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. 103 – Top 5 movies of the year so far, home video reviews of The Circle, Unforgettable, and Kong: Skull Island, and a preview of Fathom Events this week

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod run down their top 5 movies of 2017 so far. They also preview a pair of Fathom Events, “Batman and Harley Quinn” and “Rifftrax Live – Doctor Who: The Five Doctors,” and Cody reviews home video releases for “The Circle,” “Unforgettable,” and “Kong: Skull Island.”

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Ep. 102 – War For the Planet of the Apes, and home video reviews of CHiPs and Free Fire

July 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “War For the Planet of the Apes,” while Cody tells us about home video releases of “CHiPs” and “Free Fire.”

[00:00-13:08] Intro/remembering George A. Romero and Martin Landau

[13:08-31:06] Review: “War For the Planet of the Apes”

[31:06-41:31] No Ticket Required: “CHiPs” and “Free Fire”

[41:31-48:13] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

War for the Planet of the Apes

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn
Directed by: Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”)
Written by: Matt Reeves (“Let Me In”) and Mark Bomback (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”)

Director Rupert Wyatt may have kicked off an adequate reboot to the “Planet of the Apes” franchise with 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and made audiences forget whatever the hell director Tim Burton did 10 years prior with his unfortunate “Apes” misfire, but filmmaker Matt Reeves has taken this re-imagining to a level we could not have predicted.

If 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” wasn’t evidence enough that Reeves had created something exceptional, “War for the Planet of the Apes” will have you hoping the 41-year-old director/writer can somehow get his hands on every action film project for the foreseeable future. “War” is compelling, suspenseful, moving, funny and an all-around epic. It’s the type of blockbuster summer movie that transcends the idea of blockbuster summer movies.

Besides “War” having Reeves’ fingerprints all over it, it’s just as much actor Andy Serkis’ film as anyone behind the camera. Not that Serkis has to prove anything to anyone any longer as the go-to actor for all things motion-capture, but his lead character in this franchise, even more so in “War,” is stunning. From the beginning, Caesar has never been just an animated primate rendered together by graphic geniuses. In “War,” however, Caesar goes beyond his anthropomorphic qualities and shatters the notion that technology is the main reason Serkis’ performance is so powerful. Caesar is king and Serkis is the puppet master.

“War” transitions from a film about combat to revenge to one centered on a prison break in seamless fashion. Picking up a couple of years where “Dawn” left off, Caesar and his army of apes are in search of a safe haven to start anew without the threat of humans who are still hell-bent on destroying them for introducing the Simian flu, which killed off millions of people. Leading the charge again the apes is a man known as The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), who becomes the target of Caesar’s rage and sets Caesar on a course to seek vengeance.

With dark, atmospheric and ominous cinematography by Michael Seresin (“Angela’s Ashes”) and an incredible score by Oscar winner Micahel Giacchino, both of whom worked on “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “War” without question is not only a visual pleasure, but also a complex and memorable end to an overall brilliant trilogy. If Reeves is up for it, this franchise is one of the few that has definitely not overstayed its welcome and should continue in full force.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman
Directed by: Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”)
Written by: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and Mark Bombeck (“The Wolverine”)

The summer blockbuster season can feel like a chore sometimes. Mega-budget special effects extravaganzas heavy on action but light on compelling characters and meaningful story dominate theaters. I’m not complaining, mind you, because my love of movies in the summertime has been with me since childhood, along with all the ancillary merchandise like licensed fast food cups and original motion picture soundtracks. When the weather outside is hot, the movies inside often feel like manufactured products rather than works of art. We’ve come to be entertained rather than engaged, and it’s a position we’ve all agreed upon. Occasionally, though, the stars will align and one of those popcorn franchise films will feature wall-to-wall special effects as well as a resonant, edge-of-your-seat storyline with a depth of character that leaves you utterly amazed. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is one of those movies.

Set a decade after the events in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” humanity is hanging on by a thread after being wiped out by the simian flu seen spreading the globe as the first prequel wrapped up. Huddled up in a compound in San Francisco, a small group of humans led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) are desperate to get power restored to their small section of the city. The mission is dangerous, however, because repairing the hydroelectric dam requires them to venture deep into territory held by hyper intelligent chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his tribe of apes, most of whom have long-standing grudges against humanity.

While the 2011 film – a prequel to the Charlton Heston-starring 1968 sci-fi classic “Planet of the Apes”- suffered from the occasional subpar special effect and a climactic battle that required all humans involved to suddenly become stupid and forget how firearms worked, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is tightly-plotted and a miracle of modern special effects from start to finish. Moviegoers old enough to remember the days of miniatures and men in costumes bemoan the glut of computer-generated effects in current films, but what they’re really complaining about is bad CGI. “Dawn” is a master class in how to do special effects right, from the contemplative opening close-up of Caesar’s how-is-this-not-a-real-chimp? face to the chaotic clashes between man and ape featuring automatic rifles and armored tanks. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” isn’t just a great summer sci-fi movie, it’s a great movie, period.

