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Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 7

Rhino
Show A (The show...not the movies)
Special Features None
DVD Geek Factor 8.5 (out of 10)

Here's the show that made bad cinema great. Joel Hodgson (and later Mike Nelson) would sit down with their robot friends (Crow and Tom Servo) on the Satellite of Love and be forced to watch cheesy movies. There constant criticism of the film is heard over the film's soundtrack (accompanied by their silhouettes in front of the picture). Why this show ever had to be cancelled is far beyond me. It would seem that were enough bad films in existence to propel this series for 100 years.

There are two kinds of Mystery Science Theater fans: Joel fans and Mike fans. The good news for Joel fans is that Volume 7 of the ongoing DVD encapsulation of the great Comedy Central series has a majority of Joel episodes (Mike was funny, but didn't hold a candle to Joel). Two particularly awful Hercules movies, The Killer Shrews and a series of shorts are all Joel-related, while the adequate Mike joins the fray for Prince of Space (actually a very funny episode). The show lost a bit of its charm after it went to the Sci-Fi Channel, but it always remained amusing.

Now's the time to start this one up again. Nelson doesn't seem to be doing anything special, and Hodgson's last gig was writing for Jimmy Kimmel. Dust off the robots; send the Satellite of Love up into the cosmos, and start screening the great works of Pauly Shore and Rob Schneider.

Special Features: It doesn't have any and doesn't need them.


Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: 2 Disc Special Collector's Edition

Paramount
Movie A-
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 7.75 (out of 10)

I love the utter nastiness of this film, a kid's movie that is unabashedly cruel and sinister. Jim Carrey is a kick in the pants as Count Olaf, a murderous jokester who inherits three children and a fortune, and has no use for the three children. The role gives Carrey something to chew on in his manic style after the relative serenity of his excellent work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Carrey and Director Brad Silberling do a masterful job of mixing Carrey's "shtick" into the proceedings, allowing his elastic face to play multiple characters as Count Olaf wears numerous disguises. The kids are great (I especially love the little one who bites things; her scene with the giant viper is a gas), and the supporting cast excellent, including Meryl Streep as an unfortunate aunt. This joins the likes of Willie Wonka as one of the great, creepy children's fantasies that should stand the test of time.

Special Features: Be careful to pick up the two-disc special edition rather than the single-disc standard one. They did a lot of work on this thing. The features are excellent, including a funny, highly recommended commentary with director Silberling and a disgusted Real Lemony Snicket. At one point, Snicket chastises Meryl Streep for doing another film where children are treated cruelly after Sophie's Choice. He also points out technical flaws, such as when baby Sunny simply looks like nothing but a fake hooded object during a stunt. Things hit a high point when Snicket busts out an accordion and sings "Leeches Should Not Appear in a Film!" (a moment that really defies description). There are plenty of behind-the-scenes features, with a great selection of deleted scenes and outtakes. A great outtake of Sunny slowly nodding off during a Meryl Streep scene is precious.


DiG!

Palm
Movie A-
Special Features A-
DVD Geek Factor 8 (out of 10)

Here's one of the more unique rock documentaries ever put to film. Director Ondi Timoner followed two bands (the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre) around for seven years. As each tries to achieve some sort of stardom, they go from being good friends to rivals to all-out enemies (or at least the film makes it seem that way). Anton Newcombe, the brains behind TBJM, is a certified nut, and watching him freak out on stage is great fun. Band members get punched in the face; show attendees take boots to the head, and lots of people wind up on the other end of his childish verbal tirades. The Dandys went on to relative success, and I'm thinking this film could do well for both of their catalogues. Make sure not to attend a Brian Jonestown concert unless you are wearing protective gear and don't mind standing in the back of the bar. Look closely, and you'll see hot Dandy keyboardist Zia naked!

Special Features: A two- disc set that features plenty of deleted scenes and Dandy Warhol videos. Multiple commentaries by The Dandys, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the filmmakers are all entertaining if you feel like watching the film four times. Anton, oddly enough, didn't drop by to put his two cents in. I don't think anybody wanted to spend more than five minutes with the guy, and you can't blame them. Nut!

More by Bob Grimm

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