The Next Reel Film Podcast

By RashPixel.FM

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Description

When the movie ends, our conversation begins. The Next Reel features in-depth reviews of classic films and contemporary blockbusters with ratings, rankings, interviews, and analysis.

Episode Date
Ocean's Thirteen
57:38

"There’s a code amongst guys that shook Sinatra’s hand!"

Even though Ocean’s Twelve was financially successful, it was largely disliked by audiences who saw it as a misfire. When the studio decided to make a follow-up, they returned the story to Vegas where the first film took place and made a film that largely feels like a return to form. But that doesn’t mean the film isn’t without its problems. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Ocean’s series with Steven Soderbergh’s 2007 film Ocean’s Thirteen.

We talk about where the film falls on our own ranking of Soderbergh’s trilogy and ponder how anyone could see it any other way. We look at the direction they took the script with this one and look at all the various elements they amped up with ridiculous comedy, and how two of those moments feel very much like weak writing just to make the heist work. We look at the brilliant cast and discuss them, but notably point out Al Pacino added as the new villian and how wonderfully he works here. We also talk about the lack of women and why, also commenting on how wonderful it is to see Ellen Barkin again even if it’s a disappointingly written role. We look at what Soderbergh is doing here as cinematographer Peter Andrews on his last film shot on film. And we dig into the back story behind Linus’ fake nose and connections to Evel Knievel.

It’s a fun film with its own share of problems, but certainly a fitting entry into the Ocean’s franchise. We have a great time talking about it so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Jun 21, 2018
Ocean's Twelve
59:06

"I mean Danny, it was one job that we did together so I don’t know where this whole, like, proprietary stance comes from. It seems a little possessive."

The script for Ocean’s Twelve had a bit of a circuitous route to get to where it ended up. George Nolfi had sold his script entitled “Honor Among Thieves” to Warner Bros., but instead of making his film, the studio executives decided that his script would make for a great foundation to Soderbergh’s successful remake of the classic Rat Pack film Ocean’s 11. Nolfi rewrote it many times to shape the script, and ended up having to modify it many times afterward due to cast schedules and the like. What finally got made created quite a lot of complaints as it didn’t feel like it stood at the same level as Ocean’s Eleven. But is it that bad? Or just different and not what people were expecting? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our coverage of the Ocean’s series with Steven Soderbergh’s 2004 film Ocean’s Twelve.

We talk about why the film works and why it doesn’t, notably in comparison with the first film. And we have quite differing opinions on this. We look at how the story is structured and ponder if it would be stronger if there was more of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character earlier on in the story outside of the opening. We look at the complexities and convolutions of the plot and the heists, wondering if it was all really necessary to make a cohesive story or if it benefits from being so complex. And we marvel at the prowess with which Soderbergh films his stories as DP.

He’s a fantastic filmmaker who make a largely contentious film that still has a lot of good going for it (and is still a fun-to-watch Soderbergh film at the end of the day). So check it out then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Jun 14, 2018
The Sound of Music — In the Speakeasy with A Wrinkle in Time Producer Catherine Hand
01:13:54

"You brought music back into the house. I’d… forgotten."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, producer Catherine Hand joins us to talk about one of her favorite films, Robert Wise’s 1965 film The Sound of Music.

We talk about how the story made it from Maria Von Trapp’s memoirs about her family to the big screen, with several detours along the way. We chat about the movie’s longevity and why it’s had such a long life. We discuss the performances of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, not to mention Plummer’s disdain for the project until recently. And we spend some time looking at Catherine’s career, notably her decades-long pursuit to bring A Wrinkle in Time to the big screen.

It’s a wonderful conversation with Catherine that ranges all over, so check out A Wrinkle in Time, revisit The Sound of Music, then tune in to the show!

 

Film Sundries

Jun 12, 2018
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
01:01:11

"It’ll be nice working with proper villains again."

The decision to remake Ocean’s 11 with an ensemble cast of stars led to an incredible amount of turnover as stars became attached then had to bail out because of other film commitments. But with the final eleven actors locked in as Danny Ocean’s team of thieves, not to mention Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts in supporting roles, it’s hard to imagine the film working with any other cast except George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and the rest of the gang. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Ocean’s series with Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake, Ocean’s Eleven.

We talk about Pete’s love for the film and Andy’s initial feelings that contrast a bit with his recent watch. We look at what this film does better than the original, starting with team building. We chat about Julia Roberts’ element of the story and if it’s just a romance that is shoehorned in here or if it carries more weight. We look at the team and what we think of the main players. We discuss Soderbergh’s style and what he’s bringing to the table as director and shooter. And we ponder the lightness of this film and how well that works to keep people from worrying too much about the crimes taking place in the story.

It’s a fun, breezy film that is miles above its predecessor and shows Soderbergh continuing his work to always be doing something new and unique with his career. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Jun 07, 2018
Ocean's 11
59:28

"You’re just in time for the jokes."

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. were a part of what people called ‘The Rat Pack,’ a group of friends who all started hanging out regularly back at Humphrey Bogart’s and Lauren Bacall’s place. The members changed over time, but Sinatra, Martin and Davis always seemed to be the core trio. The three only appeared in a handful of films together, and the one they’re most known for is the heist film Ocean’s 11. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Ocean’s series with Lewis Milestone’s original 1960 Rat Pack film, Ocean’s 11.

We talk about why the film doesn’t hold up very well for today’s audience and how it really takes someone who was much more connected to the Rat Pack group to really connect with this film today. We look at the script and its shift from drama to comedy, and why perhaps that shift during development left the script largely feeling disjointed and disconnected. We discuss the cast and try to answer why they’re largely uninteresting and unlikeable. We chat about the ending of the film and debate whether it’s effective or not. And we touch on the songs in the film – notably “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” – and stew on why it wasn’t recognized by the Academy.

It’s a film that unfortunately feels very dated, which means it may only appeal to audiences who really were fans of the Rat Pack. That doesn’t stop us from having a great conversation about it! So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

May 31, 2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story — TNR Film Board
01:09:36

“I might be the only person who knows what you really are.”

Ready for an Easter Egg hunt? Yes, it’s actually Memorial Day but Solo hit theaters this weekend and it’s spelunking George Lucas’s treasures in the attic so The Film Board will spoil it all for you! This new Star Wars anthology film kicks off the Summer season and we’re chiming in to separate the Fan Boys from the Fun Dip.

Critics are wary of franchise fatigue, while the devoted are jumping at the chance to dive deeper into some cherished character backstory and motivation. It seems like some of the reasons to make these movies may be to close the loop on a number of canonical questions, but the speculation has already begun regarding potential dramatic connections between this and the primary Skywalker saga. Join us on this episode of the Film Board as we ride the Kessel Run with Pete, Steve, Andy and JJ.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

May 29, 2018
Predestination
01:01:17

"We were born into this job."

Time travel stories come in all shapes and sizes – some are more focused on the fun and entertainment. Others use the conceit to allow for explorations of themes and ideas. Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “—All You Zombies—” is more the latter, and the Spierig brothers – Michael and Peter – do a great job adapting it for the silver screen with their film Predestination. And while it’s easy to get lost in time loops and find fault in rules and story construction, this film is an easy one to enjoy with the paradoxes presented because of the themes and concepts it develops. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our time travel series with the Spierig brothers’ 2014 film Predestination.

We talk about the nature of the film and why it works, even if the film does spend the first half of its running time setting things up. We look at the meaning of the word ‘predestination’ and what it means in context with this film and the ideas put forth. We chat about Ethan Hawke (busiest man in Hollywood) and how great he is here, and also about Sarah Snook, who really puts forth an incredibly challenging performance and nails every bit of it. We debate the strength of Noah Taylor’s character and if he’s really necessary for the story. And we discuss what the Spierig brothers bring to the table here and how well they work as writers, producers and directors, but also visual effects artists and composers.

There’s a lot to discuss in a film like this, and we have a fantastic time unpacking it. Check out the movie then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

 

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

May 24, 2018
Interstellar
01:05:03

"We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now, we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt."

Christopher Nolan certainly is a filmmaker with ambition. People may argue one way or the other about his story construction, or his editing style, or his attachment to film even, but it’s hard to argue that he’s not a filmmaker who is working hard to push big ideas out into the world of film. His 2014 film Interstellar, which he wrote with his brother Jonathan, pushes ideas about interstellar space travel, about space-time, about a dying Earth, about wormholes, about black holes – about leaving our planet – and creates a film that feels as much a scientific thesis as it does a story. Is it perfect? No. But the ambition and passion shine through in every frame. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our time travel series with Nolan’s film Interstellar.

We talk about how our feelings for this film have shifted over time – particularly Andy’s – and what our problems are with the film still. We look at the science behind this film and examine how it can be seen as a time travel movie in the first place. We talk about the performances, notably Matthew McConaughey’s, and what they do for the film. We dig into some of the theories and try to figure out exactly what they mean, because we swear we completely understood it while watching the film. We discuss the incredible imagery created by the camera team, the miniatures team, the visual effects team, the locations team and the production design team. We chat about Hans Zimmer and his music and how well it largely works in the film, and how it pairs interestingly with some edit choices. And we debate the choices the filmmakers use in the climax of the film.

It’s a challenging Hollywood film with big ideas and exciting themes, all laid out in a somewhat sloppy package. But there’s a lot going for it so it’s certainly worth a watch. Check it out for yourselves then tune in to this week’s show. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

May 17, 2018
Triple 9 — Trailer Rewind
31:55

"There is no limit to what desperate men will do when pushed."

We call the Filmboard a gang of thugs, but we’ve got nothing on the crew from Triple 9, a violent cop drama from 2016 directed by John Hilcoat. With both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes represented as well as The Walking Dead, this film has a slew of familiar faces. We have corrupt cops working one last heist for the mafia, and needing to sacrifice one of their own to do it. From early on this films delivers on action and adrenaline, but can the story and actors deliver an appropriate finish? How many times has Woody Harrelson played a law enforcement role? Why are accents such a problem for some actors? And if the Filmboard ever needed a sacrificial lamb, would we pick JJ or Tommy?

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

May 15, 2018
About Time
58:55

"All the time travel in the world can’t make someone love you."

If anyone has a handle on clever stories and quirky characters in romantic comedy dramas, it’s writer-director Richard Curtis. Whether it’s Four Weddings and a Funeral or Love, Actually or Notting Hill, he’s proven himself adept at writing (and sometimes directing) believable characters in charming situations falling in love with each other. Which is perhaps why his 2013 time travel film About Time is slightly frustrating. Yes, the rules absolutely work for a Curtis film, but when it comes to the time travel rules he sets up, he’s a lot more loose. But does it intrinsically ruin the film? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we work to figure this out in our continuing time travel series with Curtis’ About Time.

We talk about the nature of the rules Curtis establishes and complain at length about them, but make sure to also look at the film from the point of view of those who are likely more Curtis’ audience – perhaps they wouldn’t care as much. We go on and on about Domnhall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, three people all born to inhabit roles like these brilliantly. We debate the nature of the film and look at if Curtis’ story shift from meet-cute rom-com to a much headier family drama works for the film or against it. We ponder Curtis and his insistence to use cliche movie montage tropes. And we talk about the unique restaurant concept of dining in the dark and wonder how effective it was for the film.

It’s a cute film that’s got all the feels, even if it’s much sloppier than it needed to be. We have a great time talking about it and you’ll have a great time listening to it. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

May 10, 2018
Timecrimes
55:29

"Right now, there are three of me. You’re going to help me get rid of the other two."

After receiving an Oscar nomination for his short film 7:35 de la mañana, Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo went to work using his moment of glory to get his first feature written and financed. As is so often the case, he finally got it released years later, but Timecrimes was critically acclaimed and became quite the sci-fi festival darling. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t get the push it needed for its theatrical release and it died a quiet death at the box office. Luckily, its quality has kept people talking about it and watching it. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Time Travel series with Vigalondo’s 2007 film Timecrimes.

We talk about the twisty, turny nature of this story and work to piece it all together so that we can really figure out which version of Héctor is which and what he’s up to – and we think we figured it out! We revel in the glory of the time travel paradoxes created by the film as it relates to fate versus free will. We ponder the allegorical reading of the film as a take on adultery. And we look at the performers and how their acting works in context of the story being presented.

It’s a glorious time travel movie that’s a thrill to watch and puzzle through, and a great way to kick off our series, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

May 03, 2018
Giant
01:08:01

"Who gets a hold of this much land unless they took it off someone else?"

Looking at the characters James Dean played in his three leading roles, it’s clear that he was excited to play complex characters that weren’t easy to define as simply ‘protagonist’ or ‘antagonist.’ In his final film, Giant, Dean plays a cowhand that could have easily become a love interest in the first half of the film before he takes a darker turn later on. After looking at his previous films, it seems absolutely like a role Dean would take. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our series on Dean’s three films with George Stevens’ 1956 epic Giant.

We talk about the length of the film and the need for this to be an epic that also suffered from epic length – does it help or hinder? We chat about Dean’s brilliant performance paired with the other performers in the project, notably Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. We also ponder the name ‘Bick’ quite a bit, pondering its evolution. We dig into the scene where Dean serves Taylor some tea and pull out some interesting tidbits. We debate whether Around the World in 80 Days should have beaten this out of a Best Picture Oscar. And we revel in some of the elements in this film – racism, women’s rights – that feel fresh to see in a film from the 50s (and a sad reminder that we still have a ways to go).

It’s not one of our favorites (certainly not Pete’s) but there is a lot of interesting stuff going on here and it makes for a great conversation. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Apr 26, 2018
Felony — Trailer Rewind
46:21

"There’s a boy and he’s on the road and he’s had a - he’s fallen off his bike."

As Joel Edgerton is starting to become a familiar face for American audiences he is also starting to cultivate his behind the screen talents. This month JJ and Steve investigate Edgerton’s feature-length screenplay - 2014’s Felony. Edgerton shares the screen with Tom Wilkinson and Jai Courtney in this character-driven police thriller. While Steve was disappointed that this wasn’t the police procedural he thought it was setting out to be, JJ enjoyed this character-focused story on the human condition. But they both agree that the performances make this one worth adding to your list.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Apr 24, 2018
Rebel Without A Cause
01:20:01

"You’re tearing me apart!"

Possibly James Dean’s most iconic role, Rebel Without a Cause hit theaters in the fall of 1955 – less than a month after Dean’s tragic car crash that took his life – and immediately found its audience. The movie was a success, thanks in a large part to all of the teens that connected with the characters and the story, seeing more of themselves on-screen than they had before. Dean’s death made the film something to talk about, but the fact that the film had something to say too has made it a classic. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our James Dean series with Nicholas Ray’s 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause.

We talk about how the film struck us and why, looking at how Ray sets his characters up in the opening sequence and allows them to develop their problems over the course of the film. We chat about the tragic trio of young actors helming this film – Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo – reflecting not just on the tragedy their characters work through in this film but also the horrible deaths they all suffered at young ages. We look at Ray as a director and how his passion for CinemaScope led to some brilliant images here, not to mention a huge following with European cinéastes who tagged him as one of the great auteurs. We continue our discussion about the CinemaScope images as we look at what cinematographer Ernest Haller brings to the table. And we look at how iconic this film has become and how it’s influenced the arts since its creation.

It’s a fascinating film that we thoroughly enjoy and have a great time talking about. Yes, some of the story and performances may be a bit laughable by today’s standards, but when taken in context of the time and what Ray was trying to say, it’s all in context and works to make Ray’s point. So give it a try, then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Apr 19, 2018
Beirut — The Film Board
01:09:35

“2000 years of revenge, vendetta, murder. Welcome to Beirut”

Last week the U.S. and its allies once again fired missiles on Syria in a response to recent chemical weapons attacks in the country. On Friday, April 13th, the film Beirut opened in theaters with a story that depicts Lebanon in the 70s and 80s running through some of the darkest times in the region’s history. Yet The world today remains saddled with war and confusion regarding how to achieve peace in the middle east, so how does this film inform our current status? Does it enrich the conversation with historical drama or does it support an ongoing narrative of futility?

The movie is rife with controversy - critics are complaining about its lack of cultural accuracy, its storytelling focusing on a white savior type of story, and its remarkable release date on the anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War. Join our group of The Next Reel regulars as we try to get to the heart of the purpose in telling this story, decide where the film is meant to be in today’s entertainment industry landscape and ultimately whether you will like it or not. Click into this episode of the Film Board and you’ll hear Pete, Tommy, Steve and JJ all talk about what they brought home from Beirut.

When you support The Next Reel on Patreon, you get an invitation to our discord account to interact with all of us about the goings on in movies today! — http://patreon.com/thenextreel

Film Sundries

Apr 17, 2018
East of Eden
01:05:06

"Someday, he’s gonna know who his real son is!"

James Dean was the lead in only three films released in 1955 and 1956. He died tragically in a car crash on September 30th, 1955, only ever getting to see one of his three films finished. What he never got to see is how the performances he gave in those three films left an indelible impression on cinema, creating a voice for teenagers of the day and a cult icon for decades since. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we look back at James Dean’s career, kicking it off with Elia Kazan’s 1955 film East of Eden.

We talk about the adaptation from John Steinbeck’s novel, our thoughts on Steinbeck and this rather loose adaptation, and Kazan’s interpretation of it. We look at what Dean does here in the role of the bad son Cal opposite both Richard Davalos as his good brother Aron and his moralistic father Adam, played by Raymond Massey. We look at what the other performers bring to the table, notably Burl Ives, Julie Harris, Jo Van Fleet and Lois Smith, who is not only the last cast member still alive but also still working regularly. We marvel at the fantastic use of Cinemascope presented here as shot by Ted D. McCord. And we touch on why Kazan and Dean, both men who had problems with their own fathers, found such a connection to this story.

It’s a film that has its problems but largely is one that we enjoy – and certainly enjoy talking about. So read Steinbeck’s novel, check this out and tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel 

Apr 12, 2018
All That Jazz — Speakeasy with Guest Nic Sadler, DP
01:25:18

"I think we just lost the family audience."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer and inventor Nic Sadler joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Bob Fosse’s 1979 film All That Jazz.

We talk about the incredible honesty with which Fosse made this semi-autobiographical film and why it resonates so well with us. We discuss how challenging the film is and why that might be a good thing. We talk about the incredible editing by Alan Heim which the Motion Picture Editors Guild lists as the 4th best edited film, and why it sets a high bar. We of course chat about one of our favorites – Roy Scheider – and how he truly ruled the 70s. We dig into why cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno shot scenes the way he did, notably the readthrough where Joe has his heart attack. And we talk to Sadler about his own cinematography, notably the recent film Coherence, and how the filmmakers accomplished so much with so little.

It’s a brilliant (but challenging) film that celebrates filmmaking as much as it shows the negative side of success. We have a blast talking about it with Sadler so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Apr 10, 2018
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
01:18:52

"There’s no such thing as a perfect person."

After the box office failure of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and the box office success of Oldboy, Park Chan-Wook wanted to continue with the themes he’d been exploring of revenge but he wasn’t sure what angle to use. That’s when he struck on the idea of having a female protagonist. That, paired with the concept of justified vengeance, gave Park the idea he needed and Lady Vengeance was born. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our series on Park Chan-Wook’s unofficial vengeance trilogy with his 2005 film Lady Vengeance.

We talk about our feelings for the film and dig into why one of us really enjoyed the film and the other didn’t. (Hint: it largely centers around videos shown near the climax of the film.) We talk about Park and his cinematic style, looking at the successful elements that give so much life to his films, and the ones that are less successful, like his somewhat chaotic storytelling. We chat about the brilliant performance by Lee Yeong-Ae in the lead role and how she brings so much power to her performance. We touch on the cinematography by Chung Chung-hoon and why there is something really special with how Park works with his camera team. And we debate the concept of the ‘fade to black and white’ version that exists and ponder if we’ll ever get a chance to see it.

It’s a very divisive film that won’t be for everyone, but it made for a stimulating conversation. Check it out… if you think you’re up for it, then tune in! The Next Reel. When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Apr 05, 2018
Ready Player One — The Next Reel Film Board
01:11:33

"It’s the only place that feels like I mean anything."

Have you heard Steven Spielberg is rumored to be directing another Indiana Jones movie? (2020) It’s technically been “announced,” and the amazement that many people feel about that report after the wonder of “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” seems kinda like the wary optimism that the world brought to this month’s film board subject: Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.” The book by Ernest Cline was hugely popular but polarizing for some and it was loaded with 1980’s nostalgia set a seemingly unfilmable un-license-able virtual world. It’s very possible that Spielberg is one of the few people that could have made this a reality for the big screen.

We gathered The Film Board together this month to talk about everyone’s views on Spielberg’s rehashing the of old days and adapting its wealthy pop culture landscape. Steve, Andy, Tommy and JJ talk around the horn here about their childhood hooks, homage vs. innovation, unique artistic choices, and everybody’s favorite: fake things fighting fake things. Love or hate the rerun remake revision of your past, we’ll talk about what works about it for us and what unfortunately bites the dust. Log in to the cultural OASIS with us on this show because when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

When you support The Next Reel on Patreon, you get an invitation to our discord account to interact with all of us about the goings on in movies today! — http://patreon.com/thenextreel

Film Sundries

Apr 04, 2018
Oldboy
01:11:23

"I’m a sort of scholar, and my field of study is you."

After the box office failure of his previous film, Park Chan-Wook worked hard with his next script to make something that would really draw people in. He cast two of South Korea’s biggest stars to play the leads and based it on a successful manga comic, weaving a dark mystery together that was very operatic. And it worked! His 2003 film Oldboy was a huge box office success and garnered incredible praise for everyone involved. It also helped establish Park as a filmmaker of note. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our series on Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy with his film Oldboy.

We look at the nature of revenge taken in this film and how the truths of the characters contrast each other. We talk about the brilliant camerawork all through, notably the single-take hallway fight. We look at what Choi Min-Sik and Yu Ji-tae bring to the table as our protagonist and antagonist, and how there are definite comparisons to Oedipus and the Greek gods. We discuss the end of the film and how Park left it deliberately ambiguous. And we touch on the eating of live octopuses and why it can be deadly.

As crazy as this world is, it’s a film that is fully invested in making it real. We had a great time watching it and have an even better time talking about it. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel — when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Mar 29, 2018
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
01:09:36

"I’m not just any ordinary person."

Park Chan-Wook never set out to make a trilogy. His ‘vengeance trilogy,’ in fact, only was later dubbed that by international critics who felt the three films were connected through themes of revenge, violence, and salvation. Luckily, he was able to make the second and third films in this ‘trilogy’ because this first one didn’t connect with audiences and it lost money. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we kick off a new series looking at Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy with his 2002 film Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

We talk about the unique tone of the film, balancing absurdist humor with the dark themes of sacrifice, loss and revenge, and why that is possibly why audiences couldn’t connect with the film. We also look at the way that Park constructs films, and how his challenging storytelling style may also have kept audiences away. We chat about the editing, cinematography and script, looking at how they all come together to push the story forward in unexpected ways while allowing Park incredibly creative ways to show off his understanding of the language of cinema. We look at the interesting — and challenging — way the sound was designed and why it works in context of the film. And we look at some of the performances and why they work so well here. 

It’s a challenging film for sure, but one that we liked quite a bit. We have a great time talking about it here so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Thank you for supporting The Next Reel Film Podcast on Patreon! — https://patreon.com/thenextreel

Mar 22, 2018
Cuban Fury — Trailer Rewind
43:25

"Once I put those shoes on, I never wanted to take them off."

It’s time to put on your rubber-soled salsa shoes and hit the floor with JJ and Steve. This month they have got fire in their heels as they talk about Cuban Fury. For March they are lightening the mood with this romantic comedy from 2014 starring Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, and Ian McShane. This was Pete’s trailer pick from April 2014, and he predicted that writer Jon Brown was going to bring some of the same offensive humor that he brought to the tv series 'Misfits.' And boy did he ever! If there is one thing JJ wants you to know about this film it is how crude and offensive Chris O’Dowd’s character Drew is. If you can handle the crude shenanigans you will find that this is a film that is not just a romantic comedy but also the story of a man who rediscovers what truly brings joy to his heart.

Film Sundries

Mar 20, 2018
Detroit
01:09:16

"Everybody isn’t thieves and murderers."

It seems that after finding such success making films about real world situations in The Hurt Lockerand Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal wanted to keep going in that direction with their next project. They learned about the riots in Detroit in 1967 and, after doing many interviews, settled on a particular incident that took place at the Algiers Hotel. This ended up becoming the film Detroit, which was released almost to the day of the 50th anniversary of the incident. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close up this round of our Kathryn Bigelow series with her film from last year, Detroit.

We talk about how the film worked for us – Pete loved it, Andy really struggled with it – and debated about why that is. We look at the fantastic actors who carry this film – Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, John Boyega, Will Poulter, Hannah Murray and more – and discuss what they all bring to the table. We contemplate how the story was structured and debate if there might have been a different way to approach the story that could have made it more effective. And we touch on the cinematography by Barry Ackroyd and how the documentary handheld approach works really well with this story they’re telling.

There is plenty of debate as to whether this is a great film or a well-intentioned mess, but either way, it allows for a fantastic conversation. Check out the movie – it’s an important moment in American history even if you don’t end up liking the film – then tune in to this week’s show. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Mar 15, 2018
Ready Player One Re-recording Mixer in The Next Reel Speakeasy talking Local Hero
01:11:39

"I’m watching the sky, sir, and it’s doing some amazing things!"

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, one of the many Andy Nelsons in the film world — specifically Andy Nelson the re-recording mixer — joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Bill Forsyth’s 1983 film Local Hero.

We talk about why the film resonates to this day and why the film is such a wonderful celebration of the little things, the details that make life so memorable. We chat about the cast and what they bring to the table, notably Peter Riegert and Burt Lancaster. We ponder the webbed feet of Jenny Seagrove and are presented with a new thought – what if it’s only how the character of Oldsen sees them? We look at the final moments of the film and why it breaks our hearts so much. We talk about Mark Knopfler’s wonderful score and why it hits so well for us. We debate the title and ponder who specifically is the eponymous character. And, of course, we chat with Nelson about his career and what specifically a re-recording mixer does.

It’s a magical little film that warms our hearts and provides for a wonderful conversation. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel. When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

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Mar 13, 2018
Point Break
01:11:16

"It’s a state of mind."

Kathryn Bigelow already showed everyone that she could handle action in her films with projects like Near Dark and Blue Steel when she and her husband-at-the-time James Cameron took on the task of doing rewrites to her new project Johnny Utah. With Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves coming on board to play the two leads, she was ready to prove herself yet again. And while she didn’t walk away with a film as successful as Cameron’s T2, she did end up with one of her highest grossing films and a cult classic that defined action films and surfing for years to come. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Kathryn Bigelow series with her 1991 film Point Break.

We talk about how well this film holds up despite the years of mocking we gave it. We chat about Bigelow and how well she handles bank robbery action while balancing it brilliantly with the zen attitudes of the surfers. We look at what Reeves and Swayze bring to the table, as well as Lori Petty and national treasure Gary Busey. We compare the film with the 2015 remake, which largely doesn’t work as well as Bigelow’s film (even if it still is fun to watch). We discuss the foot chase sequence that involves a dog being thrown as well as the iconic moment of Reeves shooting his gun into the air and screaming “Arrrrhhh!”, and why the scene holds so much weight in this film and in action films to come. We touch on Swayze and his real skydiving moment that gives an authenticity to the film. And we revel in the delight of knowing about the cult play in which the Utah role is cast from the audience and asked to read their role from cue cards.

Point Break is a really fun film that is of its time without feeling dated. We have a great time talking about it and revel in the joy that it’s much better than we remembered. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Mar 08, 2018
Near Dark
01:13:49

"Normal folks, they don’t spit out bullets when you shoot ‘em, no sir!"

When trying to figure out a way to stand out for her first solo directorial project, Kathryn Bigelow and her co-writer Eric Red decided to add elements of the vampire genre to the western they were developing. And thus, Near Dark was born. Unfortunately, her film came out a few months after the big vampire film of the year, The Lost Boys, and hers was lost in the shuffle. Despite that, her film still left enough of a mark that enabled her to get her career off the ground. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off the second part of our Kathryn Bigelow series with her 1987 film Near Dark.

We talk about our expectations of a film marketed as a vampire western, and how well the movie actually meets them. We look at the trio of actors ported over from James Cameron’s Aliens — Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein — and discuss how well they do here paired with the other actors. We debate the strengths of the film and the weaknesses, finding plenty of both, and argue about which outweigh the other. We chat about the vampire tropes introduced here and ponder if this film does anything new with the genre that we hadn’t seen before. We discuss how Bigelow handles the camera, the lighting, the action and more throughout the film, seeing a clear line to some of her later films. And we ponder the penchant Hollywood writers seem to have with the way romance works so quickly in movies (it’s shorthand, we get it, but seriously? Sometimes, it’s too much.)

It’s a film that has problems that certainly weigh Pete’s opinion of it down while Andy still finds it enjoyable despite its issues. Coming at the film from these two positions allows for a fantastic conversation, so check the movie out then tune in! The Next Reel — when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Mar 01, 2018
Anomalisa — Trailer Rewind
46:54

"Sometimes there's no lesson. That's a lesson in itself."

Call the maid for turn down service, because this month JJ and Steve take on a movie that takes place in a hotel room. JJ and Steve spend time with Charlie Kaufman’s 2015 film, Anomalisa and discuss why it is an unsettling film. Although they both agree it is not a film that they will watch again, they end up giving it three stars. What is it that they find so compelling in the stop-motion animated film? Perhaps it’s the ever present voice of Tom Noonan, or could it be the rousing speech delivered by Michael Stone at the film’s climax? Listen in to this month’s Trailer Rewind to find out what makes Anomalisa an anomaly.

Film Sundries

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Feb 27, 2018
Funny Girl
01:14:04

"Hello, gorgeous."

Watching Funny Girl now, you would never guess that it was Barbra Streisand’s film debut. Sure, she originated the role on Broadway four years earlier, but performing on stage can be quite different than on film. Luckily, with William Wyler helming the project, she was in the right hands and delivered an iconic performance in a film that was a box office smash at the time. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Musicals From the 60s series with Wyler’s 1968 film Funny Girl.

We talk about Streisand and why she works so well in this film paired with Omar Sharif. We discuss the story and why it’s not nearly as memorable as the songs throughout, and we debate if a story more in line with the real relationship between Fanny Brice and Nick Arnstein would have worked better. We look at Wyler and what he’s bringing to the table, particularly with his cinematographer Harry Stradling Sr. We look at the production design and how it feels a bit uneven, fluctuating between very stagey sets and obvious location work. And we marvel at an amazing helicopter shot that stands out in a film with several cinematographic moments that are true highlights.

It’s a film that may be better remembered today for its music and for Streisand’s performance than for the story itself, but it’s still a very enjoyable watch. Check it out then tune in to this week’s show. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Feb 22, 2018
Black Panther — The Next Reel Film Board
01:11:55

"What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world"

The Marvel Madness continues this month with Black Panther and it brings some spectacular new looks to some tried and true traditions. This movie boasts a whole lot of firsts on the big screen and it’s set to shatter box office records for February. Entertainment Weekly said that this is the “Marvel movie for people who don’t like Marvel movies” and that it “could change Marvel movies forever.” All the front end hype means that it’s an important film to take in and a great one to talk about.

On this show, click in to hear Steve, Pete, Tommy and JJ get deep about what it means to be a cog in the Marvel machine and what happened in this movie to make it stand out from all the others. We’ll make some connections for any confusion regarding its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ultimately spoil the heck out of it and where things might go from here. Check out Black Panther in theaters now and then listen to this show because when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

When you support The Next Reel on Patreon, you get an invitation to our Discord account to interact with all of us about the goings on in movies today! — http://patreon.com/thenextreel

Film Sundries

Feb 20, 2018
Thoroughly Modern Millie
01:15:25

"Men say it’s criminal what women’ll do. What they’re forgetting is this is 1922."

By 1967, Julie Andrews was at the top of her game. Since Mary Poppins came out, she’d been in hit after hit, from The Sound of Music to Torn Curtain, so it was surely a thrill for her to jump into another musical – Thoroughly Modern Millie – with George Roy Hill, who had just directed her in Hawaii. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Musicals From the 60s series with Hill’s 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie.

We talk about why the film works well for us, even though there are elements within that we struggle with. We compare it to the last film we discussed – The Young Girls of Rochefort – which had some similar elements, but which didn’t work nearly as well for us. We look at how well the cast works here, from Andrews to James Fox, from Mary Tyler Moore to Carol Channing, from John Gavin to Pat Morita. We look at what Hill brings to the table with the direction, and how well he works with cinematographer Russell Metty and editor Stuart Gilmore. We chat about the music – both songs from the past and original songs – as well as the original and adapted scores (and try to figure out who actually did what). And we ponder if the racial stereotypes here are better or worse than those in Gone With the Wind.

It’s a riotously fun film that certainly has issues but is worth checking out. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week. Give it a watch then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Feb 15, 2018
The Young Girls of Rochefort
01:11:46

"Paris is small for a great passion like yours."

Jacques Demy already had great success with his 1964 musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg when he stepped up to direct The Young Girls of Rochefort. Continuing his same colorful style, Rochefort explodes with pastels and a supersaturated palette, not exactly lining up with the styles preferred by Demy’s French New Wave pals. That being said, he still found ways to subvert the genre so well established by Hollywood. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Musicals From the 60s series with Demy’s 1967 film The Young Girls of Rochefort.

We talk about the story and why it doesn’t work that well for us, even though the elements of subversion give us a bit more appreciation for what Demy was trying to do here. We chat about the great cast helmed by Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac and how well they do. We specifically discuss the three Americans who somehow found their way into this film – Gene Kelly, George Chakiris and Grover Dale. We look at Demy’s use of color and revel in the way he paints on screen with it. We ponder over the mysterious murder and debate as to why it’s in the film. And we revel in the glorious use of long takes all throughout the film and how the camerawork seems to be as choreographed as the dancing itself.

It’s a film with plenty of charm and dancing and singing and dancing and more and more and more. We struggled a bit with the film but it provided us with an interesting conversation. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Feb 08, 2018
Mary Poppins
01:15:24

"I feel what’s to happen all happened before."

Anyone who watched 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks knows what a difficult time Walt Disney had getting the rights to P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins” novels so he could make the cinematic adaptation. It’s quite a story, but what you don’t get from watching that film is the incredible experience of watching Mary Poppins itself. Sure, at a cursory glance, it’s a very episodic film with seemingly disconnected sequences of the titular character as she nannies the Banks children, Jane and Michael. But digging deeper, there’s quite a bit more there. What it seemed ol’ Uncle Walt did was make a film that had something to say to just about everybody. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Musicals From the 60s series with Robert Stevenson’s 1964 hit Mary Poppins.

We talk about the magic of this film and how our interpretations have evolved as we’ve grown up with it. We look at the casting which is practically perfect in every way, starting right at the top with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and going all the way down to Elsa Lanchester as Katie Nana (and beyond). We touch on the fabulous effects scattered all through the film, how Disney was always pushing the envelope with cinematic tricks and how his goal was to fool people constantly where just when they think they figure out how they did it, he does something else to mislead. We chat about the many incredible songs and why they work so well, as well as touching on some of our favorites. Specifically, we look at “Supercalifragilisticexpialodocious” in our Deep Scene Dive and why this silly song about a nonsense word has lasting impact through to the climax. And we ponder the possibilities of an Aliens/_Mary Poppins_ mashup as we struggle to add the movie to our Flickchart.

