Ep. 132 – Ready or Not, American Factory, and the rise of Disney Plus

August 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “Ready or Not” as well as “American Factory,” the first Netflix film from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company.

They also talk Disney+ programming reviews, and the likely divorce of Disney and Sony and the fate of “Spider-Man” in the MCU.

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Ep. 127 – Dark Phoenix, I Am Mother

June 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review Fox’s X-Men swan song DARK PHOENIX and the Netflix sci-fi thriller I AM MOTHER.

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Ep. 118 – The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, High Flying Bird

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review the highly-anticipated sequel “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” and Steven Soderbergh’s Netflix film “High Flying Bird.”

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Ep. 117 – Glass, Fyre

January 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

 

The CineSnob Podcast returns from another sabbatical to review M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” and the Netflix documentary “Fyre.”

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Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

December 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Rohan Chand, Matthew Rhys, Freida Pinto
Directed by: Andy Serkis (“Breathe”)
Written by: Callie Kloves (debut)

Although Warner Bros. waited patiently for two years to release “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle,” so that it wouldn’t have to compete with Walt Disney’s highly enjoyable 2016 live-action take on “The Jungle Book,” the subsequent fantasy adventure based on English author Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories feels needlessly glum and irrelevant.

The narrative framework is basically the same. “Mancub” Mowgli (Rohan Chand) is raised by wolves and must find his place in the pack before tiger villain Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) makes a meal out of him.

It’s obvious actor-turned-filmmaker Andy Serkis (“Breathe”) is working from a darker script than director Jon Favreau did during production of his 2016 movie. Favreau’s film was closer in tone to the original 1967 Disney animation, but Serkis seems more concerned with providing “Mowgli” an ominous atmosphere than he does with building on the classic tale’s message of friendship and zest for life.

Even when Serkis and first-time screenwriter Callie Kloves try to spin the story in their own direction, the decision to stray away from a kid-friendly movie poses some problems. Primarily, who is Mowgli’s intended audience? Now that Netflix has bought the rights, one might assume the answer is everybody with access to a Netflix account, but Mowgli is too cruel for kindergarteners and, at best, a curiosity for adults who will probably just end up comparing it to superior versions.

If you do decide to plop the little ones in front of the screen, know that “Mowgli” isn’t a musical, so there are no new renditions of “Bare Necessities” or “I Wanna Be Like You.” In fact, King Louie, who Christopher Walken voiced phenomenally in Favreau’s contribution, is completely cut out of this newest adaptation. Baloo is still included, although he’s more of a drill sergeant than a happy-go-lucky, honey-smacking bear. And main antagonist Shere Khan is designed to look like a devil-cat who at one point in the film describes tasting the blood of Mowgli’s mother.

Mowgli also shows its title character living among other humans when he is banished from the jungle. He meets a hunter (Matthew Rhys) contracted to kill Shere Kahn and a young woman (Freida Pinto) who cares for him during his stay. Neither of these storylines offer any emotional impact to the film, and the fact that Mowgli can speak to the animals in the jungle but not to the villagers makes about as much sense as picking a prickly pear by the paw.

Ep. 109 – The Cloverfield Paradox

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

This week, Jerrod and Cody tackled the surprise Netflix release of “The Cloverfield Paradox,” plus a quick rundown of the trailers that aired during The Big Game.

(There are some audio issues with Cody’s track that we can’t overcome, sorry he sounds like a robot.)

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Ep. 106 – American Made, Battle of the Sexes, Gerald’s Game, Fantastic Fest recap, and home video reviews of Wonder Woman, The Big Sick and A Ghost Story

October 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

After some technical difficulties, The CineSnob Podcast is back for the 106th time with reviews of “American Made,” “Battle of the Sexes” and “Gerald’s Game.” Cody also fills us in on his time at Fantastic Fest, and reviews home video releases of “Wonder Woman,” “The Big Sick” and “A Ghost Story.”

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Ep. 98 – Ghost in the Shell, The Discovery, Power Rangers, 20th Century Women, and Cody’s tips on choosing the perfect meal from UberEATS

April 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “Ghost in the Shell,” the new Netflix original film “The Discovery,” circle back to pick up “Power Rangers,” and take another look at “20th Century Women,” now on Blu-ray and DVD. Cody also gives listeners tips on what to order from UberEATS.

[00:00 – 18:21] Intro/Cody chooses his dinner

[18:21 – 30:16] Review – “Ghost in the Shell”

[30:16 – 40:15] Review – “The Discovery”

[40:15 – 54:20] Review – “Power Rangers”

[54:20 – 1:03:47] No Ticket Required – “20th Century Women”

[1:03:47 – 1:07:40] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Melissa Leo & Josh Lucas – The Most Hated Woman in America

March 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Interviews

In 1964, Life magazine called Madalyn Murray O’Hair, atheist activist and founder of American Atheists, “the most hated woman in America.” The year prior, O’Hair was involved in the historic U.S. Supreme Court case that declared Bible reading unconstitutional in American public schools.

