Ep. 128 – Toy Story 4

June 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod try to determine the worthiness of “Toy Story 4.”

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Ep. 125 – Aladdin, Booksmart, and a recap of the San Antonio Symphony’s John Williams concert

May 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review the live-action “Aladdin,” Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut “Booksmart,” and Cody discusses his experience at the San Antonio Symphony’s performance of John Williams classics.

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Ep. 120 – Captain Marvel, Leaving Neverland

March 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review the 21st Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and first with a female lead, “Captain Marvel.” They also take a deep dive into the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” and what it means for the legacy of a dead entertainer now considered monstrous by part of the populace.

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Ep. 115 – Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod travel to a galaxy far, far away to review Lord and Miller’s Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

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Ep. 107 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (spoilers start at 17:04) and The Disaster Artist

December 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review the year’s most anticipated movie, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” BE AWARE: Spoilers run from 17:04 to 40:35!

They also review last week’s wide release “The Disaster Artist,” which is also the subject of Bonus Episode 13, so give that a listen too!

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Ep. 99 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and talk about lesser-known San Antonio Spurs players of the last three decades.

[00:00 – 25:51] Intro/Remembering random Spurs from the last 25 years, from Jaren Jackson to Cherokee Parks.

[25:51- 44:48] Review – “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

[44:48-49:01] Wrap up/tease

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Big Hero 6

November 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung
Directed by: Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”)
Written byRobert L. Baird (“Monsters University”), Daniel Gerson (“Monsters University”) and Jordan Roberts (“You’re Not You”)

As part of Disney’s never-ending drive for world domination, the giant company acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for an astounding $4 billion. While Disney has since raked in the cash from the unstoppable force that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have yet to dive into the Marvel catalog to make films geared at younger kids. With “Big Hero 6,” Disney finally takes the leap and adapts a Marvel property under the Disney moniker.

In a hybrid of cities called San Fransokyo, a teenaged robotics fiend named Hiro (Ryan Potter) finds himself hustling people in robot fights for cash. Destined to get him into something greater, his brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) convinces him to apply to the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. When an tragic event happens that changes everything for Hiro, he decides to band together with his school friends and a healthcare assistant robot named Baymax to form a superhero crew to try exact revenge on the supervillain Yokai.

One great quality of “Big Hero 6” is its ability to impressively set the table for the events to come. First and foremost, and in typical Disney fashion, it is able to create palpable emotion with enough respect to be handled by smaller children while being affective to adults. Beyond that, the film’s greatest moments come as we get to know Baymax. As an inflated and clumsy vinyl robot, Baymax comes to life in hilarious sequences of dialogue free physical comedy. He’s extremely ungraceful and maneuvers around objects so slowly and carefully that watching him dawdle around is pure, unadulterated, adorable joy and by far the best element of the film. There’s certain sweetness to Baymax (voiced wonderfully by Scott Adsit) and his unbridled desire to make Hiro feel better that fosters the best relationship of the film, even in its weaker moments.

The film takes a bit of a turn, however, when Hiro decides to seek revenge and turn him and his group of science geek friends into superheroes. It is here where the film becomes a bit generic and less unique. The initial motivation for Hiro manages to become a bit lost and even motivation during the turn involving the villain is a little difficult to wrap one’s head around. There are nuggets of great moments to be found, namely a sequence in which Baymax tries out flying for the first time, but the superhero story in the film feels a little standard, which is surprising given the connection to Marvel.

In fact, the most surprising element of “Big Hero 6” is just how little of Marvel’s fingerprints are present. Sure, some of the action sequences involving the characters in superhero are fun to watch, but most of them are formulaic enough to be thrown together by any studio. The same can also be said for the narrative of the film as the superhero storyline comes front and center and falls into the same beats seen in most origin stories. Despite its shortcomings, “Big Hero 6” is sweet, funny and adventure-packed enough to be an entertaining, albeit underwhelming experience.

Million Dollar Arm

May 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton
Directed by: Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”)
Written by: Tom McCarthy (“Win Win”)

More than any other major North American sports league, Major League Baseball has truly gone international.  Last season, more than a quarter of the league’s players on opening day rosters were born outside of the United States, representing 15 countries.  As the game continues to expand, areas of the world once considered a new baseball frontier like the Dominican Republic are a fixture of any scout’s itinerary.  Just as “Moneyball” showed the competitive edge that can be gained from tapping into a market inefficiency, “Million Dollar Arm” shows how creative strategies and unconventional thinking can continue to mine talent from unexpected places.

