From practically the first episode, broadcast in 1989, The Simpsons impacted on planet TV like a giant multi-coloured meteor. With a claim to being the defining pop cultural phenomenon of the 1990s--hip, fast, sharp and primary--there was nothing even in rock & roll to match this. The Simpsons is possibly the greatest sitcom ever made. Although the animation was initially primitive, never before had cartoon characters been so well drawn. There had been loveable middle-aged layabouts on TV before, but Homer Simpson successfully stole their crown and out-slobbed them all in every department ("The guys at the plant are gonna have a field day with this," he grumbles in "Call of The Simpsons" as he watches scientists on a TV news item who can't decide whether he is incredibly dense or a brilliant beast). However, in this first series he isn't quite yet the bloated man-child he would become in later series; instead he's a growling patriarch with a Walter Matthau-type voice. His sensible half Marge's croak, meanwhile, has yet to settle down, while the vast cast of minor Springfield characters have yet to find their place. Bart, however, was a smash from the start: dumb as Homer but spiky-haired and resourceful, he sets out his manifesto in "Bart the Genius"; while "Moaning Lisa" spotlights his over-achieving sister and is a good early example of the series' clever handling of melancholy bass notes. Throughout its life there's always been confusion as to whether The Simpsons is a show for kids or adults, but with allusions in these first 13 episodes to Kubrick, Diane Arbus, Citizen Kane and (in a very satisfyingly anti-French episode) Manon des Sources, it should already have been clear that this was a programme for all ages and all IQs from 0 to 200. Dysfunctional they may have been, but the Simpsons stuck together, and audiences stuck with them into the 21st century. --David Stubbs On the DVD: The packaging is good but the 13 episodes are spread very thinly here, with just five each on discs one and two . The commentary track is intermittently interesting though a tad repetitive, as creator David Groening is joined by various other members of the team. The third disc has some neat extra stuff, including outtakes, the original Tracey Ullman Show shorts and a five-minute BBC documentary, but is again fairly brief. The menu interfaces are pretty clunky, annoyingly forcing you to watch endless copyright warnings after each episode and with no facility to "play all". The content is wonderful, of course, but three discs looks like overkill. --Mark Walker
Stomping out their usual cuteness and carbon copying Disney's grand animation style to a tee, directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (An American Tail) create a successful musical comedy from the story of the lost Russian princess. Adapting the story of imperialism and revolution is tricky, and subsequently the film's opening is weak. Once Anya (voiced by Meg Ryan, sung by Liz Callaway) is a teenager and on her own (suffering from some degree of amnesia), Anastasia is quite pleasing though never refreshingly new. 20th Century Fox's big-money gamble to horn in on Disney's realm is worthy. The songs, especially the recurrent "Once Upon a December" by Broadway team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, are better than Disney's recent efforts. It's worth picking up the soundtrack. The mix of cell animation and computer work is vivid. The collection of vocal talent is also strong, from John Cusack (as Dimitri, who wants to earn the reward by bringing Anya to Paris) to Hank Azaria as an amusing albino bat. Kelsey Grammer helps turn a roly-poly sidekick into a warm and strong supporting character. The biggest drawback is Bluth/Goldman's insistence on having a typical villain. Surprisingly, the story would be strong enough without one and the undead corpse of Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) is unneeded and unoriginal. --Doug Thomas
The Simpsons are back... Join the residents of Springfield for the eleventh season of the classic animated series.
