As Zoogz previously mentioned, we've put the final touches on our latest MSTing! It's a two parter and you can check it out at the following links:
In addition, I've just finished writing 20 new reviews for Rifftrax which can be seen below and I'm hoping to add a few more in the coming weeks. Any and all feedback is appriciated as always!
"A Visit to Santa" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Garsh! Well, uh, it's not the WORST Christmas short I've ever seen but it's definitely a contender for most irritating soundtrack. Two Sumerian speaking kids have their sleep interrupted by a creepy elf child and brought forth by helicopter to Santa's... low rent apartment. The apathetic Santa, probably played by some bored security guard at the mall where most of this thing was filmed, shows the kids around and makes them look at stuff. For a long time. This Rifftrax is amusingly dark and I enjoyed it for the most part. Recommended.
"Teenagers on Trial" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Don't trust anyone under 30! Written by old farts for old farts, this short sets out to prove what they already knew, all kids are rotten and not to be trusted. They're worse than Commies! THE BEAVER IS A LIE! Only having them join the US Army can set these kids straight! Or get them killed, which is also acceptable apparently. This Rifftrax was a fun way to kill 8 mins of your time. Recommended.
"Cork – Crashes and Curiosities" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Irish Sweep... I'm not a fan of modern or 1940s racing, so I really don't have much to say about this short. Irish jokes dominate this Rifftrax but it's all in good fun and I enjoyed it. Recommended.
"The Case of Tommy Tucker Pt. 1 & 2" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- This disturbing short starts out with a Pagen children's play which is quickly interrupted by the Hitler Youth Move... oops, I mean, the SAFETY PATROL lead by a little self-rightous snot named Tommy Tucker that resembles Howdy Doody right down to his Joker smile. Creeped out yet?
Thankfully, Tommy is run over by a car soon afterwards and hovers near death but what does he care? He's on SAFETY ISLAND, which is apparently a gated community in Heaven, and he's a martyr to the rightous cause of installing 1984-esque safety procedures to Anytown USA so people will stop running over annoying bossy kids that try to tell them how to drive! Yeah. As for the Rifftrax, while I wasn't a fan of it being split up into two parts (a practice they seem to have stopped now thankfully), the riffing was great and I enjoyed it a lot. Highly recommended for both parts.
"Women in Blue" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Yep, it's another short desperately trying to convince its audience that sexism was a dirty lie and women had more to look forward to in the 1940s than more cooking, cleaning, and child rearing by showing them signing up to serve in the Navy so more men could be sent off to war. Of course, once the war was over, the women were quickly booted back to their old positions but hey, enjoy the fun while it lasts, ladies! Much like 'The Trouble With Women', the riffing here is nicely dark and sarcastic. Highly recommended.
"The Matrix Revolutions" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Well, the film itself sucks on toast but this was far more enjoyable for me with a Rifftrax than 'Matrix Reloaded', probably because this movie was more mindless action than endless droning monologues sapping my will to live. The riffers themselves seemed more energized as well which always helps. Highly recommended.
"Star Trek 2009" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- *deep breath* Okay... I am a long time fan of the majority of the original Star Trek, The Next Generation, and select Deep Space 9 episodes. I knew this film was a reboot and I tried to watch it with an open mind and reminded myself how badly 'Nemesis' had botched it and with 'Enterprise' gone, the franchise needed this sort of thing to survive.
But this... this was a decent sci-fi action film, nothing more. You can dress them up as the characters, give them the characteristics of the original crew (and I will admit that Karl Urban was FUCKING scary as McCoy, he was practically channeling the DEAD with his portrayal.) and have old Leonard Nimoy himself show up to bless the reboot, so to speak, but it still ain't Star Trek as far as I'm concerned. Maybe that'll change with the next film, who knows, but for now... NO.
All right, rant over. Now for the Rifftrax. With the sole exception of the 'Funky Spock' sequence, which was hilarious, I found this trax to be dull and lifeless with very few laughs for me. Perhaps the riffers felt the same way I did with the film and couldn't muster up the energy, I dunno. Recommendation to avoid, sadly.
"Cinematic Titanic: East Meets Watts" w/ Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. -- I initially avoided 'Cinematic Titanic', partly because of their previous choice of films to riff on, partly because past trailers for their commentary frankly sucked IMHO, and partly because I'm a cheap bastard who'd rather pay three bucks for a rifftrax that might suck than $14 for a DVD that might suck. However, when 'East Meets Watts' was announced, I checked out the trailer and was impressed enough to take a chance. And I'm glad I did.
The film is a mix of bad Blaxploitation and worse Kung-Fu, but mixed together, it became a somewhat watchable movie featuring several actors from M*A*S*H (No Alan Alda sadly, he could have used the style of the Hawkeye... *cough*)
As for the riffing, it's great overall and there's some big laughs to be found throughout. All of the riffers have some funny choice lines in this one and going live may have been the smartest move 'Cinematic Titanic' could have made as seeing the performers smile, laugh and react to each other and the audience during the riffing definitely adds a level of energy that a studio riffing, however funny, can't quite reach. It was especially great to hear Trace riffing again after all these years and he hasn't lost his touch. To be fair, though, there were three noteworthy spots where I felt the riffing quality dipped considerably:
- After the 'Journey' riff until Stud Brown first shows up.
- The majority of the gun fight in the dark.
- And the last seven minutes of the movie or so.
