A Bug's Life

"From way up here, you all look like little ants!"

Time heals all wounds, but the rift between Jeffrey Katzenberg and Disney may not apply. When Katzenberg, former chairman of Disney’s film division, left Disney after a bitter feud with CEO Michael Eisner, he formed DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen and soon began plotting his battle in animation with his former employer. So while Disney began working with Pixar on A Bug’s Life, he started working on Antz. And the great cinema battle of 1998 began. And while time may never heal the rift between Katzenberg and Disney, it certainly has shown us that Pixar knows how to make strong films and with their second film, they proved that they had staying power, regardless of what DreamWorks put out. 

Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright – as we continue our Seven Samurai Family series with John Lasseter’s and Andrew Stanton’s 1998 A Bug’s Life. We talk about the battle between Antz and A Bug’s Life, debating the strengths of them both and which personally is our preference. We look at the amazing storytelling that Pixar’s team does here, crafting a fantastic film that shares its DNA with all its forefathers in this family, even if they never bring it up. We discuss the brilliant cast – notably Dave Foley and Kevin Spacey – and why they work so well in their roles. We talk about the hard work of bringing a world like this to life, even if it may look a bit more rough now that computer animated films have progressed to such amazing levels. And we have to talk about Randy Newman again and how he pops up in here, scoring the film its one Academy Award nomination. 

It’s a great film and a fun family addition to our series. Definitely check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Moana — "I’m always excited for another animated Disney film and Moana looks like it has the makings of a new classic. Strong female protagonist? Check. Mythical demi-god hilariously played by Dwayne Johnson? Check. Crazy chicken? Check. Scary volcano antagonist? Check. Music by Lin-Manuel Miranda? Check. A team of directors like no other? Check. Yeah, I’m pretty much all-in on this one."

Pete's Trailer: Miss Sloane — "Having just talked about the importance of Snowden as a topic film, that Jessica Chastain is playing both a lobbyist andattempting to take on the gun lobby herself in this film is a two-fer in my book."

¡Three Amigos!

"They called us scum-sucking pigs! Us!"

It was the movie that had ‘hit’ written all over it. Three of the funniest actors starred together for the first time: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. One of the top comedy directors – John Landis – was at the helm. But for whatever reason, ¡Three Amigos! did not find its audience. Critics were harsh on it and, while it may have made its money back, it was not deemed a success. But time has proven that some films need time to find their audiences. Now with a cult following, ¡Three Amigos! has found its staying power with its absurd comedy stylings. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Seven Samurai family series with Landis’ 1986 film ¡Three Amigos!

We talk about why this film works so well for us, but also how smartly adapted it is from its forebears. We look at Landis as a director and what he brings to the table here, and also why he wasn’t around so much during the post. We chat about Martin, Chase and Short and how perfect they are for these three silent film stars that get in WAY over their heads. We look at what Elmer Bernstein did here, spoofing his own music from The Magnificent Seven. And we touch on co-writer Randy Newman (you read that right – Randy Flippin’ Newman’s one writing credit is this movie!) and the fantastic songs he wrote for the film. 

It’s a riotous film that we acknowledge may work well for us but not for others. And even though it works for us, it’s certainly worth deliberating how many stars to give it. So check it out and hopefully you’ll laugh like we did, then tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Free Fire Red Band Trailer — "A story in a tight setting is always fun to see when pulled off well and the cast looks great. Plus red band trailers always make movies look extra fun. I missed High Rise, Ben Wheatley’s last film, but it’s been on my list of must-sees and now this is too."

Pete's Trailer: Live By Night — "Ben Affleck is back with another Dennis Lehane adaptation (remember Gone, Baby, Gone?), this time a story of prohibition era rum-running, mobsters, and race. I’m a fan of the book, as with other Lehane adaptations (and there are plenty) like Shutter Island and Mystic River. I’m liking Affleck more and more the older he gets. My money says this will be one to catch in theaters."

The Magnificent Seven

"We deal in lead, friend."

The Magnificent Seven is a breeze to watch. It’s fun. It has that clean vibe of early Hollywood westerns. Plus it’s based on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, giving it some serious street cred. Despite all of that, however, it was quite a legal imbroglio to get made. Yet once released, it eventually became successful enough to spur three sequels, a TV series and more. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Seven Samurai family series with John Sturges’ 1960 film The Magnificent Seven.

We talk about the differences between Kurosawa’s film and Sturges’, what works for us in those changes and why we suspect they were made. We touch on the Mexican censors required during production to ensure the script kept their people in a positive light. We chat about the actors, notably Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, Charles Bronson and James Coburn, and what they bring to the table (aside from testosterone). We hit on Elmer Bernstein’s iconic score and highlight the main theme, arguably the greatest western theme written. And we chat about the production trouble this film had, not to mention the issues with the writers.

It’s a fun film, even if it’s one that falls short of the original when directly compared. We have a magnificent time chatting about it regardless and are certainly looking forward to seeing the remake. So tune in and join us!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Little Sister — "I worked with Allison Timlin on the TV movie Girl in the Box and am looking forward to seeing what she does here. A great new talent, she looks to be in a funny and touching indie comedy."

Pete's Trailer: Shut In — "You know what Naomi Watts is good at? Getting scared. Throw in Charlie Heaton and Room’s Jacob Tremblay and you have a recipe for a right fright. Looks like a thrilling film from French director Farren Blackburn based on Christina Hodson’s 2012 Black List script."