Ep. 80 – Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Nice Guys, casting announcements for Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, the new Star Trek Beyond trailer, and where to hear us on the radio!

May 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod are as sharp as ever as they review “€œNeighbors 2: Sorority Rising”€ and “The Nice Guys.”€ They also expertly tackle new casting announcements for a pair of Marvel films, “Thor: Ragnarok”€ and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”€ Also, they tell where you can hear more of this aural mastery on the radio!

[00:00-10:16] Intro/”RiffTrax Live: Time Chasers”€ recap

[10:16-22:41] News: casting announcements for “Thor: Ragnarok” and “€œSpider-Man: Homecoming”

[22:41-30:39] Final “€œStar Trek Beyond”€ trailer reaction

[30:39-42:16] Reviews: “€œNeighbors 2: Sorority Rising”

[42:16-53:55] “The Nice Guys”

[53:55-1:02:56] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Spy

June 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne
Directed by: Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”)
Written by: 
Paul Feig (“I Am David”)

After turning in directorial efforts with the smash hit “Bridesmaids” and the lesser hit “The Heat” and being put in the helm for the all-female casted “Ghostbusters,” TV director whiz turned film director Paul Feig has somehow been branded as the guy who directs female-centric films. Whether it’s an intentional career move or not, Feig has shown, through years of experience, a certain adeptness at directing comedy, regardless of gender. His latest film, “Spy,” allows him to flex some other muscles as he takes on the spy movie genre with apparent muse Melissa McCarthy.

After an unfortunate experience involving her field agent partner, CIA desk analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy) offers to go out undercover into the field to try to uncover a nuclear threat. Following a series events that gets Susan up close and personal with a very dangerous woman named Raina Boynov (Rose Byrne), she finds herself over her head and in the thick of a major national security breach.

Since stealing every scene and even earning an Oscar nomination for her role in “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy has struggled in leading roles since. After receiving a lukewarm reception in Feig’s “The Heat” and straight up tanking in films like “Tammy” and “Identity Thief,” McCarthy is finally able to even out and deliver a strong comedic performance. Whereas “Tammy” and “Identity Thief” had McCarthy at level 10 and obnoxious, “Spy” provides her with a much more vulnerable and sympathetic character that results in far more likeability.

Of course, part of the reason “Spy” is the most successful of the McCarthy-led films post-“Bridesmaids” is the strength of its well designed ensemble cast. As a foil, Rose Byrne is particularly entertaining as she chews scenery as a villain, yet it is Jason Statham who is clearly having the most fun. Perhaps poking fun at his “Crank” character Chev Chelios, Statham plays a hardass that exaggerates every situation he’s ever been in. The joke might be a bit one-note, but it’s one that is staggeringly hilarious every single time and Statham crushes every single scene he’s in.

Unfortunately for “Spy,” it’s a little top heavy. By the middle of the film, it begins to lose a lot of steam. Through some clever non-sequiturs and entertaining action sequences, it never fully loses its luster, yet it definitely begins to feel a little generic towards the middle of the film. It is usually saved with a laugh or funny moment, but it can’t help but feel a little too long in a few places.

Less goofy than an “Austin Powers” movie and far funnier than a James Bond film, “Spy” balances the action and comedy to varying degrees. Though it works far better as a comedy than as an action, spy film, it is clear that Feig put in some hard work in the tone and is able to mine some decent comedy out of the familiar tropes. There is also a lot of comedy from unexpected violence and vulgarity that keeps the audience on its toes and provides some really great moments. It’s a nice comeback for McCarthy and Feig, and particularly inspiring considering their biggest challenge of following up “Ghostbusters” is right on the horizon.

