School of Movies
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

September 17, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

One of the first huge blockbuster movies made by a western studio with a largely eastern cast, this one really underlines my abiding contention that "Superhero" is not a genre, and neither, as it turns out is "Martial Arts". Would we say Boogie Nights was a "Sex Movie?". Genre is an increasingly blurry construct to help marketers and those who want to know what to watch. 

Luckily for us all though this particular Martial Arts Superhero movie is fantastic. Once again, we urge everyone to be as safe as possible and not take risks. But even if you aren't able to see this in the cinema, you have something special to look forward to on your TV screen in the near future, and while we discuss what happens we can't really spoil the movie for you. It's too rich and nourishing for that. 

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

Castlevania (The Video Games)

Castlevania (The Video Games)

September 10, 2021

[School of Everything Else 2021]

An iconic series of games that has run since 1986 but never really resonated with mass audiences the way that Mario and Sonic did. These are the tales of vampire hunters and the creatures of the night that stand between them and (usually) Dracula. 

They have gone through many phases, and we cover each of them here in this mammoth, epic and thoroughly comprehensive show. First there are the side-scrolling whip-and-jump titles from the NES onwards through the SNES and Mega Drive, followed by their reinvention as both 3D action games, and (more significantly for video gaming history) as metroidvanias (a term that had to be invented to best describe them).

We take you through the rocky territory of Lords of Shadow and the triumphant return as "Bloodstained" as publisher Konami ran the official license into the ground with pachinko machines. We even touch on the strange and elusive mobile games. 

This show will tell you which of the 30+ titles are really worth sinking time into and why. And the whole thing is soaked in atmosphere and a dark, Gothic smorgasbord of classic music. 

Guests:

Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool

Alexa Vargas @Plutoburns whose YouTube channel is here

Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series

September 3, 2021

[School of Everything Else 2021]

One of the greatest, most influential TV shows of all time. We watched the whole thing on blu ray, and not only does it hold up, it still surpasses most Batman media. Oftentimes lynchpins like this are hyped and oversaturated to the point where they can hardly live up to the cultural expectations, but this one really does.

The first season was a HUGE run of 65 episodes which spanned a year from September '92 to '93. The second season was a more conservative 20, which went from May '94 to September '95. By this point it was time for Superman to get his own show (encapsulating the classic character rather than subverting him) which we will hopefully be covering soon. 

There were a series of movies released on TV and VHS (as well as a brief, invisible theatrical release for Mask of the Phantasm, which we covered all the way back in 2012. And then 24 episodes of The New Batman Adventures switched up the art style and went from September '97 to January '99. It's the finer points and highlights of these three seasons that we focus on in this mammoth show. 

Guests:

Toby Jungius @TJungius of Through the Wind Door

Kevin Veighey @GoldenTalesGeek whose Let's Plays on YouTube can be found here 

Free Guy

Free Guy

August 27, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Since this theatrically released movie, based on no particular existing IP barely made a couple of hundred million dollars in its first fortnight, statistically speaking that means the majority of you won't have seen it.

That's why we're giving you a deep dive episode, delving into the subtext that a lot of folks either took for granted or missed entirely. And far from spoiling the story we hope it actually makes it even better for you.

The short of it is, what if one of the civilians in Grand Theft Auto started thinking for itself. Cue a lot of familiar moments, and some surprising directions. The devil is of course in the details, and that's what we have for you.

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

Greg Downing @MightyGregDoge of Through the Wind Door 

Alexa Vargas @Plutoburns whose YouTube channel is here 

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

The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad

August 20, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Militarized slaves are sent to an island to clean up a violent mess with plausible deniability. An instant hit with both audiences and critics on release, this 2021 film is the realization of the John Ostrander-era of the Suicide Squad/Task Force X concept that actually first appeared as far back as 1959 (prior to Marvel's Silver Age of The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and The Avengers.

And yet it faltered at the box office, due to several reasons. Being R-rated in the middle of a pandemic, the sour taste of the 2016 David Ayer film, the absence of Joker and let's not discount an abundance of dark superhero satire in TV and movies, which this feels like. By all rights, fans of The Boys and Invincible should have turned up in droves, and yet that association may have worked against the film in the end.

