School of Movies
The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded

January 21, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

For this one we went all-out. It was an incredibly rich and dense discussion for the initial recording and I have added a ton of extra content, all to the sounds of the eclectic soundtrack and the rarely-heard extended score of Don Davis. 

This is the first part of an evolution of the binary Us vs. Them dichotomy of The Matrix (1999) and was far less successful in ensnaring audiences with expanded perspective. What Film 2 sets up, Film 3 knocks down, and then decades later, Film 4 then ruminates on.

So if you always thought the sequels were trash this may at least convey what they were trying to say. If you've always had a soft spot for them this will be a dream come true. 

Next week we will be focusing on The Animatrix (2003)

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

Victoria Luna B. Grieve:  @VixenVVitch 

Alexa Vargas @Plutoburns whose YouTube channel is here

Mackenzie Eastram  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod and Video Game: The Movie: The Podcast  @VGTMPodcast

The Matrix

The Matrix

January 14, 2022

[School of Movies 2019]

NOTE: This is a re-release of the 2019 episode. It is one of our best shows and constitutes vital groundwork before we cover the three sequels over the next few weeks. 

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 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. And as we'll discuss in upcoming weeks, there's complexities in those follow-ups that are key to better understanding the overall symbolism at play here.

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, via misinterpretation. 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.

Avatar

Avatar

January 7, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

Highly appropriately we cap off the James Cameron season with both the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. We are starting 2022 with the original Avatar from 2009, and hopefully we will be finishing the year with Avatar 2. But with four more sequels planned out over the next decade it's very possible this man will spend the rest of his life on Pandora. 

And that feels weirdly appropriate. He spent the first half of the 2000s under the sea, obsessively re-examining the wreck of Titanic. Then he began to craft this whole new world to escape to, and he's been there ever since. 

But how does this first film stand up alone? Without the benefits of a mountain of hype and a huge 3D screen. How is it on just a big TV in a darkened living room? Jump on your Ikran and fly through the alien jungle with us. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home

December 31, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

A lively and enthusiastic end of one trilogy and setup for a different flavour of future web-slinging, this thing drew gasps, cheers and applause, even from my British audience, and we don't cheer for anything except football.

This is a really special and important Spider-Man movie. Beyond all hyperbole and landmark moments in comic-book style crossovers it is a story about the serious toll that being Spidey extracts from everyone under that signature mask.

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

Mackenzie Eastram  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod

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

Austin Wilden @WC_WIT of Wits-Writing 

Nama Chibitty of our Discord @NamaTheNerd 

Titanic

Titanic

December 24, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This is the big one, folks. This is the movie I didn't realise how passionate I was about until we started engaging our analytical style to it. I've had Titanic in the back of my head as a film I really wanted to talk about for many many years, and I suspect i was waiting for The Abyss and True Lies to hit blu ray so we could do a James Cameron Season, or at least for Avatar 2 to finally emerge. In the end we just had to go ahead and hoist the anchor without them.

As it turns out this massive, cinematic phenomenon is rather special. Despised by some, upon its release in 1997, it found the largest audience ever, and bewitched them. And it achieved this success not by being flashy and showy alone, but by giving us a story that many would want to return to again and again. That's one of the more powerful ways to get that top spot. 

And I say this without hyperbole, in terms of shows I've put together with just Sharon and I at the mics, this might be the appropriately grandest. We pulled out all the stops and the edit took five days. So turn the lights low, grab a mug of hot stuff and settle in for a tale of haunted ice.

The Ref

The Ref

December 17, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Taking a break from Cameron Season to focus on a holiday movie hardly anybody has seen or knows about. This one from 1994, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the anti-Christmas set. One for people who see the entire family coming over as a bit of a nightmare, rather than the most wonderful time of the year.

The focus is on Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur, a married couple on the rocks, at one another's throats the whole time and each sitting on a powder-keg of resentment. Things take a turn one Christmas Eve when Gus, an irascible cat burglar hiding from the cops takes them hostage, only to find them impossible to deal with.