Thirty-two years after the landmark ruling, O’Hair, at the age of 76, along with her son Jon, and granddaughter Robin, were murdered and dismembered in San Antonio, Texas, after an attempt was made to extort money from O’Hair’s organization.

If the violent crime in 1995 is not something you’re familiar with, the recently-released Netflix drama “The Most Hated Woman in America” revisits the life of O’Hair and explains how she became one of the nation’s most outspoken leaders of atheism and how that led to her death at the hands of convicted felon David Waters.

The film stars Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) as O’Hair, and actor Josh Lucas (Hulk) as Waters. During an interview with me at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this month, Leo and Lucas were more than open to discussing the admiration they both have for O’Hair and the religious freedom she fought for her entire life.

“I can’t imagine what this country would be like if every person educated through the public-school system had been indoctrinated over these years in that way,” Leo, 56, said. “We would live in a Christian nation, and that would be very terrifying to me.”

While some would argue that O’Hair attempted to force her own beliefs on others, Lucas, who describes O’Hair’s story as a “phenomenal mess,” thinks she was helping protect all religions.

“She was telling everyone that they have the right to do whatever they want,” Lucas, 45, said. “That’s what this country was established as and that’s what this manic struggle from an ideological perspective has been ever since. This country has always been at war with itself in that way.”

For Leo, the answer to how the U.S. was established is an obvious one that should not be ignored. It’s an ugly history that this country will never heal from, Leo said, unless it is recognized a lot more than it has been in the last 500 years.

“It will always go back to the genocide of the first nation’s people, on which this country is based,” Leo said. “White people came here seeking religious freedom. There is a contradiction there that, until it gets spoken about, will never change and only worsen.”

As for his own personal religious beliefs, Lucas said making “The Most Hated Woman in America” has challenged him to question his relationship to God, spirituality, and humanity, especially during a transitioning political climate that is currently instilling fear in people nationwide.

“The world order is changing,” Lucas said. “It has led me to ask myself more directly about who I am and what I want in my life. What I keep coming back to is that human beings are both divine and diabolic at the same time, which is exactly what these characters are in the film.”

Leo hopes an introduction to these characters, especially O’Hair, will reignite dialogue about religious freedom in the U.S. Whether you agree or disagree with her belief system, she would like people to realize that O’Hair transformed this nation for the better.

“She had the kind of flaws most people have” Leo said. “If she had been less vilified as ‘the most hated woman in America,’ maybe she wouldn’t have had to say, ‘OK, I’ll show you that I am!’ I think Madalyn got in her own way, but no more so than most human beings.”

Norman Lear – One Day at a Time (Netflix)

March 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Interviews

The 2017 family sitcom “One Day at a Time,” a remake loosely based on the 70s and 80s TV show of the same name, was recently renewed for a second season by Netflix. The show follows the Alvarez family—single mother Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado), grandmother Lydia (Rita Moreno), teenage daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez), and young son Alex (Marcel Ruiz), living in Echo Park in Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to speak to the show’s creators, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, and also executive producer and TV icon Norman Lear, who created the original show 42 years ago. Lear, 94, is also best known for producing the shows “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” and many other TV classics.

Norman, what was it about “One Day at a Time” that lent itself to a remake instead of any of the other TV series that you’ve created over the past few decades?

Norman Lear: Well, “One Day at a Time”…can’t be compared to another show. The first divorced woman on television with children—raising children alone. This show, as you’ve seen, is altogether unique and different from the original. It enjoys the same title because it was somebody’s notion [that], “Why don’t we make [them] a Latino family?” You’ve seen the show, so you know it’s utterly unique. [Creators] Mike [Royce] and Gloria [Calderon Kellett] didn’t look at any of the scripts from the old show. This started with an imagining of Gloria’s family. And she and Mike worked with that idea…100 percent of the time.

Every couple of years or so, TV audiences get a show that centers on a Latino family, but it rarely gains a lot of traction. The last one that was successful was “The George Lopez Show,” which ran for six seasons. Why haven’t we seen more sitcoms that focus on Latino families make it?

Gloria Calderon Kellett: I don’t know. I think we’re so interesting. I think that’s a great question.

Norman Lear: Well, I don’t know. I didn’t know “The [George] Lopez Show.” I know him, but I never knew his show. This show, what Mike and Gloria have rendered here, is gloriously warm. There is no family of any stripe or color or religion that can’t relate to it because of our common humanity. [The Alvarez family] is a great family. The performers are glorious.

