Ep. 78 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, SXSW recap, and how free McDonald’s turned into a frustrating ordeal

March 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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In this latest episode of the too-infrequent CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod discuss the unavoidable “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” They also recap their time at SXSW 2016 and talk about the most frustrating free McDonald’s food they didn’t even get to eat.

[00:00 – 32:51] Intro/SXSW recap

[32:51 – 1:07:22] “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” review

[1:07:22 – 1:12:50] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

March 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by: Zack Snyder (“Man of Steel”)
Written by: Chris Terrio (“Argo”) & David S. Goyer (“Batman Begins”)

After nearly three years of fanboy hand-wringing and prognostications of disaster, Warner Bros.’ and DC Comics’ attempt to reverse-engineer the formula Marvel and Disney have used to build a filmmaking empire, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” has finally arrived. Big, bold, grim, overstuffed, overcooked, smart, stupid, and loud, the first live-action on-screen pairing of the two biggest titans in comic-book history teeters on the brink of outright disaster for a good chunk of its runtime, yet somehow manages to shake a mostly-enjoyable adventure out of a screenplay that introduces three major new characters and packs in jumping off points for at least five superhero movies that are scheduled to follow, all while acting as a quasi-sequel to 2013’s overwrought “Man of Steel.”

A prologue unnecessarily re-familiarizes us with the death of Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) parents that serves as the beginning of his journey to becoming Batman. Thirty years later, we find Wayne rushing around Metropolis during the climactic, destructo-porn showdown between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) that capped off “Man of Steel” and left thousands in the city dead, including some of Wayne’s employees. Two years later, the U.S. Congress, led by Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), is looking for ways to rein in Superman’s destructive potential and discussing his penchant for saving only the people he wants to save—namely Lois Lane (Amy Adams, wasted again). When Lois finds herself in a terrorist den in Africa, facing down a machine gun as her photographer Jimmy Olsen (Michael Cassidy) is revealed as a CIA spy (!!!), Superman comes to her rescue after the terrorists are taken out by private security officers. An experimental bullet is found in Lois’ shot up journal, Superman is blamed for the terrorist deaths (for some reason), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is asking for an import license for Kryptonite so he can build a weapon that could potentially stop Superman, Batman is tracking Luthor’s criminal dealings while also figuring out how to take down Superman, and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is lurking around the fringes for most of the runtime–and then a whole bunch more stuff happens and even more characters are introduced over the course of two and a half hours.

When the digital dust settles, why does this all work? Wisely, the film plays more like a Batman movie than anything else, and Affleck’s take on the character is the Batmanliest yet, zipping around on grappling hooks, whipping out neat gadgets and awesome vehicles, and actually doing a little bit of detective work over the course of the film. His Batman is just driven and crazy enough to make his quest to take on this superhuman god seem like the most refreshing take on the character in years–apologies to Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight,” but the realism that grounded that series put a damper on the more fantastic elements of Batman’s mythology. Gadot’s Wonder Woman also shines in her debut, shedding the exposition she’s saddled with halfway through the film to come out swinging in the film’s final battle, sure to leave the audience hungering for the character’s upcoming solo film. Cavill, once again donning the red and blue tights as the Man of Steel, is still a dud, though. The filmmakers, led by “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder and writers Davis S. Goyer (“Batman Begins”) and Academy Award winner Chris Terrio (“Argo”), still haven’t cracked this dark, brooding Superman and what his motivation is. With the knowledge of a “Justice League” movie starting production next month, along with upcoming solo efforts from a whole slate of DC Comics characters (next up is “Suicide Squad” this August), the events of “Batman v. Superman” ultimately become inconsequential, echoing 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Warner Bros. and DC Comics needed to make a big bet to get into the shared universe superhero game, and their first giant splash is a push rather than a win or loss.

The Unborn

January 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Meagan Good
Directed by: David S. Goyer (“Blade: Trinity”)
Written by: David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight”)

When another horror movie shamefully follows the blueprint of pathetic horror movies of the past and continues the tradition of dismal American horror nonsense to hit a specific and brainless demographic, it almost becomes too exasperating to reel off another negative review.

It’s especially hard since we are in January, the month where studios are releasing both their lagging Oscar hopefuls and those movies they hope will get lost somewhere during all the awards-season chaos. “The Unborn” falls in the latter category, of course.

A hellacious hybrid of two of the worst films of last year, “Mirrors” and “The Haunting of Molly Hartley,” “The Unborn” regurgitates everything that is wrong with the horror genre today and plasters it across the screen for a short and fright-less 87 minutes.

Odette Yustman plays Casey Beldon, a young girl plagued by nightmares who is fighting off a demon trying to possess her. The demon turns out to be her twin brother, who was never born but has now found a way into the world through her body. Casey learns of her past with the help of Sofi Kozma (Jane Alexander), a Holocaust survivor who may have known her deceased mother (Carla Gugino), and a rabbi (Gary Oldman), written in as the token spiritual guide.

Director/screenwriter David S. Goyer has tried and failed before in this genre with “Blade: Trinity” and “The Invisible.” Third time is not a charm in this tasteless offering riddled with boring CGI effects images. Goyer wants to tell you a ghost story, but there’s simply no substance to mend an effective plot together much less captivate an audience with a terrifying narrative. Instead, he relies on basic set pieces and quick editing like so many others have done in the past. Just like in class, it’s the bare minimum where you might not have to take the course over again, but everyone else who managed a decent grade is snickering at how lazy you’ve been all semester.

Jumper

February 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jaime Bell, Rachel Bilson
Directed by: Doug Liman (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”)
Written by: David S. Goyer (“Blade”), Jim Uhls (“Fight Club”), Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: The Last Stand”)

Imagine not having to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, being able to wake up five minutes before an important meeting on the other side of town and getting there on time, or traveling anywhere in the world without ever buying a plane ticket. With the power of teleportation, you could do all of that and more. That’s exactly what David Rice (Christensen) does in the new slick-looking but prosaic action flick “Jumper.”

During a near-death experience, David’s life is spared when he somehow teleports away from danger and to another location. With his new-found talent to travel beyond space and time – and because he is unhappy at home with his verbally abusive father – he decides he can survive on his own by “borrowing” a few bucks from the bank and getting his own place. Hey, if you could move in and out of anywhere without opening a door, wouldn’t you visit a vault?

Flash-forward eight years and David has perfected his skill to teleport across the world. From having lunch on top of the Sphinx in Egypt to surfing the biggest waves in Fiji, David can do anything he wants with the power that has been granted to him. His trouble-free life, however, is interrupted when he finds out he is being hunted by a man whose soul purpose in life is to kill “Jumpers” like himself.

Roland (Jackson), who has been searching for David ever since he heard about his first bank robbery, is part of a unit of hunters known as Paladins. Unbeknownst to David, Jumper and Paladins are at war with each other and have been for thousands of years. Call it jealously or call it their mission, Paladins hate Jumpers because they feel no one should have the gift Jumpers do except God.

Now on the run, David returns home and visits his childhood crush (Bilson), who he strikes up a relationship with again by wooing her with weekend trips to Rome. The script is at its weakest here as David is never questioned about where he has been for the last eight years. Everyone thought he was dead, but who cares now? When you have an endless supply of money and can charm a girl by flying her out to the most extravagant cities, you can get around just about anything.

Excessive on the special effects but sputtering tremendously on the storyline, “Jumper” is illogical and a poor attempt at science fiction. Where the movie could have found its appeal was through David’s actual leaps through wormholes and dimensions. Instead, it becomes a drawn-out chase scene with far too many plot holes and flimsy characters.