We have an absolutely delightful time with this film. It’s one for all ages (except for some grumpy Amazon reviewers). Definitely check it out, then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

Film Sundries

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Feb 01, 2018
A Good Day to Die Hard
01:17:03

"Do you know what I hate about the Americans? Everything. Especially cowboys."

With the surprise success of the fourth entry into the “Die Hard” franchise, it was inevitable that the studio would push for yet another film. It took six years, but eventually, they got it made. The script that was developed for the fifth film was the first one developed from an original idea in the franchise and was written by the scribe behind the theatrical adaptation of The A-Team. The director was brought on after making the adaptation of the video game Max Payne. It seems an odd pairing, but clearly, the producers felt they saw something on this team that they felt would bring something new to this franchise. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Die Hard series with John Moore’s 2013 film A Good Day to Die Hard.

We talk about Moore’s history, as well as that of writer Skip Woods, and try to figure out why they were the team brought on to make this film. We look at all of the elements that don’t work for us in this film but largely struggle most with the fact that they make McClane really unlikeable. We chat about Jai Courtney and why we really like him as McClane’s son, even if he wasn’t given a good script to really make his mark with. We also talk about Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yuliya Snigir, Rasha Bukvic and more as we look at what they bring to the table. We rank our favorite Yippee Ki-Yays and our franchise villains. And we dig into what works and what doesn’t in big action sequences like the car chase.

It’s a mess of a film that ruins so much of what’s great in the franchise, even while the filmmakers clearly still throw in references and callbacks as often as they can. We may not have liked it, but we have a great time talking about it. Check it out if you must, but tune in regardless! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Jan 25, 2018
Burnt — Trailer Rewind
44:10

"People eat because they are hungry; I want to make food that makes people stop eating."

To start off a new year of Trailer Rewind Steve and JJ sit down for a meal with John Wells’ 2015 film Burnt. This was Pete's pick because he just loves films set in restaurant kitchens almost as much as he loves zombie films. If only there were a film that combined those two genres!

This is the second pairing of Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, and JJ just eats it up. Steve, on the other hand, was expecting something different and found this didn’t quite suit his palate.

Is it possible to enjoy a movie with an unlikable main character? Did Harvey Weinstein tamper too much by insisting that Alicia Vikander have a character written for her added to the script? How could Steve possibly think this was going to be like a heist film? Is Burnt about food or redemption, or both? Listen in for the first of many Trailer Rewind episodes this year that won’t give JJ a fright.

Jan 23, 2018
Live Free or Die Hard
01:23:28

"You’re a Timex watch in a digital age."

Making a sequel is always a challenge, but making the fourth film in a franchise after a twelve-year hiatus seems like a recipe for disaster. Luckily, the team behind Live Free or Die Hard found a director who was a huge fan of the franchise and worked hard with his team to not just make a great film but to really make a sequel to the original film that was better than the others. Some people disagree but the box office shows that Len Wiseman’s take on the franchise was quite the success. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Die Hard series with Wiseman’s 2007 film Live Free or Die Hard.

We talk about why we enjoy this film so much and why we think some people had real issues with Wiseman’s direction (even if we didn’t). We chat about how well Bruce Willis works as John McClane in this installment and why his turn as the older, non-tech savvy cop struggling with how his life has shaped up works so well for the film. We touch on the other actors in the film – Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Cliff Curtis, Mary Elizabeth Olmstead and more – and talk about what they bring to the table. We revel in the amount of practical effects and stuntwork this team puts forth, really wowing us with the lengths they would go to so they could make the film that much cooler. We look at the semi-vs-F35 sequence and ponder the absurdities of the action in context of the franchise. We look at the brilliant parkour stunts done by Cyril Raffaelli and dig a bit into the history of it. And we look at the variety of “Yippie-ki-yays” in the series and rank ‘em.

It’s a fun film with a lot going for it, and certainly stands out as the best film since the first one. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

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Jan 18, 2018
Get Out DP Toby Oliver in The Next Reel Speakeasy talking Dunkirk
01:01:44

"We let you all down, didn’t we?"

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer Toby Oliver joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Christopher Nolan’s 2017 film Dunkirk.

We talk about Nolan’s decision to shoot on IMAX 65mm largely and how this affected the overall tone of the film and informed some of their decisions as to how it was shot. We chat about the nature of the story told across three separate time windows and how the structure gave us a fascinating perspective on how to look at this war story. We discuss the use of mostly new faces for the cast, barring a few key roles, and how that works effectively in a story with no real protagonist. We touch on Hans Zimmer and his tonal score and why it, paired with the incessant use of a ticking sound, is such a key part of the film. And we talk about Nolan’s insistence on using practical effects and why it likely helped inform the performances throughout the film by having real elements to which to react.

It’s a fascinating and powerful war film that feels very different and will be one to stand the test of time. We have a great time talking about it with Toby Oliver, as well as touching on his career. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Jan 16, 2018
Die Hard With a Vengeance
01:09:07

"Simon says."

When Jonathan Hensleigh’s spec script ‘Simon Says’ was bought by Twentieth Century Fox to be turned into a Die Hard sequel, he was thrilled. After all, his deal with Warner Bros. to turn it into a Lethal Weapon sequel had collapsed. What it meant, though, is finding a way to rework half of the script to make it fit something that would happen in John McClane’s world. For the most part, things work well, and with John McTiernan returning to the franchise, it’s a solid entry. But could it have been better? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Die Hard series with McTiernan’s 1995 film Die Hard With a Vengeance.

We talk about the incredible strengths the script and film have right out of the gate but how things slip quite a bit in the second half, even if it’s still a lot of fun. We discuss the buddy relationship brought forth this time with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson and why it works. We debate some dated elements of the script regarding arguments about race and quips about homosexuality. We look at the incredible stunt work paired with patient camera and editing to bring the maniacal drive through Central Park to the screen. We ponder how well the alternate ending could’ve worked because at least it brings back the riddle elements to the close. And we chat about some of the frustrating music Michael Kamen wrote for the film, sounding like bad 90s Eric Serra score.

It’s a fun film that has its faults but also has an incredibly strong first half. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week, so tune in then check it out! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Jan 11, 2018
Molly's Game — The Next Reel Film Board
01:00:14

"You don’t want to break the law when you’re breaking the law."

Happy New Year! We’re bringing you an early episode of The Film Board as a late Christmas gift this year. Molly’s Game was pre-released on the Holiday, but we gathered some thugs here as quickly as possible this week for its wide release. It’s based on the book by Colorado native Molly Bloom about her real life adventures running clandestine high stakes poker games with rich high profile players in Los Angeles and New York.

On this show, listen to Steve, Andy, and JJ examine Aaron Sorkin’s script and direction. They may try to gamble a bit about the film’s performance and purpose for coming out on Christmas. Jessica Chastain and company may be giving away some tells for big hollywood gold with this movie out in theaters now.

If you support The Next Reel on Patreon, you’ll be invited to our Slack channel to interact with all of us about the goings on in movies today! — http://patreon.com/thenextreel

Film Sundries

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Jan 09, 2018
Die Hard 2
01:21:06

"We are just up to our neck in terrorists again, John!"

Joel Silver was never a producer to shy away from giving the audience more of what they wanted. For the sequel to his 1988 action hit Die Hard, he tapped into director Renny Harlin and together, they pushed for more action, more humor, more stunts and… more of everything else the audiences got in the first film. But does that make a good sequel? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Die Hard series with Harlin’s 1990 film Die Hard 2.

We talk about the overall tone of the movie, what works with it and what doesn’t, and what may be forgivable in context of this being an over-the-top action film. We chat about how McClane is largely more unlikeable in this film and blame the writers with taking him down this road. We discuss the nature of terrorist films as summer entertainment – something John McTiernan had issue with when making the first film – and ponder if this film really kicked off a trend that made this kind of violence more okay for summer popcorn fare. We laugh at some of the more nonsensical plot elements scattered throughout this film and debate where the line is for one’s suspension of disbelief in a movie like this. And we praise Michael Kamen’s use of music throughout, even when he has to bring John Sibelius’ ‘Finlandia’ in for the parade of planes.

It’s a film that is full of problems that may or may not bother you – we certainly don’t come to any consensus here – but it’s still a fun entry into the Die Hard franchise. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Jan 04, 2018
Die Hard
01:28:34

"Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho."

‘Tis the holiday season, and what better way to kick it off than with everybody’s favorite Christmas action classic, Die Hard. John McTiernan had done Predator beforehand and proved he was the perfect person to helm this action thriller. But would an adaptation from a book about terrorism make for entertaining summer fare? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Die Hard series with McTiernan’s 1988 blockbuster Die Hard.

We talk about the adaptation from the original novel and why the terrorism elements were dropped in favor of the robbery elements. We also talk about why Frank Sinatra was the first person the studio went to when offering actors the chance to play John McClane. We look at what the film did for Bruce Willis’ career and why he was such a gamble to helm an action thriller that now seems like such a no-brainer. We discuss Jan de Bont’s cinematography and Michael Kamen’s score, not to mention the wonderful effects work that Thaine Morris put together. And we chat about the legacy the film has had and how it made pitching similar action films so easy (it’s Die Hard on a (fill in the blank)).

We love this movie which we definitely think is a Christmas movie. It’s one of our favorites and we’re thrilled to get a chance to talk about it. Put the movie on with the age-appropriate family for the holiday (definitely not the three-year-olds) then tune in to the show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Dec 28, 2017
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
01:07:06

"I’m a survivor, as you should know by now."

Stieg Larsson had plans to write an entire series of Millennium novels, but unfortunately died having only written three of them. Because of this, they’re often referred to as the Millennium trilogy. Sure, they have the same characters largely and are centered around the Millennium magazine, but it’s not really a trilogy per se. That being said, when making the three films, it didn’t stop the team from shooting them all back to back to keep the story as cohesive as possible. While it’s great having the three Swedish films feel so much of a whole, it is a challenge seeing this as a trilogy. It doesn’t help that the third film, Daniel Alfredson’s 2009 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, starts to feel a bit like the storytellers are stretching credulity a bit. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our series on the Millennium ‘trilogy’ with Alfredson’s film.

We talk about the basic struggles we have with the film, even if we still largely enjoy it. We look at the struggles all trilogies seem to face and how that often is expounded when they shoot them back to back. We talk about the cast and how well they do, most notably the women throughout. We look at the courtroom scene and Dr. Teleborian’s takedown, discussing the camerawork and performances and how that scene stands out as quite effective. And we come back around to talking about Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist and how great they are in their roles.

While we have issues with this film, it’s still one we enjoy and would return to. It’s a series of films that’s dark but definitely worth checking out. So check it out! Then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Dec 21, 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi — The Next Reel Film Board
01:33:08

"I need someone to show me my place in all this."

We did it! We got to Star Wars #8 without our own Starkiller of a planet disintegrating - and what a fantastic reward we have in store for you when all of the usual suspect gang of thugs gather here to spoil the heck out of The Last Jedi. There’s so many people holding back the inner secrets of this story on social media so that you won’t get spoiled, but we fly a squadron of X-wings right in the face of that on The Film Board. #THISISYOURSPOILERFIX

We’ve got everybody back for this one - Steve, Pete, Andy, Tommy, and JJ will let out their emotional children to rehash the beautiful epic themes that make up the Skywalker saga. Two years ago, when we discussed The Force Awakens it leapt to the top of our Flickchart. On this show we’ll see if the fandom carries over to the new movie too. Click with us and return balance to the force.

Film Sundries

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Dec 19, 2017
The Girl Who Played with Fire
01:07:45

"Hello, Papa."

Stieg Larsson’s second novel in the Millennium trilogy, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” saw the continuation of the story of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomqvist while they try to stop a sex trafficking ring in Sweden. The whole trilogy of books was a massive success, but the film version was given half the budget of the first film for some reason, while also being paired with a different director. Perhaps the producers knew the book wasn’t quite as good as the first one? Perhaps they figured they could spend less because people would be seeing it anyway? Whatever the reasons, it seems a bit like the ugly red-headed stepchild. But director Daniel Alfredson still put together an effective film, even if it feels a bit average at times. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on the Millennium trilogy with Alfredson’s 2009 take on The Girl Who Played With Fire.

We talk about the overall feel of the film and try to gauge why it doesn’t feel as fresh or original as the first film. We discuss the inevitable effects that a much lower budget has on those making the film and ponder if that affected Alfredson. We debate about Alfredson as a director and wonder what he’s bringing to the table. We are still thrilled with Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist as Lisbeth and Mikael, even if there are elements about them that can be more frustrating here. We look at Peter Mokrosinski’s cinematography and look at where it works and where it doesn’t. And we look at the script and how the adaptation works, questioning whether some of the poorer elements were thrust on the filmmakers by Larsson’s source material.

On the whole, we enjoy the film but not on the level of the first entry. Still, it allows for a great conversation, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins. 

Film Sundries

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Dec 14, 2017
Behind the Sites with Comscore's Paul Dergarabedian
01:13:26

As part of our ongoing series on the people behind the sites and services that serve the film-loving community, today we’re talking to Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for comScore. You may not be familiar with comScore but you’re likely familiar with reports on how well any particular movie did on any given weekend. comScore is the company that gathers all of that information from the movie theatres, organizes the statistics into useful information, and gets it back to the studios so they know how well their movies did. Paul works as the frontman for the company and is often seen as the face of the numbers in interviews far and wide. Paul joins us to talk about the exciting world of film statistics, how he got started in the business and his love for film.

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Dec 10, 2017
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
01:09:31

"Whatever it is that you’ve been through, you don’t have to tell me. I’m just glad you’re here."

With the international success of Stieg Larsson’s novel “Men Who Hate Women” and its sequels, it was inevitable that a cinematic version would be made. The three films that make up Larsson’s ‘Millennium Trilogy’ were made back to back and were all released in Sweden in 2009 before making their way around the world to financial and critical success. The first film, Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, introduced the world cinematically to both Lisbeth Salander and the actress who portrayed her – Noomie Rapace. Her work to bring Salander to life is largely what makes this trilogy stand out as one worth talking about. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off a series about the three films in the Millennium Trilogy with Oplev’s 2009 film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

We talk about the story and why it largely works so well – Lisbeth Salander. We look at Rapace as Salander and how well she does with Michael Nyqvist playing the man who brings her in to help him solve this case. We look at what Oplev does here cinematically and make some comparisons with the 2011 David Fincher remake. We chat about some of the violence with the story and debate what it does for the story itself. And we touch on some of the differences between the original cut and the extended TV cuts.

It’s a dark film but certainly one worth watching. We love the mystery presented here, but more importantly, we love that this film gave us Noomi Rapace. We have a great time talking about this movie, so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

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Dec 07, 2017
Faults — Trailer Rewind
47:25

"In the end there is a 50% chance you will have your daughter back."

It’s the last Trailer Rewind of 2017, and this time it's personal. When they decided to watch Andy’s trailer pick from our Syriana episode on February 20, 2015, Steve and JJ had no idea of the impact it would have on them. Writer/director Riley Stearns has crafted a dark tale exploring loss, free will, and the decisions people make that give others power over them.

This film checks all the boxes of a small independent film: character-driven story, few locations, and an important message to share. Faults is one of those rare exceptions that has found the perfect cast. Leland Orser is one of “those guys”, a familiar face often in a small supporting role. However, here he is one of the leads carrying this film. It is his portrayal of Ansel Roth, a burned out, down on his luck, and weary cult expert that holds this film together. He is joined by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as Claire, the subject of his deprogramming efforts.

It’s challenging to find an accurate adjective to describe the journey that we take with Ansel and Claire. At times Steve found some humor in it, while JJ found himself filled with anxiety. What they both agree on is that this is a film worth watching and discussing.

Film Sundries

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Dec 05, 2017
Labyrinth
01:39:26

"Turn back, Sarah. Turn back before it’s too late!"

After working on The Dark Crystal together, Jim Henson and Brian Froud wanted to do another project together, but they had a few stipulations. One, they didn’t want to tell a story that was so dark. Two, they didn’t want it to be all puppets – they wanted to include people as well. After locking those in, they came up with a concept that included goblins stealing a baby, and away they went. Steal away with us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we add another Listener’s Choice episode with Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, selected by Melanie from Melbourne!

We talk to Melanie about why she picked this film for us to discuss. We dig into our own histories with the movie and Andy acknowledges that some of his 13-year-old self may be coloring his view on the film today. We look at the film overall, both at what works and what doesn’t. We chat about Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie and look at what they’re each bringing to the table. We also talk about the slew of puppeteers working hard to make this world come to life through many types of puppetry. We debate the quality of Bowie’s music in the film, regardless of how catchy it may be. We look at some bigger issues going on in the film regarding adolescence and leaving childish ways behind (not to mention the timely lenses of seeing the film as a story about an older man lusting after a much younger girl). We look at Henson as a director and wonder if he might be more of a technician who brings amazing puppets to life than a director. We debate if the film feels cohesive or feels too disjointed. And we try to not comment on Bowie’s pants but find we can’t help ourselves.

It’s a film that one of us loves and the other finds fairly middle-ground, but one that warrants a fantastic discussion. So check it out (or don’t – it’s up to you) then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Nov 30, 2017
Treknology: The Science of Star Trek with Dr. Ethan Siegel
01:09:56

What’s this? More Trek? We can’t get enough of it! This week, Ethan Siegel joins Pete to talk about the science of Star Trek, talking through those questions that stumped us during our film series. From space propulsion to transporters, energy fields to sliding doors, Ethan builds a bridge connecting the fantastic technology that provides the foundation for the Trek future, back to the practical science of today.

Who is Ethan Siegel? He’s a Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator, who professes physics and astronomy at various colleges. He has won numerous awards for science writing since 2008 for his blog, “Starts With A Bang,” including the award for best science blog by the Institute of Physics. His two books, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive, and Beyond the Galaxy: How humanity looked beyond our Milky Way and discovered the entire Universe, are available wherever books are sold.

Links & Notes

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Nov 28, 2017
Wild Tales
01:06:24

"I’m submitting a complaint, exercising my rights as a citizen. That makes me a criminal?"

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There are many anthology films out in the universe, some better than others. It’s the better ones that have strong connective tissues tying the various short stories together. Sometimes, those ones are directed by many people, sometimes by the same person. When Damián Szifron realized he’d written a bunch of short stories that were all thematically similar, he thought back to TV anthology shows he loved like “Amazing Stories” or “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and decided to make an anthology film. With the thematic connections between these films, he’s turned out an incredibly strong movie that’s not only become the most seen film in Argentina but also an incredible financial success. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our series on Argentinean actor Ricardo Darín with Szifron’s 2014 film Wild Tales.

We talk about what makes a good anthology film and why so many don’t succeed as well as this one does. We look at each of the six stories and debate which are the best and why. We look at Darín and his character Simón and how “Bombita” became such an iconic Robin Hood type of figure for the people of Argentina. We discuss why Szifron’s film succeeds even though there isn’t an overarching story connecting everything together. And we talk about how this film really seemed to take Argentina by storm and look at why people reacted to this film the way they did.

It’s a fantastic anthology movie, it’s a fantastic film, and Darín is fantastic in it. We have a great time discussing it so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

 
 
Nov 23, 2017
The Secret in Their Eyes
01:15:20

"Memories are all we end up with."

Anyone who has seen a Ricardo Darín film knows he has very expressive eyes. The actors in the 2009 film El Secreto de Sus Ojos, or The Secret in Their Eyes, had to have more than just expressive eyes, though. They had to be able to carry heavy amounts of subtext in their eyes. And while director Juan José Campanella’s film is largely a detective story as Darín and his team work to solve a cold case, it’s also a story about unrequited love. Luckily, Campanella had worked with Darín before so he knew Darín could do it. And Darín pulls it off effortlessly, along with his costars Soledad Villamil and Guillermo Francella. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our series on actor Ricardo Darín with Campanella’s 2009 film The Secret in Their Eyes.

We talk about how well this film works for us and what Campanella achieves with this magnificent film. We look at the work Darín, Villamil and Francella bring to the table, not to mention their costars Pablo Rago, Mario Alarcón, Javier Godino and Carla Quevedo. We revel in the spectacular cinematography throughout the film from director of photography Félix Monti, discussing how they frame shots, the narrow depth of field, handheld shots and more. We look at the complexities involved in creating the spectacular stadium scene, and we contrast that with discussions about some smaller scenes. We discuss some of the themes of the film and how well they are balanced across the story, and we briefly discuss the American remake and why it doesn’t work for Andy.

It’s a fascinating film that sticks with you long after it ends. We love it and by now have fallen completely for the wonderful onscreen presence of Darín. He’s a brilliant actor and we had a great time talking about this film of his. So what are you waiting for? Watch this movie then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

Film Sundries

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Nov 16, 2017
Murder on the Orient Express — The Next Reel Film Board
01:03:11

"Use the little grey cells of the mind - and you will know!"

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The literary adaptation sub-faction of Film Board thugs gathers here to spoil the unraveling of Agatha Christie’s great mystery masterpiece. It’s an immensely remarkable award-laden cast gathered by Kenneth Branagh for this remake, but do they adequately slay the source material? It could be a crime to pull this relic out to confound new audiences — did the mustache pull it off? Do the filmmakers get away with it?

Andy, Tommy, and JJ conspire to stab at the victories and victims in films like this. This is a unique show for thugging in that you may want to listen to determine if this film is worth your time. If you love Agatha Christie, question the purpose of retreads, and don’t mind getting spoiled on who done it - click with us!

Film Sundries

Nov 14, 2017
Son of the Bride
01:07:44

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"When nothing can be worse than what happened, you feel powerful."

Juan José Campanella had developed a career bouncing back and forth between the US, where he would direct episodes of TV shows, and Argentina, where he was starting his feature film directing career. After his Argentinean feature film debut in 1999, he tapped his leading man – Ricardo Darín – to star in his next feature, El Hijo de la Novia, or The Son of the Bride, before he headed back to the States for more TV work. With a touching story about a man in a midlife crisis (if you look at it in the most basic sense), Campanella created a story that speaks to the honesty of love, of growing older, of the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s, of friendship – of life – and gave us a beautiful film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on Argentinean actor Ricardo Darín with his 2001 film Son of the Bride.

We talk about Darín and why he works so well in this role, despite the fact that he starts off as largely unlikeable. We talk about the others in the cast too – Héctor Alterio, Norma Aleandro, Natalia Verbeke and Eduardo Blanco – and what they all bring to the table here. We look at how Campanella structures his scenes and why they often work so well, despite being surrounded by a story that otherwise could become maudlin very quickly. We chat about Daniel Shulman’s cinematography, with a camera that often feels like it’s dancing, and about Camilo Antoloni’s editing, with a balance of edits that complements the shots. And we debate about the character of Juan Carlos and if his comedic elements worked or ended up being too much for us.

It’s a delightful film that touches the heart full of wonderful performances. We have a great time talking about this one. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Nov 09, 2017
Nine Queens
01:03:41

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"Of course I can buy it, but I can also not buy it as everybody else would do if they could."

Ricardo Darín was pretty much born into acting. Coming from a pair of actor parents, he started on Argentine television when he was just a boy and grew up in the industry, finding lots of success in TV, film, and theatre. But it was his role as con artist Marcos in Fabián Bielinsky’s film Nueve Reinas – or Nine Queens – that really cemented his role as one of Argentina’s key leading men. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off a new series celebrating the work of the fantastic Ricardo Darín starting with Bielinsky’s 2000 film Nine Queens.

We talk about Darín and how wonderful he is in this film, while we also ponder why it is perhaps that such a brilliant actor hasn’t tried to make the crossover into English language films. We discuss how Bielinsky got this film made after years of having no luck selling the script. We look at what cinematographer Marcelo Camorino is doing throughout the film with wonderful steadicam shots paired with long lens shots that really give the film a sense of voyeurism. We touch on the score by César Lerner and how it has a wide variety of styles throughout that pairs very effectively with the twists and turns of the con story. And we revel in said story, thrilled to see a con story work so effectively while also allowing for moments of small character beats that builds a stronger foundation for the script.

It’s a wonderful film that gets everything right, giving us a lot to look forward to in this series. So check out this movie then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

Nov 02, 2017
Star Trek Beyond
01:33:25

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"This is where the frontier pushes back."

With JJ Abrams busy working on that other space franchise, the new Trek film needed a new director. And who better to bring on board than Justin Lin, the man who rejuvenated the Fast & Furious franchise. Yes, it meant he was going to bring his big action directing to this franchise. But was that a bad thing? It also meant there would be fewer lens flares. Was that a good thing? More importantly, it was Paramount’s opportunity to celebrate 50 years since Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” started airing on TV, creating this future world that drew so many people to it. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close out our massive series with Lin’s 2016 film Star Trek Beyond.

We look at why we love this film so much, particularly since there are so many problems scattered throughout that we have with it. We contemplate Simon Pegg’s and Doug Jung’s script, wondering if perhaps Scotty might be stretching his legs more than he normally would because he’s writing it. We debate whether Idris Elba’s character Krall needed to have as much makeup as he has and if his motivations really make enough sense in the film for us not to worry about it. We discuss the spaceport Yorktown and revel in the beauty of it, notably because so much of it was filmed in Dubai. We ponder the future of the franchise, wondering how they’re going to bring Chris Hemsworth back in the next one. And we praise Michael Giacchino and his beautiful score for this film, notably his somber use of his Star Trek theme as well as the new Yorktown theme he develops.

All in all, it’s been a fun franchise to dig into for the last 13 weeks, and this film was exactly the finish we needed – a film that may have issues but has its heart in the right place. We have a great time talking about it on this week’s show. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Oct 26, 2017
Star Trek Into Darkness
01:15:12

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"My name is Khan."

When Paramount asked JJ Abrams and his team behind the 2009 Star Trek reboot to get started on a sequel, they took a while trying to break the story. From interviews, it sounded like they had well over 50 iterations of the story before they finally came up with the idea they went with. With all that time and those iterations, though, it struck many people as odd that they ended up deciding to tell a story that brought back Khan Noonien Singh, the antagonist from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as the villain. While the film is entertaining, it also feels unfresh because it’s retreading familiar territory. But that didn’t stop it from making its money back at the box office as it quickly earned the highest gross of any Trek film. But does that mean it’s good or just successful? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we get near the end of our Star Trek series with JJ Abrams’ 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness.

We talk about our problems with this film and try to evaluate why they may not be problems for those not as familiar with the earlier Trek lore. We look at how, at least for long-time Trek fans, this script makes it feel less like an homage to great elements in the past and more like a ripoff of a better story. We discuss our frustration with elements in the film, such as the treatment of female characters, the lack of understanding of the Prime Directive, the reliance on screenplay tropes like the departure of a betrayed friend, and more. We also look at elements of the film that we really like, such as the incredible world that starts us off, and the trip from ship to ship. And we dig deep into the opening sequence, introducing us to a primitive culture on a really cool planet.

While this film frustrates us on a number of levels, it still makes for a great conversation. So check it out, then tune in! The Next Reel: when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Oct 19, 2017
Miss Sloane — Trailer Rewind
39:23

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”A senator’s priority isn’t representing the people, it’s keeping his ass in office."

This month JJ and Steve are tasked with keeping up with Miss Sloane. This drastically overlooked film from December 2016 is based on a stellar script from first-time writer Jonathan Perera and directed by John Madden. This isn’t a political drama, it’s not a thriller, but there is a big question to be answered that drives this story. Find out why fans of Michael Clayton and Erin Brockovich will likely enjoy this hidden gem. The most important thing to know about Miss Sloane is that you don’t want to be spoiled. So check it out, and then tune in to our conversation.

Film Sundries

Oct 17, 2017
Star Trek
01:26:45

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"Your father was the captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother’s and yours. I dare you to do better."

With the financial disappointment of Star Trek: Nemesis, Paramount wasn’t so sure they would return to the well again. But in 2005, when Viacom/Paramount split from CBS, they had to get a movie in the works or risk losing rights to the property. Hence, Star Trek was born. But screenwriters Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and director JJ Abrams didn’t want to continue the story from where it left off – they felt it had been played out. They went back to one of the early ideas to have Kirk and Spock in their Academy years. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with Abrams’ 2009 film Star Trek.

We talk about the nature of this reboot, which is a bit more a rebirth or a timeline shift, and how well that works for us. We discuss the cast and how they all feel in the roles they inhabit. We look at the redesigned ship and how logical its interiors are in context of its exteriors. We chat about the kinetic energy Abrams brings to the film, and how well that works with Dan Mindel’s cinematography. We touch on Michael Giacchino’s score and what we think of it in context of the film as well as how well it stacks up to the rest of the music in the franchise thus far. And we look at the script and how wonderfully it develops the characters from their origins, notably Kirk and Spock.

We have a great time with this film – certainly one that stands out in the franchise. If you have been avoiding this series because you’re not a Trek fan, this might be the one worth trying to see what you think. Regardless, tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Oct 12, 2017
Blade Runner 2049 — The Next Reel Film Board
01:19:13

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"I did your job once. I was good at it."

The Film Board Gathers! This week on the show, we’re gearing up to hunt some rogue Nexus 8s and save all humanity with Denis Villeneuve's take on the Ridley Scott classic, Blade Runner 2049. How well does the new film respect the tone and style of the original? Does the film finally put to rest the mysteries of the first? Is Roger Deakins so good behind the camera?

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Villeneuve’s work, but we come to 2049with a none-too-subtle sense of anxiety. For Andy, Steve, and Pete, this film trods in the playground of our youths… did it really need to be made? Probably not. But since it’s here, what has it done to further the lore of the Blade Runner? We shall see…

Film Sundries

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Oct 10, 2017
Star Trek: Nemesis
01:25:36

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"I’m afraid you won’t survive to witness the victory of the echo over the voice."

Star Trek: Insurrection was a success at the box office, but not so much that the studio felt the need to get another Star Trek film into production right away. In fact, there didn’t seem to be much motivation to make one. That is until John Logan met Brent Spiner and the two not only hit it off but also became intent on writing the next film for the franchise. Once they found the right story, everyone got on board and Star Trek: Nemesis was born. But was there an audience for another Star Trek film or were people worn out with franchise fatigue? And could the team deliver a film that warranted its existence? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with the final of the Next Generation films, Stuart Baird’s 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis.

We talk about our memories of the film and how those memories may have shifted on this latest viewing, and why we think that is. We look at Tom Hardy as a young Jean-Luc Picard and talk about his effectiveness with this portrayal. We get a bit nerdy as we discuss Romulan history, the Remans and where they fit in, and how all of this works together in context for the story presented here. We chat about the look of the film, relishing in the darkness presented here by cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball, and how it works well with Herman Zimmerman’s sets and Jerry Goldsmith’s score. We look at elements within the film that relate to the story of duality going on here, notably with Picard/Shinzon, Data/B-4 and the Romulans/Remans; and we ponder how well some of those choices work for us. And we take a look at how we feel about the TNG films and how they work for us as a body of work as compared with the films from the original crew.

On the whole, we both had a much better time with this film than we’d remembered. We know it’s a much-maligned film, but we feel there’s more merit than we’d remembered. Check it out and see how it holds up for you, then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

Film Sundries

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Oct 05, 2017
Star Trek: Insurrection
01:18:27

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"How many people does it take, Admiral, before it becomes wrong?"

With the success of Star Trek: First Contact, a more action-oriented Star Trek film, the team behind it wanted their next film to be lighter in tone and more character-driven. To a certain extent, that’s exactly what audiences got, and a lot of people were disappointed because they were expecting so much more. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with Jonathan Frakes’ 1998 film Star Trek: Insurrection.

We talk about why this film seems a bit divisive with fans, and look at what works for us as well as what doesn’t. We chat about the nature of the script and if there was a fresh and exciting story buried in there. We look at what Frakes and co. bring to the table here and ponder why it feels more like a two-part TV episode than a movie. And we revel in the brilliance of F. Murray Abraham as Ru’afo, not just performance-wise but also with Michael Westmore’s brilliant makeup effects.

It’s a fairly middling film that has its moments of greatness that are often burdened by its moments of nonsense. Regardless, we have a great time talking about this one, so check it out! 

Film Sundries

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Sep 29, 2017
Kingsman: The Golden Circle — The Next Reel Film Board
01:15:07

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"Something made it through."

The Film Board gathers! This week we’re choosing sides with the Kingsman and the Statesmen as we take on Poppy and the minions in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Does Matthew Vaughn’s vaunted sequel deserve as much praise as K1? Do the Statesmen live up to our well-clad crusaders we know so well? Is Jeff Bridges just showing up to drink on set? We take on all these questions and…. End up more split on this film than perhaps any other we’ve covered on this show! Join Andy Nelson, Steven Sarmento, Tommy Handsome, and Pete Wright as we jump in the car and drift.

Film Sundries

Sep 26, 2017
Star Trek: First Contact
01:28:56

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"The line must be drawn here!"

The introduction of the Borg as an antagonist on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” gave the crew of the Enterprise – and the teams on subsequent shows – one of their greatest villains. Not only are they a terrifying collective, assimilating everyone they come into contact with, but they thematically are the antithesis of everything the franchise has come to represent about technology and the future. Because of all of this, they seemed a natural element to include in the TNG cinematic stories. But the studio wanted them to include a way to personify the villain more than they ever did in the show. The filmmakers also wanted to make a time travel film. With all of these elements, were they able to pull it together to make a cohesive film? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with Jonathan Frakes’ 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.

We talk about the Borg as a whole, both in the TV shows and this film, and debate how well they’re served with some of their rules and with the addition of the Borg queen. We praise the brilliant performances of the additional actors brought into the fold in this film – Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell and Alice Krige (even Neal McDonough) – and how we relish some of their scenes with our Enterprise crew. (Woodard’s scenes with Patrick Stewart all stand out as 5-star Star Trek.) We go through problems we have with the script, notably the introduction of the Borg queen and the lack of and conflict in the storyline on Earth, and debate what could have improved the movie. We look at what some of the crew, primarily cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti, composer Jerry Goldsmith and production designer Herman F. Zimmerman, bring to the table. And we run through a list of items in the film – items like Geordi’s ocular implants, the escape pods and Cromwell’s dancing – to find out if we loved it or hated it.

It’s a fun film that makes for an exciting watch, though with more visible problems that we’re seeing now. Still, we have a great time talking about it on this week’s show. So watch the film then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Sep 21, 2017
Little Sister — Trailer Rewind
32:57

"Look at you girl. All grown up like a librarian or something."

This month JJ and Steve are dealing with family drama in Zach Clark’s 2016 film Little Sister.

With a mix of nuns, GWAR, drug-laced muffins, and parenting failures this film proudly displays its independent film badge. With no clear, clean answers to many of the questions it raises, this film asks us to embrace a story with all its faults and disappointments, just as the characters must choose to accept their lives even though they may be far from what they hoped or dreamed they would be. Join us for a discussion of our pre-Halloween film and decide if Little Sister is worth making part of the family.

Film Sundries

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Sep 19, 2017
Star Trek: Generations
01:24:59

"Who am I to argue with the captain of the Enterprise?"

After seven successful seasons of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” it was time for their voyage to the big screen. For the first foray into the cinemas, the TNG team pulled several key crew from the show – notably the writers and director. Unfortunately, it made for a film that felt a bit like an expanded episode of the TV series, albeit made with a bigger budget. It also is mired by one of the more convoluted elements in any of the franchise films – the Nexus. Does that make it the worst of the franchise? Or does it have merits? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with David Carson’s 1994 film Star Trek: Generations.