GCK: I think that people have tried [to make sitcoms centered on a Latino family]. I know so many wonderful, talented people who have tried. I really have to credit Norman because without [him] and Mike, the show would not be happening. I am so happy to be lending myself for the specificity. If I had come and pitched a show about a Latino single mom, I don’t know that people would have paid attention as much as they would have paid attention with these two icons attached to it already. So, I feel really grateful that basically these two guys with incredible success in their own right have said, “Hey, maybe we should listen to this one over here.” That is why people listened—because these very talented men told them to.

Norman, I know you’ve probably heard the term “Netflix and chill.” I’m wondering if you’ve ever Netflixed and chilled before? (Note: I asked Mr. Lear this question not knowing what the term actually meant myself. At the time, I thought it meant for two people to just hang out and watch Netflix all day. I had no idea it mean to have sex with Netflix playing in the background).

NL: I’m sorry, have I what before?

Have you ever Netflixed and chilled?

NL: I’ve never Netflixed before, no. This is my first…

Oh, at all?

NL: You mean have I…

GCK: Norman, it means [to] stay at home and have sex with somebody. That’s what it means.

Mike Royce: Norman is older, as am I. We’re more Netflix and pills.

Would you sit down and binge watch all the episodes of “One Day at a Time” or do you think you’d watch them more sporadically?

NL: I don’t know. I haven’t binged yet. I did binge once. That was, I think, six or eight episodes of something. But I don’t know. If I sat down and watched this and had a long evening and got hooked as I think I would, I would likely binge. Although I have not yet had the experience. But, then again, I’m only 94.

GCK: That’s true. There’s still time.

Ep. 89 – The Birth of a Nation, 13th, Logan’s hard-R guarantee, and too much political talk

October 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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After a month away, The CineSnob Podcast returns! Cody and Jerrod talk “The Birth of a Nation,” “13th,” the news about “Logan” being hard-R, and a whole bunch of instantly-dated political stuff.

[00:00-35:08] Intro/”What We Do In The Shadows” events/politics

[35:08-53-14] News – “Logan,” the new Wolverine movie, releases new images and a script page

[53:14-1:10:58] Review – “The Birth of a Nation”

[1:10:58-1:34:44] Review – “13th”

[1:34:44-1:43:00] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

March 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

 

Starring: Paul Reubens, Joe Manganiello, Alia Shawkat
Directed by: John Lee (debut)
Written by: Paul Reubens (“Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”) & Paul Rust (debut)

Children’s pop culture is built to be disposable, yet some things endure long past their expiration date, which is why guys like me still wear t-shirts with Optimus Prime on them, mall gift shops sell shot glasses with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles staring back at you, and Netflix has already green-lit a second season of “Fuller House.” The online streaming service picked up another archaeological artifact from the ’80s recently: Paul Reubens’ Pee-wee Herman. And, with the help of celebrated comedy producer and director Judd Apatow, the latest Netflix original film, “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” has finally been released into the world, premiering at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Apart from all time and space constraints and unrelated to any previous movie or TV show, we once again find eternal man-child Pee-wee Herman living in a whimsical, Rube Goldberg-ian house in a small, Tim Burton-ish town–named Fairville–seemingly frozen in all the best parts of the 1960s. Like clockwork, an elaborate contraption propels Pee-wee out of bed and on his way to work at a local diner, whipping up omelets and French toast for a band of colorful locals. Pee-wee loves his life in Fairville, which he has never left and has no desire to leave. He follows the rules and never takes any chances–until a mysterious stranger (Joe Manganiello) shows up at the diner, inspiring Pee-wee to take his very first holiday.

Unashamedly shaped in the mold of the 1985 modern comedy classic “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” this latest cross-country trek hits quite a few more bumps than Pee-wee’s quest to find his stolen bicycle did. Even though this isn’t a sequel at all, “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” inevitably begs comparison to its obvious inspiration, and often pales in comparison. Similar beats are hit, and some of them strike gold, like Pee-wee’s encounter with a gag salesman (Patrick Egan), while things like Herman’s encounter with a trio of Russ Meyer-esque femme fatales fall flat.

In the end, the nostalgia center of your brain gets fired up enough by Reubens’ performance as Pee-wee Herman to power the film initially, and there are enough absurd laughs along the way to help the movie end its long, long journey as a success. Reubens may need an Oscar-winning makeup artist (Ve Neil) and costly digital de-aging (seriously!) to keep playing Pee-wee now that he’s in his mid-60s, and my guess is that Netflix–itching to become the go-to network for new programming featuring dusted-off relics kids from the ’80s and ’90s will greedily devour–won’t mind footing the bill again.

“Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” is streaming now on Netflix.

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