This episode is simply me telling Sharon about the experience of watching the film in the cinema for the first time, augmented by further thoughts as I mulled it over in the interim days. It was a mixed bag for me, with strong elements sat side by side with things I've seen done better elsewhere. 

Aquaman

Aquaman

August 13, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

By far and away Warner's highest grossing superhero film of the DCEU so far*, this one had the global market sewn up with a dazzling, epic ocean-hopping fantasy quest. Dismissed as 'dumb' by the critics, Aquaman is nonetheless one of my very favourite superhero films, and on today's show we go into detail as to the thriving ecosystem that exists just under the surface. 

The pandemic, and constant studio shake-ups have definitely hurt the DC brand (sadly including The Suicide Squad which we're covering next week). But at least this one and Wonder Woman proved that DC could find success beyond endless Batman, Superman and Joker movies.

*Aquaman $1.1b / Batman V Superman $873m / Wonder Woman $822m / Suicide Squad $746m / Man of Steel $668m / Justice League $657m / Shazam! $366m / Birds of Prey $201m / Wonder Woman 1984 $166m / Zack Snyder's Justice League $70m

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst @JeromeMci

Shazam!

Shazam!

August 6, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Our Summer season of DC spotlighting reaches Captain Marvel. This was a big change for the recent movies, eschewing the epic scale of gods among humans and focusing on a regular kid imbued with the power of the gods.

Part 1980s coming of age movie, part found-family drama, part weirdly disturbing villain origin. And unlike most other superhero movies this one has an unusual time limit on it as a series, which is why we recruited some very particular guests this time around.

https://franchisekillerpod.podbean.com/

Guests:

From the Franchise Killer Podcast: @FK_Podcast

David Schmitzer

Irena Schmitzer

Rhys Paine

Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey

July 30, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

One of our very favourite DC universe movies, added to the towering collection of three dozen shows we've covered in the past (and yes I do list all of them).

Criminally underviewed and undervalued, and launched mere weeks before lockdown began in early 2020, this is a crazed cult crime caper for the ages. A collection of disparate, separate, embattled women all find that their aggressors lead to one place. 

It's filthy and violent and only one person has a superpower which gets used once. This was Margot Robbie's treasured project that couldn't be more different from 2016's Suicide Squad. 

[Next Week: Shazam!]

Guests:

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Souris @Mayasantandrea

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst @JeromeMci

Loki (Season 1)

Loki (Season 1)

July 23, 2021

[School of Everything Else 2021]

A time-bending, space-bending, reality-bending miniseries about an unrepentant villain who did a colonialism on account of his upbringing in a society that was founded on precisely this principle.

And an introduction to yet another Marvel leading lady who has been kidnapped, gaslit and abused for most of her existence and definitely deserves better. 

Loki has been a frustrating watch for many and a source of relentless joy for others. The slew of fan art that has dotted our Twitter feeds suggest people are getting a great deal of spicy satisfaction from the chemistry. But the slew of hot negative takes, also suggests it once again disappointed fans. 

Our show on what we found out at the end was the first season is quite special for a number of reasons, so listen closely.

Guests:

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse

Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst

Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

Black Widow

Black Widow

July 16, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Two years have passed since we were last in the cinema watching a Marvel movie. It feels like an astonishing amount of time, and a lot of you folks will have watched on Disney+ 

This one has been a long time coming, kicking off Phase 4, despite the core concept of Natasha Romanoff's solo outing being ideally placed in Phase 1, prior to Avengers (perhaps instead of Iron Man 2), or Phase 2 when Avengers proved she was big-screen dynamite (perhaps instead of Thor 2) or Phase 3 where after all the years of lollygagging DC beat Marvel to the leading lady post by almost two years (even though this could have been ideally placed instead of Ant-Man 2: Featuring The Wasp).

As it stands, Black Widow serves many masters, and is about more than simply Natasha herself. It's a fitting send-off and a welcome introduction all at once. 

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

Mackenzie Eastram @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App