Saturday, June 16, 2018

Rifftrax Summer Starts With Space Mutiny, Take Two

Along with Flag Day, the start of the World Cup and the arrival of Incredibles 2, Rifftrax had to compete with a lot to start its live season with a second look at an MST3K season eight classic, Space Mutiny. It's known for cheesy sets, recycled footage from Battlestar Galactica and a hunky guy with way too many nicknames.

The plot features a crew in a spaceship heading somewhere after traveling for hundreds of years. Some guy who looks like the lead singer from Human League plots to take over the ship. There's a cheesy disco scene, a "sex" scene and lots of people falling over handrails. There's also modern dancers with glowing balls that seem to guide the crew to goodness...or pervy thoughts.

The live version, which was shown from Nashville, wasn't as brutal as the MST3K version, but still pretty good. They took out a lot of jokes that point out how Cameron Mitchell looks like Santa, plus some '90s references like Ed Grimley and Armand Assante. It still emphasizes Lea, the female lead, looks much older and less sexy that she thinks. Of course, the joke's on us: Reb Brown (Dave Ryder/Big McLargehuge/Bob Johnson) wound up marrying Cisse Cameron (Lea)
Also, John Philip Law, who was the swanky thief Diabolik in MST's final episode, wound up as Kalgan, who laughs too much and swallows the scenery whole.

Of course, there's Lieutenant Lemont, who's compared to Melissa Manchester in the MST3K version, and Jeff Lynde and Bob Ross in the Rifftrax version. She's best known for getting killed by Kalgan in one scene, then alive in the next scene. Also, some parts of the ship included brick walls.

The show's big feature is seeing Kevin Murphy in a space mumu, similar to the one worn by Cameron Mitchell. He looks like the leader of a world filled with movie critics.

Lately, Rifftrax has taken second looks at a lot of movies, like Gamera a few weeks ago, and Joe Don Baker's Final Justice a couple of years ago. Again, the crew revised the riffs to fit modern times, but they're not quite as biting as the original.
So, let's compare..

First appearance of Battlestar Galactica footage
RT: Giant Owl Robot eyes, how's it going?
MST:  Outlets in space (and yes, they admitted they missed the fact it was BG footage the first time)

The Valerians "dance"

RT:  We summon you, St. Bonnie Tyler
MST:  It's a Wiccan Tupperware party

Lea "dances" with a hula hoop

RT: (Mike) When I do this, I get tossed out of the public library
MST:  In the future, there is no shame (which is a better riff and more prescient)

Lemont dies, then doesn't

MST:  I think it's very nice of you to give that dead woman another chance
RT:  I enjoyed your funeral, Janet

Then the ending where Kalgan doesn't die after all, thinking this will require a sequel

MST:  We don't need more Kalgan
RT:  What the Hell did I just watch?

Naturally, there was a bunch of new nicknames for Ryder, including Luke Rockhold. Dumb, isn't it?

They also got around Lea baring her breasts after she and Ryder make love by blocking it with a CGI Gorilla Gram...which looked more like a Gorilla Pig. Actually, if they cut the "conversation" Lea had with Ryder, we wouldn't have missed anything.

There's also riffs on Rutherford B. Hayes, Beastie Boys, Two Broke Girls and the Fantastic Four.

Before the movie, they had a short based on the HG Wells story, "The Magic Shop". It involved a magician who's slightly flashier than Jack Cassidy and a chubby kid who was easily amused. The crew commented on a poster of Thurston being a mashup of Dracula and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The live version will be available sometime in the fall as a digital download or DVD, while the original is available at Rifftrax.
The next live show comes in August with"Krull", a cheesy movie that at least features Liam Neeson in "you gotta start somewhere" mode.

By the way, Amazon Prime has added new titles from Rifftrax including Merlin The Return, Terror at Tenkiller (a slasher film that's more lifeless than the victims), Superargo and the Faceless Giants and City of the Dead with Christopher Lee.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Gamera or Gammera? Rifftrax Takes On The Turtle

It's amazing that Rifftrax snagged this Americanized version of the first Gamera movie, which was a major highlight of MST3K's third season. However, Shout Factory can't sell that episode because Toho and Sandy Frank won't let them. For the record, the Gamera set can be bought at Amazon, for a price slightly less steeper than a MST Live Tour ticket that includes a picture with Joel.

Rifftrax's riffing isn't nearly as dark as the MST version and neither is the movie. Gammera, with an extra "m", cuts out a lot of the original to fit in several scenes with American military trying to figure out how to handle the big turtle. Fans also notice some scenes were re-cut to fit in a scene where the United Nations is trying to find a solution.
However, a couple of scenes that inspired some good riffs are out. We lose the American general who looks like Curly from the Three Stooges, and the "news stud" from New York..

The "Gammera"movie reminds me of "Gigantis", an English version of Godzilla's second movie which was re-edited so that people thought it was a different monster.

Again, the Rifftrax take on "Gammera" is lighter than the MST version but it also throws in a couple of obscure movie riffs and a well-known one.

For example, when Gammera breaks through the ice after a plane crashes, Mike Nelson is annoyed and says "Another Infinity Stone?"

Then they get into gear when Gammera meets Toshio/Kenny

Rifftrax:  Hey, kid, you know of any all-night terrariums where a guy can get his shell rubbed?
MST3K:  Those kids at school, they tease you, Kenny, because they never tasted Hell.

Then there's the scene where Gammera is on his back. They think he's lost...until he turns on his jets that help him fly.

MST3K:  Check it out, it's the Batmobile
Rifftrax:  He's activating his hemorrhoids!

There's also riffs on Mitch McConnell, Jewel, D-Day, United Airlines, and a Tom Hanks movie that people didn't like.

Gammera is available at the Rifftrax website.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This Is Not Rifftrax's Last Star Wars Movie

Rifftrax has taken on several movie franchises with a little good-natured heckling like with the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, or utter contempt like Twilight, the Star Wars prequels or Sharknado.

In the case of The Last Jedi, there may have been a little of both. While the movie is, deep down, the passing of the torch from Darth Vader, Luke and Leia to Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren, some people were surprised on the decisions the story made. It still did pretty good in the box office, though.

This also marks the ninth Star Wars movie the riffers have seen, with Solo coming something in the fall. That's more than Harry Potter.

The gang of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett took aim at at lot of the movie, especially Kylo Ren's looks, Rose repeating the plot as the movie went on, Luke Skywalker being a hermit, Benicio De Toro's acting, and the fact that Star Wars movies seem to happen every month. They jam a lot of riffs into two and a half hours.

The story is Rey trying to get Luke off the island to help the Resistence. There's also Kylo and Rey "connecting" and almost joining together, a breakout character in Rose, Poe almost being Han Solo although his droid pal actually does more, and Leia making what would turn out to be her final performance (especially how she gets out of being blasted into space).

There are dozens of good riffs, but let's look at five:

The first meeting between Rey and Luke, where she gives him his Lightsaber..and he tosses it aside
His agent just called. He got the green light for Corvette Summer 2

Leia's blasted into space, but the Force saves her
I knew all that coke in my bloodstream would come in handy

Luke boards the Millennium Falcon for the first time in years
It's like a hobo snuck aboard Air Force One

Rey and Kylo "connect" and "touch" hands
In the Jedi religion, they're married now

The ghost of Yoda tells Luke "the greatest teacher, failure is"
If that were true, then why are these no better than the original prequels?

There's also riffs on Amazon Dash, Ex Machina, Monster Mash, Bismark, ND and Norman Spears Jr...and that's only the beginning.

As usual, it's at the Rifftrax website, along with a section for riffs of the other movies of the franchise.
Solo is coming up next, and it'll make sense one of them will take notes. They've already done the same to Ready Player One because they hated the book.

Of course, if they had the nerve, they'd also take on Infinity War and Avengers 4: Wait, Did We Lose Eleven  Billion Dollars Thanks To The Ending? We shall see.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Now We Can Talk About The 258 Million Dollar Infinity War

This post will discuss at great length the ending to the $258 million movie, Avengers Infinity War. If you haven't see it yet, why not?
So, a three second warning..




OK, how can we have a Spider-Man sequel if he was erased from existence thanks to the Infinity Gauntlet?
Same thing for Dr. Strange, Peter Quill, Drax, Groot, Mantis, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Bucky Barnes, Black Panther (after all the Oscar-worthy things he did???), Nick Fury, Maria Hill and Sam Wilson/Falcon?

Well, as the Doc says, this is part of the only sequence of events where they beat Thanos, out of several million he saw thanks to the Time Stone. No relying on a little girl who predicts the future through drawings here.

Two deaths will stick, Heimdal and Loki, while Gamora, who Thanos killed to get the Soul Stone, might be up in the air.

It's safe to say people are shocked beyond belief the bad guys win this time. Thanos gets the Infinity Stones, which no one has done before, snaps his fingers and kills half of the universe. That's his way of ending starvation and war because his own planet of Titan rejected the idea.

It's interesting, and stressful, to notice all the original Avengers are still here, along with Rocket Raccoon, War Machine and Nebula. Thing is, Rocket, Nebula and Iron Man are trapped on Titan while the rest are on Earth. How will they combine forces to undo the ending?
Also, what will Thanos do next, aside from smile about what he's done?

The original story says someone named Adam Warlock will rally the other heroes against Thanos, while an angry Nebula will try to steal it.
You will not see that in Avengers 4.
Warlock is being saved for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 as the guy sent by the Sovereign to clobber the gang for several reasons.
As for Nebula, she could either get the Infinity Gauntlet to kill Thanos or undo everything, and not do either. Another possibility is giving up her life for Gamora in some way. Since Karen Gillan wants to get into directing and acting (just like Chris Evans), Nebula could perish in next year's movie.

So, what about the others?
There have been dozens of theories about how it can be all undone, including the original MCU Avengers giving up their lives to bring the others back.  It's quite possible they would trade their lives for Bucky, Spidey and everyone else. It would be a sad end, but maybe a necessary one to lead to Phase 4.
Only one snag: what if you need the Avengers plus those caught in Thanos' Erasing together? It would make sense to have everyone back just short of the third act for the final battle.
Let's not forget they'll also get Ant-Man, the Wasp, Hawkeye (remember him?), Valkyrie (now that we know she got away before Thanos smashed the Asgardian ship) and Captain Marvel, who has a big surprise for Thanos and everyone else.

The point is, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark will go. This will be their swan song. If they survive (especially Tony, since Pepper Potts will "convince" him to retire and try being Iron Husband/Dad for a while), that would be better. Still, be ready for anything.
Nebula could also perish to save Gamora, and that seems more likely.
After that, who knows? It's certain Black Panther and Spider-Man are coming back, along with all of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos may be powerful, but no Infinity Gauntlet is strong enough to break a future Marvel movie calendar.
After that, maybe Scarlet Witch and Vision can head for the sunset while Sam and Bucky split the Captain America role. If Valkyrie also makes it, she can lead an all-heroine Avengers group by 2022 at least.

One more thing: seeing how some of the heroes died, dissolving into limbo, could that happen elsewhere?
Is it possible the events of Infinity War somehow affect Agents of SHIELD?
TV Line has suggested maybe the movie and the show are on the same timeline, and some agents, even Coulson, could die at the end of season five (which could also be the end).  It all depends on what will happen if they manage to break the time loop, and exactly where in time the agents land if they do.
UPDATE:  Adrian Pasdar, now General Glenn Gravi-Talbot, says the events of Thanos will leak into the show, according to TV Line. He hasn't seen the movie, which may or may not mean the Erasing will affect the agents.

It would be interesting to have a season that starts when Thanos gets the stones and his wish. Either Fitz or Simmons dissolve, while Coulson goes and maybe Elena, too. Heck, let's bring back Lance Hunter who says Bobbi Morse "dissolved".
Some new agents arrive, including the "evil spawn" Ruby and Werner after they claim they want to renounce HYDRA...and mean it. Maybe they remember the timeline that never was, and figure that changing their ways will be wise. There'll be pushback from HYDRA supporters as they take advantage of the chaos created by Thanos, but the kids hold firm in their new attitude. Ruby and Daisy become pals after all, while Werner gets his "revenge" against SHIELD by learning how to fight thanks to Mack.
Of course, everyone returns, and it would set up maybe a SHIELD spinoff or two with the new agents. If ABC won't do this, FX or Netflix should. Ten to 13 episodes should do it.

For now, we'll have to wait and see, while hoping that Deadpool 2 will ease our pain.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rifftrax Wonders Where Westworld Went Wrong...Went Wrong....Went Wrong...

After mocking two episodes of Game of Thrones, the Rifftrax gang wondered which cable show they can attack next. It will take on the first episode of Stranger Things later this summer (after MST3K mocked the first two minutes last year).

Since season two of Westworld is coming next weekend, let's take a look on how Rifftrax looked at the first episode. The gang spend a lot of time on how the show compared to the movie, and slipped in a riff about Yul Brynner. Most of the riffs were mainly about how really rich guys went to Westworld to pretend to be outlaws and desperados and have sex with robots (which is the opposite of its VOD Dark Future), and how the people who built it think they're just making a Disneyland on steroids. Or as Kevin Murphy described the place, "Westworld, where insanely rich people want the same vacation as an eight-year-old boy from the '50's."...with sexy and violent results.

The opener has people enjoying the fake Western life complete with booze, guns and women, the staff dealing with glitches affecting the "hosts", and a girl named Dolores suddenly realizing her life isn't what she thought it was. Safe to say, when season two starts, the tables and worms will turn.

However, this blog is more about the riffs than the show, so, let's get to it:

The opening credits inspired some good riffs:

When can I hump a robot?
Ah, ha, Westworld
What's Westworld?

Tim Burton's Annie Oakley

Then the action begins...

Dolores is sitting nude on a stool, as Bernard talks to her
"Do you know where you are?"
Auditioning for a Weinstein film?

The staff enters a room where dozens of hosts are stored, and they're nude
Looks like the Rhythm Nation hit the skids

A chunky guy, later identified as an employee for Tires Plus, is excited he's looking for a dangerous gunman. His wife is not.
Why did I bring Ricky Gervais to the Wild West?

A poster is spotted with a guy named Larry Clause wanted for murder
Santa's evil half-brother. 

Dolores is upset her friend Teddy (also a host) has been shot.
"Teddy, No!"
You've got to uphold the Ruxpin name.

There's also riffs on Matt Lauer, Blade Runner, Deadwood, Philadelphia, Thomas the Tank Engine and John Ford.

We can't exactly prove it, but there's a chance Rifftrax mocked Westworld after Mike Nelson discovered he didn't like Ready Player One after he read it. Thus, he decided to riff on another technological oasis, a more disturbing one. RP1, though, will be next.

You can get the riff on HBO's Westworld opener at the Rifftrax website.