School of Movies
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

September 25, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

The man in the hat is back, and this time he's brought his father. What could have been a much goofier, hapless escapade, diffusing the focus of Raiders, turned out to be the most personal journey for Henry Jones, (Junior and Senior).

There's a real thrill to be had from the idea of picking up a search that has spanned thousands of years and racing the Nazis to this immensely symbolic artefact, which itself contains a tricksy definition of what Eternal Life entails. This film is a masterful example of Spielberg being able to keep exhilarating momentum while maintaining a close hand on personal, familial relationships. 

Guests

Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa

James Batchelor of Bond and Beyond  @James_Batchelor

Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun

September 18, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

The Steven Spielberg season continues with this 1987, semi-autobiographical account from author J.G. Ballard of his time as a boy caught up in the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in World War II.

Since we get this conflict from a child's eye view there's a strange energy to proceedings, as our pampered urchin Jamie cannot fully comprehend what's going on as he bounces from one adopted set of guardians to another. All he knows is that he's lost his real parents, he loves fighter pilots and he is going to have to struggle to survive.

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  

Mary and Max

Mary and Max

September 11, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

This one is so obscure that it didn't quite make $2m at the box office, so we are going to assume the vast majority of you haven't seen it and will shape our show around that. It's also heavy and alarming at times, despite its cosy art style as a stop-motion Australian animation with a quirky, twisted sense of humour.

It tells the tale of a young girl named Mary who fights the depressing doldrums of 70s suburbia by becoming random pen-pals with a nervous man in New York named Max. After an initial panic attack, Max (played with chameleonic natural intensity by the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets into the swing of elaborating to this curious child many of his habits and reflexive responses, which are later diagnosed as Aspergers.   

And what the film becomes is a sharing of mental and societal hangups, helping us as an audience understand what living with these heightened sensitivities might be like. And our sponsor for this one asked us to bring in the two shrinks to help us along the way.

This episode was commissioned by Chris Kelly

Guests:

Dr Hunter Mulcare @realhuntermmm  

Amy Donaldson of @TwoShrinksPod

Labyrinth

Labyrinth

September 4, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

One of our favourite movies of all time. And so dense and richly layered in the kind of fantasy mirroring reality themes that we thrive on. In fact it is so beloved and so twisty and turny, as well as being bittersweetly painful due to the passing of David Bowie that we've been putting it off for years! Fortunately commissions season often makes us finally push the button on that kind of project and that was the case here.

Sarah is a spoiled 14-year old who is asked to look after her baby step-brother Toby. Instead she petulantly wishes him snatched away by goblins, an act she immediately regrets. The stage is then set for her to traverse the labyrinth which represents the deceptively ever-changing landscape of her maturing psyche, as she journeys to get Toby back. And all the while she is observed and hounded by Jareth the goblin king, who of course is more than what he first appears.  You can't take anything for granted here. 

This episode was commissioned by Maya Santandrea

Guests:

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea  

Mackenzie Eastram  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod  

Nathan Eastram @bertnerdtram These two also of Video Game: The Movie: The Podcast  @VGTMPodcast 

Knives Out

Knives Out

August 28, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

A strange house, a family hiding all kinds of secrets, and an old and rich patriarch found dead. But things are never what they seem here, and if nothing else can be known for certain, this guy was a hugely successful writer of mysteries. 

This is a modern masterpiece: A murder mystery that confounds so many of the established moves of the genre, that it hides another story entirely within its framework. A combination of tight writing, lavish sets and an absolutely stellar cast propel this one into the stratosphere.

This episode was commissioned by Edward Burke

Guests:

Victoria Grieve  @VixenVVitch  

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea  

Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

Flight of the Navigator

Flight of the Navigator

August 21, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

A boy gets snatched out of 1978 Florida by an alien intelligence and dumped back there eight years later, having only lost a few hours. A quirk of lightspeed travel that screws up his entire existence and has wrecked his family. That's right it's a fun little sci-fi from Disney!

Navigator was one of those also-rans. Not renowned for its cinema release but dearly beloved by the kids who discovered it on video and TV. It has a Twilight Zone concept that it takes seriously, it doesn't patronise its young audience and there's a third act dominated by a wacky A.I. played by Pee Wee Herman.

It's also one of my favourites from this era, and I urge all of you to track down the region-free Second Sight blu ray, as the transfer is astonishing.

This episode was commissioned by Greg Downing & Nick Ord

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea  

Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service

August 14, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

The first anime we have ever covered on a Main Event show (if you listen to our 2017 Scott Pilgrim episode you'll find it starts with a lengthy explanation as to why), but depending on how anime fans react to this one we might do more.

It's a simple tale of a little witch who moves to the big city to start her own business. Kiki is goodhearted and well-meaning but faces many challenges along the way. This charming basket of innocence is delivered to us by master director Hayao Miyazaki, and may seem twee and super-sweet on the surface, but there's something to be learned from what happens.

I also talk at length about how in 2010 the American language track was altered by Studio Ghibli themselves for release in HD, and what that did to the film.

This episode was commissioned by our two guests and Aaron Good

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse   

Stardust

Stardust

August 7, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

This little-seen gem from 2007 was adapted from an adult fairy tale written as prose over four years by Neil Gaiman, with gorgeous illustrations by Charles Vess. It has a warmth and charm about it that is instantly appealing.

Stardust tells the tale of Tristan Thorn, a lad born from two worlds who works in a shop in a little Victorian English village which borders a portal to the realm of Faerie. Tristan has the hots for a shallow girl named Victoria, and pledges to bring her back a fallen shooting star to win her affections. Turns out the star that fell in Faerie takes the form of a young woman, who is understandably pissed off at being used as a love token.

There's fencing, fighting, witches, sacrifice, regicide, ghosts, sky pirates, chases, escapes, true love, miracles!

This episode was commissioned by Ruky Saavedra

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew   

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

Big Fish

Big Fish

July 31, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

This one is going to be a tough listen for some. We stand by our assertion that it remains the best Tim Burton film, and one that feels both like and unlike his body of work. Our main focus is on the relationship between disgruntled adult son Will and his dying father Edward, who has spent this young man's whole life telling him fantastical tales that can't possibly be true. So if you've lost someone it may be hard to hold things together.

This was a very personal film for our sponsor and it broke us several times. And unexpectedly so, because this was marketed and regarded by most as a fun, visually stunning and quirky romance, focusing on the young, handsome, charming Ewan McGregor version of Edward, and his delicate bride-to-be played by Alison Lohman. But it's the biting point between cold reality and beguiling fantasy that we're interested in.

This episode was commissioned by Kat Essman. 

Guest

Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

July 24, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

This time around, rather than those nasty little monsters attacking small-town Norman Rockwell America they have their sights set on the big city. The original was clearly a horror movie made with kids in mind. This one is a comedy with a ghoulish sensibility. A corporate lifestyle filled with technology that is supposed to make things easier but only serves as a hindrance? That is fertile ground for gremlin-based chaos!

It is also the one where Gizmo steps up and becomes a real character with intentions and regrets, and for that reason we consider G2 downright essential viewing, whether you've seen G1 or not. It's also a better initial foray for youngsters because they swap the malevolence for hilarity. The kids can always go back and watch New Batch: Origins after that. 

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew 

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg @KidDogg  

 

Play this podcast on Podbean App