School of Movies
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom & Dominion

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom & Dominion

June 24, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

Two films about dinosaurs as a metaphor for our own existential fear of extinction.

We've held back on talking about the second film, released in 2018 because I was waiting on the onscreen consequences of the big decision at the end. While some folks considered Fallen Kingdom to be the worst in the franchise (I even saw a video declaring it the worst movie ever made - clearly somebody who has never seen Swamp Shark) we actually quite like it.

Don't get us wrong, it's dumb as a sack of hammers, but there are qualities that win it points with us that the other sequels don't have, not least of which is the director of the Orphanage, one of the finest ghost stories ever put to film, Juan Antonio Bayona.

After that I tell Sharon all about the third movie (we keep all spoilers for that section). One could say Jurassic Park needed no sequels, but when has NEED ever factored in when the prospect of a billion dollars was on the table?

Vampire’s Kiss

Vampire’s Kiss

June 22, 2022

[School of Movies 2020]

After the sexy teen rebels of The Lost Boys we delve into the cutthroat underworld of New York big business and the predatory nature of its ambitious executives, hollow inside and devoid of a soul, trying to fill that emptiness with delusions that their success excuses them from the people they hurt to achieve their power.

Listen, when you bring in Nicholas Cage and tell him to just go nuts with a role you're paying for spectacle not subtlety. This began as a Quick Review but quickly became one of the funniest shows we've recorded, centring around one of the weirdest performances we've witnessed. 

FACE/OFF

FACE/OFF

June 17, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

The third in the Rage Cage trinity, released less than a month after Con Air, this movie saw our boy Nick set against John Travolta, who was at the time flying high on the success of Pulp Fiction a few years previously. 

The premise of "Good guy wears bad guy's face" is completely nuts for a start, but what it allows us to see onscreen is two extremely intense actors performing as both a wackadoo international terrorist-for-hire and the broken, obsessed FBI agent hellbent on revenge. Science and physics are utterly abandoned in favour of comic book logic, but the proceedings remained nonetheless a slick bullet ballet just oozing with star-power as the two leads try to out-weird each other. 

Action maestro John Woo had only just begun to direct films for a western audience (following Hard Target and Broken Arrow) but this might be the most fondly remembered.

Guests

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Souris @Mayasantandrea

Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool

Con Air

Con Air

June 10, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

The Rage Cage Season continues, as Nicholas transforms himself into a statuesque Army Ranger from Alabama with a mullet (as We Hate Movies would say) to beat the band! It's had to imagine from every movie he was in before and since but here he's a combination of the peace-making soft  tones of Jesus and the spin-kicks of Chuck Norris. 

Handed a severe sentence after defending himself and his pregnant wife from literally the worst man in the world, Cameron Poe is sent home after eight years in jail. Unfortunately he is put on a plane with superstar celebrity convicts renowned for their violent crimes. And when they inevitably take control of the plane, leaving Cameron in a sticky position he is faced with a choice; get off when prompted and get back to his family or stay and try to do something good. The resultant film is riot of explosions, glossy action cinematography and highly memorable, equally quotable dialogue.

For this episode we brought in the Franchise Killer podcast (from our shows on Super Mario Bros and Shazam!) Check out their show.

https://franchisekillerpod.podbean.com/

Guests:

From the Franchise Killer Podcast: @FK_Podcast

David Schmitzer

Irena Schmitzer

Rhys Paine

The Rock

The Rock

June 3, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

This is the start of our Rage Cage Season, celebrating the span of twelve months between Summer 1996 and Summer 1997 when Nicholas Cage was somehow the hottest action star of the age. He's quite appealingly low-key in this one, relative to the next two; Con Air and FACE/OFF.

This is Michael Bay's best film. That's not hyperbole, it really is, in terms of how well-executed each set-piece is, how the momentum holds you without wearing you down, memorable performances, sympathetic characters and how the drama and human interaction functions surprisingly well. 

I also consider it Sean Connery's swansong. Not his last film, but his last great film, as well as a backdoor Old Man Bond farewell. In fact, while you're listening to this episode you'll hear how the text of this film actively supports this being quite literally the same guy we saw in Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, all the way up to Diamonds are Forever. 

Guests:

Brenden Agnew @BLCAgnew of Cinapse

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

April 29, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

Daft bunny with amazing wife *may* have dropped a safe on a cartoon-arms dealer...

