The Sword in the Stone (G)

Okay seriously, what is the point of everything but the last five minutes? Everything prior to Arthur pulling the sword is a bunch of comic faffing around and spectacle. It might have worked if the movie had actually come back to, say, the heartbroken squirrel, instead of completely forgetting the whole bestiality thing after the camera faded out. If the point of all the animal transformations was that Arthur learning from Merlin to outwit opponents rather than outmuscle them is what allowed him to draw the sword, they didn't do a very good job tying it all together, since he never used his brains to draw the sword - he just does it.

Not really a criticism, but was anyone else expecting the witch to be Morgan LeFay? Only to be surprised she wasn't?


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with RiffTrax Audio (PG-13)

Is the sync file for this movie broken? When I tried playing it with the RiffPlayer, the commentary track was a few seconds slow, and there's no way to adjust it. I had to play the movie in my computer's normal DVD player, and the commentary track in Windows Media Player. Ah well.

So, we're getting into movie adaptations of the more serious Harry Potters now, but RiffTrax is still putting on a good show with them. And these movies do give them a lot to work with - the ridiculous plotlines and the hammy or just plain dreadful actors ruin any chance of these movies being taken seriously. As the page counts of the book started skyrocketing and padding themselves out with bullshit I considered just watching the movies, but I guess it was just as well I suffered through that muck because these are not films I would want to be watching on their own.


Mega Man: Upon a Star (OVA)

I'll admit I was way more amused by this than I really should have been. It's a three-episode miniseries where Mega Man comes out of Mega Man 5 and into the real world when a Japanese kid leaves his Famicom on all night which may sound awesone, but then you discover it's a Japanese cultural education series, so a good chunk of the show is boring Japanese trivia. But another good chunk of it is absolute batshit insanity. Really, what's not to love about a scene where Wily reveals to Mega Man that he's not a robot scientist after all, but a motherfucking ninja? Or Wily stealing a time machine, not so he can wipe Mega Man from history or raid the future for death weapons, but so he can ruin Tanabata by dropping a meteor on Japan? Or the series ending with Wily's plans to wipe out Japan with a killer typhoon being foiled and Mega Man punishing him by making him dress up like Santa Claus and hand out presents to the good Japanese boys and girls? Plus, the true to the games artwork is certainly pleasant to look at, and somebody got it right this time that Protoman's a good guy. It's good for some chuckles, but I can't in good conscience recommend everyone go out and watch it RIGHT NOW, as when it's in Japanese education mode it's just plain boring.

Nerdy trivia time! Dr. Light is voiced by Jim Byrnes, who voiced him in the Ruby-Spears cartoon.


The Professional Golgo 13 (Not Rated)

An hour and a half of gratuitous violence and sex strung together with a flimsy plot that's totally being made up on the fly. The overarching story is supposed to be about some oil baron trying to get back at Togo for assassinating his son, but the first half hour is Togo being hired to take out an Italian crime lord that doesn't have shit to do with the rest of the film. Nobody's given any personality because they're all cannon fodder, to be killed by Togo himself or for helping him, and the writers have to keep pulling characters out of their ass like Gold and Silver to fill up an hour and a half this crap. And what the hell is a "bloodhound"? They're not referring to a dog, they're using it to describe some creepy guy who moves like a cross between a snake and a puppet, and use it in a way that implies there's more than one of them. And you've really gotta love how this guy would have actually gotten Togo if the oil baron hadn't then sent a helicopter with terrible aim to "assist" him.


Captain N and the New Super Mario World (TV DVD)

I read Ragey's summaries of this show long before I got the DVD, which made it sound a lot funnier than it actually was. The Super Mario World episodes are nonsensical messes, which yeah, so was Super Mario Bros. 3, but SMB3 at least mixed things up with Barbara Bush and Milli Vanilli. Super Mario World is always Mario and friends in the stone age, pulling themselves or the cavemen out of messes. Meanwhile, the Captain N episodes are practically trying to cause mouth-foaming nerdrages, peaking at the infernal Sufer Dude Alucard episode. Really, if I wasn't constantly imagining Ragey's commentary while watching this, it probably would have been far more painful than it was.

