The Film Crew: Killers From SpaceShout Factory
Special Features D
DVD Geek Factor 8.5 (out of 10)
Last month, this column announced the arrival of The Film Crew, a new beginning for the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Mike Nelson and the people behind the robot voices (now in human form) provide commentary tracks for DVDs, in the same critical and sarcastic way that made MST3K so much fun.
For the second DVD release, they go after Peter Graves in Killers From Space, which is, not surprisingly, one of the worst movies you will ever see. The crew has a field day with Graves' lack of charisma and, of course, include plenty of Biography and Mission: Impossible jokes.
The plot of the film involves bug-eyed aliens who use some sort of mind control on Graves, a fighter pilot from a squadron that uses Tar Baby as its code name. (I'm not kidding: Their code names start with Tar Baby. That's not added by The Film Crew. That's in the movie.) Graves gets a heart operation after the aliens abduct him, and it all leads to a showdown with mutated big animals.
So, thanks to The Film Crew, the worst movies in the world are totally enjoyable.
The second time out is funnier than the first, and Nelson's new venture is a promising one. Here's hoping people actually take note of The Film Crew so that the guys can keep skewering films for many years to come.
Special Features: OK, as much as I'm liking these DVDs, the special features aren't noteworthy. Who cares? Ignore the bad special features grade, and get the disc anyway.
The Muppet Show: The Complete Second SeasonBuena Vista Home Entertainment
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)
This is the season where the show really took off. The guest stars improved, with the likes of John Cleese, Steve Martin, Bob Hope and Peter Sellers (Yes, Peter Sellers!) stopping by for a round with Kermit and company. The show improved so much that it actually won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy--Variety or Music Program.
Highlights include Gonzo trying to catch a cannonball with his bare hand, fired from a canon by his "lovely" assistant, Crazy Harry. The Muppet creators actually do a great job of realistically shooting the purple one with a cannonball. In the same episode, Cleese is pissed off about having to work with pigs, although his contract does allow for working with "the ugly, disgusting little one who catches cannonballs."
There's also Elton John, in full peacock regalia, performing "Crocodile Rock" with the Muppet band (including my favorite, Animal, on drums). John also does a duet on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Miss Piggy. Sellers starts off in his Inspector Clouseau disguise and follows up with a fine gypsy musical number. Martin, in full mugging mode, does balloon animals and performs "Ramblin' Guy." He also plays a mean banjo with the Muppet jug band.
Keep these collections coming!
Special Features: Great menus, featuring original Muppet material. (Fozzie says "Waka Waka!") There's a Valentine's Day special that aired way back in 1974, and Weezer making an appearance with the Muppet band. Muppets also sit down for exclusive interviews. In short, there's lots of Muppets stuff.
DisturbiaParamount Home Video
Special Features B
DVD Geek Factor 6 (out of 10)
Jesus, this Shia LaBeouf fellow is really taking off. First, he gets himself a hit with this modern take on Rear Window, then he follows it up with the super-mega-blockbuster Transformers. Coming soon, the guy will be playing the son of Indiana Jones in the next installment of that long-dormant franchise. I'd say the kid is doing pretty damned good.
This movie isn't great, but LaBeouf makes it a worthy rental due to his star power. He plays a troubled kid who gets confined to his home after a scrape with the law. While spying on his neighbors, he notices some strange behavior from a creep played by David Morse. Is the Morse creep killing people, or is the troubled kid just making stuff up because he is bored?
It's all fairly predictable, but the film's star keeps it worthwhile. I can honestly say that another actor in this film's central role could've rendered the movie completely uninteresting. Surely, LaBeouf overkill could be a problem in the future, and his agents need to make sure they don't overwhelm us. It seems like he's in every movie out there right now, so perhaps they should force him to take a six-month fishing trip or something after filming Indy 4. Nothing is showing up after the project on his Internet Movie Database profile, so perhaps he will take a little sabbatical.
Special Features: There are some deleted scenes that are good enough for the movie, including more moments with LaBeouf's character and his mom (played well by Carrie-Anne Moss). Outtakes and a making-of documentary are also included. Best of all is a commentary with LaBeouf and the director.