jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
1. Life doesn't give you seat belts (but they're a good idea anyway)
2. Everyone loves lobster thermidor.
3. Octogenarians can be superheroes too.
4. Orphans gotta stick together.
5. Sometimes "I hate you" is the nicest thing to say.

Overall it's not quite as good as the LEGO Movie, but that's only because they opted to ease back from the Joke-Every-Ten-Seconds format to actually try for some emotional depth. Which leads to...

6. Out of SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS of screen adaptations of Batman, this is the only one where he ACTUALLY DEALS WITH HIS DAMNED PROBLEMS
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Unless you were sitting under a rock last November, you may have heard that Joel Hodgson ran a wildly successful Kickstarter to revive MSt3K with 14 new episodes. Though the cast has been announced, what movies the new crew of the Satellite of Love will be watching is still under wraps. It's a hard choice, given the wealth of crappy movies out, but I've got some ideas.

1. Destination Moon: Rarely seen these days, like This Island Earth it's almost too good to mock, being a high budget Hollywood A-movie with a lack of silly monsters. On the other it's definitely mired in a certain 50's combination of earnestness, Commie paranoia, and lack of female roles (aside from the one love interest apparently inserted to show the female half of the human race existed).

2. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers: Flying Saucers, deadpan serious scientists in ties and smoking pipes, tons of stock footage and Ray Harryhausen special effects, casual sexism, rubber science galore. The only real question is why MST3K never riffed it before.

3. Kronos: More obscure than the above two films, it's got a weird 'monster' that's a hundred foot tall walking building with a habit of mind controlling people to cement it's takeover of the earth. A decent script, but with plenty of pacing issues and silly effects to give the SoL crew room to riff.

4. Trancers: A cop from a very Noirish future totally not ripped off from Bladerunner time travels into the body of his identical grandfather to hunt a body swapping criminal. One of the many, many films from B-movie director Charles Band, and in that sweet spot between Very Weird, Decent Action and Limited Budget to make it riffable.

What do think, sirs?


Dec. 11th, 2015 06:10 am
jeriendhal: (Chicken)
Some facts:

1) I have never seen "The Star Wars Holiday Special"

2) I have a camera for my PS4 and an account with Ustream

3) There's a good quality upload of TSWHS on YouTube.

4) I won't have much to do on Christmas Eve.

Conclusion: Doing a livestream of me watching the show for charity can't be THAT hard. Just have to figure out how to set up the donations.
jeriendhal: (Muppets)
In honor of the 38th anniversary of the one and only public airing of the Star Wars Holiday Special, we're proud to present you with this sadistic choice moral dilemma:

Facing torture at the hands of the Empire, you have the choice of either betraying the Rebellion or facing one the following fates:

[Poll #2028205]
jeriendhal: (Muppets)
Just got back from seeing The Martian with [ profile] jvowles. Excellent adaptation of the book. Some changes at the very climax due to Rule of Drama with astronauts doing very stupid non-astronaut things, but much of the book was preserved, especially the funnier lines (including cleverly edited versions of Mark's many, many "fucks" to keep it PG-13)

Overall very clever and celebratory of NASA in it's Can Do mode when overcoming multiple problems. Excellent film.
jeriendhal: (WTF)
Okay at the risk of making a piece of "FANFIC THEORY THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!" clickbait, I just got to thinking about the first PotC movie, and realized that the implied threat driving the plot doesn't make any sense.

Okay, consider this:

1. Barbarossa and Co. steal the Aztec treasure, throw the gold around, get cursed, and are turned into a bunch of disguised undead, unkillable skeletons.

Oh, and their boat is kinda undead too.

Along the way they steal the Black Pearl from Jack, and chuck Will's dad overboard.

2. Though this now makes them very effective pirates, they decide the whole Can't Taste Food thing kinda sucks.

3. They then spend the next ten years or so hunting down all the pieces of gold so they can be mortal. Oh and they need to find Bootstrap's kid to complete undoing the curse.

Stop and think about this for a moment. Rather than being unstoppable killing machines, they want to be mortal.

Why the Hell do the heroes fight so hard to stop them from succeeding?

Yeah, there's a blood sacrifice involved, but as Barbarossa very definitely shows when he thinks Elizabeth is Bootstrap's daughter, the amount blood is relatively trivial. At that point in the movie he's demonstrated no particular personal animosity towards Will, so there's no reason to think that he would take any more blood than he does from Elizabeth.

In the climax of the movie the undead pirates are busily curb stomping the Royal Marines. As soon as they're mortal, they're beaten relatively easily. Once they get what they want, they go from the Number One threat on the high seas to just another bunch of mangy pirates.