(What I'm saying is, GO READ RANDOM ACTION HOUR.)


Madagascar (PG)

As the poster child of the "Zany CGI animals doing shit no one cares about" genre I wasn't expecting much from this, and while it pretty much met those expectations at least it was better than Robots. That's not saying much, is it? It's your standard story about a character dreaming of a different life and getting more than he bargained for, peppered with worn out cartoon cliches including a character getting smacked with a tree branch just as another character was releasing it, or two characters having a feud which ends with one of them drawing on the ground and telling the other to stay on his side. And what exactly did the giraffe contribute to the story? The zebra's the main character, the lion's his friend, and the hippo is the voice of reason, but the giraffe? Is his whining about sickness and death supposed to make him the comic relief? Because it fails miserably and he has no reason to exist.

Also, the thing about the penguins tossing the ship's crew on a boat destined to China? That was pretty fucked up, especially for a kid's movie.


Saturday Night Live: The Best of Steve Martin (DVD)

The golden rule of "Best Of" collections is that they should not leave the viewer thinking, if that was the "best" I'd hate to have to sit through their worst. That might sound like something a little kid would say to sound witty, but screw you, that's what this DVD made me think. Common Knowledge started out kind of funny but petered out halfway through, I'll accept that the King Tut sketch is a classic, and I'll even dismiss the Theodoric of York sketch as one of those things I just don't have a sadistic enough sense of humor for. But it's hard for me to think of the tribal Indian song as anything but uncomfortably racist. The first monologue had an overwhelming sense of "Get to the point!", and the What The Hell Is That? sketch went on way too long, especially when anyone with half a working brain can guess what the punchline/screw you to the audience is within one minute.


Saturday Night Live: The Best of Phil Hartman (DVD)

This was a lot better, but still didn't exactly sell me on Saturday Night Live. You've got gold like the interview with Tarzan, Tonto, and Frankenstein's monster which was so absurd even the actors clearly crack during it, and I had a certain fondness for the Anal Retentive Chef. Some skits are more amusing in premise than execution like the caveman lawyer. And then you've got some real duds like the skit with Bill Clinton eating off everyone's trays at the McDonald's that opens the DVD. But hey, it's Phil Hartman. He's a hard man to hate and if nothing else, you can close your eyes and imagine Lionel Hutz is talking to the jury about being frozen ages ago and frightened by fax machines.


Shark Tale (PG)

Instead of ranting on how hideous the man-fish are, or how shallow and unlikeable Will Smith's character is, or how unrealistic the ending is when Will Smith comes clean, or how it's another story about a big dreamer getting more than he bargained for, I'm going to say this - movies need to stop having predator vs. prey storylines in which the predators are the bad guys just for being predators (Madagascar also did this). I'm sure being eaten sucks ass though I obviously haven't experienced it first hand, but you know what sucks even worse? You and the rest of your population slowly starving to death because your numbers got out of control and you outstripped your food supply.

Further proving their lack of understanding of the natural world, Dreamworks seems to think that orcas are sharks rather than dolphins. You'd think their more common name of "killer whales" would have been a sign that they weren't even in the same class as sharks, much less order.


The Princess Bride (PG)

While I still feel Westley and Buttercup's "twoo wuv" is rather tiresome, the movie does a few things to make it work better. First, it's framed as a grandfather reading a book to his grandson, which makes the trope more palatable by way of not taking itself seriously. But what makes the story itself work is Inigo Montoya and Fezzik (even if Andre could be a real bitch to understand at times), the crooks who give us two of the most memorable scenes in the movie while trying to stop Westley, then turn heroes at the end and save the day. Everyone remembers Inigo's scripted threat to the six-fingered man, but I'm actually rather partial to "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." I almost wish I was watching a film about them instead, but they need Westley to have their character change.