As a last ditch effort to save his sports agency, agent J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) comes up with a reality TV show idea with the intent of converting cricket players to major league pitchers. When the two players from India are selected (Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma) they embark on an unlikely journey to earn a professional contract.

From early on in the film, it is clear the cast is one of the strong points of the film. Despite playing the lead on a massively popular TV show (“Mad Men”), this is one of the first leading film roles for Hamm. It’s a good performance, albeit one that doesn’t require much other than occupying a lot of screen time, which he does quite capably. Nonetheless, he is charismatic enough to make his role worthwhile. As actors with little recognition to American audiences, Mittal and Sharma, are able to capture elements of culture shock without overdoing it.

With such a brilliant past output, it makes sense that Disney would hire such a talented screenwriter in Thomas McCarthy. Unfortunately, McCarthy’s writing is stifled and slightly generic. That isn’t to say it is bad, but it does go through the motions and hits every expected narrative and emotional arc you’d expect from a Disney movie, which makes it more of a by-the-numbers sports film than something truly special.

Though there isn’t a terrible amount of it, director Craig Gillespie does a good job of building a convincing world of baseball and constructing the pitching montages and an even better job of photographing the streets of India. By the sometimes desolate and cramped living spaces, Gillespie does a great job of showing the cultural differences that go both ways.

At its core, “Million Dollar Arm,” like many other underdog sports films, is about pursuing a dream against all odds. As a film, it doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but rather a decent job at several things. While many of the notes are certainly familiar, none of them are false and the film does a solid job of developing emotional investment. It’s far too long and there is nothing particularly unique or imaginative about it, but for a family sports movie, you could do a lot worse.

Planes

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Ashley, Reviews

Starring: Dane Cook, Stacey Keach, Brad Garrett
Directed by: Klay Hall (“Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”)
Written by: Jeffrey M. Howard (“Tinker Bell”)

You can guess where Disney’s “Planes” is going and how it’ll get there, but because it flies just beyond the clouds – and avoids the rough turbulence – the ride has its moments. Parents are correct if they think they’ve seen this movie before. There’s a generic underdog storyline and an inspiring lead character. Fortunately for “Planes,” the film also comes with an important message every child can benefit from. For parents who are worried about what their kids are watching these days, “Planes” is about as safe as you can get for a PG-rated movie.

Initially created as a spin-off to Pixar’s “Cars” and set to be released as a straight-to-DVD film by Disneytoons (Tinkerbell movies), it wasn’t a big shocker when Disney decided to spare it from ending up in the $5 bin a year from now and capitalize on its market value (toys, video games, etc.) and guaranteed cash flow.

Cropdusting Dusty (Dane Cook) might have some big dreams to enter a round-the-world race, but his chances are pretty slim considering his speed and the fact he is constantly being told he can’t succeed (“Turbo” anyone?). With the support of his friends Dottie, the forklift “mechanic” (Teri Hatcher), Chug, “the fuel truck” (Brad Garret), and the guidance of his heroic war veteran/Navy Corsair coach Skipper (Stacy Keach), he tries out for a spot in the Global Plane Competition. Falling just short of the qualifying spot, Dusty is informed a couple of days later that because of illegal practices by the last qualifier he is now eligible to compete. Dismissed as a joke by all of his competition, Dusty focuses his energy on becoming a better competitor, gradually gaining him more fame and support than hot shot, all-time champ, Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith). Along the way, he makes a few friends, including suave wannabe ladies’ airplane, El Chupacabra or “El Chu” (Carlos Alazraqui).

Filling the spot for the funny secondary characters every animated film is notorious for having nowadays, (Mub and Grub from “Epic,” the Minions from the “Despicable Me” franchise, and Belt the Sloth from “The Croods”), El Chupacabra steps up to the challenge with his thick Mexican accent, infamous cape and his love for the chicas. More specifically, El Chu is trying to win the heart of French-Canadian goody two-shoes plane, Rochelle (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). One of the best scenes of the film comes when Dusty helps El Chu out by setting him up to sing a Mexican-style serenade of “I’m Just a Love Machine.” As possibly the best serenade ever in an animated film, “Planes” gets props for the memorable musical interlude.

The 7-country competition course in “Planes” sanctions for some stunningly bright colored visuals and with its sporadic and swift POV shots, the 3D animation is enjoyable but not essential. Thanks to the identical looking “Cars” world portrayed on screen and the many characters from the 2006 and 2011 Pixar movies that came before, it’s possible you walk out of “Planes” thinking you just saw the last film of the “Cars” trilogy. Let’s hope Disney find a way to allow the inevitable sequel to stand on its own and not use sister studio Pixar as a crutch.