We talk about the frustrations we have with this film and why the Nexus is such a problematic element within the story. We look at Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga – the two screenwriters – and ponder why they struggled so much with the concept and what they could’ve done differently to make an arguably better film. We debate the decision to bring Carson, Braga, Moore and even composer Dennis McCarthy, over from the TV show and why this decision may have lent to the small scope feel of the film. We relish in the relationship between Captain Picard and Data, notably in their conversation in Stellar Cartography, and what it brings forth in their relationship. And we complain about many other story issues we have with this film, looking at whether the issues here make it a better or worse film that Star Trek V.

It’s an interesting film to discuss that’s full of frustrations and missed opportunities. Regardless, we have a great time talking about it so check out the movie (or don’t) then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel: when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Sep 14, 2017
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
01:31:45

"We will not be the instigators of full scale war on the eve of universal peace!"

Even though “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was entering its fifth season and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier had underperformed, Paramount wanted to bring back the original crew of the Enterprise for one last hurrah to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the franchise. To write and helm the film, they turned to the man who arguably made the best film thus far, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Nicholas Meyer co-wrote it and ended up directing it as well, making a film that stands out as one of the high points of the franchise. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with Meyer’s 1991 film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

We talk about what this film means for the original crew and how it works as their final send-off. We look at the Shakespeare elements, along with other nods to world history, and discuss them in context of this universe – does it make sense for other races to be quoting ancient Earthlings – versus in context of us as viewers of the film. We dig deep into the scene when Spock double mind melds Kim Cattrall’s Valeris, how well that scene works for us and why. We discuss the context of the world at the time Meyer and team wrote and made this film and how well that connection benefits the story. We discuss Cliff Eidelman’s music and why it works so well, even if he largely stays away from the themes already built into the series. And we talk about the fantastic Klingon makeup done throughout the film and why we think it works so well.

It’s a film that stands out as Pete’s favorite of the franchise and one well worth talking about. Definitely check this one out. It’s well worth it. Then tune into the show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Sep 07, 2017
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
01:18:37

"I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!"

Leonard Nimoy had directed two Star Trek films so naturally, William Shatner wanted to give it a go. He even had a great concept for a story – the crew of the Enterprise goes on a quest to find God. Unfortunately, with a writers strike hitting Hollywood at the time, with an effects company that couldn’t deliver, and with a studio demanding as much humor as they could cram into the script, Shatner’s vision was muddled and became what many consider to be the worst of the original cast films in the franchise. But is it really that bad? Is it possible to get past the terrible humor and find a compelling story? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series and look for these answers and more in Shatner’s 1989 film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.”

We talk about the overall problems we have with this film but how the story itself is actually quite compelling. We look at how the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is developed in this film and what elements of that development work for us. We chat about the character of Sybok and the problem he created for many ardent fans – a laughing Vulcan! We shake our heads at much of the bad comedy and screenwriting that nearly buries the fascinating story in nonsense (and some would say DID bury it (buried alive…)). We look at the style and verve that Shatner infused in the film with the lighting and camera work, not to mention the incredible score he gets out of Jerry Goldsmith, returning to the franchise. And we ponder the merits of the Kraft Marshmallow (marshmelon?) Dispenser in all of its glory.

It’s an incredibly problematic film that represents some of the franchise’s worst… but also some of its best. We have a great time chatting about it so check it out then tune in! When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Aug 31, 2017
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
01:33:13

"Who would send a probe hundreds of light years to talk to a whale?"

With the success of their pair of Star Trek films under their belt, director Leonard Nimoy and producer Harve Bennett were asked once again to return to the well and bring forth yet another Star Trek story. This time, Nimoy had more free reign to make the film he wanted to make, and he and Bennett thought it would be nice to make something a bit lighter. Also? They wanted to feature time travel. So they put their heads together and came up with what we now know and love to be Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The film ended up wrapping things up nicely from the previous two films and became the closing entry of an unintentional trilogy that works well in the context of the three films and as a stand alone entry. But how well do the comedy stylings hold up with a modern eye? Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Star Trek series with Nimoy’s 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

We talk about what works in this film – the characters, the whales, the probe, the future – and what doesn’t – all of the slapstick in the present paired with a problematic screenplay – and why it still works for us. We look at the incredible effects from the team at ILM all through the film and how they were really continuing to do things here they hadn’t before. We chat about the core team and look briefly at Nichelle Nichols and her background. We debate the quality of the cinematography by Don Peterman and the score by Leonard Rosenman and ponder if either of a quality that warranted an Oscar nomination. And we look at the trailer, debating if it was any good or told us too much.

It’s a fun, light film as promised, but one that may not feel as appropriate in the franchise. Still, we have a fantastic time chatting about it. So check out the film – again or for the first time – and tune in! When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Aug 24, 2017
Experimenter — Trailer Rewind
37:49

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."

This month JJ and Steve learn a lesson in obedience with 2015’s Experimenter. Peter Sarsgaard takes us through the career of Stanley Milgram, and is accompanied by a cast of familiar and friendly faces: Winona Ryder, Anthony Edwards, Jim Gaffigan, John Leguizamo, Taryn Manning, and the late Anton Yelchin. Milgram is best known for his obedience experiments that asked people to administer increasingly painful shocks to a stranger in another room. Milgram learned that people will be obedient to an authority figure. So download this episode and push play.

Push play.

You must continue with this and push play. I will bear the responsibility. Push play . . . now.

Film Sundries

Aug 22, 2017
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
01:17:41

"My God, Bones, what have I done?"

Because of the critical and financial success of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Paramount quickly put plans into action for part three, telling Harve Bennett to get them a script as quickly as he could. And he did. Soon, they had brought Leonard Nimoy on to direct, feeling okay that he could handle it since his part of Spock had such a diminished role in the film. And two years later, they had a film in theatres. But does it work? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek series with Leonard Nimoy’s 1984 film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

We talk about the elements of the film that work for us – the incredible ship modelwork, the destruction of the Enterprise, the parts of canon introduced here – and we talk about what didn’t work, which generally focuses on the script. We chat about Nimoy as a director and what he and Bennett brought to the table here – notably their senses of humor – and why that largely doesn’t work for us. We discuss the sequence where Kirk makes the fateful decision to blow up the Enterprise in order to escape the clutches of the Klingons and look at what the team is bringing to the table in that sequence. We touch on James Horner’s score, continuing from the previous film, and love how much it helps build the destruction of the Enterprise. And we ponder the theme so beautifully illustrated in the previous film about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, and how this film bungles up that entire message.

It’s a frustrating film to watch but one we still enjoy, probably in part because it helps connect the dots within this mini franchise trilogy. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel. When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Aug 17, 2017
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
01:12:17

"You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been, and always shall be, yours."

The ‘failure’ of the first Star Trek film put Paramount in the frame of mind where they needed to do a few things if they were to keep the franchise moving forward. 1) Drop the budget to something much more meager. 2) Add some action to the story. 3) Get rid of the needy creator and producer Gene Roddenberry. They did all three and luckily, the pieces fell into place in a way where they truly ended up with one of the great sci-fi films of all time and arguably the best in the franchise. It’s possible it could’ve been a disaster, but director Nicholas Meyer paired with new producer Harve Bennett – both new to the world of Trek – seemed to approach it the right way. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Star Trek marathon with Nicholas Meyer’s 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

We talk about the risk of telling a story that is essentially a sequel to a TV episode that ran 15 years earlier, yet how well it works (and the fact that it still can work for you if you never saw that episode). We chat about the ousting of Roddenberry and how Bennett’s and Meyer’s approach seemed to work well for the franchise, especially certain nautical and militaristic elements Meyer wanted to add. We look at what Industrial Light & Magic brought to the table, notably the Genesis effect video but also all the incredible model work (all done at the same time as Poltergeist and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial). We look at the story of Khan and discuss why it works so well here, paired with themes of friendship and aging, etc. And we dig deep into a scene where Khan steals the Genesis device and he and Kirk have an incredible com-to-com monologue-off.

It’s a brilliant film and has stood the test of time with its action-packed, tense, funny, dramatic, operatic, heartbreaking story and one we have a great time discussing. So check out the movie – watch it again if you’ve seen it already because it’s really that good – then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

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Aug 10, 2017
The Dark Tower — The Next Reel Film Board
01:00:16

"Something made it through."

Stephen King’s opus inspired the movie and The Film Board gathers here to throw out a bunch of thoughts on it. There will be talk about the source material for this story and what needed to happen for it to come together on the big screen. How’s that old turn go again about the baby and the bathwater? We’ll try to pin that metaphor on the relevant elements as we break down The Dark Tower.

Andy, Tommy, and JJ are all in to muse about the way things were before the world moved on. Have we forgotten the face of our fathers? Join us for palaver on this cherished epic and we say “Thankee-sai.”

Film Sundries

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Aug 08, 2017
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
01:12:32

"The creator has not answered."

It wasn’t until syndication that Paramount realized that it had a property they could continue milking in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series. Even then, however, they struggled to get a film adaptation made. After dropping the idea and settling for a new TV series called Star Trek: Phase II which they began developing, the theatrical releases of Star Wars and Close Encounters made them realize that science fiction movies could work. So back to the drawing board they went and after a few years, Paramount was ready to release Robert Wise’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture in theatres. It proved successful and spawned a massive franchise that has found legions of fans worldwide. Yet Wise’s film still has its detractors – whether it’s the pacing, the acting, or the plot, there are those who dislike the film. So is it a worthy start to the film franchise? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our biggest series to date – The Star Trek series – with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

We look at the film’s trailer and talk about who it was marketed to and why it worked. We discuss the pacing of the film and why it’s caused such dislike for the film, even if it doesn’t sound like it was entirely intentional. We look intently at one scene and discuss the actors, the camerawork, direction, themes and everything else to see how that one scene fits in context of the overall film. We chat about split diopters and how frequent they are in the film. And we look at how well the film did (hint: well enough to birth a franchise!).

We have a great time starting up this new series with one of the more divisive films of the franchise. Definitely check it out (but bring your coffee!) then tune in! The Next Reel. When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

 

Film Sundries

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Aug 03, 2017
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets — The Next Reel Film Board
01:11:01

"The whole universe is after us."

The Film Boards drops out of Exospace this month to experience the other-dimensional adventure of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Luc Besson brings this graphic novel adaptation to us in what the trailers described as a vision that was “a lifetime in the making” from source material that “inspired a generation.” We’re getting thuggy with it to identify which generation in what lifetime.

Pete, Steve, and JJ will discuss and rank all the crazy computer effects and the future space story and which of those is a stronger complement for the other. Besson’s “The Fifth Element” has been a polarizing film for science fiction lovers in the world. Listen to this conversation to find out which end of the see-saw belongs to Valerian.

Film Sundries

Jul 25, 2017
Hunt for the Wilderpeople — Trailer Rewind
38:17

“You know, sometimes in life it seems like there's no way out. Like a sheep trapped in a maze designed by wolves.“

This month, JJ and Steve are off into the deep bush country of New Zealand to track down one of Andy’s trailer picks from last year. What they find is an unexpected treasure full of beautiful camera work, lovable characters, and a variety of unexpected film references. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one of those rare four-quadrant films that appeals to everyone. There’s action and adventure, fish-out-of-water comedy, and a great relationship story between a wanna-be gangster teen and a crotchety backcountry hunter. So gather your friends and family together to watch this overlooked gem.

Film Sundries

Jul 18, 2017
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
01:18:27

"Prepare to feel the wrath of the League of Evil Exes!"

After making Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright signed on to direct the adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” but due to project delays, it would be another six years before his film would hit the screen. In the interim, Wright would continue his Cornetto trilogy with Hot Fuzz and O’Malley would nearly finish writing the other five volumes of his “Scott Pilgrim” series. That time also allowed Wright, O’Malley and screenwriter Michael Bacall to get the screenplay just right. Unfortunately, when the film was released in theaters, it never found its audience. But like any good cult film does, it has since found its legions of fans and supporters, proving that Wright and co. know how to put together a top-notch film even if it loses money at the box office. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we do our second Listener’s Choice episode of the year with listener Nick Langdon’s pick, Wright’s 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

We talk about Wright’s style and all the visual, aural, animated and graphic tricks all through the film that work incredibly well for us, and marvel at how well Wright really taps into the world of these characters. We discuss the actors – from Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead to Brandon Routh, Chris Evans and Jason Schwartzman – and look at what they bring to the table. We touch on the production and how all the different departments really came together to deliver something wholly unique. And we chat with Langdon about why he picked this movie and why it’s something special to him.

We have a great time discussing this film and everything Wright and team create for us. It’s a marvelous film and one well worth discussing. So check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

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Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Woodshock — "Having taken classes in college with the great avant garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage, I have to say I’ve grown a real appreciation for artful films like this one looks like. The story sounds quite depressing but the artfulness of it looks gorgeous. I’m incredibly curious to see this one."
  • Pete's Trailer: To the Bone — "Marti Noxon is behind some of my very favorite episodes of Buffy, Angel, Glee, Private Practice… she’s been all over TV for 25 years. To the Bone is her first feature, written and directed, and based on her history on the small screen that’s all I need to get into this movie. Tough subject, but Keanu’s playing it straight, and Lily Collins looks absolutely terrific."
Jun 29, 2017
Return of the Living Dead — No, No, Wait! Hear Me Out!
13:52

"The important question is, where do they get all the skeletons with perfect teeth?"

Tommy Handsome is back with his take on Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 zombie romp, The Return of the Living Dead. And before you hang up the podcast machine, wait, wait! Hear him out! This film brings some surprising horror chops in spite of the camp legacy in its wake starting with director O’Bannon himself… yes, that O’Bannon, of Alien, Lifeforce, Total Recall and more. If that doesn’t make the little hairs stand up, maybe you’ll get excited when you finally hear, in the words of a zombie herself, why she has a never-ending hunger… for brains… brains… brains…?

Film Sundries

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Jun 27, 2017
Kundun
01:07:04

"He dared to be born right on the border with China."

Regardless of whether you are a Buddhist or not, the story of Tenzin Gyatso is an interesting one that certainly provides drama that can draw you in. Born as the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Gyatso grew up as the leader of Tibet. China, however, had other plans and eventually took Tibet, leaving the Dalai Lama no choice but to flee China in 1959. Still hoping to return one day, the Dalai Lama’s life story was one of interest to screenwriter Melissa Mathison who asked him if she could write about him. This eventually led to the biopic Kundun. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Melissa Mathison series with Martin Scorsese’s 1997 film Kundun.

We talk about why it works for Andy but why it doesn’t work for Pete, and what could perhaps lead to that discrepancy. We chat about Mathison and how this fits in the films she wrote and what we’ve discussed in this series thus far, and how well it works in telling the story of a child in large, otherworldly situations. We talk about Scorsese and all the brilliant cinematic techniques he brings to the film, paired with his cinematographer Roger Deakins, production & costume designer Dante Ferretti, editor Thelma Schoonmaker and composer Philip Glass. We discuss the quality of performances from the Tibetan non-actors Scorsese cast in the film, yet how the story balancing across four youthful performances as the Dalai Lama hampers the film from becoming connectible for Pete. And we look at the incredibly difficult time this film has had with its release, primarily because China banned people involved from entering the country and nearly cut off all ties with Disney for distribution within its borders.

It’s a fascinating film that left us divided but which still is well worth watching and discussing, whether you’re a Buddhist, a Scorsese fan, a Mathison fan, a fan of biopics or a fan of interesting films in general. It’s tricky to find because of the issues Disney had with China, but it’s worth seeking out (likely at your local public library). So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel: when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Pete's Trailer: Goodbye Christopher Robin — "Can you believe I almost picked Flatliners over this? What am I, nutz? Huge fan of the Pooh and a proper biopic is well deserved. Love that this comes from Simon Curtis and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce (Code 46, yes?) and should make a spot-on double with Saving Mr. Banks."
  • Andy's Trailer: Happy Death Day — "Pete takes the high road while I take the low. Instead of Brigsby Bear, I’m going with Happy Death Day. That’s right, a funny, twisted and hopefully scary blend of Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow”. As much as it looks like so many horror movies I’ve seen before, I couldn’t help but smile as I watched this trailer. Dumb? Probably. Will I see it? Definitely.
Jun 22, 2017
The History of Future Folk — Trailer Rewind
07:03

"Hondo!"

This month, Steve digs through the archives to revisit The History of Future Folk, a quirky indie that punches well above its weight. Yes, it’s a musical comedy about banjo-playing aliens. Yes, it’s the fictional backstory of a comic duo you’ve likely never heard of. But in all the indsiderness of Future Folk, there’s a delightful amount of heart that is so much more gratifying because my expectations were low going into it. Most gratifying? After re-watching the film, it just gets better.

So do yourselves a favor and check out The History of Future Folk… quickly and quietly for Hondo.

Film Sundries

Jun 20, 2017
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
01:21:34

"I’m keeping him."

Steven Spielberg didn’t have a sense that his little, personal alien film was going to blow up like it did when he was making it. Universal Studios saw it as another kids film that likely would only be seen by moms taking their kids to the theatre. But E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial managed to touch pretty much the hearts of everyone who saw it, turning it into the #1 film in the world in short order. So how does this film hold up? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – to find out as we continue our screenwriter Melissa Mathison series with Spielberg’s 1982 film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

We talk about emotional films versus intellectual films, if there really is a delineation, and how well Spielberg manages both spectrums but how brilliantly this film is able to connect with the world’s emotions. We chat about how Mathison’s first draft was near perfect when she delivered it to Spielberg, and perhaps why it worked out that way. We look at Spielberg and what he brings to the table as the director who seems to consistently bring brilliant films to the world, as is evidenced by the incredible number of them on the list of top-grossing films of all time. We discuss the actors – Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote and more – and look at the honesty they’re all presenting on screen for us. We touch on the special effects and why perhaps it’s easy to grow attached to Carlo Rimbaldi’s ugly little alien. We debate whether John Williams’ score sounds a bit too much like his work in Raiders of the Lost Ark or if it’s wholly unique for this film. And we look at how well this movie did and marvel at how long it played in theaters.

It’s a beautiful film that still works incredibly well for us. We have a great time discussing it so check it out again and let us know what you think, then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Patti Cake$ — "I hadn’t heard much about this except that it got great buzz at Sundance. Watching the trailer, I could see why. The lead character’s sense of struggle and place in the world comes through brilliantly and I couldn’t help but smile. It could be that I really enjoy rap battle redemption stories – I loved 8 Mile too – but from the trailer I get a sense that it’s just because this is a strong film."
  • Pete's Trailer: Landline — "As much a story of sisters awkwardly navigating their relationship as it appears to be a detective story, set in 1995 and clearly having an amazing time with the period. The trailer is heartwarming, intriguing, well-timed… a pleasant surprise among a spate of shooters on deck."
Jun 15, 2017
The Mummy — The Next Reel Film Board
01:15:01

"We recognize, examine, contain, destroy."

THE FILM BOARD GATHERS! This month we all got wrapped up in the first film release for the “Dark Universe.” Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe give us an entry into a new world of Gods and Monsters in “The Mummy.” We will dispense our signature thuggery on evil incarnate and spoil the whole ball of bandages for you on this month’s show.

Is this a fresh franchise exhuming classic horror characters from the 20’s and 30’s for an entertaining thrill ride or just to provide a shallow star showcase? Join us on the show to hear opinions from our horrified hosts: Andy, Steve, Tommy, and JJ!

If you like the work we do here, please consider supporting The Film Board and all the shows at The Next Reel on our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/thenextreel. Thank you!

Film Sundries

Jun 13, 2017
The Black Stallion
01:18:07

"We’re gonna show everybody that he’s the fastest horse in the world."

Francis Ford Coppola’s successes in the 70s put him in a place where he was able to help a good number of people get projects off the ground. One of those people was his friend from college, Carroll Ballard. Nearly broke, Coppola’s call came just in time and Ballard found himself on board to direct The Black Stallion. Another person was Melissa Mathison, a friend who started working as an assistant on The Godfather, Part II. Coppola suggested to her that she start writing and asked her to help with the script for The Black Stallion. Next thing you know, she and Ballard are working on it together. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Melissa Mathison series with 1979’s The Black Stallion.

We talk about why this film is called an art film for kids and why all of these elements work so well for us. We chat about Mathison, how she got her start here and how she really became a go-to writer for stories with child protagonists who connected to something unique or magical in the world. We discuss the cast, headlined by Kelly Reno as Alec the boy, and Cass-Olé the beautiful Arabian horse. We touch on the cinematography, the sound, the editing and the music, enjoying what everyone’s bringing to the table. And we touch on the locations around the world where the film was shot.

It’s a gorgeous film that isn’t just something made for kids – it’s really for everyone. We have a great conversation about it. Tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: What Happened to Monday — "I love scifi films that paint a unique future. This film certainly does, with septuplets trying to find their lost sister in a world where people can have only one child. I’m a little skeptical from the director’s credits but at least from those, I’d like to think this will be fun. I’m just hoping it’ll have some serious meat to it as well, which I always love in scifi. We shall see..."
  • Pete's Trailer: American Made — "Another film in the catalog of Tom Cruise, who clearly made a deal with a power that allows him to Benjamin Button. I’m in for Doug Liman because of Bourne, Edge of Tomorrow, and in spite of Jumper. Lots of earned equity in my book and drug-running for the CIA seems par for the course in today’s news."
Jun 08, 2017
Howl's Moving Castle
01:00:14

"Nothing but witches and wizards ahead."

Hayao Miyazaki did not attend the Oscars to pick up his Academy Award for Best Animated Film for Spirited Away because he was protesting the Iraq War. When it came time to make his next film, he took his frustration with the war and added a strong anti-war element to Howl’s Moving Castle. Diane Wynne Jones’ original novel, upon which the movie was based, didn’t focus nearly as much on the war but Miyazaki wanted to get his point across. In the end, his film still proved vastly successful, even if it’s not his strongest film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our latest Hayao Miyazaki series with his 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle.

We talk about the themes Miyazaki is pushing with this film and why, perhaps, his insistence in adding so much war to the film kept him from focusing on other elements of the story that could’ve provided more cohesion. We chat about how we still enjoy this world created here for us, despite some of this lack of cohesion. We discuss the English and Japanese voice actors, pointing out the ones that worked well for us and the ones that didn’t. We touch on some of the French locations Miyazaki used as inspiration to create this world. We revel in the beautiful music that Joe Hisaishi composed for this film, and we marvel at how successful this film was in Japan, even if it wasn’t at the top of our Miyazaki chart.

It’s a beautiful film told in an incredibly creative world with a plot that’s a bit messy, but still worth watching. Check it out then tune in! When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Wonder — "Yes, I’m a sucker for these sorts of movies that totally pull at my heartstrings. All it took was this trailer for me to be practically in tears. Honestly, I picked this because I’m so excited by Jacob Tremblay and want to see how his career evolves. Incredible child actor who’s making some interesting choices."
  • Pete's Trailer: Logan Lucky — "Guess what? Soderbergh is back! Again! And this time he’s got a NASCAR caper that would appear to lampoon-ebrate the deep culture of the south. I’m a big fan of Soderbergh’s caper flicks so you can count me in for any fast-drivin’, Daniel Craigin’, one-armin’ good times on the speedway."
Jun 01, 2017
Spirited Away
01:08:10

"If I hear one little complaint out of you, you’ll be joining your parents in the pigpen!"

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 film Spirited Away shot to the top of the Japanese box office and still holds the spot as the highest grossing film in Japanese history, sinking box office juggernaut Titanic. Perhaps it says a lot that it’s a Japanese story that is so universally appealing and that it’s for all ages. Or that it’s timeless. Regardless of why it’s so popular, it’s great to see Miyazaki as the person whose creation holds that spot. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Hayao Miyazaki series with this beautiful film Spirited Away.

We talk about why this film works so well for us and the various elements of the story that put it at the top of the heap of his films, or at least near to it. We chat about the voice talent and how well they all work in both the original Japanese version as well as the English dub. We discuss the characters and how well they work here, notably Chihiro and the journey she takes in this crazy spirit world to grow into a stronger 10-year-old girl. We touch on the integration Miyazaki and his team uses in this film and how it works fluidly throughout. We chat about how well the film was received, both via awards as well as box office. And we can’t let a score of Joe Hisaishi go by without chatting about how well it works for us.

It’s a beautiful film that stands as a timeless masterpiece. We love it and have a great time talking about it. Tune in! At The Next Reel, when the movie ends, the conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Good Time — "A24 looks to be distributing another really interesting film, this time from the Safdie brothers and starring Robert Pattinson, an actor I gain more and more respect for as he gets away from the Twilight pigeonhole. I’m really intrigued by these characters and will definitely seek this one out."
  • Pete's Trailer: Okja — "When I first saw the promotional art I passed over Okja. That was a mistake. Had I known it was Bong Joon Ho’s latest, or that it involved pretty much the cast of Snowpiercer, or that it was all about genetically engineering an adorable pig creature and then solving the world’s food crisis with it, well, I would have paid more attention."
May 25, 2017
Alien: Covenant — The Film Board
01:11:56

"One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony."

The Film Board Gathers! This month we’ve hit the Feel-a-Round Cineplex for Ridley Scott’s latest entry to the Alien Cinematic Universe: Alien: Covenant. The film tells the story of a colony ship on their way to brave new horizons seeding a distant planet with new life when they have to go check out this one thing on that one other planet only to discover… yeah, you know the drill. How well does Scott get us back into the Alienscape and engaged with this fancy new crew? What do we make of cinematographer Dariusz Wolski’s camera as a window into this new Alien? How much would we pay to see a standalone film of Michael Fassbender talking to Michael Fassbender? All these questions answered, and SO much more as as Steve Sarmento leads Andy Nelson and Pete Wright on a journey through the deepest, darkest alien woods.

Film Sundries

May 23, 2017
Princess Mononoke
01:18:06

"When you’re going to kill a god, let someone else do the dirty work."

Hayao Miyazaki has always had a strong relationship with nature that he’s portrayed in a number of his films, but nowhere has it grown as dark as it did in his 1997 film Princess Mononoke. While an animated film, the level of violence is very high and the themes are much more adult than his previous films, particularly fare like My Neighbor Totoro. And while he hasn’t returned to such dark films since, it’s clear that this was an important step in his storytelling and how his films look at the relationship between man and nature. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our second Hayao Miyazaki series with his 1997 film Princess Mononoke.

We talk about the violence in this film, what our thoughts are with showing these films to children (in particular our own) and why we think there is a strength in kids seeing films like this. We discuss Miyazaki and the themes presented here, notably how mankind is left in a position that allows for growth in responsibility, and why it works for us, even if the storytelling doesn’t work for both of us. We chat about the cast, both Japanese and English, and which performances work better for us than others. We look at the sound editing by Michihiro Itô and gorgeous score by Joe Hisaishi and how well they both work to enhance the world Miyazaki creates. And we look at the yin yang nature of everything within the film and why it works in context of the Tokien-esque story.

It’s a strong film with a powerful message that worked better for Andy than it did for Pete, but it allows for a lot of interesting elements to discuss. So check out the movie then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, the conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Hero — "Sam Elliott deserves to be the lead more often and this trailer made me so happy to see him doing it! It doesn’t hurt that this looks like a great character film. Count me in!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Unlocked — "It’s Bourne, but with a lady!"
May 18, 2017
No
01:16:09

"Happiness is in your hands."

The role of advertising in politics is constantly evolving. From radio to TV to the internet and now to specifically pinpointed Facebook ads and beyond, it’s amazing how complex the system has grown. But watching how advertising affected the Chilean dictatorship of Pinochet and brought about his downfall in the late 80s in Pablo Larraín’s film No, it’s clear that those behind the ads just might understand our decision making process better than we do. And it’s downright frightening. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our discussion of the films in Pablo Larraín’s unintentional trilogy with a conversation about 2012’s No.

We talk about how well the film works for us and how frightening and sad it really is, looking at what it says about people and the advertising machine’s grasp of them. We chat about Larraín and his direction of this script adapted from an unpublished play, and why both the script and Larraín’s choice to film with U-matic tapes enhance the story as it allows archive footage, TV commercials and the film to be integrated seamlessly. We discuss Gael García Bernal and why he works so well in this film, along with Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers and everyone else. And we look at the Pinochet dictatorship and what it was all about, and why it’s something that Larraín has been delving into with these films.

It’s a film that works really well for us, even if we differ in opinion on the look of the film. We have a great conversation about it and feel it’s definitely worth checking out. So watch it then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Big Sick — "Any film in a genre that feels unique generally grabs me, and there’s something unique about the tone, feel and story of this film that grabbed me right away. It feels authentic. The romance feels genuine. The laughs feel earned. The story feels solid. I’m sold."
  • Pete's Trailer: Blade Runner 2049 — "OK. New Blade Runner is looking for old Blade Runner gone missing to help him solve some otherwise insolvable mystery. I have to tell you, I’m stymied. Why are people going gonzo over this trailer? I am, alas, unmoved ... and that is more than just a little bit heartbreaking."
May 11, 2017
Silver Linings Playbook — Speakeasy with guest composer Harry Gregson-Williams
01:02:49

“I can’t apologize. I’m not going to apologize for this. You know what I will do? I will apologize on behalf of Ernest Hemingway because that’s who’s to blame here."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this episode, film composer Harry Gregson-Williams joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, David O. Russell’s 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook.

We talk about why the film works so well and how Russell really infuses some serious energy into the film, almost as if the film is expressing the mental state of the two lead characters. We touch on how Russell’s experience with his son – who’s dealing with similar issues to our lead character – drew him to this story to help make mental health more accessible, which he does brilliantly. We discuss the brilliant cast and how perfect they all are in their roles, notably the four leads: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver. We look at what Russell does musically, bringing in an eclectic mix of songs and Danny Elfman’s score to help drive the story along. And we chat about how the movie blew up at the box office, making more than 11 times its budget.

It’s an incredible film that seems to get better with age and Gregson-Williams brings a lot of insight to the conversation. Plus, we have a great chat with him about his career and how he got to where he is. So check out the movie then join us on the show!

Film Sundries

May 09, 2017
Post Mortem
59:05

"I’ll talk to them. I have a position now."

Pablo Larraín was born when Pinochet was already in power but the military coup that brought Pinochet to power always fascinated him, largely because it wasn’t something that was discussed until after the dictatorship ended in 1990. On top of that, Larraín became fascinated by the little people who got wrapped up in big moments in history. One that piqued his curiosity was a man named Mario who happened to be a coroner’s assistant helping in the room during the autopsy of President Salvador Allende, the former Chilean leader before Pinochet’s rise. Larraín became fascinated by this moment of history told through this character’s eyes. And thus, Post Mortem was born.

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our ‘Pablo Larraín’s Unintentional Trilogy’ series with his 2010 film Post Mortem. We talk about why this film, while not as unenjoyable to watch as Tony Manero, still is difficult to watch, and it’s largely about the dislikeable protagonist Mario played well by Alfredo Castro. We debate what Larraín is doing here and if perhaps he’s aiming for too much symbolism in these stories with such despicable characters. We chat about the political environment in Chile at the time and how fascinated we were by those elements. We talk about the crazy Russian lenses they used to film this movie and how much we ended up liking the hypnotic look, even if it took us a while to get there. We chat about Antonia Zegers and Amparo Noguera and some of the powerful moments the two of them provide in the film. And we look at the last shot of the film and the potential power in it.

It’s a really interesting film that unfortunately still struggles with an unlikeable protagonist but gets away with it because the political nature of the film and the natural intrigue it brings. Check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: It Comes at Night — "A24 is a distributor I’m watching now and every time I see their logo before a trailer, I instantly put it on my watch list. This would’ve been an easy one anyway with the horror element that naturally draws me in. Creepy story. Great look. Interesting scares. The logo sold me but the trailer had me begging for more."
  • Pete's Trailer: Score: A Film Music Documentary — “Clearly a passion project from filmmaker Matt Schrader, Score takes us behind the scenes of the greatest film composers of our time. It’s been floating around festivals for some time, but looks like we’ll finally get our ears on it in June. Bonus: At no point do these composers spit up black goo on one another, as in Andy’s trailer this week.“
May 04, 2017
The Circle — The Next Reel Film Board
01:11:43

"Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better."

The Film Board Gathers and we’re pulling everyone much much too close into “The Circle.” The book was released in 2013 from Dave Eggers and the movie adaptation opened this week in theaters. Our Thugs will completely spoil it for you in this show as we explore our respective crushes on Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega and so many others. We’re going to question everything in this movie, because depending on your preferred mode of listening, it may make you question everything about your technology choices.

Our special sphere for this show includes Tommy, Andy, Steve, JJ, and new special guest host Jaime Smith as we run around the spinning thrills of The Circle.

Film Sundries

May 02, 2017
Tony Manero
01:08:17

"Once the film is out of fashion, you think they’ll still follow you? No way."

Pablo Larraín didn’t intend to direct three films that took place during the Pinochet dictatorship – it just happening that way. Looking at Tony Manero, the first film in what is dubbed as his ‘unintentional trilogy,’ it’s clear that Larraín is not one to shy away from challenging his audience. But in doing so, is he pushing us away too? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our series on Pablo Larraín’s Unintentional Trilogy with his 2008 film, Tony Manero.

We talk about why we don’t like this film, but look at what perhaps Larraín was working toward by creating such an unlikeable protagonist for the film. We discuss how well his parallels worked between Raúl’s world – an obsession with John Travolta’s character from Saturday Night Fever, general awful behavior and murder – and the world of Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship – general awful behavior and murder. We chat about actor Alfredo Castro and what he brings to the table as this despicable character. We look at the cinematography and editing in the film and, as refreshing as it is here, question how well it’s connected thematically to the story. And we look at some connections, both obvious and less so, this film has with Saturday Night Fever.

It’s an interesting film that makes for a very challenging watch. We both had a difficult time with this one but still felt that Larraín was working toward some interesting things, even if we’re not sure he ever quite got there. But there’s a lot to talk about so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: American Assassin — "I’m not convinced I want to watch this movie, but Michael Keaton nearly does it for me. He’s hit a new point in his career where I’m excited by about everything he does. He’s not carrying the film, but I have a feeling his presence will be the draw for me if I decide to see this one."
  • Pete's Trailer: Beatriz at Diner — "Yeah, this may be a little on the nose for today’s political climate in the US… France… UK… but holy smokes is it fun to watch Hayak go head to head with Lithgow. Pitched as a comedy, but I’m not convinced any of this is altogether funny."
Apr 27, 2017
Colonia — Trailer Rewind
49:20

“Anyone can torture, but to break a person without harming physically, that's an art."

We’re keeping with The Next Reel 2017 theme of “Let’s Scare JJ.” Prisoners tortured in secret underground tunnels! A power-crazed cult leader! But even more frightening - it really happened! This month we rewind to Chile in 1973 for Colonia, starring Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, and Michael Nyqvist for a film based on true events at Colonia Dignidad.

We discuss the challenge of basing a film on true events while attempting to balance a suspenseful thriller with a love story. Overall it's the performances that drive this film and will keep you engaged as this film plays out the 132 days inside the compound as Lena (Watson) and Daniel (Bruhl) attempt to escape. We agree that it’s not likely to be a film we remember. Which is a shame because we agree that it’s an interesting story that people should be aware of.

For a special double-feature check out April’s Filmboard for The Circle, also starring Emma Watson in a story about a mysterious cult-like organization.

Film Sundries

Apr 25, 2017
Certain Women
01:14:31

"I just knew if I didn’t start driving, I wasn’t gonna see you again."

Kelly Reichardt’s most recent film, last year’s Certain Women, is a bit of a departure for her in that it’s a film consisting of three separate stories that are only loosely connected (other than thematically). But in this structure, it’s interesting to see Reichardt at her best as perhaps the stories each end up getting as much time as they really need to be told, at least in our perspective. Unfortunately, it didn’t find its audience and lost money at the box office. Luckily, Reichardt’s proven herself as a filmmaker who knows how to tell intimate character stories and will continue making movies. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Kelly Reichardt series with her 2016 film Certain Women.

