Stranger Things [Season 1, Part 1]

July 21, 2017

This is our first of two episodes on Season 1 of Stranger Things. 

One of our most requested topics, which ironically makes for a daunting prospect, because we have to cover something that means so much for so many people? We eventually relented when this was commissioned by Stephen Maxwell Lowe, Toby Jungius, Nick Grugin and Joel Robinson. 

For this first part we cover the following episodes.

1. The Vanishing of Will Byers

2. The Weirdo on Maple Street

3. Holly Jolly

Our guests include Laura Kate Dale of Lets Play Video Games and Podquisition, Alasdair Stuart of Escape Artists and Debbie Morse of Sequentially Yours. 

We'll be back next week for the remaining five episodes. 

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Gargoyles

July 14, 2017

This week, on commission from Nicholas Kosky and Joel Robinson, we cover the first season of the celebrated mid-90s animated series. 

Released in 1994, just a little after we were getting into sit-coms like Friends and Frasier, this show somehow attained a cult following AND a 52-episode second season. Those two things don't happen together very often. 

With us is longtime Gargoys aficionado Greg Bishansky to keep us in the know on all the background detail of the production. 

Next week: Stranger Things

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Analogue: A Hate Story

July 7, 2017

A commissioned show from Mark Lucksch. First thing I said when I saw the art was "No anime." Mark assured me that with its writer based in the west and Korean rather than Japanese artwork, as well as lack of animation that this text-adventure available on Steam was not, in fact, anime. 

After many hours of playing through this tale of an intelligent, female consciousness inside a computer on a spaceship, with its themes of oppressive, patriarchal tradition, and a woman's prerogative, we both had a rather... strong reaction.

Enjoy?

Next week: Gargoyles

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What’s Up With Alex - July 2017

July 1, 2017

An update on how I'm doing and where the shows are right now.

(TLDR)

· My health is up the creek again, but I’m hoping to get better. 

· New Century is on hold for a few weeks while I catch up.

· School of Movies should carry on as usual

· Lots of Digital Cowboys now on the separate School of Everything Else Archive (find it on iTunes)

· And finally write in with your weird cinema experiences for the first mailbag: gonzoplanet@gmail.com

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Watership Down

June 30, 2017

Truly a work of classic British animation, less know outside this island, but a tale of rabbit society in Rural England, just waiting to be discovered.

OR

A horribly misjudged, mercilessly brutal, relentless, casually sadistic massacre of rabbit-kind, made by aloof Brits who don't understand story structure from a source novel thrown together by a man who hates the idea of anyone finding allegory in his work. And a film responsible for irresponsibly traumatising a generation.

You decide... with our help.

A commissioned show sponsored by Jamas Enright.

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L.A. Confidential

June 23, 2017

A commissioned show, but for a film we adore. The only reason it's taken us this long is that L.A. Confidential is as rich and complex and powerful as a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and frankly... it was intimidating. 

It's a beautifully crafted film noir from 1997 which pretty much sets the bar for the genre from this point on, blending the best elements of the classics with contemporary filmmaking sensibilities, focusing on defying character expectations and showcasing physically expressive acting. 

Featuring career high performances from Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and David Strathairn, a darkly crooning score by Jerry Goldsmith, and an endlessly quotable script from Brian Helgeland, adapted from the novel by James Elroy.

It's the finest film Curtis Hanson ever made and the fact that Titanic gobbled up all the Oscars for that year is nothing short of a travesty (and I REALLY like Titanic!). 

Enjoy, and especially enjoy the toe-tapping jazz soundtrack. 

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Swiss Army Man

June 16, 2017

This one was an unexpected commission and pushed us well out of our comfort zone. It's an obscure little indie film about being isolated from civilisation, and it has a couple of particularly... provocative ways of illustrating that point.

Many thanks to Dan Mayer for getting this episode made, because I can ASSURE you that without his backing it absolutely would never have happened.

So for better or worse, here's what Sharon and I think of Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe in the movie Swiss Army Man.

Next week, make sure you get hold of a copy of L.A. Confidential in the highest resolution possible. It's an amazing film and you don't want it spoiled before watching. 

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Wonder Woman

June 9, 2017

This is a big one, a DC movie that we not only don't hate, but actively love.
Wonder Woman is breaking all sorts of new ground and Gal Gadot looks set to be the next universally beloved big screen superhero, joining a fairly small group that includes Reeves as Superman, Maguire as Spider-Man, Downey Jnr. as Iron Man and Evans as Captain America.

To mark this occasion we assembled a dream team of Bob Chipman of Geek.com and Laura Kate Dale of letsplayvideogames.com

We spend two and a half hours discussing Diana's debut in solo form, highlighting the best aspects and touching on a few of the flaws. Largely though this is a celebration of a magnificent, empowering, inspiring experience.

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The Second Coming

June 2, 2017

A commissioned show about a 2003 two-part TV miniseries wherein Christopher Eccleston plays a regular bloke from Manchester who suddenly realises that he is the son of God. The story is about how the world takes this news and how it affects his close friends. Also there are demons.

This is new Doctor Who creator Russel T. Davies' hot take on religion.

It made Sharon and I quite angry, and unexpectedly ended up as one of our more thought-provoking shows, most definitely nudging us out of our comfort zone and into the realm of discussing one of the subjects guaranteed to offend somebody.

Next week: Wonder Woman!

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

May 26, 2017
Back with Marvel for one of their best movies yet. We kick off with why this hit me like a freight train, right in the soul, and then move on to an extensive and tasty discussion about these wonderful characters, old and new. With us are Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse, Brendan Agnew of Cinapse.co and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst. This episode, like the movie, is very special. 

We also kick off with a big announcement for not one but TWO brand new podcast feeds, which I've set up to make our back catalogue as accessible as possible to absolutely everyone.

So search your podcatcher app for

The School of Movies Archive: http://schoolofmoviesarchive.podbean.com/

 and

The School of Everyone Else Archive: http://schoolofeverythingelsearchive.podbean.com/

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