Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

"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 go 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 camerawork, 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

Howl's Moving Castle

"Nothing but witches and wizards ahead."

Howl's Moving Castle on The Next Reel Film Podcast

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."

The Danish Girl

"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."

TransAmerica

"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."

Split

"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

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

"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

Coming to America

"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!

Beverly Hills Cop

"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."

The Godfather Part II

"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?"

The Godfather

"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."