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.

Click here to download the episode!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn (“Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “X-Men: First Class”)
Written by: Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust”) & Jane Goldman (“The Woman in Black”)

Look, I’m all for genre subversion—I’m no stick in the mud—but someone needs to step in and get the point across to director Matthew Vaughn that just doing that for the entire runtime of an action movie isn’t funny or entertaining without something, anything to back it up. It’s just not enough. Hey, great, your stuffy British secret agents in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and its sequel, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” say “fuck” a lot, brutally eviscerate bad guys, and gleefully engage in anal sex in the throes of victory—that’s funny! I mean for a little while, sure—what about the story? You know, the thing that threads together all the high-velocity fight scenes?

Oh, for a story beat you’re going to go with a limp set piece that involves our hero, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), having to finger bang the bad guy’s innocent girlfriend at a music festival in order to plant a tracking device inside her vagina?

Hoo boy.

Anyway, “The Golden Circle” kicks off with Eggsy coming to blows with a former would-be Kingsman Charilie (Edward Holcroft)—now a bad guy with a robot arm—who tries to kill him in a high-speed car chase through London. Thanks to a piece of his cybernetic arm left behind to hack the system, villainous, ’50s-obsessed drug kingpin Poppy (Julianne Moore) is able to destroy every Kingsman save Eggsy and gadget-whiz Merlin (Mark Strong). Activating their doomsday protocol leads them to seek help from the Statesman, another covert operation based out of a Kentucky distillery. Led by Champ (Jeff Bridges), agents Tequila (Channing Tatum), Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), the Statesman offer up their services to the Kingsman, and reveal that oh, by the way, they have Harry Hart (Colin Firth), Eggsy’s Kingsman mentor—thought to be dead after the first movie—in their care. See, they swooped in and saved him, but he has amnesia and thinks he’s a butterfly scientist. Of course, since his help will eventually be needed to take down Poppy (who’s kidnapped Elton John, playing himself), Harry will need to have his memory restored as quickly as possible.

Like most of Vaughn’s movies, “The Golden Circle” thinks it’s way more clever than it actually is, and comes across pretty icky at times. Whereas one of the final shots of the first film was a POV shot of Eggsy looking down at a princess’ bare ass—prior to the aforementioned, eh, anal sex—the sequel ups the creep factor by having the camera follow Eggsy’s finger down the woman’s body as he slips on a finger condom and slides his hand into her underwear and then changing to a shot of the interior of the woman’s—you know, forget it.

Besides shit like that, the movie wastes its new stars. Hallie Berry brings nothing, Jeff Bridges chews up a few lines and Channing Tatum, introduced in a puzzling yet southern-fried scene, sits out most of the movie, with the heavy lifting of the Statesman done by Pascal’s Whiskey, one of the few bright spots until the script decides to deal with him otherwise. But hey, at least Elton John gets a couple of funny moments.

Eddie the Eagle

February 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher (“Wild Bill”)
Written by:  Sean Macauly (debut) and Simon Kelton (debut)

Inoffensive, inspirational sports movies seem to be written Mad Libs-style: “A down-on-his luck (noun) dreams of being a star athlete in (name of sport), but he comes from a (negative adjective) family who wants him to continue working as a (type of humdrum job) instead of chasing his dreams. In an effort to achieve his dreams, he runs across a disgraced/retired/old legend in (same sport as before) who he begs to train him, but that person is too much of a (insert negative trait here) and wants to move on with his life. When the dreamer finally steps in to the world of (name of same sport), he’s met with derision from the (nationality and/or social class) superstar who laughs in his face, causing the dreamer’s spirit to falter. That’s when the legend steps in to coach the dreamer, and through a series of unorthodox/old school training methods, the legend will help the dreamer overcome any obstacle to get to the big (name of major sporting event here). “

Last year, “Creed” followed this formula and turned it into a rousing success, fueled by great direction and powerful performances. “Eddie the Eagle,” on the other hand, follows this formula like a pair of skis locked into the trenches of a ski jump. There’s never any doubt exactly how the film is going to land.

