with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. It also includes moments from the WWE Sports Entertainment era of today which includes Brfock Lesnar and Big Show literally exploding the ring with a superplex, the debut of The Boogeyman, the tribute show held 2 days after 9/11 and full length matches that include the full length 60 minute iron man match between Kurt Angle and Brock nLesnar for the WWE Title, Undertaker Vs Randy Orton and Eddie Guerrero Vs Rey Mysterio.
    This set is a must for anyone who calls themselves a wrestling fan as it includes some of WWEs finest and oddest moments, some of which have never been released on DVD before now. Hosted by Michael Cole and Matt Striker and with tonnes more moments this DVD is an essential part of wrestling memorabilia.

  7.  Goodbye Earl


    For whatever reason, whether it be ratings, budget or just once again studio executives not knowing how good they had something season 4 of My Name Is Earl will be the very last season of what WAS one of the best new generation comedy shows. Right up there with quality shows like 30 Rock and Scrubs, My Name Is Earl was a great example of the whacky off-the-wall comedy that becomes so ludicrous and ridiculous at times it cant be anything else but funny.
    By season 4 Earl is back to doing what Earl does best - his list. With his dim but lovable little brother Randy by his side Earl attempts to cross off such bad deeds as "sold a guy a lemon car", "got the babysitter pregnant", "stole an RV" and "was mean to the old witch lady". On the way we also get to find out why Darnell (a.k.a. Crabman) was put into witness protection, Joy learns the sacrifices needed to be a good mother and Randy starts his own list after winning money on a lotto ticket and being knocked into by a bike.
    The special features on this DVD boxset include about 15-20 deleted scenes, a 10 minute outtakes reel and a 30-odd minute segment called Earls Fanmail in which the cast and crew of the show answer the fans questions like "whats with Tim Stacks playing himself as an alcoholic?", "will Jason Lee's good friend Kevin Smith ever be on the show?" and "how many Joy hairpieces does Jaime Presley have on the show?" which while kinda funny at the same time runs a little long and is a little depressing because it's obvious they're all thinking towards season 5 which we now know will never happen.
    As usual with the show season 4 of 'Earl has a great handful of awesome guest stars which include (to name a few) Seth Green, Morgan Fairchild, Betty White, David Arquette and Danny Glover as Crabmans estranged father.
    So drink hearty of the Early season 4 broth but remember it is the last of them which is a real shame because season 4 ends on a really good cliffhanger that I guess we'll never find out the answers to... But maybe our imaginations can tell a better story who knows! Anyway 96 episodes in and it's goodbye Earl, Randy, Joy, Crabman, Catalina and all the wonderful little characters of Camden (including my fave Askabar Alop Lop!).

  8.  How To Make A Great Sitcom


    The golden age of sitcom may be over, with shows like Frasier, Friends and so on all off the air for the last 5 years or so, and yes there is some terrible sitcoms out there like Two And A Half Men (Im sorry but when is Charlie Sheen gonna STOP playing the ladies man stereotype guy) but there is still some genius out there that is capable of doing a great sitcom, case in point - How I Met Your Mother. Billed as a "love story told in reverse" the show doesnt even involve the mother in question (5 seasons in and we still have no clue who she'll turn out to be and if they do it right we wont actually know until the very last shot of the very last episode) but this story is more one of a guy telling his kids who he was before he was dad, who he hung out with, the stupid immature things he did when he was young and the failed relationships that led him to their mother.
    The show is centered around Ted, a 27 year old architect who lives in New York with his best friend and old college roomie Marshall. When Marhsall gets engaged to his long time steady Lily it lights a fire in Ted to find "the one" thats when his awesome friend Barney helps him to meet (more or less) the beautiful Robin who Ted is immidiately besotted with. After telling Robin he thinks he's in love with her on the first date things dont last long but it does set up the group the show is centered around.
    Using the past tense format, knowing that everything older Ted is talking about happened 25 years ago (older Ted is telling the story in 2030) gives the writers a chance to be cheeky and creative, sometimes playing jokes within the flashbacks or making the flashbacks themselves the joke, or purposely misleading or building a mystery, they're constantly chopping and changing. One of the most perfect examples of this is an episode called "The Pineapple Incident". As Ted flusters and blunders in his personal life we also delve into the relationship of Lilly and Marshall, Robin becomes more and more a part of the group as the season rolls on and the Barneyrisms become part of your legendary lexicon!
    One of the things that make this show so good is the amazing cast they have which includes the alway hilarious Alyson Hannigan, Freeks & Geeks/Forgetting Sarah Marshal gentle giant Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, the beautiful Coby Smulders and the legendary Neil Patrick Harris as Barney.
    Special featurs include interviews with the show creators and cast and a gag reel but not much more. The season is 22 episodes long and has such classics as the aforementioned "Pineapple Incident", "Life Among The Gorillas" in which Marshall finds the perils of corporate life, "The Limo" in which Ted plans the perfect new years eve but with this being a sitcom obviously it all falls apart and my favourite "Okay Awesome" in which Ted tells of his dislike for clubs. With guest stars like Danica McKellar and narrated by Bob Saget this show is simply funny whacky silly and golden!

