Simpsons Season 15 DVD Review (Kirk Haviland)

Simpson's DVD cover

Simpsons Season 15 DVD Review

With the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria

Created by Matt Groening

The longest running primetime show in American television history, the Simpsons, is world renowned and beloved. They also produce some of the most influential and feature packed DVD sets on the market place. New to DVD from Fox Home Entertainment comes the 15th season of the series. So how does season 15 stack up with their already impressive library?

In Season 15 the show welcomes guest voice performances from Jerry Lewis, Jennifer Garner, and Oscar De La Hoya in this season’s hilarious Treehouse of Horror episode. Tony Blair, Jane Leeves, Sir Ian McKellan and J.K. Rowling in the vacation episode of the season as the Simpson’s clan head to England. Glenn Close makes a return as Homer’s Mom and Jackie Mason as Krusty’s Dad. Sarah Michelle Gellar as Gina, the girl Bart meets and escapes juvenile hall with, in the classic ‘The Wandering Juvie’ and Matt Groening himself in the also classic comic-con episode. Among some of the subjects of season 15 we have Robot Fighting, a watch that stops time, Homer becoming the grim reaper, Lisa running for Class president in a take-off of the film ‘Evita’, Maggie scoring higher SAT scores than Lisa and the story of Homer’s first kiss.

Simpson Wandering Juvie

As much as the show has lost some relevance over the decade and a half run, and perhaps even more now that it has hit year 25, the show is still hilarious when it is at its best. By season 15 the show had really shifted its focus almost completely from Bart to Homer as the focal characters, something the show had been moving towards for a while at the time. The show remains one of the most sought after vocal guesting jobs on television, even non-traditional vocal performances like this season’s turn from Prime Minister Tony Blair are almost common place for the show. Homer seems to be getting less and less coherent the more the show continues. Bart and Lisa seem stuck though, the best episode seem to involve them growing in some sort or the full out flash forward to them as older versions of themselves that show up from time to time.

The 15th season set is jammed packed and stuffed with all sorts of special features and hours’ worth of material to follow up on. Every episode features a commentary track from members of the cast and crew, one of the few shows that do a commentary on every show. Featurettes include ‘All Aboard with Matt’, ‘The Unusual Ones’ and ‘Living in the Moment’. Deleted scenes and original animation sketches along with commercials and new animation for the menu screens also appear on the set. The collector’s box also features an embossed picture of school bus driver Otto. There is enough fascinating and engrossing material here for hours of distraction for the whole family.

The Simpsons may be a show that is more hit and miss that its boundary pushing beginnings, but the box sets for the DVDs remain some the most masterfully crafted and satisfying sets on the market. For fans of series, no matter what the level of interest, the Simpsons season 15 box set is a solid recommend. And for die-hard fans of the show, The Simpsons Season 15 is a must buy. Let’s hope the folks behind the Simpsons continue to show the same dedication to their following seasons for years to come.

Movie Junkie TO

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UFC 145 DVD Review (Kirk Haviland)

UFC 145 DVD Review

Jones VS Evans

April 21st 2012 – Philips Arena, Atlanta Georgia

We here at Entertainment Maven, in our attempt to bring you informed reviews of theatrical releases, home entertainment and special events, have decided that it’s time to acknowledge one of the largest growing forms of entertainment in the world. Of course what I am talking about is Mixed Martial Arts, and in particular the UFC. Now we will not be getting into live event coverage, there are plenty of avenues which cover the live events as they happen or shortly after, and while we do cover events we have decided they will be film related only at this time. So why are we going to be reviewing UFC DVDs?  Because there are only a handful of sites out there doing reviews of the actual DVD releases from UFC. Many fans can’t afford to pay out over $60 a month for pay-per-view events and wait for the DVD releases to see the full card. Also, there are some events you just need to own. These reviews will come in a DVD review format, only slightly different from our other DVD reviews, where we will discuss the main program (card) and list and discuss the special features for the disc. Then we will ultimately give our opinion on whether it’s worth your hard earned money. Now let’s step into the octagon for UFC 145!

UFC 145 was billed as the end to the bitter and ugly feud between two former training partners and friends, Rashad Evans and Jon Jones. After Evans injured himself leading into his title fight against Maurizio Rua at UFC 128, Jones took his spot and ultimately won the title. During an interview shortly after winning the belt, Jones was asked if he would fight Evans and answered with the statement that he would fight anyone he was asked to. Evans took exception to this and the feud was sparked.

The first disc of this 2-disc set features the 6 match pay-per-view card in its entirety. The Main Event Card goes as follows – Evans vs Jones / Rory MacDonald vs Che Mills / Brendan Schaub vs Ben Rothwell / Miguel Angel Torres vs Michael McDonald / Mark Hominick vs Eddie Yagin and Mark Bocek vs John Alessio. The Main Card this time around delivers in spades. The main event is a good fight but results in a pretty lopsided affair by the end of it. Rory MacDonald makes Mills look like an amateur here with another impressive annihilation of an opponent. Quick surprise knockouts are the result of our two middle fights, and our first two of the pay-per-view card, Yagin vs Hominick and Bocek vs Alessio both go the distance with one result being a little controversial. That said the Yagin vs Hominik is a bloody, messy, straight up brawl that really is an excellent bout. Also, Michael MacDonald delivers an impressive, attention worthy performance.

