the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Movie Sign)
Cinematic Titanic is a new project from some of the minds behind Mystery Science Theater 3000: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein. It's only available on DVD right now, but there are plans to make it available for downloading later. In the meantime, I just got my DVD. The first movie up for skewering was originally titled Brain of Blood, but the original producers asked for a name change "to avoid marketplace confusion." (Personally, I think a little "marketplace confusion" could only help their sales.)

There was no opening host segment like there was on MST3K. The cast just walked in and took their seats on tiered seating on either side of the screen and the movie started up immediately. The rest of the episode proceeded just like any other episode of MST3K, with the cast taking turns mocking the movie, making pop culture references, and occasionally interacting with the screen.

The most important question of the day is: was it funny? Well, I certainly thought so, but your mileage may vary depending on whether you preferred the Joel era or the Mike era of MST3K. I greatly preferred the Joel era, and this episode would have fit in perfectly with any other Joel episode of the time. It's certainly the hardest I've laughed at anything in ages.

It wasn't a total home run, though. On four separate occasions, the cast literally put the movie on pause to engage in a host segment (still in silhouette) that was incredibly unfunny and pointless. There really isn't any need to pad out a DVD release to a certain length like a broadcast television program, so with the way everyone carefully mentioned each other's names during those segments, I can only guess that their purpose was to put names to silhouettes for people who didn't already know the cast members. I would much rather they'd done that with a short opening credit sequence, because all these host segments did was bring the episode to a screeching halt for no good reason. Fortunately, the movie-mocking, which is what everyone is here for anyway, more than makes up for these very short (probably less than a minute each) segments.

On a separate note, the packaging was, well, nonexistent. The DVD was placed directly into a DVD mailing envelope by itself and shipped. There wasn't even a cellophane window to allow the disc label to show. The disc is impossible to shelve like this, and should there be more Cinematic Titanic releases, they would be impossible to tell apart without opening the envelopes (or scribbling the titles on the envelopes by hand). I spent the extra money to buy a traditional DVD case and made my own title insert for it so that I could shelve it with the rest of my DVDs.

These small quibbles aside, if you liked the Joel era of MST3K, I can definitely recommend Cinematic Titanic.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Joel and the Bots)
Am I the only one who didn't know about Cinematic Titanic, Joel Hodgson's new MST3K-like project? He's joined by MST3K alums Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein. The trailer for the first DVD is available on the Cinematic Titanic site, as well as on YouTube. The first offering is called The Oozing Skull (actually the movie Brain of Blood, which was retitled at the original movie's producers' request).

The DVD looks like it's only available from EZTakes and is only shipping to the U.S. right now. EZTakes's site says that downloads and shipping to Canada will be offered in the not too distant future.

Cinematic Titanic's Wikipedia entry says they've licensed 12 movies so far.

ETA: I just deleted a comment containing a link to an illegal torrent of The Oozing Skull. Please support the efforts of Joel and the gang by getting Cinematic Titanic content directly from them. Your financial support will make it possible for them to continue providing us with episodes in the future.


the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Default)

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