School of Movies
Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

October 26, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

In 1992 Frances Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather Trilogy and Apocalypse Now tackled the first cinematic adaptation of the seminal 1897 Gothic Horror novel by Bram Stoker. It was a character that had been a screen icon for decades already and synonymous with charismatic monsters, but to date nobody had decided to follow the book closely.

It has not yet been bettered.

The addition of his lost wife, reincarnated as Mina Murray nudged this into an extremely accomplished Gothic Romance, but beyond the emotional strength added to the text this stands as a love letter to now-antiquated special effects, specifically those dating back to the Victorian birth of cinema.

It is still an absolute triumph, despite (or maybe because of) the hilarious non-mastery of the English accent from some of its stars. It also features a performance of Dracula by Gary Oldman of extraordinary intensity. Screaming with rage, and yet brooding in pain. We go deep on this one. almost Lord of the Rings levels of focus on the many tiny details that make this shadowy tale totally worth watching.

Wreck-It Ralph + Winnie the Pooh

Wreck-It Ralph + Winnie the Pooh

October 19, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]  

We begin with a movie so underappreciated and barely known that it's not even in the British canon of Disney movies, they just skip over it and mis-number the next one. Winnie the Pooh 2011 is a charming, harmless, fun and short little adventure, and it was their actual final 2D cel-animated animated classic. There's more to say about its obscurity and design than there is to say about its events. 

And after that we launch into arguably the best movie ever made about video games, one that leaves the many dismal adaptations choking on its pixelated dust trails. Wreck-It Ralph is a Disney action adventure for all the family done so very right, and hides a generous helping of progressive nuance under its candy-coloured surface. 

Next week: Bram Stoker's Dracular is our Halloween Spooktacular episode. 

Guests

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Tangled

Tangled

October 12, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]  

I say this with no hyperbole, I think you may be listening to our best Disney show. It is epic in length and rich in scope, we go deep and the evolution of the Disney film takes a big leap, aesthetically, technically and emotionally. 

Rather than simply deliver Rapunzel in the style of the 90s renaissance the creative team here very deliberately updated the approach to a fairy-tale world in a way that would pay off big time in Frozen but makes itself known here with confidence, rather than reactively copying their competitors. This is how things are going to be for a long time, bolstered by the Marvel movies, which this follows in a similar and appealing pattern.

We also have an important announcement to make at the end of the show. 

Next week: Wreck-It Ralph and Winnie the Pooh

Guests

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Maureen Foley of The New Century Multiverse 

The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog

October 5, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]  

Now we're talking. While the last two movies were an upswing from the doldrums of Chicken Little this one was the first to confidently step out in a direction that was both established and classical and representative of Disney at its best AND also new and twisty, fondly critical of their past successes, progressive and modern.

If you've somehow not seen it but have enjoyed the 90s Renaissance you will find much of value here, including the directors of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, one of the most toe-tapping soundtracks and an animation style that is just heavenly to drink in. This is one of our all-time favourites.

This was the last of its kind, with 2011s Winnie the Pooh forming an epilogue to the 2D dynasty and Tangled, the year after truly kicking off the 3D animation era after a series of false starts.

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus