Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season

The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom produced and directed by Chuck Lorre ("Two and a Half Men") and Bill Prady (executive producer of "Gilmore Girls")
The series is about two nerds who share a flat: Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons).
Although both are PhD in theoretical physics and are able to calculate the probability of the existence of parallel universes, they have no idea how to relate to the outside world, especially with the girls.

The series begins with the arrival of Penny (Kaley Cuoco), the new neighbor that is installed on the floor in front. Penny, who inhabit the antipodes and intellectual life of both nerds, disrupts the quiet love life is a continuous Leonard and detonator for obsessive-compulsive Sheldon.

Normal emissions Penny also disrupting the rest of the gang: a Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) is triggered whenever hormones sees while Rajesh (Kunal Nayyar) is unable to issue a single voice in his presence .

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pope John Paul II (DVD)

One of the best made-for-television movies of the decade, Pope John Paul II is a pleasurable and memorable film chronicling the remarkable life of Karol Wojtyla, a young Polish Catholic who would one day become Pope. Nominated for a 2006 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, Jon Voight is excellent in his role the Pope in his latter years. Cary Elwes is equally memorable in his portrayal of a young and inspiring Wojtyla. Overall, Pope John Paul II is a well produced and well cast masterpiece about the life of one of the 20th Century’s most influential men. It will cause Catholics to beam with pride that such a man was Pope, as well as inspire non-Catholics with a message of hope and peace and the recognition that, in modern times, great leaders can still triumph over evil.

The film begins with a young Karol Wojtyla (Elwes), a student who aspires to become a noted actor in Poland. During this time in life, Nazi Germany invades the nation, and the complex political and religious implications prompt him to make a series of important decisions in his life. Karol must decide whether to get married or to join the priesthood, and because of his extensive education, he is a rare individual who can warn other workers about the dangers of Communism and all its evils.

Ultimately, Karol chooses the priesthood, and he is taken under the wing of the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Adam Sapieha (James Cromwell). New priests must be trained in secret, and the religious oppression experienced at the hands of the Nazis doesn’t end with their demise. The Soviet Union continues to use the power of the state to subvert the influence of the church, limiting public gatherings and attempting to curtail the impact of the clergy. Wojtyla immediately sparks the ire of local officials by staging peaceful protests, public religious gatherings, and student retreats. As he rises through the ranks of the Polish church, he becomes one of the most powerful and well-known priests in the nation. The Soviets promote the idea of his being considered as Pope in order to get him out of Poland, but their efforts eventually backfire when the new Pope John Paul II becomes one of the most fierce anti-Communist leaders in the world, backing Lech Walesa (Jacek Lenartowicz) the political leadership of the Polish union Solidarity and preaching a unified message with both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. In addition to Communism, Wojtyla’s years as the Pope see him grapple with abortion, September 11th, a failed assassination attempt, and the ill effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Overall, Pope John Paul II is a vivid portrayal of a storybook life. Voight and Elwes are flawless in illustrating the many layers of complexity that formed and molded the personality and ideology of one of the world best loved political and religious figures. Their efforts are complimented by a superb supporting cast that includes veteran actors James Cromwell, Christopher Lee, and Ben Gazzara. The costumes and set design seem to be well-suited the myriad time periods covered, and the chronology of the story as told seems to flow well for a television movie. It’s rare to find a made-for-TV production equal in quality to its big screen counterpart, but viewers can be confident that in this biographical film, they’ll get all the quality and star power of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Office (Season 2) DVD

One of the best new comedies on television, The Office chronicles the inner-workings of the fictional Pennsylvania paper company Dunder-Mifflin. The name itself sort of alludes to a bureaucratic labyrinth administered by dunderheads, and in reality, it is. Unfortunately, what makes The Office so outrageously funny is the frightening ability of its millions of viewers to relate to the onscreen happenings. Dunder-Mifflin is mis-managed by the politically-incorrect, borderline lunatic Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Deploying his twisted logic as the basis of company policy, substituting worn out clich├ęs for real leadership, and offering an endless array of ever ridiculous group activities to “increase morale,” he fosters a white collar environment that makes the comic strip world of Dilbert seem desirable in contrast.

Carell, one of Hollywood’s hottest stars, shines in the role of the crazed and eccentric office manager, and his talents are well complimented by Rainn Wilson in the role of Michael’s butt-kissing, rule-Nazi sycophant, Dwight Schrute. Dwight’s over-the-top antics regularly conflict with the rest of the office, particularly co-worker and desk neighbor Jim Halpert (John Krasinski). An unspoken office crush between Jim and Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer) makes for an interesting and recurring subplot. The two epitomize the rest of the Dunder-Mifflin employees who convey themselves as logical, well-reasoned, and normal individuals; normal people trapped in a bizarro world where bumbling idiots like Michael and Dwight preside over their work week. Similar in theme to the hilarious feature film Office Space, the show provides viewers with a much more excitable Bill Lumbergh lording over an army of Peter Gibbons-like worker bees. For creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who first experienced success with the concept in the United Kingdom, it’s a surefire recipe for pure, unadulterated laughter.

The Office (Season 2) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere “The Dundies” in which the annual staff awards, “The Dundies,” are handed out by Michael. Michael struggles with the event due to some corporate complaints about his past handling of the event, while still managing to offend each and every one of his fellow employees. Following a fight with Roy, Pam gets hammered and the spends the evening joking around with Jim. The two end up kissing before Pam catches a ride home with another coworker… Other episodes include “Christmas Party” in which Michael screws up the office Christmas party with another one of his erratic decisions, and “Conflict Resolution” in which Michael’s efforts to improve relations within the office result in a worse situation.

Below is a list of episodes included on The Office (Season 2) DVD:

Episode 7 (The Dundies) Air Date: 09-20-2005
Episode 8 (Sexual Harassment) Air Date: 09-27-2005
Episode 9 (Office Olympics) Air Date: 10-04-2005
Episode 10 (The Fire) Air Date: 10-11-2005
Episode 11 (Halloween) Air Date: 10-18-2005
Episode 12 (The Fight) Air Date: 11-01-2005
Episode 13 (The Client) Air Date: 11-08-2005
Episode 14 (Performance Review) Air Date: 11-15-2005
Episode 15 (Email Surveillance) Air Date: 11-22-2005
Episode 16 (Christmas Party) Air Date: 12-06-2005
Episode 17 (Booze Cruise) Air Date: 01-05-2006
Episode 18 (The Injury) Air Date: 01-12-2006
Episode 19 (The Secret) Air Date: 01-19-2006
Episode 20 (The Carpet) Air Date: 01-26-2006
Episode 21 (Boys and Girls) Air Date: 02-02-2006
Episode 22 (Valentine’s Day) Air Date: 02-09-2006
Episode 23 (Dwight’s Speech) Air Date: 03-02-2006
Episode 24 (Take Your Daughter to Work Day) Air Date: 03-16-2006
Episode 25 (Michael’s Birthday) Air Date: 03-30-2006
Episode 26 (Drug Testing) Air Date: 04-27-2006
Episode 27 (Conflict Resolution) Air Date: 05-04-2006
Episode 28 (Casino Night) Air Date: 05-11-2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Taxi (Season 3) DVD

With its biting humor and eccentric characters, Taxi is widely lauded as one of the top sitcoms in television history. The brainchild of James L. Brooks, whose golden touch played a role in such hits as The Andy Griffith Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Simpsons, Taxi continues to entertain and gather generations of new fans through syndicated reruns. With a superb cast and great writers, the show introduced the world to the comedic talents of Hollywood mainstays like Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd, and Andy Kaufman.

Taxi follows the daily operations of the Sunshine Cab Company, a New York City taxi service run by tyrannical dispatcher Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito). De Palma’s self-centered sarcastic remarks are often dispensed from the safety of his pathetically small office in the corner of the body shop, while various employees like Alex Reiger (Judd Hirsch), Tony Banta (Danza), and Elaine Nardo (Henner) socialize and plot against their common enemy. Add foreign mechanic Latka Gravas (Kaufman) to the mix and all the ingredients are in place for hours of endless laughter. As the characters deal with problems of varying degree in their personal lives, the audience is treated to some of the best comedy ever produced for the small screen.

The Taxi (Season 3) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere “Louie’s Rival” in which Louie’s girlfriend Zena dumps him for a bartender at Mario’s. Danny DeVito provides another hilarious performance as the heartless Louie… Other notable episodes include “The Costume Party” in which the gang crashes a luxury yacht party in the hopes of meeting some famous people, and “Bobby and the Critic” in which Bobby happens upon one of the theater critics who recently bashed his performance.

Below is a list of episodes included on the Taxi (Season 3) DVD:

Episode 47 (Louie’s Rival) Air Date: 11-19-1980
Episode 48 (Tony’s Sister and Jim) Air Date: 11-26-1980
Episode 49 (Fathers of the Bride) Air Date: 12-03-1980
Episode 50 (Elaine’s Strange Triangle) Air Date: 12-10-1980
Episode 51 (Going Home) Air Date: 12-17-1980
Episode 52 (The Ten Percent Solution) Air Date: 01-07-1981
Episode 53 (The Call of the Mild) Air Date: 01-21-1981
Episode 54 (Latka’s Cookies) Air Date: 02-05-1981
Episode 55 (Thy Boss’s Wife) Air Date: 02-12-1981
Episode 56 (The Costume Party) Air Date: 02-19-1981
Episode 57 (Elaine’s Old Friend) Air Date: 02-26-1981
Episode 58 (Out of Commission) Air Date: 03-12-1981
Episode 59 (Zen and the Art of Cab Driving) Air Date: 03-19-1981
Episode 60 (Louie’s Mother) Air Date: 03-26-1981
Episode 61 (Bobby’s Roommate) Air Date: 04-09-1981
Episode 62 (Louie Bumps Into an Old Lady) Air Date: 04-16-1981
Episode 63 (Bobby and the Critic) Air Date: 04-30-1981
Episode 64 (On the Job: Part 1) Air Date: 05-07-1981
Episode 65 (On the Job: Part 2) Air Date: 05-14-1981
Episode 66 (Latka the Playboy) Air Date: 05-21-1981

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Simpsons (Season 8) DVD

One of the best TV shows of the modern era, or for that matter any era, The Simpsons rekindled the popularity of the prime time animation genre. A blockbuster series filled with a diverse cast of characters from the fictional town Springfield, the series aided the upstart FOX network in its rise from second-rate TV channel to the elite status of a major network like CBS, NBC, or ABC. This overwhelming success opened the door for a number of similar animated series such as Futurama (1999), The Family Guy (1999), and King Of The Hill (1997). With arguably of the best collection of writing talent in the TV industry, The Simpsons has managed to maintain consistency as one of the funniest shows on television – quite an accomplishment given the length of its run.

The Simpsons (Season 8) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere “Treehouse of Horror VII,” one of the best of the annual Simpson Halloween episodes. The three stories covered include the discovery of Bart’s evil twin in the attic, Lisa’s creation of an alternative universe, and an alien invasion propagated by Bob Dole and Bill Clinton look-alikes. Other notable episodes from Season 8 include “A Milhouse Divided” in which Milhouse’s parents decide to get a divorce, prompting Homer and Marge to take sides in the separation, and “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” in which Homer becomes the voiceover for the highly anticipated arrival of Poochie, a new character on the Itchy & Scratchy Show. But things take a turn for the worst when reviews of Poochie are unanimously derogatory.

