School of Movies
Hellboy

Hellboy

June 29, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Del Toro's fifth film was a passion project for him which he still managed to position as a studio picture supernatural superhero sci-fi that ended up with middling success. 

The Hellboy comic by Mike Mignola blends Lovecraftian horror, mythology and folklore with a no-nonsense, gruff mechanic's approach to the paranormal. It's a deeply appealing combination hearkening to Ghostbusters. Of the two GDT HBs this one sticks closer to the comic roots whilst being somewhat mired in the weaknesses of early 2000s blockbusters.

We adore the film and extol its strengths, including splendid practical effects, incredible detail, stirring music, fascinating lighting, delicate turns from Selma Blair and John Hurt and an iconic central performance from the man who will remain as forever linked with the character for me as Reeve's Superman and Evans' Captain America; Ron Perlman. When I read the comics, his is the voice I hear in my head. And the second film is even better. 

Hellboy books to read: Seed of Destruction/The Right Hand of Doom

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

Blade Trilogy

Blade Trilogy

June 22, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

This is about all three of the half-human, half-immortal vampire slayer's films to date. I don't even know how that works, since him being aparently half-immortal grants him all of their strengths and none of their weaknesses it's more like he's double-immortal, a little bit human (the bit that occasionally smiles).

1998 Blade: Maybe the best translation from comics to screen of the 90s, this is a serious, pumping, dark action thriller. 

2002 Blade II: Guillermo del Toro's play to get the studios to allow him to produce Hellboy for them, by delivering a blackly humorous over-the-top action horror with many of the trappings of his later movies. 

2004 Blade Trinity: Forgoing a third director, New Line let David Goyer, the writer of all three take a shot at making a film, with disastrous results.

Guests:

Kaoru Negisa and

Debbie Morse of Sequentially Yours  

Lorin Grieve 

The Devil’s Backbone

The Devil’s Backbone

June 15, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

After many months of promising, and many weeks of recording sessions which you are going to love hearing, the Guillermo del Toro season is finally here.

Our guest for the duration is Lorin Grieve and we go deep into the texture and detail of these movies together, drawing parallels, exploring symbolism and discussing the greater themes and the making of each.

We begin with The Devil's Backbone, a captivating ghost story set in an orphanage, during the Spanish Civil War. It is a tale of fear and greed, anger and compassion, and it's one of his best. 

These are essential viewing so track down the following on blu ray: Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy 1 & 2, Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water. Next week we cover the Blade Trilogy, of which GDT directed the second.

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

The Emerald Forest

The Emerald Forest

June 8, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Our final commission for the first half of this year is a jungle adventure based (really loosely, it turns out) on a true story. 

This one was very challenging for us. The film itself, as I state at the end, fails on almost every level for me, and has been bettered, countless times since its 1985 release, but there is still something of real merit inside.

We pull no punches and get angry about the way we, as a species treat environmental issues, and there are a bunch of callbacks to the more eco-friendly entertainment of our childhood. 

And we start of with maybe the most contentious speech I have given on this show regarding filmmakers whose work speaks to me. 

Next week: The Devil's Backbone

Solo

Solo

June 1, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The second of the Star Wars anthology films emerges a mere five months after The Last Jedi. We are used to that in the era of the MCU but with the galaxy far, far away it feels strange, especially as Rian Johnson's film went out of its way to both evoke the formula of Empire Strikes Back and subvert it wickedly, challenging audiences everywhere, and what Ron Howard's effort delivers is more of a space romp.

It's the origin of how Han met Chewie, how Han met Lando, how Han met The Falcon, how Han made the Kessel Run in an average of 13 parsecs, and how certain characters betrayed other ones. This is so prevalent an occurrence it may as well have had the subtitle Solo: No Honor Among Thieves. 

And lots and lots of people have enjoyed this movie. And I'm going to lay down some thought-provoking reasons why I wasn't among them. Fortunately we have some lovely guests who can talk about its stronger points. 

Guests:

Voice Actor Alex Eding

Kaoru Negisa and

Debbie Morse of Sequentially Yours