I realize most popcorn movies don't stand up to close examination (just why did Loki go to all that trouble to be captured in The Avengers?) but even by those standards the plot doesn't make much sense if you think about it.
jeriendhal: (Sporfle)
6. Warrior of the Lost World (501): “MEGAWEAPON! MEGAWEAPON! MEGAWEAPON!” – In which our “hero” drives a motorbike across the green, lush, post-apocalyptic wasteland, abandons the girl at a critical moment, whines about wearing a jumpsuit, and is out acted by a dump truck mounted with spikes and a flamethrower (the Megaweapon). You have to feel sorry for poor Persis Khambata and Donald Pleasance for being reduced to acting in this dreck. But it’s perfect fodder for Joel and the bots.

7. The Creeping Terror (606): A shag carpet rampages its way across a small town. Notable for giving Mike and the bots a lot of room to riff, since almost the entire movie is narrated, because the original filmmaker couldn’t afford to loop the dialog.

8. Invasion of the Neptune Men (819): “They blew up the Hitler Building!” – While it doesn’t quite beat Manos as one of the worst movies MST3K ever riffed, it’s certainly one of the ones Best Brains hated the most, mostly for using footage from actual WWII bombings in a kids movie. Laughable, ineffective aliens. A hero that doesn’t actually do much. Free range kids with Level 5 security clearance. Just terrible from start to finish, with plenty of material to riff.

9. Space Mutiny (820): “Oh, God! She’s presenting like a mandrill!” – If there’s one flaw to MST3k’s treatment of this movie, it’s them completely missing the fact that all the special effects were “borrowed” from the original Battlestar Galactica. Otherwise it’s a hilarious space adventure, with a supposedly 20 something love interest very obviously in her late 30’s (and wearing incredibly sexist Space Clothes tm on top of that), the interior of a brick factory passing for a spaceship, and such lovely continuity goofs like a character who was killed on screen showing up back at her console in the very next scene.

10. The Pumaman (903): “It’s S&M Day at the Field Museum!” – Pity poor Donald Pleasance, who has the bad luck to appear twice on MST3K (though at least he does better than Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef). Whiny college professor is granted the all the powers of a pyuma, er puma through an ancient Aztec belt apparently borrowed from the WWE. Fortunately his Aztec sidekick is vastly more competent than he is, and gets most of the work done.
jeriendhal: (Sporfle)
In no particular order, these are my favorite episodes of Mystery Science Theater. It shouldn't be much surprise that they lean towards the sci-fi end of the scale. As a preference, I like episodes with enough action to actually be slightly engaging, though of course still worthy of Joel/Mike and the bot's derision.

1. The Lost Continent (208) "Rock Climbing, Joel" - OK, my first pick isn't quite so hot on the action part. The "Rock Climbing" sequence is infamous for the terrible amount of padding involved. But it was the first episode I ever saw, on the TV set in my sister's house during a visit to North Carolina. I think I came in just as Mike Nelson, playing Hugh Beaumont, Horseman of the Apocalypse, was apologizing to Joel and the bots for wanting to destroy the Earth. From that point I basically kept laughing and didn't stop for an hour and a half.

2. The Cave Dwellers (301) "Use the handrails. I invented them for a reason." - Cheap Conan knockoff featuring Miles O'Keefe sailing through the air on a hanglider wearing a fur diaper. Villains with Fu Manchu mustaches wearing cardboard armor. The female lead doing nothing except looking comely while wearing a hubcap. Credit sequence completely unrelated to actual movie. Just ridiculous from start to finish.

3. It Conquered the World (311) "It learned too late that Mankind was a feeling creature..." Classic Roger Corman with what's actually a reasonably scary premise, a decent script, competent acting by veterans Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef and Corman regular Beverly Garland. All spoiled by a ludicrous monster shaped like a turnip...

4. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (321) "No one wll ever know that Santa Claus has been kidnapped by Martians!" "Do you realize what you just said?" - The first of two Mst3K's Christmas episodes. An utterly awful children's movie with cheap sets, terrible f/x, worse acting, and a "Wacky!" comic relief character you want to just punch in the face. Only Joel and the bots make it survivable.

5. Hercules Unchained (408): "I LOVE being a guy! Yeah!" Steve Reeves in a toga as myth's mightiest, but certainly not brightest, hero. Joel and Bot's first sword and sandal movie, but by no means their last.
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
"From the towering mountain peaks of Illinois, to the bleak deserts of Iowa, welcome to another episode of Hollywood Geography!"
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Summary: Tony proceeds to f*ck up world peace. Again.

Review: As a second installment, it's not as GoshWow as the first Avengers film, but it's a reasonable use of two hours.

spoilery random observations under cut )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
The Martian, by Andy Weir: In this debut novel by the creator of the webcomic Casey And Andy, potty mouthed astronaut Mark Watney finds himself the only living soul on Mars (aside from some fortuitous potatoes), after a chain of events force the rest of his landing team to abandon him for dead when a massive dust storm interrupts their mission.

Review: This manages to be a rarity, a rock hard science fiction novel that's also gripping and with good characters. Almost all the science checks out and Mark is a fun guy to listen to as he bitches and MacGuyver's his own survival, trying to stay alive for the four years until the next mission can reach him.

Highly Recommended.

