Ep. 101 – Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Big Sick, Baby Driver, Blu-ray released for 3 Generations and The LEGO Batman Movie, and a recap of Jaws on the Water

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Big Sick, Baby Driver, new home video releases for 3 Generations and The LEGO Batman Movie, and talk about the experience that is Jaws on the Water.

[00:00-17:51] Intro/birthday meals/Jaws on the Water

[17:51-31:40] Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming

[31:40-44:44] Review –  The Big Sick

[44:44-56:34] Review – Baby Driver

[56:34-1:12:43] No Ticket Required: 3 Generations and The LEGO Batman Movie

[1:12:43-1:18:10] Wrap up/tease

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Ant Man

July 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily
Directed by: Peyton Reed (“Bring It On”)
Written by:  Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) & Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”) and Adam McKay (“Anchorman”) & Paul Rudd (debut)

“Ant-Man” will likely remain the biggest “what if?” in the lifetime of the Marvel cinematic universe (unless they actually produce a movie based on the alternate-reality comic book series “What If?”) due to one big giant reason: the departure of original director and screenwriter Edgar Wright. The fanboy-favorite “Scott Pilgrim” filmmaker famously left the film last year—after nearly a decade of development—due to creative differences. With a cast in place and a release date looming, Marvel quickly brought in director Peyton Reed and punched up the script with contributions from star Paul Rudd and “Anchorman” writer/director Adam McKay—all clear signs this movie would be leaning further toward comedy than any Marvel movie released so far. And yeah, the movie is fun and funny at times, but the lumpiness of the rewrites, clashes of tone, and the general tamping down of Rudd’s easy charisma rob the film of what could have been an energetic “Guardians of the Galaxy”-style offbeat excitement.

The movie opens with good-hearted criminal Scott Lang (Rudd) being released from prison. Lang was locked up for stealing money back from scamming corporations, but a criminal record is a criminal record, and he can’t land a job outside of Baskin Robbins. When he loses that job thanks to his background, Lang’s loveable criminal friend Luis (Michael Peña) offers him an easy score: break into a safe at some old hermit’s house and steal the loot inside. Lang agrees, but all he finds in the vault is some strange body suit and helmet, which he steals anyway. Out of curiosity, Scott puts the suit on and presses a mysterious button that instantly shrinks him down to the size of an insect. The suit he stole belongs to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, and he needs Scott’s help to stop a madman from using the shrinking technology for nefarious purposes.

“Ant-Man” feels like a smaller Marvel movie, likely by design. It’s a welcome respite from the end of the world scenario that the Avengers, et al, typically deal with, but the light-hearted, goofy adventure side of the film is undone by the dour, cliché-ridden parallel father/daughter redemption stories and some leaps of logic in the plot, like why does Lang steal the suit at all, other than to move the plot forward? Rudd’s natural likeability is neutered in the movie, his quick sarcasm and mischievous grin smushed under the weight of having to prove he’s a good guy to not just his daughter, but his ex-wife (Judy Greer, in another thankless role) and his wife’s new cop husband (Bobby Cannavale, apparently one of the two cops in San Francisco). The futile question gets asked, of course, because it must be asked: what would an Edgar Wright “Ant-Man” have looked like? Many fanboys will be wondering about this for many a Comic Con to come.

Ep. 2 – Maleficent, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Fed Up, and the saga of Ant-Man.

June 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Podcast

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Click here to download the episode!

In this week’s episode of The CineSnob podcast, the guys review “Maleficent,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” and the documentary “Fed Up.” They also discuss the ongoing saga of who will direct Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” the new Pixar film “Inside Out” and whether Pixar is in a creative rut, and give a few picks for what to watch on Netflix instant streaming.

[0:00-1:40] Jerrod’s somber mea culpa
[1:40-11:00] The confusion of who will direct Ant-Man
[11:00-16:45] Pixar’s Inside Out plot details and disussing if Pixar is in a creative rut
[16:45-20:20] Maleficent
[20:20-30:32] Maleficent Spoiler Talk
[30:32-38:22] A Million Ways to Die in the West
[38:32-54:00] Fed Up
[54:00-1:09:14] Netflix picks
[1:09:14-1:11:32] Teases for next week and close

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To give your feedback, e-mail us at podcast [at] cinesnob [dot] net, or leave a voicemail at 920-FILM-210.

Episode 1: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Chef, and the Weinsteins vs. Independent Film

May 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Podcast

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In the first ever episode of The CineSnob Podcast, the guys from CineSnob.net talk about “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Chef.” They also discuss Edgar Wright’s departure from Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” Gareth Edwards joining the Star Wars Universe, the shrinking number of Redbox kiosks, and The Weinstein’s decision to condense “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” and what it means for independent film.

