School of Movies
The Mummy Returns

The Mummy Returns

April 19, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Not long after the 1999 original hit theatres Universal were on the phone to director Stephen Sommers with a basic request; "We need another one". And another one they got. 

The creeping mystery and classical style of the first film was left in the sand and instead this is a rip-roaring race against time treasure hunt action spectacular. 

This time around we discuss the bonkers reasoning when it comes to putting souls into living bodies, Sommers' obvious adulation of Terminator 2 and how The Mummy series was kind of a prototype Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

And as a bonus, this episode includes my Quick Review of the 2017 movie "The Tom Cruise (Featuring a Female Mummy)" which was supposed to launch Universal's Dark Universe. Previously only available on Patreon, this sections starts at the 1h 23m mark. 

Guests:

James Batchelor  @James_Batchelor of Bond & Beyond

Brendan Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse  

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours 

And we are @SchoolOfMovies

The Mummy

The Mummy

April 12, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The 1999 adventure has turned out to be one of our most eagerly-awaited podcasts.

This time we delve into costume and actions to get a bead on subtle character-building that isn't in the script. It's a triumph of set-design and music and pacy, memorable and surprisingly progressive filmmaking. 

We also go into its lengthy pre-production run and the string of very different director's visions for the Mummy project. Next week we talk The Mummy Returns (plus the best bits from my Quick Review of the 2017 Dark Universe initiator "The Tom Cruise".

Guests:

James Batchelor  @James_Batchelor of Bond & Beyond

Brendan Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse  

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours 

And we are @SchoolOfMovies

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

April 5, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

On paper this is a film we should absolutely love, based on a book we should also absolutely love. Average boy discovers a secret, secluded old mansion populated by strange children with special powers, looked after by an eccentric and magical woman, played by a fine actress and directed by a man known for his quirky outsider tales and memorable imagery. From a multi-part children's book series literally inspired by odd Victorian photographs!

And yet it was a strangely cold, disconnected, hollow experience filled with troubling and ultimately unexamined behaviour that makes the central character a different kind of villain to the grotesque child-eating monsters filling up the corners. 

This is a facsimile of a Guillermo del Toro version of X-Men Hogwarts, run through so many filters of nonsense and artifice that there's almost nothing genuinely effective left. What started out as a Quick Review ended up being edited three times into an exploration of our troubles with Tim Burton. 

Next Week: The Mummy!

Get Out

Get Out

March 29, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

With Jordan Peele's second film, Us tearing up cinemas right now we figured the time was exactly right to explore his densely symbolic, thrilling debut Get Out. This is a movie that does not pull its punches. It's kind of amazing that it exists at all, considering the deeply uncomfortable system-damning subtext. 

A young fellow named Chris journeys with his girlfriend to visit her parents, and there's some conflict. We can all agree on the universality of this premise, but Peele deftly takes the audience and puts them behind someone else's eyes to accomplish something truly unnerving. Definitely see the film before listening. 

And as with Captain Marvel's lineup of ladies, rather than being two white liberal podcasters churning out our reading from the outside we brought in guests of colour to lend some sharp perspective. 

Guests

Aquila Edwards @aquilaedwards

Eric Jones of Waxing Cinematic

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

March 22, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Maybe our most eagerly-awaited, long-time-coming Marvel's of all finally arrives. And to distinguish this show from a LOT of the lukewarm dude-filled discussion about this movie we have four brilliant ladies talking and smiling as much or as little as they like. 

We begin with my own list of every male hero in sci-fi, fantasy and superhero movies since the late 70s and an accompanying MUCH SHORTER list of female leads in the same space. After that I shut up as much as I can and let the women explore the themes, details and subtleties. 

For everyone who just found it okay, we're hoping we can give you a fresh perspective on a really impactful film for a lot of women. 

Guests:

Sharon Shaw @cai_boxer

Maya Santandrea @mayasantandrea

Mackenzie Easton: @KenziePhoenix

Debbie Morse @bastet8300

And we are @SchoolOfMovies

We Need to Talk About Fandom

We Need to Talk About Fandom

March 15, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

A long-planned show, following up on "Fan Response" in 2013 which can be found on the School of Everything Else Archive. Things were becoming problematic back then and now, six years later, matters are worse.

This is a show all about examining where we each stand in our fandoms and dispelling the binary, black and white "You are either with us or against us" mentality which has cultivated a climate of extreme feeling that we are bombarded with every day.  It's not about exclusion, it's about reclaiming nuance and being comfortable having mixed feelings.

Contents

0.02: The State of Fandom Now

0.23: The Colour Wheel

1.20: Outside Interference

1.28: Eight Fallacies

1.33: Mixed Feelings

1.36: The Code

1.48:  Working With The Code

1.59: Credits

2.03: What Can We Do?

