School of Movies
War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes

June 25, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

Back in 2014 we began a journey through the many movies of the Planet of the Apes franchise. We began with the original quintet made in the late 60s through the 70s. Three of those are pretty great, two of them are meandering and lose the thread of what the simian analogy was getting at in the first place.

After that we covered Tim Burton's mess of a blockbuster which ruined my 21st Birthday! And then we began on the 2011 reboot with Andy Serkis as Caesar, an extraordinary chimpanzee born in the modern era. We followed that with a show about the then-just-released sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Now, many years later we have returned to finish what is one of the low-key best sci-fi trilogies in cinema history. A journey from birth through childhood, maturity and fatherhood all the way to messianic saviour. But unlike their predecessors these three always remember that central tenet; The apes are us... and always have been.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

June 24, 2021

[Digital Drift 2014]

Continuing the story of Caesar and his new tribe of intelligent, simian compatriots we rejoin earth ten years after the close of the last picture. It is a quiet, overgrown world of dilapidated buildings being reclaimed by nature, separated pockets of humanity scrabbling to survive and one group of apes living in peaceful seclusion in the redwoods close to San Francisco.

We accompany you on a journey through discovery and loss, betrayal and loyalty, and actions led by hope and fear. In doing so we take in some truly stunning performances in what constitutes a triumphant thematic remake of the worst of the previous films; Battle for the Planet of the Apes. This is how that one should have been done.

This show, and its predecessors were recorded in the summer of 2014. It would be seven long years until we reconvened to finish off the new Apes Trilogy.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

June 24, 2021

[Digital Drift 2014]

Ten years after the Burton version surfaced, spluttered and sank, this came out of seemingly nowhere, surprising everyone. Set up as an alternate prequel to the premise of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes, Rise answered the question of “How could this actually happen?”. In marketing terms it serves as a reboot, beginning its own new series which then branched off from the original five movies into its own circular arc. 

One thing I found while editing this show together was that I didn’t have many clips I could use. This is, as I came to realise, because this movie is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. Everything you need to know is conveyed far better in terms of what you’re looking at, both in terms of its ape and human stars.

Director Rupert Wyatt is at the top of his game here, James Franco and John Lithgow pull off rarely valued, powerful performances and of course Andy Serkis takes centre-stage embodying one of the finest collaborations between performer and digital artists the world has ever seen. Caesar, the chimpanzee, capable of a subtlety and gravity of presence that most actors dream of achieving. 

Stand By Me

Stand By Me

June 18, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

NOTE: War for the Planet of the Apes will be released next week, along with the archived episodes on Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 

Four 12-year-old boys on a hot Labor Day weekend in 1959 walk from their small town of Castle Rock to find and report the body of a young man hit by a train. What follows is a touching drama about the betrayal of the adult world, and the importance of standing by those whom nobody else will stand by.

Back in 1982 Stephen King took a break from supernatural horror to write Different Seasons, a book of four short stories. The Body, which was adapted into this film in 1986 by Rob Reiner, Apt Pupil, adapted by Bryan Singer in 1998, The Breathing Method (which should probably stay un-adapted, but is apparently is an announced project with Doctor Strange helmer Scott Derrickson) and Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption, which wound up as one of the greatest films of all time. 

This is a double-bill collaboration between us and the Old Kids Movies podcast. We are on their 50th episode this week, talking about Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). It was great both guesting and having them on our show, and both episodes are excellent listening.

Guests:

AJ Beltis @AJBeltis 

Trevor Howell @MetalTrowell 

Of Old Kids Movies @oldkidsmovies 

And their podcast can be found here 

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

June 11, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The second cinematic adaptation of the 1934 mystery by Agatha Christie. When this first emerged in 2017 there was a bit of a sniffy outcry from the press. Why does it even exist? Why re-adapt a book that already had a 1974 film by Sidney Lumet and was a key episode of the David Suchet serials? Since the long-running British TV show and the 40+ year-old movie exist, that should be enough for any potential new audience member!

After watching this gobsmackingly sumptuous epic, shot on glorious 65mm film by the always-meticulous Kenneth Brannagh, with a soaring score by Patrick Doyle and a cast so delicious you'll have no room for pudding... we respectfully beg to differ with those critics. 

The first 42 minutes of this episode are spoiler-free. After that we delve into the many characters and their motivations. We recommend you see the film first, but if you can't or don't want to, the rest of the show shouldn't really ruin your eventual enjoyment of it.

Full disclosure; This show was commissioned by Greg Downing and Toby Jungius, hosts of the Through the Wind Door podcast, which discusses the many stories in The New Century Multiverse. We wanted to chip in for their new microphones, but it felt like greasing the palms of our most prolific critics. So instead we just waived the fee on this one and let them buy their own mics.

Guest:

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

Special Announcement: Fireside Alliance

Special Announcement: Fireside Alliance

June 10, 2021

A fresh collaboration that School of Movies is involved with. 

This notification is also going out across The New Century Multiverse and Patreon. 

Come on over and join us in the Discord chat. 

https://www.firesidealliance.com/

The Cell

The Cell

June 4, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This one was recorded a long while ago. It's pretty extreme and not for the squeamish. A serial killer thriller from the year 2000 with the customary sub-genre-ingrained fixation on stomach-churning detail. 

Where it strays more into our wheelhouse is that the plot revolves around a social worker who dives into people's minds and wanders around looking for clues. This drove Sharon bonkers as all ethical practices were cast aside, and the core of this episode is her trying to hold it together as the film gets dumber and more misleading.

It was directed by Tarsem Singh, who has an eye for striking visuals. He directed Immortals, Mirror, Mirror and a movie nobody saw but is extremely good (and actually has a heart, unlike this), called The Fall. We really hope he one day gets to bring his jaw-dropping art-gallery flair to something people can love, because THIS film in particular is not a worthy showcase for his talents, nor those of the frequently splendid Jennifer Lopez.

The Leftover Army Podcast on Tremors 

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