L.A. Confidential

June 23, 2017

A commissioned show, but for a film we adore. The only reason it's taken us this long is that L.A. Confidential is as rich and complex and powerful as a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and frankly... it was intimidating. 

It's a beautifully crafted film noir from 1997 which pretty much sets the bar for the genre from this point on, blending the best elements of the classics with contemporary filmmaking sensibilities, focusing on defying character expectations and showcasing physically expressive acting. 

Featuring career high performances from Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and David Strathairn, a darkly crooning score by Jerry Goldsmith, and an endlessly quotable script from Brian Helgeland, adapted from the novel by James Elroy.

It's the finest film Curtis Hanson ever made and the fact that Titanic gobbled up all the Oscars for that year is nothing short of a travesty (and I REALLY like Titanic!). 

Enjoy, and especially enjoy the toe-tapping jazz soundtrack. 

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Swiss Army Man

June 16, 2017

This one was an unexpected commission and pushed us well out of our comfort zone. It's an obscure little indie film about being isolated from civilisation, and it has a couple of particularly... provocative ways of illustrating that point.

Many thanks to Dan Mayer for getting this episode made, because I can ASSURE you that without his backing it absolutely would never have happened.

So for better or worse, here's what Sharon and I think of Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe in the movie Swiss Army Man.

Next week, make sure you get hold of a copy of L.A. Confidential in the highest resolution possible. It's an amazing film and you don't want it spoiled before watching. 

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Wonder Woman

June 9, 2017

This is a big one, a DC movie that we not only don't hate, but actively love.
Wonder Woman is breaking all sorts of new ground and Gal Gadot looks set to be the next universally beloved big screen superhero, joining a fairly small group that includes Reeves as Superman, Maguire as Spider-Man, Downey Jnr. as Iron Man and Evans as Captain America.

To mark this occasion we assembled a dream team of Bob Chipman of Geek.com and Laura Kate Dale of letsplayvideogames.com

We spend two and a half hours discussing Diana's debut in solo form, highlighting the best aspects and touching on a few of the flaws. Largely though this is a celebration of a magnificent, empowering, inspiring experience.

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The Second Coming

June 2, 2017

A commissioned show about a 2003 two-part TV miniseries wherein Christopher Eccleston plays a regular bloke from Manchester who suddenly realises that he is the son of God. The story is about how the world takes this news and how it affects his close friends. Also there are demons.

This is new Doctor Who creator Russel T. Davies' hot take on religion.

It made Sharon and I quite angry, and unexpectedly ended up as one of our more thought-provoking shows, most definitely nudging us out of our comfort zone and into the realm of discussing one of the subjects guaranteed to offend somebody.

Next week: Wonder Woman!

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

May 26, 2017
Back with Marvel for one of their best movies yet. We kick off with why this hit me like a freight train, right in the soul, and then move on to an extensive and tasty discussion about these wonderful characters, old and new. With us are Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse, Brendan Agnew of Cinapse.co and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst. This episode, like the movie, is very special. 

We also kick off with a big announcement for not one but TWO brand new podcast feeds, which I've set up to make our back catalogue as accessible as possible to absolutely everyone.

So search your podcatcher app for

The School of Movies Archive: http://schoolofmoviesarchive.podbean.com/

 and

The School of Everyone Else Archive: http://schoolofeverythingelsearchive.podbean.com/

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

May 19, 2017

This is our first Wes Anderson film and we explore what makes his worlds and characters distinctive. It was commissioned by Tylor Long and Harrison Brockwell. 

You should definitely see the film first. Funny, quirky, rude, unpredictable, sweet, sad, clever and uplifting. It's magnificent. Do not miss this one. It's one of our most personal shows.

Next week: Guardians of the Galaxy 2. 

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Transmetropolitan

May 12, 2017

This is a Vertigo comics series which ran for 60 issues from 1997 to 2002, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Darick Robertson. 

It is set in a non-specified future where cities stretch out across the planet, filled with bored tech-fetishists all looking for the next distraction. Spider Jerusalem is an infamous gonzo journalist who returns to the otherwise unnamed "The City" to write some books and newspaper columns after years of hiding in a log cabin up a mountain.

This is a book that was hugely influential on me, and while the retro-future it predicted was off the mark in many cases, some of it is so sharp that it's going to hurt to listen. There's blasphemous and depraved content within so you have been warned.

Alasdair Stuart of The Escape Artists joins us to talk about all things Spider in this commissioned show courtesy of Ciaran Dachtler. 

NEXT WEEK: Pick up and watch The Grand Budapest Hotel before listening to our show. It's a rich, visually detailed film and you will enjoy it so much more not knowing what's going to happen, and enjoy our show so much more having seen the film. 

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Doctor Strange

May 5, 2017

A mystical return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we love so very much. This one took us a while to get our heads around. On walking out of the cinema Sharon declared it as possibly her favourite of the MCU entries, which, if you know her, is saying something.

Alex on the other hand had doubts about why it failed to make such a huge impact on him, and they took several months of mulling over and three viewings on blu ray to really nail this one down. 

Guests

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

And Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg

New Century on Bandcamp

Next Week: Transmetropolitan. Get hold of Book 1: Back on the Street. 

 

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

April 28, 2017

This is another commissioned show, and you have Jason Ronson to thank, because we wouldn't have done this movie for a long time, and when we did we would have spent half the time we did, delving beneath the surface. We felt, since we always like to give you guys value for money, that we would go all-out.

And it's not a movie we love, in fact there are elements of it that drive one or both of us up the wall, and we make no bones about its issues. But we also look for what they were attempting, and the reasons why this failed to wrangle a suitable audience upon theatrical release.

Book fans, we have you covered, and Alex Maskill joins us to fact-check the details of the six volumes.

This is also the podcast where I finally explain the "No Anime" rule. If anyone asks for anime in future, this will be the show I point them to.

The Cornetto trilogy will eventually happen. One of them is a little bit patchy for us, but gets better with repeat viewings, kind of like Scott Pilgrim, the other two are among the most perfectly crafted comedies ever made.

And the book to track down and read for the episode we're doing in two weeks is called Transmetropoiltan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life, by Warren Ellis.

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Hero

April 21, 2017

In another commissioned show this week we cover the 2002 Chinese blockbuster from the director of The Great Wall.

Loosely (and as we find out that means REALLY loosely) based on a real life assassination attempt on the first emperor of China, this is one of Jet Li's most prestigious appearances. Featuring a trio of assassins played by Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, and the amazing Donnie Yen, this blends serious, historical drama with stunningly photographed, excellently choreographed martial arts.

It's immense in scale, breathtaking in beauty and thought-provoking in story. It's also one of the Zhang Ziyi trilogy of period-set martial arts spectaculars, the other two being House of Flying Daggers by the same director as Hero, Zhang Yimou, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon directed by Ang Li. All three are absolutely worth your viewing time, especially on blu ray.

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