Annie

December 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Quevenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne
Directed by: Will Gluck (“Easy A,” “Friends With Benefits”)
Written by: Will Gluck (“Friends With Benefits”) and Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”)

My memories of the original big screen adaptation of “Annie” are fuzzy, mixed up with the McDonald’s commercials that interspersed the movie which my mom had recorded off of a TV broadcast in the mid-’80s for my sister and me. Sure, I know the songs “Tomorrow” and “Hard Knock Life” like the back of my hand, but they also seem strangely related to that commercial where the girl has a piano recital and sings along to “Fur Elise” by talking about how much she loves McDonald’s cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes just the same. I guess what I’m saying is that, while that version of “Annie” was a big part of my childhood, it wasn’t important enough that my mind immediately turned to rage when I was made aware of director Will Gluck’s (“Easy A”) modern take on the venerable Broadway musical.

Swapping out the source material’s Depression-era setting for present-day New York, we find Annie (Quevenzhane Wallis) as an agreeably pleasant foster kid living with a quartet of other girls with Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz, lost from the get-go as a broadly-drawn cartoon), a mean, drunken wannabe superstar who was kicked out of ’90s band C+C Music Factory just before their appearance on Arsenio Hall’s late night talk show. Meanwhile germaphobic cell phone billionaire Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) is running a losing campaign for mayor of New York City. With his trusty assistant Grace (Rose Byrne) and slimy campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale) by his side, he runs into disaster after disaster on the campaign trail, sending his polling numbers lower and lower. It isn’t until a chance meeting where Stacks saves Annie from getting hit by a car that his fortunes turn around, thanks to a bystander catching his heroism on camera and uploading it to YouTube. Seeing how things start going his way after Annie arrived on the scene, Guy suggest Stacks take Annie in to live with him for the duration of the campaign, a scenario that Stacks isn’t 100 percent on board with.

While the modern-day setting makes sense for a film that wants to sell (and wink at) blatant product placement for contemporary things like Target, removing the story from the original ’30s setting causes problems almost immediately. Wallis is fine as Annie, but lacks the plucky, gee-whiz spirit the material really needs. Instead of a fire plug of energy who would turn a distant plutocrat’s world upside down with her shenanigans, this Annie is a sweet, caring, low-key little girl who seems like she would be a dream to have around (the only strange thing about her being that she prefers to sleep on the floor instead of the giant bed she’s given). As Stacks, Foxx is called upon to play a strange mix of bumbling dad, fussy weirdo, and smooth R&B singer, never finding a groove to carry him through the film. And while the signature songs like “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” are given relatively straightforward arrangements, the rest of the tunes are adapted into strange, stuttering hip-hop beats that all but destroy any entertainment value, especially anything requiring Cameron Diaz to sing. Yikes.

The most enjoyable moments in the film, sadly, come from a Gluck signature: a movie within the movie, this time a bombastic “Twilight” knock off called “MoonQuake Lake” starring Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Rihanna, directed by Hollywood golden boys Chris Miller and Phil Lord. The fact that I’d much rather watch that movie says a lot about “Annie.”

Neighbors

May 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zach Efron, Rose Byrne
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Get Him to the Greek”)
Written by:  Andrew J. Cohen (debut) and Brendan O’Brien (debut)

There’s a strange trend affecting this generation’s comedy films. Each of them seems to front-load the laughs while setting the story in motion, only to sputter around near the end, sacrificing jokes in a scrambling effort to pick up some small plot thread and see it through to the end. It’s not that I expect comedies full of cussing and boobs to be tightly-plotted pieces of clockwork, but the shaggy dog nature of a movie featuring a bunch of funny people being funny can turn sloppy in a hurry. “Neighbors,” featuring the shaggiest of the shaggy dogs Seth Rogen squaring off against pretty boy Zac Efron, doesn’t manage to avoid this formula either, but at least it’s funny enough to not matter.

As a 30-something couple with a young baby and a house they’ve sunk all their money into, Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) feel as though their social lives as they knew them are gone forever. Even when plans are made to party with friends, Mac and Kelly can’t even pack up all of the baby’s things before exhaustion takes over. More worries arise when the vacant house next door becomes home to a frat house led by alpha male Teddy (Efron) and his best friend/second in command Pete (Dave Franco.) Thinking the Delta Psi boys will be a constant source of sleepless nights, Mac and Kelly venture next door to make friends and ask that they keep the noise to a minimum. Teddy agrees, but on one condition: should the frat get too rowdy, Mac and Kelly are to call him first, not the police. The agreement is put to the test the very next night, however after numerous calls, Mac can’t reach Teddy, so he calls the police. Betrayed, Teddy starts a war with Mac and Kelly, who in turn scheme to get the frat dissolved by the university.

