Ep. 124 – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Hail Satan?, and positive discussion of Robert Pattinson as the new Batman

May 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” and “Hail Satan?”

They also discuss the rumored casting of Robert Pattinson as the new Batman, and what he would bring to the role.

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Ep. 94 – The LEGO Batman Movie, John Wick: Chapter 2, Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis, The Edge of Seventeen, and Beavis & Butt-head: The Complete Collection

February 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Jerrod and Cody review “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “John Wick: Chapter 2.” They also dive in to new home entertainment releases “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” and “Beavis & Butt-head: The Complete Collection.”

[00:00-29:30] Intro/SXSW tease

[29:30-44:48] Review: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

[44:48-56:37] Review: “John Wick: Chapter 2”

[56:37-1:19:19] No Ticket Required: “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” and “Beavis & Butt-head: The Complete Collection”

[1:19:19-1:22:50] Wrap up/tease
Click here to download the episode!

John Wick

October 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
Directed by: Chad Stahelski (debut)
Written by: Derek Kolstad (“The Package”)

In the early stages of “John Wick,” screenwriter Derek Kolstad decides to create motivation for Wick’s revenge in a way that might be upsetting to many filmgoers. It is a bold sequence that is equal parts brutal and an effective piece of table setting. It’s unfortunate that rest of the film can’t quite live up to its establishment.

After the loss of his wife, being assaulted and robbed of his car, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) decides to return to the assassin life that he once led to exact revenge. As he faces the dozens of men out to get him, he must navigate who he can trust and find a way to take down the people who hurt him the most.

In what many are calling a return to form, Reeves embraces the action star role with aplomb. It isn’t an acting performance to write home about by any stretch, but in this recent renaissance of 50-plus year old action heroes, Reeves is good fit. An issue that “John Wick” has that it shares with many other films is a complete lack of development for any character other than the protagonist. Sure, there are a few solid moments from character actors like Ian McShane, but characters like fellow assassin Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) serve such little purpose and the films villain, Viggo Tarasov is not only typical, but made even more plain by a particularly hammy performance from Michael Nyqvist.

One thing “John Wick” does well is initial world building, where everyone knows everyone and there are codes of ethics and appropriate ways of behaving. While the development is done nicely, it is the further execution that often comes off as hokey. The one element of the film that “John Wick” seems to be proud of is its usage of stylized action sequences, be it in the form of hand-to-hand combat or the far more frequent gunfight, some of which are quite cool and slick. The problem lies in the fact that by the time the middle of the film rolls around, the motivation has run dry, the narrative has gone generic, and a once promising first act is squandered, leaving only empty action that we have seen a million times.

In its defense, “John Wick” is a film that unquestionably knows exactly what it is. It uses humor and graphic violence to embrace its B-movie sensibilities and wears it as a badge of honor. While this might make for a few fun moments, it doesn’t make for a good film. After a well-executed set-up, anything unique or higher-level gets lost in a blaze of bullets.

Street Kings

April 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie
Directed by: David Ayer (“Harsh Times”)
Written by: James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential”), Kurt Wimmer (“Ultraviolet”), Jaime Moss (debut)

If the name David Ayer is anywhere in a film’s credits, it would probably be safe to say the theme of the movie is going to revolve around corrupt cops. In his new film “Street Kings,” the director hands over the writing responsibilities (even after he did such a great job with 2005’s “Harsh Times”) to a trio of screenwriters who fail to understand the meaning of multilayered characters.

In the last seven years as a writer, Ayer has given us “Training Day,” “Dark Blue,” “S.W.A.T.” and “Harsh Times,” the last of which he was credited as both a screenwriter and first-time director. Now, in his sophomore film, Ayer’s lands some solid punches with the boys in blue, but doesn’t give us enough depth from the main and supporting characters. In “Training Day,” he transformed Denzel Washington into a crooked LAPD detective, a role which landed him his second Academy Award of his career. He also gave us an incredibly unique character study with Christian Bale as an ex-Ranger turned police officer in “Harsh Times,” one of the most overlooked performances of that year.

In “Street Kings,” the story follows LAPD vice detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves, who has come along way in the acting department since hamming it up most of his career), a trigger-happy cop whose on the right side of the law, but likes to do his job more like a renegade instead of a police officer. Think Russell Crowe’s Bud White in “L.A. Confidential,” which was also written by James Ellroy. Basically, he’s the jury, judge, and executioner.

When Tom uses his brute techniques to wipe out a couple of Korean kidnappers, he is thrust into the L.A. limelight as a heroic cop moving up in the ranks. Although his commanding officer Capt. Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker) likes the way he does his job, others, like Tom’s former partner Terrance Washington (Terry Crews), let internal affairs know there’s a guy on the force that isn’t exactly on the up and up. Now internal affairs officer Capt. James Biggs (Hugh Laurie) is watching Tom’s every move, which, of course, makes Tom want to confront his ex-partner for ratting him out.

During the confrontation, which takes place in a local convenient store, Tom and Terrance find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time as they are ambushed by two masked gunmen who fill Officer Washington’s body with machine-gun ammo before Tom even knows what’s happening. But with the history between the two officers, Tom isn’t in the most ideal place, especially with Capt. Biggs asking questions.

Capt. Wander and the rest of the department, however, quickly step in to clean up the mess. “We can’t afford to lose you,” Wander tells Tom. “You’re the tip of the spear. Who’s going to hold back the animals?” Thus, corruption begets corruption and so on as Tom attempts to steer clear of Capt. Biggs and search for Terrance’s killers.

Unintentionally funny at times, “Street Kings” is a complex story with unrefined characters. With an entire cast basically playing bad or dishonest cops, there’s no real sense of conflict even between the cops and the thugs in the ghetto. And what fun can be had when everyone is on the same team? Even with semiautomatics, the story sputters in the film’s final anticlimactic act and quickly turns from complex to comical.