Big Hero 6: Fourteen year old genius inventor Hiro Hameda must find out who a mysterious man in a Kabuki mask is who is menacing his hometown of San Frantokyo, with the help an inflatable medical robot built by his late brother Tadashi, and the local "Nerd Lab" at a nearby university.

Review: From a silly premise this Anime Meets Marvel/Disney/Pixar is surprisingly deep, with the grief of a loved one's loss driving Hiro and the villain into questionable actions. The members of the "Nerd LAb" are less well developed, but once I realized Disney was deliberately doing their own version of an anime Super Sentai "Science Team" I got into it.

And good lord the set designers went whacko creating this crossover between Tokyo and San Francisco.

jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
In the same continuity where Steve Rogers was fighting a desperate battle with a revived HYDRA and trying to find a way to save the friend who was hell bent on killing him...

...half a galaxy away a cybernetically enhanced, gun toting RACCOON and his friend a walking, talking TREE were about to save the universe and just miss meeting SPOILER the SPOILER in the Collector's lab.

Marvel: "What's this "realism" you keep talking about?"
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Peter Quill: You know what the difference between you and me is?

Batman: You're in a space opera and I'm in a gritty urban saga?

Peter Quill: No, I'm a guy who saw his remaining parent die horribly and grow up an emotionally stunted man-child, but I'm still fun to be around.

Batman: Dick.

* * *

Synopsis: Peter Quill is just your average guy who grew up raised by space pirates after being kidnapped when he was eight years old and now makes a living stealing artifacts ala Indiana Jones. When he comes across the [Macguffin related to the other two MacGuffins from The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World], he finds himself in the middle of a brewing intergalactic crisis as the fanatical Ronan the Accuser tries to grab it to ensure the destruction of the Nova Corps homeworld of Xandar. Along the way he gains the help of a beautiful green-skinned assassin, a slightly addled-brained warrior out to avenge his family, a gun obsessed cybernetic raccoon and... a tree.

Review: For a movie that frankly starts off with the most downer of downer beginnings (do not watch it if you've recently lost a loved one to cancer), and has a cast of heroes who have been frankly broken,[1] it's unbelievable how freaking funny this film is. It helps that Quill is constantly lampshading the insanity around him, and that Drax, who surely has the most reason to be surly and angry after seeing his family murdered, comes across as more loopy than angsty.

The action is good, the script is tight, there's about a laugh a minute, and it isn't afraid to be heartwarming and slightly shmaltzy at the right moments, instead of insisting the heroes be the only bright spot in a crapsack world like the Batman and Superman movies.

OH, and after this I don't want to hear anyone from DC complaining that Wonder Woman's origin is too "complicated" to understand.

HIGHLY recommended.

[1] As obnoxious as Rocket is, you will find yourself wanting to give a CGI raccoon a hug after hearing his drunken rant about his origins, and at the very end of the movie.

* * *

Steve Rogers: On your left!

Superman: Shut up! Just shut up!
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
[ profile] beccaelizabeth has some interesting thoughts on the relationship between SHEILD and HYDRA in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

SPOILERS obviously.
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Summary: In this darker take on the MCU, man-out-of-time Steve Rogers is on the run after discovering that something is rotten in the center of SHIELD.

Review: This is the biggest, best MCU movie since the Avengers. Period. IM3 by comparison is an intensely personal story for Tony, but restored the status quo at the end. By the end of Winter Soldier a major portion of the MCU is turned upside down and there's no going back.

I like the fact that Falcon was presented as an ex-soldier counseling other veterans, which is a logical hook point for him and Steve to form a friendship, and that he served as a major character in the movie itself, equal to Natasha and a lot more than a stereotypical Black Best Friend. Also the set piece of the assassination attempt against Nick Fury in the middle of DC was incredible, even though by any logic it should have set the whole city on lockdown afterward.

Highly recommended.

More comments and spoilers under the cut )
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
Has there ever been a portrayal of Cardinal Richelieu in TTM since the '73 Richard Lester version where he wasn't portrayed as an over the top James Bond villain intent on murdering the King and taking France for himself? Note that in Lester's film, while Richelieu was working against the King, he also working for France's best interests, trying to derail the Queen's affair with an English noble, who after all was a representative of France's national enemy.
jeriendhal: (WTF)
Just finished fast-forwarding through "Disaster on the Coastliner", a 70's era made for TV disaster movie. Featuring Lloyd Bridges before he became a self-parody and William Shatner before he realized he was a self-parody.

Absolutely forgettable plot but Jesus the stunts towards the end were nuts. Two helicopters flying within twenty feet of each other and playing dodge-em with a runaway locomotive and an iron truss bridge at the same time. These days that would take several million bucks in CGI to replicate. Here it was "We'll pay you time-and-a-half, try not to fly into the train, would'ya?"
jeriendhal: (Wazagan)
So, ignoring the fact that remaking 2001: A Space Odyssey is pretty tantamount to heresy, assuming the inevitable remake is made, what would you actually consider an improvement sufficient to draw you into the theater? Or failing that, what do you figure is actually going to happen in such a project?

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