"SOUTH PARK:
THE COMPLETE THIRTEENTH SEASON"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The brilliant and irreverent – and often crassly hilarious – animated show has plowed through its thirteenth season, continuing to make news and headlines. This year, they prove once again that there are no sacred cows, taking on “The Watchmen,” Kanye West, Somoli pirates, the credit crisis, pimping, James Cameron, the correct way to insult someone with the word “fag,” that fat guy from “Whale Wars” and queefing... yes, queefing. Watch if you dare, and prepare to be offended and amused.

WHAT I LIKED
There was a time not too long ago that I would have suggested that “South Park” would run out of steam, that they would become irrelevant to the pop culture canvas. If that time is coming, it’s a long way off. With the quick-to-market animation style, Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to have one of the most dead-on sarcastically-biting television shows on the planet.

This year, as much if not more than previous ones, have allowed them to comment on current events even if they are only a week old. This way, we get a look at very recent things happening almost as they are happening. In fact, as is pointed out in the commentaries to the shows, these episodes are sometimes in the pipeline while they are even mastering their DVD.

My personal favorite episodes from this season are “The Coon” which skewers the fanboy-loved film “The Watchmen,” “Eat, Pray, Queef” because it challenges their own crassness and “Dead Celebrities” because Michael Jackson jokes never get old and I think Chipotle-away is a great idea for a product.

But let’s face it. All these episodes are brilliant. And I can’t think of a show in its thirteenth season that has managed to do that.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My only problem with the “South Park” series is that they run so short. Why can’t awesome cable show have a 20+ episode season like the networks? I recently watched all the old episodes, and after cramming twelve seasons into a few short weeks, I’m now going through withdrawal.

DVD FEATURES
As with previous seasons, “South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season” includes mini-commentaries on each episode by Parker and Stone. There are also seven deleted scenes along with a tour of South Park Studios.

But the best reason to get the DVD of this series is for the uncensored episodes. It’s an R-rated show, after all, crippled at times by the censors.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who can laugh at almost anything without being offended.



"KRÖD MÄNDOON AND THE
FLAMING SWORD OF FIRE"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central/BBC

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Comedy Central and the BBC have tried their hand a comedy version of the typical fantasy television show. The result is “Kröd Mändoon,” which plays out like a whimsical “Xena” with more laughs. In this short-lived series, Kröd Mändoon is a warrior who has a destiny to rid the countryside of evil. Along with his rag-tag band of sidekicks (including a smoking hot pagan warrior, a not-so-clever wizard, an ogre and the flaming lover of their dead compatriot) battle the evil Chancellor Dongalor for freedom.

WHAT I LIKED
I remember seeing advertisements for “Kröd Mändoon” on Comedy Central while I was watching “South Park” this past year. I always was curious about it, and now I’ve got a chance to try it out.

While I’m not a huge fan of the fantasy series genre, I have to say that I did enjoy “Kröd Mändoon” quite a bit. It’s funny... funnier than you might expect. And while many of the fantasy and sci-fi shows tend to have their tongues firmly in their cheeks (at least before everyone from “Caprica” to “Stargate Universe” are trying to recreate the grim environment of “Battlestar Galactica”), none have really pushed the humor this far.

In the end, this series works both as a comedy and as a fantasy adventure, similar to how “Beverly Hills Cop” works as a comedy and a detective story.

The best part of the series is Matt Lucas as the doughy yet ruthless Chancellor Dongalor. He manages to strike an excellent balance between bumbling idiot and evil ruler. And let’s not forget the lovely India de Beaufort as Aneka, the beautiful pagan warrioress.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
As funny and irreverent in its own genre as “Kröd Mändoon” is, it risks going above its own audience. While it works as both a comedy and fantasy adventure, fans of either might not like their genres crossed. Its biggest problem as a comedy was the jokes weren’t coming fast enough, and it’s biggest problem as a fantasy is that it just doesn’t have its mind on that central focus. I loved these aspects to it, but I think I’m in the minority.

Still, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a feature length “Kröd Mändoon” film, and we all know that the studio executives do whatever I suggest. So keep your fingers crossed.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD for the BBC version (which features Michael Gambon as the narrator rather than Chris Parnell) include deleted and extended scenes, cast interviews, outtakes and a behind-the-scenes tour with Kevin Hart.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of comedy and fantasy and their eventually cross-over.



"SINBAD: WHERE U BEEN?"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After ups and downs in his career – along with an internet rumor that he died – Sinbad returns to the stage in a comedy show with a little music mixed in. The original “Star Search” winner and television star comes back into the spotlight to talk about his tax problems, being married and getting his funk on.

WHAT I LIKED
I grew up in the 80s, so I do remember watching Sinbad on the “Star Search” television show. While I didn’t follow his career through “A Different World” and “The Sinbad Show,” I did see his small range of films like “Necessary Roughness” and even the much-maligned Christmas family comedy “Jingle All the Way.” He’s a funny guy in most of what I’ve seen him in.

Like many comedians who have been on stage and television, and often in a starring role, for this many years, Sinbad still is on his game. Like Louie Anderson, Sinbad works his comedy groove the best when he’s improvising, and he shows this talent off in this special.

This special also gives Sinbad an opportunity to talk about his downsides in life, and that endears the viewer to him.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
While I have enjoyed Sinbad’s comedy for many years, he’s slowed down a bit. He also seems to be slumming it a bit with this special, not going for a more mainstream audience. He appears to be trying to appeal to his core roots – and dare I say ghetto roots? – and that’s just not too funny. It’s a little sad, actually, considering his career has had one foot in the mainstream for so long.

The comedy special caps off with a music block featuring Sinbad on the strings. The problem is that Sinbad is a comedian rather than a professional musician. He means well, but this makes the comedy special play out like an episode of “Saturday Night Live” with a bad musical guest.

DVD FEATURES
The DVD features 45 minutes of bonus content that was not included in the original Comedy Central broadcast. There is also a somewhat weak behind-the-scenes featurette with Sinbad.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Die-hard Sinbad fans.




    

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