By its fourth series, The Simpsons had come far enough for Lisa to make a self-referential joke about Dustin Hoffman's and Michael Jackson's pseudonymous guest voice appearances in series 2 and 3, respectively. In this series, no less than Elizabeth Taylor (in two episodes), Bette Midler and even the reclusive Johnny Carson blessed The Simpsons with their iconic presences. Awhile back, US magazine Entertainment Weekly ranked the top 25 Simpsons episodes. Five gems from series 4 cracked the top 12, including the (debatable) choice for No. 1, "Last Exit to Springfield". Other episodes that loom large in the Simpsons legend are "Mr Plow" (you know the jingle: "Call Mr Plow / That's my name / That name again is Mr Plow"), "Marge vs. the Monorail", featuring a Music-Man-style extravaganza, and "A Streetcar Named Marge", the episode that outraged New Orleans residents, who heard their fair metropolis referred to as "a city that the damned call home". The Simpsons smartly subverts traditional family sitcom convention, but anyone who thinks the show doesn't have a heart is advised to watch "I Love Lisa" and "New Kid on the Block", two fourth-series gems that absolutely nail the agony and ecstasy of unrequited crushes ("You won't be needing this", a heartbroken Bart fantasises his babysitter saying while dropkicking his heart into a wastebasket in "New Kid"). While the Simpsons' celebrated ensemble gets all the glory, we must pause now to praise the peerless writing staff, among them George Meyer, Al Jean, Jon Vitti, John Swartzwelder, David Silverman and Conan O'Brien. One can only marvel in astonishment at the alchemy that went into creating, week after week, such essential episodes as "Kamp Krusty", "Streetcar", the profane and profound "Homer the Heretic" and "Lisa the Beauty Queen" (and that's just disc 1!). The animators, too, rose to the occasion, particularly in "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", with its dead-on, ultra-violent sinking of the seminal Disney cartoon "Steamboat Willie". Another benchmark in The Simpsons' rise to the TV pantheon is its very first clip show. What Homer says about donuts in "Monorail" holds true as well for The Simpsons itself: is there anything this show can't do? --Donald Liebenson
Simon Pegg stars as a slightly chunky, clueless guy who sets out to win back the love of his life. But first he's got to get in shape.
At its heart, HOP is a classic buddy movie...it's just that one of the buddies is a talking rabbit!
When the Easter bunny rabbit is hit by a car the driver takes on responsibility and has to save Easter. Special Features: The World of Hop: A look at the Candy Factory A look at E.B. A look at Fred A look at the Easter Bunny A look at Carlos and Phil A look at Sam All Access with Cody Simpson Emotion in Motion: The Dance of Ken Daurio Barbie Princess Charm School Teaser Trailer Parks and Resorts Orlando Trailer Thank You Anti Piracy Trailer
Hit man Martin Q Blank (John Cusack) is in an awkward situation. Several of them, actually. He's attending his high school reunion on an assignment; he's got a rival hit man (Dan Aykroyd) on his tail; and he's going to have to explain to his old girlfriend (Minnie Driver) why he stood her up on prom night. Grosse Pointe Blank is an amiable black comedy, cowritten by Cusack and directed by Jonathan Demme protégé George Armitage (Miami Blues), has the feel of Demme's Something Wild and Married to the Mob--which is to say its humour is dark and brightly coloured at the same time. Cusack and Driver are utterly charming--as is the leading man's sister, Joan, who plays his secretary. (Cusack received an Oscar nomination for her next role, in In & Out.) Alan Arkin is also very funny as Martin's psychiatrist. --Jim Emerson
First broadcast in 1991 the third series of The Simpsons contains a clutch of candidates for "Best Simpsons Episode Ever". Homer is on such appallingly good form throughout this series that a reasonable case can be made for asserting that he has superseded the importance of his Greek namesake in the annals of culture and civilisation. The opening "Stark Raving Dad", for instance, features a guest appearance by an un-credited Michael Jackson, who plays an obese white inmate whom Homer meets while confined to a mental institution. Other standout episodes include "Like Father, Like Clown", in which Krusty reveals he is estranged from his Rabbi father; this is The Simpsons at the height of its powers, mature, ironic, erudite and touching while bristling with slapstick and Bart-inspired cheek. "Flaming Moe's" features Aerosmith and sees Homer invent a cocktail which desperate, sleazy bartender Moe steals from him. "Radio Bart" is another demonstration of the series' knack for cultural references, parodying the Billy Wilder movie Ace in the Hole. Finally, there's "Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes", in which Danny DeVito reprises his role as Homer's brother, regaining the fortune Homer lost him by inventing a Baby Translator. Immensely enjoyable at anything from a primary to a doctoral thesis level, this third year of the show demonstrates conclusively that The Simpsons is quite simply, and by a large margin, the greatest television programme ever made. --David Stubbs
The moment young Finn sets eyes on Estella she becomes his inspiration--and his obsession. Despite being warned ""she'll only break your heart "" he vows to win her love. Years later thanks to a mysterious benefactor aspiring artist Finn is off to New York where he is reunited with the icy and beautiful Estella. When she agrees to model for him Finn's dearest hopes may at last be realized--along with his darkest fears.
