School of Movies
Interview With the Vampire

Interview With the Vampire

October 29, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

One of the most expensive, vampire films ever made. This first adaptation of Anne Rice's Chronicles ran on star power, lavish costume and set design and a potent strain of existential crisis. It's the tale of Louis, a mourning, bereaved widower who in his despairing malaise meets a sleazy, charismatic, sociopathic vampire named Lestat. For reasons we will go into, Louis decides eternal life would be a splendid idea at this point. 

Neil Jordan directs the hell out of this intense Gothic melodrama, which was very important to Sharon as a teenager, and over time has become an excellent example of the kind of bloodsucker movie where we focus on the vampires themselves and they look both inward and outward at humanity. It clearly proved massively influential on Vampire: The Masquerade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Vampire Diaries, The Twilight Saga, Only Lovers Left Alive and even What We Do in the Shadows. It also spawned a wretched (not-actually-a) sequel in Queen of the Damned (2002), which we will be covering on Patreon. 

Candymen

Candymen

October 22, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This show is about both the 1992 original, based on the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker and directed by Bernard Rose, AND the 2021 film directed by Nia DaCosta which shares the name but is in fact both a remake and an in-world sequel. 

We decided to gate off all discussion of the new film for the second half of this show, so you can listen to the first half without fear of learning too much. However, both are now available for rental and we would sincerely suggest you watch the pair in release order (ignoring the straight-to-video grade sequels "Farewell to the Flesh" (1995) and "Day of the Dead" (1999).

What started out quite troublesome with a mixed message and a powerful yet clumsy execution has now been sharpened to a razor edge of social satire and brooding, urban horror, rightfully reclaimed. And to make this one even spicier, we attempted not to speak His name even once, lest we inadvertently summon Him.

...Listen if you dare, to hear if we made it all the way through the show.

01. Candyman (1992) 00h 02m

02. Candyman (2021) 01h 18m

Guests:

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

What If? (Season 1)

What If? (Season 1)

October 15, 2021

[School of Everything Else 2021]

For the first time ever, a direct MCU production really threw me. We've had underachieving films in the past, like the listless Thor: The Dark World, the dramatically unexplorative Ant-Man and The Wasp and starting out with a really serious challenge for our flawed hero before dropping the PTSD ball in the third act with Iron Man 3.

Thanos was troublingly handled in Infinity War and a year of imbecilic agreement in the myopic viewpoints of a sympathetically-cast abuser only made that worse. WandaVision, Falcon and Loki all had their missed marks in otherwise solid packages.

But this one was wildly uneven. It had two episodes I actively despise, a couple I absolutely adore and a bunch of fluff in the middle. And so that we end on a high note we will be scaling the Marvel mountain in that order.

Guests:

Greg Downing of Through the Wind Door @MightyGregDoge

Austin Wilden from our Discord @WC_WIT

No Time to Die

No Time to Die

October 8, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

We hadn't planned on doing this one so early, but by the time I walked out of the cinema I wanted to finish off the quintet with the same flourish and passion as this film does. It impressed the hell out of me, and then did the same for Sharon. And when we began recording neither of us knew what the other thought, which creates an unusual frisson.

No spoilers in these notes. But I honestly suggest you see the film before listening. One of our listeners has never seen ANY Bond movies, so to her I suggested Casino Royale or Skyfall as a stand-alone first experience, as all five in a row is a big ask especially with the wildly varying tones across the fifteen-year board.

I am also re-releasing the 2015 shows on Skyfall and Spectre on the main feed, so that all these soldiers are lined up in a row. I'm already being told on social media "I have to say I hated it" which makes me sad on several levels. To me, while the length and pacing are uneven, much like the overall series, this is a triumph. 

Spectre

Spectre

October 7, 2021

[School of Movies 2015]

NOTE: This is a remastered episode, re-released for 2021. Unlike Skyfall, where I made a handful of tweaks, this one received a heavy edit. Almost an HOUR of the original show was devoted to speculation on what Sony/MGM/EON/Danjaq would do with the *next* Bond film. At the time Daniel Craig seemed to have had enough, and it was very much a possibility that Spectre would be his last outing. Ergo pretty much everything we said is now irrelevant. So I streamlined the conversation to be only about the film itself, and added a lot more of Thomas Newman's excellent score. If you really want the uncut show you can find it in the School of Movies Archive podcast feed. 

This is a supremely divisive movie. On the one hand some folks hail it as a fantastic instalment of the long-running series, proof that 007 is still flying high. On the other, it has been decried as evidence of the exact opposite, seemingly underlining and exemplifying everything that was broken about Bond back in the past when we had little else in the way of action movies to choose from.

Guest:

Gary Blower of GamerBurst

Skyfall

Skyfall

October 6, 2021

[School of Movies 2015]

NOTE: This is a remastered episode, re-released for 2021. It's a little tighter, less waffle, more music. 

The Craig era, previously discussed back in 2011 gets the royal treatment and we talk Sam Mendez, Roger Deakins, Thomas Newman, Javier Bardem, Ben Wishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Her Majesty, Queen Dench. 

Skyfall stands as a divisive, yet extremely high-quality instalment in the long-running series, with small-scale, personal stakes and a narrative that reflects the very concept of Bond singing for its supper. 

Guests:

Gary Blower of GamerBurst

James Batchelor of Bond and Beyond

Alex Boucher of Bond and Beyond

Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace

October 1, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

As I say at the end of this episode, there's a reason why going back to cover these first two Daniel Craig Bonds has been so rich and gratifying for us. Back then they were building a character. Since then, to a degree with Skyfall and definitely with Spectre it has been a case of nudging that more textured character into a comforting template with certain accoutrements that the specific actor brought with him.  And to a degree that has meant stripping away some of that texture.

Quantum of Solace has always been maligned. This episode focuses on both its all-too-often unappreciated strengths as well as the weaknesses that throw up a barrier between film and audience and actually prevent many of the stronger blows from landing. 

We hope by the end you'll have a good enough set of reasons to go back and reassess. 

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