ANTZ (1998)

Directed By: Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson 
Written By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz & Todd Alcott 
Editor: Stan Webb

Cast: (voices) Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtain, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, John Mahoney, Paul Mazursky, Grant Shaud, Jim Cummings 

Z, the worker-ant strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work ethic of the ant colony. Falling in love with the ant-Princess Bala, Z strives to make social inroads, and then ultimately must save the ant colony from the treacherous schemings of the evil General Mandible that threaten to wipe out the entire worker population. Themes of individuality run rampant.


This was one of the first animated films to really have an all-star cast of voices and really put the film out like a blockbuster with real stars. It is a hit most studios thought that that formula would work. It worked for a short period of time until the audience realized the story matters too. 

While the ensemble all-star cast is here some are odd casting choices that reek of Stunt casting at times and are More like picking actors who would never co-star together regularly.

One of the reasons now anytime an animated film comes out that it is successful for the most part is more than it seems as there are no purely live-action kids films. Animated is usually the only form of children’s entertainment that is coming out unless you count fantasy films though those are aimed at the whole family.

Woody Allen perfectly cast this as his comedy film with broad humor and from an outsider viewpoint amongst his peers, again an unbelievably gorgeous female lead he gets to romance. Though essentially it also feels like a Woody Allen Movie. Only with more action and outside of New York and of course for a younger audience. 

This film came out against the similarly themed A BUGS LIFE life from Pixar.  which I will admit is more impressive visually, but I find this film to be more all-around enjoyable. This is more pedestrian and not as impressive in the animation. This is kind of basic. Not made to be so special. Full of more enjoyment.

A BUG’S LIFE seemed to think visuals first story second believing the audience to be so enraptured by the animation they won’t care about the other details as much. The same type of thinking that reminds me of the film AVATAR

Grade: C+

ANTZ (1998)

Directed By: Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson Written By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz & Todd Alcott

Editor: Stan Webb

Cast: (voices) Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtain, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, John Mahoney, Paul Mazursky, Grant Shaud, Jim Cummings 

Z, the worker-ant strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work ethic of the ant colony. Falling in love with the ant-Princess Bala, Z strives to make social inroads, and then ultimately must save the ant colony from the treacherous schemings of the evil General Mandible that threaten to wipe out the entire worker population. Themes of individuality run rampant.


This was one of the first animated films to really have an all-star cast of voices and really put the film out like a blockbuster with real stars. It is a hit most studios thought that that formula would work. It worked for a short period of time until the audience realized the story matters too. 

While the ensemble all-star cast is here some are odd casting choices that reek of Stunt casting at times and are More like picking actors who would never co-star together regularly.

One of the reasons now anytime an animated film comes out that it is successful for the most part is more than it seems as there are no purely live-action kids films. Animated is usually the only form of children’s entertainment that is coming out unless you count fantasy films though those are aimed at the whole family.

Woody Allen perfectly cast this as his comedy film with broad humor and from an outsider viewpoint amongst his peers, again an unbelievably gorgeous female lead he gets to romance. Though essentially it also feels like a Woody Allen Movie. Only with more action and outside of New York and of course for a younger audience. 

This film came out against the similarly themed A BUGS LIFE life from Pixar.  which I will admit is more impressive visually, but I find this film to be more all-around enjoyable. This is more pedestrian and not as impressive in the animation. This is kind of basic. Not made to be so special. Full of more enjoyment.

A BUG’S LIFE seemed to think visuals first story second believing the audience to be so enraptured by the animation they won’t care about the other details as much. The same type of thinking that reminds me of the film AVATAR

Grade: C+

NOTHING BUT TROUBLE (1991)

Directed By: Dan Aykroyd 
Written By: Dan Aykroyd & Peter Aykroyd 
Cinematography: Dean Cundey 
Editor: Malcolm Campbell & James R. Symons 

Cast: Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Taylor Negron, Raymond J. Barry, Brian Doyle Murray, Daniel Baldwin, Valri Bromfield, digital underground 

A financier agrees to take the lawyer to her business meeting. On the way, they run a stop sign in a small town in the middle of nowhere and are arrested. But all is not as it seems: the courthouse and the “prison” are a maze of zany booby- traps and deadly contraptions. The antics of the captured couple as they try to escape from the mad judge and his bizarre family make up the rest of this unusual film.


This film should be a cult classic for all the craziness all around. That if someone remade it and could make it work it would be noteworthy. 

This is what happens when writer/director/ star Dan Aykroyd is let loose. As there are no Kenny if ideas all around and set pieces plus room for broad comedy. That stays outrageous and yet is never quite funny and ruthlessly mean-spirited. Though considering the cast this should be much better

Chevy chase seems like he just showed up and is discovering everything as if it was the first time. He seems uncomfortable and tired. As his behavior doesn’t Really match the Tone of the film. It’s bad enough but he seems like he is going to be the one who sinks it.

Demi Moore seems here to be the beautiful damsel in distress. Not to mention the eye candy. She seems more the big named co-Star female lead and a bombshell in her tiny wardrobe.

John candy seems more embarrassed. Like he only did this as a favor and a hefty paycheck. Dan Aykroyd seems to be the only one really into this movies wavelength and his character

The hip hop group Digital Underground comes out of nowhere to cameo and add an impromptu music performance.

The film comes off as a violent live-action cartoon. That literally has a cartoon-type ending. That is gruesome yet tries to stay somewhat light hearted

I am not the biggest fan of Chevy chase and once again seems on autopilot or not engaged. He actually hurts the film. As not being engaging or interesting. She is barely a character.

This film is grotesque even when it doesn’t need to be. It’s hard to believe. Especially with a healthy budget. Other than cast and elaborate set design and sets being built to the judge’s house.

Though should have known that other than the stars this film is Amy for mainstream audiences no matter how broad it plays.

This could have been salvaged artistically. If maybe a More experienced director took hold. Who also would have known to work on the script and make the film appealing in some sort of way. Not totally gross out the audience for a comedy.

This film plays like an extremely first draft. No one puts in any energy or excitement except Dan Aykroyd. Whose comedy can be a fun experiment (DOCTOR DETRIOT) crashes and burns (NEIGHBORS) or works with collaboration (GHOSTBUSTERS) here this was a doomed project that might have had a chance with a more gothic dark visual stylist like Tim Burton.

Can’t even give the film credit for being artistically weird it on another level it’s just sloppy. Even with an amazing production design by William Sandell. That is a messed up playground in hell all Its own. has the scope of a bigger film. Yet the mindset of a smaller one. As the film is pretty bad but inspired and original. 

The film is too dark to be so Goofy. It would have been more effective if allowed to go to a full R-Rated as it would feel more dangerous instead of the sanitized PG-13.

At least the film gave Digital underground a hit for the soundtrack. This might be one of the few successful things to come from this movie.

As well as the big screen debut of Rapper/Actor Tupac Shakur. 

GRADE: F

FEELING MINNESOTA (1996)

feelingminnesota

Written & Directed By: Steven Baigelman
Cinematography: Walt Lloyd
Editor: Martin Walsh & Thom Noble
Music By: Los Lobos 

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Cameron Diaz, Delroy Lindo, Vincent D’Onofrio, Tuesday Weld, Courtney Love, Dan Aykroyd 


Freddie is a former stripper marrying Sam to repay a debt owed to nightclub owner Red. But Freddie is in love with Jjaks, Sam’s brother. Jjaks and Freddie run off together, and Sam finds where they have been hiding and calls the cops. Meanwhile someone calls to blackmail Sam and Jjaks. In the end will it all work out?

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