IT: Chapter 1

September 22, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

The follow-up to our extensive discussion on the source novel and the 1990 miniseries, this is the show all about the 2017 movie. 

One of the most immediately and wildly successful horror films of all time, this has been one of the standout experiences of 2017. In the show we discuss why some people declassify it as horror, the many levels of applicability within the text to all kinds of social problems and just exactly why clowns scare the shit out of most people.  

And we will be back in Derry as soon as the next movie (in what's likely to be an unexpectedly broad franchise) drops. 

Guests:

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse

Kaoru Negisa and Debbie Morse of Sequentially Yours

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The Room

September 15, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

At long last, after years of preparation, we bring you a truly epic three hour show all about one of the worst movies ever made.

It's an exercise in absurdity, as unprepared actors are thrown in front of a camera and made to chew out abysmal dialogue, wrestle with characters that make no sense, get stuck in loops of expressing the same, contrary thoughts out loud, and all to please the ringmaster, Mr Tommy Wiseau, an extraordinary man, and by all accounts a nightmare to work with. 

There are the most appallingly awkward pauses, inexplicable games of football, and expressions that sound like they never came out of a human being before or since (or during). It's also compulsively quotable as a result. 

It is operatic in its farcical mishandling of every aspect of filmmaking, and we are going to take you through each second of this feast of silliness, just in time for The Disaster Artist, a film about its troubled construction, starring James Franco and based on the hugely entertaining book by the long suffering Greg Sestero who plays Mark. 

With us, we have Jason "Chewie" Slate, Aaron LaCluyze and Bill Bloodworth of Monday Night Magic and Random Discard.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

September 1, 2017
[School of Movies 2017]
 For our 200th movie episode we celebrate the occasion by taking on another immensely challenging film, not because it's a mixed bag that's hard to place, but because it's pretty much perfectly crafted, very personal to us, dauntingly important and critically acclaimed. So we had to somehow shed new light on a masterpiece. This is why we put things like this off.
Paschal Dooley commissioned this one to match his prior request of Hero, and it forms another part in the trilogy of epic, Chinese wuxia ("wushu") period piece films featuring the amazingly beautiful Zhang Ziyi.
 
This time, Ang Lee takes what he learned from the interpersonal drama of The Ice Storm and the Jane Austen propriety of Sense and Sensibility to convey a drama surrounding two couples. One middle-aged and regretful of time misspent and one young and fearful of lives that almost certainly will not bring them what they want. And then there's fighting, glorious martial arts with weightless wire-work, choreographed by the master himself, Yuen Woo-ping. 
 
Next week; Bojack Horseman. We recommend at least watching Season 1 on Netflix. 
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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

August 25, 2017
[School of Movies 2017]
This was a commission from Chris Finik and turned out to be one of our most challenging shows. I was ill and having to energise myself on sugar, caffeine and enthusiasm while painkillers did their work, but more specifically we were dealing with a movie that is on the surface a silly mess, unlovable and mostly forgotten. We had to find the elements of quality in a mismanaged, overambitious yet underachieving project which ended the careers of a promising director (Stephen Norrington, the man behind Blade and little else) and a legendary actor, Shaun Connery. 

Also we haven't seen most of the rest of the cast in the interim years either, but that's what happens when you throw 22% of your budget ($17 million) at one actor and find yourself short on what is obviously an ensemble film. This also serves as a weirdly specific prototype for Marvel's Avengers movie which came out nine years later in 2012. 

So join us for ourr 199th movie covered as we go on a voyage with these men who aren't very extraoriary, certainly not gentle and the best of their number is a woman (notably the only person in the film without a Y-chromasome.) 

Next week, something far, far more accomplished; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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Book of Life

August 18, 2017
[School of Movies 2017]

A little-seen animated film from 2014, produced by Guillermo del Toro, directed by Jorge Gutierrez, the man behind the award-winning show El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera. This is a celebration of mexican culture, centred around the Day of the Dead, and the Lands of the Remembered and the Forgotten, as much about life as it is about death, and dealing with ancient gods making wagers with one another over the actions of humans. 

Masquerading as a cute, colourful, hyperactive, kid's movie, this in fact has more in common with the work of LAIKA, and slowly, over time, introduces more and more texture and personal touches from its creators who strove to make the art match their beautiful concept work. 

A commission by Abel Savard, who encouraged us with his supporting of this episode to dig deeper and find something really rather wonderful. 

Next week; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. 

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Donnie Darko

August 11, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

Prepare for a twisting, mind-bending journey into a tangent universe and back again as we tackle one of the most head-scratchy of cult films of the 2000s. Directed by Richard Kelly when he was only 26 years old and accompanied by an extensive website filled with extra reading to help you understand what goes on in the movie, this is still pretty difficulty to completely grasp, even if you've seen it. So we spend the first half of this show examining those explanations and the second half delving into the stronger, clearer elements like character, music and script. 

This was a commissioned show by Jesse Ferguson, who wanted to like this movie, despite itself, and decided to have us make a case for it.

Next week; Book of Life.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

May 19, 2017

[School of Movies 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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The Thief and the Cobbler

April 14, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

This one is pretty special. You will laugh, you will facepalm, your jaw will hit the floor. 

The Thief and the Cobbler, or Arabian Knight, or The Princess and the Cobbler, or Once, OR The Amazing Nasrudin is, to date, the animated movie with the longest production run in history. It was begun in 1964 and released (after a fashion) in 1993... and then again in 1995. 

A cautionary tale for studios and a treasure trove of interest to animation experts, the story within the film itself pales in comparison, in terms of fascination, to its dreadfully staggered road of creation. 

This is the story of one unusual man who dreamed of making the finest animated film the world has ever seen, and what happened when that dream came up against reality.

If you would like to see more about this film (once you've seen the film, because I'm betting you hadn't even heard of it until today) you might want to catch this in-depth documentary *Persistence of Vision*, which features an array of animators and others involved with the making, and in which they are far more complimentary of the film than we are.

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We’re Back!: A Dinosaur’s Story

November 11, 2016

[School of Movies 2016]

On this sad, grim, dark week... here's a stupid movie about cartoon dinosaurs that get smart eating magic cereal!

Obviously we'll get political and angry later on, but right now I think what everyone needs most of all is to laugh together, so here you go.

This animated movie was released on Thanksgiving 1993, produced by Steven Spielberg, surfing the dinosaur craze of his own Jurassic Park, but actually put into production several years before and mismanaged the whole way. It's a higgledy-piggledy mess of half-thought-out ideas and pandering to kids that the meddling executives clearly see as adorable little morons.

It's John Goodman's first voice role, it's confusing and cringe-worthy, sickeningly sweet and occasionally alarmingly horrific for no good reason. It has a song that will stick in your head and not a shred of logic in any of its 72 minute run-time. And this is one of the funniest shows we've done, so kick back, forget about how awful 2016 has been for a little while and let us take you back to a simpler time, 1993.

Guests:

Harrison Brockwell of Talk Film Society

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse

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Kubo and the Two Strings

September 30, 2016
[School of Movies 2016]
 
This is one of the films of the year. A Japanese fable delivered in stunning stop-motion by American studio LAIKA, the team behind Coraline, ParaNorman and Boxtrolls. 
Every single one of you needs to see it. 
 
Joining us are animation experts Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst. Among other things we discuss the climate for animated films and what it takes to make a hit, which this, tragically, despite its beautiful direction, tight, well-delivered script, vibrant, fun characters and playful yet heartrending score, is not. 
 
Guests:

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst

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