School of Movies
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

July 1, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

This one hit us mere hours after the finale of Moon Knight. It has been six years since the first Doctor Strange hit in late 2016. To the point where the dangling threads of that film are ignored, because Stephen has made four more appearances since then, and been instrumental in deliberately instigating The Snap.

But even that is mostly pushed to the side as this film becomes the follow-up to the first Disney+ Marvel TV show, WandaVision. And the handling of that factor by dream director for many; Evil Dead and Spider-Man-helmer Sam Raimi has caused this to become one of the most polarising of MCU movies. 

We needed several months to think hard about it, and this is what we really wanted to say. Many thanks to our brilliant guests for lending perspective and also putting into understandable words how time and dimensional travel seems to work within Marvel's Earth 616 (movies and TV not comics). 

Guests:

Chris Finik @finmonster09 who assembles New Century's TV Tropes Pages and who writes fanfic (including a Dark Tower / Tiger's Eye crossover)

Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom & Dominion

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom & Dominion

June 24, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

Two films about dinosaurs as a metaphor for our own existential fear of extinction.

We've held back on talking about the second film, released in 2018 because I was waiting on the onscreen consequences of the big decision at the end. While some folks considered Fallen Kingdom to be the worst in the franchise (I even saw a video declaring it the worst movie ever made - clearly somebody who has never seen Swamp Shark) we actually quite like it.

Don't get us wrong, it's dumb as a sack of hammers, but there are qualities that win it points with us that the other sequels don't have, not least of which is the director of the Orphanage, one of the finest ghost stories ever put to film, Juan Antonio Bayona.

After that I tell Sharon all about the third movie (we keep all spoilers for that section). One could say Jurassic Park needed no sequels, but when has NEED ever factored in when the prospect of a billion dollars was on the table?

Vampire’s Kiss

Vampire’s Kiss

June 22, 2022

[School of Movies 2020]

After the sexy teen rebels of The Lost Boys we delve into the cutthroat underworld of New York big business and the predatory nature of its ambitious executives, hollow inside and devoid of a soul, trying to fill that emptiness with delusions that their success excuses them from the people they hurt to achieve their power.

Listen, when you bring in Nicholas Cage and tell him to just go nuts with a role you're paying for spectacle not subtlety. This began as a Quick Review but quickly became one of the funniest shows we've recorded, centring around one of the weirdest performances we've witnessed. 

FACE/OFF

FACE/OFF

June 17, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

The third in the Rage Cage trinity, released less than a month after Con Air, this movie saw our boy Nick set against John Travolta, who was at the time flying high on the success of Pulp Fiction a few years previously. 

The premise of "Good guy wears bad guy's face" is completely nuts for a start, but what it allows us to see onscreen is two extremely intense actors performing as both a wackadoo international terrorist-for-hire and the broken, obsessed FBI agent hellbent on revenge. Science and physics are utterly abandoned in favour of comic book logic, but the proceedings remained nonetheless a slick bullet ballet just oozing with star-power as the two leads try to out-weird each other. 

Action maestro John Woo had only just begun to direct films for a western audience (following Hard Target and Broken Arrow) but this might be the most fondly remembered.

Guests

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Souris @Mayasantandrea

Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool

Con Air

Con Air

June 10, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

The Rage Cage Season continues, as Nicholas transforms himself into a statuesque Army Ranger from Alabama with a mullet (as We Hate Movies would say) to beat the band! It's had to imagine from every movie he was in before and since but here he's a combination of the peace-making soft  tones of Jesus and the spin-kicks of Chuck Norris. 

Handed a severe sentence after defending himself and his pregnant wife from literally the worst man in the world, Cameron Poe is sent home after eight years in jail. Unfortunately he is put on a plane with superstar celebrity convicts renowned for their violent crimes. And when they inevitably take control of the plane, leaving Cameron in a sticky position he is faced with a choice; get off when prompted and get back to his family or stay and try to do something good. The resultant film is riot of explosions, glossy action cinematography and highly memorable, equally quotable dialogue.

For this episode we brought in the Franchise Killer podcast (from our shows on Super Mario Bros and Shazam!) Check out their show.

https://franchisekillerpod.podbean.com/

Guests:

From the Franchise Killer Podcast: @FK_Podcast

David Schmitzer

Irena Schmitzer

Rhys Paine

The Rock

The Rock

June 3, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

This is the start of our Rage Cage Season, celebrating the span of twelve months between Summer 1996 and Summer 1997 when Nicholas Cage was somehow the hottest action star of the age. He's quite appealingly low-key in this one, relative to the next two; Con Air and FACE/OFF.

This is Michael Bay's best film. That's not hyperbole, it really is, in terms of how well-executed each set-piece is, how the momentum holds you without wearing you down, memorable performances, sympathetic characters and how the drama and human interaction functions surprisingly well. 

I also consider it Sean Connery's swansong. Not his last film, but his last great film, as well as a backdoor Old Man Bond farewell. In fact, while you're listening to this episode you'll hear how the text of this film actively supports this being quite literally the same guy we saw in Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, all the way up to Diamonds are Forever. 

