Ep. 126 – Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Rocketman, Running With Beto

June 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

On this episode of The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, ROCKETMAN, and the HBO documentary RUNNING WITH BETO.

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Ep. 111 – Annihilation, Game Night

February 28, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “Annihilation” and “Game Night.” The guys are also baffled by James Gunn’s revelation that Baby Groot isn’t Groot reincarnated, but actually Groot’s son.

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Ep. 86 – Sausage Party, Gleason, and a whole bunch of rambling

August 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, a hyper-lucid Cody chats with Jerrod about “Sausage Party,” “Gleason,” “Stranger Things,” Kyle Chandler, and a whole lot of other random stuff while Kiko is enjoying the Olympic games somewhere.

 

[00:00-36:41] Intro/South Park tease/random chatting

[36:41-48:58] Sausage Party review

[48:58-55:54] Gleason review

[55:54-1:04:42] Wrap up/tease

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Carol

January 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler
Directed by: Todd Haynes (“Far From Heaven”)
Written by: Phyllis Nagy (TV’s “Mrs. Harris”)

Director Todd Haynes (“Far From Heaven”) has produced an elegant and beautifully shot drama adapted from the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. Anchored by understated performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, the lesbian love story set in New York City in 1952 follows aspiring photographer Therese (Mara) and her complicated relationship with Carol (Blanchett), an older woman going through a divorce and fighting for custody of her daughter. Stunningly atmospheric and featuring eye-catching production and costume design, the romance can be stilted at times (how long is too long to stare longingly at someone?), but it’s hard not to appreciate the cinematic composition in its entirety.

The Spectacular Now

August 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson
Directed by: James Ponsoldt (“Smashed”)
Written by: Scott Neustadter (“(500) Days of Summer”) and Michael H. Weber (“(500) Days of Summer”)

As we meet our protagonist, high school senior Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), he’s drinking a beer, writing a curse word-laden college essay he’s clearly not taking seriously. It not only serves as a placeholder for his character later in the film, but it introduces the audience to some darker themes, chiefly underage drinking and borderline alcoholism. As the film continues, we see bits and pieces of these themes, although nothing really scratches below the surface. It’s an issue that plagues the new coming-of-age drama, “The Spectacular Now.”

After some heavy drinking, popular high school slacker Sutter wakes up to find he has passed out in the lawn of less popular albeit sweet schoolmate Aimee (Shailene Woodley). As their friendship blossoms into something more, Sutter finds himself surprised with how much he cares about Aimee, and how difficult their relationship could possibly become because of the heavy baggage he carries.

Woodley, who was absolutely robbed of an Oscar nomination for her outstanding performance in 2011’s “The Descendants,” is in top form here. Aided by her plain clothes and lack of make-up, she is able to encapsulate the attitude and personality of a girl who is totally comfortable in her own skin, but also the naivety that goes along with being a girl who never had a rambunctious childhood. Her scenes with Teller bring forward a natural on-screen relationship that really grounds the film.

Teller, while good, is only marginally believable as a super-confident, slick and fast-talking teenager. He oozes coolness, but at times it’s difficult to understand why. Kyle Chandler, who is very slowly starting to reap the benefits of his Emmy win for the final season of “Friday Night Lights,” gives the strongest performance of the supporting cast as Sutter’s father. From the second his character appears on screen, Chandler is dialed in and adds little nuances in speech patterns and attitudes that make his scenes a joy to watch.

Frankly, the acting is solid all around. The problem, however, is that despite a wealth of interesting characters, director James Ponsoldt (“Smashed”) doesn’t spend enough time to get to know them. Sutter’s boss played by Bob Odenkirk or his good friend Ricky played by Masam Holden are just two examples of characters who have a lot to add in their brief moments on screen, but then disappear for large chunks of time. We don’t get to truly know these characters, which is disappointing considered the depth they appear to add.

As mentioned before, “The Spectacular Now” presents a lot of darker themes that might not be in a typical coming-of-age film. Sutter, who is finishing high school, is essentially an alcoholic, who drives drunk on several occasions during the film. There’s also the slow corruption of Aimee, who goes from a straight-edge teen to taking swigs of hard alcohol from a flask. The problem, however, is that while these themes are presented and touched on, they’re never fully explored. We see minor consequences of Sutter’s drinking problems, but the stakes are never high and true darkness is never revealed

If nothing else, “The Spectacular Now” is a well-made film featuring fine performances, but the lack of depth in many different facets leaves the viewer wanting more. With such promising elements, it’s a shame the final product is decidedly unspectacular.

Super 8

June 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
Directed by: J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”)
Written by: J.J. Abrams (“Misson: Impossible III”)

As much as filmmaker J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”) would have liked for his nostalgic sci-fi “Super 8” to convey as much enchantment as a Steven Spielberg-directed masterpiece like “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” or “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” it doesn’t quite reach that ambitious goal. Nevertheless, “Super 8” is not without its own small trove of delightful moments. Standing on its own as a less aggressive version of the Abrams-produced 2008 creature feature “Cloverfield,” the movie doesn’t have all the elements necessary to make it a true classic, but there are some admirable things it accomplishes, especially when the enthusiastic kids are at the forefront.
 
Set in the small fictional town of Lillian, Ohio in 1979, the film follows six friends who are spending their free time during the summer shooting a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera, a set piece not nearly important enough to warrant the title. At the center of the imaginative group of teens is Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), an innocent boy with a mop-top who is mourning the recent loss of his mother, butting heads with his deputy-sheriff father (Kyle Chandler), and fawning over Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), a classmate invited onto the no-budget set to give their George A. Romero-inspired project a more affectionate vibe.
 
The kids’ summer plans take a mysterious turn when they are witness to a catastrophic train wreck that takes place during a late-night shoot. Soon, bizarre incidents start occurring around town (dogs and appliances go missing; the U.S. Air Force shows up tight lipped). Although Abrams keep the audience in the dark for a majority of the film, we know something has escaped from the train’s cargo and is now terrorizing the town. The movie’s tagline – “It Arrives” – kind of confirms this isn’t a surprise visit from grandma.
 
Impressively capturing the ambiance of the era, Abrams embraces his young characters in the same manner as Spielberg with “E.T.,” Richard Donner with “The Goonies,” and Rob Reiner with “Stand by Me.” While the film’s script is short on the same emotional appeal as those timeless pictures (the father-son dynamic lacks authenticity), Joe and Alice’s puppy love is sweet enough and the lighthearted and humorous dialogue shared between the kid actors complements their realistic performances.

Lest we forget Abrams knows a thing or two about the action genre. If this movie’s train derailment doesn’t end up being the single best use of CGI this summer, special effects hounds have a lot to anticipate.