An absolutely one-time deal, just like Lord of the Rings and Titanic, this perfect melding of live action and beautiful hand-drawn animation convincingly interacting in 3D space, coupled with a whip-quick hilarious script as well as the kind of combination of studio properties that just never happens any more. Disney don't take part in those Ready Player Ones or Space Jams, and it was crucial that the masters of western animation in the 20th Century hand over the keys to their kingdom, circa 1947. 

But even the above description sells short how skilled the actors were, whether painted or not, how they sell the world via dry delivery, and how Bob Hoskins unexpected mastery of physicality in the role stems from Chaplin and Keaton. This thing is a masterpiece containing masterpieces. And we are here with our buddy Dan to talk about the many levels of special you discover revisiting as a sharp-eyed adult.

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus  @DanFloydPlus

The Secrets of Dumbledore

The Secrets of Dumbledore

April 22, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

I could just have told you folks not to see this one, but the whole world appears to have gotten the memo on that. I could also have just ignored it, but Harry Potter was important to a LOT of us in the past (and still many now) so a reappraisal of where the hell the Wizarding World sits today, and how we got to this place was in order.

It turned into a lengthy investigation as to just how many things can go wrong and how many problematic people have to be involved with your production before you pull the plug. This one delves into what plot is there, but frankly there's nothing to spoil that ain't already wrecked. 

The Road to El Dorado

The Road to El Dorado

April 15, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

Back at the turn of the century Dreamworks were going after Disney hard. The first lasting challenge to the mouse monopoly of animated cinema in the west involved a similar hand-drawn traditional style to match their 90s Renaissance. Notably that was a period of amazing achievement following mediocrity, thanks in no small part due to Dreamworks very own Lord Farquaad, Jeffrey Katzenberg.  

The four films in this soon-abandoned endeavour were The Prince of Egypt, which did gangbusters, horse-botherer Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, the box office pirate shipwreck, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, and this one, released in 2000, about a pair of ne-er-do-well conmen finding the fabled lost Aztec city against the disturbing backdrop of the arrival in Mesoamerica of Francisco Cortes. But all of these were releasing at the dawn of the Shrek Age, and they themselves represent a now-fading culture conquered by merciless superior technology.  

Guests:

Mackenzie & Nathan Eastram  @KenziePhoenix @bertnerdtram of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod and Video Game: The Movie: The Podcast  @VGTMPodcast

Withnail & I

Withnail & I

April 8, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

A cult British classic made in 1987, set in 1969 and an utter failure at the box office. With the advent of affordable videos in the 1990s this one later became very popular with students who warmed to its story of two out of work actors living in ridiculous squalor. It's insanely quotable and darkly funny if you have the corresponding frequency of humour (I think I'm going to use this term in future. It's not a binary thing and that misconception is used all too often as a limp shield for crappy comedian behaviour).

Richard E. Grant plays Withnail, a persistently drunken, excessively verbose drama queen. Paul McGann play's "I" (whose uncredited name is Marlowe) a mousy, skittish neurotic afraid of being attacked by a hostile world of beefy, aggressive men. 

Together the pair of them borrow Withnail's Uncle Monty's cottage in Penrith and have an impromptu holiday to escape their troubles, only to find they have brought them along too. They are pitiful wretches and we should loathe them, but it's easy to feel sympathy and empathy all the same.

This one deals with some confused issues of unexplored homosexuality and predatory behaviour (fuelled by the writer/director's own unfortunate experiences as a young man), so you may have to bear with it until the full context is unfolded. But it would be entirely understandable if you want to put a pin in this for later. 

Secret of NIMH / American Tail / Land Before Time

Secret of NIMH / American Tail / Land Before Time

April 1, 2022

[School of Movies 2022]

A trio of films that are considered by many to be the crowning glories of Don Bluth's oeuvre. He was one of the only serious competitors to Disney in the last two decades of the 20th Century that they had dominated, in terms of what constituted animated cinema in the west. 

We take a documentarian approach to how he started, and cover the flourishing of the next few years, breaking off at their high point, actually beating Disney at the box office. After this it was a slow decline of valiant attempts and disappointing failures, making films that evoked the elegant, classical stylings of Cinderella, Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty when the public wanted Toy Story, and Disney were experiencing their 90s Renaissance. 

This one gets dark and hard, even more so than you might imagine, if you're familiar with the sometimes disturbing nature of this body of work. But it's utterly fascinating if you can push through that. 

Guest:

Kat Essman @Kat325

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