  9.  Comic Guy Gets His Own DVD Cover!


    If like me you've been collecting The Simpsons boxsets then, like me, you may be getting slightly frustrated at the slowness of their releases. Being that they're about to start the 21st season it's not like they're running out, we're only half way there man! But although it's averaging on a year long wait (hopefully season 13 will be out sooner than next september) it is worth the wait since the Simpsons gang dont short-change the DVD viewer.
    Season 12 is one of the lesser regarded seasons by some, some reason that after the 11th/12th season the show looses a lot of it's original heart and becomes more cartoony and whacky but I diagree. Although zanier and whackier than older seasons season 12 still has some heartwarming stuff. In this season Krusty finds out he has a daughter, Homer comes closer to Lisa than ever before and Bart, Ralph, Milhouse and Nelson form a boyband.... OK, yeah this season is kind of crazy with killer dolphins and Homer getting kidnapped in Brazil but at this stage the Simpsons was still really good and funny. Other episodes include Bart and Milhouse being banned from the comic book store, the Simpsons get a tennis court in their back garden and Lisa finds a genetic reasoning behind bullies. One of my faves is in here to when Homer volunteers himself as a science guniea pig they find out that Homer's amazing idiocracy is caused by a crayon lodged in his brain, once taken out Homer is smart and bonds with Lisa like he never has.
    The guest stars this season are of usual Simpsons quality, you've got some lame ducks like *NSYNC (in all fairness they were the hottest thing at that point no matter how lame I think they are!). But some of the guest stars are awesome including Michael Keaton, Frankie Muniz, Edward Norton and the frickin Who man, I mean come on, THE WHO! Joe Mantegna is back as the wonderful Fat Tony, Kelsey Grammer appears once more as Sideshow Bob, even tennis legends like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Venus Williams make an appearance!
    Special features wise the Mr Groening and the gang dont let us down, As ever all 21 episodes come with a commentary track with the writers, directors animators and a couple of the actors pop along for the ride to (no surprises in Yeardley Smith). There's the usual Matt Groening intro, deleted scenes and animatics as are also standard by now in these series of DVDs. There are also 2 featurettes, one on the global dominance of The Simpsons (although they prefer the term Global Fanfest) and a clipfest of the very best Comic Book Guy zingers called Comic Book Guy: Best Moments Ever! (well worth a peep if like me you love Comic Book Guy for the sad sap he is!)
    So the general consensus here is, enjoy the plentiful bounty of Simpsons Season 12 but you may have to savour it as it may be 10-12 months till Season 13 is released (by which time they'll be on season 22... most probably) but this boxset will tip the scale to 269 episodes so, although there's like 200 God knows how many more to come, there's a butt load there to keep Simpsons junkies from a-joansing!

  10.  The Bumble In The Jungle


    When I first saw this film I really wasnt expecting much, a couple of friends told me it was a bomb and a few reviews seemd to indicate that all the hype around it was unwarranted and that it basically sucked... then I heard Tom Cruise was in it, not the biggest Tom Cruise fan (film wise) and I just figured "meh, if I can see it for free I will!" and thats what happened and then I ended up liking it! - I do love it when that happens!
    The story is about a bunch of prima donna celebrities filming a Platoon-esque war film on location in Vietnam, there's Tugg Sppedman (Stiller) your Jean Claude Van Dam type action hero who is trying to become a serious actor, Jeff Portnoy (Black) a Hollywood funnyman who's addicted to heroine, Kirk Lazarus (Downey) a 5 time Oscar winning method actor who has painted himself black and Alpa Chino (Jackson) a rapper turned actor. When they screw up the films most expensive shot the films director (played by steve coogan) decides to save the film by filming guerilla style. Unfortunately he takes a wrong step and now these actors are on their own and facing a vietkon heroin smuggling army who have mistaken them for DEA. Tug still thinks he's acting, Jeff is suffering withdrawal when a bird OD's on the last of his stash and Kirk wont drop character even when he knows there's no film.
    What you are treated to in this film is some fantastic stuff, it may not be the comedy extraveganza the promotion promised but it is a funny satire and a brilliant send-up on Hollywood and to top it all off they've got Hollywood pretty boy Matthew McConaughey and Hollywood local looney toon Tom Cruise hamming it up as well... and even they're funny! Tonnes of cameos from Stillers Hollywood buddies (although no Owen Wilson, presumably because when this was being shot Wilson was trying to shoot himself up) and wonderfully ridiculous and over the top scenes.
    This isn't Zoolander, hell this isnt even Cable Guy but it is Ben Stiller at the helm doing what Ben Stiller does best, making ridiculous films with ridiculous characters that are actually pretty funny!