The second feature-length computer-animated film ever made, after Pixar’s groundbreaking Toy Story, Antz is an oddball. A public feud between Jeffrey Katzenberg and then-CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner, led to Katzenberg founding Dreamworks SKG and subsequently feuding with Pixar’s John Lasseter, who was making the suspiciously similar – and ultimately more successful – A Bug’s Life. Pixar is the historically more successful and well-regarded studio, and the direct comparison between these two films usually sees Antz considered inferior, but Mike’s long been fond of it, and in revisiting it we discuss both how far it shows us animation has come in the last twenty years, and its many qualities, including its rather grown-up tone and references, imaginative and expressive visual design and cinematography, and witty dialogue.
J-Lo runs the show and steals every scene in Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria’s crime flick about a team of strippers who run a scam to steal from Wall Street traders and CEOs. Its style, energy and representational strategies impress us, it drew an audience to Cineworld that we aren’t used to seeing, and we discuss how it fits into what we decide to call “state of the nation cinema”, films that brazenly and deliberately depict, condemn and critique the institutions and power structures of modern America.
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