1990s

Star Trek: First Contact

September 21, 2017

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? 

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Star Trek: Generations

September 14, 2017

Does Data’s emotion chip make for a better or worse character when used? Just what kind of torture was Soran performing on Geordi? Why does Guinan conveniently appear in the Nexus? Tune in to this week’s show to get in on the conversation!

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

September 7, 2017

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.

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Kundun

June 22, 2017

Living in exile and still hoping to return to Tibet 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 as we wrap up our Melissa Mathison series with Martin Scorsese’s 1997 film Kundun.

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Princess Mononoke

May 18, 2017

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 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.

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Menace II Society

March 16, 2017

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.

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Raise the Red Lantern

February 16, 2017

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.

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Ju Dou

February 9, 2017

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.

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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

January 20, 2017

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.

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Groundhog Day — Jim Jermanok

January 9, 2017

This month in the Speakeasy, writer, producer, director, and former agent Jim Jermanok (Passionada, Homophonia) joins us to talk about one of his favorite movies, Harold Ramis’ 1993 film Groundhog Day.

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