We talk about the certain women in these stories and how the stories work for us now that they’re all about 30 minutes each (although we both still struggle with one of them). We chat about the nature of these ensemble, multi-story films and how well it works under the guidance of Reichardt, especially now that she’s writing the screenplay herself. We look at each of the actors, including Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and our personal favorite Lily Gladstone, and talk about what they bring to the table. We look at Reichardt’s minimalist nature and contemplate why it doesn’t always work well for us (notably the dark cinematography). And we touch on the box office and what it perhaps says about her investors that they keep investing large amounts of money in her films.

It’s an interesting film that, while not one of our favorites, certainly was the favorite of the series. There are a lot of really interesting moments throughout the film and it’s worth watching and talking about, so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Detroit — "Kathryn Bigelow’s a favorite on this show and her latest film looks to be as intense as her last several. Add in a dose of political intensity with a release that feels very timely, this could be one of the films everyone’s talking about this summer. Plus, John Boyega!"
  • Pete's Trailer: City of Tiny Lights — "Pretty straight forward private dick tribute: prostitute goes to a detective on a missing persons hunt. Twist? Stars Riz Ahmed who I really like in spite of that horrific Bourne tripe. The look of the London in the trailer is wonderful. I can only hope the look lives up to the film’s hard boiled promise."
Apr 20, 2017
Meek's Cutoff
01:07:34

"Is he ignorant or is he just plain evil?"

The story of the real Meek’s Cutoff is an interesting and tragic tale in the early days of the Oregon Trail. Many pioneers lost their lives as they followed their guide, Stephen Meek, and proceeded to get lost. For her follow-up to Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichardt chose to make a film about this historical journey and the people who suffered while on it. But is her minimal filmmaking style effective for a historical drama? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Kelly Reichardt series with her 2010 film Meek’s Cutoff.

We talk about the nature of stories told in media res and discuss if it works for a historical film like this one. We discuss Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton and the other actors performing here and look at what they bring to the table (and if any can top Bruce’s crazy character). And we chat about the look of the film and what Kelly, paired with her new cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, were saying with their static shots, long takes, yellow tint, dark night scenes and 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

It’s an interesting film. Not one we liked but an interesting one to look at and discuss, to be sure. Tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Thor: Ragnarok — "I’ve been excited about this Marvel movie ever since they announced Taika Waititi as its director. They’ve managed to keep Thor’s sense of humor in here, a healthy dose of Guardians of the Galaxy vibe running all through it, plus an arena battle with gladiator Hulk! Goth Cate Blanchett! Disco Jeff Goldblum! It’s insane in all the right ways – count me in!"
  • Pete's Trailer: The Journey — "A road movie telling the story of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness compressing what I believe was a 20 year drive toward peace in Northern Ireland. Much controversy about this film as a reenactment, but just maybe in spite of inaccuracies, it’s the kind of movie we need just now? Timothy Spall looks damned amazing as Paisley."
Apr 13, 2017
Wendy and Lucy
01:07:48

"Don’t be a nuisance. We don’t need that."

Kelly Reichardt has been called a minimalist film director, and if you’re comparing her to someone like Michael Bay or Steven Spielberg or the Hughes brothers, that certainly seems to be the case, at least based on her 2008 film Wendy and Lucy. This film doesn’t have a lot of pizazz or a large cinematic sense. What it does have, though, is a character study in which we dig deeply into our protagonist during a difficult few days in her life. In that aspect, it isn’t minimal at all. Perhaps calling it incredibly focused would be a better way to describe it. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off a new series on director Kelly Reichardt with her 2008 lost dog film Wendy and Lucy.

We talk about this ‘minimalist’ type of filmmaking and how it fits into the larger context of filmed stories that we know and love. We talk about how the story came about and was developed by Reichardt and writer Jon Raymond. We discuss Michelle Williams and her incredible (and incredibly internal) performance as Wendy, and how inadvertently she’s in all three of Reichardt’s films that we’re discussing in this series. We also chat about other actors in the film like Will Patton, Will Oldham, Wally Dalton and John Robinson and what they bring to the table. We look at the cinematography by Sam Levy and chat about what it brings to this story, notably the ‘naturalistic’ grainy and dark scenes. And we touch on the sound design and how Reichardt chose to use train sounds instead of score throughout the film.

It’s a touching film yet one we oddly aren’t sure we’d return to anytime soon, but certainly is one well worth talking about. Check out this movie then tune in to the show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Ingrid Goes West — "Aubrey Plaza seems to carry the balance between comedy and insanity quite well as demonstrated here. This looks darkly hilarious, if one can laugh at mental instability. Add in Elizabeth Olsen and O’Shea Jackson Jr., you’ve got what looks to be an awesome movie."
  • Pete's Trailer: Black Butterfly — "A remake of Papillon Noir starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Antonio Banderas. It’s a Misery trailer that ducks subtlety and goes completely haywire too soon for my tastes, but I’m a sucker for ‘I’m a writer…’ stories so I’ll give this one a shot."
Apr 06, 2017
The Book of Eli
01:07:10

"Stay on the path."

Right from the start, it was clear that Albert and Allen Hughes knew how to put films together. Whether paying homage to filmmakers they admire or playing with their own showy techniques, they know how to play with the visual tools they have available. In their post-apocalyptic film The Book of Eli, they make a very compelling film that’s exciting and entertaining while still maintaining the visceral edge they love to employ. But sadly, it’s the last film they worked on together, having since parted ways as filmmakers. Will they reunite down the road? Who knows. Will they increase their output now that they’re working solo? Not so far. Time will tell, but for now, this stands as the final Hughes Brothers film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close the chapter on our Hughes Brothers series with their 2010 film The Book of Eli.

We talk about the incredible world the brothers create with this film and how fascinating it is, and how unfortunately it’s weighed down by a huge issue that neither of us can buy into. We talk about Gary Whitta’s script, how it was found and what some of our other problems are with it – though still celebrating the great elements in it too. We discuss Denzel in his fabulous performance here, even if one element of it still is our biggest problem. We also talk about the rest of the cast and how well they work in the film here. We celebrate the look of the film and all of the team who helped bring it to fruition. And we tip our hat to the fantastic camerawork, stunt work and sound work that came together to bring some incredible fight sequences to life.

We have some issues with this film to be sure, but it’s still a completely engrossing film to watch that we have a great time with. It’s probably not for everyone but for anyone who is a fan of dystopian stories, it’s worth the watch. We have a great time chatting about it as we wrap up this series. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — "Frances McDormand has proven herself to be a powerhouse actress before, but in this trailer, she’s kicking ass and taking names. Martin McDonagh makes films with incredible characters and it looks like he’s at it again here. Plus, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage! I’m totally in!"
  • Pete's Trailer: The Book of Henry — "Man, did this trailer ever take off in a direction I wasn’t expecting. Excited to see Jacob Tremblay in just about anything again, but that he ends up in another strong mother/son thriller? I guess that should be expected."
Apr 02, 2017
From Hell
01:10:20

"No man amongst you is fit to judge the mighty art that I have wrought."

The Hughes brothers hadn’t really had a big hit by the time they were offered to direct the adaptation of Alan Moore’s and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel “From Hell,” detailing the characters involved in the ‘Jack the Ripper’ slayings in 1888 London. It offered an opportunity to tell a gritty story that still dealt with the people struggling at the bottom of society, something they’d already proved successful at. But the graphic novel’s incredibly dense and despite the many rewrites the script went through, it still ended up a film that is hard to call a great success for the brothers. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on the Hughes brothers with their 2001 film From Hell

We look at the film and our thoughts on both the good and bad elements of it, and discuss the graphic novel and how by its very nature was not an easy thing to adapt. We discuss Albert and Allen and some of the decisions they made going into this film. We talk about the cast and why some of them work better than others (Heather Graham is definitely the one who stands out as a sore thumb unfortunately). We chat about the cinematography and the film technique they used to achieve the fascinating dream sequences. And we discuss Trevor Jones score and how well it works, as well as how it felt like there were sequences that needed score that didn’t get any.

It’s a fascinating film, if not as successful as we’d have liked it to be. Perhaps a longer tale told would work better? Who knows. Until that happens, though, check this one out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Carrie Pilby — "I don’t know if this will be any good, but I like the quirky characters and the overall vibe of the trailer. Plus Nathan Lane and Gabriel Byrne? I want to see it just for them. Here’s hoping it’s worth it."
  • Pete's Trailer: War Machine — "So, I guess we know where Netflix is spending all it’s money. Brad Pitt this time in a satire of America in Afghanistan from the top down. What’s the deal with his hand? Crazy cast: Brad as Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Tilda, Anthony Michael, Lakeith, Ben, Topher, and ‘he’ll keep calling me, and calling me, and calling me…’ Alan. Got ‘em all? Before it comes out, go read The Operators."
Mar 23, 2017
Menace II Society
01:08:46

"Being a black man in America isn’t easy. The hunt is on and you’re the prey."

When 20-year-old twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes directed their first feature film in 1993, Menace II Society, they immediately showed audiences everywhere that they were storytellers who weren’t afraid to tell risky stories and filmmakers who understood the language of the medium. The film seemed dangerous. It was vicious. Gritty. Brutal. And it was authentic, which perhaps is the greatest testament to what these young filmmakers set out to do. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Hughes Brothers series with their 1993 debut, Menace II Society.

We talk about the energy they bring to the film (with a lot of homages to Scorsese) and how that energy drives home the message of the film. We look at how the Hughes brothers got their start and got to this place where they were making this film. We discuss the actors – from Tyrin Turner to Larenz Tate, from Jada Pinkett (and her baggy clothes) to MC Eiht, and from Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Duke to Charles S. Dutton – and look at what they bring to the table. We touch on the cinematography that Lisa Rinzler lenses for the film here, working with the Hughes brothers to bring their vibrant world to life. And we talk about how well this film did for itself in ’93. 

It’s a fantastic film that definitely has held up some 24 years after its release. It has the same vitality and energy that it did back then and warrants a watch. Check it out then tune in! 

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Here Alone — "Are they zombies? Or just sick people? I don’t care. It’s got a great look and feel and I want to see it."
  • Pete's Trailer: Song to Song — "That’s right, Andy and I were just talking about how we aren’t all that crazy about Terrence Malick films when this comes along. Maybe the setting in and around the music scene will make it easier to swallow? The cast certainly doesn't hurt."
Mar 16, 2017
The Emigrants
01:09:37

"The situation in Sweden must be real bad as even lice have begun to emigrate to America."

It’s time for our first 2017 Listener’s Choice episode! Pony Prize winner Finn Frode, who’s from Norway but living in Sweden, won and selected a Swedish film with one of his favorite Norwegian actresses – Liv Ullmann. The film he selected is the first half of Jan Troell’s epic tale of immigration – 1971’s The Emigrants. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we dig into our latest listener’s choice film.

We talk about the importance of the film in Sweden and how the books upon which it’s based are perceived there. We discuss the nature of this film and how it’s quite powerful, but at the same time a difficult film to watch due to its filming style, the story it’s telling and its duration. We chat about the actors – notably Max Von Sydow and Ullmann – and what they’re bringing to table. And we hit on the strange and dischordant music and how it works in a film like this. 

It’s a great film and certainly put us both in a place where we were ready to watch the follow-up. So check out this movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Bride — "I don’t know what to make of this crazy Russian film. The trailer seems to tell two stories, but perhaps one of those is just the actual film’s prologue? Who knows but it looks nuts, and don’t expect any help from the terrible synopses written on IMDb or Wikipedia. I think I want to see this just to see if it’s as much a mess as this trailer makes it look."
  • Pete's Trailer: Bright — "Yeah, I didn’t need to see the trailer after I’d read that Taron Edgerton would be playing the first Orc cop, but then I watched it. Did you catch Noomi in blue (skin)? Another hot Netflix get for December."
Mar 09, 2017
Logan — The Next Reel Film Board
01:28:16

"Don’t be what they make you to be"

Back to Back Film Board weeks! We couldn’t let this one go by - Marvel comics movies are continuing to find their graphic stride this month with LOGAN and our thugs need to get in the fight and mix it up about the value of a hard “R” comic representation in the cinematic universe. It’s not spoilery to talk about the completely appropriate rating this movie drew, but in addition to that, we will spoil the story and theorize what it means for the Marvel mutants’ present and future.

We continue to keep our own lineup fresh on this show with Steve, Pete, JJ and another awesome appearance from special guest host Darnell Smith. Listening to this episode will help you decide whether you should get over your comic book movie apathy, embrace de-sensitization to knife (Claw) gore, and/or slice your way to this movie before the Ides of March. If you don’t want to be thoroughly spoiled, come back and listen after you see it once your healing factor kicks in. When the move ends, our conversation begins! 

Film Sundries

Mar 07, 2017
The Great Wall
01:16:00

"There are many things you have not seen."

Zhang Yimou has done serious dramas. He’s done big wuxia action films, but he hasn’t had a success in a while and perhaps it should come as no surprise that his newest film is designed to be a big fantasy action blockbuster – a legend about the Great Wall of China and the dragons they people were trying to thwart. While it’s been a success in China and the rest of the world, though, it opened third at the US box office, likely due to its terrible trailers that sold it poorly. But is the film any good? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Zhang Yimou series with his 2016 film The Great Wall.

We talk about why this film surprised us quite a bit and how, even with some big problems, we both ended up having fun times with the film. We look at what Zhang brings to the table and what political messages he may be trying to get across with this film. We chat about the cast – notably Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, William Defoe and Andy Lau – and how the claims of whitewashing seem absurd; if anything, the film ends up having a nice multicultural feel to it. We look at the cinematography and production design, noting that everything is right up Zhang’s alley. We touch on Ramin Djawadi’s score and how it works perfectly for the story here. And we debate the numbers, wondering if it’s fair to out-and-out consider this a financial success since it’s made its money back, or if we need to consider it a failure in the bigger picture for not doing what they set out to do with it which was create captive audiences in China as well as the US.

Did Zhang make the right choice in making this film? Is it going to be considered a success or will it flop in the US? We’re curious to see how history holds this film up. So check out the movie – you’ll probably have more fun with it than you were expecting – then tune in to this week’s show. 

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Discovery — "I love the sci-fi concept of this and love the cast. I’ve heard some mixed things from its premiere at Sundance, but I want to see it anyway. Proof of the afterlife? Sounds like it could make for an interesting story. We shall see..."
  • Pete's Trailer: The House — "I don’t know how else to characterize my feeling about the potential of this movie: in my mind, it’s going to be another Old School. Now, no one speaks until release."
Mar 02, 2017
Get Out — The Next Reel Film Board
01:14:41

“Here it is: My boy Chris has been missing for two days.”

The Film Board Gathers! This month, in a departure from the heady intensity of the Oscars line-up, our Gang of Thugs takes on a thriller written and directed by a comedy all-star. Jordan Peele’s GET OUT is thoroughly spoiled through our chat and we talk about its balance of satire and terror and the genre similarities of horror and comedy and how a filmmaker’s skills in one discipline can be transferable to the other.

We’re continuing to try to scare the pants off ourselves this year and on this show you’ll hear Pete, Andy, Tommy, and our new guest host Darnell Smith. Let us spoil GET OUT for you if you want to take the edge off the suspense or listen to to the show after you see it and let us know how it hits you. When the movie ends, our conversation begins! 

Film Sundries

Feb 28, 2017
Hero
01:09:05

"How swift your sword must be."

Zhang Yimou had always wanted to direct an action film, and after years of working on the script, he finally had his chance with his ambitious visual feast, 2002’s Hero. Shot all over China starring some of the hottest Chinese stars telling a story about the assassination attempt on the King of Qin several thousand years ago, the film was the most expensive project in China’s history. Luckily, it also became the highest-grossing up to that point. Considering the last two films we talked about on the show were banned for years, it’s great to see Zhang and China finding a common ground with this film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Zhang Yimou series with 2002’s Hero.

We talk about what this film does as far as depicting a true story, but done in a way that allows Zhang to try his hand at action (with help from action director Tony Ching). We look at all of Zhang’s filmmaking techniques that he throws at this film – the colors, the shot compositions, the shot lengths, the operatic quality – and how well they work. We discuss Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi and Donnie Yen and what they all bring to the table here. And we discuss how Miramax not only delayed the film’s release numerous times but also made the egregious decision to replace Jet Li’s character’s sword in the poster with something else incorrect for the period, only to try to connect it to Quentin Tarantino and his Kill Bill films.

It’s a gorgeous film that tells a beautiful and tragic story, but one that would still be incredibly easy to return to. So check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Blackcoat’s Daughter — "While this may not have the best IMDb rating, it has a creepy enough vibe for me to be drawn to it. Plus it has a creepy reading of an old timey poem, which makes the trailer creepy and makes the movie seem even creepier. So yeah, I’ll probably watch this one."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Bad Batch — "I’m trying to gin up my horror mojo. No idea what to make of this latest bid from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. Dark, cannibals, saws, Keanu Reeves, Jason Momoa, and Giovanni Ribisi. Not the latest thing I would have expected from any of them, thus, the thing I’m most interested to see from all of them."
Feb 23, 2017
The Lobster — Trailer Rewind
43:32

“A wolf and a penguin could never live together, nor could a camel and a hippopotamus. That would be absurd."

In a world where being a couple is a legal requirement, one man dares to be alone. When society puts pressure on him he flees to the woods and discovers a possible soulmate. But now that he has accepted exile in the forest he must risk everything for his partner. If he fails he may end up an animal. This Valentine’s Day, grab a loved one and learn why Colin Farrell is The Lobster

Film Sundries

Feb 21, 2017
Raise the Red Lantern
01:04:04

"Light the lanterns at the fourth house!"

Despite the bans on some of his earlier films like Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern in his home country of China, Zhang Yimou had exploded onto the world stage with these visually sumptuous films and had become a filmmaker worth talking about. Perhaps it was exactly this international presence that kept the Chinese government from suppressing his storytelling further – it gave him the popularity Zhang needed to keep making films. Whether that’s true or not, these early films of his certainly do feel like he has a few things to say about modern China, and it’s perhaps understandable that they’d take offense. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Zhang Yimou series with his fourth film, 1991’s Raise the Red Lantern.

We talk about the story and how it could be read as a criticism of modern China, and why we don’t completely buy Zhang when he denies this. We discuss the look of the film – the compositions of the shots, the colors, the camera movement, the set design, the costumes – and how all of it reflects what Zhang is saying with the film. We chat about Gong Li and the rest of the cast, but particularly about Gong and the incredible performance she delivers here. We touch on the customs and traditions depicted in the film and ruminate on the worldbuilding going on here. And we debate the strength of the music – Andy loves it and Pete hates it. 

It’s a great film that Andy connects with while Pete felt it dragged on too much, but still allows for a great conversation. Regardless, we agree that it’s a film that must be seen, so check it out then tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Beguiled — "I remembering finding Don Siegel’s 1971 version of this story very unsettling. Having it retold from not just a woman’s perspective, but from a strong female storyteller like Sofia Coppola, gets me quite excited. I’m thrilled she’s doing this and can’t wait to see it."
  • Pete's Trailer: Aftermath — "Arnold’s back! He’s got the brooding beard again, and frankly I thought this was going to be a weird sequel to Maggie. No, this is the true story of a plane crash in 2002 and the hunt for air traffic controller that allowed it to happen. Writer Javier Gullón is behind Enemy and Out of the Dark, both past trailer picks."
Feb 16, 2017
Ju Dou
01:11:17

"If they knew, they’d kill us."

The eighties were a period of turmoil and transition for the Chinese film industry. Other forms of entertainment were more popular and the authorities were concerned that films that had been popular, like martial arts films, were on the out. But a group of Chinese filmmakers, collectively known loosely as the Fifth Generation – with a push from the new Ministry of Radio, Cinema and Television – were about to change all that, helping Chinese cinema break onto the world stage. And Zhang Yimou was one of the ones leading the charge. But did the Chinese government expect the types of films they would be getting? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we dig into Chinese cinema and kick off our Zhang Yimou series with his third film, Ju Dou

We talk about the nature of the film and its story, and how it can be seen as not just a look at Chinese politics in the 20s but also as an allegory of the oppressive political system in China at the time. We look at what Zhang brought to the table with the film and where it fits in his life and career. We chat about Gong Li, Zhang’s muse, and what she and her fellow actors bring to the table. We discuss the incredible look of the film, both from cinematography and production design, and what all the various colors could possibly symbolize. And we gripe about the quality of the image and how much better it would look if Criterion would just take our advice and give this the full treatment – the film is gorgeous but you’d never know by looking at this terrible transfer.

It’s a touching, powerful film from a visual artist who uses both the script and his images to tell a provocative story, not to mention that it helped open the door for Chinese cinema to the world. We have a great time looking at it and discussing Ju Dou on this week’s show. Check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: My Life as a Zucchini — "There’s something magical about the animation quality of this film that really makes me connect to my youth. And while the world of life in a foster home isn’t something I ever knew, I certainly connect to the coming of age story of a young boy finding a kindred spirit in a new girl at the home. It has all the touching qualities that I loved so much in Wes Anderson’s Moonlight Kingdom and plenty of quirk to spare. I’m excited about this one."
  • Pete's Trailer: Punching Henry — "Man. I know creators go through swings. Jerks on the internet spew hate. Self-confidence wavers. I certainly try not to look at that stuff. But director Gregori Viens and writer Henry Phillips have given me a trailer that I feel pretty deeply connected to with Punching Henry. I can only hope the thing lives up to the heart of the trailer when it finally hits theaters and digital on February 21."
Feb 09, 2017
The Danish Girl
01:03:38

"You helped bring Lili to life, but she was always there."

The Danish Girl certainly took a long time getting to the big screen. The script went through dozens of iterations after David Ebershoff’s book was first was optioned. The cast changed numerous times. Directors passed it back and forth. Finally, after fifteen years of floating around, Tom Hooper’s film was released. And while the lead performances were brilliant, the film itself felt a bit flat. And weirdly, this seems to be something we say far too often about films that take a long time to get to the silver screen. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Transgender series with Hooper’s 2015 film The Danish Girl.

We talk about what works in the film, but we really try to dig and figure out what might be causing it to have its issues. We look at the journey the book took to get to the screen, and look at the age-old question of what responsibility do filmmakers/storytellers have to the original story and the original people when making biopics. We discuss Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander and what they bring to the table here, along with their fellow thespians. We chat about the incredible look this film has and how it fits in with the story. And we touch on how this series has opened our eyes to other great films that we would love to share down the line.

This was a fun series, even if it ended on a bit of a downer note. It did give us perspective for the world of transgenders and what they go through to feel ‘right’ in their own bodies. We have a great time talking about this movie, so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Lowriders — "This story is about several cultures I know nothing about – graffiti artists and fans of lowriders. On the premise alone, this doesn’t look like my cup of tea but what I love about films is they’re my chance to step into other people’s shoes and experience things from their point of view. That’s what I hope I get here. Plus, after being blown away by Demián Bichir’s performance in A Better Life, I’m game to see anything he does. Count me in."
  • Pete's Trailer: I Don’t Feel At Home in this World Anymore — "It’s the strange little film I can’t stop thinking about. The driving motivator is simple, the comedy off-color, and the main character a charmer. Can’t wait til this hits Netflick 2/24."
Feb 02, 2017
TransAmerica
01:13:15

"I never even heard of a tranny church lady."

Felicity Huffman received many accolades for her incredible performance in TransAmerica, but an Oscar was not one of them. Looking back at the various nominees, it’s clear that Huffman should have won. But that’s how these things go, right? Reese Witherspoon was great in Walk the Lineand was the popular favorite, and that’s probably because Johnny Cash had made quite a resurgence and the movie really struck a chord with people. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Huffman still should’ve won. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Transgender series with Duncan Tucker’s 2005 film TransAmerica

We talk about Huffman and the brilliance of her performance, as well as what she had to do to ‘find her voice.’ We also talk about Kevin Zegers, Fionnula Flanagan, Graham Greene and more, looking at what they bring to the table. We discuss Tucker and how sadly he seems to be a one-hit wonder, even though he clearly demonstrated talent with his script and direction here. We look at the script and how some parts work better for us than others. And we touch on the soundtrack and how the country vibe throughout the film really grounded it for us. 

It’s a film that has a lot to say about the life of being a transgender, about family, about loneliness and about finding your voice. We have a great time talking about it and consider this a must watch if for no other reason than to see Huffman’s incredible transformation. So check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: American Fable — "This looks like a sibling story to Pan’s Labyrinth which I didn’t love but found endlessly fascinating. This may end up falling into the same camp. That’s not a bad thing."
  • Pete's Trailer: Colossal — "Yeah, mixed reviews when it screened at Sundance just a few days ago. But you know what? This is a clever story of Kaiju monsters we’ve never heard and it explains everything: they’re all attached to Anne Hathaway."
Jan 26, 2017
Split — The Next Reel Film Board
01:20:01

"He’s on the move."

DON’T LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE FILM BOARD until you see Split! Here at The Next Reel, we always mention how WE SPOIL MOVIES and this month we’ve taken on twistmaster M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film with a conversation that is completely impossible without SPOILING this movie for you. That being said, go see it and then come and join us because there is lots and lots to talk about from this psychological thriller put together in the classic Shyamalan style. 

Suspense and terror is front and center for the first part of 2017 and gathering together this month, we’ve got Andy, Steve, Tommy, and JJ to start it up. If you’ve got strong feelings about MNS movies, you really should see Split and then check us out. When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Jan 24, 2017
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
01:23:54

"I can spot the fluttering of a beaded lash from three hundred paces."

Terence Stamp had played some pretty tough characters in his career – Billy Budd, General Zod – so it was a big surprise to many to see him play a transgender character in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Stamp had his own misgivings about playing the role as it was so different from anything he’d done before. Luckily, he signed on to take it anyway and the result is a beautifully portrayed character. And that’s not even mentioning Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Transgender series with Stephan Elliott’s 1994 cult comedy classic The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

We talk about how well the film holds up and why – strong script, strong characters, lots of laughs. We look at what Stamp, Weaving and Pearce all bring to their roles and why they all work so well in the parts. We chat about Elliott and what he brings to the table as the writer and director of the film. We look at one element of the script – Bob’s Filipino wife – any why this is the most contentious element of the film. We discuss the music and how well it all works, regardless of whether you’re planning on pulling the CD out later to listen in. And we chat about the nature of Stamp as a transgender character and how that pairs with the gay drag queens. 

It’s a fun film to watch and is very easy to enjoy. That being said, it also has some pretty big messages that it handles quite well. We have a great time talking about it on this week’s show so check it out then tune in! Thanks!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Raw — "I heard great things about this from my buddy who saw it at Fantastic Fest. It sounds crazy but in all the right (and horrifying) ways. It’s rated R for ‘aberrant behavior, bloody and grisly images, strong sexuality, nudity, language and drug use/partying’ so it seems to be ticking off most of the things that every good cannibalism horror needs. I can’t wait."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Lure — "So, this Polish mermaid horror musical comedy film certainly tops the list of crazy things I’ve seen today. It’s been floating around (heh) since it’s Warsaw release in 2015, but we get to see what happens when two stripper mermaids begin to devour their patrons (finally, natch) this very February."
Jan 19, 2017
Coming to America
01:15:55

"When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!"

Eddie Murphy was riding high through the 80s. John Landis, on the other hand, had had a string of flops, not to mention a very difficult Twilight Zone trial. Considering their success together with Trading Places, Murphy thought Landis could use a boost and brought him on to direct his fairy tale film Coming to America. It was the hit Landis needed, and yet another film cementing that Murphy was king of the box office. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Eddie Murphy series with Landis’ 1988 film, Coming to America.

We talk about why the film doesn’t hold up that well for us now nearly 30 years after its release, even if it did seem to hold up more at the time. We chat about the script problems and director/actor relationship problems this film had, and how things ended up. We look at the talent and what they’re bringing to the table – Murphy, Arsenio Hall, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley, Eriq La Salle and more. And speaking of talent, we discuss Rick Baker and his amazing effects work to transform Murphy and Hall into several other characters and how these not only hold up for us but also how they triggered an entirely new direction for Murphy’s career to head. And we talk about the music and how 80s it feels.

It’s a fun conversation about a film that neither of us connected with nearly 30 years after we first saw the film. But it’s still fun to watch and discuss, so check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Jan 12, 2017
Groundhog Day with Guest Jim Jermanok — The Next Reel Speakeasy
01:05:38

"You couldn’t plan a day like this."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, writer, producer, director and former agent Jim Jermanok joins us to talk about one of his favorite movies, Harold Ramis’ 1993 film Groundhog Day

We talk about how this film was received at the time of its release, why this film holds up so well and perhaps why it took people some time to really find the meaning in the movie. We look at what Bill Murray is doing here and discuss why his character, Phil Connor, is easy to connect to despite the fact that he starts out as horribly unlikeable. We chat about Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott and Stephen Tobolowsky, as well as the rest of the cast, and what they bring to the table. We look at the evolution of Danny Rubin’s original script and how he and Ramis reworked it to create a timeless classic. And we ponder the strangeness of the actual Groundhog Day holiday and how it may have been just the perfect holiday to celebrate for a film like this.

It’s a great film and Jim brings plenty of perspective to the conversation, having worked both the creative and business sides of the industry. So check out the movie then tune in to this month’s Speakeasy again… and again… and again….

Film Sundries

Jan 10, 2017
Beverly Hills Cop
01:21:15

"You’re not gonna fall for the banana in the tail pipe?"

Eddie Murphy proved his big screen comedy prowess with Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places but the studio was still concerned about him helming a movie by himself. Luckily, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer believed in him and ended up convincing Paramount that he could do it, bringing him on board Beverly Hills Cop after Sylvester Stallone stepped out. And the rest is cinematic history – the movie broke records left and right and firmly established Murphy as a full-fledged movie star. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Eddie Murphy series with Martin Brest’s 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop.

We talk about what holds up in this 80s cop comedy and what doesn’t hold up as well – and where we disagree on these. We look at how the film came together, from the early ideas and the various writers to the period when Stallone was the lead to bringing Murphy on and how the script was finally shaped. We discuss Murphy and how he fits in the film here, and how the rest of the cast works to fill the rest of the world. We chat about Brest and his directing style, and discuss his career and his disappearance from the industry. We talk about the iconic theme by Harold Faltermeier and how it fits into the film, paired with the iconic soundtrack that represents everything Bruckheimer was doing with his movies at the time. And we look at how this film did at the box office, becoming the top film in 1984 and setting the stage for cop comedies thereafter. 

It’s a fun film, even if it has some issues, but definitely represents what Murphy was doing in the 80s. We have a great conversation about it so check out the movie and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Spider-Man: Homecoming — "I’ve always been a big Spider-Man fan and have enjoyed the movies for the most part. What gets me excited about this one isn’t the new Peter Parker, even though he looks great. It’s not that Sony and Disney/Marvel are playing nice and sharing characters to make these movies, which is a great thing. It’s that Michael Keaton is playing the villain. And that kicks ass. Okay, so I’m a little worried that they’re going the robo-look with The Vulture like they did with Green Goblin, but I’m willing to let that slide right now because this looks so fun!"
  • Pete's Trailer: A United Kingdom — "International listeners have had this movie on deck since September, but Amma Asante’s latest hits US screens in February. Looks like another opportunity to see Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo knock it out of the park telling the story of a mixed race couple struggling to lead an African nation at a time of political turmoil. Amma Asante is such a charmer and precise director — can’t wait to see what she does with this story."
Jan 05, 2017
Trading Places
01:08:49

"When I was growing up, if we wanted a jacuzzi, we had to fart in the tub."

Eddie Murphy may have been a name on “Saturday Night Live” but he wasn’t a film star. Luckily, when John Landis wanted to cast him as Billy Ray Valentine in Trading Places, Murphy had just appeared in 48 Hrs., proving he had the charisma for the big screen. Without that success, Paramount Pictures was unconvinced. But it worked out and young Murphy became box office gold. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off 2017 with a series celebrating several of Murphy’s 80s classic starting with Landis’ 1983 film Trading Places

We talk about how we find the film hilarious but quite astute with its portrayal of the commodities market and how the story is equally relevant today as it was upon its release. We discuss some of the elements with which we struggle. We look at the comedy stylings Landis brought to the film, pulling from Laurel & Hardy, Preston Sturges, Mark Twain, even the Three Stooges. We look at the actors – including Dan Aykroyd, Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott and Paul Gleason – and what they bring to the table. And we revel in the wonderful score Elmer Bernstein adds to the film, bringing doses of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” into the folds. 

It’s a really fun film and a great way to celebrate both Christmas and New Year’s. We have a great time discussing it so check the movie out then tune in to the show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Alien: Covenant — "We’ve discussed this whole franchise on the show and likely will discuss this one at some point. There are definitely problems with some of the films, and I definitely had issues with Prometheus, but it’s still an interesting entry as a prequel. Ridley Scott’s newest entry looks like he’s really amping things up some more and while I’m excited, I’m also hesitant to get too excited. Let’s just say my curiosity is definitely piqued."
  • Pete's Trailer: War for the Planet of the Apes — "Andy Serkis is back to not win an acting oscar because he’s doing mo-cap I guess. The last Apes film ended up at 12 on our list, a solid showing for the Film Board’s general bucket of crap. This one looks like more stops have been officially pulled, even if they’ve avoided pulling them all. And yes, they put the words of the film’s title in Woody’s mouth in this trailer: 15 demerits."
Dec 29, 2016
Black Christmas
01:10:04

"Agnes, it’s me – Billy!"

Bob Clark may be best known for directing his Christmas classic, 1983’s A Christmas Story, but many people don’t know that he got his start in horror like so many other filmmakers, and that one of his first horror films was another Christmas story – Black Christmas. What’s so refreshing about watching this 1974 film is that it’s a slasher film that doesn’t feel as base as so many others that followed suit, but more importantly that it adopted the first person POV shot for the killer. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we discuss this year’s holiday film, Clark’s ‘74 film Black Christmas.

We talk about why this film worked for us and how it really came to be. We discuss Clark and how he directed this, but also how he took to the script to fill it with wonderful details for all of the characters and helped move the story’s setting to a college sorority house. We look at the cast – from Olivia Hussey and Keir Dullea to Margot Kidder and John Saxon – and why they all work so well here. And we talk about how well this film did at the box office and what that means for it when looking at the profits. 

And we announce our Instagram #GuesstheMovie #2016 #PonyPrize challenge winner and runner up! 

It’s a fun little horror romp and we have a great time celebrating Christmas with you all with this one. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: _Going in Style — "I’m not bitter at all that Zach Braff stole my idea of a group of senior citizens who decide to rob a bank. I’m not bitter at all. Bastard…. Oh, wait… you’re telling me this is a remake of a Martin Brest movie from ‘79 and that I’m the one stealing the idea? Damnitalltohell. Well, I’ll watch it, but I won’t like it. Now get off my lawn!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Blade Runner 2049 — "Yes, it’s just a teaser. But it’s a teaser for Gosling in Blade Runner trying to run down Deckard. So, yes, I’m as excited for this movie as I was for The Force Awakens. Yes, Denis Villeneuve has given me much reason to be excited on the heels of Arrival. Yes, I’ll be pre-purchasing tix the hot second they’re available."
Dec 22, 2016
Rogue One — The Next Reel Film Board
01:26:02

"I'm one with the Force. The Force is with me."

