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I’ve had Disney + for 20 minutes. Here’s what I think.

Bounty hunting is a complicated profession.

In September, Disney had a solid offer: order three years of the new streaming app Disney + at a reduced rate, and pay for it now. I bit.

I don’t regret it. Even at its regular price ($6.99 a month), it’s worth it.

Here’s how my first 20 minutes with the Disney + app went:

• Downloaded into my Roku. Since I got the app for the Star Wars content, I’ll likely be using the Roku–hooked up to the tv in the living room–as my default viewing option for Disney +. I had to search for the app, but once I found it, I entered my email and password.

It downloaded with no issue, and I watched the first 10 minutes of “The Mandalorian” with no issue. So far, success!

• Downloaded the app into my Fire. The Google App store had the app easy to find. It installed with no issue. I entered my email and password.

Then I found my first error message of the Disney + usage. Mickey and Pluto are in space suits.

I downloaded two images from “The Mandalorian,” and, by gum, I’m going to use them.

• Downloaded the app into my iPhone. This was more of a challenge. The Apple store didn’t have the app available. To find it to download, I had to visit Disney.com, which got me on my way.

I had to enter my email address and password–twice–but the app installed on my iPhone 7 with no issue. I then watched another 10 minutes of “The Mandalorian.” Streaming picked up exactly where I left off on the Roku.

I haven’t tried any other platforms, and I haven’t tried the app again on the Fire. That’s for later tonight, when I have more time to dedicate. And I don’t regret this app. Its a strong offering into the pool of streaming options. Give it a chance.

Disney +: Five Worf Heads

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If you like things that are funny, you should see the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live show.

The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour came to my town (well, a neighboring community that I had no compunctions about driving to), and it was hilarious. It was spot-on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I saw it. You should see it, too. Click here: https://mst3k.com/tour

Since you’re still reading, I can only assume you:

  1. Haven’t yet gotten tickets;
  2. Need more convincing; or
  3. Have issues doing what people tell you to.

Fools. See this show!

Joel, Crow and Tom Servo. Boom.

Here’s what great about it: Joel is back riffing like he never missed a beat. There are two new characters, created just for the traveling show. They keep the show moving. The puppeteers voicing Crow and Tom Servo fit the spirit of the bots. Of particular note is Connor McGiffin, whose rich baritone is flawless, and reminiscent of Kevin Murphy. Yvonne Freese was a delight as the mad, and I hope the Netflix show finds opportunities for her. Emily Marsh was wonderful, and at the end of the show, you wish they had her do more.

Nate Begle might have been born to be Crow T. Robot.

This is a cast which knows its MST3K. During an audience participation segment after the intermission, the bots dropped a Coleman Francis reference.

Then there’s the riffing.

It’s amazing “Circus of Horrors” had not before crossed the show’s path. It involves a Nazi plastic surgeon who trades surgery for ownership in a circus. Then a man is hilariously killed by a bear. This movie is not a comedy. Nor is it particularly science fiction. This movie is, however, ripe for the riffing.

The jokes seemed to come at a faster pace than the show, with easily accessible quips, to jokes that dove deep back into MST3K’s history, with call backs to Eegah! An incessant song “Look for a Star” weaves its way into your brain like a foul parasite; McGiffin’s counter song is a powerful antidote.

If this is truly Joel Hodgson’s last live show with MST3K, he’s going out strong.

I talked to friends who saw the alternate show “No Retreat, No Surrender,” and that was a strong piece as well. The bottom line: if you’re a fan of MST3K, you shouldn’t miss the traveling show.

The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour: Five Worfs Heads

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Dog Soldiers is the best Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie. Fight me on this.

Yes.

The best Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie is Dog Soldiers.

Not convinced? Well. You’re wrong.

British soldier training exercise + Scottish werewolves = Dog Soldiers.

Dog Soldiers is a 2002 “werewolves at the door” movie. It’s gritty. It’s not above embracing its genre flag and winking at the audience (one character is named “Harry G. Wells,” and another, “Bruce Campbell”). If you haven’t seen it yet, it deserves your attention.

Kevin McKidd plays a doctor with a military background on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Could this be a prequel to that show? Yes. Yes, it is.

Kevin McKidd (he of Grey’s Anatomy fame, and I hope that show has made him a millionaire many times over so he can leave network television and make more movies like this) is the lead, British Pvt. Cooper. While being considering for a special forces posting, Cooper refuses to shoot a dog in cold blood. This washes him out of the special forces consideration, and sends him right back to the other grunts.

On a later training exercise, Cooper and his grunts are in the Scottish Highlands. They encounter the remains of a murdered Special Air Service unit they were working with.