In the steamy jungles of the South Pacific an enormous creature is created by nuclear fallout. Lost for decades the power and the fury of the world's largest monster are about to be unleashed. He's the most spectacular creature in cinematic history with a foot the size of a bus a body as tall as London's Big Ben and strength and agility the likes of which the world has never seen.
Christmas Big Face Lunchbox - Includes: (Arthur Christmas/Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs/Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2/Hotel Transylvania/Hotel Transylvania 2/Open Season (2006)/Pirates! Band Of Misfits, The Smurfs 2, The Smurfs/Surf's Up)
Sixteen seasons (and counting) of pop culture-rocking brilliance, the first four of which have already been gloriously archived on DVD. But in the words of Krusty the Clown: "What has The Simpsons done for me lately?" Well, how about all 22 episodes of season 5, each accompanied by commentary, deleted scenes, and other encyclopedic extras that hopelessly devoted Simpsons fans crave, no, demand? Season 5 is perhaps not as classics-packed as the third or fourth seasons, but no self-respecting Simpsons fan should be without the episodes "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", featuring George Harrison, "Cape Feare", one of Sideshow Bob's (and guest voice Kelsey Grammer's) finest half-hours, "Rosebud", "Springfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)" and "Bart Gets Famous", with the Springfield-sweeping catchphrase "I didn't do it". Plus, the star power this season is impressive: Michelle Pfeiffer as Homer's comely, donut-loving co-worker in "The Last Temptation of Homer", Albert Brooks as a self-help guru who unleashes "Bart's Inner Child", Kathleen Turner as the creator of Malibu Stacy in "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", and, as themselves, the Ramones ("Rosebud"), James Woods ("Homer and Apu"), Buzz Aldren ("Deep Space Homer"), and even Robert Goulet ("Springfield"). But it is the writers and the core ensemble cast who exhibit, to quote "Deep Space Homer", "the right... What's that stuff?" Series milestones include the first appearance of yokel Cletus in "Bart Gets an Elephant" and Maggie's infant nemesis, The Baby with One Eyebrow in "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badasssss Song" which also happens to be The Simpsons' 100th episode. Add in a very good "Treehouse of Horror" episode, (which outs Ned Flanders as the Devil and Marge as the head vampire), and one Emmy-nominated musical extravaganza ("Who Needs the Quick-E-Mart" from "Homer and Apu"), and you have a Simpsons season that's not just great, it's DVD-box-set great. --Donald Liebenson
The Simpsons reside in the town of Springfield. Homer works as a safety inspector at the local nuclear power plant; Marge tries to keep the peace in her family; Bart is the mischievous ten-year-old hellion; eight-year-old Lisa is the intelligent, saxophone-playing vegetarian member of the family; and baby Maggie conveys emotions via pacifier sucks. Viewers also have come to know and love the rich, and sometimes quirky, universe of characters who inhabit Springfield. Guest stars paying Springfield a visit this season include British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Glenn Close, famed author J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Garner, comedian Jerry Lewis, Evan Marriott, Sir Ian McKellan, documentarian Michael Moore and Simon Cowell. Special Features: Deleted Scenes Featurettes
Broderick plays a scientist who is drafted in to assist when an enormous lizard created by nuclear fallout terrorises New York.
Ben Stiller stars as an over-cautious risk assessor who falls in love with Jennifer Aniston's adventure-craving, ferret-loving free spirit.