Let Me In

October 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins
Directed by: Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”)
Written by: Matt Reeves (“The Yards”)

Let’s imagine for a moment that the 2008 Swedish horror masterpiece “Let the Right One In” did not exist. How would its American counterpart “Let Me In” perform without the pressure of having to live up to its predecessor? How do you enhance something that was already considered by most as exceptional cinema?

From the start, “Let Me In” finds itself in an uphill battle with purists. It might be a film that didn’t necessarily need to be remade (other than to introduce the story to mainstream American audiences who would squirm at the idea of having to read subtitles), but on its own merit it’s still executed strikingly well.

Following the Dutch script rather closely, “Let Me In” tells the story of Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a 12-year-old boy living in small town New Mexico in the 1980s who befriends a peculiar girl of the same age when she moves into his apartment complex with her father (Richard Jenkins).

Abby (Chloe Moretz) is pleasant enough, but immediately lets Owen know they can’t be friends. As the mystery builds we find out Abby – although she doesn’t refer to herself as a vampire – needs blood to survive. Her father provides her with the sustenance she needs to survive by slinking out into the dead of night to commit murder. A local policeman (Elias Koteas) begins to investigate when drained bodies start turning up in the snow.

While Abby hungers, Owen has his own personal problems. A trio of bullies is making his life miserable at school. His mother, who is suffering from depression triggered by her divorce, is emotionally distant (director Reeves decides to keep her face hidden from the audience for all her scenes). Abby becomes the only person he can confide in.

It’s evident how much Reeves loves the original film. There is a different type of eeriness in his version, but it works just the same. The original film was starker. “Let Me In” takes more cues from the horror/thriller genre. Reeves also uses an incredible score by Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino to build the tension to threatening levels. The silly CGI (something the original does not use) knocks “Let Me In” down a few notches, but we’ll chalk it up as one of necessary evils used to help Americanize it.

It will be interesting to see how U.S. audiences react to the slow pacing and serious attention given to the subtleties of young love. For horror fans looking for buckets of blood a la “30 Days of Night” or for tweens hoping to get something to hold them over until “Breaking Dawn,” “Let Me In” won’t be that movie. It’s stylish and artful, not clichéd or hokey. And if “Let the Right One In” never existed, it would have hit a lot harder.

Cloverfield

January 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Michael Stahl-David, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan
Directed by: Matt Reeves (“The Pallbearer”)
Written by: Drew Goddard (debut)

In an age where idiotic creature features like “Primeval” and “Skinwalkers” are getting greenlit for production, you have to be a bit surprised when someone actually gets it right. Sure, the new monster flick “Cloverfield” is a bit gimmicky with its delivery, but make no doubts about it, it’s an entertaining addition to the genre.

Set in New York City (like a number of monster movies of the past), “Cloverfield” opens with a group of young adults throwing a going-away party for their friend Rob Hawkins (Stahl-David), who has accepted a job in Japan and will be leaving the next day.

The get-together gets a bit dramatic when Rob’s best friend Beth (Yustman), who he recently realized he has fallen in love with, brings a date with her to bid him adieu. Words are said that can’t be taken back and before you know it, Beth and her new man leave the party in a haste.

All the while, Rob’s friend Hud (T.J. Miller), has been capturing all the action on a camcorder (possibly for a YouTube upload after the party is over?). Despite the early fireworks, Hud and everyone else in the Manhattan area hasn’t seen the big show of the night just yet.

Minutes later, the partygoers are startled when the apartment they are in begins to shake. They head for the roof of the building to get a better look when the local news reports an oil tanker has capsized near the Statue of Liberty. “Do you think it’s another terrorist attack?” a scared individual says as they climb the stairs to see the destruction.

As they peer across the city – and as Hud continues to videotape – a building in the center of N.Y. explodes. Everyone runs back downstairs and scatters into the streets. When the head of the Statue of Liberty is thrown into the fracas, things take a turn for the worst.

An enormous Godzilla-like monster has found its way into the city and is destroying everything in its path. Rob and a small group of friends find their way out of the neighborhood as fires blaze and buildings crumble.

Instead of following the military’s orders to evacuate the Manhattan area, Rob is persistent about finding Beth. Although they have nothing invested in his love-struck and heroic plan, the rest of the group decides to follow him and hope for the best as they weave through the middle of the war zone.

Taking a voyeuristic angle to the film (Hud’s camera work tells the whole story), screenwriter Drew Goddard (TV’s “Lost”) keep the story intense and fast-paced for the quick 90-minute runtime. Although there is not much of a human element or emotional stronghold in the entire thing, the film delivers on what it has promised from its marketing campaign. We’ve seen it before when the White House is annihilated in “Independence Day” or when the Statue of Liberty is buried in snow in “The Day After Tomorrow,” but “Cloverfield” has enough of a distinctive purpose for the genre to make it something fun and terrifying to witness from the outside in.