Ep. 82 – Independence Day: Resurgence, Finding Dory, the tragic death of Anton Yelchin, the terrible new Ghostbusters song from Fall Out Boy, and a quick NBA Finals wrap-up

June 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod talk “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Finding Dory,” the tragic death of actor Anton Yelchin in a freak accident, that awful new “Ghostbusters” song from Fall Out Boy, the fellows give their hot takes on the NBA Finals and preview our “Boogie Nights” screening at Alamo Drafthouse Park North.

[00:00-19:10] Intro/”Boogie Nights” screening tease

[19:10-29:24] R.I.P. Anton Yelchin

[29:24-45:00] That awful new “Ghostbusters” theme song

[45:00-1:01:03] “Independence Day: Resurgence” review

[1:01:03-1:14:36] “Finding Dory” review

[1:14:36-1:30:19] Wrap-up/tease/NBA Finals recap

Click here to download the episode!

White House Down

June 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Woods
Directed by: Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”)
Written by: James Vanderbilt (“The Amazing Spider-Man”)

From the get-go, “White House Down” has to overcome the fact that 2013 has already seen a movie with pretty much the exact same plot. Just three months ago, “Olympus Has Fallen” hit theaters with Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent who find himself as the lone good guy inside the White House after it has been taken over by terrorists. As an R-rated macho cheese fest, “Olympus” was a stupid, fun ride with ham-sandwich performances from the likes of Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo paired with the sheer glee of seeing Butler stab terrorist after terrorist in the brain.

“White House Down” ups the ante with a better lead actor in Channing Tatum and more of a buddy-cop vibe, teaming Tatum’s wannabe Secret Service agent with Jamie Foxx’s Obama-ish president for some executive branch ass-kicking. The thing is, we’ve seen it all before…and it was more fun the first time around.

Tatum stars as John Cale, a Capitol police officer with dreams of becoming a Secret Service agent. His current post involves escorting the Speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins) to and from his home, as well as keeping squirrels out of the Speaker’s bird feeder. Cashing in a favor, Cale scores a job interview with the Secret Service inside the White House. Looking for a chance to connect with his politically nerdy daughter Emily (Joey King), Cale brings her along. After bombing his interview with Agent Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), Cale and Emily take a tour of the White House where a chance encounter with President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) leaves Emily starstruck. During this tour, however, a bomb destroys the dome at the Capitol Building, sending Washington and the nation into a panic. It’s just a diversion, however, as the real goal of the terrorists behind the attack is taking over the White House.

Directed by Roland Emmerich (the director behind “Independence Day,” a film that gets a groan-worthy name-check in this film), “White House Down” sputters out of the gate, taking too long setting up Tatum as a failed family man and cop instead of just getting straight to the explosions. Tatum regresses slightly into the bland beefcake he spent all of “Magic Mike” and “21 Jump Street” moving away from last year, while Foxx isn’t as miscast as the President of the United States as you might think (Garcelle Beauvais, who played Foxx’s love interest on the sitcom “The Jamie Foxx Show,” plays the First Lady here…a distraction to the maybe three people who will make that connection). Still, neither is given much to work with. Plot points hinge on played-out things like launch codes and genius hackers and not killing the good guys/bad guys when you have a chance early in the film’s running time. The PG-13 rating also keeps the action and violence relatively tame. There are flashes of fun, however, like a chase across the White House lawn in presidential limousines that features the president firing a rocket launcher. Those moments are all too rare, though – as rare as the opportunity to say, “You know, that Gerard Butler movie did it better.”

2012

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Directed by: Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”)
Written by: Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”) and Harald Kloser

While the new apocalyptic thriller by director/writer Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow”) might look like a 10.5 on the Richter scale based solely from its highly-intense, CGI-heavy previews, the event itself is more comparable to the seismic energy of a lopsided shopping cart wobbling down a grocery store aisle.

It shouldn’t be too surprising, however, if you’re familiar with Emmerich’s work. Giving audiences things that are both enormous and awful isn’t a new idea for him. From 1998’s larger-than-life lizard remake “Godzilla” to last year’s unfortunate prehistoric epic “10,000 B.C.,” it’s fairly safe to say Emmerich isn’t the type of filmmaker anyone would consider a minimalist when it comes to the technical aspects of his movies.

While it wasn’t such a problem with the cheese-fest that was “Independence Day” in 1996 (who wasn’t cheering for Will Smith to annihilate some hostile aliens?), there is something about “2012” that can’t be fixed no matter how many tsunamis are unleashed or buildings obliterated.

Forget the fact that a comprehensible narrative is missing and that the dialogue is worthy of massive eye-rolling. You might even overlook some of the countless cornball scenes throughout the film’s 158-minute runtime. What mainstream moviegoer is walking into this for character development anyway? The main problem with “2012” is that none of it is startling anymore. Emmerich does little to take the disaster movie to the next level other than to shell out more cash for extra special effects that ultimately feel worn.

In the film, John Cusack (“1408”) plays Jackson Curtis, a limo driver and small-time author who inexplicably finds out the world is coming to an end. Jackson isn’t the only one that knows this secret. The government, with the help of geologist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is aware of cataclysmic events that will happen. Judgment Day has been prophesized with the end of the Mayan calendar coming on Dec. 21, 2012. Now, with scientific evidence supporting this theory, administrations around the world have prepared for the worst by building “ships” to save as many people as possible before the earth begins to implode on itself.

As Adrian battles dishonesty within the White House, Jackson’s thoughts are with his family who – along with a majority of the popuation – have no idea what is about to happen. It’s at this point in the big-budget adventure where the destruction begins and never lets up. While the first rescue mission is actually quite fun (basically, it’s what you see in one of the movie trailers), Emmerich chucks in just about every disaster movie cliché in the book. It’s like getting punched repeatedly in the face. The first few blows are going to sting the most, but after 18 rounds, everything feels numb.

Emmerich tries to balance out the action by raising moral questions about the significance of saving certain people and things from being destroyed, but it all comes in a distance second to what most people are probably looking for – death and mayhem. It’s all there in “2012” for the less demanding moviegoers. For everyone else, the world doesn’t end soon enough.