The 2nd disc has all the preliminary fights and special features. Prelim line up is as follows – Travis Brown vs Chad Griggs / Matt Brown vs Stephen Thompson / John Makdessi vs Anthony Njokuani / Mac Danzig vs Efrain Escudero / Kieth Wisniewski vs Chris Clements / and Marcus Brimage vs Maximo Blanco. This time around it was the prelims that had the judges working overtime as out of the six bouts only one resulted in a stoppage. The Brimage vs Blanco fight’s most entertaining moment was not in the dull fight but the after bout celebrations which spontaneously turned into a back flipping contest. The stoppage comes in the Brown vs Griggs fight and it was the winner for submission of the night.

For special features we get a fantastic Countdown to UFC programme. The interviews and behind the scenes stuff is superb, especially the face to face interview at CSS sports studios where Jones and Evans verbally spar in numerous heated exchanges over who said what heading into the fight. I also loved the part where Jones calls out Evans on his accusations of Jones’  arrogance by referencing the most arrogant stuff Evans has done, and there are a lot of clips to pull from. We also get a behind the scenes short film and the complete broadcast of the official weigh-ins as usual. What are missing unfortunately are the 3 UFC primetime episodes they shot for this fight. Clocking in at about an hour minus commercials, this fantastic series would have made this disc complete.

UFC 145 delivers the goods on the main card and the main event does not disappoint. I recommend this as a purchase based on the Rory MacDonald performance alone, but the Jones/Evans bout and other solid performances, like the one from by Michael McDonald, also make it an easy sell. UFC 145 is a solid buy for any UFC fan.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO (or in this case Octagon Junkie TO)

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films and festivals in Toronto, along with continuing reviews of the latest releases from the UFC.

Follow me on twitter @moviejunkieto

Contact me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com

UFC 143 DVD Review (Kirk Haviland)

DVD Review UFC 143

Diaz vs Condit

February 4th, 2012. Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas Nevada

We here at Entertainment Maven, in our attempt to bring you informed reviews of theatrical releases, home entertainment and special events, have decided that it’s time to acknowledge one of the largest growing forms of entertainment in the world. Of course what I am talking about is Mixed Martial Arts, and in particular the UFC. Now we will not be getting into live event coverage, there are plenty of avenues which cover the live events as they happen or shortly after, and while we do cover events we have decided they will be film related only at this time. So why are we going to be reviewing UFC DVDs?  Because there are only a handful of sites out there doing reviews of the actual DVD releases from UFC. Many fans can’t afford to pay out over $60 a month for pay-per-view events and wait for the DVD releases to see the full card. Also, there are some events you just need to own. These reviews will come in a DVD review format, only slightly different from our other DVD reviews, where we will discuss the main program (card) and list and discuss the special features for the disc. Then we will ultimately give our opinion on whether it’s worth your hard earned money. Now let’s step into the octagon for UFC 143!

UFC 143 was a card, like a good few these days, which saw a lot of turmoil. The Card was originally scheduled to be Nick Diaz vs Georges St. Pierre (GSP) after Carlos Condit stepped aside from the fight with GSP he was originally in line for. Condit was put into this main event for the Interim Championship after a training injury sidelined GSP for over 6 months. Condit’s original opponent Josh Koscheck was rescheduled to fight Mike Pierce.

The first disc of this 2 disc set features the pay-per-view card in its entirety. The Main Event Card goes as follows – Diaz vs. Condit / Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Wredum / Koscheck vs. Pierce / Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgenson / and Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks. The Main Card ultimately leaves us feeling a little flat. With only one fight ending with a stoppage the judges were busy in Vegas that night. The Nelson/Verdum fight is a bloody affair with both fighters going all out in by far the most entertaining bout. Conversely the Condit/Diaz fight is dull with a lot of posturing and striking at distance with very little grappling until round 5 and more jabs than dangerous strikes. The fight has become more infamous for Nick Diaz’s tirade after the fight and his “retirement” from MMA in the post-fight interview.

The 2nd disc has all the preliminary fights and special features. Prelim line up is as follows – Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway / Alex Caceres aka Bruce Leroy vs. Edwin Figueroa / Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope / Matthew Riddle vs. Henry Martinez / Rafeal Natal vs. Michael Kuiper / and Dan Stittgen vs. Stephen Thompson. Of the Prelim fights the standouts are the Stittgen vs. Thompson bout for a killer KO, Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope and Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway for a great submission. The most bizarre fight was Caceres vs. Figueroa as illegal blow deductions impact the result of the decision dramatically. For special features we get the return of the excellent Countdown to UFC programme. Given the level of bravado coming from the two headliners it certainly turned into a fun countdown show, and having Roy Nelson on it never hurts. We also get a behind the scenes short film and the complete broadcast of the official weigh-ins.

Ultimately UFC 143 Diaz vs. Condit is one of the UFC releases you might want to skip. With so many great cards and discs out from the UFC, and many more on the way soon,  143 is really only for completest and hard-core fans of the fighters on the card.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO (or in this case Octagon Junkie TO)

Make sure to keep up with what’s going on at Entertainment Maven by liking our Facebook page and having updates delivered right to your Facebook News Feed. It’s the only way to stay on top of all of our articles with the newest blockbusters and all the upcoming films and festivals in Toronto, along with continuing reviews of the latest releases from the UFC.

Follow me on twitter @moviejunkieto

Contact me at moviejunkieto@gmail.com

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