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2012 has truly been a good year for independent cinema. Earlier this year we had space Nazis from the Moon, and now we have a movie about an exploitation filmmaker who pretends to be a movie snob and infiltrates a snobby film commission in order to obtain some film permits. And then the bodies start piling high. This is The Cinema Snob Movie.
First of all, as the synopsis clearly shows, this movie is a dark comedy with plenty of twists and turns. It starts off pretty light hearted as our leads, Craig and Neil try to film their very own exploitation movie in an era when mainstream filmmakers stay clear of this genre. Unsurprisingly they run into quite the resistance from the local film commission, in particular its head Dan Phillips who pretty much sabotages the film production. So Craig decides to go undercover and pretend to be a snobby douche bag like Dan Phillips and join the film club in order to try and get on their good side and eventually obtain some permits. He has to put up with thirteen hour long screenings of Being John Malkovich during which they regularly pause the film to analyze every scene in detail. In other words they put him through Hell but he perseveres in order to get the permits, showing how passionate he is about his own movie.
Then suddenly a serial killer shows up and starts killing off the members of the snobby film club one by one. Each death is more gruesome than the next, and Craig soon finds himself wondering whether going undercover in that film club was a good idea. Things just get more complicated as he begins an affair with the wife of Dan Phillips and a pair of tenacious cops clearly suspect that the killer is one of the surviving club members. In other words, the story takes a dark twist as Craig basically finds himself in a situation resembling an actual exploitation film with a sadistic serial killer driven by unknown motives butchering film snobs in gruesome ways.
The movie is two hours long and never ceases to be entertaining. Light hearted comedy switches relatively seamlessly into a much darker comedy after the first death scene. The twists and turns along the way keep it fresh yet the story remains cohesive. It's a fun watch from start to finish, highly recommended for anyone who likes dark humor.
For those of you who don't know, the film is based on a web show called The Cinema Snob, a mock review show in which a snobby douche bag reviews exploitation films. The movie is basically the origin story of the character. As such it certainly caters to fans of the show, however, you don't even need to have seen a single episode to enjoy this flick. It's perfectly enjoyable as a stand-alone film even if you've never heard of The Cinema Snob before.
The Cinema Snob movie comes from the creators of Cheap and it's easily their best made movie to date (though our personal favorite remains Hooker With A Heart Of Gold). It's very well written with a strong plot, interesting characters, and lots of good humor. One of the best scenes in the movie is the reaction of the snobby film club to the movie Craig brings them to watch. A lot of thought went into the cinematography as explained during the commentaries on the DVD, and even the special effects are pretty damn good, especially for an indie production. Sure, there are a few moments when you can clearly tell that this is a low budget independent film but that doesn't take anything away from the movie, it is thoroughly enjoyable. The performances of the actors are all very good. Writer Brad Jones pulls off the lead character extremely well although this is expected considering he's been playing the Cinema Snob character on his show for years. What's really a pleasure to see is how well the support cast performs.
A few examples. Jake Norvell excels in the role of Craig's buddy Neil as a guy who hardly seems to take the murders seriously; his scenes during the second half of the movie are absolutely hilarious. Director Ryan Mitchelle portrays the snobby Dan Phillips perfectly, by his own admission based on people he met in real life (which is a scary thought). Noah Antwiler (a.k.a. Spoony) plays Gene, the producer of Craig's film, and does a good job portraying the eccentric, clueless millionaire. But everyone else does a fine job as well, really there's no point listing them one by one, just go watch the movie and see for yourselves, you will not be disappointed.
If there's one thing in which the film is lacking it is an epic 80s soundtrack that would certainly fit to its story. Obviously such a soundtrack could not be added on an independent film budget, which is a shame. However, the excellent original score we do get from Michael Schiciano is a perfect fit to the movie so this is really just a minor complaint. The DVD is also packed with extras, including a hilarious blooper reel and two highly informative audio commentaries by the cast. We also get a third commentary track from Doug and Rob Walker of thatguywiththeglasses.com. This is a mock commentary with made-up "facts" involving crazy shit like tennis balls on a vibrator and Muppet porn. It's hilarious and at times absurdly offensive, well worth to check it out, especially if you're a fan of their work.
To summarize, The Cinema Snob Movie is independent cinema at its finest. It is profoundly entertaining from start to finish and it would deserve a theatrical release, or at the very least it should be showcased at film festivals around the world. The movie is available on DVD through the website of publisher Walkaway Entertainment, do check it out.
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