School of Movies
The Shining

The Shining

November 15, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The Kubrick season concludes with arguably his most celebrated film (the only other contender being Space Odyssey).

This is the one we set out to talk about, but we had to try our level best to understand the men behind it as we did so. Making this a continuation of our Stephen King adaptations series where we compare the book and film (including IT, Pet Sematary and at some point in the future Stand by Me, Misery, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption).

So we watched and talked about everything Kubrick made since 1968, and we read through King's books of The Shining and Doctor Sleep. This really was a grand project and took a lot out of us, but crucially we tried to have fun along the way so it would feel worth it.

The end result is a pair of immensely detailed shows, including Doctor Sleep next week, wherein we discuss how these two creators' different outlooks permeate the cinematic story of Daniel Torrance over 39 years.  

Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

November 8, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The Kubrick season continues with his creations from the 80s and 90s. 

First, a harsh, black vision of the experiences of United States Marines in the Vietnam War. Beginning with their training at the hands and barking yell of the apparently lone  Gunnery Sargent Hartman. Then a confused meander through various areas of the war-torn country, searching for meaning that does not reveal itself.

After that Tom Cruise finds out that Nicole Kidman once thought briefly about having an affair and journeys out into the New York Night for a sexual odyssey that was deliberately designed to be seedy, uncomfortable and weirdly puritanical. 

2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange

2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange

November 1, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Stanley Kubrick Season: Part 1 of 3

Last year we covered the work of Guillermo del Toro, this year we were only going to do The Shining after being asked to do Kubrick many times. But the raft of research and hard work that went into simply covering the context for that movie led to us talking about not one but six of his films. What unfolded as we recorded these sessions out of order was a veritable Stanley Kubrick Season.

So this first part we will cover 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and -briefly- Barry Lyndon (1975). Next week we have Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Finally, the third week will be all about The Shining (1980), and we will be closely comparing it with Stephen King's book.

We are going to be critical of Kubrick. This is a risky prospect for us as we are talking about a revered artist in our chosen field of study. But only one of these films that we talk about in depth do we actually genuinely dislike. The rest are very much a mixed bag of elements that appeal and those that do not. We trust you all to take this as a very personal response to a striking filmography. 

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

October 25, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

After the pantsing of Tim Burton with this year's Miss Peregrine main event and Dumbo Quick Review we decided for Halloween to go back to one of our favourites of his. 

This one is not very popular, a lot of people consider it a mess, and they're correct, but it's a mess that we enjoy greatly, and one that delighted Lorin who was a first timer here.

It's a dark, twisted, witchy, campy, gory mystery and everyone on board seems to be having a great time. Come join us. 

Guest:

Lorin Grieve:  @VixenVVitch  

Zombieland

Zombieland

October 18, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Just in time for the sequel we examine this perky black comedy about life after the end of the world. At present there isn't too much in the way of deeper readings of the escapades of Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, so we took that as something of a challenge.

Recruiting two shrinks last heard on our Inside Out episode we examined each of their behavioural patterns and asked ourselves what state of mind the daily pursuit of survival might have left them in. 

Guests:

Dr Hunter Mulcare @realhuntermmm  

Amy Donaldson of @TwoShrinksPod

Joker

Joker

October 11, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

This turned out to be one of the most gruelling ordeals for us in terms of lead-up, viewing, preparation, recording and editing. This is an intensely divisive film with smart, decent people who dislike it and smart decent people who love it. And the last thing we want is to divide and clash. 

We DO however have to account for how this film made us feel, which is not great at all. Of course we didn't go in hoping to hate it, but what started out as "Okay this isn't bad" descended into "God, get me out of here!"

Next Week: Zombieland

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

October 4, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

This is every Friday the 13th movie made so far, excluding Freddy vs. Jason (which we covered in our Nightmare on Elm Street series).

So that's Friday the 13th (1980) then Part 2, III (in 3D), IV: The Final Chapter, V: A New Beginning, VI: Jason Lives, VII: The New Blood, VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason X and Friday the 13th (2009).

29 years of teenagers being slaughtered in the woods for drinking, smoking weed and having sex. This one could have been exhausting, but there's enough variety (just) to differentiate the series. One of them has overtones of Hitchcock, two of them are whodunnit mysteries, a couple get vaguely psychological, one tries to be very Terminator, one has a Carrie, one is a Jason fan film set on a bloody space station, and one tries to mash four of them together to tell the grim story of a sadistic survivalist nut.

However, one of them gets the chemistry just right and is a hilarious splatterfest. You'll have to listen to find out which one. And we recruited a friendly horror fan to guide us through Camp Crystal Lake.

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg @KidDogg  

Rambo

Rambo

September 27, 2019

[School of Movies 2019] 

We cover the five movies each in turn.

0.00 First Blood (1982)

0.25 Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

0.49 Rambo III (1988)

0.59 Rambo (2008)

1.12 Last Blood (2019)

It's quite a wild and bumpy ride, going from a sobering critique of the military industrial machine and what it does to our soldiers, to a critique on political chicanery and lack of transparency in warfare to just an all-out blockbuster western with tanks to a gruesome revenge-porn exploitation action and finally to a grim take on American/Mexican border-relations.

There are good and bad elements to be found within, as a shell-shocked soldier morphs into an unbeatable saviour and then into basically Jason Vorhees minus the hockey mask. 

IT: Chapter Two

IT: Chapter Two

September 20, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The follow-up to our extensive discussion on both the source novel and the 1990 miniseries, and then our lengthy discussion on the amazing 2017 movie.

Few horror sequels are as eagerly anticipated as this one, and bettering or even matching the kids' story was always going to be an insane challenge. King didn't really manage it with his book, the TV version delivered a lukewarm, erratically paced exercise in uncertainty of purpose and true to form this one disappointed a lot of returning viewers.

However, our little Losers Club found a rich vein of complexity to mine, and plenty to infer in this tale of graduating adult fears and anxieties. We begin with twenty minutes of unbridled praise, just to establish a base of quality, and then follow it up with two hours of discussion on the mixed bag on offer, the good, the bad and the Pennywise.

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

Arrival

Arrival

September 13, 2019

[School of Movies 2019] 

This one is going to be a challenging listen.

Arrival is a story about humanity utilising alien contact as a way of looking inward. It's an examination of our fears, our sacrifices, of language and of time. It's astonishingly powerful and perhaps the greatest performance of Amy Adams' career, requiring her to experience emotions that -as Mikey Neumann pointed out- we don't even have names for yet. 

Get yourself a quiet 80 minutes to listen, and some time afterwards to reflect upon it. And for the love of God see the film before you take in our show.

This episode was commissioned by Andy Rodriguez.