Hercules

January 19, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Now we reach the point where Disney seemed off their game, at least in comparison with the lightning strikes of Mermaid, Beauty, Aladdin and Lion King. The fact that I really like Hercules is neither here nor their, this was a snarky yet earnest take on Greek mythology framed around an action sports movie for boys. 

It had one of the most real-feeling and grown up of Disney heroine's so far, James Woods before he revealed himself to be a complete dick, Danny DeVito on top form as a washed up boxing coach and a quick-witted, slightly-too-energetic pace which a lot of people might consider off-putting.

It was also an ideal, basic model for the superhero movies that were around the corner, and in fact it's a better Superman story than any of Kal-El's movies that have followed so far, though Thor and then Wonder Woman far exceed its reach. 

Since Alan Menken's lovely, lively score only spans a few minutes I have used other, tonally appropriate music for this one. Next week, Mulan. 

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame

January 12, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The year was 1996, just a few months ago Pixar had changed the face of cinema by introducing a whole new medium of 3D animated film, with Toy Story.

Disney followed up their lukewarm reception of Pocahontas with another middling-in-appreciation Broadway musical. The art is beautiful, the scale epic, the songs memorable.

The subject matter is a serious social commentary written by a man who fiercely disapproved of injustice, framed as a tragic, gothic romance, but in the all-singing, all-dancing Disney style, the jokes are witty banter mixed with fart noises made by a pig-like gargoyle (who may not have even been real) played by Jason Alexander from Seinfeld. The main villain is a judge, because executives weren't happy with him being a Catholic Priest, yet rogue animators deliberately confounded their demands and depicted him upon his knees, praying for forgiveness from Mary for the darkness inside him which he knew would imminently lead to murder, in one of the most spectacular song sequences in ANY movie. In short, it had a tone problem. 

And with the help of Dan Floyd and Nama Chibitty, we dig into how this was pulled together and what the end result was. It's one hell of a ride.  

We have covered all the Disney animated classics canon so far from Snow White up to The Lion King and they can be found of the "School of Movies Archive" which is a separate feed on iTunes or wherever else you find podcasts. Here's all the Disney ones.

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

Nama Chibitty

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Pocahontas

January 5, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The Disney shows return, Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits joins us once again to continue our trek through the past of the animation giant.

And we are in the middle of the 90s renaissance, their third period of creatively blossoming (Pre-War/Post-War/90s) and the first after the box office high point of The Lion King presented a bar almost impossible to reach. Even if it hadn't been culturally troubling, deliberately historically naive and melodramatic when the audiences wanted fun, Pocahontas was going to stumble.

It became the benchmark of what happens when Disney decide they have a hit on their hands before release (everybody thought this was going to be their Cinderella and Lion King was just going to be a muck-about with animals). And yet for its faults, which we will go into, it remains a beautiful, sweeping, bittersweet Hollywood romance of the kind it's very tough to pull off successfully, even today, *especially* today. 

The music by Alan Menken is once again amazing, the voice acting is top notch, the animation might make you gasp, and it's probably the most Broadway musical-feeling of all the Disney canon, for better or worse. 

We have covered all the Disney animated classics canon so far from Snow White up to The Lion King and they can be found of the "School of Movies Archive" which is a separate feed on iTunes or wherever else you find podcasts. Here's all the Disney ones.

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

Nama Chibitty

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Return of the Jedi [Ultimate Edition]

December 31, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

We round off our Orij Trij redux episodes with the most divisive of Star Wars movies until Revenge of the Sith came along, then The Force Awakens, then The Last Jedi, look Star Wars makes a lot of people happy and a lot of people very mad! 

This one had more cut out then the other two, partly because so much had already been said about the massive influence upon cinema, the craft of making them and the overall story and character arcs, and ultimately this movie is a two hour framing device for Luke and his Father to have a long chat with lightsabers. 

