Ice Cube’s rap career was on fire because of the work he was doing with N.W.A., but after playing Doughboy in John Singleton’s 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, he got the acting bug and wanted to do more films. Join us as we kick off our new series looking at the Friday franchise with F. Gary Gray’s 1995 film Friday.

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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?

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This month in the Speakeasy, cinematographer Jayson Crothers (The Ghost and The Whale, Chicago Fire) joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Michael Mann’s epic 1995 crime drama, Heat.

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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.

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Terry Gilliam has said that ‘The Fisher King’ and ‘Twelve Monkeys’ were two of the easiest films for him to make. Perhaps that’s because he found the right way to work in the studio system, perhaps it’s because he found the right people to work with, perhaps it’s because he wasn’t working with his own scripts. It’s hard to say why that is, but they certainly proved successful at the box office, showing that Gilliam wasn’t box office poison and allowing him to continue his career. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we conclude our Terry Gilliam series with his 1995 film ‘Twelve Monkeys.’

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Tom Hanks already won his back-to-back Oscars and with an ensemble film like “Apollo 13,” he wasn’t a clear choice to get nominated again to make a three-peat a possibility. All of that aside, as anyone on the cast or crew who worked on the film knows — as well as anyone who saw the film — he was clearly born to play an astronaut. He reunited with Ron Howard on the making of this amazing film dealing with one of the worst space disasters the world has ever seen, and even though everyone knew what happened, it was a compelling piece of cinema. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Tom Hanks series with “Apollo 13.”

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Based on a dream James Cameron had in 1985, Strange Days came out in 1995 and strangely took place only 4 years in the future — during the 48 hours leading up to the year 2000. Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, helmed the film, bringing her skills at directing action to the forefront to create what at the time was a wild, mind-bending, noirish tale that looked at people in LA dealing with the latest “drug” craze — living other people’s experiences through futuristic recording devices.

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Well, movie lovers, it’s that time. We’ve hit the end of our Benjamin Button style Fincher Fest. This week, Pete Wright and Andy Nelson talk about David Fincher’s knock-you-out-of-your-seat detective thriller Seven, or Se7en if you prefer.

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