Carlos Alazraqui – Planes

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

And the Oscar for Best Voice Acting for an Animated Film goes to…Carlos Alazraqui for the voice of El Chupacabra in Disney’s “Planes.”

(Applause, applause…standing ovation).

While voice over actors haven’t reached that echelon in Hollywood just yet, Alazraqui, 51, who has given a voice to countless characters in animated films and TV shows over his nearly 20-year career, says things are getting better.

“There’s an effort to make voice actors more prominent and turn us into these cult celebrities and let the industry know that we’re fantastic,” Alazraqui told me during an interview for his new film “Planes.” “We’re the best studio musicians you can hire!”

In “Planes,” Alazraqui plays the character El Chupacabra, a legendary airplane from Mexico who “races with a whole lot of heart and more dramatic flair than is recommended at high altitudes.”

During our interview, Alazraqui, who is of Argentinean descent, talked about how big the role in “Planes” is compared to others in his career, and reveals what he likes even more than cartoons.

What did you think the first time you saw what El Chupacabra was going to look like?

I thought it was awesome. He had a big barrel hull and this telenovela style to him. I thought it was great visually. I thought I could really take advantage of it.

Does an idea for the voice come to you fairly quickly when you see the character or is that something you have to work on for a while?

It was instantaneous. I had a small picture of him at the table read and I just went for it. John Lasseter (chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) was there and he liked it and they hired me.

I mean, you do a lot of voice work for animated projects, but this is a pretty big deal when Disney is involved.

Oh, absolutely. I’ve worked on big projects like “Happy Feet” and “Happy Feet 2.” I’ve worked on a lot of cartoons [on TV] like “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “The Fairly Odd Parents.” I worked on “The Family Guy” for the first season. In “Monster’s University” I was the tour guide when Mike is a little kid and going on a tour of the university. But this is the most prominent role in a feature that I’ve ever landed so far.

The last time I interviewed you was back in 2008 for “Space Chimps” and we talked about what cartoons you watched as a kid. What about as an adult? Do you watch cartoons now?

You know, I only watch a little bit. I like to watch the old ones like “Go Go Gophers” and “Tennessee Tuxedo” – the cartoons I grew up with. Occasionally, I’ll take a few minutes and check out “The Family Guy” or “The Simpsons” or “Futurama,” but usually I’m watching sports or “The Walking Dead” or CNN. I don’t watch as much animation as you would think.

Not even the ones you’ve worked on?

You know, I’ve done a ton of episodes of “Fairly Odd Parents” and maybe I’ve seen the show like three times over 10 years. For me, I love doing cartoons, but I love sports and watching ESPN more.

What teams do you follow?

San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, L.A. Clippers, and Golden State Warriors. Those are my teams.

We’ll I’m over here in San Antonio, so we’re still heartbroken about what happen in the Finals.

Ah, man. You know, when Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard missed those free throws [in Game 6] I thought it was going to come back to haunt you.

Yeah. I’ve been a 49ers fan all my life, so we have that in common. It’s hard to be a Niners fan living in Texas.

Yeah, that’s Dallas Cowboys country! I was watching University of Nevada – Reno beat Boise State about three years ago and I thought, “I hope the 49ers can draft Colin Kaepernick.” And sure enough.

Hey, so, are you still comfortable being the go-to guy when it comes to Latino animated characters? You’ve done a lot in your life.

Absolutely.  I’ve been doing “Handy Manny” for a long time (he voices Felipe “the Phillips Screwdriver” among other characters). I love it. It lets me tap into my Argentinean side. I don’t mind it at all. I like to choose super positive characters.

What part of your Argentinean background do you identify with the most?

Probably eating steak and being loud. Argentineans are not shy. It helps I have the ability to be crazy and fun and enjoy a good steak and a glass of wine and some good whiskey.

As animation gets more cutting-edge every year, does that somehow make your job easier as a voice actor or is it all the same?

You still have to work on the voice first and then work outward from there. You still have to imagine things in your own mind because most of the time you’re working alone. I’ve worked with some amazing talent, so I learn by watching. Even though the technology is getting more cutting-edge, you still have to count on the performances. The performances are what make the movie funny.

Well, I’ve always felt there should be an Academy Award given to voice actors.

Well, of course it would go to El Chupacabra!