Story-wise, “Neighbors” starts to lose steam about a half hour in, pretty much as soon as the feuding begins, leaving the middle of the film feeling undercooked and mushy. Director Nicholas Stoller doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with the warring neighbors at first, throwing some hilarious absurdity into the mix when, after Mac takes an axe to a pipe to flood their basement, Delta Psi raises an insane amount of money selling dildos molded from their own penises, earning enough from the sale to fix the basement and buy a hot tub and outdoor speakers. That’s followed up by the Delta Psi’s weirdly menacing Robert DeNiro party, wherein every member dresses as a different Robert DeNiro film character and just stares in Mac and Kelly’s living room, muttering DeNiro catchphrases. These jokes are highbrow and funny as hell, but that tone is later dropped for more run-of-the-mill shenanigans. And you know what? It’s still funny as hell.

Insidious: Chapter 2

September 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey
Directed by: James Wan (“Insidious”)
Written by: Leigh Whannell (“Insidious”)

With two horror films hitting theaters over the last two months, it seems director James Wan (“Saw”) has spread himself a bit thin. While his creepy 2010 chiller “Insidious” felt like an example of a well-executed throwback in the same vein as Sam Rami’s “Drag Me to Hell” the year prior, “Insidious: Chapter 2” is a prime example of what happens when a horror movie sequel goes bad. Without the tension or overall disturbing nature of the original, “Chapter 2” should close the book on Wan’s journey into the paranormal.

“Chapter 2” comes right off the heels of the first movie where Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) has escaped the spiritual world known as The Further and saved his son from the clutches of a Darth Maul-looking demon. In doing so, he becomes possessed himself and kills the supernatural medium, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), who helped him tap into his ability to surf through parallel worlds. Now, the Lambert family, including wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and their two boys, move to Renai’s mother’s (Barbara Hershey) house for safety. But as Elise so pointedly says in the original, “It’s not the house that is haunted. It’s your son,” the Lamberts should already know their change in address isn’t going to stop the evil parasites that have already taken over Josh’s body.

Turning into a kind of poor-man’s version of “The Shining,” “The Amityville Horror,” or “Mommy Dearest,” “Chapter 2” falls back into a generic narrative and ignores the effectively sinister tone its predecessor flourished on. Instead, Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell place the Lambert family in an old, abandoned hospital and flash images of ghoulish women dressed in 19th century garb on the screen in a lame attempt to incite cheap scares like most American horror movies do these days. Basically, in “Chapter 2,” Wan takes the weakest moments of the first movie (the woeful last half hour when Wan tries to impersonate Rob Zombie) and extends them into 105 minutes of Halloween costume playtime. If you’ve seen one malevolent ghost lady with dark mascara screaming like a banshee, you’ve seen them all.

Still, credit deservedly goes to original composer Joseph Bishara, who found his way back to Wan for both “Chapter 2” and “The Conjuring” this past summer. There’s something incredibly unsettling about the warped sound Bishara has been able to create for the “Insidious” franchise. If anything keeps you up at night – if you start straining your eyes to see what is lurking in the corners of your bedroom – just hope Bishara’s composition of shrieking violins doesn’t enter your consciousness at that exact moment. In “Chapter 2,” what Bishara does with his music is really the most frightening thing you’ll experience.