Click here to download the episode!

Subscribe to The CineSnob Podcast via RSS, iTunes or Stitcher.

The World’s End

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine
Directed by: Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”)
Written by: Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead”) and Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”)

Dating back to their British TV show “Spaced” which debuted in 1999, writer/director Edgar Wright, writer/actor Simon Pegg and actor Nick Frost have been inextricably linked. Their zombie comedy film “Shaun of the Dead” launched the trio into cult status, paving the way for what became known as the “blood and ice cream” or the “three flavours Cornetto trilogy,” a series of loosely related comedic takes on certain film genres.  Now, the three have come together to finish off the project by tackling sci-fi elements in “The World’s End.”

In an attempt to finish a legendary pub crawl that was attempted and failed at 20 years ago, Gary King (Simon Pegg), an immature man stuck in the past, gathers his reluctant friends lead them on a of night of binge drinking one last time. As their journey proceeds, memories surface, beer flows and past demons are faced. When an army of identity-stealing alien robots crash their party, the five childhood friends must do everything they can to save the human race (not to mention throw back a few more pints).

In a bit of a role reversal from the first two films in the series, Pegg plays the more immature character while Frost is the straight-laced one. Unsurprisingly, Pegg excels, injecting comedic energy, physical comedy, and perfect line delivery. Pegg is easily one of the best comedic actors around today. For the more buttoned-up character, Frost plays it straight for the first half of the film. But as he loosens up, he shows a surprising knack for fight sequences and becomes progressively funnier. A scene in which he leaves a bar and accidentally breaks the door’s window is the biggest laugh of the year. As for the other three friends in the supporting cast (Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsden), there are some mixed results, but Marsden has the biggest impact, especially as we watch him get soused.

Wright’s signature visual and comedic style is on full display, with plenty of rapid-fire cheeky dialogue, clever wordplay, jokes that stem from unique editing or zooms, and the occasional bit of slapstick. The humor is perhaps a little less subtle than the other films, but in terms of sheer volume of jokes and laughs, “The World’s End” competes for the top spot in the trilogy. Where “The World’s End” is separated from the pack is its inability to successfully have anything to say in terms of the sci-fi genre. Part of what made the first two films so successful is that they were able to poke fun at genres, but also stay convincing and well-executed enough to become worthy entries into the genre itself.

When the night turns more dangerous and alcohol-fueled is when things get amped up. Smashing robot heads in, dismembering limbs, and getting covered in the blue “blood” that follows, the boys don’t pull any stops. Surprisingly, Wright doesn’t opt for the obvious “you’ve got blue on you” reference and connective tissue to “Shaun of the Dead.” While these scenes are well choreographed and entertaining enough, they run their course relatively quickly. The sci-fi elements never feel like a potential genre game-changer or even strong parody.

While Pegg and Wright’s themes work fine in the context of the film and are vehicles for a great performance from Pegg, those thematic elements and more emotional scenes pale in comparison to the themes of arrested development and reluctance of commitment seen in “Shaun of the Dead,” for example.

When compared to the other films in the series, “The World’s End” is a clear rung below “Shaun” and “Hot Fuzz.” While it lacks the razor-sharp genre lampooning of its predecessors, it is still quite easily the funniest film of the year so far.

The Adventures of Tintin

December 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
Written by: Steven Moffat (debut), Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”), Joe Cornish (”Attack the Block”)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg (“War Horse”)

If you mention “The Adventures of Tintin” in the confines of Europe, you won’t have to go far to find fans of the immensely popular comic book and TV show.  Mention it in America, and you’re just as likely to get confused looks and blank stares. Tintin is a national treasure in Europe, as evidenced by its $240 million international box office haul prior to its opening in the U.S. But for some reason, like man-purses and the metric system, it has never truly caught on in the United States. One person that did take to the comics just happens to be powerhouse director Steven Spielberg, who secured the rights to adapt it into a film series back in 1983.  Likening it to an “Indiana Jones for kids,” Spielberg has teamed with director Peter Jackson and the art of motion-capture animation to finally bring the whip-smart Tintin to life on the big screen.

