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Snake & Mongoose, Monsters: The Complete Series, Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXIX


Snake & Mongoose

Snake & Mongoose (PG-13)

Anchor Bay

First-time filmmakers Wayne Holloway and Alan Paradise will need a working bond as strong as the one between their two main characters to weather this disappointing racing biopic. Leaping from one era to the next, it follows the real-life rise to Mattel-sponsored funny-car stardom of friendly rivals Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "Mongoose" McEwen. As the dour but disciplined Prudhomme, Grey's Anatomy's Jesse Williams is compelling enough to forgive the flm its biggest flaw: its obsession with the cleverness of the "Snake" and "Mongoose" monikers. The script calls for more exchanges about those nicknames than anything related to the business of racing, as compared to the string of above-average racing movies recently — Rush, Senna, even Talladega Nights. Williams is a promising talent, but the clunky pacing and forced drama here won't win any races. — Justin Strout

Monsters: The Complete Series

Monsters: The Complete Series (NR)

Entertainment One

In the 1980s, horror fans of all ages were frightened by the syndicated weekly horror anthology Tales From the Darkside, a low-budget affair that attracted the then-biggest names in horror to write and direct various tales of terror. It was popular enough that a companion series, Monsters, was released. While the stories on Darkside could range from the psychological to the mythic, the focus of Monsters was right there in the title. A personal, mostly nostalgic favorite of mine, it's finally been released as a complete series, featuring all three seasons. Luminaries such as Stephen King, Robert Bloch, Larry Charles, Paul Dini and Debra Hill all contribute behind the scenes, and the cast is a virtual who's who of pop culture. But the real stars are the stories, oftentimes morality plays with twist endings, presented in a fun style that no network would touch today. — Louis Fowler

Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXIX

Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXIX (NR)

Shout! Factory

Mike, Joel and the Bots are back in yet another outstanding collection of cherry-picked MST 3000 episodes. Shout! Factory is now on Vol. 29, and it seems to have no plans to stop the momentum of classic episodes available at its disposal. In this entry, we have the rock 'n roll bad-girl scare flick Untamed Youth, a return to the convoluted low-budget mythology of Hercules and the Captive Women, the hypnotizing decapitated head of a diabolical Devil worshiper in The Thing That Couldn't Die and, finally, one of the most-requested fan-favorites, The Pumaman, a 1980 superhero flick from Mexico that managed to spend all of the budget on hiring famed character actor Donald Pleasence. It's a welcomed addition to any riffer's collection, loaded with hilarious bonus features. So take tomorrow off, keep the popcorn poppin', and remember one thing: We've got movie sign! — Louis Fowler

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