The Emperor’s New Groove

August 17, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The Disney shows return. And this time we are entering their dark age. A period of creative freedom and box office flops, when the house of mouse was going through a serious identity crisis.

Thanks to Pixar and the evolution of 3D graphics animation had changed in a big way over the previous few years and the world was about to be flooded in barnyard adventures as studios began popping up doing cheap and cheerful, yet cynical animal comedies, and growing more successful than Disney who kept veering about, reactively changing direction, unsure of what it wanted to be.

An epic Prince and the Pauper drama set in Mesoamerica was halted part-way through production and The Emperor's New Groove was what it became.

Unlike any other Disney this film is a madcap comedy steeped in absurd, mid-20th century cartoon illogic, arch absurdism and fourth-wall-shattering canny narration. 

The people who love it REALLY love it, because for them it succeeds triumphantly. 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

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Fantasia 2000 / Dinosaur

August 17, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Fantasia 2000: Probably not many people's favourite Disney movie unless there's some deeply personal story attached what this is represents an attempt to resurect Walt's idea for an ever-changing roster of musical sequences with Disney animation. If you figure it would have changed and evolved over the years, had the original proved successful, and gone with the original model of adding new sequences in place of old, some might say that 59 years later it would resemble this movie. Then again, some wouldn't. We also debate what a third movie in this style could be like, and what it would take to finally start drawing in the crowds. Daniel Floyd once again joins us for a talk about this contentious battle between artists and money men. 

 

Dinosaur: [Found at the 1h 24m mark]. Disney's attempt to enter the 3D animation markert involved computer animated model dinosaurs set against real world environments. It could have been spectacular and transportive... if they hadn't simply swallowed and regurgitated Don Bluth's Land Before Time without any of the heart or special moments. 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

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Wrestlemania XXX

August 10, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

Do not adjust your phones, you are reading this one correctly. Despite barely ever mentioning wrestling in over eleven years of podcasting we are now doing an epic-length show on what for newcomers might be the most instantly satisfying event in WWE history.

This isn't a show for wrestling fans (though you lot will get a kick out of it anyway) it's for people who aren't familiar with wrestling and have never really seen the appeal. We started watching these superbowl-style annual extravaganzas this year as a way to spend Sunday and take our minds off the awful shit that's happening in the world with some athletic soap opera, and this one in particular was a high point.

So pick it up on blu ray and watch it with friends, then listen to why it's so strong as an example of sports entertainment. OR listen to our show first (though we will spoil who wins each match) and we will talk you through what we've learned over these past months.

With us is a longtime fan and something of a wrestling historian to keep us on track whilst not wildly diverging, so we can all focus on why Wrestlemania 30 rocks!

Guest:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg

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The Orphanage

August 3, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

To close out our triumphant Guillermo del Toro season we give you our deep exploration of the 2007 ghost story he produced, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona; The Orphanage.

Exquisitely, meticulously constructed as a mystery, this is one of the finest of its kind. Threaded through with intrigue, riven with suspense, punctuated with trauma with a heartbreaking yet uplifting conclusion you will never forget. 

Next week: Wrestlemania 30 (Yes, you read that correctly. Track it down and watch it on blu ray with friends, *especially* if you don't like wrestling.)

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

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The Shape of Water

July 27, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

This turned out to be the surprise favourite del Toro of the season for one of our number. It's no mean feat to be able to produce work of the peerless quality of Pan's Labyrinth and still produce films that become the favourites of your audience. 

The year is 1962, a creature has been found in a black lagoon and currently resides in a government facility where he will meet a mute janitor and form a powerful bond.

A fairy tale for troubled times, this story has a sweetness woven through GDTs beloved backdrops of social oppression, twisted human monsters and deliberately ambiguous endings. And it won him and the crew 13 Oscar nominations,  four of which it won, including Best Picture and Best Director. 

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

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Crimson Peak

July 20, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

This one turned out to be my surprise favourite of the season. It's a Gothic romance which utilises the aesthetics of horror to tell a story of love, obsession and murder. 

But it was released at a time when audiences were guzzling down clamorous ghost house jump scare fare and the general consensus was that it was a disappointment that refused to behave the way that people wanted.

When you revisit you will find the most sumptuous supernatural story ever made, with stunning achievements in set design, costume, lighting and sound, all intertwined with three amazing and melodramatic central performances.

It's a masterpiece. 

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

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Pacific Rim

July 19, 2018

[Digital Gonzo 2013]

This episode was previously published as the final instalment of Digital Gonzo #161, a month before we came back as Digital Drift with Sharon as the co-host. 

Passed off as simply enjoyable dumb fun, and about nothing beyond enormous robots hitting big monsters, this movie proved to be absolutely perfect for our style of analysis, being in fact deeply textured, nuanced and detailed. We hope we can redress the balance on this and get my favourite film of 2013 recognized by a few more people as a modern masterpiece in visual storytelling. 

My Audio Drama: The New Century Multiverse

Guests:

Sharon Shaw of School of Movies

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg

Alasdair Stuart of Escape Artists

 

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

July 13, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The second film is even better than the first. This time del Toro draws Hellboy deeper into his own world and away from the Mignola comics. And what we get is rich and nourishing, painted in beautiful red, black and gold.

I begin with a hopefully compelling positioning of Hellboy II as being more like movies from Marvel's Phase 3 than the movies of Phase 1 were. 

We go on to discuss every aspect of this underseen dark fantasy classic, most likely the last time we will see Perlman as Big Red with GDT in the chair, but it grows more special every year as a result. 

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

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Pan’s Labyrinth

July 6, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

At the close of the Spanish civil war a girl beginning to comprehend the horrors going on around her encounters a fairy world that reflects that violence and grotesquery.

Welcome to one of the best podcasts we've ever made. We go straight in with analysis of detail and breaking down this dense yet elegant dark fantasy into its meaningful parts. 

Arguably del Toro's finest film in terms of craftsmanship, this one takes up residence in your heart and stays forever, to the point where just hearing the lullaby will instil a powerful sense of melancholy.

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

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Hellboy

June 29, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Del Toro's fifth film was a passion project for him which he still managed to position as a studio picture supernatural superhero sci-fi that ended up with middling success. 

The Hellboy comic by Mike Mignola blends Lovecraftian horror, mythology and folklore with a no-nonsense, gruff mechanic's approach to the paranormal. It's a deeply appealing combination hearkening to Ghostbusters. Of the two GDT HBs this one sticks closer to the comic roots whilst being somewhat mired in the weaknesses of early 2000s blockbusters.

We adore the film and extol its strengths, including splendid practical effects, incredible detail, stirring music, fascinating lighting, delicate turns from Selma Blair and John Hurt and an iconic central performance from the man who will remain as forever linked with the character for me as Reeve's Superman and Evans' Captain America; Ron Perlman. When I read the comics, his is the voice I hear in my head. And the second film is even better. 

Hellboy books to read: Seed of Destruction/The Right Hand of Doom

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

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