When the young journalist Tintin (Jamie Bell) purchases a model boat at an outdoor market, he is immediately confronted by Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) in efforts to buy the ship off him. After the ship is broken and a scroll falls out unbeknownst to Tintin, he is kidnapped by Sakharine and taken to the SS Karaboudjan. With the help of the chronically drunken Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), Tintin and his dog Snowy escape. From there, they discover that there are at least two other model ships, each containing a scroll with a clue to a sunken, treasure-laden ship that Sakharine and Haddock’s ancestors were once aboard. Trying to beat Sakharine to the scrolls and the treasure, Tintin, Haddock and Snowy must travel through Europe by any means necessary.

The film wastes little time on introductions, as Tintin’s crime-solving prowess is only referenced in a series of press-clippings following an impressive silhouette-filled, spy-thriller inspired opening credits. Still, audiences young and old alike are able to grasp what it is Tintin does best.  There’s a strong sense of adventure and playful humor as we watch Tintin and Snowy try to keep Haddock under control, all whilst trying to evade Sakharine. Bell and Serkis are particularly good in their voice roles. Serkis, with a bold and boisterous Scottish accent, attacks the motion-capture role (as he does in all of his mo-cap work) with the intensity and effort of someone who is a leading actor. If there is one element of “The Adventures of Tintin” that does not work it is the Thomson twins voiced by British comedic actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Playing bumbling detectives trying to solve the case of a local pickpocket, their humor mostly misses the mark and the B-story line of the pickpocket fails to live up to the excitement of Tintin’s adventure to retrieve the scrolls.

Using Peter Jackson’s digital effects company Weta, who was responsible for “The Lord of the Rings” franchise and “Avatar,” “Tintin” boasts some of the best motion-capture animation ever produced. While still keeping a cartoon-like sensibility, “Tintin” features incredibly photorealistic faces and settings. Even smaller details like mouth movements are precisely accurate, preventing any distraction from the masterful voice performances. Since Spielberg treated the film like it was live action, the camera movements add another layer of realism to the animation. One sequence in particular that demonstrates this approach is a “one-shot” multi-character chase through the streets of a Morrocan village. It is easily one of the most fun adventure sequences in a movie all year.

While Haddock’s constant state of drunkenness, including some serious enabling by the dog Snowy, might be seen as inappropriate for some parents, “The Adventures of Tintin” is a fun adventure film spanning air, land and sea. It remains to be seen if the film can be successful in America though. If it is, we have a Peter Jackson-directed sequel to look forward to, with Jackson and Spielberg teaming up to co-direct a possible third film.  Make sure to also opt out of the 3D if you have the chance. It doesn’t really accentuate the film and the impressive animation will look best with bright and deep colors, something that 3D technology neglects.

 

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

August 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”)
Written by: Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”) and Michael Bacall (“Bookies”)
 
While it might be easy enough to dismiss a movie adapted from a comic book or video game in some cases as too cartoony or CGI-heavy, the liveliness radiating from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” – even when beyond ridiculous – is exactly the type of fanboy flair director Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz,” “Shaun of the Dead”) was born to create. It’s unfortunate, however, that “Scott Pilgrim” substitutes a sensible script with scattershot scenes of hyper-unrealistic imagery set in an alternate universe void of any real emotion.

In the film, adapted from the graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley, our hero Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera in a very familiar, geeky role) spends his time making due with his cute, high school-aged girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) and rocking out in his band Sex Bom-omb (a Super Mario Bros. reference for those keeping score).
 
When Scott meets hipster Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he doesn’t want anything else out of life except to make her his girlfriend. The problem is that Ramona has more than her fair share of baggage. Waiting in the wings as her and Scott’s relationship begins to blossom is Ramona’s seven evil, superhuman exes (six boys, one girl) that Scott must battle and defeat if he wants to date her.

But who really wants to see six separate fights (one is a 2-on-1 against twin brothers) when neither the hero nor the villains are very likeable? Why should “Scott Pilgrim” get a pass when so many other movies (even ones based on video games) are criticized for taking the video-game style too literal?

“Scott Pilgrim” feels suffocated. It’s a movie that is well aware of the gimmick it’s selling, but one with aspirations for something with more substance and character development. Part of that problem is, of course, that the entire “Scott Pilgrim” comic book series has been shrunk to fit into a single feature. It’s a valiant attempt by Wright and Universal Pictures, but one that ultimately can’t carry the load as everyone wears out their welcome.

As Scott fights the exes one by one (Spoiler: He kills the vegan ex-boyfriend with half-and-half…sigh), you sort of forget what he’s fighting for in the first place. Sure, it’s a clever idea if you’re into the whole save-the-princess storyline, but ultimately you’ll wish “Scott Pilgrim” would find one of those portals that’ll transport him to the final level so he can just get it over with already.