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+

DOWN TO EARTH (2001)

Directed By: Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz 
Written By: Chris Rock, Ali LeRoi, Lance Crouther & Louis C.K. 
Based on the original screenplay “HEAVEN CAN WAIT” By: Elaine May & Warren Beatty 
Cinematography: Richard Crudo 
Editor: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly 

Cast: Chris Rock, Regina King, Chazz Palmenteri, Eugene Levy, Frankie Faison, Mark Addy, Greg Germann, Jennifer Coolidge, Wanda Sykes, John Cho, Mario Joyner, Laz Alonzo 

After dying before his time, an aspiring black comic gets a second shot at life – by being placed in the body of a wealthy white businessman.


This was Chris Rock’s Big starring movie in the lead after he had a resurgence as a stand-up comedian and came to be a comedy all-star. So a lot was expected with this film. Again virtually a black version and update of HEAVEN CAN WAIT. Starring a Caucasian actor originally Warren Beatty.

He not only stars but helped co-write the script, also directing the film were the Weitz Brothers. Who were fresh off the surprise hit film AMERICAN PIE. So this was a big important opportunity for them at the time. They even cast some for Aathe actors from that film in small to supporting roles here 

While a bit of watering down the material for more of a crossover appeal for audiences. Rock’s humor and It are still there but a bit buried. There is also a lack of bite. As the story seems to be more based on him with his character being a stand-up comedian here. Rather than a football player in the original. 

Unfortunately the film isn’t that memorable but it is entertaining enough while watching it.

Though some scenes of the movie would be funnier if we saw the character who he is on the body of so some do the behavior he does. As they are funny in theory and in glimpses when we do see him as everyone else does. Though Mostly it’s a quantum leap situation where Chris Rock is on the screen representing the character. As he is the star so It’s Expected. Though not as funny.

Though if he wasn’t would he really be the star unless they set up a kind of WHITE CHICKS prosthetics which would cheapen the movie

It shows Chris rock to be a capable enough actor and leading man. It also allows racial humor and observations to work. The film also allows the supporting cast to be funny and ridiculous too especially Wanda Sykes (here you see why so many people found her hilarious. As her comedic skills are on point. And sharp) and Jennifer Coolidge as the more outrageous ones. Hit their marks.

Though they try the Heaven Chazz Palmenteri and Eugene Levy material seems too formulaic and partially takes you out of the film and reminds you of the cheesier parts. Though at least they try to class it up and show another existence. It also feels more in tone with the weak comedy.

The film has a lot of human moments and works as funny and even romantic when you see Chris Rock in the scene that becomes like the show QUANTUM LEAP where you forget who he is supposed to be or at least look like and is more believable even when it is just him in whatever situation.

The film just comes off softer and lighter than you might expect and want.

GRADE: C

AMERICAN PIE (1999)

Directed by: Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz
Written By: Adam Herz 
Cinematography: Richard Crudo
Editor: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly 

Cast: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Shannon Elizabeth, Tara Reid, Alyson Hannigan, Natasha Lyonne, Mena Suvari, Eugene Levy, Tara subkoff, Casey Affleck, Chris Owen, Jennifer Coolidge, Lawrence Pressman, Clyde Kusatsu, John Cho, Christina Milian, Molly Cheek, Eden Riegel, Eli Marienthal, James Debello, Clementine Ford, Blink 182 

Four teenage boys enter a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.


This is a movie that holds a special place in my heart. As when I had My first job working at a movie theater this movie came out and I was 20 years old and I watched it many times. As did my co-workers and many audience members.

I remember the influence it had as a surprise hit. I was happy that three was a successful teenage sex comedy again in theaters that pushed the envelope but I’m the end had a sweet message and didn’t have the characters stay sex-crazed and juvenile the whole time.

Anytime I watch, it takes me back to a certain time and places in my life that I miss and at the time taken for granted but means so much to me now. This film is almost a vessel for that and my way of thinking at that time. 

This is one of those movies I will always enjoy for the huge comedic set pieces that at first come fast and furious but the. As the film Goes along becomes a little more distant but still there. They still Also manage to shock you. At first, when this movie came Out I think that is what audiences enjoyed the more shocking humor of it all. As it had been a long time that a teenage film Was that upfront about sex. And actually went there and showed some.

Another aspect to enjoying this film At least personally is if you are watching it with someone who has Seen it and getting excited for the big shock comedic moments that are coming and watching Them react to it.

One of the minor quibbles I have with the film Is that it’s Editing is annoying and horrible especially in the cutaways that work but if they were sharper would make the jokes the same way stronger.

What also works is that while there are some recognizable faces most of the cast are new to the big screen so we can believe them. For as the characters instead of stars. 