(insert comment about lending a hand)

It’s a formulaic start, but notable for an eerie atmosphere and strong performances. Sean Pertwee plays a sergeant. There’s a lone survivor of the SAS, played by Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones fans know him as Davos Seaworth). There’s an old farmhouse and a constant feeling of dread.

There’s homages to Evil Dead, Aliens and the Matrix. Each of the pop culture references still works. The focus remains on the soldiers. The werewolves have little screen time, and the movie is better for it. The creatures are lanky and gross, and a step removed from the full-furred monsters you might expect to see in a film like this. It works better in a lower-resolution, gritty DVD.

This would be the afore-mentioned Scottish werewolf.

The thing is, it works. It all comes together in a satisfying, magical way the other Sci-Fi Channel Original Movies fall just short of. Strong performances—anchored by McKidd—and an effective horror atmosphere make it all work.

The bottom line: Dog Soldiers is the best Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie.

Dog Soldiers: Five Worfs Heads

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Critters Attack! is a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie that I watched so you don’t have to, but it’s totally OK if you do.

This, I didn’t see coming.

Fun fact! The first Critters was written long before the Gremlins movie came out. So, if you’re thinking that they were just cashing in on the “small puppet is also a monster and is killing people” movie craze that defined the mid-1980s, you’re wrong. And there were many of those movies (like Critters, Gremlins, Ghoulies, Hobgoblins, and Police Academy).

Fast forward to present day, where there are now two ways to consume your favorite puppet-based monsters. The Shudder channel has a Critters series. SyFy also made a movie, which has one strong piece of cred Shudder does not: Dee Wallace. In her signature role as a “parent of a child being menaced by something,” (see also, Cujo) Wallace returns for Critters Attack! as a bounty hunter.

If there’s a formula for these movies, Critters Attack! follows it to a T. A small town. Young, relatable protagonists. Critters filmed in such a way that you don’t see the puppeteer under a log or a rolling hill.

Critters Attack! didn’t do much to deviate from the formula, and that’s OK. Sometimes you just want your monster movie to feature the creatures just tearing people apart. The movie excels at this, at the Krites rip apart victim after unsuspecting victim. The family featured in this film adopts a Critter, which is both adorable and terrifying.

Wallace, however, is the real draw for me. Armed and dangerous, she’s ready to blast the Krites straight to hell. And when you consider she’s basically playing the same character as in the 1980s movie, it means none of her family survived. Which kind of casts the first movie in a new light.

If there’s one consistency in the Critters movie, it’s the strength of the actors. A LOT of solid actors appeared in the Critters series. Broadway actor Terrence Mann starred in four Critters movies. Leonardo DiCaprio was in Critters 3. Angela Basset and Brad Dourif were in Critters 4.

We all remember this scene. He drew the Krite like one of his French girls.

Critters Attack! is a movie that exists. It gets points for delivering a relatable protagonist, and it’s a good excuse to see Dee Wallace go full Sarah Connor. It’s a fun nostalgia romp. If you liked the original movies, this is worth your time.

Critters Attack!: Three Worfs Heads

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The Banana Splits movie takes 1960s nightmare fuel and makes a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie out of it.

The Banana Splits movie now exists.

When you can’t get the rights to “Five Nights at Freddies,” you compromise. You get the Banana Splits. Already kind of creepy, the 1960s kid’s show characters are back, and they’re malfunctioning.

Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky are back in this blood-soaked tale that takes the conceit–that the show is now a popular kid’s variety show, and still draws a crowd for a live taping, and also the characters are robots–and turns it on its ear.

The relatable Williams family attends a taping, including young Harley, a kid who will not be killed off; Harley’s older brother Austin, a teen who’s good-hearted and will not be killed off; Harley’s mother, Beth, whose husband, Mitch, is a good-for-nothing cheater and will be killed off. The main character arc belongs to Beth, who spends the latter half of the movie defending her family and fighting robots.

Beth Williams, Robot Fighter. This fall on NBC.

There are a number of other characters, including social media influencers, at least one of which is clearly going to die before the film is over. There’s also a dad promoting his daughter as the next big star. He dies a most satisfying death. The movie does a good job making you care about the Williams family.

SyFy’s Banana Splits movie wasn’t terrible for a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie. There’s a twist toward the end I didn’t see coming (and a pretty dark one: there’s a whole pile of dead parents by the end of the film). The film’s main drawback: at all times, it’s clear these “robots” are people in costumes, and that takes away somewhat from the hack and slash.

Overall, it’s a solid slasher, a perfect Halloween film, that just happens to include Sid and Marty Krofft characters. And, hey, someone got paid something for the rights to use these characters. Does Hanna-Barberra own them? Did this film allow Krofft’s grandkids to buy a new Honda Pilot? Probably.

Hell. They probably bought two.

The Banana Splits: Three Worfs Heads.