Look at this- The Film Board is back with a thuggish gathering of galactic implications. Last year doesn’t totally count as long ago nor far, far away for a new star wars movie, but the Disney franchise treatment this month goes all the way back into a sub-mid-prequel sort of thing with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you’re not sure where this movie belongs in the mix, we’ll spoil it for you along with the rest of the story and and all of its clever bridges to the Trilogy we all grew up on. 

We’ve decided to prompt some of the usual suspects on this one so take a listen to Tommy Handsome, Andy, Pete, and JJ as we open up a can of blaster sound effects and witty droid dialogue. You will have as much fun as we do – real people talking about fake things fighting other fake things!

Film Sundries

Dec 20, 2016
The Godfather Part III
01:34:20

"Now that you’re so respectable, I think you’re more dangerous than you ever were."

It was billed the most anticipated film of the decade, yet Francis Ford Coppola had spent that entire decade turning down requests to make it. It was only his failing finances that finally drove Coppola to accept the job of writing and directing The Godfather, Part III, and for a lot of people, they probably wish he never bothered. But whatever issues they may have had getting it made, it was the casting of a key role with his own daughter Sofia that created ridiculous vitriol and hatred aimed for the writer/director. This element also ended up being a huge part of the reviews when the film finally came out. But did the film deserve this? Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright – as we wrap up our Godfather trilogy series with Coppola’s epilogue to the Michael Corleone story, 1990’s The Godfather, Part III

We talk about our reactions to the film and where we feel the problems with it lay. We look at Sofia’s performance and weigh in on the issue of nepotism here and debate whether some of the criticism was warranted, regardless of whether it was right or not. We look at the rest of the cast and crew and what they all bring to the table, ending in a little quiz about which people ended up involved in all three films. We talk about the position Paramount Studios was in and why they pushed this film through so quickly and why that rush may have been the crux as to why Coppola could never get the story as good as it should have been. And we look at how this film did compared to its predecessors. 

It’s a flawed film but still an entertaining one. We have a great time talking about it on this week’s show as we wrap up the series. Haven’t seen it? Give it a shot. Then check the show out! 

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Circle — "It’s Tom Hanks and it’s creepy ‘big brother is watching you’ sci-fi. I’m all in. Even if it is just a teaser."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Fate of the Furious — "I didn’t get the Furious movies for a long time. I did that binge a few years back and it landed on me: Stop thinking and jam your foot to the floor. I’m hit and miss with F. Gary Gray, but Chris Morgan handles the franchise well and making Dom the Judas in the story is a clever, Walter-White-esque twist. Of course, I’m in."
Dec 15, 2016
101 Dalmatians — The Next Reel Speakeasy with The Bancroft Brothers
01:21:59

"Such perfectly beautiful coats!"

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is our ongoing series in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, we’re honored to have two guests join us to discuss one of their favorite films – it’s the Bancroft Brothers! That’s right, twin brothers Tom and Tony Bancroft, both of whom are animators, are here to chat about Disney’s 1961 classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians

We talk about why they picked this film and why this film is a key shift in the world of animation at Walt Disney Studios (hint: it involves xeroxing!). We look at the animators involved – Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Marc Davis, etc. – and how they all fit into the looks of characters like Cruella De Vil, Pongo, Perdita, Jasper, Horace and more, really bringing them to life. We discuss the importance of what art director/production designer Ken Anderson and color stylist Walt Peregoy did with the impressionistic backgrounds. We chat about what the film’s three directors – Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske and Wolfgang Reitherman – did to bring the film together and how they likely split up tasks. We dig into the really amazing 3D modeling Ub Iwerks helped come up with to make Cruella De Vil’s car look more realistic. And, of course, we can’t talk about this movie without discussing Cruella’s cheekbones, which we do.

It’s a fantastic conversation with two gentlemen who really know what they’re talking about helping us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – sound like we know what we’re doing. The conversation will really make you look at this movie and animation with so much more respect. So rewatch this Disney gem then tune in to this month’s Speakeasy!

Film Sundries

Dec 13, 2016
The Godfather Part II
01:18:33

"Keep your friends close but your enemies closer."

While The Godfather, Part II didn’t perform nearly as well as its predecessor at the box office, Francis Ford Coppola’s sequel certainly made its money back and, more importantly, has gone on to become a film that’s often cited as one of the greatest films ever made. It even has its contingency of fans who feel it’s the stronger film of the pair. But Coppola went into it not really that excited by the prospect of making a sequel and really only jumped on board because of an idea he had that would blend the storylines of a father and of a son. Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright – as we continue our Godfather trilogy series with Coppola’s 1974 film The Godfather, Part II

We talk about our feelings with this film and whether or not we find it the stronger of the pair. We chat about Coppola and how he was really given free reign with this film, making it an incredibly easy shoot. We look at what Coppola brings to the table, including the numbered title, and why he’s such a masterful filmmaker. We talk about the various actors who return to the story and those who are new additions. And we look at how this film looks and all the people behind putting it together.

It’s a film that splits audiences, critics and even us movie lovers like us, but it gives us all that much more to talk about this week. So pull up your cannoli and tune in to find out if this film ranks as high as Part I on our Flickchart.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Belko Experiment — "When we had Abraham Benrubi on for our Speakeasy episode last January, he mentioned that he was involved in this and said he had a blast making it. Now having seen the trailer, I’m very much looking forward to watching it. It’s dark and twisted but has an interesting premise. Count me in!"
  • Pete's Trailer: The Autopsy of Jane Doe — "We were fans of Troll Hunter for sure. That André Øvredal is back with this creep fest of a father-son medical examiner team police procedural? I’ll check that out. As Andy has noted, perhaps I’m not as averse to horror as I think I am?"
Dec 08, 2016
The Godfather
01:38:30

"Blood’s a big expense."

It was never a movie that was meant to be as big as it became. Robert Evans, Paramount head at the time, thought it would be a fun mobster movie designed to make a quick buck, capitalizing on the recent novel “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo. But Francis Ford Coppola saw something in Puzo’s novel; he saw a family chronicle that was a metaphor for capitalism in America. He saw a crime epic. And he set out to make that version of the book. In the end, despite the fights with the studio that he had while making it, he stuck to his guns and The Godfather still stands as arguably one of the greatest films of all time. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Godfather trilogy with the movie that started it all, Coppola’s 1972 film The Godfather

We talk about why the film works so well and how Coppola and Puzo crafted the story, giving the audience an interesting entry into the Mafia world. We look at Coppola as a director and writer and what he brings to the table here. We chat about the incredible cast – from Marlon Brando and Al Pacino to James Caan and Diane Keaton, even the nepotism of casting Talia Shire (and his own daughter Sophia!). We look at Gordon Willis’ mind-bogglingly dark cinematography and why it, paired with the film’s sepia tones, create this world as much as anything Coppola does. We chat about Nino Rota’s haunting score, and the big controversy surrounding it. And we look at the struggles Coppola had in getting the film made contrasted with how well it did at the box office. 

It’s a film that’s spurred countless famous quotes, not the least of which is “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The movie is everywhere and has become as much a part of our culture as Coppola’s Italian heritage had become a part of the film when he made it. It’s a fantastic film that certainly deserves to be looked at multiple times and discussed often. We have a great (and lengthy) conversation about it on the show this week. So check out the movie then tune in! 

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Ghost in the Shell — "I remember watching the anime version of this years ago and finding it interesting but not something I connected with. At this point, I find this live action remake to be something I want to see more out of curiosity than anything else. I hope it’s good. I hope the whitewashing of the lead character doesn’t bug me (with ScarJo playing her, I think I’ll be okay). I hope it’s more than just boobs and amazing visuals, which the trailer shows off brilliantly.”
  • Pete's Trailer: Silence — "The first trailer for Scorsese’s passion film hits, 26 years in the making. Garfield and Driver look greatly weird… or weirdly great, especially after thinking that Benicio del Toro and Daniel Day-Lewis were supposed to star as recently as 2009. How things change. It’s visually bold — indelicate might be a better word — especially for a film that centers on the cloth. I’m fascinated and can’t wait to see it."
Dec 01, 2016
The Two Faces of January — Trailer Rewind
28:09

". . . another victim of the cruel tricks gods play on men”

It’s back to 2014 again for JJ and Steve as they dig into The Two Faces of January, Andy’s pick from February 2014. Adapted from the novel by Patricia Highsmith, this thriller set in the early 60’s looks and sounds like a classic Hitchcock film. JJ and Steve dig into the difference between the appearance and the substance of the story, the challenges of identifying who the two faces are, and wonder whether the novel may sufficiently fill in some gaps in the film.

There are many mysteries that are unearthed in The Two Faces of January but will the answers leave you feeling satisfied?

Film Sundries

Nov 29, 2016
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
01:13:10

"I didn’t forget your breakfast. I didn’t bring you breakfast because you didn’t eat your din-din!"

The animosity between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford almost seems the stuff of legend. Looking back from today, it’s hard to say how much there really was or if it was all conjured up by the studios and the press. But after hearing stories of the two and how things went after they collaborated on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, it’s clear that there really was a... competitive nature, let’s just say, between the two women. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Bette Davis series with Robert Aldrich’s 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.

We talk about the two actresses and what they bring to the film, notably their iconic personas from the decades of acting previously as well as this catty relationship (not to mention their powerhouse performances). We look at the film and the darkly horrific way it’s made, fitting the bill nicely as a psychological thriller made by auteur Aldrich. We look at Ernest Haller’s gorgeously moody black-and-white cinematography and how well it pairs with Michael Luciano’s taut editing. And we tie up our Davis series by looking at what she brought to all the films we’ve discussed and the iconic status she has. 

It’s a dark film that’s incredibly fun too, in a way, and is certainly worth both watching and discussing. So check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Jackie — "There are a lot of exciting trailers playing right now, but as we finish up our series about a strong actress, I wanted to pick a trailer featuring another strong actress leading what looks to be a very interesting film. We all know the story of JFK but I know next to nothing about his first lady, particularly her time immediately after his death. Natalie Portman looks great and the film looks incredibly compelling. Count me in."
  • Pete's Trailer: Kong: Skull Island — "Yup, this has to go down as one of the most comically terrible trailers I’ve ever seen. I know it’s going to be a big movie, but this thing gives away everything exciting about a monster movie: the damned monsters. All of them. The size and scale, the variety, the colors and sounds, it’s all given up in two minutes. If you know me, you know I’m not one to shy away from getting myself all spoiled. But seriously, Kong: Skull Island … if there’s a worse offender on screen right now, I’d love to see it."
Nov 24, 2016
All About Eve
01:01:18

"Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night."

Bette Davis was on a streak of flops and just lost her contract with Warner Bros. when Joseph L. Mankiewicz offered her the role of Margo Channing in his new film All About Eve. She immediately saw it for what it was: an incredible role for a woman of her age in an incredible script. She leapt at the chance. It’s safe to say that by doing so, she created one of her most iconic performances in a film that’s gone on to be praised as one of the greatest of all time. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Bette Davis series with Mankiewicz’s 1950 film All About Eve

We talk about why this film works so well for us and how it still feels so relevant today. We discuss Mankiewicz and his direction, as well as his adaptation of Mary Orr’s short story and touch on how she came to the idea. We chat about Davis and how great of a performance she gives, but pair that next to Ann Baxter who just might outdo Davis. We also talk about the brilliant George Sanders, the lovely Celeste Holm, the sarcastic Thelma Ritter and the always beautiful Marilyn Monroe, among others. We chat about how this film’s fictional Sarah Siddons Award ended up becoming a real thing. And we look at what happens when two actresses want to be nominated for Best Actress (hint: it doesn’t work out). 

It’s an amazing film that hardly feels dated at all and is well worth not only discussing but also in giving a glimpse in what Bette Davis can do. We have a great time talking about it so tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Beauty and the Beast — "Yeah, I’m a sucker for Disney. I was doubtful of their remake slate but have been pretty impressed with the last few. This is based on arguably their best animated film. Can they pull this one off? They seem to have everything lined up the right way that makes me believe that yes, this one will be great."
  • Pete's Trailer: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets — "Is Luc Besson back to the wonder of The Fifth Element? Yes, I’m still bullish on that movie, and by the looks of it, this one is back to basics in the very best way. At worst, it should be a great tester for home 4k cinemas."
Nov 17, 2016
Now, Voyager
01:14:21

"Don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the stars!"

Irving Rapper’s 1942 film Now, Voyager may have met with mixed reviews but it certainly found its audience, showing that people were thrilled with the on-screen pairing of Bette Davis and Paul Henreid in a story about a woman learning to come out of her shell. It helped that Davis connected so much with this role. She fought for the part and got it, creating one of her iconic and romantic screen personas. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Bette Davis series with Rapper’s film Now, Voyager

We talk about Davis and our thoughts of her in general, paired with our thoughts of this film and what works – or doesn’t work – for us. We chat about Casey Robinson’s script and Olive HIggins Prouty’s source material, contemplating issues we have like the flashback structure, and wondering if the story could have been told without them. (We also contemplate the original story, wondering if perhaps its foundation was flashbacks, giving the filmmakers a sense that they needed to include them.) We look at the cast – notably Davis, Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper and Mary Wickes – and discuss what they bring to the table. And we revel in the sweepingly romantic themes that composer Max Steiner for which won an Oscar.

It’s a film that Andy loves and Pete finds problematic in lots of little ways, but certainly one well worth talking about. How does it stack up for you? Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Wilson (Red Band) — "The sequel to Cast Away that follows Wilson the volleyball and his world exploits this is not. It’s Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern reconnecting with the daughter they gave away for adoption 17 years ago. But funny. Funny in the best of red band ways. Plus it’s based on a Daniel Clowes graphic novel, so it’s got that going for it."
  • Pete's Trailer: Gifted — "Once again, you go Chris Evans for making interesting, feel-good, even formulaic non-Cap films that bring a man tear right to my big stupid face. And a fine welcome back to Marc Webb who may just be bringing me everything I loved about 500 Days of Summer in the kinda foul mouth of McKenna Grace."
Nov 10, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Doctor Strange
01:15:28

"Forget everything that you think you know"

The Film Board gathers! The Marvel Cinematic Universe has returned so we’ve brought together a merry band of thugs to spoil the next episode of the massive comic book soap opera for you- easter eggs and all. Origin story anyone? Join us as we talk about Doctor Strange, another special human that learns great and different powers Foster’s the best to save the world slash worlds in great and different ways. 

Singing for their supper on this one is our own special motley mix of critics and fanboys, so join us to figure out where you are on our spectrum. Steve, Tommy Handsome, Pete, and JJ will take you on a dive through a multiverse thrill ride and we’ll all come out with shaking hands and a new perspective on reality.

Film Sundries

Nov 08, 2016
The Little Foxes
01:10:55

"You must hate me very much."

Bette Davis was never one to shy away from roles, except perhaps from those that weren’t meaty enough. And she found a lot to work with in Lillian Hellman’s play “The Little Foxes” when William Wyler brought it to the big screen. And even though it meant endless fights on set with her director, Davis received her fifth Oscar nomination for her performance. It’s a dark film, but certainly one worth watching. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Bette Davis series with Wyler’s 1941 film The Little Foxes

We talk about Davis and deliberate on why she’s someone worth discussing, or even someone worth writing songs about. We look at Wyler and his career, and how despite the fact that he doesn’t really stand out as an auteur that he’s still someone who created a large quantity of incredible films. We discuss Hellman and how her Communist beliefs might have influenced her script. We hit on Gregg Toland and his deep focus he’s still practicing after just having finished Citizen Kane, bringing a lot to the table with this film. And we look at the rest of the cast, including Teresa Wright, Herbert Marshall, David Carlson, Patricia Colinge and Dan Duryea, and what they add to the film.

Like There Will Be Blood, this is a film about wicked people trying to climb to the top. It’s a tough film to watch but everyone in it is so compelling, it’s hard to turn off. We have a great conversation about it this week so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Toni Erdmann — "I had picked a completely different trailer but saw this and thought it was off the wall enough that I wanted to go with it instead. This looks like an exciting father-daughter story as a dad tries to help break his daughter out of the successful yet unhappy life she’s made for herself. As a father who wants to see his daughter happy AND successful, this really struck a chord with me."
  • Pete's Trailer: Life — "Have I ever mentioned that for a time in my life, I was actually mistaken for Ryan Reynolds? That would be reason enough to pick this movie, but drop in Rebecca Ferguson and Jake Gyllenhaal, the ISS, and a creepy spore mangler and I’m all in. Of course, this movie does come with risks: Daniel Espinosa helmed Child 44, currently 43 of 51 on The Film Board’s Flickchart listing and the central reason you have to fear trains undressing your children."
Nov 03, 2016
The Philadelphia Story — Speakeasy with Guest Steve Miner
01:22:40

"The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, director Steve Miner joins us to talk about one of his favorites, George Cukor’s 1940 film The Philadelphia Story.

We talk about the nature of this story and how it’s so much more than a screwball comedy, which is how it’s often billed. We look at how Katharine Hepburn was intrinsic in getting both the original play and this film made, what it meant for her career at the time and how well it holds up today (despite one potentially nasty depiction of abuse). We discuss Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart and how well they work together in this story. We look at what director George Cukor brings to the table, finding the right ways to bring the script to life. We talk about the nature of the media and paparazzi and how things really haven’t changed all that much. And we look at how the film did not just in the box office and during Awards season, but more importantly how it’s really proven that it can stand the test of time.

It’s a marvelous film, one that’s well worth watching. We had a great time talking about it with Steve and hearing his perspective on why it’s one of his favorites. So check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Nov 01, 2016
The Fly (1986)
01:22:01

"Be Afraid. Be very afraid."

There are certain people that are drawn to a movie because of reports about early screenings where audience members had to leave the theatre because the gore made them physically sick. Whether it’s an attraction to the gruesome horror films, a chance for some good jumps and frights or simply a curiosity to see what the filmmakers could have done to actually make people ill, gore can certainly boost a horror film at the box office. And that certainly was the case with David Cronenberg’s 1986 horror masterpiece The Fly, a remake of the ‘58 version which itself was based on George Langelaan’s short story. Cronenberg, however, is a filmmaker who certainly puts a lot of thought into his films, never one to simply make a gorefest, and this film certainly has more going for it. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we delve into the last Listener’s Choice episode of the year, this time with Matthew Medrano to discuss Cronenberg’s film. 

We talk to Matt about why he picked this film and what he loves about it so much. We talk about our enjoyment with the film and what Cronenberg is doing here, bringing multiple genres together to craft his story. We chat about how the film came to be and what Cronenberg and his co-writer Charles Edward Pogue opted to do in updating the original film (and short story). We look at the perfect blend of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, a real-life couple at the time who brought amazing amounts of charisma, connection, struggle and heartbreak to the roles. We chat about the production team and the complexities they had in making all of the effects work and bringing them to life. And we look at how well this film did at the box office, surprised that only five years earlier, The Thing couldn’t draw a crowd.

It’s a great film and certainly one worth talking with. Thanks, Matt, for recommending we add it to the show! Now it’s everybody’s turn to check out the movie then tune in to the show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: A Cure for Wellness — "Gore Verbinski doesn’t always make films I love, but he certainly has a strong directorial touch. His remake of The Ringproved he could handle horror, and this certainly looks to be on the same wavelength. Strong cast, incredible visuals and creepy concept all make for something I definitely want to see."
  • Pete's Trailer: Frank & Lola — "It’s probably a bit too easy to compare this to Last Tango in Paris, which is engaging, but overrated. I’m more interested in Michael Shannon than Brando in a role of this ilk, and the last shot of him in this trailer, in the smock splattered in blood, is just the sort of tease that nails a trailer."
Oct 27, 2016
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back — The Next Reel Film Board
01:20:25

"You’re right – the numbers don’t add up."

The Film Board is all out of Breath! Our faithful thugs have all been sprinting from house to car to theater to car to microphone to gather, AND SPOIL, FOR YOU - the new Tom Cruise production of Jack Reacher - Never Go Back. The first installment of the Lee Child adaptation was striking and clever. We’ll talk through whether doing a #2 bugs us at all.

Our house is a very very very full house with our five regulars returning to the show including Steve, Tommy Handsome, Andy, Pete, and JJ. Have a listen because when the movie ends, our conversation begins and this one in particular will set you up with the right things to know before you go. 

Film Sundries

Oct 25, 2016
Seabiscuit
01:17:05

"You don’t throw a whole life away just ‘cause he’s banged up a little."

When Seabiscuit raced in the 30s, he drew more news than Roosevelt or Hitler. His match race against War Admiral was heard by 40 million people, statistically about as many Americans who tune in to watch the Superbowl every year. But he wasn’t just winning races – he was a hero for the little guy who lost everything in the Great Depression and was fighting for a second chance. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our “This Is Real Life, Jack!” series with Gary Ross’ 2003 film Seabiscuit

We talk about how the movie works overall, and the interesting addition Ross added of documentary-style narration provided by one of America’s great voices, David McCullough. We debate about how well Ross does with the opening act of his film – is it a sloppy mess that takes too long to get us to the horse or is it a brilliantly cut-together example of how well Ross does to move us through time and connect us to these characters? We look at the performances of Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks and William H. Macy, among others, and relish in the great work they all do here, even if Banks really is given nothing more than the ‘thankless wife’ role. We discuss some of the key team members – John Schwartzman’s cinematography, William Goldenberg’s editing, Randy Newman’s music – and what they all bring to the table. And we ponder the cost of the Equicizer and how effective it is in allowing the filmmakers to cut in closeups of actors talking while in the midst of their incredibly choreographed and photographed races. 

It’s a beautiful, powerful film that may wear its heart on its sleeve, but one that does so proudly, not ashamed of what it is. We have a great conversation about it, even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything in it. So check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Patriots Day — "As horrific the act of terrorism during the Boston Marathon was, it also showed how brilliantly our law enforcement, FBI and military came together to solve the crime and catch the perpetrators. I worked on the TV movie version of this and I’m very excited to see how Berg and Wahlberg come together in their version.”
  • Pete's Trailer: Army of One — "Nicholas Cage starts making so much sense now. He hears the voice of God — Russell Brand, natch — and decides to go to Pakistan to apprehend Osama bin Laden. If it didn’t lead with based on a true story, I would have passed. With that, I'm very, very curious."
Oct 20, 2016
Odd Thomas — Trailer Rewind
41:27

"I may see dead people, but, by God, I do something about it."

Mining book series for films is an all to frequent occurrence. Some are able to successfully make the transition from page to screen, while others struggle. The Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz would seem an ideal source to tap for a film adaptation.

This month JJ and Steve visit Pico Mundo to solve a mystery with Odd Thomas in a very special Anton Yelchin memorial Trailer Rewind episode. They discuss the unique tone of the film and how it balances the horror, mystery, and comedy components of the story to create an enjoyable and light film. They talk about the mixed strengths of the cast and special effects and how they create a world that’s grounded in reality yet is infused with elements of an idealized small town.

It’s a quirky film that’s ripe for viewing as a Halloween treat for teens.

Film Sundries

Oct 18, 2016
Black Hawk Down
01:30:29

"They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand it’s about the men next to you. That’s all it is."

There is a political side to military operations, and there is a military side. Regardless of the politics of the 1993 situation in Somalia, the battle of Mogadishu was a terrible one, leaving 19 US soldiers, a Pakistani soldier and a Malaysian soldier dead, not to mention the countless Somalis. Ridley Scott’s 2001 film Black Hawk Down, based on Mark Bowden’s book, tells the story of this battle and it’s a powerful one. Certainly, it’s a film everyone should see at least once to fully grasp this situation. Join us as we continue our “This Is Real Life, Jack” series with Scott’s powerful film.

We talk about the real situation and how the filmmakers condensed it to tell this story in just over two hours, looking at some of what was changed and how the real soldiers who had been there reacted to the film. We look at Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer and what they each bring to a film like this, finding ourselves immensely impressed that this didn’t take the path of Pearl Harbor, fictionalizing the story for the wrong reasons. We give kudos to the immense cast and the casting director who brought them all together. We touch on the effects work, both on set and in the digital world, marveling at the powerful war zone they’ve created here. And we chat with Bowden a bit to get his take on how well they adapted his book. 

It’s a difficult film to watch but a strong one too. It’s a film that puts us in the soldiers’ shoes in a very messy incursion, helping us understand the mentality of what it takes to go into a situation like this. Read the book, check out the movie and tune in to this week’s show! 

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Invisible — "I’m really excited about the possibilities of VR and curious to see how filmmakers find ways to use it to tell their stories. From watching this trailer, I’m more curious than I am excited but seeing that Doug Liman and Melisa Wallack are attached gives me hope that things are moving in the right direction."
  • Pete's Trailer: John Wick: Chapter 2 — "Unlike some of us, I have no problem doing a teaser as a trailer pick, especially when that teaser is John Wick."
Oct 13, 2016
Shorts: Josie and the Pussycats — No, No, Wait! Hear Me Out!
07:59

"Du Jour means teamwork!"

You know the feeling. You have a ridiculous internal affair with a movie. You’ve seen it a dozen times. You laugh at all the right places and cry when it ends. But alas, you are alone. Your friends don’t understand you. They shun you. They malign your tastes. You suffer in silence. 

It is in that spirit that Tommy Handsome brings you No, No, Wait! Hear Me Out! The latest Next Reel Short is a chance to right a wrong in the world by building a case that a movie you think you’re supposed to hate actually has some value. This month, it’s Josie and the Pussycats, Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan directing. This B-list film about a C-list comic book band actually offers some A-list comedy, says Tommy. Starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, Tara Reid, Alan Cumming, and Parker Posey, this cast manages to deliver a level of insight into consumer culture that punches well above its weight. 

So join us on this maiden voyage of No, No, Wait! Hear Me Out! and let your shame drift, drift away with three… small… words… 

Film Sundries

Oct 11, 2016
The Dish
01:11:17

"The whole town is over the moon."

Every story has many facets, but often the big story hides some of the smaller facets. The Australian film The Dish is a perfect example of this. The big story? Apollo 11’s successful mission to the moon. The small story? The Australians working at Parkes Observatory – a radio telescope in the middle of a sheep paddock – that was critical to the success of the mission and was our link to the footage we’ve all seen of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the surface of the moon. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our “It’s Real Life, Jack” series with Rob Sitch’s 2000 film The Dish. We talk about what a delightful film this is and how great it is learning about this small bit of history that neither of us knew. We talk about Working Dog, the creative production team behind the film, and have a brief interview with producer Tom Gleisner about how they came to tell this particular story, the nature of ‘telling the truth’ in a film based on a fact and more. We chat about the actors – notably Sam Neill, Patrick Warburton, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long and Roy Billing, among others – and how they all create unique and quirky characters that work perfectly in this world. And we touch on not only Edmund Choi’s beautiful, award-winning score but also the fantastic soundtrack full of great songs. 

It’s a wonderful film that helps one expand upon and appreciate the Apollo 11 moon landing even more. So what are you waiting for? Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales — "After having just discussed Apocalypse Now with the cinematographer of the newest entry of the über-successful Pirates franchise, it seems fitting to discuss this teaser trailer, which just debuted. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, this certainly looks like an epic entry."
  • Pete's Trailer: Christine — "We learned the story of Christine Chubbuck in journalism school as a particularly on-the-nose cautionary tale, the story of a woman so disgruntled with the state of the media and her role in it that she elected to kill herself on-air. Since Network is currently #1 on our Flickchart, seems an offense not to acknowledge this film is on the horizon."
Oct 06, 2016
Speakeasy: "Apocalypse Now" with guest cinematographer Paul Cameron
01:00:52

"You’re an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer Paul Cameron joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Apocalypse Now.

We talk about why this film is such a key film for us and why Paul picked it, specifically the darkly poetic journey we go on with the characters, both internally and externally. We look at what Francis Ford Coppola went through to get this film made and how he, his crew and his cast all took their own dark journeys to make it happen. We discuss the script and what John Milius, Coppola and Michael Herr built into it as they adapted Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness” into a Vietnam setting. We chat about what the actors – notably Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Larry Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall and Dennis Hopper – bring to the table. We discuss the importance of the look of the film, beautifully shot by Vittorio Storaro; and of the sound, designed by Walter Murch, Mark Berger, Richard Beggs and Nathan Boxer, and how it’s the grandfather of Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. We touch on the original cut and Apocalypse Now Redux, not to mention Coppola’s wife’s documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse and how all of the behind the scenes stories may affect one’s views of the film (if at all). And we look at how well the film did, assuaging any concerns Coppola had during the making (especially since it was self-financed and required him to mortgage his vineyards). 

It’s a brilliant film, truly one of the great American classics and well worth talking about. We have a great chat with Paul about it, so check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Oct 04, 2016
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
01:22:45

"I’ll say a prayer for you. A little prayer."

Antoine Fuqua has talked about how much a fan he is of both westerns and of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film Seven Samurai. Knowing that, it’s frustrating to see that his retelling of Kurosawa’s film transplanted to the old west doesn’t stand as strong as Kurosawa’s film or even as strong as John Sturges’ own 1960 version, the original The Magnificent Seven. Still, it has a great cast playing some colorful characters and while largely forgettable is still enjoyable enough. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Seven Samurai Family series with Fuqua’s 2016 remake The Magnificent Seven

We talk about the thread of DNA starting with Seven Samurai and where it leaves this current iteration, knowing that the writers were largely pulling from Sturges’ remake while Fuqua and actor Denzel Washington were finding more inspiration from Kurosawa’s original film. We chat about Fuqua and the writers, wondering what they were each bringing to the table and why it didn’t feel as strong as it should have. We discuss the cast, how nice it is to see more diversity and how frustrating it is that those diverse elements don’t get as much to do. And we look at the locations, contemplating the movie magic they must’ve employed to create the old west in Louisiana where it was filmed primarily. 

It’s a faulted re-telling of this story, though we both acknowledge that people coming to this film without knowing its DNA roots may find it completely enjoyable. As frustrating as it may be for us, we still find it enjoyable to discuss. So check out the movie then tune in!

Sep 29, 2016
A Bug's Life
01:20:57

"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."
Sep 27, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Snowden
01:08:35

"Terrorism is just an excuse"

The Film Board Gathers undercover of darkness through compromised microphones and remotely accessed computer screens to discuss a dramatic reconstruction of the deconstruction of the general public’s privacy in Oliver Stone’s Snowden. Is it accurate? Does it matter? Did Edward get a SAG card? Listen in as our heavy hands deliver an open discussion with Steve, Pete and JJ as we all cover our laptop cameras and cross our fingers.

Film Sundries

Sep 20, 2016
¡Three Amigos!
01:00:24

"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."
Sep 15, 2016
Speakeasy: "Heat" with Guest Cinematographer Jayson Crothers
01:33:10

"All I am is what I’m going after."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer Jayson Crothers joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Michael Mann’s epic 1995 crime drama Heat.

We talk about the world building that Mann does here, giving us fascinating characters on both sides of the law along with the families they struggle to please. We chat about the powerhouse moment when Robert De Niro and Al Pacino finally end up on screen together for the first time and deliberate about Mann’s careful choice of when they’re fully in the same frame together. We discuss the rest of the amazing cast, notable because every role seems to be inhabited by yet another incredible actor. We chat about the nature of women in Mann’s films and why they may seem afterthoughts as compared to the men. We look at Dante Spinotti’s cinematography and the incredible work he does creating a relatively normal looking Los Angeles. We touch on the editing, the music, the locations and many other things that went into creating this rich tapestry. And we ponder an alternate universe where Tone Lōc might have played Pacino’s role. 

It’s an incredible conversation about an incredible film that certainly has stood the test of time. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely need to watch it right now, then join us in our conversation with Crothers about it!

Film Sundries

Sep 13, 2016
The Magnificent Seven
01:10:18

"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."
Sep 08, 2016
Seven Samurai
01:18:42

"Once more, we survive."

When you think of Akira Kurosawa, it’s easy to connect him to great samurai films like RanThrone of BloodThe Hidden FortressYojimbo and Sanjuro. What’s surprising, however, is that he didn’t make his first samurai film until midway through his filmmaking career. That film, of course, is arguably his greatest film, Seven Samurai, which was released in 1954. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we start up our Seven Samurai Family series with Kurosawa’s masterpiece. 

We talk about how well this film holds up and speculate as to why this film not only is so easy to watch despite it’s nearly three-and-a-half-hour running time, but also feels so modern. We discuss Kurosawa, what it took for him to get this film made and why he worked to make this stand apart from the glut of samurai films being made at the time. We chat about the cast, notably Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Daisuke Katô, Isao Kimura, Minoru Chiaki, Seiji Miyaguchi and Yoshio Inaba as our titular seven, and why they all work so well here (even drawing a comparison to Coen brother casting). We look at the camera work and how Kurosawa, along with cinematographer Asakazu Nakai, proves himself a master of the medium as we look at his framing, lens choices, camera movement and more. We look at the rest of the production team to bring this world to life so perfectly (except perhaps the bald caps). And we discuss how well this film did in Japan contrasting that with why Toho Films felt the need to truncate it before releasing it to the rest of the world. 

It’s a brilliant film and the foundation of a series we’re quite excited to talk about. So tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage — "Yeah, this could suck. It’s Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore. That rarely would add up to a winning combination. But realizing my knowledge of this disaster is pretty much based on Quinn’s monologue in Jaws, I figure there’s gotta be something in here to at least give me a bit more of a sense of what happened. Here’s hoping it doesn’t make me want to just go back and rewatch the monologue from Jaws again."
  • Pete's Trailer: Lion — "Dev Patel is on the search for his parents across India. Rooney Mara helps, Nicole Kidman hurts. And Garth Davis directs the adaptation by Luke Davies. I love Patel’s work and regret how irrationally hard I was initially on Slumdog. Wish Newsroom was still kicking."
Sep 01, 2016
Contagion
01:06:12

"How are we defining ‘contained?’"

While working on The Informer! with Steven Soderbergh, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns was inspired by a scene with Matt Damon ranting about the germs Scott Bakula’s character left on a phone to explore the idea of a viral pandemic. From there, Contagion was born. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our disease film series with Soderbergh’s 2011 glimpse into how the world deals with a new disease outbreak. 

We talk about why this film works so well for us (and possibly not for other people), looking at the nature of a disease film that has such scope while maintaining its human touch. We discuss the idea of the terribly named ‘hyperlink cinema’ and why it works well for Soderbergh in the telling of this tale. We look at the many, many actors who lent their skills to tell each of these small stories, notably Jennifer Ehle as a CDC scientist who willingly puts herself in harm’s way to see if the cure works. We touch on Soderbergh as DP and what he’s bringing to the table with that hat on. And we hit on Cliff Martinez and his music he brings to the table for Soderbergh, even if it doesn’t stand out outside the film. 

It’s a great way to finish our series and we’re glad to have discussed it here. Check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Rings — "This a sequel none of us were asking for and likely a sequel that won’t be that good. But I’ll still watch it. Maybe not in a movie theatre, but it’s something I’d rent. Yeah, I’m kinda the market for these."
  • Pete's Trailer: Mr. Church — "I have a soft spot for Eddie Murphy. This match up gives him the opportunity for a Driving Miss Daisy experience and I’m all for it. Britt Robertson might just get a shot at a role with some meat to it, something to challenge the sweetness she wears on her sleeve."
Aug 25, 2016
The Film Board Presents: War Dogs
01:11:02

"That sounds illegal."

The Film Board Gathers - celebrating the Dog Days of summer with a slick new film from the team that created the Hangover’s Wolf Pack. This month the Thugs get feral and spoil War Dogs for you because it features some of our favorite young Hollywood talent in Miles Teller and Jonah Hill and it’s just plain fun to figure out the alpha in a movie that’s categorized as “Comedy, Drama, War.” 