Below is a list of episodes included on The Simpsons (Season 8) DVD:

Episode 154 (Treehouse of Horror VII) Air Date: 10-27-1996
Episode 155 (You Only Move Twice) Air Date: 11-03-1996
Episode 156 (The Homer They Fall) Air Date: 11-10-1996
Episode 157 (Burns Baby Burns) Air Date: 11-17-1996
Episode 158 (Bart After Dark) Air Date: 11-24-1996
Episode 159 (A Milhouse Divided) Air Date: 12-01-1996
Episode 160 (Lisa’s Date with Density) Air Date: 12-15-1996
Episode 161 (Hurricane Neddy) Air Date: 12-29-1996
Episode 162 (The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer) Air Date: 01-05-1997
Episode 163 (The Springfield Files) Air Date: 01-12-1997
Episode 164 (The Twisted World of Marge Simpson) Air Date: 01-19-1997
Episode 165 (Fountain of Madness) Air Date: 02-02-1997
Episode 166 (Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious) Air Date: 02-07-1997
Episode 167 (The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show) Air Date: 02-09-1997
Episode 168 (Homer’s Phobia) Air Date: 02-16-1997
Episode 169 (Brother from Another Series) Air Date: 02-23-1997
Episode 170 (My Sister, My Sitter) Air Date: 03-02-1997
Episode 171 (Homer vs. The 18th Amendment) Air Date: 03-16-1997
Episode 172 (Grade School Confidential) Air Date: 04-06-1997
Episode 173 (The Canine Mutiny) Air Date: 04-13-1997
Episode 174 (The Old Man and the Lisa) Air Date: 04-20-1997
Episode 175 (In Marge We Trust) Air Date: 04-27-1997
Episode 176 (Homer’s Enemy) Air Date: 05-04-1997
Episode 177 (Simpson Spin-Off Showcase) Air Date: 05-11-1997
Episode 178 (The Secret War of Lisa Simpson) Air Date: 05-18-1997

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Simpsons (Season 7) DVD

One of the best television shows of its time, or any time for that matter, The Simpsons has resurrected the prime time animation genre. A blockbuster series populated with eccentric characters from the town Springfield, it helped launch the upstart FOX network from second-tier network to a major player alongside CBS, NBC, and ABC. This success opened the door for a plethora of animated series, such as The Family Guy (1999), Futurama (1999), and King Of The Hill (1997). With some of the best and most consistent writers in television, The Simpsons has spent an unprecedented length of time as one of the funniest shows on TV. That’s quite an accomplishment given the level of excellence it takes to manufacture so many episodes over such a long period of time.

The Simpsons (Season 7) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere “Springfield’s Most Wanted” in which John Walsh, host of the FOX series America’s Most Wanted, summarizes various theories as to who shot Springfield tycoon Montgomery Burns. This show originally aired prior to the season seven premiere that wraps up this plot twist, but it appears on The Simpsons (Season 6) DVD. Other notable episodes from Season 7 include “King-Size” in which Homer’s dream of working from home leads him to pursue a high-octane regimen of unhealthy binge eating (in order to get fat enough to qualify for company disability), and “A Fish Called Selma” in which Troy McClure seduces, and eventually marries, Marge’s sister Selma in enough to resuscitate his fledgling Hollywood career.

Below is a list of episodes included on The Simpsons (Season 7) DVD:

Episode 128 (Springfield’s Most Wanted) Air Date: 09-17-1995
Episode 129 (Who Shot Mr. Burns?) Air Date: 09-17-1995
Episode 130 (Radioactive Man) Air Date: 09-24-1995
Episode 131 (Home Sweet Home-Dum Diddly Doodly) Air Date: 10-01-1995
Episode 132 (Bart Sells His Soul) Air Date: 10-08-1995
Episode 133 (Lisa the Vegetarian) Air Date: 10-15-1995
Episode 134 (Treehouse of Horror VI) Air Date: 10-29-1995
Episode 135 (King-Size Homer) Air Date: 11-05-1995
Episode 136 (Mother Simpson) Air Date: 11-19-1995
Episode 137 (Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming) Air Date: 11-26-1995
Episode 138 (The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular) Air Date: 12-03-1995
Episode 139 (Marge Be Not Proud) Air Date: 12-17-1995
Episode 140 (Team Homer) Air Date: 01-07-1996
Episode 141 (Two Bad Neighbors) Air Date: 01-14-1996
Episode 142 (Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield) Air Date: 02-04-1996
Episode 143 (Bart the Fink) Air Date: 02-11-1996
Episode 144 (Lisa the Iconoclast) Air Date: 02-18-1996
Episode 145 (Homer the Smithers) Air Date: 02-25-1996
Episode 146 (The Day the Violence Died) Air Date: 03-17-1996
Episode 147 (A Fish Called Selma) Air Date: 03-24-1996
Episode 148 (Bart on the Road) Air Date: 03-31-1996
Episode 149 (22 Short Films About Springfield) Air Date: 04-14-1996
Episode 150 (Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish”) Air Date: 04-28-1996
Episode 151 (Much Apu About Nothing) Air Date: 05-05-1996
Episode 152 (Homerpalooza) Air Date: 05-19-1996
Episode 153 (Summer of 4’2”) Air Date: 05-19-1996

Monday, August 14, 2006

On Golden Pond (DVD)

Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and eventual winner of 3 Oscars, On Golden Pond is an unconventional Hollywood blockbuster. Based on the play of the same name by Ernest Thompson, the film offers a character driven storyline that explores numerous themes such as aging, abandonment, and family relationships of various types. Veteran film and TV director Mark Rydell packs the big screen with a star-studded cast for this 1981 release. Because of its well developed characters and realistic portrayal of human interactions, it’s a film that’s almost certain to make you laugh, cry, and/or smile. In fact, if you don’t find Norman to be one of the most hilarious and eccentric characters ever created, then you must not be watching the same film.

On Golden Pond follows the lives of a retired New England couple on their annual summer vacation to Golden Pond. Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) is an aging, long-retired college professor. Sarcastic and crotchety, he manages to distance himself from just about everyone but his wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn). In fact, his biting demeanor nearly destroys he and his daughter’s relationship, Chelsea (Jane Fonda). When Chelsea brings her new boyfriend Bill (Dabney Coleman) to visit, it isn’t long before Norman stirs things up once again. But Norman and Ethel get an unexpected summer guest when Bill and Chelsea take a prolonged European vacation and leave Bill’s 13-year-old son Billy in their care. It makes for an odd threesome, but as the three learn to live with each other’s quirks, they also learn from each other. But the true test for the new family comes when Chelsea and Bill return from Europe. Can she learn to accept her father’s vices? And can Norman finally be proud of his daughter for who she is?

Hollywood veterans Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda turn in two of the best performances of their respective careers. Fonda is absolutely brilliant as the doddering and cranky Norman. One can’t help but laugh at his antics, although it helps that he has the best written lines in the entire movie. Dabney Coleman, although brief in his appearance, makes an immediate impression when he engages in a classic dialogue with Henry Fonda over the evening’s sleeping arrangements. However, in the end, On Golden Pond works because of the chemistry between the three characters who encompass the majority of the story – Ethel, Norman, and Billy. They bind together to create an epic drama rife with conflict, conquest, and chaos without all the usual Hollywood blood and gore. It’s truly rare to have a film of this nature capture audiences without boring them, and On Golden Pond pulls it off.

Complimenting this strong cast and screenplay is a simple, yet memorable instrumental soundtrack composed by Dave Grusin, veteran TV and film composer known for such works as Tootsie (1982) and The Goonies (1985). Filmed on location on and around the Squam Lakes in New Hampshire, the beauty and majesty of this untainted landscape blends perfectly with its tailor-made soundtrack to create a theme of endless peace and tranquility. Overall, it makes for a rather enjoyable movie experience. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch On Golden Pond. Then, see if you can say “Ethel Thayer” really fast without a lisp!