The Internship

June 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne
Directed by: Shawn Levy (“Date Night”)
Written by: Vince Vaughn (“Couples Retreat”) and Jared Stern (“The Watch”)

When the modestly budgeted comedy “Wedding Crashers” came out in 2005, few people (not to mention the studio) anticipated its mammoth success. Not only was it the highest grossing comedy of the summer, but it, along with “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” spawned a resurgence in the edgy R-rated comedy genre, a trend that still hits box office gold today. Arguably the biggest reason for “Wedding Crashers’” success was the pairing of actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Eight years later, Wilson and Vaughn join forces again in “The Internship.”

After their company goes bankrupt, middle-aged watch salesmen Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are forced to throw themselves back into the job market. Desperate for something new, Billy and Nick apply for an internship program at Google. When they arrive, they find themselves to be the oldest interns (by decades) and are teamed up with a group of youngsters and an enthusiastic Google employee. As they go through a series of challenges to try land a job, Billy and Nick realize they’re in over their heads in a program full of tech-savvy people.

Predictably, Wilson and Vaughn fall into character structures similar to the ones they had in “Wedding Crashers.” Wilson plays the part of the charming go-getter while Vaughn is his neurotic and persuasive counterpart. Unfortunately, these characters are far more flimsy than the ones in “Crashers.” Wilson probably fares the better of the two, as his relationships with his fellow interns and Rose Byrne work decently. Conversely, Vaughn’s fast-talking, stumbling-over-his-own-words shtick is tiring and becomes grating very quick. The rest of the cast is rounded out by secondary characters and a few cameos, none of which are particularly noteworthy.

For a film that boasts bankable comedic talent, “The Internship” really struggles to find consistent laughs. Most of the jokes fall flat, including a bizarre recurring 30-year-old reference to the movie “Flashdance,” which is never funny despite the three or four times they go back to it. In place of a clever screenplay, the film relies too heavily on Vaughn and Wilson for laughs. Another bothersome wrinkle in the film is its obvious product placement for Google. Everything is green, yellow, blue and red, and virtually every service that Google provides is name-dropped at some point during the film. It wouldn’t be so bad if each scene didn’t contain some sort of corporate shilling.

At its core, “The Internship” is an underdog story about people who are being phased out by a new generation. From a sheer storytelling perspective, director Shawn Levy follows the formula close enough to sustain the films watchability, especially through the back half of the movie. The problem, however, lies in the unfunny script, average characters, and overextended run time. It’ll take something a little more substantial and effortful for Vaughn and Wilson to regain their once held spot as kings of the summer comedy.

Bridesmaids

May 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph
Directed by: Paul Feig (TV’s “The Office”)
Written by: Kristen Wiig (debut) and Annie Mumolo (debut)

No one can take a tennis ball to the tit quite like comedienne Kristen Wiig. Her threshold for pain is only one of many admirable traits she possesses in “Bridesmaids,” a bold and bawdy comedy that proves having balls isn’t just for boys anymore.

While the movie’s generic title might scream Kate Hudson rom-com horror, those looking for more than the usual cliché girls-night-out fare will find plenty of genuinely side-splitting scenes in this raunchy Judd Apatow-produced chick flick, as they did in the Apatow-directed “Knocked Up.” Personal favor: When recommending it to your friends, please don’t refer to Bridesmaids as the female version of “The Hangover.” It deserves better.

In “Bridesmaids,” director Paul Feig (TV’s “The Office”) puts Wiig in charge of her own sinking ship as the whip-smart albeit insecure (and very single) heroine Annie, a failed thirty-something entrepreneur stuck in a rut. Despite the occasional roll in the sack with sleazy tool Ted (Jon Hamm), Annie doesn’t have any real relationship prospects nor does she care much about her depressing job (peddling jewelry to happy couples) and equally depressing home life (her roommates are ungrateful sibling albinos).

Annie is forced to suck it up when her lifelong BFF Lillian (Maya Rudolph) asks her to be her maid of honor, a role in movie world aching to basically be dragged through the mud while everyone else enjoys the pre-wedding festivities. She’s pitted against Lillian’s newest gal pal Helen (Rose Byrne), a character so perfectly annoying she rivals Cameron Diaz’s bubbly Kimberly Wallace in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

The claws come out with hilarious result as Annie and Lillian – along with the three other bridesmaids Becca, Rita, and Megan (underwritten Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey and scene-stealing Melissa McCarthy) – try and get through the coming weeks without gouging anyone’s pretty little eyes out.