Our voices above the fray will include Tommy, Andy, Pete, JJ, and a return appearance from special guest host Alice Baker as we dig up bones for War Dogs — in theaters now. 

Film Sundries

Aug 23, 2016
Blindness
01:33:44

"Either the blindness spread the panic or the panic spread the blindness."

When Fernando Meirelles showed his 2008 film Blindness to José Saramago, the author of the original book upon which it was based, Saramago loved it. Unfortunately for them, neither critics nor audiences connected with the allegorical film. It’s a tough watch with questionable character motivations and a fairly depressing world view. But some people still really love it, creating quite a variety of reactions to the film well worth talking about. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we discuss the penultimate film in our Disease Films series, Meirelles’ Blindness

We talk about why the film worked for Andy but didn’t work for Pete and how, for both, there are still gaping problems that should’ve been worked out. We discuss the cinematography and production design and how they work together to really create an interesting world on film, even if there are elements one could call on the nose. We dig into the technical side of the VistaVision camera and why the production team likely used it for filming. We look at the actors – from Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo to Danny Glover and Gael García Bernal – and what they’re all bringing to the table. And we look at the variety of locations they filmed at including Brazil, Canada and Uruguay. 

It’s a problematic film that some people may like while others may hate, but it is an interesting allegory all the same and certainly fun to talk about. So check it out and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Allied — "It’s just a teaser, but I’ll see anything Robert Zemeckis does. The fact that it’s a WWII story written by Steven Knight with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard starring is just icing on the cake.”
  • Pete's Trailer: The Good Neighbor — "James Caan is incredibly scary. Just, as a person. He’s a scary person. In fact, there were moments that I actually thought Kathy Bates was the victim that one time. Remember that? He’s that scary of a guy. And now he’s playing the role of the scary guy in a SUPER-Rear-Window-vibed film. I’ll see this, and probably regret it for so many reasons."
Aug 18, 2016
Children of Men
01:39:33

"Very odd what happens in a world without children’s voices."

It’s unfortunate that Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men never found the audience it deserved, at least theatrically. Sure, it has been hailed as one of the best films of the year it was released, is often cited as one of the best science fiction films of the 21st century and was critically praised but for whatever reason, the audiences didn’t show up. The film lost money on its theatrical release. But Cuarón’s film is brilliant. It’s powerful. And it leaves you with a sense of hope for humanity.

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Cuarón’s 2006 film Children of Men. We talk about the theme of hope and the religious overtones within the film, looking at why they work here and how they differ from the original novel written by P.D. James. We chat about Cuarón and his penchant for long shots, noting how there are over 30 minutes of shots in this movie that run 45 seconds or longer in single takes. We look at what it takes for Cuarón and his team to pull off these incredibly complicated shots. We discuss the performances, including Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine and Clare-Hope Ashitey, and why Owen should’ve been nominated for an Oscar. And we deliberate on why this film was critically received so well but never quite found its footing.

It’s a marvelous film well worth watching and discussing. We enjoy talking about it here, so what are you waiting for? Tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Edge of Seventeen — Official Red Band Trailer — "This is the perfect movie for me to watch before my daughter gets to this age. I have a feeling by that point, I won’t be able to handle it. But seriously, it looks hilarious. And sad. And honest. And touching. No surprise to see James L. Brooks producing it."
  • Pete's Trailer: Complete Unknown — "I loved Maria Full of Grace. While I never saw his other features, when this showed as writer/director Joshua Marston’s next film I jumped at it. Not only does it feel like a return to form for him, it stars one of my very favorite actors in Rachel Weisz. Starts this month if you can find it!"
Aug 11, 2016
Speakeasy: "Fat City" with guest Sam Levy
01:23:51

"How’d you like to wake up in the morning and be him?"

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer Sam Levy joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, John Huston’s 1972 boxing film Fat City

We talk about the depressing story presented here as these characters try to reach the good life and why some of us can connect easier to it than others. We look at the incredible (and incredibly dark) cinematography by Conrad L. Hall and discuss the importance of a cinematographer getting to time their own film. We chat about the brilliant cast, from the actors like Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell and Nicholas Colasanto; to the real-life boxers like Curtis Cokes and Sixto Rodriguez. We discuss Kris Kristofferson’s song “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and why it works so well in this movie. And we touch on what critics thought of the movie compared with how it did at the box office. 

John Huston was at a period in his career where he’d been making some duds so it’s great to see him return to top form with Fat City. It’s a master class in cinematic realism and a boxing film well worth watching and discussing. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Aug 09, 2016
Serenity
01:36:33

"You can’t stop the signal."

Most people involved in making Joss Whedon’s 2005 film Serenity acknowledge that it was a near miracle that they got to make it. The TV show upon which it was based, “Firefly,” was canceled before its 14 episodes all aired and it seemed dead. Luckily, the rabid fanbase clamored loud enough and Universal saw that there may be an audience for a continuation of the story after all. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Whedon’s conclusion of his “Firefly” story, 2005’s Serenity

We talk about why the film works and what Whedon brings to the table, notably his sharp story construction and snappy dialogue. We chat about the cast, looking primarily at Serenity’s crew members and their antagonist played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. We look at the look of the film and why Jack Green’s cinematography works so well for us. We marvel at the stuntwork done by the cast, notably Summer Glau and Nathan Fillion as they handled most of their stunts to brilliant effect. We talk about the release of the film and why we think it didn’t do that well at the box office. And we take note of a fascinating milestone this film represents in the advancing world of digital film projection.

It’s an amazing science fiction western noir film and is one of our faves. Definitely check it out, then tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Hollars — "Family comedy drama films can sometimes work for me and sometimes not. This looks like it will fall in the ‘yes’ category and I really hope so because I’d love to see John Krasinski bring more to the table as a director."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Great Wall — "This looks like quite a spectacle. The problem is, on some level, I think I’m actually offended by it, but I can’t figure out why. I guarantee my opinion is based in some part on the dumpster fire that was Jason Bourne."
Aug 04, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Jason Bourne
01:18:18

"Use SQL to corrupt the databases."

The Film Board Gathers! This month, we’ve got thugs being thugs as the Bourne Quilogy moves into its latest chapter. Our secret super soldiers surface to talk about Matt Damon’s return and the latest techniques in brainwashing, performance enhancing drugs and any other tricky tactics to transform Ludlum’s legends to screen. 

All alliteration aside, we’re going to spoil this movie and the rest of the franchise. So catch up to Jason Bourne with Pete Wright, Andy Nelson, Steve Sarmento, Tommy Handsome, and Justin JJ Jaeger - it’s in theaters now.

Film Sundries

Aug 02, 2016
Outbreak
01:34:49

"You have to love its simplicity. It’s one billionth our size and it’s beating us."

After making Das Boot, Wolfgang Peterson came to Hollywood and began a new period in his life making big spectacle films, often action thrillers. Unfortunately, that meant when it came time to make his 1995 film Outbreak – stemmed from the world’s curiosity in the Ebola outbreak in Africa paired with the release of Richard Preston’s article “Crisis in the Hot Zone” and subsequent book – the powers that be felt that it too needed to be an action thriller. True, compared to something like The Andromeda Strain, a little more action could really help a story out, but they really seemed to go the wrong direction with this film, adding in an infuriating military conspiracy subplot to really kick things up a notch. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Peterson’s ‘95 film Outbreak

We talk about why the film fell short on this recent watch, even though it seemed to hold up relatively well when we first saw it in ‘95. We chat about how the project came to be and why the film version of Preston’s article and book never got made. We look at all the wonderful actors in this movie and debate whose characters are the weakest. We chat about the nature of Ebola and the various outbreaks the world has seen with it (including a recent record-breaking outbreak starting in ‘13). And we ponder Peterson’s Hollywood directing, wondering if he’s still got another Das Boot in him. 

It’s a flawed film, albeit an entertaining one with a great cast. It’s fun to watch but also infuriating. And it’s really fun to talk about, so check it out then tune in this week!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Wonder Woman — "If DC came out with this before BvS:DoJ, it’s possible they’d be giving Marvel a real run for their money. Everything about this looks like they’re making the right choices. I can’t wait to see Gal Gadot bring it to the big screen!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Sky Sharks — "Yeah. This is Sky Sharks. We talked about it last week on the show. It’s in contention for entry into the WolfCop/Kung Fury Hall of Fame. See this trailer."
Jul 28, 2016
Cake — Trailer Rewind
38:10

"Tell me a story where everything works out in the end for the evil witch."

Steve and JJ are going to have their pain killer laden cake and spoil it for you too. This was Pete’s trailer pick from January 2, 2015. Pete talked about the cast and said Jennifer Aniston stood a chance for an Oscar for this film. Andy agreed that she looked amazing in this trailer and agreed that this looked like an opportunity for her to show that she is capable of powerful performances.

Film Sundries

Jul 26, 2016
The Crazies
01:21:24

"We’re not dealing with the flu virus here."

George A. Romero made The Crazies just a few years after making his breakout film Night of the Living Dead in ‘68, but with the popularity of Romero’s zombie film and the others in his ‘Dead’ trilogy still to be determined, he was still a struggling indie filmmaker. So it was with a very meager sum that he set out to make The Crazies and delivered a very interesting piece of work, even if it often fails in its storytelling. Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright as we continue our Disease Films series with Romero’s 1973 film The Crazies.

We talk about the independent feel of the film, what works about it and what doesn’t. We chat about Romero and some of his tropes that were evident early on, shining strongly in this movie. We discuss the actors, the relatively short careers for many of them and the particularly lengthy (and schlocky) career of Lynn Lowry, still busy making films like Skysharks. We look at the various elements of production on display here, from cinematography and locations to makeup and effects to the canned music and the editing. And we talk about the distribution of the film and why it largely failed to find an audience. 

It’s a fun film to watch and clearly helmed by someone who knew how to put a taut film together, even if it’s a bit of a mess with some bad performances. But we like it anyway, even if it didn’t end up ranking very high on our Flickchart. So check it out and then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Rules Don’t Apply — "I enjoy Warren Beatty and it’s great to see him back in action, both in front of and behind the camera. It seems smart that he’s also putting Alden Ehrenreich in there as a co-star to ride some of that Han Solo buzz."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Magnificent 7 — "We’ve talked about this movie already, but you know what? I love this new trailer something awful so screw it… I’m talking about it again."
Jul 21, 2016
Shorts: The Scores of John Carpenter
26:39

It was a dark and stormy . . . actually, it was a sunny June Sunday evening when Andy and Steve decided to celebrate the joys of fatherhood with John Carpenter, the Master of Horror. On Father’s Day 2016, these two bold men decided to forego the company of their wives and children and settled in for an evening of sonic chills.

Carpenter is in the middle of a worldwide tour, performing selections from the scores of his films and themes from his recent albums, Lost Themes and Lost Themes II. Listen in as Andy and Steve describe their experience and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Carpenter’s compositions.

Jul 19, 2016
The Andromeda Strain
01:24:37

"It should’ve been left up to the scientists! It’s a colossal mistake! Tell the President I said so!"

Michael Crichton’s space disease thriller hit the public at the perfect time – when everyone was afraid of the astronauts accidentally bringing back space viruses upon returning to Earth. Crichton wrote the book in a very pseudo-scientific way that made it feel like more of a scientific documentation of a real happening, and it worked gangbusters for his readers. When Robert Wise decided to adapt it, he opted to treat it the same and make it feel like a documentary. For some, it works better than for others. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our disease series with Wise’s 1971 thriller The Andromeda Strain. We discuss Crichton, Wise and the adaptation by Nelson Gidding, looking at what works and what doesn’t for us. We chat about the non-stars Wise cast in the film, talking about each of their careers then wondering why their careers weren’t as strong as Gregory Peck’s. We look at the production design and the special effects, enjoying everything they brought to the table, even if they weren’t used to their full potentials or, in many cases, often overused. And we chat about the non-score score by Gil Mellé, sharing opposing views as to what a score like this brings to the table to a film like this. 

It’s an interesting film that is burdened by Wise’s penchant for including too much of the processes these scientists have to go through, but still one worth talking about. Check the movie out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Inferno — "Okay, it’s Tom Hanks so it’s really a no-brainer for me, and I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. I think the character of Langdon is an interesting one and love seeing Hanks portray him."
  • Pete's Trailer: Edge of Winter — "I’m mostly into this for Tom Holland. I’m deeply curious about his portrayal of the upcoming Spider-man, and seeing him in something darker and less… you know… heroeybefore that hits is probably just what we need to feel his establishment on screen."
Jul 14, 2016
Creativity — Three of a Kind with Steve Sarmento
09:38

Whether you’re a creative person, or someone who cringes at the thought of art, you’re going to find something to enjoy about this month’s three of a kind. The creative process gets dissected to look at the heart of Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, and the passion that goes into creativity. Then we bloody our knuckles against the brutally percussive story of Whiplash. Finally, we loose our heads on a journey to make an album with Frank as we look at how these three films explore the risks and rewards that are part of the creative process.

Film Sundries

Jul 12, 2016
The Omega Man
01:01:47

"You are discarded. You are the refuse of the past."

Richard Matheson’s 1954 vampire horror novel “I Am Legend” helped influence the zombie genre (it was the inspiration for the ‘68 George Romero film “Night of the Living Dead”) and popularized the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. Yet for some reason, filmmakers haven’t been able to crack the story. It’s been made into three different films, and it doesn’t seem like any of them have gotten it right. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our disease series with the second of these adaptations, Boris Sagal’s 1971 film, “The Omega Man.”

We talk about why this movie doesn’t work for us and try to figure out what the movie has that gives it that ‘guilty pleasure’ feel. We discuss the actors, notably Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe and Rosalind Cash, as they all work together and deliver some terribly written lines. Speaking of lines, we discuss the script written by John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington, our problems with it and why it feels a bit like a soap opera. We also talk about Sagal’s direction and why the whole film really feels like a TV production. And we have to bring up the crazy amount of 70s zooms in the movie – definitely a sign of the times. 

It’s not a film that we love, even if Andy could see some of the guilty pleasure enjoyment with it. Regardless, it’s an interesting film worth discussing and opening up our disease films series. So check it out then tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Storks — "This sounded really dumb. But then I watched the trailer and really can’t stop laughing. I don’t know if the movie will actually hold up, but I already feel like I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt."
  • Pete's Trailer: War on Everyone — "Worst cops ever. Skarsgård and James are blackmailing criminals with subversive joy. This is an id movie just waiting to satisfy me."
Jul 07, 2016
Never Let Me Go — The Next Reel Speakeasy
01:09:13

"You have to know who you are and what you are. It’s the only way you’ll lead decent lives."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, costume designer Alana Morshead joins us to talk about one of her favorite films, Mark Romanek’s 2010 film “Never Let Me Go” based on the book by Kazuo Ishiguro.

We talk about the science fiction nature of this story and how it really operates more as a minor element of the world building, allowing the viewers to focus so much more on the three main characters in the film and their relationships. We discuss the choices made by Romanek in the look of the film, the way the camera moved, and the nature of the love story. We look at what Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley bring to the table as the three principal characters, and how they compare with their youthful counterparts. And we struggle with the fact that this film didn’t connect with its audience, leaving it in the red by the time it left theatres, which really is a disappointment considering how much we really enjoyed it. 

It’s a touching film and a fascinating glimpse at what strong writers can do with their science fiction. It’s something we enjoyed then found we connected to it more and more as time wore on. And it’s a thrill to have had it introduced to us finally as we’d both clearly missed it when it was released. So hopefully you’ll check it out, then tune in to the show!

Film Sundries

Jul 05, 2016
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
01:23:52

"Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!"

Stanley Kubrick didn’t do comedy often which is a shame because “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is arguably one of the funniest films ever made. What’s interesting is that Kubrick intended on making a serious film about one of his greatest fears at the time: the threat of nuclear war. But after several attempts at finding the right way to tell the story seriously (including one involving aliens watching us from above, discussing our penchant for destruction), he hit on the idea of making it funny. And his dark comedy classic was born.

Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright – as we wrap up our brief vacation challenge with Andy’s choice of his favorite end-of-the-world comedy, Kubrick’s 1964 film “Dr. Strangelove.” We talk about how we were introduced to this film and why it may not be a film that one connects to immediately but a film that one has to find the humor over time. We discuss the actors – Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, even James Earl Jones in his first screen role – and the level of comedy brilliance they all achieve individually and how it ties to the overall film. We single out Sellers, of course, as we discuss the three roles he played in the film and what makes them all so unique. We touch on the look of the film, shot by Gilbert Taylor with impeccable production design by Ken Adam, pointing out just what it took to make the war room one of the most iconic sets ever made. We mention the sequel that Kubrick wanted to make with the help of Terry Gilliam. And we argue about its placement on our Flickchart, as we inevitably do every week. 

It’s one of the best films out there and well worth a discussion. Haven’t seen it? Give it a try. Just be aware that you may not connect on the first viewing. This is one of those movies that may need a few shots. But it’ll be well worth it. We promise you.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Anthropoid — "Maybe it’s because we just discussed several WWII films, or maybe it’s that I’ve never heard of this particular true story, but it looks intense and like a bit of history I’m excited to learn more about."
  • Pete's Trailer: Outlaws and Angels — "I may have a woefully skewed view of this film — judging by Andy’s reaction, I’m way off base. But something about Eastwood’s turn in this trailer hooked me so I’m hoping for redemption!"
Jun 30, 2016
ParaNorman
01:22:50

"Would’ve been a quiet night, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!"

Stop-motion animation has been a part of film since nearly the beginning, starting with a toy circus coming to life in 1898’s “The Humpty Dumpty Circus.” Since then, it’s undergone many critical changes and improvements as filmmakers have experimented with what they could do with it, and in 2012, Laika released the first stop-motion animated feature film to use a 3D color printer to create the character faces. The movie, “ParaNorman,” was a comedy horror for kids and certainly seemed to find its audience while also creating quite a bit of controversy.

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we start off our brief vacation challenge series with Chris Butler’s and Sam Bell’s horror comedy for the kids, “ParaNorman.” We talk about why Pete picked this movie and what he loves about not just this film but stop-motion animation in general. We chat about the directors behind this animated film and what sort of the criticism the film received upon its release (and still to this day!) due to the violence it depicted, the sexual situations and the fact that it has an openly gay character. We discuss not just the actors that voiced the characters – from Kodi Smit-McPhee and Tucker Albrizzi to Anna Kendrick and Casey Affleck – but also Heidi Smith who designed the characters and the animators who brought them to life. We look at Butler’s screenplay and chat about why it’s such a strong script. And we marvel at the cinematography, production design, rigging, effects and everything else that goes into making a stop-motion animated film, thrilled with how well this team did at focusing and working together to create a wholly realized world.

It’s an absolute blast to watch and certainly one well worth talking about. Is it safe for the kids? We think so and argue the point but some people aren’t so sure so perhaps look into it a bit before watching with your own children. Regardless, tune in after you’ve seen it to hear our thoughts!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Deepwater Horizon — "I don’t know if I’m really that excited about this one. The trailer gives me a good sense of the story without completely ruining the story for someone who missed the news coverage, but it still feels like so many other heroic real-life stories out there. Looks like a good renter though."
  • Pete's Trailer: Assassin’s Creed — "I’m a big fan of the game. But I’ve been a fan of games gone movies before. Seriously though, Fassbender? Cotillard? Irons? Brendan Gleeson? Michael Kenneth Williams? Is it possible that all these people have spontaneously decided to sell out at once? Or might this be a fair adaptation?"
Jun 23, 2016
Mr. Nobody — Trailer Rewind
42:30

"Why am I me and not somebody else?"

Are you ready to rewind time with this month’s trailer rewind? JJ and Steve tackle Mr. Nobody, Pete’s trailer pick from November 2013. They discuss this film’s long road to a U.S release, the challenges of discussing a film loaded with metaphor and multiple storylines across different timelines, as well as the right audience for this film. 

Film Sundries

Jun 21, 2016
The Great Escape
01:30:52

"I’m going to cause such a terrible stink in this Third Reich of theirs that thousands of troops that could well be employed at the front will be tied up looking after us!"

It’s time for another Listener’s Choice episode, and we’re talking about one of the all-time WWII classics. That’s right, listener Michael Cook decided that it was time for us to discuss John Sturges’ 1963 film “The Great Escape,” and man, was he right on the money. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we chat about our eight listener’s choice with “The Great Escape.” We talk about how this script was shaped around the real escape in 1944 of 76 POWs from Stalag Luft III, what details were changed for the film and how we feel about those changes. We chat about Sturges and the style he brings to the film paired with the way he directs his actors, giving them the freedom they wanted/needed to create their performances. We discuss those actors – and there are a lot of them including Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, Charles Bronson and Donald Pleasence, to name a few – and what they bring to the table. We look at the fantastic production design, cinematography and editing that really bring this movie, filmed on location in Germany, to life, and what it took to get away from filming it outside of Palm Springs. We touch on Elmer Bernstein and the incredibly memorable score he delivers and what it does for the feel of the film. And we mention artist Archibald Willard and the connection his painting The Spirit of ‘76 has with the film. 

It’s a fantastic film, one we’re truly thrilled to talk about, so definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it before, then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Kicks — "There’s something about this indie film’s story that I just dig. It’s about a kid who wants nothing more than to get his hands on a pair of Air Jordans only to have them stolen, so he, of course, tries to get them back. It’s got a dark vibe through the trailer that feels like it could go down a dark road yet is billed as a dramedy, so it intrigues me. Where are they going with the story? I don’t know but I really want to find out."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Space Between Us — "Yes, it’s a YA film. Yes, it’s about a teen love story between a girl, and the boy she meets born on Mars. But I love that twist, in fact, and the surrounding science is fascinating (what happens when we send people to Mars and they’re NOT destined to return home), so I’m giving this one a heart-warming family movie night shot."
Jun 16, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Now You See Me 2
01:23:30

"Are you listening, horsemen? You will get what's coming to you. In ways you can't expect."

The Film Board Gathers! This month, The Four Horsemen return to continue the magical crusade to right societal wrongs through misdirection and sleight of hand with Jon M. Chu’s Now You See Me 2. The Thugs tackle their own appetite for manipulation — Does this story deserve a sequel? Why would The Film Board approach it after widely panning the original? What happened to Isla Fischer and is she being played by Daniel Radcliffe?

We spoil the tricks, but spread the magic with Andy Nelson, Steve Sarmento, Pete Wright, and guest host Alice Baker as we consider the smoke and mirrors that make Now You See Me 2 a spectacle in theaters now. 

Film Sundries

Jun 14, 2016
Ministry of Fear
01:17:53

"We’ve been patriotically slaving for three years to help a spy ring!"

“Ministry of Fear” was Fritz Lang’s third film of four anti-Nazi movies that he made, but it feels less anti-Nazi and more just straight up Hitchcockian thriller. And while Lang didn’t like the final result of the film and Graham Greene, who wrote the novel on which the movie’s based, also didn’t like the film, it’s a very fun film to watch and feels a bit like Lang lite. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Lang series with his 1944 film, “Ministry of Fear.” We talk about why this film works for us, even if it still has story problems like he’s had in all of his other films so far, and debate as to what it was that caused him and Greene to dislike it so much. We discuss Seton Miller, the screenwriter and producer of this movie, and look at the control he exerted over this film, forcing Lang to make the film Miller wanted, right down to the last shot. We chat about the performances from Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond, Hillary Brooke, Percy Waram and most notably Dan Duryea, and look at what they each bring to the table. We touch on the cinematography by Henry Sharp, a studio contract DP Lang had to work with but still someone who ended up making this film feel very noirish and Langian. And we discuss our feelings about Lang as a director, looking at what we got out of this series and analyzing Lang’s work compared with how he ran his sets.

It’s a fun film to watch, even if it doesn’t feel as important as some of Lang’s earlier films. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week, commenting that this certainly will be an easy movie to put on down the road to enjoy all over again. So check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Phantom Boy — "I love animated films in general, but after having so much fun with “A Cat in Paris,” I can’t wait to see what these filmmakers do with this story. A boy in a wheelchair who can project himself out of his body and does so to help a detective bring down some gangsters? It sounds like the stuff I dreamt up as a child and they pulled it straight from my head. I’m very much looking forward to this one."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Wailing — "Regular listeners know I’m not usually one for horror, but this film has that visual vibe I find appealing, hopefully more of a thriller than a grotesque, and it’s in Korean, so I’m banking on that helpful degree of abstraction."
Jun 09, 2016
Terminator 2: Judgment Day — The Next Reel Speakeasy with Costume Designer Sarah Trost
01:36:20

"Hasta la vista, baby."

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, costume designer Sarah Trost joins us to talk about one of her favorite films, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. 

We talk about why we all love this film so much and where this movie fits into our feelings for the entire franchise, and look at why James Cameron’s entries seemingly hold up so much better than the rest. We chat about the script that Cameron and William Wisher, Jr., put together here and the way they smartly chose to parallel elements from the first in the franchise. We look at how Cameron crafts films and why this film still holds up so incredibly well. We discuss the actors – Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick and Joe Morton primarily – and talk about what they all bring to the table, even commenting which of the actors delivers a performance that might have warranted an Oscar nomination. We look at the amazing cinematography, stunts, effects, makeup, costumes, models, music, editing – honestly, everyone involved in this film seems to be working at the top of their form and we talk about that. And we talk about the brilliant metal man effects work they did here bringing the T-1000 to life (and pushing this budget over $100 million, the first time a film cost that much). 

It truly is an action film that’s set a standard for all action films to follow and a film that hardly shows its age. We have a great time talking with Sarah about this one so tune in! (Oh, and be prepared for some explicit language in this one.)

Film Sundries

Jun 07, 2016
Man Hunt
01:12:38

"Good heavens, man, I never intended to shoot. I merely wanted to find out if it were possible."

1941 was an interesting time for the US as the country started the year off as a passive, neutral observer of what Germany and Hitler were doing in Europe and ended with the attack on Pearl Harbor, leading the US to officially enter WWII. And while Fritz Lang’s 1941 anti-Nazi film “Man Hunt” was rushed by Darryl F. Zanuck and 20th Century Fox into production then subsequently theatres to be current, they still had to contend with the Production Code and how the film would be seen by people while the Neutrality Act was still in effect. It’s a film that reflects the time in which it was made really well, giving us insight now not just how the filmmakers were thinking, but how society and the government were all thinking and working together (or against each other).

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Fritz Lang series with “Man Hunt.” We talk about why this film is still such an interesting glimpse into what was going on in the late 30s/early 40s and how people were thinking. We chat about Lang and what he brings to the table paired with Dudley Nichols, the screenwriter, and how he adapted the source material, often in ways that make us scratch our heads. We look at the opening sequence of the film and talk about how powerful it is, likely even moreso at the time of its release. We discuss Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine, Roddy McDowall and the rest of the cast, deliberating on how well they did (or didn’t) do and whether any of them are any good at accents. We discuss the opening and closing shots of the film, looking at the imagery of the hunt and how it works in both contexts. And we look at the beautiful black-and-white cinematography by Arthur Miller and how well he worked with Lang here to give us some frightening urban night scenes that would fit perfectly in many of Lang’s films. 

The film may have story issues and some performances that we struggle with, but it’s still an interesting film to watch with some powerful moments that really stand out as pure Lang. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: A Monster Calls — "While Spielberg’s ‘The BFG’ looks downright entertaining in all the right ways, there’s something about J.A. Bayona’s movie that looks like it touches on something a bit deeper. I’m excited for both but feel like this is the one I’m going to connect to a bit more strongly."
  • Pete's Trailer: Morgan — "A corporate risk management consultant is put in charge of the decision to terminate an artificial life. Oh, and looks like a bloody thriller. It’s like Ex Machina with an actual board room and Kate Mara."
Jun 02, 2016
The Nice Guys — Trailer Rewind
38:34

"So you're telling me you made a porno where the plot is the point?"

A trailer rewind for a film that’s still in theaters!?! What’s going on? We finish up our Andy trailer pick trilogy and add a bonus episode to the Shane Black series. As a special treat Andy joins Steve to discuss The Nice Guys, his trailer pick from December 11, 2015. Andy and Steve discuss the strengths of the film and how it fits in with the themes that have been part of Shane Black’s films. Catch this one before it leaves theaters before you listen because they spoil this 70’s detective story.

Film Sundries

May 31, 2016
M
01:18:50

"Just you wait, it won’t be long. / The man in black will soon be here / With his cleaver’s blade so true. / He’ll make mincemeat out of you!"

When “M,” Fritz Lang’s first sound film, opened in 1931, it was clear that Lang already understood how to employ sound to his advantage in telling his story. Unlike many early ‘talkies,’ “M” isn’t wall-to-wall talking; instead, Lang used it as a sparse tool to help catch a killer. He balanced quiet moments with abrupt sharp noises. He brought in off-screen noises that affected those on-screen. He had voiceover. And of course, there is the murderer’s whistling of Peer Gynt’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Lang was a master of his craft, and certainly not a director who would be held back by the advent of sound. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Lang series with “M.” We talk about the story of the film, the influences from the time on Lang, and what Lang may have been trying to say about the rise of Nazism. We chat about Peter Lorre in his breakout role and why his child murderer character is so compelling and, yes, sympathetic. We look at the way that Fritz Arno Wagner moved the camera and lit the scenes to capture Lang’s story (once again written by his wife at the time Thea von Harbou). We deliberate on von Harbou’s script and how well it worked in creating a fascinating police procedural but also how Lang’s research into killers may have affected some decisions in the character of Beckert. We talk about the sound and the lack of score with this movie and how the sound actually affected the frame size. We start a new segment called First Shot/Last Shot and look at how the director decided to start and end his story. And we discuss how the rise in Nazism helped some of the actors while hindering others.

It’s a film noted as a masterpiece, the best of German cinema, Lang’s finest film. We certainly see the quality here and have a great time talking about it on this week’s show. So give this one a watch – it deserves it – then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Tickled — "There are certain documentaries that really thrill me to no end, and those are the ones where it leads you in a completely different direction than you’re expecting it to. This looks like one of those docs. Plus, it’s about one of the strangest subjects I’ve ever encountered – competitive endurance tickling. (Or is it about that? Hmmm…)"
  • Pete's Trailer: Don’t Think Twice — "Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs star in this Mike Birbiglia film chronicling the efforts of a New York City improv troupe to get picked up by their fictitious SNL counterparts. Looks funny, with a deceptive dose of heart. Suck it, cynicism."
May 26, 2016
Comet — Trailer Rewind
38:37

"See? This is why I hate time. I can't enjoy my sesame chicken because of that."

This month’s Trailer Rewind is Andy’s pick from our Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore episode in December 2014. Justin and Steve look at what made this Andy’s pick and delve into whether this film has a science fiction element to it or not. Listen in to find out if this romantic drama starring Justin Long and Emmy Rossum is out of this world or crashes and burns.

Film Sundries

May 24, 2016
Spies
01:00:36

"You still don’t seem to know what I am capable of!"

Fritz Lang’s 1928 silent spy thriller “Spies” rarely gets brought up when people mention Lang and his filmography. Dwarfed by arguably two of his best made on either side of it – “Metropolis” and “M” – “Spies” was Lang’s first film outside the shell of Ufa, the German motion-picture company. It did well enough for itself, but not well enough to make a big mark in cinema. But if you watch it, you’ll see the birthplace for practically every spy movie trope that has been on screen since. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Fritz Lang series with “Spies.” We talk about the spy tropes found in this film and what they led to in later films. We chat about the pacing of the film and why the length of this one at its mostly restored length of 143 minutes may be a bit too slow. We discuss Lang, what he was like as a director, and how his approach worked in the production of this film. We discuss the actors, notably Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Willy Fritsch and Gerda Maurus, and what they each bring to the table. We also touch on the affair Lang had with Maurus during the production of this film. We discuss Fritz Arno Wagner, the DP, and his role here as well as in German cinema in this period. And we chat about some of the filmmaking techniques used here, which work, and which are clearly still being developed. 

It’s a fun film, albeit a bit overlong, but definitely worth watching. Anyone interested in Lang’s filmography needs to see this one. So check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Don’t Breathe — "I love good horror movies and it’s always refreshing when someone comes up with something that feels new. This movie certainly looks like it’s going to fit the bill for me!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Hell or High Water — "I don’t know what to make of it. Looks like a beautiful character opportunity for some of my favorite actors. Why am I worried it’s going to be a bore? Great rendition of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Blackwall
May 19, 2016
Shorts: Mindbenders with JJ & Tommy Handsome
25:53

The Next Reel was born out of “Movies We Like” and in this new TNR Short JJ and Tommy Handsome talk about one of our favorite movie gimmicks, tricks, twists, archetypes or whatever you want to call it — it includes all those stories that make you question the reality that’s portrayed to you on the screen. What do you believe? Does it matter? Do you like to question it ... or do you like cheeseburgers? Consider the source and listen to Mindbender. 

Film Sundries

May 17, 2016
Metropolis
01:23:59

"Isn’t it worth the loss of a hand to have created the man of the future, the Machine-Man—?!”

Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic has really been through the wringer since it’s premiere in 1927. After having been cut nearly in half then reshaped, people have struggled over the decades to restore the 2 ½ hour film to its full glory but to little avail. In 2008, however, a 16mm print of a horribly scratched copy of the nearly full version was found in Buenos Aires and the film was given new life. It’s since been beautifully restored and is a marvel to watch, even with the scratches. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we begin our Fritz Lang series with “Metropolis.” We talk about what the film is about, what works in it and what doesn’t, and try to deduce why. We talk about various political directions the story seems to take and how they fit in with the time and place when Lang and his wife/co-writer Thea von Harbou were writing this. We chat about the actors – notably Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge – and what they bring to the table. We debate whether Giorgio Moroder’s rock interpretation of the movie in 1984 has any merit. And we marvel at the stunning effects by Eugen Schüfftan, from the miniatures and stop motion, to the video phone, to the creation of the Machine-Man and the rings of light moving around it. 

It’s a film that has inspired countless projects since and is clearly an important piece in the history of cinema, and even though the story is riddled with problems and could likely be condensed to get the same thing across, it’s still well worth a watch. So check out this movie then tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Urge — "I really don’t know if I’m that excited about this movie, but I love seeing Pierce Brosnan in roles where he seems to be playing something drastically different from his Bond persona. That alone piqued my curiosity here and while I won’t be running out to the cinema to catch this one, I think I may watch this some late night just to see how it is."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Shallows — "So, it’s Jaws, but with Blake Lively, plus a bunch of Michael Bay low angle tracking shots. I have a feeling this is going to connect with me on a deeply disturbing level. I’m not proud, but at least I’m honest."
May 12, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Captain America: Civil War
01:29:40

"If we can't accept limitations, we're no better than the bad guys."

The Film Board Gathers! This month, #TeamNextReel take on #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan for the title in this hero on hero on decidedly-non-hero battle royale. How well do the Russo Brothers do in their continued ownership of the Cap franchise? How about writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely? And the cast of thousands of A-listers rounding out the Avengers including newcomer Chadwick Boseman? Yeah, here’s a spoiler: We want that Black Panther movie right. Now. 

This is a big movie, with monstrous shoes to fill. Join Andy Nelson, Steve Sarmento, Tommy Handsome, Pete Wright and Justin Jaeger as we plow through camera, costume and cuisine on the latest Marvel blockbuster. 

Film Sundries

May 10, 2016
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
01:09:22

"This was, like, two corpses in three hours. I mean, am I crazy? That’s unusual, right?"

