Mary Poppins

December 14, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

An accompaniment to our Disney shows, and perhaps Walt's greatest film. Not his greatest achievement, that was surely the pioneering of a feature-length animated film in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Not his greatest achievement, that arguably is the founding of an entertainment business that today has significant influence the world over. But his greatest single film experience... maybe.

Journey back with us to 1910, a bright and naive era, sandwiched between two ages of intense hardship. And meet a woman who claims to never be cross and proceeds to spend most of the movie thoroughly peeved, claims to be practically perfect in every way, yet gaslights children and manipulates them into ethical opposition to the prevailing patriarchy, and by all rights should be an insidious destructive force, but is in fact a wellspring of healing for a family that is considered by its father to be actually perfect in every way. 

It's a triumph and a masterpiece and for the longest time, the author of its source book hated it for the same reasons a lot of people hate Disney. 

Guests:

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22 and

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours  

Mackenzie Easton @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod  

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The Sony PlayStation (Revisited)

December 7, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

I go back to the console everybody is talking about, but rather than making this all about the micro PlayStation Classic I endeavoured to find the alternative best way to play specific games I remember and love as well as a mix of some I missed before.

It's nowhere near as easy as you might think, to just pick up and play. This is an account of what happened.

Games discussed include Resident Evil 1-3, Final Fantasy VII-IX, Tekken 3, WipeOut, Gran Turismo, Soviet Strike, Bloody Roar 2, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, Soul Blade, Driver, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Siphon Filter, Vagrant Story, Spider-Man, Bust-A-Groove, Parappa the Rapper, Dino Crisis 1 & 2 and the promise of more Metal Gear Solid.

NOTE: This was originally intended to be a Patreon-only Quick Review, but the more time I spent on the project, the more experiences I had, the more it became its own fully-fledged episode of School of Everything Else. So since this ties in with the December 3rd release of the PlayStation Classic Mini Console I'm going to put this out now for preview and it will be released on the main feed this coming Friday.

Good Will Hunting is going to have to be bumped by a few weeks, but considering the amount of great movies on the cinema this December we were always going to be playing it by ear. Quick Reviews of Widows and Goosebumps 2 coming tomorrow, and next weekend Creed 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet. 

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Spider-Man (PS4)

November 30, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

This turned out to be one of my favourite games of all time, and as you'll hear it pushed so many of my positive buttons that exceptionally good games released immediately after I finished just don't measure up, for a variety of reasons.

This was a commissioned show by Chris Finik. I wasn't going to do an episode about it because I was very aware it might become work and suck all the joy out of the experience, but I was able to hit the right balance and crucially I decided while I was halfway through rather than being set the daunting task of completing and assessing forty hours of gameplay without having played a moment.

There are strong arguments afoot that this is one of the finest depictions of the wall-crawler in any media. We talk about why, and save the spoilers for the last act (around two hours in and you'll get a fair warning so nothing will be made worse for you if you haven't played, only better). 

Guest:

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow

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Special Announcement: #SOMhandsup

November 29, 2018

This is your official notification on a major way we're changing up our shows for 2019, including giving you a heads-up for the next four weeks worth of films each month, and the opportunity to spark discussion on any upcoming episode with this new hashtag. 

Next week is Good Will Hunting which is already recorded. After that, the following four movie discussions will be crafted with this in mind. 

December 2018 Lineup

1. Mary Poppins

2. Ant-Man & The Wasp

3. Waterworld

4. Aquaman/Spider-Verse/Bumblebee

And that Twitter handle is of course @SchoolOfMovies

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Colossal

November 23, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Seoul, Korea is under attack by a blundering kaiju that causes chaos whenever it turns up. Meanwhile in the fictional dirthole town of Mainhead, New England a recently single, unemployed writer named Gloria returns home from New York to the place of her childhood, bringing along her alcoholism and destructive antisocial behaviour.

This is a quirky, blackly humorous little drama about human weakness and how difficult it can be to break terrible habits, especially when you hang out with the wrong people. 

Next Week: Spider-Man PS4

Guest:

Hollywoo actress Maya Dantandrea

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Creed

November 16, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Since the original Rocky in 1976 (which is still fantastic more than 40 years on) this saga has been Sylvester Stallone's baby. He directed four of the previous six movies, and wrote and starred in all of them. Then the director of a little-known indie picture called Fruitvale Station which screened at Sundance, comes along with his idea for a story that breathes new life into the series whilst paying respectful homage to the history and characters. 

That man was Ryan Coogler, and would go on to helm Marvel's Black Panther, but not before he made the best Rocky film so far. One so rich and relevant and fresh it makes Rocky IV somehow better than the collection of montages it was the day before Creed released. 

Next Week: Colossal

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse 

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The Warriors

November 9, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

In an alternate future New York a thousand gang members from a hundred gangs convene to hear one man speak about ending their petty conflicts, and unifying against the police. His assassination is blamed on one hapless group, who head home to Coney Island with everyone else on their tail. 

The world this puts forward became the basis of the side-scrolling brawler in video games of the 80s. Double Dragon, Final Fight and Streets of Rage all owe something to this Neonpunk nightmare, directed by Walter Hill.

Guests:

Kaoru Negisa and

Debbie Morse of Sequentially Yours  

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Event Horizon

November 2, 2018

[School of Movies 2018] 

Our Commissions season for late 2018 begins with this haunted house in space from the director of Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator and Death Race; Paul W.S. Anderson.

Event Horizon cost $60 million, and made $26m back. It has a freshness rating of 26% and yet  it is regarded as a quality, scary film. That's the kind of contradictions cult classics are made of. We delved in there to look at the mechanics on show, along with the many clear influences to work out why it so appealing to so many. 

Neil Taylor of GameBurst

Lorin Grieve 

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula

October 26, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

In 1992 Frances Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather Trilogy and Apocalypse Now tackled the first cinematic adaptation of the seminal 1897 Gothic Horror novel by Bram Stoker. It was a character that had been a screen icon for decades already and synonymous with charismatic monsters, but to date nobody had decided to follow the book closely.

It has not yet been bettered.

The addition of his lost wife, reincarnated as Mina Murray nudged this into an extremely accomplished Gothic Romance, but beyond the emotional strength added to the text this stands as a love letter to now-antiquated special effects, specifically those dating back to the Victorian birth of cinema.

It is still an absolute triumph, despite (or maybe because of) the hilarious non-mastery of the English accent from some of its stars. It also features a performance of Dracula by Gary Oldman of extraordinary intensity. Screaming with rage, and yet brooding in pain. We go deep on this one. almost Lord of the Rings levels of focus on the many tiny details that make this shadowy tale totally worth watching.

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Wreck-It Ralph / Winnie the Pooh

October 19, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]  

We begin with a movie so underappreciated and barely known that it's not even in the British canon of Disney movies, they just skip over it and mis-number the next one. Winnie the Pooh 2011 is a charming, harmless, fun and short little adventure, and it was their actual final 2D cel-animated animated classic. There's more to say about its obscurity and design than there is to say about its events. 

And after that we launch into arguably the best movie ever made about video games, one that leaves the many dismal adaptations choking on its pixelated dust trails. Wreck-It Ralph is a Disney action adventure for all the family done so very right, and hides a generous helping of progressive nuance under its candy-coloured surface. 

Next week: Bram Stoker's Dracular is our Halloween Spooktacular episode. 

Guests

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

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