School of Movies
Arrival

Arrival

September 13, 2019

[School of Movies 2019] 

This one is going to be a challenging listen.

Arrival is a story about humanity utilising alien contact as a way of looking inward. It's an examination of our fears, our sacrifices, of language and of time. It's astonishingly powerful and perhaps the greatest performance of Amy Adams' career, requiring her to experience emotions that -as Mikey Neumann pointed out- we don't even have names for yet. 

Get yourself a quiet 80 minutes to listen, and some time afterwards to reflect upon it. And for the love of God see the film before you take in our show.

This episode was commissioned by Andy Rodriguez.

What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows

September 6, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

After a heavy couple of weeks, it's a welcome break to call in at a ridiculous, black comedy. This is a mockumentary investigating a house of vampires. They're a hapless collection of preening nincompoops, fragile egos and buckets of outdated neurosis (in other words very normal people).

This film, directed by mad Kiwi Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok) takes many trappings of how vampires have been classically depicted in horror, and even the later subversions and flips them further by adding a layer of ludicrous, embarrassing mundanity to how they unlive.

Next Week: Arrival  

300

300

August 30, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

A new direction for School of Movies. We've listened to our harshest critics and paid attention to what they seem to want from us and the overwhelming weakest aspect of our show is apparently our tendency to come at movies from a personal perspective, which in turn leads to heavy politicising of films where politics aren't present and don't need to be discussed.

The result is we go off on tangents when we should be talking about the pure mechanics of a film. So the first movie we chose to exercise our new discipline of zero-political rhetoric is Zack Snyder's accurate historical document of ancient Sparta, and how these perfect male specimens fended off the might of the Persian Empire, 300.

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

August 23, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

This was an unexpected one. We geared up for a Quick Review mere minutes after coming back from the cinema and then stuff just came flooding out. We send that recording to a few people to see if it was Main Event material and they pretty much demanded we get this out for everyone. So we added new sections and recorded a companion piece round-table session with two new guests (being released this week as a Cutting Class episode).

Quentin Tarantino's ninth film has made critics very happy (garnering massive positive buzz and 85% freshness) but also provoked a slew of think-pieces about some of the more crass decisions made in filming. 

What you've got here is what Sharon and I felt very strongly in the aftermath, before we'd read anything else. 

Sing Street

Sing Street

August 16, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The second commissioned show of our summer quickly grew from a film we liked a lot to one of our absolute favourites. This little-seen gem about teenage rebellion in Dublin, Ireland, 1985 is something we would love more people to know about.

Directed by John Carney, the man behind Once and Begin Again, this is semi-autobiographical and features a measure of authenticity and respect for young people that the very best films about growing up thrive on. It's also got some of the most accurate portrayal of the clothes and music at the time, giving both context for a deeper meaning that 80s punk pop usually doesn't get afforded.

Guests

Mackenzie Easton  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod  

Nathan Bertram @bertnerdtram of Video Game: The Movie: The Podcast  @VGTMPodcast 

Foodfight!

Foodfight!

August 2, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

One of the worst, most disgusting animated movies of all time. This obscure yet notorious exercise in soulless corporate shilling dressed up as punky rebellion is a collaborative work of supreme incompetence.

Begun in the early 2000s to surf in on the Pixar wave, but eventually released after Wreck-It Ralph in just a few cinemas, most people will thankfully never have heard of this. We are here to tell you the whole sorry story of what plays out like a nightmare before your reeling eyeballs. 

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  

Aaron LaCluyze of Monday Night Magic  @lacluyze 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

July 12, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The first of our Summer 2019 Commission Season is this beloved 1982 Rankin Bass animated cult classic. This episode acts kind of as a sister show to our early 2016 Flight of Dragons ep. 

It's the story of a unicorn who ventures from the safety of her lilac forest out into a dangerous world to search for the rest of her kind. And it's the kind of story that while dismissed by most means the whole world to a select few. 

So we recruited two of them to give us their accounts of how important this has always been to them. Also a big thank you to Holly Dotson who provided us with reference materials and a short essay for this one. 

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew 

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse  

 
The Island of Dr Moreau

The Island of Dr Moreau

July 5, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

One of the most difficult film productions of all time, the 1996 adaptation of the H.G. Wells book drove the cast and crew to the brink of madness. In many ways paralleling the infinitely-more-celebrated Apocalypse Now this was an ill-considered jungle shoot with a tyrannical director and Marlon Brando causing friction with his weird, selfish behaviour. 

Few have seen this film, and those in the know who might have seen the excellent making-of documentary "Lost Soul" will be aware that before Wolfgang Petersen came on board there was a little-known English chap named Richard Stanley (pictured here dressed as a dog) who was fired from his own passion project after Val Kilmer failed to materialise. 

The story just gets weirder. And fairly dark too. Be warned. 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

June 14, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

A film that immediately filled the majority of critics with derision, disdain and disgust. Now we don't want to say the majority of critics are wrong, but if they're saying there's no character to this and nothing below the surface then we don't have much choice, do we?

Because what we have here is a joyful epic, a loopy sci-fi about the old Gods coming back to reclaim the Earth, leaving mankind running around their gargantuan feet just hoping the more benevolent ones win. But those Gods are representational, and that conflict means something. 

For fans of kaiju movies this is the big-budget fun-fest they've always dreamed of. For us, we see a measure of depth and detail that is being overlooked by almost everyone (much like with Pacific Rim) and spotlighting that nuance is what this show was made for. 

To help us out and put things in perspective we recruited a crew of Godzilla fans who adored this film.

Guests:

Bob Chipman  @the_moviebob  of The Escapist & Geek.com

Brendan Foley @TheTrueBrendanF of Cinapse

Dan Hoeppner  @MightyMegatron0  of Leftover Army Monsters

And we are @SchoolOfMovies 

Men in Black

Men in Black

June 7, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

With the release of Men in Black: International we went back to the original trilogy starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Mr Jones' younger model Josh Brolin.

And what a wildly mixed bag we have here. The first is excellent, though almost too brief, the second is an atrocious unfunny mess and the third (which most people didn't see because they were so put off by the second) is actually quite a dedicated time travel sci-fi tale with a sudden, disarming emotional punch at the end.

We recommend seeing 1 and 3 if you haven't yet. Just hearing about 2 will be quite enough. 

0h 01m Men in Black 

0h 57m Men in Black II

1h 40m Men in Black 3