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

The Mandalorian (Season 1)

The Mandalorian (Season 1)

May 27, 2022

[School of Everything Else 2022]

A long-awaited visit to the first of Disney's new Star Wars TV shows. Weirdly we haven't had that many requests to talk Mando, but with Obi Wan launching this week and in the wake of the turbulent response to The Book of Boba we decided to journey back to the first and delve into what it did extremely well. 

We divided the eight episodes into three movies, loosely paralleling Sergei Leone's Dollars Trilogy with A Fistful of Beskar, For a Few Credits More and my personal favourite... The Good, The Bad and The Ugnaught. With us are two people who had literally never seen an episode of Mando before signing up for guest duty, so we get their fresh perspective without spoiling what comes later. 

Next week we begin the 'Rage Cage Season' as we explore the very brief period in the late 90s when Nicholas Cage was the hottest new high octane action star around! Three shows over three weeks as he gets madder and madder, The Rock, Con Air and FACE/OFF. 

I have spoken.

Guests

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

Taylor Nova of GameBurst @TaylorNova6

Moon Knight

Moon Knight

May 20, 2022

[School of Everything Else 2022]

A risky venture on Marvel's part. More than one might imagine. This is a character who is mostly known in the comics as a street-level supernatural vigilante (somewhere between Batman and Blade) and from a meme where that nerd Dracula owes him money.

But more than that, in this TV miniseries, he's a Jewish superantihero played by a Guatemalan, directed by an Egyptian, and penned by the writer of the cursed 2015 Fantastic Four reboot that everyone forgot. And it deals chiefly over everything else, even the mythology... with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

And when you get to the end, after all the theatrics and horror, after all the mummies and costumes and screaming and creepy cults, the abiding memory is a pair of distinct and sympathetic performances from Oscar Isaac. The Moon Knight is almost incidental! 

Join us now as we talk the ups and downs of this strange journey.

Indiegogo for "The Bludgeoning": https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-bludgeoning-working-title#/

Guests

Chris Finik @finmonster09 who assembles New Century's TV Tropes Pages and who writes fanfic (including a Dark Tower / Tiger's Eye crossover)

Nick Jaragosky: SOM Discord regular and occasional guest on the Commanderin' MTG podcast  

Batman: Breakdown [Audio Drama]

Batman: Breakdown [Audio Drama]

May 13, 2022

[Digital Gonzo 2012]

This was my first full-length audio drama. It was designed to be enjoyed by folks who saw the Nolan films the Arkham video games or the Animated Series. I wanted to write something significant, honest and authentic about the Batman legend and with a lot of help from long-time serious Bat-fan, David Hartrick, I was able to shape a bunch of ideas into a hopefully coherent story. It was originally released a week before The Dark Knight Rises.

None of the cast, including myself were professional actors, but we all worked very hard to capture the essence of the characters we portrayed. The writing, organisation and editing all of this together took dozens of hours, and it was equal parts exhausting and rewarding. For comic fans this is an Elseworlds (What If?) tale that takes place after Hush (2002) and Under the Hood (2005). This also fits with the motion-comic/audio drama adaptation of The Killing Joke that I put together the following year in 2013.

Script: Alex Shaw / Story: Alex Shaw & David Hartrick / Editing: Alex Shaw

Cast

Bruce Wayne/Joker/Jason: Alex Shaw
Barbara Gordon/Oracle: Leah Haydu
Dick Grayson/Nightwing: Taylor Nova
Tim Drake/Robin: Daniel Floyd
Clark Kent/Superman: James Batchelor
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman/Estelle: Tara Nelson
Selina Kyle/Catwoman/Bank Clerk: Cassandra Corgard
Alfred Pennyworth: Matthew Ramsey
Doctor Jennifer Whitman: Sharon Shaw
Cops: Matt Whetter/Sharon Shaw/Alex Shaw
Thieves: Taylor Nova/Matt Whetter/Alex Shaw

David Hartrick writes for In Bed With Maradona, the award-winning home of World Football: http://inbedwithmaradona.com/

The Batman

The Batman

May 6, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

One of the biggest films of the year, celebrated for its dark beauty and mature themes. If you loved Matt Reeves' The Batman chances are the vast majority of moviegoers and critics are in the same boat.

I'm not in that boat. I'm on a tiny little raft made of twigs and optimistic delusion, drifting off towards a whirlpool leading straight down to sea-Hell, surrounded by electric sharks and mecha-jellyfish. For many reasons this was a miserable experience for me, but the last thing I wanted to do was moan about it or tread on anyone's toes for liking it. 

So I crafted what I hope is a really entertaining episode that actually looks back over all of the Batman movies. It gets meta, because that's what this series is; a perpetually shifting cultural statement on how to make darkness, vengeance and crimefighting appealing. And next week, as a companion piece, I have something I made about Batman a long time ago that a lot of you won't have heard.

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