“Eddie the Eagle” is the true-but-really-embellished story of Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” squinting behind geeky glasses and never quite selling it), a would-be downhill skier for the British Olympic team, except that he’s not the best skier and he’s kind of weird, so the posh British officials drum him out of the sport and force him to reluctantly work as a plasterer, like his father. You see, Eddie’s always been a dreamer, and he’s always wanted to be an Olympian – in that late-‘70s kind of way – when they became superstars. Too bad the British officials seem to hate him, for some reason. Only Eddie isn’t finished dreaming, so he decides to give ski jumping a try. He travels to Germany to train, where all hot Swedish skiers laugh at him and he nearly kills himself making jumps. That’s when Eddie catches the eye of snow plow driver Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman, dressed like Wolverine only without the mutton chops), himself a disgraced former ski jumper with a drinking problem who first tries to talk Eddie out of the sport, but then, of course, becomes his coach, guiding Eddie on a path toward the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Stuffy British officials be damned.

You’ve seen this movie before. It wasn’t wearing ski jumping gear, but you’ve seen “Eddie the Eagle” in some form or fashion probably 10 times, if not more. Do you want to see it again? Do you care that much about ski jumping? My guess is no, and the movie probably knows this. But the synth-heavy pseudo-‘80s soundtrack is pretty great. Can I just listen to that instead?

Kingsman: The Secret Service

February 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class”)
Written by: Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class”) and Jane Goldman (“X-Men: First Class”)

After going all out with the stylistic violence and edgy humor of “Kick-Ass,” director Matthew Vaughn may have seemed like a surprising choice to reboot the studio-run “X-Men” franchise. Despite this fact, “X-Men: First Class” was a massive success and widely seen as an injection of rejuvenation into the Marvel moneymaker. Perhaps old habits die hard, however, as “Kingsman: The Secret Service” sees Vaughn and writing partner Jane Goldman return to the adult-themed bloodbaths introduced in “Kick-Ass,” complete with a British spy twist.

After losing a valuable member of their spy service, the Kingsman set out to replace a lost member with Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a street kid with little potential. As his mentor, Harry Hart (Colin Firth) sets out to train Eggsy while trying to foil a billionaire Internet tycoon (Samuel L. Jackson) with a questionable plan to control humanity.

Firth might seem like the last choice for casting in a physical role as a badass, gun-toting spy, and that very well may be why it works so well. It is equal parts unexpected and fantastic as Firth is an unanticipated natural, especially in scenes that call for mayhem. As a lead, Egerton is a natural. Despite his relatively unknown state in American film, he is charismatic and charming, feeding off of Firth while also being able to stand on his own. Even though there are some memorable characters, “Kingsman” isn’t entirely successful on this front. Most notably, Samuel L. Jackson turns in a hammy performance as a villain with an inexplicable lisp that adds nothing to the mix other than its inherent eccentricity.

A lot of the faults of “Kingsman” fall on the screenplay, which struggles to find a steady tone. The first half of the film is almost entirely meant to evoke spy-films and training expertise, while the second half goes completely off the rails and is filled with adult-humor, often times skewing towards the juvenile. It is also worth mentioning that the villain turn and frankly, the entire villain plotline is flimsy at best, with an extremely general mind control device and a convoluted “global warming” explanation that is barely explored.

One thing that is undeniable, however, is that “Kingsman” is sleek and stylish. Taking its cues from its dapperly dressed leads, Vaughn creates quick-paced and visually gratifying action set pieces, none better than an incredibly well choreographed scene of chaos in a church set absolutely brilliantly to the soaring guitar solo of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.” The visual effects may look spotty from time to time, but Vaughn shows a clear interest in tailor making a visually unique spy series.

If “Kingsman” has one thing going for it, it is that it knows exactly what kind of movie it is. It is filled with unapologetic, and at times, gratuitous violence. Ultimately, it has one mission, and one mission alone: to entertain by any means necessary. With that being said, your level of entertainment is likely to depend on the length to which you can buy into the film’s absurdity. If you’re in from the get-go, you’ll be able to strap in and enjoy the ride. If you’re like me and on the fence about it, the films climax goes a touch too far, and comes off as way too silly and over-the-top to be considered entertaining. There’s a lot to like about this take on the spy genre, but Vaughn traded substance, sense and characterization for pure bloody mayhem, which is likely to work for some, but not for all.