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The Cinema Snob Movie – Movie Review

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The Cinema Snob Movie – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

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 In the world of film criticism, there is a careful line between being too elitist and too nice. The key is to be understanding of the multiple types of filmmaking that exist and their intention and most importantly, to not be condescending towards a particular genre or director. Ryan Mitchelle’s The Cinema Snob Movie serves as a celebration of low-budget and exploitative films that merely wish to entertain its audience, while poking fun at critics who would rather sit through a Terrence Malick marathon. All of this melds into a fun, little mystery subplot. The goals of this very small independent production are high and it more than succeeds.

The star of this film is Brad Jones, who portrays the main character and penned a screenplay obviously written by somebody with a love for exploitation cinema. When two characters are discussing whether Lucio Fulci or Dario Argento is the superior Italian giallo filmmaker, it is evident Jones is an expert on movies of the gory and Grindhouse variety. The humour is consistently funny, with the best bits involving the uptight film society Jones’ Craig Golightly finds himself infiltrating.

He does not hold back in portraying these snobs in an unflattering light as they over-analyse the most minute details of Being John Malkovich. The funniest scene in the whole film involves an infamous “art film” that affords multiple opportunities for feces-related jokes. It’s a key to Jones’ writing that the comedy does not become too sophomoric, even when it threatens to become incredibly low-brow. Almost any crude joke thrown at the audience is there to bring home the point of what Mitchelle and Jones is attempting to convey.

Brad Jones delivers a likeable and charming performance as Craig and carrying The Cinema Snob Movie, despite previous screen credits being mainly snarkey Internet videos. He is evidently playing a variation of himself, but that only makes his love for B-movies all the more infectious in that he means every word. Craig’s genuine enthusiasm for creating a 1970s-set blaxploitation picture called Black Angus actually makes one anxious to watch the real film. Mitchelle’s role as the snobby film board head is quite funny in how he brings humour to an otherwise pompous character.

Most impressively is how he is not simply a one-dimensional villain twirling his moustache. Considering the point Jones’ screenplay is making, that would have been a very easy route to fall into. Meanwhile, Jillian Zurawski brings a devil-may-care spirit to the romantic interest and even manages to steal a number of scenes from Jones. Outside of the film society scenes, the best moments in The Cinema Snob Movie are the conversations between Jones and Zurawski as both exhibit plenty of chemistry and an equal love for exploitative cinema. These two are the heart of a picture, where the main character’s favourite movie happens to be Caligula.

A comedy on elitist film criticism jumping into a murder mystery could have been jarring, but Mitchelle and Jones seamlessly lead into the subplot and there is certainly some surprises as one victim is killed off one by one. The filmmakers even indulge their inner gore hounds with some impressive makeup effects. At times, the low budget does betray them, especially in regards to their sound mixing. Occasionally, the background sound will jump from clean to fuzzy with each cut and this does become a little distracting. A couple of the secondary performers are also stale with some fake line delivery, but the natural presence of Jones and Zurawski partially stops the film’s overall acting from looking too much like a local theatre production. Jake Norvell also has a fun turn as Craig’s close director friend with a particularly amusing bit involving a pizza.

The Cinema Snob Movie’s biggest fault is the length. The first two acts are a smooth and funny ride, but the final section of this two-hour comedy could have used some additional snipping. Despite being a thoroughly enjoyable cast member, Norvell’s last-minute subplot with Black Angus’s lead actor could have been cut, resulting in a more concise finale. However, when the entire theme of the film is finally conveyed in a nicely written monologue by Jones, it is hard not to smile. With its story of a filmmaker infiltrating a society he is at odds with and pushing him further into his love of schlocky exploitation, this almost serves as a modern take on Preston Sturgess’ brilliant Sullivan’s Travels.

The Cinema Snob Movie is ultimately a celebration of exploitative cinema, while also serving as a spot-on satire on elitist critics. While the murder mystery is a key plot, it is Ryan Mitchelle and Brad Jones’ sly attack on snobbish types that makes this a successful comedy. These are characters who discuss the merits of Bruno Mattei and Lloyd Kaufman without a hint of cynicism and it is a breath of fresh air to see the tables turned on Malick and Charlie Kaufman. Joining the ranks of recent fare like Grindhouse and Corman’s World, this film is a fun toast to B-movies with the thesis being that while they won’t lift the human spirit, you have to admire the filmmakers’ chutzpah in putting all they have into them.

Review By: Stefan Ellison

THE SCENE


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