Shane Black was gone from the scene for a decade before his return as not just writer but also director with 2005’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” a comedy crime mystery that unjustly largely flew under everyone’s radar. It was mostly critically acclaimed, but with Warner Bros.’ modest release plans and minimal advertising, it didn’t have much of a chance. And we’re hoping to rectify that. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Shane Black series with his directorial debut, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”

We talk about why we love this film so much, from the noir and pulp elements Black incorporates to his comedic sensibilities, from the casting to the nature of the buddies. We chat about Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer and why they work so well together here. We discuss the challenge Black had to get this film made, and subsequently how he made it. We look at some of the other actors, including Michelle Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen, and what they bring to the table. We touch on the cinematography by Michael Barrett, the editing by Jim Page and the brilliant score by John Ottman, wondering if we can track down the soundtrack somehow. We look at the script and some of the Blackisms in it, but also compare it with the final scene and how having Black on set to direct allowed for one of his actors to create a stronger moment for the character. And we wrap up our look at the IMFDb to see what a much smaller budget does to the amount of firepower shown off in the film. 

It’s a brilliant ride of a film that thrills us to no end. We highly recommend everyone checks it out, so do so then tune in to the show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Jason Bourne — "We’ve talked about this series and will be talking about this one with the Film Board. I absolutely love the series and expect high things from this with Greengrass and Damon returning, joining forces with Stiles, Vikander and Jones. Can’t wait!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Café Society — "Apparently, between the two of us, I’mthe Woody Allen guy. I think Eisenberg and crew look terrific in this Hollywood send-up and I can’t wait to see LA get the Midnight in Paristreatment, no matter what Andy says while he’s over there stomping on joy."
May 05, 2016
Snatch — The Next Reel Speakeasy with Sound Designer Michael B. Koff
01:09:42

"Is that a tea cozy on his head?"

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in whichwe invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of theirfavorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, sound mixerMichael B. Koff joins us to talk about one of his favorite films,Guy Ritchie’s crime comedy thriller from the year 2000,“Snatch!” 

We talk about Guy Ritchie’s style, why it works for us, and whysome people complained at the time that it felt like “Lock, Stockand Two Smoking Barrels” redux. We discuss the incredible talent onscreen here – from Jason Statham and Brad Pitt to Dennis Farina andAlan Ford – and what they all bring to the table, not to mentionhow much balance there is with all of their parts. We chat aboutthe blending of the two storylines throughout the film and why it’sso effective in the ‘hyperlink cinema’ style. And we look at thetechnical aspects of the film – the sound, the cinematography andthe editing in particular – and how it ties in to the storytellingstyle overall. 

It’s a raucous ride of a film that’s not talked about enough, socheck it out then grab a drink and join us in the Speakeasy!

Film Sundries

May 03, 2016
The Long Kiss Goodnight
01:20:09

"Name’s Charly, by the way. You’re gonna love me."

When New Line Cinema bought Shane Black’s spec script “The Long Kiss Goodnight” in 1994 for $4 million, it created a new record for the selling price of spec scripts for more than 10 years until 2005 when Terry Rossio’s and Bill Marsilii’s script “Déjà Vu” sold for $5 million. While Black walked away with a hefty paycheck, he had no idea that this sale and the subsequent underwhelming performance of the resulting movie would have a hand in the end of the halcyon days of spec script sales. The way that studios saw screenwriters changed. The way they approached projects changed. Some say the industry has changed for the better, some say for the worse. Whichever side you fall on the issue, Black found himself struggling to get work afterward. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Shane Black series with Renny Harlin’s 1996 film “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” We talk about how much fun this movie is, particularly after our struggles with the last two in the series. We chat about Black and why the level of over-the-top fun in this script helps to elevate it in ways that didn’t quite work before. We chat about Harlin and what he brings to the table, not just here but in action and horror films through the late 80s and early 90s. We discuss Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Craig Bierko, Yvonne Zima, Brian Cox, David Morse and more, looking at how well they fit in this universe. And we look at how this film affected Black’s career, pushing him to step out of the industry for a decade. 

It’s a joyously ridiculous romp that’s nothing but fun and we have a great time talking about it on this week’s show. Definitely check out this movie then tune in to the show.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Magnificent Seven — "’The Seven Samurai’ is such a great story, it’s been retold many times in many different ways. And I really enjoy the ones I’ve seen. With Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming remake of a remake, I’m just banking on the story I love to carry it through. Okay, I generally like Fuqua, and his cast looks pretty solid. I’m just not sold yet by this trailer. Or ‘teaser,’ I should say. I guess I’ll have to wait for the ‘full trailer’ to get a better sense of it."
  • Pete's Trailer: The Founder — "Outside of MBA circles, I’m not sure how many people give the mechanics of McDonald’s much thought. But unravelling the sordid history of much lauded Ray Croc and the real estate empire he built is a story worth telling, and Keaton looks terrific in the part. Like last week though, what really gets me in this trailer is the song: Barns Courtney’s Glitter & Gold."
Apr 28, 2016
Three of a Kind with Steve Sarmento — Who Are You?
10:47

This month we get to meet Truman, Teddy, and Rhoda, three people who, to put it simply, have issues they need to deal with. You may think you know yourself and what you are or aren’t capable of, but you’re probably wrong. Our three heroes learn a lot about themselves, so much that they may even wish they could forget it. The Truman Show, Shutter Island, and Another Earth are three films that will give you plenty to think about, and perhaps even cause you to learn something about yourself.

Film Sundaries

Apr 26, 2016
The Last Boy Scout
01:15:06

"Be prepared, son. That’s my motto. Be prepared."

When Shane Black was paid $1.75 million for his spec script “The Last Boy Scout,” it was the most any screenwriter had been paid for their script up to that point. It wouldn’t take long before that record was broken, but the bar had been set – and more importantly, the expectations – for what Shane Black the screenwriter could deliver. Unfortunately, the production was riddled with problems and the film struggled to make its money back. It didn’t kill Black’s career, but it may have signaled the beginning of the end for the spec script boom happening in the early 90s. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Shane Black series with Tony Scott’s 1991 action extravaganza “The Last Boy Scout.” We talk about what Black brought to the table with his script and how it changed due to infighting amongst the above-the-line team involved in the production. We chat about the perfection of Bruce Willis in his role contrasted with the struggle we have with Damon Wayans as Willis’ inevitable sidekick. We touch on the goods and bads of Blackisms and Black’s storytelling themes he returns to time and again. We look at the nature of Scott’s films, how this fits into his body of work and why perhaps some of his ardent fans really love this movie. And we talk about the misogyny laced throughout the story, struggling with the way women are treated compared with what the screenwriter’s intentions likely were. 

It’s a frustrating film because it had a lot of promise but never quite gets there. Still, we have a great conversation about it. Tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Doctor Strange — "As a kid, Doctor Strange always looked like a weird comic book character that dealt with things I just didn’t understand. Now, with this impending movie iteration, it looks like an incredibly refreshing dip into something new in this glut of superhero films we’re in. Cumberbatch. McAdams. Mikkelson. Ejiofor. And a bald Swinton as The Ancient One. I’m in for sure.”
  • Pete's Trailer: The Birth of a Nation — “The movie looks terrific, but this week I’m choosing the trailer because the visuals-musical pairing is so, so good. Watch the trailer, then go pick up Nina Simone’s rendition of Strange Fruit.“
Apr 21, 2016
The Silent Partner — TNR Speakeasy with Guest Craig Anderson
01:14:06

“If you decide you’re not going to be reasonable, then one night when you come home, you’ll find me on the inside waiting for you, and that’ll be the night you’ll wish you’d never been born.”

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, actor, comedian and director Craig Anderson joins us to talk about one of his favorites, Daryl Duke’s Canadian bank heist thriller from 1978, “The Silent Partner.” We talk about the tone of films in the 70s and the nature of crime depicted in this film, not just of bank heists but also rampant infidelity and violent murder. We chat about the performances from Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer and what they bring to the table, as well as those from Susannah York, John Candy and Céline Lomez to name a few. We discuss the taut screenplay adaptation by Curtis Hanson and the efficiency with which he crafts this story so as to avoid unnecessary exposition. And we ponder the manliness of Gould at this time in his career paired with the evil of Plummer. It’s a great film that isn’t talked about enough, so check it out then grab a drink and join us in the Speakeasy!

Film Sundries

Apr 19, 2016
Lethal Weapon
01:28:07

"You ever met anybody you didn’t kill?"

Shortly after graduating from UCLA, Shane Black sold his first screenplay to Warner Bros. to the tune of $250,000. That script was “Lethal Weapon.” Black didn’t know it at the time, but he was on his way to changing the way Hollywood thought about big blockbuster action films and about screenwriters as well. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Shane Black series with Richard Donner’s 1987 film “Lethal Weapon.” We talk about how the film held up for us after our first viewings in our teen years. We chat about Black and his screenplay, looking at what’s in it, what’s not, and why his writing works so well. We look at Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as Riggs and Murtaugh, discussing everything from their partnership in this buddy cop movie to Mel’s hair and from Murtaugh’s family to Mel’s butt. We look at Gary Busey and talk about why he works well in this film. We chat about the stunts, notably Dar Richardson who lost his life right after principal photography finished. And we argue about the quality of Michael Kamen’s and Eric Clapton’s music. It’s a fun film, even if it doesn’t hold up to memories of it from our youth, so check it out then tune in to hear what we thought.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Family Fang — "Whether the movie ends up good or not, there’s still something I just absolutely love about Jason Bateman. This story he stars in and directs about a dysfunctional family run by parents who are all about performance art and their now grown-up children looking to distance themselves from the antics looks to be the right kind of quirky for me. Plus Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken. I’m all in!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Rogue One — "We were mixed on Godzilla, but Gareth Edwards at the helm of the first stand-alone Star Wars story has us intrigued. From the trailer, the frame-by-frame forensic analysis that’s being done on it in most corners of the internet at least, feels like they got the look just right. I’m all in."
Apr 14, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Demolition
01:31:09

"I found this upsetting because I was very hungry and also my wife had died ten minutes earlier. Maybe I should start from the beginning."

The Film Board Gathers! This month the gang of thugs comes together to spoil the latest thinker from Jean-Marc Vallée, Demolition. And you know what? We like it. We like it so much, we think you should see it. If you’ve been following us on the Film Board over the last few years, you know that this sort of affinity is pretty rare around these parts. 

On the show, we take on Mr. Gyllenhaal, his fantastic introverted quirkiness, and his approach to addressing grief. We talk about the great Chris Cooper and his challenge at being cast as a grumpy Gus. We talk about Naomi Watts, who pulls off complexity, even if just for a wee bit of film. And finally, we talk about relative newcomer Judah Lewis in one of the best child performances we’ve seen. 

Better still, you have to tune in for our conversation around the production of this film. Director Jean-Marc Vallée, cinematographer Yves Bélanger, and editor Jay Glen work together to craft one of the most interesting and intentional visual narratives of the season with subtlety and grace. Think what you will about the film, but then step back and appreciate the treatment of the medium. These guys are an exceptional team on this film. 

Film Sundries

Apr 12, 2016
The Hound of the Baskervilles
01:21:20

"They were the footprints… of a gigantic hound!"

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce became synonymous with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson after appearing in 14 film versions of various stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Yet at the start, neither of them got top billing. Yet now, Rathbone’s look as the famous detective is the iconic look for him. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up this year’s series of films from 1939, commonly called the greatest year of cinema, with Sidney Lanfield’s 1939 version of the famous story.

We talk about the various versions of this story brought to the screen – from 1914 to 2016 – and contrast its popularity with what our sense is of the actual story from the book (a fairly lame way to commit a crime). We chat about Rathbone and Bruce and what they bring to the table, along with Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, Lionel Atwill, John Carradine and Barlowe Borland. We discuss problems we have with the detective story and how that compares with what is provided by this film. We chat about the look of the film and how the production crew brought it to life, from costumes to sets, from casting to effects, from music (or lack thereof) to screenwriting. And we touch on the controversial last line and why it was so problematic when first released.

It’s a film that tells a mediocre detective story without much panache, but does at least introduce the world to Rathbone and Bruce as the iconic pair. Is it worth seeing? That’s up to you, but either way, make sure you tune in to our show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Swiss Army Man — "I love everything about this trailer. Paul Dano. Daniel Radcliffe. The insane and fantastical story it tells. This looks to be the sort of movie that gives me hope that there are still amazingly creative people at the helm making magic for us to view. I hope they don’t disappoint."
  • Pete's Trailer: Zashchitniki — Guardians: The Defenders — "I missed American Heist when it hit theaters last year but as a fan in general of action heist flicks, this seems right up my alley. That’s what makes director Sarik Andreasyan’s upcoming film that much more interesting. Looks very much like he’s following in the footsteps of Zack Snyder and his DC destruct-i-thons with this story of Soviet-era heroes. The cooler clip comes with the fight trailer here."
Apr 07, 2016
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
01:22:15

"Give a boy a sense of humor and a sense of proportion and he’ll stand up to anything."

Robert Donat defied the odds and beat both Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart for the Best Actor Oscar in the 1939 Academy Awards with his portrayal of Mr. Chips in Sam Wood’s “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.” It’s a movie that celebrates school heroes everyone had (or should’ve) and connects in its ability to reflect back on the nostalgia of one’s life. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on films from 1939 with Wood’s film. We talk about how we felt about the film and, despite any issues we had, still found it affecting. We chat about Robert Donat and Greer Garson, both of whom really give touching and honest performances. We touch on Sam Wood as the director and what he brings to the table. We discuss the story and why stories about teachers can work so well, and why they work on us in particular. And we look at the magnificent work Jack Dawn did with the hair and makeup to bring Mr. Chips to life over the course of his 60+ years, from new hire to headmaster. It’s a touching film that works to connect us with this character and reminds us what we love about the best ‘great teacher’ movies. Check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: The Invitation — "I can’t say I’m overly excited about this trailer but it looks like there may be the glimmer of a movie I’d like to see in here. I kinda feel like it may be worth a watch just to see if I was right."
  • Pete's Trailer: War Dogs — “Weirdly out of character for me, but I love gun running stories. It seems as though director Todd Phillips is taking on a more serious topic — and a true story — with comedic appeal, thus it has a real Great Big Short vibe to it. Something to watch."
Mar 31, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
01:26:57

"We know better now, don't we? Devils don't come from hell beneath us. They come from the sky."

The Film Board gathers! This month, the gang of thugs comes together to take on the latest in Zack Snyder’s DC Comics destructi-i-thon with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and, as a good panel show should, we offer a split decision! How well is Snyder acting as custodian of DC’s most iconic properties? Is the darker tone truly a representation of our contemporary cultural reality, or is it a slapped together tonal alternative to Marvel’s cinematic universe? Does it matter? Is Ben Affleck really sad? And how soon until the Gal Gadot-helmed Wonder Woman stand-alone film, anyway… cause we have a hankering for it around these parts. All that plus Tommy Handsome on fake things throwing fake things into fake things on screen with regulars Steve Sarmento, Justin Jaeger, Andy Nelson and Pete Wright. Join us!

Film Sundries

Mar 28, 2016
The Wizard of Oz
01:59:09

"Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!"

Victor Fleming didn’t just direct two movies in 1939, he directed two of what many consider to be the greatest films made – ”Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Where the former, though, has more problems to contend with in today’s society, what with its depiction of slavery and race in the South during the Civil War, the latter is nothing but pure cinematic joy. Seen by more people than any other movie, “The Wizard of Oz” has become infused in who we are. Quotes from the movie can pop up in everyday conversation without people even realizing they’re quoting it. The songs – particularly “Over the Rainbow” – have been burned into our brains at an early age. It truly is a shining example of what cinema can be. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our ‘films of 1939’ series with one of the great cinema achievements, Flemings’ “The Wizard of Oz.” We talk about what makes this film so great and why it’s lasted so long, looking at everything from the story to the music to Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. We discuss Fleming as the main director putting the film together, the 14 writers tasked with bringing this script to life, and L. Frank Baum, the author of the original Oz stories. We chat about the actors – Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Jerry Maren, the Singer Midgets and more (not to mention Terry the dog as Toto) – and look at what they all bring to the table here. We chat about Buddy Gillespie’s special effects, Adrian’s costumes, Harold Rosson’s cinematography, Herbert Stothart’s music adaptation, Harold Arlen’s & Yip Harberg’s songs and Mervyn LeRoy’s & Arthur Freed’s producing, tying together all the elements they each were responsible for. And we comment on the popularity of the film, chat about it being a gay icon, and look at how it started at a loss but ended up making bank over the decades. It’s one of the greats and certainly one we have a lot of passion about discussing. Check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: A Hologram for the King — "Anyone who has been following the show knows I’m a huge Tom Hanks fan, so any new film of his is reason to celebrate. Plus, Tom Tykwer’s crazy direction, a little bit of Talking Heads thrown in, and a middle Eastern romance. I’m there!"
  • Pete's Trailer: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children — "Ender saves the world again! This time he has to swim to get there. I love a good film about kids in fantastical places, and this appears to have it in spades — Tim Burton may have just got his groove back."
Mar 25, 2016
Shorts: Trailer Rewind — Young Ones
29:25

"I never saw this land when it was green."

Today we bring you a new TNR Short: Trailer RewindJustin and Steve took on the task of watching Young Ones, Andy’s trailer pick from our For A Few Dollars More episode back in August 2014. Listen in to find out if this sci-fi western is a flick to pick, or a pic to flick.

Film Sundries

Mar 24, 2016
Stagecoach
01:23:56

"We’re the victims of a foul disease called social prejudice, my child."

When John Ford decided to helm “Stagecoach” in 1939, he hadn’t done a western since his days in the silent film era. Yet it was this film, along with his relationship with John Wayne, that would lead to him making arguably some of the greatest westerns in cinema. Yet with this film, it was really more of a chance to make a western that could be a bit more serious, not just another b-level shoot-em-up, while still making a movie that was pretty light and entertaining. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on films from 1939 with Ford’s “Stagecoach.” We talk about John Ford as a director and what he was trying to do with this film, pointing out some Ford-isms along with debating his strength as a filmmaker. We chat about Dudley Nichols’ script adapted from Ernest Haycox’s short story, enjoying what he did with the nine principal characters in the film, even if there were some pacing issues throughout. We discuss the cinematography of Bert Glennon and the way he and Ford shot the action sequences. We chat about stuntman and stunt coordinator Yakima Canutt, marveling at the amazing stunts he performs in the film while also feeling pretty horrified at the methods he devised to get the horses to fall on camera. And we touch on the cast, touching on what each of them bring to their roles. It’s a fun film, even if not one of our favorites, but still gives us a great movie to talk about. So check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Popstar — "I don’t know if I’ll ever watch this one, but this red band trailer makes me laugh more than it probably should. Andy Samberg as a Justin Bieber-esque pop star on the decline? It could actually be funny. Or it could be utter garbage. Still, they got Martin Sheen to be in it so I’ve gotta give it points for that."
  • Pete's Trailer: Captain America: Civil War — "I know, I know. We’ve talked about this one already. But seriously, have you checked out how smart the marketing is on this thing? The art, the trailers, the placement are just pitch perfect. Whoever loses in the film, the Russos absolutely crush."
Mar 18, 2016
Shorts: Three of a Kind with Steve Sarmento — Ambition
08:14

This month’s three of a kind takes on music, magic, and a great meal. Amadeus, The Prestige, and Big Night are three films that explore characters with a single-minded focus that drives them toward success but at a tremendous cost. Ambition, tenacity, and a spirit that never gives up can be the keys to success, but what happens if that energy is misguided or directed toward a selfish goal?

Links & Notes

Mar 14, 2016
The Women
01:16:45

“We women are so much more sensible. When we tire of ourselves, we change the way we do our hair or hire a new cook or decorate the house. I suppose a man could do over his office, but he never thinks of anything so simple. No, dear, a man has only one escape from his old self: to see a different self in the mirror of some woman’s eyes.”

After getting taken off what ended up being the biggest film of all time – ”Gone With the Wind” – George Cukor was given the adaptation of Claire Boothe’s very popular Broadway play, “The Women,” to direct. For someone called a ‘woman’s director,’ this was a good choice for both movies. That being said, it doesn’t mean Cukor’s film holds up well today. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we head back to our series on the year 1939 to really explore what made it the ‘best year of movies,’ and we kick it off with Cukor’s “The Women.” We talk about the screenplay for this film and why it doesn’t hold up today, while also wondering what made it hold up back then. We ponder the schizophrenic messages this movie espouses, trying to figure out if it’s meant to be an early feminist film or if it’s eschewing everything feminism is about. We talk about the cast, notably Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine and Virginia Weidler, and how they hold up with both the snappy dialogue and the painfully awkward story elements. We discuss Adrian and the meaning of a 10-minute technicolor fashion show in the middle of a film, trying to decide if there really is any meaning in it or if it’s just awkwardly lumped in there. And we learn all about the existence of divorce ranches in Nevada during this period in time and why it had to figure so prominently in the story. It’s a film that really didn’t work at all for either of us, but because of that, gives us a lot of fodder for conversation. Check out the film (or skip it and save yourself the time), then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: The Light Between Oceans — “I was in film school with Derek Cianfrance, and it’s always great to see the new movies he’s making. This one looks like a tough one to watch, but that’s par for the course with him. It’s a gorgeous looking story about a family getting torn apart because it’s the right thing to do. There will be tears. Count me in.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: The Trust — “This Nick Cage/Frodo partnership is heading to SxSW this weekend so if you’re in Austin, see it — looks weirdly funny as they find a new angle to caper the heck out of a safe under a grocery store.”
Mar 10, 2016
Shorts: Behind the Sites with Matthew Buchanan of Letterboxd.com
27:22

As part of our ongoing series on the people behind the sites and services that serve the film-loving community, today we’re talking to Matthew Buchanan, co-founder of Letterboxd.com. Letterboxd has become an indispensable service for film journalists, diarists, and fans, marked by a beautiful design and just the right mix of social connectivity. Matthew and team have created a robust community in Letterboxd, one that stands out on the Internet not only in calibre of discussion, but in kindness of its members.

Sundries

Mar 06, 2016
What's up, Doc?
01:44:12

“You’re upside down, sir.”

It’s time for another Listener’s Choice episode! This time, 2015 Pony Prize winner Ben Lott gets to select and he chose Peter Bogdanovich’s 1972 screwball comedy “What’s Up, Doc?” Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we delve into one of Ben’s favorites. We talk about our initial expectations and experiences of this movie and how this film improves with conversation and when watched with a group of friends. We chat about the nature of screwball comedy and how it can be very difficult to jump back into an old genre but how well the writers David Newman, Robert Benton and Buck Henry pull it off here. We discuss our issues with the daffy dame played by Barbra Streisand and how she really compares to a psychopath or thief, despite the fact that once you get past the setup of the film, she really is a fun character that we grow to love. We chat about the other performers in the film, notably Ryan O’Neal and Madeline Kahn, and discuss what they bring to the table. And we talk about the nature of the comedy in the film and look at several sequences that stand out as the highlights. It’s a really fun movie that we’re glad to have seen, so thanks, Ben! So check out the movie then tune in to the conversation!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Embrace of the Serpent — “I’m not quite sure what to make of this story but the look of the trailer is really quite haunting. There’s something about it that draws me in with the stark beauty of the Amazon in black and white. The story looks to be equally as intriguing as the imagery; it feels a bit like a surreal nightmare. High on my list of must-sees.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Fan — “Shahrukh Kahn plays an Indian superstar, and the young superfan that’s obsessed with him. Looks like a fun thriller with wtih some wacky Benjamin Button technological hoops to make this 40-something look 17 again.”
Mar 04, 2016
Speakeasy with Dee Wallace: Room
01:10:44

“When I was small, I only knew small things, but now I’m five – I know everything!”

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is a new ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, actress Dee Wallace joins us to talk about one of her relatively new favorites, Lenny Abrahamson’s amazing film “Room.” We talk about the brilliant performances of Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson and the fascinating exploration of this pair forced to live in the titular room. We talk about Abrahamson’s work, paired with DP Danny Cohen, to tell the film from 5-year-old Jack’s perspective and how well that works for this movie. We chat about the other actors, notably the trio of ‘villains’ played by William H. Macy, Sean Bridgers and Wendy Crewson. We touch on the origins of the story and how it translated to the film. And we debate the strength of the Oscars when a performance like Tremblay’s doesn’t get nominated. It’s a movie that can break you if you’re wusses like us, or at least can move you if you’re made of stronger stuff like Dee, so check it out then grab a drink and join us in the Speakeasy!

Film Sundries

Mar 01, 2016
The Departed
01:24:12

“When you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”

“The Departed,” Martin Scorsese’s 2006 remake of “Infernal Affairs,” is the film he finally won his Oscar for. It’s a strong crime film and is definitely a Scorsese film with incredible camera work and intense violence, but is it as good as the original? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our Movies & Their Remakes series with Scorsese’s “The Departed.” We talk about what we thought of this film when we first saw it and now how it compares to its predecessor. We chat about the script and how William Monahan approached the adaptation of the original story into a South Boston setting. We discuss the actors – Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Mark Whalberg and the rest – and how well they work for us (or don’t in some cases). We touch on Scorsese and how much this film fits right in with his output. We hit on other crew members and what they bring to the table, from editing to composing to cinematography and more. And we debate just how good the actors’ South Boston accents are and how effective we are at pinpointing them. It’s a great action movie that may have diminished in quality after such a recent viewing of “Infernal Affairs,” and it certainly has its share of problems, but we have a great time talking about it on this week’s show. Check it out!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Bastille Day — “Idris Elba is my pick for the next James Bond. This gives him a chance to show off his action skills and prove he’s got what it takes. Plus, Robb Stark!”
  • Pete’s Trailer: A Bigger Splash — “Tilda Swinton plays a famous rock star hiding out, her vacation interrupted by Dakota Johnson in a movie that looks a lot better than 50 Shades. Director Luca Guadagnino offers an interesting follow-up to his 2009 film, I Am Love.”
Feb 26, 2016
Infernal Affairs
01:05:39

“I’ve chosen to be the good guy.”

“Infernal Affairs” may have won seven out of the sixteen Hong Kong Film Awards it was nominated for in 2002, including beating Zhang Yimou’s “Hero” as Best Film, but the majority of Americans probably didn’t hear of it until it was remade by Martin Scorsese four years later as “The Departed.” And while that’s a shame that it took so many people so long to discover this 2002 Hong Kong gem by directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, it’s great that they did discover it. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Movies & Their Remakes series with Lau’s and Mak’s crime thriller “Infernal Affairs.” We talk about the title, why it’s silly to overexplain the English title, what the original Chinese title “The Unceasing Path” means and things you can read about the film from it. We discuss the actors, primarily Tony Leung and Andy Lau (not related to the director), and how so many of the actors here are performers in other capacities. (Cantopop, anyone?) We chat about the almost pathetic role the women play in this version of the story. And we hit on the taut storytelling style exhibited here which lets us really focus on the struggle the two main characters go through. It’s a wonderful film and definitely worth watching regardless of whether you’ve seen “The Departed” or not. So give it a shot then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Criminal — “It’s got Pa Kent. It’s got Deadpool. It’s got Wonder Woman. It’s got Commissioner Gordon. And it’s got Two Face. But it’s not a superhero movie. It’s a memory implant sci-fi criminal thriller that might be more drama than anything else. I don’t know what to make of it – it could be a gigantic mess or it could be brilliant. Jury’s out on this one.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Forsaken — “The Sutherland boys are together again. And this time, they’re bringing Demi. And guns. And some horses. I’ve been a fan of director Jon Cassar’s work on 24 for a long time so I’m willing to give this one a bit of a pass.”
Feb 18, 2016
Shorts: Three of a Kind with Steve Sarmento — Guardians
04:41

The three family action films, Legend of the GuardiansRise of the Guardians, and Guardians of the Galaxy, aren’t just for kids. These movies give parents the opportunity to discuss the difference between heroes and guardians and how even the most ordinary can make a difference for someone else.

Feb 16, 2016
Outland
01:21:15

“If you’re looking for sterling character, you’re in the wrong place.”

In the early 80s, Peter Hyams was trying to get a western made. Unfortunately for him, no studio was interested in the genre right then; as far as they were concerned, westerns were dead. Then Hyams made the realization that westerns were still alive but that they’d been transposed to the world of sci-fi. And with that, he wrote “Outland.” Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Movies and Their Remakes series with the ‘remake’ of “High Noon,” Hyams’ 1981 film “Outland.” We talk about the comparisons between this film and “High Noon,” and deliberate on the screenplay structure here, noting how the waiting-for-the-showdown bit works so much better here because there’s so much more story before getting into it. We chat about Hyams and the look he achieves with his DP Stephen Goldblatt and production designer Philip Harrison, not to mention Introvision, the amazing model work and megasound. We discuss Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen and more, looking at what they each bring to the table. We touch on the fun special effects of heads blowing up and people decompressing in space and mention what really happens to a human body in decompression. And we chat about Jerry Goldsmith, chalking up another great score to one of our favorite ‘J’ composers. It’s a really fun sci-fi romp that not enough people are talking about, so check it out and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex — "I grew up on creature features, reveling in their magic and thriving on the wondrous stories they told. This doc looks like it’ll offer an incredible chance to hear directly from some of the wizards behind these amazing creatures and I can’t wait to check it out!”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates — “This is it, a high-water mark in gender equality: Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza out-bro the bros.”
Feb 12, 2016
Shorts: Behind the Scenes on Filmumentaries with Jamie Benning
51:15

As a part of our series on the movie sites we love, today we’re talking about one of our favorite movie projects. Jamie Benning has become, through great effort and time, custodian to the behind the scenes media of our most iconic films of the 70’s and 80s through his ultimate fan creations: Filmumentaries. In addition to his feature Filmumentaries on the original Star Wars trilogy, Raiders, and Jaws, he’s released a series of shorts furthering his contribution to the body of film analysis, and cementing his position as primary source for schleps like us.

Feb 10, 2016
The Film Board Presents: Hail, Caesar!
01:15:23

 

“It’s complicated.”

The Film Board Gathers! The Coen Brothers are back, this time channeling the spirit of old Hollywood. Josh Brolin plays Eddie Mannix, the studio fixer charged with keeping the studio in fine form. His big star goes missing. His big starlet gets pregnant. His young hunk can’t act, but has the voice of an angel. And, oh yes, Commies. 

George Clooney plays Baird Whitlock, our kidnapped screen vet, but this film is chock full of stunt casting. Ralph Fiennes, ScarJo, Tilda Swinton (x2!), Frances McDormand, and oh yeah… if you saw the trailer, you’ve seen just about every line spoken by the good Jonah Hill. 

How does it all come together? Does the Coen script live up to the other films in their idiot trilogy? Does the stunt casting serve the story? How well does Roger Deakins’ camera live up to the era? And what about Carter Burwell? After a disappointing review in January’s conversation on The Finest Hours, does the score turn the Board around? All this and more this month as Steve Sarmento, Justin Jaegar, Andy Nelson, Pete Wright, and Tommy Handsome come together to spoil the Coen’s latest, “Hail, Caesar!”

Film Sundries

Feb 10, 2016
High Noon
01:19:18

 

“People’ve gotta talk themselves into law and order before they do anything about it, maybe because down deep, they don’t care – they just don’t care.”

“High Noon” is often cited as one of the greatest westerns ever made, and a lot of that praise is likely because it was so different from other westerns at the time. It was bleak and black-and-white. There was hardly any action in it. And it was a character piece. This story didn’t have to be set in the old west – it could work in many genres (as we’ll explore next week). It’s more about the protagonist and his struggle to stay true to what he believes in the face of incredible odds. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Movies and Their Remakes series with Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 classic “High Noon.” We talk about why this film works, but more specifically why it doesn’t work as well for us on this most recent rewatch. We chat about Gary Cooper and our struggles with him as an actor, despite him being such a popular performer. We discuss the history of this script and story, and how it got tangled up with HUAC. We talk about Zinnemann and his cinematographer Floyd Crosby, the look they went for in the film, what they did with the camera and why they didn’t do more of it. We touch on the earworm of a song and how it really saved the movie. And we deliberate on the nature of real-time storytelling and its implications in making a gripping yarn. It’s a classic, to be sure, but not one that was at the top of our lists. Inevitably, problems with a film make for a great conversation so make sure you check out the movie and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Pete’s Trailer: Pandemic — “From the looks of it, this is 100% first person. Very strange feeling with this one, but it fits my zombie vibe and has Rachel Nichols and Mekhi Phifer. I feel like I’ve been on a good run with indie outbreak films lately so fingers crossed this one stands up.”
  • Andy’s Trailer: Green Room — “I know it’s just a teaser, but with Jeremy Saulnier at the helm and Patrick Stewart going dark as an evil skinhead, I didn’t need anything else. Give me my ticket right now!”
Feb 04, 2016
Speakeasy with Matthew Gratzner: Casino Royale
01:17:24

“I would ask you if you could remain emotionally detached, but I don’t think that’s your problem. Is it, Bond?”

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is a new ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, visual effects supervisor and director Matthew Gratzner joins us to talk about one of his faves, Martin Campbell’s reboot of the James Bond franchise that introduced us to Daniel Craig’s 007, “Casino Royale.” We talk about Craig and the rest of the cast, including Dame Judy Dench, Eva Green and Mads Mikkelsen, and look at what they bring to the table. We discuss the story and its origins, from Ian Fleming’s original novel and the rights to the book, to where the franchise had been with Pierce Brosnan as the previous Bond, and finally to the screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis and what they delivered here. We chat about Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and how they’ve worked so hard as a driving force to keep the franchise alive, consistent and relevant. And we chat effects, from the amazing stuntwork and the incredibly limited CGI to the model work. It’s a fantastic movie in a franchise we all love and we have a great time talking about it, so grab a drink and join us in the Speakeasy!

About Matthew Gratzner

@MatthewGratzner

Matthew Gratzner is a triple threat talent who balances directing, design and technology fluidly when creating content. Matthew has a pioneering spirit and is always willing to create with new tools while remaining grounded in story and character.

Best known for his visual effects work on the biggest feature films over the last decade as Visual Effects Supervisor and co-founder New Deal Studios, Matthew is also an accomplished director. He has two feature films in post, several commercials, huge visual effects sequences, digital shorts and is now pioneering cinematic virtual reality content. He was the first to direct a cinematic live action virtual reality short called The Mission. He has directed live sports VR for the NHL. HIs Music Video for Galvanized Souls for the song “New Generation” that has been hugely popular this summer. His latest is virtual reality short is Mutiny for Nokia and their OZO camera. 

Film Sundries

Feb 02, 2016
The Finest Hours
01:20:09

“In the coast guard they say you go out, they don’t say you gotta come back.”

The Film Board Gathers! This month we’ve come together to take on Craig Gillespie’s story of a heroic Coast Guard rescue at sea, “The Finest Hours” starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. How does the rugged crew handle the thrashing of the Nantucket coast? It’s a contentious episode this week, one that splits us on adaptation, truth versus fiction, and the stoicism versus spectrum disorder. Join Andy Nelson, Steve Sarmento, Justin Jaeger, Tommy Handsome, and Pete Wright as we unpack heroism, luck, and headlights in this mostly family adventure!

Film Sundries

Feb 01, 2016
The Edge
01:12:57

“Behold, the mighty hunter.”

