Ep. 95 – Logan (spoilers start at 53:52), The Great Wall, A Cure For Wellness, and why can’t WB nail down The Batman?

February 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody, Jerrod and special guest critic James Roberts review “Logan” (spoilers for the movie start at 53:52, so be wary!), “The Great Wall” and “A Cure For Wellness.” They also wonder just what the hell is going on with Warner Bros. losing yet another director for “The Batman.”

[00:00-14:09] Intro

[14:09-38:56] News: Director Matt Reeves might be walking away from “The Batman,” leaving the movie in disarray

[38:56-1:02:50] Review: “Logan” (spoilers run 53:52-1:02:16)

[1:02:50-1:14:31] “The Great Wall”

[1:14:31-1:24:56] “A Cure For Wellness”

[1:24:56-1:36:07] No Ticket Required: “Manchester by the Sea”

[1:36:07-1:43:41] Wrap up/tease
Click here to download the episode!

The Lone Ranger

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner
Directed by: Gore Verbinski (“Rango”)
Written by: Justin Haythe (“Snitch”), Ted Elliott (“Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy),  Terry Rossio (“Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy)

Every so often, one reads articles about a film, sees the cast, watches trailers and marketing campaigns and can smell a box-office bomb from a mile away. Remember last year’s “John Carter?” An ambitious project based on a nearly 100-year-old book, Disney spent approximately $250 million on the project. Starring in the lead role was an actor whose biggest role was a strong albeit supporting role on TV’s “Friday Night Lights.” The results were predictably disastrous with mixed results from critics. Even worse, the film earned a domestic gross of only $73 million prompting Disney to publicly blame the film for their earnings loss that year. Early looks at Disney’s latest film, “The Lone Ranger,” caused many to draw parallels to “Carter” and wonder if the bloated failed blockbuster will become something of an annual Disney tradition.

In “The Lone Ranger,” district attorney John Reid (Armie Hammer) comes home to visit his brother (James Badge Dale), who is a Texas Ranger, and is deputized to help them hunt down a dangerous outlaw (William Fichtner). Soon after, the team is ambushed and Reid finds himself the only ranger left not riddled with bullets. Left for dead, Reid joins up with a revenge-seeking Indian named Tonto (Johnny Depp), disguises himself with a black mask, and goes in search of the ruthless criminal who killed his brother in hopes of bringing him to justice.

At this point in his career, it seems like Depp has agreed to sign onto any movie where he is allowed to wear make-up and act goofy. As Tonto, Depp is less than inspiring, though his performance is not nearly as racist as it had potential for. Depp’s screentime is relegated to unfunny one-liners, weird stares and making dim-witted faces in a failed attempt to capture the fun best seen in the original “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Unfortunately, Depp’s gag is getting tired and a return to traditional acting would be more than welcome. As for Hammer, he simply doesn’t bring the onscreen charisma of a leading man needed for a film like this. His version of Reid as a do-gooder feels blasé and he puts no urgency into the role.

One of the strangest decisions of the film was to tell it through a framing device where a withered old Tonto rehashes his story to a child visiting the museum section of a carnival. It adds absolutely nothing to the narrative and feels shoehorned and awkward each time it is revisited throughout the film. There are some decent set pieces, but overall, even the film’s action sequences are pretty mundane. Like a lot of westerns, there are shootouts and train hopping scenes, but nothing memorable in the way of adventure. At one point late in the film, the familiar sounds of the William Tell Overture crank up during an extended action scene involving runaway trains and the film actually kicks into high gear. Hopes are promptly squashed as the film’s ridiculous tone gets in the way and a child slingshots a grape into Tonto’s mouth.

So let’s recap: the film is based on a character that debuted in 1933, which hasn’t seen a meaningful iteration since the 1950s. One of the film’s major stars (Hammer), while a promising up-and-comer, is nowhere near the level he needs to be to anchor and sell tickets to a tent-pole blockbuster. The film’s budget is also estimated somewhere in the eye-popping $250-million range. Sound familiar?

But the worst offense of all? The film is just flat out bad. It fails not only as a western, but as an action comedy and a good old-fashioned summer family film. Put that and the constant struggle for a consistent tone together and you can see why “The Lone Ranger” is well on its way to being the biggest dud of the year. In the film’s closing moments, Hammer retorts to Depp and asks, “Do you even know what Tonto means in Spanish?” We certainly do, and chances are, some of the folks who greenlit the film at Disney will know soon enough, too.

Rango

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin
Directed by: Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean”)
Written by: John Logan (“Gladiator”)

Industrial Light and Magic sure knows how to make a great first impression. “Rango,” the first-ever animated feature created by the George Lucas company, is an impressive adventure film set in the Old West featuring a scrawny pet chameleon as it’s courageous hero.

When Rango (Johnny Depp), an aspiring thespian, strolls into the small town of Dirt after landing in the desert, he is given the chance to start on a clean slate and become whoever he wants in his new surroundings. No one in Dirt knows who he is, so he conjures up a few lies and jumps into character as a mysterious gunslinger who isn’t afraid of anything the big, bad desert has to offer, including the villainous Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy).

Reminiscent of the storyline in the 1986 comedy “The Three Amigos,” the towns people, made up of some bizarre looking creatures, accept Rango into their dried-up community and make him sheriff when he accidentally kills a terrorizing hawk. As sheriff, it’s now up to Rango to somehow bring water to the thirsty people of Dirt before more of them pack up and take off in search of the one thing they need to survive the desert heat.

As an animated spaghetti Western, “Rango” takes its original narrative and sets it on a dark and dangerous path most cartoons would never tread. Leave it to director Gore Verbinski, who teamed up with Depp in the first two “Pirates” movies, to find inspiration from Western classics like those from director Sergio Leone. Along with exquisite imagery and witty dialogue from the title character, “Rango” is an imaginative and sort of hallucinatory tribute (see if you can spot the “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” reference) to a genre most kids aren’t exposed to nearly enough. With a lizard as the lead, this is as kid-friendly as it’s going to get.