And then the whole family come round and Gus has to pretend to be their marriage counsellor, Dr Wong, it's a seasonal farce, but one with unexpected heart and grit. It might be hard-going if you don't like dragging everything out to be examined, but we crafted this show to cater to the majority who haven't ever seen this, so you'll get a full sense of the story play out as we guide you through.

And it ends well. 

Next week, one of the most magnificent shows we've ever put together, befitting of the subject matter: Titanic. 

True Lies

True Lies

December 10, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The Cameron season continues with yet another massive blockbuster for its time that is almost impossible to find in HD today. You can see why we held off this long, just waiting for Jim and the studios to get their act together and release these from the vaults. 

(Un)luckily(?)  Disney have handed the IP over to a new director to make a Disney+ show. It almost certainly won't contain Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jamie Lee Curtis, and the world we're in right now is wildly different to the 1994 this emerged into. It was even a year before Pierce Brosnan's debut as James Bond. And I struggle to fathom why they would want to capitalise on a brand that has been purposefully buried for nearly 30 years, AND hand that project to McG of all people!

But doing so will at least (probably?) bring the film we're covering today to the most accessible streaming platform, so we can all collectively suck air in through our mouths as the brazen, complacent mid-90s dick-waggling at terrorism plays out.

Harry Tasker is a nerdy computer sales representative, or at least that's what his bored wife, Helen thinks. In reality this astonishing-looking man is in fact a covert spy for America. The most believable thing about this extremely entertaining movie is that they would keep smart-talking plot-anchor Tom Arnold in the van the whole time.  

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

December 3, 2021

[Digital Drift 2015]

This was originally released in 2015 in a series covering the (then) five Terminator movies. But it seemed wildly appropriate to recover and spotlight the first two as the Cameron-directed pair stand tall as recognised classics while the rest imitate (though we maintain that Dark Fate from 2019 is a worthy completion of a Trilogy. Check out our April 2020 episode on that woefully overlooked conclusion).

Unlike The Abyss everyone has seen T2. So we delve into the subtleties and lore, starting off with taking it to task over the time travel, but proceeding into this story as a parable for unilateral disarmament.

Joshua Garrity joins us once again to explore this cybernetic opera, in which Los Angeles of the 1990s is as much a character as any of the vibrant figures onscreen. Many thanks to Daniel Floyd for a segment of his on the existentially powerful arcade game Missile Command.

Guest:

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

The Abyss

The Abyss

November 26, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The first all-new show for the James Cameron season, and it's a doozy. 

You may have heard stories about the troubled events of the shoot, and what the actors and crew were forced to go through by their hard taskmaster of a director. Or you may not have. Many people, especially in their 20s or below might never have seen or even *heard* of this 1989 film, sandwiched between Aliens and Terminator 2, since it would appear Cameron himself has been trying to keep it buried at the bottom of the sea for more than 32 years!

There's little other explanation as to why it hasn't received an authorised remastering since the days of laserdisc (ask your grandfathers). So, journey down with us now, as Sharon and I strap on our specialised deep-diving gear and prepare to breathe-in the pink water. 

Aliens

Aliens

November 13, 2021

[Digital Gonzo 2012]

NOTE: This episode has been significantly re-edited, and I would say improved for its 2021 overhaul. The original 2012 show can be found on the School of Movies Archive feed.

James Cameron took the helm from Ridley Scott, and made this sequel into something that complimented and expanded upon the masterful original. With more of a Sci-Fi action feel, the director of Avatar, the two best Terminator films and Piranha II: The Spawning chose to focus on humorous machismo, strong female characters, and a socio-political, anti-military, anti-corporate agenda… it would not be the last time.

Once again we tried to be as serious as possible, once again we failed, hence the multitude of outtakes at the end which include at least one of us in the grip of hysterics.

Guests:

Leah Haydu of Cane and Rinse

Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse

Matt Ramsey of GamerDork

James Perkins of Starburst Magazine 

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