Lee Tamahori’s first foray in Hollywood, ‘Mulholland Falls,’ didn’t fare all that well. Luckily, his follow-up with 1997’s ‘The Edge’ made money and allowed him to keep working in the business. (Though if you look at his foray in the Bond franchise, ‘Die Another Day,’ maybe it’s not so lucky after all.) But does the movie feel like something from a David Mamet script? Or does it fall into formulaic Hollywood junk? Join us—Pete Wright and Andy Nelson—as we wrap up our ‘David Mamet as a screenwriter’ series with ‘The Edge.’ We talk about why this film doesn’t work for us overall, even if there are some redeeming elements here and there. We chat about Mamet and debate about how perhaps writing for the Great Outdoors really isn’t for him. We discuss the actors, notably Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins and Harold Perrineau, and how they fare in the wilderness. We chat about Bart the Bear and his Hollywood legacy. We look at the cinematography and try to figure out why Donald McAlpine’s work here feels like it was shot on backlots, not the gorgeous backdrops of the Canadian Rockies. And we bring up Jerry Goldsmith, the legendary composer, who lends his hand here to compose what ends up being a strong theme that’s perhaps repeated a few times too many. It’s a frustrating film to rewatch as it certainly brought our memories of it down a bit, but definitely is a fun one to talk about. Check it out (or don’t) then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Hunt for the Wilderpeople — “I know this is just a teaser, but it looks absurd and funny in all the right ways. Taika Waititi is behind some great Kiwi funny stuff like Flight of the Conchords so I definitely want to give this a chance.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Keanu — “Key and Peele go on a rescue mission for their gangsta kitten. I’m more excited for this film than any other Will Forte thug film yet evar. Plus, director Peter Atencio is from Ft. Collins, Colorado. Land of the free, home of the Andy.”
Jan 29, 2016
Shorts: Nathan Chase & Jeremy Thompson from Flickchart.com
27:54

As a part of our series on the movie sites we love, you’d probably guess that we couldn’t go very far without talking to Nathan Chase and Jeremy Thompson, the team behind Flickchart.com. Over the years, Flickchart has become central to our own ranking of films we review on this show, and offers a fun — if enormously frustrating at times — paradigm for stack ranking our favorites. It’s at once a service and an addiction, and we’re thrilled to be able to sit down with Nathan and Jeremy to hear how it all came to be. We talk about the origins of the site and founding philosophy. We explore the technical underpinnings of the site and how the technology has had to scale to keep up with growth and complexity. Most importantly, we get to hear a little bit about Flickchart 2.0, and get a firm non-committal committal of a specific though frustratingly vague launch date … No, we can’t wait to get our hands on it either. 

Jan 27, 2016
Glengarry Glen Ross
01:39:30

“The good news is you’re fired.”

David Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 with his play “Glengarry Glen Ross.” The play really exemplified Mamet-speak and its transition to film retained that, despite the fact that it took eight years to make it to the silver screen. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our David Mamet as Screenwriter series with James Foley’s 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross. We talk about its transition from stage play to film, what changed, what was added, and how it works. We discuss the cast and how strong it is (even if it’s all white guys) – Pacino, Lemmon, Harris, Arkin, Spacey, Baldwin, Price – and how they manage Mamet’s script. We chat about Foley and his filmography, looking at how this one fits into the mix. And we get into some of the technical aspects, looking at the look and music. It’s a brilliant script that makes for a very strong film, certainly one worth watching and discussing. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Money Monster — “Jodie Foster’s direction has been a bit hit-or-miss with me, but this story looks compelling and timely, even if it may feel a bit ‘Hollywood.’ With George Clooney and Julia Roberts heading the charge, I feel like this may be another one for Foster that I dig.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: 10 Cloverfield Lane — “Yeah, in fact I do think they’re making good on a promise to give us something else in the Cloverfield universe. And yeah, we probably won’t see the monster much. And yeah, it’ll probably be great. I adore the use of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ in this trailer.”
Jan 21, 2016
Shorts: Three of a Kind with Steve Sarmento
06:42

From Sutter and Aimee in James Ponsoldt’s, The Spectacular Now, to Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio in Jordan Vogt-Roberts’, The Kings of Summer, to Greg and Rachel in Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, the last two years have been a boon to those of us of a certain age with a hankering to rekindle the spirit of the great teen movie of our youth. But this batch is different, not better or worse, but certainly of a different age, for a different age.

This week on TNRShorts, Steve Sarmento ties the three together in his new column, Three of a Kind — three films with a common thread, and a trip back to high school.

 

Jan 19, 2016
The Untouchables
01:26:29

“He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone!”

Brian De Palma was coming off a couple of box office disappointments when he signed on to bring David Mamet’s script “The Untouchables” to life. The studio was hoping for something akin to a movie version of their old TV show but this team opted to tell a more focused story, and that is both the success and failure of this movie. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our ‘Mamet as screenwriter’ series with 1987’s “The Untouchables.” We talk about what works in Mamet’s script and what doesn’t, and why elements aren’t working the way they should. We chat about De Palma and all of the De Palma-isms that he delivers here, never one to disappoint. We look at the key actors in the film – Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith – and what they each bring to the table, particularly Connery in his Oscar-winning performance. And we touch on the technical with Ennio Morricone’s score, the fantastic production design and the noirish title design. It’s a film that unfortunately didn’t hold up for us this go-around, despite still being able to get enjoyment from it. It’s worth the watch, particularly if you haven’t seen it before, so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist — “I had a blast watching the first in this series. Wan has a great handle on horror and doesn’t seem to mess up sequels when he takes them on, as Insidious: Chapter 2 and Furious 7 showed us. He’s also found his muse in Patrick Wilson who makes a great team with Vera Farmiga. Plus, it’s downright creepy and daddy like.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Colonia — “I don’t think I have this movie figured out. Emma Watson joins a cult to find her political rabble rowser of a boyfriend. That’s all I’ve got. But by the end of the trailer, it’s looking like a genuine thriller, so I’m willing to give it a shot. It should be said, however, that I also predicted good things about Child 44.”
Jan 15, 2016
Shorts: Get your Trailer Fix on Trailer.Town with founders Joel Farris & Alex Carvalho
19:21
Jan 10, 2016
The Verdict
01:17:03

“So much of the time, we’re just lost.”

David Mamet wrote screenplays for several years before he jumped into the director’s seat, and while some of them still distinctly sound like Mamet’s writing, others really don’t. The ‘Mamet Speak’ isn’t there, or perhaps it’s just less obvious. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off another Mamet series, this time focusing on films he worked on only as screenwriter. We start this series with his second screen credit as screenwriter, Sidney Lumet’s 1982 courtroom drama “The Verdict.” We talk about what works for us with Mamet’s script and what doesn’t, and really try to figure out why – is it not Mamet enough? We chat about the actors, from Paul Newman and Jack Warden to Charlotte Rampling and James Mason, and what they bring to the table. We really get into the look of the film, discussing Andrzej Barkowiak’s cinematography, Edward Pisoni’s production design and John Kasarda’s art direction, analyzing how they use their tools to tell this story. And we get into some subplots, really trying to resolve some issues that the film leaves hanging. It’s a strong courtroom character study, even if it wasn’t strong enough to take on Gandhi at the Oscars. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Lazer Team — “I’m not sure if this is comedy genius or a truly great representative of the dregs of January. Either way, it made me laugh and will probably end up as a guilty pleasure for me. Plus, I’m curious to see how things shake out for YouTube’s paid subscription service YouTube Red.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Remember — “Atom Egoyan. Martin Landau. Christopher Plummer. Nazi Hunter Thriller. When did you stop reading to go find out when you can see this movie?”
Jan 09, 2016
Speakeasy with Abraham Benrubi: My Favorite Year
58:07

“I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star!”

The Next Reel’s Speakeasy is a new ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and, instead of bringing their favorite cocktail, we have them bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this inaugural episode, actor Abraham Benrubi joins us to talk about one of his faves, Richard Benjamin’s 1982 comedy gem “My Favorite Year,” starring Peter O’Toole and Mark Linn-Baker. We talk about the cast – from the brilliant (and Oscar-nominated) performance by O’Toole and the fantastic Linn-Baker to everyone else involved like Jessica Harper, Joseph Bologna, Bill Macy, Lainie Kazan, George Wyner, Selma Diamond and even an appearance by queen of the “Titanic” herself, Gloria Stewart. We chat about the origins of the story from writers who worked for Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows” and how this fits in the world of live TV from the 50s. And we discuss the script and how it moves assuredly from the madcap comedy antics to some wonderfully poignant moments that really tug at your heartstrings. It’s a wonderful film to kick off this new series, so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Jan 06, 2016
Boogie Nights
01:34:44

“I’ve got a feeling beneath those jeans, there’s something wonderful just waiting to get out.”

Happy New Year! Goodbye 2015, hello 2016. And what better way to kick off the new year of shows than with Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 epic glimpse into the golden age of porn. With an epic New Year’s party that transitions the story from the halcyon days of porn in the 70s to its characters’ declines in the 80s, “Boogie Nights” is a great way to celebrate the previous year and welcome the new one. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we discuss Paul Thomas Anderson’s second film, “Boogie Nights.” We talk about the story and why it works so well for us, regardless of the industry it presents. We chat about Anderson and what he brings to the table, highlighting so many strengths that show why he is still such a tremendous force in the film business. We discuss the actors, from Mark Wahlberg and Burt Reynolds to Julianne Moore and don Cheadle, touching on what brought them to this film and how well they work with Anderson in his story. And we cover the cinematography by Robert Elswit and editing by Dylan Tichenor. It’s really a magnificent film, even if it does make us feel a bit dirty by watching it. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Pete’s Trailer: Deadpool — “With every subsequent trailer, I’m more excited about this movie. Weirdly, it appears to be the role Ryan Reynolds was born to play. With the exception of me, in my inevitable biopic.”
  • Andy’s Trailer: Desierto — “Stories of border crossers are pretty regular where I live. Taking this situation and creating a stalker horror movie out of it? That’s a smart way to tell a good story that also reflects modern times nicely. I’m definitely looking forward to this one.”
Jan 02, 2016
Gremlins
01:15:35

“They might even replace the dog as the family pet.”

‘Tis the holiday season, which means it’s time for another Next Reel Christmas movie, and how better to share in the joy and festivities of the Christmas season than with some wacky laughs and slimy gore from Joe Dante’s 1984 horror comedy “Gremlins.” Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we celebrate another end of the year with some holiday cheer (and mayhem), this time with Gizmo, Stripe, Billy, Kate, Mrs. Deagle, Barney and the rest of the residents of Kingston Falls (aka Universal’s backlot). We talk about our impressions of this film from when we were young and how those changed (or didn’t) since then. We chat about the actors, from Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates to Polly Holliday and Howie Mandel, and what they brought to the table. We discuss Jerry Goldsmith’s score and why it works really well for Andy while not so much for Pete. We talk about Chris Walas and his creature effects, and banter about the script and how it really is pretty simplistic. And we touch on what Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and Chris Columbus all bring to the table here. It’s a fun film, one that certainly seems to have held up better for Andy than it has for Pete, and definitely fun to talk about. Check the movie out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot — “Tina Fey usually cracks me up. Sure, she’s had some fumbles, but I will always give her a chance. The fact that this is based on a true story makes it all the more interesting to me. Plus, Alfred Molina with a great big bushy beard!”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Eddie the Eagle — “Hugh Jackman as the crotchety coach of an underdog British ski jumper in the Calgary Olympics. Sure, it might be saccharine. But when he says ‘fly…’… yeah, that’s going to be a tear jerker.”
Dec 24, 2015
The Film Board Presents: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
01:22:28

“Droid, please.”

The Film Board Gathers! This month the gang of thugs takes on the seventh film in the Star Wars saga, this from reboot master, J. J. Abrams. Does he bring his magic rebootinator to set every day to apply just the right dose of mystery and lens flare? Is he able to get performances from Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac to best our Star Wars expectations? Can Tommy remember what the bad-guy-ships are called? 

Join Steve Sarmento, Justin Jaeger, Tommy Handsome, Andy Nelson, and Pete Wright for a discussion of all things Force Awakening, from Dan Mindel’s camera to John Williams’ orchestra to Daniel Craig as Stormtrooper JB–007, we have a blaster talking about this spiritual journey through our childhood. See the movie first, as spoilers abound, then join us!

Film Sundries

Dec 23, 2015
Shorts: An Interview with DC Barns & J Trent Adams — Star Wars: A Force for Change
47:51
Dec 22, 2015
The Next Reel's 2016 Announcement Extravaganza!
07:53

Hey folks! Please listen to this episode! We tried to keep it short, but we need to tell you about a few things you'll be seeing come January 2016 which, if you don't listen now, may come as a surprise later. 

In short, new shows, new shirts, new stuff, new membership program. 

Thanks for tuning in, and happy new year from all of us at The Next Reel!

 

Dec 22, 2015
National Lampoon's Vacation
01:22:52

 

“Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes, or perhaps you don’t want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the Earth, which is only four short hours away!”

Harold Ramis’ second foray into feature film directing introduced the world to the Griswolds – Clark, Ellen, Rusty and Audrey – as they drive from Chicago to LA on a 2-week vacation with the aim of visiting an obvious Disneyland replacement for legal reasons, Walley World. It’s a wonderful film and proved to be another box office success for Ramis, who wouldn’t direct another hit like this for 10 years with ‘Groundhog Day.’ Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our very short Harold Ramis series with the classic 1983 road trip comedy “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” We talk about the original John Hughes story on which this is based and look at the darker tones in that story, comparing it with how it was reshaped in this film. We discuss the cast, notably Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Imogene Coca (and her dog), Randy Quaid, Christie Brinkley and Eddie Bracken. We chat about the ending of the short story, the original ending and the rewritten ending and debate what works best (and what problems this one may have because of the final ending). And we, of course, talk about the franchise, comparing this with what we view as the only other good one in the bunch, 1989’s ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.’ It’s a comedy classic and a great way to finish our Ramis series, so check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: The High Rise — “I love a trailer that piques my curiosity and doesn’t have to spell everything out. This trailer is exactly that and get me very excited because I don’t feel like I know everything that’s going to happen in the movie. How refreshing!”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Kubo and the Two Strings — “First time feature director Travis Knight is behind some of the most lovely and original animation going, from Coraline to Paranorman to Boxtrolls. This adventure of Kubos looks to be another in a beautiful series catalog of animation.”
Dec 18, 2015
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Dec 14, 2015
Stripes
59:17

“Razzle dazzle!”

Harold Ramis made his big screen debut acting in Ivan Reitman’s 1981 military comedy “Stripes,” which he also co-wrote for Reitman, having worked on “Animal House” and “Meatballs” with him a few years before. He’d go on to appear in a number of films throughout his career, and generally played the straight man to people like Bill Murray. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Harold Ramis series with 1981’s “Stripes.” We talk about how this film may have worked in the past but how it didn’t really work well for us in the present. We chat about the comedy and why some of it works but why much of it falls flat, possibly due to the editing, or the writing, or the directing, or the performances, or the time period, or all of it. We discuss the structure of the script and why it really should have ended after the second act. And we go through the talent, from Murray and Ramis to the wonderful old timer Warren Oates and all of the first timers popping up here all babyfaced and eager to act. It’s not a film that we really clicked with while knowing that many hold it near and dear in their hearts. That being said, we still have a great time talking about it and spoiling it rotten. So check it out and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Nice Guys — “Shane Black writes such fun scripts. Since he’s also started directing, I’ve really enjoyed his style. Well, maybe not Iron Man 3. But this looks right up there with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Maybe even better. This is way up there for films I have to catch next year!”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Batman vs. Superman — “I was all ready to hate this trailer. But then I watched it with my daughter and the look on her face during the Wonder Woman reveal? That convinced me to give it a chance. You know what else? Batfleck looks damned good.”
Dec 12, 2015
shows@rashpixel.fm
Dec 04, 2015
Caddyshack
01:22:01

“So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

With a background at Second City and National Lampoon, comedy was right up Harold Ramis’ alley, and while he had early opportunities to write and perform comedy, it wasn’t until the third feature film on which he was involved that gave him the opportunity to direct. Luckily for him, that movie was “Caddyshack” and the rest, as they say, is history. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we begin our Harold Ramis series with his directorial debut from 1980 – “Caddyshack.” We talk about Ramis and his co-writers, Brian Doyle-Murray and Douglas Kenney, how they came up with the idea for the script and how so much of what ended up on the screen was improvised. We discuss the older talent – Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Bill Murray – and how their performances really forced the filmmakers to diminish the story of the caddies, notably Michael O’Keefe, and what are thoughts are on this. We chat about the story of the kids as it compares with the story of the adults and what our thoughts are on these two stories. We talk about the gopher and how he figures into the story. And we chat about how endlessly quotable this movie is. It’s one of the best, if not the best, golf movies out there and certainly a fun movie to add to our list. So check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Dec 04, 2015
The Boring Flickchart Re-Ranking
02:52:58
Nov 30, 2015
Viridiana
01:26:25

“Don’t think badly of me. I only want her near me.”

It’s time for another Listener’s Choice episode, and boy, do we have a doozy this week. Listener Diego Luis Contreras López wanted us to talk about a film from Spain and settled on Luis Buñuel’s return to his home country (and immediate departure thereafter) with his 1961 film “Viridiana.” Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we delve into our sixth listener’s choice with “Viridiana.” We talk about our previous (and limited) experiences with Buñuel and what our expectations were with this film, contrasting that with how we ended up feeling about the film. We discuss the many things Buñuel was doing and saying with this film and how that ties into the actual story of Viridiana. We chat about the performances, notably Silvia Pinal, Fernando Rey, Francisco Rabal and Margarita Lozano, and how much we liked all of them. We debate the look of the film and José F. Aguayo’s cinematography and how it was affected by Buñuel’s desire to put the importance of coming in on time and under budget ahead of sloppy filmmaking sometimes. And we look at the film’s release, the reaction to it from the Catholic Church and its banishment from several countries leading to more of an underground screening history after its win at Cannes. It’s a film in which we found a lot of meat to discuss and are thrilled to add it to the films we’ve discussed. Tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: The Boss — “It’s Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell in an R-rated girl scout comedy. This is right up my alley which scares me a little, but it’s true.”
  • Pete’s Trailer: Extraction — “Bruce Willis and family! Again!”
Nov 28, 2015
The Wind Rises
01:21:34

With the 2013 release of “The Wind Rises,” his eleventh feature film, Hayao Miyazaki retired from making his beautiful animated films. Animation fans worldwide were disappointed to hear this, yet thrilled to see him go out on such a high note. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close our Miyazaki series with his final film “The Wind Rises.” We talk about the direction of Miyazaki’s career and how it took him to this story as his final output. We chat about the nature of dreams and nature and how these elements become the key connections to Miyazaki’s touch that he’s had through his other films. We discuss the nature of biopics and how an animated biopic full of fictional elements ends up feeling to us when looking at how it connects with the real Jiro Horikoshi and his role as a Japanese airplane designer pre-WWII. We debate Miyazaki’s decision to tell this particular story and how it reflects on his pacifism. We touch on the voice casts in both the English and Japanese versions, commenting on who worked well for us. And we bring up Joe Hisaishi, the film’s composer, and the beautiful music he contributed here as well as in “My Neighbor Totoro,” which we forgot to bring up last week. It’s a great film that is certainly worth watching and discussing. Tune in!

Nov 24, 2015
My Neighbor Totoro
01:27:39

With the creation of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki and the other filmmakers involved had created a place where they could create the films they wanted to make. With “My Neighbor Totoro,” Miyazaki’s third feature film and second he directed under the Ghibli banner, it was crystal clear what Miyazaki wanted to bring forth from his films — the relationship between man and nature, the purity and innocence of youth and the imaginative look at characters who didn’t quite fit the world as we know it. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our brief Miyazaki series with his 1988 film, “My Neighbor Totoro.” We discuss the elements of this film that we like so much, particularly the pacing and whether one could call it boring or not (note: neither of us do). We talk about the simplicity of the story but how through that simplicity there are some large ideas being dealt with. We chat about the voice cast and how the current English dub works for us, commenting on the problems people on Amazon have with it (despite the fact that an animated film is ALWAYS going to be dubbed, even in its original language). And we talk about the nature of the forest spirits and how we them through the eyes of children. It’s a beautiful, touching, quirky film that we love and are thrilled to talk about on the show. Tune in!

Nov 17, 2015
The Film Board Presents: SPECTRE
01:03:44
The Film Board Gathers! … around a long mysterious table high in a castle above the clouds to take on the biggest issues of the day — certainly the biggest at the box office right now: Sam Mendes’ latest entry in the life of our favorite spy, “SPECTRE.” How does Bond 25 stack up in Daniel Craig’s catalog? How important is it that Bond is moving from serial to series? What’s the deal with Bond Girls anyway? This month we welcome back Chadd Stoops to the gang, along with Justin Jaeger, Andy Nelson, and Pete Wright as we take on the art and action of James Bond.
Nov 13, 2015
The Castle of Cagliostro
01:19:17

Hayao Miyazaki began his career with television and it was the show “Lupin III” that gave him the chance to direct both for the small screen as well as for the big screen with the second story about Lupin the Third in 1979. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we begin our short Hayao Miyazaki series with his first theatrical feature film, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro. We talk about the history of the character of Lupin III in Monkey Punch’s original manga series, in the TV series and its films, as well as in the Arsène Lupin character he’s loosely based on (and related to) created by Maurice Leblanc. We discuss the elements within the film and what feels like Miyazaki touches, even at this early stage in his career. We compare the interesting world of manga and anime as compared to Disney films in particular. And we chat about the casts: the original Japanese, the 1992 English dub version and the 2000 dub. It’s a fun film, maybe not one of our favorites, but still something that’s got action, comedy and entertainment for the family. Check it out then tune in!

 

Nov 10, 2015
Children of the Corn
01:18:42

“He wants you too, Malachai!"

Stephen King may not like the film version of ’Children of the Corn,’ but considering it spawned 7 sequels and a remake, we’d like to think that he’s at least making a decent profit on his short story from 1977. This movie started careers for Linda Hamilton, Courtney Gains, John Franklin and Peter Horton and has created quite the cult following, no matter what King — or we — think of it. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we wrap up our Naughty Children series with this movie. We talk about why we don’t like it and really try to get to the bottom of what problems we feel the story has. We discuss the adaptation from King’s short story and how it changed, comparing the ’84 film with the ’09 Syfy Channel remake that was more faithful to the original King story. We chat about the effects and the overall look of the film, touching on how low budget production can lead to that (though doesn’t have to). And we have a first on the show — a Flickchart reranking! Check out the movie (or don’t) and tune in to the show. It’s arguably more enjoyable than the movie!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Don Verdean — “Okay, I admit it, this doesn’t look like it’s going to be that good. But it’s the team behind Napoleon Dynamite so I’m just hoping that there’s something here. Fingers crossed."
  • Pete’s Trailer: The Lady in the Van — “I love Maggie Smith. She makes for the cutest crazy lady, and I get the feeling that this next film is going to give her a chance to shine courtesy of Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett."
Oct 30, 2015
The Innocents
01:17:31

“Don’t be frightened. It was only the wind, my dear."

Thus far, our series to celebrate Halloween — the Naughty Children series — hasn’t really been that scary. “The Bad Seed” is labeled a crime/drama/horror but comes across a bit more as a comedy now with the over-the-top performances. “Village of the Damned” is labeled a horror/mystery/sci-fi but doesn’t have much in the way of horror. This week’s film, Jack Clayton’s 1961 film “The Innocents,” really feels like the first in the series that’s got real scares in it, and scares that still hold up today. Martin Scorsese even put it on his list of 11 most scary films. And a lot of that is because of the atmosphere Clayton and his screenwriters (mostly Truman Capote) created with this adaptation of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw.” Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Naughty Children series with “The Innocents.” We talk about how much each like this film — Andy as the veteran of the film and Pete as the newbie — any why it works so well. We chat about Deborah Kerr in a role that exemplifies the ambiguity in the story and how it works so well in context of the decaying nature Capote riddled throughout the screenplay. We talk about Jim Clark’s editing and Freddie Francis’ cinematography, as well as Georges Auric’s score, noting how well they each work to add to the atmosphere in this film. And we marvel at Martin Stephens’ performance here, vastly different (and superior) to his performance in “Village of the Damned.” It’s a brilliant film that we’re thrilled to add to our list, so check it out and then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: He Never Died — “Damn. This looks wickedly funny. And violent. And fun. Henry Rollins as the Biblical Cain? Sure, give me some."
  • Pete’s Trailer: The Boy — “I’m not usually one for the horror, but this one cracks me up. Lauren Cohan is a treat to watch coming off of Walking Dead and though I forgot to mention it on the show, Stacey Miner’s screenplay looks great coming off his Black List entry Mixtape, also announced for production, and a really interesting read."
Oct 23, 2015
Village of the Damned
01:06:27

“Is there no limit to the power of these children?"

John Wyndham’s 1957 novel “The Midwich Cuckoos” is the foundation for Wolf Rilla’s 1960 film “Village of the Damned.” It’s hard to say which title may actually be worse, but the story in both seems to work for most people. It’s a decent sci-fi story that, while dated, creates an interesting scenario with all the women in a village being impregnated at the same time by some alien force. Even with that interesting scenario, however, for every element that works in favor of the film, there seems to be another working against it. At least with today’s eyes. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Naughty Children series with Rilla’s 1960 film “Village of the Damned.” We talk about what works and what doesn’t, as well as why some of that matters more when it comes to actual enjoyment of the film (at least for Andy) and what they could have done to make it better. We chat about the performances, notably George Sanders, Barbara Shelley and Martin Stephens, and what they bring to the table. When it comes to Shelley, we also chat about the fact that her part is largely dismissed and why it bothers us so much. We discuss the look of the film with Rilla’s documentary approach as well as cinematographer Geoffrey Faithfull’s overall look, which worked nicely for us. And we look at MGM’s history with the film and touch on why they filmed it in England instead of Hollywood. It’s a fun film that, if you think too much about, you’ll find tons of problems; Pete sees the problems while Andy sees the fun. Check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — “I’m not really sure about this whole mashup thing — it’s fun and all for a short period of time. I’m still not sure how well it could actually work for an entire feature film. That being said, I do love ‘Pride & Prejudice.’ And I do love zombies… "
  • Pete's Trailer: Hail, Caesar! — “The Coens are back with a blow-out cast musical that celebrates …ummm… movie musicals! ScarJo and ChaTa and JoBro? Yeah, this is my kind of movie. Of course, I liked Hudsucker."
Oct 16, 2015
The Bad Seed
01:19:59

“I thought I seen some mean little gals in my time, but you’re the meanest."

It’s October, which means it’s time for some scares! This year, we’re celebrating with those lovable little children who just are downright bad. Our first film of the series gives us a young girl who turns out to be a malicious killer, but only because it’s her way to get the things that she wants. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we kick off our Naughty Children series with Mervyn LeRoy’s 1956 classic “The Bad Seed.” We talk about why this film works for us in all of its campy, over-the-top theatrical glory and how those elements may actually help make it more enjoyable today. We chat about the performances, notably Patty McCormack, Nancy Kelly, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart and Evelyn Varden, and how well they worked for us, particularly Kelly and McCormack as mother and her murderous offspring. We discuss the Hays Code and how it influenced the filmmakers to change the ending, even if the ending ends up being almost more censorable. We touch on the script and the amount of subtext in the characters’ dialogue, particularly the women who were always trying to live up to the 50s housewife standards. And we hit on the cinematography and music, noting how well the music works but how standard the cinematography feels. It’s a fun film that may not be the top of our lists but is a very easy watch. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Bone Tomahawk — “I love westerns. I love horrors. A blend of the two? With Kurt Russell and his great big bushy beard? Yes, please!"
  • Pete’s Trailer: Experimenter — “I love that Stanley Milgram is getting film treatment, and Peter Sarsgaard seems to be just the guy to do it. So, I’m going to binge Ghostbusters, then watch this to get the full Milgram Experience."
Oct 09, 2015
The Film Board Presents: The Martian
01:13:55

“So… I blew myself up.”

The film board gathers! This month on the show, we’re dropping everything and working together to bring our man Mark Watney home from Mars in Ridley Scott’s latest, “The Martian.” This film, based on Andy Weir’s meticulously crafted book, is a celebration of ingenuity and scientific achievement — a sentiment in short supply across our media landscape — it’s a triumph that a film about smart people is blowing the doors off the box office in itself, whether you fall in love with the film or not. And some of us didn’t. Join Andy Nelson, Steve Sarmento, Tom Metz, Justin Jaeger, and Pete Wright as we pull apart Drew Goddard’s screenplay, sometimes-questionable wire work, stunning Martian visuals, Matt Damon’s exceptional performance and so much more this week on The Next Reel’s Film Board!

Film Sundries


Hey! You know what would be awesome? If you would drop us a positive rating on iTunes! If you like what we’re doing here on TNR, it really is the best way to make sure that this show appears when others search for it, plus, it’s just a nice thing to do. Thanks!!

And for anyone interested in our fine bouquet of show hosts:

Oct 04, 2015
Snowpiercer
01:28:01

“Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe."

Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer” made waves upon its US release because its distributor decided to give it a limited theatrical release the same day they released it digitally. It was a risky move — theatre owners rely on the window between theatrical release and subsequent releases to remain around six months roughly so as to ensure they get as much money out of the screenings as they can. By shutting this window, “Snowpiercer” could have left theatre owners in the cold and been deemed not worth watching because of the “straight to video” tarnish. But it found an audience in both formats and became a surprise hit. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we finish our Bong Joon-ho series with his 2013 film “Snowpiercer.” We talk about how the film is a pretty straightforward allegory in a sci-fi post-apocalytic world that audience members need to buy into if the film is going to work, and what happens if people don’t buy into that concept. We chat about the performances, notably Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, and how well everyone works in the film. We discuss the cinematography, costume design, production design and score and ruminate on how much they all bring to the table. And we touch on the original French source material for this film which, unfortunately, neither of us have read. It’s a wonderful science fiction film that works well for us — even though we know it can be divisive. Check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Hitchcock/Truffaut — “I love Hitchcock and Truffaut. I love the book. I love the people interviewed here. This sounds like an amazing look behind the curtain with lots of great nuggets of film knowledge. One for every film buff."
  • Pete’s Trailer: Partisan — “Vincent Cassel is one of my favorite faces, and he brings it in this mentor/mentee commune thriller in which the apprentice, so to speak, becomes the master. Remind me not to take my son to this movie."
Oct 02, 2015
Mother
01:09:39

“You’re not even worth the dirt on my son’s toenail."

Bong Joon-ho’s follow-up feature to his massive success “The Host” was about a murder and the person trying to figure out what happened. To some people, it sounded awfully like his second film “Memories of Murder” and they were afraid he was returning to the safety of familiar territory. But 2009’s “Mother” ended up being a very different film and one which is hard to forget. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Bong Joon-ho series with “Mother.” We talk about how much we like this film and why it works so well while also being a bit bonkers. We chat about the actors, notably Kim Hye-ja and Won Bin as the titular mother and her son, reveling in the powerful, honest and surprising performances they both give. We discuss the story and really try to analyze the way Bong plays with the layers of truths and what our take is on what actually happened in the story. And we chat about the cinematography by Hong Kyung-pyo, the production design by Ryu Song-hie and the music by Lee Byung-woo, all great technicians delivering solid work to this great film. It’s a wonderfully directed film that shows the hands of a filmmaker who knows his craft and we have a great time talking about it. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Ashby — “I love Mickey Rourke’s career comeback over the last few years and I want to see him succeed. Plus, I would have loved to have him as an ex-CIA assassin give me advice back when I was in high school."
  • Pete’s Trailer: Truth — “You know that thing you say with friends, that ‘if they ever make a movie of my life, I want Robert Redford to play me…’ that thing. I wonder if Dan Rather ever said that?"
Sep 25, 2015
The Film Board Presents: Everest
01:10:25

“Sit down man, acclimatize.”

The film board gathers! This month the gang of thugs has come together to answer the age-old question that has transfixed adventurers time immemorial: why do we see Everest? Because it’s there. It’s an IMAX 3D exclusive this week which might make you think it’s something of a … you know… spectacle. We’re going to tell you all about that, and we’re going to say some really good things about the cast, some moderate things about the director and writers, and some downright lousy things about the film’s title card. So LOOK OUT! If you can’t tell from our tone here, Balthasar Kormákur’s latest film has failed to wrap us around it’s little finger, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting vectors for approach (see what I did there? Mountain Climbing Language!). So join Andy Nelson, Steve Sarmento, Justin Jaeger and Pete Wright for the trip of a lifetime, and you won’t even have to pay 65 grand to take it!

Film Sundries


Hey! You know what would be awesome? If you would drop us a positive rating on iTunes! If you like what we’re doing here on TNR, it really is the best way to make sure that this show appears when others search for it, plus, it’s just a nice thing to do. Thanks!!

And for anyone interested in our fine bouquet of show hosts:

Sep 21, 2015
The Host
01:15:28

“Is all of your family so dumb all the time?"

Bong Joon-ho’s third film, “The Host," ended up becoming the highest grossing South Korean film of all time straight out of the gate with it playing on a record number of screens in its home country — it made the South Korean record books with its box office performance during its opening weekend alone. Quentin Tarantino loves it. Harry Knowles loves it. But how do we feel about it? Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we start our Bong Joon-ho series with 2006’s “The Host.” We talk about how we feel about the movie — Andy doesn’t like it very much despite seeing the qualities that make it stand out for people whereas Pete finds it a fun watch and enjoys said qualities. We chat about the actors, notably Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il and Bae Doo-na, touching on how well they work for us as members of this dysfunctional family of idiots. We talk about the monster and debate what works for us and what doesn’t. We discuss the Americans in the film as well as the English sequences, contemplating how well they work (if at all) in context with what Bong is trying to say. We cover the various messages Bong is hitting on with this film as well as touch on the various subplots that arise and how well they work. And we touch on the music and cinematography, noting what works and what doesn’t. It’s an interesting monster movie that certainly seems to have found its fans, even if Andy isn’t one of them. Check out the movie then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy’s Trailer: Demolition — “I loved ‘Wild’ and ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’ Jake Gyllenhaal is on a genius streak right now. The story is right up my alley. Everything is lining up for me as far as being in tune with this film. Can’t wait!"
  • Pete’s Trailer: The Jungle Book — “So, I learned that this is a movie of terrifying photo-realistic jungle animals fighting over a young boy. And singing. So there’s that."

Hey! You know what would be awesome? If you would drop us a positive rating on iTunes! If you like what we’re doing here on TNR, it really is the best way to make sure that this show appears when others search for it, plus, it’s just a nice thing to do. Thanks!!

And for anyone interested in our fine bouquet of show hosts:

Sep 18, 2015
Sophie's Choice
01:15:12

“The truth does not make it easier to understand, you know."

When a choice is referred to as a “Sophie’s Choice” most people understand that the choice must be an impossibly difficult one between two unbearable options. But if it wasn’t for Meryl Streep’s performance in the 1982 film directed by Alan J. Pakula (and to a lesser extent William Styron’s novel upon which it was based), that phrase wouldn’t resonate the way it does. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we conclude our Meryl Streep series with the film for which she received her fourth Oscar nomination and first win as Best Actress, “Sophie’s Choice.” We talk about Meryl, our undying admiration for her and what she brings to the screen; plus we chat about her two primary costars — Kevin Kline and Peter MacNichol — and what they bring to the table. We discuss our problems with the film which seem to stem from the adaptation and the focus on Stingo as the main character of the film. We chat about Nestor Almendros and his cinematography work, comparing his naturalistic approach with other films he’s done and how it works here. We touch on the haunting and arresting score by Marvin Hamlisch. And we discuss the horrors of the concentration camps, noting several fascinating scenes that work well to portray the dichotomy between the world of the Jewish prisoners and that of the Nazi guards. It’s a decent film buoyed by two knock-it-out-of-the-park performances that ultimately break your heat, and as hard as it is to watch, it’s great to discuss. So watch the film (but be prepared with tissues) then tune in!

Film Sundries