First aired in 1990-91, the second series of The Simpsons proved that, far from being a one-joke sitcom about the all-American dysfunctional family, it had the potential to become a whole hilarious universe. The animation had settled down (in the first series, the characters look eerily distorted when viewed years later), while Dan Castellaneta, who voiced Homer, decided to switch from a grumpy Walter Matthau impression to a more full-on, bulbous wail. The series' population of minor characters began to grow with the inclusion of Dr Hibbert, McBain and attorney Lionel Hutz, while the writers became more seamless in their ability to weave pastiche of classic movies into the plot lines. While relatively "straight" by later standards (the surreal forays of future seasons are kept in check here), Season Two contains some of the most memorable episodes ever made, indeed some of the finest American comedy ever made. These include "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", in which Homer is reunited with, and ruins the business of, his long-lost brother ("He was an unbridled success--until he discovered he was a Simpson"), "Dead Putting Society", in which Homer lives out his rivalry with neighbour Ned Flanders through a crazy-golf competition between the sons ("If you lose, you're out of the family!") and one of the greatest ever episodes, "Lisa's Substitute", which not only features poor little Lisa's crush on a supply teacher voiced by Dustin Hoffman but also Bart's campaign to become class president. "A vote for Bart is a vote for anarchy!", warns Martin, the rival candidate. By way of a retort, Bart promises faithfully, "A vote for Bart is a vote for anarchy!". --David Stubbs On the DVD: The Simpsons, Season 2, like its DVD predecessor, has neat animated menus on all four discs as well as apparently endless copyright warnings, but nothing as useful as a "play all" facility. The discs are more generously filled than Season 1, however, and each episode has an optional group commentary from Matt Groening and various members of his team. The fourth disc has sundry snippets including the Springfield family at the Emmy Awards ceremony, Julie Kavner dressed up as Bart at the American Music Awards and videos for both "Do the Bartman" and "Deep, Deep Trouble" (all with optional commentary). There are two short features dating from 1991: director David Silverman on the creation of an episode and an interview with Matt Groening. TV commercials for butterfinger bars, foreign language clips and picture galleries round out the selection. Picture is standard 4:3 and the sound is good Dolby 5.1. --Mark Walker
The longest-running primetime animated series in history and the longest-running sitcom currently on primetime television The Simpsons is also a cultural institution. Now in its 14th season The Simpsons has an extremely loyal and dedicated fan base worldwide. Intelligently written subversively humorous and delightfully witty the show pokes fun at itself and everything in its wake. This season's stellar guest voices include rock 'n' roll legends Mick Jagger Keith Richards Lenny Kravitz Tom Petty Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer. Also paying Springfield a visit are Elliott Gould Marisa Tomei Little Richard and the dynamic duo of Adam West and Burt Ward. Pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and alternative rock band Blink 182 will lend their voices to the historic 300th episode.
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere get it on in one of Hollywood's biggest, and most beloved, blockbusters.
As "gigantic monster reptile attacks New York" movies go, you've got to admit that Godzilla delivers the goods, although its critical drubbing and box-office disappointment were arguably deserved. It's a shameless, uninspired crowd-pleaser that's content to serve up familiar action with the advantage of really fantastic special effects, and if you expect nothing more you'll be one among millions of satisfied customers. There's really no other way to approach it--you just have to accept the fact that Independence Day creators Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are unapologetic plagiarists, incapable of anything more than mindless spectacle that can play in any cinema in the world without dubbing or subtitles. The whole movie plays out like a series of highlights stolen from previous blockbusters of the 1990s; it's little more than a rehash of the Jurassic Park movies. The derivative script is so trivial that it's unworthy of comment, apart from a few choice laughs and the casting of Michael Lerner as New York's mayor, whose name is Ebert and who closely resembles a certain well-known movie critic. Perhaps that's a clever hint that this movie's essentially critic-proof. It's stupid but it's fun, and for most audiences that's a fitting definition of mainstream Hollywood entertainment. --Jeff Shannon
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