CineSnob’s Top 10 Films of 2023

Here are Kiko, Cody and Jerrod’s Top 10 Films of 2023 lists. Cody and Jerrod’s thoughts about each film can be heard on The CineSnob Podcast linked below. Kiko’s blurb reviews can be read on this page.

Fantastic Fest 2022 Review – Chop and Steele

  Pranksters Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher in “Chop and Steele”   by: Cody Villafana Directed by: Berndt Mader (“Booger Red”) and Ben Steinbauer (“Winnebago Man”) Starring: Nick Prueher, Joe Pickett If you were watching morning TV news somewhere in the Midwest in the last 15 years and saw a variety of characters that seemed […]

Fantastic Fest 2021 Review – Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes

Kazunori Tosa in “Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes”   by: Cody Villafana Starring: Kazunori Tosa, Riko Fujitani, Gôta Ishida Directed by: Junta Yamaguchi (debut) Written by: Makoto Ueda (“The Night is Short, Walk on Girl”) Part of the fun of film festivals is general is walking into a film that you know nothing about and being […]

Best of the (Would Be) Fest – SXSW 2020

On March 6th, 2020, the City of Austin decided that for the first time in 34 years, SXSW would be cancelled and shut down due to concerns and impending threat of Coronavirus. Though absolutely, unquestionably and 100% the right call, there was a lot of debate, concern and unrest amongst many attendees and those who […]

Top 10 Films of the Decade (2010-2019)

KIKO MARTINEZ Editor and Founder 1. The Social Network (2010) Director David Fincher’s internet epic is an incisively written biopic where legal drama meets toxic ambition. It’s a story of greed, envy and the ruthless means one young man uses to rise to power in social media. Call it There Will Be Blood for the […]

Top 10 Films of 2019

KIKO MARTINEZ Editor and Founder After watching 228 films in 2019, here is a list of my 10 favorites, plus and a few honorable mentions. 1. Marriage Story Director and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Noah Baumbach knows divorce well — personally and, in turn, cinematically. His 2005 independent, dark comedy The Squid and the Whale was a […]

Fantastic Fest 2019 Review – Jojo Rabbit

Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johnasson Directed by: Taika Waititi (“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”) Written by: Taika Waititi (“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”) In these perilous times when hatred and white supremacy have emerged as a prominent, dangerous voice in the United States, it could be seen as a dicey prospect to create a satire heavily involving […]

Cinematic Spillover: Short Reviews of Tigers Are Not Afraid and The Fanatic

If you thought actor John Travolta was disturbingly bad in the 2000 sci-fi bomb Battlefield Earth, brace yourself for something just as awful – but with far fewer cheesy special effects. In The Fanatic, Travolta stars as Moose, an autistic man living in Los Angeles who spends his time tracking down celebrities to collect their autographs. His paparazzo friend Leah (Ana Golja) refers to it as his “freaky little hobby.” But when Moose meets his favorite action star Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa) and is rejected, he develops an unhealthy obsession with the man and drives himself into full-blown stalker mode. Directed and co-written by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst (The Longshots), who actually drops a Limp Bizkit reference in the movie (seriously, he does), The Fanatic should be an embarrassment for everyone involved. Not only does Travolta deliver one of the most cringe-worthy performances in recent memory, his interpretation of an individual on the autism spectrum is stereotypical garbage and downright offensive. Even without Travolta’s laughable role, Durst and first-time co-writer Dave Bekerman pen a script that is more tasteless than the plaid shorts and Hawaiian shirt combo Moose wears throughout most of the movie. Every character is exaggerated to a level of annoyance that might be considered as cruel and unusual punishment. The absurd friendship between Moose and Leah amounts to a series of phony signs of affection – just enough to gaslight viewers into thinking that maybe Travolta’s character is simply misunderstood. Someone should start polishing up those Razzies for the Worst Film, Director, Screenplay and Actor of 2019. 