Guests:

Lorin Grieve @XaviaShandi

Maya Santandrea @mayasantandrea

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22

Debbie Morse @bastet8300

And we are @SchoolOfMovies

The Matrix

The Matrix

March 8, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

This one has been a phenomenally long time coming. Not only is it a dense and complex movie that's impossible to fully summarise even in our lengthier shows, not only does it mean a huge amount to millions of people, not only is it intrinsically linked with wildly disappointing sequels (whom some claim don't even exist) but it's probably the one movie that got my brain moving the most at the tender age of 19.

That and Fight Club. And like the antics of Tyler Durdan, there are aspects of this film that have not so much 'dated' as they have taken on a horrible new significance over the past twenty years. So this is a show that would have been very different in 1999, in 2004, in 2009 or even in 2014. And I'm willing to bet that in five year's time we'll feel differently again, such is the way the 'Real World' moves. 

So buckle your seat belt, Dorothy, 'cos Kansas is going bye-bye.

Next Week: We Need to Talk About Fandom 

The Good Place

The Good Place

March 1, 2019

[School of Everything Else 2019]

One of the most compulsive and mind-expanding TV shows in recent years, The Good Place is an unfolding exploration of philosophy and morality which takes the brightly coloured appealing form of comedy frozen yogurt. 

If you've not seen it, the best summation is that a woman named Eleanor Shelstrop dies and is welcomed into heaven by a kindly angel-type named Michael, only to realise she shouldn't be there because she's a rotten, selfish wretch and Michael thinks she's a much better person also called Eleanor Shelstrop. Her attempts to not be found out and maybe slip through the net, aided by her soulmate, a nervous Professor of Moral Philosophy named Chidi are just the beginning of an afterlife adventure that questions human behaviour.

In this episode we cover the first three seasons, which are all currently available on Netflix. We have to go full-spoiler because so much keeps getting revealed every season that our discussion would be supremely limited otherwise. 

Next Week: Our long-promised episode on The Matrix is finally here, just in time for its 20th Anniversary. 

The Lego Movie 2

The Lego Movie 2

February 22, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

We did not expect to be recording on this one so soon. To begin with after watching the movie I thought I could get everything I needed to say into a Quick Review, but Sharon needed to see it and then on the second viewing the layers just kept expanding and expanding outwards until my brain exploded.

The first movie was going to be impossible to follow, and yet somehow this one is more meaningful. We ended up talking  with our guests for three hours and I have spent two solid days honing the main release show into the best it possibly can be. The remaining 87 minutes will be available as a bonus podcast, which while meandering makes for some fascinating additional perspective.

This one does get pretty dark, introspective, existential and at times fairly bleak. The episode isn't suitable for children, though the movie most definitely is, and both end on a note of re-energising hope for the future.

The YouTuber I sample a clip from, where she talks about Star Wars dolls is Jenny Nicholson, whom I urge all of you to subscribe to. She's fantastic! 

Guests:

Brendan Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse  

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22 and

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours  

Toby Jungius @TJungius of http://theinquisitivej.tumblr.com/ 

And we are @SchooloofMovies 

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians

February 15, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

One of our favourite films of 2018 arrives in style for this vibrant celebration of an exotic culture. This is the biggest Asian-American cast since Joy Luck Club in 1993, and tells a very different story, about a regular young American woman finding out on an innocuous family trip that her boyfriend Nick is crazy rich. 

Now this could have been disastrous viewing for us. Both Sharon and I are automatically suspicious of wealth, if you're a billionaire there's a lot of things you could be doing with your insane level of fortune that could be helping the world, so a movie about obnoxious rich people, either with the viewpoint of "Aren't these people idiotic parasites?" or "Don't you envy their lifestyle?" would have made us puke.

However, director Jon M. Chu (again whose filmography seems designed to repel us, with four Step Up movies, Jem and the Holograms, G.I. Joe Retaliation and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never under his belt) takes a book that might have done exactly the above and along with the help of a fresh and masterful crew and cast re-crafts it into something extraordinary, and down-to-Earth, yet fresh and global-contemporary. It is at its core a very relatable tale of being an outsider and immense family pressure.

And as a special treat we were able to snag one of the supporting cast members, Calvin Wong who plays Peik Lin's adorkable brother PT (the chap with the phone and the heart-hands).  And Calvin was absolutely brilliant to have on, lending us perspective on filming, on Singaporean and Malaysian culture and quite a bit of insight into the finished story. 

Guests:

Calvin Wong:  Follow him on Twitter at @ithayla  

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow @TheDapperDM

 And we are @SchooloofMovies