School of Movies
The Lego Movie 2

The Lego Movie 2

February 22, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

We did not expect to be recording on this one so soon. To begin with after watching the movie I thought I could get everything I needed to say into a Quick Review, but Sharon needed to see it and then on the second viewing the layers just kept expanding and expanding outwards until my brain exploded.

The first movie was going to be impossible to follow, and yet somehow this one is more meaningful. We ended up talking  with our guests for three hours and I have spent two solid days honing the main release show into the best it possibly can be. The remaining 87 minutes will be available as a bonus podcast, which while meandering makes for some fascinating additional perspective.

This one does get pretty dark, introspective, existential and at times fairly bleak. The episode isn't suitable for children, though the movie most definitely is, and both end on a note of re-energising hope for the future.

The YouTuber I sample a clip from, where she talks about Star Wars dolls is Jenny Nicholson, whom I urge all of you to subscribe to. She's fantastic! 

Guests:

Brendan Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse  

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22 and

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours  

Toby Jungius @TJungius of http://theinquisitivej.tumblr.com/ 

And we are @SchooloofMovies 

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians

February 15, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

One of our favourite films of 2018 arrives in style for this vibrant celebration of an exotic culture. This is the biggest Asian-American cast since Joy Luck Club in 1993, and tells a very different story, about a regular young American woman finding out on an innocuous family trip that her boyfriend Nick is crazy rich. 

Now this could have been disastrous viewing for us. Both Sharon and I are automatically suspicious of wealth, if you're a billionaire there's a lot of things you could be doing with your insane level of fortune that could be helping the world, so a movie about obnoxious rich people, either with the viewpoint of "Aren't these people idiotic parasites?" or "Don't you envy their lifestyle?" would have made us puke.

However, director Jon M. Chu (again whose filmography seems designed to repel us, with four Step Up movies, Jem and the Holograms, G.I. Joe Retaliation and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never under his belt) takes a book that might have done exactly the above and along with the help of a fresh and masterful crew and cast re-crafts it into something extraordinary, and down-to-Earth, yet fresh and global-contemporary. It is at its core a very relatable tale of being an outsider and immense family pressure.

And as a special treat we were able to snag one of the supporting cast members, Calvin Wong who plays Peik Lin's adorkable brother PT (the chap with the phone and the heart-hands).  And Calvin was absolutely brilliant to have on, lending us perspective on filming, on Singaporean and Malaysian culture and quite a bit of insight into the finished story. 

Guests:

Calvin Wong:  Follow him on Twitter at @ithayla  

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow @TheDapperDM

 And we are @SchooloofMovies 

Highlander II

Highlander II

February 8, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Five years after the original film lost money, the producers, director and stars were all back with a much higher budget for a Blade Runner-chasing dystopian tale of Connor MacLeod in the future and suddenly Ramirez. In a baffling move they backpedalled on the original premise making all Highlanders in fact (this works best when you say it in a booming B-movie announcer voice) aliens from the planet Zeist!

There are so many problems with this one from the word go that it's a challenge to separate them out. They have a knock-on effect of making things more confusing with a wildly mismatched tone between trying to be taken too seriously and pushing the humour to absurd levels. Nothing makes sense and none of the performances match each other, and the Argentinian shoot was plagued with troubles including crew injuries, ecological disasters and a spiralling budget.

Four years after the sequel lost even more money than the first movie, director Russell Mulcahy went back in for a new edit with reshoots and a forced change of plot to make something called "The Renegade Cut" which was more in-line with the rest of Highlander canon. Wherever this is mentioned online the attitude seems to be "This makes the film finally good." We're here to tell you today that it doesn't.

BUT all that effort ultimately wasn't for nothing because watching either version is unintentionally hilarious, and this podcast was an absolute blast to record.   

Guests:

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow 

Highlander

Highlander

February 1, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

"Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold"... No wait, 

"There can only be one!" 

A good question would of course then be "Why was there more than one?" Because the answer certainly isn't "Money!"

The original Highlander is a sci-fi fantasy that awkwardly mashes together slightly-too-serious delivery with crazy camp ostentatiousness and a kickass Queen soundtrack. Nowhere near enough people have seen it, and we want to help remedy that.  

Back in 2016 we recorded a pair of shows on Highlander which sat in raw form for three years, waiting to be released. Recently, when I began the edit I found myself disappointed by the general lack of energy and meandering nature of the show on the first film (mainly down to me rushing everyone through a running synopsis) yet my guests still said some fascinating things.  

So a week ago I brought them back for a gathering and we did a show on Highlander again. This time for the edit I seamlessly interwove the best bits of the old show with the main body of the new version. Next week you'll get to hear our 2016 episode on Highlander II: The Quickening, which was much more on-point because that film is utterly bananas. 

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow