Insert RiffTrax/Cinematic Titanic Plug Here

01.15.2010

It’s been far too long since I plugged RiffTrax or Cinematic Titanic here, so here’s an article on RiffTrax from the Boise Weekly encouraging its readers to “take the men behind MST3K home.”

Elsewhere, MLive.com has an interview with RiffTrax frontman Mike Nelson and a bonus feature article as well, and DVDTalk has a review of a “RiffTrax Live” event from December 2009.

And just in case you’re not familiar with RiffTrax or Cinematic Titanic, I blathered all about them here: The Legacy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Continues.

…or you could just visit RiffTrax.com, and preview their comedic movie commentaries via YouTube.

And just to be fair, I must also provide equal pluggage for the other MST3K spinoff Cinematic Titanic — equally as entertaining as RiffTrax and also hosted by former “Mystie” alums.

DVDTalk also has a review of Cinematic Titanic’s live show and DVD release for “East Meets Watts,” a 1974 martial arts mess also reviewed by TVSquad.

Here’s a preview via YouTube:

Additionally, Cinematic Titanic creator Joel Hodgson has a couple recent interviews with MontgomeryNews.com and Philly2Philly.com.

My previous article details the history of Cinematic Titanic as well, but you don’t have to take my word for it — visit their official site: CinematicTitanic.com, and they have an official YouTube channel too.

Cinematic Titanic is also performing live at SF Sketchfest on February 2nd (previously reported here), and has four other tour dates currently scheduled through April 2010.

And if you are wondering if there are any hard feelings between the two groups, RiffTrax has at least said there isn’t any on their part. I believe there’s plenty of room for both. And I also believe MST3K fans would donate their organs to see a reunion, either by way of joint commentary projects or a shared live event.


The Curious Case of Frank Welker

04.01.2009

DreamWorks has hired Steven Spielberg to direct what is described as a “fantasy biopic” based on the life of voice actor Frank Welker.

The Curious Case of Frank Welker tells the true story of how Frank as a young boy befriends a leprechaun who for reasons unknown stabs him in the throat with a magical dagger. The injury causes Frank to develop magical superpowers which cause his voice to move forward and backward through time, and even to change genders. As he enters puberty, he begins to morph into various monsters, monkeys, robots, and other species.

Danny DeVito guest stars as The Leprechaun, and Andy Dick as the voice of the magical dagger.

The film is slated to open in theaters October 2010.


The Legacy of ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ Continues

03.31.2009

More than a decade before commentaries became a standard bonus feature on DVD releases, providing commentary on crappy sci-fi/fantasy B-movies was the entire plot of the TV series (and feature film), Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Although there were some major cast and crew changes during the show’s 1988-1999 run, that did not prevent MST3K from developing a strong fan following…so strong a following, in fact, that members of the show’s cast and crew have returned to their “roots” and are back providing their notorious brand of comedic commentary for films again through newer projects.

MST3K’s creator and original host Joel Hodgson created Cinematic Titanic in 2007, and in addition to performing live shows also began producing a series of B-movie MST3K-esque DVDs and digital downloads which are available through the offiicial site: CinematicTitanic.com. Hodgson is joined on the commentaries by former MST3K cast members Trace Beaulieu (voice of Crow T. Robot), J. Elvis Weinstein (voice of Tom Servo, Gypsy) , Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank), and Mary Jo Pehl (voice of Magic Voice).

MST3K actor/writer/director/music composer Michael J. Nelson partnered with former MST3K co-stars Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to form The Film Crew. The trio hosted segments produced for cable movie channels, and produced a handful of commentaries for DVDs released by Shout! Factory in 2007.

Due to legal entanglements, The Film Crew fizzled and Nelson moved forward to create a much more prolific and successful project, RiffTrax.com. If you haven’t yet heard of RiffTrax, they’re downloadble audio commentaries riffing on a wide variety of genre films such as Jaws, Transformers, Star Wars, Star Trek, and many others. Through RiffTrax.com, users can download commentary tracks and listen to them as they watch the movies. RiffTrax has also produced a series of shorts and VOD movies, and offers user-contributed commentaries through the site as well.

RiffTrax feature the voices of MST3K alums Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett (voice of Crow T. Robot), Kevin Murphy (voice of Tom Servo, Cambot), Mary Jo Pehl, and Bridget (Jones) Nelson, as well as guest “riffers” Weird Al Yankovic, Fred Willard, Chad Vader (aka Matt Sloan), and Neil Patrick Harris — all whom have done a fair share of voice acting.

Prices for RiffTrax downloads vary between .99 and $3.99, which is pretty dang cheap entertainment if you ask me, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home.

Also, if you want to see one of the early influences on MST3K, check out the 1963 Jay Ward series Fractured Flickers, for which the complete series was released on DVD in 2004. The show featured silent and vintage B&W films overdubbed with music and dialog performed by a cast of actors well-known for their cartoon voice work: Hans Conried, Paul Frees, June Foray, and Bill Scott, with guest appearances by Edward Everett Horton (Rocky & Bullwinkle narrator), Sebastian Cabot (Pooh narrator), Roddy McDowall (Pinky & The Brain), Paul Lynde (Charlotte’s Web), Pat Carroll (The Little Mermaid), Bob Newhart (The Rescuers), and Zsa Zsa Gabor (The Rescuers).

Here are some preview clips of the series via YouTube.com:

Fractured Flickers with Hans Conried (opening/closing titles and a brief segment)
Rod Serling “Interviewed” by Hans Conried
Barbara Eden on Fractured Flickers
Peter Lorre – The Quitter (Fractured Flickers – 1963)