Sharply written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids” veers into overly traveled territory at times but never replaces wit with kitschy humor (aside from a well-executed diarrhea gag that feels misplaced in the grand scheme of things). She may just be a glorified bridesmaid, but this is Wiig’s big day. The “Saturday Night Live” alumna has written a lead role for herself with some great awkward moments usually regulated for fools of the male variety. It’s nice to see women can be just as boneheaded when the situation calls for it.

Get Him to the Greek

June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Rose Byrne
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”)
Written by: Nicholas Stoller (“Yes Man”)
 
What happens when you take the most irritating character from the very funny 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and create a spin-off movie just for him? While a first impression of actor Russell Brand’s narcissistic British rock star Aldous Snow might be as grating as an Emerson, Lake & Palmer track (shudder), he actually grows on you in the new film “Get Him to the Greek.” And even if he doesn’t, you’ll be laughing too hard to care.
 
In the film, Brand reprises his role as a less-sober version of Aldous, lead singer of the popular band Infinite Sorrow, who has since fallen off the wagon when his life begins to spiral out of control. His latest pretentious song “African Child” is receiving some critical backlash (its called “the worst thing to happen to Africa since the Apartheid”) and his Victoria Beckham-esque girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) has dumped him.
 
His career is all but over until lowly record company minion Aaron Green (Jonah Hill, who was also in “Sarah Marshall,” but played a different character) suggests to his high-strung boss Sergio Roma (Sean Combs in a scene-stealing role) that booking Aldous for a 10-year anniversary concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles is just the thing the record label needs to make some serious cash.
 
To make it happen, Aaron must fly to London to pick up the fried musician, escort him to N.Y. for some press and then to L.A. for the performance. But when Aaron arrives, Aldous becomes much more interested in partying hard than getting on the flight. When he promises Aaron the time of his life, the concert at the Greek falls a few slots down on the priority list as the two make a mad dash cross country in a riotous road-trip comedy.

As a raunchy, hard R-rated flick, “Greek” resembles some of the more recently successful foul-mouthed comedies of the past few years including “Superbad” and “Knocked Up.” Director Judd Apatow, who seems to have his hand in most of these movies in some form or another, serves as producer on this one.

Brand, who might be viewed as a one-trick pony, gives Aldous more of a human element here that would not have fit well in “Sarah Marshall.” Most of the comedy does work because his character is so reprehensible at times, but the cockiness is balanced out nicely by some surprisingly genuine scenes that deal with depression and loneliness. Also there to keep Brand from going overboard is Hill, who over the last six years has become a comedic genius. His timing, subtle delivery, and overall likeability are taking him places.

While a film like “Almost Famous” might have romanticize what it would be like to spend some time on the road with musicians, “Greek” does the opposite. It takes the rock star lifestyle into extreme territory. It’s only halfway through the year, but “Get Him to the Greek” is the most side-splitting comedy to hit theaters thus far.

Adam

August 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher
Directed by: Max Mayer (“Better Living”)
Written by: Max Mayer (“Better Living”)

It’s no “Rain Man,” but the new romantic dramedy “Adam” paints a realistic picture of someone living with a development disorder and combines it with a sweet and gentle love story that is hard to resist even during its most mawkish moments.

Hugh Dancy (“Confessions of a Shopaholic”) gives a fine performance as Adam Raki, a 29-year-old man living a lonely life in Manhattan with a type of high-functioning autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. The disability causes Adam to feel anxious in social situations and affects certain aspects of his behavior.

When Adam’s father passes away, he is left to make it on his own and falls back into the comfort of his daily routine as a mechanical engineer for a toy company. It’s a perfect job for the introverted Adam who is able to keep to himself and tinker away with gadgets without being bothered.