Still, the majority of this CT offering is well worth checking out. Very Highly Recommended.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- (Note: This isn't the version from the Live Christmas Rifftrax DVD, nor are any of the shorts reviewed here from that DVD at this time.) This was a fun 8 min short, of course I had to resist the urge to shout out rude phrases during the theme song but otherwise I enjoyed this. I do hope to see the live DVD version someday to compare them. Recommended.
"The Night Before Christmas" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- My personal favorite of the Christmas themed shorts, I was laughing pretty much all the way through this one and I don't want to spoil anything. Very highly recommended.
"Three Magic Words" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Oh man, this short was just AWESOME! And I thought 'Shaking Hands with Danger' was tough to get out of my head. This delightful marketing musical has 'Mrs. Newlywed' pleading with The Three (Low Rent) Stooges, who are everyone and everywhere apparently, to save her ass by cooking dinner to settle a bet. Only the power of PORK can save her now, or more specifically, a half dozen or so songs praising said pork with a little help from dark magic. This short was an absolute laugh riot for me from beginning to end. Highest recommendations!
"Parade of Aquatic Champions" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Another short I really enjoyed with plenty of laughs and belly flops. You'd think so-called 'Aquatic Champions' would be smart enough not to belly flop into the pool, especially when racing, but hey, I never competed in the 1904 Olympics so what do I know? And I have no idea what the deal with Larry is, but I haven't been that
confused/unsettled since Mr. B Natural. *shudder* Very highly recommended.
"Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- And so ends the riffing of Star Wars, unless they start doing 'The Clone Wars' which might be the only thing that could make that series watchable for me. I hadn't seen this movie for quite a while and was surprised by how amazingly DULL the first half was. Once things pick up in the latter half, it's all good but why the FUCK did they change the perfectly epic and enjoyable 'Yub Yub' song at the end to that generic piece of crap? Bleah!
Unfortunately, after a great performance with 'Empire Strikes Back', the riffing seemed to drop back to mediocre levels with this Rifftrax, though it was still better than the dismal effort for 'A New Hope'. There were the occasional funny moments, like the gay jokes for the droids and Kevin Murphy taking Lucas to task for adding crap like a completely asinine dance sequence to the movie but keeping cheap special effects like Han Solo defrosting from hibernation intact but overall I was more disappointed than entertained by this Rifftrax. Mildly recommended but just barely. So now, because I felt like doing it, here's my ranking of the Star Wars Rifftraxs from best to worst, IMHO.
"The Star Wars Holiday Special"
"Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"
"Episode I: The Phantom Menace"
"Episode III: Revenge of the Sith"
"Episode II: Attack of the Clones"
"Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"
"Episode IV: A New Hope"
"Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor" w/ Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Josh Weinstein and Mary Jo Pehl. -- Ah, the hairy 70s. When even the monsters in your films were required by law to be unshaven. Actually, that's only one of the three monsters that invade a small town filled with the usual gang of idiots that make up the cast of these things. There's the nerdy scientists who don't actually do anything, the know-it-all stranger who has all the answers. The inept mayor. The drunken posse. The sheriff and his deputy. The movie star, the professor and Mary Anne, etc, etc...
The riffing for this one was good but not quite as funny for me as 'East Meets Watts', which may be the fault of the film itself as it can be a little dry and painfully dull at times. There were some great lines though, especially from Trace who provided some of the biggest laughs, including one PERFECTLY timed riff I won't spoil here that nearly brought the house down and broke up the other riffers. At one point, Josh even acknowledges to the audience during an extended walking scene how difficult some scenes can be to riff when nothing's happening for minutes on end. Still, I enjoyed the CT overall. Highly recommended.
"Molly Grows Up" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- At first I wondered if I was qualified to judge this short being a guy, but then the short itself doesn't seem all that knowledgeable on the subject either. So, I'll just say Molly's adventures with menstruation made for a very funny Rifftrax, especially hilarious was the list of "activities" one should and should not do when on the rag, as well as the riffing of the opening and closing credits. Very highly recommended.
"Little Lost Scent" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Meet Gregory, baby skunk and all around badass who rarely has to resort to his special weapon as he stares down every animal foolish enough to cross his path of PAIN. Even his vampire mom can't keep Gregory in line for long. This Rifftrax was a lot of fun and while they did talk over the admittedly long-winded narrator a bit too much
at times, I still enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
"Seat Belts: The Life Saving Habit" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- YES! I love cheesy shorts from the 1980s! The music, the fashion, the hair, it's all good. This short has its share of goofy moments but its mostly serious or as serious as 80s shorts can ever be. The first half of this Rifftrax had more laughs for me than the other half though, but still funny overall. It might be a bit hard to watch though if you have kids as some child sized test dummies take a few vicious shots into the windshield in this short. Recommended, otherwise.
"Avatar" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Continuing in the tradition of movies like 'TRON' and 'Star Wars: Episode I', combining state of the art special effects with a crappy script, it's CAPTAIN PLAN... I mean, AVATAR! Okay, sure, it has blue anorexics fighting the good fight against an evil corporation who employ cartoonish, gung-ho villains, but so what? Uh, besides, 'Dances with Wolves' and 'The Matrix' were darn fine movies so ripping them off should mean this film is good by default too, right? Right??
Sarcasm aside, the rifftrax for this was amusing for the most part, nothing outstanding but worth checking out once at least. Long ass movie though. Recommended.
"Drawing for Beginners: The Rectangle" w/ Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett. -- Very funny Rifftrax for a rather dry short about drawing rectangles. The artistic skills shown here are about on par with my own drawing abilities so I can't judge it too harshly but still, funny stuff. Highly recommended.