School of Movies
Zootopia

Zootopia

December 10, 2019

[School of Movies 2016]

This was a show we recorded way back in 2016, that simply couldn't wait the three more years it would take to bring us up to date. Dan was not available this time round so we brought in some anthropomorphic animal specialists in his absence.

This was a movie that kind of came out of nowhere and delighted pretty much everyone by having a lot more going on below the surface than your average animated animal adventure. At the very least it's a major new find for the furry community as our guests Lorin Grieve from A Year of Steam and Matt Wardle and Laureta Sela of New Century can attest. As well as this there is a multi-layered and infinitely applicable series of social commentaries on everyday prejudices. This downright demanded discussion so we pulled out all the stops to deliver you a packed two hour show. 
 
Folks on the patreon at the $5 per month support level can, this week, get their paws on an additional 90 minutes of rambling tangents which also took place during recording and while fascinating in places, strayed far from the movie itself. If you love these shows there are far worse things you could do with five bucks every thirty days which DON'T get you access to exclusive content. 
 
Guests: 
 
Doctor Lorin Grieve from Year of Steam
Laureta Sela of New Century
Matt Wardle of New Century
Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

December 6, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]  

It appears to be decreed that Disney must sandwich every princess film in their animated classics canon with one that is either accessible to the whole family (like Zootopia) or one that at least suggests it will appeal to male-coded interests. In this case Wreck-It Ralph with all those video games (that girls love too) and Big Hero 6 with all its superheroes (that girls love too).

In this case Disney's first attempt at adapting a Marvel comic book with no connection to the MCU this one takes a virtually unheard of Joe Kelly book from the 90s which had not quite a dozen issues to its name and turned it into something like The Iron Giant, something like what would eventually be Bumblebee and something like Into the Spider-Verse. Two films that would improve upon elements of this formula.

And whilst we don't love it as much as any of the above there is something kind of wonderful about Baymax, and there are things we can learn from this film about living with grief and crazy science that are of genuine benefit to us, moving forward. 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus  @DanFloydPlus 

Mackenzie Easton  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod   

Frozen

Frozen

November 28, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]  

The Disney series continues, and in fact this run of four episodes (including the re-release of the 2016 show on Zootopia) marks our project finally coming up to date, since we began this way back around the time Frozen was being released. We will of course return in years to come with another stretch of episodes on Ralph Breaks the Internet, Frozen II, Raya and the Last Dragon and whatever comes next. But for now this gets us to a place we want to be. 

I think people forget, because of all the airplay that one song got, because of all the merchandising and ubiquity of these characters within Disney's self-identifying brand just how GOOD this movie actually is. When you watch it again the script is really strong, it's progressive in a way that challenges their somewhat dated fairy tale elements in a positive way. And not just that one song but ALL of the musical numbers are fantastic (except one and we'll go into that). It's beautiful and thought-provoking and soulful and sometimes a little more sharp than we might expect. 

If Disney was going to make a billion dollars and decide that the way forward was to replicate that success, I'm glad it was this one.

Guests

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Spencer Leeb of The New Century Multiverse 

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep

November 22, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The saga of The Shining continues with a new generation being hounded by the very eldest.

This is one of those movies that nobody really expected. The original decades-old novel and film are at war with one another, and this drastically belated sequel is the battle-ground. Yet what transpires harmonises both in a supremely confident fashion. 

And hardly anybody saw it. So it's our job now to explore the shadowy, steamy depths of Doctor Sleep, establish what Stephen King was saying with his books and how director Mike Flanagan (fast becoming an understated mainstay in the horror milieu) reinterprets the best of multiple mediums... in every possible sense of the word.

This is one of our very favourite films of 2019. You can listen if you haven't seen it, most people haven't. The plot developments and character movements we discuss won't spoil the film, they will improve it.

The Shining

The Shining

November 15, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The Kubrick season concludes with arguably his most celebrated film (the only other contender being Space Odyssey).

This is the one we set out to talk about, but we had to try our level best to understand the men behind it as we did so. Making this a continuation of our Stephen King adaptations series where we compare the book and film (including IT, Pet Sematary and at some point in the future Stand by Me, Misery, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption).

So we watched and talked about everything Kubrick made since 1968, and we read through King's books of The Shining and Doctor Sleep. This really was a grand project and took a lot out of us, but crucially we tried to have fun along the way so it would feel worth it.

The end result is a pair of immensely detailed shows, including Doctor Sleep next week, wherein we discuss how these two creators' different outlooks permeate the cinematic story of Daniel Torrance over 39 years.  

Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

November 8, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The Kubrick season continues with his creations from the 80s and 90s. 

First, a harsh, black vision of the experiences of United States Marines in the Vietnam War. Beginning with their training at the hands and barking yell of the apparently lone  Gunnery Sargent Hartman. Then a confused meander through various areas of the war-torn country, searching for meaning that does not reveal itself.

After that Tom Cruise finds out that Nicole Kidman once thought briefly about having an affair and journeys out into the New York Night for a sexual odyssey that was deliberately designed to be seedy, uncomfortable and weirdly puritanical. 

2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange

2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange

November 1, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Stanley Kubrick Season: Part 1 of 3

Last year we covered the work of Guillermo del Toro, this year we were only going to do The Shining after being asked to do Kubrick many times. But the raft of research and hard work that went into simply covering the context for that movie led to us talking about not one but six of his films. What unfolded as we recorded these sessions out of order was a veritable Stanley Kubrick Season.

So this first part we will cover 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and -briefly- Barry Lyndon (1975). Next week we have Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Finally, the third week will be all about The Shining (1980), and we will be closely comparing it with Stephen King's book.

We are going to be critical of Kubrick. This is a risky prospect for us as we are talking about a revered artist in our chosen field of study. But only one of these films that we talk about in depth do we actually genuinely dislike. The rest are very much a mixed bag of elements that appeal and those that do not. We trust you all to take this as a very personal response to a striking filmography. 

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

October 25, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

After the pantsing of Tim Burton with this year's Miss Peregrine main event and Dumbo Quick Review we decided for Halloween to go back to one of our favourites of his. 

This one is not very popular, a lot of people consider it a mess, and they're correct, but it's a mess that we enjoy greatly, and one that delighted Lorin who was a first timer here.

It's a dark, twisted, witchy, campy, gory mystery and everyone on board seems to be having a great time. Come join us. 

Guest:

Lorin Grieve:  @VixenVVitch  

Zombieland

Zombieland

October 18, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Just in time for the sequel we examine this perky black comedy about life after the end of the world. At present there isn't too much in the way of deeper readings of the escapades of Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, so we took that as something of a challenge.

Recruiting two shrinks last heard on our Inside Out episode we examined each of their behavioural patterns and asked ourselves what state of mind the daily pursuit of survival might have left them in. 

Guests:

Dr Hunter Mulcare @realhuntermmm  

Amy Donaldson of @TwoShrinksPod

Joker

Joker

October 11, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

This turned out to be one of the most gruelling ordeals for us in terms of lead-up, viewing, preparation, recording and editing. This is an intensely divisive film with smart, decent people who dislike it and smart decent people who love it. And the last thing we want is to divide and clash. 

We DO however have to account for how this film made us feel, which is not great at all. Of course we didn't go in hoping to hate it, but what started out as "Okay this isn't bad" descended into "God, get me out of here!"

Next Week: Zombieland