Just like the characters the film plays dirty and juvenile but sweet In The end. Where we end up caring about the characters. 

Now while there is a lot of sex talk and eventually even some in the Movie the film doesn’t Actually show as much as one would believe and really there is only nudity in one scene. Which belongs to Shannon Elizabeth’s character. Which made her a sex symbol and on-screen goddess for a bit that she never really followed up or really capitalized on.

The film had plenty of more sequels, but this one stays special as there wasn’t as much pressure for it to live up to, and pretty much was undiluted at the time.

This movie and series really show Seann William Scott at his comedic best even though he is part of the group he is also In Effect their nemesis or at least a villain of sorts who gets his comeuppance. To Me, he was always the standout in this movie 

This film also helped revitalize Eugene Levy at the movies already a comedic legend in some Circles. This movie broadened his appeal to a younger audience. So much so that he appears in most of the sequels even the straight to DVD ones of the time.

Throughout the Movie, it shows diversity even though most of the people of color are more in the background and never one of the major characters. This was kind of disappointing as this is obviously More aimed at more suburban Kids,  it while the feelings are universal the actions and atmosphere of the movie are more specific.

There are so many memorable scenes that are classic. So much so that the sequels never quite matched this film. No matter how hard they tried. In the end, though the film is about sexy it is also a film about relationships not necessarily romantic but between friends and others and how time spent with them can be a commodity 

Grade: B

THE NUTTY PROFESOR II: THE KLUMPS (2000)

nutty-professor-2-the-klumps-di

Directed By: Peter Segal
Written By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
Story By: Steve Odenkirk, Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
Based on Characters originally Created By: Jerry Lewis
Cinematography By: Dean Semler
Editor: William Kerr 


Cast: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales, Richard Gant, Anna Marie Horsford, Jamal Mixon, Wanda Sykes, Kym Whitley, Chris Elliot, Nikki Cox , Earl Boen

Professor Sherman Klump is getting married. And the Klump family could not be more delighted for him. But Buddy Love, his Mr. Hyde alter-ego from the first film, is back and trying to make it on his own. Buddy keeps resurfacing in untimely outbursts, and threatening the portly professor’s marriage plans to colleague Denise Gaines. Utilizing Denise’s cutting-edge DNA research, Sherman decides to rid himself of his monstrous nemesis -and his disruptive outbursts-once and for all by extracting Buddy’s DNA from his system. But Buddy bursts full-bodied into Sherman’s world and lays claim to the professor’s astounding invention – a revolutionary youth serum. Desperate to keep it from Buddy, Sherman hides the serum in the Klump family home, thinking it will be safe. Buddy correctly divines where Sherman has placed the serum, but to get it, he has to deal with the entire Klump family first.

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LIFE AFTER BETH (2014)

LifeAfterBeth

Written & Directed By: Jeff Baena
Cinematography By: Jay Hunter
Editor: Colin Patton 


Cast: Dale DeHann, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Paul Reiser, Cheryl Hines, Matthew Gray Gubler, Anna Kendrick, Garry Marshall, Alia Shawkat, Paul Weitz, Rob Delaney

A hike alone in the woods ends tragically for Beth Slocum with a fatal snake bite. Her death leaves her parents and boyfriend Zach reeling. After the funeral, Zach tries to make friends with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum, but even they reject him, and he’s determined to figure out why. Then he sees Beth. Her parents are trying to keep her resurrection a secret, but zombie Beth provides Zach with the opportunity to do everything with her that he didn’t get to do while she was still alive. But with Beth’s increasingly erratic behavior and even more strange occurrences around town, life with the undead Beth proves to be particularly complicated for her still-living loved ones.

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THE LITTLE HOURS (2017)

the-little-hours-dave-franco

Written & Directed By: Jeff Baena
Cinematography By: Quyen Tran
Editor: Ryan Brown 


Cast: Dave Franco, Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, Kate Micucci, Nick Offerman, Jemima Kirke, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Paul Reiser, Fred Armisen, Paul Weitz, Lauren Weedman 


On the run from the battle-seasoned Lord Bruno for sleeping with his wife, the handsome and willing servant, Massetto, flees to the safety of the woods during the warm and peaceful summer of 1347. There, after a chance encounter with the always boozy but merciful Father Tommasso, the young charmer will find refuge into his convent’s sanctuary, on one condition: to pretend he is a deaf-mute. However, Massetto’s tempting presence will unavoidably upset the already frail balance of things within the sexually-repressed female realm, as nun after nun desperately seeks an escape from their tedious way of life and an extra reason to molest the charming handyman. In the end, will those cloistered Sisters finally find out what they had been missing out on all these years?

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