Adam’s habitual lifestyle is given a little boost when he meets Beth Buchwald (Rose Byrne), a new girl who has moved into his apartment building and cautiously takes a liking to Adam’s oddities. Adam, an expert in all things space related, attempts to befriend her with his knowledge of astronomy and the theory of relativity. Beth is fairly interested, but seems more fascinated with his little idiosyncrasies (he takes things too literally, rambles, and can’t connect emotionally to people). He’s like a less self-pitying version of Zach Braff’s character in “Garden State.”

As their friendship and relationship blossom, Adam and Beth learn more about each other and what makes the other tick. While director/writer Max Mayer (“Better Living”) keeps his couple at the center of his cinematic universe for the majority of the picture, a secondary storyline about Beth’s father (Peter Gallagher) comes out of left field and burdens the picture with a family dynamic that just doesn’t fit into the framing of the story.

Still, Mayer does as satisfactory job with his two leads. He never lets Adam’s limitations become a one-note joke or easy way out of a difficult scene. As Adam and Beth continue their relationship, Mayer, while playing it a bit too safe in the narrative, allows them to develop their bond logically and without the stereotypical plot points you would see in other offbeat romances.

Who knew guys with Aspberger’s Syndrome were going to become the most dateable guys around? At least that’s what Dancy does with Adam and all his charms. With some inviting depth to the character, “Adam” is more than a movie about someone learning how to deal with his or her special needs.

Knowing

March 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury
Directed by: Alex Proyas (“I, Robot”)
Written by: Alex Proyas (“Dark City”), Juliet Snowden (“Boogeyman”), Stiles White (“Boogeyman”), Stuart Hazeldine (debut), Ryne Douglas Pearson (debut)

Actor Nicolas Cage has only been making consistently terrible choices in movies since 2006, so why does it seem longer?

After doing a fine job in the Oliver Stone–helmed “World Trade Center” where he played a New York City Port Authority police officer, Cage went on a massive losing streak with critical bombs including “The Wicker Man,” “Ghost Rider,” “Next” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” and “Bangkok Dangerous.” While it’s only been three years of cinematic gaffes, the torture Cage has put us through seems endless.

He continues his mission of futility with his latest bomb, “Knowing,” an absurd sci-fi movie posing as an end-of-the-world thriller, both of which support the idea that moviegoers should always do their research before going to the theater and raise a red flag when a production gives more than a couple of screenwriters credit for the work. In “Knowing,” five (!) writers are credited and none of them come close to making anything credible or inventive.

It might be just a mediocre combination of ideas, but “Knowing” ends up being a haphazard mess starting from the top. Cage plays John Koestler, a college professor and astrophysicist who stumbles onto a sort of numerical puzzle that reveals the dates, coordinates, and death toll of the world’s most major tragedies.

The list of random numbers comes from a time capsule buried 50 years prior at the school where John’s son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) now attends. Back in 1959, schoolchildren were given an assignment to draw a picture of what they thought the world would look like in the future. Instead of drawing robots and astronauts like her classmates, one of the students, Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson), an antisocial little girl with dark circles under her eyes who hears voices, begins to handwrite a sequence of numbers on her paper.

Fifty years later, Caleb ends up taking the excavated note home where his father begins to decipher what it means. For this plot point, all the five-headed screenwriting team could come up with for John’s interest in the numbers is that a stain he accidently makes on the paper directs his eyes to the numbers 9112001, code for the attacks on 9/11. From there, John, like Jim Carrey in “The Number 23,” becomes obsessed with his set of digits, the last of which point to the date of the earth’s demise.

The end of the world doesn’t come soon enough as Proyas and his team focus more on the computer-generated disaster scenes than they do on the actual narrative. Cage and the rest of the cast, which includes Rose Byrne (“28 Weeks Later”) as Diana Wayland, Lucinda’s grown daughter, become pawns for the unpredictable albeit mangled conclusion. “Knowing” thinks it’s more meaningful than it actually is, and that’s the most disturbing part of its inconspicuousness.