Ep. 136 – Fantastic Fest reviews of The Death of Dick Long and In the Shadow of the Moon, and we play the movie-lovers’ card game Cinephile

September 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody reviews a few films leftover from his time at Fantastic Fest, The Death of Dick Long and In the Shadow of the Moon, and then Cody and Jerrod play a few rounds of the new movie-lovers’ card game Cinephile.

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Boyd Holbrook – The Predator

September 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Interviews

In “The Predator,” a reboot of the franchise that started with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original 1987 action movie, actor Boyd Holbrook takes the lead as Quinn McKenna, a former Army Ranger who goes to battle alongside a team of ex-soldiers in a fight for their lives against a group of the extraterrestrial title characters.

During an interview with me this past week, Holbrook, who is featured as one of the main antagonists in “Logan” and in the Netflix series “Narcos,” talked to me about starring in a film with a built-in fanbase, movie reboots and whether or not we should take President Trump’s proposed Space Force seriously.

Prior to our interview, I was asked not ask questions that did not pertain to the movie or Holbrook’s career. This included questions about the controversial scene that was cut from the film, which included actor Steve Wilder, a friend of director Shane Black, who is a registered sex offender in real life. When actress Olivia Munn found out about Wilder’s criminal history after the film was completed, she asked for his scene be cut from the final film. The studio granted her request.

Besides “Logan,” this is the only film you’ve starred in that already comes with a built-in franchise history. Do these types of films put more pressure on you as an actor to get it right since there is already a fanbase eager to see what you all come up with?

Yeah, I guess so. I mean, at this scale, there are budgets, so there is obvious pressure financially. Creatively, I leave a lot up to the film gods. We definitely tried. We had a fun time and a good crew and cast. We tried to make [the movie] new and exciting and reinvent it.

What do you think should be the basis for rebooting a franchise in Hollywood these days? Of course, there are no written rules for when a studio can reboot something. Is it all a matter of having someone like director Shane Black come in with a new vision for the story? Is that all it should take?

Absolutely. It’s like a play. Plays are put up in different cities with different actors and people enjoy them just the same. I think with [“The Predator”], it was Shane Black and his vision. We’re all here because of the original version. He had a lineage and linkage to the original film (Black played the character Hawkins in the 1987 film). He was a part of that. As he’s grown as a filmmaker, he came back and had his own vision three decades later.

So, if your military team and Schwarzenegger’s team from 1987 were dropped in the same jungle to fight the Predators, which team would have the most survivors at the end?

Obviously, my team. Which do you think?

We’ll yours has more brains and Schwarzenegger’s has more muscle.

Yeah, buff don’t mean tough.

Speaking of buff, did you get a chance to reenact that famous handshake between Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers from the original movie?

Oh, yeah. We were always trying to throw in little homages and anecdotes to recall the original film. We were always trying to do something.

I don’t know if you believe in life on other planets, but is the idea that Predators actually exist somewhere in the universe justification enough to take President Trump’s proposed Space Force seriously?

Listen, if there is a Space Force and they’re spending a billion dollars on it, I think you need to take it seriously and look into it a little more. That will be the ultimate war. I think there is life out there. We’re finding bacteria on Mars. I’m fairly confident in saying there’s probably life out there somewhere.

I have to go back to “Logan” really quick. In my opinion, I thought that film transcended what superhero movies had been about for the last 30 years. Did you know you were making something so different while you were shooting that film?

I knew we were doing something where we could see what those claws were really capable of. I knew that it was going to change the dynamic [of superhero movies] quite radically. I knew we had a great script and then, obviously, the great direction by James Mangold.

What are you looking for in career in Hollywood? Is there something specific you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?

I want to have a well-rounded career. I started out doing indies. I’ll always do indies. I want to jump into the big vehicles sometimes, too. I want to do love stories and comedies and action movies. You have to shake it up and never get comfortable. I’m excited about the things I’ve done and for the things that are coming out. I’m never going to get comfortable.

The Predator

September 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown
Directed by: Shane Black (“Iron Man 3,” “The Nice Guys”)
Written by: Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon”) & Fred Dekker (“The Monster Squad”)

The original “Predator” movie, released in 1987, is arguably the pinnacle of the ‘80s action movie genre. With a mix of shooting bad guys in the jungle, science fiction and pre-megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger, its no-bullshit, all-action approach makes it essential viewing. Hell, the greeting between Arnold’s Dutch and Carl Weathers’ Dillon and the “get to the choppah!” line are basically perfect. The other movies in the series, including a couple of sequels and a pair of crossovers with the “Alien” franchise, are best left unwatched.

Anyway, here we are 31 years later, and director Shane Black—who played Hawkins, the first guy the Predator killed in ’87—is at the helm of “The Predator,” a self-referential sequel that goes for laughs, but ends up with few surprises and far too many characters to remain interesting or entertaining, even with some ‘80s-level gore.

Set in a world where only the first two “Predator” movies happened, one of the dreadlocked aliens crash lands on Earth, essentially on top of sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) as he’s taking out some  random bad guys in Central America. A firefight ensues with the Predator, and he’s knocked out. Quinn steals the creature’s helmet and gauntlet, which he then mails to his family for safe keeping. He then swallows (for some reason) the ball thing that allows the Predator to become invisible, which gives him the power to cloak himself. Meanwhile, a mysterious government agency led by Traeger (Sterling K. Brown, all quips and honestly lots of fun) swoops in and steals the sedated Predator away to the United States, where he calls in Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn), whose specialty is space animals because she wrote a letter to the president about it once.

Also, Quinn’s son Rory (Jacob Tremblay), who is on the spectrum, opens the box containing the Predator mask and gauntlet and somehow figures out the complex operating system and turns the helmet into a Halloween costume, possibly ushering in a “Magical autistic kid” trope in the process.

Anyway, Quinn is arrested by Traeger’s men for what he knows, and is packed onto a military prison bus with the “Loonies,” a rag-tag team of soldiers with differing levels of mental issues, including characters played by Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key and Thomas Jane. When the Predator escapes and kills a bunch of lab techs, Quinn and the Loonies set out to kill the Predator, only to run up against an even bigger Predator.

While there are admittedly some laughs and groan-worthy meta-callbacks (“get to the choppers!” in reference to a bunch of street motorcycles on a military base, for some reason), “The Predator” is mostly a mess of goofs, gore, and muddled, incomplete character arcs. After three decades, everything new just keeps getting worse and worse in this franchise. Please, as with “Alien” and “Terminator” movies just…stop.