Sunday, June 23, 2013

'Monsters University,' 'Oz' on Blu-ray, and Howard Ashman Part 3 Inside The Mouse Castle Lounge

Behold, the wonderful land of Oz!
It's always nice to have guests who can do the heavy lifting for you in a podcast. Today's episode of The Mouse Castle Lounge includes plenty of guest talk and celebrity soundbites. It certainly made my job easier to shut up and let them have their say. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy them too.

First, we'll hear from the cast of Oz the Great and Powerful, which debuted on home video this month. This is a movie that surprised me when it hit theaters in March. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I was fearful it would be just another soulless, mindless exercise in CG effects (kind of like Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, to which it had been compared). Guided by the steady and creative hand of director Sam Raimi, however, Oz turned out to be a highly entertaining fantasy-adventure that more than holds its own next to 1939's Wizard of Oz, not to mention the original Oz books by L. Frank Baum. In the Lounge, Raimi talks about the efforts that not only went into making the film, but also went into putting together the bonus features that are included on the Blu-ray disc. Stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff give their behind-the-scenes input as well.

Next, we'll be on the blue carpet for the premiere of Monsters University in Hollywood. The prequel to Monsters Inc. opened this weekend to favorable reviews and big box office returns ($82 million). Billy Crystal (back as the voice of Mike Wazowski), John Lasseter and director Dan Scanlon chime in with what makes the Monsters franchise and its characters so special.

Finally, I'll have part three of my very special conversation with Sarah Ashman Gillespie as we wrap up our discussion of her late brother, Howard Ashman. Howard had a legendary career with Disney, co-writing the songs for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. In 1991, he died far too young at the age of 40 from complications associated with AIDS. Sarah speaks candidly about her brother's illness and the support he received from his family, friends and colleagues at a time when very little was known about the disease and society's attitude towards it was oftentimes less than sympathetic.

Famous and fascinating people doing most of the talking. That's my kind of show. Please enjoy today's edition of The Mouse Castle Lounge.

The Mouse Castle Lounge can also be heard on iTunes and Stitcher.

Related: Sarah Ashman Gillespie, Part One
             Sarah Ashman Gillespie, Part Two

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