Cinematic Spillover: Short Reviews of Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins, Ladyworld and Itsy Bitsy

With a title like Itsy Bitsy, horror fans might anticipate a campy creature feature starring a cluster of eight-legged freaks, but visual effects producer and first-time writer/director Micah Gallo has something a little more sinister up his sleeve. The story follows Kara Spencer (Elizabeth Roberts), a nurse and single mother who moves with her two children to a small town to take a job as a private caretaker to Walter Clark (Bruce Davidson), a world-traveler with an affinity for collecting tribal artifacts. When a cursed relic is brought to him by a friend of his deceased wife, it releases a dog-sized, venomous spider that takes up residence on Walter’s property. Surprisingly, the spider itself doesn’t play into the narrative much until the third act. Itsy Bitsy is more about Kara and her insecurities as a mother and the depression she has to confront because of the death of a third child. Despite Gallo’s ability to keep a consistently creepy vibe, the script, which is also co-written by special effects and makeup artist Jason Alvino (Sucker Punch) and writer Bryan Dick (911 Nightmare), doesn’t bring all the dramatic and horror elements together in a cohesive enough way. Gallo, however, builds some solid tension. Ironically, Itsy Bitsy might’ve worked better as a conventional and minimalist ghost story instead of a gooey monster movie. The arachnid is irrelevant. Itsy Bitsy hits VOD platforms August 30.

Cinematic Spillover: Short Reviews of Ready or Not, The Peanut Butter Falcon, David Crosby and More

It’s 2019 and, against all odds, singer-songwriter David Crosby is still alive. It’s a somber concept at the center of David Crosby: Remember My Name, a candid documentary on the unstable life and career of its title subject – one of the founding members of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. First-time director A.J. Eaton taps into Crosby’s mind as he contemplates the mistakes he’s made in his life, mortality, addiction, the friends and lovers he’s lost along the way and his contribution to the musical counterculture of the 1960s. Like the documentary Echo in the Canyon from earlier this year, the best footage comes when Crosby is front and center telling both funny and tragic stories about his past and exorcising his demons. “Every minute that you get is precious,” he says. “Time is the final currency.” As a documentarian, Eaton plays it straight – allowing Crosby’s words to direct the narrative and giving him a platform to speak from the heart. Most importantly, the film is not an exercise in hero worshiping. Crosby’s warts are visible for all to see. While it’s unknown if a project like Remember My Name can move some people to reconnect with Crosby (he’s burned a lot of bridges in the last half century) and make amends, the doc makes a good argument for why they should. In the end, Remember My Name feels a lot like the 2014 music documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – a touching farewell to an exceptional talent.

Cinematic Spillover: Short Reviews of Good Boys, Gwen and The Amazing Johnathan

No movie with this many dick jokes has any business being this funny. That said, Good Boys is just that – an obscenity-laced comedy with just the right combination of audacious humor and heart that will win over adults who don’t mind hearing 6th graders drop F-bombs. Sure, you won’t see evangelicals get on board for the R-rated raunchfest, but without the script featuring the phrase, “Grab them by the pussy,” is that really a surprise? Taking a few pages from its most obvious cinematic inspiration, the 2007 comedy Superbad, Good Boys is just as side-splitting hilarious and a lot more adorable – like the Little Rascals if the Little Rascals wielded dildos and shot people in the face with paintballs. The film stars Jacob Tremblay (Room), Keith L. Williams (TV’s The Last Man on Earth) and Brady Noon (TV’s Boardwalk Empire) as best friends Max, Lucas and Thor. When Max gets invited to a “kissing party,” he makes it his mission to go, so he can kiss the girl of his dreams. But when the boys accidentally lose Max’s father’s expensive drone and then unknowingly steal a bunch of ecstasy pills from a couple of high school girls, their afternoon turns into a race to put everything back to normal before they get grounded for life. Co-written by Lee Eisenberg (Year One) and Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teacher), who also makes his directorial debut, Good Boys works because of its incredibly likeable trio of tweens who are actually really sweet characters. If Max, Lucas and Thor were mean-spirited little punks, this would be an entirely different movie. Luckily for audiences, even with a few lowbrow jokes that don’t register as much as others, Good Boys earns high marks. Good Boys opens nationwide August 16. Grade: B+

CineSnob’s Top 10 Films of 2018

It’s been a long year and a lot of movies. Here’s a look at what critics Jerrod Kingery, Kiko Martinez and Cody Villafana put on their list of the best movies this year. JERROD KINGERY – Contributing film critic 10. Bumblebee – As fan of “Transformers” for as long as I can remember, the […]