I pulled out all the stops to boil this down to only everything important and entertaining about ROTJ, and it ended up, a show to be proud of.

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond Podcast

Voice Actor Alex Eding

Chris Brown of The Married Gamers 

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The Empire Strikes Back [Ultimate Edition]

December 30, 2017

The special re-edited and polished up special edition of our original 2010 podcast on what a hell of a lot of people consider to be the greatest Star Wars movie ever filmed. 

As with the Episode IV show the original footage was mixed with the best sections best bits of our 2015 blu ray commentary, blended with the music of John Williams. 

We look at how and why this 1980 science-fantasy classic is still as dark, bright and fresh today as it was nearly four decades ago, how many new aspects were introduced (because that's how expanding mythology works!) and how Star Wars would not still be the phenomenon it was, without it. 

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond Podcast

Voice Actor Alex Eding

Mike Phillips of The Fanboys Lunchcast

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Star Wars [Ultimate Edition]

December 29, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

This is a special re-edited and polished up special edition of our original 2010 podcast on the 1977 movie that started it all. 

Mixed with the best sections of that show are the best bits of our 2015 blu ray commentary, all bound together with the glorious score from John Williams. 

You can still listen to the earliest version, it's available for all on the School of Movies Archive podcast feed, but this one is way better and has 55% less jibber jabber. 

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond 

Voice Actor Alex Eding

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The Last Jedi

December 22, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

The eighth Star wars episode comes roaring onto the big screen. It's upset quite a few fans and delighted many others already. It's the kind of movie that blindsides you the first time so it might be an idea to watch it again. 

One thing is for sure, Star Wars will never be the same as it was before.

Full spoilers from the beginning, along with a serious think-piece about what this is saying to us. 

[NOTE: The first 20 minutes of this show are my YouTube episode on The Last Jedi so if you'd like to see one of the best videos I've ever put together go there and skip to 21.00 on the podcast]

[A Positive Analysis] What Star Wars: the Last Jedi Means

Guests:

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse

Kaoru Negisa and

Debbie Morse, both of Sequentially Yours

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

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The Force Awakens

December 21, 2017

[School of Movies 2015]

Part 1: A film so important and so passionately adored by us that we needed two shows and two groups of guests to fully cover, welcome to part 1 of our Force Awakens show. With us for this first outing in which we discuss Rey, Finn, Ren, Han, Huxx, Snoke and the hugely positive side of this effectively being a retelling of the events of A New Hope.

Part 2: The second installment in our epic Force Awakens show brings in three new voices and a Star Destroyer-full of speculation.  We move onto the characters we have not yet covered, as well as talking details and theorizing wildly about later movies in this series as well as talking about how the landscape of Star Wars in cinema has now changed forever. 

 
Guests:
 
Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst
James Carter of Cane and Rinse
Parris Lilly of Film Tangent
James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond
Alex Eding of Plaid Hat Games
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Rogue One

December 15, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

The most requested show of the year finally arrives. I'm going to bet the many different people asking for this had different reasons. Some might be hoping that we love it (we don't) a few might suspect that we hate it (we also don't) and some of you might not be able to put a finger on what felt a bit off about the movie (we might be able to shed some light on that).

What's clear though is that this one was liked and popular. Standing at 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, this received some solid, critical praise, which means our issues with it put us in the minority, which we're fine with. Allow us to present you with a critiquing sandwich, whereby we start and finish focusing on all the things it does right, with a meaty helping of where it falls short in the middle. 

There's also a scene we talk about where the whole movie collapses into grotesque absurdity (you might know the one already) and you won't be able to watch it with a straight face after hearing this. One thing's for sure, it will make you laugh more than Rogue One did (aside from everything K-2SO said, that robot was a treasure).

Guests

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg

Alex Eding, voice actor

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A Special Announcement

December 9, 2017

Important, kind of upsetting news about a certain show and what's happening about Patreon

https://www.patreon.com/alexandershaw

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